Thursday, 31 July 2014

Top Trends in YA Book Covers

'Don't judge a book by its cover.' Who actually follows that saying in its literal meaning? I don't, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I remember when I used to go to the library when I was little and my mum would pick out books from the shelf to see if there were any I was interested in. 'How about this one? That sounds good.' Yeah, they sounded good. But it was always the cover which would make or break the deal for me.

Anyway, I'm here today to show you some rather awesome book covers. When they're all next to each other you can really see what trends are popular. First up is...

As much as I would love to read this book, sadly I don't own it, but that can't stop me from admiring the gorgeous cover! Using those filters was a clever move by the designer, that's for sure, because this is going to appeal to the Instagrammers of our generation whether they like reading or not! Also, Converse always get the thumbs-up from me (I have been more than a little obsessed for sixteen years now) and the blue writing...*faints from the prettiness*

Edit: I now own the book!

Themes: People / Marker pen / Filters / Sun

Unsurprisingly, Andrew Smith would win the award for 'greenest book cover ever' if there was such a thing. I haven't read this yet - sorry Egmont - but I've recently noticed the one-colour trend in YA books. Luckily, I'm a big fan of bright and bold books, otherwise that would be pretty annoying... But I could stare at these all day. Who's with me?

Themes: Limited colour palette / Bold shapes and silhouettes / Capital letters

Well, would you look at that...a book in this post which I've actually read. I love the cover of The Elites just as much as I love the story inside it. It really does suit the book perfectly. Definitely worth checking out, even if it is just so you can admire the amazing cover from the comfort of your own home!

Themes: White, green, and yellow / Staring / Weapons / Light and dark

So, I have a confession. I'm kind of in love with this cover. I haven't read the book yet (although I do have a lovely signed edition) but you already know that colourful book covers practically beg me to pick them up. Well, mixed with an awesome illustration, this is one hell of a pretty book. 

Geek Girl is pretty awesome and became extremely popular very quickly. I'm not such a big fan of the cover, but it did remind me of these three... what's with the sunglasses, people? It's not even that bright on my bookshelf.

Spies / Sunglasses / Mystery / Faces / Red, white and blue
But there are more serious cover trends that can't be ignored. For example, how many white people are on book covers? A lot. What about everyone else? Even in this blog post, while skin colour isn't a main focus, nearly everyone is white. Michelle at Fluttering Butterflies recently published an excellent blog post on that and you can see it here - it's well worth reading.

Which covers are your favourite? Have you noticed any other trends in YA?

Thursday, 24 July 2014

EVENT REPORT: Rainbow Rowell Talk and Signing in London

This year the UK has gone crazy over Rainbow Rowell, author of books such as Attachments, Eleanor and Park, Fangirl, and her latest novel for adults, Landline. So I wasn't surprised - but very excited - when it was announced that Rainbow would be flying over from the US to do a UK tour, consisting of events in London, Liverpool, Cardiff, Glasgow, and Birmingham.

The only event there was a slight chance of me attending was the one in London, but by the time I found out about it tickets had understandably already sold out. But then another date was added. July 15th. In the space of three seconds, a lot of things crossed my mind - my anxiety, money, travel, meeting such a famous author - but then I thought 'meh' and ordered three tickets for myself and my parents. I didn't ask them. I probably should have done. Instead, I quickly printed out the tickets and stuffed them behind a stack of books on the shelf in my room, not to be seen again until a week later when I casually dropped the fact into conversation that I'd bought the tickets.

The parents were very reluctant, but I'd already bought the tickets...what could they do? ;) Luckily they ended up having an enjoyable evening anyway.

The day arrived and I was a nervous wreck. I considered not going. I considered missing the talk and only attending the signing. I considered letting my mum go ahead and get the books signed on my behalf - which she had offered to do - as I waited at Stratford station, which is where we were as I started having a panic attack. I think it was because I was already really nervous, and it didn't help that the trains were packed and boiling hot.


Because of that, we had to let around 15 trains go by (at 2-minute intervals - 15 trains sounds like a lot but it really wasn't!) as I got myself together. That's also why I didn't vlog the day, which is what I'd planned to do. Then it took longer than expected to get to Waterstones when we were back on the tube because there were delays at Liverpool Street. So we walked, which was intimidating because...let's just say we were in the part of London where there are more posh suits than tourist backpacks...

Eventually we arrived at Piccadilly Waterstones having completely missed Rainbow's entire talk, so unfortunately I can't tell you what she talked about, but Stacey at The Pretty Books has gone into great detail about it so you can read about that here.

But now I'll tell you about what I didn't miss...

Now, this was my first time at Waterstones Piccadilly. I knew it was the largest bookshop in Europe but nothing can prepare you for the pure awesome of it. We chilled on the armchairs just outside of the event until the queue got a bit shorter because I still felt pretty out of it and I didn't feel up to facing so many people just yet. Instead, I bought the finished copy of Landline and the special edition of Fangirl, and ended up getting two free Fangirl tote bags too. Win!

There was also a table with refreshments and the event was just generally really well organised, although I know the staff are used to dealing with popular authors so I wasn't surprised!

Then we headed into the event area and joined the queue; we were last.

I recognised Charlotte from her Twitter profile and also thought I saw Georgia from The Bibliomaniac out of the corner of my eye, but I didn't do anything about it because I wasn't expecting her to be there. Later it turned out it was her and we were even wearing the same shirt! WUT? I was also meant to be meeting Debbie from Snuggling on the Sofa but she couldn't make it. :(

The stage where Rainbow had been sat with Bim Adewunmi was still set up but unoccupied, and it was right next to the queue, so I decided to casually hop up onto the stage and sit in Rainbow's vacated chair. I SAT WHERE RAINBOW SAT. SOMEONE HOLD ME.

Then it was my turn and Rainbow signed all of my books even though there was a 4-book limit and I had 6, which was lovely. She didn't say much and I felt really awkward; Rainbow because she was understandably tired, and me because I was so incredibly nervous. She asked if there were any of her books which I hadn't read, and I said Attachments. She replied that it was the lighter of her books - the funniest - so I'm looking forward to it even more now! Then she said "I hope you enjoy it," and I said, "I'm sure I will," which made me want to die because I sounded so formal and forced and I SOUNDED LIKE SUCH AN IDIOT. Also, publicist Kat McKenna was next to the table but I didn't want to sound like a weirdo by saying hello when she wouldn't have recognised me.

I got my photo taken with Rainbow.

Click to enlarge.

Fangirl (paperback)
Fangirl (hardback / special edition)
Eleanor and Park (paperback)
Landline (paperback / ARC)
Attachments (paperback)
Landline (hardback / not dedicated)

After the event we wandered around the city for a while, watched some buskers in Piccadilly Circus, and ended up in Leicester Square. It's like that place has this weird magnetic pull on me because whenever I'm in London I always end up there, even if it's not in the original plan. We then headed to a pretty little restaurant but ended up leaving after half an hour without having ordered any food because the waiter seemed to have forgotten us... so off we went to Pizza Hut instead. I didn't order anything myself, and all I ate that day was two packets of crisps. Anxiety really messes with my eating habits sometimes.

As we were waiting for the tube home, I saw a mouse on the platform. I've been to London a million times but I've only ever seen mice on the tracks. I resisted the urge to run away and instead backed away slowly... and in doing so, I discovered this poster. I fangirled.

If you were paying attention earlier on in the post, you'll know I bought a hardback copy of Rainbow's latest book Landline, but I asked her not to dedicate it. That's because I bought it! This is an international giveaway.

Good luck!

Thanks to Rainbow, the publishers, and Waterstones Piccadilly for hosting such an awesome event!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

My Week in Cornwall

Monday, 14 July 2014

SURVEY RESULTS: What do you love about book blogging?

Less people responded to this survey than my last one, and I'm not sure if that's because a lot of people couldn't think of anything they love about our community or if it's just a matter of not as many people seeing the post as last time. That doesn't matter, though - let's see what everyone loves about book blogging!

There were 35 responses. All of these were completely anonymous. 

"It's so vibrant with so much opinion and discourse, and everyone's generally willing to help if you would just reach out."
"[I love] the camaraderie of it. In reality I don't have that many friends that are as enthusiastic towards books as me so when I discovered this wonderful community, it felt like I was at home. A lot of book bloggers are really nice and accommodating."
"I've been part of the community for a little while longer now than when I completed the previous survey... I love the community, I love having people who "get" you and your bookish obsessions, I love comments, and replying to comments, I love when people disagree with my opinions on books and we can chat about our different viewpoints. I love the sense of support from this community - maybe we have more empathy because we read, but there's a sense that the people on the end of the comments actually care."
"I love the fact that the majority of the time, everyone supports each other. Book Blogging has given me the chance to talk about books freely with other book lovers without being criticised. It's a place where I feel like I'm actually part of something."
"[I love] that whether we know each other or not we are united by one common interest; our love of books. That one love sparks endless conversations and fangirl sessions. It's just so great to talk to awesome people about an awesome thing like books."
"If you're looking for a recommendation, the book blogging community has hundreds for you. If you're looking for a review on a certain book, the book blogging community has it. If you're looking for a friend, the book blogging community has that too. It's pretty wonderful, despite its flaws. ♥"
"[I love] the fun, learning about new reads, the excitement of the possibility of meeting each other... and for me, I'm going through a long rough patch, and I know there are people in the community I can talk to."
"I love that there are now so many people who I can share my love for books with and there's no better book recommendation than one from someone who is passionate about reading!"
"I think most of us have a similar sense of humour (most times) and depending on the ones you finally fall into sync with, through love of similar genres, you usually like the same movies and TV shows. My friends in real life aren't into fandom things and book devouring, so my only conversation buddy was my son, but he is at university, so I don't see him all that much, now. When I am home alone book blogging friends are only a click away. :)"
"Very welcoming, even though I'm not a book blogger I feel part of the community!"
"The people! Ahhh, the people are the BEST omg. I literally have so many other bloggers I tweet all the time, a new penpal (a blogger) and so many AMAZING peeps to email. And the publicists – SO. NICE. :)"
"It's so comfy and welcoming. However weird your post or tweet, you never have to worry that you'll get judged, it's just a nice group to be a part of."
"I really love the fact that everyone is really welcoming and no one seems to be territorial, I understand that in recent years things have gone a bit down hill (I'm only a newbie blogger so i wouldn't actually know) but so far I haven't had any bad experiences - its also a really great place to just make friends with people who share similar interests to you!"
"Everyone has been really nice to me, even the authors."
"How *mostly* everyone is so friendly and the community is great. I've made more friends in the blogosphere than I have done in the whole of my life which is pretty sad but cool. xD"
"I love the friendliness of everyone. We all support each other and it's great to see that because online media is NEVER like that. Now book blogging has become so much more popular, but at the same time the age difference doesn't matter. And I love that."
"[I love] that everyone is so friendly and supportive and everyone's views are so interesting. I love love love it!!"
"I get to find out about lots of books which I otherwise wouldn't have heard of."
"[I love] the amazing friends I've made through it and the fact that everyone loves books so much! There's never a dull moment with the book blogging community - there's always a new release to rave about or an old gem to reminisce over and something to talk about. Everyone is really supportive too - if you have a problem (blog related or not) someone's bound to help and offer you advice."
"This sounds very horrible, but absolutely nothing."
"I love the fact that if you reply to someone on Twitter or even on their blog posts, they will most likely reply back! I love having conversations with other book fanatics!"
"The individuality. Everyone is reviewing that one new release, but they all have their own take, their own favourite characters... I love the diversity of both opinions and the actual people behind the blogs."
"It makes me feel like I belong. Book blogging shows me that there are other people in the world who love books as much as I do. It's something I'm proud to be part of and gives me a reason to keep on reading."
"I love the easy access to a whole community of people who are just dedicated and as book obsessed as you are! Usually, it's very tight knit and welcoming, with heaps of opportunities to discuss and share!"
"Hands down the bloggers that I meet. When I first started blogging, I was a bit uncomfortable because I didn't know anyone from the community that I could interact with or ask questions. But now, I've met some really awesome people throughout my three months of book blogging. They've also become my friends. And I think that's the biggest achievement any book blogger or blogger in general can receive."
"The friendships and how easy it is to find new amazing books to read!"
"The interaction between the bloggers and the authors. And of course, book recommendations."
"Well, as a book blog reader, I don't have my own blog but when I read other people's book blogs I can see how close they often are with other bloggers. Just by reading the comments bloggers receive and how they reply to them, you can tell sometimes that they have made friends and links within the book blogging community. This brings me to my point: if people who don't have a book blog and aren't actively involved in book blogging can see how strong the book blogging community is, then surely that's a good thing? It shows the community is strong! Also, you see lots of bloggers who say they were inspired to start a book blog after reading other people's blogs. If book bloggers are inspiring people to join the community then that must be great too! People are coming into the community because they think it is a happy place; book bloggers have given them that impression. This is what is great about the book blogging commmunity! It just needs to be kept up, so people can keep seeing the brilliance of the book blogging community! When your readers let you know you're doing great, then you probably are :)"
"I love how everyone can come together over something that seems like it's dying in our society. I love how we all have a thirst for knowledge and for books, and how we can go to each other to satisfy this addiction to reading. Like how we all understand each other when people in the real world tend to judge me or think I'm a loner for reading all the time, book bloggers will never make me feel that way."
"The friends! Everyone interacts, and when you get crazy excited over books, and characters, and authors they understand and get crazy excited with you! You get to talk to people you wouldn't have normally spoken to! It's fab!"
"My favorite thing about the book blogging community is the great people. I love everything that goes on like book recommendations, sarcastic/bubbly/fangirl conversations in the blog comments or on Twitter. There's really nothing better than discovering that there are thousands (don't quote me on that ;) ) of other people who share your interests and get your references and humor. And usually, everybody is extremely nice....complimenting each other and helping each other out. I also think it's so neat when I find other book bloggers who not only read books and have a hilarious sense of humor but who also love the things that I do. It's a feeling of being a part of a huge network of amazing people. #bookbloggerpride."
"When I log into Twitter and we're all there, happily chatting away about books! It feels like one big, happy family. Even if we are a little dysfunctional at times, we pick ourselves back up and move on and I think it makes us stronger."
"It's really friendly, everyone's so nice to each other. Very supportive, helping newer bloggers like me. Blogs are unique and creative."
"I think people tend to forget just how lucky they are. We get to have our own special place where we can talk and fangirl with people who know exactly how you feel! You get to make friendships and discover new things because of those booklovers who live in every little nook and cranny in the world! Not everyone is fortunate enough to ever get a glimpse of this experience, so I think we should be thankful for the bookish love that brings us together, and not let petty things throw us apart."
"YES! Tara from The Librarian Who Doesn't Say Shhh! is amazing. I loved her blog before I started blogging and when she first commented on my blog I practically had a "celebrity moment"! I've a lot of respect for her writing, and she's always been super friendly. Amanda from Book Badger has had some great chats with me, and she's local (UK-based, so as local as my bloggy friends get!) Charnell from Reviews from a Bookworm has been supportive and even though our reviews can be very different we always have good convos. Mentions also go to Joyous Reads, Thoughts and Afterthoughts (guaranteed to drop a comment on my TTT posts!), Books Are Delicious -there's so many. Any of my regular commenters really because they always make my day. Including you! I emailed you when I first started blogging and you were very friendly and welcoming!" 
"Amber, you have become a great friend of mine. We have been through similar things and because of meeting through book blogging, I feel like now I have someone to talk to who understands. And Charli from To Another World, Rachel from Booktastic Reviews, Zoe from Bookhi, Fionnuala from Books for Birds - they have all become good friends to me and I can't thank them enough :)" 
"Well, for a! Holly from A Daydreamer's Thoughts and Charli from To Another World are two of my closest blogging friends. I love them and their blogs. ^_^" 
"You, Ruby, Sophie, Jack, Georgia and Hawwa. So many others too :)" 
"Emma Louise and you, of course!" 
"Ashley of Nose Graze." 
"Octavia at Read~Sleep~Repeat was my first connection on Twitter and she has been wonderful putting up with my derp blogging questions!! I also think she was the first blogger to follow me back on Twitter. Again, Britter at Please Feed the Bookworm is my partner in crime while we try to figure out blog design and author/publisher contacts. She was the first book blogger to follow my blog!! They are the only two blog buttons I have on my blog." 
"You, Charli, Fionnuala, Lucy, Sophie, Jack, Debbie plus loads more." 
"I'm just gonna go with three, and I'm not including you Amber because OBVIOUSLY you're amazing too ;) Haaawwwwwwwaaaaa (It Was Lovely Reading You) –  SO. FUNNY. Seriously, sometimes I'm just feeling all sad/lonely and then she talks books to me and it really cheers me up. :') Sophie (A Day Dreamer's World) – SO. NICE. She's just so bubbly and lovely and one of the most amazing people eeeevvvvverrr. Lucy (Queen of Contemporary) – AHHHH, LUCY! Um, she's just incredible. And so bookish." 
"Sophie is the nicest person ever, and I've never even met her. Charli seems so funny and sweet. Zoe, Georgia, Orli and SO MANY MORE are awesome too. Amber, you're pretty cool too XD" 
"Quite a few! First off, definitely Amber, you/she is always really kind and doesn't seem bothered if you ask a bloggy related question or just nag her on Twitter ;) Another person, who I don't think I could live without, is Amy {Amy Bookworm} she is the nicest, sweetest person I have ever met, and has definitely made my blogging experience ten times better." 
"Not you. I hate you. YOU DISGUST ME. :P I can't really list them all buuuut...You, Zoe @ Bookhi, Ruby @ Feed Me Books Now, Jack @ The Book Stop, Rachel @ Booktastic Reviews etc etc etc." 
"Honestly, you have. You're so young, but so mature and professional at the same time and it's a breath of fresh air to see that." 
I still get a Happy Meal at McDonald's so I don't think 'mature' is quite the right word, but thank you! ;)
"You of course :) and" 
"No, never had any blogger friends. :(" 
"Cait and Mime @ The Notebook Sisters, Faye @ The Social Potato, Katrina @ Chased by my Imagination, and a bunch of other blogs that I just can't remember at the moment." 
"The lovely ladies at Oh, The Books! have given me confidence because they always reply to any comments I leave. I feel welcome and included and thus more likely to interact with what they post and the ladies themselves on social media."
I love them too! ♥
"YES! When I was a newbie, especially. They include Kayla @ The Thousand Lives, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity, Cait and Mime @ The Notebook Sisters, and Jeann @ Happy Indulgence!" 
"Becca from Becca's Booooks. She's fab!" 
"Cait and Mime from The Notebook Sisters! They are hilarious and really good at what they do, but the way they made my blogging experience better was through comment love. Mime was my third follower (I squealed...aka fangirled. *whispers* don't tell) and Cait comments quite a bit on my blog and was an early follower. They're just really nice and fun. :) 
Zoe from The Infinite To-Read Shelf is another amazing blogger. She's so sweet and she suffered through my first vlog so kudos to her. :P She's brightened up my day many times by commenting on my blog or tweeting me. 
Gabs from My Full Bookshelf is seriously my Goodreads twin. We have so many of the same books on our TBR lists and we liked a lot of the same books too. :) We also share a dislike of Bloglovin'. HOWEVER, she was my first Bloglovin' follower and she's awesome. 
Aneta Augustine from The Graffiti on the Wall makes me grin every time I read one of her posts because of her sarcastic, dry, cutting humor and, in general writing voice. She's studying something super hard in college that I can't remember now and she reminds me of my sister a little bit. I'm so glad I found her little gem of a blog. I don't even care that she virtually shot me in the head for having an awesome second-hand bookstore. ;) She has the gift of sounding sophisticated without effort. 
Aaaand, (actually I love all you guys but this answer is REALLY long. Sorry, Amber) S.R. from the blog that's the same name aka S.R. McKade. S.R. is SO nice and also shows me comment love all the time. Although sometimes I think she?/he? (I really don't exactly know) thinks my humour is a little wacky. :D S.R. is awesome and extremely nice and supportive. We understand each other cause pizza and chocolate equals favorite foods. ♥" 
"Since I came back to blogging, I lost my RSS feed reader so had to refollow a ton of new blogs. One blog I discovered along the way was The Notebook Sisters, and they are amazingly kind, funny bloggers with really great posts and reviews. I highly recommend following them!" 
"Wow, there are so many that I don't want to name people in case I forget! You, Amber, are an awesome bunny along with LOOAADDSSS OF other people!" 
"As a blog reader, all book bloggers make the experience great - by having blogs to read! Keep up the great work and continue to show readers how friendly the community is!"

"Have fun, don't compete or envy and you will be fine :)" 
"I just wish everyone the best and keep on doing the things you guys do best! :D" 
"I haven't really seen or been involved in any of the negative stuff - but I would say to keep doing what you're doing and don't forget to comment and like, even if you've been at this for a long time (how some people juggle the blogging with all the social media elements is beyond me!). I've seen a lot of bloggers reach out to the community on a personal level when things happen in their life and it's nice to know there's a support system here too." 
"Keep going. Even if it doesn't feel like people are reading your posts - keep going." 
"You rule!" 
"Just be yourself with your blog. You'll find a bunch of similar people! And don't let anyone push you around. You're awesome! Just keep doing what you're doing." 
"For every rude book blogger and author you come across there are many more nice ones." 
"Keep going, all your blogs are great!!" 
"I don't feel as though I should actually answer this as I've only been blogging for a year now, but (yes, there's a but) I think the important thing to keep in mind is to never get discouraged, I know it can be hard and some days all the numbers of followers and page-views can go to your head - but if you're blogging for the right reasons, then just carry on doing what you love, people will come to respect you for it!" 
"For new book bloggers: DON'T STRESS ABOUT FOLLOW COUNT/PAGEVIEWS. It takes the fun out of everything. I had five followers for over half a year. One of them was my aunt. One of them was me. But I still carried on blogging and now I have more than five YAY, if I had let it get to me I probably would have stopped blogging and then I wouldn't have been given amazing opportunities and made awesome friends. :) BE YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE AWESOME." 
"Keep doing what you know best, and always improve. Two years from now you'll look back and see how much you as a person and your writing has changed!" 
"Keep going!! Don't give up and remember why you started - because you love the books!!!" 
"Keep going and don't be discouraged by little things. If you don't get along with another blogger, that's fine, just don't talk to them and get on with your own thing. If you feel like your blog isn't doing as well as you'd hoped, keep working hard because we've all been there." 
"Just keep on blogging and don't worry about the stats or gaining followers! Just have fun with it! Same thing with comments. Keep in mind your posts are being read! Even though I read a ton of posts on my feed, sometimes I don't know what to comment, because I honestly don't know what to say because of a brain fart. BUT I AM LURKING :D and you are loved!" 
"Be kind. The blogsophere should be a safe space for everyone who uses it. We're all here because we love books - and for some of us, it's the only place we can express that love without fear of reprisal. Your words are powerful: use them to make others happy." 
"Um, probably just to keep book blogging because you love what you blog about! Even if you feel left out at times, or if you are in a reading/blogging slump - reach out! Because someone will be there!" 
"It's just for you. It's not about how many followers you have, it's about how much fun you have reading and posting about these books on your blog. It's not about competition of how many followers you can get, or how much you can read in a year. It's about how much you want to read and beating your own goals. It's about reading other blogs and finding new things to add to your bookshelf. The community is only as strong as the people it's comprised of, and I like to think that a community that prides itself on being knowledgeable should understand that we can't compete with one another. On some level, we're all that each other has." 
"Be patient! Sometimes it takes ages for your blog to take off and become popular! Also some people are negative, but not everything's perfect and you can't please everyone." 
"Stop comparing. It doesn't matter if you have 5 followers or 500, what really matters is that you enjoy what you are doing. Never do anything you don't feel is right for you or your blog!" 
"Never let anyone bring you down! No one can ever tell you who you are, or what to do. Why? Because they can never be you. You have all the opportunities in the world, but it's only you who can ever make use of them! Don't let things that happen make you bitter and sad, let them make you stronger and braver. A quote that you'll be familiar with that speaks to me is: 
Fear doesn't shut you down, it wakes you up. - Divergent
The reason for that is that I believe that this signifies so many things that apply to everyone and everything. When you get scared, don't let yourself stop everything and stop living. Don't let yourself stick to only one thing because you're scared. Do let yourself get excited that you're going to face this fear. That you're going to confront it. Let yourself realise that if you're scared something is wrong, and you need to fix that- it won't fix itself.  

"Thanks for spreading the positivity around the book blogging community! You are one cool girl! :D" 
"Just that I hope I can stick at this and do it for a long time. It's hard work this blogging malarkey! But the pay-back is brilliant." 
"I love the blogging community and everyone is lovely and make me want to have a blog as well!!" 
"Awesome idea, you're so innovative Amber - you take action and kick butt ;) I can see you being really influential in the future, if not already." 
Thank you! As soon as I read that, one image came to mind, so I instantly had to design it. Yes, that's my face. :')

"yes I really enjoy your blog and your youtube vids, really inspire me to keep going with my blogging even though I'm not that great and only have like two subscribers!" 
"Yes! Loving the positive vibes here, keep it up :)" 
"Amber, this is a really interesting set of surveys you are doing: the loving and hating attitudes of the book blogging community. The internet is such a controversial place; we should all be trying to make it better, like you. Well done for addressing these issues and encouraging other people to share their opinions. One step closer to making the book blogging community a happy place for everyone! :-)"
MY HEART FEELS WARMED. Although, while some people left lovely comments, some people decided to abuse the 'anything else to add' option...;)
"You don't know terror until you see John Green meeting a squirrel." 
"Do you want a donut?"
I don't want a donut at the moment (shocking, I know) but I would love some t-shirts featuring the last three quotes... :'D

Thanks to everyone who participated! 
Did you see your answer up there? If you didn't take part in the survey, what do you love about book blogging?

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski

Title: Don't Even Think About It
Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Published by: Orchard
Publication date: 1st May 2014
Pages: 299
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary/Paranormal/Science Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the Guardian newspaper.

This is the story of how we became freaks. It's how a group of I's became a we.

When Class 10B got their flu shots, they expected some side effects. Maybe a sore arm. Maybe a headache. They definitely didn't expect to get telepathy. But suddenly they could hear what everyone was thinking. Their friends. Their teachers. Their parents. Now they all know that Tess has a crush on her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper. Some of them will thrive. Some of them will break. None of them will ever be the same. 

Up until this book I had never read anything featuring telepathy. Luckily, Don't Even Think About It was definitely a good place to start. Just like Mlynowski's previous book Gimme a Call, this book was funny, well executed, and original. After months of being in a terrible reading slump, I raced through this in just a couple of hours, so don't even think about asking me if I loved it...of course I did!

There are so many things I enjoyed about the writing. Firstly, the story is told by a group of people. I don't mean each chapter is in first-person and from a different POV, I mean it was told in third person and each character would chip in to being one collective voice. I'm not sure if that makes sense but it's the only way I can really explain it. Anyway, that was what I loved most about the writing, because it was like having a bunch of friends telling me about something which had happened to them. I'm glad Mlynowski went down this route - had she written in first person and dedicated different chapters to different POVs, I don't think it would have flowed so well.

Secondly, there are so many references to the YA bookish community. I didn't expect that! For example, near the beginning of the book there is a nail polish named 'We Were Liars', which Mlynowski has confirmed on Twitter that it was indeed a reference to We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. One of the characters liked writing, and one of her thoughts about her new telepathic powers was, "This is going to make a great book one day. Not that anyone would believe it. I'll have to call it fiction." And then my jaw dropped. Just a little bit. I'm sure this didn't happen to the author, but...well...

And lastly, I just loved the voice. Mlynowski has this unique and incredibly awesome way of storytelling, which I love. She puts her own twist on things. Like telepathy. Not the most original thing in the world to write about, but she made it original, and she made it her own. Becoming telepathic through flu jabs? You have to admit that's pretty cool, and I had a lot of fun reading it.

If you already have this book, you should bump it to the top of your TBR pile, and if you don't have it already then why not order it by clicking here? You can't not read this book. Don't even think about it. ;)
I made the 'don't even think about it' joke twice in one review. I feel ashamed of myself.

Friday, 4 July 2014


Hopefully by now you have read my review of Landline by Rainbow Rowell and have an idea of how brilliant a book it is. Well, I have more rainbow-y goodness for you today as part of the Landline blog tour! Originally there was going to be a guest post from Rainbow Rowell herself, but she's busy at the moment being awesome around the US on her tour, so instead I have an exclusive extract from the UK edition of Eleanor and Park, as well as a Rainbow Rowell prize pack giveaway!

But first, let's take a look at Landline...

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it's been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply - but that almost seems besides the point now. Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they're supposed to visit Neal's family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can't go. She's a TV writer, and something's come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her - Neal is always a little upset with Georgie - but she doesn't expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she's finally done it. If she's ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It's not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she's been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts...

Is that what she's supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

Landline is out now - get your copy here!

If you've read Eleanor and Park, chances are you were pretty frustrated with the ending. Luckily for you, Rainbow has chosen to write about the mystery surrounding it...


"You're probably hoping I'll tell you what the three words are.

This is the question I've been asked most since I wrote Eleanor and Park. This is what people tweet at me and email me about. It's the first question at every signing and public event.


My father-in-law called my husband to ask. My mother cornered me at lunch, "I know you won't tell the Internet, but I thought you'd tell me. I'm your mother."

I didn't tell her. And I'm not going to tell you.

But we can talk about it for a few minutes, if you'd like...

I always knew, when I started Eleanor and Park, what the last line would be. I knew Eleanor was going to send Park a postcard, and that it would be 'just three words long'.

And I knew that readers would assume those three words were "I love you". I want readers to assume that. It's the obvious answer – and it's a happy answer. Wouldn't it be lovely if Eleanor finally said, "I love you"?

But I can't bring myself to confirm that interpretation. Or to say anything conclusive about the postcard – beyond that I think Eleanor wrote something hopeful. Park responds hopefully. He sits up, he smiles, he feels like something with wings takes off from his chest. That sounds like hope to me.

It drives people crazy when I talk like this: as if the characters have minds of their own, and I'm just interpreting their actions based on what I've read.

I mean, I created Eleanor and Park. I should be able to tell you, concretely, what it says on the postcard.

But there's something about that moment between them...

It's the end of the book, and we're getting ready to leave the characters. Their story is about to become their own again. (If you imagine that characters keep on living after you close a book; I do.)

So we're backing away from them, and they're having an intimate moment. And it just feels wrong to read their mail.

I know! It's crazy for me to say that! We've been in their heads for 300 pages, and it's a postcard – everyone at the post office probably read it.

But in that moment, as the author – the voyeur-in-chief – it didn't feel right to read it, to share it.

The important thing to know about that postcard is that Eleanor sent it. She worked through all her fear and anxiety and insecurity, and she reached out to Park. She sent him something that made him smile and feel wings fluttering in his chest.

Readers often ask me – after they've asked about the three words – why I decided to end the book this way. Why couldn't I give Park and Eleanor a happy ending?

I think I did give them a happy ending.

I mean, I know it's not really an ending; there aren't wedding bells and sunsets. This isn't the end for these two people. It's just where we leave them.

But they're 17 years old.

I don't believe that 17-year-olds get happy endings. They get beginnings.

This is the end of this story about Eleanor and Park, but it's the beginning of something else. And I have so much hope for them."

Rainbow Rowell


If you love Rainbow Rowell and you live in the UK or Ireland, you're going to love this giveaway! I'm giving you the chance to win a signed Rainbow Rowell prize pack, including a signed copy of Eleanor and Park and matching poster, also signed. Sound good? Of course it does, so enter below. Good luck!