Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Blog Tour: Q&A with author of Goodnight, Boy

Today I'm a part of the Goodnight, Boy blog tour on Twitter which I'm sure lots of you have heard about on twitter or through the blogs of many book bloggers including the lovely Chelle at TalesofYesterday from Nikki Sheehan





So, what is Goodnight, Boy all about? 

The kennel has been JC’s home ever since his new adoptive father locked him inside. For hours on end, JC sits and tells his dog Boy how he came to this country: his family, the orphanage and the Haitian earthquake that swept everything away.
When his adoptive mother Melanie rescues him, life starts to feel normal again. Until JC does something bad, something that upset his new father so much that he and Boy are banished to the kennel. But as his new father gets sicker, JC realises they have to find a way out. And so begins a stunning story of a boy, a dog and their journey to freedom.

I really enjoyed this story and was really glad I picked up a copy. I'll be posting more about my thoughts next week but without further ado...


Q and A with Nikki Sheehan

1) Goodnight, Boy in itself is a very unique story about a refugee boy forced to live in a kennel. What was your inspiration in writing the story?
Friendship. I always start from the point of view of theme, and weave the story around the thread of the emotion. I’d been through a bit of a tricky time a few years ago and

it struck me then just how powerful friendship is in the face of difficulties. I suppose I could have just given JC a human mate, but friendship with a dog is of a very pure kind. Dogs love you entirely unconditionally, so it struck me as a good way to explore the relationship in an extreme setting. The pressure of the kennel bring out the worst and best in JC, but it brings out the best in the dog every time, so I suppose he’s a kind of idealised friend. I’m not sure exactly when I decided my character would be shut in the kennel, but I had certainly read about children in America who had been put in dog houses and other tiny places as punishments, and so the idea was born.

2) The writing style of Goodnight, Boy is very unique in that there's no chapters used throughout. What made you decide to write in this style and did you find any difficulties?
I hadn’t really thought about the lack of chapters until you asked this. I suppose it’s not really an issue because chapters tend to mark the passing of time, and in this book time is expansive and slow, and I show it through the physical emptiness, with big line drops, and sometimes pages with just one or two words on.

3) Why did you write in second person?
The vast majority of books are written in the first or third person, but I wanted to bring the characters closer as they’re all each other has. A long time ago I read an amazing book called The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which was in second person. I thought back to that and realised that if JC is speaking directly to Boy, he is in essence making the reader take the role of the dog (as they both listen passively) and let the reader feel like they’re within the story.

4) What was the hardest part of writing this novel and why?
Knowing when to stop tinkering with the writing. When you’re using fewer words it feels even more important to get them exactly right, and although the book looks quite chunky, it’s actually very short. Just before final edits, in a fit of madness, I began editing all of the more direct conversation with Boy so that it had an iambic rhythm because it sounds nicer. I knew that no one would ever notice, but once I started it became addictive and I couldn’t stop!

5) What did you enjoy most about writing this story?
I actually enjoyed all of it. The research around the story, and the earthquake in particular, was sometimes harrowing, but it also reminded me that kids are incredibly resilient and how they often find what they need, wherever they happen to be.

6) The voice of JC is so strong; you've captured him so well. How do you write from the perspective of a boy with such an insight? 
Thank you. I’m not sure really. I have two sons, one of whom is now JC’s age. But mostly I write from my young self, and the fact that I’m a girl doesn’t seem to matter!

7) The bond between JC and Boy (his dog) is a touching one and a much more unique one for novels. What made you write about a relationship like that?
I have two dogs, mother and daughter labradoodles, who are right next to me, hanging out during the day while I work. The bond between us is a strange thing, that almost feels magical, or telepathic at times, so I was able to mine this, and, of course, study my dogs’ behaviour really carefully to make sure I got it right. Boy is a sort of amalgamation of my dogs, but probably more like the very sensible, well behaved older one. When he’s being daft though I draw on the clownish behaviour of the younger dog. I have told them of course, that they star in my new book, but they remain unimpressed, as they prefer nature programmes on the telly.

 Well that's the end of my Q and A with Nikki Sheehan a big thanks to Cailin at RockTheBoat (OneWorld Publications Ltd) for organising the Q and A and for asking me to be a part of the #GoodNightBoyTour and to Nikki for answering all of my questions.

Goodnight, Boy is released tomorrow (6th July 2017).


Any questions/ enquiries or just a message to say hi you can comment, tweet me (@brokefrombooks) or email me at iambrokefrombooks.sophia@gmail.com

Sunday, 28 May 2017

A NEW REVIEW: Room Empty by Sarah Mussi

Hello readers!
I'll keep my introduction short. It's been a while and uni essays have stolen me away from the joy of reading (to put it very melodramatically) but I'm pleased to be back with my latest review of:

 Room Empty by Sarah Mussi.

A little background...
Sarah Mussi has written many books already but Room Empty is a bit different in exploring the story of two teenagers Dani and Fletcher who are receiving treatment for an eating disorder and Drug addiction respectively. The story is told entirely from the perspective of Dani following their decision to face their issues together. It also features the caption 'a searing novel about love on the brink, with a murder at its heart'.
If you've not already opened a new tab to find this book on Amazon based on just that background keep reading and I guarantee you will (unless of course your heading straight to your local Waterstones branch instead haha)

So now it's time to show you the beautiful cover because of course if you've ready any of my posts before particularly after the Scholastic Bloggers brunch or seen my bookstagram you'll know that I love a book cover. There's certainly nothing disappointing about this one...


In all honesty I have nothing negative to say about this book. But listing 101 amazing things about this book would be pretty tiresome and I'm not completely sure even I would read all 101. So instead in possibly the uniquest layout yet I give you an acrostic of some of the many wonderful features of Room Empty (whoever said reviews can't be interesting).

REAL INSIGHT: Sarah provided a real insight into not only the mind of Dani but also the mind of Fletcher and other characters within the story.
OPTIMISTIC: There was a tone of hope in this book that constantly shone through, despite struggle and difficulty of the characters positivity remained.
Open: This book explored the lives of Dani and Fletcher so openly that as a reader I was able to resonate and understand them.
More than just a simple story: There were so many layers to this story: Dani's recovery, Fletcher's recovery, their respective pasts and futures and then the present tense overlapping all else. I loved how intertwined they all were so carefully and well.

Enjoyable: just a plain and simple overlooked point really. I enjoyed reading this book
Multiple new words: if you're asking what on earth I'm going on about I don't blame you. But for me I love to pick up a book and find new words. 'Puerile' is definitely my new favourite haha
Page-turning intrigue: When reading the book I was eagerly reading page to page and asa reader I feel that the flow of the book was a huge contributing factor to that.
Time and place: Building on from the point before I loved how Sarah crafted a book where I could understand Dani's thoughts and mind whilst she was was having a conversation or sitting at breakfast. In other books, I've ended up re-reading pages a dozen times to try to understand but never had that issue as it flowed so well giving such insight into her internal battle.
Young love well balanced to the story: I love a romance more than most but really appreciated that the book didn't have unrealistic presentations of love. It was never suggested that love could be some magic cure to their illness and the romance was well-balanced within the story.

That's all for today. If you got this far, Thanks for reading and I hoped you all enjoyed this post (and my acrostic)!



*Note: I am not paid to review books and review purely for fun when and where possible. I own no rights to the photographs of books unless stated as my own. I received this book from the publisher to review but will only review books that I actually do enjoy, if it's not my cup of tea I just won't write about it, I don't believe in critical reviews every book has strongpoints and realistically not every book is for me.

Any questions/ enquiries or just a message to say hi you can comment, tweet me (@brokefrombooks) or email me at iambrokefrombooks.sophia@gmail.com

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Not a Review but a TBR

So.. I was really hoping I'd be reviewing my latest read but it just hasn't worked out. I have however been fortunate enough to receive a few books/ proof copies to read. So I thought I'd tell you all about some of the lovelies I've got lined up.

I have to say, in all honesty whether it's one or five I'm always so grateful to get books from people and just love to have another beautiful book waiting for me to read on my shelf (like most readers there's always a few more than we like to admit waiting to be read on our ever filled shelves but we love it really). So a big THANKYOU if you've sent me a book recently or not recently.

Anyhow,  here's three (because I love the number 3) books on my shelf that I'll be reviewing over the next few weeks...

Room Empty by Sarah Mussi

'Room Empty' tells the story of Dani and Fletcher. Both of whom have significant struggles within their life. Dani struggles with anorexia and Fletcher with drugs both are patients at Daisy Bank Rehab Centre. As both battle to face their inner demons they help face each others difficulties too.

It's described on the proof blurb as 'an intoxicating story of pain, fear and redemption' which really convinced me I have to read this book.

I read several of Rock the Boat's YA releases last year and they definitely publish fantastic books including: The Island by Olivia Levez (who will soon be releasing a new book 'The Circus' YAY!) and Dana Reinhardt's Tell Us Something True

P.s. Is the cover not just stunning?


Room Empty is published by Rock The Boat books an imprint of One World Publications on the 6th April 2017.



And Then We Ran by Katy Cannon


'And Then We Ran' tells the story of a road trip. 
At the lovely Stripes YA event last month Katy Cannon enthusiastically encouraged us into writing our own road trip story which was really enjoyable! 
I was then lucky enough to win a proof of her book too.

The story tells of Megan and Elliot who embark on a road trip. Megan is determined to pursue what she wants in life and Elliot has no plans at all.
But this isn't just any road trip it's one to get married and they'll discover much more than they ever thought.


I love the setting of a journey and am really excited to read this.


And Then We Ran is published by Stripes also on the 6th April 2017.



See How They Lie by Sue Wallman

'See How They Lie' is Sue Wallman's second book and having really enjoyed her first book (Lying About Last Summer), I was really glad when a finished copy arrived on my doorstep.

Sue's newest book tells the story of Mae who resides in a state-of the-art retreat Hummingbird Creek specially for teens with psychological problems. Those there receive help from a prominent psychiatrist none other than her own father.

Life there consists of rules and regimen and when Mae tests the boundaries responses are severe.  Mae begins to question everything about the very life she knows so well. Questions can be dangerous.


I first heard about this book at Scholastic's Blogger's brunch and it was difficult not to be excited, I love the psychiatric wellness retreat context of the book and I'm really looking forward to reading it.

See How They Lie was published by Scholastic on the 2nd March 2017.



Well that's all for now, thanks for reading,

Sophia +BrokeFromBooks 

Monday, 6 February 2017

INK by Alice Broadway Review and Q&A

I honestly don't know where to start but I think the beginning is always a good place to start.

It all begun about 3 weeks ago at Scholastic Blogger's Brunch (which you can read about here) in all honesty I just knew I was well and truly desperate to get my hands on 'ink'. And thanks to the lovely Olivia at Scholastic I managed to get my hands on it pre-release.

A little bit about INK
'ink' tells the story of Leora, set in the aftermath of her father's death. In a world where historically everyone's story is tattooed onto their skin for all to see, souls worths are judged on the very skin that illustrates their life.

When Leora discovers her father's story is unfinished and altered a heinous act with severe punishment, she begins to question the very facts she thought she knew and loved about him.

Does the truth set you free, it certainly will get under your skin!


My Thoughts
Alice is amazing. She has a craft at writing in depth a story that never falters. In the early chapters I was clinging onto every page with interest, further along with every chapter that flew by something different drew me to read on and just as I was getting comfortable with everything in the story it dove into a turn and just like Leora I had to question how well I actually knew these characters.

The setting is so carefully sculpted it was almost real. The history of Sainstone, the tradition engrained into those living their and particularly the use of such interesting stories and mythology threaded into the pages.

This book was a journey, most interestingly the journey of many characters maintaining a distinct focus on Leora, whilst giving an insight into the lives of those entangled with hers. The characters were distinct and unique to the point I felt like I knew them (in fact I'd love to get my first tattoo with Obel, I really wish he was real!).

I can't say enough how much I enjoyed this book. Alice has a real knack for writing and if her first book is anything to go by, It'd be a pleasure to read the rest of her books in the future.



A Little Q and A
I couldn't leave my review at just that so got in touch with Alice to ask her a few questions that had been on my mind. Notably just like her story, her answers don't disappoint.
1) You've created a book set in an entrancing and unique world. What was your biggest inspiration for Saintstone (the story setting) as well as its history and the idea of a world focused on tattoos and Ink books?
I grew up in this tiny market town where the buildings were old and lovely and I imagine Saintstone as a bigger version of that. I am fascinated by different cultures' death-rituals and the way we choose to remember and honour the dead (I know, that makes me sound much creepier than I actually am!). Dreaming about how the traditions of a place like Ancient Egypt might translate into our world led to the beginnings of Ink.

2) You've certainly made a mark in the YA world. What was the hardest part of writing Ink and do you feel as a debut author anything was more challenging? 
I long to be a more chilled-out and focussed person, but in reality I am cluttered and disorganised - I find being disciplined really hard and can find almost anything distracts me from writing or editing! Being a debut author is completely lovely - you have this chance to craft something and there are no expectations but I think it is really hard to maintain confidence. I was constantly thinking I'd got a book deal because people felt sorry for me and panicking that I might only have one book in me. I have been really lucky though, Scholastic have been incredibly supportive and there is a whole community of writers and readers who really look out for each other. And not many people get to do their dream job, so I am not complaining!

3) Considering the whole idea of 'Ink' I must ask do you have any tattoos and what's their significance, if not what would you get and why? 
At the moment I have a fading temporary tattoo of a golden feather - I made everyone have fake tattoos at my book launch last week! But that's it - I feel like I really want to get a tattoo but I don't know what I would choose. I'm a bit like Leora, the main character, in that respect: she's desperate to choose the perfect thing. If I did get a tattoo I might go for a realistic full-moon. I have this thing for the moon: I'm a little in love with her!

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Scholastic Bloggers Brunch and 2017 Must Have Reads

So after a slightly longer than planned break; finishing a-levels, moving house and a chaotic first term of uni BrokeFromBooks is back!

I've been thinking about my first post back a lot...

What do I say?
Should I be planning more? How do you even plan?
What if I've left it too long?
And like 1000 other questions because I'm a huge over thinker! But as Beth Garrod wisely said (and I hope I don't misquote) 'Sometimes you've just gotta write it all down and edit it later'... 'and have a piece of cake'.


So after the pleasure that was returning to my second bloggers Brunch at the lovely bookish offices of Scholastic: meeting authors, learning about the whole process of book publishing from an idea to a published book and of course being sorted at long last into my Hogwarts house by none other than Melinda Salisbury. (It's Ravenclaw by the way). I knew it was time. 


Photo of the sorting process with credit to Sally @TheDarkDictator 





I've got a few reviews up my sleeve that I'll be posting soon, but overwhelmingly I just have to share some of the amazing books I found out about.


Books you'll see appear on my shelf, probably my instagram and most importantly that I'll be reading:

I'll limit myself to three as otherwise I know I'll just list every Scholastic book being released in 2017 as they all were all so different and intriguing in a variety of ways...

Number One is...        Ink by Alice Broadway



This beauty is only the Proof Cover. 
You wouldn't think it possible but the actual finished cover is even more impressive!



This debut novel tells the story of Leora. In a world where every moment, choice and event in your life is tattooed onto your skin for all eternity. When her father dies Leonora wants his tattoos preserved into an ink book so he may be preserved and remembered forever. 
But Leonora discovers her father's ink has been edited and it isn't complete.

When everything she thought she knew about her father is put into question what will she do?

This breathtakingly new idea is brilliant I know I can't wait to get a copy myself. 

I also had the pleasant opportunity to talk to Alice and she is amazing and lovely too.

Ink is out in February 2016.



Next up is Damage by Eve Ainsworth


Listening to Eve talk, I got a feeling of genuine passion about the arguably 'tough topics' she writes about in all her books. And certainly a true and unique insight both through her career and enthusiasm.

Damage tells the story of Gabi who as a result of a secret is left feeling both isolated and alone.

Gabi turns to self-harm. 

I really think Eve's talk of how stories like this must be written reigns true. 

For a lot of people I'm sure that this will be a tough story to read and digest whether it's a subject close to home or not. 

But I think stories no matter how tough should be read and so I'll definitely be picking this up to uncover Gabi's story.

Damage is out March 2017.



Last but definitely not least is Noah Can't Even by Simon James Green




Noah Can't Even tells the story of Noah who comes from a troubled family. After his father disappears the chaos continues.

And then his best and only friend Harry kisses him.

The story tells the hectic tale of Noah's life and is both a coming of age and coming out novel.

I was literally SO impressed seeing the design process for the Scholastic covers again this year but especially the design of this one.

It's unique, out there and funny and from what I've heard all those features are largely reflective of the story.


Noah Can't Even is out May 2017.



Well that's all for now a huge Thanks to the Scholastic team, Authors and Bloggers who made yesterday so great.










*All book descriptions adapted from information provided by Scholastic, I don't own rights to any of the photos included.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

The Island by Olivia Levez Review





WOW is the first word that comes to mind. Utterly I am lost for words. I've read a lot of books but The Island has just really caught me.
So I honestly don't know how I can put this book into words besides YOU MUST READ IT!
But I'll start at the beginning...


Getting the book
The lovely Caitlin (at Rock The Boat) emailed me information about some of the new releases among them was The Island.
Now, I'll be honest: the description intrigued me (see below), the cover art looked really cool, but I was slightly hesitant in that my only island book/movie experience was Life of Pi which was rather disappointing (certainly not my cup of tea).
However the cover art also revealed a really thought provoking slogan, 'All is not lost... but some things are hard to find' which really stuck with me.
The Description: 
Frances is alone on a small island in the middle of the Indian ocean. She has to find food and water. She has to survive. And when she is there she also thinks about the past. The things that she did before. The things that made her a monster. Nothing is easy.  Survival is hard and so is being honest about the past. Frances is a survivor however and with the help of the only other crash survivor she sees that the future is worth fighting for.

So I thought I'd try the book and decide for myself.
I was extremely lucky enough to get a final copy before it was out. (big thanks to the Rock The Boat Team! and a huge Happy Belated Book Birthday Olivia!)

so now onto the best part... The Island Review (spoiler free)

The Story/Narrative
The story is well and truly Fran's story. I really appreciated that Olivia kept Fran at the centre of the story yet intertwined the lives of others carefully into the story. The other survivor (who shall remain nameless) had their story told without the narrative completely shifting from Fran, similarly the life of Fran's family were carefully revealed maintaining Fran's viewpoint. Additionally I loved the way the story was told through relevant headings. To name a few there were:

  • Flying Fish and Torture Chairs
  • I wish 
  • Dear Whoever and
  • Do Dreams Have Wet Noses?

These divided the narrative into tiny little chapters revealing the past and present life of Fran. I really liked that I could identify with the heading as I read on. -They were short enough you could take a break at lots of points but the story was so intriguing you'll want to read on!
There was also a really unique voice of Fran throughout: her way of listing, her tone, her thoughts, etc which I really enjoyed!
ALSO... I nearly forgot to mention that I love how Olivia built relationships between characters without following the typical they must fall in love and live happily ever after template I really thought that was unique.

Fran
There were times where I questioned myself, but overall I loved Fran. Yes she is sarcastic, a bit reckless and at times bitterly mean. However, her personality is so vibrant that I found it very difficult to dislike her. She's a character built of many layers and experiences who ultimately just wants to be happy and I feel it's certainly very difficult to dislike her for that.

Lastly The Ending
Just like with Fran as much as I want to hate the ending I can't. The story literally has the biggest cliffhanger and the annoying thing is it works really well. Overall it was a great place to finish but I do wish I could know more as always. This was definitely a story I didn't want to end.

Summary
Reading this book was engaging and was definitely a journey with Fran; learning and understanding her life. The book was beautifully written and so accurate I felt like I was also on the island trying to survive learning new things with every page.
I'm really glad I chose to read this book and certainly can't wait to read Olivia's new book next year!

Thanks for reading my review, see you soon! (Sending bookish magic with this unique GIF!)

book disney books


Friday, 26 February 2016

Illumicrate Review

Well... It's been put off for a good week due to my very chaotic Half Term but I'm finally pleased to be reviewing illumicrate!

Advance warning this will contain spoilers (I'll be going through everything in the box, but I've added warnings further down)

So a few short facts about illumicrate if you're haven't already heard about it:
~illumicrate is the UK's first ever YA subscription box.
~boxes are delivered quarterly (three months apart).
~boxes contain a book (so far they've all had signed bookplates)...
~and exclusive bookish items.
~and the genius behind the idea is Daphne behind @WingedReviews

My Thoughts (Spoiler Free):
I was really impressed with this Quarters box the book is intriguing and I love that it has a signed bookplate!
I really like that the items are exclusive and if those listed below I think all but one are completely exclusive.
Daphne is really organised: not only has she managed to create lovely exclusive bookish boxes for the masses of book lovers out there, but she's still customer centred. I had a slight problem with my Box and she was really quick to get in contact to help sort it out, which I really appreciated. 
I feel like illumicrate is definitely something people should try as a UK book lover its: new, exciting and such a nice trimonthly present to arrive at your door.




*SPOILER ALERT*

Inside the Box:

1) Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (with signed Bookplate)
I really like that the books selected so far have included signed bookplates and aren't books I would normally buy. To elaborate that's more because I am naturally quite particular in my book buying genre, but I love that I'm introduced to new books diversifying my reading.

2) Bookshelf Pencilcase by Elena Illustration *EXCLUSIVE*
LOVE IT! I'm pretty sure this was one of the first things I saw in the box and it's just super! It also looks really well made with a good strong zip so it should last.

3) Loveboat Magnetic Bookmark Set *EXCLUSIVE*
I've been admiring magnetic bookmarks on etsy for realistically much too long so I was really pleased to find some in my box!

4) A Darker Scent of Magic Candle *EXCLUSIVE*
Things I love besides Pop Vinyls and Netflix: books and candles. Well combining two in one and with such an amazing smell sold me completely. I only wish it could be bigger!

5) Book Quote Pencils *EXCLUSIVE*
I had a problem with one that Daphne was quick to respond to. Ignoring that, Overall the quotes and colours were lovely. I do love quote pencils so was pleased to see they were a feature of the box.

6) Threadsisters Bookmark  by Daydreaming Designs *EXCLUSIVE*
I'll be honest this bookmark was so coordinated with the book I presumed it was made by the publisher so great job!

7) Added goodies:The It Girl bookmark and tote & The Dark Days Club badges and bookmark
Added goodies are always an added bonus. I adore book totes so that was a particular favourite.

So that's the box. I'd definitely recommend it if that wasn't already apparent, and I'll definitely be waiting by the front door eagerly for next quarter's box!

Note: the lack of pictures was due to my not so cooperative technology this week, but I'll be posting lots of photos on Instagram and hopefully adding some too. (@brokefrombooks)

I'll see you next week for my review of The Island by Olivia Levez, until then HAPPY READING!