Friday, 18 August 2017

Review of SEED by Lisa Heathfield

Today's review is of the lovely Seed which I was so excited to post about that I accidentally deleted it instead of posting it. 

A little About Seed

Seed loves you. Seed will never let you go.

Fifteen-year-old Pearl has lived her whole life protected within the small community at Seed, where they worship Nature and idolise their leader, Papa S. When some outsiders arrive, everything changes. Pearl experiences feelings that she never knew existed and begins to realise that there is darkness at the heart of Seed. A darkness from which she must escape, before it's too late.

A condensed summary of my thoughts

Wow. That's the first word I knew I'd have to begin with  when I finished the book because Seed is amazing. Amazing doesn't even do it just but immediately after turning the last page I just in awe. 

This book captivated me and touched my heart in so many ways. I want to cry I want to smile because Seed is a beautifully written, heartbreaking, saddening story told so so well. 

Lisa's craft for writing was extraordinary not only telling Pearl's story based on the only world she knows, but giving a wealth of insight into the life of those at Seed and life in a cult. I also really liked the narrative style and the use of an alternate POV. 

I got this lovely book at Michelle's YALC Blogging Panel many moons and far too long ago but I'm so glad i finally read it because it truly is an amazing heartbreaking honest story. Michelle told me I'd love it and she was so very right. 

Have you read Seed? What did you think? 
Comment below or tweet me @brokefrombooks 

Monday, 24 July 2017

FIRST EVER GUEST POST with author Mary Bello, A Change is Gonna Come

I am SO SO SO EXCITED for today's post, my very first Guest Post and the first stop of the #CHANGEBOOK Blog Tour!

Today's post is from a Brand New Author Mary Bello who's story 'Dear Asha' is a part of Stripes' 'A Change Is Gonna Come' book which is released on the 10th August 2017. 

I've been so excited for this entire anthology since the moment I heard about it at Stripes' blogger event.

So without further ado here is Mary's post all about her exciting journey from journalist to published short story author, why she was so keen and proud to be involved and more...

For the last few years I've been a stay-at-home mum taking care of my three-year old angel, Lalita. Before becoming a full-time Mummy I'd worked as an entertainment journalist but in my heart, I'd always held a desire to write stories and poetry. I'm so passionate about books - the transportive nature, how they can make you feel something otherworldly leaving an indelible mark on your soul. So this year, with my beautiful mini-me ensconced in nursery, I decided to focus on creative writing.
When I saw the call for open submissions from Stripes something just felt right about submitting a short story.

With the anthology's theme of change in mind I set about crafting a story close to my heart. A huge change happened in my life a few years ago when I lost my mother therefore the concept of change or more precisely loss and how it can rock you to your core, felt like the right underpinning for my story. Through my experience of loss I could empathise and understand the journey that my main character would go through. My story 'Dear Asha' gives you a snapshot into the life of a 17-year-old girl whose mother has just died.

The first time I held a copy of A Change Is Gonna Come in my hands I was overwhelmed. It's a blessing to see something you've written published. And I love what the book stands for – a real representation of the wonderful wealth of stories BAME writers have to offer.

Making the transition from journalist to creative writer has been both a daunting yet exciting journey so far. It's great being able to really free your mind and see your ideas come to life. Plus I love the freedom of working from wherever I fancy (hello sweet little café in the park or better still bed). You definitely need to be disciplined as you are fully in charge of your daily structure, deadlines etc. You have to fit it in around your other commitments, which can be tricky at times, but writing brings me so much joy.

In creating poetry and stories, you are truly putting your heart and soul on a plate for the world to see. You make yourself vulnerable, sharing with people the intimate way in which you view the world and your emotions but in doing so you can connect and give something truly magical to the reader. So many great authors have done this for me and I'd love for my writing to do the same to others.

A little bit more about Mary...

Mary Florence Bello was born in north London to Nigerian parents and grew up on a diet of tales from Yoruba culture. She studied law and worked in finance before embarking on a career as a journalist.

You can Pre-order A Change is Gonna Come here on Amazon or go to your local book store on or after August 10th.

A big thanks to Charlie Morris at Stripes Publishing for having me as part of this blog tour. But this is only the start! There's lots more exciting stops on the #CHANGEBOOK Blog Tour so be sure to keep following to hear from more authors, read reviews and much more.

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

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

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.