Sunkissed Book Review 

  Title: Sunkissed

Author: Jenny McLachlan

He watches me with his dark eyes. I take a deep breath,then I shut my eyes and I jump’

Kat can’t believe she’s been banished to Sweden for the summer! How will she survive without her friends,or even a phone signal?

But once in the land of saunas,nudity and summer sun Kat soon realises its not just about boys,what she’s wearing or how straight her hair is. It’s time to embrace who she really is,underneath what people expect her to be. 

Can Kat find her own way to shine?’

Although originally not on my summer reading list,the lovely people at Bloomsbury sent me a copy of Sunkissed to review for site Maximum Pop. 

Having never read any books by Jenny before I was excited to discover a new author. I was gripped from the first page which is important to me when reading a book. I quickly found myself drawn to the main character of Kat and really enjoyed reading her story. 

These days it seems we are incapable of being off our phones for less than five minutes(I am definately guilty of this) so I could most definately relate to Kat’s situation when she was told she was being sent to Sweden for a month without phone service. 

I loved Jenny’s writing and how relatable and strong the characters are within the book. Particularly those of Kat and Pearl. We all have that friend who isn’t afraid to say something,regardless of the consequences and I love how that was portrayed within the character of Pearl. 

I really enjoyed this book and would definately recommend it. I look forward to reading her others. 

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All the Bright Places Book Review

  
     
Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven

“Theodore Finch wants to take his own life. I’m broken,and no one can fix it.

Violet Markey is devastated by her sisters death. In that instant we went plowing through the guardrail,my words died too.

They meet on the ledge of the school bell tower,and so their story begins. It’s only together they can be themselves. 

I send a message to Violet: You are all the colours in one,at full brightness.

You’re so weird,Finch. But that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me. 

But,as Violet’s world grows,Finch’s begins to shrink. How far will Violet go to save the boy she has come to love?”

I don’t know where to begin with this review because I’m still reeling from this one.

What a beautiful, heartfelt, funny, lovely, sad masterpiece. This book will hit you right in the heart. It’s perfect in every way. 

You’ll root for Finch and Violet to overcome their problems and get through it together. Although I don’t suffer with mental illness myself I agree when people have said its one of the best books that raises awareness of such a serious issue. 

It’s one of those books not only that you’ll enjoy,but one of those that will make you think and learn something.

Room at the Top Book Review 

Title: Room at the Top

Author: John Braine   
  

“I was a devil of a fellow,I was the lover of a married woman,I was taking out the daughter of one of the richest men in Warley,there wasn’t a damn thing I couldn’t do.

“The ruthlessly ambitious Joe Lampton rises swiftly from the petty bureaucracy of local government into the unfamiliar world of inherited wealth,fast cars and glamorous women. But the price of success is high and betrayal and tragedy strikes as Joe Lampton pursues his goals”

I downloaded the two part series based on this book about a month ago and loved it. So much so that I’ve watched it five more times since. 

When I found out it was based on a book I seeked it out,finding it on eBay for 75p. Bargain. 

Having watched the TV series first,I had a general idea of how the characters looked and sounded in my head. 

Room at the Top takes you on a whirlwind of a journey from Joe’s time when he lived in the rundown town of Dufton to his new life at the top in Warely. Ideally he’s a ladies man,constantly flirting with every woman he’s sees. 

When he joins the Warley players,a theatre group he meets and becomes smitten with Susan Brown,a young woman who has grown up in wealth. 

Whilst trying to pursue her,Joe also becomes friends and ends up having an affair with Alice Aisgill,an older married women. 

Throughout the book you’ll begin to feel for Joe in his relationships. On one hand there’s Alice,a woman he loves,one who would look after him and love him fully. Then on the other hand there’s Susan,a young girl who enjoys the ballet and loves Joe with all her heart. But Joe is torn between being able to be with Alice and have his reputation taken away or a wealthy life and a job he’s happy with if he married Susan. 

What I loved about this book was the way Braine set out the backstory of each character. How it took me this long to read I’ve no idea. 

I would definitely recommend this book if you’re a fan of books set in the 1950s. 

Summer Reading List 📚

  
Every summer I like to set myself a challenge of books I want to read. Having already been on summer for a few months I’ve read 8 books in that time. Here’s my next 8 to be read by the time September roles round.

The Railway ChildrenE Nesbit

All the Bright PlacesJennifer Niven 

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the NightimeMark Haddon

The Girl at the Lion dOrSebastian Faulks

The Book ThiefMarkus Zusak

Suite FrancaiseIrene Nemirovsky

The Soundtrack to my LifeDermot O Leary

What A Girl WantsLindsey Kelk

Have you read any of the books above? If so I’d love to know what you thought of them. 

What books are on your summer reading list? 

Lindsey Kelk:Always the Bridesmaid Book Signing

Waterstones West Quay,Southampton


It’s very rare that one of my favourite authors comes to my home town. So when I found out that Lindsey Kelk was coming to Southampton I jumped at the chance to go and meet her.

I never go to things that involve waiting around on my own. But as this was in Southampton and in West Quay Waterstones I decided to go on my own.

Arriving at 10.30 as I didn’t know if it was going to be busy,I purchased her new book,Always the Bridesmaid and went and sat down in one of the comfy chairs at the back of the shop to read it whilst I waited.

I got to chapter 4 before I went back to where the queue had begun to form and got in line,continuing to read whilst I waited to meet one of my writing heroes.

It’s always a nervous experience waiting in line for something like this. Well I think it is anyway. All sorts of questions go through your head as you figure out what you want to say. Then when you actually get to the front of the queue and its your turn everything you planned to say goes out of your head.

I did manage to tell her I was enjoying the book so far and we had a chat about her writing process and how weird it was to see her name in a bookshop. She then said that if she could write a book and see it in Waterstones,I most certainly can too.

Hearing this gave me a bit more confidence in my writing and hope that I too will one day see my name on a book.

Big thanks to Lindsey Kelk for being so lovely.


All About Ali

 

 

As we patiently await the new book in the Notting Hill series, Emily Pontin discovers more about the inner workings of Cambridgeshire author Ali McNamara.

 

It seemed impossible for me to be able to travel up to Cambridgeshire to talk to Ali McNamara in person, so email seemed like the best option so she could reply when she had a break from writing her new novel.

 

Ali was originally a fitness instructor before she turned to writing which she would never have considered as a career if she hadn’t started writing on the Ronan Keating forum back in 2010. “When I wrote my stories on the forum, I had no thought at all of becoming a full time author. It was complete chance. I definitely believe my very active imagination comes from being an only child, and this helps greatly but the Ronan Keating forum was where I first realised that people actually enjoyed the stories I was writing” Ali explains.

 

The author she feels most inspired her writing was Enid Blyton, “I think she most inspired me as a child. I loved her Famous Five, Secret 7 and the boarding school books which were Malory Towers and St Claire’s. I used to read all of her books growing up.”

 

So far Ali`s imagination has given us four best selling novels. The much loved `From Notting Hill with Love Actually` a story that follows movie lover Scarlett as she gets the chance to house sit at one of her favourite film locations, Notting Hill which Closer Magazine described as `an endearing, romantic and fun read for chic lit and romcom fans`.

 

“It was actually the third novel I had written, but the first that was published. I had a LOT of rejections before my literary agent, Hannah Ferguson took me on at The Marsh Agency in London, and then we had to wait another whole year before we found a publisher that was interested in the story.

 

Ideas come from everywhere and anywhere. I’m always getting them! I never thought about From Notting Hill with Love Actually being a series when I wrote the first one”. Ali explains. “It was just an idea I had about writing a story about a girl that loved the movies so much she wanted her life to be like one. But it was so popular that I decided to write a sequel, and now a third book will be published later this year continuing Scarlett’s tale.”

 

`Breakfast at Darcy’s` came next, which tells the story of Darcy McCall who inherits Tara, a small island located off the west coast of Ireland after her Aunt Molly passes away. “I was on holiday with my husband in Ireland, and we visited a remote island called Great Blasket on the West Coast. The idea came from a discussion we had about how easy/difficult it would be to live on an island such as that. Of all my books I think Breakfast at Darcy’s is the one that people have told me they love the most. I don’t know if it’s the characters or the setting, its set on a remote desert island in the west coast of Ireland that sparks peoples interest, but I would think overall that’s the book that gets the most positive reaction and that’s not just in the UK, but worldwide, it’s been a very popular book.”

 

A much loved sequel to `From Notting Hill with Love Actually`, `From Notting Hill to New York Actually` followed, which continued Scarlett and Sean’s tale, two characters Ali says are “Completely made up! Although I did base two characters on real people in the sequel” she admits.

 

Ali`s latest novel, Step Back in Time follows the character of JoJo as she gets hit by a car on a zebra crossing and goes back in time to the 70s, 80s and 90s. Where did the idea for this great book come from? “Step Back in Time was a book I think ive always wanted to write. I love time travel novels and I love time travel TV programmes and films. Ive always had a fascination with them, so I always wanted to write my own time travel story, so that’s where Step Back in Time came from. It was mainly just because I always wanted to write a time travel book really, but make it a fun book, nothing too scifi about it. It was like a normal girls love story but set through four different decades.”

 

Ali lives in Cambridgeshire with her husband, two children and two dogs. Living in such a beautiful city such as Cambridge, has Ali ever considered setting a novel here? “Yeah I would love to set a book here, if a story came up that was suitable to be set here then id love to. It would mean a lot less research that I usually have to do for my books if I set one where I live so that would be fab if I could do that in the future.”

 

A Richard Curtis Love Affair:

 

`From Notting Hill to New York Actually`, the second in the From Notting Hill series ended with Sean asking Scarlett to marry him in their flat in Notting Hill. But what’s next in store for the couple when the third book in the From Notting Hill series, From Notting Hill with Four Weddings Actually is released at the end of this year? “It’s partly set in London, partly in New York. There are some characters you’ll know from the previous books and some new ones too. I’ve also written my most evil character ever, which was great fun. Although Scarlett doesn’t think so! I wanted the third book in the Notting Hill series to show Scarlett growing up a little bit. She’s still that fun person that enjoys films and daydreams her life but I wanted her to realise a bit more about the reality and the world and understand a bit more about of what goes on behind the scenes in the media industry. In this book there’s lots of fun and she still gets up to a lot of mischief, as she always does, but there’s a slightly more serious tone and I think Scarlett wakes up a bit to the world in this book”

 

So what’s next after From Notting Hill… with Four Weddings Actually? “I’m just starting to write my next book for 2015. This story is set in Cornwall, and has a big mystery to solve, to mix in with the usual rom-com theme.”

 

An Education

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‘An Education’

Hey guys,

Woah,I’m really slacking in the blog updates recently,aren’t I? Apologies for that. During my time of non blogging I’ve written two more posts for film and tv now which you can check out below.

http://www.filmandtvnow.com/tumble-the-tv-review/

http://www.filmandtvnow.com/the-great-war-the-peoples-stories-tv-review/

In last weeks blog post I mentioned that I was going to start book blog posts. That begins today with ‘An Education’ by Lynn Barber later on in this post.

First,I’d thought I’d give you an update of what’s been going on. Not a lot exciting to be honest but I’ll tell you anyway.

The week began with baking,afternoon tea and a trip to the beach, and ended with shopping(buying more books) and working on the fanzine which included getting interviews with a couple of the cast of Action to the Words Dracula which I hope to receive back soon.

I’m constantly checking my emails to see if I’ve heard back about the writing competitions I entered,so far nothing, but I’m not loosing hope.

I paid my deposit for my uni trip which means in January IM GOING TO NEW YORK!!! I’m not one to use capitals but this is very exciting!

Anyway enough of the excitement and on to the reason for this post. A few thoughts on ‘An Education’.

I love the film a lot(it’s the film I quite often put on to fall asleep to) so I was very excited to find the book for a bargain of £1.99 at The Works.

For those who don’t know, the film An Education follows the life of Jenny Mellor a sixteen year old schoolgirl in the 1960s who is studying to attend Oxford university. Her life is changed completely when she meets and begins a relationship with David,an older man who introduces her to a different world,a grown up world where she gets to eat at posh restaurants,go to concerts and take trips to Paris.

The book by Lynn Barber incidentally carries on from the film and is Lynn’s autiobiography. The film just included a few name changes including her own(changed to Jenny) and Simon who she had the relationship with(changed to David,which was actually her husbands name).

It was a very interesting read,both in general and from the perspective of an aspiring journalist. I also found out that Lynn’s husband,David taught one of my uni lecturers. Small word huh?

After covering the initial plot of the film it followed on through her time at Oxford to getting various jobs magazine Penthouse and newspapers including The Sunday Express and The Independent as well as getting married to David,having her two children whilst having to juggle and looking after David when he was diagnosed with cancer.

Lynn Barber seems like a very interesting person and I was very glad I got to read An Education.

I think the most important lesson I took away from the book was that when Lynn went to Oxford she realised that although Simon was no longer part of her life when she went to oxford,she realised how much of An Education and life experience he had given her which helped shape her life and who she was as a person.

Incidentally through going to uni I’ve realised who has shaped my life for the better and I’m happy to say that I’m generally pleased with how my life is at the moment. I’m looking forward to my second year of uni and having lots more fun doing the things I love.

On a work and studying note,from the book I took the lesson to always keep in contact with everyone as you never know who may be there to offer you a job in the future.

At the end of first year,we were told to start thinking about freelancing our articles. So,by the end of second year,my goal is to have began to start freelancing my articles to find lot what it’s like to actually get paid for something I enjoy doing.

For now though,I’m going to enjoy my last few weeks of summer reading and writing until my hearts content.

I’ve currently got two more books on the go so look out for those posts soon. I promise I’ll try and get back into the blogging more.

For now though,enjoy the rest of your week and I’ll be back with a post hopefully before next week.

I won tickets to see Denise Van Outen in her one woman show,Some Girl I Used to Know in London on Saturday and then Sunday I’m spending the day with my friends in oxford street to celebrate my friends birthday. Double London weekend. Don’t mind if I do.

That’s it for now.

Enjoy the rest of your week.

E ❤️