Reading Double: TBR & Sprint Times

It’s almost time for our readathon to start! We’ve been planning and anticipating this for weeks, so it’s so exciting to think that tomorrow it’ll actually be happening. We’re so excited to share what we’re reading with everyone!

Bee and I have finally decided on what we’re each going to read, after having a few options lined up. With the readathon starting tomorrow and all, we just had to go with our hearts! We’ve both gone for two stand alones written by the same author, which also happen to be some of each other’s favourite books.

Bee will read…
‘Beautiful Broken Things’ & ‘A Quiet Kind of Thunder’ by Sara Barnard

Maddie will read…
‘This Song Will Save Your Life’ & ‘Tonight the Streets are Ours’ by Leila Sales

The best part is that both of our pairs work out at around the same word count, so we should be able to read at the same pace. Hopefully we like them as much as the other did!

On the readathon’s Twitter (@ReadingDouble), we’ll be hosting sprints throughout the day, all set to GMT. The schedule is as follows:

SATURDAY: 10am-12pm, 2-4pm, 8-9pm

SUNDAY: 10-11am, 3-5pm, 8-10pm

We hope you can join us for some of those times over the weekend, whether or not your taking part in the readathon, if you’re reading, we’d love to cheer you on!

ReadingDouble: Readathon Announcement! (24th-25th June)

Exciting news! In just two weeks, Bee and I are going to be hosting our very first readathon! It’s called Reading Double and takes place from 24th-25th June. 

To take part, all you have to do is read two books that share of common feature, for example, the books could be written by the same author, be part of the same series or genre, or have the same colour on the cover! Below is our announcement video:

We also put together a list of duologies that would work perfectly for the readathon if you want to check that out too! Maybe it’ll inspire your TBR if you want to take part.

We’ll be running reading sprints over on Twitter (@ReadingDouble) and if you want to take part, you can share your TBRs and reading progress using the hashtag #ReadingDouble across all social media.

We’re so excited to be doing something like this for the first time ever. Readathons are one of our favourite parts of the bookish community, and we’re beyond excited to host our own! Over the 23rd-26th June, we’ll be posting daily updates here on our blog too!

 

The Opposite of You Blog Tour: Interview with Lou Morgan (and Bex & Naomi!)

34338745Very recently we read, The Opposite of You by Lou Morgan, and you can read our review here! It’s a fast-paced story about twins, running away and a very special connection. Before we chat to Lou about her debut and writing in general, we have a few  questions for Bex and Naomi about being twins. Ready for Twins Interview Twins? Let’s go!

  1. What’s your favourite shared memory?

Bex: One of the camping holidays we went on with our parents, where…
Naomi: Which one?
Bex: The really hot one. In the campsite on the beach?
Naomi: The one where you got bitten by an ant or something and your foot blew up?
Bex: No. Obviously not.
Naomi: That was my favourite one. Right up till the foot thing.

(Bee: haha! Once, when we went on holiday, Maddie’s hand got bitten by a horse fly and it blew up so it looked like a plastic glove water balloon!)

  1. Have you ever switched places?

Naomi: Yes. But I can’t tell you when, because Mum might read this.
Bex: What she said. (Sorry, Mum.)

  1. Describe each other in three words

Naomi: For Bex? Artistic, kind, funny. Sometimes.
Bex: Naomi is… brave, loyal, funny.
Naomi: Seriously?
Bex: Like you said: sometimes.

  1. What’s your favourite thing to do together?

Bex: I kind of like just… hanging out.
Naomi: Hanging out? Nobody says that. Are you Dad?
Bex: Dad says that?
Naomi: Yes.
Bex: Fine. Just being at home, watching Netflix with pizza.

  1. If you could have anyone else, alive, dead, fictional or real, as your twin for the day, who would you choose?

Naomi: Janis Joplin.
Bex: Naomi.

Okay, so, Bex was ridiculously sweet with that one, I could cry! And we have to say ditto to the Netflix and pizza thing! Now we have a couple of questions for the creator of this  pair:

  1. What inspired you to write about twins?

It actually came out of a conversation with my editor, Ruth. I’m always very interested in how human minds work and what makes us who we are: in this case, we were talking about the old theory that twins – and particularly identical twins – have some kind of ‘psychic connection’ between them. We thought it would be interesting to tell a story that explored that from both sides. Personally, I’m not sure I believe it, but it definitely makes for an exciting place to start a story…

(Bee: In case you were wondering, readers, no, Maddie and I cannot read each other’s mind, or feel each other’s pain or say what the other one is doing if we’re five hundred miles apart, or…)

  1. If you could have anyone as your twin for the day, who would you choose?

Oh, wow. That probably depends on my mood and what I was doing on any given day. Let’s say… Andrew Scott, because he’s awesome.

  1. What part of the book did you find most challenging to write?

Balancing the two different voices, and the need to show how the relationship between Bex and Naomi had changed over the years while keeping it fairly fast-paced was a bit of a juggling act. When it came to the main characters, both of them needed to have their own personalities and voices, but also had to have the kind of similarities you find in any family – not just one that includes twins – and that meant there were a couple of drafts with a lot more background detail around Bex, Naomi and their parents… but in the end we had to cut most of it because it was slowing everything down!

  1. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Read everything – and I mean everything – you can. Keep writing, and finish what you start… and don’t be afraid. Most of all, write for you. If you write because you love it – because you can’t not – then whatever happens, whether you’re sharing it with people or keeping it to yourself, submitting it to agents or sticking it in a drawer that makes you a writer. No ‘aspiring’ about it. So what are you waiting for…?

Thank you so much to Stripes Books for letting up be part of this blog tour, and thank you to Lou for answering all our questions! You can add The Opposite of You to your Gooreads by clicking the button below, look at the book on Amazon, by clicking here!

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Follow Lou on Twitter
Follow Stripes Publishing on Twitter

You can check out the previous stop on the The Opposite of You Blog Tour, hosted by maiaandalittlemoore by clicking here!

Goodbye Days Playlist Blog Tour!

31575528Today, Bee and I are lucky enough to get to celebrate one of my favourite books of the year, by one of my favourite authors ever, Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner. As part of the GD Playlist Blog Tour, Jeff has picked five songs that speak to the book in some way.

Today’s song is Avalanche by Leonard Cohen!

Jeff Says: This song is mentioned specifically in Goodbye Days. It’s not the brightest spot of realism in the book, since it’s the rare teenager in 2017 who’s going to be super into Leonard Cohen. But still. I had to include the song there and here. I couldn’t tell you exactly why this song is so emblematic of grief for me, but it is. The lyrics don’t seem to have any direct connection to grief, but that’s ok, because grief is often irrational anyway. The imagery of an avalanche is so powerful and consuming. It has no regard for what’s in front of it. Nothing can stop it. It covers you up so you can’t breathe. This is what grief feels like.

Goodbye Days is a really powerful book. It’s saturated with grief, and sometimes that’s overwhelming. Emotions are going to pour out of you whether you can help it or not. Just the concept of recreating a loved one’s favourite activities makes me want to tear up, let alone actually doing it. But, I really like the emphasis the book places on celebrating life, and sharing stories. It’s sensitive, heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time, to know that you can find friendship anywhere.

A Maddie and Bee Goodbye Day would be identical, just like us. There’d be a take-away reading list of all our favourite books, a visit to the library, a screening of our favourite Disney Channel Original Movies and Mary Kate and Ashley’s ‘Winning London’ from back in the day, with colourful wool so people can knit while they watch.

What would your Goodbye Day look like?


Jeff Zentner.jpegJeff Zentner is the author of both The Serpent King (2016) and Goodbye Days (2017) and can be found on Twitter and his website!

Be sure to check out the other spots on the tour which can be found on the graphic in the side bar!

My Top 5 Historical Couples by Sophia Bennett, author of Following Ophelia

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Hey everyone! Something very exciting for today’s post – Sophia Bennett joins us for the penultimate stop on the Following Ophelia blog tour to talk about her favourite historical couples. Romance was one of the strongest elements of the book, so we can’t wait to hear what inspired Sophia for Ophelia’s love story.

(Check out the banner on our blog to find out where Sophia’s stopping next!)


Thanks for having me, Bee and Maddie, and thank you for your review of Following Ophelia. I loved it!

It wasn’t until my seventh book, Love Song, that I wrote a proper romance. I’m interested in girls who make things or do things and they never (not even in the romance) rely on a lover to sort their lives out. But there is something wonderful about love.

I’m lucky that I ended up with my soulmate – someone I trust absolutely, and who makes me laugh every day. He also put up a light for me yesterday, but knows that I could perfectly well have put it up myself, if I didn’t happen to be gardening. He is awesome. It took a while to meet him though. We didn’t marry until I was thirty-nine.

Before that, I experienced all the ups and downs of love. I want my readers to feel the heady thrill of lust, the joy of feeling a connection – but I don’t want them to think that automatically means ‘happy ever after’. It’s usually just the start of a roller-coaster, so I wanted Mary’s experience in Following Ophelia to follow mine a little bit. She’s only just started on the journey of love. I have more to write, and she has further to travel.

It’s been fun setting her story in the 1850s, with all the complications of class, money and sex the Victorians experienced. Here are some of my favourite couples from history and legend, whom I got to know while researching various books. It’s not always easy being in love.

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  1. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert – from Following Ophelia. I’ve always loved the strong connection between Victoria and Albert. Albert is underrated, I think. He was highly intelligent, curious, and passionately supported the arts. We have his energy and support to thank for the V&A Museum, for example.

    Victoria became boring and distant after he died, but she was quite different while he was alive. (Check out Daisy Goodwin’s fantastic TV series about them if you haven’t already seen it.) If only he’d lasted longer than 1861 …

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  2. Persephone and Demeter – from Following Ophelia. I had to research this Greek legend for the book, as Mary takes on the name and inspiration of Persephone. She was a daughter of Zeus and Demeter, stolen by Hades and taken to the Underworld.

    Demeter, the goddess of the Harvest, desperately searched the world for her missing daughter. Eventually, she found her and begged for her return. But there was a catch, involving 7 pomegranate seeds … It’s a tragic story, driven by a mother’s love. I won’t spoil it if you don’t know it, but there’s nothing like a Greek legend for drama. And isn’t this statue of mother and daughter unusual and beautiful?

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  3. David Bowie and Iman – from Love Song. It can’t be denied: they look incredible together. This could have gone so wrong, the pop star and the supermodel, but as she said, she married David Jones, not David Bowie.

    They kept their relationship fairly quiet – no big Hello spreads – but I never saw them look anything less than deeply in love. He always seems so utterly entranced by her company.

    It might seem odd to have them as a historical couple, but when David died last year it felt as though a special period of history had come to an end. RIP David. We still miss you.

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  4. Sah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal – from Beads. He loved her so much he built the Taj Mahal as her monument. That says it all, really.

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  5. Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé – from Threads. Researching fashion designers as I did for the Threads series, I became fascinated that so many of them – almost all, in fact – had a brilliant business manager by their side, who was often their lover too.

    It takes a combination of creative flair, passion and cold business sense to make a fashion house work, and very few individuals have that in one package. Yves needed Pierre, and Pierre needed him. They were so lucky to find each other. If you’re a creative person, it really helps to fall in love with someone who appreciates and supports what you do!


After getting all flustered by how adorable all these couples are, you’re probably dying to read Following Ophelia, right? Check out our reviewFollowing Ophelia‘s Goodreads and find Sophia Bennett on Twitter!

Witching Hour: Meeting Laure Eve and Katharine & Elizabeth Corr!

On Halloween, the spookiest night of the year, Carys, Bee and I headed to Waterstone’s for their Witching Hour event with Laure Eve, author of The Graces and Fearsome Dreamerand Katharine & Elizabeth Corr, co-authors of The Witch’s KissThis was beyond exciting because we were all caught up with everything these authors had published, and I’m a long term fan of Fearsome Dreamer, happily placed as one of my favourite books of all time!

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So, here are some of the things that these wonderful witchy ladies had to say about their books, what influences them and why witches make such great characters!

Biggest theme of the book?

Outsider syndrome – The Graces deals a lot with outsiders and what it’s like being on the outside looking in. It’s something that so many people can relate too, because loneliness is a common human experience and the grass always looks greener on the other side, whether or not that’s the reality!

Siblings – One of the core relationships in  The Witch’s Kiss is between Merry and Leo. As Katharine and Elizabeth are sisters themselves, the bond between siblings is super important. We’re all in the same boat, wanting Leo as a brother in real life! It’s the same for The Graces, because where would that book be without the trio of witchy siblings?

Favourite witch of all time?

Jadis from The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis. Sure, she has her faults but she’s a strong leader, and who wouldn’t be seduced by hot chocolate and turkish delight?

How do you deal with relationships?

“Set them up then set them on fire.” – Laure Eve, 2k16.

Why do people love witches so much?

It’s the feminism, of course! Witches are all about strong bonds between powerful women, and that’s really attractive for girls to read about. We may not be magical, but they’re definitely role models! Also, with magical stories, there’s so much for your imagination to latch onto and weave into a story, they make such amazing reads!

How do you write your plot twists?

Corrs -They only wrote what they wanted to write. None of the twists were engineered, the plot is just where story naturally went.

Laure – Everything was engineered, so River only shows you want she wants to. The whole book is narrowed to River’s vision. Every plot twist needs to feel right, like there are enough clues so you’re not surprised by what happens!

What are your future plans for your books?

Laure –  Thought, when she was first writing it, that The Graces  would be a standalone but now there’s a sequel, from Summer’s perspective slated for September next year. The only bad thing about sequels is that you have to living up to the expectations of the first!

Corrs  – The Witch’s Tears happened so fast. They had six months to write sequel, with a lot of focused and intent to get it done. In the sequel, wizards will be explored!

 

British Books Challenge 2017

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The aim of The British Books Challenge is to read more books by British authors! Maddie and I already love UKYA and have been desperately trying to read more of in the last year, but next year we want to work even harder to power through all the books on our UK TBR! The challenge is to read as many British books in one year, they don’t have to be a certain genre or age range as long as the authors are British. The recommended amount is 12 books, just one a month, but we’re hoping to read even more!

If you want to learn more about the British Books Challenge then head on over to Chelle’s blog Tales of Yesterday where the entire thing is being hosted! There are some incredible prizes to be one, and overall it looks like it’s going to be a fantastic event!

Quite a few of the books on our TBR for this challenge are also some of our most anticipated releases of 2017, but we’ve added a few that have been sat on our shelves for what seems like ages, so let’s get to it!

  1. Forever Geek by Holly Smale
  2. Margot & Me by Juno Dawson
  3. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
  4. The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
  5. Girlhood by Cat Clarke
  6. The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  7. Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve
  8. Slated by Terri Terry
  9. We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan
  10. The Yellow Room by Jess Vallance
  11. Girl Online: On Tour by Zoe Sugg
  12. A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard