Hello everybody! Today, I’m thrilled to be sharing a guest post from Kim Curran, author of the fantastic Slay books, about her playlist for the book as today’s stop on the blog tour for her new release Slay: On Tour! Onto the post!
Hello everybody! Today, I have a fabulous guest post from Karen McCombie to share, as part of the blog tour for her latest wonderful book Little Bird Flies. Onto the post!
Once upon a time, there was a young girl who lived high up in a tower…
Okay, so the young girl was me (you guessed that right away, didn’t you?), and as for the tower, I lived on the 15th floor of a high-rise block, slap-bang in the centre of Aberdeen, Scotland. I loved to perch on my windowsill (inside!), wondering at the outside world – especially focussing on the historic buildings I could see dotted around the patchwork centre of the city. I’d wonder about the all the people who’d lived there in decades and centuries gone by and what their version of the city might have looked like… And if I wasn’t daydreaming out of the window, I’d be lost in the world of my books, almost always borrowed from the huge, Victorian central library just across the road from my block of flats.
But once in a while, my parents would take me to a bookshop where I was allowed the rare treat of actually buying a book (they were both passionate library users). I still have those beloved books now, and it wasn’t until I tidied them up on the shelves of my office recently that I realised they ALL have an historic theme…
So maybe it’s no surprise that – after years or writing mostly contemporary books – I’ve written a historic novel, set in Scotland. It might not be my part of Scotland (a bustling city) but it’s certainly the Scotland of childhood holidays, where my family would drive around visiting the lochs and mountains and castles practically on our doorstep, or further afield in the Highlands.
And so the story of Bridie – known as Little Bird to her best friend – has been brewing for the longest time. It’s set on a small island off the west coast, with mainland Scotland to the right and the endless expanse of the Atlantic Ocean to the left. Bridie is feisty and full of dreams she thinks will never come true, because she’s poor, because she’s a girl. But as new people arrive on the island, things start to change; some for the better, with unexpected friendships blossoming, and some for the worse, as danger and cruelty begin to take their toll.
The backdrop to the adventure of ‘Little Bird Flies’ is the Highland Clearances, a part of Scotland’s history that’s little known outside of the country. Having the rumbling threat of this real episode certainly ramped up the drama of Bridie’s predicament, and made it so absorbing to write. And now ‘Little Bird Flies’ is out in the world, I hope it finds a few readers who’ll enjoy reading Bridie’s story as much as I loved writing it!
‘Little Bird Flies’ by Karen McCombie is out now (Nosy Crow) and if you’d like to read about all the reasons why I adored, you can find them here.
Is Little Bird Flies on your TBR? Have you already read it? What are your favourite historical books? I‘d love to hear in the comments!
Hello everybody! Today, I’m really excited to share a guest post from Lucy Strange, the author of Our Castle By the Sea, which I read and really enjoyed in December (as you’ll know if you read my December reviews post yesterday!). Onto the post!
Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Theatrical, which I really enjoyed last month, by talking about some of the plays/musicals I’d most like to see one day. I also have a list of recommendations of plays that author Maggie Harcourt loved whilst she was working on the book. Onto the post!
Today, I’m really excited to be hosting a guest post from Claire Fayers, about what the 17th century newspapers may have looked like had magic existed as part of her blog tour for Mirror Magic (which I really enjoyed earlier this month, and shall be reviewing come my June Reviews post!)
Over to Claire!
Today, I’m really excited to be on the blog tour for Anne Booth’s new book Across the Divide, and to share a guest post from Anne, about how we can learn empathy from fiction. Over to Anne!
‘We have more in common’
I love twitter. When I felt lonely and isolated as a carer for elderly parents, twitter was a safe place where I could meet lovely people – writers, illustrators, librarians, teachers, booksellers, publishers, agents – who shared my enthusiasm and passion for children’s books and illustrations. Later, through someone I chatted to about children’s books on twitter, it led to me being published, and getting my wonderful agent. Things I read on twitter every day inspire and inform me and give me ideas for new books. I find it a great ongoing source of support and information and entertainment.
But it has its dark side. When I move away from the world of children’s writing and start reading political tweets, things get much more polarised and divisive and depressing. In the children’s book world, we tend to genuinely behave as if, as Jo Cox said, ‘we have more in common than what divides us’. Because politics is so much more adversarial, nobody seems to feel safe to acknowledge the good in their political opponents, or any badness in their own party. There are so many smears and so much selective reporting, so much finger pointing and generalisations and confusion and unspoken agendas. It is so hard to get to the truth, and yet it is presented as easy to find. If you state a political or religious opinion online you run the risk of being put in a box, and also being seen as someone who puts others in boxes. It doesn’t seem to be acceptable to ask questions about things you don’t understand or change your mind about things, in other words, get educated. There is little forgiveness or giving people the benefit of the doubt or understanding that there is good and bad in everyone. This is not healthy, and against the whole spirit of education and debate, and this approach is also poisoning the world outside twitter in which our children are growing up.
In researching the world of Britain at the time of WW1 I found the same poisonous polarisation. I found, for example, that genuinely brave Emily Pankhurst was, horribly, an enthusiastic giver out of white feathers to men she considered cowards for not going to war, and she and others did not recognise their bravery. I read of families divided, smears and lies and wilfully hateful interpretations of good people’s motives.
Stories can be an antidote to this poison. In the fictional world we have the time and the safe space to explore ambiguities and mixed motives, to let people make mistakes and change opinions. In the fictional world cowards can do brave things, enemies can become friends. We can become educated and learn to empathise – we can be uncertain without being screamed at. We can learn, through fiction, how history informs our present, and I hope that ACROSS THE DIVIDE takes the reader to a beautiful place to explore difficult ideas in safety.
ACROSS THE DIVIDE by Anne Booth is out now in paperback (£6.99, Catnip Publishing). Follow Anne Booth @Bridgeanne and Catnip @catnipbooks for more information
Have you read Across the Divide? Do you plan to add it to your TBR? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!
Today, I’m super excited to be on the blog tour for Katy Cannons new book How to Write a Love Story, which I really enjoyed, as you’ll know already if you read my latest monthly reviews post a few days ago! Onto Katy’s post, all about her top 5 romance books!
I love reading romance every bit as much as I love writing it. Narrowing down my favourites to just five is almost impossible, but here a few titles that always pop into my head when someone says ‘romance’.
1. Pride and Prejudice: Jane Austen was one of the first great romance writers (if you ignore the Greeks) and for my money, P&P is one of the best romances ever written. It has everything I love – a hero and heroine working towards understanding each other, a great supporting cast, and a blissfully happy ending. (Plus some fantastic one-liners!) That’s why it actually features in How To Write A Love Story at quite a pivotal moment!
2. Fangirl: Rainbow Rowell has that uncanny ability to make me feel eighteen again, exactly as it felt the first time around. I loved this book so much, mostly because I felt like I might have lived it, rather than just read it.
3. In The Hand of the Goddess: Tamora Pierce is famous for her fantasy YA novels, of which this is one of the best. I couldn’t begin to claim that romance is the main focus of this book, but there’s definitely enough romantic scenes for me to count it! More importantly, this was the first book I read as a teenager where I realized that however great the plot, what interested me most in books was the characters, and the friendships, relationships and romances they experienced with others. (Plus I had a total book crush on Prince Jon.)
4. Saint Anything: Sarah Dessen is a writer who draws me into the worlds and families she creates, until by the last page I’m devastated to have to leave them. She also writes incredible teen romances – true and heartbreaking and hopeful. I love all her books, but I think this is my favourite.
5. Shadow of the Moon: M M Kaye wrote sweeping historical fiction with romance at its heart, set in India and Zanzibar. She also wrote fantastic short crime novels (with a romantic subplot) set in many of the countries she’d lived in or visited, set during the forties and fifties. What I love about her books is the period details and political background she includes – as well as the drama and the romance! I was hard pressed to pick a favourite, and almost went for her most famous novel, The Far Pavilions, but Captain Alex Randall from Shadow of the Moon will always hold my bookish heart.
Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite romance books? Do you agree with any of Katy’s choices? I’d love to hear from you in the comments or on Twitter @GoldenBooksGirl!