Book Spotlight | Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

Jandy Nelson meets Friday Night Lights: a sweeping story about love and family from an exceptional new voice in YA. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing’s speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants.

wing jones

Oh, Wing Jones. For months you sat on my bookshelf, a purchase from the Edinburgh Book Festival, a signed copy I fell upon the same way I did my first bowl of mashed potatoes when I had norovirus.

I can’t believe I had solid gold sitting in my living room since last summer.

I don’t throw the word “perfect” around a lot, but as someone who’s an aspiring YA author, when I eventually manage to string enough words together to constitute a book, god I hope it’s even half as good as Wing Jones. It’s perfect. It’s got everything: romance, drama, an overcoming the odds story, loveable characters from all walks of life. Wing has to overcome adversity on a phenomenal scale, whether it’s the tragedy that strikes her family or her own personal tribulations, and she does it in such a very human very that turns into something else entirely. You feel Wing’s exhilaration in every single line on every page.

It’s a story about finding who you are and what you love and how it can free you, and I wish I’d had it when I was in school. This should find its way into the hands of every young person.

Plus Wing’s grandparents are my favourite and I would windmill slam money down for a book where they go on adventures with each other.

Rating: *****

Music Spotlight | Grimes – Belly of the Beat

I was introduced to Grimes during the Jukebox Game in the car on the way to GP Liverpool last year. The Jukebox Game is how I like to handle the music choices on long road trips with multiple car occupants: everyone takes a turn picking a song and I man the Spotify account. Dave asked for Belly of the Beat, and I was HOOKED.

I love Grimes’ voice and how she can go from cute to aggressive to plain weird in the space of one song, but Belly of the Beat is ethereal and floaty sounding and a hard shot through my veins speaking right to my soul at the same time.

“And you never get sad, and you never get sick, and you never feel weak…”

Drop into my comments and let’s talk about Art Angels pls.

Sunshine Blogger Award!

Hooray! I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Malanie @ Malanie Loves Fiction. Thanks Malanie! (And sorry it’s taken me approx. 78 years to do this, I’ve been dying on the couch.)



  • Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or on your blog.

Malanie’s Questions

Name the first book that comes to mind GO

Solitaire by Alice Oseman. It’s the first one in my eye level when I look up!

What’s your favorite TV show of all time?

Doctor Who. It jumped the shark in a BIG way when Stephen Moffat took over but let’s talk about series one through four for a second. Or all day. Whichever you prefer.

Who is your favorite author?

JK Rowling, Laurie Halse Anderson, Alison Croggon.

Do you read ARCs? Favorite ARC you’ve ever received?

I don’t, but I’ve signed up to Netgalley – and then promptly fell ill, so now that I feel like a human again I’m going to actually look into it.

3 book characters who are most like you


  • Hermione Granger – likes learning stuff, spends a lot of her time exasperated with her friends, has a cat.
  • Mia in the Princess Diaries series, because she was the most relatable character I’ve ever found for high school me.
  • Steffi in A Quiet Kind of Thunder, because while I wasn’t COMPLETELY mute in school, I certainly didn’t talk an awful lot until I got to probably my final year. Anxiety, yo.

Favorite animal?

Giraffes. They’re tall and goofy looking. Relatable.

Favorite book character?

Probably Cadvan from the Pellinor series.

Which book do you wish you could forget so you could reread it for the first time again?

The Gift by Alison Croggon. Honestly by this point I’ve likely hyped it up so much that anyone else picking these books up will be like “what is this girl on”.

Favorite book as a child?

I grew up with Harry Potter. The first book came out when I was seven, so I can barely remember what my favourite was before Harry!

Book you wish would be turned into a movie or TV show

The Pellinor series by Alison Croggon…but I know that I have such high expectations that it would have to be almost unrealistically good.

Book you’re really really looking forward to in 2018

Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, On The Come Up by Angie Thomas.

My questions:

  1. What’s the best present you’ve ever received?
  2. What song are you listening to right now? (Or what was the last song you listened to?)
  3. What’s your favourite quote from a book ever?
  4. What’s the furthest you’ve ever travelled? (And what was it like!)
  5. Favourite pizza topping?
  6. What top three things do you look for in a book?
  7. What’s the first book you can ever remember reading? (Or having read to you!)
  8. What are you looking forward to most in 2018?
  9. Is there a book out just now that you haven’t read but are DYING to?
  10. If you could meet any author, dead or alive, who would it be?
  11. What made you decide to start blogging?

I nominate:

Kristina @ Books and Dachshunds

Luna @ Bookish Luna

Taylor & Missy @ Frayed Books

Charlotte @ Charlotte Somewhere

Heidi @ This Is My Bookshelf

Golden Books Girl

Amy @ Tomes with Tea

Sarah @ Sarah Withers Blogs

Lauren @ Northern Plunder

Nadia @ Headscarves and Hardbacks

Liz @ Travel in Retrospect

Book Review | The Fandom by Anna Day

Cosplay ready, Violet and her friends are at Comic-Con.

They can’t wait to meet the fandom of mega movie, The Gallows Dance. What they’re not expecting is to be catapulted by freak accident into their favourite world – for real. Fuelled by love, guilt and fear, can the friends put the plot back on track and get out? The fate of the story is in their hands …

A fast-paced, genre-flipping YA fantasy adventure from a brand new author, writing in homage to the best YA fiction.

the fandom

As a solid fandom-goer from my very early teens, I knew I was going to read The Fandom before I’d even read the synopsis. Such was my excitement that I dispatched my mother to Blackwell’s in Edinburgh to pick it up for me. Thanks Ma.

The Fandom is a book I’d loved to have written for a hundred different things, a story set inside a world that’s been lived in through fanfiction and YouTube videos and hyperactive conversations. It’s a hot plot twist in what has the potential to be a dystopian story all on its own, with characters you’re never sure you can trust and a really grubby, grimy setting.

I loved the fact that even in the middle of peril Violet et al were still fangirling at recognising moments from canon, and discovering new things in the fabric of their favourite story, which is 100% what I’d be doing in her situation. In fact, I spent a lot of the time while I was reading it thinking about how well I’d do if I was sucked into the world of some of my fandoms, and the answer was almost universally “be picked off in about five minutes”. Still, I can dream.

Overall, 4/5 stars – I’m going to stop reading hype for books because it taints the way I read them, and nine times out of ten I end up being disappointed. But I really liked The Fandom, and I loved the idea of fandom becoming reality and vice versa, and my heart was left bereft. I won’t spoil it by saying why – if you want to weep with me, find me on Twitter and let’s hook up.

Oh, and Katie’s insults. Speaking right to my soul, girl.

Rating: ****

Book Review | The Gilded Cage by Vic James

In modern-day Britain, magic users control everything: wealth, politics, power – and you. If you’re not one of the ultimate one-percenters – the magical elite – you owe them ten years of service.

Do those years when you’re old, and you’ll never get through them.

Do them young, and you’ll never get over them.

This is the darkly decadent world of Gilded Cage. In its glittering milieu move the all-powerful Jardines and the everyday Hadleys. The families have only one thing in common: Each has three children. But their destinies entwine when one family enters the service of the other. They will all discover whether any magic is more powerful than the human spirit.

Have a quick ten years. . . .

gilded cage

Free books are my jam (thanks to Sarah from Sarah Withers Blogs for the heads up that this was the iBooks free book of the week) but I don’t expect very much. Which means I’m pleasantly surprised when I become actively invested in them.

The Gilded Cage reminded me in a lot of ways of the Doctor Who episode Turn Left – a dark, alternate parallel of our own world. For most of the characters I either wanted to put them in my pocket to keep them safe or push them off a cliff, but in a chunky number of cases I’m not sure which. There’s magic and rebellion and some REALLY dark politics – for real,  some of the reviews I’ve seen cite the political aspects of the book as a reason they DNF’d it, but take it from someone who will windmill slam a book closed if it gets political and turgid: it’s not anywhere near that bad. Vic James makes it enough to be interesting without it being a slog.

Solid 4/5 stars, with the missing star purely because at some points I didn’t quite jam with the style of writing and the romantic subplot did absolutely nothing for me – but that’s not really the fault of the book, and I’ll definitely be continuing the series.

Rating: ****

Kids TV: the Hall of Fame

Last week, Sean decided to point out I look like Oakey Doke. Fortunately for him, we’ve already put down money on the wedding.

oakie doke

It got us both talking about what programmes we used to watch when we were younger, and we had a great time watching YouTube videos of 90s kids TV shows and reminiscing. My mum used to tape a load of these while I was at nursery. Here are some of the best.

I’m not over the fact that I know people who are younger than most of these, by the way. Stop it.


This one is technically after my time, proven after a debate with Sean where he was convinced it was broadcast in the early nineties. (First broadcast in 2002, FYI fact fans.) When my mum worked in early years education we used to record it so she could bring it in for the kids, and we all inevitably ended up watching it from beginning to end.

So innocent and pure. Plus Archie lived in a pink castle, which is the most extra thing I’ve ever seen and I love it.

Come Outside

The Original G. If you didn’t watch this I strongly suggest you find it online and acquaint yourself. Lynda Baron flying around in a spotty plane with a dog? Making up songs about everything? Teaching a generation of children how washing up brushes and teapots are made? Hell yes I’ll come outside, but only if I can hang out with Pippin.

Fireman Sam

I just about choked on my tongue when Sean told me he’d never seen Fireman Sam. He’s always on the scene! How is this possible?

Fireman Sam endures today, but like several kiddie TV shows of years gone by it’s been given the CGI animation treatment. Can someone with kids who’s watched the new ones confirm if Norman is still a little shit?

Fun fact: when I was very small the line “Someone could be in a jam” confused me. I pictures someone stuck inside a jam jar.

Fun fact II: there was an episode where they felled some trees and because I was little I shouted “timla” instead of “timber”. My parents still bring it up.

Camberwick Green

Here is a box. A musical box!

Will it be the excellently- named Windy Miller, owner of yep, you guessed it – the windmill? Or PC McGarry Number Four Five Two? Or probably-wouldn’t-get-away-with-calling-him-that-now Paddy Murphy the baker?

See also: Trumpton (no, not the US) and Chigley for further adventures in the same vein.

Joshua Jones

Now I’m going to hold my hands up here and say that I don’t remember a HUGE amount of significant detail about Joshua Jones. I only ever saw three or four episodes but for some reason the theme tune has stuck with me for 25 years, to the point where I could have sung it for you on demand.

I found the opening credits on YouTube and showed Sean, and he kept saying “I’m SURE I’ve seen this. But I’ve never heard of Joshua Jones! But I recognise that character!”

Eventually it clicked that he’d been watching it in Gaelic. He doesn’t speak Gaelic.


I have inevitably forgotten a true classic, so please shout at me in the comments with your favourite. Unless it’s Brum. Screw Brum. Creepy cars are not my jam.

Disney music: the PBPR Hall of Fame

Disney is universal. Enchanting to children and adults alike. Setting unrealistic expectations for men. I personally am thoroughly disappointed every time I remember that Sean didn’t morph from a large beast to a man before my very eyes.

A big appeal of the Disney movies is the music. Even if you loathe the films (does anyone?) you can’t deny that the music is incredible. Let’s go on a little adventure through some of the best examples.


First things first: Tarzan is the most underrated Disney film of all time. Tarzan should be on every list for everything. It’s got BRIAN BLESSED in it, for the love of god, why isn’t this film HUGE.


It’s also got my favourite soundtrack. The Phil Collins fandom might the most uncool, but please join me in here, because the music is worthy of inclusion in every Disney playlist.

It’s the best. Fight me.

The Lion King

This doesn’t even need any text.


Let’s get down to business. (To defeat…THE HUNS.)

Make A Man Out of You is the obvious classic, but the rest are pretty spot on as well. What do we want? (Reply in the comments or I’ll be sad.)

Oliver and Company

Oliver and Company is great. It’s got dogs, a tiny kitten, all of the above starring in a retelling of Oliver Twist. What’s not to like?

If that wasn’t enough to sway you, the dog version of the Artful Dodger is voiced by Billy Joel. Yep. Plus Better Midler is in it. And Huey Lewis sings the song at the start. YEP.



As well as being the prettiest of the Disney films, this ramped its way up to number two in my all time favourites list. The soundtrack is QUALITY. It’s got Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson singing You’re Welcome. It’s got that weird Shiny song, which didn’t float my boat (heh) at all when I first saw the movie, but it’s grown on me.

This is my favourite, though.


When you get past the accents of questionable authenticity (“It’s jist ma booooow”) the soundtrack to Brave is AMAZING. I love Julie Fowlis, so imagine how here for Brave I was when I found out she was singing on the soundtrack.


Find me a song that’s more fun to belt out than BLESS MY SOUL, HERC IS ON A ROLL, PERSON OF THE WEEK IN EVERY GREEK OPINION POLL. This is Sean’s favourite Disney film, and another one that sadly seems to have slipped into the depths of obscurity compared to some of the others.

Sean will tell me off for not putting Go the Distance in here but I DON’T CARE, the vase/vase line in this makes me laugh.

Movies that I deliberately didn’t feature, before everyone goes “But what about THIS one:

  • Frozen. Overrated.
  • Dumbo. I have a Pavlovian response to Baby Mine in that I crumple into a wreck whenever I hear it.
  • Robin Hood and Pocahontas. NEARLY made it though.
  • Any of the Princessy Classic Ones. Purely because they’ve only got like two songs per movie and that on that basis alone they have flawless soundtracks and it’s not fair.
  • Beauty and the Beast. Forgive me, Angela Lansbury.
  • The Little Mermaid. Forgive me, my sister.

Please flame me and tell me what’s not on here that should be. Thanks!

Top Ten Tuesday: Love Freebie!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is on the theme of “love”, with no restrictions…so for fun I thought I’d find someone I loved and get ten books THEY loved. As Sean and I had a weekend in Derby where he was unable to escape my wheedling, I took the opportunity to make him my special guest.

me and sean

I bent the rules a little and let him pick full series instead of a books in some cases, because he was angsting about it and let’s face it – we all know that pain.

This, therefore, is Sean’s Top Ten Tuesday – his favourite books (or book series) of all time.

White Wolf – David Gemmell

white wolf

“I was recommended both White Wolf and Legend by David Gemmell by a friend at university – whilst both are brilliant, the character of Skilgannon reminded me a lot of Drizzt Do’Urden from Baldur’s Gate, one of my favourite games I played as a kid. The quality of the character development of Skillgannon from start to finish is amazing, and I would recommend picking it up if you haven’t yet.”

Legend – David Gemmell


“While I grew to prefer Skilgannon as a character (compared to Druss in this book), Legend is still a brilliant book with one of the best battle scenes I have ever read.”

The Empire Trilogy – Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurts


“Feist is probably more well known for the Riftwar Saga book Magician than this duet with Wurts. The depth of the individual characters and the world’s political atmosphere is something very akin to Game of Thrones and having a female protagonist is awesome. The experiences Mara goes through from book to book gripped me and I already want to go back and experience them again.”

Gameplayers – Stephen Bowkett

gameplayers 2

(This is the book that I tracked down and bought for Sean for Christmas – find out more about that here! – Kirsty)

“Out of all of the books on the list, Gameplayers is probably the least technically well written – but it still appeals to me, pure because of the nostalgia. I first read the book when I was around the same age as the characters and found myself going through lots of similar experiences that John went through. It also led me to loving RPG games and trying to play Dungeons & Dragons with people when I could. I’m still trying to D&D today!”

Riftwar Saga – Raymond E. Feist


“My grandad Adrian knows of my love of high fantasy and one night in 2005, while my family were visiting, he asked if I had read Raymond E Feist’s Magician. I said no, and that weekend we went out and I got a copy. Before I had travelled home, I had read the entire book, and already bought Silverthorn and A Darkness at Sethanon on Amazon. From there I was hooked on Feist. Whilst Kirsty has issues getting into High Fantasy, i love losing myself in 6 pages picturing the fjord around me.”

(This is one of my biggest bugbears with high fantasy – yes I’m sure that’s a pretty hill and you’ve described it wonderfully and I know that the setting in a lot of stories is a character in its own right but come on.)

The Two Towers – JRR Tolkien

the two towers

“I’ve always favoured the Two Towers in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Events of Helms Deep and since the first book is primarily two chapters of Tom Bombadil and lots of character development and Frodo whining, i found it to be the perfect balance of building up to the events of the third book and having enough context to keep me gripped.”

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowling


“It’s time to admit it, Sirius Black is a man-crush i had throughout Prisoner of Azkaban similar to those man-crushes people supposedly had on Keifer Sutherland when he did 24. Things just kicked off straight from the start in this book, and its always been my favourite in the series.”

Talon of the Silverhawk – Raymond E. Feist


“Talon of the Silverhawk was the final Feist book I really enjoyed – I finished the full Conclave of Shadows saga, but as I got through each book I started to find them harder to read. There are three books that Feist wrote that I’d love to see as a film or series and those are the three in this list. Talon was just sufficiently distancing from the ever present story surrounding Pug and I enjoyed the aspect of how Talon grows from the start of the book.”

The Hunger Games trilogy

hunger games

“The first non-High Fantasy book/series on this list! i picked them up before I had a long weekend from work, and by the time I had to go back all three books were finished. Out of the three, the second book was my favourite. The games like a clock was just such a cool system that I have to give a nod to it.”

The Goosebumps series


“The Goosebumps books my brother’s, but I read them all as I grew up. They are aimed at young teens, so obviously the writing style is focused at that, and they aren’t the type of book I’d be looking to go back and read now as i’m in my mid 20’s (mumble mumble…. 29) but I wanted to capture my full reading history on this list. These were essentially an introduction to reading for me, and they mean a lot to me.


Narnia – C.S Lewis

Death of a Salesman – Arthur Miller

Romance of the Three Kingdoms – Luo Guanzhong


In case it’s not obvious, I’m marrying a big fantasy nerd. Thanks Sean!

Lessons from my mother.

It’s my mum’s birthday today! Normally on these occasions people post some poetic quotes on Facebook, perhaps on top of a picture of a Minion. Or just a paragraph on how much they love their mother. Maybe a card or a text message if they’re not into their social media.

Surprise! My glass heart rejects any overt emotional display, so I’m not going to do that. Aside from the card. I’m not a total animal.

I have a feeling that, having kept her questionably competent daughter alive for 26 years, my mum would prefer if I shared some of the most important (or at least memorable) things that I’ve picked up from her in my lifetime.

In fact, I think she’d like it about as much as she likes cake.


Mummy Mac’s Life Lessons

You have to be able to taste the gin in a gin and tonic

If you’ve ever had a drink mixed by my mother, you’ll know this one first hand. She once complained to the dude giving out samples in Malaga airport because there wasn’t enough gin in her G&T. It was 8am.

I left.

The wine buying priority goes percentage -> price -> anything else

I am frequently caught looking like the world’s biggest jake in the supermarket. If you see someone methodically turning round bottles of Pinot Grigio in the wine aisle, it’s going to be someone in my family. Take your bets on which one!

The horn in the car is not just to alert other drivers to your presence

Let me take this opportunity to apologise to my driving instructor if he reads this, because I have – whether through genetics or social conditioning – adopted my mother’s attitude. Someone cuts you up at a roundabout? Horn. Someone pulls out of a junction a little too close to you? Horn. Someone generally being a dick on the road? Yep. I’ve been in the car with my mother and she’s overtaken someone driving obnoxiously slowly with her hand on the horn the whole way.

Never trust a driver in a flat cap and a Volvo

I think she got this one from her driving instructor. I’ve never actually come across a flat cap wearing Volvo driver, so I can’t vouch for the integrity of their driving, but every time I see someone in a Volvo I automatically double check their headwear. Just in case.

You shouldn’t kill insects when they come into the house

You have to understand what an internal struggle this is. I’m entomophobic to the highest degree. The only insects I can tolerate are flies and occasionally wasps. Anything else turns me into a weeping snotty mess.

My mother has drilled into me that it’s cruel to kill them, which makes me feel an enormous amount of guilt when my first reaction is to get the Dyson, attach the longest selection of cleaning tools I have and suck the offending beastie up. Now I usually get Sean to get rid of them. Or whichever of my friends happens to be coming round.

I’m not entirely sure Mummy Mac’s approach of “trap them carefully under a glass, carry them gently to the upstairs window and lob them out” is any more humane, but I’ll humour her.

The Eighties were the peak of music

If I’m ever looking for a decent playlist with very few songs I’ll need to skip on it, I’m almost definitely going to the 80s. Much like the car horn thing, I’m not sure if this is something I’m genetically engineered to enjoy or if I’ve been carefully trained through years of background music, but now that I’m in my 20s we both love an 80s night.

Unless they play Come On Eileen. I have never seen anyone have a reaction as visceral to a song as my mum does to Come On Eileen.

Happy birthday Mummy Mac – you’ve taught me everything I know to be a slightly functioning adult. Especially when it comes to alcohol.

me and maw

Life update: not dead, ate potatoes.

Remember when I was ill earlier in the week? I’m still ill. At least now I feel like a human being and I’m eating plain cooked pasta and mashed potato like it’s the best thing on the planet. It’s so boring. I crave sauce.

Tomorrow is First Day At New Job Take Two, since I had to call in sick on Tuesday (which should have been my first day) and then push the start date back by a full week, much to my eternal shame. It was, however, a good decision, considering I haven’t eaten any real food for a whole week and spent several days wishing for death.

The most exciting day was Friday (Saturday?) –  I ended up reluctantly going to A&E after seven hours of chest pains that Gaviscon, indigestion tablets, ginger ale, milk, water, ice, painkillers and making myself throw up failed to conquer. I was there for four hours, during which time:

  • I was told I probably had indigestion (I nearly melted away from shame)
  • I spent a lot of time on my own on a trolley, because I told Sean I wouldn’t be long and to just wait for me in the reception. HA.
  • Some absolute rocket was going off his head at everything. The doctors, the fact that he was in hospital, the fact that he had to get a blood test, the fact that the blood test hurt, the fact that his wife (I presume it was his wife?) wouldn’t let him go home…Terry, u ok hun?
  • I had a bunch of tests, and was given my own “personalised bracelet”. This was suspicious, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if I was deficient in just about everything, so I thought maybe they were going to hard reset me with a drip and send me on my way.


  • Was told that my liver something gall bladder something in my blood test was elevated, and they were going to keep me in for observation.
  • Five minutes later I was told that after speaking to the surgeon (THE SURGEON, I’m thinking in alarm, I thought I had indigestion?) he was happy for me to go home.
  • Five minutes later the surgeon called the nice doctor back and said he wanted to come down and speak to me.
  • Eventually managed to escape after being lined up for a high priority MRI scan at some point to double check I haven’t grown a cheeky wee gallstone in the past three month.

My life is WILD. Imagine what I’ll get up to when I can do things like “stand up” and  “leave the house”.

We’ll find out tomorrow. Hopefully. Please.