Guest Post: So I Say Thank You For The Books… by Annabelle Thorpe

Today I’m thrilled to be welcoming Annabelle Thorpe, author of The People We Were Before to Cosy Books to talk about the people who inspired her love of books

Over to you Annabelle ….

This could only ever be a post about my Mum. She loved books. One of my earliest memories is sitting under the blankets in my small bedroom, the light glowing on the bedside table, reading Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner; both small, battered hardbacks, one red, one green, that she had owned as a child. I learnt to read on Winnie the Pooh. Mum said it had everything; taught the values of friendship, of love, of loyalty. It even dealt with the pain of separation, although I didn’t understand that at the time.

Like most things, my Mum had strong opinions on books. Those who hadn’t read Winnie the Pooh or The Wind in the Willows, had – according to her – clearly had a deprived childhood. Alice in Wonderland and Alice through the Looking Glass were two more of her favourites, although I could never really get on with either. She bristled with annoyance at Enid Blyton books not being considered suitable for school reading, and I devoured Malory Towers, St Claires and the Five Go…books. I also adored the Chalet School stories; a set of books about very posh girls, in a very posh school in Switzerland. Perhaps it appealed to an early love of travel (I later became a travel writer).

She loved poetry too; introducing me to T S Eliot’s Old Possums Book of Cats at an early age, and trying to get me to love Keats and Byron when I studied them for A level English. Betjeman was one of her favourites. But poetry and I never really got on

I remember my parents house being full of books; shelves filled with a diverse mix of classics and

contemporary fiction. Mum loved a spy novel; SS-GB being on the television at the moment has reminded me of the Len Deighton novels that were often beside her bed. My mid-to-late teens were filled with diverse worlds, from wartime Berlin to 19th century New York. The Moonstone by WIlkie Collins was another of our joint favourites, along with anything by Henry James. Mum bought me up to believe that being well-read was important, that books mattered.

Even now, many years after I lost her, I only have to hear a quote from Winnie the Pooh, or catch a glimpse of the Wind in the Willows on TV, to remember how much she loved those books, and the joy reading them with her gave me. In this way, I think books are like music; they can transport us back to the time we first read them, or to people we shared them with. One of my greatest sorrows is that she never got to read mine. I hope she would have enjoyed them.  

Thank you Annabelle for a wonderful guest post. I love and relate your comparison to music, there’s certain books that just the sight of take me back to sitting on the floor beside my Gran on a cosy Saturday afternoon.  
The People We Were Before was published in hardback last year, and in paperback on 23rd February 2017. Look out for my review coming soon. 
If war is madness, how can love survive?

Yugoslavia, summer 1979. A new village. A new life. But eight-year-old Miro knows the real reason why his family moved from the inland city of Knin to the sunkissed village of Ljeta on the Dalmatian Coast, a tragedy he tries desperately to forget.

The Ljeta years are happy ones, though, and when he marries his childhood sweetheart, and they have a baby daughter, it seems as though life is perfect. However, storm clouds are gathering above Yugoslavia.

War breaks out, and one split-second decision destroys the life Miro has managed to build. Driven by anger and grief, he flees to Dubrovnik, plunging himself into the hard-bitten world of international war reporters.

There begins a journey that will take him ever deeper into danger: from Dubrovnik, to Sarajevo, to the worst atrocities of war-torn Bosnia, Miro realises that even if he survives, there can be no way back to his earlier life. The war will change him, and everyone he loves, forever.       

Are you an author or blogger who would like to take part in So I Say Thank You For The Books…? You can read other guest posts and find out more HERE

Blog Tour: Katie Dale…’So I Say Thank You For The Books…’

Today I have Katie Dale stopping by as part of her UK blog tour for fabulous new book – Someone Else’s Life. This is probably my very favourite So I Say Thank You post, ever! Over to Katie….

When I first started at nursery school, my Mum says she used to ask me every day what I’d done, and I’d shrug and say “playing” – and then one day I came home and could read! With a writer as a mother – she started writing children’s books when she was pregnant with me, so I guess somehow I absorbed it from the very beginning! – I grew up surrounded by books and writing, and even my Dad used to make up bedtime “Moley” stories for me and my sisters.

Consequently, it felt like second nature to make up my own stories, firstly acting them out with Sylvanian families, then later writing them down. Acting and writing have always gone together for me – they’re both all about creating characters and losing yourself in other worlds – and I’d make up plays and dramatic scenes from my favourite books and perform them with my sisters and friends – I particularly remember my under-the-table dragon’s cave for The Paperbag Princess and wrapping my legs in a towel to be the Little Mermaid!

Particular books I remember from my early childhood include Rosie’s Walk and Goodnight Owl  – I’d borrow them from the library over and over again, even though I knew them by heart, delighting in having them read to me by my ever-so-patient parents, and enjoying the surprise ending just as much every time. Once I was old enough to read by myself, I became addicted to Enid Blyton. I fell in love with The Magic Faraway Tree and all its colourful magical characters, loved the hijinks of the girls in Mum’s old copies of Mallory Towers, and SO wanted to join the Secret Seven or Famous Five! I even tried out some of their spy techniques on the neighbours!

Books had a way of making the everyday seem magical. Who knew which wardrobe might secretly reveal an entrance to Narnia? Or whether there really were little people living in my house that carefully hid from me every time I entered a room? Or whether Peter Pan might someday come knocking at my window to take me off to Neverland?

Jacqueline Wilson and Morris Gleitzman both provided the perfect stepping-stones between magical worlds and gritty realism with their phenomenal books The Story of Tracy Beaker and The Suitcase Kid (Wilson) and Misery Guts and Sticky Beak (Gleitzman). Their combination of pathos and humour worked wonderfully to keep a story light whilst describing often quite harrowing or tragic situations, and managed to keep me feeling safe and secure, whilst opening my eyes a bit to the world and its darker sides.

Then as I got older I discovered Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley High – gosh, how I was obsessed with those books! I still have a whole shelf of my bookcase filled with the adventures of identical blonde twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield! I just could not get enough! I remember I went to a second-hand bookshop one day and swapped a whole box of books, including some of my precious Famous Fives for enough money to buy about three new Sweet Valley books. I’d spend whole summer holidays with my nose glued inside their covers, even if we were up beautiful mountains or on a sandy beach – the draw of Sweet Valley was too strong! I loved everything about them – the friendships, the mistaken identities, the love triangles, but possibly most of all the location – glamorous, eternally-sunny, California. I think that was when my infatuation with America was born. That, and for some reason there just didn’t seem to be that many UK authors writing for twelve/thirteen/fourteen-year-olds at that time. I’d grown out of Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl and Dick King-Smith, wonderful as they were, and instead devoured Judy Blume, Caroline B. Cooney, Paula Danziger, and Sharon Creech. Those books were a bit like a guide to puberty – they understood adolescence with all its strange moods and hormones and changes, and it was wonderful to identify with and be reassured by characters going through the same things – which were far too embarrassing to talk about, even with my friends (who also read the same books – they’d get passed around the class till they were dog-eared!).

To be honest, I’m not sure I’ve really progressed much past YA!

True, I’ve read my fair share of classics and adult books, but given the choice, the books I still find most inviting, intriguing, romantic and exciting – the books I really delight in picking up and losing myself in –  are still YA. It’s such a vital stage of life – when there are so many choices and complications and heartaches and discoveries – and that to me is endlessly fascinating, and probably why I choose to write YA myself.

Perhaps Peter Pan did sprinkle some pixie dust on me after all!

Someone Else’s Life by Katie Dale
Published by Simon & Schuster Feb 2nd 2012

When seventeen-year-old Rosie’s mother, Trudie, dies from Huntington’s Disease, her pain is intensified by the knowledge that she has a fifty-per-cent chance of inheriting the crippling disease herself. Only when she tells her mum’s best friend, ‘Aunt Sarah’ that she is going to test for the disease does Sarah, a midwife, reveal that Trudie was not her biological mother after all… Devastated, Rosie decides to trace her real mother, hitching along on her ex-boyfriend’s GAP year to follow her to Los Angeles. But all does not go to plan, and as Rosie discovers yet more of her family’s deeply-buried secrets and lies, she is left with an agonising decision of her own – one which will be the most heart-breaking and far-reaching of all… (from

Read the first chapter on my website:
Twitter: @katiedaleuk

Thank you Katie for dropping by and writing such a fantastic guest post. a total nostalgia trip…I think we must have grown up on exactly the same diet of books! 

If You would like to take part in ‘So I say Thank You For The Books…’ and write a guest post for the feature please find more infomation Here or checkout previous guest posts Here

‘So I say Thank you For The Books…’ Featuring Robin Wasserman

Today we’re welcoming Robin Wasserman as part of the UK Blog tour for her new novel, The Book of Blood and Shadow. (I’d also like to apologise to Robin for the lateness of this post due to a confusion over dates! Over to you Robin…

I’m told that when I was a baby, my first word was “book.” (I should add here, as my parents always do when telling this story, that my first word didn’t happen until absurdly late, by which point my parents had resigned themselves to having a mute child. I suspect by my teenage years, they came to regret being wrong.) I don’t remember what first inspired my love of reading, or even whether “love” was the right word for it, because when I was a child, books weren’t just some random thing you loved, like cupcakes or roller skates or Oscar the Grouch.  Books were like food, like air, like my parents: Necessities of life. Pre-conditions of life. I loved reading the way I loved breathing. It would just never have occurred to me there was any other way to be.

My father was an English teacher who visited four libraries per week and took me along to each one; my mother was a former English major/almost-before-she-got-a-more-“practical”-mathish-type-job-librarian who never went anywhere without a book in hand.  And I was a shy kid who liked nothing more than to shut my door against the world and escape into a world of my own, or someone else’s imagination. So it’s no wonder I read, and read constantly: While I ate. While I brushed my teeth. While I was walking to school or down the stairs. While I took a bath (tricky but manageable, even with a library book—though don’t tell my school librarian). And I guess you could say that all those books turned me into a writer—not so much because they inspired me to write stories of my own, but because I came to see books as the only truly valuable in the world. So when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, there was ever only one option: Writer, of course. Because writers made books. And I couldn’t conceive that, given the choice, any grown-up would bother to do anything else.

So I thank my parents for addicting me to stories at an early age; I thank my eye doctor for making sure I could read them (even if it meant wearing coke bottle glasses in nursery school), and I thank the people who wrote the books that changed my world, as only the books you read as a child can do:

The Velveteen Rabbit, Harold and the Purple Crayon, and A Child’s Garden of Verses (especially “The Land of Counterpane”), which showed me that if you told yourself the right story, you could make the world of your imagination come to life. 

A Wrinkle in Time, A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Interstellar Pig (actually, everything Madeleine L’Engle, Douglas Adams, and William Sleator ever wrote), which made me laugh, made me wonder, and most of all, made me think. I spent most of my teen years reading nothing but science fiction and the occasional (under duress) fantasy novel, and for that I have these three books to thank.

The Westing Game, because it is perfect.

It, which may not be the best of Stephen King’s books, but will always be my favorite, because it is the book that gave me courage when I needed it—which, in my dark junior high years, was plenty.

These are the books—along with hundreds of others, all of which I wish I had the space to mention here—that let me escape from my boring and angsty suburban life, that showed me the possibilities of the universe, that let me breathe and helped me dream, and that eventually persuaded me that if I wanted my life to mean something, I would devote it to writing books of my own, and hoping that someday, somehow, one of them would change someone’s life. 

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman is published by Atom as a paperback original on the 19th January 2012, £6.99

It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up. When the night began, Nora had two best friends and a boyfriend she adored. When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands. Chris was dead. Adriane couldn’t speak. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also-according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone-a murderer. Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora’s determined to follow the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. But Chris’s murder is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

Please do go and checkout the other stops on the tour!

Visit Robin’s Website:

Stealing Phoenix Blog Tour: So I Say Thank you For The Books by Joss Stirling

So I Say Thank You For The Books…’ is a regular feature were we invite authors and book bloggers to share with us who or what inspired their love of books.

Today we’re welcoming author Joss Stirling as part of her UK book tour Stealing Phoenix, follow up to the very awesome Finding Sky


So I say thank you…
Answering the question ‘who is responsible for making me the writer/reader I am today?’ is akin to one of those embarrassing Oscar speeches that go on too long and the band interrupts. And yes, like Gwyneth, I will be in tears and end up telling my audience of authors ‘I love you all *sob*sob*’
Joking aside, it is impossible to put my finger on one person or one book without being unfair to all the others.  Picture me as one of those fiendish 1000 piece puzzles, each bit representing something that went into making the whole.  I can only hope to find some corner bits to show you; the rest will have to remain in the box.
One corner has to be Geraldine the babysitter.  She lived next door and had the unenviable task of looking after my sister, brother and me.  I of course was the angelic youngest (the other two did it).  When we weren’t tying each other up to trees and rampaging across the garden in our fire engine assembled from deckchairs, she got us excited about this book called ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’.  She wasn’t much older than us and I think her pleasure was still very much that of the child who believed doors did open into Narnia.  As a result I was convinced the airing cupboard in my room was going to let me through if I opened it just right.  Sadly the only creature that discovered a new world through that door was an escaped hamster (but that’s another story).
I rustle through the box and pull out another piece: Mr England.  He was my teacher in the equivalent of Year 6 at Primary School.  A funny looking chap (three-piece suit, tubby, comb-over), he made us learn things by heart.  Thanks to him I can still recite ‘Tiger, tiger, burning bright…etc.’, which has proved surprisingly useful and enjoyable. I wish I’d learnt more this way.  What he did was let me write.  Once I’d finished my tasks for the day (I was quick so that was often an hour or so ahead of others) I spent my time making up stories.  Ofsted might fail this style of teaching now but it suited me down to the ground. He also was the first to predict I’d have books in a library one day. So thank you, Mr England.
Third piece – my local library.  I did not come from a bookish family.  My mum was more artistic than literary (lots of art books) and my dad a busy policeman (he was the one who brought the Ian Flemings into the house I would guess).  Not having many books at home was more than made up for by the local library.  Can you think of a greater pleasure for an inquisitive child than experimentation at no cost?  We really mustn’t lose the libraries in our communities because children like me from non-book backgrounds will find it difficult to make the jump into lifelong learning.
My final corner piece – an English teacher when I was in the sixth form, Mrs Waterhouse.  She taught me not to dismiss what I did not understand or know.  In one discussion, I made some callow comment about stupid poems on things like Greek urns and she challenged me to read Keats’ poem and understand it.  Thank goodness she did, or I would never had got into Cambridge to read English and later go on to do a doctorate.  That lesson also taught me not to rubbish genres others sneer at: romance, sci-fi, chicklit etc. A good story is a good story even if hidden under a genre wrapping that might be initially off-putting.

OK. I’ve gone on long enough.  The band is playing and they are cutting to adverts.  *Sob* I love you all *Sob*

Don’t forgot to follow the next stop on the Stealing Phoenix blog tour tomorrow at

And look out for Lyndsey’s Review of Stealing Phoenix coming later today!

So I Say Thank You For The Books: Summer Edition featuring Kirsty of The Overflowing Library

So I Say Thank You For The Books…’ is a regular feature were we invite authors and book bloggers to share with us who or what inspired their love of books.

Today, we are extremely happy to have Kirsty from The Overflowing Library on the blog to share with everyone her love of reading. Kirsty hosts a fantastic Bookcase Showcase feature which everyone should check out. We all love seeing other people’s book collections so head on over and have a nosy around! 

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I am so pleased to be doing a so I say thank you post on Vicki and Lynsey’s blog as I have wanted to do one for ages. When they emailed me to talk about their Summer Lovin feature I thought it was finally time to do one because I started my blog last summer and I always associate the summer time with reading as I always I have loads of time over the summer holidays when I get loads of reading done.

Probably the first people I have to thank for my love of books are my parents. My mum has always been a bit of a reader and a lot of my old children’s books I own are ones that were hers when she was small. Even though when I was small my family didn’t have a lot of money they always made sure I had access to loads of books. I had loads of usborne books when I was little and was taught to read by my mother when I was really small. As I got older it became a weekly trip for my Dad and I to head off down to our local library so I could pick out books for the coming week to devour.
While I read extensively throughout my childhood once I became a teenager I just stopped. Back in the day young adult books didn’t exist as such. I found myself stuck between rereading children’s books which I had long outgrown or trying to find adult books that didn’t bore me rigid. This leads me to the second person I have to thank for my love of books. I met my husband 10 years ago smack bang in the middle of my the time when I didn’t know what to read. One of the things we had in common was that we both had a large book collection. In his collection I had a whole new resource to tap and he bought me some awesome books I wouldn’t have even looked at in the shops in particular Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights. This was what I needed to get me back into reading again which was awesome. I didn’t really know how much I missed it until I got back into it.

The third person I am going to thank for my love of books is my lovely blogging friend Emma (aka asamum / bookangel emma). I had been looking for a while for a way to record my reading as I was reading so much and was losing track of what I had and hadn’t read. About the same time I discovered Whilst looking at books I found a link to Emma’s blog and was inspired last summer to start my own. From there things for me reading wise have been crazy. I’ve come across so many awesome books I wouldn’t have ever known about before and had the chance to meet some wonderful bloggers, publicists and authors. I love getting my hands on books before anyone else and using my little part of the internet to promote some fantastic books.

Thank you Lynsey and Vicki for having me on your blog.

Thank you Kirsty for a fantastic guest post!

Are you interested in taking part in ‘So I say Thank you For The Books..’? You can find more information and contact details 

So I Say Thank You For The Books: Summer Edition..featuring Jess Hearts Books

Today we have a special summer edition of our feature So I Say Thank You For The Books…. Featuring the lovely Jess of Jess Hearts Books


I’d always loved stories from a young age particularly fantasy stories about faraway worlds like Narnia and Harry Potter. However when I hit my early teens I stopped reading. I was going through a typical case of “frenemies” at school and found that I couldn’t relate to my favourite stories anymore where friendship was true, and good always over came evil, so I simply stopped reading and instead would watch TV or read magazines. Partly due to depression with what was going on at school and partly because those kind of books where everything always turned out good in the end lost there appeal to me.

So it was summer time and I was so grateful not to have to go into school every day and face this group of bitchy girls who called themselves my friends. I particularly was thankful for my family’s 2 week planned holiday to Devon in England to escape from the town I was having so many problems in. I was a big reader of teen magazines and asked my mum to pick me up the latest edition of Mizz for me to browse through on the journey down there. It just so happened that in this summer edition Mizz were giving away a free summer read and that was Last Chance by Sarah Dessen.  

I wasn’t that fussed about the book at first and put it aside whilst I read my magazine. An hour into the journey and I was done and so turned my attention to the book. At the time I’d never heard of nor read anything by Sarah Dessen before and wasn’t greatly aware of the contemporary teen fiction out there that didn’t base itself around fantasy worlds and was about teens facing real life problems. For those of you who don’t know Last Chance is about a girl called Colie who spends her summer at the beach town Colby. During that summer she gains confidence with who she is and makes true friends when she finally learns to let the right people in. I absolutely devoured this book and it became like my summer bible for the remainder of the holiday. Sarah Dessen writes beautiful coming of age stories with some amazing quotes that I could really relate to at that point in my life. 

When I got home from my holiday where I’d been reading Last Chance and rebuilding my confidence. Through Colie’s courage I once again found my own and told these “friends” who were making my life miserable where to go and met a bunch of new friends who where TRUE friends. For the remainder of that summer I changed my life around, grew in confidence, meet new people and of course read all of Sarah’s other books and re kindled my love of reading as well as develop a passion for YA contemporary fiction which still remains my favourite genre to date. 

Sarah Dessen is not only one of my very favourite authors but she also saved my life. When I was between the ages of 15 to 18 I was in a physically and mentally abusive relationship. Sarah has a novel called Dreamland about a girl who is being abused by her boyfriend and I cannot begin to tell you how much reading Dreamland effected me. It made me feel less alone in the situation and it also gave me the courage to tell my parents what was going on and to break up with my boyfriend. If I hadn’t of read Dreamland who knows if I would have found the courage and strength to get past such a horrible time in my life. 

Sarah Dessen and her books have had a huge impact on my life right from the first book I ever read by her to years later with Caitlin from Dreamland to me feeling like the only person who knew exactly what I was going through with my boyfriend. I’ve literally grew up with Sarah’s books and my passion for books and blogging would not be what they are today without her. Hell my life probably wouldn’t be the same without her and for that I owe her the biggest thank you. 


Wow, Jess thanks so much for sharing such a personal post with us. Amazing to hear how an author and books can have such a positive affect.

So I Say Thank You For The Books… featuring Michelle from Fluttering Butterflies!

‘So I Say Thank You For The Books…’ is a regular feature were we invite authors and book bloggers to share with us who or what inspired their love of books.

Today we are giving a very warm welcome to Michelle from and is truly one of the sweetest and most thoughtful bloggers there are. If you’ve never visited Michelle’s blog, please do so. She not only writes fantastic reviews, but posts lots of fascinating discussion posts and runs the incredibly interesting ‘Awesome Women’ feature.


When I was little, those t-shirts that said ‘It takes a whole village to raise a child’ were really popular. And when I think about my own childhood as a reader, I think the same principle applies. It took a very large community working together in order to shape me into the bookworm I was growing up and am today. So I feel like I have a great many people I need to say ‘thank you’ to for inspiring my love of books and stories.

The first has to be my father. He has always, always done his best to read me stories when I was little and surround me with books. He tells me stories all of the time about how I loved being read to and reading from a very young age. I’d want to hear the same, favourite stories again and again. The books he chose for me always veered towards the classics. I remember at one point when I was younger, of having four different copies of Heidi by Johanna Spyri. And we had copies of Black Beauty and A Little Princess laying around, together with Ramona Quimby books and Little House on the Prairie. But my dad would also tell me of the stories that he loved growing up, which is how I came to love The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. I’m sure that this early exposure and my dad’s enthusiasm for classic literature had a huge impact on what I wanted to get out of reading. I saw my dad reading quite a lot growing up, and when I was older, we’d discuss what we’d be reading. He’d always be telling me, ‘if you liked that, you’ll LOVE this…’ My dad loved really epic in scope books, like James Michener and James Clavell, and I’d borrow from the bookshelves in his room all the time. Sho-gun is still one of my favourite books. I’m really grateful to my dad, for encouraging my love of reading, engaging in it with me, and really leading by example.

Next up, I say ‘thank you’ to my favourite-ever teacher, Mr. Jacobson. He was my 2nd grade teacher and I’ve never had a more devoted and energetic teacher than him. And he and I adored each other. Second grade is really when I became more confident in myself and in my reading and that’s because of Mr. Jacobson. I loved books, but I didn’t know what to read. And so Mr. Jacobson was always on hand, offering his suggestions, discussing what I’ve read with me and answering all of my questions. There were so many questions that I wanted and needed the answers to and not once was Mr. Jacobson ever impatient with me. It was during this time, that I was given a copy of Charlotte’s Web by EB White, which is still one of my favourite books, and I associate that book always with Mr. J. He also subscribed to a copy of Highlights magazine, which I became slightly obsessed with. It was such a life-changing period of time for me, 2nd grade, and I really think that Mr. J was responsible in part for the person I am today. For his help and encouragement.

I always want to say thank you to Betty, a family friend, who, when we came to stay for Christmas one year, gifted me the entire series of the Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. That gift just went above and beyond anything I’d ever been given before then. Her second gift to me was allowing me to stay in my room for the next week and devour the entire collection of books without saying a word or telling me I needed to come out and eat. That series defines my childhood, and she gave them all to me. The generosity of it still brings me to tears.

I’d also like to say thank you collectively to my school librarians growing up. I love libraries and librarians. As a child, my family moved quite a lot and I always felt a little uncomfortable and nervous in new environments but my constant, wherever we went were libraries. I always felt comfortable in a library and my school librarians gave me the most amazing recommendations: The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi. The Island of Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. Eva by Peter Dickinson. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. Hatchett by Gary Paulsen. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. With every fabulous recommendation and every great book I read, I felt more inspired and excited to visit new worlds or see things from a different perspective or time period. The great recommendations didn’t change when I moved into middle school and then high school. My high school librarian, Nicola, was the person who first put the Collected Works of Jane Austen into my hands and I will always be grateful for that.

I think, finally, the person I’d like to say ‘thank you’ to is my English teacher in my 8th grade class. I’m not sure how much control Mr. Caron had over the curriculum and which books he was allowed to teach, but that year we read some of my favourites. Pigman by Paul Zindel, The Summer of my German Soldier by Bette Green and The Outsiders by SE Hinton. Each book was really powerful for me, and as well as providing me with excellent reading material, Mr. Caron really taught me (and our entire class) to think more deeply about everything. To open my eyes and question things the things around me and in the world. Mr. Caron was a big inspiration to me and I love how passionate he was about the books that he taught.

My father, my school librarians, amazing family friends, inspiring teachers. I feel incredibly lucky to have had such amazing support and help growing up, fostering my love of reading. I can’t say ‘thank you’ enough to all of them.
Thank you Michelle for an awesome guest post!
Are you interested in taking part in ‘So I say Thank you For The Books..’? You can find more information and contact details here.

Guest Post: ‘So I Say Thank You For The Books..’ Featuring K. M. Grant

‘So I Say Thank You For The Books…’ is a regular feature where we invite Authors and book bloggers to share with us who or what inspired their love of books.

Find out more and how to get involved HERE

Today’s post is from K. M Grant author of historical YA, with her most recent novel Belle’s Song being published in the UK February  2011


Hello!  My name’s Katie Grant, also known as K. M. Grant (I’ve always liked initials – so formal, with their full stops, yet so mysterious), and I write historical fiction – or epic adventures set in the past – for anybody who likes, well, epic adventures set in the past.  

I was brought up in a creaky, leaky old house on the edge of a wild moor in northern England, about 11 miles as the crow flies to the parsonage in which Emily, Charlotte and Anne Bronte lived.  Inside our house, through which the wind whistled and groaned much as Emily Bronte describes in Wuthering Heights, were hundreds of books, all written by authors already dead, which is why, for years, I thought you couldn’t be an author until you were dead yourself.  

The seven of us (six girls, one boy, I’m number 3) were looked after by a succession of nannies, some nice and some perfectly horrible.  But though there were strict rules about Sitting Up Straight and Saying Please and Thankyou, we could read anything we liked, from anywhere, so long as we put it back.  Anything, that is, except Enid Blyton (whose books we devoured surreptitiously, under the bedclothes, when Nanny had turned out the light). 

 I read all the time, so it’s as hard to choose favourite books as it is to choose a favourite pet.  Yet I suppose because I longed to be a brave rider, I especially loved Mary O’Hara’s My Friend Flicka series.  I sat with Ken, in the brook, willing Flicka to live;  I clung to Thunderhead’s mane as he battled with Banner.  I was dead jealous of Carey. Those books are on my shelf still.  Then, how could I not choose Ursula Moray Williams’ The Little Wooden Horse, when the little wooden horse was just as real to me as my own, naughty piebald pony?  And finally, though I’m long grown up, every year I still read The Black Riders by Violet Needham, which is nothing to do with horses at all;  it’s about a boy who gets caught up in a revolution. Stormy Petrel is his code name, and the password, my dear fellow-readers, is ‘Fortitude’.

Thanks Katie, and wow your childhood home sounds amazing!

Belle’s Song by K M Grant When Belle meets Luke, son of an alchemist and Scribe to the famous poet Chaucer, she is determined to travel with him to Canterbury on a pilgrimage. She hopes for a miracle: that her father will walk again. She also hopes to atone for her own part in his accident. It is a time of unrest across the country and the young King Richard II is just hanging on to his throne. A malign character on the pilgrimage suspects Chaucer of treason and slowly winds Belle into a political intrigue. At the same time, the impulsive Belle is drawn towards both Luke and to Walter, the wealthy son of a Knight. But Walter himself is in love with Luke…As the uprising against the King starts to draw pace and the web of intrigue around Belle and Chaucer tightens, Belle and her friends must risk everything to save their country and themselves… (

So I Say Thank You For The Books…featuring Kath Langrish

‘So I Say Thank You For The Books…’ is a regular feature were we invite authors and book bloggers to share with us who or what inspired their love of books.

Today we have a guest post from Kath Langrish, author of the ‘West of the Moon’ trilogy, as part of her UK blog tour!

Over to you Kath…


The books, the books – oh, the books of my childhood! I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love reading, didn’t regularly curl up in a big armchair, bury my head in a book and get lost for hours.
My mother encouraged my love of books and would read aloud every evening to me and my brother, from early childhood until we were at least ten years old or so. I did the same for my own children – it’s a lovely cosy thing to do, to cuddle up together and read fairytales, or ‘The Wind in the Willows’, or ‘The Hobbit’…

Aged six or so, I used to read Beatrix Potter aloud to my teddy bears and dolls – even then I preferred her darker stories: ‘The Tale of Mr Tod’, where the baby rabbits are shut in the oven, and those two disreputable villains Mr Tod and Mr Brock fight it out while Peter and Benjamin cower in the ditch below – and ‘The Tale of Samuel Whiskers’, in which Tom Kitten is nearly turned into a roly-poly pudding. I lived in Yorkshire, in an old house, and could easily imagine the secret alley ways of the rats running behind the skirting boards, and up the flues of the old chimneys!

A memory from primary school is the weekly ritual of ‘going to read to the headmistress’ in her quiet, sunlit study. Standing at her desk, reading aloud the old fairy story of ‘Briar Rose’ from my book, with real roses nodding in at her window from the school garden, and everything almost as sleepy and quiet as the castle in the story.
And then, visits to the library every Saturday, and six fat library books to take home with me! I would gobble them down within the week and go back for more. And well I remember the awful misery of the week I spent in bed with the measles, in a darkened room, forbidden to read at all for fear of damaging my eyes.

All through my childhood I read everything, from the backs of cornflake packets to books I wasn’t really supposed to be reading at all, but snitched from my parents’ bookcases and took to bed with me. I read ‘Oliver Twist’ when I was ten, and lay awake in terror after I reached the bit where Bill Sykes murders Nancy and then imagines he can see her eyes. I fully expected that fiery red pair of eyes to be floating around my own bedroom, haunting the dark. I fell in love with C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books, and made a pact with a friend who agreed with me that Narnia HAD to be real. We couldn’t bear to think it might not be, and that we might never get there…

I read the historical novels of Rosemary Sutcliff, Henry Treece and Geoffrey Trease. I read the Biggles books, Nancy Drew, anything by Enid Blyton. I read Rex Warner’s cowboy stories. I read ‘White Fang’ and ‘The Call of the Wild’; I read ‘The Story of a Red Deer’, and ‘Bambi’; I read ‘Black Beauty’ and wept buckets over poor Ginger’s death. I read most of the historical novels of G A Henty – now unbearably dull and jingoistic. I read ‘The Children of the New Forest’ and ‘Ivanhoe’, ‘The Jungle Book’ and ‘Puck of Pook’s Hill’. I read the Moomintroll books, and Alan Garner, and ‘The Tale of Robin Hood’, and ‘The Coral Island’ and ‘Kidnapped’. I read… and I read… and I read: voraciously, indiscriminately, unstoppably. No wonder I ended up writing stories of my own.

I was amazingly lucky to have the time for all that reading, lucky to live in a house where books were treasured, lucky to be taken to the library on a regular basis – lucky to have my imagination nourished by such a wonderful variety of books. What sort of a person would I have been without them?

Now that is something I really can’t imagine.

West Of The Moon by Kath Langrish An epic and action-packed fantasy adventure that weaves together Norse legends, shadowy creatures and an unforgettable hero.
When Peer is orphaned he is taken by his wicked uncles to live at their foreboding mill in the shadow of Troll Fell. Here he meets beautiful and spirited Hilde and after a terrifying encounter with the sinister creatures who live below the fell the pair form an inseparable bond. They are thirsty for adventure, so when a Viking longship docks at their village, they decide to set sail for Vinland – a mysterious place across the perilous sea. But are the ship’s captain and his sword wielding son really honest sailors? What creatures lurk in the shadows and forests of the new land? And will Peer and Hilde ever return?
Spanning years and continents and filled with brilliantly imagined characters and creatures, this is gripping, atmospheric fantasy at its best. (Published March 2011 by Harpercollins)

Visit Kath’s wesbite:
Visit Kath’s blog:

Join Kath at her next stop on the tour on Monday 14th March @ The Bookette

Thanks so much for stopping by Kath!


Are you interested in taking part in ‘So I say Thank you For The Books..’? You can find more information and contact details here.

‘So I Say Thank You For The Books…’ Featuring Beth Revis

‘So I Say Thank You For The Books…’ is a regular feature where we invite Authors and book bloggers to share with us who or what inspired their love of books.

Find out more and how to get involved HERE

Today we’re welcoming Beth Revis, whose debut YA novel Across The Universe hits UK shelves on the 3rd March. 

Find out how what we both thought of this book in our reviews later today.


I am definitely a reader type of writer. As a child, I obsessively read everything I could, even the backs of the cereal boxes and tubes of toothpaste. A few books, of course, stand out more than any other.

A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle first opened my eyes to the different kinds of stories you can find in books—not just the typical story of babysitters or twins in Sweet Valley (though I read enough of those) but books where people weren’t people, and sometimes you do have to go out into the dark and stormy night to save the people you love.

CS Lewis’s CHRONICLES OF NARNIA were the first books where I realized there was more to the story than just the words on the page, and that affected me greatly for the rest of my life. It made me a stronger reader, looking for meaning in stories, and it made me a stronger writer, making me more aware of the importance of words.

I discovered Robin McKinley when I was in high school, and I have read THE HERO AND THE CROWN nearly every year since I was seventeen. There’s a passage in there, when Aerin returns to Tor and Arlbeth after battling the dragon, that I consider to be among the most perfect prose ever written. That book taught me that language itself can be beautiful and good.

And finally, I have to give credit to Agatha Christie. I ate her books up as a kid, and one story, the play THE MOUSETRAP really affected me and my desire to write a mystery, to layer in clues for the reader to find, and to cast about red herrings and guns on the mantelpiece.

Books are amazing, beautiful, astounding things—and I owe much to them all!


A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.
Published by Penguin 3rd March 2011 in the UK

For information and updates like the Across the Universe UK facebook page HERE
Visit Beth at her website Here
Follow Beth on twitter @BethRevis