Guest Post: Sam Mackintosh on ‘Freakin Out About Dead Bodies and Summer Lovin’

Today we have a fantastic Guest Post from the hilarious author Samantha Mackintosh…Over to you Sam!

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Freaking Out About Dead Bodies and Summer Lovin’

Oooo, it’s good to be on Heaven, Hell and Purgatory – thank you for having me. I feel completely at home here – mainly because every bit of my average day is a bit of heaven, a bit of hell and a bit of purgatory (see listed points below). 
I grew up in Grahamstown, South Africa, where absolutely nothing ever seemed to happen. It’s a town filled with schools, a sprawling university and two – yes, two – sets of traffic lights. During term time the streets throng in the afternoons with students from the uni in weird clothing with weird hairstyles from cities far away, and also with school kids let out on a prized shopping day, in their smart blazers and hats and shiny shoes. They don’t ever seem to mind being in Grahamstown, because it’s a place they come to, and then leave.
But back when I went to school and uni, I didn’t get a chance to leave. Oh no. I went to a local state school with smart blazers but no hats and shiny shoes were a rarity. Boys, also, were a rarity. If you were lucky you were friends with someone who had a brother who was older than them, but, you know, that was a rarity too. And then in the summer EVERYONE LEFT. And I stayed behind working for bad pay in the uni library that would give me pocket money for the term ahead.
It was a terrible feeling, being left, feeling like nothing in life was progressing – no summer lovin’, no anything . . . . Plenty of space for tumbleweed to blow down our wide potholed streets.
It was enough to turn a girl stir crazy.
And that’s how Tallulah Bird sprang to life. A bit of that craziness went into warp speed and all of a sudden here was a character stuck in a small town with zero love-life, afflicted with small-town superstitions, convinced her life is headed for hell . . . and freaking out. Just a little.
Oh yes. I know exactly how she felt. Not just because I’ve read my share of romance – from paranormal to pretty normal, from fluffy to fevered – but because I’ve actually been there. The pain, the agony, the total humiliation. And not in a fun way. In an awful way, that still haunts me now. Despite the library job (and the hot-dog-making job, and the waitressing, and the assisting in the computer centre) I didn’t have much money, and my sisters and I got a clothing allowance that was a total joke. I’m not complaining (okay, okay, I am) because it taught me lots about how to never buy high-fashion items – like stonewashed denim, and dog-tooth clown trousers, and mustard-yellow court shoes (I’m kidding about the shoes – they were white, not yellow. Cough.).
It meant I had to wear stonewashed denim, like it or not, two years after everyone else had hurled theirs into the bin with cries of ‘What were we thinking?!’. I will never forget how I overheard a guy I really liked, maybe even loved a little, laughing at how I only had one pair of jeans, and how unfashionable I was. I bet he would never even have noticed the jeans if they hadn’t been stonewashed . . . though maybe I would never have noticed what a pretentious prat he was without them.
Life lesson. Tick.
So, like Tallulah, my summer lovin’ never went to plan. Like Lula, there was no boy left to love, frankly, but, if you were lucky, some friends stuck around . . .
And we got up to stuff. Which is where the notion of dead bodies comes in.
(Okay, Mom, click the cross in the red circle to CLOSE TAB for this is not for your aged and trusting ears . . .)
So. Stuff:
·         We skinny-dipped.
·         We knocked on people’s doors and ran away. (You think I don’t know how pathetic that sounds? I do know. I know very well.)
·         We learned to roller skate on steep tarmacked downhills that removed all skin from knees, elbows and hands. (Welts still visible twenty years later.)
·         We messed around on train tracks. (Don’t do it. You could die.)
·         We cut each other’s hair with the kitchen scissors. (Don’t do it. You could die of shame.)
·         We went round to each other’s houses, ate bright-orange crisps, drank fat Coke and lit Kerry Price’s farts. (Oh God. This why I never had boyfriends, isn’t it.)
·         We bunked out of our houses at the dead of night to meet up at Grey’s Dam round campfires, telling tall tales and laughing till the sun was about to come up, then scarpered home smelling of wood smoke and sleeping all day long.
Why am I telling you this . . .? Uhh . . . Oh yes! The point of this whole rant. In Grahamstown, on my way home every day from school, I had to go past a crematorium. It freaked me out – especially when we knocked on the door and ran away (see point two, above). I had visions of a tall ancient man peering out through a secret spyhole at all of us, plotting our demise.
And the dam . . . One of those campfire stories was about how a student lost control of their car, drove straight into the bottomless waters and was never seen again . . .
And this is how we have the dead body in the pond. Overactive imagination + memories that won’t go away.
My past has come back to haunt me. Well, not me. Tallulah Bird.
Lula Does the Hula sees Tallulah Bird fast realising that a happy ending (see Kisses for Lula) does not a happy-ever-after make. Hooooh no. Nuh-uh.
Life for Lula is not girl meets boy, girl gets boy, boy + girl forever. It’s more: girl meets boy, girl meets corpse mouldy eyeball to eyeball, girl freaks out, boy messes up – repeatedly, girl gets sad, girl’s problems nothing compared to another missing girl, who could be alive or dead.
I like it, this life of Lula’s. When is summer lovin’ ever going to be just about the lovin’ and the summer? Exactly! Never! Not for anybody. Life just isn’t that simple. There’s always going to be something else going on. For Lula, it’s suspense and terror and running/rowing for your life. And laughing hysterically.
For you?

I don’t know, but my word of advice is stay away from stonewashed denim, white court shoes and home-cut hair. They’re never gonna give you a happy ending.

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Find out more about Sam and her books at:



Guest Post: Beach Reads To Die For by Ya Reader

Today’s guest post comes from YA Reader from Mostly Reading YA , who at the moment is running a Debut Summer feature, so make sure to head over and pick up some new authors to add to your wishlist.

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Beach Reads To Die For

There’s nothing better than a good book on the beach and I thought I’d share some of my favourite beach reads with you.


Firstly Lovestruck Summer by Melissa Walker is a definite. It was published by HarperTeen back in 2009 and is absolutely brilliant. It tells the story of Quinn and her summer in Austin focusing around a music festival there. It’s funny and most importantly well written, I can’t recommend it highly enough.


I’d also suggest Sophie McKenzie’s Six Steps series comprising Six Steps to a Girl, Three’s a Crowd and The One and Only. They’re easy reads but they’re fun too and perfect for a sunny summer day. McKenzie’s other books, although less summery, are great too.


Last summer I read Beautiful Americans by Lucy Silag and it’s a perfect beach read. It’s about four American teens and their time in Paris with a bit of romance and controversy. If you like this one, the series continues with Wanderlust and Experienced.



Finally I’d recommend Koh Tabu by Ann Kelley. The thriller is about a camping trip that goes very wrong leading to 9 girls ending up on a tropical island. Ann Kelley is a fantastic author and this is a perfect one for the summer.

Of course there are many wonderful beach reads and if you’re looking for authors that fit this criteria I’d recommend Clare Chambers, Jodi Picoult, Sarra Manning, Robin Benway, Dorothy Koomson, Suzanne LaFleur, Kate Brian and Jenny Valentine’s books too (I’m sure I’ve missed many more!). Hope these keep you going though and enjoy your trips to the beach. 

Thanks again for having me!

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Guest Post: Michelle Of Fluttering Butterflie’s

Today we have a guest post from Michelle of Fluttering Butterflies.…enjoy!

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When I think of my childhood summers, my memories are either of my family camping or driving.  And I realised recently that both hold very special places in my heart.

When my dad was little he was convinced that he actually WAS Huck Finn.  He tells stories of how he’d traipse through the mountains and forests of Northern California almost wild, how he once stole a boat and drifted down a river into private property with nothing but his battered copy of the book and a really big stick.  Luckily it was the 50s and my the town police officer was very understanding.  But all of wild roaming and freedom that my dad felt was, I’m sure, something he wanted to pass down to my brother and I. 

So despite the fact that we lived in near-isolation for many years in Alaska, still during our summers our family camped.  We had our tent and our sleeping bags and our little portable stove and not much else those summers.  My brother and I would tramp around hiking up mountains or swimming in lakes.  We’d climb trees and run a bit wild.  It was hugely fun.  We’d come back to the tent in the evening where my dad would usually be lounging about reading some massive book and then we’d build up a fire and fall asleep right after food.   I have very fond memories of our camping trips.

But to get to these camping places, we’d always drive.  My dad didn’t fly anywhere and our road trips are memories that I will always think of well.  There really isn’t any place in the world prettier than the drive down the Pacific coast.  I’m constantly homesick for the Pacific ocean and for those road trips that spanned days.  We’d find the oldies station on the radio and sing along badly to 50s and 60s rock and pop music or we’d play the license plate game or travel board games until we were all sick of each other.  And I would read.


Because we always travelled pretty light, I always ran out of books fairly quickly.  My dad would stop off at second-hand bookstores and I’d buy what I could.  I always tried to go for books that I wouldn’t mind re-reading as that became a pretty sure bet.  Of course, I’d always bring a few favourites with me: I remember obsessing over Matilda by Roald Dahl one summer.  Another summer, it was all about Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell.  Hatchett by Gary Paulsen really spoke to my inner wild child, as did of course The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

But I also have clear memories of some of the books I’d picked up along the way as well (though some were duds!).  I remember buying a hardback copy of Durango Street by Frank Bonham that had no dust jacket and that summer I got lost in a story about gang members which had a pretty big impact on me.  That same store had a battered copy of Maggie Adams, Dancer by Karen Strickler Dean which I’m sure was the book that really sparked my interest in ballet.

As I grew older, I began reading some of the epic stories that my dad used to spend hours reading whilst David and I were out exploring and I came to love those too – there’s just something about a book so long and full of detailed descriptions of different places and time periods.  In the backseat of the car, with a fluffy pillow and a thin blanket and I found myself completely entranced by James Michener and James Clavell and to this day, Shogun will always be the book I think of when I think of books reading summers past.  



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Summer Lovin

Interview with Julia Green + Giveaway


Today, we are happy to host an interview with Julia Green, author of books such as Drawing With Light and Breathing Underwater. 

As we are focusing on summer romance this month, could you tell us a little bit about a summer romance you have had in the past?
A summer romance from the past: I’d have to choose a summer from my teenage years, with the beautiful boy who is the inspiration for my character Seb in Drawing with Light. It lasted longer than a summer, in fact, but summer was the happiest time when romance blossomed. He had finished his A levels and was working as an ice-cream seller at a local beauty spot in the countryside, but most of the day no one was buying ice creams and he filled the time by writing letters to me, on thin blue paper  with a blue pen… my first love letters!  We spent hours alone together in the long warm summer evenings  …  with a picnic rug, lying under the stars …

If you could pick any celebrity, who would you choose to have a summer romance with?
I’m  really not  into  the whole celebrity thing, so I can’t answer that question! I’d settle for someone I know now … but that’s all I can say!

Where would be your perfect summer holiday destination?
My perfect summer holiday destination is a Greek island away from the crowds … a beach backed by olive trees, with a small beach café where they cook fresh fish and serve iced coffee

What is you perfect summer read?
My perfect summer read : The German Boy by Patricia Wastvedt: a beautifully written, dark, troubling novel about two families in the period between the wars, with a love story at its centre which will make your heart ache.

Which three books would you choose to take on a beach holiday with you? 
Three books to take on holiday: I’m re-reading D.H. Lawrence The Rainbow at the moment, so I’ll take his Women in Love to read next.  Plus  my friend Moira Young’s  amazing debut novel  Blood Red Road, and a new novel by David Almond which isn’t published yet  called The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean.

Some authors do certain things while they write like listen to music etc. Do you have to do anything like this while you write?
I often listen to a particular piece of music to get me into the mood for the book I’m writing. For Hunters’s Heart, it was  Road to St Ives by John Surman;  Bob Dylan  was the sound track for  writing Baby Blue;  at the moment I’m listening to classical music ( Finzi’s clarinet concerto). Sometimes I just have the radio burbling in the background.


Do you have any songs that always remind you of summer?
Songs that remind me of summer:  Summertime, (this one has lots of romantic associations for me!);  Dream a Little Dream of Me ( Mamas and Papas: from long journeys down to the south of France on camping holidays);  Cara Dillon singing Lark in the Clear Air ( I listened to this a lot when I was writing Breathing Underwater).

What is your favourite, feel good, summer movie? 
Feel Good Summer Movie:  Little Miss Sunshine  : funny, life-affirming film about a family

What is your favourite book of all time and why?

Favourite book of all time:  sooooo hard to choose one.  In the end, I decided on I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith; because of the main character: funny, clever 17 year old Cassandra, who is writing the story in a series of notebooks. It’s about a family, and growing up, and falling in love, but in unusual and unexpected circumstances. Romantic, but not in a way you’d expect. Read it!

You can find out more about Julia and her books here: www.julia-green.co.uk


With a big thanks to the publisher, we are giving away copies of Breathing Underwater and Drawing With Light to one lucky winner. All you need to do is fill in the form below by 3rd August when we will be picking a winner at random. The winner will have 48 hours to respond before we will pick another winner. Giveaway is UK only unfortunately. Good luck! 

Book Review: Drawing With Light by Julia Green

Kat and Emily have grown up without their mother for almost as long as they can remember. And now Dad is with Cassy and they all muddle along together well enough – even though they are living in a cramped caravan while their new house is being renovated. Then Cassy and Dad tell them that Cassy is pregnant, and everything seems to shift. Emily feels a new urge to find her own mother. How could she have left them the way she did? Never writing to them? Not communicating with them? And as Emily begins her search, not knowing what she will find, she is at the same time embarking on a new relationship of her own, that of her romance with Seb. This is an evocative and finely drawn novel about family relationships, in particular that of mother and daughter, and the shifting emotions of a teenager trying to make sense of her family and her world.(From Amazon.co.uk)

I picked up Drawing With Light after reading a very positive review and being intrigued by the blurb on Amazon. I’m very glad I did as from the gorgeous cover to the beautiful story inside, this book is an absolute joy.
Emily has been brought up by her father and stepmother Cassy, after her Mother, Francesca, left when she was a baby. She has no memories of her mother, but as her family changes from the one she is used to and a teacher compares her photography work to the mysterious Francesca, she starts to feel a desperate need to find her mother. With a first person narrative, Julia Green gets the voice of a confused 16 year old just right. For the most part Emily is shy and quiet and mature, but occasionally the feelings of jealousy and abandonment erupt, making her a very real but likable character.

The developing relationship with Seb is beautifully written, filled with all the anxieties and worries of first love. It has that heart pounding intensity that will surely have anyone sighing dreamily, but at the same time doesn’t shy away from the painful and awkwardness of a brand new relationship. Both Seb and Emily are written with flaws, but it’s these flaws that make them all the more appealing and believable.

The way Julia Green writes is almost poetic at times. The way she describes things, such as the trees Emily loves photographing for example, is wonderful. Drawing With Light is a reference to Emily’s photography and I think it’s a beautiful and clever way to think about it.

This is truly a lovely book. It isn’t really the kind of book that will have you gripped. The blurb on the back of the book suggests there is more of a mystery surrounding Emily’s mother than there really is. But it’s not the mystery or secret that the book is about. It’s about a young girl coming of age and needing to find herself. It’s about family and first love and working out who you really are. I didn’t find it to be a book I couldn’t put down and raced towards the end, more a comfy and cosy read I looked forward to savouring.

Published by Bloomsbury March 2011
Thanks to the publishers for sending a copy for review.


Guest Post: Raimy shares her top three summer dream bookish destinations!

Today we have the lovely Raimy from Readaraptor with us to share her top three summer dream bookish destinations!


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First of all is a place which really is a dream… mainly because it isn’t actually there
anymore but I would love it if it was a regular thing that the beach and the company
involved did like once a year!

What was it? Ikea’s celebration of Billy Bookcase’s 30th birthday; beach library

Where was it? Bondi Beach, Sydney Australia

History: Last year to celebrate the 30th birthday of their well known, and loved, Billy
Bookcases Ikea stored 30 of the shelves in a curved line across Bondi Beach in
Sydney. The shelves actually made up the “world’s longest bookshelves” but were
only in place for one day. Locals were asked to either swap their books or make a
donation for new books to the Australian Literacy Foundation.

Why I would have wanted to go there or for it to be a regular event: How cool
would it be to visit a beach library? Especially in Sydney (or any other hot country…
an English Beach Library would just result in the books getting wet!) Maybe
Ikea could work in conjunction with lots of hot countries and let their shelves go
wandering… The Birthday Bash was in January 2010 so it would have only worked
in a country that was hot in February but I vote for a midyear one in like Spain… I’d
travel to that!
If you would like to see more photos of this, you can find them here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/charliebrewer/with/4317622726/

My second destination is not only for books but for other things as well…

What is it? Edinburgh International Book Festival

Where is it? Edinburgh

History: Starting back in 1983 the Edinburgh Book Festival is just one of the events
which happens in Edinburgh each year. The very first year it began there were
around 30 actual events whereas now, there are hundreds of events spread across
the two week festival. This year the festival features events from authors David
Almond, Theresa Breslin, Julia Donaldson and Roddy Doyle.

Why I want to go there: With such a fantastic line up and with it being on at the
same time as the Fringe Festival, to be honest I want to spend most of my summer
living in Edinburgh just so I can go to all the events! I have never been to a literature
festival and if I could tick that off my list along with the fringe festival, meeting some
great authors and visiting Edinburgh it would be awesome!

And my third and final destination is me cheating a bit to be honest! None of you
readers will be able to visit this place but it is top of my Dream Bookish Destinations
any summer!

What is it? My parent’s garden

Where is it? Bulgaria

History: Well there’s not much history… other than the fact that my parents live
in a gorgeous house in the middle of a rural village in Bulgaria. They have one
of the nicest gardens ever which has a pool, sun loungers and a nice patio. Last
time I went I spent three weeks doing nothing but reading, seriously I took like 15
books and bought more there as I ran out of stuff to read! I would love to just hop
on a plane for two reasons; firstly Id get to see my folks, but secondly and more
importantly I have a HUGE TBR and I could do with two or three weeks in the middle
of nowhere to get some of it read! Hehe



Anyway, that is it for my Top Three Summer Dream Bookish Destinations! I hope
you have enjoyed and many thanks to Vicki and Lyndsey for letting me be a part of
the Summer Lovin’ feature!

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Thanks so much Raimy for this wonderful guest post. Does any one else have any dream destinations?

Book review: This Way To Paradise by Cathy Hopkins

Fifteen Year-old India is tired of moving around with her globe trotting parents, so when their finances take a turn for the worse and they’re forced to move into her aunt’s home in London, she’s looking forward to just staying in one place for a while and being a normal girl. Especially when she spots the local talent AKA mysterious and moody Joe. But when her Father is offered a job touring Europe with an Orchestra, India once again finds herself in an airport, this time she’s off to Greece! But without the rest of her family, and only her party mad cousin for company she’s never felt so alone.
I’ve never read any of Cathy Hopkins previous books before, although I do know they’re very popular with younger teen girls. I was looking forward to the humour and fun she’s renowned for and wasn’t disappointed. I really liked the fun, sassy and easy writing style but was also surprised to find it had some quite serious themes which I wasn’t expecting.

I liked India, she’s a relatable character with the same anxieties as many teens: parent difficulties, boy troubles and feelings of insecurity/not knowing who she is. I also really liked the dynamics between India and her older cousin Kate, party girl extraordinaire, and how self conscious she made India feel. I think we’ve ALL known a Kate, who we look up to, idolise and yearn to be like. I have to say though I found the adults in this book annoying beyond belief, particularly India’s parents. It’s a kind of role reversal where India is the grounded and sensible one, and the parents lack any sense of real responsibility. Her father’s attitude to his unemployment particularly wound me up…he comes off as on overgrown spoilt brat!

I expected this book to be aimed more at younger tweens/teens but was surprised at some of the content involving boys and alcohol. However I did think it was pretty realistic and not overly shocking, just not what i was expecting and I’d say it’s suitable for ages 12+. The setting was gorgeous, with Greece being beautifully depicted. Set in a holistic retreat, it has a spiritual edge to it too which I also really liked, and the romance got my full approval too. Joe is perfect moody bad boy swoon material.


This Way To Paradise was a nice, easy read, perfect for the beach or poolside. It’s funny with a slightly more serious edge than I was expecting, and romantic. But overall it’s a girls journey to discovering who she is and where she belongs, and an enjoyable one at that.

Published by Piccadilly 2007. Thanks to the publishers for providing a copy for review.



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 www.readitswapit.co.uk. 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.


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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 

Guest Post: Jadey Gives Us Her Top 5 Summer Reading Recommendations

Today we’re welcoming Jadey from Ink Scratchers! Please be sure to leave her a comment and stop over at her blog to say hi!

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When I was told that I could take part in Summer Lovin’ month, there was no doubt about what my guest post would be about. Any reader will be able to relate to me when I point out that there are books that you read in the cold winter and feel like you should be sat in the garden in summer reading, or books that just come across as the perfect beach reads. So in this post I shall just ramble about the books that I’ve read and will recommend for a summer read!
During the summer when I was thirteen, I went through a period where I was at my local library every day and there was one book there that I would read at least once a week. That book was Shug by Jenny Han. A few months ago I took Shug out of the library again and despite the fact that it was actually the middle of winter here, I was taken back to that summer, sat on the grass outside the library with an ice-cream and some ice cold Sprite.

I’m yet to read Jenny Han’s Summer series, but I am dying to read it, I remember how Han’s writing made me feel, how I could relate to twelve year old Shug when I was thirteen and I can’t wait to read the Summer series, aimed for older readers, now that I am eighteen.
But what other books would I recommend this summer?

Rockaholic by CJ Skuse

Skuse is the kind of writer who can make a totally unbelievable story seem real. Rockaholic is a fun story which, when you reflect on it, actually has some pretty serious undertones. Don’t let that put you off though, the story, about a teenager who inadvertently kidnaps her favourite rock star, is cute, exciting and extremely funny. 


       
     Jessie Hearts NYC by Keris Stainton
This absolutely adorable story of fate is one of my most charming reads of 2011. The story is short and simple, the writing is gorgeous and this book is filled with moments that make you laugh, cry and gasp (sometimes all at once). This is the perfect read for sitting in the garden on a hot Summer day.
      Anything by Sarah Dessen (Though my personal favourite is This Lullaby)
There is something about Dessen’s writing that any teenage girl can relate to, but that also attracts older readers. Dessen has a way of telling bittersweet stories of heartbreak without making them too sad. I love all of her books, but This Lullaby is a favourite read of mine (and one that I must reread every summer!)
But it’s not just the contemporary reads! While most paranormal/fantasy books are quite dark and serious, not usual beach reading material, some of them are just right for a hot summer day!

      Forgive my Fins by Tera Lynn Childs and Tempest Rising by Tracy Deebs
Who doesn’t love mermaids? Forgive my Fins is a cute romantic read and Tempest Rising is a little more serious, but still fitting for a beach read. For some reason, mermaids seem like the absolute perfect read for the beach. I don’t know about everyone else, but they make me want to grow gills and fins and find an underwater world myself!
So those are my five summer recommendations for you! I hope you try them and love them!


Guest Post: Vivienne of Serendipity Reviews & Her Desert Island Books


Today we’re welcoming the wonderful Vivienne, of Serendipity Reviews with a fantastic guest post on her Desert Island Books

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I was over the moon when Lynsey and Vicki said I could join in their Summer Lovin month and found myself desperately searching through my book shelves to find the summer books that I would want to take with me to a desert island. It was such a difficult decision to make as there are so many, that in the end I had to follow my heart. Before you read on, I must stress that my reading taste is really eclectic, I can go from reading Young Adult to vintage without batting an eyelid, so be warned before you read that these books won’t suit everyone, but personally I love them.

The first book that came instantly to mind was Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman. This has not yet been released in the UK, but it will be available in January and I have to say you are in for a real treat. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt has to be one of my most favourite all time summer reads. Set in the Deep South, it follows the story of CeeCee, a young girl whose early life has been full of troubles. After the death of her mother, she is whisked away to live with her a great aunt she had never heard of. Aunt Tootie and a warm array of quirky characters help to transform CeeCee’s life, which allows her to blossom beautifully into a young woman.

The warmth in this book is just overpowering and because it is set in Savannah, you have the Deep South hospitality and weather to envelop you. I would recommend everyone reading this book.

My second choice is a romantic and hilarious read by one of my favourite chick lit authors, The Wedding Day by Catherine Alliot. Catherine is one of those authors that makes me cry with laughter. Her characters with all their quirks could have stepped right out of real life. Their behaviour will have you sniggering all over the place.

Annie O’Harran is sent off to stay in her elderly aunt’s cottage in Cornwall with her 12 year old daughter for a long needed vacation. She has visions of finishing her novel whilst there before returning to London to marry her fiancé, a physician called David. Whilst there, she wasn’t expecting to meet a cute American called Matt, who is renting the property next door, let alone fall in love with him. As her forthcoming wedding approaches, she has to make a decision about her future and soon.

This is a perfect, easy going and entertaining summer read bristling with romance.

My third choice is a little unusual as it is rather sad and heart wrenching. The Drowning by Valerie Mendes is a Young Adult novel that I really enjoyed and would definitely read again.

Sixteen year old Jenna is a talented ballerina and will stop at nothing to fulfil her ambition. However fate has a different idea and after a nasty accident, Jenna is filled with guilt and grief and gives up on her dream in order to help her father run the family business, a seaside restaurant in Cornwall. With the discovery of her brother’s diary and the help of a budding romance, Jenna learns to live again and the future begins to look brighter.

This was such a beautiful summer read that had me desperate to read more by this author. Instantly you find yourself transported to the summer season in Cornwall.
My fourth choice is a Virago classic that I read and fell in love with and is one that demands to be read in summer. It is Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Armin.

This book is set in the 1920’s and begins when two women read an advertisement in the paper inviting people to stay in a medieval castle in the Italian Rivera. Four women take up the offer and quickly depart for a summer of romance and fun. Within this book it is delightful to watch these older women allow the sun to open their minds and invite romance in.


My final choice has to be I Capture The Castle by Dodi Smith. I have read this book so many times and with each read I still love it. I always read it in the summer, although only part of the story actually covers that period of time. This book is the journal of a young girl called Cassandra who is growing up in a rumbling castle, with her unusual family. They struggle to survive with little money coming in and wait patiently for their father to write another novel, although the outlook is bleak as he suffers with severe writer’s block. Their lives are completely turned upside down when the American heirs arrive at the castle to take ownership and Cassandra finds herself falling in love for the first time.

This is a timeless classic that everyone should read at least once.

So there you have my five Desert Island books, I did warn you they were all very different, but that suits my eclectic taste.

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Thanks Vivienne for sharing such a wonderful collection of books, we love your eclectic taste.
So what book would be your Desert Island Book?