Top 5 Things to Do at the Edinburgh Festival
Edinburgh residents have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the Edinburgh Festival – as in some love it, some hate it with a passion. I lived in Edinburgh for around 11 years and always loved the madness of the festivals, and I still go back for them every summer. That’s partly why I set my novel Out of the Blue, about a 16-year-old girl who finds one of the angel-like ‘Beings’ that have been falling from the sky for the past eight months, during the Edinburgh Fringe. The chaotic atmosphere really lent itself to the angel-catching craze in the story, and it made it really fun to write.
If you’re heading to the Edinburgh festivals this year, here are my top 5 tips:
1. See something you couldn’t see anywhere else
Performers from all over the world come to the Edinburgh Fringe, so it’s a great chance to see shows you probably wouldn’t come across otherwise. I always see a lot of comedy, but in the past few years I’ve tried to branch into other genres – last summer I saw a paper art puppet show from New Zealand, a rollerblading Russian string quartet, and an interactive musical all in Ukrainian.
2. See the “other” festivals
Though ‘the Festival’ is often referred to as a single entity, there are actually a few of them taking place in August. As well as the Fringe and the Edinburgh International Festival, there’s the Royal Military Tattoo, the Edinburgh Art Festival and my favourite, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, which is excellent and brings dozens of amazing authors to the city each year.
3. See some freebies
If you’re on a budget, the Royal Mile is a great place to catch previews of shows and street performers and generally experience the hectic Fringe vibe. There are also free shows in the programme, including lots of comedy. Some of them are just as good as the paid stuff – and some are unimaginably awful, but that’s all part of the authentic Fringe experience.
4. See more of Edinburgh
It can be hard to cram in sightseeing or walking into a jam-packed schedule of snows, but I recommend seeing a bit more of the city if you can. If the crowds get a bit much, head to Portobello Beach, for a walk up Arthur’s Seat (where the Being falls in Out of the Blue!) or along the Water of Leith. If you want to go a bit further afield, North Berwick is really nice for a day out.
5. Eat lots of food!
Edinburgh is a great place for foodies, and during the festivals there are some amazing food trucks around George Square and in the Meadows. Some of it is kind of (very) hipstery – last year I had squid ceviche – but there’s also amazing pizza, burgers, mac and cheese, etc. I’d also recommend ice cream from Mary’s Milk Bar, nachos from Auld Hoose, grilled cheese from Meltmongers... and if it’s your first time in Scotland, you obviously have to try haggis.
When angels start falling from the sky, it seems like the world is ending. For most people it doesn't. But for Jaya the world ended when her mother died, two weeks before the first angel fell.
Smashing down to earth at extraordinary speeds, wings bent, faces contorted, not a single one has survived and, as the world goes angel crazy, Jaya's father uproots the family to Edinburgh, intent on catching one alive. But Jaya can't stand his obsession and, struggling to make sense of her mother's sudden death and her own role on that fateful day, she's determined to stay out of it. Then something extraordinary happens: an angel lands right at Jaya’s feet, and it’s alive.
Set against the backdrop of the frenzied Edinburgh festival, Sophie Cameron's Out of the Blue tackles questions of grief and guilt and fear over who we really are. But it’s also about love and acceptance and finding your place in this world as angels drop out of another.
Today, I have another post on my blog following my publishing series. Today, I am talking about Simon & Schuster. But, the YA end of it. I will have a separate post on all the other books I love from them. This post would just go on forever if I combined them.
I adore so many books from these. Especially the Morgan Matson books. She is the author I adore. Her books are always fun, perfect for summer reading and I always know I'm going to enjoy them. Her books are always fun and full of romance but, always have so much more to do with family relationships, friendships, drama and just so much wrapped up into these amazing books.
Another one of my favourite authors is Sophie McKenzie. I have been reading her books since I was about 12-13 and I just love her writing. I get really excited when she brings out a new book because she is a fantastic writer and one of my all time favourites. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw recently came out, I was lucky enough to receive an early copy and this book is fantastic. One of the best books I've read this year and I was just so gripped by it. Another new releases I adored was Far From the Tree by Robin Benway. A beautiful story of 3 siblings who, find each other but are all struggling with different things. A story of opening up to the people who love you and being able to move on. We also have the wonderful WFC series from Perdita and Honor Cargill, They Both Die at the End and History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera (you will cry) The Potion Diaries trilogy by Amy Alward is FANTASTIC!
Okay, so now here is a list of the books they having coming out this year that I am REALLY looking forward too.
Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett - 17/5/18
Waiting For Callback It's A Wrap by Perdita and Honor Cargill - 31/5/18
Jinxed by Amy Alward - 9/8/18
Save the Date by Morgan Matson - 6/18
In Your Light by Annalie Grainger - 5/18
Dear Martin by Nic Stone (Very excited they are publishing this!) - 5/18
What If It's Us by Adam Silvera & Becky Albertalli A.K.A the best author pairing of all time.
Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare - 12/18
What books are you excited for?!
When we get further into the year all I can think about is how close we are getting to the releases of some books I am really excited for. I don't want to wish the year away but, I am just so excited for these books that I am counting down the days and have them already pre-ordered.
Xiomara has always kept her words to herself. When it comes to standing her ground in her Harlem neighbourhood, she lets her fists and her fierceness do the talking.
But X has secrets – her feelings for a boy in her bio class, and the notebook full of poems that she keeps under her bed. And a slam poetry club that will pull those secrets into the spotlight.
Because in spite of a world that might not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to stay silent.
When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat - but real life isn't always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she's the only child of a young, single mum, and her life is decidedly less privileged. And even though her mom knows she's bisexual, she hasn't mustered the courage to tell her friends - not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.
So Leah really doesn't know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It's hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting-especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.
Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best-friends-turned-worst-enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern-day version of the Montagues and Capulets. But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.
Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to try to make their way to safety. But as the two travel deeper into the rugged Californian countryside, secrets and hidden feelings surface. Soon it's not simply a matter of enduring each other’s company, but taming their growing feelings for each other.
Feyre, Rhys and their companions are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can't keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated - scars that will have a far-reaching impact on the future of their court.
Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal's betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart-and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her-Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all . . . starting with the crown on Maven's head.
But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal's powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolish everything - and everyone - in his path.
War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?
In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard's stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power . . . For all will be tested, but not all will survive.
Holly's mum is a hoarder, and she is fed up with being picked on at school for being weird . . . and having the wrong clothes . . . and sticking out. All she wants is to be invisible. She loves swimming, because in the water everyone is the same.
Ed goes to the swimming pool because everything else in his life has changed. In his old life he had money; was on the swim team; knew who he was and what he wanted. In his old life his dad hit his mum.
Holly is swimming in one direction and Ed's swimming in the other. As their worlds collide they find a window into each other's lives - and learn how to meet in the middle.
Violet is not impressed with her TV director dad: he’s decided to abandon his family in Vancouver to start over with a new younger wife in LA. To Violet, it’s like he’s traded his old life for a better one – complete with new and improved children. To make matters worse, her mom has taken up with a dorky new man called Dudley Wiener.
Violet decides to take control. She needs a new stepfather who is perfect, charming and will show Dad what he’s missing: she needs George Clooney, Hollywood superstar.
Charlie Grant tries to keep her life as normal as possible. Hanging out with her best friend, pining for Jesse Foster - who she’s loved since she was twelve - and generally flying under the radar as much as she can.
But sometimes normal is just another word for stuck, and this weekend that's all going to change. Not only will everyone be back home for her sister’s wedding, but she’s also juggling:
- a rented dog that just won't stop howling
- an unexpectedly hot wedding-coordinator’s nephew
- her favourite brother bringing home his HORRIBLE new girlfriend
- fear that her parents’ marriage is falling apart
- and the return to town of the boy she’s loved practically all her life…
Over the course of four days Charlie will learn there's so much more to each member of her family than she imagined, even herself, and that maybe letting go of the things she's been holding on tightest to can help her find what really keeps them together.
BUY HERE - (not sure if this is the UK cover as well)
Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Queen of Flame and Fury, was murdered before her eyes. Ten years later, Theo has learned to survive under the relentless abuse of the Kaiser and his court as the ridiculed Ash Princess.
When the Kaiser forces her to execute her last hope of rescue, Theo can't ignore her feelings and memories any longer. She vows revenge, throwing herself into a plot to seduce and murder the Kaiser's warrior son with the help of a group of magically gifted and volatile rebels. But Theo doesn't expect to develop feelings for the Prinz.
Forced to make impossible choices and unable to trust even those who are on her side, Theo will have to decide how far she's willing to go to save her people and how much of herself she's willing to sacrifice to become Queen.
Just as Charlie allows herself to succumb to Gabe's charms, the explosive revelation about her mother's death threatens to pull them apart.
Meanwhile, a media circus has exploded around Olly and Fire&Lights: What made Olly walk out? And what future does this leave for the band? As Olly begins his solo career, Fire&Lights announce a US tour and a new band member. Knowing that her mother's last days were in America touring with her band, Charlie is determined to accompany the boys on tour so that she can get to the bottom of her mother's death, once and for all.
When Olly's first single clashes with Fire&Lights's latest release, a race for top of the charts begins ... and as Charlie begins to uncover the truth, will she finally be able to follow her heart?
It's time to face the music ...
Obviously there is way more amazing books out this year but, this list would have been so long. I am so excited for these books and again, asked on twitter what you where looking forward too and they are below! Each image is linked so you can go check out these amazing bloggers.
We are midway in March and I want to talk about some of the books I have been loving so far this year. These are books that I haven't been able to stop thinking about or talking about.
‘I am a Duke. I’m not asking you to marry me. I am offering to marry you. It’s a different thing entirely.’
When the Duke of Ashbury returns from war scarred, he realises he needs an heir – which means he needs a wife! When Emma Gladstone, a vicar's daughter turned seamstress visits wearing a wedding dress, he decides on the spot that she'll do.
His terms are simple:
- They will be husband and wife by night only.
- No lights, no kissing.
- No questions about his battle scars.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she's pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.
But Emma is no pushover. She has secrets and some rules of her own:
- They will have dinner together every evening.
- With conversation.
- And teasing.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she's seen the man beneath the scars, he can't stop her from falling in love…
BUY HERE - Check out my review HERE to see why I loved this book! It is so fun, steamy and just wonderful.
Two centuries ago, in the small, isolated town, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town. Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return from the depths, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them down to their watery deaths.
Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into or the fact that his arrival will change everything...
Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.
But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.
PRE-ORDER HERE - A bloody brilliant book that I just can't stop thinking about how fantastic it is and everyone needs to read it - MY REVIEW
Someday I'm going to write a book: How Not to Die in Alaska - A Girl's Guide to Fashionable Survival.
I bet you don't know that a hair pin can make an excellent fishing hook. You may think you can use just any kind of mud for mud masks, but trust me, you CAN'T! In a pinch, nothing starts a fire like nail polish remover. Alaska is tough. You might know this, if you ever replied to my letters.
After Maddie's Secret Service dad takes a bullet for the president, he takes Maddie somewhere he thinks they'll be safe - far away from the White House and the president's son, Logan.
But when Logan comes to Alaska, so does the danger.
If there's one thing Alaska has taught Maddie, it's how to survive. And now her best friend's life depends on it ...
BUY HERE - My first Ally Carter book but, not my last. SO GOOD! This book was not what I expected with all the drama, action, laughs, cries and so much more - MY REVIEW
When 16 year-old Grace gives up her baby for adoption, she decides that the time has come to find out more about her own biological mother. Although her biological mum proves elusive, her search leads her to two half-siblings she never knew existed.
Maya, 15, has been adopted by wealthy parents and seems to have the picture-perfect family – that is, if you look past her alcoholic mother and the fact that Maya stands out like a sore thumb.
Older brother Joaquin hasn’t been so lucky. At 18, he’s shuffled between foster home after foster home, always careful never to get attached to anyone or anything, because it always gets taken away.
When these three siblings come together, they find in themselves the place they can belong, while the secrets they guard threaten to explode...
BUY HERE - A fantastic book that everyone needs to read. It was brilliant and full of different family relationships and so much more! - MY REVIEW
Rev works hard to keep the demons of the time before his adoption at bay ... until a letter from his father after his 18th birthday brings the trauma of his childhood hurtling back.
Emma escapes real life by perfecting the online game she built from scratch. Coding is way easier than facing her parents' nasty relationship or the growing distance with her best friend ... But when an online troll's harassment starts to escalate, she fears for her safety.
When Rev and Emma meet, they're buckling under the weight of their secrets. Though both of them find it hard to put their problems into words, they connect instantly and deeply. Rev and Emma's problems might be worlds apart, but they promise to help each other no matter what.
But promises are made to be tested and some things hurt more than we can tell.
PRE-ORDER HERE - A book of confronting your pass, thinking about your future and all the in-betweens. Internet safety, gaming and possibly first loves? - MY REVIEW
When angels start falling from the sky, it seems like the world is ending. For most people it doesn't. But for Jaya the world ended when her mother died, two weeks before the first angel fell.Smashing down to earth at extraordinary speeds, wings bent, faces contorted, not a single one has survived and, as the world goes angel crazy, Jaya's father uproots the family to Edinburgh, intent on catching one alive. But Jaya can't stand his obsession and, struggling to make sense of her mother's sudden death and her own role on that fateful day, she's determined to stay out of it. Then something extraordinary happens: an angel lands right at Jaya's feet, and it's alive. Set against the backdrop of the frenzied Edinburgh festival, Sophie Cameron's Out of the Blue tackles questions of grief and guilt and fear over who we really are. But it's also about love and acceptance and finding your place in this world as angels drop out of another.
BUY HERE - A beautiful, lyrical, YA debut - MY REVIEW
In the land of Sempera, the rich control everything - even time. Ever since the age of alchemy and sorcery, hours, days and years have been extracted from blood and bound to iron coins. The rich live for centuries; the poor bleed themselves dry.Jules and her father are behind on their rent and low on hours. To stop him from draining himself to clear their debts, Jules takes a job at Everless, the grand estate of the cruel Gerling family. There, Jules encounters danger and temptation in the guise of the Gerling heir, Roan, who is soon to be married. But the web of secrets at Everless stretches beyond her desire, and the truths Jules must uncover will change her life for ever ... and possibly the future of time itself.
BUY HERE - A brilliant fantasy novel that is full of drama, twists and so much more that I don't want to talk about because you just need to read this book - MY REVIEW
They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie's Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.
BUY HERE - A book that is taking the world by storm and for good reason. A brilliant book that is just still on my mind now.
Among the bustling markets of eighteenth century Cairo, the city’s outcasts eke out a living swindling rich Ottoman nobles and foreign invaders alike.
But alongside this new world the old stories linger. Tales of djinn and spirits. Of cities hidden among the swirling sands of the desert, full of enchantment, desire and riches. Where magic pours down every street, hanging in the air like dust.
Many wish their lives could be filled with such wonder, but not Nahri. She knows the trades she uses to get by are just tricks and sleights of hand: there’s nothing magical about them. She only wishes to one day leave Cairo, but as the saying goes…
Be careful what you wish for.
BUY HERE - A brilliant, magical, story that you need to add to your TBR ASAP!
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the
hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the
sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most--a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian's heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.
The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby--it's his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she's more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good--But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind's greatest enemy?
BUY HERE - A book that had me captured from the very first page...
I also asked people on Twitter what books they have been loving this year so far
Let me know in the comments what books you've been loving!
Today I am unboxing the Illumicrate February box which, had a theme this time called Rise Up!
Obviously, I had to get this box as I was told there was things to do with An Ember In The Ashes, Hamilton and The Winner's Trilogy-three of my all time favourite things.
So, look at these first 3 items! How beautiful is each design.
The first thing is a Hamilton inspired mug with a quote from Wait For It designed by abbieimagine. I also have a pillow with this quote on as it is one of my favourite Hamilton songs and now I have it on a mug! (Also, off topic I went to see Hamilton West End last week and it was just everything I hoped for and I had so many tears.)
Next is a pillow cushion inspired by AEITA by the wonderful Sabaa Tahir. Another favourite of mine and I just adore this cover! It is so bright and I've got to find a spare pillow somewhere because it's amazing. This is designed by stellabookishart.
Next item is a dagger bookmark inspired by The Winner's Trilogy. I love the quote, the fact it's a bookmark and it's just so beautiful. This item was designed by rdashjackdotcom.
Before the books, yes books, Daphne really spoiled us with this box!
There was some more goodies.
A Phoenix Magnet, which is just so beautiful and designed by hannahhitchmanart. A rebel's command list which I am excited to write my commands on designed by howstoreofficial. A Lunar Lip balm which smells absoultey amazing! The perfect size to put in my bag! This was created by lovely_lip_bam. Also a cute notebook to do with The Hazel Wood, The Truth and Lies of Ella Black mirror, Clean by Juno Dawson sampler, Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi sampler and notebook, Strange The Dreamer post card and a Witchsign bookmark!
The first book was this beautiful exclusive proof of The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green. I am a big fan of Sally Green and I was so excited it was this box!
'A princess, a traitor, a soldier, a hunter and a thief. Five teenagers with the fate of the world in their hands. Five nations destined for conflict.In Brigant, Princess Catherine prepares for a political marriage arranged by her brutal and ambitious father, while her true love, Ambrose, faces the executioner's block. In Calidor, downtrodden servant March seeks revenge on the prince who betrayed his people. In Pitoria, feckless Edyon steals cheap baubles for cheaper thrills as he drifts from town to town. And in the barren northern territories, thirteen-year-old Tash is running for her life as she plays bait for the gruff demon hunter Gravell.
As alliances shift and shatter, and old certainties are overturned, our five heroes find their past lives transformed and their futures inextricably linked by the unpredictable tides of magic and war. Who will rise and who will fall? And who will claim the ultimate prize?'
And the main book is Blood and Sand by C.V. WYK. I've never heard of this book but it just sounds amazing. It came with a signed bookplate, bookmark, badge and a temporary tattoo.
'FORGED IN BATTLE...FROM THE DUST OF THE ARENA...
A LEGEND WILL RISE
The action-packed tale of a 17-year-old warrior princess and a handsome gladiator who dared take on the Roman Republic--and gave rise to the legend of Spartacus...
For teens who love strong female protagonists in their fantasy and historical fiction, Blood and Sand is a stirring, yet poignant tale of two slaves who dared take on an empire by talented debut author C. V. Wyk.
Roma Victrix. The Republic of Rome is on a relentless march to create an empire--an empire built on the backs of the conquered, brought back to Rome as slaves.
Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and swordmaiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master's favor. Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation.
Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end--and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus...'