Thursday, 31 July 2014

Blog Tour: Noggin - John Corey Whaley

Today I've got debut author John Corey Whaley at Writing from the Tub, talking about his dream soundtrack for his YA novel, Noggin.

Before we launch into the songs I wanted to share the gorgeous cover art and summary for Noggin, in case any of you haven't heard of this one yet. Does the cover art remind anyone else of David Levithan? Just me? Either way, I think it's a brilliant design.



Summary (from Goodreads): Listen — Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.

Now he’s alive again.

Simple as that.

The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but he can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still 16 and everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too.

Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, then there are going to be a few more scars.

Oh well, you only live twice.

*

And now you know a bit more about the book, let's take a look at some of the songs the author would put on the book's soundtrack:


Head Over Heels by Tears for Fears

--->Not only is this song IN the book, but is also my all-time favourite song from the 80s. 

Girls Like You by The Naked and the Famous

--->This song has a very nostalgic quality to it that I think fits NOGGIN very well.  Also, it's about a guy in love with a girl, which is pretty much what the book is about. 

Forever by Haim

--->This song, and the whole album, reminds me of my favorite music from the 80s and early 90s, in a way that I believe fits with NOGGIN, which I wrote to feel similar to a John Hughes movie. 

Pop Music of the Future by Say Hi to Your Mom

--->I used to listen to this song in college a lot I stumbled across it again while I was working on NOGGIN and, with a title like that, how could I NOT use it on this playlist? 

Dead Hearts by Stars

---->There are few songs that can make me tear up as soon as they start playing and this is at the top of that list. It's meant to be heartbreaking, just like parts of this book. 

True Romance by Citizens!

--->This was one of the first songs that I knew I'd include on this playlist from the outset of writing NOGGIN.  It's just so  fun and also super quirky, which is what I was aiming for in parts of the story. 

Forever Young by Youth Group

--->This is a remake of the original song (I think I heard this version on The OC years ago) and I fell in love with it.  

*

Haim and The Naked and Famous on one playlist? Yes, please!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Dangerous Boys - Abigail Haas

Published: August 14th 2014, S&S
Pages:
Series/Standalone: Standalone
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): Three teens venture into the abandoned Monroe estate one night; hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding; the other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder?

Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece together the story of how they got there-a story of jealousy, twisted passion, and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful of faces…


My review: After reading and loving Abigail Haas' Dangerous Girls last year, I couldn't wait to receive a copy of Dangerous Boys, which I had very high hopes for. A copy arrived for me last week and I read it the same day it arrived - once I started, I simply couldn't put it down. This is one more-ish story that will have you racing through the pages to discover what really happened when Chloe Bennett and the Reznick brothers went into the abandoned house on a night that ended in tragedy...

The narrative in Dangerous Boys is split between 'Then', which shows us the events that take place before the night in the abandoned house, and 'Now', which shows the aftermath of the fire. During the 'Then' sections we see Chloe meeting Ethan, the younger Reznick brother, their blossoming relationship and how complicated their lives become when Oliver, the enigmatic but troubled older Reznick brother, comes onto the scene.

I adored the story in Dangerous Boys, particularly the mystery about what really happened in the house and who made it out alive, as this is something we don't find out until almost the end of the book. While I was reading I kept changing my mind about who had done what, who I sided with, who made it out alive - I just couldn't make my mind up and in every chapter a new clue was brought to light. I love mysteries and this is a great one - I really don't think the denouement is anything a reader would see coming and I love that Haas kept me guessing until the final pages, just like she did in Dangerous Girls.

However, I did struggle a little with the characters in Dangerous Boys, as I didn't find myself warming to any of them in particular, so I wasn't really rooting for anybody as they all fell a little flat for me. I found Chloe a bit insipid in the beginning of the book but as she grew as a character I did find myself liking her a lot more towards the end of the story. However, when it came to Ethan and Oliver I really wasn't keen on either of them - Oliver was slimy rather than charming and pretentious in a way that just irritated me, whereas Ethan was way too soppy and clingy to be considered a compelling love interest. Now I've finished the book I'm sure they were both written with these flaws on purpose but it did grate on me a little as I was reading.

However, irritating characters aside, I flew through Dangerous Boys and read it in a single sitting because I was so engrossed by the story. If you're looking for an easy to read, summery mystery then this is absolutely perfect for you - let's just hope the sun stays shining until it's released in a couple of weeks!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Picture Me Gone - Meg Rosoff


Published: September 5th 2014, Puffin
Pages: 208 pages, hardback
Standalone/Series: Standalone
Acquired: Purchased myself

Summary (from Goodreads)Mila is on a roadtrip across the USA with her father. They are looking for his best friend but Mila discovers a more important truth. Sometimes the act of searching reveals more than the final discovery can. Adults do not have all the answers. It all depends what questions you ask.

My review: First off, can we take a moment to appreciate how beautiful this cover is? It looks even more lovely in real life and the story inside is just as vibrant and rich as the cover art.

From the outset we discover that our protagonist, Mila, is extremely perceptive of people and situations. She sees things other people don't and can spend five minutes in a room and glean things that nobody else does. This talent comes in particularly handy when her father's best friend goes missing and her and her dad go on a road trip to try and find out what happened to him.

Mila knows something isn't right from the moment they meet the missing man's wife and from that point onwards things feel more and more 'off'. She isn't sure what but something strange has happened but it becomes clear that only somebody with Mila's mind could piece the mystery together. However, the mystery of the missing man isn't the only plot in the book, as other threads are delicately woven through the story to make Picture Me Gone a full-bodied, living, breathing novel that comes to life through Rosoff's unique, memorable prose.

Picture Me Gone is definitely a subtle, understated novel. There are no car chases or explosions here, no century-long romances or bloody crime scenes, just a beautifully-written story about a young girl finding her way in the world and discovering that everybody, even those closest to you, has a secret.


Monday, 21 July 2014

YALC: Day Two

So, day two at YALC!

I woke up feeling a million dollars on the Sunday morning - I was so knackered I can't remember the last time I slept so well. Me and Lynsey mooched on down to the hotel's restaurant for breakfast (hellooooo bacon and hash browns) and then nipped across to Earls Court on the tube, raring to go.

I'd been invited to the YALC blogger event, which meant we got early access to the convention centre and got waved in ahead of the huge queue - which felt pretty awesome, I have to admit. Earls Court was so lovely and quiet at that time of day and we took advantage of the lack of crowds and did some celebrity spotting (HI, HODOR!) before the blogger breakfast started. 

The breakfast itself was great fun, we got to hear from lovely publicists and James Dawson, Non Pratt, Holly Black and Matt Haig all spoke to us about their most recent books. After the event we were all given a brilliant goodie bag and got the chance to have a chat with the authors, which was great fun!

Sunday was definitely much more chilled than Saturday, and I got to meet up with even more of my blogger friends, which was my highlight! We live all over the country and it's not often we get to meet up in such a big group, so I had a brilliant time catching up with all my lovely bookish friends - I won't name names as I'll only forget and offend someone, but you all know who you are and you made my weekend absolutely top notch. Much love!

I caught Phil Earle, Sally Green and Ben Horslen's panel in the morning, which was excellent and gave tonnes of solid advice about getting your novel published. I left the panel desperate to get home and carry on rewriting my book!

After the panel most of my pals were ready for the I'm too Sexy for this Book talk - which might have been the most popular of the weekend! While they were busy with that I decided to venture out solo to enjoy the rest of what LFCC had to offer, as I'd spent most of the previous day in the Book Zone. I had a look at some of the stalls and picked up some Game of Throne badges and American sweets to take home (Nerds and Laffy Taffy, obviously). The stalls were pretty cool but, unfortunately, because of the crowds it was impossible to really stop and look.

After doing a lap of the convention centre and spotting some amazing cosplay I decided to have a little breather outside to cool down, as it was blinking hot. Aaaand that's where it all went wrong... When it came to getting back inside it was completely unorganised and there were loads of different queues at different doors, with people getting stressed out that they couldn't get back in, even though we all had our hands stamped. Things started to get a bit...tense, and nobody seemed to have any idea what was going on or where we were meant to go, so I took it was a sign to head back to Paddington and get a slightly earlier train home.

I'm a bit sad I didn't get to go back inside to catch my last panel and say goodbye to everybody but the atmosphere in the re-entry (or lack of re-entry) queue was definitely getting a bit irate so I didn't want to ruin a good weekend with LFCC drama!

Before I go into my feedback, here are my favourite pictures from day two:

Me and Michelle // GEORGE A ROMERO // Me and Faye // Me and Sophie // Me and Jenny // Sally Green, Ben Horslen and Phil Earl's brilliant panel // A WILD HODOR APPEARED

I had a brilliant time at YALC and it was fantastic to be present for the UK's first YA convention. However, there are definitely a few ways YALC could be improved in future and we were all asked for our honest feedback, so here it is:

- I really don't feel as though LFCC is the right place for YALC. YALC was overshadowed by the convention and the crowds made it difficult to get the most out of the event. It was impossible to just stop and enjoy anything without being bumped into, shoved or moved along by the huge crowds. 

- I was disappointed that barely any publishers had stalls at YALC - come on, guys! It was the perfect place to showcase books and authors and those that were there always had a huge crowd, so it'd be nice to see everybody representing what they have to offer.

- The panels on offer were great but the way they were run wasn't quite as good. The sound issues meant you could only hear if you were in the first few rows and as anybody could wander up and watch the talks it meant people with tickets ended up not being able to get seats. I think for the panels to really work they needed to be in a separate room, or in a space further away from the main crowds, as the background noise was a big problem.

- I was really keen to go to a few of the workshops but the spaces were so limited (25 or 30 spaces per workshop and 70,000 tickets sold for LFCC - the odds were definitely *not* in our favour) I didn't manage to get to any of the five I signed up for, which was a shame as they looked brilliant!

That's it, really. YALC was a fantastic idea and everybody involved did a brilliant job, I just think the venue isn't right, going forward. 99% of the problems we encountered were to do with the crowds for LFCC but I understand why YALC was held there for the first year - it proved that people ARE interested in YA and related events will attract huge crowds! Hopefully the popularity this year means YALC can have its own dedicated venue next year, which would pretty much be perfection.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

YALC Write Up - Day One

So, like a huge chunk of the UKYA community I headed up to London last weekend for the UK's first YA literature convention, which was part of London Film and Comic Con. I decided to split my write up into two posts, one for each day, so my post doesn't end up too long!

I travelled up to London on my own, and that time mostly consisted of sending a million tweets, trying to quietly eat crackers in the quiet carriage on the train and bouncing around in my seat because I was so excited. I arranged to meet my blogging pal, Raimy, and her sister at Earls Court so we could brave the giant queue together and, golly, was it a giant queue!

Yeah, the queue was huge, but I think we all expected it so we chatted and spotted awesome cosplay while we waited. We spied a bunch of bloggers too, which was fun! After an hour and a half we managed to get inside and, gee whizz, if I thought it was hot outside that was nothing compared to the temperature inside! I have to admit I did feel a little overwhelmed when I first got inside as there were literally HUNDREDS of people shoving their way through a teeny tiny little space to get into the main floor. Things did clear out when we found out way to the Book Zone, so I got a chance to cool off and chill out with some of the loveliest people in the world - other bookish types!

I met up with a tonne of my blogging and author friends (some of who I hadn't seen for almost four years!) and met some brilliant new friends too - including Georgina from What She Reads, who I have to give a special shout out as we spent all of Saturday together and she's such a lovely girl, so do check out her blog if you have a minute!

The Book Zone was, you guessed it, dedicated to all things bookish and it was great fun to walk round and see all the displays the publishers had put together. I got tattooed by Hachette, gossiped with Hot Key and browsed the Waterstones booth to check out all the brilliant releases that were for sale - they had early copies of a few books but they sold out prettyyyyy swiftly.

After a day at Earls Court I headed to O'Neills with a few other bloggers and we recharged our phones, feasted on cheesy chips and drank cocktails to relax from a busy day - after that we hit the Fringe event, organised by the fantastic Sophia Bennett, and got to chinwag with even more authors and bloggers.

Me and Lynsey didn't get back to our hotel room until almost midnight, where I pretty much zonked out for seven hours and slept like an absolute log...all in preparation for day two of YALC!

So, to finish the post off, here are a few of my favourite snaps from day one of YALC (SELFIE ALERT):

Me and my lovely new pal, Georgina // Me and my roomie, Lynsey // Me and Non (of internet sperm/Trouble fame) // Me and Tanya Byrne (we finallllly met!) // Me and my best friend, a mojito // Me and the dragon skull from GoT

I'll be back soon with my round up of day two - which will include my round up of the weekend and my highlights and lowlights of YALC!

Friday, 18 July 2014

Blog Tour: Starring Kitty - Keris Stainton

Hi chaps, today I've got a great interview with the lovely Keris Stainton for you all to read to cheer up your grey, muggy morning. Keris' latest novel, Starring Kitty, is due out next week and she was kind enough to stop by and answer a few of my burning questions about the book and her writing process:


Hi, Keris! First off, can you tell us a little bit about Starring Kitty?
Hello! Certainly. It's the first in a series of books about three friends, Kitty, Sunny and Hannah (they'll have a book each). They enter a film-making competition and while they're working on the film, Kitty is trying to deal with her mum's illness and also falling for a girl she's just met... 
Talk me through an average day when you’re working on a novel. Do you have a set number of words you have to write per day or do you set yourself different targets?
I used to be very bad at this. There's a lot of waiting in publishing and whenever I was waiting (or planning or editing), I wasn't writing. This year I decided to make a change and set a target of 1000 words a day, every week day (which is 250,000 for the year) and it's really changed everything, I've been so much more productive and I'm enjoying it much more. Plus I buy myself a treat every 10% which is fun too. 
Some writers relate take great inspiration from music while they’re writing. Do you listen to music while you’re writing? If so, what artists/bands do you like to listen to while you write? 
I did this for Jessie Hearts NYC and it worked brilliantly, but for some reason I haven't really managed to do it again. I'm about to start the second draft of the next Reel Friends book, so I might try to make a playlist today because it definitely helps. There are some songs that were on the Jessie playlist that even now make my fingers twitch with the urge to write. 
Are you a plotter or a pantser? Have you always been this way?
Total pantser. Always. I occasionally try to do a tiny bit of plotting - even just making a few notes about what I'm going to write the next day - but I'm much happier just blurting it all out. And then the next draft is MURDER. 
Can you tell me a bit about your journey with Starring Kitty? When did you first come up with the idea and what were the timescales involved between the first draft and the novel being released?
After Emma Hearts LA came out in June 2012, I was working on another book in the series about Bex, Emma's sister, falling for a girl. My publishers eventually told me they didn't want it and I ended up blogging about it as a story I wasn't going to get to write. The same day the blog went up, Non Pratt at Catnip had blogged that she was looking for an LGBT romance so I got in touch with her and had a bit of a chat, but I was also changing agents so I didn't get to meet with Non until early 2013 and my agent situation wasn't sorted out until the summer. In the meantime, the plan changed from the Bex book to the Reel Friends series and I sent the first draft in at the beginning of this year. The turnaround since then has been pretty quick, but basically it will be two years from the original 'spark'. 
How important do you think social media is in today’s market for a writer?
Oh I think it's essential. I'm a total social media obsessive (you might have noticed) - it changed my life. I met my agent and editor through Twitter and many of my best friends online. Plus the entire YA blogging community just makes my heart happy. For research, for relaxation, for support and sometimes commiseration… I don't know what I'd do without it. 
What would you say is your worst bad habit when it comes to writing?
So many bad habits! Too much Twitter. Too much faffing about 'researching' on Google Maps. Too much internet in general. In the actual writing, I tend to back off from the really hard stuff (the hard emotional stuff, I mean) - and it always has to be teased out of me by my editor. Plus I worry about dragging endings out and so I think I often wrap things up too quickly. But I saw Rainbow Rowell say she does the same so I'm in good company there, at least :)
Is naming characters important to you? What processes do you go through to come up with names for your characters?
Yes, but it's not something I can really explain. Names just click. With Della Says: OMG! I really couldn't get on with the book until I was happy with Della's name. With the current book I've ended up with two characters with basically the same name (Daniel and Danielle) and I don't want to change either of them. But I'm going to have to and I'm fretting about it. Every time I hear a name, I run it past the characters in my head to see if it works. No luck so far. (Hmm… Carly…)
What did you hope to accomplish by writing Starring Kitty? Do you think you have accomplished what you set out to do?
Oh that's a good question! Basically I wanted to write a romance like my other books but that just happened to be between two girls. I didn't want it to be about fear or angst or bullying, I wanted it to be about first love. I hope I've accomplished that. I'm certainly very happy with it. 
Aside from writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
So. Much. TV. Also my kids are home educated, and while I don't actually teach them, we do spend a lot of time together. My 5yo is sitting next to me right now and for every question I've answered in this interview, I've answered about 300 of his. (Just now: "Would a fish cuddle a wild cat?")
Thank you so much for your time, Keris. Before you go, could you tell me about any projects you have in the pipeline we can look out for?
I've just finished the first draft of the next book in the Reel Friends series, Spotlight On Sunny, and the first chapter of that will be online soon. There's another VERY exciting thing in the pipeline, but I'm not allowed to say yet, sorry. And thank you so much for having me! 

Friday, 11 July 2014

I'm off to YALC!

So, the last couple of weeks has been a bit of a YALC takeover, hasn't it? I must apologise to anyone who isn't heading to Earl's Court this weekend as I'm sure you're sick to death of hearing about it but... I'm heading to YALC tomorrow and I can't wait! After talking about it for months and months it's finally here!

There are so many amazing authors and bloggers who will be there and I'm determined to catch up with as many people as possible! It'll be my first ever convention so I'm really excited to branch out from the Book Zone and explore everything LFCC has to offer. And I'll be vlogging the whole weekend too, so do look out for a couple of videos once I get back.

Anyone who is going to YALC, please do wave if you see me - I can't wait to meet anyone I haven't met before and see the usual suspects, who I'm missing lots as I haven't been up to London many times this year!

Anyway, I basically just wanted to share my excitement and let you know things may be a teeny tiny bit quiet at the beginning of next week as I'll probably be in bed catching up on sleep...

If you're going to be at YALC please let me know, so I can make sure we hang out!

LET'S GO YALC! LET'S GO *clap clap clap* !!!


Monday, 7 July 2014

YALC Readathon - Wrap-Up!

So, the YALC Readathon is done and dusted and I think I've finally caught up on the sleep I missed...

I'm really pleased that I hit my target of reading ten books throughout the week, even though I didn't feel like I was going to make it at some points. Let me tell you, ten books in seven days is a *lot* of reading and by the Sunday night my brain was aching from too many words. Still, it was a great achievement and such a fun week!

The books I ended up reading were:

Half Bad - Sally Green
Heart-Shaped Bruise - Tanya Byrne
Dead Romantic - CJ Skuse
Echo Boy - Matt Haig
Zom-B Mission - Darren Shan
Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell
Picture Me Gone - Meg Rosoff
Maggot Moon - Sally Gardner
Say Her Name - James Dawson
Follow Me Down - Tanya Byrne

I really enjoyed most of the books and there was only one that was a bit of a dud, but the odds did suggest at least one of the books wasn't going to hit the mark for me. Hey ho, you win some, you lose some.

Either I picked really well or 2013/2014 is a reallllly strong time for books, because the majority of my picks were so great it's hard to narrow it down to a favourite. If I had to pick a shortlist I'd go for Half Bad, Maggot Moon and Eleanor & Park as my three favourites.

So, how did you find the readathon and which books were your favourite reads of the week?

Sunday, 6 July 2014

YALC Essentials!

Next weekend I (along with a huge chunk of the UKYA community) will be heading to London for YALC, the UK's first YA literature convention and, in case you hadn't guessed, I can't blinking wait! It's going to be two days filled with all things bookish and I can't wait to see some of my favourite bloggers and authors. It's going to be great! However, it's also probably going to be busy, hot and a little bit stressful, so I've put together a little kit of my top essentials that I'll be taking with me to survive the crowds of Comic Con.


In case you can't tell from the picture:

Comfy shoes - this has got to be the number one! Don't worry about trying to pull together a stylish outfit, just sling on what's most comfortable and go for it, you'll only be miserable if your feet are killing you by the end of day one

Camera - there's bound to be a million amazing photo opportunities throughout the weekend and taking photos on your phone is going to zap the battery, so pack a camera and record those memories forever. I'm going to be vlogging at YALC so I'll be packing a couple of spare SD cards!

Hair ties and kirby grips - these only apply to the long-haired amongst us but I definitely won't be leaving home without them. It's probably going to be hot hot hot inside Earl's Court and I don't fancy rocking the 'sweaty locks stuck to my forehead' look

Business cards - perfect to give out to all the lovely new people you meet over the weekend. I may actually be business card-less as my order got cancelled yesterday so I'm not sure if my replacements will arrive in time :( (pictured are my business cards for my lifestyle blog)

Anti-bacterial hand gel - after travelling up to London on the train, navigating the tube, checking into my hotel and roaming around Earl's Court for a few hours, I know I'll be glad I packed this!

Portable phone charger - this handy little gadget is going to be a lifesaver, I know it. I'm awful for being glued to my phone and I'm sure YALC will be no exception - whether it's arranging to meet up with friends, looking up the schedule or snapping some pictures for Instagram, it's going to be so handy to be able to recharge my phone a couple of times

Lip balm - I'm going to be doing a *lot* of talking so this mint-flavoured EOS lip balm will be great for keeping my lips from getting chapped

Water - hydration, hydration, hydration. Something none of us want is a headache from dehydration and stress so make sure you drink enough. And maybe pack some paracetamol, just in case!

A couple of days ago I asked the lovely people of Twitter is they had any suggestions for this post and I got a great response - so thank you everybody who sent me their suggestions, they were super helpful! Some of my favourites are:

- Party feet gel inserts
- Spare tote bag for books
- Cash (must not forget this!)
- Snacks
- Plasters

So there we go, I've started your packing list for you :). Not long to go, guys!

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Harder - Robin York

Published: July 1st 2014, Piatkus
Pages: 339 pages, paperback
Standalone/series: This is book two in the series
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): Caroline still dreams about West. His warm skin, his taut muscles, his hand sliding down her stomach. Then she wakes up and she's back to reality: West is gone. Before he left, he broke her heart.

Then, out of the blue, West calls in crisis. A tragedy has hit his family-a family that's already a fractured mess. Caroline knows what she has to do. Without discussion, without stopping to think, she's on a plane, flying to his side to support him in any way he needs.

Though they are together once more, things are totally different. West looks edgy, angry at the world. Caroline doesn't fit in. She should be back in Iowa, finalizing her civil suit against the ex-boyfriend who posted their explicit pictures on a revenge porn website. But here she is. Deeply into West, wrapped up in him, in love with him. Still.

They fought the odds once. Losing each other was hard. But finding their way back to each other couldn't be harder.

Review: Picking up shortly from where Deeper left of, we're plunged right back into the heart of Caroline and West's complicated world, and things are even more complicated this time around. When the ex-couple are finally reunited it's instantly clear that West isn't the same person he was in book one. He's older, stronger, more jaded and much, much angrier. While I couldn't believe some of the awful things he did out of fear and spite (I wanted to give him a sharp clip round the ear a couple of times), one of the things I like the most about Harder is that it's unflinchingly realistic.

Caroline and West's story isn't a Hollywood love story, by any stretch of the imagination. It's complex and, at times, difficult and hurtful but it always feels real. The struggles they go through may not be what every couple goes through, but anybody who's been in love can understand the ache, the unconditional acceptance, the fear that it may all go wrong. This is something Robin York does extremely well, as even though I've never been in the couple's situation, I always understood their emotions - particularly Caroline's.

I think it's really easy to write West off as a bit of a dick but we learn so much more about his character in Harder, it's difficult not to sympathise with him when you meet his family and start to understand the struggles he's gone through. He's been taken advantage of by numerous people throughout his life, in many different ways, and it shows. His walls are a thousand feet high and in Harder we find out whether Caroline really is the person who can break down West's defences and help him truly make peace with his past.

So, this series is a bit of a revelation to me - as it's the first time I've read anything new adult and enjoyed it. Hooray for Caroline and West! And Robin York, of course. While I'm certainly not a NA convert, I am a big fan of this series and would absolutely recommend it to any and all new adult fans!