I’m a member of the pin badge club

I don’t wear much jewellery; a necklace occasionally, or a ring. I guess that popping a little pin badge onto my pinafore or dungarees – picking one out to suit my mood – is my version. My collection is a reflection of all the things I love, from books to coffee, adventures to dachshunds. I wear them so much that people have started buying me them as gifts! I love seeing other people’s, so I thought I’d share mine:

The Readers Gonna Read pin badge was one of the first I received, in an Illumicrate box, and it sparked a love of pins. I probably wear my bookish ones the most, with Read More being my favourite – I adore the colour!

I also have a few showing things I’m a fan of, such as my Yellow Coat Crew pin (I have two yellow coats!), sausage dogs (I was given these two pins for my last birthday), and travelling/adventures (I tend to take them on city breaks). I also wear my EU pin when Brexit news starts to bring me down… I have my eye on a few autumn-themed pins at the moment – I’m all about pretty leaves, hot chocolate and cosiness.

The Pin Badge Club is owned by illustrator Ben Cameron and he kindly sent me his September pin for free – featuring an adorable book and coffee – to share on social media. When he announced that the October pin would be autumn/Halloween-themed, I had to sign up for another month. I can’t wait to see it!

Do you own any pin badges?



Read More – Fable & Black
Bookworm – Fable & Black
Readers Gonna Read – The Literary Emporium
Book and coffee – Pin Badge Club
I like big books – Waterstones
Fox and hedgehog – RSPB
Sausage dog – Emma Traynor
Ravenclaw – Foyles
Sausage dog with hat – a gift
London bus – a gift
Adventure Awaits – onr.
Map (Fueled by travel) – Lucie Bascoul
Yellow Coat Crew – Wren and Wilson
EU Heart – Veronica Dearly
Proud to be bookish – a gift
Rainbow cake – a gift
Berlin – a gift shop on holiday
Hedwig – British Library
Mockingjay – a gift

Unboxing: Rare Birds Book Club


Well, I say unboxing, but it’s more like unwrapping. Rare Birds Book Club is a book club subscription owned by Rachel. Rare Birds Book Club sends surprise books each month and the club “cherry picks the best of contemporary women’s fiction and celebrates female authors writing books we think you’ll love”. They kindly offered me a one month subscription to get a taste of the book club and chat to you guys about it. I was super excited when it landed on my desk at work!


Even though I have a lot of books (and a lot I haven’t read), Rachel managed to pick a book that I hadn’t heard of but is my sort of novel. Quite a feat! August’s book was Party Girls Die in Pearls: An Oxford Girl Mystery by Plum Sykes, set in Oxford University in 1985. I’m really looking forward to picking it up. In addition, rather than just simply sending you a book they love, you also get a secret password to access the Rare Birds Book Club and chat with fellow subscribers about the latest read. I moved house last month and it has been a little hectic so I hope there’s still time for me to join in!


Rare Birds Book Club costs £10 a month to join and, even though you might get a tiny bit more for a similar price from other book subscription boxes (e.g. a book plus additional treats), I think the book club feature is fantastic for people who aren’t on social media or who don’t get to chat about books as much as they would like. Plus Rachel promises a few extra goodies occasionally!


It’s fantastic to come across a subscription box that isn’t YA – I can definitely think of a few people I’d gift subscriptions to. It can be tricky to pick a book for someone, so I love that someone else will do it for me (if I’m not buying them National Book Tokens of course…!). If you do already own the book you receive, you only have to get in touch and Rachel will sort it out.

Thank you Rare Birds Book Club for sending my free box!

My Ideal Best Bookish Friends | Chloe Seager

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I’m delighted to welcome one of my interwebz BFFs, Chloe Seager, to Pretty Books to chat about her ideal Best Bookish Friends as part of her blog tour. Chloe’s the author of Friendship Fails of Emma Nash, the sequel to Editing Emma.

I’m slightly cheating by naming not one, but five ideal BFFs from a book, but I’ve always been weirdly jealous of the Bennet sisters.

Maybe it’s because I’m (sort of) an only child, (I have a brother and a sister, although I’ve never lived with them), but their sisterly bonds fascinate me. Growing up, I’d picture telling Lizzie my secrets whilst Jane brushed my hair, dancing with Lydia and Kitty at a ball and giggling with them in a corner, or rolling my eyes at one of Mary’s strops.

Partly, what I love about their relationships is that they’re not perfect. Lizzie can be tempestuous and hot-headed, which clashes with Jane’s passive and peaceful nature. Lydia can be loud and domineering and overshadow Kitty. Mary can be judgemental and look down on all the others. They get on each other’s nerves, steal each other’s things and can be spiteful to one another.

BFFs

But despite all this, the relationships they have with each other are stronger than anything. Lizzie and Jane are each other’s stabilisers; they keep each other calm in a crowded, frantic household, and against the pressures of society. Lydia and Kitty have more fun with each other, in their sitting room, than they do anywhere else in the world. They’re each other’s confidantes, allies, entertainment and support systems. They laugh together, hurt together, think together, dream together, and above all look out for each other.

I love the concept of having a best friend who is also your sister. I know Pride and Prejudice is most commonly labeled as a romance, but it’s the sisterly friendships that make it mean so much to me.

Thanks, Chloe! Friendship Fails of Emma Nash is out now. (You can also read her previous guest post on social media and anxiety here).

FF tour

Top 5 YA Novels About Memory | Tracy Darnton

truthI’d love to welcome Tracy Darnton to Pretty Books today as part of The Truth About Lies blog tour!

In The Truth About Lies Jess has an amazing autobiographical memory. She remembers everything. Memory conditions are used to great effect in some of my favourite thrillers in film and fiction. We join the characters in slowly discovering what has happened in the mysterious past, working out who they can trust. We can wonder how we could function if we remembered nothing – or remembered everything – and if we would remove troublesome memories if we could. Black Mirror and Netflix find plenty to develop on the memory theme but these are my top picks for YA books dealing with memory:

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We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Transport yourself to a languid summer on an East Coast USA island with a wealthy family. Cadence has selective amnesia after a head injury but returns to the island to be reunited with the other liars of the title to piece together what happened to her. This is one I had to re-read for all the clever little clues I’d missed.

How Not To Disappear by Clare Furniss

I loved the main character Hattie. Dealing with her own considerable problems she winds up on a road-trip with her great-aunt Gloria who’s in the early stages of dementia. I wanted to include a book with dementia, and there’s so much humour, poignancy and fantastic family dynamics in this one as the secrets of Gloria’s past are revealed.

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

Another amnesia plot but this time the main character, Flora, has anterograde amnesia meaning she only remembers for a few hours. She writes herself notes to try to keep a hold on her life and knowledge. But is all as it seems with her condition? And as she heads off in pursuit of the one memory that sticks, I was totally immersed in the wilds of Svalbard.

The Memory Book by Lara Avery

Back to the US again for this one. Sam has a particularly nasty and terminal disease which includes progressive memory loss and dementia-like symptoms. She records her life in her ‘memory book’ to inform her future, compromised self. This interweaves a touching romance too and I admired how the writing reflected her deteriorating condition. However much I told myself I wasn’t going to cry, I did.

Unboxed by Non Pratt

OK so this one doesn’t have so much on memory themes but this super-readable short novel revolves around the memory box put together by a group when they were thirteen with their friend who died. It beautifully tackles identity, grief and friendship.

Tracy Darnton’s The Truth About Lies will be published by Stripes on July 12th. Follow Tracy on Twitter @TracyDarnton.

The Truth About Lies blog tour

Shelf Swap with Beth Garrod

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I love swapping book recs, so I’m asking one person each month to pick five books from my Goodreads shelves that they would like to read and five books from their own shelves that they think I might enjoy.

I’m happy to welcome Beth Garrod, who is here to celebrate her newest book Access All Awkward, to Pretty Books for Shelf Swap! You can see my review of her first book, Super Awkward, here.

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Second Best Friend by Non Pratt
Non Pratt is one of my favourite writers. I love the snapshots into worlds that she
creates, and the friendships that just pop out of her pages. I can’t wait to get stuck
into this one!

Big Bones by Laura Dockrill
This books sounds like it has everything – big laughs, important subject matter and a main character you wish was your friend in real life. It’s going in my holiday packing FOR SURE.

I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman
Another one of my favourite writers? Check. A book about bands, friends, and boys? Check. An absolute cert for my TBR pile? 100%.

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Stevens
I’ve only heard amazing things about this book. I’ve bought it, it’s by my bed, and I’m ready to jump in and be dazzled.

How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne
I’ve loved all of Holly Bourne’s books, so I am dying to read her latest one. And
anything that’s been compared to Bridget Jones is something I’m all over.

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5 BOOKS FROM BETH’S SHELVES THAT STACEY SHOULD READ

Noah Could Never by Simon James Green
Noah Can’t Even was one of my favourite books of the last few years. And this is the
follow up. I haven’t technically read it YET but I’ve read the blurb on that back and
that’s already amazing and I know every page of the book is going to be great. It’s
going to be uncomfortable, and awkward, and brilliantly painful and I just can’t wait. I’m actually putting off reading it, so it’s not over yet.

Stacey says: Noah Can’t Even is on my TBR, promise!

Jigsaw Man by Paul Britton
I love funny YA! I love books about finding yourself! I love books about graphic
crimes and the birth of forensic profiling. Variety is the spice of life, right? This is a
fascinating look into how forensic profiling was introduces into criminal investigations – basically, using a crime scene to work out the personality and lifestyle of the potential killer. I loved it. And added bonus – it means you’ll be second guessing anyone that ever makes eye contact with you ever again.

Stacey says: True crime is something I find interesting, but rarely ge to read. This seems like an excellent one for the TBR!

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
Hands down one of my favourite books of all time. I guess the thing with favourites is that you can’t quite explain what is about them that makes them so special – the
writing, the storyline, the relationships – you just know they stay with you for a long, long time after you finish them. And this is one of those. Just gorgeous.

Stacey says: I’ve actually read this! I can’t wait for Jandy Nelson’s latest novel.

The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp
I love a slow burning coming of age story. Sometimes it’s not the big moments that
make a book, but the bits in-between. Raw, honest, and heartbreaking, this made
me feel like I was 15 again.

Stacey says: I love the striking cover for this and I really enjoy coming-of-age stories.

The Cows by Dawn O’Porter
Three women have three different perspectives on what it means to them to be a
successful, fulfilled woman in their twenties/thirties. I loved it. And I loved the
conversation I had at a bus stop with a confused bouncer (the security kind – not pogo stick) who couldn’t understand that it wasn’t just about cows that go moo. I
explained it was about feminism, and society’s pressure and expectation on women,
especially to have children. He told me it sounded lovely, to keep smiling and to
make sure I had kids soon. If I wasn’t enjoying it so much, I would have left him my
copy.

Stacey says: As I could realate a lot to How Do You Like Me Now?, I probably need to pick this up too…

Thank you, Beth, for swapping shelves with me today!

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