Shelf Swap with Annalie Grainger


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 Annalie Grainger, who is here to celebrate her newest book In Your Light, to Pretty Books for Shelf Swap!

5 BOOKS FROM STACEY’S SHELVES THAT ANNALIE WANTS TO READ

How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne
I’m a big fan of Holly’s teen books, especially her Spinster Club series, so I think I would enjoy this one. She’s such a funny, warm and smart writer. Her characters are always so real, and she captures the teen girl experience so perfectly. I’d love to see what she writes for an older audience. I’m sure it is equally brilliant.

This Book Will (Help You) Change the World by Sue Turton
I was sold on the title alone with this book! Like a lot of people, I’ve watched with increasing horror at what’s been going on in politics recently. I feel pretty let down by the people in charge but also overwhelmed about where to begin with trying to make a difference. How can one person make a change?! As such, I’d love to know what practical things I can do. As such, this sounds like the perfect book for me!

The Scapegoat by Daphne Du Maurier
I’m a huge fan of Daphne Du Maurier. Rebecca is one of my all-time favourite books, and I’ve read that this book shares many of the same themes. I love seeing an author’s writing develop, so I’d really like to read this book to understand more about how Du Maurier progressed through her career.

This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay
I read Do No Harm a few years back (see below!) and was fascinated by the ins and outs of a surgeon’s life. As such, I’m sure I’d enjoy this. Also I saw Adam Kay interviewed on TV, and he was very funny!

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
This is billed as Eleanor and Park meets Bollywood, and I’m totally hooked already. I love a good rom-com, and this sounds like it’s going to be a great one.

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The last blog: an endless list of female awesomeness | Matt Killeen

I’m super excited to welcome Matt Killeen, author of Orphan Monster Spy, to Pretty Books. Matt has been on an epic blog tour all about his female heroes and this is the final stop. I’m currently reading Orphan Monster Spy and loving it. It’s like The Book Thief meets Wolf By Wolf (two books I adore), with an awesome protagonist you can’t help but cheer on.

I’ve written 17 of these blogs, each a celebration of the female fictional and historical heroes who have influenced me and the characters of my debut novel. There was one exception, where I talked about the children of the modern day UK who still suffer as Sarah, the heroine of Orphan Monster Spy, suffered.

It was never meant as an exhaustive list, just those that have touched my life the most. But now I find myself with one blog left and I’ve barely scratched the surface. Of the fictional women that spring to mind, there’s the titular titian (& sometimes green) haired genius Anne (with an ‘E’) Shirley and her tragical and ultimately royally beautiful life, puffed sleeves and all. Then there are the heroines of Elizabeth Wein’s Young Flyers trilogy. I could have written about the plucky Rose Justice navigating the horrors of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, or Julie Beaufort-Stuart the SOE agent, suffering, confusing and defeating her Gestapo interrogation. I could write a book on the ways that the shadowless, shoeless September, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, is superior to the blinkered and imperialist Alice. I might even have attempted to introduce Bella Lind, the Captain of The Rockhopper from Alastair Reynolds’ Pushing Ice, who began as a glorified miner and through quiet determination became the basis for an intergalactic civilisation. Offred, Lyra, Arabel, Celie, Mildred Hubble, Anne Elliott…the list goes on.

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Awesome Facts About London Hotels | Katy Birchall

I’m excited to welcome the lovely Katy Birchall, author of Secrets of a Teenage Heiress, to Pretty Books. I read her hilarious novel recently – the first in the Hotel Royale series, perfect for fans of The Princess Diaries and Geek Girl – and Katy’s here to share awesome facts about three London hotels (she says: YES, AWESOME. NOT BORING. THESE FACTS ARE COOL. TRUST ME.). I’m also giving away 2 copies of the book on Twitter, so head over to be in with a chance of discovering more about Flick, Fritz (the sausage dog, obvs) and the wonderful Hotel Royale.

The Hotel Royale series was inspired by the beautiful grand dame hotels in London (a.k.a. hotels so famous and old, they’ve become important institutions!). I am completely fascinated by these beautiful, elegant, perfectly-run hotels, all of which have some pretty cool history (and secrets) behind them, just like Hotel Royale does in my books (there’s a ghost and everything). There is just something MAGICAL about these hotels.

Maybe it’s all the chandeliers and gold leafing… hmmmmm…

Anyhoo, there are lots of amazing hotels in London that I love which I could bore you about (The Dorchester, Claridge’s, Brown’s, The Savoy, The Connaught to name a few) BUT… I won’t. Instead, I’ll bore you about my top 3. (It was HARD to narrow it down to just 3 but I did it just for you. You’re welcome.)

So, here are some COOL facts that you might not know about three of London’s most famous hotels…

THE RITZ

Staying a night at The Ritz was what sparked the idea for my new series, so it’s only fitting that we start with it first, and the history at this beautiful hotel is unbelievable… talk about celebrity fans…

Famous guests include Charlie Chaplin, Noel Coward, Sir Roger Moore, a few Prime Ministers, throw in a couple of world leaders, not to mention several members of the royal family—Prince Charles and Camilla made their first ever public appearance there as a couple.

In 1951, famous actress Tallulah Bankhead came to The Ritz for a press conference and drank Champagne FROM HER SHOE. Seriously, she just took it off, poured the drink in and had a good glug. In front of all the journalists, no word of a lie. It was such a famous incident that The Ritz named a cocktail after her, The Tallulah.

So, that was weird. But also…kind of cool, right?

If the shoe thing is not enough to impress you, scenes from Downton Abbey have been filmed there. But really, if we’re going to talk about screen time, who can forget the hotel’s most famous starring role in Notting Hill? Julia Roberts’ character Anna Scott holds a press conference there and we have Hugh Grant’s hilarious Horse & Hound moment. A piece of iconic film history right there.

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Chloe Seager on Social Media and Anxiety

I’m excited to welcome my new friend and debut author of Editing Emma: The Secret Blog of a Nearly Proper Person, Chloe Seager, to Pretty Books. As part of her blog tour, Chloe’s here to talk about something that many of us will 100% relate to… social media and anxiety.

By the time I reached adult life, I’d pretty much levelled out my relationship with social media. I’d worked out all my dos and don’ts during my teenage years and social media wasn’t something that heavily encroached on my time or disturbed my peace of mind. I’d finally worked out a way to take all the fun stuff (e.g. tweets about books I should be reading, connecting with people from the past) without the bad (e.g. wondering how my whole day got spent staring at mindless crap, or constantly comparing my own life to other people’s). Then I got a book deal.

Suddenly my lovely, calm balance was thrown… and I didn’t expect it. I’m twenty-five, not fifteen but out of nowhere, I was refreshing my Twitter notifications every five minutes and even, dare I admit it, searching my own name. Self-Googling is probably one of the least attractive things a person can do, but I’m prepared to hold my hands up. I did it. I did it a lot. It surprises me, now, that I didn’t anticipate this reaction. Putting your writing out there for the entire world to judge is a pretty huge thing to do (and I genuinely applaud every single person who gives it a go), but when all of those judgements are on the internet? … That’s terrifying. Of course, my healthy balance with social media was toppled. It’s a bit like going back to school and knowing everyone’s talking about something you did. Except what they’re saying is public and immortalised.

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Photo Blog Tour: Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

Photo Blog Tour: Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
Welcome to the 13th stop on the Wing Jones photo tour! Every day in January, Katherine Webber will be sharing the story of how her wonderful novel Wing Jones came to be.

With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing’s speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants…

Photo Blog Tour: Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

Well, I was wrong about that guy Kevin—I did see him again after Hong Kong. Here we are at a University of Georgia football game in a massive stadium that seats 90,000 people. I’d never been to a football game in the south and experienced the sports culture there. It was fascinating and would later be one of my influences for WING JONES.

Follow the rest of the tour over on Twitter: #WJPhotoTour, check out my review here and follow Katie @kwebberwrites.

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