Looking back ~ July 2016

One day before the end of August, and here I am recapping July. I was tempted to miss it out, but I actually had a lot of fun in July, and I didn’t want for it not to be documented!

I began the month by taking a holiday to Camber Sands with my best friends. As I so often say on here, we are so rarely all together, but there are a couple of times a year when we try really hard to be all in the same place. One is a Christmas date, and the other is a weekend in East Sussex, where my friend’s mum has a caravan. Freebie holiday with my favourite people – there’s nothing not to love!


We got fake tattoos, we played Pass the Pigs, we went to the beach, we played Cards Against Humanity, and we generally had a lovely weekend.

My dad turned 70 and had a party, so I got to see all my family. And if it’s difficult to get my four friends and me in the same room more than twice a year, it’s actually impossible to get my entire family – all 25 of us – in the same room more than once every couple of years. So that was nice.


This is just my siblings and my dad – the photo of all of us contains too many children for me to comfortably upload it onto my blog. But this is one of my favourite photos of the year!

I went to Bedford for the Bedford River Festival in July – my brother and sister-in-law live there, so Hannah and I drove up to see them and take part in the festivities. It was a very busy and hot day; I had fun, but I was glad to get home!

Bedford River FestivalI also headed along to the BFI Southbank for yet another Mark Kermode Live in 3D. It feels like such a long time ago, because there was no August date, so I feel like I’ve been waiting forever! This time we were treated to Hadley Freeman and David Arnold as guests, as well as a special video message from Jordan Vogt-Roberts, especially for us!

Mark Kermode BFI

And last, but by no means least, I went to YALC, which is the Young Adult Literary Convention. I had planned a full post on this, and I still hope to do it, but in the meantime here’s what went down: I met up with my friend Chloe, and we saw two panels, one with Simon Mayo as a panellist, talking about revolution in YA fiction, and one with him as the moderator, with panellists talking about music in YA literature. Then afterwards, I met him, he signed my book, and was as charming as ever. Yay for YALC!

YALC Simon MayoSo, that, in a nutshell, was July. See what I mean about not wanting to miss this one out? Usually I have to scour my Instagram looking for fun things I did, but this month was all about the fun!

I’ll be back soon (probably in a couple of weeks, knowing my track record), to round up August!


July 2016 Books

July 2016Books



Oh dear. You know you’ve got rather behind with blog posts when you are publishing a July round up post in the last week of August! Without further ado, here are the books I read in July.

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena *

I absolutely loved this book; you can read my full review of it here. It tells the story of a young married couple whose baby is kidnapped while they are next door at a neighbour’s dinner party. I expected it to deal with the public shaming of the parents for having left the baby alone while they socialised, but it was much more of a domestic thriller, with the ready privy to the innermost thoughts of both of them as they come to terms with what has happened. It’s a definite page-turner; I saw someone reading it on the train the other day and she had that fevered expression that only comes when you are a couple of chapters from the end of a book that you simply have to finish!

Blame by Simon Mayo *

I know most people probably don’t think that I can be unbiased about a book by my favourite radio DJ, but I can. I think. It just so happens that I have really liked everything he has written so far. Blame is a Young Adult novel set in the near future, when heritage crime laws have been passed – children can now be prosecuted, and sent to ‘family prisons’, for the crimes of their parents and grandparents. It’s a really interesting look at the consequences of extreme politics, with society blaming anyone they can think of for what’s wrong with the world. You can read my full review of Blame here.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Well it’s Harry Potter season again, and I had been re-reading the first book for a while before finishing it last month. I did a full rewatch of the films, and spent a lot of time saying “In the book…” to my friend who has never read them. So I thought it was time for a re-read, and I decided to download the enhanced iBooks versions, as my actual books are still at my dad’s house. I wasn’t terribly enamoured with the ‘enhanced-ness’ of them, they just had a few animated illustrations, and the odd extra piece of Pottermore information. But it’s Harry Potter, so of course I enjoyed it.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

Well it’s Harry Potter season again… I bought this the day it came out, and read it in 90 minutes. Partly out of nostalgia for the days when I would queue at midnight for a new Harry Potter book and be finished with it by lunchtime the next day (only to flip straight back to page one and start again), but mostly because it’s a play, and it only took me that long to read. I really liked it – I kind of understand the negativity towards it, but I think it’s really important to acknowledge that you are reading a script, something that is meant to be experienced on stage rather than on the page. I’m probably never going to see it performed, but I loved being back in the company of beloved characters, so it gets a thumbs up from me.

Songs About a Girl by Chris Russell

I bought Songs About a Girl having seen Chris Russell on a panel at YALC, talking about music in YA fiction. He was quite delightful, and he piqued my interest about this novel – the story of a teenager who is asked along to take backstage photos of the biggest boyband in the world, and ends up entangled in ways that are not just professional. It’s an enjoyable novel, and it’s clear throughout that Russell has experience of both life as a musician (he’s in a band), and life behind the scenes with a boyband (he’s worked for the One Direction fanclub). Also, he complimented both my glasses and my t-shirt at YALC when he signed my book, and he seems like a charming man, so he has my vote.

Books in 2016 – 30

*Books marked with a star have been provided by the publisher for review purposes