June favourites! Inferno | Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell | Soap & Glory

It’s July, which means: The Next Together is released in exactly 2 months tomorrow, whaaaaaat?!?!

[high pitched squeal]

[deep, calming breaths]

It also means that it’s time for another monthly favourites post! I really enjoy these, so I’m going to carry on writing them. Previously: April | May 

Book: Inferno by Catherine Doyle

25022128Romeo and Juliet meets The Godfather in the second instalment of Catherine Doyle’s Blood for Blood series. Sophie’s life has been turned upside-down, and she’s determined to set things right. But Nic, the Falcone brother who represents everything she’s trying to forget, won’t give up on their love – and it’s Luca’s knife she clutches for comfort. Soon another mafia clan spoils the fragile peace – and with her heart drawn in one direction and her blood in another, Sophie’s in deeper than ever.

Okay, I know this is cheating. The book isn’t out until JANUARY. But Catherine let me sneakily read it now because I am a lucky, lucky, shameless beggar, and I can’t stop thinking about it. I just went to Venice, and every time I saw an Italian boy I wondered whether they were a Mafia Underboss. I blame this entirely on Cat.

I think I’m going to have to start a petition for this series to be made into a Netflix Original show. It’s the best, best, best YA romance-slash-Mafia action film that you could ever HOPE FOR. I was stressed out and thrilled by everything. IT WAS SO GOOD. SO GOOD. SUCH BAD-ASSERY. Sophie totally comes into her own in this book, and I swear to god she’s going to end up being the Mafia Queen, and I’m going to be cheering her on the entire journey. In summary: THIS BOOK IS A WILD RIDE. I need the next one, which tragically isn’t out until 2017. CAN I WAIT THAT LONG? No. Definitely not.

Music:  Your Bright Blood playlist This is a playlist about the book The Song of Achilles, and it is super great. I’ve been listening to it on repeat recently. Includes Bastille, Noah and the Whale, Regina Spektor, Vampire Weekend, and other excellent bands. You should listen to it while you read the rest of this post, js.

TV: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell This is a BBC mini-series that is currently airing, based on one of my all-time favourite books. It’s about two Victorian gentlemen magicians, who are the first people able to do actual magic in centuries. They help the British Army in the Napoleon wars, while arguing over textbooks and becoming acquaintances/enemies/besties. It’s complicated and ridiculous and I love it. It. is. amazing. Mainly because of Jonathan Strange.

Oh, Jonathan, Jonathan, Jonathan. This ridiculously dorky magician is my new obsession. Just look at him do magic, and tell me he isn’t a fluffy-haired dreamboat:


tumblr_nplv4bSMbz1qhc9d1o2_500 Sources

tumblr_nplv4bSMbz1qhc9d1o5_500Do you see my point? You see my point. Jonathan Strange = babe. BABE. Okay, that’s enough gifs. OH WAIT, NO IT ISN’T.

In summary: Jonathan Strange.

cakeRecipe: Sweet cornbread cake

I made this recently, and haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. It’s the most perfectly dense, rich sponge cake, and it has just a tinge of sweetness. I love ittttt.

Article: Maggie Stiefvater’s writing blog series

I’ve been reading one of these a day for the whole of June, and savouring them like expensive chocolates. Maggie’s advice and experiences are so true and real, and I learnt a lot of new things, and agree whole-heartedly with everything else. Some of my favourites: Artist & ThiefRed = Rage. Ocean = Longing. Literary =Why I’m A Writer & Not a Fighter Pilot | I Sneak Into Your Brain And Make You Think My Thoughts7509995_whippedclean_showerbutter_1_

Product: Soap & Glory Whipped Clean shower butter

This stuff is great. It smells like heaven does, probably. That’s basically my whole thoughts on it. It’s great.

Stationery: Venetian writing paper I just got back from Venice. It was amazing. Also very hot and busy and expensive. But WORTH IT.

Me, staring at buildings and water for like…..forty hours straight.

20150702_172754I bought some lovely fancy writing paper while I was there, which I have been stroking lovingly since I got back. LOOK AT IT.

If you’re thinking of writing me a letter, now would be a good time, just sayin’.

Nex time you’re in Venice and in need of stationary (AREN’T WE ALL?) then this is great stuff, 100% would recommend. That’s June summaried! I have to go back to staring at my writing paper now. Laters.

I couldn’t resist one last Jonathan Strange gif. Sorrynotsorry. Look at that dork run.

reviewP.S. THAT’S RIGHT. The Bookseller described my book as ‘funny, romantic and compulsively readable’. I will never be over this. Ever.

Published by Lauren James

Lauren James is the twice Carnegie-nominated British author of many Young Adult novels, including Green Rising, The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. She is a RLF Royal Fellow, freelance editor and screenwriter. Lauren is the founder of the Climate Fiction Writers League, and on the board of the Authors & Illustrators Sustainability Working Group through the Society of Authors. Her books have sold over a hundred thousand copies worldwide and been translated into six languages. The Quiet at the End of the World was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and STEAM Children’s Book Award. Her other novels include The Next Together series, the dyslexia-friendly novella series The Watchmaker and the Duke and serialised online novel An Unauthorised Fan Treatise. She was born in 1992, and has a Masters degree from the University of Nottingham, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and many of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. She sold the rights to her first novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university. Her writing has been described as ‘gripping romantic sci-fi’ by the Wall Street Journal and ‘a strange, witty, compulsively unpredictable read which blows most of its new YA-suspense brethren out of the water’ by Entertainment Weekly. Lauren lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient. She has written articles for numerous publications, including the Guardian, Buzzfeed, Den of Geek, The Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2022. She has taught creative writing for Coventry University, WriteMentor, and Writing West Midlands.

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