Interview with Author, C J Skuse | Blog Tour

Hi guys,

So I know I've been MIA for a while but today I'm bringing you something so exciting, something I'm super happy I got to take part in. As part of the 'Monster' Blog Tour being run by Mira Ink and MaximumPop Books I got to interview the author of Monster, C J Skuse. I got introduced to C J when we both followed each other on Twitter and had a few conversations with each other through tweets.

So without further ado, lets get into the interview.

Question 1. What is Monster about?

Ostensibly, it's about six girls who become trapped at their remote boarding school during one snowy Christmas holiday and an horrific murderous beast is outside trying to get in and rip them all to pieces. It's also about a girl who needs to dig deep to find out how strong she truly is - and only facing off with such a monster can bring that out.

Question 2. What inspired you to write Monster?

A few things really - seeing a news article about the Beast of Bodmin Moor. A big desire to write a story set in a boarding school. I also really wanted to write something with an all female group at its helm, like Amazon women, fighting now only to remain civil to one another but also to survive against all the odds.

Question 3. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Always keep your phone on you, don't fear the mad girl and find out where the key to the javelin cupboard is kept.

Question 4. Did you read as a child, if so who did you most look up to?

As a child I loved Roald Dahl, Beatrix Potter and Enid Blyton. I really looked up to Beatrix Potter because she did all her own illustrations too. I couldn't draw at all. I still draw the way I did when I was eight, with people having arms at right angles and the sky being a strip of blue half way up the page.

Question 5. What are some of your favourite current reads?

You can't go wrong with a bit of UKYA/UKMG. Anything by Keris Stainton, Cat Clarke, CJ Daughtry, Kevin Brooks, Keren David, Holly Bourne, Jo Nadin, Emma Haughton, Hilary Freeman, Anthony McGowan, Fiona Dunbar, Louise O'Neill, Melvin Burgess, Helen Grant, Non Pratt, Zoe Marriott or Lee Weatherly gets my vote.

Question 6. We know that Monster was recently released but are you working on anything new?

I've just completed 'The Deviants', that's the next one out this time next year. It's been described as The Famous Five meets We Were Liars and it's probably the most important book I've done so far. I'm plotting Book 6 now. That one is, well, interesting. Doesn't look like it's going to be YA this time either so I'm a bit scared and probably a lot out of my depth.

Question 7. Did you learn anything from writing your books, and what was it?

I have always written for one reason - to write the monsters out of my head. It's a catharsis for me and sometimes I need it like medicine. I wrote my first book to work out how I felt about losing someone. I wrote Rockoholic to compartmentalise my obsession with an unattainable life. I wrote Dead Romantic to give Death the middle finger and to work out what I wanted from love. I've learned something new with every book I have written. With Monster, I've learned to focus my anger on an objective, rather than just lashing out all the time.

Question 8. What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Choose a story to tell which you are passionate about because sometimes it's only your own passion for it that keeps you going. Start as you mean to go on. Don't write for the market because the market will leave you behind. Ignore the haters but embrace the criticism. Find a decent literary agent who loves your work as much as you do at the earliest opportunity. Don't let life get in the way - JK Rowling is right when she says you need to be ruthless about protecting your writing time. And be prepared for a long wait. Nothing happens quickly in publishing unless you're very lucky and hit a trend (accidentally) at the right time.

Question 9.  What's your favourite thing about Halloween?

When it's over.

Question 10. Would you like to say anything to your readers?

Thank you for being insane enough to take a chance on my books and sane enough to enjoy them. I'm always trying to be better for you. And stop breaking my spines. I hate that. *inserts smiley face*


At sixteen Nash thought that the fight to become Head Girl of the prestigious boarding school, Bathory would be the biggest battle she'd face. Until her brother's disappearance leads to Nash being trapped at the school over Christmas with Bathory's assorted Misfits. As a blizzard rages outside, strange things are afoot in the school's hallways, and legends of the mysterious Beast of Bathory - a big cat rumoured to room the moors outside the school - run wild. Yet when the girls' Matron goes missing it's clear that something altogether darker is to blame - and that they'll have to stick it out together if they hope to survive.


C.J. SKUSE is the author of the Young Adult novels PRETTY BAD THINGS, ROCKOHOLIC and DEAD ROMANTIC (Chicken House) and MONSTER (Mira Ink). She was born in 1980 in Weston-super-Mare, England. She has First Class degrees in Creative Writing and Writing for Children and, aside from writing novels, works as a freelance children's fiction consultant and lectures in Writing for Children at Bath Spa University. C.J. is currently working on her second novel THE DEVIANTS for Mira Ink.
Follow her on Twitter @CeejaytheAuthor


Review: Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass

Title: Happily Ever After
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: YA Dystopian
Publisher: Harper Collins Children
Published: October 8th 2015
Page Number: 320
Rating: 4/5

Meet Prince Maxon before he fell in love with America, and a girl named Amberly before she became queen. See the Selection through the eyes of a guard who watched his first love drift away and a girl who fell for a boy who wasn't the prince. This gorgeous collection features four novellas from the captivating world of Kiera Cass's #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series, as well as exclusive, never-before-seen bonus content.


To review this in it's entirety as my usual reviews would be a little complicated, so I will be reviewing each novella on their own and also giving my thoughts on the bonus content we had. ut firstly I want to talk about the illustrations and how gorgeous they were. I really felt like they added to the story and we completely needed.

The Queen - 3/5 Stars

I've always respected Queen Amberly in the Selection trilogy but reading her Selection was completely eye-opening. Teenage Amberly was incredibly naïve and a whole lot of stupid. Prince Clarkson was looking for a wife, a Queen, someone who would obey him. And he found her in Amberly because she was like a puppy and Clarkson the dog trainer. Everything he said, she did. And it pissed off the feminist that is inside of me.

The Prince - 4.5 Stars

I've always loved Maxon. Kiera writes perfect male characters and Prince Maxon stole my heart from the first time he was introduced. Seeing some of the Selection from her perspective was very fresh and I loved it. We saw a new layer of depth to him which was missing from him in the first book in the trilogy. I will always want more Maxon. Always.

The Guard - 3 Stars

I'm not Aspen's biggest fan. At all. He's an okay character but I always felt like he was there for annoyance other than anything else. So seeing his story with America rehashed was completely annoying. I was hoping to see his love story with Lucy but we saw hardly anything of that and I had no idea why, because their story would've been nice to have read.

The Favourite - 4.5 Stars

Marlee is everyone's favourite. She's beautiful, intelligent but also incredibly selfless and her friendship with America was always nice to read about. When the drama entailed in the series about her and Carter, I was gobsmacked, mainly because it seemed unlike Marlee but seeing her story was so special. I love her and Carter so much, their love was infinite, endearing.

We then got a few scenes from Celeste's POV. Celeste was the Bitch in the series but she was always a favourite character of mine. I always saw her as misunderstood and that became clear from her progress in the series. Her façade was always on point but her character is forever my favourite.

Lucy also had a chapter in her POV, which was interesting. She's a maid and if I am honest, I'm not sure why her part was in there for. Her perspective if fun, fresh but the story we got was a little boring and certainly not satisfying.

Lastly we got a new chapter that would've taken place after The One and it was everything in life. Life has been fulfilled for me. The scene was a little short, but filled with everything that Kiera Cass does so well.


September Book Haul

This month I really contained myself on the amount of books I bought due to so many anticipated releases coming out in October (I know it's October now but this was written in September). I'm hoping not to go overboard with how many I purchase in October, but who knows?

I only received 3 books to review from publishers this month, so I'm really happy with that. I'm always so grateful on whatever I receive, so thank you guys!
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick // Buy the book (Waterstones) PS, The UK edition comes out in January 2016
The Light That get's Lost by Natasha Carthew // Pre-order the book (Waterstones)
Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs // Buy the book (Waterstones)

I also bought these books this month. I've already read all but one, so that's really positive. I didn't pay full price for them all as I got some for 20% off.

The Enemy by Charlie Higson // Buy the book (Waterstones)
The Selection Stories by Kiera Cass //
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige // Buy the Book (Waterstones)
HIM by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy // Buy the Book (Amazon)
The Deal by Elle Kennedy // Buy the Book (Amazon)

So what books have you bought/received recently?
Let me know in the comments.

Review: The Enemy by Charlie Higson

Title: The Enemy (The Enemy #1)
Author: Charlie Higson
Genre: YA Horror
Publisher: Puffin
Published: September 3rd 2009
Page Number: 407
Rating: 4/5


Everyone over the age of fourteen has succumbed to a deadly zombie virus and now the kids must keep themselves alive. When the sickness came, every parent, police officer, politician - every adult fell ill. The lucky ones died. The others are crazed, confused and hungry. Only children under fourteen remain, and they're fighting to survive. Now there are rumours of a safe place to hide. And so a gang of children begin their quest across London, where all through the city - down alleyways, in deserted houses, underground - the grown-ups lie in wait. But can they make it there - alive?


I've never read a book by Charlie Higson before but I definitely know that I want to continue on with this series. It's intense and so much fun.

After recently watching The Walking Dead I was needing something a little different to read. I remember a friend of mine saying that she loved this series, so I picked it up and was immediately sucked into the life of a different, more dangerous London.

We follow a bunch of different character, who all live in Waitrose trying to survive the Zombie Apocalypse. Unlike most books, The Enemy starts off with instant action of one of the kids is taken by The Enemy. The group are trying to figure out what to do and you're met with instant panic. Your heart rate picks up, you turn the pages quicker than ever because you're dying to find out what happens. Anything could happen, anyone could die. You have no idea what's coming next and that's what Charlie Higson does so well. He writes the series with intensity and a lot of action. Surprise action. There were so many scenes that caught me off guard.

What I loved in the story is the loyalty within the gangs. Waitrose and Morrison's join together and seeing them all get to know each other was so nice. Initially they are all out for themselves, but together they are a family. A dysfunctional family but a family who will do whatever to protect each other. And that is something that really connects to you to characters.

However, I will be honest and say that it did get a little confusing. We followed so many characters that I connected too and then they were.....well, dead. And while I understand that it needs to happen, I just didn't understand why we had to connect with all of the characters before they were topped off. It's meant to be a horror book, not meant to make me cry.

But it was a very engaging story. It was filled with action and I was so happy that we explored more of London. Plus Sam really stole my heart. I feel like I'm his older brother and need to protect him and that's really warming. What I want right now though is the sequel because I need to know what happens next.

Monthly Reading Wrap Up | September 2015

I had an excellent start to this month with reading, in fact the first 2 books I read were both 5 Star reads and both went onto my 'Favourite Books of 2015' list. But then I started stumbling downhill after that and only ended up reading 9 books in total, with 3 of those being novellas.

The Selection Stories: The Prince & The Guard by Kiera Cass // 4 Stars
I really enjoyed The Prince. Maxon was always my favourite character in the series, so it was so nice being able to finally see what he was going through and how it affected him. And despite Kiera writing her male characters a little on the feminine side, I will forever love him. The Guard, however, started off so well and got dragged along the lines of boring. But I love his protective instincts for America.
The Enemy by Charlie Higson // 4 Stars
I really, really enjoyed this book. The beginning was a little so paced but it picked right up from about page 100 and I finished it so quickly after that. I can now say I officially like Zombies! If you're missing The Walking Dead, then pick this up!
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins // DNF'd
I'm so over these characters. I liked Anna, hated Lola and didn't want to know Isla. I'm fed up with YA characters being written so juvenile and Stephanie Perkins is the perfect example of that. Isla wanted to live inside Josh's dimple. Really?! Just, no!
HIM by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy // 5 Stars
I absolutely loved this book. It was...spectacular. I cannot recommend it enough, everyone has to pick it up and read it. The writing, characters and relationship were all so perfect. Everyone needs a Jamie Canning in their life!
George by Alex Gino // 5 Stars
Without a doubt the best book I have read this year, it has to been on the school curriculum because it teaches so many important life lessons. The taboo subject was handled well and I honestly just want to hand every child and parent I cross a copy of the book. Please do yourself a favour and read it. You will not regret it!
Alienated by Melissa Landers // 4 Stars
I was so surprised by this book. It's a very quick read that is filled with gorgeous characters, a swoon-worthy romance and lots of suspense. You'll fall in love with it the same way I did; slowly and then all at once
The Deal by Elle Kennedy // 3 Stars
I wasn't the biggest fan of The Deal. I liked the characters but the story was so cliché and cheesy. I wanted something a little steamy, but all I got was a little bit of nothing. It's kind of classic New Adult but there is so much better out there.

I also read The All Souls Real Time Companion by Deborah Harkness (Free e-book) and I did enjoy it but I didn't love it. It was nice to see some extras but I don't honestly think it was at all needed. I ended up giving it a 3. 5 Stars.

What books did you read this month?
Let me know in the comments.