Xmas Wishlist – Jaimie Admans

Ampersand necklace
http://www.etsy.com/listing/164659990/ampersand-necklace-sterling-silver-chain

20131126-193557.jpg

I love ampersands! I don’t know why, maybe it’s a writer thing! I have a massive wooden one on the wall above my computer and looking at it reminds me that I should be writing more words, so maybe that’s why I like them. I don’t really do dainty little necklaces like this one, but for some reason I really like it, although have stopped myself buying it as I’d be so afraid of breaking it I’d probably only ever wear it on really special occasions!

New Kindle, and/or never-ending Kindle battery

20131126-193703.jpg

I absolutely love my Kindle, I don’t know how I ever survived without it, but the most frustrating thing in the world is either when you settle down in bed, all ready to curl up with a book, and the battery dies. Or when you get to a vital part, the heart-in-throat moment of a thriller, and the damn thing turns itself off and the charging icon comes up on the screen! Then you have to wait quarter of an hour while it’s plugged in before you can even turn it back on and sit in front of the plug socket to finish the chapter! My Kindle has rapidly deteriorated this year in terms of battery life and how much warning it gives before switching off. It’s a couple of years old now so perhaps it’s coming to the end of it’s life, but I wish there was such a thing as a never-ending Kindle battery, or at least some emergency contraption you could plug into it to give it an extra boost until you’ve got past the exciting book moments!

A bookshelf with unlimited space

20131126-193751.jpg

A common problem faced by all booklovers – how much space books take up! I love paperback books, but I hardly ever buy them anymore due to my multiple bookshelves being full! Let’s face it, even full is an understatement. Full-to-bursting or about-to-explode also work. I always buy the ebook versions of books now, and try to get my fix by lovingly stroking paperbacks in the shops and toddling off home to my Kindle which has almost unlimited space but is sadly lacking that real-book smell.

Comfy reading chair and/or nook

20131126-193849.jpg

It might sound silly but the only place I have to read is in bed! The sofa is in the living room which is always too noisy for reading, so my only reading option is the bed! I would love a little reading nook, you know, a cosy chair surrounded by shelves of gorgeous books… I might need a bigger house first though!

Once Upon A Time notebook
http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/heatheralsteaddesign/product/once-upon-a-time-notebook

20131126-193949.jpg

Like lots of people I know, I have an addiction to stationery! Pretty notebooks, pens, note cards, boxes. Notebooks are my biggest downfall, I always swear I won’t buy any more but then I find the stationery section in a shop and they’re all just so pretty, it would be wrong to walk out without at least one! Of course, I now have so many notebooks that it will take me three lifetimes to get through them, and I still make a beeline for the stationery section! It’s impossible to resist a nice notebook! I tell myself I can count them as ‘writerly expenses’ but my notebook drawer(s) could supply ten writers by now!

A multitude of books that people have recommended to me this year.

20131126-194131.jpg

There are so many books on my to-read list that sound amazing! I follow quite a few avid readers on Twitter and almost every day someone will recommend a book that sounds brilliant, I just need more hours in the day to read them all! I won’t write the list out or we’d be here all night, but there are so many books I really want to read, I would be thrilled to find any of them under the tree this year!

Ferrero Rocher

20131126-194054.jpg

No Christmas list would be complete without mentioning food of some sort, and I couldn’t possibly read all those books without some kind of sustenance by my side, so I’ll have a giant box of Ferrero Rocher, please! They’re my absolute favourites! I’m actually really lucky at this time of year because my birthday is a few days after Christmas, so no sooner have I eaten the boxes people bought me for Christmas, I get given more!

Thanks, Santa!

North Pole Reform School Blog Tour – Guest post by Jaimie

Dream Movie Cast for North Pole Reform School

 Mistletoe: Marla Sokoloff

1231234

Best known for TV movies and the starring role in one of my favourite Christmas films Christmas In Boston, I think Marla would make a great Mistletoe. She always seems happy and smiley, and I think Mistletoe needs that. She starts the book hating Christmas, and I think she needs to lighten up a bit and smile more at first, and she needs to be likeable. Marla seems like a very likeable actress, and a very good Mistletoe!

Luke: Jeremy Sumpter

9879876

Best known for playing Peter Pan in the 2003 live-action version, I have to stress that I’m talking about the grown-up Jeremy Sumpter here! He’s done loads of films and TV series in the past few years. I think he’s got the perfect mix of cheeky grin, messy hair, and bright mischievous eyes that make Luke so attractive!

North Pole Reform School

20131109-134118.jpg

Mistletoe Bell hates Christmas. So would you if you had a name like hers. Her Christmas-mad parents make the festive season last all year, and with another Christmas looming, Mis doesn’t think she can take any more. After her carelessness causes an accident at school, it seems like things can’t get any worse.

Then she wakes up to find The Ghost of Christmases Ruined in her bedroom.

She is taken to the North Pole, to a reform school run by elves determined to make her love Christmas. Stuck in a misfit group of fellow Christmas-haters with a motley crew of the weird and even weirder, watched over by elves day and night, she doesn’t expect to meet cute and funny Luke, who is hiding a vulnerable side beneath his sarcastic exterior. She doesn’t expect to fall in love with him.

But all is not as it should be at the North Pole. A certain Mr Claus is making the elves’ lives a misery, and pretty soon Mistletoe and Luke are doing more than just learning to like Christmas.

A YA romantic comedy in which Santa is the bad guy, teaching reindeer to fly is on the curriculum, and zombies have a fondness for Christmas music.

Suitable for older teens and upwards due to bad language.

My opinion: North Pole Reform School is the latest book from the very lovely Jaimie Admans, and unsurprisingly is a Christmas book!

This time we are transported to the North Pole with Mistletoe Bell after she ruins the Christmas of others. A purple moose comes in the middle of the night to whisk Mis away, and when she wakes up she’s with a group of people at the North Pole who are all there to be reformed.

The group of Christmas ruiners that she joins includes a duck phobic, a boy who thinks he’s dead, the awful Joe and the very lovely Luke. They are all there for a reason, and in order to graduate they must learn why Christmas is meaningful to others. This must be fine whilst surrounded by elves, surviving on a diet of candy canes and mince pies, listening to constant Christmas songs and that even before we mention the mean Santa and North Pole zombies!

This book was really fun and I really enjoyed reading it. The detail surrounding the North Pole is amazing and Jaimie must have done a lot of Christmassy research! The story is a good mix of fun and some more serious messages. It did make me think about how Christmas means different things to different people, and how magical it can be to those with children.

NPRS is a good mix of YA with fantasy and a bit of romance thrown in. A great bit of light relief to get you in a Christmassy mood!

I will be taking part in the NPRS blog tour on 12th December with a guest post from Jaimie!

My rating: A festive four stars!

I was sent a copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review

Cover reveal: North Pole Reform School

20131015-221226.jpg

I am very pleased to be a part of the cover reveal for Jaimie Admans’ latest book, North Pole Reform School!

Mistletoe Bell hates Christmas. So would you if you had a name like hers. Her Christmas-mad parents make the festive season last all year, and with another Christmas looming, Mis doesn’t think she can take any more. After her carelessness causes an accident at school, it seems like things can’t get any worse.

Then she wakes up to find The Ghost of Christmases Ruined in her bedroom.

She is taken to the North Pole, to a reform school run by elves determined to make her love Christmas. Stuck in a misfit group of fellow Christmas-haters with a motley crew of the weird and even weirder, watched over by elves day and night, she doesn’t expect to meet cute and funny Luke, who is hiding a vulnerable side beneath his sarcastic exterior. She doesn’t expect to fall in love with him.

But all is not as it should be at the North Pole. A certain Mr Claus is making the elves’ lives a misery, and pretty soon Mistletoe and Luke are doing more than just learning to like Christmas.

A YA romantic comedy in which Santa is the bad guy, teaching reindeer to fly is on the curriculum, and zombies have a fondness for Christmas music.

Suitable for older teens and upwards due to bad language.

I think it looks and sounds fantastic and am really looking forward to reading it! If it’s anything like the rest of Jaimie’s books we are in for a great read! North Pole Reform School will be published for Kindle on 6th November 2013.

Link to Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18498255-north-pole-reform-school

Author Interview: Jaimie Admans

20130921-130909.jpg

Today I am joined by the very lovely Jaimie Admans who has very kindle agreed to be subject to a Sheli Reads interrogation interview!

1. Hi Jaimie, welcome to Sheli Reads. Tell us a bit about yourself and your latest book, Not Pretty Enough.

Hello! Thank you for having me! I’m Jaimie, I’m 28 and from Wales. Not Pretty Enough is a YA romantic comedy about a girl called Chessie, who is madly in love with a boy in her school, but said boy doesn’t know she exists. It’s about the increasingly desperate measures she goes to in her quest to get him to notice her!

2. I’ve read the book and found it hilariously funny. How did you come up with the ideas for Chessie’s little mishaps?

A couple of them are, ahem, quite close to home! None of the really bad stuff, but I did a few stupid things while trying to get my crush to notice me when I was a teenager! Mostly I just tried to put myself in Chessie’s shoes and think, “what is the absolute worst thing that could happen in this situation?” It was a lot of fun actually, thinking about how things could go from bad to worse for poor Chessie!

3. Do you base your characters or events in your books on real life?

Yes, of course. I don’t think you can’t, really. Parts of you and your own experiences will always creep into what you write. A few small scenes may be similar to real life, but they are always heavily embellished and changed for fiction purposes! For characters, I occasionally use a trait or a saying of someone I know, but mostly I picture a celebrity in the role of the character, that makes them easier to write!

4. Not Pretty Enough is marketed as a YA book, and as a twenty something year old I found I really brought back memories of my school days! Which character were you most like at school?

Writing it brought back memories of my school days too! I was most like Chessie – terrible at most subjects and more interested in boys than learning anything! I had a massive crush on a boy who never even knew my name and I spent most of my time staring at him and trying to think of ways to get out of PE!

5. This is the fourth book you have published in just under a year, and each has been really different from the last. Where do you get the inspiration for your writing?

Thank you! They weren’t all written in a year, most of my books have been sitting on my harddrive and gathering virtual dust for ages, this year I have just been editing and re-writing them ready for publication! I’m not that fast a writer! Inspiration comes from the weirdest places, it can be a picture you’ve seen, a sentence someone has said to you, a news report, anything really. The smallest thing can spark off a shedload of ideas that somehow turn into a book plot. With Afterlife Academy, a friend and I were talking about our school days and complaining about the amount of homework we used to get, and I said that even being dead wouldn’t have been an acceptable excuse to get out of doing it, and boom: Afterlife Academy was born. The whole idea spiralled from that one thing! Plot ideas really do come from anything, no matter how small – the hardest part is turning an idea into a coherent book plot!

6. What can we expect from you next?

I have a Christmas YA romantic comedy coming out on November 6th. It’s called North Pole Reform School and is about a girl who hates Christmas and is taken to a reform school in the North Pole where a bunch of elves are determined to make her and a misfit group of other Christmas-haters learn to love the season!

7. Which authors do you admire the most?

So many! I love the writers and the books I grew up reading, like Judy Blume, Enid Blyton and Virginia Andrews. These days, I love authors like Meg Cabot and Sophie Kinsella, their new releases are always insta-buys for me, but there are so many amazing books out there. One-offs or debut releases that I find absolutely brilliant and wonder how the writer managed to do it so well!

8. You obviously love writing and have a real talent for it. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Thank you! You’re making me blush here! Yes, I think so – I was always writing and telling stories when I was younger, and I was absolutely rubbish in school, but I think I was 15 when I realised that writing was what I wanted to do with my life. It took a few more years to find chick-lit and realise that was what I wanted to write, but it was definitely at 15 that I knew I wanted to be a writer. Looking back now, it was pretty obvious even before that though!

9. We spend quite a lot of time on Twitter talking about food. What is your favourite snack to help your creative thoughts flow?

Ha ha, we do, don’t we?! Honestly, whatever’s in the cupboard – I’m not fussy! I do like crisps though, and Not Pretty Enough was edited with a bag of Mini Cheddars open on the desk beside me every time I sat down! Also, tea – I couldn’t live without a cup of tea next to me!

10. Do you have any tips for aspiring writers out there?

Unplug the internet – seriously! It might sound like a joke, but it’s not. The hardest part of writing, for me at least, is making myself sit down to actually write, not check Twitter twenty times and read loads of Buzzfeed articles and catch up on celebrity news! Switch the router off or pull out the plug or something, and don’t allow yourself to put it back on until you’ve hit a certain word count or particular goal! I love the internet, it’s the best thing in the world, but it doesn’t write a book for you – unfortunately!
The other bit of advice would be – don’t give up! There will always be people who don’t like your books, bad reviews, people who tell you you’ll never be a ‘proper writer’, but there will also be people who love your books, who offer encouragement and support, who will commiserate when you have bad days and celebrate when you have good days!

11. Last question for you, if you were an animal, what would you be?

Ooh, a hard one! I quite fancy being a cat – lazing around in the sunshine all day, being spoilt and fed treats, getting away with anything just because you’re a cat – we used to have cats and they would swipe people they didn’t like round the face and no one would mind because they were cats – I’d like to be able to do that!

I’d like to say a huge thank you to Jaimie for being part of such a fun interview! If you would like to find out more about Jaimie and her books or follow our conversations about crisps, then these are the links you need!

– Twitter: http://twitter.com/be_the_spark
– Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jaimieadmansbooks
– Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/notprettyenough
– GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/jaimieadmans

You can also read my reviews of Jaimie’s books by clicking on her name at the bottom of this page.

Afterlife Academy

20130921-130356.jpg

Even being dead isn’t enough to get you out of maths class.

Dying wasn’t on sixteen-year-old Riley Richardson’s to-do list. And now, not only is she dead, but she’s stuck in a perpetual high school nightmare. Worse still, she’s stuck there with the geekiest, most annoying boy in the history of the world, ever.

In a school where the geeks are popular and just about everything is wrong, Riley has become an outcast. She begins a desperate quest to get back home, but her once-perfect life starts to unravel into something not nearly as great as she thought it was. And maybe death isn’t really that bad after all…

Welcome to Afterlife Academy, where horns are the norm, the microwave is more intelligent than the teachers, and the pumpkins have a taste for blood.

My opinion: This book is the third book that up and coming indie author Jaimie Admans has published in the last 6 months, and boy is it a cracker.

To be honest I was expecting your average young adult slightly paranormal romance. But I was pleasantly surprised!! The storyline of this book is so original and every detail is well thought through and the imagery is brilliant.

I found it hard to put the book down and read it everwhere when I was reading it, in my favourite coffee shop, in bed, whilst eating my tea and even on the break of a training course! I would definitely recommend this book for a fun read that has a bit of the paranormal, some romance and is still well written.

I would like to see this book made into a series as I liked the characters and think a lot more could be made of them, particularly Riley and Narcissa.

All in all, another excellent book from a very talented indie author!

My rating: Five stars!

I originally reviewed this book over at Reading in Progress

Kismetology

20130921-125833.jpg

Finding the perfect man isn’t easy. Especially when it’s for your mother…

Mothers. Can’t live with them, can’t live without them, can’t live three doors down the road without them interfering in every aspect of your life.

Mackenzie Atkinson’s mother has meddled in her love life once too often and something has to be done. Mackenzie decides to turn the tables and find love for her lonely mother.
Her lonely and very fussy mother.
Surely finding an older gentleman looking for love won’t be that hard, right?
Wrong.
If you’ve ever thought that boys grow up, here’s the problem: They don’t. Ever.
And Mackenzie is about to learn that the hard way.

Faced with a useless boyfriend, dressed up dogs, men who wear welly boots on dates, men who shouldn’t be allowed out in public, and men who make reptiles seem like attractive company – will she ever find the perfect man for her neurotic mother?

My opinion: I read this book as it was written by an up and coming indie author and I liked the premise of the story. I have read a number of indie books and have to say that Jaimie is up there with the best of them!

I have to say that this book is extremely well written and is an impressive full length novel. This is particularly unusual for a first time self-published author. I would even go as far as saying that Jaimie has the potential to be up there with the great chick lit writers as I have read plenty of books by conventionally published chick lit authors that pale in comparison to this one.

The story is about a girl named Mackenzie who moves in with her boyfriend a few doors down from her meddling mother and sets out to find her a man to keep her occupied. The book is very funny and thoughtful and isn’t as predictable as a lot of chick lit. There are enough events in the book to keep you interested and it isn’t over complicated with too many characters as a lot of books can be. I also enjoyed the pace of the book and how the story unfolded.

I have to say that I think Jaimie is an indie author to keep an eye on. She has real talent and as the quality of her first book is so high then I am particularly excited about reading more of her work.

If you like authors such as Talli Roland, Jane Costello and Marian Keyes then this book is for you!

My rating: A fabulous four stars

I originally reviewed this book in 2012 over at Malibu Sunrise