Hello all my faithful followers!

For anyone still on Blogger, or on email alerts for me, I'm so so excited that YA Madness now has a new home!

I've made the scary, but exciting transition to Wordpress - and we now have a new domain name! 

Please please, come join me on my new (but old?) adventure at my new blog site!

See you all there! 
Amanda Hocking, author of the Trylle trilogy, gave me a little bit of her time to answer these questions...

Do you have any rituals when you are writing?
My rituals are pretty basic. Make a playlist, go into my office with my dogs, put music on and everything else on silent, and get to work. I also drink copious amounts of
caffeine, but that’s less of a “ritual” and more of a “necessity.”

 Are you a late night or an early morning writer?
Late night, for sure. I’ve always been a huge night owl. In my perfect world, days would start at 4 pm and end at dawn.

Would you delve into a different genre? Is there a genre you really want to write in?
I am absolutely willing to dive into anything, but so far, my ideas have mostly been of a similar genre. Some day, I imagine that I’ll write a horror novel or a contemporary YA. 

Read on below for more information about this amazing book, my thoughts and a cheeky chance to win a copy!

Released: February, 2017
Publisher: Pan Macmillan AUS
SynopsisThe Carnival is all she's ever known - but an old terror could tear it down.
In the spring of 1982, the carnival comes to small-town Cauldry, Louisiana. Then events take a dangerous turn. For Mara Besnick, the carnival is home. It's also a place of secrets, hidden powers and a buried past - making it hard to connect with outsiders. However, sparks fly when she meets local boy Gabe Alvarado. As they become inseparable, Mara realises Gabe is hiding his own secrets. And his family legacy could destroy Mara's world.
They find the word 'freeks' sprayed on trailers, as carnival employees start disappearing. Then workers wind up dead, killed in disturbing ways by someone or something. Mara is determined to unlock the mystery, with Gabe's help. But can they really halt this campaign of fear?
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What I Thought: I absolutely love anything to do with the circus, so I just knew I had to read this one. I have read only a couple of Amanda Hocking's other books, which I quite enjoyed, so I was happy when I discovered I liked this one just as much. I love that it is set in the past. I love that is has a paranormal feel. I love that it was so easy to read.

The characters were lovable. The storyline was lovable, however it quite cliche. When a story line is cliche, it can take away from the depth of the novel. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed it.

The Good: Circus themes! Eeeeeep

The Bad: Hello cliches.

Rating: 4/5

Mad Claire
Sometimes a whisper is as good as a shout... But in this case I just want to shout about this book!

Sara Barnard, author extraordinaire, gave me a little bit of her time to answer these questions...

What is your favourite perspective to write in and why? (First, second, third?)
First – I prefer to be inside my character’s head to properly explore and understand them. I tend to write very introspective characters, and I don’t think that would work so well in third person. I’ve never even attempted second!

Do you believe BSL should be learned by everybody?
If only! I think it should be more widely recognized and used, especially in schools. It would be great if it could be a language option like French or German. If that were the case, I think hearing people would at least be more aware of it than they are. We should be more deaf aware as a culture.

Read on below for more information about this amazing book, my thoughts and a cheeky chance to win a copy!

Released: January, 2017
Publisher: Pan Macmillan AUS
SynopsisSteffi doesn't talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can't hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn't a lightning strike, it's the rumbling roll of thunder.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life - she's been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He's deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she's assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn't matter that Steffi doesn't talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she's falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it. 

From the bestselling author of Beautiful Broken Things comes a love story about the times when a whisper is as good as a shout.
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What I Thought: A Quiet Kind of Thunder is a beautiful contemporary novel that, quite honestly, brought a few tears to my eyes. It is the story of Steffi, a teenage girl who has Selective Mutism. Selective Mutism, like I learned, is not just about choosing when to speak. Coupled with several other illnesses, including anxiety, Steffi seems quite generally scared of life. She doesn't want to be though, and starts the year ready to prove to her family and to herself that she is more and can do more than what her illnesses allow. Teamed up with her boisterous best friend Tem, these two make me wish I had friends like these in school.

Back at school, Steffi is introduced to Rhys. Rhys is Deaf and due to her mutism, Steffi can use BSL to communicate with him - sort of. This starts the path to friendship and more, each learning that they are more than what they think they are. Rhys is more than what his Deafness allows, and Steffi has a voice she wishes to use. Rhys is a completely adorable character, and I couldn't help but root for him and Steffi throughout the story.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder is a wonderfully written peek into the world of Selective Mutism, anxiety and the Deaf world. It is easy to be a hearing person, not understanding what it is truly like to be a deaf person. Through several different scenarios, Barnard shows what it can be like for a deaf person in the world and the ignorance of hearing people towards the deaf. She also shows what Selective Mutism is like, coupled with anxiety, and how it threatens to drown and swallow a person. This book will open your eyes, and hopefully, make you become more aware of the world around you - and the other worlds that you may not be involved in.

First thing I'm doing after writing this? Going to buy Barnard's other book - Beautiful Broken Things!

The Good: I love the relationship that Steffi and Rhys had. The explanations of Selective Mutism and the look inside the deaf vs hearing world.

The Bad: The story had a slow build up, and was fairly easy to gather where the story was going.

Rating: 4/5

Want a chance to win this amazing book? Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mad Claire
(Image found here on We Heart It)

Author Spotlight!

Since my first book for the reading challenge is done and dusted, it is time to move onto the second... So I'm going to do an author spotlight on the author of the next book I'm going to read - Heartless!

Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer is the author of the Lunar Chronicles series and novellas. Heartless is her new standalone novel. Cinder, the first novel in the Lunar Chronicles series was written as part of the NaNoWriMo challenge - can you believe it? 

(Image taken from Marissa Meyer's website)

The Lunar Chronicles series are different fairytale retellings, brought to life in a futuristic sci-fi setting - seriously, can it get more awesome than that?

“He was the fantasy of every girl in the country. He was so far out of realm, her world, that she should have stopped thinking about him the second the door had closed. Should stop thinking about him immediately. Should never think about him again, except maybe as a client--and her prince.And yet, the memory of his fingers against her skin refused to fade.” 

Heartless is her new standalone novel, following similarly as a fairytale retelling. This time the story follows Catherine, the future Queen of Hearts in the Alice and Wonderland story.

To get in the Heartless mood, Meyer has even created a Spotify playlist for everyone to listen to - you can find it here!


Find Marissa Meyer at her website here

Have you joined us on our 100 Days of Summer Reading Challenge? Until next time...

Mad Claire
(Image found here on We Heart It)

Book Spotlight!

My first book on my 100 Days of Summer Reading Challenge is Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. So today I'm going to be doing a Book Spotlight on....

Illuminae Series!

The Illuminae series will consist of three books: Illuminae (released 2015), Gemina (released 2016), and the Untitled Final book (released 2017). The Illuminae series is unlike any other I've read before - it's format is unique - the story written in all different styles of dossier files. I'm talking, chat messages, pictures, full written block of texts - it's absolutely stunning and so amazing to read. I fell in love with Illuminae when I read it last year and have been dying to read Gemina since then - so of course it had to be my first challenge book!

Illuminae is full of vivid images, whole new worlds, and beautiful description. I love the world they have created, and can't wait to dive into it further in Gemina. Gemina is a sequel and companion novel, which starts five minutes after Illuminae ends, and has a new set of main stars, if you will. 

"She is catalyst. She is chaos. I can see why he loves her."

Amie Kaufman, who co-authored the These Broken Stars series, and Jay Kristoff, who authored the Stormdancer series and Nevernight, are an unbeatable team. The detail in the pages of this novel are phenominal, and from what I've read in Gemina, it only gets better. 

I can't even imagine the time and effort it would have taken to come up with all the intricate details of the novel, and they way they've made them look on the page. For me, reading these novels aren't like reading other books. I can't speed read through these ones. They are long, but I have to be able to take my time with them. I like to read every single detail on the page, sometimes re-reading two or three times to fully grasp it all before I move on.

"You have me. Until every last star in the galaxy dies. You have me."

This style of novel, this format, I could not imagine reading it again for a different story. Jay and Amie have captured and put to page something truly unique. It saddens me that we're only going to have three books in the series, but if Gemina (and the Untitled third) are anything even nearly as good as Illuminae, I know that this series will forever hold a special place in my heart. BRING IT ON!!

"You deserve every star in the galaxy laid out at your feet and a thousand diamonds in your hair. You deserve someone who'll run with you as far and as fast as you want to. Holding your hand, not holding you back."

Have you read Illuminae? What did you think of the style/format when you read it? Were you as entranced as I, or did it put you off? I'd love love love to hear all your thoughts and frustrations and anything else to do with the Illuminae series - so make sure to comment below!


Have you joined us on our 100 Days of Summer Reading Challenge? Until next time...

Mad Claire
(Image found here on We Heart It)

Summer is here...

And that means that university is over for the next few months, and THAT means I can finally start reading again. So I decided to set another challenge for myself - 

100 Days of Summer Reading Challenge!

In which I attempt to read at least 14 books, if not as many as I can, in 100 days! I am going to read between

21st November - 28th February

just in time for uni classes to start up again!

As well as reading and reviewing fantastic books, I am going to have some fun posts as well - quotes, trivia, author love, book love, playlists, giveaways - basically anything that pops into my head! 

Even better, I have my gorgeous friend Hannah at Hannah Plus Books joining me on my challenge, so make sure you go over and say hey and leaving lovely, encouraging words!

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Here are some of the books I'm hoping to read during my 100 days of glorious summer! 

Will you be joining us on our 100 Days of Summer Reading Challenge?

Mad Claire