Guest post: Eirlys Hunter

Hello there!

Today I have the pleasure of hosting author Eirlys Hunter with a blog post all about her new book, The Mapmaker’s Race, and the inspiration behind the setting of the story!

The Mapmakers' Race Jacket lowres

The setting of The Mapmakers’ Race

You won’t find the landscape of The Mapmakers’ Race on any map, but elements come from Wales, and the South Island of New Zealand, which are about as far apart as they can be. It’s fun playing god and piecing together the landscape that a story needs from different places.

The journey the mapmakers undertake is roughly like crossing the South Island of New Zealand from east to west. First of all up a long, straight-ish river valley, slowly getting higher and higher, then over serious mountains and steeply down to the sea on the other side.
Eirlys Hunter
I could never walk as far as the Santander children, but I did walk a famous New Zealand track called the Milford Track with my family a while back. The waterfall that the mapmakers discover is based on the Sutherland Falls, which comes on Day Three of the Milford track. When we were there it hadn’t been raining so we could walk right behind the waterfall, which was an extraordinary experience that I gave to Francie. The scale of the landscape, and the endless zig-zags up one side of a valley, over the ridge and down to the valley floor below are also Milford-ish. But the treeless valley is based on a place in Meirionnydd, Wales, and so is the landscape near the end of the children’s journey.”

THE MAPMAKERS’ RACE by Eirlys Hunter out now in paperback (£6.99, Gecko Press) 

Find out more at 

twitter: @geckopress

Check out more details about the book below:

The Mapmakers' Race Jacket lowres

“Four children temporarily lose their parents just as they are about to begin the race that offers their last chance of escaping poverty. Their task is to map a rail route through an uncharted wilderness.

They overcome the many obstacles posed by nature-bears, bees, bats, river crossings, cliff falls, impossible weather-but can they survive the treachery of their competitors?”

S4S – Books that made you fall in love

Hellooo my friends!
How are we all? It is Sunday of YALC and I am excited!

Today on #SixforSunday we’re celebrating:

Books that made you fall in love

Books that you fell in love with the characters, the stories, reading… whatever. Books that made you fall in love! I could have a much longer list than 6 FYI.

  1. A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
    Man, Steffi and Rhys. That’s a ship I will DIE FOR.
  2. The Sin Eater’s Daughter – Melinda Salisbury
    This book is the reason I love Mel and Twylla so much. I so wish I could be Twylla’s friend, yknow if she were real.
  3. Simon vs the Homo Sapien’s Agenda – Becky Albertalli
    AGAIN… I will go down with the Blue/Simon ship. I ship that so hard.
  4. Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell
    Gosh. That book.
  5. The Bookshop Girl – Sylvia Bishop
    This book is 100% wonderful. Even if you don’t read MG I implore you to read it… now
  6. Me Before You – JoJo Moyes
    Yes, yes, this is also on my “crying” list, but I fell SO HARD for this book. It’s such a shame the second one didn’t capture me.

And there you go. My original list only had 2 of these choices on, so it proves how long my list could’ve been! 

Join in the fun using the hashtag #SixforSunday and tag me on twitter! I love all of your posts! 

S x

Happy things – bloggerversary edition

Hello. It’s 2 years since I posted my first blog post. Today I’m celebrating all of the happy things that have happened over the past 2 years. All of the bookish brilliance. 

Making the best bunch of friends a girl can have. Having so much support it makes me burst with joy. Making a best friend. Having a bunch of people around me who make me laugh every day. Getting to chair events with my favourite authors. Being asked to chair events with my favourite authors. Getting to go to events with some of my favourite people. Vising London an awful lot for so many brilliant events. SundayYA. YALC. YAShot. Recommending books to people and them actually going out and reading/buying them. People reading my blog. Reading comments and tweet from people about my blog. Being known as “one of the book people”. Realising that it’s OK to post what I want, when I want. Shouting about all of the books. Having my blog be a place of positivity. Watching my friends absolutely boss this whole blogging world. Desert Island Discs. Hosting some amazing content from some of the people I love and admire the most in the world. Being stunned any time anyone recognises me. Having some of my favourite authors become my friends. Reading advanced copies of books from authors I absolutely adore. Traditions with friends. Getting stupid o’clock trains in the morning to go to events. Still reading. Still blogging. Still loving all of it. 


The everyone who has been here over the past 2 years,
You are all brilliant and you’re the reason I’m still here today. I’m so glad to be involved in a community that celebrates brilliance like the book blogging community. Thank you for listening to me shout about books. 
Love you all, here’s to more shouting! S x

BOOK BLOG: Matt Haig

Notes on a Nervous Planet: like reading a book from your clever and caring friend


“The world is messing with our minds.
Rates of stress and anxiety are rising. A fast, nervous planet is creating fast and nervous lives. We are more connected, yet feel more alone. And we are encouraged to worry about everything from world politics to our body mass index.
– How can we stay sane on a planet that makes us mad? 
– How do we stay human in a technological world?
– How do we feel happy when we are encouraged to be anxious?
After experiencing years of anxiety and panic attacks, these questions became urgent matters of life and death for Matt Haig. And he began to look for the link between what he felt and the world around him.”

I’m a massive fan of Matt Haig’s work (both fiction and non-fiction) so when I found out there was going to be a “follow up” to Reasons to Stay Alive, I knew I had to get my hands on it. (I use that term loosely as it’s not really Reasons to Stay Alive 2, it’s more a companion, a friend). Notes (as I will refer to this book as because it’s shorter to type and shorter to read for you all!) explores the world – our technologically savvy, somewhat dependent world – and what the crutches of social media, technology and abundance are doing to us as a world. 

You’ve probably just read that and thought ‘OH MY WORD, what a depressing sounding book’ and you’d be wrong. Notes is enlightening, it’s uplifting, it’s brilliant. As someone who has a presence online, I am aware of the fact that my phone is never far from me, that I tweet a lot, that my instagram is updated regularly… so reading this was something that I think was the beginning of something for me: awareness. An awareness of the fact that this morning I scrolled and refreshed twitter 4 times before I realised that really nothing was going to happen if I didn’t refresh twitter. That’s what this book is all about: awareness. 

There’s a chapter in this book from the perspective of the beach. Yep, you read that right… the beach. It might be one of my favourite chapters from the book. The beach doesn’t care what you look like, it doesn’t care if you have a “beach-ready body”. It’s a beach. It’s sand and water. The beach doesn’t need you to be ready, it just needs you to be there (and even then it doesn’t NEED us to be there!) 

I’d recommend this book to everyone. Whether you’re a social media fan, a Matt Haig fan or not. It’s not a book that I can sing and dance about because it’s not a book that sings and dances itself – it’s a book that’s a bit like a friend. It’s there, imparting wisdom, some silliness and some comfort – all of the things that I love about Matt Haig’s books.  

To coincide with the release of this book, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a ticket to go listen to Matt talk about this book at Newcastle Central Library. It was a great night and Matt even read the chapter from the beach, which definitely made me chuckle. This is the second time this year I’ve met Matt and he was just as wise and charming as the first time! 

Massive thank you to Waterstones Newcastle for bringing Matt back to Newcastle! 

If you’re interested in any of my other reviews of Matt Haig books, check them out:

Have you read any Matt Haig books?
Have you read Notes on a Nervous Planet?
Do you, like me, get super nervous when meeting authors?!

Let me knw your thoughts in the comments! 

S x

The One With The Friends Tag

Hello everyone! 

How are we all this fine Tuesday? 

You may have noticed last week that I started a new tag here on my little old blog… 

Friends tag small

Now, I just thought I’d take today to explain all about it, how to be involved and such likes!

First off, if you’d like to do this tag, you can be involved in 2 different ways:
1. Do the tag on your own blog – if you want to do the tag on your own blog, please credit back to this post and tag me on twitter (@eenalol) so I can see your responses. I’m nebby, so I wanna see what you say!
2. Be a guest poster on this blog – if you want to do this tag and want to be featured on my blog (which I OPENLY WELCOME) then please holler. Either email me, send me a tweet (@eenalol) or leave me a comment and I shall get back to you! 

Now, for the prompts! 

I’ve based each of the prompts from some of the characters in Friends. MY wonderful friend Andrew helped me out with some of them and he was even the first person to complete the tag (even before me!) If you want to see his post, check it out here.

Ross: Seems harmless, but problematic – Name a book you had problems with
Whether this is a character you have problems with, the book you have problems with or whatever. A book that makes you think “eek”. A book that doesn’t sit well with you. Whatever problem you have with it.

Monica: neat and tidy – Name a book/series that ends satisfyingly
This one is quite self-explanatory. A book or series you just feel was rounded off excellently. 

Chandler: funny and relatable – Name a firm fave
A firm fave could be a book that is one you reread, a book you love with all your heart. Could be an author. Could be a character. I don’t mind. Just something you’d class as one of your favourites.

Phoebe: reliable and friendly – An author you always rely on
We all have authors we love, so it’s important to celebrate them! Tell me an author you have on your auto-buy list, an author you love seeing around, an author who makes you laugh on twitter… whatever it is, let’s celebrate them!

Rachel: she grows on you over time – Name a book/series that’s grown on you over time
We all love a grower. A book/a character that has growth potential. Tell me all about a book that has grown on you since you read it, as you read it or as you went through the series.

Joey: looks good on the outside – A book whose cover is better than its contents
C’mon. We all know them. Tell me one!

Gunther: always there, always ignored – A book you’ve had on your TBR forever
We all have that book (or many books in my case) that’s been on your TBR forever and for whatever reason you’ve just not got round to reading it! Tell me what it is!

Carol and Susan: keeping it diverse – An LGBT+ book you love/hate/wanna read

And there we have it. All of the prompts! 

If you wanna get involved, shout at me and we can talk! 

S x

BOOK BLOG: Becky Albertalli

Simon vs the Homo-Sapiens Agenda: possibly the cutest ship I’ve ever shipped.


“Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised. With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.”

(I didn’t need to give you all the blurb. I think I might be the last person on planet Earth to read this, but hey ho. Here we go!)

A while back, I got the chance to see Love Simon (the movie adaptation of this book) and I absolutely adored it. It’s just the sweetest thing, so when my friend Aoife said she wanted to make Simon vs the Homo-Sapiens Agenda our “travelling book”, I was delighted. I’d avoided picking Simon up for SO LONG (I’m not quite sure why, but I think my angst around hyped books played a part!) but now I had a real reason to WANT to read it and to have to read it too… and my god, I just loved it. 

I would’ve been more than happy if this book had just been a book filled with Blue/Simon emails to be honest. Because I am a TRUE SHIPPER. I love a bit of romance. Romance, especially this kind of romance, is something I can TRULY get behind. I loved the emails so much. I looked forward to the email chapters massively. The progression of emails from quite proper, advice emails, to sheer and unashamedly flirting emails was something I could get behind entirely. The emails made me laugh and cry in equal amounts. (I have to say the fact I knew who Blue was didn’t spoil it too much… but I wish I’d read the book before seeing the film!)

Moving on from something I loved about the book, to something (or rather someone) that I wasn’t too keen on. Oh, Leah. (Now I’ve not read Leah on the Offbeat yet, so I could eat my words when I do read it) Part of me can see the beef Leah has with Simon, but part of me (a larger part of me) just found her a bit unbearable. I felt like she wanted to make the WHOLE situation about her and that didn’t sit well with me. 

On the other side of the coin, I ADORED Abby. SO MUCH. She’s a brilliant egg. 

I have a few personal reasons why this book meant quite a lot to me, but I think the message Simon delivers to Martin is something that EVERYONE should listen to. Coming out is something that you should be able to do on your own terms. No-one should dictate that for you. Coming out is NOT a tiny little thing (why is straight the default?!), so choosing WHEN and HOW you do that is something that absolutely should be the choice of the person coming out.

Martin, for me, is possibly one of the most problematic characters in YA. I just can’t stand the dude. Nothing about him makes him a redeemable character. Straight up blackmailing someone is not OK. Ugh. 

But back to the lovely things – the support Simon receives from the people around him when he does come out made me SO happy. Not only from his parents (although that’s a touchy subject, drunk Simon isn’t a great role model on how to speak to your parents!), his sisters, but his teacher too. I will stand on my pedestal of WE NEED POSITIVE TEACHERS IN BOOKS forever and this book is a shining example of that. 

(There’s a scene with an Elliott Smith t-shirt and a note that made me weep – tbf I wept a lot!)

The film is quite different to the book, but I guess that’s necessary because of the constraints of film. You get the same warm, fuzzy feeling from the book and film. I would recommend both whole heartedly. If you’re looking for something that will make you happy, I’d go with this – just focus on Blue and Simon.

Have you read Simon vs?
What do you think of Leah?
Is LEah on the Offbeat worth reading? Will she redeem herself?

Let me know in the comments, or on twitter. I have a lot of feelings about this book! 

S x

S4S – Books that made me want to shout

Hello my friends!

How are you all? What does this fine Sunday have in store for you? Are you partaking in a cup of #SixforSunday on this day? 

We’ve been though a lot of emotion with #SixforSunday this month so far, crying, laughing, anger… today brings us:

Books that made you want to shout

Whether its shouting in anger, joy or just sheer frustration, books that make you want to shout can be excellent. Or maybe its those books that you want to shout about them because they’re SO GOOD.

  1. Clean – Juno Dawson
    Oh Lexi. Poor little Lexi.
  2. The Exact Opposite of Okay – Laura Steven
    Now I wanted to shout about this because IT IS SO SO GOOD, but also Danny. What a doylem.
  3. State of Sorrow – Melinda Salisbury
    If you read this book and don’t want to shout at the dad, then we need to talk. (But also, you all know how much I love Mel, so I needed to shout about how awesome this book is!)
  4. One of Us Is Lying – Karen M. McManus
    This book though… SO VERY GOOD. The shouting for this book is “I want everyone to read it”
  5. Hero at the Fall – Alwyn Hamilton
  6. Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo
    I want to shout at Leigh Bardugo and ask her how DARE she write a character as brilliant as Kaz. How dare he be fictional. 

There you have it! 6 of the books that have made me want to shout. (Let’s be real, a lot of books make me want to shout at their brilliance!)

Remember to join in and link to me, or tag me on twitter! Use the hashtag #SixforSunday so I can check out your posts… I love reading them all! 

Thanks for stopping by. Come back next week for…

Books that made me fall in love!

 S x

The One With the Debut

Hello my comrades!

Today is a very exciting day.

Today I get to debut something I’ve been working on FOREVER. I had this thought a while back and my lovely friend Andrew (of Pewter Wolf fame) was a more than willing participant of my tag… 

Friends tag.jpg

Yes… you see that right! I have come up with prompts for lots of the characters on Friends. I am absolutely in love with this tag. 

Without further ado… over to Andrew!


I LOVE Friends. Yes, I admit that this show has huge problems (let’s not get me started on this as I can go on a huge rant about the fat/sexist/homophobic/mental health jokes among other things), but Friends is one of those shows I enjoy watching hugely!

So, when I was asked to be involved in this tag, I JUMPED at the chance (though I had to really think them over while I was holiday in Cyprus. Plus, I kept emailing Steph, going “Wait! What about Emily? What about David? Or Richard? Or Mike?! NO WAIT! WHAT ABOUT JANICE?! I MUST HAVE A QUESTION FOR JANICE!!!” which I fear might have pushed her over the edge! I mean…)

But enough of the gifs! Let’s get my Friends game on, play “I’ll Be There For You” by the Rembrandts on full blast and get this party started!

Ross: Seems harmless, but problematic – Name a book you had problems with

Oh Ross… I’m sorry, but I have such hatred for this character. I have no idea what happened or why. I mean, at the start of the show, I wanted him to get Rachel! But, somewhere during series 3, he turned into such a dingbat twit, but that I was screaming at Rachel to “Run, Rachel! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! YOU DESERVE SO MUCH BETTER!!!”. Plus, when he had his mental health crisis in season 5/6/7, I hated how it was played for laughs, and not addressed.

*deep breaths*

Yes, I have strong feelings!

Anyway, a book that I have problems with. Oh, I have loads. Every book I read, I have always have problems with. But I can’t think of any. I want to say Harry Potter for some unknown reason. I think that, when Deathly Hallows ended, it’s ended right (to me). But from when it end (2007) to now, things have happened that has left me questioning the series, the author and Warner Bros and the morales the books put forward.

I LOVE the book series, but everything else that’s around it has left me feeling uneasy…

Monica: neat and tidy – Name a book/series that ends satisfyingly

Monica is one of the few characters that I liked and was rooting for to get her happily ever after. I wanted her to get married, have kids and be happy so the fact the show ended where it did with her makes me very happy.

Ooooh! This is a hard one to answer. The first thing that popped into my head was the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. I remember reading Clockwork Princess, and feeling really happy with the ending as it ticked all the boxes, even the ones I didn’t think were going to ticked as it would go against something else. But it just worked and I had such fun reading this trilogy that I must reread it in the near future!

Chandler: funny and relatable – Name a firm fave 

I’m always conflicted on Chandler as, while I love his character and am glad that he and Monica get together (I rewatched the earlier seasons and it’s clear as anything at he and Monica were going to get together), I kinda wish his character was gay or bi as it would open up stories for him and other characters.

Name, am not sure what you mean by firm fave (book? character? author?), I’m going with book and, even though I admitted with Ross that I have faults with Harry Potter series at the moment, a firm fave of my is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s always been a favourite of mine (though this might have changed due to a reread of Goblet of Fire), but both these books make me so happy to read and I always got to them when am in a slump.

Phoebe: reliable and friendly – An author you always rely on

I adore Phoebe because she doesn’t give a damn on what other people think of her. I wish I was more confident and more happy in my own skin like her.

I’m not sure how to answer this, but seeing as I have read auto buy authors in the past and gone “Oh dear”. But a handful of authors break this, and one of them is Garth Nix. I adore his writing and his Old Kingdom series always feels me with joy when I read them.

The same goes with Kathy Reichs. She’s one of the few crime writers I read and I adore!

Rachel: she grows on you over time – Name a book/series that’s grown on you over time

Rachel’s character development over the ten seasons makes me weirdly happily. I think her character has the most growth out of all the main six.

Oh, this is a interesting question as I can name one series and one book for this.

The series is Melinda Salisbury’s The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy. I remember reading the first and, liking it, but not loving it. The second – The Sleeping Prince – grew on me, but when I read The Scarecrown Queen, I became obsessed!

As for book, it was a book I read on holiday. Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince. I started reading it and, for the first 20-30%, I kept pausing and going “Wait, what?” but as the book became more complex and the characters became more flawed and twisted, I was became to enjoy myself more and more. And now, I need Wicked King!

Joey: looks good on the outside – A book whose cover is better than its contents

I like Joey, though I do think the writers made Joey dumber as the seasons go on. If the early seasons, he’s very street-smart. But in the later seasons, he becomes a bit of the dumb sex addict jock of the group.

Plus, we’ve all been stung by wanting a book that looks super pretty but when you read it… Oh, hell to the no!

Gunther: always there, always ignored – A book you’ve had on your TBR forever

Oh, Gunther…

I’ve started to do regular culls so the book that has been on my TBR the longest always changes. Though, not on my kindle. The eBook that I had for the longest time without reading is Witch Child by Celia Rees. I’m not sure why I haven’t read it yet, I would blitz that within two or three days!

I think the physical book that always appears and disappears on my TBR over the past few years is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It’s been one of those books I’ve always wanted to read, and I always buy a copy, only to give it away several months later. I always chicken out as everyone LOVES it. But I was given it this Christmas as part of Book Blogger Secret Santa and I am determine to read it this year. I WILL READ THIS DAMN BOOK THIS YEAR, SO HELP ME!

Carol and Susan: keeping it diverse – An LGBT+ book you love/hate/wanna read

I really wished the show used Carol and Susan more! But they’re used at the start and then are only mentioned (and I get why but still, Ross and they have a child together!!!)

I’m always wanting to read good LGBT+ novels, and I have been mostly lucky to read books that make me hugely happy – Simon vs the Homo-Sapiens Agenda, Simon Can’t Even, A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, Carry On, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Half Bad, Release, Every Heart A Doorway, Malec (well, I only read the first 3 Mortal Instruments, but I rooted for them more than I did Jace and Clary!) …

And there are so many more I want to read – Noah Could Never, Call Me By Your Name, A Closed and Common Orbit, Running with Lions, books 2 and 3 in the Wayward Children series, all Adam Silvera and so many others that I can’t remember off the top of my head. I just hope these are wonderful and won’t break my poor emotions…!


If you’d like to do the Friends tag, I’d love to host your post here on A Little But A Lot, but I am also more than happy for you to post it on your blog, just credit me and link back to this blog post! 

Enjoy my friends! Let me know if you want to feature on my blog with this tag!

S x

The Book Blogger Insider Tag


Sorry for my silence yesterday! Today I am coming to you with a tag I was tagged in more than a year ago! My gorgeous friend Kelly @ Kellys Ramblings tagged me in this tag in March last year and I never did get round to doing it – so thanks Kelly!


  • Answer the questions below.
  • Credit the creator The Writing Crafter
  • Tag at least 5 people
  • Have fun!

Let us proceed..

1. Where do you typically write your blog posts?
Well… I draft them in a notebook as I sit in Starbucks on a Sunday, then I come home, write them up onto my blog. The spare room is my room of choice! Those are the only 2 places you’ll find me on a Sunday. I’m really productive in Starbucks – I’m not sure why!

2. How long does it generally take you to write a book review?
Hmmm… GENERALLY about 20 minutes. I have a TERRIBLE memory though, so I need to generally refresh my brain on the books. I SHOULD make notes as I go but I’m not that great at being on top of it, ha!

3. When did you start your book blog?
I am coming up to my 2 year anniversary in a few weeks! That is madness!

4. What is the worst thing about having a book blog in your opinion?
Keeping up with reviews! I read A LOT but then having the time to write up the reviews then and there isn’t always possible!

5. What is the best thing about having a book blog in your opinion?
Fellow bloggers – some of my very best friends in the world are people I’ve met through book blogging. If I wasn’t a book blogger, I would never have met them. They enrich my life so much. ALSO THOUGH… getting to shout about authors and books I love. I’m pretty good at that!

6. What blog post have you had the most fun writing so far?
Oooooooh… I went though a phase of loving a mood board. They’re so interesting to do!

7. What is your favourite blog post to write?
To be honest, I only write blog posts that I want to write, but I absolutely love writing my “happy posts”. The gorgeous Grace Latter introduced me to happy posts and they’re a staple in my blog now!

8. When do you typically write?
Sunday afternoons, but I will dapple during the week, when I have time!

9. Do you review EVERY book you read?
Do I write a full review of every book I read? No. Every book I read will get some kind of review though. Whether it’s a full review, or in a round up, or on Goodreads. Every books deserves a review, so I try and achieve this somehow. I try really hard to review on Amazon too – I know this makes a massive difference to authors and a book’s visibility.

10. How do you write your reviews? With a cup of coffee or tea? With Netflix? Cuddled with your fur baby?
My rough version is in Starbucks with a cup of coffee, and if I’m feeling the need a sweet treat. When I type it up onto my blog, it’s with a cup of tea and whatever Youtube song is playing at the time!

11. When do you write your reviews? Right after finishing the book? Or two weeks after finishing the book?
HAHAHA. I wish I was organised enough to write it RIGHT AFTER FINISHING a book, I’d love to speak to people who do that. What witchcraft is that? I’m more of a “let the book stew in my brain for a week and then I’ll write it!” kind of girl.

12. How often do you post?
Currently, it’s 5/6 times a week. I like how active I am and how much I post. Blogging is my little bit of my creativity coming out!

If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask! I love answering a question!

S x