February’s TBR Tower

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This is quite an ambitious TBR pile for me considering how much I also read for work but I couldn’t help it, I’m looking forward to every single one of them. From top to bottom…

febtbrDon Quixote is my first choice of classic for this year, recommended by my father – although, thinking about it, I bet he’s only seen the film. Hopefully this will grab me enough to keep me persevering. I love the idea of reading classics more often but gosh, some can be droll. I want this to be a positive experience so fingers crossed for Don Quixote.

SPQR by Mary Beard is a one hell of a brick but I can’t wait to get stuck in! I love history, especially anything to do with Rome. I fell in love with the city when I visited a few years back and its has the most beautiful ancient buildings, monuments and ruins. And it’s everywhere! You’ll be walking down a back street them BAM – a super cool statue chilling in the most random of places. It might take me a while to get through SPQR but I’m sure I’ll be loving every page of it.

Not sure if I’ll like Cell 7 to be honest. I pretty much loathe all reality TV shows so I’m unsure on reading a book all about one. If it doesn’t grip me immediately it will have to be a DNF.

The Trouble with Goats and Sheep I know literally nothing about. I remember a couple of librarians recommending it so I’mlooking forward to it, plus I’m really intrigued as to know what exactly the trouble with goats and sheep actually is?!?

For some reason I never picked up The Girl From Everywhere when it was first released but it’s time now with the upcoming release of the sequel. Quite a few bloggers relished this one so expectations are running high.

The Pearl Thief is what I’m kicking off with this month. Elizabeth Wein has set a very high bar with Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire but I trust that this one will be just as good.

The Reason I Jump was written by Naoki Higashida when he just thirteen years old and was translated to shed light on the condition of autism in children. This has an abundance of amazing reviews, I can’t wait to get started and is also a perfect choice for ticking off a Diveristy Bingo square.

I broke my sacrilegious book rule of ‘never watch the film before you’ve read the book’ with Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them but I was desperate to see it and caved. Damn you Eddie Redmayne. But I am still looking forward to reading it due to the other book rule – ‘the book is always better than the film’.

I know I’m behind with the times but massively looking forward to the controversial Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman.

 

 

 

January 2017 Reading Rundown

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It’s already February and half the things I wanted to get done last month are still sat there waiting but I’ve been quite proactive on the blogging front, so I’m pretty happy overall. I’ve been enjoying reading a lot of posts  after having a following spree recently and I’ve started to interact more with other bloggers. I’ve even had a go at the old book photography – a poor go though I must admit. I’ve decided I definitely need more props in the form of new stationary.

This is my first reading rundown EVER. Every month (hopefully) I’ll be giving my thoughts on all the books I’ve read. I’ve managed to get through  a whopping sixteen titles this month and there have been some real stunners. Have you read any? Or looking forward to reading one in particular? I’d love to hear from you so please do leave a comment ^_^

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I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelson

This book is so blimmin’ brilliant! Jemma is a 14 year old with cerebral palsy who is fully aware of her surroundings but has no way of communicating. I was excited to have found a book where the main character is disabled, which isn’t something that you come across often in this age range but, thankfully, is becoming more and more prevalent. I loved the voice of Jemma, loved the writing style and loved, loved, loved the ending. A perfect, diverse read and my first square on the Diversity Bingo 2017 challenge (which you can have a gander at here if you are interested in playing along).

Truth or Dare by Non Pratt

Of course this book is freaking awesome, what else would we expect from the wonderful Non Pratt? So full of humour (literally from the very first lines) but also a lot of tough subjects tackled in a very frank and honest way. Not sure how much I can say about Truth or Dare at this moment in time (I was lucky to have read an early manuscript) but trust me when I say YOU NEED TO HAVE THIS BOOK IN YOUR LIFE. You will want to read this as soon as it releases because the buzz from this is going to be EPIC!

If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak

Read what I had to say about this stunner of a book here. You would of thought that weeks of reading other books that this one would have been pushed to the back of my mind. NOPE. I implore you to read it – you won’t regret it.

Ink by Alice Broadway

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WOWZA is this book beautiful or what?! This is a proof copy, imagine how good the finished product is going to be! It’s a must-buy simply for the cover art alone. Unlike anything I have read before, Ink is an atmospheric read perfect for any YA fan craving something new. Set in a culture where EVERYTHING is recorded on your skin, from your age to your crimes to your loves, to ensure that you have nothing to hide. Well-crafted and written in a distinctive voice, this is sure to be a hit upon publication.

Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee by Mary G Thompson

Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee is a thought-provoking title that looks at kidnap, rape and abuse. This is an interesting, fast-paced read but quite harrowing in places. I did shout at this book quite a lot, so be warned, there are parts you will find VERY frustrating. This is a great pick for any fans of taut, timely thrillers.

Pavee & the Buffer Girl by Siobhan Down and Illustrated by Emma Shoard

This is a beautifully illustrated novel that is just one of many fabulous books coming from Barrington Stoke this year. You can read my thoughts on this and a few other YA titles from Barrington here.

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

This book has been celebrated widely in the YA community and for good reason. But I think maybe all the hype built it up to this impossibly huge thing so when I started it…it felt flat. I couldn’t get on with at all but will revisit later in the year and try again.

Dead Men Do Tell Tales by William R. Maples

Not sure if enjoyed is the right word here but I definitely appreciated this book. After getting over my initial shock at some of the descriptions and cases (it’s forensic anthropology, of course a lot of it is hard hitting) I began to get really in to it. Anthropology is fascinating and hugely important in solving crimes. I will definitely be reading more on this topic.

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The Bookshop Girl by Sylvia Bishop

This book is seriously a dream come true for the obsessive book lover. A raffle is being held with the ultimate prize – The Montgomery Book Emporium, a magical bookshop filled to the brim with majestic rooms and thousands of books! This is a cracking story with well-crafted characters including Gunther, a loony oddball of a cat. It also has a clear love of books shining throughout – what better message to send to children?!

A Whisper of Horses by Zillah Bethell

This dystopian is not actually about horses as much as you may think. Serendipity wants to get over the Emm Twenty Five wall to travel to Whales, where there are rumours of horses, even though they were believed to have died out long ago. Serendipity follows her dreams and encounters a few issues – to say the least – among the way. Perfect for any upper KS2 reader, boys included despite the cover treatment.

Catlantis by Anna Starobinets

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I loved the playful language and the memorable storyline of Catlantis but some parts seemed rather slow. If you are into your cat literature (and there has been an abundance of this over the last 6 months) then you should definitely check it out.

The Fearless Travellers Guide to Wicked Places by Pete Begler

Set in a very intriguing world, filled with ghastly and imaginative creatures, and with lots of magical elements. I was so sure I was going to fall in love with this fairytale-esque story…. But I didn’t. Around halfway through I became rather disenchanted with it all. There was A LOT of absurdity going on, for example entering a bowl of soup with a piece of bread as a canoe and a spoon as an oar to transport you to where you need to go, which I’m sure kids will love but for me it was a tad OTT.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby is a true gem of magical realism. It’s a bit of a slow burner but beautifully written and definitely worth a read. Moondust by Gemma Fowler is a sci-fi thriller that won’t make it onto my favourites list as I found it quite predictable. Still makes for a good read but wouldn’t prioritise this if it’s on your TBR shelf. Waking in Time by Angie Stanton was one I couldn’t get into at all. Not one for me I’m afraid. Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is another one that fell just a bit short of the mark for me. Although a good read it didn’t grab me hook, line and sinker like I expected to.

Top Ten Tuesday Freebie: 10 Bookish Things I Need In My Life

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I’ve seen so many bookish things that I love recently I thought I’d use this weeks freebie Top Ten Tuesday brought to you by ‘The Broke and the Bookish’ on getting it all down in writing so I don’t forget.

 

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Elm Tree Bookshelf

How cool is this?!? I discovered tree bookshelves  ages ago and have been obsessed ever since. I did think I could make one but I was clearly deluded, this takes real craftsmanship. This would look perfect in our living room, just need to save a few pennies…. It might be a while!

You can buy this awesome bookshelf here

 

Shelf-ish Mugttt-mug

This popped up on social media the other week and it instantly made me giggle. I do enjoy a good pun and this mug would be a perfect new addition to my current bookish mug collection.

Ifyou feel like treating yourself you cay buy it here

 

 

ttt-carpe-librumCarpe Librum Cushion

Cushions are a must for any book nook, especially those that are book themed.
I came across the ‘seize the day’ pillow on this Book Riot post,where you can find some more super cool cushions. And if you feel like splashing out this payday you can buy it here

 

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I need these bad boys in my life but alas, they are sold out! I am keeping my beady eye on
them in case they come back in to stock. ‘Mightier Than Sword’ has to be my absolute fave.

These are from The Literary Gift Company who have the best selection of gifts for book lovers. You can take a look at the pens and more here

 

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100 Literary postcards

These are bound to be stunning and would look great spread out across the bedroom wall. I can’t wait to purchase them so I can flick through and find my faves. HURRY UP PAYDAY.

Another cracker from The Literary Gift Company, you can buy it here but be quick, they won’t be in stock for long!

 

 

Library Socksttt-library-socks

I need these x 100 pairs. I am seriously wishing I could crack out a new pair everyday. The feeling of fresh socks is epic (this has got be a thing, right?). Having been a librarian, this socks are an absolute must for my wardrobe.

You can purchase here from the British library.

Library Scettt-candlented Candle

As much as I beg for a library, I still haven’t been allowed one. This will give me the next best thing and atleast make my home smell like I have it might have one.

They have a great range at True Grace here – let me know if you have a book/library scented candle, I’d be interested to know what they all smell like.

 

 

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Coaster Quotes

Perfect addition to protect any side table but also inspiring every time you take a drink. What more could you ask of a coaster?

They are unfortunately out of stock but hopefully will be in soon and you can buy them here

 

Evolution Bookends

Science and readittt-bookendsng; two of my favourite things. I was on the hunt for some science based bookends and loved these. Also really liked the brain split in half but not sure how visitors would feel about those…

You can check these bookends out here

 

 

Readers Badge

ttt-badgeI’m a reader and I’m proud of that fact and would love this badge to show that off. There is a negative stigma still associated with reading, in schools particularly, and I just don’t understand why. READING IS GOOD PEOPLE  (you personally know this I’m sure, preaching to the choir on a book blog really).

This badge is available on Etsy here

 

 

 

 

 

An Exceptional Debut: If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak

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One of my favourite things about reading fiction is the process of being placed in someone else’s shoes, being put in unfamiliar situations, making you feel things that you haven’t felt before or even making you think just that little bit differently. A good book will fully immerse you giving you one hell of a reading experience and that is exactly what happened with If Birds Fly Back. I was bombarded with so many different feelings in the last 100 pages that I had to have a break to pull myself together. Maybe I’m just real sensitive this week but I think it has a lot more to do with the exceptional story telling, the depth of the characters and the combination of funny, tender and raw moments.

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I’m not going to do a plot overview or anything – you can get that from Amazon or Goodreads. I just want to highlight a few things that I felt really stood out about this book.

The characters were diverse and had vibrant personalities that differ from the usual YA! No boring characters whatsoever here. Linny is mixed race, has a gay best friend and is, to put it simply, a total legend. Sebastian is into astrophysics and after my own heart wearing tees with slogans like ‘I edit Wikipedia’ (you know how I geek out over t-shirt slogans, especially any related to science!). I even googled A Brief Compendium of Astrophysical Curiosities, the book that was referenced at the start of every chapter, to see if it was a real book I could get my hands on. Astrophysics fascinates me, hence why I seriously, seriously swooned after Sebastien.

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Many chapters are set inside an old people’s home where Linny and Seb obsess over Alvaro, who is one hell of a mystery for the reader to try and unravel. We encounter mental health issues typically associated with older generations, such as dementia, and it was great to see this included since it effects such a number of us but we rarely read about it.  These scenes really opened my eyes and it has encouraged me to volunteer at a local home where I can give a little back!

I learnt some unique and quirky facts. I strongly believe books make you smarter in a general all round sense but I especially relish those that have quirky facts (extra-especially anything STEM). I had a ‘fact of the day’simply so I could keep telling everyone about Hairy Ball Theorem. Yes, it is genuinely a thing! Mind = Blown.

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The relationships… Oh my gosh, there are soooo many intense and beautiful relationships; an awkward falling in first-time love, loving best friends to hating best friends to loving them again, a strong parental love that feels more like a burden, the joy of discovering a parent along with the animosity towards them for leaving in the first place, devotion towards an absentee sister but loathing her for abandoning you. Love comes in all shapes and sizes in If Birds Fly Back, including the love we have for ourselves.

There is just something super special about this book. I’m not normally one for romance but this one had me so hooked with its original and unforgettable scenes that I read it in the space of two days. I will be reading everything that Carlie writes going forward as this is a dazzling debut. Go have a read and see what I mean. Let me know what you think!

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Four Barrington Stoke YA Titles You Absolutely Must Read

With lots of exciting debuts and releases happening in 2017, I wanted to kick off the year by taking a look at the YA fiction coming from one of my favourite publishers. Barrington Stoke has a main focus of getting reluctant and struggling readers reading – their books are published on cream paper and they use a dyslexia friendly font but, ultimately, they provide beautifully written stories by some of the best names in children’s fiction.

Since the release of Non Pratt’s Unboxed in 2016, Barrington Stoke have become much more known in the YA world. The start of ‘The Bucket List’, an imprint dedicated to giving a voice to the voiceless, also holds promise of more exciting things to come. With this being said, let’s continue to show our support and love for these passionate folk and make sure you check out their future releases.

The Pavee & the Buffer Girlpavee

The first story from critically-acclaimed author Siobhan Dowd has been adapted into a stunning graphic novel published by The Bucket List.  It tackles prejudice against Travellers in a frank and honest way, as well as celebrates the joys of friendship and the hope that they bring. The evocative illustrations by Emma Shoard adds atmospheric detail to a hugely important and very relevant story. Lyrical and striking, this book will make an impact no matter the reader.

The Pavee and the Buffer Girl | 978191137048 | March 2017 | 

Mind the Gap

mind-the-gapMind the Gap tackles themes of love, grief and friendship so be prepared for all the feels in this little beauty. Earle’s immersive writing evokes a deep empathy for Mikey and his grief is so palpable and real throughout it’s hard not be caught up in it. This, combined with the tenderness and love of his best-friend and a powerful ending, makes for one extraordinary read indeed.

Mind The Gap | 97817188125892 | January 2017

The Liar’s Handbookliars

Inspired by real life events, this book looks at undercover police officers and the devastation they can inflict on whole families. The Liar’s Handbook is filled with tension from the very beginning and good luck with working out the truth from deceit! This is a memorable story with a heart-pounding conclusion – make sure you get your hands on this one.

The Liar’s Handbook | 9781781126806 | January 2017

passing-for-whitePassing for White

This is a haunting yet hopeful tale ,set in the deep south circa 1847, based on the true story of William and Ellen Craft. I read this soon after The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and drew so many parallels despite the fact they are set over a hundred years apart. I learnt some facts about the beginnings of the abolition of slavery which genuinely interested me as I haven’t encountered many stories, if any, on this period of history. Harrowing in places and still chillingly relevant, this is an absolute must read for all YA fans.

Passing for White | 9781781176813 | May 2017

If you are lucky enough to have read any of these fab titles please do share your thoughts, I would love to hear from you.

Seven Simple Bookish Experiences That Delight Me

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You may have noticed I’m a bit behind with this weeks Top Ten Tuesday due to so much going on right now! However, I absolutely HAD to post and share with you some of the many reasons I love reading! Can anyone else relate to any of these?

1) Looking at my TBR Pile

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Is it just me or does looking at what’s in your To Be Read pile give you a wonderful feeling? The bigger the stack the better! I know that I have lots of new worlds and lives to discover, characters who I will love with a passion or hate with a vengeance or want to be best friends with. I wish I could consume them all!

2) Taking Books with Me Everywhere

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I love that I can take books anywhere and everywhere and my imagination still gives me the same extraordinary experience. I don’t need signal, batteries or a good Internet connection. It won’t break if I drop it, has no annoying screen crack and is easily transportable. In the car on a long journey, train on a commute, by the pool on holiday, in the bed, in the bath (although this has ended badly once or twice!). Having a book on me at all times means that I always have great companionship!

3) Fantastic One-liners and Quotes

I love opening lines that grab your attention immediately whether it be a hilarious opener of something that makes you shudder. It sets the scene for the rest of the book and can raise your expectations of a book. Here are just a few examples that I pulled off the self.

‘Sexual responsibility is boring.’ – Martians by Blythe Woolston

‘So here’s the file that almost killed me, Director.’ – Illuminae by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff

‘You are food.  Those muscles you flex to walk, lift, and talk? They’re patties of meat topped with chewy tendon.’ – Trollhunters by Guillermo del Toro

‘When my death came it was swift. Swift as a racing horse. It wasted no time.’ – The Dog, Ray by Linda Coggin

Also, literature provides us with beautiful pieces of writing that can really mean something to you. When I find quotes that really move me I want to print them off or write them down so I can stick them some where I can read them everyday.

‘Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.’ – Wonder by R.J Palacio

“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.” –  A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

“In the stories of old, a hero is the one who sweeps in with a drawn sword and noble face, to kill the Dragon and free the princess. In the stories of old it never seems to dawn on the princess that she should be careful not to put herself at mercy of those who would do her ill in the first place. I don’t live in the stories of old.” – The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

4) Learning something new!

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Not only do books teach us our language, literacy and empathy skills but they also feed us little bits of random factual knowledge. You can learn anything from a good book. From historical facts (The Dark Days Club gives us a perfect picture of regency London) or science facts (I love how The Many worlds of Albie Bright breaks down the complex concept of quantum physics) to mind-blowingly good songs, other brilliant books, films, fashion tips, other languages etc.. That is the beauty of a book – you never know what you will learn next!

5) Going to a Bookstore

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Although I work with books everyday I still can’t get enough of going in to bookshops, both new and second-hand. There is something about them that makes me feel content and blissful. The smell of books, the look of them all arranged neatly or higgledy-piggledy, the different feel of the covers, getting excited of new releases, getting excited over old favourites – it all makes me smile.

6) Beautiful Jackets & Spines

Despite being a strong advocate for never judge a book by its cover I still gush over stunning jackets. Who doesn’t love a sensational jacket or a coloured spine? Pretty books are a wonder to behold and make them all the more desirable to the reader. Got any that you particularly love? Send them over, I would love to see some more.

7) Uncovering a Hidden Gem

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I seriously enjoy reading everyone’s views on books that are on my TBR list but occasionally I pick up a gem right out of the blue that I have not one clue about, not even having read the blurb. Within a few chapters you end up getting so sucked in you take a social hiatus, barricading yourself in amongst a duvet with a pile of pillows and plenty of snacks. Any interruption will be immediately screamed at ‘LEAVE ME ALONE, I’M READING SOMETHING REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT THAT IS CHANGING MY LIFE.’

Five Books to Look Forward to From Hachette Children’s Books

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Check out this marvellous goody bag!! A colleague and I were lucky enough to be invited to an exclusive event at Hachette last week and I had to nab one of these beauties (who wouldn’t?) The evening consisted of a presentation featuring all the upcoming publishing then drinks and food on the rooftop where many fantastic authors were present. It was freaking amazing! The only downside was we didn’t have enough time to mingle due to living out in the sticks and having to get back before midnight.

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One of the Sales Mangers (who was super duper nice and completely hilarious) took us out on to the rooftop that had the most stunning views of London. I would be tempted to take my desk up there everyday and work in the sunshine! The garden was immaculate and we were told about Eldan the hawk (check him out on the anonymous twitter account @HachetteHawk) who makes a weekly visit to scare the pigeons away.

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The following titles are the ones that stood out to me across the presentation and I can’t wait to read them!

FullSizeRender-7The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

The Bone Sparrow tackles the harsh reality of being a refugee and living in a detention centre which comes at a much needed time.  The astounding figures show that there were over 19.5million refugees across the world at the end of 2014. That is a startling figure. This book will bring to light the awful conditions that they must endure and hopefully raise more awareness of the situation.

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King Flashypants and the Evil Emperor by Andy Riley

This book promises to be a big bundle of laughs from scriptwriter Andy Riley who has contributed to shows such as Black Books, Little Britain and the film Gnomeo and Juliet.

The War Next Door by Phil Earle

Phil adds a new perspective to his series Storey Street with a book from the viewpoint of Masher the bully. Phil said when he wrote the horrible character of Masher he promised himself he would write a story to show that there are reasons behind his behaviour and that everybody has a different side to them.

Notes on Being Teenage by Rosalind Yana

Rosalind offers up her wisdom in this guide to how survive through the teenage years. I’ve read a few of these types of books but Rosalind promises to bring something new to the table, covering everything from feminism (whoop!) to selfies (bleugh).

Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story by Nadiya Hussain

The winner of this years Big British Bake Off brings us a childrens book which flips many well know tales on their heads. Children will be delighted with all the twists and will enjoy the contemporary illustrations. Interspersed with recipes, this book is every bakers dream.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Guarantee A Good Laugh

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Another Top Ten Tuesday from The Broke and the Bookish. I’m going to be truthful and admit I don’t read enough funny fiction, hence why I haven’t managed to fill all the spaces this week. I love real life books/fantasy/dystopia which tend to lack a great sense of humour. I’m always interested in reading more though, so if you have any recommendations let me know.

The Bad Guys: Episode #1 and #2

Meet Mr Wolf, Mr Shark, Mr Snake, Mr Piranha, who on first glance look like the typical bad guy characters but Wolf is determined to put them on the straight and narrow. These guys are my favourite group of characters ever. They all have individual personalities that shine through in the comical text and illustrations. It’s a quick read perfect for any reluctant reader in primary school and any adult who enjoys a good giggle! I can’t wait to get my hand on Episode 3 for more funny antics.

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Jonny Jakes and the Hamburger of Doom

Johnny Jakes is a fantastic choice for 9-11 year olds. It has all the ingredients that guarantee an entertaining read including witty humour, a love-to-hate bad guy, a brilliant (albeit slightly annoying) hero and all told in a diary style format with illustrations.

 

 

To Wee or Not to Weetowee

Pamela Butchart has made a name for herself as an amazing comedian that can capture all types of audiences, no matter the age. This is one of my favourites from her and was out at the beginning of the month. You may have guessed from the title it’s a collection of Shakespeare plays reimagined in a way never seen before. Classic Shakespearian moments are turned in to proper LOLs that will have the classroom in stitches.

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The Faith Series

I have mentioned this series in another Top Ten Tuesday but it HAD to be included in the funniest books I have read due to it being full to the brim of wit, sarcasm and hysterical awkward moments. Faith will have you experiencing anything from snorts of derision to full on laughter fits. Be prepared for strange looks if you are reading public!

Pig the Pug, Pig the Fibber & Pig the Winner

Pugs are everywhere right now but I think these picture books are the best representations of the breed out there. Yes, pugs are cute looking. Yes, they are so tiny you can put them in a handbag. Yes, they look lovable and cuddly etc… BUT they also have a bit of a dark side! Pig is definitely not as innocent as he looks. The story is told in delightful rhyming text and accompanied by comical illustrations. Every turn of the page had me sniggering and it’s honestly one of the most entertaining picture books I have ever read.

Girl Up

Girl Up tackles the very serious subject of feminism in an uproarious way. Be warned, it does take rude humour to another level; from funny responses to dick pics to 100 synonyms for Vagina. I rave about this book to anyone who will listen as not only is it a witty read but a great overall introduction to feminism that should be on every man and woman’s must-read list.

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The Best Medicine

best medicineTold from the viewpoint of 13 year old Philip, this story has an important subject at its core that has most likely affected every single one of us at some point in our lives. Philip’s mother is diagnosed with breast cancer and his reactions are both touching and hilarious (he can barely say the word breast without a full on tomato face!). This book is not just about facing and overcoming cancer. It has a fantastic friendship at its centre, is filled with fun dialogue and awkward moments and contains a big dose of Harry Hill. Readers will be consistently creasing up and laughing out loud.

 

 

 

One Hell of a Heartbreaker: The Serpent King

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I challenge you not to fall in love with this book. The writing is compelling, original and in some places so intense you cannot help but read on and on and on. I was certainly not prepared for it to shatter my heart into a million pieces. Originally, I assumed The Serpent King would have a supernatural element but I was so far off the mark – hence never judge a book by its cover!

The Serpent King is told from three different standpoints– Dill, Lydia & Travis who are a close-knit band of friends. They are completely different from one another but all are social outcasts in high school. They are at that age in their lives where they need to make important decisions which will ultimately change the course of their lives.

Lydia is one of my favourite female characters EVER. She is unafraid to be herself, proud of her intelligence, runs a successful fashion blog and is hilariously good at standing up to the typical high school tyrants. Unlike Dill and Travis, Lydia is lucky enough to have supportive parents that have encouraged her to be secure in who she truly is. Her dad is so lovable and clearly brilliant at being a parent.IMG_0423.JPG

Travis is a wonderful, odd egg filled with imagination. Although described as a physically imposing character he does not have a bad bone is his body. He constantly wears a dragon necklace and carries a staff due to his obsessesion with the Bloodfall book series. It made me reminiscent of the times I have completely and irrevocably fallen in love with a series, how I felt that it had somehow changed my life for the better.

Dill is the darker character of the three. He has a strange upbringing to say the least! His father, an imprisoned preacher who drank strychnine for fun, believed that handling poisonous snakes would demonstrate divinity. Dill’s mother blames him for his father’s imprisonment and believes he should have lied to protect him. I really, really disliked Dill’s mother throughout the whole book. She was ungrateful and deluded and frankly, a fool! I just wanted for someone to give her a good shake and scream APPRECIATE YOUR SON GOD DAMN IT (and yes, purposefully using the lords name in vain to annoy her).

About 260 pages in, this book unexpectedly broke my heart! I couldn’t stop the tears rolling down my face and was forced to take a break so I could recollect my thoughts and feelings. I had to keep reminding myself that this is fiction. Jeff Zentner writes in such a way that I identified tremendously with the Lydia, Dill & Travis and crying is simply a consequence of that. I felt what they felt and I went through what they went through. I love books that are able to create this reaction in me – I think it makes us, as readers, better people by the end of the story. It keep us in touch with humanity and teaches us to empathise. serpent king

***SPOILER ALERT***

 

The one thing that did not have me 100% on board was the relationship between Dill and Lydia. It was clear from the beginning that Dill had a thing for Lydia but I didn’t see many signs of it being reciprocated until after the pivotal point in the book. To me, it felt rushed but this could perhaps reflect the way in which death makes us yearn for life.

I cannot believe that this is a debut. I will have to make sure to prepare for the next title from Jeff as if he can make me that emotional from his first book; I dare to think what he will make me feel in his next! For all those who have not read this yet:

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For all those who have: please let me know what your thoughts were, I’d love to hear from you!