February’s Reading Rundown

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I know it’s rather late for this post but I blame the fact I managed to get through a whopping 25 books in Feb. I also haven’t managed to get round to doing any individual book reviews so I’ve plonked them all here which means the post is rather epic! This month has been heavy on the YA, having read nineteen titles compared to five middle grade and only one adult book. During March I’m going to try and read more books intended for adults but they take me three times as long as a YA. In a couple of days I’ll be posting about my march TBR Tower where you can see some of the fantastic purchases I’ve made at WNDA Charity Bookshop, plus what sneaky previews the publishers have been sending my way.

The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

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Although a slow mover, The Beast is an Animal will work it’s hypnotic charm on you from the very first page. The creepy cover sets us up for an opening that is rather sinister, where we meet orphan twins Angelica and Benedicta who soul eaters. They take the souls of the adults in the village but spare the innocent children, including our heroine Alys. Alys is not scared of the twin monsters, but is scared of the possibility that there is a monster inside herself. This is a supernatural, atmospheric tale like no other – be sure to grab a copy.

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

My first thoughts on this title were ‘not another romance’ but Love & Gelato is so much more than that. And oh my…. the setting is just gorgeous. I now *NEED* a holiday to Tuscany, it sounds too good to be true with sunshine, architecture and history all on offer. And the ice cream!! I’m quietly confident that this Stracciatella flavour is going to change my life. ANYWAY, moving on before I talk for hours about gelato – this is a story with a big heart. If you’re after that hopeful, feel good novel then this is definitely one for you.

Coyote Summer by Mimi Thebo

Mimi has done it again with another insanely good novel, this time set in good old Kansas. Jules is sent away to the prairie by her mum after her behaviour gets too much and someone ends up badly hurt. Jules feels she is never good enough, something I’m sure we have all felt at some point in our lives, and feels like a failure. It’s only when she forms a bond with a coyote that she realises she can be whoever she wants to be, she just needs to work at it. Mimi’s distinctive writing is very special indeed and I can’t wait to read what she writes next.

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

This is an awesome, gem of a book with some of the best world building I have ever read. Although the concept is quite hard (a time-travelling ship but only if you have a cartographers map and even then only to travel to the time period it was drawn) it worked so well! Nix’s father wants to travel back to a time when Nix’s mother was alive and he is desperate, so desperate he appears to be willing to sacrifice his daughters life. Mainly set in 1880 Hawaii, a place of contrast with its opium dens set amongst paradise, this is unlike anything I’ve read before. The characters are wonderful, the creatures are fascinating, the storyline clever & original – I really REALLY enjoyed this one and pretty much read it in 24 hours! I highly recommend – maybe even demand (pretty please) – that you read this book. Also, if you’re taking part in #diveristybingo2017 it is an awesome choice to fulfil the biracial MC square.

The State of Grace by Rachel Lucas

This own voice novel is a wonderful, wonderful book which gives us a glimpse into what it is like living with Asperger’s. Grace immediately stole my heart. I felt a real connection with her, especially her awkwardness and her bond with her horse (and my gee-gee Amba certainly has the same spirit as Mabel). This is a must for every school library – female autistic MC’s are hard to come by and romance novels featuring autistic characters are even rarer. I am so thrilled that we are seeing more diversity from publishing every month. The State of Grace is an ideal read for the own voices square on the #diversitybingo2017 board. You can view mine here and please do let me know your recs!

More Than One Way to Be a Girl by Dyan Sheldon

The very first thing I have to say on this title is MAKE SURE YOU GET PAST THE FIRST FEW PAGES! As I select books for schools I have to always be conscious of the messages put across in books. Fiction that tackles difficult subjects are 100% necessary for school libraries and the ultimate message needs to be a positive one, which I’m glad to say this book has.

The opening is infuriating, it had me shouting at the irritating Zizi things like ‘ARE YOU FREAKIN KIDDING ME?’, ‘what is wrong with you?’ ‘seriously?’ and so on. BUT…she does redeem herself and by the end of the novel we were best friends. Loretta was a character I loved from page one and she is the embodiment of what I wish I was like at her age. Their unlikely friendship made for enjoyable reading and their differing perspectives on what it meant to be a girl were thought-provoking. It would be great to use for PSHE discussions now that sex education is going to be compulsory outside of science to combat ‘sexual bullying’ – something that is STILL prevalent in high schools.

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Zizi and Loretta swap personas to see who can last the longest in the others shoes and this social experiment is extremely entertaining to watch unravel. Dyan Sheldon hits so many nails on the head when it comes to how people treat you according to how you look. The reactions both girls get from the swap is typical of today’s gender stereotyping and highlights the massive need for change in what people perceive to be as ‘feminine’. It’s also worth noting this book touches upon male stereotyping too. More Than One Way to be a Girl grabbed me hook, line and sinker – another highly recommended purchase for individuals and school libraries alike.

Stargazing for Beginners by Jenny McLachlan

YESSS, finally a novel with a girl wannabe astronaut and a passion for science. I will never get enough of books like this. Stargazing for Beginners had me wishing I could do another degree to chase one of my many science related dreams – the others being anthropologist, geneticist, archaeologist, entomologist to name just a few.science.gif

I loved all the characters in the book. They weren’t all one-sided; Bella wasn’t consciously a bully, she just didn’t think before she spoke, Ed was popular as well as extremely smart, Annie was a fantastic friend despite being angry all the time. The author allowed her characters to be more than just labels.

Meg herself was captured perfectly. I can identify with the whole not putting your hand up because class mates will take the mick and I’m glad by the end of the book she really doesn’t care whether people call her geek. In fact, she is proud to be a geek which is how it should be! Being smart is NOTHING to be ashamed of and this book got that message across perfectly, without being preachy in anyway. I highly recommend picking up a copy – suitable for 12+ as it’s very clean teen.

Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner

Oh boy, did this novel make me cry. I have two young nephews and I could not stop imagining what it would be like to lose them at such a precious age, or any age for that matter! A very real, very raw portrayal of grief and how it can literally tear families apart. This debut has made it crystal clear that Paula Garner is a master storyteller and I’m hoping that Phantom Limbs is the first of many more exceptional stories to come.

Countless by Karen Gregory

I’ll touch more upon this title in my body image blog post which should be up around the end of March so I’m not going to go into massive detail here. Anorexia figures in teens may be down from 2015 but there were still over 2,600 cases of female anorexia alone from Feb 2015 – Feb 2016. What makes Countless stand out from other titles that tackle anorexia is that Hedda, the main MC, becomes pregnant. The argument in her mind between listening to Nia and doing right by her baby is a continuous struggle. Countless does not glamorise the disorder in any way and is actually rather frank. Heart-breaking yet hopeful, this beautiful novel is definitely worth checking out.

Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield

Another powerful book from Lisa Heathfield, author of Seed and Paper Butterflies. Lo and Rita rae are close sisters who form part of a travelling circus, a type knit group of people who appear as if they would do anything for each other. But when Lo starts to fall for a flattie and hidden secrets begin to surface all sorts of trouble breaks loose. I won’t get in to the repercussion’s of this trouble, but I will say it’s a very moving and thought-provoking story. Lisa’s writing regarding life and death really got under my skin and the final third of the book haunted me for a good long while after finishing.

The Possible by Tara Altebrando

This is an intriguing story about Telekinesis and whether it truly exists. We have all had those moments where we feel we have some kind of power – picking up your phone randomly and then at that exact moment your phone rings, thinking about someone in particular then they message you, wanting two sixes on a dice and getting them etc… There are lots of twists to make you sway either side and is filled with suspense to make sure you keep turning the pages. Also touches on bullying via social media and morality in general. A great read for KS3 or any fans of Derren Brown/ David Blaine.

Who Runs the World? by Virginia Bergin was an interesting concept that is certainly worth a read. The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein was a slow burner but I really enjoyed the historical time period and it did take me a while to clock the whodunit aspect. This Careless Life by Rachel McIntyre is a modern retelling of The Inspector Calls which was enjoyable but if you’ve read the original you can obviously predict what is happening. Squirrel Girl by Shannon and Dean Hale is a new one from Marvel but I’m under embargo not to say ANYTHING (this makes me feel very VIP but also slightly scared). Beck by Mal Peet was unfortunately a disappointment but I’m sure there are going to be people out there who adore it. Cell 7 by Kerry Drewery and Royce Rolls by Margaret Stohl both featured around reality TV which I really struggled with due to my unrelenting dislike of them. Similarly, I struggled with No Filter by Orlagh Collins as this focuses on social media which, minus blogging, I also can’t stand the majority of the time.

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

This was a weird one for me. After the fame of To Kill a Mockingbird it was going to be near impossible to live up to its standards so I didn’t go in to this novel expecting it to be just as good. Which worked out well – it wasn’t ‘blow my socks off’ amazing  but it was intriguing to see how Harper Lee had originally written the characters. Atticus has certainly fallen from his pedestal!

Kid Normal by Greg James & Chris Smith

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I thoroughly enjoyed this totally bonkers book with its oddball style and creativity. There are popular culture references (but with a twist) dotted throughout and a huge amount of sound effects making it fab for reading aloud. Kid Normal is going to be an immediate favourite with  middle grade readers. But don’t just take my word for it. Jamieson is a ten year old voracious reader who has this to say:

Kid Normal is epic!!! I’ve read so many books in my life but this is one of my favourites by far. Murph is an ordinary boy with some extraordinary friends. It’s not so bad to be normal. So many funny parts. I kept being told off when I was supposed to be asleep. 10/10″

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Jamieson as Kid Normal on WBD

Giant by Kate Scott is a beautifully written, poignant story that any 9-11 will enjoy. Funny and warm with an important message, this would be a great one for classroom discussion. Bad Mermaids by Sibeal Ponder is sure to be a hit with KS2 girls and I did have fun reading out the puns in the office. Revolt Against the Romans by Tony Bradman is a perfect read for any 9-12year old who enjoys their history. Pirate McSnottbeard in the Zombie Terror Rampage by Paul Whitfield is a delightfully funny and wacky adventure perfect for 7-9 year olds. Certain parts had me cackling out loud in the office, there are so many great characters and accents that make it absolutely perfect for parents to read aloud or a teacher to read to the class.

So it really was an awesome reading month. I enjoyed the majority of the books plus have a brilliant book haul to add to my TBR, to be posted soon. Let me know what you’ve been reading, I’d love to know. Also,  I’m after more titles featuring females in STEM so if you have any recommendations send them my way, fiction or non-fiction. 

7 Book Series That I Really Need to Get Stuck Into

There are so many amazing book series out there and although I have tackled some (anything Sarah J Maas is immediately bought and read) there is still a ridiculous amount for me to get through. Completing a book series takes time and dedication, plus they must be set in a believable and memorable world and have characters that I want to learn more and more about with every book. If they don’t have this, then good luck getting me past the first fifty pages, let alone the complete series.

The below series are all ones that have popped up on my Twitter/Goodreads over and over again so I am assuming these are pretty awesome! Are there any you have read and would avoid? Or can you recommend which series to start with? Or am I missing something that I absolutely HAVE to read? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear from you!

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

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I have read many a rave review on this series so I’m putting this lot to the top of the March TBR pile. The books have been sitting prettily on my work bookshelf for a long time now and with the final instalment out last year it really is time to get cracking!

 

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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These infamous books need no introduction as I’m sure their reputation precedes them. I have really let myself down here having not purchased these precious gems as of yet but I’m saving them like an extra special chocolate bar, maybe one for the holidays?

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The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

This series has a die hard fandom – I’ve seen all sorts of pictures and merchandise on my Pinterest. I haven’t read any reviews so I’ll be going in with no expectations and I do not want to be disappointed. Fairy tale retellings can be mightily engrossing but, if done unconvincingly, they can really my teeth on edge!

 

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab

The super cool covers + amazing reviews + MAGIC = A must read for me. I first crossed paths with this series when I stumbled upon 8 Reasons You Should Never Read V.E Shwab’s Shades of Magic Series which thoroughly intrigued me! Now I just have to find out what that ‘change into anything you want’ cape/coat/jacket thingy majiggy is all about.

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page

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I am not, by any means, a Wizard of Oz fan. I have a basic knowledge of the original story and by that I mean totally basic – I can name a couple of characters (Dorothy obvs and er.. tin man? Pretty sure there’s a lion in there somewhere too). I’ve never felt myself pulled towards the story until this series caught my eye. DO NOT LET ME DOWN OR I SHALL FORVERE HATE OZ.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahirr

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Labelled as intoxicating, I am more than looking forward to these babies. Now it’s just waiting for the perfect opportunity to hole up and snuggle in – is a snow week too much to ask for in March?

Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

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Another go at the old book photography malarkey featuring my book nook AKA Hygge Corner. Patrick Ness has gone from strength to strength and I feel it’s about time I got this series under my belt. For some reason I thought I’d already read them but after checking the blurbs out I know I definitely haven’t, sounds like an unforgettable series to me.

Have you read any of these series and thought ‘BEST. SERIES. EVER’ or ‘What a TOTAL waste of my time’? Please let me know your opinions, it will really help with my prioritising!

 

 

Blogging Goals 2017

 

  1. To blog at least four times a month. I know this would be ridiculously easy for most bloggers but with working full time and all the reading I must do, plus having a horse, it leaves me with hardly any time to write. I’m determined this year to blog slightly more frequently to polish up my writing skills, then who knows…. I might even start that novel I’ve been thinking about!

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  2. To interact more with other bloggers. I’ve followed a lot more blogs recently and some of the posts are awe-inspiring which I really should be telling the bloggers themselves rather than just thinking it.

  3. To take GOOD book photography. I have been trying hard at this one already but I still can’t get it right! I only have a (smashed) iPhone which I find hard to work with and have hardly any props. Any tips on this area please do share!

  4. To update old posts. I need to revisit and edit some of my previous posts as my writing style has changed quite a lot over the last 10 months. I’m sure this will make me cringe but we all have to start somewhere, right?

  5. To promote my blog more equalling in more hits and follows. Promotion is not something I am great at so I need to work on this area. Some posts I feel get lost in the void which can make me feel rather pants so I’m going to try and tweet and all that social media jazz to get the In Need of a Read name out there. Joining a tweeting app will be a part of this goal and in terms of numbers I’m going to keep the numbers achievable – 200 visits a month, 50 followers by the end of the year.

  6. To learn HTML. The blog is looking beaut right now thanks to Dorkface for creating my new logo. I do want to learn how to code some basic bits and bobs so I can keep the site a bit tidier.
  7.   To read more Classics. I have adored some of the classics I have read, yet totally abhorred others. I’m determined to get through a few more this year and have gone with the nice round number of ten to read in 2017.

February’s TBR Tower

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

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

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

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.’