Reading Rundown: March

Only nineteen books tackled last month (I guess I’ve been slacking) and not an adult book in sight, right after my pledge to read more adult *insert ashamed face here*. I feel the YA I have read towards the end of this month has really dragged me down in terms of my mood and attitude towards the world. There is all this awful stuff going on right now and I feel so helpless. What does everyone else do to combat the unrelenting negativity in life? Swing any ideas to boost morale my way!

Clare & her Captain

A really sweet story but, really Morpurgo?!? Did you have to kill the lovable animal off AGAIN? I kind of expected it anyway but was really, really hoping that he wouldn;t do it in this book.

The Secret Horses of Briar Hill

A beautifully illustrated

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How To Stage A Catastrophe

The Everything Machine Fantastic idea and it’s Ally Kennen so what’s not to love? BUT be warned, there are willy references very early on so not suitable as a purchase for schools.

 

The Apple Tart of Hope

The Ones That Disappeared

A Dangerous Crossing

Following Ophelia

Zeustian Logic

Running on The Roof of the World

I See London, I See France

Midnight Sun

Invictus

Chase

Becoming Betty

The Moonlight Dreamers

Tell It to the Moon

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

 

Top Ten Unique Books That You Have To Check Out

 

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

For me, unique books are becoming harder and harder to find. Working as a book buyer, trends quickly become apparent and I’ll find myself exclaiming ‘not another one’ when I come across the copycat fiction. The books chosen for this list have all stayed with me, long after reading, due to their unique storyline and general, all-round awesomeness. Check them out if you get a chance!

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman is sure to be a favourite for this weeks feature. Told in a series of ship logs, letters and IM chat, the format as well as the story is something I’ve never come across before. This is the first in the trilogy and makes for Intriguing reading but be warned, they are dangerously addictive and will leave you wanting more. When is the final instalment out?!?

The Wildings by Nilanjana Roy is a book obsession of mine. I can talk about it for hours to anyone who is willing to listen and I, literally, squealed for joy when I learnt it had been shortlisted for the Children’s Waterstones Prize. I hope this has raised the profile of the book a bit more, I feel it’s been hugely underappreciated! You can find more about why I fell in love with this book here.

Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy is another book told in a strange format. The narrative is a series of lists which sounds odd, but it totally works!

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maria Kalman is a beautifully illustrated, poignant tale on heartbreak. Heartbreak discussions in YA are by no means unique but this book presents it in a way we have never seen before. If you haven’t read this yet, make sure you grab a copy!

The Dark Days Club by Allison Goodman was first pitched to me as ‘Jane Austen meets Cassandra Clare’ which, at first, had me shaking my head in dismay. But I soon stopped being so judgey when I started reading. It is unrelentingly good with exceptional detail of the Regency period and it had me hooked. I am still to read the follow up but I;m sure, fingers crossed, it’s just as good.

I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelson is the first book I have ever read with a cerebral palsy character, let alone as the main voice, hence why this book is unique. I found it enlightening and it certainly knocked down some of my assumptions about people with cerebral palsy.

Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos made me cry. A lot. The unique premise of being able to sell the last few months of your life to ensure your families wellbeing is astounding. It held me in a vice-like grip from page one and I will never forget the explosive grief I felt at the final few chapters.

Front Lines by Michael Grant takes a look at the first ever time women were allowed to fight on the front lines during WW2. The female characters truly kick butt and hold their own not only against the enemy but also against their male comrades who believe the place for women is in the home.

Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin is a wonderfully crafted novel with the unique premise of everyone knows the day they are going to die. Although a dark subject matter on the surface, Denton is a sweet and uplifting character whose story is full of heart.

Noggin by John Corey Whaley absolutely fascinated me. You guys know how much I love my science related books and Noggin takes a look at the possibility of cryogenics and head transplants. Funny yet moving, I cannot stress how enjoyable this book was. Please, please take a read. Plus, interesting fact: a real life head transplant is scheduled in eight months time!

The UKLA Shortlist & My Prize Predictions

On the 6th of March, the UK Library Association announced the shortlists for their book award and I thought it would be fun to shadow and predict possible winners. The lists contain some of the best children’s fiction published over the last year and include prolific names such as last years winners Phillip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre as well as Katherine rundell, winner of the Blue Peter Award and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. There are also exciting new voices showcased, such as S.E Durrant, who are sure to become firm favourites amongst readers.

This award is the perfect choice for shadowing a shortlist for the first time. The UKLA prize is entirely decided by teachers, which means that the books are chosen depending on how well they “enhance all aspects of literacy learning”. This is something I’ve grown familiar with  working as a collection developer for schools. There are some tough and varying benchmarks to be met, which are completely different to what we would consider when buying a book ourselves. You can check out the detailed criteria here.

Age 3-5 Shortlist

  • The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright and illustrated by Jim Field (Orchard Books)
  • There’s a Bear on MY Chair by Ross Collins (Nosy Crow)
  • A Hungry Lion or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals by Ruth Cummins (Simon & Schuster)
  • Tidy by Emily Gravett (Two Hoots)
  • The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield (Frances Lincoln)
  • Grandad’s Island by Benji Davies(Simon & Schuster)

This age group is not my specialty as I mainly work with books for Key Stage 2 and secondary schools. I really enjoyed There’s a Bear on MY Chair – the rhyming and repetition is a delight to read aloud, the illustrations are simple yet enchanting and the ending is guaranteed to leave a smile on your face. Plus, Tom Hardy (#swoon) read it on CBeebies the other night which you have to check out.

Although this title is up against some strong competition it has many winning qualities, fingers crossed. Good luck to all!

Age 7-11 Shortlist

  • Little Bits of Sky by S.E. Durrant and illustrated by Katie Harnett (Nosy Crow)
  • Gorilla Dawn by Gill Lewis (Oxford University Press)
  • Pugs of the Frozen North by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre (Oxford University Press)
  • The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell and illustrated by Gelrev Ongbico (Bloomsbury)
  • The Journey by Francesca Sanna (Flying Eye Books)
  • Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford (HarperCollins)

I absolutely love the variation of titles in this age group. All hold gripping stories sure to grab the imaginations of young readers but that’s where the similarities end. My favourite has to be The Wolf Wilder followed shortly by Little Bits of Sky. Both are poignant, enthralling stories but The Wolf Wilder has that extra something – maybe it’s the distinctive setting? I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel set in Russia’s beautiful but isolating wilderness. Rundell’s style of writing always leaves me wanting more – any chance of a sequel please?

Age 12-16 Shortlist

  • The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock (Faber &Faber)
  • The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen by Susin Nielsen (Andersen Press)
  • Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt (Andersen Press)
  • Railhead by Philip Reeve (Oxford University Press)
  • The Marvels by Brian Selznick (Scholastic)
  • Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine (HarperCollins)

My judgement on this category is coming purely from the heart as I feel all of these books are essential for school libraries.  And again, they are all completely different from one another but they all contain awe-inspiring, powerful narratives. I’m going where my heart strings are pulling me and that is towards Orbiting Jupiter. This is an unforgettable story that gives an emotionally raw portrayal of parenthood and what it truly means to be  father. Be prepared to cry a river though…

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My overall predictions:

Age 3-5: There’s a Bear in My Chair by Ross Collins

Age 7-11: The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

Age 12-16: Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

I’m sure it’s going to be a close call in each grouping. All will make brilliant additions to the school library regardless of who wins each age category. The winners will be announced on the 30th of June and I’m wishing all of the authors and illustrators the best of luck.

Recently we’ve had a few other shortlists announced such as the The YA Prize shortlist, The Welcome Prize and the Carnegie & Kate Greenaway plus, on the 30th the Waterstones winner will be announced. If you have blogged about any of these feel free to leave a link, I’d love to check out your opinions and predictions.

 

 

 

Top Ten Authors Who Can Pop Round My House Any Time They Like

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Everyone who knows me knows that when I like an author I fangirl like crazy and become a tad obsessive. So, it will come as no surprise to the below VIP’s that I would love to meet/chat/party/dine/have any RL interaction with them. Although, saying that, if I do ever get to meet any of them I bet the anxiety would kick in and I’d have a complete and utter brain meltdown.

  1. Non Pratt – I’ve been obsessed with Non (that sounds stalker-ish already) since I read the manuscript for Trouble back in late 2013. Hilarious and full of wise words, Non would be the perfect first author for me to properly meet as I know I’d feel comfortable to be myself.
  2. Sarah J. Maas – AKA the Queen of YA fantasy. Anyone who has such an epic imagination and can create the best series of all time is, of course, welcome to my house anytime. Plus, it would be hilarious to discuss some of those sex scenes ^_^ Maybe I might meet her at a book signing in the near future?
  3. S.F Said – Passionate, knowledgeable and a hell of a writer, S.F Said is sure to share the best writing tips and advice over a cuppa.
  4. Jeff Zentner – I want to meet Jeff because surely anyone who can manipulate my emotions like that has some kind of magical power?
  5. Angie Thomas – This wish might even come true as I am off to the UK launch party next Friday. I’d love to hear about more about her life and what pushed her to write T.H.U.G
  6. Margaret Atwood – This lady is one of the main reasons for my love of literature and why I chose to study English Lit at university. To meet her would be out of this world amazing but as she is one busy lady I doubt it’s ever going to happen.
  7. Michael Morpurgo – For one reason only which is to ask ‘WHY DO YOU INSIST ON KILLING EVERYTHING OFF IN YOUR BOOKS. IT BREAKS MY HEART EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!
  8. Jane Austen – No one said we couldn’t include dead authors, did they? I think the reasons for this choice are obvious. I’d be asking 1001 questions about her and her life and her work and her loves and her hates. Fill me with your knowledge and wit Jane, so I can become half the lady you once were.
  9. J.K Rowling – An obvious choice but I would love the chance to thank her for Harry Potter. It has literally changed people’s lives and has shown that the power of imagination is limitless.
  10. Stephanie Meyer – Twilight was my guilty teen obsession and I do mean obsession. I must have read each of them 6+ times, it was all I could talk with friends about (I got them hooked obvs.) and I dreamt of Edward nearly every night. I’d find myself sighing despairingly asking myself ‘Why can’t I be a vampire?’. So, I’d love for Steph to pop by but I’m pretty sure she may have gotten tired of talking about the sparkly vampires by now…

This is not a complete list obviously and, TBH, I pretty much would love to meet any author of any book that I have read. YOU GUYS ARE ALL HEROES! Thank you for constantly feeding my fiction addiction.

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.