Wednesday, 17 December 2014

5 Star reads of 2014

Over the course of the last year I have read some amazing books which I have rated 5 stars

This little post is here just to highlight those books I adored, can't wait to reread and would recommend to any and everyone to buy and read themselves.

Read in January

The Accidental Life of Jessie Jefferson

Why I loved it:
It is a spin off from Paige's Johnny Be Good series which I adored and just an awesome read in its own right. Just fab.

Read in February

The Worst Girlfriend in the World by Sarra Manning

Why I loved it:
I adore Sarra Manning. I adore her books. This one was just as awesome as her previous.

Girl with a white dog by Anne Booth

Why I loved it:
It is so inclusive and had such a diverse range of characters who were so well done. I loved the moral of the story and how it was done and just want to buy it for everyone.

Hi so much by Laura Dockrill

 Why I loved it:
More Darcy being wonderful. I love this series entirely.

The Bubble Wrap Boy by Phil Earle

Why I loved it:
The main character is just so so well done. I loved following his story and I loved the emotional punch this book packs whilst still being funny and clever.

A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger

Why I loved it
Another author I adore. I find she writes teenagers really well and I love how she just gets them. Probably because she is very young herself. Yay for young authors.

Read in March

A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke

Why I loved it
This book really spoke to me in the way it deals with sexuality and the idea of not labelling relationships and people just falling in love with individuals regardless of sex. It was heartbreaking and so cleverly done.

Trouble by Non Pratt

Why I loved it:
There is no secret that I adore Non Pratt entirely and therefore I always was going to adore her book. Trouble is wonderful and I loved every page.

Say her name by James Dawson

Why I loved it
I love James Dawson's books. I probably wouldn't have picked this title up had his name not been on the front but because it was him I did. It is so so so creepy and so well done.

Read in April 

Starring Kitty by Keris Stainton

Why I loved it
It is just a beautiful coming of age story and just a perfect read for me. I adored every page.

Weirdos vs Bumskulls

Why I loved it
It is just so so so funny. It is a sequel and I'd highly recommend both

Read in May

Murder most unladylike by Robin Stevens

Why I loved it
My inner Enid Blyton reading child was thoroughly overjoyed by this book. It is wonderful.

 Blue by Lisa Glass

Why I loved it
Hot surfer boys. Cornwall. Enough said.

Read in June

This Book is Gay by James Dawson

Why I loved it
So needed title in schools everywhere. It is so informative and nonjudgmental.

Cakes in Space by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

 Why I loved it
This book is just so much fun and took me completely by surprise

Unstoppable by Liz Bankes

Why I loved it
Another title in a series I adore. Clever, funny and sexy with real heart.

Read in July

Sorry about me by Laura Dockrill

Why I loved it
Another Darcy Burdock instalment and we all know I love Darcy

Read in August

Solitaire by Alice Oseman

Why I loved it
Another example of a young author getting it so right. Just awesome

Isla and the happily ever after
Why I loved it
I felt like I waited an age for this title. It was worth it because it was perfect in every way.

Violet and the Pearl of the Orient

Why I loved it.
Again it appealed to Enid Blyton reading inner child. Loved it.

Read in September

The Art of being normal by Lisa Williamson

Why I loved it
As you can see from the blank space below this book has ruined me reading wise for the rest of the year. Everything I have read since hasn't come close and it is possibly why I am in a bit of a reading slump because it is just so good. I won't say much because it isn't out until January but it is just perfect.

Read in October

Nothing 5 star

Read in November

Nothing 5 star

Read in December

Nothing 5 star

Here is a little video of my getting far too excited in my PJs about these titles what you can watch if you feel so inclined (I promise I am more excited than the thumbnail suggests)

Saturday, 6 December 2014

SeaRISE Blog Tour: Time Travel

Time travel: putting the spanner in the works in SeaRISE

Everyone dreams of time travel, and fantasizes about when they would travel to if they had the chance to step through a time portal, don’t they? It’s the kind of escapist trope that crops up again and again in science fiction, and makes for some hugely compelling plotlines. Growing up, I for one was a big fan of stories like Tom’s Midnight Garden and Charlotte Sometimes, where the characters by virtue of a grandfather clock striking thirteen or an old brass bed in a boarding school, are transported back to another time. Nowadays, the control system for time travel itself is often the focus in science fiction movies like Time Code, Adjustment Bureau and Looper. I like to think of Groundhog Day, one of my favourite films, as a kind of ‘stalled’ time travel movie.

When I came to write my own time travel tale, The SeaBEAN Trilogy, I knew I’d have to confront the age-old conundrum which has dogged concepts of time travel, sometimes referred to as the ‘grandfather paradox’. That is, how can you go back in time and affect things without destroying the possibility of your own existence, as happened to Marty McFly in Back to the Future when he notices that unless he makes his parents fall in love with each other, he’s gradually disappearing from the family photo he’s carrying in his back pocket.

In SeaBEAN, when the main character Alice comes across a mysterious black cube – the ‘C-Bean’ – on the beach she has no idea it has the potential to travel through time. Her first challenge is to get inside it, and as she slowly figures out how to control the C-Bean and make it go somewhere, she also learns that she can communicate with people across time and even affect events to change how things turn out.

Because this is complicated enough for most readers, I needed to keep my time travel rules quite straightforward, because I got completely lost when I read The Time Traveller’s Wife, and eventually gave up on it, which is not something I usually do with a book! For example, if Alice spends an hour back in 1851, she is missing for an hour from her present. I also wanted to instill the idea that if time travel is possible, it comes with a health warning and some possible side effects. So in the second book, SeaWAR, Alice and Charlie start noticing they feel ‘rearranged’ once the C-Bean is updated to a Mark 4, where the time travel algorithm is more aggressive on the human body.

But most important of all, rather than depict time travel in a gratuitous we-can-do-anything kind of way, I needed to convey the sense that it is a privilege and a responsibility. Having harnessed the C-Bean’s powers, Alice realizes she needs to take care to bring about change that is beneficial and not harmful to our existence. And by the end of SeaRISE, we get to see the final outcome of her actions.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

November review

November what did you do to me??

This month has been pitiful from a reading point of view. I'm really not finding anything at the moment to sink my teeth into and get excited about reading. I actually worked out I haven't read a five star book since April which is really sad. So here is my tiny little reading list for this month

Books Read
188) Captive by AJ Grainger (British Books Challenge)
189) It's not me, it's you (British Books Challenge)
190) All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
191) The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
192) Serenity Leaves on the wind by Zack Whedon
193) Gone to Soldiers by Marge Piercey

I'm dying to read some new UKYA. My wishlist is primed and I'm hoping rather desparately that some of them start arriving at my door sooner rather than later.

Book of the month

I had two

YA wise it had to be AJ Grainger's Captive. If you like Sophie McKenzie you'll love it

Adult wise it was Mhairi  McFarlane because it was really sweet.

Events attended
I went to two wonderful events for bloggers in London yesterday. The first at Walker Books and the second at Macmillan. Both events were fabulous and I am so excited for pretty much all the titles spoke about at the events but especially Non Pratt's Remix.

On the Blog
I must admit the blog has been stupidly quiet this year anyway but November especially so. Quite simply school is sucking up all my time and energy (as can be seen with my lack of reading). Roll on the Christmas holidays ....

I reread the hunger games trilogy recently and wrote a post about having done so here
I read the Bane Chronicles and was very underwhelmed here
I read the disreputable history of frankie landau banks and reviewed it here

If you fancy reading my thoughts about positive reviews written after a certain author annoyed me somewhat with his rudeness on twitter check it out here 
I discussed Anti-Bullying week here 
These are the books I am excited about this month and added to my wishlist
I did the Readers Problems Book Tag

Blog Tours
The Bookshop Book Blog tour stopped off with a photo gallery of some gorgeous bookshops
The Art of being normal blog tour stopped off here with a guest post from author Lisa Williamson about her favourite opening chapters to books

On December's TBR pile

I have a handful of books on my TBR pile which I am very much looking forward to reading over the coming month

Vendetta by Catherine Doyle
My Heart and other black holes by Jasmine Warga
A little something different by Sandy Hall
The haunting of sunshine girl by Paige McKenzie
I'll give you the sun by Jandy Nelson
The Unlikely Hero of room 13B by Teresa Toten
Insigna series by SJ Kincaid

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The Art of being normal Blog Tour: Guest post from author Lisa Williamson

I must admit some of my favourite books are slow-burners so I’m willing to overlook a so-so opening chapter, providing there’s a hint of promise to come. Having said that, you can’t beat an opening that absolutely knocks your socks off and begs you to keep reading. The hard bit for the author is keeping up that momentum to the final page. All the books below not only have great openings, they’re great books full stop.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

An oldie but a goodie, this chapter tops lists as one of the best openings in literature for excellent reason! Witty and hilarious from the word go, it opens with Mrs. Bennet breathlessly informing her husband of the eligible new tenant at nearby Netherfield Park and the possible implications for her ‘girls’. I adore the power play in Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s relationship and it’s established beautifully here. Just perfect.

We Were Liars by E Lockhart

Stylish, poetic and economical, this moody one-pager is a thing of skill and beauty. Its description of the complicated Sinclair family commands you to turn the page and get to know them better.

Trouble by Non Pratt

This one is all about the voice and Hannah’s wallops you around the face from the second she brazenly informs us of her recent exploits with boyfriend, Fletch. Smart, funny and full of attitude, Hannah’s scattergun delivery doesn’t let up, contrasting wonderfully with the more measured Aaron, with whom she shares narrating duties.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend

I’m a bit of a poker-faced reader so it takes a pretty exceptional book to get me LOL-ing on the very first page.  Adrian’s diary entries are utterly addictive, his hilarious and often infuriating voice never faltering as he laments problem skin, chain-smoking parents and his unrequited love for Pandora. Genius.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The first paragraph is as perfect as it is devastating and the rest of the chapter follows suite, as murdered teenager Susie Salmon reflects on her final moments on earth from her new home in heaven. Over ten years since I first read it, this chapter still gives me goose bumps.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Book Tag: Reader Problems

So I was tagged by one of my Bookish besties Sarah from Feeling Fictional to take part in this Reader Problems book tag and I couldn't resist joining her. If you want to read Sarah's answers you can find them HERE and mine are below.

1. You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?

I have a confession. My book TBR pile is actually quite small. I blame a broken leg, 4 months off work and a lot of alone time that came with the first two things ...

Either way I decide on what to read next at the moment completely by mood and what I feel like reading next. I tend to be caught up enough on my review copies that I don't need to worry about when I get to them because it is usually in time. I keep a pile next to my bed of unread books and take my pick from there.

2. You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?

I am the queen of giving up on books. I can give up on something after a chapter if I'm not enjoying something. Life is too short and there are too many books to read.

3. The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?

Not really been a problem for me. I am quickly approaching 200 and I should make it this year. Even if I didn't I'm not sure I'd worry because some times I just have too much going on to read.

4. The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope?

It annoys me but I just live with it most of the time. I tend to find with having a lot of proofs they don't always match anyway.

5. Every one and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?

Generally someone on goodreads thinks the same which is nice to make me feel like I'm not the odd one out.

6. You’re reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?

I don't think I am ever had this issue. Books just don't make me cry. I clearly have a heart of stone

7. A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you've forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?!?!?!?
I'm going to refer you to this video which sums up my feeling on sequels very clearly

In short. I love series in theory. In practice when you read about 200 books in a year it just isn't happening. I'm now finding I'm waiting until a whole series is out before starting on one.

8. You do not want anyone. ANYONE. borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people nope when they ask?

Some people are just told no or vague excuses are made. There are a few people who are allowed Sarah, Lynsdey and Lauren are pretty much it because I know they know how to look after other people's stuff. I have been known to allow other people to borrow books and got them back in a real state. Their names were added to the LIST OF SHAME!!

9. Reading ADD. You’ve picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?

I might go back to a favourite book and reread or just give up for a bit and do something else with my time whilst awaiting on something new and exciting to drop through my door.

10. There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?

ALL OF THEM!!!! I must admit that being on top of my TBR pile means as soon as something comes out that I really want I get it once it has been released if I haven't received it for review in the meantime. Tends to help if the release dates are close to a school holiday because them I have all the reading time.

11. After you’ve bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you get to them?

Not long. See above comments re smallish TBR pile.

I'm going to tag:
All the members of the Bookish Brits team
and anyone else who wants to take part

Make sure you leave me a link in the comments if you decide to join in (or if you've already posted your answers!) and I'll come and check out your posts. 

Monday, 24 November 2014

Books I can't wait to read

Another month and another pile of books I can't wait to get my hands on

Read me like a book by Liz Kessler

Ashleigh Walker is in love. You know the feeling - that intense, heart-racing, all-consuming emotion that can only come with first love. It's enough to stop her worrying about bad grades at college. Enough to distract her from her parents' marriage troubles. There's just one thing bothering her . . .

Shouldn't it be her boyfriend, Dylan, who makes her feel this way - not Miss Murray, her English teacher?

I have had this on my wishlist for a long while and I was excited to see the cover go up online earlier this month. It just sounds like it is going to be awesome.

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

A new Sarah Dessen! Need I say more. 

The Beloved by Alison Rattle

Escape from a bullying mother takes one young woman to an even more dangerous place. Alice Angel has known only a life of rules, restriction and punishments as she strays from the rigid path of Victorian...

 I love Alison's books. Her previous two were just wonderful and perfect example of how Historical Fiction should be done. I need this book.

Violet and the Hidden Treasure by Harriet Whitehorn

Meet Violet Remy-Robinson, an amateur Sherlock Holmes in the making...Violet has spent her Easter holiday exploring India with Godmother Celeste, including visiting Celeste's good friend the Maharajah and meeting his very special parrot. And when she returns home, only to get a visit from the Maharajah's butler, asking her to look after the parrot, Violet couldn't be more surprised (and her cat Pudding couldn't be less pleased…). But as Violet discovers, the parrot holds the key to the Maharajah's fortune, and someone is trying to parrot-nap her! Can she discover who the culprit is before they succeed? Violet is on the case… With a beautiful hardback package complete with two colour illustrations throughout by emerging talent, Becka Moore, everyone is bound to fall in love with Violet and the colourful characters that make up her world. 

I adored the first book in this series and I need this one to find out more about Violet.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Fifteen-year-old Frankie Landau-Banks has grown up a lot over the summer. She's no longer daddy's little girl - and almost immediately after starting the new semester at her highly prestigious school, she bags goofy-but-gorgeous Matthew Livingston as her boyfriend. They get along great but then Frankie discovers that Matthew is a member of a boys-only secret society that specialise in 'hilarious' pranks. Which hardly seems fair... especially when Frankie knows she's smarter than any of its members. And to prove this, she's going to teach them a lesson.

Impersonating lead member Alpha by using a fake email account is surprisingly easy, and soon Frankie is setting the boys up with all sorts of ridiculous schemes and sending them on wild goose chase after wild goose chase. Alpha's not prepared to lose face and admit it's not him sending the emails - but the fun can't last forever, and soon Frankie will have to choose between what she think she wants, and the reputation she deserves.

My Thoughts
I've been waiting to review this book for a while trying to work out what to say about it and even now after several days of letting it mull over in mind I really do not have much to say. 

It was readable enough and the story went along nicely but I must admit I wasn't a fan of any of the characters and while I could see what the author was trying to do I just didn't care all that much.  

The story follows the story of Frankie quiet girl turned cool girl over the summer. Of course this means she now gets to go out with the hottest boy in school and hang about with his crowd doing all the things that the cool crowd at boarding do like have parties late at night in out of bounds area or get to sit on the best table in the canteen. I must admit this really put me off her. While I did like the fact that she was challenging the system but it felt too much like rich white girl has a paddy about being discriminated against when actually she has it pretty good and that annoyed me alot. I guess I'm back to my pet hates of YA fiction at the moment