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Showing posts from March, 2014

March Review

Another month has flown by. Here's what I read over the past few weeks Books read in March 45) Life on the refrigerator door by Alice Kuipers (British Books Challenge) 46) A kiss in the dark by Cat Clarke (British Books Challenge) 47) Trouble by Non Pratt (British Books Challenge) 48) Alex as well by Alyssa Brugmann 49) Baby one more time by Esme Taylor (British Books Challenge) 50) Say her name by James Dawson (British Books Challenge) 51) The declaration by Gemma Malley (British Books Challenge) 52) The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd 53) Landline by Rainbow Rowell 54) The Road of bones by Anne Fine (British Books Challenge) 55) Breaking Butterflies by M Anjelais 56) Bombmaker by Claire McFall (British Books Challenge) 57) Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivson (British Books Challenge) I must say while it has been a really slow month for me reading wise the books I have read on the whole I thought were thoroughly brilliant Here's to next month and easter

Bookcase Showcase: Author Sarah Naughton

Not being a particularly outdoorsy little girl the Dorset countryside made for a pretty boring childhood, so from the moment I could read I escaped into other, infinitely more exciting worlds.   People said I would grow out of this dreaminess, but I’m afraid I never did.   Like Bananaman I lead an exciting double life: by day I’m a middle aged mother of two sons who spends her time ferrying children to clubs and swimming lessons, but I spend my nights in the company of dystopian revolutionaries, child serial killers, ghosts and vampire lovers. My bookcase is basically my inner life on six shelves. Under 12 – Most of my well thumbed childhood texts (Roald Dahl, Penelope Lively, Alan Garden) have been transported upstairs to my sons’ bedroom – a triumph of hope over experience considering their reading (non) habits – but The Wind Eye by Robert Westall is still here, as it is ‘The Best Book Ever” according to my inscription on the inside cover.   It was what inspired me

Books I can't wait to read

Another month, another lovely pile of books I am dying to read The Castle by Sophia Bennett Peta Jones is an ordinary girl struggling with the loss of her father, an army hero who died in mysterious circumstances. When she receives clues that he may still be alive, she embarks on a dangerous rescue across the Mediterranean to a clifftop castle, home to a billionaire in exile. Soon Peta discovers that what some people will do for money, she will do for love. I have loved the books I have read by Sophia. I cannot wait to get my hands on this. Murder most unladylike by Robin Stevens Deepdean School for Girls, 1934. When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up their very own deadly secret detective agency, they struggle to find any truly exciting mysteries to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia's missing tie. Which they don't, really.) But then Hazel discovers the Science Mistress, Miss Bell, lying dead in the Gym. She thinks it must all hav

Review: Far from you by Tess Sharpe

Nine months. Two weeks. Six days. That's how long recovering addict Sophie's been drug-free. Four months ago her best friend, Mina, died in what everyone believes was a drug deal gone wrong - a deal they think Sophie set up. Only Sophie knows the truth. She and Mina shared a secret, but there was no drug deal. Mina was deliberately murdered. Forced into rehab for an addiction she'd already beaten, Sophie's finally out and on the trail of the killer - but can she track them down before they come for her? My thoughts I tried to read this on my kindle and struggled to know what was going on and gave up with it. I then received a paperback copy which made the differentiation between time periods more clear and therefore so much easier to know what was going on and it had me hooked. The paperback wins again over the kindle. I loved this book for a variety of reasons most of which I can't talk about for fear of spoiling the book. The murder mystery s

Bookcase Showcase: Author Tessa Sharpe

These are my downstairs bookcases, containing everything from picture books I've had since I was a kid to the large collection of plays I collected in college to my favourite YA reads. I've lost quite a few lately to one of my dogs who has developed a taste for books, so usually there's a barrier of chairs around the shelves to protect them! Tom Stoppard's play ARCADIA is up there, which definitely inspired me, as well as my collection of gardening books which helped me with the layout of Sophie's garden--I resisted giving her a Shakespeare themed garden, just barely! And Sharon Creech's WALK TWO MOONS, which is an MG that is the book that taught 10 year old to love plot twists. I was home-schooled and my mom had me read this book twice for our version of English class. First time, I just read it all the way through normally. Second time, she had me underline all the subtle hints interwoven into the book that step by step led to the twist.

Review: Cow Girl by G Gemin

Growing up on the embattled Mawr Estate in South Wales, all Gemma sees are burglaries, muggings, sadness and boredom. With a dad in prison and a mum who has given up hope, she, like everyone around her, is holding on to memories of the times when happiness wasn’t so hard to find. When her search for the scene of a perfect childhood day takes her up into the surrounding hills, Gemma is forced into a meeting with the legendary Cowgirl. Everyone at school knows she’s a weirdo: six foot tall and angry, the only conversations she has are with the twelve cows on her dad’s farm. But with her abrupt arrival in Gemma’s life, everything starts to look different. And with her only friends in mortal danger of the abbatoir, it turns out she and Gemma have a mission on their hands. A gently funny story of a community coming together, this is a tale of happy endings in unexpected places. My Thoughts I thoroughly enjoyed Cow girl. Cow girl is the story of a farm in decline the t

Review: Girl with a white dog by Anne Booth

I adored Girl with a White Dog and thought it was absolutely beautiful. I cannot wait for it to be released so I can buy several copies and give to everyone I know. Girl with a white dog does several things well for me. Firstly it discusses Nazism and the holocaust in a sensitive and thought provoking way. All too often I get angry with books which deal with issues such as Nazism as a gimmick to sell their book and make it more interesting rather than because they have a story to tell or something to say about the issues around it. This book is perfect in the way it handles it and that makes the history teacher in me very very pleased. Next I loved the characterisation in this book. All the voices are so authentic and I loved how these kids sounded like the ones I teach. There's actually one quote about a history teacher that one of my students could have happily said themselves because it is spot on. Also I loved how the characters were diverse without being in

Review: Dead Ends by Erin Lange

Dane Washington and Billy D. couldn't be more different. Dane is clever and popular, but he's also a violent rebel. Billy D. has Down's syndrome, plays by the rules and hangs out with teachers in his lunch break. But Dane and Billy have more in common than they think - both their fathers are missing. They're going to have to suck up their differences and get on with helping each other. There are answers to be found. Powerful, funny, moving - the ultimate coming-of-age novel. My thoughts Dead ends is one of those books that completely draws you in making you not want to put it down for even the briefest moment. I thoroughly enjoyed every page and utterly fell for the relationship that develops over the course of the book. Dead end is the story of the unlikely friendship between Dane and Billy D. Dane is the local thug, at risk of permanent expulsion from school, and BIlly D is a teenager with Down's syndrome. I loved that this book had a main chara

Review: Half Bad by Sally Green

In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and fifteen-year-old Nathan, who is both. Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his sixteenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves? My thoughts I have been hearing things about this book for a while so snapped up the chance to review it when offered it for review. For me this book was about the way in which we treat people different from ourselves. Witchcraft aside for a moment I liked the message this book had about diversity and social exclusion. It really made me think about

Daughters of time blog tour: Interview with Celia Rees

Explain for me and why the daughters of time anthology came about and why you decided to be involved with it. Daughters of Time was the brainchild of Mary Hoffman, who has edited the anthology. We were all History Girls, writers of historical novels for adults and children who regularly contribute to the History Girls Blog. The History Girls was Mary Hoffman’s brainchild, too. We began blogging in 2011 and Mary thought it would be nice if we made an anthology of stories about women in British history, kind of Our Island Story, but about women instead of men. She found an interested publisher in Templar, and that is how it all began. Why did you decide to focus your short story on Emily Wilding Davison?   Emily Wilding Davison’s dramatic end has always fascinated me. Did she mean to, or didn’t she? I was talking to my daughter about a suitable subject when the Daughters of Time anthology was first mooted and Emily’s name came up. My daughter mentioned the fam

Review: A boy called Hope by Lara Williamson

I'm Dan Hope and deep inside my head I keep a list of things I want to come true. For example, I want my sister, Ninja Grace, to go to university at the North Pole and only come back once a year. I want to help Sherlock Holmes solve his most daring mystery yet. And if it could be a zombie mystery, all the more exciting. I want to be the first eleven-year-old to land on the moon. I want my dog to stop eating the planets and throwing them up on the carpet. And finally, the biggest dream of all, I want my dad to love me. A Boy Called Hope is a brave, bold and funny debut about family in all its shapes and sizes My thoughts A really sweet read which I thoroughly enjoyed. A boy called Hope will make you laugh out loud and shed a tear as you follow Dan's adventures to make the items on his wishlist come true.   I loved several things about this book. The first and most immediate thing I loved about this book was Dan Hope a eleven year old boy with loads of hope and dreams

Review: The Madness by Alison Rattle

Sixteen-year-old Marnie lives in the idyllic coastal village of Clevedon. Despite being crippled by a childhood exposure to polio, she seems set to follow in her mother's footsteps, and become a 'dipper', escorting fragile female bathers into the sea. Her life is simple and safe. But then she meets Noah. Charming, handsome, son-of-the-local-Lord, Noah. She quickly develops a passion for him - a passion which consumes her. As Marnie's infatuation turns to fixation she starts to lose her grip on reality, and a harrowing and dangerous obsession develops that seems certain to end in tragedy. Set in the early Victorian era when propriety, modesty and repression were the rule, this is a taut psychological drama in which the breakdown of a young woman's emotional state will have a devastating impact on all those around her. My thoughts I have been excited about getting a copy of this for almost a year now and I am so glad to say it was totally worth the w

Review: Trouble by Non Pratt

I need to preface this review with the following statement. I adore Non. She is one of my favourite people and sometimes I feel we actually share the same reading brain. I loved the books she commissioned when working for Catnip. We meet up from time to time (not enough though) and just talk about books for hours at a time and then stroke said books in foyles. When she first told me about her book I knew I'd love it and I am so so so pleased today to be able to offer you all this review. Yes you could argue I'm terribly biased but even if I didn't adore Non as much as I do I would adore this book (then probably adore her from afar instead). A boy. A girl. A bump. Trouble. Hannah’s smart and funny ... she’s also fifteen and pregnant. Aaron is new at school and doesn’t want to attract attention. So why does he offer to be the pretend dad to Hannah’s unborn baby? Growing up can be trouble but that’s how you find out what really matters. My thoughts I have been waiti

Devil in the corner Blog tour: Guest Post from author Patricia Elliot on setting

I have always felt as a writer that where novels are set is vitally important. The setting does so much to convey the atmosphere – the flavour – of the story. With The Devil in the Corner I might have set it in London but it wouldn't have worked. I needed Maud, the Victorian girl from London who is my main character, to feel threatened and vulnerable. I knew she had to go to the country, to an unfamiliar landscape that would reflect the mood of the novel, both the claustrophobia of village life then and the feeling of being utterly alone when you ventured beyond it. I also wanted to impart   a sense of the supernatural, of strange things happening that were beyond the characters' control.               So I set The Devil in the Corner in Suffolk, near the coast, in an area similar to where I live now. I have been coming here since I was a young teenager, for something always draws me back. To me it has always seemed a county of mystery and magical possibilities.