Friday, 31 October 2014

October Review

Another odd month for me reading wise. Nothing really this month has blown me away so I have started a rereading effort starting with Hunger Games in a bid to get myself excited and into reading again. Also I have pretty much annihilated my TBR pile. As I type this I am in the middle of Us by David Nicholls then I nothing left in the house unread.

Read in October
173) The Light behind the Window by Lucinda Riley (British Books Challenge)
174) Beads, Boys and Bangles by Sophia Bennett (British Books Challenge)
175) The Wrong Boy by Suzy Zail
176) Loyal Creatures by Morris Gleitzman
177) The Voices of Silence by Bel Mooney (British Books Challenge)
178) The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud (British Books Challenge)
179) I was here by Gayle Forman
180) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
181) Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
182) Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
183) The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare
184) The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell (British Books Challenge)
185) The Baking Life of Amelie Day by Vanessa Curtis (British Books Challenge)
186) My True Love gave to me by Stephanie Perkins
187) Love Hurts by Malorie Blackman (British Books Challenge)

Events attended
I went to a wonderful event with Morris Gleitzman organised by the ever wonderful North Norfolk Children's Book Group and I went for afternoon tea with Zoe Marriott which was fabulous.

Reading plans for next month?
Lots of favourites rereading while I wait for some of the 2015 titles I am super excited about to drop through my door

Friday, 24 October 2014

Books I can't wait to read

The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

Grieving, shaken, and feeling very much alone, Rory's life as a member of the Shades of London has changed irrevocably. It's only been a matter of hours since Stephen was taken from her, possibly for ever. Her classmate Charlotte is still missing, kidnapped by the same people who tried to take Rory. Rory is no longer a schoolgirl haplessly involved in the dealings of a secret government unit. She is their weapon in a matter of life and death.

With hardly a moment to think for herself, Rory is back to work. Charlotte must be found -- as must Stephen, if he is even out there. Lines must be drawn and forces rallied. Something is brewing under London, something bigger and much more dangerous than what has come before. The Shadow Cabinet holds the key to everything, and it is up to Rory to unravel its mysteries before time runs out...

I love this series I cannot wait for more of it.

The door that led to where by Sally Gardner 

AJ Flynn has just failed all but one of his GCSEs, and his future is looking far from rosy. So when he is offered a junior position at a London law firm he hopes his life is about to change - but he could never have imagined by how much.

Tidying up the archive one day, AJ finds an old key, mysteriously labelled with his name and date of birth - and he becomes determined to find the door that fits the key. And so begins an amazing journey to a very real and tangible past - 1830, to be precise - where the streets of modern Clerkenwell are replaced with cobbles and carts, and the law can be twisted to suit a villain's means. Although life in 1830 is cheap, AJ and his friends quickly find that their own lives have much more value. They've gone from sad youth statistics to young men with purpose - and at the heart of everything lies a crime that only they can solve. But with enemies all around, can they unravel the mysteries of the past, before it unravels them?

Another author I love. Would want to read it whatever it was about but I do particularly like the look of this one.

Under my skin by James Dawson

Seventeen-year-old Sally Feather is not exactly a rebel. Her super-conservative parents and her treatment at the hands of high school bullies means that Sally’s about as shy and retiring as they come – but all that’s about to change. Accidentally ending up in the seedier side of town one day, Sally finds herself mysteriously lured to an almost-hidden tattoo parlour – and once inside, Sally is quickly seduced by its charming owner, Rosita, and her talk of how having a secret tattoo can be as empowering as it is thrilling. Almost before she knows what she is doing, Sally selects sexy pin-up Molly Sue, and has her tattooed on her back – hoping that Molly Sue will inspire her to be as confident and popular as she is in her dreams.

But things quickly take a nightmareish turn. Almost immediately, Sally begins to hear voices in her head – or rather, one voice in particular: Molly Sue’s. And she has no interest in staying quiet and being a good girl – in fact, she’s mighty delighted to have a body to take charge of again. Sally slowly realises that she is unable to control Molly Sue… and before long she’s going to find out the hard way what it truly means to have somebody ‘under your skin’.

I will read anything James Dawson writes even if I think it is going to scare me. 

Captive by AJ Grainger

I open my eyes. The cell is flooded with sunlight; the window is a slice of pale blue. Dust particles dance in the sparkling light, pirouetting in a golden line from the window to the opposite wall of the cell, where they seem to converge into shapes. It is like looking into a kaleidoscope.

Dad isn't here. No one is, but me.
Robyn Knollys-Green is an A-list celebrity, famous for being the daughter of one of the world's most powerful men. But not even the paparazzi can find her now.

Robyn begins to realise that she is trapped in a complicated web of global corruption and deceit - and that the strange, melancholy boy who has been tasked with guarding her might not be an enemy after all . . .

Looking forward to this one a lot and can't wait to get my hands on a printed copy.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future - and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems. Twisting together the familiar and the new, this perfectly delicious, captivating and darkly funny tale shows its creators at the peak of their talents.

My Thoughts

A 21st century fairy tale.
What begins looking like a simple retelling of classic fairy tales ultimately delivers so very much more.  On the surface this certainly looks like any other classic children’s book, combining text and illustration to create an ensemble that is certainly visually appealing.  The story however is anything but a standard fairy tale (but then from Gaiman would you expect anything less).  No longer is the helpless princess waiting for the prince to rescue her, it is instead the princess herself who is the heroine of the piece.  Equipped with sword and armour she leads a small band of dwarves to rescue a city under the thrall of a dark spell.
This is certainly a refreshingly modern fairy tale no longer reliant on outdated gender stereotypes and which will certainly appeal to younger girls (especially any with Tomboy natures).  This would make a wonderful piece of bedtime reading for the modern youngster.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Bookcase Showcase: Author Mila Gray

One of the wonderful perks of being an author is the FREE BOOKS! It’s like supermarket sweep and makes me deliriously happy. This wonderful bunch of books is made up of some books that Pan Macmillan sent me and I bought myself. I devoured them all. I really loved The Interestings and Shotgun Lovesongs.

This is one of my bookshelves. I’m actually packing up to leave Bali (sob sob) so I’ve already donated a ton of books to the school and library and to friends.  

These are the ones I’m shipping because I can’t bear to part with them. I have a lot of Dave Eggars, who is up there with David Mitchell as one of my all time favourite authors.

Night Film was a firm favourite last year, as was Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers which was recommended to me by some bloggers in Singapore when I visited.

I read very eclectically - from YA through to literary fiction and memoir and would encourage anyone who wants to be a writer to do the same! 

Mila's latest book Come back to me is out now


Monday, 13 October 2014

Magnus Bane Quote Vote

Walker Books invites you to partake in the Magnus Bane Quote Vote to celebrate the forthcoming release of The Bane Chronicles in hardback

We can’t think of a better way to celebrate Magnus’s many adventures than by hand-picking sixteen of his sassiest quotes and pitting them against each other in a battle to determine the warlock’s wittiest witticism.

We strongly encourage you to have your say, starting on October 22nd of this year.

To get involved, simply follow #LoveMagnus @WalkerBooksUK on Twitter.

And please, share this invitation – this is not an exclusive party.

Monday, 6 October 2014

4 days to go until The Maze Runner...

The Maze Runner Film is releasing at the end of this week on 10th October

I am particularly excited to see how the film has been adapted and see the lovely Will Poulter on screen (I met him very briefly last year at an anti-bullying event and he is lovely)

When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But
he’s not alone. He’s surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade – a walled encampment
at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone maze. Like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why
or how they came to be there – or what’s happened to the world outside. All they know is that
every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything to try and find out.

The Maze Runner out now in paperback (£7.99, Chicken House)

I read The Maze Runner back in 2010. You are dropped into a world where you do not know what is happening or why it is happening and I found it very confusing as a reader to start with but suddenly things start to click into place and I'm interested to see how this is done in the film.

I did like the idea behind the story and I liked how the boys interacted with each other, complete with their abrupt manners and own cursewords (reminding me of a variety of children I have taught over the years) and there were a few creepy moments with the grievers.
In the last section and everything that happened it was fast paced and interesting and I think the series as a whole could be very good based on all the ideas thrown about.

I am very excited to be able to offer a signed copy of The Maze Runner for one of my readers. If you want to enter simply leave a comment in the box below with a twitter handle or an email address to contact you on and I'll pick a winner at random later on in the week. 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Bookcase Showcase: Author Susan E Fletcher

Susan's favourite books

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. It is a stunning book. It isn’t long, but it brims with such poetry and tenderness that it stayed with me for months. I wish I could have written: I’m so grateful that Robinson has.

Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund. It isn’t often that I am so thrilled and drawn into a novel as this. I took it everywhere with me, reading with every spare moment. It’s a clever, daring adventure story, but also a beautiful account of lasting human love against the odds. And what a heroine!

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I read this, whilst researching my latest book A Little In Love. It’s a huge, intricate, relentless tale – or many tales, woven into one – of life in revolutionary Paris. I was bewitched by it. A breathtaking book.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. A strong-minded heroine, a wild setting, a supressed passion, a devastating secret – and the flawed but enigmatic Rochester … I have loved this since my teens!

Staying Alive, Being Alive and Being Human – all from Bloodaxe. It was poetry that made me fall in love with the written word; it remains a huge part of both my writing and everyday life. These anthologies are treasure chests; each time I dip into it I surface with a new, beautiful thing.

The Poisonwood Bible – by Barbara Kingsolver. I read this book and felt like I was in the Congo with these four wonderful narrators; its sense of place is a total joy. As well as being a consummate example of a multi-voiced novel, and lyrical, it also packs a huge emotional punch.

Van Gogh: The Life – Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith. This is supreme biography of an extraordinary and misunderstood man. I read it whilst researching my current novel and it has brought Van Gogh brilliantly to life in my mind. 

Sue’s brand new novel, A LITTLE IN LOVE, the story of the broken heart of Les Miserables, is out now.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Current state of play

I wasn't going to write this post. I've thought about it for a while but didn't want it to become a pity post or an outlet for me to moan but then after a lot of thinking I thought I would so those people who kindly send me books and read my little bit of the internet would know what is going on ...

I  love reading. I love talking about the books I've read and that was the reason why I blog and why I've done so for the past 4 years however of late I'm not feeling it. I'm struggling with the books and as a consequence I'm struggling with the blogging and I can put it down to a variety of reasons

1) My reading time in the last month or so has got smaller and smaller as work has got tougher and tougher. New changes brought in by the government to change what I'm doing day to day at school are making the paperwork side of my job insane. Teaching is fine, the kids are fine but the paperwork is not. Nine years ago when I started this job I saw myself doing it until retirement. Now I'm not so sure I'll be doing it in two or three years time. To cut a long story short after a day at work my poor brain just can't cope with getting down my thoughts about the particular book I've just read.

2) I'm giving up on so many books at the moment. As mentioned my reading time has got smaller so I am getting less and less tolerant of books I'm not actively enjoying and less willing to stick with a book for the sake of it. In the last month alone I've given up on over 15 books that I just couldn't be bothered to finish.

3) All the books I've had of late, barring a few exceptions, just haven't been that great. It's not to say they have been awful but just OK and once or if I finish them I've really not got anything to say about them with any enthusiasm or excitement.

4) I'm currently sitting in TBR limbo. I'm caught up on review books and nothing left on my TBR pile is anything I really really want to read. I've not received anything new for review for a good while because it seems that generally not much is released YA wise between mid October and January and it is possibly too early for January review titles to start arrive yet which means I'm now just waiting for those to drop through my door (That said I have had one. The Art of being Normal by Lisa Williamson. It was awesome. Literally the best thing I had read since the beginning of August. I cannot wait to review that on here).

I don't want to stop blogging but I'm worried if I carry on trying to force it I am going to start to resent it so my plan is to carry on reviewing titles as and when / if I have something to say about the books I read between now and the new year. I have several guest posts pencilled in which I think will be fab. I'll still be posting bookish posts and vlogging with Bookish Brits. However it is going to be a lot quieter between now and January to give me a bit of down time, allow me time to focus on the lovely January 2015 titles I'm hoping will start to arrive in the not so distant future and get myself scheduled ahead for the new year so I can come back with more enthusiasm and excitement.

In the meantime if you want to know what I'm reading (or giving up on) find me on goodreads (see my sidebar for widget that'll lead you to my page) or on twitter @overflowingklc. If you have any really awesome reading recommendations to get me through the TBR limbo let me know in the box below because I need something to read and get excited about desperately.