Monday, 31 October 2016

October Review

Not a bad month for me reading wise. I've been reading a lot of my own books because I've been to busy to review much

Read in October
  1. The Next Together by Lauren James
  2. The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin
  3. Under Rose Tainted Skies by Rose Gornall
  4. A Quiet kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
  5. The Creeping Shadow by Jonthan Stroud
  6. Coming to England by Floella Benjamin
  7. How to Find Love in a bookshop by Veronica Henry
  8. Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
  9. Summer at the Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
  10. Welcome to Rosie Hopkins Sweet Shop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan
  11.  No Virgin by Anne Cassidy
  12. Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan
  13. The one memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Book of the Month

I adored this book. It was impossible to put down and I loved the relationship between the main characters. You are all in for a treat when this is published early 2017

November's TBR pile
The One memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics
Welcome to Nowhere by Elizbeth Laird
Lost Stars or What Lou Reed taught me about Love by Lisa Davis Selin

Friday, 28 October 2016

The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud (Lockwood #4)

The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud

Lucy has left Lockwood & Co. A freelance operative, she is hiring herself out to other agencies – agencies that might value her ever-improving skills.

But now Lockwood needs her help.

Penelope Fittes, leader of the well-renowned Fittes Agency wants Lockwood & Co. – and only them – to locate and remove the ‘Source’ for the legendary Brixton Cannibal.

It’s a tough assignment. Made worse by the tensions between Lucy and the other agents – even the skull is treating her like a jilted lover!

What will it take to reunite the team? Black marketeers, an informant ghost, a Spirit Cape that transports the wearer, and mysteries involving their closest rivals may just do the trick.

But not all is at it seems. And it’s not long before a shocking revelation rocks Lockwood & Co. to its very core . . .

I love this series. I won't say too much because I don't want to spoil the book or earlier books in the series.  The books are a perfect mix of fun and spooky. The writing is clever and always make me chuckle as I'm reading and this installment was not exception. The story is creepy and kept me hooked throughout. If you've not started the series don't start with this book. Go back to the start of the series and start from there. While you could read it as a standalone for the ghosty stuff there's so much backstory between Lockwood, Lucy and George you wouldn't appreciate without having read book one to three first. A perfect series for Halloween. I'm not a huge fan of creepy reads but I love this series for the clever writing and awesome characters.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The Last Beginning by Lauren James

The Last Beginning by Lauren James.

The epic conclusion to Lauren James' debut The Next Together about love, destiny and time travel.

Sixteen years ago, after a scandal that rocked the world, teenagers Katherine and Matthew vanished without a trace. Now Clove Sutcliffe is determined to find her long lost relatives. But where do you start looking for a couple who seem to have been reincarnated at every key moment in history? Who were Kate and Matt? Why were they born again and again? And who is the mysterious Ella, who keeps appearing at every turn in Clove's investigation?

For Clove, there is a mystery to solve in the past and a love to find in the future.

I had been looking forward to this for a while and I was so pleased to receive an early copy and actually managed to find time for a reread of the previous book before reading it. I'm so glad I did manage a reread of book one as it meant all the subtle crossovers between the book weren't missed. 

 If you loved The Next Together you will love this. It is a worthy sequel to the book answering lots of questions the first book bought up. I loved seeing how everything tied together and getting answers to those questions in a satisfying way. I loved the time travel aspect to this story. My inner historical geek always loves a time travel story and seeing how things inter connect and affect each other. I also loved Clove, the main character in this book and daughter to Kate and Matthew. 
A fab book and worthy sequel to The Next Together. I very much enjoyed it. 

Monday, 24 October 2016

Can't wait to read

Forever Geek by Holly Smale

My name is Harriet Manners and I’ll be a geek forever…

Harriet Manners knows almost every fact there is.

Modelling isn’t a sure-fire route to popularity. Neither is making endless lists. The people you love don’t expect you to transform into someone else. Statistically, you are more likely to not meet your Australian ex-boyfriend in Australia than bump into him there.

So on the trip of a lifetime Down Under Harriet’s to-do lists are gone and it’s Nat’s time to shine! Yet with nearly-not-quite-boyfriend Jasper back home, Harriet’s completely unprepared to see supermodel ex Nick. Is the fashion world about to turn ugly for GEEK GIRL?

It’s time for Harriet to face the future. Time to work out where her heart lies. To learn how to let go…

I cannot wait for this book I've loved the series completely and can't wait for the final book.

Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen

Beware: Life ahead.

Sixteen-year-old Petula de Wilde is anything but wild. A former crafting fiend with a happy life, Petula shut herself off from the world after a family tragedy. She sees danger in all the ordinary things, like crossing the street, a bug bite, or a germy handshake. She knows: life is out to get you.

The worst part of her week is her comically lame mandatory art therapy class with a small group of fellow misfits. Then a new boy, Jacob, appears at school and in her therapy group. He seems so normal and confident, though he has a prosthetic arm; and soon he teams up with Petula on a hilarious project, gradually inspiring her to let go of some of her fears. But as the two grow closer, a hidden truth behind why he’s in the group could derail them, unless Petula takes a huge risk. . .

Another author whose previous books I've really enjoyed. I've heard awesome about this so cannot wait to get my hands on it.

All about Mia by Lisa Williamson

From no. 1 Bestselling YA author Lisa Williamson, comes another insightful and unputdownable teen drama - All About Mia. A brilliant look into the mind of a teenager stuck in the middle.

The Art of being Normal was one of my favourite books of the last few years. I cannot wait to get this.

Instructions for a second hand heart by Tamsyn Murray

Jonny isn't like "normal" teenagers. Every day he wakes up in hospital, kept alive by a machine. Every day he wonders if this is the day they'll find a donor match for his heart. Every day he wonders if this is the day he'll die.

Every day, Niamh fights with her "perfect" brother Leo. Every single day, Leo wins. Every day, Niamh dreams of a life without Leo. But all that changes on the day of the accident: the day EVERYTHING falls apart.

This is a story about facing the future no matter how frightening. This is a story about healing your heart, no matter how much it hurts.

Tamsyn is an author I haven't got round to reading yet and I'm not sure why. This looks like a perfect place to start.

Mind the gap by Phil Earle

When Mikey's dad died, something in Mikey died too. He loved his old man and he never stopped dreaming that one day his dad would land the role of a lifetime, prove them all wrong, and rock back up to the estate in the flashiest car anyone had ever seen. Now there's just numbness, and not caring, and really, really stupid decisions. He says the worst of it is that he can't even remember his dad's voice any more. Eventually Mikey's best mate can't bear it any more, and so he sets out to give Mikey the memories - and his dad's voice - back

Another author I love. I cannot wait for more from Phil Earle.

Friday, 21 October 2016

We found a hat by Jon Klassen

We found a hat by Jon Klassen (Hat Trilogy #3) 

Goodreads Synopsis
Two turtles find one hat – and it happens to look great on both of them.

My thoughts
I love this series. Book one and two are my go to buys when I need to buy a present book for yet another friend who has produced another small child because they are very easily enjoyed by both small child and by the adult forced to read said book in a near comatose state because of the sheer tiredness associated with being a new parent regardless of whether said parent is an enthusiastic reader or not. I loved this latest addition. The story is subtle and clever with a lot of the darker parts clear to the adult reading and not so obvious to the child. I love how subtle changes in the pictures, particularly the eyes, really change the tone of the scene. This particular installment did not go how I expected it to go at all and I really loved it. I'll be buying lots of copies this Christmas for all the small children on my christmas list.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

We were on a break by Lindsey Kelk

We were on a break by Lindsey Kelk

Goodreads Synopsis
Is it a break? Or is it a blip? 'You've just had a holiday,' I pointed out, trying not to yawn. 'Wasn't that enough of a break?' 'I don't mean that kind of break.' There's nothing worse than the last day of holiday. Oh wait, there is. When what should have been a proposal turns into a break, Liv and Adam find themselves on opposite sides of the life they had mapped out. Friends and family all think they're crazy; Liv throws herself into work - animals are so much simpler than humans - and Adam tries to get himself out of the hole he's dug. But as the short break becomes a chasm, can they find a way back to each other? Most importantly, do they want to?

My thoughts 
I really enjoyed this book. I don't read huge amounts of adult books but I do like adult contemporary like this and am increasingly seeking them out.

I liked this because the story was sweet and funny and I really like how real the main characters were in it. I could really relate to Liv and everything she was going through as she muddled through trying to sort of a whole host of misunderstandings which lead to a rough patch in her relationship with Adam. The story is very British set in a little village and I loved that about it. I also loved that Liv was part of a couple where she was the more successful one.

This is my first encounter with a Lindsey Kelk novel and certainly won't be my last.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Coming to England by Floella Benjamin

Coming to England by Floella Benjamin

Goodreads Synopsis
Floella Benjamin reveals the hopes and fears, and the pain she experienced when leaving the Caribbean for an unfriendly new life in England. Her feelings are shared by any child who has had to adapt to a new life in a strange environment and culture.

My thoughts
This was an incredibly quick read for me but one I'm glad I took the time to pick up. It is the story of Floella Benjamin and her family who came to England about the same time as Windrush after the Second World War. It gives you detail of her life before and after her move and all the worries and troubles her family faced as a result of hostility and racsim faced when they moved. While this story is several years old I think in our current political climate of fear and mistrust of immigrants this is a story that needs to be shared.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Jinks and O'Hare Funfair Repair by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

Jinks and O'Hare Funfair Repair

Goodreads Synopsis
Emily loves living on Funfair Moon - especially when she gets to help Jinks & O'Hare, the extraordinary repair team. But when chaos strikes during a crucial funfair inspection, Emily has to act fast. Can she deal with a violent fudgesplosion, a gravity inversion, and a marauding candyfloss creature? Or does this spell doom for Funfair Moon?

My thoughts
I love books by this duo. The stories are fun and always accompanied by a series of brilliant illustrations which add to the experience. This latest offering is no exception and I enjoyed Emily's story immensely. It made me chuckle and I'm looking forward to sharing with some young readers I know. I read it in one greedy gulp because it was so much fun.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Lesser Spotted Animals by Martin Brown

Bison are banned and tigers are taboo. Say goodbye to the gnu, cheerio to the cheetah and poo poo to the panda. The world of Lesser Spotted Animals STARTS HERE! Discover the brilliant beasts you never knew you needed to know about - from the numbat to the zorilla and everything in between. Martin Brown's wonderfully funny and fact-tastic writing, teamed with his fabulous illustrations and tummy-tickling jokes, is a winning combination.

I really enjoyed this book. It isn't the sort of thing I usually review but I've just started teaching Geography to a reasonably bottom set Year 7 class and I thought this would be handy. It has nice double page spreads on different animals you've probably not heard of because they aren't so well known. The animals included are fascinating with lovely pictures and nice facts about them. It is definitely the sort of facts I could use introduce more unusual animals to my class when teaching about different habitats across the globe. The only thing I would change about it is that I would have liked a photograph of each animal too.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

Goodreads Synopsis
Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

My thoughts 
I liked Jennifer's first book but something about it didn't quite click for me and I didn't love it like everyone else is. Now I've read this book I finally get it. I get why people are obsessed with her work. I loved this book.

I loved the storylin completely and seeing Jack and Libby's relationship develop over the course of the book. It was wonderful seeing how they got to know each other and they changed each other and the other's perception of the world.

I loved Libby as a main character. She's a bigger girl who is treated in a really foul way purely because she doesn't conform to the stereotype of how you are supposed to look in high school. I loved particularly that actually on the grand scheme of things she's OK with herself and her own skin after taking control of her extreme weight. I love that she took control of that for herself because it's what she wanted.

Jack's story is also really interesting. I'd not heard of Prosopagnosia before she seeing how Jack deals with it was fascinating as you see how he copes with his condition on his own and then later with Libby's support.

A book I loved. Highly recommended.

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Kid Got Shot by Simon Mason (The Garvie Smith Mysteries #2)

Kid Got Shot by Simon Mason (The Garvie Smith Mysteries #2)

Goodreads synopsis
Meet Garvie Smith. Reprobate, genius, waster, and sometime detective. Right in the middle of revision hell - until now. A boy from Marsh Academy has been shot, with no clear motive and no clues. Disgraced DI Singh is on the case, and he's determined to keep Garvie away. But Garvie knows he's the only one who has any idea where to look for the answers. Starting with his best friend's girlfriend. And it's going to take more than pointless revision or flunking his exams to stop him getting involved. Exams. What exams?

I really like the Garvie Smith Mysteries series. Garvie Smith is clever and incredibly bright as well as being a huge pain in the bum. If I taught him he'd be one of those kids that drove me completely around the bend. I really enjoyed this latest instalment in the series because it was thoughtful and kept me guessing throughout. A teen Sherlock Holmes for a modern generation.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

John Green meets Rainbow Rowell in this irresistible story of first love, broken hearts, and the golden seams that put them back together again.

Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can't-eat-can't-sleep kind of love that he's been hoping for just hasn't been in the cards for him—at least not yet. Instead, he's been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything's about to change.

Grace isn't who Henry pictured as his dream girl—she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys' clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her. It's obvious there's something broken about Grace, but it seems to make her even more beautiful to Henry, and he wants nothing more than to help her put the pieces back together again. And yet, this isn't your average story of boy meets girl. Krystal Sutherland's brilliant debut is equal parts wit and heartbreak, a potent reminder of the bittersweet bliss that is first love.

My thoughts
Our Chemical Hearts is a really interesting read and it definitely deserves the comparisons it is getting to John Green and Rainbow Rowell.

Our Chemical Hearts is the love story between Henry and Grace. Henry didn't understand love until he met Grace. Their story is both super sweet and full of heartbreak. Grace is an interesting character and as the story unfolds you can see how damaged she really is and the way Henry goes about trying to help put her together.

I really enjoyed this book which is a wonderful addition to my Aussie YA collection.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

British Books Challenge: Sign up your October reviews here.

I am a naughty host. This month I've barely read any books by UK authors. This makes me a bit grumpy at myself if I'm honest but nevermind next month I'll try harder.

First up the winner of last month's prize of a copy of Annie Darling's the little bookshop of lonely hearts is Chrissi Reads for her review of Beautiful Broken Things. Please email me asap with your address so I can get your book posted.

This month I will be giving away a copy of Lauren James's The Last Beginning (or The next together if you've not read it and would prefer the first book rather than the second) because I'm reading it now and loving it

As always links below please