Book Review | Stranger, Baby by Emily Berry

DSC_0252Stranger, Baby is a book of poetry by up-and-coming poet Emily Berry. In this collection, a mixture of poetry, play, and prose, Berry has a sense of fantasy, humour, estrangement. Berry digs deep into her past of childhood loss and dedicates this book to her mother. A book of mourning, exhilaration and the ocean: ‘A meditation on a want that can never be answered.’ 

It took me a while to get into this book of poetry. Berry is a writer of wonder. She writes wonderfully, but I don’t really read much poetry like this. Continue reading

Book Review | Windfall by Jennifer E Smith

32048554Alice doesn’t believe in luck – at least, not the good kind. But she does believe that she is in love; with her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday, she buys him a lottery ticket as a joke – but to their astonishment, he wins $140 million and changes everything. 

At first it seems like a dream come true, but it quickly spirals into more of a curse than a windfall and Alice begins to wish she could take the ticket back. But she knows that you can’t change time, better than anyone. Will she and Teddy ever find their way back to each other? 

I really enjoyed this novel. I think it’s a really feel-good YA, and I got through it so quickly which was an added bonus. It’s a real dreamy book – both in the way of winning the lottery, and the way it was written! I felt so relaxed reading it, although I was completely unable to put it down. Continue reading

Book Review | The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas

32187354Grace is a teenager. She also has Asperger’s, and a unique way of looking at the world. With her horse and her best friend, she has everything that she needs. But then Grace kisses Gabe and her home starts to change… and the world doesn’t look the same anymore. Everything begins to fall apart, and Grace has to pull it back together again. 

loved this book. It’s a brand new YA novel about a girl with Asperger’s – and I think it might be the first I’ve read about Asperger’s (I’ve read from the POV of someone with Autism before). I want to read more about Asperger’s and autism (is that capitalised) though. The State of Grace however was a great way to start! (And it’s #OwnVoices!) Continue reading

How to Cull Your Books

I have recently gone through a rather large book cull – that’s about 70 books, in case you were wondering! Therefore, I think I have a little bit of an idea about how to get rid of books. Even if I don’t, here are some of the tips I used to get rid of ones from my own shelf!

If you’ve read the book

Hopefully, if would be nice if all of your books you’re getting rid of have already been read and (hopefully, but of course not always) loved!

  • Is it sentimental? Of course, not everything has been kept, but if you’re not ready to part with a book just yet because of sentimental reasons, unless you have no room or have to get rid of it for other reasons, then keep it.
  • Do you think you are going to reread it? Obviously, in that case: it’s a keeper.
  • Did you enjoy it? If not, why on earth is it on your shelf? If you did, then think about how much you enjoyed it. For example, was it a 5 star read, or a 3.5 star read? Therefore… which one are you more likely to want to keep?
  • Do you think someone else would enjoy it more than you? 🙂
  • Is it worth keeping it on your shelf? You don’t have to keep every book. If in 10, 20 years down the line you decide that actually you would like to reread this book, then you can always get it anew or borrow it from your library. Unless there is value in that particular copy, you don’t have to keep it!

If you haven’t read the book

Now, I know that this one is a touchy subject. When my mum looked through books I was getting rid of, some of them haven’t been read by yours truly. What you have to remember, though, is that when you’re a teen – or, indeed, at any time in your life, but especially from ages 10 – 20 – you change so much that it is important to remember your reading tastes will change too. Whilst I might have bought a book even 2 or 4 or 6 months ago, I might have changed so much in that time that I won’t want to read that book anymore. It’s nothing to be ashamed of: appreciating this is a great way to appreciate yourself. Remember that you’ll be donating your books – or selling them – so someone else will also enjoy the novels.

  • How long has the book been on your shelf? 2 months? Perhaps it could be worth keeping. 6 months? You need to seriously think this through. A year? Two years? Hmm…
  • Are you ever going to read it? …Seriously?
  • Do you think that someone else will enjoy it more than you?
  • Are you scared of letting this book go because you “might” read it? How long have you been saying you “might” read this book?

Some things to always remember when you cull books:

  • You can always pick it up again! Bookstores and libraries exist!
  • Someone else might enjoy it more than you, and isn’t that incredible?!
  • And it just means more shelf space for a book you might absolutely love rather than a 3 star book instead. 🙂

So tell me: how often do you get rid of books? What’s your process?

Pro-Review Writing Tips! | I: The Writing Process

Slight disclaimer: I am by no means the world’s best reviewer. However, I have reviewed a lot of books in my time, and I thought I would share some of my tips of how to make your reviews rock. Or, at least, be mildly interesting.

This is one of three different blog posts in the mini series (they’ll be going up in the next few weeks). This one is (as you have seen) about the writing process of the actual review; then we get onto how to write a rocking book description; and finally just some final hints, tips, and pieces of advice to be a kind and considerate, as well as good, reviewer. Enjoy!  Continue reading

Book Review | A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

30197201Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say.
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn’t a lightning strike, it’s the rumbling roll of thunder.

Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it. – from Goodreads

I absolutely LOVED this book. I was in need of a lovely YA romance, and that’s exactly what this book offered: but with diversity!  Continue reading

6 Ways Of Controlling Your TBR!

We all know that TBR*s are wild and dangerous things. They seem to miraculously grow whenever you turn your back even for the briefest of seconds, and the books just seem to mount up… and up.. and up.

*to be read [pile]

I am also the proud and slightly scared owner of a TBR pile, and I understand how nauseating and scary it can be to see the unread books looming over you and even causing reading slumps. *sigh* Unruly things, these.  Continue reading

Book Review | Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

51wpm7kpqil-_sy344_bo1204203200_Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

I think I enjoyed this book. I gave it 4/5 on Goodreads, but I would imagine it’s more like 3.5/5. That isn’t saying I didn’t enjoy it, because I did, but I think there’s a fair bit I want to discuss!  Continue reading

Book Review & Blog Tour | Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner

I’m participating in a blog tour! This is stop #6 of the RIGHT BEHIND YOU blog tour, set up by Headline. My post is a review of the newest novel by experienced crime writer Lisa Gardner.

right-behind-you-blog-tour

Eight years ago, Sharlah’s brother, Telly Ray Nash, beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat to save them both. Sharlah has had no contact with her sibling since. She’s moved from foster to foster, and has finally found her forever home with her future adoptive parents, Quincy and Rainie, as well as with her dog, ex-police dog German Shepherd, Luka. But is she safe? 

The call comes in: a double homicide at a gas station in their sleepy little town. It seems that, despite everything, Telly isn’t done killing yet. And Sharlah might be his next victim.  Continue reading

Book Review | Asking For It by Louise O’Neill (12/12 Book Club: January)

9781784293208

TW: Rape.

Slut, liar, skank, bitch, whore. 

In a small town, where everyone knows everyone, Emma O’Donovan is different: she’s pretty, popular, “in”. She works hard to keep it that way. At least, she did – until that night. Now she’s an embarrassment, a slut, nothing to anyone and everyone knows it. And the pictures – the pictures – that everyone has seen means that she can never forget. 

Go into a crowded place, and look around. You’re probably in a group of strangers, not really knowing anyone. Well, that’s where you’re wrong. Look around again. There are Emmas everywhere. There are Emmas who don’t know it yet; Emmas who are still denying it; Emmas who have gone through everything that can be thrown at them and still have nightmares; Emmas who are years and years older but still shy when an unfamiliar hand touches their shoulder; Emmas who are standing behind you, in front of you, next to you, and you might not even know it.  Continue reading