Book Review | Listen to the Moon by Michael Morpurgo

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1915. War with Germany has been raging, but the Isles of Scilly are largely unaffected. That is, until a girl washes up on the shore of one of the islands, and rumours about her begin to circulate. A stunning story about love, justice, community, surprisingly poignant for the modern day.

Michael Morpurgo, if you didn’t know, is one of my absolutely favourite authors, and this wonderful book of his definitely did not disappoint.

Continue reading “Book Review | Listen to the Moon by Michael Morpurgo”

4 Children’s/YA Authors You Should Read At Least 1 Book Of!

Hello everyone! Today I thought I would share some authors I think everyone should read at least 1 book of in the children’s / YA genre.

All of these authors have a big place in my heart, and I think that they’re brilliant. And yes, they are considered children’s authors, but I would honestly recommend them to any age – I would definitely read all of them now!

  1. Michael Morpurgo
    Image result for michael morpurgoMichael Morpurgo is a story maker, or at least that’s how he describes himself in one of his autobiographies, Singing For Mrs Pettigrew. He writes books that often centre around animals and history, and outcasted individuals. Some of his famous books are War Horse, The Wreck of the Zanzibar, Butterfly Lion, and Kensuke’s Kingdom. I would recommend starting pretty much anywhere, but any of his more famed books are always a good place to start.
  2. Rick Riordan 
    Image result for rick riordanRick Riordan is one of my personal top 3 favourite authors, so of course I’m going to recommend him! His novel list is substantial, which means that there are lots of places to start (although of course I would suggest either Percy Jackson or The Kane Chronicles). Rick’s books are full of action, friendship, myths, and in his new series (now that he has the publisher’s hooked), Rick is bringing out more and more diverse characters. I’m excited to see where his new imprint, Rick Riordan Presents, will go.
  3. Image result for enid blytonEnid Blyton
    Have you ever met a British adult who has not read at least one Enid Blyton book? Enid Blyton is such a staple in most homes, and I would highly recommend reading her! Personally I started with Malory Towers and that will always be my favourite series, but the Famous Five, Secret Seven, or Twins at St Clare’s books are also good places to start.
  4. Terry Pratchett
    Image result for terry pratchettAnd finally, the king of weird lit and fantastical novels: Terry Pratchett. Pratchett passed away in 2015 but his novels are still read but many, many people – including me! All of his books can be read as standalone but reading them in series may help. You can head over to my Discworld Reading List, where I’m recording what I’ve personally, read, but just Google it if you want to learn more of where to start!

I hope that this has given you a place to start! Perhaps you’re looking for a book for a young reader or you’re looking for yourself (no shame in looking for kids books, don’t worry!), but I hope that you’ve discovered something!

Until the next time,

hannah sign off

Book Review: Escape from Shangri-La by Michael Morpurgo

TITLE: Escape from Shangri-La
AUTHOR: Michael Morpurgo
PUBLISHER: Egmont Press
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 1998
NUMBER OF PAGES: 207
PRICE: £4.99
ISBN: 9781405226707
GOODREADS
PERSONAL SOURCE: Bought in a box set
RATING: 4/5


Everything was normal until a stranger turned up on the doorstep and said he was Cessie’s grandfather. He’s great, until he starts forgetting things and has to go to a nursing home. Cessie misses him a lot, but she still doesn’t understand the mystery of something he kept on saying: “Don’t let me go to Shangri-La, Cessie.”

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while and I got through it pretty quickly. It was a warm and friendly story, about family and love and history, as much of Morpurgo’s works are. I didn’t feel that involved with this story, however, but I did enjoy it.

The plot is simple but effective: stranger on the door, mysterious place he doesn’t want to go, and then… argh, this is hard, that’s a great spoiler.

Escape from Shangri-La talks a lot about WWII and it’s based around the D-Day landings and the boats which were used, which is how the climax of the plot happens. Something I really like about Morpurgo’s work is that he takes unknown characters and/or situations and puts them into big historical events. There were so many boats on D-Day that a lot are often forgotten about, and he takes one of these “forgotten” (read: fictionalised, in this instance (at least, I think)) boats and makes them real and remembered.

I didn’t really get “into” the characters, aside from Cessie’s granddad as I loved the history and romance aspect. To be honest, I think one of the biggest character developments came from a very minor character!

Escape from Shangri-La is a nice little kid’s book, but I wouldn’t suggest it for older teens and/or adults like some of his other works (such as Dear Olly or Cool, which, although they are totally kids books, are great for adults too especially if you’re trying to explain something to both yourself and a child (Dear Olly deals with physical disability and Cool deals with a child in a coma)). It was a nice way to spend an afternoon.

Top Ten Books I’d Love to See as Movies/TV Shows

TTT - books movies-tv

Hello there! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and because I haven’t done it in a while (and I’m rather happy after finishing my exams!) I’d thought I’d give it a go today! So… onto the top ten.

  1. Fairytale Retellings series by Jackson Pearce.
    Oh. My. Gosh. If these books were made into a movie (and, I mean, a good movie) I would probably go and see them about 50 times. Well, y’know… with free tickets! ;D
  2. Tree of Ages by Sara C. Roethle.
    I read this as an ARC, and if it were made into a movie the special effects would be incredibly. I mean, come on, put your hands up if you want to see a running tree saving people and awesome sword fights?! ME, ME, ME!
  3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.
    This would be the perfect summer flick to go see with my girlfriends. I loved the book.
  4. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton.
    This. Book. Was. Amazing. And, if the film was done right, then the film would just… wow… I’m getting all jittery just thinking about the prospect of a film as incredible as this has the potential to be!
  5. A Brighter Fear by Kerry Drewery.
    This heartfelt book is a stunning piece and I would love for it to be made into a film. Not only would it serve as a memory and link to the Iraq War, but the protagonist, Lina, is just exquisite.
  6. Valentine Joe by Rebecca Stevens.
    This is a novella so would make a great short film, or in a series of short films about WWI. I really liked this book and I’m sure that if it were put on screen, there would be hoards of people sobbing their eyes out, much like me in War Horse… 
  7. Speaking of Michael Morpurgo: The Wreck of the Zanzibar.
    Now, I would only be pleased with this if it were done right. I love this book, I’ve read it so many times, and if it were done right – actually, it would be great animated – then I’d love it. If not, I’d throw the director and/or writer and/or casting person at a wall. Hard.
  8. Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibboston.
    If I had to pick an all-time favourite novel, this would probably be it. So of course I am going to put it on this list! But it better be the bestest book to film adaptation in the world. The bestest. Nothing less than that can suffice. I am reiterating my director/writer/caster threat.
  9. The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse.
    Although this book bored me in the first twenty pages, on screen it would be great, and I’d love the actual plot and time periods to be portrayed. Heck, I’d want to be in this film if it were on screen!
  10. The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan.
    But accurate. 

So there you have it: the top ten books I’d love to see as a movie/TV show.

What’s yours?

Top Ten Books For Readers Who Like Historical Fiction

So I was honestly going to do this on Tuesday, but I was babysitting and my laptop died and then I went out to see The Imitation Game last night (it’s great, watch it) so yeah now I’m finally getting around to it!

  1. The Lady in the Tower – Marie Louise Jensen. One of the first historical fiction books I ever read.
  2. Journey to the River Sea – Eva Ibbotson. In my top 5 all time favourite book list! Maia and Finn are just fantastic.
  3. The Wreck of the Zanzibar – Michael Morpurgo. One of my favourite Morpurgo books (see a trend here?) – it’s even signed! It’s told in a diary.
  4. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Read for my book club, it’s an epistolary novel and details post-WWII London and Guernsey. Fantastic characters and great all round book.
  5. Raven Queen –  Pauline Francis. This one is about Lady Jane Grey, or, as you may know her, the Nine-Day Queen. Her tragic story is made even more so by a character called Ned. I bawled.
  6. True History of the Kelly Gang  – Peter Carey. Whilst my other English Lit and Lang friends may disagree, I think that True History is a great book. Told in the style of Ned Kelly (so, no punctuation really) from his Jerilderie Letter, Carey really brings Ned and his gang alive.
  7. The Book Thief  – Markus Zusak. One of the most famous WWII novels out there after the release of the film (and indeed before), The Book Thief will hopefully make you both smile and cry. Just enjoy it.
  8. Bracelet of Bones – Kevin Crossley-Holland. Whilst not my favourite book, definitely a good one for Norse history and myths.
  9. Atonement – Ian McEwan. Just read the review. That’s all I have to say. (Oh, and then, of course, read the book.)
  10. A Brighter Fear – Kerry Drewery. Only recent history (from 2003 to be exact), A Brighter Fear is still a testimony to the recent events in Iraq and Afghanistan. Definitely not made rosy. it’s an interesting and at times heartbreaking read.

I absolutely adore historical fiction, and so should you! Even contemporary novels, such as The Great Gatsby or Black Beauty are amazingly awesome and definitely worth a read.

Extra book: Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys. Read it. Cry. Talk to me. Cry again. 😀 

PS: all hyperlinks are to book reviews on my other blog 🙂

7 Books I Think Everyone Should Read

So, apparently I like listing at the moment. Who knows why. It’s rather boring. But yes, I just fancied sharing my 7 Books I Think Everyone Should Read. These also happen to be my favourites. Sorry for the long list. I have a lot of favourites. Oh, and these aren’t in order of favouritism, cause that would be mean to the books that aren’t at the top.

Note that these are not series’. Naa, mate. Those are coming soon. 😀

  1. Journey To The River Sea by Eva Ibbotson. Why? This book is amazing. It’s about moving and love and finding your own path down the Amazon River. It has fire, theatre, posh English people, boarding schools and a story that transports you, literally, to another world. You can see it in your mind: you can live it in your heart. Yes, maybe it is set in the 1900s, yes maybe it is a bit of a kids book. But really: I think you should read it.
  2. Peter Pan by JM Barrie. Why? Do I really need to explain? This book, Jesus Christ, this book. Not the original, mind you: that’s a bit…err, odd in places. Try the kids version. A bit kinder on the heart, full of a delightful new world, talking to you, the reader, and sums up what we all want from life: to never grow up. Well, not until we’re bored, at any rate.
  3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Steven Chbosky. Why? The book everyone is taking about with the guy with the weird surname. Though I found it hard to get into this book, especially in it’s format, I found it was really enjoyable in the end. Now it’s on the big screen as well (and pretty accurately done, I should say) this book really takes the biscuit. A perfect coming-of-age story. Though not the slightly-weird part. Yeah, don’t do that bit when you come of age – whatever that means.
  4. The Lady in the Tower by Marie-Louise Jensen. Why? I read this book when I was, ooh, I have no idea; 12 maybe? You can really relate to the protagonist in this story, Eleanor. Set in the 1500s, this book is perfect for those who like a good plot full of plot twists, a little bit of romance, and a death or two. One of the first books I can truly say was a favourite.
  5. Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys. First of all, no, this is nothing like 50 Shades of Grey. Why? Set in WW2, this book is perfect for showing what it was really like in concentration camps for people taken. Lina, the protagonist, is just a young, Lithuanian girl, who is separated from her father and forced into a cattle car, to begin her journey to its end: the North Pole in a horrific camp, on day 440. Ever wondered what a human life is worth? This book can give you a pretty good answer.
  6. Kaimanawa Princess by Dianne Haworth. Why? Based on a true story of the campaign to save the wild horses of the Kaimanawas in August 1996, this story is really heart-wrenching. If romance isn’t your thing, rest assured that the only love shown here is that for the horses. And if you’d love to travel, but don’t have the money, time or nerves, then this story can transport you to the lovely island of New Zealand, and throw you into the plight of a young girl and her pony to save the wild horses before the cull begins.
  7. The Wreck of the Zanzibar by Michael Morpurgo. Why? For those with not enough time, this short book is perfect. Again set in the 1900s, and told in the style of a diary, this really tells the heart wrenching tale of Laura, living on the Scilly Isles. Everything seems dark after a storm devastates the area: then, the Zanzibar wrecks on the rocks, and changes everything. As Michael finds out about his aunt’s life, so do we. With beautiful illustrations throughout, although this book might seem a bit ‘young’ to you, I’d definitely give it a read. In fact, I might… in my signed copy! 😉

So yes, there you have it: what I think the 7 books are that everyone should read. What are you waiting for? GO AND READ!

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