Why You Should Do Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon This Weekend!

In their own words, Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon takes place, “For 24 hours, we read books, post to our blogs, Twitters, Instagrams, Litsy, Facebook, Goodreads and MORE about our reading, and visit other readers’ homes online.” Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon was hosted by Dewey from The Hidden Side of the Leaf; sadly, she passed away in 2008 and the readathon was renamed to honour her in 2009. It continues to this day!

The 24 hour readathon takes place for – you guessed it – 24 hours. It starts at 8am in some sort of time zone in the USA (sorry, I get confused). For the UK, this year it starts at 1pm on Saturday 29th April, and finishes at 1pm on Sunday 30th April. You can see your own time zone here.  Continue reading

Book Review | Pottermore Presents by JK Rowling

If you didn’t know, Pottermore Presents is a set of three eBooks of short stories by JK Rowling about the Harry Potter-verse. They’re a collection of some of the posts which had been released on the original Pottermore website. I’m going to be reviewing these as three separate mini-books. And… I kind of have a little rant/mini discussion at the end (#sorrynotsorry) if you’d like to see that too. Lots to be had in this post! 57d06c45180000b429bcfe13 Continue reading

Book Review | Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Long before she was the terror of Wonderland – the infamous Queen of Hearts – she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favourite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king’s marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

51ndyq0sydl-sx316 Continue reading

Book Review: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

TITLE: All The Bright Places
AUTHOR: Jennifer Niven
GENRE: YA
PUBLISHER//YEAR OF PUBLICATION: Penguin // 2015
NUMBER OF PAGES: 378
ISBN: 9780141357034
GOODREADS
PERSONAL SOURCE: Borrowed from library
RATING: 5/5


Violet’s sister, Eleanor, died in a car accident a few months ago. Since then, she’s had “Extenuating Circumstances” and misses her sister dearly. When she finds herself, scared, on top of the bell tower, it’s another student, Theodore Finch, who talks her down. It’s only together they can be themselves, but as Violet’s world starts to grow, Finch’s continues to shrink.

Let’s start with the obvious with this novel: the incredible, lively, alive writing. I just couldn’t stop reading. The author uses a dual narration – Violet and Finch – to narrate the novel, and their voices were so different and exploring different things that it was truly a pleasure to read.

Much of the book is about suicide – contemplating it, attempting it, etc. Violet and Finch don’t want to die per se, they just don’t want to live anymore. It’s a heavy topic, and, I understand, not for everyone, but it was dealt with in a brilliant manner and really gives you something to think about: would you notice it in the person you love?

But it’s not just about suicide! It’s about friendship and love and first happenings and PTSD and guilt. A wide range of topics, huh? And it was just all written about so well, I am amazed. These topics are so relevant and always have been and always will be, and especially to me, this book came at the right time.

The characters were the full-blown, 3D effect. They were realistic and well-written. They had real-life problems, and their ways of speaking and doing both contrasted and complimented, making for a really dynamic read.

This book hurt to read. By the end, I was reading (I can’t actually remember where I was…) and holding back tears and wailing. It was a hard read, but really well worth it, and I’d definitely recommend it. I don’t think I’ve read anything quite like it, and I really, really adored reading it.

Book Discussion: 5 Books I Recommend You Read By The End of the Year

bd; recommend, endo f year 2015Ok so this one is less of a book discussion and more a book list (but feel free to add in any recommendations/comments at the bottom, which will kind of make it a discussion!), but I’m tired and ill so… yeah.

Anyway, I hope you’ll like my recommendations, and maybe get around to reading them!

  1. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum – ok so this is a classic and I didn’t say what genre I would be recommending, but I would recommend this one for anyone. It’s about escapism, really, but I guess there’re so many other themes mixed in – friendship, lies, partnerships and morals – that it’s a pretty good book.
  2. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven – this YA will quite happily break your heart. Just so ya know. And also, the cover is beautiful.
  3. The Little Prince by Antione de Saint-Exupery – this novella is just so adorable and strange and odd and cute and weird. Aka, read it.
  4. Close Range: Brokeback Mountain and Other Stories by Annie Prolux – yeah, you’ve probably heard of the title story but I can positively say that there are plenty of others in this short story collection, and I highly recommend it. I am a fan of Westerns, and both the film and book of this made me cry. A lot.
  5. Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys – this is the perfect book to curl up in a blanket with with a big mug of hot chocolate and a large packet of tissues to cry your eyes out to. Do it.

I know this isn’t a conventional post, but I hope I’ve given you guys some ideas of what books to read in the last two months (!!!) of 2015. Have fun, and feel free to leave any recommendations below!

The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

TITLE: The Accident Season
AUTHOR: Moira Fowley-Doyle
GENRE: YA
PUBLISHER: Corgi (Imprint of Random House)
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2015
NUMBER OF PAGES: 281
PRICE: £7.99
ISBN: 9780552571302
GOODREADS
PERSONAL SOURCE: Borrowed from my mum
RATING: 5/5


In Cara’s family, the accident season is a month wherein everything goes wrong. People get cuts, bruises, broken bones and sprained limbs. And sometimes, people die. Cara’s lived with the accident season for 17 years, but now she begins to ask questions as new feelings emerge, and a old friend disappears.

Okay so my mum originally bought The Accident Season because she thought it was an adult fiction book. Uh… no. It’s definitely YA. And a spooky, mysterious, love-sparked YA at that. I read this book in two days, and seeing as the one I read before that took me quite a few more, I think that probably suggests what it’s like.

Reading this book is like eating a delicious 99 whippy. First you lick around the flake, and it’s nice but you want more. Then you eat the flake in one go and it explodes in your mouth and then you can’t stomach the cone so you feed it to the dog because the flake is still in your mouth and it finishes like that. Just, argh, the writing is glorious. Some people have said it’s confusing, but I didn’t and I adored it.

The plot was also so beautifully intertwined and layered. Ironically, it was like taking off a bandage from a wound and having to gently unravel it, the white fabric getting more and more stained with redness the more you unwind it, until the open wound is fully exposed. There were so many different components and it so beautifully fit all together.

And the characters. They were all so messed up and broken and they grew but didn’t grow apart, and their dynamics were just so perfect and the relationships just beautiful and fjskiadfj I love this book.

So, likes about this book: the characters (inc. relationships), the plot, the writing, and the subplots. Which is pretty dang rare for me. And… dislikes about the book? It was too damn short. Actually, scrap that: I just want to read more about Cara and Sam (SAM IS SO DAMN ADORABLE!!!).

Basically, if you like what I’ve written, read this book. And then come back so we can talk about the awesomeness. (Also I’d recommend this for 13+ (there is some… stuff). I think you can definitely appreciate it more once you’re a slightly older young adult.)

Book Discussion: Book Recommendations

Saying ‘I love books’ would be an understatement. Probably. I mean, I really do love books. I’m on many bookish sites, including some ARC sites and, obviously, GoodReads. 

On GoodReads, be it the app or the website, there’s a section which gives you recommendations based on what books you’ve already added (or sometimes they just come up on your timeline). 

   
 
However, recommendations and I sometimes have disagreements. For example, as above my recommendation of ‘because you read Anna and the French Kiss…’ doesnt mean a) I loved it, nor b) I’ll like The Sky Is Everywhere. (I haven’t read it so I can’t compare.) The Genre recommendation seems more plausible, as it gives a lot (there were 50 in the genre section) and it also gives high ranking ones anyway. 

But it’s as simple as this: just because I’m a vegetarian, doesn’t mean I automatically love all vegetables. It’s similar with books: just because I 5-starred one YA romance novel doesn’t mean I’ll love all of them. I do like some recommendations, but I tend to find them through similar-minded people on Instagram, or my friends and Goodreads occasionally (such as someone who started reading a book I found interesting, or ‘trending in…’) but I have so many books anyway, I find some recommendations not only annoying but unwanted! Especially if it’s similar to a book I loved… And then it’s nothing like it. 

This post might’ve been a bit scatter-brained, but I am shattered, so sorry about that. But anyway: what is your opinion of book recommendations? Yay or nay? Do you like giving them (I didn’t write about this, but I do! A friend of mine recently read a book I recommended and loved it!)? Getting them? What do you think about automatically-generated recommendations, such as on Goodreads? Comment and tell me all! 

Ways To Live Forever by Sally Nicholls

TITLE: Ways To Live Forever
AUTHOR: Sally Nicholls
PUBLISHER: Marion Lloyd Books (Scholastic)
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2008
NUMBER OF PAGES: 200
PRICE: £4.99
ISBN: 9781407107080
GOODREADS
PERSONAL SOURCE: Bought from a school fete
RATING: 4.5/5


Sam is eleven. He loves facts. He wants to know about airships and space and what it’s like to smoke a cigarette and go for a drink in the pub. He wants to know because he has leukaemia, and he’s dying. Sam especially needs the answers to the questions no one wants to hear.

I picked this up on a whim because I thought I’d heard of it before but then I put it on my shelf for a rainy day. Today wasn’t a rainy day, but I simply decided to read it and I only put it down to toast some crumpets. I read the entire thing in about two hours, and was fighting back tears from about the middle of it (okay, so I was feeling pretty tearful anyway but y’know).

This debut (!!) novel is made great by the protagonist: Sam, adorable, witty, curious Sam who wants to know answers and makes lists and is portrayed very realistically by not wanting to hang out with his aunts and uncles in the last few weeks he has to live.

The other supporting characters handle Sam’s sickness in various ways, and I think that this is very good, as it’s very realistic and provokes a variety of reactions from the audience. For example, his best friend Felix is very matter-of-fact about it, and as he is also dying this provokes empathy, whereas Sam’s dad walks away when the topic of conversation comes up.

The story ends how you expect it to: the protagonist dies (okay and this isn’t a spoiler because the first bit is, “By the time you read this, I’ll probably be dead.”). The ending is actually done very well and ties in with other bits of the story.

Yes, this story did make me cry and it did make me think. It’s amazing how Nicholls managed to make a book about an 11 year old dying humorous and optimistic too. I’d definitely recommend it. I’m not even entirely sure who it’s intended for, but I think any age could read it.

Book Discussion: Titles

BD; titles

Hi there! So, this is the first week of the “Book Discussion” thingymajig. Who knows how this is going to turn out?! I might readjust this over the coming weeks, but hopefully it’ll be something you guys enjoy. As aforementioned in the title, the aim of this blog post is to be a discussion; so, please, feel free to say your opinion on the topic in the comments below!

So, titles. Every book has one. The question is… how important to you are they?

Sometimes, titles are the things which sells the book for me, such as Journey to the River Sea, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender or The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I think they’re intriguing, and that’s what makes me pick them up and start reading them. I think that a title has to give the reader enough of, “Hey, look at me, look how different I am!” for them to pick it up.

Other times, however, titles are not as great and perhaps it’s the premise or cover which makes you pick up the book. I just saw a book on my GoodReads home screen called Hungry. Am I going to read a book called that? No, probably not. But the COVER was a different question… although I don’t always get the opportunity to see that (and covers are a topic for another day).

Final word on titles: ambiguous titles or titles deriving from or are quotes. Example: The Fault in Our Stars. This was never explained in the book and no one really knew what it mean until one fan worked out the star sign thing. I think, personally, titles should be relatively easy to understand (although I do like the poeticness of this one). Ambiguity can be used in a brilliantly ironic way, or in a way which leaves it up to the reader and what they take away from the work… which can work in the book’s favour! Example 2: Don’t Even Think About It. This related to the book perfectly and if you read the book, it’s quite funny. This works well with the book and complements it. And it’s funny. So, big tick here. But if a quote was too long or didn’t work with the book? NOPE.

What do you think about titles? Are they important to you? 

Scenario: you have to pick a book from just the title. What type of title to you pick? (Plus points if you give an example, either from a real book or one you invented!)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Arthur Dent’s day hasn’t been going well. He’s been lying in the mud all morning to save his house from being demolished, and then his entire planet has been demolished. He, however, was saved by Ford Prefect from Betelgeuse. Ford takes Arthur on a journey over the galaxy, teaming up with Ford’s cousin to find a supposedly mythical planet.

Yeah, yeah, it’s taken me ages to finally read this book, and I only really read it for my book club. But still.

I still don’t really know why, but I actually expected this to be an actual guide to the galaxy, like JKR’s Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. It’s not, if you were wondering; it’s an actual book with characters and a plot. (WHICH, BY THE WAY, FINISHED ON A CLIFFHANGER. SO NOW I NEED THE NEXT ONE. (I really have to stop doing this.))

Anyway, onto the actual book. I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as I hoped. I tend to read quite fast, but this book forced me to read more slowly because there were so many odd concepts. Perhaps if I were less stressed and more able to be free with my time, I would have enjoyed it more (perhaps a re-read and an updated review in the future??) – which is why I think I boosted the star-rating on GoodReads (4/5), because it’s not the book’s fault.

However, I did like that there was a complete universe in the novel (I mean, obviously there is, but a complete fictional one). The concepts, whilst causing me to read slower, were rather humorous and I enjoyed them.

That’s another thing: the writing style! I really liked it. It was funny, and went perfectly off-topic. There were some great analogies too.

(I finally get all of this and it makes me so happy.)

Whilst I did love the characters and found them interesting, even a bit weird, I found that Hitchhiker didn’t have quite the ‘uumph’ for me that I was hoping for. However, I did still enjoy it and all of the cool creatures, loopy landscapes and baffling plot. Even if you can tell from the adjectives there I’m still not entirely sure what I’ve read…

(I’d recommend this, obviously, for sci-fi lovers, but I think that anyone could like this novel. Aside from my mother (I’ve just asked her.).)

Also, interestingly, I originally gave this a 5 star review on GR. Perhaps I’m just in a bad mood and my memory is suffering from too many grumpy Ancient Roman satirists.