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: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

IMG_1916According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, written 1655 before she exploded, the world will end on Saturday. Actually… next Saturday. Just after tea. People have been predicting the end of the world almost from its very beginning, so it’s only natural to be sceptical when a new date turns up. However, it seems that the armies of Good and Evil are apparently amassing, and the four Bikers of the Apocalypse are hitting the road. However, there’s one angel and one demon who would quite like the Rapture not to happen. Oh, and they’ve also misplaced the Antichrist.

I read this book a while ago, so I apologise if this review isn’t particularly accurate, but this book was great and I loved it. It’s kind of hard to review a book that I enjoyed so much, because I can’t exactly pin down what I enjoyed so much about it. The witty humour? The awesome characters? The Britishness? ALL OF THE ABOVE?!

Continue reading “Book Review: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman”

To Chapter or Not To Chapter?

to chapter or not to chapterWhen I read Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett for my reading group a few months ago, I noticed something that none of my friends did: Pratchett doesn’t use chapters. Rather, big sections are differed between by a mark on the page, but the next section doesn’t start at the top of the next. You might have seen this in books with chapters: a little asterisk in the middle of the page, indicating moving on… Kind of like this:

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Look familiar?

When writing, you basically have the complete (well, almost, unless your agent/editor decides to change it, but it is your book…) on how to present it on the inside. So, you can have chapters, or you can choose not to. You might have loads of chapters with only a few lines in between, or choose to not have chapters but have section breakers instead. All of these have their own strengths and weaknesses and a lot of it does depend on the book you’re writing.

Most people assume: books = chapters. But that isn’t always the case. So, when writing your next book, why not think of doing something else, something different? If, for example, you’re writing a fantasy or dystopia, you might find it easier to use section headings instead. In 1984, George Orwell did something similar having a “Part I” and “Part II”, with no chapters in those parts, and used asterisks like Pratchett. Tolkien, however, has long chapters, which are clearly defined as such.

The greats broke the rules, and so can you, so, if it works for you and for your book, why not think about something different in your writing?

Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett

Monstrous Regiment

Borogravia is at war – again – this time with the Zlobenians. Polly Perks has lost her brother, Paul, so she does the only logical thing: cut off all her hair, learn to belch and fart and join the army. How hard can it be?

But war is a deadly thing, and all they have on their side is a infamous sergeant and a terrifying vampire with a lust for coffee. The Monstrous Regiment have to use all their wits – and, of course, the secret they share – in order to survive.

This was the first Terry Pratchett novel I have ever read. I know, I know, shoot me, I haven’t lived, haven’t had a childhood etc. Well, at least I’m reading them now.

The first thing that struck me, which none of my friends who also read this for our club noticed, was that Pratchett doesn’t use chapters. Although this wouldn’t work for every novelist, it really does with his novels, and it made it read so, so well – in fact, I think chapters would have ruined it. I also found it interesting how no one noticed this: perhaps, if he had, we would have commented on how it broke up the writing. Just a small, writerly observation there.

I was about to move onto characters, but another thing I noted was the fact it was ‘aesthetically pleasing’. The actual lay out of the words on the page does, in some places, actually add to the reading of the novel and if it was just written plainly it would absolutely not have the same effect. Perhaps something to think about when writing my own…

Moving on to the characters. Each one of them had their own voice, from Polly to Wazzer to Jackrum to Maladict. Pratchett is incredible at bringing each one to life in their own way too: Lofty’s pyromania, Polly’s protectiveness, Maladict’s wittiness and all of their humour. I had different feelings for all of them, too: hate for Strappi, admiration for the Monstrous Regiment, even a slight wariness of Maladict!

Pratchett is famous for addressing issues in his writings, and I think Monstrous effectively addresses the issues of war, religion and feminism, through a satirical yet firm way. The topics provided a great source of debate for our group of readers, too. I really enjoyed his real life views in a fantasy world, and thought it worked incredibly effectively.

The subplots (I wrote ‘mini plots’ in my notes because I couldn’t remember the correct term of use…) were also effective in adding to the novel, but not taking away from the main plot. That’s how they should be done. I also loved, ironically, how there was no love interest for the protagonist, and instead for minor characters. Perfecto. A novel which doesn’t actually revolve around romance, but still has strong, independent, feisty, fantastic characters and a strong, main, brilliant plot! This is starting to sound like the ideal for #VeryRealisticYA. Except for the fact it’s a world on a turtle and four elephants. But there you go.

The next paragraph has spoilers so click if you dare/skip if you don’t.

One thing I wasn’t too keen on was the fact that so many of the ‘men’ turned out to be women. I would have liked some of the Monstrous Regiment to be, and one or two of the officers would have been nice, but it seemed almost too perfect that the entirety of the Regiment and many of the officers were. Even Jackrum (although that was a sweet twist). I understand what Pratchett was trying to show, but I don’t know how effective it was: certainly, all of my friends at the club didn’t like the vast amount of girls. As a specific example, I preferred Maladict as a boy!

[End of spoilers.]

Overall, I gave Monstrous Regiment 5 stars on Goodreads and I would definitely recommend it to any fantasy lovers! I’m definitely going to try and read some more Terry Pratchett novels, so expect to see some more recommendations in the future!


TITLE: Monstrous Regiment
AUTHOR: Terry Pratchett
PUBLISHER: Corgi Books
YEAR OF PUBLICATION: 2004
NUMBER OF PAGES: 494
PRICE: £6.99
ISBN: 9780552149419
GOODREADS
PERSONAL SOURCE: Borrowed from the library

Monstrous Regiment is the 31st in the Discworld series.

Monstrous Regiment is a book for my 2015 reading challenge: non-human characters.