Reading, Writing & Blogging


The Last Beginning by Lauren James

The Last Beginning by Lauren James

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve already said how much I loved The Next Together and this was a very good sequel. It had a different feel to it as it followed just one character – Clove – exploring the different timelines. This book felt like the missing piece to all my unanswered questions from the first book whilst still being a compelling story itself. Clove is a really fun character, getting herself into all sorts of scrapes. I’d now like to go back and re-read the first book to see how everything fits together. It’s all very clever!

Thank you to Walker Books UK for the review copy.

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The Next Together by Lauren James

The Next Together by Lauren James

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is intelligent, witty, romantic, quirky and so intriguing. Katherine and Matthew (in all eras) are brilliant characters, who I loved almost instantly. It is basically my ideal book and my only complaint is that it ended. Thank goodness there’s a sequel!

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My Year In Books

It’s the end of the year and I have the same feeling I always have: that I haven’t read nearly as many books as I would have liked. But I did read more books than last year and I did complete most of my 2016 reading goals, so it’s not all bad.

I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge at 30 books this year. I know it sounds like a low number, but I am a frustratingly slow reader and I knew it was going to be a really busy year. I didn’t want to set it at a figure that was unattainable.

Anyway, Goodreads tells me I surpassed my goal and finished 39 books (and 12,542 pages) this year! A quick look at that list and a more realistic total is actually 34 books, as Goodreads has included a couple of e-books and short stories.

So here’s the breakdown of what I read this year: Continue reading “My Year In Books”

Replica by Lauren Oliver

Replica by Lauren Oliver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book has two narrators but does things a little differently than other books with dual points-of-view. Replica is actually two books in one and can be read in a variety of ways. I chose to read alternate chapters, shifting from Gemma to Lyra at first (then switching to reading Lyra’s chapters first halfway through because this seemed to flow better). I loved the concept of this book and it was a good story, with interesting characters and lots of twists and turns. However, I did feel like it was a victim of its own ingenuity sometimes. Every time I switched points-of-view I felt like I was taking a step backwards, even though there were very few scenes that actually overlapped. At the beginning of every chapter I had to remind myself that I’d gone back in time and the things I’d just read about hadn’t happened yet. Having said that, overall, I really enjoyed it and will be looking out for the next book.

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The Beautiful Cassandra by Jane Austen

The Beautifull Cassandra by Jane Austen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a random little collection of Jane Austen’s early work. It’s not what you’d expect from Jane Austen. These stories are a bit silly (she was a teenager writing just for her family, so we’ll cut her some slack) but full of her usual humour.

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Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is such a brilliant and interesting book. Norah’s world is small (the majority of the book is set inside her house) but her story is so compelling and I didn’t want to put it down. It’s cute and funny, sometimes traumatic and sometimes heartbreaking too, and there was even a scary bit near the end. I loved Norah’s slow progress, the little steps forward, the sometimes big steps back. It felt very honest and realistic, and with a lovely, hopeful ending.

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Blog Update and NaNoWriMo 2016

Oops! I feel bad that I’ve rather neglected my blog lately. I am so behind on book reviews and it’s really depressing, with about 6 to write/photograph/share. There was a whole series of blog posts I wanted to do over the summer but never got round to writing. Now autumn is well and truly here, so I’ll have to save it for next year. I also wanted to do a wrap-up of #YADay at Bath Children’s Literature Festival, but that was almost a month ago now and I’m wondering if it’s still relevant. It also took me a frustrating three and a half weeks to read Replica by Lauren Oliver because I was so busy. Life, eh?

Now that I’ve listed all my recent blogging failures, here is another project that may also be destined to fail: NaNoWriMo 2016.

Continue reading “Blog Update and NaNoWriMo 2016”

The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is definitely one of my favourite reads of the year so far. Set in Alaska in 1970, it follows four characters with interconnecting storylines that become more and more entangled with each chapter. It’s an incredibly atmospheric book with a strong sense of time and place. I loved how the little threads of the story gradually tie together so that, near the end, there are these lovely moments of revelation where everything clicks into place. I won’t say too much more because I don’t want to spoil it. It’s a brilliant book with a satisfying ending that I’ll be recommending it to everyone.

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The Call by Peadar Ó Guilín

The Call by Peadar Ó Guilín

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can see how this book got a description like “the Irish Hunger Games” with it’s dystopian Ireland and teens training to fight for their lives. But there’s also a parallel fantasy world inhabited by the fairy-like Sidhe, called the Grey Land, which reminded me a little of Susan Ee’s version of hell in the Angelfall trilogy. This book is gripping but really creepy and sometimes gory, with this constant suspense and feeling of unease because you don’t know if and when the characters will be “called”. There are quite a lot of characters to keep track of and sometimes I wished I’d taken notes. Also, it feels like the ending is setting things up nicely for a sequel. “We won the battle,” Mrs Breen tells her students but perhaps not the war.

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