Sunday, 26 November 2017

Blog Posts I've Enjoyed Lately (4)


With so much content being shared within the blogging community - bookish and otherwise - it is impossible to keep up with everything (even your favourites), so with no fixed regularity I'll be compiling a list of links sharing a number of blog posts I've enjoyed lately.

BOOKISH
So Obsessed With | 5 Ways To Find Time To Read (I have no idea how I've only just discovered Hannah's blog, but I LOVE it!)
The Book Review Cafe | A Day in the Life of Author Peter James (Lorraine has a few 'Day in the Life' author posts, so if you're a nosy parker like me then head on over there)
Modern Mrs Darcy | 7 Favorite Jane Austen Retellings
Book Riot | 15 Tips for Tempering Book Buying Addiction
The Bandar Blog | Let's Talk About DNF-ing Books (Infographic) (some interesting insights into DNFing)
The Simple Things | Reading Mindfully: How To Quiet Your Butterfly Mind
Book Riot | Literary Tourism: Hay-on-Wye, The Town of Books (I've mentioned before how much I want to go to Hay-on-Wye, and love reading the accounts of others who have visited)
Library Mice | Guest Post: A Day in the Life of Jane Ray (I told you I'm a nosy parker!)
Paper Fury | Why The Bookworm Life Is Exhausting
The Book Castle | Bookish Gift Guide 2017
Read Brightly | 8 Enlightening and Empathetic YA Novels About Mental Illness
My Shelf & Myself | Why Don't People Read? | Discussion
Parchment Girl | 48 Amazing New Books You Need to Read This Winter (LOTS of new releases that I was unaware of until reading this)

*I have no 'NON-BOOKISH' posts this time round, but an abundance of book related goodness - I'm actually sharing this post earlier than intended because of how many links I have saved already!*

Happy perusing!
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Friday, 24 November 2017

My Winter Reading List


Today I thought I'd sit down and share with you the reading list I've curated for the winter months - with these titles being books I'll read over the next three months. If you want to read more about my seasonal reading lists, then I recommend checking out this post.

This winter is only the second season I've done this for, however autumn was a great success and I'm keen to carry on with reading lists for the foreseeable future. I will talk more in depth about my experience once I've completed them for a longer period of time.

So without further ado, here are the books I hope to read during December, January & February.

All titles below have been linked via Goodreads

BOOKS FROM MY SHELVES

BOOKS FROM MY KINDLE LIBRARY

BOOKS FOR REVIEW
(My review books may increase over the course of my winter reading list)

LIBRARY BORROWS
At the time of writing this I have no books borrowed from the library - this is an open category

So that concludes my winter reading list... I'd love to know what books you're looking forward to reading over the next few months.
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Monday, 20 November 2017

READING WITH MY FOUR YEAR OLD | A Week of Bedtime Stories (November)


Today I'm back with a post as part of my 'Reading with my Son' series, and am sharing seven bedtime stories we've read of late.

The titles I'm talking about today very much represent a lot of Alexander's likes - dinosaurs, animals in general and Thomas the Tank Engine.

Also, eagle eyed readers may have noticed that the title of the series has changed slightly... I'm no longer reading with a three year old, but a four year old - we've recently celebrated Alexander's birthday.

MONDAY

When Little Miss Curious comes across a large footprint, the Mr & Miss characters go on an adventure discovering a number of dinosaurs whilst getting up to their typical antics - i.e. Mr Tickle tickling a T. Rex.

TUESDAY

In the interest of honesty, I'm not a fan of this book, however Nathan and Alexander really enjoy it, and thankfully for me, Nathan was at home when Alexander wanted to read this.

A slightly longer picture book, The Bravest Ever Bear has stories within a story including elements of fairy tales. There is a lot going on, and I just don't get it, but clearly a winner with little ones as Alexander has asked to read it multiple times since being gifted it late summer.

WEDNESDAY

Going from one of my least favourite books to read with Alexander, to one of my all time favourites... Monkey Puzzle follows a little lost monkey in search of his mum. In the true style of this classic children's book duo, Donaldson & Scheffler combine wonderful rhyme with bright & beautiful illustrations to create an engaging story that is sure to be enjoyed by all.

Whilst searching for his mum, Monkey is aided by Butterfly, however they have some misunderstandings along the way as Butterfly doesn't realise that Monkey and his mum of course look alike - because butterfly babies don't look like their mums!

THURSDAY

Another evening, and we're back to Julia Donaldson - her books are much loved in our household.

The Gruffalo is quite a classic children's book by now, so I'm sure many of you already know the plot. As mouse travels through the forest he scares away prey by telling them about the Gruffalo, a terrible creature that mouse has made up... Or has he?!

FRIDAY

Little Beaver is feeling lonely and after voicing these thoughts, he has a reply: the echo. Hearing another being in need of a friend, Little Beaver goes on a journey to the other side of the pond all the while making friends along the way. This is a lovely little story about friendship.

SATURDAY

As a whole, the Belle & Boo series contains a number of charming little stories, with this particular title being the one Alexander gravitates towards the most.

Belle is preparing a birthday surprise, but little does Boo know that the surprise is for him! These stories have so much love and kindness in them, with the most beautiful illustrations.

SUNDAY

We own the original Thomas the Tank Engine story collection, and although this more contemporary series is adapted from those, we also own a number from this collection too.

Wrapping up the week, Alexander opted to read the book that focuses on Emily - all the books within the series have one of the characters as a central figure. This particular story sees Emily arrive at Sodor on some bad footing, upsetting a few trains in the process, however friendships are soon formed.
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So there you have it, a week of bedtime reading with my four year old son.
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Friday, 17 November 2017

Lay Me To Rest by E.A. Clark (Blog Tour)

| I received my copy of Lay Me To Rest for review purposes as part of the blog tour |

BLURB
Some secrets never stay buried for long…
Devastated by the death of her husband, Annie Philips is shocked to discover she is pregnant with his unborn child. Hoping for a fresh start, she travels to a remote stone cottage in Anglesey, amidst the white-capped mountains of North Wales.

She settles in quickly, helped by her mysterious new neighbour, Peter. But everything changes when Annie discovers a small wooden box, inlaid with brass and mother-of-pearl. A box she was never supposed to find…

Annie soon realises that she isn’t alone in the cottage. And now she’s trapped. Can she escape the nightmare that she has awoken, or will the dark forces surrounding the house claim her life – and that of her baby?


MY THOUGHTS
Ghost story intertwined with mystery Lay Me To Rest presents the story of Annie, a recently widowed pregnant woman who finds herself in need of a break. A change of scenery can do wonders, and so Annie is recommended a lovely cottage in Anglesey, Wales... However, a restful holiday isn't in store for her.

Upon her arrival Annie finds herself greeted by welcoming hosts (Mr & Mrs Parry) and even finds herself relaxing a little, something she hasn't done for a long while, but after one night at the cottage she comes to learn that she isn't alone. Annie's arrival appears to have drawn out the ghost of a girl whose story has been passed down from generation to generation within the Parry family, but with a little guidance from those with supernatural powers, Annie learns there is a more menacing spirit at large and one that seems to have taken a real disliking to her.

In many ways Lay Me To Rest is a true to its word ghost story - atmospheric writing, things that go bump in the night, sinister goings on - and the added element of mystery only elevates the story that unfolds.

The characters within this debut novel are really well crafted, especially that of main character Annie - you're taken on a real journey of self discovery with her almost, and that in itself was a compelling part of the plot. She has a backstory - one that defines her in a way at the beginning of the story, but seeing her evolve is a lovely thing - and she feels really fleshed out.

I will say that I did enjoy the beginning and middle of this book more than that of the final ending - the story came off course a little there for me, leaving the conclusion open a little, and in general I am a fan of tying everything up in a neat bow at the end.

Having said that, I did enjoy E.A. Clark's overall writing style, and I would keep an eye out for more books by her.

I'm a part of the Lay Me To Rest blog tour - to keep up with the other stops on the tour, you can find them below.


LINKS
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Monday, 13 November 2017

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie


BLURB
"The murderer is with us - on the train now..."

Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. One of his fellow passengers must be the murderer.

Isolated by the storm and with a killer in their midst, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer amongst a dozen of the dead man's enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again...


MY THOUGHTS
I love a good detective novel, and The Murder on the Orient Express was definitely that... I have fallen in love with Poirot, and once again Christie's writing. This is my second reading experience with Agatha Christie, and it only solidified my previous thoughts of wanting to read through her extensive backlist (quite the task, I think!).

As part of his travels back to London, Poirot finds himself on a sleeper train that soon becomes a murder crime scene... However stuck in snow, and with no police on hand, solving the crime falls to detective Poirot, naturally. And what a mystery it is, seriously, the ending was quite the surprise.

I really enjoyed the formatting of the story, with a proper beginning, middle and end. Part one sets the scene, briefly introduces the characters, and the major plot point of murder is discovered. In part two we see each of the passengers in the carriage being interviewed, and the investigation really gets underway. Concluding the story is part three, where Poirot gets to thinking and somehow solves this stumper of a case.

The setting, the cast of characters, and the sheer brilliance of Christie's plot lead me to thoroughly enjoy my time with this book, and be thankful that I purchased a copy for my shelf - I see myself returning to this title in the future as a cosy winter companion.

LINKS
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Thursday, 9 November 2017

Blog Posts I've Enjoyed Lately (3)


With so much content being shared within the blogging community - bookish and otherwise - it is impossible to keep up with everything (even your favourites), so with no fixed regularity I'll be compiling a list of links sharing a number of blog posts I've enjoyed lately.

BOOKISH
The Perpetual Page-Turner | The Books I've Read To Riley So Far (I love seeing what books other parents are reading with their children)
Modern Mrs Darcy | A Quick Overview of 11 Important Literary Awards (as someone who knows very little about bookish awards, this post provided a wealth of knowledge)
Outlandish Lit | 11 Books To Look For This November (I always find new to me titles in these monthly lists from Julianne)
National Book Tokens | Hidden Books Game (a whole load of fun - yet to complete myself)

NON BOOKISH
Every New Me | Smile (it might make someone's day)... (I totally agree with the sentiments of this post)

Happy perusing!
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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

WHAT I READ | October


I started the month of October by completing a short story collection that I was to take part in the blog tour of... I briefly mentioned Stories for Homes: Volume 2 in my wrap up last month as I did begin the book in September, however I finished the stories at the very beginning of October. I was left amazed at the standard of stories found in the book, and I'm pretty sure this is the first short story collection I've ever rated five stars. You can read my full review here.

The next title I completed was also one I began in September - End of Watch by Stephen King - which meant I had then read the entire Bill Hodges trilogy. I thoroughly enjoyed the series as a whole and I'm glad I waited until all three books had been released in order to delve in. I'm terrible at finishing series, and this is one well worth reading.

I was feeling a little finicky after these two titles and decided some stories short in length would be a good idea for my mind that wasn't ready to commit to a full novel. I was in need of some comfort reading, and so of course I turned to rereading.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes was my first reread - I'm very much a Sherlock Holmes fan, but I had forgot just how much I love these stories... I definitely want to add to my shelf beyond the three Holmes books I own. A five star reread.

I followed this on with a fail safe reread for me - The Woman in Black by Susan Hill. I have a connection to this story that is hard to explain, although I did attempt to previously, and have returned to it at this time every year for over a handful of years now.

Having enjoyed my comfort reading, next I picked up a review book, but one that would slightly put me out of my comfort zone... So I thought. The Treatment by C.L. Taylor is a YA thriller, and if you know a little bit about my reading preferences then you'll know I do love a good thriller however YA and I don't always gel so well; that wasn't the case with this title. I really enjoyed my reading experience of this book, which you can read more about in my review.

Sticking with my Kindle - there's something about e-books; I just speed through them - I then started, and quickly finished, The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel. Wow. Just wow. If you want to know more of my thoughts on this title then you can find my review here.

Ending the month of a slightly lighter note, I picked up a physical book in the form of Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll - this was another wonderful historical fiction adventure from this MG author.

So that wraps up my reading for the month of October. I just briefly wanted to mention how kind and lovely you all were as readers of my blog in October, showing so much love & support to two posts in particular - Reading Middle Grade Fiction as an Adult + First & Foremost, Be A Reader. Many thanks <3

Happy reading in November!
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Friday, 27 October 2017

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel


BLURB
Beautiful.
Rich.
Mysterious.
Everyone wants to be a Roanoke girl.

But you won't when you know the truth.

Lane Roanoke is fifteen when she comes to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin at the Roanoke family's rural estate following the suicide of her mother. Over one long, hot summer, Lane experiences the benefits of being one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls.

But what she doesn't know is being a Roanoke girl carries a terrible legacy: either the girls run, or they die. For there is darkness at the heart of Roanoke, and when Lane discovers its insidious pull, she must make her choice...

MY THOUGHTS
Initially, I wasn't sure whether to write a full review of The Roanoke Girls, or even how to whilst keeping it spoiler free to be honest, however this book totally blew me away; it is just the kind of book I want to review and rave about here on Reading with Jade.

I'd heard some things about this title before going in, namely that the plot is pretty twisted and that there was one dysfunctional family in store for me - both of which being very much true. The Roanoke Girls is by far one of the darkest books I've read in a long while.

Having spend one life changing summer at the Roanoke family residence in Kansas, Lane Roanoke begrudgingly finds herself back there again years later following the disappearance of her cousin, Allegra. The secret of the Roanoke family is well guarded, but Lane knows all too well what happens to the Roanoke Girls and is determined to find out exactly what happened to her cousin. Allegra and Lane formed quite the connection that summer a number of years ago, and she just can't let her disappearance be.

The story is told through Lane's eyes with alternating 'Then' and 'Now' chapters, plus snippets interspersed regarding other generations of Roanoke Girls. Personally I think this story telling method worked well with the unfolding of the plot, especially the mystery, however I do feel like it meant one side of the story was told more than others, leaving me wanting more information on certain aspects of the plot... This is what dropped my rating of The Roanoke Girls to a four star read.

I don't want to spoil the plot, however with a book such as this covering a sensitive topic, I think it important to state that abuse & incest run deep in this book. It is not an easy read by any means, but definitely a page turner that will leave you feeling all the negative emotions (but in a good way). I think the way in which the plot is handled is a credit to Amy Engel's writing, and I was captivated by her words - there are so many passages within the narrative of The Roanoke Girls that are painfully beautiful.

The characters are strong but flawed, the plot is bold and yet subtle with writing that is grippingly uncomfortable.

The Roanoke Girls is not a light read, nor one you go into lightly, however if you're someone who regularly reads dark books then I recommend this title to you.

LINKS
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Wednesday, 25 October 2017

The Treatment by C.L. Taylor

| I received my copy of The Treatment via Netgalley for review purposes |

BLURB
"You have to help me. We’re not being reformed. We’re being brainwashed.”

All sixteen year old Drew Finch wants is to be left alone. She's not interested in spending time with her mum and stepdad and when her disruptive fifteen year old brother Mason is expelled from school for the third time and sent to a residential reform academy she's almost relieved.

Everything changes when she's followed home from school by the mysterious Dr Cobey, who claims to have a message from Mason. There is something sinister about the ‘treatment’ he is undergoing. The school is changing people.

Determined to help her brother, Drew must infiltrate the Academy and unearth its deepest, darkest secrets.

Before it’s too late.

MY THOUGHTS
The Treatment is a thriller novel written for a young adult audience. As many of my readers know, YA can be pretty hit or miss for me, however C.L. Taylor nailed it with this one. Although all in all I landed on a four star rating instead of a five, I would happily recommend this book to others.

I'm not going to lie though, I think one of the main reasons I enjoyed The Treatment so much is because of the genre in which it falls, but also because there was next to no romance involved.

Intriguing the reader from the get go, we are pulled into the mysteries of Norton House, a residential reform school, and are left paging turning from there on out as Drew tries to unravel exactly what is happening there as well as to her brother, a pupil at the school.

Characters within The Treatment are well plotted, especially that of main character Drew, and the story itself is quite well paced. Having said that, there were parts of plot that I did think were either rushed over in resolution or rather convenient to the goings on... This is where my four star rating comes in.

The book is kind of dark in nature; Drew being bullied in school, a dad who has disappeared, some pretty shady government involvement, and that's all before mentioning 'the treatment' that is referenced in the title. Without giving away too much, some scenes are quite heart pounding, and Drew finds herself on quite the rollercoaster, however regardless of the emotion being depicted the scenes feel authentic and well written.

I would be interested in reading more titles by C.L. Taylor... I don't know how I've managed to miss her adult fiction!

LINKS
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Friday, 20 October 2017

Blog Posts I've Enjoyed Lately (2)


With so much content being shared within the blogging community - bookish and otherwise - it is impossible to keep up with everything (even your favourites), so with no fixed regularity I'll be compiling a list of links sharing a number of blog posts I've enjoyed lately.

BOOKISH
Running on Words and Wine | Thrilling Fall Reads
One Reader's Thoughts... | Favourite Female Detectives
Sarah's Book Shelves | When Questionable Editorial Decisions Torpedo Books (an interesting discussion post)
The Bookish Libra | Discussion Post: The Struggles of Blog Commenting and Why We Should Do It Anyway
Modern Mrs Darcy | 7 Free and Easy Ways to Support Your Favorite Authors
Book Riot | Life Advice from Little Women: 25 Uplifting Quotes To Live By (because Little Women is an absolute classic)
The Bandar Blog | Frightfully Awful: 10 Favorite Villians in Literature
Paper Fury | 10 Annoying Questions Bookworms Get Asked That Just Make No Sense
Lindsay's Library | Autumn Aesthetic: 14 Fall-ish Book Covers (all the autumnal vibes from these covers)
Novel Visits | Fall Favorites from Yesteryear
Goodreads | 24 Great New Paperbacks to Pick Up Now (paperbacks are my favourite to read)
Bustle | 12 Ways You Could Be Getting More Out Of Your Local Library
Smiling Shelves | Some of My Favorite Middle Grade Books

NON BOOKISH
Bookworm & Theatre Mouse | Glorious Guernsey
Read All The Things! | Rant: Can We Please Not Make Assumptions (sort of bookish but sort of not)
Novel North | Reasons to Love Autumn

Happy perusing!
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Monday, 16 October 2017

First & Foremost, Be A Reader


You may have looked at the title of this post and thought 'well I am a reader', especially if like me you're a bookworm who talks about books on the internet, however I think as book bloggers we can often fall into the trap of wearing our 'book blogger' hat all the time. I don't mean all day long of course, but when it comes to books and reading experiences.

I know this because of things I see in the community, but also because of my own experiences. It's safe to say we've all slumped at some point in our time as a book blogger; it's likely that you had one of many slumps just this year (doesn't it seem like each & every one of us book bloggers has had a slump this year?!). Reading slumps are normal; we all need a break sometimes. And sometimes that means a break from your book blogger hat also.

I don't want this post to be a long and ramble-y one as the point I want to make is quite simple.

First and foremost, be a reader.

As book bloggers we pick up specific books because they are due for review, we feel the pressure of a mounting TBR, some wish they had the current buzz book, you may analyse a book as part your review process, you need to take a photo before picking up that new paperback and delving in. I get it. I'm not saying these are bad habits & traits of a book blogger... I am a book blogger after all and have fallen foul to a few of these things. Just remember, you wouldn't be a book blogger if it wasn't for your love of reading in the first place.

Pick up a book every now and again that isn't for review or blog purposes. Reread those favourites without worrying how others may not want to hear about your fifth visit to a world and characters you know and love. Wander a bookshop or library without a list of books to hand that have been rec'ed by other bloggers - let the books seek you. Spend time reading the backlist books of an author you've just discovered and adore. Don't put undue pressure on yourself to get a post up because you have to stick to that schedule of yours.

Be a book blogger (it is great!) but first & foremost, be a reader.
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Wednesday, 11 October 2017

READING WITH MY THREE YEAR OLD | Library Book Haul (October)


For this month's instalment of 'Reading with my Son', I thought I'd share some of the titles he has recently borrowed from the library.

Here in the UK this week, 9th October - 14th October, is libraries week. The week is one for showcasing all the benefits and positives of our library systems and celebrating all the good a library can do for a community - whether that be a local town library or a school library etc. As many of you know, I do advocate the use of libraries here on Reading with Jade... As a reader I regularly borrow titles, new and old, from my local library and as a parent I make a point of visiting the library with my son every week or so.

Below you'll find five children's books we've loved and enjoyed over the past couple of weeks, all borrowed from the library, and also renewed as they were loved that much!

A traditional counting rhyme with awesome superhero powers (and a super shiny red foil cover!)
Evil super villain Monstro and his dastardly League of Bad Guys look set to destroy the city, will the Super Hero Kids have the super powers to defeat them?

This series offers familiar settings and popular characters, with lots of things to spot and count on every page in a variety of action packed settings, set within a clever reworking of a traditional counting rhyme, weaving a clever tale which provides a rich and effective first step to learning.

Fans of Thomas & Friends can experience all the action from the hit movie in this exciting storybook!

When Thomas travels off the Island of Sodor, he’s in for a big adventure … but what if he can’t make it back? Relive the excitement from the movie with Thomas, James and Percy, plus meet new engines Lexi, Theo and Merlin.

Tiger is fast asleep. But — oh dear! — she’s completely blocking the way. Just how will the animals get past without waking her up? Luckily, Frog has an excellent idea. Holding his balloon, he floats right over sleeping Tiger! Fox is next, followed by Tortoise, Mouse, and Stork, but it will be tricky for them all to get past without Tiger noticing. It’s good that the reader is there to help keep Tiger asleep, but where exactly are the animals going with all those big shiny balloons?

Whoever heard of a vegetarian T. rex?

Everyone knows that tyrannosauruses are big and scary, so when a placid duckbill dinosaur's egg ends up in the wrong nest confusion is sure to ensue! When the baby dinosaur hatches out, he's so out of place that his grisly big sisters call him Tyrannosaurus Drip. Poor little Drip: all he wants is a quiet life munching on water weed . . .

Written by the acclaimed Julia Donaldson and illustrated by the award-winning David Roberts, Tyrannosaurus Drip is a rhyming story that's full of fun!

Troll is fed up with eating boring old goats, so off he strolls in search of some scrumptious children. But the little boy on the bike insists that the four children in the car behind him would be FAR tastier than him. And - look! - those children in the school bus behind would be yummier still . . . But the children in the big digger are looking hungry, too. It's time for that terrible Troll to make a quick exit!

All of the titles I'm sharing today were well received by Alexander, but of the bunch, I'd definitely say Troll Stroll was his favourite.
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If you'd like to learn more about Libraries Week you can check the website out here. 

I want to end this post by saying wherever in the world you are, if you have local library system, then please support them in some way or other.
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Monday, 9 October 2017

Reading Middle Grade Fiction as an Adult


Today's post is a topic I've wanted to write about for a while... Adults reading middle grade titles.

I feel like nowadays it is definitely more 'acceptable' to be an adult reading YA fiction, however not quite so for an adult reading MG fiction.

'Oh, isn't that a children's book?'

Three years ago now I picked up my first middle grade book to read as an adult, and I distinctly remember the book also - The Girl Who Walked On Air by Emma Carroll. I was absolutely enthralled in the story and felt like it was filling a reading void that I'd been experiencing.

Having now read more and more middle grade books, I understand exactly why it is that I love MG so much.

Prior to picking up a middle grade title, alongside reading adult fiction, I read books aimed at a young adult audience.

Middle grade books have now replaced YA for me...

Whilst I do still read the occasional YA title, I had struggled with various genres within the YA bracket as so many of the books feature romance, and as a reader I'm just not that interested in that.

I'm a big fan of reading about relationships, however those of the friendship variety and family bonds also, and these themes play a large role in middle grade titles. There is so much more to MG than relationships of course, with the imagination, adventure and curiosity being other elements I enjoy.

There are some truly amazing books to be found within the middle grade section of a bookstore/library, and some really talented authors. Just because a book is aimed at a younger audience, that doesn't mean it can't be enjoyed by an adult - an adult wrote it after all.

Judgement and book snobbery are a real thing, sadly, however I'm a firm believer in reading what you want to read & what brings you joy... I'm an adult, and enjoy reading middle grade fiction.

And I'm not the only one! I took to the blogging community and here are what others have said about being adults who read middle grade fiction.

JENNIFER FROM BOOK DEN
'My favourite stories are the imaginative ones. Middle grade is old enough to have a strong plot and good characterization, but young enough to have a lot of heart and a lot of imagination.'
You can find Jennifer on her blog - Book Den - where she shares all things bookish as well as on Twitter.

BOOKWORMTHEATREMOUSE
'As an adult I don't consider the age group a book is for but simply if I'm going to enjoy the tale. Some wonderful authors are entering the world of fiction and I think it is only fair that we get to enjoy their writing too. Finally - as I am a teacher I am always looking to books that will inspire students to read, especially if they are books in my subject which is History.'
BookwormTheatreMouse blogs about books & more and can be found on Twitter too.

SUE FROM BOOK BY BOOK
'I started reading MG because I had young kids & wrote reviews for FamilyFun magazine, but my sons are now 19 and 23 now & I still read MG because many MG novels are wonderfully written with compelling stories. Being every bit as interesting & engaging as grown up books; I enjoy variety.'
Over on Book By Book Sue shares not only her own reads but that of her family too. She also regularly reviews MG titles, which you can find here. Sue can also be found on Twitter.

As well as having other readers of middle grade books contributing to this post, I'm incredibly honoured to also be sharing a few words by EMMA CARROLL - my favourite MG storyteller - on why she writes books for a middle grade audience.

'People still ask me if I'm going to write an adult book one day- as if this is what I should really be aiming for. My answer? Always an incredulous 'No, why would I?' Writing for middle grade readers is an absolute honour because you're shaping future readers. If we get it wrong, we're potentially switching off all those people who'll go on to read YA and adult books. It's also an age group I particularly love- on the cusp of complicated emotional stuff, yet still believing in magic. I'm fascinated by this, as I think my stories probably show!'
Emma Carroll is a former English teacher turned full time writer, with her most recent middle grade title - Letters from the Lighthouse - being published earlier this year.

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If you're an adult who reads, or writes, middle grade fiction, then I'd love to hear your thoughts!
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Thursday, 5 October 2017

Stories for Homes: Volume 2 (Blog Tour)


BLURB
A home is something most of us have the luxury of taking for granted but for many it is a grim struggle to obtain what should be a basic necessity. Stories for Homes is a collection of witty, poignant, funny and heartbreaking short stories by fifty five authors, both established and emerging, reflecting the connection between the immediacy of housing crisis and the stories people tell about their lives around and within it. Volume Two of the anthology includes stories, poems and flash fiction and again all proceeds will be donated to Shelter, the charity for housing and homelessness.  

MY THOUGHTS
Today it is an honour and a pleasure to be taking part in the Stories for Homes blog tour, showcasing this truly marvellous book - not only are the stories wonderfully well written, including some truly talented authors in this collection, with all proceeds from Stories for Homes going to an amazing cause: Shelter, a UK charity that assists with housing issues and homelessness.

This particular volume of Stories for Homes is dedicated to those affected by the horrendous Grenfell Tower fire.

Inside Stories for Homes there are fifty five tales, told through a few different storytelling methods, with something for everyone and every mood - comforting stories, uplifting ones, melancholy tales, stories with humour weaved in, those with happy endings and more.

The selection of writers within this story collection is phenomenal; I found myself enjoying each and every piece of fiction, for different reasons, ultimately concluding my read with a five star rating.

Some of my favourites include....
The Tiger Who Came Back to Apologise by Jan Carson
Maude's Bungalow by David John Griffin
Straw Houses by Caroline Hardman
Day 89 by Giselle Delsol
How Wonderful You Are by Many Berriman
Safi by Jacqueline Paizis
Real Comfort Food by Sal Page

Depending who you talk to, home will have a different meaning and feeling, something which is greatly highlighted in this book. That, and the fact that home isn't always an idealistic physical thing.

Stories for Homes: Volume 2 is a raw and emotive collection of written works, bringing to light issues surrounding housing and home, all for a good cause... I couldn't recommend this book enough!

Want to keep up with the Stories for Homes Blog Tour?

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Sunday, 1 October 2017

WHAT I READ | September


September has been a crazy busy month for myself and my little family. We've officially moved house, after weeks & weeks of prepping the new house to be moved in to, and we still have a good amount of work ahead of us - ticking the tasks off at a slow but steady pace. Despite all that has been going on, I've tried to set aside time for myself every now and again - not necessarily daily - to read. Honestly that, and the thought of when the house will actually be finished, is what has helped me keep my sanity over this past month or so!

I started the month of September with a review title - House. Tree. Person. by Catriona McPherson. The book is of the mystery / suspense variety and although my reading experience was quite up and down, I'd be interested in more of the author's work. You can read my full review here.

Sticking with books darker in nature, I then moved on to Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. This is definitely one of those titles I picked up because of buzz I'd heard surrounding it, and I'm happy I did so. The story itself is relatively short - I read it in a 24 hour time span - with an overall premise that leads me to look forward to more books by the author... With this title being noted on Goodreads as 'Wayward Children #1', I'm keen to see where else this world takes us.

In my autumn reading list I shared that some of the titles I hope to read this season include the Bill Hodges trilogy by Stephen King, and so Mr Mercedes was the next book I picked up. It took me a lot longer to get through this title than the previous two, but that has more to do with life busyness than the actual book itself.

Following on from Mr Mercedes, I moved on to the second book in the trilogy - Finders Keepers - as well as starting to dipping in and out of a short story collection - Stories for Homes - which I'll be sharing a little more about in the next few days as I'm taking part in the blog tour for this particular title.

I'm ending September part way through the third and final book in the Bill Hodges trilogy - End of Watch. I've been thoroughly enjoying this series of books, that can also be read as standalones, and would recommend them to those who read crime thrillers.

Happy reading in October!
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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Ten Roald Dahl Quotes on Roald Dahl Day


Many of you know how much I enjoy the marvellous writing of Roald Dahl, so with today being Roald Dahl day, I thought I'd share with you ten of my favourite quotes taken from Dahl's children's fiction novels.


'So Matilda's strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.' - MATILDA


'There are a whole lot of things in this world of ours you haven't started wondering about yet.' - JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH


'Most of the really exciting things we do in our lives scare us to death. They wouldn't be exciting if they didn't.' - DANNY, THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD


'A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.' - THE TWITS


'It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you.' - THE WITCHES


'A little magic can take you a long way.' - JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH


'Grown ups are complicated creatures, full of quirks and secrets.' - DANNY, THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD


'A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men.' - CHARLIE AND THE GREAT GLASS ELEVATOR


'Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.' - MATILDA


'So please, of please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall...' - CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY


You can learn more about Roald Dahl day here.
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Friday, 8 September 2017

House. Tree. Person. by Catriona McPherson

| I received my copy of House. Tree. Person. via Netgalley for review purposes |

BLURB
A year ago, she was happily married, running her beauty salon, raising her son, living in her dream house. Now Ali McGovern’s dreams are slipping away and all her old ghosts are rising.

A job at Howell Hall, the private psychiatric facility nearby, seems too good to be true. Why have they employed her? How can they afford her? And what are they hiding? When a body is discovered in a shallow grave on Ali’s first day at work, it feels like one last horror. But it’s just the beginning of her descent into a nightmare world she never imagined existed, far too close to home.

MY THOUGHTS
House. Tree. Person opens up with us meeting the McGovern family - mother, Ali, father, Marco and teenage son, Angelo. The dynamics of their family are laid out for the reader from the view point of Ali. We learn of the family's recent downfall, and how they ended up on hard times, as well as some mysteries beginning to show - namely a breakdown Ali experienced some years earlier.

Although they've had some hard times we meet the family just as everything seems to be on the up, with new jobs for both parents. Marco is starting work at a local builders yard and Ali has taken up a position at a nearby psychiatric facility as a beautician with a huge salary - perfect timing. Perhaps a little too perfect...

Some of my favourite scenes within the story are from Ali's work at Howell Hall - I loved the connections she was able to form with the patients, especially moments between her & Sylvie + her & Julia. In general I found the characters within this book to be really well written, but the three of the (Ali, Sylvie and Julia) really stood out to me.

For the first half of the book, I felt very confused at times but was also keen to know where all this was going, because trust me, at one point I had no idea! Part of this stems from Ali being the narrator, however she isn't the most reliable of narrators. I don't have a problem with unreliable narrators, but sometime they can make it a bit hard to truly get stuck into a story.

The second half of the book was definitely the strongest, in my opinion, and the way the entire plot comes together is really well done.

House. Tree. Person is a layered novel, with some strong characters, full of mystery & family secrets.

Please note: a psychiatric unit is at the centre of House. Tree. Person., with mental health disorders featured throughout.

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Monday, 4 September 2017

My Autumn Reading List


A little while ago now - mid summer to be exact - I spoke about starting seasonal reading lists, so with the arrival of September I've compiled my autumn reading list.

My autumn reading list runs from September to the end of November.

All titles below have been linked via Goodreads

BOOKS FROM MY SHELVES
(The last three titles are the Bill Hodges trilogy by Stephen King, and I aim to read them all in one go)

BOOKS FROM MY KINDLE LIBRARY

BOOKS FOR REVIEW
(My review books may increase over the course of my autumn reading list)

BOOK BORROWED FROM THE LIBRARY

So that concludes my autumn reading list. If you've read any of these titles already, I'd love to hear your thoughts on them. Also, be sure to share any titles you plan to read over the next three months.
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Thursday, 31 August 2017

WHAT I READ | August


To be honest, I wasn't actually going to write one of these reading wrap up posts for the month of August, however I haven't missed a month so far and I do enjoy looking back on them.

I wasn't going to recap as I read only two titles in August - Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber and Cogheart by Peter Bunzl. I would say the 'only' in the previous sentence implies that I'm unhappy with my reading for the month, and yes, whilst I would have liked to have read a little more, I'm happy with what was read and fitting in the amount of reading I did.

Here on my book blog I don't often share much about life beyond the books... I am a little today though. August has been such a big month for our little family of three - not only did Nathan & I get married in a super simple ceremony, but we also become homeowners for the very first time. The house we have purchased requires some work doing before we make the official move, and so we've been juggling a lot of that stuff. To and froing from one house to another, working on the bits that we're able to, meeting with contractors & tradesmen to set up professional work, being present when said work takes place, all whilst entertaining a three year old and trying to maintain another household. Don't get me wrong, I'm incredibly grateful for being able to buy our own home (getting on the property ladder is getting harder and harder here in the UK), but I do feel like I'm juggling a lot at the moment... And it is only set to get crazier as deadlines draw closer and also when Alexander returns to preschool (he does half days) in a week or so.

For the most part, I'm tired by the end of the day and reading isn't on my mind - you'll find me slumped in front of YouTube or a movie etc.

So I am actually happy with having read two titles... And any reading is worth acknowledging, regardless of numbers.

Happy reading in September!
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Tuesday, 29 August 2017

READING WITH MY THREE YEAR OLD | A Week of Bedtime Stories (August)


At the start of summer I mentioned sharing more about the books I read with my son, and since then have yet to actually share more than that one post... So here's to more chatter about picture books!

Today I've collected together the books we've read each night over the past seven days, and I thought I'd talk a little about them.

MONDAY
How to Find Gold by Viviane Schwarz

Anna and Crocodile are two friends, full of imagination, who go on an adventure to find gold. Their antics include drawing maps, diving into the sea, uncovering treasure and then deciding what to do with their gains. As a parent reading this book to my child, I really enjoyed the humour that was weaved into the narrative.

TUESDAY
Gigantosaurus by Jonny Duddle

I can't even tell you how many times I have read this book now!

As four dino friends wander through their landscape, they keep an eye out for the Gigantosaurus, a fearsome dinosaur their parents have warned them about. One of the dinosaurs is a little bit mischeivious however, with elements of 'the boy who cried wolf' running through the story.

WEDNESDAY
The Wild Woods by Simon James

This is a newer book to Alexander's collection, gifted to him by a relative, but one he very much enjoyed. We follow Jess and her grandad as they have a woodland walk, with the young girl wanting to take animals home with her.

THURSDAY
Conker and Nudge by Adria Meserve

The two title characters within this book are anteaters and brothers, with big brother Conker finding himself bothered by his little brother, Nudge, as he is forever copying him and wanting to play. There is moral to the story when Nudge ends up saving the lives of Conker and his friends.

FRIDAY
This Book Just Ate My Dog! by Richard Byrne

A short but interactive book, the title says it all - Bella's dog gets lost inside the pages of the book and she needs the help of the reader to retrieve him again. A fun read!

SATURDAY
Ten Little Dinosaurs by Mike Brownlow & Simon Rickerty

Ten Little Dinosaurs is a counting book that's full of rhythm and rhyme which makes for a great introduction to numbers. Alexander is far beyond the number ten in his counting skills now, but he still loves picking this book up every now and again.

SUNDAY
Spinderella by Julia Donaldson & Sebastien Braun

Another counting book... I've spoken about Spinderella in a different post of mine, which you can read here.
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So there you have it, a week of bedtime reading with my three year old son.
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