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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.
So there you have it, a week of bedtime reading with my three year old son.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Spoiler Comments

Yesterday I experienced something as a book blogger that I wanted to talk with others in the community about... A spoiler was posted in the comments of a book review of mine.

All in all I think of my blog as spoiler free. I never deliberately share any book spoilers here, and if I do think something could be deemed as a spoiler, I clearly state beforehand. Being someone who largely likes to go into books with a clear mind of what is to come, I know how frustrating stumbling upon a spoiler can be. I don't like to find spoilers elsewhere online, and for that reason I deliberately don't share them either.

Prior to this occasion, I'd never come across someone sharing spoilers in the comment section of my blog before, so when I did see the comment I wasn't quite sure what to do... Ultimately, I deleted the comment.

I don't like to delete comments. I delete spam. Of course. And I also delete comments if something has been shared multiple times by accident; it happens. I'm open to the opinions and voice of others, even when they differ from my own. I'm very much open to conversation here on Reading With Jade; in fact the social side of book blogging is one of my favourite things within this community.

In this instance though, I felt like I had no choice but to remove the comment.

This incident isn't a massive deal, trust me I'm very much aware of that... But I think what bothered me most about the comment was the fact that the spoilers (yes, there were more than one) were written on a review post where I had specifically stated about keeping my blog spoiler free and so for that reason I had been vague about the plot.

Such a small thing, but it really did bother me.

The point of this post wasn't for me to rant or vent however... I wanted to put a question to other book bloggers: how do you deal with spoilers in the comments section?

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber

| I received my copy of Are You Sleeping via Netgalley for review purposes |

Serial meets Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood in this inventive and twisty psychological thriller about a mega-hit podcast that reopens a murder case—and threatens to unravel the carefully constructed life of the victim’s daughter.

The only thing more dangerous than a the truth.

Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family’s reputation and with good reason. After her father's murder thirteen years prior, her mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister Lanie, once Josie’s closest friend and confidant, betrayed her in an unimaginable way. Now, Josie has finally put down roots in New York, settling into domestic life with her partner Caleb, and that’s where she intends to stay. The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every detail of her past—starting with her last name.

When investigative reporter Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with a mega-hit podcast that reopens the long-closed case of Josie’s father’s murder, Josie’s world begins to unravel. Meanwhile, the unexpected death of Josie’s long-absent mother forces her to return to her Midwestern hometown where she must confront the demons from her past—and the lies on which she has staked her future.

Firstly, I seriously debated with myself whether to rate Are You Sleeping a 3 star or a 4 star read... Ultimately opting for 3 stars.

I really loved the premise of Are You Sleeping, and was hooked from the get go. When a true crime podcast starts airing that focuses on her father's murder, Josie is forced to confront some realities she'd been putting off, as well return to her hometown and family. The plot was strong, and well paced, with the inclusion of excerpts from the podcast and also social media posts running alongside the narrative.

As well as the plot being strong, character development was also. Opening up we see Josie battling the emotions that come with her history resurfacing, soon following her across country to then see a family drama unfold. Not to mention the mystery of who exactly killed Charles Buhrman.

For me it was the ending that lead this to be a three star book. With a story that grips you like this one does, you kind of expect something big at the end, and that just didn't materialise. I had guessed the ending around the half way mark of the book, and it did all conclude rather quickly, given the build up prior.

Despite this, I would recommend Are You Sleeping to others, and will continue to keep an eye out for other works by debut author, Kathleen Barber.


Tuesday, 1 August 2017

WHAT I READ | June & July

Today I'm sharing the books that I've read so far this summer... Typically I compile this post monthly, however I did only complete one book in the month of June so I thought I'd group it with my wrap up of July.

Early on in June I returned to the works of Kate Morton, having my second reading experience of her writing by delving into The Lake House. Kate Morton is a relatively new to me author, but one whose books I have fallen in love with. I have shared a review of The Lake House, which you can find here.

Although I started and finished The Lake House early in June, I didn't complete another book during the month due to unsteady reading. Thankfully, I fully fell back into reading with the arrival of July.

I read a total of five books in July, including two rereads and two review titles.

After what felt like a hard reading month prior, I started July with the first of my review books that also happened to be a five star read: The Summer of Impossible Things by Rowan Coleman. The story features time travel and a plot driven by family drama, two elements I enjoy in a book. You can find my full thoughts on this title here.

Next I picked up The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. Much like her novel The Girl of Ink & Stars, this title is aimed at a middle grade audience with the story containing a strong female protagonist and fantasy elements. Kiran Millwood Hargrave is a children's author that I'll keep my eye on, with this particular book turning out to be a five star read.

Continuing on with books containing a fantastical element, I selected A Place Called Here by Cecelia Ahern to reread. The story follows Sandy Shortt, a woman who has a fixation on things that go missing, as she herself goes missing and ends up in 'Here' - a place that many missing things go. The journey to get home is a challenging one, and even life altering for Sandy, but also thought provoking as a reader. Many of you know that Ahern is one of my favourite authors, and this particular book holds many magical memories for me.

Switching up genre, I completed my next read in a 24 hour time span, being thoroughly gripped with Final Girls by Riley Sager. I know in the book community this book has been getting a bit of hype upon release, but well deserved in my eyes. I'm thankful to have had a review copy of this title, as I definitely think it's one of those books that is best read with minimal knowledge prior. If you did want to read more about Final Girls, then you can find my review here.

Concluding July, I spent a week savouring my reread of Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

Happy reading in August!
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