Monday, 29 January 2018

READING WITH MY FOUR YEAR OLD | January


Half through last year I began a series here on Reading with Jade titled 'Reading with my Son', and it seems to have gone down quite well, which is great as I had every intention of continuing on with the series and documenting one of my favourite pastimes with my son. My plans for this series in 2018 are a little different however, as I'm going to be sharing a book haul each month showcasing the book(s) Alexander has picked out on our once a month bookshop trip. I may throw in a week of reading here & there, but consistently each month there should be one of these posts - they have been a bit haphazard in the past!

ALEXANDER'S JANUARY BOOK PICKS

We ventured to the bookshop early on in January, and so both of these titles have already been enjoyed... On more than one occasion! Prior to buying, Alexander was already familiar with both of these Julia Donaldson books as we had borrowed Zog and the Flying Doctors from the library before (he already owns the original Zog book) and Stick Man they have read at nursery. 

Our Julia Donaldson collection is ever growing...


(Side note to Christine, if she is reading this, I'm still on the lookout for The Giant Jumparee but have yet to see it in a shop or even at the library)
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Sunday, 28 January 2018

Thin Air by Michelle Paver


BLURB
The Himalayas, 1935. 

Kangchenjunga. The sacred mountain. Biggest killer of them all.

Five Englishmen set out to conquer it. But courage can only take them so far. And the higher they climb, the darker it gets.

MY THOUGHTS
I do love a ghost story, and Michelle Paver's Thin Air met the mark.

Set in the 1930s, we follow an expedition party as they set out to climb Kangchenjunga, a mountain that is feared by many and successfully scaled by none. The story is told from the perspective of Stephen, doctor on the team, and although not dated, the book feels very much like an expedition journal. The narrative feels personal and raw, which works beautifully with the unfolding of the story.

The men climbing Kangchenjunga are following the exact same route that has been attempted previously... Attempted and failed resulting in the death of a handful of people. The Lyell Expedition took place a good number of years prior, and is well known as a memoir was penned by one of the survivors - General Sir Edmund Lyell. Edmund wasn't the sole survivor of this expedition, with Charles Tennant also making it back down to ground level with him, however it is only Edmund's word on the expedition itself.

As the new team set off up the mountain, Stephen comes to understand that Lyell's account of events may not be entirely accurate.

Thin Air plays a lot on the theme I quite enjoy in a ghost story - isolation. This isn't the kind of ghost story where things go bump in the night... It is subtle; playing with the mind and emphasising an atmospheric setting.

Alongside the strong mountain setting, there is also a set of strong & well written characters - back stories to all, and each within their own individuality. As our narrator, I really did like the character of Stephen, and with that I also enjoyed the way in which his relationship with brother and fellow climber, Kits, was written; it felt authentic and well done, making a good sub plot to the overall story.

If you're looking for a ghost story that chills your bones, captivates throughout and can be read in one sitting, then Thin Air is the book for you.

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Friday, 26 January 2018

READING RECORD | Week Three


Each week I'll be sharing a reading record, kind of like a bookish diary, with some notes from my reading of the week before.

MONDAY 15TH JANUARY
Feeling a little ill today and spent a lot of the day resting - I did manage to read 40 pages of Thin Air by Michelle Paver.

TUESDAY 16TH JANUARY
The slow start to my reading week continues, with no reading completed today.

WEDNESDAY 17TH JANUARY
Today I finished reading Thin Air by Michelle Paver - the book itself is relatively short, however I read it in drips & drabs, so I think whenever it may be that I return to it I'll try and read it all in the one sitting. Based on a want to reread this title, I'm sure you can guess I had a positive reading experience of Thin Air; such an atmospheric ghost story, which made perfect winter reading material.

Michelle Paver is a new to me author, however I have been aware of her books for quite some time now as in childhood she was Nathan's (my husband) favourite author - I've heard so much about her Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series. Being able to find books that fit my reading preferences a little more, whilst still discovering the author in which Nathan so enjoyed, was a really wonderful thing to be able to do.

I also read a few pages of The Polar Bear Explorers' Club in the evening... I'm conscious of the fact that I have had a bookmark, moving ever so slowly, in this book for a while now - I will say that I am enjoying this middle grade title; I think I just need to set aside a solid chunk of time to be transported.


THURSDAY 18TH JANUARY
It wasn't until the evening that I picked up a book today, and instead of picking up any of the many review books I have piling up (eek!), I ended up at my bookshelves and opted for a book I've already read - my first reread of the year: Still Alice by Lisa Genova.

The trouble with recording my reading in this way is you're all seeing how all over the place my reading habits are!

FRIDAY 19TH JANUARY
Ending the day on page 175 of Still Alice.

SATURDAY 20TH JANUARY
Read some more pages of Still Alice today, although not many.

SUNDAY 21ST JANUARY
Ending the week by finishing Still Alice by Lisa Genova... Such a sad story, but so well written. I may have to give some more of my Lisa Genova's novels a reread before her new release in April. 

Not reading related specifically, however I did start my annual winter Harry Potter re-watch.

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BOOKS MENTIONED
Finished - Thin AirStill Alice
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Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Sky Chasers by Emma Carroll


BLURB
An encounter with a boy dangling from the sky changes pickpocket Magpie's life forever. Like her, the boy dreams of flying over the rooftops of Paris. His family, the Montgolfiers, are desperate to be first to discover the secret of flight. Together with Pierre, Magpie is soon caught up in a world of inflatable bloomers, spies and a trio of unruly animals in a race to be the first to fly a hot air balloon - in front of the King and Queen of France.

MY THOUGHTS
Born from an idea by Neal Jackson, winner of Chicken House's The Big Idea Competition, Emma Carroll has written another marvellous middle grade book that transports you to another time, takes you on an adventure and enchants you with a medley of characters... Including three animals in the case of Sky Chasers!

As the story begins, we meet Magpie, an orphan girl living on the streets, as she is tasked with stealing a very important box from a household in France. Magpie is known for stealing, however she is a pickpocket and so breaking and entering a house is new territory for her, but the lure of some coins seals the deal... Except things don't quite to plan. Not too long after, Magpie finds herself employed by the very same people she previously tried to steal from, and makes a friend in the form of Pierre. 

Magpie and Pierre soon find themselves helping Pierre's father and uncle (the Montgolfier brothers) in inventing the world's first hot air balloon, and this is where the story really gets interesting. Adventure ensues, of the fun but also dangerous variety, with the best friend duo even finding themselves prisoners of the King and Queen of France at one point!

Elements I really enjoyed in Sky Chasers (that often run through Emma Carroll's novels in general) include: a strong female protagonist, the beauty of friendship, a hint of mystery to keep you page turning, the wonderful way in which history & adventure are combined, and not to mention Emma's amazing way with words... The added addition of the common 'One for Sorrow' nursery rhyme, which pertains to the sighting of magpies, running throughout the book was a noted and appreciated detail also.

If you're a regular reader of my blog then I'm sure you don't need me to tell you this (again) - but go and pick up a book by Emma Carroll; you won't be disappointed!

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Monday, 15 January 2018

READING RECORD | Week Two


Each week I'll be sharing a reading record, kind of like a bookish diary, with some notes from my reading of the week before.

MONDAY 8TH JANUARY
Started the week by picking up a new book - Silence: In the Age of Noise by Erling Kagge - and finished reading it the same day. The book itself wasn't quite what I had expected, which left me with some rating dilemmas upon finishing, but all in all I really enjoyed this non fiction title. Although the book wasn't quite what I had anticipated, it was definitely what I needed to read right now. Following on from the book, I spent most of my evening researching Erling Kagge, the writer, and what a fascinating man I find him to be.

I found out that Bout of Books is taking place; somehow I had totally forgotten about the week long readathon! Sign ups were still open, so I promptly did that. I have no aims for the readathon specifically, just to read some good books and have fun within the bookish community. I tend to keep things pretty low key when it comes to readathons anyway.


TUESDAY 9TH JANUARY
Feeling a little overwhelmed with bookish things... Well, I'm happy with the reading progress I've made so far this year but have felt a little behind on reviews. I don't review everything I read, however there are still some titles from the previous week that I know I want to review and have yet to jot any thoughts down about them. I don't want to be feeling stressed by blogging stuff, especially not this early in the year, and so had a little inner conversation with myself. The approach I took to blogging and books and reviews last year worked really well for me, so I'm carrying that mindset forward.

Late in the evening I started reading Sky Chasers, the newest middle grade novel by Emma Carroll.


WEDNESDAY 10TH JANUARY
Added 70 pages to the 78 pages I read the previous day of Sky Chasers.


THURSDAY 11TH JANUARY
Alexander and I went to the library in the morning. We didn't get to stay too long as he is back at nursery in the afternoons now, but we spent a good chunk of time there and he came away with 10 new books.

Dedicated some time to reading in the evening and completed Sky Chasers by Emma Carroll. I love the concept of the book and how wonderfully history & adventure were entwined. 


FRIDAY 12TH JANUARY
Today, twelve days into the new year, was the first in which I didn't pick up a single book... Other than Alexander's bedtime story.


SATURDAY 13TH JANUARY
For a couple of days now I've been debating whether to DNF The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld... At this point I'm currently 40% of the way through, and with others titles I would definitely have put the book to one side now, however I had been highly anticipating The Child Finder and I think that's what has been stopping me from DNF'ing. After talking to a couple of others on Twitter about it, I ultimately DNF'ed... I do see myself returning to this book; I think now isn't the right time for me to read this story. 

Started reading Thin Air by Michelle Paver.


SUNDAY 14TH JANUARY
Read some more of Thin Air by Michelle Paver today; glad to have picked up this atmospheric read.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I am pretty low key when it comes to readathons, however I feel like I didn't really even participate this time round. I don't know if maybe I wasn't in the frame of mind, having forgotten about the event, however if you did take part in Bout of Books 21 then I hope you had an amazing week!

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BOOKS MENTIONED
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Thursday, 11 January 2018

Blog Posts I've Enjoyed Lately (5)


With so much content being shared within the 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
Epic Reads | 24 Books That'll Make You Stay Up Late Reading (Some new to me titles, but I definitely agree with 'One of Us is Lying')

NON-BOOKISH
Between My Lines | 7 To-Don'ts for 2018 (I love Trish's alternative approach to 'To do' lists!)

Happy perusing!
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Monday, 8 January 2018

READING RECORD | Week One


Each week I'll be sharing a reading record, kind of like a bookish diary, with some notes from my reading of the week before.

MONDAY 1ST JANUARY
Typically I begin the new year on the first page of a new book, however this year I began it 40% of the way through an upcoming review book - Dark Pines by Will Dean; a title I have been eagerly anticipating. 

I try to read as much as possible when it comes to the 'First Book of the Year'. I managed to read the remaining 60% of Dark Pines on and off throughout the day. As afternoon faded into evening, I'd completed my first read of 2018!

As I've spoken about before, I think the book you begin the new year with sets the tone for the reading year to come; based off of Dark Pines, I'm in for some bookish goodness over the next twelve months.

In the evening I picked up my first non fiction title of the year - The Diary of a Bookseller. I read the month of February (where it begins) which resulted in 33 pages read.


TUESDAY 2ND JANUARY
Waking early, I was able to get some reading in before it was even light outside. I spent a little under an hour starting The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld. Making the time to read in the morning, before my day gets going and the chaos of a four year old, is a simple pleasure of mine... I happen to enjoy it all the more in the winter months when I'm able to soak in the dark to light transition outside. 

Reading snippets here and there throughout the day, I've now breached the 100 page mark in The Diary of a Bookseller.

Ended the day 19% of the way through The Child Finder.


WEDNESDAY 3RD JANUARY
My head wasn't entirely with my books day, but I am now 30% of the way through The Child Finder on my Kindle. 

I wanted to read in the evening, just get lost in a book, however the material I'm currently reading isn't really the 'get lost in' type, so I picked up some middle grade fiction - The Polar Explorers' Club. Found myself reading two chapters this evening, and it seems like I'm in for a fun adventure with this one!


THURSDAY 4TH JANUARY
I picked up each of my three current reads on separate occasions today, with the bulk of my reading being in the evening, getting stuck into The Polar Explorers' Club with a hot chocolate to hand. 


FRIDAY 5TH JANUARY
Although more a coffee table book than an actual reading book, I did look through The Color of Pixar when it arrived today in the post (I had ordered it before the new year). It was a nice experience to sit and look through all the colourful film stills... The experience also solidified The Good Dinosaur as my favourite Pixar film to date, for visuals that is. Plot wise, Up is my favourite.

I spent some time in the evening reading more of The Diary of a Bookseller. I've just finished reading the summer months, and it has left me wanting those long summer days with warmer weather.


SATURDAY 6TH JANUARY
I had hoped to finish reading The Diary of a Bookseller today, however I think my plans were a tad ambitious given that I only had reading time for an hour or so in the evening... I read two months worth of entries in the book before calling it a night.


SUNDAY 7TH JANUARY
Finished reading The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell.

Spent some time in the evening poring over The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane & Jackie Morris; a truly beautiful book.
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BOOKS MENTIONED
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Thursday, 4 January 2018

Dark Pines by Will Dean

| I received my copy of Dark Pines for review purposes - this does not impact on my thoughts in any way |
BLURB
An isolated Swedish town. A deaf reporter terrified of nature. A dense spruce forest overdue for harvest. A pair of eyeless hunters found murdered in the woods.

It's week one of the Swedish elk hunt and the sound of gunfire is everywhere. When Tuva Moodyson investigates the story that could make her career she stumbles on a web of secrets that knit Gavrik town together. Are the latest murders connected to the Medusa killings twenty years ago? Is someone following her? Why take the eyes? Tuva must face her demons and venture deep into the woods to stop the killer and write the story. And then get the hell out of Gavrik.

MY THOUGHTS
In a small Swedish town, reporter Tuva Moodyson is yearning for something more to write about - more than the small town comings and goings in the community newspaper - so when the body of a local man is found dead, murdered, in the Utgard forest she feels like her story is finally here... A story she becomes fully immersed in telling, even when things turn dark & dangerous, with the murder investigation threatening to take over her life.

With this mystery thriller being told from the view point of a journalist, as opposed to a law enforcement officer or victim as more often seen, it gives a whole new perspective to the plot and makes for a good story telling method. Tuva's investigation of the murders keeps you gripped throughout, whilst feeling invested in the characters due to the personal level in which her investigation takes - you get to know characters that could otherwise fall into the background and at times feel like a local in Gavrik yourself. Living, and reporting, in a small town means Tuva has to live with the people she is writing about, however remaining sensitive and diplomatic isn't always easy.

'"... You need to think about the printed word. What you write in the next issue will remain. These words will stick around. For ever. You need to write well and with purpose and with courage. Your articles will follow you around whether you like it or not."'

Tuva has dreams of more... She found herself in Gavrik after her mother fell ill with cancer, and is there to be closer to her, but remains very career focussed. When the murders start she feels like this is the story that's going to get her noticed and push her onwards in her career. 

This sub plot to the crimes taking place really added a nice element to the overall plot of Dark Pines, and I felt it helped the reader connect more to Tuva; she isn't just a character, but a person with flaws and all.

Obviously the main plot within Dark Pines is the murders themselves, with a dead body arriving at the beginning of hunting season, and the crime echoing ones seen in the town over twenty years prior. There are whispers and suspicions; very much a book that makes you question what you really know about those you surround yourself with.

Once the scenes have been set, Dark Pines is a pacey read that'll keep you page turning. I wouldn't say the ending is entirely surprising, with the story being more about the investigation than shock factor upon reveal... So I found to be the case anyway, as I had a few suspects in mind with the killer being one of them.

Speaking of suspects, there are a number of characters to keep your eye on throughout the novel - each as distinctive and distrustful as the next! Not to mention the dark depths of Utgard forest; a character in its own right.

Concluding, the blurb definitely eludes to the point I'm about to make, however I think it important to make note of it anyway - hunting runs throughout Dark Pines, it is in the nature of the novel, so do be prepared for scenes pertaining to that when picking up this title.

All in all I had an enjoyable reading experience of Dark Pines, a strong debut fiction novel from Will Dean, and I'd be on the lookout for more of his work in the future.

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Monday, 1 January 2018

READING RECORD | First Book of the Year (2018)


As the new year begins, I'm delving into a much anticipated read of mine - Dark Pines by Will Dean

I always put great thought into the book that I'll see the new year in with as I think it sets the tone for the reading year that is to come... Typically I wait until the 1st of January to start the book, however with this title I have started reading a day earlier as I do hope to review it within the week.

Do you start the new year on a clean slate with books or do you bring books with bookmarks in into the new year?

Either way, with whichever book you're starting 2018 with, I wish you the happiest of new years - reading & otherwise!

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