Friday, 31 May 2019

Reading Record | Middle Grade May (Week 4)


My reading record posts are a way for me to document all things bookish and reading in my life - typically you will see these posts monthly, however readathons and certain books will have their own specific reading record.

During the month of May I had challenged myself to read largely from my middle grade shelf, wanting to make a good dent in the unread books sitting on it. This post is sharing how I got on during my final week (& a few extra days).

All in all, I'm really happy with the amount of middle grade books I read in May - 12 books in total. 

MONDAY 20TH MAY
Today I finished reading Frostfire by Jamie Smith - what I would describe as a high fantasy middle grade book. Whilst I appreciated the story, and greatly enjoyed certain elements such as the history, surroundings and world building, I didn't find myself as engaged with this book as much as others I've read this May.

In the evening I started Explorers on Witch Mountain (5 chapters read), which is the second book in a series by author Alex Bell. Although it has been a good number of months since I read the first book - The Polar Bear Explorers' Club - I found myself falling back into the story & returning to the characters so easily. 

TUESDAY 21ST MAY
Further reading done in Explorers on Witch Mountain - I'm now on page 122. 

WEDNESDAY 22ND MAY
I actually started reading a nonfiction book today that doesn't fall into the MG category, so I'm not going to talk about it a lot here in this reading record - but I did want to acknowledge it; this is the first time I have deviated from middle grade reading this month.

THURSDAY 23RD MAY
No reading done.

FRIDAY 24TH MAY
I read a further 70 pages in Explorers on Witch Mountain today, which means I have now passed the half way mark.

SATURDAY 25TH MAY
I finished reading Explorers on Witch Mountain by Alex Bell. I thoroughly enjoyed returning to the world of explorers, and the ending of this book definitely alluded to another adventure being in the works - which is exciting!

If you're looking for a fun middle grade read then I highly recommend this series. Not only are the plots and adventures engaging, but the dynamics of the friendship group are written well & authentically, the humour weaved throughout is wonderful, and there are morals and messages to be found along the way which I always appreciate in books written for this audience. 

Before bed today I read the first 5 chapters of the next book in the Find-Outers series by Enid Blyton - The Mystery of the Strange Messages (book 14).

SUNDAY 26TH MAY
I read up to page 182 in The Mystery of the Strange Messages by Enid Blyton.

MONDAY 27TH MAY
Today I finished book 14 in the Find-Outers series. I have just the one to go now before completing the entire series - I think that is totally doable in the remaining days of May.

TUESDAY 28TH MAY
Moving on to the final book of the series, today I read just under 100 pages of The Mystery of Banshee Towers by Enid Blyton - with this book being 190(ish) pages (one of the shorter ones in the series), I'm already half way through.

WEDNESDAY 29TH MAY
Today I finished book 15, and the Find-Outers series as a whole. This is the second series I have completed of Enid Blyton's now... The first series was The Adventure series, which had 8 books, and that I think I enjoyed perhaps marginally more. I'm happy to have read the Find-Outers series and been involved in all the fun mysteries, however it seemed to lose focus a bit towards the end, in my opinion. 

READ THIS WEEK

Happy reading!
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Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Reading Record | Middle Grade May (Week 3)


My reading record posts are a way for me to document all things bookish and reading in my life - typically you will see these posts on a monthly basis, however readathons and certain books will have their own specific reading record.

Throughout the month of May I've challenged myself to read through the numerous unread middle grade books I have on my shelves; this post shares how I got on during week three.

MONDAY 13TH MAY
I'm going into this new week having gone over the remaining books on my TBR, and roughly pulled together a timeline of as and when I hope to complete specific books. Overall, I'm happy with the rate at which I'm reading and the progress I'm making.

I started The Secret of the Night Train by Sylvia Bishop today; it is proving to be a really fun mystery read.

TUESDAY 14TH MAY
The Secret of the Night Train is one of those books you have a hard time putting down - not only is it an easy read, but engrossing also... Which is why I managed to finish it today. This was my first reading experience of this author, and I'll definitely be on the lookout for more books by her.

In The Secret of the Night Train we follow main character, Max, as she journeys from Paris to Istanbul - via 4 trains - in order to visit her great aunt. On route, Max finds herself mixed up in a mystery: a prominent jewel thief also appears to be taking the same journey as Max, and alongside the unlikely accomplice of a nun, Max is determined to detect & uncover the criminal. 

The story itself is engaging, funny, and also a little random at times, which amounted to a really enjoyable story. I would liken The Secret of the Night Train to Agatha Christie, but for a younger audience. 

WEDNESDAY 15TH MAY
I don't often read too much on a Wednesday as it is usually my 'busy day', however I did manage to read a handful of chapters in Frostfire by Jamie Smith - a fantasy adventure book that I actually started at the very beginning of May, and am slowly making my way back to.

THURSDAY 16TH MAY
Ended today on page 130 of Frostfire by Jamie Smith.

FRIDAY 17TH MAY
You know those days when it's grey and dreary outside, and all you want to do is hibernate with a good book and copious amounts of tea... That's how I felt this Friday morning, and after dropping my son off to school, I did just that - finding myself consumed in Our Castle by the Sea; I finished it in just a few hours.

Our Castle by the Sea is the second middle grade novel by Lucy Strange - I read Lucy's debut MG novel last year (The Secret of Nightingale Wood) and was totally blown away by it. This newest release hones in on the Smith family, lighthouse keepers on the English Coast, during the beginning of World War 2. Although middle grade fiction, Lucy Strange focuses on slightly darker matters in her writing, with the characters facing life changing, and often times devastating, events; she writes these with such delicacy though. 

I did really like Our Castle by the Sea, however it did feel slightly familiar to me as I read, with Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll springing to mind at times when reading.

SATURDAY 18TH MAY
Read a further few chapters in Frostfire today.

SUNDAY 19TH MAY
I had hoped to finish reading Frostfire today, however that didn't happen and I'm okay with that! I'm ending the week with 70 pages left in this book, and just under a handful of unread books left on my TBR for May.

READ THIS WEEK

Happy reading!
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Thursday, 16 May 2019

Reading Record | Middle Grade May (Week 2)


My reading record posts are a way for me to document all things bookish and reading in my life - typically you will see these posts on a monthly basis, however readathons and certain books will have their own specific reading record.

Last week I shared the first of many 'Reading Record' posts to come over the month of May, and talked a little about my self imposed challenge to read only middle grade throughout the month - this is week two.

MONDAY 6TH MAY
Starting the week with another Enid Blyton mystery by reading the first half (ish) of The Mystery of Tally-Ho Cottage, which is book number 12 in the The Find-Outers series.

TUESDAY 7TH MAY
Not too much reading done today; a couple more chapters in the Tally-Ho mystery.

WEDNESDAY 8TH MAY
No reading completed today.

THURSDAY 9TH MAY
I finished reading The Mystery of Tally-Ho Cottage today. I'm just loving this series as a whole, and can imagine I would have been obsessed with it had I read them as a child.

This evening I started reading Everdark by Abi Elphinstone. Everdark is a short story, written & released for World Book Day back in March, and is an introduction to a new world (& series) that will be released very soon (end of May here in the UK). 

My first experience with Abi Elphinstone's writing was in a short story collection of winter tales, in which I admired the creativity and immersive nature of her writing. Last year I picked up Sky Song, and truly feel in love with her writing style.

FRIDAY 10TH MAY
Having read the first 5 chapters of Everdark yesterday, today I finished the rest of the book. I know I've already mentioned my love for her writing above, but honestly, I just love the adventures she shares and the characters she crafts. 

Abi Elphinstone champions the 'unlikely' person, and showcases that we all have our own strengths and quirks, with those being what make us unique.  I love this message, but particularly so in a MG book.

SATURDAY 11TH MAY
Ended the day with 10 chapters finished in the next book from the The Find-Outers series.

SUNDAY 12TH MAY
I finished reading The Mystery of the Missing Man by Enid Blyton. Another good read within the series, meaning I now only have 2 more mysteries to follow along with before I finish the collection.

READ THIS WEEK

Happy reading!
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Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Reading Record | Middle Grade May (Week 1)


My reading record posts are a way for me to document all things bookish and reading in my life - typically you will see these posts on a monthly basis, however readathons and certain books will have their own specific reading record.

This reading record is the first of many to come over the month of May, in which I'm challenging myself to read solely from my middle grade shelf. I love reading middle grade books, that's no secret here on Reading with Jade, and so I'm looking forward to the month ahead. 

MONDAY 29TH APRIL
Today I read the first short story within Emma Carroll's newest release: When We Were Warriors. You know when you pick up a favourite author you haven't read in a while, and fall in love with their writing all over again - that's how I felt with this. 

Throughout May, I'm also planning on finishing The Find-Outers series by Enid Blyton. I have been slowly working my way through this middle grade mystery series since last year, and am thoroughly enjoying it. I read the first three chapters of book number 11 before bed.

TUESDAY 30TH APRIL
At just under 120 pages, I read Race to the Frozen North by Catherine Johnson in just one sitting. The book is memoir like in telling, sharing the inspirational story of explorer Matthew Henson. Often times with MG books, when I reflect on keeping it in my collection I consider whether keeping it to share with my son one day, and Race to the Frozen North is definitely being kept for such a purpose.

WEDNESDAY 1ST MAY
I started Frostfire by Jamie Smith today, reading the first few chapters before bed. This feels like a book that is more suited to the older end of the middle grade age range, given the scenes that have occurred in the early stages alone - what I would think of as quite violent.

THURSDAY 2ND MAY
Today I finished reading When We Were Warriors by Emma Carroll. I really enjoyed this collection of three short stories, and returning to her writing overall.

A couple of the stories included characters we've seen in previous full length books by the author, and all three of them had a common thread linking them together - I thought this was a nice touch.

Emma Carroll writes historical fiction for a middle grade audience, with this collection focusing on WW2. I think When We Were Warriors would make a great starting point to Emma Carroll's writing.

FRIDAY 3RD MAY
No reading.

SATURDAY 4TH MAY
I didn't read too much today; another 20 pages read in the Find-Outers mystery. I'm hoping for a good amount of reading tomorrow, completing this book at least.

SUNDAY 5TH MAY
Ending the week on three books complete; I finished the last 170 pages (give or take a few) of The Mystery of Holly Lane (book 11 in the Find-Outers series).

READ THIS WEEK

Happy reading!
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