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The Haunting of Tabitha Grey by Vanessa Curtis - Review

Sunday, May 29, 2016


Where did I get it? The library in my village
  
What's it about? Tabitha's Dad is a museum curator who's just got a new job at Weston Manor as a live in Keeper. But as soon as Tabitha arrives at the manor strange things start to happen - she can smell lavender, sees women in navy blue dresses who shouldn't be there, and the old servants' bells ring in the night. Tabs is just trying to be an ordinary teenager but the manor won't let her.
There's a big twist which I guessed and I can't decide if that's just because I'm an adult and have read stuff like this before, and whether a teenager wouldn't have seen the twist, or whether it was just a really obvious twist clumsily done. 
What age range is it for? 12+ I guess, if you're not easily scared. 
Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No
Are any main characters non-white? No
Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Not really. Tabitha is quite traumatised though 
Is there any sex stuff? No
Are drugs mentioned or used? No
Is there any talk of death? Yes, but not in graphic terms. 
Are there swear words? No
Would I recommend the book? Not really. Parts of it are really good - especially when Tabitha is getting scared in the manor, like in the bedrooms and the hallway - but it isn't very well done and I felt the story was clunky overall. 
How many stars? Four out of ten 
Where is the book going now? Back to the library!

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton - Review

Monday, May 23, 2016

As I've done before, this is a review of an adult novel that I feel is also suitable for a younger audience. I recently read this book and loved it, and I think a discerning teenager would be able to enjoy it too. I read Memoirs of a Geisha when I was around 17, and I loved it. This novel is quite similar in tone.

Where did I get it? I bought it on Kindle for 99p.

What's it about? Amaterasu is an old lady, living in the United States in the 1980s, when a badly scarred middle aged man turns up at her door and tells her he is her grandson. Amaterasu believed that her daughter Yuko and her grandson Hideo were killed in the Nagasaki atomic bombing in 1945, and she and her husband Kenzo left Japan soon after to try to deal with their grief. The man at the door says that he is Hideo and he has letters from his adoptive father for Amaterasu. Through these letters, Yuko's diaries, and Amaterasu's memories, we're told the story of three generations, of Japan before, after, and during the Second World War, of secrets and lies that force a family apart and of the bombing that wasn't like any bombing before and which had such an impact on so many inhabitants of the city. 

I can't really give much more information about the book without giving things away! It's fanstatic, though. It was so worth the 99p I spent! 

What age range is it for? A discerning older teenager could definitely enjoy this, but be aware of the things noted below. 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No

Are any main characters non-white? Yes, as it's set in Japan. In fact there's some talk about how foreign Amaterasu always feels in the US even after living there for years. 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Yes, there's some fairly graphic descriptions of the people who were hurt in the bombing, and their scars afterwards, and I'm pretty sure Amaterasu is suffering from some kind of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Is there any sex stuff? Yes, but it's talked about in very euphemistic terms. 

Are drugs mentioned or used? No

Is there any talk of death? Yes, some of it is quite graphic on the day of the bombing and afterwards. 

Are there swear words? No 

Would I recommend the book? Yes, definitely

How many stars? Eight out of ten. 

UKYA Book Blogger Awards Longlist

Friday, May 20, 2016

This is very exciting because I've been longlisted!

The UKYA Book Blogger Awards are OPEN!

#awardukyabbloggers

Give a big shout out to the wonderful helpers this year:

Aditi @ A Thousand Words A Million Books
Amy McCaw @ YA Under My Skin
Andrew @ The Pewter Wolf
Annalise @ AnnaliseBooks
Aurelija @ myblinddatewithbooks
Chelley Toy @ Tales Of Yesterday
Chloe @ Writer-On- Wheels
Cintia @ Reflection of the Books
Emma @ Howling Reviews
Georgia Stencel @ The Books Bandit
Jesse @ thatjessebloke
Kaavya @ outlookonabook
Kaisha @ thewritinggarnet
Rachel Kennedy @ Ya-bberingBooklover
Rebecca @ Rebecca McCormick’s Authorial Blog
Virginie @ Chouett

Voting for the SHORTLIST is via Luna’s Little Library who is hosting the UKYA Book Blogger Awards this year. Just follow this link here: http://wp.me/p2oSQx-3Vy

The voting closes on Friday 27 th May 2016.

Don’t forget to share the love! #awardukyabbloggers

26 UKYA bloggers made the UKYA Book Blogger Awards LONGLIST this year

Congratulations all!

UKYA Book Blogger Awards LONGLIST

Annalise - Annalisebooks
Ben - Benjaminoftomes
Beth – Bibliobeth
Charli - To Another World
Dani Reviews Things
Debbie - Snuggling on the Sofa
Denise - The Bibliolater
Emma - Howling Reviews
Hollie - Hollieblog
Holly - Lost in a Library
Huriyah & Nalisha - SugarQuills
Jenny - Wondrous Reads
Jessica - Paper Utopia
Julianne - This Fleeting Dream
Kaisha - The Writing Garnet)
Katie - queenofteenfiction
Maia - maiaandlittlemoore
Miss Meira Dee
Nicola - Nicola Reads YA
Olivia Mitchell – Rewrite This Story
Rachel Kennedy - Ya-bberingBooklover
Rebecca - Rebecca McCormick's Authorial Blog
Rita - Weaving Pages
Sanne - booksandquills
Sarah – Feeling Fictional
Sophie - So Many Books, So Little Time
Stacey - The Pretty Books
YA Fictionados

Auggie and Me by R J Palacio - Review

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Where did I get it? Kindle, it was 99p I think
What's it about? I absolutely loved Wonder when I read it back in 2013 for my MA. It's a story about August, a boy born with severe crano-facial deformities. He goes to school for the first time for 5th grade as he's previously been homeschooled, and he has to deal with bullies and standing out so much. It's an absolutely amazing novel and if you haven't read it, stop reading this review now and go and find it, because you need to - and because this review contains spoilers. 
This is a companion book to Wonder, featuring three short stories from three of the kids in Auggie's life. The first story is Julian's, the person who bullies Auggie relentlessly in Wonder. The second one is Chris, Auggie's friend from childhood who has moved away from New York to Connecticut. The third story is Charlotte, who was chosen to be one of Auggie's welcome friends when he first starts school. All stories sort of are about August, because each person mentions him a lot, but the stories are also about their lives too. 
Julian's mum is a nightmare, to be honest, and I think she makes life really hard for Julian and that without her, and his Dad too, Julian would have finally got used to having August in school and wouldn't have bullied him as much. Julian's story went into the summer after 5th grade and told the reader a lot about his background and history. I ended up feeling quite sorry for him. 
Chris doesn't speak to August as much now that he's moved away and now that his parents are living apart. When he does talk to Auggie, his friends can sometimes make it difficult and think August is a freak. His story takes place over one whole day, and includes both his parents. It was quite short, but deftly done. I would have liked to see Chris interact with August more, really.
Charlotte's story is about the trials of 5th grade as a girl who isn't that popular and who is thought to be a goody two-shoes. She and her friend Ellie are drifting apart because Ellie is sitting on the popular table. Charlotte gets a prestigious part in a dance show alongside some popular girls, so she has to learn to navigate around them. Her story seemed to have the least to do with August and I would have liked more of her story. She's an absolute gem and I could read a whole book about her! I loved her. 
What age range is it for? 9+
Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No
Are any main characters non-white? Not that I picked up on, which is daft because it's set in New York 
Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Yes, that's the premise of Auggie's story, which these touch upon. 
Is there any sex stuff? No
Are drugs mentioned or used? No
Is there any talk of death? Yes, but it's very age appropriate. It may, however, lead to questions about World War 2 and the Holocaust, so if you're a parent or guardian take note of that. 
Are there swear words? No
Would I recommend the book? Yes, totally. If you liked Wonder, you'll probably like this - but read that first! 
How many stars? Eight out of ten.    

Eleven Eleven by Paul Dowswell - Review

Friday, May 13, 2016

Where did I get it? My local library, it was in the Young Adult section which is immediately on the left as you walk in, which I think is fab because it grabs young people straight away. 
What's it about? It's the 11th of November 1918 and at 5am a bunch of old men have just signed the peace declaration that will end the First World War. They decide to officially end it at 11am, liking the significance of the hour and the day, but that means that troops must keep fighting for the next 6 hours. The book concentrates on three different young men - one German, one English, and one American.
Axel is a brand new German recruit, only sixteen years old, and he's been moving through France with his regiment. He's told to go up a tower to keep watch for enemies on the move. 
Will is eighteen and is serving under his brother, Jim. Their company has heard that there are some Germans in the forest so set off to look for them. 
Eddie is American, and a little older than the others, and he's a fighter pilot. He's killed three of the enemy, but he'd like one more to go home with, so even though all planes are grounded he sets off anyway determined to make one last kill. 
The book ticks by the hours left of the war in a really clever and suspenseful way, leaving the reader to question who will live and who will die by 11am. 
What age range is it for? 14+
Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No
Are any main characters non-white? No
Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Not really, I mean it's about war so obviously there's bloodshed.  
Is there any sex stuff? No
Are drugs mentioned or used? No
Is there any talk of death? Yes, and it's a little bit graphic although not too much at all. 
Are there swear words? Only a few
Would I recommend the book? Kind of, if this is your kind of thing then it's a decent book. I felt though that it dragged quite a bit and took a while to get going. It took me a while to read because I kept putting it down 
How many stars? Six out of ten   
Where is the book going now? Back to the library! 

UKYA Book Blogger Awards!

Monday, May 9, 2016



This year the UKYA Book Blogger Awards are being hosted by Luna, whose blog I LOVE, so I'm happy to be one of her helpers too!

There are loads of nominations to make, and if you wanted to nominate me for any category I'd be extremely honoured! I'll be making my own nominations too.

These are all the lovely helpers:

Aditi @ A Thousand Words A Million Books
Amy McCaw @ YA Under My Skin
Andrew @ The Pewter Wolf
Annalise @ AnnaliseBooks
Aurelija @ myblinddatewithbooks
Chelley Toy @ Tales Of Yesterday
Chloe @ Writer-On-Wheels
Cintia @ Reflection of the Books
Emma @ Howling Reviews
Georgia Stencel @ The Books Bandit
Jesse @ thatjessebloke
Kaavya @ outlookonabook
Kaisha @ thewritinggarnet
Rachel Kennedy @ Ya-bberingBooklover
Rebecca @ Rebecca McCormick’s Authorial Blog (that's me!)
Virginie @ Chouett

Big thanks to them and to Faye @ A Daydreamers’s Thoughts for letting Luna’s Little Library host this year.

Let us start! In 2016 UKYA Book Blogger Awards there are 15 categories to vote in. Please submit your nomination via the form below. You can nominate up to 3 Bloggers per category.

Make sure to include both the Blogger and Blog Name to make it a valid nomination. Nominations close at midnight on the 15th May 2016. Don’t forget to share the love! #awardukyabbloggers

CATEGORIES:
*Best Blog Design*
*Best Feature*
*Best Newcomer* under 1 year
*Best Growing Blogger* 1-3 years
*Best Oldtimer* 3years+
*Best on Social Media* be it Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, etc… The Blogger in question doesn’t have to be on all types of social media, they can be you favourite on Twitter for example.
*Best Booktuber*
*Best Overseas Blogger*
*Marvellous Blogger Award* combining the Sweetest & Friendliest Blogger category
*Best Team / Co-op Blog*
*Best Female Blogger*
*Best Male Blogger*
*Blogger Spirit Award* combining the Most Enthusiastic & Most Passionate category from 2015
*Best Teen Blogger*
*Best Adult Blogger*

And here's the form - get nominating! If it doesn't work for you, you can access the form directly here.


Dumplin' by Julie Murphy - Review

Monday, May 2, 2016

Where did I get it? My friend Janet lent it to me.  
What's it about? Willowdean is a fat teenager living in a small city in Texas. Her mum is a former winner of the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet beauty pageant, and is still heavily involved with the pageant, which Will has no interest in. Will's aunt Lucy, who was basically her second parent, has recently died and Will is finding it hard to negotiate her relationship with her mum without Lucy there. Will works at a fast food restaurant where she meets Bo, and the two start making out after work has finished, although Will freaks out every time Bo touches her because she feels self-conscious about him feeling her body. 
Meanwhile, Will's relationship with her best friend Ellen is degenerating, and they eventually have a huge falling out. Will makes friends with some other outcast types, and together they decide to enter the pageant, even though they're not the typical beauty queen types. 
What age range is it for? 14+
Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Kind of. I don't want to spoil anything!
Are any main characters non-white? Yes, it's not mentioned much though. 
Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Yes, it's very sensitively done. 
Is there any sex stuff? Not really
Are drugs mentioned or used? No
Is there any talk of death? Yes, but it's very vague and not at all upsetting.  
Are there swear words? Only a couple. I think I should give a trigger warning for some fat shaming language though. Take care of yourself. 
Would I recommend the book? Yes. I was a fat teenager myself (and am a fat adult) and parts of this hit really close to home, like the page I've taken a photo of. I felt like the middle dragged a bit, but I did enjoy it. Willowdean is a really likeable main character, and the other characters are all perfectly flawed too. 
How many stars? Seven out of ten.  
Where is the book going now? Back to Janet, she's lending it to someone else! 
 

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