Sunday, July 13, 2014


Book Tube-A-Thon has arrived!! 

I am sure many will agree I am crazy for even attempting to take part in BookTube-A-Thon as, being a full time primary school teacher, I am still at work next week. However, I hate to miss out on a challenge so I am going to attempt to read as much as I can. Seven books in seven days... Never gonna happen. Unless I cut out sleep. Who needs sleep?

So this year Aerial Bissett (creator) has set seven challenges for the BookTube-A-Thon.  Here are my choices. Please comment below if you are reading/have read any of the following and let me know what you thought. 

Challenge 1: A Book With Pictures
For this challenge I have chosen Through The Wood Stories by Emily Carroll. This is a graphic novel made up of five short horror stories. The pictures are AMAZING and I love scary shit so this is right up my street. This also ticks off challenge 3: A Book With Red On The Cover.

Challenge 2: Start & Finish A Series
As explained above, I am going to have very little time to complete this read-a-thon in a week therefore I have made the genius decision to choose the MockingJay audio book as my finish a series challenge. I have loved both the books and films in the Hunger Games series and it is about time I read the final instalment. Also, having never listened to an audiobook, I am looking forward to trying this out. My audiobook edition was downloaded free of charge from my library's Ebook service. 

Challenge 3: A Book With Red On The Cover
See challenge 1.

Challenge 4: A Book Someone Else Picks Out For You
For this challenge I have chosen And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini. This wasn't so much chosen for me but recommended by a friend. The Kite Runner is one of my favourite books of all time so I hope this novel by Hosseini lives up to expectations. 

Challenge 5: A Book From The Genre You've Read Least This Year
Ok I'm kinda cheating with this one because I have chosen a dystopian and I ALWAYS read dystopians. However, it can also be classed as a classic and it is this genre that I do not read enough of. George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four has been on my TRL for a very very long time and I am pleased that BookTube-A-Thon is finally forcing me to read it. 

Challenge 6: A Book To Movie Adaptation
This is the challenge where you read the book then watch the movie (the way round it should always be because the book is always better than the film). I have watched some fantastic move adaptations recently including The Fault In Our Stars and Divergent. For this challenge I have decided to read The Silver Linings Playbook purely because it has been on my shelf for ages and I have yet to see the film. Nothing to do with Bradley Cooper being in it I promise ;)

Challenge 7: Read Seven Books 
The final challenge was to read seven books. I have added The Year Of The Rat by Clare Furniss to the mix based on the fact I am already reading it and need to return it to the library soon. I have also included Saga Volume One which I need to finish ASAP. This graphic novel is BRILLIANT and I can't rate it enough. Check back soon for my Saga review. 

So that's it. Seven books. Seven days. Seven challenges. Wish me luck! 

Through The Woods by Emily Carroll
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
The Year of The Rat by Clare Furniss
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
MockingJay by Suzanne Collins

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Geek Girl : Picture Perfect by Holly Smale

Harriet Manners knows that:
  • New York is the most popular city in the United States.
  • Its official motto is 'Ever Upward'.
  • 27% of Americans believe we never landed on the moon.
But she has no idea how her family will cope Stateside. Or how to 'become a brand' as the models in New York put it. And, even more importantly, what to do when the big romantic gestures aren't coming from her boyfriend...

Does geek girl go too far this time?

Star Rating

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed the other books in the Geek Girl series I was thrilled to discover Holly Smale's new addition in hardback in my local Tesco. Picture Perfect by Holly Smale sees the return of all our favourite characters including Harriet Manners herself, her best friend Nat, Toby the stalker and, of course, Harriet's hunky boyfriend Nick. 

In this installment, Harriet Manners sets off for an adventure in New York when her father gets a new job based in the big city. Along with her stepmother Annabel and her baby sister Tabitha, the family set off for what Harriet thinks will be the trip of a lifetime. However, things are not quite as they seem and Harriet  soon realises that she will based an hour and a half away from the bright lights of the city in a boring town called Greenway. From this moment on things start to go downhill... 

This third book in the series by Holly Smale was as good, if not better, than it's predecessors. Again, it is full of random and unusual facts that compliment the story line perfectly. I loved the New York setting as this is a city I am desperate to visit and enjoy reading about. 

With it's short chapters, this book is incredibly hard to put down and I found myself racing through it in a day. Once again, Holly Smale has succeeded in creating a thoroughly enjoyable, easy read and I for one cannot wait for the next in the series! 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Intelligence. Integrity. Courage. Wisdom. 
These are the qualities a Receiver of Memory must have. And one more, but not described.The Capacity to See Beyond.  
Jonas lives safely within the community, a place where there is no war, ni hunger and no pain. But when he is selected as the Receiver of Memory, he starts to discover dark secrets that lie beneath the surface of his perfect world. Secrets that will lead him to undertake an incredible journey...   

Star Rating

I received this book from the publishers for an open and honest review. 

This book was first published in the US in 1993 and is now taught in many schools across the globe. Unfortunately the old book covers have always put me off reading this story (although you should never judge a book by it's cover) but to my delight Harper Collins recently decided to republish this fantastic novel with a more reader friendly, young adult style design and kindly sent me a copy to review. 

The Giver by Lois Lowry is much like marmite. Some people love it. Some people hate it. I have fallen into the first category but agree with many others that the ending of this book really lets it down, hence the knocking off of my fifth star. 

The Giver is set in a Utopian society where everyone confirms to strict rules and regulations in order to keep them 'safe'. Life in this community seems almost robotic with stilted conversations and lack of feeling between inhabitants. Adults are required to take pills to rid them of any such feeling and to suppress sexuality . Families are put together by the government and children (no more than two per family) are presented at the yearly Ceremony of One. 

'Two children - one male, one female - to each family unit. It was written very clearly in the rules.'

The story is centered around the character Jonas and starts around the dinner table as the family discuss their dreams. It becomes clear that this community is different to any other and if inhabitants don't fit they will be 'released'. 

'For a contributing citizen to be released from the community was a final decision, a terrible punishment, an overwhelming statement of failure.' 

An endless list of rules ensure that all members of the community fit the mould of sameness. Announcements are made through speakers to the community to remind them of these rules - 'ATTENTION. This is a reminder to all females under nine that hair ribbons are to be neatly tied at all times.'

At the dinner table the reader learns of Jonas' fear of the upcoming 'Ceremony of Twelve'; the day when all twelve-year-old children will receive the job they are to carry out for the rest of their adult working life. This ceremony was very reminiscent of Harry Potter's sorting hat with children hoping and praying to receive their first choice. It is at this ceremony that Jonas receives the job of Receiver of Memory and it is here that the story takes a different turn. 

'Then he heard the gasp - the sudden intake of breath, drawn sharply in astonishment, by each of the seated citizens. He saw their faces; the eyes widened in awe. And still he did not understand.'

Throughout the next few chapters both Jonas and the reader find out about life outside the community. What was life like before the Sameness? Slowly, Jonas discovers that life has not always been this way. He learns about snow, sun, colours and love and realises that there is a whole world out there that has been hidden from the people of his community. A whole world they have never experienced and will never experience unless he does something about it.  

This story deals brilliantly with the concept of conformity and explores the idea that too may rules and regulations can trap us, robbing us of life's riches. It is clear from Jonas' story that individuality and choice are such an important right that we should continue to fight for across the globe. 

This story was delightfully creepy and a great dystopic read.