WWW Wednesday: 31st January 2018

Helloooo! I can’t believe it’s Wednesday already – the week has gone so quickly! I feel like I’ve barely done any reading; it’s not been the best of weeks and I have uni work due in so reading in English isn’t my priority right now!

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What are you currently reading? 

I’m still reading To Kill a Kingdom (I knoooow, I love it, it’s taking me a while. I HATE ADULTING!) and I’ve read a few picture books over the week at school and I, for some reason, decided to go on a long walk so I started listening to the audiobook of Daughter of the Pirate King which I think I’m going to enjoy once I’m over To Kill a Kingdom!

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What did you recently finish reading?

I’ve read a load of picture books: Quick Quack Quentin, Ada Lovelace, The Lion Inside, Shh! We Have A Plan, If I Had a Dinosaur, Goodnight Mr Panda and Now I Know My Avocados.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m already going into the book hangover I predicted last week from To Kill a Kingdom and I’ve not even finished it! Next I intend to listen to Daughter of the Pirate King and start reading The Exact Opposite of Okay.

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WHITEHAVEN BEACH – Cathy Maisano

2/5
DNF

An intriguing mystery with secret-agent children.

I was kindly approached by the author to review Whitehaven Beach based on my love of Cogheart and other middle grade mysteries, but unfortunately I just couldn’t get into it with the secret agents and science fiction vibe. That’s not to say it’s a bad book – having read other reviews and what I did read there is a market for this kind of book out there.

We start off meeting Marcus and Megan on the beach in England as they’re wishing for another adventure in their travelling beach hut, Parry. It doesn’t take long before their wish is granted and they’re whisked off to Australia to solve the mystery affecting Whitehaven Beach.

I wasn’t too struck on the writing style at times with it feeling like the descriptions were forced and unnecessary to the story, and it was a difficult one to get into. However, many people will like the  awareness of protecting the environment that this book shows, and younger readers will enjoy the secret agent aspect of the book. It’s a good book for children who are newly confident readers and looking for a good mystery!


Thank you to the author Cathy Maisano for sending me an eBook of this title!

WWW Wednesday: 24th January 2018

My second week of this tag! I discovered this one through Kelly’s Rambles last week and am really enjoying it!

So, onto my WWW Wednesday for 24th January 2018:

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What are you currently reading? 

I am currently reading To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. I received a copy of this from Hot Key Books through NetGalley, and I AM LOVING IT SO MUCH! I haven’t been this hooked on a fantasy for a long time and I’m totally absorbed in this world of pirates, princes and sirens!

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What did you recently finish reading?

The “proper” book that I was reading last was The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart which I ended up DNFing – it just really wasn’t for me! So, I’ve decided to highlight a picture book here that I LOVED! I was sent a copy of Almost Anything by Sophy Henn by Penguin through NetGalley. Initially, I read the book without any images and I adored the story, so when I got to see it with illustrations I loved it even more! It’s such a cute story about believing in yourself and trying. I will update my review at some point this week to reflect the illustrations too!

What do you think you’ll read next?

I have a feeling I’m going to be in a bit of a book hangover when I finish To Kill a Kingdom! Next I think I’ll read The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven; there’s been quite a bit of hype around this one and since I have a copy I want to get to it before publication!

NOW I KNOW MY AVOCADOS – Stephanie Wykoff

4.5/5

A fun take on learning your ABCs full of bright and bold illustrations.

Now I Know My Avocados is a different kind of picture book – it’s all about exploring the page and discovering the objects and creatures on it starting with that letter. Some of these are things that everyone knows and can easily identify, others are a little trickier! This makes it a perfect book to share as everyone can have fun looking and discovering what there is!

As you’ve probably guessed, I was very much sold on this book by the Ll page with a really cute llama on, but there’s definitely something for everyone here tucked among the pages. I like that at the back it does list everything you can discover so you don’t have to be frustrated if you’re not too sure like some books leave you. Also, the limited colour palette is really effective meaning that every object stands out beautifully.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend Now I Know My Avocados as a fun  book for children and grown-ups to share to discover lots of new words and learn the alphabet.

“Now that we’ve searched from A through Z, next time what do you think we’ll see?”


Thank you to the author Stephanie Wykoff for sending me an eBook copy of this title!

THE SACRIFICE BOX – Martin Stewart

2/5
DNF

Stranger Things and Stephen King’s IT’s distant cousin.

It’s very rare that I DNF a book…but I simply had to with this one for my own sanity and to keep me reading. I had such high hopes for The Sacrifice Box, and whilst it wasn’t terrible, I just couldn’t keep forcing myself to turn the page. I was actively counting the percentage, hoping for it to miraculously be going up a lot so I knew I was closer to finishing but no! I made it to 25%, just!

We start off by meeting five, for want of a better term, friends who all place an item in the “sacrifice box” and swear an oath to never open the box. That’s about as far as my interest in the book went because after this point the characterisation got so confusing that I just couldn’t keep up with it! One minute it’s Sep, then it’s September, then it’s Hope. It. Made. No. Sense. I just couldn’t warm to a single one of them! I think the only character who I like has to be Mario, who seems to just be in the book for comic effect as he comes out with some great words of “wisdom”.

I had such high hopes for The Sacrifice Box – I adore IT and the idea of this book sounded very promising. I just don’t think that the story was executed effectively and that it was so slow and muddled for the reader that it just wasn’t engaging. This is a shame because it’s been very highly anticipated by so many readers, and Martin Stewart’s previous book Riverkeep has been very highly praised and, whilst I haven’t read it, it’s one that sounds brilliant. I don’t want to slate Stewart’s writing entirely – I don’t think he’s a bad writer as such (The Sacrifice Box hasn’t put me off giving Riverkeep a go in the future) and I’m hoping that it was just a case of this book simply wasn’t for me.


Thank you to Penguin via NetGalley for an eBook of this title.

WWW Wednesday: 17th January 2018

So I fancied doing a book tag today, and I came across this one! It looks like so much fun to do this one each week so I’m gonna give it a go. I discovered this one through Kelly’s Rambles and have really enjoyed finding out some more about it!

So, without further ado, here’s my WWW Wednesday for 17th January 2018:

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What are you currently reading? 

I am currently reading The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart. I received a copy of this from Penguin through NetGalley, and it’s one I’ve had my eye on for a while, and since Martin Stewart is the author of the month for the British Books Challenge, I thought it’d be the perfect time to give it a read. So far I’m 20% through and it’s…okay. I’m not loving it, but I’m sticking with it for a bit longer to see if it picks up and gets slightly less confusing! More will be about that when I get round to reviewing it later this month.

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What did you recently finish reading?

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert was my first read of 2018 and I loved it! It totally lived up to all the hype surrounding it and was one that I couldn’t put down! It’s gripping page-turner of a book where the lines between the fairytale world and our world are constantly being questioned. You can read my full review here.

What do you think you’ll read next?

The next book that I plan on reading is probably To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. I was lucky and got approved on NetGalley for a copy of this one and it’s looking like a promising read from all the excitement surrounding it so I can’t wait to get stuck in!

ALMOST ANYTHING – Sophy Henn

5/5

A beautiful story about the magic in not giving up.

You know that a picture book is something special when you can read it prior to publication without the illustrations and still simply adore it! Almost Anything is hands down Sophy Henn’s best book to date with its simple message of the magic being within ourselves to be able to do almost anything; we don’t need a magic hat in order to do things that our friends can do – all we need to do is to believe that we can do it. This book is perfect for little people (and older ones!) to teach the very important lesson of trying and not giving up.

*UPDATE: I have now seen the illustrations and THEY ARE ADORABLE! I stand by everything I said above; it’s a beautiful book!

Almost Anything is publishing on 1st March 2018


Thank you very much to Puffin via NetGalley for the eBook of Almost Anything!

THE HAZEL WOOD – Melissa Albert

5/5

A gripping page-turner of a book where the lines between the fairytale world and our world are constantly being questioned.

“Books want to be read, and by the right people.”

The Hazel Wood is one of those books that simply demands to be read; it’s intriguing, well-crafted and impossible to put down. Alice and her mom Ella are constantly moving around, trying to escape from the trouble that just seems to follow them everywhere. Alice suspects that it’s something to do with her mysterious grandmother and the world created in her book Tales from the Hinterland. But is the Hinterland really as far away from reality as Alice believed? When her mother goes missing, Alice is thrown into the world of these elusive stories as our world and the Hinterland collide.

Melissa Albert has crafted an intricate fairytale that keeps you hooked from the very beginning as you are sucked into this world where nothing is quite what it seems. I would thoroughly recommend it for Grimm’s, fantasy and thriller fans as it’s simply unputdownable!

“Stay the hell away from the Hazel Wood.”


Thank you to Penguin and NetGalley for sending me the eBook of this title!

THE TRUTH AND LIES OF ELLA BLACK – Emily Barr

3/5

A well written book that keeps you hooked with a fascinating main character.

I simply adored The One Memory of Flora Banks, so squealed with delight at being able to get hold of The Truth and Lies of Ella Black early! One thing I commented on loving in particular with Flora Banks was Emily Barr’s writing style and I’m glad to say that her next YA offering is another well written story with a fascinating character.

The book starts with us meeting Ella Black and quickly introduces us to her darker side Bella. Having not read much about this book, I did think that there would be more focus on Bella and the mental health side as it started off that way, but quickly we are taken on a journey literally far away from that idea – I don’t want to give it away though! There is a bad case of instalove which I know lots of people won’t like, but personally and luckily for my rating of this book I don’t mind as it just added that little bit of fluffiness to a pretty heavy topic that this book covers.

Overall I did enjoy The Truth and Lies of Ella Black once I’d got into it – there are twists and turns that you won’t see coming. I do think that I expected slightly more from it because of Flora Banks being a 5* book for me, which probably isn’t fair, but it did let me down a bit with it being so slow to get into. Nevertheless, it’s definitely worth a read as something a bit different and one that does keep you hooked once you’re stuck in.

“Live every day as if it were your last, because one day it will be.”


Thank you to Penguin via Net Galley for sending me the eBook of this title!

THE ONE MEMORY OF FLORA BANKS – Emily Barr

5/5

A gripping and unique book that keeps you hooked from start to finish.

I can’t express just quite how much I LOVE this book; it’s so unique and exquisitely written!

The One Memory of Flora Banks is so much more than your average Young Adult contemporary novel, and, whilst it already sounds amazing from the blurb, there is a much deeper and engrossing story within its pages. Flora is such a relatable character as she navigates the challenges of growing up even though for her this is very much hindered by her amnesia and the over-protectiveness of her parents, but everyone can understand the feelings she experiences throughout the book. The fact that it’s a first-person narration means that we see the world entirely through Flora’s eyes and learn things along with her, and this made it a book that I simply couldn’t put down and meant that the twists throughout are even more unexpected!

Flora is a highly relatable character as it’s essentially a coming-of-age novel in my opinion. Many things she thinks and does are things that we all experience growing up and so it will resonate with so many readers. “I am ten years old. I don’t know why I am in a grown-up’s body. I hate it and I want to go home.” – even at the age of 23 I can relate to this, and I think many teens and young adults will too. It’s hard growing up; things change, life moves forward very suddenly and it can feel a bit like you’re a stranger in your own skin. I still feel like I’m a teenager trying to navigate through growing up!

This book had me feeling all warm and bitter-sweetly nostalgic, it had me in tears, it made me laugh (“…smiling at me in the manner of a person who would like me to leave. He is holding a set of keys.” – every retail worker will understand! ) and I just want to thrust it into everyone’s hands so that they read it too. Trust me, you won’t regret picking this one up! I can’t wait to see what Emily Barr comes up with next because she is definitely a talent in YA to look out for.

“Don’t panic, because everything is probably all right, and if it’s not, panicking will make it worse.”


Thank you very much to Penguin UK for sending me a proof copy of this book!