Top Ten Tuesday: 9th July 2019

Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl! I’m here with a post that was fun to reflect on all the books I’ve read so far this year.

Character Freebie: My Favourite Characters of 2019 So Far

  1. 65437136_2264371210543422_3580393001359822497_nEmily – No Big Deal (Bethany Rutter)
  2. Matt – Fierce Fragile Hearts (Sara Barnard)
  3. Sunita – New Class at Malory Towers (Narinder Dhami)
  4. Owen – Owen and the Soldier (Lisa Thompson)
  5. Kayla – Because of You (Eve Ainsworth)
  6. 61971278_415305359064079_2481963016976786297_nHerbert – Malamander (Thomas Taylor)
  7. Isabelle – Stepsister (Jennifer Donnelly)
  8. Luciana – The Golden Butterfly (Sharon Gosling)
  9. Hope – Happy Girl Lucky (Holly Smale)
  10. Camille – Enchantée (Gita Trelease)

It was so hard to narrow it down to just ten characters; I’ve met so many wonderful ones so far this year! Who would make your top characters so far this year?

kayleigh

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Six for Sunday: 7th July 2019

Hello! It seems like aaaaages since I did one of these posts – I’ve loved seeing everyone’s lists today! Six for Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by A Little But A Lot! Today’s theme is:

Summer Reads: books with sunshine on the cover

  1. sunflowers in februaryI’ll Give You The Sun – Jandy Nelson
  2. Sunflowers in February – Phyllida Shrimpton
  3. The Colour of the Sun – David Almond
  4. how to be a lionGoodbye, Perfect – Sara Barnard
  5. The Lion Inside – Rachel Bright, Jim Field
  6. How To Be A Lion – Ed Vere

This one was pretty tricky for me; my books are all shelved double stacked because I have so many and I can’t see them all to get ideas! What books make you think of sunshine?

kayleigh

 

RETURN TO WONDERLAND – Various

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RELEASED: 27/06/2019
PUBLISHER: Pan Macmillan
GENRE: Children’s Fiction, Middle Grade

Return to Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland with this stunning collection of original stories from today’s biggest children’s authors – Peter Bunzl, Pamela Butchart, Maz Evans, Swapna Haddow, Patrice Lawrence, Chris Smith, Robin Stevens, Lauren St John, Lisa Thompson, Piers Torday and Amy Wilson.

Tumble down the rabbit hole again to find out what happens in Wonderland without Alice there. Is the Queen of Hearts still ruling with an iron fist? Does the Mad Hatter still have to go to tea? And will Tweedledum and Tweedledee ever resolve their argument?

More than 150 years since Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was first published by Macmillan, revisit Carroll’s amazing cast of characters – including the Queen of Hearts, the Mock Turtle, the Dormouse, the Cheshire Cat and Alice’s Sister in these brand-new stories, that will bring a new generation of readers to Wonderland.

I’ll start off this review with a confession; I’ve never read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (I’ve had a copy since I was about 9…it’s still on the TBR, although I’ve read bits!). Alice in Wonderland isn’t even in my top 20 Disney films. That said, I’ve been very excited about reading Return to Wonderland; some of my favourite children’s authors have contributed short stories to this collection and I couldn’t resist finally immersing myself in Wonderland!

I really enjoyed this book; I love how each author’s unique style of writing and voice came through in their stories, and how even for authors I’ve not read before I could pick out what makes people love their writing. The introductory paragraph at the beginning of each story was a really nice touch to introduce you to the author and their story.

Onto the stories themselves; they were magical and wonderful and completely bizarre! The thing that I loved about having modern day authors contributing was that their writing really brought Wonderland to life and in a way that didn’t, for me, come across as stuffy or dated, but at the same time they stayed fairly true to Lewis Carroll’s original.

I’d definitely recommend this book as a brilliant introduction to Wonderland and to classic children’s literature; I think that if I’d read this when I was a child I would’ve been keen to go on to read the original story that it follows on from! It’s amazing that 150 years on from the original, people are still reading about Wonderland and this book is a brilliant addition to that world.


Thank you to Macmillan via NetGalley for the eBook of this title.

The 20 Questions Book Tag

Another tag that I found on YA Books Daily is this one – The 20 Questions Book Tag. I’ve only quickly scanned over the questions weeks ago, so I’m looking forward to going into this with no idea of what I’ll respond!

1. How many books is too many in a series?
I personally love a trilogy; it’s not too much but there’s not too little either! It totally depends on the series though.

2. How do you feel about cliffhangers?
Ugh. I’m so impatient that I don’t like them! The only time they work is when the rest of the series is already out so I can just go straight onto it haha!

img_37893. Hardback or paperback?
Whilst I am a sucker for a beautiful hardback, I do prefer to read a paperback.

4. Favourite book?
I have too many to choose from! It all depends on genre and what I’m in the mood for. Let’s go for the most obvious choice – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

5. Least favourite book?
Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield. SO BAD AND DISTRESSING!

6. Love triangles, yes or no?
I do love a good love triangle…if it’s done well. So long as they’re not for the sake of it, they’re good!

7. The most recent book you just couldn’t finish?
Nothing Tastes As Good by Claire Hennessy. I think I made it about 10 pages in; definition of a triggering and poorly written book.

8. A book you’re currently reading?
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes audiobook…it’s SO GOOD. I love this book, and luckily I’m loving the audiobook too!

e80e9ad4-2eb2-44ee-9eb4-91a8e9c8e5d59. Last book you recommended to someone?
I’m always recommending books haha, though I’ll go for The Paper & Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie because it’s out today and I’m very excited to reread it.

10. Oldest book you’ve read?
I’d have to say Macbeth by William Shakespeare…I actually kind enjoyed it too!

11. Newest book you’ve read?
Because of You by Eve Ainsworth…which comes out in July. Very new and shiny!

12. Favourite author?
I’m going to have to go for the lady who’s responsible for my love of reading – Enid Blyton

the goldfish boy13. Buying books or borrowing?
Buying! My OCD means that I still really struggle with touching second hand books!

14. A book you dislike that everyone else seems to love?
Paper Butterflies…it gets so many good reviews but I just can’t get my head around it!

15. Bookmarks or dog ears?
Bookmarks. I can’t deal with dog ears!

16. A book you’ll always reread?
HARRY POTTER! I try to have an annual reread.

17. Can you read while listening to music?
Not really, I can sometimes read to music that’s in the background like classical or the radio, but generally no.

18. One POV or multiple POVs?
I love both, but I would have to say that I’ve always swayed towards multiple POVs.

19. Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?
I used to be a one sitting person, but unfortunately working full time and being a sleepy person means that it’s multiple days these days!

57506168_433672453868607_531903434716744590_n20. A book you read because of the cover?
Hmm…I am a sucker for a beautiful cover. Malamander by Thomas Taylor is one that springs to mind because I wanted to buy it for the cover and it sounded pretty good, and then I read it and OMG IT’S AMAZING.

That was quite a fun one to do; it really got me thinking about my likes and dislikes with books!

kayleigh

Top Ten Tuesday: 11th June 2019

Hello and welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. I’ve seen lots of people taking part in this tag this week, and I’ve been looking forward to writing my own! I’ve loved all the posts I’ve seen, and it’s been really interesting! This week’s topic is:

Unpopular Bookish Opinions

  1. I don’t like USYA contemporaries. Growing up in England and being very British means that I just don’t relate to the characters or the stories and am not a fan at all. That’s not to say that they’re all bad; they just don’t appeal to me! Off the top of my head, the only exception I can think of is Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds.
  2. I don’t like “literary fiction”. When I first became a bookseller, I encountered a lot of snobbery when I said that I don’t enjoy reading classics and love children’s books…they’re just not for me! There are literally a handful that I’ve loved and they’ve all been fairly short or are very modern for their times.
  3. I can’t stand Julia Donaldson. This may not be such an unpopular opinion among people who don’t have children and who have either a. read her books or b. met her. I’ve heard so many bad stories of how vile she is to booksellers and readers! Add to that her books have next to no morals, don’t flow very well and are long-winded and dull…I just don’t like them!
  4. UK paperbacks > US paperbacks. I don’t like floppy books!
  5. I don’t think that proofs should be sent out unsolicited to booksellers or bloggers. I saw so many books get sent out to booksellers when I used to work in a bookshop, and they had no intention of reading half of them! Admittedly, that’s in part due to time constraints, but also a lot of the time they’re of no interest to the bookseller. I think that people having to choose which ones they request adds accountability for reviewing and for reading.
  6. Let children read what they want to read. I see all too often people saying to their children that they need to read something for their age or something more challenging or a classic…yes, it’s great to read something out of your comfort zone, but don’t do that until you have an avid and confident reader on your hands! Whilst I don’t like some books like Wimpy Kid and Tom Gates, you can’t deny that children love to read them and at least they’re reading. Heck, I’m 25 and I still buy and read picture books for me!
  7. Shiny picture books are awful. Give me matte picture books any day!
  8. I don’t enjoy reading science fiction books. It’s just a genre I’ve never loved and I can’t get into it!
  9. I don’t agree with the whole insisting on diverse books and discriminating against what was in the past the “norm”. Please let me explain this one! I think it’s amazing that there are so many diverse books out there, but I don’t like how some people actively won’t read a book because the main character is a straight white female. Yes, in the past there has been the majority of books aimed at this audience, which was wrong, but we mustn’t forget that those readers do still exist and so it’s vital that everyone is represented and it doesn’t go the other way. I love diverse books where that’s not used as the main plot and where it’s just a matter of fact. Maybe that’s just me, because I’m a straight white female and I really don’t mind if someone is gay or a different race to me (why anyone would is beyond me!) and I don’t like how it’s become such a focus, when it should always be about good books that people love and not about who the author is in terms of race and sexuality. I really hope that this opinion makes sense!
  10. I don’t like Waterstones. If you’ve followed me for a while, you might know that I can’t stand this company and have been very badly treated by managers. I know I’m not the exception, and I feel so sad for anyone who posts that they would love to work there because I know firsthand how it’s not the company that us booklovers have grown up thinking it is!

Wow. That was such a fun yet nerve-wracking post to write…

It does feel good to get out all my bookish irritations out though! Please don’t hesitate to comment if anything doesn’t make sense or you want to discuss any!

What are your unpopular bookish opinions?

kayleigh

Six for Sunday: 5th May 2019

It’s always good when you go to edit the previous week’s post to do this week’s and find that you also went book shopping last Sunday! Today, I was fairly restrained again…I bought another three books! Six for Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by A Little But A Lot! Today’s theme is:

The Ever Growing TBR: 2018 books still unread

  1. img_3179Peril in Paris – Katherine Woodfine
  2. The Mermaid – Christina Henry
  3. i stop somewhereThe Smoke Thieves – Sally Green
  4. Skylarks – Karen Gregory
  5. The Colour of the Sun – David Almond
  6. I Stop Somewhere – T.E. Carter

So last year was a learning curve with regards to NetGalley…I still have a fair backlog of 2018 titles that I need to get to! Have you read any of these?

kayleigh

 

Six for Sunday: 28th April 2019

Today I’ve had a fairly bookish day as I got to spend some time in several bookshops! I was very good and only bought three! Six for Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by A Little But A Lot! Today’s theme is:

Kid’s Lit Represent: 2019 KidLit Recommendations

  1. 55837766_2162176580518359_8716889922690661966_nA Girl Called Justice – Elly Griffiths
  2. The Golden Butterfly – Sharon Gosling
  3. The Star-Spun Web – Sinéad O’Hart
  4. img_4359Murder Most Unladylike Book 8 – Robin Stevens
  5. The Day I Was Erased – Lisa Thompson
  6. A Pinch of Magic – Michelle Harrison

I’ve read the first three and LOVED them! I highly highly recommend checking them out! The next three are ones that I’m excited to get to this year that are either out already or coming soon! Have you read any of these/are you going to?

kayleigh

 

Six for Sunday: 14th April 2019

Good evening! I’m back today with another Six for Sunday post after a very busy week! I joined the gym and am so proud of myself! Anyway, back to books…this week’s topic was so so hard to narrow down to six! Six for Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by A Little But A Lot! Today’s theme is:

Kid’s Lit Represent: Books From My Childhood

  1. Midnight For Charlie Bone – Jenny Nimmo
  2. First Term at Malory Towers – Enid Blyton
  3. The Great Good Thing – Roderick Townley
  4. Inkheart – Cornelia Funke
  5. The Doomspell – Cliff McNish
  6. The Prophecy of the Gems – Flavia Bujor

Have you read any of these? I can’t wait to reread them all!

kayleigh

 

Top Ten Tuesday: 2nd April 2019

Good evening! Welcome back to Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. I’ve seen a few of these posts today, and the topic sounded like such fun to think about! This week’s topic is:

Things That Make Me Pick Up A Book

  1. Author. Odds are, if I’ve read a book by the author before and loved it, I won’t hesitate to pick up another of their books.
  2. Illustrator. As above, if I love the illustrations, I’m likely to pick it up knowing less about it! For example, if I see a cover by Karl James Mountford or David Litchfield, chances are I’ll buy it.
  3. Recommended by a favourite author on the cover. I’m putting a lot of trust in their judgement!
  4. “For fans of Harry Potter”…need I say more?
  5. Mental Health. Give me a book on mental health and I’m so much more inclined to read it. I personally choose books that relate to the mental health difficulties I’ve dealt with, so I’m spoilt for choice.
  6. Middle Grade Murder Mystery. Robin Stevens is the Queen, but if a book is along those lines I’ll probably love it!
  7. Boarding schools are one of my weaknesses; since being an obsessive Enid Blyton reader when I was younger, I’ll always give a school book a go!
  8. “Scandalous” teen books with topics such as teen pregnancy and teacher crushes…in my experience some of the best teen books!
  9. Beautiful hardbacks under the dustjacket…SO PRETTY!
  10. Publisher. There are just some publishers who usually put out books that I love without fail.

What do you think? Would any of these things make you pick up a book?

kayleigh

What A Month!

March is coming to an end, and I am aware that I’ve been fairly quiet on here for which I can only apologise. If you’ve read some of my previous posts or on Twitter, you may know that I’m in the process of buying my first home – WHICH IS SO STRESSFUL! I’m so excited and pleased with how I’m coping with it all though; I’m trying to take everything in my stride and just be organised and keep things going smoothly. So yeah, that’s taking up a fair amount of my time at the minute!

That aside, I’m also working hard on my mental health. Work has thrown up a few challenges in recent weeks and is likely to get a bit tricky soon as we have a crossover of maternity leaves in the room, but I’m coping okay and venting when I need to which really helps. I can’t work out whether I’m just more agitated than usual because of hormones, the situation or…

I’m finally coming off my antidepressants!

I’ve been on Sertraline on and off since the end of 2012, so it’s a long time to have depended on it, and for the past year I’ve been on the maximum dose of 200mg. Coming off it is making me feel a bit more tired than usual, but other than that I feel like I’m doing really well! On the advice of my pharmacist at work, I am alternating doses each day so that I come off it in 25mg doses rather than jumping down 50mg each time, so it will take a little while but I’m really hoping that soon I’ll be tablet free because once I stop that I’ll also stop taking Aripiprazole which I’ve already halved.

The only thing that’s not going so well at the minute is my reading! I’m just struggling to find the time and concentration needed to read, but I’m loving audiobooks at the minute as a way of still immersing myself in stories but without as much focus needed. I’m going to start trying to manage my time better though from April to see if I can start to catch up on some long overdue reads and reviews! I want to start working on my blog a bit more this month and am really excited to get back into it. I think one of the things that’s really spurred me on is some exciting news I got over on Twitter on Friday:

I’ve been longlisted for Best Newcomer Blogger for the UKYA Blogger Awards!

I never ever expected to get a single nomination, so to have been longlisted with nine other wonderful bloggers, many of whom I’ve looked up to, is amazing! If you happen to be reading this and nominated me, I’d like to say a massive THANK YOU to you; I’m truly grateful and so happy! This is such a strong longlist, making it a difficult decision to make! If you do enjoy my content though, and would like to vote, please head across to http://www.ukyaba.co.uk!

So yeah, that’s March! I’m going to spend this evening rewatching To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before…for the sixth time this weekend…and preparing some posts for April!

I hope you’re all doing well, and thank you for sticking with me during my slight quietness!

kayleigh