WWW Wednesday: 7th November 2018

I’m so mad that I forgot to do this last week – it was the last day of Blogtober too! Anyway, I’ve read a fair bit this week considering that I have a load of exams and studying to do for my job, and I bought two BEAUTIFUL picture books!

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What are you currently reading? 

I’m really in the mood for middle grade mysteries at the minute since my last couple of reads, so I am about to start Peril in Paris! It’s long overdue!

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What did you recently finish reading?

I think I’ve found my new favourite Murder Most Unladylike book – Death in the Spotlight! It was just such an intricate and gripping murder mystery!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Next up I think I shall continue making my way through my NetGalley TBR…I haven’t decided which one yet!

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SEE YOU IN THE COSMOS – Jack Cheng

5/5

All eleven-year old Alex wants is to launch his iPod into space. With a series of audio recordings, he will show other lifeforms out in the cosmos what life on Earth, his Earth, is really like.

But for a boy with a long-dead dad, a troubled mum, and a mostly-not-around brother, Alex struggles with the big questions.

Where do I come from? Who’s out there? And, above all, How can I be brave?

Determined to find the answers, Alex sets out on a remarkable road trip that will turn his whole world upside down . . .

For fans of Wonder and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Jack Cheng’s debut is full of joy, optimism, determination, and unbelievable heart. To read the first page is to fall in love with Alex and his view of our big, beautiful, complicated world. To read the last is to know he and his story will stay with you a long, long time.


see you in the cosmosThis book was completely out of this world; the voice of Alex was so innocent and entertaining and made it such a compelling read. This book made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me think. See You In The Cosmos is such an important read for many reasons, many of which become apparent as you make your way through the book and towards the end. As an adult reading it, it was so endearing to see the world through a child’s eyes and some of the things he was questioning were brilliant and so many things made me laugh out loud!

Alex is 11 years old (13 in responsibility years) and we are reading the transcripts of his recordings on his Golden iPod that this space-mad youngster is planning to launch into space so Aliens can learn about Earth. We join Alex on his adventure across the country, and ultimately his adventure to discover who he is.

See You In The Cosmos is hands down one of the best and most original 9-12 books released in recent years, and I can not recommend it highly enough for youngsters and grown ups!


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

An Audiobook Is Still A Book

I’ve always loved audiobooks, and used to have to listen to them every night to get to sleep. From collecting cassette tapes when I was little, to having a Walkman and taking them on the go, audiobooks have been an important part of my love of books. More recently, I have discovered Audible where I have downloaded some of my favourite titles to listen to when reading just isn’t an option.

I’ve seen a lot on Twitter about how there are people out there who don’t think that listening to audiobooks counts as reading (an important discussion that was raised by Jenn) and I could’t agree more with her about how audiobooks are just as valid! Whether it’s because you’re on the go, absolutely exhausted or have a condition such as dyslexia, listening to an audiobook can be the best option and it’s still reading!

My favourite audiobooks growing up were the abridged Enid Blyton ones – I adored (and still adore) all the boarding school and adventure stories, A Series of Unfortunate Events and Captain Beaky. I rediscovered my love of audiobooks last year with the Harry Potter series (how could you not?!) and have kept downloading since!

So, what are my top audiobook recommendations if you’re new to audiobooks, or just want to find something that you may not have listened to yet?

  • Obviously Harry Potter by JK Rowling. Jim Dale and Stephen Fry are both amazing narrators too (although I believe it’s only Stephen Fry on UK Audible). Plus, IT’S HARRY POTTER.
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber, narrated by Rebecca Soler. This is one of the first books I downloaded on Audible, and I couldn’t have chosen anything better; Soler is a brilliant narrator.
  • Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig, narrated by Matt Haig. Aside from being an incredible book that everyone should read or listen to, Matt Haig makes for easy listening and breathes life into his book.
  • The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson, narrated by Leon Williams. This is my latest download which I was so unbelievably excited to discover, and so far I am loving it! Williams is doing justice to an amazing book.

What do you think – do audiobooks count as reading a book? What recommendations would you make?

WHICH WITCH? – Eva Ibbotson

5/5

100% in my top 10 books of all time. Because it’s awesome.

I am going to keep this short and sweet because I would hate to ruin the magic of this book, but if you love magical realism, witches and magical creatures, this is most likely the perfect book for you!

I read this book every Halloween without fail! Honestly, I can not find a single fault; it’s fantastically written (it’s Eva Ibbotson, goes without saying really!), has a brilliantly funny and magical storyline and it’s perfect for the young and old alike. One thing I love about it is that I can recommend it with confidence to readers just starting to get confident with reading bigger chapter books but may be put off by reading a book that’s “too long/big” but also to anyone who is looking for a fun read full of magic that is still surprisingly realistic despite the presence of familiars, bottomless holes and princesses turned into swans!

Just trust me and read it!

ARCACIA – T.A.Barua

Good evening! I was asked to be a part of the blog tour for Arcacia by T.A.Barua, a new children’s fantasy book. It’s been receiving some good reviews! Here’s the premise:

When a beautiful sorceress-queen, Selina, spurns Setanor, a powerful, jealous northern warlock, an invasion of Western Arcacia begins. To save her newborn triplets from death, they are cast down a magical river to the New World, a place called, ‘London, England.’

Thirteen years later in a cold, Victorian London attic… The future of Sophie, an impoverished orphan looks bleak but everything changes, to her astonishment after a young witch arrives through her bedroom window with an incredible message and a warning. So begins her life in a beautiful, enchanted ancient world…

How do Sophie and her four friends summon the tremendous courage to rescue her long lost family while restoring Arcacia from dark, ruling forces? Mystical beasts, sceptres, powerful witches and daemon-trolls are just some of their challenges. Meanwhile, the dreaded terrifying warlock, Setanor and his witch-consort Lilith have sent a secret enemy to plan their downfall…

Check out the rest of the bloggers involved in the tour!

You can get a copy of Arcacia here.

Have you heard of or read Arcacia? What did you think of it?

Mental Health Awareness Week 2018: Book Recommendations

So, this is after all a book blog and so I would like to spend some time recommending my favourite books that deal sensitively and effectively with mental health. If you want to almost guarantee that I pick up a book, just add that it’s got something about mental health – I’m sold! Here are some of my favourites:

The Goldfish Boy – Lisa Thompson
OCD

You can’t really get away from how much I love this book if you follow me on social media! The Goldfish Boy is a middle grade mystery where the main character Matthew has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and it’s honestly the best portrayal of OCD that I’ve ever come across. Obviously OCD affects people differently, but for me this book was perfect as mine manifests in the same way as Matthew’s. What surprised me most is that it’s not an own-voices book; Lisa has done such an incredible job of writing about OCD.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
Anxiety

For people with anxiety, this book is perfect to show you that you’re not alone; it’s an illness that can strike anyone, can be totally out of the blue, but it is something that you can survive and it’s okay to have bad days; “Little victories are everything.” There are wonderful people out there who will help you and support you.

Girl in Pieces – Kathleen Glasgow
Depression/Self Harm

Girl in Pieces is filled with such raw emotion, but not to the extent that it is an uncomfortable or triggering read, and, although this is an extreme case of depression/self-harm, it’s one that sheds a very realistic light on the issue. For people who have experienced this, the book is inspiring and easy to relate to, but equally it’s enlightening for people who do not know much about the mentality behind self harm and suicide.This book shows how you can hit rock bottom but it IS possible to carry on and survive despite all the stuff that life can throw at you.

Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher
Depression/Suicide

This book is controversial, but I’m firmly in the camp of people who LOVE it. Whilst I do appreciate the flaws that people mention, for me the book is more about how the things people say and do can impact so much on others rather than about the suicide and morals of the tapes. It’s about knowing how the little things we do can have a massive effect on other people; you never know what’s going on in someone else’s life.

See You In The Cosmos – Jack Cheng
Schizophrenia

The first book I’ve come across that deals with schizophrenia, this is one that’s completely unputdownable! Whilst the subject of mental health isn’t the main focus of the book, we see the effect that someone’s mental health can have on those around us.

All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
Bipolar

All I will say is have a box of tissues handy if you’re planning to read this one! One of my favourite ever books, All The Bright Places totally deserves all the hype surrounding it although it will break your heart. Whilst coming across as a book about suicide, it focuses on the effects of bipolar disorder.

I Was Born For This – Alice Oseman
Anxiety

This one subtly tackles the topic of anxiety and of how utterly terrifying a panic attack can be; whilst mental health isn’t at the forefront of the book, it’s definitely an underlying theme.

Under Rose-Tainted Skies – Louise Gornall
Anxiety

A beautiful own-voices novel, Under Rose-Tainted Skies has such a fantastic representation of anxiety and agoraphobia. It shows just how debilitating living with anxiety can be and how it’s not simply a case of being a bit of a worrier.

Worries Go Away – Kes Gray
Anxiety

One of my absolute favourite picture books, the story is simple enough that for younger children it helps them to open up about things that are worrying them, but it’s also so good and meaningful that older children and adults who suffer from worries or anxiety can relate to the little girl and the feelings she’s experiencing and learn how to cope from this book too.

We Are Young – Cat Clarke
Depression/Suicide

We Are Young touches upon the devastating effects that depression and bipolar can have. Cat Clarke writes about mental health issues perfectly, and We Are Young is no exception.

The Red Tree – Shaun Tan

Depression

This stunning picture book is another of my favourites; I love the illustrations and it’s such a beautifully depicted story of depression which shows the ups and downs.

BAD NANA: OLDER NOT WISER – Sophy Henn

3.5/5

A fun new book aimed at more confident readers from the talented Sophy Henn.

As a fan of Sophy Henn’s picture books, I was very excited to see that she has a series for young readers coming out and Bad Nana didn’t disappoint! Bad Nana is such a likeable character that people young and old will love her – she’s always up to mischief!

Older Not Wiser introduces us to 8-year-old Jeanie, our narrator, as she tells us of some of the tricks that her Bad Nana has gotten up to. Jeanie is such a sweet narrator, and, along with Sophy’s distinctive illustrations, she really comes to life through the stories she’s telling. What I liked about the format of this book is that you can dip in and out of it as it’s made up of three parts, which makes this an easy book to enjoy.

I think that younger readers will love this series; it reminds me a bit of Judy Moody. There’s just enough silliness to keep you engaged, but it’s all with a purpose and adds to the warmth of the book.


Thank you very much to Harper Collins via NetGalley for the eBook of this title!

THE LIST OF REAL THINGS – Sarah Moore Fitzgerald

4/5

Another stunning book from the author of The Apple Tart of Hope and Back To Blackbrick.

As soon as I saw that there was a new book from Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, I knew that I had to read it; I adored her other books and how she sensitively but effectively deals with difficult topics. The List of Real Things is no different – it’s a wonderful story that focuses on grief, family relationships and friendship.

One thing I love about Sarah’s books is how they’re on the border of Middle Grade and Young Adult and are very much magical realism books; the characters are not-quite teens but are faced with situations that are difficult and there is an element of fantasy within a contemporary setting.. This makes them the perfect choice for more advanced younger readers, as well as a nice read for older readers.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend The List of Real Things for anyone who’s a fan of Sarah’s other books, as well as people looking for a good book to dive into. Because of the subject matter and style of writing, fans of Sunflowers in February by Phyllida Shrimpton and Vicky Angel by Jacqueline Wilson should love this one and not hesitate in picking it up!


Thank you to Hachette via NetGalley for the eBook of this title!

ST GRIZZLE’S SCHOOL FOR GIRLS, GEEKS AND TAG-ALONG ZOMBIES – Karen McCombie

2.5/5

A humorous take on the classic boarding school style of book for younger readers.

St Grizzle’s isn’t your average boarding school; more like a modern St Trinian’s, there is a lack of structure and it’s like one big dysfunctional family. This is the third book in the series, but it was still easy to get into and follow the story.

I do feel a bit let down by this title; it was fairly good to begin with but then just felt a bit lacklustre. I don’t know whether if I was a younger reader I may have enjoyed it more; my main issue was just the lack of story and silliness of the whole thing, but, at the same time, I still adore stories about boarding schools and feel like so much more could have happened.

That all said, Karen McCombie is a good author and her writing style is very easy to get into. I think this would appeal more to reluctant readers in the 9-12 category due to the nature of the story and it not being too challenging a read.


Thank you to Stripes via NetGalley for the eBook of this title!

THE CASE OF THE DEEPDEAN VAMPIRE – Robin Stevens

4.5/5

Another fabulous mini-mystery from the Wells and Wong Detective Society.

The Case of the Deepdean Vampire is the second of the two mini-mysteries written by Daisy, who is a brilliant narrator! She’s very quick-witted and blows her own trumpet in a way that’s highly entertaining to read.

In this mystery, Daisy investigates the rumours of there being a vampire amongst the fifth-formers. Yet again, despite this not being a murder case, it was full of twists as Daisy tries to solve the case.

I didn’t like this one quite as much as The Case of the Blue Violet, possibly because it’s not as deep a case to solve which made it slightly less interesting. That said, it’s still a solid 4.5/5 read and definitely worth it!