Archive for March, 2015

#scyTBR: Faye’s Goals and Challenge TBR

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Hey Guys!
So the Spring Clean Your TBR starts on Wednesday! I’m excited to read some of the books I’ve been meaning to read for ages, are you?

This post is my goals and my mini-TBR. At the bottom of the post you can link to your own goals for the month!

And before I forget, there is now a Twitter Hashtag, this is #scyTBR


My Goals

April is looking like a bit of a busy month BUT I do have a lot of train journeys and some days off so I’m hoping that in that busy month, I’ll get a fair bit of reading done. Therefore I’m going to have my goal pretty high to begin with. If, halfway through the month I’m not halfway through my goal, I will definitely change it.

With that in mind, for this challenge I am aiming to read eight books that have been sitting on my shelf/on my kindle for over a year.

See, a high goal as I’ve not been reading as many books as normal recently but lets just see how it goes!


My Mini-TBR

Because I like choice I have actually chosen sixteen books to choose from. There are eight hardcopies and eight e-copies. We’ll see how well it goes – knowing me I’ll probably end up reading books not on my mini-TBR at all! (But that’s totally okay!)

E-Books
Doll Bones Renegade Parallel Visions Shadowplay

EVERSEA_4 me since you The Winner's Curse The Moment Before

Hardcopies

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So as you can see, I have a lot of good choices to pick from! I’ve decided to start with The Oathbreaker’s Curse by Amy McCullogh as this was also in my Finish It Feb list and I didn’t get to it – and still haven’t! But after that… who knows!

Would you recommend any of the books above?


You can add a link to your goal posts here;

Posted by Faye

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Salvage

Keren David
salvageAidan Jones was my brother. But I couldn’t really remember his face. I couldn’t remember talking to him or playing with him. He was just a gap, an absence, a missing person.
Before she was adopted by a loving family and raised in a leafy Home Counties town, Cass Montgomery was Cass Jones. Her memories of her birth family disappeared with her name. But when her adopted family starts to break down, a way out comes in the form of a message from her lost brother, Aidan. Having Aidan back in her life is both everything she needs and nothing she expected. Who is this boy who calls himself her brother? And why is he so haunted?
I glance at the paper. There’s a big picture on the front page. A girl with dark red hair. A girl with eyes that might have been green or they might have been grey. I sit down and stare at Cass, and it is her, it is. My stolen sister.
Aidan’s a survivor. He’s survived an abusive step-father and an uncaring mother. He’s survived crowded foster homes and empty bedsits. His survived to find Cass. If only he can make her understand what it means to be part of his family. . .

What were your initial thoughts of the book?
I have been meaning to read Salvage for months now and when I finally got around to reading it, I felt like kicking myself for waiting so long. Salvage is an interesting story about a family that is broken in more ways than one. Personally, I love both issue books and books that are character-driven and this book was both. It was also a book that took me on an emotional rollercoaster. I found myself quickly getting attached to all of the characters and just really enjoyed reading about their journeys.

What was your favourite aspect of the book?
That the story was character-driven. This wasn’t about how things impacted the characters but was instead about how the characters were affected by the changes happening in their own lives. It was about a brother seeking his sister and his sister deciding to take a leap of faith. I admired that so much in this book and just loved watching the characters grow because of the decisions they had made. It made the story very entertaining and thrilling – the perfect gritty read.

Who was your favourite character and why?
This was a hard pick for me as all the characters in this story have their own unique merits that make them fantastic – such as kind and generous Will, and smart, sweet and strong Cass, but eventually I chose Aiden. Aiden has overcome so much in his life to become the person he is in the book. I loved reading about his past and present and can just imagine how his future will now play out. I thought Aidan was such a strong, thoughtful, kind and loving character who just had some difficulties to overcome in his life. He was also very well-written!

Would you recommend this book?
Absolutely! I know that there are people who don’t like to read issue books but if you do, I would highly recommend this one. While there was one small moment that I had a problem with, overall this book was incredible. It was full of a fascinating and moving plot, fully realistic and loveable characters and is a book that is just full of heart. So if that is what you look for in a book, definitely read Salvage.

Summarize the book in one sentence. (Verdict)
An emotional, but wonderful book about becoming our best selves despite our pasts. A book that is a definite must read.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher:Atom
Publication Date: July 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 320
Genre:Contemporary
Age: YA
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: British book
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Announcement!

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Hey All!
You know how at the end of Finish It February I said that I had another event to announce? This is the announcement!

Spring Clean Your TBR

Once again Caroline and I have teamed up to bring you a fun-filled event!

The aim of Spring Clean Your TBR is to read some of those books on your TBR piles that have been gathering “dust”. Figuratively speaking, of course – we wouldn’t allow our books to get dusty, would we?

It will happen in April and is a month-long event that will be full of exciting things!

As well as the event taking place, we’ll also be holding a Twitter Chat on Friday 17th April. More information on that will come later.

And on top of all of THAT, at the end of the event we are also organising a book swap. There will be one meet-up in London where books can be swapped and drinks can be had. And also the chance to put a list of the books you’re willing to swap up on your blog which you can either swap like for like or have those who want them pay postage. More information will come later for this too.

So… now you know what the event is. Here are some details about what will happen.

The Details

  • Anyone can enter. You can sign up with your blog, twitter, facebook, google+, pinterest… etc.
  • To enter just add your “I’m joining” post to the linky below
  • The event will run from 1st April – 30th April
  • There will be a chance to make goals but they’re not mandatory
  • There will be a chance to do weekly updates but they’re not mandatory
  • There will be a twitter chat on Friday 17th April
  • You can read ANY book on your TBR but the ones that have been neglected will be better. They can be ARCs, library books, bought books, borrowed books, e-books, audiobooks, manga, graphic novels…
  • There will be a book-swap at the end of it all
If, after ALL that information you still have questions, feel free to contact me in the comments or on twitter and I’ll answer them for you.

Aside from that…

Sign up below!

Posted by Faye

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Witch Wars Review and Author Interview

Sibeal Pounder and Laura Ellen Anderson (illustrator)
WitchWarsCoverFINALWhen Fran the Fabulous Fairy turns up in Tiga Whicabim’s shed to tell her she’s a witch, Tiga doesn’t believe her. Or at least not until Fran points out that TIGA WHICABIM is actually an anagram of I AM A BIG WITCH and magics her away down the drainpipes to compete in Witch Wars – the competition to crown the next Top Witch of Ritzy City.
Filled with silly spells, delectable dresses, ridiculous riddles and a serious shoe problem, Witch Wars is a witch story like no other. Although if you enjoyed The Worst Witch or Witchworld, you’ll love this too

Move aside Hermione Granger! Tiga’s in town…

I was pleasantly surprised by Witch Wars. Despite its menacing title, this was a cheery, funny and light hearted book.

Life as she knows it, is literally going down the drain for Tiga, when out of the blue… well purple fairy dust an extravagant fairy named Fran (or Fran the Fabulous Fairy as she would prefer to be known) appears out of nowhere, to reveal to Tiga a world of magic more commonly known as Ritzy City. Approximately one day before the start of Witch Wars Tiga arrives in an unreal land of good and bad where she picks up many a friend and has a shot at winning witch wars. With nine competitors, all wanting the coveted prize: to rule Ritzy City and beyond, the stakes were high.
With some evil, some good and some plain dumb contestants the competition was hotter than ever but who would win…

Witch Wars has been by far the best book I’ve read this year! Full of action, humour and epicness this book was awesome. The chapters are nice and short and are perfect for flicking in and out of.It is very fast paced and never leaves you bored. Consequently, some of the events aren’t explained as fully as I’d like.

Over all this is an amazing book and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes Harry Potter from 8+ (and feels like a good read.)

Verdict: I’m already looking forward to Witch Switch out later this year!

As a special treat Sibeal has kindly answered some of Izzy’s pressing questions.

Sibéal Pounder Head Shot credit Richard Grassie low res-1Sibéal Pounder currently works as a writer and researcher for the Financial Times’ How To Spend It section and has interviewed everyone from designer Vivienne Westwood to director Sam Taylor-Wood. She also tutors children who want to get into the media industry, helping them to develop articles and documentary shorts and teaching them how to put together magazines. Sibéal has a degree in History, a masters in Publishing and recently completed the Faber Academy’s Writing for Children course. Learn more about Sibeal on the Bloomsbury site here.

Where did your inspiration for Ritzy City come from?

I loved witches when I was little, Izzy! And also I had a bit of a weird obsession with sink pipes. I would say things like, ‘We just don’t know what’s down there!’, even though everyone assured me we definitely did.

I always worried it was something terrible, but after reading Alice in Wonderland when I was about eight, I realised it was almost definitely a world. And maybe it had witches in it. I imagined a bossy little fairy shooting out of the sink, pinching my nose and shouting ‘FINALLY! I knew you would figure it out EVENTUALLY.’

Over the years, Fran (as I later named her) stuck with me – all through school and until I was a wrinkly older human and I started writing snippets of it down, for fun, and began linking the witches to the pipes. Things like, witches hats are only pointy in our world because they’re sucked up the pipes – down in Sinkville they’re flat.

Do you base any of your characters around people you know?

I tend not to because if you base a character on someone (especially someone alive) and then you want the character to do something horrible, it makes it difficult to write it without thinking, Oh no, I hope the person won’t mind me writing this bit about them being DISGUSTING… But, I did name Peggy after my gran and Mrs Clutterbuck is based on a woman called Mrs Maypother, who owned the newsagents in Sandymount, Dublin (she gave me free chocolate, Izzy. She was the best). And Felicity Bat and the way she treats Peggy is based on when I was bullied at school. Luckily the girls who bullied me couldn’t levitate!

Would you say it’s hard to write a book about witchs after the bestseller Harry Potter?

Good question! Yes and no. Yes in terms of making it unique (see next question), but no in the sense that JK Rowling has done wonders for books! Kids love fantasy books more than ever now, and so many kids get into reading because of her. So really, if anything, it’s easier to write a book – even a book about witches – because of JK Rowling and Harry.

If so, do you think it’s hard to not pinch ideas from J.K Rowling?

It can be hard! If you create your own world, like Witch Wars’ Sinkville, it helps because you determine the terrain and can make it very different to somewhere like Hogwarts and Rowling’s amazing wizarding world.

Luckily, my witches are more flamboyant and mad and many of them are caricatures, so that means the content is a lot more of a farce and doesn’t have much crossover with Harry Potter in that sense.
Where I do put in similar references, I love to play around with the fact it’s a pinched idea and make that the joke. For example, a really common construct in kids stories is to have an other-world being meet the kid in the story and take them to a magical world – think of Peter Pan, Tinkerbell and Wendy, the rabbit and Alice in Alice in Wonderland, and Hagrid in Harry Potter. In the opening scene of Witch Wars, Fran (the Fabulous Fairy) meets Tiga and tells her she’s a witch, exactly like, “You’re a wizard Harry.” But in Tiga’s case, when she doesn’t believe her, Fran points out that when you jumble up the letters in Tiga’s name it spells I AM A BIG WITCH. She can’t argue with that. So it’s taking a familiar set-up and messing with it to make a joke.

There’s also some blatant pinching from Mary Poppins – like when Patricia the Producer comes sailing into the scene, flying with an umbrella and Fran says “She saw it in a film once and now it’s the only way she’ll travel.” And Patricia sings “SUPERCALAFRAGI-“ before crash landing. I try to always overtly reference stuff like that rather than being like, “so…this is my character Garry Rotter, he has a star on his head and a crow called Redfig. His nemesis is Mouldersnort…”

Review and interview questions by Izzy (11)

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Publication Date: March 2015
Format: Paperback
Pages: 127
Genre: Fantasy, Magic
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Izzy (11)
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: Debut Author
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Bookish Brits: Why I Love… Maggie Stiefvater

One again, in honour of valentines day, the Bookish Brits team dedicated February to all of bookish things we love. Click here to watch all of our videos

This year I decided to focus on my favourite author, Maggie Stiefvater.

Posted by Caroline.

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Finish It February 2015: Week Four and Challenge Round Up

FinishItFeb1

Personal Target: Finish/get up to date with four series

Books read this week:None

Total books read: one and a half

Series completed for challenge: two

General feedback: As you can probably surmise from the tardiness of this post that week four of #FinishItFeb, and the week that followed, hasn’t gone so well in the reading the department! I haven’t managed to finish any additional books, therefore my total for this challenge is one and a half books finished resulting in two completed series.
Despite not reaching my target I am very happy to have taken part in #FinishItFeb and I look forward to meeting the challenge next year. In the meantime, I recommend that you pop back later in the week to learn about a new challenge Faye and I have up our sleeves.

Posted by Caroline

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