Posts Tagged ‘Patrick Ness’

TTT: The Last Ten Books That Came Into My Possession

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the wonderful, list making gurus, The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they publish a new Top Ten list and invite their fellow book bloggers, vloggers and bookworms to join in.

As you can probably surmise form the reduced number of post from me over the last few months ( well year really), things are pretty busy here at Big Book Little Book HQ. Who knew that a newborn and her big siblings, a large labrador and house renovations took up so much time 😉 As a result of not being able to commit as much time to the blog, or indeed to reading in general, I have made a concerted effort to not acquire many new books. I hate to call it a ban, for me that is as effective as saying no to chocolate because you are on a diet, it just makes me want it MORE. No matter how hard I try, every now and then i’ll come across a book that I simply can’t say no to, that I simply HAVE to say YES PLEASE, SIGN ME UP, TAKE MY MONEY and occasionally there are those gorgeous little little unsolicited, bubble wrapped, surprises that land on your doormat.

In no particular order (because I am so disorganised and have no idea as and when these beauties came in to my possession )

1. Colour Me Mindful: Underwater by Anastasia Catris
When the lovelies at Orion offered me the opportunity to take a look at the latest thing in relaxation and mindfulness I couldn’t resist finding out what all of the fuss was about. I think that it is safe to say that I am totally hooked. I started out using my children’s colouring pencils but quickly found myself frustrated at the limited colour selection. Now my obsession is such that I have had to order my very own set of fine line colouring pens. The only thing not relaxing about this book and its Birds and Tropical counterparts, is keeping them away from my seven year old.

2. The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke
Cat Clarke is one of those authors who’s work caught me attention early on, when I devoured entangled, and who’s subsequent works I have collected but not gotten around to reading. When the Bookish Brits ( view our channel here) were offered the opportunity to read Cat’s latest book for June’s book club I jumped at the chance to take part.

3. Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens
I know, I know, I know and this being a blog which prides itself on reading books from all age categories! I’m almost embarrassed to have not yet read this hugely hyped middle grade book. Because I have only heard good things, from peoples who’s book recommendations I trust implicitly, I couldn’t resist snapping this up at a recent ebook sale.

4. Fail Human Heart by Zoe Marriott
The final book in the Name of the Blade trilogy. I love this series so much and I can’t wait to get suck back in to this urban fantasy.

5. The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
It’s Ness, enough said.

6.Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
I absolutely loved Seraphina, so much so that I listed its sequel as one of my most anticipated reads of 2014. Oppps I think some one was a little over excited! Shadow Scale was actually released in March of this year and not only did I preorder the hardback I also preordered the audiobook too.

7. The Almost King by Lucy Saxon
One of those bubble wrapped surprises. Lucy is a UKYA author about which I have heard only good things. I am ashamed to have not discovered her work for myself yet.

8. One by Sarah Crossan
A YA book written in verse! I can’t wait to give it a try.

9. The Curious Tale Of The Lady Of Caraboo by Catherine Johnson
Pruedence raved about Catherine’s previous book Sawbones (click here to read her review)when she read it last year. Once again Catherine delves in to history, this time to share her version of the events surrounding real life Mary Wilcox. #WeNeedDiverseBooks

10.The Amazing Human Body Detectives by Maggie Li
Non fiction books are like busses. You don’t see any on Big Book Little book for ages and then two crop up in one post! When the lovely people at Pavilion offered me the opportunity to take a look at this gorgeous fact book I just couldn’t resist. I find human biology absolutely fascinating and I am attracted to anything that allows me to share this fascination with my own children. It’s been a hit so far with the seven and five year old fighting over who got to use the magnifying glass!

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Posted by Caroline

What was the last book you bought, borrowed or requested?

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Five Fabulous Books…Which Feature Imaginary Friends

fab five logo Five Fabulous Books is a new feature here at Big Book Little Book. The aim of the feature is to showcase fabulous books with connecting themes, there by promoting reads we have enjoyed and share recommendations for similar books. We hope to share contributions from fellow bibliophiles, bloggers, vloggers and twitter users. We love to hear from you too, so don’t forget to comment with your favourite themed books. If you create your own Fabulous Five posts be sure to link back to Big Book Little Book and leave your link in the comments below so we can check out your recommendations!

Playmate, confident or scapegoat?

The five fabulous books I have selected to showcase this week span the age categories and all feature imaginary friends (or do they?!).

I find the idea of Imaginary friends fascinating. Perhaps it stems from enviously watching my younger brother with his imaginary friend. The tale of his epic meltdown, when my aunty forgot his best friend “Boy”, is legendary within our family. He refused to calm down, or leave the building until he and my aunty had retraced their steps, taking a lift back up to the twelfth floor to collect Boy!

I suppose that my attachment to fictional characters is like having hundreds of imaginary friends within the pages of my beloved books.

dino bath tubThere’s A Dinosaur In My Bathtub by Catalia Echeverri
Only Amelia can see Pierre, because he is very good at hiding. The two have the most amazing summer full of adventures at sea, on the moon and in all kinds of magical lands. But everyone knows that French dinosaurs like Pierre only get to stay in people’s bathtubs for the summer.
This lovely picture book from Bloomsbury showed up on our door stop unexpectedly one morning and has become a firm favourite of both my four and six year old, a rarity recently, resulting in a harmonious shared story time.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Publication Date: April 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Dystopian
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge:

squishySquishy McFluff by Pip Jones
Can you see him? My kitten? Close your eyes tight
His fur is so soft and all silvery white
Imagine him quick! Have you imagined enough?
Oh, good, you can see him! It’s Squishy McFluff!
When Ava discovers an imaginary cat in the cabbage patch, she knows she’s found a new best friend. Together, Ava and Squishy McFluff get up to all kinds of mischief…

This gorgeous rhyming book has delighted both myself and my six year old daughter. The rhyme, the font and the division of the story in to chapters all led themselves to independent reading however, the cheeky humour is a delight for early and *cough* more mature *cough* readers alike. I defy you to not gobble this up in a single sitting, with or without your own mischievous Ava as a captivated audience.

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: February 2014
Format: Paperback
Pages: 80
Genre: Children’s, Humour
Age: Early Reader
Reviewer: Caroline and Ava
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book

a monster callsA Monster Calls by Patric Ness and Jim Kay
The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.
But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…
This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.
It wants the truth.

Karen says “Verdict: This is a book, even in it’s Paperback form that will be treasured for it’s outer beauty and for the heart wrenching story within”
Read Karen’s full review here

Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: February 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 216
Genre: Fantasy
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Karen
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British book

unspokenUnspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met . . . a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.
But all that changes when the Lynburns return.
The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?

OMG I absolutely loved this book, but my goodness Sarah Rees Brennan is a cruel, cruel woman who survives on the tears of her readers! Do your self a favour and check it out, but make sure that you have the second book ready to go because you are not going to want to wait to read the second instalment. The wait for the third and final book (September 2014) is going to be excruciating.

Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: September 2012
Format: Hardback
Pages: 272
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British book

if you could see meIf You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahern
Readers and critics alike adore Cecelia Ahern for her lighthearted yet insightful stories about modern women and their often unusual situations. In If You Could See Me Now, she takes that theme a step further, offering us a heroine who is entirely believable, and the new man in her life who is, well, slightly less so.
Elizabeth Egan’s life runs on order: Both her home and her emotions are arranged just so, with little room for spontaneity. It’s how she counteracts the chaos of her family — an alcoholic mother who left when she was young, an emotionally distant father, and a free-spirited sister, who seems to be following in their mother’s footsteps, leaving her own six-yearold son, Luke, in Elizabeth’s care. When Ivan, Luke’s mysterious new grown-up friend, enters the picture, Elizabeth doesn’t know quite what to make of him. With his penchant for adventure and colorful take on things large and small, Ivan opens Elizabeth’s eyes to a whole new way of living. But is it for real? Is Ivan for real?
If You Could See Me Now is a love story with heart — and just a touch of magic.

I have to admit that I felt a touch apprehensive at reading what was my first adult novel for some time, not to mention that it is a favourite of a good friend of mine. My apprehension was all for nothing. I loved the combination of contemporary setting, magical realism, laugh out loud moments and poignant, touching scenes. A lovely, lovely read. I will definitely be checking out some more of Ahern’s work in the future.

Publisher:
Publication Date: November 2005
Format: Paperback
Pages: 410
Genre: Fantasy
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Borrowed
Challenge:

Honourable Mentions:
Jack’s Amazing Shadow by Tom Percival and Memoirs Of An Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks.

Twitter Recommends:
A Dog So Small by Philippa Pearce (@dark_Fell), Dr. Bird’s Advice For Sad Poets by Evan Roskos(@musingteacher), Who Framed Klaris cliff by Nikki Sheehan (@daydreamin_star)and The Perks Of Being A Wall Flower by Stephen Chbosky(@barbaralib0202).

Did you have an imaginary friend?
Are you as protective of your fictional friends as I am?
What are your favourite reads featuring imaginary friends?

Posted by Caroline

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Bookish Brits: Winter Wonderland Book Tag

Posted by Caroline

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Carnegie and Greenaway Awards: Wrap Up

And the winner of the Kate Greenaway Award is…

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Jim Kay (illustrations)

And the winner of the Carnegie Award is…

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Jim Kay (illustrations)

Patrick Ness has done it again.  He also won the Carnegie Award last year with the final instalment of his Chaos Walking Series ‘Monsters of Men’.  This is also the first book to win both the Carnegie and Greenaway Awards, though it is Jim Kay who wins the Greenaway for his illustrations.

This wasn’t my favourite in either category but it is an exceptional book and is therefore a worthy winner. I do have quite a few very happy students, which is unusual when it comes to winner’s announcement time!

This year was very unusual in that very few students liked one book much more than the others. They all found picking a favourite really difficult and said that they would be quite happy for 3 or 4 of the books to win.  We also had more students finishing the whole list than ever before, a fantastic achievement given that there were 8 books on each list this year. There’s been lots of lively discussion and two friends very nearly fell out in a disagreement over ‘The Midnight Zoo’. As always, Carnegie has brought readers together and encouraged them to read and discuss books they normally wouldn’t have touched. This for me is the magic of the Award.

My Winners would have been ‘Between Shades of Grey’ by Ruta Sepetys and ‘There Are No Cats in This Book’ by Viviane Schwarz. This year, like the students I was actually happy for any number of them to win. That’s not because the standard was low, far from it.  This year the books were more readable and probably aimed at slightly younger children, something I don’t believe is any bad thing.  In past years students (and me!) have struggled to read most of the books but that wasn’t an issue this year which is a welcome change.

So now Carnegie is over it’s time for me to start looking at what I want to nominate for the local book award the Brilliant Book Award…

Post by Alison

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Carnegie and Greenaway Awards: A Monster Calls



Patrick Ness and Jim Kay (Illustrator) based on an idea by Siobhan Dowd


At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting — he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments.
The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth.
From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd — whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself — Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined

As some of you may have seen in a previous post, Caroline and I went to a Patrick Ness/Jim Kay talk. Prior to this event, I didn’t really know who Patrick Ness was (I know! I promise to flagellate myself later for such ignorance) and what with it being only February, I was still feeling skint so promised myself that I was not going to buy, ‘A Monster Calls’ at the signing. Well, that lasted almost as long as my decision to give up chocolate during lent! I just couldn’t help it. The moment I clapped eyes on the black and white foreboding cover and then to caress the pages to be rewarded with such beautiful artwork, I just had to have it!

Thankfully, the story does the artwork justice. The premise is simple, a young boy struggles to cope as his mother battles terminal cancer. As he is becoming increasingly isolated and frustrated, he suddenly gets a visit from a monster who insists on telling Conor three stories, each with an unexpected thought provoking twist and in return, Conor must tell him one that’s the truth.

Whilst Conor is dealing with all this and his father’s pathetic attempts of being supportive, putting up with his not so stereotypical grandmother and being bullied by what can only be described as a sociopath in the making at school, you can’t help but hope that everything will turn out okay for him. Conor isn’t a saint though, there are a few times you’ll be shaking your head over his actions but this only makes him and the story more real – which is surprising really, when the most interesting and influential character in the story is a talking tree…

Verdict: This is a book, even in it’s Paperback form that will be treasured for it’s outer beauty and for the heart wrenching story within

Reviewed by Karen

Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: February 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 216
Genre: Fantasy
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Karen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: British Book
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The Knife Of Never Letting Go

Patrick Ness

Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee – whose thoughts Todd can hear, too, whether he wants to or not – stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden – a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives. But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought.

Escaping the problems of the old world, the pioneers of New World had hoped to carve out a new, simpler, idyllic existence for themselves and their families by farming the land and practicing their faith. Twenty years later, their numbers decimated as a result of the violent war with the natives, the Spacks , the last remaining human settlers of New World cling to survival in their swamp encircled village – Prentistown.

Fatal to all but a few men, The Germ, a weapon deployed by the Spacks, has left the survivors of Prentistown afflicted with The Noise – the audible expression of their every thought, memory and emotion.

“The noise is a man unfiltered and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking”

I was quickly gripped by Todd’s first person account, written as Todd would speak, I found myself floating along with the cadence of Todd’s voice. Filled with spelling mistakes and at times, limited punctuation, you really get a feel for Todd’s limited education, necessitated by the need to survive, and the presence of a new accent amongst the settlers, indicating their separateness from ourselves. Todd is a complex character, at times cruel, thoughtless and proud and yet his also amazingly loyal and brave in the face of his fears.

The animal characterisation was fantastic. Stealing the show from the first page Manchee the dog grew on me in much the same way he did for Todd, at first an amusing diversion, an unavoidable irritation then becoming a valued companion, guide and protector. Ness really captured the enthusiasm, energy and loyalty of man’s best friend. I also enjoyed the comfort and safety of belonging to a herd with The Noise of the giant ox and their song of here, the stupidity of sheep and the general chattering of all the creatures.

I loved the concept of The Noise and I thought that it was an amazingly original idea. The presence of The Noise made for an uncomfortable read and ramped up the tension. You know that Todd and his companions are in a no- win situation. They are unable to out run the army they can hear gaining on them, and it’s impossible to hide with Todd’s noise announcing his position. Yet you are sat heart in mouth, rooting for a solution. The way noise was expressed on the page, as a jumble of different thoughts in different sized texts and fonts, gave a taste of the distracting, ugly chaos of Todd’s world.

While I understand that a cliff hanger is an important tool to wet your interest and ensure you will check out the next instalment of a series, there are times when it feels like you have been sucker punched. You’ve invested in these characters for the duration of the novel and BOOM! everything is left up in the air. This is definitely one of those times. Ordinarily I would find this immensely frustrating and feel hacked off, however the advantage of reading an older book is that the series is complete and I can feel smug in the knowledge that I have the rest of the trilogy sat on my book case.

Verdict: Reserve, borrow or buy the entire trilogy before you even think about starting The Knife Of Never Letting Go.

Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: October 2008
Format: Paperback
Pages: 479
Genre: Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: Oldest Book
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Love Books Will Travel: Patrick Ness and Jim Kay

Who: Patrick Ness and Jim Kay(illustrator)

What: Book discussion, signing and art exhibition

Where: Foyles
Charring Cross Rd
London

Why: To promote the paperback release of A Monster Calls: 

The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do.
But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming. . . This monster, though, is something different. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Connor.
It wants the truth. Patrick Ness spins a tale from the final story idea of Siobhan Dowd, whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself. Darkly mischievous and painfully funny, A Monster Calls is an extraordinarily moving novel about coming to terms with loss from two of our finest writers for young adults.

Patrick Ness comes across as very confident and personable and if I’m honest, pretty easy on the eye 🙂 I left the talk feeling very envious of those lucky enough to have attended his lectures on creative writing and looking forward to reading, ‘A Monster Calls’.

The event showcased the genius pairing of Patrick’s penmanship and Jim Kay’s engaging illustrations whilst also paying homage to Siobhan Dowd, the award winning author, who dreamt up the initial premise of, ‘A Monster Calls’ but unfortunately passed away from cancer before committing her story onto paper.

It was clear from the talk that Patrick has a lot of respect for Siobhan’s books and his passion has encouraged me to seek out her works. He was also insistent that he had to write, ‘A Monster Calls’ his way as he wouldn’t have done the story justice by trying to second guess how Siobhan would have written it. Instead he allowed the process to be much more organically driven which has resulted in a truly remarkable book that I’m sure Sinead would have approved of.

During the talk, we were given the chance to admire original prints dotted around the room featuring artwork from the book. Jim Kay described how he completed the project, solitarily working 20hr days whilst staying in Scotland. A country not known for its warm climate at the best of times was being particularly cruel as he found himself in sub zero temperatures and reliant on very dodgy heating.

An image will remain with many of us of him trying to stay warm by wrapping an electric blanket around himself, held tight by gaffer tape. An interesting albeit not recommended way of staying warm. Especially when he had to greet the postman in thus set up and, whilst trying to reserve some shred of dignity, having the hidden plug fall to the floor from between his legs…I can so picture both of them looking down, staring at the plug and neither quite knowing what to say! But…as cruel as it sounds, his discomfort may, rather selfishly be our gain as the artwork is so dark and intense and filled with brooding menace, making you pause at each illustrated page to savour the finer details created by unique and experimental tools such as breadboards and obliging beetles leaving their ink stained footprints on the paper(beetles do have feet right?).

It was also apparent to me that he is such a perfectionist, explaining to us which pieces of artwork he’s not happy with and what he would have done differently even though his artwork on this book has been shortlisted for the ‘Best Art’ award from the BSFA (British Science Fiction Awards)

Verdict: Patrick and Jim Kay were engaging and down to earth speakers and I would happily make the effort to see either of them again.

Post by Karen

Waiting in line to meet Patrick Ness and Jim Kay


 

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