#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books you think should be studied in school

Six for Sunday

Yikes! Steph from A Little but A Lot who comes up with these prompts picked a hard one for this week! I have no idea what would be beneficial to children today, I’m so out of touch! I will, however, list six books that I would have liked to have studied in school or that I think would be interesting to discuss.

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
I feel like this would potentially be a difficult one because it is so filled with grief and some behaviour that could be construed as negative (but realistic). I’m a little out of touch with how teenagers or those who had lost someone very close to them would feel about reading or studying this so not sure this would actually be the best of choices as it could be a sensitive subject but I think it’s something that I would have valued at a younger age personally.

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
This is an incredibly important book. It showcases so many relevant topics, although this would probably be a 16+ book.

His Hideous Heart by various authors, edited by Dahlia Adler
I think this anthology of retellings of the works of Edgar Allen Poe would be a brilliant book to study, especially as it also includes the original poems in the back of the book too. Perhaps when studying this, students could pick a poem and write a story about that in the same way?

The Quiet at the End of the World by Lauren James
This book is a great read but it also has some important messages about how we treat the world itself and what it means to be human, I feel like this could lead to some important and educational discussions and ideas.

Floored by Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Sailsbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood
I feel like this book is so good at showcasing a group of very different young people and how despite their differences and disagreements they can still care about each other and still get along with dealing with some pretty hard times in their life and topics that may be difficult to broach otherwise.

Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Okay so this is probably boring for a lot of people but I studied Macbeth multiple times in school and I LOVED it. I was so glad we weren’t stuck studying Of Mice and Men or Romeo and Juliet but Macbeth had battles and witches and Lady Macbeth telling her husband to sort himself out and murder the king already, also regicide is always fun, let alone the characters and then going mad with guilt. Also, I won’t spoil it but that loophole in the prophecy hey? LOVE it. I think studying Shakespeare is cool but we defintley need to look at some of the more awesome plays instead of repeatedly studying the same things. (I would have loved 12th night or Hamlet in addition to Macbeth instead of doing Macbeth twice despite how much I loved it).

Okay so most of these probably aren’t great or realistic choices but I tried? Was there a particular book at school that you studied and really liked? I was particularly fond of The Crucible and that always stuck with me.

 

 

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#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books and the Seaside

I was hoping by the time this prompt turned up we would have been able to go on a family trip to the beach but no such luck yet! Soon though hopefully! For now, however, I just decided to see if I could think of six books that feature the seaside, or beaches at the very least.

Christmas at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry
I adored this really sweet and relatable tale based in one of my favourite places in the world, Devon! I used to go on holiday with my family to Devon every year for most of my childhood and I love the place to death and it really helped me envision a lot of the beach scenes in this book.

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
This is an ultimate beach book, don’t get me wrong, it’s hard and full of chest gnawing grief but I swear you can hear the waves and feel the sand between your toes reading some of the scenes in this book.

The Blue Salt Road by Joanne Harris
A completely different feel from the beaches of Summer Bird Blue, for me the beaches of The Blue Salt Road are cold and windy, filled with pebbles and sea spray, not to mention selkies.

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
The beach out by the Los Angeles institute features in all three of The Dark Artifices books but my favourite beach moment is right at the end of Queen of Air and Darkness. If you know, you know.

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
I’ve been rewatching the Twilight films if I can’t sleep recently and I ended up watching the whole of New Moon and Eclipse last week instead of actually sleeping. I remember when reading them I loved the sound of La Push and the reservation etc and I love the scene with Bella and Jacob just walking along the beach chatting before all the supernatural stuff didn’t seem real.

The Wicked King by Holly Black
So I know this is pushing it a little but one of the biggest and most important scenes happens on a beach! (I literally just lost half an hour after going to check it was defintley on a beach and carried on reading the end of the book again damnit) So it totally counts right? I’m already so desperate for the Queen of Nothing already like I can’t explain. GIVE ME MORE.

Okay so only of these technically featured a “seaside” but they all have beaches in! Or at least sand? This was still easier than finding sunshine on covers last week at least! Also as I’m writing this the weather here is absolutely horrid, it’s humid and rainy and gross so thinking about these lovely beaches has been quite nice!

I also want to mention Lifes a Beach (Bookshop Girl #2) by Chloe Coles because this would have been a perfect book for this post but despite loving the first book I haven’t got around to its sequel yet and I’m disappointed in myself for it so this is me, calling myself out and telling me to read that damn book already.

spoiler free, Tags

Rapid Fire Book Tag

I’ve been trying a few different book tags this week and I’ve been finding myself really stumped about answering some of them so I decided that today’s blog would instead be a really simple fun book tag I picked up from Sarah from Book Hooked Nook a little while back, the rapid-fire book tag!

1. E-Book or Physical Book?

If it’s small enough physical, if not an e-book is more comfortable.

2. Paperback or Hardback?

Paperback.

3. Online or In-Store Book Shopping?

Usually online as the only bookstores nearby are all in other towns and it costs me the price of a standard paperback to get to any of them.

4. Trilogies or Series?

I quite like standalone books at the moment but if I had to pick it would be a trilogy.

5. Heroes or Villains?

It feels so cliche but villains are so much more fun.

6. A book you want everyone to read?

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman because that stuff is food for the soul.

7. Recommend an underrated book?

Invictus by Ryan Graudin, I never hear anyone talk about this book but I adored it.

8. The last book you finished?

I finished Heartstopper Volume 2 in one sitting before bed a couple of nights ago and I’ve barely been able to stop thinking about it since.

9. The Last Book You Bought?

I did a little book order when I got paid a couple of days ago and ordered Do you dream of Terra-Two? By Temi Oh, a finished copy of The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James, Heartstopper volume two by Alice Oseman and The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neil. It had been a while since I’d brought books!

10. Weirdest Thing You’ve Used as a Bookmark?

A fork.

11. Used Books: Yes or No?

As long as they’re in good condition then used is fine with me.

12. Top Three Favourite Genres?

Sci-fi, Fantasy and thriller

13. Borrow or Buy?

Buy, I don’t go into town often enough to to get proper use out of the library and I’m terrible at returning things on time. Also because quite often I’m buying a finished copy of an ARC I’ve enjoyed and might not get to reading it right away.

14. Characters or Plot?

Having one without the other is not enjoyable but I think good characters can save bad plot but a good plot doesn’t often save bad characters.

15. Long or Short Books?

Probably short. I’m finding it really hard to drag myself through longer books. Max 400 ideally although I’m reading a good few that are more than that at the moment so it’s not a make or break thing, I just like to read shorter books, if anything they’re more comfortable to hold.

16. Long or Short Chapters?

Short. I love the feeling of finishing a chapter, plus I tend to wait until I’ve finished a chapter before I stop reading and if it’s too long it just gets annoying.

17. Name The First Three Books You Think Of…

18. Books That Make You Laugh or Cry?

19. Our World or Fictional Worlds?

Fictional, or actually I like a bit of both so our world with a hint of fictional is great sometimes too. I want to say it’s called urban fantasy but I’m bad at this book blogging thing.

20. Audiobooks: Yes or No?

Yes. I’m sad that I don’t really listen to them as much now. I often still listen to ones I’ve heard before when I’m trying to get to sleep (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them read by Eddie Redmayne is my favourite) but now that I’m not in a job where I can just crack on and get my work done with my headphones in all day I’m seriously lagging on the audiobook front.

21. Do You Ever Judge a Book by its Cover?

Absolutely. Don’t get me wrong, a book with a bad cover can be good and vice versa but it’s almost always the cover that draws me in or pushes me away.

22. Book to Movie or Book to TV Adaptations?

I really enjoy them for the most part. Sometimes they get me interested in a book I’ve yet to read (i.e Dumplin) even though I always try to read the book first but also they sometimes give me the feeling of rereading a book without having to actually do so.

23. A Movie or TV-Show You Preferred to its Book?

Stardust. I enjoyed the Stardust book but the film is one of my all-time favourites and just blew the book out of the water.

24. Series or Standalone’s?

I love me a standalone.

That was a such a fun tag, thank for so much for posting it, Sarah! I won’t tag anyone in particular but as always if you’d like to take part then consider yourself tagged!

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday July 17th

Okay so after June moving at a glacial pace July is moving far too quickly, YALC is next week and I still have so much more to read! Still, it’s time for my fortnightly bookish check-in!

If you want to join in with WWW don’t forget to send over a big thank you to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for keeping WWW alive and kicking.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading? 

I feel slightly victimized by this question because I’ve dipped my toe into numerous books over the past fortnight as I frantically try to find the best order to read them in. My main current read is Revenger by Alastair Reynolds in preparation for YALC (and I’ve had it to read for a while). I’ve also been reading Finding Home by Hari Conner and The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neil, both of which have been absolutely healing my soul. I’ve been enjoying Revenger as well but there’s just something about the story and art styles for these two graphic novels that just soothes me, Hari’s landscape pieces transport me to beautiful forests where I can fill my lungs with sweet air and Katie’s soft edges and pastel colours lull me into a relaxed dreamland, I can’t get enough of them.

What did you recently finish reading?

Last weekend I finished Wastelands: The New Apocolypse, the dystopian anthology I was reading and Heartstream. I really enjoyed Heartstream and read it very quickly, it was a little traumatising and had some difficult parts in it but I loved it, you can check out my review here. Wastelands was a great anthology but it just felt so huge! Just writing the review is taking me ages as I made notes for every single story and there are over thirty of them! I’m glad I decided to read it but I was so pleased to finally finish it. A review should be coming next week with any luck.

What do you think you’ll read next?

For a change, this is actually super easy to answer and shouldn’t change! If it hasn’t already arrived by the time this post goes live Heartstopper volume two should be arriving and I’ll be dropping absolutely everything for that! My next YALC book to read is Do you Dream of Terra-Two by Temi Oh which will my next non-graphic novel read. I’m also lucky enough to have been accepted for the new Tea Dragon Society graphic novel due out in September so will defintley be getting to that too!

What are you reading next? What have you been reading? What are you reading right now? Let me know!! Those of you attending YALC and still working through your TBR’s for it how are you getting on?

 

book reviews, spoiler free

The Starlight Watchmaker review

44097002The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James

Rating: XXXXX

Published July 15th by Barrington Stoke

“Doesn’t it get tiring being judged for who you are all the time?” Ada asked, “and treated like you’re less than other people?”

Wealthy students from across the galaxy come to learn at the prestigious academy where Hugo toils as a watchmaker. But he is one of the lucky ones. Many androids like him are jobless and homeless. Someone like Dorian could never understand their struggle – or so Hugo thinks when the pompous duke comes banging at his door. But when Dorian’s broken time-travel watch leads them to discover a sinister scheme, the pair must reconcile their differences if they are to find the culprit in time.

A wildly imaginative sci-fi adventure from YA star Lauren James, particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 13+

At the Quiet at the End of the World event a few months back Lauren announced that she would be releasing a novella with Barrington Stoke later this year and as time went on we got a title, a cover reveal and synopsis for The Starlight Watchmaker which I’ve been excited for ever since.

I don’t normally go into much detail about publishers but I really wanted to rave about Barrington Stoke for a moment. They are a fantastic publisher who have been helping dyslexic and reluctant readers for over twenty years by working with writers and illustrators to publish super readable books as well as adding little adjustments like using a unique, dyslexia-friendly font specially created to make reading easier, Accessible layouts and spacing stop the page from becoming overcrowded and even Heavier paper with a gentle tint helps reduce visual stresses, their motto is every child can be a reader and I think reading can be so daunting for young children today that we need to do everything we can to create a space and opportunity for all readers, including those who might be reluctant or have difficulty reading for pleasure. I had read a couple of Non Pratt’s books published by Barrington Stoke previously and loved the shorter book format and just how effortless they felt to read which can be really motivating and confidence building.

I reached out to Barrington Stoke about Lauren’s new title and the lovely Kirstin sent me a proof to review in exchange for an honest review. At just 128 pages it is an extremely short read but oh the wonders Lauren can work with 128 pages. The Starlight Watchmaker is set in a universe that feels like magic and science, the academy that Dorian attends and Hugo works at is incredibly diverse, full of all kinds of sentient creatures from across the galaxy. It was absolutely refreshing to read all of these fantastic descriptions of different races and species, I was fascinated in particular with one of my favourite characters, a student like Dorian called Ada (Lady Ada de Winters – short for Adedeneumdora) who is essentially a mountain that can walk around and will eventually become a planet all of her own just like her mother, the planet Zumia. She’s well spoken, smart and fantastically quirky as well as being a brilliant departure from the usual humanoid looking alien lifeforms we usually see.

Hugo is an android and an absolute sweetheart who I love, he’s a hard worker making the best of a bad situation who enjoys what he does and is mostly content but finds himself yearning for more, things like friendship and freedom, not to mention he really likes plants. Our other main character, Dorian is a fifth-year student but also a Duke who comes to Hugo for help but comes across a little brusque at first and perhaps a bit to forward which could be misconstrued negatively but I think he really grows and learns over the course of the story and you learn more about him as well as Hugo and see how they react to each other.

Somehow, even in under 200 pages Lauren managed to fit a nice little twist into the story, the plot is simple but honestly all the more enjoyable for it, the narrative is fast flowing and straight forward but conveys every detail and emotion needed. This entire book is akin to a nice chilled glass of juice on a hot day or that feeling when you step out of your morning shower, it’s refreshing and soothing and the moment I finished it after reading it the first time I managed to put it down for five minutes before I decided to pick it back up and read it all over again. The story is well rounded and unlike with some short-form works where I find myself  wanting more in an unsatisfied way, I found The Starlight Watchmaker to be the perfect bite-size piece of cake, it felt complete and whole and I felt like I’d been on a journey after reading it which is why I read, to be whisked away on adventures and feel a better person at the other end. This is a beautiful tale of friendship and I cannot recommend it enough.

The Starlight Watchmaker will be available on July 15th, don’t let it’s smaller size fool you, it’s a fantastic little read and one that can definitely be enjoyed by a variety of ages.

#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Characters I want to be friends with

It’s Six for Sunday time! Rounding out the last of the Bookish Wishes prompts for this month is “Characters I want to be friends with” which is very similar to a prompt we had last year which was characters you think would make great friends” (You can check out the post here, this was one of my better earlier posts I think) I’ve read a good few books since then so consider this in addition to last years list and maybe a bit more tailored to me instead of just characters I think would make good friends.

Olivia from The Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie
I love Olivia so much, she’s so bubbly and full of energy, she plans as over the top and as excessively as me so we’d always have great detailed plans too.

Pippa Fitz-Amobi from A Good Girls Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
She’s loyal, wicked smart and not afraid to ask difficult questions, I feel like she would challenge me to be better and maybe I could make her laugh? We’d absolutely get into trouble.

Charlie from Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
Charlie is adorable and I know he already has some pretty great friends but I would love to be one of them, he’s a little dorky which I can totally relate with and I would absolutely fuss Nelly ALL of the time.

Finnian from Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I knew I would pick someone from the Aurora Rising crew I was just trying to decide who, it was a toss-up between Scarlett and Finian but I think even though I’d probably be half in love with him (as well as Scarlett), I think me and Finn would make better friends.

Katherine from The Next Together by Lauren James
I feel like we’d get on pretty well as we’re both pretty sarcastic, I always loved reading her parts in The Next Together because her attitude and the way she interacts with Matthew really mirrors mine and Chris’ relationship, minus the time travel and reincarnation obviously.

Lazlo Strange from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
As someone who can also find themselves easily lost in stories I think me and Lazlo would get on pretty well although we probably wouldn’t get much of anything useful done with our heads stuck in books or talking about them.

Okay so that did end up being quite a different list and was less about who would just make good friends in general but who would I think would make a good friend for me. It was fun! Would you pick any of these for yourself? Who would you like to be your fictional best friend? I think out of all these I’d love Olivia to be my best friend.

 

Monthly Wrap up, spoiler free

June Wrap Up

Okay so I haven’t done a wrap-up since my first one in March for some reason, June though, seems like a good month to finally give it another go perhaps? As I keep saying, things have been a little hectic lately and will hopefully start to calm down for a bit over the next few weeks but we’ll see. Despite the crazy though I have managed to get some books read, some more TV shows watched and even a film! I also decided to start including books I’ve brought or received in my wrap-ups too as I thought it would be interesting. So long June, enjoy your last days.

Currently reading

Wastelands: The New Apocolypse by various authors
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Books that I’ve read

Nexus by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings (Reviewed) XXXX
X-Men: The Dark Phoenix Saga by Stuart Moore (Reviewed) XXXX
Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare (Reviewed) XXXX
The Girl in Red by Christina Henry (Reviewed) XXXXX
The Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie (Review to come soon!) XXXX

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Books that I brought or received

Zenith and Nexus by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings
The Chosen and The Novice by Taran Matharu
The Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie
Wastelands: New Apocolypse by various authors – Review Copy
X-Men: Days of Future Past by Alex Irvine – Review Copy
Heartstream by Tom Pollock – Review Copy
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Men in Black International: The Official Movie Novelization by R.S Belcher – Review Copy

Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo
I was lucky enough to win my copy of the Into the Crooked Place arc at the Out of this Galaxy YA event (blog recap coming soon) and I’m SO excited to read it!

Films

X-Men: Dark Phoenix – XX
I did not enjoy this film. I had been so incredibly excited about it but it just didn’t meet any of my expectations. I know you should hold remakes or retellings at different standards to their original forms but damn there was just so much wrong with this film, not to mention the fact that they screw with and mess up their own timeline? On the bright side, it did make me go back and enjoy X-Men: The Last Stand a lot more because although that didn’t fit as well either it did, for me, do a better job. Full review to come of this soon possibly.

TV Shows

Good Omens XXXXX
Damn this show. I have so much stuff to watch but I’ve just been watching this over and over. Odds are if I’m not watching it I’m probably thinking about it. I’m sad to say I hadn’t read the book before, I did start reading it beforehand with the idea that I wouldn’t watch past the first episode until I’d finished the book but I just couldn’t help myself. I have so many feelings about this show and it’s bittersweet but perfect six episodes single season and most of them are just joy or joy adjacent to be quite frank. I think I actually swooned and clutched my chest in episode three. If you haven’t checked out this show I highly recommend it, it’s addictive, beautiful, funny, quirky and honestly inspiring.

Shadowhunters Season 4 Ep 9-14 XXXX
After finishing Queen of Air and Darkness (at last), I decided to revisit the Shadowhunters TV show as it’s finished now I can see how it ends! I’d heard some people compare parts of the ending to parts of the ending for QoAaD so wanted to wait until I’d finished it to check it out although I have had two bits spoilt for me already (my fault for not keeping up and/or muting the hashtags etc). I’m enjoying it, these past few episodes have been really good, I’m especially loving what they’ve done with Johnathan although it’s really making me miss Sebastian, especially as Johnathan mentions when he met him *crying face*

American Gods S1, Ep 1 XXX
Chris wanted more after Good Omens as he’s not a big rewatcher so I suggested trying American Gods as it was by Neil Gaiman and had a similar, if not certainly more adult, quirky feel and I think he enjoyed it? I did although it’s probably not a show I’m rushing to watch as it didn’t grab me hugely but that’s probably the aesthetic and my personal taste more than anything else. I’ve also been listening to the Audiobook and have become super attached to the voice actors in that, the Mr Wednesday though is pretty amazing and I’ll certainly get around to watching more at some point.

It’s been a pretty good month, Good Omens has kind of blown everything out of the water for me at the moment, to be honest. I have really enjoyed the books I’ve read and I’m loving the different stories in Wastelands: The New apocalypse, I never realised just how broad the dystopian genre could be.  I’m hoping to keep the wrap-ups a bit more regular now with any luck as I’m really enjoying putting them together!

What book, show or film has really stood out for you this month?