#SixforSunday

S4S – Books set in Schools

Six for Sunday

Continuing with the back to school theme (don’t even talk to me about actual school right now) this weeks theme from Steph at A Little but A Lot is “Books set in schools” I think I’ve discovered a trend I like in books…Harry Potter by J.K Rowling
An obivous one I know but I love the whole boarding school setting and I’m not sure if I discovered this because I read Harry Potter or because it reminds me of Harry Potter. Either way, I like it and I think good ole Hogwarts had a part to play in that so I had to include it. 

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
This probably feels as predictable as Harry Potter for me at this point as I’ve not been able to stop raving about this book and the rest of the Nevernight Chronicles for the past few weeks but I really loved Mia’s time in the Red Church and is in part a reason why this book has become one of my all-time favourites. For those who have yet to read Nevernight, the Red Church is basically Murder Hogwarts for wood-be assassins. 

The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James
The prestigious academy which Hugo lives on the grounds of in The Starlight Watchmaker is fascinating and full of so many different species of aliens who are all learning the skills they will need to lead and shape their worlds in the future, I loved reading about it. 

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
Another boarding school setting, this time it’s a flight school where the pupils are trained to shoot defend their homes from an alien threat that has plagued them for years, not to mention that completing the programme and becoming a pilot of prestigious in itself!

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare and other authors
So this book collects all of the Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy short stories into one and although the content within a lot of these stories stretches further than the academy itself, the main storyline itself that the smaller ones are embedded into all take place within the academy. I loved this collection a lot more than I thought I would. 

Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino
A manga instead of a novel but still counts, Vampire Knight mainly takes place at Cross Academy where human students attend the school during the day and vampires at night. This one is totally a boarding school again too, apparently, this is a thing.

Also, honourable mention to Ouran High School Host Club by Bisco Hatori is one of my favourite mangas and takes place almost solely in a school for rich kids (actually not a boarding school though, shock horror) where a “poor” honours student accidentally breaks a vase worth 3 million yen and works with the school host club to earn back the money. I would have put this on the list but I thought of Vampire Knight first.

Do you have a favourite fictional school? If so which one? When I was younger I always wanted to go to Cackles Academy from The Worst Witch (another honourable mention as I somehow forgot it when making this list).

 

#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Fictional places you’d love to go on holiday

Six for Sunday.png

Its Six for Sunday time and this week the prompt from Steph at A Little but A Lot is “Fictional places you’d love to go on holiday” I really miss going on holiday so I feel like this one might be fairly easy for a change although I would probably end up dead or in trouble in one or more of these places for sure.

The Prestigious Academy from the Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James
I thought about adding so many different schools and/or academies I would love to visit like Hogwarts or the Aurora Academy etc but I opted for The Academy featured in The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James because I love how wonderfully diverse and inclusive it is and I would love spending a whole summer there just learning about the students who study there.

The LA Institute from The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare
I’m just such a sucker for that damn beach.

Velaris from A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
I’ve always loved Velaris, it sounds absolutely beautiful and was one of my favourite things about A Court of Mist and Fury.

Whitestone from Vox Machina Origins by Matthew Mercer etc
Although I’ve still not finished Campaign one of Critical Role which features the Vox Machina story I’ve become so curious about it and have really enjoyed what I’ve seen so far, especially the city of Whitestone. (I want to go visit the sun tree!)

Sitia (Ideally somewhere near the citadel) from The Chronicles of Ixia books by Maria V. Snyder
Magical, beautiful Sitia! Obviously, some bad stuff happens here (where doesn’t it) but I used to dream about shopping in the market by the citadel when I was younger and meeting Fisk and some of the Grand Masters as well as Yelena and Valek (but in disguise of course!).

The Shire from The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
How could I not choose this one? For a brief moment, I pondered Rivendell, which I’ sure is very beautiful but I’m absolutely a Hobbit at heart and honestly, I think it’s quite likely that if I went on holiday to the Shire I would defintley end up trying to live there.

What fictional place would you love to holiday in? Do any of my answers appeal to you?

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.