BOOKBLOG: Karen Gregory

Countless: heartbreaking, eye-opening and gut-wrenching.

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“When Hedda discovers she is pregnant, she doesn’t believe she could ever look after a baby. The numbers just don’t add up. She is young, and still in the grip of an eating disorder that controls every aspect of how she goes about her daily life. She’s even given her eating disorder a name – Nia. But as the days tick by, Hedda comes to a decision: she and Nia will call a truce, just until the baby is born. 17 weeks, 119 days, 357 meals. She can do it, if she takes it one day at a time…”

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I had heard lovely things from my good friend Rachel about this book and knew that I needed to get my hands on it and get it read and I don’t regret it. It broke my heart but it was incredible.

It’s the story of Hedda, who suffers from an eating disorder which has caused somewhat of a breakdown in her family situation, who finds out she is pregnant. This book talks about the very complicated relationship between sufferer and their body and mind; doing it in such an incredible way. Hedda is a complicated young lady, who suddenly becomes thrust into a life she doesn’t want – she has a reliance on her eating disorder for control – but has to live it regardless. She has to learn to eat, she has to learn how to be a healthy body for the sake of her baby. She struggles and her struggle is so brilliantly written, it seems authentic. You’re also introduced to Robin – Hedda’s neighbour. I have a complicated relationship with Robin. You’ll see why when you read. He’s like that unreliable narrator that people are never sure how to react to. Her relationship with her body, for a time changes for the sake of her baby, but once the baby comes is that the way that it is going to stay?

I was hesitant to read this book at first. Books centred around eating disorders walk a fine line and there are so many which are not written with enough care, that it makes them tough to read. I never felt that through this book. I had enough knowledge about what was going that I didn’t feel like it was about an ED, it was about living and coping and adapting to life with an ED. The one thing that stood out to me was that there was never numbers in this book. There was never the mention of sizes or weights. Just that she was struggling with an eating disorder. 

I won’t spoil this any more than I already have, but the ending absolutely killed me. You’ve read this, watched this incredible young lady struggle with her mind, her body and her emotions for the past 9 months and then she has to then become a mam. She has to become the person this baby relies upon and she finds it hard. Very hard. The last page broke my heart. 

Have you read Countless?
What did you think of it?
Can you recommend any books similar to this?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter!

S x

BOOKBLOG: Matt Haig

Reasons To Stay Alive: honest, important, emotive.

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“WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FEEL TRULY ALIVE?

Aged 24, Matt Haig’s world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how he came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again.

A moving, funny and joyous exploration of how to live better, love better and feel more alive, Reasons to Stay Alive is more than a memoir. It is a book about making the most of your time on earth.

‘I wrote this book because the oldest clichés remain the truest. Time heals. The bottom of the valley never provides the clearest view. The tunnel does have light at the end of it, even if we haven’t been able to see it . . . Words, just sometimes, really can set you free.'”

Reasons to Stay Alive has been sat on my TBR shelf for a while. I’m not a massive reader of NF but there were lots of people talking about this book a while back, so I bought it but it just stayed on my shelf. Until just recently. I needed something a little bit different. I needed something that would hopefully inspire something in me. 

I loved Matt’s sheer frank honesty. There’s no skirting over issues. There’s frank honesty. There’s stories and anecdotes from his toughest times. There’s uplifting stories. There’s conversations he has with himself. There’s flashbacks to his darkest times. There’s the story of the start of it all. Throughout all of it, there’s honesty.

Mental health is something that is becoming more talked about but still not talked about ENOUGH. This book was brave and brilliant. Written in such a way that I devoured it in less than a day. It’s an emotional rollercoaster. I cried. I was angry. Frustrated. Sad. Jubilant. I felt everything. 

There are so many important quotes in this book that I feel I could spend a blog post quoting but I’ll choose a few:

“Hang on in if you can. Life is always worth it”
““Wherever you are, at any moment, try and find something beautiful. A face, a line out of a poem, the clouds out of a window, some graffiti, a wind farm. Beauty cleans the mind.”
“Sit down. Lie down. Be still. Do nothing. Observe. Listen to your mind. Let it do what it does without judging it. Let it go, like the Snow Queen in Frozen.”

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I implore everyone to read this. Even if you don’t suffer from any MH troubles, it’ll open your eyes to those who do. You will know someone who is suffering, possibly in silence. 

My goodreads review simply said:
“It’s important that people talk about mental health and it’s important for people to know that not everyone suffers the same way. I loved this book. I cried a lot.”

Have you read this?
Do you have other NF recommendations like this?

Let me know on twitter (@eenalol) or in the comments, I need more NF in my life!

S x

BOOKBLOG: Piers Torday

There May Be A Castle: adventure filled, emotional and eerie.

“Eleven-year-old Mouse is travelling to see his grandparents on Christmas Eve with his mother and two sisters. But it’s snowing, and visibility is bad, and the car goes off the road, and crashes. Mouse is thrown from the car. 
When he wakes, he’s not in his world any more. He meets a sheep named Bar, who can only say Baaa, and a sarcastic horse named Nonky, who is a surprising mix of his beloved toy horse and his older sister.
So begins a quest to find a castle in a world of wonder – a world of monsters, minstrels, dangerous knights and mysterious wizards; a world of terrifying danger but also more excitement than Mouse has ever known. 
But why are they looking for a castle? As the cold grows, we realise it might just have something to do with the family he’s left behind; and that Mouse’s quest is more important than ever. 
This is a novel about love and death. It’s about the power of stories to change the way we view the world – and it’s about the power of a child to change their own world. Emotionally arresting but ultimately uplifting, this is a remarkable novel for our times.”

There May Be A Castle was sent to me by my lovely friend Grace and it’s been sat on my shelf for a while, but I needed some kids lit to read during SundayYAthon and I knew that this was just the right time to read There May Be A Castle and I did not regret it!

It’s the heartbreaking story about Mouse and his family. They’re on their way to visit their grandparents for Christmas. Mouse hates Christmas. He’s not in the mood to go to his grandparents. He doesn’t want his presents. He just wants to stay at home and play with his things at home. Despite all this he gets in the car with his mum and his 2 sisters, and his pet horse Nonky and they drive to their grandparents house. The weather is so bad that they crash. What follows is an incredible journey of Mouse’s to help his family and his sister’s to try to help Mouse. 

Initially Mouse irritated me, but I definitely grew to like him. He was bold but naive. He showed great determination. He has an incredible imagination. He’s resilient and strong. Nonky was a brilliant addition to the story for me. I LOVED the sarcastic, almost sardonic humour which he brings to the story. He made me laugh out loud at points. Mouse’s older sister Violet is portrayed as a brilliant big sister and caring youngster that I think lots of books are missing. She’s brave and very self-motivated. She shows fear but fights through it. Her brilliant imagination, like her brother’s, helps her to fight through some pretty horrible things. 

This book deals with some pretty heavy topics: death, love, friendship, love, family, fear and understanding. Piers Torday has written it with some tact and brilliance that I felt challenged but looked after throughout the book. The issues are dealt with care and they’re so brilliantly written that kids won’t be intimidated or frightened by them. I cried at the end. The ending is heart-breaking, but honest

I would totally recommend this for Year 6/7 classes. I’d love to see it in class libraries or school libraries. I really loved it. 

Have you read There May Be A Castle?
How did you feel at the end?
What did you think of the characters? 

S x

April Books

It’s that time again, April has come and gone! This year is flying by! We’re in the final term… (as a teacher, I count my life in terms ha! This means I have only 1 term until I start training… this makes me wanna vomit. We will get to that in a future blog post!) We have another round up and an update on my 2017 challenge!

April was a BUSY book month! 

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This was part of my TBR:

Also added to this list:SOGI

There was a wonderful mix of some MG books and a lot of YA books and some non-fiction in there too! If there isn’t a review currently up for the book there will be one coming up in the coming weeks! I also read some picture books this week, but I (controversially) don’t count them towards my book count of the year! This stack ended up lookin so healthy because of SundayYAthon @ Easter which I managed to devour about 5 books, alongside 2 train journeys to London to meet my lovely friend Kelly! Find out about my SundayYAthon reads here: SundayYAthon at Easter!

Shout out to Grandad’s Secret Giant by David Litchfield though… incredible picture book! (BOOKBLOG: David LitchfieldIMG_4370

This year I pledged to read 52 books. I committed myself to that on Goodreads and so I have to do it. I refuse to fail now! That’s 4 a month, that’s good going! So far I have read:

25/52 books

Apparently, that’s 9 ahead of schedule! I started Countless this morning and I’d like to get that finished today, which would mean I’m HALF WAY through my challenge and it’s only been 4 months. That would be something else!

What did I buy/acquire?

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  • Mad Girl – Bryony Gordon
  • The Stars at Oktober Bend – Glenda Millard
  • Chasing the Stars – Malorie Blackman
  • Anna and the Swallow Man – Gavriel Savit 
  • Radio Silence – Alice Oseman (my gorgeous Rachel sent me this!)
  • Super Awkward – Beth Garrod
  • Wintersong – S. Jae Jones (my lovely friend Kelly sent me this!)
  • The Fallen Children – David Owen
  • I Have No Secrets – Penny Joelson

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  • Doing It – Hannah Witton
  • The Cows – Dawn O’Porter
  • Happy Mum, Happy Baby – Giovanna Fletcher (my lush cousin Kate sent this to me to borrow. I’m not a mam but I love Gi and Tom)
  • The Adventures of Owl and the Pussycat (keep your eyes peeled this coming Sunday! I’m involved in the blog tour for this!)
  • Grandad’s Secret Giant – David Litchfield (I have read this, so it should be in my other pile but I did acquire it this month, the lovely publishers sent me a copy and I am so gratefuk… see my review here: BOOKBLOG: David Litchfield)
  • The Covers of this Book are Too Far Apart – Vivian French and Nigel Baines. 
  • Beards from Outer Space – Gareth P Jones (the amazing publishers sent me this this month too! It’s currently in school!)
  • Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink – Jennifer Killick (I am very lucky that the author sent me this! Taking it into school telling the kids it came from the author made it so special!)

Wow. I acquired a lot of books this month. Sorry bank balance.

So that’s it for April. It’s been a joy reading this month. I read some absolutely incredible books and I am looking forward to seeing what May has in store for me! More tears, laughter and incredible books I am sure of it!

What did you read in April?
Have you read any of the books on my list?
What was your favourite book of the month?
How are you doing with your challenge?

I’d love to hear from you all! Leave me a comment or speak to me on twitter (@eenalol) I’m always open to talk! 

S x

SundayYAthon at Easter!

This Easter weekend was my 2nd (maybe 3rd?) time of joining in a SundayYAthon and I loved it!

For those of you who don’t know, #SundayYA is a chat that happens every Sunday between 6 and 7pm and I love it. We’ve had all sorts of chats over the past few weeks and it’s ran by my gorgeous friend Rachel (who blogs at 100 or less and tweets at @_sectumsemprah). SundayYAthon is a chance for anyone to sign up and do a mega readathon for a certain amount of days; this was was Thursday to Easter Monday. Generally there’s a pledge to read a certain books but this time round it was just read as many as you could! #SundayYA and the YAthons are always open to everyone so keep an eye on twitter for the next one and come along to #SundayYA on Sunday, 6-7… be there or be square.

So what did you read? I hear you say… well let me get to it!!

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There you have it! My visual READ pile over the weekend. I was pretty chuffed with the books I managed to read, there are reviews for all of them coming up but I thought I would share a snippet of each review in this post!

Orangeboy: Patrice Lawrence – hard hitting, tense and tough. I really enjoyed Orangeboy as much as someone reading a book so tense humanly can do. It’s all about what can happen if you get caught up with the wrong people. Wrong person, wrong time. Poor Marlon. 

Winterkill: Kate A Boorman – you’ll find my review already up on the blog! Head over to BOOKBLOG: KATE A BOORMAN to check it out. It’s certainly a great little read, I am looking forward to the second two!

Unconventional:Maggie Harcourt – Maggie was a guest at #SundayYA a while back and I hadn’t got round to reading Unconventional by then but as the chat went on I knew I had to read it. My lovely book fairy sent it to me and I am so glad. It’s a lovely story. I smiled the whole way through. I can’t wait for you to see my full review. I really enjoyed this!

The Names They Gave Us: Emery Lord – (released July) I was sent this by the lovely people at Bloomsbury and I absolutely adored it. It broke my heart. I completely adore the characters, the story is incredible, the writing style is just brilliant. Review to come in the next few weeks! 

So that’s my wrap up! I absolutely loved all of the books I read. I was so impressed I read so many too… I didn’t expect to read so many! (Technically only had HALF of Orangeboy to read, but shhhh, don’t tell anyone!!)

Now to share some of the other SundayYAthon’ers wrap up posts!

  • Cora read some wonderful books, her first was the book that I’m currently reading!
  • Jess  had a wonderful pile and got through a lot of books!
  • Sarah managed to get through 1600 pages! Check out the books she read!

Absolutely loved sharing the bookish joy with the girls in the group too! We had a twitter DM group going and it was great to keep motivations going!

Thank you Rach for such a wonderful reading experience! And for helping my TBR pile!

Have you ever joined in a readathon?
Do you enjoy them?
Would you be interested in joining in #SundayYA? I’d love to see you!

S x

BOOKBLOG: KATE A BOORMAN

Winterkill: seductive, nervy and enthralling.IMG_4357

Friday saw the start of the #SundayYAthon… where we have to read as many books as we can in a weekend! I was travelling to London to meet a pocket friend of mine (see: amazing online friend) and was reading Orangeboy on the way down (as book 1 of #SundayYAthon) but finished it by the time I got to London so naturally I needed to buy a new book. When we were in Waterstones Piccadilly I was picking up books, obv this is me, and needed another book to read and had already picked up a book for BOGOHP so needed another! I couldn’t find one but having scoured I came across this one. It was the blurb that sold me.

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“Where Emmeline lives, you cannot love and you cannot leave
The Council’s rules are strict, but they’re for the good of the settlement in which Emmeline lives. Everyone knows there is nothing but danger the other side of the Wall, and the community must prepare for the freezing winterkill that comes every year. But Emmeline struggles to be obedient under the Council’s suffocating embrace – especially when she discovers that a Council leader intends to snatch her hand in marriage. Then Emmeline begins to hear the call of the trees beyond the Wall”

I was initially intrigued by the settlement aspect of this book, that this girl lived in a settlement and was very segregated from the rest of the world – this kind of thing really appeals to me, not sure why! That was the thing that drew me to it. The disobedience of teenagedom. The Council, who I guessed were in charge. The council leader who wanted to marry her. I wanted to know more and I am so glad I picked it up because I was NOT disappointed.

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This book tells the tale of Emmeline (Em for short) and her life in the settlement. What she does, how she exists, what her life is like there. She’s different from the rest of her townsfolk though. She’s ‘Wayward’ – she breaks the rules, she questions the Council, she doesn’t follow their every saying. The people of the settlement are led to believe in the 3 virtues: Honesty, Courage and Discovery. The people have to do things which abide by these virtues, otherwise their actions are seen as ‘Wayward’ and are punished. Generally punished with doing the “Watch”. Obviously Em is a rule breaker, she makes mistakes and ends up being on “Watch” – she has to watch over the outskirts of the fortification and make sure the “malmaci” (the bad people) aren’t coming after her town. The story goes on from there and there are twists and turns aplenty. More people who seem to be following the way of the Council but who in their own ways aren’t. They don’t follow. They are Wayward but know how to get away with it. I loved the idea of this. The writing was brilliant too. I devoured it in about a day. The plot was so brilliant weaved, with some interesting turns and holes that I didn’t see coming but that when it got to the end I was like “WELL OBVIOUSLY”. Brilliance I say.

The characters of this book were the things I feel most in love with. Em, the main character, is a girl who is curious, she’s interested in knowing more, she wants to know more. She’s “Stained” because of something her grandmother allegedly did years before and she is defined in some ways by her stain – she thinks that’s all people see of her and in some respects, to some of the people in the settlement it is. Alongside Em you meet her lovely best friend Tom. He’s her calm, he is very much a rule abider, he doesn’t like that Em is so willing to be Wayward, to act in such meaningless ways. He likes to stay on the right side of the law. But he very much respects and sees Em for who she is, his best friend. He does things throughout the book that surprised me, but that made me like him even more. In contrast to Tom we meet Kane. Bold, shaved head, strong, works in the kitchens Kane. He’s a thinker, like Em. He’s not afraid to bend rules. There’s a spark between him and Em. Tom and Kane are like chalk and cheese but both have Em as their main thought. I liked Kane. I trusted him instantly. In this book trust is an important thing and he was definitely one I trusted straight away… not like Brother Stockham. I was NOT a fan. He’s smarmy, creepy and just a bit obscure. He grew on me at one point, I thought he was something that he really isn’t. There’s something misunderstood about him, there’s something redeeming to him but he’s not one I knew I liked, nor trusted. He’s a Council leader and I just didn’t like him. He has ulterior motives. There’s also Brother Jameson who I strongly disliked. He’s a man after power. There’s some brilliant characters like Andre, who had my heart. I loved him. He’s definitely one that I knew Em could trust for there aren’t many!

I loved the random interjections of French in this book too. They came very unexpectedly to but I ended up grasping and gripped and wanting more French. As a languages teacher it was lovely to see a language in a book! It kept my brain ticking over.

I can’t wait to read the next 2 now! I’ll definitely be getting them and reading them in the next few weeks!

Have you guys read this?
What do you think?
Have you any recommendations of books like this?
Cult/settlements with rebellious teens. I love them!

Let me know in the comments below or on twitter (@eenalol) I always want book recommendations!!

S x

BOOKBLOG: Rachael Lucas

The State of Grace: moving, insightful and wonderful.

“Sometimes I feel like everyone else was handed a copy of the rules for life and mine got lost.
Grace has Asperger’s and her own way of looking at the world. She’s got a horse and a best friend who understand her, and that’s pretty much all she needs. But when Grace kisses Gabe and things start to change at home, the world doesn’t make much sense to her any more. Suddenly everything threatens to fall apart, and it’s up to Grace to fix it on her own.”

The State of Grace is the tale of Grace, a girl with autism who is living her life like every other teenage girl. She has to fight with everything that comes with being a teenager: moods, friends, boys, love, loss as well as feeling like she’s an outsider, she hasn’t been given the rule book, she’s missing out on some big “life secret”. The “How To Life” book. We’ve all been teenagers, we’ve all experienced the things Grace is having to experience but seeing it through her eyes was something else. 

I really liked Grace. There was part of me I saw in Grace. I sometimes feel like she feels throughout the book. Imagine if there was a “How To Life” book. I would sign up so hard for that. I know Grace would too. Reading her mishaps, watching her unfold the way she does, being privy to the things she does was SO HARD. I just wanted to hug her, tell her it would be OK. Telling her not to throw her phone away, that being filled with self doubt was something A LOT of people feel. I wanted to be Grace’s friend. I wanted to help. I hated seeing her in her down moments but so proud of her in her high points. She’s likeable, she’s not a fool. She’s human. I loved that about her. I loved that she was relatable. HOWEVER I did not like Eve. When y’all meet Eve please tell me. At first I thought Eve was up to something dodgy. I even texted my friend Rachel (who was further ahead of me) but she helped to abate my suspicions. Eve was SO hard to get past. However, there are Eves in the world who want what Eve wants. People change, priorities change… some people don’t, some people keep their same mindset throughout their life. 

(I feel I have done this book NO justice whatsoever… I just loved it).

I thought I’d share some links to some other incredible bloggers so you can see better worded reviews! 

If you have a review then share it with me… 

Have you read The State of Grace?
Is it on your TBR? Cause if so, bump it up!

S x

BOOKBLOG: Kiran Milwood Hargrave

The Island At The End of Everything: heartbreaking, touching and inspiring.

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“Amihan lives on Culion Island, where some of the inhabitants – including her mother – have leprosy. Ami loves her home – with its blue seas and lush forests, Culion is all she has ever known. But the arrival of malicious government official Mr Zamora changes her world forever: islanders untouched by sickness are forced to leave. Banished across the sea, she’s desperate to return, and finds a strange and fragile hope in a colony of butterflies. Can they lead her home before it’s too late?”

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Written by the incredible Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize winner Kiran Millwood Hargrave, The Island At The End of Everything is everything I was missing since reading The Girl of Ink and Stars. (See: Bookblog: Kiran Milwood-Hargrave for my feelings on The Giel of Ink and Stars, in whcih I do it no justice at all. It’s incredible though, believe me. Please buy it). 

The Island at the End of Everything (I’ll call it The Island in this blog for brevity) is an incredible tale about strength, bravery and overcoming evil. It’s a tale of a young girl called Ami who lives on an island where “touched” people live – the touched are those who are sick. The touched live along those who are healthy quite happily, until one day. One day Mr Zamora comes along and he wants to change all of that. The book tells the tale of Ami’s journey away from her home, her mother, her friends, her island family and what happens when she is released into the “safe” and “clean” world. The story captured my imagination so brilliantly. The butterfly metaphor was so important to the story. Ami and Mr Zamora may not have gotten along but she respects his brilliance. 

I loved Ami. She was ballsy. She loves her mother. She’s loyal. She’s adventurous but doubting. She’s unsure but determined. She makes mistakes. She definitely has a mind of her own. She’s shy, timid but at other times brazen. Ami at the end of the book is the Ami that I wanted. Her Nanay (her mother) filled my heart with such joy. Their relationship spoke to me. Nanay is brave, realistic and reasonable. She’s what you expect of a mother. She wants the best for Ami. She knows that it’s not going to be easy, but she wants the best life for her daughter. I despised Mr Zamora. I felt sorry for him. I wanted to punch him. He has a terrible attitude to the children and the residents of Culion. He is pretty mean. He’s troubled by his own mind and his own obsessions. He’s one of those incredibly necessary but horrid evils that incredible books have. 

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The way this is book is written is so exquisite. There are some absolutely majestic descriptive passages. You feel like you’re in the book: alongside Ami, fighting along with her, making mistakes with her. I got lost in the world of Ami. I devoured the words, the pages, the descriptions in a few hours. Much like The Girl of Ink and Stars, you want to know what is coming next. It’s enthralling, captures your attention and stunning. 

This is going to be one of those books I will have as a staple for teaching. It hits on so many important subjects: segregation (I’ve only read a little bit with my Y4 kids and we have talked, debated and discussed the segregation issue in this book), friendship, right and wrong, death. Every KS2 classroom should have a copy of this. All teachers need to read this, all libraries need this. Kids need to be able to access incredible literature like this. It’s one of those special books that kids need. I know if I was a kid today I would be DYING to get my hands on this. So please, teachers, go out and read this (while you’re at it, read GOIAS too!) and then pass it on to your kids if you can.

Thank you so much Jazz at Chicken House for sending me a copy of this!

Have you read this?
Let me know in the comments below. I need to talk about this book!

S x

BOOKBLOG: ALICE BROADWAY

Ink: beautifully written story about the importance of how we remember people.

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“Every action, every deed, every significant moment is tattooed on your skin for ever. When Leora’s father dies, she is determined to see her father remembered forever. She knows he deserves to have all his tattoos removed and made into a Skin Book to stand as a record of his good life. But when she discovers that his ink has been edited and his book is incomplete, she wonders whether she ever knew him at all.”

Ink tells the story of Leora, who lives in a society where your ink is your life. Your ink tells the story of your life: the good, the bad and the ugly. Your ink is the thing you are judged on when you die. Your ink tells your story. Your family get to keep your ‘skin book’ when you’ve been ‘judged’. You’re judged by your ink. 

As you can well imagine when Leora’s dad dies she wants him to be justly remembered and she wishes to have his skin book, just as the rest of her ancestors have. They have their skin books on display in the houses. The skin books are read and it’s the way you remember those who have passed. Unfortunately Leora’s dad’s book isn’t as simply delivered, this isn’t a normal case. His book isn’t complete, his book isn’t true to him. His book has been changed. Leora wants justice. She just wants to be allowed to remember her dad. She misses him. She loves him. His ink should show he’s a good man, right?

I loved this story. I loved the idea that your ink, your skin tell your story. Essentially those of us who are inked that is what we are doing. We tell our story through our ink. But what if our ink had more of a meaning? What if our ink was the thing people judged us by? Throughout the story you are exposed to the importance of people’s ink to their living memory. It is very much impressed on you that the ink is the important thing. People were not allowed to be remembered if their ink didn’t reflect a good life. Imagine that? Not only that but there’s the Blanks to contend with. People without ink. Rebels. Outcasts. Shunned away from Leora’s city for not conforming. Blanks become pretty important in Leora’s life. 

I loved the characters. I instantly took a liking to Leora. She seemed gutsy and likeable. She wasn’t naive. She knew what she wanted. She had internal conflicts. She doubted. She questioned. She pushed. But she knew where to stop. She has a complicated relationship with her mam. I really enjoyed watching this relationship go from cold, to trusting, to deception. Secrets always make a story more interesting. Big secrets, the one that Leora’s mam is hiding changes everything. Leora’s best friend shows beautiful loyalty and conflict so well. Do what’s right or do what benefits your friends? An important dilemma that I think everyone goes through at some point. You come across characters who’ll make you angry, characters who make you question everything. Characters who reassure you that appearances are deceptive, in a good way. I despised the Mayor. When you meet him you’ll find out why. Repugnant man.

The one thing that stands out to me throughout my whole reading was this concept of “remembering people”. In the book Leora is only allowed to remember people who have been judged as good people, but surely everyone is remembered in some way? You can’t forget someone just because they’re “bad”. I loved this concept. Remember people who are no longer here however you wish. People make an imprint on your lives for a reason. People deserve to remembered in any way you wish to remember them. 

My goodreads review of Ink read:

“Incredibly woven with narrative interspersed with fairy tales. A beautiful story about the power of remembering people as they are or as they were. Should we only remember their good? Should we be judged? The ending is something special indeed.”

Thank you so much Scholastic for sending me a copy! 

Have you read Ink?
What did you think of it? 

I’d love to know your thoughts! Let me know in the comments below or on twitter (@eenalol)

S x

Challenge Update & TBR

In 2017 I challenged myself to read 52 books (1 per week!).
Totally doable.
So far I’m on track! 

I’m up to 16/52 and it’s almost Easter half term (I’ll be spending lots of half term writing my dissertation BUT I will make time for reading, I’m taking part in the #SundayYAathon for Easter, so I’ll have to read!). I’m not counting picture books in this count – if I were I would probably have smashed my target by now… I am a sucker for picture books! 

So far in 2017 I have read…

2017 books 1

2017 books 2

As you can see there’s a whole range of books!

So far some highlights have been:

  • The Scarecrow Queen – Melinda Salisbury. An absolutely perfect way to end such an incredibly trilogy. I implore you all to read The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy if you haven’t already! 
  • Traitor to the Throne – Alwyn Hamilton. Brilliant to see such a strong second book in which I love the main character and her love interest. A brilliant story in a brilliant trilogy (I can’t wait for the 3rd book next year!)
  • Who Let The Gods Out – Maz Evans. A brilliantly written, funny and riveting read for kids. I have so much good to say about this book. I can’t wait to see what comes next! The next book is out in August and I am getting impatient.
  • Paper Butterflies – Lisa Heathfield. Heartbreaking, jarring and beautiful. It totally broke my heart and pieced it back together. 

That’s what I’ve read so far, but April has a LONG LIST of books to be read. I have neglected my Netgalley shelves of late so I will be giving them a good go over this month!

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This is my pile of April TBR. There’s 3 books on my kindle screaming to be read. I am currently reading ‘The State of Grace‘ by Rachael Lucas and I am loving it! 7 books is ambitious but I am a girl who likes to aim high!!

How are you doing with your challenges this year? 
How many books have you read?
Which have been your favourites?
What’s on your TBR for April?

I’d love to hear from you! Let me know in the comments or over on twitter (@eenalol).

S x