BOOK BLOG: April Tucholke

The Boneless Mercies: a beautifully brilliant book!

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“Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are Boneless Mercies – death-traders, hired to kill quickly, quietly and mercifully. It is a job for women, and women only. Men will not do this sad, dark work. Frey has no family, no home, no fortune, and yet her blood sings a song of glory. So when she hears of a monster slaughtering men, women, and children in a northern jarldom, she decides this the Mercies’ one chance to change their fate. But glory comes at a price …”

ANY book that has this gorgeous a cover is SURE to catch my eye. Just look at that turquoise, the black and the foil… and yes, that gold is metallic and shiny (my picture just does it NO justice at all). I had high hopes for a book with such an incredible cover, and my gosh, this book did not disappoint. 

The Boneless Mercies tells the tale of Frey, her friends and a journey through some wicked and wild enemies. Frey and her friends are Boneless Mercies – young women who are hired by people to do mercy killings for anyone who can pay. None of these girls fell into being a Mercy on purpose, they all became mercies because of the way their lives fell into place. No matter though, they are frightfully loyal to each other and there is an awful lot of love between them. I think they friendship might be one of the things I loved most about this book… their unrelenting loyalty and love for each other. We all need friends like that. 

There’s some BRILLIANT themes of life and death in this story. The way that death is approached in this story was fascinating to read. There’s no glorification of death, but a gentle acceptance of it and a giving of death. I loved the girls’ dedication to their jobs, even when they don’t want to do that job anymore. 

Another thing I love SO MUCH about books is the incorporation of folk stories and myths (I know, what a surprise, I’ve definitely typed that sentence before) and this book doesn’t shy away from it. There’s a lovely sense of storytelling in this story. “Storytelling can keep you warm on the coldest of nights” (that’s not a direct quote, but it’s paraphrasing a quote!) You see the girls’ lives and the lives of the ones they meet through their storytelling, and it made me feel like I was sat by a fire, listening. This is the perfect book to read while sitting next to a fire… just incase you want a recommendation! 

I have to take a very little moment here to write a little appreciation for Trigve here. I don’t wanna give any spoilers, but guys. I think he’s just wonderful. If there is to be a book 2, I need my shipper heart to be happy, thanks! 

I’m not gonna lie, yes, there was a bit when I cried (again, no one will be shocked by this!). This book made me 100% invested in these girls’ lives, and I needed them all to keep powering on, keep surviving. Cause I tell you now… I WOULD NOT. In the cold and the snow and the outside all the time? NO THANKS. 

If you, like me, are a lover of books with BRILLIANT characters, some incredible storytelling and set in an intriguing world, then this is 100% the book for you! GO GO GO FRIENDS.

My Goodreads review:

A brilliantly written book with characters I absolutely adored. There was so much in this that I need time to process it. Badass characters, a sense of mythology and an interesting world. I REALLY hope there’s going to be a second one.

Have you read The Boneless Mercies?
Do you think you’d be a good Mercy killer?
RECOMMEND ME BOOKS LIKE THIS PLZ. Thanks.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments, because I need to know if ANYONE ELSE was with me on the Trigve thing. I love him. A massive thank you to Olivia at Simon and Schuster for senging me this book! I wholeheartely loved it! 

S x 

 

Mini reviews: London edition

Last week, I was very lucky to spend time in London with one of my favourite humans in the world, Kelly. While we were in London, we spent much time reading, drinking tea and having a lovely relaxing time – perfect for bookworms like us! 

I thought I’d share mini reviews from the 6 books I managed to read in the 4 days I was away. I love a mini review – bitesize bookish love is always good! 

Book 1:
The Light Between Worlds – Laura Weymouth
Released November 1st from Chicken House

(proof cover!)

I absolutely adored this story – it was pretty unique. There was lots of juxtaposition in this book – the harshness of war vs the freedom of the forest, a need to be in the moment vs a want to be elsehwere – which made for brilliant reading. I adored Ev’s friends and family and I genuinely felt their love for her, but she frustrated me at times. There’s a lot of emotions explored in this book, and there’s some dark themes explored. 

Book 2:
Mr Lemoncello’s Great Library Race – Chris Grabenstein

Again, this was one that I thought was just wonderful. It was good for my brain to go from something quite dark to this library based caper. It is such fun! I would love to visit Mr. Lemoncello’s library and take part in his fun games. I hadn’t read the first 2 of these books before this one, but that didn’t spoil it whatsoever (I have since bought book 1 and 2!). This book is all about sharing the love of libraries, making friends and the power of the truth. I can’t wait to recommend this to the kids at school!

Book 3:
Oliver and the Seawigs – Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

I actually managed to pick this up from Oxfam Book Shop and it’s a good job too, because I finished Mr. Lemoncello quickly so needed a back up book to read! This is a funny, irreverent adventure with a young boy who makes friends with a mermaid and an island (I know right?!) and they have to fight off some baddies. I really enjoyed it, it’ll fit perfectly in our school library! I’d love to pick up more from these authors!

Book 4: 
More Happy Than Not – Adam Silvera

(yes that is more tea!)

When I finished this book I was very much not ok. I’ve been in Aaron’s shoes – wanting to be someone I’m not. I’m so sad for him. I can’t imagine going through what he ends up going through. This book is littered with love and the struggle with accepting who you are. Even now thinking back to this book, I am so sad for him. This book is one I would recommend EVERYONE READS. It is HEARTBREAKING. I didn’t see the twist coming, it shocked me. Adam Silvera continues to write incredible books. 

Book 5: 
Leah on the Offbeat – Becky Albertalli

(hey look at that guys, more tea!)

OH LEAH. I really wanted to love this. Don’t get me wrong, I did really enjoy it. There’s just things about it that frustrate me. I didn’t ship it, which as a serial shipper is a MASSIVE surprise to me, so it made it hard for me to get fully into. Having read Simon, I wanted to just swoon over everything, and I didn’t. I would recommend this book though, it is good. I think there’s a bit of me in Leah and there’s some of Leah’s personality I don’t like… so yeah. I have complex emotions about this book. 

Book 6:
The Friendship Fails of Emma Nash – Chloe Seagar

Friendship Fails of Emma Nash

This made me chuckle a lot. It’s funny and relatable. There were many moments where I cackled out loud. This is a book that teenagers will love. It’s well worth a read if you want something witty. Emma Nash goes through a LOT. 

So there you have it! My mini London reading haul!

Have you read any of these books?
Do you have thoughts about Leah that we can talk about?
Does Adam Silvera continue to break your heart too?

Lets talk!

S x

Take a trip to 7 Stories

This past weekend, I was invited to speak at a Youth Libraries Group event hosted at 7 Stories and as part of the event we were allowed to have a look around 7 Stories at the exhibitions on show. So during lunchtime, I tottled off down the stairs and had a look at 2 of the exhibitions that are currently housed at 7 Stories.

If you’re not familiar with what 7 Stories is, you can check out their website here. It is full of useful information!

First up, I went to the Comics exhibition and it made my heart very happy!

From their website, it gives this information about the Comics exhibition:
“Seven Stories has gathered together an eclectic mix of original comic art to impress and inspire all comics’ fans. See Desperate Dan and Dennis the Menace as they were drawn in the 1940s and 50s; find old friends like Oor Wullie, Minnie the Minx and Roy of the Rovers; imagine yourself on an adventure with Dan Dare from The Eagle. 
The exhibition features Captain America, Wonder Woman, Superman and Hulk as drawn by British artist Ian Churchill. Ian works for Marvel and DC Comics, America’s largest comic corporations.
Current British comics creators like Kate Brown, Jamie Smart and Laura Ellen Anderson have prepared storyboards, sketches and 3D models to lend to the exhibition as well as giving Seven Stories’ visitors unique insight into their creative processes.”

Then I went to the Time To Get Up exhibition, which is all about giving children stories for all times of the day and different parts of life. Information on the website says:
“The first few years of a child’s life are full of new experiences, and a lot of new routine. From getting up to going to bed, reading books together can offer reassurance and encouragement whilst sharing books can also make the everyday exciting! Time to Get Up is packed full of wonderful stories all about day to day activities. With old favourites and new titles, and amazing artwork by super-talented illustrators, get ready to look, talk, play and read together!
For the first time, we are using an entirely unique display method inspired by touch and feel boards. This enables children to explore new and exciting ways of engaging directly with the exhibition’s artwork. Young explorers can see, touch, smell and hear their way through a variety of sensory activities, all linked to the exciting new experiences and routines that every young child enjoys.  
Time to Get Up features two brand new, specially designed Sensory Backpacks, complete with a beautiful, interactive blanket, a book and a selection of sensory props to help young ones explore the exhibition. Our newest Sensory explorer Backpacks will cover two featured books from the exhibition, ‘Snug’ by Carol Thompson and ‘Me and My Dad’ by Robin Shaw.”

Both of the exhibitions were gorgeous and super inviting! I will be looking at visiting with my family in the coming weeks!

Check out the 7 Stories website for more details of events and exhibitions to come… I in particular like the sound of ‘Winged Tales of the North’.

S x

#EasterReadathon round up

During Easter weekend, the brilliant Kate (of Reading Through Infinity fame) was hosting the #EasterReadathon. I don’t know if I ever officially signed up… I didn’t have a TBR. I’m very much a mood reader. However… I had a VERY productive #EasterReadathon, so I thought I would share the books I read with their synopsis and short thoughts about the books! Full reviews will come in time, do not fear guys. 

During #EasterReadathon I managed to read 7 books. 7 books in 4 days is not bad going!

Book 1
The Company of Eight – Harriet Whitehorn 

(left: my proof copy/right: finished cover)

“When Ravellous’s Circus Ship comes to Minaris, Cass is determined to audition despite her guardian Mrs Potts’s disapproval. But when her chance is snatched away from her, Cass refuses to give up. She sets out to follow the Circus Ship and the journey leads her into dangers that challenge even her adventurous spirit. Will she succeed in following her dream, or is her destiny something altogether different?”

I really enjoyed this. It was fast paced and full of danger and peril. The main character was really likeable, I want to be her friend! The language was beautifully rich. I want to join the company! Sword fighting and badass women? SIGN ME UP. Thank you so much Stripes for my proof copy!

Book 2
Spark – Alice Broadway

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“Leora is reeling: questioning everything she has ever known about her family and herself. As half-Marked and half-Blank, can she ever wholly belong in either fractured community? Mayor Longsight wants to use her as a weapon: to infiltrate Featherstone, home of the Blanks, and deliver them to him for obliteration. Leora longs for answers about her mysterious birth mother, and Featherstone may reveal them. But will she find solace and safety there or a viper’s nest of suspicion and secrets?”

Man. I have COMPLEX emotions about this book. I love Leora so much. I just can’t process how I feel about this book yet. A full review of this is to come because I can’t put into words how much I loved it. The story telling, the world building, the interwoven fairytales (comnpare these to Ink and your brain will explode). It’s just majestic. I love Alice so much. I can’t wait for book 3 of this trilogy… I only have to wait a year!

Book 3
The Storm Keeper’s Island – Catherine Doyle

(left: my proof copy/right: finished cover)

“Fionn Boyle and his older sister Tara have been sent to stay with their grandfather on the remote island of Arranmore for the summer. Though Fionn has never met his grandfather before – an eccentric old man who lives in a tiny cottage filled to the brim with candles – he knows he comes from a long line of brave lifeboat men, who wear the sea behind their eyes. Fionn is scared of the sea. He has no interest in adventure or shipwrecks or the restless wind that rustles through the island, as though in search of something. But an old magic is stirring deep inside the layers of Arranmore, and it is calling out to Fionn.”

This book is INCREDIBLE. I read it in a matter of hours. I just adored it. Fionn is a remarkable young man – his progression from scared young man, to quite a brave and bold man is wonderful. The magic, the island, the mystical nature of the situation, the relationships with his family. I can’t wait for this to come out (July, I believe!) and everyone to experience this wonderousness. (A full review will come closer to release!) Thank you so much to Kids Bloomsbury for my proof! 

Book 4
Skylarks – Karen Gregory

“When she was little, Joni used to have dreams that she could fly. But these days her feet are firmly on the ground – they have to be when money’s tight and her dad can’t work and the whole family has to pull together to keep afloat. Then she meets Annabel. Annabel is everything Joni isn’t, and yet there’s a spark between them. Though Joni barely believes it at first, she thinks they might be falling in love. But when Annabel’s parents find out about the relationship, it’s clear they believe there are some differences that are impossible to overcome…”

This was an interesting one! I absolutely ADORED Countless by Karen Gregory (even now it makes me blub thinking about it!) and was looking forward to this! Skylarks explores social class, injustice and the power of money. It’s refreshing to read something where the person is a little bit more real. It packs a punch too. I love the Cooper family a lot. Thank you so much to Kids Bloomsbury for my proof!

Book 5
The Buried Crown – Ally Sherrick

“It’s World War Two and Britain is on the brink of invasion. Londoner George has been sent to live in in the countryside while his brother and guardian, Charlie, fights overseas. But the war is closer than he thinks. An ancient burial ground nearby contains a priceless treasure, a magical Anglo-Saxon crown Hitler is desperate to possess. Alongside Kitty, the granddaughter of a Jewish archaeologist, George must find and protect the crown from the Nazi invaders before it’s too late…”

This was a SURPRISE entry. The lovelies of Chicken House sent it over to me and the gold made me pick it up. AND MY WORD, WHAT A BOOK. I absolutely adored it. It was full of adventure. I’m a sucker for a WW2 book, so this was RIGHT UP MY ALLEY. A brave young man protecting something unique from the hands of Hitler himself? YES PLZ. Memorable characters and a brilliant plot – watch out for a full review coming up!

Book 6
Me Mam. Me Dad. Me

“Danny’s mam has a new boyfriend. Initially, all is good – Callum seems nice enough, and Danny can’t deny he’s got a cool set up; big house, fast car, massive TV, and Mam seems to really like him. But cracks begin to show, and they’re not the sort that can be easily repaired. As Danny witnesses Mam suffer and Callum spiral out of control he goes in search of his dad. The Dad he’s never met.”

I don’t want to say too much about this because I have a blog post coming up about it, but I need to tell you guys how much I loved it. Look, I’m a Geordie. There are VERY FEW books set in Geordieland. To read a book written by a Geordie, set in Geordieland, with a LIKEABLE Geordie main character is a rare occurance for me. This story had my guts in knots for 99% of the time. I love Danny. So much. Thank you so much Head of Zeus for sending this to me. It’s made an imprint in my heart.

Book 7
Max the Detective Cat: The Disappearing Diva

“Max, chief mouse-hunter at the Theatre Royal, is up to his whiskers in his first mystery! Max is a pampered cat, used to the finer things in life, until a fun mouse chase goes badly wrong and he finds himself scruffy and alone and hiding out at the Theatre Royal. It’s here that Max takes on his first case as a detective cat, when he notices that famous singer Madame Emerald is acting strangely. Why is her maid so terrified? And what kind of singer doesn’t like to sing in public? Soon Max is trapped in a complicated web of crime, dashing round dancers’ legs and over the rooftops of London in a race to catch a clever thief…”

The lovely Nosy Crow gang sent me this book and it was a properly fun caper. It gave me such Aristocat vibes too, in the very best way. I really enjoyed it. Super readable and interesting. The illustrations were great too! A detective cat, living in a theatre, foiling a theft? Yes please! 

And there you have it! My haul of #EasterReadathon books! I don’t always get through 7 books in one weekend, I’ll have you know! It’s a testament to how brilliant these books were that I got through them all! Thanks so much Kate for hosting! 

Did you join in #EasterReadathon?
How many books do you reckon you could get through in a weekend?
Are there any on this list you’ve read, or would like to read?

Speak to me! Comment me, tweet me! 

S x

BOOKBLOG: Melinda Salisbury

HAPPY PUBLICATION DAY TO THE ABSOLUTELY MAGNIFICENT ‘STATE OF SORROW’.

You really thought you could get away from me? You really think I wouldn’t celebrate this majestic day with some kind of State of Sorrow appreciation post? 

Today, I will share my review with you. There will be more State of Sorrow themed posts coming in the next few days. I am not sorry at all. 

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State of Sorrow: delicious, deceptive, daring

A people cowed by grief and darkness.
A cut-throat race for power and victory.
A girl with everything and nothing to lose…

Sorrow all but rules the Court of Tears, in a land gripped by perpetual grief, forever mourning her brother who died just days before Sorrow was born. By day she governs in place of her father, by night she seeks secret solace in the arms of the boy she’s loved since childhood. But when her brother is seemingly found alive, and intent on taking control, Sorrow has to choose whether to step aside for a stranger who might not be who he claims to be, or embark on a power struggle for a position she never really wanted.”

Hello. My name is Steph and Melinda Salisbury is my absolute queen.
(I feel like I open all of my Melinda Salisbury blog posts like that, but it’s true.)

So, I went into reading State of Sorrow ignoring the blurb. I won’t lie. I am a bit of a blurb ignorer. I’d read the sampler for State of Sorrow, which I got at YALC, a few months ago and I knew I was in for another absolute barrage of emotions, badass brilliant characters, an evil villain and a whole load of incredible world building. AND I WAS ALL ABOUT IT. There’s a MASSIVE surprise with her brother, which I did not see coming. I DID NOT KNOW IT WOULD HAPPEN, I HAD IGNORED THIS (it’s on the blurb/synopsis apparently). Therefore when I read I WAS THE MOST SURPRISED. It was like BAM KABLAM. SLAP IN THE FACE BRILLIANT. Like, I wasn’t expecting it. But my gosh was it brilliant.

So, Sorrow. She’s a brilliant young woman. She’s unwillingly doing a job her father should be – ruling a land that are in constant mourning for a brother lost years before. She’s living in the shadow of his sadness. She’s in love with a young man she can’t really be seen with. She’s fighting losing battles against people she can’t influence. Her father is pretty useless, with a venomous man whispering in his ear. Sorrow just wants it to be time when she’s finally in control, so she can get rid of the venomous letch. Speaking of our friend, the venomous letch. He’s POISON. He’s the thing Mel does so well. She does wily, deceptive, sly characters brilliantly. They’re just there weaving their wily little plans. They’re plotting and scheming all the way through. He made me uncomfortable, but in that very excellent way that good baddies do. He’s like a sly fox.Doing dirty deeds all over, poisoning minds. 

OK, so there are more characters than this in State of Sorrow. There’s a brilliant character who all the way through I was like “YES I LOVE YOU, TEAM YOU” and then they do something bad and my reaction to this was nothing short of “WHAT ARE YOU DOING NO WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU”. There may be some redemption though. I’m not saying for definite. Sorrow has some brilliant friends too. Irris is pretty special. I really quite liked her. 

Mel writes incredible characters. 
Mel writes incredible plots.
Mel writes incredible emotions. 
Mel writes incredible worlds.

There’s this remarkable sense of BEING in the book. The world is built so incredibly well around you that you’re immersed entirely in this world of a mournful world: the castles, the lands, the sorrow, the monotony. You can’t NOT be there. The lands have history, they have meaning, they make sense. There’s always something magical and slightly mysterious going on. From incredible expanses of land, the small cottages, to freezing cold rivers…it all fits in this magical land where sorrow rules. 

WHILE YOU’RE STILL HERE… canwe just talk about emotions?If you’re reading a Melinda Salisbury book I can guarantee that your emotions will not be in tact by the end of your stay. Your heart will be stood on, repaired and then stood on again. There’s sheer disbelief; there’s contempt; there’s love and lust; there’s belief and disbelief and there’s this incredible sense of belonging. We’re all going through these emotions together. We are all shocked. There’s a lot of YES SORROW going on. You can’t NOT root for her. You can’t NOT want her to succeed. You can’t NOT be appalled at the behaviour of some of the characters. You can’t NOT be sad. There’s this incredible balance of being looked after, being secure and them BAM NOTHING IS THE SAME. I’m a massive fan of this. If you’ve read The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy you’ll know what I mean.

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Look at my happy little face. This was me reading State of Sorrow in Starbucks. Thanks @kellysrambles for the picture!

Are you still here?Excellent, I have more to tell you. I hope you’re enjoying this review. It may be my longest review to date. I don’t apologise for this. State of Sorrow is totally worth it. 

So what have I told you about so far? Sorrow, some other characters, worldbuilding, emotions. What else? SO MUCH. Oh yes… plot.

As I’ve said, I was OBLIVIOUS to one of the plot twists (which the blurb gives away, I was just oblivious to this), however State of Sorrow does not just have ONE plot twist there are SO SO MANY that it’s exceptional. The pace of this book is brilliant. You get comfy in one little plot line and BAM there’s a change. Some of the twists are just little, a bump in the road and then there’s others that just hit you hard on the head and spin your world upside down. The way this story is woven together is exceptional. (I don’t have enough superlatives for this book). Everything fits. It’s tantalisingly good. The ending will make you go NO DON’T END THERE. PLEASE DON’T END THERE. 

I can’t believe we’re being made to wait for more. I can’t wait for more. 

My goodreads review reads:

If it was possible to give a book more than 5 stars I would. This book is delicious, deceptive and daring. I absolutely love Sorrow and everything she stands for. There are more twists and turns in this book than I can count. I can’t explain how brilliant this plot, this world, these characters (you’ll love some, hate others), this story weaving is. Just incredible. I can’t WAIT for the next one. The ending of this is TANTALISING. I NEED MORE NOW.

If you want a story that will take you to an incredible new land with sibling rivalry, brilliant characters and an exceptional plot then PLEASE check out State of Sorrow. I was very lucky to be sent a copy and I am so grateful. Thanks, Mel!

Thank you for getting to the end of my review. If you made it this far I owe you a sticker. Please let me know in the comments if you got this far. 

S x

BOOKBLOG: Stephen King

The Eyes of the Dragon: brilliantly enthralling story perfect for YA lovers!

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“A fantasy of heroic adventure, set in the kingdom of Delain. It involves a king who is poisoned, a young and beautiful queen, a prince locked in a high tower while his younger brother assumes the throne, and an evil magician who harbours terrible secrets and malevolent plans.”

Once in a while, your friends come along and recommend a book to you that you think “there is no way I’m going to enjoy that, I would never read anything by him, he’s not my type” and then BAM you’re hit in the face by an incredible book like this. I had my doubts, but I was instantly hooked. (For another book I had that exact same feeling for… go check out Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer. Absolutely incredible)

The gorgeous people over at @WaterstonesUxbr (Waterstones Uxbridge) recommended it to me and I am SO GLAD. They’re lovely over there, go give them a follow! Pester them for book recommendations. 

I was sceptical about this because I read a LOT of YA and Stephen King doesn’t scream YA to me, but I was told to give it a shot. It’s written in a very YA way – long before YA was even a thing! Never before has a book been so hit on the head in such a way.

In a nutshell, The Eyes of the Dragon is the story of a prince who is framed for a murder he didn’t commit, an evil advisor to the king and a king who’s too young and naive to tell the truth. I LOVED IT. SO MUCH. 

It’s so clever, so well woven. I didn’t want to stop reading it. It just worked, so beautifully. It’s storytelling at its absolute best. 

If you’re a fan of worlds with magic, evilness and incredible characters then I totally will make you read this!

Have you read this?
Have you read any Stephen King books?
Are there any books you look at and think ‘oh no, that’s not for me‘ but then read it and loved it?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter!! 

S x

p.s. this review has done this book no justice whatsoever, just read it then we can talk about how clever Peter is, how stupid Thomas is, how evil Flagg is and how bloody incredible this book is!

BOOKBLOG: Penny Joelson

I Have No Secrets: a slow burn, but shines bright by the end.

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“Jemma knows who did the murder. She knows because he told her. And she can’t tell anyone.

Fourteen-year-old Jemma has severe cerebral palsy. Unable to communicate or move, she relies on her family and carer for everything. She has a sharp brain and inquisitive nature, and knows all sorts of things about everyone. But when she is confronted with this terrible secret, she is utterly powerless to do anything. Though that might be about to change…”

I had seen this book floating around on twitter for a while and it appealed to me. I didn’t know much about it at the time which I bought it. The cover was simple and endearing. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself in for to be honest. I struggled at first. There were times I wanted to throw this book at my wall and be done with it – it was a very slow burn, but I persevered… I like to think that there aren’t many books I DNF. 

Jemma is a young girl with cerebal palsy and she can not communicate with anyone around her. She is just an observer in life. She finds out people’s secrets; they share things with her because they know she can’t pass them on; she knows things and sees things that possibly wouldn’t be given to her if she were able to communicate. She finds out something terrible – someone commits a murder and she can’t help. It frustrates her to no end. It frustrated me. There were times I just wanted her to be able to communicate somehow. I think this is why eventually the book became a quick burn to me – something changes and this changes the book entirely. 

This book is filled with characters I really liked, and characters I hated. I loved Jemma’s family dynamic. There’s some complicated relationships going on but her family I really liked. It’s a diverse family with some strong personalities. I really liked Sarah. She was everything which is good in the world to me. She looks after Jemma like a friend, sees her as a person. Yes she does some questionable things, but knows that Jemma is important. There is one character who I utterly despised. I don’t often dislike characters that much, but him, I really did. I won’t spoil anything, but if you read it and figure out who then please share your thoughts with me

Have you read I Have No Secrets?
What did you think of the premise and the characters?
How would you feel if you couldn’t communicate?

Let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@eenalol).

S x

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: Maggie Harcourt

Unconventional: funny, nerdy and witty.

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“Lexi Angelo has grown up helping her dad with his events business. She likes to stay behind the scenes, planning and organizing…until author Aidan Green – messy haired and annoyingly arrogant – arrives unannounced at the first event of the year. Then Lexi’s life is thrown into disarray.

In a flurry of late-night conversations, mixed messages and butterflies, Lexi discovers that some things can’t be planned. Things like falling in love..”

Unconventional is one of those books that you come across every now and again that you just read with a smile. I read it quickly and read it with a smile on my face most of the way through. It’s not often that I get to do that (if anyone has recommendations of books that made their hearts happy like this I would love to know them!) so it was refreshingly lovely! 

This book tells the story of Lexi, who works with her dad who runs conventions. It takes you through her life running conventionsthe mishaps, the people, the miscellaneous jobs – and her life dealing with her mum who lives in France and her dad who’s marrying a new womanbalancing college life and working life when suddenly a new boy sneaks along in her life who she initially doesn’t trust but then things change.

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I just have to say how lovely this book was. The whole thing made me happy, I loved the characters. Lexi was just the right balance of nerdy, teenage and dedicated to her job that I really liked. I totally fell for Aidan too. I didn’t trust him at first, your first impression of him is somewhat askew because of how you’re introduced to him… but he definitely grew on me. But then he “does” something shocking. Lexi’s friends were lovely too. They definitely made me laugh on occasion! Teenage friendships when they’re written well are some of my favourites!

Besides making me smile an awful lot, Unconventional made me even more excited for YALC. Bring on July!

Do you have any recommendations of other books that will make me smile?
I need more!!

S x

3 stars and above, please

Welcome to guest blog number 2, this time coming from my wonderful friend Kelly – This Northern Gal (her details are at the bottom of this blog post!).

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I’m not a very good book-worm, or book-blogger for that matter. I think Shakespeare is kind of over rated, and way too overvalued in English schooling. I don’t have much time for Austen. My bookcases aren’t picture perfect and my collection is spread between houses. I tend not to have all the latest books, nor the prettiest editions.

Worse than that though, I only share positive reviews on my blog.

In part, that is because I have always wanted This Northern Gal to be a positive place, where I share the things I have been loving and that have been making me happy. That ethos continues to the books that I choose to share there. If I love a book, I want to write about it in the hopes that someone else will love it too. I’ve found that to be slightly more effective than babbling incoherently and thrusting my favourite books at confounded friends.

But more than that, it’s due to a much bigger decision to avoid reading books that I don’t enjoy in my free time.

You see, I read a lot of books. A LOT. I’m four years into a degree in Classical Studies and English which means that I’m constantly carrying books and trying to deny how long my to-be-read list is. At its worst, I was expected to work on three novels a week, as well as critical reading, and you know, sleeping. Anna Karenina and Great Expectations were among the lists too, if that helps you feel bad for me.

It’s calmed down a little now but not by much. So, to save my love of reading from total annihilation I promised myself that I don’t have to read any books that I don’t want to in my free time. If I’m not into it in the first 25% of it, I stop.

Some, that I think I could enjoy but are too much of a challenging read for right now, are added to my post-graduation list. Anything too dense or too long is reserved for that glorious time of unemployment. As is the entire Harry Potter series because I have been waiting a long, long time to re-read that.

Only books that I am enjoying make it to my blog because they are the books that I spend my time reading.

The kind of books that I read has also changed during my degree. My love for fantasy has increased, and I’ve been really enjoying short stories and poetry at the moment. Books that make a delightful treat after a long day of studying or working are on my agenda and therefore my blog.  I no longer feel guilty about that, about not ticking every box that comes with the title of ‘book worm’, ‘book blogger’ or even ‘literature student’. Why should I?

I might not have a very balanced blog, or read the books that I should but I do love to read. Surely that’s what matters. Especially if it gives me a chance to natter about books with other literary lovers.

 If that makes me a bad book blogger, then I’ll wear that badge with pride.

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I think the message that Kelly is getting across is SO important here and it’s one that I stand by firmly. There are books that I read that I don;t particularly enjoy but I would never put a negative review on my blog. I want this blog, just as Kelly wants hers, to be a place of positivity. Books are one of the things that I love most about the world and about my little world. I have all the time in the world for supporting incredible authors and their incredible stories. I’ll always be honest, I’ll always tell you my real thoughts about a book but I would hate to think that people thought of A Little But A Lot as a negative place. 

If you’d like to follow Kelly (and I suggest that would be a wise move on your part) you’ll find her:
Twitter

Youtube

Instagram

This Northern Gal blog

Thank you so much Kelly for this wonderful message,

S x