Remix – Non Pratt

“It’s not unusual to wake up to at least two or three messages sent by my best friend during the hours all the normal people use for sleeping – today there are fourteen. 

Should I bother taking wellies with me? Sent at 00.23, which is technically the day we’re leaving for the festival. I’m not surprised – Ruby isn’t so much last minute as last nanosecond. 

Decided against the wellies. They make you sweaty. Sweat foot vs trench foot. 

Not that I’m hoping for trench foot. I just googled it. Gross.

She’s embellished this with a particularly helpful (disturbing) picture of a rotting foot.”

When Kaz and Ruby set off to Remix festival they expect to have the time of their lives. Both are getting over their exes and have a lot going on. Remix was a plan to take their mind off things, and live for the moment. But when you need to take your mind off certain boys and they turn up in the same field as you it’s harder than you think. Tensions are created but it’s not just the boys that Ruby and Kaz have to blame as their friendship is tested to the limits. 

***

I adored Non Pratt’s first book and had high expectations for Remix. It involves boys, best friends and bands, some of the things I love the most. Thankfully Remix didn’t disappoint and I was sucked into the festival atmosphere very quickly!

The story of Remix is told from alternating perspectives with Ruby and Kaz both telling their story. This really helped in the grand scheme of things because it gave both sides of the story and you saw where they were both going wrong and how to be perfectly honest, they were their own worst enemies! I loved the idea of the story before I read it and while it was a little slow to take off for me I did end up really enjoying see the characters grow.

I think the characters, and most specifically Ruby, are easy to dislike at first. Ruby seems very nonchalant and has too much of a ‘I don’t give a shit attitude’ but you soon realise that really she’s as worried about everything as everyone else is and I actually really related to her. In fact I’m kinda worried that Non Pratt stole the diary I kept as a 16 year old because it’s scary how alike me and Ruby were!

I did really enjoy Remix, Non Pratt has continued writing in a very relatable way with an honest view towards sex. I thought the beginning of the book was a little tiny bit slow and it took me a while to really sink my teeth into Remix but I did really enjoy it. I hoped there would be more of a reaction to one thing that happened but I think all of the characters were where I wanted them to be by the end of the book.

Remix was published by Walker Books on June 4th 2015. My copy was sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
 
To buy the book or for more info please visit:  
Amazon | Hive | Goodreads | Author Website

1 Comment

Filed under Book Review

Guess How Much I Love You – Sam McBratney & Anita Jeram

I don’t know what was read to me as a child but I’m fairly certain that there were books that were definitely missing from my collection. Guess How Much I love You is one such book. I would have been six when it came out and yes it wasn’t as huge and successful as it is now straight away but my mum or dad should have known that it was needed in my life!

When I found out I had my own Little Nutbrown Hare on the way I wanted to make sure I had the classic picture books from my childhood and others that I’d heard about since in her library. Guess How Much I Love You was not only bought for this purpose but also to make for a brilliant prop in one of my maternity photoshoot pictures!

Having utilised it at the photoshoot I chose one particularly rubbish Sunday afternoon when Spike wouldn’t settle to crack the spine and read this book for the first time. She wasn’t particularly interested because lets face it at three weeks old she cant see the awesome pictures but I think she enjoyed listening to my voice while I read it. It settled her quickly and she was almost asleep by the end of it!

As for me I really enjoyed my first read of this book. I knew it was considered something special and from the merchandise I knew that it had something to do with the moon by the end but I didn’t know at all what the story was and I loved sharing the first read of it with my little girl who I do love so much.

I can understand why this book has become such a huge success and I know its one that will be well worn by the time Spike starts school. I’m glad I bought it in a board book format so the pages wont get as ruined!!

Guess How Much I Love You was published by Walker Books in 1994. My copy was purchased online..
 
To buy the book or for more info please visit:  
Amazon | Hive | Goodreads | Book Website 

1 Comment

Filed under Book Review

What’s been happening with Readaraptor

spike-readaraptorSo as you will have noticed Readaraptor has been a bit quiet lately. Many readers who follow me on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram will know why this is but I just wanted to share a quick post about whats been happening and why I haven’t been around.

Obviously I made an announcement last November in my ‘No Books Allowed’ post that I was expecting a mini Readaraptor. Spike decided she would be ridiculously late so I got a fair bit of reading in while I was on maternity leave waiting for her but not as much as I wanted because I was so tired. I managed some reviews in the run up to Spike’s arrival but none to be scheduled once she arrived!

The last review that went up was actually on the day I went into hospital to be induced. Spike arrived two days later (more of that will be coming on my parenting blog, if you are interested in that!) and although I read a little in the hospital, I didn’t get any decent reading done. Since then (which was 7 weeks ago now) I’ve only managed to read two books. One of them was “Guess how much I love You” which I read to Spike and the other was Non Pratt’s Remix which I only read this week. Reviews of those will be coming soon and I am hoping now that Spike is kind of settled into more of a routine and I’ve gotten used to living on the minimal sleep I get, that I will be reading more now.

From now on I will be aiming for a post once every two weeks and at the end of this month I will be posting about the book I’ve received in the lull and saying a huge thank you to the publishers. If I don’t manage the one post every two weeks though I hope that some readers will still come back to read what I do manage to post and I thank all of you for reading this and my blog in general.

1 Comment

Filed under Book Review

The Tales of Beedle The Bard – JK Rowling

The Tales of Beedle The Bard - JK RowlingOver the years the Tales of Beedle the Bard have been told to children across the wizarding world. In this collection Hermione Grainger has translated the original tales from their runes into modern english for mugs and wizards alike to enjoy. Accompanied by notes about each story found in Albus Dumbledores collection of scholarly artefacts following his death, the tales are elaborated on, the morals within them mused about and little snippet of information at Hogwarts revealed. 

***

It is time I actually confess that regardless of the fact I’ve been a huge harry potter fan for years, my collection of The Tales of Beedle the Bard – the original release of the book, in hardback form which Bloomsbury released in 2008 and I bought straight away – has gone unread. I’m not quite sure why I never opened the collection, I knew I wanted to read them and I knew that it contained the story of The Three Brothers which is mentioned within the Harry Potter books, but I just never got round to it, until now.

Thankfully in my bid to take my mind off the fact that I still (after 10 days past my due date) don’t have a child to read bedtime stories to, I decided I needed a Harry Potter world fix. I knew it would capture me in the way I needed to be captured but none of the novels were jumping out at me, so I decided to read the ‘Tales’. I am so glad I did because I immediately apparated back into the world and found myself loving the stories, Dumbledore’s notes and JK Rowling’s footnotes. In addition there are illustrations that JK Rowling has drawn and added to the collection which brought the stories to life and I found them to be fantastic accompaniments to the stories themselves.

There are five stories within the Tales of Beedle the Bard collection and whilst The Three Brothers will be the most well known because of the Deathly Hallows novel, I think I found a favourite in Babbitty Rabbity and her Cackling Stump. Each of the stories have strong moral lessons within them, very much like the ‘muggle’ fairytales I was aware of when I was a little kid, and I loved that about them because of the idea created that wizard kids and muggle kids aren’t all that different after all. I loved Babbitty Rabbitty because of its moral story and because of the old washerwoman and her ways.

The notes from Dumbledore are brilliant too because they reminded me about how these stories fit into the world of Harry Potter as we know and love it from the novels, revealing little insider information about Hogwarts and the arguments that come up surrounding the purity of wizard blood. They provided a bit of background to JK Rowling’s literary universe that you wont get without scrolling through the thousands of hours worth of pages in Pottermore, and reminded me just how much work she must have put in to creating the world that so many people now love.

I am sad that I left it so long to read these stories and I will definitely not make that mistake again. In addition to this edition of the collection I have the ‘Hogwarts Library’ containing a second edition of this book, Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them which have also been left unread for far too long. With the Fantastic Beats movie due out next year I was planning on reading that at some point anyway but now I think I’ll be reading it sooner!

The Tales of Beedle the Bard was first published in 2008 by Bloomsbury in conjunction with The Children’s High Level Group.
 
To buy the book or for more info please visit:  
Amazon | Hive | Goodreads | Author Website

Leave a Comment

Filed under Book Review

Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls – Lynn Weingarten

Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls - Lynn Weingarten “I’d forgotten what it was like to be that alone. 

For the ten days of winter break, I drove. I made my way past the crumbling houses in my neighbourhood, the mansions a few miles away, out toward the hills and then back again through stretches of cold, flat land. Up and down the Schuylkill River and up and down the Delaware. I cranked the radio and sang loud. I needed to hear a live human voice, and I was my own best hope.”

When June hears that her ex-best friend, Delia, has killed herself by setting fire to her stepfathers shed something doesn’t feel right. Especially as Delia tried to call her just before it happens, and the Delia she knew wasn’t likely to chose that method of suicide. Things really heat up for June when she discovers that Delia’s boyfriend, Jeramiah, thinks theres something not right too. June is determined to find out the truth, but some learns that it is more complicated that she could ever have imagined. 

***

I love dark YA books…. and I love it more when they really catch me off guard like Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls did.

This book was actually mindblowing, but not until it needed to be. I thought I knew exactly where it was going for about a third of the way through it. I thought I knew what the twist would be and how things would turn out. I was COMPLETELY wrong. It went off in a direction I didn’t expect at all, but I loved, and then continued to surprise me until the very last page.

I really would love to write this review without spoiling anything but its pretty much impossible so stop reading now if you don’t want to know anything. I am not going to actually discuss any of the plot but I am going to share my feelings upon completing the book and that means I will talk about the ending… not what happens but it might be more than you want to know… just a warning.

There is something frustrating about ambiguous endings to books for some people. I’ve often had discussions with other readers and I have found they are like marmite – you either love them or you hate them. I love them, however I don’t think I’ve ever come across one that blew me away more than this book did. I was let unsure whether the ending was fantastic, or just completely messed-up and I am happy to say now I’ve had time to process it, that I think it was fantastic. I loved what the author did and I loved how it blew me away.

I  think this book was let down by its length to be honest and I have seen other reviews which suggest that it could have done without the flashback chapters it contains… to be honest I agree, I think those chapters could have been delivered in other ways and not as many of the flashbacks were needed to completely understand June and Delia’s relationship. I think without them the book would have been shorter and to be honest it would have grabbed me a lot sooner than it did. With them it wasn’t until about half way through the book that I was moved to not wanting to put it down and begging to find out what happened next.

I would definitely recommend this book, though it is dark and covers some ‘older YA’ topics. Its quite graphic when it comes to sex, which I don’t have a problem with but I know some people do, and it contains more than a few swears , but lets face it, that all probably made me love it more!

Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls will be released on July 2nd by Electric Monkey. My copy was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
 
To buy the book or for more info please visit:  
Amazon | Hive | Goodreads | Author Website

Leave a Comment

Filed under Book Review

Shut Out – Kody Keplinger

Shut Out - Kody Keplinger “There is nothing more humiliating than being topless in the backseat of your boyfriend’s car when someone decides to throw an egg at the windshield. 

Wait. Scratch that. 

Having your boyfriend jump off you, climb out of the car and chase after the guy, completely forgetting that you’re still half-naked – that trumps it.”

Lissa is sick of the rivalry that is rife between the football players and the soccer players at Hamilton High. She is sick of being forgotten by boyfriend Randy whenever theres a scheme in play between the teams and all the girlfriends want it to stop. So Lissa rallies them together and calls for a sex strike. The boys don’t get any action until the two teams make their peace; what none of them expect is the girls-against-boys rivalry that then picks up pace, and Lissa herself finds it harder to compete than she ever expected to. 

***

This was my third Kody Keplinger, having read and loved both The Duff and A Midsummer’s Nightmare. Unfortunately, it was also my least favourite, taking me forever to read and really not hitting any of the high points that the other books did.

The book really actually annoyed me so this review will be short and not so sweet I’m afraid. I disliked the main character, hated her boyfriend, didn’t like the love-triangle and thought that whilst the story did a brilliant job of showing the differing attitudes towards sex and making a point of the fact that people shouldn’t be made fun of for the way they approach sex, it really didn’t hit the nail on the head as much as I had hoped.

I am a massive fan of people having their own approach to sex. I think its ridiculous that a girl is called a whore or slut for sleeping with, or even flirting with, a lot of guys  – especially as its never the same for guys who do the same to lots of girls. And that really stuck out in this book so I liked that. But it didn’t go far enough. All the girls kind of realised that it wasn’t right to take the piss out of others for their approach to sex and found out that really it isn’t as big a deal as they think it is if their opinion is different to others’ but it was then kinda forgotten about and I got bored with the story unfortunately.

I think the only character I actually liked the Lissa’s best friend Chloe because she was the one who I identified with the most, but even then I didn’t love her and all the other character just kinda bugged me. I very much doubt this will be on my recommendation pile at any point in the future but it hasn’t put me off the author and I’m hoping the next book I read by her will grab me like the other two did.

Shut Out was published by Hodder Children’s Books in June 2014. My copy was sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
 
To buy the book or for more info please visit:  
Amazon | Hive | Goodreads | Author Website

Leave a Comment

Filed under Book Review

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians (Alcatraz #1) – Brandon Sanderson

“I am not a good person.

Oh, I know what the stories say about me. They call me Oculator Dramatus, Hero, Saviour of the Twelve Kingdoms… Those, however, are just rumours. Some are exaggerations; many are outright lies. The truth is far less impressive.

When Mr. Bagsworth first came to me, suggesting that I write my autobiography, I was hesitant. However, I soon realised that this was the perfect opportunity to explain myself to the public.”  

n to next. Alcatraz Smedry doesn’t seem destined for anything other than destruction, and he certainly has no reason to believe that getting kicked out of his latest foster home the day after his 13th birthday will be any different to getting kicked out of all the others. However Alcatraz doesn’t realise that the strange box that turned up on his birthday, with nothing but a note of gobbledegook and a bag of sand inside, was special. Or that he is also special, and that there’s a cult of evil librarians who want that sand more than he could ever understand. With the help of a grandfather who he never knew about Alcatraz must begin his real destiny and defeat the evil librarians to see where to turn next.

***

Brandon Sanderson, as I understand it, is a massive name in fantasy fiction. I believe he is associated more with adult books rather than YA but a few years ago I was offered an omnibus called The Complete Alcatraz and agreed because I was promise talking dinosaurs and adventure beyond belief. I definitely got it!

The shear size of The Complete Alcatraz has put me off reading it since it landed with a thud on my doorstep back in 2012. I finally decided its taking too much space on my shelf and that I would read it whilst on my maternity leave recently. The Complete Alcatraz has all four books in the series in one neat package and I’ve decided (mainly because I have so far only read one) to review them as separate entities as I would a series.

The first book in the Alcatraz Series, Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians, was brilliant and did a fantastic job of introducing the character and his family, who he didn’t even know existed. It introduced a writing style that you don’t often see in YA literature which includes the narrator – Alcatraz himself – break through and directly speak to the reader a lot. It includes an author’s note which really intrigued me as soon as I read it and I really was hooked on the book from the first page.

Saying that it took me a while to read the book. I honestly wasn’t prepared for the level of fantasy because of what it sounded like and the level of foreshadowing in the book. I found myself having to go back and reading over parts of the book again because I felt like I had missed something, or I knew I had missed something and wanted to check to see what it was. There was a lot of referrals to things which were completely unusual for ‘our’ world which took some explaining and often because they were things that were very similar but slightly different I had to take time to process them differently to what I knew them to be. The style of writing was so unused what I am used to reading that it slowed things down too but I actually really loved it at the same time.

The Complete Alcatraz by Brandon SandersonIt was a story of good versus evil and I loved every part of it. The fantasy world blended into the world I know so well made the book so interesting to read and the talking dinosaurs really hit things off for me. I’d say that a high level reader in the middle grade age range would love this book a lot – but as The Complete Alcatraz is so huge, it is now only available as an ebook so buy the separate books if you want them in paper form!

The Complete Alcatraz was published in September 2012 by Gollancz, an Orion Books imprint. My copy was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
 
To buy the book or for more info please visit:  
Amazon | Hive | Goodreads | Author Website

Leave a Comment

Filed under Book Review

Pop! – Catherine Bruton

Pop! by Catherine Bruton“Rules of Talent TV No: 1: Come up with a great story

I’ve always been good at making up stories. I get it from me mam. She reckons the more outrageous you make a story the more likely people are to believe it – and she’s had plenty of practice at telling whoppers, so she should know.”

The factory workers are on strike. For Elfie’s family – who’s dad laughed the strike – that means no money and her mum can’t cope with that so she’s out. For Jimmy’s family it means no money, and with his swimming training it means more pressure so that he can gain sponsorship. Money isn’t what makes the world go round but the lack of it can cause serious issues for the two of them/ So Elfie comes up with a plan – what better way to make money fast than enter into the local tv talent show?! Only issue is, they have no talents. Thats where Agnes comes in. Lets hope Elfies plan of getting on TV and sharing their back story with the nation works, and doesn’t cause more tears, tragedy and broken homes than have been caused already. 

***

Pop! is the story of ambition, family, friendship and a plan so huge it could change everything. It was an interesting story right from the start and I have to say I’ve read very little like it before!

I’ve been a fan of the author of Pop!, Catherine Bruton, since I read her first Egmont book, We Can Be Heroes. Since then I have also read her latest book I predict a Riot but something stopped me from reading Pop! and I think it was the idea of a TV Talent show. I have reality TV and you wouldn’t catch me dead watching X Factor or American Idol, I couldn’t think of anything worse. But thankfully once I started reading Pop! I knew it was about so much more than that and the talent show barely really starred in the book at all.

The book was heart felt, just like Catherine Bruton’s other books. It was full of emotion and I enjoyed getting to know the characters a lot. I think it was probably the weakest of the three by Bruton that I have read but considering I really loved the other two, this had a lot to live up to! I loved that the book was separated into narratives by the three main characters Elfie, Jimmy and Agnes because in all honesty a book fully narrated by Elfie would have just been too much, you needed the others to balance things out a little! I also loved what it showed the reader about living in situations like the characters were and I loved that you had the three sides of the argument so to speak. Ellie’s dad is the one in charge of a strike which was caused by the factory he works at employing contractors from abroad, Agnes’ dad is one of those contractors, and Jimmy’s dad is a factory worker who agrees with the strike but is having a hard time carrying it out because he knows whats best for his family is him actually earning money.

The characters were all completely different and I liked that it was easy to tell who was who. I never had to remind myself about which character was meant to be narrating and although Agnes didn’t narrate much, she was a pivotal part of the story. Ellie was certainly the character who stood out the most, had the most interesting back story and was honestly the star of the show. I didn’t like her much as she seemed to brash and in your face, I would have actually hated knowing her! However you could kinda tell through Jimmy especially that a lot of that was just show and I really enjoyed getting to know her through his eyes more than her own narration to be honest.

Pop! was long, and it could have been a bit shorter if I’m totally honest. It took me a while to get into and I really thought I was going to give up on it at one point. Its worth sticking with through to the end though because the conclusion was brilliant, and I really enjoyed how the characters developed. I probably wouldn’t read it again unlike Catherine Bruton’s other books but I probably  would recommend it to anyone who has dreams of reality tv!

Pop! was published in June 2012 by Egmont. My copy was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
 
To buy the book or for more info please visit:  
Amazon | Hive | Goodreads | Author Website

Leave a Comment

Filed under Book Review

One – Sarah Crossan

“Here 

                     We Are. 

And we are living. 

Isn’t that amazing?

How we manage
to be
at all.”

When Tippi and Graces parents tell them they can no longer be homeschooled the twins are horrified. They can’t begin to even process the idea of going to school, starting in a new place at 16 years old. Regardless of the fact its been a daily occurrence for their sister Dragon all her life, the twins have been saved from it because it was thought they would be stared and sneered at. For Tippi and Grace are not your usual twins, they are conjoined and whats in store for them might be the hardest thing they have ever done, but they have to try – because school might be whats needed, and it might lead to a decision that could change their lives more than they could ever imagine. 

Having been a massive fan of Sarah Crossan’s other verse novels I knew as soon as I heard about One that I would have to read it. I knew before I even knew what it was about that the author would put so much passion and love into the book and I knew I would not be disappointed.

Thankfully I was right and as soon as I started reading the book I struggled to put it down. Its heart warming, gut-wrenching and covers a topic I have never seen before in YA literature. Its about a set of conjoined twins who are going through a massive change in their lives, but its about more than that, its also about a family who have other struggles and a relationship that may not be possible. Its about identity and about the possibility that sometimes, just occasionally, you are who you are because of someone else – and there’s nothing you can do about that.

Its a beautiful book, just like I knew it would be. Sarah Crossan always amazes me because I always forget how much emotion she can put into so few words. There were pages in this book that made me cry yet they only had a couple of lines of text on them.

This book is actually exactly what Bloomsbury’s proof claims it to be – the one book to read this summer – and think it would take a lot for someone not to love it. I adored every second, even when the characters were being awful and when there were things happening that I knew I didn’t want to happen. Its hard to talk about it in depth because I don’t want to give too much of the story away but its definitely on my top recommendations of 2015 list!

One will be published by Bloomsbury on August 27th 2015. My copy was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
 
To buy the book or for more info please visit:  
Amazon | Hive | Goodreads | Author Website

Leave a Comment

Filed under Book Review

Read Me Like A Book – Liz Kessler

“Where’s your best friend when you need her? 

I mean, seriously. 

It’s Saturday night and here I am in Luke’s front room with his sister, Zoe, and a bunch of his mates, listening to a rock band blaring about how we’re all going to die, and watching a couple of lads do something that I think is intended to be dancing but looks more like they’re being slowly electrocuted. 

Oh, and did I mention? It’s my birthday.” 

Ash’s 17th year is meant to be full of fun and laughter before she has to think about what the future holds and what to do with her life. But nothing is ever that simple, is it? Not when her parents aren’t talking and her best friends gone off in a huff, and she’s fallen in love of the intense, heart-racing, all consuming emotion kind. She needs someone to talk to about that, but its hard, because whilst first love is often like that, and you often find that your loved one feels the same, Ash doesn’t have that. No, because its not Dylan, Ash’s amazing, good looking, boyfriend who is making her feel that way. It’s Miss Murray – her English teacher! 

***

I’ve heard great things about Liz Kessler in the past, and have met her at one or two events I’ve been to as a book blogger. I have never, until now, picked up one of her books though, and I’m not 100% sure why. However Read Me Like A Book isn’t like her other books, that I know for sure, and whilst I bet they are equally as good; the subject matter and the characters in this book will probably make me favour it for quite some time!

I loved this book, I think its one of only three books I’ve given five stars to this year so far, and it really does deserve it. The story is brilliant because yes, the whole realising you’re gay thing has been done before in YA, but I don’t think its ever been like this, not any that I can remember reading anyway. I mean at the start of the book the idea was crazy for Ash, and because the events take place over a year, I actually enjoyed seeing Ash realise it and grow to accept it, because its not always something that someone can accept of themselves. Being gay isn’t a phase or a choice, its there and its a massive part of who a person is, but its not always easy to accept for yourself and thats why I loved this book… Ash had issues with it herself and that, for some, is reality.

There was so much other stuff going on in Read Me Like a Book too that I really enjoyed and I think thats why I enjoyed the book overall as much as I did. Ash’s parents relationship and the idea that Ash was starting to see that other people had problems too – especially adults – was intersting and made for a brilliant part of the coming-of-age story the book told. As a kid you don’t often realise these things and its at that crucial 16/17 year old age when you start to see teachers as actual people, and your parents as beings who are there for reasons other than to make you do chores and love you unconditionally. I loved the way this book put that across and it really did hook me in.

Ash herself was a brilliant character. I can’t honestly say if I loved her or not because at times she did make me want to slap her. She was selfish, but she was also a good friend, and confused, yet had her head screwed on at other times. She was all over the place but jesus, I remember being 17 and I think I redefined that term back then! In all honesty it made me appreciate the character so much more because she felt real, and the progression she made throughout the book felt real too.

I really loved this book and I knew I would as soon as I saw that amazing cover! I know they say not to judge a book by its cover but in this case, honestly, do!

Read Me Like A Book will be published on May 14th by Indigo, an Orion Books imprint. My copy was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
 
To buy the book or for more info please visit:  
Amazon | Hive | Goodreads | Author Website

Leave a Comment

Filed under Book Review