Summer Bookish Bingo Wrap Up/Sign up for Holiday Bingo!

This summer I took part in Summer Bookish Bingo hosted by Great Imaginations. I’m thrilled that I completed the card! It really gave me chance to knock off some books from my TBR list, so I’ll definitely be joining in again!

  1. Thirteen Reasons Why- Jay Asher
  2. The Girl Who Walked On Air- Emma Carroll
  3. Two Boys Kissing- David Levithan
  4. The Summer I Turned Pretty- Jenny Han
  5. Rebel Belle- Rachel Hawkins
  6. More Than This- Patrick Ness
  7. Don”t You Forget About Me- Kate Karyus Quinn
  8. Siege and Storm- Leigh Bardugo
  9. Kira-Kira- Cynthia Kadohata
  10. Rooftoppers- Katherine Rundell
  11. Ruin and Rising- Leigh Bardugo
  12. Rump- Liesel Shurtliff
  13. Fire and Rain- Diane Chamberlain
  14. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August- Claire North
  15. Salvage- Keren David
  16. On The Fence- Kasie West
  17. She Is Not Invisible- Marcus Sedgwick
  18. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making- Catherynne M. Valente
  19. Ten- Gretchen McNeil
  20. The Snow Queen- Alana Albertson
  21. Open Road Summer- Emery Lord
  22. Unhooking The Moon- Gregory Hughes
  23. Belle Epoque- Elizabeth Ross
  24. Wake- Amanda Hocking

Here is the card for the Holiday bingo! Will you play along?

Click on the bingo card to get to Great Imaginations!

Click on the bingo card to get to Great Imaginations!

WWW Wednesday #89

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday! To participate in WWW Wednesday, you need to answer three questions.

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

Click on the book cover to get to the Goodread’s page for the book.

What are you currently reading?

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I’m halfway through Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander. It’s not what I expected it to be…

What did you recently finish reading?

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I have mixed opinions about Amy Zhang’s debut, Falling Into Place. My review should be up within the next week or so!

What do you think you’ll read next?

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I’ve made it my mission to power through some series this month. I’m starting with Isla and The Happily Ever After, which I’m very much looking forward to. My aim is to start it this evening if I can!

So what are you reading this week? Please feel free to answer the questions or leave your link to your posts in the comments! Happy Reading!

 

Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit: Swallows and Amazons

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How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Synopsis:

The Walker children – also known as Captain John, Mate Susan, Able-Seaman Titty, and Ship’s Boy Roger – set sail on the Swallow and head for Wild Cat Island. There they camp under open skies, swim in clear water and go fishing for their dinner. But their days are disturbed by the Blackett sisters, the fierce Amazon pirates. The Swallows and Amazons decide to battle it out, and so begins a summer of unforgettable discoveries and incredible adventures.

Thoughts:

This is the first time that I’ve read Swallows and Amazons, but I’d heard a lot about it from my sister and a few of my friends who had fond memories of the book. Last month’s Kid-Lit challenge saw Beth and I reading The Swiss Family Robinson another adventure tale. I have to say that I found Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons much more readable, but I don’t think it’s a series that I would necessarily continue with.

Swallows and Amazons is based around a group of children who are at and around a lake for a few days. They find lots of adventures on Wild Cat Island. I don’t want to spoil the plot for those that haven’t read it yet but it certainly is action packed with enough in the plot to satisfy a young reader. I’m not so sure that there would be enough in the book to satisfy an older child as children’s literature in the present day is often magical, fantastical and fast-paced. I do think that many young readers would find something enjoyable in the text. It would definitely make for a nostalgic read for those adults who want to reminiscence,

I really enjoyed Arthur Ransome’s writing style. It was straight to the point and simple. It wasn’t trying to be something clever. It was like Arthur Ransome had stepped into the mind of a child at the time which it was written and  explored what could be there!

For Beth’s fabulous review, check out her blog HERE

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Reading next for the Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit Challenge (October):
Anne of Green Gables-L.M Montgomery

Top Ten Books That Were Hard For Me To Read

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s list are the Top Ten Books That Were Hard For Me To Read. Now this could be for any reason. It could be intimidating, cringe-worthy, an uncomfortable subject, a controversial subject etc.

So here are mine, in no particular order… (book images go to Goodreads)

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Golden Boy- Abigail Tarttelin- This book was hard for me to read because of the subject matter. It’s heavy going and there’s some incredibly graphic scenes, but it is an absolute gem of a book and I’m SO glad I read it.

Pushing The Limits- Katie McGarry- Again, this book was hard to read because it was so intense, but I loved reading it. I love a bit of depth to my books!

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Me Before You- Jojo Moyes- I wonder how many times I can put this book on a Top Ten list. I JUST LOVE IT. I can’t help it. It was hard to read because it broke my heart. *sniff*

The Bronze Horseman- Paullina Simons- This book is just SO long, but SO worth reading if you’re into historical fiction.

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Forbidden- Tabitha Suzuma- Another book that was hard to read based on subject matter. This book deals with incest and it’s another heart breaker.

The Book Thief- Markus Zusak- It took me a while to get used to the narration but it’s an incredible book!

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Second Chance Summer- Morgan Matson- I went into this book not expecting to like it as (sorry) I wasn’t the biggest fan of Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour. I LOVED this book though. Argh <3 I’m so glad I persevered with the author because it’s beautiful and I’ve since enjoyed Since You’ve Been Gone.

The Casual Vacancy- J.K Rowling- This book was hard to read because I had such high expectations. Unfortunately I was disappointed by it.

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Red- Alison Cherry- This book was hard to read because it was incredibly superficial. It had good heart, but I just couldn’t connect with the characters.

Thirteen Reasons Why- Jay Asher- I had a hard time with this book because I was so divided on what I thought about it. On the one hand I thought it was brilliant, but then I had some trouble with the actions of the girl who committed suicide. Hmmm… I was very mixed up about it!

What books have you found hard to read? Feel free to link me to your Top Ten posts and I’ll stop by!

Banned Books #3 The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian

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Every month for the rest of 2014, ChrissiReads, Bibliobeth & Luna’s Little Library will be reading one Banned / Challenged Book a month. We’ll be looking at why the book was challenged. How/If things have changed since the book was originally published and what we actually think of the book.

This month the choice is The Absolutely True Diary of A Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

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First published: 1st January 2007
Still in the Top Ten of Frequently Challenged Books in 2013 (source)
Chosen by: Bibliobeth
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

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Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?

BETH: I didn’t think this book had as many strong reasons for being banned as the other two books, but there are always going to be some topics that people want to steer clear of. I was thinking about this while reading the book and if I was a teacher I would definitely like to teach this book in class. I wouldn’t mind so much the swearing or the racism, because I think it has important messages. And then we come to the masturbation bit… oh dear… I think if I had to deal with this in a classroom I’m not so certain I could be adult enough myself to deal with it without becoming a tittering mess. But that’s just me!

CHRISSI: I don’t think this book is as controversial as the previous books that we’ve read. Of course, there are elements of it that are quite controversial considering that it is young people we are thinking about. Yet, I don’t think we should necessarily shy away from these books. They have their place, we just need to use them sensitively. I know for a teacher it must be hard to approach these subjects. Especially in this book’s case, racism.

LUNA: For a change I’m not going to get on my soapbox, I’ve already done that in the last two banned book discussions and I’m just repeating myself.The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian contains swearing, Arnold talks about masturbation; there is alcoholism, violence, death and racism. It’s a tough book and it doesn’t sugar-coat or shy away from that. My personal opinion is that this is a good thing. Books are an excellent way for people to get talking about these subjects. I do appreciate that taken out of context certain pages of this book might make parents/guardians balk at the text but why not read the whole book and then about think about why it makes them uncomfortable? Given peers, TV and internet how likely is it that this content is going to be new/shocking?

How about now?

BETH: This book is still fairly recent (published 2007), so I don’t think the world has changed that much since then. I would love to see this book taught in schools, but I know that I personally couldn’t do it.

CHRISSI: I can understand why it’s tough to teach it, but I don’t agree with it being banned. Once again, as I’ve mentioned in previous discussions…it’ll take a strong teacher to attempt to teach this book, but I hope that there are some out there.

LUNA: See my previous answer and sorry but I am going to repeat my favourite sentence: Don’t underestimate teenagers!

What did you think of the book?

BETH: I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book, I loved Junior as a character and I think the things that he has to deal with – racism, violence, alcoholism, death in the family, bullying… I could go on and on, are important issues to highlight to teenagers, a lot of whom might be going through the exact same thing and might bring them some sort of comfort whilst providing a laugh or two. I also really enjoyed the way the cartoons were used throughout the book to illustrate what Junior was feeling.

CHRISSI: I liked it! It was quick and easy to read and very memorable!

LUNA: I really liked The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Junior is an excellent narrator and the illustrations are great. For a relatively short book it really packs a punch. There are a lot of moments that stayed with me long after I finished reading; the class walk-out, Junior’s sister, the conversation Junior has with his teacher at the beginning – just to name a few.

Would you recommend it?

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: Of course!

LUNA: Absolutely

NEXT UP FOR OCTOBER: Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks (as “Anonymous”)

Where The Mountain Meets The Moon

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How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

In the Valley of Fruitless Mountain, a young girl named Minli spends her days working hard in the fields and her nights listening to her father spin fantastic tales about the Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon. Minli’s mother, tired of their poor life, chides him for filling her head with nonsense. But Minli believes these enchanting stories and embarks on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man of the Moon and ask him how her family can change their fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest.

Thoughts:

Where The Mountains Meet The Moon won my reader’s choice for Luna’s Picks, I’m so glad the book blogging world picked this book for me to read as I thought it was an incredibly sweet and engaging read including Chinese folktales.

The book centres around Minli and her parents. They don’t have a lot of money and they have to work incredibly hard to get by. Minli’s dad’s stories often make her happy and give her some sense of hope in a quite bleak world for her. Minli sets off on an adventure to see the Man in the Moon so he can tell her how to bring fortune to her family so they can all be happy again.  There are some lovely short stories within the story which were incredibly cute.

Minli is a really sweet character that I loved to read about. She’s clever and can manage to deal with some incredibly tricky situations. I loved how much she cared for her family and wanted to make life better for them all. I loved the character of Dragon too. Their relationship was endearing. I thought Dragon was fun, resilient and courageous. Their partnership just made the story for me!

This story is superb for children. It carries with it some positive messages about happiness, friendship, family and being thankful for what you have instead of wanting more.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

This book is a great middle-grade read which adults can appreciate too. It may seem like it carries a cheesy message, but I found it incredibly endearing!

Talking About ‘The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August’

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How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

The extraordinary journey of one unforgettable character – a story of friendship and betrayal, loyalty and redemption, love and loneliness and the inevitable march of time.

Harry August is on his deathbed. Again.

No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes.

Until now.

As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. ‘I nearly missed you, Doctor August,’ she says. ‘I need to send a message.’

This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

Thoughts:

CHRISSI: What did you make of the writing style?

BETH: I wasn’t sure I was going to get on with this book at all when I first started. Although I thought it was written absolutely beautifully, each chapter was relatively short and the time frame kept jumping about quite erratically. I felt like I really had to concentrate on the book to figure out what was going on (which was a bit difficult on a hen weekend…). However, about a third of the way in, I started to really appreciate what the author was trying to do. As Harry got older/more lives in, things seemed to move at a steadier pace and I started to love what I was reading and care about what was going to happen.

BETH: Do you think it is human nature to want to change the world?

CHRISSI: I definitely think it’s human nature to want to change the world. Many of us want to make an impact on the world. I think we’d all want to live in a world that’s a good, peaceful, happy place.

CHRISSI: What do you think that Harry learnt through the process of living his life over and over again?

BETH: I think that he learned a lot about human nature i.e. why we do the things we do, why we love, why we hate. I was expecting him to get slightly bored especially when he has to live the early part of his life over and over again – watching his father being buried, going to school and re-learning things he already knows but he seems to find a way to deal with this. For example, going into a different profession like law and learning something new for a change, or escaping his adoptive parents at a young age to live with people of his own kind. I think he also learns to be a bit more tolerant and understanding of others even when he doesn’t agree with them, you can definitely see this in his relationship with Vincent.

BETH: What would you do if you had to live your life over again?

CHRISSI: I try and think that everything happens for a reason, but I guess if I had the chance to live my life over again then there are some things that I would change or do differently. I don’t want this to turn into a depressing answer, so I’ll think of a few examples! I think my career would’ve happened sooner than it has, I would have tried harder at school and I would not let some people treat me the way I did. I wouldn’t change my sister though… I guess she’s ok! ;)

CHRISSI: What does the novel tell us about the nature of good and evil?

BETH: I feel like sometimes good and evil get a bit mixed up in this novel and perhaps the line between them is slightly blurry. One of the evil components in the story is a man called Richard Lisle who gets his kicks by murdering prostitutes. Harry as the “good guy,” cannot bear to see this occurring so life after life, he finds Richard Lisle before he has even started his killing spree and kills him himself. But what does that make Harry, good or bad, if he too turns to murder? Another is Victor Hoeness, who uses his knowledge of the future to build more advanced technology that is strictly against the rules of the Cronus Club and in return, on each life he returns to, the Club tortures him in a disgusting manner so that he will remember it in his next life before going on to abort him while still in the womb (this is the only way to kill a kalachakra). They argue that it is for the greater good, but isn’t what they are doing also evil. Hence my point that the line between good and evil is often blurred. There are many other characters I can talk about that blur this line, Franklin Phearson and Vincent Rankis but this answer would turn into an essay!

BETH: What did you think of Harry as a character?

CHRISSI: If I’m honest, I wasn’t immediately connected to Harry. I did appreciate that Claire North made Harry a flawed character. We all make bad decisions and mistakes at times. His mistakes definitely gave him more of a ‘real’ feel. I felt like Harry was an incredibly complex character that is interesting to try and make sense of.

CHRISSI: Would you want to live your life over and over again?

BETH: Definitely not! I can’t think of anything more hideous. Obviously we all have events in our lives that we regret or wouldn’t want to experience again and I think that part would be unbearable. Having the knowledge of our future however would be pretty amazing and would certainly influence some of the choices I have made in my life so far.

BETH: Would you read another book by this author?

CHRISSI: I think it would depend on the subject! I liked the writing style, but I wasn’t blown away by the story.

Would we recommend it?:

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: Yes!