July Mini Reviews

Here are some mini reviews for some early July releases! Please click on the book image to get to the Goodreads page!

The Quality of Silence

The Quality of SilenceSynopsis:

On 24th November Yasmin and her deaf daughter Ruby arrived in Alaska.

Within hours they were driving alone across a frozen wilderness

Where nothing grows

Where no one lives

Where tears freeze

And night will last for another 54 days.

They are looking for Ruby’s father.

Travelling deeper into a silent land.

They still cannot find him.

And someone is watching them in the dark.

Three Thoughts

  • A thrilling read
  • Writing builds the atmosphere beautifully.
  • Not always believable

Are You Watching Me?

Are You Watching Me

Synopsis:

Dear Elizabeth,

I’ve been watching you

I hope to see you . . .

Soon.

Liz Cafferky is on the up. Rescued from her dark past by the owner of a drop-in centre for older men, Liz soon finds herself as the charity’s face – and the unwilling darling of the Dublin media.

Amidst her claustrophobic fame, Liz barely notices a letter from a new fan. But then one of the centre’s clients is brutally murdered, and Elizabeth receives another, more sinister note.

Running from her own ghosts, Liz is too scared to go to the police. And with no leads, there is little Sergeant Claire Boyle can do to protect her.

Three Thoughts

  • Intriguing read
  • Didn’t grip me as much as the first book by this author
  • Creepy and chilling

Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls

Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls

Synopsis:

June barely has time to mourn the death of her best friend Delia, before Delia’s ex-boyfriend convinces her Delia was murdered, and June is swept into a tangle of lies, deceit, and conspiracy.

Three Thoughts

  • Unreliable narrator- wasn’t sure who to trust!
  • Action packed plot.
  • Sometimes predictable

Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit: The Velveteen Rabbit

The Velveteen Rabbit

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

Synopsis:

Nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

Thoughts:

I never read this book as a young child. I wish I had though because it is one of the cutest children’s stories that I have read in a long time. It may be a really old book, but I truly believe it is timeless. Its message about true love being the only magic you need really touched my heart and I think it’s a lovely message to give to young children.

The story itself is really engaging and easy to read. I devoured it. It made me feel all snuggly and warm inside. The quote below just sums up the general loveliness of this book. It’s packed full of memorable, heart warming words.

‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

This book will stay with me for a long time. I’m certainly going to get a copy of it for myself, because I think it’s should be a staple to every book lover’s collection. A gorgeous book that I highly recommend!

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

Next up in the Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit Challenge (July):
Gangsta Granny- David Walliams

Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far in 2015

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s list are our Top Ten books that we’ve read so far this year! I have read so many amazing books this year, so I decided to look at the books that I’ve rated highly on Goodreads to help me out!

As ever, the book image goes to Goodreads!

Alison Rattle- The Beloved

The Beloved

I absolutely loved this book. Alison Rattle is a fantastic writer of YA historical fiction. I highly recommend her books.

Pointe- Brandy Colbert

Pointe

I thought Pointe was a beautiful book. A lot deeper and darker than I had anticipated.

The Last Leaves Falling- Sarah Benwell

The Last Leaves Falling

This powerful debut left an impact on me. I thought it was a beautifully written book. It will stay with me for some time.

The Giver- Lois Lowry

The Giver (The Giver, #1)

Yes… I only read this book this year. I can’t believe that I waited so long. I adored it.

Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda- Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

I didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did!  It really warmed my heart.

I’ll Meet You There- Heather Demetrios

I'll Meet You There

I love Heather Demetrios! Her books are much more deeper than you’d expect. I felt a range of emotions whilst reading this book!

Under My Skin- James Dawson

Under My Skin

James Dawson is one of my favourites. I love his books and his latest release was wonderfully creepy!

My Heart and Other Black Holes- Jasmine Warga

My Heart and Other Black Holes

I thought this book was an incredible debut! It was an incredibly raw read.

Only Ever Yours- Louise O’Neill

Only Ever Yours

God knows why I took so long to get around to reading this book. I loved it. So freaky and weird, but ever so wonderful too!

Reasons To Stay Alive- Matt Haig

Reasons to Stay Alive

Last but by no means least, the wonderful Reasons To Stay Alive. This is a stunning piece of non fiction documenting Matt Haig’s experiences of depression. It’s such an important book, whether you suffer from depression/anxiety yourself or you simply know someone that does.

What are your Top Ten books that you’ve read so far this year? Let me know! Feel free to leave a link to your post and I’ll stop by!

Banned Books #12 The Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Peterson

banned books

Welcome to this month’s Banned Books feature where we discuss a book that’s been challenged!

Bridge to Terabithia

Synopsis:

Jess Aarons’ greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in his grade. He’s been practicing all summer and can’t wait to see his classmates’ faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys’ side and outruns everyone.

That’s not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. Together they create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits.

First published: 1977
In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2003. Source
Chosen by: Beth
Reasons: occult/Satanism, offensive language

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

BETH: I read this book wondering why on earth it had been banned in the first place then had to look twice at the reasons stated above. Occult/Satanism?! For goodness sake, it’s two children making up their own magical world and playing in it! If that’s worshipping the Devil, surely all children nowadays who play make believe are guilty of this? I also can’t remember any incidence of offensive language in the book but perhaps I missed something? This book was published in the seventies so it was a while ago and individual sensitivities may have been different… but for those reasons above it is absolutely ridiculous that this book should have been challenged/banned.

CHRISSI: This is another one of those books when I wonder why it’s been banned or challenged. I understand that it is a heavy going subject, but if we shelter children/young children from these issues that could be highly educative then I think it is a great shame. I understand it was published in the 70s, but the content of the book has always been around!

How about now?

BETH: Even more so now I don’t believe that this book should be challenged. When reading it and getting to the point where Jess has to deal with death I thought was dealt with beautifully by the author and think it’s probably an important book for children to read so that they can learn about the inevitable process of life and that unfortunately, at one time or another, we all must deal with death – if that’s the passing of a loved one or even a family pet.

CHRISSI: I think this book should be read! As I mentioned before, it’s highly educative. As Beth mentions every person at some point goes through these issues and it’s important that they are sensitively dealt with which I felt was the case with this book.

What did you think of this book?

BETH: I was pleasantly surprised by this book! I think the important thing for me is that I didn’t know the story so wasn’t expecting the sadness and bitter sweetness of it. Jess was a lovely character although I found his teenage crush on his teacher a bit awkward to read if I’m totally honest. I completely fell in love with the world, Terabithia that was created by Jess and Leslie and it reminded me of those innocent childhood times in my own past when make believe was an important part of my life and often offered an escape from “real life.”

CHRISSI: I wasn’t really aware of this book before Beth picked it for our challenge. I thought it was a very intriguing read. I’m not sure that it’s a book that I would read again, as I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I wanted to. It’s also a book that’s rather heavy going and sad, but it’s certainly not a book that should be challenged in my eyes!

Would you recommend it?

BETH: But of course!
CHRISSI: Yes!

A Week In The Life of A Primary PGCE Student- Decisions, decisions, decisions…

Every Sunday (hopefully) I shall be posting a personal post about my massive new venture. I am going to University to train to be a primary school teacher. I will be trained to work with 5-11 year olds. It’s known to be a very, very stressful time so I’m hoping I can channel my thoughts and feelings into a blog post. It gives you an insight into what’s going on in my life and hopefully it’ll be incredibly therapeutic for me. I will NOT be naming any children, schools or teaching staff. I won’t even mention what University I’m at. I hope that’s understandable. If personal posts aren’t your thing then feel free to skip these posts. I won’t mind!

Oh gosh. I don’t even know how to begin this post but it’s completely different to the one last week. I’ve went from having no job opportunities to three possible opportunities. I have been offered a job in a school but I am not sure it’s the school for me. There’s two other potential jobs, one that I really REALLY want but I’m not guaranteed. Part of me really wants to hold out for that job, but I’m worried by turning one down I’ll be setting myself up for failure? I don’t know. It’s so hard. I want to follow my heart though.

It’s so hard to make the right choice for my induction year. The induction year is notoriously hard as you become much more accountable for what happens in your class. You are accountable. If the school is not the right fit for you, then I don’t think you’d be happy. I think I’m going to follow my heart though and hold out for the job I want. I hope that my passion for this school can come across and land me the job. I will find out within the next few days. Scary, but so exciting.

I would appreciate all the positive vibes I can get this coming week. Let’s hope I make the right choice and get what I want. It’s definitely a risk, but the school that I want is worth that gamble.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye

The Last Time We Say Goodbye

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Unearthly
Hallowed
Boundless

Synopsis:

There’s death all around us.
We just don’t pay attention.
Until we do.

The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn’t look at her like she might break down at any moment.

Now she’s just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that’s all she’ll ever be.

As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there’s a secret she hasn’t told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.

Lex’s brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn’t have to be real to keep you from moving on.

From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a gorgeous and heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and letting go.

Thoughts:

I was so excited when I found out that Cynthia Hand was having another book published. I absolutely devoured the Unearthly trilogy. I was also intrigued to see if her contemporary writing was as fabulous as the paranormal! I thoroughly enjoyed The Last Time We Say Goodbye, and even though it was a heavy read, it was also completely engrossing and heart breaking at the same time.

This book centres around Lex and her family. Lex used to be incredibly content in her life. She had every reason to be. Her family was lovely, she had a great boyfriend but suddenly everything was turned around for her, she became the girl whose brother committed suicide. Lex wants to move on with her life, but she can’t, as a secret from the night her brother killed himself is tearing her apart. She worries that she could have changed the terrible ordeal that her family are suffering from and she doesn’t know how she’ll ever move on from it.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye is an incredibly emotional, moving read. Right from the beginning, I sympathised with the pain that Lex and her family were going through. It’s incredibly heavy, but so well written. You really believe every emotion that’s being experienced by the characters. There were so many questions to be answered throughout the book, and I truly believe that Cynthia Hand did a brilliant job at addressing the many sensitive issues in Lex’s life.

Some of the story is told through diary entries that Lex does for her therapy sessions. I really enjoyed this part of the story, because it felt very raw and real. We got flashbacks from the past and an understanding of what her brother was like. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book despite its heaviness. It’s incredibly realistic. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A beautiful, moving, realistic story of what happens to those left behind after someone takes their own life.

Fairy Tale Friday: The Brave Little Tailor

Thanks to Luna for making Fairy Chrissi!

Thanks to Luna for making Fairy Chrissi!

The Brave Little Tailor is another fairy tale that I hadn’t read before. I’m loving exploring these fairy tales. The Brave Little Tailor is a funny, charming little story about a tailor who convinces giants and kings that he is a force to be reckoned with.

The Brave Little Tailor starts with a king searching for someone to kill a giant who is terrorising the kingdom. No one is willing to take on the giant. The king hears that a tailor has killed seven flies at once, and the tailor has been bragging about it. The king is impressed and appoints the tailor to kill the giant. The tailor tries to get out of it, but the king promises him riches and marriage to his daughter if he can at least subdue the giant. The story follows the tailor’s quest!

I really liked reading this story. I have heard that there have been several adaptations including a short film by Disney. I can imagine it is the perfect fairy tale to be adapted!

Next Fairy Tale- Cinderella