Top Ten 2016 Debuts Novels I Am Looking Forward To

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s list are the Top Ten 2016 Debut Novels that we are looking forward to. I always have a love/hate relationship with these lists as my TBR always expands without fail. However, I am ALWAYS excited about debut novels. Who knows, there could be a new favourite auto buy author lurking within this list!

This Is Where It Ends- Marieke Nijkamp

This Is Where It Ends

This book is a bit of a cheat because I’m reading it very soon, but I want people to have it on their radar!

Fear The Drowning Deep- Sarah Glenn Marsh

Fear the Drowning Deep

This sounds fascinating! Historical fiction, paranormal and fantasy. I’m intrigued!

Into The Dim- Janet.B Taylor

Into the Dim

I really like this sound of this science-fiction/time travel story!

These Vicious Masks- Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

These Vicious Masks

I have to say Jane Austen meets X-Men intrigues me.

Underwater- Marisa Reichardt


This book sounds like a great YA psychological read!

The Love That Split The World- Emily Henry

The Love That Split the World

This cover immediately intrigued me. It looks like a fabulous fantasy read!

Symptoms Of Being Human- Jeff Garvin

Symptoms of Being Human

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book already! So intrigued!

Bookishly Ever After- Isabel Banderia

Bookishly Ever After

Yes, this title totally got me straight away. It’s a paranormal read. I’m intrigued!

The Way I Used To Be- Amber Smith

The Way I Used to Be

This book has been compared to Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak. I’m intrigued!

Save Me, Kurt Cobain- Jenny Manzer

Save Me, Kurt Cobain

LOVE the title of this book and again… intrigued by the synopsis! Can’t wait to check this out.

What debuts are you looking forward to? Let me know! Feel free to leave a link to your post and I’ll stop by.

Banned Books #17 The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

banned books

Welcome to this month’s Banned Books feature. This month we read The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.

The Bluest Eye


The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison’s first novel, a book heralded for its richness of language and boldness of vision. Set in the author’s girlhood hometown of Lorain, Ohio, it tells the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America. In the autumn of 1941, the year the marigolds in the Breedloves’ garden do not bloom. Pecola’s life does change- in painful, devastating ways.
What its vivid evocation of the fear and loneliness at the heart of a child’s yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment. The Bluest Eye remains one of Tony Morrisons’s most powerful, unforgettable novels- and a significant work of American fiction.

First published: 1970
In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2014 (source)
Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited for age group.
Addition reasons: “contains controversial issues.”

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

BETH: This is one of our “older,” books on our banned books list, having being published in 1970. It’s quite interesting that it still makes the frequently challenged list as recently as last year but as I realised, there are some issues in the book, described as controversial (which I certainly agree with). Because of these issues which I won’t spoil for anyone who hasn’t read it, I do see why it may be challenged as some parts are slightly risque but I found the whole reading experience so beautiful and I don’t think it should be taken away from anyone.

CHRISSI: I totally understand why it was banned at that time. As Beth mentioned, it is one of our ‘older’ books and for the time period it certainly must have been a controversial read. However, I do think it is beautifully written though, covering topics that yes, may be risque and a little disturbing but are important to be read.

How about now?

BETH: Definitely not now. I can’t believe this was Toni Morrison’s debut novel, the writing is so assured and quite touching in points. I enjoyed reading about Pecola Breedlove (excellent name, by the way) and think it addresses some very important issues, particularly about race, that older children should definitely be exposed to. In the right hands, this book could be an excellent teaching tool in the classroom and the writing is too wonderful not to be shared.

CHRISSI: In the classroom, it would certainly be a great teaching tool about many issues, but it would have to be used sensitively. Teenagers should definitely be exposed to the language and the issues within the story. I imagine it would bring up so much discussion and debate, which would be fantastic. It didn’t feel too dated for me either, considering the age of the book.

What did you think of this book?

BETH: I absolutely loved it. It’s a great introduction to Toni Morrison’s work and although it’s fairly short, it’s a novella to be savoured where every single word she writes says something important to the reader.

CHRISSI: I thought it was a good, thought provoking read. I enjoyed reading it!

Would you recommend it?

BETH: But of course!


Beth and Chrissi Do Kid Lit- The Class That Went Wild

The Class That Went Wild

How did I get it?:
Beth bought it for me!


Ever since Mrs Lloyd left to have a baby, Class 4L has been impossible! Teacher after teacher has left in tears as Sean and his gang have got rowdier and rowdier. Gillian is now worried because her twin Joseph has joined the gang and she’s sure he’s in trouble. But when her plan to rescue the situation ends in disaster, it seems nothing can save Class 4L. Then Joseph goes missing…


This book was a massive part of my childhood. Beth sourced the cover of the copy that we used to read as children and the memories flooded back. I shall never forget Beth reading it to me as a child. It was one in a long list of books that she used to read aloud to me, teasing me that she was going to stop.

The Class That Went Wild centres around Gillian who is a little bit of a goody, goody if I’m being entirely honest. I can’t remember if she used to frustrate me so much as a child, but certainly as an adult she did! Gillian’s teacher has gone off on an early maternity leave due to ill heath and the class falls to bits without her. No teacher can control them. They certainly are wild and they’re the class that I would dread to have! I could totally sympathise with the teachers, much more than I did when I was younger. Gillian’s brother Joseph gets into all sorts of trouble.

The book was as dramatic, fast paced yet charming as I remembered it to be. I expected it to feel a bit more dated than it did. Yes, it isn’t as modern as books aimed at middle grade now, but I do believe many readers would still get something out of this book.

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

Would I recommend it?:
Without a doubt!

Reading next in the Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit Challenge (December):
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson)- Rick Riordan

Always Emily

Always Emily

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Luna’s Little Library


Emily and Charlotte Brontë are about as opposite as two sisters can be. Charlotte is practical and cautious; Emily is headstrong and imaginative. But they do have one thing in common: a love of writing. This shared passion will lead them to be two of the first published female novelists and authors of several enduring works of classic literature. But they’re not there yet. First, they have to figure out if there is a connection between a string of local burglaries, rumors that a neighbor’s death may not have been accidental, and the appearance on the moors of a mysterious and handsome stranger. The girls have a lot of knots to untangle—before someone else gets killed.


I have to admit that it is purely the synopsis that drew me to this book. Am I a bad bookworm if I also admit that I’m not a massive fan of the Brontë sisters? I try to read classics, but they just don’t work for me! I’m sorry! I did find Always Emily fascinating though. It’s even making me wonder if I should give these classics another try. I think Michaela MacColl has written a brilliant book which is still an interesting read for those that aren’t hardcore Brontë fans.

Always Emily centres around Charlotte and Emily. Charlotte and Emily have lost their older sisters. Charlotte now is the oldest sister and really tries to control her sister. Charlotte is responsible, practical and cautious. Emily couldn’t be more different. She’s imaginative, wild and stubborn. The two sisters care for one another, but their differing personalities mean they clash quite frequently. A series of events brings the sisters together as they try to solve a mystery…

I thought the mystery element of the book was good and gripping, but it wasn’t overly memorable or the best part of the book. I much more enjoyed reading about the relationship between the siblings. I think the best part is how Charlotte and Emily have come to life in this story. Almost Emily is well researched and beautifully written.

Would I recommend it?:

A book that can be enjoyed whether you’re a die hard fan of the Brontë sisters or not!

Fairy Tale Friday- The Singing, Springing Lark

The Singing, Springing Lark is about a man with three daughters. The man has to go on a journey one day, and asks his daughters what they want on his return. The eldest daughter wants diamonds, the middle daughter wants pearls and the youngest daughter wants a singing, springing lark. The man promises his daughters these things. He has no trouble sourcing the diamonds and pearls, but knows he has to get his youngest’s request, especially because she is one of his favourites.

The man finally comes across a lark on his journey back home. He orders his servant to try and catch it. A lion jumps out and tries to kill them both for attempting to steal the lark. They bargain with the lion, and the man is persuaded to bring the lion the first thing that greets him on his return home. The man is terrified that it will be his youngest daughter, but ends up agreeing nonetheless.

The daughter is the first to greet him and the man withholds his bargain. The daughter finds out that the lion turns into a human at night and is lion by day. The human version of the lion is a prince!

The story continues to follow the daughter and her new husband’s life. It is very reminscent of Beauty and The Beast. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this one!

Next Fairy Tale- The Goose Girl


Chasing Stars (After Eden #2)

Chasing Stars (After Eden, #2)

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Luna’s Little Library

Previously reviewed by the same author:
After Eden


The boy Eden loves just saved her life. Now she must save his. To do so she must make a huge sacrifice. Eden can never see her friends or family again, as she travels a hundred years into the future. But the dangerous risk Ryan took to rescue Eden has been uncovered, and now Ryan faces an exile …which will leave Eden separated from him – the one person she can’t live without – and stuck in the future. She must fight to save both of them.


I read After Eden quite some time now and for some reason never got around to Chasing Stars. It’s always a worry when it’s been a while since you’ve read the first book in the series. Some sequels jump straight into the action with no recap about what had happened prior to the book. I didn’t feel like Chasing Stars did that. I immediately knew what had gone on and was ready to follow Eden and Ryan once more. Chasing Stars is a decent sequel. It’s not a book that I found overly memorable, but I really did enjoy reading it.

In After Eden, Eden and Eyan first meet when Ryan is trying to stop Eden’s friend from discovering a planet. Ryan is from the future. Eden is killed by a cleaner (someone that ‘cleans’ up mistakes) as a result of Ryan failing the mission. Chasing Stars centres around Ryan wanting to make it up to Eden, so he uses time travel once more to go back in time and stop her death. Ryan is breaking all sorts of time travel rules, therefore Eden and Ryan find themselves in more trouble with cleaners and court cases. Eden and Ryan just want to be together, but it’s not as easy as they’d hope it to be. Eden finds herself leaving her friends and family in order to be with Ryan.

Chasing Stars was really intriguing, but for some reason I didn’t find it as compelling as After Eden. It took a while to build up the tension and then it didn’t captivate me. I still liked the characters and was intrigued enough to see how it ended, but I wasn’t as invested as I was in the first instalment.

This is a duology and I think it ended well. There are some unanswered questions, but not really in a frustrating way. I’m pleased with how it ended and I’m happy I read it!

Would I recommend it?:

A solid ending to the After Eden duology!

Rites of Passage

Rites of Passage

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Luna’s Little Library


Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she’s not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She’s even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won’t risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty… no matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time’s running short. Sam must decide who she can trust… and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.


I have to be completely honest, I judged this book by its cover. It totally wasn’t what I expected. I’ll admit, I thought it was a New Adult/Fifty Shades-esque book but it’s not. It’s really not!

Rites of Passage centres around Sam McKenna who comes from a military family. Sam feels like the military is where her life is heading. Sam is dared by one of her brothers to be in the first class of females accepted into the Denmark Military Academy. Sam takes him up on the dare, and after his death knows she must honour the dare. Sam knows life is going to be tough at the Academy, but she’s not prepared for the brutal behaviour she experiences. Some guys at the Academy will go to extreme lengths to ensure that a female doesn’t succeed.

Rites of Passage is action packed, filled with tension and a little bit of forbidden romance, but I didn’t feel the romance was at the forefront of the story. I’m so pleased that I decided to give this book a go. It really swept me up in the emotions. I actually felt really annoyed for Sam, who had to put up with terrible sexism. The attitudes of some of the guys really frustrated me. Sam is such a well written, strong character. I’m not sure many people could have put up with the abuse she did and still keep their head up high. She’s definitely a character that I will remember for quite some time.

This book is fast paced and tense. So much goes on that you just have to hold on and go along for the ride. There’s family drama, relationships, fighting and plotting. Joy Hensley is a fantastic writer and I look forward to reading what’s next for her!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Not what I expected at all. I certainly will be giving dodgy covers a go in the future! ;)