Ten Hidden Gems

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. It’s all about love of lists, love of literature and bringing bookish people together. 

This week’s list is all about hidden gems. Books that we love that we don’t think get enough loving in the blogosphere.

As ever, click on the book image to get to Goodreads.

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece

I absolutely loved this book when I read it a few years back. I don’t see it around enough! It’s a sad book, but so worth reading.

Bird

This book was beautifully written!

The Quietness

The Madness

Alison Rattle is so underrated! I’d recommend all of her books for beautifully written historical fiction.

Indigo Donut

Some beautiful characters are within these pages. I adored this story.

Jasmyn

You might know Alex through her YA and middle grade reads, but she has written some stonking adult fiction too. This is great for those that love fairy tales.

Boy In The Tower

This was such a unique read!

Wait for Me

I thought this was a brilliant read. It reaches different ages too as my Gran loved it!

Johnny Be Good (Johnny Be Good, #1)

This is quite possibly my favourite chick-lit. I love Paige Toon’s writing!

Rites of Passage

I definitely judged this book by its cover. I thought it was going to be a New Adult/Fifty Shades book… it wasn’t.

Tell me about your hidden gems. Feel free to leave a link to your post and I’ll stop by!

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Round Up of British Books Challenge 2017

The British Books Challenge is hosted by Michelle at Tales of Yesterday. Find out more about it HERE.

The British Book Challenge was set up to show support for British Authors. By signing up I promised to read at least 12 books by British Authors. I smashed it once again this year by reading 63 books by British Authors.

Here are 2017’s efforts!

  1. The One Memory of Flora Banks– Emily Barr
  2. Paper Butterflies– Lisa Heathfield
  3. We Come Apart– Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan
  4. How Hard Can Love Be?– Holly Bourne
  5. Disclaimer– Renee Knight
  6. Margot & Me– Juno Dawson
  7. The Trouble With Goats and Sheep– Joanna Cannon
  8. The Witchfinder’s Sister– Beth Underdown
  9. London Belongs To Us– Sarra Manning
  10. The Cuckoo Sister– Vivian Alcock
  11. The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night-Time– Mark Haddon
  12. The One– John Marrs
  13. Mad Girl– Bryony Gordon
  14. Lie With Me– Sabine Durrant
  15. Pilot Jane and The Runaway Plane– Caroline Baxter
  16. Fish Boy- Chloe Daykin
  17. Awful Auntie– David Walliams
  18. The Last Beginning- Lauren James
  19. Girlhood– Cat Clarke
  20. One Italian Summer- Keris Stainton
  21. Release- Patrick Ness
  22. Unboxed- Non Pratt
  23. Follow Me– Angela Clarke
  24. Watch Me– Angela Clarke
  25. Trust Me– Angela Clarke
  26. Truth Or Dare– Non Pratt
  27. I See You- Clare Mackintosh
  28. Blood Sisters– Jane Corry
  29. The Prime Minister’s Brain- Gillian Cross
  30. The Nearest Faraway Place– Hayley Long
  31. The Graces– Laure Eve
  32. Miss You– Kate Eberlen
  33. Damage– Eve Ainsworth
  34. Indigo Donut– Patrice Lawrence
  35. Gone Without A Trace– Mary Torjussen
  36. Her Husband’s Lover– Julia Crouch
  37. He Said/She Said– Erin Kelly
  38. Cartes Postales from Greece– Victoria Hislop
  39. Fortunately, The Milk– Neil Gaiman
  40. Good Me, Bad Me– Ali Land
  41. The Scarecrow Queen– Melinda Salisbury
  42. Charlotte Says– Alex Bell
  43. Close To Me– Amanda Reynolds
  44. Coraline- Neil Gaiman
  45. The House– Simon Lelic
  46. The Betrayals- Fiona Neill
  47. The Trophy Child– Paula Daly
  48. Saffy’s Angel– Hilary McKay
  49. Behind Closed Doors- B.A Paris
  50. No Virgin– Anne Cassidy
  51. No Shame– Anne Cassidy
  52. Then She Was Gone– Lisa Jewell
  53. The Treatment– C.L Taylor
  54. Letters From The Lighthouse– Emma Carroll
  55. Black Hearts In Battersea– Joan Aiken
  56. The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club- Alex Bell
  57. 13 Minutes– Sarah Pinborough
  58. The Hours Before Dawn– Celia Fremlin
  59. Noah Can’t Even– Simon James Green
  60. Witch Child- Celia Rees
  61. The Friend– Dorothy Koomson
  62. A Quiet Kind Of Thunder– Sara Barnard
  63. Finding Jennifer Jones– Anne Cassidy

Annual End Of Year Survey- 2017

Best books of 2017

I absolutely love taking part in Jamie’s End Of Year Book Survey. It can be a little time consuming, but I adore  thinking about my reading in the year.

Number Of Books You Read: 110 (thus far… writing on 21st December!)
Number of Re-Reads: 5
Genre You Read The Most From: Young adult

best-YA-books-2014

1. Best Book You Read In 2017?

Tough one. I think if I had to pick one it would be Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence for adult fiction and Letters To The Lighthouse by Emma Carroll.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Geekerella by Ashley Poston. I think the hype got me!

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

As I Descended by Robin Talley. I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did!

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. I’m still pushing that one!

 5. Best series you started in 2017? Best Sequel of 2017? Best Series Ender of 2017?

I loved Charlotte Says from Alex Bell. A wonderful prequel to Frozen Charlotte.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2017?

Ali Land! I loved Good Me, Bad Me!

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I can’t say I’ve read a book from a genre I don’t typically read this year. I must change that this year.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Loved that book.

 9. Book You Read In 2017 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

I’m not a massive re-reader. I think I’ll probably reread a children’s book like George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl to my new class (when I get them!)

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2017?

The Scarecrow Queen (The Sin Eater’s Daughter, #3)

11. Most memorable character of 2017?

Lucy from The Names They Gave Us

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2017?

Tough one. Really tough one this year as I’ve read some beautiful books. The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord touched my heart.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2017?

I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelson. A book about a girl with cerebal palsy that can’t talk and hears about a horrible crime.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2017 to finally read? 

Awful Auntie by David Walliams. It was fabulous!

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2017?

“You can be okay again. Just a different kind of okay than before.” – Emery Lord’s The Names They Gave Us.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2017?

Hortense and the Shadow– Natalie O’Hara- 32 pages  (picture book)

Habibi– Craig Thompson- 672 pages (graphic novel)

How I did this: Went to my read books on Goodreads and sorted by page number and just looked for what I knew I read this year that was the shortest and longest.

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris. It was so dark and twisted!

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Lucy and Jones!- The Names They Gave Us

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Jemma and Sarah from I Have No Secrets.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2017 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Letters From The Lighthouse by Emma Carroll

21. Best Book You Read In 2017 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

I Have No Secrets

This might not be a shock, since I keep mentioning it, but definitely this one!

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2017?

I don’t have one this year! Shocking!

23. Best 2017 debut you read?

Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land.

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

The Invention Of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Such an intriguing, engrossing reading experience.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

Noggin by John Corey Whaley for its pure weirdness.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2017?

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence. I absolutely loved this one and I highly recommend it.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2017?

Has to be either Noggin or The Invention Of Hugo Cabret.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel I couldn’t work out whether I liked it or not and the characters drove me mad!

book-blogging

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2017?

Geybie’s Book Blog

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2017?

Indigo Donut– by Patrice Lawrence

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

This is kind of a review, but a review as a discussion with my sister. Good Me, Bad Me

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I didn’t participate in much this year. It’s been an incredibly busy one for me!

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2017?

Going over 100,000 views very early on in the year. Very proud of that!

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

I’ve had some periods of not posting on the blog. One period was a stomach bug and the other was me being in hospital mid December! (I’m on the mend!)

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Banned Books #32 The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Chrissi Chat- Consistency– I thought people would have a lot to say about this. I did love the interaction I did get though.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

No new ones this year!

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

  • Banned Books- another 12 books are about to be complete (delay on book 12 due to my illness last week!)
  • Beth and Chrissi Do Kid-Lit- another 12 books will be complete by the end of December!
  • Goodreads challenge- It was 100 books (I knew my year was busy!) and I set it to 115. I’m currently on 110 and I’m sure I’ll make the extended challenge.
  • British Books Challenge- 12 books as the challenge- 61 read… challenge smashed!

 

looking-ahead-books-2015

Click on book images to get to the Goodreads page!

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2017 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2018?

 

A List of Cages

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2018 (non-debut)?

Leah on the Offbeat

3. 2018 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

People Like Us

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2018?

I’m looking forward to Restore Me from Tahereh Mafi.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2018?

Catch up on some 2017 debuts! I failed miserably on that one this year!

6. A 2018 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):

I haven’t this time! I am looking forward to reading Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed which I’m reading soon!

So that’s my bookish year! 🙂 What’s yours been like? If you have completed this survey please link yours because I’m super nosey and love to read about your reading years!

A Spotlight On…Alex Bell

Welcome to my ‘A Spotlight On…’ feature. In this feature, I plan to highlight and give some bookish love to some of my favourite authors.

For my fourth post in this feature, I decided to focus on the wonderful Alex Bell. Alex has become more known for Frozen Charlotte, The Haunting and The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club, however, I highly recommend you check out her adult books as well.

I have read Alex’s books since the publication of The Ninth Circle in 2008. I can’t wait to see what she does in the future!

It’s amazing to see just how many books Alex has had published so far! These are just her full length books, she’s also been published in a few short story collections!

My reviews (unfortunately only date to 2015 as the rest were read pre-blogging!)

Alex’s website

Alex on Twitter @Alex_Bell86

This Week In Books #85

I am joining in with the lovely Lipsy from Lipsy’s Lost and Found’s feature which highlights our week in books. I shall be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next! I won’t be showcasing my new books as I do that on a Saturday. I’m really excited by this feature as I loved sharing my recent reads. My book reviews published on my blog are often WAY behind what I’m actually reading, so this is a good feature to keep you up to date!

Book images go to Goodreads!

Now

Undercover Princess (The Rosewood Chronicles, #1)

I seem to be taking ages to read this book, but it’s not because I’m not enjoying it. I simply haven’t had the time to get stuck in! I’m hoping to read some tonight and hopefully will be done by this weekend!

Then

The Polar Bear Explorers' Club

This book is such a great middle grade fantasy read. I’m pretty sure it’s not my bias (Alex is a fab friend of mine!) I would definitely recommend this to junior aged children in my school.

Next

I Have No Secrets

I am so intrigued to read this book. I’ve heard amazing things about it.

What are you reading this week? Let me know!

The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club (The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club #1)

The Polar Bear Explorers' Club

How did I get it?:
I received a copy from Faber and I’ve purchased a copy!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

It sounded like a respectable and worthy enough death for an explorer – tumbling from an ice bridge to be impaled upon a mammoth tusk – but Stella really, really didn’t want that to happen, just the same.

Join Stella Starflake Pearl and her three fellow explorers as they trek across the snowy Icelands and come face-to-face with frost fairies, snow queens, outlaw hideouts, unicorns, pygmy dinosaurs and carnivorous cabbages . . .

When Stella and three other junior explorers get separated from their expedition can they cross the frozen wilderness and live to tell the tale?

Thoughts:

I have loved Alex Bell’s adult and YA books. Seriously, if you haven’t checked out The Ninth Circle and Jasmyn please give them a go. They’re amazing and so underrated, in my opinion. I was super excited to pick up The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club. It’s such an exciting story that I believe will pull children in and keep them engaged throughout the story.

Its plot is fast paced and so easy to read. The reader follows a group of young explorers on a quest to find the coldest part of the Icelands as they are separated from their parents. It’s such a fun read. I couldn’t help turning the pages. I practically binge read this book, completely captivated by the story.

The main characters Stella, Shay, Beanie and Ethan were so well written. I immediately liked them, especially Stella. What a wonderful protagonist! I loved how she was such a strong female character. We need more of those in middle grade literature. I also appreciated how she was allowed to go on the adventure after it being notoriously males only. Her relationship with Felix (who she saw as a father) was heart-warming. I absolutely adored the character of Beanie. Such a sweet character that took everything literally. It reminded me of a few children that I teach!

Talking about teaching, I think this book would be perfect for Key Stage 2 children. There’s so much to get stuck into. I loved how descriptive the story was. This book really is jam packed with content. It’s both fairy tale-esque and adventurous. There are penguins, pygmy dinosaurs, cabbages…and more. I think Alex Bell has created such a wonderful world that I can see developing well as a the series continues (I assume it’s a series!)

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A gorgeous middle grade adventure!

Charlotte Says

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Frozen Charlotte
The Haunting

Synopsis:

Following the death of her mother in a terrible fire, Jemima flees to the remote Isle of Skye, to take up a job at a school for girls. There she finds herself tormented by the mystery of what really happened that night.
Then Jemima receives a box of Frozen Charlotte dolls from a mystery sender and she begins to remember – a séance with the dolls, a violent argument with her step-father and the inferno that destroyed their home. And when it seems that the dolls are triggering a series of accidents at the school, Jemima realizes she must stop the demonic spirits possessing the dolls – whatever it takes.

Thoughts:

I’m not a fan of horror. I think I’ve always made that quite clear here on my blog. However, there are some authors that I make an exception for… and Alex Bell is one of them. I’ve read all of Alex’s books (adult books too, they’re good, you should check them out!) and I adore her horror stories. I was so intrigued to see what Charlotte Says was like after thoroughly enjoying Frozen Charlotte. I found Charlotte Says to be even creepier. Some parts literally made me shudder.

Charlotte Says is based in 1910 and it centres around Jemima. After the death of her mother in a fire, Jemima begins a job at a school for girls at the very remote Isle of Skye. (Readers of Frozen Charlotte will recognise the setting!) Jemima finds life there tough and she finds herself thinking about what happened the night of the fire. She receives a box of Frozen Charlotte dolls (they creep me out!) from a mystery sender. Jemima recalls a seance with the dolls and events that resulted in the fire. The dolls are causing so much trouble at the school after a series of accidents involving the young girls who are used to create havoc amongst their peers.

I could not put this book down! I needed to at points, to you know…calm myself down. I have a very vivid imagination and Alex’s writing really stimulates my overactive imagination. I don’t want to say much about the plot itself as I want it to be read and enjoyed! Just know that it’s terrifying at some points! There are scenes that are still sticking in my mind, days after finishing the book. I think this book is scarier than Frozen Charlotte so if you’re of a nervous disposition then proceed with caution! 😉

Even though this book is a prequel to Frozen Charlotte, I don’t think you necessarily need to read it in order to understand Charlotte Says. It merely enhances your reading experience if you can spot the links!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Charlotte Says really creeped me out. It’s such an atmospheric, chilling read.