Looking Ahead- This Month’s TBR List (April)

April already! Crazy, crazy. It’ll be Summer before we know it! I managed to read all of the books on my TBR for March. Woohoo. Go me!

Here’s my tentative TBR list for April! Thanks to Tina over at Reading Between The Pages for hosting! I do have 2 weeks off in April, so I’ve added more than usual. Let’s hope I can get through them!

Look To Your Wife- Paula Byrne

Look To Your Wife

Goodreads Synopsis:

Lisa Blaize – teacher, and would-be fashion writer, mother and second wife – feels out of place when her high-flying husband becomes the headmaster of a school in a country town. Isolated and far from her metropolitan upbringing, she turns to the one place where she learns she can be uninhibited.

But ‘Twitter may be my undoing’, Lisa discovers as her one-time private life becomes all too public. Soon she is dealing with an online stalker and her husband’s reputation is put at risk, but will she be able to give up her addiction?

From the gossip of the classroom to our obsession with instant communication, Look To Your Wife is witty and brilliantly observed, revealing the pleasures and pains of contemporary life.

I’m really intrigued by this book. I haven’t read any non-fiction by Paula Byrne, but for the synopsis intrigued me.

Two Steps Forward- Graeme Simison & Anne Buist

Two Steps Forward

Goodreads Synopsis:

Zoe, a sometime artist, is from California. Martin, an engineer, is from Yorkshire. Both have ended up in picturesque Cluny, in central France. Both are struggling to come to terms with their recent past—for Zoe, the death of her husband; for Martin, a messy divorce. Looking to make a new start, each sets out alone to walk two thousand kilometres from Cluny to Santiago, in northwestern Spain, in the footsteps of pilgrims who have walked the Camino—the Way—for centuries. 

The Camino changes you, it’s said. It’s a chance to find a new version of yourself. But can these two very different people find each other? 

In this smart, funny and romantic journey, Martin’s and Zoe’s stories are told in alternating chapters by husband-and-wife team Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist. Two Steps Forward is a novel about renewal—physical, psychological and spiritual. It’s about the challenge of walking a long distance and of working out where you are going. And it’s about what you decide to keep, what you choose to leave behind and what you rediscover.

I am intrigued to read more from Graeme after enjoying The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect. 

Things Bright and Beautiful-Anbara Salam

Things Bright and Beautiful

Goodreads Synopsis:

Mission House was not built for three people. Especially when one of them won’t stop humming.

1954, the South Pacific islands. When Beatriz Hanlon agreed to accompany her missionary husband Max to a remote island, she knew there would be challenges. But it isn’t just the heat and the damp and the dirt. There are more insects than she could ever have imagined, and the islanders are strangely hostile. And then there are the awful noises coming from the church at night.

Yet as the months go by, Bea slowly grows accustomed to life on the island. That is until an unexpected and interminably humming guest arrives, and the couple’s claustrophobic existence is stretched to breaking point.

Events draw to a terrible climax, and Bea watches helplessly as her husband’s guilt drives him into madness. It’s not long before Bea finds herself fighting for her freedom and her life.

Literary fiction scares me sometimes, but I couldn’t help but request this book. That cover and that synopsis! Yes please!

Ratburger- David Walliams

Ratburger

Goodreads Synopsis:

“Meet Zoe. She’s got a lot of things to be unhappy about:
* Her stepmother Sheila is so lazy she asks Zoe to pick her nose for her.
* The school bully Tina Trotts makes her life a misery – mainly by flobbing on her head.
* And on top of it all, the dastardly Burt has terrible plans for her pet rat.

I can’t tell you what those plans are, but there’s a clue in the title of this book…”

I’m really looking forward to this book from David Walliams for our kid-lit choice this month!

Saga Volume 3- Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Saga, Vol. 3 (Saga, #3)

Goodreads Synopsis:

Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the universe. Searching for their literary hero, new parents Marko and Alana travel to a cosmic lighthouse on the planet Quietus, while the couple’s multiple pursuers finally close in on their targets.

This is the book that has been picked for the Banned Books feature that I also do with my sister, Beth. I’m intrigued to see how Saga continues.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Let me know!

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Stacking The Shelves #192

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you’re adding to your shelves, be it buying or borrowing. From ‘real’ books you’ve purchased, a book you’ve borrowed, a book you’ve been given or an e-book they can all be shared!

Book images go to Goodreads!

Bought:

RatBurger

I am reading this book for my kid-lit challenge with my sister, Beth. I’ve read David Walliams before and enjoyed his work! 🙂

Saga, Vol. 3 (Saga, #3)

This will be the banned book I read for the Banned Book feature on my blog. 🙂 Looking forward to it!

Sent by publishers:

The Wonder of Us

I don’t know much about this author, but I really liked the sound of this book so I was happy to be sent a copy!

Long Way Down

I am so excited about reading this book. I may have to bump it up my TBR list. It sounds incredible. It’s in verse too. Ooh.

What have you added to your shelves this week? Let me know!

Banned Books 2018…REVEALED

Banner made by Luna @ Lunaslittlelibrary

Here are 2018’s books that Beth and I will be reading for our Banned Books feature that has been running since July 2014!

JANUARY: Summer Of My German SoldierBette Greene
FEBRUARY: TwilightStephenie Meyer
MARCH: Fallen AngelsWalter Dean Myers
APRIL: Saga Volume 3Brian K.Vaughan and Fiona Staples
MAY: Blood And ChocolateAnnette Curtis Klause
JUNE: Brave New WorldAldous Huxley
JULY: Julie Of The WolvesJean Craighead George
AUGUST: I Am JazzJessica Herthel
SEPTEMBER: Taming The Star RunnerS.E. Hinton
OCTOBER: BelovedToni Morrison
NOVEMBER: King & KingLinda de Haan
DECEMBER: Flashcards Of My LifeCharise Mericle Harper
I’m looking forward to seeing if I agree with the reasons for these books being banned. If you want to have a look at the previous books (42 of them!) that Beth and I have read for this feature, check out the page for Banned Books here on my blog!

Banned Books #36 Saga: Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

banned books

Welcome to the 36th Banned Books post which means we’ve been reading Banned Books for 3 years now! Awoohoo! Go us! Celebrations aside, this month we took on Saga: Volume 2 by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples.

Saga, Vol. 2 (Saga, #2)

First published: 2013
In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2014 (source)
Reasons: anti-family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit and unsuited for age group.

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

BETH: As a relatively recent release my answers for this and the next question are going to be pretty much the same. This month, like last month we’re looking at a book where the focus is mainly on illustrations with few words in comparison. UNLIKE last month, this graphic novel is very, very different. Let me get this straight. I don’t agree with banning or challenging books on any level. I love to get angry about why books are challenged/banned especially when the reasons for doing so are just damn stupid but you know when you read something and you can kind of see why some people might have had issues or been offended? This is the wonderful world of Saga. It doesn’t offend me at all (I’m not easily offended!) but I have been slightly taken aback at some of the images, although I must insist that the art is absolutely stunning and something I can look at for a long time (erm…perhaps unless it’s a very naked, quite terrifying giant monster).

CHRISSI: I actually laughed out loud at Beth’s comment about the naked, giant monster as I nearly took a picture of it to send to her as I was reading it. I agree that it’s easy to see why Saga is challenged. There’s some quite graphic pictures and some very strong language. I don’t think you’d expect that when you pick it up, if you go into it not knowing the controversy surrounding it. I’d totally agree that it has some beautiful images though. The illustrations are stunning… it’s just not for the easily offended (or children!)

How about now?

BETH: Most of the reasons for challenging Saga are completely correct, I hate to admit. Yes, it has explicit sexual content, nudity and offensive language. However, I don’t really agree with the anti-family message. Our two main characters have a small baby, Hazel and are very much together even though they are all “on the run.” Plus in this volume, the grandparents come into play which does show quite a strong family unit, especially when I consider the role of the grandfather in this volume. Also, unsuited for age group. Hmm. Well, it just depends where you make this graphic novel available to be perfectly honest! If it’s in the primary school library that’s a different kettle of fish entirely and completely inappropriate I agree. But if it’s in the local library adult section for teenagers to find for themselves I don’t think that’s too terrible.

CHRISSI: I understand why it’s challenged. I do. I don’t like admitting that, but I do understand why it is offensive to many. I think there should be the opportunity for it to be found in the right places. Like Beth said, a local library would be fine but in a education setting…not so much!

What did you think of this book?:

BETH: We looked at the first volume of Saga in our Banned Books for 2016 – please find our post HERE. It had been a while since I read the first six chapters so I did re-read them before embarking on Volume Two and I remembered just why I enjoyed it the last time. As I mentioned before, the art is simply gorgeous and really intricate but the story is also intriguing and makes me want to keep on reading. I’ll certainly be continuing the series and am looking forward to Volume Three!

CHRISSI: Unlike Beth, I didn’t reread the first volume. I went into it cold and luckily remembered a lot from the previous volume. I really enjoyed this volume, possibly more than the first. The artwork is beautiful and I’m intrigued by the story. I can totally see why so many readers are lapping up this series of graphic novels.

Would you recommend it?:

BETH: Of course!

CHRISSI: Of course!

Top Ten Graphic Novels I’ve Read And Want To Read

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, it’s all about the visuals. Graphic novels that we’ve read, enjoyed or want to read. I have split the list two ways and have picked my top 5 I’ve read so far and the top 5, I want to read.

5 I’ve Read

Lighter Than My Shadow- Katie Green

Lighter Than My Shadow

This is an incredible memoir of the author’s struggle with eating disorders.

El Deafo- Cece Bell

El Deafo

This book is a fantastic read with a deaf child at the heart of it.

Drama- Raina Telegemeier

Drama

I can’t believe that this book was banned! It’s great fun.

Saga

Saga, Vol. 1

It may be a bit much for some readers in some places but I loved it!

Through The Woods

Through the Woods

I loved this creepy read.

5 to read…

Anya’s Ghost- Vera Brosgol

Anya's Ghost

I’m intrigued by this book. I’ve heard great things.

This One Summer- Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

 

This One Summer

Again, I have heard wonderful things about this book.

Smile- Raina Telgemeier

Smile

I liked Drama by the same author, so I’m intrigued to read more.

Hyperbole and a Half- Allie Brosh

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened

I’ve seen good reviews of this one.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret- Brian Selznick

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

This book intrigues me. I’ve picked it up a few times but never purchased a copy.

What graphic novels do you recommend? Let me know! Feel free to leave a link to your posts and I’ll stop by.

Round up of Challenges 2016- How did I do?

Finishing The Series Challenge 2016

I have been working on finishing series for a few years now and I joined in with this challenge which was hosted by Bea’s Book Nook (Finishing The Series )

I signed up for the experienced challenge which meant that I aimed to finish between 3-6 series.

I finished:

I did add on Bad Girls Don’t Die because I couldn’t get on with my original pick which was The Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater. I was really pleased to finish these series and I’ll definitely be looking at a similar challenge for 2017.

The British Books Challenge 2016

This was hosted by Kirsty at Overflowing Library. I read 66 British books in 2016! I will be continuing this challenge into 2017. It’s one of my favourites!

Banned Books 2016

My sister Beth and I read 12 more Banned Books this year. On every last Monday of a month we read a banned/challenged book and we talk about the reasons why!

  1. Persepolis– Marjane Satrapi
  2. It’s Perfectly Normal– Robie H.Harris and Michael Emberley
  3. Saga, Volume 1– Brian K.Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  4. A Stolen Life– Jaycee Dugard
  5. Drama– Raina Telgemeier
  6. The Adventures of Captain Underpants– Dav Pilkey
  7. A Bad Boy Can Be Good For A Girl– Tanya Lee Stone
  8. Bless Me, Ultima– Rudolfo Anaya
  9. Bone– Jeff Smith
  10. The Glass Castle– Jeannette Walls
  11. Gossip Girl– Cecily von Ziegesar
  12. My Sister’s Keeper– Jodi Picoult

It’s been a great year of reading challenges which I feel really vary my reading choices. I’m hoping for more of the same in 2017.

Banned Books #21 Saga Volume 1 (Chapters 1-6) by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

banned books

It’s the last Monday of the month which means it’s time for our Banned Books feature. This month we read Saga, Volume 1 which includes chapters 1-6.

Saga, Volume 1

Synopsis:

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.

First published: 2012
In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2014 (source)
Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit and unsuited for age group.

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

BETH: Okay, so here’s where things might get a little bit interesting. I am very much against the idea of ANY book being banned as we should all have the freedom to read anything we desire without restrictions or fear of recrimination but ever since starting this feature and with what I’ve learned from my sister as she became a primary school teacher, I can see why books might be challenged in certain situations and with certain age groups. I’m afraid Saga is one of those graphic novels that I can understand why it might be appropriate to restrict access in schools for the younger children. I think it’s probably one of those books it would be terrific to discover as a teenager (and perhaps either hide from your parents or share with your parents if they are particularly cool!)

CHRISSI: I TOTALLY understand why it is challenged. I don’t think it’s particularly a book for teenagers even though I’m sure they’d lap it up if they found it. It’s incredibly explicit and definitely geared towards adults. It even says in the synopsis ‘sexy subversive drama for adults.’ Sure, teens may really enjoy it and have a good giggle. Like Beth says, I can imagine some discovering it and hiding it from their parents. I’m all for them reading it eventually, but being promoted in a school? No. Just no.

How about now?

BETH: As this book is a relatively recent release, please see previous answer. I have a bit of an issue with one of the reasons for the challenge though, the anti-family one, as from what I’ve read so far and that’s only the first six chapters, there is a clear family in the novel – Alana, Marko and baby Hazel, the mother and father despite being two aliens from separate planets who are in the midst of a very bloody war, seem to have a very loving and protective relationship. Just because something in literature isn’t the conservative “norm,” doesn’t make it “anti-family,” in my opinion and it makes me cross when this is brought up, especially as a reason to avoid a particular piece of literature. The other reasons, well I have to admit to being shocked by exactly how graphic this novel gets. I was going to reproduce an example in the post but don’t want to intentionally offend anyone. Maybe just do what my sister and I did and flick through a copy in your bookshop? Warning – you may snigger uncontrollably.

CHRISSI: Oooh, look at Beth on her soap box there. I have to say, I agree with her though. There is a family involved. It’s not a conventional one, but it’s a family nonetheless. I know there are some pretty strange family units where I work and that’s everyday life, not another world! I do agree with the explicit, sexual content and offensive language bit though. There’s plenty of it in there, so if it’s likely to offend you then I’d stay clear…

What did you think of this book?:

BETH: As soon as I heard about this book and as soon as Chrissi and I found ourselves a copy in Foyles (marvellous UK bookshop) to look through I knew I had to have it and add it to our banned books list for this year. I enjoy reading a diverse range of fiction and we both desperately wanted to get more into graphic novels, a genre we have both been tentative about approaching in the past. I’m so glad I’ve finally started the series, I can see it being something I will carry on with and look forward to future releases. The artwork is amazing, the story original and intriguing and I really enjoyed the anticipation of flipping over a page – it was soon guaranteed that there would be something to surprise, shock or indeed, inspire me!

CHRISSI:  I am really jumping on the bandwagon with graphic novels. I really didn’t think Saga would work for me. I’m not heavily into fantasy, I don’t usually read gore-y, violent stuff but for some reason I really enjoyed Saga. I think this is largely down to the artwork and the shock factor!

Would you recommend it?

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: Of course!