Round up of British Book Challenge 2013

I can’t believe it’s been a year, since I accepted the challenge to read 12 books by a British author. I’ve absolutely loved discovering new British authors this year. I’m definitely going to continue the challenge next year. We have far too many brilliant authors in the UK, that deserve much more recognition.

Here are the British Authors I’ve discovered this year, complete with a link to my review!

Here’s to discovering new British Authors in 2014 and continuing to support UK writers!

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Top Ten Books I Wish Could Have Had Sequels

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s list is about books that you wish had sequels. Now I have to admit this has been quite a hard list for me because I’ve realised just how many series I read! Maybe this list serves as a hint to me to read more standalone books.

In no particular order here are my 10. Click on the book image to get to the Goodreads page.

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The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson- I really enjoyed reading this book. It was brilliantly written and I’d love to have seen how Lennie’s life progressed.

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Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne- I think I would just love to read more about Emily. I loved her character. I shouldn’t have liked her so much, but Tanya’s incredible writing made me love her!

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The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence- Again, this is more about me being attached to the main character than anything else. Although, after reading Gavin Extence’s writing, I’ll be certain to read whatever he writes next.

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The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night Time by Mark Haddon- This is one of my favourite books.  It’s another book that I’d be curious to see other adventures of the main character.

 

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Saving June by Hannah Harrington- I’m sensing a theme here that the books I’ve mentioned are books I’d like to see what happens next to the character.

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If You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahern- I loved the characters in this very sweet book.

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Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler- I’m becoming a bit repetitive now, but this is another book where I’d love to know what happened next to the characters.

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Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver- I really liked this story. Its writing is very real and beautiful.

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The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella- I know, I know I’m a bit boring with this list, but again this is another book where I’m way too attached to the characters. I WANT MORE!

Feel free to leave your links to your lists. I’m pretty sure I’m going to be kicking myself for not adding your books to my list!

Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2013

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely The Broke and the Bookish. This week the list is Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far in 2013. It’s going to be SO hard to pick ten books, as I’ve read some amazing books already this year.

If you click on the book image, it’ll take you to the books Goodread’s page. As ever, the books aren’t in any particular order as I just can’t pick the best!

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Pushing The Limits- Katie McGarry– I have far too much love for this book. I really do. I STILL need to read Dare You To, but I have a feeling I’m going to love it too.

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Outcast- Adrienne Kress– I know, I know I keep adding this one to a Top Ten list but it really is one of my favourite books so far this year!

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The Bone Dragon- Alexia Casale- Another bloomin’ brilliant book that I’ve had the pleasure to read this year!

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The Quietness- Alison Rattle- This is another book that has featured a few times on my Top Ten Lists, but I can’t help but spread the word about how good this book is!

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Shatter Me- Tahereh Mafi- I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

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Unearthly- Cynthia Hand- I know I’m late with this one, but the good thing about being late with a series is that you can read the whole lot without waiting for the next instalment! I really enjoyed Unearthly. Much more than I thought I would.

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Splintered- A.G Howard- A beautiful cover and an Alice in Wonderland theme. Loved it!

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The Girl You Left Behind- Jojo Moyes– A great book, a lovely story!

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The Universe Versus Alex Woods- Gavin Extence- I loved Alex! So brilliant.

Please feel free to leave your links to your top ten books you’ve read this year. I’m pretty sure I’ll be adding to my TBR pile!

Hay Festival 2013

Click on the image to learn more about Hay Festival!

Click on the image to learn more about Hay Festival!

I’m just back from Hay Festival! I had such a good time that I decided to do a little blog post about it. Hay Festival is a Literature and Arts festival which runs every year. It brings together writers, film-makers, historians, novelists, philosophers, poets and at night comedians and musicians. Hay is described as “a magical book town in the Black Mountains of the Brecon Beacons National Park.” It was absolutely beautiful and I was in my element surrounded by books, authors and like-minded people. This year was my ‘taster’ session so I didn’t spend long there, but I hope to rectify that next year!

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I went to Hay with my sister Bibliobeth. Our journey did not start so well, with our coach being hit by something on the motorway, which left its exhaust hanging off and left us waiting to see if it was safe to continue onto Newport. Luckily it was and on we went.

Can you spy Newport?

Can you spy Newport?

After a very long journey we arrived at our accommodation for the night. Which was lovely… even if the weather wasn’t so lovely.

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We were greeted with warm cheese and potato pie and biscuits. Lovely!

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The festival was brilliant. We had booked two talks which were 3 of the Waterstones 11 debut novelists chaired by Chris White who is on the panel at Waterstones to pick the 11 promising debuts of the year. We decided to go to this talk because we’re reading and reviewing the Waterstones 11 debut novels. The second talk was a Geektastic talk from Holly Smale and Andy Robb.

I really enjoyed the Waterstones 11 debut novels talk. The authors were Gavin Extence (The Universe Versus Alex Woods- review HERE), Kevin Maher (The Fields- review HERE) and Taiye Selasi (Ghana Must Go, see Bibliobeth’s review HERE). It was interesting to hear about how they came up with the ideas, their writing methods, how they got published and lots more besides. All of the authors were extremely likeable and their personalities really shone through. I definitely saw a bit of Alex Woods in Gavin Extence.

Next up was the Geek Fest as I like to call it. Holly Smale (Geek Girl, review HERE) and Andy Robb (Geekhood series) discussed their books and what the definition of geek actually is. This talk was particularly interactive with the audience which was great. Holly and Andy were really lovely. I certainly would have picked up Geek Girl if I hadn’t have already read it. There were more questions to the authors and some friendly debate about the likability of The Big Bang Theory. I thought Holly said some inspiring statements about being who you are and becoming comfortable in your own skin, liking what you like regardless of what other people think of you or label you as. It earned her a round of applause which was very well deserved!

After a wander around the festival (including a lot of time spent in the festival’s bookshop) we went into Hay to explore the bookshops. There are LOADS which are all packed with books, books and more books at very cheap/reasonable prices. We, of course, picked up some books and then made our way home.

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I can’t wait to arrange to spend more time at Hay next year. It was so much fun!

Top Ten British Reads That I’ve Read This Year

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely The Broke and The Bookish. This week is a freebie week so I thought I’d list my top ten British reads so far this year. These books might be older books but they’re ones that I’ve read this year.

In no particular order.. because I find it way too hard to order my precious books..

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Geek Girl- Holly Smale. This was such a cute read and I really adore Holly Smale’s writing style. I can’t wait to read the next book!

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Torn and Undone by Cat Clarke. I’ve read all three of Cat Clarke’s books and each one gets better and better. Undone was just incredible!

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I may have said how awesome this book is before. Oh well, I’ll say it again! It really is awesome!

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The Universe Versus Alex Woods- Gavin Extence. I had high hopes for this book and luckily they were met!

These next books I’ve mentioned before on my Top Ten Tuesday lists, but they’re so good!

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Just What Kind Of Mother Are You- Paula Daly. This is an intriguing, incredibly well written thriller!

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Heart-Shaped Bruise- Tanya Byrne. I absolutely loved this book which was recommended to me by a good friend.

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The Quietness- Alison Rattle. An incredible read!

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Rebecca- Daphne Du Maurier. I had read this book before this year, but this year I was reminded how much I loved it. Fabulous book!

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The Girl You Left Behind- Jojo Moyes. I was anxious to read another Jojo Moyes book after loving Me Before You SO much, but I needn’t have worried. It was good!

Please feel free to leave your links to your Top Ten Tuesday lists. It’ll be interesting to see what you’ve picked for the freebie week! I’ll make sure to visit your blog within the next few days!

The Universe Versus Alex Woods

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How did I get it?
I bought it.

Synopsis:

A tale of an unexpected friendship, an unlikely hero and an improbable journey, Alex’s story treads the fine line between light and dark, laughter and tears. And it might just strike you as one of the funniest, most heartbreaking novels you’ve ever read.

Alex Woods knows that he hasn’t had the most conventional start in life.

He knows that growing up with a clairvoyant single mother won’t endear him to the local bullies.

He also knows that even the most improbable events can happen – he’s got the scars to prove it.

What he doesn’t know yet is that when he meets ill-tempered, reclusive widower Mr Peterson, he’ll make an unlikely friend. Someone who tells him that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make the best possible choices.

So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at Dover customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the passenger seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he’s fairly sure he’s done the right thing . .

Thoughts:

I’m not going to lie, from reading the synopsis I was so excited to read this book. I’m glad I did! It is the second book of the Waterstones 11 for this year, highlighting some promising debut authors. I can safely say that to me, Gavin Extence is definitely a promising author and I will be looking out for his work in the future.

This book is so unusual. I found myself wondering whether I liked it or not, but I did. It’s certainly different and it does make you think about life and death. I found Alex to be a lovable character, he was so geeky and endearing. His friendship with the unlikely Mr Peterson was both touching and believable. I don’t want to say too much about the plot because I don’t want to ruin it.

Gavin Extence is such a talented writer. The story was witty at times but incredibly sad at others. I was surprised how much information there was about epilepsy in the book, as it is a book of fiction, but it was written so well that I didn’t feel like I was reading a medical text. I have no interest whatsoever in astro-physics, yet Gavin Extence’s writing made me carry on reading when I’m sure less talented writers would have completely killed the book for me. I thoroughly recommend it!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Reading next:
Dance of Shadows- Yelena Black

WWW Wednesday #2

WWW Wednesday's is hosted by Should Be Reading. Click on the link to get to her blog!

WWW Wednesday’s is hosted by Should Be Reading. Click on the link to get to her blog!

To join in you need to answer 3 questions..

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

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What are you currently reading?  I’m currently reading Geek Girl by Holly Smale. I’ll probably finish it today, it’s very quick and easy to read!

What have you recently finished reading? I recently finished Rebecca as part of a challenge to read more classics. I absolutely love this book. You can read my review HERE

What do you think you’ll read next? I’m going to read the next in the Waterstones 11 list, which is another novel from a debut author that shows much promise. I can’t wait to read this one!