British Books Challenge 2014: The round up!

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. That’s equal to one book a month.

It’s safe to say that I exceeded this challenge this year.

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Top Ten Books To Read To Get In The Halloween Spirit

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they come up with a list for us to complete. This week it is Top Ten Books To Read To Get In The Halloween Spirit.

This list is going to be HARD for me to create as I shy away from scary reads. My imagination just always runs away with itself. So please excuse my rather ‘tame’ list!

As ever, click on the book image to take you to Goodreads!

Hollow Pike

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This book is particularly creepy! I found it very eerie, but so engrossing!

Cruel Summer

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Cruel Summer definitely has a I Know What You Did Last Summer vibe. I loved it!

Say Her Name

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James Dawson does it again with the very creepy Say Her Name. It is based on Bloody Mary. *shudders*

Into The Darkest Corner

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This book is more of a psychological thriller. It’s still pretty disturbing though…if you like a disturbing read!

Follow Me Down

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Tanya Byrne is an amazing writer. This book is mysterious and engaging!

The Drowning

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I don’t recommend this book if you’re experience flooding and horrendously wet weather. Like I was, when I read this… *shudders again*

Cuckoo

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Another warped psychological thriller. I really enjoyed this book!

Dead Silent

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I absolutely love this series! Dead Silent is particularly creepy.

The Girl Who Wasn't There

I read The Girl Who Wasn’t There as part of my feature I do with Luna from Luna’s Little Library.

A book I’m looking forward to reading with a Halloween vibe!

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Alex Bell is a good friend of mine. Her first YA Horror novel is coming out soon in paperback. It is available as an e-book at the moment. It looks and sounds so creepy. I’m pretty sure she thinks I won’t read it… but I will!

What books put you in the Halloween spirit? Feel free to leave a link to your posts and I’ll stop by!

Top Ten Books For Readers Who Like Character Driven Novels

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they come up with a list for us to complete. This week it is Top Ten Books For Readers Who Like Character Driven Novels.  I love reading character driven novels so hopefully this won’t be too hard for me to complete!

As ever, click on the book image to take you to Goodreads!

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The Rosie ProjectGraeme Simsion– I’m so glad that this book is the first in a series, because I absolutely adored the main character. I can’t wait to see how his story continues.

Eleanor & ParkRainbow Rowell– I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It’s deeper than you’d think.

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The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night TimeMark Haddon– This is one of my favourite books by Mark Haddon and possibly one of my favourites ever. The main character is so unique.

RoomEmma Donoghue- This book is another unique read. It looks like it’s going to be completely harrowing and it is in parts, but the character of Jack does inject some much needed humour!

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The HelpKathryn Stockett– I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve included this book in Top Ten lists. This is one of my favourite books of all time. It’s raw, it’s honest, it’s got amazing characters. Just read it!!

Heart Shaped BruiseTanya Byrne- Another unique read. This book made me somewhat understand why the character did the awful thing that she did… (I’m so vague! 😉 )

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The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold FryRachel Joyce– A beautiful book about an older man’s journey to find his friend.

The Time Traveler’s Wife- Audrey Niffenegger– This book took me a while to get into, but I ended up loving the journey that we went on with the characters.

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TeaseAmanda Maciel– This one is interesting because it’s from the point of view of the bully.

Wonder- R.J Palacio- Another wonderful character in a very hopeful book.

What are your favourite character driven books? Feel free to leave your link to your post and I’ll stop by!

The YALC Experience 12-13 July 2014

Photo credit: @Guardianbooks on twitter

Photo credit: @Guardianbooks on twitter

I was lucky enough to attend the first Young Adult Literature Convention (YALC) in London this weekend.

This was my first experience at a convention/conference and it certainly WAS an experience. It was quite strange to be at an event within a massively popular event. YALC took place within the London Film and Comic Con which I’m sure a lot of you will be aware is massively popular. So amongst the bookish people, I found myself surrounded by some fabulous costumes including Spiderman, Poison Ivy, Elsa, Dobby and many, many more crazy costumes. I was impressed with how creative some people got.

Day 1

There were far too many people though and it was absolutely baking inside. Oh my goodness. 

Where the hell are the books?!

Despite being crowded there were a lot of things to see, and when I finally got in despite having an Early Bird ticket, my sister and I could NOT find the Book area. We got there at the end. Us bookish folk were shoved to the back, but that’s okay, because I was surrounded by books and my kind of people. I also got tickets for the panel that I wanted that day. Woohoo.

Ooh, I found the pretties!

Photo credit: @YALC_UK on twitter

Photo credit: @YALC_UK on twitter

The set up of YALC was lovely. Books everywhere and plenty of opportunities for those to pick up swag like badges, bookmarks, pens, wristbands etc. I loved that Hot Key Books arranged a book swap. Book lovers could swap one book for another. There were also plenty of places to purchase books from authors appearing at YALC and many more books.

The First Panel

The panel I went to on Day 1 was The End of the World as we Know it: The Ongoing Appeal of Dystopia. This panel included Malorie Blackman, Patrick Ness and Sarah Crossan. Malorie introduced YALC in Klingon and in costume. Of course. There’s no other way when at LFCC.  I felt like this panel was incredibly interesting and brought up some fantastic comments about Dystopia. We learned that no author on the panel really wanted to write a Utopian novel…because where’s the fun in that? I think some very valid points were made about how readers look for escapism in their reading and how it’s interesting to believe that in a world that’s turned crappy, that there’s a glimmer of hope somewhere.

Signings

I have to admit, I didn’t have a good experience with the signings.  I don’t think it helped that the authors I really wanted to see were the hugely popular and wonderful Malorie Blackman and Patrick Ness. I queued with my sister for an hour for Malorie Blackman, only for our line to be cut and be told that Malorie had to attend a talk 😦 Not her fault, but lots of fans were left disappointed. We gave up with Patrick Ness, just too many people and too little time for singings. We weren’t too disheartened though. We had had an amazing time.

I also loved catching up again with some lovely friends and spotting the bloggers I knew of, but I was too shy too approach.

Day 2- The day of 3 panels after another. Because…why not?

Trying to keep this day short and snappy, because I’ve wittered on a lot already and who knows if you’re even reading this far. Well done if you are! 😉

The queuing…

  • We got in much quicker. Yay, us!
  • It was less packed. I could breathe. Always a bonus.

I book swapped…

  • I managed to swap some books I’m not going to re-read and once I went back to the stand I had noticed they had gone. It gave me a really happy buzz to know that some book lover was going to enjoy my pristine condition books.

The three panels…

  1. The first panel was I’m Too Sexy For This Book with Cat Clarke, Non Pratt and Beth Reekles, chaired by the newly crowned Queen of Teen, James Dawson. This panel was incredibly funny. It’s the first time I’ve seen all of these authors and they just made me howl with laughter. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the phrase ‘sexy time’ used so much. The panel spoke about sex within YA. It was hilarious. The tone was er… pretty low and there were innuendos flying everywhere. Everyone seemed to be loving the panel. It certainly was a highlight of the panels I saw. Despite the hilarity, some important points were covered and covered sensitively by this panel of talented writers and the chair. Taboo seemed to come up a lot and how sex in YA can often stop school libraries stocking the book. It certainly made me reflect.
  2. Next up was Crossover-Not Just For Kids with Matt Haig, Meg Rosoff, Anthony McGowen and Nick Lake. It was chaired by David Maybury. He didn’t quite have control over the panel, but it wasn’t surprising with the rowdy bunch of authors he had! 😉 What I found fascinating about this panel was that no-one could really define what crossover was. I think Nick Lake made an interesting point when he said young adult readers are much more open-minded about genres. I completely agree and think that this is such a positive thing for the genre, if we can call Young Adult a genre. Sometimes adult readers can get stuck in one genre and never broaden their horizons. I know, I used to just read one genre…
  3. The last panel for me was Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves with Holly Smale, Julie Mayhew, Isobel Harrop and Tanya Byrne chaired by Sarra Manning. I absolutely loved this panel. I think they all come up with such interesting points. All of these writers are YA writers, but their books are very different. It was intriguing to see how they came to write their heroine. I think Holly Smale made a good point about wanting to create a character that does have flaws. It is SO important for readers to know their literary heroines make mistakes too. She also made such a good point about courage and courage not always being a physical thing, but for some, stepping out of their comfort zone is courageous. I totally agree. Last time I saw Holly talk, I found her quite inspirational and this hasn’t changed. I also loved that Julie Mayhew made the point that characters don’t always have to be likeable and that’s okay. For Julie as an author, as many authors I imagine, the most important thing is the character provokes a reaction. I completely agree with this. I often find myself not liking a character and I never see this as a negative thing.  

With that, my sister and I decided to head off. I had a long journey home and I have work tomorrow! I went home with some lovely new books, a fantastic experience, some good laughs and a wonderful weekend spent with my bookish sister and like-minded people.

Follow Me Down

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How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously read by the same author:
Heart-Shaped Bruise

Synopsis:

Critically acclaimed author Tanya Byrne returns with a dark, compulsive tale of obsession and betrayal.

First love. Last lie.

When Adamma Okomma has to leave her glossy high school in New York for a dusty English boarding school, she thinks it’s the end of the world – or the end of her social life, at least.

Then she meets the wicked-witted Scarlett Chiltern, who shows her all of Crofton College’s darkest corners and Adamma realises that there’s much more to her new school than tartan skirts and hockey sticks.

She and Scarlett become inseparable, but when they fall for the same guy, the battle lines are firmly drawn.

Adamma gets the guy but loses her best friend. Then, when Scarlett runs away, Adamma finds herself caught up in something far more sinister than a messy love triangle. Adamma always knew that Scarlett had her secrets, but some secrets are too big to keep and this one will change all of their lives forever.

Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed Heart-Shaped Bruise when I read it last year. In fact, I was completely blown away by it. I knew I just had to read the next book by Tanya Byrne. I went into reading Follow Me Down with some trepidation, but I’m happy to say, it’s a fantastic read. Tanya Byrne is certainly becoming one of my auto-buy writers. I can’t recommend her books enough!

Follow Me Down is a story about Adamma Okomma, who is sent to Crofton College when her parents move to England. Adamma soon makes friends with Scarlett Chilton, who is Queen Bee at the boarding school. Scarlett hold some dark secrets which Adamma soon becomes privy to. Adamma begins to hold secrets of her own.

Given the synopsis, I was fully expecting Follow Me Down to be about your typical love triangle in a school setting. I admit, I was disappointed that there was a love triangle. They’re becoming far too common in young adult reads. However, I also have to admit I was wrong. It’s a love triangle with a difference. I should’ve known that Tanya Byrne wouldn’t write a typical love triangle. There’s so much more to it than meets the eye.

I liked how the narration was set out. It’s told in Before and After timelines. It’s helpful to have these headings as it’s easy to keep track of what was happening. I became a bit frustrated… I kept thinking ‘After what?!’ I just had to keep reading to work out what on earth was going on.

I didn’t really predict what was going to happen in the book. I was suspicious of several characters, but didn’t quite twig who the culprit was. I’m glad to say he was one of the ones I thought it might have been.

I think the reason why I haven’t gave this book a five star, was that the use of ‘he’ confused me quite a bit. I understand that this was probably the point of the book though. It didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book, it just frustrated me at times.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course! 4.5 stars!

Reading next:
The Girl With A Clock For A Heart- Peter Swanson

WWW Wednesday #54

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Click on the image to get to her blog!

Welcome to another WWW Wednesday!  To participate in WWW Wednesday, you need to answer three questions.

•What are you currently reading?

•What did you recently finish reading?

•What do you think you’ll read next?

Click on the book cover to get to the Goodread’s page for the book.

What are you currently reading?

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I’m just about to start this book by Sophia Bennett. I’ve heard amazing things about it, so I can’t wait to get stuck into it. On a shallow note, this book has got beautiful blue-green page edges. Oooh pretty!!  I really liked Sophia’s writing in The Look, so I can’t wait to see how I feel about this book.

What did you recently finish reading?                               

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I recently finished two books. I am completely in love with Follow Me Down. I thought this was a fantastic Young Adult mystery! Something stopped me giving it 5 stars, but it’s definitely close to 5 stars! My review should be published within the next few days, so feel free to come back and read my thoughts. I also recently finished The Girl With A Clock For A Heart. I enjoyed this fast-paced thriller. It’s not very long at all, so it didn’t take me long to read!

What do you think you’ll read next?

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The next book on my radar is Gretel and The Dark. I’m so intrigued by this book, so I can’t wait to get around to reading it!

What are you reading this week? Please feel free to leave your link to your posts in the comments section below or answer the questions! I love seeing what other people are reading! Happy Reading!

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!