Wednesday, 25 March 2015

My Multiple Copies

I have a lot of multiple copies of books. I thought today I would show you what books I have multiples of and tell you a little bit about why I have multiples of them. This is in no particular order, just what I saw first on my shelves.

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green


I have three copies of The Fault In Our Stars. The first copy, the one on the left, I got in the book set of all the John Green novels. It's the first one I owned. Then I got the movie tie-in cover below mainly because I can look at Ansel Elgort whenever I want, which is a lot. Also cause there was set pictures in it. And finally I got the shiny hardback for Christmas and it's beautiful, all be it impossible to photograph well.


Looking For Alaska by John Green 



I have two copies of Looking For Alaska. I have the copy I got in the John Green box set and then I treated myself to the UK hardback 10th anniversary edition because it is beautiful and has extra content I like extra content!






Let It Snow by John Green


I actually own three copies of this book but you can't take pictures of Kindle books. I bought myself the Let It Snow paperback in 2013 and I really like the cover. For Christmas I was given the hardback cover which is beautiful, shiny and hard to take pictures of!






Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell




Again I have three copies but one is on my kindle. I read this first on my kindle, then when it was finally released in paperback format I bought it. During the summer last year, a special edition was released and I bought a copy because it has pretty details like Fangirl written on the edges and a post under the dust jacket.




Little Women and Good Wives by Louisa May Alcott




I have many copies of this. The pink Penguin Classics edition was the first I owned for myself and It is the one I reread every year. I then found a copy of Good Wives in a charity shop and bought myself it so that I have a copy, even though I really hate the cover.








I received both of these editions for my Christmas 2013. Both are double editions of Little Women and Good wives. The one on the left has deckled edges and is the Penguin Threads edition. The one one the right is tall and floppy and has a lovely cover. It kind of reminds me of a play edition. I'm not sure who it is published by, so if you know comment please!







Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild



I read this first when I was nine or ten. I really loved the story and I adored the characters and writing style. When this beautiful edition was published last January, I had to get it and my mum treated me to it. It;s so pretty and has a lovely cover and bow and just. So stunning.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton



I received the first copy on my birthday and then when The Miniaturist won the Waterstones Book of the Year it was released in this beautiful dust jacket-less edition that even has a ribbon bookmark! My mum bought it for me for my Christmas. Fun Fact - I hadn't seen the new cover until a few weeks before Christmas, by which point my mum had already bought it for me. She was lucky I liked the new one or that could have been awkward.


The Story Of Tracy Beaker, The Dare Game and Starring Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson




I already owned Starring Tracy Beaker and had read The Story of Tracy Beaker when the Tracy Beaker trilogy was published. My dad bought it for me from the old Waterstones shop, before it closed. I got the Dare Game as part of a 10 book set I paid my dad to get me from eBay.





The Lottie Project and The Suitcase Kid by Jacqueline Wilson




I seem to remember getting The Suitcase Kid free with a magazine, probably the only reason I bought the magazine. I got a brand new and cheap copy of the Lottie Project from a school sale of work and the I received the combined book as part of the 10 book set from eBay. It was unexpected as they didn't list it so I didn't know.



My Sister Jodie by Jacqueline Wilson




My mum bought me the hardback of My Sister Jodie when it was first released. After a couple of months I read it and adored it. On the 23rd of March 2010, I went to Aberdeen and saw a talk given by Jacqueline herself. I was able to get two books signed, so my mum bought me a paperback copy of My Sister Jodie for signing. Fun Fact - the night I met her was the night Ross County FC bet Hibs in a cup replay to make it to the semi final against Celtic. My dad has never let me forget the I made him miss that match.


The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling 




I bought the first book in the series from a charity shop, the rest from Waterstones. My series had never matched so for my main present at Christmas I got the hardback box-set of the new covers. Then I bought myself as an end of prelim treat the fancy gift edition of Harry Potter                                                             and the Philospher's Stone!




Divergent by Veronica Roth  

 
I bought the first and second books in the trilogy before it was cool, or popular or ever thought of as a film. I love the UK cover a lot. My friend Skye is a huge fan like me so for Christmas I got her the collector's edition and although I was happy to, I was a little jealous cause of all the extra content. On Christmas morning I opened a present and it was the Collector's Edition. I was very excited indeed.


So that's all my multiple copies. I actually didn't know I had so many multiples. You can see a lot of them are because a new edition was published and I really wanted to get it. Comment if you have any multiple copies of books and why you have them. I'll see you next Wednesday.














Thursday, 19 March 2015

REVIEW || Shipwrecked by Siobhan Curham

Book Title: Shipwrecked (Shipwrecked #1)
Author: Siobhan Curham
Publisher: Electric Monkey, June 3rd, 2013
SourcePublisher 
Format: Paperback, 342 pages
LinksGoodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
Grace Delaney and her fellow dance students are en route to perform on a South Pacific cruise-ship when a freak storm hits and they find themselves stranded on a deserted island. With the tropical heat rising, passions and tensions swell to breaking point. And the island itself is quietly steaming with a terrible secret...
Shipwrecked is one of those books you just kick yourself for not getting to earlier because once you start it you are hooked, and to be completely honest I am currently writing this review whilst I lust for the sequel because seriously, I need to know what happens to the crew next! And yes, I have started calling the kids my crew, don’t judge. It is what I imagine a combination of The Hunger Games and Smells Like Teen Spirit would look like, with a bit of voodoo thrown into the mix. It’s a combination that really shouldn’t work; I mean I was that skeptical but in a weird way it does work and it works really really well.


Curham got down a pretty mixed group of characters from the very beginning, despite them all being dance students and knowing each other there are clearly cliques and I thought that this would put me off the book because teenage drama isn’t really my scene but once again I was wrong, Siobhan made me care about what happened in this fractured group of students, even to the ones I began to loathe. The plot of the book itself is so enticing mainly because it’s pretty unpredictable, just as the characters don’t really know what’s up, neither do we and combined with the atmosphere that Curham made bloom on the pages it was the perfect setting for a creepy voodoo queen to show up, and a little bit of island romance. (Hello, yes, total reference to cruise-ship right there.)



Coming to review the book, I can’t truly find a fault in it – there was not a thing that I disliked, or anything that annoyed me. The pace was excellent, and although I wish there had been more development with Hortense I look forward to that happening in the sequel. The Gossip Girl aspect was balanced nicely with the eeriness of the island and the validity of the situation. It’s the perfect mix of grittiness and desperation. I really enjoyed Curham’s writing style it melded well with Grace’s character and her descriptions brought the island itself to life -  I don’t think I’ll forget this one in a hurry! I urge you to give this one a go; it’s unlike anything I’ve read before and despite all the seriousness there are quite a few fun moments – definitely a series I will be following!

Rating = 4 Bookish Birds

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Naming and Shaming...!

So I have an incredibly large TBR! You could even call it huge. But don't cause that sounds scary. And in my larger than large TBR and some books I think people may be shocked to find out I haven't actually read! I thought, and I'm not sure why, it would be a good idea to name one of these books a month and shame myself into finally reading them at some point! What, some of them are really long!!

This month I am going to admit that I have never read...

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak



I have actually tried to read this book two or three times but I always hit a stumbling block and I can never finish it. I am going to right this wrong and fairly soon, well I mean probably after my exams. I am looking forward to reading this book but I just never have the time and I can never quite get into it!







The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon


Again, I have tried to read this before but I always seem to hit a stumbling block but I do have plans to read it later this year. More on that in a post in May. I swear per-scheduling all the posts has made me forget the idea of time. I just keep thinking so many Wednesdays away. I am seriously looking forward to reading it and The Mime Order though.






The Maze Runner Series and Prequel by James Dashner


I did actually try to read this before and was three quarters of the way through the first book but my friend spoiled the ending for me because she saw the film and I had to put it down! Safe to say I am planning my revenge on her! I am also planning on trying to pick this book up soon.







So that was three books / series I have not read. I have named and now I will face the shame! I hope you like this post. I have plenty more books in mind so I will probably do a follow up post. I will see you next week with a new post!



Tuesday, 17 March 2015

REVIEW || A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Book Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's (UK), May 7th, 2015
Source: ARC from Publisher
Format: Paperback ARC, 432 pages
LinksGoodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price. Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.
I don’t think it’s escaped anyone’s notice that I’m quite a big fan of Sarah’s books, so when the lovely people at Bloomsbury sent me an ARC of it for Christmas I was over the moon – the most I had heard about the book was that it was some sort of veiled beauty and the beast re-telling, and there were faeries.

Of course it went straight onto my wishlist.

Overall I can say the book pleasantly surprised me, I did have my worries that the main character [Feyre] would sound too similar too Celaena and therefore have a negative impact on the book, but Feyre was her own person and her narration had a flow that was really easy to get into.

The first half of the book is rather docile, and it did bring my expectations of the book down quite a lot but I did enjoy getting to know Feyre and Tamlin, and the new world that Maas created during that half and whilst it wasn’t amazing it still kept me reading every inch of the way and there were some very intense scenes. I mean, wow. Then there’s the big (well, not THAT big) twist and as a result the rest of the book is quite brilliant. I will admit when the concept of the “trials” was brought up my mind did flit to what Celaena had to experience whilst trying to become the king’s champion, but once again even though there was that link Maas still made it unique to the story she was telling and with the way it was written it just knew it would become an instant favourite of mine, and it has.

The relationship between Tamlin and Feyre was one that I found enjoyable to read, although very predictable (throughout the whole book, to be honest) but it just wasn't my favourite, you know, with the prisoner falling in love with the captor… it’s a little distasteful. I absolutely adored the dynamics that the two main characters had with Lucien, he is that character who is a bit of an ass but he brought an element of fun to the novel and consequently meant that not all the focus was on Feylin. 

There were only two real negatives; one of them was that personally I felt that the villain was very removed from the whole story, because of that she didn’t really seem like a threat, and when she was in scene’s she just seemed a little petty. Secondly; the entire book was brilliant but it wasn’t a good as I was expecting it to be. It was written very well, and the imagery that Mass evoked really helped the book along, but there was just a lack of a wow factor. I can see that the novel does have the potential to be amazing, and I have a feeling that due to development in the second novel it’s going to become much better as the series goes on.

In short, A Court of Thorns and Roses has it all; the romance, the funny moments, magic, a dysfunctional family and of course, some great action-ey scenes. It is truly quite brilliant and I do urge you to pick it up and have a read, especially if you’re a bit on the fence about the fantasy genre – I think this is one will help you ease into it.
Rating = 3.5 Bookish Birds

Sunday, 15 March 2015

DIVERSITY IN YA

This particular post is one that I've always wanted to write but I always hesitated because its such a big topic – there are so many different aspects and corners to it, and I can’t talk about everything I want to talk about in one post, or even several posts, and there's always the constant worry of being misunderstood... but after participating in my first proper #ukyachat it gave me that final push I needed to finally address it in a post. Awareness for diversity has bloomed quite a lot over the recent past few years that I've been truly present in the book community, and its brilliant to see campaigns like #weneeddiversebooks becoming so recognized and supported but despite this and the diverse books we already have there is still a lot of leeway to be made.

First off, let’s start of with the basics – what are diverse books? Well, rather than myself rambling on with a probably not so accurate description I have one from the lovely Sarah Benwell (very big thanks to her for letting me use it in my post!) author of The Last Leaves Falling, a diverse YA book that I absolutely adored – you can read more about my love for this brilliant book in my review!

What are diverse books? Books with authors or characters that are people of colour, QUILTBAG, and/or physically/ mentally disabled, also includes those of ethnic, cultural, religious and gender minorities, indigenous peoples, socioeconomic diversity and class. Disabilities shall here include physical, sensory, cognitive, and intellectual or developmental disabilities, chronic conditions and mental illnesses. – SARAH BENWELL, via Twitter

[NOTE: POC = people of colour & QUILTBAG = Queer Undecided Intersex Lesbian Transgender/Transsexual Bisexual Asexual/Agender/Aromantic. Gay.]

As you can see the realms of diverse books are far reaching, and at the foundations they’re all based within human nature – they can affect everyone and anyone. One of the biggest merits of books (YA or otherwise) I believe, is the element of self-discovery and without diverse books there is such a significant portion of the reader populace that goes without this fantastic element, because as I said during the chat ‘people are people’ and what I mean by this is whether you’re black, white, Hispanic, gay, straight, bisexual etc we all have the same issues whether that be depression or just simple relationship problems with a person you like/want to date!

Diversity itself is real; the world is full of these people so why shouldn't books be the same? Why should Young Adult books be exempt from including and addressing the things we experience everyday and know about? I don’t claim to be an expert on diverse books, they’re something I've only begun to seek out and I really haven’t read very many but I do know about diversity. I've grown up with international peers, people of colour and different religions, and getting to read about things I know and things I've experienced – things I can relate too – is always so much more interesting, its that relatable element for any person that makes diverse books such a valuable commodity. Furthermore in diverse writing I think one of the most important things is accurate representation, of the characters and their experiences.

Last but not least, there’s the fact that a lot of books focus on the diverse elements as their main story and e.g. put gay/trans characters in the spotlight because they’re gay/trans but I find books that integrate the elements much more seamlessly (as it is in real life) often tend to have a higher standing with me. That’s not saying that the books that do focus solely on the diverse elements as their story are terrible; there have been some absolutely brilliant ones!

Now, I’d like to talk a little about things I would like to see more of and some of the diverse books I've read that I’d like to recommend!

I would love to see more people of colour and different races than just white and black – I do know that representation of black people is still underdone but representation of other races is even less so, and I think there is so much untapped potential with these types of characters and the stories they could have! Secondly, I really want to see more written about taboo subjects in diverse books – of course many diverse topics themselves are still quite taboo, but in the books that have that seamless integration it would be great to have that as a further element. And on that point if you really want to know what a diverse should be, in my opinion it shouldn’t draw attention to the “abnormality” of someone with a mental illness, or someone who’s gay – it should not have me constantly thinking that “this person is so and so…” but instead it should have me thinking about the experience the character is going through.

A really excellent example of what I was trying to articulate above is Becky Albertalli’s book; Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Whilst I was fully aware that the romance was between two homosexual teenage boys, it didn't feel any different than reading a sweet YA contemporary between a heterosexual couple. Unfortunately Simon isn't available to the general public yet, but it is definitely one that you should watch out for! If you would like to read more about how much I loved this one then please do check out my review of it right here!

Like I mentioned earlier I haven’t read that many diverse books, but of the small amount I have read I absolutely adored the majority of them, quite a few of them also simultaneously being UKYA books too. This turned into a really long post even though I was trying to keep it short, nonetheless if you have stuck with it until the end then thank-you!



Friday, 13 March 2015

[SUPER EARLY] REVIEW || The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

Book Title: The Accident Season
Author: Moira Fowley-Doyle
PublisherCorgi Childrens, July 2nd, 2015
SourcePublisher (via NetGalley)
Format: e-ARC, 288 pages
LinksGoodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
It's the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom. The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara's life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara's family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items - but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear. But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?
I don't normally review a book this early before its publication date but I couldn't delay sharing my thoughts on this novel any longer - big thank you to Random House for the copy!

It took me a while to come to a conclusion about this book, a rather long while at that. It is definitely a different book – even now I’m not entirely sure how to articulate my feels about the book in such a way to convey how much I did truly enjoy it, but how strange I found it too. I think The Accident Season is a book that is going to cause a lot of chatter when it goes out into the world, and for a debut novel I can’t call it anything but fantastic.
Being a fan of what I like to call “contemporary-fantasy” The Accident Season had me fifty shades of intrigued (okay, bad joke) and having read the book now, I don’t think the blurb even comes close to showing you how complex it is and to what extent it addresses a lot of various aspects. I mean its basically got everything, fantasy, well portrayed adolescents, mystery – on a normal day if someone had proposed this book to me, I would have had more than a few issues with the entire plot yet after reading it and experiencing it for myself there actually isn’t a thing about it that I would change.
The main group of characters is written very well as teenagers, they’re not just one surface thing, just as we aren’t, they’re a mixed up myriad of experiences – there’s been more than one occasion when characters in YA books (no matter the genre) just mesh together because they’re all the same, but the kids in Doyle’s book were what I deem to be the perfect portrayal of a young human. Of course I’m not an expert, but in my opinion this was done very well and was one of the championing aspects of the novel.
Before coming to write this review I was very on the fence with The Accident Season, despite the great writing style, brilliant characters, and overall tone and direction of the book I found bits where it didn’t seem to gel as well and as I touched on before it was just kind of strange, in that way I was always slightly detached from the story. There were also a few times when it felt as though points were being brought into play without any introduction or much development for that matter.
I did thoroughly enjoy reading this book and the overall plot was very clever – I definitely think it’s going to stick as a favourite. The Accident Season was very eerie, mysterious, magical, and quite relatable. I loved the relationship between the siblings and how Doyle approached it, usually it’s something I’m quite wary of but I adored it in this book! I did find the ending slightly anticlimactic but it suited the story well and I think the interwoven dreams/visions had a way of distorting the readers view of what was fantasy and reality which, surprisingly, I really liked. I cannot wait to see what else Doyle is going to come up with!
Rating = 3.5 Bookish Birds

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

What Made Me A Reader...

The people over at Epic Reads did a book tag on their YouTube channel a few weeks ago. I watched it and really enjoyed it, and one question particularly stuck with me and made me think. (You can watch the original video made by Margot here and the video made by Aubry here.) The question was 'What Book Made You A Reader And Why?' I don't actually think I could pinpoint just one book that made me a reader. Instead I thought I would share a whole heap of books that made me a reader. So lets get on with the books!

1. The Rainbow Magic Series by Daisy Meadows

I remember when I was either four or five I wasn't that well. My Dad had gone into town for a football match, and when he was there, he went to Woolworths and bought m
e the first Colour Fairy in the series, Ruby the Red Fairy. He gave me it and I read in around a day. I found the rest of the Colour fairies in my local Waterstones and adored them all. From then on, I would by the new set of seven books that came out and would have read them in no time. They were the first books I read with proper plots and little chapters and everything! When I stopped reading them, it was because I older and able to read bigger more complex books.

2. Jacqueline Wilson Books

In my bedroom I have a shelve and a quarter of the one below that are full of my Jacqueline Wilson books. I have most of her recent novels. I absolutely love her writing and I fall in love with pretty much all the characters she writes. I read one of her novels when I was five or six. I remember being at a school fair and finding a collection of between six and sixteen Jacqueline Wilson books for a really cheap price. My mum bought it for me and I read them all in a couple of months. The Jacqueline Wilson I can particularly remember reading and adoring was The Bed And Breakfast Star. I read it and reread it for years. It's still one of my favourites but I love so many of them and I can never pick just one favourite.

3. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling 


I read the Harry Potter series over the course of a year. Not because I was a slow reader or anything, but because I just didn't want to rush it. I adored the series. It was my first look at a fantasy series, and it was my first major, long book series. I remember reading  the final book when one of my Grandparents went into hospital and talking about the series with a lovely man who must have been in his seventies. I will ALWAYS love Harry Potter!

4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott



Little Women is the book I would consider to my favourite book of all time. I didn't love it to begin with, but my primary six teacher encouraged me to keep going with it and not to put it down, and I am so glad she did. Little Women got me interested in classics, is one of the books I love and has got me through reading slumps and rough times. I owe a lot to Little Women and to Mrs Mackay who encouraged me to read it.




And those are four books / series that have made me a reader. I could include more, such as Twilight and The Hunger Games which got me interested in the Paranormal and Dystopian genres but I have a funny feeling that this post would never end. Comment with what books or series made you a reader. I will see you next week!