Book Review: Release (Patrick Ness)

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Publisher: Walker Books

Pages: 287

Release Date: May 4th 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.

Review:

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Patrick Ness fan and I was incredibly grateful to receive a proof copy of Release. I’m always so happy to get proofs but for one of my favourite authors, it felt even more special. Massive thanks to Walker Books for the copy!

Release follows one day in the life of Adam Thorn, a gay teenager from a religious family with a pervy boss, a wonderful boyfriend and best friend, and a guy who once broke his heart. We see him move between these people in his life as they day takes unexpected turns with news, confrontations and revelations. Alongside this, there’s a kind of odd, magical realism story happening about a ghost, whose quest for release touches Adam’s day.

Patrick Ness just writes YA so well. Adam is a character I could read so much about, it’s kind of sad we only get to see one day in his life. It shows the kind of things a young gay teen can come up against, especially when coming from a very religious family. Adam struggles with comparisons to his brother, who is infinitely better than him because he’s definitely straight, whereas the family have a worried question mark hanging over Adam. It’s so sad to see religion get in the way of their relationships, especially when it makes Adam question if his love is true love, or if he’s even capable of true love.

There were a few terrible things that happened to Adam throughout the day and it really made me feel for him and root for him. He received blow after blow and I couldn’t help but feel angry on his behalf, or blink back tears at some scenes. Ness’s writing is just beautifully sad and each scene tugged at the old emotions in one way or another.

The storyline with the Queen, the spirit and the faun were a bit harder to follow. While I enjoyed them, it’s the kind of thing that I always worry I’m not getting, that it’s too deep for me to understand and I’m only reading it on some shallow level. I tried not to worry about that and just enjoyed it for what it was, and I loved the way everything came together at the end. It was a perfect moment and made me smile.

To criticise, I really want to know what happens to Adam next! There are so many questions around his future and I want to see where he goes, how he deals with the obstacles this book threw up, if his parents can put everything aside and love him for who he is. It’s frustrating not to know, but it shows what a wonderful character he’s created for me to care so much.

This is another winner from Patrick Ness. He constantly surprises me with the books he writes: they’re all so different from each other, but all written with beautiful prose and compelling characters. This is a wonderful addition to my Patrick Ness collection and I hope you all enjoy it too.

 Copy of an art exhibit

Book Review: Topics About Which I Know Nothing (Patrick Ness)

Publisher: Harper Collins

Pages: 288

Release Date: First published 2005

Summary (from Goodreads):

Scintillating, surprising, inventive fiction from one of the most talented writers in Britain – this is a superb collection of short stories from the acclaimed author of the Chaos Walking series and ‘More Than This’. Have you heard the urban myth about Jesus’s double-jointed elbows yet? 100% true. Or seen the latest reports on the ‘groomgrabbing’ trend – the benevolent kidnapping of badly-dressed children by their well-meaning (and more dapper) elders? Heard the one about the Amazon from the Isle of Man? Or perhaps you’d like a job in telesales, offering self-defence classes over the phone? Don’t worry, as long as you meet the weekly quota, you won’t be sent to the end of the hall…Wonderfully original, fresh and funny, ‘Topics About Which I Know Nothing’ is stuffed to the gills with dizzyingly inventive writing and warming, puzzling emotions – a fictional guide to how the world might have turned out.

Review:

This is a continuation of my ‘read everything by Patrick Ness’ binge that came about from receiving all his books for my birthday.

I do prefer his young adult books (as in I love them and rave about them always) but I’ve been trying to get into his adult stuff too. I really enjoyed The Crane Wife earlier this year, and was looking forward to this one too.

I worry about reading short stories like this. It’s the kind of thing we’d read in my creative writing classes at uni and I’d always worry that I wouldn’t get it or I wouldn’t be able to say anything clever about it. And for some reason that still colours my opinion when I read things like this: even though I don’t need to impress anyone with my intellectual opinion, I still worry about it.

There were some stories I just didn’t get, or didn’t enjoy, and rather than worry about it I’ve just accepted it. I;m just going to write a couple of lines about each one rather than try and sum up the book as a whole.

Implied Violence – this was a great start to the book and just felt like everything a short story should be: a quick snapshot of life, with fleshed out characters, a good spot of humour and an interesting premise. I really enjoyed this.

The Way All Trends Do – this was in the form of a report and was a bit bizarre, but in a brilliant way. I loved the idea of ‘groom grabbing’ and the way the information unfolded was really interesting.

Ponce de Leon is a Retired Married Couple From Toronto – this story was told by several letters, between a mother and son, and the son and various authorities. The ending was a little ambiguous but I quite liked that.

Jesus’ Elbows and Other Christian Urban Myths – the style of these felt a little odd. They didn’t feel like your traditional written story: more like one that someone was telling you directly, in person, if that makes sense. They were really quirky though and very enjoyable, though they’re probably not for everyone (i.e. you may find it a little offensive if you’re Christian).

Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodest – this falls half in the category of ‘I didn’t understand’ but there were some bits I really enjoyed too. I think the not understanding came mostly from the large amounts of Latin used, but I did follow the main story line. There was a reference to Flemish that I really appreciated, though most people won’t enjoy as much (my Grandma is Flemish so it’s a language I’m used to hearing).

Sydney is a City of Jaywalkers – I didn’t really enjoy this story. There was an interesting idea in there but I got a little bored, and then confused towards the end (another where I just felt maybe I wasn’t smart enough for it).

2,115 Opportunities – this story explored all the little fluctuations that can cause or not cause an event to happen: we see over 2000 different scenarios (some are grouped together as they are similar) which just show how specific every little event had to be to lead up to two people meeting.

The Motivation of Sally Rae Wentworth, Amazon – I think this is probably what spoiled my enjoyment of the book a bit. I really struggled to get through it, and it stuck in my mind more than the ones I enjoyed. I just found it dull.

The Seventh International Military War Games Dance Committee Quadrennial Competition and Jamboree – this was a newspaper article, and another of Ness’ more bizarre ideas, but it did make me chuckle: the idea of combining war and art in some kind of weird and dangerous performance was brilliant.

The Gifted – this was another one with a bit of a weird/ambiguous ending, but I really enjoyed it. There were some strong characters and a school assignment to die for (pun intended). I could easily see this as a longer story idea too.

Now That You’ve Died – the introduction said this was recorded as an immersive play, and the theatre student in me loved it. It just filled me with creative ideas and I just wanted to take it into class and workshop it with some students. It was a brilliant way to end the book.

4

Book Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here (Patrick Ness)

Publisher: Walker Books

Pages: 352

Release Date: August 27th 2015

Summary (from Goodreads):

What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

Review:

I mentioned this book in my Books I Can’t Believe I Haven’t Read Yet post, and like Asking For It by Louise O’Neill I was particularly desperate to read this one. This is one of the two books from that post that my wonderful partner bought for me, so massive thanks to Nathan for my copy.

If you’ve glanced around my blog before, you may have seen Patrick Ness’ name thrown around a lot: basically, I’m a fan. I loved his Chaos Walking trilogy when I was a teen, and this year I began to read  the rest of his works (which, again, Nathan bought for me for my birthday, so I now own all of Ness’ books).

When this book was announced I was super excited to read it. The premise sounded amazing, especially for a fan of YA. I love the genre, fantasy YA in particular, but it does have its tropes, and this book playfully pokes fun of them in a way I just adored.

Each chapter begins with a summary of what is happening in the world of the ‘indie kids’. You know the ones: they have stupid names, nerdy but somehow cool haircuts and they’re all the Chosen One or about to fall in love with a vampire. We only get a glimpse of the things that they’re up to, and I’ll admit a tiny part of me wanted their story in full, but that’s not what this is about.

This is a story about friendship and coming of age and insecurities, and sure, the end of the world stuff is going on in the background, but that’s just how it is. It makes me wonder about the other fantasy books I’ve read, and what it’s like for the ordinary people in those: the ones who aren’t Chosen and are just hoping to graduate and go to college without the indie kids blowing up the school.

I suppose this book could be considered a bit boring and ordinary, especially when you compare it to Ness’ other works: it’s not his usual style of weird and wonderful fantasy, more a contemporary story of friendship with just a tiny hint of weirdness that’s not really focussed on. I can see it’s not for everyone, but I really enjoyed it. He writes wonderful characters and for me, that’s what makes his books so great.

They might not be the Chosen Ones, but the characters in this book have their own stuff to deal with which is just as important. Mikey, our narrator, and his sister Mel both have their own mental health issues to deal with: Mikey’s anxiety and OCD tendencies, and Mel’s recovering anorexia. This isn’t helped by their father’s alcoholism and their mother being in the public eye as a politician (who frequently runs against, and beats their best friend’s dad). Their friends have their own problems too, and it just shows that not everything has to be about saving the world: the little things are just as important, and can feel just as big.

One thing I love about Ness is his ability to write well rounded characters. This comes across most in Mikey, the narrator, who isn’t perfect by any means. I like him, but he’s not always likeable. His jealousy and attitudes towards new comer Nathan kept irritating me, but that’s what made him feel real. You don’t like anyone 100% of the time, and I don’t like characters that are perfect and I can’t dislike just a little bit.

For me, this book is another hit from Ness. It’s completely different to the rest of his work, but that’s not a bad thing. It might poke fun a little at my favourite YA genre, but it’s all in good humour and from someone who’s such a master story teller, I think it’s allowed.

4

If you enjoyed this, you might like More Than This, also by Patrick Ness

Books I Can’t Believe I Haven’t Read Yet + GIVEAWAY

I have stopped buying books recently. This is for a variety of reasons, mainly:

  • I’ve recently moved house and am pregnant so money is not as easy to come by!
  • I have so many books to read, I really can’t justify buying new ones
  • I’ve been reading less lately, due to said house move and general business

Still, there are some books that I am desperate to read and they’ve been really trying my ‘no book buying’ resolve. So, in a backwards way to combat this, I’ve decide to blog about the books I really want to (and can’t believe I haven’t yet) read, and then have a little giveaway too. Because buying books for other people is always lovely, and I feel I should celebrate my blog relaunch in some way too.

So here are the books I am most desperate to read:

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Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

I loved O’Neill’s Only Ever Yours – it was one of my favourite reads this year, and I’ve been recommending/buying it for everyone I can. I was super excited for her next book to come out, and I’ve heard only great things about it. It’s a temptation everytime I see it in a book shop, and I really can’t believe I haven’t caved yet!

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The Rest of us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

I’ve been a Patrick Ness fan since reading his Chaos Walking trilogy back when I was a teen. Again, I’ve heard great things about this book and I’ve been waiting to read it for so long! I guess I can wait a little longer… I was lucky enough to get all of Ness’ books for my birthday (bar this one, which wasn’t out then) so I do have plenty of his to catch up on first.

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Queen of Shadows by Sara J. Maas

I’m pretty late to the Throne of Glass books, having only finished the first 3 a couple of weeks ago. I’m not sure why I put off reading them, because they were wonderful and I adored them. Having read them recently, it is tempting to pick up the latest one while the story is fresh in my mind, bu I’m managing to resist for now.

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Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

While I’ve heard mixed opinions of this book, I still really want to read it. I bought it for a friend for her birthday earlier this year and she absolutely adored it: we have pretty similar tastes, so I think this is one I should read. At the rate I;m going though, the sequel will probably already be out by the time I get round to it.

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A Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas

I love fairy tale re-imaginings, and Sleeping Beauty is one of my favourite stories/favourite Disney films, so this one seems perfect for me. I happened to chance by it once and fell in love with the cover. I also can’t imagine what it would be like for someone to wake up after sleeping for 100 years: it’s always great to find out what happens after the happily ever after.

And now for the giveaway! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. This is open to UK residents only I’m afraid and will finish at the end of September. One winner will be picked from the entries, and they will win one of the books mentioned in this blog post (The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Asking For It, Red Queen, Queen of Shadows, A Wicked Thing) which will be ordered from Amazon, and will arrive nice and quick as my partner has Prime now 🙂

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: The Crane Wife (Patrick Ness)

 

Details:Publisher: Picador
Pages: 424
Release Date: 1st January 2014
 
Blurb (from Goodreads):

THE EXTRAORDINARY HAPPENS EVERYDAY
One night, George Duncan is woken by a noise in his garden. Impossibly, a great white crane has tumbled to earth, shot through its wing by an arrow. Unexpectedly moved, George helps the bird, and from the moment he watches it fly away, his life is transformed. The next day, a beautiful woman called Kumiko walks into his shop and begins to tell him the most extraordinary story.

 

Wise, romantic, magical and funny, The Crane Wife is a celebration of the disruptive and redemptive power of love.

Review:


I was lucky enough to receive all of Patrick Ness’ books for my birthday this year (or at least the one’s I didn’t already own) and this included his adult books – there’s me branching out into something new again. I love his other books so much, I thought I was bound to enjoy the adult ones to. I also read through this with the lovely Miss Chapter who’s had it on her TBR for a while.

While I enjoyed the first chapter of the book, I wasn’t bowled over straight away, like I have been with all Ness’ other works. It took a little while for me to get fully into it, which is a pattern I’m starting to notice when I’m reading ‘adult’ books, so maybe it’s just me…The story is told in a few different ways: some chapters follow George while others show his daughter, Amanda. There are some which are entirely in dialogue, and others which follow the story of Kumiko’s 32 tiles and show the crane and the volcano. I particularly enjoyed the stories of how the fire started, as all of them felt true, and in the end it didn’t matter how or who started it: it just burned.

Out of all of them, I enjoyed Amanda’s bits the most. There was something that I really related to in her (which is a bit worrying, as I didn’t often like her very much…) That’s where I always feel Ness’ skills lie: in creating characters that are real and flawed and feel like actual people. Amanda can be mean and brash and doesn’t often know how to talk to people, but she was also lonely and confused and I just got it.

The sad thing about this book was that I quickly realised where it was going and I didn’t want it to get there. As soon as George forms this amazing relationship with Kumiko and has success with their art, you know it’s reaching its peak and there’s only downhill to go after that.

It seems that whatever he tries his hand at, I’m destined to love what Ness writes. I have three more of his adult books to get through from my birthday, and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into them.

My Verdict:

Ahaha I love this book, you should totally read it!

 

Top Five… Books About Death and Grief

It’s not exactly a cheery topic, but I wanted to write about my favourite books which deal with death, and grief as a result of that. A lot of them are ones that a year ago I would have avoided (I was on a strict no contemporary diet!) but I’ve read some incredible books on the subject lately and wanted to share.


Warning: There may be a few spoilers ahead. Sorry!
5


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Abbie Rushton

The death in this book happens before the story starts, and we see the effect it has on the protagonist. Megan’s grief and guilt make her close off on all fronts: to friends, her mother and even to herself, as she finds herself unable to speak. Her story is one on the road to acceptance and recovery and is a really touching one.
4


Sarah Benwell
This book is as much about life as it is about death. I liked how non-preachy it felt and, controversial though it may be, the ending felt very right to me, as did the friends reactions to it. The idea of the Suicide Club emails really helps to showcase different ideas on death.
3

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Clare Furniss
This was on my Top Five last week as well but I couldn’t write this list without it. Again, it’s the raw honesty of the book and the way it shows Pearl’s grief that makes it so good. There’s nothing glamorous about it and there’s no closure as such, just the first steps on the road to acceptance.


2



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Patrick Ness

This one’s a little different from the others, in that it’s the protagonists death we’re dealing with, and it may not even be their death (I know that’s confusing if you haven’t read it but it’s hard to explain). I enjoyed the idea of looking at life from death’s perspective, rather than the other way round.
1


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Jandy Nelson

This book just blew me away in the way it dealt with death and Lennie’s grief. I felt this was one of the ones I related to the most. Her feelings of guilt at any sign of happiness, as if enjoying something was betraying her sister’s memory and belittling her death, was achingly familiar and so refreshing to read. 

Which books have you enjoyed (if that’s the right word?!) on the subject of death?


Top 10 UKYA Life Affirming Reads – #UKYADAY

Today, April 12th, has been coined UKYA Day by Lucy at Queen of Contemporary. There’s a ton of web-based events happening which anyone can join in with (schedule here) so there’s plenty for everyone to get involved with.
Us bloggers have been asked to do our own posts on UKYA and, after much debate (and a failed acrostic poem – too many As and Ys!) I have decided to do my Top 10 UKYA Life Affirming Reads.
Life Affirming Reads to me, are ones that change you, books that, once you’ve read, you can’t imagine never having read them. Some of mine are recent reads that I think everyone should have a go at, others are old favourites of mine that I don’t want to be forgotten (and would also like to talk to about with people, so if you’ve read them then please chat with me!)
These are numbered 1-10 but they’re not in a particular order. I can’t do that with favourite books, it changes on an almost daily basis!
1
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Patrick Ness

I could have chosen any number of Ness’ books: he really is one of my favourite authors, but I settled on this one. Partly because it’s really two authors: Ness who wrote it, and Siobhan Dowd, whose idea it was and who sadly died before she could write it. It also has a number of beautiful quotes about stories which I find inspiring.
Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?” 
2
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Louise O’Neill

Not only was this book the winner of the first ever YA book prize, it was completely unputdownable (yes, that is a word – now at least) and unlike anything I’d ever read. I really think it’s one of those books that everyone needs to read – but especially young girls. The world O’Neill has created may be a more exaggerated version of our future, but it really highlights the way women and girls are treated and mistreated in our society.
3

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Song Quest
Katherine Roberts


I loved the whole Echorium Sequence but the first was easily my favourite. I think if this was released today it would do so well: it’s such a rich, well developed fantasy world with really strong female characters. I’d love to see people reading it again, because I really think it’s one that stands the test of time (it’s not really old, just published in 1999). I loved that I read this when I was around 10, and when my sister got to that age (9 years later) she read it and loved it too.

4

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Seed
Lisa Heathfield


I loved the story of Seed and am so excited for it to come out and everyone to read it. But what I loved most about it was the language: it’s just really beautiful. The way Pearl, the narrator, sees and describes the world around her is so evocative and fresh, just thinking about it makes me want to read it all over again.

5

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The Art of Being Normal
Lisa Williamson


This is the first book I’ve read where the two P.O.V characters are transgender, and I hope it’s the first of many. The need for diverse books is higher than ever right now, and it’s so important that this happens in our YA: young people need to see all sides of society, not just the ones they grow up in, and where better to do this in a book?

6

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Noughts and Crosses
Malorie Blackman


Malorie Blackman is just the Queen of YA to me. I saw her talk at the Birmingham Literature Festival last year and she was an absolute inspiration. Listening to her talk was just like a dream. She’s so open and honest and talked a lot about racism which she faced when she was younger, which I found really shocking. Her Noughts and Crosses book was an obsession of mine when I was younger, and another book I just think everyone needs to read. 

7

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A Hat Full of Sky
Terry Pratchett


Terry Pratchett is another where I could choose any number of his books. I’ve chosen this one because it was the first I read, and the one that introduced me to his writing and to Discworld. I aim to read a lot more of his work this year and know that, even though he’s not with us any more his work will live on for much longer.

8

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Frozen Charlotte
Alex Bell

This book was the first I read in the Red Eye and it opened my eyes to a whole new world: that of YA horror. I’d read the usual Goosebumps and Point Horror when I was younger, but hadn’t found anything I could enjoy as an older reader. The series has been of a high quality so far, but this was by far the best for me, and it started a new hunger in me for YA horror.

9

His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman.
His Dark Materials
Philip Pullman


I don’t think you can talk about UKYA without mentioning Philip Pullman and this incredible trilogy. It celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, with some beautiful new editions released and some great readalongs and giveaways in the blogging world. Lyra was such an inspiration to me growing up, I think she’s a character everyone needs to experience.

10

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The Borrible Trilogy
Michael de Larrabeiti


This is one of those books that no one I know has read, and it’s one of my all time favourites (if you’ve read it please tell me!) The second book in this trilogy was removed from my auntie’s school’s library for being ‘inappropriate’ (minor swearing) and she passed it on to me. I fell in love with it instantly, but I think the life changing moment for me was when I found out now only was there a book before it, but a sequel too. It’s an oldish book but one I think anyone could still enjoy today, and I’d love to see people reading it.

Wishing everyone a very happy UKYA DAY!

The Bookblogger TMI Tag

The lovely Priya tagged me to do this a while back (check out her post here) and so here it is. The Bookblogger TMI Tag is an adapted version of Carrie Hope Fletcher’s (who I saw in December and is AMAZING) TMI tag on YouTube. So here is mine.

1)Which clothes style from a book character do you like?

I can’t think of a clothes style but I always wanted to have super long blue hair like Rialle from Song Quest.

2)Your book boyfriend/ fictional crush?

I actually don’t think I have one. Romances are often my least favourite part of books (probably because I’m old and jaded)

3)Ever loved a character but than started hating him/her?

Kaede in The Harsh Cry of the Heron. I love her in the first three books and then in this one she doesn’t act as strong and intelligent as she usually does, and her actions cause a whole world of pain for everyone else.

4)Biggest/Longest book on your shelf?

The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George at 1139 pages (it took me a while to get through that one – it’s tiny writing as well!)

5)Heaviest book on your shelf?

Either the one above or my copy of The Complete Works of Lewis Carroll. It’s hardback and pretty big.

6)Do you have any book posters?

I don’t have any posters but I do have a few postcards and little bits like that.

7)Do you have any book themed jewellery?
I didn’t until recently. I got a lovely necklace from Melinda Salisbury with my copy of The Sin Eater’s Daughter which I’ve been wearing all week 🙂

8)Book OTP?

I’ll admit I had to look up what that meant…I’m going to leave this one unanswered…

9)Favourite book series?

It’s a hard one but right now I’d go with the Chaos Walking Trilogy or the Animorphs series.

10)Favourite Book-to-movie soundtrack?

Have to agree with Priya here and say Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit. My friends used to put the music from the end of The Fellowship on the jukebox in the pub and annoy everyone by speaking all the lines. Yeah, we were cool.

11)A book story you miss/ wish would continue?

I think I’d say Animorphs again here. Those books meant a lot to me, plus, while I did enjoy the ending, I would also love to find out what happened next.

12)Favourite stand-alone?

The Night Circus. I love it but also I can’t see many books without sequels on my shelves!

13)Since when did you read books?

Since forever. My parents were great with bedtime stories every night and when I could read for myself, I did at every opportunity. I used to sit in the bath at night to read (I couldn’t be told off for being up too late if they thought I was in the toilet!)

14)Which Hogwarts house are you in?

I found out recently I was in Slytherin. Mwahahahaha.

15)Quality you look for in a book?

Just engaging. Which is like the X-factor for books I guess: you can’t saw what it is, but you know when a book had got it.

16)Favourite book quote?

Stories are wild creatures, the monster said. When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?” 
― Patrick NessA Monster Calls
And any number of other Patrick Ness quotes

17)Favourite author?

Ah that is pretty hard to choose. I’d say Michael de Larrabeiti because he wrote one of my favourite books (The Borrible Trilogy)

18)Favourite book cover?

The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury. The colours are just beautiful.

19)Action or Romance?

I’d probably lean more towards action. Romance isn’t as important to me as other kinds of relationships.

20) Where do you go when a sad moment happens?

I go to bed in my onesie (and hopefully a bf there for cuddles/massages).

21) How long do you take to finish a book?

Silly question, it depends on the length. But not too long, as a rule. I travel for work 3 hours a day and that packs in some good reading time.

22)How long is your mourning period?

Usually pretty short. It has to be a pretty fierce book hangover to have me mourn more than a day.

23)Least favourite book?

The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean. I haven’t read it for a long time but I think it’s one of the few books I’ve not finished.

24)Turn on in a character?

Honesty

25)Turn off in a character?

Whining.

26)Reason I started my book blog?

I just had a massive urge to do it last year. I’m not really sure of my reasons, but now I have I love it. It’s so great to be connected to lots of people who also love books.

27)Name a scary book?

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl which I read recently and loved. I’ve been really into scary books lately.

28)Last book that made you cry?

I don’t really cry at book but the last one to make me feel like crying was probably The Harsh Cry of the Heron The ending is just brutal.

29)Last book that you gave 5 stars?

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill. Go read it!

30)Any favourite book titles?

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of her Own Making
What’s not to love about that? I bought it for the title alone.

31)Last book you read?

Me & Mr J by Rachel McIntyre. Really interesting read, would definitely recommend it.

32)Book you’re currently reading?

You Against Me by Jenny Downham I got it in Waterstones yesterday for £1 😮 Really enjoying it (and also The Complete Grimm Tales, which I got for Valentine’s Day and am slowly crawling my way through).

33)Last book adaptation you watched?

Hmmm… I don’t know. Probably an episode of Pretty Little Liars (which is amazing and I can’t wait for next season!)

34)A book character you always wanted to talk to?

Lyra from His Dark Materials. But she probably wouldn’t like me…

35)An author you always wanted to talk to?

Again, Michael de Larrabeiti, but sadly he is now dead 🙁

36)Favourite book snack?

I don’t have a usual one but right now it’s Mini Eggs.

37)Book world you want to live in?

I’d love to live in Rivendell. But after all the crazy stuff with the Ring has gone down.

38)Least world you want to live in?

Hell, in Damned. It’s a pretty nasty place.

39)Last time you smelled a book?

Yesterday. I was opening birthday presents and smelt them wrapped and then unwrapped. You have to smell new books.

40)Weird insults used in books?

Your virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese.


Shakespeare is the king of weird insults.

41)Favourite romance book?

Mmm again not much of a romance fan… Fault in Our Stars maybe? 

42)Do you write?

Yes, I write a lot. I’ve always wanted to be an author, and I’m being more disciplined about it now! I’d like to get published soon, once my manuscript is finished (that’s the dream anyway)

43)Favourite magical item?

The one Ring to rule them all, of course.

44)Your quidditch position?

I don’t know… probably Keeper.

45)Name a song you connect to a book

Eyes Open by Taylor Swift makes me think of The Hunger Games. Mostly because it’s in the soundtrack, but it just feels so perfect for it.

46)Favourite book related chat up line?

Are you a library book? Because I can’t stop checking you out.

47)Have you ever used it?

No, I just googled it…Maybe I’ll try it on the boyfriend later.

48)Favourite book fandom?

Probably the Harry Potter one. I’m not that into fandoms but that’s a very welcoming, tolerant and diverse one.

49)How many books do you own?

Probably around 300-400 but they’re scattered in so many places I can’t count. I want to move out and buy a load of bookcases to display them properly.

50)Who do you tag?

I’ll just tag anyone who fancies doing it 🙂

Book Review: More Than This (Patrick Ness)

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Publisher: Walker Books
Pages: 480
Release Date: September 10th 2013
Summary (From Goodreads):

A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies.
Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive.
How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place?
As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?

Review:

I’ve been a big Patrick Ness fan since the Chaos Walking trilogy: I loved them as a teenager and still do today. I decided to read more of his work this year and started with A Monster Calls which just reminded me how brilliant he is. 

I went into this book with both high expectations and a worry that it wouldn’t live up to those expectations. I needn’t have worried, Ness is a master story teller and I was sucked into this world almost as much as I was in The Knife of Never Letting Go.

The book has a mystery element to it that I really enjoyed: you’re constantly wondering where he is, what’s happened, what’s the deal with Owen, what’s real and what’s not? And, the thing that I found most interesting (and weirdly satisfying) is that not all of them are answered. This may annoy some people and the ending might not feel satisfying, but I felt that it would have been spoiled if everything was wrapped up and explained nicely. I enjoyed the open-ended-ness.

The theory I enjoyed most was that Seth had made everything up: some things happened that seemed too convenient to him, and he begins to suspect that he’s actually controlling events around him, as though he’s in a story. It made me question coincidences in other stories and think about patterns of events that seem to convenient. But, even when he think he’s in control, nothing goes to plan. There are so many surprises and twists – in true Patrick Ness style – that makes it almost hard to keep up.

The emotional storyline is tense and honest and oh so painful. I really felt for the way Seth had grown up with the secret of his choice weighing heavily on him, while his parents could barely look at him. Whether that was from their own pain or underlying anger at him, it doesn’t matter, it’s still terrible to grow up with that burden.

Seth really grows throughout the book, and, aided by Tomasz and Regine, the friends he makes (who he may or may not have made up) he becomes less self-centred. My one problem with him was the way/reason he died. Compared to Tomasz and Regine, his reasons seem poor. I understand there’s different kinds of pain and that he felt lost, but it angered me that he gave up for something that I didn’t see as a good enough reason. Either that’s me being harsh, or I just didn’t connect well enough with relationships…

Ness once again proves that YA novels are about substance and can be as thought provoking and important as any adult novel. He creates characters that are so real you can feel their pain, and he delivers a story that will make you question everything long after you’ve finished reading. I can’t wait to read more from him.

My Verdict:



Ahaha I love this book, you should totally read it!

Top Five… Dystopian YA


Who doesn’t love disappearing into a dystopian world? I sure do, so this week’s Top Five is my favourite YA dystopian novels

5.


The Hunger Games series
Suzanne Collins
I always think of this as a bit of a guilty pleasure, though I’m not sure why. I read them during uni and completed neglected my work to finish them. I remember the second one being glued to my hand as I tried to get ready in the morning (the third one didn’t quite do it for me but as a series I still think it’s ace).
4.

Never Let Me Go
Kazuo Ishiguro

Probably stretching the YA theme a bit here but I couldn’t not include this. I read it for a uni module – normally reading for work puts me off a book but I loved this. I found the pace quite gentle and the theme dark and disturbing. It’s a great read for someone venturing into more adult books.
3.

Chaos Walking trilogy
Patrick Ness
This is a series that keeps cropping up in my Top Fives, so I guess that’s testament to its brilliance. I found the whole thing one massive, speeding roller-coaster of action and emotions and I completely fell in love with the world and its characters.
2.

Louise O’Neill
I had to resist making this my number one. Right now I think it’s more than worthy, but I have just read it and am still buzzing off it and should probably give myself some time to calm down. So number two it is. Read it, is all I can say. I practically swallowed it whole it was so good.
And the winner is…
1.

Noughts and Crosses
Malorie Blackman
I adored this book when it came out, and it was probably one of my first steps away from MG and into YA. Although the series kind of lost its way a bit for me, I fell in love with Callum and Sephy and was heartbroken by what their world did to them.

I’d love some recommendations for more dystopian YA!