Top Ten / Sequels I Can’t Wait to Read

I participate in Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and this week the theme is Top Ten Sequels I Can’t Wait To Get. I much prefer standalones to series, but that doesn’t stop me from reading them! Here’s ten sequels I’m really looking forward to reading.

Top Ten / Sequels I Can't Wait to Read

Rose Under Fire (Code Name Verity #2) by Elizabeth Wein because I read Code Name Verity earlier this year and loved it, due to my obsession with YA/MG WWI and WWII fiction. I was going to review both books together but I never got round to picking up the companion novel. Now I need to re-read Code Name Verity. Next year?

The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co. #2) by Jonathan Stroud because I’ve just finished The Screaming Staircase and thankfully I really enjoyed it. I tend to not read much paranormal, but there’s something about ghost stories that appeals to me. Plus, I’ll start to miss Lockwood, George and Lucy (and their witty banter!) if I wait too long.

Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #2) by Laini Taylor because it’s been over three years since I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I’ll be getting the third book, Dreams of Gods and Monsters, for Christmas, so I’ll have no excuses.

Kentucky Thriller (Laura Marlin Mysteries #3) by Lauren St. John because even though the second book, Kidnap in the Caribbean, didn’t leave me as thrilled as I was when I read the first book, Dead Man’s Cove, I want to see Laura Marlin solve a mystery in the USA! And the fourth book, Rendezvous in Russia, sounds fab too.

Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #2) by Ransom Riggs because Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was so enjoyable and unique, and I’ve been looking forward to the sequel a lot. I just haven’t picked it up yet! However, this is another case where I have to re-read the first book as it’s been 2 years!

Top Ten / Sequels I Can't Wait to Read

Silver Shadows (Bloodlines #5) by Richelle Mead because this series is my guilty pleasure – Sydney Sage is such a relatable character.

The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2) by Rick Yancey because The 5th Wave is one of my favourite young adult science fiction novels. I’m a little sad that it seems to be a lot shorter than the first book, but it’s still one of my most highly-anticipated sequels! I bought a copy over the Books Are My Bag celebrations.

Sorry About Me (Darcy Burdock #3) by Laura Dockrill because I read the second book, Hi So Much, earlier this year (I still haven’t read the first book!) and thought that Darcy was such an enthusiastic, quick-witted and imaginative character. I can’t wait to see what else she gets up to!

Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle #2) by Libba Bray because it’s been so long since I picked up A Great and Terrible Beauty, sometime between 2005 and 2007. It could be nearly 10 years ago, folks! (Obviously another one for a re-read!).

Lair of Dreams (The Diviners #2) by Libba Bray because I’m reading The Diviners now and even though I’m not too far in because it’s a huge hardback that’s difficult to carry around, I just know that I’m going to be looking forward to the sequel.

Behold the Pretty Books! / September & October Book Haul

Behold the Pretty Books! / September & October Book Haul

Here’s most of the books I acquired over the past two months!

Violet and the Pearl of the Orient by Harriet Whitehorn and illustrated Becka Moor
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher
The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld
This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
The Time In Between: A Memoir of Hunger and Hope by Nancy Tucker
Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates
My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins
Thirteen at Dinner, The ABC Murders & Funerals are Fatal by Agatha Christie
Us by David Nicholls

I know it looks like I went on a crazy book-buying spree, but actually I just have very kind friends (although I did buy books for Books Are My Bag!). Laura gave me a lovely old 1970s edition of a collection of three Agatha Christie novels as a gift because she stayed at my house over the summer, and she sent me To the Lighthouse because I mentioned I hadn’t read any books by Virginia Woolf. I stayed at Kate’s house for #DisneyWeekend (we watched 5 movies!) and she gave me Afterworlds (I’m intrigued that it’s about publishing!), Violet and the Pearl of the Orient (a beautifully illustrated and charming middle grade novel) and Everyday Sexism (an important book that we’ve all heard a lot about this year).

Jim gave me The Perfectionists, which I’m intrigued by even though I haven’t read Pretty Little Liars. Charlie invited me to a screening of This Is Where I Leave You a comedy about a dysfunctional family, where we received a copy of the book – and her housemate Beth gave me her spare copy of Ketchup Clouds – one of my favourite YA books. I won a copy of Us by David Nicholls, which I’m sharing with Daphne because we both desperately wanted it! I started it on the train back home and can’t wait to continue reading. I also received The Time In Between from Icon Books, where I used to work, which is a memoir of a young girl dealing with eating disorders. I adore the cover and cannot wait to see a finished copy.

Lastly, I did buy a book! I couldn’t resist pre-ordering My True Love Gave to Me, which is a collection of YA Christmas short stories edited by Stephanie Perkins. I’m most excited about her story and Rainbow Rowell’s, but I’ll be saving this for December.

Behold the Pretty Books! / September & October Book HaulBehold the Pretty Books! / September & October Book Haul
by Abbie Rushton
Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
Quarter Past Two On A Wednesday Afternoon by Linda Newbery
Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter
Unlocked: The Christmas Collection by Various
Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell
Sleepless by Lou Morgan

I also downloaded a few eBooks for review. They are all contemporary novels, which appears to be my favourite at the moment. I’ve already read Belzhar, which I thoroughly enjoyed and you can read my review here. I haven’t yet read The Rosie Project but I’m more inclined to now that I can jump straight to the sequel, The Rosie Effect. Charlie recommended Unspeakable, about Megan, who hasn’t spoken in months. I was also attracted to Quarter Past Two On A Wednesday Afternoon because of the title and Every Ugly Word because of the cover, both very different books but both ones I’m looking forward to reading. And lastly, I bought two eBooks in the new YA crime fiction line, Red Eye: Frozen Charlotte and Sleepless, plus a Christmas novellas eBook, ready for December! The Red Eye books are not officially published until next year but are 59p on Kindle at the moment to introduce people to the new series.

Behold the Pretty Books! / September & October Book HaulBehold the Pretty Books! / September & October Book Haul

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A Tour of London Bookshops: Book and Kitchen

A Tour of London Bookshops: Book and Kitchen
I visited Book and Kitchen on the same day I went to Portobello Market and Holland Park last July. Why it has taken me over 15 months to write about Book and Kitchen, I couldn’t really tell you, except I did accidentally delete 100+ photos I took inside the bookshop shortly after visiting (because I thought I had them backed up. I hadn’t). Luckily, I did save the best ones below! I can’t be sure that the bookshop still looks exactly the same, so you’ll just have to visit yourself and find out!

I first came across Book and Kitchen on This Is Your Kingdom, a lovely blog all about the wonderful things you can do in the UK, often little-known. It sounded like the perfect bookshop for me so I made sure it was next on my tour of London’s bookshops.

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Books Are My Bag / Bookshop Haul

Books Are My Bag / Bookshop Haul
Books Are My Bag
ran from 9-11th October and is a nationwide campaign to celebrate bookshops and the importance of buying books on the high street. I celebrated by buying books from two bookshops: Waterstones Gower Street and Waterstones Covent Garden (last year I visited Foyles). I really do love indies – and I do support them – but I wanted to visit two bookshops that were easy for me to get to, and I knew would have the books I wanted, as it’s a busy, busy month in publishing.

I like that Gower Street and Covent Garden are both quite large bookshops. I always enjoy this quote from The Great Gatsby because I believe it to be true: “I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.” I do enjoy tiny bookshops – their charm, passionate booksellers and curated stock – but I actually never feel that comfortable in them. I prefer large stores that I can get lost in and browse without feeling watched.

I originally wanted to visit a Big Bookshop Party on Saturday, but unfortunately two friends (non-readers!) rescheduled our pancake-eating date and I couldn’t bring myself to travel after such a busy week, but I did manage to buy some really wonderful books on Thursday and Friday that I cannot wait to get stuck into. Here’s what I bought for Books Are My Bag:

Books Are My Bag / Bookshop Haul
Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death by Chris Riddell
Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders
The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

I bought Chris Riddell’s stunning Goth Girl last year, and although I haven’t read it yet, I though I’d treat myself to the sequel: Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death. It sounds like it may feature a bake-off so I couldn’t really ask for more. (And it still has a mini book in the back!). I attended a seminar on children’s classics earlier this year and Kate Saunders was on the panel. She spoke a little about her book Five Children on the Western Front because it’s a sequel to E. Nesbit’s classic Five Children and It. As I adore wartime children’s novels, I cannot wait to get started. I’m happy that the sequel to The 5th Wave The Infinite Seahas finally been published, and as it’s one of my favourite YA science fiction novels, I hope the sequel is just as good. And lastly, I bought the science fiction-horror thriller that everyone’s been talking about, The Girl with All the Gifts.

Books Are My Bag Reading Survival Kit
And here’s the books the lovely people over at Books Are My Bag sent me part of the Reading Survival Kit (I didn’t notice that all the authors’ names began with ‘J’ until now!):

The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell
Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson
All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry

I was super excited to read The Bookshop Book! Jen Campbell’s official Books Are My Bag book looks at “three hundred weirdly wonderful bookshops across six continents” and it sounds absolutely wonderful. Five Quarters of the Orange (recipe books, memories of war and a mysterious lady) and Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (an exploration of religion and sexuality) are two books I’d heard of but didn’t know too much about. All the Truth That’s in Me – about a young girl whose tongue has been cut out and so she cannot speak about the horror she has seen – is a YA novel that I actually already have a copy of, so I passed it onto a friend to enjoy.

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My Halloween Reads

It’s only two weeks until Halloween so I thought I’d tell you a little bit about my Halloween reads. I’ve owned The Diviners by Libba Bray for two and a half years so I’m excited to finally read it. I’ve just got to be prepared for gruesome murders across 1920s New York City. Watch the creepy trailer! I also thought it was time to select another book from my Roald Dahl box set, so of course The Witches was the perfect choice. I’m hoping to catch the adaptation on TV this month! And lastly, I’m going to get the chance to start the Lockwood & Co. series and read The Screaming Staircase and the sequel The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud. I’ve seen nothing but positive reviews for these books, which see teen ghost detectives spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive. Spooky!

(I’ve also blogged about more Halloween reads at the end – tell me what you’ll be reading!).

My Halloween Reads

My Halloween Reads

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Top Ten / Lies, Lying and Liars

I never lie; I think it’s immoral and abhorrent. I wouldn’t even think of doing it. I only ever read books that are one hundred percent straight with the reader because I prefer it when fictional characters tell the absolute truth. And I definitely wouldn’t write a blogpost about characters who lie, about plots that aren’t what they seem, and authors who, quite frankly, should know better.

Top Ten / Lies, Lying and Liars

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley is set during 1959, while the battle for civil rights is raging. It’s Sarah Dunbar’s first day of school, as one of the first black students at the previously all-white Jefferson High. No one wants Sarah there, especially Linda Hairston, daughter of the town’s most ardent segregationist. Sarah and Linda have every reason to despise each other. But as a school project forces them to spend time together, the less their differences seem to matter. Because it’s one thing to be frightened by the world around you – and another thing altogether when you’re terrified of what you feel inside.

There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake (January 2015) tells us that in four hours, Shelby Jane Cooper will be struck by a car. Shortly after, she and her mother will leave the hospital and set out on a winding journey toward the Grand Canyon. All Shelby knows is that they’re running from dangers only her mother understands. And the further they travel, the more Shelby questions everything about her past—and her current reality. Forced to take advantage of the kindness of unsuspecting travelers, Shelby grapples with what’s real, what isn’t, and who she can trust . . . if anybody.

Love, Lies and Lemon Pies by Katy Cannon follows Lottie. Since her dad died, life hasn’t been the same for Lottie. But when the school suggest she joins Bake Club to get her back on track, she reluctantly agrees. Her uncertainty about Bake Club melts away as she rekindles her love of baking and gets caught up with Mac, the school rebel. Both Lottie and Mac have secrets to keep, and as Bake Club progresses towards an end-of-year competition, the tension rises between the members.

Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead is one of my favourite middle grade novels. Georges (the s is silent) is having trouble with some boys at school, his dad lost his job and so his mum has started working all the time – and they had to sell their house and move into an apartment. But Georges meets Safer, an unusual boy who lives on the top floor. He runs a spy club and their current case is to spy on the mysterious Mr X. But as Georges and Safer go deeper into their Mr X plan, the line between games, lies, and reality begin to blur.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is one you’ve probably already heard about. You’ve seen the praise, seen people raving about and gasping over the ending, and have been unable to avoid the hype. But I’d like you to forget about that. If a good book rests on purely having a good ending, it isn’t really a good book at all. Do not try to guess the truth; just enjoy being taken away to a private island to bask in the heat of the sun, the sound of the waves, and the privilege of wealth and aristocracy.

Top Ten / Lies, Lying and Liars

The Book of Lies by Mary Horlock is set in 1985 and 1940. When fifteen-year-old Catherine sees her best friend slip from a wild cliff path she vows never to say a word. But Catherine was the last person to see her alive. Charlie is also holding back a secret from the adults on the island. As German soldiers arrive on Guernsey, he carries out an act of rebellion with consequences that will reach far into the future – and into Catherine’s own life.

The White Lie by Andrea Gillies takes place on a hot summer’s afternoon, when Ursula Salter runs sobbing from the loch on her parents’ Scottish estate and confesses, distraught, that she has killed Michael, her 19 year old nephew. But what really happened? No body can be found, and Ursula’s story is full of contradictions. In order to protect her, the Salters come up with another version of events, a decision that some of them will come to regret.

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain is about Ivy Hart and Jane Forrester. Set in rural Grace County, North Carolina in a time of state-mandated sterilizations and racial tension, Necessary Lies tells the story of these two young women, seemingly worlds apart, but both haunted by tragedy.  Jane and Ivy are thrown together and must ask themselves: how can you know what you believe is right, when everyone is telling you it’s wrong?

Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peters follows Alix as she learns that her girlfriend Swanee has been leading a double life–secretly dating a girl named Liana the entire time. Alix texts Liana from Swanee’s phone, pretending to be Swanee in order to gather information before finally meeting face-to-face to break the news. Brought together by lies, Alix and Liana become closer than they’d thought possible. But Alix is still hiding the truth from Liana.

Lies I Told by Michelle Zink (April 2015) asks: what if, after spending a lifetime deceiving everyone around you, you discovered the biggest lies were the ones you’ve told yourself? Grace Fontaine has everything: beauty, money, confidence, and the perfect family. But it’s all a lie. Grace has been adopted into a family of thieves. Grace has never had any difficulty pulling off a job, but when things start to go wrong on the biggest heist yet, Grace finds herself breaking more and more of the rules designed to keep her from getting caught… including the most important one of all: never fall for your mark.

Books Are My Bag Reading Survival Kit

Books Are My Bag Reading Survival Kit
I love chatting about books and bookshops online and I love chatting about books and bookshops offline. You just can’t stop me. Books Are My Bag kindly sent me a Reading Survival Kit full of bookish goodies, so I’m equipped and ready to tell you all about the campaign.

Books Are My Bag launched in September 2013 and is a nationwide campaign to celebrate bookshops and the importance of buying books on the high street, from both chains and indies. This year’s celebration begins on Thursday 9th October (Super Thursday, one of the busiest days of the year in the publishing calendar) followed by Big Bookshop Parties on Saturday 11th October, where they’ve aimed to get an author into every bookshop (ask your favourite/local bookshops what they’ll be doing!). Don’t know where the nearest bookshop is? Use this map! I’ll be heading to one of my favourite bookshops on Thursday to buy some books to celebrate Books Are My Bag and then hopefully back on Saturday to tell you all about their Big Bookshop Party! I loved participating in Books Are My Bag last year (you can read my blogpost all about it here) and so I’m looking forward to reading/hearing about what everyone gets up to this year.

I had asked for my Reading Survival Kit to be sent to my workplace, but it didn’t really occur to me that I’d be sitting there working away only to be given a HUGE BOX FULL OF ORANGEY GOODNESS. After I’d recovered from the orange explosion, I realised it was easy peasy to transport home! Here’s what I was sent…

Books Are My Bag Reading Survival Kit Books Are My Bag Reading Survival Kit Continue reading

Book Review: Lobsters by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison


Young adult fiction (contemporary, romance)
Buy: Hive
More: Goodreads

If you loved Non Pratt’s Trouble, I’ve found the next book for you! Are teenagers in UKYA more realistic because they’re mostly read by readers who can often identify with the characters’ Britishness? Or are they just more realistic? That’s what I want to know.

Lobsters is utterly brilliant at portraying teenagers. It’s incredibly honest and I read things in this novel that I’ve never read before, which sounds really dramatic, like something quite catastrophic happens in the story, but it really just depicts aspects of everyday teenage life that we just don’t talk about much, from the embarrassing and the heart-breaking to the completely hilarious. It’s one of my favourite books of the year so far.

Sam and Hannah meet in slightly embarrassing circumstances while they’re in a bathroom during a house party – they both wanted to get away from all the chaos that ensues when you put a hundred teenagers together. Because when two people meet for the first time, they don’t always have highly intelligent and/or meaningful conversations where they instantly fall in love, Sam and Hannah have slightly-awkward-but-still-kind-of-cute banter about hot Ribena being a thing, but this is pretty much the last time we see them together for a while because Hannah goes off to meet up with her current crush Freddie (much to Sam’s disappointment), and Sam heads back to hang out with his friends who have gatecrashed the party (while Hannah is wondering who Toilet Boy is and where he come from).

Lobsters is a genuinely laugh-out-loud funny story about Sam and Hannah, two newly-turned-18-year-olds (and their group of close friends) as they try to find their way back to each other – often completely unexpectedly – while attempting to juggle the pressures of being a teenager, from peer pressure to epic misunderstandings. I adored all of the characters, even their poor decisions and lack of self-awareness. It’s what being a teenager is all about, but both groups of friends get up to a lot of fun, and this is what I loved most about it. It’s a fun story, with fun romance and a ton of moments that made me smile. But it won’t make you want to be a teenager again! #tooawkardthanks

If you’re a fan of YA contemporary, especially UKYA, you’ll want to pick up Lobsters! It’s both hilarious and honest, and full of references to British pop culture. (I’ll never not appreciated a good Harry Potter reference). I don’t often laugh out loud, but I had to try to stop myself laughing on public transport. I really want to see more from Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison, please!

Published: 5th June 2014
Publisher: Chicken House
Pages: 336