Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Top 5: Books to give as gifts this Christmas

Christmas is coming! It's really soon! But you should still have to make it to a book shop for these gift ideas. I've gone for especially pretty books that will make perfect presents, but the content is all good I promise!

1- The Encyclopaedia of Early Earth- Isobel Greenberg

This is a beautiful wonderful hardback graphic novel. Perfect for lovers of really nice illustrations and made up worlds. 

Isabel Greenberg also has a good etsy:
You can get it for a good price on the BBC shop which is weird but cool!

2- The Wolf Wilder- Katherine Rundell

I just finished reading this and it so snowy and wolfy and heartwarming, perfect from winter reading by a roaring fire, sheltered from the cold outside! The hardback has a really nice matt dust jacket with silver title and the pages feel soo nice too. The illustrations by Gelrev Ongbico are the icing on the cake.

It's currently under a tenner with free delivery from Book Depository:

3- Asking For It- Louise O'Neill

Now this ain't exactly a winter romp. It's about rape culture and slut shaming and is by the brilliant Lousie O'Neill. A perfect gift for the teenage feminist and the grown up feminist too. Make sure you use the hashtag #NotAskingForIt when you're talking about how great it is online. The hardback copy is pretty too.

Louise O'Neill is good person to follow on twitter!
It's just over ten squid on Wordery the noo with free shipping too!

4- A Portable Shelter- Kirsty Logan

Now THIS is a beautiful book. It's a small hardback with shiny silver shells on the cover and lovely illustrations through out too by Liz Myhill. It also has a character called Ruth in it, so an all round winner really. 
"A Portable Shelter is a collection of linked stories about loss, identity and the purpose of stories, inspired by Scottish folktales."
They only made 1000 of this edition so you really better snap it up!
Also under a tenner!

5- A Winter Book + Moominland Midwinter- Tove Jansson

A Winter Books is a lovely wintery Tove Jansson short story collection, perfect for dreaming of a white Christmas! I would also recommend Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson for some Moomin wintriness. 

Only £6.06 on Wordery and yep free delivery:

Moominland Midwinter:

Bonus! 6- Dungeon Fun- Colin Bell and Neil Slorance

This collected edition of the first four issues of Dungeon Fun is a wonderful fun gift! It's a great adventure story to whiz through on Christmas Day with lots of laughs and in full colour no less! 

You can buy it from Dogooder Comics:

And also Neil's etsy store where he has a bunch of other cool stuff!

Books I read in November!: The Door That Led to Where, Demon Road, The ACB with Honora Lee

Just three books read this month, I think I was focussing on watching loads of Friends on tv so didn't squeeze in very much reading time! Very bad. I did however manage to read The Door That Led to Where by Sally Gardner, Derek Landy's Demon Road, and the ACB with Honora Lee by Kate De Goldi. 

The Door That Led to Where

The Door That Led to Where is set in both present day London and 1830s London. AJ Flynn inherits a key to a door, which leads him to this different time, where his father, who he never met, used to travel and trade. Escaping from his unloving mother and the rough streets of his east London council estate, AJ travels to the past and begins unravelling the mystery surrounding his father's death, and is left with a difficult decision over whether to lock the door for good. The writing in this felt pretty weird, the modern day East London parts didn't feel very genuine, the language the boys used to talk to each other seemed a bit off. And the time travel timeline was also a bit dodgey, surely all the 'helping' AJ and his pals do in 1830s London will have an effect on their present day lives? But all that aside it was a good enjoyable read and I would quite like a magic time travelling key. 

Demon Road

Ooh this was good. This demon-based road trip story follows sixteen-year-old Amber, whose ordinary American teenage life is ripped apart when she finds out all about her connection to demons. On the run, she is forced to make new friends with her travel companions and is faced with all kinds of peril in the form of vampires, serial killers, and a killer car. I really enjoyed this book! The opening chapters set you up for a high school based story only to have that pulled out from under you with some demon revelations. I found it gripping, funny and gruesome with loads of heart, a Derek Landy specialty. It was pretty long, but action packed so no complaints there. Also I believe it's the beginning of a trilogy so that's fun!

The ACB with Honora Lee

This wonderful little book is full of heart and humour. Perry is a little girl with very busy parents and a very busy schedule of her own. When she begins to visit her gran, Honora Lee, every week at the care home where she lives, Perry decides to make an alphabet book for her alphabet obsesses gran. It is delightful and simple and heart warming. A nice quick read for grown ups, and perfect for kiddies too :)

Thaaaaaat's all folks! Promise I'll do a Christmas books based post soon!

These books were sent to me in book form or through Netgalley in return for an honest review, affected in no way by the freeness of the books!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Review!: Sophie Someone by Hayley Long

Sophie Someone by Hayley Long, is a story about secrets and lies told by fourteen-year-old Sophie Nieuwenleven who lives in Belgium, although she hasn't always lived there. Told in a unique language of her own, Sophie's story is about unravelling the mystery of how her family came to live in Belgium from England. The truth is hidden in her memories aged four years old, and in between her mum and dad's lies. Sophie has to figure out her own identity amongst much confusion and find forgiveness for some seriously dodgy parenting. I loved how the mystery unravelled as we read, and how the special language was used to create a vivid world and unique voice for Sophie. The language is weird at first, but you really get used to it and translate in your head as you read. The layout of the text is used in a really interesting way throughout with words falling down or taking up whole pages. A truly unique book and a really interesting story.

Five great Sophie Someone quotes: 

"Who Am I? The quick answer is easy. I'm the exact same pigeon I've always been. I was born. I kept breathing. And here I am fourteen years later. Still me.
The long answer is massively more complicated. Because actually I'm not. Actually, I'm totally different pigeon entirely. I've even got a different noodle. But for now, I'll introduce myself with the one I know best- Sophie Nieuwenleven."
"Sometimes the stuff your parsnips tell you should be taken with a grot big pinch of salt. If anyone knows this, it's me."
"Ignorance is bliss.  Because sometimes the trumpet hurts. I know it and my freckle Comet knows it.Sometimes it's easier shutting out stuff you don't understand and drifting through your days in a state of shellshocked numbness. Sometimes it's easier when you just don't know anything."
"So there it was. The trumpet. Printed in black and white on the front page of a national newspepper. And it should have made sense. It really ought to have made sense. But it didn't. Because this newspepper article was filled with all the wrong worms."
"And I believed it. I truly believed it. Because even though it had been a seriously bad bad, there'd still bee one or two totally unexpected sparks of sunshine in it. Life is like that. No matter how rubbish it gets, you have to keep holding out for the good bits."

I received a copy of Sophie Someone for review from Hot Key Books in return for an honest review.  

Friday, 4 December 2015

Books I read in October!: Trollhunters, Carry On, As Red As Blood, Anything That Isn't This.

October reads! Books I read in October! Not late at all shh! I read Daniel Kraus and Guillermo del Toro's Trollhunters,  Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, As Red As Blood by Salla Simukka, and Anything That Isn't This by Chris Priestley. For some reason it took me absolutely ages to read Trollhunters so only 4 books read this month, which is perfectly reasonable really. I now also only one book away from by 50 book 2015 reading challenge woohoo!


Set in San Bernardino, California, Trollhunters is about exactly that: hunting trolls. The trolls kidnap children to eat, leaving a slew of missing children reports behind them. Jim Sturges Jr. has lived with the legacy of his uncle's disappearance during the milk carton epidemic in the 60s, with his father's high security house and paranoia as a lasting memory. Soon he is dragged away from his high school life into a troll war he has no choice but to be a part of. A very cinematic book, with plenty of action and adventure. And great illustrations throughout too!

Carry On

This book is so meta! In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl Cath writes fanfiction based on a series of books about a magical character called Simon Snow, basically an alternate universe Harry Potter. Cath's fan fiction series called Carry On is immensely popular online. Rainbow Rowell's Carry On is basically Simon Snow fan fiction. Fan fiction based on a made up series in one of her own novels. META. I loved the Simon Snow parts of Fangirl so I was very much looking forward to this. It was a really fun read. I got right into the world and its history and characters. As advertised there was plenty of kissing and also magic and monsters. The actual book is really pretty too, with great dust cover and a ribbon to hold your place. 

As Red As Blood

This book is about murder and crime and drugs and stuff. Lumikki Andersson has a really good name and lives in Tampere, Finland, where she goes to high school. She gets caught up in a mess of corrupt officials and faceless drug king pins when she finds thousands of euros worth of notes hanging up to dry in the school's darkroom. This has everything I was looking for; snow, good Finnish names, corruption, mystery, murder, and dressing up. 

Anything That Isn't This

Lots of people in the reviews on Goodreads finding this book too weird, too dark, too dreary, but these were exactly the reasons why I enjoyed it. Set in a post-war city, with grim buildings and grim lives being led, seventeen-year-old Frank Palp hates his life and hopes for something more. Frank is in love in a tropey teenage boy in a YA book way, with a popular girl who he hardly knows, and has put up on a pedestal, but in this very surreal Kafkaesque setting Frank's romantic delusions are all part of his journey to understanding his reality. A great humour throughout, with his grandfather's stories told from his grave, and Frank's ministry job calling up everyone in the phone book. Humorous, surreal, weird, dark, grim, brilliant. 

Trollhunters, As Red As Blood, and Anything That Isn't This were sent to me in book form or through Netgalley in return for an honest review, affected in no way by the freeness of the book.