BOUT OF BOOKS 2K15

 Bout of Books 14

I thought it was time to finally declare that I, Lizzy at MLBB will this year be participating in the Bout of Books read-a-thon. I’ve wanted to do one of these for a while but I’m always a little late to the party. Not this timeee; if you want to join me in this bookish mission step forward and sign up on the Bout of Books blog!

annnnd for those that don’t know what Bout of Books is… here you go:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I’m not quite sure how many books I will get completed but it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Progress:

Monday

Books Read: 0

Pages Read: 105

Total Read: 105

Minutes Read: Lots of little bits so I’m not too sure.

Notes: I participated in the Fictional World Travel Challenge and I’m currently reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott which I am really enjoying.

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Tuesday

Books Read: 0

Pages Read: 67

Total Read: 172

Minutes Read: I forgot to time this as before 

Notes: Ended up going for a raucous night out with the lovely people I call my friends up in SOT so I failed a little on the reading count. If I finish Little Women and get more stuck into 1Q84 I’ll be a happy bunny.

Progress:

Wednesday

Books Read: 0

Pages Read: 145

Total Read: 317

Minutes Read: Couple of hours

Notes: Feeling much better about the challenge as of today although still have lots to get read. I’m reallly enjoying little women but I understand totally why I struggled so much with it as a younger reader. An evening in with T I didn’t get quite as much done as I wanted but hopefully Thursday we get a bit more done!

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Progress:

Thursday

Books Read: 0

Pages Read: 655 (325)

Total Read: 642

Minutes Read: A few hours 

Notes: I still haven’t finished a book because I switched and instead read The Death of Danny Daggers by author Haydn Wilks (@haydnwilks.) I’m really enjoying Little Women but it is a bit full on and I fancied something a bit lighter in terms of the language used. However, because TDODD it’s an ARC and a PDF copy the writing seems to be super big so although I did read 655 pages, I’m not sure this is a fair showing of how many pages so I’ve divided it by two. Which brings my total so far to 655 #holla.

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Progress:

Friday

Books Read: 2

Pages Read: 330

Total Read: 972

Minutes Read: A few hours 

Notes: Today I finished reading The Death of Danny Daggers by author I Haydn Wilks (@haydnwilks.) I’m really just got into it, got my head down and polished it off. Brilliant book with some superb writing, characters and a really gritty feel. I also finished Little Women, I think I was in such a daze reading it that I didn’t realise I had only one chapter to go, so on the way home to Milton Keynes I finished it off. Pretty perfect.

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Progress:

Saturday

Books Read: 2

Pages Read: 170

Total Read: 1142

Minutes Read: An hour or so

Notes: Apologies for the lack of updates over the weekend. I was at home for the weekend celebrating my sisters birthday and I just didn’t have a minute to get this updated. I didn’t have a lot of time for reading but I started reading ‘What Milo Saw’ by Virginia Macgregor. It’s beautiful so far.

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Progress:

Sunday

Books Read: 3

Pages Read: 249 

Total Read: 1391

Minutes Read: Just over two hours

Notes: After a busy weekend, T and I travelled home for a good rest and although I was so very tired I just about managed to polish off the last of What Milo Saw, and I was so close to tears. I need to write the review up today before I forget how beautiful it all was but yes, three books, read lots more than I thought and I’m tempted to write a close up piece to this challenge. Maybe, we’ll see.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten books that celebrate diversity/diverse characters

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Helllllo readers and happy Tuesday; this week is already dragging as it always does but this week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a little special and that’s because it’s a list that “Celebrates Diversity/Diverse Characters.” I’ve picked a number of books that touch on the subject and a couple I’m thinking of reading in the next coming months.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon.

This is a wonderful tale that follows fifteen-year-old Christopher who is trying to solve the mysterious death of a neighbourhood dog all the while exploring his struggle with Autism.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

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This book looks at Stephen who is grappling with two traumatic experiences from his past that have caused him to struggle with depression and PTSD.  A stunning tale of recovery and acceptance.

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

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This book, narrated through the eyes of Pat Peoples, a former history teacher who has moved back to his childhood home in Collingswood, after spending a considerable amount of time in a psychiatric hospital. The book documents his life on the outside and his difficulty to understand the break-down of his marriage. A wonderfully told tale and one I very much enjoyed.

Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman

As a younger reader I adored this series of books and the diversity elements it manages to coerce into the book. The author flips race discrimination on its head and instead we see a dystopian society, where instead we see that white people face prejudice. A stunning tale.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

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One of my most recently read books I adored this tale. The novel, set in the Deep South during the 30’s and tells the story of a lawyer who defends a black man charged with rape, but told through the eyes of his daughter Scout. An intriguing tale and one I think everyone should read.

Dirty Beautiful Words by Brooklyn Brayl

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This wonderfully written book is a collection of poems that look at the transitioning period for a trans-woman and the difficulties and struggles that happen during this time; both mentally and physically. I have never read anything like this book before and I am so happy that Kris forwarded on the release for me to take a peak because I have wanted to read a book looking at the transgender community and I haven’t found anything quite as beautiful and moving as this.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Cath is a character I really relate to at times; her struggle with social anxiety as an extrovert is beautifully written and I thought this book was brilliantly devised and written. Definitely worth a read.

Every Day by David Levithan

So here starts the books that I really want to read. I’ve seen this doing the rounds on wordpress and as far as I can tell this book questions how to define love and the ways in which we define love whether it is straight (I openly dislike that word) homosexual, bisexual or transsexual. It seems like an intriguing read.

Made You Up by Francessa Zappia

I saw a review of this book on a blog on my wordpress reader and thought it sounded like something that could be quite educational. The main character has schizophrenia and has trouble distinguishing between what is a hallucination and what is reality.

Paperweight by Meg Haston 

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Finally I have picked Paperweight by Meg Haston which features Stevie who suffers from an eating disorder which causes her to think about ending her life. I think this could be an utterly heart-breaking read but one that sounds fascinating.

Ten books that focus on diversity although I struggled collating the list as a whole. I need to read more books that focus on mental health/race/diversity as a subject I think because there are so many more books out there that do just that. As always comment, queries, criticisms pop them in the comments box belowww.

Mildred’s Resistance (The Network Series #3) by Katie Cross

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*Eeeee* such a truly special review for you today. Katie Cross has been an author that I have treasured working with over the past two years. Her constant jubilance and her flawless way with words is one that is rarely matched in her genre of choice. I say this a lot, fantasy books are not my thing, really. HP = yes, everything else = mainly no, but she is one of the few authors that when she emails me I think gah bloody yes, send it over now goddamn it. I will calm down, but this will be another review whether I sing praises for this stunning author. Hands down brilliance.

Absolute Power Corrupts Even the Best of Friends.

Mildred Graeme is a witch that knows what it’s like to fail. She loathes small talk, struggles with magic, and grew up wretchedly poor. What’s easy for her best friend Evelyn, a wealthy, powerful socialite, is difficult for Mildred.

The two lifelong friends reunite at Chatham Castle where they fight together for the dream of a better world. Mildred wants to save the Network from political elitism, while Evelyn encourages it. When Evelyn gains power and threatens to obliterate the Network, Mildred realizes that she must overcome her fear of failure to save the lives of those she loves, even if it means betraying her best friend.

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I guess the first thing to add is that, Mildred’s Resistance is a prequel to the well-loved Network Series and immediately it is a brilliant, can’t-put-it-down style novel. Prequel’s can sometimes feel a little, shoved in? As though the author suddenly realises that we need some more back-story to create more of a story in the present, but here it honestly feels not only pivotal to the writing of the coming novel(s,) but well thought-out and constructed. I don’t want to give spoilers which is always a little difficult when you get quite far into a series, but the story follows the back-story of High Priestess Mildred Graeme. As readers we get to experience her growing up, the struggles she overcomes, especially her heart-breaking family tale and the difficulties with her friends Evelyn and Stella.

The book in total covers thirty or so years so there is a lot of character profiling, inter-weaving character stories and relationships and the roles of the girls in the Central Network but Cross appears to handle it effortlessly. The book does focus at lot on Mildred, I mean it’s her book and I adored watching her transformation that isn’t so easily seen in the later books. I also thought the change in POV (we switch from first to third) was brilliantly done. It’s not such an easy thing and can sometimes feel a little rocky (I find authors tend to prefer and stick with one) but the new way of writing really suits the toying and froying of the book and the jumps in time a lot better so spot on Katie.

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As always, Katie packs a punch in terms of her characters and manages to bring depth to every single one that we meet. Mildred I thought was given so much complexity and wisdom (as she is in the later books) it often felt like she could step out of the pages and tell me the story herself. Not every author can do that and not every author can hold my attention so deeply. This did and for me it’s a big compliment to Katie. I thought the way that Katie dealt with the relationships between the girls (especially Mildred and Evelyn) was pulled apart and explored really well as to bring the characters to life a little more.

The writing once again is strong and evocative, Katie brings the fantasy world to life easily and with style, this paragraph I thought was particularly poignant.

“The smell of Piccadilly Pub’s famous pumpkin soup wafted from the ovens in the back. She ignored the heady scent and kept her eyes on the close, wintry streets of Chatham City. A queue of witches bundled up against the cold loitered near the little trinket shop across the street, where the slow accumulation of dirt stained the brick, and the cobblestone street had worn smooth. She tilted her head to see the sky, but the close buildings admitted only a grimy light. Still, downtown Chatham City was a charming place.”

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I guess the only critique I can really make is stepping back in time although tells us a lot about the characters the story doesn’t feel like it’s moved forward so for those wanting to know what’s going to happen next. But it needs it, not only to setup the first two books but also to give an inkling as to what is going to happen in the next book ‘The High Priest’s Daughter which will be out in September 2015! *Squeals.* Additionally, for me, the magic involved isn’t too overwhelming, it instead is an addition to the story and it flavours it rather than taking centre stage which I liked because it focuses more on our characters but if you’re looking for punchy magic sequences it’s not so much about that.

Overall, this is a simply wonderful book full of sublime characters, a strong plot and premise, yes a prequel but one that focuses on the points it needs to make to give us the answers we’ve been waiting for. I would 100% recommend this book, and Katie’s entire series of book if I’m completely honest. These reviews sound like broken records but they are truly and honestly worth a read. I promise you.

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Books on the Nightstand Summer Book Bingo 2015

Good afternoon readers, hope you enjoyed the lovely posts here today. I found this post from Savage Reads, a blog that I truly enjoy reading, and thought I would create my own. The idea is that sometimes we get into a bit of a rut when it comes to the books that we read, and reviewing extensively books that are sent to me I often end up reading the same things over and over again. However, what about those books we may never end up reading let alone enjoying if we don’t step back and starting reading something a little different.

As Simon puts it,

‘The lovely hosts of Books on the Nightstand podcast, Ann and Michael, have come up with over 140 possibly categories for you which form a bingo card that you can work through, getting a line or full house, and base your reading around over the summer months.

All you have to do to create your own, because I know you are desperate to and why not its super fun, is press on this link here and it should generate a bingo card for you.’

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and here is my bingo scratch card! It’s quite an interesting set of books. Some are going to be quite easy, I think the pseudonym one might finally get me to read The Silk Worm by Robert Galbraith (aka J K Rowling) and I adore reading novellas, but Nonfiction about your home-town and sport-related do not fill with me anticipation to say the least. Saying that I think it could have been a hell of a lot worse. We shall have to see whether I manage it but I’m hoping it sets me on a bookish-adventure. I’ll keep you informed as I go along, and if you have any suggestions please let me know!

A thank you from mylittlebookblog

So, it’s Sunday and the end of this celebration of mylittlebookbookblog. I’m going to keep it short because I’ve waffled enough this week.

I’ve learnt a lot blogging and I’ve learn a lot about myself in doing so and to be honest with you, I think that this blog has ultimately saved me from a number of cripplingly scary moments. My life right now is a little in limbo and it’s terrifying. I’m not sure what I want to do let alone where I want to be and in the last ten months I’ve seen the worst of myself and the panic that comes from graduating and feeling a little lost. But this blog has brought out the best of me. 

I have felt so wonderfully supported and this blog has been a life saver and I just wanted to really say thank you. From my mushy emotional and slightly whimsical heart. Because you are the best people that I could have ever wished for. All the authors, the bloggers, the tweeters, the likers the commenters and the emailers (these are not words) but all of you. Thank you. Thank you so much and here’s to another year of this pretty goddamn wonderful tiny space of the internet that I have found I’m able to call home.

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The Bookshelf Tag

So today I’m sick, sick, sick. I’ve just managed to pull my hacking body out of bed and into the living room and I found this bookshelf tag post on a lovely blog called The Book Coop I’ve been following for a little while and thought it was an adorable post to fill out for you. I’m going to split the answers between my two book shelves. Most of you know that after attending university in Stoke-on-Trent I stayed around, got an internship and have been here the past almost four years now. Many of my books are back in Silvy however the number in my rented room is growing higher each day so I’ll try and work it for both. If you fancy tagging yourself and writing your own book shelf post a comment below or tweet me @littlebookblog1

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1. Describe your bookshelf (or wherever it is you keep your books-it doesn’t actually have to be a shelf!) and where you got it from.

So at home I have eight shelves, stacked on top of each other. The shelves are heaving but I’ve run out of space for any more and they’re starting to get piled on top of each other on the shelves. Book storage is a constantly battle.

In my rented room in Newcastle under Lyme space is even more limited but the solution is rather adorable. Six months ago I was at a market and bought an adorable vintage leather suitcase. It’s now stuffed full of review copies of books, a couple I’ve given in and bought and my library copies.

2. Do you have any special or different way of organizing your books?

Nope, haphazard is the best way to describe my book organisation although trilogies or sets of books I try(ish) to keep together.

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3. What’s the thickest (most amount of pages) book on your shelf?

I guess it would have to be a throw up between Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that’s a pretty hefty number in terms of pages, or I recently got given (to borrow) by a friend three books all sandwiched into one paperback by Murakami. I haven’t picked it up to read yet but I remember thinking it was pretty daunting.

4. What’s the thinnest (least amount of pages) book on your shelf?

I think some of my Roald Dahl classics are quite thin in terms of pages. I know I have quite an old copy of Charlie’s Marvellous Medicine that has a really beautiful cover and doesn’t have that many pages. It’s still a wonderful read!

5. What’s the smallest (height and width wise) book on your shelf?

I have a pocked sized copy of Alice and Wonderland through the looking glass which I have never read, it’s a really lovely book and it’s so goddamn cute I think I’m going to have to go find it and read it.

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6. What’s the biggest (height and width wise) book on your shelf?

It’s going to have to be one of my non-fiction books; I have book full of photographs of animals in the wild and it’s a giant weight of a book. My non fiction shelf is right at the bottom of the line of shelves because I’m terrified it’s going to fall of the wall; mainly because it’s stacked full of books like this one. I can’t remember the name of it but it’s a photography style book.

7. Is there a book from a friend on your shelf?

Being a book blogger lots of my books come from friends, but a really thoughtful book given to me for my 21st Birthday was If No One Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor. It’s a very stylish and lyrical book that I loved and it means a great deal that it was given to me with such understanding of my bookish favourites.

 8. Most expensive book?

I honestly have no idea; in terms of me buying books I tend to get them from Amazon or I buy sporadically from Waterstones or independent book stores. Saying that for Christmas last year I received a non-fiction book on all things Titanic and it’s a whopper of a book, I think it may have cost around £25.00 so I’m going to go with that.

 9. The last book you read on your shelf?

Oh, that would be If No One Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor, but I’ve already spoken about that one so I’ll go for Breakfast at Tiffanies by Truman Capote. It’s not actually mine but one I borrowed from the library but it’s sat in my little suitcase after being read a week or so ago; actually is that due back now? *groans*

10. Of all the books on your shelf, which was the first you read?

So many books have come and gone from my book shelves but I think it would have to be Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets. It came about in 2002 and I would have been ten then. I know that there are obviously books that came before that but maybe the first I read myself, that’s still on the shelf, would be this one.

11. Do you have more than one copy of a book?

Intriguing, I think I must do but for the life of me I cannot remember. I went through a stage of thinking I should rebuy copies of books because mine get so bent and creased but then it only means that they are loved. Thinking about it I’m not sure there are any more, I think I passed them onto friends?

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12. Do you have the complete series of any book series?

Yes, three I believe. Quite obviously the Harry Potter series, I think I have all of the Lord of the Rings books and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.

13. What’s the newest addition to your shelf?

I try not to buy too many books because I already have so many to read, but I think it would have to be ‘How to be a woman, by Caitin Moran.’

14. What book has been on your shelf FOREVER?

I have so many books that lots of them have been there forever, I think it would have to be Eva Ibbotson’s Monster Mission. It’s cramped on a shelf right at the end nearest to the window and it’s becoming a little blanched in the sunlight.

15. What’s the most recently published book on your shelf?

I think it would have to be Elizabeth is Missing by
Emma Healey published June 2014.

16. The oldest book on your shelf (as in, the actual copy is old)?

I think I have an old and withered copy of What Katie Did which on researching was published in 1872. I’m 100% sure my copy is not that old however it’s looking a little tired and I assume it’s the eldest.

17. A book you won?

I’m not sure I’ve ever won a book; that’s a little sad.

18. A book you’d hate to let out of your sight (aka a book you never let someone borrow)?

An interesting one because I do like to lend out my books and let other people read and discover them for themselves. I think one that I would always like to keep near me is On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah. I bought it at a book fair for around fifty pence but it is one of my favourite romance style books; it’s a wonderful little book and it’s one I would hate to not be able to get my paws on when I needed a little pick me up.

19. Most beat up book?

My copy of The Chocolate Run by Dorothy Koomson; I’ve read it so many times including in the bath which it’s been dropped in a number of times and it’s looking a little wearied. However its wear and tear only goes to show how much I love it as a novel.

20. Most pristine book?

Most of the books give to me by my darling parents or by friends. I do have a copy however of Any Human Heart by William Boyd that I loved so much whilst reading that I made sure to have bookmarks at any given point as in to stop me from folding the pages over. It is still a very neat and tidy book.

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21. A book from your childhood?

As a child I loved the stories of Little Mollie Mandy. I think my parents still have nightmares about the inane stories told however I thought they were wonderful and the tales are still propped up waiting to be told.

22. A book that’s not actually your book?

I have a number of books on my shelves that aren’t mine because I’m always squirreling them away with me but at the moment in my book suitcase I have a copy of The Good Plain Cook by Bethan Roberts which is actually my sisters that I am yet to read. I think it was on a Monday morning when I needed something to read on the train home but ultimately feel asleep and therefore I never got round to; I will give it back Char I promise!

23.  A book with a special/different cover (e.g. leather bound, soft fuzzy cover etc.)?

Not that I know of?

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24. A book that is your favorite color?

Although I love pink, I think a mix of duck egg and turquoise blue is my ultimate favourite colour and the book Elsewhere has a wonderfully blue sea on it which is almost the perfect colour so I’m going to go with that.

25. Book that’s been on your shelf the longest that you STILL haven’t read?

The Philip Pullman His Dark Materials books; I wrote a post about this over a year ago now (nope they’re still not read!)

26. Any signed books?

As a book blogger every so often authors sign the fronts of the books with a little message to me which is rather darling. I think Diary of an intuitive by Vera Gibson was almost definitely signed and that has an utterly beautiful cover also.

So a rather long post on my bookshelf from yours truly. If you do write your own please let me know, would love to hear your answers.

Two Year Anniversary of mylittlebookblog!

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Afternoon readers, a little news from my little book blog. On the 29th of April 2015 I will be celebrating the two year official anniversary of mylittlebookblog.com. I can not believe how much this blog has given me in terms of confidence in my writing and reviewing, the sheer number of authors, readers, publishers and book bloggers I have met who have been such a joy to get to know and the number of books I’ve read and been introduced to. I will be celebrating the two years blogging between the dates of the 29th of April and the 3rd of May and would love as many of you to get involved as possible. Whether that’s a guest post, helping me with a give-away in terms of prizes or just sharing my blog posts on the day. If you would like to get in touch please comment or email me at mylittlebookblog2014@gmail.com

Thank you

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