Saturday, 28 September 2013

Book Review: Infinite Sky by C.J Flood

“Is it possible to keep loving somebody when they kill someone you love”

On the advice of a student I decided to read Infinite Sky by C.J Flood. I was warned it was sad and that I might cry. Well cry I did, in fact I sobbed. This is a beautifully written poignant story which did not go as I had predicted from the blurb.

Iris's mother has left for Tunisia and with that she has let a gaping hole in the family dynamic. Her father has begun to drink heavily and her brother has gotten mixed up in an unsavoury crowd. When a group of Irish travellers move into Paddocks field owned by the family. Her father in his loneliness seizes hold of the challenge to rid his home of these unwanted settlers. His mission is in stark contrast to Iris who is intrigued by the settlers and embarks on a sweet and childlike love with the son Trick. Neither family wants this to continue so Iris meets with resentment from both her dad and brother for even entertaining the idea. This story managed to present young love well and it was not overly slushy or romantic considering Iris is a young girl I felt this was appropriate. The way their love is written is endearing and coy and reflects the awkwardness both characters feel as they pursue this forbidden friendship.

The final climax of the story is written in a stilted style to make you unsure who is to blame and in that you can empathise with Iris’s tough unanswerable question posed at the start of the book.

As I said this story was not what I had expected. It is well written for the intended audience but has an appeal for adults also. It was nice to get out of my comfort fantasy/science fiction genre and read something different and brilliant. The tale has an easy rhythm making it a relatively quick read.

Be ready for some tears!

A beautifully sad story

Friday, 27 September 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Sequels Ever!

Another Top Ten Tuesday (on a Friday) here and this week it’s a really good one! Thank you to The Broke and Bookish again for this linky. My favourite genre has and probably always will be fantasy and one thing is for certain fantasy authors do not like to write stand alone fiction. I am not complaining here but sometimes those second books just don't live up to their predecessor. This top ten has taken me a while to compose as it’s so tough to decide what my favourite sequels have been! I have taken this to mean the second book in a series as opposed to a book anywhere in a series.

1. Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (The King Killer Chronicles)

This series completely captivated me. I absolutely devoured this book and it was such a fantastic follow up to The Name of the Wind. This book continues the tale of Kvothe. This fantasy masterpiece is a tale of epic proportions that goes to unpredictable places and worlds and I cannot WAIT for the third!

2. The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula Le Guin

The second in the Earthsea Quartet has always been my favourite. It introduces the young girl Tehanu in an unusual world, for filling a bizarre role for her people. Sparrowhawk returns older, perhaps wiser to save her and she in turn saves him. I love this book as it was so cleverly written. It’s pretty different from A Wizard of Earthsea but it’s still fantastic.

3. The Scent of Magic by Cliff McNish

I have re-read the fantastic Doomspell Trilogy more times than I can count. I love the adventures of Rachel and Eric and the second book in the series is just as brilliant. Witches and Wizards are imagined in a whole new way by McNish and it’s so well written. I love the introduction of the character Yemi in this book and his unique magical ability.

4. Eldest by Christopher Paolini

*Sigh* I cannot rave about the books in The Inheritance Cycle enough. The characters, world and storyline have such depth and the second in the series Eldest does not disappoint. Continuing to follow the quest of Eragon as he faces the world as the last dragon rider. His fate is even more sealed in this book and other more minor characters are developed beautifully such as Roran.

5.Lireal by Garth Nix

It’s been a while since I read about the adventures of Sabriel. A great fantasy read with all the must have elements for a good adventure. The fate of the old Kingdom is in Sabriel's hand and she must rise to the challenge to save it. A great follow up that leads into a brilliant final book.

6.The Last of the Wilds by Trudi Canavan

I reviewed The Age of Five series in June and I highly recommend it. The sequel is another well crafted fantasy/mythical adventure that sees Auraya continue on her uncertain path. I love the character of the Old Hag so really enjoyed having more from this character in this story.

7. Slaves of Mastery by William Nicholson.

This top ten allowed me to remember a beautifully written series that I have not thought about for a while. I loved this series and the sequel does justice to characters the first book teaches you to love. Kestrel and Bowman helped make Aramanth safer and more peaceful but now it can be targeted. Separated from one another Kestrel seeks to find her brother as Bowman finally uncovers some truth about the Singer people.

8. InkSpell by Cornelia Funke

I very much loved Inkheart and I can remember when I finally got my hands on InkSpell as a young girl being so excited. Finally the book takes you into the Ink World where as a reader I had been longing to hear more about. I still love the premise of this story as it’s such a lovely idea and so cleverly written. Meggie gets her hearts desires but at what cost?

9.The Novice by Trudi Canavan

Another Trudi Canavan to feature on this top ten. I was toying with whether to put this in as it’s not as amazing as The Last of the Wilds. However, as a sequel comes it is a good follow up to the first and the character of Sonea is developed much better than she was in the first book. In fact I would go as far as saying that this book is better than the first.

10. Stormchaser by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

I love the Deepwoods series even with its shocking amount of books. The second in the original trilogy is brilliant. Finally we get more understanding and action as Twig gets to take up his rightful place on his father's sky ship. We learn more about the world in this story and the illustrations by Chris are phenomenal.

*A little note about Harry Potter. As I took the word sequel to mean the second book in a series I could not in good conscience include The Chamber of Secrets. For me it is and has been for years my least favourite book. I have never liked it and I can honestly not pinpoint why. I like it because it is Harry Potter and I like being back in the wizarding world but I completely hated the idea people thought Harry could be Slytherin's heir and it just didn't make for as an enjoyable sequel for me.

What are your favourite sequels?

Currently Reading: Hunger by Michael Grant

Friday, 20 September 2013

Book Review: The Inheritance Cycle

A while back I finally finished a series of books I have wanted to read for a long time. The Inheritance Cycle had long intrigued me but I just never got round to starting them when they originally came out.

Having finished the series I realised I was missing out. I read the first two books Eragon and Eldest last year and finally managed to get my hands on the second two this year. In fact I wanted to know what happened so desperately that I bought the fourth book immediately after I finished the third which I had borrowed from the library (I nearly missed a train just to get my hands on it sooner).

The four books follow the life of Eragon. Eragon becomes the first new dragon rider Alagaesia has seen for years and with his arrival many changes happen. Death and destruction follow his new found status and he and his dragon Saphira must quickly adapt and learn in order to help fight the corrupt and evil dragon rider Galbatorix. The books culminate with Eragon leading the way in the battle against the enemy forces.

I have read many reviews and heard a lot of opinions that dismiss this fantasy series. In fact I heard many say they believe the ideas are robbed from other great fantasy series. However, having read the series in question, Lord of the Rings, I completely disagree.  Yes it has the same premise, good verses evil. However, this is pretty standard for many fantasy series. Yes Paolini created a unique diverse world full of a variety of different races and species but just because he has elves does not make them a copy of Tolkien's elves in fact they are different. I don't know if those who mistakenly wrote it was a plagiarised version of Lord of the Rings has actually read both series.

The world Paolini creates is bursting with a variety of different races, languages, animals, magic and history yet it fits together superbly. The sheer volume of characters would allow a reader to forgive Paolini if he did not develop his characters. Yet he does. The main character of Eragon is a complicated but loveable hero whose personal struggles have the reader on the edge waiting to read the outcome. Even minor characters who appear for a relatively shorter time in comparison to Eragon have been written with great depth. I absolutely loved the character Arya, she was so well written that her personality jumps of the page and as a reader she was so effortless to imagine. The only niggle I personally can spot is that Paolini was clearly still developing his craft. He was only 15 when he wrote the first book so the quality of his writing improves so drastically that the first and final book are quite different in style. But at least they got better not worse!!

The four books are LONG and get longer as you read on. I found them manageable but I got weighed down by the size of the books especially in the more complicated parts of the story.

I really hope Paolini is not finished with Alagaesia. I would really love to read more from the characters but also as the world is so well constructed I think it would be a waste not to return there, even with different characters.

I loved every page of this series. A must read.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Read this Season

Today sees my link up to my first book related linky! This one is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and sees a different book related top ten each week. This week they are looking at the top ten books on to read lists this fall (Autumn). As I have a mammoth to read list this was only difficult because I had to narrow it down so much.

1. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

This is the first in the Mortal Instruments series and I have wanted to read it for a really long time but have just not found the time or managed to get my hands on it! As the movie is out now I know the series is going to be a hit with loads of hype. I wish I had read it before so I don't hear any spoilers but never mind. It's a fantasy series which makes it even more my cup of tea - See what I thought in my review.

2. Gone by Micheal Grant

Another series I have been waiting to read because there are 5 books to get through. I have seen how popular this has been with the students and have also had many adults rave about them to me. Set in a world where everyone over the age of 15 disappears. No one knows where they go and technology goes with them so there is no way to find out. This series is another one right up my street. Have a look at my review of Gone to see what I thought.

3. Abandon by Meg Cabot

AGAIN another opener to a series however thankfully just a trilogy. This has intrigued me as I have never seen anything that Meg Cabot has written that really appeals to me. Usually her books are a tad too girly for my tastes. However Abandon has intrigued me. The updated story of Persephone and Hades in the modern day will hopefully make for a great read!

4. The Disappearances by Gemma Malley

I loved The Killables and have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of The Disappearances. It was released in April this year so I am not too late in getting round to reading it. Hopefully it continues the story well and doesn't disappoint. This story reunites Evie, Raffy and Lucas as they work together to solve the disappearances of the teenagers.

5. Divergent by Veronica Roth

Yes I know I should have read this by now! Considering I actually recommend it to students it's about time I actually saw what it was about. I am utterly convinced I am going to love it. The start of a trilogy with the third being released later this year. Another dystopian mystery! Have a look at my review on the blog

6.The Kingmaker's Daughter by Phillipa Gregory

I plan to read this as it just seems wrong not to completely finish a series. I enjoyed the first 3 stories and want to see how the story rounds off as it feels unfinished to me. Told from the point of view of Anne Neville as her husband Richard III is involved in the controversy surrounding his coronation and the mysterious disappearances of his nephews the princes in the tower.

7. The Outsiders by Michelle Paver

Another newbie and another series but one I think I will greatly enjoy. I still haven't manage to read her highly recommended series The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness but I hope to give this new one a go. Myths, Magic, Gods and Warriors what more could a fantasy fan ask for?

8. The Selection by Kiera Cass

I am not 100% sure about this one yet as the blurb left much to be desired but it was recommended by a student so I should probably give it a chance.

9. My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher

A heartbreaking and sad story of a young boy as he and his family struggle to cope with the unexpected loss of his sister. The only reason I haven't started this yet is I am worried it will be too sad! (The only non series book on my list)

10. Starters by Lissa Price

I recently came across this book in a library session. The blurb intrigued me as the plot seems very unique. A world where teenagers rent there bodies to adults who want to be young again. But when the person who uses Callie's body goes down a path of destruction Callie must figure out a way to stop her before its too late.

Currently reading: Abandon by Meg Cabot 

Thursday, 12 September 2013


I am back. After an unexpected Summer hiatus on which I have rethought this blog. Initially when I started the blog it was meant to be about books and the occasional tidbit about my life. As it stands the reverse happened and the blog ended up becoming something I could not keep on top of because I had set myself too big a task. So I am going back to basics and the book blog will return. I know this means I will loose a few followers possibly but at least the blog will be achievable and take me back to my first love... reading! The blog will continue to feature my bake me and exercise pages as these have proved popular but I won't be updating these as often.

So to kick things off I have answered a few reading related questions which I have seen on a few other fantastic book blogs. I will be hopefully following linkys and maybe even starting my own as well as posting book reviews. The books will mainly be YA fiction (I am a school librarian after all) but the occasional grown up book may feature. Hope you enjoy the blog as it goes in a new direction.

1. Which book has been on your shelves the longest?

I have two books from my childhood that my mum found me. They are both called Lydia and are about a little girl and her many adventures. They are super precious to me not only because they were a gift but also because my name doesn’t often appear on things.

2. What is your current read, your last read and the book you'll read next?

Currently reading The Red Queen by Phillipa Gregory which I am sailing through after finishing The White Queen by the same author. I started reading it because I caught the end of a White Queen episode on TV and wanted to know what the books were like. I want to say I will read the final in the series which is called The Kingmaker's Daughter however, I do not own this yet so I am going to start reading the Gone series by Micheal Grant.

3. What book did everyone like and you hated?

Well one book that I expected to love because it was so highly recommended to me was The Life of Pi. Sadly I found nothing much happened in it and I was disappointed.

4. Which book do you keep telling yourself you'll read, but you probably won't?

The Color of Magic by Terry Prachett I have now borrowed this from the library more than four times and it’s still unread and to be honest I am not sure I can commit to it.

5. Last page: read it first or wait till the end?

I don’t even understand why anyone would read the last page first. I know they might not contain major spoilers but it just seems too strange to do that. I am a read from the start to get to the finish kinda girl.

6. If you had to recommend one author who would it be?

My current reading habits would recommend Trudi Canavan. The two series of hers I have read have both been brilliant and I am looking forward to reading the third series soon.

7. Which book character would you switch places with?

I would be Sonea I think in The Magicians Guild. Although she has a super tough time and gets in some awful situations she is super magical and a really strong women. Also I wouldn’t mind being Luna Lovegood in Harry Potter

8. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life (a person, a place, a time)?

Harry Potter (any of them). I always read these at home as soon as they came out. My mum in her wisdom allowed me to miss school to finish them. I would read them through the night to the early hours of the morning to make sure I had finished them before anyone could spoil the story. It still makes me laugh to think of my teacher's face each year when I showed them the note...Lydia was absent from school today because she was reading Harry Potter.

9. Which book has been with you to the most places?

I constantly read on trains so a lot of my books have been a lot of place. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss travelled the most regularly with me and got pretty battered as a result.

10. Any "required reading" you hated in high school that wasn't so bad ten years later?

Honestly don’t remember my required reading at all. Although I do know I will never consent to agree that Journey’s End the play is worth reading!

11. What is the strangest item you've ever found in a book?

I am a school librarian so I have found an array of interesting paraphernalia, including food!

12. Used or brand new?

Both! I love finding a bargain in a charity shop or my favourite place Hay on Wye.

13. Have you ever seen a movie you liked better than the book?

The one and only case of this I can think of is the The Talented Mr Ripley . I found the book very confusing and a bit bizarre but I understood and liked the film.

14. Conversely, which book should NEVER have been introduced to cinema?

As a die hard Harry Potter fan I should probably say those films should not have happened but I quite like them even if they miss out louds(S.P.E.W to name just one thing). One that definitely should not have been done was A Series of Unfortunate Events. Firstly amalgamating the first three books was just confusing and it just lacked the quirk that Lemony Snickett brings to the books.

15. Who is the person whose book advice you'll always take?

My dad has always been amazing at knowing if I will like a book. Apart from the error with Life of Pi on the whole he is usually spot on. My mum is also great at choosing books I will like and never dreamed of reading.

Currently reading: The Red Queen by Phillipa Gregory