Bookscovery

Bookscovery: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

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Welcome to the first virtual meeting of Bookscovery! Bookscovery is made up of my bookish friend Jemma, me and hopefully all of you! It was born out of a wish to discover some new favourite books together. Our book of the month is Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco! We really hope you enjoy it!

*Read to the end for more information about our Continue reading “Bookscovery: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco”

Recommendations

My 2018 Bookish Favourites

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Well, hasn’t 2018 just flown by us? I wish you a happy beginning to 2019 with a look back at the past reading year 2018. This was my first year of properly logging my reading on Goodreads. I have to say, I really did thoroughly enjoy taking part in the challenge myself this year rather than simply cheering everyone else on from the side lines (although I do still love seeing how everyone else is getting on!). When I set my challenge back on January 1st 2018 I didn’t know Continue reading “My 2018 Bookish Favourites”

Interview

Interview With Debut Twin Authors, Ashley and Leslie Saunders

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Today on my blog I am joined by two wonderful new voices in YA literature. Please welcome twins Ashley and Leslie Saunders. They are award-winning filmmakers who honed their love of storytelling at The University of Texas at Austin. Their first co-written novel The Rule of One is definitely not one to be missed. I’m delighted they have taken the time out of their busy schedules to have a chat with me!

Continue reading “Interview With Debut Twin Authors, Ashley and Leslie Saunders”

Recommendations

Book of the Week

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Welcome to what I hope is going to become a regular thing on my blog. You’ve probably guessed what this is (it really does not take much explanation) but basically the whole idea is a really short quick post telling you about a book I’ve picked to represent the week. Maybe it’s a book that’s been out awhile but I haven’t gotten around to it, maybe it’s a book I’ve read and loved, maybe it’s an anticipated read- the whole point is that there is no rules! So without further ado I hope you like my pick of the week!

Continue reading “Book of the Week”

Interview

Interview with ‘Vendetta’ author, Catherine Doyle

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I’m delighted to welcome the wonderful Catherine Doyle to my blog for an interview. She has been one of my favourite authors ever since I read Vendetta a couple of years ago. I’ve even met her a few times at DeptCon (an annual book convention in Dublin). She also has a new novel out now called The Storm Keeper’s Island!

Goodreads synopsis for Vendetta:

When it comes to revenge, love is a dangerous complication.With a fierce rivalry raging between two warring families, falling in love is the deadliest thing Sophie could do. An epic debut set outside modern-day Chicago.

When five brothers move into the abandoned mansion in her neighbourhood, Sophie Gracewell’s life changes forever. Irresistibly drawn to bad boy Nicoli, Sophie finds herself falling into a criminal underworld governed by powerful families. As the boys’ dark secrets begin to come to light, Sophie is confronted with stinging truths about her own family, too. She must choose between two warring dynasties – the one she was born into, and the one she is falling in love with. When she does, blood will spill and hearts will break.

Goodreads synopsis for The Storm keepers Island:

When Fionn Boyle sets foot on Arranmore Island, it begins to stir beneath his feet …

Once in a generation, Arranmore Island chooses a new Storm Keeper to wield its power and keep its magic safe from enemies. The time has come for Fionn’s grandfather, a secretive and eccentric old man, to step down. Soon, a new Keeper will rise.

But, deep underground, someone has been waiting for Fionn. As the battle to become the island’s next champion rages, a more sinister magic is waking up, intent on rekindling an ancient war.

1. What led you to becoming a writer?

I became a writer because I loved stories- it’s as simple as that! Growing up, I read avariciously and when I completed my undergraduate in college, I took a year out to explore creative writing courses and decided that I loved it so much I had to give it a shot!

I’m so glad you made that decision and I’m sure many people feel the same. The stories you tell are so immersive, I can’t put them down! 

2. What inspired your Blood for Blood trilogy?

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Blood for Blood was inspired by my love of modern cinema- things like the Godfather and Goodfellas. I noticed there was very little that dealt with the criminal underworld in YA and I thought if there was anyone else out there like me, they would be interested in that too!

And you were right! Such incredible books.

3. If you could be a character in one of your books who would you be and why?

I think I’d probably be Millie because she’s buffered from the underworld in a way that keeps her safe (most of the time!). I’m tempted to say Sophie because of obvious *Luca* reasons, but I’m such a coward I’d probably have a heart attack at the first sight of a gun!

I’m the exact same, I don’t know how Sophie does it!

4. Female friendships are very important in your books. How do you think Sophie would have coped without Millie?

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I think Sophie wouldn’t have coped very well at all without Millie. I think things would have gone very differently for her in the end, and not in a good way. It’s so important to have a good support system in life in general, and that only multiplies a hundred fold when you find yourself stuck in the criminal underworld with no one to turn to!

5. What were your favourite subjects at school? Do you think they had an impact on your career?

I loved English and Art. I was fortunate to have two amazing English teachers throughout my time in secondary school and I definitely think their enthusiasm, talent and support is a big part of why I’m a writer now. They helped me believe in my own ability at a really crucial age.

6. If you come across a bad review of one of your books, how do you cope with it?

Bad reviews don’t bother me at all. Sometimes I find them funny. Not everyone will love the book – that’s just life. The trick is not to go reading your own reviews. I just keep my head down and write.

I think that’s the best way of dealing with it!

7. In your opinion is plot or character more important?

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I personally think plot is really important, just because I get bored so easily when reading/watching movies. I’m like a five-year-old child. Obviously, ideally, you need to develop character first, then throw said-character into a plot, but if I had to choose, I think I’d go for plot.

I definitely think you’re right because without a plot there is no story! But, at the same time it’s difficult to read a book if you can’t connect to the characters within it so it’s a hard one! 

8. Your new book is middle grade. Did you make a conscious decision to write a middle grade novel beforehand? 

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No! I just wrote the story that was sitting inside my head. It’s based in Arranmore, my ancestral home, and the voice that came to me was an 11 year old boy. And I didn’t want to tamper with it too much, so I kept it that way.

9. Do you think books should be judged based on what their target audience is?

No! Books should be judged on whether they make you feel something.

I really, really agree with this!

10. Will you ever go back to writing YA?

One day, I’d like to think so!

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Thanks so much to Catherine Doyle for answering all my questions! That’s the end of today’s fantastic interview. You can find out more about Catherine Doyle on website here or catch up with her on Twitter @doyle_cat. Don’t forget to read The Storm Keeper’s Island and the Blood for Blood trilogy, if you haven’t already!

 

Review

Book Review: Just Don’t Mention It by Estelle Maskame

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Hi everyone!

Estelle Maskame is one of those auto-buy authors for me and I always have super high expectations for her books (because they are all just so good, honestly). This book (Just Don’t Mention It) surpassed my expectations and in my opinion this is Maskame’s best book yet. To me, it had a completely different feel to anything she’s done before and I’m going to tell you why I think this over the course of the review.

So in case you are unfamiliar with Estelle Maskame’s work (where have you been?) Just Don’t Mention It is a companion novel to the DIMILY trilogy. It follows the events of book one but instead of Eden’s perspective we are reading from Tyler’s. I’m not going to say much about this book except that the series is a real page-turner. I recommend that you go and pick up the first in the series and come back after!

Rating: 5/5 stars.

Writing style: Fits the book completely. It’s filled with thoughts, feelings and emotions that can connect with readers no matter who you are.

Plot: The plot just kept building and building which is all you can ask for really. Usually when there are two types of chapters (the present day chapters and the five years ago chapters) nearly always I will develop a preference for one of them over the other. That didn’t happen with this book because both chapter styles were of incredible standard. The plot was executed extremely well and I really felt like I was living it alongside the characters.

Characters: The most important thing to me when I’m reading book is that the characters feel real and they definitely feel real in JDMI. Tyler is such a complex character and he has been written in that three dimensional sense which is just so important. What is even more refreshing is that every character felt this way no matter what their role is in the story (big or small). It’s not always the way in books as characters with small parts tend to fall to the sidelines.

Pace: Well balanced and written in a sense that felt real and natural.

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A point I quite liked was that the juxtaposition between the DIMILY books and JDMI. Due to the perspective change there wasn’t a huge focus on the romantic aspect. In DIMILY it made sense that there was a focus on this element as it was from Eden’s perspective and this was her biggest source of conflict, if you know what I mean. Tyler’s main source of conflict comes from elsewhere, mainly his past and so this perspective change allowed Maskame to place greater emphasis on another element of the story. In DIMILY you’re given the impression that Eden saved Tyler and that was it. Close the book. In Just Don’t Mention It you realise that maybe there’s more to it than that. You realise that Eden was simply the catalyst. She posed a change in his life and allowed Tyler to consider over time that maybe that meant he could also change himself. Ultimately Tyler saved himself. So yes, while technically the original statement “she saved him” has some truth, JDMI allows readers to expand on our perspectives and thoughts to realise there is more to it than that one sentence.

Estelle Maskame also has a really powerful talent for weaving subtle messages into her writing. In Just Don’t Mention It she proves the point that you can’t possibly know everything about a person. You can only know what they choose to show you. You can’t always be sure of the thoughts going through a persons head, their emotions and even their actions when you aren’t with them. For example, in DIMILY Eden was often so sure of things and so as a result we were too. When reading JDMI however we realise that sometimes Eden’s thoughts weren’t entirely accurate in regards to Tyler’s motives which were sometimes different than what she believed. The same can be said for how we readers decipher things. For example, in DIMILY Eden may believe something that we think is not true and so we create our own explanations for things because we are all different people from different backgrounds. We tend to base our explanations and judgements of things from our own experiences. Experiences that we may not share with Eden. It can also be assumed that Tyler has different experiences again and so his motives are perhaps entirely different than either of us believed. I think this is part of the reason why I loved JDMI so much because of how Estelle Maskame applies her writing in such a way that is so subtle and perfect. She allows us to consider certain points that are not only important to the story-line but also to our lives in general.

So, I think it’s pretty clear to see that I adored this book. If you haven’t read it yet, i’m jealous because I would love to be able to read it with a fresh pair of eyes. I hope you love it as much as I did! If you have read it then what did you think? I’d love to know!

 

 

Discussion · Interview

What Makes a Reader? Discussion (Collab Post)

 

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Hi everyone!

Recently I’ve thought a bit about potential readers who don’t read and why people don’t read books as much as we readers would. I also wanted to think about a way that I could talk about this without simply writing a discussion post alone and so I’m delighted to welcome my friend Fionnuala to my blog for an interview!

Fionnuala was an avid reader (the reason we became friends was actually because I saw her with a Derek Landy book in our first year of secondary school!) in her childhood years but took quite a few years break from Continue reading “What Makes a Reader? Discussion (Collab Post)”

To Be Read

Summer: What to Read?

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I’ve put a small list of books that I definitely want to read over the summer at some stage! Now that exams have stopped taking over my life I am ready to get lost in the world of books again. Bring it on!

1. Scythe and Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

Goodreads:

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

This series has been raved about my pretty much everyone in the book world for quite a while now. Particulaily Christine over at Polandbananasbooks on booktube made me want to read this!

2. The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye

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Goodreads:

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

I read the first book in this duology The Crown’s Game and I loved it!  The Russian fantasy setting is so interesting and whimsical.

3. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Goodreads:

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

I am a big fan of Sarah J Maas and I know she’s friends with Susan Dennard who shares some incredible writing advice online. I’ve always wanted to get around to reading some of Dennard’s work.

4. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

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Goodreads:

Oct. 11th, 1943 – A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

I’m a big fan of historical novels. I’ve been in the mood for one quite recently and I heard that this one is really good!

5. A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews

Goodreads:

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

I love C.G. Drews’ blog Paper Fury and I remember reading the announcement for this book and being so happy! I’ve been looking forward to reading it ever since it’s announcement and I have heard nothing but good things about it.

6. Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Goodreads:

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

I’ve read all of Matson’s previous novels and I’ve always really enjoyed them! I think their perfect for summer as well so I can’t wait to see what I think of this one!

7. Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian
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 Goodreads:

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

This book just sounded really intriguing to me and it’s been a while since I read a good fantasy so I want to get a few of those in! Again, I’ve heard nothing but good things so yes, I’m excited.

8. Just Don’t Mention It by Estelle Maskame

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Goodreads:

Alternating between past and present, Just Don’t Mention It is narrated from Tyler’s perspective. We see his life as a twelve-year-old boy suffering physical abuse at the hands of his dad.

Estelle Maskame is an auto-buy author for me. I’ve met her a few times a DeptCon and she is such a genuine person with such a talent for writing that I always want to support her. Plus, I just love her books what can I say?

There will definitely be more for this list but this is all I have planned at the minute! Have you read any of these? What did you think?