‘Numbers’ British Books Challenge June Read

The British Books Challenge is a simple one. Read one book each month throughout 2018 that has a British author. You can my other #BritishBooksChallenge18 posts here.

Oh dear. No British Books were read in April or May. Whoops. Only 4 days into June however I have already read one. Yay me! Lets hope this is a sign of a better month.

Rachel Ward is not an author I had heard of before #YAShot2018 back in April. I took a workshop with her where she read the first couple of pages of ‘Numbers’ and I couldn’t believe it wasn’t something I had read before. It sounded exactly like my kind of thing. I promptly bought a copy and then did nothing with it for a few weeks. Standard.

Anyway, in a bid to improve my mental health, I decided I needed get myself back into reading so on Thursday night (technically still May but whatever) I started reading. In fact…


REVIEW

Book Title: Numbers
Author: Rachel Ward
Series: Numbers #1
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Paperback

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Synopsis

Since her mother’s death, 15-year-old Jem has kept a secret. When her eyes meet someone else’s, a number pops into her head – the date on which they will die. Knowing that nothing lasts forever, Jem avoids relationships, but when she meets a boy called Spider, and they plan a day out together, her life takes a new twist and turn.


I’ll be honest, initially I wasn’t sure. Jem’s language was grating (and it is a first person narration). It took a couple of chapters for me to get to know her and look past that. Once I did I got completely lost in the story.

The inclusion of scenes from school really helped to get a better understanding of both Jem and Spider. I was a teacher. I know that feeling of helplessness where you can’t make the kids understand the importance their right now has on their future. But on the flip side… not wait don’t let this degrade into a rant about the state of the education system.

It is amazing the difference a decade can make to the inclusion of technology in a story. I couldn’t decide whether the fact that the characters smoked dated the story as well. It seemed really strange to me that they smoked but this was set pretty soon after the smoking ban and way before vaping became what all the cool kids were doing. Maybe I am just really out of touch.

I swear the book was scratch and sniff in places. I could smell Spider from the description. Rank.

And the end, well I saw it coming. Including the bit revealed in the epilogue. But that didn’t take anything away from my enjoyment (I didn’t want to believe it) and satisfaction with how the story ended. You get enough resolution to not need book two, but I will pick it up at some point none the less. I would like to see where things go.

4 Stars
Really enjoyed the story. Related to the characters/issues. Would strongly recommend.

‘The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club’ British Books Challenge March Read

The British Books Challenge is a simple one. Read one book each month throughout 2018 that has a British author. You can my other #BritishBooksChallenge18 posts here.

As with last month, Alex Bell is not an author I had heard of before. She has written a mixture of adult and children’s fiction and I would definitely pick up another of her books based of my experience with this one. She is also an author who replies to tweets which you can read about here.

When I snowed recently I took advantage and snapped this picture. I am not someone who regularly sets up epic photo shots. Here I just opened the back door, held up the book and voila!

March 01, 2018 at 09_35AM (2)


REVIEW

34210986Book Title: The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club
Author: Alex Bell
Series: N/A (although apparently a sequel is coming!)
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Childrens, Adventure
Format: Paperback

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Synopsis

It sounded like a respectable and worthy enough death for an explorer – tumbling from an ice bridge to be impaled upon a mammoth tusk – but Stella really, really didn’t want that to happen, just the same.

Join Stella Starflake Pearl and her three fellow explorers as they trek across the snowy Icelands and come face-to-face with frost fairies, snow queens, outlaw hideouts, unicorns, pygmy dinosaurs and carnivorous cabbages . . .

When Stella and three other junior explorers get separated from their expedition can they cross the frozen wilderness and live to tell the tale?


I LOVED this book. It had everything I could possibly want for a fun, adventurous read. I mean unicorns and pet polar bears? Yes please.

There were moments that had me chuckling out load, particularly as my boyfriend takes his beard care very seriously. I read the part about beard care being an important part of exploring out loud to him. In fact there were several occasions where I read passages out loud. I so rarely do this and is a testament to how much I was enjoying both the story and the writing.

Woven into the book were some sweet and important messages about acceptance and thankfully these weren’t done in a preachy way. It was a lovely fantasy story with some lessons woven in there without feeling ramming them down my throat.

Wonderful.

This review is also featured on Goodreads

 

5 Stars
Cannot say enough good things about it! 

‘Murder Most Unladylike’ British Books Challenge February Read

The British Books Challenge is a simple one. Read one book each month throughout 2018 that has a British author. You can my other #BritishBooksChallenge18 posts here.

I was eager to see who the Author of the Month would be for February. Determined to read outside of my usual go-to authors I was keen to pick up something new.

AUTHOR-OF-THE-MONTH-FEB-GRAPHIC

Robin Stevens is not an author I had heard of before. She has a new book coming out this month (‘Spoonful of Murder’), but seeing as it is the latest in a series I decided to go back and read the debut.

Now, as someone who is expecting to move in the next few months, I am torn between buying new books and the thought of having to pack them ! I decided it was time to fully embrace the digital age and get ‘Murder Most Unladylike’ on the Kindle. Oh and buy my first Kindle too (it is the 8th generation #latetotheparty)

I tweeted my excitement about this and then ended up in a conversation with Robin Stevens herself!

Robin Stevens Tweet.png

Kindle Tweet.png


REVIEW

Murder Most Unladylike (Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries, #1)Book Title: Murder Most Unladylike
Author: Robin Stevens
Series: Murder Most Unladylike Mysteries, Book 1
Genres: Mystery, Middle Grade, Childrens
Format: Kindle

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Synopsis

Deepdean School for Girls, 1934. When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up their very own deadly secret detective agency, they struggle to find any truly exciting mysteries to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia’s missing tie. Which they don’t, really.)

But then Hazel discovers the Science Mistress, Miss Bell, lying dead in the Gym. She thinks it must all have been a terrible accident – but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now the girls know a murder must have taken place . . . and there’s more than one person at Deepdean with a motive.

Now Hazel and Daisy not only have a murder to solve: they have to prove a murder happened in the first place. Determined to get to the bottom of the crime before the killer strikes again (and before the police can get there first, naturally), Hazel and Daisy must hunt for evidence, spy on their suspects and use all the cunning, scheming and intuition they can muster. But will they succeed? And can their friendship stand the test?


‘Murder Most Unladylike’ is a quick and simple read. At least to me as an adult. I can think of several students who I would have recommended this to while I was teaching. The language is straight forward and accessible thanks to the first person narrative. The story is paced nicely and I like how it is broken up into parts. This is particularly useful for children that don’t have great attention spans. Rather than getting lost in long chapters or elongated scenes, the story is fast paced and engaging. Perfect!

To begin with I wasn’t really sure if a murder had taken place. I thought perhaps the girls were just reading into things incorrectly but then there was another one! Oh and, I did not guess the murderer at all. That reveal came as a complete surprise to me. There was a moment where I was worried it was going to go down the dreaded teacher-student affair route (it didn’t thankfully!).

Small note for Kindle readers – there are times where images of a notebook are included and they appear small and hard to read. A smidge annoying but doesn’t take away from overall enjoyment of the story.

This review is also featured on Goodreads.

4 Stars
Really enjoyed the story. Related to the characters/issues. Would strongly recommend.

Want to see what I highlighted while I was reading? Click here.