‘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.

ARC REVIEW: The Boy from Tomorrow

Book Title: The Boy from Tomorrow
Author: Camille DeAngelis
Series: N/A
Genres: Children, Middle Grade, Time Travel, Fantasy
Format: Advanced Reader Copy

Published May 8th 2018.
My e-copy was provided by NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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Synopsis

Josie and Alec both live at 444 Sparrow Street. They sleep in the same room, but they’ve never laid eyes on each other. They are twelve years old and a hundred years apart.

The children meet through a hand-painted talking board—Josie in 1915, Alec in 2015—and form a friendship across the century that separates them. But a chain of events leave Josie and her little sister Cass trapped in the house and afraid for their safety, and Alec must find out what’s going to happen to them. 

Can he help them change their future when it’s already past?


I wrote this review on the same day I finished the book back in April. The parts in italics are additional thoughts since that time.

According to my Kindle I woke up this morning with just over an hour left of ‘The Boy from Tomorrow’ and I knew there was no way I was going to be able to make it through to bedtime before I read to the end. It has been a few hours now since I finished and I am still thinking about it. In fact I kept thinking about for days afterwards. I struggled to get started on any other books. It was liked I was in mourning. I wasn’t ready for another world yet. 

I loved everything about this book. It beautifully articulated the pain our parents can cause us but never let the characters give up hope. You could really feel Alec and Josie’s loneliness and how much of a salvation their relationship was for each of them.

I couldn’t help but be disappointed with the ending. And not because it didn’t fit, or a I didn’t get a resolution, I just didn’t get what I wanted. I knew I couldn’t, it was impossible (she says of a story where people communicate from 100 years apart) but that didn’t stop me wishing for it! I got the impression that Alec was ready to move on though and I really hope he does. It is never “just” a stir fry after all *wink wink*.

My reading journal allows for 6 star rating. I save this for special books. Those ones I cannot seem to shake once they are done. This was a 6 star story for me. 

6 Stars
Favourite read. Missed it when it was done.

ARC REVIEW: Little Moments of Love

Book Title: Little Moments of Love
Author: Catana Chetwynd
Series: N/A
Genres: Non-Fiction, Graphic Novels, Romance, Humour
Format: Advanced Reader Copy

Expected Publication: June 19th 2018
My e-copy was provided by NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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Synopsis

Soppy meets Sarah’s Scribbles in this sweet collection of comics about the simple, precious, silly, everyday moments that make up a relationship.

What began as stray doodles on scraps of paper became an internet sensation when Catana Chetwynd’s boyfriend shared her drawings online. Now, Catana Comics touches millions of readers with its sweet, relatable humor. Little Moments of Lovecollects just that – the little moments that are the best parts of being with the person you love.


Within about three pages I was already laughing out loud and calling for my boyfriend to come down and read through it with me. This book is so us! It is a little gem of joy – assuming you are in a sickly sweet relationship that is. Which I am so I smugly enjoyed this. I can’t not give this book 5* as I enjoyed it that much, but I would pick carefully who I recommended it to.

Thank you to Andrews McMeel Publishing and Netgalley for allowing me an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

ARC REVIEW: A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns

Book Title: A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns
Author: Archie Bongiovanni, Tristan Jimerson
Series: N/A
Genres: Non-Fiction, Graphic Novels, LGBTQ+
Format: Advanced Reader Copy

Expected Publication: June 12th 2018
My e-copy was provided by NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

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Synopsis

Archie, a snarky genderqueer artist, is tired of people not understanding gender neutral pronouns. Tristan, a cisgender dude, is looking for an easy way to introduce gender neutral pronouns to his increasingly diverse workplace. The long-time best friends team up in this short and fun comic guide that explains what pronouns are, why they matter, and how to use them. They also include what to do if you make a mistake, and some tips-and-tricks for those who identify outside of the binary to keep themselves safe in this binary-centric world. A quick and easy resource for people who use they/them pronouns, and people who want to learn more!


I found this book really useful in teaching me ways I can adjust my language to be more inclusive, while also helping explain why making that change may not be as easy as I’d hoped!

It is, as the name suggests, a quick and easy guide. I read through it in about half an hour but learned an awful lot in the process. I encourage others to take the time to learn from this book and help start shaping a change in how we talk. As the book says, we don’t use “forsoth anymore” (although I kinda wished we did!).

Thank you to Oni Press and Netgalley for allowing me an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

By the way – I rate books slightly differently when they are non-fiction. 5* means the subject matter is presented in an accessible way and is easy to digest.

‘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!