Blog Archives

Coming Up – May – June 2016

A somewhat lengthy post (#sorrynotsorry) to let you know about some coming attractions!!!

I’ve joined the #bookstagram community and am having fun taking photographs of my collection – you can follow me here if you wish. The picture I’m happiest with so far is this one – thank you for that, Sunlight!

Blog Tours

Sat 7th May – Andy Briggs – The Inventory: Iron Fist (I’m so excited to share this interview with you). Check out this post by @daydreamin_star for handy links to the other stops on the tour.

Iron Fist blog tour banner


As part of the 2016 Debut Author’s Bash at I will be interviewing the following two authors. Check out the sign-up post here to see the amount of amazing authors (and their books) that will be taking part.

Fri 3rd June Jennifer Mason-Black ‘Devil and the Bluebird’

Sat 11th June  Kiran Millwood- Hargrave ‘The Cartographer’s Daughter’

Debut Banner copy


Sun 26th June – Tommy vs Cancer – I will be reviewing two of Tommy Donbavand’s books – Ward 13 and Scream Street 1: Fang of the Vampire – Tommy has cancer and this blog tour is designed to help support him pay his bills – check out one of his blog posts here and please consider donating. Do read the rest of the blog too. Thanks to @Serendipity_Viv and @daydreamin_star for organising.



I’ve done lots of reading and have some reviews to catch up on.

Just a note I’ve decided to leave star ratings off reviews though you can still see them on my Goodreads Profile if you are interested.

2016 Classics Challenge

Feb – The Art of Happiness/A Force for Good, Mar – 1984/Brave New World, Apr – Anne of Green Gables, May – The Handmaid’s Tale, June – The Catcher in the Rye

Our Shared Shelf

I’m a little behind on the Emma Waston feminist book club reads but have all the books I’ve not yet read on my May TBR pile

Jan – My Life on the Road, Feb – The Color Purple, Mar – all about love, Apr – How to be a Woman/Moranthology/Moranifesto, May – The Argonauts, June – TBC

2016 Most anticipated

So far I’ve read 9/16 books I was most looking forward to this year and will be reviewing:

Morning Star, How Hard Can Love Be?, The Sleeping Prince, 13 Minutes, Desolation, Geek Girl 5: Head Over Heels, Rebel of the Sands, Kindred Spirits and Mind Your Head.

YA Book Prize 2016 Shortlist

When the 10 books that made the shortlist were announced I was very happy to see that I’d already read 5 and owned an additional 3. Since then I’ve bought and listened to One! on audiobook so just have 1 to acquire and 4 left to read. This will be the first shortlist I WILL have finished reading before the prize is announced. I think as Melvin Burgess is getting a special prize I should really add Junk to my list too.

Book Boxes

I appear to be expecting 4 book boxes in May – oops – so I’ll share an unboxing and review of each one.

They are, in alphabetical order: Fairyloot, Illumicrate, My Bookish Crate and Owlcrate.


New Feature

Finally, in my interview with Andy Briggs I asked him a somewhat nasty question – which he very kindly answered and I’m thinking of making it a feature.

Repeat, Rewrite, Remove

The question is ‘Which of the Characters in your book would you Repeat, Rewrite, Remove and why?’

I’m looking for brave authors who’d like to explore this to get in contact – please use the form below.

Ummm – just realised it looks like I have a busy couple of months ahead. What have you got coming up?



The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank #ClassicsChallenge2016

Image from Goodreads

I chose to read The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank as my January Classics Challenge book (Read 15th – 26th Jan 2016). I actually listened to the audiobook of the 70th anniversary edition which was read by Helena Bonham Carter who was an excellent narrator.

I’m going to structure this post by answering the questions that Stacey suggests.

WHEN I Discovered This Classic

I’ve known about this book at least since my early teens, if not before.

WHY I Chose to Read It

Because despite knowing about it for around 20 years I hadn’t read it already. World War II and the treatment of Jews in the Holocaust is a topic that is so important to be aware of. I find having a personal story to connect to these bigger events useful. If I ever visit Amsterdam I would want to visit the house so knowing the full story would make that experience more insightful.

WHAT Makes It A Classic

As I’ve written above, this is a human story that connects us to a great atrocity. Reading the diary of a girl who we know dies in tragic circumstances adds a certain sense of poignancy to what she writes.

WHAT I Thought of This Classic

This is what I wrote immediately on finishing the book – “It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, in a way that made it better.”

I guess going into this I expected Anne to write more about the war, but, although aspects of this are highlighted the focus is the thoughts and experiences of a fairly typical teenage girl in non-typical circumstances.

Anne, her family, and some other Jews hid in a secret annex in a warehouse from July 1942 until August 1944 when they were discovered by the Nazis and taken to camps. Anne comments on the circumstances leading to the decision to go into hiding, the personalities and relationships between everyone in the annexe, the food they ate, clothes, birthday presents (life went on), the help they got from those who hid them, what she was learning and thoughts about books she read – she’d be a book blogger in today’s world.

I immediately connected with Anne on a personal level – she was a writer and aspiring novelist. She was also pretty witty, and bitchy, much like the narrators in modern young adult literature. She was a deep thinker and constantly trying to discover and ‘better’ herself. Most importantly though she wasn’t perfect, she was flawed and says some fairly mean things at times. We see her development across those two years, as well as hints at a growing romance that was never to come to fruition.

The closing comment in the diary definitely bought a tear or two to my eye. I won’t spoil it though, it’s more important for you to come to that end on your own.

Rating – 5 stars

WILL It Stay A Classic

As long as war continues to be a problem and people are affected by it, this will remain a classic, so yes. It will definitely be a book I listen to again.

It is a classic ‘Young Adult’ book that deals with finding one’s identity.

WHO I’d Recommend It To

Everyone. In particular I think it would speak to young girls, Anne talks about boys, periods, her relationship with her family – siblings and parents and generally about everything that interests her.

Quote I highlighted

“Paper has more patience than people.”

Further Reading

I’ve purchased this book of stories (including an unfinished novel) and essays written by Anne. Will be interested to see how it lives up to the diary.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has a mini site dedicated to Anne as a writer.

Anne Frank Fonds – founded by Otto Frank her father

Have you read – The Diary of a Young Girl – what did you think?

2016 Reading Challenges

I recently wrote about my 16 most anticipated books of 2016, however I’ve set my Goodreads reading challenge at 100 again (I need to fit in some writing too) so I’ve decided to take part in a couple of challenges to help reach that target (not that I don’t have plenty of books available to read).

Firstly I’m going to join in with ‘Our Shared Shelf’ the Emma Watson instigated Feminist book club on Goodreads. I have the first book My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem on my kindle ready to go and am looking forward to seeing what else gets selected over the year (12 books in total).

Secondly, I am going to join in with Stacey at The Pretty Books ‘2016 Classics Challenge‘. I’m taking Stacey at her word and defining classics in my own way – as ‘older books’ I really should read. Below is the outline of the books I have chosen and an indication of what months I may read them in, though this is a moveable feast

Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank – I can’t believe I haven’t actually read this already. I am shamed. Therefore I have already started this and am listening to the audiobook narrated by Helena Bonham Carter. I’m actually really enjoying it. Anne’s voice is similar to the witty teens I am used to reading in YA books.

The Art of Happiness – The Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler – I own this in hardback and am interested in seeing what it says and how it links to other concepts around happiness I’ve read recently.

1984 – George Orwell (I don’t own this and have never actually read it, or even seen a dramatised version) however this month I’m also planning to re-read Brave New World – Aldous Huxley which is one of my favourites and probably the first dystopia I read.

Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery – Holly Smale’s favourite book and one I have neglected. I have this on kindle. I think it might even be the whole series.

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood. I actually started reading this at the end of 2015 but for some reason put it down, not that I wasn’t enjoying it. I’m going to give it another go this year.

The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger I don’t own this and really feel as a YA fan this is a must

Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro – I loved the film version of this and as it’s over 10 years old now I think it can be classed as a modern dystopian classic.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams – I know the answer is 42 but I’ve not actually read this!!!

The City and the Stars – Arthur C. Clarke – a sci-fi/dystopian classic. I don’t own this yet.

Battle Royale – Koushun Takami – I don’t own this but as a fan of The Hunger Games I’m interested to compare them.

The Outsiders – S.E. Hinton – Another YA classic and I will add in a re-watch of the film this month too.

Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck – I don’t own this either and wasn’t in the right English group at school to have been introduced to this classic.


Stacey recommends using the following questions when discussing the books

WHEN I Discovered This Classic
WHY I Chose to Read It
WHAT Makes It A Classic
WHAT I Thought of This Classic
WILL It Stay A Classic
WHO I’d Recommend It To

Oddly enough tonight at 8pm is the first #ChatClassics twitter chat to discuss the challenge so I might pop in.


Are you joining in with either of these? Are there any others you think I should check out?

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