Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: 5 Spooky Reads this Halloween

This week I thought it would be fun to get involved with The Broke and Bookish  Top Ten Tuesday. The theme is Halloween. I'm going to leave this post at 5 top books as the post grew larger and larger as I typed! So what spooky reads should you be getting your hands on this year?

Let's start with a nice one. This isn't strictly a spooky story and isn't really a YA book, but this is a book that shaped my childhood. If you haven't read Enid Blyton before then you are missing out. For those who don't want horror but want a little bit of magic this Halloween. Synopsis: Joe, Beth and Franny move to the country and find an Enchanted Wood right on their doorstep. In the magic Faraway Tree live the magical characters that soon become their new friends – Moon-Face, Silky the fairy, and Saucepan Man. Together they visit the strange lands (the Roundabout Land, the Land of Ice and Snow, Toyland and the Land of Take What You Want) atop the tree and have the most exciting adventures – and narrow escapes.

I'm not going to say too much about this one as I reviewed it only two posts ago. All I'm going to say is Bloody Mary. Go check out my review of the book. If you don't want to read the review before the book, don't worry the synopsis is at the start of the post. 

If you want spine chilling this is the perfect book. I couldn't read this one at night. Are you brave enough to? Synopsis: January 1937. Clouds of war are gathering over a fogbound London. Twenty-eight year old Jack is poor, lonely, and desperate to change his life, so when he's offered the chance to join an Arctic expedition, he jumps at it. Spirits are high as the ship leaves Norway: five men and eight huskies, crossing the Barents Sea by the light of the midnight sun. At last they reach the remote, uninhabited bay where they will camp for the next year, Gruhuken, but the Arctic summer is brief. As night returns to claim the land, Jack feels a creeping unease. One by one, his companions are forced to leave. He faces a stark choice: stay or go. Soon he will see the last of the sun, as the polar night engulfs the camp in months of darkness. Soon he will reach the point of no return--when the sea will freeze, making escape impossible. Gruhuken is not uninhabited. Jack is not alone. Something walks there in the dark...

 You've most likely heard these stories before, however the The Grimm Brothers didn't write these fairy tales with just sweet endings. The first versions contain lots of blood and gore for the listeners/readers. These are my favourite Halloween stories. Synopsis: Grimms' Fairy Tales First published in Germany in 1812, these tales were collected by the two brothers Grimm from neighbouring villages and spinning rooms, and include "Hansel and Gretel", "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and "Rumpelstiltskin".

 I've not read this one yet but this is on my to read list. Just read the synopsis, how could you not want to read this? Synopsis: Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Hints and Tips for People who Find Reading Challenging

Not everyone who loves to read finds it easy to read, which puts these people off. Like some people I am dyslexic which means I find reading a bit more challenging.

I wanted to share some hints and tips for people who maybe just need a little hand falling in love with books. After all, books are meant for everyone and nothing should stop you enjoying them.

My top tips!

  • Cut the book down into bite size chunks - I like to give myself targets.  I'll sit down and say to myself I'll read 50 pages today. This gives me a sense of achievement. Go me!
  • Don't be scared to put a book down if it's not for you - There is nothing wrong with this. Just pick up a new book until you find a style that you enjoy.
  • Take your time - This isn't school. If it takes you 5 minutes to read a book or 6 months that's fine. You'll enjoy reading more if you don't put lots of pressure on yourself to keep up with other people.
  • Think about trying audio books - This is great if you love stories but can't sit for a long time to read. Listen to them at home, on the bus, walking home from school/work or driving to the shops. 
  • Short stories are brilliant - You don't have to read a 500 page novel. Short books can pack just as much into the storyline. Give it a go!
  • Books with pictures! - That's right! Who doesn't love a book with some good art work to look at while you read it? Go on! Let the inner child have some fun!
  • Shop around - A lot of good book stores stock books that are 'friendly' for people who find reading harder. I've seen books with 'Dyslexia friendly' stickers on them for YA readers. Why not give them a go, even if you don't have dyslexia!
  • HAVE FUN!!! -  This is the most important. Just be you! If you find it harder to read or you have a specific learning style (I hate saying learning difficulty) don't be ashamed of it. No one is alone. There are millions of people just like you and me in the world. 

Helpful Websites

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Review: SAY HER NAME by James Dawson

Synopsis: Roberta 'Bobbie' Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at he ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of 'Bloody Mary': say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear...But, surprise surprise, nothing happens. Or does it?

Review: Most people know the legend of Bloody Mary, and that's what helps make this book so terrifying. Putting a spin on the tale that frightened school children all over the world, Say Her Name brings together teenagers, a British boarding school and bloody Mary. What could go wrong for the characters with that mix?

Although I did enjoy this book I felt it ended far too fast. I understand that authors like to leave loose ends for a second book or even to let the reader make their own minds up, but for my liking I could have done with a few of these tided up. 

Say Her Name is a very easy read, if you have a day free then it is easy to read in one sitting. I'm not normally a horror fan but this was just the right amount of horror to stop me wimping out of reading it. 

If you're not too much of a wimp this is a good read, even for those who are more wimpy it's still a good read. Just read it during the day! This would be the perfect Halloween read this October. 

Review: THE ART OF BEING NORMAL by Lisa Williamson

Synopsis: Two boys. Two secrets.
David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl.
On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in Year 11 is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long . . .

Review: The Art of Being Normal is by far one of my favourite books. Written from the perspective of two teenagers the storyline looks at every day issues that at some point everyone faces while at school. What makes this book that little bit more interesting is the fact that it looks at what it is like to be transgender. A subject that many people have no idea about but is oh so real for others.

You spend the first half of the book getting to know David Piper and Leo Denton. It felt like this took a long time to do, as you spend at least half the book learning about the characters before anything really happens. However, it is worth the wait. The second half the book really gives the reader something to get your teeth into, with an amazing plot twist that you simply just don't see coming. You really start feeling for the characters.

My only major issue with the book is that the book started off with David Piper as the main character but the book quickly switched to Leo Denton being the main focus. Which was a little frustrating as you settle into the book slowly building a picture of it when it suddenly flips. Having said that, I still believe this is a must read book. 

If you are a reader that is interested in LGBTQ+ then this is a perfect book. If you're not then this is still a wonderful read.