Six for Sunday: The Year 6 Takeover! 2019 Kids Lit Must Reads

Hi there Bibliofriends,

So this post was supposed to be published in time for the final Sunday of April…however, if you’ve ready my monthly wrap up then you’ll probably work out that I was a hen-party weekend which is why I didn’t get around to posting it but… here it is!

The final ‘Kids Lit Represent’ Six for Sunday for April is centred around 2019 Kids Lit Must Reads. For those who don’t already knowSix for Sunday is a weekly list-based meme created by Steph @ALittleButALot and has a different weekly prompt based on a monthly theme.

Now even though I’m a primary school teacher, I don’t tend to read a lot of “Kids Lit” anymore as I’m always busy reading YA Fantasy or Adult books. However, the Year 6s I teach definitely love their reading; one of them seems to be permanently engrossed in a book even in the middle of lessons… So to help me out this week, I decided to give them some time during their reading sessions to browse the online shelves and come up with their Top 7 Kids Lit releases of this year (I know it’s 6 for Sunday, but 7 for Sunday is still as alliterative!).

Here’s what they came up with (synopses from Goodreads):

Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
Publication date: 15th January

To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times. Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds.

When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name.

Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.

I like this book because the cover of it looks amazing and I think it will be a great book to read. I also like it because the genre is sci-fi and I really like sci-fi novels. It has a fox/wolf on the cover of it and I love wolves and foxes.

Guinness World Records 2020
Published on: 27 August 2019

Fully revised and updated, the record-breaking compendium of superlatives is back and bursting with facts, figures and incredible stories – each one selected to inspire you to learn about the fascinating world we live in… and to break records of your own.

In a series of 11 fact-packed chapters, we introduce you to the record-holders who’ve pushed the boundaries of what’s possible. Meet…

• The adventurers who trek, swim, ski, climb and fly to all four corners of the globe
• The real-life cyborgs who augment their bodies with cutting-edge technology
• The painters, sculptors, musicians and moviemakers taking performance art to new levels
• The stars of social media generating millions of views on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
• The athletic legends who continue to raise the bar in the world of sports

But it’s not only human beings who set records. Explore the wilder side of life with 24 pages of record-breaking animals, and take a trip around the world to visit the most awe-inspiring sights on each continent!

Plus, we investigate 10 record-breaking robots to find out what makes them tick. And look out for our exciting new “Snapshot” feature, in which our digital artists put a unique visual spin on some iconic record-holders such as the largest ever crocodile, the richest person on Earth and the tallest living tree – prepare to be amazed!

The Guinness World Records is a great book because you can see lots of cool stuff and what epic things people do in the world. They do things like the most people in a car, the biggest vehicle in the world the amount of food people eat in a certain time and many more crazy challenges. I like it because you can see all the high scores in the Olympics sports around the world. Also you don’t have to read it properly you can just scan through. Sometimes it is nice to have a change from reading a normal book.

One Speck of Truth by Caela Carter
Published: March 5th 2019

Alma has everything she needs, except answers to her questions. Her mother won’t tell her why her beloved stepfather, Adam, is suddenly gone this summer. Or about life in Portugal, where her parents met. Not even about her father, who Alma cannot find, no matter how many graveyards she searches with her best friend, Julia.

Then Alma’s mother shocks her by moving them both to Lisbon so Alma can fall in love with the vibrant city where her father grew up. There she discovers she has more family than she could have imagined.

She hopes Portugal holds the answers she’s been desperately searching for, but it turns out finding the truth may be more complicated than she, or her mother, bargained for.

This book sounds good because it is interesting and it looks easy to read. It sounds like there are a lot of mysteries. I think a lot of mysteries is good because it makes you want to read more. The front page also looks cool which is one of the best things about this book.

Skulduggery Pleasant Bedlam by Derek Landy

Published: 30/05/19

I want to read this the most because I am exited to see what happens after the book Midnight where Abyssinia is trying to find her son that Cardevourus kidnaps and lots of people die as she is actually a mad psychopath. Lord Vile is Skulduggery Pleasant’s evil form from when he used to be a necromancer. Skulduggery Pleasant is an amazing series where there is many unexpected twists like the necromancers trying to find a death bringer to kill half the world’s population and his side kick called Valkerie Cain which is French for go forwards. Valerie Cain’s evil form Darquesse would have destroyed the world.

THE DOG WHO SAVED THE WORLD by Ross Welford
Published: April 4th2019

When eleven-year-old Georgie befriends an eccentric retired scientist, she becomes the test subject for a thrilling new experiment: a virtual-reality 3D version of the future.

But then a deadly disease threatens the life of every dog in the country and Georgie’s beloved dog, Mr Mash, gets sick. And that’s only the start of her troubles.

Soon, Georgie and Mr Mash must embark on a desperate quest: to save every dog on earth, and maybe even all of humanity …

… without actually leaving the room.

An extraordinary quest with the biggest stakes of all, and a huge idea at its heart, this is time travel – but not as you know it.

We like this book because we all love dogs and the book also looks very eye catching. We also like the fact that the book is based on a girl who is taking the act of kindness against diseased animals. Although her dog is sick, she decided to take her dog along with her in her mammoth quest to save all dogs. The reason why all dogs have been diseased is because an experiment that was held on the girl had gone wrong. The genre of this book is science fiction.

The Fork, The Witch And The Worm by Christopher Paolini
Published: 1st January 2019

A wanderer and a cursed child. Spells and magic. And dragons, of course.

Welcome back to the world of Alagaësia. It’s been a year since Eragon departed Alagaësia in search of the perfect home to train a new generation of Dragon Riders. Now he is struggling with an endless sea of tasks: constructing a vast dragonhold, wrangling with suppliers, guarding dragon eggs, and dealing with belligerent Urgals and haughty elves. Then a vision from the Eldunarí, unexpected visitors, and an exciting Urgal legend offer a much-needed distraction and a new perspective. This volume features three original stories set in Alagaësia, interspersed with scenes from Eragon’s own unfolding adventure. Included is an excerpt from the memoir of the unforgettable witch and fortune-teller Angela the herbalist . . . penned by Angela Paolini, the inspiration for the character, herself! Relish the incomparable imagination of Christopher Paolini in this thrilling new collection of stories based in the world of the Inheritance Cycle.

The Fork, The Witch and The Worm is a hardback cover book with outstanding reviews. Christopher Paolini’s book costs £7.79. It has 3.6 stars out of 5 stars. Most children who have happily read this spectacular book have commented that the tales are very similar to the tales from Volume 1: Eragon. This book is aimed in the age bracket of 9-12.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! 2020

Published: October 17th 2019

THE MULTI-MILLION-COPY BESTSELLING GUIDE TO THE WORLD OF WEIRD

Ripley’s is back! This year’s blockbuster annual contains the scariest, grossest and funniest stories from around the world, including:

The man who lived in a sand castle for twenty years
The cat who was born with twenty-eight toes
The restaurant that served a burger made out of worms

. . . and much, much more.

Brimming with mind-boggling stories and eye-popping photographs, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! 2019 is the perfect gift for anyone who is fascinated by the stranger side of life on earth.

We have chosen Ripley’s because it is easy to read and has extremely rad facts occasionally. It can help with school work, especially your topic. There are things about animals and tribes from around the world. It shows exciting and adventurous people with a wide variety of talents. It even goes to the extreme point of the world’s longest pizza which measures 5 miles long. 


There you have it – some of them definitely like their books on the quirkier side!

What Kid’s Lit books are you looking forward to in 2019? Drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

 

Friday 56 – To Best The Boys

Happy Friday Bibliofriends!

The weekend is here! I love short working weeks, who on Earth suggested only two days for a weekend…?

Hosted by Freda’s Voice, the Friday 56 is a weekly bookish prompt. It’s quite easy to do and could cover no end of different books and genres so seems great if you’re looking for a quick snippet to discover something new!

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.


This week I’ve been reading To Best The Boys by Mary Weber which came in FairyLoot’s 3 Year Anniversary ‘Favourites’ Box in March. This exclusive FairyLoot edition is signed by the author, has exclusive grey sprayed edges and when I turn the pages, I can hear them separating from each other – it gives me that brand-new-book feeling! It is my Herbology exam for the OWLs Magical Readathon (read more about that here) as it features trees on the cover.  It’s such a fun read!

Synopsis from Goodreads
Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. Every year, the poorer residents look to see that their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.
In the province of Caldon, where women are trained in wifely duties and men are encouraged into collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her Mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.
With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone’s ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the maze.

“Light and music splash over us. A waltz is being played on a harpsichord that, from my assessment, sounds as perfectly tuned as the guests’ nerves look. I start to smile until I spot her mum, my aunt Sara, standing behind Seleni and peering from beneath a pile of brown curls that seem to be set in some type of hair topiary.”

I can’t wait to find out what happens next!

Have you read To Best the Boys? Is it on your TBR pile? Drop me a comment to chat!

Enjoy your weekend,
T xx

5 Biblioshelf Musings about… Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Series: The Illuminae Files #2
Genre: Sci-Fi (YA)
Publication Date: October 18th 2016
Publisher: Rock the Boat
Pages: 659
Rating: 📚📚📚📚📚

Gemina is the second book in the epic YA Sci-Fi trilogy, The Illuminae Files. I’m not typically a sci-fi fan but I was so glad when I succumbed to the hype and picked up the first instalment, Illuminae, last year. It truly offers a reading experience with a difference. I read this for my Arithmancy exam in the OWLs Magical Readathon as it has more than one author. Needless to say, there may be spoilers below for anything that happened within the first book, but I’ve tried my best to hold them back so as not to spoil Gemina. Apologies for any space related puns, jokes or language.

<Synopsis from Goodreads>

Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.


The format

This series skyrockets the form of the novel to a whole new dimension – pun DEFINITELY intended. Now, I don’t tend to read comics, graphic novels, manga or anything similar so I can’t comment on how much this novel is like one of them, however the format of these books are unlike any other I have ever come across. I love it! The story is told through a dossier of evidence-based files which include video surveillance footage summaries; transcripts of emails and instant messaging programs; scrapbook and diary pages; computer screen graphics and some pretty superb illustrations from Marie Lu. Gemina offers a much more immersive read than normal novels and it also takes the edge off the whopping 659 pages that some people may find daunting. I’ve never read anything like it and it’s definitely a contributing factor into me giving this a 5* rating.

AIDAN is BACK!

After the ending of Illuminae, I wasn’t really sure how I felt about AIDAN. AIDAN: Artificial Intelligence Defence Analytics Network – for me, he’s definitely up there on the morally grey character list.  (I also have a bit of a thing about A.I.s developing their own non-programmed thoughts and feelings, but that’s a whole other rant!) The fact that he has the ability to rise from the ashes of the Alexander fleet makes him the mythological phoenix of our story…then again this is Illuminae where plot twists are shooting from hangar bays everywhere and you have to just go with the flow to work who’s really alive or dead. I loved that he appears again in this story along with some of the other characters from Illuminae; it brought the series back into continuity as at the start of Gemina it felt like the two stories weren’t going to merge. But when they did…cue the nebula-style explosion propelling the story light years ahead! It really felt like a mini-family reunion when the casts of Illuminae and Gemina collided! As for the other characters, at first I found Hanna really annoying, especially the way she moons after her boyfriend, but then as the story progresses she really comes into her own. Nik is awesome and his cousin Ella is comedy gold. Special mention to Ella’s little black goldfish – had my heart in my mouth for that little sucker!

Easter Eggs

One of the benefits of a format such as Illuminae means that so much fun can be had within the pages. I adore media easter eggs (little clues or intentional jokes that are hidden in things) and I loved spotting the ones that are littered through these books. I don’t think there were as many in here as there were in Illuminae however I still had fun spotting different authors names in the pages and the graphics. The illustrations matching specific parts of the action or plot also just add to that fun-factor during reading.

Plot-Twists

Just when you think you’ve got a grip on the story, the authors turn it on its head and makes you think again. Sometimes the twists go beyond all reasoning, well I suppose we are in a sci-fi book after all! These books are brilliantly researched and incredibly well-written. Even with all the Science info, which is perfectly explained and diluted for us non-astrophysics types, Kaufman and Kristoff still manage to keep you completely clued up with what is happening in those precise moments that you’re reading. The facts don’t become overbearing and even when we’re discussing the heights of wormholes and parallel universes, we still feel like we’re finding these things out and comprehending them at the same time as other characters in the novel.

Cover-Ups and Conspiracies

At the heart of this story is a corporation trying to cover-up any of its little naughty goings-on in the Kerenza star-system. I’m sure I’m not the only out there in the entire galaxy that thinks this kind of stuff already happens in our real-world everyday. Wiki-leaks anyone…??? Our news is full of stories of fraud, injunctions, hushed-up investigations, and conspiracies and this is one of the major factors I love about these books. I love a good conspiracy, that’s one of the paramount reasons I love these books, and I know this is sci-fi (emphasis on the fiction), but I completely believe that at some point in our future there will be more and more groups like the Illuminae group who are working towards uncovering all of the wrong-doings and cover-ups that happen on our plant and beyond, if they aren’t out there doing that as we speak…


If the children I teach at school were that little bit older, then these books would definitely be on my syllabus! With that kind of story-line, the galactically great format and the absolute, a$$-kicking whopper of an ending, Gemina was always guaranteed to find a way into my heart and onto my elusive 5* Biblioshelf!

Bring on Obsidio!

Have you read The Illuminae Files? Are you as much as a sucker for literary easter eggs as I am? As always, drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

Top Ten Tuesday – First Ten Books I Reviewed

Hey Bibliofriends!

The Easter holidays are officially over for me now and it’s back to work time…but guess what, it’s also another Top Ten Tuesday time! TTT is a weekly, list-themed book prompt hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week we are discussing the First Ten Books (I/you/we) Reviewed. When I first thought about this topic, I must admit I panicked at whether or not I’d actually even reviewed ten books.

I’m relatively new to the blogosphere and despite starting this thing way back in September 2017 (under the guise of Cotswold Bookaholic) my posts were patchy and eventually life caught up, leading to the abandonment of my blog. Reading in general disappeared from my life and family matters, work matters and mental health matters all demanded more attention. However, life is now happily back on that upwards curve and the re-launch of this blog as ‘The Biblioshelf’ gave me a renewed focus on the literary world as well as a something positive to concentrate on. I’ve been back for about two full months and already this blog has grown considerably. This month, we’ve passed the 100 followers mark! I’m so grateful and thankful to all those who’ve stuck by it and the brilliant new blogging friends that have joined the journey along the way. It isn’t perfect and I’m still thinking of ways to adapt it and improve it going forwards but it’s stepping in the right direction.

Rambling aside…TTT this week helped me to look back at all the reviews I’ve done and I did breathe a little sigh of relief that it’s more than ten! Below are links to those first ten books I reviewed.


 

There you have it! Have you read any of these titles? What was the first book you ever reviewed? Drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

Friday 56 – Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Happy Friday Bibliofriends!

It’s Easter weekend! What are you all up to? I hope you’re doing something fun and enjoy a little extra reading time.

Hosted by Freda’s Voice, the Friday 56 is a weekly bookish prompt. It’s quite easy to do and could cover no end of different books and genres so seems great if you’re looking for a quick snippet to discover something new!

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.


Yesterday I posted my update for how I’m getting on with the OWLs Magical Readathon and most of my reads this month have been geared towards that. You can read about that here.

I’m currently trying to complete my Astronomy exam where the prompt was to read a book with ‘star’ in the title. I didn’t really have anything on my shelves to complete this so I decided to re-read Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I’m really enjoying it this second time around. Gaiman is such a masterful storyteller and he has a really unique way of blending original fairytales and folklore into fresh narratives.

“He stared up at the stars: and it seemed to him then that they were dancers, stately and graceful, performing a dance almost infinite in its complexity. He imagined he could see the very faces of the stars; pale, they were, and smiling gently, as if they had spent so much time above the world, watching the scrambling and the joy and the pain of the people below them, that they could not help being amused every time another little human believed itself the centre of its world, as each of us does.”

Have you read Stardust or seen the movie? As always, drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

April Update – OWLs Magical Readathon

Hey Bibliofriends,

This month has been super busy already in my reading world. I’ve already passed last month’s read count of 5 books and I think that’s purely down to it being the Easter holidays and my motivation to try and pass all 12 exams in the OWLs Magical Readathon. If you’re not taking part in the Readathon or you want to know what it’s all about then you can see my previous post here.

The Goal:

Originally, I didn’t really have the time to browse the wonderful booklet of wizarding careers that G @book_roast had so lovingly created. I dove straight in at the deep end and made a TBR to try and complete all 12 OWLs, leaving my career options wide open.

OWLs completed so far:

Arithmancy: Work written by more than one author – Gemina (Illuminae Files #2)
Charms: Read an adult work – Five Give up the Booze
Defence Against the Dark Arts: Title starts with R – Red Queen
Divination: Set in the Future – Mirage
Potions: Sequel – The Lost Sisters
Transfiguration: Sprayed edges/red cover – Circle of Shadows

Currently in Progress:

Astronomy: Star in the title – Stardust
History of Magic: published at least 10 years ago – The Silmarillion

The Revised Plan:

Now that the Easter holidays are nearing an end, I know I’m going to have less time to get my reading done so I decided to narrow down the occupations and OWL Exams I definitely wanted to sit. I browsed the Wizarding Careers Guide and narrowed down my job choices to:

  • Astronomer
  • Hogwarts Professor
  • Librarian
  • Potioneer

True to my teacher roots, I think I’m going to end up going for Hogwarts Professor. To complete it I still need to pass Astronomy and Ancient Runes.
But then to be a Librarian/Astronomer I’ll still need to pass History of Magic…
And then… to be a Potioneer I’ll need to complete Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures.

So realistically I’ll still be attempting to complete 10/12

And here’s the funny part – I’ve already finished Divination and none of the career paths I’ve chosen require that. By the end of the readathon I guess I’m still aiming to complete 11 of 12 OWL exams – I guess I’ve really narrowed down my options haven’t I?!

Who’s doing the readathon? How’re you getting on? Are you on track for your career? Drop me a comment to chat!

T xx

Top Ten Tuesday – Rainy Day Reads

Happy Tuesday Bibliofriends,

It seems like ages since last week’s Top Ten Tuesday but here it is again! TTT is a weekly, list-themed book prompt hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme was the top ten rainy day reads.

Now when I think of reading on a rainy day, I automatically visualise cosying up on the sofa with a blanket, my dogs and a hot chocolate. However, when it came to picking my top ten rainy day reads I noticed that they were starting to take on a beachy theme…so maybe I like to think of far-off, tropical places on a typically wet, grey, rainy day in the UK! Thumbnails should take you to Goodreads!


7600679From Notting Hill With Love…Actually by Ali McNamara

Notting Hill is one of my all-time favourite movies, in fact I don’t think there’s a Richard Curtis film that I actually dislike! Therefore, it was a really easy decision to pick up this book and read it. Loved it, the perfect squashy sofa read!

 

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding 856684

I totally read this because of the movie… and although I think I prefer the film version, I’m such a bibliophile that I appreciate the origins of the story. Good old Bridget!

 

28014641Destination Thailand by Katy Colins

This is the first in a series called The Lonely Hearts Travel Club and provided me with the perfect little bit of escapism I needed at the time of reading. It also made me want to visit Thailand where the rain is probably like liquid sunshine compared to the cold, wet drizzle we have over here.

 

The Sunshine and Biscotti Club by Jenny Oliver28674865

Italy…my favourite real-world destination ever! Just thinking about this book gives me good vibes – Italy, sunshine and baking…what’s not to like? It’s a cute, easy read and brings back fond memories from when I was travelling through this beautiful country.

 

594735Fairytales – in any shape/form/variety/telling

I love fairytales and consider them to be a genre all of their own. That little bit of magic is all that’s needed to brighten up a rainy day so they definitely needed to feature somewhere in my list this week.

 

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas 17927395

This was the series that gave me my reading mojo back! Whilst I loved both the first book in the series, A Court of Thorns and Roses and the finale A Court Of Wings And Ruin, ACOMAF is the one that gave me all the feels! Rhysand fans…you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about!

 

8789394The Agatha Raisin Series by M.C. Beaton

I bought the entire collection of these (there’s about 20 novels!) from The Book People a while back and they’re the perfect series to dip into, particularly on a rainy day. M.C. Beaton lives in a village not too far away from where I live either so it feels good to be reading a local author.

 

Gardens of Delight by Erica James27841996

I’ve often spoken of my love for Summer by the Lake, and I picked up Gardens of Delight purely because it was also set in Italy and provides perfect ‘drizzle escapism’. I really enjoy all of Erica’s novels and was so thrilled when she commented on one of my Bookstagram pictures of Gardens of Delight last year.

 

The Meryl Streep Movie Club by Mia March15702047

I cannot tell you how much I love Meryl Streep; I will literally watch any film that she’s in (yes, even Hope Springs!). Set by the beach in Maine and based on a family who also love and watch Meryl Streep films, this is exactly the kind of book I will be reading when stuck inside. Mini warning: if you haven’t seen the films mentioned in this book then be prepared to read lots of film spoilers; sadly I had no such warning…but I really enjoyed the read so it didn’t matter too much.

 

And finally…have you guessed it yet?

 

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling 49774

If you’ve read any of my posts so far, you’ll know by now that I am definitely a self-confessed Potterhead! I will turn to this series come rain, come shine, come book hangover or come book-slump. It’s my ultimate go-to series in all times of need!

 

What makes it onto your list for rainy day reads? Do you like to make a bookish escape to warmer climes or do you like warm and fluffy tales to snuggle up to? As always, drop me a comment to chat!

 

T xx

5 Biblioshelf Musings about… Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye

Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye

Series: Circle of Shadows #1
Genre: Fantasy (YA)
Publication Date: 22nd January 2019
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 454
Rating: 📚📚📚📚

Circle of Shadows is the first instalment in a brand new series by Evelyn Skye and its filled with magic, friendships, ninja-style sass and a brand new tigerific world for us to get lost in. I was supposed to be reading this as a buddy-read on Instagram but the story just grabbed me and before I knew it I was near the end! Also, this formed as one of the twelve books on my TBR for the OWLs Magical Readathon so I was quite keen to motor through.

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.
As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging in the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark.
So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.
Love, spies, and adventure abound as Sora and Daemon unravel a complex web of magic and secrets that might tear them—and the entire kingdom—apart forever.


Now this review was actually fairly difficult to write which is probably why it’s taken me so long to get it posted. I’ll go through my main musings about Circle of Shadows and then at the end I will attempt an overall verdict of this novel.

Tiger Tiger
A lot of things in this book are centered around tigers; even the Kingdom of Kichona itself. Maps in books are one of my favourite things ever and the map of Kichona at the beginning of this book did not disappoint. Shaped like a leaping Tiger, many aspects of the world are linked to parts of its anatomy: the eye is the Imperial City, Stiped Coves refer to the tiger’s infamous stripes and there’s even a town called Tiger’s Belly. Kichona gained its wealth from the Tiger Pearls which are fished from the waters around the island. Lastly, members of the famous ninja society at the centre of Circle of Shadows are called Taigas in honour of the animal and Kichona’s heritage. I loved that this motif ran through so many elements of the story. It really helped to blend the plot, storyline and characters all together.

Food Glorious Food
🚨WARNING: Do not read this book on an empty stomach if you like Asian food! Seriously, the mentions of foods in this book was vivid. Now I am a huge foodie so the way Evelyn Skye included these ‘taste notes’ when they were visiting different places around Kichona was a major factor in winning me over. Miso-glazed butter-fish, fried shrimp, bamboo shoots braised in sticky soy sauce, bacon-wrapped shrimp, ginger-honey chicken skewers, Autumn Festival cake (a ten layered cake rich with lemony yuzu and confectioners’ sugar)…need I go on? Take me to Tanoshi already, I’m salivating over here!

“Work Hard. Mischief Harder.”
Spirit (Sora), Wolf (Daemon), Fairy and Broomstick form as the main gang of characters within the story and I loved the vibes their friendship gave off throughout the novel. Their motto ‘Work hard. Mischief harder,” really encapsulated the way they stick by each other no matter what and put themselves in potentially hazardous or dangerous situations just to help each other out. It reminded me a little of Harry, Ron and Hermione’s relationship from the Harry Potter series. They really are a brilliant foursome.

From Forbidden Love to…a Love Triangle?!
Sora & Daemon/Fairy & Broomstick are geminas which means that they are bound together and can communicate emotions to each other through a bond (…think Rhysand and Ferye ACOTAR fans). Unfortunately for Daemon, geminas cannot form romantic relationships with each other so his feelings towards Sora are not only forbidden, but on Sora’s part they’re also seemingly unrequited. This forbidden love trope was quite subtly done throughout a majority of the book and Skye definitely didn’t overdo it or make it tacky – but then…without giving too much away, we seem to have an is it/isn’t it love triangle thrown in right towards the end which left me actually quite perplexed and slightly angry as it just didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the story and the impressions I’d built up of these characters.

Shifting Perspectives
This story is told in the 3rd person and starts off primarily from Sora’s viewpoint. But then, as the plot gets more complex, we seem to have viewpoints from a whole host of other characters which at times left me confused as to who’s perspective I was actually reading from or where I was in the story. I guess the giveaway for the narration came from the fact that the first sentence in the chapter starts with the character’s name but the whole shifting perspectives kind of detracted me away from the flow of the story at times.


The whole idea of shifting kind of sums up what I really feel about this whole story. Whilst reading and being caught up in all that was going on I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  • The interactions between characters was fun and I did like them all. Even the villain had me doubting whether they were actually an enemy or just a victim of past suffering who genuinely believes their course of action is for the ‘greater good’.
  • The magic was intriguing. I was keen to find out how and why the Ryuu could use magic differently to the Taigas.
  • Skye’s narrative was were well-written in many places and I am partial to flowery descriptions of things.

It’s only when I sit back and try to pick apart the novel for a review where my opinions about it start to change. The plot is fairly predictable in places and the ending seemed to leave me with a strange feeling as if it had been rushed or had taken on a whole different tangent to what had been laid out in the rest of the novel.

Immediately after finishing it, I gave the novel 4 out of 5 and I do stand by that. There are plenty of things that I enjoyed and liked Circle of Shadows whilst reading. I will probably read the second one in the series to see where it all goes and if my questions are answered.

If you haven’t read Circle of Shadows yet and you’re going to give it a chance, I’d recommend you treat this as a fun read, don’t dissect it too deeply and just enjoy the ride.

Have you read Circle of Shadows yet? Did you have as many conflicting feelings as me? Drop me a comment and let me know!

T xx

Six for Sunday – Books from my Childhood

Happy Sunday Bibliofriends!

What a busy weekend it’s been! I’ve been to a wedding, a rugby match, an evening watching my friend’s band play at one of the bars in our local town and later I’m off to the cinema! I’ll be posting more about where I’m up to with my April TBR and the OWLs Magical Readathon in a mid-month update later this week. But for now, back to Six for Sunday!

For those who don’t already knowSix for Sunday is a weekly list-based meme created by Steph @ALittleButALot and has a different weekly prompt based on a monthly theme. April is all about children’s literature and as a primary school teacher I am definitely ready for ‘Kids Lit Represent’!

This Sunday, we are discussing books from my childhood. There are so, so many books that could go on this list, and they’d pretty much be the same as last week’s Six for Sunday; so this is essentially another six books from my childhood that I love!

  • A Collection of Woodland Tales by Beryl Johnson, illustrated by Dorothea King

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I rescued this book from our garage a few years back and it now sits safely on the ‘children’s books’ section of my bookshelves. The illustrations in this book are absolutely delightful and the tales about fairies having balls and drinking rainbows out of acorn cups are adorable! I used to love reading it as a child.

 

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

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A staple of any young child’s reading library. I think my copy had holes in the fruit to show you where he’d been eating. It also used to give you a clue as to what was coming on the next page. The teacher from my very first training placement even bought me a mug with this on.

 

  • My Annette Mills Gift Book 1954

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This is a vintage book I had from my Nan and Grandad along with some other classics like the old Rupert the Bear annuals. I used to love looking at all the old pictures. I’d read the stories sat on a roll of carpet in their back garden. It’s books like these that bring that have really fond childhood memories attached to them.

 

  • 1940s Cinderella by Trelleck

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Another one of my rescues from my Grandparent’s house. This book is practically falling apart now so I keep it wedged flat between two other books and treat it with a lot of care. I’ve scoured it many times for a publication date but there doesn’t seem to be one and the only ones I’ve found for resale online say it was published in the 1940s. It’s quite worn and I’m sure my Nan even drew in it as a child so it probably isn’t worth as much as the proper vintage ones but it still has a special place on my shelf.

 

  • The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann / Buzz Books

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As a child I used to love watching The Animals of Farthing Wood as an animated series on TV. They accompanied the TV programme with a set of 16 little hardback books by Buzz Books which were practically in the same style as Ladybird Books. I used to have the whole set all neatly ordered on the bookshelves in my bedroom. Now as an adult I also own the original Colin Dann book which is at an indefinable place on my ever-growing TBR pile.

 

  • The Tales of Beatrix Potter by Beatrix Potter

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These books were the absolute cutest! We used to travel to Bourton-on-the-Water in the Cotswolds very often when I was child. It is a beautifully picturesque place with the River Windrush running through it, where they sometimes play football in the river during the Summer months. They had a shop dedicated to Beatrix Potter andcentredaround the story of The Tailor of Gloucester. Every time we would visit I would come away with another one of those little books to add to my collection. I think Jemima Puddleduck and Benjamin Bunny were amongst my favourites!

What are some books from your childhood? Do you have still have them sat on your shelves at home today? As always, drop me a comment to chat!

Enjoy your Sunday Bibliofriends!

T xx

Friday 56 – Circle of Shadows

Happy Friday Bibliofriends,

Hosted by Freda’s Voice, the Friday 56 is a weekly bookish prompt. It’s quite easy to do and could cover no end of different books and genres so seems great if you’re looking for a quick snippet to discover something new!

Rules:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post here in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.


I recently finished Circle of Shadows by Evelyn Skye which came in the January Unbreakable Bonds Fairyloot box. It was such a stunning read. Admittedly I was supposed to be reading it as part of a readalong, however I just had to steam along and finish it. I’m hoping to get a review up fairly soon!

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Sora can move as silently as a ghost and hurl throwing stars with lethal accuracy. Her gemina, Daemon, can win any physical fight blindfolded and with an arm tied around his back. They are apprentice warriors of the Society of Taigas—marked by the gods to be trained in magic and the fighting arts to protect the kingdom of Kichona.
As their graduation approaches, Sora and Daemon look forward to proving themselves worthy of belonging in the elite group—but in a kingdom free of violence since the Blood Rift Rebellion many years ago, it’s been difficult to make their mark.
So when Sora and Daemon encounter a strange camp of mysterious soldiers while on a standard scouting mission, they decide the only thing to do to help their kingdom is to infiltrate the group. Taking this risk will change Sora’s life forever—and lead her on a mission of deception that may fool everyone she’s ever loved.
Love, spies, and adventure abound as Sora and Daemon unravel a complex web of magic and secrets that might tear them—and the entire kingdom—apart forever.

“The whole room seemed to pitch. Aki gripped the arm-rest of her chair. The last time Kichona had pitted magic against magic – The Blood Rift – was still raw in her memory. Aki had barely won that time, and she’d known it was coming because it was her brother she’d faced. But now? She couldn’t prevail if she didn’t know her enemy or what they were capable of.”

Thrown right into the action, there’s quite a lot going on which makes for a fast-paced read, a lot of it involves travelling around the world of Kichona, but Skye has created a beautiful Tiger-themed world so I was completely absorbed.

Have you read Circle of Shadows yet? Did you like it as much as I did? Drop me a comment to chat!

T xx