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    YA fiction reader, freelance editor, home-baker, moustache admirer and very small person.

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What YA books will you be reading in August?

Of all the exciting new YA releases coming this August, top of the list for me has to be A Torch Against the Night, the much anticipated follow up Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes. The wait is almost over: roll on 30 August!! The Thousandth Floor sounds really intriguing, and The Gilded Cage, about a girl who moves from a farm in Virginia to live with an eccentric upper class family in England sounds right up my street. Nevernight sounds like a new fantasy series I could really get into!

What YA books will you be reading in August?



Top Ten Things Books Have Made Me Want To Do or Learn About After Reading Them


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s theme is a really fun one. When I thought about it, it made me realize just how many times I’ve wished I could extend the alternate reality of books by trying things some of the things characters do in real life! Some of them more ill-advised than others…

 1. Move to New York and write YA fiction

In Scott Westerfield’s Afterworlds, Darcy Patel moves to New York to write a novel. She finds an amazing apartment (that she can just about afford out of her advance) and meets a whole host of other YA writers. To me this sounds like pretty much THE DREAM and makes me want to quit my job and book a flight immediately.

New York

2. Complete a list of challenges written for me by a friend

Since You’ve Been Gone is one of my favourite YA books about friendship. When her best friend Sloane disappears, Emily is left wondering what she is going to do to fill her summer: until she finds the list of challenges that Sloane has left her to complete. Each one tasks her to try new things and brings her out of her comfort zone. It leads Emily to try all sorts of new experiences she might never have otherwise. I would love for a friend to write such a list for me!


3. Run away and joint the circus

In Laura Lam’s Pantomime, Gene runs away to join a circus and becomes an aerialist. If I joined the circus, I’d be taking along my hula hoop.


 4. Be a ballerina and travel the world

Sometimes when I’m sitting at my desk working, I think of Harriet Morton running away to tour the Amazon with a ballet company in Eva Ibbotson’s A Company of Swans and wish I could do the same.


 5. Have a pet crow

Just like Saba’s pet crow Nero in Blood Red RoadHow cool would that be? He could sit on my shoulder and caw menacingly at anyone who bothered me.

blood red road nero

6. Kick zombies’ asses

I’ve read so many books about zombies, seen so many films, I almost want there to be a zombie apocalypse so I can have chance to put my acquired zombie-ass-kicking knowledge to the test! But until then, I’ll just have to settle for rereading Alice in Zombieland.


 7. Dye my hair blue or some other crazy colour

I wonder if Katy Perry had been reading about Karou’s adventures in Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone when she decided to go for that do?

blue hait

8. Learn how to fly a plane

While I don’t think I’d ever have the guts to be an ATA pilot in World War 2 like Rose Justice of Rose Under Fire fame, this book did make me wonder how it would feel to fly a plane.

rose under fire

 9. Get dressed up as a giant ham

I am just waiting for someone to host a literary characters fancy dress party so that I can go dressed as Scout Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird on her way to the Maycomb County pageant.

giant ham

10. Find another world at the back of a wardrobe

Ever since I read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe I have tested the back of many a wardrobe to see if it opens into Narnia or some other magical realm. So far I have only encountered moth balls and last season’s shoes. But I’ll keep trying…


What things have books made you want to do or learn about?

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my list!

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly Review

New York, 1890. Josephine Montfort is from one of New York’s most respected and wealthiest families. Like most affluent girls, Jo’s future is set: a comfortable life in a suitable marriage – but her heart can’t help yearning for more. And then her father is found dead. It was supposedly a tragic accident, although some details don’t seem to quite add up. Was it really an accident… or worse, murder? With the help of a young reporter, Eddie Gallagher, Jo is in a race against time to find the culprit. Escaping her gilded cage could be dangerous and Jo will have to face some dark characters on the gritty streets of New York. But some secrets can’t stay hidden forever, no matter how deep you bury them.

these shallow graves

I received this book as a physical review copy from Hot Key Books in exchange for an honest review. At 480-odd pages it was pleasingly weighty and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in for a lengthy read – but I got through it much quicker than I thought I would. It’s divided into 100 short chapters, each one ending on a cliffhanger that makes it irresistible to see what happens in the next short chapter. And then the next. And the next…

Welcome to New York, 1890

The setting is always a key factor for me, and I loved being transported back into the world of late-nineteenth-century New York. Donnelly paints a detailed picture of the great city, from the elegant homes and parks of its elite to the grimy slums and docksides of its underbelly. But it’s the scenes set in the darker corners of the city, the morgues, asylums and brothels, that really drive the action forward.

My kind of girl

Josephine Montfort – or just Jo – was born into New York’s privileged upper class. A wannabe journalist, she is constrained by the limitations placed on her sex in the gilded cage she inhabits. Her quest to uncover the truth about her father’s death leads her deeper into the murky side of the city. She starts out somewhat naive and idealistic, and is truly shaken and horrified when she witnesses her first bar brawl and encounters her first corpse. Yet each shocking discovery about the realities of life only strengthens her resolve. I loved that whatever she faced, she somehow managed to tough it out, even when feeling genuinely scared.

What’s life without a little romance?

At its heart this is a story about a girl taking on the world, and Jo’s journey of self-discovery took central stage. But it was nevertheless pleasing to witness her blossoming feelings for Eddie Gallagher. Every girl loves a good adventure, but of course it’s more fun if you have dashingly handsome and talented reporter at your side! The pair are from different sides of the tracks, and it was fascinating to watch how their initial preconceptions about each other were peeled away to reveal genuine mutual regard and respect.

Twists and turns

As Jo and Eddie delve into the suspicious events surrounding her father’s death they uncover yet more disturbing secrets and realize there are sinister forces at play. After about halfway I had already guessed a couple of the big reveals, but there were a few final twists that came as a surprise to me, so I was gripped right until the end.

I want more!

I don’t know if Jennifer Donnelly has any plans to write further books featuring Jo and Eddie. I hope so, as I could see them working really well as a crime-busting duo. This is the first book I have read by Donnelly and it’s given me a hankering for more historical fiction. I discovered that she has also written a series for adults set in Victorian London – The Tea Rose trilogy. It’s going straight onto my TBR!

Top Ten Graphic Novels I Want to Read


When I saw that this week’s Top Ten Tuesday’s topic was a freebie I knew straight away that I wanted to share ten graphic novels that are on my radar. I only got into graphic novels fairly recently, but already my TBR is filling up with titles that I can’t wait to get my hands on.  Here are ten, in no particular order – I’m sure more will follow!

1. Becoming Unbecoming by Una

Set in the 1970s against the backdrop of the hunt for the serial murderer known as the Yorkshire Ripper, this is the story of a girl who is the victim of gender violence. I flicked through this in a bookshop recently and was instantly drawn to the sparing artwork and the way every page seemed to have a different layout.


2. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

A story about a shapeshifter and a supervillain who are set to wreak some serious havoc. This sounds like a mischievous fantasy tale that progresses into something more intriguing.


3. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

A coming of age story about two young friends who spend their summer holidays together, described as ‘a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up’.  I’ve heard really good things about this one – looks like a perfect summer read too.


4. Blankets by Craig Thompson

Another coming of age tale, this time featuring two brothers growing up in wintery Wisconsin. At 592 pages this is pretty epic for a graphic novel, but I like the idea of getting stuck into a meatier read.


5. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The combination of Neil Gaiman as author and the style of the illustrations made this one a no-brainer for me.


6. Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki by Mamoru Hosada

I’m going to be honest: I picked this one purely because the cover looks so darned cute.


7. The Undertaking of Lily Chen by Danica Novgorodoff

An ancient Chinese custom demands that every man must have a wife to keep him company in the afterlife. And so when Deshi’s brother dies unmarried, Deshi must quickly find him the right girl for the job. I am very curious about where this rather spooky sounding premise will lead!


8. Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Another slightly spooky story – this one about a girl who struggles to fit in at school and makes friends with a ghost.


9. Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann

Described as an ‘anti-fairytale’, this one is about two humans who find themselves in a land of teeny-tiny people that at first seems charming but soon begins to unravel as the little people start to turn on one another.


10. Fables series by Bill Willingham

As a fan of shows like Once Upon a Time and Grimm I know I’m going to have to try this epic series about fairy tale and folklore characters who have been forced to live in disguise in exile in modern-day New York. This might turn into a long-term project – there are over 100 issues collected into various editions, and multiple spin-offs!


Oh, and one bonus – I recently discovered the wonderful world of free digital graphic novels that is Line Webtoon and I started reading Where Tangents Meet by Kaitlyn Narvaza (aka instantmiso). This high school romance is ever so cutesy and has some really cheesy lines but I’m finding it weirdly addictive!


Are there any other graphic novels I should add to my list?

Has anyone read any of the graphic novels on my list? What did you think?

Thanks for stopping by!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme devised and hosted by the wonderful bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish. Thanks for the freebie this week guys!

I’m reading… Front Lines by Michael Grant


1942. The fate of the world rests on a knife’s edge. And the soldiers who can tip the balance . . . are girls.

Set in an alternate World War II where young women are called up to fight alongside men, this is the story of Rio Richlin and her friends as they go into battle against Hitler’s forces.

But not everyone believes that they should be on the front lines. Now Rio and her friends must fight not only to survive, but to prove their courage and ingenuity. Because the fate of the world is in the hands of the soldier girls.

Front Lines is the first in a new trilogy by Michael Grant, who brought us the epic Gone series, as well as BZRK and The Tattooed Heart. Now he is back with an alternate history of World War II.

I am just eighty pages in, and already I am hooked on this story of three girls who decide to enlist to fight in World War II. Of course, this couldn’t have actually happened back in the day, because women were not allowed to enlist. I am already drawn to the three strong female lead characters and I can’t wait to see where Michael Grant goes with their stories.  If it’s anything like his other books, it will be both brutal and gripping.

The book is out now if you want to grab a copy and read it for yourself – otherwise stay tuned for my full review, coming soon!

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