Blog News

A Reprint and a Blog Award.

After my review of No True Echo went live on Middle Grade Strikes Back I received an email from the editor-in-chief of Middle Shelf Magazine, a bimonthly digital magazine that celebrates Middle Grade books. She asked permission to reprint my review in the March / April magazine which I’ve granted. They reprint 2 blog reviews in each issue, these blogs along with a handful of others are awarded their Middle Grade Best of the Blogs award, so both Juniper’s Jungle and Middle Grade Strikes Back are recipients.

Best Blogs Badge 2015 (1)

My badge is now displayed across in the sidebar – it’s the first time I’ve had anything like this to display!

Blog News

Middle Grade Strikes Back!

Today sees the launch of a really exciting new venture, one I’m thrilled to be a part of. Middle Grade Strikes Back is a new collaborative blog focusing on the best and brightest of books published for the middle grades (roughly 8 – 13 year olds). There’s a fantastic mix of contributors, you can see the list as it stands here.

The site is the brainchild of Darren from The Book Zone (for boys) – he’s done a brilliant job of bringing together so many people passionate about middle grade books.There will be a real mixture of posts including news, reviews, interviews, lists and so many more. These will be from authors, publishers, librarians, bloggers and anyone else who wants to be involved.

I can’t wait to get my first post done, but even more than that I’m excited to see what everyone else will be contributing. There are two posts already:

Here’s to many more!

Blog News

Experiment’s end.

My blogging experiment that is. It’s been a few months since I split my blog into two, keeping the bookish stuff here and taking everything else away to a new home. I liked the idea of having two discrete spaces but the reality just hasn’t worked out the way I’d imagined. That’s why I’ve re-imported all of the posts I’d exported and Juniper’s Jungle will again be home to all of my blogging.

This means of course that there will be a reduction in the number of book related posts because there will be more posts about other things. I have a handful of books I’ve committed to review, those posts will appear over the next couple of months. I’m not planning on committing to any more reviews in the short term, I’ve got a few different sorts of book type posts I want to have a bit of a play with so I’m going to take my time and work out exactly what’s going to work best.

In addition to the book related stuff expect posts about my crafting, the tv I’m watching, what I’m getting up to (tomorrow I’ll be blogging about the work I’m currently doing) and anything else I want to commit words to. It’s going back to a good old hotchpotch sort of a blog, as pleasingly random as me.

Blog News

A Brief Break

Just a quick note to apologise for the lack of posts this week. I’ve started a new temping job which I’m loving, but I haven’t quite got my week rejigged yet. Unfortunately this means that reading, and as a result blogging, are the things that have had to give. I’ll be back with a full week from next Monday – see you then!

Blog News · Days Out · Life

Starting Over.

I logged in to write some sort of catch up post thinking it must be getting on for a month since I last blogged here. I’m entirely shocked by the fact it’s actually almost 2 months… I don’t even have a good reason. Rather than trying to cobble together some excuse no one cares about reading anyway I’m just going to talk a bit about what I’ve been up to in the last couple of months, and then make sure I’m back regularly again so I can escape this loop of catching up I appear to have got myself stuck in!!

One of the more significant things that happened over the last couple of months was my trip, with my parents, to Aberystwyth for my graduation ceremony.

The cap and gown means its all official and no longer a dream.
The cap and gown means its all official and no longer a dream.

This was the symbolic culmination of the four years of hard work it took to achieve my degree, and whilst I went along thinking it was really more for the parents’ benefit than the student’s I came away feeling really good about what I had achieved. The day was hot and sunny – exactly what you want when you’re wearing a heavy gown (seriously, what do they put in the shoulders of gowns to weigh them down?!) and clingly cap. A record number of students attended graduation ceremonies at Aberystwyth this year meaning everywhere was packed and queues were long. Never have I been so glad of my tendency to arrive everywhere early – I was at the very front of any queue I needed to be in.

The ceremony itself was long, I was the 11th person to do the whole walking across the stage bit which was nice because it meant I very quickly didn’t need to worry any more about being the one who tripped midway. I didn’t, and neither did anyone else, it was an entirely uneventful proceedings. The highlight of the whole ceremony for me was seeing Baroness Kay Andrews awarded a Fellowship. The two departments graduating in the ceremony were the Deparment of Information Studies and the Department of Law and Criminology. Her work meant she was entirely relevant to everyone sat listening, and her speech was interesting, rousing and downright inspiring.

I also made another trip to Bournemouth, spending nearly week with my friends and their lovely little boy. These visits always allow me to recharge my batteries, the combination of a change of scenery and switching focus to be toddler centric is incredibly soothing. I love having the chance to stop and play, and it seems like every time I go there’s some lovely new thing to discover on CBeebies. This visit’s discovery was Bing!


The show is really cute, its based on a series of books by Ted Dewan (they’re slowly being re-issued by HarperCollins) and I just fell completely in love with it. There’s limited merchandise available at the moment, though licenses are being granted, but there is apparently a long tradition of people making their own Bings – I’m planning on joining this tradition.

Much of the rest of my time has been pretty quiet. I’m plugging away at job applications all of the time. It’s a long, and at times really hard, process. It’s very easy to get discouraged after submitting another load of applications and not hearing back from any of them. I spent yesterday chatting about a lot of it with Gemma, my oldest friend, and woke up this morning feeling entirely re-energised.

Those of you who are also reading Juniper’s Jungle will hopefully have noticed that I’ve now got a consistent posting schedule going. I’m currently running 3 reviews and 1 picture book review post each week. My brother has done some lovely graphics for my to use, and I’ve been working on a couple of non-review based features that I’m looking forward to including. I’m so glad that I took the decision to get it going again properly, I take a lot from it and love putting it together – I just hope it’s useful and interesting for others.

I’m confidant that now that’s all going to plan I’ll be back here far more – I have lots of craft projects and new gluten free things to talk about if nothing more!

Blog News

And we’re back!

I’m really happy that as of today I’m back to a regular posting schedule on Juniper’s Jungle. From now on I’m planning on sticking to a set structure through the week. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays will bring reviews of books I’ve been reading, Tuesdays will bring a Pair of Picture books (PoP) post with reviews of two picture books, and Thursdays… well I have a few things in the pipelines for Thursdays that aren’t quite ready yet so this week I’ll be posting a double monthly round up for my May and June reads.

I’ve gone through every post on the blog and updated the categories and tags on each one. This has allowed me to add a couple of new things. Up on the top menu bar you can now see complete A to Z lists of the books I’ve reviewed each year. You can also now browse reviews either by the genre of book or the target age group that the book was published for.

Finally I’ve had a bit of a cosmetic overhaul and must thank my brother for making me a brand new header image!

Blog News

Coming soon.

Just a quick post to say that I’m currently working hard behind the scenes here at Juniper’s Jungle, getting everything tidied up and organised ready to get going again in early June. When I do start posting again it will only be book related content here. For everything else I will now be blogging at On Your Left. I’d love it if you read both blogs, but if you only want the book stuff or you only want the non-book stuff then both now have their own separate homes.

I’m really excited about my plans for Juniper’s Jungle, I’ve spent the last few weeks working out exactly what I hope to achieve here – I hope you’ll all like it!

Blog News · Life

Fresh starts.

Whilst I was finishing up my degree I spent a lot of timing thinking about blogging; what I wanted to say and what I hoped to achieve. Long story short, I decided that my best way forward would be to divide my existing blog into two. Juniper’s Jungle will remain all about books, I’m doing lots of work behind the scenes at the moment to get it into the state I want to be ready for the future. And here, On Your Left, will be all of the rest of me.The personal stuff, the geeky stuff, the scouting stuff, the gluten free stuff, and probably the odd meme or two will all be here. All of the old, non-bookish content from Juniper’s Jungle has been migrated over here, I can’t wait to start adding new posts to it!

Blog News · Life

Looking forward.

With 2013 well and truly done I am, like everyone, looking crowd to 2014. It should be a year of big changes for me, the absolute deadline for completing my degree is June (though I’m aiming for the end of March) and I’m back to applying for every job I can so there should be a big move some time this year if it all goes to plan. I’ve never been one for making New Year’s resolutions, but I do plan on making a few general changes so thought I’d blog about them.

For starters I’m going to make every effort to be the happiest I can be. I’m going to do more things purely because they’re fun and I’m going to spend more of my time doing the things that make me happiest. I’ve always been a positive person, I’m going to keep this up and focus on counting my blessings rather than dwelling on any negatives.

I’m also going to be making changes about how and what I blog. I need to focus on studying for the next few months so as of today I’m going to be dropping reviews and recent reads posts entirely. I’d really like to do something different with reviewing, I have a few ideas but need to do more thinking and chat with a few people first. Anything new will come later this year. Instead I’m going to blog more broadly, books will obviously still be something I want to talk about and champion but I want to talk more about anything and everything.

First daffodils of 2014.
First daffodils of 2014.

So 2014 for me is going to be a year of being happy. A year of change, and a year filled with more of all the things I love best. More reading, more crafting, more writing, more photography and more time spent with those nearest and dearest to me.

What do you think your 2014 will look like?