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