Book Meme

My Facebook book list.

There’s been a meme circulating on Facebook for the last couple of weeks with the following instructions:

In your status, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes and do not think too hard. They don’t have to be the “right books” or great works of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way. Tag 10 friends including me so I can see your list.

I was tagged by an old uni friend to take part, and found it harder than I expected. The more I tried not to think too harder the more I found myself second guessing everything. I ended up stopping and starting the task a few times, as soon as I became aware of my brain getting too involved I closed the note file and came back later.

I thought it’d be nice to put the list up here and to add a thought or two about what each book means to me. Without further ado, here’s my list of ten.

Outsiders1. The Outsiders – S. E. Hinton
Quite simply this book means everything to me. I don’t remember why I picked it up, but I remember clearly the impact reading it had upon me. This book made me think about books completely differently, and made me realise I was entirely serious about wanting to write books for teens of my own.

WKDAS2. What Katy Did At School – Susan Coolidge
One of the many frequently re-read books of my childhood. This, along with its predecessor What Katy Did and the four books in the Little Women series, was what I turned to when I needed something familiar and comforting. This one in particular delighted me with its descriptions of a school experience so completely alien yet fascinating.

Matilda3. Matilda – Roald Dahl
I’m not sure this one actually needs any explanation does it? Like so many bookish children I loved the books of Roald Dahl, and this one in particular left a long lasting impression upon me.


TCE4. The Cupid Effect – Dorothy Koomson
I have loved each and every book written by Dorothy Koomson, her characters leap off the page and have a way of worming their way into my heart. It is Ceri from this book who I have loved most dearly of all – reading the book by the side of a pool on holiday I had to keep stopping so I could tell my friend just how exactly like me Ceri was. I think this was the first time I read a grown up character who felt so entirely like me – a really special reading experience.

image5. Banished – Liz de Jager
A list of books that have stayed with me wouldn’t be complete without Banished, first in my lovely friend Liz’s Blackhart Legacy trilogy. I’ve blogged before about my pride in watching Liz work towards getting this book published, being involved in that even just a little means this book (and its sequels) will always hold a special place in my heart.

TCOTW6. The Call of the Wild – Jack London
I don’t actually remember too much about this book, it’s the reading experience itself that I remember. Starting middle school I was lucky to be put into a class with a teacher who spotted that I changed my library book on a daily basis and made it her mission to introduce me to different authors and books, hoping to find something that would take me longer than a couple of hours to devour. The memory of this teacher going above and beyond is the thing that stays with me most, and this book in particular reminds me of her.

GM7. Graffiti Moon – Cath Crowley
This book completely blew me away. Told in dual narrative, gritty and gripping – this was a book I both couldn’t read fast enough and never wanted to finish. This added a whole new layer to my desire to write, helping me realise what I wanted to write.


NAC8. Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman
The phrase game changer is used far too often, but I think both this series and author deserve the title. Personally this book made me stop and re-evaluate so much of what I thought, knew and had experienced. I don’t believe anyone can read this series of books and not come out the other end changed in some way by the reading experience.

NL9. Northern Lights – Philip Pullman
On four separate occasions I picked this book up at the library and took it home to read. On the second and subsequent occasions I quickly realised I had read this book before and then became excited to read it again. I have no idea why the cover and title refused to stick in my brain, but getting to repeatedly revisit the start of this series was no bad thing. This series again allowed me to think again about what fiction for children could be.

Rule10. Rule – Jay Crownover
The most recent book on my list, this again is a book that’s changed me as a person. As a series I’m more than a little obsessed, and it is the characters who drive my love for these books. Reading about them, about who they are and what they stand for has prompted me to look at myself and ask the same questions of myself.

Have you taken part in the meme? What books have stayed with or had an impact on you?

Book Meme

Top Ten Tuesday : Top Ten Settings I’d Like To See More Of (Or At All).

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature created by The Broke and the Bookish so that bloggers can share lists of bookish things.


I love this week’s topic for this week – settings for books I’d like to see more of. It’s been really fun to think of places I want to see more books set.

  1. Wales – my first choice has to be Wales. Whilst I’m temporarily not living there at the moment I still very much think of Wales as being my adopted home, it’s the place I can’t wait to move back to and the place I hope I get to live for many years. I wish it got used more as a setting for books, there are so many wonderful places that could be used so this is definitely my top choice.
  2. Rural UK – I’ve read some books that have more rural settings but I’d love to see more, having grown up in the countryside I always enjoy books set there.
  3. Spaceships – thinking slightly more broadly I’d love to see more YA set on spaceships, TV shows like Battlestar Galactica and Firefly are firm favourites so I’d love to see this.
  4. Different parts of the USA – I love reading books in the USA and I especially love books that are set somewhere a bit different. Don’t get me wrong, I especially love books set in New York City, but when I read books set in less popular states they really excite me.
  5. Patagonia – I hadn’t really heard of Patagonia until I moved to Wales but it sounds like a pretty interesting place, I really enjoyed actor Matthew Rhys’ Patagonia: Crossing the Plain about his journey on an expedition across Patagonia and would love to see fiction set there.
  6. Tropical Islands – Sun… sea… sand… sounds like the perfect setting for a lovely contemporary read.
  7. Tall Ships – I think the first book I read that was set on a tall ship was The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and a friend put me on to Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series. I haven’t read anything set on a tall ship recently, I think there are plenty of stories that could be told.
  8. Boarding School – I grew up loving the Mallory Towers and St Clare’s books by Enid Blyton and the Chalet School books by Elinor M Brent-Dyer so for more there can never be too many books set in boarding schools.
  9. University – this one’s linked to number 8 I suppose, I feel like I’ve read so so many books set at school but very few set at university, particularly at a British university. Maybe as the New Adult craze settles this will be something that becomes a bit more commonplace, I’d certainly like to see it.
  10. Planets from Outer Space – I know I already said spaceships, but I’d also like to read more books set on far flung, preferably imaginary, planets. Aliens, other ways of life, lots of adventures… yes please!

That’s my list. I’m sure there are books out there that have some of these settings that I’m just not aware of. If you have a favourite book set in one of these pleases do please leave a comment so I can add it to my reading list.

Book Meme

Top Ten Tuesday: 2013 Debuts I’m Looking Forward To.

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature created by The Broke and the Bookish so that bloggers can share lists of bookish things.


Debuts is the topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday. I love this idea for a top ten as it’s made me go and have a look to see what debuts different publishers have, I’ve stuck to books being published in the UK and aimed at children and teens. I’ve sorted my list by publication date, like always images and synopses come from Goodreads or the publisher’s website.

SplinteredSplintered by A.G. Howard. Published 1st January by A & C Kids.
This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

SorrowlineSorrowline by Niel Bushnell. Published 3rd January by Andersen Press.
The past is not a frozen place. Graveyards are not dead ends. And if the Sorrowline lets you in there is a hidden world of adventure waiting behind every gravestone.

Just when 12-year-old Jack Morrow’s life is falling apart he discovers his natural ability to travel through Sorrowlines: channels that connect every gravestone with the date of the person’s death. Confused and alone Jack finds himself in 1940. He embarks on an adventure through London during the Blitz with Davy, his teenage grandfather, to find a mystical Rose that might just save his mother’s life, a mother who he has already seen die. But the terrible power of the Rose of Annwn, is sought by many, and the forces of a secret world are determined to find it first. With a league of Undead Knights of his trail, commanded by the immortal Rouland, can Jack decipher the dark secret hidden at the heart of his family? Can he change his own destiny and save his mother?

TragedyPaperThe Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan. Published 10th January by Random House Children’s.
Tim Macbeth is a 17-year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious Irving School, where the motto is, “Enter here to be and find a friend.” Tim does not expect to find a friend; all he really wants to do is escape his senior year unnoticed. Despite his efforts to blend into the background, he finds himself falling for the quintessential “it” girl, Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of Irving’s most popular boy. To Tim’s surprise, Vanessa is into him, too, and she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone finds out. Tim and Vanessa enter into a clandestine relationship, but looming over them is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior year thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher.

The story unfolds from two alternating viewpoints: Tim, the tragic, love-struck figure, and Duncan, a current senior, who uncovers the truth behind Tim and Vanessa’s story and will consequently produce the greatest Tragedy Paper in Irving’s history.

PantomimePantomime by Laura Lam. Published 7th February by Strange Chemistry.
R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass – remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone – are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimeras is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.

Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star. But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.

InfiniteSkyInfinite Sky by C.J. Flood. Published 14 February by Simon & Schuster.
Iris Dancy’s free-spirited mum has left for Tunisia, her dad’s rarely sober and her brother’s determined to fight anyone with a pair of fists.

When a family of travellers move into the overgrown paddock overnight, her dad looks set to finally lose it. Gypsies are parasites he says, but Iris is intrigued. As her dad plans to evict the travelling family, Iris makes friends with their teenage son. Trick Deran is a bare knuckle boxer who says he’s done with fighting, but is he telling the truth?

When tools go missing from the shed, the travellers are the first suspects. Iris’s brother, Sam, warns her to stay away from Trick; he’s dangerous, but Iris can no longer blindly follow her brother’s advice. He’s got secrets of his own, and she’s not sure he can be trusted himself.

Infinite Sky is a family story about betrayal and loyalty, and love.

ZombieGoldfishMy Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O’Hara. Published 28th February by Macmillan Children’s Books.
‘Sami was still holding the goldfish. “Swishy little fishy,” she whispered, over and over. Frankie stared at her with his big, bulging, glowing eyes. Suddenly a little light bulb went on . . . Frankie was a Big Fat Zombie Goldfish and somehow he’d hypnotized my best friend’s sister!’ Tom’s big brother is an Evil Scientist who wants to experiment on Tom’s new goldfish, Frankie. Can Tom save his fish from being dunked in radioactive gunge? Er, no. In an act of desperation Tom zaps Frankie with a battery, bringing him back to life! But there’s something weird about the new Frankie – he’s now a zombie goldfish with hypnotic powers, and he wants revenge . . . Tom has a difficult choice to make – save his evil brother, or save his fishy friend?

AcidACID by Emma Pass. Published 25th April by Corgi Children’s / Random House Children’s.
ACID – the most brutal police force in history.
They rule with an iron fist.
They see everything. They know everything.
They locked me away for life.

My crime?
They say I murdered my parents.
I was fifteen years old.

My name is Jenna Strong.

IfYouFindMeIf You Find Me by Emily Murdoch. Published 2nd May by Indigo.
A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen-year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and the girls are found by their father, a stranger, and taken to re-enter the “normal” life of school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must come to terms with the truth of why their mother spirited them away ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go … a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.

Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon. Published 7th May by Strange Chemistry.
Zenn Scarlett is a bright, determined, occasionally a-little-too-smart-for-her-own-good 17-year-old girl training hard to become an exoveterinarian. That means she’s specializing in the treatment of exotic alien life forms, mostly large and generally dangerous. Her novice year of training at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars will find her working with alien patients from whalehounds the size of a hay barn to a baby Kiran Sunkiller, a colossal floating creature that will grow up to carry a whole sky-city on its back.

But after a series of inexplicable animal escapes from the school and other near-disasters, the Cloister is in real danger of being shut down by a group of alien-hating officials. If that happens, Zenn knows only too well the grim fate awaiting the creatures she loves.

Now, she must unravel the baffling events plaguing her school, before someone is hurt or killed, before everything she cares about is ripped away from her and her family forever. To solve this mystery – and live to tell about it – Zenn will have to put her new exovet skills to work in ways she never imagined, and in the process learn just how powerful compassion and empathy can be.

Taste Test by Kelly Fiore. Published 20th August by Bloomsbury USA.
If you can grill it, smoke it, or fry it, Nora Henderson knows all about it. Her father owns one of North Carolina’s most successful barbeque joints and she’s been shredding pork and basting baby back ribs since she could reach the counter. When Taste Test, a reality cooking show for teens, accepts her for their fifth season, it’s a chance for Nora to get out of her humble hometown and break into the big leagues of the culinary world. When she shows up on set at the North American Culinary Academy, however, it’s not just the New England weather that’s ice cold. Fights with her high-society roommate and run-ins with the son of a famous chef force Nora to work even harder to prove she’s a force to be reckoned with. But, despite winning challenges and falling for a fellow contestant, Nora can’t ignore the mysterious accidents that are plaguing the kitchen arena. It seems like someone is conducting eliminations of their own and Nora’s determined to get to the bottom of the mystery before she, or anyone else, is “86ed” for good.

Book Meme

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Goals for 2013.

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature created by The Broke and the Bookish so that bloggers can share lists of bookish things.


This year I’ve decided to take part in Top Ten Tuesday as often as I can. There are lots of book related memes and this is the one that I find most interesting when I see it on other blogs so thought it was time I took part. This week the focus is on bookish goals, I’ve already set a few reading goals in my review of the books I read in 2012, so here’s the list expanded to 10.

  1. Read 180 books – I read 163 last year so thought I’d try and increase my target a little.
  2. Read more books by authors who aren’t from the UK or USA – I made a conscious effort to read more books by British authors last year and ended up with 93% of the books being written by authors from the UK or USA so this year I wanted to increase the numbers of books by authors from different countries too.
  3. Read more picture books – when it was time this year to nominate books for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal I realised this was an area I still didn’t know much about, I read all of the picture books discussed at the Wales Youth Library Group nominations day and loved them so this year I plan to read more. I think I might do a monthly post about the picture books I’ve read.
  4. Read more graphic novels – I love graphic novels and comics but am really bad at prioritising them to read, I’m having some new bookcases in a few weeks and I’ll be able to have my graphic novels in the same place as my books at last.
  5. Read at least one non-fiction book each month – last year I pledged to do this and managed it for about 4 months. I have some great non-fiction books on my shelves waiting to be read so this year I’m determined to make it last all year.
  6. Be better at giving up – I’m trying to be better about giving up on books I’m not enjoying but it is still really hard, last year I only had two books that I didn’t finished but there are a few I really should have given up on.
  7. Read the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal shortlists – last year I shadowed the Carnegie shortlist and thoroughly enjoyed the experience, this year I want to shadow both shortlists.
  8. Use the library more – I’m going to use the library more this year to work through books on my wishlist, it’s good for libraries and good for my pocket.
  9. Talk about books more – I’m going to try and talk more about books with more people, there are some people I talk about books with all the time so I’m going to try and do this more often.
  10. Keep up with reviews – this year I want to be really organised and keep my blog up to date with reviews rather than getting into a situation where I have a towering pile of books waiting to be reviewed.

Do you have any bookish goals for 2013?

Book Meme

55 Book Questions.

I saw this over at Readaraptor ages ago and knew it was my kind of meme. I’ve put it for a while – 55 questions felt like a lot to answer in one go – but I’ve finally sat down and filled it in.

1. Favourite childhood book?
A ridiculously hard question to begin with! I read and read and read as a child, so there are so many books I could pick from. I’m going to go with a favourite from the earlier part of my childhood and pick Val Biro’s Gumdrop books.

2. What are you reading right now?
I’m just starting The Secrets Between Us by Louise Douglas – the first of my books for the Transworld Book Group Challenge.

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
None at the moment, I’ve recently requested and read Vampire Academy and Swim the Fly.

4. Bad book habit?
I’m not sure that I have any, unless buying too many counts as a bad habit?

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
The two I’ve already mentioned, and Girl Meets Cake by Susie Day.

6. Do you have an e-reader?
Yes I have a Kindle and I love it dearly.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I always try to only have one novel on the go at a time, but I may have a short story collection that I’m dipping into at the same time and a textbook or two on the go.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Only in the books I’m reading. I went through a stage where I was only reading books that I was being sent rather than books I was choosing but I’ve tried really hard lately to balance back out what I’m reading.

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
I Heart Hollywood by Lindsay Kelk. It just didn’t work for me, and helped me to realise that my reading tastes have changed.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
Not sure I could pick just one, it would have to be between Cuckoo by Julia Crouch, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld and Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

Continue reading “55 Book Questions.”