Friday, 30 November 2018

Review - Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Published 22nd October 2015 by Oneworld Publications
Star Rating - *****
Goodreads Challenge - 33/50

Synopsis (from Goodreads)
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

My Thoughts
I love, love, loved this book! It's been sitting on my shelf for a while now and when looking for a book to match the Mythothon prompt, a book over 400 pages, I thought this would be a great one as I had heard the format makes for a quick read and that was absolutely correct. I sped through this one, despite its size. It was the first book in a while I found I couldn't put down. Here are my thoughts...

What I liked
• Everything! No seriously I loved everything about this book I thought it was fantastic. It was compelling and fast paced. I didn't want to put it down. This novel is actually written in a very interesting format. The story is told through IMs, reports and transcripts from the characters time aboard their space vessels and I found this very intriguing to read. You were given short snippets of the story through each IM or report and this made me want to read on to know what was going to happen next. 
• There were a few unexpected twists and turns throughout this story. Things that I didn't see coming. There was one particularly interesting twist that came about in the last few pages and this has made be very keen to dive into the next book sooner rather than later. 
• I really enjoyed the characters. I loved the relationship between Kady and Ezra, there was no instalove or unrealistic scenes. To me it was a great portrayal of a teenage relationship, full of angst, love and humour. I enjoyed reading the scenes between these two characters. The character development was also really good. Kady definitely seemed to go from an angsty teenager to a strong willed woman which the want to fight back. I also enjoyed the way the authors depicted AIDAN. His conflicting feelings were written really well and, although he was an AI, he was written, in some parts, like a human and I liked this concept. 

What I didn't like
Nothing! There's nothing I can really pinpoint that I didn't like about this novel. I liked the writing style, the plot and the characters and that's why I've given it 5 stars. 

Overall I loved this book. I would recommend it to everyone and even if your only remotely interested in it I would urge you to pick it up. You won't regret it! I can't wait to get to the next one.

Overall Rating 

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Top 5 Wednesday - Holiday Party Fictional Food

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme where you discuss your 'top 5' in a variety of different topics on, guess what, a Wednesday. Full list of topics and more information can be found here on the Goodreads group. 

This weeks topic is your top 5 holiday party fictional foods. Here are mine...

Nectar from the Percy Jackson series

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This fictional drink is an all round feel good drink. It picks you up when your feeling low and gives you strength when you need it. Who wouldn't want this at a party. 

A selection of sweets from the Harry Potter world

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Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans, Chocolate Frogs, Fizzing Whizzbees anything really. A trip to Honeydukes would do nicely. 

Faerie foods from The Cruel Prince 

Holly Black has a fantastic way with words and she always makes the faerie food in her books sound so delightful. Faerie food is also meant to be the best food you've ever tasted. 

Fizzy Lifting Drink from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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Because who doesn't want to fly a little. 

Tea and Cake from The Mad Hatters Tea Party

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Everyone loves tea and cake and the Mad Hatters Tea Party always looks rather fun. 

So there's my top 5 fiction foods I would want at a holiday feast. Let me know what foods you would like at your holiday get together. 

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Mailbox Monday - Weekly Book Post

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme that was started by Marcia of To Be Continued. The aim is simple, for people to share what books they received in their mailbox that week. To check out everyone else's posts head over to the Mailbox Monday blog.

This week I received...

The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

I received this in a book swap from a group on Facebook. 

Pete the Cheeky Parakeet by Cheryl Lee-White

I was kindly sent a copy of this one from the publisher for review. You can check out my review on my blog. 

Not too many this week. What did you receive? Let me know. 

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Children's Book Spotlight - Pete the Cheeky Parakeet by Cheryl Lee-White

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Pete the Cheeky Parakeet by Cheryl Lee-White
Published 15th October 2018 by Blue Falcon Publishing 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (from publishers website)
When Pete the Parakeet’s favourite person goes on holiday without him, he’s left behind with the rest of the family – and they’re not his biggest fans!
Will Pete realise that being the bird with the bad attitude won’t get him anywhere?
This amusing rhyming tale will bring lots of laughter and learning to story time!
My Thoughts
As a reception teacher (4-5 years) I'm always looking for new books to share with my class. I've also just had a baby so building a library for him is also important to me so when I saw Blue Falcon Publishing was looking for reviewers I offered my services. 
This is a delightful children's book with bright colourful illustrations that captured the attention of my 10 week old as I read it too him. The story is written in rhyme and this is one of my favourite things when it comes to children's books because I find it helps the story flow. It also gives some rhythm to the story which is really important for children to hear, in order to develop this skill themselves. There was a great rhythmic aspect to this story as I read however, there were a few rhyming couples that didn't quite fit and that made me have to back track a little but I think that would be rectified the more you read it.
The other thing I like when it comes to children's books is those that have a moral or a message within the story and this one had just that. This is the sort of book that I would use with my class when we are talking about friendship and being kind to one another. Pete the Parakeet is quite unkind to everyone apart from one person. When this person leaves he realises he hasn't got anyone to play with so he apologies. This is a really important life skill that needs teaching to children and this book would definitely offer a way of looking at this. 

Overall I thought this was a really fun book with an important message. It's one I'll be added to my repertoire of books that I use within my teaching. 

Friday, 23 November 2018

Review - The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell
Published 2nd November 2017 by Two Roads
Star Rating - ****
Goodreads Challenge - 32/50

I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Synopsis (from Goodreads)
'These days, you can find anything you need at the click of a button.
That's why I bought her heart online.'

Spirits in jam jars, mini-apocalypses, animal hearts and side shows.
A girl runs a coffin hotel on a remote island.
A boy is worried his sister has two souls.
A couple are rewriting the history of the world. 
And mermaids are on display at the local aquarium.

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night is a collection of twelve haunting stories; modern fairy tales brimming with magic, outsiders and lost souls.

My Thoughts
I do really enjoy a good short story collection however, I generally find myself leaning more towards YA collections rather than adult collections. This is usually because the stories in YA collections often seem more cohesive and final as opposed to adult collections where the stories can often seem unfinished or a bit abstract. That being said I was really keen to check out Jen Campbell's collection as I watch her on YouTube and I love how passionate she is about folklore and fairy-tales and I knew this would run throughout her collection and I was right. These stories were magical and full of many different aspects of folklore and fairy-tale as I had hoped. 

I enjoyed most of these stories, most of them felt fully formed and I was able to pick out the meaning behind most of them. The inspiration behind some of the stories was quite clear too, especially my favourite, Aunt Libby's Coffin Hotel, which very clearly took it's inspiration from Ancient Greek mythology. 

I also really enjoyed the story Plum Pie. Zombie Green. Yellow Bee. Purple Monster about children who had sprouted plants, who then go to a special camp. This one was a fantastically original idea, steeped in magic and fairy-tale. 

Another of my favourites was Bright White Hearts which gave a quite raw account of what its like to live with a deformity which, if you watch Jen's channel, you will know is something close to her heart. She had obviously done a lot of research for this story as it included some interesting historical facts that linked well with the story. 

Overall I really enjoyed this collection. I loved the elements of fairy-tale and folklore that are weaved throughout each story and, although she took her inspiration from this all of the stories were completely unique. I'd love for Jen to come out with a full length novel as that is something I would definitely want to pick up.

Overall Rating 

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Top 5 Wednesday - Characters you'd want at Friendsgiving

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme where you discuss your 'top 5' in a variety of different topics on, guess what, a Wednesday. Full list of topics and more information can be found here on the Goodreads group. 

This weeks Top 5 Wednesday topic is characters you'd want at friendsgiving. Here are mine...

Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series

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I love Hermione she's one of my favourite characters from this series and she's a reader so I think we would have a lot to talk about. 

Annabeth Chase from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series

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Another one of my favourite characters from one of my favourite series. I think she would have a fairly similar personality to Hermione so they would get on well. Also she's very knowlegable when it comes to Ancient Greek history and I love this period of history so she could probably teach me a thing or two. 

Xiomara Batista from The Poet X 

The Poet X

The main character from my most recent read (I gave it 5 stars check it out!) writes slam poetry. Her poetry within this novel was fantastic and I'd love to see her perform at my fictional friendsgiving. 

Starr from The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give

Starr is a very down to earth character and I think she could be really fun. She's also quite strong-willed and fights for what she believes in so I think we would have a great time putting the world to rights. 

Grey from A Curse so Dark and Lonely

A Curse So Dark and Lonely

Grey is an extremely loyal royal guard. I think he would be great to have around because who knows what would happen at a fictional friendsgiving so it's always good to have some protection right. Also he's good at playing cards. 

I love to hear about the characters you'd invite to your friendsgiving. Let me know in the comments or link me to your post. 

Monday, 19 November 2018

Mailbox Monday - Weekly Book Post

Mailbox Monday is a weekly meme that was started by Marcia of To Be Continued. The aim is simple, for people to share what books they received in their mailbox that week. To check out everyone else's posts head over to the Mailbox Monday blog.

This week I received...

The Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge

I was lucky enough to receive a proof copy of this one for review from the publisher Hot Key Books. 

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons and Enchantee by Gita Trelease

I was lucky enough to be granted the opportunity to read advance copies of both of these from the publishers via NetGalley. The Ruin of Kings from UK Tor and Enchantee from Macmillan. 

I'm looking forward to all of these and of course once I have read them I will be reviewing them here on my blog. 

What books did you receive this week?

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Mythothon Mid Month Check In

In November I am taking part in a month long readathon called the Mythothon. 


Full details can be found over on @Foxesfairytale's blog at

As we are around half way through the month I thought I would check in and let you know how I'm getting on so far. 

On a normal month I usually manage to read an average of 3-5 books. As it stands at halfway through November I have already read 6 books which is great and I hope this pace continues into the second half of the month. 

Here are the books I've read so far for the Mythothon and the prompts I've completed. 

Zeus. King of the Gods. God of the Sky. Read a book at least 400 pages long. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff 

Echidna. Mother of Monsters. Read a book about monsters – dragons, zombies, serial killers etc. Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi

Persephone. Goddess of the Underworld and Springtime. Read a book which is less than 200 pages. The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe (Little Black Classic)

Apollo. God of Prophesy, Plague and Poetry. Read a collection of poetry or short stories. The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell

Gaia. Primordial Earth Goddess. Read a book which was published at least 5 years ago. The Robber Bridegroom by The Brothers Grimm (Little Black Classic)

Dionysus. God of Wine. Celebrate this year by reading a 2018 release. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

No bingo's as of yet but hopefully I'll be able to get one in the second half of the month. If your interested in any of these books keep an eye on my blog as I will be reviewing them all of the course of the month. 

Are you taking part in the Mythothon? How are you doing so far? 

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Mini Reviews Spooky Book Edition

Here are some more mini reviews of some books I've read recently. 


Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Published 13th May 2014 by Ecco
Star Rating ****
Goodreads Challenge 29/50

What I liked: The fast paced and engaging writing style, there was an interesting cast of characters with great group dynamics, there were lots of twists and turns and there were times when this novel genuinely scared me, the duel storyline was interesting and worked well with the story. 

What I didn't like: There wasn't much I didn't like. Maybe the unexplained aspects of the story could of been expanded upon in the end but that unknown added to the atmosphere of the story so this wasn't necessarily a bad thing. 

Frankenstein in Baghdad

Frankenstein in Baghdad
Published 1st February 2018 by Oneworld
Star Rating - ***
Goodreads Challenge - 30/50

What I liked: The use of the Frankenstein's Monster trope did a good job at portraying the horrors and uncertainty of war, the translator did a good job translating this novel from Arabic into English, I liked that this was told through different perspectives and a couple of my favourites included the junk dealer and the journalist. 

What I didn't like: There were some perspectives and parts within the novel that I didn't get on with so well and this sometimes halted the story for me, I wish I had read the original Frankenstein story before reading this one. 


The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe (Penguin Little Black Classic)
Little Black Classic edition published 26th February 2015 by Penguin Classics
Star Rating - ***
Goodreads Challenge - 31/50

I managed to finish two stories out of this collection of three. 

The Tell-Tale Heart
This was the story I was most keen to read and was the reason I picked up this little book in the first place as I've many people talk about it and it is an iconic horror story. It definitely lives up to it's reputation, although it is very short it still provides the perfect amount of creepy and the macabre with a very unreliable narrator. Poe did a great job and creating an unnerving, atmospheric story in very few words. 

The Fall of the House of Usher
This was the one I couldn't finish. The writing was just too poetic for me, I couldn't get on with it. 

The Cask of Amontillado
This story was another one that was very creepy and actually quite evil. Although it was only a short one it definitely packed some punches and it really did demonstrate just how good Poe was a storytelling. 

What spooky books did you read over Halloween? Any you would recommend?

Friday, 16 November 2018

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Book Tag

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To celebrate the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them myself and Jacqueline over at The Pufflehuffle Kitteh decided to put together a Fantastic Beasts book tag. We couldn't decide whether to focus on characters or creatures so we decided to split it into two parts and do both :). 

I really enjoyed putting this together and thinking up my answers to the questions, I hope you enjoy reading them. You can check out Jacqueline's answers over on her blog here

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Newt Scamander 
If you had a fictional job what would it be?
Sticking to the theme of this tag if I could choose any fictional job in the world it would have to be an auror. I was always going to choose something that involve magic and I like the idea of using magic for a purpose. 

Jacob Kowalski 
What piece of fictional food, that you've read about, would you like to try in real life?
I'd love to try fairy food. It's always described so tastily in books and it really makes my mouth water when I read about it although, I'm not sure I want any of the side effects that comes with it. 

Tina Goldstein 
A character that redeems itself
Probably a very popular answer but I'm going with Professor Snape. If your reading this tag then I'm sure you're more than familiar with Harry Potter so I don't think this one needs too much explanation. 

Queenie Goldstein 
Which fictional character would you like to get into the mind of?
I'd love to get into the mind of pretty much and villainous character that I read about. I really love villains backstories and finding out their means and motives behind their evilness. 

Gellert Grindelwald 
A character you grew to hate
For this question I'm choosing a character from a series I don't really hear much about and that's Jem from the Numbers Series by Rachael Ward. At the beginning of the book I felt sorry for her and her circumstance but as the story went on I found her becoming more annoying and by then end I just couldn't deal with her self pity. 

Percival Graves 
A character who turned out not to be whom they seemed
I'm taking this prompt quite literally and saying Meira and Mather from the Snow Like Ashes series by Sara Raasch. I can't go into any detail about this one without spoiling it so I'm sorry but you'll just have to read it!

Credence Barebone 
Your favourite tortured soul
Another popular answer here I would imagine but definitely The Darkling from The Grisha Series. I don't know what it is about him that I find so compelling. 


A contemporary read you think everyone should read
For this one I'm recommending my most recent read and that is The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. This book is written in verse which is something I haven't read before and it's brilliant. It's a fantastic coming of age story about a Dominican teen that challenges her mothers religious beliefs. You should all read it now!


Nifflers love shiny things. What book did you buy because of the cover?
I often request books from NetGalley based on the covers. Some of my most recent with beautiful covers include A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Bridget Kemmerer, Enchantee by Gita Trelease and Mirage by Somaiya Daud. 


One Newts smallest creatures, what is the smallest book on your TBR?
The Penguin Little Black Classic, The Robbers Bridegroom by The Brothers Grimm, coming in at 55 pages. 

One of Newts largest creatures, what is the longest book on your TBR?
I'm not sure if this is the longest book or not as all of my books are currently in boxes due to a house move but it is over 500 pages so I'm going with Renegades by Marissa Meyer coming in at 576 pages. 

What is the scariest book you've read?
Rattle by Fiona Cummins. A really chilling detective story that reminded my of an episode of Criminal Minds. It was fantastic and one of the best of this kind that I've ever read. 

An unexpected read, a book that turned out differently to what you expected?
Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed. This isn't my usual genre at all so I wasn't expecting to really enjoy it but I was actually pleasantly surprised. There was much more to this contemporary story than I first thought and it definitely covered some more serious topics as well.  

Swooping Evil 
A book you would like to reread for the first time?
I'm going to have to end out this tag with a very appropriate answer and say Harry Potter. Not any book in particular just the whole series. Like many people I love these books and the warm fuzzy feeling I get when I read them and I'd love to experience that again for the first time. 

Who I'm tagging

Everyone! I'm tagging anyone who reads this post and thinks they might like to take part in this tag. If you do please link your post in the comments as I'd love to read it.

The copyright of all pictures and graphics used within this post are owned by Warner Brother. No infringement intended.