Top 5: Children’s Books

Although it’s a little late, I really liked the idea of sharing our favourite children’s books, based on last Wednesday’s (12th) Top 5 topic! I like to think of all of these books as the books that have made me the reader I am today, the books that have shaped my reading taste and drawn me towards young adult series that became my new favourite books.

(Backstory: Bee and I have always been readers, for sure, but it was never a huge priority in our lives until we were in secondary school. We spent most of our childhood playing role-play games with our dolls and watching Winx Club)

Fairy Dreams by Gwyneth Rees 

Because we loved animated fairies so much, it only made sense to seek them out in book form. When we were younger, I always wore my hair in bunches, so we thought that the two fairies on the cover looked like us! The story is about a girl who finds the fairies and when she goes to sleep, gets transported to the magical world! There was also something called The Book of Fairy Fun with every Gwyneth Rees character, full of word games and puzzles. When Bee and I shared a room, and when we were meant to be asleep, we’d allow ourselves to complete a couple puzzles a night, crouching up to our windowsill to get light from the streetlamp outside.

Anything by Jacqueline Wilson 

She was as big in the early 2000s as she is now. I have such fond memories of finding a Candyfloss hardback for 50p at a car boot sale with our grandparents, and reading Bad Girls for a reading level assessment. Of course, we lapped up Double Act and I always had a soft spot for Midnight (again, fairies. It’s a phase I hope to never grow out of!)

Anything by Cathy Cassidy

For our tenth birthday, I got Sundae Girl and Dizzy and Bee got Driftwood and Scarlet, and to this day, they will always be our favourite books by Cathy! Since then, we’ve been to three signings, one of which we won tickets to in a Mizz magazine contest. It was for the launch of Angel Cake and we got these glorious goodie bags and the chance to interview Cathy in a small group. It was one of the best days ever.

Judy Moody by Megan McDonald

I don’t remember how we got hold of these books, but they were fantastic. So great, in fact, that Bee and I are currently re-reading them just for fun! They’re about Judy, who really wants to be a doctor when she grows up, and each book is about her taking on these wild ideas like trying to get famous, or pretending to have ESP and running with them. Essentially a female Phineas and Ferb before the show existed.

Rose by Holly Webb 

Rose was Bee’s special thing. It was a four book series about this little orphan girl who discovered she had magical powers before she went to work for a renowned magician. She gets trained, along with the magician’s apprentice and helps to solve magical crimes like kidnappings and blood lettings. It was a bit more…grizzly than I was expecting when I first read it on a train back from London. I can remember, instead, choosing to focus on the scene where she goes to the candy store, and the big cat, Gus.

These are all the books that stick out in my mind as the ones we loved the best, and also the ones we’ve chosen to keep hold of, just in case we want to take a trip down memory lane.

Top 5: Side Relationships!

Before you wonder, this Top 5 Wednesday topic is not about your favourite relationship that had a side piece, like I first thought 😂 No one wants to promote disloyalty in relationships, for sure! This topic is all about your favourite couples that never got the spotlight. We’re big fans of secondary characters, and love it even more when they get their happily ever after. BUT, this week also meant that I had to delve back into the 2013-2014 archives of my reading tastes because secondary characters are only usually granted well developed relationships in series with three books or over, and seeing as I’ve managed to complete a measly two series this year, I was limited for choice. So, get ready for some oldies but goodies! Continue reading “Top 5: Side Relationships!”

Summer Reading Recommendations!

Today’s Top Five Wednesday is all about your favourite books to read over the summer. So, basically, your favourite contemporary books. If you don’t pick up at least one YA romance in the next four months, you’re a monster (I’m sorry, fantasy loving friends!)

The Names They Gave Us by Emory Lord – In a summery read, you’re looking for a sweet, flawed main character, diversity (of course, that’s criteria for all books!), a slow-burning romance, a conflict that strikes just the right level of melancholy without ruining the cute vibe and preferably adorable kids. The Names They Gave Us gives you all of this and more. I haven’t read a better contemporary since my last Morgan Matson read, so this comes this more than a glowing recommendation. It’s a glowing command to read it (please?)

Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer – Following the summer camp theme, this tells the story of four friends reuniting after a long time apart and sharing a time-travelling adventure to when they first got to know each other. Missing pieces of that summer together fall into place and it’s an absolutely heart-warming and heart-wrenching story of friendship and being there for each other no matter what. Definitely pick this one up if you want to feel glittery, for lack of a better word!

Continue reading “Summer Reading Recommendations!”

Top 5: Books as Event Themes!

Maddie: Neither Bee or I are really party people. The closest we’ve got to a book party is listening to Hailee Steinfeld while we read.  This Top Five Wednesday theme encourages us to think outside the box to create the perfect themed get-together and a couple of books instantly jump to mind!

First, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. I’m not suggesting that we all sit around and write letters to past crushes, but can you imagine the aesthetic of the party? It would be pastel confetti, tea dresses and homemade baked goods galore. We’d make each of the sisters’ favourite cookies and then play the ninja-warrior-hide-and-seek-tag game from the second book. Now that’s the kind of party I’d attend in a heartbeat.

Next, Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan. Everyone would be claimed by their godly parent, when they arrived, with a fun personality quiz. Then we’d play Capture the Flag. (I just like parties with games, okay?) If there was some real planning involved, we’d stage a quest to find…something. Or go in a maze.

Continue reading “Top 5: Books as Event Themes!”

Top 5: Authors We Want to Read More From!

In order to bring some life back to this blog, (it’s exam revision time and that means that all blogging motivation is zapped right out of our system by evil flashcards and quote tests), we thought it might be time again to participate in the classic weekly ‘Top X No.’ posts! This week’s is all about authors you’ve read marvellous books from already and want to devour more…not a hard list to make when there’s so many books on our TBR that fit the bill!

Richelle Mead
Maddie: I’ve been meaning to pick up the Bloodlines series for the last…forever. When did I finish Vampire Academy? *checks Goodreads* November 2015?! Oh wow. Yep, Bloodlines needs to be my next series to conquer. The whole six book thing is a little off-putting, but if I’ve done it once, I’ll do it again, and I absolutely love how much voice Richelle Mead manages to give her characters. They really leap off the page!

Victoria Schwab
Maddie: This fabulous woman keeps coming out with new books and I’m tripping over the little V TBR pile I have. This Savage Song, Vicious, A Conjuring of Light…all books I’m itching to get round to, especially because Our Dark Duet is coming soon and there’s nothing sweeter than finishing a series. Two is way more manageable than six! (You hear that, Richelle Mead?)

Josephine Angelini
Bee: Maddie has already read the Starcrossed series, and we own all three of the World Walker books so it’s about time I got round to them. Starcrossed comes with a glowing recommendation (if I’m willing to put up with some angsty romance!) and World Walker is all about witches, my favourite of all the supernatural beings and a total buzzword.

Cat Clarke
B & M: Between us, we’ve almost managed to read all of Cat Clarke’s books, and already have our hands on Girlhood, her next release, but we’d both really like to read the ones we’re missing. For Maddie, that’s The Lost and Found, about a girl who’s sister went missing when they were kids and has suddenly returned to a media frenzy around the family. And for Bee, that’s Undone, about a girl dealing with the loss of her best friend to suicide. Heavy stuff, but from what we’ve already read, it’s guaranteed to be good!

Nina LaCour
B & M: The only thing we’ve both read from this author was her short story in the Summer Days and Summer Nights collection, edited by Stephanie Perkins. But, that little taster was enough to have us hungry for more, especially because her most recent release We Are Okay has been getting a lot of praise, and it’s focused on a college-student which is awesome because finding YA set out of high school is almost impossible. Nina La Cour’s first book Everything Leads to You is also on our radar because of the lesbian protagonist (and the set designing career) because we can’t get enough of diverse books!

T5W: Favourite Series Ending

This week, we discuss how we feel about our favourite series coming to an end, and what made them all so perfect, because there’s nothing we love more than a good happily ever after!

If you haven’t finished these series yet, then we suggest not reading the explanations as they are pretty spoiler ridden!

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1. City of Heavenly Fire

This series pretty much ended happily for everyone didn’t it? Clary and Jace finally getting to be together, Simon and Isabelle finally admitted they were more than just casual friends and of course Jocelyn and Luke making their vows…the only bad thing about this book was how it completely ruined the end of ‘The Infernal Devices’ series. It should have had a spoiler warning!

2. Anna and the French Kiss

We chose ‘Anna’ because, even though we liked ‘Isla and the Happily Ever After’ the least of the companion series, the happily ever after than Anna and Etienne get is the most beautiful thing ever. I need a short story of their wedding and their family and them just growing old together, please.

3. Champion

 Although slightly bittersweet, I love a good ambiguous ending every now and again! Day and June went through such a hard time in this trilogy, and even though I may have wanted them to have the perfect ending where they’re definitely together forever and ever, I thought it was a perfect and completely realistic ending after everything that had taken place.

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4. Requiem

A controversial choice is always good to throw into the mix. The Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver ended slightly ambiguously. Did Lena end up with Alex or Julian? Would everything be OK in the end or not? Was the society better with or without love? I think that’s what made the ending so successful – I had questions. In hindsight, Requiem ended differently to any other girl vs government book, and that is what makes it a favourite!

5. The Illusionists

The ending to the ‘Fearsome Dreamer’ duology completely threw me for a loop. I can’t believe how it ended! There were so many twists and turns in the plot (not to mention the space-time continuum) it was like the whole world had been turned upside down! ‘The Illusionists’ makes it to the list for pure originality and being completely unexpected *applause for Laure Eve*

T5W: Most Frustrating Characters

This week, we discuss the characters that make us want to jump inside books and shake their shoulders! There are quite a few (unfortunately) so let’s get to it!

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1. Tris Prior

Tris, overall, is an excellent character. She’s strong, she’s determined and she’s practically capable of anything. But, there’s one thing she’s not capable of: communication! Actually talking things out with Tobias is her downfall. They’re so willing to sacrifice themselves for each other, which is endearing, but frustrating when they won’t tell each other what’s going on!

2. Prince Kai

It seemed like the lovely prince was the only one out of the loop in The Lunar Chronicles. Scarlet knew about Cinder. Cress knew about Cinder, Levana knew about Cinder…everyone on Earth and the moon knew her identity. Having to read Kai’s chapters in the books was frustrating because I just wanted to dive into the council room and catch him up on all the action. Thank goodness he’s part of the team at the end of ‘Cress’, otherwise I don’t know how I would have coped.

3. Sydney Sage

Don’t get me wrong I love Sydney! She’s intelligent and sticks to her morals no matter what other people tell her. She’s also really good at evaluating right from wrong, but how she handles the Adrian situation had me ripping my hair out! I know you come from a background that pretty much hates vampires, but you shouldn’t care about that if you love one! Sometimes she just needed to listen to her heart instead of her head.

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4. America Singer

Girl’s got two really sweet guys wanting to be her boyfriend/husband/prince. She spends most of the books in regretful turmoil over each, and struggles to come to a conclusion until the final book. America needed to accept her fate much sooner, and to stop comparing herself to the other contestants for Maxon’s heart! He was looking at her all along!

5. Wells Jaha/ Ruby / Juliette

All three of these characters are classified as juvenile delinquents. All three of these characters share the same weakness: they’ll classify themselves as monsters. Whether it’s because they’re keeping a secret or hiding their powers, Wells from ‘The 100’, Ruby from ‘The Darkest Minds’ and Juliette from ‘Shatter Me’ all have what I like to call ‘The Monster Complex’. If they only realised the potential they held, I would be much less frustrated with them. Embrace the power, guys. Please.