How to be Champion: My Autobiography by Sarah Millican

How to be Champion: My Autobiography

Title: How to be Champion: My Autobiography
Author: Sarah Millican
Series: N/A
Publication: 5th October 2017 by Trapeze
Genre: Humor, Autobiography, Popular culture.

My Thoughts (2)

(Goodreads)

Part autobiography, part self help, part confession, part celebration of being a common-or-garden woman, part collection of synonyms for nunny, Sarah Millican’s debut book delves into her super normal life with daft stories, funny tales and proper advice on how to get past life’s blips – like being good at school but not good at friends, the excitement of IBS and how to blossom post divorce.

If you’ve ever worn glasses at the age of six, worn an off-the-shoulder gown with no confidence, been contacted by an old school bully, lived in your childhood bedroom in your thirties, been gloriously dumped in a Frankie and Benny’s, cried so much you felt great, been for a romantic walk with a dog, worn leggings two days in a row even though they smelt of wee from a distance, then this is Your Book. If you haven’t done those things but wish you had, This Is Your Book. If you just want to laugh on a train/sofa/toilet or under your desk at work, This Is Your Book.

My Thoughts

There’s no GCSE in fingering.

If you’ve seen Sarah Millican’s stand up, you’ll know her as being rude, crude and naughty. She like cakes and cats.

This book is very raw and honest. She tells us about what she knows the public perceives as her flaws, physical and mental health, falling in love, rise in comedy and everything else in between. There are some wonderful photos and anecdotes. At the end of each book are some ‘self help’ tips which reflect on what she’s said in the chapter.

As she’s a comedian, I expected it to make me laugh. I was not disappointed, I laughed. A lot. Sometimes just chuckles or snorting but also cackling, loudly.

A joy to read.

My Thoughts (1)

4-stars

 

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Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1)

Title: Red Sister
Author: Mark Lawrence
Series: Book of the Ancestors #1
Publication: 4th April 2017 by Ace
Genre: Fantasy

My Thoughts (2)

(Goodreads)

I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

My Thoughts

IT IS IMPORTANT, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. For Sister Thorn of the Sweet Mercy Convent, Lano Tacsis brought two hundred men.

This book had one of the best opening I’ve read, well, ever.

The first chapter begins with “No child truly believes they will be hanged.” Is that not fabulous? Obviously, not for the child.

I’ve not read a Mark Lawrence book before but I have been meaning to. I certainly wasn’t disappointed. It has everything you want: death, violence and humor.

The book centers around Nona, an orphaned child sold for the potential power in her blood. Due to a series of events she ends up almost being hanged for murder until she is brought to Sweet Mercy’s Convent for Young Girls. At this convent they work through the classes, these train them in the four paths for the novices to take once they become nuns.

  • Bride of the AncestorHoly Sister – Honors the Ancestors and keeps the faith.
  • Martial SisterRed Sister – Warriors skilled in armed and unarmed combat.
  • Sister of DiscretionGrey Sister – Masters of stealth and potions with shadow work.
  • Mystic SisterHoly Witch – Walks the Path and manipulates threads.

The reason I gave four stars rather than five was because the beginning and the end of the book were amazing. It was the middle that was an issue for me. It was so long that when I came back to the book I found it hard to recall everything that had happened, especially because there were so many characters too. I will probably re-read this again before reading book two.

My Thoughts (1)

4-stars

Graphic Novels Reviews: Saga and Fables

Saga, Vol. 1 (Saga, #1)

Title: Saga
Author: Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Series: Saga Vol. 1
Publication: 23rd October 2012 by Image Comics
Genre: Graphic novel, Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A book recommended by one of your favourite authors.


 

The whole story centers around the question:

 photo IMG_4175_zpsswftkh6w.jpg

As it turns out, two soldiers, from opposite sides from a never ending war, who look like this:

 photo IMG_4177_zpszc5e9abc.jpg

This is the first graphic novel I’ve ever read but I completely loved it! The novel has amazing art and a really complex story. Plus it’s really funny. I found myself instantly in love with the two main characters – Alana and Marko – who clearly love each other and their baby daughter. They bicker. They support each other. And they’re sarky as hell.

I must admit, I was a bit worried when I was flicking through it in the shop and saw this: photo IMG_4179_zpsemqzyevd.jpg

and it has some strange things like these sex workers:

 photo IMG_4185_zps1aagekvu.jpg

But it was gripping and I just couldn’t put it down. To summarise, read it:

 photo IMG_4182_zpshpjd5hgd.jpg

5-stars

Fables, Volume 1: Legends in Exile (Fables, #1)Title: Fables :Legends in Exile
Author: Bill
Series: Fables Vol. 1
Publication: 25th April 2003
Genre: Graphic novel, Fantasy.


This book has an incredible premises; it is clearly where Once Upon A Time got some of it’s ideas. A savage creature conquers the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, forcing all the inhabitants into exile. Disguised among the “mundys” they are hiding in modern day New York. Vol. 1 focuses on finding out who has murdered Snow White’s sister, Rose Red.

The characters were what made this book for me. I loved the twist on some of the classics, such as: Prince Charming is a womanizer

and Rose Red is a party girl:

However, the story for me was a bit predictable and I felt a bit disappointed with the ending. The world that has been built up means that the rest of the series could be really interesting as it is such an interesting premises, but as a stand alone it wasn’t as amazing as I felt it could be.

4-stars


Have you read these? What did you think?

Are there any other series that you think are worth reading?

Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me.

Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me.

Title: Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Jusr Me.
Author: Lily Collins.
Series: N/A
Publication: 27th March 2017 by Harper Collins
Genre: Biography

My Thoughts (2)

Goodreads

In this groundbreaking debut essay collection, featuring never-before-seen photos, actress Lily Collins—star of Mortal Instruments and the upcoming Rules Don’t Apply—is opening a poignant, honest conversation about the things young women struggle with: body image, self-confidence, relationships, family, dating, and so much more.

For the first time ever, Lily shares her life and her own deepest secrets, underlining that every single one of us experiences pain and heartbreak. We all understand what it’s like to live in the light and in the dark. For Lily, it’s about making it through to the other side, where you love what you see in the mirror and where you embrace yourself just as you are. She’s learned that all it takes is one person standing up and saying something for everyone else to realize they’re not alone.

By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Lily’s honest voice will inspire you to be who you are and say what you feel. It’s time to claim your voice! It’s time to live your life unfiltered.

My Thoughts

I have been wanting this book for a while and finally caved and bought it. I started reading it in the bath and didn’t stop until the water turned cold.

This isn’t a biography with a sequenced timeline but is more of a collection of essays, or personally life experiences under a set header – a bit like Anna Kendrick’s book. I imagine this is because it’s more aimed at Young Adult audience.

Lily opens up about a lot of different things; her family, her relationships, her battle with anorexia, her tattoos. She discusses overcoming every day obstacles and issues that many of her audience would experience. It was refreshing, eye opening and relieving to read. Her brutal honesty, especially with her abusive relationships and anorexia, was unexpected and eye opening, and I imagine would come as great support to many of her readers.

As it was done by topic headings rather than being her timeline, it did mean that some things were repeated a few times, her relationships being one of them. However, I absolutely loved the chapter on her tattoos. I love knowing people’s stories and meanings behind their tattoos and Lily has one behind all of them – plus we got to see photos, that’s always great.

I liked Lily before I read this but came out liking her even more afterwards; we’d make great friends discussing Harry Potter over tea. Mine would be hot, yuck to cold tea.

My Thoughts (1)

4-stars

Mr Katz is a Zombie by Margaret Lesh

Mr. Katz is a Zombie (Goethalsburg Ghost Squad, #1)

Title: Mr Katz is a Zombie
Author: Margaret Lesh
Series: Goethalsburg Ghost Squad #1
Publication: 14th October 2014 by StoryRhyme.com Publishing
Genre: Children’s Fiction

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A book that you’ve owned for a while but haven’t gotten around to reading.

This book counts towards my ARC August.

I received a free ARC via NetGalley

My Thoughts (2)

Catastrophe looms in North Goethalsburg!

When twelve-year-old J.D. is tricked into taking possession of a book of spells, his best friend turns their teacher into a zombie. The zombification of Mr. Katz creates general chaos and a not-so-terrific time for near-genius J.D.

Teamed with his best friend Rodney, twin troublemakers, and an obnoxious ghost, J.D. must figure out how to change Mr. Katz back from one of the undead before he:

1. Escapes the janitor’s closet;
2. Eats their brains;
and
3. Wears J.D.’s spleen as a hat.

Can four boys armed with a slingshot, two boxes of jelly
donuts, and a handy zombie guide battle their mindless teacher and live to tell?

Probably not.

You’ll have to read to find out.

My Thoughts

I’m going to go right ahead and say I am not the target audience for this book. I’m probably double the age that you’re suppose to be (8 – 12 year olds). That said, I really enjoyed this book! And I think that if it is entertaining for those older than the age range then it is the mark of a great book, .

This book was really entertaining and enjoyable. They children manage to turn their teacher into a stinking, groaning, but ultimately non-threatening, doughnut eating zombie. It’s not overly silly but equally, it’s not going to give the children who read this nightmares.

I loved the whole family were involved in a business together and how the parents helped the children find the answer – they weren’t just completely unaware of what was going on but were really supportive.

I personally really enjoyed this and I’ll be interested to see if I find this in the school library at any point.

My Thoughts (1)4-stars

This Secret We’re Keeping by Rebecca Done

This Secret We're Keeping

Title: This Secret We’re Keeping
Author: Rebecca Done
Series: N/A
Publication: 7th April 2016 by Penguin
Genre: Fiction

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A book you meant to read in 2016

This counts towards my ARC August challenge.

Advanced Reading Copy provided, in exchanged for an honest review, from the publishers.

My Thoughts (2)

A pupil and a teacher. Is it ever right to break the rules? Jessica Hart has never forgotten Matthew Landley. After all, he was her first love when she was fifteen years old. But he was also her school maths teacher, and their forbidden affair ended in scandal with his arrest and imprisonment. Now, seventeen years later, Matthew returns to Norfolk, with a new identity and a long-term girlfriend and a young daughter, who know nothing of what happened before. Yet when he runs into Jessica, neither of them can ignore the emotional ties that bind them together. With so many secrets to keep hidden, how long can Jessica and Matthew avoid the dark mistakes of their past imploding in the present? From debut author Rebecca Done, This Secret We’re Keeping is a powerful and provocative novel about the ties which can keep us together – or tear us apart.

My Thoughts

This book is a controversial novel about a relationship between a teacher and his fifteen year old pupil. It is told with two narratives; Matthew’s (teacher) POV in 1993 and Jess’ (student) story in the present. We get to see how the relationship comes to be and how the scandal came out and affected both of their lives.

This book gripped me. As in, I locked myself in my room for hours reading. I was brushing my teeth and still reading. I was up way past my bed time reading. And in the end, it left me speechless.

The author took a very difficult subject and did it really well, leaving me feeling very torn. It was a very well written story that left me feeling very morally drained. It was very character driven, both of whom were very likable and well developed. It was very hard not to get emotionally involved in their lives. Whilst in the past your screaming that having an affair with a vulnerable fifteen year old student is wrong, I couldn’t help but root for them in the present.

I would have given it five stars had it not been for the muddle in the last few chapters.

A very interesting read!

My Thoughts (1)

4-stars

Love Hurts by Malorie Blackman + more

Love Hurts

Title: Love Hurts
Author: Malorie Blackman, Patrick Ness, Lauren Myracle, Gayle Foreman, Susie Day, Jenny Downham, Maureen Johnson, Laura Dockrill, David Levithan, Markus Zusak, Lauren Kate, Catherine Johnson, James Dawson, Philip Pullman, E. Lockhart, Non Pratt, Bali Rai, Melvin Burgess, Phil Earle, Andrew Smith, Matt haig, Tabitha Suzuma and Marcus Sedgwick
Series: N/A
Publication: 29th January 2015 by Corgi Children’s
Genre: YA, Love and Romance, Fiction.

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A book written by at least two authors.

This book counts towards my ARC August 2017

Advanced Reading Copy provided, in exchanged for an honest review, from the publishers.

My Thoughts (2)

Have you ever fallen for someone the rest of the world thought you shouldn’t have? Malorie Blackman brings together the very best young adult authors writing today in a stunningly romantic collection of love against the odds.

Featuring stories and extracts about modern star-crossed lovers, Love Hurts looks at every kind of relationship, from first kiss to final heartbreak. This is a collection for anyone who has ever loved and lost – and loved again…

My Thoughts

This is an anthology combining a mixture of clippings from books and novellas, all about love, by some very famous and talented authors.

It contains clippings from:

  • More Than This by Patrick Ness
  • The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle
  • If I Stay by Gayle Foreman
  • Trouble by Non Pratt
  • Rani and Dukh by Bali Rai
  • You Against Me by Jenny Downham
  • 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
  • Junk by Melvin Burgess
  • Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
  • Heroic by Phil Earle
  • I Am Messenger by Markus Zusak
  • Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
  • Echo Boyu by Matt Haig
  • Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
  • Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick
  • Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
  • We Were Liars by E Lockhart

And short stories by:

  • Malorie Blackman
  • Susie Day
  • Laura Dockrill
  • David Levithan
  • Lauren Kate
  • Catherine Johnson
  • James Dawson

This book is a complete mix, containing something for everyone. It has stories about blindness, transgender, coming out and incest. It has all different stories all with the main theme of love. And best of all, it’s not all straight love and not all from the girl’s perspective.

I had already read some of the clippings in here, like: Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman, Northern Lights by Philip Pullman and Troubled by Non Pratt, so I just skipped these. I’m not going to lie, there were some stories that didn’t grab me, but the best thing is that I could skip that clip and go onto the next bit. I didn’t have to drag myself through tonnes of pages just to complete the story. There were a lot of clipping that did grab my attention, and I know I’ll be adding to my every growing TBR list.

My favourite short story was definitely the first one by Malorie Blackman Humming through my fingers. It was just so interesting and beautiful – I would happily read an entire book about this. I didn’t want it to end.

If you’re expecting a novel by Malorie Blackman then you will be thoroughly disappointed. But if you’re looking for some short stories and new books, this is the book for you.

My Thoughts (1)

4-stars

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Title: Big Little Lies
Author: Liane Moriarty
Series: N/A
Publication: 9th February 2017 by Penguin (Originally published in 2014)
Genre: Fiction, humour

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere

Advanced Reading Copy provided, in exchanged for an honest review, from the publishers.

My Thoughts (2)

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

My Thoughts

I went into this with no expectations or knowledge of the book (or TV series) at all, and was just blown away!

So much happens! I feel like either I can’t talk about any of it otherwise I’ll have to talk about all of it. The three women are all at different crossroads in their lives but the one thing the all have in common is that their children are all starting the same kindergarten. The book flicks between the three different mothers; Madeline, Celest and Jane. It also flicks between their stories and the present, where members of the school community are being interviewed about a murder, except we don’t know who has been murdered or who is involved.

It was one of those books that you pick up and before you know it, you’re over half way though and it’s dark outside. It’s full of mystery, drama and hilarity. Definitely worth picking up!

My Thoughts (1)

4-stars

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Series: N/A
Publication: 13th July 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance.

Advanced Reading Copy provided, in exchanged for an honest review, from the publishers.

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A book written by a person of colour.

My Thoughts (2)

A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

My Thoughts

When Dimple met Rishi… she threw a drink in his face and ran away.

I have seen this book literally everywhere, and with good reason. This is one of those cute summer contemporary romance novels, plus it is diverse and did I mention totally adorable?

Dimple fierce, ambition and into  web development. She is all set for Uni and can’t wait to escape from her mum trying to find her the “Ideal Indian Husband”.  So she’s not too thrilled when Rishi pops up with;

“Hello, future wife,” he said, his voice bubbling with glee. “I can’t wait to get started on the rest of our lives!”

Although the blurb and synopsis seems to suggest the focus is on the arranged marriage, and this does have a major part, I would say that the focus is more on their developing romance and on the web design course.

If you’re into cute romances, this is for you.

My Thoughts (1)

4-stars

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying

Title: One of Us is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Series: N/A
Publication: 30th May 2017 by Penguin
Genre: Fiction, YA, Mystery and Thriller

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A mystery

Synopsis (Goodeads)

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

My Thoughts

Now here’s your assignment: connect the dots. Is everybody in it together, or is somebody pulling the strings? Who’s the puppet master and who’s the puppet? I’ll give you a hint to get you started: everyone’s lying. GO!

When I requested this book, it was described as The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars. Well what’s not to like? Simon’s blog posts reminded me more of Gossip Girl but I love that too!

I don’t read mysteries that often but it’s a genre I really enjoy, especially if I don’t guess the ending. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t guess who it was. The title lied, not only one of them was lying, they all were, and I suspected everyone. Everyone.

 The story is narrated by the four main characters – Bronwyn (The smart one) , Addy (The popular one), Nate (the bad boy) and Cooper (the jock). This meant the pace was pretty quick. Having the four perspectives meant that we got a lot more about each of the character’s backstories, which really fleshed them out and gave them growth. I ended up loving all four of them.

The only reason I didn’t give it 5* was because the ending didn’t sit quite right with me but I can’t really go into detail about that without spoilers. It was still a very enjoyable read.

A marvelous debut book, one that I’m sure I’ll still be remembering for months to come.

My Rating

4-stars