Top Ten Best Books I’ve Read In 2017 So Far

35fed-toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new top ten list and invite everyone to share their answers. This week’s topic is “ Top Ten Best Books You’ve Read In 2017 So Far”.

Click on the pictures to link to my reviews.

5-stars

Truth or DareAnimal FarmNina is Not OKClaude In The City

4-stars

One of Us Is LyingDreamlandYou're the One That I Want by Giovanna FletcherA Book of Spirits and Thieves (Spirits and Thieves, #1)UsCrystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms, #5)

Honorary mentions – as I re-read them in February half term and they’re basically all 5* in my eyes.

harry-potter-re-read


What are the best books you’ve read this year?

May 2017 Monthly Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up (1)

These months are just zooming by. Actually, these years! Congratulations to everyone who finished exams and graduated this month, and good luck to everyone who is sitting them next month. It’s weird to think that this time two years ago I was finishing my degree! Time either needs to slow down or I need to find some more productive things to be doing with my time.

Books Read in May

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher

Claude on the Slopes by Alex T. Smith

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

DreamlandOn the Other SideClaude on the SlopesOne of Us Is Lying


Blog Posts

sunday smiles

Sunday Smiles – Bank holiday, books and work.

Sunday Smiles – Brighton and books.

Sunday Smiles – Sunshine.

35fed-toptentuesday

TTT – UK covers that are better than the US’

TTT – Reading Wishlist

TTT – Summer TBR

goodreads-book-tag

Tags – Goodreads book tag

unboxing

Illumicrate Unboxing – May 2017, Box #7


Currently Reading

1984 by George Orwell

The Best of Adam Sharp by Graeme Simsion

Dexter Omnibus by Jeff Lindsay

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Nineteen Eighty-FourThe Best of Adam SharpDarkly Dreaming Dexter (Dexter, #1)Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1)


Looking Forward To In June…

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

Meal with lots of uni friends I haven’t seen in a while.

Going to Oxford for a day trip.

My final tea delivery from my Novello tea subscription.

Once and for Allmonthly tea delivery gift novello


How was your May?

April 2017 Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up (1)

Another month is done. Is it me or did April go really quickly? I can’t believe it’s been 3 weeks since I went to Barcelona!

Books Read in April

The Darkest Magic by Morgan Rhodes

The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

Animal Farm by George Orwell

You’re the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher

The Darkest Magic (Spirits and Thieves, #2)File:The Reason I Jump book cover.jpgAnimal FarmYou're the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher


Blog Posts

Tumbling into Wonderland BooksBarcelona

sunday smilesSunday Smiles – Overcoming anxious day

Sunday Smiles – Picnic

Sunday Smiles – Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead starring Daniel Radcliffe and Joshua McGuire, and Don Juan in Soho starring David Tennant.

Sunday Smiles – Easter holidays

35fed-toptentuesday

TTT – Insta-reads

TTT – Instant not reads


Currently Reading

I have 6 books down on my Goodreads as me currently reading but in all honesty the ones below are the ones I’m actually reading at the moment, the rest have been put on hold.

1984 by George Orwell

Death Note Vol 5 by Tsugumi Oba

I have tried Caraval by Stephanie Garber and Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers but wasn’t in the mood to read either.


Looking Forward To In May….

Getting my Illumicrate box

May half term

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

One of Us Is LyingFlame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist, #1)


How was your April?

The Darkest Magic by Morgan Rhodes

The Darkest Magic (Spirits and Thieves, #2)

Title: The Darkest Magic
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Series: Spirits and Thieves #2 (Book One Review)
Publication: 28th June 2016
Genre: YA, Fantasy,

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge– A book set in a fictional location

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Modern-day Toronto: Sisters Crystal and Becca Hatcher are reunited after reclaiming the Bronze Codex and narrowly escaping death. They have no one to trust but each other, and the only thing keeping them safe is the book that sent Becca’s spirit to Ancient Mytica–the same book that their enemies would kill them for.

Ancient Mytica: Maddox grapples to keep his newly discovered powers under control, while the ruthless goddess Valoria hunts him down.

Modern-day Toronto: Farrell embraces his dark side as he unwittingly falls further under the spell of Markus, the mastermind leader of the nefarious Hawkspear Society, who will stop at nothing to find Crys and Becca–and the remarkable book in their possession.

My Thoughts

I loved the Falling Kingdoms series and was kicking myself that I held off reading the first book of this series for so long as I enjoyed it just as much. That said, I was really disappointed with this book. I found it a real struggle to push through the story. It took me weeks to finally complete it as I found myself loosing interest in some of the characters and the story line.

I really enjoyed Farrell’s POV, he’s definitely my favourite character. I loved seeing how he dealt, and is continuing to deal with, the evil within. I would love for him to turn out to be the villain in the end. I always look forward to his chapters. I’m not so keen on Becca or Maddox but I’m hoping due to the events in this book that their story line with grow on me.

I’m hoping this book is struggling with middle book syndrome. I will definitely be reading the next book, as it is the final book in the series, and pray that it end on a strong note.

My Rating

3-stars

Final Quarter Quell 2016

The year has come to an end! So lets have a look at the reading challenges I set myself at the beginning of the year:

  • To read 45 books
  • To complete The Sherlock Holmes Collection.
  • To complete one other classic
  • To not read ALL picture books
  • To Read my pre-ordered books
  • To get about 70% on Netgallery
    Blank yyib header maxres

    2016 READING CHALLENGE

    Congrats!

    You have read 58 books of your goal of 45!

Here’s the progress I made after 3 month6 months and 9 months.

To read 45 books
I managed to read 55 books:

Frozen Tides (Falling Kingdoms, #4)Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1)Not If I See You FirstThe Death of  Dulgath (The Riyria Chronicles #3)The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy)

Love, RosieThe Girl on the TrainBehind Closed Doors (DCI Louisa Smith, #2)Crystal Storm (Falling Kingdoms, #5)Scrappy Little Nobody

Not Completed:

  • The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle – 88% complete
  • Grimm’s Fairy Stories by The Grimm Brothers – 66% complete
  • Allegiant (Divergent #3) – 53% complete
  • Happy by Derren Brown – 17% Complete

To Complete The Sherlock Holmes Collection
I’ve made absolutely no progress since September…  I just have The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes left!

To Complete One Other Classic

I completed The Secret Garden back in January.

To Not Read ALL Picture Books
Less than 1/4 of them are picture books. I also don’t add ones that I re-read on here, just new ones, otherwise it would be a lot more!

To Read My Pre-ordered Books
Whoops. I was meant to read the two most recent Sarah J Maas books over summer. That really didn’t happen. I barely read anything. You can see the things that I did do here. Maybe next year…

To Get Above 70% On Netgallery.
This was definitely aiming too high! Last summer it was on 50% and it’s now on 65% so I’ve done quite well! I’ve eased off requesting as many books, so I might make it by the end of next year…

My targets for next year to come soon….

Books by John Kelly

My school was lucky enough to have the author John Kelly visit and do some dramatic readings of his books. He also showed us all how to draw one of the characters from his book, and had a big sing song with us all.

Before he came I hadn’t heard of his books, which I’m surprise about as my class love pirates and the books have some great illustrations.

The Beastly Pirates

The Beastly Pirates

Beware THE BEASTLY PIRATES – the scariest sailors on the seven seas.
They’re a cutlass-toting, pirate-eating bunch of renegades and the list of their dastardly deeds is endless. Dare you come to face to face with this motley crew?

WARNING: This is most certainly NOT a book for bedtime . . . unless you like your pirates with a bit more bite! Perfect for fans of Jonny Duddle.

This is the first book that John Kelly spoke about. It comes before his newest one Munch, Crunch, Pirate Lunch, so he went over this quickly before reading the new book to us. I bought this book afterwards and read it to my class. We enjoyed it, loving the pictures and the ending. I personally found it quite hard to read out loud as it has some elaborate alliteration and some complex words, whilst also being a rhyming book.

Munch, Crunch, Pirate Lunch!

Media of Munch, Crunch, Pirate Lunch!

Meet the Beastly Pirates, the munchiest, crunchiest pirates to ever sail the seven seas!

If YOU were a pirate, what would you have for lunch? Fish soup? Shark on toast? Not the Beastly Pirates! They like something a little munchier, a little crunchier … a little more ‘piratey’.

THis is the second book in The Beastly Pirates series. It has some wonderful rhymes about how the “ordinary” pirates deal with the Beastly Pirates.

Sir Scaly Pants the Dragon KnightSir Scaly Pants the Dragon Knight.

When a ghastly giant comes crashing through the Kingdom one day, the townsfolk fear for their lives. He’s knocking down the buildings! He’s breathing his stinky breath all over the place! He’s even picking giant bogeys out of his giant nose–he must be stopped!

So the King decrees that ALL knights be sent to slay the giant–and whoever succeeds will be knighted BRAVEST IN THE LAND.

Enter Sir Scaly Pants (the most unusual knight around) and his trusty steed Guinevere (he most unfit horse around) Will this unlikely duo manage to defeat the greedy, grimy giant? You bet they will!

More fantastic illustrations and great rhymes in this book. The children were entranced the entire time, except when they were audibly laughing out loud at the  giant’s trousers falling down.

Have you read anything by John Kelly?

Third Quarter Quell – 9 Month Wrap Up

As I no longer read enough books to do a monthly wrap up, I’m doing a 3 monthly one! This makes my third one this year.

At the beginning of the year I set myself the following challenges as did my housemates:

  • To read 45 books
  • To complete The Sherlock Holmes Collection.
  • To complete one other classic
  • To not read ALL picture books
  • To Read my pre-ordered books
  • To get about 70% on Netgallery

    2016 READING CHALLENGE

    2016 READING CHALLENGE

    Congrats!

    You have read 48 books of your goal of 45!

    48/45 (107%)

Here’s the progress I made after 3 months and 6 months.

To read 45 books
So far I have read 48 books:

Not Completed:

  • The complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle – 88% complete
  • Grimm’s Fairy Stories by The Grimm Brothers – 66% complete
  • Allegiant (Divergent #3) – 53%
  • Age of Myth (The Legends of the First Empire #1) by Michael J. Sullivan – 32%
  • Alice in the Country of Hearts Vol. 3 by QuinRose

 

To Complete The Sherlock Holmes Collection
I’m almost there! I just have The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes left!

To Complete One Other Classic

I completed The Secret Garden! 

To Not Read ALL Picture Books
Less than 1/4 of them are picture books. I also don’t add ones that I re-read on here, just new ones, otherwise it would be a lot more!

To Read My Pre-ordered Books
Whoops. I was meant to read the two most recent Sarah J Maas books over summer. That really didn’t happen. I barely read anything. You can see the things that I did do here. Maybe in half term…

To Get Above 70% On Netgallery.
This may be aiming too high… Last summer it was on 50%. In March it was 59% and it’s now 64%! I’ve eased off requesting as many books, so I might make it!

Have you read any of these books?
How are you getting on with your resolutions?

Second Quarter Quell – 6 Month Wrap Up

As I no longer read enough books to do a monthly wrap up, I’m doing a 3 monthly one! This makes my second one this year.

At the beginning of the year I set myself the following challenges as did my housemates:

  • To read 45 books
  • To complete The Sherlock Holmes Collection.
  • To complete one other classic
  • To not read ALL picture books
  • To Read my pre-ordered books
  • To get about 70% on Netgallery

    2016 READING CHALLENGE

    33 books completed
    12 books ahead of schedule
    33/45 (73%)

Here’s the progress I made after 3 months.

To read 45 books
So far I have read 33 books:

Not Completed:

  • The complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle – 88% complete
  • Grimm’s Fairy Stories by The Grimm Brothers – 66% complete
  • Allegiant (Divergent #3) – 27%
  • Death Note Vol. 4 by Tsugumi Ohba
  • The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs
  • Alice in the Country of Hearts Vol. 3 by QuinRose

To Complete The Sherlock Holmes Collection
I’m almost there! I just have The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes left!

To Complete One Other Classic
I completed The Secret Garden! 

To Not Read ALL Picture Books
7 of them are picture books, so that’s not too bad! In my defense, we do study picture books for at least 2 weeks in class, mostly longer! Plus picture books are awesome.

To Read My Pre-ordered Books
This STILL hasn’t been acheived yet. Planning on waiting until summer to read Queen of Shadows and A Court of Thorns and Roses (I have the second one too as I’ve heard amazing things)

To Get Above 70% On Netgallery.
This may be aiming too high… Last summer it was on 50%. In March it was 59% and it’s now 61%! 2% in 3 months…

 

Have you read any of these books?
How are you getting on with your resolutions?

Children’s Books 2

Picture books are fantastic. A brilliant picture book should be accessible for all and should be enjoyed by the child and the adult. Here are some of my favourites that I’ve read so far this year in class.

My previous post on children’s books can be found here.

Claude in the City by Alex T. Smith

ClaClaude In The Cityude is no ordinary dog – he leads an extraordinary life! When Mr and Mrs Shinyshoes set off for work, Claude decides what adventure he wants to have that day. Today he and Sir Bobblysock go to the city for the very first time. The have tea in a cafe, go shopping and visit a museum. It is all very normal until…Claude accidentally foils a robbery and becomes the local hero!

Claude, the beret loving dog, and his best friend Sir Bobbly Socks go on adventures in the City, and somehow end up saving the day! We studied this book over about 5 weeks and the class loved it! It’s very funny and has lots of little jokes for adults that children may not pick up on – the strange contraption shop is a bra shop. My children loved acting out the story, making their own art gallery maps and creating their very own Claude story. There are lots of other Claude books, which a few of my children are going out to buy!

Dr Seuss
Having looked at some poetry, I begun reading my class Dr Seuss The Cat in the Hatbooks, which they LOVED. Their favourites were The Cat in the Hat, The Cat in the Hat Returns and Green Eggs and Ham. A lot of the children owned many of the books at home, so we started a little collection in class. We also read McElligot’s Pool, Mr Brown Can Moo! Can You? and Fox in Socks.I have a visualiser, so I can display it straight onto the whiteboard so the children can read along with me. As we do a lot of phonics in my class, we looked out for all the sounds we has be learning in class. They, along with other poetry books, are great for pointing out sounds that sound the same but are spelt differently (eg. fox and socks) and there were some brilliant nonsense words too.The Cat in the Hat, The Cat in the Hat Returns and Green Eggs and Green Eggs and HamHam were all about the right age for my class (5/6 year old) and they really enjoyed making predictions as they could be really elaborate. They loved guessing what the Cat was going to pull out next!
McElligot’s Pool has always been one of my favourite Dr Seuss stories. They all noticed that every other page was black and white instead of in colour. There were lots of different fish, some which were really and others were bizarre. They loved coming up with their own fish and many of them decided to design their own bizarre fish in their own time.
Mr Brown Can Moo! Can You? was definitely too young for my class, and would be more appropriate for nursery children. However, at the end of the week when they were all tired, they enjoyed making silly animal noises.

The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright.

The Lion InsideFrom the creator of the known and loved Bright Side lifestyle brand, Rachel Bright, and the winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, Jim Field, comes a feelgood rhyming story about one little mouse trying to make himself heard and discovering along the way that even the smallest of us has the heart of a lion. Perfect for fans of Giraffes Can’t Dance this stylish book from two contemporary stars really is something to shout about – it will make you laugh, cry and read it every bedtime.

“Yes, that day they BOTH learned that, no what your size, we all have a mouse AND a lion inside.”
This is a lovely story that no matter what you look like, everyone has strengths and weaknesses. It is about a little mouse who is tired of being small and weak, he wants to be like the popular and confident lion with the loud roar. When he finally gathers up the courage to ask the lion for help, he gives out a huge squeak of fear!
The pictures are really pretty too!

The Huge Bag of Worries by Virginia Ironside

The Huge Bag Of Worries (Big Books)

Wherever Jenny goes, her worries follow her – in a big blue bag. They are there when she goes swimming, when she is watching TV, and even when she is in the lavatory. Jenny decides they will have to go. But who can help her?

This is quite an old book but it’s a very good one and I would definitely recommend getting. Wherever Jenny goes, she finds that her worries follow her in in a big blue bag. Initially everything is well in Jenny’s life, but then her dog gets flees and she things people are saying means things behind her back in school. She does tell her Mum or Dad and telling her brother doesn’t help. Before she knows it her bag is getting bigger and bigger and it’s starting to get in the way and make her late for school and get in trouble with her teacher. Eventually and old lady who lives near her helps her open up her bag and deal with them; getting rid of some because they are other people’s worries not hers.
This was a great book to use in circle time to deal with our worries and the importance of talking to people and not having to drag them around.

Books I’ve bought and will be reading to my class:

  • Copy Cat by Ali Pye- Highlights that it’s more fun to play with other people than on your ow, and that other people can teach you lots of fun things.
  • Hector and Hummingbird by Nicholas John Frith – About how to deal with friends, and making sure that you have a clear communication with them and talk about how you feel instead of being mean.
  • Millie’s Marvelous Hat by Satoshi Kitamura – A girl who has a hat that can change to whatever she thinks about. Wonderful book about imagination and could link to how everyone has different thoughts in their heads.
  • The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak- a book that highlights the power of language and how it can influence what you say and how you say it.
  • Stuck by Oliver Jeffers- about a boy who gets a kite stuck in the tree, keeps throwing lots of things up there including doors, orangutans and a boat. Eventually the kite falls down, so he walks away and leaves everything else left up there! Nice link to consequences.
  • The Day the Crayon’s Came Home by Oliver Jeffers- great, fun examples of post cards from crayons, who once threatened to quit, asking to be rescued.

Have you read any of these? 

Do you have any children’s books you recommend?

The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy)

Title: The Winner’s Kiss

Author: Marie Rutkoski

Series: The Winner’s Trilogy #3 (The Winner’s Curse #1, The Winner’s Crime #2)

Publication: March 10th 2016 by Bloomsbury Children’s.

Genre: YA, Fantasy

ARC provided by Bloomsbury Children Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Following the intrigue and danger of The Winner’s Curse and the revolution and romance of The Winner’s Crime, Kestrel finds herself in the tundra’s mines and Arin has sailed home. The empire seems unstoppable.

Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin will learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this third and final installment in the heart-stopping Winner’s trilogy.

My Thoughts

If it weren’t for my month being incredibly busy, I think I would have read this in one, possibly two, sittings.

Ultimately I knew that Arin and Kestrel were going to get together. The journey was interesting part. Combine that with more complex dynamics in relationships, and I was a happy bunny.

We begin the book with Kestrel in the tundra mines due to the events at the end of the previous book. Drugged and ordered to work long hours, she cannot remember herself, her past, her family or Arin. Arin is sailing back home, under the (wrong) impression of Kestrel’s whereabouts and feelings. He is busy preparing his people for a war with Valoria. With a new alliance with Dacra and the god of Death on his side, he will not go down without a fight.

The Winner’s Kiss was a a perfect conclusion to a popular and well written series. Arin and Kestrel both experience a lot of growth from the previous book, with Kestrel showing a lot of strength, pulling herself up from rock bottom. Kestrel was vastly different at the beginning of the book, both physically and mentally, meaning the book explored the mental strength of female characters really well.

The secondary characters weren’t ignored with each one having a purpose in the book. I personally really liked Roshar with his sarcastic and witty remarks, especially at the most inappropriate times.

A highly recommended series with a highly satisfying conclusion.

My Rating

4-stars