Frank(er) thoughts.

7 Books That Should Have Made the Carnegie Shortlist

7 books that should have been on the carnegie shortlist

I have quite mixed feelings on book awards. On one hand: author recognition! Cake and smoothie every Thursday morning! Exciting book events! On the other hand: seriously bad choices. Especially in children’s book awards, when to a young person (such as my good self) just reads the books and sees ‘This is what adults think kids like to read’. I spent 80% of my time at Carnegie Medal Shadowing ranting about the books. And a lot of that time is spent glaring at the bad books and saying that it would be a lot better if we were reading (insert book here) instead. So: THE BOOKS I WOULD ACTUALLY LIKE TO SEE ON THE SHORTLIST! As chosen from previous nominations! Because some people were really dumb when narrowing down the nominations.

out of the easy
1. Out of the Easy Ruta Sepetys This is a book that I mention a lot. You might be getting a bi tired of it now but it should have at least made the longlist. I don’t read much historical fiction, but I think it’s a testament to the author how much enjoyed it. Josie is absolutely fabulous. This book manages to capture the setting whilst still having an actually interesting plot. The writing is ridiculously amazing. I DON’T UNDERSTAND. I mean, seriously, it even has the morals and stuff which seem to be pretty popular with judges but at least doesn’t deliver them in a patronising way.

brides of rollrock island
2. The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan If this wasn’t a bloody well-written book then KICK ME NOW. It had scary beautiful mystic witches and mermaids and creepy islands and betrayal and families and I’m still in love. It had so many elements of fantasy that I love. Okay, maybe it was a little slow but HAVE I MENTIONED THE WRITING?!? (This also seems like quite a good sign.

killing god
3. Killing God by Kevin Brooks Killing God doesn’t really get any less weird than the title. It’s not an easy book. But I felt like it was a great book about being a teenager and dealing with trauma without (again) being patronising. Dark humour features. I don’t know, maybe people thought it was…too dark? At least Kevin Brooks’ The Bunker Diary got on the shortlist last time. (Though there was a lot of controversy over its win.)

the boy in the striped pyjamas
4. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne Another book that isn’t really a light read, but is still important nonetheless. It’s just so horrific to be reading and the narrator doesn’t know what’s happening but the reader knows. This seems to be a bit of a theme with my list, but maybe people thought it was too dark? I don’t think books should be censored like that. This was a great book. Not everything is fluffy and happy.

i coriander
5. I, Coriander by Sally Gardner I, Coriander reads like a dream, in the literal sense: half-nightmare, half-reality, with a good dollop of fantasy. It’s another historical fiction book that’s stayed with me… Maybe I wouldn’t like it as much now, but I loved it when I was younger and Carnegie technically is more geared towards that age group.

elsewhere
6. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin Okay, maybe this is a life-after-death book, but it’s a good life after death book. It’s another strangely fantastical book about love and grief and pain. It has a beautiful format – the end at the beginning! the beginning at the end! – and really, I love the world a lot. It’s a little slow and definitely crazy but…I still liked it. It was far more interesting than a good portion of the Carnegie books I’ve read.

how i live now
7. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff This book was painful to read. It’s in a sort-of-future with World War III and is written bluntly and without much punctuation from the point of view of a slightly bratty teenager. That kind of got on my nerves, but it was scary to see how possible it would be; that’s what makes it such a unique read.

Also! Yesterday same-sex marriage was legalised across the US (and also Mexico). This isn’t the be-all and end-all in equality, but it’s a pretty good step.

What do you think of book awards? Have you read any of the books on this year’s Carnegie shortlist? :) Are there any ones you’d like to see on there?

Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015

Top Ten Tuesdays

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday was technically supposed to be the top ten topics from the last five years, but alas I don’t think I’ve been doing this quite long enough. However! Don’t worry! Instead I’ve just chosen next week’s topic, my top ten books so far of this year. (I’m very sorry for ruining the consistency in your blog-reading.)

vicious ve schwab
1. Vicious by VE Schwab Think superheroes, but with a much more pleasing amount of viciousness. Yes: it was dark and it was violent and – okay, maybe I didn’t read it quite as fast as ADSOM, but it was still excellent.

darkest part of the forest
2. The Darkest Part of the Forest I still didn’t love it as much as the Curse Workers, because those books are my violent and murderous soulmates, but this was still wonderful. It had cool girls and tricksy fae and ridiculously effortless writing. *nods in approval*

trial by fire
3. Trial by Fire I devoured this. Literally. Like a cake. I was devastated when I found that I had to wait until SEPTEMBER to get the second one. It comes out the same date as Queen of Shadows, which only adds to my growing Throne-of-Glass-Rowan confusion…at least we’ll get all the pain out the way at the beginning of the month, I suppose.

the mime order
4. The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon This was actually better than The Bone Season for me. I mean: London! Magic! Crime! What more could a girl want? Samantha Shannon is a very cool lady. (YALC HERE I COME.)

A Darker Shade of Magic
5. A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab With the FAR MORE PRETTY US cover What, my second VE Schwab book? I don’t know what you’re talking about *laughs awkwardly* See above. London, magic, and crime are my jams. This rocketed straight to the top of my favourites and honestly I don’t know how I survived before. The hype is real. The magic and characters and writing are all asdfjkl can we just talk about how amazing this book is?

the secret history
6. The Secret History by Donna Tartt Tumblr made me read it, I’ve got to say. I don’t think I understood about 70% of it but it was fun to read. (This and The Raven Cycle are almost the only things that make Latin seem cool.)

dreams of gods and monsters
7. Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor I just quite like sequels. It made me sad to bid farewell to this world, but I found this a lot quicker to read than the others. Mate, the wordbuilding. *sighs happily*

the rest of us just live here
8. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness This was an ARC, but…IT WAS JUST SO GOOD. I mean, we already knew that Patrick Ness was cool, but this book is literally the epitomy of #VeryRealisticYA. So much snark.

dangerous girls
9. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas Another book I read based on recs. I don’t normally read mystery sorts of things, but the ending in this absolutely got me. Great for munching on when you’re in a book slump.

the song of achilles
10. The Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller Um, this might also be a Tumblr read? Can I just say: don’t read it in public places unless you want to be an emotional wreck incapable of thought for the rest of the day.

Read any of these? What did you think? What are your favourite books of 2015?

Summer Bucket List

Summer bucket list

Why are bucket lists called bucket lists? This is a question that has eluded me for many months: you’re supposed to put your list into a bucket? You should wear a bucket as you complete the tasks? The…letting go of yourself…symbolises, uh, throwing buckets of water into the sea?? Apparently, though, it’s from a film where some people decided to make a list of things to do before they kick the bucket. How wonderfully cheery is that?! I’m personally hoping to make it to September alive and well., but suit yourselves.

Though I complain about school, I’m a person who likes her life to be organised. I feel lost when I don’t have structure doing the holidays. Thus, I’ve come up with a REVOLUTIONARY and INGENIOUS plan – a bucket list!

ponyo bucket

I’ve never made a bucket list before. I’m not planning for this to end up in the direction of some of the complete-this-mysterious-list books I’ve read. But the summer holidays really give me some time to do some of those things that I’ve been wanting to do for ages but just can’t. Such as…

1. WRITE THAT DARN BOOK

I’ve had a strange idea wafting around my head ever since last November’s NaNo. I’ve got about 35k down, but since then my idea has morphed in rather a different direction. I’ve been thinking about it far too often for my own good; it’s sort of become my little…recurring daydream. I want to read it a lot. Summer should be an excellent opportunity to get myself sorted out.

2. Raid the library

I don’t mean in my normal fashion, though naturally that’ll have to happen too. ;) I’m thinking more: READ THOSE CLASSICS YOU’VE BEEN EYEING UP FOR AGES. I’d quite like to read Les Mis before I got to Paris which I’m ridiculously excited about. I’m already far too emotionally involved in those characters anyway. I’d also like to try out Wuthering Heights. And Lord of the Rings. And poetry, and maybe some *gasps* non-fiction books as well. I like to learn. Speaking of which:

3. Learn some new useful things

It’d be helpful to sort out my miserably dismal html skills. I also rather fancy some language-learning, either of one I already study or something new WORDS ARE JUST TOO PRETTY OKAY. Maybe some science too, or history, or useless general knowledge trivia. My brain hungers for useless trivia right now.

4. Finish all those TV programmes (and watch some decent films)

I’ve started about a million series (Once Upon a Time, Avatar the Last Airbender, Supernatural etc.) and I still haven’t finished any of them. That’s something I’d like to do. I’m thinking a full day marathon, that sort of thing. Plus, because I’m apparently lumping all camera-film-related things together, I’d like to go to that new cinema nearby. And maybe finally finish all the Ghibli films, so that be all knowledgeable? :P It seems a bit of a shame to stay inside when it’s sunny, but British summers usually include a bit of rainy downtime.

5. Go see some art

I have fantasies where I go to visit places on my own and then can sit and admire things without feeling awkward. I’d quite like to realise one of them. Maybe visit the British Library too.

6. Do more origami

The only thing I can make is paper cranes. I’m not bad at it; it’s a very good de-stresser. This summer I’d like to either a) have a stab at the thousand cranes or b) learn some different origami. If it’s a choice, paper weapons that I can make/implement during school would be nice.

7. Stargaze

…did I say I wasn’t going to steal things from books? I might have lied there. I just really want to see some stars. One time I woke up whilst camping and it was insane. I don’t see many stars normally so it was insane to see stars falling everywhere. I’d like to stargaze officially (maybe get some constellation knowledge too.)

With any luck, I’ll be able to update you on my progress during summer! I kind of hope that writing all these down will encourage me. (If not, you’re welcome to write a comment with ‘HOW DARE YE’ or the like!)

If your holidays have started, how are they going? Do you have any more ideas for me, or a summer bucket list of your own? :)

Why I Don’t Write Book Reviews

I’m not exactly a book blog. My blog is very good at morphing and not being in one of those…what do you call them…ah, yes. Niches. One of them. ;) Still, it’s no secret that I adore books and I’ll happily tell you how fabulous many of them are. No, what it seems like I’m missing are book reviews. I’d like to say I have a wonderful and enlightening reasoning for this, but sadly not.

Most of all, I don’t post reviews because I don’t really like writing them. I’d rather spend time doing something else. I’m pretty sure this is also related to the fact that I’m not awfully good at it.

See, I don’t read many reviews. I have huge, huge respect for people who do write reviews – you are all amazing and I have no idea how you do it! – but I don’t tend to browse reviews much unless it’s for a) a book I’m looking to buy or b) a book I’ve already read and want to flail about with other people. Writing sites will always tell you that reading is the best way to write, and I’m 90% sure that also goes for book reviews. I think I could get better at reviewing if I wanted to. I just…don’t think I do.

Part of it’s also down to bit of irritating subconscious thing I have: I always want to be different. (Even writing this post feeds that.) I’m that one who always wants to choose a different subject for their project, get a different result, whatever. Doing good in the same subject as others isn’t what I want. I must be DIFFERENT and DIVERGENT and MORE SPECIAL.

It’s quite annoying. But there we go.

That title is a bit of a lie, if I’m honest. I’m fine to occasionally write book reviews for other sites and I’m not averse to bookish goodies either. I went through a phase when I posted some on Goodreads. I’m also cool to give my opinion; as I’m sure my friends know, there’ve been many occasions where I’ve ranted/fangirled about books constantly. I just…don’t want to scribble down my analysis. Who’s it actually helping? What’s it achieving for me?

I’ve made peace with not writing reviews. Being lazy and sticking to my comfort zone interests is fine for me at the moment; if I want to, I can always pick up the pen again.

Do any of you write reviews? What do you think of it?

The Epic Reads Tag

epic reads tag

Okay, so, I was tagged for this by Michelle @ The Writing Hufflepuff in, um, February. Oops, sorry! Ah, well, thank you very much for tagging me all that time ago. :)

If you could invite one author and one of their fictional characters to tea, who would you invite and what would you serve them?

I think I’d go with Sarah J Maas and Celaena Sardothien, because Sarah was ridiculously funny and cute at her signing and Celaena…well, Celaena is Celaena. She’s just awesome.

What book do you wish the author would write the prequel for?

I know this is a pretty popular choice, but I NEED MARAUDERS ERA HOGWARTS SO DAMN MUCH. Seriously. Also, this is slightly cheating but I would like all the Simon Snow novels to be written. (I’m sorry. I sound like a stuck record.)

Which two characters (NOT from the same book) do you think would make a good couple?

…Not from the same book? *scratches head* Okay, I don’t want to break up any ships, but I want a meeting of Lila Zacharov and Celaena Sardothien so that they can be spoiled ruthlessly beautiful girls together. <3

If you ran into your favourite author on the subway and only could say one sentence to them who is it and what would it be?

This is a really hard decision for me, but it’d probably be Rainbow Rowell and…incoherent screaming? That’s the most accurate way to describe my feelings, seriously. Though I’d like to tell her ‘You’re amazing, please tell me your secrets please and thank you’. That’s slightly better, right? ;)

What book made you a reader and why?

This sounds awful, but I truly don’t really have one. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t loved books. I was in love with them even before Harry Potter, really… Throne of Glass was the one that introduced me to fandom things, though. It was my first bookish soulmate. <3

Your bookshelf just caught fire! What is the one book you would save?

NO NO NO MY BOOKS WHO ARE YOU

screaming
First of all, you should probably know that I am very protective of my books. This is due to both HELLO BOOKS, and also a slight materialistic streak in me that cannot deal with the loss of pretty or things.Therefore: hardback, preferably, or my Kindle if we’re going on entertainment value. If that isn’t an available option, I’ll go with…oh man, this so predictable, but probably my collector’s edition of Fangirl.

Which dystopian world would you want to live in and why?

what
The word dystopia literally means a place where everything is unpleasant. WHY WOULD I WANT TO LIVE THERE??
Otherwise…I dunno, maybe Red Rising. They have kick-ass machines and have I mentioned they live on Mars?

What is your most Epic Read of all time?
I am Not Sure why that is Capitalised. *looks around helplessly* But it sure is a sneaky way of asking me my favourite book.

i see what you did there

That’s like asking me to choose my favourite…cat? I don’t know. I’m not sure ‘child’ is applicable here. But I’m sure you know by now that any book by Rainbow Rowell is dear to my heart, as is the ridiculously amazing A Darker Shade of Magic. (Assuming this questions refers to Random Capitalised Standalones, not Random Capitalised Series.)

I’m going to go ahead and tag:
Hufflepuff Thoughts
The Enchanted Book

And anyone else who wants to take part! (I’m not just saying that. I swear.)

May Favourites!

EXAMS ARE OVER THANK GOODNESS

My monthly favourites feature is also a year old this month! I mean, it had a rather long hiatus until August so, not quite, and it’s undergone several makeovers but SHH. Don’t ruin my celebration. Here, have some cake. (Or another dessert of your choice, if you like.)

cake

To be honest, this month has mostly been boring. Revision puts me into comfort mode, pretty much: out comes the cheesy movies, re-reads of old books, nice warm blankets and all of that. My transformation into a duvet/cookie monster hindered thing a bit. ;)

may favourites

1. Everyman This was a…weird play. But also good. Wickedly beautiful script adaptation.

2. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender Whilst I was reading this book, it devoured me. It has such a different aura to other books, the prose was gorgeous and HAVE I TOLD YOU HOW MUCH I LIKE ANGEL GIRLS. *coughs* It’s not one of my absolute favourites, but it was fun.

3. Carry On I’m pretty sure there’s never a time when Carry On isn’t in my favourites. ;) But this month the lovely Fangirl Collector’s Edition came out, and naturally I had to get it because YO FULL COLOUR FANART AND CARRY ON EXCERPT. It was even more glorious than expected. :D

pretty in pink
October needs to come way faster.

4. Nimona I wrote a very long and fangirly post about how Nimona is an awesome character for My Hero Monday a while ago. I can’t recommend it enough! I read the whole webcomic whilst it was still online, but since this has a Snazzy Book Only Epilogue and Extra Development Sketches and Everything In The Same Place I naturally needed to get it. And MY FEELS I AM NOT OKAY >.< Nimonnnaaaaaa (I'm not handling the Christmas special with cute little Ballister and Ambrosius either.)

5. Ocean Waves
It’s not my favourite Ghibli movie. It’s pretty short, but the thing that I did love about it was how realistic it was. My friends thought Rikako was kind of an idiot and yeah, she was, but I loved that she wasn’t perfect. People are allowed to be selfish and impulsive sometimes. (Especially in high school.)

6. MCM London Comic Con This was my first con (not in the slightly-illegal-Cassel-Sharpe sense of the word) and it was even better than I expected! I cosplayed as Kiki from Kiki’s Delivery Service, and it was so nice when people recognised you. :) I spent far too much money, but there you go. I’m now super excited for YALC! (I’m thinking of going as Cath for that.)

Stuff from around the internet:

In the diary:

  • I went to a book event/signing with Sarah J Maas! *flails*
  • It was the General Election, and basically: we’re screwed!
  • But Ireland voted yes to same sex marriage, so there was some positive politics.
  • Carnegie Shadowing is still a thing that’s happening.
  • My friend and I went llama trekking (read as: walk with and fawn over llamas).

How has your month been? Read any good books recently? :)

Poetry: Persephone

poetry persephone

*rises from pit of nothingness* I LIVE! I know it’s hard to believe, but I’m actually still here. You know. I’m afraid that May favourites are probably going to be a little delayed this time round due to exams and all that, but they should be up by next weekend. (But that might have to allow for some wiggle room.)

I haven’t posted any poetry in a while, and since I have a few odds and ends collecting dust in the depths of my computer I decided to dig one of those out for you today. And look! Line breaks! Impressive, right? ;) No, seriously. I usually struggle a lot with line breaks (sometimes just omitting them) so I’m rather pleased with that. I can’t for the life of me fix the middle section, but SOMEDAY. SOMEDAY. *nods head vigorously*

Also I’m awful with titles and this didn’t turn out how I meant it to so it’s not so relevant BLEURGHH plus I reused all my old lines


Persephone
your ring is polished from
nights of skin and guilt you’re
trying to erase her but the
vanish isn’t working

on your body
either: you insist that
you’re fine but your fingernails tell a
different story, one of caffeine and corpses and
lipstick accusations in the
mirror
still there. (the

fridge light watches, dispassionate, your
ungodly tears. see, you’ve twisted the
game too much:

the hell you made for her haunts
you instead.)


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 492 other followers