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Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

Flora Banks has anterograde amnesia and she’s unable to remember anything past the age of 11. That is, until she kisses Drake – her best friend Paige’s recent ex-boyfriend – on the beach during a party. Flora can remember kissing Drake, and she wonders if he […]

Review: Cream Buns and Crime by Robin Stevens

Review: Cream Buns and Crime by Robin Stevens

‘No English person wants to believe that another Englishman could do awful things.’ Cream Buns and Crime isn’t actually a novel, but a collection that fits beautifully into the Murder Most Unladylike universe. Including five short stories and a handful of various other bits and pieces, […]

March wrap-up

March wrap-up

Hey again! A quarter of 2018 has already flown past, and I can’t believe that it’s already time for another wrap-up. Despite the fact that March was much longer than February (and I’m not actually writing this until a few days into April, because it slipped my mind…) it felt far shorter, because I’ve had an extremely busy month.

Personal: 

On the 20th of March at 10:06am, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.

Baby announcement

In last month’s wrap-up, I hinted that I had something big rapidly approaching, and she was it! She ended up coming ten days early, but luckily I’d already prepared a heck ton of blog posts that could go up while I was adjusting to life as a new mother.

She’s being remarkably easy – all she really does is sleep, eat and destroy nappies like there’s no tomorrow – so I’m not struggling to be as productive as I was before, but that will probably change when Daddy goes back to work after his paternity leave…

As well as that, I officially moved into my partner’s flat, so our little family was all together as soon as she popped out. It’s been ridiculously fun and not stressful in the slightest, and I can’t believe how lucky and happy I am.

 

Blog: 

The Bumbling Blogger’s third month was its least successful, with just 469 views and 75 comments. That’s to be expected, though: I haven’t been remembering to promote my posts for the past two weeks because of the baby, so they’ve been flying under the radar. I’m going to try to prioritise this throughout April.

My most viewed blog post in March was my Top Ten Tuesday list of books that surprised me.

Top five viewed posts in March
My top five posts in March.

 

Music: 

I only wrote one live review because I only went to one concert in March (because I was so close to giving birth) and that was Waterparks headline show at KOKO in London.

I also continued writing album reviews for afterLIVE and managed to review both Turbowolf’s The Free Life and Red Lights by Milestones before baby arrived. I’m hoping to get back on track and catch up with the weeks that I’ve missed, but I feel as though I’m fighting a losing battle – I haven’t had time to listen to a single song in the past fortnight!

 

Books:

Surprisingly, my reading didn’t take too much of a hit this month. I managed to finish 13 books, matching the total that I read last month, and I’m halfway through another three (and hoping to finish them off fairly soon!). Click on the titles below to see what I thought of each of the books:

  1. Autumn: Aftermath by David Moody
  2. Amazing Women: 101 Lives to Inspire You by Lucy Beevor
  3. Ask No Questions by Lisa Hartley
  4. The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
  5. Jolly Foul Play by Robin Stevens
  6. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  7. 7 Days by Eve Ainsworth
  8. Mistletoe and Murder by Robin Stevens
  9. Crush by Eve Ainsworth
  10. Damage by Eve Ainsworth
  11. Tender by Eve Ainsworth

I also finished The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr and Cream Buns and Crime by Robin Stevens, but my reviews of those won’t be arriving until next week.

As well as writing all of these reviews, I teamed up with Entangled Teen to reveal the covers of four novels: Spies, Lies, and Allies by Lisa Brown Roberts, Echoes by Alice Reeds, Kiss of the Royal by Lindsey Duga and Project Prometheus by Aden Polydoros.

 

That’s it for this month. Did anything big happen in your March?

Alyce

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Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I love from books I hate

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I love from books I hate

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, but was recently relocated to That Artsy Reader Girl.  This is probably the hardest Top Ten Tuesday topic I’ve ever tackled. If I hate a book, I normally hate EVERYTHING about it. If there’s […]

Cover reveal: Star-Crossed by Pintip Dunn

Cover reveal: Star-Crossed by Pintip Dunn

I hope you’re having a lovely Easter Monday! I’ve had a relaxing day at home with my family, but I couldn’t resist taking a bit of time out to participate in this cover reveal. Last week, I teamed up with Entangled Teen to reveal the […]

Review: Tender by Eve Ainsworth

Review: Tender by Eve Ainsworth

Tender tells the story of two young carers, Marty and Daisy. The novel illuminates the similarities and differences between their lives: Marty, whose mum is on the verge of having a breakdown following the death of his father, and Daisy, whose brother Harry has muscular dystrophy and is certain to die before his time.

Attending the same young carers group, the two quickly become friends. But with so much to deal with will their relationship have the chance to develop into something more?

Tender is the only Eve Ainsworth novel that has blown me away. There isn’t a single aspect that can be faulted. It’s perfect.

I can’t think of another book that focuses on the lives of young carers, and that’s part of the reason that Tender is such a success. By featuring two contrasting experiences Ainsworth introduces the reader to two kinds of carers, showing that the definition is not always clear-cut and that people from all kinds of backgrounds can be carers. She makes it easier to understand exactly what caring entails, and because it’s underrepresented in YA fiction this is a necessity that educates the general population.

But that’s not the only reason that Tender is so remarkable. Marty and Daisy are both strong, three-dimensional characters, and they really do come alive on the page. The contrast between their two voices makes it impossible to get lost between their alternating chapters, and Daisy’s weak optimism contrasts sharply with Marty’s overly pessimistic point of view.

As well as that, the plot is simple yet utterly effective. It’s pretty obvious that Marty and Daisy are going to get closer as they attend more group meetings, but because of the respective crises in their lives it seems impossible that they’re going to be able to develop their relationship into anything more serious. However, the will-they-won’t-they nature of their relationship fades into the background in favour of the plots surrounding Marty’s mother and Daisy’s brother respectively. You find yourself almost caring about their stories more than the two narrators!

Tender is Eve Ainsworth’s best novel by far. If you’ve read any of her other novels and have been unimpressed, take a chance and give Tender a go: I promise you won’t regret it.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about Tender, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!

 

Did you read any of Eve Ainsworth’s novels for this month’s British Books Challenge?

Alyce

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Review: Damage by Eve Ainsworth

Review: Damage by Eve Ainsworth

‘This is me now. Confused. Stupid and damaged. Everything is ruined. Someone has dimmed the lights inside of me and it’s awful. I’m a deserted building full of rattling ghosts and memories.’ Gabi is struggling with her emotions following the death of her granddad. He […]

Excerpt: True Storm by L.E. Sterling

Excerpt: True Storm by L.E. Sterling

After participating in the cover reveal for L.E. Sterling’s True Storm back in January, I’m pleased to be able to share an exclusive excerpt from the third novel in the True Born trilogy with you today. True Storm is hitting the shelves on May 1st, so if […]

Top Ten Tuesday: Books from abroad

Top Ten Tuesday: Books from abroad

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, but was recently relocated to That Artsy Reader Girl

Welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday! This week, I’m talking about my ten favourite books that take place in other countries. I’ve tried to avoid featuring any books set in America, even though I live in the UK, because I thought that would have been too easy. I didn’t completely love all of these books, but their locations definitely stick in my mind.

10) Trash by Andy Mulligan

Trash by Andy Mulligan

Trash is set in an unnamed Third World country, but even though it doesn’t specify where the events take place the location still has a powerful impact. Following three dumpsite boys, the majority of the novel takes place in the huge trash piles on the outskirts of the city, and it’s impossible to read without feeling rage at the lives that these boys are forced to lead.

9) Kids Like Us by Hilary Reyl

Kids Like Us by Hilary Reyl

Kids Like Us is set in France, where Martin is living for the summer while his mum works on her latest blockbuster film. The location is beautifully described, and there’s lots of references to various French food items which certainly adds to the realism! On top of that, the autism representation is impeccable.

8) Snowdrops by A.D. Miller

Snowdrops by A.D. Miller

It’s been six years since I read Snowdrops, so I can’t remember much about it… But I can remember that it was set in Russia, and the descriptions of the desolate, snowy landscapes had me shivering and chilled to the bone. Although the plot was pretty forgettable, the setting sticks in your mind.

7) Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

I read Before I Let Go at the start of the year, and I didn’t really enjoy it. However, the descriptions of the Alaskan location caused the tension to rocket throughout the novel, and I found myself wanting to be able to rate the book higher because of how effectively Marieke Nijkamp utilised the wilderness of Alaska.

6) First Class Murder by Robin Stevens

First Class Murder by Robin Stevens

First Class Murder is set on the Orient Express, so it actually takes place in a few countries along the route. I couldn’t resist featuring it, though, because Robin Stevens describes both the passing scenery outside the train and the stations and locations that the characters briefly explore, and each stop filled me with a sense of unbearable wanderlust.

5) The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

I didn’t know much about The One Memory of Flora Banks when I started reading it, so I was surprised to discover that half of the story takes place in Svalbard. In summer, Svalbard is the land of the midnight sun, where darkness never occurs: the disorientation of night and day blurring into one greatly confuses both Flora and the reader.

4) Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden 

Tomorrow, When The War Began by John Marsden

I mentioned Tomorrow, When The War Began when I showcased Australian authors on Australia Day. Whenever I have to choose books set in other countries, Tomorrow, When The War Began is always the first one that pops into my head, because it tells the story of a group of teenagers who go camping in the outback, and when they return to town they discover that Australia has been invaded and a war has broken out.

3) Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss is – unsurprisingly – set in France, following Anna as she starts attending boarding school and falls in love with one of her fellow students. It’s a romantic setting for a painfully adorable contemporary, and although it’s cliched to set a love story in France, Stephanie Perkins brings the town to life and references things that I haven’t heard mentioned in other novels.

2) The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

Another novel set in Alaska, and one of the best books I’ve ever read. The location is impeccably described, exploring the impact that small town gossip can have across families and through generations.

1) Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

I also mentioned Stolen on my Australian authors showcase, and there was no question in my mind that it had to take the top spot on this list. A young girl is abducted from an airport and stolen away to a location in the middle of the Australian desert, miles from civilisation, with only her abductee for company. It’s thrilling, and one of my favourite stories of all time. It wouldn’t be as effective if it didn’t have such an interesting setting.

 

If you’re interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon Affiliate link (found in the book’s title). If you’d like to read more about each book, please click their cover: you’ll be redirected to their Goodreads page.

 

Which country is your favourite setting for stories? Leave your comments – and your Top Ten Tuesday links – down below: I can’t wait to see some of your posts!

Alyce

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Cover reveal: Project Prometheus by Aden Polydoros

Cover reveal: Project Prometheus by Aden Polydoros

Once again, I’m teaming up with Entangled Teen to reveal another of their awesome cover reveals. Project Prometheus is vastly different to the cover of Lindsey Duga’s Kiss of the Royal, which I revealed last week, but I hope you’ll like this cover just as much as I […]