Pages and Co: Tilly and the Book Wanderers

Here’s a book to excite all readers.

Here is a book that I (Sarah) pushed under Emma’s nose and forced her to read because I knew how much she would love it.


Eleven year-old Tilly has lived above her grandparents’ bookshop ever since her mother disappeared shortly after she was born. Like the rest of her family, Tilly loves nothing more than to escape into the pages of her favourite stories.

One day Tilly realises that classic children’s characters are appearing in the shop through the magic of `book wandering’ – crossing over from the page into real life.

With the help of Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland. Tilly is determined to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago, so she bravely steps into the unknown, unsure of what adventure lies ahead and what dangers she may face.


I love this book because it dives into fantasy worlds I also love, like Alice in Wonderland. It was also easy to understand, which was great! With Alice, all the books Tilly and Oskar wander into are vivid and I can see them come to life, as if I was watching them on film. Tilly also reminds me a lot of Belle from Beauty and the Beast, always excited to be in a bookshop or library surrounded by various worlds and magical stories. The rest of the story was fun, exciting, and I liked that it had a happy ending.

It is a book for the dreamers, and people who always want to see their favourite book characters come to life.

I rate it 5 out of 5★

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Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?

Image result for are we all lemmings and snowflakesStatistics:

Title – Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes?

Author – Holly Bourne

Series/Standalone – Standalone

Book No – N/A

Genre – YA Contemporary

Date of Publication – 9th August 2018

Number of Pages – 397

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Review – Everless

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Statistics:

Title – Everless

Author – Sara Holland

Series/Standalone – Series

Book Number – 1

Genre – YA Fantasy/Dystopia

Date of Publication – 27th December 2017 (UK)

Number of Pages – 361


Synopsis:

When your own blood and personal time is a currency, how far would you go to save your loved ones and give them more time than they currently possess?

In the world of Sempera, societal classes could not be more distinct. As the rich control time, they have it in abundance, turning blood into iron coins which they then use on themselves to help them live for centuries. The poor, however, bleed themselves dry, trying to find enough time to feed themselves and pay rent.

For our main character Jules, time is running out. She and her father don’t have enough time to pay their rent arrears and she will do anything to help save him, even give up some of her own time. When an opportunity arises to work at Everless, the large estate in Sempera and home to the Gerling family, Jules takes it, even if it means leaving her father behind and stepping into a world she’s been told to avoid at all costs.

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The Taste of Blue Light

36975311Format: paperback

Number of pages: 352

Date of Publication: 8th February 2018

Genre: YA Contemporary

Synopsis:

An incandescent, soul-searching story about a broken young woman’s search for a truth buried so deep it threatens to consume her, body and mind.

These are the things Lux knows:
She is an artist.
She is lucky.
She is broken.

These are the things she doesn’t know:
What happened over the summer.
Why she ended up in hospital.
Why her memories are etched in red.

Desperate to uncover the truth, Lux’s time is running out. If she cannot piece together the events of the summer and regain control of her fractured mind, she will be taken away from everything and everyone she holds dear.

If her dreams don’t swallow her first.

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ARC Review: Fragments of the Lost

Image result for fragments of the lost by megan miranda

Jessa Whitworth knew she didn’t belong in her ex-boyfriend Caleb’s room. But she couldn’t deny that she was everywhere – in his photos, his neatly folded T-shirts, even the dragonfly necklace in his jeans pocket, the one she gave him for safe keeping on that day.

His mother asked her to pack up his things even though she blames Jessa for his accident. How could she say no? And maybe, just maybe, it will help her work through the guilt she feels about their final moments together.

But as Jessa begins to box up the pieces of Caleb’s life, they trigger memories that make Jessa realize their past relationship may not be exactly as she remembered. And she starts to question whether she really knew Caleb at all.

Each fragment of his life reveals a new clue that propels Jessa to search for the truth about Caleb’s accident. What really happened on the night he died?

Statistics:

Format – prose
Edition – ARC (paperback)
Date of Publication – 5th April 2018 (UK)
Number of Pages – 369
Genre – YA Mystery

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Rebecca

12873Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again…

Working as a lady’s companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Her future looks bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Max de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper, Mrs Danvers…

Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman. An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, Rebecca is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.

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Call The Midwife Christmas Special

When all presents are opened, dinner has been served, and you’ve exhausted all the Christmas games, you want nothing more than to sit in front of the tv and watch one of the many specials broadcast at this time of year. The eclectic mix of programmes is enough to make you go mad and find yourself in the middle of another family argument. If you’re lucky, your choice of programme is the one that gets watched at its time of broadcast, but if not, you have to wait your turn and pray to God that it is still on record or that channel’s version of IPlayer by the time you get to it.

I’m lucky that my family all tend to watch the same thing at Christmas, although I might curse and sigh in desperation if it is a Premier League Football match! And thank goodness the lack of my sister meant no forced watching of the overly-dramatic, mixed-up, and brain-numbing Eastenders!

The East End of London in 1962 is much more to my liking and it was there with Call the Midwife where I spent the last few hours of Christmas Day.

Image result for call the midwife 2017 christmas special

Nonnatus House is always ready for the challenges that life in Poplar brings and Christmas is no exception. This year, the nuns and nurses battle adverse weather conditions to deal with milk-deprived mothers, abusive relationships, and one particular birth that doesn’t go quite according to plan. Alongside some personal trials and comedic contretemps with a particularly bitter police sergeant, this is one Christmas special that is in-keeping with the common and well-loved themes of Call the Midwife.

I have seen quite a few comments and reviews from people saying that it wasn’t in the Christmas nature of Call the Midwife to tackle such hard-hitting topics, but I believe it is is not Call the Midwife otherwise. They’re in the early 1960s, in the poorest borough of London, where reliable services are scarce, and the lives are real! It’s also not the first time they’ve dealt with the topic of abuse – there’s Molly Brignall in series 2 and Trudy Watts in series 6! The same can be said for stillbirths (predicted or otherwise) – Conchita Warren in series 1 and Abigail Bissette in series 4. To me, this episode was an everyday episode that just so happened to be set at Christmas. I was taken aback by the harshness at first, but I’ve come to expect this and it has made me all the more conscious of the themes the show might tackle.

In this same vein, the episode managed to retain the balance between grittiness and brevity. That’s hard to achieve at the best of times so it is a testament to Heidi Thomas’s writing and the amazing cast that the transitions between the two are seamlessly smooth. To end with a pantomime and seeing Fred decked out in costume after experiencing those stories firmly implants the theme of community and it reminds us of the goodness and happiness it brings, especially at Christmas! I’ve even watched the episode a few times now just to revisit Nurse Crane’s exchanges with the bitter and snarky Sergeant Woolf and I laughed every time!

What I also liked is that all the Nonnatus characters (minus Patsy and Delia) had their moment, even if they didn’t share the same amount of screen time. It’s episodes like these where I’m always impressed by the quality of the cast because Heidi Thomas can give them different roles to suit the storylines, and I never tire of seeing the different challenges they all face. However, I was a little irritated by the lack of reference to Patsy and Delia. I know from cast interviews and articles that the both Emerald Fennell and Kate Lamb have left the show but their absence wasn’t explained. I wouldn’t have minded but Nurse Crane referenced Sister Evangelina in a passing comment and she passed away at the end of series 5! I’m hoping that something is said in the upcoming series as it would be nice to know their ending, and I can’t bear to witness the decline in the show’s continuity when it has always been exceptional. To an extent, the same could be said for Cynthia/Sister Mary Cynthia too. I’ll be sad to not see her return as a regular cast member but at least I have some consolation knowing that she willingly moved out of Nonnatus House before the airing of this episode and was somewhere else for a valid reason.

Keeping on the topic of characters, I loved that we got to see Reggie again! It was lovely to see Nurse Crane take him under her wing and make him feel included in the community. I hope this implies that we’ll see more of him because he does look at home with Fred, Violet and everyone at Nonnatus.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the cast of secondary characters was excellent. Anita Dobson did an amazing job of portraying Mrs Tillerson and I was impressed by her realism. It only took a few lines of dialogue for me to suspect some dark undertones to her character and whilst you could say that is a sign of predictability, I think it comes from knowing Call the Midwife and increasingly understanding that life in the East End of London was not without its darkness and cruelty. This juxtaposes quite nicely with Sergeant Woolf whose strictness and superiority brought a lightness to proceedings as well as firmly implanting Nurse Crane’s role as a mentor and guide in the wider Poplar community. I also don’t want to forget the characters of Linda and Selwyn who remind me of many other Poplar residents, just getting on and dealing with what life throws at them.

To sum it up, this Christmas episode of Call the Midwife was everything I wanted it to be – great characters, touching and hard-hitting storylines, Christmas magic, and everlasting messages and lessons. It further implants the series as one of my all-time favourites and I can’t wait to see what the new series will bring.

Not too long to wait now!


Did you watch the Christmas special?
What did you think of it?

Thanks for reading and have a brazzle dazzle day!
xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hate U Give

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Statistics:

Format – Prose
Edition – Paperback (UK)
Date of publication – April 6th 2017
No of pages – 438
Genre – Contemporary
Age – YA
Author – Angie Thomas


Goodreads Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

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The Bone Sparrow

 

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Statistics:

Format – Prose
Edition – Paperback
No of Pages – 240
Date of Publication – 12th January 2017
Author – Zana Fraillon
Genre – YA Contemporary


Opening the worlds’ eyes to the reality of the refugee crisis, The Bone Sparrow shares the story of those people lost and forgotten to the world. Mostly narrated by Subhi, a refugee born in an Australian detention centre, life behind the wire fences is all he has ever known. But his world is far bigger than anyone could dream. Stories of the Night Sea bring him hope that the world Outside is full of life. That one day he can travel beyond the cage and be free. Full of hope and life, he meets Jimmie, a girl from the Outside who lives with the memories of her lost mother. When she comes to the fences, she brings with her a notebook, a notebook full of stories that she can’t read. As they Subhi and Jimmie read and discover these stories together, they unravel the world and remember that if they all sing together, their song can light up the dark.

Stories, fantasy, and imagination are a big part of what makes this story so heartbreaking. Innocent people just finding that sliver of light and gripping onto it with all their strength because it is the only thing they have in the world that they can continually regenerate between themselves. Behind the fences is a life of horror and pain. Workers (Jackets) that don’t care for the innocent people around them, poor hygiene, a lack of water, food that is old and past its best, rats, disease, and everything that you’d more commonly find if you were living in a German Second World War extermination camp. The refugees and detainees only receive better food and more than their basic human rights when Outside workers come in to evaluate the state of affairs. No one knows the truth more than the people living it and with no one to listen, they are invisible.

“Sometimes, in here when people stop talking, and stop asking, and stop remembering, that’s when they start to lose that piece of themselves.”

Written in dual perspectives (Subhi and Jimmie) we get to understand what the power of stories and memories mean for them both. Subhi might take more of the spotlight but it is his stories that carry more weight, it is his retelling of the stories in Jimmie’s book that help us to see that happy memories are stored everywhere and come to life when we need them most.

“Sometimes Maá will see that looking back is just as important as looking forward, no matter how much sad it carries.”

I don’t have words to explain how much this book touched me and made me aware of the true reality of life behind the fences. Though it is not a true account, the mistreatment happening behind those closed doors is real. The conditions that the author describes were taken from reports of life in Australian detention centres and it still makes me shake with disgust and horror that innocent people are treated and persecuted in this way because they’re fleeing from a war zone.

As well as the stories, it is the friendship between Subhi and Jimmie that make this book powerful. They’re both not living the best life (Subhi in the centre, and Jimmie living with no mother, and a father who works away from home) and through their friendship they find comfort. They’ll do anything for each other and Subhi shows that when he decides to escape from the centre and save Jimmie from an infection that is slowly killing her.

That power behind the stories is saving and given them a better chance at life.

It’s obviously not realistic for everyone but it works.

Combine that with humanity, truth, and real life, and you’ve got a book that explores a relevant, eye-opening topic.

To those who refuse to be blinded by the glare, or deafened by the hush, who are brave enough to question, and curious enough to explore. To those who will not forget. You will make a difference. And to the rest of us, so that we may learn how. 


My rating 

5 out of 5 stars


Thanks for reading and have a good day!
xx