Friday Feature: Great YA Father Figures

It’s my dad’s birthday today (happy birthday, Daddy Lipsy!), which got me thinking about my favourite dads or father figures in YA.

I actually tried to do this feature with mums on Mother’s Day but could hardly come up with any! I’m pleased to say I had more success with dads.

Jack Peak – She is Not Invisible

sini
This one is fresh in my mind because I finished the book earlier in the week (review will be up tomorrow). I absolutely love Marcus Sedgwick but I was worried about SINI because it’s such a departure for him. I needn’t have worried of course. Considering Jack isn’t actually in most of the book, due to being missing, he made a big impact. We get to know him through his daughter Laureth who decides to go and find him in New York.

There were so many things that I loved about Jack, but I think my favourite was that always treated his kids like equals, like adults. He never talked down them, or thought they were incapable, and he trusted them and valued their opinions.

He’s also slighty mad. I think all the best dads are!

BUY ME

Mo Folchart – Inkheart

Inkheart
It’s been a long time since I read Inkheart, but I always think of Mo and Meggie’s relationship as one of the the greatest father/daughter relationships in contemporary fiction.

Both characters are grieving over the disappearance of Meggie’s mum but it only seems to make them stronger.

And, in the words of Dianne Tanner: HE COULD READ CHARACTERS OUT OF BOOKS SO THEY ARE ALIVE IN REAL ACTUAL LIFE !!!!! BEST SUPER POWER

He also passed on his love of books to Meggie, even if he won’t read aloud to her anymore…
 
BUY ME

Shalom Singer – The Selection

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Similar to SINI, Shalom doesn’t get a whole lot of page time in The Selection trilogy but through letters and the occasional visit it’s clear that America is the closest to her dad.

He’s the only one who didn’t push her into entering The Selection despite how much it could help their family.

He also turns out to be pretty badass.

BUY ME

Charlie Swan – Twilight

Twi
Oh Chief Swan. I had to go there didn’t I.

So yeah, he might be a bit overprotective as far as boyfriends go but who can blame him, his daughter is seeing a vampire with control issues. Compared to Edward he’s like the mellowist guy ever.

He doesn’t lurk, or pry, and he’s always off fishing. Party Time!

He’s also totally hot, right? RIGHT?

BUY ME

Skulduggery Pleasant


This series is full of great father figures, from Stephanie’s actual father, to her late grandfather Gordon who still manages to help her out when she’s in a pickle, and then of course there’s Skulduggery.

I love how Skulduggery and Stephanie’s relationship develops through the series. They’ll literally do anything for each other.

Plus, who wouldn’t want a sarcastic skeleton detective as a father figure!?

He’s also not happy about Stephanie/Valkyrie dating a vampire. Note to self: Dads are not a fan of vampire boyfriends.

BUY ME

You’ll Do Too…

Shout-outs also have to go to Luke in The Mortal Instruments (Werewolf Dad), and Jeb in The Host (bad-ass free-thinking Dad).

Who did I miss?

Friday Feature: Search Term LOLZ

It’s been a while since I did a post on the weird and wonderful search terms that have brought people to my blog. It’s definitely one of my favourite WP features.

I don't know

There’s been a nice mix of the amusing, damn-right-confusing, and just-plain-worrying in the last six months. Here are some of the best!

1. ‘i hate divergent movie’

Hate is such a strong word, but yeah kinda. It was pretty terrible, right? The searcher (searchee?) probably wasn’t very satisfied with my extremely brief Divergent Rant, but I hope they have come to terms with their disappointment.

2. ‘dorian throne of glass groin’

Well I guess this one sort of speaks for itself, but I wonder what exactly they wanted to know about Prince Dorian’s groin? I reviewed Throne of Glass here.

3. ‘are there more team zombies or team unicorns’

Obviously, I’m Team Unicorn, so I would like to think that there are more people on the side of the magical beings than the slobbering undead, but who knows. I reviewed Holly Black et al’s Zombies Vs Unicorns here.

4. ‘poor lulu’

This is the first one to completely stump me. Who’s Lulu? And why are we feeling sorry for her? On further investigation it looks like it’s the catchphrase from a Harry Enfield sketch. How the hell that brought them here, I have no idea – but thanks for visiting, sketchshow fan.

5. ‘scooby gang bram stoker’

Hmm I like what they did there. Maybe they were looking for the equivalent of Buffy’s scooby gang in Dracula? Or maybe they were just really confused. Who Knows!? Hopefully my Vampire Guide helped clear things up.

6. ‘what happened to alex o’loughlin’

This happened, obviously.
Alex-O-Loughlin-hottest-actors-33565633-500-609

I mean, it’s no Moonlight, but (the ‘new’) Hawaii 5-0 is actually pretty good, and that’s basically what happened to Alex O’Loughlin. Hawaii happened. I hope the person who was trying to find him, found and enjoyed my Moonlight fangirling in 5 Reasons Vampire Show Moonlight was Ahead of its Time. Well, that’s assuming that they’ve seen Moonlight. If not, what a treat they’re in for.

7. ‘good breath teen girl’

The only thing I can think of that this would have led to is Lauren Child’s Ruby Redfort book Take Your Last Breath. Other than that, I’ve got nothing. I hope the searcher wasn’t suffering from halitosis and in need of medical advice. I’m not equipped for that, soz.

8. ‘gay cannibal art’

Wow. I’m pretty proud that that term led someone to this blog. Job well done. I hope they went on to find some nice art for their living room. I’m guessing that the Hannibal shoutouts in my Bookish (and not so Bookish) posts might have had something to do with that one, or the book made out of human skin perhaps.

Until next time!

Friday Feature: 2014 Challenges Update

I’ve been putting off doing this post because I am failing SO HARD on all of the challenges I set myself at the beginning of the year. Crappola.

Here is the progress I’ve made so far this year (AUGUST…REALLY?):

The TBR Pile Reading Challenge

TBR

I signed up for this challenge to get through all of the books that have been sitting on my shelves for ages, some for up to 5 years, but at the time I’d just received loads of books for Christmas and my birthday so I decided to make a rule that only the books that had been on my shelf for over 4 months would count towards it. What a mistake that was!

Obviously I read all my shiny new books first, hence my ridiculously bad start! But luckily I only went for the 11-20 level, so I can still make it, right?

TBR Pile Challenge Books Read: 4

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen, 3/5
The Princess Bride by William Goldman, 4/5
The Prisoner of Brenda by Bateman, 3/5
The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Mass, 4/5

Rereads Challenge

REREAD

Since I started blogging, one of main thing I miss doing is rereading my favourite books. I used to reread a lot, but it’s hard to find the time when there are so many new books coming out all the time. Hence, this challenge. I challenged myself to reread 10 books and I did a poll to decide.

I doubt I’m going to complete this challenge by the end of the year, but I’m going to pull my socks up, I promise!

Reread Books Read: 2
Northern Lights by Philip Pullman, 4/5
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, 4/5 – I’ve just realised I STILL haven’t reviewed this.

Once Upon a Time VIII

once8jquest3

I signed up for this very loosely termed ‘challenge’ at some point because it sounded so much fun. Thankfully I went for the minimum participation which was to read one book that falls into the categories of Fairy Tale, Folklore, Fantasy or Mythology, and to read (or watch) A Midsummer Night’s Dream in June. I kind of forgot about that, but I’m hoping if I read it while it’s still summer it won’t be held against me.

I am also currently reading Godmother by Carolyn Turgeon, which will fulfill the Fairy Tale requirement.

Must.Try.Harder

Goodreads Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Lauren has
read 44 books toward her goal of 70 books.
hide

In better news I am 3 books ahead on my overall book challenge for the year. Hurrah!

Friday Feature: James Frey and the Goodreads Trolls

I am really starting to get annoyed about the Goodreads trolls. I’m a book blogger so I guess I take reading and reviewing books seriously to a degree, but man, some people need to chill the fcuk out.

I’ve personally been involved in two incidents thus far. Firstly, I said in a review that a book was ‘vampire erotica’ and someone felt the need to tell me that it was in fact paranormal romance. I didn’t particularly take offence to the correction, but it was worded in a way which annoyed me. And I just thought why bother!?

The second incident, however, really ignited the rage in me. I requested a book from Netgalley without realising it was the second book in a series. We’ve all done it, right? I didn’t enjoy the book very much, but I put it down to that fact, and made that clear in my review. I even made a point of saying that people shouldn’t be put off by my 2/5 rating.

Someone took offence to this and decided to leave this lovely comment:

I also received this book as a giveaway. Knowing it was a SECOND book, I bought the FIRST book and read it BEFORE I received the other book. It is NOT FAIR to rate the SECOND book so low because YOU did not take it on yourself to READ THE FIRST BOOK BEFOREHAND!!! It is NOT the author’s fault that you walked into the mist in the middle!!!”

its-not-fair-sara-labyrinth

Alright Sarah, Jeeze. Funnily enough, once I pointed out exactly what I’d said in the review I didn’t hear another peep out of Sarah. And the best thing was that the author got in touch and asked if I’d like her to send me the first book to find out how the story began. She obviously didn’t have as many issues with my review as Sarah did.

What does this have to do with James Frey? I hear you cry. I’m getting to it, bear with me.

The other thing I hate about Goodreads is when people leave ‘reviews’ or comments on books BEFORE THEY’VE EVEN READ THEM. I mean, why? You can’t have an opinion until you’ve at least started the book, right?

And that’s what brings me to James Frey.

Oh James Frey, I do love you. I know that a lot of people don’t though, for various reasons, and that’s fine. But is there really any need to fill the Goodreads page for his upcoming book with such vileness. Go take a look.

So it sounds a bit like The Hunger Games? What doesn’t. And while we’re on the subject do these people really think THG was an original idea? REALLY? Battle Royale, anyone? The Long Walk? The Running Man? Gah.

And no one seems to mention the whole concept of this series, probably because they have no idea about it. Each book is a piece of a puzzle that will link up to a Google map, incorporating social media into a global treaure hunt. Kind of a modern version of the Masquerade hunt. It’s explained better here.

I think it sounds awesome, but whatever.

So to sum up: I love Goodreads, BUT CAN YOU JUST STOP. You know who you are.

Friday Feature: Man Booker Prize Time Again

I’m pretty sure that last year I decided that no one really cares about the Man Booker Prize, but I still can’t help being intrigued as to what’s made the list.

Following last year’s controversy when it was announced that the prize was being opened up to International authors (with UK Publisher) after 46 years, it seems the longlist is not quite as overrun by American authors as some feared, although they do make up a third of the entries.

The most interesting thing about the nominees this year though, I think, is that one of the novels was funded entirely by its readers. The Wake, by Paul Kingsnorth is the first crowdfunded novel to ever be nominated for such a prestigious literary prize. And I must say, it sounds like one of the more interesting reads on the list.

thewakeEveryone knows the date of the Battle of Hastings. Far fewer people know what happened next…Set in the three years after the Norman invasion, The Wake tells the story of a fractured band of guerilla fighters who take up arms against the invaders. Carefully hung on the known historical facts about the almost forgotten war of resistance that spread across England in the decade after 1066, it is a story of the brutal shattering of lives, a tale of lost gods and haunted visions, narrated by a man of the Lincolnshire fens bearing witness to the end of his world. Written in what the author describes as ‘a shadow tongue’ – a version of Old English updated so as to be understandable for the modern reader – The Wake renders the inner life of an Anglo-Saxon man with an accuracy and immediacy rare in historical fiction. To enter Buccmaster’s world is to feel powerfully the sheer strangeness of the past.

The Longlist in Full

Joshua Ferris (American) – To Rise Again at a Decent Hour (Viking)

Richard Flanagan (Australian) – The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Chatto & Windus)

Karen Joy Fowler (American) – We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Serpent’s Tail)

Siri Hustvedt (American) – The Blazing World (Sceptre)

Howard Jacobson (British) – J (Jonathan Cape)

Paul Kingsnorth (British) – The Wake (Unbound)

David Mitchell (British) – The Bone Clocks (Sceptre)

Neel Mukherjee (British) – The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus)

David Nicholls (British) – Us (Hodder & Stoughton)

Joseph O’Neill (Irish/American) – The Dog (Fourth Estate)

Richard Powers (American) – Orfeo (Atlantic Books)

Ali Smith (British) – How to be Both (Hamish Hamilton)

Niall Williams (Irish) – History of the Rain (Bloomsbury)

The Shortlist will be announced 9th Sept

More info on the nominees and titles

Thoughts?

Friday Feature: Fairest Fangirling!

OK, so I know I’m a few days behind with this news but I didn’t have a feature lined up for today, (I should be doing the final part of the Best Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years – but I’ve ran out of blogging time) and I just need to do some delayed fangirling for a second.

Earlier in the week Marissa Meyer released details of Fairest, a spin-off novel to the Lunar Chronicles dedicated to our favourite villain Queen Levana.

Ahhhhhhhhh. Fangirls unite: How awesome does this look?

fair

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

The only bad thing is that we have to wait until January next year. Noooooooooooooo!

Expected publication: January 27th 2015 by Feiwel & Friends (Hardback/Kindle/Audio)

Goodreads

Friday Feature: 5 Great Father’s Day Gifts

I realise it’s a bit late as Father’s Day is this Sunday (UK), but if you’re anything like me and always leave everything to the last minute, then these gift ideas might come in handy.

Dad’s are SO hard to buy for.

Click on the images for more info

1. Voyager Classics

voyagerclassics
The HarperCollins Voyager imprint has some of the best Science Fiction and Fantasy books available, and selected titles are now also available in these beautiful clothbound covers. I think my dad would love these!

My favourites are Fahrenheit 451, The Once and Future King (which I can’t believe I haven’t read yet myself) and I, Robot.

You can see the full Voyager collection HERE and see below for 10% off offer.

Prices range from £8 – £15

2. 24K Gold Plated Playing Cards in Presentation Box

cards

I guess this is quite a kitsch gift, but I think some dads would love them. And good value at only £9.98. From Play.com.

3. The Gift of Food

If you’d prefer to do something more personal for your dad this father’s day, making a delicious father’s day feast is always a winner in my eyes. Here are two dishes that I’ve tried and tested and have gone down a treat. Click the images for more info.

Bacon Wrapped Monkfish
Bacon Wrapped Monkfish
recipecheese
Rhubarb Ripple & Gingerbread Cheesecake

I actually made the cheesecake last year as a contribution to our family Father’s Day BBQ. My mum isn’t a fan of ginger, but it was quite subtle and really light. It was a hit.

4. Cobb BBQ Cooking System

bbq And while we’re on the subject of food, if I was made of money, I would definitely buy one of these for my dad. All dads like to be the King of the BBQ, right?

Cobb looks set to change outdoor cooking forever. Let us introduce you to the ultimate barbecue system – which also roasts, smokes and cooks.”

£99.99 from Lakeland

5. For the Sci-Fi fans

omni180
I did a promo post for this book yesterday, and I really do think it would make a brilliant gift for any old-school Sci-fi-loving dads.

£42.50 from Waterstones

Please note that the only affiliate links in this post are the Waterstones ones.

10% Off at Waterstones Offer

You can get 10% off any orders* over £25 before midnight on 25th August 2014.

Simply click on the banner below (or on the associated links), make your selections and enter the code LE1025 at checkout.



*Print books and stationary. Excludes Kindle, downloads and the click & collect service. Online orders only. Full T&Cs at waterstones.com/terms

Friday Feature: The Best Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years? Part 2 (6 – 8 yrs)

Last week I came across this list from October last year, of the 100 Best Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years compiled by Booktrust.org.uk, so in honor of Children’s Book Week in the US I thought it would be a good excuse to talk about what I think of the choices, and maybe add a few of my own.

If you missed last week’s post you can read it here: (0 -5 yrs)

Click the heading to see the full list.

6 – 8 Years

The 6 – 8 year group is a weird one. Even though it’s only a three year span I’m pretty sure the books I was reading at age 6 were vastly different to the ones I did at 8, but I think they made some good choices in this list.

ff1

I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton, so The Enchanted Wood is a good choice for me, I really loved The Faraway Tree series too, but for some reason I never got on with the Fantastic Five.

Blyton isn’t the only one that appears on this list twice, Dick King-Smith’s The Sheep-Pig, and The Queen’s Nose both made it on the list. I don’t actually remember reading either of these even though I know they were popular at the time. I did however LOVE The Queen’s Nose TV programme. That theme tune just made me very nostalgic! I’d love to read those books now.

I’m surprised only one Dahl book made it onto the list (although there are more in the next category). I love The BFG but when I think back to my childhood, George’s Marvelous Medicine and The Twits stand out more than that one.

ff2

I guess books like Paddington Bear, Winnie the Pooh, Babar, Pippi Longstockings and Charlotte’s Web are a rite of passage but they’ve never particularly excited me. It’s great to see The Arrival included in this list though, and The Worst Witch books were always a winner with me.

I’m also a big fan of Lauren Child’s Ruby Redfort series aimed at the slightly older market than her Clarice Bean books, which I haven’t read – so I’m sure she deserves her place here.

Favorite on the List:
Oooh it’s tough. If I channel my inner 6 year old – which isn’t very difficult believe me – I’d go for The Enchanted Wood, with The BFG coming in a close second. But The Worst Witch would have been my pick at 7/8 I reckon.

Missing from the List:
I know I’ve already mentioned Blyton but man, she was amazing. I’ve just remembered the Naughty Amelia Jane books which were definitely a favourite of mine. Seeing that cover again makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!

ff3

But the piéce de résistance is a book it took me ages to find. I could picture the red cover and knew that the main character had messy black hair and said ‘No’ a lot. I Don’t Want To! used to have me in stitches leaving my mum pretty bewildered (and probably quite concerned).

I Don’t Want To! by Bel Mooney
Kitty’s favourite word is No! She doesn’t want to clean her teeth, eat her vegetables or, worst of all, play with boring cousin Melisso. In fact, Kitty can’t seem to stop saying ‘no’ but when Dad tells her he doesn’t ever want to hear her say ‘yes’, she discovers that that’s exactly what she does want to say! When she breaks one of her favourite toys, she finds she does want to tidy her room. When Dad says he doesn’t want a goodnight kiss, Kitty decides she’d like to give one. When she’s bored because Mum and Dad are having a lie-in she does want to play with her big brother, Daniel.

Are you sensing a pattern with the books I loved when I was that age? Naughty female characters? Not much has changed.

Friday Feature: The Best Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years? Part 1 (0-5 Yrs)

As I mentioned in my Bookish Thoughts post yesterday, I’ve noticed in blogland that this week America is celebrating Children’s Book Week. It doesn’t look like it’s one that we celebrate over here in the UK (there are so many it’s hard to keep up)but it got me thinking about my favourite children’s books, (also so many!).

I came across this list from October last year, of the 100 Best Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years compiled by Booktrust.org.uk, so I thought it would be a good excuse for me talk about what I think of the choices, and maybe add a few of my own.

They have split the list into four year groups, 0-5, 6-8, 9-11, and 12-14 with 25 books in each. I’m going to look at a different category at a time. Click on the heading to go to the full list.

0-5 Years

It’s been a long time since I’ve read any books aimed at 0-5 year olds. A few of my friends have young kids, but there are none in my immediate family so I’m not exactly up-to-date where they are concerned. However, a lot of the books on this list are classics that most people will be aware of.

The notable classics that made the cut include The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Where’s Spot, Room on a Broom and The Tiger Who Came to Tea, but I don’t actually remember those from my childhood at all. Well, maybe Room on a Broom.

kidscoll1

I am pleased to see The Snowman on the list, although I don’t think I had the book, I just watched the animation at Christmas (and still do), Where the Wild Things Are is a book that I ADORE but I came to it later in life, and Dr Suess’ The Cat in The Hat will always be a favourite, along with many of his others.

kidscoll1

But the nostalgia really hit me when I got to Not Now, Bernard – I’d completely forgotten that even existed and did a proper gasp when I saw it!!! Meg and Mog (I was all over anything with witches – nothing has changed) and Dear Zoo. I definitely remember loving those books.

Favourite on the List:
It’s a tough one. I own versions of The Cat in the Hat, and Where the Wild Things Are and would happily read them over and over, but now I’ve remembered about Not Now Bernard I’m leaning towards that one. I think I’ll have to find a copy!

Missing from the List:
kidscoll1

I always preferred Green Eggs and Ham to TCITH so I think that should be in there. I also really vividly remember A Big Ball of String by Marion Holland. I loved that book so much!

ball

And lastly, there is one book that I’ve never been able to find. All I know is that it was about a unicorn who gets lost and ends up cold and wet and covered in leaves. I can picture it well, but haven’t been able to find it because I have no idea what it was called or who it was by. ONE DAY I WILL FIND IT. Any ideas??

What would make your list in the 0-5 years category? I’d love to know!

Next time I’ll look at the 6-8’s Category! (Blyton…Dahl…ahh so good!)

Friday Feature – Let’s Fangirl for a Second

I had a a proper post all planned out for today’s feature – with notes and everything – but then I saw that the cover reveal for Throne of Glass #3 came and went yesterday and it got me excited/distracted!

The ToG books, not to be confused with GoT which I kept calling it at first, is becoming one of my favourite series. I haven’t found them perfect reads by any means, but the protagonist Celaena Sardothien is so awesome I’d probably read about her painting her nails and still enjoy it! Not to mention how pretty they are…and you should all know by now that pretty book covers will eventually be my downfall.

So here are the two covers revealed on the Throne of Glass Fb page yesterday. They may be pretty similar but I still think we Brits get the better one! In your face America. Ahem.

tog

And while I’m in fangirl mode, guess what’s coming out in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS….

….THE ONE (The Selection #3), OBVS!

FINALLY!!!