A Monster Calls

Mid-Year Book Freak-out Tag

We’re halfway through the year (what?! How? Ahhh!) so as I was going to do a little recap of what my reading goals are and how I’m doing, I thought I’d do a tag as well.

My reading goals for 2017 was to continue with the Read the World Project (which I have been doing) put £1 aside for every book I’ve read (I’ve been doing that as well) and cut my physical TBR to 50 books – my TBR currently stands at 97 books so that one definitely needs some work and I need to stop buying books! I also set my Goodreads goal at 50 books and I’ve currently read 26 so I’m making steady progress with that.

So those were my goals and now onto the tag. This tag was created by ReadLikeWildfire over on booktube and I’ve seen many a booktuber take part and I decided I wanted to have a go too.

1. Best book you’ve read so far this year
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This book man. It’s so important and enlightening and heartfelt and brilliant. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in ages and it’s one of those books that has stuck with me.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far this year
March Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell
I haven’t read many sequels at all so far this year, in fact the only sequels I’ve read was when I marathoned the March graphic novel trilogy. The third book was just as good as the rest even if I struggled to get through it sometimes due to how intolerant people were (and still are).

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.
Electric Souk by Rose McGinty
This was released in March but I’ve had it for less than a month as it came in the Grand Summer Adventure NinjaBookBox. I hadn’t heard of it before it came into my possession but it is definitely a book that I’m super looking forward to reading. (more…)

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TOP 5 WEDNESDAY: Authors You Want to Read More From

Top 5 Wednesday is a great feature created by GingerReadsLainey and hosted by ThoughtsonTomes. To find out more about Top 5 Wednesday and the upcoming topics, check out its Goodreads page. This week it’s all about those authors we’ve only read one or two books from and really should/want to read more by them.

Mal Peet
The only book by Mal Peet I’ve read is The Murdstone Trilogy which I read last year and I absolutely adored it! It’s funny and clever and great if you like fantasy books. Apparently that’s his only book aimed for adults but he has more YA books so I’m interested in checking them out to see if they’ve got a similar sense of humour.

Neil Gaiman
I read American Gods last year and while I liked the concept, not a lot happened and I found it a bit dull so I definitely want to read more Gaiman stuff. He’s that sort of author that everyone loves and I felt kind of bad for not loving American Gods like I “should have”. The only other book I’ve read by Gaiman is Good Omens which he co-wrote with Terry Pratchett and I did like that one.

Toni Morrison
I read Song of Solomon as a part of the African American Literature course I took at university and I don’t remember much about it to be honest. I know we were also supposed to read Beloved while at uni (think that was for my Women’s Writing module) but I really couldn’t get into it and I think me and a friend just watched the film in the end. Toni Morrison is so loved and critically acclaimed that I do want to give her books another go but I am a bit daunted by them.

Patrick Ness
The only Patrick Ness book I’ve read is A Monster Calls which I loved way more than I ever thought I would. I see his books pretty much anytime I go into a bookstore and they’re always recommended on the interwebs but I’ve just yet to pick any of them up.

A.S. King
Way back in 2014 I read Ask the Passengers and Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King and enjoyed them both. I really like her writing style and her characters and both books were pretty different to each other. She’s got at least five other books out and I’ve been meaning to give more of her stuff a go for literally years now.

If you’ve read any books by any of the authors I’ve mentioned then please do send any recommendations my way. Are there any authors you want to read more from?

REVIEW: A Monster Calls (2016)

a-monster-calls-movie-posterTwelve-year-old Connor (Lewis MacDougall) is struggling to deal with his mum’s (Felicity Jones) terminal illness when help comes from an unlikely source, a tree monster (Liam Neeson) who comes from the churchyard near Connor’s house.

Connor has a lot to deal with a lot. He’s being bullied, his dad (Toby Kebbell) lives abroad and his mum is suffering from a terminal illness. Lewis MacDougall has a lot on his young shoulders but delivers a brilliant performance and you really feel Connor’s pain and anger at the situation he is in. The scenes with Connor and his grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) are especially complicated as they are completely different people but are united in their love for his mother.

A Monster Calls is a beautiful film. The Monster is a brilliant piece of CGI but it still always feels like a real, living creature that treads the line between friend and foe thanks to some great animation and a wonderful voice performance from Liam Neeson. When the Monster tells Connor stories, they are told through beautiful and bright water colour-esque animation that contrasts so well with the dreary world Connor really lives in.

The performances, the music and the cinematography all come together to give A Monster Calls a raw and almost visceral feel as you are taken through the stages of grief with Connor. It doesn’t really let up but there’s still the moments of fun and hope in Connor’s life that brighten the darkest of days. It’s an emotional rollercoaster but it’s one that’s also got a bit of magic to it as you never really know where or how the Monster exists.

It tackles a subject matter that might be too dark for younger viewers but the messages and ideas A Monster Calls presents about grief and imagination are relevant to all ages. 5/5.

Patrick Ness adapted his own book for the big screen and it’s a very true and heartfelt adaptation. If you’re interested in my thoughts on the book (which I also loved) you can find them here.

TOP 5 WEDNESDAY: Biggest Book Hangovers

Top 5 Wednesday is a great feature created by GingerReadsLainey. To find out more about Top 5 Wednesday and the upcoming topics, check out its Goodreads page. This week it’s all about book hangovers, you know when you finish a book and you just don’t know how to feel because it was so good and it takes you a while to read anything else – that’s a book hangover.

So without further ado, here are five books that gave me the biggest book hangovers.

harry potter 7 book coverHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
This was like the end of an era for me when I finished Deathly Hallows. I had all the emotions when reading it, I was gripped, I laughed and I cried – a lot! I felt emotionally drained at the end of it and it’s still one of the best endings to a series I’ve ever read.

 

 

FullSizeRender (99)A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
I went into this book thinking it wasn’t for me but I was sorely mistaken. I was surprised by how much I adored the Monsters stories, how they made me think and feel. A Monster Calls stayed with me for days after I finished reading it.

 

 

Abhorsen_novelAbhorsen by Garth Nix
I think the reason this book gave me a book hangover was because it was the first book that made me cry. I had never experienced that before so really wasn’t sure what to do or how to feel about it.

 

 

secret avengers vol 3Secret Avengers Vol. 3: God Level by Ales Kot and Michael Walsh
I absolutely loved this series and the third and final volume was well worth the wait. All the threads came together, there was a big showdown and it gave me all the emotions. This comic is one of the few comics to give me a book hangover, I loved everything about it and it took me a while to pick up anything else.

 

Inheritance2011Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
This is one of those series I started when I was 10 years old and I grew up with the series so when the final book came out when I was 20 it was a huge part of me. Inheritance gave me a mixture of emotions, on the most part I loved it and how the characters stories ended but there was a bit with Ayra that seemed a little too neat and cliché for me. Still, it was a book that made me feel a lot and I wasn’t sure what to read next once I finished it.

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week – I’m thinking I might not take part every week but just see if a week takes my fancy. Where has this year gone?! As we’ve only got a few weeks left, here’s the ten books I’ve loved the most this year. In June I talked about my favourite books I’d read so far this year so if you want to know about some other awesome books and to see which ones made both lists shimmy over here.

For once I’ve put these in order, going from ten to my number one book of the year.

FullSizeRender (91)10. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
I love me some thrillers with unreliable narrators and The Girl on the Train certainly has that! I loved how Rachel wasn’t reliable or even likable a lot of the time and it was one of those mysteries that left me guessing till the gripping finale.

 
FullSizeRender (82)9. Fear and Loathing in La Liga: Barcelona vs Real Madrid by Sid Lowe
Barcelona and Real Madrid’s rivalry is legendary and Fear and Loathing in La Liga delves deep into both clubs history and looks at Spain’s history too. This was a fascinating read, it was sometimes a bit dense and a little dull when it was talking about players I didn’t know about but on the whole it was great read.

 
FullSizeRender (99)8. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
I thought A Monster Calls was just a children’s book and I was so wrong! Yes it has illustrations and is about a young boy but it deals with grief and death and abandonment so well. It really makes you think and the beautiful passages go so well with the often scary drawings.

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TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Ten Quotes I Loved From Books I Read In The Past Year Or So

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week – I’m thinking I might not take part every week but just see if a week takes my fancy. As the title suggests this week is all about favourite quotes I’ve read in books recently. Some of these I knew I wanted to feature straight away because they stuck with me, others I had to think about a bit. Also this could have quite easily been ten quotes from The Martian but I managed to restrain myself.

I can’t stand seeing girls hate on girls. There’s enough of that in the tabloids.
#scandal by Sarah Ockler

If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don’t care, but they’re massively outnumbered by the people who do.
The Martian by Andy Weir (more…)

REVIEW: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

FullSizeRender (99)I thought I was too old for A Monster Calls, I thought because it had pictures it would be baby-ish – how wrong was I?!

A Monster Calls is a beautiful book. It’s about grief and emotions and allowing yourself to ask for help when you need it and how you can cope when things are tough. It might be about a monster who arrives at Connor’s door wiling to tell three stories in exchange for a story from Connor, but it’s also has clever morals and life lessons that can resonate with anyone of any age.

The illustrations are dark and creepy yet beautiful. They add so much to the story and in a weird way show Connor’s anger and other emotions in a different way. (more…)