The Murdstone Trilogy

The Finally Fall Book Tag

Who doesn’t love a seasonal tag! I think the Finally Fall tag was created by Alina Melena on YouTube (not 100% sure as the original video no longer exists) and I saw it over on Bookables channel.

1. In fall, the air is crisp and clear: name a book with a vivid setting!
I didn’t like the book a lot, but I won’t deny that Uprooted by Naomi Novik has a very vivid setting and it’s the main thing I remember about it.

2. Nature is beautiful… but also dying: name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief.
The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne has such good writing that’s powerful and sad and is about a teenage girl trying to understand how her relationship wasn’t OK and it was actually emotionally and sexually abusive.

3. Fall is back to school season: share a non-fiction book that taught you something new.
I work at a university and while my job is all year round, there is a sense on new beginning when the students come back at the end of September. I’ve read a lot of non-fiction thanks to my Read the World Project and I’ve learnt a lot about different cultures and countries. I think The Wife’s Tale: A Personal History by Aida Edemariam was one of the ones where I learnt the most though as I knew nothing about Ethiopia’s history.

4. In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend some time with the people we love: name a fictional family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be a part of.
It’s so easy to say the Weasley’s and while they’ll be an honourable mention, I’m going to say Izzy’s small but awesome family/friend unit from The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven. I love her relationship with her grandmother and her best friend Ajita and they’d be an awesome, fun and supportive group to be a part of.

5. The colourful leaves are piling up on the ground: show us a pile of fall-coloured spines!
Good job I was at my mum’s when I was drafting this post as I don’t have any TBR books that have autumnal colours on their spine. So all but one of these (A Keeper) I’ve read.

From top to bottom we have:
The Door in the Tree by William Corlett
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Illuminae by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
A Keeper by Graham Norton
Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe
The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore

6. Fall is the perfect time for some storytelling by the fireside: share a book wherein somebody is telling a story.
This was a hard one to think of a book for, I’ve definitely read books that were like a story inside a story, but it took me ages to think of one. In the end I remembered The Murdstone Trilogy by Mal Peet, in that a creature tells a story of a fantasy world.

7. The nights are getting darker: share a dark, creepy read.
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a dark and creepy book. Thinking back, I’ll mention The Strain by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo del Toro. It’s a creepy story with vampires and conspiracy theories and from what I remember there’s some really eerie moments.

8. The days are getting colder: name a short, heart-warming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day.
I wouldn’t say it’s short or even heart-warming, but it is a lot of fun and it’s set somewhere warm and sunny – Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book I’d call “heart-warming”, but fun contemporary stories are always a good shout on dark nights.

9. Fall (luckily, it’s my favourite season) returns every year: name an old favourite that you’d like to return to soon.
There are so many books I’d like to reread but I think I’m going to go with The Passage and The Twelve by Justin Cronin. I’ve still not read the last book in the trilogy, The City of Mirrors, so I’d love to reread the series and finally finish it and see what happens to this huge cast of characters. I’d also like to revisit The Magician’s House quartet by William Corlett, of which The Door in the Tree is the second book, as that was a childhood favourite series.

10. Fall is the perfect time for cosy reading nights: share your favourite cosy reading “accessories”!
Definitely my blue fuzzy blanket. Well, technically it’s a Slanket (a blanket with sleeves) but I don’t often use the sleeves, instead I just have it on my legs as I read.

11. Spread the autumn appreciation and tag some people!
I think this tag has been around for a while so no doubt a lot of you have done it before but consider yourself tagged if you want!

The Festive Christmas Book Tag

It’s been a while since I’ve done a Book Tag but as it’s blogmas and I’m looking for blog posts, here’s a seasonal appropriate one. This tag was created by Girl Reading on YouTube and I came across it via Bookables video.

1. A fictional family you would like to spend Christmas dinner with?
Is it cliché to say the Weasley’s? Because they are the first family I thought of and I can’t think of a better fictional family to spend Christmas dinner with.

2) A bookish item you would like to receive as a gift?
If we’re talking about items from a book, could I get a Time Turner? That’d be very handy. Or bookish items in the real world, I’m a big fan of book sleeves. I love there’s so many designs and companies out there. I have two from BookBuddle which I love, and I received a Black Panther one in a subscription box which is very relevant to my interests.

3) A fictional character you think would make a perfect Christmas elf?
Samwise Gamgee. He’s so kind, helpful and thoughtful that he’d make a great Christmas elf! Plus he’s resourceful so if there was any mishaps, he could sort it out quickly.

4) Match a book to its perfect Christmas song.
I find this kind of thing really difficult but after a lot of thinking I came up with Step Into Christmas by Elton John to be paired with The Martian by Andy Weir. My thinking is, it’s just the kind of song that Mark Watney would be stuck listening to months on end.

5) Bah Humbug. A book or fictional character you’ve been disappointed in and should be put on the naughty list?
I read the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness this year and was so annoyed by Todd through the entirety of the first two books, and then through a good chunk of the third book too. He disappointed and frustrated me with his naivety so he’d be on the naughty list.

6) A book or a fictional character you think deserves more love and appreciation and deserve to be put on the nice list?
The Murdstone Trilogy by Mal Peet. It’s a completely bonkers fusion of fantasy and real life and when the line blurs between fiction and reality it’s a lot of fun. I don’t know anyone else who has ever read this book so it definitely needs more love – or at least, I need to find people who have read it to talk about it.

7) Red, Gold and Green. A book cover that has a wonderfully Christmassy feel to it.
Now this one I found really difficult and I thought I was going to skip it as I didn’t think I had any books with Christmassy covers (mainly because I don’t tend to read books set at christmas time) but then I remembered by copy of The Awakening by Kate Chopin. I haven’t read this book yet (it’s been on my shelves for years though) and while it might not be exactly Christmassy, it’s definitely wintery with all the snow and mountains.

8) A book or series you love so much, you want everyone to find under their Christmas tree this year, so they can read it and love it too?
As the spin-off is coming in the New Year and I’m so excited, I’m going to have to say the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. I think Eragon, and The Lord of the Rings films, was my gateway into fantasy. I’ve reread the Inheritance Cycle a few times over the years and I still love it.

I tag whoever wants to do this tag!

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?

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Ten Books of 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week. As 2016 is coming to a close, this week’s theme is all about our favourite books of the year. I didn’t really get much reading done in the last few months of the year, I started a new job and couldn’t really get into any of the books I was picking up but I did read some good books in 2016. So below, in no particular order, are my ten favourite books I read this year – the links in the book titles go to their reviews where you can find out more about why I liked them so much.

The Murdstone Trilogy by Mal Peet
This book was unlike anything I’d read before. It’s the perfect commentary on the fantasy genre and it’s a very funny read as well.

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson
This was one of the first books I read this year and it stuck with me a long time after I finished it.

Asking for It by Louise O’Neill
This was such a tough read but it was still a really good and important book. It is often a frustrating book with a frustrating and unlikable protagonist but that makes it all the more interesting and memorable. (more…)

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Ten Books I Enjoyed That Have Under 2000 Ratings On Goodreads

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week. This week it’s all about underrated books and to be more subjective about it, I’m gonna see what’s underrated by having them be under 2,000 ratings on Goodreads. For those interested my Goodreads is here and I’m finally getting the hang of updating it! So without further ado, here are some underappreciated books I think you should read!

FullSizeRender (94)Techbitch by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza (51 ratings on Goodreads)
This book is some great chick-lit that doesn’t go for all the tropes you might expect it to. It’s about a woman coming back to work at a major fashion magazine to find her former assistant has been filling her roll and the whole magazine is going to become a digital one. It’s a great culture clash of ideas about PR and how magazines should be and it’s a lot of fun. My review is here.

 

emancipatedEmancipated by M.G. Reyes (524 ratings on Goodreads)
Admittedly I hadn’t heard of this book till fairly recently but I really enjoyed it. It’s a contemporary YA about a house full of teenagers who have been emancipated from their parents or guardians for various reasons and they all have their own secrets and problems. It’s an addictive read. My review is here.

 

FullSizeRender (20)Rocket Girl Vol. 1: Times Squared by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder (913 ratings on Goodreads)
This comic is so fun and very feminist. DaYoung is a teenage cop from the future is sent back to 1986 to stop scientist creating a machine that will destroy the future. The art is brilliant; it really feels like DaYoung is flying through the pages (yeah she can fly because of her future tech) and while the 1980s setting is a lot of fun there is still a mystery to solve. My review is here. (more…)

REVIEW: The Murdstone Trilogy by Mal Peet

FullSizeRender (6)Award-winning YA author Philip Murdstone is in trouble. His books about sensitive young boys are just not selling so well and his agent Minerva Cinch has the most ridiculous idea to get him back on track- write an epic high-fantasy novel. Philip hates fantasy and has no idea what to do, that is until a creature by the name of Pocket who shouldn’t exist in Philip’s world appears in his life. Now Philip might have an idea for a book, but is he aware of the consequences?

The Murdstone Trilogy is a lot of fun. It does make fun of the high fantasy genre but in such a light-hearted way that you can’t be mad at it. Plus what is says about the genre and all its tropes is true! I’m pretty sure it kind of alludes to the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini as well, a series I love by the way, but it does so in a good-natured way.

There’s kind of two stories going along at once. There’s Philip’s struggle to write and his interactions with his agent and the people in the local village (who are all a little odd) and the story Pocket tells in a fantasy world full of magic and creatures. Philip’s story is fun as it captures his desperation to write but how he is also so ill-equipped to write fantasy, plus Minerva is such a fun character who is a real battleaxe and it’s fun seeing her deal with Philip’s eccentricities.

The Murdstone Trilogy is pretty clever as you’re not always sure if the story Pocket is telling is really happening in a far off land or another universe or if it’s all happening in Philip’s head and he’s going a bit mad. Pocket’s story is full of action, magic, big forces of evil and a lost Prince struggling to save the kingdom. It is in a way paint-by-numbers fantasy but it’s aware of that and Pocket’s story is still gripping.

The Murdstone Trilogy is unlike any book I’ve read before. It’s laugh-out-loud funny and weird and has the best elements of high fantasy but it’s told in a completely different way. 5/5.

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Ten Books On My Autumn TBR

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. This week is all about our Autumn TBR’s so here are the books I want to read before the end of the year. I have a few challenges to complete by the end of the year so some of these books will go towards them and I also want to read more books by women as I wanted to my reading to be a 50/50 split between male and female authors but at the moment I’ve read more books from male authors.

Anna and the Ffrench Kiss ElenaSquareEyesAnna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins
This would fill the “contemporary romance” section of the Eclectic Reader challenge. I’m not a big fan of contemporary romance but I’ve heard nothing but good things about Anna and the French Kiss and I always like reading a fun, quick read in between more dense stuff.

Winter – Marissa MeyerWinter EleanSquareEyes
I’ve started The Lunar Chronicles series by taking part in the #TLCReadAlong and now I’m really looking forward to seeing how the series comes to an end. I still have Cress and Fairest to read but the excitement around Winter is definitely getting to me.

The Husbands Secret ElenaSquareEyesThe Husband’s Secret – Liane Moriarty
This would fill the “a familial relation” section of the What’s in a Name challenge. My mum actually bought this book for herself but it sounds intriguing and is a family drama which could turn into a bit of a thriller. (more…)