The Emotions of a Bibliophile – in GIFs

I love books, but I also love GIFs. Sometimes, you just hit on the right one that perfectly encapsulates the way you feel about something. The following GIFs match exactly how I feel about various bookish situations. It was really fun to put together and I hope you’ll all be able to relate to it.

When the release date of a book you have been waiting AGES for is delayed (this just happened to me and I am NOT pleased!):

When you finally get your hands on it:

When an unexpected plot twist really shocks you:

When you walk into a bookstore:

When you’re trying to decide which of your many books to read next:

When you feel like you’re drowning in your TBR list:

When you find it completely impossible to put your book down because it’s THAT good:

When you just can’t handle everything a book is making you feel:

When someone borrows your book and damages it:

When you try to sneak in some reading time when you should be doing something else:

When you get to the end of one book in a series and realize you have to wait over a YEAR for the sequel:

When someone says they don’t read books:

When the movie adaptation completely screws up the whole point of the book:

When you just HAVE to tell other people about the amazing book you just read:

When non-bibliophiles tell you that you “need to get out more”:

When a book has a really satisfying ending:

I hope this post made you smile! Are there any bookish situations I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments!

THE LIEBSTER BLOG AWARD (4)

I’ve been nominated for my fourth Liebster Blog Award by the lovely nostalgic musings, thank you! I did one of Award Imagethese earlier this week and I know a lot of you are familiar with the rules, so this time I’m just going to answer the questions nostalgic musings gave me.

Here we go!

1) Favourite food?

My mum’s roast beef dinner, with all the trimmings. Nobody does it better!

2) Books or movies?

BOOKS!! I like movies well enough, but I would much rather let my imagination play out a story in my mind than have it laid out for me on screen.

3) Music or writing?

Both at the same time! I have several playlists I like to have on in the background while I’m writing.

4) Favourite singer?

That’s tricky. I think I would have to say Darren Hayes, the former lead singer of Savage Garden who went on to become a pretty awesome solo artist.

5) Dream vacation destination?

The Fjords in Norway. They have spectacular scenery there and some of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls, which I love. It would definitely be a dream vacation for me.

6) Favourite colour?

I would have to say blue.

7) Favourite song?

The cover version of Phil Collins’ ‘In the Air Tonight’ by Full Blown Rose. The band never released it as a single and all the versions I could find on YouTube cut off the first 20 seconds of the piano sequence, which sucks, but here it is anyway.

8) Who is your celebrity crush?

I was asked this by Hideaway Girl and I said David Boreanaz. I’m trying to think of who else to say, but I’ve had a crush on David for 12 years so I think he eclipses everyone else, haha!

9) Are you a nerd or popular?

I’m a nerd and proud, but I don’t think you have to be one or the other. I always had my nose in a book or a homework assignment in high school and at university but I still made great friends and had a lot of fun. There are plenty of popular nerds out there and it’s not something you should ever be ashamed of. Real friends will love you for who are and that’s all that matters.

10) Do you like blogging?

Of course, otherwise I wouldn’t do it!

Thanks again for the nomination, nostalgic musings!

The Liebster Blog Award (3)

I’ve been nominated for my third Liebster Award by the lovely Hideaway Girl. Thank you! Award Image

Many of you will be familiar with this award and since there are different variations of the rules I won’t list them here. The rules often ask for 11 facts about the blogger, but since this is the third time I’ve done this I’m afraid I’ve run out of interesting facts! If you’re curious, you can find 11 general facts about me from the first award here and 11 book related facts from the second award post here.

I’m happy to answer Hideaway Girl’s questions for me though, so here we go!

1) Why do you blog?

I started blogging originally as a way to enhance my CV (résumé) because I wanted to work in the publishing industry (which I now do – yay!) and because I wanted to connect with other book lovers. I enjoy having my own little space online where my ideas can live.

2) Who inspired you?

Since I was a little girl I have been inspired by my favourite actress Kate Mulgrew. I was lucky enough to meet her a few years ago and it was as amazing as I thought it would be. Her memoir comes out in April and I’m SO excited!

3) If you could have any pet, what would it be?

I’ve grown up with dogs all my life (we used to breed them) and my parents currently have two. Eventually I want to have one of my own, preferably a black Labrador.

4) Would you rather travel to the past or the future?

I would prefer to keep the future a mystery because if you know the path your life will take then there’s no fun in it, so I would say the past. I would love to spend some time with my Grampa who died a few years ago. He was a wonderful man and we were very close.

5) What do you regret doing the most?

I don’t like to dwell on regrets, and I’ve found that when I look back at things that I regretted or found difficult at the time, that I’m actually glad things turned out the way they did. Sometimes when you feel like you’ve taken a wrong turn in life it turns out to have been a great step forward.

6) Who is your celebrity crush?

David Boreanaz, a.k.a. Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Special Agent Seeley Booth from Bones. Such a handsome man!

7) Favourite book?

I don’t have a single favourite book but rather favourites from different genres. My favourite from the last 12 months is a tossup between The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and When She Woke by Hillary Jordan. Clicking on the links will take you through to my reviews of these books.

8) English or art?

Definitely English. I loved it in high school and even more so when I studied literature at university.

9) Lipstick or lipgloss?

I can wear either, although I don’t very much. I’m not much of a make-up fan!

10) What is your favourite quote and why?

That’s a tough one because I LOVE collecting quotes, but this is the one which came to mind when I first read this question:

“She was there, in the full vigour of her personality, battered but not diminished” – Willa Cather, from her novel My Ántonia.

When I read it I’m reminded that, even after we’ve been through difficult times and find ourselves with scars (both physical and emotional), we can still come out on the other side with the strength of our personalities intact.

I enjoyed answering those questions!

I don’t like limiting who I nominate, so if you’re reading this and you’ve never been nominated for a Liebster Award before, please consider this your nomination!

I’m a bit short on time at the moment so I’m going to use the same questions I did from my first award post. Here they are:

1) What do you enjoy most about blogging?

2) What’s the most unusual book you’ve ever read? (could be theme, format, writing style etc)

3) Was there a book series you started reading but gave up on because you lost interest?

4) What’s the worst book you’ve ever read? Why did you dislike it?

5) What’s your favourite bookshop? (could be a chain or an indie)

6) Has there ever been a book character which turned out exactly the way you imagined they would when you saw them in the film adaptation?

7) Have you ever visited a location just because it was featured in a book?

8) Do you have a particular bookmark you always use, or do you just use whatever is lying around?

9) Do you mind if the spines or pages of your paperbacks get creased, or is it important to you to keep them looking like new?

10) What’s the best library you’ve ever visited?

11) If you could spend a day in the shoes of any literary character, who would it be?

Thanks again, Hideaway Girl!

 

Book Review – The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4

Cover ImageTitle: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 and 3/4

Author: Sue Townsend

Publisher: Penguin

Date: 1982 (originally published), 2012 (30th anniversary edition)

Format: Paperback (259 pages)

Synopsis: “Friday January 2nd: I felt rotten today. It’s my mother’s fault for singing ‘My Way’ at two o’clock in the morning at the top of the stairs. Just my luck to have a mother like her. There is a chance my parents could be alcoholics. Next year I could be in a children’s home.”

Meet Adrian Mole, a hapless teenager providing an unabashed, pimples-and-all glimpse into adolescent life. Telling us candidly about his parents’ marital troubles, The Dog, and his life as a tortured poet and ‘misunderstood intellectual’, Adrian’s painfully honest diary is still hilarious and compelling reading thirty years after it first appeared.


Apparently, having been born and raised in Britain, I must have been living under a rock not to have read any of the Adrian Mole books before. He was the Harry Potter of the 1980s and Sue Townsend was the equivalent of J.K. Rowling. The books were read by children, teenagers and adults alike – and they still are. Since it was set in the late 1980s when Margaret Thatcher was our Prime Minister and I was just a toddler, there were a few cultural references which went over my head, but that didn’t affect my enjoyment of the novel.

This was, hands down, one of the funniest books I have ever read. It takes a lot for a book to make me have a visible reaction since I usually keep my thoughts to myself while I’m reading, but this one had me full on laughing out loud to the point of tears. The whole novel is told through a series of Adrian’s diary entries, written over the course of a year, during which time he has to deal with hopeless and selfish parents, a grumpy elderly man he befriends, and the demands of Pandora, the love of his life.

I love Adrian’s way of looking at things. Life constantly lets him down and yet he takes it all in his stride with a deadpan wit that I really enjoyed. For example, when he tries to explain his troubled home life to his teacher, the response is less than satisfactory (and provides an insight into the politically incorrect days of the 1980s!):

Friday September 11th: Had a long talk with Mr Dock. I explained that I was a one-parent family child with an unemployed, bad-tempered father. Mr Dock said he wouldn’t care if I was the offspring of a black, lesbian, one-legged mother and an Arab, leprous, hump-backed-dwarf father as long as my essays were lucid, intelligent and unpretentious. So much for pastoral care! (p.159)

I think my favourite entry was from Saturday September 19th when Adrian gives a blow-by-blow account of a class trip to London with a drunken coach driver. Here’s an extract:

9.40 – Barry Kent sick in coach.

9.50 – Two girls sitting near Barry Kent are sick.

9.51 – Coach driver refuses to stop on motorway.

9.55 – Ms Fossington-Gore covers sick in sand.

9.56 – Ms Fossington-Gore sick as a dog.

……………………………..

4pm – Barry Kent jumps in fountain at Trafalgar Square, as predicted by Adrian Mole.

4.30 – Barry Kent disappears, last seen heading towards Soho.

……………………………..

6pm – Barry Kent found in sex shop. Charged with theft of ‘grow-it-big’ cream and two ‘ticklers’.

7pm – Coach leaves police station with police escort. (pp.163-165)

This book doesn’t have a compelling plot or well developed characters, but it doesn’t need to. It’s hilarious. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a light read and a good laugh.

Overall Rating: Book Rating Picture Book Rating Picture Book Rating Picture Book Rating Picture Book Rating Picture My bookworm rating system is explained here.

Other Works by this Author: Sue Townsend wrote seven additional Adrian Mole books and seven other novels before she passed away in 2014. You can find out more about them by visiting her website here.

 

Book Review – When She Woke

Cover ImageTitle: When She Woke

Author: Hillary Jordan

Publisher: HarperCollins

Date: 2011

Format: Paperback (341 pages)

Synopsis: Hannah Payne is a Red. Her crime: murder. And her victim, says the state of Texas, was her unborn child.

Lying on a table in a bare room, covered only by a paper gown, Hannah awakens into a nightmare. Cameras broadcast her every move to millions at home, for whom observing new Chromes – criminals whose skin has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime – is a sinister form of entertainment.

Hannah refuses to reveal the identity of the father. But cast back into to the world that has marked her for life, how far will she go to protect the man she loves?

A powerful reimagining of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, When She Woke is a timely fable about a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of the not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a journey of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith and love.


This book was fantastic, wonderful, beautiful … you get the idea.

I read The Scarlet Letter a few years back and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, so when I came across this contemporary version set in a dystopian world I really wanted to read it. It’s actually been one of my most anticipated reads of the past year and it exceeded my expectations. You don’t have to have read The Scarlet Letter to enjoy this story, but for me being able to compare the two was an added bonus.

Hannah lives in a world suffering from the aftermath of a pandemic which left many women across the world infertile. In response America has outlawed abortions and devout Christianity has become the de facto law of the land. Revealing the father of her child, a highly respected religious leader, would destroy the faith of millions, including her own family, so Hannah undergoes an illegal abortion. When she is caught her punishment is to be “chromed” by a genetic virus which turns her skin red and will kill her if she does not submit to further injections for the rest of her life.

Unable to return to her family or survive for long in a world where Chromes are targets for violence and hatred, Hannah’s journey leads her to the doorsteps of a variety of individuals and organisations, only some of whom she can trust and all of whom have their own agenda. There was a thriller element to the plot as Hannah is often in danger and I didn’t want to put it down. I actually found myself thinking about it on the drive home from work and getting excited about getting back to it. That’s definitely the mark of a great book! It was the characters that really made the story meaningful for me though, and the two who struck me the most were Kayla and Simone.

Kayla is a fellow Red who Hannah meets shortly after being released from the Chrome Ward. Unlike Hannah, Kayla did not have a religious upbringing, and her cynical yet hilarious attitude to life and all the hell it throws at her was really refreshing and a great counterpoint to Hannah’s more serious nature. I’ve always loved characters who laugh in the face of danger or death, and Kayla was a perfect example of that.

Simone was a different kind of person entirely, and at first, like Hannah, I was very wary of her. Simone is involved in one of the secret organisations who operate under the radar in this society and at first her motivations are unclear and suspect. I didn’t expect the depth and layers of personality which unfolded as I got to know her, and she became a character I came to really care about and admire.

As for Hannah herself, I can honestly say that I haven’t felt this connected to a fictional character in a long time. It was so enjoyable and liberating to watch her free herself from the chains of her upbringing and discover for the first time who she really was without shame or fear. She cannot go back to her old life and must leave everything – and everyone – behind. This, of course, is sad and frightening, but it also gives her the courage to remake herself and discover what is truly valuable in life. For me, the conclusion to this journey was perfect. Everything from the setting to the dialogue to the descriptions just felt right. I loved it. It felt … fresh, somehow. Like Hannah was being reborn, which in a sense, she was.

I’m currently a bit obsessed with Hozier’s Take Me To Church and the soul and lyrics of the song really connect with this novel in a lot of ways. It’s made me love the song even more and it’s rare that I’ve ever found a connection like this between a book and a song, so that’s really awesome.

I can’t really say any more about how this book made me feel because I’m not sure how to articulate it. It just really meant a lot to me. To borrow a meaningful phrase from the book – “It’s personal.”

You can check out Take Me To Church below:

Overall Rating: Book Rating PictureBook Rating PictureBook Rating PictureBook Rating PictureBook Rating Picture  My bookworm rating system is explained here.

Other Works by this Author: Hillary Jordan has also written another novel called Mudbound and a novella called Aftermirth. I’ve put them both on my TBR list.

Christmas Books

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas! One of my favourite presents was a surprise from my uncle – BOOKS!! He’s a huge bibliophile and probably reads more than I do, which is saying something! Our tastes are usually quite different but I really enjoyed the last book he gave me, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino, so I’m definitely willing to give these ones a try. They’re not what I would have chosen for myself but I actually think that’s a good thing. I’m always open to expanding my reading horizons and being given books as gifts is a great way of doing that.

These are the books my uncle gave me. They are both the first in a series, so it’s good to know that I can read more if I like them.

Mythago Wood ImageMythago Wood (Mythago Wood #1) by Robert Holdstock: Deep within the wildwood lies a place of myth and mystery, from which few return, and of those few, none remain unchanged. Stephen Huxley has already lost his father to the mysteries of Ryhope Wood. On his return from the Second World War, he finds his brother, Christopher, is also in thrall to the mysterious wildwood, wherein lies a realm where mythic archetypes grow flesh and blood, where love and beauty haunt your dreams, and in promises of freedom lies the sanctuary of insanity …

Rivers of London ImageRivers of London (Peter Grant #1) by Ben Aaronovitch: My name is Peter Grant. Until January I was just another probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service, and to everyone else as the Filth. My only concerns in life were how to avoid a transfer to the Case Progression Unit – We do paperwork so real coppers don’t have to – and finding a way to climb into the panties of the outrageously perky WPC Leslie May. Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from a man who was dead, but disturbingly voluble, and that brought me to the attention of Chief Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England. And that, as they say, is where the story begins.

Now I’m a Detective Constable and a trainee wizard, the first apprentice in fifty years, and my world has become somewhat more complicated. I’m dealing with nests of vampires in Purley, negotiating a truce between the warring god and goddess of the Thames, and digging up graves in Covent Garden – and that’s just routine. There’s something festering at the heart of the city I love, a malicious, vengeful spirit that takes ordinary Londoners and twists them into grotesque mannequins to act out its drama of violence and despair.

The spirit of riot and rebellion has awakened in the city, and it’s falling to me to bring order out of chaos – or die trying. Which, I don’t mind telling you, would involve a hell of a lot of paperwork.

Have any of you read either of these? Let me know in the comments!

Book Review – Orange is the New Black

Cover ImageTitle: Orange is the New Black

Author: Piper Kerman

Publisher: Abacus

Date: April 2010

Format: Paperback (344 pages)

Synopsis: With her career, live-in boyfriend and loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the rebellious young woman who, over a decade ago, got mixed up with drug runners and delivered a suitcase of drug money to Europe. But when she least expects it, her reckless past catches up with her: convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at an infamous women’s prison in Connecticut, Piper becomes inmate #11187-424.

From her first strip search to her final release, she learns to navigate this strange world with its arbitrary rules and codes, its unpredictable, even dangerous relationships. And she meets women from all walks of life, who surprise her with tokens of generosity, hard truths and simple acts of acceptance.


Many of you will be aware of the hugely popular and Emmy-award winning Netflix show based on this non-fiction book. I love the show and I was eager to check out the book. Suffice it to say I absolutely loved it and didn’t want it to end. I’ve been careful to keep this review spoiler free for both the book and the show.

When you read the memoir of a well-educated, financially secure and otherwise successful woman like Piper Kerman, you might expect to encounter excuses and justifications for the mistakes she made in her youth which landed her in prison. But Piper doesn’t do that. She owns her mistakes and the consequences of her choices and never claims to be superior to any of her fellow inmates. I found this attitude incredibly refreshing and it made for a very open and honest account of her incarceration. I felt I could really relate to her as she goes through the process of figuring out how to survive her prison time while maintaining her sense of identity and mental stability.

My favourite quote illustrates this well:

“Most changes in perception are gradual: we grow to hate or love an idea, a person, or a place over a period of time. Sometimes, rarely, the way we see something is subject to alchemy. My emotions changed so rapidly, and I felt so strongly all the things I had in common with these women … our troubled history was suddenly matched by our more immediate shared experience as prisoners on an exhausting journey.” (p.311)

I also really liked Kerman’s writing style which I described in my notes as “honest, engaging, informative and raw.” There was also a lot of humour mixed in with the intense emotions which I really enjoyed. I loved reading about the relationships she develops with the other prisoners and how they look out for each other, like making a huge deal about someone’s birthday or release date. I was particularly impressed by the creativity and resourcefulness shown by the inmates. Let’s just say there are more uses for sanitary towels than you might think and it’s possible to make a palatable cheesecake in prison using this recipe.

In comparison to the Netflix show, the characters we know and love are definitely there, but not in the way we’re used to. It’s like Jenji Kohan (the creator of the show) took the characteristics and personal histories of the real life women and recombined them to create the dynamic characters we see on screen. Some of the names are the same (although Kerman changed most of them to protect the women’s identities) and there are plenty of recognisable character traits and back stories. I had fun trying to figure out who was who and there were a lot of “aha!” moments when I made a connection between the real life people and the show’s characters. That being said, Kerman made the people in her book come alive for me and I found myself imagining what they looked like instead of automatically picturing the actors. That’s one of the reasons why I believe this book would be enjoyable even if you haven’t seen the show (which you totally should, by the way).

The main lesson I took away from this book was this: it’s the times when you think you have nothing that you have the greatest capacity for generosity, openness and honesty.

Overall Rating: Book Rating Picture Book Rating Picture Book Rating Picture Book Rating Picture Book Rating Picture My bookworm rating system is explained here.

Other Works by this Author: This is Piper Kerman’s first book. You can find out more about her and her advocacy work here.

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

Image

I was nominated by the lovely Gel over at Some Kind of Book Blog. Thank you, Gel!

The rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site
  • Put the award logo on your blog
  • Answer the ten questions they’ve set you
  • Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer
  • Nominate ten people

Gel’s Questions for Me:

1) Who are your top three favourite authors?

James Clemens, the author of my favourite fantasy books The Banned and the Banished series. Kirsten Beyer, the current author of the post-series Star Trek: Voyager novels which I absolutely love. There are several authors fighting for third place so this is difficult, but I think I’ll have to go with J.K. Rowling for the magic she brought to my teenage years.

2) If you could exchange lives with a fictional character for a day, who would it be?

Celia Bowen from The Night Circus. I love her beautifully tragic, magical life.

3) What’s the first thing you would do if you became the character on number 2?

Create my very own magical tent in the circus. I’m not sure what form this tent would take, but I’m guessing it would have something to do with ice or waterfalls.

4) What are your top three favourite books that you read in 2014?

I’ve read a lot of fantastic books this year, but my top three would have to be The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern; Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman (which I just finished yesterday!) and The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak.

5) What book are you most excited to read in 2015?

Definitely Born with Teeth: A Memoir by Kate Mulgrew, due to be published on April 15th 2015. She’s been my favourite actress and one of my idols since I was 8 and I’ve been waiting for her to write a book for years. I’m so excited about this and I’ve already pre-ordered it.

6) Do you have an unusual reading habit? What is it?

I intentionally (and unapologetically) bend the spines of my paperback books as I’m reading them. I like them to look well-read and have character. I love that anyone can just glance at my bookshelves and know which books are my favourites because I’ve read them so many times that the spines are worn. I talked about this more in an earlier post.

7) If you are stranded in a deserted island, which fictional character would you like to be with you?

Hermione Granger. I’m guessing she could get us off that island, or at least conjure us some good food and a stack of books.

8) Choose the characters from your favourite book that you would f**k, marry, and kill.

This question doesn’t work too well for my favourite book, so I’ve just chosen characters from different ones:

F**k – Gale from The Hunger Games

Marry – Eric from S.

Kill – Grak from Things Grak Hates (which I reviewed earlier this month)

9) Which do you prefer, reading before going to sleep or reading during the day?

Definitely reading before going to sleep. Reading is my barrier between the stress of the day and the calm I need to fall asleep. Of course this often means that I stay up far too late! I recently discovered that the word for this is Librocubicularist.

10) If you could give a Christmas gift to your book crush, what would it be?

Hmm, I’m not sure what I would give Eric from S. Could the gift be a kiss from me? Haha!

Blogs I’m Nominating:

I nominate the following awesome blogs:

Neon Yeti Reads

Miss Print

A Librarian’s Library

Falling Down the Book Hole

Stephanie’s Book Reviews

The Sleepy Book Nerd

ahouseofbooks

Roof Beam Reader

For the Love of the Page

Darcy’s Book Blog

My Questions:

1) If a book was written about your life, what would the title be?

2) What was the first book you can remember reading (or being read to you)?

3) What’s your favourite genre of books?

4) If you could choose one book to be turned into a movie adaptation, what would it be?

5) What’s your favourite reading format: Hardback, Paperback or E-book?

6) Do you come from a family of readers, or are you the only one?

7) Have you asked for any books for Christmas? If so, which ones?

8) Have you ever been to a book festival or author event?

9) Do you have a favourite bookshop you visit often? Maybe an indie in your hometown/city?

10) Do you own any signed copies of books? If so, which ones?

If you decide to participate I would love for you to post a link to your post in the comments so I can read it! 🙂

Friday Finds (12) – 19 December 2014

Image1Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading which encourages you to share the books you have discovered over the past 7 days with your fellow bloggers. Whether you found them in a bookshop, online, in the library or just heard about them from a friend, Friday Finds is a great way to spread the love with other readers. All books are linked to their Goodreads pages so you can discover them too.

Sooooooo, I suck at getting my posts done on time, especially when I have a list of them that I’m excited about (4 at the moment) so once again I’ll just be posting each book’s synopsis as it’s written on Goodreads, rather than putting it into my own words like usual. Hopefully I’ll be more productive and organised in the New Year!

Here are my finds for this week:

1) The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family by Josh Hanagarne: Josh Hanagarne couldn’t be invisible if he tried. Although he wouldn’t officially be diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome until his freshman year of high school, Josh was six years old and onstage in a school Thanksgiving play when he first began exhibiting symptoms. By the time he was twenty, the young Mormon had reached his towering adult height of 6’7″ when — while serving on a mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints — his Tourette’s tics escalated to nightmarish levels.

Determined to conquer his affliction, Josh underwent everything from quack remedies to lethargy-inducing drug regimes to Botox injections that paralyzed his vocal cords and left him voiceless for three years. Undeterred, Josh persevered to marry and earn a degree in Library Science. At last, an eccentric, autistic strongman — and former Air Force Tech Sergeant and guard at an Iraqi prison — taught Josh how to “throttle” his tics into submission through strength-training.

Today, Josh is a librarian in the main branch of Salt Lake City’s public library and founder of a popular blog about books and weight lifting—and the proud father of four-year-old Max, who has already started to show his own symptoms of Tourette’s.

2) Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley: Lucy is in love with Shadow, a mysterious graffiti artist. Ed thought he was in love with Lucy, until she broke his nose. Dylan loves Daisy, but throwing eggs at her probably wasn’t the best way to show it. Jazz and Leo are slowly encircling each other. An intense and exhilarating 24 hours in the lives of four teenagers on the verge: of adulthood, of HSC, of finding out just who they are, and who they want to be.

3) Dreamwalkers (Dreamwalkers #1) by Corinne Davis: Emma Owens is a seemingly ordinary seventeen-year-old girl who covertly possesses the power to do anything she desires, without limitation, in a world filled with both infinite beauty and interminable danger, that exists only while she sleeps. Emma is a dreamwalker.

She inherited the dreamwalking trait from her father and inexplicably shares it with her best friend, Zoë. There are rules to dreamwalking that Emma and Zoë live their lives by. The most important of which is not to interact with unknown people who can see them while they dreamwalk, or risk becoming lost in a world of unrelenting darkness. Emma and Zoë have always followed the rules without question, but their conformity is tested when Emma learns that she is the only one capable of rescuing a young girl who has become profoundly lost on a dreamwalk.

When Emma launches a crusade to travel deep into the world of dreamwalking, gambling her own life to save the girl, Zoë agrees to stand by her side, unknowingly opening the door to her own astounding hidden faculties and uncovering a three hundred year old family secret in the process. Emma’s world is turned even further upside down when Charlie, the boy who shattered her heart into a thousand pieces, mysteriously returns with information that sends her head… and heart, spinning.

4) The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp: Sutter Keely. He’S the guy you want at your party. He’ll get everyone dancing. He’ ll get everyone in your parents’ pool. Okay, so he’s not exactly a shining academic star. He has no plans for college and will probably end up folding men’s shirts for a living. But there are plenty of ladies in town, and with the help of Dean Martin and Seagram’s V.O., life’s pretty fabuloso, actually.

Until the morning he wakes up on a random front lawn, and he meets Aimee. Aimee’s clueless. Aimee is a social disaster. Aimee needs help, and it’s up to the Sutterman to show Aimee a splendiferous time and then let her go forth and prosper. But Aimee’s not like other girls, and before long he’s in way over his head. For the first time in his life, he has the power to make a difference in someone else’s life—or ruin it forever.

5) The Time of My Life by Cecelia Ahern: Lucy Silchester has an appointment with her life – and she’s going to have to keep it.

Lying on Lucy Silchester’s carpet one day when she returns from work is a gold envelope. Inside is an invitation – to a meeting with Life. Her life. It turns out she’s been ignoring itand it needs to meet with her face to face. It sounds peculiar, but Lucy’s read about this in a magazine. Anyway, she can’t make the date: she’s much too busy despising her job, skipping out on her friends and avoiding her family.

But Lucy’s life isn’t what it seems. Some of the choices she’s made – and stories she’s told – aren’t what they seem either. From the moment she meets the man who introduces himself as her life, her stubborn half-truths are going to be revealed in all their glory – unless Lucy learns to tell the truth about what really matters to her.

I also came across this great list of upcoming YA novels due to be published in early 2015 which is worth checking out.

So what books have you discovered this week? Have you read any of the ones I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments!

The Gif Book Tag

I’ve been tagged to join in with the Gif Book Tag fun by my good friend Stefani over at Caught Read Handed and the lovely Ashley from For the Love of the Page. Thank you, ladies!

The rules are simple:

  • Whoever tags you will give you a list of 10 books
  • Write a sentence and add a gif which shows how you feel about each one
  • Tag other bloggers and give them a new list of 10 books

Since Stefani and Ashley’s lists had quite a few duplicates (great minds think alike!) I’ve just combined the two and come up with 12 gifs. This was great fun!

1) The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I’ve heard some great things about this but for some reason there’s a vibe surrounding it that reminds me of Lauren Destefano’s Wither, which I hated, so I’m really conflicted about it.

2) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

The line “And in that moment I swear we were infinite” has stuck with me since I read this awesome jumble-of-emotions-coming-of-age novel.

3) Any or all of the Raven Cycle Books by Maggie Stiefvater

So many great sounding books; so little time.

4) It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

I’ve had this one on my TBR shelf for AGES and I’m really annoyed at myself that I haven’t gotten to it yet.

5) Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling

I think you all know the event I’m referring to here.

6) The Young Elites by Marie Lu

This book sounds AWESOME and I really want to read it!

7) The Walking Dead comics by Robert Kirkman

Zombies. I’m sorry. I just can’t.

8) Lola and the Boy Next Door/Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I’ve heard great things about these books so I might read them one day.

9) Allegiant by Veronica Roth

It’s my kind of genre and I enjoyed the Divergent movie, so I will probably read it at some point.

10) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Obviously this book made me sad but I found the ending really uplifting rather than depressing.

11) The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

I’m being buried alive in my TBR list and this series is in the pile somewhere near my head.

12) If I Stay by Gayle Foreman

I’ve hardly heard anything good about this book and the synopsis doesn’t sound that great so … nah.

This was so much fun so I don’t want to limit tagging to a short list of bloggers, so if any of you want to join in and create your own post then please do! I would love to see what you come up with for these books:

1) The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak

2) The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

3) The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

4) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

5) S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

6) Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

7) The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

8) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

9) The Humans by Matt Haig

10) One Day by David Nicholls

I’ve read quite a few of these posts and some people have commented that they don’t know how to include gifs in blog posts. I wasn’t sure either but it’s actually really easy. I found all mine at this site. Once you find one you want just click the share button underneath. Click the clipboard symbol to the right of the Gif option and then head back to your blog post. Click Add Media then Insert from URL and paste the link into the address bar. The gif should appear in the box below and can be inserted into the post.