Category Archives: Thoughts

A long, dark winter….

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This winter was a difficult time for me as I bounced from one illness to the next. Since early May I have been struggling with chest infections, bronchitis, several bouts of conjunctivitis and gastroenteritis, and sinus and ear infections, plus a most hideous case of food poisoning… With a family of six, there were few days when no one was sick, and caring for sick kids is almost as tiring as being sick yourself. All of that has left me exhausted and feeling low. My beautiful husband, Big L, has been an absolute rock, pulling the cart when I could not, and putting up with my complaints, and my snoring! He is an amazing person with a big heart, and I adore him.

During those long months, it was difficult to work and sometimes even to read, so my book reviews have been few. I am sorry for this. I have greatly missed reading great stories and writing about them. I’m hopeful to be back in full swing shortly (I’m yet to beat the latest bout of bronchitis and ear infection). I appreciate your patience, and your support in reading and sharing my blog.

Thank you. Thank you.

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July Book Box

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The YA Chronicles July theme was “To the Revolution”. The book was The Waking Land by Callie Bates, which I hadn’t heard of, but which sounds extremely interesting! 

My favourite item in this box is the Readvolution sticker from AnnaOMline. Though I’m sure I’m going to enjoy the super proof, Date A Book from Hachette Australia, containing chapters from some of the YA books hitting shelves in 2017. There was also a Feminist pin from Jubly-Umph, a Rise Up decal from GoldParrotCreations and a magnetic bookmark from ByEpikPage. The smelliest product was a scented Rise Up candle from The Book Hangover (oh I love their candles!).

Want your own YA book box each month? Head over to The YA Chronicles and sign up for one of their subscriptions.

June Book Box

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We have had weeks and weeks of illness in our house so I am woefully behind in everything…. so here is the June book box from The YA Chronicles. The mermaid socks went down a treat with my seven year old!

Such beautiful items in this box, including book marks, mermaid socks, a mermaid bath bomb, artwork, an iron on patch and some pirate treasure. The pirate coins disappeared into my kids pockets very quickly and the socks straight onto my daughter’s feet.

The book of the month was Song of the Current by Sarah Tolscer, which I am looking forward to reading.

For your very own book box, pop over to The YA Chronicles!

 

May Book Box

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With school holidays, I’ve gotten a little behind with things, but I’m working on getting them done now. I was organising my June book box, when I realised I never posted about the one I got in May. I was so excited by the A Court of Wings and Ruin box that I forgot about the other one! So better late than never, here is what came in the May book box from The YA Chronicles.

 

The May book was Flame in the Mist by Renée Adhieh. 

The other contents of the box included a very cool pair of socks (which I love), a fiery bracelet that my younger daughter swiftly claimed, a cute pack of dragon sticky notes, a Hunger Games figure and a beautifully smelling candle. Plus the usual bookmark and postcard with info about the box.

 

 

 

 

 

To get your very own book box like this one, head over to The YA Chronicles!

 

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

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Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, paperback novel, 288 pages, first published 2007, this edition published by Razorbill in 2011.

When Clay receives an anonymous package containing a series of cassette tapes, he is startled to discover they contain the voice of his friend and love interest, Hannah Baker. Her voice comes to him from the grave, describing and explaining the reasons behind her decision to end her own life.

Thirteen Reasons Why had been on my to read list for quite a while. But I have a confession to make; I actually watched the Netflix series before reading the book! I know, I know, I do usually read the book first, but I was sick, and sad, and the series looked interesting…. Anyway, I watched it, and I loved it.

I also liked the book, but this is one of those rare occasions where I preferred the screen version. The acting, casting and soundtrack were all good, but it was the emotiveness of the story that stuck with me. I felt Hannah becoming isolated, I felt her sadness, her resignation, and her acceptance. I also felt her parents’ devastation and the repercussions her death had on her family, on Clay and on Tony, and the ripples that moved through the wider school community. It is those left behind that are also victims of suicide, but it is rare that they have a chance to understand the reasons behind the final act.

Knowing the outcome from the start, knowing that Hannah takes her life before we even get a feel for her, made this novel an haunting memoir of a life at risk. It explored the many facets that can intertwine and connect leading to depression and suicide in teens. Even a small act can change the course of a life forever, and you can never predict what consequences will be wrought.

The Netflix series had thirteen parts; an episode for each side of each tape. That was an hour dedicated to each story Hannah tells. This allowed the characters to be fleshed out and explained in a way not usually encountered in a film or TV adaptation. There was so much more to the characters, we got to see them not only through Hannah’s eyes, but as the teens they were, and those they became. We saw how listening to the tapes affected them, and changed the course of their own lives. There was such depth to each person that the book could not explore fully since we only heard about them through Hannah’s voice on the tapes.

Inevitably there were some changes made, such as the type of store Hannah’s parents owned, the secret that Courtney wanted to keep, Clay’s relationship to the car crash victim, much bigger roles for both Hannah’s and Clay’s parents. However, I felt that the biggest change from book to screen was the timeline that Clay followed whilst listening to the tapes; in the books it’s all over in one night and told mostly in the past, in the series the story is played out over days, with interactions with all the other students involved in both the present and the past. Threads were added, exploring the way that Clay dealt not only with Hannah’s death, but also the actions that he undertakes in reaction to the other students’ stories. I found all these differences only enhanced the story and made it even more poignant.

Whether you read it or watch the series (I recommend you do both!), Thirteen Reasons Why is a story that will stay with you forever.

Thirteen Reasons Why is suitable for middle to upper high school students and above. It contains themes of depression, suicide, bullying, rape and sexual assault. It may be overly upsetting to some readers.

 

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The Special Book Box

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I received two book boxes in May from The YA Chronicles; there was the regular monthly instalment, and the special pre-order box for A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOWAR) by Sarah J Maas.

I get excited every time a book box is due, but waiting for the ACOWAR box was torture! I greatly enjoyed  the first book in this series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and it was definitely love through the second book, A Court of Mist and Fury, so I was extremely ready to dive into the third book once it arrived. (Read my review of A Court of Thorns and Roses here). Getting the book in a book box was a bonus, and the contents of the box were gorgeous; it’s my favourite box so far.

I developed a terrible book hangover after finishing A Court of Wings and Ruin. I actually didn’t pick up another book for several days, I just wanted to stay in Feyre’s and Rhysand’s world. It’s now been a couple of weeks and I’m still struggling to get really enthused about a new read! Luckily the contents of the book box are keeping me happy.

Included in this box is the book (I chose the UK paperback version as it matched my other books), A Night Court tote bag by Paperly & Co, a smelly candle by Kool & Co, a beautiful Feysand bookmark by Read And Wonder, a ribbon bookmark by Charmed Fiction, a cute baby Rhysand sticker by Taratjah, an art print by Charlie Bowater, and a really big button pin by Evie Bookish.

It’s difficult to decide which is my favourite item in the ACOWAR box, it’s all pretty awesome, but I was especially impressed with the bookmarks. And the bag… and the artwork… and the button…

Lovely bookmarks.

Pretty ribbon bookmark.

 

It’s going to be hard to top this box!

If you’re interested in getting a young adult book box subscription, hop on over to The YA Chronicles.

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A Book Box in March

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I was so excited to find this little package on my doorstep during the week! It’s a small box packed with awesomeness that makes me feel so very happy.

The YA Chronicles are an Australian book box subscription service specialising in young adult literature. Each month, a new release YA book is chosen to develop a book box. It is then accompanied by several themed goodies, which make it a truly fun experience. A subscription would make an excellent gift for a lover of YA.

This month, I opened the box to grassy green tissue paper, which I carefully peeled back and unveiled… A beautiful parcel of literary fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The book is Frogkisser by Garth Nix! And it came with a signed plate through the publisher, Allen & Unwin. It’s been a hectic week, so I haven’t been able to start reading it yet, but I can hardly wait to get to it (must get kids to bed first!)

Also included was a lovely vinyl sticker from Ink and Wonder Designs, some villainous bath salts from Burning Pages Candles and a delightfully smelling lip balm from From the Page. And of course, The YA Chronicles bookmark and information postcard.

Check out The YA Chronicles to get in on the book box action!

 

 

My First Book Box

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Recently I had seen a few places advertised online that were selling book box subscriptions, but they were not available in my area, or the postage costs were prohibitive. Then I ran across The YA Chronicles, an Australian based book box subscription service specialising in young adult literature. I could hardly have been more excited! I love YA and read it as much as I can, so this was just perfect.

Each month, a new release YA book is chosen to develop a book box. It is then accompanied by several themed goodies, which make it a truly fun experience. A subscription would make an excellent gift for a lover of YA.

Book box

Book box

My first box arrived during the week, yay! I got an email from Australia Post early in the morning to say it was on board with the driver for delivery that day. I waited impatiently all day for it to arrive, but it didn’t show up until after four, by which time all the kids were home from school, so I had to sneak off to my room to open it in peace!

I was tingling with anticipation as I opened the box to find black tissue paper surrounding the wonderful contents. Inside was the book, Valentine by Jodi McAlister, along with a lovely smelly and glittery soy candle, a pin, some tea and a bookmark. And I love it all!

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Already looking forward to the next box! Thanks to The YA Chronicles for giving me such joy!

Time Away

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Focus, concentration and motivation have been rather lacking in my life lately, as I slowly recover from illness, and the death of a loved one. I just haven’t been able to work or even read for pleasure, leaving me woefully behind in my read-and-review stack. I apologise if you have been waiting for a review or feedback. I don’t know how long it will be until I find myself back on my feet again, I’m just taking things one day at a time.
Thank you all for reading my blog and sharing your work with me and my readers. I hope to continue the Today We Did journey soon, and I hope you will come along for the ride 🙂

Sara xx

New Library Additions June ’16

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More books, more books!

Physical books:

E-books: