A Year at the Cinema
So at the beginning of last year, I decided that I wanted to keep a record of all of the films I went to see at the cinema. The plan was to post a little round-up of those films at the end of each month but that, naturally for me, stopped happening in March because life got busy and I just didn’t have the time but what I did do was keep every single ticket that I got from the films I went to see. So now I am sitting here, a year later having spent a total of £202.80 on my cineworld card and wondering whether it was worth it.
Guys… it was. It really, really, really was.
Because I went to the cinema a total of seventy-two times! This means that I could have spent around £720.00 to see all those films but I didn’t. Which means that I made an astounding saving.
I am absolutely gobsmacked. I would never have thought I was saving that much money but I did and you know what? I plan to keep it up next year too. There is just something so absolutely brilliant about watching films in the cinema, don’t you agree?
How did your year at the cinema go?
A Day Without Speaking
I’m here today to share with you all how difficult I would find it to spend a day without speaking. The reason I’m doing this is to help spread the light on Selective Mutism which is a severe anxiety disorder and is also what Steffi in A Quiet Kind of Thunder suffers from.
So before I begin, here’s some more information on the book!
About the Book
Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen.
Their love isn’t a lightning strike, it’s the rumbling roll of thunder.
Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.
From the bestselling author of Beautiful Broken Things comes a love story about the times when a whisper is as good as a shout.
A Day Without Speaking
When I first thought about how difficult it would be to not be able to speak, I thought about the amount of times a day people speak to you and expect an answer back. Strangers that have never met you who you may accidentally bump into in the street. People who ask you for directions or the time or for your help with something. This would be tricky – and something that I also think would be also be incredibly hard for a deaf person too – but then I dived a little further and realised that I talk… a lot. I used to think of myself as a quiet girl. A girl who kept to herself and spoke only when she felt she needed to and in part, I am still that person but I also talk a lot more than I even knew.
The second thing to come from this thought process was the thought that I would not be able to work in the job I am currently doing. A large part of my job is talking to customers. It would be impossible to do my job if I was incapable of talking – and of course, how would I have interviewed for the job in the first place? On an average day I talk to maybe 100 people. Sometimes all I say is hello. Sometimes I just have a quick interaction while I sign them up to the library and other times I have to have a more in depth conversation so that I can help the customer in the best way possible. Then there is all of the essential talking that happens between myself, my colleagues and my superiors. Words of discussion, of explanations, of tasks that have or need to be completed. Without this communication, it would be a disaster. How would my colleagues communicate to customers the reason there are less books is because I am creating a nicer area for them if I hadn’t told them this first?
So without a doubt, my job would not be there. So what would I do for a living instead? I cannot even fathom a job where there is no talking at all. I’m sure that there is probably something. Maybe something in crafts or art, but even then you have to have the talent for it and how would you sell it without words?
Then I thought about eating out. I do this more often than I probably should. But eating out means ordering. Ordering is very difficult without words. I presume in a restaurant you might be able to point at the dish on the menu but what if you needed something changing? Or what if you’re in a coffee shop or somewhere like McDonalds or Subway? At least if you go food shopping, these days you can get by without words because in most larger stores you can either self-scan your items or do a scan and shop but if you need help or a staff member asks you something, how would you go about answering them?
There is so much about my day to day life that requires speech or words of some kind that the idea of being physically incapable of doing it, scares me. I’ve always been petrified of losing my sight or my hearing but never really thought about speech. Until now. And it is now something that I am grateful for and will treasure from now on.
As someone who suffers from anxiety, I can understand that fear. I can understand the worry that must go through the mind when it comes to being unable to speak. I know that when I suffer from panic attacks, I can barely talk. I need to get myself to a safe space but telling someone that isn’t possible. I’m usually just about dealing from not being able to breathe. And I also know that the fear of certain situations has stopped me from going places or trying new things. So, I can see how it is possible to deal with this fear by not speaking.
And knowing how tough this would make life, I can only hope that the people they love understands that and accepts them as they are. Because they’re going to need every last ounce of support they can get.
As well as A Quiet Kind of Thunder, I would also highly recommend, What I Couldn’t Say by Faye Bird as another UKYA book to read which features a main protagonist with selective mutism.
How Would It Affect Your Day?
School Wars Blog Tour!
Today is my stop on the School Wars Blog Tour and I am here to support St Grizzle’s! I love Karen McCombie’s books and this one is brilliant!
Without further ado, here’s some more info about the book and then I have a stunning guest post from Karen herself!
About the Book
And it gets worse. When we arrive at St Grizelda’s School for Girls, the school’s had a drastic makeover. Gone are the uniforms, the rules and … er, most of the pupils and staff.
In their place is TOTAL CHAOS.
We’re greeted by a bunch of stampeding eight-year-olds, a head-butting goat and a crazy head teacher wearing a plastic-spoon crown…
Somebody get me OUT of here!
Top 10 School Stories by Karen McCombie
*Swoooop…!* That was the sound of me carefully side-stepping the obvious school story of them all (soz, JK). Instead, I have a smattering of new and old, serious and seriously funny school stories for your reading pleasure.
1 ‘Wigglesbottom Primary – The Toilet Ghost’ by Pamela Butchart
Pamela is the number one choice for this list, since she’s a) a very funny writer and b) sets most of her stories in school. I found it hard to choose between the excellently named ‘Baby Aliens Got My Teacher’, ‘My Headteacher is a Vampire Rat’ and ‘The Spy Who Loved School Dinners’, but in the end I opted for one of the ‘Wigglebottom Primary’ series. This is because Becka Moor did the illustrations for ‘Wigglesbottom’ as well as my newbie book ‘St Grizzle’s School For Girl’s, Goats and Random Boys’. (Yay!)
2 ‘A Little Princess’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Let’s go old skool with this riches-to-rags-to-riches tale of Sara Crewe, who finds herself deposited at Miss Minchin’s Seminary for Girls in London, while her dad is off fighting in the war. When he’s presumed dead, Sara goes from indulged, number one student to browbeaten maid in no time at all. Anyone who doesn’t gasp and “ooh” at the attic transformation scene is no friend of mine.
3 ‘Takeshita Demons’ by Cristy Burne
Miku has moved from Japan to London, and is rather taken aback when the supply teacher at her new school turns out to be a Nukekubi – a bloodthirsty demon whose favourite snack is children… *erk* Can she and her best friend Cait save her little brother from this flying-headed, otherworldly freak? They’d better!
4 ‘Drama’ by Raina Tegelmeier
‘Smile’ is a big favourite in our house, especially for a certain teen with braces. ‘Drama’ stars Callie, who joins the – no spoilers here – drama society at school. Another easy-read graphic novel choice that hits the spot in terms of friendships, crushes and school angst.
5 ‘Down’ With Skool’ by Geoffrey Williams and Ronald Searle
I think I discovered my battered copy of ‘Down With Skool’ during a teenage trawl of charity shops (my favourite Saturday afternoon occupation). It was Ronald Searle’s spidery, searingly sharp illustrations that caught my eye, but Geoffrey Williams’ irreverent take on life in posho boarding schools of the 1950s made me snigger madly. St Custards and Nigel Molesworth – what a wizard wheeze, chiz chiz.
6 ‘How To Write Really Badly’ by Anne Fine
American schoolboy Chester moves to Britian, and finds himself stuck in a boring classroom next to Joe, who struggles to write well. This very funny story trips along speedily, and is deceptively simple… the underlying message of appreciating each other’s different talents is told with a lightness of touch, as you’d expect from former Children’s Laureate Anne Fine. [Karen does a little curtsey.]
7 ‘Withering Tights’ by Louise Rennison
‘The Misadventures of Tallulah Casey’ is the mighty and much missed Louise Rennison’s follow-up to the ‘Georgia Nicholson’ series of books, and this is the first in the series. Tallulah has got herself a place at a performing arts school in the unlikely setting of the Yorkshire Dales. Expect a pacy read packed full of Louise’s trademark zingy and brilliant buffoonery.
8 ‘Maggot Moon’ by Sally Gardner
If it’s still sometimes an uphill struggle to be dyslexic in the school environment in these enlightened times, try being Standish, the central character in Sally Gardener’s stark and strange dystopian novel. Written off by teachers, bullied by fellow pupils, it’s only when new boy Hector starts at school that a little trickle of brightness enters Standish’s brutal world. Epic, but you might need a lie-down and a sugary tea after reading this.
9 ‘I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have To Kill You’ by Ally Carter
Cammie Morgan is a spy-in-training at the elite Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. Still, it’s all well-and-good to know fourteen languages and how to kill a man in seven different ways, but how does a not-so-average girl cope when she starts to fall in love with an ordinary boy? A fast and fun read in the ‘Gallagher Girls’ series, and scores highly in the Awesome Title Awards (which I’ve just invented).
10 ‘Beswitched’ by Kate Saunders
Modern-day schoolgirl Flora Fox suddenly finds herself zapped back in time to the tight-laced 1930s St Winifrid’s. Lots of gorgeous period detail envelope the reader as Flora struggles without her 21st century accoutrements, but with her new retro girl crew of Dulcie, Pogo and Pete. A totally enjoyable time-travelling romp.
About the Author
Follow The Tour
What’s your favourite fictional school?
The Dry by Jane Harper
Today is my stop on The Dry blog tour and I am here today to give you a list of my five favourite things about this book!
But first, here’s some more information about the book!
About the Book
After getting a note demanding his presence, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. Twenty years ago when Falk was accused of murder, Luke was his alibi. Falk and his father fled under a cloud of suspicion, saved from prosecution only because of Luke’s steadfast claim that the boys had been together at the time of the crime. But now more than one person knows they didn’t tell the truth back then, and Luke is dead.
Amid the worst drought in a century, Falk and the local detective question what really happened to Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them. And Falk will find that small towns have always hidden big secrets.
Five Favourite Things
One of the reasons I fell so easily into this book is that it is written in such a way that truly hooks the reader in. I could truly imagine the situation and the scenario and everything that was happening as though I was watching a film and it all moved along in such a compelling and fascinating way. It is everything that I love about reading.
As the story continued moving along, I found it so incredibly difficult to put this book down and continue on with my normal life. A part of me was always in the book, thinking about the characters and what had happened. I was so curious about the outcome and I kept coming up with my own solutions which made me love the book that much more.
As with most crime novels, there is a sense of mystery that surrounds this book but for some reason I found it even more brilliant to read about in this book. Everything seems shrouded in the unknown in this book with more than just one mystery to uncover as the book goes along. It really brings the reader in and keeps them wanting to read on. You find yourself flipping the pages quicker to work out how everything is connected and where it is all going to lead. I, for one, really wanted to try and work it out myself as well, which always makes reading more interactive and interesting.
With all of the ingredients above, it’s hard not to see how this book would also be captivating but I think what really drew me into this book was the characters. They were all so full of life – and also not full of life due to situation they’re in – and that made them very interesting to read about. I really loved the main protagonist and found him to be a truly marvelous character to follow as he tried to deal with everything that was happening. You could tell that he was holding on to a secret and that he really didn’t want to be back in his home town and all of that just made him feel so mysterious and fascinating to read about.
Lastly, but certainly not least, one of the best things about this book was how powerful it was. It was gripping, addictive, captivating, etc, but it was also just full of brilliant writing that kept you glued to the page. I’d, admittedly, been in a little reading slump before this book but it vanished as soon as I opened the first page of this book. The author is an incredible writer who has written a brilliant crime novel that will keep you hooked until the very last page. This atmospheric novel is not one that you want to miss.
Follow the Tour
Will you be reading The Dry?
Brake Failure by Alison Brodie
Today is my stop on the Brake Failure blog tour and I’m here to tell you all about the book and a chance to win a $25 Amazon Voucher!
Ruby Mortimer-Smyth is upper-class English, rigidly brought up to marry a man from the pages of Burke’s Peerage. She knows the etiquette for every occasion and her soufflés NEVER collapse.
She is in control of her life, tightly in control. Until …she ends up in Kansas.
Ruby believes that life is like a car; common-sense keeps it on the road, passion sends it into a ditch. What she doesn’t know is, she’s on a collision course with Sheriff Hank Gephart.
Sheriff Hank Gephart can judge a person. Miss Mortimer-Smyth might act like the Duchess of England, but just under the surface there’s something bubbling, ready to erupt. She’s reckless, and she’s heading for brake failure. And he’s not thinking about her car.
With the Millennium approaching, Ruby gets caught up in the Y2K hysteria. She joins a Survivalists group, who give her a gun and advise her to stockpile basic essentials. Accordingly, she bulk-buys Perrier, Gentleman’s Relish and macaroons.
Ruby, far from home, is making Unsuitable Friends and “finding herself” for the first time. She falls in with a gang of Hells Angels and falls foul of the law. At every turn, she comes up hard against Sheriff Hank Gephart, whose blue eyes seem to look deep into her soul. She desperately wants him, but knows she can never have him.
She’s angry at the emotions he arouses in her. Pushed to her limit, she bursts from her emotional straightjacket.
As the clock strikes midnight of the new Millennium, she’s on a freight train with three million dollars, a bottle of Wild Turkey and a smoking gun.
What happened to Miss Prim-and-Proper? And why did she shoot Mr Right?
About the Author
rs on her mother’s side. Alison was a photographic model for a wide range of products, such as Ducatti motorbikes and 7Up. She was also the vampire in the Schweppes commercial.
A disastrous modelling assignment in the Scottish Highlands gave Alison an idea for her first romance novel, Face to Face. It was taken up by Dinah Wiener, the first agent Alison sent it to. Three weeks later, Alison signed a two-book deal with Hodder & Stoughton. Subsequently, Face to Face was published in English, German and Dutch. “Vain, but wildly funny leading lady.” -Scottish Daily Mail. It was also chosen as Good Housekeeping’s “Pick of the Paperbacks.”
Unfortunately, Alison then suffered from Second-Book Syndrome. The publisher’s deadline loomed but Alison couldn’t think of a story! She found the whole experience a nightmare; and this is why she cautions first-time authors not to sign a multi-book deal unless they are prepared!
Alison lived in Kansas for two years. She loved the people, their friendliness, the history and the BBQs! Now, she lives in Biarritz, France with her rescue mutt, Bayley.
Alison’s previous release, THE DOUBLE, was published to rave reviews:
“Proof of her genius in writing fiction…Excellent.” –San Francisco Book Review.
Follow the Tour!
Will you be reading this book?
Apocalypse All the Time by David S. Atkinson
I’m here today to tell you all about David S. Atkinson’s new book, Apocalypse All The Time. I also have one copy of the book to giveaway to one of you! Just enter the rafflecopter below!
About the Book
Marshall is sick of the apocalypse happening on a weekly (if not daily) basis. Life is constantly in peril, continually disrupted, but nothing significant ever happens. The emergency is always handled. Always. Marshall wants out; he wants it all to stop . . . one way or another. Even if he has to end the world himself.
Apocalypse All the Time explores humanity’s fascination with the end times and what impact such a fascination has on the way we live our lives.
About the Author
Originally from Nebraska, David now spends his nonliterary time working as a patent attorney in Denver, Colorado.
David is the author of Apocalypse All the Time (forthcoming from Literary Wanderlust on January 1, 2017), Not Quite So Stories, Bones Buried in the Dirt (2014 Next Generation Indie Book Awards® finalist, First Novel (under 80,000 words)) and The Garden of Good and Evil Pancakes (2015 National Indie Excellence® Awards finalist in humor). His writing has appeared in Bartleby Snopes, Grey Sparrow Journal, Atticus Review and other literary magazines and journals. Contact and learn more about David and his writing at www.davidsatkinsonwriting.com.
One lucky winner has a chance to win an ebook of Apocalypse All The Time by David S. Atkinson. To win enter the rafflecopter below!
- Entrants must be 13 years or older
- Winners will be notified by e-mail
- Winners have 28 days to respond. If no response is received a new winner will be chosen.
- E-mails will be deleted after the giveaway
- No purchase necessary
What draws you into this book?
Bout of Books 18 – The Goals
As mentioned in this post, I am participating in the Bout of Books readathon this week! It’s been a loong time since I did this readathon but I’m really looking forward to participating again!
Not going to put too much pressure on me this week so my goals are:
- To read two books
- Top participate in two challenges
- To comment on ten blogs
I can totally do that, right?
My selection of books to choose from are as follows:
These may change depending on my mood, I’ll keep you updated on what I’m reading!
At the end of each day I plan to edit this post and let you know how I’m doing!
I had good plans to do LOTS of reading yesterday but my plans changed drastically when I ended up having to get the train at 6.30am and my brain wasn’t awake enough to read! So instead of finishing my book, I only got to the 3/4 mark but I’m really enjoying it so it’s okay!
Reading still wasn’t my main focus today as I had lots of housework and things to get on with but I did finally finish my book and boy, what a book it was! The book I started with was The Deviants, and I would highly recommend it to those that haven’t already read it!
Are you joining the readathon too?
Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
Jandy Nelson meets Friday Night Lights: a sweeping story about love and family from an exceptional new voice in YA. With a grandmother from China and another from Ghana, fifteen-year-old Wing Jones is often caught between worlds. But when tragedy strikes, Wing discovers a talent for running she never knew she had. Wing’s speed could bring her family everything it needs. It could also stop Wing getting the one thing she wants.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while then you may know that I really like running. I’m not any good at it, not by a long shot but I like it and have really missed being able to run this year due to my physical limitations so, when I heard about Wing Jones, I knew it was a book that I simply had to read. It was about running! Thus, I picked up the book after hearing many high recommendations for it and am happy to inform you that I really, really enjoyed the book. It was so much more than I was expecting and I just loved it from start to finish.
Just Have To
Katherine Webber takes you on a very inspirational and emotional journey in this book. She doesn’t shy away from the dark and scary topics that arise and she doesn’t sweep everything under the carpet as though it is nothing. She has created a marvelous book that really makes you think while also making your heart swell with pride and happiness by the end of it all. Which is basically everything I love in stories all wrapped up in one neat little bow. (I am trying really hard not to just gush about this book, is it working yet?)
Open Your Wings
One of the biggest things I love about this book is that it is truly character-driven. This story is about Wing Jones and how she learns who she is and grows into someone she loves. It’s a truly wonderful journey that really filled my heart with hope, happiness and pride. I felt so much for Wing Jones and was so glad when things ended the way they did. I also really loved Aaron and Eliza. I thought they were wonderfully strong characters too who helped to shape Wing and mold her journey. But the biggest thing I loved about the cast of this book was how diverse all of the characters are. Katherine Webber has not shied away from creating a realistic society in this book and I truly loved that. This is the kind of book we need in YA right now.
In case you’re not entirely sure yet, I completely and utterly loved this book. I devoured it quickly and greedily because I wanted to stay with Wing. I felt so many emotions while reading this book from sadness, to pain, to hope, to happiness. I swung in so many directions and I felt this really made the book that much more exciting and entertaining. I felt like I was in the story and more than anything else I just wanted to make Wing feel happy and safe. I wanted her to be okay more than anything else. Ultimately, I am surprised that this is Katherine’s debut novel and I will definitely be keeping an eye on her from now on!
** I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **
Looking Forward to 2017
Today I am here to share with you 10 books and 10 films that I am highly anticipating! These are books and films that I am dying to dive into and hope they will be just as good as the wait for them will be!