UKYA Book Blogger Awards 2016 – Voting Open!

UKYA Book Blogger Awards

Stage one is now complete, the nominations have been compiled and collated and the short and long lists have been drawn up by the brilliant Luna’s Little Library and so it is with great pleasure (I’m building this up quite a bit aren’t I? hehe) the lists can now be revealed and the voting lines… erm, form is now open and will remain open until Friday 27th May 2016.

But before we get to this here’s all the blogs lending a hand to publicise this years awards:

View the Shortlist & Vote

To view the shortlist and register your vote head over to Luna’s Little Library which has all the details you need to know and join in with the discussion using the hashtag #awardukyabbloggers.

Vote

The 2016 Longlist

So here it is the 28 bloggers who made it onto the longlist, bloggers who had verifiable nominations but didn’t quite get enough to make it onto the shorlist published on Luna’s Little Library:

  • Annalise – Annalisebooks
  • Ben – Benjaminoftomes
  • Beth – Bibliobeth
  • Charli – To Another World
  • Dani Reviews Things
  • Debbie – Snuggling on the Sofa
  • Denise – The Bibliolater
  • Emma – Howling Reviews
  • Hollie – Hollieblog
  • Holly – Lost in a Library
  • Huriyah & Nalisha – SugarQuills
  • Jenny – Wondrous Reads
  • Jessica – Paper Utopia
  • Julianne – This Fleeting Dream
  • Kaisha – The Writing Garnet
  • Katie – queenofteenfiction
  • Maia – maiaandlittlemoore
  • Miss Meira Dee
  • Nicola – Nicola Reads YA
  • Olivia Mitchell – Rewrite This Story
  • Rachel Kennedy – Ya-bberingBooklover
  • Rebecca – Rebecca McCormick’s Authorial Blog
  • Rita – Weaving Pages
  • Sanne – booksandquills
  • Sarah – Feeling Fictional
  • Sophie – So Many Books, So Little Time
  • Stacey – The Pretty Books
  • YA Fictionados

Review: The Storm (The Rain #2) by Virginia Bergin

Review: The Storm (The Rain #2) by Virginia Bergin

The Story

“I’ll tell you a weird thing about apocalypses – a thing I didn’t even know until I was in one: they seem pretty bad, don’t they? Well, take it from me: they can always get worse.”

Three months after the killer rain first fell, Ruby is beginning to realise her father might be dead… and that she cannot survive alone. When a chance encounter lands her back in the army camp, Ruby thinks she is safe – at a price. Being forced to live with Darius Spratt is bad enough, but if Ruby wants to stay she must keep her eyes – and her mouth – shut. It’s not going to happen. When she realises what is going on – the army is trying to find a cure by experimenting on human subjects – Ruby flips out… and makes an even more shocking discovery: she’s not useless at all. The Storm begins…

My Review

WARNING: This is book 2, please read book 1 first as this review will likely have spoilers!

The Storm pretty much picks up where The Rain left off (all be it 3 months later) and so you will need to know book 1 first, this being said if you’ve left a pretty large gap between the two, The Storm does a fairly good job of reminding you of the important details / details you need to understand to get going (which is always good as my memory isn’t that great! 🙂 )

You’ll be pleased (or not) to hear I’m sure that The Rain(TM) hehe is back with its deadly virus, just to let one drop hit your skin is going to cause you some major problems. At this point most people have worked out that you can save yourself if you quickly cut the infected parts off which has left a few characters with bits and pieces missing.

There is a particular moment in the book which will make you stop (or at least it made me) and go huh? It kind of picks up on something which happens in book 1 which you may or may not have noticed) along with a couple of things which happen in this book. But it really sets the scene for this book – not only is Ruby still searching for her Dad but now she had made a discovery which makes her very valuable indeed and this makes The Storm just as exciting and fast paced as The Rain but for an entirely different reason.

I loved that the story is still told from Ruby’s perspective, almost (but not quite) like a diary. She’s recorded her thoughts and impressions and she’s recording it as if she’s writing it down because it’s important. And I loved how the ending was written giving a kind of idealistic ending, going through several versions until we get to the actual one.

There were some familiar characters making a re-appearance and it was fab to see them again, I’m not going to say who they are mainly because we largely don’t know what happens to them at the end of book one and I don’t want to spoil their appearance here.

It’s always nice to see places you know in fiction and Bristol once again makes an appearance – or to be more precise the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Overall, The Storm is a fast paced and engaging dystopia which together with The Rain make a brilliant, yet still under-rated pair.

The Whovian Book Tag at the BBC Doctor Who Experience

So I was tagged to do this by Jen from Batmanreadsbooks and as I had been planning on going to the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff Bay I thought why not combine them… this is the result!

They’ll be a full write up about the experience coming soon but in the meantime I hope you enjoy! 😀

Books mentioned:

2016 UKYA Book Blogger Awards – Nominations Open!

UKYA Book Blogger Awards

Today’s the day – nominations for the 2016 UKYA Book Blogger Awards, hosted this year by Luna’s Little Library are now open, read on to find out how you can nominate.

Ready? Here we go!

Where you can Find Details

Before we begin, please let me introduce you to the wonderful bloggers who’ll be helping:

Big thanks to them and to Faye @ A Daydreamers’s Thoughts for letting Luna’s Little Library host this year.

Let us start!

In 2016 UKYA Book Blogger Awards there are 15 categories to vote in.

Please submit your nomination via the form below. You can nominate up to 3 Bloggers per category.

Make sure to include both the Blogger and Blog Name to make it a valid nomination.

Nominations close at midnight on the 15th May 2016.

Don’t forget to share the love! #awardukyabbloggers

Categories

  • Best Blog Deisng
  • Best Feature
  • Best Newcomer (under 1 year)
  • Best Growing Blogger (1-3 years)
  • Best Oldtimer (3 years+)
  • Best on Social Media (be it on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr etc… The Blogger(s) you pick doesn’t have to be active on all social platforms but can be your favourite on a particular platform for example Twitter)
  • Best Booktuber
  • Best Overseas Blogger
  • Marvellous Blogger Award (combining the Sweetest & Friendliest Blogger categories.
  • Best Team / Co-op Blog
  • Best Female Blogger
  • Best Male Blogger
  • Blogger Spirit Award (combining the Most Enthusiastic & Most Passionate Blogger categories from 2015.
  • Best Teen Blogger
  • Best Adult Blogger

Nominate Now!

Review: The Prime Minister’s Brain (The Demon Headmaster #2) by Gillian Cross

Review: The Prime Minister's Brain (The Demon Headmaster #2) by Gillian Cross

The Story

Things at school have been looking up for Dinah, Harvey and Lloyd since their defeat of the villainous Demon Headmaster. The pupils are acting normally, and their new headmaster seems perfectly ordinary. Then the arrival of a new computer game, Octopus Dare, with its competition to find the Junior Computer Brain of the Year, sends ripples of excitement through the school. Only Harvey and his friend Ingrid refuse to get involved. Because ever since the game arrived all the other pupils-even Lloyd and Dinah-have become obsessed with it. Suddenly everyone is competing to win, but it’s clever Dinah who makes it to the final. And though she is fixated with the game, she doesn’t like the way it makes her feel . . . it’s almost as if she’s being hypnotized. Too late Dinah realizes that she’s being used to access the private computer files of the Prime Minister-the daring new target of none other than the Demon Headmaster!

My Review

Stop – have you read book 1? Read this first as there be spoilers here for book 1. You. Have. Been Warned!

Covering your eyes it not going to stop him this time, yes the Demon Headmaster is back to his old tricks but what does he want this time and can SPLAT get to the bottom of it in time to and save the day?

The Prime Minister’s Brain is essentially The Demon Headmaster in a new skin. Following on from the previous story we know the school is once again safe, they have a new headmaster and everything is hunky dory.

In fact this story doesn’t take place at the school – in fact it centres around Octopus Dare, a game which is designed to find the brightest human brain. Those who beat the game are entered into a computer competition and that is where the real trouble begins.

Octopus-s-s-s.

I feel there’s very little I can add to my previous review, I mean we have the same style of writing and the plot unveils in pretty much the same way as book 1. Okay, the plot is different but I think just by looking at the title you can see where this story is going.

The characters were pleasant to follow, though I wasn’t keen that some of the teams input was ignored. I mean if someone was so determined to tell me something that they would keep bringing something up I think I would get the hint that I needed to pay attention and not keep telling them to be quiet!

It was funny in places and the plot was easy to follow and kept me entertained.

I don’t think it was quite as good as book one as it was really more of the same in a different setting but this is in some ways what you look for in books in a series.

Overall, an enjoyable story which delivers what it promises – a second dose of the demon headmaster. A light weight read that’s perfect for this time of year.

Review: Lifers by M.A Griffin

Review: Lifers by M.A Griffin

The Story

Fear haunts the streets of Manchester: a schoolgirl has disappeared. Preston is drawn to investigate, exploring the city in the hunt for his missing friend. Deep in the bowels of a secret scientific institute, he discovers a sinister machine. Captured and condemned to a cavernous space filled with problematic teens, Preston is determined to escape – but this is no ordinary jail. Friendships are forged and lives lost in a reckless battle for freedom, revenge – and revolution.

Review

What would happen if we run out of prisons to store those who committed crimes? How about if the budgets run out so we couldn’t rehabilitate them back into every day life? What then, let them rot in jails or perhaps something altogether more sinister…

Introducing Lifers, a story which investigates just this possibility – fast paced, action packed and dark this is a story which might just put you off a life of crime!

You see Manchester’s pilot solution is a remote cave where the children are kind of forgotten about – and boy do we get an idea of how this space feels. The tension in the place, it feels less like a prison (and I can say this having been inside one… for work… just to be clear), more like these kids have been dumped somewhere to be forgotten about. Dark, carnivorous and generally dangerous – not dangerous in a creature is going to eat you but dangerous in the sense of little food and hungry criminals – doesn’t make for a good mix!

A shout out has to go to Mace, he initially feels like a follower, rather than a dooer, but he grows into a character you need to have around and I love how he narrates the events as the story goes along into his phone. If nothing else it provides a little comic relief in an otherwise quite dark story.

We also get adults in YA who aren’t completely useless, the night wardens and the MP – they’re more than just side characters but integral to the story but not getting in the way of the fact that this is YA and for it to work the young people have to be front and forward.

Overall, Lifers is an interesting story – compelling and thoughtful, dangerous and dark. It might not be for everyone but I liked it.

Thanks to Chicken House for sending me a copy for review.

Hardback V Paperback: The Battle

It’s a long debated issue – between hardback books and paperback books which is the better format for physical books.

Well, something brought this issue to a head and it’s all an out battle on my bookshelves – the hardbacks and paperbacks are giving each other the evils and no clear winner has been established.

Which format do you prefer? Who will you side with?

This is a silly video taking an alternative look at hardback v paperback – apologies for the audio in the second half – it went a bit weird!

I hope you enjoy! 😀

Ginger Biscuits From Head Over Heels (Geek Girl #5) – Bookish Food

It’s time for another dish of bookish food and today it’s the turn of Ginger Biscuits (slightly overdone) found in the 5th book in Holly Smale’s Geek Girl series – Head Over Heels.

Quick tip: Don’t forget to add the ginger in with the other dry ingredients – it’s possible to rectify but I’m sure these taste better if the ginger goes in at the right point – not once everything is combined! 🙂

These ginger biscuits / ginger nuts are crunchy, gingery and delicious – for the Harriet style leave them towards the end of the 15 minutes (mine were at the overdone stage by 13 minutes). They get crunchier the longer they’re left in.

They do however come out soft and harden as they cool!

Looking for the full recipe? Here you go! It’s adapted from Paul Hollywood’s recipe but I think this might be a little easier to follow:

Ginger Biscuits Inspired by Head Over Heels
Slightly overdone ginger biscuits which provide a nice gingery crunch. Perfect for dunking in a HARRIET-UCCINO (hot chocolate which looks like a cappuccino)
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Ingredients
  1. 340 g plain flower
  2. 1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
  3. 2 level tsp ground ginger
  4. 100 g unsalted butter
  5. 160 g light brown sugar
  6. 4 tbsp golden syrup
  7. 1 large egg
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
  2. Beat the egg.
  3. Line the baking trays with grease proof paper.
  4. Put the flower, bicarbonate of soda and ginger in a bowl and rub in the butter with the tips of your fingertips until the mix resembles breadcrumbs.
  5. Stir in the sugar.
  6. Stir in the golden syrup.
  7. Stir in the beaten egg.
  8. Combine into a smooth dough, try not to work it too much. It's quite a damp & sticky mix!
  9. Make small balls of the dough between your hands and place on the lined baking trays leaving room for expansion.
  10. Using the heel of your hand squash the balls into biscuit shapes.
  11. Put in the over for 10-15 minutes (the longer they're in the crunchier they get)
  12. When they're golden, they're done! I found 12-13 minutes gives you the darker, more overdone authentic Harriet look.
  13. Leave on a wire rack to fully cool and enjoy with your hot chocolate, *ahem* HARRIET-UCCINO. :)
Adapted from Paul Hollywood
Adapted from Paul Hollywood
That Jesse Bloke http://www.thatjessebloke.co.uk/

Review: Head Over Heels (Geek Girl #5) by Holly Smale

Review: Head Over Heels (Geek Girl #5) by Holly Smale

The Story

“My name is Harriet Manners, and I will always be a geek.”

The fifth book in the bestselling, award-winning GEEK GIRL series.

Harriet Manners knows almost every fact there is.

She knows duck-billed platypuses don’t have stomachs.
She knows that fourteen squirrels were once detained as spies.
She knows only one flag in the world features a building.

And for once, Harriet knows exactly how her life should go. She’s got it ALL planned out. So when love is in the air, Harriet is determined to Make Things Happen!
If only everyone else would stick to the script…

Has GEEK GIRL overstepped the mark, and is following the rules going to break hearts all over again?

My Review

Every time a Geek Girl book publishes I tend to get a little excited, I mean this series has some of my favourite contemporary characters in Harriet, Nat and most of all Toby. Not to mention some awesome adult characters including my favourite parents (strengthened in this book) in children’s fiction – Annabel and Richard. And of course I cannot forget to give a massive poodle powered high five to Wilbur! But of course you all know this already, you have read the earlier books, right? 🙂

Now this is the 5th book in the series so we’ve really got to the point where it’s difficult to say too much about the story without a) spoiling earlier books and b) without repeating myself.

I will say though this book contains everything I love about the Geek Girl series, it’s a laugh out loud fun and fast paced story. We see more than we’ve perhaps seen of our favourite characters – including more of our favourite (not so) stalker, Toby and of course Wilbur (with a bur not an iam!).

The story also starts to bring the series full circle, positions change and Harriet’s position in her friendship circles moves to a place where she can help pay the friendship back. Yes, she still has the support of her groups but she’s growing into an all round better friend. Having other characters backs and seeing past the stuff that’s happening to her and to the lives of her friends making her a much more rounded person.

With only one full length story in the series left (sniff – not quite sure I’m ready to let the series go yet – it’s the ONLY series I’ve ever bought every book (plus short stories) as they’ve been published normally on the day they’re published – thanks to Waterstones Bristol for ALWAYS having them! :D) it’s so nice to see the series nodding to characters we may have only seen briefly or for one book – Rin (yaaayyyyy!!!!) and Jasper 😀

Overall, I adored Head Over Heels, fabulous characters, brilliant parents and a plot that feels like it’s coming home. We still have one full length and one short to come and for once I don’t want them to come quickly because once their here we’re done and that will be the end of my favourite contemporary series – funny, thoughtful and full to the brim of facts, what on earth is not to love!

P.S Keep an eye out today, a Head Over Heels video is coming your way today (or very early tomorrow morning if previous videos are anything to go by!)