“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” C.S. Lewis

Top Ten Books You Would Classify As ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOKS from the past 3 years.

This was SO hard and no they aren’t in any order…
If you click on the title it’ll take you to my review.

The Bone Dragon by Alexia Casale

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Evie’s shattered ribs have been a secret for the last four years. Now she has found the strength to tell her adoptive parents, and the physical traces of her past are fixed – the only remaining signs a scar on her side and a fragment of bone taken home from the hospital, which her uncle Ben helps her to carve into a dragon as a sign of her strength.
Soon this ivory talisman begins to come to life at night, offering wisdom and encouragement in roaming dreams of smoke and moonlight that come to feel ever more real.
As Evie grows stronger there remains one problem her new parents can’t fix for her: a revenge that must be taken. And it seems that the Dragon is the one to take it.

This subtly unsettling novel is told from the viewpoint of a fourteen-year-old girl damaged by a past she can’t talk about, in a hypnotic narrative that, while giving increasing insight, also becomes increasingly unreliable.A blend of psychological thriller and fairytale, The Bone Dragon explores the fragile boundaries between real life and fantasy, and the darkest corners of the human mind.

Shadows on the Moon by Zoë Marriott

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“On my fourteenth birthday when the sakura was in full bloom, the men came to kill us. We saw them come, Aimi and me. We were excited, because we did not know how to be frightened. We had never seen soldiers before.”

Suzume is a shadow-weaver. She can create mantles of darkness and light, walk unseen in the middle of the day, change her face. She can be anyone she wants to be. Except herself.
Suzume died officially the day the Prince’s men accused her father of treason. Now even she is no longer sure of her true identity.
Is she the girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother’s new husband, Lord Terayama? A lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama’s kitchens? Or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands?
Everyone knows Yue is destined to capture the heart of a prince. Only she knows that she is determined to use his power to destroy Terayama.
And nothing will stop her. Not even love.

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

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Seventeen-year-old Li Lan lives in 1890s Malaya with her quietly-ruined father, who returns one evening with a proposition – the fabulously wealthy Lim family want Li Lan to marry their son. The only problem is, he’s dead. After a fateful visit to the Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also her desire for the Lims’ handsome new heir. At night she is drawn into the Chinese afterlife – a world of ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, monstrous bureaucracy and vengeful spirits. Enlisting the help of mysterious Er Lang (a dragon turned clerk) Li Lan must uncover the secrets of the ghost world – before she becomes trapped there forever.

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

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The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…
Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper— The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.
And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.
Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

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The spiral has existed as long as time has existed.

It’s there when a girl walks through the forest, the moist green air clinging to her skin. There centuries later in a pleasant greendale, hiding the treacherous waters of Golden Beck that take Anna, who they call a witch. There on the other side of the world as a mad poet watches the waves and knows the horrors the hide, and far into the future as Keir Bowman realises his destiny.

Each takes their next step in life. None will ever go back to the same place. And so, their journeys begin…

Dearest (Woodcutter Sisters #3) by Alethea Kontis

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In her third book about the delightful Woodcutter sisters, Alethea Kontis masterfully weaves “The Wild Swans,” “The Goose Girl,” and a few other fine-feathered fairy tales into a magical, romantic companion novel to Enchanted and Hero.

Readers met the Woodcutter sisters (named after the days of the week) in Enchanted and Hero. In this delightful third book, Alethea Kontis weaves together some fine-feathered fairy tales to focus on Friday Woodcutter, the kind and loving seamstress. When Friday stumbles upon seven sleeping brothers in her sister Sunday’s palace, she takes one look at Tristan and knows he’s her future. But the brothers are cursed to be swans by day. Can Friday’s unique magic somehow break the spell?

The Last Leaves Falling by Sarah Benwell

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And these are they. My final moments. They say a warrior must always be mindful of death, but I never imagined that it would find me like this…”

Japanese teenager, Sora, is diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Lonely and isolated, Sora turns to the ancient wisdom of the samurai for guidance and comfort. But he also finds hope in the present; through the internet he finds friends that see him, not just his illness. This is a story of friendship and acceptance, and testing strength in an uncertain future.

And for Your Information by Denise Deegan (Butterfly Novel #2)

Everyone thinks they know who I am – ditzy Sarah, who cares more about appearances than she does about anything real. And yeah, I do care about what people think of me.
Take my friends Alex and Rachel. We all go to Strandbrook College, Dublin. We’re supposed to be best friends. But Alex and Rachel – they’re really close. They tell each other things that they would never tell me. I try not to mind.
And then there’s Simon. He’s my sort-of boyfriend but we hardly see each other. And when we do, I feel like he doesn’t really ‘see’ me, you know?
Everything’s such a mess right now. My dad left us to be with Her; my mum is really angry all the time; and my brother Louis, he just doesn’t care.
I guess that’s why the shoplifting started. It makes me feel good. In control.
I just want everything to change. And it does. The day I got caught…

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
(I never did manage to write a review, too emotional.)

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The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1) by Jonathan Stroud

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in…
For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.
Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again…

 

As I re-read Sunshine by Robin McKinley every year I wasn’t sure if I could include it, I haven’t but it’s still one of my favourites.

What are yours?

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Lili finds it hard to make friends with her fiery red hair, but one day, Lili finds the village children lost in the deep dark woods and her bravery (and hair) leads them all home safely. Lili is a beautiful story of overcoming rejection and being accepted for who you are – something that will resonate with children and adults everywhere.

Review: I never had fiery red hair growing up, though there is a distinct ginger streak on my mother’s side of the family. In fact my hair was almost white when I was little, that coupled with my shyness and short statue meant I was frequently on the outside looking in.

Lili’s isolation is something I remember well. It’s something I think almost everybody still experiences at some point but it’s really hard when you’re young.

Wen De Tan’s art is beautiful. Lili’s hair is the only colour so she stands out even more. There is something very endearing about Lili and I imagine children wanting to be her friend. I think I would have wanted to, especially if could provide warmth and light with a flick of her hair. How amazing is that?

Lili is a captivating book, I adore the artwork so much!

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QuickfireRound with Wen Dee Tan

Tea or coffee?
Tea (but also love coffee)

Author and Illustrator. Graduate of MA Children’s Book Illustration, Cambridge School of Art (2014). @wendee_tan

When no one is watching do you dance?
Can’t dance!

First thing you’d draw if there was no set idea?
Girl’s face (drew a lot of girls and princesses when I was young, almost a reflex)

You can have one magic power, what would you like?
Defy gravity (mentally and physically)

What word describes you best?
Right now, it’d have to be “frantic”.

You’re at the airport with a free pass to get on any plane – where would you go?
Seoul (South Korea). Have been wanting to visit for years.

Best dessert?
Creme brulee

What’s the perfect cure to a bad day?
Iced milk tea

Favourite place?
A quiet corner in a bookshop

And finally, what is the question you wish people would ask and never do?
Q: What do you hope to achieve with your books?
A: Make people smile. If there’s ever a central message in all of my stories, I think it’s “Life isn’t that bad. Have fun”.

Giveaway

B6rAL1DIAAISyjr.jpg largeWin a signed copy of Lili by Wen Dee Tan

Giveaway end on the 8th March 2015
UK Only

To enter click on the fiery red link HERE

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The UKYA Book Blogger Awards in just a moment.
Just before, a quick thank you to every single person who nominated and voted.
Also thank you to all of the wonderful bloggers who helped out.
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AND a big thank you to Faye @ A Daydreamers’s Thoughts for all of this!
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But now onto what you’re all really here for…

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*drumroll*

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Best FeaturePrettiest Blog
Best Blog DesignBest Co-op Team
Best on InstagramBest on Twitter
Best BooktuberSweetest Blogger
Most Fun BloggerBest Overseas Blogger
Welcoming Committee
Friendliest BloggerMost Enthusiastic
Most PassionateBest Oldtimer
Best Growing BloggerBest Newcomer
Best Male BloggerBest Female Blogger
Best Adult BloggerBest Teen Blogger

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Runners Up

Let’s highlight the runner ups!
Some of the categories were so close, so Faye thought it would be nice for everyone to see who came second and third.

Best Feature
2nd Place – British Books Challenge – Fluttering Butterflies
3rd Place – Showcase Sunday – Books, Biscuits and Tea

Prettiest Blog
2nd Place – Stacey – Pretty Books
3rd Place – Jess – Jess Hearts Books

Best Blog Design
Joint 2nd Place – Carly – Writing from the Tub
Joint 2nd Place – Michelle – Fluttering Butterflies
3rd Place – Ruby - Feed Me Books Now

Best Team / Co-op Blog
2nd PlaceBig Book Little Book
3rd PlaceSerendipity Reviews

Best on Instagram
2nd Place – Stacey – Pretty Books
3rd Place – Lucy – Lucy The Reader

Best on Twitter
2nd Place – Jim – Ya Yeah Yeah
3rd Place – Cait – The Cait Files

Best Booktuber
2nd Place – Sarah – Sarah Churchill
3rd PlaceBookish Brits

Sweetest Blogger
2nd Place – Luna – Luna’s Little Library
3rd Place – Jess – Jess Hearts Books

Most-Fun Blogger
2nd Place – Hawwa – It was Lovely Reading You
3rd Place – George – George Lester Writes

Best Overseas Blogger
2nd Place – Jamie – Perpetual Pageturner
3rd Place – Kat – Cuddlebuggery

Welcoming Committee
2nd Place – Jim – Ya Yeah Yeah
Joint 3rd Place – Debbie – Snuggling on the Sofa
Joint 3rd Place – Faye – A Daydreamer’s Thoughts

Friendliest Blogger
2nd Place – Luna – Luna’s Little Library
3rd Place – Jim – Ya Yeah Yeah

Most Enthusiastic
2nd Place – Jim – Ya Yeah Yeah
3rd Place – Jesse – Books 4 Teens

Most Passionate
2nd Place – Jim – Ya Yeah Yeah
3rd Place – Michelle – Fluttering Butterflies

Best Oldtimer
2nd Place – Amber – The Mile Long Bookshelf
3rd Place – Sophie – So Many Books, So Little Time

Best Growing Blogger
2nd Place – Charli – To Another World
3rd Place – Laura – Bookish Treasures

Best Newcomer
2nd Place – Sofia – The Reading Fangirl
3rd Place – Paige – The Book Carousel

Best Male Blogger
2nd Place – Jesse – Books 4 Teens
3rd Place – George – George Lester Writes

Best Female Blogger
2nd Place – Debbie – Snuggling on the Sofa
3rd Place – Carly – Writing from the Tub

Best Adult Blogger
2nd Place – Carly – Writing From the Tub
3rd Place – Viv – Serendipity Reviews

Best Teen Blogger
2nd Place – Amber – The Mile Long Bookshelf
3rd Place – Georgia – The Bibliomaniac

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CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!!

If any of the winners would like their graphics, just let Faye know and she’ll send you an individual image of the award!
Or if you’d like the image on the graphic changed, let her know.
AND if you’re a runner up and would like a graphic, let her know and I can make one for you!
Thank you Faye, that’s so lovely! ♥

 

Some words from Luna

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU!

I’d love to have some really amazing words but it’s nearly midnight as I write this having just trekked back from the #UKYAExtravaganza in Birmingham so I’m afraid I’m a little tired.

I did pinch myself. I’m not dreaming…

Best Female Blogger” and 2nd Place for Friendliest AND Sweetest Blogger. Wow.

There are words and when I find them I will write/say them but for now I repeat myself with; thank you so much and…

bloggerversaryHUG

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Book of the Month #33

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The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

You can read my review by clicking the link HERE

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Pointe by Brandy Colbert

chrissi&lunacompare1Pointe by Brandy Colbert

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Theo is better now.

She’s eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.

Donovan isn’t talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn’t do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she’s been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.

Thoughts before you started reading Pointe?
CHRISSI: I admit, I was drawn in by the cover and the title. Ballet is one of my favourite dance disciplines. I may not be a ballet dancer, but I adore watching it. I then read the synopsis and immediately wanted to read it. I took forever to buy it for some reason! But as soon as I had it in my possession I knew I wanted to read it ASAP. So when it was my turn to pick a book for our Compare feature, I knew how much I share my passion for dance with Luna… therefore Pointe was a given!

LUNA: So there is a story to this. Back in November 2011 some *cough* Marieke *cough* emailed me about this book that had sold. I’m not sure if it was even on Goodreads at that time but I found Brandy Colbert’s blog and you know what my original comment is still on there!

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You now know what my blog used to be called ^_-

I’ve wanted to read Pointe for so long but when I finally had a copy it in my hands I began to worry my expectation where too high. I mean I essential decided this was going to be one of the best books ever before I even read a single word…

I kept putting it off, until Chrissi picked it for our Compare Review.

What did you think of Theo?
CHRISSI: Theo is such an amazing character. She’s flawed, but she’s SO real. She comes so far throughout the story and the reader is with her every step of the way.

LUNA: Theo is one of the most amazingly real characters I’ve come across in YA. She’s flawed, yes but this isn’t a case of “insert flaw A here for effect, then flaw B there” Theo is a person. Things get messed up but Theo also excels. She’s so talented, determined and honest with herself, even when it hurts.

Best bit?
CHRISSI: Cheating to say.. ‘ALL OF IT!!!’ but it’s the truth. I haven’t felt so compelled to keep turning the page for a long time. I had so much university work to do, but this book made me shun all of the work and just keep reading. I had to!

LUNA: I’ve decided to select my Top 3 Theo moments:
1.      When Theo talks about ballet
2.      The moment Theo decides about her testimony
3.      The very end, I cheered. Keep walking.

Worst bit?:
CHRISSI: Not being able to save or support Theo from all of the hurt. My heart hurting for her.

LUNA: The Winter Formal. You could see it coming but sadly no one has invented a way for readers to step into books yet. If they had… how I wanted to go to Theo and even if I couldn’t save her from what was coming, at least to be there so she wasn’t alone. (I should not have been reading this book in public.)

Favourite character / moment?
CHRISSI: Theo’s strength despite everything! The ending was particularly powerful too.

LUNA: It sounds wrong to call this my favourite moment (because you thought of think of favourite things as stuff that makes you smile) but when Ruthie gives Theo a lift, that chapter. It’s amazing.

Was Pointe what you expected?
CHRISSI: It exceeded my expectations.

LUNA: Yes, I mean my expectations where rather high but I didn’t know how much I’d come to love Theo.

Would you recommend it?
CHRISSI: Without a doubt! 5 billion stars.

LUNA: Sunshine Star = affirmative, certainly, absolutely, of course, definitely, gladly, indubitably & without fail!

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The Dreamsnatcher Blog Tour

Herbal Cures and Charms
From Mooshie & Cinderella Bull

Moll is hopelessly headstrong and reckless but she has a few people back in Oak’s camp looking out for her – which is probably just as well… Because if Mooshie wasn’t on hand to brew herbal cures for her scrapes and bruises and Cinderella Bull wasn’t there to work spells against Skull’s dark magic, who knows where Moll would be. So, without further ado, over to Mooshie, Moll’s adoptive mother, and Cinderella Bull, the camp’s fortune-teller…

Hedgehog paws: carrying a hedgehog paw in a leather pouch around your neck will cure toothache

Hedgehog paws: carrying a hedgehog paw in a leather pouch around your neck will cure toothache

MOOSHIE: All trees have a spirit and they lend it to us if we listen hard. Trouble is, Moll is so busy tramping around her tree fort with Siddy and leaping from branches with Gryff, that she sometimes forgets about the old magic lying at the heart of the forest. But just in case you have a moment, here are a list of my favourite trees, plants and animals, together with their uses and medicinal gifts.

  • Silver birch: its spirit protects against evil beings and the sap is good for sugar when you’re making beer and wine. And if you have kidney stones, drinking a few glasses of birch sap every day will dissolve them
  • Holly berries: the greatest fertility charm there is. It’s worth hanging a cluster from your wagon though try telling Moll that – she has no interest in this kind of thing. It’s also a protection charm against witches, goblins and the devil and the young leaves can be used as a cure for colds, bronchitis and rheumatism
  • Crab apple trees: the fruit can be used in crab apple jelly and wine and the pips can determine whether you are in love! Throw the pips into the fire while saying the name of your true love aloud, then if the pip explodes, the love is true
  • Lovage: if you sprinkle this herb on your lover’s food it will increase his or her love for you and ensure faithfulness (my friend, Patti, is a firm believer in this). You can also use lovage as a cure for colic and wind in young babies
  • Mugwort: after laying some mashed potato on the wound, press cooling, anti-inflammatory herbs like mugwort into the poultice. Try to gather the mugwort in a thunderstorm (herbs picked in a thunderstorm carry extra healing properties)
  • Hedgehog: carrying a hedgehog paw in a leather pouch around your neck will cure toothache (though it took me ages to convince Hard-Times Bob of this). If the toothache is particularly bad, suck on the paw from time to time

CINDERELLA BULL: For the past few years I haven’t had to use that many protection charms – and I’ve only ever brought my crystal ball out at feasts – but Skull’s dark magic has grown stronger and I’ll do everything I can now to keep the camp safe.

Siddy’s talisman to ward off evil

Siddy’s talisman to ward off evil

  • Talisman: every gypsy in the camp has a talisman, a good luck charm to ward off evil. Moll has a boxing fist necklace with her initials on, Siddy has a stone with a hole in the middle hung round his neck and I have a leather pouch full of salt
  • Protection charms to hang from wagons: It’s worth hanging any of the following to ward off evil – lemon peel, fragments of mirror, salt, fox teeth, jay feathers…
  • Reading the crystal ball: My crystal ball is made from black obsidian and has been handed down the Frogmore family for generations. I keep it hidden inside my wagon and wrapped tight in silk. Though it drains my energy to read it, I can sometimes foresee events. The trick is to wait for a full moon and then look inside the obsidian (don’t stare at it without blinking as that only strains your eyes). After a while the ball will fill with swirling white clouds and when they disappear you are left with a picture
  • Learning animal signs: sometimes the animals in the camp or on the farm nearby provide clues as to what weather might unfold (though Siddy’s pet earthworm, Porridge the Second, has brought no such luck). If pigs grow restless, grunt loudly and jerk up their heads, there will be a great deal of wind; if spiders, in spinning their webs, make the final filaments long, the weather will be fine for a considerable stretch of days; to meet a red-headed person riding a white horse is extremely good luck
Jay feathers - Romany good luck charm Ki shan I Romani Adoi san’ I chov’hani (Where gypsies go,  There the witches are, we know)

Jay feathers – Romany good luck charm
Ki shan I Romani
Adoi san’ I chov’hani
(Where gypsies go,
There the witches are, we know)

About Abi:

Abi 1Abi Elphinstone grew up in Scotland where she spent most of her childhood building dens, hiding in tree houses and running wild across highland glens. After being coaxed out of her tree house, she studied English at Bristol University and then worked as a teacher in Africa, Berkshire and London.

The Dreamsnatcher is her debut novel and when she’s not writing about Moll and Gryff, she also runs her the children’s books blog www.moontrug.com.

Follow Abi on Twitter @moontrug
Abi’s new website is abielphinstone.com 

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Twelve-year-old Molly Pecksniff wakes one night in the middle of the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare – the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life. Because Moll is more important than she knows…The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher’s dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure.

Read the interview with Abi Elphinstone review by clicking the link HERE

You can read my review by clicking the link HERE

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23347026How did I get the book?
StorytellersInc Book Club

Genre: Contemporary / Historical Fiction

Synopsis: In 1987, Sue Bowl’s world changes for ever. Her mother dies, leaving her feeling like she’s lost a vital part of herself. And then her father shacks up with an awful man-eater called Ivana.

But Sue’s mother always told her to make the most of what she’s got – and what she’s got is a love of writing and some eccentric relatives. So Sue moves to her Aunt Coral’s crumbling ancestral home, where she fully intends to write a book and fall in love . . . and perhaps drink Campari for breakfast

Campari for Breakfast is a heart-warming, eccentric novel that joins the ranks of great British coming-of-age novels such as Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle and Nancy Mitford’s The Pursuit of Love.

200words (or less) review: I’ll preface this review by admitting that at one point Campari for Breakfast looked like it would be my first DNF book of 2015. I am glad I persisted, though truthfully I only did because I was reading this for book-club, because after the first 200 pages it got more interesting.

Campari for Breakfast hinges on your feeling of Sue, if you connect to her then I think you’ll be charmed by this book, her stay with Aunt Coral in Green Place and the other tenants that reside there. There certainly are a lot of characters in this story and it has quirkiness, the tenants creating hauntings for Mr Tsunawa for example.

Personally I didn’t connect with Sue, so consequently wasn’t invested in her story. While some of the going-ons of Green Place were entertaining they didn’t keep me from putting down the book in favour of other things.

Campari for Breakfast is a quaint read, the more you like Sue the more you’ll enjoy the book I think.

Recommend it?

Not sure*

*2.5Stars

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