Sunday, 29 March 2015

BOOK REVIEW: The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger

Genre: Young Adult/Contemporary/Romance

My Rating: ★★★1/2

Goodreads Page

Goodreads Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face. 

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. 

**Spoiler Free Review**

I was sent a copy of this book from Gallery Books/Hatchette Children's Books, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

This book has a lot of hype in the Blogging and Booktube communities and I was a bit wary when I went into reading it. However, I ended up really really enjoying it. It's one of those books I wish I'd read as a teenager but it was still incredibly enjoyable. Keplinger writes incredibly believable and complex characters. I love the strong female protagonist, Bianca, and her friends. They portray an interesting dynamic which I've never read in American high school fiction before. I felt myself really becoming invested in the characters very quickly. Keplinger has such a talent for character-driven plot.

I also really loved that this book wasn't all about romance or love triangles; Bianca's realistic family situation was such an important portrayal of the difficulties teenagers can go through: not just school and romance, but also family members having serious problems, whilst the teenager is left to pick up the pieces and act like an adult before they're ready. I really loved Bianca's father, I felt he was such a quiet character that still had a huge impact in the book. He was likeable, funny and his story was every bit as complex and interestingly explored as Bianca's. 

My only issue with this book was that the main character seemed very strong and independent to begin with but she ended up falling rather flat in some ways. To be honest, I'm a bit fed up of books where the main female character falls for the 'bad boy' that just needs to learn how to change. Life isn't like that and guys who are willing to call you ugly and fat every day are not worth anyone's time; it just really bothered me that Bianca still falls for someone who verbally and mentally abuses her when she's already gone through so much.  Even I started wanting them to be together, which bothered me. To be fair to the book though, circumstances do change and the characters are very complex and different. This is just something that bothered me a bit as it seems to happen in a lot of Young Adult books, which can teach teenagers how they think they deserve to be treated in a relationship. Because of this issue I had with the relationship of some characters, it is easy to see that this was written by a teenager (but an incredibly talented teenager at that!)

Really though, I didn't have many problems with this book and I flew through it because it was so, so enjoyable. It was funny, realistic and an incredibly well-written contemporary Young Adult novel. It deserves the attention it is getting and I'm looking forward to the film coming out on the 6th April 2015! (UK). So even if you don't feel like picking this book up yet, I'd recommend seeing the film to see what you think! I think this is a great book for teenagers and it deals with so many important issues. I'd highly recommend it to any young adult/contemporary reader; it's witty, funny, intelligently written and very relatable.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

BOOK REVIEW: The Essential Ginsberg by Allen Ginsberg

The Essential Ginsberg by Allen Ginsberg

Genre: Poetry/Journals/Songs

My Rating: ★★★1/2

Goodreads Page

Goodreads Summary:

Featuring the legendary and groundbreaking poem "Howl," this remarkable volume showcases a selection of Allen Ginsberg's poems, songs, essays, letters, journals, and interviews and contains sixteen pages of his personal photographs.

The Essential Ginsberg collects a mosaic of materials that displays the full range of Ginsberg's mental landscape. His most important poems, songs, essays, letters, journals, and interviews are displayed in chronological order. His poetic masterpieces, "Howl" and "Kaddish," are presented here along with lesser-known and difficult to find songs and prose. Personal correspondence with William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac is included as well as photographs--shot and captioned by Ginsberg himself--of his friends and fellow rogues William Burroughs, Neal Cassady, and more.

RELEASE DATE: 26th May 2015

**Spoiler Free Review**

I received a review copy of this book from Harper Perennial (Harper Collins Publishers) in exchange for an honest review. As said by Ginsberg, in this wonderful collection, banned books will live forever, and he wasn't wrong. Through his essays, journals, interviews and letters, this definitive volume inspires the reader to delve deeper into the body of work of Ginsberg's, which still remains one of the most impressive literary canons in American history.

It had been a couple of years since I have read Ginsberg. I first read and studied "Howl" at university, which got me really fascinated and interested in the Beats movement in America. It's such an interesting period of time in America and Ginsberg captures it perfectly within his poems, letters and speeches, all full of meaning. I really wish I'd had this book at university as it would have really helped with studying Ginsberg, the history of the time and answering the question of why he joined the Beats movement.

There was so much to this volume. I particularly liked the songs that were included, with the handwritten sheet music to go with it. And the photos at the end of the book really bring the entire collection to life, drawing the reader into the American past and straight into Ginsberg's life. His speeches, journal entries and essays told me so much more about Ginsberg than I ever knew. They also place him within his period of writing - drenched in American history - with his views on censorship, wars, LSD, the Beats movement (and its definition), the influence of other authors (e.g. Whitman and Burrough), and his views on poetry and Buddhism. I particularly enjoyed his essays and speeches, especially those on censorship of writing and what makes poetry.

My favourite poems of the collected were definitely "Howl" and "On Burrough's Work". Having read some of Burrough's novels I instantly saw the connection between the two writers that I hadn't realised was there. Michael Schumacher's introduction gives even more fascinating insight into Ginsberg and his life works. Schumacher compiled a wonderful collection of Ginsberg's work which would be extremely useful to any person studying Ginsberg. I would also highly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Ginsberg, who wants to give his poetry a try or, those who are interested in the period which Ginsberg wrote in.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Top Five Wednesday | Worst Series Enders

This week's Top Five Wednesday is Top Five Worst Series Enders. Just in case anyone is new to this. Top Five Wednesday is an idea created by Lainey, or Gingerreadslainey on youtube. She creates weekly topics for bloggers and youtubers to talk more about different aspects of their favourite books. The group, which lists the monthly topics, can be found here!

It's not very often that I really dislike the end of a series. There are a couple I hated but mostly I'm usually half happy and half okay with series enders that didn't fulfil all my expectations. So here I've listed a couple that I really really didn't like and the rest are more that I felt a bit indifferent to how the book ended because it was a bit boring or not entirely satisfactory. So here we go!

5) The Death Cure by James Dashner

I hate to say it, but I feel like this was just a disappointing series altogether (sorry to anyone out there who enjoyed it!). I found the first book interesting and the premise was quite intriguing but as the books continued I just felt my curiosity disappear. There wasn't really any 'big reveal' at the end and, although I definitely didn't hate the series, I just found it a bit meh. I stopped really caring about the characters after they became infuriating and I just didn't enjoy the series that much.

4) Specials by Scott Westerfeld

This one is similar to The Death Cure except that  I really did like the first book. The premise was really interesting and I loved the idea of ready one of the first young adult dystopians that people raved about before The Hunger GamesI did really like the Uglies series quite a bit, but I felt as though each book was a little less intriguing than the previous one. It's still a good series but I just felt like the books got gradually less exciting as they went along. Having said that, I am currently reading Extras (a companion book to the series, set in the future) and I'm really enjoying it!

3) The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Now this book was a real disappointment to me. I loved the first book in this trilogy and I absolutely adored the second book. They were full of mystery and constant suspense, I couldn't tell what was real any more or if the unreliable narrator was actually insane. It was such a thrilling trilogy that I loved ... until I got to the third book. This book took a completely different direction to what I expected and it changed both the genre of the book and the main character. Mara Dyer seemed to change personalities altogether and many of the other characters acted very differently to what I was used to. I was really disappointed with the way this trilogy ended as I loved the other two so much and they were perfect reads for me.You can read more about this in my spoiler-free review here!

2) Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

I imagine this will be a book on a few people's lists. I really enjoyed this series as a young teenager, I'm not going to lie. It was an interesting and new take on the paranormal which I really liked. However, this book was a big disappointment to me. I found some of it really interesting but the change in perspectives really bothered me and I felt like the storyline was just dragged out through most of the book. It seemed to be getting better and the pace picked up near the end but then nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. It built to a climax where nothing happened. I think the film was genius for what it did with the ending of this book because otherwise, they wouldn't have had a film! It's been a long time since I read these books and I may read them again one day but I have tried reading them again a couple of years ago and I just couldn't get into them any more.

1) Requiem by Lauren Oliver
This book is my big number one for this topic. I was furious when I read this book. I really loved Delirium, which a friend bought for me. It was a premise for a dytopian novel which I found incredibly unique and interesting; a world where love is seen as a disease which is removed at the age of 16 (17?). The first book did have a bit of insta-love but I got past that and I fell in love with the world that had been created and the fascinating characters. The second book really went far in developing the characters and the storyline had so many interesting twists; I really couldn't wait for the third and final book in the trilogy. Then I read it. First of all it introduced an angst-ridden love triangle. The three main characters seemed to regress into characters I didn't know and really didn't like. And, worst of all, there was no ending. And I don't mean the ending was bad, I mean there was no ending. It literally stops in the middle of the action and doesn't explain what happens to any of the characters. It doesn't resolve the love triangle, or the world these people live in, or even what the main character is doing! I was so angry that I'd dedicated that much time to a series which ended in such a way. It was the biggest disappointment. It felt rushed and unfinished. If you'd like to see more of a full review, you can click here!

Rant over! So these are my Top Five Wednesday Worst Series Enders, what are yours? Leave me a comment to your Top Five and I'll check it out!

BOOK REVIEW: The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

The Great Zoo of China by Matthew Reilly

Genre: Adult/Action/Adventure

My Rating: ★★★1/2

Goodreads Page

Goodreads Summary:

It is a secret the Chinese government has been keeping for forty years.

They have found a species of animal no one believed even existed. It will amaze the world.

Now the Chinese are ready to unveil their astonishing discovery within the greatest zoo ever constructed.

A small group of VIPs and journalists has been brought to the zoo deep within China to see its fabulous creatures for the first time.

Among them is Dr. Cassandra Jane ‘CJ’ Cameron, a writer for National Geographic and an expert on reptiles.

The visitors are assured by their Chinese hosts that they will be struck with wonder at these beasts, that they are perfectly safe, and that nothing can go wrong.

Of course it can’t…

RELEASE DATE: 27/01/2015

**Spoiler Free Review**

I was sent a copy of this book from Gallery Books/Hatchette Children's Books, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

I had been really intrigued by the concept of this book, mostly because I'm a huge fan of the Jurassic Park franchise and I'd heard this was similar but, at the same time, very different. The story focuses on CJ, a reptile expert, and her brother Hamish, a photographer, who are brought to the new Great Zoo of Chine in order to help with the press release. But what she and her brother find at this zoo is something more greater and more deadly than anyone could possibly imagine.

This book was epic. That is definitely the word I would use to describe it. It was fast-paced,intriguing and I loved what was actually in the zoo (which I won't spoil here for anyone who doesn't know!). The science behind it all merged flawlessly with the science-fiction and was very intelligent and made the story extremely believable. Reilly picked the perfect setting, in the perfect time of history to set his novel and it instantly worked. I also loved the quotes at the start of each section; I even noticed a few which were from some of my other favourite books and I think they fit so well with the storyline.

The characters were interesting, particularly CJ. There were a lot of characters introduced in the book quite quickly, which did make it difficult to process who was who. Also not many of them were fleshed out. However, the one's that were quickly became interesting, likeable and made me want to read more. I particularly liked Go-Go, CJ and Hamish. The combination of wit and intelligence really made these characters. However, I think my favourite character in the whole book was Lucky. The depiction of this character was so unique and so developed compared to the others that it just instantly made her my absolute favourite of the book.

The Maps and diagrams that frequently accompanied the text were excellently placed and certainly helped with the storyline. They painted a detailed picture of the zoo to the reader, and added an extra dimension to the book.

I know that Reilly is an action writer (which isn't usually my thing, I admit), and I know that action-based books are often very fast-paced and have an explosive use of metaphors. This book was literally non-stop once the action started and it certainly kept me turning the page until the very end. However, the use of exclamation marks and italicization started to grind on me slightly towards the middle of the book. I don't feel that exclamation marks are needed in a sentence just to point out that something shocking has happened, in fact, I often think there's more effect when there isn't one. It did also get slightly confusing at times with fast action and lots of characters being introduced and then disappearing and re-introduced later.

Having said that slight negative, I did really enjoy this book. The concept was fascinating and it was so entertaining and thrilling to read. If anyone out there is a fan of Jurassic Park or fast-paced action books then this is definitely for you! I will just add a warning though, to any younger readers, that this book is quite gory so if you don't like that sort of thing, I wouldn't pick it up!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Top Five Wednesday | Bookish Habits

This week's Top Five Wednesday is Top Five Bookish Habits. Just in case anyone is new to this. Top Five Wednesday is an idea created by Lainey, or Gingerreadslainey on youtube. She creates weekly topics for bloggers and youtubers to talk more about different aspects of their favourite books. The group, which lists the monthly topics, can be found here!

This week's topic really interesting and it really got me thinking about how I read. I have a few bookish habits that I didn't even realise! But I also found it quite hard to think of five!

5) Book Buying
So my book buying is one of my biggest bookish habits, as I'm sure it is for many people. I actually keep an Excel Spreadsheet of all my books (read and unread) and I currently own 995 books. That's a whole load of books ... It is my biggest habit and I think I really need to start cutting back because I have seriously run out of room. Unfortunately I don't have all my books with me at the moment, the majority are in storage so I don't really have a picture for this sadly but here's a screenshot of part of my book list in Excel!

4) Travel Reading
I can read anywhere but travel reading is my favourite. I read on all journeys, especially now that I live in London, I get so much reading done on the tube to and from work. But even when I was younger I would always read on car journeys. I know many people can't because it makes them ill but that's never happened to me. Whenever we used to go on holiday within the UK and we'd have to drive six or seven hours, I would love it! I'd bring about four books for the journey alone and just read the whole trip. It was lovely!

3) Book Journal

Not only do I rely on Goodreads to keep count of what books I've read each year, I also have a journal which I update after every book I read. I've been doing this since about 2010 and it's lovely to see what I was reading and when!

2) Never Cracking the Spine
This is something which a lot of people disagree with me on, but it's just something I automatically do when reading a paperback. I never ever crack the spine of the book. I always read it very carefully so this doesn't happen. I have a few books where the spine is cracked and in doesn't bother me once it's happened/if it was like that when I bought the book. I like books to look well-read but at the same time I just can't bring myself to deliberately crack the spine like some people do.

(Although these books don't look read these most certainly have been! But as I said before, I'm not too bothered if it happens; see right!)

1) Bookmarks
Every time I choose a new book to read, I also have to choose which bookmark to use. As you can see I have hundreds of bookmarks (they're something I've been collecting since I was about 4!) so I always have to choose which one suits (and fits) the book I'm reading. I spend about as much time deliberating which bookmark to use as I do which book to read!

So these are my bookish habits, let me know what yours are and feel free to share your blog/youtube channel below so I can check out your Top Fives!

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Top Five Wednesday | Books That Made You Think

So this week's Top Five Wednesday is the Top Five Books That Made You Think. Just in case anyone is new to this. Top Five Wednesday is an idea created by Lainey, or Gingerreadslainey on youtube. She creates weekly topics for bloggers and youtubers to talk more about different aspects of their favourite books. The group, which lists the monthly topics, can be found here!

I found this week's topic pretty difficult. There are a lot of different books that made me think about so many different things that it was hard to choose.

5) 1984 by George Orwell
I'm sure this will be a book on a lot of people's lists. This book is one that just makes you think about the surveillance of society as a whole, and the control that a government could have without you even realising it. What I always find even more incredible about this book is the time when it was written; Orwell seemed to predict so much about the future (okay, not the totalitarian government who can control and listen to our thoughts), like the technology and surveillance that the government have over our lives. It depicts a terrifying view of what our futures could turn into, without us even realising and it always make me think about the control a society can have.

4) Helter Skelter The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi
Now this is a book that I wouldn't recommend to anyone who didn't like True Crime books, or crime novels in general. Personally I thought it was a fascinating and interesting book about the infamous Manson Murders which occurred in the 1960s. It gives a terrifying view of how Charles Manson manipulated and brainwashed people into committing murder, and very nearly getting away with it. It's certainly a book that makes you think. I had to put it down so many times and just take in what I'd read because it was so unbelievable yet interesting.

3) Dr. Franklin's Island by Ann Halam
Now this is a strange one, and I don't think many people have read it. I first read it when I was about 11 I think and it's always stuck with me in a kind of haunting way. I suppose, now that I think back, it's like a modern day The Island of Dr. Moreau. It's about three teenagers who survive a plane crash and get trapped on an island. But then one of them disappears and they discover something incredibly sinister on the island. It was such a chilling yet fascinating book and it's stayed with me ever since.

2) We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Now this book. This book is absolutely incredible. I'm not sure I can even explain how much this book affected me. I had to study this book for university and I had been recommended it previously. This is probably the best book I ever studied. I don't want to describe the plot too much as it would spoil the book but I will say that it should probably only be read by mature readers as it contains heavy violence and mature topics.

It debates the main question of nature v. nurture and it follows the story of a child who does something atrocious. It explored so many themes associated with violence in America and it was incredibly powerful. I was stunned by the writing in this book and the psychological questions it raised. This book stuck to me so much and I couldn't think about anything else for days.

1) The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster
This is one of the books I ended up writing my dissertation on. This book is trilogy of postmodern detective fiction and explores the notion of the self disappearing in modern(postmodern) society. It's such an interesting concept and it made me think so much about the fast pace of modern life and the anonymity of living in a city in today's world.

However, you don't need to have studied English Literature to enjoy this book. These three short tales are so enthralling and interesting they just keep you reading. I love detective fiction and this trilogy takes that genre to the next level and higher.

BOOK REVIEW: Mind Games by Teri Terry

Mind Games by Teri Terry

Genre: Young Adult/Dystopian/Thriller

My Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Page

Goodreads Summary:

Luna is a no-hoper with a secret: in a world of illusion, she can see what is real. But can she see the truth before it is too late? 

Luna has always been able to exist in virtual and real worlds at the same time, a secret she is warned to keep. She hides her ability by being a Refuser: excluded by choice from the virtual spheres others inhabit. But when she is singled out for testing, she can’t hide any longer. 

The safest thing to do would be to fail, to go back to a dead-end life, no future. But Luna is starting to hope for something better, and hope is a dangerous thing..

RELEASE DATE: 05/03/2015

**Spoiler Free Review**

I was sent a copy of this book from Hatchette Children's Books, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. First thing's first, I absolutely love the cover of this book, it's beautiful. It also has a rather 1984-esque feel to it, which I'm not sure is intentional but, given what the book is about, it wouldn't surprise me.

Although nothing like it in terms of plot, I also definitely had a bit of a reminder of Ready Player One when I read this. Mostly because of the virtual reality world that existed and the way it was structured. However, this was a much darker and more dystopian storyline. Enough comparisons though, this book was so utterly unique and incredible that it doesn't need them! I love that it was set (mostly) in a futuristic England, something you don't normally see, and also that it didn't seem typically dystopian at first. In fact, it almost felt like maybe the future could be like this.

The characters were all brilliant, funny and felt so real. I really liked the main character in this; I felt she was very strong yet very naive which worked perfectly in the book. I also loved Gecko and Hex and all the other Hackers. (But especially Gecko) I thought the idea of the Hackers were such an interesting concept and also the way PareCo worked to let them see what they could do. The characters all felt so three-dimensional (absolutely all of them)  and I loved the exploration into the virtual world. It was such a unique idea the way it worked and how it affected different people.

Also, I love stand-alone books. There just isn't enough of them in Young Adult literature these days, in my opinion; so it's great to find a stand-alone that manages to fulfil everything I'd usually expect from a series. This book had so much mystery and intrigue in it. It is partly a thriller and you definitely get that feeling when reading it.

And THE TWISTS! (Yes, plural)! They were brilliant! And I genuinely didn't see the last one coming at all. It was so dark yet so intriguing and I absolutely loved it. Although I own Slated by Teri Terry I've not actually got around to reading it yet but I certainly will be now, especially after the inclusion of her own book in this, which I loved. An entire world about her own book: genius!

I absolutely recommend this to anyone who enjoys Dystopian fiction and is a  bit bored of the same-old young adult dystopians going around, because this is so so different. Also if anyone out there is a fan of thrillers, Ready Player One or 1984 then this is most certainly a book for you. I will definitely be picking up a physical copy as soon as I can because I'll be giving it a re-read soon. (Also, like I said before, that's a beautiful cover and I need it on my bookshelf). Thank you Teri Terry for writing such a brilliant book.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout
#1 The Covenant Series

Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads Page

Goodreads Summary:

The Hematoi descend from the unions of gods and mortals, and the children of two Hematoi pure bloods have godlike powers. Children of Hematoi and mortals--well, not so much. Half-bloods only have two options: become trained Sentinels who hunt and kill daimons or become servants in the homes of the pures. Seventeen-year-old Alexandria would rather risk her life fighting than waste it scrubbing toilets, but she may end up slumming it anyway. There are several rules that students at the Covenant must follow. Alex has problems with them all, but especially rule #1:Relationships between pures and halfs are forbidden. Unfortunately, she's crushing hard on the totally hot pure-blood Aiden. But falling for Aiden isn't her biggest problem--staying alive long enough to graduate the Covenant and become a Sentinel is. If she fails in her duty, she faces a future worse than death or slavery: being turned into a daimon, and being hunted by Aiden. And that would kind of suck.

**Spoiler Free Review**

So I've heard a lot about Jennifer L. Armentrout and her incredible books so I finally decided to pick one up. I know this book often has rather mixed reviews so I was interested in giving it a read. 

I have to say, I certainly wasn't disappointed when it came to reading this book. Her writing style was amazing, enticing, interesting and incredibly fast-paced. It was fantastic to read a book where the writer knows how to write good action scenes in such a well-paced manner. I really liked the Covenant and  the school-like setting, as I always do in these sort of books. I also became pretty attached to the characters. I really loved Caleb and found him very funny throughout the book. I also really did like the main character Alexandria, despite the occasional facepalm moments where you wonder if the character has any common sense at all! 

However, having said that, I only got about forty pages in before seeing the similarities between this and the Vampire Academy series, as many others have also noticed. It does bother me a little bit just how alike they are in terms of plot frame. Half-Bloods, Pures and Daimons were very similar to the three types of Vampires and just the whole set-up between Alexandria and Aiden was almost identical to Dimitri and Rose. 

Having said that a lot of the ideas and chunks of the story are very dissimilar and manage to create an interesting and different plot despite this. I loved the notion of the Greek Gods being behind all of this and the reason these people exist. And I am really eager to continue the series because Jennifer L. Armentrout is a fantastic writer who can make her books so enticing and fun. I've decided to give it four stars because of these reasons and I do think it deserves them. As I said, the fact that it was so similar to The Vampire Academy Series did deter me a bit but I'm happy to continue the series and hopefully the plots will begin to diverge a bit more and it might become a bit more unique. I'm looking forward to finishing this series and I'd highly recommend to at least try this book and see what you feel about it, especially if you like elemental powers (which I really do). 

Although I've not read any more of her books yet I would highly recommend Jennifer L. Armentrout's other books as well. Her writing in this book was brilliant and I've heard her others are even better!

Top Five Wednesday | Books You Would Save in a Fire

So this week's Top Five Wednesday is the Top Five Books You Would Save in a Fire. Just in case anyone is new to this. Top Five Wednesday is an idea created by Lainey, or Gingerreadslainey on youtube. She creates weekly topics for bloggers and youtubers to talk more about different aspects of their favourite books. The group, which lists the monthly topics, can be found here!

These are my top five books I would save in a fire (and boy was this one hard!):

5) Three of a Kind (Bind-up) by Marilyn Kaye
This book is one of guilty pleasure reads (and so old that there it's no longer in print and no pictures exist of the bind-up I own, anywhere!). I would put a picture of my tattered old copy but I don't have it with me at the moment! I first read this book when I was about 9 and I loved it. It's a cheesy teen read about three teenagers who get adopted and have to settle into their new lives with a new high school. Set in a little town in Vermont, it really made me want to visit America at such a young age. I really loved this book and I would always pick it up if I was in a reading slump as it was so quick to read and would always cheer me up. If anyone can get their hands on a copy nowadays I would suggest picking it up if you want a light read! I would definitely save my copy as it is so worn and loved that I couldn't possibly leave it behind!

4) Eragon by Christopher Paolini
This fantasy series made me love dragons. I first read this when I was about 8 I think and I picked up a copy at my local library. I then immediately went out and spent my pocket money on my very own copy. It's been re-read so many times since then that it's very worn, but I still love it. It's a fantasy series for any age and I just found it to be an amazing read with such brilliant characters.

3) Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling

This one won't be a surprise to many of you but the reason behind me choosing it might be. This definitely isn't my favourite Harry Potter book, although I do love it, so why did I choose it? Well, the first ever time I read this book I had a blue bookmark in it, which I had made at school (in the year 2000!). My Dad spilled some water near the book one evening and the blue felt tip leaked all over the top of the first twenty pages or so. I know some people might find the book ruined because of that but I just love my worn copy with the little blue stain at the top. It reminds me so much of the first time I ever read this series when I was 8 or possibly 9, and how exciting it all was the first time around.

2) The Tower in Ho-Ho Wood by Enid Blyton

Now this is book from my very young childhood. I think I was probably around five or six when I first got this book. My mum read Enid Blyton books to me from the age of one onwards so she's always going to be one of my favourite childhood authors. I'm not sure how many people how heard of her nowadays but she has hundreds of books published (including the Famous Five and the Secret Seven series). But this book was always my favourite of the ones I owned. It's a collection of children's short stories about fairies and toys coming to life but, in particular I always loved The Tower in Ho-Ho Wood. I couldn't part with this book as there's just so much history to it for me. I loved reading it when I was little and I still do now.

1) The Doomspell Trilogy (Bind-up) by Cliff McNish

This is my number one for a reason. This trilogy is probably one of my favourite books of all time. I first got it out of the library as a child and I couldn't put it down. It was such a gripping fantastical world that I couldn't part with it. I think I got it out of the library about six times before getting my own copy (which is now equally well-read)! I would recommend this to absolutely anyone who loves fantasy, in particular witches. It's the most unique take on a story about witches that I've ever read and it was so well written. It was grim but brilliant. This is a bind-up of the trilogy (so it's not cheating) and I don't think I could ever not have this copy because it's so amazing. Seriously go read the summary right now and hopefully you'll consider picking it up because no-one seems to have heard of it but I always want to talk about it!

So those were my Top Five Books I would Save in a Fire! Mine are mostly for sentimental reasons, not because any of them are signed. They're replaceable but I love my original copies. Let me know what your top five are in the comments below!