Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

Ketchup clouds crop

Okay, I’m just going to come out with it… I think it’s really disturbing that Anna is corresponding with an older man and this creepy feeling followed me throughout, clouding the real story.

Dear Mr. S. Harris

Ignore the blob of red in the top left corner. It’s jam, not blood, though I don’t think I need to tell you the difference. It wasn’t your wife’s jam the police found on your shoe. . . 

A sad, tender and surprisingly funny story that kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what actually happened.

Recommended age: 14+3 Star

 

Title: Ketchup CloudsKetchup clouds
Author: Annabel Pitcher
Publication Date: 1 July 2013
(1st published 2012)
Publisher: Orion
Source: Purchased

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Fifteen-year-old Zoe has a secret—a dark and terrible secret that she can’t confess to anyone she knows. But then one day she hears of a criminal, Stuart Harris, locked up on death row in Texas. Like Zoe, Stuart is no stranger to secrets. Or lies. Or murder.

Full of heartache yet humour, Zoe tells her story in the only way she can—in letters to the man in prison in America. Armed with a pen, Zoe takes a deep breath, eats a jam sandwich, and begins her tale of love and betrayal.   — Extract from Goodreads.com

Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman

Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman 

Breathing crop 1

This book has been on my TBR (to be read) list forever. At first it was difficult to find, but even after I’d bought the paperback edition it sat on my shelf for a while.

Time is ticking as slow as a donkey in the plowing field. . .

It’s not that I didn’t like it, but more that I was so disappointed that it wasn’t what I expected. That’s the problem with expectations!

Speaking of which, there ain’t nary a draft in sight, and this humidity is curling up my hair something fierce.

Although it gave the books authenticity, Southern dialect was very off-putting. But despite everything, I grew fond of Savannah and I couldn’t abandon her.

It may sound dorky, but I love books – the feel of the paper, the old musty smell, and especially the way the words roll over you and take you somewhere altogether different.

Result: Another meh book finished, One less on my TBR pile (if we ignore the three I just added) and one step closer to my Goodreads challenge!3 Star

Recommended age: 12+

Title: Breathing
Author: Cheryl Renee HerbsmanBreathing
Publication Date: 10 June 2010
1st published 12 February 2009
Publisher: Speak
Source: Purchased

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Amazon UK
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Savannah would be happy spending the summer working at the library and reading. But then she meets Jackson, who Savannah’s convinced is the one. At first it looks like she’s right. He abides by her mama’s strict rules and stays by her side when she is hospitalized for severe asthma, which Savannah believes is improving only because Jackson is there. But when Jackson is called away to help his family, Savannah has to learn to breathe on her own, both literally and figuratively.   — Extract from Goodreads.com

I’m a Sisterhood of the World Blogger!

Sisterhood of the Blog

I’m a Sisterhood of the World Blogger! I was recently nominated by Jane at the Greenish Bookshelf. Jane reads and reviews a wide range of books on her blog so please pop over and have a look around.

Now for my answers to the questions asked by Jane…

1. What books might you include on a list of your top 5 favourites?

This sounds much easier than it actually is!

Favourite picture book: The Cat in the Hat Comes Back by Dr Seuss
Favourite children’s book: The Game by Diana Wynne Jones
Favourite YA Book: Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Favourite ‘Grown-up’ Book: Five Quarters of an Orange by Joanne Harris
Current favourite book: The Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

2. If you could live in a book, which would it be and why?Black cat reduced in frame

Oh, it has to be the Harry Potter books –  Broomsticks, butterbeer, potions…
Plus I’d be a great witch! I have the black cat already!

3. Favourite genre to read?

My favourite is contemporary, although I enjoy fantasy too.

4. How many books are you currently reading?

I am currently reading two books, one paperback and one on my kindle. I prefer to read one at a time, but two or three is not too unusual.

5. Name 2 books you mean to read but keep putting off.

Game of Thrones, I love the TV series and really want to read the book, and Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. I keep meaning to pick this up, it has just not happened yet!

6. If you taught a literature class, what would be on your syllabus for the class?

Depending on the age of the class, I’d love to teach The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, The Firework Maker’s Daughter by Philip Pullman, Catcher in The Rye by J.D. Salinger and 1984 by George Orwell. All these books not only have an important message to convey, but they all have a special significance for me.

7. Do you prefer paperback, hardcover, or ebooks?

Honestly… I adore book covers and this is the reason I prefer reading physical books.  Hardcovers feel very special but are expensive and bulky, so I usually go for paperbacks. But once I am engrossed in the story it really doesn’t matter what version it is.

8. What’s the most memorable bookstore you’ve visited?

Our little corner of South Africa does not have book shops of note and I buy 99% of my books online.  I visited Borders in Singapore several years ago and was in awe at the size and the variety on offer. But my favourite was a little second-hand bookshop I found when exploring a side street in Singapore. I am hoping to be able to find it again on my next visit later this year.

9. Favourite place to read?

Curled up in bed with a cat on my lap.

10. If you’re not reading, what do you like to do?

I love painting, art journaling and any other creative activities.

Okay, now for the serious business of the sisterhood’s rules…

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their site.
2. Add the Sisterhood logo on your blog.
3. Answer the questions given to you.
4. Make up 10 new questions for your nominees.
5. Nominate 10 blogs.

So in the spirit of sharing and caring I nominate the following amazing bloggers to the Sisterhood:

Hollie @ Music Books and Tea
Tammy @ The Book Fairy Haven
Karen @ KissinBlueKaren
Aentee @ Read at Midnight
Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner
Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction
Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight
Rachel @ Confessions of a Book Geek
Cait @ Paper Fury
Nicole @ The Reading Rebel

These are your questions:
1. How do you decide what to read next?
2. How did your school librarian influence your love of books?
3. What genre do you avoid at all costs?
4. Which one book did you love so much you would try to persuade any and everyone to read?
5. What one piece of advice would you share to a newbie book blogger?
6. Which indie author would you recommend and why?
7. What is the strangest thing you’ve used as a bookmark?
8. Where are you most likely to be caught reading?
9. Which social media platform do you prefer to share/stalk other bloggers?
10. If you were invited to a school library to read to young children, which book would you choose to share?

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King 

Ask the Passengers crop

Realistic and well-portrayed angst is the feature of this feel-good story where acceptance is key. In love with another girl, Astrid struggles with honesty in a small conservative town, where eyes are everywhere and gossip rules.

I struggled with the ‘keyhole peek’ into the passengers flying above, which gave the story a disjointed feel. It seemed out of place, as though the author had the idea before and tried to mold the story around it.

3 Star

Recommended age: 14+

Title: Ask the Passengers
Author: A. S King
Publication Date:Ask the Passengers
23 October 2012
Publisher:
Little Brown and Company
Source: Borrowed
Purchase this book:
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Book Depository
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Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother’s pushiness and her father’s lack of interest tell her they’re the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn’t know the passengers inside, but they’re the only people who won’t judge her when she asks them her most personal questions–like what it means that she’s falling in love with a girl.

As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can’t share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don’t even know she’s there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers’ lives–and her own–for the better.   — Extract from Goodreads.com

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I seem to be in a reading slump, I haven’t read a Wow! book for ages…

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

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Admittedly I was swept up with the media hype and ARC reviews so my expectations of this book were sky high. Considering how much I loved the Just One Day series and enjoyed the If I Stay series, I really expected to fall hard for this book.

Disappointed and disillusioned… Despite the beautiful cover (I mean just look at it!), the book just did not do anything for me.

I struggled to connect with the characters and the storyline felt forced…. As through it had to follow a predetermined course and the characters weren’t allowed to develop naturally.2 Star

Recommended age: 13+

Title: I Was Here
Author: Gayle FormanI Was Here
Publication Date:
29 January 2015
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Source: Purchased

Purchase this book:
Amazon.com
Amazon UK
Book Depository
Loot.co.za

Add to your shelf:
Goodreads

Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.
 
When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.   — Extract from Goodreads.com

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