Noteworthy by Riley Redgate


Noteworthy by Riley Redgate

It’s the cover and/or author that is my overwhelming deciding factor when I add books to my TBR. Choosing by cover love is really unfair and it often means I miss out on some really good books. But Noteworthy is a happy exception! I don’t know the author and the cover is a bit bland and musical for my tastes. I am also not musical in any way (totally tone deaf) and seldom read fiction where music plays a significant role. So why I took a chance on requesting a review copy I don’t remember, but I am glad I did.

As I stood there in that derelict husk of a theater, I felt like I’d gotten lost in between my lives, and the road ahead looked long and strange and poorly lit.

Sounding like a light heart-hearted musicy book I expected to fly through the pages, write a quick review and then forget all about the story. I was so wrong. This book surprised me by creeping right into my heart.

The world, I thought. The whole world, gathered up in my arms.

The characters so far removed from the paper doll characters I despise. Real, genuine characters flaws and all. Actually, I think their flaws made me like them even more. Diversity is the current buzz word and all for the right reasons, but sometimes books are written around the diverse characters and don’t allow them space to be who they are. Noteworthy is not one of these books. With some unpredictable surprises, the characters revealed themselves in their own time. Naturally and beautifully.

All I understood about sexuality was it’s uncertainty, discovering your way through yourself day by day, stepping tentatively, hitting on some term that seemed to fit and hoping it stuck.

The story is centered very much on music, but this didn’t distract from the story and I don’t think I missed out on not really understanding or appreciating the terminology… well I suppose I will ever know if it would have made a difference: but it’s already got a 5/5 rating from me.

It was impossible to feel alone in a room full of favorite books. I had the sense that they knew me personally, that they’d read me cover to cover as I’d read them.5 Star



Title: NoteworthyNoteworthy

Author:  Riley Redgate 

Publication Date: 2 May 2017

Publisher: Amulet Books

Source: Review copy


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It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.

Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped … revered … all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.   — Abstract from

The fact that I received a free advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Disclaimer: The quotes appear in my advanced review copy and may not appear in the final version.

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Why I’ll Never Choose That Book: The Science of Book Appeal

Why I am never going to choose that coverWhy I’ll Never Choose That Book

Why I’ll Never Choose That Book: The Science of Book Appeal. Continuing from Why I’d Choose that Book last week These are the random things that totally put me off reading a book (without a HUGE recommendation from trusted bookworms)…

I am never going to willingly pick up these books:

Ugly Covers

Cover art is a fickle thing and, shallow though it may be, it means everything when I choose which books I read. As these are difficult to put into words I’ve included image examples.

Why I'll Never Choose That Book

Previous posts on cover love or the lack thereof:

The Complexity of Book Covers

When Bad Covers Happen to Good Books

Book Covers I’d Frame as Pieces of Art

A controversial new cover for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


I have read these before and even like some of them, but I feel that is genre needs an originality injection. The stories tend to run almost to a script and although I have no idea how authors could come up with a new way of saving the world, but until then I will be avoiding these stories.


I love psychological thrillers, but horror is just not for me anymore. I once adored this genre, with Pet Sematary by Stephen King a favourite, but they no longer appeal.

Zombies & Pirates

I just don’t get it.


Tried it – hated it.


No interest at all even though *hangs head I have never even tried it.

Short Stories

Short stories are not bad and I have read and loved them before, especially those with unpredictable twists such as Roald Dahl and Jeffrey Archer are famous for. But I prefer to get my teeth into a bigger slice of story.


A huge mistake any author can make when telling their own story is to embellish and deny. I have read far too many sanctimonious versions to attempt another.


I rarely purchase hardcovers, not only are they expensive but awkward to hold. The most recent hardcover that I refuse to buy is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. There is only one reason why it’s expensive and only available in hardcover and that’s to shamelessly exploit Harry Potter fans.

Author Self-Rating/Review

This is such a turn-off, but many authors are desperate enough to give their books a 5-star rating on Goodreads. One author actually wrote “Well, you didn’t think I would rate my own book badly did you?” under his 5 beaming stars. I wouldn’t read his book if he paid me!

Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

 Strange the Dreamer

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

…the dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around.

Strange the Dreamer is… well strange and I can’t decide if it’s a good strange or a bad strange. It’s not what I expected… and I am not completely dazzled.

“The library knows its own mind,” old Master Hyrrokkin told him, leading him back up the secret stairs. “When it steals a boy, we let it keep him.”

But then, my expectations were exceptionally high. I am in love with the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. Every single book in the trilogy is brilliant. A bubbling, melting pot of irresistible words spinning heartbreakingly beautiful tales. So strange (the good amazing strange) that the weird, endearing characters fit right inside my heart. The heartbreaking twists still keep me awake in the early hours. I think it’s safe to say the Daughter of Smoke and Bone and its sequels Days of Blood and Starlight and Dreams of Gods and Monsters (links to where I flail about in wonder that is this series) are my favourite fantasy books, surpassing Narnia and Lord of The Rings. So with all that expectation, I shouldn’t be surprised that I didn’t fall instantly in love with Strange the Dreamer.

There were two mysteries, actually: one old, one new. The old one opened his mind, but it was the new one that climbed inside, turned several circles, and settled in with a grunt – like a satisfied dragon in a cozy new lair.

I started the book the day it released and my pre-order arrived in my Kindle. I devoured the prequel – a delicate tasty morsel that I would be craving for the rest of the book. I read through the first chapter thinking, it’s going to be good, it’s going to be great. Halfway through the second chapter, my thoughts turned to what…? I left it for a while – so it could think about its problems – but didn’t pick it up until a week later on Shannon’s (It Starts at Midnight) reassurance that it does get better. Armed with this advice from a trusted blogger friend I plundered on. And yes, it does get better – slowly, achingly slowly, until almost at the end when it broke through ok to good. Then the ending… I’m not even going to go there – you all know how I feel about cliff-hangers.

On the second Sabbat of the Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky.

But I can’t stop thinking about the prequel and how it fell into its place in the story and so the inevitable three star I was planning to give bumped up to 3.5 stars. But I have never given half stars before and it deserves more than a three but not quite a four…

That was the year Zosma sank to its knees and bled great bouts of men into a war about nothing.

In the end, it was the two annoying typo’s that confirmed the result. Forgivable in an advance review copy but not so much in a book published by a respectable publisher and one I paid full price for.

… with his nose that had been broken by fairy tales…

Lazlo is a difficult character, one whose weaknesses are his strength, and I didn’t like him at first. He grew on me slowly, although he will never be as real to me as the Sarai is. She and her makeshift family are the characters that give the story life and I wish they had more space in the book.3 star


Title: Strange the Dreamer
Series: Strange the Dreamer #1 Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Publication Date: 28 March 2017
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Source: Purchased

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The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around – and Lazlo Strange, war orphan, and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries – including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?  — Abstract from

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Why I’d Choose THAT Book: The Science of Book Appeal

Why I'd choose that book


Why I’d Choose that Book: The science of book appeal. Actually, there is nothing scientific about it at all. It’s more like a gut-feel. Which is not always right. But I am sticking with my reasons because as weird as they might seem, they are mine.


Science of book appeal

Insta cover-love

I am pretty fussy when it comes to covers and it means everything in my judgment a book’s worthiness.Bonus points for originality and featuring real people – even if it’s just a hand or the top of a head.


Science of book appeal

The author

There are a few authors that I auto-buy. This sometimes backfires It’s foolproof.


Science of book appeal


From a very short list of trusty people- like these bloggers.


Goodreads Ratings

Yip, I live for those little red stars.


Science of book appeal


If it’s one of these I am in hot pursuit.






Especially psychological thrillers

Science of book appeal






But they have to be World War II.






Especially if they include these non-random themes – death (I like them dark), depression, road trips, ballet, brothers and/or sisters






Preferably dark magic, faerie, elves and dragons (But I am fussy with fantasies and I’ll reject any of these with an ugly cover.)


Science of book appeal

YA vs Adult

I choose YA over adult most of the time for reasons highlighted here.


Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren

The Last Thing You Said

The Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren


Told on alternating PVO’s (point of view) – which I love – The Last Thing You Said is simply a beautiful story.

Separated by their grief, Ben and Lucy share slithers of Trixie with the reader. In addition, the Trixie stories, interspersed throughout the book, bring her vividly to life. Sara Biren writes from personal experience and empowered by her words with their emotional triggers I sank into sorrow, joy, and hope. All the feels in one book!

I slip my hand into the pocket of my jeans. It’s there – Ben’s agate, smooth, cool to the touch.

I make notes while reading review copies and looking back today at The Last Thing You Said’s notes scrawled across saved screenshots I was plunged right back into the story. In my own hardly legible scrawl… I want to live in this book and have the characters as my best friends…

… I pull on my ratty army-green Rapala hoodie. An image comes to me, and I suck in a breath: Lucy wearing it, standing on the rocky shore of Lake Superior, orange streaks of sunrise glistening on the water behind her.

This is an excellent book to use for bibliotherapy as it explores grief and dealing with the death of a friend. In addition, the author has helpfully provided contacts to the National Alliance for Grieving Children at the back of this book, if only for those in the US. Open to Hope is available for international support.

She closed her eyes and willed all their sorrows and fears from their hearts to her own. Her heart was heavy and she staggered from the weight of it…5 Star



Title: The Last Thing You Said

Author: Sara BirenThe Last Thing You Said

Publication Date: 4 April 2017

Publisher: Amulet Books

Source: Review copy


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Last summer, Lucy’s and Ben’s lives changed in an instant. One moment, they were shyly flirting on a lake raft, finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of yearning. In the next, Trixie—Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister—was gone, her heart giving out during a routine swim. And just like that, the idyllic world they knew turned upside down, and the would-be couple drifted apart, swallowed up by their grief. Now it’s a year later in their small lake town, and as the anniversary of Trixie’s death looms, Lucy and Ben’s undeniable connection pulls them back together. They can’t change what happened the day they lost Trixie, but the summer might finally bring them closer to healing—and to each other.   — Abstract from

The fact that I received a free advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Disclaimer: The quotes are taken from my advanced review copy and may not appear in the final version.

Affiliate Link Disclaimer

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