Thursday, 3 January 2019

'Pig Heart Boy' by Malorie Blackman

Happy New Year Readers!

  So I've been busy working on my children's literature module for university and as part of my assessment, was tasked with reading and responding to a text in a completely blank book of my own. I've had so much fun exploring themes and characters within the text and am so proud of the work I've achieved.Today's review is all about that book 'Pig Heart Boy' by Malorie Blackman.

I'll be honest, I was hesitant about reading such an esteemed book. I've read books in the past where the 'hype' has been so large, but I've been left disappointed upon reading the book. Thankfully, this wasn't the case with 'Pig Heart Boy'.

  My summary
The narrative tells the story of Cameron a black boy in desperate need of a heart transplant to survive beyond his fourteenth birthday. With a lack of human donors, Cam’s dad contacts a specialist surgeon offering the first and untested trial of xenotransplantation (i.e. transplanting a genetically modified pig's heart to replace his own). With little other opportunity, Cam accepts. He confides about this very secret procedure with his best friend Marlon. Cam awakes from surgery to find Marlon has leaked his secret to national newspapers and is amassed with journalists trying to uncover more about him. The book also shows the wider response of friends, family and strangers which provides unique perspectives.

  My Thoughts
The story was well told and interesting to read. Whilst the book is targeted at younger readers than myself, I was able to resonate and empathise with Cam's difficult life both pre- and post-surgery. I even felt betrayed by Marlon as a reader!

The layout of the book was something I misjudged on my first read. I assumed the narrative would be linear from the first chapter and read it that way. However, upon re-reading I understood that the book actually starts from almost the end of the story. This illustrated the cause and effect relationship within the narrative allowing the reader to understand how Cameron got to where he was.

  Nonetheless, Malorie shows a real craft in storytelling. This book was published in 1997 (a year before I was born) and yet more than twenty years on the story is still relevant and believable.

  Reading and exploring this book has been thoroughly enjoyable and I'd happily read another of the many wonderful works by Malorie Blackman.

  My next post will be all about my trip to the lovely Stripes YA Blogger Event which I'm so excited for! Until then, Happy Reading!

Saturday, 15 December 2018

The Hate U Give

Wow... It has again been a while. My life certainly isn't anywhere near the same as it was the last time I posted, but we'll save all that for another time. 

One good thing in all the upheaval of Autumn is I read a book and at long last it was The Hate U Give. I could honestly talk for days but have just about managed to condense it all into one post.
Image result for angie Thomas THUG

This is just one of the amazing covers, I've brought the film edition and you bet I'll be getting my hands on a US edition too.

I'll be honest I brought this book for every member of my family last Christmas, because I just knew this book would be revolutionary. I didn't allow myself to see the film until I'd read Angie's words first (despite getting goosebumps every time I watched the trailer). I kept up with this book on twitter, the internet, I thought I knew so much about the book and still was surprised.

I connected with this book from the turn of the first page.

When I finally sat down to read it I was so pleased that the book exceeded my expectations. I laughed I cried, I cried again. And with the turning of the last page I gave it straight to one of my besties because everyone needs to read THUG. 

As a mixed race girl I liked to think I was ‘woke’ as people say. The reality is this book educated me in so many ways. 

The narrative was clear, Starr’s outlook on the world was clear. And from starting it there wasn’t a point I wanted to put it down (yes at risk of over sharing , I took it to the bathroom several times). 

I genuinely don’t think there’s a single person who doesn’t need to read this book and explore the unique perspective it offers on a very real and current issue. 

Now before I turn in to a rambley (not a real word) mess grab yourself a copy and get reading. Head to your library. If money’s tight, grab yourself a copy on amazon it’s currently £4 and if you have the luxury of a local bookshop get going there and treat yourself!

Anyhow wishing you all happy reading experiences and festive cheer!

Sophia @brokefrombooks

Thursday, 6 September 2018

The Stranger Upstairs by Melanie Raabe

Given the opportunity to review a book that was already a bestseller in Germany I was curious, with a quick read of the press release I was so intrigued and keen to read The Stranger Upstairs and it certainly didn't disappoint.

So on none other than it’s UK publication date welcome to my review of:

The Stranger Upstairs. 

The summary that hooked me...

What if your husband is not who everyone thinks he is?

Several years ago, your husband, and the father of your young son, disappeared. Since then, you’ve dreamed of his return; railed against him for leaving you alone; grieved for your marriage; and, finally, vowed to move on.

One morning, the phone rings. When you answer, a voice at the other end tells you your husband’s on a plane bound for home, and that you’ll see him tomorrow.

You’ve imagined this reunion countless times. Of course you have. But nothing has prepared you for the reality. For you realize you don’t know this man.

Because he isn’t your husband, he’s a complete stranger – and he’s coming home with you.

Even worse, he seems to know about something very bad you once did, something no one else could possibly know about . . . Could they?

My Thoughts...

I feel like when reviewing I always wait right till the end before fully crafting my review and then miss so much of the bits I loved about the book I read. So for this review I'm going to discuss some of my favourite parts of the book that I noticed while reading.

1) Melanie's description is so well crafted. I stopped myself reading at so many points to appreciate the careful selection of words used. One of my favourites is the opening to a chapter early on in the book.                                                                                  
 'That roller-coaster feeling you get in your stomach when you've done something you can't undo-deliberately smashed up a priceless family heirloom, finally spoken a terrible truth, broken with the past - that feeling is still with me when I get home' 

2) Intrigue. Wow. There wasn’t a single page I read that didn’t make me desperate to turn to the next. The book balanced truth, lies and deception so well and I was so eager to uncover more information with every page I turnt. 

3) Perspective. I’m always quite picky about perspective. Personally I find that there are some perspectives that I struggle to read and that takes away from my reading experience. This certainly was not the case with The Stranger Upstairs. I loved the range of voices throughout and the consistency in the voices which were clear and distinct. 

Overall I loved reading this book and would highly recommend it but don’t just take my word for it. Check in to all the other lovely stops on the blog tour and see what they think. Info below. 

If you're anything like me, you'll like a little bit of a background to the author. So...

A little bit about Melanie

Melanie Raabe grew up in Thuringia, Germany. After graduating from university, she moved to Cologne where she worked as a journalist by day while secretly writing books at night. The Trap, her debut novel, was a bestseller in Germany and sold all around the world. The Stranger Upstairs was also a bestseller in Germany, where it was published as The Truth.

*I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for a review. All views are my own based on my own reading experience. If, on the rare occasion, I read a book that I thoroughly dislike and can't find anything positive to say about it I simply won't review it.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

The Truth About Lies Blog Tour- Guest Post from Tracy Darnton

Hey Guys!

I'm delighted to be able to be a part of the Blog Tour for this lovely new release The Truth About Lies! This piece explains the significance of memory in Tracy's book which is so interesting and definitely made me even more keen to read The Truth about Lies.

So without further ado, I present Tracy Darnton!

Memory in The Truth About Lies

The main character in The Truth About Lieshas an extraordinary memory. Jess doesn’t just have a photographic memory and an aptitude for recognising faces - she has hyperthymesia which means she remembers everythingthat happens to her. I wanted to explore what that would be like for a seventeen-year-old trying to form friendships and relationships. So would you get really annoyed by people, trust people less? If you fell out with someone or did something crushingly embarrassing would that be forever playing in your head? The emotional intensity of life in our teens and early twenties tends to make those memories more enduring for everyone but for Jess it’s amplified. How does she ‘forget’ and move on like the rest of us?
So that leads on to thinking about how memories shape our personality and if memories make us who we are, would you, should you, change or remove any? I also touch on whether we are outsourcing our memory to the likes of Google and the effect on our ability to remember. 
When I worked as a solicitor, I saw first-hand how memories may be presented as facts but are really just reconstructions. Witness statements, identification evidence and testimony in court all have their limitations. But in our popular culture, we often present ‘memory’ as a fixed file which we can access. In fact, this is really useful in plots for books and films – where there’s an extremely high incidence of amnesia! There’s a lot of satisfaction in following a character who is puzzling out what happened to them and who they can trust. Trying to sort the truth from the lies.
I’ve always been interested in memory and some of my jobs have required me to have a pretty good one. Like Jess and the super-recogniser Callum in The Truth About LiesI have an aptitude for recognising faces and I’m part of a research programme which tries to understand why some people are better at this than others. I’ve been looking at photos of people and then seeing if I can pick out that person from a group of images. It’s like a games of Guess Who but with pixelated, blurry images, sneaky profile shots and lots of beanie hats! Recently I was tested for voice recognition skills too. Some people are amazing at it (not me) and have a career in law enforcement. If you’d like to have a go yourself, click on the test at https//  
Writing a book which includes something you’re passionately interested in makes it easier to keep momentum going. For me it’s the psychology of memory, but if you settle on a theme close to your heart, so many other parts of the book will fall into place.

That's all for now. But there's still lots more exciting stops on the blog tour #TheTruthAboutLies   
Tracy Darnton’sThe Truth About Lies will be published by Stripes on July 12th 2018.

Follow Tracy on Twitter @TracyDarnton                          #TheTruthAboutLies   

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Introducing Sophia Wilson. ME. Book Reader, Book Blogger, Trainee Teacher. - Book Review: So Much by Trish Cooke

So for the last six months I've been on a break and by break I mean I've not read an email or written a blog post. *Looks guilty* SORRY. 

I started my second year of University, a part time job at a DIY Store (Which I Love) and went to Thailand. Sounds fantastic right?
Well unfortunately, life isn't so perfect, I also lost my grandad who quite frankly was the kindest most amazing man in the world. 

It was only in writing this that I realised I've been blogging in the shadows. When I first started out I was 16 and had little plans beyond sharing the books I loved and attending YALC to meet the amazing authors behind the books. I never quite got to the introducing myself part.

Many years on... I'm 20. I have been to the most fantastic book events held by lovely people from publishers to authors (Special shoutout to Scholastic and Stripes!). I have been lucky enough to win and receive books to review and even had my very own guest post by the fantastic Mary Bello.

Today I sat in University, faced between the choice of two specialisms:
A) Mathematics (which I enjoy and is great on paper for a trainee teacher)
B) Children's Literature

I knew what I wanted to choose before the sheet was in my hand. Reality dawned on me... I love children's and young adult literature and I love to read.

Obvious right?

Two hours later, discussing books for the UKLA award (being a trainee teacher I'm lucky enough to be able to partake in the process) I realised... 

how i met your mother omg GIF by HULU

I have so much love for children literature so I can share all that love with you. Not just the YA but all the amazing books for children too.


Hi I am Sophia Wilson. ME. Book Reader. Book Blogger. Trainee Teacher.

And I can't wait to share my love of books with you.

What better way to begin that with exactly that...

SO MUCH! By Trish Cooke.

My love for So Much probably roots back to me as a child. I remember being read the story, my parents making a conscious effort from an early age to ensure I saw 'me' in books. 

But this book is not just fantastic because of its presentation of a 'POC' the craft that sews the words and imagery together is so beautiful in conveying a story of familial love and affection.

The use of dialect is refreshing and honest. The caribbean heritage of relatives is so well depicted through vivid descriptions like 'cock up their handbags'. The rhyme and rhythm is consistent throughout.

The narrative is so well complemented by the imagery. The bleeding pages pull you as a reader into the text with every turning page.

This book is such an enjoyable read for adults and children alike, if you haven't already definitely read.

If you got this far, Thank you. See you soon.

Sophia @brokefrombooks

Friday, 18 August 2017

Review of SEED by Lisa Heathfield

Today's review is of the lovely Seed which I was so excited to post about that I accidentally deleted it instead of posting it. 

A little About Seed

Seed loves you. Seed will never let you go.

Fifteen-year-old Pearl has lived her whole life protected within the small community at Seed, where they worship Nature and idolise their leader, Papa S. When some outsiders arrive, everything changes. Pearl experiences feelings that she never knew existed and begins to realise that there is darkness at the heart of Seed. A darkness from which she must escape, before it's too late.

A condensed summary of my thoughts

Wow. That's the first word I knew I'd have to begin with  when I finished the book because Seed is amazing. Amazing doesn't even do it just but immediately after turning the last page I just in awe. 

This book captivated me and touched my heart in so many ways. I want to cry I want to smile because Seed is a beautifully written, heartbreaking, saddening story told so so well. 

Lisa's craft for writing was extraordinary not only telling Pearl's story based on the only world she knows, but giving a wealth of insight into the life of those at Seed and life in a cult. I also really liked the narrative style and the use of an alternate POV. 

I got this lovely book at Michelle's YALC Blogging Panel many moons and far too long ago but I'm so glad i finally read it because it truly is an amazing heartbreaking honest story. Michelle told me I'd love it and she was so very right. 

Have you read Seed? What did you think? 
Comment below or tweet me @brokefrombooks 

Monday, 24 July 2017

FIRST EVER GUEST POST with author Mary Bello, A Change is Gonna Come

I am SO SO SO EXCITED for today's post, my very first Guest Post and the first stop of the #CHANGEBOOK Blog Tour!

Today's post is from a Brand New Author Mary Bello who's story 'Dear Asha' is a part of Stripes' 'A Change Is Gonna Come' book which is released on the 10th August 2017. 

I've been so excited for this entire anthology since the moment I heard about it at Stripes' blogger event.

So without further ado here is Mary's post all about her exciting journey from journalist to published short story author, why she was so keen and proud to be involved and more...

For the last few years I've been a stay-at-home mum taking care of my three-year old angel, Lalita. Before becoming a full-time Mummy I'd worked as an entertainment journalist but in my heart, I'd always held a desire to write stories and poetry. I'm so passionate about books - the transportive nature, how they can make you feel something otherworldly leaving an indelible mark on your soul. So this year, with my beautiful mini-me ensconced in nursery, I decided to focus on creative writing.
When I saw the call for open submissions from Stripes something just felt right about submitting a short story.

With the anthology's theme of change in mind I set about crafting a story close to my heart. A huge change happened in my life a few years ago when I lost my mother therefore the concept of change or more precisely loss and how it can rock you to your core, felt like the right underpinning for my story. Through my experience of loss I could empathise and understand the journey that my main character would go through. My story 'Dear Asha' gives you a snapshot into the life of a 17-year-old girl whose mother has just died.

The first time I held a copy of A Change Is Gonna Come in my hands I was overwhelmed. It's a blessing to see something you've written published. And I love what the book stands for – a real representation of the wonderful wealth of stories BAME writers have to offer.

Making the transition from journalist to creative writer has been both a daunting yet exciting journey so far. It's great being able to really free your mind and see your ideas come to life. Plus I love the freedom of working from wherever I fancy (hello sweet little café in the park or better still bed). You definitely need to be disciplined as you are fully in charge of your daily structure, deadlines etc. You have to fit it in around your other commitments, which can be tricky at times, but writing brings me so much joy.

In creating poetry and stories, you are truly putting your heart and soul on a plate for the world to see. You make yourself vulnerable, sharing with people the intimate way in which you view the world and your emotions but in doing so you can connect and give something truly magical to the reader. So many great authors have done this for me and I'd love for my writing to do the same to others.

A little bit more about Mary...

Mary Florence Bello was born in north London to Nigerian parents and grew up on a diet of tales from Yoruba culture. She studied law and worked in finance before embarking on a career as a journalist.

You can Pre-order A Change is Gonna Come here on Amazon or go to your local book store on or after August 10th.

A big thanks to Charlie Morris at Stripes Publishing for having me as part of this blog tour. But this is only the start! There's lots more exciting stops on the #CHANGEBOOK Blog Tour so be sure to keep following to hear from more authors, read reviews and much more.