Category Archives: Young Adult fiction

Goodreads saved my sanity!

I haven’t read a printed book (dead-tree variety) in over a year. I’m a new convert to ebooks and eaudio but I’ve jumped in with both feet.

I came to ebooks through necessity rather than choice. I quite unexpectantly found myself in hospital having a baby six weeks early. I had a few complications and after 10 days I was discharged but without my baby and unable to drive. What does one do? Head to mum’s for some looking after until bubs is strong enough to come home.

As a librarian, my life is reading. My passion is for fiction. Here I was staying in TV Land not Bookville. All I was armed with was an iPad and a library card!

Overdrive is my new best friend. I ended up having over a year off work and only being paid for a quarter so my relationship with my old friends (Dead-Tree sellers) bitterly needed to come to an end.

While Overdrive, Amazon and Audible were fulfilling my appetite for fiction, I no longer had anyone with which to share my reading. I hadn’t realised how much of my day used to be dedicated to discussing reading.

Having a new baby can be isolating – more than I was prepared to encounter. I tried to look for a local bookclub but it is difficult to fit anything around baby’s sleep patterns (I use pattern figuratively!) and I mainly read Young Adult fiction because of work. Not too many (any) daytime YA book groups around. That is why Goodreads saved my sanity.

We use Goodreads at work with the students. It is a fantastic way to breech the divide that makes solitary reading a social activity. I knew all the theory about why it was good for the students and their connectedness to their peers – why did it take me so long.

After starting a new, anonymous Goodreads account, I joined a variety of online book clubs. I’ve been enjoying book of the month chats, buddy reads, challenges, scavenger hunts (my favourite) and I’ve been connecting with some fabulous people. I’ve chatted with authors and reviewed their books. I’ve won competitions and accessed ARCs. I’ve loved having recommendations made for me and meeting some new Goodreads friends.

Goodreads saved my sanity because I’m able to connect with other book lovers and feel involved without having to leave my baby (who is now an adventurist toddler).

Feel free to come and share your reading with me on Goodreads. There should be a link via the Goodreads widget.

Happy reading 🙂


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10 Reasons Why Young Scientists Should Read (non-scientific) Literature

Put brilliantly

The Drew Lab at Columbia University

This is a guest post by a student in our program Amy Wray (@amykwray) who comes to us from UC Berkeley where she did her senior thesis on the theme of disease ecology in James Joyce’s work. -JAD


10 Reasons Why Young Scientists Should Read Literature


            There are many reasons why everyone should read literature, but I believe that young scientists in particular can benefit greatly from engaging with literary texts. As an undergraduate I studied both Biology and English, and sometimes people ask me why I chose a seemingly unusual combination. Usually my answer is that I just kept taking classes in the things that I liked, but this response breezes over the true complexities of the matter. There is much more to the story because to me the two things aren’t so different after all, and I think that there are a lot of skills…

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Pawn review

Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #1)Pawn by Aimee Carter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pawn is just another YA dystopian novel. If you’re really into this genre then it is worth a read. I read so many great reviews of this novel but for me it just didn’t have that wow factor. In fact, there were several aspects that got on my nerves.

Pawn is set in an American meritocracy where at seventeen, citizens are required to undertake an aptitude test. This test determines their social ranking and job. With shadows of Soylent Green but a little bit more tasteful, overpopulation is curbed by sending the infirmed, elderly and excess children to Elsewhere. The concept of Elsewhere had too many holes for me and it wasn’t really explained well. There is only so much hunting that the politicians can do!

The protagonist, Kitty, has undiagnosed dyslexia. This is why she performs poorly on the aptitude test. If this novel is supposed to be able the inequity in our schooling system and society for people with learning disorders or disabilities – it fall falls dramatically short. It also seems to waver between supporting and destroying the meritocracy. The only strong message was anti monarchy. I’m really confused about what Carter was trying to convey. Most successful dystopian novels have a clear message for society to act upon – I don’t think it was there.

The huge issue I had with Pawn was the title. There were two tacked on references to chess. They really stuck out. If the Harts had actually been a monarchy, perhaps it would have worked better. In my opinion the metaphor of the pawn failed. The other issue I had with this novel was the sheer amount of dialogue. If it is made into a film, the screen writer will have an easy job. I know the old adage of show don’t tell but sometimes paraphrasing can save ten pages!

Some people have really liked this novel. I thought it was ok. I think if you’re a fan of the genre then you should read it and form your own conclusion. I doubt that I will read the rest of the series.

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Filed under Advance Reading Copy, Young Adult fiction


I am trying to plan, organise and execute a first birthday. We have birthday and Christmas engagements every weekend. We are trying to get our house in order to be able to sell it. I’ve also become addicted to Dance Moms I am embarrassed to say.

All things considered, this means I am dramatically behind in my reading. I’ve been too tired to focus on anything.

I’m also really struggling through BZRK Reloaded. I enjoyed the first book, BZRK, but the second one isn’t my cup of tea. It is an extreme rarity that I ever abandon a book so I feel as though I need to endure through.

Hopefully, January will find my reading and blogging schedule back on track.

Happy Reading 🙂

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Desperately need book recommendations!

I really need a book or an audiobook that you just can’t put down.

I have plenty to read on my Kindle and a few ARCs and R4Rs that I should be doing but I’m just not in the mood.

I really want something that is going to keep me up all night reading. I need a book to fall in love with instantly.

Please post your recommendations here, via Twitter or recommend directly through Goodreads.

Please help!

Happy reading 🙂


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Dream Student (Dream, #1)Dream Student by J.J. DiBenedetto

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Only the brave should listen to this book before bed and risk Sarah’s nightmares meeting your own.

The premise of this novel is interesting. Sarah is able to view other people’s dreams. However, as we all know, not all dreams are happy ones.

This is where the story turns into a mystery. Sarah and her friends must uncover the identity of the dreamer in order to try and stop him perpetrating again. The mystery was a real let down for me. I really enjoy trying to work out the mystery and love a few red herrings. However, I worked this one out really quickly. If you like to be able to follow the clues and unlock the mystery then you might enjoy Dream Student.

In my opinion, Dream Student could have been 15-20% shorter. I found that there was a lot of repetition and some scenes that did not seem to propel the narrative or drive character development. I also found that the audio narration was quite slow. This is the first time I have ever listened to a book on a faster speed. I found it worked quite well at 1.25x without sounding robotic.

I really wanted to like this book more but it was a lot slower paced from what I am used to reading.

Dream Student would make a good book for an occasional read. I’m sure many of you are like me and have multiple books on the go at once. The print version would be suitable for that book that you pick up every now and then to read a chapter or two. It is suitable for this casual reading because there are only a few characters, one main plot line rather than a series of intertwining subplots, repetition and a patterning of events.


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Audio withdrawal

I’m really missing my audiobooks!

I didn’t get my Audible subscription for my birthday (here’s hoping for Christmas!) so I’m running low on audiobooks.

I have one that I should be listening to for a review but I still haven’t written my review for the first one (it wasn’t what I suspected) so I’m trying not to get too far into it yet.

My local library hasn’t updated their collection with anything I really want to listen to at the moment. The titles on my Audible shelf just aren’t grabbing me at the moment. I think I’m having a Feast for Crows hangover. 37 hours later I was left disappointed and frustrated.

What are your picks for great audiobooks? What should I splurge on?

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