How many of you have been tempted by our Reading Challenge? I know some of you have as there are currently 50 members in our Reading Challenge Facebook Group (big cheer or silent clap according to preference.)

If you are thinking that you like the idea but actually doing the challenges is too hard then I have a little exercise for you! Think about the book you are currently reading and then have a look at the challenges:


Now think about how many of these challenges your book already fits! I bet you can spot more than one?

So you see the challenges aren’t hard and you can have a bit of fun thinking about how you can make the book you want to read next fit one of these challenges!

I thought I would focus on one challenge for this post – read a book by a children’s author. I would love to hear from those already doing the challenge what their choices for this would be, leave me a comment of start a discussion in the Facebook group.

Okay so children’s authors – what does this mean? Does it have to be a children’s book?

Nope. You can read any book by any author who has written for children or who’s books are enjoyed by children…

Easy. See?

I’m going to give you some suggestions and again I would love to know yours…

I’ll start with some obvious ones and work from there:

Philip Pullman

Fresh in everyone’s mind from the much anticipated first episode of His Dark Materials (the BBC adaptation) which aired on Sunday night…

It has been a few years since I read the trilogy, I can remember really, really enjoying it but have not as of yet been tempted by his latest offerings – La Belle Sauvage or The Secret Commonwealth.

If you want to start at the beginning then it is Northern Lights for you! Although do bear in mind that everyone wants to read this series at the moment so there may be a little bit of a wait!

If you think I definitely need to read the latest two books then let me know – I have been known to cave to impassioned pleas!

JK Rowling

If you haven’t already read Harry Potter then I very much doubt that you are going to drop everything and start now! You may however be tempted by the grown up Cormoran Strike series (Robert Galbraith) which kicks off with The Cuckoo’s Calling.

or JKs first adult offering –  The Casual Vacancy, I can just see the cover when I close my eyes, I’m pretty sure we had enough copies in libraries to reach the moon, it was so in demand!

If you actually want to read a children’s book and like the idea of giving the Potterverse a whirl then may I suggest either Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban or The Tales of Beedle the Bard

James Patterson

9781780890210Full disclosure – I have never in my life read a book by James Patterson! Not one. Did you know that he writes children’s and young adult fiction too? I guess he got bored writing four hundred million books and thought he’d try his hand at something else, more books!!! If you think I am exaggerating the numbers then check out his Fantastic Fiction page here!

I am afraid that I literally have no idea where to tell you to start on this one, in a moment of panic I just called out to my colleagues and someone (no names mentioned Steve) replied with Private LA so we’ll go with that, is it good? Only Steve knows!

Are you a Patterson fan, have you dabbled? I’m sure I will one day pick up at least one, probably the Maximum Ride series as that appeals the most from the list I just perused.

Okay so those we the obvious big names, I know there are plenty more and please feel free to start a discussion in the Facebook Group with your suggestions.

I’m going to give you more suggestions now with more of a Young Adult vibe, I know people get a bit twitchy when you mention the Teen/YA genre and for some reason tend to avoid this physical area in the library completely (which makes me sad) but I’m hoping I can talk you round, convince you slightly, beg if necessary!


Here’s a nice one to start – Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen:

A teenage spy. A Nazi boarding school. The performance of a lifetime.

Sarah has played many roles – but now she faces her most challenging of all. Because there’s only one way for a Jewish orphan spy to survive at a school for the Nazi elite. And that’s to become a monster like them.

They think she is just a little girl. But she is the weapon they never saw coming… with a mission to destroy them all.

Who wouldn’t want to read this? Even if you are not planning on trying out the Reading Challenge and you’re only reading this because you’re nice (thank you) then I would encourage you to read this.


Here’s the thing about being Inside. Ain’t no one believes that they are.

Ele has never been Outside, but she knows it exists – she just has to prove it.

Her whole world is Inside. Trapped with her books and the Others and Him.
She has never seen a tree or felt the rain but that’s about to change. Ele’s getting out. For good.

Outside by Sarah Ann Juckes.


Oh my days – what can I say about this book? Firstly this was recommended by a member of the CILIP Youth Libraries Group; she gave a very impressive short presentation as to why she thought this book should be nominated for the CILIP Carnegie prize. She described it as one of those books that you could not put down and I was intrigued! I am happy to say it has been nominated, you can see the longlist here.

My colleagues will testify to my reaction to this book as I think I repeatedly said “I don’t know what’s going to happen!” which is unusual for me as I can normally spot where the book is going fairly early on in the proceedings! I think the worst day was when I forgot it at home and had to spend all of lunch fretting over what was going to happen next.

What happens? I hear you cry. Read it and find out. I promise it won’t take long as the suspense is unbearable and you’ll just have to commit to several hours uninterrupted reading time.

Mary’s Monster – Lita Judge

The dark, captivating story of one remarkable young woman. And her monster.51ddp2u4N8L._SX372_BO1,204,203,200_

Creative genius…? Inventor of science fiction…? Pregnant teenage runaway…? Who was the real Mary Shelley?

I adore this book! Mary’s story is the very definition of Gothic Horror and this cleverly illustrated novel really captures the essence of this.

I have always had a burning desire to rewrite Dracula so that he gets the girl (poor guy) and Mary’s story is another that I would dearly love to turn around and throw some light into, but I guess that’s the point!

Alas, poor Mary.

51gv4CGGuPL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_My next offering comes straight from my lovely colleague Emily’s TBR pile:

All the Bad Apples by Moira Fowley-Doyle.

Look how pretty it is!!!

On Deena’s seventeenth birthday, the day she finally comes out to her family, her wild and mysterious sister Mandy is seen leaping from a cliff. The family is heartbroken, but not surprised. The women of the Rys family have always been troubled – ‘bad apples’, their father calls them – and Mandy is the baddest of them all.

The next one is a bit different – I saw this synopsis and it tickled me:

Life has its ups and downs, doesn’t it? And Martha and her friends are really sick 41wzDCA2LRL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_of going up, and down, and up, and down.

After a traumatic event that no one can talk about or even quite remember, they’re stuck on a giant killer jellyfish, tantalisingly close to the shore and safety. They’ve had enough of it. They’ve decided that they’re either going to escape, or die trying.

Jelly by Clare Rees

I love the idea of this, it gives nothing away! It is high on my TBR pile but you still have time to read it before me and tell me whether I will be disappointed or not.

My last Young Adult pick is a hard hitting one – The Earth is Singing by Vanessa Curtis, I 41l4fOn5VQL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_read this last year and it still resonates now.

My name is Hanna. I am 15. I am Latvian. I live with my mother and grandmother. My father is missing, taken by the Russians. I have a boyfriend and I’m training to be a dancer. But none of that is important any more. Because the Nazis have arrived, and I am a Jew. And as far as they are concerned, that is all that matters. This is my story.

I would recommend this book – the subject matter is hard but the storytelling is compelling and I think that adults reading this would get a lot from it as well as younger audiences.

I will leave you with three recommendations for books that I love, love, love, so here goes:


It sounded like a respectable and worthy enough death for an explorer – tumbling from an ice bridge to be impaled upon a mammoth tusk – but Stella really, really didn’t want that to happen, just the same.

Join Stella Starflake Pearl and her three fellow explorers as they trek across the snowy Icelands and come face-to-face with frost fairies, snow queens, outlaw hideouts, unicorns, pygmy dinosaurs and carnivorous cabbages . . .

I know I have mentioned this book before but I really do love it so – The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club by Alex Bell. As far as I am concerned this book encapsulates everything a story should be. The End. Read it, please.

9780330529730When shy, awkward Helen Hamilton sees Lucas Delos for the first time she thinks two things: the first, that he is the most ridiculously beautiful boy she has seen in her life; the second, that she wants to kill him with her bare hands.

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini – give me the Old Gods, myths and legends and I’m as happy as can be! I can remember really enjoying this book, I liked the Urban Fantasy element as well, of course! I know that there is a lot (a lot!) of supernatural/fantasy Teen fiction around these days but way back in 2011 our basket was not so full and books like this were an exciting find!

Finally we have Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr – I make no secret of my enduring love HCP_598558_M_HCP_598558_MOBILE_C_XXLfor all things Fae so this book ticked all the boxes!

The clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in this cool, urban 21st century faery tale.

Rule #3: Don’t stare at invisible faeries.

Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world, and would blind her if they knew of her Sight.

Rule #2: Don’t speak to invisible faeries.

Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don’t ever attract their attention.

That’s it – we’ve reached the end, I hope you have been inspired top give something here a try and to maybe dip your toes into the Reading Challenge.

Happy reading everybody – please feel free to give me Faerie recommendations!