Naughty Or Nice Tag


Coal for ‘naughty’, Candy-cane for ‘nice’. Simples? I was tagged by Liam at Bookworm Hole. He’s sent me a list of bookish things, and I have to tell you whether I’ve been naughty or nice. 


Received an advanced review copy and not reviewed it – 

bituminous_coalNAUGHTY. The first time I did this, the book touched on a subject I was unhappy to read about. There are good reasons people don’t finish books. I review most books I’m sent. It is difficult to know what to do when we just plain don’t get on with a book. Most bloggers start out as reviewers – people who want to talk about the books they have read with other bookish people. What is not apparent from the outside is the degree to which some people look for us to be promoters. Book reviews can and do affect a book’s sales, and authors are very real people who see negative reviews. When I don’t get on with a book, I feel the conflict between those two identities. Not reviewing is one solution which can suit all parties. 


Have less than 60% feedback rating on Netgalley –

candy-cane-classic_thumbnailNICE … I think. My suggested feedback averages around 80%. The trouble is when we get click-happy and are accepted for five at once. I have some to work through at the moment, but also have a large physical TBR pile. It might be worth a bit of time on Netgalley, before the damage is irreversible. 



candy-cane-classic_thumbnailRated a book on Goodreads, promised a full-review on your blog, then failed to keep your promise – 

NICE … Never promise. Never, ever promise. Failing to keep my Goodreads updated would be a fat lump of coal, but nobody asked me that. I find Goodreads time-consuming for what comes back from it. I believe it used to be about online book groups, but now it seems to be more about sales. Twitter has a nicer balance. 


candy-cane-classic_thumbnailFolded down the page of a book, spilled liquid on a book or otherwise blemished, blighted or marred a book –

The adjectives say it all. I should become a librarian. NICE.



Failed to finish a book –

Well, if they award lumps of coal for that, they deserve to have coal rammed down their throats. **QUESTION VOID**


bituminous_coalBought a book purely because it was pretty with no intention of reading it –

Intention? I probably intended to read it … but we’ll call that NAUGHTY. Strange the Dreamer and A Place Called Perfect come to mind. Their covers are striking. They were all over my Twitter feed and I *needed* them. Did I make any serious effort towards reading them. Nadda. Other books came along. 


bituminous_coalRead when you were meant to be doing something else – 

NAUGHTY. My hair is a constant mess and my handbag is always disorganised. It’s a choice between getting ready or the next chapter. There is no contest.


candy-cane-classic_thumbnailBorrowed a book and not returned it –

NICE. I have done this in the past, but it came about because the person in question failed to realise I hadn’t clicked with the book. Keep hold of it, keep hold of it … you know what happens. You can’t say no, you can’t read it. It sifts down the book pile and festers at the bottom.


bituminous_coalBroke a book buying ban –

NAUGHTY. I succeeded second time around, and went beyond my four week stipulation. The fact I stocked up ahead possibly helped. 



Started a review, left it for ages then forgotten what the book was about – 

The elf-jury would be split on this one. There have been times when I could have done a better job if I’d written it within 24 hours, but I’ve never failed to review as a result.


candy-cane-classic_thumbnailWrote in a book you were reading – NICE. 2017 is the year I discovered stationery, or more specifically the year I got addicted to Paperchase. There is no need to write in books when you have a draw full of notebooks. I did annotate books as a student. It might be cute to read my Undergrad. copy of Wuthering Heights to see what I wrote in the margins. 


Finished a book and not added it to your Goodreads –

We spoke about this earlier … and I thought I’d got away with it. NAUGHTY. 


The Final Count – 

One question drawn, and one discounted. These aside the final count is:

candy-cane-classic_thumbnail candy-cane-classic_thumbnailcandy-cane-classic_thumbnailcandy-cane-classic_thumbnailcandy-cane-classic_thumbnailbituminous_coalbituminous_coalbituminous_coalbituminous_coal


A close call, but the survey says I’m nice enough. Does that mean I get a Book Token in my stocking? It’s a bit late in the season to tag anyone, but if you answer please let me know and I’ll leave a comment.




The Ice Lolly Book Tag


Mid-July means walking past the freezer isle, drooling over boxes of ice-lollies. As a kid, I had great ambitions to try every type of ice-lolly under the sun during those six-week summer breaks which lasted a life time. These days, I’m hyper-aware of the calorie count. 

What better way to eat every type of ice-lolly than to match them to books? This is how the conversation between myself, Amy and Charlotte began. ‘Mini Milks – Short and Sweet’, said Amy. An hour of Twtitter-Chat-Gold later, and our tag was born. 

I hope you enjoy. If you are tagged, please tag FOUR other people and credit Amy, Charlotte and Louise. I guarantee you will be craving a Nobbly Bobbly or a Mini-Milk by the time your answers are written. Thanks to Charlotte for the cute pictures, and Amy for the Banner. 

  • Some of the questions are straightforward. Others – such as ‘Calippo’ – are open to interpretation. 






Mini Milk: Short and Sweet?

The Aarhus 39 stories. 39 short stories by some of the strongest emerging children’s writers in Europe. What’s not to love? I’ve read all the stories, and know I will be rereading them for the rest of my life. Read my review of YA collection Odyssey here.

Magnum: Best Classic?

Best is difficult. Staying with children’s fiction, Alan Garner’s works are great modern classics. I’m a huge fan of Red Shift. If you liked Midwinderblood by Marcus Sedgwick, you’ll love Red Shift.

Cornetto: Book with a surprise ending?

A Girl Called Owl by Amy Wilson. The best sort of surprise endings hang over your head throughout the novel. As well as the ending, there is a surprise which made me catch me breath. It had been there all along.

Rocket Ice Lolly: a book which looks more exciting from the Outside?

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Script. I don’t care if it’s Harry. I don’t care how many awards the stage production won. Voldemort was nothing more than a pantomime villain, and the plot was so dull I barely remember it. Compared to Fantastic Beasts, which is one of the best stories I’ve heard in the past year … This wins the Rocket Lolly because ‘Harry Potter’ made me expect more.

Ben and Jerry’s – Most Versatile Author 

Geraldine McCaughrean. From haunted seaside music halls to the early days of the American railroad, to Noah’s Ark, McCaughrean can take any setting and tell a great story. I have her latest novel form the library. Whether the library will get it back is a moot point.

FAB – Weak Ending

Heartless by Merissa Meyer. Why set up that fascinating story about Chess if the reader was never going to see it? There was potential for a seven-story series. Instead, it was cut off with something which amounted to ‘you didn’t see that coming’. Did I say earlier this was the strongest type of surprise? It can be done badly, it can be done well. Done well, it doesn’t sweep away the plot as it stands.

Calippo – Reader has to Work to Get the Good Stuff Out

I’m interpreting this as a story made stronger by textual analysis. My answer is Kit’s Wilderness by David Almond. A strong adventure, when you think about the structure, you realise the story is a metaphor for storytelling. A story which is already strong becomes 100 times more interesting. I get something new out of Almond’s stories on every reread. 

Rainbow Lollies – Favourite LGBQTA fiction

Barefoot on the Wind by Zoe Marriott. It is not openly stated that the relationship in Barefoot on the Wind is Ace, but it is possible to interpret it this way. Marriott is openly Ace, and some of her other novels are about Ace characters. I love that the relationship isn’t LABELLED – an asexual relationship is equally valid as any other, and Marriott’s fiction shows people that Asexuality isn’t something lesser or non-valid. It is a relationship like any other.

Nobbly Bobbly – Gritty Subject, Sweet Message

The Bombs that Brought Us Together by Brian Conaghan. Charlie Law wants a space to escape the bombs and the tyranny. The Big Man is willing to provide that space, at a cost. The Big Man says it is time for Charlie to decide between ‘them’ and ‘us’. A look at war, and political tyranny, the ultimately uplifting message is to look at the things we have in common, not the things which make us different.

Boss Strawberry Double – Book by an International Author (nb. Country other than your own.)

Piglettes by Clementine Beauvais. A super-uplifting summer read about overcoming the slurs people throw at us, and finding what out what is important to ourselves. Check back for my review on Thursday.

Magnum Ice Cream Tubs – Weird but Good

The Head of the Saint by Socoroo Acioli. A kid hides in the head of a fallen statue, and answers the prayers of a town. Should it work? It does. It so does. Would take a reread to do it justice, but I remember raving about it.

Cruchie Blast – Great Spin-off/Retelling

Barefoot on the Wind by Zoe Marriot. Again? Yep, but Marriot deserves Crunchie Blast Crown. Instead of lanching into sugary tributes to someone else’s vision, she thinks about the story she is retelling, then plots something new. Her Japanese-style fantasy world was perfect for Barefoot on the Wind, with its whispering trees and daemon women. Marriot is writing a Little Mermaid spin-off. I can’t wait for her take on the story.

Solero – Light and Fluffy

One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton. Yup, it deals with grief, but it also has great mother/sibling relationships, a handsome boy on a motorbike and a fashionable girl in the sunshine. It proved that light, summery reads can have substance.

Choc-ice – Book you don’t want to admit you love

Hairy McClairy. Actually, I’ll shout it to the world, but I was once in a situation where a group of not-very-pleasant people said how rubbish the Hairy McClairy books are. Rubbish? The plot isn’t elaborate, but listen to those words. ‘Bottomley Potts all covered in Spots.’ If I’d asked you to write the start of that sentence, you would have said Fred Smith, or Dot Trot. Not got the same ring to it, has it? The best picture books look deceptively simple.

Fruit Lolly – Left on Shelf

I ran out to get Strange the Dreamer. When I started blogging, everybody had beautiful photographs of this blue book on their Twitter feed. Six months on, it is still pristine. As in untouched.

Mint Choc Chip – Love it or Hate it

Wonder. Either reading about a kid with a facial disfigurement reaffirmed your live and broadened your horizons, or you hate that Auggie’s character development is all about his disability. Love it or hate it. It’s mint choc chip.


I tag: Sarah, Donna, Bex and Kelly. With strawberry sauce and a flake on top. Take our little tag out into the world, guys!