BLOG TOUR: The Pearl in the Ice

Good morning everyone!

Today is a very exciting day as I have to share with you something very wonderful and fun. As you can tell from the title of this blog post, I am hosting a stop on the ‘The Pearl in the Ice’ blog tour. This book, which was released earlier this month from Chicken House, is absolutely wonderful. I am here to share with you an extract… the very first chapter that had me gripped, asking questions and wanting to read on from the get go!

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“Marina’s father, a naval captain, has been away for most of her life – certainly since her mother died – and yet Marina feels the pull of an ocean she’s never known. When sent to boarding school to learn to be a lady, Marina decides instead to stow away on her father’s ship. A perilous voyage awaits – but where are they sailing to and why, and what has it to do with the dark shape in the deep that seemsto be following them?”

Click the link to read the extract!
Pearl in the Ice extract 1

A massive thank you to Nina for asking me to be part of this blog tour and to the publishers Chicken House for sending me a copy of the book! My review will be up in the next few days… one of my children stole the book before I got the chance to finish it!

S x

Me, my shelves and I

Good morning friends!

How are you all on this here Monday? Have you had a restful weekend? Did you get up to anything exciting?

A while ago (and I mean QUITE A WHILE AGO) I posted a blog post all about my book shelves, and since then I’ve had a little reshuffle so I thought I’d share what my bookshelves look like now. I’m really interested in posts like this. I love a ‘what’s in my bag?’ kind of blog post or Youtube video, so if you have one, link me below and I will check it out cause I am a NEBBY NORA.

A disclaimer: These books aren’t ALL of the books I own. There is in fact a whole bookshelf of books at school which belong to me. There’s books in the drawers under my bed which I own. There’s 2 boxes full of books which are still to be read. There’s 2 boxes of books which are picture books I use for school. There’s a big pile of non-fiction that is for school/to be read. These shelves are 2 deep. You can only see the front row of books because they are FAVES.

I promise you… my bedroom is just books. And a bed ha.

First up: my shelf of “favourite” picture books.

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These aren’t all my favourites because there’s some at school, and there’s some in my ‘Picture books for school’ box too. As you can see, they’re roughly split into hardbacks (I do own the other hardback HP books which are out now too) and paperbacks. There’s some candles in the middle from when my friend owned a candle shop, some zippy pouch things filled with samplers from YALCs past (the blue spotty one with the black zip is actually from a bag making workshop I did with Melinda Salisbury – my one true queen).

Next shelf down: my YA faves shelf

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I don’t think anything on this shelf will come as a surprise to anyone. (No I don’t know why my collection goes picture books, YA books and then MG books either). This shelf is pretty much front and centre on my bookshelves, so it has pride of place in my room. As you can see there’s some absolute Steph faves on these shelves. This is where you’ll find my collections of my fave authors. And it’s fair to say that these books are by my utter faves. There’s proofs and finished copies of books where I can have them too (and even some American versions of Sara Barnard books, provided by the lady herself. Sara, I love you!) I really need more room for my YA books because there are so many more books I’d love to ook at everyday, but these ones are my utter faves. The book wrapped in a map is actually a copy of Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury that I was sent for being on her blog tour, but I can’t bring myself to unwrap it! Don’t be fooled by these shelves though… I own multiple copies of every Mel book. In the black drawstrings you can see, there’s my hardback State of Sorrow book that was a Fairyloot exclusive. So yeah. There’s my YA shelf!

Third shelf down: My MG faves!

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Much like my YA shelf, this shelf and the books on it will not come as a surprise to many people! Front and centre is of course my fave Maz of all time. These shelves house some of my favourite kids books that I’ve read in recent years (as well as a few candles from my friend’s now non-existent candle shop). This shelf and my YA shelf really highlight to me the love that I have for fantasy books. Bloody love me some fantasy! And yes, yes, I do own 3 copies of The Explorer by Katherine Rundell (a proof, a hardback and a paperback… sue me!).

And that’s it for today! If you’re interested in seeing what my shelves USED to look like and seeing if they’ve changed recently, go check out THIS POST.

Have you shared your book shelves recently?
What’s your favourite thing about your book shelves?
What’s something you’re surprised to see on my shelves?

Talk to me in the comments! I’d love to know your thoughts and I’d love to see your own shelves, cause I’m a nosy person!

S x

S4S – Books with blue covers

Good afternoon friends and foes alike!

How are you on this chilly Sunday day? I hope it is warmer where you are than it is in Newcastle as it is CHILLY. I say that… in the sun it’s warm enough, but in the shade it is CHILLLLLL.

Anyway, enough of my whinging about the cold. You’re here for this week’s #SixforSunday post and I’m loving seeing what you all are sharing! Share your link in the comments for everyone to go and check out! This week’s theme was:

Books with blue covers

Now as I recently realised, I read a lot of books with blue covers, so I literally could have been here for EVER showing you different ones. I’m going to try and share 6 books that I don’t share often in the hopes of recommending something new to everyone! I’ll also share my Goodreads review too so you can see what I thought of the book!

Storm Witch: Storm’s story is brilliantly told and I am very curious about what’s to come. This is perfect for Y5+! Danger, magic and acceptance are encapsulated in this story, with a dash of the importance of being kind. I loved the sense of community life on the island and Storm’s kind, if not a bit stubborn, nature!

Look Both Ways: Just finished this and it’s a proper delight. Jason Reynolds keeps writing absolute winners. This book tells the same walk home from a wonderful mix of characters and I just adored each of them. The friendship, the love, the sense of community in the book gave me such warm vibes. The stories are the perfect length and I think this would make an absolutely wonderful read aloud to a Y5/6 class!

Frostheart: GUYS. This is exceptional. It’s fun, daring, dangerous and cool. I absolutely loved my journey on Frostheart with Ash and the crew. A proper icy cold ride, with a massive heart. The illustrations throughout add so much too. Absolute smasher!

Amelia Fang: I love Amelia Fang stories and they just keep being wonderful! They’re full of fun and gorgeous illustrations!

All The Things We Never Said: Well this is bloody amazing. It made me cry, made me cross and made me happy. I don’t have words right now for this. The power of friendship, but also the power of negative thoughts is discussed in this book.

The Boy Who Steals Houses: Deary me. Sam – what a pickle you find yourself in. This book is just magnificent. I am a crying mess. This book is hard edges and summers days. It’s light and dark. It’s love and hate. It’s everything I needed. The thing that really makes this book is it’s characters. I just adored every single thing.

And there you have it! My 6 books with blue covers!

Don’t forget to share your link in the comments so me and other people can check out your #SixforSunday post!

See you next week!

S x

Thursday Tag: The Fireworks Book Tag

Hello friends!

I know it’s been Bonfire Night but SHUSH. I’m not a massive Bonfire night fan. Here I am, late as ever, with my take on the Fireworks Book Tag. (I don’t remember where I found this, so please, if it’s your tag, let me know so I can credit you!)

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SCREAMERS
A BOOK THAT MADE YOU WANT TO SCREAM! (IN A GOOD OR BAD WAY)

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This book GENUINELY made me want to scream. Whether it was screaming with laughter or anger, this book is just everything I need. I have definitely screamed about this to plenty of people in the world because I love it SO MUCH. Laura is a PROPER genius and she just writes gorgeously brilliant and hilarious characters who have a purpose. Izzy O’Neill is my babe. 

BOMBERS
A BOOK YOU READ BEFORE IT EXPLODED IN THE BOOK COMMUNITY 

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I felt like a lucky duck when I got to read this because Bethany Rutter is one of my absolute inspirations in life. She’s gorgeous, she’s smart, she’s hilarious and she’s an amazing author. This book is EXCEPTIONAL and it deserves every single bit of praise it has got. I’ve loved seeing everyone just go mad about this book. PLEASE KEEP GOING MAD OVER IT. If you haven’t read it yet, please do!

BANGERS
A BANNED BOOK YOU READ 

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I had to go and research which books have been banned and I was surprised as to some of the books I found on the lists. It doesn’t surprise me that Nineteen Eighty Four is on the list though… we studied it for GCSE and I really loved it. I’d read it again (if I ever started doing that!)

PEONY
A BOOK/AUTHOR YOU THINK EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ

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This series is EVERYTHING. I read them on a whim on my kindle about 2 years ago and I just think EVERYONE should read them. They are not talked about nearly enough for my liking! They’re just wonderful. It’s a trilogy (Paper Magician, Glass Magician and Master Magician) and they’re just a brilliant fantasy series with brilliant characters. Please someone tell me they’ve read them!

CROSSETTE
A BOOK/SERIES WITH A COMPLICATED PLOT 

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(I’m not sure what’s wrong with this picture… soz pals!)

The Scythe trilogy gets a BIT complicated by the time you come to the end of book 2. Book 3 makes it all clear, but there was definitely a bit of me that was CONFUZZLED as to what was going on. Don’t let put you off though… it is an EXCEPTIONAL series. 

DIADEM 
A BOOK/SERIES WITH AMAZING CENTRAL CHARACTERS 

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Now, you’ll need to read Beautiful Broken Things first… but these two books follow the same bunch of characters and I just. I love them ok? They’ve got a very special part of my heart the gals in these books. And Sara also has a very special part of my heart too. If you do not know of Barnard’s writing, then please go and check them out.

(While you’re there… get yourself State of Sorrow and Song of Sorrow because Sorrow and Luvian are the most amazing characters ever… but I didn’t want to be TOO predictable!)

MATCHES
LIGHT YOUR OWN FIREWORKS BY TAGGING FIVE PEOPLE

I’m not gonna tag 5 people because I am a REBEL. But if you feel you’d like to do this (Charlotte), then go for it!

What did you think ofmy answers?
Are you a fireworks fan?

See you all soon!

S x

Half term happy post

Having time to myself. Spending time with my favourite people. In jokes. Knowing that I can switch off and switch back on. Seeing my Welsh pal for the first time in forever. Train travels. Reading. Spending quiet time with people. Naps. Laughing a lot. Excellent food. Breakfast. Lots of breakfast. Lie ins. Hot water bottles. Getting up knowing I’ll see my favourite people. Cuddles. Cakes. Lovely texts. Knowing the people I love are safe. Plenty of cups of tea. Quilliams. Looking after myself. Reading lots of brilliant books. Meeting doggos. Pick and mix. Takeaway YA does half term. Having people around me who I am comfortable being silent with. People trusting my opinion. Doing something productive. Being thanked. Book post. Unwinding. Relaxing. Not thinking about work for a minute. Switching off. Walks along the coast. Being by the sea. The comfort of home. The excitement of travels. Watching my friends together. Listening to conversations. Having a good catch up. Running up to Christmas. Buying Christmas presents. Reading that book you’ve waited months for. Being comfortable around people. Not worrying. Reading. Always reading. 

October in books

Hello friends!

We are a few days into November now, so it’s about time I share with you what I read in October. I had a more productive reading month in October because of half term and reading dates with some of my favourite people! I do enjoy half term and the fact it allows me to read more. It’s always nice to unwind and unwinding with a book is one of the best ways to unwind. 

october in books

I read kids books, YA books and an autobiography this month! Branching out a little (ha!) is always good for me… although it helps when the autobiography I was reading was from one of the people who I think is the loveliest in the world (more on that later!).

Let’s start with MG books…

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I managed to get through 7 MG books last month. I have to say as well, they are all absolute corkers! I enjoyed each and every single one of them for very different reasons. There’s something for everyone in this pile of MG books. I was absolutely delighted to get my hands on the new Jason Reynolds book because I ADORE Ghost and Patina… and this one does not disappoint! Reviews for all of these books coming in the next few weeks!

Now the few YA books I read…

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I was really chuffed to get through 3 YA books. My TBR pile is definitely a lot more MG than YA at the minute! Saying that, anyone who has been following this blog for long enough will know that seeing The Toll on that list of books is INCREDIBLE. I’ve been pestering the delightful humans of Walker about release since I finished book 2 (last year) and when they sent me a copy, I was over the moon. I’m still formulating my thoughts for that book because it is A LOT. The other two books were also brilliant. Again, reviews for these will be coming in the next two weeks.

Now for the autobiography…

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I don’t think this book will come as a surprise to anyone. I am a MASSIVE Queer Eye fan. I was a massive fan of the original series, but this new series just stole my heart. I think JVN is one of the most amazing people on the planet and this book just confirmed this for me. Can completely recommend this book!

And that’s it.

HOW AM I DOING FOR MY BOOK CHALLENGES?

GOODREADS CHALLENGE: 125/52
#52BOOKS CHALLENGE (JUST KIDS BOOKS): 66/52

This was short and sweet, but thanks for stopping by! Talk to me in the comments!

How did you do with your reading in October? 
What were your stand out books from last month?
What are you still dying to read from this year?

S x

S4S – Snowy books

Hello friends

How are you all doing? Welcome to a brand new month here at #SixforSunday where we are taking a new load of prompts! November sees the weather taking a turn for the chilly and therefore our prompts are a little chillier!

Today we are taking on:

Books with snow/ice in the title!

I found this trickier than I should have ha!

I went ALL SNOW. ALL OF THE SNOW ALL OF THE BOOKS. (I hate snow in reality! It’s lush to look at, but if I have to go out and be a human in the snow I am NOT down with that!)

I can’t wait to see if you all struggled with that as much as I did (ha!).

Thank you so much for sticking with me this year! If you have any ideas for prompts for #SixforSunday for 2020 then let me know! I’m going to do some thinking over the next few days and I’ll post the prompts before the end of the month!

You’re all amazing! See you next week for ‘Books with blue covers’ 

S x

S4S – Witch-y books

Hey pals!

How you all doing today? Sorry for my absence of late. It’s been a mad busy week, but now it’s half term so I’m hoping for lots of time to write blog posts!

You’re here today for #SixforSunday and today we are honouring Halloween with the prompt:

Witch-y books

So 6 books featuring witches… let’s see what I can give you!

    Sanctuary by V.V.James (bloody magnificent)
    The Deathless Girls by Kiran Milwood Hargrave (definite witch vibes)
    Song of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury (the witchiest of witches)
    The Burning by Laura Bates (loved the historical witch tale in this)
    The Wicked Deep by Shea Earnshaw (witches all over the shop)
    We are Blood and Thunder by Kesia Lupo (don’t mess with the witches in this!)

And there you have it! Six witch-y tales to fill your Halloween with!

See you next week!

S x

BLOG TOUR: Anna Doherty

Hello friends!

Sorry I’ve been MIA this week. This week has been an insanely busy week at work with observations and learning walks and twilights, so on Sunday I had a day off doing lots of work and blogging and spent it with my gorgeous friend. 

However, you are in for a total treat today because I have a Q&A with the amazing Anna Doherty all about her new book Michelle Obama. This book is all about celebrating Black History Month and is part of the incredible Fantastically Feminist series. When I knew I was going to be lucky enough to host a Q&A with the author, I enlisted the help of my class to ask some questions! I narrowed them down the the 8 below, but there were some brilliant questions I didn’t get to ask! 

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1. What made you want to write about Michelle Obama?
A few things. I think she’s got a very interesting life story, but what drew me to her more was her personality. She’s so passionate and caring, and dedicated to EVERYTHING she does,which is so special, and I think those are amazing qualities to have and to tell children about.
2. Why is it important to you to highlight the amazing work that women have done? 
Women have so often been overlooked in history and skipped over, and while that’s getting a lot better now I think it’s still very important to keep highlighting women. On a personal level, I was a huge tomboy when I was little, because in loads of my books it seemed like the boys did all the fun and cool stuff! So I want the next generation of little Annas to realise that girls are also super cool and can do absolutely anything they put their minds to. But these books are not just for girls – I want to show that no matter who or when or where you are, you can make a difference!
3. If you could ask Michelle one question, what would it be? 
I would ask her, how does she have so much energy and positivity all the time!
4. What other amazing women do you want to write about? 
I would love to write about Katie Sandwina, a super stongwomen and suffragette from 1880s Austria. She could lift a canon above her head!
Also, I would love to write about Mary Queen of Scots, who was Queen of Scotland ages ago in the 1500s. She became Queen when she was just six days old!
5. You’re invited to have a dinner with 3 amazing women from history, who would they be and why? 
Such a hard question!
Coretta Scott King (activist – and Martin Luther King Jr.’s wife) because she was a huge activist for race and gender equality and LGBTQIA+ rights. She seemed to be so passionate, and never gave up what she believed in for a second.  She was a singer too, and she just seemed an amazing person all round!
Ada Lovelace (the first computer programmer) because I’ve been obsessed with her for a long time, and I wrote a book about her, so I feel like I know her really well and we’d get on! She was brilliant because she was determined to learn maths and science in a time when not many girls had an education.
Nellie Bly (an undercover reporter) because she was always going on adventures! She because a journalist when not many women were, and she did undercover operations to expose things that she thought were unfair (like bad working conditions, or horrible hospitals). She travelled around the world all on her own, and she seemed so headstrong and independent, and let nothing stand in her way!
6. Do you have any writing rituals? 
I get very distracted if I’m not at my own desk, I have a little studio in a spare bedroom in my flat. I like to listen to podcasts or music and drink lots of black coffee.
7. What’s the best thing about being an author?
I love every part of it, but the absolute best part is when you see your work printed into a book for the first time. Often you finished writing and illustrating months ago, so there are little things you don’t remember, and it’s like seeing a friend you’ve not met in a long time again!
8. What was the last book you read and loved? 
For children: She Made A Monster (written by Lynn Fulton and illustrated by Felicity Sala). It’s about Mary Shelley who wrote Frankenstein, and I think she’s so fascinating, and it’s a bit dark and creepy in time for Halloween! (So maybe so slightly older children, or adults!)  And the illustrations are beautiful.
For adults: My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite. It’s just brilliant, I couldn’t put it down!
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OUT NOW! This is the absolutely astonishing, fantastically feminist and, best of all, totally true story of one amazingly inspirational global icon! Meet the marvellous Michelle Obama: A+ student, passionate piano player, and a girl who’s not afraid to dream big. Determined to make the world a better place, the grown up Michelle gets to work in helping the community in whatever way she can. But then she meets and falls in love with Barack Obama, who is equally passionate about changing the world and he tells her he wants to become the first African American President of the United States, Michelle knows it’s time to really find her voice…

A review of this book is coming next week… but trust me, it’s absolutely incredible! I am loving all of the amazing non-fiction that is coming out celebrating incredible women and this one sits very proudly on my shelf of non-fiction!

I’ve kicked off the blog tour, but be sure to check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour in the coming days! There is sure to be a whole host of brilliant content and maybe even a review or two so you know I’m not just telling fibs!

Michelle Obama Blog Tour (1)

A massive thank you to the publishers, and to Anna, for allowing me to kick off this blog tour! It’s always an absolute delight!

Who would you write a book about if you could choose any wonderful woman?
What’s your favourite empowering women non-fiction book out there?
What was the last book you read that you want to shout about?

Thanks so much for stopping by! 

S x 

Thursday Tag: Library Loves

Hello friends! How are you all?

Like I excitingly announced last week, I’m one of the cohosts for #LibraryLoves, a month long celebration of libraries big, small and everything in between! Today I’m coming at you with the blog book tag that Jess came up with and tomorrow I am sharing with you all what the library in school looks like (both in my classroom and our ACTUAL library! I can’t wait to show you all!)

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1. When did you first go to the library/get a library card?

I don’t remember when I FIRST went to the library because for me it’s always been a thing in my life. When I was growing up, there was a library maybe a 10 minute walk away from my hosue, so I was always there on a weekend. I was very lucky to grow up so close to the library and that I had a bunch of friends (and a brother) who didn’t mind coming to the library with me. Sadly, I don’t think the building is used as a library anymore!

Fun fact: I had my first kiss in the little playground out the back of that library! It was under the slide. 

2. How often do you use your library?

I use our school library ALL THE TIME. The fact I’m the lady in charge of the library should tell you something! I’m not very good at using the public library in Newcastle that much if I’m honest… however it is an incredible library and I love going to see what they have on offer. I’m particularly a fan of seeing the books they have for sale because there’s sometimes absolute gems for as little as 25p!

3. Have you ever had a late or lost library book?

Oh, yes. A few years ago I came across a book that was from the library I went to as a child so it must have been YEARS overdue (I’m 30 now), but as that library no longer exists, I’m not sure what to do with it. I rang the big library in Newcastle and they told me they had no record of it… so it’s currently just sat on my shelf!

4. What’s your favourite thing about your library?

Gosh, that’s a loaded question. I think one of the best things about a library is that it’s free access to this exceptional collection of different worlds, characters and feelings. You don’t have to pay to go on an adventure with Morrigan Crow, or travel to Tallith, or to learn about the life of a doctor. You’ve got a magical card which allows you to learn all of these wonderful things.

5. Are you a browser or do you plan what you’re taking out?

Definitely more of a browser. However, I’ve definitely borrowed my fair share of books in my life!

6. Name a book you took a chance on from the library.

Ooooh. As a child, I remember being TERRIFIED of Goosebumps (I’m easily scared, shush now) and being told that they weren’t that scary. I got one of the books out and then was OBSESSED. I don’t know what it was about the books but I went through that series QUICKLY once I’d read one.

7. What is best book you read from the library?

All of them? Ha! I genuinely don’t think I could answer that! There’s so many brilliant books I’ve borrowed from the library – particularly our school library – that it would be hard to say one of the best ones.

8. Have you ever taken the same book out multiple times?

I’m not a re-reader, so it’s unlikely. But I imagine childhood me read Matilda many times from the library. That book is ingrained in my memory.

9. Have you read a good book set in a library?

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman is EXCEPTIONAL. Magic, librarians and adventure. PLEASE READ IT.

10. Have you used your library’s ebook and audiobook options?

I didn’t even know this was a thing until about a year ago, but I still haven’t indulged in this service yet! I shall need to get onto it though!

11. Which is the best library you’ve been to?

I haven’t actually visited that many libraries in the world to know which the best one is. I’d love to go to more libraries in the world. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about so many different libraries in the world. I can’t praise Newcastle City Library enough though – it’s a beautiful building and it is JAM PACKED with exceptional books. 

12. What would make you use your local library more?

100%. I’m so guilty of just buying books I want to read because I can them pass them on to friends/our school library, but it’s so important that we keep libraries open that I need to start using our library more.

And that’s it!

If you’d like to join in the library love and do this tag, please feel free! This was a lot of fun!

S x