S4S – favourite partners

Sunday again? HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? 

I’m sure someone keeps stealing my weekends *crying face*

Here we are… in the world of #SixforSunday with a pretty vague prompt today. I’m interested to see how everyone else does their posts! Today’s prompt is:

Favourite partners

I’ve gone with a mixture of romantic partners and partners in crime, best friends. 

  1. Park (Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell)
    I just remember falling in love with him entirely. I think he’s a right sweetheart.
  2. Rhys (A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard)
    Again, another complete winner of a boy. He’s adorable and I was a bit smitten with him.
  3. Jin (Rebel of the Sands trilogy – Alwyn Hamilton)
    GUYS. I LOVE HIM. He is my total fictional crush. I couldn’t do this list without him. He’s handsome, witty, can fight, romantic. I love him.
  4. Katie (The Fandom – Anna Day)
    I could’ve chosen ANY of Violet’s friends, but sweary Katie is BRILLIANT.
  5. Shehzad (Rebel of the Sands trilogy – Alwyn Hamilton)
    I love her. She’s badass. She’s not afraid of anything. She’s just excellent. I wish I was half as brilliant as her.
  6. The Spinster club girls (Holly Bourne)
    These girls are all brilliant. They shout about the important things. They support each other. We should all have friends like them!

I’m a sucker for romance and a sucker for a brilliant friendship. There were so many others who could’ve featured in today’s #SixforSunday post. I could’ve gone on for hours! 

Remember to share your favourite partners (romantic or not) with me using the hashtag #SixforSunday on twitter! I can’t wait to see who you’ve all chosen! 

S x

#FeminismFriday – #SundayYA

Hello!

We come again to another Friday in February, therefore another #FeminismFebruary post. Today, I’m talking about one of my favourite things (started by one of my favourite humans in the world) that twitter has ever introduced me to. Today’s post is dedicated to:

#SundayYA

For those of you who are unaware: #SundayYA happens from 6pm-7pm on a Sunday night and is a chance for bookish folk to talk about books. There’s always a theme, or a featured author. It’s ran and organised brilliantly by one of my best friends in the world, Rachel, (@_sectumsemprah on twitter) who makes the chats inclusive and interesting. So anyway… 

5 reasons why I love #SundayYA

  1. It’s created for me a real community 
    I’ve had the chance to reach so many incredible new bloggers and authors because of #SundayYA. It’s an incredible chance to talk to people I may never speak to at any other time. We are all just bookish folk who are there to talk about a specific book/fangirl over a particular author and it’s brilliant. 
  2. There’s an magnificent community of incredible women
    Now #SundayYA does not exclude the menfolk, in fact there are a few fellas who join in on Sundays, but there are so many incredible women who join in #SundayYA that it always makes me so happy. We’re women, supporting each other. There’s no competition, it’s all supportive – that’s the community #SundayYA has created. The people who join in with #SundayYA are such a varied group of brilliant women – women who teach, who work in publishing, booksellers, students. So many excellent women from so many walks of life. 
  3. The sheer amount of friendships I’ve built because of Sunday chats
    Some of my best friends in the whole world I have because of #SundayYA. I’ve made so many brilliant friendships, with people who I never would’ve met because of #SundayYA and I am so grateful. It’s so lovely when you see the same people popping up every week and there are real friendships, real conversations happening. Lots of conversations happen outside of #SundayYA too!
  4. The amount of authors and books I’ve been introduced to…
    OK so this one isn’t great for my bank balance BUT it is GREAT for my life. The sheer amount of recommendations I leave EVERY Sunday with is ridiculous. The incredible authors I have been introduced to because of chats with them, or chats where people have recommended them, is incredible. It’s a community of people reading and recommending books to each other. There’s always someone who can recommend a similar author, or a complementary book. We’re like a community of booksellers, who just read. 
  5. Rachel. The lady herself.
    So Rachel, #SundayYA‘s creator, is one of the most amazing people I know. She’s funny, generous, brilliant and one of the best people in my life. She loves #SundayYA and her dedication to it makes me so happy. I could talk about how much I love her for hours, and am happy to if someone wants to listen. If you’re not already following her, you should be. She’s smart, funny and creative. 

Now for a special feature… I asked some of my fellow #SundayYA ladies to help me with this post and here’s why they love #SundayYA:

Kelly, @kellysrambles
“To me, #SundayYA means friendship. It means discovering like minded souls and bookish best friends. It has helped me to carve my own little corner in the UKYA bookish community in Twitter where I am lucky to be surrounded by some of the most amazing people. Little did I know when I first took part in a #SundayYA readathon that I would end up with 5 of the best friends a girl could wish for and I am so grateful to Rachel for making that happen. Whether it’s bookish fangirling or life advice, #SundayYA has give me more than I ever thought it would: true friendship.” 

Cora, @Corazzz
#SundayYA is more than just a chat to me. It’s a safe little corner in the community where I know everyone is kind and considerate. Rachel does the most amazing job and puts so much work into each chat. So much thought goes into each theme, each question asked to authors or the community. I love being a part of something, somewhere my voice can be heard and I can speak to people with the same passion, make new friends, be a part of something. Taking part brings me joy and makes me genuinely happy, it’s part of my self care routine, #SundayYA and a cup of tea.”

Rosie, @rosiefreckle
“I love #SundayYA because it feels like me and all my bookish buddies are all meeting in a coffee shop and chatting books. It made me feel more involved in the community and it makes Sunday evenings infinitely better.”

Aoife, @PrettyPPD
“I spend the whole week looking forward to #SundayYA. Not only has it intorduced me to some amazing books I’d never have picked up otherwise, the people who always turn up too are so warm and friendly. It’s my favourite book community.”

Jess, @JessikahHope
“#SundayYA is full of wonderful, friendly people who make you feel less alone when you’re completely fangirling over your new favourite book!”

Amy, @YAundermyskin
“I love #SundayYA because it’s a welcoming community of people who love books as much as I do.”

Donna, @donnamk79
“I love #SundayYA because it lets me chat about books I love with other members of the community – and it really does make us a community.”

S xx

BOOK BLOG: Stewart Foster

All The Things That Could Go Wrong: a gripping and emotive story of struggle and ultimately acceptance

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Dan is angry. Nothing has been the same since his big brother left, and he’s taking it out on the nearest and weakest target: Alex.
Alex is struggling. His severe OCD makes it hard for him to leave the house, especially when Dan and his gang are waiting for him at school…
When the two boys’ mums arrange for them to meet out of school and finish building the raft that Dan started with his brother, it seems like the end of the world. But could it be the start of an unlikely friendship?”

I’d seen this floating around on Twitter from my teacher pals, and was curious about it so the lovely publishers kindly sent me a review copy. 

I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I knew it was going to be good. I knew it would make an impression on me, but I was not expecting it to have SUCH a big impression on me. This book is important. This book should be in EVERY classroom. For kids in KS2, upwards, this is a MUST have. 

There’s something very gripping about this book. The character perspectives are my favourite things. You learn so much about both boys throughout the book from their chapters. The book is split into dual perspectives – you get a chapter from Dan and then a chapter from Alex. Their stories are very different but they’re both looking for the same things – acceptance, happiness, friendship.
Dan: the bully, dealing with an upheaval in his home life, acting out at school.
Alex: the bullied, lacking in friends, suffering from OCD, struggling to tell anyone about the bullying, dealing with his parents’ views of his OCD.
I found Dan REALLY hard to like in the beginning – his actions made him unlikeable for me. I couldn’t get round to this idea of liking the school bully. Him and his cronies just made me cross. However, as the book goes on, there’s glimmers of him (the real him) coming out and that’s when I realised that there’s more to Dan than meets the eye. I liked Alex from the beginning. I think that’s what’s expected. I think you’re meant to like him and feel a bit of empathy for him. That doesn’t mean that his character doesn’t go through an incredible arc because he does. There’s moments where he forgets all of his concerns because there’s more important things – those moments of growth were incredible. 

The message this book delivers is SO important. It delivers an incredibly powerful message of friendship; the perils of being a bully; acceptance of people for who they are; showing compassion; being the person you’re meant to be, not the person your “friends” want you to be. (Side note: I hate calling books important, I think all books are important because they all tell a story and give a perspective)

Stories are necessary. Stories teach children about all sorts. This is a book I will be completely and utterly using to discuss empathy, compassion and doing what’s right. Children need to be given the language of empathy. Children need to hear stories of all kinds of people. This one is special. I am so glad I came across it. 

I genuinely can not praise this book enough. I will for sure be keeping an eye on Stewart Foster books. I think he’s brilliant. 

Have you read All The Things That Could Go Wrong?
Do you have a favourite story to use when discussing empathy?

Once again a massive thank you to the publisher for sending me this book. It is an incredible book. 

S x

February bujo!

Welcome to February.
I realise we are now 14 days in so I’m 2 weeks too late to say that, but never mind! Here goes…

I have a post coming up to show you January’s final bullet journal as I actually managed to journal for the entire month and I’m pretty chuffed with the finished result! Thank you so much for the lovely comments about my bullet journal, you’re all brilliant humans.

img_1426February’s title page makes me happy – my stars aren’t great, nor is the lettering BUT it’s pretty colours and that’s always happy news!

Next up we have a February dates list – a new page for me. I’m not sure if it’s handy at all or whether I’m just not interesting enough to have plans ha! There’s a few more things on now since I took the pictures but still I’m not sure if it requires a whole page. We’ll see. The other page is my trusty book post page. This is very handy for keeping track of my book post and reminds me to email publishers to say thanks! Some months there’s more post than page and that’s exceptionally lovely of them!

Since it’s February, yes I went for a very LITERAL monthly mood tracker. Sue me. I like my little hearts: they’re cute. I’m definitely managing to sort out the moods that I feel the most often, so my colours are becoming staple. (I’ve decided to take out lazy and swap it for demotivated… because that’s a kinder word) The other side is my grateful page (28 is a HORRIBLE number to have to split 180 by FYI, remind me of this next February if I decide to do this!) I’ve not thought of a quote for February’s page, so if you’ve got one I could put in the middle then please holler! 

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The final pages are my weekly pages. Here is an example of my first week’s page. Daily tracking of lessons I’m teaching, a to do list, my trusty weekly tracker, steps and sleep (which only work when my Fitbit is working!) and then a box for notes/rants/ideas/worries etc. I think this weekly layout is becoming somewhat of a staple for me. I’m quite into it. I generally do this on a Sunday night and fill in what I know for the week ahead! 

And there we go! Come back next week to find out how I got on with January’s bullet journal! 

What staple pages do you have?
What do you have that I’m missing?
What’s your favourite thing to include in your bujo?

Let’s talk! I love talking bullet journals. Don’t forget to check out my brillint Kelly’s posts – Kelly’s most recent bujo post.

S x

BOOK BLOG: Alwyn Hamilton

Hero at the Fall: a fitting end to a trilogy I adored

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“When gunslinging Amani Al’Hiza escaped her dead-end town, she never imagined she’d join a revolution, let alone lead one. But after the bloodthirsty Sultan of Miraji imprisoned the Rebel Prince Ahmed in the mythical city of Eremot, she doesn’t have a choice. Armed with only her revolver, her wits, and her untameable Demdji powers, Amani must rally her skeleton crew of rebels for a rescue mission through the unforgiving desert to a place that, according to maps, doesn’t exist. As she watches those she loves most lay their lives on the line against ghouls and enemy soldiers, Amani questions whether she can be the leader they need or if she is leading them all to their deaths.”

Hello, my name is Steph and I ABSOLUTELY adore the Rebel of the Sands trilogy. If you are unware of this trilogy, it follows the incredible Amani (a gunslinging, sandcontroller) who ends up part of an excellent army of rebels trying to overthrow the cruel Sultan. Over book 1 and 2, Amani ends up part of the incredible band of merry men (she’s like a modern day female, brilliant Robin Hood) and they’re just MAGNIFICENT. I’d totally recomment you read this trilogy – there’s sand, magic, brilliant friendships and peril. SO MUCH PERIL. (See my reviews: Rebel of the Sands review and Traitor to the Throne review)

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Anyway, I’m here to talk you through my sheer joy and UTTER SADNESS that this trilogy is over. That’s how I feel: it’s a bittersweet time of my life. I have ADORED this trilogy and reading Hero just proved to me why this series is special. The storytelling, the characters, to magic, the mythical elements, Jin (be still my heart), the progression of the characters, the closure. It’s just wonderful. Alwyn is an incredible author and I’m excited to see what’s coming next!

One of the things that hit the hardest about this book was the sense of family and belonging that Amani gets throughout. The gang get back together and you see her in her element with all the people around her she loves. The characters, both new and old, blew me away at times. Their actions speak volumes. The new characters add a whole new level of brilliance for me. These books wouldn’t be as massive a hit for me if it weren’t for such an excellent bunch of characters. They balance each other out. They complement each other. There’s moments throughout of reminding me why I fell in love with them all individually, but collectively too. They fight for each other; the fight WITH each other but they stick together and fight for the same brilliant cause. 

Another of the things that’s been prevalent throughout the whole series is the myths and fairytales beautifully woven into the plot. I am a MASSIVE fan of this. I think it adds intrigue and interest to books, it gives them a history that you couldn’t have without them. Hero features, among others, 2 massive new myths which both are incredible. There’s a remarkable parallel between what the characters are going through now and what the story tells of. Amani and Jin have their own moment of life imitating art which absolutely BROKE MY HEART and put it back together again. (More on Jin later).

As I read through, there was an absolute need to read more and know how things were going to end. I wanted to see where these characters were going to end up, how their stories ended… and I was SO satisfied with the ending. The arcs and progressions of these characters is something I adore. Amani herself goes on quite an important journey of accepting herself, accepting her varying position in the group, and her battle with some tricky decisions was a brilliant plot line to watch unfold. 

You get the chance to revisit locations from book 1 and 2 in Hero and it made my heart so happy. Revisiting Dustwalk and the location of the camp in particular gave me flashbacks, reminding me of books 1 and 2. It was gorgeous to have those nods to the past 2 books, whilst still bringing in brand new locations, characters and plot. There’s a satisfying amount of loose ends tied up by the end of Hero, which for me makes me happy. There’s nothing worse than knowing a trilogy is ending and having a whole load of unanswered questions. 

Jin. Oh Jin. *heart eyes* I love him. I think all of my reviews of this trilogy have had their own Jin paragraphs. I’d like my own Jin. He’s such a brilliant human. I adore him. I adore his and Amani’s relationship. They’re just lovely. They balance each other out so much. He’s smooth and mellow, a total opposite to Amani, who can be like a tight knot at times. I’m glad they got the ending they did. They deserve it. I am all for a happy ending (it’s not without its rollercoaster though).

I need to take a moment here to mention my sheer appreciation for the cover (and the covers of the trilogy). They are EXCEPTIONAL and look brilliant together. I am a sucker for some gold.

Where does Hero stand on the crying front? (I know you all know I’m a crier) I CRIED SO MUCH. I reckon I cried for the last 100 pages or so. SO MANY TEARS WERE SHED. It’s SO SO SO WORTH IT THOUGH. There’s scenes that deserve the tears; some were heartbroken tears; some were disbelief tears; some of the tears were sadness at saying goodbye. 

So if you hadn’t guessed from this review… I really quite LOVED Hero at the Fall and would ABSOLUTELY recommend the whole trilogy. Please go out and buy them, if you haven’t already. SO WORTH IT.

Have you read Hero at the Fall?
Do you think you’d be as badass as Amani?
DO YOU LOVE JIN TOO OMG?

Talk to me about this book, this trilogy, Jin, magic, WHATEVER. Just talk to me. This book, this trilogy, these characters are EXCELLENT and deserve all of the praise they get. Just read them!

S x

BLOG TOUR: Eye of the North

Hello!

Welcome to my stop on The Eye of the North blog tour!

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“When Emmeline’s scientist parents mysteriously disappear, she finds herself heading for a safe house, where allies have pledged to protect her. But along the way, she is kidnapped by the villainous Doctor Siegfried Bauer, who is bound for the ice fields of Greenland. There he hopes to summon a mystical creature from the depths of the ancient glaciers, a creature said to be so powerful that whoever controls it can control the world. 

Unfortunately, Bauer isn’t the only one determined to unleash the creature. The North Witch has laid claim to the mythical beast, too, and Emmeline along with a scrappy stowaway named Thing may be the only one with the power to save the world as we know it. Can Emmeline face one of the greatest legends of all time and live to tell the tale?”

The Eye of the North is an incredible adventure-filled tale of Emmeline and her friend Thing, who have to go and save Emmeline’s parents. There’s baddiesgoodies, boat rides, Paris, peril, capture, mysterious creatures, power hungry doctors and incredibly fun characters. This book is one of those that my kids love – the proof hasn’t stayed on the shelf in school for long! 

Today, the amazing humans at Stripes have given one lucky person the chance to win a copy! WOOHOO.  

For a chance to win, make sure you’re following me on twitter and RT the tweet this blog post is mentioned in! Go give @SJOHart and @StripesBooks a follow too – they’re brilliant! The giveaway closes on February 23rd, winner will be contacted on February 24th

Good luck!

Keep an eye out for my full review of Eye of the North coming in the next week or so! While you wait, go check out the rest of the amazing blogs on the blog tour! 

S xx

S4S – Favourite fictional animals

Hello, it’s Sunday again!

Another Sunday means another #SixforSunday. 

I’d like to take a little minute to thank everyone for joining in with my little #SixforSunday meme! If you’ve joined in forever, once or twice, or are thinking about joining in, I am super thankful. You’re all brilliant!

Today’s prompt is:

Favourite ficitonal animals

I thought this would be easier than it actually was, but I managed 6 eventually!

  1. Aslan (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe)
    I couldn’t NOT include Aslan.
  2. Mr Fox (Fantastic Mr. Fox)
  3. Charlotte (Charlotte’s Web)
  4. Robin Hood (let’s go with Disney’s Robin Hood)
  5. The Gruffalo (he’s technically an animal, right?)
  6. Coco (Sky Chasers)

There we go! 6 literary animals that I adore. I have a particular soft spot for Disney’s Robin Hood and Aslan. 

Share your #SixforSunday with me! Link me to your blog! I’m loving all of the #SixforSunday posts! 

S x

#FeminismFriday – Sara Barnard

Last week, I introduced you all to #FeminismFriday, a feature I’m doing for February. Where I celebrate an awesome woman, or women, in my life (either directly or indirectly). Last week was Melinda Salisbury, my queen, and this week I’m featuring yet another incredible UK YA author, the leader of #teamBarnard: Sara Barnard.

For those who do not know Sara’s books… YOU PROBABLY SHOULD. 

So here we go,

5 reasons I love Sara Barnard

  1. She’s not afraid to write about “tough” topics
    Beautiful Broken Things deals with abuse; A Quiet Kind of Thunder deals with deafness/selective mutism; Goodbye, Perfect deals with taboo relationships (student/teacher). I love that Sara doesn’t shy away from these topics and she writes them incredible well. 
  2. Her ability to write BRILLIANT female friendships
    Beautiful Broken Things features female friendships very heavily, as does Goodbye, Perfect. They’re done so exceptionally well – you’ve either been in that situation before or have known someone in that situation before – and they always have very REAL feelings with them. There’s no hiding the bad, but there’s also a very strong connection between her young women. I love them all. So much. Goodbye, Perfect hurt a lot because the reaction, for me, was absolutely perfect, yet heartbreaking.
  3. She has a beautiful cat
    The gorgeous cat features on her twitter and instagram often… you should probably check them both out.
  4. She’s a brilliant human
    She’s one of those just excellent humans. She always has time for my ridiculous questions (and I have a lot) and will answer them all. She’s so lovely in person, when I met her and fangirled pretty hard and she didn’t make me feel stupid.
  5. She tweets EXCELLENT things
    I lover her twitter. Writing Sara is always asking questions to make her books more realistic. She interacts brilliantly with everyone too. Fans, fellow authors, everyone. She retweets some pretty interesting articles too!

Again, I could go on for hours, her quizzing skills are pretty impressive too. She showed them off at #QuizYA last year! 

I’d love to know which women you’re celebrating for #FeminismFriday! Share them on twitter, or in the comments!

S x

BOOK BLOG: Goodbye, Perfect

Goodbye, Perfect: hello brilliance

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“Eden McKinley knows she can’t count on much in this world, but she can depend on Bonnie, her solid, steady, straight-A best friend. So it’s a bit of a surprise when Bonnie runs away with a guy Eden knows nothing about five days before the start of their GCSEs. And it’s the last person she would have expected. Sworn to secrecy and bound by loyalty, only Eden knows Bonnie’s location, and that’s the way it has to stay. There’s no way she’s betraying her best friend. Not even when she’s faced with police questioning, suspicious parents and her own growing doubts. As the days pass and things begin to unravel, Eden is forced to question everything she thought she knew about the world, her best friend and herself.”

Hello, my name is Steph and I think Sara Barnard is one of the most incredible authors ever. Her books are just WONDERFUL and Goodbye Perfect is absolutely NO EXCEPTION. I was lucky enough to receive a proof a few months ago and I am STILL thinking about it now. It is STILL in my head. Eden, her crew, her story, her choices, her sheer brilliant, are all still in my head. That’s HOW GOOD this book is. If you like SHEER BRILLIANT stories then please check it out. 
My initial review of this book is just: OH MAN. I LOVE IT. But I think you guys probably want a bit more than that, ha! 
So, Goodbye Perfect tells the story of Eden and her best friend Bonnie. Best friends. Have been best friends forever. Spend all of their time together. Total opposites, but it works for them. Eden is “all edges” (a quote from the book which I absolutely adore), Bonnie is her “perfect” best friend – she never does wrong, works hard in school, everyone likes her. Eden loves her best friend. They are the qunitessential best friends. They do everything together. When Bonnie starts in a new relationship without telling Eden, things start to spiral out of control. Bonnie’s new boyfriend, unbeknownst to anyone is their music teacher, Mr Cohn. This blows Eden’s socks off. Bonnie ends up running away with Mr Cohn saying they’re going to be together forever. For everyone in her life this is a toal shock, it’s totally out of character. Eden goes on an incredible journey to try to rescue her best friend, to get her best friend back.  
One of the things that stands out and hits me in the gut every single time I think about this book is that ending. I won’t spoil it for you, but the ending is incredible. It’s so real. It’s so raw. I definitely cried, quite a lot. When I read it, I emailed Sara and sent her an incredibly long email saying “Yes. That was totally the right call“. Just now thinking about the ending, the story, the progression, the changes, it’s making me a bit emotional.
Eden has this incredible support network around her that she doesn’t even realise she has because Bonnie is her life and she sees Bonnie as her all. Once Bonnie is gone, Eden crumbles a little (only natural, we all have that best friend!) She’s got an incredible boyfriend, Connor, who I absolutely adore. Her big sister, Violet, is a brilliant big sister. Eden falls into a hole and feels initially like there’s no one to support her, but she’s picked up and pulled out of the hole when she needs it most.
One of the things I always love about Sara’s books is the use of an interesting layout. She always includes texts and interesting layout features in her books. Goodbye Perfect features texts and bullet points/newspaper articles. I love it when books have quirks like that. It makes them so much more readable. Text messages are my favourite, they can convey so much about a character in their texts. Sara is the queen of that – Queen of Text Messages with Friends in Books. The newspaper articles included in the book add another level of interest into the book – they give a scandalised version of the story. They are probably a pretty accurate interpretation of our media too… sometimes, while reading, they made me infuriated, but let’s be honest, in real life people read them. People believe them. Seeing the story for real and the story in the paper, sensationalised version vs real version was an interesting spin on things. It certainly gave me a lot to think about.
I adored it. It is definitely one of those books I will reread. I love that it touches on quite a taboo subject, but it’s handled with care. It’s not overly scandalised. I just can’t praise this book enough. It’s just brilliant. Sara Barnard keeps knocking out absolute winners. If you’ve read A Quiet Kind of Thunder or Beautiful Broken Things and loved them then Goodbye Perfect is just as brilliant. if not my fave of the three. 
My Goodreads review encapsulates this whole book so well:
“This book is perfect.
There’s a tough and “all edges” MC, her “perfect” best friend, her increidble family, a gorgeous boyfriend and a lot of trouble.
I love everything Sara Barnard writes and this is no exception. Possibly my favourite thing, I just adored it.”

Have you read Goodbye Perfect?
What would you do if your best friend ran away with a teacher?
Could you stand by and let it happen, or would you intervene?
Talk to me on twitter, or in the comments. I have a lot of passion for this book. I need to talk about it. I also need everyone to buy it. So please do. 
S x

BLOG TOUR: The Belles

The Belles: beautiful, haunting and magical

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“I AM A BELLE. I CONTROL BEAUTY.

In the opulent world of Orléans, the people are born grey and damned, and only a Belle’s powers can make them beautiful. Camellia Beauregard wants to be the favourite Belle – the one chosen by the queen to tend to the royal family. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favourite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that her powers may be far greater – and far darker – than she ever imagined. When the queen asks Camellia to break the rules she lives by to save the ailing princess, she faces an impossible decision: protect herself and the way of the Belles, or risk her own life, and change the world forever.”

When I initially heard of the Belles, it was a bunch of my trusted Twitter folk who were RANTING and RAVING about this book, saying it was absolutely incredible. I was very lucky then to be invited to get a review copy from the publishers and then invited on the blog tour… so I knew I would be a fool to say no. And man, I absolutely loved it. 

There’s an incredible duality in this book in the beginning of beautythe rich, lavish life of the rich versus the impoverish, dull world of the poor. The initial few scenes really struck a chord with me. The Belles changing a poor person into a beautiful person to show off their talentsimagine seeing that unfold infront of you. Imagine having the power to do that. I don’t think I would cope. Not with the competition, not with the expectation, not with the burden. I’d love the magic, but not with the expectation and competition that comes with it. 

Throughout the book there’s old belief systems and traditions which run through, which imprint on you so you are part of the world – whether you agree with them or not is matterless. Then BAM, there is all of a sudden this explosion on the beliefs with a whole chunk of deception and lies. A web of well wound deception. Mix this with an incredible power battle and you have an incredible story which you will most definitely want to be part of and you’ll want to read on. I look forward to what comes next, a lot. 

There’s 2 main themes running through this book: beauty and belonging. What is beauty? What does it mean to be beauty? Does it matter? Should we be able to control or change it? Who should you trust? Do you truly trust the people you’re around? Do they trust you? 

The further you read into this book the more you will be gripped. This book has the makings of an incredible booksecrets, lies, power, love – these all make for a gripping and thrilling book. You won’t be disappointed

Thank you so much for reading my post! Check out the others on the blog tour, there’s some brilliant reviews up so far! Check out The Belles!

The Bells Blog Tour Banner

S x