YALC highlights

Hello!

How are we all today?

So, a little over a month ago, I went to YALC and had the best time. Today I’m going to share some of my highlights from the weekend and then in the coming week I’m going to share my YALC haul, including books I bought, books I got, samplers and all the bookish swag! These highlights aren’t in any real order!

Seeing Jason Momoa
It seems that every year there is a celebrity who wanders through – last year it was Benedict Cumberbatch, this year Jason Momoa. At first, YALC was mania because he had appeared, but by Sunday it was like “oh hey, there’s our pal Jason”. Now that man is ATTRACTIVE. His arms are incredible.

Kaz Brekker
Massive massive shout out here to my gorgeous friend Layla, who cosplayed as Kaz Brekker (from Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom). The cosplay was absolutely amazing. She’d been telling me for months that she was going to cosplay, but seeing it for real was something else. Massive heart eyes from me.

Quiz time – Floored Quiz and Big YALC Quiz
I bloody love a quiz, so when I saw that there was a quiz on the schedule for YALC I was over the moon. I have some very amazing friends who also managed to get me a ticket for the Floored quiz which was happening on the Friday night. The Floored quiz wqas amazing. Last year, I was on the winning team (#teamBarnard for life) but this year, my team decided we’d let someone else win, so we can in a respectable last! It was brilliant fun, with lots of different rounds (some which had questions I did not know the answers to!), including a music round and a picture round. (I love a quiz).

Then on the Saturday night it was time for the Big YALC Quiz, hosted by gorgeous Katie Webber. There were 2 teams of authors who had to answer bookish related questions. There was a very funny pictionary round and some charades too. Many laughs were had that night.

Panels
One of my favourite things about YALC is the variety of panels that you can go and see. Last year, I adored the New Voices panels and was GUTTED this year that they weren’t back – celebrating new authors is SO important, so I’m hoping that they come back for next year! I got the chance to go to quite a few panels this year and it’s always fascinating and, as cheesy as this sounds, a priviledge to hear authors talk about their books – you don’t get to do that often! It’s lovely to see the wide variety of topics talked about. This year there was everything from looking at the publishing industry, to sci-fi, to Frankenstein and dystopian books.

My favourite panel this year hands down was ‘My Body, My Way’ featuring Charli Howard, Charly Cox, Laura Dockrill and Laura Steven, chaired by Dhonielle Clayton. Laura Steven is one of my favourite newest authors and I’ve been lucky to see her talk a few times, but I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity to see her again. She’s a brilliant human, and The Exact Opposite of Okay is exceptional. This panel dealt with some pretty hard-hitting topics including self image, the impact of the media and being kinder to ourselves. There were a few moments in this panel that I got very emotional, crying at one point. What they were talking about just hit a massive chord with me. As well as tears, this panel made me feel pretty empowered. Seeing brilliant women talking about looking after yourself and being kinder to each other is pretty motivational! There was also a hilarious moment in the panel when it was announced that David Tennant was going to be at YALC and Dhonielle (who was an exceptional chair) was SO CONFUSED. Many giggles were had.

There were LOADS of brilliant panels that I could mention also – if you’d like me to talk about others that I loved, let me know and I’ll do another blog post!

#TakeawayYA 
Last year, during YALC, my friends and I started #TakeawayYA on twitter, sharing the takeaways we had and I had so many questions as to whether #TakeawayYA would be back. Something that was started in jest has become something that we make an annual thing!

Celebrating books!
Now, this is probably a given being that YALC is like “Christmas for books”, but it is so so incredible to be part of something that celebrates books and their authors so unashamedly as YALC does. There’s just such a brilliant buzz at YALC celebrating books I love and discovering new books that I’ve never heard of! I always come away from YALC with a recommended books list and a TBR that is excessively long. I love being around people who love books as much as I do. We’re very passionate us bookish folk.

Seeing authors I love
It’s quite surreal to see people you respect and adore and them be excited to see you back. Whether they’re authors I’ve met before, or they’re authors that are brand new to me, it’s so amazing to get to speak to them and fangirl about their book. It’s still mad when authors say “oh you’re Steph from twitter, I saw your tweets about my book” (a la Tom Pollock!)

Some brilliant memories for me from YALC weekend:
– Having coffee with Kelly and Katherine Webber and Melinda Salisbury just came and joined in the fun. It was a very cool moment and inside my head I was fangirling out. I love Katie and Mel an awful lot (not that you’d ever guess that!)
– Getting the chance to hug my love Sara Barnard – I adore Sara with everything that I am. I must’ve gone up to Sara’s signing table at least 5 times!
– Going to see Non Pratt/Alwyn Hamilton and them being like “oh no, not you again”. I love a bit of author/reader banter.
– Seeing Kiran Milwood-Hargrave just casually strolling around and being able to fangirl with her about her new book was lush. Kiran is an absolute darling, and you should definitely read her books.

My bookish friends
I was very lucky that I got to live with some of my very best friends at YALC – massive shout out to Kelly, Cora and Rosie for being YALCHouse pals! We don’t see each other very often because geogrpahy, so being able to spend so much time with these girls made me so happy.

On top of YALCHouse, seeing so many of my fvaourites at YALC was an absolute joy. Shout out to Charlotte (who I’d only seen a few days previously) who ran out of the lift to me and would hug me every time she saw me! It’s so amazing to meet my online friends in real life and get to talk to them and see them for more than an hour at a time. Some friends I only saw once or twice over the weekend because they were at LFCC, whereas others I got to see for longer and that was lush. Seeing people I adore (hello, Lucy and George) and for real fangirl over is always an absolute delight of YALC too!

There you go! My YALC highlights. Does this post do my YALC weekend justice? No, but it’s a very good start.

I would say to anyone who is thinking about doing YALC to seriously do it. I adore YALC, I’ve been two years in a row and I just think it’s a wonderful time of year to be a bookish person.

Did you go to YALC this year?
What were your highlights?
Who were you most excited to meet?

Thank you for getting through this EPIC post! I didn’t think it would be this long!

S x

Mini reviews: London edition

Last week, I was very lucky to spend time in London with one of my favourite humans in the world, Kelly. While we were in London, we spent much time reading, drinking tea and having a lovely relaxing time – perfect for bookworms like us! 

I thought I’d share mini reviews from the 6 books I managed to read in the 4 days I was away. I love a mini review – bitesize bookish love is always good! 

Book 1:
The Light Between Worlds – Laura Weymouth
Released November 1st from Chicken House

(proof cover!)

I absolutely adored this story – it was pretty unique. There was lots of juxtaposition in this book – the harshness of war vs the freedom of the forest, a need to be in the moment vs a want to be elsehwere – which made for brilliant reading. I adored Ev’s friends and family and I genuinely felt their love for her, but she frustrated me at times. There’s a lot of emotions explored in this book, and there’s some dark themes explored. 

Book 2:
Mr Lemoncello’s Great Library Race – Chris Grabenstein

Again, this was one that I thought was just wonderful. It was good for my brain to go from something quite dark to this library based caper. It is such fun! I would love to visit Mr. Lemoncello’s library and take part in his fun games. I hadn’t read the first 2 of these books before this one, but that didn’t spoil it whatsoever (I have since bought book 1 and 2!). This book is all about sharing the love of libraries, making friends and the power of the truth. I can’t wait to recommend this to the kids at school!

Book 3:
Oliver and the Seawigs – Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

I actually managed to pick this up from Oxfam Book Shop and it’s a good job too, because I finished Mr. Lemoncello quickly so needed a back up book to read! This is a funny, irreverent adventure with a young boy who makes friends with a mermaid and an island (I know right?!) and they have to fight off some baddies. I really enjoyed it, it’ll fit perfectly in our school library! I’d love to pick up more from these authors!

Book 4: 
More Happy Than Not – Adam Silvera

(yes that is more tea!)

When I finished this book I was very much not ok. I’ve been in Aaron’s shoes – wanting to be someone I’m not. I’m so sad for him. I can’t imagine going through what he ends up going through. This book is littered with love and the struggle with accepting who you are. Even now thinking back to this book, I am so sad for him. This book is one I would recommend EVERYONE READS. It is HEARTBREAKING. I didn’t see the twist coming, it shocked me. Adam Silvera continues to write incredible books. 

Book 5: 
Leah on the Offbeat – Becky Albertalli

(hey look at that guys, more tea!)

OH LEAH. I really wanted to love this. Don’t get me wrong, I did really enjoy it. There’s just things about it that frustrate me. I didn’t ship it, which as a serial shipper is a MASSIVE surprise to me, so it made it hard for me to get fully into. Having read Simon, I wanted to just swoon over everything, and I didn’t. I would recommend this book though, it is good. I think there’s a bit of me in Leah and there’s some of Leah’s personality I don’t like… so yeah. I have complex emotions about this book. 

Book 6:
The Friendship Fails of Emma Nash – Chloe Seagar

Friendship Fails of Emma Nash

This made me chuckle a lot. It’s funny and relatable. There were many moments where I cackled out loud. This is a book that teenagers will love. It’s well worth a read if you want something witty. Emma Nash goes through a LOT. 

So there you have it! My mini London reading haul!

Have you read any of these books?
Do you have thoughts about Leah that we can talk about?
Does Adam Silvera continue to break your heart too?

Lets talk!

S x

Geordie Gifts

Whey aye man. Welcome to a different kind of post from me! 

Now, as most of you know, I’m a VERY proud Geordie. Very proud indeed. Us Geordies are brilliant people. We are often voted friendliest and the best accent to hear on the phone and stuff like that. We have some of he best beaches in the UK and one of the most beautiful streets in the UK. But we also have some brilliant local businesses.

Today, I’m spending a little time sharing one of my favourites. Geordie Gifts brings together some of my favourite things: cards, tote bags, mugs and being a Geordie.

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Having a browse of the website, you find all kinds of wonderful goodies! I’m going to share a few of my favourite products with you all today!

Divvent disturb am busy... Thinking of class ideas, deein' deed important work... drinking a bloody cuppa! funny geordie notebooks newcastle northeast gifts and card shop

Don’t disturb notebook

Funny geordie bag for life. Tote reads: Whey aye man, five pence for a bag? a divvent think so. Geordie accent

5 pence for a bag? tote

popular newcastle and geordie phrases translated. Unique gifts for geordies mug

Geordie sayings mug

great north run 2018 well done card. geordie gifts newcastle souvenir

I’m loving the Great North Run cards… particularly fond of this one. (I may have purchased one or two for the excellent humans I know that are running it!)

There’s all sorts on the website. I could go on sharing pictures and links for things for a while, but I will restrain myself. If you like what you see (and why wouldn’t you?), I would recommend going over there and purchasing yourself some brilliant Geordie gifts. Treat yourself, or others!

If that’s not enough, you can get many laughs from the Geordie Gifts twitter too! Following Geordie Gifts on twitter and Instagram brings me many laughs. It’s fair to say that Craig is one of my favourite Instagrammers. With content like Bus Watch, Trolley Watch and hilarious office content, you should go over and follow him if you like a laugh!

S x

BOOK BLOG: Hayley Barker

Show Stopper/Show Stealer: thrilling books excellently paced that you just can’t put down!

Show Stopper and Show Stealer is a duology written by Hayley Barker and I JUST ADORED THEM OK? I picked up Show Stopper a while ago based solely on the cover (just look at it man!) and once I had dived into the world of the twisted circus and got to the end, I needed the second one. I bought Show Stealer (the sequel) about 2 days later and immersed myself right back into the world. 

Show Stopper:
Set in a near-future England where the poorest people in the land are forced to sell their children to a travelling circus – to perform at the mercy of hungry lions, sabotaged high wires and a demonic ringmaster. The ruling class visit the circus as an escape from their structured, high-achieving lives – pure entertainment with a bloodthirsty edge. Ben, the teenage son of a draconian government minister, visits the circus for the first time and falls instantly in love with Hoshiko, a young performer. They come from harshly different worlds – but must join together to escape the circus and put an end to its brutal sport.

I won’t share the synopsis for Show Stealer because spoilers… but if you’re curious click here.

I’ll try and keep this review as un-spoilery for both as possible!

In the world of these books, you’re introduced to a society of the Pures and the Dregs (yes, I couldn’t unsee the Six of Crows either!). The Pures are the rich and the Dregs are the poor. The Dregs live in the slums and do the menial jobs in the world of the Pures. If you’re an unlucky (or lucky, depending how you see it) Dreg, you might be taken in by the circus and be trained up to perform for the Pures. The Dregs aren’t treated well, but as they have no rights, this happens for the entertainment of the Pures. As the books progress, you see the inside of the circus and the deplorable ways in which the performers are treated. 

I adored the circus setting. I’m well into books that are set in the circus (if you have any recommendations, please tell me because I am all about them… kids and YA please!) The setting is so brilliantly described in book 1, but in book 2 these descriptions are just taken to another level. The circus changes for the worse in book 2, so the descriptions get DARK to match the new look circus. 

As well as the incredible setting, there’s a bunch of characters who will pull at your heart and make you angry and make you see the good in people and make you want to punch things and make you look at the world these people live in, as well as our world! I think it was the characters that made me fall into love with these books even more:
Ben – he’s brave, honest and compassionate. You feel the real pull in Ben’s heart between what he has been taught and what he believes is right. I loved Ben a lot. He’s a very good egg. He goes against everything he’s ever known because he sees an injustice happening. I fell for him quickly. 
Hoshi – she’s fierce and fearless, particuarly where the people she loves are concerned. I loved seeing her growth. She’s like a Mama Bear. Hoshi is one of those characters that have so many layers – once you get under her skin there is still so much more to learn.
Viviene – Ben’s mam, politician. This woman is just disgusting. Some of the things she believes and fights for are vitriolic and I genuinely despised her. We need to talk about her more, but I can’t help but get a little angry about her.
Roger – Ben’s dad. I have quite different emotions for dad than mam. At first, I thought he had no backbone, but that changes. I can’t reveal why I have such a soft spot for him because MASSIVE SPOILERS, but trust me he is a good man.
Silvio – the ring master of the circus. GOD THIS MAN. He’s an egomanic and true narcissist. He ONLY gets worse as the books go on too. 
Jack – he makes an appearance in book 1, but is pretty important in book 2. I adore him. He is an actual hero.

There are more characters than this… there’s some wonderful additions to the circus in book 2. I could talk about the characters in these books for many words, but I won’t!

(I wanna go and reread these books now! I miss these characters quite a lot)

One of the things that surprised me about these books were how politically driven they were. I didn’t expect to read these and think politics, but the politics of the world is one of the prevalent threads throughout and I quite adored it. There’s a lot to learn from these books. There’s many a comparison that can be made between these books and the world that we live in today. If people could just find in them a smidgen of compassion, like Ben, then we would have a much kinder world. We can change minds and we can be wrong, but we should ALWAYS be kind. Jack is one of the most important characters in these books. Please can we all appreciate him please? Books like these show that the good guys can win and that kindness will get you further than hatred. 

My goodreads reviews of these books:

Show Stopper: 

If I could swear here, I would swear. What an absolute winner of a book here. My mind is 100% blown.

Show Stealer

I have THOUGHTS and FEELINGS about this book. More feelings than thoughts.

This book manages to encapsulate the absolute brilliance of book 1, but is more despicable, horrifying, compassionate and honest all at the same time. I just can’t get the words right now.

Shout out to Roger 💛

Ha. I love the Goodreads version of me. 

Have you read Show Stopper or Show Stealer?
CAN WE TALK ABOUT THEM PLEASE?
Can you recommend any circus books?

Talk to me in the comments, or on twitter please! I need more people who love these books in my life!

S x

The Bank Holiday Tag

Happy bank holiday everyone! Last one of the year! 

Today I’m taking on the Bank Holiday Tag, made up by my lovely friend Cora. Check out her original post here. I’ve actually done this post before, back in April – if you’d like to see my answers and compare them, you’ll find that post here. I’m going to try and complete this based on the books I’ve read so far in 2018!

Have a lie in.
Which book could you lounge in bed with all morning?

40203682Snowglobe – Amy Wilson
This is a lush story with magic and lush friends. It’s one I’m definitely going to reread!

Oh my goodness, it’s actually sunny outside!
A book that makes you feel optimistic.

19547856Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
Simon and Blue are EVERYTHING. But also, Simon’s parents and his sister.

Spend some time outdoors.
A book that reminds you of nature.

38210965When The Mountains Roared – Jess Butterworth
I’ve never been transported to the mountains in India surrounded by big cats before this book and it was incredible.

Make some punch.
A book that you find difficult to classify into one genre.

38600182The Secret Deep – Lindsay Galvin
This book is so intricate and brilliantly written that it would happily sit in many different places in a bookworm’s world.

Pass some food around.
A book you want to share with everyone.

26030734The Wild Robot – Peter Brown
I ADORE this book with all that I am. I have read the sequel now too and I just… it is such a love. Roz is an excellent main character. (This could also be the answer to the nature question!)

Light the BBQ.
A book that took a while to get going.

39127492The Smoke Thieves – Sally Green
It’s a shame this book takes like 60-70% to get going, because once it’s going I quite liked it! 

Failed BBQ.
A book that ultimately disappointed you.

35068735All of this is True – Lygia Day Penaflor
Oh friends. 

It’s raining. Of course.
A book to curl up with when it’s raining outside.

23437156Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo
I can’t wait to reread this book. I love Kaz Brekker so much. This is the perfect rainy day read because let’s be real, it’s always raining in Ketterdam.

Let’s just eat the chocolate.
A book that’s super sweet.

34615412Theatrical – Maggie Harcourt
I love Maggie’s books. They always just make me smile and that’s what you need sometimes!

There we go! Join in the fun, and do the tag yourself! Enjoy your bank holiday everyone!

S x

S4S – books on my TBR forever

Morning pals!

How are we all today? What does this Sunday have in store for us all? Is anyone up to anything fun? I shall probably be spending my Sunday doing some planning as it is almost back to school time!

Today’s #SixforSunday post queries:

Books that have been on my TBR forever

See last weeks post for even more books that have been on my TBR forever too! I’m actually consulting my bookshelves and my Goodreads to aid this week!

1. The Next Together – Lauren James

2. Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo

3. Trouble – Non Pratt

4. The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli

5. They Both Die At The End – Adam Silvera

6. Flight of a Starling – Lisa Heathfield

Whats on your TBR? Share your books on your TBR using the hashtag #SixforSunday!

See you next week!

S x

The Superlatives book tag

Hello! Happy Tuesday everyone. 

Today, I’ve been tagged by the lovely Kelly (of Kelly’s Rambles) to take part in the ‘Superlatives book tag’. Now, as many of you know Kelly is one of my best friends and we share quite a similar bookish reading taste, so when I read her post I was like “YOU’VE STOLEN SO MANY OF THE BOOKS I WOULD CHOOSE”so if you’re interested in knowing other choices that I would’ve made, then check out Kelly’s post

I’m a big fan of a tag because I think they’re super fun! Don’t forget I’ve created my own tag – The Friends Tag – that you can join in with, or you can guest post on my blog too!

Here we go… I’m going to go with books I’ve read in 2018 to fulfil these prompts!

MOST LIKELY TO BE IN THE MOVIES: THE BOOK THAT WOULD MAKE THE BEST MOVIE

Image result for six of crows

I can’t not say Six of Crows. I would ABSOLUTELY love to see this made into a film. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year and I would love to see Kaz on screen. Kaz and his merry bunch of Dregs. I think Six of Crows would make an incredible film. Can someone make this happen please?

BIGGEST DRAMA QUEEN/KING: THE MOST (OVERLY) DRAMATIC BOOK OR CHARACTER

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There’s characters in All of this is True that I couldn’t get away with because they were just a bit OTT for me. Like, this book never did quite catch up for me. 

BEST DRESSED: THE BOOK WITH THE BEST COVER

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I can’t not go for Clean. I mean, look at that rose gold goodness. *swoon*

MOST CREATIVE: THE BOOK WITH THE MOST UNIQUE PLOT, CHARACTERS, & STRUCTURE

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I don’t think I’ve read anything quite as spooky, sciencey and underwater-y as The Secret Deep. I absolutely adored it. Lindsay Galvin has written an ABSOLUTE winner here. I implore you all to read it. 

MOST POPULAR: THE BOOK WITH THE MOST RATINGS ON GOODREADS

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I finished Northern Lights recently and it has a whopping 1,082,925 ratings on Goodreads! 

MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED: THE BOOK THAT IS GOING TO BE APPRECIATED FOR MANY YEARS TO COME

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Matt Haig writes the most amazing books. I think his books have incredible staying power and as long as there’s technology in our lives, Notes on a Nervous Planet also has a place in our lives. 

CLASS CLOWN: THE BOOK THAT MADE YOU LAUGH OUT LOUD

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Maz NEVER fails to make me laugh. Who Let The Gods Out? series is one I could’ve used to answer the prompt before too. Beyond the Odyssey is hilarious. Everyone I know who I’ve made read the series have said they’ve loved them. Please go out and check them out. They will, I promise, make you laugh, a lot. 

MOST IMPROVED: THE BOOK THAT STARTED OFF SLOW, BUT REALLY PICKED UP

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It took me a WHILE to get into The Smoke Thieves, but once you’re into the action, it’s very much there. There’s a lot going on in this book, with many points of view, but stick with it… 

CUTEST COUPLE: CUTEST COUPLE IN A BOOK

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Holly and Ed from My Box-Shaped Heart are just lush. I can’t say any more than that. Their whole situation made me smile a lot. 

BIGGEST HEARTBREAKER: THE BOOK THAT BROKE YOUR HEART

(LOL, they all do, all the time)

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Ah man. A Thousand Perfect Notes? More like a thousand tears of sadness. Even now thinking about it makes me a bit emotional. It’s just harrowing. 

And there we have it! My 2018 books I’ve read superlatives list! 

I’m not going to tag anyone because everyone I know has already been tagged… but if you fancy it, have a go!

Let me know in the comments if you agree with any of my choices, or what you’d change!

S x

S4S – Books people tell me to read!

Hello!

It is Sunday again. Where did this week go? Today I have the joy of going to London to see my very bestest friend and relax for a few days before the mania of the academic year begins! How are you spending your Sunday? Are you joining in today’s #SixforSunday prompt?

Today’s prompt is:

Books people always tell you to read

So today we have books that people keep recommending to me that I just can’t seem to pick up. I probably own all of them!

  1. The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
    I think I might be the only person in the world who hasn’t read this yet. I do own it though, so I just need the right time to pick it up!
  2. Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
    One of my favourite authors keeps telling me to read this and I’m just yet to pick it up! Again, I do own it. I just need to read it.
  3. Scythe – Neal Shusterman 
    A lot of my friends have been reading this and tell me that I should pick it up because it’s great! I bought it very recently, but I am yet to get round to reading it!
  4. They Both Die at the End – Adam Silvera
    Another one…  own it, haven’t read it. Everyone tells me to read this!
  5. Classics
    I don’t read/haven’t read many classics, but everyone tells me I should read more. I just have no idea where to start!!
  6. The Grisha trilogy – Leigh Bardugo
    As you all know, I am relatively new to the Bardugo fandom, but now that I have read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, I need to get on the Shadow and Bone trilogy ASAP.

And there we have it… 6 (more actually!) books that people keep telling me to read! Maybe I should turn this list into a TBR since I own most of them anyway! 

What’s on your list? 

Don’t forget to tag me/link me! I love reading your #SixforSunday posts! 

S x

Brilliant YA still to come!

You may have seen a few weeks ago that I did a post all about the MG books that I’m still excited for in 2018, so I figured it was only fair to do a YA version of this list… because there’s a lot of YA books I’m excited for which are still to come this year. (There’s also a lot of books I’m excited for whicha re to be released in 2019… but that’s a post for a different day!)

So here we are…

2018 ya

Someday – David Levithan (I think this may be the US cover?!)
(I adore everything David Levithan has written and this book will be NO exception. I love this world he’s created for A, so I’m very excited for this!)
“For as long as A can remember, life has meant waking up in a different person’s body every day, forced to live as that person until the day ended. A always thought there wasn’t anyone else who had a life like this. But A was wrong. There are others. A has already been wrestling with powerful feelings of love and loneliness. Now comes an understanding of the extremes that love and loneliness can lead to — and what it’s like to discover that you are not alone in the world.”

What If It’s Us – Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli
(I’ve had the pleasure of reading this book and I’m excited for everyone else to read it!)
“Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it. Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things. But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?”

Summer Bird Blue – Akemi Dawn Bowman 
(I heard Akemi speak at YALC about this book and instantly added it to my “must buy” list!)
“Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea. Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life. With the help of the “boys next door”—a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn’t take anything seriously, and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago—Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish.”

Life’s a Beach – Chloe Coles
(I recently read The Bookshop Girl by Chloe Coles, who is an absolute babe, and I adored it. I’m so excited for book 2!)
“Holly and Paige are at a literary festival in Skegton-On-Sea. They’ve been looking forward to it for ages. It’s one of the biggest book festivals around – and there’s a pop up bookshop tent and a lot of Big Shot Writers. It’s basically like they’re being PAID to go on a BFF HOLIDAY and SELL A FEW BOOKS! They had to beg their grumpy boss Tony to put their names forward. He ummed and ahhed and said he wasn’t sure it was a good idea. But they’re here at last and it’s brilliant. Well, kind of. It’s true that there’s a diva of an author called Minnie, who dresses head to toe in pink, and insists that Paige picks fresh flowers for her signing table every day, even though it’s raining. But along the way, Paige begins to find that there’s quite a lot to learn from Minnie – not least, how to reach out for the things she wants . . . and the boy she likes.”

The Curses – Laure Eve
(I read The Graces last year and i absolutely loved it! I managed to get a sampler for The Curses at YALC, so I’m very excited!)
“Picking up the pieces after the chilling events of the previous year isn’t easy, but the Grace siblings are determined to try and get things back to normal – and if that means papering over the cracks, so be it. Summer has had enough of secrets, but sharing a house with someone who’s been resurrected from the dead isn’t something you want the neighbours to know about. As ex-best friend River wreaks havoc with her twisted spells, can the Graces ever escape the curses that have been tearing their family apart for generations?”

The Light Between Worlds – Laura Weymouth
(I was very lucky to be sent a proof of this from the publishers, so watch out in the coming weeks for a review!)
“Six years ago, sisters Evelyn and Philippa Hapwell were swept away to a strange and beautiful kingdom called the Woodlands, where they lived for years. But ever since they returned to their lives in post-WWII England, they have struggled to adjust. Ev desperately wants to return to the Woodlands, and Philippa just wants to move on. When Ev goes missing, Philippa must confront the depth of her sister’s despair and the painful truths they’ve been running from. As the weeks unfold, Philippa wonders if Ev truly did find a way home, or if the weight of their worlds pulled her under.”

And the Ocean Was Our Sky – Patrick Ness and Rovina Cai
(I am a massive fan of Patrick Ness, so this jumped straight on my list when I saw it was coming out in the coming months!)
“Call me Bathsheba.” The whales of Bathsheba’s pod live for the hunt. Led by the formidable Captain Alexandra, they fight a never-ending war against men. Then the whales attack a man ship, and instead of easy prey they find the trail of a myth, a monster, perhaps the devil himself… With their relentless Captain leading the chase, they embark on the final hunt, one that will forever change the worlds of whales and men.”

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo
Now, this isn’t a new release… but it’s the collectors edition and I’m excited for its release OK?????? JUST LOOK AT IT. (You can find my fangirling about Leigh Bardugo here)

And there you have it. 8 of the books I AM MOST EXCITED FOR OK???

2018 continues to be a TREAT FOR THE BRAIN. 

Which 2018 books are you still most excited for?
Have you read any of the books on my list?
Are there any books you think should’ve made my list but didn’t?

Share your thoughts with me! I’d love to know which YA books you’re still most excited for!

S x

 

BOOK BLOG: Kiran Milwood Hargrave

The Way Past Winter: a truly magical story about the importance of kindness – to the world and each other

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“Mila and her sisters live with their brother Oskar in a small forest cabin in the snow. One night, a fur-clad stranger arrives seeking shelter for himself and his men. But by the next morning, they’ve gone – taking Oskar with them. Fearful for his safety, Mila and her sisters set out to bring Oskar back – even it means going north, crossing frozen wild-lands to find a way past an eternal winter”

(This review took me so long to write because it only said “I LOVED THIS BOOK OK?”)

I am a MASSIVE fan of Kiran’s work. Like massive. I think Girl of Ink and Stars is one of my favourite books I’ve read in the past few years. I just can’t get enough, and I’m very lucky in that my class have chosen it as our first class read for September. I can’t wait to introduce them to Kiran’s magical writing and watch them fall in love with it like I did. 

When I heard that there was going to be MORE from Kiran, I knew I needed to get my hands on a copy. I was very lucky in that I got a copy from the publishers (thank you Chicken House!) and it jumped straight to the top of my TBR list (not sorry to the rest of the books on my list). I was at YALC with some friends and I definitely might’ve been a bit anti-social and ignored them to read… but when it’s a book you’ve been waiting THIS LONG for… it’s OK. 

The Way Past Winter is an incredible tale of Mila and her siblings, who live in a world of snow and cold – there’s no Spring where they live. One day, mysterious strangers appear at Mila’s door, looking for shelter. When Mila wakes up the next morning, she finds that these mysterious men are gone and have taken with them her brother, Oskar. There is much debate around Oskar’s disappearance as to whether it is because he was taken or he chose to leave – with Mila believing he wouldn’t choose to leave. Mila goes on an incredible journey to rescue her brother. Her journey takes her to places she’s never been, with people she must learn to trust.

The settings in this book are sublime. From Mila’s cabin, which she lives in with her siblings, to the mystical tree, to the frozen landscapes that Mila must travel over in order to rescue her brother. I read this book in the HEIGHT of heatwave, yet I felt like I was in the sled with Mila, travelling through these icy lands. This book is so immersive, it’s like reading and seeing in surround sound (I don’t know how to word that better, I hope you know what I mean!). I would not survive in these conditions. Not at all. 

The feeling of magic and mythology is something about Kiran’s books that I absolutely adore and this book is yet another where she does it so beautifully. There’s an incredible feel of mythology about this book that I can’t quite put into words. It sings in its lushness – in comparison to the bleakness of the land Mila lives in. 

There’s messages galore in this book that I think are dealt with so incredibly well. This is a story about believing in yourself, being kind to the world around us and trusting that others can do good. 

I couldn’t put this book down. The pace of this book is spot on. It’s not too quick, not too slow – it moves smoothly, but with a hint of haste. I was on the edge of my seat for the majority of my time reading. I needed to know what was going to happen, but I didn’t want to miss any of the little details or the incredible vocabulary. The way Kiran writes is lyrical, beautiful and magical.

I know that 10 year old me would’ve devoured these books and absolutely adored them (almost as much as 29 year old me does). Kiran’s books sit so beautifully in classroom/school libraries because they’re stories children want to read, written in a way which appeals to them. They’re magical and true escapism – we all need a good escape when we’re reading.

And yes, it did make me cry. 

My goodreads review:

Kiran continues to write worlds that are equal parts magical, foreboding and welcoming, with characters who match. I absolutely adored this book – from the mysterious Rune, to fierce and brave Mila, and stubborn and protective Sanna. I just think this book is wonderfully perfect. Kiran never fails to blow me away.

I have so much to say about this book. There are so many things I want to tell you. So much I need you to know. This book just oozes brilliance – from the characters, to the settings, to the meaning. I can’t recommend this enough for everyone. It is just magnificent. 

Have you read anything by Kiran?
Would you survive in a place that had no Spring?
DO YOU ALSO LOVE THIS COVER THOUGH?

The Way Past Winter is out on October 4th, published by Chicken House books.

It is available to preorder! You can preorder Amazon or Waterstones (it’s probably available elsewhere too!)

Follow Kiran on twitter: @Kiran_MH

S x