S4S – Debut authors

Hello there! It is Sunday again, which means it is once again time for #SixforSunday! The final #SixforSunday of March – boohoo! But there is OF COURSE more #SixforSunday to come next month (when we will be celebrating everything MG books… I KNOW RIGHT!) 

Today’s #SixforSunday sees us celebrating:

An ode to debut authors

I toyed for a very long time about where to take this prompt. I’m loving seeing everyone’s interpretations of the prompts on a weekly basis btw! Keep up the good work. I decided to write my #SixforSunday post for 2019 debuts I can’t wait to get my hands on (or 2019 debuts I’ve already got my hands on and loved!)

  1. A Pocketful of Stars by Aisha Bushby
    FOR REAL. This is one of the books I am MOSTexcited for this year. I adore Aisha (she is such an amazing humn) and my kids and I are patiently waiting for this to arrive so we can JUST DEVOUR it.
  2. Outside by Sarah Ann Juckes
    I was VERY lucky to have read this quite a while before it came out, and guys, let me tell you it is EXCEPTIONAL. 
  3. Shadowscent by P.M.Freestone
    I heard about this at the Scholastic Blogger event and my word… this is a book I need to dive into ASAP. It sounds exceptional.
  4. The Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie
    I am currently reading this and I’m digging it. My full review will be online once I’m finished. But I know this is one that is HIGHLY anticipated by many!
  5. We are Blood and Thunder by Kesia Lupo
    This is one I managed to get my hands on and I DEVOURED it in the space of a train journey. It’s just exceptional. I HOPE we will get more because I loved both of the girls so much and their world is just brilliant!
  6. Oh My Gods by Alexandra Shepperd
    This is another one that I’ve read already and I just adored it. It’s so fun. Would recommend WHOLE HEARTEDLY!

And there you have 6 of my MANY MANY most anticipated debuts of 2019! Don’t forget to share your #SixforSunday post with me and share it on twitter! 

S x 

BLOG TOUR: Jane Kerr

The Great Animal Escapade: adventure filled brilliance!

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When The Elephant Thief came out in 2017, I absolutely devoured it, so when I heard there was going to be a sequel I was thrilled to be asked to be part of the blog tour! My expectations were pretty high for this follow up book… and man was I not disappointed. Filled with adventure, mischief, mayhem and mystery, this book is just as good as it’s predecessor.

In a stark difference to the first book, Danny has left behind his life on the streets to be working and living somewhere far more comfortable. His past however is never far behind him, and he never really gets the chance to forget it! It hangs about him like a bad smell. He is now living with the Jamesons, who, despite the fact they have taken him in, never really trust himespecially when things start to go wrong! He never really feels like he fits in – not in this new life, or in his old life – and he has so many unanswered questions that it starts to play on his mind a little. Throw in the mysterious character who says he knows more of Danny’s life… and you’ve got one well and truly confused main character!

I loved Danny. I think that’s one of the biggest things about this book is that you proper fall for him and you want things to work out for him. We all love a good main character we can root for… so Danny fits that category perfectly. You want people to believe him and trust him, and you really feel for him when things start to go a little awry in his life – both in and out of the zoo! Danny’s got a brilliant heart and you can tell throughout the book that he just wants whats best for the animals – his care and attention for them is lovely to read. We see things aren’t perfect, but the animals’ one constant is Danny’s love. 

No book is complete without it’s very own villain… and there is definitely a character who lives that role perfectly. He’s a mysterious and untrustworthy character, who we don’t really know a lot about. He’s elusive and secretive and we definitely don’t know whether or not to trust him at the start. I like a character like this because it makes the guessing game all the more satisfying! Plus, they’re a little more interesting to talk about than down and out evil characters.

This book is filled with magic, mystery and intrigue and makes a brilliant read: perfect for Year 5s and 6s! I’d quite like to travel back to this time and experience what it was like… and maybe give Danny a big hug! This book delivers quite a punch with its messages, but does it in ways which are subtle and just plain great. If you’re after a book that is sure to make you want to read on, then look no further!

A massive thank you to the publishers Chicken House for sending me a review copy – it is now at school being consumed by my class! 

Check out the rest of the blog tour below: there’s some cracking posts to get your teeth into! 

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S x

 

COVER REVEAL: Dino Knights

Hello! Happy 2 post Friday (watch out for my other post going live this afternoon!)

Today I am thrilled to share with you a cover of a new book coming out! A while back the brilliant people of Awesome Reads got in touch to tell me about a new book that they were publishing and asked if I’d be interested in sharing the cover… I of course said yes! I was sold when I heard it was a brand-new series set in medieval times with a twist – dinosaurs still exist and roam freely across the human world. Dinosaurs and medieval times? WINNER WINNER.

DINO KNIGHTS

Title: Dino Knights

Author: Jeff Norton

Release date: June 6th

Short synopsis: Imagine medieval times where the dinosaurs never went extinct. When dinosaur stable boy Henry Fairchild stops a vicious T-Rex from attacking his master, he is invited to join the most elite group in Brecklan, the brave Knights of Panterra, the Dino Knights. But before he can prove himself, the enemies of Brecklan attack with a flock of pterodactyls and kidnap Lord Harding. Whether he’s ready or not, Henry and the Dino Knights mount a daring rescue mission…but nothing is what it seems.

Link for pre-order: https://awesomereads.com/book/dino-knights/

Massive thank you to the publishers for inviting me to be part of this cover reveal! I’m loving it! Dinosaurs and swords: what more could a girl ask for?! Watch out for the blog tour in June!

S x

BOOK BLOG: Laura Steven

A Girl Called Shameless: shamelessly loud, brave and real.

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“It’s been two months since a leaked explicit photo got Izzy involved in a political sex scandal – and the aftershock is far from over. The Bitches Bite Back movement is gathering momentum as a forum for teenage feminists, and when a girl at another school has a sex tape shared online, once again Izzy leads the charge against the slut-shamer. This time she wants to change the state law on revenge porn. 
Izzy and her best friend Ajita are as hilarious as ever, using comedy to fight back against whatever the world throws at them, but Izzy is still reeling from her slut-shaming ordeal, feeling angry beyond belief and wondering – can they really make a change?”

A Girl Called Shameless sees us thrown back into the world of Izzy O’Neill (wonderful, brilliant, hilarious, sassy, smart Izzy O’Neill) and the ups and downs of being a girl who has been publicly slut-shamed on the internet. (If you’ve not read The Exact Opposite of Okay then you REALLY need to… it’s just marvellous. My review is here if you’ve been living under a rock for the past year!)

A Girl Called Shameless opens brilliantly with Izzy’s trademark sense of humour and narrative voice telling us about what happened to her over the past few months. A VERY BLOODY CLEVER first chapter… brilliant to have that reminder of everything that went down in book 1 without just being a chapter for chapter’s sake! I was cackling hard by page 2. I forgot how much I loved being in the world of Izzy. She’s definitely one of my favourite voices of the past few years. (Seriously, if you’ve not got on the Izzy O’Neill bus yet, get on… you will NOT regret it!)

In this book, we see Izzy’s past experience of being publicly shamed as a thing that she has to deal with again, when another girl at her school has a sex tape shared online. Izzy unwillingly becomes somewhat of an “expert” and has a lot of her buried emotions brought back up to the surface… as well as a few old familiar faces resurfacing. 

As well as dealing with all of this at school, Izzy is of course dealing with being a teenager, friendship, things taking off with her screenwriting and her relationship. That’s a lot for a few people to cope with… never mind just one! 

I can honestly say that this book was one of the ones I’ve just been sitting waiting for, and it did not disappoint. 

I loved watching Izzy embrace her power and, along with some incredible young women, use that power for good. Making sure her voice, and the voice of others, is heard is important to Izzy and in this book she makes it happen. There’s an incredible build up to a very special day at the end of the book and it’s TOTALLY worth it. Watching a brilliant bunch of young women club their resources, their minds, their hearts and their friendship to make something happen is always brilliant, and when it’s something which is building up women and working for social change makes it even more special. 

We see the return of some familiar faces to support (and hinder) Izzy in her quest to basically take over the world. Ajita is back to be the brilliant best friend that she always has been. I love a book that celebrates female friendship and portrays it in a positive light, so seeing Izzy and Ajita back and being each other’s constant made me so happy! Brilliant Betty is of course back, being wonderful as always. I adore Betty and Izzy’s relationship. Betty turns out to be a bit of a dark horse in this book and there’s MANY lol-tastic moments with her in Shameless. I would love a Betty spin off! I wanna know more about her back story. 

Of course, there’s some men in Izzy’s life… some who I love and some who I think should just be pushed into a well. I’ll start with my fave of all the boys: Carson. Oh Carson. I just want my own Carson please. He’s so so lush. I just can’t think of him and not get total heart eyes. There’s quite an incredible scene towards the end of the book that made me BAWL. I really appreciate when boyfriends are written to be supportive and real (Laura does this so brilliantly, just like Sara Barnard). I mean he’s not perfect, but he has his own crap going on. On the other side of the coin, fan fave (lol) Danny is back to be “nice guy”. Danny can be pushed down a well as far as I’m concerned. He’s such a letch. He doesn’t get any more words than those. 

I loved that we saw more of Izzy’s life in this book. This book doesn’t shy away from the fact that Izzy and Betty aren’t swimming in money. Izzy talks a lot about having to get a job to be able to afford putting the heating on. We see Izzy following her dreams and watch them fall apart a little at one point. We see her struggles and her successes and I think that’s so good to read – no one’s life is ALL successes. 

I have many many more thoughts about this book, but they’re all jumbled still – in that glorious book hangover way. I just think Laura Steven has written 2 incredibly moving, captivating, hilarious and (as cliche as this sounds) important books. These 2 books are brilliantly empowering. After reading Shameless, all I wanted to do was to stand up and shout about all of the injustices I see in my world. I wish Izzy were real cause I’d love to be her friend (although I’m def not cool enough to be her friend haha!)

My goodreads review reads:

Man. What a book. What a story. What a young lady Izzy O’Neill is. I just adore her. This book makes me want to make a stand about everything I see wrong with the world. I love the characters, the messages, the flaws, the worry, the relationships. I CACKLED SO SO MUCH. Just incredible.

I was so inspired after reading this book that I also made a little moodboard! I hope you enjoy!

Shameless moodboard

S x

Let’s get real for a minute…

Last week was a tough one. I’m not going to lie. It wasn’t BAD particularly. I was just exhausted. I’ve been on the go for a while now with no weekends off in the middle. It was a long work week too. I’m super grateful that I get all these amazing opportunities, but they take their toll eventually… and this week was evidently when they started to take their toll.

I knew that it was going to be a tiring week, so what I decided to do was to write a blog post, little by little, day by day, thinking about the things that make me smile, make me feel better or make me feel calm. What came of it is this blog post. It gave me something to think about at night when I was just exhausted. Some of the days I wrote a lot of words, some of the days I wrote two or three and that was OK. Some days I wrote words on a morning, some days I wrote at lunchtime as I sat at the table in the staff room, some days I wrote at the computer or in bed. But every day I managed to find something that was positive.

 The things that make me happiest:

  • Texts from friends;
  • Drag Race – in particular the Snatch Game episodes;
  • Laughing with my children;
  • Reading blog posts;
  • Listening to the same songs 100s of times;
  • Being in bed early;
  • My brother;
  • Reading books – whether it’s 10 pages or 50;
  • My mam;
  • Knowing I’m doing something I want to do for the rest of forever;
  • Parents Evening – might be exhausting, but so lush to talk to parents and the kids;
  • Knowing other people are equally exhausted;
  • Looking forward to the holidays;
  • People saying lovely things about me;
  • My kids not being scared to be honest with me;
  • Oreos;
  • Waking up after a great night’s sleep;
  • Just ignoring texts occasionally;
  • Having friends who understand that you’re not really ignoring you, but you just need space;
  • Watching SimplyNailogical videos on Youtube;
  • Pictures of cats;
  • Making time to just look after myself;
  • Allowing myself to have a cry;
  • Putting on my pyjamas;
  • Book post;
  • Post from friends;
  • Quilliams for breakfast;
  • Sunshine!!!!

I think it’s so important that we find time to look after ourselves. I’m not always great at it. Do you have any tips for how to get better, especially when I’m grumpy and exhausted? What are your favourite self care things to do?

S x

Twenty Questions tag

WELL HELLO PALS.

It is Tuesday. I’m doing a tag. I LOVE A TAG. Do you love a tag? Do you like reading tags? I love reading other people’s answers to tags… they’re such fun!

Today’s tag is the 20 questions tag. I found this as I was perusing the Queen of all Blogging: PaperFury’s blog. I’ve seen other people do it too, but I found it on Cait’s blog. If you’d like to see that post, check it out here. Feel free to join in!

HOW MANY BOOKS ARE TOO MANY FOR A SERIES?

Am I in charge? I love a 3.
Maybe 4.
Definitely no more than 5 is MY ideal though. Any more than that and I am OUT. (This explains why I’ve not read any Cassie Clare guys!)

I think 3 is the perfect amount to get invested and then get satisfaction from. I do love a duology too, but I ALWAYS WANT MORE CAUSE I LOVE ALL THE BOOKS. But no more than 3/4 really.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT CLIFFHANGERS?

OH GOLLY GOSH. If I know there’s going to be another book, then I can live with that… but if it’s a stand alone… NO.

Cliff hangers are just not good for my little heart (see: they make me feel all of the feels which I love but then I yearn for more books INSTANTLY)

HARDCOVER OR PAPERBACK?

Paperback EVERY SINGLE DAY. But I do love the occasional hard back. I don’t own many, but the ones I do own are special to me.

FAVOURITE BOOK?

Lol, who do you think you’re talking to? JUST ONE? LOLOLOLOL. I can give you a few?

LEAST FAVOURITE BOOK?

I just don’t have one? I don’t see the point in being all NEGATIVE NORA about the shop. So no thanks… next!

LOVE TRIANGLES, YES OR NO?

Dear God, no.

THE MOST RECENT BOOK YOU COULDN’T FINISH?

I tend to finish everything I start? I’m not a DNF’er because I think EVERY book is worth finishing.

A BOOK YOU’RE CURRENTLY READING?

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Meat Market by Juno Dawson. SO GOOD. I am 200 pages in and I WANT TO KEEP READING MAN.

LAST BOOK YOU RECOMMENDED TO SOMEONE?

Ooooh… *checks twitter* Rumblestar by Abi Elphinstone. It’s not even out yet, haha!

OLDEST BOOK YOU’VE READ BY PUBLICATION DATE?

Who even knows!

NEWEST BOOK YOU’VE READ BY PUBLICATION DATE?

Hmmmm… probably Rumblestar by Abi Elphinstone again. That’s not out til May!

FAVOURITE AUTHOR?

Can we change that to auto-buy authors?! Melinda Salisbury, Sara Barnard, Katherine Webber, Maz Evans, Kiran Milwood Hargrave, Abi Elphinstone. ALL women, cause women power!

BUYING BOOKS OR BORROWING BOOKS?

I’m a buyer… because most of the books I buy then get transferred to the school library, or my classroom library!

A BOOK YOU DISLIKE THAT EVERYONE SEEMS TO LOVE?

I wasn’t a MASSIVE Caraval fan. It just moved really slowly?!

BOOKMARKS OR DOG EARS?

Something that weirds my friend Kelly out about me is that I just REMEMBER what page I’m up to. I do own bookmarks, but I never seem to have one with me! I would NEVER fold a page over. Who would even do that? (My friend Charlotte that’s who… she’s a bad person, but I love her and accept her despite her faults haha!)

A BOOK YOU CAN ALWAYS RE-READ?

Matilda. It’s probably the only book I’ve ever reread. I do plan on rereading all of Melinda Salisbury’s books this summer though.

CAN YOU READ WHILE LISTENING TO MUSIC?

Another weird factoid about me… I can read and listen to music if I’m travelling on a bus/train/car/aeroplane etc. but I can’t if I’m in bed reading. It’s a very bizarre thing, I know.

ONE POV OR MULTIPLE?

I do love a multiple perspective, but they have to be written well.

DO YOU READ A BOOK IN ONE SITTING OR OVER MULTIPLE DAYS?

I LOVE A BINGE READ. I tend to read over the space of a few days – it’s just how my life works. During the holidays however… gimme that 3 hour reading binge of one book.

WHO DO YOU TAG?

ALL OF YOU, lol. So Charlotte, that’s you.

S x

 

BOOK BLOG: Alice Broadway

Scar: a book that will leave an impression on ALL of your emotions

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“INK taught Leora that all was not what it seems on the surface. 
SPARK taught her that there are two sides to every story. 
Now Leora has had enough of lessons – she wants to make her own story.”

Scar sees the incredible Ink trilogy come to a close… and I was not ready. AT ALL. If you’re new to the Alice Broadway game then you need to catch up… my review for Ink can be found here, and my review for Spark here

Scar sees Leora taking on the final chapter of her current story. She’s been through a lot in the first two books and now she’s having to face some new scary things! Through Scar we see what happens when she realises she can stand up for herself, the things she believes in and finds herself dealing with some HORRIBLE people.

This book made me emotional. There are SO MANY THINGS THAT HAPPEN that I was crying a lot of the time. I was angry a lot of the time. I was suspicious and torn. I was comforted. I don’t want to be too spoiler-y in this review because you guys need to read this book: it is exceptional. Alice Broadway is a master of storytelling. 

Just as the other 2 books have dealt with storytelling, Scar has a big focus on storytelling. Leora is introduced to Mel (the storyteller of her village) and learns a lot about the power of stories and how stories can have many meanings. Leora has seen the world on both sides of the coins (she’s lived with the Blanks and the Marked people) and she teaches the people around her that every story has 2 sides. I loved watching Leora learn, but also teach, throughout the book. The infusion of the folk stories into this trilogy has been one of the most incredible things. The stories of the two sisters have been consistent throughout the books and watching that explored again in this book was incredible. The two sisters and their story is where this whole division of the people started, so it’s only fitting that their story has an important part. 

There’s some PROPER THINGS that happen in this book. I CAN’T TELL YOU WHAT THEY ARE CAUSE SPOILERS BUT OMG. There was one page (p227 for those who own the book) where I was GENUINELY shocked. I had to put my book down and text my friend to be like “OMG WHAT IS GOING ON?”. I can’t wait to see everyone else freak out about this particular scene. I mean… there’s one particular character, a returning face, a surprise returning face who is a total PIECE OF WORK. I think I could write a whole blog post about why he is THE WORST, but he doesn’t actually deserve it. Having this character back and seeing his narcissism in Scar was FASCINATING. He clearly has a bit of a god complex… and it shows. He does some TERRIBLE things in this book. 

I loved being back in Leora’s world. I think it’s one of the most wonderful worlds that I’ve read recently. I love the idea behind it all. I loved being back around Leora’s people. Our girl, Leora, is just brilliant. She’s real. She’s definitely flawed. She’s brave. She’s bold. She learns in Scar that she needs to start standing up for herself, so she can be in control of her own story… rather than giving the control to the people around her. You’re only going to be remembered if you do something that’s worth remembering. 

Yet another shout out here to Obel. I was SO GLAD to see him back. The scenes between him and Leora were so filled with compassion and love and kindness and gentleness. 

I’m so sad that we’ve got to the end of Leora’s tale, but I can’t wait to see what Alice Broadway does next. She writes such incredible stories. There’s so many moments of juxtaposition. There’s love vs hatred; hard vs soft; the fear of forgetting vs the need to remember; routine vs change; embracing vs shunning. I loved all of these. 

I have so much more to talk about… but I need people to read this book before I can talk about it because I would HATE to spoil it for you all! It’s out in April SO GO GO GO. But also, preorder it because it’s SO WORTH IT. (You can preorder on all of the places!!)

My goodreads review:

I’ve waited SO LONG for this book. And my god it did not disappoint. There are scenes of GENUINE shock. I cried at the end. I hated Longsight SO MUCH. This book rounds off the trilogy so well and I’m so proud of how far Leora came. There’s SO MUCH about this story I can’t wait to shout about.

This week is the week of inspired moodboard, so here is my Scar inspired moodboard:

scar moodboard

A massive thank you to the wonderful humans of Scholastic for sending me a copy to review… you guys are the best!

S x 

S4S – An Ode to my Favourite Genre

Happy Sunday!

How are we all this Sunday morning? What are you reading at the minute? 

It’s Sunday again, so that means it’s time for #SixforSunday. Continuing on our mission to spread love for our favourite bookish things (so far we’ve spread love to our favourite authors, illustrators, bookish couples!), we are today sharing:

An ode to favourite genre

Now, this was EASY PEASY for me. I have one resounding favourite genre. It will not surprise anyone to know my favourite genre is fantasy. So here goes, my favourite 6 things about reading fantasy books:

  1. You have some of the best main characters that could possibly exist (I could be here a while naming them all that I love, but know that it is your characters who are among some of my favourites)
  2. The worlds that are created within you are some of the most vivid and places I’d love to visit (I’d be terrified and would definitely die within minutes because I am not built for a fantasy novel)
  3. There are incredible adventures that happen within your pages (again, I’d not go on them, but I LOVE reading about them!)
  4. You have some of the WORST (best) villains who can possible exist (they’re generally horrid horrid people who I hate but who make the stories so much more incredible)
  5. MAGIC (everything about me wants to have magic, so living vicariously through your characters is just wonderful)
  6. The authors of your books are some of my favourites in the land 

YES THOUGH. I mean, I’m not a high fantasy kind of girl, but YES FANTASY. 

Don’t forget to share your #SixforSunday on twitter and let me know which genre is your favourite! 

See you next week for #SixforSunday does An Ode to Debuts

S x 

 

 

Getting to know yooou…

Today, I come at you with a little question tag! I don’t remember where I saw this first, so if it’s from you then please me know so I can thank you!

If you want to take part, please do! I love a good question and answer type tag!

1. Do you get sick while reading in the car?

Not really! I don’t remember the last time I was in a car for long enough to read though! I do read on the bus quite often though, so I wouldn’t imagine I’d get car sick. Anyone wanna go on a road trip to test this out?!

2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?

Hmmm… I always know when I’m reading a Mel or a Sara book. It has nothing to do with the fact I’m a massive fan of both ha!

3. Harry Potter Series or the Twilight Saga? Give three points to defend your answers.

I haven’t read Twilight, so this is not a debate I can engage in.

4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what’s in it (besides books…)?

I DO INDEED. My lovely friend Kelly fave me one of her Fairy Loot bags last year and ever since my books have inhabited said book bag.

5. Do you smell your books?

Erm… not intentionally?!

6. Books with or without little illustrations?

I love an illustration… PARTICULARLY if it’s on a chapter page. Those make my heart leap with joy. If you haven’t seen the inside of Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth, then PLEASE go and check it out. It is EVERYTHING that is good about chapter pages!

7. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?

I’m not sure I understand the question haha! Who am I to judge the quality of writing? If I’m enjoying it, I read it!

8. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!

Not really funny. But I knew I wanted to be a teacher from when I was about 7 because of Matilda. I was reading this book about an incredibly kind and compassionate teacher and thought ‘I wanna be that person, she’s amazing’

9. What is the thinnest book on your shelf?

Possibly The Heart Collector by Melinda Salisbury – a collection of short stories that I’ve definitely read at least 69568 times.

10. What is the thickest book on your shelf?

O LORD. Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon.

11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?

I do write, and I love creative writing. But not on a ‘I want to write a book’ level.

12. When did you get into reading?

As soon as I could read? I’ve always been a reader. My mam has always been a voracious reader, so being surrounded by books and reading since I was a child had a massively positive impact on me!

13. What is your favourite classic book?

Hmmm… The Secret Garden or Charlotte’s Web – are they classics?!

14. In school, what was your best subject?

Languages – I did French and German at GCSE. Although I really enjoyed RE at A Level.

15. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated… what would you do?

Totally depends who gave it to me!

16. What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or The Hunger Games?

The Paper Magician trilogy by Charlie N Holmberg is a completely incredibly YA fantasy series that so many people sleep on.

17. What is a bad habit you always do (besides rambling) while filming?

Lol, me, booktube? No one needs that.

18. What is your favourite word?

Favourite word changes quite often. I love new words. Please send me your favourite words.

19. Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb? Or all of the above?

Lol a dweeb to a Geordie is an affectionate way of calling someone an idiot. But then I don’t know the difference between a dork and a nerd… so who knows!!

20. Vampires or Fairies? Why?

Urgh. Fairies if I really had to.

21. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?

Shapeshifters – IMAGINE BEING ABLE TO TURN INTO ANYTHING YOU WANTED! How cool.

22. Spirits or Werewolves? Why?

Spirits – who knows what’s going to happen with them around. Could be good, could be terrible.

23. Zombies or vampires? Why?

URGH – if I had to? Vampires.

24. Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?

Oh lord, these are two of my LEAST favourite tropes. I’m gonna have to go forbidden love though. Love triangles are too much dramz.

25. Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?

Action packed with love scenes in – then I get the best of both worlds – winner!

That was fun! I’m sure those answers were mean to be quick fire… but I did not manage to be quick fire haha!

S x

BOOK BLOG: Queen Mel

(hello, it’s me, I suggest you go grab yourself a cup of tea and a few biscuits if you’re here for the long run! I could be here a while… are you sitting comfortably? Then I guess we can begin!)

Song of Sorrow: SO BLOODY GOOD.

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“Sorrow Ventaxis has won the election, and in the process lost everything…
Governing under the sinister control of Vespus Corrigan, and isolated from her friends, Sorrow must to find a way to free herself from his web and save her people. But Vespus has no plans to let her go, and he isn’t the only enemy Sorrow faces as the curse of her name threatens to destroy her and everything she’s fought for.”

For anyone who is new around here (hello, introduce yourself to me, I’m quite friendly), I would just like to say now that I am one of the biggest Melinda Salisbury fans and this review will definitely reflect that. So if you’re not interested in that, then please check out something else on my blog…

If you’re still reading, then hello, welcome to Steph loved Song of Sorrow so much that it took her a long time to write this review and appreciates your patience and understanding. If you fancy reading my review of State of Sorrow, check it out here!

So, Song of Sorrow (let’s call it Song because that’s fewer words to read and type) continues on from where State of Sorrow leaves off. Sorrow Ventaxis is living her life, ruling her country after her dad died and she fought to be the ruler. She’s having to deal with some pretty shitty politics and, in turn, politicans. She has friends, but she definitely has enemies. Then let’s not forget to mention there are people who she doesn’t really KNOW/isn’t sure where they stand on the old love/loathe scale. Song follows Sorrow into the world of what happens once she’s got to being the ruler and the escapades that ensue with friends, family, secrets, lies, manipulation, love, hate and a little bit of magic. 

I’m going to try and make this review as un-spoilery as possible, but be warned, I have feelings that I need to talk about! My notes, which normally are a few bullet points, is a whole page, FILLED with things to talk about. If you wanna see my mood board I created for Song of Sorrow, go check it out here. Just look at my happy little face man when I received the book. 

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The first thing I want to say is Song of Sorrow was everything I wanted, many things I didn’t expect, but quintessential Queen Mel brilliance. When I started reading, I expected there to be much death, violence, horror and I was VERY scared for some of my absolute faves. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll go through this book and BE scared for our woman of the moment, Sorrow, but there’s so much more to this book that I didn’t expect. BUT I LOVED THAT. I loved that I couldn’t predict what was going to happen next. I was constantly surprised. I read the entire book on the edge of my seat and on the verge of MANY emotions. There’s moments of light and dark. There’s learning and growing. There’s a lot of love surrounded by moments of hatred and despair. There’s horrible actions paired with acts of compassion and love. This book manages to be hard and soft at the same time and I loved it. 

While I’m talking emotions… let’s just talk about them. I felt THEM ALL. I had SO SO many OMG moments. I laughed; I was shocked; I cried; I was angry; I was scared; I was relieved. There’s a few pages where you go from sheer shock and fear to complete and utter relief. You have no idea how much my heart was appeased when things went from TERRIBLE to brilliant (if you’ve read the book, you’ll know EXACTLY the bit I mean). I was so genuinely terrified for Sorrow at one point that when you have the reveal, I wanted to cry and/or punch someone with relief. Poor Sorrow goes through so much in this book – I definitely felt like I was going through it with her! There’s some proper lush moments of humour though too. One familiar returning face managed to bring a lot of light and laughter into the book (more on him later).

You may be in the familiar world of Sorrow’s life, but there is SO MUCH MORE in this second book. You get to follow Sorrow around on her travels to visit all of her worlds to see the people of the land. You learn so much more about the make up of the world and the world is just build up so much more from book 1. Mel writes such brilliantly vivid worlds that I didn’t think it was possible to understand the world more from book 1, but I loved that I got to know more about the world in Song. If you’re looking for an author who GENUINELY immerses you in their worlds, then look no further than Melinda Salisbury. Her worlds are so gorgeous, so vivid and so well described that you could quite happily walk along the road in your head and know exactly what was coming next and what was around you. 

So you’re in the familiar world and of course there are familiar faces left, right and centre. We have our woman of the moment, Sorrow, who is being Sorrow – stubborn, determined, brilliant, sassy, terrified, brave Sorrow. I love her so much. She grows a lot in Song. Just as Twylla did through The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy, Sorrow goes on an incredible journey learning a lot about herself and making decisions which change her life. She finds out some things about herself in this second book and I appreciated it a lot (I mean, Sorrow is a bookworm which I DIG). She obviously continues to push people away to try and keep them safe, which in reality doesn’t work. Oh Sorrow. You are a disaster, but we love you.

Sorrow is very lucky (and in some cases not so lucky) to have some recurring characters in her life. All of who I love (even when I think they’re the absolute worst). Irris continues to be that best friend that Sorrow needs. Irris is one of my favourite best friends that you have in books. She’s just very constant and Sorrow needs a constant. I have a lot of love for Irris. Vespus returns to wreak havoc all over the world. God, I hate that man. SO MUCH. (My notes just say ‘Vespus tho’)  I get that he has a motive that he THINKS is the best thing for his country… but NO. I don’t appreciate you blackmailing my girl. Charon continues to be that father figure that Sorrow has always needed. I forgot how much I adored Charon from book 1, so when he returned for this book, I was DELIGHTED. Rasmus is back and I LOVED the resolution for the Rasmus/Sorrow relationship that happens. I think Rasmus is a brilliant representation of the fact that you CAN be friends with people who have meant a lot to you. Mael is still around and still creating unanswered questions for Sorrow (and me… Mel, I’m looking at you!)

GUYS. LUVIAN THO. It makes me so sad that I can’t be spoilery in this review… but I really don’t want to spoil it for you. Luvian has SUCH A GOOD BOOK. He’s such a bloody brilliant brilliant thing for Sorrow. He’s funny, charming, smart, sexy, snarky. There are some incredibly touching moments between Luvian and Sorrow in Song and I just want a book of Luvian/Sorrow please. I loved the exploration of Luvian’s family and his relationship with Sorrow in this book. The ending of State of Sorrow leaves their relationship in a very precarious place, so when I found that it was going to be explored more in Song I was DELIGHTED. I had waited A LONG TIME to get more Luvian Fen in my life… and this book did NOT let me down. (Please, if you love Luvian as much as me, I need you to talk to me. I want to start a Luvian Fen fan club)

There’s also some brilliant new additions to Sorrow’s world that enrich it a lot. So we find out more about Luvian’s family of one of the best characters to come out of Sorrow’s world. (I won’t spoil HOW we come about being with Luvian’s family because that’s one of my FAVE things about this book and SPOILERZ). We meet his mam, Beata, who I was TERRIFIED of initially. She’s TERRIFYING. She’s like this brilliant, scary, powerful Mama Bear. Poor Sorrow when she meets this terrifying mama bear… you’ll see she’s not so bad though. We find more about Luvian’s family in general through the book, but another of his family we see more of is his brother, Arkady. Guys, he’s like a brickhouse. I just imagine him being built like a proper house and scary af. He’s a PROPER softie though. He has a lovely little arc with another of our familiar friends and I LOVED IT. Outside of Luvian’s family, we meet Vespus’ new wife Tassus. GUYS JUST NO. This woman terrified me. She’s got a power that just makes me VERY scared. She’s NOT OK. She’s PERFECT for Vespus’ plans however. We all know what a terrible human he is. (My notes for Tassus just say “creepy wife” which I think are a perfcect description of her!)

I may have finished this book a few weeks ago but I am still not quite over it. The way in which this book ended just blew my mind. I think it’s just the perfect ending. I love that Sorrow has taken control of her life. She’s empowered and doing something for her, without the shadow of the rest of the world hanging over her. There’s a LOT that happens in the last few chapters and it’s a lot to process. There’s a particular bit when shit goes down in the castle and my god… it was INTENSE. A fitting end for some of the characters however. I still have some unanswered questions, but I think I need to put those questions to bed. As Mel told me, I know what I need to know. 

The book hangover is real! I can’t wait to see what’s next from Mel. I know that Sorrow’s story is over, but I just need more. I don’t care who I’m introduced to next. I know it’ll be brilliant. I’m very sad this duology is over; I grew very fond of Sorrow and her world. I will definitely be finding myself rereading these books though (for Luvian more than anything!).

A massive massive thank you to Scholastic for sending me an early copy of this book, and to Mel for having her amazing launch on a Saturday so I was able to go along and celebrate this book with her! 

If you want to buy this book, which you probably should, it’s available now on Amazon, Waterstones (if you buy it on/at Waterstones, you may even get the very fancy sprayed edges version like the one below) and every other book selling place. 

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Now, I need to go and have a lie down. I’m sure you do too.

S x