Mid Year Freak Out Tag

Hello hello hello!

I saw this tag over on Charlotte’s blog (and I’m sure I did it last year too!) and thought ‘yeah, we’re now in June, that’s the middle of the year, I guess we can do this tag now!’. So here we go… my Mid-Year Freak Out Tag.

The Best Book You’ve Read This Year. 

LOL KAY. I’m going to go like top 3 MG and top 3 YA books I’ve read this year because one is TOO HARD. Sue me.
No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter (YA)
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa WIlliamson
Song of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury (YA)
Rumblestar by Abi Elphinstone (MG)
The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson (MG)
Jemima Small versus the Universe by Tamsin Winter (MG)

The Best Sequel You’ve Read This Year

Again, so many. I’ve read quite a few sequels this year. My faves would have to be:
Song of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury (duh)
The Fandom Rising by Anna Day
A Girl Called Shameless by Laura Steven
Against all Gods by Maz Evans (man, I’m still so sad this series is over)

New Releases You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To. 

LOL. I have SO MANY books that I want to read. However probably the biggest name on my list at the minute is On The Come Up by Angie Thomas (shut up, I know).

Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of the Year. 

Most of my anticipated books were out in the beginning of the year but some of them are still to come, like:
Return to Wonderland by various MG authors
No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter (I’ve read it, it’s exceptional, I can’t wait for the rest of the world to catch up)
A Pocketful of Stars by Aisha Bushby (again, I’ve read it, it’s amazing, it’s going to go down a STORM)

Biggest Disappointment

I hate questions like this, but I do have an answer. I think (like Charlotte) Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus was a let down. After the amazingness of One of Us is Lying, it needed to be brilliant.

Biggest Surprise

And Then I Turned into a Mermaid by Laura Steven. Laura writes incredible YA books, so I was THRILLED to hear there would be MG books and it is just wonderful. It’s hilarious, it’s fun and it’s going down a storm at school.

Favourite New to You or Debut Author

Favourite debuts? Kesia Lupo and Aisha Bushby (her debut novel comes out later this year!)

Favourite new to me? Laura Bates (The Burning is EXCEPTIONAL)

Newest Fictional Crush

Luvian Fen. Forever. Next.

Newest Favourite Character

Jemima Small from Jemima Small versus the Universe by Tamsin Winter. That book is important and it’s wonderful. I will fight for it til the day I die.

Book That Made You Cry

LOL ALL OF THEM. But recently The Art of Being Normal and They Both Die at the End just RUINED me.

Book That Made You Happy

SO MANY OF THE BOOKS. I cry with all of the emotions to be honest. Some faves from this year so far:
Song of Sorrow by Queen Mel (that ending is EVERYTHING I wanted)
The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G.Drews
Boot by Shane Hegarty (cutest thing ever)
Ghost by Jason Reynolds (Coach is a character who deserves ALL of the praise)
High Rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson (this was SUCH fun)

Favourite Book to Film Adaptation

I can honestly say with my hand on my heart that I haven’t seen any this year so far? I’d like to see Aladdin though!

Favourite Post You Have Done This Year

This is a HARD question. I’ll be honest though, anything that’s personal and comes from my soul to you guys probably gets the trophy. Also, any time I’ve done a mood board also shows that it’s something special. I just love blogging and I will continue to do so for a very long time.

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

Do you mean by appearance or by story? Appearance probably Song of Sorrow (dem sprayed edges though) or Circe (that cover is just gorgeous and shiny). Story-wise… ALL OF THEM. 

What Books Do You Need To Read By The End of the Year

There is only one answer to this question: Angie Thomas’ books.

But also… whatever I want? Ha!

What do you think? 
Agree with my thoughts?
Do you fancy trying this? (It’s much harder than it looks… TRUST ME!)

S x

S4S – Baddies who deserve their own stories

Hello there!

How are we all on this lovely Sunday? It is a lot sunnier today than it has been this week (which makes me very happy). This weather is ironic considering what today’s topic of #SixforSunday‘ing is! I’m loving this month’s tags (I know I shouldn’t say that cause it’s my tag, but whatever!) and it’s really fun seeing what you all think too! 

Today’s topic of thought is:

Baddies who deserve their own stories

Now those of you who know me know that I am a BIG fan of a hero, but I have to say, I do enjoy a good villain EVERY now and again! I chose all of these for the same reason: I want to know WHY they are the people they have become!

  1. Vespus – State of Sorrow duology
    So much hatred for this man. He might be the actual worst. I want to understand where he got it from, LIKE WHY VESPUS?! 
  2. Mayor Longsight – Ink trilogy
    Gosh I hate him. He’s such a BAD person, but I think knowing his life story would be REALLY interesting. 
  3. Father John – After the Fire
    I’m sure he doesn’t see himself as a villain, but I most certainly do. I’d love to delve deeper into his psyche to know what makes him tick. 
  4. Beck’s mam – A Thousand Perfect Notes
    This book BROKE MY SOUL. Beck is such an angel and his mam is an absolute COWBAG (I want to use stronger, more sweary words, but I shall refrain!)
  5. Scythe Goddard – Scythe trilogy
    THIS MAN IS ONE OF THE WORST. I don’t wanna spoil it for people who haven’t read Scythe yet (if you haven’t, then why haven’t you please?!), but my gosh, he’s a BAD person.
  6. Miss Trunchbull – Matilda
    She’s like the WORST headteacher in fiction. How she got that job is beyond me. But I’d love to know what made her so horrible!

And there you go, my 6 baddies who I want to see a backstory from. Some surprises, some not so surprises!

Remember to share yours using #SixforSunday

See you next week for Couples who deserve a sequel (we know I love a good ship!)

S x 

The One Where I Read Two Books In One Day And Cried…

Hello. 

If you know me, you know I cry at all of the books.

I decided to read two books in one day the other day. Both of them which would make me cry. 

Why did you decide that? I hear you cry.

BECAUSE I AM A FOOL. A FOOL.

However, since I read them both, I figured I would write quick reviews of them because they were BOTH incredible and they need to be read ok? Excellent. 

Image result for art of being normal

The Art of Being Normal – Lisa Williamson

Two boys. Two secrets.
David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl. On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in year eleven is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long…

The Art of Being Normal tells the stories of David and Leotwo boys who are going through A LOT. David wants to be a girl: he knows he’s in the wrong body. Leo wants to be forgotten: he wants no attention. These two boys are so very different, but there’s something that they very much have in common (something I did NOT see coming). What you get when you put these two boys together is a brilliant story of unlikely friendships, solid bonds and an awful lot of tears! (I cried for the last 50 pages)

I loved this book so so much. The thing that stands out the most about this book is the incredible portrayal of relationships (between families, friends, enemies) and the power that these relationships have on our day to day life. You see the two boys’ relationship grow in front of your eyes and realise that sometimes the most important relationships you have in life are the non-romantic ones – it’s friendships built on love, respect and acceptance. You get to explore the incredible relationships between siblings; with parents and their children; not only that but negative relationships like the one between bullies and their victim; misunderstood relationships between parents and children. 

This book doesn’t shy away from the issues around a main character who is transgender and I really respect that. There’s discussions about all kinds of thtmes: clothing, acceptance, body image, coming out to parents, coming out to friends, bullying. I think this book has a place in every teenager’s life and I think it’s important. I don’t know why it’s stayed on my TBR for so long. If you haven’t picked it up yet you absolutely should. I want to give Leo a massive hug because I adore him.

Image result for they both die at the end uk

They Both Die at the End – Adam Silvera

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

Imagine living in a world where you get a phone call to tell you that you’re going to die that same day. JUST HOLD THAT IN YOUR HEAD FOR A MINUTE. IMAGINE THAT. (I can’t, it’s too big an idea for my head, I don’t know where I would start, who I would see, what I would do. I think I’d be too overwhelmed and just cry for a day) This book explores a world where this is the reality. A reality for two teenagers who are told they’re going to die before midnight. 

We meet Rufus and Mateo, two very different boys, who have been given their call. They’ve got one more day on this earth. Mateo needs someone to help him along on his day otherwise he’ll just end up in his bedroom all day. He needs to tell his dad he loves him and his best friend. Rufus needs to say bye to his family, to the girl he loves. These two meet and what happens is a wonderful story about how sometimes you can meet the person you need most when you need them most.

The two boys grow together and change massively through the day. Rufus starts his story beating someone up and by the end his actions couldn’t be more gentle and caring. Rufus doesn’t push Mateo to do the things: he’s just there and him being there makes Mateo more brave. These boys do more for each other in one day than I think some people can do for each other in years. 

This book BROKE MY HEART. It tells us in the title what’s going to happen, but my god I was NOT prepared. Typical Adam Silvera breaking my heart. Again, you need to read this book. It’s just wonderful and it makes you think. 

There we go – two books, one day, LOT OF TEARS. 

RECOMMEND ME MORE BOOKS THAT WILL MAKE ME CRY.

I love a good cry!

S x 

BLOG TOUR: Dino Knights

Dino Knights: a rip-roaring adventure! 

DINO KNIGHTS

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. 

  • Title: Dino Knights
  • Writer: Jeff Norton
  • Illustrator: George Ermos
  • Publication: June 6th (so it’s out now, woohoo!)
  • Publisher: Awesome Reads
  • Fancy this? Check it on Amazon now: CLICK ME!

Let’s start off with the fact that Henry is a DINOSAUR STABLE BOY. None of this horse riding business, DINOSAUR RIDING. That was enough to get me to pick this up! 

Dino Knights is a brilliant adventure story, perfect for those of us in the world who love a bit of fantasy. Pitched as perfect for fans of Beast Quest, I would have to agree. THe writing style is perfectly pitched for children who love those adventures! There’s everything you could ask for: dinosaurs, dragons and battles. I loved that there was such a fast pace to it, without anything getting lost. The chapters are a great length too – perfect for kids who have found independent reading and who want to run with it! The characters are brilliant and the adventure will keep kids hooked. It’s hard not to like the underdog, and with the good vs bad scenario, kids are BOUND to get hooked. 

The ending of the first book is a wonderful little snippet for what’s to come in book two. It’s PERFECT to keep children hooked and wanting to read on. I do love a good teaser and to know this is going to be a series is brilliant! Keeps children talking about books and wanting to read more. This is a great one for recommending to children who are just finding that fantasy is their thing too. 

A massive thank you to the publishers Awesome Reads for inviting me on this blog tour! I had a blast and I can’t wait to share this book with the kids at school. 

Why don’t you go check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour and see what they thought? Dino Knights is OUT NOW!

Dino Knights Blog Tour Poster

To find out more about author Jeff Norton please visit his website:
– http://jeffnorton.com

You can discover more about illustrator George Ermos right here:
– http://sadhanaillustration.blogspot.com/

And publisher, Awesome Reads have lots more to offer on their website:
– https://awesomereads.com/

S x 

Final half term contemplations…

Ello, ello, ello

So for those of you who are new around here, hi, I’m Steph, an NQT in a gorgeous little primary school in Newcastle. I love my job, I love where I work, I have the best colleagues in the world. My road to teaching hasn’t been conventional, but I got there in the end. I was a TA for 4 years, then I became a HLTA, then I realised that yes in fact teaching was the thing that I wanted to do for the rest of time, so I got my degree (as well as working full time) and then, last year, I finally qualified. So this year has been my NQT year. I work with a brilliant bunch of kids who make me laugh EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Now that we’re at my final half term, I’m just gonna share some musings, some thoughts, some questions, some wonderings about my final half term and maybe, just maybe, what I would like the future to hold.

  • Teaching is completely and utterly for me.
    It’s hard, it’s really exhausting at times and there’s more things to think about than brain space sometimes, but it’s the only thing I want to be doing for the rest of time (cause let’s be real, I’m going to be working until I’m 100). I invite anyone who thinks my job is “easy” to come and join me for a day or two… then you’ll see.
  • The politics of teaching is just ridiculous at times.
    I try not to get involved in the politics of teaching, but there is more of it than I realiased and that’s not fun. I get it, I get it, but man, I came into teaching to be a teacher, not a politician.
  • I do this job because I love it, but yes the holidays are great.
    People are ALWAYS commenting on this… and yes I can’t get away from the fact that the amount of holidays I get is wonderful (I would never deny this) but equally half terms are NEEDED.
  • I want to enjoy teaching for a while.
    People ask me (quite regularly) about going into management and senior leadership and while that’s not something I don’t want, I didn’t qualify just so I could be on someone’s SLT. It would be great to find myself with the responsibility of being a leader one day, but not just yet. I wanna actually master this craft before I try my hand at something else. One day I would like to see myself as a leader, but at the minute I don’t see headship in my future.
  • The subjects I thought would be the scariest haven’t been.
    I was DREADING teaching PE, absolutely dreading it, but actually, it’s become one of my favourite things to teach. Is it the thing I’m best at teaching? Gosh no, but it’s just so FUN. I’ve HAD to open my eyes and upskill myself and that’s been great.
  • Twitter is a wonderful platform for teachers.
    Do I feel like an imposter at times? Yes.
    Do I think why do these people care about what I think at times? Yes.
    Do I sometimes worry that my voice isn’t needed? Yes.
    But let me tell you, twitter teachers are the best, most caring and giving people you can come across. Find yourself a bunch of teachers who make you laugh, challenge you professionally and who support you and you’re laughing. I’m so very lucky that I found my tweacher friends quite quickly and they’re the best bunch ever.
  • Don’t be scared to get involved in conversations and attend events.
    There are so many conversations happening all the time and if you’re passionate about something then join in. People will challenge what you think and people will support what you think – if you’ve got the gusto to go out there and talk about something you’re passionate about do it. Yes there’ll be people who say things to antagonise you, but you choose the conversations you join in and the people you surround yourself with. There are SO SO many teaching events to get along to so get yourself out there and do it (it’s terrifying, but it’s worth it). Look up #BrewEd – there’s bound to be one near you happening.
  • Some lessons won’t go to plan and that’s life.
    I beat myself up SO SO MUCH about this and slowly, I’m realising that I’m human and bad lessons happen. It doesn’t make me a bad teacher, it just means I need to take a step back and think about why it didn’t go as well as I thought. I never did quite understand the whole “doing reflections” thing from my SCITT, but now it’s something I do without even realising (rarely are they written down, but it’s all in my head and it’s all useful)
  • It’s not a bad thing to ask for help.
    Asking for help is such an important tool. I encourage my kids to do it ALL THE BLOODY TIME but I’m so bad at it because I see it as a weakness (isn’t that mad?!) but I’ve got better. I’m still not great at it, but I’m getting there.
  • Ask all of the questions, even if you think they’re stupid questions
    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A STUPID QUESTION. Say it again. Ask it again because you might not get the chance to ask it again.
  • Stick to your guns about something
    If you believe in something, or you think something isn’t right, then stick with your gut. I’ve had to do this a few times this year and I’ve been right every time. If there’s one thing I believe in in this job it’s that teachers know their kids. If something’s not right with your job, your workload, you, one of your kids, talk to someone about it. People are generally ridiculously supportive.

I have a load more to say but I’ve already rattled on for 1000 words (sorry guys).

I’ve loved my NQT year with all of my heart. It’s been exhausting, incredible, moving, frustrating, emotional and so many other words. I know this is just the first step up a VERY BLOODY LONG staircase, but it’s the only staircase I wanna climb

Thanks for sticking with me. If you’ve got any questions or anything you wanna say, please just let me know. I’m a bit inconsistent with my teacher posts, but I think it’s something I’d like to do more of.

You’re all amazing. Let’s have a brilliant final summer half term! 

S x

S4S – Characters who deserve their own stories…

HOLA AMIGOS

(I don’t know why I start my blog posts in another language… am I the only one!?)

Today is Sunday. You all know what that means. It’s the return of #SixforSunday. WOOHOO. Do you guys all love it too?!

LOVING all of your guys’ posts by the way! Keep up the good work.

Today we are talking:

Characters who deserve their own stories

I’m taking on 6 characters who I love the most who I think deserve their own stories! Now that I’ve thought about this I want them all to be written so if we could make that happen that would be wonderful thank you very kindly authors.

  1. Luvian Fen (State of Sorrow/Song of Sorrow)
    LUVIAN LUVIAN LUVIAN. This one will come as no surprise to anyone for I love Melinda Salisbury and Luvian Fen more than I love life. He’s a brilliant human and he deserves his own book. Imagine knowing more about how he came to be the man we all know and love? YES THO.
  2. Obel (Ink trilogy)
    GOD. I LOVE HIM. I think he deserves his own book. I wanna know more about him. He’s just great. Plus, he’s totally swoon worthy too.
  3. Betty (The Exact Opposite of Okay/A Girl Called Shameless)
    For those of us who have not read TEOOO, Betty is Izzy O’Neill’s grandmother and she is a BLOODY BRILLIANT CHARACTER. I love her so much. I’d love to know more about Betty’s upbringing. Laura, make it happen.
  4. Charles (Rooftoppers)
    I JUST LOVE HIM OK?
  5. Bartholomew (Everdark)
    I love Abi Elphinstone’s writing and as soon as I was introduced to Bartholemew, I KNEW that I needed to know more about him. He’s so funny and witty and I bet he has a good few cracking stories to tell the world!
  6. Scythe Faraday (Scythe/Thunderhead)
    Just yes. 100% want. I think he’s a great role model and he’s a brilliant character. I just want the stories about the good guys!

And there you go. As you see all of these characters are good guys… next week I have 6 baddies who deserve their own stories. *shudder* #teamgoodguys

See you next week!

S x

A-Z Book Tag

Hola friends and amigos and people alike!

BONUS SATURDAY POST.

I saw this over on Charlotte’s blog recently and thought it seemed like a fun tag to take on… so here is my:

A-Z Book Tag

Author you’ve read the most books from: 

Hmmm… probably Matt Haig, Melinda Salisbury or Roald Dahl. 

Best Sequel Ever: 

Best sequel EVER? Are you having a giraffe? Golly gosh and gah. Song of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury is pretty epic. Simply the Quest by Maz Evans is brilliant. Fierce Fragile Hearts by Sara Barnard is WELL WORTH A READ. I can’t choose one and you can’t make me.

Currently Reading: 

Evie and the Animals by Matt Haig. I bought it and then I was reading something else, but then it kept whispering to me, so I had to pick it up and read it!

Drink of Choice While Reading: 

A bit like Charlotte, it depends WHERE I’m reading. If I’m in Starbucks, it’ll be an iced coffee (usually), but if I’m at home, it’ll be a cup of tea or a can of Diet Coke.

E-reader or Physical Book?: 

NORMALLY physical book because I am TERRIBLE at remembering to charge my kindle!

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School: 

LOL. Erm… I’d love to say someone like Izzy O’Neill because she’s BRILLIANT but in real life I’m far too shy and she’s far too cool for me.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance: 

Like Charlotte, I’m glad I gave Circe by Madeline Miller a shot. It’s not what I would usually read BUT MY GOSH I LOVED IT. (Queen Mel recommended it, so who am I to ignore her?!)

Hidden Gem book:

The Paper Magician trilogy by Charlie N Holmberg. Guys you need to stop sleeping on ths trilogy.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

Reading Matilda. It’s one of the first books I have VIVID memories of reading and thinking “oh my gosh, THIS is why books are so special” but it also introduced me to Miss Honey who is my absolute hero teacher.

Just Finished: 

The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell. Really great and funny adventure!

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
There’s very few genre of books that are OUT of my line of sight, but anything too scary and I am like NOPE NOPE NO THANKS. Also, don’t throw me anything boring. I don’t do that life. Life’s too short to read boring books.

Longest Book You’ve Read

Hmmm… maybe one of the Rebel of the Sands books? They get pretty hefty BUT so so worth it!

Major book hangover because of:

Man, I get book hangovers after most books. The biggest book hangover recently though was probably Song of Sorrow because man, I was NOT ready for that. OR No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter because that book is EVERYTHING I need.

Number of Bookcases You Own: 

One. I know. A bookish gal like me. I need more thanks.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

Long time readers of this blog will know that I’m not really a re-reader, but Matilda is probably one of the few books I’ve reread. Also Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Milwood Hargrave. That book is exceptional.

Preferred Place To Read:

SOMEWHERE COMFY

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read: 

I JUST HAVE LOADS. Don’t make me choose one okay?

Reading Regret: 

Reading books that I probably didn’t want to get to the end of? I’m quite stubborn in that if I start a book I WILL get to the end.

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):

Oooooh. I shall have to consult the oracle that is Goodreads to see if this is a thing in my life. I do not know. I shall have to have a think!

Three of your All-Time Favourite Books: 

LOLOL. Who are you kidding? I think we all know the answer to this question (it would feature Mel and Sara… we know).
So, I’m going to do with 3 of my favourite books I’ve read recently (breaking the rules, deal with it):
Jemima Small versus the Universe by Tamsin Winter
Meat Market by Juno Dawson
No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

The Toll by Neal Shusterman. It’s the 3rd book in the Scythe trilogy and I NEED IT NOW.

Worst Bookish Habit: 

I don’t have any bad bookish habits. I am a delight
(Reading books and then not writing my review/notes for weeks and then coming to write my review and then having no recollection of what the book was about and just knowing that I loved it and everyone should read it but not being able to put that into cohesive words and phrases)

Your latest book purchase: 

Evie and the Animals by Matt Haig.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late): 

Hmmm… Shadowscent by P.M.Freestone. That book is WELL WORTH staying up late for. WELL WORTH. Please go and read it.

That was well worth the time!

If you fancy doing this tag, GO FOR IT!

Let me know if any of my answers surprised you, or if you have any comments. I’d love to talk!

S x

BLOG POST: Morag Hood

Morning friends!

Today we have a very special post from author Morag Hood who is here to talk about how she came up with her character Sophie Johnson and how she developed. 

Sophie front

I love hosting authors because it’s really interesting getting an inside peek at their creative processes. 

Where did the idea for Sophie come from and how did she develop?

The character of Sophie initially came about when I was thinking about picture books in general. One of the things I like most about the format is the tension that can be created between the words and the pictures. I’ve always especially enjoyed books where the reader knows what is going on better than the characters themselves. I think I am probably quite in touch with my inner four-year-old and I seem to remember relishing that feeling of being in on the joke and being smarter than the characters in a book. It was with this in mind that I started playing around with the idea of the main character being oblivious to what is going on around them, and Sophie started to emerge.

She has been such a fun character to write and develop. She is very forthright and certain, despite not necessarily having understood a situation, and she loves to explain everything, while in actual fact knowing very little about what is truly going on! Once I worked out her voice and perspective on life, I started to come up with scenarios in which she could shine.

My editor at Simon & Schuster, Helen Mackenzie Smith, gave me a brilliant note about thinking of Sophie as giving an interview about herself and I try to hold that in my head whenever I am writing for Sophie. The first book, Unicorn Expert, came about partly because it was the first book I was writing for someone else to illustrate and I tried to think of something I wasn’t very keen on drawing but would be fun for another illustrator! And then I had so much fun with the first one that I wanted to give Sophie some other things to do. She became a Detective Genius because, as well as having a personal love of detective stories, I felt it would give lots of room for her getting things wrong and missing some fairly obvious clues. I always enjoyed the rather hapless police officers who are outwitted by clever detectives such as Hercule Poirot, or Jessica Fletcher, so having Sophie outwitted by her dog seemed to fit well into her world.

Sophie Johnson has been such a fun character to create and work with, dancing the fine line of being over-confident while still being likeable. I think a lot of that likeability comes from Ella Okstad’s joyful illustrations. It really has been a treat to see how the book has come together with Ella’s input. The pictures are so full of life and really help to make Sophie endearing.

Sophie Johnson: Detective Genius is a WONDERFUL picture book and it has the most incredible cover. It is sparkly goodness. 

9781471145650

Sophie Johnson studied very hard to become a detective and it’s a good thing she did – there has been a terrible crime!
Someone has stolen Lion’s tail. Unfortunately, this means that Sophie doesn’t have time to train her new (and not very good) assistant, Bella. However, is it possible that, while Sophie is busy rounding up suspects, she doesn’t see that Bella may be better than she thinks?
The Sophie Johnson series is perfect for bright young minds and great fun to read aloud as children spot what’s really happening in the story right under Sophie’s nose!

Sophie Johnson: Detective Genuis is out now! You should all go and pick it up!

Massive thank you to Morag and the publishers at Simon and Schuster for inviting me to share this wonderful blog post! Happy reading!

S x 

May in books

Hi friends!

Sorry I’ve been a bit sporadic posting the past few weeks… it’s been half term and to be honest I’ve just beenb enjoying being off. Normal service will resume from now: I promise!

Today I’m here to wrap up my May reading! 

In May, I:

Spent some time on half term enjoying books.
Loved the sunshine!
Had a few wobbles, but kept on my feet.
Finally started getting excited for YALC.
Started running.
Spent time on the beach with my class.
Started a mystery book in the classroom and my kids are LOVING it. 
Read 10 books.

So let’s get started!

Let’s start with YA because that’s the smaller of the two!

In May, I read 4 YA books!

2019 may ya

Some absolute bangers this month. Watch of for reviews of all of them in the coming weeks. Man, I do love a good mix of books!

The Deathless Girls – Kiran Milwood Hargrave
Shadowscent – P.M.Freestone
Alex in Wonderland – Simon James Green
The Year I Didn’t Eat – Samuel Pollen

Now to the MG books!

2019 may mg

This collection of kids books sees some of my favourite kinds of books. I can’t wait to share my reviews of these in the coming months! Massive massive shout outs for Jemima Small, Can You See Me and And Then I Turned Into A Mermaid: brilliant female voices and ALL so different.

Can You See Me – Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott
The Good Thieves – Katherine Rundell
Jemima Small Versus the Universe – Tamsin Winter
And Then I Turned Into A Mermaid – Laura Kirkpatrick
Not My Fault – Cath Howe
The Unexpected Find – Toby Ibbotson

And there we have it… all the books I read in May!

HOW AM I DOING FOR MY BOOK CHALLENGES?

GOODREADS CHALLENGE: 65/52
#52BOOKS CHALLENGE (JUST KIDS BOOKS): 35/52

Thanks for stopping by! Talk to me!

How did you do with your reading in May? 
What were your stand out books from last month?
Do you agree with any of my faves from May?

What would you recommend me from your 2019 reading list?

See you soon!

S x

Friends Tag: Sam-o Edition

HELLO.

Today is an exciting day. Today I have a star guest poster… please put your hands together in rapturous applause for none other than S from Charlotte Somewhere’s Blog. For those who haven’t heard of S, he is Charlotte’s son and his opinions are brilliant. Some of his highlights include: S’s thoughts on Harry PotterS does The Greatest Showman tag and 

Today he is here to take on my Friends Tag! I haven’t posted a response to the Friends Tag for a while, so this is a proper treat! 

1. A book you had a problem with: 
Image result for the christmasaurus tom fletcher
The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher because I could not understand it because it talks about too many different complicated things.
 
2. Book or series that ended satisfyingly: 
Image result for sam wu is not afraid of sharks
Sam Wu is Not Afraid of the Dark by Katie and Kevin Tsang because Sam, Bernard, Zoe, Regina and Stanley got a certificate for being a master of the dark.
3. A firm favourite: 
Image result for philosopher's stone
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone because it’s all about a boy that saves everyone from a dark wizard. 
4. A author you can always rely on: 
J. K. Rowling or Roald Dahl. 
5. Book / Series that took a while to grow on you: 
Image result for sam wu is not afraid of ghosts
Sam Wu is Not Afraid of Ghosts by Katie and Kevin Tsang and I did not like that straight away because it was a bit scary but then I loved it. 
6. Like cover but not the story: 
Image result for i killed father christmas
I Killed Father Christmas by Anthony McGowan and I didn’t like the story because I thought that Father Christmas was actually dead. 
7. Book that’s been on TBR forever: 
Image result for doctor proctor's fart powder
The Fart Powder one (Doctor Procter’s Fart Powder by Jo Nesbo) 
8. LGBT book:
Image result for star spun web
I have got no idea for this question because it does not always say on books for children who is going to love boys or girls or both, but mummy thinks that I will enjoy The Star Spun Web by Sinead O’Hart which is about a girl who has got a spider and two ladies who love each other and look after the children who don’t have any mums or dads. 

If you’d like to join in the Friends tag (here’s the blog post with all the info) or do it on your own blog PLEASE DO. Let me know and I’m more than happy to host your post!

Happy Friday everyone! Go give Charlotte’s blog a follow because S is an ABSOLUTE winner (and her blog posts are pretty stellar too… but don’t tell her I said that!)

S x