Forgotten Faves: MG edition

Hello!

How are we all today?

Today, I thought I would share with you some of my “forgotten” faves.

What is a “forgotten fave” I hear you say?

For me, a “forgotten fave” is a book that I loved reading that I don’t really ever talk about because there are 70294723940 books that instantly come to mind when I am asked for a recommendation. They’re those quietly loved books. They’re the books you love talking about when people are reading them, but they don’t come to mind instantly. They’re the books that you JUMP about when you see someone else recommending them. They’re the books that get forgotten, but that you love so.

Why am I taking to my blog and sharing my forgotten faves?

I think it’s important that books aren’t forgotten about. There are SO MANY BOOKS that are recommended to us and they’re usually either BRAND NEW BOOKS or they’re books that are recommended over and over again. It’s important that we remember books that were published more than the past few months. I am the most guilty about shouting about books that are BRAND NEW because they’re at the forefront of my mind, so this is my way of saying hello and I love you again to the books I read a while ago that I loved.

So here we go, today I’m taking on my middle grade forgotten faves (or at least 10 of them!)

Image result for A Girl Called Owl

A Girl Called Owl (and all of Amy Wilson’s books tbf) is full of magic, friendship and beauty. This is one of those books that just give you a tap of magic that remains with you forever.

Image result for a boy called hope

A Boy Called Hope is a gorgeous book. It’s one of those wonderful warm, funny and quirky books that comes along. I remember reading it in the sunshine and thinking “this is gorgeous, but also a little sad”. Canny Dan and his search to find his Dad

Image result for a darkness of dragons

A Darkness of Dragons is an amazing story – a retelling of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Anyone who loves a folktale and a brave main character will be gripped by this. I properly loved it and I can’t wait for the second book!

Image result for the trouble with perfect book

A Place Called Perfect. Man, this book. I think it’s one of the best kids, spooky, mysterious books around. I devoured this book in a matter of hours AND then the sequel too. I miss these characters, I do hope there will be more!

Image result for storm witch

I truly believe this is one of those books that is NOT talked about enough. I devoured Storm Witch quickly. It’s an incredible tale of coming of age, identity and belonging. I would LOVE to be a Storm Witch, but I truly believe I am not cool enough for a title like that hah!

Image result for candy book tidhar

This book was an absolute delight to read! Imagine Charlie and the Chocolate Factory met Bugsy Malone – that’s what you get here. Candy sees a world where sweets have been banned and there is a black market for them. I just adored this.

Image result for buried crown

The Buried Crown is a brilliant historical book. It’s got amazing characters and a memorable plot! Who wouldn’t want to read a story about a young man trying to protect the crown from Hitler?

Image result for company of eight

I read The Company of Eight almost 2 years ago now and I STILL recommend it to people. It’s one of those fantastic fantasy adventure story with old-London themes, pirates and mysterious spies. Totally one that younger me loved (grown up me absolutely did!)

Image result for eye of the north

When I first read Eye of the North, I was blown away. This is the best kind of adventure. It’s filled with messages about being brave and being kind. If you’re after something with wonderful main characters, family secrets and pretty terrifying villains, you can not go wrong with this!

Image result for goodly and grave

Another wonderful mystery story that I don’t talk about enough. The Goodly and Grave series is a firm favourite in mine – I love seeing a new book announced. This series is a brilliant tale of magic, mystery and menacing characters.

And there you go! Ten of my “forgotten faves” for now!

If you’d like to share your forgotten faves, please do! I’d love to see some of the lesser talked about books being shown some love!

See you soon!

S x

S4S – Summer TBR

Good afternoon everyone!

How are we all? What’s going on today? Today is the Wimbledon men’s final and I AM A BARREL OF NERVES. I want Roger to win so so very much. It is hurting me. Can you all say a little prayer for him to be victorious please?

Anyway, Roger aside, you are here for the trusty weekly #SixforSunday post. Today, we are talking:

Summer TBR

This is just a small selection of the books I’m hoping to get through in my glorious 6 weeks holidays. I imagine I will get through more than 6… but these are 6 that I am dying to get into!

Eliza and her Monsters – Francesca Zappia
Scars Like Wings – Erin Stewart
Lost Tide Warriors – Catherine Doyle
The Demon World – Sally Green

The Truth Pixie Goes to School – Matt Haig
Patina – Jason Reynolds

I am very lucky to have some of these already, but others I can’t wait to purchase! 

Remember to share your Summer TBR with me – I can’t wait to see what you all are planning on reading over the summer! Share your TBRs with me using #SixforSunday on twitter! I love seeing your posts!

See you next week for Seaside books

S x 

Anything but books tag

Hellooo,

I saw this tag over on Charlotte’s blog (don’t tell her I read her blog, hehe) and I thought it would be a brilliant way for you all to get to know me a little bit better… when I’m not reading books! So here we are today with the ‘Anything but Books’ tag. Let’s see how many times I manage to mention books though (what can I say? They’re a big part of my life!)

If you fancy doing this tag, please go for it!

Name a cartoon you love

A cartoon I love? I mean any Disney film. But also I love the Lego movies, they’re funny. Any kids animated movie that has jokes in for the adults, I am THERE for. I love a good animated thing. When I was growing up though, my favourite cartoon was The Jetsons or Wacky Races.

What is your favourite song right now?

I love a WHOLE different range of music. I keep coming back to the Dear Evan Hansen soundtrack and You Will Be Found is my jam. I also love Help Me Now by Kevin McHale (yes, that’s him from Glee!). I can always rely on my babe Ed Sheeran too.

What could you do for hours that isn’t reading?

Good question. Besides sleeping though? Walk at the seaside and listen to music. OR OR OR listen to podcasts. Shout out to Rosie and Chris Ramsay’s podcat ‘Shagged, Married, Annoyed’ because it’s hilarious. But also something like sit in Quilliams and just write/planning for school/planning for blogging is one of my favourite things to do. Or go to my cousin Kate’s house and just chill out with the Redshaws because they’re my faves.

What is some thing that you love that would surprise your followers?

Hmmm… I do not know. I love a war film. I really enjoy watching tennis. Gymnastics and swimming are two of my other favourites.

What is your favourite unnecessarily specific thing to learn about?

WORDS. THE ETYMOLOGY OF WORDS. OH MY LORD. I love words. I love finding new words, I love learning about how words have changed. Dear me. Do not get me started because I find it FASCINATING.

What is something unusual that you know how to do?

I genuinely believe I am not interesting enough to have an answer to this question.

Name something that you made last year and show us if you can

I decorated my classroom – does that count?

What is your most recent personal project?

Hmmm… getting through my NQT year? Learning to love myself for all that I am? How deep do you want this answer to be?

Tell us something that you think about often

How gosh darn tired I am? (That takes up a lot of my thought time)

Tell us something that is your favourite, but make it oddly specific

Sitting in one of the window seats leaning against a wall in the Starbucks in Newcastle city centre on a sunny day with a coffee (hot or cold, I dont mind) and either ginger biscuits or banana bread.

Say the first thing that pops into your head

‘I’ll be sitting up in my room, back here thinking about yooooou’ – I’ve been rewatching Terrell and Vincint’s Song Assosciation video OVER AND OVER this week because it makes me laugh so hard and I just adore them. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about and would like to, I suggest you check out THIS VIDEO on the old YT)

And that’s it folks!

Have you learned anything new about me?
Is there anything else you want to know about me?

Let me know in the comments!

S x

BOOK BLOG: Tom Pollock

Heartstream: fascinating, terrifying, mind-blowing

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Cat is in love. Always the sensible one, she can’t believe that she’s actually dating, not to mention dating a star. But the fandom can’t know. They would eat her alive. And first at the buffet would definitely be her best friend, Evie.
Amy uses Heartstream, a social media app that allows others to feel your emotions. She broadcasted every moment of her mother’s degenerative illness, and her grief following her death. It’s the realest, rawest reality TV imaginable. But on the day of Amy’s mother’s funeral, Amy finds a strange woman in her kitchen. She’s rigged herself and the house with explosives – and she’s been waiting to talk to Amy for a long time. Who is she? A crazed fan? What does she want? Amy and Cat are about to discover how far true obsession can go.

I had my first introduction to Tom Pollock’s writing through White Rabbit. Red Wolf and that book BLEW MY GOSH DARN MIND. It is incredible. When I heard Tom was writing another book, I knew that I needed to get on that ship ASAP. I was very lucky that my friend sent me his proof copy of Heartstream and I sat and read about 80% of it yesterday. MY GOSH. I don’t know that this review is going to be cohesive because the book just blew me away. 

So, what is Heartstream about?

You’re introduced to the two main characters, Amy and Cat, in the first two chapters. The book is told in a dual narrative with alternating chapters. Amy has just gone through the absolute tragedy of losing her mam and the day the book is set is the day of Amy’s mam’s funeral. Amy is a streamer – she streams on an app called Heartstream which allows the users to share their emotions with people who follow them. When Amy gets back from the funeral, there’s a crazed woman in her house with a bomb strapped to her chest. Amy can’t leave the house because the whole house has been rigged up to explosives too. As you go through the book, you live Amy’s day and live out what Cat is going through and how their two lives collide. 

That synopsis is RUBBISH and I’m sorry but if I say any more there will be SPOILERZ and that is not kind of me. Just know this from me. This story is FASCINATING. There are so many things I want to talk about that I know I can’t right now. The relationship between the two characters is NOT what I expected and there are cliffhangers aplenty in this book. It’s got more twists and turns than a maze and I was CONSTANTLY on my toes. 

The thought of living in a world where you can stream your emotions is terrifying and fascinating. Like, that’s just weird is it not? But it COULD happen. This COULD be what the future looks like. I loved that there was a real thread of technology throughout this book – there’s a bit later on with a very clever use of technology that I REALLY appreciated. I love a clever book. Tom does CLEVER brilliantly – if you’ve read Heartstream or White Rabbit. Red Wolf, you’ll know that. Something else Tom does wonderfully is he keeps you guessing ALL THE WAY. As soon as I thought I knew something, it was like BAM and no, I didn’t know that thing at all. 

I really enjoyed the dual perspective narrative. I think being able to write a book in more than one perspective is a wonderful talent to have and it is done WONDERFULLY in this book. Like properly well. You can’t beat a good bit of sleight of hand and this book TRICKS you all the way through. MAN I WANNA TALK ABOUT THIS SO MUCH BUT OMG SPOILERS. So yeah, the way this is written with dual perspective gives you the impression of one thing when in fact it is ANOTHER altogether! (I can’t say any more otherwise I WILL BE SPOILERING ALL OVER THE SHOP).

ALSO HERE for the cover love. Bloody love that cover. 

Right. I need to stop now because otherwise I am going to be spoiling this book for all of you. You need to get on the case of reading Heartstream because it is AMAZING. I was TRICKED and LURED into a false sense of security so many times. I need you all to go down those paths too. And then tell me.

Have you read Heartstream?
Do you enjoy a good dual perspective?
Can you recommend me any writers like Tom Pollock?

Talk to me! If you’ve read this book, please let me know because I NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT OK? 

S x 

p.s. so much happens in this book that I haven’t talked about because I just can’t. 

p.p.s it’s so so good. Please go and read it. I need to talk to someone about this book.

“Be happy: it drives people crazy”

Things that have made me smile recently

Books. My family. Meeting Baby Joey. Spending time with my friends. Quilliams. Tea. Breakfast. Going for walks just for time to think. Witchy Trio texts. The sunshine. Waking up to a light morning. Spending time by myself. Doing a job I know I want to do for the rest of the time, even when it’s SO BLOODY HARD sometimes. Knowing that it is almost the Summer holidays. Transition day. Meeting my new class. Overhearing people complimenting the work I’ve done this year. Looking back and seeing how far I’ve come. Allowing myself time to breathe. Texts from lovely people. Finishing two books in one day after not being able to read for ages. Lovely notes from people. Vincint. BookBitchez. Thirsty conversations. ALL OF THE GAY. Some exciting book events coming up. The thought of seeing my Welsh love in a few weeks. YALC excitement. Laughing at stupid jokes. Terrell. Dear Evan Hansen. Ed Sheeran. The Matilda soundtrack. SimplyNailogical videos. Watching tennis. Roger Federer. Wimbledon being everywhere. Watching Wimbledon with my kids and them asking 700 questions. Reflecting on the year I’ve had. Looking forward to the future. Reading amazing picture books. Reading books with the kids. Books. Always books. 

S4S – Books with sunshine on the cover

HELLO!

This is a very ironic #SixforSunday today as there is NO sunshine in Newcastle today (even though we have had nothing but sun and blue skies for days). I’m hoping to bring some sunshine into your lives via the prompt today.

Today’s topic of conversation is:

Books with sunshines on the cover

I always find these cover hunt type prompts the trickiest because I have a shoddy memory haha! So this is a real challenge for me today, but here we go!

I’ll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson
The Girl Who Came Out Of The Woods – Emily Barr
The Unexpected Find – Toby Ibbotson
Secrets of a Sun King – Emma Carroll
Mirror Magic – Claire Fayers
The Wild Robot – Peter Brown

Remember to share yours with me!

The prompts for July – December can be found here: follow the yellow click road!

Thanks so much for stopping by! I can’t wait to see which covers you chose for #SixforSunday with suns on them!

S x

 

The ULTIMATE blog tag

HOLA FRIENDS.

I come to you today with THE ULTIMATE BLOG TAG. Blame Charlotte, she tagged me in this tag, so I HAD TO do it. It’s the law right?! (Check out Charlotte’s post here)

– – –

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

Nope! I’m blessed in that sense. I can read on most forms of transport! Train and bus reading are my faves though. There’s no better way to pass time on a train than reading a book.

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

Hmmm… Laura Steven. It’s just so god damn funny. And I don’t think Laura even realises that she’s HILARIOUS.

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

I’ve only read Harry Potter, so by default that. I’ll go with magic, excellent friends and introducing me to my true identity as a Hufflepuff as my defence.

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

I DO. I carry the book I’m read in a Fairyloot bag. It lives by itself in that bag, but it lives in my handbag with the rest of my life haha.

5. Do you smell your books?

No? Should I be?

6. Books with or without little illustrations?

I do appreciate a little illustration, but only if they add to the book. I don’t enjoy them when they’re gratuitous!

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

I have no idea. I’m all about “if I enjoyed it when I was reading, then why should I really care about the quality of the writing?” especially when I’ve finished it. I don’t tend to reread, so that’s that.

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

No? I don’t think so anyway.

9. What is the thinnest book on your shelf?

Maybe The Heart Collector by Melinda Salisbury.

10. What is the thickest book on your shelf?

Priory of the Orange Tree. 100%

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

I enjoy writing stuff for school – like writing models of stories for the kids – but I have no current aspirations of being an author. Teaching is tiring and wonderful enough as it is.

12. When did you get into reading?

As far back as I can remember, I’ve been a reader. I don’t remember having a “moment”.

13. What is your favourite classic book?

Nineteen Eighty Four. Is that a classic? I haven’t read many books which would be classed as “classics” to be honest.

14. In school, what was your best subject?

Languages: English, French, German.

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

I’d gratefully accept it and then unhaul it the next time I was unhauling.

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

Erm, not similar at all, but because of the MAJIK: The Paper Magician trilogy. So many people sleep on this series and I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

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

LOL. Imagine me vlogging man. However, I think “brilliant” is one of the words I use most when I’m writing reveiws.

18. What is your favourite word?

My all time favourite word is a swear word, so I shouldn’t repeat it here.

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

Can someone please tell me what the difference between all of these are? I’m a reader, a teacher, a blogger, a sister, a friend, a daughter, a godmother, a crier, a romantic and so much more than one of those words… but if someone tells me what they mean, I’ll categorise myself!

20. Vampires or Fairies? Why?

Neither? If I had to choose, fairies I think. They tend to be “good guys”.

21. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?

Shapeshifters. I’d LOVE to be able to shift my form and become something else every now and again.

22. Spirits or Werewolves? Why?

Golly. Spirits are a bit more “out there” so them.

23. Zombies or vampires? Why?

LOL. Never a zombie. I do not wish to be a zombie. I choose vampire.

24. Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?

GAH. Two of my least favourite tropes (I think), but I choose forbidden love. Love triangles bother me.

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

Action packed with love scenes in. PLEASE.

– – –

I tag ANYONE who wishes to do this. It’s always quite fun to find out more about each other! 

Speak to y’all soon!

S x 

BLOG TOUR: Check Mates

Today, I have the absolute priviledge of hosting author Stewart Foster as part of his blog tour for his new book Check Mates. Check Mates has gone down an absolute treat with the children in my class and I absolutely can’t wait for everyone to get their hands on it and love it as much as we have! 

Check Mates

Some people think that I’m a problem child, that I’m lazy and never pay attention in lessons. But the thing is, I’m not a problem child at all. I’m just a child with a problem.

Felix is struggling at school. His ADHD makes it hard for him to concentrate and his grades are slipping. Everyone keeps telling him to try harder, but no one seems to understand just how hard he finds it. When Mum suggests Felix spends time with his grandfather, Felix can’t think of anything worse. Granddad hasn’t been the same since Grandma died. Plus he’s always trying to teach Felix boring chess. But sometimes the best lessons come in the most unexpected of places, and Granddad soon shows Felix that there’s everything to play for.

The question which brought this blog post actually came from one of my children. One of my boys asked me: “Miss, do you know where he came up with the idea because I think it’s an amazing idea”. So, I asked Stewart to tell us all about his inspiration!

No Broomsticks or Unicorns.

A question I often get asked in schools, is ‘What was the inspiration behind the story?’ And for Bubble Boy, I say that I wanted to explore loneliness, and what it’s like to live in isolation. For All the Things, I reply that I wanted to write a book that confronted mental health and the issue of bullying, head-on. And I often look at the child who posed the question, and I find myself, saying, ‘Yeah, I write about serious things, sorry if you’re expecting, aliens, broomsticks, or unicorns.’

The answer to what inspired Check Mates, is down to my daughter. We were travelling back to Bath from her Uni, in Nottingham, and we were re-living a funny story, a funny event that had happened with her Granddad, when she was little. It involved him hiding a wet sponge under a garden seat cushion, which she had sat on, squeezing water out and into a bucket below. Yep, basically making it look like she’d pee’d herself! So, we were both laughing in the car, then my daughter sighed and said, ‘Aww, I do love my Granddad.’ Her voice, and the sentiment, just stuck in my head, especially as her Granddad, my Dad, was very ill at the time.

I think the relationship between children and their Grandparents can be such a beautiful thing. As parents, we can get ourselves, stupidly stressed and busy, so busy we can’t spend as much time with our kids as we like. So, it’s often down to grandparents to pick up from school, or provide evening meals, or in Felix’s case sit in a dark room whilst his Granddad watched the weather channel in Germany! It reminded me of my own childhood, sitting with my Granddad while he polished a silver trophy, he’d won for a sailing race in the Merchant Navy. It also reminded me of the smell of tea in a pot, and home-made pasties. Ha, it’s weird the things that stay with us.

So, Check Mates became a story about a boy and his Granddad. All the events are made up, of course, but I hope that when readers read the book, it will remind them of their own relationships with their grandparents. Children are surrounded with exam stress, computer games, and social media. I’d just love it, that on finishing Check Mates, the next time they visited their grandparents, instead of burying their heads in their phones, they look up and chat to these wonderful people instead.

A massive thank you to Stewart Foster for this fascinating blog post – I know my kids will be thrilled to read this! 

If you’re interested in Check Mates, or Stew’s other books, you can get them all NOW. Check out my reviews of Bubble Boy and All The Things That Could Go Wrong. I would wholeheartedly recommend Stew’s books: they’re amazing!

S x 

June in books

Hello friends!

How are you?

Sorry for my quietness recently. I’ve just been feeling VERY tired. There’s been a lot going on and I’ve just needed time to get my head into those activities and get them out of the way. Now that these things are out of the way, I should be able to be blogging more regularly.

Today I’m here to share with you my June reading! As you’ll see, it was a quiet reading month!!

In June, I:

Loved the sunshine!
Felt a bit like I was struggling to stay afloat, but I managed.
GOT MY REPORTS FINISHED.
Took my kids on residential and it was lovely.
Started getting things prepared for YALC.

Read 4 books.

So let’s get started with kids books!

Matt Haig – Evie and the Animals
Emma Read – Milton the Mighty

It seems June me went for an animal themed kids book reading theme. Loved both of these books a lot. Matt Haig is one of my utter go-to authors and he smashes it out of the park every time. Milton the Mighty actually made me a little less afraid of spiders! Would recommend both of these books!

Now my 2 YA books!

Lisa Williamson – The Art of Being Normal
Adam Silvera – They Both Die at the End

I read both of these books in one day and let me tell you friends, that is NOT a wise idea. I CRIED SO HARD ALL DAY. If you’ve not read these books, please do. PLEASE. They are both ABSOLUTELY magnificent. I just want to hug all of these characters.

And there we have it… all the books I read in June! I’m hoping July can be a more productive reading month, but sometimes you’ve just gotta let your brain do what it needs to.

HOW AM I DOING FOR MY BOOK CHALLENGES?

GOODREADS CHALLENGE: 70/52
#52BOOKS CHALLENGE (JUST KIDS BOOKS): 37/52

Thanks for stopping by! Talk to me!

How did you do with your reading in June? 
What were your stand out books from last month?
What would you recommend me from your 2019 reading list?

Speak to you soon!

S x