“NOPE” Book Tag

Hello there!

Welcome to Thursday Tagday! I really love a tag because they’re usually fun and they’re a really interesting way to get to know someone’s likes and dislikes. PLUS (unless you’re me who tends to ramble on), they are really quick! 

nope tag

I found this tag while I was browsing the interwebs a while back so saved the prompts into a word document (sorry, I didn’t save the blog it was from. If it’s yours, please shout at me for credit!). I don’t normally talk about NOPE books, so I thought this would be an interesting one for you all to read… and would make me think about books I might not normally talk about! I hope you enjoy!

NOPE: Ending. A book ending that made you go NOPE either in denial, rage or simply because the end was crappy. 

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OOOH. An interesting one. Hmmm… I think an ending that recently enraged me was The Girls by Emma Cline: it wasn’t a bad ending… I JUST WANTED MORE ANSWERS.

NOPE: Protagonist. A main character you dislike/drives you crazy.

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If I remember correctly, I was NOT a fan of the main character in Caravalone of the sisters. One of them I didn’t mind, the other one I was NOT a fan of! (I checked Goodreads and it is Scarlett I did not like)

NOPE: Series. A serious that turned out to be one huge pile of NOPE after you’ve invested all of that time and energy on it, a series you gave up on because it wasn’t worth it anymore.

NOW. Interestingly, I don’t think I actually have an answer to this. I like to see a series out to its end and all of the series I’ve read have a satisfactory ending. 

NOPE: Popular pairing. A “ship” you don’t support.

I don’t really know which ships are popular with the kids (ha). You’d have to shout me some ships and I’ll tell you if I ship them. I have quite fervent feelings about a lot of ships (particularly in books I LOVE) so that could be an interesting thing to talk about! I will say both Gale and whats his face Peeta deserved better than Katniss though.

NOPE: Plot twist. A plot twist you didn’t see coming, or didn’t like.

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I don’t see a lot of plot twists coming to be honest (but I prefer it that way), so I’m constantly surprised. The end of A Heart So Dark and Lonely… 

NOPE: Protagonist action/decision. A character decision that made you shake your head NOPE.

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Hmmm… there are SO MANY. So so many times a character goes into a room/faces off against a baddie that I am like NO. Sorrow makes some NOPE decisions (particularly in regards to Vespus bloody Corrigan). There’s that one time she [spoiler redacted] that made me absolutely say NOPE.

NOPE: Genre. A genre you will never read. 

I mean, never say never. But like I’m so unlikely to read anything that is really highbrow. Or erotica. Just not my jam to be honest.

NOPE: Book format. Book formatting you hate and avoid buying until it comes out in a different edition. 

I’m gonna have to say books in verse (apart from kids books obvs). Unless there is a very purposeful rhythmic pattern, I can’t get behind it. I really bloody struggle.

NOPE: Trope. A trope that makes you go NOPE.

Gosh, SO MANY. I could be here A WHILE. The “boy wants to fix girl” trope. Girls “adopting” the ugly girl to give her a make over and make her attractive to boys. Love triangles. 

NOPE: Recommendation. A book recommendation that is constantly hyped and pushed at you that you simply refuse to read.

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Now I can imagine this answer will make me unpopular with some people. However, I’m not a fan of the old hype, so I haven’t yet read THUG (I acknowledge that it is more than likely incredible and I will love it when I read it… but just stop telling me to ha)

NOPE: Cliche/pet peeve. A cliche or a writing pet peeve that always makes you roll your eyes. 

A bit like the old trope hating… anything that is like she’ll be better when she’s pretty. Nah thanks pals. 

NOPE: Love interest. The love interest that’s not worthy of being one. A character you don’t think should have been a viable love interest. 

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Katniss Everdeen and anyone ever. I think that story should’ve just been about her and overthrowing the government… none of the romance thanks. (I’m not her biggest fan)

NOPE: Book. A book that shouldn’t have existed that made you say NOPE.

I don’t think I have an answer for this? All books and stories have a right to exist. It would be unfair of me to invalidate someone’s story because it could be someone else’s reality.

NOPE: Villain. A scary villain/antagonist you would hate to cross and would make you run in the opposite direction.

VESPUS CORRIGAN. NOPE. NOPE. NOPE.

NOPE: Death. A character death that still haunts you.

OOOOH. Sirius Black. #JusticeforSirius. I loved him so much.

NOPE: Author. An author you had a bad experience reading for and have decided to quit. 

I don’t actually have an answer for this. I’d be FASCINATED to hear what others have said, but I genuinely don’t have anyone so far. There’s LOADS of authors who I have NEVER read who other people have… so maybe I’m just not reading widely enough ha. 

And that’s it! Apologies for some of the non-committal answers!

If you enjoyed this, feel free to have a go yourself (Charlotte… I’m looking at you!). Do any of my answers surprise you?

Talk to me!

Speak soon,

S x

It’s OK not to be OK

Hello there friends.

How are we all today? I mean, really, how are you today? 

I’ll be honest… I’m OK, but there’s a little bit of struggle about me at the minute. Nothing too bad, just a niggle here and there. Just a worry that won’t go away. A thought that sometimes spirals and then won’t go away. A clump of thoughts about all kinds of things about like that sometimes just get me a little bit down. You might know the thing: there’s a worry and it just grows because you don’t know how to talk about it… nor is it so big that you feel the NEED to talk about it.

Most of the time I can make myself be fine, I can distract my brain enough until it’s not feeling meh anymore. I can read, go for a little walk, go into town, text my friends. Sometimes however, the spiral into a bit of a rut works much faster, or draws itself out in much longer of a rut that it’s harder to shift.

It’s hard to pretend to be OK when in reality you’re not. It’s hard to be a cheery, happy person, when you just don’t feel like that. As I write this, I’m not 100%. I’m alrite, but I’m not chipper to be honest. I’m not normally one to talk about things like this on my blog – I’m much more likely to post a blog review and ignore the reality of whatever is going on in my life. But I want to be transparent with you all (whoever it is that’s reading this, if anyone is in fact reading this) and talk about NOT being OK.

I don’t know the ins and outs of where it all stems from, but I can tell you that, as a teacher, 6 weeks off is a long time. I miss the routine. I miss having set things to do. I do really well in term time. I know what’s going to happen (not day to day because hell that’s a thing that always changes!) and what to expect. In the holidays, I don’t have that. I’m single. I don’t have kids. So those two big “distractions” (I can’t think of a better word for this right now), I don’t have (we’ll not talk about them being one of my other worries at the minute… that’s a bit real). A lot of my friends are still at work during the holidays. My teacher friends all either have their own families, or live really far away.

I know people will say, “You shouldn’t complain about having so much time off”. I’m not complaining about the time off… trust me. We need it by the time it comes round to July. Teachers need to recharge. I love the summer holidays, BUT I’m a lover of routine and that goes out of the window during the holidays. My eating pattern goes out of the window. My sleeping pattern changes. Sleep is one of those things that can massively impact some people’s moods and I’m one of those people: if I’m not sleeping well, I’m more likely to get into one of those negative thought ruts that I then have to pull myself out of.

I don’t think I’m the only person in the whole world who gets like this. I think there’s properly a good handful of teachers who are in the same boat as me. I don’t want to speak for other people. I can only speak for myself and how I feel. I like to be busy. I love my job an awful lot. I’m quite easily one of those people who could be married to my job. I just struggle with 6 weeks off. I get to week 4 and I’m like, “Yeah, OK, I’m rested now, I can go back to work”. This is always an interesting thing to say to people… one that gets pretty much the same reply every time.

I’ve been lucky these holidays in that I’ve been in to school quite a lot doing a lot of moving of books and creating a library, so getting to the end of week 5 (as I write this) and only now getting restless and bored is really good for me. My mam is ALWAYS saying, “She gets cabin fever after week 2” and it’s true.

I’ve not written this as a, “Oh man, everyone give me sympathy” kind of post. I’ve written it because it’s who I am and how I’m feeling right now in this moment. It’s what I’m going through right now and there might be other people who are also feeling this. It’s nice to not feel lonely in your feelings. I’ve also written it because I want to let myself be ok with the fact that sometimes we have to NOT be OK. We’re all allowed to not be OK. Not being OK means we will be OK again.

The past few days, I’ve been a bit sad (not tragically, but just meh). I’ve been listless (I don’t even know if this is a word, but it keeps being a word I want to say). I’ve felt a bit lost. Maybe a bit lonely. I’ve been restless.

So I’m here saying if you are someone out there who like me struggles a bit, I’m always around to talk to. If you’re someone who needs someone to talk to at any point, I’m around. My twitter inbox is open, my emails are always open: I’m happy to talk. Even if you don’t want to talk about the thing that’s making you not OK.

Remember: it’s OK not to be OK. 

S x

 

Bank Holiday Book Tag

Hello friends!

It is Bank Holiday Monday (the final bank holiday of the year if my memory serves me correctly!?) and as usual, I am taking on my friend Cora’s Bank Holiday Book Tag. I think I’ve joined in on this like 4 or 5 times now (maybe more, maybe less, I’ll link some of my other blog posts for this tag at the bottom!). 

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To try and keep things fresh (lol), I’ll try and mention books I’ve read recently (let’s say in the last few months) or books on my TBR!

So what does a typical bank holiday look like?

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

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The Lost Tide Warriors by Catherine Doyle. This was just an absolute pleasure to read. There’s magic, adventure, friendship, memories: it’s got it all! It would be the perfect read to snuggle up with in bed (especially if it’s raining… that would add to the atmosphere of this book!)

Oh my goodness! It’s actually sunny outside! Which book makes you feel optimistic?

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I, Cosmo by Carlie Sorosiak.
Another MG book I read recently and it’s SUCH a gorgeous story. Cosmo is a wonderful doggo who wants to do everything to keep his family together. The ending is wonderfully done and it’s the perfect mix of love, hope and family. 

Spend some time outdoors. Which book reminds you of nature?

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Shadowscent by P.M.Freestone.
I don’t know WHY this was the one I chose, but nature and perfume go together wonderfully. There’s some incredible descriptions in this book of nature and it’s scents which make up the perfumes. (I need the second book in this series because I MISS THIS LAND).

Make some punch. Which book do you find difficult to classify in one genre?

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The Deathless Girls by Kiran Milwood-Hargrave.
Now, let me tell you it isn’t a BAD thing that I find it hard to classify: it’s a total compliment. This book is a hard one to stamp down because it is SO BLOODY BRILLIANT. This is a book that will appeal to so many people who read so many different ranges of books. (If you haven’t read it yet, please go get it when it’s out!)

Pass around some food. Which book do you want to share with everyone?

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All The Things We Never Said by Yasmin Rahman.
I got this at YALC after hearing her talk about it and I devoured it WHOLE on the train home from London a few days later. This book at times was a HARD read, but I think it is such an important book as it deals with some things that are very real. Plus, Yasmin is WONDERFUL. You need to read this book if you haven’t yet. I haven’t managed to form my words about this book into a review yet because every time I try, I can’t manage to say anything which does this book justice.

Light the BBQ. Which book took a while to get going?

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The Girls by Emma Cline.
It’s not in my usual MG/YA comfort zone, so I found it a bit slower than other books I read, but it’s good. It’s a complex read, but would be great if you’re a fan of a cult book. (I LOVE A CULT BOOK, PLEASE HIT ME UP WITH YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS PALS)

Failed BBQ. Which book ultimately disappointed you?

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Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M. McManus.
NOW, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a BAD book… but following on from One of Us Is Lying, it had big boots to fill! I didn’t hate it: I just wanted a bit more. (I can’t WAIT for One of Us is Next…)

It’s raining… of course! Which book is perfect to curl up with when it’s raining outside?

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Sanctuary by V.V.James.
MATES. GET READY FOR THIS. This book is EXCEPTIONAL. It is SUCH a rollercoaster… I can’t quite talk about it yet without needing SPOILER WARNINGS all over. Just know it is excellent: sun, rain, snow, wind. READ IT.

Let’s just eat chocolate. Which book is just super sweet?

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Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott
My friend Rachel has been talking about this book for AGES and it’s been sitting in my TBR box for a while, so I decided to pick it up recently… and OH MY GOSH THE FEELS. This was a lush read… it did make me cry quite a lot. I love Will with all of my heart. If you’re a fan of TFIOS, you’ll love this! 

And there you have it! The Bank Holiday Book Tag. I hope whatever you are doing with your bank holiday, you are having a lovely day! Maybe you’re reading a book, maybe you’re going for a walk… whatever it is, I hope you have a wonderfully relaxing!

If you wanna have a go at this, go for it! Check out Cora’s post (linked above) for the list of prompts and such like! Below are 2 links to my previous answers to this tag!

The Bank Holiday Tag

Bank Holiday Book Tag

See you all soon,

S x

S4S – Yellow books

Hello friends and followers alike! 

How are you on this here #SixforSunday? What plans do you have for this fair Sunday? As this post goes live, I am hopefully sitting in Quilliams with one of my bestest friends and having an enjoyable breakfast and some tea. I hope the sun is shining in honour of Summer, but also today’s prompt:

Yellow books

I don’t think I have read many yellow books… but here goes nothing!

Having looked on Goodreads, I have read LOTS so you can have 6 MG and 6 YA (don’t tell anyone… I do spoil you!)

yellow books YA

A Change is Gonna Come anthology
The Paper and Hearts Society – Lucy Powrie
Friendship Fails of Emma Nash – Chloe Seagar
It Only Happens in the Movies – Holly Bourne
Bookshop Girl – Chloe Coles
Floored – the Floored Seven

yellow books MG

The Day I Was Erased – Lisa Thompson
Evie and the Animals – Matt Haig
And Then I Turned Into A Mermaid – Laura Kirkpatrick
The Girl of Ink and Stars – Kiran Milwood Hargrave
Ghost – Jason Reynolds 
Shona, Word Detectove – John Agard

And there you go! Reviews for the rest of these brilliantly bright books will be up soon! 

Thank you for joining in/reading with #SixforSunday this week! See you next week for the first week of September with Back to school realness: Books you think should be studied in school!

S x 

Start each day with a grateful heart

Colour coordinating my timetable. Rainbows. The sunshine. Raining so heavily that there is nothing to do but stay in and read. Getting things ready for my classroom. Cutting and laminating. Sorting and getting rid of things that are not necessary. Getting loads of books ready for September. HAVING A SCHOOL LIBRARY IN A ROOM. Clearing out my inbox. Working really bloody hard on something. Talking to favourite authors. Waterstones. My Book Bitchez. Thinking about the future. Looking forward to starting a new school year. Laughing with my mam. My brother looking out for me even though he’s hundreds of miles away. Being surrounded by people who are wonderful. Listening to music while I work. Reading books that I never thought I would. Finally reading that book a friend has been telling me to read for ages and LOVING it. Seeing another friend adoring Mel books. Taking a minute to breathe and be thankful for everything. Book post. Talking to friends with ease. Seeing friends I’ve not seen for years. Having a lie in. Getting up early(ish) and being productive. Choosing how to look after myself best. Looking after myself. Quilliams dates. Having time to just mooch about in the shops. Knowing I’m going away next weekend. Reading sprints with my witches. My twiglets. Baby Joey. The ordinary things in life. Routine. Terrel videos. The pleasure of cutting out. Wandering around Ikea. Taking a day to myself after a few busy days. Having honest conversations about the future. Being driven. Hearing lovely things about me from people I love the most in the world. Having dreams. Chasing your dreams. Knowing that I’ve worked hard and that it’s going to matter. Reading books like it’s going out of fashion. Reading. Always. 

Addicted to Books tag

HOLA PALS. 

How are we all doing on this here second to last Thursday of the Summer holidays? (Part of me is ready to go back, part of me is not!) I come to you today with a tag that I saw my friend Aoife do! She didn’t tag me but hey… we all know I love a tag! 

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What is the longest amount of time you can comfortably go without picking up a book?

I mean, I’ve had months where I’ve read 4 books, but that was 2 books in one day and 2 books in another day at either ends of the month. It really depends how much I’m in the mood to read. I’d say in general life, a day or 2? I like to try and read every day. 

How many books do you carry on your person (or kindle) at any one time?

Always one, sometimes two. If I know I’m near the end of a book and I’m going to have a lot of reading time, I’ll make sure I have a second book (or I’ll plan on going to buy another book) because no one wants the NO BOOK SCENARIO.

Do you keep every book you buy/receive or are you happy to pass them on to make space for more?

I am MORE THAN HAPPY to share my books around. If they’re middle grade, you can guarantee they’ll go to the library at school, but if they’re YA/adult, they’ll go to my witches for first refusal, then I’ll either offer them to the local secondary school or they’ll be offered to friends/twitter/my mam (if she hasn’t already read them). 

HOWEVER if I’ve loved it… it stays in my possession.

How long would you spend in a bookshop on a standard visit?

LOL. Some of my favourite people work in my local bookshop so I can LITERALLY spend hours in there. I’m well known for helping out in Waterstones Newcastle (putting stickers on books, putting books in the RIGHT order etc.). However, if none of my people are in, I’ll probably mooch for like 30 mins and then I’ll tottle off to the cafe for a beverage and maybe a slice of cake!

How much time per day do you actually spend reading?

This varies! It depends on the day, the time of year, the book I’m reading, the mood I’m in, the place I am. In the Summer holidays, I can read for HOURS on end, but during term time, I probably read for 30 mins a day. It really does depend on SO MANY THINGS. 

Where does the task ‘picking up a book’ appear on your daily to-do list? 

I tend to read before bed, or at night time when I have down time. I don’t have a TV in my bedroom (I KNOW SHOCKER… I do have my iPad though), so that’s always a great time to read. Normally about 8pm is my peak reading time depending on what I need to do for work!

How many books do you reckon you own in total (including e-books)?

Deary me. I genuinely could NOT tell you. More than 500 probably? An awful lot is the answer and I’m sticking to it!

Aproximately, how often do you bring up books in conversation?

Why wouldn’t you want to talk about books? I love talking about books. My twitter life is pretty much ALL about books (featuring some life things). Most of my friends are bookish people, so we talk about books ALL THE TIME: ones we loved, hated, things we are excited for, things we do not want to read. You know the standard book craic.

What is the biggest book (page count) you have finished reading?

Ooooh, I’m going to have to consult Goodreads… there’s a few big books on my “read” shelf… Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. 

Is there a book you had to get your on against all odds (i.e. searching bookshops, online digging, etc)?

OH MY GODS YES. I missed out on all of the sprayed edges versions of Beyond the Odyssey and I was GUTTED. I told ALL of my friends to keep their eyes peeled. My gorgeous friend Kelly found me a copy in Waterstones in Bristol (I believe) and she posted it to me. I was not having an incomplete set of sprayed edges Who Let The Gods Out? series. (I’m a SUCKER for a sprayed edge).

A book you struggled to finish but refused to DNF?

Caraval. I know a LOT of people who love it, but it just didn’t sparkle how I wanted it to. I’m curious about the sequels, but I do not want another book where I have to TRUDGE through to get just an OK story.

What are 3 of your main book goals for 2019?

  • Enjoy reading whatever it is I’m reading
  • Read 52 children’s books
  • Read 104 books in the year (my Goodreads was set at 52, but now that I’ve smashed that, I’m going for double!)

Have you ever had the priviledge of converting someone into a reader (maybe via inspiration or incessant nagging)?

In my job, you occasionally get a child who says they’re not a reader and then I get the absolute joy of FINDING them a book that makes them a reader. I’ve had that 2 or 3 times in the last year, so I’m very much looking forward to more of the same next year and in all of the years to come!

In my non-professional life, I do not know! I’ve nagged people til they read Melinda Salisbury/Sara Barnard/Maz Evans, so does that count?

If you’re a person who has read something because of me, let me know because that’s a lovely thing to know!

Describe what books mean to you in five words.

The chance to temporarily escape.

This was a LUSH tag to do! I did not expect to ramble on for 900 words, so I do apologise. If you got this far, tell me your favourite book you’ve read, or the book you’re reading at the minute! 

If you wanna do this tag, go for it! Thanks to Kelly and Charlotte for choosing the colours for this blog post *grin*

Speak soon,

S x 

BLOG TOUR: My Pet Star

Hello! 

Today I have the utter joy of hosting the brilliant Corrinne Averris (author of My Pet Star( and she is here to talk to us about her favourite bedtime stories. Now we all know how important I think stories are (whatever time of day), so having someone else praching from my hymn sheet is an absolute delight!

It’s lovely to be asked to contribute to A Little But A Lot and to talk about beautiful books for bedtime. I think any book shared at bedtime is a beautiful one – taking the time to look, listen, read and make sense of the world – is a wonderful, intimate way to finish the day. It really wouldn’t matter if it was a recipe book providing its pages and pictures are explored together with curiosity and questions! However, in our house we definitely have some favourite bedtime books and there are certainly themes which lend themselves to snoozing and dreaming.

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In a class of its own, for babies, is Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd. Its rhyming and repetition; its gentle simplicity has a wonderful soporific effect. And the illustrations are like a visual lullaby as lights inside bunny’s bedroom dim and moon and stars shine through windows.

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When a Dragon Comes to Stay, also beautifully illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw, written by Caryl Hart, takes the domestic bedtime setting but gives it a twist with a friendly dragon sleepover! Contrary to all expectations, this little Dragon is the perfect guest… she goes up to bed without a fuss, has her bath, cleans her teeth and then ‘pulls the covers cosy tight, to help her sleep all through the night’.

Other bedtime books we love tend to fall into two categories – either they chart a dramatic adventure before retreating to home and comfort or they conclude with an escape, like a gateway to dreaming.

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John Burningham’s classic My Gumpy’s Outing sees Mr Gumpy punt his boat along the river and kindly allow every animal a ride (with conditions) until the boat is so full, it tips everyone out into the water. They swim to the riverbank and dry out in the evening sun as they walk to his house for a tea party. It ends with the comfort and security of home and looking forward to another day and another adventure.

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Beyond the Fence by Maria Gulemetova is such an atmospheric book about freedom and friendship. Almost like a modern day Town Mouse Country Mouse. Piggy lives in a large house with a boy called Thomas who gets to decide exactly what Piggy does. But one day Piggy meets Wild Pig who shares with him the joys of life beyond the fence. Finally Piggy finds the courage to escape and join Wild Pig running free. The final image of them disappearing into the sunset, feels full of expectation and hope.

I love hearing other people’s recommendations and I will certainly be scoping out Beyond the Fence – I have never heard of it before!

While you’re checking out amazing picture books, I can recommend My Pet Star with my whole heart. It is a gorgeous picture book that follows a little girl as she helps nurse a fallen star back to health until it is ready to take its place in the sky again. If my recommendation isn’t enough, it has already been praised highly in the bookish circuit!

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“When a little girl finds a lost star, she takes it home and cares for it, just like a beloved pet. She reads it stories, makes it special snacks and tucks it into bed at night. The more she cares for the star, the brighter it glows. Until, one day, it’s time to let go…”

My Pet Star is out now! Go go go: get yourself a copy!

Why don’t you check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour? 

MPS blog tour

A massive thank you to the publishers Hachette for the invite onto the blog tour and to Corrinne for taking the time to write this blog post. It is always an honour to host an author on my blog! Check out My Pet Star and some of the other stories recommended… I know I will be!

See you all soon!

S x

Spotify Book Tag

Hello there again!

How are you all on this here Thursday? What have you been up to this week? More importantly, what have you been READING this week?

I come to you with a tag that I definitely didn’t steal from my friend Cora. I’ve seen this tag floating about on different blogs and I thought ‘YOU KNOW WHAT? I wanna join in’, so here I am, joining in… (even though no-one invited me haha!)

Book Hooked Nook's Spotify Book Tag banner(Credit to Book Hooked Nook for the tag and the graphic!)

Hit Rewind: a book you go back to again and again?

As you all know by now, I’m not a massive rereader. However, a book I’ve read multiple times is Matilda. I’d love to be a rereader, I just have THE FEAR of “what if I reread a book and I hate it this time round?”

Romantic Ballads: a book that gives you all these fluttery feels?

A recent book that gave me all the romantic feels was Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott. That book was FULL OF THE FEELS. I really enjoyed it. It was a book that I had on my TBR forever and I picked it up on a whim and then I DEVOURED IT.

Release Radar: a new release book you’re excited for?

I’m excited for EVERYONE else to finally get to read A Pocketful of Stars by Aisha Bushby and No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter. I ADORE these two books. A book that I’m excited for personally? The Girl With Space in Her Heart by Lara Williamson. I loved her other books and I’ve already picked up this new one!

Discover Weekly: a book you haven’t read yet but want to discover?

I mean, Hold Back The Tide by Melinda Salisbury, but that’s MONTHS off being discovered. So if you mean a book that is out now and I want to discover it? Hmmm… either of Sarah Marie Griffin’s books. I saw her at YALC and she’s hilarious. Her books sounded really interesting too!

Alone Again: your fave book genre to read on your own?

I don’t have a preference on what I read alone and around others. I will read whatever I want around whoever I want. Plus, at least 2 of my friends have said watching me read something is a joy in their lives (hi Charlotte and Kelly) so I would hate to deny them that!

Alternative: an indie book or author everyone should read?

*shrug* I literally have no idea. Shout me your favourite indie reads though, I would appreciate that!

Cheesy Hits: a book full of cheese you love?

I don’t know what constitutes a cheesy book, but maybe Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie. It was very sweet and lovely.

Summer Hits: a book you reread every Summer?

I’ll have to skip this track, because N/A.

Power Hour: an empowering feminist book or character you adore?

SO SO MANY. There are so many amazing characters that I adore. Emily from No Big Deal needs a lot of love now that she’s released in the world; Sorrow from the State of Sorrow duology also needs a lot of love because YES SORROW; Jemima Small because she’s blooody wonderful and all kids need to read her; Izzy bloody O’Neill – if she’s not a character you’re familiar with, then please do something about it (The Exact Opposite of Okay is where you need to go to find her!)

All Out 10s: list 10 banging books!

(I’m going for 10 books I’ve read this year…)

  1. This Is Going To Hurt – Adam Kay
  2. The Lost Tide Warriors – Catherine Doyle
  3. Patina – Jason Reynolds
  4. All The Things We Never Said – Yasmin Rahman
  5. Scars Like Wings – Erin Stewart
  6. Song of Sorrow – Melinda Salisbury
  7. Jemima Small Versus The Universe – Tamsin Winter
  8. And Then I Turned Into A Mermaid – Laura Kirkpatrick
  9. High Rise Mystery – Sharna Jackson
  10. Viper – Bex Hogan

(Also, No Big Deal – Bethany Rutter; The Burning – Laura Bates; Meat Market – Juno Dawson; A Girl Called Shameless – Laura Steven; A Curse So Dark and Lonely – Bridgit Kemmerer – lol, I can’t help myself!)

That’s me done!

I’m not going to tag anyone because I’m a rebel, but if you fancy doing this, GO FOR IT!

Did any of my responses surprise you?
Is there anything you want to recommend to me based on my answers?
Can we talk about books please?

Speak to you soon!

S x

BOOK BLOG: YA wrap up!

Hello everyone!

I’m back at it again with some mini reviews! I’ve had a very busy August of reading so far and thought I’d share some mini reviews of some of the amazing YA I’ve been reading! 

Scars like Wings by Erin Stewart

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“Ava Lee has lost everything there is to lose: Her parents. Her best friend. Her home. Even her face. She doesn’t need a mirror to know what she looks like–she can see her reflection in the eyes of everyone around her. A year after the fire that destroyed her world, her aunt and uncle have decided she should go back to high school. Be “normal” again. Whatever that is. Ava knows better. There is no normal for someone like her. And forget making friends–no one wants to be seen with the Burned Girl, now or ever. But when Ava meets a fellow survivor named Piper, she begins to feel like maybe she doesn’t have to face the nightmare alone. Sarcastic and blunt, Piper isn’t afraid to push Ava out of her comfort zone. Yet Piper is fighting her own battle, and soon Ava must decide if she’s going to fade back into her scars . . . or let the people by her side help her fly.”

My my. Reading this book was like a punch in the gut. This book is one of those that makes an impact and fast. We all have scars, but not like Ava. Ava was burned in a fire and she’s hidden herself away from the world ever since. This all changes when she is told she is ready to go back to school. Obviously, a young girl who has been cordoned off from the real world for a year, who now has to go back into the world of school is going to be terrified. What happens when she gets there is an emotional rollercoaster. From her incredible family, to the friends she makes, to the shout outs to musicals, this book was just wonderful. It hit me where it hurt and made me cry. I love Ava’s group of friends; they’re all lucky to have each other. I’m sad to be finished; to say goodbye to the sarcasm, friendship, bravery and love they shared. Massive thank you to Simon and Schuster for the review copy!

I Hold Your Heart by Karen Gregory

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“When Gemma meets Aaron, she feels truly seen for the first time. Their love story is the intense kind. The written-in-the-stars, excluding-all-others kind. The kind you write songs about. But little by little their relationship takes over Gemma’s life. What happens when being seen becomes being watched, and care becomes control?”

MY GOD. I don’t know that I can use the word “enjoy” about this book because I hate Aaron SO MUCH. I can’t talk about this book without giving away too many spoilkers, but Aaron is possibly the WORST character I’ve ever come across. The ending was NOT what I wanted, no was it what he deserved. Telling a story of love, you see through both Gemma and Aaron’s eyes what their relationship is. This book was gripping, tough to read and made me so angry. I can’t talk about this book without being angry and I need someone else to join me in the anger. However, in amongst all of that anger and that weird obsessive Aaron behaviour, there’s also so much love, friendship, fighting for the ones you love and kindness. Gemma is surrounded by so much love (some of it more toxic!)

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott

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“Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.
The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.
Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?”

I’m a sucker for a bit of romance. I’m even more of a sucker for “shouldn’t be trogether, but let’s be honest, they’re meant to be together”. This book tells the story of Stella and Will, two young people who are in hospital. Two young people who aren’t allowed to be around other people because it could be life-threatening. However, when they find each other, they find something they’ve both been looking for. I loved this book, an awful lot. I love Will. I love Poe. Stella is an angel. Barb is lush. This is a beautiful story of love at its limits. There’s just so much love in this book. Let’s not deny the fact that I definitely cried. There’s so much lush about this book. And now it’s been made into a film… but I don’t think my emotions are ready to be battered again just yet! Massive thank you to Simon and Schuster for the review copy!

Dead Popular by Sue Wallman

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“The reigning queen bee, Kate, knows that you don’t become the most powerful girl at school by playing nice. But when other students start revealing long-held secrets anonymously, she realizes someone is playing a much more dangerous game – and they know too much about Kate’s past. If she doesn’t figure out who’s behind this, her final year at Pankhurst could be exactly that: her final year.”

This tells the story of a boarding school full of entitled, posh scholars who are obsessed with beauty. I loved the setting of the boarding school and the beach. I think it’s a great combination. If you’re a fan of a boarding school book, this will be right up your street! I really really loved Munro – I think the characters in this book make it enticing and dark. There’s some dark motives and even darker deeds. There’s a mystery element that I enjoyed too… I didn’t see it coming, but when it did BAM! This is one of those books that starts to show itself to you slowly, but once you’re there, it’s like YEP that’s why you went a bit slower. You get to know the characters and their dynamics really well before you get into the action. Massive thank you to Scholastic for the review copy!

PHEW. There we go! Just 4 of the YA books I’ve read recently. I really enjoyed them all! If I had to pick a favourite though, I’d have to say Scars Like Wings would just snatch the title from I Hold Your Heart (seriously though, someone else be angry with me!). 

What have you read recently?
Have you read any of these books?
Can you recommend me a book?

Talk to me! I wanna know what you think of my wrap ups: do you like them? Do you prefer my full reviews? Do you not care? (ha!)

S x 

BOOK BLOG: Susan Verde

I Am Love: a wonderful book exploring kindness, compassion and empathy

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“Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds continue their collaboration with the fourth book in their bestselling wellness series. A celebration of love in all its forms, I Am Love asks readers to look inward when they feel afraid. Love allows us to act with compassion and kindness, to live with gratitude, and to take care of ourselves by practicing self-love.”

I am a massive fan of using picture books in the classroom, regardless of the age of the children because I think picture books can be the key to opening children up to experiences they might not necessarily have. They can quickly grab a child’s attention and, in the space of only a few pages, teach children a whole range of things. 

One of the things that I think picture books do wonderfully is teach children the importance of empathy. It’s so important that we show children the importance of empathy and being able to use their emotions for good. So much goes on in the world today that we need to give our children the tools to show love, kindness, compassion. I am Love is a wonderful picture book that does just that. 

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It’s a very simple story about ways in which we can show people compassion and love, through very simple acts of kindness. With Peter H Reynolds’ striking illustrations and an incredibly powerful message about ways in which we can show love, this book captured my heart completely and utterly. 

This book would go PERFECTLY in a PSHE lesson about being kind and could work from EYFS all the way up. I’d love to get my children to make their own version of this thinking of ways in which we can show love and compassion to the people around us. 

I am a massive fan of the pairing of Susan Verde and Peter H Reynolds, who have combined forces to write a series of books like this. I would whole heartedly recommend these books.

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A massive thank you to Abrams and Chronicle for sending me a copy for review! You guys are the best! 

Have you read any of the books in this series?
What are your go-to books for teaching about empathy?
What would you like to see from this series next?

Share your thoughts with me in the comments or on twitter, I love this series so much, I’d love to talk about it!

S x