S4S – Books to give as gifts

Hello friends!

It’s week 2 of December does #SixforSunday. Thank you all so much for joining in last week, it was so lush to see you all joining in! 

This week’s prompt sees us taking on something that I LOVE doing:

Books to give as gifts

I LOVE BUYING BOOKS AS PRESENTS OK? I’m going to choose 6 people from my life and gift them a book (which they might actually be getting or not, who knows) and tell you WHY I’m gifting them that! 

  1. My goddaughters – Pages and Co (1 and 2) by Anna James
    My goddaughters are 8, nearly 9 now, and they have been AVID readers since they were proper little. I’m the auntie that brings them books. I think it’s about time they were introduced to the wonderful world of Tilly and her book wandering adventures. I love these books and I think they will too!
  2. My cousin, Kate – A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
    Kate is a massive reader and a MASSIVE Disney fan. Me and her are quite alike in many ways and I really enjoyed this Beauty and the Beast retelling, so I think she would enjoy it too!
  3. My mam – Scythe by Neal Schusterman
    My mam loves stealing books from my shelves. She’s a big fan of YA books ever since she started stealing my books. We all know I LOVE a bit of Scythe and I think it would be right down my mam’s alley.
  4. My cousin’s husband, Graeme – Frostheart by Jamie Littler
    Graeme is a big reader and I’ve got him into reading kids books (because they’re the best). I devoured Frostheart when I read it and I think Graeme would really enjoy it too. Who doesn’t wanna read an icy adventure?!
  5. My friend, Sally – The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
    Sally is one of the people I work with who I just adore. She’s recently started reading YA books with her daughter. I think she’d LOVE TEOOO because who doesn’t?!
  6. Anyone who doubts how good kids books are –  Why You Should Read Children’s Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise by Katherine Rundell.
    Kids books are BRILLIANT and I challenge ANYONE to a duel who argues otherwise.

That was a fun prompt for #SixforSunday! You can bet that if I’m buying you a present for Christmas that there’ll be a book in there/book related thing in there somewhere! 

What are you buying for others?
Which of my gifted books are you most interested in?
What would you buy for me?

See you next week!

S x 

Fabulous non-fiction

Recently, I’ve received a few brilliant non-fiction titles in the post and I thought I would share them with you! 

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I am LOVING how gorgeous and well-thought out non fiction books are becoming. For so long they weren’t very appealing to look at, but with so many of the new titles out now, that is all changing! It’s certainly helping children to pick up more non-fiction books! 

Colossus – Colin Hynson

Have you ever wondered how the Golden Gate Bridge was built? Or how workers with basic tools created enormous monuments in ancient times? And how do you build a flying laboratory in space? This fascinating book reveals some of the greatest feats of engineering in history. From enormous bridges and tunnels that run for hundreds of miles, to towering skyscrapers and massive space stations, discover how some of Earth’s most colossal structures were made in beautifully illustrated detail. 

This book is BLOODY magnificent. It’s full of facts, gorgeous illustrations and it kept me entertained for a good while learning all about different feats of engineering around the world. Whether you’re a lover of engineering and construction or not, this is definitely one that you should get your hands on. It’s just brilliant! 

Earth Shattering Events – Robin Jacobs

We humans take our domination of the planet for granted, but sometimes nature reminds us that this is an illusion. Tectonics rip open the earth, vast waves sweep away coastal towns, magma spews from volcanoes and hurricanes lay waste to entire countries. This book explores nature at its most destructive. Clear, coherent explanations break down the science behind phenomena including hurricanes, tornadoes, avalanches, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes, alongside fascinating facts about the biggest and the worst. 

This book would be PERFECT for any kind of natural disasters topic in Upper Key Stage 2. It’s SUCH  spot on book. The explanations are scientific enough to educate, but clear enough to not baffle kids. I loved looking through all of the different pages. This might be one of my favourite books I’ve received lately because I learned SO MUCH. This is perfect for a geographer in your life! It’s not only informative but it is BRILLIANTLY illustrated by Sophie Williams: the illustrations add so much to it! Just spot on!

Gut Garden – Katie Brosnan

A visual exploration of the universe that exists within our own bodies. Within our bodies hides an entire world of organisms called microbes. They boost our immune systems, digest our food, regulate our metabolism and even impact on our mental health. This book follows the digestive process from the moment the food enters our mouths to the moment waste leaves our bodies. Along the way we learn about this fascinating scientific frontier and gain an insight into the vastecosystem that exists inside us.

This is another example of a book which is PERFECT for Upper Key Stage 2. This book is JAM-PACKED full of information for children to take in, talk about and thenprobe further. I love the way this book is presented and the information is in small chunks, which is easy to digest (ha). It’s so wonderful to read something which has been so well thought out and flows so well. Kids are going to love this because it covers things that we don’t talk about so much – it’s a bit gross, but fascinating! 

Unseen Worlds – Helene Rajcak and Damien Laverdunt

Discover a hidden universe of microscopic monsters right before your eyes. Travel to locations both familiar and strange as you search for the smallest creatures on Planet Earth. You’ll never see the world the same way again! Unfold each page to reveal stunningly detailed illustrations bursting with jelly-like amoebae, predatory centipedes, ravenous mosquitoes, and more mites than you could imagine. From the murky ocean depths to your kitchen cupboard, and even inside your nose, you’ll travel to locations both familiar and strange as you search for the smallest creatures on Planet Earth.

With fold out pages and a wonderful range of facts to learn, this book is one that I personally learned a lot from. I’m not a big fan of creepy crawlies and the likes, but this can’t hurt me so I am ALL about it! It’s wonderful that you get to explore places you never get to through a book, and in this you get to see microscopic things that your eyes never could and learn about them! What can I say? I’m a big fan of learning and books like this fascinate me because this is something someone knows a lot about! 

A massive thank you to the publicists from What on Earth Books, Templar Books and Cicada Books for these incredible additions to our non-fiction collection!

S x 

Thursday Tag: The Readers’ Problems Book Tag

IT’S THURSDAAAAAAAAAAAY. You know what that means… yes, it’s almost Friday, but also it’s Thursday Tag day!

Today, I’m stealing a tag I saw over on Charlotte’s blog. It is the:

Readers’ Problems Book Tag

We all know I am a reader. How do I deal with problems that readers have? WHO KNOWS. Let’s see!

1. You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How do you decide what to read next?

LOL. I’m a mood reader, so whatever I’m in the mood to read. Generally if I’m a bit overwhelmed by choice I’ll go for whatever is MG and magical – that’s my go-to!

2. You’re halfway through a book, and you’re just not loving it; do you put it down or are you committed?

It all depends. If there’s even the smallest thing I can find redeeming about it, I’ll keep going, but if I just HATE everything about it, I might put it down. I don’t think I’ve DNF’d a book this year though, so that shows that I can find something redeeming about every book.

3. The end of the year is coming, and you’re behind on your reading challenge; do you try to catch up? And if so, how?

This is not something I would do to be honest. If I don’t think I’m going to complete it then so be it. I’m not in a competition, my life isn’t going to end if I don’t manage, so it’s fine! (Or I’ll read a load of short chapter books!)

4. The covers of a series you love do not match, how do you cope?

Oh friends, this is always a real dilemma for me. I just don’t know. It would depend entirely which author it is. I can probably live with different editions, but if it’s one of my faves, I’ll purchase the new covers.

5. Everyone and their mother love a book that you do not. Who do you bond with over your shared feelings?

I’ll copy Charlotte’s answer and say her. We have pretty similar tastes in books, but we do have a difference of opinion at times. It’s not going to ruin our friendship though.

6. You’re reading a book in public, and you’re about to start crying; how do you deal?

LOL. This happens to me ALMOST EVERY BOOK. I just cry? No shame whatsoever. I once was coming home on the train from YALC and I was reading a book that made me SOB. The man beside me had to check I was OK because I was crying so hard. (I was reading The Last Wild by Piers Torday if you wanted to know).

7. The sequel to a book you loved just came out but you’ve forgotten a lot of what happens. Are you going to reread it?

Highly unlikely. I’ll either read my review if I wrote one, go on Goodreads to see what other people said or ask someone who I know has read it. Or, as I usually do, I just dive into the book and let things come back to me. As long as I have the general gist of characters and such like, I can cope with the not remembering to be honest.

8. You do not want anyone to borrow your books. How do you politely say no when someone asks?

I’ll buy them a copy haha! I’m not against letting people borrow my books though, so it’s not really a problem for me.

9. You have picked up and put down five books in the last month. How do you get over this reading slump?

Same as my answer to the TBR question. I’ll go to MG and magic. I’m bound to find something to read!

10. There are so many books coming out that you are dying to read. How many do you end up buying?

Ooooh. Most of them probably. And then they’ll sit on my TBR forever haha!

11. After you purchase all of these books that you’re dying to read, how long do they sit on your shelf before you read them?

However long it takes me to read them. Some books are read INSTANTLY, some books can sit there for months. (I’ll tell you something… THUG is still waiting to be read and that came out A WHILE AGO)

FYI: I don’t like that this tag only had 11 questions. Not a great fan of odd numbers!

That was loads of fun. I don’t know that I’ve said anything that would surprise anyone here really! 

If you’ve got a tag you think I’d enjoy, please tag me in it, or link it in the comments! I’m on the look out for festive tags in particular for the next few weeks! 

S x

BOOK BLOG: Christmas is coming – an Advent book

Christmas Is Coming: the PERFECT book to help your little ones count down to Christmas!

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I know Advent has already started, but it is never too late to get yourself a gorgeous new book! Christmas is a wonderful time of year to get to share stories, make new traditions and do something as a family.

This book is the PERFECT tradition to start with your children because it is JAM PACKED full of gorgeous little snippets of Christmas joy.

You can’t tell on my picture (sorry for the shoddy photography skills) but on the cover there are flaps to open for each day of the countdown to Christmas. I’m a SUCKER for a book that counts down through Advent so when this came through my door I was floored with joy! I just wish I had my own children to share this with (I do, I have 30, ha!) 

As you count down through Advent, you get all kinds of different things. There’s recipes, there’s songs, there’s ideas for things to do to be kind! I love that there’s a range of things throughout the book as it means that there’s not just story, but it keeps children engaged. There’s a recipe for raspberry hot chocolate that is PARTICULARLY delicious! 

The illustrations throughout make this book even more beautiful in my opinion. You can’t beat a good bit of well illustrated book. I was very taken by this “Seek and Find” page… it took me a little while to find everything, but I think that’s what’s going to make it even more special for families. It’s something you can do together. You can spent 5 minutes at bed time reading this book and seeing what the day brings you! This could be read in a morning, at night: anytime of the day! Kids are just going to love this and I think parents will too (I know if I were a parent I would be ALL OVER THIS). 

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A CHRISTMAS JOKE? I love a bad joke!

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All of the gorgeous Advent activities culminate in the story of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ for December 24th. I think that’s the PERFECT way to end this gorgeous book. There’s the whole story and it makes the perfect bed time read in all of the excitement of Christmas! Look at that page though… just exquisite! 

A massive thank you to the people at Abrams and Chronicle for sending me this. It made my heart so very happy when I received it! You should definitely go and check it out if you like the sound of it (and if you don’t, then I don’t think we can be friends!)

Are you a fan of an Advent countdown?
Do you have a favourite Christmas tradition?
What’s your favourite thing about the festive season?

Talk to me! I’d love to talk Christmas with you all!

S x 

BLOG TOUR: We’re Off To Find A Unicorn

We're Off to Find A Unicorn

“We’ve hunted for bears, elves and eggs… now we’re hunting for everyone’s favourite – unicorns! But readers will not only enjoy looking for the hiding unicorn in the pages, they’ll also learn about our world’s endangered wildlife along the way.”

We’re Off To Find a Unicorn is a gorgeously written and illustrated picture book which is reminiscent of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt! Written by Elouise White and illustrated by Cory Reid, this is going to be a sure fire hit with loads of kids and teachers alike! 

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There’s a gorgeous repeating pattern with this book. A pattern that children will be sure to want to join in with! It’s always good to read books which little ones can join in with! Lots of kids love unicorns now, so this is sure to be a hit! It’s a book that once children know it, they can go off and read to themselves because they know the pattern and they might even start to make up their own version!

The story follows a group looking for an infamous unicorn. They trudge through the cold, the warm and all kinds of gorgeous different habitats looking for a unicorn… with very little luck! I loved that it explored different kinds of habitats as it will allow for loads of discussion with children. Also, I loved that the animals the group found along the way weren’t always the obvious ones (see below)! It’s always brilliant to introduce children to knew animals!

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This book is just lush. It’s going down a storm at school and the kids are loving it! We’ve even had a few aspiring authors who think they want to write their own version of this book, so I’ll let you know how theose go!

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With gorgeous illustrations like this one, which might be my favourite, this book is filled with gorgeous detail. It is sure to keep children talking and wondering! Plus, you can’t beat a gorgeously illustrated end papers! These made us laugh a lot!

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A massive thank you to the publishers Owlet Press for sending me a review copy and asking me to be on the blog tour! What a joy! 

You can get yourself a copy of the book here: Owlet Press website.

Check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour to see what some fellow bloggers thought of this gorgeous fun picture book!

Unicorn blog tour

S x

November in books

Happy December everyone! 

Now that December is here, it’s almost time to start thining about the best books of the year! However, I’m not ready to do that yet. I’m here to share the books I read in November with you!

I’ll be honest with you all. November was a HARD month. I struggled quite a lot with my SAD. Work was tough. I’ve had to do a lot of soul searching and thinking. I’ve had to do a bit of crying. I’ve not read that many books because my brain just wasn’t in the right frame of mind. I was getting home and just wanted to climb into bed. I watched a lot of Colleen Ballinger videos because she seems like she’s the loveliest. That was easier for my brain than reading and that’s OK. I’m glad I managed to get through some books though, so that’s good! I got to read 2 of my most anticipated books in November and THAT WAS DELIGHTFUL.

MG books I read in November

I’m a massive fan of the Polar Bear Explorer’s series, so spotting Explorers on Black Ice Bridge in Waterstones filled me with ABSOLUTE delight. I read it in a matter of hours and it made me so happy. You’ll find my review here – I’d love it if you could check it out! 

I also managed to get my hands on my DELIGHTFUL FRIEND L.D.Lapinski’s debut MG novel, The Strangeworlds Travel Agency, thanks to my brilliant friend Adele. I DEVOURED it in a matter of hours… I had to pace myself because otherwise it was going to be over too quickly and FRIENDS. It is EXCEPTIONAL. It’s out next year and it’s available to preorder at all of the places. If you’re after something magical, fun, inclusive and a proper adventure, you should check it out. A full review is coming… I just need to formulate my thoughts into cohesive sentences. (Also, go follow Lapinski on twitter)

YA books I read in November

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Yes friends, you see that correctly. I was blessed by the book fairies (thank you Simon!) and was sent a proof One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus. I read it ALL on Saturday and it blew my mind. It’s SO SO good. I can’t talk about it too much because ALL OF THE SPOILERS WILL FALL OUT OF MY MOUTH. But it’s so good. It’s out in January and you guys need to get on it! (Also, if you’ve not read One of Us Is Lying, then where have you been? and you need to!)

Autobiographical/memoir books I read in November

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I adored This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay, so when I heard there was going to be another one, I knew I needed it. This one is much shorter and it’s just as brilliant. Would completely recommend both books!

And that’s it! That’s all the books I read in November. 

HOW AM I DOING FOR MY BOOK CHALLENGES?

GOODREADS CHALLENGE: 129/52
#52BOOKS CHALLENGE (JUST KIDS BOOKS): 68/52

Thanks for stopping by. Talk to me in the comments!

How did you do with your reading in November?
Did you have a more productive reading month than me?

What were your stand out books from last month?
Have you started thinking about your favourite books of the year yet?

S x 

S4S – Books set over Christmas

S4S DEC 1

Hello friends! It is Sunday again which means only one thing… it’s #SixforSunday time again! 

We are in a new month now… it’s December! A new month means a whole new bunch of prompts!

December: It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
1st: Books set over Christmas
8th: Books you want to give as gifts
15th: Fireside reads
22nd: All I want for Christmas is…
29th: New year, new books

I love a new month of #SixforSunday! I’ll be posting the first half of 2020’s prompts in the next 2 weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for that! 

But anyway, you’re here to see my choices for this week’s #SixforSunday… the one where Steph struggles, but ultimately manages to find 6:

Books set over Christmas

What can I say? Clearly children’s books have a place in my heart here on this blog! 

Also, a shout out to How Winston Delivered Christmas and The Christmas Mystery (not a children’s book) for both being advent books – where you get a chapter a day for every day in Advent. The best kind of books in my opinion! 

I initially found this quite hard, but once I started, I was HERE for 100s of books. Naturally, I could only use 6. 

I’d love to see what you all used for this prompt! Remember to leave your link in the comments so others can check out your #SixforSunday post for this week! 

See you next week for more #SixforSunday December fun!

S x