BOOK BLOG: L.D.Lapinski

The Strangeworlds Travel Agency: the start of a complete adventure that I can’t wait to go along on!

Image result for strange world travel agency

“At the Strangeworlds Travel Agency, each suitcase transports you to a different world. All you have to do is step inside…
When 12-year-old Flick Hudson accidentally ends up in the Strangeworlds Travel Agency, she uncovers a fantastic secret: there are hundreds of other worlds just steps away from ours. All you have to do to visit them is jump into the right suitcase. Then Flick gets the invitation of a lifetime: join Strangeworlds’ magical travel society and explore other worlds. But, unknown to Flick, the world at the very centre of it all, is in danger. Buildings and even streets are mysteriously disappearing. Once Flick realizes what’s happening she must race against time before it collapses into nothingness — and takes our world with it.”

Now, we all know I love a good fantasy book over here at A Little But A Lot, and it’s SO INCREDIBLY REFRESHING to read a fantasy book that I haven’t come across before. To read a bunch of characters, a plot and a world (or group of worlds) that I’ve not come across is just gorgeous. You can’t beat that feeling of stepping into a new world and just falling head over hells for it. With The Strangeworlds Travel Agency, I found that. I found a book that I needed to devour. I read it greedily. I needed to know what was coming next. I wanted to know what was going on. I had a million questions and I needed the answers. There were characters who I needed to know more about. I wanted their back stories. 

The premise of this book, this series of books I SHOULD say (we all know I love a series too so that was music to my ears) is that there are magical people in the world who have the powers to visit other worlds through magical suitcases. Young Flick (our MC) is a girl who discovers she is able to do this, but it comes at a price: saving the world. Imagine that… being able to open one of these magical suitcases and jumping in (following the rules of course) and then being in a new and wonderful world. I don’t know that I’d be brave enough to do that to be honest, but I absolutely love the idea. Something that I love about this book is that it made the ordinary extraordinary. Nothing was quite what it seemed. There was always a bit of a spark of magic with everything. There was that twinkle in the eye.

The world building in this book is top notch. From Flick and Jonathon’s very real world, to the many and varied worlds they jump into, there’s something for everyone. I loved that as I went through, it was a very immersively written book. You are there. As you read, it’s like reading a film. You see it so clearly and you can’t help but feel like you’re there. Regardless of where you are, who you’re with, you’re there in the book in the amazing array of worlds that Lapinski has written. Each of the unique worlds are crafted so beautifully that you could quite happily stay there to discover the magic and the wonder in these places. You leave with more questions than you started with and I think that’s the majesty of this book. You should have more questions. You should want more from these worlds. That’s what makes you want to read more. I can’t wait to see where we get to explore in the coming books.

Along with the incredible worlds that I really adored, you have characters who show the determination, braveness and humour that the best people have. You meet Flick: brave, bold, brazen. She finds out she’s got to help save a city from certain destruction, but not just the city, but the world. She’s hesitant at first (who’d blame her?) but allows her curiosity to bubble under the surface. She wants to seem cool, but we all know that deep down she can’t wait to get her feet wet and start adventuring. She’s a brilliantly loveable character. Alongside Flick, we have the ever sassy and much needed Jonathon. He’s got a very quick wit; there’s a lot of snark. He seems to be uncaring, but deep down he very much takes his job seriously. He’s desperate to do something about finding what was lost. He needs help, but he’s a bit proud. He definitely shone to me as a character that you don’t read much in MG books and I think he is a WELCOME addition to the world of MG. Both of these characters are the kind that grip onto you and you can’t quite get rid of in the very best ways. You become invested in them and what is happening to them, so you HAVE to read on to know they’re OK. 

Something which makes this book even more wonderful in my opinion is its exploration of themes which are very real to us all: friendship, identity, family, loss and love in all its guises. Books for kids are more so dealing with bigger and bigger issues and I welcome it with open arms. This book doesn’t shy from dealing with these issues and they’re done in a brilliant way. You very much have an incredible adventure book here that weaves these subplots into the story so you experience them with the characters. I loved the friendship between Jonathon and Flick. It’s unconventional, but it works. They balance each other so beautifully. They’re what the other needs, without accepting that as a thing. I can’t wait to watch their friendship blossom in the rest of the series. There’s nods to gender identity that I think are really bloody important. It’s not a big thing, but it’s there. It’s done so seamlessly and beautifully that it’s just part of the book.

Reading Strangeworlds made me laugh, cry and delighted me. It’s a hug in a book that’s just taken you on a bit of an adventure. It’s danger and then a cup of tea and a biscuit offered when you get back. It’s a glorious mix of is an hope, adventure, exploration, love, humour, excitement, and because every good book needs it, a bit of peril. You never feel like you’re not safe though. This book is a complete hit in my reading life and I can’t wait to see how everything is explored and developed in the coming books. I finished book 1 with SO MANY QUESTIONS, so bring on book 2!

My Goodreads review:

A complete and utter ride. Just everything I needed in a book: magic, friendship, laughter, snark and adventure. I think this is gonna be something huge. Bloody loved every second. There’s something for everyone here and I can’t wait for the world to read it. The characters are amazing; the worlds are just exceptional and the writing is lush. I want to be part of this world!

Because I loved this book so much, I created this mood board that isn’t really spoiler-y at all, but was a collection of pictures that I saw and definitely made me think of this incredible book!

strangeworlds

Phew. What a mammoth review that was. But I need you guys to know that this book is magical and brilliant and wonderful. Out in April, I implore you all to preorder it now!

Would you jump through a suitcase if it took you somewhere new?
What would you hope to see/find there?
HAVE YOU PREORDERED THIS ALREADY PLEASE?

A massive thank you to my friend for letting me read her proof copy of this book! It was much needed for my little brain! And thank you to YOU for reading my blog!

S x

ThursTAG: New Year’s Resolution Tag

Hello friends, 

It is me, your Thursday Tag fairy! I’m here to do New Year’s Resolutions. 

Now, as a human, I’m not big on resolutions because I hate failure haha. Seriously though, that is deep and true. I don’t set them because I may fail doing them. I like them in theory, but I don’t tend to set them. *shrug*

But you’re not here to listen to me drivel on about my deepest darkest thoughts and innermost feelings. You’re here to read the tag. So let’s do it! 

new years resolution tag banner

An author you’d like to read that you’ve never read:

V. E. Schwab. My friend Kelly bought me the Darker Shade of Magic trilogy for my birthday and I haven’t got round to reading them yet, so I really need to get round to that!

A book you’d like to read:

ALL OF THE BOOKS. 

A classic you’d like to read:

*shrug* What constitutes classic? Someone recommend me a classic they think I’ll enjoy please.

A book you’d like to reread:

I’m not a big rereader however I would like to reread 1984. And after reading it in such a greedy reading kind of way, I’d love to read The Strangeworlds Travel Agency by L.D. Lapinski again. 

A book you’ve had for ages and want to read:

God. So many. However THUG probably needs to take that title. 

A big book you’d like to read:

Big books scare the life out of me. I do need to finish Priory of the Orange Tree though. Every time I look at it, it just sneers at me 

An author you’ve previously read and would like to read more of:

All of my favourites. Seriously they all need to just write more books thanks and get them to me ASAP THANKS (because I don’t have enough to read?)

A book you got for Christmas and would like to read:

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. My gorgeous friend Charlotte bought it for me.

A series you want to read from start to finish:

A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy (I think it’s a trilogy). I’ve heard amazing things about them AND I own them all, so I have no excuse really… right?

A series you want to finish that you’ve already started:

Most of the series I have started and not finished is because the rest of the books aren’t out yet. I’m a proper lover of a series and will DEVOUR the books when they come out. Gimme those character arcs and breadcrumbs of knowledge.

Do you set reading goals? If so, how many books do you want to read in 2020?

I do: I always set my Goodreasd challenge at 52 – that’s a book a week. Yes, I always beat it. Yes, it’s more than achieveable, but that’s what I do. I managed 138 books this year which I think is pretty good going. 

Any other reading goals?

Read more of what I enjoy and not feel like I have to read what everyone else is reading just because it’s what’s cool? 

And there you go! My New Years Resolutions tag. Feel free to have a go at this yourself! 

How do you feel about resolutions?
What books are on your list?
Are you a lover of a series like me?

Talk to me in the comments, or I’ll see you over on Twitter! 

S x

Top 10 YA books of the year

As you saw last week, I shared my top 10 MG books of 2019, so today it’s only fair that it is the turn of my favourite other loves: YA books. 

I’m a lot more likely to read outside of my comfort zone in YA books than I am with MG books. I’m not sure why this is! If you go through the shelves of the books that I’ve bought for school, it is a WHOLE chunk of fantasy, whereas with my YA collection, I tend to deviate a bit more. 

There were a few surprises on this list, but in the loveliest way. Books that I read and that clearly made an impact on me when I read them. Like I said with my MG list though, this is not a definitive list because you might ask me again in a month and I might have changed my mind haha. I gave these lists SERIOUS consideration however, so this is PRETTY close to spot on! 

Like in my MG post, I’ll give you a short review of each to go alongside, just to give you a flavour. If you have any extra questions about any of the books, just ask me! These books are all incredible so I will be MORE THAN HAPPY to talk about them!

Right… here goes..

My top 10 YA books of 2019

(again books I READ in 2019 because one of them isn’t out til 2020)

2019 best ya

Song of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury 
(shocker I know)

Dear Lord in the heavens. What is this life? This is EXCEPTIONAL. Mel has done it again. Twists and turns. Characters you’ll love. Characters you’ll hate. Genuine shocks. GOD I JUST LOVED IT.

And The Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando

Friends. This book DESTROYED me.

(Good review Steph…)

With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Loved this. Bloody gorgeous voice and a really interesting plot. I loved Emoni so much. She’s brave, scared and a proper mama bear. I loved her Buela too. This book is like a hearty meal: it leaves you satisfied and warm. Bloody yes.

Fierce Fragile Hearts by Sara Barnard
(another shocker I know)

This book was JUST PERFECT. I felt EVERYTHING: sadness, joy, heartache, anger. I laughed, I cried, I wanted to shout. Sara has written the most incredible story with brilliant messages about doing what’s right for you, being ok being you and the importance of your chosen family – friends, family and the people you surround yourself with. I love that these books don’t shy away from dealing with TOUGH themes.

The Toll by Neal Shusterman

Friends. Enemies. Lovers. Killers. I just can’t tell you how much this book ABSOLUTELY wrecked me. It kept me on my toes, kept me guessing, kept me reading. Neal Shusterman did it again. The final book in the Scythe series and it is incredible. It’s FULL of twists and turns. It’s unexpected. It’s BRILLIANT. I just adored it. Being back in this world again was an absolute delight and I’m so sad it’s over.

The Burning by Laura Bates

This book is INTENSE. But in the BEST WAY POSSIBLE. It’s hard to read, it’s gritty, it’s history and now. It’s girls arguing, it’s online shaming, it’s history repeating. Betrayal, lies, secrets, fresh starts, friendship, honesty. Just bloody magnificent.

Viper by Bex Hogan

Pirate assassins? Magic? Brilliant main character? A dad who is TRULY the worst? Absolutely yes. I adored Bronn and Grace with all that I am. Marianne deserves like the rest of her life to just chill after what she’s been through, but she’s definitely going to have more adventures. I can’t wait for book 2. I really really enjoyed this.

No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter

If I could swear, o would. This book is exceptional. I am/was Emily and there’s nothing more important that seeing yourself in a book. I hope every young girl gets a chance to read it. Loving yourself is SO IMPORTANT. This book made me laugh, cry and want to shout. Just bloody marvellous.

The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G.Drews

Deary me. Sam – what a pickle you find yourself in. This book is just magnificent. I am a crying mess. This book is hard edges and summers days. It’s light and dark. It’s love and hate. It’s everything I needed. The thing that really makes this book is it’s characters. I just adored every single thing.

A Girl Called Shameless by Laura Steven

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

Eeeeeh man. There you go. My top 10 YA books of 2019. I have committed now. I have no regrets. All of these books are EXCEPTIONAL. There are many many other YA books that could have been in with a chance of being on this list. In fact, this list was more changeable than the MG list which says something! 

Have you read all of the books on my list?
Did you have a favourite of these books?
Are there any you haven’t read?

I’d love to talk about these books with anyone who will listen! Talk to me in the comments or over on twitter!

S x 

S4S – Bookish resolutions

Hello hello friends!

Welcome to 2020 #SixforSunday! I can’t wait to see you all joining in, if anyone does at all join in. If no one does, that’s equally fine! I’ll be here flying the #SixforSunday flag forever!

We’re here for the first prompt of 2020 and it’s a biggie:

Six bookish resolutions

Now, I’m not a big resolution kind of gal, but I’ve managed to kind of cobble together 6 “resolutions” for my reading and my blogging life, so hopefully I’ll be able to follow through with them!

  1. Continue to read whatever I am in the mood for. 
    In 2019, I didn’t make TBR lists because I’m SO MUCH of a mood reader. I would HATE to have a TBR and then not stick to it. So I am pledging to sticking to being a “mood reader” in 2020!
  2. Don’t put pressure on myself.
    Whether that’s to read what everyone else is reading, or to do what ever everyone else is doing, I’m just gonna do me and that’s how I’m going to be happiest I think!
  3. Try and be better at Instagramming my books! 
    I go through periods where I’m great at Instagramming the books I get/am reading, and then I go through periods where I am just plain shocking. I do enjoy Instagram. It’s my second fave after Twitter. I have the same username on both platforms (@eenalol) if you want to follow me!
  4. Get better at recommending.
    I see people looking for recommendations all over Twitter and I’m not the kind of eprson to just interject myself into their conversation. I will openly give recommendations if you come to me, but if people are just asking on Twitter, I’m likely to stay quiet. I know books, they’re my thing, I should deem my knowledge as worthy enough to share it!
  5. Unhaul/pass on books more readily! 
    I’m a bit of a hoarder of books to be honest. I’m great at passing books on to friends when I see them and I’ll get round to taking books into school every few weeks, but in a few weeks a lot of books tend to pile up! I wanna be better at getting books into school so that I’m not having to put loads of books on the library system at once!
  6. Not getting caught in “hype”.
    I do this pretty well, but I just want to keep it up to be honest. I’m not a big fan of hype (see my STILL unready copy of THUG and my reading SoC years after it was released) so I try and just appreciate all of the people reading the book/watching the thing and then when it’s all died down, I swoop in. That’s just how I roll.

The prompts for January – March are live on my blog now, so don’t forget to bookmark those if you are wanting to join in #SixforSunday over the next few months!

Below are the banners that I’m going to be using for this month’s prompts if you want to use them! I’ll put the banners for the month ahead on the first prompt of the month (if I remember! If I forget then just shout at me!) You don’t need to use them at all, but I’m happy for you to use them!

S4S Jan 2019 week 1S4S Jan 2020 week 2S4S Jan 2020 week 3S4S Jan 2020 week 4

Thank you for joining in! See you next week for more #SixforSunday fun!

S x

#SixforSunday does January, February and March

Well well well, 

Here we go again. It’s 2020. It’s time for you all to embrace (with somewhat open arms) #SixforSunday for another year. I can’t believe this stupid little thing I started on my blog is actually a thing OTHER PEOPLE do on their blogs. It makes me so so happy. I’m very grateful for each and every one of you who does find the time to join in, even if it’s just every once and a while. I love doing #SixforSunday with all of my heart. It’s a very fun little thing I do once a week (I mean some times it’s not fun because it’s hard) and I LOVE reading your responses! 

For anyone who is new around here and is wondering what #SixforSunday is… it’s really just that. You choose 6 books (normally) that you’d choose to fit whatever the prompt is that week. If we get to a week and you’re not feeling that prompt, there’s a whole host of other prompts you can do from 2019, but equally you can choose your own prompt! Share it using #SixforSunday on twitter and post your link in my post and then ta da! You are an official #SixforSunday‘er. You can join in every week, or just join in when you fancy it! 

Without further ado… here are the prompts for January, February and March. I’ll post the next lot in the middle of February so you always have plenty of thinking time! I would’ve usually have had these up before now, but my brain’s not been in a blogging kinda moos for a few weeks! 

January – Getting to know you

5th – Six bookish resolutions
12th – Six 2019 favourites
19th – Six books people assosciate with you
26th – Six bookish habits

February – Share the love

2nd – Six favourite blogs/booktubers/bookstagrams to follow
9th – Six reasons you love blogging
16th – Six favourite authors to follow 
23rd – Six favourite covers/types of cover

March – Characters ahoy!

1st – Six characters I’d name my kids after
8th – Six characters I’d like to be stranded with
15th – Six characters who would fit right in my family
22nd – Six characters I’d love to go on a date with
29th – Six characters who I’d like to be like

And there you have your prompts for the first quarter of 2020!

If you have any questions or any ideas for prompts for further in the year, let me know! I’d love your input! 

Thank you again for making #SixforSunday one of the things I’m proud of from this little blog. You’re all amazing! 

S x 

Top 10 MG books of the year

We have made it to that time of a year (well a NEW year) where I have to make that IMPOSSIBLE decision where I share my FAVOURITE books of the year just gone. 

Anyone who knows me, knows that this is a HARD thing for me to do.

I love reading. I love books. I love stories. I love characters. I love exploring new worlds. I love meeting new villains. I love clever, fiesty plots and puzzles. Stories make me a very happy girl indeed. 

I don’t know why I put myself through this decision every year, but every year I do. This list is not a definitive list at all. You could ask me again in a week’s time and there may be one or two changes. But I am fairly confident in this list. I read some ABSOLUTE bangers in 2019. I fell in love with lots of different characters, settings, villains, plots and plot twists. I’m a VERY lucky duck. 

However, you’re not here to listen to me ramble on… so here we have it:

My top 10 MG books I read in 2019

(I say read in 2019 because 1 of them is out in 2020)

2019 mg of the year pic

WOAH. There you have it. They’re not in any particular order.

Looking at that list of books and thinking this is the best of the best tells me that I read some ABSOLUTE SMASHERS last year.

 The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson

Storytelling at its very finest. Brilliant characters, beautiful worlds, exciting adventures and powerful messages. I just adored this. Yanka is a character that kids and adults will adore, and relate to! You can’t beat a bit of finding yourself and your people (or animals) with a good bit of story woven together. Just bloody brilliant.

Against all Gods by Maz Evans 

An incredibly heartbreaking and heartwarming way to finish this series. I 100% wept for the last 30 pages or so. This book is HILARIOUS. It’s interesting. It’s cool. It’s everything you want in the last book of a series. IM JUST SO SAD ITS OVER. Elliot is the bravest of souls and i just think he’s wonderful.

Jemima Small versus the Universe by Tamsin Winter

This book is a rip-roaring revelation. I adored it so so much. Meet Jemima Small, a young girl who is anything but small. She’s big and people like to pick on her for it. I loved this because it didn’t shy away from the truth about being a young, fat kid. You do get bullied, people do say things, you do get looks. I have been Jemima. I can’t wait to put this in the hands of so many young people and tell them you can be whoever you want because you are PERFECT just the way you are. Absolutely magnificent.

High Rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson

A BRILLIANT detective book for kids. It’s interesting, funny and has characters you’ll love. I am so glad there’s going to be more because I genuinely could’ve kept going.

The Truth Pixie Goes To School by Matt Haig

A gorgeously written story about the power of friendship, truth and lies. I love these books so much. This is going to be something I read and use in the classroom for years to come!

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

This book is gritty, determined and shocking at times. I just thought it was incredible. A gripping story about a young boy who is running from his past and ends up in more trouble. Along comes someone who believes in him and things start to change. Bloody yes. This book is a proper victory.

Owen and the Soldier by Lisa Thompson

Really bloody enjoyed this. Owen is a BRILLIANT MC and this story is proper touching. Man, I’m definitely not in bed crying… NOPE.

The Strangeworlds Travel Agency by L.D.Lapinski (released in 2020)

A complete and utter ride. Just everything I needed in a book: magic, friendship, laughter, snark and adventure. I think this is gonna be something huge. Bloody loved every second. There’s something for everyone here and I can’t wait for the world to read it. The characters are amazing; the worlds are just exceptional and the writing is lush. I want to be part of this world!

Frostheart by Jamie Littler

GUYS. This is exceptional. It’s fun, daring, dangerous and cool. I absolutely loved my journey on Frostheart with Ash and the crew. A proper icy cold ride, with a massive heart. The illustrations throughout add so much too. Absolute smasher!

Pages and Co 2: Tilly and the Lost Fairytales by Anna James

Wonderfully brave Tilly is on another brilliant, book-loving filled adventure with some familiar faces from fairy tales. If you’ve not picked up these books yet, you absolutely should. I wish I was Tilly’s friend.

And there you go. My 10 favourite MG reads of 2019. 

2019 was an absolutely cracking year for MG books and I could EASILY have had a completely different list. I recommend whole heartedly each and every single book on that list though. 

What were your favourite MG books of 2019?
Do you, like me, struggle to put together a top 10 list?
Have you read all of the books on my list?

I’d love to know your thoughts! MG books are a proper passion of mine so I love talking about them to anyone who will engage with me!

S x 

2019 in books…

Hola amigos!

It is time for my 2019 in books round up. Well, one of them! I’m literally just using THIS POST as inspiration and changing 2018 to 2019. Get yourself a cup of tea and get comfy! I know we technically haven’t finished 2019 yet… but I’m just getting in there early!

**2019 READING STATS**

NUMBER OF BOOKS YOU READ: 138
NUMBER OF RE-READS: 0
GENRE YOU READ THE MOST FROM: FANTASY?

best-YA-books-2014

1. BEST BOOK YOU READ IN 2019?

I REFUSE TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION. 

2. BOOK YOU WERE EXCITED ABOUT & THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO LOVE MORE BUT DIDN’T?

The Girls by Emma Cline. I just wanted a lot more from it. It was fine, but I didn’t LOVE it. (I’m always looking for cult books if anyone has a recommendation for me!)

3. MOST SURPRISING (IN A GOOD WAY OR BAD WAY) BOOK YOU READ? 

Sanctuary by V.V.James. I don’t read a lot of adult fantasy books because I generally find them quite hard going, but my god I DEVOURED this book. It is INCREDIBLE.

4. BOOK YOU “PUSHED” THE MOST PEOPLE TO READ (AND THEY DID)?

Lol, it would be a crime for me not to say Melinda Salisbury here because that is what I am MOST well known for, lets be real. I will forever shout about Mel’s books. Come at me.

5. BEST SERIES YOU STARTED IN 2019? BEST SEQUEL OF 2019? BEST SERIES ENDER OF 2019?

Best series I started? And Then I Turned Into A Mermaid – Laura Kirkpatrick
Best sequel? Patina – Jason Reynolds (I am ALL about this Run series, give me the new book INSTANTLY)
Best series ender? Maz Evans – Against All Gods (I am so so so deeply saddened this series is over)

6. FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR YOU DISCOVERED IN 2019?

I read quite a lot of books from new authors (either debuts or new to me) but I have to give this prize to Bethany Rutter. No Big Deal was a BIG DEAL to me this year and I just can’t wait to see what else she writes.

7. BEST BOOK FROM A GENRE YOU DON’T TYPICALLY READ/WAS OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE?

I find these questions really hard because I’m not a massively adventurous reader. I stick to what I know! Probably This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay though. That book needs to be read by every single person on this bloody planet because it is bloody brilliant.

8. MOST ACTION-PACKED/THRILLING/UNPUTDOWNABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR?

Now… action packed, thrilling and unputdownable are VERY DIFFERENT THINGS, but let me try and choose ONE book… Viper by Bex Hogan. That book definitely HAS A LOT going on. You should read it if you haven’t yet.

9. BOOK YOU READ IN 2019 THAT YOU WOULD BE MOST LIKELY TO RE-READ NEXT YEAR?

Now here we go again… everyone say it with me. I’m not much of a rereader. However I would be more than happy to reread a lot of the books I read in 2019. Mainly Song of Sorrow because I miss Luvian Fen so much.

10. FAVORITE COVER OF A BOOK YOU READ IN 2019?

It would be criminal for me to say that Circe isn’t my favourite cover of last year. That cover is DISGUSTINGLY beautiful (yes, I appreciate a shiny cover)

11. MOST MEMORABLE CHARACTER OF 2019?

Luvian bloody Fen. That fella HAS TAKEN OVER MY LIFE.

12. MOST BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN BOOK READ IN 2019?

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy. God guys. Just gosh.

13. MOST THOUGHT-PROVOKING/ LIFE-CHANGING BOOK OF 2019?

And The Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando. Excuse me. It’s not out til next year but you guys are IN FOR IT. This book is HEARTBREAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL.

14. BOOK YOU CAN’T BELIEVE YOU WAITED UNTIL 2019 TO FINALLY READ? 

I mean it only came out in 2019, but I read A Curse So Dark and Lonely A LONG TIME after everyone else did.

15. FAVORITE PASSAGE/QUOTE FROM A BOOK YOU READ IN 2019?

GOD KNOWS. Like genuinely. Although the ending of Song of Sorrow is just what I needed and didn’t know I wanted.

16. SHORTEST & LONGEST BOOK YOU READ IN 2019?

Shortest – Why You Should Read Children’s Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise by Katherine Rundell (80 pages)
Longest – The Toll by Neal Shusterman (640 pages)

17. BOOK THAT SHOCKED YOU THE MOST?

The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G.Drews. I didn’t expect to fall in love with that book quite as much as I did.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (YOU WILL GO DOWN WITH THIS SHIP!)?

Sorrow and Luvian 4lyf. (Although, me and Luvian too) But I must also give a shout out to all of the ships I definitely shipped this year.

19. FAVORITE NON-ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP OF THE YEAR?

Emily and the relationship she has with her body in No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter. 

20. FAVORITE BOOK YOU READ IN 2019 FROM AN AUTHOR YOU’VE READ PREVIOUSLY?

LOTS OF THEM OK? I LOVE BOOKS.

21. BEST BOOK YOU READ IN 2019 THAT YOU READ BASED SOLELY ON A RECOMMENDATION FROM SOMEBODY ELSE/PEER PRESSURE/BOOKSTAGRAM, ETC.:

Circe by Madeleine Miller. Queen Mel kept recommending this, so obviously I read it.

22. NEWEST FICTIONAL CRUSH FROM A BOOK YOU READ IN 2019?

Malachi from With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo. He just seems like the sweetest sweetheart.

23. BEST 2019 DEBUT YOU READ?

A Pocketful of Stars by Aisha Bushby, The Strangeworlds Travel Agency by L.D.Lapinski or No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter. I read LOADS of amazing debuts this year!

24. BEST WORLDBUILDING/MOST VIVID SETTING YOU READ THIS YEAR?

Now while I could of course recommend Queen Mel here (the queen of world building), I’d also like to give a shout out to Sophie Anderson for her gorgeous settings in The Girl Who Speaks Bear. 

25. BOOK THAT PUT A SMILE ON YOUR FACE/WAS THE MOST FUN TO READ?

Boot by Shane Hegarty.

26. BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY OR NEARLY CRY IN 2019?

LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL. See every book I read. Books that really broke my heart this year? Against all Gods, A Pocketful of Stars, They Both Die At The End, The Art of Being Normal, This Is Going To Hurt, And The Stars Were Burning Brightly.

27. HIDDEN GEM OF THE YEAR?

A Tale of Magic by Chris Colfer. I bought it on a whim because the kids at school love his other books and I just adored it.

28. BOOK THAT CRUSHED YOUR SOUL?

Lol, see my answers to Q26.

29. MOST UNIQUE BOOK YOU READ IN 2019?

High Rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson. The way it’s set out and written proper makes it stand out in my head!

30. BOOK THAT MADE YOU THE MOST MAD (DOESN’T NECESSARILY MEAN YOU DIDN’T LIKE IT)?

I Hold Your Heart by Karen Gregory. That book made me SO FUCKING cross. It’s well worth a read, but my god.

book-blogging

1. NEW FAVORITE BOOK BLOG/BOOKSTAGRAM/YOUTUBE CHANNEL YOU DISCOVERED IN 2019?

I don’t watch a lot of booktube to be honest, so I will tell everyone who is still reading to go and subscribe to my boy George Lester.

2. FAVORITE POST YOU WROTE IN 2019?

OH MY GOSH. I can not choose. I have quite a few!

3. FAVORITE BOOKISH RELATED PHOTO YOU TOOK IN 2019?

I don’t take great photos haha! So I’m not sure!

4. BEST BOOKISH EVENT THAT YOU PARTICIPATED IN (AUTHOR SIGNINGS, FESTIVALS, VIRTUAL EVENTS, ETC.)?

YALC is always a great highlight. I get to spend a few days with my favourite people in the world and books, what’s not to love? Mel Salisbury’s book launch was also bloody magnificent.

5. BEST MOMENT OF BOOKISH/BLOGGING LIFE IN 2018?

Chairing events with some of the authors I love and respect the most in the world is always an incredibly mind blowing thing to do!

6. MOST CHALLENGING THING ABOUT BLOGGING OR YOUR READING LIFE THIS YEAR?

Those times where my MH just doesn’t wanna play and therefore I don’t read/blog like I would love to be doing!

7. MOST POPULAR POST THIS YEAR ON YOUR BLOG (WHETHER IT BE BY COMMENTS OR VIEWS)?

Oooh. I’m not sure! Let me find out! THIS MAKES ME SO HAPPY. My most viewed post is my #SixforSunday prompts post! YAY for #SixforSunday!

8. POST YOU WISHED GOT A LITTLE MORE LOVE?

Meh. I’m indifferent to this question. I don’t write things for people to like? I write things  want to write!

9. BEST BOOKISH DISCOVERY (BOOK RELATED SITES, BOOK STORES, ETC.)?

*shrug* I don’t know my pals. I do not know.

10.  DID YOU COMPLETE ANY READING CHALLENGES OR GOALS THAT YOU HAD SET FOR YOURSELF AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS YEAR?

I always set myself a Goodreads target and of course I smashed it!

looking-ahead-books-2015

1. ONE BOOK YOU DIDN’T GET TO IN 2019 BUT WILL BE YOUR NUMBER 1 PRIORITY IN 2020?

Lol. So many. I’m not sorry either. I’ve still not read THUG. *shrug*

2. BOOK YOU ARE MOST ANTICIPATING FOR 2020 (NON-DEBUT)?

OH MY GOD. HOLD BACK THE TIDE. OMG. WHY IS IT NOT OUT YET?

3. 2020 DEBUT YOU ARE MOST ANTICIPATING?

Is it cheating to say the one I’m most anticipating is one I’ve already read? Cause I don’t care for your rules.

4. SERIES ENDING/A SEQUEL YOU ARE MOST ANTICIPATING IN 2020?

I NEED the rest of the Run series by Jason Reynolds like now. I love that series.

5. ONE THING YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH OR DO IN YOUR READING/BLOGGING LIFE IN 2020?

Just keep enjoying it. That’s all I ever want. As soon as I’m not enjoying it, that’s when I’ll stop blogging.

6. A 2020 RELEASE YOU’VE ALREADY READ & RECOMMEND TO EVERYONE (IF APPLICABLE):

MG – The Strangeworlds Travel Agency by L.D.Lapinski. Friends. It is EXCELLENT. I can’t wait for the world to experience it!
YA – And The Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando. It BROKE MY SOUL. Please read it when it comes out because it is going to break yours too.

TA DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. You made it! Congratulations if you made it this far. Let me know in the comments if you made it this far and I might send you a little prize!

S x

Where have you been?

Hello!

For those who have been reading my blog for a while, you might have noticed that I have been a bit absent for this month… I’ll be honest, I was just TIRED. I suffer quite badly from SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder) in Winter and this year it made me SO uninspired and indifferent to everything that I love doing. The main thing it affected was my will to sit here and talk about books. It was never because I didn’t want to blog any more; it was purely I didn’t have the capacity and the drive to do it. 

There were other factors too: tiredness, teacher life, Christmas, I wanted to not pressurise myself to BE a blogger because then I’d know it was time to stop. 

This is just a little post to say that I’m still here. I’m still reading. I’m still going to be blogging. I still love books. I still want to talk about books. I’ve just been missing for a while. I’ll be back. I promise. I already have blog posts scheduled for the new year! I don’t think I’ll be able to blog as often as I did this past year (6 times per week some weeks) but I’m going to aim for as often as I can

Of course #SixforSunday will be back. The prompts for January, February and March are being posted on Friday for those of you who are interested (hello Charlotte, that’s you mainly) and I’m so bloody chuffed that this is still a thing I do in my world. Look out for that post coming up!

I need your help friends.

I wanna know what you want to see from me. Do you like my full reviews? Do you prefer my round ups? Do you want more school based posts? Do you want to see other things outside of books and school? I love blogging, like I really love blogging. I’ve talked about it enough around these parts, but it’s a great outlet for me and I want it to continue to be something that is enjoyable for me… but also you guys! You people who read my ramblings day after day, month after month. And I am open to suggestions. Is there content you’d like to see from me that I don’t post often? I loved doing mood boards (they’re a bit more work, but they look rgeat) and I’d love to do those on occasion. Do you want me to see if I can feature other bloggers? Authors? Illustrators? I have lots of great ideas that I don’t know if I can pull off! 

What do you think? What do you want to see from me?

Thank you if you’ve stuck by me for the past few months while my posting schedule has been sporadic. Winter, being a teacher and SADs have kicked my ass, but I am still here. Still reading, still shouting about books! 

You’re all magnificent. Speak to you again soon, 

S x 

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! 

NFF

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