Best of 2017: MG edition

4 days of 2017 left. 4 days of books to add to my Goodreads total. 

However, I have made a decision about the best MG books of 2017, for me. I’m going to give a very short description and leave a link to my review, if you’re interested in more information. If there isn’t a full review on it, there will be one coming, have no fear!

So here goes:

The best MG books of 2017

Best MG 2017(it must be noted that these are not in any order whatsoever!)

Running on the Roof of the World – Jess Butterworth
(review to come)
Adventure filled with incredible colours (and gorgeous chapter pages!)

The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club – Alex Bell
(review to come)
Exceptional. Friendship, equality, fun and gorgeous characters.

Christmas Dinner of Souls – Ross Montgomery 
BOOKBLOG: Ross Montgomery
Another winner from Ross. Devious, delicious and daring.

Nevermoor – Jessica Townsend
(review to come)
Mysterious and magical: I absolutely adored this book.

Letters From The Lighthouse – Emma Carroll
BOOKBLOG: Emma Carroll
Brave, bold and brilliant. I fell in love with this, quickly.

A Place Called Perfect – Helena Duggan
BOOKBLOG: Helena Duggan
Creepy and brilliant, filled with brave characters and an interesting plot.

The Last Wild – Piers Torday
BOOKBLOG: Piers Torday
Heartbreaking, heart warming and brilliant. This book made me cry on a train.

Simply The Quest (WLTGO #2) – Maz Evans
BOOKBLOG: Maz Evans
Excellent sequel to WLTGO. Was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it did not disappoint. Maz is a genius.

The Explorer – Katherine Rundell
BOOKBLOG: Katherine Rundell
This is one of my stand out books of the year. I completely fell for this book. It is just exceptional. 

The Bookshop Girl – Sylvia Bishop
BOOKBLOG: Sylvia Bishop
This is one of those brilliant books that just spark something within imaginations. This world is one of my favourites of the year.

The Island At The End of Everything – Kiran Milwood Hargrave
BOOKBLOG: Kiran Milwood Hargrave
One of those books that comes along every now and again: inspiring, heartbreaking and touching. Kiran’s books are absolute magic.

Who Let The Gods Out – Maz Evans
BOOK BLOG: Maz Evans
The first in the WLTGO series. Sets the tone by being hilarious and moving, with characters you care about and want to see more of!

And there we have it… 2017 has blessed us with hilarious Greek Gods, touching stories of friendship, stories with magical book shops, mothers and daughters separated, children lost in the Amazon jungle with a stranger to help, brave kids pairing up with animals to do some saving, magical lands of mountains and ice, more magic and rescues aplenty. MG books are wonderful. Kid or not, go out there and read them!

What are your favourite MG books of 2017?
Have you read any of my list?
If you could recommend me one more 2017 MG book what would it be?

Happy reading!

S x

November books!

Well hello compadres. 
The year is almost coming to an end! What happened there? 

The day is December 1. I have read books. I have done things. November came and went. It was a pretty stressful month. My poor bullet journal was abandoned due to stresses. I bought a Fitbit and I am coming to terms with the fact I have VERY expressive hands! Also though, I didn’t realise just how many steps I did do in a day. Anyway. 

Books.
November.

I was poorly for most of November, and we had that lovely Ofsted thing come visit us, so I didn’t get as much read as I would like to BUT I did manage to read 5 books! Not bad going for a month filled with illness and winter SAD. 

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Christmas Dinner of Souls – Ross Montgomery
The gorgeous author, Ross, sent me this book and it was a brilliant final book to read this month! It is dark and dastardly and delicious. There’s some brilliant short stories in this and my kids are already going mad for it! Plus there are some incredible illustrations by David Litchfield.

Goodreads
Rated: 5 stars
Devilishly good. Fiendish and delicious. I really loved this. One story with mini scary tales in – Perfect! It would be INCREDIBLE to read aloud to kids too!”

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The Extinction Trials – S.M.Wilson
(release date: Jan 1 2018)

I was very VERY lucky that the lovely humans over at Usborne sent me a copy of this and I just HAD to pick it up one day and I devoured it within a few days. I absolutely ADORED this book. Just exceptional. Storm and Milo are the best. 

Goodreads
Rated: 5 stars 
I absolutely adored this story, from the first page to the last. Dinosaurs, peril, dystopia… what else do you need? I can’t wait to read the second one!!

36472397(not the final cover, but the cover of the proof which I might actually be in love with!)

Sky Song – Abi Elphinstone
(release date: Jan 25 2018)

Again, the gorgeous humans over at Simon and Schuster sent me a proof copy of this about a month or so ago and I wanted to wait until it was cold enough for this. I am SO SO glad I read this. I just absolutely adored it. Abi continually amazes me. Her books are exceptional.

Goodreads
Rated: 5 stars
“This is a story filled with snow, magic, adventure, friendship, finding yourself, your clan and a whole load of hope and courage. I just adored this. Abi has an incredible way of ensuring you get lost in her world, but always feel looked after. I just adored it. 

Plus the acknowledgements had me BAWLING.”

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The Light Jar – Lisa Thompson
(release date: Jan 4 2018)
This was another proof I got that I needed to get into QUICKLY. I love Lisa so much and she just writes so incredibly. This book very nearly broke my heart. I absolutely loved it. One of my boys has this at the minute and he is LOVING it. 

Goodreads
Rated: 5 stars
“An incredible tale about the strength of the human mind, friendship and imagination. I loved this book SO SO MUCH.”

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How To Bewitch a Wolf – Abie Longstaff
Again, this was a book from the lovely people of Scholastic (thank you lovely humans!). I really love Abie Longstaff (as do my twiglets, so this book will be promoted to their shelves) so this was a great read. It’s one of those great books about magic and friendship and hope

Goodreads
Rated: 4 stars
“A great tale of friendship and magic. I know that 10 year old me would love this book. It’s got all the elements of a brilliant book: a great story, loveable characters, witches and magic, warmth and a bit of danger.”

So there we go! I got through some BRILLIANT books in November! It was a MG heavy month, but hey my mood will read what my mood wants to read! I am very much a mood reader. Reviews are to come for all of these books, but I would totally recommend ALL of them (once they’re released, obv)

I’m currently on 101 books read this year; I am DETERMINED to get to 104. I can’t wait for the Christmas break to get some proper reading in! I should be MUCH better by then (let’s forget all of the work I have to do…!)

What did you read in November?
What was your favourite November read?
Are you a mood reader? Or are you great at following your TBR pile?

Talk to me! Comments are lush, twitter chats are lush, emails are lush! 

S x

BOOKBLOG: Sarah Millican

How to Be Champion: canny lush and proper champion

(thank you Waterstones for your exceptionally gorgeous table as the background of this picture… it’s my favourite table!)

“Part autobiography, part self help, part confession, part celebration of being a common-or-garden woman, part collection of synonyms for nunny, Sarah Millican’s debut book delves into her super normal life with daft stories, funny tales and proper advice on how to get past life’s blips – like being good at school but not good at friends, the excitement of IBS and how to blossom post divorce.

If you’ve ever worn glasses at the age of six, worn an off-the-shoulder gown with no confidence, been contacted by an old school bully, lived in your childhood bedroom in your thirties, been gloriously dumped in a Frankie and Benny’s, cried so much you felt great, been for a romantic walk with a dog, worn leggings two days in a row even though they smelt of wee from a distance, then this is Your Book. If you haven’t done those things but wish you had, This Is Your Book. If you just want to laugh on a train/sofa/toilet or under your desk at work, This Is Your Book.”

Hello, you know me. I’m a Geordie. I am a very proud Geordie. I love being from where I’m from. I also love Sarah Millican. I think she’s hilarious, she’s got a potty mouth and she’s just normal – she’s relatable

When I knew there was going to be a Sarah Millican book, I knew I needed to get my hands on it. I love autobiographies, I think they can show you so much about a person. I love autobiographies by people I like even more, so this was one I had to get my hands on. I knew it was going to be funny. I knew I would love it. I didn’t know just how much I would love it. 

It made me laugh.
It made me cry. 
It made me happy to be a northerner. 
It made me proud to be a woman.
It made me glad that I support this wonderfully funny woman.

The way it works is there’s a chapter and then at the end there’s a little “tip” from Sarah. These tips are easily my favourite thing about the book. They give you tips on being champion. For those who don’t know, being champion is being lush, it’s being good, great, brilliant. It’s a brilliant Geordie word. 

When I saw this chapter heading, I knew this was the book for me. I am awfully fond of stationery. This chapter is the most me thing I’ve ever seen in a book. 

There’s some bloody brilliant messages delivered throughout this book, and I think they’re important:
– Be yourself
– Work hard
– It’s OK to not be OK
– Don’t be afraid to say something isn’t your cup of tea

Please go and buy this if you can. It’s such a brilliant book. I loved it so much that I had to finish it in a day. I didn’t want to put it down.

Do you like autobiographies?
Whose book have you loved most?

Talk to me, I’m champion.

S x

S4S – Books on my TBR

Bonjour! 

It’s Sunday again, which means another #SixforSunday prompt! 

This week’s prompt is:

Books on my TBR

Now I’ve gone for “books that I’ve recently added to my TBR” (because my TBR is excessive, ha!) So here goes… 6 books I’ve recently added to my TBR list

  1. Polar Bear Explorer’s Club (massive shout out to my friend Amy for sending this to me… I’ve been after it FOREVER)
  2. Pax
  3. The Girl Who Lost Her Smile
  4. Podkin One Ear
  5. Maudlin Towers: Curse of the Werewolf Boy
  6. Rise of the Wolves

Which books have you recently added to your TBR?
Have you read any of my TBR books?

Let me know your #SixforSunday! Share your posts on twitter using the hastag.

S x

BOOKBLOG: Anna Day

The Fandom: unique, exciting and brilliant.

Image result for the fandom anna day

“Cosplay ready, Violet and her friends are at Comic-Con.

They can’t wait to meet the fandom of mega movie, The Gallows Dance. What they’re not expecting is to be catapulted by freak accident into their favourite world – for real. Fuelled by love, guilt and fear, can the friends put the plot back on track and get out? The fate of the story is in their hands…”

I was very lucky that the lovely Jazz over at Chicken House sent this over to me a while back and it’s sat in my TBR ever since, so when I finished a book and saw it staring at me, I knew it was time to finally pick up The Fandom. I am so very glad I did pick it up in the end! 

The Fandom tells the story of Violet, Nate, Katie and Alice, 4 bookish people (just like me) who go to Comic Con and something happens and they’re magically transported into the world of their favourite book – The Gallows Dance. Imagine that, your favourite book, and you’re transported into the story, the setting, the characters and you have to live it. The characters can barely believe it and don’t believe it at first… until things start to get real. There are moments of disbelief in the beginning, with the characters just thinking they’re on the movie set, but then they come to the realisation and panic sets in. (They certainly react better than I would!)

What I loved about this book was the duality of Violet carrying out the story versus the way that Rose lived out the story. The man Rose falls in love with versus the man Violet falls in love with. The characters in The Gallows Dance versus the characters that Violet and co meet. How things have so much more depth than just on the page. There’s back stories of The Gallows Dance that Violet didn’t even know about, that she discovers having been thrust into this life.

Another thing I loved about this book is that you get 2 books in one. You learn the story of ‘The Gallows Dance’ through the story of ‘The Fandom’ and I have never come across that before. I absolutely loved it. Seeing the evolution of one book within another. Using Violet’s knowledge of The Gallow’s Dance to get her through The Fandom. So so clever. 

I loved the characters. They made the story for me. I want to marry Ash. I want Katie to be my best friend (she’s sweary and I love it). Violet is fierce and bold, without realising her own brilliance. Saskia is one of those dark, mysterious characters. Nate is just the lushest thing ever, I really loved him. The characters and their relationships with each other are pretty incredible.

I met lovely author Anna at YALC this year and she’s a Geordie. This makes the book even better for me. I am the proudest Geordie you will ever meet, so for there to be this incredible book written by an incredible Geordie makes it even better! (I am not biased or ANYTHING). 

I hope there’s a sequel to this. I really want to see what happens next!

If you had to be thrust into your favourite book, where would you end up?
Are there any books you’d hate to be thrown into?

Talk to me on twitter (@eenalol) or leave me a comment! I would love to find out the books you love!

S x

Bookish Update

Morning! 

How is everyone today? Today I am going to give you all an update on how my bookish life is going this year! 

Image result for goodreads

At the beginning of the year, my Goodreads reading challenge was set at 52 books – I figured that one per week is pretty good going and what with my very stressful year to come, I figured that was sufficient. 

I can gladly tell you that I have WELL passed that! As of today, I am up to 81 books! 81 books! That is pretty good going. I’d like to thank the summer holidays and half terms with readathons for that! 

Now, my Goodreads total doesn’t include ANY picture books I’ve read (and I’ve read an awful lot), so in reality I’ve probably read a LOT more. 

I’ve read 46 YA books, 31 MG books and then 4 which I do not know how to categorise (see: Matt Haig books because he is INCREDIBLE).

My aim is to try and get 52 YA books read and 52 MG books. I reckon I can do that by the end of the year… maybe!

You may also have known that during September I was on a book buying ban. I was taking part in this with some of my favourite twitter people. I can gladly tell you that I succeeded in my mission of no books bought in September (I did receive lots of gorgeous books in the post, so thank you publishers!). I had 1 day of weakness and am continuing on my ban until October half term… so I can treat myself! 

How is your year in books looking?
Have you partaken in any book buying bans this year?
How’s your Goodreads reading challenge looking?

Let me know in the comments, or on twitter (@eenalol). I’d love to talk books! 

S x

September wrap up

Hello October, goodbye September! 

Where did September go?

As you all know (if you’ve been following my life!), September was the month I started my SCITT (teacher training) programme, finally fulfilling a life long dream. I will be a teacher in a year… hopefully! Reading definitely took a back seat because of tiredness but I am more than proud of getting through 7 books! That’s more than I was hoping for, so I am chuffed!

“What did you read?” I hear you bellow!

In September, I read:

  • Nevermoor – Jessica Townsend
  • History is All You Left Me – Adam Silvera
  • Because You Love To Hate Me – Various authors
  • The Journal of Curious Letters – James Dashner
  • The Loneliest Girl in the Universe – Lauren James
  • Goodly and Grace 2 – Justine Windsor
  • One of Us Is Lying – Karen M McManus

They’re all BRILLIANT… but my books of the month are:

BOOKBLOG: Lauren James

BOOKBLOG: Karen M. McManus

I can not choose between these two.
They are both so brilliant. Gripping. Unputdownable. Neither of them are books that I would necessarily choose either, so for them to be my books of the month is incredible. 

What did you read in September?
What was your book of the month?

What are you autumn reads you’re excited for?

Talk to me in the comments or on twitter! I would love to know which books you’re excited for!

S x

S4S – TBR forever

Good morning! It is Sunday once more. How are you all? 

‘What are we talking about this week?’ I hear you say!

This week’s #SixforSunday topic is:

Books that have been on my TBR forever

  1. Chaos Walking trilogy – Patrick Ness 
  2. The Bone Season series – Samantha Shannon
  3. The Grisha trilogy – Leigh Bardugo
  4. Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdon – Leigh Bardugo
  5. The Sun is Also a Star – Nicola Yoon
  6. Noughts and Crosses series – Malorie Blackman

I know. I should get on this. I have a Summer holiday to fill… I know what I’ll be reading!

What books have been on your TBR forever?
Does my list surprise you?
What do you plan on reading in the Summer?

Let me know on twitter, using the hashtag #SixforSunday! I would love to see your lists too!

S x

BOOKBLOG: Maz Evans

Simply The Quest: simply the best. 

STQ

“Elliot and Virgo’s troubles are far from over: death-daemon
Thanatos and his scary mum are at large and determined to
destroy the world. As even more immortal allies and enemies
emerge, Virgo and Elliot must learn how to be heroes …”

Simply The Quest is the second book in the ‘Who Let The Gods Out?’ series and I was OVER THE MOON when I got an email from the lovely humans at Chicken House asking me if I wanted a copy… NATURALLY I SAID YES. (Look at my happy face. This is the face of OMG THIS BOOK HAS ARRIVED I AM SO HAPPY I COULD CRY) So yes, I was a little bit happy that the book was with me, finally. I had waited since the end of Who Let The Gods Out to get my hands on this book. Now it was in my possession I was a happy bunny. It was SO WORTH THE WAIT. 

STQ face

‘Simply The Quest’ follows Elliot and Virgo on their journey to try and find the Air Stone, whilst battling with Elliot’s teacher and former neighbour, on top of trying to keep Josie-Mum safe and in check at home. 

Just as WLTGO introduced us to some incredible gods – Hermes, Athene, Aphrodite, Zeus – STQ introduces some new faces and they are SO GOOD. I loved the original gods and totally loved these new additions, they added something special to what is an incredible series already. To earn her kardia back (and therefore become immortal again) Virgo has to become a hero – so naturally Maz wrote in some of the brilliant Ancient Greek Gods. Hercules makes an appearance, as does Jason and Theseus – each of them giving Elliot a gift that will come in very handy on his quest. You see these heroes in a brand new light as they’re all following new career paths – all very funny and chuckleworthy! 

In every story there’s good and there’s evil. And the evil in this book is most certainly evil. Thanatos and his mother Nyx certainly do not make Elliot’s life easy. They try to manipulate him, use the one thing he loves the most against him, all to get him on their side to reveal the location of the Chaos Stones.

There’s glimpses of Elliot’s dark side in this book which were interesting to read. To see a selfish, dark side of a character I have come to totally love. He’s selfless, brave and driven. His mother is his world. His family (extended as far as the gods!) mean everything to him. You see him struggle with his emotions in this book; there’s more anger and doubt; he discovers new things about his life; there’s a MASSIVE surprise at the end – it actually made me gasp. Elliot remains throughout this young boy who is struggling to juggle a house full of gods, people trying to separate him from his mother, school and controlling the chaos stones. A bit much for a teenager, right?

Simply The Quest manages to be funny, silly, serious, touching, honest, tough and uplifting all in one go. There’s some brilliant messages there too that even made me think. Naturally I cried. There’s a moment with Josie and Hermes which just punched me in the gut. Took me totally by surprise. There’s moments with Virgo trying to figure jokes out that made me laugh out loud. 

I love this series so much. Maz is an absolute genius. Please go out and buy it, borrow it from your library, get it for your classroom/school. You won’t regret it. 

My goodreads review:

“Another absolute winner from Maz. WLTGO was an exceptional start to this series and STQ just blew me away. It deals with Elliot’s issues with his mum, introduces him to a new family member and discusses morality – what is good? what is bad? 
I loved having these characters in my life again. I laughed a lot. Virgo is one of those bloody rays of light in books like this – her trying to understand jokes is one of those gorgeous things about this book. There’s some very touching moments between Josie and a few of the characters – there’s one with Hermes that had me bawling. 
I absolutely adored this. I implore you all to read it. Please.”

Have you read this series?
IF YOU HAVEN’T, WHY HAVEN’T YOU?
What do you think will happen next? 

I’d love to know what you thought of STQ! Let me know in the comments or on twitter – I have so much love for this series that I need to share it with all of the people.

S x

 

 

BOOKBLOG: Queen Mel

Hello, I’m Steph. I love Melinda Salisbury. Not in a creepy way. I think she’s absolutely wonderful. 

So when I heard The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy was over, I was most saddened. My love affair with this world and these characters had to come to and end after all of the years I had been in love with them. I was sad. Then SURPRISE there was an announcement that there was going to be a NEW short story collection released.

I WAS ELATED.

I love Mel’s writing style. She writes in such an incredible way that you feel you’re there. Her description is exceptional. I could just read it forever. 

There was ONE slight problem. The Heart Collector (which I think is Mel tbh. She has stolen all of our hearts with her exceptional books) was out in May. The month I was not buying any books. But, lol, who was I kidding? I would break my ban for her any day. So I did. PLUS it was released the day I handed my dissertation in… EXCELLENT POST DISSERTATION BOOK.

“A selection of three companion stories to the Sin Eater’s Daughter series.
When rats invade golden Tallith, the king summons a rat catcher from across the seas. But the rat catcher brings with him more than just his trade; a beautiful daughter who will bow to no man. And when Prince Aurek decides he wants her, he triggers a chain of events that will reshape the world for centuries to come…
A boy wakes up in the ruins of a castle, the prone body of a white-haired man on a bier beside him… He is the Bringer, the Heart Collector, cursed to return every one hundred years to seek out the heart that will wake his father forever. And this time the girl he finds might just be the one…
Once upon a time, in a land of gold and glory, a baby boy was born to a beautiful woman, and a wealthy man. His parents called him Mulgreen Grey, and he was destined to live a fairy-tale life; adored, envied, and wanting for nothing. But not every fairytale has a happy ever after…”

The book comes with 3 short stories – The King of Rats, The Heart Collector and Mully No-Hands. 

I consumed this book REALLY quickly (once my kindle was charged… it decided to die on me the first time I tried to read it!). Whether you’re a Melinda Salisbury fan or not, this short story collection is a BRILLIANTLY quick, yet exceptional read. You’re in a world where there are some BAD people. A beautifully written world, with loveable and despise-able characters.

The Heart Collector is a brilliant story about a young man who is cursed in that he has to find young women for his father, to try and satisfy his hunger. The young man is a Bringer. You’re introduced to a naive young man who thinks he’s doing the right thing in the beginning and then through the story you see his ideas change. There is an incredibly strong and brave young woman in the story too – I really liked her. The description in this book was everything I needed. The world, the characters and the action is so beautifully woven that it’s hard not to devour, much like the father in the story. This book has a brutal ending. But brilliant. 

Mully No-Hands is a little different from the other two. It’s a story with a meaning. It’s a story with a main character I really didn’t like. He’s a terrible person. I don’t think he KNOWS he’s a bad person. He’s rich, confident and was brought up to think he was the greatest and when all of that is taken away from him, you see his struggle. You see that life isn’t all about receiving – there has to be some give and take. Mully No-Hands has some questionable morals and his actions definitely need some working out. I quite enjoyed this – I like a story with a moral!

I have reviewed The King of Rats here: BOOK BLOG: The King of Rats.

I really enjoyed The Heart Collector. Whether you’re a Melinda Salisbury faithful, or whether you’re a newbie, I suggest you read this. It’s wonderful.

If you’re interested in my other posts:

BOOKBLOG: Melinda Salisbury

BOOKBLOG: Melinda Salisbury 2

BLOG TOUR: The Scarecrow Queen

Bookblog: Melinda Salisbury

So tell me, are you a Queen Mel faithful or a newbie? 
Did you enjoy The Heart Collector? 
Which short story was your favourite?

Let me know in the comments, or talk to me on twitter (@eenalol)

S x