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 – 2017 books

Morning! 

It’s Sunday again! How is everyone? Are we all good? 

This week’s #SixforSunday theme is:

Books I’m excited to be released in 2017

So which books are you most excited to come out in the rest of this year?

  1. Holly Bourne – It Only Happens In The Movies
  2. The Creakers – Tom Fletcher
  3. Grave Matter – Juno Dawson
  4. The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club – Alex Bell
  5. The Language of Thorns – Leigh Bardugo
  6. Turtles All The Way Down – John Green 

I am excited for all of these for different reasons! But I can’t wait! 

Which releases are you excited for?
Have you read any of my list? What did you think?

Share your #SixforSunday on twitter or share your blog post in the comments! I love seeing you guys joining in! 

Watch out for an exciting #SixforSunday update coming at the end of September!

S x

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Thank you so much to Kelly from Kelly’s Ramblings for tagging me in the ‘Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag’ (I know, it’s not the middle of the year, but shush!) I’ll share MG and YA books, if I can think of one each!

1. The Best Book of the Year So Far…

YA: The Scarecrow Queen – this rounds off the trilogy so perfectly. I was absolutely blown away by Twylla’s journey in this book and I just can’t praise this book enough!
MG: A Place Called Perfect – this book was the perfect amount of spooky, adventures and sheer brilliance. It captured my imagination brilliantly.

2. The Best Sequel of the Year So Far …

YA: Traitor to the Throne – I was over the moon when I got my hands on this and I consumed it exceptionally quickly. I love this world that Alwyn has created. I can’t wait for Hero at the Fall (2018 is so far away!)
MG: Simply the Quest – I loved Who Let The Gods Out? so so much and when I finally got my hands on STQ I was just as in love with it! I love this series so much… again 2018 is too far away!

3. A New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To …

YA: The Hate U Give – Everyone keeps talking about this and I just haven’t found the time to read it yet! I have it on my shelf though…
MG: The Nowhere Emporium – luckily we have this in the library at school so I will be borrowing it and will read it!

4. Most Anticipated Release for Autumn/Winter …

YA: It Only Happens In The Movies – I am a massive Holly Bourne fan and from the sampler I think this is only going to be incredible! Bring on October!
MG: The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club – I’ve seen this on a few twitter friends’ pages and they’re all very excited about it… I am v jealous they have it already!

5. Your Biggest Disappointment of the Year So Far …

30964236

YA: Caraval – I had such high hopes for this book and I just didn’t love it. It was fine, it was alrite. Go read it for yourself to see what it’s all about. I know A LOT of people who loved it though.

6. Your Biggest Surprise of the Year So Far …

YA: After The Fire – absolutely incredible. I loved this so much. I strongly suggest you all go and read this NOW. It is SO good.
MG: The Last Wild – I had seen this everywhere and never picked it up and when I did I was blown away by how much I loved it.

7. Your New Favourite Author …

35009643

Peadar O’Guilin is EXCEPTIONAL. I have read The Call and I was lucky enough to get a proof of the second book (The Invasion) and I just adore his writing. If you’re looking for an exceptional dystopian… look no further!

8. Your Newest Favourite Character …

YA: Ink – Leora is one of those brilliant characters who you come across every now and again who makes an impact. I can’t wait to find out where her story takes us next!
MG: The Explorer – there are so many things I loved about this book but the man they meet in the jungle is again one of those exceptional characters from stories that stay with you for a long time. I would love to know more about him. 

9. Your Newest Fictional Crush …

32799280

Henry. Oh Henry. 

(Shout out to Jin from Rebel of the Sands/Traitor to the Throne… but he’s not a new crush!)

10. A Book That Has Made You Cry … (lol, all of them!)

34299826

Countless is one of the most heartbreaking books I’ve read. It is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. I cried SO SO SO hard at the end. I can’t think about this book without it making me sad. Please go read it, but get yourself some tissues.

11. A Book That Has Made You Happy …

YA: Unconventional – one of those gorgeous books that comes along and just makes me smile. I loved it a lot. It was such a feel good book! 
MG: Bookshop Girl – this is one of my favourites this year! I can’t wait to use it with my kids! Just such a brilliant little happy book.

12. The Most Beautiful Book of the Year So Far …

YA: A Quiet Kind of Thunder – I have so so so many brilliant words to say about this book. You need to get on it if you haven’t yet. Sara is such a brilliant author and Steffi’s story is just incredible. This book inspired me a lot.
MG: The Island at the End of Everything – Kiran Milwood Hargrave writes these exceptional books (her other one The Girl of Ink and Stars deserves ALL OF THE PRAISE it gets) and this one just knocked my socks off. I absolutely adored it. Such an incredible story.

13. Some Books You Need to Read Before 2017 Ends …

So there we have it! My (no so) mid year book freak out tag!

That was quite the blog post!

Let me know your choices and link me to your blog posts, I’d love to see your answers!

S xx

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