S4S – Bookish highlights

Hello there! Here we are for #SixforSunday again! 

(Sorry I’m late today… I don’t know where my draft of this post went!)

Today we’re here to talk:

Bookish highlights

I’m going to use this prompt to count down 6 books that surprised me and blew my socks off this year!

  1. Show Stopper and Show Stealer by Hayley Barker
    I BLOODY adored these two books. I knew I would enjoy them, but I wasn’t expecting to love them just as much as I did (I almost used a swear word there… that’s how much I loved them!)
  2. Scythe by Neal Shusterman
    This is one that I’d seen EVERYONE talking about… which always makes me suspicious… but my word, guys, THIS BOOK.
  3. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
    I hadn’t read an Adam Silvera book before, but guys… this book broke my heart SO MUCH. I have such vivid memories of sitting in Waterstones Piccadilly crying my heart out. 
  4. Outside by Sarah Ann Juckes 
    This isn’t out til next year but I won a proof at YALC. I just can’t with this book. It’s so heartbreaking, but so so brilliant. It made me go WTF at a few points, but it’s such an incredible story. Please PLEASE get this read next year when it comes out.
  5. The Secret Deep by Lindsay Galvin
    THIS BOOK MAN. I read this book MONTHS ago and it’s still one of those books that I want everyone to read. I just adored it. I think it matters so much cause it hit a chord with me too. 
  6. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
    I knew nothing about this book when I read it, but I ADORED IT. It’s dark and twisted and delicious. Go read it man, you won’t regret it!

And there we have it! Six books which surprised me this year! Thanks for popping by for this week’s #SixforSunday.

See you next week!

S x 

Looking for a brilliant read for a teen in your life?

Here we are, day 3 of my gift guide. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them! It’s been a blast looking back at my year in books and thinking which ones I would recommend people buy and read AND SHOVE IN EACH OTHERS FACES *ahem*.

Today, on this here final day of recommending, I’m sorting through the MANY MANY YA books I’ve read this year and giving you 12 that you ABSOLUTELY need to buy for the YA fan in your life! (Just as the past few days, none of these books will REALLY come as a surprise!) Without further ado…

2018 ya recs

Scythe/Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury (while we’re at it… The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy too, LBR)

Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard (and ANY of her other books too)

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Show Stopper/Show Stealer by Hayley Barker

White Rabbit, Red Wolf by Tom Pollock

The Secret Deep by Lindsay Galvin

Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt

Clean by Juno Dawson

Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber (and Wing Jones too)

Floored by the Floored Seven

TADAAAAH. You made it. This list could’ve been so much longer. GO AND BUY THEM ALL. READ THEM ALL. LOVE THEM ALL.

Do you agree with my recommendations?
Can you add any to my list?
Which of these books have you loved most?

Talk to me in the comments! Are you SHOCKED by my choices?

S x

BOOK BLOG: David Levithan

Someday: what happens when you accept the love you never thought you could have?

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“For as long as A can remember, life has meant waking up in a different person’s body every day, forced to live as that person until the day ended. A always thought there wasn’t anyone else who had a life like this. But A was wrong. There are others.

A has already been wrestling with powerful feelings of love and loneliness. Now comes an understanding of the extremes that love and loneliness can lead to—and what it’s like to discover that you are not alone in the world.”

As one of the biggest fans of David Levithan, I knew that I needed to read this book as soon as I heard that it was coming out. For those of you who aren’t sure about this world, A never wakes up in the same body twice. Rhiannon is a young girl who A met in book 1 and their tale is one that’s stuck with me for a long time.

Immersing myself back into the magical world of A and Rhiannon again was such an incredible experience. I’d loved their story for a long time. The thought of not being the same person every day terrified me though. The thought of the person I love not being the same every day equally baffled me. Through the book, you get such an overwhelming feeling of yearning and want from both sides. They both might have “moved on” with their lives… but they still feel this invisible thread holding them together. We’ve all been there. We’ve all wanted to speak to soneone we can’t anymore. If we were given the opportunity, should we take it? Would it be any help?

Honesty time: I’m going through this a bit at the minute. There’s people from my past that I’d love to just talk to, so I know how both of them are feeling.

Different from the other books in this series, there’s another character who is like A. X is a bit more sinister, a bit more evil than A. X’s perception of what they do is different to A’s. They both come at what happens to them with different motives in mind. X is quite a desctructive force; A wants to be a positive force in these people’s lives. X scared me at times. They were everything A isn’t. My brain struggled at times to accept that there could be “bad versions” of A in this world. 

One of the things I love most about Levithan’s writing is that it makes you question so much. What is it to be human? What is it to love? Are we ever the same person every day? Don’t we all change? What is a soul? I love a book that makes me think. I love a quotable book. There’s so many passages in this book that I could quite happily go back and highlight, frame and preach forever. This one about everyone’s story just made my soul sing when I read it:

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This book was everything I wanted from it. There’s a gorgeous gentle ebb and flow of loving, missing, adjusting, accepting – just as there is in life. I felt protected and trusted this book (which could be a weird thing to say? I don’t know how else to explain it!) 

So yeah. Go read this whole series. Imagine living in A or Rhiannon’s shoes. You are already living them – you’re never the same person you were when you woke up yesterday. 

If you so fancy it, I have the ABSOLUTE honour of chairing a chat with David Levithan and Laura Steven (author of the incredible The Exact Opposite of Okay) at the end of October (30th to be exact) at Waterstones Newcastle. Come along and hear me fangirl and not know what to say to two authors I absolutely admire. It’ll be lots of fun! Tickets are only £3 can be bought here or in the shop! I’d love to see lots of friendly faces! 

S x

BLOG TOUR: The Hurting

Today I have the absolute joy of hosting Lucy van Smit, author of The Hurting on my blog. I was originally asked to be part of the blog tour with a review, but then I was asked if I’d like to do a Q&A and I was thrilled. I really enjoyed The Hurting… it’s a LOT. My review is coming in the next week or so, so I won’t spoil it too much! 

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Check out my Q&A with Lucy and go out and buy the book (it’s out now!)… it’s a gripping read!

1) Where did the inspiration for The Hurting come from?
The Hurting started with the abduction of the baby originally as an exercise on my Creative Writing MA to show a character through her actions. I love literary Nordic Noir thrillers, but I don’t like violence, and stealing a baby as I’d lost a child myself, was the worst thing I could imagine. A writing friend scoffed, and told me I’d never get the story published, and that made me stubborn and I found a way into the story that was uplifting – a girl finding redemption after being led astray. I dug deep into myself and explored my Catholic childhood, and Nell calls on almost supernatural mystical powers to try and rescue Ulv Pup. Like Nell, I didn’t believed in romantic love as a girl, but fell in love at first sight with my husband. I really wanted to explore that immense emotion, and wonder what it would it take to fight such an infatuation. It’s a challenging story, and I’m lucky I have wonderful publishers. I was nervous in case adults misread the story, but I just got this terrific feedback from a school librarian

“Dear Lucy,  It’s brilliant! Really, really good – and I’m not just saying that.  I finished it last night and was genuinely sad it had come to an end.  It’s very powerful and so vivid;  some authors are good at characterisation, some at setting…you seem to excel at both.  I’m seriously impressed. I’m thrilled actually, as for me the very best YA books (and the ones that I encourage our Year 8s to read) are those which are well-written, powerful reads on often quite dark subjects but which don’t resort to gratuitous sex or violence.  Personally, I think you’ve nailed it.”

2) Did you always know that Lukas would be as sinister a character as he became?

Hm, Lukas sinister? I don’t see Lukas that way. I perceived Lukas as a very beautiful, damaged, wild, passionate boy raised by wolves, who had vowed to save his wolf pack on the Norwegian fjords. Lukas never intended to fall in love with Nell. She was his prey, but he is hugely romantic. A poetic Lorca character with a dark brooding soul, obsessed with death. Technically, it was extremely tricky to write a thriller in the first person, present tense, so I added a few Lukas scenes in his point of view, to rack up the tension and suspense and explain Lukas’s actions are driven by love to save his family.

3) What did you want a reader to take away from this story?

It’s a Sleeping Beauty fable; at the beginning of the novel, Nell says, ‘I’ve thrown away my life like toilet paper, and never noticed.’ She is woken by a kiss, but finds herself through her connection with the baby Ulv Pup who represents Nell’s innocence and pulls Nell back to her true self. I wanted a reader to notice themselves more, their own lives more and how much is wonderful in ourselves and our immediate families. 

4) Your setting is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever read, did you visit any exotic locations for the story?

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Wow!  Thank you so much. I am a painter and used to work in TV. I guess I am a visual writer.  I took my family on a trip to Norway and we visited the Norwegian Fjords, the famous Flam Railway and Bergen and Oslo, and the Pulpit Stone in Stavanger down south, which I ‘moved’ in my story and called Sermon Rock.  I chose Norway because I needed wolves because of Nell’s fear of dogs, but I fell in love with the fjords. It is the most beautiful county. On the trip, we stayed with farmers who had a local wolf problem, where a lone wolf was behaving out of character and killing dogs in the woods and attacking goats in front of people. Norwegians kill a lot of wolves and an alpha left isolated without a pack becomes unpredictable and aggressive. I picked up loads of lore about Norway along the way.

5. There’s a lot of twists and turns in the book, are you a plotter or do you let your plot take you by surprise when you write?

Definitely a plotter when it comes to a thriller. I use a lot of TV tricks, sets up and pay offs. I’d see an image or a clue earlier on, so when the twist comes it feels more plausible. For the more lyrical sections, where Nell tunes into her singing and her response to the landscape and her feelings for the baby, that often sprang out and surprised me.

A massive thank you to Lucy for taking the time to answer my questions! It’s always fascinating learning all about books from the author themselves!

Check out the rest of the people on the blog tour… there’s some cracking posts!

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S x

BOOK BLOG: Hayley Barker

Show Stopper/Show Stealer: thrilling books excellently paced that you just can’t put down!

Show Stopper and Show Stealer is a duology written by Hayley Barker and I JUST ADORED THEM OK? I picked up Show Stopper a while ago based solely on the cover (just look at it man!) and once I had dived into the world of the twisted circus and got to the end, I needed the second one. I bought Show Stealer (the sequel) about 2 days later and immersed myself right back into the world. 

Show Stopper:
Set in a near-future England where the poorest people in the land are forced to sell their children to a travelling circus – to perform at the mercy of hungry lions, sabotaged high wires and a demonic ringmaster. The ruling class visit the circus as an escape from their structured, high-achieving lives – pure entertainment with a bloodthirsty edge. Ben, the teenage son of a draconian government minister, visits the circus for the first time and falls instantly in love with Hoshiko, a young performer. They come from harshly different worlds – but must join together to escape the circus and put an end to its brutal sport.

I won’t share the synopsis for Show Stealer because spoilers… but if you’re curious click here.

I’ll try and keep this review as un-spoilery for both as possible!

In the world of these books, you’re introduced to a society of the Pures and the Dregs (yes, I couldn’t unsee the Six of Crows either!). The Pures are the rich and the Dregs are the poor. The Dregs live in the slums and do the menial jobs in the world of the Pures. If you’re an unlucky (or lucky, depending how you see it) Dreg, you might be taken in by the circus and be trained up to perform for the Pures. The Dregs aren’t treated well, but as they have no rights, this happens for the entertainment of the Pures. As the books progress, you see the inside of the circus and the deplorable ways in which the performers are treated. 

I adored the circus setting. I’m well into books that are set in the circus (if you have any recommendations, please tell me because I am all about them… kids and YA please!) The setting is so brilliantly described in book 1, but in book 2 these descriptions are just taken to another level. The circus changes for the worse in book 2, so the descriptions get DARK to match the new look circus. 

As well as the incredible setting, there’s a bunch of characters who will pull at your heart and make you angry and make you see the good in people and make you want to punch things and make you look at the world these people live in, as well as our world! I think it was the characters that made me fall into love with these books even more:
Ben – he’s brave, honest and compassionate. You feel the real pull in Ben’s heart between what he has been taught and what he believes is right. I loved Ben a lot. He’s a very good egg. He goes against everything he’s ever known because he sees an injustice happening. I fell for him quickly. 
Hoshi – she’s fierce and fearless, particuarly where the people she loves are concerned. I loved seeing her growth. She’s like a Mama Bear. Hoshi is one of those characters that have so many layers – once you get under her skin there is still so much more to learn.
Viviene – Ben’s mam, politician. This woman is just disgusting. Some of the things she believes and fights for are vitriolic and I genuinely despised her. We need to talk about her more, but I can’t help but get a little angry about her.
Roger – Ben’s dad. I have quite different emotions for dad than mam. At first, I thought he had no backbone, but that changes. I can’t reveal why I have such a soft spot for him because MASSIVE SPOILERS, but trust me he is a good man.
Silvio – the ring master of the circus. GOD THIS MAN. He’s an egomanic and true narcissist. He ONLY gets worse as the books go on too. 
Jack – he makes an appearance in book 1, but is pretty important in book 2. I adore him. He is an actual hero.

There are more characters than this… there’s some wonderful additions to the circus in book 2. I could talk about the characters in these books for many words, but I won’t!

(I wanna go and reread these books now! I miss these characters quite a lot)

One of the things that surprised me about these books were how politically driven they were. I didn’t expect to read these and think politics, but the politics of the world is one of the prevalent threads throughout and I quite adored it. There’s a lot to learn from these books. There’s many a comparison that can be made between these books and the world that we live in today. If people could just find in them a smidgen of compassion, like Ben, then we would have a much kinder world. We can change minds and we can be wrong, but we should ALWAYS be kind. Jack is one of the most important characters in these books. Please can we all appreciate him please? Books like these show that the good guys can win and that kindness will get you further than hatred. 

My goodreads reviews of these books:

Show Stopper: 

If I could swear here, I would swear. What an absolute winner of a book here. My mind is 100% blown.

Show Stealer

I have THOUGHTS and FEELINGS about this book. More feelings than thoughts.

This book manages to encapsulate the absolute brilliance of book 1, but is more despicable, horrifying, compassionate and honest all at the same time. I just can’t get the words right now.

Shout out to Roger 💛

Ha. I love the Goodreads version of me. 

Have you read Show Stopper or Show Stealer?
CAN WE TALK ABOUT THEM PLEASE?
Can you recommend any circus books?

Talk to me in the comments, or on twitter please! I need more people who love these books in my life!

S x

Brilliant YA still to come!

You may have seen a few weeks ago that I did a post all about the MG books that I’m still excited for in 2018, so I figured it was only fair to do a YA version of this list… because there’s a lot of YA books I’m excited for which are still to come this year. (There’s also a lot of books I’m excited for whicha re to be released in 2019… but that’s a post for a different day!)

So here we are…

2018 ya

Someday – David Levithan (I think this may be the US cover?!)
(I adore everything David Levithan has written and this book will be NO exception. I love this world he’s created for A, so I’m very excited for this!)
“For as long as A can remember, life has meant waking up in a different person’s body every day, forced to live as that person until the day ended. A always thought there wasn’t anyone else who had a life like this. But A was wrong. There are others. A has already been wrestling with powerful feelings of love and loneliness. Now comes an understanding of the extremes that love and loneliness can lead to — and what it’s like to discover that you are not alone in the world.”

What If It’s Us – Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli
(I’ve had the pleasure of reading this book and I’m excited for everyone else to read it!)
“Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it. Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things. But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?”

Summer Bird Blue – Akemi Dawn Bowman 
(I heard Akemi speak at YALC about this book and instantly added it to my “must buy” list!)
“Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea. Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life. With the help of the “boys next door”—a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn’t take anything seriously, and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago—Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish.”

Life’s a Beach – Chloe Coles
(I recently read The Bookshop Girl by Chloe Coles, who is an absolute babe, and I adored it. I’m so excited for book 2!)
“Holly and Paige are at a literary festival in Skegton-On-Sea. They’ve been looking forward to it for ages. It’s one of the biggest book festivals around – and there’s a pop up bookshop tent and a lot of Big Shot Writers. It’s basically like they’re being PAID to go on a BFF HOLIDAY and SELL A FEW BOOKS! They had to beg their grumpy boss Tony to put their names forward. He ummed and ahhed and said he wasn’t sure it was a good idea. But they’re here at last and it’s brilliant. Well, kind of. It’s true that there’s a diva of an author called Minnie, who dresses head to toe in pink, and insists that Paige picks fresh flowers for her signing table every day, even though it’s raining. But along the way, Paige begins to find that there’s quite a lot to learn from Minnie – not least, how to reach out for the things she wants . . . and the boy she likes.”

The Curses – Laure Eve
(I read The Graces last year and i absolutely loved it! I managed to get a sampler for The Curses at YALC, so I’m very excited!)
“Picking up the pieces after the chilling events of the previous year isn’t easy, but the Grace siblings are determined to try and get things back to normal – and if that means papering over the cracks, so be it. Summer has had enough of secrets, but sharing a house with someone who’s been resurrected from the dead isn’t something you want the neighbours to know about. As ex-best friend River wreaks havoc with her twisted spells, can the Graces ever escape the curses that have been tearing their family apart for generations?”

The Light Between Worlds – Laura Weymouth
(I was very lucky to be sent a proof of this from the publishers, so watch out in the coming weeks for a review!)
“Six years ago, sisters Evelyn and Philippa Hapwell were swept away to a strange and beautiful kingdom called the Woodlands, where they lived for years. But ever since they returned to their lives in post-WWII England, they have struggled to adjust. Ev desperately wants to return to the Woodlands, and Philippa just wants to move on. When Ev goes missing, Philippa must confront the depth of her sister’s despair and the painful truths they’ve been running from. As the weeks unfold, Philippa wonders if Ev truly did find a way home, or if the weight of their worlds pulled her under.”

And the Ocean Was Our Sky – Patrick Ness and Rovina Cai
(I am a massive fan of Patrick Ness, so this jumped straight on my list when I saw it was coming out in the coming months!)
“Call me Bathsheba.” The whales of Bathsheba’s pod live for the hunt. Led by the formidable Captain Alexandra, they fight a never-ending war against men. Then the whales attack a man ship, and instead of easy prey they find the trail of a myth, a monster, perhaps the devil himself… With their relentless Captain leading the chase, they embark on the final hunt, one that will forever change the worlds of whales and men.”

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo
Now, this isn’t a new release… but it’s the collectors edition and I’m excited for its release OK?????? JUST LOOK AT IT. (You can find my fangirling about Leigh Bardugo here)

And there you have it. 8 of the books I AM MOST EXCITED FOR OK???

2018 continues to be a TREAT FOR THE BRAIN. 

Which 2018 books are you still most excited for?
Have you read any of the books on my list?
Are there any books you think should’ve made my list but didn’t?

Share your thoughts with me! I’d love to know which YA books you’re still most excited for!

S x

 

BOOK BLOG: Chloe Coles

Bookshop Girl: funny, relatable and moving!

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“Bennett’s Bookshop has always been a haven for sixteen-year-old Paige Turner. It’s a place where she can escape from her sleepy hometown, hang out with her best friend, Holly, and also earn some money. But, like so many bookshops, Bennett’s has become a ‘casualty of the high street’ – it’s strapped for cash and going to be torn down. Paige is determined to save it but mobilising a small town like Greysworth is no mean feat.

Time is ticking – but that’s not the only problem Paige has. How is she going to fend off the attractions of beautiful fellow artist, Blaine? And, more importantly, will his anarchist ways make or break her bookshop campaign?”

Earlier this month (technically the end of July, but shush), when I was at YALC, I was lucky enough to listen to Chloe Coles in a panel all about being in the publishing world and hearing her talk about her book made me want to pick it up then and there! Chloe is HILARIOUS and I want her to be one of my real life friends because I am all about people that make me laugh in my life. Having met Chloe and spoken to her for a little bit, I knew had high hopes for this book… and let me tell you, it does not disappoint!

Bookshop Girl is the tale of Paige, a bookish teenager, who works in a bookshop that is being threatened to close down (art mimicking real life or what?!). Paige, along with the help of her best friend, sets it in her sights to save her shop. Oh, but it isn’t that simple… of course there’s a boy in the mix. A seemingly harmless boy. A very attractive young man who catches the eye of our leading lady. (Oh Paige!)

What I loved most about this book was that it showed in such a positive light what using your voice can do. Paige learns very quickly that using her voice, and using the voice of the people around her, can do really good things. There’s some really touching moments with Paige reaching out to authors for the people that she loves that made my heart so happy. Paige discovers some incredible supportive people in very unexpected places – these aren’t people that Paige would’ve expected to support her, yet here they stand, supporting her. There’s some brilliant messages in here about being an activist (on all scales) and standing up for yourself. There’s some brilliant messages about feminism in this book too. 

Despite the fact this book deals with some pretty hard hitting messages, it manages to be hilarious and relatable. Paige sees an injustice in the world around her and she does something about it, but obviously there are things that go awry. She’s a teenage girl. Life is never that simple to always go the way you want. However she is very lucky to be surrounded by people that love her. Her best friend is just lush. There’s scenes between them that I just adore (we’ve all been there, we all have our best friends who we can just be ourselves with). I would love to be Paige’s friend. 

I do not wish to spend much time on the subject of The Boy. I was lulled into a false sense of security with him, although I didn’t trust him. There was always something off with him. 

It’s so incredibly lush to read a book about bookish people, written by a bookish person. Chloe is a bookseller at Foyles in London, which I think adds a really special element to this book. 

What you get in this book is laughter, love and a sense of pride in the bookish community. I would recommend it for anyone who is after a laugh (or a lol as Chloe would say!) It’s such a lush book and I can not wait for book 2 to come out in September!

(I LOVE this cover so much… so colourful!)

My goodreads review reads:

Funny, relatable and brilliant. The power of books, libraries, bookshops told from a teenage girl. I just think this was great. Paige is hilarious. Many moments of lol were had.

Have you read Bookshop Girl?
Can you recommend any books like this?

Let me know in the comments what you thought of this review, your thoughts on the book or any recommendations you have for me! I love a book that will make me laugh! Bookshop Girl is available to buy now! 

S x

BOOK BLOG: Katherine Webber

Only Love Can Break Your Heart: complex, brilliant, real. 

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“Sometimes a broken heart is all you need to set you free… Reiko loves the endless sky and electric colours of the Californian desert. It is a refuge from an increasingly claustrophobic life of family pressures and her own secrets. Then she meets Seth, a boy who shares a love of the desert and her yearning for a different kind of life. But Reiko and Seth both want something the other can’t give them. As summer ends, things begin to fall apart. But the end of love can sometimes be the beginning of you…”

Last Thursday saw the publication of this absolute beauty, the newest book from Katherine Webber (author of the absolutely incredible Wing Jones). I was lucky enough to read it a few months ago, but have needed all this time to be able to put my thoughts in some kind of real order that isn’t just OMG REIKO AND OMG I LOVED IT. I did love it, entirely. 

Only Love is miles away from the brilliance of Wing Jones and Reiko couldn’t be more opposite to Wing. Did that make me love her any less? Absolutely not. Reiko is one of those characters who makes mistakes, has flaws and MADE ME FEEL. There were so many times I wanted to shout at Reiko. There were instances where I definitely didn’t agree with what she was doing, but it didn’t stop me loving her. I felt a bit like a big sister/best friend to her. Watching her make these STUPID choices and then not being able to help killed me. 

Only Love deals with some brilliant themesgrief, friendship, love, heartbreak, families, peer pressure, being a teenager, acceptance – which are dealt with beautifully. There were a few times when you’re with Reiko and you’re SMACKED in the face with something, but never a time when you didn’t feel safe. Grief is one of the biggest themes of this book, with Reiko having to deal with the loss of someone close to her. I didn’t see the massive shocker coming at the end of chapter 1 and I GENUINELY did a gasp – to be hit with such a massive shocker so early in the book gave me feelings. Reiko has to learn to accept her grief, deal with it and let go, despite wanting to keep hold of that someone special. All of this while she’s living her life, going to school, falling in love, falling out with friends… she’s a wonderfully brave young woman.

I can’t talk about this book without mentioning Seth. Oh Seth. Complicated, slightly douchey Seth. He makes mistakes, just as Reiko does. They’re teenagers, they’re finding their way in the world, and with that comes mistakes. 

Shout out massively to the dinosaur scene. If you’ve read it, you know what I mean. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I DEFINITELY want someone to take me to the dinosaur. It just sounds so lush. I’m a romantic at heart. 

I still have many thoughts about this book that are yet to form into a way which makes sense. Katherine Webber has written a book which has heart, wit and punch. I would definitely recommend this book. I’m so excited to see what’s next from Katherine because if Reiko and Wing are anything to go by, it’s going to be just as special.

Have you read Only Love Can Break Your Heart?
What did you think of Reiko?
ARE YOU OBSESSED WITH THAT COVER TOO?

Let me know your thoughts! Comment, tweet me, send a pigeon. 

S x

BOOK BLOG: Floored

Floored: what happens when you put some of YA’s biggest names together? Brilliance.

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“When they got in the lift, they were strangers (though didn’t that guy used to be on TV?): Sasha, who is desperately trying to deliver a parcel; Hugo, who knows he’s the best-looking guy in the lift and is eyeing up Velvet, who knows what that look means when you hear her name and it doesn’t match the way she looks, or the way she talks; Dawson, who was on TV, but isn’t as good-looking as he was a few years ago and is desperately hoping no one recognizes him; Kaitlyn, who’s losing her sight but won’t admit it, and who used to have a poster of Dawson on her bedroom wall, and Joe, who shouldn’t be here at all, but who wants to be here the most. And one more person, who will bring them together again on the same day every year”

So I think I’ve been talking about this book ever since I found out about it.
A while. A long time.
When I was offered the chance to read a review copy, I JUMPED AT IT.
But then again why wouldn’t I want to?
7 brilliant UKYA authors, including 2 of my all time faves?
A contemporary with 7 perspectives?
A brilliant sounding concept?
A cover which makes my eyes VERY happy?
I just… yes please. SIGN ME UP.

What Floored brings to the table is an incredible story, with memorable characters and an honest look at life, relationships and friendships, all wrapped in 7 authors who you know you can trust. Add to that the fun of guessing which author wrote which character and you’ve got what is a sure fire winner. 

(This is one of those book reviews where I’m really struggling to write it because I just want to say I LOVED IT SO MUCH OK?)

One of the things that stood out to me was the comparison between how individual their lives were at the beginning of the book, but then as the book develops you notice that they are part of each other’s lives and then by the end they become each other’s lives. They are all integral parts of each other’s lives. Friendship is a MASSIVE part of this book, but as you go through it, it’s not all plain sailingjust like life isn’t all plain sailing. Things happen that make the friendships hard; the relationships change and develop and fall apart; people naturally are drawn to one over the others. All of these dynamics are explored and for me that’s what’s so brilliant about it. I see so much of my own friendships and relationships in this book. 

I can’t go through this review without expressing my sheer ANGER at Hugo and some of his actions. Oh, this man. Hugo, Hugo, Hugo. I think I could talk about Hugo for a while. But I won’t as his actions, especially at the beginning of the book, do not deserved to be spoken of. As questionable as some of his actions are, he made me laugh. 

While we’re talking characters, I just think they’re each lush. 
Hugo – questionable morals, made me laugh.
Kaitlyn – a brilliant badass young woman who won’t let anything stand in her way
Sasha – poor Sasha, I just wanted to hug her.
Dawson – oh complicated little Dawson, I feel you so much my friend. Let’s talk.
Velvet – don’t let them get you down my friend, you’re wonderful.
Joe – keep that ambition about you my friend, keep being lovely.

I just adored this book. It made me laugh, cry, angry. It’s EVERYTHING I hoped for in the celebration of all that is wonderful. 

Massive MASSIVE thank you to the wonderful publicist Bea for sending me a copy – I love you forever and a day! 

Have you read Floored?
Have you had a guess at which character matches which author?
Which Floored character do you think you are?

Talk to me! Comment! Tweet! Pigeon! Postcard!

OH and come back tomorrow where you’ll see my post for the Floored blog collaboration group I’m part of! 

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S x

p.s. I did so well not to use the floored pun. Are you impressed?

Half year in review!

Hello there!

Since we’ve done half a year already, I thought I’d share with you my half year in review! Sharing my fave 5 books for MG and YA with you!

Tomorrow comes my MG books I’m excited for for the rest of the year and next week I share the YA version of that! So many books I’m excited for! 

Books read this year: 84

MG books read this year: 56

YA books read this year: 28

I didn’t realise just how many kids books I had read this year. But Summer is an excellent chance for me to catch up with some YA. YALC is coming, so I need to prepare my brain for much YA reading. There’s a whole host of YA books that I need to purchase and get reading over the summer, so I have no doubt that by the end of August those numbers will both have increased but YA more so.

I read so much MG because I’m always on the look out for new books for school – both for me to use for teaching, but also to add to the school library. 

When I was thinking about what to include in this blog post, I initially went with “top 3 MG and YA books of the year so far” and then when I looked at the sheer amount of books I’ve read so far, I had to change that to top 5. This is HARD guys. I generally LOVE all of the books – that’s just who I am. But here goes… (ask me again for my top 5 in about a week and it’ll probably be different. No regrets. I just love the books)

Let’s start with…

5 favourite MG books I’ve read this year

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5 favourite YA books I’ve read this year

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There are SO MANY other books I could’ve included (honourable mentions galore, if you wanna know them ask me! I can recommend SO MANY OTHER BOOKS) and whittling it down to JUST books I’ve read this year (not books necessarily that have been released this year) and only 5 was HARD. 

(If you’re wondering, I read Goodbye Perfect and State of Sorrow LAST year, otherwise they’d be on the YA list WITHOUT a doubt)

So there you go. If you have any questions about other books, these books, anything else first half of the year bookish related, please ask! I am always happy to answer questions!

What have been your fave 5 books of the year?
Are there any books on my top 5 that you’ve not read?

Talk to me! I wanna know your top 5s!

S x