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 

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?

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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!

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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

November in books

Happy December everyone! 

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

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

MG books I read in November

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

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

YA books I read in November

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

Autobiographical/memoir books I read in November

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

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

HOW AM I DOING FOR MY BOOK CHALLENGES?

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

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

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

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

S x 

BLOG TOUR: The Pearl in the Ice

Good morning everyone!

Today is a very exciting day as I have to share with you something very wonderful and fun. As you can tell from the title of this blog post, I am hosting a stop on the ‘The Pearl in the Ice’ blog tour. This book, which was released earlier this month from Chicken House, is absolutely wonderful. I am here to share with you an extract… the very first chapter that had me gripped, asking questions and wanting to read on from the get go!

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“Marina’s father, a naval captain, has been away for most of her life – certainly since her mother died – and yet Marina feels the pull of an ocean she’s never known. When sent to boarding school to learn to be a lady, Marina decides instead to stow away on her father’s ship. A perilous voyage awaits – but where are they sailing to and why, and what has it to do with the dark shape in the deep that seemsto be following them?”

Click the link to read the extract!
Pearl in the Ice extract 1

A massive thank you to Nina for asking me to be part of this blog tour and to the publishers Chicken House for sending me a copy of the book! My review will be up in the next few days… one of my children stole the book before I got the chance to finish it!

S x

October in books

Hello friends!

We are a few days into November now, so it’s about time I share with you what I read in October. I had a more productive reading month in October because of half term and reading dates with some of my favourite people! I do enjoy half term and the fact it allows me to read more. It’s always nice to unwind and unwinding with a book is one of the best ways to unwind. 

october in books

I read kids books, YA books and an autobiography this month! Branching out a little (ha!) is always good for me… although it helps when the autobiography I was reading was from one of the people who I think is the loveliest in the world (more on that later!).

Let’s start with MG books…

october 19 mg

I managed to get through 7 MG books last month. I have to say as well, they are all absolute corkers! I enjoyed each and every single one of them for very different reasons. There’s something for everyone in this pile of MG books. I was absolutely delighted to get my hands on the new Jason Reynolds book because I ADORE Ghost and Patina… and this one does not disappoint! Reviews for all of these books coming in the next few weeks!

Now the few YA books I read…

october 19 ya

I was really chuffed to get through 3 YA books. My TBR pile is definitely a lot more MG than YA at the minute! Saying that, anyone who has been following this blog for long enough will know that seeing The Toll on that list of books is INCREDIBLE. I’ve been pestering the delightful humans of Walker about release since I finished book 2 (last year) and when they sent me a copy, I was over the moon. I’m still formulating my thoughts for that book because it is A LOT. The other two books were also brilliant. Again, reviews for these will be coming in the next two weeks.

Now for the autobiography…

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I don’t think this book will come as a surprise to anyone. I am a MASSIVE Queer Eye fan. I was a massive fan of the original series, but this new series just stole my heart. I think JVN is one of the most amazing people on the planet and this book just confirmed this for me. Can completely recommend this book!

And that’s it.

HOW AM I DOING FOR MY BOOK CHALLENGES?

GOODREADS CHALLENGE: 125/52
#52BOOKS CHALLENGE (JUST KIDS BOOKS): 66/52

This was short and sweet, but thanks for stopping by! Talk to me in the comments!

How did you do with your reading in October? 
What were your stand out books from last month?
What are you still dying to read from this year?

S x

September in books

Hello there everyone!

How are we doing? Happy October to you all!

Now, I’ll be honest with you, I’m not a massive fan of this time of year because I do NOT like the dark mornings and dark nights. Plus, I am NOT a fan of Halloween. So you know… if we could just skip October and go to Christmas time, that would be LUSH! 

I’m here today to share the books I got reading in September! I was very surprised that I managed to read as many as I did… although I am VERY sad I didn’t read any YA. I’m hoping October will change that!

In September, I:

Got back to school
Was tired every single day
Studied The Day The Crayons Quit with my class (and loved it)
Mourned the loss of the sunshine and the light mornings
Discovered my love for illustrated chapter books 
Got to introduce my new class to some brilliant authors
Read 9 books

I only read MG books, so I guess that’s where we’re starting (and ending!)

september mg

I had an awful lot of fun with these stories in September. Meeting new characters and new settings, being reacquainted with some favourites and discovering some wonderful new authors! This is a gorgeous mix of books which would cater to new readers and established readers. 

The Battle For Perfect Review
Reviews of illustrated chapter books

Reviews for Amelia Fang and International Yeti collective to come next week: watch this space!

And that’s it. Fingers crossed I read more YA in October, but I’m very much enjoying reading whatever it is that I want! 

HOW AM I DOING FOR MY BOOK CHALLENGES?

GOODREADS CHALLENGE: 114/52
#52BOOKS CHALLENGE (JUST KIDS BOOKS): 59/52

This was short and sweet, but thanks for stopping by! Talk to me in the comments!

How did you do with your reading in September? 
What were your stand out books from last month?
What are you still dying to read from this year?

What would you recommend me from your 2019 reading list?

S x 

BOOK BLOG: Helena Duggan

The Battle For Perfect: a creepily perfect ending!

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“Things have quietened down in the town that used to be Perfect. But stories reach Violet and Boy of five missing scientists. And then they discover something odd in the forest outside Town – a mirror maze hiding a huge castle. Creeping inside, they overhear a terrible plan – a zombie army is about march on Town. Can Violet and Boy save their friends?”

Anyone who has read my blog in the past will know that I am a MASSIVE fan of the A Place Called Perfect series by Helena Duggan. I raced through book 1, devoured book 2 and then when it came to book 3… I was SO NOT READY TO SAY GOODBYE that I savoured every moment. 

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For those who don’t know the series, it follows a young girl called Violet, who lives in a town called Perfect. There’s been a lot of goings on in Perfect, from brothers who try and take over, to child snatchers and all sorts. It’s Violet’s job to try and save the day. With the help of her friend Boy, she manages each and every time to save the day. These books are a wonderful mix of creepy, adventure-filled and filled with gorgeous description. 

I’d waited a long time for book 3 to come out. Once I’d read book 2, I was ready for book 3. In Battle for Perfect, we get the next installment in the series. Violet and Boy need to face off against some of their biggest, and meanest, and closest, villains. With zombies galore and some wonderful science on show, it’s up to Violet and Boy to try and save the town from once again being taken over by scheming wrong-doers. 

One of the things I love most about these books is that they’re just a little bit on the creepy side. They’re not so creepy that they give you nightmares, but they’re just on that balance between spine tingling and normal. I read this book with a slight fear in me. The whole series has been the same, like it could be really bloody scary, but it’s just the right amount of creepy. I mean eye plants??? 

Another of the things that I love so much about this series is Violet. She’s bloody wonderful. She’s a great main character to read. She’s bold, brave and a little bit scared. In Battle for Perfect, she shows that she just wants to be the best friend she can be with Boy, but she doubts things that she should be doing. I think it was lovely to see, once again, that it’s Violet and her friends that are coming to save the day again. Perfect wouldn’t be the place it is if it weren’t for Violet! In Battle for Perfect, you get some lovely reappearances from some familiar faces. Violet has her very own crew of super sleuths who are on hand to help save the day. I mean, I would need a MASSIVE band of super sleuths to try and take down an army of zombies. (I’d be rubbish at it to be honest…)

This book, like the previous 2, was the perfect mix of being fast paced, some wonderful characters and being back in the world that I love (despite the fact it creeps me out). I’m so sad that it’s now over, but it was a complete and utter ride! Shout out here to Karl James Mountford for the cover illustrations and the illustrations inside… they’re definitely a series of books that are BEAUTIFUL to look at! 

On another note… my kids are LOVING book 1 in this series and I already have a waiting list for the two copies of the book we have! I’m loving seeing them all getting lost in Violet and Boy’s world! 

My Goodreads review:

Bloody brilliant. It was a brilliant way to say goodbye to this series. Jam packed with science, zombies, the characters and the world we know and love! I’m gutted this series is over, but their ending seems more than closure.

And just like that, it’s all over. I hope you enjoyed this review!

Can you recommend me some scary/creepy books?
Have you read the Perfect series?

Talk to me, I’d love to know your thoughts!

S x 

BLOG TOUR: The Deathless Girls

Hello one and all! 

Today, I come to you with a post for the blog tour of The Deathless Girls by Kiran Milwood Hargrave. As long time readers of this blog will know, I am a massive fan of Kiran’s children’s books, so when I heard she was wrting her first YA book I was ABSOLUTELY BLOODY DELIGHTED. Fast forward to an email the publishers sent me about being on the blog tour, I was over the moon. I am here today with a review which does Kiran’s sheer wonder no justice!

The Deathless Girls: delicious, fierce and dark. 

(forgive my shoddy camera work, I wanted to show you all the gorgeous gold foiling!)

“Seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are brutally snatched one night, taken far from the travelling community they so love. Their abductor is the cruel Boyar Valcar who sells them to a castle kitchen where they are forced to work as slaves. Lil befriends fellow slave Mira, a girl she’s inexplicably drawn to, and the pair comfort each other, drawing strength from their friendship to help cope with the awful situation they have been put into. She learns of the mythical Dragon – a creature which is rumoured to accept young girls as gifts.”

The Deathless Girls is one of those lovely stories that comes along telling an untold story. Telling the story of Dracula from a different perspective, The Deathless Girls tells the story of twins Kizzy and Lil, who are travellers awaiting their time. Their time of divining that will allow them to learn all about what is to come for them: their time to learn their fate. Everything seems to go a bit awry and tragedy really does come after the twins. When they’re kidnapped and taken by Boyar Valcar, they’re made to work in his castle and he lords over them. This all changes when they start hearing whispers about the so-called Dragon: a mysterious man who takes girls as his gifts. What will become of our girls? 

Now, let me preface this review with a thing: I’ve NEVER read Dracula. It’s one of my mam’s favourite stories, but it is one I have never got around to. Don’t let this put you off because reading this I didn’t need to know much about the story of Dracula. You could read this as a fan of Dracula, or, like me, not know that much about it at all (except for there’s a vampire).

One of the things I loved most about this book was that despite the sheer darkness that seeps through the pages, it’s a story about female friendship, hope, love and loyalty. The sisters go through a lot and they never give up. They meet some incredible characters along the way who help them to see they’re brave and fierce. I wanted to be friends with a lot of the women in this story. A girl can never have too many good friends. The sisters go through a journey of discovery through the book, like we all do. We all learn about ourselves and its that journey that makes this book really gorgeous. It’s dangerous and it’s dark, while at the same time being light and hope. It’s learning and it’s trying to forget. It’s standing out while trying to hide. 

One of the things I love most about Kiran’s books is the incredible way in which she builds a world. Reading Kiran’s books is like stepping into a world you never dreamt you’d visit. It’s stepping into beautifully crafted words and an almost lyrical narrative that you get lost in. You might be sitting in a Starbucks, or on a bus, or wherever you are but you’re transported through the magic of words and intention into the world of the castle, of the forest. It’s a world to get hooked on before you even realise you’re hooked. It’s so rich and detailed. It’s so beautifully done that you want to be there (I mean without the scary vampire thanks).

I think what stood out to me about this book was the lack of Dracula himself. The women in the story are the important characters and that in itself shows how wonderful this book is. Books which celebrate women and our strength, determination, compassion and love for one another need to be shared. You go into this book for what you think is vampires and what you get out of it is a story about how badass women are… even when fear and uncertainty takes away that dogged determinedness. 

A gripping tale about the fierceness of love, sisterhood and fear. Haunting, dark and fierce!

My Goodreads review:

Man, Kiran continues to just write belter after belter. This is brilliant. A telling of the life of the sisters in Dracula. A gripping tale about the fierceness of love, sisterhood and fear. Haunting, dark and fierce! As someone who knows very little about Dracula, I was worried I’d get lost, but I didn’t at all. Whether you’re a Dracula fan or not, this is WELL worth a read!

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave is out now, published by Hachette Children’s Group, priced £12.99 in hardback.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave author image

KIRAN MILLWOOD HARGRAVE is an award-winning poet, playwrightand bestselling novelist. Her debut novel for children, The Girl of Ink and Stars, won the Waterstones Book Prize and the Children’s Book of the Year at the British Book Awards. Her work has been long and short-listed for several other major prizes, including the Costa Award and the CILIP Carnegie Award. The Deathless Girls is her first novel for Young Adults. Kiran Millwood Hargrave is a graduate of both Oxford and Cambridge universities and lives by the river in Oxford with her husband and cat. (Shout out to Luna, the best cat around)

A massive massive thank you to Hachette for sending me a review copy of the book and for inviting me on the blog tour. This book needs to be read by everyone – Dracula fans and non-Dracula fans alike! 

Have you read The Deathless Girls?
Are you also dying over that cover?
Is there anyone’s story you’d like to hear?

Why don’t you go check out the rest of the blog tour?

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S x 

 

BOOK BLOG: Recent reads!

Hello there! 

How are you all today? 

I’m here with some mini reviews of some of my recent reads. I read a LOT during the Summer holidays and am going to find it near impossible to write full reviews for everything, so I’m going to do a mixture of mini reviews and full reviews of things over the next few weeks. My reading will slow way down now that I’m back to school so it should give me time to catch up on things I’ve not reveiwed yet on my blog! 

Today I’m going to review 3 books.
3 books that I read pretty close together.
3 books with quite similar themes!

Let’s get on with it! 

Stolen – Lucy Christopher

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“IT HAPPENED LIKE THIS.
I was stolen from an airport. Kidnapped. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Imprisoned by sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.
This is my story. A letter to my captor.”

This has been sat on my shelf for like 2 years (I’m sure I picked it up at YALC 2 years ago) and I totally forgot about it because it was on one of my 2 deep shelves. It’s the story of Gemma, a young girl who is kidnapped from an airport one day. She’s taken away from everyone she’s ever known, everything she’s ever known and is suddenly in a strange house in the middle of nowhere in Australia with a man who she has never met before. 

I loved this. It was SO BLOODY COMPELLING. I needed to know what was going to happen next. The whole premise was fascinating to me. This book is written as one long letter (so there’s no chapters which I initially found jarring but it worked for this book so well) from Gemma to her captor. She goes through everything that happened to her in the time she spent with him. She talks about how she felt and the things that happened to her. I think because it was written as a letter there were times where I found her captor Ty slightly human, but man, I hated that guy. So so much. He’s not an OK person. 

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly – Stephanie Oakes

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“The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust. And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too. Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.”

Sacred Lies tells the story of Minnow, a young girl who was part of a cult. The cult has recently lost their prophet and there was a fire at the complex. Minnow has the chance to be free from everything: the cult, their way of life, her secrets, their control over her. She’s just got to be willing to tell someone the secrets she’s held so dearly on to. 

As you know if you’ve been here for a while, I bloody love a cult book – I think they’re fascinating. My friend Kelly has been ranting and raving about this book for months, but I’ve just never managed to pick it up. I found it for cheap and I decided that now was the time and my lord, it did not disappoint. It was everything I wanted from a cult book: lies, deception, secrecy, isolation, family, friends, twisting of the truth. Minnow goes through A LOT. An awful lot. There’s some fascinating threads of what the world is compared to what Minnow thinks of the world throughout this book and it kept me hooked. I read this book within a few hours and now I am mourning the loss of another cult book (if you can recommend me any, yes I’ve read After the Fire, then please shout)

The Girls

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“Evie Boyd is fourteen and desperate to be noticed. It’s the summer of 1969 and restless, empty days stretch ahead of her. Until she sees them. The girls. Hair long and uncombed, jewelry catching the sun. And at their centre, Suzanne, black-haired and beautiful. If not for Suzanne, she might not have gone. But, intoxicated by her and the life she promises, Evie follows the girls back to the decaying ranch where they live. Was there a warning? A sign of what was coming? Or did Evie know already that there was no way back?”

The Girls tells the story of Evie, a young girl who is kind of lured into this group of drug smoking, free living and free loving group one day after she some what falls in love with the ever so enchanting Suzanne. What happens when Evie gets there isn’t what she was expecting and Evie risks a lot in her life to stay on the right side of her new bunch of friends… who might not actually be that great underneath the surface.

This book is not the traditional age range I normally read: this is definitely not YA, so I was a bit out of my comfort zone here. Despite that fact, I enjoyed this book, but when I finished it left me needing a bit of closure. I had so so many questions left that needed to be answered. This book is fascinating in parts… I needed to keep reading at many points becuase there were so many things which kept me hooked. A bit like Evie, I was hooked and curious about this new group of friends she’d made. Told in flashbacks and Evie’s life as it currently is, I found that I was more bothered in the actual story of the “cult” than I was in Evie’s life now. 

And there we go! 3 books with very similar themes that I read on the trot… there were moments where I got all 3 of them jumbled, but that’s OK! It’ll teach me not to read such similar books together again haha!

Have you read any books like these recently?
Can you recommend me any cult books?
What have you read recently that you’d recommend?

Talk to me in the comments! 

S x