November books!

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

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

Books.
November.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plus the acknowledgements had me BAWLING.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

S x

BOOKBLOG: Sarah Millican

How to Be Champion: canny lush and proper champion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Talk to me, I’m champion.

S x

BOOKBLOG: Anna Day

The Fandom: unique, exciting and brilliant.

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“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! 

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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

BOOKBLOG: Kerry Drewery

Cell 7: haunting, thought-provoking, infuriating

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“Should she live or die? You decide 

An adored celebrity has been killed. Sixteen-year-old Martha Honeydew was found holding a gun, standing over the body. Now Justice must prevail. The general public will decide whether Martha is innocent or guilty by viewing daily episodes of the hugely popular TV show Death is Justice, the only TV show that gives the power of life and death decisions – all for the price of a phone call. Martha has admitted to the crime. But is she guilty? Or is reality sometimes more complicated than the images we are shown on TV?”

Cell 7 has been sat on my shelf for AGES. Like a year. I got it from UKYACX last year (if you wanna know more see: UKYACX book haul!) and it has sat on my shelf ever since. I just never got round to it! THEN #SundayYA hosted Kerry a few Sundays ago and she was talking about Day 7 (the sequel) and my gorgeous friend Kelly was reading Cell 7… all of the chatter around it MADE me have to read it. There were a few Cell 7 spoilers from the Day 7 chat BUT I still loved every single second of it. 

Cell 7 explores a world in which once a person has done something wrong they have only have potentially 7 days left of their life. Life and death decisions become a reality TV contest. You win or lose based on how many people vote on you living or dying. Martha confesses to killing a well adored celebrity and it is down to the public to decide if she lives or dies. 

Throughout this book there are moments where I wanted to throw it against the wall. There’s characters who just DROVE ME UP THE WALL. I hated them. They stood for the worst things in life. They spouted forth their skewed views on life. Contrasting this though there were characters I really loved. Characters I really wanted to succeed. I liked Martha. I liked Isaac. Her councillor was pretty brazen: she fought for Martha. The judge is an interesting character. 

I really enjoyed (in whatever sadistic way one can) seeing the different cells that Martha had to go through. Watching them change and manipulate her moods was interesting. Knowing that she is getting closer to the end and that death was probably looming. There’s definitely some dark, twisted parts of this book that will make you think.

 I am very much looking forward to reading Day 7 now. 

Have you read Cell 7?
What did you think of the ending?
Do you think our world could end up in the way Cell 7 paints the world?

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. 

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‘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: Will Hill

After The Fire: hard-hitting, moving and tough. But so worth it.

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“Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming. Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out. What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?”

After The Fire tells the story of Moonbeam, a young girl who lives in a cult, who is taken away by the Outsiders when there is a big fire on the property. It tells her journey from being inside of the cult to being on the outside. You watch her go from a scared, lonely, doubting young lady to someone attempting to be ready for the outside world to hit her. 

The thing I loved most about this book was the interspersion of flashbacks with now. The book is written with Moonbeam’s memories woven into her recovery. Every other chapter is an insight into life inside the cult. From the wicked Father John, to Nate – the lovely, ray of light Nate – and the day to day business of being part of the Legion. These insights into life with the Legion fascinated me. Despicable acts to multiple wives: it is all explored in Moonbeam’s flashbacks. As you go through the book, you learn more about Moonbeam’s life – the loss of her mother, friends and loveable Father. Moonbeam’s journey of faith was an interesting part of this book – you watch her turn from believer to doubter… should she believe the Outsiders are all bad? Or are the worst acts happening in front of her eyes?

The characters, the stories and the journies make this book exceptionally special. It isn’t only Moonbeam who will touch your heart, but you meet Luke – poor Luke, whose whole life is follow Father John and his teachings – and some of the others who are rescued from the cult – shout out to brave Honey. There’s also an FBI agent who as the book went on, I really started to like – as Moonbeam warms to him, as she begins to trust him her revelations about life with the Legion get more intense.  

I would absolutely recommend this to everyone. Please, go on, read it. I was lucky enough to get a proof copy from Usborne.

Have you read After The Fire?
What did you think of Father John?
Can you recommend any other cult books to me?

Let me know in the comments below! I need more books like this! Or tweet me (@eenalol) 

S x

BOOKBLOG: Adrian Edmondson

Tilly and the Time Machine: time travelling, adventure filled fun!

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“Tilly is seven and a half – and about to make history. When Tilly’s dad builds a time machine in the shed there’s only one place she really wants to go: back to her sixth birthday party, when she ate too many cupcakes and her mummy was still here. But then something goes wrong! Tilly’s dad gets stuck in the past and only she can save him… Will they make it back in time for tea?”

Tilly and the Time Machine was one of those books I was lucky enough to be sent by the wonderful people over at Puffin and I absolutely loved it! It centres around Tilly, a brave and fun 7 year old, who has to go on an adventure with her dad’s time machine to save her dad. She misses her mum an awful lot and just wants to see her one more time. 

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Throughout the story you get to jump through some amazing different time periods1966 World Cup Final, Trafalgar, Victorian times, where Tilly meets an amazing friend, jumps back in time to save the very machine Tilly is using – all so Tilly can save her dad. 

I loved the relationship between Tilly and her dad. At the start you can see that they are reluctant to talk about their feelings, but as the book goes on you can see that wall break down and they both need each other. It deals with grief in a very appropriate manner for the age range that it is aimed for. It’s never too heavy, nor taken too lightly. The moments between Tilly and her dad, with appearances from her mam are lovely. Very touching indeed. 

I would totally recommend this book for Y3/4 classes. It would be a brilliant one as a class novel or just leave it on your shelves for your kids to discover. It certainly would go down well with my kids! There’s a lot that could be done with it too! I would definitely recommend it to schools. I gifted my copy to the school library and bought myself another copy! That’s how much I loved it. 

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Thank you so much to Puffin Books for sending me a copy!

Have you read Tilly and the Time Machine?
Where would you jump back to if you had a time machine?

Let me know in the comments! Or tweet me @eenalol. I would love to hear your thoughts! 

S x

June books

Hello! 

Long time no speak! Sorry about my hiatus last week! I hope you didn’t miss me too much! 

I never got round to doing a June round up… so here we are!

In June I managed to finish my 52 books 52 weeks challenge! How mad! I am now surpassing my challenge… reckon I can read 102? I’ll have to get all my reading done in the summer holidays! September onwards is going to be MANIC for me.

So what did I read in June? (There’s a few books missing!)

  • Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index – Julie Israel (BOOKBLOG: Julie Israel)
  • Anna and the Swallow Man – Gavriel Savit (review to come)
  • After The Fire – Will Hill (review to come!)
  • The Opposite of You – Lou Morgan
  • Radio Silence – Alice Oseman (BOOKBLOG: Alice Oseman)
  • The Humans – Matt Smith (review to come!)
  • The Rest of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness
  • Tilly and the Time Machine – Adrian Edmondson (review to come!)
  • Cell 7 – Kerry Drewery (review to come!)

Not pictured:

  • The Call – Paedar O’Guilin (BOOKBLOG: Peadar Ó Guilín)
  • Alex Sparrow and the Big Stink – Jennifer Killick (review to come)
  • The Bookshop Girl – Sylvia Bishop (BOOKBLOG: Sylvia Bishop)
  • The Glass Children – Kristina Ohlsson
  • Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse – Chris Riddell (review to come!)
  • Goodly and Grave in a Bad Case of Kidnap – Justine Windsor (review to come!)

15 books! In one month, that’s pretty good going. I think I have a half term at the start of June to thank. 

I genuinely loved all of the books I read in June for very different reasons. I can not pick a favourite book – they all stand out for different reasons. Tell me what you like and I’ll give you one of these to read! June was a brilliant month for books. Reviews for some to come! Putting my thoughts into words is HARD

What did you read in June?
Do you have a stand out June book?
What are you excited to read in July?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter – you know where to find me! 

S x