“Which books should I add to my Christmas list, Miss?”

Yesterday, I shared 10 recommendations for emerging chapter book readers – check it out if you’re after recommendations for 6+ years! Today I’m sharing books that I’ve shared with the kids in my class, school and life! Today is the turn of those who are confidently reading longer chapter books – longer chapter books that are BLOODY BRILLIANT.

None of these books will come as a surprise to ANYONE who knows me, but nevertheless. I think one of the best books you can buy kids is a book. These recommendations are books I’ve loved, but also books that my kids have wholeheartedly taken under their wing!

2018 mg recs

(I know right, SHOCKERS)

Now, some of these are book 1 in a series that I would recommend the whole series of… but if I’d put ALL of the books in the series of, I would have been here forever!

The House with Chicken Legs – Sophie Anderson

The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club series – Alex Bell

A Place Called Perfect series – Helena Duggan

Armistice Runner – Tom Palmer

The Light Jar – Lisa Thompson

Tilly and the Bookwanderers – Anna James

The Way Past Winter – Kiran Milwood Hargrave

Snowglobe – Amy Wilson

The Nowhere Emporium series – Ross Mackenzie

Brightstorm – Vashti Hardy

The Storm Keeper’s Island – Catherine Doyle

Who Let The Gods Out series by Maz Evans (Simply the Quest reviewBeyond the Odyssey review)

And there you have it… my second lot of MG recommendations which are perfect to buy for any budding bookworm in your life!

Have you read any of these?
Do you have any favourites?
Would you recommend any for me to add to my list?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments! Come back tomorrow for YA recommendations!

S x

 

S4S – Please Santa!

Good afternoon friends! 

How are we all this chilly yet sunny Sunday?! What are you reading? How is December going for you?

Today I’m coming at you with a #SixforSunday with wishes from the North Pole. Yes we’re talking:

Six books you wish Santa would bring you

Now we all know that Santa can bring pretty much ANYTHING don’t we? My choices clearly reflect that! 

  1. Six of Crows Collector’s Edition – Leigh Bardugo
    This is actually on my Christmas list, so fingers crossed!
  2. Pages and Co sprayed edges edition – Anna James
    This is actually sold out… but Santa can work miracles, yeah?
  3. Song of Sorrow – Melinda Salisbury
    COME ON SANTA. IT IS SO CLOSE TO NEXT YEAR. IT MUST BE TIME.
  4. Against all Gods – Maz Evans
    AGAIN. HOWARE. I’ve been waiting forever.
  5. The Day I Was Erased – Lisa Thompson
    NOW would be nice Santa.
  6. The Boy: His Stories and How They Came to be – Oliver Jeffers
    I am a MASSIVE fan and would LOVE this thanks.

So there we go… challenge set Santa!

Share your #SixforSunday choices with me! I’d love to know what is on your list! 

See you next week! Keep your eyes peeled in the next few weeks for 2019’s #SixforSunday topics!

S x

S4S – Characters you’d love to see together

Happy Sunday friends! 

How are we all? Are we all ready for more #SixforSunday? 

Today’s challenge is a TOUGHIE. Just as I have the past few weeks, I have TOO many options for the 6 I’m allowed to choose! Today I have to only find 6:

Characters you’d love to see together

  1. Jack (from Jack of Hearts and Other Parts) and Simon (Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda)
  2. Jupiter (Nevermoor) and Felix (The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club)
  3. Stella (The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club) and Owl (A Girl Called Owl)
  4. Twylla (The Sin Eater’s Daughter) and Sorrow (State of Sorrow)
  5. Twylla (The Sin Eater’s Daughter) and Kaz Brekker (Six of Crows)
  6. Tilly (Pages and Co) and Property Jones (The Bookshop Girl)

There we go, some MG and some YA choices! This was a lot of fun! My list surprises me… I definitely have a whole chunk of others I’d love to see. If you’re interested, talk to me! I’d love to share more of my ideas! 

S x

S4S – Ultimate panels

Hello everyone!

Sorry for the hiatus this week… there was just a little need for my brain to take a break after a very busy half term! I am back though! And today’s #SixforSunday sees me taking on:

Dream panels/events

So, my dream panels? WELL THIS IS GONNA BE FUN. I’m gonna go 3 MG and 3 YA because LOVE.

“Contemporary YA: Why it matters” with Laura Steven, Alice Oseman, Sara Barnard and Katherine Webber.

“Writing badass characters” featuring Leigh Bardugo, Melinda Salisbury, Alice Broadway and Alwyn Hamilton.

“Writing stories that make our readers cry (we love it)” featuring C.G.Drews, Karen Gregory, Lisa Healthfield and Adam Silvera.

“Creating worlds kids want to read about” featuring Helena Duggan, Maz Evans, Ross Mackenzie and Kiran Milwood Hargrave.

“Writing incredible characters” featuring Peter Brown, Lisa Thompson, Alex Bell and Jessica Townsend.

“Books: an ode to books” featuring Anna James and Piers Torday in conversation.

Side note: I am still waiting for a Floored Seven panel

There we go! I LOVE hearing authors talk about their books, so please GET ME MORE EVENTS IN THE NORTH. I’m more than happy to host any of these *wink*

Remember to share your dream panels using #SixforSunday! I can’t wait to see what you all think! 

S x 

BOOK BLOG: Tilly and the Bookwanderers

Today I have the ABSOLUTE JOY of hosting Anna James, author of the incredible Pages and Co on my blog as part of her blog tour. She’s here today to talk about her writing soundtrack. 

Without further ado, I hand you over to Anna and that amazing book of hers!

 

My Writing Soundtrack for Pages & Co

I listen to music whenever I’m drafting, but I cannot listen to music with lyrics of any kind as it instantly distracts me and I can’t concentrate on my own words. Instead I listen to a lot of classical music, especially film soundtracks. Here is some of the music I listened to while writing Pages & Co, and the music that most influenced the book.

Dario Marianelli

Dario Marianelli is my favourite modern composer; he wrote the scores for films including Atonement, the Keira Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice, Anna Karenina, and the Mia Wasikowska adaption of Jane Eyre. He writes beautiful, soaring orchestral music that I find instantly get me into the right head space for writing magical adventures. A favourite is Briony’s theme from Atonement as it comes complete with typewriter sounds to really get you in the writing mood.

The Planet Earth Scores by Hans Zimmer

This is along similar lines to Marianelli; the music for these TV series is epic and inspiring, and if I’m ever struggling to focus and to get immersed in the world of Pages & Co I use music like this to stir my emotions and remind me of the power of good art. It helps make the outside world melt away, and encourages you to try and create something worthwhile.

Rabbit & Rogue by Danny Elfman

The first book that Tilly bookwanders into is Alice in Wonderland, when Alice takes her to the Mad Hatter’s tea party, and she visits the Queen of Hearts croquet game later, as well. When I was looking for music to write these scenes too I stumbled across the score from an Alice in Wonderland ballet that had been created, and scored by Danny Elfman that I’d never heard of before. The quirky but lovely music is absolutely perfect to write Alice’s brand of nonsense to.

Soundtracks for existing adaptations

In Pages & Co, Tilly visits several well known children’s classics, and the useful thing about classics is that they’ve often been made into multiple screen adaptation which means there are multiple soundtracks out there. Not all of them are quite right, but I listened to the scores for the recent Alice in Wonderland films, some of the music from the Anne of Green Gables TV series, and even some of the songs from the Muppet version of Treasure Island while I was writing scenes from those books.

The Maze Runner

One of the specific pieces of music that I associate with writing Pages & Co is the finale music from the first Maze Runner film. It’s an urgent, heroic, and beautiful piece of music with real pace and tension and I listened to it on repeat while I was writing some of the scenes towards the end of the book where stakes are high, and Tilly ends up in a dangerous situation in a book she’s wandered inside. I rarely listen to soundtracks all the way through, because they shift and change too much tonally, but I pick and choose tracks to create playlists for different beats; quieter emotional moments, tense action scenes, or cosy bookshop scenes to help me get in the right frame of mind.   

A massive thank you to Anna for such an amazing blog post! I’m off to listen to some of these myself! I love the idea of a writing playlist. 

If you want to see my review of Tilly and the Bookwanderers, check it out here

If you’d like to go and buy this amazing book (you really should, because it is exceptional), it’s out now! 
Amazon
Waterstones

S x

Brilliant MG still to come!

2018 has graced us some EXCEPTIONAL MG so faryet with half a year left there is still some EXCELLENT MG left to come.

Today, in the spirit of sharing exciting things and looking forward, I thought I would share with you 10 books that I’m excited for in the rest of this year

There are SO MANY books I’m excited for, both in YA and MG, that I could actually be here forever and a day and not have told you them all… however, for now I’ve chosen 10 that I’m THE MOST excited for.

Next week I’ll share YA books I’m excited for too!

So here goes…

2018 mg second half

The Elsewhere Emporium – Ross Mackenzie
(follow up from The Nowhere Emporium, one of my favourite books I’ve read this year!)
“The Nowhere Emporium has been stolen. The shop from nowhere has vanished without a trace. Will it ever reappear? As they search for the lost Emporium, Daniel and Ellie encounter magical bookshops, deserted islands in the dead of night, and an array of magicians (both dead and alive). Meanwhile a dangerous force is attacking the Emporium from the inside, waiting for a chance to break free.”

Tilly and the Bookwanderers. – Anna James
(I’ve been excited for this forever and a day, Anna is a LOVE)
“Eleven year-old Tilly has lived above her grandparents’ bookshop ever since her mother disappeared shortly after she was born. Like the rest of her family, Tilly loves nothing more than to escape into the pages of her favourite stories. One day Tilly realises that classic children’s characters are appearing in the shop through the magic of `book wandering’ – crossing over from the page into real life. With the help of Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland. Tilly is determined to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago, so she bravely steps into the unknown, unsure of what adventure lies ahead and what dangers she may face”

The Way Past Winter – Kiran Milwood Hargrave
(I am the BIGGEST Kiran fan ever, she’s just incredible, this is one on my MUST HAVE NOW books)
“Mila and her sisters live with their brother Oskar in a small forest cabin in the snow. One night, a fur-clad stranger arrives seeking shelter for himself and his men. But by the next morning, they’ve gone – taking Oskar with them. Fearful for his safety, Mila and her sisters set out to bring Oskar back – even it means going north, crossing frozen wild-lands to find a way past an eternal winter.”

The Lost Magician – Piers Torday
(As I write this blog post, there is a proof copy of this on its way to me… SO THAT’S EXCITING!)
“1945. They have survived the Blitz, but when Simon, Patricia, Evelyn and Larry step through a mysterious library door, it is the beginning of their most dangerous adventure yet. They discover the magical world of Folio, where an enchanted kingdom of fairy knights, bears and tree gods is under threat from a sinister robot army. The many stories of the Library are locked in eternal war, and the children’s only hope is to find their creator – a magician who has been lost for centuries. What they discover will change not just their own lives, but the fate of the world, for ever …”

Armistice Runner – Tom Palmer
(I love a war book and Tom writes the most brilliant books)
“Tom Palmer will mark the centenary of the end of First World War with a powerful, fictionalised account of the fell-runners who were used as messengers to and from the front lines in the last days of the war. Deftly told in an intertwining narrative of past and present, Armistice Runner follows a young fell-runner called Lily as she discovers the diaries of her great-great-grandfather and his experiences as a runner-messenger in the
lead-up to the Armistice of 1918.” (Taken from Barrington Stoke press release)

Snowglobe – Amy Wilson
(I’ve actually read this book already and it is INCREDIBLE… watch out for my review coming in the next few weeks!)
“When daydreamer Clementine discovers a mysterious house standing in the middle of town that was never there before, she is pulled towards it by the powerful sense of a mother she never knew. The place is full of snowglobes, swirling with stars and snow and each containing a trapped magician, watched over by Gan, the bitter keeper of the house. One of these is Dylan, a boy who teases her in the real world but who is now desperate for her help.”

Wundersmith – Jessica Townsend
(again, this is a follow up from Nevermoor which is just remarkable… this is one of those releases I’ve been waiting for since I finished the last word of the first book!)
“Morrigan Crow has been invited to join the prestigious Wundrous Society, a place that promised her friendship, protection and belonging for life. She’s hoping for an education full of wunder, imagination and discovery – but all the Society want to teach her is how evil Wundersmiths are. And someone is blackmailing Morrigan’s unit, turning her last few loyal friends against her. Has Morrigan escaped from being the cursed child of Wintersea only to become the most hated figure in Nevermoor? Worst of all, people have started to go missing. The fantastical city of Nevermoor, once a place of magic and safety, is now riddled with fear and suspicion…”

Explorers on Witch Mountain – Alex Bell
(another follow up from The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club, another one I’ve been waiting for FOREVER)
“Stella Starflake Pearl is eagerly anticipating her next expedition. Suddenly disaster strikes when Stella’s father, Felix, is snatched by a fearsome witch. Stella must bring her magic ice princess tiara to Witch Mountain or she will never see Felix again! But no one ever returns from Witch Mountain… Stella, Ethan, Shay, Beanie and reluctant Jungle Cat explorer, Percival, set off into the unknown. They will face terrifying bat caves, poisonous apple groves, outraged vultures, argumentative mushrooms and deranged broomsticks in their quest to rescue Felix.”

Into the Jungle – Katherine Rundell
(everything Katherine Rundell writes blows me away…)
“This wise and witty companion to Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 classic is likewise a series of connected stories about the man-cub Mowgli and his adventures among the animals in the Indian jungle. It includes all the original favorites like Baloo and Bagheera and gives female characters, like Mother Wolf, a more prominent role in Mowgli’s upbringing. The timely theme of the possibility of understanding and empathy across species, cultures, and genders will resonate with contemporary readers.”

Death in the Spotlight – Robin Stevens
(I absolutely adore Robin Stevens’ books, and this is one we’ve been waiting for a while!)
“Someone will take their final bow . . . Fresh from their adventure in Hong Kong, Hazel Wong and Daisy Wells are off to the Rue Theatre in London to face an entirely new challenge: acting. But danger has a nasty habit of catching up with the Detective Society, and it soon becomes clear that there is trouble afoot at the Rue. Jealousy, threats and horrible pranks quickly spiral out of control – and then a body is found. Now Hazel and Daisy must take centre stage and solve the crime . . . before the murderer strikes again.”

And there you have it. 10 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 MG books you’re still most excited for!

S x