BLOG TOUR: Sanctuary

Morning friends!

How are you all this fine Monday? What have you been reading lately? 

Today I’m here to share an exciting stop on the Sanctuary blog tour. To celerate the paperback release, I was invited to be on the blog tour and I had the ABSOLUTE joy of asking author V. V. James some questions!

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“The small Connecticut town of Sanctuary is rocked by the death of its star quarterback. Daniel’s death looked like an accident, but everyone knows his ex-girlfriend Harper is the daughter of a witch – and she was there when he died. Then the rumours start. When Harper insists Dan was guilty of a terrible act, the town turns on her. So was his death an accident, revenge – or something even darker? As accusations fly and secrets are revealed, paranoia grips the town, culminating in a trial that the whole world is watching…”

Which character did you have the most fun writing?

If I’m honest, Detective Maggie’s sweary boss Remy. It’s always fun to write a character who’s unafraid to let rip a little! Which character did I most enjoy spending time with? Maggie herself. She’s honest, compassionate and astute, but really positive to be around as her brain races a mile a minute to work out what’s the right thing to do. And there’s something about Harper Fenn that satisfies my soul. The exchange toward the end between Harper and Abigail is probably my favourite moment in the book.

What was the inspiration behind the setting of the story? Did you take inspiration from real life?

The setting of the story came out of a moment in time, and multiple locations. The moment, we all know – the Women’s Marches and the #MeToo movement. Finding the right location was an interesting process. It always had to be New England, centre of America’s original witch persecutions. It’s also a part of the US I know well, and which historically was significantly shaped by British and Irish settlement. That way I could draw on British heritage when depicting the magical traditions of the Fenn family, staying close to what I know and feel able to write about. I visited Salem while writing, but knew I didn’t want to set it in Salem itself – that would be a bit too ‘on the nose’! So Sanctuary is a mix of several places – mostly a posh historic New England seaside town where I did a two-week writing retreat, but also Greenwich CT … which I later discovered was the setting for THE STEPFORD WIVES!

Did you always know the story was going to go the way it did, or did any of it surprise you?

SANCTUARY has so many twists and turns it had to be very tightly plotted in advance, batted back and forth between me and Gollancz’s editor extraordinaire, Rachel Winterbottom! But characters do surprise you – Harper was particularly insistent on this. And some characters who were never in the outline walked onto the page at the right moment, totally confident in their place there – specifically Maggie’s colleagues, Remy, Rowan, and Chester. Even a cop as dedicated as Mags needs some help unravelling a case like SANCTUARY’s!

Will there be any more from this bunch of characters? 

SANCTUARY was always conceived as a standalone, and it definitely reads as a complete story – there’s no cliffhanger. But as a writer you get so attached! So I do have a book two plotted out, which picks up a few months after the events of this book, and the essence of a third! Whether they get written depends on how well this book does, and also whether the super-exciting progress of a screen adaptation moves forward to a greenlight. So who knows, but I would love to be able to tell you what happens next!

(READER, I AM EXCITED)

Can you tell us anything about what you’re writing now?

Two historical novels! But they share a lot of DNA with my books to date: a big cast, lots of plotty action, and a fondness for decent people trying to navigate a morally complex world (along with more than a few morally complex individuals!)

What have you read recently that you’d recommend?

I’m finding reading hard right now, amid the nonstop stream of Covid-19 news. I’m trying to wean myself off the news updates. Recent reads guaranteed to suck you in are: Mel Salisbury’s just-released HOLD BACK THE TIDE, a heart-piercing historical … horror, I guess? I was bewitched. I’ll never stop recommending Sam Shannon’s chonky and magnificent PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE. GIDEON THE NINTH was wild and I can’t wait for the sequel. I know I’m soooo late to this one, but I just gulped down the NEVERNIGHT trilogy – or did it devour me? Honestly amazing! Or for something completely different to fantastical fiction, try brutal-but-lyrical real life. Saeed Jones’s HOW WE FIGHT FOR OUR LIVES and Carmen Maria Machado’s IN THE DREAM HOUSE are two searingly intense queer memoirs of identity, abuse, and resilience, powerful

(As you can tell, Vic and I are kindred spirits… Melinda Salibsury recommendation? YES PLEASE. YOU ARE WELCOME BACK AGAIN!)

Why not check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour while you’re here, or when you have 5 minutes? You’re in for a load of treats! 

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A massive thank you to the publishers for asking me to be part of this blog tour and to Vic for taking the time to ask my questions! 

S x 

 

BLOG TOUR: The Pieces of Ourselves

Hello lovely friends!

How are you all this fine Sunday? I know, you’re shocked! Two posts in one day? I am SPOILING YOU FRIENDS. 

This afternoon, I’m here as part of the blog tour for Maggie Harcourt’s newest book, The Pieces of Ourselves. I posted my review of this book a few weeks ago, and I still wanted to be involved in the celebration of this brilliant book, so I suggested coming up with book recommendations for books you might like if you’ve read The Pieces of Ourselves, or any of Maggie’s other books! (If you haven’t read them yet, you really need to: I’m a BIG Maggie Harcourt fan!)

A little bit about The Pieces of Ourselves first…

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“Flora doesn’t do people”, not since the Incident that led to her leaving school midway through her GCSEs. The Incident that led to her being diagnosed with bipolar II. The Incident that left her in pieces. Until Hal arrives. He’s researching a story about a missing World War I soldier, and he wants Flora’s help. Flora used to love history before the Incident, but spending so much time with Hal is her worst nightmare. Yet as they begin to piece together the life of the missing soldier, a life of lost love, secrets and lies, Flora finds a piece of herself falling for Hal.”

This book is honest and raw and interesting. It’s different and it’s curious. It made me think and it made me feel. I love Flora and Hal’s story so much. There’s so much goodness in their lives and they’re surrounded by questions. I see a bit of myself in Flora. I loved Charlie and Felix so much. Just a brilliant story that made me shocked, made me cry and made me fall a little bit in love. History and the present well and truly overlapping.

If you’re interested in my full review, check it out here: BOOK BLOG: Maggie Harcourt

So… you’re looking for recommendations I hear? You’ve come to the right gal. Below are 6 other books I’d recommend based on this – they’re not all exactly the same, but they all give me a “hopeful, honest, interest and different” vibe. They’re all books I’ve loved.

HOLLY BOURNE BOOKS

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If you haven’t read them yet, go and read yourself a Holly Bourne book. They deal with all kinds of themes from mental health to relationships to friendships. Is that what you’re looking for? Look no further… 

Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman

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Are you looking for something cute? Are you someone who likes to smile? Do you want your little shipper heart to be burst? Look no further my friends!

The Love Hypothesis by Laura Steven

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Do you love reading intelligent main characters? Do you love supportive family dynamics? Do you love to laugh? Then this book, my friends, is absolutely the one for you… (I love Laura’s books, read them all thanks!)

Destination Anywhere by Sara Barnard (out in July)

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Are you looking for another brilliant story? Do you sometimes feel a bit lost in your own world? Do you just wanna scream for freedom sometimes? Check out Peyton’s story… because it’s BRILLIANT. (hello, Sara Barnard fan girl here)

No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter

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Do you love a brilliant main character? Are you someone who wants to relate to a main character? Do you sometimes feel like there’s no stories about people like you? Read No Big Deal because it’s a MASSIVE deal. 

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman

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Are you looking for a summery read? Do you seek a story about unlikely friendships? Do you need something that will make you cry but fill you with hope? I bring you this one… 

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G.Drews

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Do you wanna meet possibly the cutest little sister in YA fiction? Do you wanna read a book that will break your heart, but know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel? Do you, like me, love a good cry? This story might break you, but trust me, it’s brilliantly done…

And that’s it! Those are my recommendations for you! You should definitely also check out Maggie’s other two books because they are BRILLIANT (and they’re so lush, like the lushest).

A massive thank you to Usborne for letting me be part of the blog tour for The Pieces of Ourselves! And thank YOU for stopping by!

Have you read any of my recommended reads?
Have you read The Pieces of Ourselves?
What books would you recommend based on The Pieces of Ourselves?

Talk to me in the comments! Speak to you all soon! Stay safe!

S x 

BLOG TOUR: The Thirteenth Home of Noah Bradley

Morning friends!

How are you? It’s nice to see you here on a Saturday! I don’t normally post on a Saturday, so you’re in for a real treat today! 

Today, I’m part of the blog tour for The Thirteenth Home of Noah Bradley by Amber Lee Dodd. As the book is about a family escaping a curse, each blogger on this brilliant blog tour has the absolute priviledge of hosting a piece by Amber about a curse from history or fiction. 

The Curse of the Werewolf

Werewolves always tend to be my favourite characters in fiction. They are often gentle, smart and honourable men. From the cool and collected Oz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to the wise and brave Remus Lupin in Harry Potter, there are characters you root for. But come the full moon you really would be best advised to leave these guys alone. Their transformation from lovable heroes into huge wolf like creatures can be very scary. But how exactly do you become a werewolf?

Here are three things to avoid.

1)            Don’t get bitten by another werewolf

2)            Don’t anger a witch and get cursed

3)            Don’t drink rainwater out of the footprint of the animal

The Thirteenth Home of Noah Bradley by Amber Lee Dodd

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The Bradley family are constantly escaping from a centuries old curse which means that every home they ever live in is destroyed by a typhoon or flash flood that affects no other houses on the street, or they are chased out of town by a flock of persistent birds. They have just moved to their thirteenth house and Noah wants this one to work out – he’s got some good friends at school and desperately wants himself and his deaf brother Billy to put down roots. But the curse returns – so he must find a way to break it.

Released now! Check out online retailers – indie or otherwise – and get yourself a copy! I am very excited about this! 

Why don’t you keep tabs on the rest of the blog tour and find out which other curses Amber is talking about?

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S x

 

BLOG TOUR: Viper’s Daughter

Vipers Daughter: rich, incredible storytelling that will grip you from the get go.

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“For two summers Torak and Renn have been living in the Forest with their faithful pack-brother, Wolf. But their happiness is shattered when Renn realizes Torak is in danger – and she’s the threat. When she mysteriously disappears, Torak and Wolf brave the Far North to find her. At the mercy of the Sea Mother and haunted by ravenous ice bears, their quest leads them to the Edge of the World. There they must face an enemy more evil than any they’ve encountered.”

I was lucky enough to be invited on the blog tour for the brilliant new book Viper’s Daughter by Michelle Paver. There are a bunch of children at school who are HUGE fans of Michelle Paver, so when they heard I was getting the new one, they wanted in on the reviewing process! I’ll share my thoughts and then I’ll share their thoughts too! 

Viper’s Daughter is a wonderfully rich and thrilling story which takes you on a total adventure: from start to finish you are there and you feel it. You meet characters you’ll adore and you’ll go through what they’re going through. You’ll be scared with them and for them!

The story follows Torak, who starts the story angry and hurt by his friend Renn’s betrayal. He goes on a journey to find Renn because she’s his lifeline. He wants to discover why she ran away and betrayed him. He needs to know the answers to his questions. As he embarks on this journey for the truth and his friend, he encounters many different dangers, beyrayals, truths and secrets

Luckily, he’s not alone on his journey. He’s got his pack-brother Wolf with him. The two have a wonderfully close bond and their relationship with each other was wonderful to read. Wolf has to make some tricky choices in this story, but he does it for the good of Torak. The two definitely have a very firm bond with each other and there are moments when you realise just how well connected these two are. 

You can’t read this book and not be absolutely fascinated by the relationship between Renn and Torak. There were moments of sheer frustration for me because I just wanted to shake them and say “It’s fine”, but you understand as you go through WHY Renn left. Why she feels guilty and scared. Why she does what she does. Through the book they show brilliant courage, resilience and commitment to each other: they just want the other to be safe. That’s all they want and I think for me to read that was lovely. That’s all I want for my friends. Safety. Love. Warmth. There were definitely a few moments where I had a little cry! 

As a massive lover of a good fantasy world, I was yearning for a good bit of world building, and let me tell you, you get it droves here. There’s so much to get your teeth into here and you feel like you’re there. The writing is immersive without being suffocating. I know I can sometimes feel like I get lost in a world, but with this everything feels so real and well thought out. You never feel lost in the fascinating landscapes, or the lifestyles that the people live. You’d never find me visiting this land though… oh no! Far too cold for me! 

Viper’s Daughter is a proper success. It’s a compelling adventure into a bit of history that I don’t read often, and I’d love to go back. Your attention will be gripped from the first page and before you know it, you’ll be finished. You’ll be taken by the world, the characters and the cultures. 

Some short reviews from my kids:

“I loved that it was visiting back in historical times and it showed me so much more about how people lived back then without giving me too information. There were lots of questions I had about the Stone Age times and this book answered them for me. Plus, it was like a proper rollercoaster, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next!”

“I liked that this book was short and snappy. Some books can be really long and boring, but this book was fun and quick. I didn’t think I would enjoy reading it as much as I did because I LOVED her other books so much that I was worried, but it was mint!”

“If you’re looking for an adventure that will take your breath away and make you want to travel back in time, this is the one for you!”

And that’s it from me! I hope you enjoyed my stop on the blog tour! Check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour! You are in for a treat! 

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S x 

BLOG TOUR: Fig Swims the World

Good morning! 

This morning I come to you with an absolute corker of a blog post from the wonderful Lou Abercrombie – author of the brilliant new book, Fig Swims the World.

When I received this book, I was totally over the moon. I’m a MASSIVE fan of swimming (It’s in fact one of the things that I’m going to try and get back into once we’re allowed to be back in the world with other human beings because it’s so good for me, both physically and mentally!) and I was over the moon when the publishers asked if I wanted to host a stop on the blog tour. So here, on publication day, I have the absolute joy of hosting a piece all about Lou’s list of open water swimming! 

Lou’s List of Swims

I’ve been swimming all my life, but my obsession with open water started in 2013. If there’s a lake, quarry or sea, I’ll swim in it!  Here’s a few of my most memorable:

  1. An iconic British swim – 2km around of Burgh Island

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Off the coast of South Devon, Burgh Island is a private island with an Art Deco hotel where Agatha Christie wrote two of her novels.  It was my first proper open water swim and while it was a straightforward router, getting used to the tide and the waves and the saltwater was hard.  This was my inspiration for Fig’s first swim – Dinosaur Island.

  1. An iconic canal swim – 2km round the Christiansborg in Copenhagen

This swim provided the inspiration for Fig’s 17th swim – the Mermaid Canal and I remember thinking about it as I was swimming. I have the best memories from completing this one, as I had my family cheering me along.  The elation and pride on their faces when I got out the water was wonderful.

  1. The Marathon swim – Dart 10K

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This is the hardest swim I’ve ever done.  Training 3-4 times a week, building up to 8km, was tough and took a lot of time, energy and willpower, not to mention how hungry it made me! It’s also my saddest swim, as I had no one there for me when I got out.  The emotion of completing something that I had worked so hard to do hit me and I ended up bursting into tears in front of a complete stranger!

  1. The Popular swim – 6.5km around Brownsea Island

This swim is so popular you have to set your alarm at 7a.m to register and even then, you might not get a place.  After several years of trying, I finally got to do it in 2019.  The day was gorgeous, with perfect weather conditions.  Unfortunately, I let myself get psyched out by all the amazing swimmers who stormed past me. Then my goggles leaked the whole way round and I got a terrible rash burn from my thermal top and wetsuit.  All of which spoilt my enjoyment of what could have been a beautiful swim.

  1. The cold swim – 7km down the River Wye

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The Wild Wye was an amazing swim.  From getting in the river and being pulled along by the current, to seeing other swimmers laughing, chatting and generally enjoying the opportunity to swim in such lovely surroundings. Unfortunately, I got too cold and started to panic. Even asked the SARA volunteers who were standing along the course whether I had blue lips.  I was freezing and by the time I got to the finish line, a rope leading up a muddy bank, I could barely walk and ended up letting out a crazy tribal roar as the emotion of getting there hit me.  I ended up in the First Aid tent wrapped in a silver foil blanket.   However, this time I had friends looking out for me.  It’s amazing what a difference that made…

  1. The World’s Oldest Swim – 4.5km Hellespont & Dardanelles

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This is what got me into open water swimming, because I liked the idea of saying that I’d swum between Europe and Asia, across one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes! The enormity of the challenge hit me when we took a ferry along the route and I realised how difficult it was going to be, given the currents and choppiness not to mention the idea of literally being stranded between two continents!

This was the inspiration for Fig’s final swim – the Cross Continental.

I of course have a list of swims I’d like to do one day, most of which were also the inspiration for Fig’s swims.  They include:

  • St Michael’s Mount
  • Swim the Arctic Circle
  • Oman Fjords
  • The Hurly Burly
  • Gozo to Malta sunrise swim

What an incredible story to read! As a massive fan of swimming myself, I’d love to take on an outdoor swim one day… I just don’t think I’m brave enough right now! Maybe one day… this has certainly inspired me to start thinking about it though! 

Massive massive thank you to Lou for writing this fascinating piece and to the publishers for asking me to be on the blog tour! Fig Swims the World is out TODAY! You can buy it online – be awesome, go buy it and support an indie bookshop!

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“Fig Fitzsherbert is good at a lot of things: making lists, playing the piano, advanced mathematics. But it’s never quite enough for her high-flying mother, who every New Year’s Day sets Fig an impossible resolution. So one year, Fig decides to set her own challenge instead: she’s going to swim her way round the world. There’s just one tiny problem … Fig can’t swim. Taking it one length at a time, Fig embarks on the adventure of a lifetime. But with her mother closing in, will she be able to keep her head above water and complete her challenge?”

Fig Swims the World by Lou Abercrombie, out TODAY from Stripes Publishing. 

S x

BOOKBLOG: Ben Miller

HAPPIEST OF RELEASE DAYS TO BEN MILLER! 

Following the success of his festive debut, The Night I Met Father Christmas, Ben Miller’s second book for children is a cautionary tale about black holes, time travel and broccoli.

‘Stories are often about a good person who does a Bad Thing, and this is no exception…’

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“Harrison tries his best to be good. He doesn’t steal, he always shares with his sister and he never cheats at board games, but Harrison also has a BIG flaw. He can’t control his temper! So when he’s given a black hole instead of a balloon at a party, Harrison jumps at the chance to get rid of everything that makes him cross. But when it’s not just things he hates that are disappearing into the black hole but things he loves, too, Harrison starts to realise that sometimes you should be careful what you wish for…”

As part of the release day celebrations, I was lucky enough to be asked by the brilliant publishers to host some content to help celebrate! 

Below you will find a sketch by the amazing illustrator Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini. The illustration is titled ‘Black Hole’ and I just think it’s brilliant. As someone who isn’t artistic, I am always in awe and wonder at illustrators doing their thing! I love getting behind the scenes of things like this, so to see it in its original form and then what it looked like as a finished product makes me so happy! It’s like a sneak peek into an illustrator’s sketch book! 

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Go follow Daniela on twitter @DJTerrazzini or on Instagram @danielajterrazzini.

I can’t wait to get this book. I really enjoyed Ben’s first book, so I have high hopes for this one! Out TODAY! Go treat yourself! Massive thank you to the publishers for inviting me to host these incredible images! 

S x 

BLOG TOUR: Scribble Witch

Scribble Witch: Funny and beautifully illustrated!

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“When Molly’s best friend announces that she’s moving to a new school, a blue Wednesday becomes the Worst Wednesday Ever.
That is until some unexpected magic brightens up Molly’s day. Notes, a secret paper witch, springs to life from her pen pot – and into action! Some of the things Notes does are absolutely NOT helpful and gets Molly into trouble with her stinky teacher. But it’s surprising what one tiny witch, armed with nothing more than a pencil, can achieve before the home-time bell rings…”

Scibble Witch: Notes in Class is about a young girl called Molly. She is horrifed after hearing a piece of news from her friend Chloe. When Molly is looking a word up in the dictionary, she comes across a drawing of a witch and decides it is a brilliant idea to cut it out (because obviously!) to cut it out. The next thing she knows, the paper witch has come to life! The witch’s name is Notes and all Notes wants to do is help her friendling. As the story unfolds, Molly realises that what Notes does is sometimes very unhelpful and she finds herself in so much trouble.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book: it’s cute, it’s funny and it sets the scene for the rest of the series to be brilliant! It made me chuckle a lot and I know that it has gone down very well with the children in my school. We are dying to know what happens with Notes in the coming books! We’ve made some hilarious predictions about what we think could be coming for the group!

I’m a massive massive fan of a well-illustrated book and this is one that has some wonderful illustrations. They are so brilliantly done and add so much to the story. I love Molly’s Lists of Things! This list made me chuckle a lot (and I agree with most of them, and I remember the pencil topper craze. I was never allowed more than one, though…)

Some reviews from the children at school:

“I loved this book because it made me laugh a lot!”

“This book was a lot of fun because I’d love to have someone like Notes in my life. Imagine having a witch who thinks she’s being helpful when in fact she isn’t!”

“The pictures in this book made me smile a lot because they showed a lot of fun and things that you didn’t always read”.

A massive thank you to the publishers for sending me a review copy of the book! The kids at school loved reading it and it’s been a wonderful thing to have to chat about! Check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour!

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S x 

Federation of Children’s Book Groups: Children’s Book Award

Hello!

Today I have the honour of sharing one of the books which is on the shortlist for the Children’s Book Award with The Federation of Children’s Book Groups. The award is the only national award voted for solely by children, so it is an honour to be involved. 

The book which I have the true joy of honouring is:

The Runaway Pea by Kjartan Poskitt and Alex Willmore

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“It’s time for tea, but one pesky pea has decided to ping himself off the plate in search of a party! The rogue pea shoots, flings and bounces across the kitchen as he embarks on his perilous adventure – but will he find the fun he is looking for or is the kitchen a scarier place than he thought? This quirky caper from debut duo Kjartan Poskitt and Alex Willmore will show you just what can happen when you take your eye off your dinner for a second!”

This picture book by Kjartan Poskitt and Alex Willmore is a wonderfully entertaining story of a rogue pea who just wants to do his very own thing. We’ve all had that one pea who just doesn’t want to get on your fork, doesn’t want to stay on your plate and will roll off into the nowhereness! 

The pea in question in this gorgeously bright picture book thinks he’s the best, most brilliant, most amazing energetic vegetable in the whole wide world world. He does not want to be eaten: he wants to party. He knows that there is so much fun to be had! 

He sets off on a very perilous journey across the kitchen. He knows he can do it. He SPLATs, PLOPs and TWANGs all over the kitchen and is having a ball… but of course the fun of an adventure has to come to an end! And what happens when his adventure ends is done so so brilliantly. 

I adored the rhyming pattern and the hilariousness of this book! It is a story which will appeal to children of all ages – because even Year 6s deserve to have picture books read to them! The incredible illustrations add so much to this story too: you see so much of the pea’s personality from the ways in which he is drawn. You get to meet a lot of his friends too, and some of them are just BRILLIANT. 

This is a gorgeously bright and colourful picture book that is sure to have kids talking about the adventures of food! 

The Children’s Book Award is the only national award voted for solely by children from start to finish. It is highly regarded by parents, teachers, librarians, publishers and children’s authors and illustrators as it truly represents the children’s choice. Thanks to the support of the publishers, over 1,000 new books are donated to be read and reviewed by our Testing Groups across the country every year, with over 150,000 total votes being cast in the process. At the end of each testing year, nearly 12,000 books are donated to hospitals, women’s refuges, nurseries and disadvantaged schools by our groups.

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The overall winner of last year’s CBA Book Award was a picture book.  Mixed by Arree Chung. (which I ADORE)

Voting will be open on the website and any child up to the age of 18 can visit to vote for their favourite books from the top 12. For more details, check out the website here: http://fcbg.org.uk/childrens-book-award/ 

S x 

BLOG TOUR: A Cake for Gestapo

A Cake for Gestapo: a great historical novel full of heart 

A Cake for the Gestapo Children's Fiction by Jacqueline King Review (Sent by ZunTold)

“Slotting in beside THE MACHINE GUNNERS and WAR HORSE, A CAKE FOR THE GESTAPO tells the story of a fictional gang of kids in Jersey during the German Occupation in WW2, weaving in very real islanders’ own stories of the Occupation at its core – A history that has never before been told in children’s literature. June 1940. As World War Two rages on, for Joe, Spinner, Ginger and Clem life continues as normal on the small island of Jersey. Dealing with school bullies and angry parents, none of them really believe the enemy will invade. That is until the island is bombed and Joe is injured. Outrage turns to terror. The grownups avoid the Germans, but the gang have a plan. Playing tricks on the soldiers, they trip them up in their every move until their plan lands them and the whole community in terrible, mortal danger. The threat of starvation begins to hang over the islanders as the German occupiers tighten their grip, but the gang refuse to give up. What if they could take down one of the German s most dangerous leaders? What if they could defeat the cruel and terrifying Viktor?”

This book is set in Jersey and takes place over the space of two years of the German Occupation during World War Two (1940-1941). The focus of the story is a group of school children forming a club who are set on annoying the German soldiers as much as they can. The story follows them through what happens as the war drags on and what happens to them in the 2 years that the book spans. There’s loss, heartbreak, laughter and frienship: a great mix in my eyes! 

As we’ve just read Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll, a lot of my children have been curious about this book! We are digging WW2 stories at the minute. You can’t beat a good bit of historical fiction in our lives!

The dynamic between the children is wonderful to read and definitely sets the scene for some wonderful friendships! Their actions made me chuckle at times. Who wouldn’t want to throw berries at opposition soldiers? Sometimes it is hard to differentiate between children in groups, but each child was written well enough for me to be able to know who was who with ease. They don’t shy away from some threat at times and I was definitely worried for them at different points: their understanding of REAL DANGER was questionable sometimes (but I think this was what made the book more readable because we all know kids who would embrace this!). The children go through a lot in the story with some of them playing more adult roles than they should be playing: carers, defenders, providers, housekeepers and support networks for each other and their parents.

I loved that this story had quite a big focus on the impact the war had on the island and its inhabitants. It didn’t shy away from the fact that war dragged on and the people became more impatient and frustrated with the war. The story was quite difficult to read at times because war is a tough thing. This book has moments of real peril, heartbreak and loss.  

A Cake For The Gestapo is a well written and exciting story filled with danger, peril and heart. You’ll find it hard not to fall for the characters and their shenanigans. 

Have you read A Cake for Gestapo?
Can you recommend me some WW2 fiction?
What time period would you love more fiction from?

A massive thank you to the publishers Zuntold for inviting me to be part of this exciting blog tour! GO check out the other stops on the tour and find out what everyone else thought! 

cake insta blog tour

S x 

BLOG TOUR: Sofa Surfer

Sofa Surfer: a gorgeous story with helping people at its heart

img_1687(this was me devouring the proof on the bus, obv)

“15-year-old Tyler’s teenage angst turns to outright rebellion when his family leave London for a new life in Yorkshire. He’s angry with his parents about the upheaval and furious at losing his home. With only the dog to confide in, Tyler has no idea that a chance meeting with a skinny girl called Spider will lead him into a world he never even knew existed. Spider is sofa surfing and Tyler finds himself spinning a tangled web of lies in his efforts to help her escape her world of fear and insecurity.”

Now, it is well documented that I was a MASSIVE fan of Malcolm’s first book ‘Me. Mam. Me Dad. Me’ (if you’ve not read it please go and do that because it is bloody magnificent) which came out last year, so when I was asked if I wanted to be part of the blog tour for his second book, I jumped at the chance. I knew that if his first book was anything to go off, this book was going to be a proper hit… and let me tell you, it did not disappoint at all! 

Sofa Surfer tells the story of lovely Tyler, a young lad whose life has been turned upside down by a move away from London to Yorkshire. He hates it. He’s angry with his mam and dad cause they’ve pulled him away from everything he loves: his friends, his hobbies, his school. Now he’s somewhere new with no-one and nothing to do apart from walk his adorable dog. Through the story, Tyler grows to like the place he lives in. He finds friends in unexpected places and learns that lies, even when they’re there to try and help, are not a great thing. 

I loved reading this book. The characters in particular have a proper big place in my heart. Besides the fact that one of them is a Geordie (yes, we all know I STAN a Geordie character, it makes me feel at home in a book), they’re so brilliant written, they’re fully formed and they’re flawed.

If we start with Tyler, here you have a young man who is so gorgeously kind hearted, naive at times and so keen to help. He starts the book understandably angry and a little bit distant, but as you go through the book you learn more about him and see that he is someone who just wants to help. He makes mistakes; he says things that he shouldn’t; he chooses to do things that are questionable, but ultimately he’s human. We’ve all done it. We’ve all made mistakes in life that we have to learn from. He tries his very hardest to fix the things he’s done wrong. 

Tyler of course is only trying to help Spider. Lovely, lovely Spider. Spider, who we initially meet who seems quite cool and put together, whose story we learn as we go through the story. A character who teaches us about some of the realities of being homeless. A character who teaches us about the importance of listening. A character who is trying her best to do the best for herself. A character who wants so much but asks for so little. She gets woven into this story in such a gorgeous way. I fell for her straight away (being Geordie aside) because she oozes a kind of confidence. As you go through you see that a lot of it is a facade (as a lot of confidence can be!) and she’s just trying to put on a face. 

I think this story is one that has the potential to open a lot of conversations. It’s one I think a lot of people are going to love. It’s a story about friendship and standing up for what you think is right. It’s a story about two teenagers who have very different lives, who are brought together for a reason. It’s one of those books that sticks with you. I just adored it. 

My Goodreads review: 

I loved this an awful lot! An incredibly duet of characters: one who wants to help, albeit not in the the best ways, and one who didn’t ask for help. I love reading Geordie characters so Spider being a Geordie made me so happy. You see the realities of being a youngster who is homeless in this and I really felt for Spider. I’d love to hug her. Another brilliant story from Malcolm Duffy: I look forward to whatever else he writes!

A massive thank you to the publishers for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I can’t wait to see what everyone thinks of this book and I can’t wait to see what Malcolm writes next – if it involves more Geordies, I’m already going to be won over! 

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour!

SOFA SURFER BANNER

S x