ThursTag: The TBR tag

Hello friends!

It’s Thursday, so that can only mean one thing: TAG DAY.

Today I’m taking on the TBR tag. Another one from my back log of tags, so if this is yours let me know and I’ll credit you! I’m not really a TBR creator… I’m more of a book collector and then read them when I fancy them kind of gal!

Saying that, let’s go!

How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

I have boxes of unread books at the foot of my bed and when I finish a book, I go to the boxes and choose the next book to read! I don’t have a list or anything: it’s just in my head/in those boxes!

Is your TBR mostly print or e-book?

Mostly physical copies of books. My kindle is dead unfortunately (RIP KINDLE).

A book that’s been on your TBR list the longest

I don’t know actually! There’s definitely some books a few years old on that list!

A book you recently added to your TBR

Image result for the shark caller zillah

If we’re talking a book I bought/acquired recently to add to my TBR, I’d have to say The Shark Caller by Zillah Bethell. The brilliant humans of Usborne sent me a copy and I’m so excited to read it!

A book in your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover

35842338. sy475

I’m gonna be honest here and say that I am a COVER MAGPIE. I love a sparkly cover or a beautiful cover. I know you shouldn’t judge books by their covers, but if it’s got a pretty cover I am SO MUCH MORE LIKELY to pick it up. A book that’s clearly only there for its cover is The Surface Breaks (I’m not a Little Mermaid fan particularly).

A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading

I mean I PLAN on reading all of the books on my TBR if we’re being honest… but some I’m going to get around to reading/am much more excited about reading than others.

An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for

Here’s just a few of them… (this was the first 6 that popped into my head!)

A book on your TBR that basically everyone’s read but you

Image result for the hate u give book

There is only one answer for this… THUG.

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you

Lol, see the answer above!

A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read

I have none of these books in my physical possession yet, but as soon as I do, you KNOW I’ll be reading them. *prays the postman brings me Hold Back The Tide soon*

How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

93 books on my ‘Want to Read’ shelf, but I don’t really use my ‘Want to Read’ shelf very well. I might actually go through and sort it out now!

And there we go! That was my TBR tag. As we have seen, I don’t have a physical TBR, but there are MANY books I want to read. I mostly haven’t read them yet because I don’t own them/don’t have time (god damn you work)

If you wanna have a go at this, feel free!

S x

ThursTAG: New Year’s Resolution Tag

Hello friends, 

It is me, your Thursday Tag fairy! I’m here to do New Year’s Resolutions. 

Now, as a human, I’m not big on resolutions because I hate failure haha. Seriously though, that is deep and true. I don’t set them because I may fail doing them. I like them in theory, but I don’t tend to set them. *shrug*

But you’re not here to listen to me drivel on about my deepest darkest thoughts and innermost feelings. You’re here to read the tag. So let’s do it! 

new years resolution tag banner

An author you’d like to read that you’ve never read:

V. E. Schwab. My friend Kelly bought me the Darker Shade of Magic trilogy for my birthday and I haven’t got round to reading them yet, so I really need to get round to that!

A book you’d like to read:

ALL OF THE BOOKS. 

A classic you’d like to read:

*shrug* What constitutes classic? Someone recommend me a classic they think I’ll enjoy please.

A book you’d like to reread:

I’m not a big rereader however I would like to reread 1984. And after reading it in such a greedy reading kind of way, I’d love to read The Strangeworlds Travel Agency by L.D. Lapinski again. 

A book you’ve had for ages and want to read:

God. So many. However THUG probably needs to take that title. 

A big book you’d like to read:

Big books scare the life out of me. I do need to finish Priory of the Orange Tree though. Every time I look at it, it just sneers at me 

An author you’ve previously read and would like to read more of:

All of my favourites. Seriously they all need to just write more books thanks and get them to me ASAP THANKS (because I don’t have enough to read?)

A book you got for Christmas and would like to read:

The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. My gorgeous friend Charlotte bought it for me.

A series you want to read from start to finish:

A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy (I think it’s a trilogy). I’ve heard amazing things about them AND I own them all, so I have no excuse really… right?

A series you want to finish that you’ve already started:

Most of the series I have started and not finished is because the rest of the books aren’t out yet. I’m a proper lover of a series and will DEVOUR the books when they come out. Gimme those character arcs and breadcrumbs of knowledge.

Do you set reading goals? If so, how many books do you want to read in 2020?

I do: I always set my Goodreasd challenge at 52 – that’s a book a week. Yes, I always beat it. Yes, it’s more than achieveable, but that’s what I do. I managed 138 books this year which I think is pretty good going. 

Any other reading goals?

Read more of what I enjoy and not feel like I have to read what everyone else is reading just because it’s what’s cool? 

And there you go! My New Years Resolutions tag. Feel free to have a go at this yourself! 

How do you feel about resolutions?
What books are on your list?
Are you a lover of a series like me?

Talk to me in the comments, or I’ll see you over on Twitter! 

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?

best-YA-books-2014

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!

looking-ahead-books-2015

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

Thursday Tag: Testing my memory!

Hello friends!

It’s Thursday again… you know what that means: it’s Thursday Tag! 

Today I’m taking on another tag from my massive tag document… all about testing my memory (LOL). Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t have the BEST memory in the world! I mean, it’s fine, but my short term memory is NOT great. So this was a bit tricky!

blogger memory

Name a book written by an author called Michael.

Image result for lion boy michael morpurgo

It hurts me to admit that Morpurgo was the first author I thought of who was called Michael. Not that I have anything against his books, I’m just not the biggest fan!

Name a book with a dragon on the cover.

Image result for there's a dragon in the library
This counts right? It’s got the WORD dragon AND a dragon’s tail. (It’s the first one I thought of!)

Name a book about a character called George.

Image result for georges marvellous medicine

An iconic George, let’s be real!

Name a book written by an author with the surname Smith.

Image result for dan smith books

I’m a MASSIVE Dan Smith fan. If you’ve not read his books… PLEASE DO. He’s brilliant AND he’s a proper lovely man too!

Name a book set in Australia.

Image result for stolen christopher lucy

If my memory serves me right, this book is set in Australia?! (I checked… yes it is!)

Name a book with the name of a month in the title.

Related image

This was a strange one for my brain to come up with because I’ve never read it!

Name a book with a knife on the cover.

Image result for the knife of never letting go

I’m so glad my brain came up with this straight away… otherwise that would have been embarassing! (I don’t know that I can think of another one after this mind!)

Name a book with the word ‘one’ in the title.

Image result for one sarah crossan

This one took me a while, but it came to me eventually. I remember reading this but I couldn’t remember if it was called Once or One, so I just picked it hoping!

Name a book with a eponymous title.

I’ll be honest, I had to look up what this word meant! And despite the fact I know what it now means, I can’t think of a book for this…

Name a book turned into a movie.

Image result for simon vs the homosapien agenda

Saw the film before I read the book. Loved them both. Would recommend whole heartedly.

And that’s it! 

If you fancy doing this tag, please feel free! 

ALSO. I’m looking for more tags to do for Thursday Tag. If you have one you’d like me to do/you think I’d like to do, let me know! I LOVE  a tag!

S x 

 

Thursday Tag: The Book Cake Tag

Hello friends!

How are you all? It’s Thursday… YOU ALL KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS. IT’S ALMOST FRIDAY, but more importantly, it’s tag day! Who doesn’t love a tag? I certainly do… if they’re not your jam, thanks for stopping by! Why don’t you check out one of my other posts from this week?!

Anyway… we are here for the Book Cake Tag. This is another one of those ones I’ve had in a massive word document titled “Tags to do”. Seriously, it’s just a massive document with a load of different pages of tags to do. Once I do one, I delete the tag from the document. It started with 100s of tag questions/prompts in and now it’s still got LOADS in, but there’s definitely fewer.

book cake

As always, if you fancy doing this, go for it! Here we have the ingredients for making the perfect book cake!

Flour: A book that was slow to start off but picked up as it went along.

30240773. sy475

I think the only reason this book came to mind was because you had to get to know and understand the characters before you could really get into the action. I really loved this book when I read it though.

Butter: A book that has a really “rich” and great plot.

(The temptation to recommend all the Mel books here is REAL guys)

41726812. sy475

I read this back in January and GUYS. It is blooming excellent. Secrets, lies, royalty, betrayal, trust and friendship. Just delicious.

Eggs: A book that you thought was going to be bad, but turned out quite enjoyable.

41045102. sy475

First off, I’m unlikely to pick a book that I think is going to be bad… HOWEVER, this book is “adult literary” and I don’t have a great track record with adult books. They’re just SO SLOW. This isn’t mega fast paced, but it is BLOODY BRILLIANT.

Sugar: A sugary/sweet book.

42933645. sy475

This book is SAD, but it’s also really lovely. It’s a gorgeous story of compassion, love, working through adversaties and ultimately, living life. I read it on a recommendation from a friend and it was lovely!

Icing: A book that covered every single element that you enjoy of a book.

THIS IS SO HARD. SO SO HARD. I can’t choose just one, so ha.

If you’re gonna ask me to describe my perfect book, IT ALL DEPENDS if I’m reading kids or YA. Things I love in books: fantasy, magic, a bit of danger, friendship, wit, a message, emotional turmoil (ha) and a ship that is worth shipping. 

(Also, I’ve just spotted what the final prompt says and dear God help me)

Sprinkles: A book series that you turn to when you’re feeling down.

 

OOOH. This is interesting because I’m not a rereader, but if I were and I wanted a series to reread, it would be the Sorrow duology because LUVIAN FEN THO. 

Cherry on Top: Your favourite book this year so far.

 

ABSOLUTELY NOT. You can have a smattering of some of my favourite books so far. (Not pictured: many many others)

That was a lot of fun. As you can tell, I am indecisive and am not up to committing to “favourite books” yet… although, I probably need to start thinking about my “favourite books of the year” post soon…

S x

Thursday Tag:Winter Wonderland Book Tag

Happy Thursday friends!

How are you all? We are here again. Thursday. You know what that means. It’s a tag day.

How do you all feel about tags? Do you like doing them? Do you like reading them? Have you got a good one that you want me to do? I need more tags in my life!

ww tag

Today, I’m taking on the Winter Wonderland Tag. I know it’s not TECHNICALLY winter yet, but here, in my world, it is. It’s cold and dark all the time and my body knows that it’s winter… (as usual, I’m not sure where I found this tag as I’ve just saved the questions, so if it’s your tag, shout at me because I’d love to credit you!)

One: What book is so happy and so sweet that it just warms your heart?

Image result for unconventional maggie harcourt"Unconventional – Maggie Harcourt
I remember reading this book and just SMILING. It was such a lovely book and it’s nice every now and again to come across books which are great at just making you smile.

Two: What’s your favorite book with a white cover?

Image result for scars like wings cover"Scars Like Wings (proof edition) – Erin Stewart
I don’t know if this is cheating because it’s the proof cover, but I just think it’s so simple, yet so effective.

Three: You’re sitting in a nice, comfortable chair with a cup of hot chocolate. What monster book are you reading?

37632682. sy475
The Toll – Neal Shusterman
This book was A MAMMOTH READ. 630 pages of absolute stress. 630 pages of not knowing what was going to happen next. I think I need to be able to read it again as I know what’s coming to enjoy it. Can not recommend enough though. PROPERLY BLOODY GREAT.

Four: Its snowing outside and you decide you want to have a snowball fight. What fictional character do you want to have this snowball fight with?

42740905. sy475
Song of Sorrow – Melinda Salisbury
Luvian Fen. I need say no more. You guys know I love him.

Five: Sadly, your campfire is dying. What last few chapters of a book would you throw in the fire to revive it and keep yourself warm?

40891244
A Curse So Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer
I have NO doubt this will be a very unpopular opinion, but my god I hated the “twist” at the end about the relationship between two of the characters. I finished this book at the beginning of the year and I am STILL annoyed about how it ended. Sorry like. I loved the book though… I just couldn’t get away with the ONE thing at the end.

Six: What book do you love so much that you would buy another copy of it to give to someone as a Christmas gift (or any gift really) to inspire them to start reading?

LOL ALL OF THE BOOKS. Seriously? Nope. I can’t choose just one, soz. I might make this question into an actual blog post though…

Seven: Who do you tag?

You. Her. Him. Them. Anyone. All of you. None of you (if you don’t want to).

And there you go! My attempt at the Winter Wonderland book tag. It was somewhat successful! If you’d like to have a go, feel free!

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!

48400757. sy475

“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

Me, my shelves and I

Good morning friends!

How are you all on this here Monday? Have you had a restful weekend? Did you get up to anything exciting?

A while ago (and I mean QUITE A WHILE AGO) I posted a blog post all about my book shelves, and since then I’ve had a little reshuffle so I thought I’d share what my bookshelves look like now. I’m really interested in posts like this. I love a ‘what’s in my bag?’ kind of blog post or Youtube video, so if you have one, link me below and I will check it out cause I am a NEBBY NORA.

A disclaimer: These books aren’t ALL of the books I own. There is in fact a whole bookshelf of books at school which belong to me. There’s books in the drawers under my bed which I own. There’s 2 boxes full of books which are still to be read. There’s 2 boxes of books which are picture books I use for school. There’s a big pile of non-fiction that is for school/to be read. These shelves are 2 deep. You can only see the front row of books because they are FAVES.

I promise you… my bedroom is just books. And a bed ha.

First up: my shelf of “favourite” picture books.

img_1165

These aren’t all my favourites because there’s some at school, and there’s some in my ‘Picture books for school’ box too. As you can see, they’re roughly split into hardbacks (I do own the other hardback HP books which are out now too) and paperbacks. There’s some candles in the middle from when my friend owned a candle shop, some zippy pouch things filled with samplers from YALCs past (the blue spotty one with the black zip is actually from a bag making workshop I did with Melinda Salisbury – my one true queen).

Next shelf down: my YA faves shelf

img_1166

I don’t think anything on this shelf will come as a surprise to anyone. (No I don’t know why my collection goes picture books, YA books and then MG books either). This shelf is pretty much front and centre on my bookshelves, so it has pride of place in my room. As you can see there’s some absolute Steph faves on these shelves. This is where you’ll find my collections of my fave authors. And it’s fair to say that these books are by my utter faves. There’s proofs and finished copies of books where I can have them too (and even some American versions of Sara Barnard books, provided by the lady herself. Sara, I love you!) I really need more room for my YA books because there are so many more books I’d love to ook at everyday, but these ones are my utter faves. The book wrapped in a map is actually a copy of Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury that I was sent for being on her blog tour, but I can’t bring myself to unwrap it! Don’t be fooled by these shelves though… I own multiple copies of every Mel book. In the black drawstrings you can see, there’s my hardback State of Sorrow book that was a Fairyloot exclusive. So yeah. There’s my YA shelf!

Third shelf down: My MG faves!

img_1167

Much like my YA shelf, this shelf and the books on it will not come as a surprise to many people! Front and centre is of course my fave Maz of all time. These shelves house some of my favourite kids books that I’ve read in recent years (as well as a few candles from my friend’s now non-existent candle shop). This shelf and my YA shelf really highlight to me the love that I have for fantasy books. Bloody love me some fantasy! And yes, yes, I do own 3 copies of The Explorer by Katherine Rundell (a proof, a hardback and a paperback… sue me!).

And that’s it for today! If you’re interested in seeing what my shelves USED to look like and seeing if they’ve changed recently, go check out THIS POST.

Have you shared your book shelves recently?
What’s your favourite thing about your book shelves?
What’s something you’re surprised to see on my shelves?

Talk to me in the comments! I’d love to know your thoughts and I’d love to see your own shelves, cause I’m a nosy person!

S x

Thursday Tag: Library Loves

Hello friends! How are you all?

Like I excitingly announced last week, I’m one of the cohosts for #LibraryLoves, a month long celebration of libraries big, small and everything in between! Today I’m coming at you with the blog book tag that Jess came up with and tomorrow I am sharing with you all what the library in school looks like (both in my classroom and our ACTUAL library! I can’t wait to show you all!)

img_1322

1. When did you first go to the library/get a library card?

I don’t remember when I FIRST went to the library because for me it’s always been a thing in my life. When I was growing up, there was a library maybe a 10 minute walk away from my hosue, so I was always there on a weekend. I was very lucky to grow up so close to the library and that I had a bunch of friends (and a brother) who didn’t mind coming to the library with me. Sadly, I don’t think the building is used as a library anymore!

Fun fact: I had my first kiss in the little playground out the back of that library! It was under the slide. 

2. How often do you use your library?

I use our school library ALL THE TIME. The fact I’m the lady in charge of the library should tell you something! I’m not very good at using the public library in Newcastle that much if I’m honest… however it is an incredible library and I love going to see what they have on offer. I’m particularly a fan of seeing the books they have for sale because there’s sometimes absolute gems for as little as 25p!

3. Have you ever had a late or lost library book?

Oh, yes. A few years ago I came across a book that was from the library I went to as a child so it must have been YEARS overdue (I’m 30 now), but as that library no longer exists, I’m not sure what to do with it. I rang the big library in Newcastle and they told me they had no record of it… so it’s currently just sat on my shelf!

4. What’s your favourite thing about your library?

Gosh, that’s a loaded question. I think one of the best things about a library is that it’s free access to this exceptional collection of different worlds, characters and feelings. You don’t have to pay to go on an adventure with Morrigan Crow, or travel to Tallith, or to learn about the life of a doctor. You’ve got a magical card which allows you to learn all of these wonderful things.

5. Are you a browser or do you plan what you’re taking out?

Definitely more of a browser. However, I’ve definitely borrowed my fair share of books in my life!

6. Name a book you took a chance on from the library.

Ooooh. As a child, I remember being TERRIFIED of Goosebumps (I’m easily scared, shush now) and being told that they weren’t that scary. I got one of the books out and then was OBSESSED. I don’t know what it was about the books but I went through that series QUICKLY once I’d read one.

7. What is best book you read from the library?

All of them? Ha! I genuinely don’t think I could answer that! There’s so many brilliant books I’ve borrowed from the library – particularly our school library – that it would be hard to say one of the best ones.

8. Have you ever taken the same book out multiple times?

I’m not a re-reader, so it’s unlikely. But I imagine childhood me read Matilda many times from the library. That book is ingrained in my memory.

9. Have you read a good book set in a library?

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman is EXCEPTIONAL. Magic, librarians and adventure. PLEASE READ IT.

10. Have you used your library’s ebook and audiobook options?

I didn’t even know this was a thing until about a year ago, but I still haven’t indulged in this service yet! I shall need to get onto it though!

11. Which is the best library you’ve been to?

I haven’t actually visited that many libraries in the world to know which the best one is. I’d love to go to more libraries in the world. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about so many different libraries in the world. I can’t praise Newcastle City Library enough though – it’s a beautiful building and it is JAM PACKED with exceptional books. 

12. What would make you use your local library more?

100%. I’m so guilty of just buying books I want to read because I can them pass them on to friends/our school library, but it’s so important that we keep libraries open that I need to start using our library more.

And that’s it!

If you’d like to join in the library love and do this tag, please feel free! This was a lot of fun!

S x

 

BLOG TOUR: Mother Tongue

Hello friends!

How are you on this here Tuesday? I hope you’re having a lovely day, or if you’re having a troubling day, this wonderful post from author Patricia Forde might cheer you up a little! Looking at the inspiration behind her new book, Mother Tongue, this post was a proper delight to have arrive in my inbox! I hope you enjoy and check out details of this brilliant book at the end of this post!

The inspiration behind Mother Tongue

mothertongue

It’s only when a novel is written, and left to cool for a while, that I understand what inspired it. While I am writing it, I am just telling a story, following a trail of breadcrumbs, with no idea where they will lead.

Inspiration, I find, comes from experience. It bubbles up from a  lasagne of conversations had, emotions felt, stories enjoyed and news events witnessed, layer upon layer, over all the years of your life. Where did the inspiration come from for Mother Tongue?

I grew up speaking two languages, English and Irish. English was my mother tongue but I went to a total immersion Irish language school at the age of four and soon became fluent in my second language. Irish is a minority language even if it is the first official language of Ireland. I live on the edge of Connemara where the Irish language is still a living language, albeit a struggling one. In Galway, the capital city of the west, you can hear Irish spoken every day on the streets. I have friends with whom I only speak Irish. I write in Irish and I often dream in Irish. But the list of words that we use as Irish speakers is getting shorter. Year in and year out, people proclaim  that the language is dying or dead which always reminds me of Mark Twain when he said:

The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.

It is true that the majority language, English, cannibalises our sentences with a vigorous appetite, but the old tongue battles on and there are green shoots with more and more parents sending their children to total immersion schools.

Nonetheless, I became aware at an early age that this language that I love was on the endangered list. I started to wonder how it would end.  How many words would we need to survive? Looking back, that was probably when the idea for The Wordsmith was conceived.

In The Wordsmith, and in its companion novel Mother Tongue, words are controlled.  The story is set in a place called Ark. In Ark, music is banned, art is banned and the language of Ark is List – a list of five hundred approved words.  The idea of a list of words, of words being taken away, definitely came from my experience with the Irish language.

Where I live also influenced the story from an environmental point of view. Writers are often advised to put their seat in the chair if they want to make good work, but sometimes I think you have to get up, and have a look around, to keep yourself inspired.

We live ten kilometres north-west of Galway city, with Connemara to the west of us, and the Burren in Co. Clare to the south. Both are exquisitely beautiful places, and both very fragile environmentally. Connemara is a unique and very special part of County Galway. It is situated on the edge of Europe, and features breath-taking scenery, a rugged wild coastline, dramatic mountains, volatile lakes and rivers, peaceful woodlands, and a National Park. Its coastline has been trounced by the Atlantic for millions of years and it bears the scars with rugged dignity.

The Burren in Co. Clare is a totally different proposition and no less beautiful.

 If you have never been to The Burren, you have to imagine a desert of limestone, but in that desert, rare living things and echoes of times long gone abound. The Burren is home to 70% of Ireland’s 900 native plant species including Gentian, Cranesbill, Rock Rose, Mountain Aven and Orchids. In Spring, wildflowers create splashes of vivid colour on the grey limestone palette.

 It’s also an outdoor museum with over 80 tombs scattered across it’s moon-like face, dating from the Mesolithic era right through the Iron Age. It’s a magical place and a fragile one. I am no scientist but I’ve been reading about threats to the Burren. If I understand correctly, if temperatures continue to rise, there is a fear that the rate of  limestone dissolution will increase, and that may sound the death knell for the life that clings to it. I do know that we are seeing more severe storms and flooding in this part of the world of late and that can’t be good news for the delicate spring flowers that cling to the limestone rocks.

I love to visit the Burren, not just for its physical beauty, but for its silence and its haunting atmosphere. There’s something about being there that reminds you about all the other people who have walked on the rocks, looked out at the sea, crouched down to see a tiny blue flower nestled in a cradle of grey rock and passed it all on to us.

The novels I wrote are set in a place where all of that had been destroyed, swallowed by the sea. When I am writing, I’m always trying to tap into emotion, and I used images from the Burren to remind me of what Letta and her cohorts had lost. The thought filled me with loneliness and I tried to put that into the sentences.

Inspiration comes from lots of different sources but mostly it comes from the things that effect you most. Creativity needs input. Sometimes to be inspired, you have to get your seat out of the chair and let yourself be amazed.

Mother Tongue is the sequel to the brilliant The Wordsmith. Perfect for readers 11+. These books are set in a world where a new dictator wants to silence speech forever. It’s Letta’s job as a wordsmith to keep words alive. She works out in the woods teaching children language, music and art. When things start to go wrong, it is Letta’s job to try and save the very people she’s been teaching… and maybe risk her own life in the process!

MT Blog Tour CORRECTED

A massive thank you to publishers, Little Island Books, for sending me a review copy of this book and for inviting me to be on the blog tour. I’ve loved discovering more about this world and I can’t wait to share my review of this book in the coming weeks! You guys are in for a treat with this book!

What would you do if someone was trying to silence everyone?
What words would you miss most?
What words would you want to get rid of?

Talk to me in the comments and I’ll share the one word I’d get rid of first!

S x