S4S – Couples who deserve sequels

Hello friends!

I’m very sorry it’s been quiet around here lately. I’ve been a bit up in the air. Next week there’ll be a few posts (probably Tuesday/Thursday), but I’m hoping once reports are out of the way, I’ll get back to full posting! 

Anyway, you’re here to see #SixforSunday I guess. 

Today’s #SixforSunday post sees me taking on:

Couples who deserve a sequel

I don’t know that you can really be too spoiler-y here, but just in case… spoiler warning!

  1. Simon and Blue – Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda
    These two are the cutest and I want a pure Simon/Blue book thanks.
  2. Steffi and Rhys – A Quiet Kind of Thunder
    Oh man, oh man, these two. OH MAN. These two are the reason I fell so deeply in love with Barnard’s writing. I need more from them.
  3. Amani and Jin – Rebel of the Sands trilogy
    JIN THO. Like, I wanna date both of them. But also, they have the most sassy and brilliant relationship.
  4. Inej and Kaz – Six of Crows duology
    GOD. I SHIP THIS THE HARDEST.
  5. Izzy and Carson – The Exact Opposite of Okay/A Girl Called Shameless
    He is just a BABE in A Girl Called Shameless and I need him in my life.
  6. Sorrow and Luvian Fen – State of Sorrow
    I don’t even need to explain myself here man. No shame. 

And there we have it! I SHIP ALL OF THE SHIPS. I love a ship. Shippy McShiperson.

Remember to share yours using the hashtag #SixforSunday! I love you all and you all make me so glad I started this stupid little meme thing. 

S x 

Mid Year Freak Out Tag

Hello hello hello!

I saw this tag over on Charlotte’s blog (and I’m sure I did it last year too!) and thought ‘yeah, we’re now in June, that’s the middle of the year, I guess we can do this tag now!’. So here we go… my Mid-Year Freak Out Tag.

The Best Book You’ve Read This Year. 

LOL KAY. I’m going to go like top 3 MG and top 3 YA books I’ve read this year because one is TOO HARD. Sue me.
No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter (YA)
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa WIlliamson
Song of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury (YA)
Rumblestar by Abi Elphinstone (MG)
The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson (MG)
Jemima Small versus the Universe by Tamsin Winter (MG)

The Best Sequel You’ve Read This Year

Again, so many. I’ve read quite a few sequels this year. My faves would have to be:
Song of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury (duh)
The Fandom Rising by Anna Day
A Girl Called Shameless by Laura Steven
Against all Gods by Maz Evans (man, I’m still so sad this series is over)

New Releases You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To. 

LOL. I have SO MANY books that I want to read. However probably the biggest name on my list at the minute is On The Come Up by Angie Thomas (shut up, I know).

Most Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of the Year. 

Most of my anticipated books were out in the beginning of the year but some of them are still to come, like:
Return to Wonderland by various MG authors
No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter (I’ve read it, it’s exceptional, I can’t wait for the rest of the world to catch up)
A Pocketful of Stars by Aisha Bushby (again, I’ve read it, it’s amazing, it’s going to go down a STORM)

Biggest Disappointment

I hate questions like this, but I do have an answer. I think (like Charlotte) Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus was a let down. After the amazingness of One of Us is Lying, it needed to be brilliant.

Biggest Surprise

And Then I Turned into a Mermaid by Laura Steven. Laura writes incredible YA books, so I was THRILLED to hear there would be MG books and it is just wonderful. It’s hilarious, it’s fun and it’s going down a storm at school.

Favourite New to You or Debut Author

Favourite debuts? Kesia Lupo and Aisha Bushby (her debut novel comes out later this year!)

Favourite new to me? Laura Bates (The Burning is EXCEPTIONAL)

Newest Fictional Crush

Luvian Fen. Forever. Next.

Newest Favourite Character

Jemima Small from Jemima Small versus the Universe by Tamsin Winter. That book is important and it’s wonderful. I will fight for it til the day I die.

Book That Made You Cry

LOL ALL OF THEM. But recently The Art of Being Normal and They Both Die at the End just RUINED me.

Book That Made You Happy

SO MANY OF THE BOOKS. I cry with all of the emotions to be honest. Some faves from this year so far:
Song of Sorrow by Queen Mel (that ending is EVERYTHING I wanted)
The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G.Drews
Boot by Shane Hegarty (cutest thing ever)
Ghost by Jason Reynolds (Coach is a character who deserves ALL of the praise)
High Rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson (this was SUCH fun)

Favourite Book to Film Adaptation

I can honestly say with my hand on my heart that I haven’t seen any this year so far? I’d like to see Aladdin though!

Favourite Post You Have Done This Year

This is a HARD question. I’ll be honest though, anything that’s personal and comes from my soul to you guys probably gets the trophy. Also, any time I’ve done a mood board also shows that it’s something special. I just love blogging and I will continue to do so for a very long time.

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year

Do you mean by appearance or by story? Appearance probably Song of Sorrow (dem sprayed edges though) or Circe (that cover is just gorgeous and shiny). Story-wise… ALL OF THEM. 

What Books Do You Need To Read By The End of the Year

There is only one answer to this question: Angie Thomas’ books.

But also… whatever I want? Ha!

What do you think? 
Agree with my thoughts?
Do you fancy trying this? (It’s much harder than it looks… TRUST ME!)

S x

S4S – Characters who deserve their own stories…

HOLA AMIGOS

(I don’t know why I start my blog posts in another language… am I the only one!?)

Today is Sunday. You all know what that means. It’s the return of #SixforSunday. WOOHOO. Do you guys all love it too?!

LOVING all of your guys’ posts by the way! Keep up the good work.

Today we are talking:

Characters who deserve their own stories

I’m taking on 6 characters who I love the most who I think deserve their own stories! Now that I’ve thought about this I want them all to be written so if we could make that happen that would be wonderful thank you very kindly authors.

  1. Luvian Fen (State of Sorrow/Song of Sorrow)
    LUVIAN LUVIAN LUVIAN. This one will come as no surprise to anyone for I love Melinda Salisbury and Luvian Fen more than I love life. He’s a brilliant human and he deserves his own book. Imagine knowing more about how he came to be the man we all know and love? YES THO.
  2. Obel (Ink trilogy)
    GOD. I LOVE HIM. I think he deserves his own book. I wanna know more about him. He’s just great. Plus, he’s totally swoon worthy too.
  3. Betty (The Exact Opposite of Okay/A Girl Called Shameless)
    For those of us who have not read TEOOO, Betty is Izzy O’Neill’s grandmother and she is a BLOODY BRILLIANT CHARACTER. I love her so much. I’d love to know more about Betty’s upbringing. Laura, make it happen.
  4. Charles (Rooftoppers)
    I JUST LOVE HIM OK?
  5. Bartholomew (Everdark)
    I love Abi Elphinstone’s writing and as soon as I was introduced to Bartholemew, I KNEW that I needed to know more about him. He’s so funny and witty and I bet he has a good few cracking stories to tell the world!
  6. Scythe Faraday (Scythe/Thunderhead)
    Just yes. 100% want. I think he’s a great role model and he’s a brilliant character. I just want the stories about the good guys!

And there you go. As you see all of these characters are good guys… next week I have 6 baddies who deserve their own stories. *shudder* #teamgoodguys

See you next week!

S x

A-Z Book Tag

Hola friends and amigos and people alike!

BONUS SATURDAY POST.

I saw this over on Charlotte’s blog recently and thought it seemed like a fun tag to take on… so here is my:

A-Z Book Tag

Author you’ve read the most books from: 

Hmmm… probably Matt Haig, Melinda Salisbury or Roald Dahl. 

Best Sequel Ever: 

Best sequel EVER? Are you having a giraffe? Golly gosh and gah. Song of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury is pretty epic. Simply the Quest by Maz Evans is brilliant. Fierce Fragile Hearts by Sara Barnard is WELL WORTH A READ. I can’t choose one and you can’t make me.

Currently Reading: 

Evie and the Animals by Matt Haig. I bought it and then I was reading something else, but then it kept whispering to me, so I had to pick it up and read it!

Drink of Choice While Reading: 

A bit like Charlotte, it depends WHERE I’m reading. If I’m in Starbucks, it’ll be an iced coffee (usually), but if I’m at home, it’ll be a cup of tea or a can of Diet Coke.

E-reader or Physical Book?: 

NORMALLY physical book because I am TERRIBLE at remembering to charge my kindle!

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School: 

LOL. Erm… I’d love to say someone like Izzy O’Neill because she’s BRILLIANT but in real life I’m far too shy and she’s far too cool for me.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance: 

Like Charlotte, I’m glad I gave Circe by Madeline Miller a shot. It’s not what I would usually read BUT MY GOSH I LOVED IT. (Queen Mel recommended it, so who am I to ignore her?!)

Hidden Gem book:

The Paper Magician trilogy by Charlie N Holmberg. Guys you need to stop sleeping on ths trilogy.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

Reading Matilda. It’s one of the first books I have VIVID memories of reading and thinking “oh my gosh, THIS is why books are so special” but it also introduced me to Miss Honey who is my absolute hero teacher.

Just Finished: 

The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell. Really great and funny adventure!

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
There’s very few genre of books that are OUT of my line of sight, but anything too scary and I am like NOPE NOPE NO THANKS. Also, don’t throw me anything boring. I don’t do that life. Life’s too short to read boring books.

Longest Book You’ve Read

Hmmm… maybe one of the Rebel of the Sands books? They get pretty hefty BUT so so worth it!

Major book hangover because of:

Man, I get book hangovers after most books. The biggest book hangover recently though was probably Song of Sorrow because man, I was NOT ready for that. OR No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter because that book is EVERYTHING I need.

Number of Bookcases You Own: 

One. I know. A bookish gal like me. I need more thanks.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

Long time readers of this blog will know that I’m not really a re-reader, but Matilda is probably one of the few books I’ve reread. Also Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Milwood Hargrave. That book is exceptional.

Preferred Place To Read:

SOMEWHERE COMFY

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read: 

I JUST HAVE LOADS. Don’t make me choose one okay?

Reading Regret: 

Reading books that I probably didn’t want to get to the end of? I’m quite stubborn in that if I start a book I WILL get to the end.

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):

Oooooh. I shall have to consult the oracle that is Goodreads to see if this is a thing in my life. I do not know. I shall have to have a think!

Three of your All-Time Favourite Books: 

LOLOL. Who are you kidding? I think we all know the answer to this question (it would feature Mel and Sara… we know).
So, I’m going to do with 3 of my favourite books I’ve read recently (breaking the rules, deal with it):
Jemima Small versus the Universe by Tamsin Winter
Meat Market by Juno Dawson
No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

The Toll by Neal Shusterman. It’s the 3rd book in the Scythe trilogy and I NEED IT NOW.

Worst Bookish Habit: 

I don’t have any bad bookish habits. I am a delight
(Reading books and then not writing my review/notes for weeks and then coming to write my review and then having no recollection of what the book was about and just knowing that I loved it and everyone should read it but not being able to put that into cohesive words and phrases)

Your latest book purchase: 

Evie and the Animals by Matt Haig.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late): 

Hmmm… Shadowscent by P.M.Freestone. That book is WELL WORTH staying up late for. WELL WORTH. Please go and read it.

That was well worth the time!

If you fancy doing this tag, GO FOR IT!

Let me know if any of my answers surprised you, or if you have any comments. I’d love to talk!

S x

BLOG POST: Morag Hood

Morning friends!

Today we have a very special post from author Morag Hood who is here to talk about how she came up with her character Sophie Johnson and how she developed. 

Sophie front

I love hosting authors because it’s really interesting getting an inside peek at their creative processes. 

Where did the idea for Sophie come from and how did she develop?

The character of Sophie initially came about when I was thinking about picture books in general. One of the things I like most about the format is the tension that can be created between the words and the pictures. I’ve always especially enjoyed books where the reader knows what is going on better than the characters themselves. I think I am probably quite in touch with my inner four-year-old and I seem to remember relishing that feeling of being in on the joke and being smarter than the characters in a book. It was with this in mind that I started playing around with the idea of the main character being oblivious to what is going on around them, and Sophie started to emerge.

She has been such a fun character to write and develop. She is very forthright and certain, despite not necessarily having understood a situation, and she loves to explain everything, while in actual fact knowing very little about what is truly going on! Once I worked out her voice and perspective on life, I started to come up with scenarios in which she could shine.

My editor at Simon & Schuster, Helen Mackenzie Smith, gave me a brilliant note about thinking of Sophie as giving an interview about herself and I try to hold that in my head whenever I am writing for Sophie. The first book, Unicorn Expert, came about partly because it was the first book I was writing for someone else to illustrate and I tried to think of something I wasn’t very keen on drawing but would be fun for another illustrator! And then I had so much fun with the first one that I wanted to give Sophie some other things to do. She became a Detective Genius because, as well as having a personal love of detective stories, I felt it would give lots of room for her getting things wrong and missing some fairly obvious clues. I always enjoyed the rather hapless police officers who are outwitted by clever detectives such as Hercule Poirot, or Jessica Fletcher, so having Sophie outwitted by her dog seemed to fit well into her world.

Sophie Johnson has been such a fun character to create and work with, dancing the fine line of being over-confident while still being likeable. I think a lot of that likeability comes from Ella Okstad’s joyful illustrations. It really has been a treat to see how the book has come together with Ella’s input. The pictures are so full of life and really help to make Sophie endearing.

Sophie Johnson: Detective Genius is a WONDERFUL picture book and it has the most incredible cover. It is sparkly goodness. 

9781471145650

Sophie Johnson studied very hard to become a detective and it’s a good thing she did – there has been a terrible crime!
Someone has stolen Lion’s tail. Unfortunately, this means that Sophie doesn’t have time to train her new (and not very good) assistant, Bella. However, is it possible that, while Sophie is busy rounding up suspects, she doesn’t see that Bella may be better than she thinks?
The Sophie Johnson series is perfect for bright young minds and great fun to read aloud as children spot what’s really happening in the story right under Sophie’s nose!

Sophie Johnson: Detective Genuis is out now! You should all go and pick it up!

Massive thank you to Morag and the publishers at Simon and Schuster for inviting me to share this wonderful blog post! Happy reading!

S x 

S4S – Books I Want To Be Written

Morning bookish folk!

How are we all today? Welcome to a new month in the world of #SixforSunday. This month we are taking on Bookish Wishes and we are starting this week with:

Books I want to be written

I mean, besides ALL OF THE BOOKS EVER, here are my choices for today’s prompt:

1. More Melinda Salisbury – SHOCK AND SURPRISE. I KNOW. Guys we all knew this was going to be on my list. I stand by my ‘more Twylla/more Sorrow’ life choice, but also just more Mel would be great cheers.

2. More Sara Barnard – hot off the heels of her YA Book Prize win (yay), there’s loads of people now picking up Sara’s books… I’ve read them all and I need more. Sara knows how to BREAK MY SOUL and still be one of the best people around. So more of that please.

3. More books like Floored – I BLOODY LOVED FLOORED and I loved the concept. A bunch of different authors coming together to write one story from multiple perspectives? YES THANKS. If we could have another one of those sometime that would be wonderful.

4. More MG books with LGBT rep – I read a book recently, a 9-12, that had some amazing LGBTQ+ rep and I WAS THERE FOR IT. I need more of this.

5. More books that are going to break my heart – if you’ve ever read CG Drews books (A Thousand Perfect Notes in particular) you’ll know how HEARTBREAKING it is. I know this sounds like a bizarre request, but my god, I am ALL ABOUT a book that will make me weep. (Cait if you read this… I think you’re great and I need more books please!)

6. More body positive books – having read Jemima Small Versus The Universe (Tamsin Winter) and No Big Deal (Bethany Rutter), I need more books that are body positive. It’s so refreshing to read books where you have fat characters and them actually achieve something… and them not be the brunt of all of the jokes.

So yes. I WANT ALL OF THE BOOKS THANKS.

Thanks for coming to my TEDTalk about all of the books I want. Remember to share yours using the hashtag #SixforSunday! I can’t wait to see what you all want in life!

See you next week!

S x

BLOG TOUR: The Path Keeper

Hello lovelies!

Today I am hosting author N J Simmonds taking on Strong Girls in YA as part of the blog tour for her debut novel The Path Keeper.

“What if every coincidence was a tiny miracle? What if our life was already mapped out before birth? What if someone had the power to change the path we were destined to follow?
Ella hates her new life in London, she misses Spain and she’s struggling to get over her past until she meets Zac. He has always loved her but he isn’t meant to be part of Ella’s story. Not this time. Not ever. Little does she know that his secret is the one thing that will tear them apart and will force her to live in a world that no longer makes sense, a world more dangerous than she could ever imagine.
The first in a thrilling new YA fantasy series, The Path Keeper is a tale of passion and secrets, of first loves and second chances, and the invisible threads that bind us. Can love ever be stronger than fate?”

Let’s go!

STRONG GIRLS IN YA

We all love strong girl in books and on screen. From Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman, to Katniss and Zélie, ferocious young women kicking arse and putting bad men in their place.

Except, there’s more than one way to be strong, and it doesn’t always involve shedding blood and high kicks (as much as I’m a huge fan of both too).

The depiction of women in literature has come a long way in the last twenty years, and never more so than in the Young Adult and Fantasy genres. Paving the way for important conversations, and creating role models for young readers, YA has always been in the foreground of strong young characters and formidable girl MCs.

When I started writing The Path Keeper, I wanted a female protagonist who had a voice. A girl that acted like the young women I know, and the young woman I once was. I didn’t know quiet, sullen, polite girls when I was growing up – I knew teens who fought back, who said what they thought and who acted. Sometimes they said too much, sometimes they were too impulsive, but for me that was more real than a simpering girl who needed to be rescued. So that’s how Ella came about – and she’s not the only woman in the series who struggles with her place in society and questions who she is mentally, physically and emotionally.

Strong girl protagonists are everywhere in YA, but they may not be holding a bow and arrow or have lightning shooting out of their fingertips. Here is my list of amazing female writers and their strong YA girls who in turn have helped teens understand themselves, and the world, better.

Let’s start with emotional wellbeing and mental health. This subject means a lot to me as I have had my own degree of ups and downs, and when I was growing up it wasn’t acceptable to admit that you were struggling. I read these books now and wish I could go back to fifteen-year-old Natali and tell her she’s not weird or weak for feeling the way she does, she’s actually totally normal and not alone.

Olive in Holly Bourne’s Are We All Lemmings And Snowflakes is a girl on the edge attending a summer camp with a difference – every attendee is suffering from various mental health issues. The underlying theme of the book is about being kind, but not just to others – girls are used to being told that – but kind to ourselves too. Likewise, Violet in Jennifer Niven’s All The Bright Places meets her love interest Finch on top of a school bell tower as they contemplate suicide. These aren’t easy subjects to broach in a novel targeted for a younger audience, but the girls are strong through their vulnerability – showing the readers that they too have nothing to be ashamed of.

Talking of shame, it’s refreshing to see a growing rise of body-positive female characters in YA. Gone are the days of Bridget Jones counting calories and noting how many pounds she’s gained in her diary – enter Dumplin (Dumplin by Julie Murphy), Eleanor (Eleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell) and Leah (Leah on the Offbeat, Becky Albertalli). These girls, so strong and powerful they not only appear in the title of their books but also on the covers, never once apologise for who they are and what they look like – in fact, their weight isn’t even the main point of the storylines – there’s no old-hat trope of ‘I was overweight, got thin and got revenge on my bullies’ here. These girls didn’t have to change the way they looked to get what they wanted, how they look doesn’t even come into it, because we love them for who they are.

And it’s not just being seen or understood that makes strong girls in YA so important, it’s also about being heard. Vivian in Jennifer Mathieu’s Moxie fights the feminist fight at her school, and Starr in the award-wining The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas teaches readers about the importance of speaking out about what you believe in. Starr is under pressure from her community, friends and society to keep quiet and not rock the boat – but she goes on to do what teens in real life are finding the strength to do too. From Malala to the pupils of Sandie Hook Elementary School, social media and the press finally want to hear what teens have to say, and books like these are showing them how it’s done.

And finally, there are the young women who have been dealt a shitty life they never asked for. Sadie from Courtney Summer’s harrowing book Sadie is a force to be reckoned with, but she’s no traditional beauty – in fact she has a stutter and doesn’t care what she looks like. And Indigo in Patrice Lawrence’s Indigo Donut is a feisty London girl brought up in the care system. She’s tough and she’s suffered – but she doesn’t need to be rescued. And looking outside of contemporary fiction to teen girls in YA fantasy, Inej from Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows, and Sarai, in Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer are perfect examples of delicate girls who are tough as nails and forced to create a family out of the scraps left from their previous lives. Although they are forced to do bad they still remain good – because they don’t let what has happened to them define who they are.

As a proud feminist, as a YA writer, and as a mother to two ferocious, smart and bold daughters, it fills my heart to read books filled with strong girls, as well as having the opportunity to create my own unforgettable characters (wait until you meet Luci in the sequel Son of Secrets).

What makes a strong girl in YA? Not muscle, not money and not magic – what makes a strong girl is fortitude, grounding morals and all the other strong girls surrounding her. Goodbye damsels in distress and pretty girls who just want to be accepted – and hello girls like you, like me, and what the future deserves. Young women kicking arse and fighting the good fight with weapons made not from iron but from hearts, voices and unity.

Stay strong, girls. I see you.

Every blog tour in the blog has a letter. Collect them all to spell out the answer to this competition question: What does Zac get in the sequel SON OF SECRETS that’s very out of character? Prize info and entry details will be posted in The Glass House Glass magazine on release day 28 May 2019. Check out today’s letter and competition graphic below.

Check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour so you can enter the competition!

S x

Book Box Club: Purely Books Subscription

Hello! 

How are we all?

Today I’m here to talk about EXCITING book post. We all love book post, don’t we? What if you could treat yourself to book post every month? WELL YOU CAN with Book Box Club!

What is Book Box Club?

Book Box Club is a subscription box and secret society for the bookish folk. Book Box Club have two different subscription options:

Book Box Club Subscription – each month, you will receive a gift-wrapped, brand new, YA book, an invitation to their online book club and a selection of themed goodies to match the book you’ve been sent.

Purely Books Subscription – each month, you’ll receive a featured read and an invitation to their online book group. 

All postage to the UK is free, but Book Box Club do send parcels all around the world (postage costs apply).

Purely Books Subscription

The Purely Books Subscription is perfect for the bookish reader like me: I love books, but I don’t collect a lot of bookish goodies. If you’re a bit like me, then the Purely Book subscription is perfect for you! Regardless of the subscription you choose, you get the same book, so when it comes to the online chat, everyone can share in the bookish chat! 

If you’d like to sign up for a subscription, you can get to Book Box Club’s website HERE and use the code BLOGARMY5 to get a discount on your first Purely Books or Book Box Club subscription. (5% off a three month Purely Books Subscription or month-to-month Book Box Club Subscription).

My Experience

Bold and Brave was the theme for April: I received an email on to say my book was on its way and it arrived 2 days later! What’s that for service! Since it was only a book, it fit through the letterbox (so no hassling your neighbours, no waiting for it and no having to collect it from the post office: perfection!).

My book was wrapped in silver paper and tied with very cute blue and white string. It also came with an envelope with my name on – now that is the kind of personal touch I love! Inside the envelope was an invite to the Clubhouse (which is the book club) on with the details of Bold & Brave book group. In the book group, you get the chance to talk to the author, ask any questions you have and make new friends. New BOOKISH friends… the best kind of friends in my humble opinion!

The book

I was chuffed when I realised what the book was! I have heard so much about this book. I haven’t read anything by Zoe Marriott and this makes me so happy. I know there’s been a lot of controversy around this book, but it’s one of those that I’d like to read. That cover is GORGEOUS too… I mean who wouldn’t want to pick this up? It has REAL shelf appeal! 

You can’t beat a good signed book plate too! *swoon* and look at that print (this is in fact the back of the information about the Clubhouse, dual purpose win!)

I love the idea of a Purely Book subscription. For a reader like me who just wants the books and not the extras that go with it, it’s PROPER perfect. I loved the personalised invite and the themed invite too! I am extremely happy with my experience so far! Keep your eyes peeled for my thoughts on the book club! 

Thank you so much to Libby and Kate for inviting me to be in the Blogger Army! Don’t forget you my discount code! 

Have you subscribed to any book boxes?
Have you read this book?
What kind of books would you love to receive?

Speak soon!

S x 

BLOG TOUR: In The Shadow Of Heroes

Today I have the utter joy of hosting author Nick Bowling who is sharing his thoughts on some Unheroic Greek heroes. We all know I love a bit of mythology (if you didn’t know that then WHERE HAVE YOU been?!) so this post is PERFECT in my life!

Nick’s new book In The Shadow of Heroes is out now and I can’t wait. It’s been snatched up by one of the kids in my class… so I guess I need to wait my turn!

In the Shadow of Heroes lowres

“Fourteen-year-old Cadmus has been scholar Tullus’s slave since he was a baby – his master is the only family he knows.

But when Tullus disappears and a taciturn slave called Tog – formerly a British princess – arrives with a secret message, Cadmus’s life is turned upside down. The pair follow a trail that leads to Emperor Nero himself, and his crazed determination to possess the Golden Fleece of Greek mythology. This madcap quest will push Cadmus to the edge of the Roman Empire – and reveal unexpected truths about his past…”

Unheroic Greek heroes

The Greeks thought differently about what a hero was. Google the word “hero” today and you get the following result: “A person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.”  Most people would agree with this as a definition. But in an Ancient Greek dictionary the word heros brings up three fairly vague ideas: 1) the Greeks before Troy, all free men of the Heroic age; 2) men born from a god and a mortal; 3) inferior local deities, patrons of tribes, cities, guilds, founders of cities etc. etc.

The important difference is that the heroes of Greece usually were people who demonstrated “courage” and performed “outstanding achievements”, but “noble qualities” were often sorely lacking. Nowadays, we assume that a hero has some kind of moral rectitude, but for the Greeks and Romans there were more shades of grey. Their heroes were messy, complex, conflicted, often just plain awful people. This is what makes them interesting; it’s also what makes them function as mirrors to our own lives.

IN THE SHADOW OF HEROES takes this idea and asks the question: what is a hero? To get you thinking, here are five heroes you might have heard of, along with some of their less “outstanding achievements”:

  1. We’ve all heard of Hercules suffering nobly through his Twelve Labours, but less well known is the reason why he had to perform them: he killed his wife and all his children in a fit of madness. The rest of Hercules’ life is similarly chequered with random acts of extreme violence. He killed his music teacher for correcting his mistakes, he killed King Eurytus and his sons when he was denied the hand of his daughter in marriage, he killed Sileus for forcing him to tend his vineyards. All of which was, sadly, left out of the Disney motion-picture.
  2. Heroic slayer of the Minotaur, but also heroic home-wrecker. He escaped from the Labyrinth with the help of Ariadne (King Minos’ daughter), who then eloped from Crete with him. Theseus then abandoned her on the island of Naxos, and upon returning to Athens forgot to change his black sail to a white sail, which would have signalled his success in defeating the Minotaur. His father Aegeus, assuming his son was dead, threw himself into the sea.
  3. After reclaiming the Golden Fleece from Colchis with the help of Medea (the King Aeetes’ daughter – there’s a pattern developing here…), Jason settled Corinth with her as his consort. He then got embarrassed by having a girlfriend who was foreign and, admittedly, a bit weird, and promptly dumped her to marry Creusa. This, despite the fact Medea helped him win the fleece in the first place, betrayed her family and travelled halfway around the world to be with him. This pushed Medea to perform one of the all-time great acts of female vengeance (no spoilers).
  4. Perhaps better known for his bad behaviour, but it still bears repeating. Achilles had the mother of all tantrums because Agamemnon took a slave girl from him. He refused to fight and said he won’t return until Agamemnon say sorry. Hundreds of his own men died as a result.
  5. Even the most unwarlike heroes don’t get clean consciences. Daedalus was a master craftsman, inventor and architect, who built the Minotaur’s labyrinth. While you might pity him for the death of his son Icarus (of melting wings fame), you’ll probably feel less sympathetic when you hear he killed his own nephew – threw him off the top of the Acropolis – because he came up with the idea for the handsaw before Daedalus did.

IN THE SHADOW OF HEROES by Nicholas Bowling out now in paperback (£6.99, Chicken House)

Find out more at www.chickenhousebooks.com

Follow Nicholas Bowling on twitter @thenickbowling

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

In the Shadow of Heroes blog tour banner

Massive thank you to Chicken House and to Nick for his blog post! What a great start to a Wednesday! 

S x

Ollie’s Magic Bunny Blog Tour

Happy Tuesday!

Today I have the utter joy of hosting author Nicola Killen and we’re getting a tour around her studio. I’m really nebby so I absolutely adored reading this post when it dropped into my inbox! 

Ollie blog tour

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Hello and welcome to my studio tour!  This is the place where I worked on the story and illustrations for Ollie’s Magic Bunny.  

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I share a space with two other artists – it’s a converted garage on the side of a photographer’s studio.  The door to the studio is very grey and boring so it’s hard to imagine what’s inside!

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Tada! Here’s my workspace. I’m quite embarassed to be showing you round when it’s SO messy.  I’m always untidy, but when I’m in the middle of working on a new book (like I am now), it gets even worse!  As you can probably see, I’ve got two desks: one for sitting at my computer, and one for standing at when I draw and paint.

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On my computer desk I have an iMac, and I use a wacom tablet with it.  I also have a very comfy chair and most importantly, there’s a heater next to my desk!  As it used to be a garage, the studio can get very cold at times. I always have lots of lists of things to do on my desk – I like to be able to tick things off!  

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I usually stand up when I’m painting or drawing.  I have a drawing board in the middle of the desk, which is hidden by my lightbox at the moment.  There’s an A3 scanner tucked underneath this desk, as well as sketches, boxes of books and some portfolios too.  I used to have lots more postcards and pictures up on the wall, but they keep falling down and it’s very hard to reach to put them back up!  You may also have noticed my Studio Stegasaurus which lives on this desk – it roars when you squeeze it. I’ve had the anglepoise lamp since I was at school so it’s lasted a long time!

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This is all the brushes, dip pens and inks which I’m using for the book I’m working on.  

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Then, squeezed into the corner, is my bookcase.  It’s got lots of my books in it, as well as reference, sketchbooks, paperwork and some of my childhood favourites too!

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I’m not sure I should show you this photo! When I opened the cupboard, I was worried that everything was going to fall out . . . It’s chock full of materials, inks and paper. Tidying it is on my lists of things to do!

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That’s all of my space, but we also share an area just inside the door where there’s a big plan chest with a very useful cutting mat on top.  I store a lot of my artwork and paper in the drawers here. I’m preparing some Ollie’s Magic Bunny themed activities today so have been using the cutting mat – but I will need to clear it up later in case anyone else wants to use it!

Thank you for letting me show you around my studio space – I hope you’ve enjoyed having a look around and sorry about the mess!

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I hope you guys enjoyed that as much as I did! It’s fascinating to see where people work and their process! I’d love to snoop in everyone’s workspaces! Check out my review of Ollie’s Magic Bunny here: BOOK BLOG: Nicola Killen

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

S x