Christmas Songs book tag

christmas songs

Halo, halo, halo! 

It’s Friday… that means it’s TAG DAY. (I should start posting tags on a Thursday cause alliteration is my jam… but old habits die hard, maybe in the new year!) 

Today I’m taking on the Christmas Songs Book Tag. I saw this while browsing the interwebs for different tags and thought it was the perfect FESTIVE tag to be involved it. Plus, I bloody love a Christmas song! If you fancy joining in the fun, feel free! I don’t remember where I saw this first!

“You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch” – Name a Villainous Character You Couldn’t Help But Love.

I’ve gone with Kaz Brekker for this one. I don’t know that he’s VILLAINOUS to be honest, but he’s not a good man… but my gosh, I adore him.

“All I Want For Christmas Is You” – Which Book Do You Most Hope To See Under Your Christmas Tree.

Song of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury. It’s not out til next year, but my word. I am SO READY for this book. (Hello Mel, or Scholastic, I love you guys).

“Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer” – Name a Character That Overcomes Major Obstacles and Learns To Believe in Themselves.

Steffi from A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard. I think this book is one of the greatest things to exist. I love everything about it. 

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”:
a) Which character do you think would be on the top of the naughty list? 

b) Which character do you think would be at the top of the nice list?

Top of the nice list for me would be Rhys from A Quiet Kind of Thunder.
Top of the naughty list for me is Scythe Goddard from Scythe. He is a TERRIBLE man.

“Frosty the Snowman”: Which book just melts your heart.

All of them?! I cry at EVERYTHING. However, Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda made me so happy. I ship Simon and Blue so so much.

“Feliz Navidad”: Choose a book that takes place in a country other than your own.

Jack of Hearts and Other Parts by L.C. Rosen. Set in America, but I’m not sure why this was the first one to pop into my head since a lot of the books I read aren’t even set in the UK. 

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”: Which holiday themed book do you use to spread the Christmas joy?

I’ll Be Home for Christmas. This is an anthology that I read last Christmas that I just ADORED. I don’t read many Christmas books, but this one is MAGNIFICENT.

“Sleigh Ride”: Which fictional character would you choose to spend the holidays with (doesn’t have to be a love interest!)?

Hahaha! I went down the “not love interest” route, and decided on Tilly from Pages and Co by Anna James because I’d like to spend my Christmas holidays reading and book wandering please!

“Baby It’s Cold Outside”: Which book that you didn’t like would you sacrifice to a fire to warm yourself up in the cold?

Either Caraval or Freshers. I don’t hate either of them, but I didn’t particularly enjoy them either. 

“Do You Hear What I Hear?”: Which book do you think everyone should read?

The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig. It’s just exceptional. It will 100% be in my ‘Best Books of the Year’ list. Please, all of you, go and buy it, get it from the library: something. Read it. You won’t regret it.

And there you have it! My take on the Christmas songs book tag!

Are you surprised by any of my answers?
Would you agree or disagree with any of them?
Are you brave enough to take on the tag?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments! 

S x 

 

The Bookish Naughty or Nice tag

Morning troops!

How are we all? What’s going down this here Friday morning? Has Christmas reached your house yet? 

As we all know, Christmas is the time when you are deemed “naughty or nice”, so I thought I’d find a naughty or nice themed tag to do! I luckily found the perfect one… a bookish one on my friend Amy’s blog. You should check out her post here.

Received an ARC and not reviewed it: Naughty

Now I have never done this on PURPOSE, but I can imagine there’s an ARC or two in my collection that I’ve not reviewed.

Have less than 60% feedback rating on Netgalley: Nice

I’ve not used Netgalley for ages as my Kindle has been dead for a good few months. I need to find my charger lead. There’s so many brilliant books on the old NG that I need to get on!

Rated a book on Goodreads and promised a full review was to come on your blog (and never did): Naughty

Again, not purposefully. I ALWAYS intend on reviewing, but there’s bound to be one that’s slipped under the net. I always review on GR as I use it to track my books.

Folded down the page of a book: Nice

This is sheer heracy. I am a page rememberer (much to the dismay of my best friend!)

Accidentally spilled on a book: Nice?

I PROBABLY have in the past, but keep your hot drinks away from my books thanks.

DNF’d a book this year: Nice

Nope. I’ve read and finished EVERY book I started this year. I’m not one who DNFs very often.

Bought a book purely because it was pretty with no intention of reading it: Nice?

I THINK. But let’s be real… I probably have. I’m sure one of my friends will correct me on this one haha!

Read whilst you were meant to be doing something else (like homework): Naughty

Guilty as sin. Some weekends all I need to do is switch off and read.

Skim read a book: Naughty

Yep. Who hasn’t?!

Completely missed your Goodreads goal: Nice

Nope, I always hit my goal. I aim for a book a week, so I always hit it.

Borrowed a book and not returned it: Naughty

I still have one of my friend Charlotte’s books from like a few months ago. I’ll get round to reading it EVENTUALLY.

Broke a book buying ban: Naughty

MORE THAN LIKELY.

Started a review, left it for ages then forgot what the book was about: Naughty

LOL, I’m a book blogger. What do you expect?

Wrote in a book you were reading: Naughty

My friends and I used to do a thing where we’d send a book around – it was so lush to see what each of us thought of the different scenes!

Finished a book and not added it to your Goodreads: Nice

TECHNICALLY, I’m naughty for this because I don’t add picture books to my GR… I know I know, I need to.

Let me know your thoughts about my responses! I’d love to hear how you would answer these prompts!

S x 

Looking for a brilliant read for a teen in your life?

Here we are, day 3 of my gift guide. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them! It’s been a blast looking back at my year in books and thinking which ones I would recommend people buy and read AND SHOVE IN EACH OTHERS FACES *ahem*.

Today, on this here final day of recommending, I’m sorting through the MANY MANY YA books I’ve read this year and giving you 12 that you ABSOLUTELY need to buy for the YA fan in your life! (Just as the past few days, none of these books will REALLY come as a surprise!) Without further ado…

2018 ya recs

Scythe/Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury (while we’re at it… The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy too, LBR)

Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard (and ANY of her other books too)

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Show Stopper/Show Stealer by Hayley Barker

White Rabbit, Red Wolf by Tom Pollock

The Secret Deep by Lindsay Galvin

Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt

Clean by Juno Dawson

Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber (and Wing Jones too)

Floored by the Floored Seven

TADAAAAH. You made it. This list could’ve been so much longer. GO AND BUY THEM ALL. READ THEM ALL. LOVE THEM ALL.

Do you agree with my recommendations?
Can you add any to my list?
Which of these books have you loved most?

Talk to me in the comments! Are you SHOCKED by my choices?

S x

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

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

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

2018 mg recs

(I know right, SHOCKERS)

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

The House with Chicken Legs – Sophie Anderson

The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club series – Alex Bell

A Place Called Perfect series – Helena Duggan

Armistice Runner – Tom Palmer

The Light Jar – Lisa Thompson

Tilly and the Bookwanderers – Anna James

The Way Past Winter – Kiran Milwood Hargrave

Snowglobe – Amy Wilson

The Nowhere Emporium series – Ross Mackenzie

Brightstorm – Vashti Hardy

The Storm Keeper’s Island – Catherine Doyle

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

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

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

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

S x

 

“You know books… can I have some recommendations?”

The amount of times I’ve been asked for recommendations over the past few weeks is LUSH. Whether it’s from my kids for what to read next, for parents on what to buy their kids for Christmas or from my colleagues on what to read, it’s all lush to talk books.

Over the next 3 days I’m going to collate 3 different lists for books I’d recommend – be it to read or to buy someone for Christmas!

Today I’m tackling 7+ (ish) recommendations

Tomorrow will be 8+ish and then Wednesday will be YA recommendations! There are LOADS of recommendations out there, I just decided to collate my favourite 10 from the past year (or so)!

If you have a reader who is just starting to read chapter books, or likes the look of illustrated chapter books, these books are brilliant.

2018 recs

Violet and the… series by Harriet Whitehorn

Fabio – The World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective by Laura James

Royal Rabbits of London series by Santa Montefiore and Simon Sebag Montefiore

The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig

Amelia Fang series by Laura Ellen Anderson

Max – The Detective Cat series by Sarah Todd Taylor

The Wild Robot series by Peter Brown

The Twitches series by Hayley Scott

Sam Wu series by Katie and Kevin Tsang

Horace and Harriet series by Clare Elsom

There you have it! 10 of the best books for Y2+ I’ve read recently. I’d love to know your thoughts! Let me know!

Have you read any of these?
Do you have any recommendations that I could add?
Which of these would you like to pick up most?

Talk to me!

Remember to come back tomorrow for recommendations for books for those 8+ years!

S x

The ‘Totally Should Have’ Tag

Hello again! Just me back with more tag goodness! I’m loving the tag lifestyle here.

I don’t remember where I saw this tag, but I’ve had the notes about thgis tag in my blogging notebook for months so I fitured I would get round to posting it finally! This is the ‘Totally Should Have’ tag, where I weigh in on books that totally should have… something or other!

1. Totally should’ve gotten a sequel

Image result for simon vs. the homosapien agenda

Hmmm… Simon vs the HomoSapiens Agenda. To be fair, I just want a sequel of Simon and Blue goodness because my word I ship that HARD.

2. Totally should’ve had a spin off series

Image result for floored cover

Floored! I would’ve loved to see more about the lives of the crew, especially Hugo (despite the fact I thought he was a dick ha!) or Kaitlyn (cause she was an absolute darling).

3. An author who totally should write more books

Image result for emery lord books

Oooooooooooooh, interesting question! Emery Lord would be one of my candidates! Most of the authors who I think should write more books are currently writing more books, so I don’t know that I can nominate them.

(If you’re reading though Barnard, Salisbury, Evans, Hargrave et al… I mean you lot!)

4. A character who totally should’ve ended up with someone else

I have NO idea for an answer for this question. As a serial shipper, this is something I feel strongly about. Let me get back to you!

5. Totally should’ve ended differently

Image result for thunderhead book

The ending of Thunderhead BAFFLED me. I still loved it, but I just didn’t get it. I’m very much looking forward to the third book… but yeah, BAFFLING.

6. Totally should’ve had a movie franchise

Image result for six of crows duology

I stand firm that Six of Crows deserves a movie or 3.

7. Totally should’ve had a TV show

Image result for the extinction trials

The Extinction Trials by S.M.Wilson would make a great TV series in my opinion.

8. Totally should’ve had only one point of view

Again, this is one where I’m torn because I LOVE multiple perspective books. I don’t think I’ve read one that I didn’t like the other perspective. Some books have TOO MANY perspectives, which BAFFLES me to no end.

9. Totally should have a cover change

ANY COVER THAT HAS A PERSON ON THE FRONT. Not an illustration, but an ACTUAL person. Anyone who knows and has ever been book shopping with me will know that this is very much my least favourite thing about covers.

10. Totally should’ve kept the original covers

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOH. Controversial. I do not know though. I think MOST cover changes are done for the GOOD of the covers having shelf appeal.

11. Totally should’ve stopped at book one

Image result for me before you book

Me Before You. That second book I did not believe AT ALL and haven’t gotten round to reading the third book because I disliked the second one so much.

There we go!

Do you agree with any of my answers? 
What would your answers be?
Have you got any covers that you hate?
DO you agree with me on the “take people off the covers of books”?

Speak to me! Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

S x

 

The Reader Problems Tag

HAPPY FRIDAY. How are we all? Have we all survived another week? What have we all been up to? Today I come to you with a tag I’ve seen floating around for a while. I don’t recall where I first saw it, but I stole the questions from my friend Aoife’s blog (check it out here)

Let’s go with the “reader problems tag”!

1. You have 20,000 books in your TBR, how in the world do you decide what to read next?

I am 100% a mood reader, so I will read whatever I am in the mood to read. If I HAVE to read a book, I am so much less likely to actually enjoy reading it.

2. You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you put it down or are you committed?

I’m a finisher. I’m stubborn. I will finish a book through thick and thin. Unless I GENUIENLY can’t wade through any more of it, I’ll stick by it.

3. The end of the year is coming and you’re behind on your reading challenge, do you try to catch up? And if so, how?

I’ll just keep reading? If I get to my target, great. If not, no one died because I didn’t read the books I said I would… so it’s all gravy.

4. The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope?

Lol, I’ll cope because I HAVE TO. If the publishers then release the series with matching covers, you KNOW I will be buying the matching covers. I’m all for matching.

5. Everyone and their mother loves a book that you do not. Who do you bond with over your shared feelings?

Tbh, I’ll survive. I have a merry band of book loving friends who will listen to me. We have differences of opinions on books and that’s cool.

6. You’re reading a book in public and you’re about to start crying. How do you deal?

Cry, lol. I always tell the story of coming back from YALC last year, when I was reading The Last Wild by Piers Torday (brilliant MG book, would recommend to all of the humans) and I was genuinely bawling. The man beside me tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I was OK because I was crying so hard, ha!

7. The sequel to a book you loved just came out but you’ve forgotten a lot of what happens. Are you going to reread it?

Not likely. I might reread my review or check out the synopsis on the internet. Or I’ll ask one of my friends to remind me of the plot.

8. You do not want anyone to borrow your books, how do you politely say no when someone asks?

I don’t generally say no? I dunno, my books are very precious to me… but I wouldn’t deny someone.

9. You have picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over this reading slump?

I’m not often in a slump, but if I ever am… I try and read something OUT of that type. I’ll read an MG if YA isn’t tickling my fancy, and vice versa.

10. There are so many books coming out that you are dying to read, how many do you end up buying?

Most of them? I work hard for my money, so why shouldn’t I treat myself?

11. After you purchase all of these books that you’re dying to read how long do they sit on your shelves before you get to them?

It all depends on WHO it is and how much time I’ve been waiting (Salisbury, Barnard, Evans… I’m looking at you!)

If you fancy taking on this tag, go for it! I’d love to hear your thoughts on my answers!

S x

The 90s Movie Tag

Hello there!

How are we all? It’s Friday again! It is FINALLY half term. My first half term over as a teacher – prepare yourself for quite a mammoth blog post next week about what I got up to in my first 8 weeks as a teacher!

Today I’m taking on the ’90s Movie Tag’ which I saw on my brilliant friend Aoife’s blog. You should go read her post and follow her blog! I loved the premise of this tag, so thought I’d take it on.

She’s All That – Name a book couple that is an odd pairing but they still fit perfectly together

Lukas and Nell from The Hurting by Lucy van Smit. He’s pretty much a rich wolf boy and she was brought up with a drunken dad, a poorly mam and a little sister. They have an interesting dynamic. The Hurting is one of those books that pushes you to think for a while after you read it.

10 Things I Hate About You – A book/series you have a love/hate relationship with

OH MY WORD. For me, there is only one candidate. Gone Girl. I have SUCH a complex relationship with this book. I HATED the characters. So much. Man, I think I need to write a blog post about my feelings about this book. However, I did think it was so cleverly written. But yeah, this book makes me want to shake my fist (yknow, like the gif of the little girl?)

Clueless – A character who is totally clueless but you love them anyway

I don’t know that I have a character who is Clueless quite like Cher. I’ve gone for Citra and Rowan from Scythe. They had NO idea about the corruption and horrendous acts in Scythedom, but I loved them.

Titanic – Name a book that made you cry

LOLOL. Hello, do you know me AT ALL? I could list almost every book I’ve ever read. I am a crier. You’ll get used to it. However, if we’re going for books that have had a lasting impact on my emotions, I’d have to go with Countless by Karen Gregory. I can’t think about that book and not tear up.

American Pie – A book that makes you laugh

This was another one where I was like ‘I KNOW THE ANSWER STRAIGHT AWAY’. Guys, if you’re yet to read The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven, then you need to get on it. I remember reading the first chapter of that book and cackling SO SO MUCH. Izzy O’Neill is just remarkable and hilarious. Everyone needs her in their life.

Can’t Hardly Wait – A book with a crazy party

I don’t know that I can recall many books with parties in (which, considering I read a lot of YA books, does blow my mind slightly). But, after some thought, Clean by Juno Dawson features some wild parties. It must, right? It’s all about drugs and alcohol and sex.

Cruel Intentions – Name a character you can never fully trust

I 100% do not trust Mael from State of Sorrow (by the Queen Salisbury). I am still suspicious of him. I won’t say what it is, incase you haven’t read it, but if you have and wanna know… hit me up. I NEED SORROW 2 NOW PLZ THANKS.

Drive Me Crazy – Name your favourite “boy next door” or “girl next door” couple

I mean, Simon and Blue from Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda are pretty much “boy next door/boy next door” vibes for me. I adore them. I want a book of just Simon and Blue romantic fluff.

Scream – A book with a memorable villain

Every time I do one of these tags and a question about vilains comes up, I think of the SAME character. J from The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James. I mean, that’s gotta be some memorable character.

The Craft – Name a book with witches

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw was my first thought. A brilliant book about witches and falling in love and being who you really are.

Why don’t you take on this tag? I’d love to know your thoughts on my choices!

ALSO, if you do a tag you’d like me to take part in, let me know! I’m loving tag life!

Speak to you soon!

S x

BOOK BLOG: Peter G Bell

Today, I have the utter joy of hosting author Peter G Bell on my blog, talking about the story opening in The Train to Impossible Places. You’ll also get to hear about his wonderful main character, Suzy, and her rationalist beliefs and how these relate to the action of the story and the reader. Hope you enjoy!

Image result for train to impossible places

Reason Vs Weird

Most of us would love to discover that magic is real. Imagine if you came downstairs one night to find a trans-dimensional train, crewed by fantastical creatures, waiting to whisk you off to uncharted realms were anything was possible. You’d be thrilled, right?

   This is exactly what happens to Suzy, the main character of The Train To Impossible Places. And she is not thrilled at all.

   On the contrary, she feels positively offended. Because, as an eleven year old rationalist, she knows full well that magic can’t be real, and that trolls can’t exist. The laws of physics are sacrosanct. In short, the train shatters her understanding of the world. How she chooses to deal with that will determine both her fate, and the fate of everyone she meets on her adventure.

   I made Suzy a rationalist because I knew the train and its crew were going to be fairly anarchic and unpredictable, and I wanted a main character who would push back against that. In doing so, Suzy keeps the story grounded, even when she’s out of her depth (which is most of the time) and always asks the questions the reader needs answering.

   When it comes to science, the trolls’ rule of thumb is this: the laws of physics are all well and good, but as soon as they become inconvenient, a dash of magic is needed to help grease the wheels. This is fuzzics (like physics, only fuzzier), and it drives Suzy up the wall. Sometimes literally.

   I’m no sociologist, but I suspect many of our culture’s current problems stem from the conscious uncoupling of reason from the other human faculties; a nasty habit we picked up during the Enlightenment, and which has been indulged to a greater or lesser extent ever since. On the one hand, this culminates in people choosing to dismiss the valid spiritual, philosophical and emotional foundations of so much human experience. On the other, it leads to a suspicion of empirical knowledge, which opens the door to all manner of charlatans eager to present us with “alternative facts”. Neither condition is good for us.

   That’s why, in the midst of all the fantasy elements, I made sure never to undermine Suzy’s belief in science. It is never shown to be untrue – on the contrary, she uses Newton’s Laws of Motion to save herself from danger at one point – but she also discovers that science isn’t the neat and tidy solution to all life’s problems that she thought it was. She is never tempted to reject it, but she does have to expand her thinking beyond it and, to her credit, that’s exactly what she does.

   She makes room in herself for a broader perspective. And that’s what sees her through in the end.

You should definitely check out The Train to Impossible Places! It’s such a great story and the cover is JUST EXCEPTIONAL. 

Massive thanks to Peter for this blog post! I love getting an insight into authors and their characters – authors really do know their characters inside out! 

S x 

Giving a part of yourself…

This past weekend, I was at an amazing day of CPD centred all around reading. At this conference, Piers Torday spoke and said something that has stuck with me, something I hadn’t even thought of, but something that I think is so true. It’s one of those quotes that just hits the nail on the head and then resounds with you for a long time.

“Recommending a book is like giving a part of yourself”

(It wasn’t those exact words, but it was that sentiment nonetheless)

Let that sit with you for a little moment. I’m a day in from hearing that quote (as I write this blog post) and it still blows my mind a little.

I think it’s so important to remember that recommending books is something that happens naturally. We enjoy a book, we want to tell people we enjoyed the book, we hope they also enjoy the book. The act of recommending isn’t the bit that’s scary, it’s the other bit. It’s the someone reading the book and seeing a little bit into who you are. 

Recommending books reveals so much about who you are. Whether that’s as a reader, a person, a thinker, a doer. Recommending books (for either OMG I LOVED IT or MEH it wasn’t for me reasons) reveals so much about your self – the characters and actions you approve of, the ones you question, the stories you relate to. Revealing these things can be quite a scary thing.

We’ve all that terrifying moment of recommending one of our favourite books to someone and “OMG what if they don’t like it?“. I don’t think it’s the “what if they don’t like the book?” bit that scares us, it’s the “this book meant something to me, I hope that person can see it and doesn’t then judge me for it” bit (for me it is anyway, I shan’t generalise).

What you’re saying when you recommend a book to someone is essentially “there’s something in this book that speaks to who I am, deep down, and I don’t mind you seeing it, finding it, exploring it, knowing it about me”. That’s massive.

There’s something very personal about recommending a book to someone, but it’s very liberating. It can open doors, conversations, perspectives that you might never have lived before. 

S x