Books I Want To Read tag

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m going to be doing the Books I Want to Read tag, which I found on my friend Amy’s blog. When I read it, I knew it was something that I’d like to tackle – it’s not often I think about my TBR!

The Rules

• Link back to the original tag
• Complete the questions with books you want to have read, but don’t want to read
• Tag some people at the end to do the tag next.

Question One: A book you feel you need to read because everyone talks about it

SO MANY THO. I’m not a big fan of hype, so if EVERYONE is talking about a book I am so much less likely to pick it up… until the hype dies out!

Question Two: A book that’s really long

Length is one of the reasons I don’t wanna often pick up books! Strange the Dreamer is one that does slightly intimidate me – it’s not in reality THAT long tho haha. It might need to be one that I buy on my kindle.

Question Three: A book you’ve had on your bookshelf or TBR list for far too long

I’m quite good with my books. If I’ve got them/bought them and not read them within like 6 months (haha) I generally just get rid of them. So A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy is probably the books I’ve had the longest that I’ve not got round to reading (Kelly, if you’re reading this, I promise I WILL get round to them!)

Question Four: A book that is ‘required reading’ (e.g. a school text or popular classic – something you feel obligated to read)

Well… my answer for this is THUG – it’s neither a school text OR a popular classic, but EVERYONE IN THE WORLD has read it apart from me. SO I should probably get on it… I’m just scared!

Question Five: A book that intimidates you

Priory of the Orange Tree. I started it and read quite a chunk for when I interviewed the brilliant Samantha Shannon, but then once the event was done my brain has just been like OMG I CAN’T PICK THAT THING BACK UP THANKS.

Question Six: A book you think may be slow

Genuinely no idea… I don’t think about books as being slow?!

Question Seven: A book that you need to be in the right mood for

Cuckoo Song. I’ve heard MANY things so I know that I’m going to have to be in the right mood to read it.

Question Eight: A book you’re unsure you’ll like

Legendary! I read Caraval and it just didn’t spark my love. I’ve been dubious about buying/getting the next ones because I just don’t want the disappointment of the first book to happen again!

Having now done this, I could’ve used the same 3 or 4 books for all of the questions haha!

I’m not going to tag anyone, but feel free to do this if you see fit!

S x

2019 releases…

Well hello… happy Friday to all you lovely people of the world!

Today I’m here to shout about 2019 releases I’m excited for. Some of my 2019 releases I’ve already read and I’m gonna give them a bit of love, but I’m just gonna shout about them all. 

Here goes nothing… 

Let’s start with 2019 releases I’ve read and LOVED:

2019 loves

Now some 2019 releases that I can’t WAIT to get my hands on:

2019 wants

Add to that list these books:

And Then I Turned Into a Mermaid – Laura Steven (Laura Steven is diving into the world of MG with a mermaid book… yes please!)
The Toll – Neal Shusterman (The 3rd book in the Scythe trilogy)

I could keep going… but I should probably go and do something productive!

What are some of your fave 2019 books?
What 2019 books can you not wait to get your hands on?
Are you still reading books from 2018? (yes haha I am!)

Let me know in the comments – I don’t need more books to add to my list, but I DO. 

S x 

Would you rather…? bookish tag!

Well hello there Tuesday! How are you my love?

Today I’m taking on the Would you rather… bookish tag! I was tagged by my lovely friend Charlotte (yes, nominated best newcomer Charlotte! so proud) to take on her 8 questions. If you fancy checking out her post, you’ll find it here!

The way it works is I’ll answer Charlotte’s WYR questions, then I’ll come up with my own and then tag some people to do it! I hope you enjoy! Let me know your thoughts in the comments! Even if I don’t tag you, you are MORE THAN WELCOME to join in!

LET’S GO.

Would you rather only read standalones or only read series?

This isn’t really a question in my life. I dig a standalone, but my gosh, I LIVE FOR a series. I’m all about getting emotionally involved, falling for the hero, watching the villain wreak havoc over multiple books and FEELING ALL THE EMOTIONS. So series. (If Sara Barnard however started writing series, I’m not sure my poor little heart could take it!)

Would you rather only read contemporary or only read fantasy?

WOAH THERE CHARLOTTE. That’s like asking me to choose between Mel and Sara. THAT’S NOT OK. I’m just going to ignore this questions because RUDE. (But fantasy, let’s be real)

Would you rather drop your favourite book in the bath, or have it fall into a shredder?

I don’t know why this answer, but it was my gut reaction: shredder. I guess I could use the shredded pieces as something cute afterwards (and I’d go out and buy a new copy of the book regardless!)

Would you rather read a book that ended on a cliffhanger or one that broke your heart?

I do not live for a cliffhanger… so a book that will break my heart EVERY SINGLE TIME THANKS.

Would you rather have every book you read spoiled or never get to know how any book you read ends?

Just like the cliffhanger question, I love when a book gives me some closure in life, so I’d rather have spoilers ALL OVER MY LIFE. I’m quite a fan of spoilers actually – I openly embrace them (mostly: there are times when I DO NOT appreciate them)

Would you rather your book was missing the first and last page, or a random page in the middle?

A random page. I need my closure thanks.

Would you rather be stuck on an island with no book to read, or stuck in a library where you couldn’t read any of the books?

What are the rules behind “couldn’t read” the books? Am I not allowed to? Am I not able to? Are they too high for me to reach? Charlotte, I need clarification for this question… because my answer will change depending on the rules.

Would you rather have your best friend hate your favourite book or your worst enemy love it?

I would forgive my best friend for hating a book I love. Although all of my best friends have WONDERFUL TASTE so we’re alrite there!

My questions:

  1. Would you rather be best friends with your favourite character or your favourite author?
  2. Would you rather have lunch with the villain or the hero in the last book you read?
  3. Would you rather only read books by men or women?
  4. Would you rather recommend a book that everyone ends up hating or hate a book everyone keeps recommending to you?
  5. Would you rather only buy plain book covers or movie tie in covers of books?
  6. Would you rather only own hardbacks or ebooks?
  7. Would you rather have a main character named after you or a book dedicated to you?
  8. Would you rather have to annotate every book you read or have to fold the pages of every book you read?

I tag Cora, Aoife and Andrew.

S x

BLOG TOUR: C.G.Drews

YOU GUYS ARE IN FOR A PROPER TREAT ON THIS HERE FIRST DAY OF APRIL. Don’t say I don’t spoil you. AND THIS IS NO APRIL FOOLS EITHER. 

As you all know I am a MASSIVE (and I mean MASSIVE) fan of the brilliant C.G.Drews’ books (as seen in my review of A Thousand Perfect Notes). When her new book The Boy Who Steals Houses was announced, the poor publishers received a VERY grovelly email asking if I could have a copy to review… and they were INCREDIBLE and sent me a copy. Well NOW GUYS IT’S ALMOST RELEASE TIME (in fact… THURSDAY IS THE BIG DAY). I consumed it in a matter of hours and I just adored it – you’ll find my review of the book here (clicky, click). 

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Then… astonishingly… I got an email from the publishers asking me if I’d like to kick off the blog tour and I WAS DELIGHTED. 

So here, I am, sharing with you a deleted scene from The Boy Who Steals Houses. This scene originally sat between Chapter 24 and 26, and don’t worry, it’s not too spoilery! 

So sit back, get a cup of tea and enjoy!! 

POTATOES ARE BETTER THAN ROMANCE

(Deleted Scene from The Boy Who Steals Houses)

His attention should be on the knife, on the whorls of potato peels slipping through his fingers. But Sam can’t stop worrying.

About summer ending.

About finally telling Moxie all his secrets.

About Avery boxing himself into a world of sharp corners and dangerous ledges and insisting he can take care of himself. Sam hasn’t checked on him in days. That selfishness twists his stomach like soured lemonade.

Moxie stands next to him as they peel potatoes together. The rest of the family are still out working at the building site, but Jeremy is home early for dinner duties. He’s seventeen, but definitely the best cook in the house. He clatters jars of herbs and butter onto the bench and then surveys them with a mournful expression.

“Why are you both so slow?” he says. “Are we having my infamous herb and garlic potatoes this year or at my funeral when I die at age ninety-four?”

Moxie throws peels at him. “Rude.” She nudges Sam with her hip. “Hey, you’re far away. Everything okay?”

Sam blinks. “I’m fine.” He needs to snap out of it or Moxie will press with questions he’s not ready to answer. He wants to keep this summer, this pretend honeyed paradise, for as long as possible.

Distraction comes in the form of Toby trotting into the kitchen with Jeremy’s phone clasped in sticky three-year-old hands. The De Lainey’s refer to the hour before dinner as the dreaded witching time, when the little ones will hurtle into hangry meltdowns if you even look at them wrong. Jeremy offered up his phone like a sacrificial goat so Toby would be occupied and they could get dinner on. The baby is licking the wall but seems fine. It’s just Toby now planted in the midst of the kitchen with the phone raised above his head as it plays tinny strains of music.

He jumps up and down. “Dance wiv me, Moxie!”

“Um, no.” Moxie stabs an apple. “I have standards.”

Toby forcefully crosses his arms and his bottom lip wobbles.

“If he starts crying,” Jeremy warns, “he will never stop and my fragile eardrums can’t take it. I’m not…not strong enough. Don’t be a monster, Moxie.” He flaps vaguely in Toby’s direction. “At least he put on Twice Burgundy. It’s a good band. Our little terror has taste.”

Toby tips back his head and wails, “Nobody will dance wiv me!”

“Quick put food in his mouth,” Moxie says. “That’ll distract him.”

But Toby’s already gone into a boneless heap, wail escalating.

Sam abandons the potatoes and slips over to the ensuing apocalypse. He’s really good at averting meltdowns. Lots of practice with Avery.

“Moxie is a terrible dancer.” Sam pats Toby’s back. “You don’t want her anyway.”

“Ouch,” says Jeremy.

Moxie raises an eyebrow. “I’m unsure whether to be grateful for that comment.”

Toby picks himself up, face damp, and then flings arms around Sam’s legs. “You dance!” He starts jumping up and down, clutching Sam’s leg with one arm and the phone with the other, which continues a song that tastes of violent summer storms.

Sam gives Moxie and Jeremy a helpless look. They smirk.

“Daaaance!” shrieks the tiny overlord.

Sam obeys.

He is not a dancer. His ears go hot as he tries to move his gangly limbs in some sort of rhythm. His undone shoelaces flick against the floor and he has no idea what he’s doing. But Toby beams and begins what looks like a demon-possessed-chicken-polka.

Moxie cracks up so hard she starts dropping potatoes.

“Dance! Dance!” Toby shouts.

“Yeah, Moxie. Dance, dance.” Sam snatches her hand and pulls her into a spin, because if he’s going to suffer, so is she.

Moxie is laughing too hard to protest. But when she finally gets her breath, she rests a palm against Sam’s chest. “Fine.” Her eyes are bright as a dare. “But this is how you dance.”

And suddenly they’re not messing around to good music on bad speakers. They’re truly dancing.

Their hearts pound and bodies brush together. Moxie’s arms twirl above her head and Sam’s feet skid across the floorboards. There’s a thump as Jeremy jumps into the middle, proving the demon-possessed-chicken-polka style is a disturbing De Lainey family trait.

They are so happy in that moment, so full of wild abandon, they could have outshone the sun.

They are also so distracted, by music and their own fierce delight, that they don’t hear the front door opening as Mr. De Lainey and Jack walk in.

The impromptu dance party ends with a shriek from Moxie and all three of them drop down behind the kitchen benches. Toby just squeals in delight at this new turn of the game.

“I’m pretty sure they saw us,” Sam says, breathing hard.

Moxie covers her face. “Bury me.”

Jeremy pats her shoulder. “Jack’s never going to let this go. We might as well leave the country.”

On cue, Jack starts crowing while kicking off his work boots. “What was that delightful sight?”

“I don’t know, Jack.” Mr. De Lainey’s voice is exaggeratedly loud. “Did you see several electrocuted noodles flailing in my kitchen?”

“It’s almost like they are sooo embarrassed,” Jack says. “I wonder why.”

“These embarrassed noodles are making you dinner,” Jeremy shouts, still safe behind the cupboards. “Don’t criticise us!”

“We did it for the three-year-old,” Moxie adds.

“Please forget you ever saw that,” Sam says.

Jeremy and Moxie look at him.

They burst out laughing.

Moxie laughs so hard she tips over into Sam’s lap, which he didn’t expect. But he doesn’t flinch. Instead he has a perfectly acceptable reason to gently slip arms around her. It doesn’t mean anything. Totally not.

Mr. De Lainey and Jack peer over the bench.

“They’re so freaking cute,” Jack says.

Mr. De Lainey’s voice is mild as always. “I’m off to shower, but try to get dinner on soon. Goodbye, embarrassed noodles.”

The embarrassed noodles on the floor make distressed sounds as Mr. De Lainey heads for the stairs.

Jack is still smirking as he hauls himself up on the bench, shedding sawdust and grime. He plucks a peeled potato off the stack and bites it.

Jeremy picks himself off the floor and looks disgusted at his twin. “You are an animal. Alright, up children.” He nudges Moxie in the ribs with his toe. “Be useful.”

Moxie is still buried in Sam’s lap. “I can’t show my face again.”

“Make her movie, Sammy,” Jeremy says.

Sam carefully sweeps Moxie’s dark chocolate curls away from her ear. His whisper is sweet gold and Moxie stifles a giggle as she pushes off him and they both get to their feet.

Jeremy watches with a dubious expression. “Hm, alright, wait. What did you say to her? Something racy? Because if so, I will have to beat someone with a potato masher. Probably myself. Because ew.”

Moxie flounces over to the pantry for more potatoes. “None of your business, Jeremy.”

Jeremy exchanges a hurt expression with Jack who helpfully offers him the potato masher.

Sam slips back to the pile of potatoes, tips of his ears still red. He tries to keep his voice breezy as he says, “Nothing. I just said she is a cute electrocuted noodle.”

“Oh but this is an adorable development,” Jeremy says with an eyebrow wiggle. “Calling each other cute. My, my. Whatever is next? True LOVE.”

Sam fumbles for potatoes, knocks them on the floor, feels his ears go volcanic red and then promptly wishes for death. He shouldn’t have said cute. He was just copying what Jack said. But OK, it sounded flirty from him. He’s not flirting. He wouldn’t…he…

Help.

“Like, I said, so adorable,” Jeremy says. “Look at your little blush! Aw!”

Moxie slams more potatoes into the sink and scowls at her older brother. “What would you know about love, dumbass? Your only love life is you and that potato.”

Jeremy caresses a potato gently. “Potatoes are better than boyfriends anyway.”

“Nobody thinks that,” says Moxie.

Jack stops eating his gross raw potato and points the masher at Sam. “Right, you. Potatoes or Moxie?”

“Man, don’t ask me things like that.” Sam chases the potatoes he dropped and it’s only when he’s set them back on the bench that he notices Jeremy choking on silent laughter and Moxie’s expression is brittle.

“You better say something romantic,” Jeremy says, gasping, “to make up for that.”

Sam panics. “Um, I mean, they’re on the same level. Equal appreciation.”

“That was not romantic,” Moxie snaps.

“What are you saying? It was super romantic.”

“Sam, no.”

Jeremy loops an arm around both their necks and drags them into an uncomfortable hug. Moxie fights. Sam gets far too close to Jeremy’s armpit.

“Let’s just make a unanimous decision,” Jeremy says grandly. “Potatoes are better than romance.”

Sam and Moxie shove him off before he tries to kiss their cheeks. Moxie gives her brother a foul look and then she and Sam go back to peeling potatoes. Dinner is going to be so, so late. Sam takes a careful step closer to Moxie so their arms brush. She doesn’t move away. He passes her a potato so their fingers catch for a second.

“Are you trying to romance me, young man?” she says.

“You’re my favourite potato,” he whispers.

She throws a potato peel at him. A smile plays on her lips and she doesn’t look away from him for a long time.

A massive massive thank you to the publishers and for C.G. Drews for sharing this with us! I just adore it! I WANT MORE FROM THESE GUYS. 

If you’re intrigued then PLEASE GO OUT AND BUY THE BOOK. It is so incredibly wonderful. I promise you, you will love it… I proper did. 

TBWSH Blog Tour

S x

COVER REVEAL: Dino Knights

Hello! Happy 2 post Friday (watch out for my other post going live this afternoon!)

Today I am thrilled to share with you a cover of a new book coming out! A while back the brilliant people of Awesome Reads got in touch to tell me about a new book that they were publishing and asked if I’d be interested in sharing the cover… I of course said yes! I was sold when I heard it was a brand-new series set in medieval times with a twist – dinosaurs still exist and roam freely across the human world. Dinosaurs and medieval times? WINNER WINNER.

DINO KNIGHTS

Title: Dino Knights

Author: Jeff Norton

Release date: June 6th

Short synopsis: Imagine medieval times where the dinosaurs never went extinct. When dinosaur stable boy Henry Fairchild stops a vicious T-Rex from attacking his master, he is invited to join the most elite group in Brecklan, the brave Knights of Panterra, the Dino Knights. But before he can prove himself, the enemies of Brecklan attack with a flock of pterodactyls and kidnap Lord Harding. Whether he’s ready or not, Henry and the Dino Knights mount a daring rescue mission…but nothing is what it seems.

Link for pre-order: https://awesomereads.com/book/dino-knights/

Massive thank you to the publishers for inviting me to be part of this cover reveal! I’m loving it! Dinosaurs and swords: what more could a girl ask for?! Watch out for the blog tour in June!

S x

Twenty Questions tag

WELL HELLO PALS.

It is Tuesday. I’m doing a tag. I LOVE A TAG. Do you love a tag? Do you like reading tags? I love reading other people’s answers to tags… they’re such fun!

Today’s tag is the 20 questions tag. I found this as I was perusing the Queen of all Blogging: PaperFury’s blog. I’ve seen other people do it too, but I found it on Cait’s blog. If you’d like to see that post, check it out here. Feel free to join in!

HOW MANY BOOKS ARE TOO MANY FOR A SERIES?

Am I in charge? I love a 3.
Maybe 4.
Definitely no more than 5 is MY ideal though. Any more than that and I am OUT. (This explains why I’ve not read any Cassie Clare guys!)

I think 3 is the perfect amount to get invested and then get satisfaction from. I do love a duology too, but I ALWAYS WANT MORE CAUSE I LOVE ALL THE BOOKS. But no more than 3/4 really.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT CLIFFHANGERS?

OH GOLLY GOSH. If I know there’s going to be another book, then I can live with that… but if it’s a stand alone… NO.

Cliff hangers are just not good for my little heart (see: they make me feel all of the feels which I love but then I yearn for more books INSTANTLY)

HARDCOVER OR PAPERBACK?

Paperback EVERY SINGLE DAY. But I do love the occasional hard back. I don’t own many, but the ones I do own are special to me.

FAVOURITE BOOK?

Lol, who do you think you’re talking to? JUST ONE? LOLOLOLOL. I can give you a few?

LEAST FAVOURITE BOOK?

I just don’t have one? I don’t see the point in being all NEGATIVE NORA about the shop. So no thanks… next!

LOVE TRIANGLES, YES OR NO?

Dear God, no.

THE MOST RECENT BOOK YOU COULDN’T FINISH?

I tend to finish everything I start? I’m not a DNF’er because I think EVERY book is worth finishing.

A BOOK YOU’RE CURRENTLY READING?

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Meat Market by Juno Dawson. SO GOOD. I am 200 pages in and I WANT TO KEEP READING MAN.

LAST BOOK YOU RECOMMENDED TO SOMEONE?

Ooooh… *checks twitter* Rumblestar by Abi Elphinstone. It’s not even out yet, haha!

OLDEST BOOK YOU’VE READ BY PUBLICATION DATE?

Who even knows!

NEWEST BOOK YOU’VE READ BY PUBLICATION DATE?

Hmmmm… probably Rumblestar by Abi Elphinstone again. That’s not out til May!

FAVOURITE AUTHOR?

Can we change that to auto-buy authors?! Melinda Salisbury, Sara Barnard, Katherine Webber, Maz Evans, Kiran Milwood Hargrave, Abi Elphinstone. ALL women, cause women power!

BUYING BOOKS OR BORROWING BOOKS?

I’m a buyer… because most of the books I buy then get transferred to the school library, or my classroom library!

A BOOK YOU DISLIKE THAT EVERYONE SEEMS TO LOVE?

I wasn’t a MASSIVE Caraval fan. It just moved really slowly?!

BOOKMARKS OR DOG EARS?

Something that weirds my friend Kelly out about me is that I just REMEMBER what page I’m up to. I do own bookmarks, but I never seem to have one with me! I would NEVER fold a page over. Who would even do that? (My friend Charlotte that’s who… she’s a bad person, but I love her and accept her despite her faults haha!)

A BOOK YOU CAN ALWAYS RE-READ?

Matilda. It’s probably the only book I’ve ever reread. I do plan on rereading all of Melinda Salisbury’s books this summer though.

CAN YOU READ WHILE LISTENING TO MUSIC?

Another weird factoid about me… I can read and listen to music if I’m travelling on a bus/train/car/aeroplane etc. but I can’t if I’m in bed reading. It’s a very bizarre thing, I know.

ONE POV OR MULTIPLE?

I do love a multiple perspective, but they have to be written well.

DO YOU READ A BOOK IN ONE SITTING OR OVER MULTIPLE DAYS?

I LOVE A BINGE READ. I tend to read over the space of a few days – it’s just how my life works. During the holidays however… gimme that 3 hour reading binge of one book.

WHO DO YOU TAG?

ALL OF YOU, lol. So Charlotte, that’s you.

S x

 

NYA Lit Fest

On Saturday, I had the utter joy of going to Preston for the second year of the NYA Literature Festival. (We’ll forgive the fact I had to be up at 5am and that there was some SERIOUS train anxiety going around coming home… I did get home at the time I was expecting, do not fear!) 

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I did a blog post a few weeks ago about all of the panels, and it was even better than I thought it could possibly be! It was a jam packed day of my favourite authors, some brilliant blogger friends and just a lush environment of book love!

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When we got to Preston, we got to the venue (a change from the venue last year and a massively better venue!) and were promptly given a stamp and told to go and have a root around. We went straight to the first panel, which saw Will Hill and M.A Bennett talking all things thriller books! That was a great panel to hear Will and M.A talk about their books and what they think makes a good thriller book. Exciting news when they both filled us in on the fact that there will be 5 S.T.A.G.S books and Will told us the synopis for his new bookdrug cartel, Mexican city and a missing family member. I’m looking forward to this massively!

If you haven’t read After The Fire, then PLEASE DO. It is incredible. I have prompty added STAGS to my TBR list!

Next up was one of the panels that I was most excited for: Feminism in Fantasy featuring some of my absolute favourites. Melinda Salisbruy (duh!) was chairing the panel featuring (the absolutely gorgeous) Laure Eve, (always brilliant) Samantha Shannon and debut author Rose Edwards. What ensued was an incredible talk all about feminism in fantasy, the different ways it is shaped and some great moments. A particular highlight was when someone asked the old “strong female character” question – many laughs were had around the room (for those who aren’t sure about this, check out Samantha Shannon’s twitter… she has THOUGHTS about this trope!) Promptly after this panel, I had to go and say hi to Mel (as usual, she had one of the longest signing queues!) 

I would whole heartedly reading anything by Mel, The Graces and The Curses by Laure Eve and, if you’re looking for something pretty epic, The Priory of the Orange Tree will keep you busy for a while! I’ve added The Harm Tree by Rose to my TBR too!

After the signing, it was time for a little spot of lunch. A massive change from the last time I was at NYA Lit Fest was that the university cafeteria was open, so we were able to have some food! I had the curry and it was delicious. Once I’d finished my lunch, I managed to sneak into the Inclusivity panel with the brilliant Aimee Felone – of Knights Of fame – talking to a fantastic mix of authors about all things diversity and inclusivity. It was fascinating listening to Non Pratt, Mel Darbon, Bali Rai and A.J.Hartley talking about their books and the issues their books deal with.

I would definitely recommend picking up Non’s books – they’re just so brilliant. After this panel, I’ve added a few books on my “to borrow” list from the library!

The second last panel of the day was brilliantly name Shame-less in YA. The gorgeous (and very pregnant) Katherine Webber was chatting with Laura Steven, Tamsin Winter and Melvin Burgess about all things shame. Shame is such a complex emotion, so it’s brilliant that it’s discussed in books in different and interesting stories in YA. I really enjoyed listening to the different interpretations of shame in their books. It was so insightful listening to the different authors talk about how their characters deal with shame and what it means to be “shamed”. One of my favourite takeaways from this panel was that (as Katherine Webber rightly said) we need two different words: one for shame the innocent feel and one for the shame that the guilty SHOULD feel. 

Again, I would COMPLETELY recommend both of Katie’s YA books (Wing Jones and Only Love Can Bread Your Heart) and you DEFINITELY need to get on The Exact Opposite of Okay and A Girl Called Shameless by Laura Steven. 

The final panel of the day came about and I was not ready for how emotional it would make me feel. Lisa Williamson was chatting with Sara Barnard, Alice Broadway, Akemi Dawn Bowman and Alexandra Sheppard about mental health in YA. I loved that there was representation for fantasy books, contemporary books and funny books on this one panel – so often we think of only contemporary books talking about mental health. This panel was just exceptional: talking about authors mental health, the importance of normalising the talk about mental health and the representation for everyone in books. I definitely did a little cry during this panel.

I’d recommend ALL OF THE BOOKS from these authors. I could be here a while listing them… so go and treat yourself. There’s something from all of these authors for everything! 

After this panel, there was one last signing and then we trotted off to the train station to catch out (very delayed) train home!

A massive massive congraulations to the organisers for this event. It was run so brilliantly and I was SO SO HAPPY to see so many of my favourite authors and some of my favourite bookish people in the same building! I can’t wait to see what the next NYA Lit Fest will look like! Bring it on!

Did you attend NYA Lit Fest?
What’s your dream panel to listen to?
If you could organise a bookish event, what would it be?

Talk to me! (Well done for getting though all 1000 words of this! You deserve a star!)

S x

Three bookish things tag…

Well hello there tag! It has been a while since I did a tag… however when Charlotte Somewhere tags you, you do not ignore the calling. 

I’m taking on the ‘Three Bookish Things’ tag today! Check out my answers, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Three Read Once and Loved Authors

Queen Mel – we all know I have a STRONG LOVE for Melinda Salisbury books. I just think she is wonderful: human and author. 

Matt Haig – I first read Reasons to Stay Alive and it changed something for me. Once I’d read that, I read all of his other books in the space of a few months and man am I glad. His books are INCREDIBLE. I can not recommend enough. 

Maz Evans – when I read Who Let The Gods Out? I knew that I had found an authoir of kids books that was going to entertain me for many many books to come. Plus, she’s an absolutely stellar human!

Three Titles I’ve Watched but Haven’t Read

The Hobbit – well.. I read it when I was younger, so literally no recollection of the book when I saw the films. 

Les Miserables – HAVE YOU SEEN HOW LONG THAT BOOK IS? I am not going to pick that bad boy up.

The Jungle Book – I totally forgot that was a book! I have not read it, but I thoroughly enjoyed the Disney film.

Three Characters You Love

Kaz Brekker – because he’s Kaz Brekker

Luvian Fen – because he’s annoying, charming, handsome, clever, wily… he’s like the most villainous secret softie you could ever come across.

Izzy O’Neill – she’s brave, bold, hilarious…

God… I am predictable.

Three Series Binged

Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom – I read these MANY MOONS after everyone told me I needed to and my golly gosh, they’re BRILLIANT.

The Paper Magician trilogy – GUYS STOP SLEEPING ON THIS SERIES. It is SO SO GOOD. 

Coco Pinchard series – ME TALKING ABOUT BOOKS THAT AREN’T MG OR YA? Who am I? In all seriousness, these books are REALLY bloody funny. I loved Coco Pinchard so much.

Three Unpopular Bookish Opinions

Harry Potter isn’t life – I didn’t read them til I was an adult… so while I appreciate them, I’m not an obsessive.

Katniss Everdeen can DIAF – I have a REAL dislike for this girl. I don’t know why. I think she’s ungrateful and entitled. Please don’t @ me on this. I can’t be bothered to talk about it haha.

GIMME DEM SPOILERS – I genuinely don’t mind a spoiler. It takes away the anxiety from what is coming in a book. 

Three Favourite Book Covers

Three Goals for this Year

Ensure I keep reading wherever and whenever I have time.

Only blog about things that bring me joy.

Stop worrying about EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME (lol ikr?!)

And that’s it! I’m not going to tag anyone, but if you want to do it, please feel free! 

Do my answers shock anyone?
Would you have guessed these things for me?
Do you have any different 3 questions for me to answer?

S x 

#CelebrateYA

HELLO.

IT IS ME. Your resident YA loving bookworm. 

Recently, there’s been a lot of MEH-ness about YA books and its decline (?? not in my life lols). I saw this tweet from the brilliant YA author Lisa Williamson and thought ‘YES. I WANT TO BE PART OF THIS MOVEMENT.’

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So here I am today to do just that… I am HERE to celebrate YA. To shout about how brilliant it is, how necessary it is, recommend some of my favourite YA books of the past few years and to inspire you all to go out and either share your favourite YA books OR to just pick up something new. Your local Waterstones will have a YA section, go and explore… I guarantee you’ll find something that you’ll love.

So, why YA?

I get asked this question A LOT. “Why do you, as an adult, read books marketed at teens and young adults?” and the simple answer is because YA books are BLOODY MARVELLOUS.

YA books don’t shy away from some pretty tough subjects. If I think of some of my favourite YA books they’re about hard hitting topics: love, loss, heartbreak, friendships, OCD, manipulation, empowerment.

YA books MOVE so much faster than adult books. The pacing, the characters, the plots… they’re just SO MUCH MORE INTERESTING.

YA books start conversations. If you look at The Hate U Give for example (a book I still haven’t read… I know, I might be the only YA reader IN THE WORLD who hasn’t!) that had a BIG impact. That made people start talking. Another example of a book that got my little twitter YA worls talking is the brilliant The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven. This book deserves ALL of the praise it gets. It is BLOODY incredible and makes some REALLY bloody important points.

YA books will make you think, feel and want to act. We all know I cry at every book (that’s just who I am) but some of the books that have hit me the hardest have been YA books. If I think about Countless by Karen Gregory for example… man, I read that book almost 2 years ago and STILL now it makes me tear up. They don’t just make me cry though. They make me angry, they make me laugh, they make me hopeful.

YA is doing a lot for representation. People want to be seen. People want to have their stories heard. Finding yourself represented in a book can change a lot of things. Last year I read a book that I remember vividly feeling seen and MY GOD it was a bit of a punch in the face. For so long, books have been written about the same group of people and YA is slowly changing that. I know what it’s like to be seen, I know how important it can be. The brilliant people of Stripes have published an anthology full of LGBTQ+ books and it’s going to make waves.

There are so so many other reasons why you should read YA. I will stand on this I LOVE YA pedestal whether anyone is listening or not.

So, where do I start?

Now, just because I recommend these books doesn’t mean these are the only books that you should read because LET’S BE REAL there are so so many, but here are some of my absolute favourites (authors/stories) from the past few years. Some of these won’t be a surprise to long time readers of my blog, some of them may!

In there you have books that will make you laugh, cry, anger you, move you, make you think about life. You have representation of all sorts of relationships. You’ve got books which span genres. You’ve got books from some of my favourite authors in the world. There’s books there that changed something for me. There’s books I’ve read that I’ve felt seen in. There’s books that have made me change my thinking about things.

I loved them all and they’re ALL YA.

OK, so I could keep going. I really could. I won’t. I want this to be a conversation, not Steph’s Lecture on Why YA is Something The World Needs. Talk to me. Why do you want to #celebrateYA?

Every day this month, I pledge to #celebrateYA. Starting tomorrow (Valentines Day) I’m going to #celebrateYA by sharing one YA book I love!

Now let’s keep the conversation going:

What was the last YA book you read?
What’s the next YA book you’re going to read?
Why do you think we need to #celebrateYA?

I really really want the conversation about YA to continue. So talk to me, tweet, whatever. Get it out there that YA is a thing and we need it to stay a thing!

S x

An Amazing Blog Tour

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Today I have the ABSOLUTE joy of being part of the Amazing blog tour. I was so incredibly lucky to be asked to host a Q&A with the incredibly brilliant Steve Antony – author and illustrator extraordinare.

As soon as I knew I was doing a Q&A, it was inevitable that I had to get my kids involved, so they helped me write the questions (there were SO many they had, so I had to whittle it down!)

Check out the questions and some brilliant responses from the man himself! 

What’s your favourite thing about going to schools?

Apart from chomping biscuits and nattering with teachers in the staff room, I always enjoy seeing all the artwork that classes have created. Whether it be acrylic self-portraits, cardboard dioramas, character pumpkins or even something as simple as paper snowflakes, I really do believe that art brings a school to life.

Funniest memory of visiting schools?

The funniest moments come during Q&A. Children don’t have filters, do they? The younger the audience the odder the questions. Is the Queen your granny? Are you Ed Sheeran? Why don’t you comb your hair?

Also, being greeted by over 200 children (and teachers) dressed as pandas on World Book Day was something I will never forget.

What memories do you have of reading as a child?

Most of my earliest and clearest memories of reading take me back to my school library. I remember that feeling of being surrounded by hundreds of stories just waiting to be discovered. I was never a fast reader and I preferred books with pictures, I still do, but there was something empowering about just being in my school library. Sadly, many children may never know that feeling, which is why the #GreatSchoolLibraries campaign is so important. The campaign aims to bring school libraries and librarians back to every school in the UK, because every child deserves a great library. You can find out more about the Great School Libraries campaign at: http://www.greatschoollibraries.edublogs.org

I also have fond memories of our public library. That’s where I discovered some of my favourite authors and Illustrators.

Do you remember the first book you read as a child that made you want to write?

Even as a very young child I loved to draw. But it was picture books like Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and The Munch Bunch (created by Barrie and Elizabeth Henderson and illustrated by Angela Mitson) that inspired me to imagine my own characters and tell stories with drawings.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I believe that inspiration is everywhere, but you have to tune in to it. I like to prove this theory in my story-building workshops. By the end of each workshop almost everybody has an idea for a story, and some even have synopses!

Books are a fantastic source of inspiration, which is why the library is the perfect place to feel inspired. Many of my stories were inspired by something I’d seen in a book, magazine or newspaper.

What is your typical writing routine? From first draft to final draft?

People often think I spend all day writing and drawing, but there’s so much involved in being an author and illustrator. In fact, last week I only spent around 5 hours working on my next picture book because the rest of my time was spent on emails, events, my website, blogs, taxes and marketing. As part of this blog tour, I wrote a ‘Day in the Life’ guest post for Acorn Books, which you might find interesting. https://acornbooksblog.wordpress.com

It takes about 4-5 months to start and finish a picture book. Normally my publisher will select a couple of ideas from my sketchbook for me to develop (this usually happens when I’m at the tail- end stages of finishing another picture book). In order to develop ideas into stories I do need plenty of time and space to breath because I find it hard to tap into my imagination during busy spells. I normally get a gut feeling if a story is working or not. As a general rule it has to feel easy, and if ever I feel like I’m rowing upstream, I let go of the oars. Once I’m happy with my story concept, I move on to character development, pacing and paginating. This can take weeks or months. The very last stage involves drawing the final artwork and tweaking the text, which can take anywhere up to three months.

What’s next for you?

Magic Light Pictures are currently developing the Mr Panda cartoon series, which is incredibly exciting. I’ve got more books in the pipeline, including a brand-new character that I’ve yet to create! The next Mr Panda book, We Love You, Mr Panda, comes out later in the year. I’ll soon be meeting with Swindon Libraries to discuss the next borough-wide art completion (I hold at least one art contest with them per year). Also, I hope to start writing a chapter book soon, but not even my publisher knows that yet! But before any of that happens, I’m going on my honeymoon, because I just got married!

It’s only day 3 of this blog tour and it has already been amazing (no pun intended!). Go check out the other blog posts so far, and watch out for the rest of the posts coming in the next few days! I am so incredibly excited for this book.

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Massive massive thank you to the brilliant people of Hachette Kids for asking me to be on this blog tour and Steve Antony for answering our questions! My kids and I had such a blast, and it’s been a pleasure reading Steve’s answers. I’ll be sharing them with my kids at some point today! 

S x