BLOG TOUR: International Yeti Collective

Morning friends and yeti alike! 

How are we all?

Today we have a post with double the whammy… author content and a book review in one go! How very lucky are you all? 

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As part of the blog tour for International Yeti Collective by Paul Mason, I was invited to share my thoughts on the book as well as share some of Paul’s top tips for how to make a change in the world. I always love when an author has the good of the world on their radar. I think it’s such an important thing to care about… if there were no world, there’d be no readers, no books and no way to spread bookish love! 

Small steps for big change: Your top 5 tips

  1. Food waste across the world creates a huge amount of climate-changing gases. Help your family plan the menu, and shop for just the things you need.
  2. On the same note: start a school compost heap, worm farm or Bokashi bin for your green waste and food scraps. Keep them out of the landfill and turn them into something useful for the garden.
  3. Encourage your parents to buy keep cups for coffee. Use a re-usable drinking bottle for water.
  4. Take string bags to the supermarket for your fruit and veg.
  5. Remember to do what you can, whenever you can. There is a proverb: if you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.

I love these tips because they’re just little things we can do to make a massive difference in the world that we live on! 

The International Yeti Collective: adventure, unlikely friendship and a whole host of fun!

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“Ella is in the Himalayas with her uncle searching for yeti. But what seems like the adventure of a lifetime is cut short when she realizes that these secretive creatures might not want to be found. Tick knows it’s against yeti law to approach humans. So when some arrive on the mountain, why does he find himself peering through the trees to get a closer look? What Tick doesn’t know is that his actions will set off a series of events that threaten the existence of yeti all over the world. What can he do to make things right? Just when all hope seems lost, help comes in the most unexpected form…”

As soon as I heard about this book, I knew I needed it in my life. An adventure through the mountains to look for yeti? A brave little girl who finds out secrets? Yes please. I waited very patiently for this to arrive in my house and as soon as it arrived I was besotted. It took me a little while to read because I didn’t want it to be over! 

Yeti Collective follows the story of Ella, a young girl who is spending her time off school with her Uncle Jack (a nature documentary maker). He’s been hunting for yeti for years but has had no success yet… but that’s all about to change. While in the Himalayas, Ella starts dreaming about seeing these elusive and secretive creatures for herself, but she ends up doing a lot more than just seeing them! It’s up to Ella to have to try and save them from humans, and maybe from her very own family! 

This book is also told from the perspective of Tick, a young yeti who never really felt like he fit in with his yeti group. His mum was banished for being too curious about humans. Tick has gained his mother’s curiosity and when he spots Ella, he knows he needs to find out more. When the elders in his yeti community find out about his betrayal of one of their most important rules, Tick is himself pulled in front of them. Just like his mam, Tick is banished from the sett and this brings about one of the wildest and most wonderful adventures of his life. One that’s going to make Tick’s and Ella’s worlds collide. One which is going to see Tick becoming an unlikely hero. 

Ella is a wonderful main character. She’s brave and feisty. She shows that being curious and kind is important. She shows us that it’s important to look after the world, even if everyone around you is screaming for you to think of themselves first. Tick shows us that it’s never too late to stand up for yourself and that friendship is important.  These two characters are surrounded by wonderful, and sometimes not so wonderful, influences and how they live out their story is one that’s gorgeous to read. 

I absolutely adored this book. It’s funny, it’s sweet, it’s kind, it’s really bloody cleverly written. The names of the yeti in this story kept me constantly chuckling. I didn’t realise I’d get so emotionally invested in this book as I did. It’s one of those worlds where being lost in it feels like you’re experiencing something for the first time. I really loved the illustrations throughout from Katy Riddell too! We all know I love a good picture to add to a story, so seeing these dotted throughout the story made my heart so happy. 

My Goodreads review:

This is a proper adventure. Humans searching for Yeti; a young yeti trying desperately to hide his curiosity and ambition to find his mam; a trip around the world. I can not wait for more! I loved all of the little jokes in the Yeti names in particular.

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A massive massive thank you to publishers Stripes for inviting me to be on this blog tour and for sending me a review copy of the book. It’s books like this that make me so glad to be reading kids books! Go check out the rest of the blog tour because there are so many gorgeous posts already! Plus, it’s publication day tomorrow! Go out and buy this book and go on a yeti adventure yourself!

Would you be a good yeti hunter?
What would you do if you set eyes on something that’s never been seen before?
What tips do you have for looking after our world?

Talk to me. I’d love to put together a post full of tips for being more eco-friendly!

S x 

 

September in books

Hello there everyone!

How are we doing? Happy October to you all!

Now, I’ll be honest with you, I’m not a massive fan of this time of year because I do NOT like the dark mornings and dark nights. Plus, I am NOT a fan of Halloween. So you know… if we could just skip October and go to Christmas time, that would be LUSH! 

I’m here today to share the books I got reading in September! I was very surprised that I managed to read as many as I did… although I am VERY sad I didn’t read any YA. I’m hoping October will change that!

In September, I:

Got back to school
Was tired every single day
Studied The Day The Crayons Quit with my class (and loved it)
Mourned the loss of the sunshine and the light mornings
Discovered my love for illustrated chapter books 
Got to introduce my new class to some brilliant authors
Read 9 books

I only read MG books, so I guess that’s where we’re starting (and ending!)

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I had an awful lot of fun with these stories in September. Meeting new characters and new settings, being reacquainted with some favourites and discovering some wonderful new authors! This is a gorgeous mix of books which would cater to new readers and established readers. 

The Battle For Perfect Review
Reviews of illustrated chapter books

Reviews for Amelia Fang and International Yeti collective to come next week: watch this space!

And that’s it. Fingers crossed I read more YA in October, but I’m very much enjoying reading whatever it is that I want! 

HOW AM I DOING FOR MY BOOK CHALLENGES?

GOODREADS CHALLENGE: 114/52
#52BOOKS CHALLENGE (JUST KIDS BOOKS): 59/52

This was short and sweet, but thanks for stopping by! Talk to me in the comments!

How did you do with your reading in September? 
What were your stand out books from last month?
What are you still dying to read from this year?

What would you recommend me from your 2019 reading list?

S x 

BLOG TOUR: The Deathless Girls

Hello one and all! 

Today, I come to you with a post for the blog tour of The Deathless Girls by Kiran Milwood Hargrave. As long time readers of this blog will know, I am a massive fan of Kiran’s children’s books, so when I heard she was wrting her first YA book I was ABSOLUTELY BLOODY DELIGHTED. Fast forward to an email the publishers sent me about being on the blog tour, I was over the moon. I am here today with a review which does Kiran’s sheer wonder no justice!

The Deathless Girls: delicious, fierce and dark. 

(forgive my shoddy camera work, I wanted to show you all the gorgeous gold foiling!)

“Seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are brutally snatched one night, taken far from the travelling community they so love. Their abductor is the cruel Boyar Valcar who sells them to a castle kitchen where they are forced to work as slaves. Lil befriends fellow slave Mira, a girl she’s inexplicably drawn to, and the pair comfort each other, drawing strength from their friendship to help cope with the awful situation they have been put into. She learns of the mythical Dragon – a creature which is rumoured to accept young girls as gifts.”

The Deathless Girls is one of those lovely stories that comes along telling an untold story. Telling the story of Dracula from a different perspective, The Deathless Girls tells the story of twins Kizzy and Lil, who are travellers awaiting their time. Their time of divining that will allow them to learn all about what is to come for them: their time to learn their fate. Everything seems to go a bit awry and tragedy really does come after the twins. When they’re kidnapped and taken by Boyar Valcar, they’re made to work in his castle and he lords over them. This all changes when they start hearing whispers about the so-called Dragon: a mysterious man who takes girls as his gifts. What will become of our girls? 

Now, let me preface this review with a thing: I’ve NEVER read Dracula. It’s one of my mam’s favourite stories, but it is one I have never got around to. Don’t let this put you off because reading this I didn’t need to know much about the story of Dracula. You could read this as a fan of Dracula, or, like me, not know that much about it at all (except for there’s a vampire).

One of the things I loved most about this book was that despite the sheer darkness that seeps through the pages, it’s a story about female friendship, hope, love and loyalty. The sisters go through a lot and they never give up. They meet some incredible characters along the way who help them to see they’re brave and fierce. I wanted to be friends with a lot of the women in this story. A girl can never have too many good friends. The sisters go through a journey of discovery through the book, like we all do. We all learn about ourselves and its that journey that makes this book really gorgeous. It’s dangerous and it’s dark, while at the same time being light and hope. It’s learning and it’s trying to forget. It’s standing out while trying to hide. 

One of the things I love most about Kiran’s books is the incredible way in which she builds a world. Reading Kiran’s books is like stepping into a world you never dreamt you’d visit. It’s stepping into beautifully crafted words and an almost lyrical narrative that you get lost in. You might be sitting in a Starbucks, or on a bus, or wherever you are but you’re transported through the magic of words and intention into the world of the castle, of the forest. It’s a world to get hooked on before you even realise you’re hooked. It’s so rich and detailed. It’s so beautifully done that you want to be there (I mean without the scary vampire thanks).

I think what stood out to me about this book was the lack of Dracula himself. The women in the story are the important characters and that in itself shows how wonderful this book is. Books which celebrate women and our strength, determination, compassion and love for one another need to be shared. You go into this book for what you think is vampires and what you get out of it is a story about how badass women are… even when fear and uncertainty takes away that dogged determinedness. 

A gripping tale about the fierceness of love, sisterhood and fear. Haunting, dark and fierce!

My Goodreads review:

Man, Kiran continues to just write belter after belter. This is brilliant. A telling of the life of the sisters in Dracula. A gripping tale about the fierceness of love, sisterhood and fear. Haunting, dark and fierce! As someone who knows very little about Dracula, I was worried I’d get lost, but I didn’t at all. Whether you’re a Dracula fan or not, this is WELL worth a read!

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave is out now, published by Hachette Children’s Group, priced £12.99 in hardback.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave author image

KIRAN MILLWOOD HARGRAVE is an award-winning poet, playwrightand bestselling novelist. Her debut novel for children, The Girl of Ink and Stars, won the Waterstones Book Prize and the Children’s Book of the Year at the British Book Awards. Her work has been long and short-listed for several other major prizes, including the Costa Award and the CILIP Carnegie Award. The Deathless Girls is her first novel for Young Adults. Kiran Millwood Hargrave is a graduate of both Oxford and Cambridge universities and lives by the river in Oxford with her husband and cat. (Shout out to Luna, the best cat around)

A massive massive thank you to Hachette for sending me a review copy of the book and for inviting me on the blog tour. This book needs to be read by everyone – Dracula fans and non-Dracula fans alike! 

Have you read The Deathless Girls?
Are you also dying over that cover?
Is there anyone’s story you’d like to hear?

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

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S x 

 

BOOK BLOG: Sophie Anderson

The Girl Who Speaks Bear: storytelling at its finest

Image(proof copy: see further down for the finished copy)

“Found abandoned in a bear cave as a baby, 12-year-old Yanka has always felt out of place in her small village. When she wakes up to find that her legs have become bear legs, she sets off into the forest to discover who she is, on a journey that takes her from icy rivers to smouldering mountains, with an ever-growing group of misfits alongside her… Interwoven with traditional stories of bears, princesses and dragons, Yanka’s journey is a gorgeously lyrical adventure from the best-selling author of The House With Chicken Legs.”

The Girl Who Speaks Bear tells the story of twelve-year-old Yanka who constantly feels out of place in her tiny village. She knows she’s different to the people around her. She was found abandoned in a bear cave as a baby and feels the tug of the forest calling out to her. When something happens to her which is unexplainable, she sets out on a journey of discovery. She’s desperate to know who she is, where she came from and how she got to where she is today. 

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Now, I must preface this review with… I read this months ago and my notes have been sitting in my notebook ever since. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because, like other books that I have absolutely adored, I worry that my review won’t do this book, this beautifuly, incredible, book, any justice. 

This review could quite easily just be a list of statements starting with “I loved” because there was so so much I loved about it.

Sophie is one of those authors who manages to weave and wind a story with so many intricacies and a beautiful narrative without you feeling like you’ve lost the path. She showed us that in House With Chicken Legs and has done it again in Bear.

In this story, there’s traditional Russian folks stories dotted throughout and this addition created for me a whole host of intrigue, and added delight and wonder to the story. I love a story which contains other stories. I found myself off researching and reading other Russian folk tales once I’d finished because I wanted to know more. It takes a special kind of author to write stories within stories and do it successfully. Beautiful storytelling is giving the reader what they didn’t even know they wanted and that’s what I got with Bear.

This is a story about love, what it means to be human, family and finding yourself. 

While I love a narrative, I’m a big fan of a character. If I can’t/don’t love a character, it doesn’t matter how good the plot is. When you think of your favourite stories, it’s the chraracters that come to me first, then their adventures. In Bear, I got a main character who I connected with. I think she’s a character that adults and children alike will love for many years to come. The way she grows and questions through the story is just brilliant. Yanka kept me wanting to read on. I wanted to know more about her because I wanted her to find the answers to her questions. She’s a wonderful main character because she’s scared, but brave. She’s curious, yet quiet. She’s also got a wonderful bunch of characters around her… I have a particular love for Mousetrap (her house weasel friend). 

This book, with its wonderful characters and beautifully written words, is an absolute epic fantasy. It’s gentle and it’s bold. It’s brave and it’s quiet. It’s winter and warmth. It’s a total adventure. It’s princesses, dragons and we even get a shout out to Sophie’s other book House With Chicken Legs (which was something I absolutely adored). Put all of these things together and you get something that I think will be a massive hit for a long time. 

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A massive shout out to Usborne for their pre-order offer that they were running. If you preordered the book, they sent you a hand stamped print of the front cover. I absolutely love it. I can’t possibly part with it, so it’s living in my Matilda frame until I get it its own picture frame. 

My goodreads review:

Storytelling at its very finest. Brilliant characters, beautiful worlds, exciting adventures and powerful messages. I just adored this. Yanka is a character that kids and adults will adore, and relate to! You can’t beat a bit of finding yourself and your people (or animals) with a good bit of story woven together. Just bloody brilliant.

And there you have it. Did you get from my review that I loved this book? I hope you did because I really loved this book. I think it’s special. 

Have you read The Girl Who Speaks Bear?
Can you recommend me any books which have stories written into them?
What’s your favourite thing about a book?

Talk to me, I’d love to know your thoughts!

S x 

BOOK BLOG: Illustrated chapter books round up!

Hello there!

How are you today? 

Do you want to know a little secret? On Saturday, I read 6 books and it was JOYOUS. They were all short, illustrated chapter books and I had such a wonderful few hours just indulging in books.

I thought it would be LUSH to share with your a little round up of these books because I enjoyed them all SO MUCH. I can’t wait to take them all in to the kids at school who are just growing their reading stamina!

Isadora Moon Puts On A Show – Harriet Muncaster

“It’s almost time for the vampire ball, and Isadora can’t wait! There’s just one problem: she’s got to compete in a talent show with the other vampire children. Isadora’s talents aren’t very vampire-y, what if the audience laugh at her? The show must go on, but will Isadora be brave enough to perform…?”

I love the Isadora Moon books: they’re a perfect starting point for readers who are just taking on chapter books. They’re beautifully illustrated and Isadora is a brilliant main character. In this book, she has to take on something scary: performing in front of people! She doesn’t want to do it because the thing she loves the most isn’t a very vampire-y thing to love! When she meets a new friend, she realises that being yourself and showing people what you love is more powerful than pretending to love something else. A lush message to deliver to kids and a really bloody wonderfully illustrated book!

Kitty and the Moonlight Rescue/Kitty and the Tiger Treasure – Paula Harrison

“MEET KITTY! Girl by day. Cat by night. Ready for Adventure. Kitty’s family has a secret. Her mom is a hero with catlike superpowers, and Kitty knows that one day she’ll have special powers and the chance to use them, too. That day comes sooner than expected, when a friendly black cat named Figaro comes to Kitty’s bedroom window to ask for help. Is Kitty brave enough to step out into the darkness for a thrilling moonlight adventure?”

“Kitty can’t wait to see the priceless Golden Tiger statue with her own eyes. Kitty and her cat, Pumpkin, decide to sneak into the museum to see the statue at night, when no one else is around. But disaster strikes when the statue is stolen right in front of them! Can Kitty find the thief and return the precious statue before sunrise?”

I had seen these on Twitter and was delighted to receive copies. They tell the story of Kitty. At night, she becomes a cat-like superhero. I actually read these two books the wrong way around, but it didn’t really matter! I love when a series does that. These are really fun and beautifully illustrated by Jenny Lovlie. Kitty and her cat friends have to go on adventures to save the day: a missing tiger statue and a cat stuck at the top of a tall tower. Delivering wonderful messages about why it’s important to be brave, these books are sure to be quick hits at school!

Jasper and Scruff: Hunt for the Golden Bone by Nicola Colton

“As Jasper and Scruff prepare for a day in their new bookshop, a mysterious package is delivered, containing a rare book written by the great seafaring cat herself, Black Whiskers. Inside, they discover a treasure map, and together the friends set out on a quest to find the legendary golden bone. But little do they realize that their old enemies, the Sophisticats, might have a paw in things…”

Jasper and Scruff are two lush characters to have in a book because they’re SO different, but they are the best of friends AND they own a bookshop. I mean who wouldn’t want to see what adventures they get up to? In this book, they have to hunt a missing golden bone, but their attempts may be thwarted by the ever menacing baddies, the Sophisticats. I loved this. It’s just proper fun. This book would make a lush read aloud!  

Speedy Monkey by Jeanne Willis

“Deep in the rainforest all is peaceful, all is calm… Until Speedy Monkey comes along! Speedy can’t keep still – all day long he whoops and swoops, prances and dances. The other animals are tired of Speedy’s crazy capers and long for some peace and quiet. Then danger strikes and the animals have to act fast. But where is Speedy when they need him?”

With the beautifully illustrations from Chantelle and Burgen Thorne, this is story about a monkey who is loud and gets in his friend’s faces. He loves to play, joke and chat, while all around him his friends aren’t quite so energetic. This makes him feel like he doesn’t fit in and when one of his friends tricks him, he knows that something isn’t right. Despite all of this, when a storm comes Speedy Monkey uses his talents and saves the day! I loved that this book, as well as being really gorgeous to look at, had a great story and message too.

A Sea of Stories by Sylvia Bishop

“Whenever Roo visits Grandpa, she loves exploring the seaside cove near his cottage. But on her latest stay, Grandpa explains that he can’t go down there any more. Instead Grandpa tells Roo the stories behind the many objects that fill his house. All of Grandpa’s stories feature the cove and Roo realizes that now, even though they’re so close to the sea, Grandpa is cut off from it. Is there anything she can do to bring Grandpa to the place he loves the most?”

I bloody love a Sylvia Bishop book (if you haven’t read Erica’s Elephant or The Bookshop Girl then please get on it because they’re wonderful), so when I saw who wrote this I was PROPER over the moon. I love a good book surprise! This book is just as gorgeous as I was hoping for with the illustrations from Paddy Donnelly adding so much to the story. It tells the story of Roo and her Grandpa and how by just doing one little thing, you can change someone’s life. I loved that this book explored the importance of stories and how Grandpa shared his life with Roo through the things he’d collected through the years. 

And there you go! The 6 books I devoured on Saturday afternoon. These books would be perfect for emerging readers of like 5 or 6, or less confident readers who are slightly older. They’re going to be a total hit when I put them in the school library.

A massive thank you to the publishers OUP and Little Tiger for these review copies! We are very grateful and I can’t wait to get reviews from my own reading crew!

Can you recommend me any illustrated chapter books?
What’s your favourite kind of adventure to go on?

Speak to me! I’d love to know what you thought!

S x

August in books!

Hello there everyone!

How are we doing? Happy September to everyone! Happy back to school week to all of my teacher friends and parent friends! I hope you’ve all had a lovely Summer holiday. I tell you what, I did a LOT of reading! 

I’m here today to share the books I got reading in August! 

In August, I:

Enjoyed the Summer holidays.
Spent a lot of time eating delicious breakfasts and drinking yummy tea.
Saw a lot of my favourite people.
Daydreamed about a lot of holidays.
Did a lot of manual labour at school.
FINALLY created a real library in school (with the help of our amazing facilities manager).
Enjoyed a lot of laughing and chilling.
Went to the Lakes with my mam, auntie and uncle.
Had one of the best breakfast dates with my cousin.
Read 25 (!) books!

Let’s start with MG

august mg 2019

What a delicious mix of books here! From doggos who want to save their family (I, Cosmo), to a brilliant young girl living in Africa (The Girl Savage), to a GEORDIE CHARACTER (The Frozen Sea), there’s something here for everyone! I’ve really loved reading MG books this month because I read quite a lot of book 2 in series (Patina, Lost Tide Warriors, Under Earth, Truth Pixie Goes to School and The Frozen Sea) so I got to revisit some of my favourite worlds that I’ve come across AND meet some new characters and some new worlds!

Now the YA books!

august ya 2019

Look at that host of YA books!! I didn’t realise I’d read so many YA books until I put them all together and I counted them! 12 YA books in one month… I am FLABBERGASTED! But also pretty chuffed. I’ve read some absolute corkers this month. From life on a jellyfish (Jelly, obv), to a young girl stolen from her parents in an airport (Stolen), to the book that’s made me the angriest this year (I Hold Your Heart), these books have taken me to brand new worlds, helped me revisit some worlds and introduced me to some of the most wonderful chracters I know. Just like my MG books, I’ve read sequels (Demon World, The Curses), a series starter (Three Dark Crowns) and a whole host of standalones! Just how I like it!

And finally… (I know… you’re thinking, but Steph, you don’t read anything else…)

BOOKS FOR ADULTS

I know, it’s OK. I’m still the same old Steph you know and love, I promise!

august adult 2019

This month is the month I’ve branched out the most (I say that and there’s only 4 books on this list ha!). This is quite a range of books even within the 4. I wanna shout about all of these books because they’re SO BLOODY GOOD. They all serve an amazing purpose in the world and more people need to read them. From witchy happenings in a sleepy town (sanctuary), to the story of a doctor in our beloved NHS (This Is Going To Hurt), a short essay about why kids books are mint (Why You Should Read Children’s Books…), this little pile of books is EXCEPTIONAL pals. 

And there we have it… all the books I read in August! I know there is NO WAY September is going to be this productive, but I’m hoping to keep to reading every/most days so I maybe have double figures over the month.  

HOW AM I DOING FOR MY BOOK CHALLENGES?

GOODREADS CHALLENGE: 105/52
#52BOOKS CHALLENGE (JUST KIDS BOOKS): 50/52

Thanks for stopping by! Talk to me in the comments!

How did you do with your reading in August? 
What were your stand out books from last month?
What are you still dying to read from this year?

What would you recommend me from your 2019 reading list?

Speak to you all soon, 

S x 

BLOG TOUR: Gangster School 3

Gangster School 3: Gruffles and the Killer Sheep – laughter, humour and just a bit of criminal activity!

“It’s Crimicon – the annual meeting for promising young criminals – and this year it’s being held at Crumley’s, the dreaded School for Career Criminals, who also happen to be Blaggard’s bitterest rivals. Can Milly and Charlie keep their school’s reputation as the best school for criminals, steer clear of Dr BL Zeebub, Crumley’s evil Head Teacher as well as keeping Gruffles out of harm’s way? Why does the animal-hating Zeebub allow a flock of weirdly large sheep to roam Crumley’s grounds? And since when have sheep been CARNIVOROUS? Milly and Charlie must use all their skills to find their way through the maze of traps and problems awaiting them at Crumley’s, to save Blaggard’s reputation and protect Gruffles from the Killer Sheep.”

Gruffles and the Killer Sheep is book 3 in the Gangster School series which sees the students of Blaggards’s school learn how to become master criminals. You follow the students in their escapades battling all kinds of funny, weird and mind-boggling things! (I’d love to think I could be a master criminal, but let’s be honest… I would be TERRIBLE!) The other 2 books in this series have been a lot of fun, so when I was invited to be part of the blog tour to review this third installment, I was over the moon!

In book 3, we are once again following the story of our mini-criminals. We follow Milly, Charlie, Gruffles and the rest of the gang in their escapades at Crimicon. They are chosen to represent the school and they must uphold the school’s reputation as being the BEST around. At Crimicon, they are set a near-impossible task of foiling the plan of an evil genius as well as fitting in many of the other tasks they are given while they are there. Fitting in taking down an evil genius can’t be easy, especially not when you have activities like ‘Creative Criminality’, ‘What makes a good stooge?’ and ‘Cooking Up Trouble – 10 quick poisonous meals anyone can prepare’ to attend. 

Let’s also not forget that there are a crazy set of sheep also running around on school grounds JUST TO MAKE THINGS HARDER!

These books are an awful lot of fun with there being mishaps and adventures all around. With the brilliant setting that is a school for criminals, it’s hard not to fall for this series of books. There’s funny characters, incredibly well thought-out plot twists and lots and lots of laughter to be had. This book, like the previous two, are sure to get kids laughing and gripped to the book. (I know I found it hard at times to put down!)

This is a series which builds really nicely as you get to know the characters really well and we all know that once you’re invested in characters, you’re sure to want to keep reading. If I were just new to this series, I would be sure to hunt out book 1! There’s plenty of intrigue and joy to be had in this series and there’s some pretty unique characters, settings and plot twists to be had: perfect for those kids who love something with a bit of dark humour.

Massive thank you to the publishers, Zuntold, for sending me a review copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour. Why not check out the rest of the blog tour to see what others thought? 

GS3 blog tour

S x

BOOK BLOG: YA wrap up!

Hello everyone!

I’m back at it again with some mini reviews! I’ve had a very busy August of reading so far and thought I’d share some mini reviews of some of the amazing YA I’ve been reading! 

Scars like Wings by Erin Stewart

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“Ava Lee has lost everything there is to lose: Her parents. Her best friend. Her home. Even her face. She doesn’t need a mirror to know what she looks like–she can see her reflection in the eyes of everyone around her. A year after the fire that destroyed her world, her aunt and uncle have decided she should go back to high school. Be “normal” again. Whatever that is. Ava knows better. There is no normal for someone like her. And forget making friends–no one wants to be seen with the Burned Girl, now or ever. But when Ava meets a fellow survivor named Piper, she begins to feel like maybe she doesn’t have to face the nightmare alone. Sarcastic and blunt, Piper isn’t afraid to push Ava out of her comfort zone. Yet Piper is fighting her own battle, and soon Ava must decide if she’s going to fade back into her scars . . . or let the people by her side help her fly.”

My my. Reading this book was like a punch in the gut. This book is one of those that makes an impact and fast. We all have scars, but not like Ava. Ava was burned in a fire and she’s hidden herself away from the world ever since. This all changes when she is told she is ready to go back to school. Obviously, a young girl who has been cordoned off from the real world for a year, who now has to go back into the world of school is going to be terrified. What happens when she gets there is an emotional rollercoaster. From her incredible family, to the friends she makes, to the shout outs to musicals, this book was just wonderful. It hit me where it hurt and made me cry. I love Ava’s group of friends; they’re all lucky to have each other. I’m sad to be finished; to say goodbye to the sarcasm, friendship, bravery and love they shared. Massive thank you to Simon and Schuster for the review copy!

I Hold Your Heart by Karen Gregory

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“When Gemma meets Aaron, she feels truly seen for the first time. Their love story is the intense kind. The written-in-the-stars, excluding-all-others kind. The kind you write songs about. But little by little their relationship takes over Gemma’s life. What happens when being seen becomes being watched, and care becomes control?”

MY GOD. I don’t know that I can use the word “enjoy” about this book because I hate Aaron SO MUCH. I can’t talk about this book without giving away too many spoilkers, but Aaron is possibly the WORST character I’ve ever come across. The ending was NOT what I wanted, no was it what he deserved. Telling a story of love, you see through both Gemma and Aaron’s eyes what their relationship is. This book was gripping, tough to read and made me so angry. I can’t talk about this book without being angry and I need someone else to join me in the anger. However, in amongst all of that anger and that weird obsessive Aaron behaviour, there’s also so much love, friendship, fighting for the ones you love and kindness. Gemma is surrounded by so much love (some of it more toxic!)

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott

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“Stella Grant likes to be in control—even though her totally out of control lungs have sent her in and out of the hospital most of her life. At this point, what Stella needs to control most is keeping herself away from anyone or anything that might pass along an infection and jeopardize the possibility of a lung transplant. Six feet apart. No exceptions.
The only thing Will Newman wants to be in control of is getting out of this hospital. He couldn’t care less about his treatments. Soon, he’ll turn eighteen and then he’ll be able to unplug all these machines and actually go see the world, not just its hospitals.
Will’s exactly what Stella needs to stay away from. If he so much as breathes on Stella she could lose her spot on the transplant list. Either one of them could die. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?”

I’m a sucker for a bit of romance. I’m even more of a sucker for “shouldn’t be trogether, but let’s be honest, they’re meant to be together”. This book tells the story of Stella and Will, two young people who are in hospital. Two young people who aren’t allowed to be around other people because it could be life-threatening. However, when they find each other, they find something they’ve both been looking for. I loved this book, an awful lot. I love Will. I love Poe. Stella is an angel. Barb is lush. This is a beautiful story of love at its limits. There’s just so much love in this book. Let’s not deny the fact that I definitely cried. There’s so much lush about this book. And now it’s been made into a film… but I don’t think my emotions are ready to be battered again just yet! Massive thank you to Simon and Schuster for the review copy!

Dead Popular by Sue Wallman

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“The reigning queen bee, Kate, knows that you don’t become the most powerful girl at school by playing nice. But when other students start revealing long-held secrets anonymously, she realizes someone is playing a much more dangerous game – and they know too much about Kate’s past. If she doesn’t figure out who’s behind this, her final year at Pankhurst could be exactly that: her final year.”

This tells the story of a boarding school full of entitled, posh scholars who are obsessed with beauty. I loved the setting of the boarding school and the beach. I think it’s a great combination. If you’re a fan of a boarding school book, this will be right up your street! I really really loved Munro – I think the characters in this book make it enticing and dark. There’s some dark motives and even darker deeds. There’s a mystery element that I enjoyed too… I didn’t see it coming, but when it did BAM! This is one of those books that starts to show itself to you slowly, but once you’re there, it’s like YEP that’s why you went a bit slower. You get to know the characters and their dynamics really well before you get into the action. Massive thank you to Scholastic for the review copy!

PHEW. There we go! Just 4 of the YA books I’ve read recently. I really enjoyed them all! If I had to pick a favourite though, I’d have to say Scars Like Wings would just snatch the title from I Hold Your Heart (seriously though, someone else be angry with me!). 

What have you read recently?
Have you read any of these books?
Can you recommend me a book?

Talk to me! I wanna know what you think of my wrap ups: do you like them? Do you prefer my full reviews? Do you not care? (ha!)

S x 

BOOK BLOG: Susan Verde

I Am Love: a wonderful book exploring kindness, compassion and empathy

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“Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds continue their collaboration with the fourth book in their bestselling wellness series. A celebration of love in all its forms, I Am Love asks readers to look inward when they feel afraid. Love allows us to act with compassion and kindness, to live with gratitude, and to take care of ourselves by practicing self-love.”

I am a massive fan of using picture books in the classroom, regardless of the age of the children because I think picture books can be the key to opening children up to experiences they might not necessarily have. They can quickly grab a child’s attention and, in the space of only a few pages, teach children a whole range of things. 

One of the things that I think picture books do wonderfully is teach children the importance of empathy. It’s so important that we show children the importance of empathy and being able to use their emotions for good. So much goes on in the world today that we need to give our children the tools to show love, kindness, compassion. I am Love is a wonderful picture book that does just that. 

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It’s a very simple story about ways in which we can show people compassion and love, through very simple acts of kindness. With Peter H Reynolds’ striking illustrations and an incredibly powerful message about ways in which we can show love, this book captured my heart completely and utterly. 

This book would go PERFECTLY in a PSHE lesson about being kind and could work from EYFS all the way up. I’d love to get my children to make their own version of this thinking of ways in which we can show love and compassion to the people around us. 

I am a massive fan of the pairing of Susan Verde and Peter H Reynolds, who have combined forces to write a series of books like this. I would whole heartedly recommend these books.

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A massive thank you to Abrams and Chronicle for sending me a copy for review! You guys are the best! 

Have you read any of the books in this series?
What are your go-to books for teaching about empathy?
What would you like to see from this series next?

Share your thoughts with me in the comments or on twitter, I love this series so much, I’d love to talk about it!

S x 

July in books

Hi friends!

How are you? Sorry for the random hiatus… last week just got ahead of me and then I was away for YALC (post to come in the next week or so about that!) and now here we are. 

I’m here today to share my July in books! 

In July, I:

Finished my NQT year!
Broke up for the Summer holidays.
Enjoyed a lot of sunshine.
Watched a load of Terrell videos.
Cried a bit.
Was exhausted for a lot of the time.
Read 10 books.

Let’s start with YA books (cause there’s more of them!):

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There’s a whole range of books here that could appeal to ALL OF THE PEOPLE. Whether you want a twisted, dark Disney World esque story (The Kingdom), a wonderfully moving story about the power of friendships and mental health (All The Things We Never Said), a boarding school who did it story (Dead Popular) or a Beauty and the Beast retelling (A Curse So Dark and Lonely), there’s something in this pile for you! 

Heartstream – Tom Pollock
Dead Popular – Sue Wallman
Eliza and her Monsters – Francesca Zappia
A Curse So Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer
The Kingdom – Jess Rothenberg
All The Things We Never Said – Yasmin Rahman

Reviews to come for all of these!

Now to the MG:

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The kids books I got round to reading this month were A DELIGHT. From books that aren’t even out yet, to books that are continuations of my favourite series, July had it all! I would recommend each and every one of these: funny, enchanting, adventure filled and exciting! 

Sam Wu is Not Afraid of Spiders – Katie and Kevin Tsang
Evernight – Ross Mackenzie
Shadows of Winterspell – Amy Wilson
The Dragon in the Library – Louie Stowell

Mini reviews of these to come in the next week. I need to talk about these!

And there we have it… all the books I read in July! I’m hoping August can be a wonderfully productive reading month since it’s still the holidays! 

HOW AM I DOING FOR MY BOOK CHALLENGES?

GOODREADS CHALLENGE: 80/52
#52BOOKS CHALLENGE (JUST KIDS BOOKS): 41/52

Thanks for stopping by! Talk to me!

How did you do with your reading in July? 
What were your stand out books from last month?
What would you recommend me from your 2019 reading list?

Speak to you soon!

S x