BOOK BLOG: S.A. Patrick

A Darkness of Dragons: a brilliant adventure!

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“After playing a forbidden spell-song to save a village from rats, 12-year-old piper Patch Brightwater is thrown in jail. But there he meets Wren – a noble girl under a rat-shaped curse – and together they befriend Barver, a fearsome dracogriff, and set off on a grand adventure filled with sorcerers, dragons, bandits…and one very deadly enemy.
From the depths of the Tiviscan dungeons to the highest peak of Gemspar Mountain, this stunning book reminds us of the soaring joy of adventure, the captivating danger of magic, and of the delight of finding friends in unexpected places.”

The brilliant humans of Usborne sent me a copy of A Darkness of Dragons a while back, but I’ve been in a bit of a state of reader’s block (as I explained in my November wrap up post). I’ve just been unable to read/do anything bookish of late… blame it on tiredness/SAD/general life. I read the first five chapters of this before said reader’s block started. Then, on Saturday, I picked this back up and within the space of a few hours I had CONSUMED the whole thing – that’s how good it is! 

This book is based in the world of the Pied Piper of Hamelin (which for me made my heart SO SO HAPPY – I love when books are based around traditional tales. If someone could write a book like this based on Rumplestiltskin, that would be incredible! I am a massive Rumplestiltskin fan!). Obviously, the Pied Piper is a terrible man and in this world, pipers are well loved and respected people. I loved the world of the pipers – the thought that music and magic were very much intertwined was a sheer delight to read. This was one of those books that once I was there, I was immersed in the world. I was walking through the forest with Patch and co. It’s an incredible world to be part of too… although I don’t know that I’d survive ha!

As well as this book being an incredible adventure, a young man, his dragon friend, his rat friend and an adventure to save their world, it features some absolutely incredible characters. Patch (the main character) is an incredibly brave and somewhat stubborn protagonist that I think kids will absolutely adore. Throw in Wren, a brilliant young girl who has been hexed into being a rat, and an incredibly sarcastic and dry dracogriff in the mix and you have this excellent bunch of characters who I just wanted more from. (I can’t wait for book 2 because I am a SUCKER for sequels!)

There’s some brilliant themes of friendship in this story. Unexpected friendships particularly. I loved the friendship that grew between Patch and Wren in particular. It showed that friends are there to support and guide each other through everything. These friends don’t have it easy, but they stick through the thick and the thin with each other! I mean, how many friends would stick by you when you’re thrown into one of the worst prisons imaginable?!

I think this book is going to go down a STORM at school. I can’t wait to hand it to some of the readers in my class. 

Have you read A Darkness of Dragons?
Can you think of a story you’d love to see revived?
Would you like a dragon friend?

Talk to me! Send me a dragon… please… someone?! Massive thanks to Usborne for sending me a copy!

S x 

Christmas Songs book tag

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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 

 

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

BOOK BLOG: April Tucholke

The Boneless Mercies: a beautifully brilliant book!

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“Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are Boneless Mercies – death-traders, hired to kill quickly, quietly and mercifully. It is a job for women, and women only. Men will not do this sad, dark work. Frey has no family, no home, no fortune, and yet her blood sings a song of glory. So when she hears of a monster slaughtering men, women, and children in a northern jarldom, she decides this the Mercies’ one chance to change their fate. But glory comes at a price …”

ANY book that has this gorgeous a cover is SURE to catch my eye. Just look at that turquoise, the black and the foil… and yes, that gold is metallic and shiny (my picture just does it NO justice at all). I had high hopes for a book with such an incredible cover, and my gosh, this book did not disappoint. 

The Boneless Mercies tells the tale of Frey, her friends and a journey through some wicked and wild enemies. Frey and her friends are Boneless Mercies – young women who are hired by people to do mercy killings for anyone who can pay. None of these girls fell into being a Mercy on purpose, they all became mercies because of the way their lives fell into place. No matter though, they are frightfully loyal to each other and there is an awful lot of love between them. I think they friendship might be one of the things I loved most about this book… their unrelenting loyalty and love for each other. We all need friends like that. 

There’s some BRILLIANT themes of life and death in this story. The way that death is approached in this story was fascinating to read. There’s no glorification of death, but a gentle acceptance of it and a giving of death. I loved the girls’ dedication to their jobs, even when they don’t want to do that job anymore. 

Another thing I love SO MUCH about books is the incorporation of folk stories and myths (I know, what a surprise, I’ve definitely typed that sentence before) and this book doesn’t shy away from it. There’s a lovely sense of storytelling in this story. “Storytelling can keep you warm on the coldest of nights” (that’s not a direct quote, but it’s paraphrasing a quote!) You see the girls’ lives and the lives of the ones they meet through their storytelling, and it made me feel like I was sat by a fire, listening. This is the perfect book to read while sitting next to a fire… just incase you want a recommendation! 

I have to take a very little moment here to write a little appreciation for Trigve here. I don’t wanna give any spoilers, but guys. I think he’s just wonderful. If there is to be a book 2, I need my shipper heart to be happy, thanks! 

I’m not gonna lie, yes, there was a bit when I cried (again, no one will be shocked by this!). This book made me 100% invested in these girls’ lives, and I needed them all to keep powering on, keep surviving. Cause I tell you now… I WOULD NOT. In the cold and the snow and the outside all the time? NO THANKS. 

If you, like me, are a lover of books with BRILLIANT characters, some incredible storytelling and set in an intriguing world, then this is 100% the book for you! GO GO GO FRIENDS.

My Goodreads review:

A brilliantly written book with characters I absolutely adored. There was so much in this that I need time to process it. Badass characters, a sense of mythology and an interesting world. I REALLY hope there’s going to be a second one.

Have you read The Boneless Mercies?
Do you think you’d be a good Mercy killer?
RECOMMEND ME BOOKS LIKE THIS PLZ. Thanks.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments, because I need to know if ANYONE ELSE was with me on the Trigve thing. I love him. A massive thank you to Olivia at Simon and Schuster for senging me this book! I wholeheartely loved it! 

S x 

 

BOOK BLOG: Sam Usher

Snow: the perfect addition to your shelves for the wintery season!

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“Every child loves a snow day—no school and snowball fights galore! But Sam has to wait for Granddad, even though all the other kids have already gone to the park . . . and all the dogs . . . and all the zoo animals! Only when the two finally arrive does Granddad see why Sam was in such a hurry—and they have the best time playing with everyone in the snow.”

As a massive fan of the book Storm, when I saw there was another Sam Usher book (with a very festive snowy theme) I knew I needed to treat myself to it! I mean, just look at that cover. Who wouldn’t want to know more about the penguin casually strolling down their street? 

Snow tells the story of a very impatient young boy who wants to go out into the snow, while his grandfather thinks they should stay in for a little while. There’s so much joy in the young man’s face when he sees the snow. We’ve all been there. Wanting to be the first one to stand on snow – is there anything more irresistable than a patch of freshly fallen snow? 

When they do eventually get outside, they wander down to the park and end up having an awful lot of fun with a new bunch of friends. It’s all a bit silly, but this would make a perfect readaloud. Kids will love this story. What’s more fun than snow ball fights? Snowball fights with animals… obviously! 

With gorgeous illustrations, characters who are realistic and a brilliant portrayal of family (I loved seeing this story of a young man and his grandfather, rather than a mam/dad or sibling), this book is going to be a great one to read aloud to kids (and adults alike!). I am loving this Weather series from Sam Usher and can’t wait to get even more! I would recommend wholeheartedly getting on the series! I own Snow and Storm so far, I need to check out Rain and Sun. 

Have you read any of Sam Usher’s books?
What’s your perfect wintery read aloud?
Are you a snow lover, or not a fan?

Let me know your thoughts! Speak to you soon… fingers crossed the snow stays away! I don’t want to run into a bunch of animals throwing snowballs at me! 

S x

 

BOOK BLOG: David Long

Egypt Magnified: the perfect book for any Egypt loving bookworm! 

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“Grab your magnifying glass and explore the sights and sounds of ancient Egypt in this fascinating search-and-find adventure, packed with over 200 things to spot.”

When I was approached by the publishers as to whether I would like a copy of this book for review, I knew instantly that I would ABSOLUTELY LIKE A COPY FOR REVIEW. I am constantly on the lookout for engaging and brilliant non-fiction books. We all know that non-fiction books of the past could be dull and just collect dust… but recently non-fiction books are becoming more and more desirable. And this book does not disappoint! This would make the perfect Christmas gift for any non-fiction loving wannabe historian in your life! 

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Egypt Magnified comes with a brilliant magnifying glass so you can play a “Where’s Wally?” type game in the book. With sections covering everything from The Nile and The Desert to Tutankhamun’s Tomb, this book is just brilliant. (Why yes, I did in fact take about half an hour of my time when this arrived to play with the magnifying glass… unfortunately, I never was any good at Where’s Wally!)

With gorgeous illustrations by Harry Bloom and JAM PACKED with facts, this book is educational and fun – a perfect mix! I learned a fair few things when I gave this book a read… and I’ve taught the Egyptians before! Each page is about a different topic, and along the top is the “10 things to spot” section. The pages are filled with information, illustration and intrigue! 

I can’t recommend this book enough – to parents, teachers, librarians and ANYONE ELSE. It has such a brilliant place in homes, schools and libraries. I can’t wait to pass it on to Year 4 for when they study the Egypians – I just know it’s going to go down SO well. (So well in fact, I’m jealous that they get to have it! If there could be a Greek edition, that’d be awesome!)

What period in history would you most like to delve deeper into?
What’s your favourite type of non-fiction book?
Can you recommend me any new non-fiction books?

A massive massive thank you to the publishers over at Quarto for sending me this absolute delight! 

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

7. Totally should’ve had a TV show

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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

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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