S4S – Books on my TBR

Bonjour! 

It’s Sunday again, which means another #SixforSunday prompt! 

This week’s prompt is:

Books on my TBR

Now I’ve gone for “books that I’ve recently added to my TBR” (because my TBR is excessive, ha!) So here goes… 6 books I’ve recently added to my TBR list

  1. Polar Bear Explorer’s Club (massive shout out to my friend Amy for sending this to me… I’ve been after it FOREVER)
  2. Pax
  3. The Girl Who Lost Her Smile
  4. Podkin One Ear
  5. Maudlin Towers: Curse of the Werewolf Boy
  6. Rise of the Wolves

Which books have you recently added to your TBR?
Have you read any of my TBR books?

Let me know your #SixforSunday! Share your posts on twitter using the hastag.

S x

April Books

It’s that time again, April has come and gone! This year is flying by! We’re in the final term… (as a teacher, I count my life in terms ha! This means I have only 1 term until I start training… this makes me wanna vomit. We will get to that in a future blog post!) We have another round up and an update on my 2017 challenge!

April was a BUSY book month! 

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This was part of my TBR:

Also added to this list:SOGI

There was a wonderful mix of some MG books and a lot of YA books and some non-fiction in there too! If there isn’t a review currently up for the book there will be one coming up in the coming weeks! I also read some picture books this week, but I (controversially) don’t count them towards my book count of the year! This stack ended up lookin so healthy because of SundayYAthon @ Easter which I managed to devour about 5 books, alongside 2 train journeys to London to meet my lovely friend Kelly! Find out about my SundayYAthon reads here: SundayYAthon at Easter!

Shout out to Grandad’s Secret Giant by David Litchfield though… incredible picture book! (BOOKBLOG: David LitchfieldIMG_4370

This year I pledged to read 52 books. I committed myself to that on Goodreads and so I have to do it. I refuse to fail now! That’s 4 a month, that’s good going! So far I have read:

25/52 books

Apparently, that’s 9 ahead of schedule! I started Countless this morning and I’d like to get that finished today, which would mean I’m HALF WAY through my challenge and it’s only been 4 months. That would be something else!

What did I buy/acquire?

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  • Mad Girl – Bryony Gordon
  • The Stars at Oktober Bend – Glenda Millard
  • Chasing the Stars – Malorie Blackman
  • Anna and the Swallow Man – Gavriel Savit 
  • Radio Silence – Alice Oseman (my gorgeous Rachel sent me this!)
  • Super Awkward – Beth Garrod
  • Wintersong – S. Jae Jones (my lovely friend Kelly sent me this!)
  • The Fallen Children – David Owen
  • I Have No Secrets – Penny Joelson

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  • Doing It – Hannah Witton
  • The Cows – Dawn O’Porter
  • Happy Mum, Happy Baby – Giovanna Fletcher (my lush cousin Kate sent this to me to borrow. I’m not a mam but I love Gi and Tom)
  • The Adventures of Owl and the Pussycat (keep your eyes peeled this coming Sunday! I’m involved in the blog tour for this!)
  • Grandad’s Secret Giant – David Litchfield (I have read this, so it should be in my other pile but I did acquire it this month, the lovely publishers sent me a copy and I am so gratefuk… see my review here: BOOKBLOG: David Litchfield)
  • The Covers of this Book are Too Far Apart – Vivian French and Nigel Baines. 
  • Beards from Outer Space – Gareth P Jones (the amazing publishers sent me this this month too! It’s currently in school!)
  • Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink – Jennifer Killick (I am very lucky that the author sent me this! Taking it into school telling the kids it came from the author made it so special!)

Wow. I acquired a lot of books this month. Sorry bank balance.

So that’s it for April. It’s been a joy reading this month. I read some absolutely incredible books and I am looking forward to seeing what May has in store for me! More tears, laughter and incredible books I am sure of it!

What did you read in April?
Have you read any of the books on my list?
What was your favourite book of the month?
How are you doing with your challenge?

I’d love to hear from you all! Leave me a comment or speak to me on twitter (@eenalol) I’m always open to talk! 

S x

BOOKBLOG: Kiran Milwood Hargrave

The Island At The End of Everything: heartbreaking, touching and inspiring.

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“Amihan lives on Culion Island, where some of the inhabitants – including her mother – have leprosy. Ami loves her home – with its blue seas and lush forests, Culion is all she has ever known. But the arrival of malicious government official Mr Zamora changes her world forever: islanders untouched by sickness are forced to leave. Banished across the sea, she’s desperate to return, and finds a strange and fragile hope in a colony of butterflies. Can they lead her home before it’s too late?”

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Written by the incredible Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize winner Kiran Millwood Hargrave, The Island At The End of Everything is everything I was missing since reading The Girl of Ink and Stars. (See: Bookblog: Kiran Milwood-Hargrave for my feelings on The Giel of Ink and Stars, in whcih I do it no justice at all. It’s incredible though, believe me. Please buy it). 

The Island at the End of Everything (I’ll call it The Island in this blog for brevity) is an incredible tale about strength, bravery and overcoming evil. It’s a tale of a young girl called Ami who lives on an island where “touched” people live – the touched are those who are sick. The touched live along those who are healthy quite happily, until one day. One day Mr Zamora comes along and he wants to change all of that. The book tells the tale of Ami’s journey away from her home, her mother, her friends, her island family and what happens when she is released into the “safe” and “clean” world. The story captured my imagination so brilliantly. The butterfly metaphor was so important to the story. Ami and Mr Zamora may not have gotten along but she respects his brilliance. 

I loved Ami. She was ballsy. She loves her mother. She’s loyal. She’s adventurous but doubting. She’s unsure but determined. She makes mistakes. She definitely has a mind of her own. She’s shy, timid but at other times brazen. Ami at the end of the book is the Ami that I wanted. Her Nanay (her mother) filled my heart with such joy. Their relationship spoke to me. Nanay is brave, realistic and reasonable. She’s what you expect of a mother. She wants the best for Ami. She knows that it’s not going to be easy, but she wants the best life for her daughter. I despised Mr Zamora. I felt sorry for him. I wanted to punch him. He has a terrible attitude to the children and the residents of Culion. He is pretty mean. He’s troubled by his own mind and his own obsessions. He’s one of those incredibly necessary but horrid evils that incredible books have. 

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The way this is book is written is so exquisite. There are some absolutely majestic descriptive passages. You feel like you’re in the book: alongside Ami, fighting along with her, making mistakes with her. I got lost in the world of Ami. I devoured the words, the pages, the descriptions in a few hours. Much like The Girl of Ink and Stars, you want to know what is coming next. It’s enthralling, captures your attention and stunning. 

This is going to be one of those books I will have as a staple for teaching. It hits on so many important subjects: segregation (I’ve only read a little bit with my Y4 kids and we have talked, debated and discussed the segregation issue in this book), friendship, right and wrong, death. Every KS2 classroom should have a copy of this. All teachers need to read this, all libraries need this. Kids need to be able to access incredible literature like this. It’s one of those special books that kids need. I know if I was a kid today I would be DYING to get my hands on this. So please, teachers, go out and read this (while you’re at it, read GOIAS too!) and then pass it on to your kids if you can.

Thank you so much Jazz at Chicken House for sending me a copy of this!

Have you read this?
Let me know in the comments below. I need to talk about this book!

S x

BOOKBLOG: ALICE BROADWAY

Ink: beautifully written story about the importance of how we remember people.

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“Every action, every deed, every significant moment is tattooed on your skin for ever. When Leora’s father dies, she is determined to see her father remembered forever. She knows he deserves to have all his tattoos removed and made into a Skin Book to stand as a record of his good life. But when she discovers that his ink has been edited and his book is incomplete, she wonders whether she ever knew him at all.”

Ink tells the story of Leora, who lives in a society where your ink is your life. Your ink tells the story of your life: the good, the bad and the ugly. Your ink is the thing you are judged on when you die. Your ink tells your story. Your family get to keep your ‘skin book’ when you’ve been ‘judged’. You’re judged by your ink. 

As you can well imagine when Leora’s dad dies she wants him to be justly remembered and she wishes to have his skin book, just as the rest of her ancestors have. They have their skin books on display in the houses. The skin books are read and it’s the way you remember those who have passed. Unfortunately Leora’s dad’s book isn’t as simply delivered, this isn’t a normal case. His book isn’t complete, his book isn’t true to him. His book has been changed. Leora wants justice. She just wants to be allowed to remember her dad. She misses him. She loves him. His ink should show he’s a good man, right?

I loved this story. I loved the idea that your ink, your skin tell your story. Essentially those of us who are inked that is what we are doing. We tell our story through our ink. But what if our ink had more of a meaning? What if our ink was the thing people judged us by? Throughout the story you are exposed to the importance of people’s ink to their living memory. It is very much impressed on you that the ink is the important thing. People were not allowed to be remembered if their ink didn’t reflect a good life. Imagine that? Not only that but there’s the Blanks to contend with. People without ink. Rebels. Outcasts. Shunned away from Leora’s city for not conforming. Blanks become pretty important in Leora’s life. 

I loved the characters. I instantly took a liking to Leora. She seemed gutsy and likeable. She wasn’t naive. She knew what she wanted. She had internal conflicts. She doubted. She questioned. She pushed. But she knew where to stop. She has a complicated relationship with her mam. I really enjoyed watching this relationship go from cold, to trusting, to deception. Secrets always make a story more interesting. Big secrets, the one that Leora’s mam is hiding changes everything. Leora’s best friend shows beautiful loyalty and conflict so well. Do what’s right or do what benefits your friends? An important dilemma that I think everyone goes through at some point. You come across characters who’ll make you angry, characters who make you question everything. Characters who reassure you that appearances are deceptive, in a good way. I despised the Mayor. When you meet him you’ll find out why. Repugnant man.

The one thing that stands out to me throughout my whole reading was this concept of “remembering people”. In the book Leora is only allowed to remember people who have been judged as good people, but surely everyone is remembered in some way? You can’t forget someone just because they’re “bad”. I loved this concept. Remember people who are no longer here however you wish. People make an imprint on your lives for a reason. People deserve to remembered in any way you wish to remember them. 

My goodreads review of Ink read:

“Incredibly woven with narrative interspersed with fairy tales. A beautiful story about the power of remembering people as they are or as they were. Should we only remember their good? Should we be judged? The ending is something special indeed.”

Thank you so much Scholastic for sending me a copy! 

Have you read Ink?
What did you think of it? 

I’d love to know your thoughts! Let me know in the comments below or on twitter (@eenalol)

S x

Challenge Update & TBR

In 2017 I challenged myself to read 52 books (1 per week!).
Totally doable.
So far I’m on track! 

I’m up to 16/52 and it’s almost Easter half term (I’ll be spending lots of half term writing my dissertation BUT I will make time for reading, I’m taking part in the #SundayYAathon for Easter, so I’ll have to read!). I’m not counting picture books in this count – if I were I would probably have smashed my target by now… I am a sucker for picture books! 

So far in 2017 I have read…

2017 books 1

2017 books 2

As you can see there’s a whole range of books!

So far some highlights have been:

  • The Scarecrow Queen – Melinda Salisbury. An absolutely perfect way to end such an incredibly trilogy. I implore you all to read The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy if you haven’t already! 
  • Traitor to the Throne – Alwyn Hamilton. Brilliant to see such a strong second book in which I love the main character and her love interest. A brilliant story in a brilliant trilogy (I can’t wait for the 3rd book next year!)
  • Who Let The Gods Out – Maz Evans. A brilliantly written, funny and riveting read for kids. I have so much good to say about this book. I can’t wait to see what comes next! The next book is out in August and I am getting impatient.
  • Paper Butterflies – Lisa Heathfield. Heartbreaking, jarring and beautiful. It totally broke my heart and pieced it back together. 

That’s what I’ve read so far, but April has a LONG LIST of books to be read. I have neglected my Netgalley shelves of late so I will be giving them a good go over this month!

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This is my pile of April TBR. There’s 3 books on my kindle screaming to be read. I am currently reading ‘The State of Grace‘ by Rachael Lucas and I am loving it! 7 books is ambitious but I am a girl who likes to aim high!!

How are you doing with your challenges this year? 
How many books have you read?
Which have been your favourites?
What’s on your TBR for April?

I’d love to hear from you! Let me know in the comments or over on twitter (@eenalol).

S x

BOOKBLOG: Juno Dawson

Margot and Me: heartbreaking, soul filled and beautiful.

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The first I heard of Juno Dawson was when I read the Crisis ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’ short story anthology and I absolutely loved her short story about a Geordie boy (see my review here: BOOKBLOG: Tom Becker) and as soon as I heard there was a new book coming up I KNEW I had to read it! A few of my friends and I agreed to read it at the same time and we all started it on the same day… I am so glad we all started it together, despite the fact I was one of the last to finish it! I love my online group of bookworms, they’re my favourite people.

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“Fliss’s mum needs peace and quiet to recuperate from a long illness, so they both move to the countryside to live with Margot, Fliss’s stern and bullying grandmother. Life on the farm is tough and life at school is even tougher, so when Fliss unearths Margot’s wartime diary, she sees an opportunity to get her own back.

But Fliss soon discovers Margot’s life during the evacuation was full of adventure, mystery… and even passion. What’s more, she learns a terrible secret that could tear her whole family apart…”

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I picked this book up with very little knowledge of what it was about and I’m pretty glad I didn’t know! It was an absolute revelation to read it totally blind, to discover the characters and the story without any previous knowledge. I had read the blurb, but it had fallen out of my head. 

The story starts out with an introduction to Felicity, who is being made to move away from her life in London to a secluded farm in Wales run by her grandmother. Initially Fliss hates her life in Wales: the girls are horrible, she can’t do anything right, her grandmother isn’t your typical grandmother, she hates the farm and then eventually things start to turn. Fliss discovers her grandmother’s diary from when she was evacuated to Wales. 

For me, Fliss was quite a hard character to like at first… I don’t know what it was, she just didn’t sit well with me, but as you go through the book (as my friend Aoife said) “she’s a grower”. She will grow on you, she grew on me. Her grandmother was the biggest surprise to me. I found her hard, cold and abrupt initally but once you learn her story you’ll find that she is like an onion, there are so many layers to her. Her diary extracts became the thing that I was reading on for. I absolutely loved learning about her life through the diary extracts. You’ll meet so many incredible characters through the diary extracts – my favourites including Ivor, the gentle giant – and eventually it is the diary that saves Fliss and her grandmother’s relationship. 

This story blew me away. I wasn’t expecting it to. But it made my heart so so so happy. I cried an awful lot. The ending broke me. I had grown so attached to these characters – both in the now and the characters of Grandma’s 1940s life – that I wasn’t ready to let them go. The amazing thing about this story is that it came out of nowhere. The relationships between the characters are so complex yet so brilliantly sculpted. The story is beautifully weaved and deals with some incredibly hard hitting subjects: death, bullying, evacuation, war, sexuality, racism, grief, love, heartbreak and pregnancy. (It’s scary to read this book and realise that during the 40s there probably were people who thought the way that people thought in Margot’s diaries.)

I implore you all to read this. It’s incredible.
If you don’t believe me check out my friend’s review: Kelly’s Ramblings: Margot and Me

S x

British Book Challenge

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This year I am going to try a new book challenge (well new to me!) the British Book Challenge! The point of this book challenge is to suport as many British authors as possible. You’ll be able to track my progress through this post and probably many others but I am excited to get this started! 

As I’m so new to this whole thing and not very good with words the amazing Chelley Toy is so much better at explaining and you can read about it better here.

Some of the books I am excited to read include…

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I can’t wait to get these and others read for #BritishBooksChallenge17

Are you taking part in the challenge too? What books should I add to my list?

S x