BLOG TOUR: Maybe The Moon

Hello, happy Monday everyone!

Today I have the absolute joy of being part of a blog tour. When I was originally approached about this blog tour, one of the things that interested me most was that I was given 2 questions to use as inspiration for my post – rather than just posting a review, should I not wish to. I love that! I could choose between:

  • Tell us about a friend you treasure
  • Tell us about a significant journey in your life

And I’m going to try and incorporate both into my post.

I’m going with a career journey rather than a physical journey (I’m quite boring, I’ve not taken many physically interesting journeys in my life yet!) As you all know, my journey to becoming a teacher has been a long (and arduous at times) one. It’s taken quite a long time to finally get here. But get here I did. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the support of a LOT of people – my colleagues, my family, my friends, the online community – and I am ever so thankful.

I have 3 very special friends that I think have been imperative to this journey being as successful as it has been. I’m very lucky to have so many supportive people in my life that I could be here for hours.

We all need best friends. I have 3 people in my life I would consider my best friends. They’ll love me even when I’m being a troll. They’ll laugh at me, with me, for me. They’ll hug me. They’d be prepared to give me a reality check if I needed it. They’ve listened to me cry. They’ve been here for me throughout this rollercoaster of a life that I’ve been through. 

It’s amazing how quickly people can become important to you. I never imagined that I would make a best friend who would be willing to travel the length of a country to see me host an event. Someone who makes me laugh. Someone who inspires me every single day. Kelly, I think you’re an absolute shining star in this life. 

The people you work with can very quickly become some of the people you see the most in your life. I definitely see some of the people I work with more through the week than I do my own family (and I live in the same house as them!) I’ve been super lucky to work alongside someone who makes me laugh, gives me hugs, supports me even when her workload is ridiculous. Gemma, I definitely wouldn’t be here if you weren’t there for me everyday at work.

I think family are the first friends you make. I was brought up around my family. We have an amazing bond. Is it always perfect? No because that’s family. I am surrounded by family members who support and love me no matter what. I’m lucky to have someone who will invite me out, who believes in me enough to trust me to be her daughters’ godmother. Someone who will ALWAYS be here to give me wise words of wisdom. Someone who pushes me to be the best me I can be. Kate, you’re one of the best people in my life and I love you forever.

Maybe The Moon is a GORGEOUS picture book, beautifully illustrated to tell a tale of how friendship, community and beauty can come in many different forms. I absolutely love it! The illustrations are gorgeous and it has such an incredible message – it is definitely one I will be using in the classroom. It’s released in a few days (20th September) so not too much longer to wait!

Blog Tour

The One With the Debut

Hello my comrades!

Today is a very exciting day.

Today I get to debut something I’ve been working on FOREVER. I had this thought a while back and my lovely friend Andrew (of Pewter Wolf fame) was a more than willing participant of my tag… 

Friends tag.jpg

Yes… you see that right! I have come up with prompts for lots of the characters on Friends. I am absolutely in love with this tag. 

Without further ado… over to Andrew!

—————————————

I LOVE Friends. Yes, I admit that this show has huge problems (let’s not get me started on this as I can go on a huge rant about the fat/sexist/homophobic/mental health jokes among other things), but Friends is one of those shows I enjoy watching hugely!

So, when I was asked to be involved in this tag, I JUMPED at the chance (though I had to really think them over while I was holiday in Cyprus. Plus, I kept emailing Steph, going “Wait! What about Emily? What about David? Or Richard? Or Mike?! NO WAIT! WHAT ABOUT JANICE?! I MUST HAVE A QUESTION FOR JANICE!!!” which I fear might have pushed her over the edge! I mean…)

But enough of the gifs! Let’s get my Friends game on, play “I’ll Be There For You” by the Rembrandts on full blast and get this party started!

Ross: Seems harmless, but problematic – Name a book you had problems with

Oh Ross… I’m sorry, but I have such hatred for this character. I have no idea what happened or why. I mean, at the start of the show, I wanted him to get Rachel! But, somewhere during series 3, he turned into such a dingbat twit, but that I was screaming at Rachel to “Run, Rachel! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE! YOU DESERVE SO MUCH BETTER!!!”. Plus, when he had his mental health crisis in season 5/6/7, I hated how it was played for laughs, and not addressed.

*deep breaths*

Yes, I have strong feelings!

Anyway, a book that I have problems with. Oh, I have loads. Every book I read, I have always have problems with. But I can’t think of any. I want to say Harry Potter for some unknown reason. I think that, when Deathly Hallows ended, it’s ended right (to me). But from when it end (2007) to now, things have happened that has left me questioning the series, the author and Warner Bros and the morales the books put forward.

I LOVE the book series, but everything else that’s around it has left me feeling uneasy…

Monica: neat and tidy – Name a book/series that ends satisfyingly

Monica is one of the few characters that I liked and was rooting for to get her happily ever after. I wanted her to get married, have kids and be happy so the fact the show ended where it did with her makes me very happy.

Ooooh! This is a hard one to answer. The first thing that popped into my head was the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. I remember reading Clockwork Princess, and feeling really happy with the ending as it ticked all the boxes, even the ones I didn’t think were going to ticked as it would go against something else. But it just worked and I had such fun reading this trilogy that I must reread it in the near future!

Chandler: funny and relatable – Name a firm fave 

I’m always conflicted on Chandler as, while I love his character and am glad that he and Monica get together (I rewatched the earlier seasons and it’s clear as anything at he and Monica were going to get together), I kinda wish his character was gay or bi as it would open up stories for him and other characters.

Name, am not sure what you mean by firm fave (book? character? author?), I’m going with book and, even though I admitted with Ross that I have faults with Harry Potter series at the moment, a firm fave of my is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s always been a favourite of mine (though this might have changed due to a reread of Goblet of Fire), but both these books make me so happy to read and I always got to them when am in a slump.

Phoebe: reliable and friendly – An author you always rely on

I adore Phoebe because she doesn’t give a damn on what other people think of her. I wish I was more confident and more happy in my own skin like her.

I’m not sure how to answer this, but seeing as I have read auto buy authors in the past and gone “Oh dear”. But a handful of authors break this, and one of them is Garth Nix. I adore his writing and his Old Kingdom series always feels me with joy when I read them.

The same goes with Kathy Reichs. She’s one of the few crime writers I read and I adore!

Rachel: she grows on you over time – Name a book/series that’s grown on you over time

Rachel’s character development over the ten seasons makes me weirdly happily. I think her character has the most growth out of all the main six.

Oh, this is a interesting question as I can name one series and one book for this.

The series is Melinda Salisbury’s The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy. I remember reading the first and, liking it, but not loving it. The second – The Sleeping Prince – grew on me, but when I read The Scarecrown Queen, I became obsessed!

As for book, it was a book I read on holiday. Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince. I started reading it and, for the first 20-30%, I kept pausing and going “Wait, what?” but as the book became more complex and the characters became more flawed and twisted, I was became to enjoy myself more and more. And now, I need Wicked King!

Joey: looks good on the outside – A book whose cover is better than its contents

I like Joey, though I do think the writers made Joey dumber as the seasons go on. If the early seasons, he’s very street-smart. But in the later seasons, he becomes a bit of the dumb sex addict jock of the group.

Plus, we’ve all been stung by wanting a book that looks super pretty but when you read it… Oh, hell to the no!

Gunther: always there, always ignored – A book you’ve had on your TBR forever

Oh, Gunther…

I’ve started to do regular culls so the book that has been on my TBR the longest always changes. Though, not on my kindle. The eBook that I had for the longest time without reading is Witch Child by Celia Rees. I’m not sure why I haven’t read it yet, I would blitz that within two or three days!

I think the physical book that always appears and disappears on my TBR over the past few years is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. It’s been one of those books I’ve always wanted to read, and I always buy a copy, only to give it away several months later. I always chicken out as everyone LOVES it. But I was given it this Christmas as part of Book Blogger Secret Santa and I am determine to read it this year. I WILL READ THIS DAMN BOOK THIS YEAR, SO HELP ME!

Carol and Susan: keeping it diverse – An LGBT+ book you love/hate/wanna read

I really wished the show used Carol and Susan more! But they’re used at the start and then are only mentioned (and I get why but still, Ross and they have a child together!!!)

I’m always wanting to read good LGBT+ novels, and I have been mostly lucky to read books that make me hugely happy – Simon vs the Homo-Sapiens Agenda, Simon Can’t Even, A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, Carry On, The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Half Bad, Release, Every Heart A Doorway, Malec (well, I only read the first 3 Mortal Instruments, but I rooted for them more than I did Jace and Clary!) …

And there are so many more I want to read – Noah Could Never, Call Me By Your Name, A Closed and Common Orbit, Running with Lions, books 2 and 3 in the Wayward Children series, all Adam Silvera and so many others that I can’t remember off the top of my head. I just hope these are wonderful and won’t break my poor emotions…!

——————————————–

If you’d like to do the Friends tag, I’d love to host your post here on A Little But A Lot, but I am also more than happy for you to post it on your blog, just credit me and link back to this blog post! 

Enjoy my friends! Let me know if you want to feature on my blog with this tag!

S x

Taken Moons Candles

This month I have the absolute pleasure of being a rep for my friend Rebecca’s new, amazing candle company! I’m so so very proud of her and she is KILLING the candle game. 

isla_500x500-29578607_6rchyyl7

Taken Moons produces the most incredible smelling candles, and they’re all bookish! So far on the shop there have been Harry Potter houses, Cursed Child, Extinction Trials, Cruel Prince and a Fandom inspired candle! Rebecca is so brilliant and will take ideas for other bookish inspirations to make candles. 

Check out the Taken Moons social media too!

Twitter: @TakenMoons
Instagram: @takenmoons

I received my gorgeous (technically Derek’s) rep package the other day, and it made me SO SO happy!

In the package were 2 candles… and man are they GORGEOUS.

img_1908.jpg

The first was Just and Loyal – a Hufflepuff inspired candle. Being a massive Hufflepuff, I knew this was the candle for me. Just and Loyal is a beautiful scent, which smells even better when burning, of honeysuckle and green tea. Perfect for the warmth of the common room and a cup of tea to go with it! If, like me, you’re a Hufflepuff and you’d like to purchase the candle… follow the yellow brick road!

Next up is Two Continents, One Planet – inspired by The Extinction Trials. Just like the rest of the gorgeous candles in the shop, this candle smells lush. It’s inspired by the forests on the dinosaur island and is evergreen forest scented. Perfect for Jurassic Park fans! 

Look how chuffed Derek is with his package man! Thanks Rebecca!

img_1915

This past weekend, the Northern YA Literature festival was being held in Preston and Taken Moons had a stall and JUST LOOK AT IT. The candles were a total hit! I absolutely loved seeing all of the customers smelling the amazing candles… and buying them too! Rebecca is an absolute star and I can’t wait to see what comes next! 

Now… if you’ve got this far, you deserve a treat! 

I have a rep code for the next month… so if you want a candle from Taken Moons, and fancy a little 10% discount, just apply the discount ALITTLE10 and you’ll get 10% off! Don’t say I don’t treat you guys! 

Which fandom would you love to see a candle for?
Are there any fandoms you feel are under represented?
WHICH CANDLE ARE YOU MOST EXCITED TO SMELL?

Let me know in the comments! Go share the Taken Moons love! 

S x

Wildest Dreams Book Box

Hello there!

Today brings something a little different to my blog! Today I am revealing to you all the amazing contents of my first ever book box subscription!

Welcome everyone to Wildest Dreams Book Box

Wildest Dreams was the brain child of my gorgeous friend Zoe (blogger and booktuber!) When I heard she was thinking of making a book box, I knew I needed to get in on it! It is only £18 per month, with discounts for 3 monthly, 6 monthly and yearly subscriptions! 

I was one of the very lucky ones who got 50 trial boxes for December… and this is what was in it! I am so proud! 

First off can we just appreciate how gorgeous these stickers are?! I love them!

The first two things I opened were this wonderful Sorting Bathbomb from Geeky Clean. I’m not gonna lie, I’m not a massive bath taker (I’m much more of a shower gal) but when I saw this, I was excited. I AM TERRIFIED however that it won’t be yellow… but we shall see. The second product I opened was tea inspired by After The Fire. For those of you who know Zoe, you will know that ATF is one of Zoe’s absolute favourite books for 2017, so it was no surprise to me that there was an ATF themed product in the box! If my memory serves me correctly, it’s chocolate and orange flavoured!

Having opened those lovely goodies, I was looking forward to getting to the book. I spotted this book plate and the bookmark (which is signed by the author!) in the box. Then I finally got to the book. I had my suspicions about what the book would be, but having opened the book I was totally wrong! Zoe has spoken a lot about this book over on her blog and it is one that I am yet to get my hands on, so to see it was a pleasant surprise! There’s also a brilliant note from the author about the book too

img_0941

So there you have it! December’s brilliant Wildest Dreams Book Box! I am so chuffed I managed to get my hands on a box, and I definitely can’t wait for January’s box! 

If you’d like to get your hands on January’s box, check out Wildest Dreams Book Box for more information! (There were still a few left at the time of writing this! They won’t be there for long!)

Have you got your hands on Wildest Dreams Book Box yet?
Do you subscribe to any other book boxes?
What do you think of the products included?

TALK TO ME. Comment. Email. Tweet. I’d love to see your thoughts! 

S x

Letters to… my people

I haven’t written a letter to, in my ‘Letters To’ series, in a while, so I thought now would be a great time. Today’s letter is to my clan, my friends, my people… you probably ARE one of those people if you’re reading this… so to you:

Hello lovely person reading this letter,

Today I am writing a letter to you, yes you. You’ve probably come to read today’s blog post because you follow me, because you’ve said something kind to me, because you’re one of my friends, because you support me: for whatever reason you’re here today, this letter is for you.

A year and a half ago, I started this little blog of mine and I never imagined that it would be the blog it is today. Blogging was something I did for me, because I’d done it for work and because I thought it would just be a great opportunity to get my thoughts into the world. Never did I imagine that I would get from blogging everything that I have. From blogging I have the best bunch of friends I have ever had in my life: you are all supportive, incredible, inspiring, hilarious and lovely. You listen to me rant on about whatever it is, you put up with my ridiculousness, you support me on the days I’m feeling a bit rubbish. My blog, and my love of blogging, wouldn’t be what it is now if it weren’t for you. Thank you for the support – however you’ve supported me, it means the world.

It’s also so weird to think that a year and a half ago I didn’t know many of you. In fact some of the most important people in my life, I didn’t know a year ago.Fast friends are the best friends. Whoever said that online friends aren’t real friends, hasn’t met MY friends. I think you are all incredible. I’m very lucky to have both teacher friends and bookish friends, who have been with me through a pretty stressful year and a half. I know it’s not going to get easier, but I also know that each of you will be here for me. That means the world. It makes me a bit choked up. All of you wonderful people amaze me. If I’ve met you, I probably miss you. If I haven’t met you, it makes me sad to have not met you and we need to change that soon ok?

I don’t want to name everyone, because I will undoubtably miss someone out and I would be here forever, but know this.. if you’ve supported me, been nice to me, challenged me, made me laugh, you’re part of my clan. For me, I need to surround myself with people who support me and cheer me on for all of the MANY MANY times that I don’t support myself and cheer myself on, and you have done that. Yes you. Whether you realise it or not.

So thank you. Each and every one of you. Whether you realise I’m talking to you or not. I probably am. You’re all wonderful. I owe you a drink, the next time (or the first time) we meet.

S x

 

 

YALC #1

Morning!

So it’s Wednesday, I am back from YALC and I am SO sad to be home. BUT today and tomorrow (and possibly the day after) I will be sharing my YALC highlights – there are MANY, but I have tried to keep it to 10 (or so). These posts are not going to be short, so grab yourself a cuppa and a biscuit (milk, one sugar for me and a bourbon thanks) for the ride!

So here goes… (they aren’t in any particular order, I have many feels)

YALC Highlights: Part 1

#QuizYA
For those of you who didn’t know, #QuizYA was a quiz organised by the gorgeous author Non Pratt to raise money for charity and if enough money was raised Non was going to have her head shaved. The quiz was held in the pub across the road from Olympia and all the quiz goers were split into groups with authors as team captains. My gorgeous Welsh friend Kelly and I made our way on to #teamBarnard (because Sara Barnard is one of our faves) and we were on a team with some absolute lovelies! There were some intense timed rounds with missing vowels and an Only Connect round of ‘find the link’ – we bossed them both, cause we clever. Other highlights of the rounds included London Underground… “HOUSE” (trying to find the underground stations with all the vowels), Comic book heroes and YA Book shortlists. It was a tight race to the top but in the end the best team was victorious. #teamBarnard FTW. 


Thank you so much Non for organising such an awesome night
. It truly is one of the highlights up there on my list! Made my YALC experience even more memorable. Can’t wait for next year now! 

img_9113

#takeawayYA
Anyone who follows me on twitter will know that I stayed in an AirBnB with 2 of my most favourite humans in the world, Kelly and Cora. We met on SundayYA and have become really close friends, so when we decided we were all going to YALC, we decided to share a house. As you do when you share houses, you have takeaway (because it would be rude not to). #takeawayYA quickly became a thing and a lot of people commented on how fun it was to see what we were eating! From Prosecco, to wine, to diet coke, Indian food, Chinese food and pizza… it was all covered. (Plus, it saved us cooking AND washing!) Sharing a house with my faves made my experience even more enjoyable. 

(see: Chinese, pizza, Nandos, Indians)

Panels
Another one of my favourite parts of YALC were the panels. There were some absolutely brilliant talks this year. It’s always really interesting to hear the authors talk about their books and discover more about the books and the authors that you love. I managed to make it along to all of the panels that I wanted to and tagged along with Kelly to some panels that she wanted to – this made me discover some authors I had never read and now that I really want to! The ‘Heroines‘ panel was a brilliant look at the highs and heroines in books written by some amazing female authors (Melinda Salisbury, Alwyn Hamilton, Laure Eve, Amy Alward, Sophia Bennett). ‘Writing What You Know‘ gave an insight into the authors and the well known phrase “you should write what you know“. This talk highlighted that whatever you write, be it what you know or not, that you need to treat the story with respect and do some research! (Alex Wheatle, Lisa Williamson, Rachael Lucas, Lisa Heathfield, Hannah Witton) I love when panels/talks introduce me to new authors that I never would’ve come across before and this is exactly what the ‘Myths, Magic and Fairy tales‘ panel did. In this brilliant chat, it was brilliant to hear authors talk about one of my favourite elements for books… MAGIC. I love any book that includes magic, so books that call upon magic and mythology are always a winner for me. This chat also introduced me to Deidre Sullivan, who is not only adorable but her books sound RIGHT up my street. I went straight over to Amazon to order a book or 2 of hers! It was also lovely to finally meet Paedar who wrote the incredible ‘The Call’ and hear about its origins (if you haven’t read this yet, what is wrong with you? Get on it!). Some brilliant myths were mentioned and I will definitely be reading some more! (Joanne Harris, Julia Gray, Laura Dockrill, Zöe Marriott, Deirdre Sullivan, Peadar O’Guilin) On Saturday, I also tagged along to the Laini Taylor and ‘Books that made me‘ panels with Kelly and they turned out to be really interesting. I haven’t read anything by any of the authors but I am definitely going to seek out Strange the Dreamer in particular. Laini seems like the loveliest person ever and Katie Webber did an amazing job chairing the panel (not just that one, she was an incredible chair all weekend!) Sunday brought me back to #teamBarnard as Sara was on the ‘Life advice‘ panel. This was one I KNEW I needed to get to from the moment I saw the schedule. It was a brilliant look at giving advice (or not giving advice and offering resources) and life. Sara was with Holly Bourne and Hannah Witton (who is gorgeous) on this panel and it was brilliant to hear them talk about everything from feminism to loneliness and bullies. The final panel I tagged along to was Patrick Ness (chaired by the awesome Juno Dawson). I was very lucky to have met both of these awesome authors in the past few months, but I went along anyway – it’s not every day you get to hear Patrick Ness speak! It’s always really interesting to hear authors talk and answer questions that I NEVER would’ve thought of.

My favourite quote of the weekend came from Joanne Harris when talking in the ‘Books that made me’ panel. 

“The authors who make you are kind of your family. You get to choose them”

Meeting twitterfolk
Being a twitterer (I do twitter on, I do apologise) I have made some amazing friends and I was super excited to meet them all at YALC. To say I was nervous however was also a truth. I was PROPER nervous. Here are a bunch of people who I have never met IRL and they’re finally going to see me IRL. I didn’t quite know what to do. Friday I was a bit shy and didn’t really introduce myself to many people but Saturday I knew I had to just bite the bullet. I am SO GLAD I did. (Seriously though, do it. GO say hi to those faces you recognise from Twitter. It is never as awkard as you think). Massive shoutout to one of my favourite humans in the world, Lucy (@ldlapinski on twitter, go follow her, she’s bloody awesome) for her amazing cosplay – look at how fierce she is. I was SUCH a fangirl and I apologise so much. (sorry for my face but LOOK HOW AWESOME)

I got to meet so many other wonderful twitterfolk and I REALLY slacked on the selfie front and it makes me sad, but here are some of my other fave faces and twitterpeople. (If you have a selfie with us in it, send me it! I want all of the memories!) 

(See: Liv, Lizzie, Grace, Zoe)

 

I think that’s enough for one day! Sorry for my rambling! Come back tomorrow for more YALC highlights!

S x

Favourite Protagonists

Hello! Today we have a new guest blog – this time from my lovely friend Jess from Bookends and Endings and she’s telling us all about her favourite main characters! 

————————————

Hi there! I’m Jess from Bookends and Endings, and today I’m sharing my favourite protagonists here on Steph’s blog. Something that can easily make or break a book for me is the main character. It’s all very well for a book to be well written, well plotted, just excellent in general – but if I dislike the protagonist, it’s almost certain that the book won’t be one of my favourites. They don’t have to be likeable necessarily, but they need to be interesting, and I have to be on their side, and want for things to turn out well for them.

First up has to be the protagonist from one of my favourite books of last year: Norah from Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall. Norah suffers from agoraphobia, anxiety, and OCD, and lives trapped inside her house, until the arrival of her cute new neighbour helps her to challenge her mental health issues. Norah is a protagonist you just can’t help but love; she’s quite vulnerable, and it definitely brought out a protective side in me as a reader. Her character arc and character voice were so compelling, and she’s a protagonist I’ve been left thinking about long since I finished the book.

Image result for under rose tainted skies

Amani from Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton is another main character who I simply love. There are lots of things I adore in her, but mainly for me it’s her wit that has kept her in mind for me as a protagonist I can’t get enough of. I don’t want to give any spoilers, hence I can’t say too much about certain aspects of her, but I can say that she’s witty (I honestly sit there laughing and smiling at the book because her humorous comments are too good not to laugh at), she’s brave, and she’s incredibly determined. Funny to read about but also courageous and strong – a wonderful combination!

Image result for rebel of the sands

The next main character is from a book I’ve seen talked about a lot in the book blogging community, and that is Frances from Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. There was so much about Frances which I think just speaks to people, especially in the way she feels stressed by school and has a lot of exam pressure weighing down on her, and this definitely makes her realistic, I feel. She’s also such an easy character to relate to, and so representative of modern teenagers (lots of stuff to do with fandoms and the internet!), so she sticks out to me as an outstanding protagonist.

Image result for radio silence

Wing, the titular character from Katherine Webber’s debut novel, Wing Jones, is my final choice. I read this book very recently, especially in comparison to these other books, but I just think this shows what a great protagonist she is. She has such a wonderful emotional journey – she displays selflessness, but is also very human in the way she gets frustrated sometimes at those around her. On the whole, a stunning character!

Image result for wing jones

Thanks to Steph for having me on her blog – I hope you enjoyed this guest post! Who are your favourite protagonists?

——————————–

Thank you so much to Jess for sharing her favourite protagonists with us! If you’d like to follow Jess (which you should!), her links are below:

Twitter

WordPress

S x

5 YA Everyone Should Read

Welcome to another wonderful guest post from my wonderful friend Kelly – who is here to talk about YA books that everyone should read. Enjoy! Go follow Kelly, she’s wonderful! 

———————————————————————

5 YA Books Everyone Should Read

kelly

Hi everyone! I’m Kelly from Kelly’s Rambles and I’m here to take over my dear friend Steph’s blog with my guest post. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a secondary school teacher with a huge passion for reading and YA books are where my heart lies. One of my favourite things about reading is sharing my experience, be that with my lovely bookish friends or with my many enthusiastic pupils. I’m not an English teacher (WHAT? I hear you say) but who said that reading must be confined to English teachers? I love to talk about books with the teenagers I teach and I’ve had some of my favourite bookish discussions with them.

The five books I’ve chosen to feature today are all books that I’ve shared with my pupils. They are also all books that I truly believe everyone should read, regardless of age. These books made a change to my life, my emotions, my outlook and my being because they are wonderful and carry such important messages. Without further ado, here are 5 YA books I think EVERYONE should read!

kelly2

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Image result for a monster calls book cover

Goodreads link

I can’t imagine there are many people left out there who haven’t at least heard of this wonderful book, especially since the movie was released (I highly encourage seeing this after reading the book!). Reading A Monster Calls was an experience I will never be able to forget. My heart ached, tears spilled down my face and I felt empty of all emotion by the end – feelings only a truly powerful book can evoke. I love the way this is written and having worked with children who are living through the grieving process I can tell you now how much of an impact this book can have on your life. Grief affects all of us, no matter what stage of our life we are in, and this book will resonate with everyone. Such a poignant, heart breaking yet beautiful book.

 A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

Image result for a quiet kind of thunderbook cover

Goodreads link

“Reading this book can only be compared to being trapped in a joyous, wonderful, beautiful whirlpool of raw emotion.” The opening line to my exceptionally long review of this book really does say it all. Reading A Quiet Kind of Thunder is such a unique and wonderful experience and it is such a diverse book. Steffi is such a fantastic character, she is a selective mute, she suffers with anxiety but this story is not about those things. This is Steffi’s coming of age story, it is about her first romance, her relationships with those around her and learning to love herself. This book really touched me especially in the way Sara Barnard talks about anxiety. She portrays such a positive message: anxiety is difficult, it is horrible, but it can and will be okay. I am also super in love with the BSL throughout this book. My words cannot do this book justice, especially in such a small paragraph, but please read this. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will hurt your heart, it will warm your heart, but most importantly, it will enlighten you.

Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

Image result for wing jones book cover

Goodreads link

When I picked up Wing Jones at the beginning of the year, I was completely clueless as to what would happen next. This book absolutely captivated me, it took an issue that was close to my heart and tackled it head on. It has such raw emotions to it, on so many occasions I wanted to wrap Wing in my arms and tell her it would be okay. Wing Jones is packed full of diversity, it is beautifully written and emotionally driven. Whilst dealing with the consequences of her brother’s drunk driving, Wing embarks on a journey of self-discovery and self-love. To this day I still feel inspired by Wing and her strength and I’m sure that thousands of other readers can take something from Wing and learn. Not only was the issue of racism tackled, but this book also contained a very realistic portrayal of grief, bullying, guilt, self-belief, love. There is something here for everyone to relate to and learn from. On a personal note, I have been completely overwhelmed by Katherine’s kindness and it’s thanks to her that I’ve met one of my best bookish buddies. This book means a lot to me and I’m sure it will mean something to you too.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Image result for radio silence book cover

Goodreads link

I absolutely adore reading Alice Oseman’s books and Radio Silence was the first one I picked up. There are so many experiences in here for young people to learn from and relate to but I also think that as an adult looking back this book is still very relatable and teaches valuable life lessons. I love how diverse this book is with characters of different sexualities and races. I loved the relationships in this book and Oseman writes in a way that makes everything feel so real. A great coming of age story full of love, laughter, sadness and teenage angst. There is something in this book for everyone, I highly recommend it.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Image result for the hate you give book cover

Goodreads link

If at this point in 2017 you haven’t heard about The Hate U Give then you really must have been living under a rock. It was possibly one of the most highly anticipated books of the year and I am not at all surprised why. I struggled for weeks after reading this book to put my words down in a review. Struggled because this book is so powerful and inspiring that I knew I couldn’t do it justice. Angie Thomas tackles racism and police brutality like it’s never been tackled before. This book holds nothing back and will make you check your white privilege if you haven’t already. Reading The Hate U Give is like being on a rollercoaster of emotions that you can’t get off. I felt extreme anger, sadness and hatred and then found myself smiling and laughing a few pages later. Angie Thomas has a powerful voice and isn’t afraid to use it. This book and this wonderful woman are literally changing lives and paving the way to brighter futures for so many young black people who will be nothing but inspired by Angie. This book is life changing and will evoke emotions in you that you didn’t know you possessed. Incredible.

kelly2

Phew… I got super emotional just thinking about those books and how much they have affected me personally. These books are excellent examples of why YA books don’t have to be just for teenagers because they can teach so much to adults too. Knowing how hard life can be for teenagers these days I am so grateful that such wonderful books exist to support and inform our young people. I would love to hear from you if you have any thoughts on the books above or any recommendations for me! (Find me at Kellys Rambles on twitter)

I’m going to leave you with one of my 2017 highlights: the moment one of my pupils who is a selective mute came to see me after my recommendation of A Quiet Kind of Thunder with a huge smile and tears in her eyes to say the words, ‘I could see myself in Steffi and I’ve never had that before. I love this book, it means so much to me”.

 

Book snatching?!

Hello, tis Wednesday guest blog time again! This time you are very lucky to be in the hands of my lovely Irish friend Aoife, blogger extraordinaire over at Pretty Purple Polka Dots and Twitterer to the max at @PrettyPPD (you should probably follow her, it’s a good idea kids). 
She’s going to talk to you all about the books on my shelves that she wants to get her hands on! 
Without further ado…
————————————————————
Steph and I are in a vicious cycle where we recommend each other books and then probably never end up actually reading them. This time, it’s time to break the chain and actually read something she has.

I took a peek at Steph’s (well stocked) personal library and picked out five tomes I’d love to get my hands on. All I have to do is turn up at her place and demand them. Simple.

Image result for scrappy little nobody
Scrappy Little Nobody – Anna Kendrick
 
I love Anna Kendrick  – she’s hilarious in Pitch Perfect, and when I found out she was releasing a book I knew I had to get my hands on it.
Image result for flawed cecelia ahern
Flawed – Cecelia Ahern
 
I love Cecelia’s more grown up work and I’d really love to give her YA fiction a go.

Image result for graces laure eve
The Graces – Laure Eve
This was read by my book club in Dublin and they all loved it. I missed the meeting because I was in Wales at the time doing an MA, so I think I have a little catching up to do.
img_3886

The Scarecrow trilogy – Melinda Salisbury

Steph has been singing the praises of this series for months, so I’m really tempted. This is one that’s going straight on my TBR.

Image result for silence is goldfish
Silence is Goldfish – Annabel Pitcher
 
Cheating a little – Steph actually sent me this book a few months ago. 
 
Aoife

Pretty Purple Polka Dots
@PrettyPPD 
————————————————————–
Thank you so much Aoife! Consider these books on their way to you once they’ve been read! 
S x

Favourite YA authors

Hello! It’s Wednesday! You know what that means, guest post Wednesday (I really need to think of a new name for this, that’s better! But hey ho, we’ll go with guest post wednesday for now!) 

Without further ado, I welcome my lovely friend Amy (links at the bottom of the post) who is here to talk about her favourite YA books! You can check out my post on Amy’s blog too in the next few days! I would love to see what you all think about our choices!

—————————————————————- 

Thanks for having me Steph to discuss my favourite YA books! When we decided to do this, I didn’t realise how difficult it would be. I eventually narrowed my list down and realised the books that have really stayed with me are set in vivid fantasy worlds, with characters that made me care about what happened to them.

amy

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman was the book that got me into fantasy. I’ve seen the play, travelled across the country to meet Philip Pullman and read it more times than I can count. There aren’t many books that I was able to read as a child and still get so much out of as an adult. I’m not sure it’s technically a YA book but I’m including it because it has something for everybody.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor is my ultimate YA book. I can still remember the first time I read it, how I had no idea what was coming and really loved those characters. Karou and Akiva are my ultimate OTP and Laini Taylor’s writing is beautiful.

The Weight of Feathers by Anna Marie McLemore is one of those books that engages all of the senses. The descriptions are lyrical and gorgeous, and this is my favourite example of magical realism.

The Forbidden Game by LJ Smith was my favourite book as a teenager. I read it so many times that I almost knew it by heart and I think Julian was my first book crush. I reread it recently and it has definitely stood the test of time.

These are my other favourites: a mixture of high concept fantasy; believable, thought-provoking contemporary and even a little horror.

  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
  • City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  • Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine
  • Am I normal yet? by Holly Bourne
  • The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
  • Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
  • The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
  • The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
  • Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  • Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas
  • Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

If you want to read more of my YA recommendations or chat about books, you can find me on Twitter (@yaundermyskin) and on my blog (www.yaundermyskin.co.uk).

—————————————————————- 

As you can see a lot of my personal favourites are on Amy’s long list, but to see my list of favourite YA I would love you to go over to my post at YA Under My Skin to find out my choices!

Thanks Amy for your guest post, I loved it! 

S x