“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

The 90s Movie Tag

Hello there!

How are we all? It’s Friday again! It is FINALLY half term. My first half term over as a teacher – prepare yourself for quite a mammoth blog post next week about what I got up to in my first 8 weeks as a teacher!

Today I’m taking on the ’90s Movie Tag’ which I saw on my brilliant friend Aoife’s blog. You should go read her post and follow her blog! I loved the premise of this tag, so thought I’d take it on.

She’s All That – Name a book couple that is an odd pairing but they still fit perfectly together

Lukas and Nell from The Hurting by Lucy van Smit. He’s pretty much a rich wolf boy and she was brought up with a drunken dad, a poorly mam and a little sister. They have an interesting dynamic. The Hurting is one of those books that pushes you to think for a while after you read it.

10 Things I Hate About You – A book/series you have a love/hate relationship with

OH MY WORD. For me, there is only one candidate. Gone Girl. I have SUCH a complex relationship with this book. I HATED the characters. So much. Man, I think I need to write a blog post about my feelings about this book. However, I did think it was so cleverly written. But yeah, this book makes me want to shake my fist (yknow, like the gif of the little girl?)

Clueless – A character who is totally clueless but you love them anyway

I don’t know that I have a character who is Clueless quite like Cher. I’ve gone for Citra and Rowan from Scythe. They had NO idea about the corruption and horrendous acts in Scythedom, but I loved them.

Titanic – Name a book that made you cry

LOLOL. Hello, do you know me AT ALL? I could list almost every book I’ve ever read. I am a crier. You’ll get used to it. However, if we’re going for books that have had a lasting impact on my emotions, I’d have to go with Countless by Karen Gregory. I can’t think about that book and not tear up.

American Pie – A book that makes you laugh

This was another one where I was like ‘I KNOW THE ANSWER STRAIGHT AWAY’. Guys, if you’re yet to read The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven, then you need to get on it. I remember reading the first chapter of that book and cackling SO SO MUCH. Izzy O’Neill is just remarkable and hilarious. Everyone needs her in their life.

Can’t Hardly Wait – A book with a crazy party

I don’t know that I can recall many books with parties in (which, considering I read a lot of YA books, does blow my mind slightly). But, after some thought, Clean by Juno Dawson features some wild parties. It must, right? It’s all about drugs and alcohol and sex.

Cruel Intentions – Name a character you can never fully trust

I 100% do not trust Mael from State of Sorrow (by the Queen Salisbury). I am still suspicious of him. I won’t say what it is, incase you haven’t read it, but if you have and wanna know… hit me up. I NEED SORROW 2 NOW PLZ THANKS.

Drive Me Crazy – Name your favourite “boy next door” or “girl next door” couple

I mean, Simon and Blue from Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda are pretty much “boy next door/boy next door” vibes for me. I adore them. I want a book of just Simon and Blue romantic fluff.

Scream – A book with a memorable villain

Every time I do one of these tags and a question about vilains comes up, I think of the SAME character. J from The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James. I mean, that’s gotta be some memorable character.

The Craft – Name a book with witches

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw was my first thought. A brilliant book about witches and falling in love and being who you really are.

Why don’t you take on this tag? I’d love to know your thoughts on my choices!

ALSO, if you do a tag you’d like me to take part in, let me know! I’m loving tag life!

Speak to you soon!

S x

S4S – books on my TBR forever

Morning pals!

How are we all today? What does this Sunday have in store for us all? Is anyone up to anything fun? I shall probably be spending my Sunday doing some planning as it is almost back to school time!

Today’s #SixforSunday post queries:

Books that have been on my TBR forever

See last weeks post for even more books that have been on my TBR forever too! I’m actually consulting my bookshelves and my Goodreads to aid this week!

1. The Next Together – Lauren James

2. Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo

3. Trouble – Non Pratt

4. The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli

5. They Both Die At The End – Adam Silvera

6. Flight of a Starling – Lisa Heathfield

Whats on your TBR? Share your books on your TBR using the hashtag #SixforSunday!

See you next week!

S x

S4S – Stuck in a lift with WHO? No thanks.

Hello again!

Welcome back to #SixforSunday. Last week I shared characters I would like to be stuck in a lift with… this week I’m sharing:

Characters I definitely would NOT like to be stuck in a lift with

Let’s get on with this… 

  1. The Maestro – A Thousand Perfect Notes
    For those of you who know about this book, you’ll know why. Those of you who don’t… she’s an abusive mother. She’s just horrid. Her actions are unjustifiable. I hated her, so so much.
  2. Katniss – The Hunger Games trilogy
    I know, controversial, I don’t like her. I think she’s an utter whingebag. 
  3. J – The Loneliest Girl in the Universe
    THIS DUDE CREEPED ME OUT SO MUCH. No thanks. Imagine being stuck in a lift with that creep for hours on end? GOD NO THANKS.
  4. Luke – After the Fire
    Now, I know he’s kind of misunderstood but he kind of scares me. He’s intimidating and I think he’s just a serious bean. I don’t know that I could do that for hours on end.
  5. Noah – Noah Can’t Even
    I just think any situation this dude is in will end in an absolute disaster, so whilst he’s not a bad character, I can’t guarantee that it wouldn’t turn into a disaster. I’ll pass on that thanks.
  6. Dan – I Have No Secrets
    A bit like the Maestro, I think this dude is just the worst. His attitude and his actions are disgusting. I would probably want to punch him, quite hard. No thanks.

This list is a stark difference to my list last week… this is mostly men, whilst last week’s was mostly women. Interesting!

Who would you NOT like to be stuck in a lift with? Share your list using #SixforSunday on twitter, or wherever! Link me and I’ll check it out. I’m loving seeing all of these posts! 

S x

Best of 2017: YA edition

3 more days of 2017. 3 more days of books. 

As you might’ve seen yesterday, I shared my favourite MG books of 2017. Today, I am sharing my favourite YA books of the year. This year was one filled with absolutely incredible YA books and it was TOUGH to whittle it down to only 12. (Why 12 you ask? A 3×4 is much more aesthetically pleasing to me than a 2×5!)

I’ve properly fallen in love with the whole of YA this year, there’s been some absolute crackers. I’ll give a very brief opinion of the book and share the link to my full review, if that’s your cup of tea. If there isn’t a review up of it right now, there is one scheduled in the near future. I promise. I haven’t included any of the 2018 releases that I’ve read this year, just books released this year or earlier. There’s so many books from this year and earlier I haven’t read yet. I’m hoping 2018 I will be able to read all the ones I didn’t get round to, but for now… I introduce:

The best YA books of 2017

2017 YA best(just like yesterday, these are in no order in particular!)

Wing Jones – Katherine Webber
BOOKBLOG: Katherine Webber
Bravery, brilliance and some properly amazing family moments. I can’t believe it’s been almost a whole year since I read this. Katie is LUSH.

Traitor to the Throne – Alwyn Hamilton
BOOK BLOG: Alwyn Hamilton 2
I absolutely love this work that Alwyn has created. The characters are brilliant and the ballsy attitude of Amani and her friends is just spot on. (If she kills Jin in Hero at the Fall, I will FALL OUT with her!)

The Scarecrow Queen – Melinda Salisbury
BLOG TOUR: The Scarecrow QueenBOOKBLOG: Melinda SalisburyBOOKBLOG: Melinda Salisbury 2 (lol, I love Mel ok?)
If you’re a friend or follower of me, you will know my feelings on this book. I LOVE IT OK. Twylla’s journey from TSED to TSQ is everything. If you’re friends with me and you haven’t read these, then you need to get on it.

Paper Butterflies – Lisa Heathfield
(review to come)
This book BROKE MY HEART. It deals with a pretty dark subject, but there’s moments of light in this book that make it worthwhile. Prepare yourself with lots of tissues.

Ink – Alice Broadway
BOOKBLOG: ALICE BROADWAY
Oh man, Ink. Ink is something special. Like properly brilliant. I properly want to go and read it again. I can’t wait for the sequel Spark to come out next year.

Countless – Karen Gregory
BOOKBLOG: Karen Gregory
Like Paper Butterflies, this book broke my heart. The last page tops off the heartbreaking-ness. It’s so brilliant though. 

After the Fire – Will Hill
BOOKBLOG: Will Hill
This book came out of nowhere and slapped me in the face with its brilliance. Cults, fire, death, revenge and survival all make for an incredible story.

One of Us Is Lying – Karen M. McManus
BOOKBLOG: Karen M. McManus
Absolutely brilliant. This book continued to impress and stun me as I read. I did not see the ending coming. GO GO GO GO READ IT.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe – Lauren James
BOOKBLOG: Lauren James
This has one of the most sinister characters I’ve met this year in it and I was SO there for it. It surprised me how much I loved it, but I really did. 

The Call – Peadar O’Guilin
BOOKBLOG: Peadar Ó Guilín
This is an excellent, dark and grim dystopian novel. It surprised me at how dark it was, but I devoured it. It’s just so devilishly good.

Radio Silence – Alice Oseman
BOOKBLOG: Alice Oseman
This was one everyone told me to read, and when I finally got round to it, I was sufficiently impressed. Alice Oseman is an absolute wonder. I devoured Radio Silence in about 3 hours.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
BOOKBLOG: Sara Barnard
This book is special. This book inspired me to learn, and then teach my kids, some sign language. I absolutely adored this book and its exploration of being brave, bold and the need (or lack thereof) to communicate by speaking. Steffi and Rhys’ story is special.

So there you go.
My favourite YA books of 2017.
There are so so so many others that could’ve been on this list, but all of these punched me in the gut and made me feel so intensely that they needed to be here. 2017 has been an incredible year for YA stories. There’s been love, heartbreak, pregnancy, inclusion, exclusion, friendships, laughter, tears. 2018 has a lot to live up to.

What’s on YOUR list?
How many of my books have you read?
How NOT surprised are you that Queen Mel is there?

See you in 2018 for even more brilliant YA books!

S x

Perfect Presents: YA edition

Hello! So far this week we’ve looked at picture books and MG books, but today I’m sharing some of the YA books that I think the YA lovers in your life will really enjoy! Again, there’s been so many incredible YA books out this year and I haven’t got round to reading them all, but here goes….

Ink – Alice Broadway
(BOOKBLOG: ALICE BROADWAY)

“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.”

The Paper Magician – Charlie N Holmberg 
(the first of 3, with book 4 to come!)

The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Series, Book 1) by [Holmberg, Charlie N.]

“Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.”

The Sin Eater’s Daughter – Melinda Salisbury 
(first of 3 books… buy them all!)
(Bookblog: Melinda SalisburyBOOKBLOG: Melinda Salisbury 2BOOKBLOG: Melinda Salisbury)

“Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court. As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company. 
But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen. However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favour of a doomed love?”

A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
(BOOKBLOG: Sara Barnard)

“Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk and, as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.”

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe – Lauren James
(BOOKBLOG: Lauren James)

“Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J. Their only communication is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.
Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away? But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean? Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone…”

One of Us is Lying – Karen M McManus
(BOOKBLOG: Karen M. McManus)

“Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive. For fans of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, this is the perfect high school thriller.
Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.

Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond.
Bad body Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime.
Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life.
And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again. He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects. Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them.”

The Fallen Children – David Owen
(BOOKBLOG: David Owen)

(colour may vary!)

“Young people on the Midwich Estate don’t have much hope for their futures. Keisha has lived there her whole life, and has been working hard to escape it; others have just accepted their lot. But change is coming . . . One night, everyone inside Midwich Tower falls mysteriously unconscious in one inexplicable ‘Nightout’. No one can explain what happened during those lost hours, but soon afterwards Keisha and three other girls find they’re pregnant – and the babies are growing at an alarming rate.”

After the Fire – Will HIll
(BOOKBLOG: Will Hill)

“Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming. Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out. What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?”

So there we go! A very quick round up of some of the best YA books I’ve read this year. There are SO MANY OTHERS. I would love to know what books are on your must buy/must recommend lists! YA books have had an exceptional year that ANY book you buy will be a great investment! 

Which of my recommendations have you read?
Are there any you think I’ve missed out?
Which 2017 books would you recommend to me?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

S x

BOOKBLOG: Lauren James

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe: a gripping, unique heart-racer

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“Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away? 
Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J. Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love. But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean? Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .”

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe (I’m going to call it Loneliest Girl in this blog, because well it’s a LONG title!) tells the story of Romy, who is the captain of a ship on its way to a new planet, with hopes to make it hospitable. She’s all alone on this rocket, with only audio/email messages coming from her therapist Molly. Something changes and suddenly there’s a mysterious stranger on the scene. This stranger is J, the captain of another ship, and Romy quickly finds herself falling for this mysterious stranger. When things start becoming a bit suspect, Romy discovers that J isn’t quite who he says he is…

I had seen SO MUCH about this book on twitter! Everyone was talking about it. I was SO ENVIOUS of all of the people who had advance copies. I needed to get my hands on it. I was elated when I heard they would be selling them at YALC. When it came to YALC, Kelly and I rushed to buy a copy (because we were afraid they’d run out of copies!) just to be sure we would get one. It has sat on my shelf since YALC but I was determined to read it before we did a SundayYA chat about it. AND READ IT BEFORE SUNDAYYA I DID. It took me all of about 4 hours to read. It is THAT GOOD. It’s so readable. Gripping. The kind of book that takes you by surprise (it certainly took me by surprise!) 

This book is very character centric and luckily for me, I loved the characters. Romy (the main character) and her story were very well written. The flashbacks of her memories growing up, her memories of the rocket were gorgeous to see. Her parents are very important to herboth in very different ways – I loved her relationship with her dad. Her relationship with her mam kept me very curious. The other character in the space world in Loneliest Girl is J: mysterious, handsome, seemingly perfect. Romy definitely falls for him fast. Her trust of him pulled the wool over my eyes. I didn’t like him from the start… there was something about him I didn’t trust. He was too convenient. He was the perfect, most sinister, creepy baddie though. He adds a brilliantly sinister dynamic to this book. Definitely kept me on my toes. 

I would recommend this book to EVERYONE. It is one of those that would appeal to SO MANY PEOPLE. It’s so clever and devious and delicious. I’m curious about the rest of the author’s work now… if they’re all this good I need to get them NOW (well, when September is over cause y’know book buying ban and all that!)

Have you read Loneliest Girl?
What did you make of J?
Do you think you’d cope with Romy’s life?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter! I’d love to talk about this book! 

S xx