Addicted to Books tag

HOLA PALS. 

How are we all doing on this here second to last Thursday of the Summer holidays? (Part of me is ready to go back, part of me is not!) I come to you today with a tag that I saw my friend Aoife do! She didn’t tag me but hey… we all know I love a tag! 

addicted to books

What is the longest amount of time you can comfortably go without picking up a book?

I mean, I’ve had months where I’ve read 4 books, but that was 2 books in one day and 2 books in another day at either ends of the month. It really depends how much I’m in the mood to read. I’d say in general life, a day or 2? I like to try and read every day. 

How many books do you carry on your person (or kindle) at any one time?

Always one, sometimes two. If I know I’m near the end of a book and I’m going to have a lot of reading time, I’ll make sure I have a second book (or I’ll plan on going to buy another book) because no one wants the NO BOOK SCENARIO.

Do you keep every book you buy/receive or are you happy to pass them on to make space for more?

I am MORE THAN HAPPY to share my books around. If they’re middle grade, you can guarantee they’ll go to the library at school, but if they’re YA/adult, they’ll go to my witches for first refusal, then I’ll either offer them to the local secondary school or they’ll be offered to friends/twitter/my mam (if she hasn’t already read them). 

HOWEVER if I’ve loved it… it stays in my possession.

How long would you spend in a bookshop on a standard visit?

LOL. Some of my favourite people work in my local bookshop so I can LITERALLY spend hours in there. I’m well known for helping out in Waterstones Newcastle (putting stickers on books, putting books in the RIGHT order etc.). However, if none of my people are in, I’ll probably mooch for like 30 mins and then I’ll tottle off to the cafe for a beverage and maybe a slice of cake!

How much time per day do you actually spend reading?

This varies! It depends on the day, the time of year, the book I’m reading, the mood I’m in, the place I am. In the Summer holidays, I can read for HOURS on end, but during term time, I probably read for 30 mins a day. It really does depend on SO MANY THINGS. 

Where does the task ‘picking up a book’ appear on your daily to-do list? 

I tend to read before bed, or at night time when I have down time. I don’t have a TV in my bedroom (I KNOW SHOCKER… I do have my iPad though), so that’s always a great time to read. Normally about 8pm is my peak reading time depending on what I need to do for work!

How many books do you reckon you own in total (including e-books)?

Deary me. I genuinely could NOT tell you. More than 500 probably? An awful lot is the answer and I’m sticking to it!

Aproximately, how often do you bring up books in conversation?

Why wouldn’t you want to talk about books? I love talking about books. My twitter life is pretty much ALL about books (featuring some life things). Most of my friends are bookish people, so we talk about books ALL THE TIME: ones we loved, hated, things we are excited for, things we do not want to read. You know the standard book craic.

What is the biggest book (page count) you have finished reading?

Ooooh, I’m going to have to consult Goodreads… there’s a few big books on my “read” shelf… Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. 

Is there a book you had to get your on against all odds (i.e. searching bookshops, online digging, etc)?

OH MY GODS YES. I missed out on all of the sprayed edges versions of Beyond the Odyssey and I was GUTTED. I told ALL of my friends to keep their eyes peeled. My gorgeous friend Kelly found me a copy in Waterstones in Bristol (I believe) and she posted it to me. I was not having an incomplete set of sprayed edges Who Let The Gods Out? series. (I’m a SUCKER for a sprayed edge).

A book you struggled to finish but refused to DNF?

Caraval. I know a LOT of people who love it, but it just didn’t sparkle how I wanted it to. I’m curious about the sequels, but I do not want another book where I have to TRUDGE through to get just an OK story.

What are 3 of your main book goals for 2019?

  • Enjoy reading whatever it is I’m reading
  • Read 52 children’s books
  • Read 104 books in the year (my Goodreads was set at 52, but now that I’ve smashed that, I’m going for double!)

Have you ever had the priviledge of converting someone into a reader (maybe via inspiration or incessant nagging)?

In my job, you occasionally get a child who says they’re not a reader and then I get the absolute joy of FINDING them a book that makes them a reader. I’ve had that 2 or 3 times in the last year, so I’m very much looking forward to more of the same next year and in all of the years to come!

In my non-professional life, I do not know! I’ve nagged people til they read Melinda Salisbury/Sara Barnard/Maz Evans, so does that count?

If you’re a person who has read something because of me, let me know because that’s a lovely thing to know!

Describe what books mean to you in five words.

The chance to temporarily escape.

This was a LUSH tag to do! I did not expect to ramble on for 900 words, so I do apologise. If you got this far, tell me your favourite book you’ve read, or the book you’re reading at the minute! 

If you wanna do this tag, go for it! Thanks to Kelly and Charlotte for choosing the colours for this blog post *grin*

Speak soon,

S x 

Spotify Book Tag

Hello there again!

How are you all on this here Thursday? What have you been up to this week? More importantly, what have you been READING this week?

I come to you with a tag that I definitely didn’t steal from my friend Cora. I’ve seen this tag floating about on different blogs and I thought ‘YOU KNOW WHAT? I wanna join in’, so here I am, joining in… (even though no-one invited me haha!)

Book Hooked Nook's Spotify Book Tag banner(Credit to Book Hooked Nook for the tag and the graphic!)

Hit Rewind: a book you go back to again and again?

As you all know by now, I’m not a massive rereader. However, a book I’ve read multiple times is Matilda. I’d love to be a rereader, I just have THE FEAR of “what if I reread a book and I hate it this time round?”

Romantic Ballads: a book that gives you all these fluttery feels?

A recent book that gave me all the romantic feels was Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott. That book was FULL OF THE FEELS. I really enjoyed it. It was a book that I had on my TBR forever and I picked it up on a whim and then I DEVOURED IT.

Release Radar: a new release book you’re excited for?

I’m excited for EVERYONE else to finally get to read A Pocketful of Stars by Aisha Bushby and No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter. I ADORE these two books. A book that I’m excited for personally? The Girl With Space in Her Heart by Lara Williamson. I loved her other books and I’ve already picked up this new one!

Discover Weekly: a book you haven’t read yet but want to discover?

I mean, Hold Back The Tide by Melinda Salisbury, but that’s MONTHS off being discovered. So if you mean a book that is out now and I want to discover it? Hmmm… either of Sarah Marie Griffin’s books. I saw her at YALC and she’s hilarious. Her books sounded really interesting too!

Alone Again: your fave book genre to read on your own?

I don’t have a preference on what I read alone and around others. I will read whatever I want around whoever I want. Plus, at least 2 of my friends have said watching me read something is a joy in their lives (hi Charlotte and Kelly) so I would hate to deny them that!

Alternative: an indie book or author everyone should read?

*shrug* I literally have no idea. Shout me your favourite indie reads though, I would appreciate that!

Cheesy Hits: a book full of cheese you love?

I don’t know what constitutes a cheesy book, but maybe Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie. It was very sweet and lovely.

Summer Hits: a book you reread every Summer?

I’ll have to skip this track, because N/A.

Power Hour: an empowering feminist book or character you adore?

SO SO MANY. There are so many amazing characters that I adore. Emily from No Big Deal needs a lot of love now that she’s released in the world; Sorrow from the State of Sorrow duology also needs a lot of love because YES SORROW; Jemima Small because she’s blooody wonderful and all kids need to read her; Izzy bloody O’Neill – if she’s not a character you’re familiar with, then please do something about it (The Exact Opposite of Okay is where you need to go to find her!)

All Out 10s: list 10 banging books!

(I’m going for 10 books I’ve read this year…)

  1. This Is Going To Hurt – Adam Kay
  2. The Lost Tide Warriors – Catherine Doyle
  3. Patina – Jason Reynolds
  4. All The Things We Never Said – Yasmin Rahman
  5. Scars Like Wings – Erin Stewart
  6. Song of Sorrow – Melinda Salisbury
  7. Jemima Small Versus The Universe – Tamsin Winter
  8. And Then I Turned Into A Mermaid – Laura Kirkpatrick
  9. High Rise Mystery – Sharna Jackson
  10. Viper – Bex Hogan

(Also, No Big Deal – Bethany Rutter; The Burning – Laura Bates; Meat Market – Juno Dawson; A Girl Called Shameless – Laura Steven; A Curse So Dark and Lonely – Bridgit Kemmerer – lol, I can’t help myself!)

That’s me done!

I’m not going to tag anyone because I’m a rebel, but if you fancy doing this, GO FOR IT!

Did any of my responses surprise you?
Is there anything you want to recommend to me based on my answers?
Can we talk about books please?

Speak to you soon!

S x

The Bedtime Book Tag

HOLA AMIGOS.

Today is another Thursday. Another Thursday Tag. Another “I stole it from Charlotte, but don’t tell her” tag. 

I’m taking on The Bedtime Book Tag today. I saw this and thought it looked like a lot of fun, and different to things I’ve done before!

What book kept you up all night reading?

I’ve had A LOT of books like this, but funnily enough I was looking at my Facebook memories the other day and it came up that 7 years ago I posted at 4:06am that I had stayed up all night to finish the final Harry Potter. So that’s probably the LATEST I’ve stayed up. However, there are MANY MANY books that keep me up. I just think “oh, I’ll keep reading, one more chapter” and then BAM, I’ve read the whole book and it’s like 2am.

What book made you scared to go to sleep?

Hmmm… I don’t read many scary books ON PURPOSE. I’m not great with scary, I’m a bit of a jumpy person. But if I think about the last book that did this, it was probably *checks Goodreads read shelf* The Secret Deep by Lindsay Galvin. There’s some WEIRD stuff that goes on in that book, but I properly loved it.

What book almost put you to sleep?

OOOOH. A book I didn’t enjoy so much? OH OH OH. All of This is True by Lydia Day Penaflor. It’s not a terrible book, I just had such high hopes and it just fell a bit flat for me. 

Which book had you tossing and turning in anticipation of its release?

All of the Melinda Salisbury books ever? (HA) All of the sequels to books I’ve ever read? All of the books I’m excited for? Hmmm… maybe the one that I was most excited for recently: The Lost Tide Warriors by Catherine Doyle. I have already bought it and already read it and can confirm, well worth the wait. 

What book has your dream boyfriend?

UGH. Can I have a few different options for this? Because Luvian Fen though (State of Sorrow duology), Jin though (Rebel of the Sands trilogy) and pretty much all of the boyfriends that Sara Barnard writes (they’re all great as far as I can remember). 

What book would be a nightmare to live in?

Most of the books I read are fantasy and I GUARANTEE I would not manage to survive in many (if any) of the worlds. However, I’m going to steal Charlotte’s answer and say the lands of The Extinction Trials by S.M.Wilson because any place I have to be able to outrun dinosaurs (or anything else for that matter) is out for me. 

What book reminds you of nighttime?

I think night time and I think Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Don’t ask me why because I do not know. Maybe the dark deeds and the dark wit. 

What book has a nightmarish cliffhanger?

God, can I just say now how much I hate a cliffhanger? Hmmm… the end of Thunderhead is QUITE the ending. Like, I need The Toll now because I need to know what is going to happen to my favourite Scythes.

What book have you actually dreamt about?

Hmmm… I dreamt, after reading Song of Sorrow, that I was Sorrow. She’s fucking amazing. 

What fictional monster would you not like to find hiding under your bed?

Any of them? They’re all WRONG. But like, Vespus from Song of Sorrow would be there. Any kind of actual sea monster/monster would also be there. Any of them really. I don’t wanna be scared thank you kind sirs and madams.

If you fancy doing this, go for it! There’s some pretty interesting questions in this! I love reading people’s answers to tags. Finding out more about my bookish friends gives me such joy. 

Let me know if there’s a tag you’d like me to do! I love a good tag!

S x 

YALC goodness

Hello friends!

Here we are, 2 weeks after YALC, and my gosh. I still don’t think I’m quite over the introvert hangover. I can’t be the only person who really needs to like be ALONE after weekends like this, can I?

For all, yes, YALC is exhausting, it’s also wonderful.
It’s bookish goodness for 3 days.
It’s friends who you don’t get to see very often.
It’s putting names to faces that you’ve only seen in their tiny little twitter face.
It’s standing in lines to meet your favourite authors.
It’s finding people who love the same books as you.
It’s telling authors that you loved their book so much it made them cry.
It’s speaking to publicists who have been so lovely and generous.
It’s learning about new books and finding new authors.
It’s seeing those people who you always get to see at these kinds of events.
It’s fangirling over that one person who you follow online, who you try and be all cool about and just end up being all shy and coy (lol, if you know me, YOU KNOW THIS). 

So anyway… I thought I’d wrap up MY YALC experience because as we know everyone has their own experience and everyone experiences it differently.

I had a quieter YALC this year than I’ve had in the past – there weren’t as many panels I wanted to sit and listen to and there weren’t as many books I needed to be signed as I’ve had in the past (which is good because it meant less queuing and less carrying of heavy books!). There were things I was DYING to see and people I was dying to meet, but I was glad of a quieter YALC.

Panels

I got the chance to sit in on some wonderful panels this year, from interesting insights into the world of toxic masculinity, fantasy, new voices (always one of my favourite panels) to social media in YA, it was all covered this year. It’s always lovely to see some faves again (shout outs to Queen Mel, Sara Barnard, Laura Steven, Bethany Rutter and Dhonielle Clayton, who is a hilarious chair) and meet some new faces, whose books I’ve either read or am planning on reading. It was great to finally meet Bex Hogan (Viper – a wonderful book, you should all read it NOW), Sarah Maria Griffin (who is hilarious), Yasmin Rahman (whose book I immediately ran and bought, and then consumed in a matter of hours on my train home) and Samuel Pollen (The Year I Didn’t Eat, which destroyed me).

I love the broad range of panels that you can go and sit in on at YALC – there’s always something for everyone!

Bookish fun

One of the best things about YALC is of course the bookish fun that can happen. I didn’t take as many pictures of the stalls and things this year (I guess I was having too much fun to!) but I always love how each of the publishers themes their stalls. The Penguin stall has amazing books which could be turned around so you could see the blurb on the back; Usborne had a WONDERFULLY bright stall and Scholastic’s stall was all seaside themed. The Walker YA stall had a hilarious “How you’re going to die” Scythe themed wheel, and when I spun it, apparently I’m going to die falling down a manhole while reading a book – it seems likely to be honest.

While I was at YALC, I managed to pick up samplers for 3 of the books I’m most excited for (you can find out all about those in a week or so when I do my #SamplerSunday blog post!): Melinda Salisbury’s Hold Back The Tide, David Owen’s Grief Angels and Laura Steven’s The Love Hypothestis. I am not going to lie… I had tunnel vision to get these. The publishers ran out of the samplers in the first two days, so I was CHUFFED when I managed to get my hands on them. (LBR for a sec, the first thing I did when I got into YLC was run to the Scholastic stand and get a Hold Back The Tide: I know where my priorities lie!)

I love that since I’m around bookish people I get to spend a lot of time reading. On the train down, I read The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg (Disney World meets dark, dystopian robot land) while my friend Charlotte read Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff. I also got quite a lot of reading done in the YALC house too. I was very lucky to be sharing an AirBnB with 4 of my favourite bookish humans, so it meant for plenty of reading time. I got all of The Kingdom read and then got through Evernight by Ross Mackenzie too (this was BLOODY BRILLIANT, again more on that next week). On the train back to the homeland, I read All The Things We Never Said by Yashmin Rahman (which I had picked up having heard Yasmin talk about it and I needed it) as Charlotte read Slay by Kim Curran (a book I adore… it’s such fun!)

Something else which I love about YALC and the stalls is that they’re almost always interactive. There was one this year about which superpower you’d have, who you’d like to be stranded on a jellyfish with and random others. My favourite one was from My Kinda Book to link in with the release of No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter (we all know I love this book, if you haven’t preordered it yet, please do, Bethany is a doll and this book is SO SO SO SO SO GOOD). The gorgeous pink hearts you can see are messages of encouragement people were leaving for strangers. Standing reading some of them gave me a proper lump in my throat: people can be so compassionate and kind. Some of them were hilarious too!

YALC always hosts a ton of workshops too and these can range from crafty, to chats, to writing workshops with authors and they’re always really well attended. I don’t go to many, in fact this year was only the second time I’d ever attended a workshop (I think!). Akemi Dawn Bowman (author of Starfish and Summer Bird Blue) had a workshop this year about self care and we had the chance to create an anxiety bracelet, so Charlotte and I tottled off to make bracelets. It was so lovely to just sit and be calm and creative in what had been a busy day of bookish goodness. We both created rainbow bracelets and I am still wearing mine now!

For anyone who follows YALC on twitter, you know that there is always a special guest appearance of a celeb or two who are just passing through. My firt year it was Benedict Cumberbatch; last year it was Jason Momoa, and again, this year, Momoa appeared. It’s always funny seeing these super famous celebs just sauntering on the YALC floor. I think I might’ve even spotted a few other celebs who were checking out the YALC floor at a fee points over the weekend. (And yes, Momoa is as gorgeous in real life as he appears).

#TakeawayYA

#TakeawayYA is not a staple of YALC: it is a tradition of me and my friends! #TakeawayYA was a hashtag started by my friends Cora, Kelly and I at our first YALC house 3 years ago and it’s something that has just STUCK. People always comment about how hilarious it is. It’s basically just me and my friends sharing the takeaway that we’re having. I love that we’ve created this daft tradition that is sticking around and I hope itstick around for years! (If you search the hashtag on twitter, you should get a few years worth of takeaways ha!)

And I think that’s it for my YALC experience. There is a whole lot more to say. I have a whole list of thank yous to say, but I have one of my ‘Letters to…’ coming up to say thank you to some people, so keep tuned for that in the coming weeks!

If you have any questions about YALC, or about what I got up to at YALC, please holler at me, I know everyone’s experience is different and I’d be more than happy to talk about my experience. I can’t talk for everyone! 

If you’re interested in my experiences from past YALC conventions, check out my posts YALC highlights (2018) , YALC #1 (2017)  and YALC #2 (2017).

Speak to you all soon,

S x

 

July in books

Hi friends!

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

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

In July, I:

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

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

july 2019 books ya

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

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

Reviews to come for all of these!

Now to the MG:

2019 july books mg

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

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

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

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

HOW AM I DOING FOR MY BOOK CHALLENGES?

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

Thanks for stopping by! Talk to me!

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

Speak to you soon!

S x

Forgotten Faves: YA edition

The other day, I started sharing some of my #ForgottenFaves. I shared my middle grade forgotten faves, but today it’s the turn for my YA forgotten faves.

So, here I am sharing 10 YA books that I don’t recommend enough, but that I absolutely adored. 10 books I don’t think are talked about enough, so I’m sharing a bit more love for them!

Let’s get on with it!

Image result for all the lonely people

Not only is All The Lonely People an amazing story with an incredibly important message, but it has a wonderful author. For those of you who don’t follow David Owen on twitter, get on it. I loved this story and it’s concept. Equal parts terrifying and intriguing!

Image result for white rabbit red wolf

If you’re looking for a book that will BLOW YOUR GOSH DARN MIND, look no further than White Rabbit, Red Wolf. I genuinely RACED through this book and it just blew me away. I’m still not sure I’ve come down from the amount my heart was racing and I read this book months ago!

Image result for oh my gods

As a huge lover of mythology, Oh My Gods ticked off so many boxes for me. Mythology, humour, teenage angst and a wonderful set of characters. This book gave me such warmth and I really can’t wait to see what comes next from Alexandra Sheppard!

Image result for show stopper hayley barker

I try and talk about Show Stopper and its sequel as often as I can because not enough people in my life are talking about the duology. It’s circuses, opression, a young man fighting against his family, a wonderful love story and some characters who do surprising things. There’s also a character who is one of the WORST ever.

Image result for eyes of the dragon

I’m not sure if The Eyes of the Dragon is technically YA, but it certainly felt YA reading it. I was recommended this from a bookseller friend of mine and I really enjoyed it in that kind of consuming it in a few hours kind of way. There’s a few moments from this book that have stuck with me.

Image result for emery lord

Emery Lord writes the most wonderful books and The Names They Gave Us is no exception. It made me CRY a lot. It’s one of those books that punches you in the gut, A book dealing with friendship, family, illness all over a summer camp? Winner winner! This book left me with a very full heart!

Image result for change book stripes

It’s not often that I read an anthology and it make an impact on me, but A Change Is Gonna Come is one of those exceptions. There’s a story involving a cat that just BROKE ME. There’s such a wide range of topics covered in this book (bereavement, mental health, racism and sexuality) that there is something for everyone in here, so please please get on it!

Image result for cell 7

Imagine living in a world where your life is in the hands of people on social media. Cell 7 is one of those books that will have you questioning your own morals. I know that as I read I was APPALLED by some of the behaviour, but who knows where the world will take us! Tense and thought provoking at its best!

Image result for dawn o'porter books

This is a book I often think back on because I loved it, but so rarely remember to recommend to people. Paper Aeroplanes is one of those books that made an impression on me: the characters, the story, the feeling. It’s a story about female friendship, forgiveness, the 90s and family. I would love more YA from Dawn O’Porter!

Image result for lovers dictionary

Oh my heart. This book. Told as a set of posts in the dictionary, The Lover’s Dictionary is an incredible exploration of falling in love, the hardships in love and how honesty is important. I met David Levithan and I fangirled so hard about this book. David Levithan is one of my go-to authors, so if you don’t know his books, please get on it.

And that’s it from me!

Have you read any of these?
Do you have any YA forgotten faves?

If you wanna share your forgotten faves, I’d love to know that I’m not alone in being rubbish with sharing books I love!

S x

 

 

BLOG TOUR: Bad Luck Lighthouse

Hello!

Today is an exciting day! Today I am hosting the lovely author of The Bad Luck Lighthouse, Nicki Thornton, as part of The Bad Luck Lighthouse blog tour! Nicki is here to talk to us all about where she writes and her writing process. I absolutely loved this blog post and am so lucky to get to host it! Massive thank you to Nicki!

Where I write

I admit I suffer badly from Writing Shed Envy.

All those shared pictures of beautiful inspirational places; seeing the small hut where Philip Pullman, Neil Gaiman or Roald Dahl have written their endlessly brilliant stories.

It’s easy to feel you are doing it wrong if you don’t have a special place to write.

My walk to work is not a few minutes’ stroll to the bottom of a beautiful garden. From a writing point of view, the most important bit of my very small and ugly garden is my attack hedge – a vastly overgrown thing that does get pruned quite viciously every time the writing is not going well.

I actually even suffer from desk envy. I write mostly on a laptop that moves with me like a little pet, generally to wherever is warmest in the house in winter (usually the top of the house, with views of clouds), or coolest in summer (in the kitchen, where I have views of birds).

My laptop started falling apart and very few of the keys retain visible letters. My other half told me it was a bit like watching the end of the Terminator where all that is left is an eye. So I did get a new one. But that has a few extremely annoying features, so I haven’t completely given up on the old and I’m still very fond of my battered laptop.

NT3

But I am equally happy scribbling into a notepad. All I seem to really need is quite unbelievably regular cups of tea.

I think part of the trick with writing is just to find a way of working that suits you. And everyone you talk to will do it differently, so there isn’t really a right way. I interviewed Frank Cottrell Boyce once, and he likes to write perched halfway up the stairs, because his house was in a permanent state of chaos.

But I find it’s less about where I write and more about habit, because I think it’s something you get better at slowly and with lots of practice, like playing tennis, or the piano. Like any long-term creative task, progress is better judged in years.

So my habit is to write five hundred words, or edit five pages a day, five days a week. And that is pretty achievable. It suits me because I’ve always been able to fit it in between all my other commitments of work and family.

Although I think it’s also probably true that I am also hardly ever not writing. My mind just slides into making things up when I am unloading the dishwasher. I can’t seem to help that.

And as long as I manage to get some words on the page every day, at the end of a month, a year, it’s surprising how much you find yourself able to look back and think that, yes, you have done quite a lot.

THE BAD LUCK LIGHTHOUSE – sequel to Nicki’s bestselling debut THE LAST CHANCE HOTEL – is out now, priced £6.99. Connect with Nicki on Twitter: @nicki_thornton.

Massive thank you to the publishers Chicken House for inviting me to be part of the blog tour and to Nicki for taking the time to write this insightful blog post for me!

Remember to check out the rest of the blog tour – it promises to be full of fun! And follow Nicki on twitter!

Bad Luck Lighthouse blog tour banner

S x 

Forgotten Faves: MG edition

Hello!

How are we all today?

Today, I thought I would share with you some of my “forgotten” faves.

What is a “forgotten fave” I hear you say?

For me, a “forgotten fave” is a book that I loved reading that I don’t really ever talk about because there are 70294723940 books that instantly come to mind when I am asked for a recommendation. They’re those quietly loved books. They’re the books you love talking about when people are reading them, but they don’t come to mind instantly. They’re the books that you JUMP about when you see someone else recommending them. They’re the books that get forgotten, but that you love so.

Why am I taking to my blog and sharing my forgotten faves?

I think it’s important that books aren’t forgotten about. There are SO MANY BOOKS that are recommended to us and they’re usually either BRAND NEW BOOKS or they’re books that are recommended over and over again. It’s important that we remember books that were published more than the past few months. I am the most guilty about shouting about books that are BRAND NEW because they’re at the forefront of my mind, so this is my way of saying hello and I love you again to the books I read a while ago that I loved.

So here we go, today I’m taking on my middle grade forgotten faves (or at least 10 of them!)

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A Girl Called Owl (and all of Amy Wilson’s books tbf) is full of magic, friendship and beauty. This is one of those books that just give you a tap of magic that remains with you forever.

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A Boy Called Hope is a gorgeous book. It’s one of those wonderful warm, funny and quirky books that comes along. I remember reading it in the sunshine and thinking “this is gorgeous, but also a little sad”. Canny Dan and his search to find his Dad

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A Darkness of Dragons is an amazing story – a retelling of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Anyone who loves a folktale and a brave main character will be gripped by this. I properly loved it and I can’t wait for the second book!

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A Place Called Perfect. Man, this book. I think it’s one of the best kids, spooky, mysterious books around. I devoured this book in a matter of hours AND then the sequel too. I miss these characters, I do hope there will be more!

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I truly believe this is one of those books that is NOT talked about enough. I devoured Storm Witch quickly. It’s an incredible tale of coming of age, identity and belonging. I would LOVE to be a Storm Witch, but I truly believe I am not cool enough for a title like that hah!

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This book was an absolute delight to read! Imagine Charlie and the Chocolate Factory met Bugsy Malone – that’s what you get here. Candy sees a world where sweets have been banned and there is a black market for them. I just adored this.

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The Buried Crown is a brilliant historical book. It’s got amazing characters and a memorable plot! Who wouldn’t want to read a story about a young man trying to protect the crown from Hitler?

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I read The Company of Eight almost 2 years ago now and I STILL recommend it to people. It’s one of those fantastic fantasy adventure story with old-London themes, pirates and mysterious spies. Totally one that younger me loved (grown up me absolutely did!)

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When I first read Eye of the North, I was blown away. This is the best kind of adventure. It’s filled with messages about being brave and being kind. If you’re after something with wonderful main characters, family secrets and pretty terrifying villains, you can not go wrong with this!

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Another wonderful mystery story that I don’t talk about enough. The Goodly and Grave series is a firm favourite in mine – I love seeing a new book announced. This series is a brilliant tale of magic, mystery and menacing characters.

And there you go! Ten of my “forgotten faves” for now!

If you’d like to share your forgotten faves, please do! I’d love to see some of the lesser talked about books being shown some love!

See you soon!

S x

BOOK BLOG: Tom Pollock

Heartstream: fascinating, terrifying, mind-blowing

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Cat is in love. Always the sensible one, she can’t believe that she’s actually dating, not to mention dating a star. But the fandom can’t know. They would eat her alive. And first at the buffet would definitely be her best friend, Evie.
Amy uses Heartstream, a social media app that allows others to feel your emotions. She broadcasted every moment of her mother’s degenerative illness, and her grief following her death. It’s the realest, rawest reality TV imaginable. But on the day of Amy’s mother’s funeral, Amy finds a strange woman in her kitchen. She’s rigged herself and the house with explosives – and she’s been waiting to talk to Amy for a long time. Who is she? A crazed fan? What does she want? Amy and Cat are about to discover how far true obsession can go.

I had my first introduction to Tom Pollock’s writing through White Rabbit. Red Wolf and that book BLEW MY GOSH DARN MIND. It is incredible. When I heard Tom was writing another book, I knew that I needed to get on that ship ASAP. I was very lucky that my friend sent me his proof copy of Heartstream and I sat and read about 80% of it yesterday. MY GOSH. I don’t know that this review is going to be cohesive because the book just blew me away. 

So, what is Heartstream about?

You’re introduced to the two main characters, Amy and Cat, in the first two chapters. The book is told in a dual narrative with alternating chapters. Amy has just gone through the absolute tragedy of losing her mam and the day the book is set is the day of Amy’s mam’s funeral. Amy is a streamer – she streams on an app called Heartstream which allows the users to share their emotions with people who follow them. When Amy gets back from the funeral, there’s a crazed woman in her house with a bomb strapped to her chest. Amy can’t leave the house because the whole house has been rigged up to explosives too. As you go through the book, you live Amy’s day and live out what Cat is going through and how their two lives collide. 

That synopsis is RUBBISH and I’m sorry but if I say any more there will be SPOILERZ and that is not kind of me. Just know this from me. This story is FASCINATING. There are so many things I want to talk about that I know I can’t right now. The relationship between the two characters is NOT what I expected and there are cliffhangers aplenty in this book. It’s got more twists and turns than a maze and I was CONSTANTLY on my toes. 

The thought of living in a world where you can stream your emotions is terrifying and fascinating. Like, that’s just weird is it not? But it COULD happen. This COULD be what the future looks like. I loved that there was a real thread of technology throughout this book – there’s a bit later on with a very clever use of technology that I REALLY appreciated. I love a clever book. Tom does CLEVER brilliantly – if you’ve read Heartstream or White Rabbit. Red Wolf, you’ll know that. Something else Tom does wonderfully is he keeps you guessing ALL THE WAY. As soon as I thought I knew something, it was like BAM and no, I didn’t know that thing at all. 

I really enjoyed the dual perspective narrative. I think being able to write a book in more than one perspective is a wonderful talent to have and it is done WONDERFULLY in this book. Like properly well. You can’t beat a good bit of sleight of hand and this book TRICKS you all the way through. MAN I WANNA TALK ABOUT THIS SO MUCH BUT OMG SPOILERS. So yeah, the way this is written with dual perspective gives you the impression of one thing when in fact it is ANOTHER altogether! (I can’t say any more otherwise I WILL BE SPOILERING ALL OVER THE SHOP).

ALSO HERE for the cover love. Bloody love that cover. 

Right. I need to stop now because otherwise I am going to be spoiling this book for all of you. You need to get on the case of reading Heartstream because it is AMAZING. I was TRICKED and LURED into a false sense of security so many times. I need you all to go down those paths too. And then tell me.

Have you read Heartstream?
Do you enjoy a good dual perspective?
Can you recommend me any writers like Tom Pollock?

Talk to me! If you’ve read this book, please let me know because I NEED TO TALK ABOUT IT OK? 

S x 

p.s. so much happens in this book that I haven’t talked about because I just can’t. 

p.p.s it’s so so good. Please go and read it. I need to talk to someone about this book.

The ULTIMATE blog tag

HOLA FRIENDS.

I come to you today with THE ULTIMATE BLOG TAG. Blame Charlotte, she tagged me in this tag, so I HAD TO do it. It’s the law right?! (Check out Charlotte’s post here)

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1. Do you get sick while reading in the car?

Nope! I’m blessed in that sense. I can read on most forms of transport! Train and bus reading are my faves though. There’s no better way to pass time on a train than reading a book.

2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?

Hmmm… Laura Steven. It’s just so god damn funny. And I don’t think Laura even realises that she’s HILARIOUS.

3. Harry Potter Series or the Twilight Saga? Give three points to defend your answers.

I’ve only read Harry Potter, so by default that. I’ll go with magic, excellent friends and introducing me to my true identity as a Hufflepuff as my defence.

4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what’s in it (besides books…)?

I DO. I carry the book I’m read in a Fairyloot bag. It lives by itself in that bag, but it lives in my handbag with the rest of my life haha.

5. Do you smell your books?

No? Should I be?

6. Books with or without little illustrations?

I do appreciate a little illustration, but only if they add to the book. I don’t enjoy them when they’re gratuitous!

7. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?

I have no idea. I’m all about “if I enjoyed it when I was reading, then why should I really care about the quality of the writing?” especially when I’ve finished it. I don’t tend to reread, so that’s that.

8. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!

No? I don’t think so anyway.

9. What is the thinnest book on your shelf?

Maybe The Heart Collector by Melinda Salisbury.

10. What is the thickest book on your shelf?

Priory of the Orange Tree. 100%

11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?

I enjoy writing stuff for school – like writing models of stories for the kids – but I have no current aspirations of being an author. Teaching is tiring and wonderful enough as it is.

12. When did you get into reading?

As far back as I can remember, I’ve been a reader. I don’t remember having a “moment”.

13. What is your favourite classic book?

Nineteen Eighty Four. Is that a classic? I haven’t read many books which would be classed as “classics” to be honest.

14. In school, what was your best subject?

Languages: English, French, German.

15. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated, what would you do?

I’d gratefully accept it and then unhaul it the next time I was unhauling.

16. What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or The Hunger Games?

Erm, not similar at all, but because of the MAJIK: The Paper Magician trilogy. So many people sleep on this series and I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

17. What is a bad habit you always do (besides rambling) while filming?

LOL. Imagine me vlogging man. However, I think “brilliant” is one of the words I use most when I’m writing reveiws.

18. What is your favourite word?

My all time favourite word is a swear word, so I shouldn’t repeat it here.

19. Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb? Or all of the above?

Can someone please tell me what the difference between all of these are? I’m a reader, a teacher, a blogger, a sister, a friend, a daughter, a godmother, a crier, a romantic and so much more than one of those words… but if someone tells me what they mean, I’ll categorise myself!

20. Vampires or Fairies? Why?

Neither? If I had to choose, fairies I think. They tend to be “good guys”.

21. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?

Shapeshifters. I’d LOVE to be able to shift my form and become something else every now and again.

22. Spirits or Werewolves? Why?

Golly. Spirits are a bit more “out there” so them.

23. Zombies or vampires? Why?

LOL. Never a zombie. I do not wish to be a zombie. I choose vampire.

24. Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?

GAH. Two of my least favourite tropes (I think), but I choose forbidden love. Love triangles bother me.

25. Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?

Action packed with love scenes in. PLEASE.

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I tag ANYONE who wishes to do this. It’s always quite fun to find out more about each other! 

Speak to y’all soon!

S x