S4S – 2018 Rereads

HOLA AMIGOS

It is me again, your #SixforSunday fairy coming to bring you a new week of talking about your TBR. This week’s prompt is one which will ADD to your TBR, obviously. 

This week we’re talking 

2018 Books To Reread

Now… I’m sure you all know this about me already, but I’m not a big rereader… but there’s ALWAYS books that I’m like, “God, I wish I could rediscover this world/characters/story again” and here I’m sharing 6 with y’all!

2018 reread

State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury
Now that I know what happens in Song of Sorrow, I want to sit and greedily reread both of them because Mel is QUEEN and this duology is just exceptional.

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
Again, like State of Sorrow, I’ve read the sequel to Exact Opposite, so I want the delight of reading them both together. But also, Izzy is just HILARIOUS. I remember PROPER cackling at TEOOO and thinking, “Yes, this is a character I want around me forever”.

Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton
MAN. This was the end of the Rebel of the Sands trilogy and it was PERFECT. I miss Jin so very much. I want to reread it because Jin and Amani are some of my faves.

Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard
Sara writes the most amazing stories and everyone should go out and buy all of them. I wanna reread this one because I had SUCH feelings about it when I read it first time round that I’d be SO interested in seeing if my feelings were still the same.

Floored by the Floored Seven
I don’t need to explain why I want to reread this surely. 7 of the best UKYA voices together in one book? PLUS I know who is who now… and wanna know if that changes what I thought of it!

Scythe by Neal Shusterman
This is one of those books that I would LOVE to forget and experience again for the first time again. I remember being BLOWN AWAY by this book when I read it and I want that back. PLUS the 3rd book is out this year… perfect time to reread book 1 and 2 (although 2 was a bit bonkers imo)

And there we go! 6 of the books I read that I want to reread most! 

Don’t forget to share yours using #SixforSunday! See you all next week!

S x 

BOOK BLOG: Queen Mel

(hello, it’s me, I suggest you go grab yourself a cup of tea and a few biscuits if you’re here for the long run! I could be here a while… are you sitting comfortably? Then I guess we can begin!)

Song of Sorrow: SO BLOODY GOOD.

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“Sorrow Ventaxis has won the election, and in the process lost everything…
Governing under the sinister control of Vespus Corrigan, and isolated from her friends, Sorrow must to find a way to free herself from his web and save her people. But Vespus has no plans to let her go, and he isn’t the only enemy Sorrow faces as the curse of her name threatens to destroy her and everything she’s fought for.”

For anyone who is new around here (hello, introduce yourself to me, I’m quite friendly), I would just like to say now that I am one of the biggest Melinda Salisbury fans and this review will definitely reflect that. So if you’re not interested in that, then please check out something else on my blog…

If you’re still reading, then hello, welcome to Steph loved Song of Sorrow so much that it took her a long time to write this review and appreciates your patience and understanding. If you fancy reading my review of State of Sorrow, check it out here!

So, Song of Sorrow (let’s call it Song because that’s fewer words to read and type) continues on from where State of Sorrow leaves off. Sorrow Ventaxis is living her life, ruling her country after her dad died and she fought to be the ruler. She’s having to deal with some pretty shitty politics and, in turn, politicans. She has friends, but she definitely has enemies. Then let’s not forget to mention there are people who she doesn’t really KNOW/isn’t sure where they stand on the old love/loathe scale. Song follows Sorrow into the world of what happens once she’s got to being the ruler and the escapades that ensue with friends, family, secrets, lies, manipulation, love, hate and a little bit of magic. 

I’m going to try and make this review as un-spoilery as possible, but be warned, I have feelings that I need to talk about! My notes, which normally are a few bullet points, is a whole page, FILLED with things to talk about. If you wanna see my mood board I created for Song of Sorrow, go check it out here. Just look at my happy little face man when I received the book. 

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The first thing I want to say is Song of Sorrow was everything I wanted, many things I didn’t expect, but quintessential Queen Mel brilliance. When I started reading, I expected there to be much death, violence, horror and I was VERY scared for some of my absolute faves. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll go through this book and BE scared for our woman of the moment, Sorrow, but there’s so much more to this book that I didn’t expect. BUT I LOVED THAT. I loved that I couldn’t predict what was going to happen next. I was constantly surprised. I read the entire book on the edge of my seat and on the verge of MANY emotions. There’s moments of light and dark. There’s learning and growing. There’s a lot of love surrounded by moments of hatred and despair. There’s horrible actions paired with acts of compassion and love. This book manages to be hard and soft at the same time and I loved it. 

While I’m talking emotions… let’s just talk about them. I felt THEM ALL. I had SO SO many OMG moments. I laughed; I was shocked; I cried; I was angry; I was scared; I was relieved. There’s a few pages where you go from sheer shock and fear to complete and utter relief. You have no idea how much my heart was appeased when things went from TERRIBLE to brilliant (if you’ve read the book, you’ll know EXACTLY the bit I mean). I was so genuinely terrified for Sorrow at one point that when you have the reveal, I wanted to cry and/or punch someone with relief. Poor Sorrow goes through so much in this book – I definitely felt like I was going through it with her! There’s some proper lush moments of humour though too. One familiar returning face managed to bring a lot of light and laughter into the book (more on him later).

You may be in the familiar world of Sorrow’s life, but there is SO MUCH MORE in this second book. You get to follow Sorrow around on her travels to visit all of her worlds to see the people of the land. You learn so much more about the make up of the world and the world is just build up so much more from book 1. Mel writes such brilliantly vivid worlds that I didn’t think it was possible to understand the world more from book 1, but I loved that I got to know more about the world in Song. If you’re looking for an author who GENUINELY immerses you in their worlds, then look no further than Melinda Salisbury. Her worlds are so gorgeous, so vivid and so well described that you could quite happily walk along the road in your head and know exactly what was coming next and what was around you. 

So you’re in the familiar world and of course there are familiar faces left, right and centre. We have our woman of the moment, Sorrow, who is being Sorrow – stubborn, determined, brilliant, sassy, terrified, brave Sorrow. I love her so much. She grows a lot in Song. Just as Twylla did through The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy, Sorrow goes on an incredible journey learning a lot about herself and making decisions which change her life. She finds out some things about herself in this second book and I appreciated it a lot (I mean, Sorrow is a bookworm which I DIG). She obviously continues to push people away to try and keep them safe, which in reality doesn’t work. Oh Sorrow. You are a disaster, but we love you.

Sorrow is very lucky (and in some cases not so lucky) to have some recurring characters in her life. All of who I love (even when I think they’re the absolute worst). Irris continues to be that best friend that Sorrow needs. Irris is one of my favourite best friends that you have in books. She’s just very constant and Sorrow needs a constant. I have a lot of love for Irris. Vespus returns to wreak havoc all over the world. God, I hate that man. SO MUCH. (My notes just say ‘Vespus tho’)  I get that he has a motive that he THINKS is the best thing for his country… but NO. I don’t appreciate you blackmailing my girl. Charon continues to be that father figure that Sorrow has always needed. I forgot how much I adored Charon from book 1, so when he returned for this book, I was DELIGHTED. Rasmus is back and I LOVED the resolution for the Rasmus/Sorrow relationship that happens. I think Rasmus is a brilliant representation of the fact that you CAN be friends with people who have meant a lot to you. Mael is still around and still creating unanswered questions for Sorrow (and me… Mel, I’m looking at you!)

GUYS. LUVIAN THO. It makes me so sad that I can’t be spoilery in this review… but I really don’t want to spoil it for you. Luvian has SUCH A GOOD BOOK. He’s such a bloody brilliant brilliant thing for Sorrow. He’s funny, charming, smart, sexy, snarky. There are some incredibly touching moments between Luvian and Sorrow in Song and I just want a book of Luvian/Sorrow please. I loved the exploration of Luvian’s family and his relationship with Sorrow in this book. The ending of State of Sorrow leaves their relationship in a very precarious place, so when I found that it was going to be explored more in Song I was DELIGHTED. I had waited A LONG TIME to get more Luvian Fen in my life… and this book did NOT let me down. (Please, if you love Luvian as much as me, I need you to talk to me. I want to start a Luvian Fen fan club)

There’s also some brilliant new additions to Sorrow’s world that enrich it a lot. So we find out more about Luvian’s family of one of the best characters to come out of Sorrow’s world. (I won’t spoil HOW we come about being with Luvian’s family because that’s one of my FAVE things about this book and SPOILERZ). We meet his mam, Beata, who I was TERRIFIED of initially. She’s TERRIFYING. She’s like this brilliant, scary, powerful Mama Bear. Poor Sorrow when she meets this terrifying mama bear… you’ll see she’s not so bad though. We find more about Luvian’s family in general through the book, but another of his family we see more of is his brother, Arkady. Guys, he’s like a brickhouse. I just imagine him being built like a proper house and scary af. He’s a PROPER softie though. He has a lovely little arc with another of our familiar friends and I LOVED IT. Outside of Luvian’s family, we meet Vespus’ new wife Tassus. GUYS JUST NO. This woman terrified me. She’s got a power that just makes me VERY scared. She’s NOT OK. She’s PERFECT for Vespus’ plans however. We all know what a terrible human he is. (My notes for Tassus just say “creepy wife” which I think are a perfcect description of her!)

I may have finished this book a few weeks ago but I am still not quite over it. The way in which this book ended just blew my mind. I think it’s just the perfect ending. I love that Sorrow has taken control of her life. She’s empowered and doing something for her, without the shadow of the rest of the world hanging over her. There’s a LOT that happens in the last few chapters and it’s a lot to process. There’s a particular bit when shit goes down in the castle and my god… it was INTENSE. A fitting end for some of the characters however. I still have some unanswered questions, but I think I need to put those questions to bed. As Mel told me, I know what I need to know. 

The book hangover is real! I can’t wait to see what’s next from Mel. I know that Sorrow’s story is over, but I just need more. I don’t care who I’m introduced to next. I know it’ll be brilliant. I’m very sad this duology is over; I grew very fond of Sorrow and her world. I will definitely be finding myself rereading these books though (for Luvian more than anything!).

A massive massive thank you to Scholastic for sending me an early copy of this book, and to Mel for having her amazing launch on a Saturday so I was able to go along and celebrate this book with her! 

If you want to buy this book, which you probably should, it’s available now on Amazon, Waterstones (if you buy it on/at Waterstones, you may even get the very fancy sprayed edges version like the one below) and every other book selling place. 

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Now, I need to go and have a lie down. I’m sure you do too.

S x  

Song of Sorrow mood board

Well hello! Happy Wednesday. How are we all?

Today is a very exciting day. Today is the day before the official release of ‘Song of Sorrow’ by one of my absolute faves – Melinda Salisbury. I have, of course, read the book already (thank you Scholastic, you guys are my faves) and needed to share my thoughts and feelings with you all (you’ll see that tomorrow in my MASSIVE REVIEW). Today however I’m sharing my mood board. 

Now, for those of you who have read Song of Sorrow, I’d like to think you can find the symbolism in my pictures before you read my spiel, however if you haven’t read it yet, don’t worry. My mood board and description are SPOILER-LESS (which, let me tell you, is VERY tricky for me because all I want to do is go OMGOMGOMGOMG SPOILERSPOILERSPOILER). 

I had a whole load of fun doing this and hope you guys like it!

Song moodboard

Let’s start with the abandoned corridor – this for me depicts one of the more unexpected settings of the book. It’s eerie, it’s spooky, it’s somewhat inviting though. It’s intrigue, it’s curious, it’s ‘what’s down the hall?’. Sorrow finds herself somewhere she’s never been before and as soon as I saw this picture, for me, this could’ve been where she was. 

The poison bottle – obviously this is a Mel book, so there’s SOME kind of poison going on. For me reading Song, there’s both literal and figurative poisoning going on. There’s poisonous people, poisonous thoughts, poisonous actions. It’s a bit of a thread. I loved this picture and thought it was spot on.

The girl looking out of the window could be Sorrow or it could be Irris – I didn’t really know. Sorrow makes some BIG decisions in this book and there’s a feeling of loneliness at times too. I saw this picture and it screamed ‘contemplation, loneliness, betrayal’ – pretty perfect for Song of Sorrow tbh.

The butterflies flying from the jar are beautifully symbolic of freedom. Whether that’s freedom from physical restraints or freedom from thoughts. Sometimes you’ve got to make a MASSIVE jump to free yourself: from yourself, from your past, from other people, from expectations on your shoulders. Sorrow is the butterfly and the jar is the life she’s been living for her whole life.

Man, those creepy hands and thorns. Now this is quite a literal depiction of a scene from the book BUT it could also be reaching out for help. I can’t go into too much detail here because SPOILERS. This was the perfect “saw this and thought of you” picture.

The holding hands represent again another MASSIVE SPOILER, but they also represent strength. Sorrow needs to find a lot of strength in this book (because she’s living her life, she needs it surrounded by bloody Vespus) and she finds it through some familiar faces. We all need those people who will stand by us and hold out hands (both physically and figuratively) because let’s be honest, we all need help in life. 

The last picture (the quote from Mandela) might be one of my favourite quotes that I didn’t know existed. It’s one I’m all about in my own life, but it’s also one I think Sorrow so brilliantly lives. She’s terrified (and rightly so) and makes choices out of fear, until she maybe doesn’t anymore. 

(All of these pictures I found on Pinterest! All rights and all that jazz to the people they belong to!)

I hope you enjoyed my mood board, and let me know if you read Song of Sorrow…. I am ALWAYS here to talk Mel!

S x 

 

S4S – An ode to… my favourite author

HOLA. 

Tis I, your friend, #SixforSunday, again! Welcome back to my home. Here we start a new month and a new theme for #SixforSunday in March. In March, we are celebrating the things we love most about the bookish things in our lives. March’s theme is titled “An ode to…” so this is a brilliant time to celebrate everything you love about your fave author/illustrator/bookish couples/genre and debut authors/novels. I am very excited for this month, because I am ALL FOR having a good shout about things I love most. 

Today’s #SixforSunday prompt is:

An ode to… my favourite author

I love MANY authors. Like, this post could have been dedicated to many many humans that I love most. In fact, I could do a MONTH of this post (that wouldn’t be very interesting for you lot to read…) and still not have dedicated my life to enough authors. 

However, being very on brand… I am dedicating my ode to Queen Mel. (I KNOW RIGHT SHOCKER!!) 

To Mel, thank you for:

  1. Being brilliant and badass (you never fail to just be BRILLIANT)
  2. Writing incredible females (Sorrow is just wonderful and I am ever so thankful for you bringing Twylla into my life… we all know how much I love Twylla)
  3. Bringin Luvian Fen into existence (if you’ve read Song of Sorrow, you’ll know why I needed to make this a thing. I love Luvian Fen so so so so much)
  4. Being HILARIOUS (if you’re not following Mel on twitter, then you most definitely should be…)
  5. Always having an ear for me (whether it’s to let me livetweet you as I read your books, to offer me a shoulder to cry on, or a place to rant…)
  6. Showing me I’m brilliant (thank you for the times you’ve done this, particularly when you told me to embrace my crown)

I have WAY MORE THAN 6 things to write in my ode… but there’s 6 of the most important ones! I could keep going and turn this into a letter… but I decided to keep it short and sweet.

Share your ode on your blog and share the author love – use the hashtag #SixforSunday, cause I want authors to know how much we love them! 

See you next week for An ode to… my favourite illustrator! I can’t wait to see what people’s choices are!

S x 

 

S4S – Bookish Wishes

Well hello, it is I the #SixforSunday fairy again! 

How are we all on this fair Sunday? What have you all been reading today? 

I’m here today to share my answers for this week’s #SixforSunday:

Bookish Wishes

6 wishes I have for my bookish self in 2019?

  1. Melinda Salisbury and Sara Barnard to collaborate.
    This should NOT surprise anyone.
  2. Release dates to come quickly.
    There are SO MANY books I’m excited for this year that I need them to come quicker… I LOVE THE BOOKS OK?
  3. Another Kaz Brekker book
    Now we know this isn’t going to happen, but a girl can wish!
  4. More of my favourite characters
    Let’s be real, I just want more Simon/Blue, Twylla (Mel, I’m looking at you), Amani/Jin. I want more chances to be a shipper basically. I’m all about the shipping.
  5. More Northern events
    COME ON GUYS, LONDON ISN’T THE ONLY PLACE YOU CAN HOST EVENTS. *ahem*
  6. More people reading and loving MG/YA
    I LOVE seeing people who don’t usually read MG and YA reading cause it makes my heart so happy. Just cause you’re not a teenager or a child doesn’t mean you can’t read those books… YOU CAN READ ALL OF THE BOOKS. 

So yes. Bookish wishes for 2019. More of my faves, more chances to see my faves, more books. This should not surprise ANYONE.

A massive thank you for joining in this week, I think #SixforSunday has had it’s most people this week and it makes me so happy! I’m loving all your posts!

See you next week!

S x 

S4S – Blogging highlights

Hello hello hello!

It’s Sunday again! Time for some reflections on what have been some of my top moments of the year! Today’s #SixforSunday looks at:

2018 Blogging Highlights

2018 has been QUITE THE YEAR for me… so let’s find some of my highlights.

  1. Winning a UKYA Blogger award. 
    I’m still not sure how I won the ‘Best Newcomer’ category, but my word, what a moment that was!
  2. Chairing an event with my absolute queen, Melinda Salisbury, and the brilliant Alice Broadway
    I was SO NERVOUS for this, but it was absolutely incredible. I love both Alice and Mel so so much.
  3. Chairing Laura Steven and David Levithan
    HE’S A MASSIVE AMERICAN AUTHOR and she’s one of the best people in my life, so this was an absolute honour. I’m still not sure how I was asked to do this event.
  4. Hitting 30,000 views on my blog
    I NEVER thought I’d get to the point where I thought 10s of 1000s of people would view my blog, but here we are and I legit cried when I hit 30,000 views. It’s insane.
  5. Watching #SixforSunday get some new friends
    Any time someone has joined in #SixforSunday, my little heart grew exponentially. I’ve absolutely loved creating and doing #SixforSunday. Watch this space for the prompts for next year! 
  6. Having my words immortalised in books!
    This year has seen some of my blogging words included on books and that is INSANE. It’s an incredible feeling and I am ALWAYS here to shout about books! 

These are not in any order really, but there’s so many amazing things that happened in 2018. It’s been such an incredible year for blogger me. I can’t believe this is quite my bookish life.

S x

Looking for a brilliant read for a teen in your life?

Here we are, day 3 of my gift guide. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them! It’s been a blast looking back at my year in books and thinking which ones I would recommend people buy and read AND SHOVE IN EACH OTHERS FACES *ahem*.

Today, on this here final day of recommending, I’m sorting through the MANY MANY YA books I’ve read this year and giving you 12 that you ABSOLUTELY need to buy for the YA fan in your life! (Just as the past few days, none of these books will REALLY come as a surprise!) Without further ado…

2018 ya recs

Scythe/Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury (while we’re at it… The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy too, LBR)

Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard (and ANY of her other books too)

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Show Stopper/Show Stealer by Hayley Barker

White Rabbit, Red Wolf by Tom Pollock

The Secret Deep by Lindsay Galvin

Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt

Clean by Juno Dawson

Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber (and Wing Jones too)

Floored by the Floored Seven

TADAAAAH. You made it. This list could’ve been so much longer. GO AND BUY THEM ALL. READ THEM ALL. LOVE THEM ALL.

Do you agree with my recommendations?
Can you add any to my list?
Which of these books have you loved most?

Talk to me in the comments! Are you SHOCKED by my choices?

S x

S4S – Please Santa!

Good afternoon friends! 

How are we all this chilly yet sunny Sunday?! What are you reading? How is December going for you?

Today I’m coming at you with a #SixforSunday with wishes from the North Pole. Yes we’re talking:

Six books you wish Santa would bring you

Now we all know that Santa can bring pretty much ANYTHING don’t we? My choices clearly reflect that! 

  1. Six of Crows Collector’s Edition – Leigh Bardugo
    This is actually on my Christmas list, so fingers crossed!
  2. Pages and Co sprayed edges edition – Anna James
    This is actually sold out… but Santa can work miracles, yeah?
  3. Song of Sorrow – Melinda Salisbury
    COME ON SANTA. IT IS SO CLOSE TO NEXT YEAR. IT MUST BE TIME.
  4. Against all Gods – Maz Evans
    AGAIN. HOWARE. I’ve been waiting forever.
  5. The Day I Was Erased – Lisa Thompson
    NOW would be nice Santa.
  6. The Boy: His Stories and How They Came to be – Oliver Jeffers
    I am a MASSIVE fan and would LOVE this thanks.

So there we go… challenge set Santa!

Share your #SixforSunday choices with me! I’d love to know what is on your list! 

See you next week! Keep your eyes peeled in the next few weeks for 2019’s #SixforSunday topics!

S x

S4S – Characters you’d love to see together

Happy Sunday friends! 

How are we all? Are we all ready for more #SixforSunday? 

Today’s challenge is a TOUGHIE. Just as I have the past few weeks, I have TOO many options for the 6 I’m allowed to choose! Today I have to only find 6:

Characters you’d love to see together

  1. Jack (from Jack of Hearts and Other Parts) and Simon (Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda)
  2. Jupiter (Nevermoor) and Felix (The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club)
  3. Stella (The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club) and Owl (A Girl Called Owl)
  4. Twylla (The Sin Eater’s Daughter) and Sorrow (State of Sorrow)
  5. Twylla (The Sin Eater’s Daughter) and Kaz Brekker (Six of Crows)
  6. Tilly (Pages and Co) and Property Jones (The Bookshop Girl)

There we go, some MG and some YA choices! This was a lot of fun! My list surprises me… I definitely have a whole chunk of others I’d love to see. If you’re interested, talk to me! I’d love to share more of my ideas! 

S x

S4S – Authors I’d love to see collaborate…

STOP, COLLABORATE AND LISTEN! 

Hello there! Wecome to another installment of #SixforSunday! This week sees me take on something that took an AWFUL LOT OF THOUGHT. Mainly because I needed to get it right. And I didn’t want to miss out anyone who I loved. Mainly, I have too many choices! 

Today we take on:

Authors you’d love to see collaborate

Now… the majestic book that is Floored came along and saw many of my faves ACTUALLY collaborate in an EPIC way, so if you’ve not got on that yet, I’d really like you to. 

  1. Melinda Salisbury and Sara Barnard
    This is a YA collab I will shout about forever. LADIES I NEED THIS TO HAPPEN. (C’mon, none of you will be surprised by this at all)
  2. Kiran Milwood Hargrave and Piers Torday
    I think this MG book would break my heart and be the most beautiful book ever!
  3. Sara Barnard and Alice Oseman
    This one literally just came to my brain and I think my brain is a genius. I think this could be such a brilliant combination!
  4. Sara Barnard and Laura Steven
    GUYS. I need this to happen… I just think these 2 would boss a YA contemporary that punched me in the face and made me cackle with laughter.  
  5. Maz Evans and Lisa Thompson
    I just think this would be a BRILLIANT MG book pairing… happy to read WHATEVER!
  6. Melinda Salisbury and Alice Broadway
    I think this would be such a brilliant meeting of minds… 

So if there’s anyone reading this who can make these things happen, that’d be amazing thanks!

Remember to share your #SixforSunday posts with me and I look forward to going “OMG YES THAT WOULD BE A MINT PAIR THANKS!” at all of your suggestions! 

S x