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 

BLOG TOUR: Amber Lee Dodd

Lightning Chase Me Home: Middle grade with a whole lot of punch!

Lightning Chase Me Home by Amber  Lee Dodd

“Amelia Hester McLeod is named after two of her mum’s favourite explorers. Two amazing, fearless, awesome women: Amelia Earhart and Lady Hester Stanhope. But Amelia herself doesn’t always feel very brave or very bright. She lives on a windblown island in a creaky old house right beneath the North Star. Her dad is sad and silent since her mum left them, and her absent-minded grandpa suddenly seems convinced something strange is about to happen to her. When Amelia makes a birthday wish to be reunited with her missing mum, a wild magic is stirred from the sea..”

Lightning Chase Me Home is the story of Amelia. Amelia is a young girl who lives and with her father, grandfather and their dog. They live in the cold and wet island of Dark Muir, Scotland. The island has a rich and deep history of myths and legends (which, as we all know, I was ALL ABOUT) and there is the forever foreboding sense of a storm brewing on the horizon. I loved the use of this constant threat of storm coming… it kept me on my toes throughout the book! 

As the story advances, unusual things start happening around Amelia. These unusual things happen to coincide with Amelia’s birthday and the wish she got to make as part of the island tradition. Who wouldn’t want to visit somewhere called Serpent’s Tooth Rock?! (I mean me, that sounds ominous as anything and I’m a right scaredy cat). Amelia’s wish made really emotional and over time it becomes apparent that the wish she made has stirred some deep and potentially dangerous magic on the island. 

This book will keep you gripped throughout. You’ll be under the spell of the incredible writing style and the infusion of incredible settings and characters with folklore. Amelia is a really great protagonist that I know lots of children will take to. The unusual events and the rumbling of storms and the growing of the magic over the story kept me flicking the pages til there were no more pages to flick. I think every kid will see themselves in this story because we’ve all dealth with some of the things Amelia has to deal with: a poorly grandparent, bullies, a new school, struggles in school. Pair all of these things with ultimately a BRILLIANT magical mystery and you have a total winner! 

Here we have another bloody brilliant example of an MG book that deals with some pretty tough stuff but in a beautiful way. It’s a book full of spirit, adventure and warmth and absolutely has a place in EVERY classroom, school and home library!

Have you read Lightning Chase Me Home?
Would you like to visit Amelia’s island?

A massive thank you to Scholastic for asking me to be on this blog tour! I can’t wait to see all the love this book is going to get! 

S x 

BLOG TOUR: Vote for Effie

Hello!

Today I have the absolute joy being on the blog tour for Vote for Effie – the first in a new hilarious series by Laura Wood (author of 2018 YA sensation A Sky Painted Gold) for 9-12 year olds. Inspired by 2017’s Women’s MarchVOTE FOR EFFIE is extremely timely and the perfect antidote to the current political climate; it will inspire young readers to stand up for the issues that matter to them, whatever that may be!

I’m honoured to be on this blog tour as each stop on the tour is written to celebrate a young female activist and/or inspiring girl who is working to change the world; each post will include a short profile on the person written by Laura.

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Mari Copeny

When she was only eight, Mari Copeny wrote a moving letter to President Obama about the Flint water crisis. Not only did Obama reply, but he came to Flint to meet with the people there, and he eventually signed off on $100 million funding to help repair the city’s poisoned water system. Mari is known as ‘Little Miss Flint’ as she continues to fight for her city, and raise money to tackle the problems they are still facing. Now, aged eleven, she is a fierce advocate for change and she uses social media to share her message. 

Mari has said that she’ll be running for president in 2044, but, until then, she wants other kids to know “you’re never to young or to small to change the world.” I think Mari is an enormous inspiration. She hasn’t let being young stop her from being heard. When people weren’t listening, she didn’t give up… she made more noise. I love her confidence, her intelligence and the sense of empathy that drives all of her efforts. I see these qualities so often in the children I meet while visiting schools and it makes me feel so hopeful. These girls really are the leaders of tomorrow.

If you would like to see why Mari is so amazing, and why I think she and Effie would be best friends, you might like to watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ML2dRP9i3FQ

Yes for women and girls who are doing good things! 

Do you have an inspiring woman who you’d like to shout about?

You should definitely go and check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour. There have been some absolutely incredible women highlighted in the posts and it’s certainly been inspiring! Plus, there’s some pretty incredible bloggers on this tour too! Massive thanks to Harriet at Scholastic for inviting me to be on this incredible blog tour! I hope you all enjoyed the post and go and check out Vote for Effie – out now! 

vote for effie blog tour

Speak soon, 

S x 

2018 round up!

WELL HELLO 2019.
How are you my dear darling? 

I’m here to give you a round up of the December, and then a short round up of all of the goings on in the old reading world! 

So let’s start with December! In December, I:

Finished my first term as an NQT
Read 11 books in total
Read most of those books in the Christmas holidays
Spent time sorting through a LOT of books
Laughed a lot
Hated the dark days
Rewatched so many of my favourite films
Helped pull off a brilliant nativity play with my brilliant kids
Had a lush Christmas and New Years!
Played pool for the first time in FOREVER and won!

So, what MG books did I read in December?

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I was 100% spoiled with the MG books I read in December. The brilliant brilliant humans of all the publishers sent me these and I loved each and every one of them. I think The Midnight Hour is going to be SPECIAL next year when it comes out. The world building and the characters were just exceptional. Keep your eyes peeled in the next few weeks for reviews on all of these books! 

What about YA, Steph? Did you abandon it like you did a few months ago?

NO NO I DID NOT.

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I had a thoughly enjoyable December in YA books. All of these books I adored for very different reasons. Oh My Gods was such a brilliant tale; Dry was dystopian that could be; Slay was just fun and This Lie Will Kill You terrified me. Watch out for full reviews of all of these books to come! I have lots to say about all of them! 

As December was the last month of 2018, my book challenge round ups are for the WHOLE YEAR. 

What about my book challenges?

#BritishBooksChallenge: 113/12 (maybe more!)
#52books2018: 99/52 (just kids books!)
Goodreads challenge: 162/52

I read some ABSOLUTE SMASHERS this year. I think 2018 was an incredible year for books. I had quite a lovely time going through my Goodreads challenge to see all of the books I read! Check them all out below!

Just look at all of them together!
What a beautiful set of books I read in 2018! 

Here’s to 2019!

How did you do on your reading challenges?
What was December like reading wise for you?
What 2019 releases are you most excited for?

Talk to me! I’d love to know your thoughts!

S x

BOOK BLOG: S.A. Patrick

A Darkness of Dragons: a brilliant adventure!

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“After playing a forbidden spell-song to save a village from rats, 12-year-old piper Patch Brightwater is thrown in jail. But there he meets Wren – a noble girl under a rat-shaped curse – and together they befriend Barver, a fearsome dracogriff, and set off on a grand adventure filled with sorcerers, dragons, bandits…and one very deadly enemy.
From the depths of the Tiviscan dungeons to the highest peak of Gemspar Mountain, this stunning book reminds us of the soaring joy of adventure, the captivating danger of magic, and of the delight of finding friends in unexpected places.”

The brilliant humans of Usborne sent me a copy of A Darkness of Dragons a while back, but I’ve been in a bit of a state of reader’s block (as I explained in my November wrap up post). I’ve just been unable to read/do anything bookish of late… blame it on tiredness/SAD/general life. I read the first five chapters of this before said reader’s block started. Then, on Saturday, I picked this back up and within the space of a few hours I had CONSUMED the whole thing – that’s how good it is! 

This book is based in the world of the Pied Piper of Hamelin (which for me made my heart SO SO HAPPY – I love when books are based around traditional tales. If someone could write a book like this based on Rumplestiltskin, that would be incredible! I am a massive Rumplestiltskin fan!). Obviously, the Pied Piper is a terrible man and in this world, pipers are well loved and respected people. I loved the world of the pipers – the thought that music and magic were very much intertwined was a sheer delight to read. This was one of those books that once I was there, I was immersed in the world. I was walking through the forest with Patch and co. It’s an incredible world to be part of too… although I don’t know that I’d survive ha!

As well as this book being an incredible adventure, a young man, his dragon friend, his rat friend and an adventure to save their world, it features some absolutely incredible characters. Patch (the main character) is an incredibly brave and somewhat stubborn protagonist that I think kids will absolutely adore. Throw in Wren, a brilliant young girl who has been hexed into being a rat, and an incredibly sarcastic and dry dracogriff in the mix and you have this excellent bunch of characters who I just wanted more from. (I can’t wait for book 2 because I am a SUCKER for sequels!)

There’s some brilliant themes of friendship in this story. Unexpected friendships particularly. I loved the friendship that grew between Patch and Wren in particular. It showed that friends are there to support and guide each other through everything. These friends don’t have it easy, but they stick through the thick and the thin with each other! I mean, how many friends would stick by you when you’re thrown into one of the worst prisons imaginable?!

I think this book is going to go down a STORM at school. I can’t wait to hand it to some of the readers in my class. 

Have you read A Darkness of Dragons?
Can you think of a story you’d love to see revived?
Would you like a dragon friend?

Talk to me! Send me a dragon… please… someone?! Massive thanks to Usborne for sending me a copy!

S x 

November wrap up!

It may be December 10th, but I still am yet to round up my (rather pitiful looking) November reads!

In November, I:

Only read 3 books!
Started a few books, but my brain wouldn’t let me read.
Suffered from some pretty bad SAD.
Was a bit poorly.
Slept a lot.
Started rehearsing for the Christmas play at school.
Experienced my worst reading block for a while.
Did some Christmas shopping!

My November in books is a pretty TINY pile comapred to some months… but hey, when you’re not in the mood, you’re not in the mood!

The books I managed to get through were:

2 YA books and 1 kids book. 

I was SO VERY FORTUNATE to be send a proof copy of Fierce Fragile Hearts and I consumed it in a matter of hours a few weekends ago. I’m currently still trying to process my thoughts on it, but I tell you this guys, you NEED to get on it. It’s out next year and I just think Sara Barnard has yet again written an absolute winner. She is 100% one of my faves.

I’ve written a review of The Boneless Mercies here and my review of Fortunately, The Milk is to come!

What about my book challenges?

#BritishBooksChallenge: 105/12 (maybe more!)
#52books2018: 92/52 (just kids books!)
Goodreads challenge: 152/52

Now, for all this month wasn’t a GREAT success reading wise, I am still streets ahead of my yearly goal… which pleases me to no end! I’m hoping to read 4 books in December, so that I’m on 156 books (300% of my original target). Bring on the Christmas holidays!

How is your yearly goal looking?
Are you looking forward to Christmas festivities too?
What’s on your Christmas to read pile?

Let me know in the comments!

S x

Wrap up time!

This could be wrap up because cold, or wrap up because it’s time for MINI REVIEWS! If you’re here looking for a scarf appreciation post, you’ll need to come back next week *wink*

So… what have I read recently?

Today I’m going to give a wrap up of some of the MG books I read last month! I am loving doing mini reviews at the minute! 

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A Chase in Time – Sally Nicholls

The old gilt-edged mirror has hung in Alex’s aunt’s house for as long as he can remember. Alex hardly notices it, until the day he and his sister are pulled through the mirror, back into 1912. It’s the same house, but a very different place to live, and the people they meet need their help. Soon they are caught up in an action-packed adventure, solving a crime, rescuing priceless jewels, and eating more cake than they have ever eaten before.

This is a brilliant tale of time travel, learning about the past and a bit of doing what’s right! With incredible characters and an engaging story, this book is going down a storm in the classroom! I really enjoyed this! The characters, the historical elements and the magical mirror give it a feel of a classic story. This would make a brilliant read aloud in the class. I am truly hoping there’s going to be a second book!

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Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters – Andrea Beaty

Rosie Revere is no stranger to flops and fails, kerfuffles and catastrophes. After all, engineering is all about perseverance! But this time, Rosie has a really important project to tackle—one that feels much bigger than herself. Rosie’s beloved Aunt Rose and her friends, the Raucous Riveters—a group of fun-loving gals who built airplanes during World War II—need help inventing something new. And Rosie is just the engineer for the job! After one flop . . . then another . . . and another . . . Rosie starts to lose hope. But thanks to some help from her fellow Questioneers Iggy Peck and Ada Twist, Rosie gets the job done. And, along with the Riveters, she rediscovers the meaning of home.

This book is just LUSH. Helping people and having fun is such a brilliant thing to read about! It also has incredible depictions of women and children in engineering, the importance of family and lovely messages about not giving up when something goes wrong. I really REALLY loved this. I think it’d be the perfect addition for any classroom or home library!

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Isadora Moon Makes Winter Magic – Harriet Muncaster

Isadora Moon is special because she’s different. Her mum is a fairy and her dad is a vampire and she’s a bit of both. Isadora loves playing in the snow, especially when her creations come to life! But snow magic can’t last forever. Will she be able to save her new friends before they melt away? 

As a big fan of Isadora Moon (and knowing that the kids at school are) I was very excited to get the chance to read this book! From the incredible cover, to the brilliant illustrations, this book is lots of fun. The short chapters and perfect for younger readers and the back is filled with fun snow-y things to do. The story is fun and the characters are all great. A perfect wintry tale!

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Max The Detective Cat: The Phantom Portrait – Sarah Todd Taylor

Max is ready to solve another case! The entire theatre company have travelled to Lord Fawley’s castle to put on a show for his daughter’s Halloween birthday ball! Rehearsals start well, but soon some ghostly goings-on and talk of a family curse have the actors in a panic. Never fear – Max the detective cat is on the case, and his whiskers are prickling with suspicion that these strange events have more to do with jewels than ghouls…

Having read the first book and falling greatly for Max, I was very excited to read this second book! Yet again Max comes along with the help of his brilliant friend Oscar to save the day. This book is a bit spookier than the first one, with ghostly goings on, missing diamonds and a creepy theatre. It’s perfect for children who are reading shorter chapter books! If you need a heroic cat, look no further than Max! 

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The Boy Who Lived With Dragons – Andy Shepherd

Having your own dragon is magical – but Tomas is also about to find out what living with a dragon is REALLY like. When the fire-breathing kicks in and you get singed every five seconds, it’s like having an unpredictable volcano in your pocket. Learning to train the dragons and keep them out of trouble at school and home will take all Tomas’s creativity and patience … What is more, the dragonfruit tree is starting to look droopy and unwell. Tomas and his friends have got to do all they can restore it to health and uncover its deepest mysteries, as well as trying to work out what big secret local bully Liam, ‘King of Trouble’, has got up his sleeve … One thing is for sure, life is never dull when you have a dragon in your pocket.

This is another one, where I’d read the first book, utterly adored it and it’s gone to school never to be seen again (because the kids are loving it!) Book 2 didn’t fail me either. This is a great sequel to the first book – I really enjoyed this. The young Steph in me loves these books. They’re brilliantly fun capers about the importance of friendship and being kind. With lovely messages about telling the truth and being kind, these books are spot on for Y3+. I also definitely want a dragon now.

Have you read any of these brilliant MG books?
Can you recommend anything similar for me?
Do you enjoy a wrap up?
What’s your true opinion on scarves?

Speak to me! Leave me a comment! Send me a dragon! Send a message through a magic mirror! 

S x

October in books!

Well hello November, you snuck up on me indeed.

I’m not sure where October went (it took half of my half term with it too!), but here we are… the end of another month, around for another bookish round up!

In October, I:

Visited Edinburgh with my favourite.
Spent most of my half term poorly.
Loved every second of being a teacher.
Got to interview David Levithan and Laura Steven at Waterstones (!!)
Went out to breakfast with my best friends.
Finished my first half term as an NQT.
Sang a lot of Livin on a Prayer.
Read 15 books (!!)

October was a pretty incredible month! I NEVER expected to have read 15 books! That’s blown my mind a little bit!

What MG did I read?

october mg

A Chase in Time – Sally Nicholls *
Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters – Andrea Beaty *
The Dog That Saved Christmas – Nicola Davies *
Isadora Moon Makes Winter Magic – Harriet Muncaster *
Max the Detective Cat: The Phantom Portrait – Sarah Todd Taylor *
The Boy Who Lived With Dragons – Andy Shepherd *
The Truth Pixie – Matt Haig
A Pinch of Magic – Michelle Harrison *

* reviews to come!

What about YA?

october ya

Thunderhead – Neal Shusterman*
And The Ocean Was Our Sky – Patrick Ness*
Jack of Hearts and Other Parts – L. C. Rosen*
Someday – David Levithan
Firebird – Elizabeth Wein*

Anything else?

I also read The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. I am a massive Mitch Albom fan. My review of this is to come!

I’m really chuffed with how many books I managed to read last month! There were definitely some stand outs! Keep your eyes peeled this week for a round up of reviews and some more in depth reviews too!

What about my book challenges?

#BritishBooksChallenge: 104/12 (maybe more!)
#52books2018: 91/52 (just kids books!)
Goodreads challenge: 148/52

Now that it’s November, we will be in for full swing Christmas mode at school! I am also  sticking to my pledge of reading every night before bed.

How are you getting doing with your book challenges?
What was your favourite read in October?
Do you prefer my in depth reviews or my round ups?

Don’t forget to let me know in the comments/on twitter if there’s anything you want to see me read/want to see on my blog. I love your suggestions!

S x

 

BOOK BLOG: Matt Haig

The Truth Pixie: poetic, charming and inspiring.

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“From number one bestselling author Matt Haig comes a hilarious and heartwarming story, brilliantly illustrated throughout by Chris Mould Wherever she is, whatever the day, She only has one kind of thing to say. Just as cats go miaow and cows go moo, The Truth Pixie can only say things that are true.”

Anyone who has been here for a while will know that I am a MASSSSSSIVE Matt Haig fan (he’s probably one of my most read authors). I’d heard whispers of a new kids book a few months ago and this made me so happy! The Truth Pixie just seems to have shot up on me and come in no time at all, but I am so glad it’s in my life! 

The Truth Pixie tells the story of a young pixie who was blessed/cursed with only being able to tell the truth. She has very few friends because no one wants to hear the truth. Her family don’t want to know her because of her truth-telling, so she lives alone and dreads going out into the wide world. One day, when shopping for groceries, she comes across a troll who changes everything for her. (He’s not a nice troll…)

img_3938(look at that spine man… swooooon)

I think my favourite thing about this book is that it delivers quite a few MASSIVE messages to kids in ways that they’re going to understand. If you’ve ever read one of Matt’s books, you’ll know they’re books that will restore your faith in humanity and this one delivers just that. It has some important messages about being yourself, being sad (and that being ok) and the truth being something that we should embrace. 

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I read The Truth Pixie aloud to myself laid in bed and it’s such a glorious one to read aloud. I might have to reread it a few times before I read it aloud to any kid though – it made me cry, quite a lot. It’s pages like these 2 above that just turn me into a bumbling mess. Adults and kids alike will love this book. It’s written in a beautifully rhyming style that made it so easy to read aloud. It’s going to be a firm favourite for me to use in the classroom – as a story, as a book with a message. The illustrations (by the incredibly talented Chris Mould) are just wonderful too. They add so much to the story. 

This book is a total victory. I will continue to champion Matt Haig books forever. This book is already on its third print run and it’s been out less than a week! 

My goodreads review:

Just incredible. I love the poetic, rhyming style of this book, the incredible illustrations and the absolute championing message of this book. I definitely cried when I read this (aloud to myself, so what of it?) because no one is too old to hear this advice, ever. Off to buy another copy for school.

(And yes, I have bought a second copy for school… one for me, one for school!)

Have you read The Truth Pixie?
Do you also love Matt Haig?
What’s your favourite book to read aloud?

Talk to me! I’d love to know your thoughts!

 S x

BOOK BLOG: Peter G Bell

Today, I have the utter joy of hosting author Peter G Bell on my blog, talking about the story opening in The Train to Impossible Places. You’ll also get to hear about his wonderful main character, Suzy, and her rationalist beliefs and how these relate to the action of the story and the reader. Hope you enjoy!

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Reason Vs Weird

Most of us would love to discover that magic is real. Imagine if you came downstairs one night to find a trans-dimensional train, crewed by fantastical creatures, waiting to whisk you off to uncharted realms were anything was possible. You’d be thrilled, right?

   This is exactly what happens to Suzy, the main character of The Train To Impossible Places. And she is not thrilled at all.

   On the contrary, she feels positively offended. Because, as an eleven year old rationalist, she knows full well that magic can’t be real, and that trolls can’t exist. The laws of physics are sacrosanct. In short, the train shatters her understanding of the world. How she chooses to deal with that will determine both her fate, and the fate of everyone she meets on her adventure.

   I made Suzy a rationalist because I knew the train and its crew were going to be fairly anarchic and unpredictable, and I wanted a main character who would push back against that. In doing so, Suzy keeps the story grounded, even when she’s out of her depth (which is most of the time) and always asks the questions the reader needs answering.

   When it comes to science, the trolls’ rule of thumb is this: the laws of physics are all well and good, but as soon as they become inconvenient, a dash of magic is needed to help grease the wheels. This is fuzzics (like physics, only fuzzier), and it drives Suzy up the wall. Sometimes literally.

   I’m no sociologist, but I suspect many of our culture’s current problems stem from the conscious uncoupling of reason from the other human faculties; a nasty habit we picked up during the Enlightenment, and which has been indulged to a greater or lesser extent ever since. On the one hand, this culminates in people choosing to dismiss the valid spiritual, philosophical and emotional foundations of so much human experience. On the other, it leads to a suspicion of empirical knowledge, which opens the door to all manner of charlatans eager to present us with “alternative facts”. Neither condition is good for us.

   That’s why, in the midst of all the fantasy elements, I made sure never to undermine Suzy’s belief in science. It is never shown to be untrue – on the contrary, she uses Newton’s Laws of Motion to save herself from danger at one point – but she also discovers that science isn’t the neat and tidy solution to all life’s problems that she thought it was. She is never tempted to reject it, but she does have to expand her thinking beyond it and, to her credit, that’s exactly what she does.

   She makes room in herself for a broader perspective. And that’s what sees her through in the end.

You should definitely check out The Train to Impossible Places! It’s such a great story and the cover is JUST EXCEPTIONAL. 

Massive thanks to Peter for this blog post! I love getting an insight into authors and their characters – authors really do know their characters inside out! 

S x