S4S – books on my TBR forever

Morning pals!

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

Today’s #SixforSunday post queries:

Books that have been on my TBR forever

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

1. The Next Together – Lauren James

2. Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo

3. Trouble – Non Pratt

4. The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli

5. They Both Die At The End – Adam Silvera

6. Flight of a Starling – Lisa Heathfield

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

See you next week!

S x

BOOK BLOG: Floored

Floored: what happens when you put some of YA’s biggest names together? Brilliance.

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“When they got in the lift, they were strangers (though didn’t that guy used to be on TV?): Sasha, who is desperately trying to deliver a parcel; Hugo, who knows he’s the best-looking guy in the lift and is eyeing up Velvet, who knows what that look means when you hear her name and it doesn’t match the way she looks, or the way she talks; Dawson, who was on TV, but isn’t as good-looking as he was a few years ago and is desperately hoping no one recognizes him; Kaitlyn, who’s losing her sight but won’t admit it, and who used to have a poster of Dawson on her bedroom wall, and Joe, who shouldn’t be here at all, but who wants to be here the most. And one more person, who will bring them together again on the same day every year”

So I think I’ve been talking about this book ever since I found out about it.
A while. A long time.
When I was offered the chance to read a review copy, I JUMPED AT IT.
But then again why wouldn’t I want to?
7 brilliant UKYA authors, including 2 of my all time faves?
A contemporary with 7 perspectives?
A brilliant sounding concept?
A cover which makes my eyes VERY happy?
I just… yes please. SIGN ME UP.

What Floored brings to the table is an incredible story, with memorable characters and an honest look at life, relationships and friendships, all wrapped in 7 authors who you know you can trust. Add to that the fun of guessing which author wrote which character and you’ve got what is a sure fire winner. 

(This is one of those book reviews where I’m really struggling to write it because I just want to say I LOVED IT SO MUCH OK?)

One of the things that stood out to me was the comparison between how individual their lives were at the beginning of the book, but then as the book develops you notice that they are part of each other’s lives and then by the end they become each other’s lives. They are all integral parts of each other’s lives. Friendship is a MASSIVE part of this book, but as you go through it, it’s not all plain sailingjust like life isn’t all plain sailing. Things happen that make the friendships hard; the relationships change and develop and fall apart; people naturally are drawn to one over the others. All of these dynamics are explored and for me that’s what’s so brilliant about it. I see so much of my own friendships and relationships in this book. 

I can’t go through this review without expressing my sheer ANGER at Hugo and some of his actions. Oh, this man. Hugo, Hugo, Hugo. I think I could talk about Hugo for a while. But I won’t as his actions, especially at the beginning of the book, do not deserved to be spoken of. As questionable as some of his actions are, he made me laugh. 

While we’re talking characters, I just think they’re each lush. 
Hugo – questionable morals, made me laugh.
Kaitlyn – a brilliant badass young woman who won’t let anything stand in her way
Sasha – poor Sasha, I just wanted to hug her.
Dawson – oh complicated little Dawson, I feel you so much my friend. Let’s talk.
Velvet – don’t let them get you down my friend, you’re wonderful.
Joe – keep that ambition about you my friend, keep being lovely.

I just adored this book. It made me laugh, cry, angry. It’s EVERYTHING I hoped for in the celebration of all that is wonderful. 

Massive MASSIVE thank you to the wonderful publicist Bea for sending me a copy – I love you forever and a day! 

Have you read Floored?
Have you had a guess at which character matches which author?
Which Floored character do you think you are?

Talk to me! Comment! Tweet! Pigeon! Postcard!

OH and come back tomorrow where you’ll see my post for the Floored blog collaboration group I’m part of! 

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S x

p.s. I did so well not to use the floored pun. Are you impressed?

BOOKBLOG: Non Pratt

Second Best Friend: short, honest, brilliant.

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“Jade and Becky are best friends, but when Jade’s ex-boyfriend lets on that everyone thinks Becky is the better of the two, Jade finds herself noticing just how often she comes second to her best friend. There’s nothing Jade is better at than Becky. 

So when Jade is voted in as Party Leader ahead of her school’s General Election only to find herself standing against Becky, Jade sees it as a chance to prove herself. If there’s one thing she can win, it’s this election – even if it means losing her best friend.”

I absolutely love Non Pratt’s books, so when I heard there was a new one coming out I knew I needed to get my hands on it. One of the brilliant things about this book (and Unboxed too!) is that they’re published by Barrington Stoke, which makes dyslexia friendly books which are perfect for reluctant readers. This book took me all of about 10 minutes to read (OK maybe a bit longer, but you know what I mean) and I have since read it again and it packs just as powerful a punch the second time round (and third too for that matter).

If you’d like to know more information about Barrington Stoke books, check out their website here

Second Best Friend tells the tale of Jade and Becky, two teenage best friends who end up competing against each other in a school election. Pair this up with a venomous ex-boyfriend who says that Jade isn’t as beautiful as her best friend (“everyone knows it”) and you have an excellent tale of expectations, friendship and honesty – both with yourself and others. 

The thing that hit me hardest about this book is the honesty of it. We’ve all been there. We’ve all felt insignificant in comparison to our best friend and we’ve all struggled through that in some way. Whether you’ve been the one feeling insignificant, or you’ve been the one compared to – you’ve been there. For most of us however, we get to do that privately. Jade doesn’t have that luxury. She has to live her inferiority complex in front of the whole school, with her best friend in the whole world. Reading this book hit a few very honest chords with me. I’ve definitely been there in the past. Never felt quite good enough, never felt pretty enough, smart enough, popular enough… not quite enough compared to my friends. 

This book made me laugh (“who does he think he is? Fantastic Mr. Fox” HAHAH YES), cry and angry. At the situation, the best friend (both girls, not just one), the boys (STUPID BOYS). 

I would totally recommend this. It’s a super quick read which will hit many a chord with people of all ages. GO GO GO.

Have you read Second Best Friend?
Are you your own best friend?
Have you ever had a friend you compared yourself to?

Let me know in the comments! I’d love to talk. 

S xx

BOOKBLOG: Tom Becker

I’ll Be Home For Christmas: honest, frank and emotive.

This collection of poems and stories by some of the leading UK YA authors is a brilliant book and it’s for a BRILLIANT cause – with each book that’s bought a donation is given to Crisis. Lovely idea. Well done Stripes publishing! This collection is all about homes and families – both those which are chosen us and the ones we choose.

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Now I’m not going to review the whole book in loads of detail because you’d be here forever and I would run out of words eventually but there are some that I totally want to highlight and talk about! 

Ghosts of Christmas Past (Non Pratt)
This story was gorgeous. Told a tale of how one person’s past can be someone else’s future. I didn’t see it coming. It struck me a bit and it was powerful. I loved it. 

The Afterschool Club (Holly Bourne)
I’m a massive Holly fan so was super excited to see that she’d written something for this collection and I was not let down! The main characters were both equally loveable. I love a story where I like both of the main characters. There was no need for anyone else to be involved. It was complex, haunting, dangerous but hopeful. I adored it. I want more from these two. They made my heart happy. 

Homo for Christmas (Juno Dawson)
OH MAN I WANT TO CHAMPION THIS STORY SO MUCH. I COULD TALK ABOUT IT FOR HOURS (I won’t). I must’ve sent Juno about 100 tweets during/after reading this story and I am so glad it exists in my life. There are SO MANY reasons why it’s incredible.
a) A Geordie protagonist – a likeable Geordie protagonist, who doesn’t get drunk all the time. We are not all like that. 
b) So many references that made me laugh – the northerners don’t wear coats thing, yes. So much of this tale made my poor little Geordie heart happy.
c) The relationship between the main character and his mam – I know this is probably true of everyone and their mam, but it made me so happy to see a functioning, supportive mam.
d) THE USE OF THE WORD MAM. Yes. That’s the word we use in these parts and it’s so good to see it in a book!!
e) His coming out – mams are incredible people. I don’t wanna spoil it for you, because READ IT. But know that mams are incredible.
This particular story hit a million nerves with me. I just can not champion this short story enough in my world. Everyone needs to read it. Juno is an absolute goddess for putting this into the world. I need more stories with Geordie protagonists like him. 

Those were 3 of my highlights but I think everyone should read this story because it was such a diverse collection of characters and stories, and situations. I’m not the biggest fan of short stories – I always crave more – but this was a fantastic one to read! Go on, you’re doing a good thing buying this book! 

S x

Favourite reads of 2016

Now is the time… I must bite the bullet and list my favourite reads of 2016. (I say reads because some of these were released before 2016 and I only got round to reading them in 2016, sorry!) 

Here we go…best-2016-2
They are by no means in any order… and they’re mostly YA. But there you go. My favourite reads of 2016 (from top to bottom)

  1. Patrick Ness – A Monster Calls. Heartbreaking, chilling and magical.
  2. Melinda Salisbury – The Sleeping Prince. Wicked, daring and enchanting.
  3. Alwyn Hamilton – Rebel of the Sands. Dangerous, fun and adventure filled.
  4. M. R. Carey – Girl with all the Gifts. Quirky, heartfelt and interesting.
  5. Jojo Moyes – Me Before You. This will make your heart feel amazing and then rip it out.
  6. Sara Barnard – Beautfiful Broken Things. Relatable, frank and emotive.
  7. Louise Gornell – Under Rose Tainted Skies. Honest, touching and warm.
  8. M.R.Carey – Fellside. Tough, mysterious and dark.
  9. Laure Eve – The Graces. Deceptive, fun and wicked.
  10. I’ll Be Home For Christmas. Touching, evocative and sincere.
  11. Emery Lord – When We Collided. Emotional, loving and tough.
  12. Non Pratt – Unboxed. Easy going, poignant and memory filled.

There is a MG/picture book version coming in the next few days!

What were your favourite books of 2016? Let me know in the comments or on twitter!

S x

BOOK BLOG: Non Pratt

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of Non Pratt’s book ‘Unboxed’. My friend Rachel already had a copy of the book and she won another copy, so she asked them to send it to me. And man am I grateful! I was sent the book and a beautiful postcard with a quote, signed by the author. It is so gorgeous.

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Unboxed: beautiful, heartfelt, charming and awesome.

“Alix, Ben, Zara and Dean meet at their old school to keep a longstanding promise to open a memory box they left when they were thirteen. But there is a gaping hole – their friend Millie has died. When they open the box, secrets tumble out and old feelings rise to the surface”

When I first hear of a book with a group of friends with one missing I always worry that it’s just going to end up being a sombre, cry fest and this book was no different… at least I was worried it would be no different. Did it feel sombre? No. There were times when it was touching, where Millie’s death was touched on and let linger in the air, but never was it sombre or take over the story. Did it make me cry? Yes. Especially at the end. I won’t spoil it for anyone, but the ending feels perfect. 

Alix’s inner turmoil about her big secret is something I think everyone can relate to. I think everyone has a secret that they’re hiding from the world. Be it big, or small, there’s something about us that we don’t want everyone to know in fear of judgement or fear of being turned away. 

I really enjoyed the whole story. The characters were perfect. I especially liked Dean. But none of them felt out of place, none of them made sense without the other’s. Zara’s boyfriend is the only character I disliked… but that’s probably what is meant! This book was a delight. It was an easy read. It never felt like a burden to pick it up. It was never tough. I read it in a matter of hours. Absolutely devoured it. I love a book like that. You have to want to read a book. Otherwise you won’t read. 

Absolutely recommend this to everyone. Whether you’re a new reader or a reading lover. It’s an easy read and it’s so true to friendships. We all have those friends who we fall away from and if there’s something to bring you all back together then you do it. This book addresses that push and pull of friendships beautiful.

There’s a lovely page at the end of this book which gives a bit of an explanation about the make up of the book. I liked that. Heavy pages and a certain colour to lessen the ‘ghosting’ of letters. The book is written in a dyslexia friendly font too, how incredible. This book would be incredible for reluctant readers. Good work Non and Barrington Stoke. 

What about you? Have you read this book? Would you pick it up? The cover alone is one for me! Let me know, either in the comments or on twitter (@eenalol)

S x