#EasterReadathon round up

During Easter weekend, the brilliant Kate (of Reading Through Infinity fame) was hosting the #EasterReadathon. I don’t know if I ever officially signed up… I didn’t have a TBR. I’m very much a mood reader. However… I had a VERY productive #EasterReadathon, so I thought I would share the books I read with their synopsis and short thoughts about the books! Full reviews will come in time, do not fear guys. 

During #EasterReadathon I managed to read 7 books. 7 books in 4 days is not bad going!

Book 1
The Company of Eight – Harriet Whitehorn 

(left: my proof copy/right: finished cover)

“When Ravellous’s Circus Ship comes to Minaris, Cass is determined to audition despite her guardian Mrs Potts’s disapproval. But when her chance is snatched away from her, Cass refuses to give up. She sets out to follow the Circus Ship and the journey leads her into dangers that challenge even her adventurous spirit. Will she succeed in following her dream, or is her destiny something altogether different?”

I really enjoyed this. It was fast paced and full of danger and peril. The main character was really likeable, I want to be her friend! The language was beautifully rich. I want to join the company! Sword fighting and badass women? SIGN ME UP. Thank you so much Stripes for my proof copy!

Book 2
Spark – Alice Broadway

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“Leora is reeling: questioning everything she has ever known about her family and herself. As half-Marked and half-Blank, can she ever wholly belong in either fractured community? Mayor Longsight wants to use her as a weapon: to infiltrate Featherstone, home of the Blanks, and deliver them to him for obliteration. Leora longs for answers about her mysterious birth mother, and Featherstone may reveal them. But will she find solace and safety there or a viper’s nest of suspicion and secrets?”

Man. I have COMPLEX emotions about this book. I love Leora so much. I just can’t process how I feel about this book yet. A full review of this is to come because I can’t put into words how much I loved it. The story telling, the world building, the interwoven fairytales (comnpare these to Ink and your brain will explode). It’s just majestic. I love Alice so much. I can’t wait for book 3 of this trilogy… I only have to wait a year!

Book 3
The Storm Keeper’s Island – Catherine Doyle

(left: my proof copy/right: finished cover)

“Fionn Boyle and his older sister Tara have been sent to stay with their grandfather on the remote island of Arranmore for the summer. Though Fionn has never met his grandfather before – an eccentric old man who lives in a tiny cottage filled to the brim with candles – he knows he comes from a long line of brave lifeboat men, who wear the sea behind their eyes. Fionn is scared of the sea. He has no interest in adventure or shipwrecks or the restless wind that rustles through the island, as though in search of something. But an old magic is stirring deep inside the layers of Arranmore, and it is calling out to Fionn.”

This book is INCREDIBLE. I read it in a matter of hours. I just adored it. Fionn is a remarkable young man – his progression from scared young man, to quite a brave and bold man is wonderful. The magic, the island, the mystical nature of the situation, the relationships with his family. I can’t wait for this to come out (July, I believe!) and everyone to experience this wonderousness. (A full review will come closer to release!) Thank you so much to Kids Bloomsbury for my proof! 

Book 4
Skylarks – Karen Gregory

“When she was little, Joni used to have dreams that she could fly. But these days her feet are firmly on the ground – they have to be when money’s tight and her dad can’t work and the whole family has to pull together to keep afloat. Then she meets Annabel. Annabel is everything Joni isn’t, and yet there’s a spark between them. Though Joni barely believes it at first, she thinks they might be falling in love. But when Annabel’s parents find out about the relationship, it’s clear they believe there are some differences that are impossible to overcome…”

This was an interesting one! I absolutely ADORED Countless by Karen Gregory (even now it makes me blub thinking about it!) and was looking forward to this! Skylarks explores social class, injustice and the power of money. It’s refreshing to read something where the person is a little bit more real. It packs a punch too. I love the Cooper family a lot. Thank you so much to Kids Bloomsbury for my proof!

Book 5
The Buried Crown – Ally Sherrick

“It’s World War Two and Britain is on the brink of invasion. Londoner George has been sent to live in in the countryside while his brother and guardian, Charlie, fights overseas. But the war is closer than he thinks. An ancient burial ground nearby contains a priceless treasure, a magical Anglo-Saxon crown Hitler is desperate to possess. Alongside Kitty, the granddaughter of a Jewish archaeologist, George must find and protect the crown from the Nazi invaders before it’s too late…”

This was a SURPRISE entry. The lovelies of Chicken House sent it over to me and the gold made me pick it up. AND MY WORD, WHAT A BOOK. I absolutely adored it. It was full of adventure. I’m a sucker for a WW2 book, so this was RIGHT UP MY ALLEY. A brave young man protecting something unique from the hands of Hitler himself? YES PLZ. Memorable characters and a brilliant plot – watch out for a full review coming up!

Book 6
Me Mam. Me Dad. Me

“Danny’s mam has a new boyfriend. Initially, all is good – Callum seems nice enough, and Danny can’t deny he’s got a cool set up; big house, fast car, massive TV, and Mam seems to really like him. But cracks begin to show, and they’re not the sort that can be easily repaired. As Danny witnesses Mam suffer and Callum spiral out of control he goes in search of his dad. The Dad he’s never met.”

I don’t want to say too much about this because I have a blog post coming up about it, but I need to tell you guys how much I loved it. Look, I’m a Geordie. There are VERY FEW books set in Geordieland. To read a book written by a Geordie, set in Geordieland, with a LIKEABLE Geordie main character is a rare occurance for me. This story had my guts in knots for 99% of the time. I love Danny. So much. Thank you so much Head of Zeus for sending this to me. It’s made an imprint in my heart.

Book 7
Max the Detective Cat: The Disappearing Diva

“Max, chief mouse-hunter at the Theatre Royal, is up to his whiskers in his first mystery! Max is a pampered cat, used to the finer things in life, until a fun mouse chase goes badly wrong and he finds himself scruffy and alone and hiding out at the Theatre Royal. It’s here that Max takes on his first case as a detective cat, when he notices that famous singer Madame Emerald is acting strangely. Why is her maid so terrified? And what kind of singer doesn’t like to sing in public? Soon Max is trapped in a complicated web of crime, dashing round dancers’ legs and over the rooftops of London in a race to catch a clever thief…”

The lovely Nosy Crow gang sent me this book and it was a properly fun caper. It gave me such Aristocat vibes too, in the very best way. I really enjoyed it. Super readable and interesting. The illustrations were great too! A detective cat, living in a theatre, foiling a theft? Yes please! 

And there you have it! My haul of #EasterReadathon books! I don’t always get through 7 books in one weekend, I’ll have you know! It’s a testament to how brilliant these books were that I got through them all! Thanks so much Kate for hosting! 

Did you join in #EasterReadathon?
How many books do you reckon you could get through in a weekend?
Are there any on this list you’ve read, or would like to read?

Speak to me! Comment me, tweet me! 

S x

BOOKBLOG: Leigh Bardugo

Wonder Woman: Warbringer –  adventure filled, witty and fast paced

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“She will become a legend but first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning… Diana is desperate to prove herself to her warrior sisters. But when the opportunity comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law to save a mere mortal, Alia Keralis. With this single heroic act, Diana may have just doomed the world. Alia is a Warbringer – a descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery. Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies, mortal and divine, determined to destroy or possess the Warbringer. To save the world, they must stand side by side against the tide of war.”

Wonder Woman: Warbringer tells the story of Diana (Wonder Woman) and her struggle with her life as an Amazon, doing the right thing and jeapordising her life as she knows it. It is one not to be missed! The girls of SundayYA were raving about it in the chat and I knew from the chat that I needed to get onto it and I do not regret it!

One of the things that stood out to me about this book was that I really loved the characters. Diana is brilliant: she’s witty, funny (generally unintentionally, brave, honest and badass. Like, she saves someone’s life. I know, I know, she’s Wonder Woman, it’s what she does. But like, how many other characters do you know that save lives in such an epic way? I liked her instantly. She goes from the underdog to hero, all in secret. She’s not the only interesting character in this book though, don’t be fooled. There’s the warbringer herself, Alia. She’s a bit more tough, a bit more intense, taken by surprise by this new life that she is now being made to live. Things are coming to light in her life that make so much more sense to her now. She is the warbringer (I think she copes with this information much better than I would!) and wants to do the right thing. That’s always noble. She was another hit with me straight away.

OH JASON! JASON. JASON. JASON.

Those of you who have read Warbringer will know what my despair is all about. Oh Jason. I won’t spoil anything. But Jason. I have complex feelings about him. There was an audible gasp when it comes to Jason and his behaviour. (Go on, read it, you know you want to! You want to know why Jason made me gasp. Then we can talk about it!).

The other thing that I loved about this book was that I learned a lot without being overloaded with information. There were little threads of information throughout the whole book – THIS is a much better way to educate readers on superhero information than a total information dump, so I am grateful for that! 

I completely and utterly loved this book. It took me a while to get through (blame a stupid reading slump) but I would recommend it to everyone. it is just wonderful. Leigh Bardugo is magnificent and this has definitely spurred me on to read the rest of her books! 

My goodreads review:

I do not have enough words to praise this book. I loved it so much. Diana is incredible. The way the story is woven is just exceptional. I was really rooting for Jason, I trusted him and then BOOM. I audibly gasped. What a VILLAIN. I love how Diana stood for what she knew she believed in. She believed in Alia. I cried at the end. Just magnificent.

Have you read Warbringer?
Which superhero would you like to be?
Would you like to rewrite anyone’s story? If so, whose?

Thank you so much to my gorgeous book fairy Sarah at Penguin for sending this over to me! 

S x

Summer holiday wrap up!

So… it’s back to school day today! I thought I would keep the cheer up by sharing the amazing books that I read over the Summer holidays! I got to read some absolute corkers – both YA and MG books! 

YA 2017 summer

Highlights:

  • One of Us Is Lying – I absolutely loved this! It was fast paced and brilliant. It kept me on my toes the ENTIRE time. 
  • The Invasion – hotly anticipated sequel to The Call. I absolutely loved it.
  • Wonder Woman – I haven’t read anything by Leigh Bardugo but I really want to now! I really loved this!
  • The Eyes of the Dragon – I never expected I would so highly recommend a Stephen King book but I absolutely LOVED this one. 

MG Summer

Highlights: (I would like to state that I loved EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THESE)

  • The Creakers – I was lucky enough to get a proof and it’s just brilliant. I can’t wait for everyone else to read this! Especially if you loved The Christmasaurus.
  • Letters from the Lighthouse – absolutely gorgeous and absolutely perfect KS2 book. I really loved the story and the female characters! 
  • The Last Wild – this made me cry SO HARD on the train someone asked me if I was OK, ha. But seriously brilliant.
  • A Place Called Perfect – I can NOT stop banging on about how brilliant this book is. It is creepy and weird and JUST AMAZING. Go read it.

I am IMPRESSED. I didn’t think I had read 16 books! This recap doesn’t even include all of the picture books I read either! How exciting! So there were many books read over the summer, JUST AS IT SHOULD BE! 

What did you read over the summer?
Did you have a favourite read?
Do you have a book you always fall back on in summer?

Let me know in the comments or tweet me! I would love to see your summer reads!

 S x

#SundayYAthon TBR

Bank Holiday Monday is a perfect time to start a readathon! Luckily the wonderful Rachel (the #SundayYA boss lady) has started a brilliant Sunday YA readathon and I am excited about it! 

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She created this incredible bingo board style mission! I’m going across the middle! There’s so many ways I could’ve gone! I have about 600 books on my TBR (ha, this is a slight exaggeration… but I do have SO MANY BOOKS to read. I sorted them out in some fashion today and I had to NOT count them because I would’ve been a bit overwhelmed! Might do a book buying ban in September… get some of my books read! Anyway…)

WHICH BOOKS ARE YOU CHOOSING STEPH? WHICH BOOKS? WHICH BOOKS? TELL US! SHOW US! WE WANT TO SEE. 

I know. I can hear you chanting it now. 

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For SundayYA author I chose Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence.

My Free Choice book is Letters from the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll (I had to get some MG reading in there!)

The UKYA author I chose was Mind The Gap by Phil Earle (the lovely people at Barrington Stoke sent me this last week and I’ve carried it round ever since, I love the sound of it. I heard him at YALC talk about it and it’s going to break my heart).

I also have Wonder Woman to finish too… let’s hope I can manage it all!

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Are you joining in #SundayYAthon this summer?
What’s on your TBR list?
Do you like doing readathons?

It’s not too late to join in! Just follow the hashtag and show us your TBR. See you there!

S x

April Books

It’s that time again, April has come and gone! This year is flying by! We’re in the final term… (as a teacher, I count my life in terms ha! This means I have only 1 term until I start training… this makes me wanna vomit. We will get to that in a future blog post!) We have another round up and an update on my 2017 challenge!

April was a BUSY book month! 

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This was part of my TBR:

Also added to this list:SOGI

There was a wonderful mix of some MG books and a lot of YA books and some non-fiction in there too! If there isn’t a review currently up for the book there will be one coming up in the coming weeks! I also read some picture books this week, but I (controversially) don’t count them towards my book count of the year! This stack ended up lookin so healthy because of SundayYAthon @ Easter which I managed to devour about 5 books, alongside 2 train journeys to London to meet my lovely friend Kelly! Find out about my SundayYAthon reads here: SundayYAthon at Easter!

Shout out to Grandad’s Secret Giant by David Litchfield though… incredible picture book! (BOOKBLOG: David LitchfieldIMG_4370

This year I pledged to read 52 books. I committed myself to that on Goodreads and so I have to do it. I refuse to fail now! That’s 4 a month, that’s good going! So far I have read:

25/52 books

Apparently, that’s 9 ahead of schedule! I started Countless this morning and I’d like to get that finished today, which would mean I’m HALF WAY through my challenge and it’s only been 4 months. That would be something else!

What did I buy/acquire?

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  • Mad Girl – Bryony Gordon
  • The Stars at Oktober Bend – Glenda Millard
  • Chasing the Stars – Malorie Blackman
  • Anna and the Swallow Man – Gavriel Savit 
  • Radio Silence – Alice Oseman (my gorgeous Rachel sent me this!)
  • Super Awkward – Beth Garrod
  • Wintersong – S. Jae Jones (my lovely friend Kelly sent me this!)
  • The Fallen Children – David Owen
  • I Have No Secrets – Penny Joelson

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  • Doing It – Hannah Witton
  • The Cows – Dawn O’Porter
  • Happy Mum, Happy Baby – Giovanna Fletcher (my lush cousin Kate sent this to me to borrow. I’m not a mam but I love Gi and Tom)
  • The Adventures of Owl and the Pussycat (keep your eyes peeled this coming Sunday! I’m involved in the blog tour for this!)
  • Grandad’s Secret Giant – David Litchfield (I have read this, so it should be in my other pile but I did acquire it this month, the lovely publishers sent me a copy and I am so gratefuk… see my review here: BOOKBLOG: David Litchfield)
  • The Covers of this Book are Too Far Apart – Vivian French and Nigel Baines. 
  • Beards from Outer Space – Gareth P Jones (the amazing publishers sent me this this month too! It’s currently in school!)
  • Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink – Jennifer Killick (I am very lucky that the author sent me this! Taking it into school telling the kids it came from the author made it so special!)

Wow. I acquired a lot of books this month. Sorry bank balance.

So that’s it for April. It’s been a joy reading this month. I read some absolutely incredible books and I am looking forward to seeing what May has in store for me! More tears, laughter and incredible books I am sure of it!

What did you read in April?
Have you read any of the books on my list?
What was your favourite book of the month?
How are you doing with your challenge?

I’d love to hear from you all! Leave me a comment or speak to me on twitter (@eenalol) I’m always open to talk! 

S x

SundayYAthon at Easter!

This Easter weekend was my 2nd (maybe 3rd?) time of joining in a SundayYAthon and I loved it!

For those of you who don’t know, #SundayYA is a chat that happens every Sunday between 6 and 7pm and I love it. We’ve had all sorts of chats over the past few weeks and it’s ran by my gorgeous friend Rachel (who blogs at 100 or less and tweets at @_sectumsemprah). SundayYAthon is a chance for anyone to sign up and do a mega readathon for a certain amount of days; this was was Thursday to Easter Monday. Generally there’s a pledge to read a certain books but this time round it was just read as many as you could! #SundayYA and the YAthons are always open to everyone so keep an eye on twitter for the next one and come along to #SundayYA on Sunday, 6-7… be there or be square.

So what did you read? I hear you say… well let me get to it!!

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There you have it! My visual READ pile over the weekend. I was pretty chuffed with the books I managed to read, there are reviews for all of them coming up but I thought I would share a snippet of each review in this post!

Orangeboy: Patrice Lawrence – hard hitting, tense and tough. I really enjoyed Orangeboy as much as someone reading a book so tense humanly can do. It’s all about what can happen if you get caught up with the wrong people. Wrong person, wrong time. Poor Marlon. 

Winterkill: Kate A Boorman – you’ll find my review already up on the blog! Head over to BOOKBLOG: KATE A BOORMAN to check it out. It’s certainly a great little read, I am looking forward to the second two!

Unconventional:Maggie Harcourt – Maggie was a guest at #SundayYA a while back and I hadn’t got round to reading Unconventional by then but as the chat went on I knew I had to read it. My lovely book fairy sent it to me and I am so glad. It’s a lovely story. I smiled the whole way through. I can’t wait for you to see my full review. I really enjoyed this!

The Names They Gave Us: Emery Lord – (released July) I was sent this by the lovely people at Bloomsbury and I absolutely adored it. It broke my heart. I completely adore the characters, the story is incredible, the writing style is just brilliant. Review to come in the next few weeks! 

So that’s my wrap up! I absolutely loved all of the books I read. I was so impressed I read so many too… I didn’t expect to read so many! (Technically only had HALF of Orangeboy to read, but shhhh, don’t tell anyone!!)

Now to share some of the other SundayYAthon’ers wrap up posts!

  • Cora read some wonderful books, her first was the book that I’m currently reading!
  • Jess  had a wonderful pile and got through a lot of books!
  • Sarah managed to get through 1600 pages! Check out the books she read!

Absolutely loved sharing the bookish joy with the girls in the group too! We had a twitter DM group going and it was great to keep motivations going!

Thank you Rach for such a wonderful reading experience! And for helping my TBR pile!

Have you ever joined in a readathon?
Do you enjoy them?
Would you be interested in joining in #SundayYA? I’d love to see you!

S x

BOOKBLOG: KATE A BOORMAN

Winterkill: seductive, nervy and enthralling.IMG_4357

Friday saw the start of the #SundayYAthon… where we have to read as many books as we can in a weekend! I was travelling to London to meet a pocket friend of mine (see: amazing online friend) and was reading Orangeboy on the way down (as book 1 of #SundayYAthon) but finished it by the time I got to London so naturally I needed to buy a new book. When we were in Waterstones Piccadilly I was picking up books, obv this is me, and needed another book to read and had already picked up a book for BOGOHP so needed another! I couldn’t find one but having scoured I came across this one. It was the blurb that sold me.

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“Where Emmeline lives, you cannot love and you cannot leave
The Council’s rules are strict, but they’re for the good of the settlement in which Emmeline lives. Everyone knows there is nothing but danger the other side of the Wall, and the community must prepare for the freezing winterkill that comes every year. But Emmeline struggles to be obedient under the Council’s suffocating embrace – especially when she discovers that a Council leader intends to snatch her hand in marriage. Then Emmeline begins to hear the call of the trees beyond the Wall”

I was initially intrigued by the settlement aspect of this book, that this girl lived in a settlement and was very segregated from the rest of the world – this kind of thing really appeals to me, not sure why! That was the thing that drew me to it. The disobedience of teenagedom. The Council, who I guessed were in charge. The council leader who wanted to marry her. I wanted to know more and I am so glad I picked it up because I was NOT disappointed.

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This book tells the tale of Emmeline (Em for short) and her life in the settlement. What she does, how she exists, what her life is like there. She’s different from the rest of her townsfolk though. She’s ‘Wayward’ – she breaks the rules, she questions the Council, she doesn’t follow their every saying. The people of the settlement are led to believe in the 3 virtues: Honesty, Courage and Discovery. The people have to do things which abide by these virtues, otherwise their actions are seen as ‘Wayward’ and are punished. Generally punished with doing the “Watch”. Obviously Em is a rule breaker, she makes mistakes and ends up being on “Watch” – she has to watch over the outskirts of the fortification and make sure the “malmaci” (the bad people) aren’t coming after her town. The story goes on from there and there are twists and turns aplenty. More people who seem to be following the way of the Council but who in their own ways aren’t. They don’t follow. They are Wayward but know how to get away with it. I loved the idea of this. The writing was brilliant too. I devoured it in about a day. The plot was so brilliant weaved, with some interesting turns and holes that I didn’t see coming but that when it got to the end I was like “WELL OBVIOUSLY”. Brilliance I say.

The characters of this book were the things I feel most in love with. Em, the main character, is a girl who is curious, she’s interested in knowing more, she wants to know more. She’s “Stained” because of something her grandmother allegedly did years before and she is defined in some ways by her stain – she thinks that’s all people see of her and in some respects, to some of the people in the settlement it is. Alongside Em you meet her lovely best friend Tom. He’s her calm, he is very much a rule abider, he doesn’t like that Em is so willing to be Wayward, to act in such meaningless ways. He likes to stay on the right side of the law. But he very much respects and sees Em for who she is, his best friend. He does things throughout the book that surprised me, but that made me like him even more. In contrast to Tom we meet Kane. Bold, shaved head, strong, works in the kitchens Kane. He’s a thinker, like Em. He’s not afraid to bend rules. There’s a spark between him and Em. Tom and Kane are like chalk and cheese but both have Em as their main thought. I liked Kane. I trusted him instantly. In this book trust is an important thing and he was definitely one I trusted straight away… not like Brother Stockham. I was NOT a fan. He’s smarmy, creepy and just a bit obscure. He grew on me at one point, I thought he was something that he really isn’t. There’s something misunderstood about him, there’s something redeeming to him but he’s not one I knew I liked, nor trusted. He’s a Council leader and I just didn’t like him. He has ulterior motives. There’s also Brother Jameson who I strongly disliked. He’s a man after power. There’s some brilliant characters like Andre, who had my heart. I loved him. He’s definitely one that I knew Em could trust for there aren’t many!

I loved the random interjections of French in this book too. They came very unexpectedly to but I ended up grasping and gripped and wanting more French. As a languages teacher it was lovely to see a language in a book! It kept my brain ticking over.

I can’t wait to read the next 2 now! I’ll definitely be getting them and reading them in the next few weeks!

Have you guys read this?
What do you think?
Have you any recommendations of books like this?
Cult/settlements with rebellious teens. I love them!

Let me know in the comments below or on twitter (@eenalol) I always want book recommendations!!

S x

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

BOOKBLOG: Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls: heart breaking, emotional and incredible.

During #SundayYAthon I read this amazing book and I couldn’t let it go without giving it its own blog post. It is SUCH an incredible story. And now that it’s a film, I may have to go see the film!
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I’m sure people have been telling me to read this for a while. I’ve seen it floating around on Twitter and my Amazon list for a while, but I always brushed it off. I always figured I wouldn’t love it but then one of my twitter pals convinced me that it was totally worth it. However it came with a whole load of warnings. BEWARE/YOU WILL NEED TISSUES/I’M HERE IF YOU NEED ME/WE NEED TO TALK WHEN YOU FINISH CRYING. Oh lord, I was scared. Scared. I cry at books ALL THE TIME, but when it’s a book that everyone else cries at, I always worry. The last book that made me cry so much I couldn’t think properly was Me Before You and I was not ready for another one of those books. I still can’t think about Me Before You now without getting a bit teary.

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“Conor has the same dream every night, ever since his mother first fell ill, ever since she started the treatments that don’t quite seem to be working. But tonight is different. Tonight, when he wakes, there’s a visitor at his window. It’s ancient, elemental, a force of nature. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth”

Woah. I know. How scary. The truth is a pretty terrifying thing to ask of anyone, but to ask it of a child who’s mam isn’t very well… well that’s something else entirely

Now I must say there’s an illustrated version and I didn’t get that version but I wish I had! Everyone has been raving about how much it adds to the story! Although I liked imagining what the characters looked like myself. Especially the tree. He terrified me to be honest. And I’m an adult. This book deals with some very mature themes: illness, grief, struggling with school, nightmares but they are dealt with in such an amazing manner that you don’t feel like you’re being babied but also that you’re not thrust into the jaws of these, lets be honest, not very nice thingsness-and-spoon

 

I loved the story. The one thing we go to books for, their story… the thing they have to tell us. It was just glorious. Conor was looking for something and he found it but not in the way he thought he would. He discovers that sometimes the truth is the hardest thing to deal with, but that honesty is the best policy

This book made me cry. I won’t lie. I cried so hard. But I loved it. His relationship with his mother juxtaposed with the relationship he has with his father and his grandmother and then this complicated friendship he has with the tree, just so beautifully written. So honestly portrayed. 

Another book that I would totally recommend. The first chapter alone is worth its weight in gold. I will be using that chapter and the description in some way in the classroom, however my littles are too little to read the book. 

S x

(p.s. how adorable is my ‘Auntie Spot’ spoon bookmark from the twiglets?!)

SundayYAthon!

Recently on Twitter I have started joining in more blogger chats and it’s been really cool getting to know lots of other bloggers and seeing what they’re up to. One chat that I’m really fond of is #SundayYA – obviously on a Sunday and about YA books. Now as all of you know, I love a bookA LOT, so to be able to talk to other people about books, well that’s me sold!

#SundayYA is ran by the wonderful Rachel (@_babblebooks on Twitter) and we get together and talk about YA books. There’s themes, or books to talk about generally and it’s awesome to just chat about books, themes or share my opinions on books. When Rachel mentioned that there was going to be a #SundayYAthon I tentatively put my name down, saying that I would read 3 books… whether that was wishful thinking or not was to be decided. #SundayYAthon then became a little chat on twitter with all of us discussing what we were going to read, what our goals were and just generally becoming friends! When it finally came around I was still in the middle of a book… OOPS. But I thought I would share my reads and what I thought of them, in a round up kinda post!

The first book I read during #SundayYAthon was ‘The Girl With All The Gifts’ by Michael Carey. You can see my full review in a few days – I loved it so much I dedicated a whole blog post to it! I loved this book. It was amazing, gripping and an absolute page turner. Total 10/10. I have since found out that Michael Carey is writing a sort of prequel to this book and I am SO EXCITED. I’m gonna cut it off there cause as I say there’s a full review coming in a few days! Since that was just a book I needed to just finish off I only classed it as half a book really.

My second book of #SundayYAthon (technically my first FULL book) was ‘Under Rose Tainted Skies’ by Louise Gornall. This is a story about a young girl, Norah, who has severe agoraphobia and how that changes when a new boy moves in next door, Luke. I enjoyed this book. I didn’t love it, it was a heavy read but I managed to get through it in less than a day. It was interesting to read how her agoraphobia really affected her and had an impact on everything in her life. The thing that makes this book so very true is that it is written with people’s experiences of agoraphobia in mind. I liked Luke, I can’t lie. It was good to read about Norah’s journey – you really root for her. A solid 8/10. I’d be interested in seeing what else Louise Gornall writes! I liked her writing style.

Next for #SundayYAthon I read ‘Kindred Spirits’ by Rainbow Rowell. If you haven’t read anything by Rainbow Rowell then what are you waiting for?! She’s incredible. I would absolutely recommend Eleanor and Park. There’s something so amazing about that story that I keep going back to it. Kindred Spirits was a short story released for World Book Day. I had been after it for WEEKS. And I managed to find it in Waterstones and bought it… £1. You CAN NOT complain for £1. It’s very short, maybe 60 pages. It’s a sweet story about a girl who joins the line outside the theatre to go see Star Wars. She meets some characters. Has some laughs. This is a very harmless book. Great for teenagers I would say. Another good 8/10. It took me about half an hour to read! Give it a go if you just want something short and sweet!

The final book I read for #SundayYAthon was ‘Beautiful Broken Things’ by Sara Barnard. Now, this book. I went up and down with this book. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed it, and naturally I cried at the end. I just found it SUCH a struggle at times. The book is about Caddy and Rosie, who at the start of the book are the definition of best friends – they do everything together, talk to each other every night. Caddy is the girl who always does her homework, goes to all her lessons, goes to the posh school, whereas Rosie is a girl who goes to a local school, just gets by being a student. (I reckon I was Caddy at school). Then Rosie introduces Suzanne into the equation. The book is about how the dynamic between the 3 friends changes, how the personalities change and how fatalities can sometimes define our friendships and our lives. I really enjoyed the WAY this book was written – having the text broken up with text messages, I love when a book is written like this – and I also really enjoyed learning about the different personalities in the book. I have a very up and down relationship with Suzanne. She feels like a bit of a saboteur. I think this is why I struggled at points. I was ready to give up about 70% of the way through. But I persevered. The ending to the book is well rounded and it really works for the way that the book should end. I guess a bit of conflict in a book is a good thing, you don’t want to give up on it! I have spoken to other #SundayYAthon‘ers who absolutely loved this book, and some, like me who enjoyed it. I’d give it 8.5/10, I think.

So that is that! That’s my round up of the books I read for #SundayYAthon. Come along on a Sunday at 6pm on Twitter, I’ll be there having a little chinwag with other #SundayYA people!

S x