Thursday Tag: Library Loves

Hello friends! How are you all?

Like I excitingly announced last week, I’m one of the cohosts for #LibraryLoves, a month long celebration of libraries big, small and everything in between! Today I’m coming at you with the blog book tag that Jess came up with and tomorrow I am sharing with you all what the library in school looks like (both in my classroom and our ACTUAL library! I can’t wait to show you all!)

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1. When did you first go to the library/get a library card?

I don’t remember when I FIRST went to the library because for me it’s always been a thing in my life. When I was growing up, there was a library maybe a 10 minute walk away from my hosue, so I was always there on a weekend. I was very lucky to grow up so close to the library and that I had a bunch of friends (and a brother) who didn’t mind coming to the library with me. Sadly, I don’t think the building is used as a library anymore!

Fun fact: I had my first kiss in the little playground out the back of that library! It was under the slide. 

2. How often do you use your library?

I use our school library ALL THE TIME. The fact I’m the lady in charge of the library should tell you something! I’m not very good at using the public library in Newcastle that much if I’m honest… however it is an incredible library and I love going to see what they have on offer. I’m particularly a fan of seeing the books they have for sale because there’s sometimes absolute gems for as little as 25p!

3. Have you ever had a late or lost library book?

Oh, yes. A few years ago I came across a book that was from the library I went to as a child so it must have been YEARS overdue (I’m 30 now), but as that library no longer exists, I’m not sure what to do with it. I rang the big library in Newcastle and they told me they had no record of it… so it’s currently just sat on my shelf!

4. What’s your favourite thing about your library?

Gosh, that’s a loaded question. I think one of the best things about a library is that it’s free access to this exceptional collection of different worlds, characters and feelings. You don’t have to pay to go on an adventure with Morrigan Crow, or travel to Tallith, or to learn about the life of a doctor. You’ve got a magical card which allows you to learn all of these wonderful things.

5. Are you a browser or do you plan what you’re taking out?

Definitely more of a browser. However, I’ve definitely borrowed my fair share of books in my life!

6. Name a book you took a chance on from the library.

Ooooh. As a child, I remember being TERRIFIED of Goosebumps (I’m easily scared, shush now) and being told that they weren’t that scary. I got one of the books out and then was OBSESSED. I don’t know what it was about the books but I went through that series QUICKLY once I’d read one.

7. What is best book you read from the library?

All of them? Ha! I genuinely don’t think I could answer that! There’s so many brilliant books I’ve borrowed from the library – particularly our school library – that it would be hard to say one of the best ones.

8. Have you ever taken the same book out multiple times?

I’m not a re-reader, so it’s unlikely. But I imagine childhood me read Matilda many times from the library. That book is ingrained in my memory.

9. Have you read a good book set in a library?

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman is EXCEPTIONAL. Magic, librarians and adventure. PLEASE READ IT.

10. Have you used your library’s ebook and audiobook options?

I didn’t even know this was a thing until about a year ago, but I still haven’t indulged in this service yet! I shall need to get onto it though!

11. Which is the best library you’ve been to?

I haven’t actually visited that many libraries in the world to know which the best one is. I’d love to go to more libraries in the world. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about so many different libraries in the world. I can’t praise Newcastle City Library enough though – it’s a beautiful building and it is JAM PACKED with exceptional books. 

12. What would make you use your local library more?

100%. I’m so guilty of just buying books I want to read because I can them pass them on to friends/our school library, but it’s so important that we keep libraries open that I need to start using our library more.

And that’s it!

If you’d like to join in the library love and do this tag, please feel free! This was a lot of fun!

S x

 

BLOG TOUR: International Yeti Collective

Morning friends and yeti alike! 

How are we all?

Today we have a post with double the whammy… author content and a book review in one go! How very lucky are you all? 

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As part of the blog tour for International Yeti Collective by Paul Mason, I was invited to share my thoughts on the book as well as share some of Paul’s top tips for how to make a change in the world. I always love when an author has the good of the world on their radar. I think it’s such an important thing to care about… if there were no world, there’d be no readers, no books and no way to spread bookish love! 

Small steps for big change: Your top 5 tips

  1. Food waste across the world creates a huge amount of climate-changing gases. Help your family plan the menu, and shop for just the things you need.
  2. On the same note: start a school compost heap, worm farm or Bokashi bin for your green waste and food scraps. Keep them out of the landfill and turn them into something useful for the garden.
  3. Encourage your parents to buy keep cups for coffee. Use a re-usable drinking bottle for water.
  4. Take string bags to the supermarket for your fruit and veg.
  5. Remember to do what you can, whenever you can. There is a proverb: if you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.

I love these tips because they’re just little things we can do to make a massive difference in the world that we live on! 

The International Yeti Collective: adventure, unlikely friendship and a whole host of fun!

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“Ella is in the Himalayas with her uncle searching for yeti. But what seems like the adventure of a lifetime is cut short when she realizes that these secretive creatures might not want to be found. Tick knows it’s against yeti law to approach humans. So when some arrive on the mountain, why does he find himself peering through the trees to get a closer look? What Tick doesn’t know is that his actions will set off a series of events that threaten the existence of yeti all over the world. What can he do to make things right? Just when all hope seems lost, help comes in the most unexpected form…”

As soon as I heard about this book, I knew I needed it in my life. An adventure through the mountains to look for yeti? A brave little girl who finds out secrets? Yes please. I waited very patiently for this to arrive in my house and as soon as it arrived I was besotted. It took me a little while to read because I didn’t want it to be over! 

Yeti Collective follows the story of Ella, a young girl who is spending her time off school with her Uncle Jack (a nature documentary maker). He’s been hunting for yeti for years but has had no success yet… but that’s all about to change. While in the Himalayas, Ella starts dreaming about seeing these elusive and secretive creatures for herself, but she ends up doing a lot more than just seeing them! It’s up to Ella to have to try and save them from humans, and maybe from her very own family! 

This book is also told from the perspective of Tick, a young yeti who never really felt like he fit in with his yeti group. His mum was banished for being too curious about humans. Tick has gained his mother’s curiosity and when he spots Ella, he knows he needs to find out more. When the elders in his yeti community find out about his betrayal of one of their most important rules, Tick is himself pulled in front of them. Just like his mam, Tick is banished from the sett and this brings about one of the wildest and most wonderful adventures of his life. One that’s going to make Tick’s and Ella’s worlds collide. One which is going to see Tick becoming an unlikely hero. 

Ella is a wonderful main character. She’s brave and feisty. She shows that being curious and kind is important. She shows us that it’s important to look after the world, even if everyone around you is screaming for you to think of themselves first. Tick shows us that it’s never too late to stand up for yourself and that friendship is important.  These two characters are surrounded by wonderful, and sometimes not so wonderful, influences and how they live out their story is one that’s gorgeous to read. 

I absolutely adored this book. It’s funny, it’s sweet, it’s kind, it’s really bloody cleverly written. The names of the yeti in this story kept me constantly chuckling. I didn’t realise I’d get so emotionally invested in this book as I did. It’s one of those worlds where being lost in it feels like you’re experiencing something for the first time. I really loved the illustrations throughout from Katy Riddell too! We all know I love a good picture to add to a story, so seeing these dotted throughout the story made my heart so happy. 

My Goodreads review:

This is a proper adventure. Humans searching for Yeti; a young yeti trying desperately to hide his curiosity and ambition to find his mam; a trip around the world. I can not wait for more! I loved all of the little jokes in the Yeti names in particular.

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A massive massive thank you to publishers Stripes for inviting me to be on this blog tour and for sending me a review copy of the book. It’s books like this that make me so glad to be reading kids books! Go check out the rest of the blog tour because there are so many gorgeous posts already! Plus, it’s publication day tomorrow! Go out and buy this book and go on a yeti adventure yourself!

Would you be a good yeti hunter?
What would you do if you set eyes on something that’s never been seen before?
What tips do you have for looking after our world?

Talk to me. I’d love to put together a post full of tips for being more eco-friendly!

S x 

 

BLOG TOUR: Mother Tongue

Hello friends!

How are you on this here Tuesday? I hope you’re having a lovely day, or if you’re having a troubling day, this wonderful post from author Patricia Forde might cheer you up a little! Looking at the inspiration behind her new book, Mother Tongue, this post was a proper delight to have arrive in my inbox! I hope you enjoy and check out details of this brilliant book at the end of this post!

The inspiration behind Mother Tongue

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It’s only when a novel is written, and left to cool for a while, that I understand what inspired it. While I am writing it, I am just telling a story, following a trail of breadcrumbs, with no idea where they will lead.

Inspiration, I find, comes from experience. It bubbles up from a  lasagne of conversations had, emotions felt, stories enjoyed and news events witnessed, layer upon layer, over all the years of your life. Where did the inspiration come from for Mother Tongue?

I grew up speaking two languages, English and Irish. English was my mother tongue but I went to a total immersion Irish language school at the age of four and soon became fluent in my second language. Irish is a minority language even if it is the first official language of Ireland. I live on the edge of Connemara where the Irish language is still a living language, albeit a struggling one. In Galway, the capital city of the west, you can hear Irish spoken every day on the streets. I have friends with whom I only speak Irish. I write in Irish and I often dream in Irish. But the list of words that we use as Irish speakers is getting shorter. Year in and year out, people proclaim  that the language is dying or dead which always reminds me of Mark Twain when he said:

The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.

It is true that the majority language, English, cannibalises our sentences with a vigorous appetite, but the old tongue battles on and there are green shoots with more and more parents sending their children to total immersion schools.

Nonetheless, I became aware at an early age that this language that I love was on the endangered list. I started to wonder how it would end.  How many words would we need to survive? Looking back, that was probably when the idea for The Wordsmith was conceived.

In The Wordsmith, and in its companion novel Mother Tongue, words are controlled.  The story is set in a place called Ark. In Ark, music is banned, art is banned and the language of Ark is List – a list of five hundred approved words.  The idea of a list of words, of words being taken away, definitely came from my experience with the Irish language.

Where I live also influenced the story from an environmental point of view. Writers are often advised to put their seat in the chair if they want to make good work, but sometimes I think you have to get up, and have a look around, to keep yourself inspired.

We live ten kilometres north-west of Galway city, with Connemara to the west of us, and the Burren in Co. Clare to the south. Both are exquisitely beautiful places, and both very fragile environmentally. Connemara is a unique and very special part of County Galway. It is situated on the edge of Europe, and features breath-taking scenery, a rugged wild coastline, dramatic mountains, volatile lakes and rivers, peaceful woodlands, and a National Park. Its coastline has been trounced by the Atlantic for millions of years and it bears the scars with rugged dignity.

The Burren in Co. Clare is a totally different proposition and no less beautiful.

 If you have never been to The Burren, you have to imagine a desert of limestone, but in that desert, rare living things and echoes of times long gone abound. The Burren is home to 70% of Ireland’s 900 native plant species including Gentian, Cranesbill, Rock Rose, Mountain Aven and Orchids. In Spring, wildflowers create splashes of vivid colour on the grey limestone palette.

 It’s also an outdoor museum with over 80 tombs scattered across it’s moon-like face, dating from the Mesolithic era right through the Iron Age. It’s a magical place and a fragile one. I am no scientist but I’ve been reading about threats to the Burren. If I understand correctly, if temperatures continue to rise, there is a fear that the rate of  limestone dissolution will increase, and that may sound the death knell for the life that clings to it. I do know that we are seeing more severe storms and flooding in this part of the world of late and that can’t be good news for the delicate spring flowers that cling to the limestone rocks.

I love to visit the Burren, not just for its physical beauty, but for its silence and its haunting atmosphere. There’s something about being there that reminds you about all the other people who have walked on the rocks, looked out at the sea, crouched down to see a tiny blue flower nestled in a cradle of grey rock and passed it all on to us.

The novels I wrote are set in a place where all of that had been destroyed, swallowed by the sea. When I am writing, I’m always trying to tap into emotion, and I used images from the Burren to remind me of what Letta and her cohorts had lost. The thought filled me with loneliness and I tried to put that into the sentences.

Inspiration comes from lots of different sources but mostly it comes from the things that effect you most. Creativity needs input. Sometimes to be inspired, you have to get your seat out of the chair and let yourself be amazed.

Mother Tongue is the sequel to the brilliant The Wordsmith. Perfect for readers 11+. These books are set in a world where a new dictator wants to silence speech forever. It’s Letta’s job as a wordsmith to keep words alive. She works out in the woods teaching children language, music and art. When things start to go wrong, it is Letta’s job to try and save the very people she’s been teaching… and maybe risk her own life in the process!

MT Blog Tour CORRECTED

A massive thank you to publishers, Little Island Books, for sending me a review copy of this book and for inviting me to be on the blog tour. I’ve loved discovering more about this world and I can’t wait to share my review of this book in the coming weeks! You guys are in for a treat with this book!

What would you do if someone was trying to silence everyone?
What words would you miss most?
What words would you want to get rid of?

Talk to me in the comments and I’ll share the one word I’d get rid of first!

S x 

 

Library Loves: An announcement!

Hello!

Today is an exciting day. Today I am announcing something very wonderful.

This month, Jess (@ReadByJess) is hosting a month-long celebration of libraries called ‘Library Loves’ and she has invited me to be a co-host. How bloody wonderful is that?!

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Why do we need Library Loves?

The whole aimis to encourage people to support their library by visiting, checking out books, and raising awareness of how much libraries can do for individuals and the community. Whether you’re visiting a local library, or (like me) visiting your school library to check out books, we’d love to know all about it! It’s so lush to share books and as a teacher it’s so important that my kids see me checking out books too!

If you’d like to know more, you can check out Jess’s intro video for everything you need to know about the month.

AN IMPORTANT DATE: Saturday 12th October will be Library Day.

If you’re able to, we’d love for you to join us in visiting your local library on 12th and spread the bookish love.

There will be five challenges that you can take part in on Library Day if you’d like:

  1. Visit a library (in person or digitally)
  2. Encourage a friend to use the library
  3. Check out a book
  4. Produce content related to Library Loves (so a blog post, a YouTube video, tweets, Instagram photos – pretty much anything you can think of)
  5. Read a library book

Head to your local library on Library Day and try to complete as many of the challenges as possible – I know I will be! There’ll also be a lot of library content (whether it’s about my local library or our school library) posted throughout October on this blog!

If that’s not enough Library Loves content for you, I’ll be joined by some wonderful cohosts! You should definitely check out their blogs and see what they’re posting!

Kate @@Reading Through Infinity

Jemima @Be Aware Of Books

Rachael @Rachael Marie’s Book Journey

Olivia @Olivia’s Catastrophe

We’ll be using the hashtag #LibraryLoves across social media, so if you want to join us throughout October, don’t forget to use the hashtag on your posts so we can see them!

Keep an eye on my Twitter and Instagram (both @eenalol) for more library related content!

S x

The Lover Book Tag

Hello!

Massive welcome to my Thursday Tag! This week I’m taking on something a little different. My wonderful friend Andrew did this tag, which was created by the wonderful Vicky over at Vicky’s Reads, and he has challenged me to take it on. So here I am taking on… (if you’d like to see Andrew’s answers, check out his post here on Vicky’s blog!)

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Before I get started on this mammoth tag, there are just a few rules if you want to take part in this tag!

  1. Give credit to the creator (that would be ME!)
  2. Tag 5 friends
  3. HAVE FUN!

Now… I’m not the biggest Taylow Swift fan, but she has some banging songs… so let’s get on with this!

I Forgot That You Existed
A book on your TBR that you’d completely forgotten about

So so many! Nothing really springs to my mind, but having had a look, The Matilda Effect is on that list! It sounds like a book right up my street, so I’m not sure why I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet (because you forgot about it Steph, duh!)

Cruel Summer
A Perfect Summer Read

I hate this question so much. I’m not great with “summer reads” or even winter reads. I just wanna read all the books all the time. I even in my notes haven’t answered this question…

Lover
Your Favourite Book/Series

It would be criminal of me not to say The Sin Eater’s Daughter because that series truly is one of the best series I’ve ever read. I miss Twylla so much. As a MASSIVE series reader (I’d rather get invested in series than only read standalones), I have SO SO MANY series that could go on this list. As for MG books, you can not get any better than Who Let The Gods Out? series by Maz Evans. They’re just bloody brilliant.

The Man
An Amazing Female Character

A character I’ve fallen massively for this year is Emily from No Big Deal. Emily is me at 17. I read that book very much with a “omg this is me” kind of thing. It’s weird being seen and heard in a book, so I massively appreciated coming across Emily. If you’ve not read No Big Deal yet, please do. It’s such an incredibly important message and it’s proper good. (Plus Bethany Rutter is a BABE)

The Archer
A book from your childhood because you never grew up

This is another one I could’ve had many many answers for because I have ALWAYS been a reader. I don’t know anything but how to be a reader. I loved Matilda, Charlotte’s Web, The Secret Garden, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe as a kid. I think I’d love to relive these stories again and again.

I Think He Knows
A book everyone knows you love!

Lol, I think this is OBVIOUSLY going to be Mel or Maz. Any of the Mel books, any of the Maz books. I love them both.

Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince
A book that makes you so sad, you could paint the town blue

Again… there’s so so so many. However, I can not get this question and not mention Countless by Karen Gregory. I read this book maybe a year and a half ago and still now thinking about it makes me emotional.

Paper Rings
Your favourite OTP

Man. Another thing I love reading for. If you give me a series I love and a ship I can truly ship, you’ve got a series I would die for. Sorrow/Luvian, Kaz/Inej and Amani/Jin are my faves.

Cornelia Street
A book that lived up to the hype

Had I not had everyone shouting at me about Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom, I never would have read it… and let me tell you that was WORTH EVERY BLOODY SECOND and every second after. Just an amazing duology.

Death by a Thousand Cuts
A book that saying goodbye to is death by a thousand cuts, so you just have to re-read it again

My series loving heart has found a few series REALLY BLOODY hard to say goodbye to. Saying goodbye to WLTGO was a THING. Saying goodbye to Amani and Jin broke my heart, but I really think that saying goodbye to Twylla will always be one of the hardest things. I would LOVE an update on how she’s doing. I love her so.

London Boy
A book based in London

I’ve not got round to reading them, but I own the A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy, which is set in numerous Londons!

Soon You’ll Get Better
A book that brightens up your sky

God, there’s so much MG that just makes my heart so happy. I have to give a massive shout out to Anna James and her Pages and Co series though. I’m part way through book 2 and I just think it is one of the most beautiful and wonderful things in the world.

False God
A book that you could reread over again because it still does it for you, babe 

I’m not a massive rereader (as people who are long time readers of this blog will know), but I have reread Matilda numerous times. I just worry that the second time I read it I won’t love it as much as I did the first time!

You Need to Calm Down
An LGBTQ+ book you’d GLAADly recommend

Lol, this prompt is so clever. Good work friends. Simon vs The Homosapiens Agenda is the first thing that jumps to my head for this… it’s an obvious choice, but it’s lush. I saw the film before I read the book, but that didn’t spoil it for me at all!

Afterglow
It’s Not the Book, It’s Me (A book that wasn’t for you)

Freshers. I just couldn’t get away with it. It made me more mad than anything. I don’t talk about it often. Loads of people loved it, but I just… yeah.

ME!
A Character You Relate To

I’ve already mentioned one character I relate to massively, Emily from No Big Deal. But I’d also like to give a shout out to Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron. It was so lovely to read about a similar situation that I had experienced… a character who had to live a “secret” relationship.

It’s Nice to Have a Friend
A Character You’d Love to be Friends With

LOL. This is going to be another predictable answer if you know me. But Izzy O’Neill is my gal. I wanna be her, I wanna be her girlfriend, I wanna be her friend so much.

Daylight
A book that you weren’t sure of at first but turned out to be amazing!

The Smoke Thieves. It’s slow initially, but it’s really good. I read the second one earlier this year and I really enjoyed it!

Bonus: Favourite Taylor Swift Album

I don’t really have one? Im not a big enough fan to have a favourite album. Sorry to the TSwift fans out there!

And there you go! Phew… what a mammoth task that was!

I’m not going to tag anyone, but if you wish to have a go, please do!

S x

Why do you read so many children’s books?

Hello friends!

You’ve clicked on a blog post with a question as the title, so I guess you want to know my reasons behind the question. Well, settle in for a little lesson in Why Steph reads Children’s Books and Some Recommendations.

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Well… this all stems from the fact that I read this book by Katherine Rundell recently, and it made me think. It made me wonder why more people DON’T read children’s books. Let’s be honest, they’re BLOODY MARVELLOUS. If you’re reading this blog post, or if you’re a frequent reader of my blog, you know that I think this about kids books. They’re a big part of my life and not just because I’m a teacher and a blogger. I’d read kids books even if I weren’t those things. If you’ve not read the book below, please go out and purchase it for yourself – it’s a short essay about why you should be reading children’s books… even if you’re an adult.

So why do I read children’s books? Here’s 9 reasons, with some recommendations to get you started!

They are really fast paced

Adult books can be SO SO SO SLOW. You get half way through and nothing has happened. If you read a children’s book, within the first few pages something has happened and you’re RIGHT into the action.

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They’re INTERESTING

Kids books are filled with stories which are interesting. They’ll open your world up to experiences you’ve never had before. They’ll show you places you’ve never been. You’ll meet characters you’ve never met before. They keep moving and keep evolving as you go.

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They have BEAUTIFUL covers

We all love a good bit of shelf appeal and some of the most gorgeous covers in the world are in the children’s book industry. Adult books can be very boring, but step into the children’s section and you’ll get some gorgeous covers which will make you swoon.

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They’ll make you think

I love reading a children’s book that brings up some interesting talking points. There’s a whole host of things that children’s books can make you think about. Books create a wonderful platform to open conversations about being kind to the world, kind to each other and kind to yourself.

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They’re really bloody well-written

Theyre wonderfully formed stories. They’re complex. They’re stories within stories. So gorgeously sculpted that there’s a true artform to it.

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They teach empathy beautifully

You’ll live life through the eyes of people you’ve never had the experience of before. You’ll meet characters and have your eyes opened to how the world is lived through their eyes. You’ll fall in love with voices and personalities that you might not experience not reading kids books.

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They are gorgeously rich in language

Pick up any children’s book and you’re instantly reading books which are so rich in vocabulary and language that you’ll come across words you may never have come across before.

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There’s such a WIDE range of stories and formats out there

Whether you want something in this world, in a fantastical world, a murder mystery or a magic book. If you’re after a graphic novel, or an illustrated chapter book, you’ll find books of all types for all kinds of readers in the world of chapter books.

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You’ll be seen

Children’s books have A LONG WAY to go in with this, but there is some wonderful representation out there in children’s books. Characters of all races, sexualities and religions are being written about and that’s important. The more books we read about characters of different backgrounds, the more publishers will realise there’s a NEED and a WANT for books like this.

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There are so many other recommendations I have for these different things, but I had to restrict myself. If you want to know more about any of these books, or want more recommendations, please just let me know and I would LOVE to chat with you! Also, most of these books are chapter books, but if you want picture book recommendations, I can do that!

And there you go… the reasons I think eveyrone should be reading children books!Not an exhaustive list of reasons or recommendations, but just some of my favourites!

Do you read children’s books?
Why do YOU think people should read children’s books?
What’s the best children’s book you’ve read recently?

Let’s get this conversation started and get it going so more people branch out and read children’s books… I think they’re just mint.

S x

 

Back to School Book Tag

THURSDAY TAG DAY IS UPON US ONCE MORE.

I’m taking on the Back to School Book Tag today. I KNOW I KNOW. I’m late. Please forgive me. I saw this on my friend Amy’s blog recently and thought I needed to take that on… so here we go!

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English – Name your favourite author’s (or book’s) writing style

I don’t wish to be predictable in this here tag (lol, lbr, I’m predictable af), but I can’t beat Melinda Salisbury’s writing style. It’s just gorgeous. She is the QUEEN of worldbuilding in my eyes. PLUS… she gave the world the god that is Luvian Fen, so who am I to complain?

Maths – A book that made you frustrated

This again might be one that you might all guess that I’d say, but Caraval. EVERYONE was like “It’s going to be the next Night Circus” (and I LOVED that book) and then it just wasn’t. I’ve put off reading the rest of the series because book 1 frustrated me so much… I just wanted more!

Science – A book that made you think

This was a hard one because I think there’s a lot of books that I read which make me think. However, I’m punting for They Both Die At The End and Scythe because of their dealing with the issues of death. I read both of those books and they left me thinking “What would I do in those situations?” Knowing I was going to die, what would I do with my time? Who would I spend it with? That’s one of those eternal thinking points for me from these books and I don’t think I have an answer for myself yet!

Social studies/History – Your favourite book from a different time period

I am a MASSIVE fan of a book from World War 2. You don’t get many YA books (well, that I know of) from that time period, but there’s a good chunk of MG books out there from that time period and I am ALL ABOUT THEM. Shout outs to Hitler’s Canary and Letters From the Lighthouse though – loved both of these!

Art – Your favourite book with pictures

ALL OF THE PICTURE BOOKS. Gotta love a David Litchfield illustration, or, of course, an Oliver Jeffers illustration.

Drama – A book you would love to turn into a movie

SO MANY and yet SO FEW at the same time. I don’t want what I know and think about a book RUINED because it is poorly made into a film. However, I would love The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy to be made into a series of films. I bloody love Twylla.

Music – name a character you think (or know) would have the same musical taste as you

This is another one that’s hard because I don’t really know. However, I think Emily from No Big Deal might be the one I go for. She’s got a very diverse music style and I like to think that I do too. So maybe her?

Lunch – A food you would love to try

All of the yummy food that’s mentioned in the Sam Wu books. I ALWAYS read them and want to try the foods straight away.

Bus ride home – A book or author that is relaxing

LOL. I don’t know that I read books that are relaxing. However, I’d go with something that I can get lost in and instantly Kiran Milwood Hargrave and Sophie Anderson’s books jump into my mind. PLEASE. Oh, and Alice Broadway. A story I can get lost in is relaxation to me.

Extra credit – A book someone else told you to read and you ended up enjoying

I think if everyone hadn’t shouted about and made me read Six of Crows, I wouldn’t have known how much I bloody love Kaz Brekker and his crew… so thanks everyone!

And there we go! If you’d like to have a go at this, please do!

Speak to you tomorrow!

S x

 

BOOK BLOG: Helena Duggan

The Battle For Perfect: a creepily perfect ending!

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“Things have quietened down in the town that used to be Perfect. But stories reach Violet and Boy of five missing scientists. And then they discover something odd in the forest outside Town – a mirror maze hiding a huge castle. Creeping inside, they overhear a terrible plan – a zombie army is about march on Town. Can Violet and Boy save their friends?”

Anyone who has read my blog in the past will know that I am a MASSIVE fan of the A Place Called Perfect series by Helena Duggan. I raced through book 1, devoured book 2 and then when it came to book 3… I was SO NOT READY TO SAY GOODBYE that I savoured every moment. 

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For those who don’t know the series, it follows a young girl called Violet, who lives in a town called Perfect. There’s been a lot of goings on in Perfect, from brothers who try and take over, to child snatchers and all sorts. It’s Violet’s job to try and save the day. With the help of her friend Boy, she manages each and every time to save the day. These books are a wonderful mix of creepy, adventure-filled and filled with gorgeous description. 

I’d waited a long time for book 3 to come out. Once I’d read book 2, I was ready for book 3. In Battle for Perfect, we get the next installment in the series. Violet and Boy need to face off against some of their biggest, and meanest, and closest, villains. With zombies galore and some wonderful science on show, it’s up to Violet and Boy to try and save the town from once again being taken over by scheming wrong-doers. 

One of the things I love most about these books is that they’re just a little bit on the creepy side. They’re not so creepy that they give you nightmares, but they’re just on that balance between spine tingling and normal. I read this book with a slight fear in me. The whole series has been the same, like it could be really bloody scary, but it’s just the right amount of creepy. I mean eye plants??? 

Another of the things that I love so much about this series is Violet. She’s bloody wonderful. She’s a great main character to read. She’s bold, brave and a little bit scared. In Battle for Perfect, she shows that she just wants to be the best friend she can be with Boy, but she doubts things that she should be doing. I think it was lovely to see, once again, that it’s Violet and her friends that are coming to save the day again. Perfect wouldn’t be the place it is if it weren’t for Violet! In Battle for Perfect, you get some lovely reappearances from some familiar faces. Violet has her very own crew of super sleuths who are on hand to help save the day. I mean, I would need a MASSIVE band of super sleuths to try and take down an army of zombies. (I’d be rubbish at it to be honest…)

This book, like the previous 2, was the perfect mix of being fast paced, some wonderful characters and being back in the world that I love (despite the fact it creeps me out). I’m so sad that it’s now over, but it was a complete and utter ride! Shout out here to Karl James Mountford for the cover illustrations and the illustrations inside… they’re definitely a series of books that are BEAUTIFUL to look at! 

On another note… my kids are LOVING book 1 in this series and I already have a waiting list for the two copies of the book we have! I’m loving seeing them all getting lost in Violet and Boy’s world! 

My Goodreads review:

Bloody brilliant. It was a brilliant way to say goodbye to this series. Jam packed with science, zombies, the characters and the world we know and love! I’m gutted this series is over, but their ending seems more than closure.

And just like that, it’s all over. I hope you enjoyed this review!

Can you recommend me some scary/creepy books?
Have you read the Perfect series?

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

S x 

BLOG TOUR: The Deathless Girls

Hello one and all! 

Today, I come to you with a post for the blog tour of The Deathless Girls by Kiran Milwood Hargrave. As long time readers of this blog will know, I am a massive fan of Kiran’s children’s books, so when I heard she was wrting her first YA book I was ABSOLUTELY BLOODY DELIGHTED. Fast forward to an email the publishers sent me about being on the blog tour, I was over the moon. I am here today with a review which does Kiran’s sheer wonder no justice!

The Deathless Girls: delicious, fierce and dark. 

(forgive my shoddy camera work, I wanted to show you all the gorgeous gold foiling!)

“Seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are brutally snatched one night, taken far from the travelling community they so love. Their abductor is the cruel Boyar Valcar who sells them to a castle kitchen where they are forced to work as slaves. Lil befriends fellow slave Mira, a girl she’s inexplicably drawn to, and the pair comfort each other, drawing strength from their friendship to help cope with the awful situation they have been put into. She learns of the mythical Dragon – a creature which is rumoured to accept young girls as gifts.”

The Deathless Girls is one of those lovely stories that comes along telling an untold story. Telling the story of Dracula from a different perspective, The Deathless Girls tells the story of twins Kizzy and Lil, who are travellers awaiting their time. Their time of divining that will allow them to learn all about what is to come for them: their time to learn their fate. Everything seems to go a bit awry and tragedy really does come after the twins. When they’re kidnapped and taken by Boyar Valcar, they’re made to work in his castle and he lords over them. This all changes when they start hearing whispers about the so-called Dragon: a mysterious man who takes girls as his gifts. What will become of our girls? 

Now, let me preface this review with a thing: I’ve NEVER read Dracula. It’s one of my mam’s favourite stories, but it is one I have never got around to. Don’t let this put you off because reading this I didn’t need to know much about the story of Dracula. You could read this as a fan of Dracula, or, like me, not know that much about it at all (except for there’s a vampire).

One of the things I loved most about this book was that despite the sheer darkness that seeps through the pages, it’s a story about female friendship, hope, love and loyalty. The sisters go through a lot and they never give up. They meet some incredible characters along the way who help them to see they’re brave and fierce. I wanted to be friends with a lot of the women in this story. A girl can never have too many good friends. The sisters go through a journey of discovery through the book, like we all do. We all learn about ourselves and its that journey that makes this book really gorgeous. It’s dangerous and it’s dark, while at the same time being light and hope. It’s learning and it’s trying to forget. It’s standing out while trying to hide. 

One of the things I love most about Kiran’s books is the incredible way in which she builds a world. Reading Kiran’s books is like stepping into a world you never dreamt you’d visit. It’s stepping into beautifully crafted words and an almost lyrical narrative that you get lost in. You might be sitting in a Starbucks, or on a bus, or wherever you are but you’re transported through the magic of words and intention into the world of the castle, of the forest. It’s a world to get hooked on before you even realise you’re hooked. It’s so rich and detailed. It’s so beautifully done that you want to be there (I mean without the scary vampire thanks).

I think what stood out to me about this book was the lack of Dracula himself. The women in the story are the important characters and that in itself shows how wonderful this book is. Books which celebrate women and our strength, determination, compassion and love for one another need to be shared. You go into this book for what you think is vampires and what you get out of it is a story about how badass women are… even when fear and uncertainty takes away that dogged determinedness. 

A gripping tale about the fierceness of love, sisterhood and fear. Haunting, dark and fierce!

My Goodreads review:

Man, Kiran continues to just write belter after belter. This is brilliant. A telling of the life of the sisters in Dracula. A gripping tale about the fierceness of love, sisterhood and fear. Haunting, dark and fierce! As someone who knows very little about Dracula, I was worried I’d get lost, but I didn’t at all. Whether you’re a Dracula fan or not, this is WELL worth a read!

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave is out now, published by Hachette Children’s Group, priced £12.99 in hardback.

Kiran Millwood Hargrave author image

KIRAN MILLWOOD HARGRAVE is an award-winning poet, playwrightand bestselling novelist. Her debut novel for children, The Girl of Ink and Stars, won the Waterstones Book Prize and the Children’s Book of the Year at the British Book Awards. Her work has been long and short-listed for several other major prizes, including the Costa Award and the CILIP Carnegie Award. The Deathless Girls is her first novel for Young Adults. Kiran Millwood Hargrave is a graduate of both Oxford and Cambridge universities and lives by the river in Oxford with her husband and cat. (Shout out to Luna, the best cat around)

A massive massive thank you to Hachette for sending me a review copy of the book and for inviting me on the blog tour. This book needs to be read by everyone – Dracula fans and non-Dracula fans alike! 

Have you read The Deathless Girls?
Are you also dying over that cover?
Is there anyone’s story you’d like to hear?

Why don’t you go check out the rest of the blog tour?

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S x 

 

The OsemanVerse Book Tag

Hello pals!

It’s a Thursday tag day. What a joy. I have a great tag to come to you today. This tag was invented by the Brilliant Layla (Kaz Brekker to those of you who know her) and it’s centred all around Alice Oseman characters. Now, I’m a BIG Alice Oseman fan so I knew I’d have to take this one on! All graphics are from the original post!

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Jimmy Kaga-Ricci: A character that overcame something huge

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Ooooh. Steffi from A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard. I love her. She has to overcome a BIG thing in her life. I love that she’s so afraid but she manages in the end. I miss Steffi and Rhys.

Rowan Omondi: Favourite protective character

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Aw man. Cosmo from I, Cosmo was the first character that came to mind. He just wants to look after his little family and make sure that they are all OK. I love Cosmo and all of you should too. He’s such a good doggo.

Lister Bird: Character that oozes charm

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Lol. I can’t answer this question and NOT be predictable. You say the word charming and I think Luvian Fen (Sorrow-verse) and Jin (Rebel-verse). Those two have my proper heart.

Angel Rahimi: Book you’re the most passionate about

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Can I say ALL OF THEM? Let’s be honest, there’s a whole chunk of books that I am forever shouting about. Who Let The Gods Out? series, The Sin Eaters Daughter series, The Paper Magician series. But most recently, I want everyone to know that I have an undying passion for No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter and Jemima Small versus the Universe by Tamsin Winter. Those two books need to be read by everyone ever. Please.

Charlie Spring: Favourite bookish OTP

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Again, this is a question that I can have 30438 answers to because MAN I LOVE A SHIP. If there’s a ship worth shipping in a book, I probably ship it with all that I am and all that I can be! However, two ships that I will go down with are Amani/Jin (Rebel-verse) and Sorrow/Luvian (Sorrow-verse). Just the best.

Nick Nelson: Favourite book that brings you joy

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I love a joyful book. They’re the best. We all know that I love a good cry, but a book that makes my heart happy is one that I am there for. There’s quite a few. If I can cheat and mention two series here… I’m going to go for the Sam Wu series by Katie and Kevin Tsang and the Amelia Fang series by Laura Ellen Anderson. These two series just make me chuckle a lot!

Nellie: Favourite book to snuggle up with

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Whenever the phrase “snuggle up with” comes up in a prompt, I imagine snuggling up with my twiglets and reading a story to them, so it’d have to be a picture book and you can’t get any better than The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield. I bloody love the Bear, and David Litchfield is a bloody brilliant illustrator!

Aled Last: A book that helped you through a rough time

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It’s gotta be Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig. That book is just incredible.

Frances Janvier: A character with tons of determination

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She’s in my head because I just recently finished the trilogy and I’m so sad that it’s over, but Violet from the Perfect series is one determined little girl. She saves the place she lives over and over, and she is constantly trying to help her friend Boy.

That was SO FUN. Massive congrats to Layla for coming up with this tag. If you’d like to see her answers, go check out her post (link at the top of this post) and if you’d like to have a go, go for it! I love a tag!

See you tomorrow!

S x