BOOK BLOG: Sophie Anderson

The Girl Who Speaks Bear: storytelling at its finest

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“Found abandoned in a bear cave as a baby, 12-year-old Yanka has always felt out of place in her small village. When she wakes up to find that her legs have become bear legs, she sets off into the forest to discover who she is, on a journey that takes her from icy rivers to smouldering mountains, with an ever-growing group of misfits alongside her… Interwoven with traditional stories of bears, princesses and dragons, Yanka’s journey is a gorgeously lyrical adventure from the best-selling author of The House With Chicken Legs.”

The Girl Who Speaks Bear tells the story of twelve-year-old Yanka who constantly feels out of place in her tiny village. She knows she’s different to the people around her. She was found abandoned in a bear cave as a baby and feels the tug of the forest calling out to her. When something happens to her which is unexplainable, she sets out on a journey of discovery. She’s desperate to know who she is, where she came from and how she got to where she is today. 

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Now, I must preface this review with… I read this months ago and my notes have been sitting in my notebook ever since. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because, like other books that I have absolutely adored, I worry that my review won’t do this book, this beautifuly, incredible, book, any justice. 

This review could quite easily just be a list of statements starting with “I loved” because there was so so much I loved about it.

Sophie is one of those authors who manages to weave and wind a story with so many intricacies and a beautiful narrative without you feeling like you’ve lost the path. She showed us that in House With Chicken Legs and has done it again in Bear.

In this story, there’s traditional Russian folks stories dotted throughout and this addition created for me a whole host of intrigue, and added delight and wonder to the story. I love a story which contains other stories. I found myself off researching and reading other Russian folk tales once I’d finished because I wanted to know more. It takes a special kind of author to write stories within stories and do it successfully. Beautiful storytelling is giving the reader what they didn’t even know they wanted and that’s what I got with Bear.

This is a story about love, what it means to be human, family and finding yourself. 

While I love a narrative, I’m a big fan of a character. If I can’t/don’t love a character, it doesn’t matter how good the plot is. When you think of your favourite stories, it’s the chraracters that come to me first, then their adventures. In Bear, I got a main character who I connected with. I think she’s a character that adults and children alike will love for many years to come. The way she grows and questions through the story is just brilliant. Yanka kept me wanting to read on. I wanted to know more about her because I wanted her to find the answers to her questions. She’s a wonderful main character because she’s scared, but brave. She’s curious, yet quiet. She’s also got a wonderful bunch of characters around her… I have a particular love for Mousetrap (her house weasel friend). 

This book, with its wonderful characters and beautifully written words, is an absolute epic fantasy. It’s gentle and it’s bold. It’s brave and it’s quiet. It’s winter and warmth. It’s a total adventure. It’s princesses, dragons and we even get a shout out to Sophie’s other book House With Chicken Legs (which was something I absolutely adored). Put all of these things together and you get something that I think will be a massive hit for a long time. 

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A massive shout out to Usborne for their pre-order offer that they were running. If you preordered the book, they sent you a hand stamped print of the front cover. I absolutely love it. I can’t possibly part with it, so it’s living in my Matilda frame until I get it its own picture frame. 

My goodreads review:

Storytelling at its very finest. Brilliant characters, beautiful worlds, exciting adventures and powerful messages. I just adored this. Yanka is a character that kids and adults will adore, and relate to! You can’t beat a bit of finding yourself and your people (or animals) with a good bit of story woven together. Just bloody brilliant.

And there you have it. Did you get from my review that I loved this book? I hope you did because I really loved this book. I think it’s special. 

Have you read The Girl Who Speaks Bear?
Can you recommend me any books which have stories written into them?
What’s your favourite thing about a book?

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

S x 

BOOK BLOG: Illustrated chapter books round up!

Hello there!

How are you today? 

Do you want to know a little secret? On Saturday, I read 6 books and it was JOYOUS. They were all short, illustrated chapter books and I had such a wonderful few hours just indulging in books.

I thought it would be LUSH to share with your a little round up of these books because I enjoyed them all SO MUCH. I can’t wait to take them all in to the kids at school who are just growing their reading stamina!

Isadora Moon Puts On A Show – Harriet Muncaster

“It’s almost time for the vampire ball, and Isadora can’t wait! There’s just one problem: she’s got to compete in a talent show with the other vampire children. Isadora’s talents aren’t very vampire-y, what if the audience laugh at her? The show must go on, but will Isadora be brave enough to perform…?”

I love the Isadora Moon books: they’re a perfect starting point for readers who are just taking on chapter books. They’re beautifully illustrated and Isadora is a brilliant main character. In this book, she has to take on something scary: performing in front of people! She doesn’t want to do it because the thing she loves the most isn’t a very vampire-y thing to love! When she meets a new friend, she realises that being yourself and showing people what you love is more powerful than pretending to love something else. A lush message to deliver to kids and a really bloody wonderfully illustrated book!

Kitty and the Moonlight Rescue/Kitty and the Tiger Treasure – Paula Harrison

“MEET KITTY! Girl by day. Cat by night. Ready for Adventure. Kitty’s family has a secret. Her mom is a hero with catlike superpowers, and Kitty knows that one day she’ll have special powers and the chance to use them, too. That day comes sooner than expected, when a friendly black cat named Figaro comes to Kitty’s bedroom window to ask for help. Is Kitty brave enough to step out into the darkness for a thrilling moonlight adventure?”

“Kitty can’t wait to see the priceless Golden Tiger statue with her own eyes. Kitty and her cat, Pumpkin, decide to sneak into the museum to see the statue at night, when no one else is around. But disaster strikes when the statue is stolen right in front of them! Can Kitty find the thief and return the precious statue before sunrise?”

I had seen these on Twitter and was delighted to receive copies. They tell the story of Kitty. At night, she becomes a cat-like superhero. I actually read these two books the wrong way around, but it didn’t really matter! I love when a series does that. These are really fun and beautifully illustrated by Jenny Lovlie. Kitty and her cat friends have to go on adventures to save the day: a missing tiger statue and a cat stuck at the top of a tall tower. Delivering wonderful messages about why it’s important to be brave, these books are sure to be quick hits at school!

Jasper and Scruff: Hunt for the Golden Bone by Nicola Colton

“As Jasper and Scruff prepare for a day in their new bookshop, a mysterious package is delivered, containing a rare book written by the great seafaring cat herself, Black Whiskers. Inside, they discover a treasure map, and together the friends set out on a quest to find the legendary golden bone. But little do they realize that their old enemies, the Sophisticats, might have a paw in things…”

Jasper and Scruff are two lush characters to have in a book because they’re SO different, but they are the best of friends AND they own a bookshop. I mean who wouldn’t want to see what adventures they get up to? In this book, they have to hunt a missing golden bone, but their attempts may be thwarted by the ever menacing baddies, the Sophisticats. I loved this. It’s just proper fun. This book would make a lush read aloud!  

Speedy Monkey by Jeanne Willis

“Deep in the rainforest all is peaceful, all is calm… Until Speedy Monkey comes along! Speedy can’t keep still – all day long he whoops and swoops, prances and dances. The other animals are tired of Speedy’s crazy capers and long for some peace and quiet. Then danger strikes and the animals have to act fast. But where is Speedy when they need him?”

With the beautifully illustrations from Chantelle and Burgen Thorne, this is story about a monkey who is loud and gets in his friend’s faces. He loves to play, joke and chat, while all around him his friends aren’t quite so energetic. This makes him feel like he doesn’t fit in and when one of his friends tricks him, he knows that something isn’t right. Despite all of this, when a storm comes Speedy Monkey uses his talents and saves the day! I loved that this book, as well as being really gorgeous to look at, had a great story and message too.

A Sea of Stories by Sylvia Bishop

“Whenever Roo visits Grandpa, she loves exploring the seaside cove near his cottage. But on her latest stay, Grandpa explains that he can’t go down there any more. Instead Grandpa tells Roo the stories behind the many objects that fill his house. All of Grandpa’s stories feature the cove and Roo realizes that now, even though they’re so close to the sea, Grandpa is cut off from it. Is there anything she can do to bring Grandpa to the place he loves the most?”

I bloody love a Sylvia Bishop book (if you haven’t read Erica’s Elephant or The Bookshop Girl then please get on it because they’re wonderful), so when I saw who wrote this I was PROPER over the moon. I love a good book surprise! This book is just as gorgeous as I was hoping for with the illustrations from Paddy Donnelly adding so much to the story. It tells the story of Roo and her Grandpa and how by just doing one little thing, you can change someone’s life. I loved that this book explored the importance of stories and how Grandpa shared his life with Roo through the things he’d collected through the years. 

And there you go! The 6 books I devoured on Saturday afternoon. These books would be perfect for emerging readers of like 5 or 6, or less confident readers who are slightly older. They’re going to be a total hit when I put them in the school library.

A massive thank you to the publishers OUP and Little Tiger for these review copies! We are very grateful and I can’t wait to get reviews from my own reading crew!

Can you recommend me any illustrated chapter books?
What’s your favourite kind of adventure to go on?

Speak to me! I’d love to know what you thought!

S x

Autumn book tag

Happy Thursday everyone! How are you all doing?

Have you got your jumpers out? Are you all wrapped up warm? Since it’s technically Autumn now (right?), I thought I’d dedicate this here Thursday Tag to The Autumn Book Tag which I found over on The Quirky Book Nerd’s blog! It feels only right that I said goodbye to Summer last week, so I say hello to Autumn this week!

What is your favourite thing about Autumn?

Ugh. I am not really a big Autumn fan… it’s cold, getting dark earlier. However, I do LOVE that it’s a great excuse to curl up in bed and read! Also, you can’t fault the changing colours of the leaves – they’re always gorgeous to look at!

What book reminds you of your school days?

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We read Nineteen Eighty-Four for GCSE English and I absolutely loved it. I thought it was FASCINATING. I think it helped that I had an amazing English teacher too! I’d love to reread this book some day soon!

What cover reminds you of Autumn?

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I don’t think you can get any more autumnal than Leaf Man – it’s all of the autumnal colours. A brilliant picture book that I’d LOVE to use in school some time!

What is your favourite horror or Halloween story?

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LOL. This is not the genre for me nor is it something I can ever give recommendations for! However, if I had to choose a book because it was creepy, I’d have to go for A Place Called Perfect. It’s a BLOODY BRILLIANT spooky/creepy MG book (1st in a series) and it would be a great introduction to slightly scarier content.

What is your favourite horror or Halloween film?

Again, not really a thing in my life! I wouldn’t know where to start. I’m just not very good at these things haha. Give me Sabrina the Teenage Witch or Charmed and I’m good though!

What fall book release are you looking forward to?

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Hmmm… this is a GOOD question! I think I’m excited for everyone to finally read The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne. I was lucky to read a proof copy and I really enjoyed it! I’m not really sure what else is out in this last bit of the year to be excited about though, so let me know if there’s something I should be excited about between now and the end of the year!

What autumn movie releases are you anticipating?

AGAIN… I have no idea? I don’t think I’ve been to the cinema AT ALL this year. Or, if I have, it’s been with my goddaughters for Kids Club. I’m just not the biggest movie buff. I’m always excited by the prospect of new movies, but I just never bother getting round to going to the cinema. Maybe I should do something about that!

What are the three books you plan to read this Autumn?

I don’t really PLAN to read anything haha. I am pretty terrible like that. I read very much what I’m in the MOOD to read. I’ve got The Battle for Perfect to finish and then I’ll see what else catches my fancy! I’ve got the new Adam Kay book and Jonathan Van Ness’ autobiography on order, so they’ll be read AS SOON as I get them!

And that’s it! If you fancy doing this, go for it! If you wanna recommend me some scary (but not too scary) books, I’d love your recommendations!

S x

What we’re reading!

Hello!

How are you all?

Today, I thought I would share some pictures of the books my class are reading… cause they’re all reading some absolute corkers.

Starting this academic year, I really wanted to get my kids excited about books and about reading. I’m such an advocate for reading for pleasure that I want my kids to know that they can enjoy reading and that it doesn’t always have to be something they’re tested on… they just get to enjoy what they’re reading.

We did a whole hour about our reading habits and our reading identities where they got to tell me about their own reading preferences, which I found really interesting. Learning so much about these new little people of mine really gave me the chance to recommend books that I knew would be right for them!

I was DELIGHTED with the range of books that they chose from my shelves. There’s some of my absolute favourite books of recent years in these piles. There’s all sorts of representation in these books. There’s stories these children might never have come across. A lot of these books are my own copies (as in they don’t belong in the school library) and it gives me such joy to know that I’ve read these books and that I can talk to the kids about these books if they want to.

I love that there’s such a mix of books in these piles. There’s well known authors and there’s indie authors. There’s an anthology of stories among some incredible stand alones. There’s 2 children starting off the Perfect series (which is a series that I adore) and there’s some books I’ve wanted to give to children in so so long. There’s a non-fiction book in among fiction books (which fills me with delight!)

My classroom is definitely the “reading classroom”. It’s where you’ll find all of the books (except the library). That’s something I’m really proud of. I’m a reader through and through and if I can help just one child find their love of reading then I’ve done my job!

Our class reader, which was voted for by the children on transition day is The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone. As I have an audible account, we’re actually listening to it on audiobook and I’m really enjoying that! It’s read so brilliantly by the narrator and it’s giving me an extra bit of time to enjoy reading and listening alongside them.

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As well as general reading, I always try and theme my Writing lessons around a book (I just think it gives everything a lot more purpose). We started the year with a letter to ourselves, so I thought we would continue with letter writing in a fun way. We’re going for letters to complain and using the amazing The Day The Crayons Quit as our model text/inspiration. A lot of people will frown at me using this text in Year 5, but I think it is PERFECT.

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I could ramble on for hours about the love I have for reading and the importance of reading for pleasure, but I won’t ramble on (if you’d like me to, then by all means let me know in the comments because that’s something I can talk about for words and words… it’s what I did my dissertation on!)

Let me know if you’d like any more tales from the classroom and I could probably make it into a series! Leave me some questions if you have any!

Speak soon,

S x

BOOK BLOG: Recent reads!

Hello there! 

How are you all today? 

I’m here with some mini reviews of some of my recent reads. I read a LOT during the Summer holidays and am going to find it near impossible to write full reviews for everything, so I’m going to do a mixture of mini reviews and full reviews of things over the next few weeks. My reading will slow way down now that I’m back to school so it should give me time to catch up on things I’ve not reveiwed yet on my blog! 

Today I’m going to review 3 books.
3 books that I read pretty close together.
3 books with quite similar themes!

Let’s get on with it! 

Stolen – Lucy Christopher

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“IT HAPPENED LIKE THIS.
I was stolen from an airport. Kidnapped. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Imprisoned by sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.
This is my story. A letter to my captor.”

This has been sat on my shelf for like 2 years (I’m sure I picked it up at YALC 2 years ago) and I totally forgot about it because it was on one of my 2 deep shelves. It’s the story of Gemma, a young girl who is kidnapped from an airport one day. She’s taken away from everyone she’s ever known, everything she’s ever known and is suddenly in a strange house in the middle of nowhere in Australia with a man who she has never met before. 

I loved this. It was SO BLOODY COMPELLING. I needed to know what was going to happen next. The whole premise was fascinating to me. This book is written as one long letter (so there’s no chapters which I initially found jarring but it worked for this book so well) from Gemma to her captor. She goes through everything that happened to her in the time she spent with him. She talks about how she felt and the things that happened to her. I think because it was written as a letter there were times where I found her captor Ty slightly human, but man, I hated that guy. So so much. He’s not an OK person. 

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly – Stephanie Oakes

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“The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust. And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too. Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.”

Sacred Lies tells the story of Minnow, a young girl who was part of a cult. The cult has recently lost their prophet and there was a fire at the complex. Minnow has the chance to be free from everything: the cult, their way of life, her secrets, their control over her. She’s just got to be willing to tell someone the secrets she’s held so dearly on to. 

As you know if you’ve been here for a while, I bloody love a cult book – I think they’re fascinating. My friend Kelly has been ranting and raving about this book for months, but I’ve just never managed to pick it up. I found it for cheap and I decided that now was the time and my lord, it did not disappoint. It was everything I wanted from a cult book: lies, deception, secrecy, isolation, family, friends, twisting of the truth. Minnow goes through A LOT. An awful lot. There’s some fascinating threads of what the world is compared to what Minnow thinks of the world throughout this book and it kept me hooked. I read this book within a few hours and now I am mourning the loss of another cult book (if you can recommend me any, yes I’ve read After the Fire, then please shout)

The Girls

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“Evie Boyd is fourteen and desperate to be noticed. It’s the summer of 1969 and restless, empty days stretch ahead of her. Until she sees them. The girls. Hair long and uncombed, jewelry catching the sun. And at their centre, Suzanne, black-haired and beautiful. If not for Suzanne, she might not have gone. But, intoxicated by her and the life she promises, Evie follows the girls back to the decaying ranch where they live. Was there a warning? A sign of what was coming? Or did Evie know already that there was no way back?”

The Girls tells the story of Evie, a young girl who is kind of lured into this group of drug smoking, free living and free loving group one day after she some what falls in love with the ever so enchanting Suzanne. What happens when Evie gets there isn’t what she was expecting and Evie risks a lot in her life to stay on the right side of her new bunch of friends… who might not actually be that great underneath the surface.

This book is not the traditional age range I normally read: this is definitely not YA, so I was a bit out of my comfort zone here. Despite that fact, I enjoyed this book, but when I finished it left me needing a bit of closure. I had so so many questions left that needed to be answered. This book is fascinating in parts… I needed to keep reading at many points becuase there were so many things which kept me hooked. A bit like Evie, I was hooked and curious about this new group of friends she’d made. Told in flashbacks and Evie’s life as it currently is, I found that I was more bothered in the actual story of the “cult” than I was in Evie’s life now. 

And there we go! 3 books with very similar themes that I read on the trot… there were moments where I got all 3 of them jumbled, but that’s OK! It’ll teach me not to read such similar books together again haha!

Have you read any books like these recently?
Can you recommend me any cult books?
What have you read recently that you’d recommend?

Talk to me in the comments! 

S x 

Summer Book Tag

It’s finally time to say goodbye to the Summer… so I thought I would do ONE LAST tag all about the Summer! (What can I say? I’m holding on as long as I can!!) I saw this gorgeous little tag on Rosie’s blog and I just knew it was the perfect thing to say goodbye to Summer with!

summer book tag

What book cover makes you think of Summer?

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You know what? Any time I see Sara Barnard covers, I think of Summer. I dunno if it’s the gold or what… but they always make me think of Summer (particularly Goodbye Perfect)

Which book has brightened your day?

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I read I,Cosmo over the Summer and it filled me with delight, hope and joy. It is an amazing story with a doggo as the main character (he doesn’t die, I promise!). It’s just a gorgeous story about friendship, family, bravery and love.

Find a book with a yellow cover:

This was one of the #SixforSunday prompts recently, so here’s LOADS!!

 

What is your favourite Summer beach read?

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I reckon Alex in Wonderland would be a proper fun beach read. As it’s set at the beach, I think it would be proper apt to read… plus we all need a bit of light entertainment when we’re relaxing at the seaside!

Which action book had you running for the ice cream man?

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For all it disappointed me… the ending of Two Can Keep A Secret had me FLABBERGASTED. That last line though. 

Which book has left you with a bad an/or painful ending?

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Guys. I can’t tell you how much A Pocketful of Stars BROKE ME. Like, IN HALF. Aisha Bushby has a lot to answer for. 

Sunset: Which book gave you the happiest feelings when it ended?

I’m going to cheat and mention 2. No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter because I needed that book in my life and the ending is like a big F YOU to the world (Emily is an absolute wonder characters and she needs more love); Song of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury because the ending NOT WHAT I EXPECTED but EVERYTHING I NEEDED. The ending of that duology is SO BLOODY SPOT ON. Man. I miss Sorrow and Luvian. (Luvian tho)

Which book cover reminds you of a sunset?

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Purely based on the colours, The Radleys by Matt Haig is perfect for this. It’s also a BRILLIANT story. (I don’t think he’s written a bad book so far!)

What is one book or series you hope to read this Summer?

Well, I’m going to say one that I hope to read NEXT Summer because Summer is over *weeps*

I’m gonna be predictable AF here and say State of Sorrow and Song of Sorrow by Queen Melinda Salisbury. For so so many reasons. If you don’t know what they are then are you even a reader of this blog? If you haven’t read them yet, can you please do that because Mel deserves all of the love and all of the praise. 

And there we go.. this tag, just like Summer, is officially over!! BOOHOO. 

If you fancy doing this tag, go for it. If you have a tag you think I’d be interested in, please let me know… I love a Thursday tag!

S x

 

BLOG TOUR: Gangster School 3

Gangster School 3: Gruffles and the Killer Sheep – laughter, humour and just a bit of criminal activity!

“It’s Crimicon – the annual meeting for promising young criminals – and this year it’s being held at Crumley’s, the dreaded School for Career Criminals, who also happen to be Blaggard’s bitterest rivals. Can Milly and Charlie keep their school’s reputation as the best school for criminals, steer clear of Dr BL Zeebub, Crumley’s evil Head Teacher as well as keeping Gruffles out of harm’s way? Why does the animal-hating Zeebub allow a flock of weirdly large sheep to roam Crumley’s grounds? And since when have sheep been CARNIVOROUS? Milly and Charlie must use all their skills to find their way through the maze of traps and problems awaiting them at Crumley’s, to save Blaggard’s reputation and protect Gruffles from the Killer Sheep.”

Gruffles and the Killer Sheep is book 3 in the Gangster School series which sees the students of Blaggards’s school learn how to become master criminals. You follow the students in their escapades battling all kinds of funny, weird and mind-boggling things! (I’d love to think I could be a master criminal, but let’s be honest… I would be TERRIBLE!) The other 2 books in this series have been a lot of fun, so when I was invited to be part of the blog tour to review this third installment, I was over the moon!

In book 3, we are once again following the story of our mini-criminals. We follow Milly, Charlie, Gruffles and the rest of the gang in their escapades at Crimicon. They are chosen to represent the school and they must uphold the school’s reputation as being the BEST around. At Crimicon, they are set a near-impossible task of foiling the plan of an evil genius as well as fitting in many of the other tasks they are given while they are there. Fitting in taking down an evil genius can’t be easy, especially not when you have activities like ‘Creative Criminality’, ‘What makes a good stooge?’ and ‘Cooking Up Trouble – 10 quick poisonous meals anyone can prepare’ to attend. 

Let’s also not forget that there are a crazy set of sheep also running around on school grounds JUST TO MAKE THINGS HARDER!

These books are an awful lot of fun with there being mishaps and adventures all around. With the brilliant setting that is a school for criminals, it’s hard not to fall for this series of books. There’s funny characters, incredibly well thought-out plot twists and lots and lots of laughter to be had. This book, like the previous two, are sure to get kids laughing and gripped to the book. (I know I found it hard at times to put down!)

This is a series which builds really nicely as you get to know the characters really well and we all know that once you’re invested in characters, you’re sure to want to keep reading. If I were just new to this series, I would be sure to hunt out book 1! There’s plenty of intrigue and joy to be had in this series and there’s some pretty unique characters, settings and plot twists to be had: perfect for those kids who love something with a bit of dark humour.

Massive thank you to the publishers, Zuntold, for sending me a review copy of this book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour. Why not check out the rest of the blog tour to see what others thought? 

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S x

“NOPE” Book Tag

Hello there!

Welcome to Thursday Tagday! I really love a tag because they’re usually fun and they’re a really interesting way to get to know someone’s likes and dislikes. PLUS (unless you’re me who tends to ramble on), they are really quick! 

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I found this tag while I was browsing the interwebs a while back so saved the prompts into a word document (sorry, I didn’t save the blog it was from. If it’s yours, please shout at me for credit!). I don’t normally talk about NOPE books, so I thought this would be an interesting one for you all to read… and would make me think about books I might not normally talk about! I hope you enjoy!

NOPE: Ending. A book ending that made you go NOPE either in denial, rage or simply because the end was crappy. 

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OOOH. An interesting one. Hmmm… I think an ending that recently enraged me was The Girls by Emma Cline: it wasn’t a bad ending… I JUST WANTED MORE ANSWERS.

NOPE: Protagonist. A main character you dislike/drives you crazy.

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If I remember correctly, I was NOT a fan of the main character in Caravalone of the sisters. One of them I didn’t mind, the other one I was NOT a fan of! (I checked Goodreads and it is Scarlett I did not like)

NOPE: Series. A serious that turned out to be one huge pile of NOPE after you’ve invested all of that time and energy on it, a series you gave up on because it wasn’t worth it anymore.

NOW. Interestingly, I don’t think I actually have an answer to this. I like to see a series out to its end and all of the series I’ve read have a satisfactory ending. 

NOPE: Popular pairing. A “ship” you don’t support.

I don’t really know which ships are popular with the kids (ha). You’d have to shout me some ships and I’ll tell you if I ship them. I have quite fervent feelings about a lot of ships (particularly in books I LOVE) so that could be an interesting thing to talk about! I will say both Gale and whats his face Peeta deserved better than Katniss though.

NOPE: Plot twist. A plot twist you didn’t see coming, or didn’t like.

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I don’t see a lot of plot twists coming to be honest (but I prefer it that way), so I’m constantly surprised. The end of A Heart So Dark and Lonely… 

NOPE: Protagonist action/decision. A character decision that made you shake your head NOPE.

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Hmmm… there are SO MANY. So so many times a character goes into a room/faces off against a baddie that I am like NO. Sorrow makes some NOPE decisions (particularly in regards to Vespus bloody Corrigan). There’s that one time she [spoiler redacted] that made me absolutely say NOPE.

NOPE: Genre. A genre you will never read. 

I mean, never say never. But like I’m so unlikely to read anything that is really highbrow. Or erotica. Just not my jam to be honest.

NOPE: Book format. Book formatting you hate and avoid buying until it comes out in a different edition. 

I’m gonna have to say books in verse (apart from kids books obvs). Unless there is a very purposeful rhythmic pattern, I can’t get behind it. I really bloody struggle.

NOPE: Trope. A trope that makes you go NOPE.

Gosh, SO MANY. I could be here A WHILE. The “boy wants to fix girl” trope. Girls “adopting” the ugly girl to give her a make over and make her attractive to boys. Love triangles. 

NOPE: Recommendation. A book recommendation that is constantly hyped and pushed at you that you simply refuse to read.

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Now I can imagine this answer will make me unpopular with some people. However, I’m not a fan of the old hype, so I haven’t yet read THUG (I acknowledge that it is more than likely incredible and I will love it when I read it… but just stop telling me to ha)

NOPE: Cliche/pet peeve. A cliche or a writing pet peeve that always makes you roll your eyes. 

A bit like the old trope hating… anything that is like she’ll be better when she’s pretty. Nah thanks pals. 

NOPE: Love interest. The love interest that’s not worthy of being one. A character you don’t think should have been a viable love interest. 

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Katniss Everdeen and anyone ever. I think that story should’ve just been about her and overthrowing the government… none of the romance thanks. (I’m not her biggest fan)

NOPE: Book. A book that shouldn’t have existed that made you say NOPE.

I don’t think I have an answer for this? All books and stories have a right to exist. It would be unfair of me to invalidate someone’s story because it could be someone else’s reality.

NOPE: Villain. A scary villain/antagonist you would hate to cross and would make you run in the opposite direction.

VESPUS CORRIGAN. NOPE. NOPE. NOPE.

NOPE: Death. A character death that still haunts you.

OOOOH. Sirius Black. #JusticeforSirius. I loved him so much.

NOPE: Author. An author you had a bad experience reading for and have decided to quit. 

I don’t actually have an answer for this. I’d be FASCINATED to hear what others have said, but I genuinely don’t have anyone so far. There’s LOADS of authors who I have NEVER read who other people have… so maybe I’m just not reading widely enough ha. 

And that’s it! Apologies for some of the non-committal answers!

If you enjoyed this, feel free to have a go yourself (Charlotte… I’m looking at you!). Do any of my answers surprise you?

Talk to me!

Speak soon,

S x

Bank Holiday Book Tag

Hello friends!

It is Bank Holiday Monday (the final bank holiday of the year if my memory serves me correctly!?) and as usual, I am taking on my friend Cora’s Bank Holiday Book Tag. I think I’ve joined in on this like 4 or 5 times now (maybe more, maybe less, I’ll link some of my other blog posts for this tag at the bottom!). 

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To try and keep things fresh (lol), I’ll try and mention books I’ve read recently (let’s say in the last few months) or books on my TBR!

So what does a typical bank holiday look like?

Have a lie in. Which book could you lounge in bed with all morning?

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The Lost Tide Warriors by Catherine Doyle. This was just an absolute pleasure to read. There’s magic, adventure, friendship, memories: it’s got it all! It would be the perfect read to snuggle up with in bed (especially if it’s raining… that would add to the atmosphere of this book!)

Oh my goodness! It’s actually sunny outside! Which book makes you feel optimistic?

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I, Cosmo by Carlie Sorosiak.
Another MG book I read recently and it’s SUCH a gorgeous story. Cosmo is a wonderful doggo who wants to do everything to keep his family together. The ending is wonderfully done and it’s the perfect mix of love, hope and family. 

Spend some time outdoors. Which book reminds you of nature?

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Shadowscent by P.M.Freestone.
I don’t know WHY this was the one I chose, but nature and perfume go together wonderfully. There’s some incredible descriptions in this book of nature and it’s scents which make up the perfumes. (I need the second book in this series because I MISS THIS LAND).

Make some punch. Which book do you find difficult to classify in one genre?

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The Deathless Girls by Kiran Milwood-Hargrave.
Now, let me tell you it isn’t a BAD thing that I find it hard to classify: it’s a total compliment. This book is a hard one to stamp down because it is SO BLOODY BRILLIANT. This is a book that will appeal to so many people who read so many different ranges of books. (If you haven’t read it yet, please go get it when it’s out!)

Pass around some food. Which book do you want to share with everyone?

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All The Things We Never Said by Yasmin Rahman.
I got this at YALC after hearing her talk about it and I devoured it WHOLE on the train home from London a few days later. This book at times was a HARD read, but I think it is such an important book as it deals with some things that are very real. Plus, Yasmin is WONDERFUL. You need to read this book if you haven’t yet. I haven’t managed to form my words about this book into a review yet because every time I try, I can’t manage to say anything which does this book justice.

Light the BBQ. Which book took a while to get going?

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The Girls by Emma Cline.
It’s not in my usual MG/YA comfort zone, so I found it a bit slower than other books I read, but it’s good. It’s a complex read, but would be great if you’re a fan of a cult book. (I LOVE A CULT BOOK, PLEASE HIT ME UP WITH YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS PALS)

Failed BBQ. Which book ultimately disappointed you?

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Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M. McManus.
NOW, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a BAD book… but following on from One of Us Is Lying, it had big boots to fill! I didn’t hate it: I just wanted a bit more. (I can’t WAIT for One of Us is Next…)

It’s raining… of course! Which book is perfect to curl up with when it’s raining outside?

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Sanctuary by V.V.James.
MATES. GET READY FOR THIS. This book is EXCEPTIONAL. It is SUCH a rollercoaster… I can’t quite talk about it yet without needing SPOILER WARNINGS all over. Just know it is excellent: sun, rain, snow, wind. READ IT.

Let’s just eat chocolate. Which book is just super sweet?

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Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott
My friend Rachel has been talking about this book for AGES and it’s been sitting in my TBR box for a while, so I decided to pick it up recently… and OH MY GOSH THE FEELS. This was a lush read… it did make me cry quite a lot. I love Will with all of my heart. If you’re a fan of TFIOS, you’ll love this! 

And there you have it! The Bank Holiday Book Tag. I hope whatever you are doing with your bank holiday, you are having a lovely day! Maybe you’re reading a book, maybe you’re going for a walk… whatever it is, I hope you have a wonderfully relaxing!

If you wanna have a go at this, go for it! Check out Cora’s post (linked above) for the list of prompts and such like! Below are 2 links to my previous answers to this tag!

The Bank Holiday Tag

Bank Holiday Book Tag

See you all soon,

S x

Addicted to Books tag

HOLA PALS. 

How are we all doing on this here second to last Thursday of the Summer holidays? (Part of me is ready to go back, part of me is not!) I come to you today with a tag that I saw my friend Aoife do! She didn’t tag me but hey… we all know I love a tag! 

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What is the longest amount of time you can comfortably go without picking up a book?

I mean, I’ve had months where I’ve read 4 books, but that was 2 books in one day and 2 books in another day at either ends of the month. It really depends how much I’m in the mood to read. I’d say in general life, a day or 2? I like to try and read every day. 

How many books do you carry on your person (or kindle) at any one time?

Always one, sometimes two. If I know I’m near the end of a book and I’m going to have a lot of reading time, I’ll make sure I have a second book (or I’ll plan on going to buy another book) because no one wants the NO BOOK SCENARIO.

Do you keep every book you buy/receive or are you happy to pass them on to make space for more?

I am MORE THAN HAPPY to share my books around. If they’re middle grade, you can guarantee they’ll go to the library at school, but if they’re YA/adult, they’ll go to my witches for first refusal, then I’ll either offer them to the local secondary school or they’ll be offered to friends/twitter/my mam (if she hasn’t already read them). 

HOWEVER if I’ve loved it… it stays in my possession.

How long would you spend in a bookshop on a standard visit?

LOL. Some of my favourite people work in my local bookshop so I can LITERALLY spend hours in there. I’m well known for helping out in Waterstones Newcastle (putting stickers on books, putting books in the RIGHT order etc.). However, if none of my people are in, I’ll probably mooch for like 30 mins and then I’ll tottle off to the cafe for a beverage and maybe a slice of cake!

How much time per day do you actually spend reading?

This varies! It depends on the day, the time of year, the book I’m reading, the mood I’m in, the place I am. In the Summer holidays, I can read for HOURS on end, but during term time, I probably read for 30 mins a day. It really does depend on SO MANY THINGS. 

Where does the task ‘picking up a book’ appear on your daily to-do list? 

I tend to read before bed, or at night time when I have down time. I don’t have a TV in my bedroom (I KNOW SHOCKER… I do have my iPad though), so that’s always a great time to read. Normally about 8pm is my peak reading time depending on what I need to do for work!

How many books do you reckon you own in total (including e-books)?

Deary me. I genuinely could NOT tell you. More than 500 probably? An awful lot is the answer and I’m sticking to it!

Aproximately, how often do you bring up books in conversation?

Why wouldn’t you want to talk about books? I love talking about books. My twitter life is pretty much ALL about books (featuring some life things). Most of my friends are bookish people, so we talk about books ALL THE TIME: ones we loved, hated, things we are excited for, things we do not want to read. You know the standard book craic.

What is the biggest book (page count) you have finished reading?

Ooooh, I’m going to have to consult Goodreads… there’s a few big books on my “read” shelf… Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. 

Is there a book you had to get your on against all odds (i.e. searching bookshops, online digging, etc)?

OH MY GODS YES. I missed out on all of the sprayed edges versions of Beyond the Odyssey and I was GUTTED. I told ALL of my friends to keep their eyes peeled. My gorgeous friend Kelly found me a copy in Waterstones in Bristol (I believe) and she posted it to me. I was not having an incomplete set of sprayed edges Who Let The Gods Out? series. (I’m a SUCKER for a sprayed edge).

A book you struggled to finish but refused to DNF?

Caraval. I know a LOT of people who love it, but it just didn’t sparkle how I wanted it to. I’m curious about the sequels, but I do not want another book where I have to TRUDGE through to get just an OK story.

What are 3 of your main book goals for 2019?

  • Enjoy reading whatever it is I’m reading
  • Read 52 children’s books
  • Read 104 books in the year (my Goodreads was set at 52, but now that I’ve smashed that, I’m going for double!)

Have you ever had the priviledge of converting someone into a reader (maybe via inspiration or incessant nagging)?

In my job, you occasionally get a child who says they’re not a reader and then I get the absolute joy of FINDING them a book that makes them a reader. I’ve had that 2 or 3 times in the last year, so I’m very much looking forward to more of the same next year and in all of the years to come!

In my non-professional life, I do not know! I’ve nagged people til they read Melinda Salisbury/Sara Barnard/Maz Evans, so does that count?

If you’re a person who has read something because of me, let me know because that’s a lovely thing to know!

Describe what books mean to you in five words.

The chance to temporarily escape.

This was a LUSH tag to do! I did not expect to ramble on for 900 words, so I do apologise. If you got this far, tell me your favourite book you’ve read, or the book you’re reading at the minute! 

If you wanna do this tag, go for it! Thanks to Kelly and Charlotte for choosing the colours for this blog post *grin*

Speak soon,

S x