BOOK BLOG: Elizabeth Acevedo

With The Fire On High: following your dreams is hard, but you’re so worth it!

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“Ever since she got pregnant, seventeen-year-old Emoni’s life has been about making the tough decisions – doing what has to be done for her young daughter and her grandmother. Keeping her head down at school, trying not to get caught up with new boy Malachi. The one place she can let everything go is in the kitchen, where she has magical hands – whipping up extraordinary food beloved by everyone.

Emoni wants to be a chef more than anything, but she knows it’s pointless to pursue the impossible. There are rules she has to play by. And yet, once she starts cooking, and gets that fire on high, she sees that her drive to feed will feed her soul and dreams too. And anything is possible.”

I was sent this book in the post a while ago and it took me a while to pick it up… and my god did I regret it taking me forever to read! This book is just wonderful: the voice, the writing style, the rollercoaster you go on.

Everything about this book spoke to me: as a reader, a dreamer, a woman and a human.

This book tells the story of Emoni, a young mother who is trying to keep all of her plates balanced on their sticks. She’s trying to be the best mam she can be to Babygirl; the best coparent with her ex (who is a bit of a twat tbh); the best granddaughter to her lovely Buela; the best student she can be at school. As soon as she manages to get one of these plates balanced, another one manages to unbalance itself. She’s dealing with all of these things and then her dream opportunity comes along. 

Emoni loves cooking. She’s free in the kitchen. She can play by her own rules. There are no rules. It’s all about feel and flavour. It’s something she just gets. It’s a place for her to be her truest self. She can play and experiment and feel without worrying that she’s going to be wrong – because she knows she KNOWS this stuff. Or at least she thinks she does. When she gets the chance to choose a cooking class at school, she starts to realise that there are rules to cooking. There’s things she has to do. It isn’t always just knowing and following your gut: it’s about following a recipe how it is. Emoni finds this a hard lesson to learn. Her teacher is hard on her (this frustrated me at first because I was totally #teamEmoni) but you realise that there’s a reason for this!

As you read the story, you follow this wonderfully charming and beautiful young girl on an exploration of accepting and loving who she is and following her dreams, even when it seems that all of the odds are stacked against her. She’s given the chance to go to Spain as part of her cooking class… and of course she knows she’ll never be able to afford it. 

I loved this book. It’s one of those brilliant books that comes along and shocks you with its gorgeousness. Emoni’s voice is spot on. Her story is one I wanted to know more about. I wanted things to work out for her. She’s fiercely brave. She’s flawed. She worries. She’s trying her hardest to be everything for everyone else, so when the chance comes to be something for herself, she initially decides she’s not worthy. I could’ve happily read this book if it were 100 pages longer. I wanted more of Emoni’s story. She’s one of those characters I just fall for and root for completely. 

This is the perfect story about the brilliance of women and their spirit. Emoni is surrounded by wonderful women, from her bloody marvellous Buela, to her Babygirl and her best friend. We all know women are brilliant and this book is a wonderful celebration of this. 

My Goodreads review:

Loved this. Bloody gorgeous voice and a really interesting plot. I loved Emoni so much. She’s brave, scared and a proper mama bear. I loved her Buela too. This book is like a hearty meal: it leaves you satisfied and warm. Bloody yes.

A massive thank you to Hot Key Books for sending me a copy of this book. I wanna hug it so hard. 

Have you read With The Fire On High?
What’s one of your secret ambitions?
Where is the one place you’d love to visit?

Talk to me! I’d love to know if anyone else has read this!

Speak to you all soon!

S x 

Thursday Tag: The Book Cake Tag

Hello friends!

How are you all? It’s Thursday… YOU ALL KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS. IT’S ALMOST FRIDAY, but more importantly, it’s tag day! Who doesn’t love a tag? I certainly do… if they’re not your jam, thanks for stopping by! Why don’t you check out one of my other posts from this week?!

Anyway… we are here for the Book Cake Tag. This is another one of those ones I’ve had in a massive word document titled “Tags to do”. Seriously, it’s just a massive document with a load of different pages of tags to do. Once I do one, I delete the tag from the document. It started with 100s of tag questions/prompts in and now it’s still got LOADS in, but there’s definitely fewer.

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As always, if you fancy doing this, go for it! Here we have the ingredients for making the perfect book cake!

Flour: A book that was slow to start off but picked up as it went along.

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I think the only reason this book came to mind was because you had to get to know and understand the characters before you could really get into the action. I really loved this book when I read it though.

Butter: A book that has a really “rich” and great plot.

(The temptation to recommend all the Mel books here is REAL guys)

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I read this back in January and GUYS. It is blooming excellent. Secrets, lies, royalty, betrayal, trust and friendship. Just delicious.

Eggs: A book that you thought was going to be bad, but turned out quite enjoyable.

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First off, I’m unlikely to pick a book that I think is going to be bad… HOWEVER, this book is “adult literary” and I don’t have a great track record with adult books. They’re just SO SLOW. This isn’t mega fast paced, but it is BLOODY BRILLIANT.

Sugar: A sugary/sweet book.

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This book is SAD, but it’s also really lovely. It’s a gorgeous story of compassion, love, working through adversaties and ultimately, living life. I read it on a recommendation from a friend and it was lovely!

Icing: A book that covered every single element that you enjoy of a book.

THIS IS SO HARD. SO SO HARD. I can’t choose just one, so ha.

If you’re gonna ask me to describe my perfect book, IT ALL DEPENDS if I’m reading kids or YA. Things I love in books: fantasy, magic, a bit of danger, friendship, wit, a message, emotional turmoil (ha) and a ship that is worth shipping. 

(Also, I’ve just spotted what the final prompt says and dear God help me)

Sprinkles: A book series that you turn to when you’re feeling down.

 

OOOH. This is interesting because I’m not a rereader, but if I were and I wanted a series to reread, it would be the Sorrow duology because LUVIAN FEN THO. 

Cherry on Top: Your favourite book this year so far.

 

ABSOLUTELY NOT. You can have a smattering of some of my favourite books so far. (Not pictured: many many others)

That was a lot of fun. As you can tell, I am indecisive and am not up to committing to “favourite books” yet… although, I probably need to start thinking about my “favourite books of the year” post soon…

S x

BOOK BLOG: The Snow Dragon

The Snow Dragon: a beautiful story filled with hope, dreams and wonder!

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You can be late for many things in life, but you should never keep an adventure waiting…

In Griselda Bone’s gloomy orphanage, daydreaming is banned, skipping is forbidden and Christmas is well and truly cancelled. But for Phoebe and her sausage dog Herb, is it possible that, just when things seem at their bleakest, magic awaits in the swirling, snow-filled air?”

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As a massive fan of Abi Elphinstone books, I knew I needed to get my hands on this book as soon as it came out. I was in fact very lucky to get an early sneak peek at this at Abi’s Rumblestar launch and I’ve been waiting for its release ever since then! This book does not disappoint… it has been well worth the wait! This is a tale full to the brim with emotion, danger, wonder, hope, friendship and love. 

Filled to the top with magic, this book makes me so happy. We all know I love a bit of magic. It sweeps you away. It made me feel like a child again. The illustrations, beautifully crafted by Fiona Woodcock, add such a charming depth to Abi’s ever-gorgeous words. I loved exploring the pictures. There’s so much you can see and read into the pictures, without even reading the story! The words and the pictures pair together to give you a tale you want to go on. You’re swept up into this magical world of a girl, her sausage dog and a magical dragon. Who wouldn’t want to go on an adventure with a magical snow dragon?

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You can’t not fall for Phoebe. She’s a brave and brilliant character. She’s like every child. She wants something she thinks she’ll never have. She doesn’t realise how special she is. She’s a young girl full of hope and compassion. Her story is captivating and you really will root for her. She worries no one will ever hear her. I think this is something lots of children will feel at some points in their lives. Luckily, Phoebe is heard by the gorgeous Snow Dragon, who hears her hopes and needs, and takes her on an adventure of a lifetime

This book is one of those gorgeous “definitely winter-y but can be read at any time of the year” books. We all know that when it comes to winter, Christmas books take over, so this is a refreshing book to have in my arsenal of books. 

Have you read The Snow Dragon?
What would you want the Snow Dragon to grant you?
What are your favourite winter picture books?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments. You need to read this beautiful picture book if you haven’t yet!

S x 

 

Monday MG Mini Reviews

Hello friends! 

How are you all? I hope you had a lovely weekend! I had a wodnderful time celebrating the wedding of one of my loveliest humans, then on Sunday I had a date with my book and breakfast before doing a bit of work and a bit of blogging! Gotta keep those blog posts coming for all you guys. As I write this, I’m listening to Gareth Gates (I know, I’m a cool kid) and sitting in my pyjamas – yay for Sundays!

I’ve read A FAIR FEW brilliant MG books recently and I thought I would share some mini reviews with you all, until I have time to write full, in-depth reviews. I love writing mini reviews because it means I get to share LOADS of books in one post and not just one! All of these books will get a full review, but I couldn’t hold in my thoughts on them any longer! Without further ado…

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The Star Outside My Window – Onjali Q. Rauf

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“On her tenth birthday, Sophie makes a wish — a wish for her mum. After school that same day, Sophie and her brother are rushed out of school and driven far, far away. So Sophie sets out to find out the truth — about the wish and about what happened to her mother. And in doing so she ends up on an adventure she never could have foreseen…one that involves a very clever squirrel, a homeless man named Harry, the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, and the biggest star in Hollywood…”

I picked this book up on the buy one, get one half price table of Waterstones Newcastle and it just kept shouting to be read, so I needed to pick it up. It tells the amazing story of young Sophie who is in desperate need to remember her mam. She knows her mam is the brightest star in the sky, and she needs the star to be named after her mam. This book is full of adventure, friendship and fun, while being moving and charming. The characters are all so bloody wonderful. I finished this on the metro going to my friend’s house and I just had to cry quietly. It’s just wonderful. Some tough issues dealt with beautifully and I can see why it’s been so popular! I devoured the last 100 pages very quickly because I needed to know. Gripping, heartbreaking and filled with love.

Look Both Ways – Jason Reynolds

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“Parents, siblings, teachers, coaches, nosy neighbours, babysitters – there’s not much of your day that isn’t dictated by someone else. Unless you walk home from school – walkers have independence – those fifteen-minutes from school to home, completely unsupervised. What waits for them is the mischief of curiosity, allies and enemies, a taste of freedom, and plenty of humour.”

If you’ve been here for a while, you will know that I am a MASSIVE MASSIVE fan of Knights Of and Jason Reynolds’ books. Ghost and Patina are two of the most incredible books I’ve read recently and I can’t wait for the rest of the series because they have my heart entirely. When I heard there was a new Jason Reynolds book coming out, I was DESPERATE to get it. The brilliant humans of Ed PR sent me a copy and it just made my total half term. This book is a wonderful anthology of stories of the walk home from school. Told from 10 different perspectives, with a thread of commanality running through the stories, this book just is full of personality, charm and love. Jason Reynolds keeps writing absolute winners. This book is jam packed with gorgeous characters and I adored each of them. I’d love to know more about all of them (and that’s the true sign of an amazing book). The friendship, the love, the sense of community in the book gave me such warm vibes. The stories are the perfect length and I think this would make an absolutely wonderful read aloud to my class.

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Frostheart – Jamie Littler

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“Way out in the furthest part of the known world, a tiny stronghold exists all on its own, cut off from the rest of human-kin by monsters that lurk beneath the Snow Sea. There, a little boy called Ash waits for the return of his parents, singing a forbidden lullaby to remind him of them… and doing his best to avoid his very, VERY grumpy yeti guardian, Tobu.But life is about to get a whole lot more crazy-adventurous for Ash. When a brave rescue attempt reveals he has amazing magical powers, he’s whisked aboard the Frostheart, a sleigh packed full of daring explorers who could use his help. But can they help him find his family…?”

This was another book that I picked up because it was in the BOGOHP deal at Waterstones Newcastle (it was Children’s Book of the Month at the time… in fact it was CBOTM for 2 months!). Everything about this book just spoke to me. It was a little bit magic, fantasy, a massive adventure and even a bit of learning on the way. This book just warmed everything about my heart. It’s one of those incredible books that comes along and I just didn’t want to leave the world. The characters, the illustrations, the adventure, the messages: it’s all just SPOT ON. This book deserves all of the love that it is getting. If you haven’t read it yet, please, please do! It is exceptional. It’s fun, daring, dangerous and cool. I absolutely loved my journey on Frostheart with Ash and the crew. A proper icy cold ride, with a massive heart. The illustrations throughout add so much too. Absolute smasher! I’ve already shared this with a few of the kids at school and it is going down a proper storm. PLUS, knowing that book 2 is on its way makes me SO BLOODY HAPPY – you all know I love a series!

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Tilly and the Lost Fairytales – Anna James

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“Tilly Pages is a bookwanderer; she can travel inside books, and even talk to the characters she meets there. But Tilly’s powers are put to the test when fairytales start leaking book magic and causing havoc… On a wintery visit to Paris, Tilly and her best friend Oskar bravely bookwander into the land of fairytales to find that characters are getting lost, stories are all mixed-up, and mysterious plot holes are opening without warning. Can Tilly work out who, or what, is behind the chaos so everyone gets their happily-ever-after?”

I read the first Pages and Co book last year (I think) and I fell in love with it instantly (you can find my review for that book here). It’s one of those special kind of books which shares the love of books, stories and the bookish world with us. Tilly has magical bookwandering powers that we would all want if we’re being honest! I absolutely adored that it took me to Paris and I got to explore Paris as well as exploring fairytales. I loved that. The infusion of many fairytales in Tilly’s story just enriched the whole thing. Anna has a wonderful writing style – you’re looked after, but there’s always a slight sense of danger. There’s fun, there’s friendship, there’s some dastardly actions. There’s loads of talking points in this too. Lots of tangents that you could go down to talk about! The characters in these books are my absolute love. Wonderfully brave Tilly is in another brilliant, book-loving filled adventure with some familiar faces from fairy tales. If you’ve not picked up these books yet, you absolutely should. I wish I was Tilly’s friend. (I wish I was Tilly to be fair… she lives in a bookshop, she’s got magical powers and she’s surrounded by some of the best people ever!)

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Right, that’s it for now! This turned into a longer post than I thought it would, but I just adored these books and it’s only fair that they all get some time and space on this here blog! 

Have you read any of these books?
Are you a fan of a mini review?
What are you reading at the minute?

Shout me some recommendations… I can never have too many! 

Speak to you all soon!

S x 

Thursday Tag:Winter Wonderland Book Tag

Happy Thursday friends!

How are you all? We are here again. Thursday. You know what that means. It’s a tag day.

How do you all feel about tags? Do you like doing them? Do you like reading them? Have you got a good one that you want me to do? I need more tags in my life!

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Today, I’m taking on the Winter Wonderland Tag. I know it’s not TECHNICALLY winter yet, but here, in my world, it is. It’s cold and dark all the time and my body knows that it’s winter… (as usual, I’m not sure where I found this tag as I’ve just saved the questions, so if it’s your tag, shout at me because I’d love to credit you!)

One: What book is so happy and so sweet that it just warms your heart?

Image result for unconventional maggie harcourt"Unconventional – Maggie Harcourt
I remember reading this book and just SMILING. It was such a lovely book and it’s nice every now and again to come across books which are great at just making you smile.

Two: What’s your favorite book with a white cover?

Image result for scars like wings cover"Scars Like Wings (proof edition) – Erin Stewart
I don’t know if this is cheating because it’s the proof cover, but I just think it’s so simple, yet so effective.

Three: You’re sitting in a nice, comfortable chair with a cup of hot chocolate. What monster book are you reading?

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The Toll – Neal Shusterman
This book was A MAMMOTH READ. 630 pages of absolute stress. 630 pages of not knowing what was going to happen next. I think I need to be able to read it again as I know what’s coming to enjoy it. Can not recommend enough though. PROPERLY BLOODY GREAT.

Four: Its snowing outside and you decide you want to have a snowball fight. What fictional character do you want to have this snowball fight with?

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Song of Sorrow – Melinda Salisbury
Luvian Fen. I need say no more. You guys know I love him.

Five: Sadly, your campfire is dying. What last few chapters of a book would you throw in the fire to revive it and keep yourself warm?

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A Curse So Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer
I have NO doubt this will be a very unpopular opinion, but my god I hated the “twist” at the end about the relationship between two of the characters. I finished this book at the beginning of the year and I am STILL annoyed about how it ended. Sorry like. I loved the book though… I just couldn’t get away with the ONE thing at the end.

Six: What book do you love so much that you would buy another copy of it to give to someone as a Christmas gift (or any gift really) to inspire them to start reading?

LOL ALL OF THE BOOKS. Seriously? Nope. I can’t choose just one, soz. I might make this question into an actual blog post though…

Seven: Who do you tag?

You. Her. Him. Them. Anyone. All of you. None of you (if you don’t want to).

And there you go! My attempt at the Winter Wonderland book tag. It was somewhat successful! If you’d like to have a go, feel free!

S x

BLOG TOUR: The Pearl in the Ice

Good morning everyone!

Today is a very exciting day as I have to share with you something very wonderful and fun. As you can tell from the title of this blog post, I am hosting a stop on the ‘The Pearl in the Ice’ blog tour. This book, which was released earlier this month from Chicken House, is absolutely wonderful. I am here to share with you an extract… the very first chapter that had me gripped, asking questions and wanting to read on from the get go!

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“Marina’s father, a naval captain, has been away for most of her life – certainly since her mother died – and yet Marina feels the pull of an ocean she’s never known. When sent to boarding school to learn to be a lady, Marina decides instead to stow away on her father’s ship. A perilous voyage awaits – but where are they sailing to and why, and what has it to do with the dark shape in the deep that seemsto be following them?”

Click the link to read the extract!
Pearl in the Ice extract 1

A massive thank you to Nina for asking me to be part of this blog tour and to the publishers Chicken House for sending me a copy of the book! My review will be up in the next few days… one of my children stole the book before I got the chance to finish it!

S x

BLOG TOUR: Anna Doherty

Hello friends!

Sorry I’ve been MIA this week. This week has been an insanely busy week at work with observations and learning walks and twilights, so on Sunday I had a day off doing lots of work and blogging and spent it with my gorgeous friend. 

However, you are in for a total treat today because I have a Q&A with the amazing Anna Doherty all about her new book Michelle Obama. This book is all about celebrating Black History Month and is part of the incredible Fantastically Feminist series. When I knew I was going to be lucky enough to host a Q&A with the author, I enlisted the help of my class to ask some questions! I narrowed them down the the 8 below, but there were some brilliant questions I didn’t get to ask! 

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1. What made you want to write about Michelle Obama?
A few things. I think she’s got a very interesting life story, but what drew me to her more was her personality. She’s so passionate and caring, and dedicated to EVERYTHING she does,which is so special, and I think those are amazing qualities to have and to tell children about.
2. Why is it important to you to highlight the amazing work that women have done? 
Women have so often been overlooked in history and skipped over, and while that’s getting a lot better now I think it’s still very important to keep highlighting women. On a personal level, I was a huge tomboy when I was little, because in loads of my books it seemed like the boys did all the fun and cool stuff! So I want the next generation of little Annas to realise that girls are also super cool and can do absolutely anything they put their minds to. But these books are not just for girls – I want to show that no matter who or when or where you are, you can make a difference!
3. If you could ask Michelle one question, what would it be? 
I would ask her, how does she have so much energy and positivity all the time!
4. What other amazing women do you want to write about? 
I would love to write about Katie Sandwina, a super stongwomen and suffragette from 1880s Austria. She could lift a canon above her head!
Also, I would love to write about Mary Queen of Scots, who was Queen of Scotland ages ago in the 1500s. She became Queen when she was just six days old!
5. You’re invited to have a dinner with 3 amazing women from history, who would they be and why? 
Such a hard question!
Coretta Scott King (activist – and Martin Luther King Jr.’s wife) because she was a huge activist for race and gender equality and LGBTQIA+ rights. She seemed to be so passionate, and never gave up what she believed in for a second.  She was a singer too, and she just seemed an amazing person all round!
Ada Lovelace (the first computer programmer) because I’ve been obsessed with her for a long time, and I wrote a book about her, so I feel like I know her really well and we’d get on! She was brilliant because she was determined to learn maths and science in a time when not many girls had an education.
Nellie Bly (an undercover reporter) because she was always going on adventures! She because a journalist when not many women were, and she did undercover operations to expose things that she thought were unfair (like bad working conditions, or horrible hospitals). She travelled around the world all on her own, and she seemed so headstrong and independent, and let nothing stand in her way!
6. Do you have any writing rituals? 
I get very distracted if I’m not at my own desk, I have a little studio in a spare bedroom in my flat. I like to listen to podcasts or music and drink lots of black coffee.
7. What’s the best thing about being an author?
I love every part of it, but the absolute best part is when you see your work printed into a book for the first time. Often you finished writing and illustrating months ago, so there are little things you don’t remember, and it’s like seeing a friend you’ve not met in a long time again!
8. What was the last book you read and loved? 
For children: She Made A Monster (written by Lynn Fulton and illustrated by Felicity Sala). It’s about Mary Shelley who wrote Frankenstein, and I think she’s so fascinating, and it’s a bit dark and creepy in time for Halloween! (So maybe so slightly older children, or adults!)  And the illustrations are beautiful.
For adults: My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite. It’s just brilliant, I couldn’t put it down!
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OUT NOW! This is the absolutely astonishing, fantastically feminist and, best of all, totally true story of one amazingly inspirational global icon! Meet the marvellous Michelle Obama: A+ student, passionate piano player, and a girl who’s not afraid to dream big. Determined to make the world a better place, the grown up Michelle gets to work in helping the community in whatever way she can. But then she meets and falls in love with Barack Obama, who is equally passionate about changing the world and he tells her he wants to become the first African American President of the United States, Michelle knows it’s time to really find her voice…

A review of this book is coming next week… but trust me, it’s absolutely incredible! I am loving all of the amazing non-fiction that is coming out celebrating incredible women and this one sits very proudly on my shelf of non-fiction!

I’ve kicked off the blog tour, but be sure to check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour in the coming days! There is sure to be a whole host of brilliant content and maybe even a review or two so you know I’m not just telling fibs!

Michelle Obama Blog Tour (1)

A massive thank you to the publishers, and to Anna, for allowing me to kick off this blog tour! It’s always an absolute delight!

Who would you write a book about if you could choose any wonderful woman?
What’s your favourite empowering women non-fiction book out there?
What was the last book you read that you want to shout about?

Thanks so much for stopping by! 

S x 

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!

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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