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 

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: S.M. Wilson

The Extinction Trials: Rebel – Tense. Thrilling. Tantalising.

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“Betrayal. Sacrifice. Survival. Welcome to The Extinction Trials

Storm and Lincoln’s city is burning. The people are starving. The only place left to run is Piloria, the continent of monsters. It’s up to Storm and Lincoln to keep their people alive as they colonize this lethal paradise. But will the biggest threat to their survival be the monsters in the jungle…or the ones inside the encampment with them?”

Rebel is the third and final book in The Extinction Trials trilogy and my word, I was NOT ready for this series to be over. I DEVOURED book 1 and 2 when they came to me and book 3 was NO different. If you haven’t already read them, THEN WHY NOT? (You might find my reviews of book 1 and book 2 helpful if this is the case!)

In Rebel, we begin with how life is looking for our 2 protagonistsStormchaser, who is living on Piloria with her father, and Lincoln, who is back in Ambulus City having gone back at the end of book 2. The stark differences between the two settings was always something that I loved about these books – Ambulus City was always so grey and dank, whereas you have lushness and colour on the island of Piloria (yes, yes, I know, there’s dinosaurs too!) Things start to go wrong when there’s a bit of a revolt and Ambulus City is burning to the ground. Lincoln, and the people who matter most to him, end up leaving the city on a boat bound for none other than, yep you guessed it, dinosaur land: Piloria. 

There are SO MANY THINGS I loved about this book. I’m going to try and summarise all of my thoughts into concise sentences, but you all know me… it’s not going to happen! I also need to try and NOT be spoilery. (If you wanna know the spoilery thing I loved about this book, then ask me… I won’t ruin it for everyone!)

It’s tense: like there’s some REAL moments of tension in this story. People butt heads, people argue (like you would if you’ve just moved to a brand new island with some of your least favourite people in the world). There’s DINOSAURS threatening your existence. A real thread of built up tension is written beautifully into this story and then there’s a few BOOM moments of fall out. 

It’s touching: seeing the relationships between the characters building was just lush. I have a real soft spot for most of the characters. I was so glad to see some of the old faves back. You see Storm and her dad HAVE to get on with each other. You see them actually LIKE each other and trying to understand each other. You see their relationship blossom into some kind of father/daughte relationship. Friendships, relationships: they’re all explored and it’s so so lush to read.

There’s a REALLY BLOODY GOOD VILLAIN: God, I HATED HIM. I wanted to punch him. But it’s what made him SO SO good. Someone with a CLEAR God complex going on. 

It’s dystopian fiction at its best: like… I BLOODY LOVE dystopian fiction, but this is the first series I’ve come across in a LONG time where I’ve been INVESTED. I love the characters, the worlds, the danger, the peril, the emotional investment. I dare you to read this book and NOT love it. 

Some old faves are back: Aw man. I don’t wanna spoil anything but I did a GENUINE woop at one moment. There’s a very touching moment with Lincoln and one of the characters that really touched me. You’ve gotta look out for the people who mean something to you and those closest to you! I loved that Blaine wasn’t forgotten in this story. I loved him SO much. 

Storm really blossoms in this story: Storm becomes this really empowered young woman. She stands up for herself and for the people and things she loves. She doesn’t seem to be afraid of the Stipulators in this story. She’s developed a real bit of gusto about herself in this story. I REALLY love Storm. She’s brilliant. 

So yeah, I loved this book. I loved this trilogy SO MUCH. I don’t think I can quite put into words how much I loved this trilogy. It ended in SUCH a satisfying way. 

My goodreads review: (lol look at me trying not to be spoilery everywhere)

YES THOUGH. I can’t say too much without being spoilery. But my gosh this was brilliant. It was tense and action packed and interesting and just brilliant. I’d missed these characters and this world so much!

Yes, I managed not to say the spoilery thing. I NEED SOMEONE ELSE TO READ THIS BOOK SO WE CAN TALK ABOUT IT THOUGH. 

If you’re looking for a brilliantly written, fun, dangerous dystopian series with characters you’ll want to read about, then I would whole-heartedly recommend The Extinction Trials. Rebel came out yesterday, so GO GO GO GET ALL 3 AND BINGE. It’s SO worth it! 

Have you read The Extinction Trials?
Do you think you’d survive on dinosaur island?
Are you a fan of a really good bloody villain?

A massive massive thank you to Usborne for sending me a copy of Rebel. I’m so so sad this series is over, but I am so glad it’s in my life!

S x 

 

BLOG TOUR: Slay On Tour

Today’s post is coming to you from the boyband tour bus in Japan as part of the Slay blog tour. If you don’t know the world of Slay yet, then you are 100% missing out. Check out my review of the first book in this series here!

Slay on Tour: slaying in all the VERY BEST ways!

“SLAY are BACK…and this time they’re headed to Tokyo to track down another hell-raising demon. When they’re invited on tour with a super-cool band of holographic girls, SLAY find themselves whisked off around Japan – until strange things start happening on their tour train. Suddenly it seems it’s not just SLAY’s fans following their every move…”

Slay on Tour sees the boys of Slay (a demon fighting boy band, obviously) fighting demons in Japan! Having read the first book and LOVING IT, I needed this second book in my life so much. This series is SUCH fun and it’s so incredible to read a book with such personality. The characters, the settings, the friendship and the family explored in these books makes me so happy. 29 year old me loves these books and I know that 15 year old me would have too: boybands and demon fighting… what more do we need?

Slay on Tour sees the boys in Japan, having been given the opportunity to tour alongside a new and incredibly revolutionary Japanese band. I always knew there was something up with the band and their people – a band of holographic girls who are “perfect”. Yeah, cause that’s normal… but I loved it. There was a bit of the feminist in me going “WE DON’T NEED TO BE PERFECT TO DESERVE TO BE IN A BAND”. 

Obviously, in the midst of all of this touring, the boys are still fighting demons. The demon slayers (I bloody love how descriptive the word slayers is!) have to fight some pretty dark and deceptive demons in this second installment. A demon who steals souls? Yeah. No thanks actually! There’s even the reappearance of an old “friend”. 

A massive shout out to the folklore in this book too. I loved the little nuggets of Japanese folklore information thrown in. (You all know I’m a PROPER sucker for a bit of a mythological story, so this made my heart sing!) Learning about other cultures and the stories from them is just mint – so to see this thrown into the book was another massive tick!

You get the fun of the demon fighting as well as those brilliant characters who we met and loved in book 1. The boys are just lush. I like each of them for very different reasons. I’d love them to be a real band, so I could join them (I don’t know that I’d be a great demon fighter like!) Not only that, but there is a lovely exploration of something which happens in book 1. This something (I don’t wanna share too much cause spoilers!) happens to have a massive impact on the dynamic of the band, with ever trusty Milly having to come to the rescue. I really love Milly. She’s sassy, brave and bold: she has to be. She’s thrust into this life of being in one of the biggest boybands in the world. And because she’s a badass, she takes it ALL in her stride. 

I loved this book. I may have even loved it more than book 1! I know, I know. I have my fingers crossed that there MAY be a third book. PLEASE. 

I even have an incredible exclusive quote from the brilliant Kim herself on why boy bands, fandoms and blurred lines! It sums up the Slay books so brilliantly!

“When I was growing up in the 90s, I had properly drunk the patriarchal kool aid. Without knowing why exactly, I put all things ‘girlie’ into a mental box labelled shameful. It’s internalised the misogyny that placed things that boys love above stuff that girls love. And, to my great sadness, that included boy bands. I was into Star Wars and The Teenage Ninja Turtles, X-Men comic books and Grunge rock music – all the geeky-cool stuff that defined a lot of ‘boy culture’. But, as I got older and began to examine my choices, I discovered there was a world of amazing ‘girl culture’ I’d been missing out on. As an adult, I loved it all. Twilight, Sailor Moon, High School Musical. And yes, One Direction! Now, I’m on a mission to see that all the things that teen girls love are given the same respect and the same value as the stuff boys love. And that when it comes to entertainment, gender should play no part in it. When writing Slay and Slay on Tour I consciously blurred all the lines between ‘girl’ stuff and ‘boy’ stuff to create something that’s just fun – which transcended gender.”

So please! Go out and buy these books if you’re looking for something EXCELLENT, FUN and PROPER GREAT. 

Have you read Slay?
Would you make it as a demon fighter?
Do you think I’d make it as a demon slayer?

Check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour… it was a proper honour to kick it off! Thanks so much to the brilliant humans of Usborne for asking me to kick off the tour! 

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Let’s get talking about #SlayonTour on twitter! These books deserve so much love! 

S x 

 

BLOG TOUR: Rosie Loves Jack

Happy Wednesday!

Today I’m here as part of the blog tour for the brilliant Rosie Loves Jack by Mel Darbon.

They can’t send you away. What will we do? We need us. I stop your angry, Jack. And you make me strong. You make me Rosie.

Rosie loves Jack. Jack loves Rosie. So when they’re separated, Rosie will do anything to find the boy who makes the sun shine in her head. 
Even run away from home.
Even struggle across London and travel to Brighton, though the trains are cancelled and the snow is falling. Even though people might think a girl like Rosie could never survive on her own. 
See the world through new eyes in this one-in-a-million story.

This is a blog tour like no other… today, in the spirit of the book, I’m going to share with you some people that I’d quite happily write to every day and why I think it’s important that we don’t let the art of letter writing die!

Dear everyone I love,

I think letter writing is a brilliant thing, that unfortunately is getting lost. It’s getting lost in our need for immediacy. I get it. I know that letter writing isn’t a thing that is necessary in the world of emails, text messages and WhatsApps – we get the answers we need today much faster. However, as much as it might not be necessary, it is JOYOUS. Tell me there’s something more exciting than receiving a letter in the post. Tell me there’s something more lovely than knowing someone’s taken some time to write you a letter.

I love receiving a letter. It makes me so happy. I’m not talking about bills and pension statements: I’m talking about letters from friends. Even the people I know the best in the world. I love receiving letters from them. One of my best friends and I go through phases where we write letters to each other and it makes me so happy. The sending and receiving of letters. I sent all of my children a postcard in the Summer holidays and the joy it brought them, and their parents, was such a testament to the power of letters for me.

Now I know I can’t write letters to everyone I know, every day of my life. If there was one person I had to write to every day, I would choose my brother or my best friend Kelly. Both of these people have a MASSIVE impact in my everyday life. Neither of them live particularly close to me – Kiruna (Sweden) and Cardiff… both FAR AWAY.

However, I’ll write to anyone who is willing to write back. There’s something very personal and therapeutic about writing a letter. I love that Rosie Loves Jack explores letters.

So hello, yes, you reading this – write someone a letter. If you don’t think you have anyone who would like to receive a letter, then send it to me. I’ll happily respond. It’s a lovely thing to do!

You’re all brilliant,

S x

Massive thank you to the brilliant humans of Usborne for asking me on the blog tour! It was a lot of fun getting to ramble on about writing letters and my love of it!

BOOK BLOG: S.A. Patrick

A Darkness of Dragons: a brilliant adventure!

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“After playing a forbidden spell-song to save a village from rats, 12-year-old piper Patch Brightwater is thrown in jail. But there he meets Wren – a noble girl under a rat-shaped curse – and together they befriend Barver, a fearsome dracogriff, and set off on a grand adventure filled with sorcerers, dragons, bandits…and one very deadly enemy.
From the depths of the Tiviscan dungeons to the highest peak of Gemspar Mountain, this stunning book reminds us of the soaring joy of adventure, the captivating danger of magic, and of the delight of finding friends in unexpected places.”

The brilliant humans of Usborne sent me a copy of A Darkness of Dragons a while back, but I’ve been in a bit of a state of reader’s block (as I explained in my November wrap up post). I’ve just been unable to read/do anything bookish of late… blame it on tiredness/SAD/general life. I read the first five chapters of this before said reader’s block started. Then, on Saturday, I picked this back up and within the space of a few hours I had CONSUMED the whole thing – that’s how good it is! 

This book is based in the world of the Pied Piper of Hamelin (which for me made my heart SO SO HAPPY – I love when books are based around traditional tales. If someone could write a book like this based on Rumplestiltskin, that would be incredible! I am a massive Rumplestiltskin fan!). Obviously, the Pied Piper is a terrible man and in this world, pipers are well loved and respected people. I loved the world of the pipers – the thought that music and magic were very much intertwined was a sheer delight to read. This was one of those books that once I was there, I was immersed in the world. I was walking through the forest with Patch and co. It’s an incredible world to be part of too… although I don’t know that I’d survive ha!

As well as this book being an incredible adventure, a young man, his dragon friend, his rat friend and an adventure to save their world, it features some absolutely incredible characters. Patch (the main character) is an incredibly brave and somewhat stubborn protagonist that I think kids will absolutely adore. Throw in Wren, a brilliant young girl who has been hexed into being a rat, and an incredibly sarcastic and dry dracogriff in the mix and you have this excellent bunch of characters who I just wanted more from. (I can’t wait for book 2 because I am a SUCKER for sequels!)

There’s some brilliant themes of friendship in this story. Unexpected friendships particularly. I loved the friendship that grew between Patch and Wren in particular. It showed that friends are there to support and guide each other through everything. These friends don’t have it easy, but they stick through the thick and the thin with each other! I mean, how many friends would stick by you when you’re thrown into one of the worst prisons imaginable?!

I think this book is going to go down a STORM at school. I can’t wait to hand it to some of the readers in my class. 

Have you read A Darkness of Dragons?
Can you think of a story you’d love to see revived?
Would you like a dragon friend?

Talk to me! Send me a dragon… please… someone?! Massive thanks to Usborne for sending me a copy!

S x 

BOOK BLOG: Peter G Bell

Today, I have the utter joy of hosting author Peter G Bell on my blog, talking about the story opening in The Train to Impossible Places. You’ll also get to hear about his wonderful main character, Suzy, and her rationalist beliefs and how these relate to the action of the story and the reader. Hope you enjoy!

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Reason Vs Weird

Most of us would love to discover that magic is real. Imagine if you came downstairs one night to find a trans-dimensional train, crewed by fantastical creatures, waiting to whisk you off to uncharted realms were anything was possible. You’d be thrilled, right?

   This is exactly what happens to Suzy, the main character of The Train To Impossible Places. And she is not thrilled at all.

   On the contrary, she feels positively offended. Because, as an eleven year old rationalist, she knows full well that magic can’t be real, and that trolls can’t exist. The laws of physics are sacrosanct. In short, the train shatters her understanding of the world. How she chooses to deal with that will determine both her fate, and the fate of everyone she meets on her adventure.

   I made Suzy a rationalist because I knew the train and its crew were going to be fairly anarchic and unpredictable, and I wanted a main character who would push back against that. In doing so, Suzy keeps the story grounded, even when she’s out of her depth (which is most of the time) and always asks the questions the reader needs answering.

   When it comes to science, the trolls’ rule of thumb is this: the laws of physics are all well and good, but as soon as they become inconvenient, a dash of magic is needed to help grease the wheels. This is fuzzics (like physics, only fuzzier), and it drives Suzy up the wall. Sometimes literally.

   I’m no sociologist, but I suspect many of our culture’s current problems stem from the conscious uncoupling of reason from the other human faculties; a nasty habit we picked up during the Enlightenment, and which has been indulged to a greater or lesser extent ever since. On the one hand, this culminates in people choosing to dismiss the valid spiritual, philosophical and emotional foundations of so much human experience. On the other, it leads to a suspicion of empirical knowledge, which opens the door to all manner of charlatans eager to present us with “alternative facts”. Neither condition is good for us.

   That’s why, in the midst of all the fantasy elements, I made sure never to undermine Suzy’s belief in science. It is never shown to be untrue – on the contrary, she uses Newton’s Laws of Motion to save herself from danger at one point – but she also discovers that science isn’t the neat and tidy solution to all life’s problems that she thought it was. She is never tempted to reject it, but she does have to expand her thinking beyond it and, to her credit, that’s exactly what she does.

   She makes room in herself for a broader perspective. And that’s what sees her through in the end.

You should definitely check out The Train to Impossible Places! It’s such a great story and the cover is JUST EXCEPTIONAL. 

Massive thanks to Peter for this blog post! I love getting an insight into authors and their characters – authors really do know their characters inside out! 

S x 

BLOG TOUR: Theatrical

Today I have the sheer joy of being part of the blog tour for Theatrical, the newest book from the wonderful Maggie Harcourt. Today’s blog post is not only a review but I get to share a little bit of my love for theatre too… what a joyous thing to read on a Monday morning! 

Theatrical: a book to make you smile and show the magic of theatre!

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“Hope dreams of working backstage in a theatre, and she’s determined to make it without the help of her famous costume designer mum. So when she lands an internship on a major production, she tells no one. But with a stroppy Hollywood star and his hot young understudy upstaging Hope’s focus, she’s soon struggling to keep her cool… and her secret.”

Theatrical follows the story of Hope, a young girl who is trying to make her name in theatre, without people knowing who she really is. She’s fed up of being handed opportunities because of who her mother is. She wants to make a name for herself, to fight her own battles and to find her own corner of the theatre world. Her mother is a well-known costume designer and a big name in theatre, but Hope has no interest in costume design (much to her mother’s disapproval), she wants to work backstage. That’s where the magic really happens for Hope. 

When Hope is offered a chance to work on a production in a theatre, she snaps up the chance, without knowing exactly WHO will be working on this production. Imagine being Hope in that scenario. You’ve just been offered your dream opportunity (to work in a production) and then they announce that one of the biggest names in Hollywood is also working on this production, along with another pretty famous name (and the two have a connection). Hope is gobsmacked (so would I be…. I have 0 chill… ask anyone who knows me!). 

Keeping secrets from her mam and her friends, Hope ends up a bit jumbled in her life, and when she ends up in the papers, things end up blowing up in her face. Poor Hope. But she’s living her dream. She’s doing the thing she wants to do. She’s living her opportunity. 

I really REALLY loved Hope. She’s a marvellous main character. She made me laugh a lot. She’s sweet, brave and she’s not afraid to stick to her guns. She’s a main character you really root for and I need that with my main characters. Along with really falling for her, there was part of me that felt like I know her pain. Making a name for myself this year as a teacher, outside of my normal role has been a thing. 

This book, just like Unconventional, made me really smile. I think there’s something to be said for Maggie’s incredible ability to write books that just make me so happy. There’s not enough books out there that are just happy books (if you can recommend me any then I will take them off your hands because I love a feel good book!)

A quick shout out to the romance in this book because I’m ALL ABOUT IT. 

My goodreads review of Theatrical reads:

A gorgeously fun, light hearted and just lush story, filled with characters you’ll fall for in a heartbeat. The epilogue made me cry a lot. It’s family that matter most, getting their approval means EVERYTHING. I adore Hope – she’s bold, gutsy and despite how brilliant she is, she doubts herself (maybe, just maybe I see a lot of myself in Hope). Maggie Harcourt has yet again written a book which will make you smile. 

Another of the things that I loved about Theatrical is how nostalgic it made me for the theatre itself. I loved the backstage secrets and the glimpses into life as someone who works in the theatre. As a massive Carrie Hope Fletcher fan (I wonder if that’s where Hope came from?!), it was lush to see what life is like on that side of the curtain. I’m very lucky in that I’ve had the chance to see Matilda the Musical twice and both times it just blew my mind. (I rambled on about it in my first ever blog post… Matilda The Musical).

Just recently though I had the opportunity to go and see an outdoor performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and it was wonderful. The acting was incredible. It was funny, irreverent and I was engrossed the entire way through. There’s something to be said for the wonder of Shakespeare himself. 

I think there’s something really magical about going to the theatre and Theatrical really manages to encapsulate that.

Thank you for sticking with me… this ended up being a LONG one.

Check out the rest of the blog tour! Just look at how many people there are on the tour! There’s going to be some cracking reviews. I can’t wait to see all of the love for the theatre too! Share your theatre love stories with me on twitter, use the hashtag #Theatrical for the world to see too! Let’s show all those actors/actresses/directors and stagepeople how much we love the theatre!

Theatrical blog tour

S x

BOOK BLOG: S M Wilson

Exile: new friends, old friends; new enemies, old enemies; same old dangerous dinosaurs. 

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“Betrayal. Sacrifice. Survival. Welcome to The Extinction Trials.

After surviving on Piloria once, Storm and Lincoln are the obvious candidates to return to the dinosaur continent to test the new virus that should clear the way for human settlement. But they have their own priorities – finding a cure for the plague that’s sweeping Earthasia, and keeping themselves alive.”

For those of you who have been living under a rock, The Extinction Trials is one of those brilliantly excellent series that comes along and kicks you in the face with its brilliance. Last year, the first book in the trilogy (I think?!) was released. The Extinction Trials was our first introduction to Stormchaser and her world – trying to rid their world of dinosaurs. If you’re interested in finding out more about The Extinction Trials, check out my review here BLOG TOUR: The Extinction Trials. It’s actually a little bit different that review – it’s an aesthetic/mood board that the book inspired. You should DEFINITELY read the book though

For those of you who have read book 1, welcome to my review of book 2. Yes, hello, I have read Exile and I LOVED IT OK. (I could stop this review there, but I’m sure you came for more than I LOVED IT OK. I love lots of books. That’s probably one of the things you’ve noticed about me. But anyway, less rambling, more reviewing).

So Exile leaves off not long after where The Extinction Trials finishes. Storm, Lincoln and the crew are back in their home land, away from the land of the dinosaurs. Safe. Ish. Life has carried on while they were away – Arta is still poorly, people are still starving, there are still more people than there is land. At the end of Extinction Trials, Storm makes a very brave decision which benefits those siblings who are left behind. She’s kind of bending the rules; she’s been brilliant. Things start to change for Storm. She ends up getting a new job, which obviously leads her to going back to Piloriaback to the dinosaurs. Back to the danger, the nightmare. But also back to the colour, the warmth, the dream. (I won’t spoil it for you as to HOW she comes about this situation… but I thought it was an INTERESTING turn of events that made sense! And YAY Lincoln gets to go back with her!)

So here we go again, ready to fight the battle again – dinosaurs, danger and DNA. It’s always dinosaurs and their DNA. It’s always dinosaurs and their death. 

I absolutely loved being back on Piloria with these characters again. I didn’t realise how much I missed these characters until I started reading again. It’s so wonderful when you read the second book in a trilogy and you remember what you loved about them so much. I very much have that about Storm and Lincoln. I remembered their stories. The things these kids have to go through for their government are astounding. I just think I don’t know what I would do. The assortment of dilemmas thrown at them through the book are eye-opening. Would you choose to kill dinosaurs? Would you do anything to save your sister? Would you rescue the families of the people you watched die? Would you go to a VERY dangerous island with your estranged father? (I know what I would do, and it would not be noble. I am much too duty bound)

I absolutely loved seeing Blaine again. He was one of the things I loved the most about book 1 so getting to see him again in this book made me so happy. (I clearly have something about that kind of character – the man left to survive on the island. The Explorer from The Explorer was one of my favourite things about that book too!) Adding new characters, new dynamics, new relationships to the mix meant there was another level of risk, danger and love in the mission this time. There’s daughters and fathers, old friends and new friends, enemies and friends. Add in new emotions and new people to a mission that some have already been on before and you’re bound to have some frought tempers.

Another thing I absolutely adored in this book (and in book 1) was that it was JUST THE RIGHT amount of peril. There were moments where I was like OMG NO. DONT DO THAT. SHUSH BE QUIET. THEY’LL HEAR YOU. (I know the characters can’t hear me, that doesn’t stop me though, shush now!) DINOSAURS ARE SCARY GUYS. I mean, I wouldn’t want to mess with a T-Rex. I don’t care who you are. The dinosaur scenes are intense. A lot intense. 

This book is BRILLIANT. I love a good bit of dystopian YA fiction (hello have you met me?) and Susan Wilson just keeps hitting the nail on the head with these books. If you’re looking for a brilliant, brave main character, some danger and beautiful writing, then you’ve come to the right series!

My Goodreads review is SO terrible, I really must work on these:
“SO GOOD. I missed these characters, this world. There’s some new friends and enemies in this book and the plot is woven deeper this time round. Just lush.”

Also, a massive massive cry happened when I saw this… THAT’S ME. I definitely did cry. Me and some of my favourites. Thank you so much to Susan. I will forever shout about these books because they’re WONDERFUL.

Anyway, yes. There you go. Sorry to keep you here so long. Have you bought the book yet? Are you tempted to? Well you should because it’s brilliant. I don’t lie to you guys ever. I wouldn’t. 

Are you tempted to buy The Extinction Trials?
Would you like to follow Storm and go to Piloria?
Do you have a favourite dinosaur?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter! I’m always free for a chat – @eenalol!

S x

 

BOOK BLOG: Politics for Beginners

Don’t have a clue where to start when it comes to politics? Want a fun and accessible way to teach your kids? Politics for Beginners is a great starting point!

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Politics for Beginners is a brilliant book filled with facts to teach kids all about politics – not just our politics in the UK, but the history of politics, politics around the world and so much more! It’s filled with wonderful illustrations and facts galore. 

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The contents page lays it out so clearly that it makes this book super accessible. There’s chapters on all kinds of things that kids might want to know about. Think you have a revolutionary on your hands? They might want to check out ‘Political Change’. Have a budding historian in the making? They’ll love ‘All Kinds of Governments’. My favourite chapter however has to be ‘Big Questions’ which deals so brilliantly with all kinds of things from Am I a feminist? to What is terrorism? Big, big questions that kids will ask and want to be able to answer, dealt with in ways which are relatable for kids.

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I absolutely love this page – explaining all kinds of governments in one handy chart. (I could easily have chosen so many pages to take pictures of!)

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Now, I wouldn’t say I’m ignorant when it comes to politics (I keep up with what’s going on around the world and in the UK) but I learned an awful lot reading through this. It’s as useful for adults as it is kids! It’s gone down really well at school, with a few classes using it for one off lessons or for finding out about politics.

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There’s a brilliant glossary at the back of the book too to define some of the words set out in the book.

This is a great tool for educating kids about politics. It’s full of facts, quizzes, charts and some thought provoking questions. Ideal for KS2+ (as an adult, it’s BRILLIANT because it’s accessible without being condescending). It’s the kind of book I wish I had had when I was a kid. Politics needs to be accessible for everyone, it’s our future at stake at the end of the day! 

S x