S4S – Bookish highlights

Hello there! Here we are for #SixforSunday again! 

(Sorry I’m late today… I don’t know where my draft of this post went!)

Today we’re here to talk:

Bookish highlights

I’m going to use this prompt to count down 6 books that surprised me and blew my socks off this year!

  1. Show Stopper and Show Stealer by Hayley Barker
    I BLOODY adored these two books. I knew I would enjoy them, but I wasn’t expecting to love them just as much as I did (I almost used a swear word there… that’s how much I loved them!)
  2. Scythe by Neal Shusterman
    This is one that I’d seen EVERYONE talking about… which always makes me suspicious… but my word, guys, THIS BOOK.
  3. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
    I hadn’t read an Adam Silvera book before, but guys… this book broke my heart SO MUCH. I have such vivid memories of sitting in Waterstones Piccadilly crying my heart out. 
  4. Outside by Sarah Ann Juckes 
    This isn’t out til next year but I won a proof at YALC. I just can’t with this book. It’s so heartbreaking, but so so brilliant. It made me go WTF at a few points, but it’s such an incredible story. Please PLEASE get this read next year when it comes out.
  5. The Secret Deep by Lindsay Galvin
    THIS BOOK MAN. I read this book MONTHS ago and it’s still one of those books that I want everyone to read. I just adored it. I think it matters so much cause it hit a chord with me too. 
  6. The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
    I knew nothing about this book when I read it, but I ADORED IT. It’s dark and twisted and delicious. Go read it man, you won’t regret it!

And there we have it! Six books which surprised me this year! Thanks for popping by for this week’s #SixforSunday.

See you next week!

S x 

November wrap up!

It may be December 10th, but I still am yet to round up my (rather pitiful looking) November reads!

In November, I:

Only read 3 books!
Started a few books, but my brain wouldn’t let me read.
Suffered from some pretty bad SAD.
Was a bit poorly.
Slept a lot.
Started rehearsing for the Christmas play at school.
Experienced my worst reading block for a while.
Did some Christmas shopping!

My November in books is a pretty TINY pile comapred to some months… but hey, when you’re not in the mood, you’re not in the mood!

The books I managed to get through were:

2 YA books and 1 kids book. 

I was SO VERY FORTUNATE to be send a proof copy of Fierce Fragile Hearts and I consumed it in a matter of hours a few weekends ago. I’m currently still trying to process my thoughts on it, but I tell you this guys, you NEED to get on it. It’s out next year and I just think Sara Barnard has yet again written an absolute winner. She is 100% one of my faves.

I’ve written a review of The Boneless Mercies here and my review of Fortunately, The Milk is to come!

What about my book challenges?

#BritishBooksChallenge: 105/12 (maybe more!)
#52books2018: 92/52 (just kids books!)
Goodreads challenge: 152/52

Now, for all this month wasn’t a GREAT success reading wise, I am still streets ahead of my yearly goal… which pleases me to no end! I’m hoping to read 4 books in December, so that I’m on 156 books (300% of my original target). Bring on the Christmas holidays!

How is your yearly goal looking?
Are you looking forward to Christmas festivities too?
What’s on your Christmas to read pile?

Let me know in the comments!

S x

Looking for a brilliant read for a teen in your life?

Here we are, day 3 of my gift guide. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them! It’s been a blast looking back at my year in books and thinking which ones I would recommend people buy and read AND SHOVE IN EACH OTHERS FACES *ahem*.

Today, on this here final day of recommending, I’m sorting through the MANY MANY YA books I’ve read this year and giving you 12 that you ABSOLUTELY need to buy for the YA fan in your life! (Just as the past few days, none of these books will REALLY come as a surprise!) Without further ado…

2018 ya recs

Scythe/Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury (while we’re at it… The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy too, LBR)

Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard (and ANY of her other books too)

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Show Stopper/Show Stealer by Hayley Barker

White Rabbit, Red Wolf by Tom Pollock

The Secret Deep by Lindsay Galvin

Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt

Clean by Juno Dawson

Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber (and Wing Jones too)

Floored by the Floored Seven

TADAAAAH. You made it. This list could’ve been so much longer. GO AND BUY THEM ALL. READ THEM ALL. LOVE THEM ALL.

Do you agree with my recommendations?
Can you add any to my list?
Which of these books have you loved most?

Talk to me in the comments! Are you SHOCKED by my choices?

S x

BOOK BLOG: April Tucholke

The Boneless Mercies: a beautifully brilliant book!

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“Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are Boneless Mercies – death-traders, hired to kill quickly, quietly and mercifully. It is a job for women, and women only. Men will not do this sad, dark work. Frey has no family, no home, no fortune, and yet her blood sings a song of glory. So when she hears of a monster slaughtering men, women, and children in a northern jarldom, she decides this the Mercies’ one chance to change their fate. But glory comes at a price …”

ANY book that has this gorgeous a cover is SURE to catch my eye. Just look at that turquoise, the black and the foil… and yes, that gold is metallic and shiny (my picture just does it NO justice at all). I had high hopes for a book with such an incredible cover, and my gosh, this book did not disappoint. 

The Boneless Mercies tells the tale of Frey, her friends and a journey through some wicked and wild enemies. Frey and her friends are Boneless Mercies – young women who are hired by people to do mercy killings for anyone who can pay. None of these girls fell into being a Mercy on purpose, they all became mercies because of the way their lives fell into place. No matter though, they are frightfully loyal to each other and there is an awful lot of love between them. I think they friendship might be one of the things I loved most about this book… their unrelenting loyalty and love for each other. We all need friends like that. 

There’s some BRILLIANT themes of life and death in this story. The way that death is approached in this story was fascinating to read. There’s no glorification of death, but a gentle acceptance of it and a giving of death. I loved the girls’ dedication to their jobs, even when they don’t want to do that job anymore. 

Another thing I love SO MUCH about books is the incorporation of folk stories and myths (I know, what a surprise, I’ve definitely typed that sentence before) and this book doesn’t shy away from it. There’s a lovely sense of storytelling in this story. “Storytelling can keep you warm on the coldest of nights” (that’s not a direct quote, but it’s paraphrasing a quote!) You see the girls’ lives and the lives of the ones they meet through their storytelling, and it made me feel like I was sat by a fire, listening. This is the perfect book to read while sitting next to a fire… just incase you want a recommendation! 

I have to take a very little moment here to write a little appreciation for Trigve here. I don’t wanna give any spoilers, but guys. I think he’s just wonderful. If there is to be a book 2, I need my shipper heart to be happy, thanks! 

I’m not gonna lie, yes, there was a bit when I cried (again, no one will be shocked by this!). This book made me 100% invested in these girls’ lives, and I needed them all to keep powering on, keep surviving. Cause I tell you now… I WOULD NOT. In the cold and the snow and the outside all the time? NO THANKS. 

If you, like me, are a lover of books with BRILLIANT characters, some incredible storytelling and set in an intriguing world, then this is 100% the book for you! GO GO GO FRIENDS.

My Goodreads review:

A brilliantly written book with characters I absolutely adored. There was so much in this that I need time to process it. Badass characters, a sense of mythology and an interesting world. I REALLY hope there’s going to be a second one.

Have you read The Boneless Mercies?
Do you think you’d be a good Mercy killer?
RECOMMEND ME BOOKS LIKE THIS PLZ. Thanks.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments, because I need to know if ANYONE ELSE was with me on the Trigve thing. I love him. A massive thank you to Olivia at Simon and Schuster for senging me this book! I wholeheartely loved it! 

S x 

 

The ‘Totally Should Have’ Tag

Hello again! Just me back with more tag goodness! I’m loving the tag lifestyle here.

I don’t remember where I saw this tag, but I’ve had the notes about thgis tag in my blogging notebook for months so I fitured I would get round to posting it finally! This is the ‘Totally Should Have’ tag, where I weigh in on books that totally should have… something or other!

1. Totally should’ve gotten a sequel

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Hmmm… Simon vs the HomoSapiens Agenda. To be fair, I just want a sequel of Simon and Blue goodness because my word I ship that HARD.

2. Totally should’ve had a spin off series

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Floored! I would’ve loved to see more about the lives of the crew, especially Hugo (despite the fact I thought he was a dick ha!) or Kaitlyn (cause she was an absolute darling).

3. An author who totally should write more books

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Oooooooooooooh, interesting question! Emery Lord would be one of my candidates! Most of the authors who I think should write more books are currently writing more books, so I don’t know that I can nominate them.

(If you’re reading though Barnard, Salisbury, Evans, Hargrave et al… I mean you lot!)

4. A character who totally should’ve ended up with someone else

I have NO idea for an answer for this question. As a serial shipper, this is something I feel strongly about. Let me get back to you!

5. Totally should’ve ended differently

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The ending of Thunderhead BAFFLED me. I still loved it, but I just didn’t get it. I’m very much looking forward to the third book… but yeah, BAFFLING.

6. Totally should’ve had a movie franchise

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I stand firm that Six of Crows deserves a movie or 3.

7. Totally should’ve had a TV show

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The Extinction Trials by S.M.Wilson would make a great TV series in my opinion.

8. Totally should’ve had only one point of view

Again, this is one where I’m torn because I LOVE multiple perspective books. I don’t think I’ve read one that I didn’t like the other perspective. Some books have TOO MANY perspectives, which BAFFLES me to no end.

9. Totally should have a cover change

ANY COVER THAT HAS A PERSON ON THE FRONT. Not an illustration, but an ACTUAL person. Anyone who knows and has ever been book shopping with me will know that this is very much my least favourite thing about covers.

10. Totally should’ve kept the original covers

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOH. Controversial. I do not know though. I think MOST cover changes are done for the GOOD of the covers having shelf appeal.

11. Totally should’ve stopped at book one

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Me Before You. That second book I did not believe AT ALL and haven’t gotten round to reading the third book because I disliked the second one so much.

There we go!

Do you agree with any of my answers? 
What would your answers be?
Have you got any covers that you hate?
DO you agree with me on the “take people off the covers of books”?

Speak to me! Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

S x

 

October in books!

Well hello November, you snuck up on me indeed.

I’m not sure where October went (it took half of my half term with it too!), but here we are… the end of another month, around for another bookish round up!

In October, I:

Visited Edinburgh with my favourite.
Spent most of my half term poorly.
Loved every second of being a teacher.
Got to interview David Levithan and Laura Steven at Waterstones (!!)
Went out to breakfast with my best friends.
Finished my first half term as an NQT.
Sang a lot of Livin on a Prayer.
Read 15 books (!!)

October was a pretty incredible month! I NEVER expected to have read 15 books! That’s blown my mind a little bit!

What MG did I read?

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A Chase in Time – Sally Nicholls *
Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters – Andrea Beaty *
The Dog That Saved Christmas – Nicola Davies *
Isadora Moon Makes Winter Magic – Harriet Muncaster *
Max the Detective Cat: The Phantom Portrait – Sarah Todd Taylor *
The Boy Who Lived With Dragons – Andy Shepherd *
The Truth Pixie – Matt Haig
A Pinch of Magic – Michelle Harrison *

* reviews to come!

What about YA?

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Thunderhead – Neal Shusterman*
And The Ocean Was Our Sky – Patrick Ness*
Jack of Hearts and Other Parts – L. C. Rosen*
Someday – David Levithan
Firebird – Elizabeth Wein*

Anything else?

I also read The Next Person You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. I am a massive Mitch Albom fan. My review of this is to come!

I’m really chuffed with how many books I managed to read last month! There were definitely some stand outs! Keep your eyes peeled this week for a round up of reviews and some more in depth reviews too!

What about my book challenges?

#BritishBooksChallenge: 104/12 (maybe more!)
#52books2018: 91/52 (just kids books!)
Goodreads challenge: 148/52

Now that it’s November, we will be in for full swing Christmas mode at school! I am also  sticking to my pledge of reading every night before bed.

How are you getting doing with your book challenges?
What was your favourite read in October?
Do you prefer my in depth reviews or my round ups?

Don’t forget to let me know in the comments/on twitter if there’s anything you want to see me read/want to see on my blog. I love your suggestions!

S x

 

BOOK BLOG: David Levithan

Someday: what happens when you accept the love you never thought you could have?

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“For as long as A can remember, life has meant waking up in a different person’s body every day, forced to live as that person until the day ended. A always thought there wasn’t anyone else who had a life like this. But A was wrong. There are others.

A has already been wrestling with powerful feelings of love and loneliness. Now comes an understanding of the extremes that love and loneliness can lead to—and what it’s like to discover that you are not alone in the world.”

As one of the biggest fans of David Levithan, I knew that I needed to read this book as soon as I heard that it was coming out. For those of you who aren’t sure about this world, A never wakes up in the same body twice. Rhiannon is a young girl who A met in book 1 and their tale is one that’s stuck with me for a long time.

Immersing myself back into the magical world of A and Rhiannon again was such an incredible experience. I’d loved their story for a long time. The thought of not being the same person every day terrified me though. The thought of the person I love not being the same every day equally baffled me. Through the book, you get such an overwhelming feeling of yearning and want from both sides. They both might have “moved on” with their lives… but they still feel this invisible thread holding them together. We’ve all been there. We’ve all wanted to speak to soneone we can’t anymore. If we were given the opportunity, should we take it? Would it be any help?

Honesty time: I’m going through this a bit at the minute. There’s people from my past that I’d love to just talk to, so I know how both of them are feeling.

Different from the other books in this series, there’s another character who is like A. X is a bit more sinister, a bit more evil than A. X’s perception of what they do is different to A’s. They both come at what happens to them with different motives in mind. X is quite a desctructive force; A wants to be a positive force in these people’s lives. X scared me at times. They were everything A isn’t. My brain struggled at times to accept that there could be “bad versions” of A in this world. 

One of the things I love most about Levithan’s writing is that it makes you question so much. What is it to be human? What is it to love? Are we ever the same person every day? Don’t we all change? What is a soul? I love a book that makes me think. I love a quotable book. There’s so many passages in this book that I could quite happily go back and highlight, frame and preach forever. This one about everyone’s story just made my soul sing when I read it:

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This book was everything I wanted from it. There’s a gorgeous gentle ebb and flow of loving, missing, adjusting, accepting – just as there is in life. I felt protected and trusted this book (which could be a weird thing to say? I don’t know how else to explain it!) 

So yeah. Go read this whole series. Imagine living in A or Rhiannon’s shoes. You are already living them – you’re never the same person you were when you woke up yesterday. 

If you so fancy it, I have the ABSOLUTE honour of chairing a chat with David Levithan and Laura Steven (author of the incredible The Exact Opposite of Okay) at the end of October (30th to be exact) at Waterstones Newcastle. Come along and hear me fangirl and not know what to say to two authors I absolutely admire. It’ll be lots of fun! Tickets are only £3 can be bought here or in the shop! I’d love to see lots of friendly faces! 

S x

Mini reviews – wrap up!

Hello friends!

How are we all? What is everyone reading at the minute? 

I’m currently reading Someday by David Levithan (in preparation for the event I’m hosting with him and the AMAZING Laura Steven. If you’re knocking about Newcastle on October 30th, come along… you can get tickets from Waterstones or click this link to get your ticket! I know… I don’t know how this is my life either. Come along and see me fangirling so hard)

Anyway… I’m here to wrap up some books I’ve read recently! I had a day last weekend where I just read non-stop and I managed to read like 5 books, so I decided to write a wrap up with mini reviews of them all for you! I want to share these books cause they’re great! 

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Race to the Frozen North by Catherine Johnson
Released: September 15th 2018
Publisher: Barrington Stoke

I’m starting with this one because I absolutely adored it. This would be an INCREDIBLE book to use in the classroom for explorers/biographies. It’s definitely more aimed for Y5/6 but would be readable from Year 4. I loved the story this told – a black man whose achievements were ignored, due to the colour of his skin. This book tells of his life from childhood to old age, focusing on the hardships he faced as a black person in America during the late 19th and early 20th century. I found this a touching and moving story, which outraged me and made me cross at some points. I think this is the point though – it’s a book that is meant to make you feel things. It would be brilliant to use for Black History Month. This book would also open many doors for discussions about racial prejudice and bias in history. Would recommend wholeheartedly.

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The Treatment by C.L.Taylor.
Released: last year
Publisher: HQ 

I’d seen a lot of people talking about this book, so I decided to pick it up. It’d been sat on my TBR for a little while, but I was very much in the mood for something a little bit “scarier” than my usual. I started reading this and I was instantly gripped. A story all about a girl going to save her brother from being “brainwashed”? Yes please! Also, it really helped that Newcastle was mentioned (shush man, I love it, it doesn’t happen very often!). This book is well paced with moments where I was actually pretty scared. The characters are brilliant – there’s a character for everyone! I never want to find myself in the centre!

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The Lost Diary of Sami Star by Karen McCombie
Released: 15th September 2018
Publisher: Barrington Stoke

This story is about Hannah. A young girl who is feeling left out. At home, at school, she doesn’t feel like anyone is paying attention to her. She finds a diary in the park and instantly feels like she’s made a new friend. She really likes the person in the diary and makes it her mission to find this person, to reunite this person with their diary. I really enjoyed this book. It’s super readable (as all of Barrington Stoke books are) and it had a lovely message – look for the good in people, and yourself. 

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The Littlest Witch – Bianca Pitzorno
Released: 1st October 2018
Publisher: Catnip Books

I loved this book. It was a great tale all about the downfalls of greed. A story about a young man who has been left a fortune, but he has to marry a witch and the greed that blinds him! Reading this was a whole load of fun. This will be great for children who love a magical story. There’s some crazy antics with the sisters and the little bit of magic left me with a warm heart.

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Lavinia and the Magic Ring – Bianca Pitzorno
Released: 1st October 2018
Publisher: Catnip Books

Another book by Bianca Pitzorno I read very swiftly! This book has a bit of an Oliver feel about it, a young girl who is poor. Throw in a Cinderella feeling of the “fairy godmother” who blesses Lavinia with a magic ring and you have a tale that kids will love. Lavinia makes some brilliant moves in this book and she ends up outwitting quite a few adults! I really enjoyed this, it made me chuckle at points! There’s some very funny moments involving a lot of poo!

And there you go! 

Have you read any of these?
Would you like to hear more about any of them?
Can you recommend me any books based on these reads?
Do you like these mini review/wrap up type posts?

Talk to me! I’d love to hear from you! 

S x

September in books

Well hello October, you came quickly my friend!

I did not think September would go as quickly as it did, but here we are… the end of another month, around for another bookish round up!

In September, I:

Read 8 books.
Started my first term as an NQT.
Had my first NQT observation.
Announced I was doing another event (with Laura Steven and David Levithan)!!!
Had days of not reading and then a weekend of binge reading.
Got very excited for some 2019 releases.
Received some absolutely lush book post. 

September was an incredible month. I finally started teaching and it’s genuinely the best thing. I love it so much. 

But you’re here for books, yes?

Let’s start with MG:

I managed 6 MG books this month!

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It seems September was the month of beautiful turquoise covers. Trust me… they’re LUSH. Watch out for reviews this week! I can’t wait to share my thoughts on all of these!

Now, some YA:

I got through 2 YA books this month!

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I loved BOTH of these books. I’ve already reviewed Scythe. My review of The Treatment is still to come… but trust me, it is EXCELLENT, if not a bit spooky!

I’m chuffed with this! I felt like tiredness stopped me from reading, so was under the impression I’d done NO reading this month, so to find that I’ve actually read 8 is brilliant. 

What about my book challenges?

#BritishBooksChallenge: 97/12 (maybe more!)
#52books2018: 82/52 (just kids books!)
Goodreads challenge: 133/52

Now that it’s October, I’ll have a half term to get some reading done. However, I am sticking to my pledge of reading every night before bed.

How are you getting doing with your book challenges?
What was your favourite read in September?
Do you wanna know more about any of my books?

Don’t forget to let me know in the comments/on twitter if there’s anything you want to see me read/want to see on my blog. I love your suggestions!

S x

BOOK BLOG:Sarah Ann Juckes

Outside: harrowing, surprising and emotional

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“Outside follows the story of Ele, who is held captive in a small room by a man known as ‘Him’. Ele is determined to prove there is a world Outside. And when she finds a hole in the wall, the proof starts leaking in. In this dark and compelling debut novel, Ele’s strong and heartbreakingly optimistic voice shines through, revealing an important lesson about the power of stories to save lives”

I was lucky enough to win a proof of this at YALC and I hadn’t heard of it, nor did I read the letter from the author in the book before I started to read. Part of me is glad I didn’t read, part of me thinks I would’ve been more emotionally prepared for the onslaught of terror and tears that followed!

Outside follows the story of a little girl, Ele, who is determined to get outside into freedom. She’s never been outside of her room. She’s locked in a tower and she’s determined to get out, but isn’t really sure how. She’s frightened. There’s a mysterious man (Him) who she is defintely afraid of. Reading through this book, it took me a good chunk of the book until I was sure the main character is a young girl – you’re never explicitly told, it’s just something that is assumed, but my brain was not sold entirely. This made the book even more of an enigma for me because I wanted to know, so I kept reading and my word, it is so excellent

I spent a lot of this book scared and worried for the little girl. I was terrified of Him. There’s some harrowing scenes in this book. There’s some pretty dark themes explored in this which made me more gripped, but horrified at times too. These themes are dealt with excellent care: you never feel exposed or stamped on. 

There’s a lot of juxtaposition in this book: light vs dark, love vs hate, fear vs safety, trusting vs fearing, knowing vs not knowing. The main character goes through a lot of confusing emotions between wanting to be outside vs the fear of being outside. But this is to be expected! Imagine going outside for the first time and the things you come across… I love this kind of thing because as a reader you never REALLY know where you stand in life. 

Yes, this book is dark and deals with some pretty bleak themes, but it also has some gorgeously light moments. When you meet him, you’ll love Ezra. He’s the ultimate hero. He needs needs a million medals. This book shows the kindness and strength of the human spirit brilliantly. 

Did I cry? OH MY WORD YES. It broke my soul quite a lot

Unfortunately, you’ve got quite a while to wait as it’s not out until January 2019. But trust me, it is worth the wait.

Can you imagine never being outside?
What do you think would baffle you most about being outside?
Are you excited for the release of Outside?

Let me know your thouhgts in the comments! I’d love to know your answers to my questions!

S x