S4S – YALC authors

It’s Sunday. It’s YALC. I’m excited.

It’s Sunday. It’s #SixforSunday time!

Last week I posted about books that I’m excited for at YALC, this week I’m talking: 

Six authors I am excited to meet at YALC

  1. Melinda Salisbury 
  2. Sara Barnard
  3. Alice Broadway
  4. Holly Bourne
  5. Will Hill
  6. Katie Webber

I have met some of these authors before at other events, but some I have not.

It goes without saying that I am excited for ALL OF THE YALC. But these authors and their books have a special place in my heart!

Who are you most excited to meet?
Which panels must you not miss?
How are you feeling now that YALC is almost over?

Let me know in the comments, or use the hashtag #SixforSunday on twitter! I would love to see who you’re all excited for!

S x

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Book people are the best people…

Why books bring people together

Opinions – popular and unpopular. Being listened to. Being heard. Reading incredible blogs by gorgeous Grace. Feeling included. Meeting new friends. Being invited to incredible events. Beauty and the Beast. Strong, female characters. Book recommendations. Book talk. Book swapping. Being surrounded by people who support you. People who encourage you. (Friends who encourage your book buying habit!) Stories you need. Stories that change you. Books with meaning. Books that make you laugh. Books for the sake of reading. Authors who respect you. Authors you respect. Talking, commending, fangirling over a book or an author. Laughing. Crying. All of the crying. Blog posts about books. The honesty of books. The honesty of authors. Making friends with people half way around the world because of a book. Making friends with someone along the road because of a book. 

I love being a book blogger. 
I love being a reader.

S x

ONE YEAR?!

One year ago today, I posted my first blog post.
One year later, I’m posting my 257th blog post.

One year ago today, I sat in this seat and figured it would fizzle out.
One year later, I’m still sat here, writing this.

One year ago today, I posted about Matilda. 
One year later, I’m still blogging about Matilda.

One year ago today, I sat here thinking, “will anyone read this? will anyone even care?”
One year later I still worry that no one cares or that no one will read. 

One year ago today, I had no idea what to do with my blog.
One year later, I have some direction and know where I want to going.

One year ago today, I knew no-one in the blogging world.
One year later, I have some incredible friends

One year ago, I did it because I wanted a place to have a say.
One year later, I do it because I love it.

S x

p.s. Keep your eyes open for giveaways, round up posts and all sorts of other fun coming in the next few weeks to help celebrate my 1 year anniversary!

 

 

Letters to… the bookish people

Hello bookish people,

How are you? What are you up to today? What are you reading? Have you told the author you’re reading their book or enjoying their book? Please do. They love it. But don’t tell them if you’re not, cause no one wants to know that. 

I just thought I would write to you all, on this eve of my 1 year blogging anniversary with a few words of thanks. I could end up rambling for a bit because even after a year, I’m not great at not rambling! 

To my fellow book bloggers, I want to give you the biggest thank you. You have supported me and followed me since that first post about Matilda to now and you all amaze me at how brilliant and incredible you all are. I came into blogging as an outlet for me to talk about whatever I want and have come out of it after a year with an incredible bunch of friends, feeling part of one big family. You’ve all welcomed me with open arms and it still amazes me to this day. I get to talk to some of the most amazing and inspiring people every single day and it’s all down to the support I have received. We’ve all thought of giving up at some point, but I kept going because of your encouragement. Whether it’s commenting, tweeting, emailing – you’ve enabled me to keep going. A massive thanks to anyone who’s allowed me to guest post on their blog OR who has guest posted on here. I love hosting guest posts – they make me smile and it’s a brilliant way to introduce myself to new bloggers!

I’ve never had a place to call my own to be the massive book fangirl that I am before, being such a bookish person has often been mocked/looked down on, and now I do, I have a place to use my words how I want and it’s more than I’d ever wished for. I’m a tiny pawn in this massive chess board of blogging and books and opinions, but I feel like there’s definitely a place for me somewhere. I’m just a little old gal from Newcastle with opinions, who loves books, putting my opinions out there. I never expect anyone to read. When people comment or tell me they read it still now astounds me.

I need to take a moment here to thank my fellow Honeyz and #SundayYA crew. I would not have got through the last year and had all of the opportunities that I do if it weren’t for you lot. Cora, Rach, Kelly, Aoife: thank you for everything. You’re the best friends a girl can ask for and I love you all so much. I can’t wait to grow our blogs, and the Blogade with you all. The rest of the #SundayYA friends, I love you all. #SundayYA is my favourite corner of the internet to be in and I have learned so much, had such brilliant conversations and read so many incredible books because of all of you.

My blogging wouldn’t be possible without the incredible authors, publishers and publicists out there either. I am in such a lucky position that I get to receive some incredible books from a variety of publishers, and the fact you’re all willing to send them to me and let me share my opinions astounds me. I just love books! A massive shout out to my book fairy Sarah for all of the incredible books I got when I was just starting out. I’ve been given some amazing opportunities in the past year because of the amazing humans in the world: I’ve been to book launches, invited to take part in blog tours for authors who I admire to the absolute maximum and been to blogger events. Telling me that would happen a year ago I would’ve told you to shut your face. I never dreamed blogging would bring me anything like the opportunities I have had. Authors on twitter: you never fail to amaze me… thank you for all of the conversations, thanks for putting up with me fangirling and all of my questions. It’s an incredible feeling to be able to talk to you and tell you how much I adored your book. Because I do. It’s lovely that I can call you friends and that sometimes that you even read my blog. Now that is mindblowing!

I love blogging. Some people scoff at the fact I blog. But I do it for me. Not anyone else. It’s my creative outlet. It’s my place to talk about what matters to me. I love that you all read – be it daily, weekly or if this is your first post – and even comment. The interactions we have on twitter are the best. The fact something I think resonates or even disagrees with you has opened some incredible conversations and even some silly ones! It’s an honest outlet for me that enables me to have some me time during stressful weeks. I can’t always guarantee my blogs are worth reading, but for me they are always worth writing.

Blogging has brought me some amazing experiences, books and friends. Best friends.

And I am so grateful.

Thank you to everyone. Whoever you are. For supporting me. 

S x

BATB Book Tea Party

A while back, I received an email inviting me to a Beauty and the Beast blogger event in London and naturally, being the MASSIVE BATB fan that I am, I accepted the invite and tottled off to London!

My day started at 3:30am – since I needed to get up and get on an early morning train down to London! I had managed to get first class tickets (I know, check me out!) as part of the Virgin Trains East Coast 1st Class Seat sale, for only £30. Bargain. I had numerous cups of tea, some pastries and a soft drink or two on my journey down… I could get used to this first class lifestyle! The staff on the VTEC train were lovely – it was 4:45am, I’m not sure I would’ve been so lovely!! I am not a morning person. On the train down, I started the incredible #ChangeBook, which the wonderful people of Stripes had sent me earlier in the week. A girl always needs some train reading material. 

Once I got to London, I hopped on the tube to Covent Garden and even though I was ridiculously early, I needed to get there. Luckily there was a Caffe Nero just along the street so I chilled out there before the event. The event was held in the incredible Covent Garden Hotel – a beautiful setting. The hotel was gorgeous, the staff were very helpful and, despite the fact I walked past it a few times, it was a joy to be there! They showed me to the cinema room (again, how fancy!) and I was introduced to some other lovely bloggers. I had a lovely surprise when my friend Becky (of Becky Bedbug fame) was there!! We had a lovely chat about all things teachering and blogging before the film started! 

Once the film was over, there was another gorgeous treat… AFTERNOON TEA. (Fanciest day ever) There were some beautiful sandwiches, amazingly delicious cakes and some incredible scone type things, which I may have had about 4. But hey, it’s there to be eaten! We were each brought a glass of Prosecco too, making it REAL afternoon tea.

As the afternoon tea continued, I got chatting to a few of the other bloggers and it was so lovely to finally get to meet one of the people I’ve been talking to on twitter for so long, my gorgeous friend Liv (of That Fiction Life fame) and the gorgeous Zoe (of No Safer Place fame). Becky, Liv, Zoe and I had a long coversation about Beauty and the Beast, Harry Potter, Dumbledore and unpopular book opinions. It was so much fun! It’s so lovely when you get to meet other bookbloggers and they are just as lovely IRL as they are on twitter. I have definitely made friends forever with these girls!

Alongside the afternoon tea there was a book swap. Each of the bloggers was asked to bring along a book which featured a strong, lead female characters, just as Belle is! I took along ‘Winterkill‘ and ‘Troublemakers‘ and in return I took ‘Aurabel‘ – a book I’ve been meaning to buy FOREVER because it is SO GORGEOUS. There were some brilliant choices brought along by the other bloggers too. You’ve gotta commend a book with a strong lead female character because women are brilliant.

Once the book swap was over and the Prosecco was drank, it was time to leave! I can’t wait to see the girls again next week at YALC.

Thank you so much to Disney UK and Juliana at Premier for the invite! I had an amazing day! Check out the #BATBBookTeaParty hashtag on twitter for more pictures and tweets about the day!

S x

BOOKBLOG: Jennifer Killick

Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink: funny and fast paced!

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“Alex Sparrow is a super-agent in training. He is also a human lie-detector. Working with Jess, who can communicate with animals, they must find out why their friends – and enemies – are all changing into polite and well behaved pupils. And exactly who is behind it all.
Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink is a funny, mid-grade novel full of farts, jokes and superhero references. Oh, and a rather clever goldfish called Bob. In a world where kids’ flaws and peculiarities are being erased out of existence, Alex and Jess must rely on what makes them different to save the day”

Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink tells the story of Alex and his rabble of weird friends who all have some kind of power, who are trying to save the kids in their school. There’s funny goings on in Alex’s school… all of the children are becoming clones of a very mellow and well behaved model. They’re all being brainwashed by a programme ran by one of the teachers at his school and it’s up to Alex, his pet goldfish Bob, a pigeon and his friend Jess to get to the bottom of this weird behaviour.

Alex has a very unusual super power… whenever he is near someone who is telling lies his ear lets off a big fart (sometimes very smelly ones!). This proves to be a handy, if unusual, power for Alex to use in order to get his school back to normal!

Filled with fart jokes, smells and secret super-agent happenings this is a sure fire winner for kids. It’s going down very well at school! The kids think it is hilarious (even as an adult, I had a fair few giggles!) and it’s been passed round quite a bit! 

Thank you to Jennifer for sending me a copy to share with my kids! Can’t wait for the second installment!

Have you read Alex Sparrow?
What would you want your weird superpower to be?
What do you think is next for Alex Sparrow and Jess?

Let me know on twitter or in the comments! I would love to hear from you!

S x

Ask Miss Elliott

The final installment of #AskMissElliott this year featured some interesting questions, some stupid questions and some that weren’t even questions! So here we are, a few of the choice questions!

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Once you started working in this school, what class did you teach first?

I started as a TA in Year 6. Did 3 years in Year 6, then moved to Year 4 as a TA. Two years of being a TA in Y4 and then I got my HLTA job. Ever since I have been all over the school! 

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What is your favourite ice-cream flavour?

Mint choc chip or raspberry ripple. It depends on my mood, but I would never turn down either of those!

 

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Have you ever had a pet?

We had a dog called Sheba when I was a baby and then we had a cat called Jasper. We’ve not had a pet for many years though. I would love to have a cat. I am definitely a cat person, not a dog person.

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Which is your favourite day?

 

Sunday. Maybe? It’s a very relaxing day. I get to go to Starbucks, do some work and some reading. I take part in SundayYA on a Sunday night. The only thing I don’t like about Sundays is that Sunday Night Fever that teachers suffer from! 

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What is your favourite crisp? 

I do love Squares. Cheese and onion flavour. But I love all the crisps. 

What is your favourite chocolate?

Galaxy Ripple probably. (I’m secretly a sweets fan more than a chocolate fan, but I do enjoy a good bar of chocolate)

So there you go… not life changing questions. It’s always interesting to see what the children want to know. A few of them this week were about my graduation (with some excellent spellings of graduation… phonics always makes for a laugh!) so we had a chat about graduation! 

Did you try this with your class this year?
How did it go down?
What are your favourite activities to do with your class? 

I would love to hear more interesting activities like this for next year! Teacher training beckons!

S x

S4S – YALC books

Hello!

It’s Sunday again! How exciting! This week’s #SixforSunday theme is:

YALC books

Books that make me excited for YALC. Authors I am excited to meet.

  1. Sin Eater’s Daughter – Melinda Salisbury (BOOKBLOG: Queen Mel)
  2. A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard (BOOKBLOG: Sara Barnard)
  3. Ink – Alice Broadway (BOOKBLOG: ALICE BROADWAY)
  4. Truth or Dare – Non Pratt
  5. The Call – Paedar O’Guilin (BOOKBLOG: Peadar Ó Guilín)
  6. Traitor To The Throne – Alwyn Hamilton (BOOK BLOG: Alwyn Hamilton 2)

I talk about most of these books ALL of the time, but I can’t wait to see these authors for the first time/for the next time and tell them how much I love their book. I love all of the books. There are so many other books I am excited to YALC for. 

Are you coming to YALC?
What are your favourite YALC books?
Who are you excited to meet?

If you wanna join in use the hashtag #SixforSunday, I would love to see your posts!!

S x

Letters to… my kids

I know they’ll never read this, but it only feel right that now the year is over I get to say thanks to them myself. 

Hello you lot,

We’ve been through a lot this year haven’t we? It’s not always been easy, we’ve not always got on, but it turned out alright in the end. A lot has happened this past year! I’ve graduated, you’ve all grown into incredible humans and we did it together.

I’ve got a few things to say to you before we finish this year. I have a massive thank you. You have no idea how much I have to thank you for… so here’s just a few of the things:

  • Listening: even when you were being noisy, or being pains you always listened to me. There were times when no one else was listening to me but you always did. Listening is hard, but you’ve shown me this year that it’s possible to listen (even if you don’t want to). You’re all brilliant listeners, just remember that.
  • Learning: we learned a lot this year together and I don’t just mean the things in the classroom. We did some brilliant writing together, we learned a lot about Russia that I had never known before! We developed some brilliant skills together, we made mistakes together. You helped me fix my own mistakes and I hope you learned that it is OK to make mistakes, as long as you learn from them.
  • Kindness: you never failed to amaze me with your level of kindness this year. Yes, there were times when you weren’t kind to each other and there were times when we had to talk about being kind, but you came out on the right side of kind. We’ve learned a lot about friendship and kindness from each other – always remember to be kind. It costs you nothing.
  • Laughter: we have laughed a lot this year. You laugh at the terrible jokes the head tells you, you laugh at my sarcastic comments, you laugh when I don’t expect you to. You’ve made each other laugh, you’ve cheered each other up and you’ve certainly cheered me up on days when there was no happiness. It’s been a joy coming into to classroom seeing your smiles. Don’t lose that. 
  • Reading: my favourite thing about this year has been our time spent with books. You know I love books. I know you’ve come to love books almost as much as me. You’ve been excited when a new book arrived from me, you’ve shared your favourite bits of books, you’ve been honest about books we’re reading. You never fail to see the best in books. We’ve sat on the carpet together and read together. You’ve let me share books with you that I never thought I would. Your excitement for reading never fails to astound me. Each time you’ve asked to talk about books in your own time, when you’ve taken your book to read at playtime or lunchtime, you’ve made me smile. Books are special and we have definitely learned a lot from books this year. Perijee taught us about friendship, Demon Dentist taught us about being brave, The Island at the End of Everything taught us about the importance of family and including everyone. Each and every book has mattered. Our reading time is my favourite memory of this year. Never lose your wonder in books. 

If I was to keep going I’d be here forever.

You’re an incredible bunch of humans with the most incredible attitude and potential. Remember to be kind to each other all the time. Learn from yourself and each other at all times. Ask questions and be inquisitive. Read everything. Enjoy books. Don’t read books you’re not enjoying. Dream big. Trying is what matters. Remember to smile and remember it’s OK to cry. 

It has been a pleasure this year. We have learned a lot together.

Miss Elliott x

Favourite Protagonists

Hello! Today we have a new guest blog – this time from my lovely friend Jess from Bookends and Endings and she’s telling us all about her favourite main characters! 

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Hi there! I’m Jess from Bookends and Endings, and today I’m sharing my favourite protagonists here on Steph’s blog. Something that can easily make or break a book for me is the main character. It’s all very well for a book to be well written, well plotted, just excellent in general – but if I dislike the protagonist, it’s almost certain that the book won’t be one of my favourites. They don’t have to be likeable necessarily, but they need to be interesting, and I have to be on their side, and want for things to turn out well for them.

First up has to be the protagonist from one of my favourite books of last year: Norah from Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall. Norah suffers from agoraphobia, anxiety, and OCD, and lives trapped inside her house, until the arrival of her cute new neighbour helps her to challenge her mental health issues. Norah is a protagonist you just can’t help but love; she’s quite vulnerable, and it definitely brought out a protective side in me as a reader. Her character arc and character voice were so compelling, and she’s a protagonist I’ve been left thinking about long since I finished the book.

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Amani from Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton is another main character who I simply love. There are lots of things I adore in her, but mainly for me it’s her wit that has kept her in mind for me as a protagonist I can’t get enough of. I don’t want to give any spoilers, hence I can’t say too much about certain aspects of her, but I can say that she’s witty (I honestly sit there laughing and smiling at the book because her humorous comments are too good not to laugh at), she’s brave, and she’s incredibly determined. Funny to read about but also courageous and strong – a wonderful combination!

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The next main character is from a book I’ve seen talked about a lot in the book blogging community, and that is Frances from Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. There was so much about Frances which I think just speaks to people, especially in the way she feels stressed by school and has a lot of exam pressure weighing down on her, and this definitely makes her realistic, I feel. She’s also such an easy character to relate to, and so representative of modern teenagers (lots of stuff to do with fandoms and the internet!), so she sticks out to me as an outstanding protagonist.

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Wing, the titular character from Katherine Webber’s debut novel, Wing Jones, is my final choice. I read this book very recently, especially in comparison to these other books, but I just think this shows what a great protagonist she is. She has such a wonderful emotional journey – she displays selflessness, but is also very human in the way she gets frustrated sometimes at those around her. On the whole, a stunning character!

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Thanks to Steph for having me on her blog – I hope you enjoyed this guest post! Who are your favourite protagonists?

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Thank you so much to Jess for sharing her favourite protagonists with us! If you’d like to follow Jess (which you should!), her links are below:

Twitter

WordPress

S x