BOOKBLOG: Will Mabbitt

This Is Not A Fairy Tale: fun, funny, fabulous!

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“Sophie doesn’t want a fairy tale about drippy princesses and pompous princes, she wants the princess to do the rescuing, with a ferocious, fighting transformer! Together Sophie and her dad revolutionise story time for a second time in this clever, funny and heart-ravingly exciting picture book, sure to inspire and delight every little girl and boy.

Storytime will never be the same again”

When I received an email from my lovely book fairy Sarah at Penguin asking me if I would like a copy of this, I jumped at the chance! I love Will Mabbitt stories (see: BOOKBLOG: Will Mabbitt for more love) and this looked like a perfect book to take to school! 

This Is Not A Fairy Tale is a brilliant book about the power of imagination. Sophie changes her usual prince-saving-princess fairy tale into an amazing story of princesses saving princes, featuring transforming combine harvesters, jet packs and bald princes

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I loved the fact that this was about an awesome princess saving a prince! I took this book to school and read it to some of my littles and they absolutely loved it. One of the girls said “Miss, I’m going to write my own story about an awesome princess like this one cause girls are strong and cool. More than princes!“. One of my quiet boys commented on the illustrations saying, “Miss, I wish I could draw like that. It’s like the man who drew the pictures made the story come to life. Imagine if I could do that job when I’m older“. Kids are the cutest. They absolutely loved this book and it remained in the reading corner for a few days, with someone reading it at every opportunity!

It would be a brilliant book to read for a fairy tales topic! Brilliant for KS1 classrooms, even lower KS2 classes. I think my Y4s would love this book! I may take it to read to them this week. 

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Have you read This Is Not A Fairy Tale?
Which fairy tale would you love to be part of?
Which kick ass princess is your favourite?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter! I love me a picture book, and a kick ass princess even more!!

S x

BOOKBLOG: Kerry Drewery

Cell 7: haunting, thought-provoking, infuriating

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“Should she live or die? You decide 

An adored celebrity has been killed. Sixteen-year-old Martha Honeydew was found holding a gun, standing over the body. Now Justice must prevail. The general public will decide whether Martha is innocent or guilty by viewing daily episodes of the hugely popular TV show Death is Justice, the only TV show that gives the power of life and death decisions – all for the price of a phone call. Martha has admitted to the crime. But is she guilty? Or is reality sometimes more complicated than the images we are shown on TV?”

Cell 7 has been sat on my shelf for AGES. Like a year. I got it from UKYACX last year (if you wanna know more see: UKYACX book haul!) and it has sat on my shelf ever since. I just never got round to it! THEN #SundayYA hosted Kerry a few Sundays ago and she was talking about Day 7 (the sequel) and my gorgeous friend Kelly was reading Cell 7… all of the chatter around it MADE me have to read it. There were a few Cell 7 spoilers from the Day 7 chat BUT I still loved every single second of it. 

Cell 7 explores a world in which once a person has done something wrong they have only have potentially 7 days left of their life. Life and death decisions become a reality TV contest. You win or lose based on how many people vote on you living or dying. Martha confesses to killing a well adored celebrity and it is down to the public to decide if she lives or dies. 

Throughout this book there are moments where I wanted to throw it against the wall. There’s characters who just DROVE ME UP THE WALL. I hated them. They stood for the worst things in life. They spouted forth their skewed views on life. Contrasting this though there were characters I really loved. Characters I really wanted to succeed. I liked Martha. I liked Isaac. Her councillor was pretty brazen: she fought for Martha. The judge is an interesting character. 

I really enjoyed (in whatever sadistic way one can) seeing the different cells that Martha had to go through. Watching them change and manipulate her moods was interesting. Knowing that she is getting closer to the end and that death was probably looming. There’s definitely some dark, twisted parts of this book that will make you think.

 I am very much looking forward to reading Day 7 now. 

Have you read Cell 7?
What did you think of the ending?
Do you think our world could end up in the way Cell 7 paints the world?

S x

 

 

BOOKBLOG: Maz Evans

Simply The Quest: simply the best. 

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“Elliot and Virgo’s troubles are far from over: death-daemon
Thanatos and his scary mum are at large and determined to
destroy the world. As even more immortal allies and enemies
emerge, Virgo and Elliot must learn how to be heroes …”

Simply The Quest is the second book in the ‘Who Let The Gods Out?’ series and I was OVER THE MOON when I got an email from the lovely humans at Chicken House asking me if I wanted a copy… NATURALLY I SAID YES. (Look at my happy face. This is the face of OMG THIS BOOK HAS ARRIVED I AM SO HAPPY I COULD CRY) So yes, I was a little bit happy that the book was with me, finally. I had waited since the end of Who Let The Gods Out to get my hands on this book. Now it was in my possession I was a happy bunny. It was SO WORTH THE WAIT. 

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‘Simply The Quest’ follows Elliot and Virgo on their journey to try and find the Air Stone, whilst battling with Elliot’s teacher and former neighbour, on top of trying to keep Josie-Mum safe and in check at home. 

Just as WLTGO introduced us to some incredible gods – Hermes, Athene, Aphrodite, Zeus – STQ introduces some new faces and they are SO GOOD. I loved the original gods and totally loved these new additions, they added something special to what is an incredible series already. To earn her kardia back (and therefore become immortal again) Virgo has to become a hero – so naturally Maz wrote in some of the brilliant Ancient Greek Gods. Hercules makes an appearance, as does Jason and Theseus – each of them giving Elliot a gift that will come in very handy on his quest. You see these heroes in a brand new light as they’re all following new career paths – all very funny and chuckleworthy! 

In every story there’s good and there’s evil. And the evil in this book is most certainly evil. Thanatos and his mother Nyx certainly do not make Elliot’s life easy. They try to manipulate him, use the one thing he loves the most against him, all to get him on their side to reveal the location of the Chaos Stones.

There’s glimpses of Elliot’s dark side in this book which were interesting to read. To see a selfish, dark side of a character I have come to totally love. He’s selfless, brave and driven. His mother is his world. His family (extended as far as the gods!) mean everything to him. You see him struggle with his emotions in this book; there’s more anger and doubt; he discovers new things about his life; there’s a MASSIVE surprise at the end – it actually made me gasp. Elliot remains throughout this young boy who is struggling to juggle a house full of gods, people trying to separate him from his mother, school and controlling the chaos stones. A bit much for a teenager, right?

Simply The Quest manages to be funny, silly, serious, touching, honest, tough and uplifting all in one go. There’s some brilliant messages there too that even made me think. Naturally I cried. There’s a moment with Josie and Hermes which just punched me in the gut. Took me totally by surprise. There’s moments with Virgo trying to figure jokes out that made me laugh out loud. 

I love this series so much. Maz is an absolute genius. Please go out and buy it, borrow it from your library, get it for your classroom/school. You won’t regret it. 

My goodreads review:

“Another absolute winner from Maz. WLTGO was an exceptional start to this series and STQ just blew me away. It deals with Elliot’s issues with his mum, introduces him to a new family member and discusses morality – what is good? what is bad? 
I loved having these characters in my life again. I laughed a lot. Virgo is one of those bloody rays of light in books like this – her trying to understand jokes is one of those gorgeous things about this book. There’s some very touching moments between Josie and a few of the characters – there’s one with Hermes that had me bawling. 
I absolutely adored this. I implore you all to read it. Please.”

Have you read this series?
IF YOU HAVEN’T, WHY HAVEN’T YOU?
What do you think will happen next? 

I’d love to know what you thought of STQ! Let me know in the comments or on twitter – I have so much love for this series that I need to share it with all of the people.

S x

 

 

BOOKBLOG: Will Hill

After The Fire: hard-hitting, moving and tough. But so worth it.

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“Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming. Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out. What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?”

After The Fire tells the story of Moonbeam, a young girl who lives in a cult, who is taken away by the Outsiders when there is a big fire on the property. It tells her journey from being inside of the cult to being on the outside. You watch her go from a scared, lonely, doubting young lady to someone attempting to be ready for the outside world to hit her. 

The thing I loved most about this book was the interspersion of flashbacks with now. The book is written with Moonbeam’s memories woven into her recovery. Every other chapter is an insight into life inside the cult. From the wicked Father John, to Nate – the lovely, ray of light Nate – and the day to day business of being part of the Legion. These insights into life with the Legion fascinated me. Despicable acts to multiple wives: it is all explored in Moonbeam’s flashbacks. As you go through the book, you learn more about Moonbeam’s life – the loss of her mother, friends and loveable Father. Moonbeam’s journey of faith was an interesting part of this book – you watch her turn from believer to doubter… should she believe the Outsiders are all bad? Or are the worst acts happening in front of her eyes?

The characters, the stories and the journies make this book exceptionally special. It isn’t only Moonbeam who will touch your heart, but you meet Luke – poor Luke, whose whole life is follow Father John and his teachings – and some of the others who are rescued from the cult – shout out to brave Honey. There’s also an FBI agent who as the book went on, I really started to like – as Moonbeam warms to him, as she begins to trust him her revelations about life with the Legion get more intense.  

I would absolutely recommend this to everyone. Please, go on, read it. I was lucky enough to get a proof copy from Usborne.

Have you read After The Fire?
What did you think of Father John?
Can you recommend any other cult books to me?

Let me know in the comments below! I need more books like this! Or tweet me (@eenalol) 

S x

BOOKBLOG: Adrian Edmondson

Tilly and the Time Machine: time travelling, adventure filled fun!

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“Tilly is seven and a half – and about to make history. When Tilly’s dad builds a time machine in the shed there’s only one place she really wants to go: back to her sixth birthday party, when she ate too many cupcakes and her mummy was still here. But then something goes wrong! Tilly’s dad gets stuck in the past and only she can save him… Will they make it back in time for tea?”

Tilly and the Time Machine was one of those books I was lucky enough to be sent by the wonderful people over at Puffin and I absolutely loved it! It centres around Tilly, a brave and fun 7 year old, who has to go on an adventure with her dad’s time machine to save her dad. She misses her mum an awful lot and just wants to see her one more time. 

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Throughout the story you get to jump through some amazing different time periods1966 World Cup Final, Trafalgar, Victorian times, where Tilly meets an amazing friend, jumps back in time to save the very machine Tilly is using – all so Tilly can save her dad. 

I loved the relationship between Tilly and her dad. At the start you can see that they are reluctant to talk about their feelings, but as the book goes on you can see that wall break down and they both need each other. It deals with grief in a very appropriate manner for the age range that it is aimed for. It’s never too heavy, nor taken too lightly. The moments between Tilly and her dad, with appearances from her mam are lovely. Very touching indeed. 

I would totally recommend this book for Y3/4 classes. It would be a brilliant one as a class novel or just leave it on your shelves for your kids to discover. It certainly would go down well with my kids! There’s a lot that could be done with it too! I would definitely recommend it to schools. I gifted my copy to the school library and bought myself another copy! That’s how much I loved it. 

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Thank you so much to Puffin Books for sending me a copy!

Have you read Tilly and the Time Machine?
Where would you jump back to if you had a time machine?

Let me know in the comments! Or tweet me @eenalol. I would love to hear your thoughts! 

S x

BOOKBLOG: Alice Oseman

Radio Silence: honest, emotive and necessary

“What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?
Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken. Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…She has to confess why Carys disappeared…Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.”

People have been shouting about this book forever and during my half term mega read I finally got a chance to read this and… my god I devoured it. I sat one morning and read this within 4 hours

Here you have a book with an incredible characters. You’ve Frances, the geeky, nerdy brainbox of the school who meets Aled, who is one of those special characters who comes along and changes everything. Frances’ admiration for Aled’s podcast soon changes into working together to an eventual falling out and final rescue. No one can predict the way that life goes, in the same way no one can predict the internet and it’s complexities. I loved that this book dealt with a modern age, a modern frienship – looking at a friendship through modern eyes. The ins and outs of texting, DMing, using twitter and all those things that to us are just the norm. It’s an incredible story about the power and the villainy of the internet

Besides all of that this book has some pretty special messages to deliver. There’s a point in the book where something big happens and everything changes for Frances and Aled. What they were is not what they become. But Frances never loses sight of the power of friendship, the sense of love she has for her friend. Despite everything kindness and love wins. Important for always. Kindness should always win and it absolutely does in this book.

Frances struggles a lot with her dedication to her grades and schooling with her contrast with wanting to be herself, the creative person that she is. Through Aled she gets to divulge these creative parts of herself. She gets to be the person she should be. Another message this book shouts loudly is that. Be true to who you are. You’re the best version of you when you’re being the you you’re meant to be. I loved that. Grades aren’t everything. Yes, they’re important but man it’s better to be yourself. People aren’t going to love your GCSE results, they’re going to love you.

I’ve done this book no justice. But it’s incredible. Alice Oseman is an absolute wonderI need you all to read it, yesterday. I regret waiting so long to read it, but I am so glad I have done now. 

My goodreads review reads:

What an incredible story of friendship, honesty, pain and the wonders of the internet! I absolutely adored this. Aled is everything, I want to give him the biggest hug. I love the messages of this books so much: be your true self, grades aren’t everything and kindness. Always kindness.

Have you read Radio Silence?
What was the message you took away from it?
Can you recommend any books similar to it?

Let me know in the comments or on Twitter – you know where to find me! 

S x

5 YA Everyone Should Read

Welcome to another wonderful guest post from my wonderful friend Kelly – who is here to talk about YA books that everyone should read. Enjoy! Go follow Kelly, she’s wonderful! 

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5 YA Books Everyone Should Read

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Hi everyone! I’m Kelly from Kelly’s Rambles and I’m here to take over my dear friend Steph’s blog with my guest post. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a secondary school teacher with a huge passion for reading and YA books are where my heart lies. One of my favourite things about reading is sharing my experience, be that with my lovely bookish friends or with my many enthusiastic pupils. I’m not an English teacher (WHAT? I hear you say) but who said that reading must be confined to English teachers? I love to talk about books with the teenagers I teach and I’ve had some of my favourite bookish discussions with them.

The five books I’ve chosen to feature today are all books that I’ve shared with my pupils. They are also all books that I truly believe everyone should read, regardless of age. These books made a change to my life, my emotions, my outlook and my being because they are wonderful and carry such important messages. Without further ado, here are 5 YA books I think EVERYONE should read!

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A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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Goodreads link

I can’t imagine there are many people left out there who haven’t at least heard of this wonderful book, especially since the movie was released (I highly encourage seeing this after reading the book!). Reading A Monster Calls was an experience I will never be able to forget. My heart ached, tears spilled down my face and I felt empty of all emotion by the end – feelings only a truly powerful book can evoke. I love the way this is written and having worked with children who are living through the grieving process I can tell you now how much of an impact this book can have on your life. Grief affects all of us, no matter what stage of our life we are in, and this book will resonate with everyone. Such a poignant, heart breaking yet beautiful book.

 A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

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Goodreads link

“Reading this book can only be compared to being trapped in a joyous, wonderful, beautiful whirlpool of raw emotion.” The opening line to my exceptionally long review of this book really does say it all. Reading A Quiet Kind of Thunder is such a unique and wonderful experience and it is such a diverse book. Steffi is such a fantastic character, she is a selective mute, she suffers with anxiety but this story is not about those things. This is Steffi’s coming of age story, it is about her first romance, her relationships with those around her and learning to love herself. This book really touched me especially in the way Sara Barnard talks about anxiety. She portrays such a positive message: anxiety is difficult, it is horrible, but it can and will be okay. I am also super in love with the BSL throughout this book. My words cannot do this book justice, especially in such a small paragraph, but please read this. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, it will hurt your heart, it will warm your heart, but most importantly, it will enlighten you.

Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

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Goodreads link

When I picked up Wing Jones at the beginning of the year, I was completely clueless as to what would happen next. This book absolutely captivated me, it took an issue that was close to my heart and tackled it head on. It has such raw emotions to it, on so many occasions I wanted to wrap Wing in my arms and tell her it would be okay. Wing Jones is packed full of diversity, it is beautifully written and emotionally driven. Whilst dealing with the consequences of her brother’s drunk driving, Wing embarks on a journey of self-discovery and self-love. To this day I still feel inspired by Wing and her strength and I’m sure that thousands of other readers can take something from Wing and learn. Not only was the issue of racism tackled, but this book also contained a very realistic portrayal of grief, bullying, guilt, self-belief, love. There is something here for everyone to relate to and learn from. On a personal note, I have been completely overwhelmed by Katherine’s kindness and it’s thanks to her that I’ve met one of my best bookish buddies. This book means a lot to me and I’m sure it will mean something to you too.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

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Goodreads link

I absolutely adore reading Alice Oseman’s books and Radio Silence was the first one I picked up. There are so many experiences in here for young people to learn from and relate to but I also think that as an adult looking back this book is still very relatable and teaches valuable life lessons. I love how diverse this book is with characters of different sexualities and races. I loved the relationships in this book and Oseman writes in a way that makes everything feel so real. A great coming of age story full of love, laughter, sadness and teenage angst. There is something in this book for everyone, I highly recommend it.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Goodreads link

If at this point in 2017 you haven’t heard about The Hate U Give then you really must have been living under a rock. It was possibly one of the most highly anticipated books of the year and I am not at all surprised why. I struggled for weeks after reading this book to put my words down in a review. Struggled because this book is so powerful and inspiring that I knew I couldn’t do it justice. Angie Thomas tackles racism and police brutality like it’s never been tackled before. This book holds nothing back and will make you check your white privilege if you haven’t already. Reading The Hate U Give is like being on a rollercoaster of emotions that you can’t get off. I felt extreme anger, sadness and hatred and then found myself smiling and laughing a few pages later. Angie Thomas has a powerful voice and isn’t afraid to use it. This book and this wonderful woman are literally changing lives and paving the way to brighter futures for so many young black people who will be nothing but inspired by Angie. This book is life changing and will evoke emotions in you that you didn’t know you possessed. Incredible.

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Phew… I got super emotional just thinking about those books and how much they have affected me personally. These books are excellent examples of why YA books don’t have to be just for teenagers because they can teach so much to adults too. Knowing how hard life can be for teenagers these days I am so grateful that such wonderful books exist to support and inform our young people. I would love to hear from you if you have any thoughts on the books above or any recommendations for me! (Find me at Kellys Rambles on twitter)

I’m going to leave you with one of my 2017 highlights: the moment one of my pupils who is a selective mute came to see me after my recommendation of A Quiet Kind of Thunder with a huge smile and tears in her eyes to say the words, ‘I could see myself in Steffi and I’ve never had that before. I love this book, it means so much to me”.

 

BOOKBLOG: Stewart Ross

The Salvation Project: dystopian destinies reached!

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“A mutation in human DNA means no one lives beyond nineteen. Scientists working to reverse the disease died before their Salvation Project was complete, and they left the results of their research – the Soterion – in a sealed vault. 122 years have passed. The civilisation of the Long Dead is almost forgotten, the Soterion has been burned to ashes, and communities of Constants are tormented by tribes of brutal Zeds. Cyrus, his pregnant copemate Miouda, and his young friend Sammy have escaped from the burning city of Alba. They have rescued a laptop containing the entire contents of the Soterion, including the Salvation Project. On this frail and ancient machine hangs the last and only hope of restoring the civilization of the Long Dead. But the laptop’s batteries are flat, there is no electricity to power it, and it is only a matter of time before the thwarted Zeds set off in pursuit…

A great new dystopian novel, ending the trilogy with a bang! 

These books are full of twists and turns, with plot twists you don’t expect alongside characters who will surprise you along the way. It’s hard not to be surprised by a plot centred around science, challenges and tough choices. There’s times when, as a reader, I thought ‘I don’t want to make that choice’ but the characters have to. It’s their destiny. You want them to reach their destiny however hard or easy that is. Imagine not living past 19 – I would’ve been dead a long time ago, but that is the reality of these characters. The characters, with their bizarre and unusual names, will however worm their way into your heart and take seat there. You’ll feel for them, you’ll want to cheer them on, they’re characters you will learn to love. The ending is great – I didn’t see it coming, it moved me (I mean I cry at EVERYTHING so no one is surprised there!)

If this sounds like your bag of crisps, then go on, treat yourself. Dystopian fiction is one of those I dip into every now and again because I remember how much I love it while I’m there! Stewart Ross has written a great series. Teenagers will love it! It has good pace, enough drama and action to keep you interested! 

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35095911-the-salvation-project

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Salvation-Project-Stewart-Ross/dp/0957101929

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Author Information

Stewart was born in Buckinghamshire and educated in Oxford, Berkhamsted, Exeter, Bristol, and Orlando, Florida. He taught at a variety of institutions in Sri Lanka, the Middle East, the USA, and Britain before becoming a full-time writer in 1989. With over 300 published titles to his credit, he is now one of Britain’s most popular and versatile authors. His output includes prize-winning books for younger readers, novels, plays, three librettos, a musical, and many widely acclaimed works on history and sport. Several of his books are illustrated with his own photographs.Stewart also lectures in France and the UK, gives talks, runs workshops, and visits schools. He is an occasional journalist and broadcaster. His brother, Charlie Ross, is the celebrated auctioneer. In his spare time Stewart enjoys travel, restaurants, sport, theatre, photography, art and music. He lives near Canterbury with his wife Lucy, and – occasionally – his four children and two grandchildren. Each morning he commutes 10 metres to work in a large hut in the garden.

Website: http://www.stewartross.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Booksmyth

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-Soterion-Mission-194311443946577/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/jstewartross

Thank you so much Faye for inviting me to be part of the blog tour! If you’re interested in the other stops on the blog tour, check out the blogs featured below! There’s lots of fun things going on on the tour!

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S x

 

BOOKBLOG: Peadar Ó Guilín

The Call: dark, gritty, brutal. Dystopian done proper.

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“Imagine a world where you might disappear any minute, only to find yourself alone in a grey sickly land, with more horrors in it than you would ever wish to know about. And then you hear a horn and you know that whoever lives in this hell has got your scent and the hunt has already begun.

Could you survive the Call?”

Everyone had been telling me to read The Call FOREVER and I never quite got round to it, but once I had a copy (thanks Waterstones Newcastle) I had to read it then and there, and MY GOD. What a book

The Call is the story of Nessa, a young girl with a disability, who lives in a world where students are taken away and have these so called three minutes to save their lives; to outrun the enemies. The book starts with Nessa hearing about the loss of her brother to The Call and her parents worrying for Nessa, thinking that, due to her disability, there is no way she would survive ‘the call’ if it ever came for her. The story then follows Nessa through schooling in Ireland where they learn to fight, survive and ultimately prepare themselves for ‘the call’. 

There was so much I loved about this book. I went through a massive ‘dystopian phase’ a year or 2 ago and there is so much dystopian fiction out there that gems like this can get totally lost. I am so glad I came across it now, because it blew me away. The story is so dark, so gritty and there’s some pretty grim things that happen in this story but I LOVED IT. Sometimes a bit of dark, gritty fiction is what I need. Alongside the incredible story there were some pretty incredible characters, which for me totally made the book even better. Nessa, the main character in the story, is badass, brave and never makes her disability an excuse. She’s brazen and bold. Her training isn’t easy, but she gives it her all, never giving up when it gets too hard. She deals with some pretty horrible students, watching other students disappear, love and potential loss, all while being a good friend and a fighter. The other students in the book are so effortlessly diverse: in both sexuality and race. I had a particular soft spot for her love interest in the story. I don’t know what it was about him, but he reminded me a bit of Peeta from Hunger Games. 

I can’t recommend this book enough. I regret waiting so long to read it. AND Paedar is LOVELY on Twitter, go follow him. Read this. I would LOVE to chat about it!

My Goodreads review:

Absolutely brilliant. Genuinely grim and gritty. I liked Nessa straight away. So much brutality and darkness, but interesting and unique. Bloody loved it.

Have you read The Call?
What was it that you loved most about it?
Can you recommend any books similar?

Let me know on twitter (@eenalol) or in the comments, I need some more dark dystopian fiction in my life! 

S x

BOOKBLOG: Catherine Barter

Troublemakers: politically minded, sibling focused deliciousness

Troublemakers(I took this at 7am, whilst on a residential with my class. Even when we’re away, I’ll read!)

“Fifteen-year-old Alena never really knew her political activist mother, who died when she was a baby. She has grown up with her older half-brother Danny and his boyfriend Nick in the east end of London. Now the area is threatened by a bomber who has been leaving explosive devices in supermarkets. It is only a matter of time before a bomb goes off. Against this increasingly fearful backdrop, Alena seeks to discover more about her past, while Danny takes a job working for a controversial politician. As her family life implodes, and the threat to Londoners mounts, Alena starts getting into trouble. Then she does something truly rebellious.”

Troublemakers is the story of Alena, who is figuring the world out. She’s 15, she’s discovering the world as it is, she wants to be part of it, she wants to make her stamp on the world. Her older brother Danny and his partner Nick are her life. She lives with them, Danny took on guardianship of Alena when her mum died. Their relationship (both sibling and parental) intrigued me immensely throughout the story. I love a well written, believable sibling relationship – I have a brilliant relationship with my brother, so seeing other positive brother/sister relationships makes my heart so happy. She has a brilliant relationship with Nick too – he’s a wonderful character, sometimes playing middle man between the warring siblings. There’s parts of this story where my heart was breaking for Danny and Nick. I really liked their relationship. 

I’m not normally one to pick up a political book, but whilst this deals with politics, it’s not in your face. It’s not the only thing about this book. It is a brilliant book in the current climate and it touched on some pretty important things. I won’t spoil it for you but this is a brilliant story. It’s very character centric which I adored. There’s times when you’ll want to punch the characters, hug them, argue with them: books like this are my favourites. I like to feel part of their lives. Not a bystander.

Danny and Alena do not see eye to eye in this. There are so many things they dispute over. One of the main areas of dispute is Alena’s need to hunt out one of her mum’s best friends. Danny HATES this idea. It causes a lot of tension between the siblings. They fall out. They argue. They ignore each other. Alena goes against her brother’s wishes. She rebels. There’s some lovely moments between them where they both soften to each other because they eventually see what the other needs. Danny does things too, gets a job, that Alena doesn’t like either. They both make mistakes; they both rebel against each other to try and find their identity

This book, in the end, filled my heart with joy. 

My Goodreads review reads:

“Fantastic. Absolutely loved it. Totally apt for today’s world. A loving, conflicted sibling relationship. A beautiful relationship. A complicated, yet simple political message. Character centric and I adored it.”

Thank you to Andersen Press for sending me a copy! 

Have you read Troublemakers?
What’s your take on political books?
Do you have a favourite sibling relationship in fiction?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter! I need more brother/sister fictional relationships in my life!

S x