BOOK BLOG: Katie and Kevin Tsang

Sam Wu is Not Afraid of Sharks: laugh out loud funny and brilliantly illustrated book that kids will love!

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“Sam Wu is NOT a scaredy-cat (except when he is). And when a shark TOTALLY tries to eat him at the local aquarium, he decides he’s not going to take any more chances. So at his friend’s birthday party at the beach, Sam refuses to dip even a toe in the water. Nothing could go wrong now, could it?”

Sam Wu is a brilliant new series of books written by husband and wife team Kevin and Katie Tsang (also known as Katherine Webber, yes… her! Author of the amazing Wing Jones), illustrated by the brilliant Nathan Reed. If you’re new to the Sam Wu books, you might fancy checking out my review of the first book in the series ‘Sam Wu is Not Afraid of Ghosts’ here. Book one was a delight, so I was VERY excited when I got the opportunity to read book 2. Thank you so much to the publishers, Egmont, for sending me a review copy!

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Sam Wu is Not Afraid of Sharks tells the story of Sam and his friends, who end up going to an aquarium and (as Sam is DEFINITELY not afraid of sharks) the hilarity that ensues. Obviously, as Sam is not afraid of sharks, when one of his classmates invites him to her birthday party (being held at the beach), he is THRILLED (see: not thrilled) to be going. The beach is the LAST place Sam wants to be – but he’s NOT scared of sharks, no sir. 

I love this series so much. The books so far have both been really funny and the first book has been a total hit with the kids at school. They’re the perfect book for kids who are just starting out reading chapter books for themselves. We’re so lucky at the minute that there are many wonderfully illustrated chapter books being published, and Sam Wu fits so beautifully in that category. 

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Sam continues to be one of those really funny characters. He has some amazing people in his life. His friends are wonderful; his little sister makes me laugh. They surround Sam, who is definitely not afraid of everything, and keep him going when in reality he just wants to stay in his room all the time. There’s some brilliant moments in this book with some new characters and old favourites. On top of all of this, the portrayal of Sam’s family is brilliant – they are hilarious. 

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One of my favourite things about these books is the illustrations. I think they add SO MUCH to the story. The pages are all different and I love that. There’s so much going on in these books that you can’t get bored. The illustrations are just top notch. They add a level of humour that I adore. 

My Goodreads review:

I love these books – they’re fun, brilliantly illustrated and younger me would’ve picked them up in a heartbeat. I love the humour in the Sam Wu books, he’s the perfect MC! These books always make me laugh. I can’t wait for book 3! Come on February!

I am VERY excited for the third book in the Sam Wu series – Sam Wu is Not Afraid of The Dark. There’s a sneak peek of the cover on the back of Sharks, but I won’t spoil it! 

Have you read any of the Sam Wu series?
What are you DEFINITELY not afraid of?
Can you recommend any other books like Sam Wu?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments or on twitter!

S x

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BLOG TOUR: Mirror Magic

Today I have the absolute priviledge to be part of the blog tour for Claire Fayers’ newest book, ‘Mirror Magic’. I was super lucky to get this book back in May and read it pretty much instantly. Check out my review below… (spoiler alert: those who are fans of MG books might want to DEFINITELY get your hands on this book…)

Mirror Magic: serious fun with some brilliant characters!

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“Welcome to Wyse, the only town left in Britain with a connection to the magical Unworld. When Twelve-year-old Ava meets Howell on the other side of a mirror, the two are quickly drawn into a mystery to discover why the enchantments that link their towns are disappearing. But it’s hard to distinguish between friends and enemies when magic is involved and Ava and Howell soon learn that it can be very unwise to mess with mirrors…”

Magic? Mystery? An incredible cover? Two sides of the same coin? I am SOLD. 

Mirror Magic follows the story of Ava, a young girl questioning lots of things about the place in which she lives and works. The people all seem to be under the spell of one of the hot shot people in their town.  Ava doesn’t see it. Why is she the only person who can see that he’s not quite as nice as people let on? There’s lots of things that don’t fit quite right in Ava’s world. There’s lots of strange goings on. There USED TO BE lots of magic, but now there’s barely any. Where is all of the magic going? Ava works in a manor owned by her aunt and uncle, but they don’t acknowledge her, she is treated exactly the same as the servants. This frustrates Ava. She misses her dad. She knows he was somewhat magic. There’s a lot of unanswered questions about Ava’s dad, his mirror and Ava’s myserious moon shaped scar. 

Now, Ava lives on one side of the mirror, and on the other side lives Howell. He lives in the darker half of the mirror. His town is not quite as “pleasant” as Ava’s. He works in a “dead magical mirror museum” – none of the mirrors work in the museum, or so the people think. When one day the mirror starts to mist up and Howell sees Ava’s reflection, what follows is an amazing story of friendship, taking risks and some serious fun.

Each chapter starts with input from ‘The Book’ – The Book is a HILARIOUS part of this book. I can’t describe quite what the book does… but it’s funny, charming and an extra special insight into the story. 

I absolutely adored the characters in this book. Ava and Howell were both gutsy and brave. There’s a connection between Howell and Ava that gave the book a brilliant bit of history too! The baddies in this book are brilliant too… they’re scary but not terrifying. Their motives are DEFINITELY questionable and this makes for brilliant scenes between all of the characters. This book is character rich, with even background characters adding a lot to the story. 

You all know I love a book with magic in it, so when I heard this was all about magic, I knew I needed to read it. I tell you now it did not disappoint. If you’re a lover of magic, I would 100% recommend this. I loved the idea of the mirrors being a portal to the magical other half of the town and them being used as a kind of “shopping window” – it did make me chuckle. 

A massive shout out here to the illustrations too! As well as that beautiful cover, there are illustrations throughout and I just think they add so much to the story. 

A brilliant story, with excellent characters and a massive chunk of danger, fun and friendship chucked in for good measure. The recipe for a brilliantly fun book!

Would you like to be magic?
What kind of magic would you like?
If you could ask the magical world for something, what would it be?

A massive thank you to Karen and Macmillan Kids for inviting me on this blog tour! It was certainly a lot of fun! Check out the rest of the blog tour to see what others thought, and I know that Claire makes an appearance on some too!

S x

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BOOK BLOG: Alesha Dixon

Lightning Girl: a fun book filled with positivity!

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“10-year-old Aurora Beam lives at home with her utterly unremarkable family… until the day she sees her little sister being picked on in the playground and suddenly beams of light shoot out of her fingers! It’s time for her parents to drop a life-changing bombshell. Mum is a secret superhero, fighting crime across the globe while Dad looks after the kids at home. As Aurora’s own powers come into play, will she be able to balance her new super skills training with school? Will she be able to keep it all a secret from her friends? And when her mum’s evil twin pops up, will Aurora think that being a super VILLAIN might be more fun…?”

Lightning Girl follows the story of brilliantly brave 10 year old Aurora Beam, who discovers something unusual about herself… she has powers! I mean, which 10 year old doesn’t wish they had powers? (I’m 29 and I want powers… I don’t know what, but powers would be LUSH thanks) Naturally, Aurora is quite frightened at first, and VERY confused, but after some coaching and some love from her parents comes to realise that they’re something to be embraced. Your differences make you YOU. 

As with all brilliant MG books, there’s a baddie, a point of peril, some danger, some scariness and this comes in the shape of someone trying to steal precious stones. Who this someone is I will keep spoiler free. Throughout there’s one character who I KNEW to be suspicious of… I just never trusted them. 

One of the things that stood out for me with this book was its brilliance at dealing with all kinds of issues in gentle ways – there’s separation, friendship issues, moral dilemmas, dealing with siblings and awkward families. All kinds of things. But it’s all done so brilliantly. Aurora has some amazing friends and I love reading positive friendship portrayals, so that also was a massive big YES from me!

Aurora is a FAB MC and it’s so wonderful to see characters of varying races represented in kids’ books. One of the girls at school even commented “Miss, she’s got hair like me AND her skin matches mine. It’s like me in a book” and that made me think yeah, this book is important. Girls who wouldn’t have traditionally seen themselves in books are getting the chance to now. 

I really enjoyed Lightning Girl. It’s fun, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, it has brilliant characters and it’s all about embracing yourself. I look forward to the second one immensely, I hope there will BE a second one! 

If you had a superpower, what would it be?
What would your superhero name be?
Can you recommend any more MG books like this to me? 

Talk to me! Comment! Tweet me! 

S x

BLOG TOUR: All of This is True

All of This is True: interesting, intriguing and deceptive

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“Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to meet the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her, even if her friends won’t admit it now. As for Jonah, well—Miri knows none of that was Fatima’s fault.”

All of This is True is a great concept – an author who befriends some teens to write her new book – written in a very interesting style – through using interviews, book excerpts, text messages. I loved the use of this mixed media within the book as it kept things fresh and it’s one of my favourite things to read in YA – a book that’s told through different forms of media. 

I liked the premise of this book and believe that it could totally happen. Teenagers who end up befriending their ultimate author? Yep, that could happen. I mean, I know how much of a fangirl I am at times, so it’s totally believable. 

There’s a twist in this book that I definitely saw coming. It’s not obvious necessarily, but I had my suspicions right away! This didn’t make the book any less enjoyable, in fact it made me think YESSSSSS! I got one! 

As this book is told from a few different perspectives, you have to get to know the characters quickly. There were times where I was so engrossed in a character that when a new one came along I had to remind myself of this new character shift. I found there was moments where the characters weren’t particularly likeable, but I’m not sure if that’s what the author was going for. The girls in particular have their moments. Multiple perspective books can be really tough to convey well and there’s definitely times I had to think “oh yeah, this is Soleil, she’s THIS one”. 

I did leave this book wanting just a little bit more. I’d love to hear from others who have read it to know what you think! Let me know in the comments, or on twitter, cause I think I could have quite a chat about this book! 

Check out the rest of the blog tour! Thank you so much to my friend Lucinda for organising and inviting me to join in!

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S x

BOOKBLOG: CG Drews

A Thousand Perfect Notes: heartbreaking, touching and beautiful

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“An emotionally charged story of music, abuse and, ultimately, hope.
Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence. When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?”

I didn’t know much about this book when I was sent it, but having read the synopsis and the press release I knew it was one I needed to get to. Written by the brilliant CG Drews (or @PaperFury as I know her on twitter, go give her a follow) I was really curious to see what it was like, and my word I was NOT disappointed. It is something else.

A Thousand Perfect Notes tells the story of Beck, a pianist who is being forced to play by his mother. He doesn’t want to play the classical musicians she is making him play. He wants to play his own music. He wants to play what his heart wants him to. His mother was a pianist herself, but after she develops tremors she had to stop and this turns into her becoming obsessed over her son playing. She makes him play every morning and every evening, punishing him when he’s late. She’s abusive in all of the worst ways. This really tells on Beck’s confidence. She is an absolute piece of work. There’s a little ray of light in Beck’s life at home: his little sister Joey. She is brilliant. She keeps him going. She’s the reason he gets up every day. He knows that if he stops caring that Joey will then get mam’s wrath. One day, Beck is paired with a girl, August, in a school project and what ensues is an incredible story of hope, music and friendship. 

The characters in this book are special.
– Beck is one of the bravest and subdued characters. He has this horrible duality of life – his horrid, abusive mother, and his gorgeous, bubbly little sister. He has to be the best big brother, making sure that Joey is fed, because mam doesn’t care. He just wants the best for his little sister. Joey is his life. Joey and the piano. He hates the piano. He hates that his mam makes him play. It’s his mother’s obsession, not his. He just wants to play the music his heart tells him to, not Chopin. When he does play his own heart and not Chopin, there are serious consequences. 
– Joey is a brilliant ray of light in Beck’s horrible life. She makes him weird concoctions, weird sandwiches, keeps him going. She’s one of those lights on in a dark dark tunnel. She’s not oblivious to what is going on, but she’s young and innocent. She swears in German, fights with people, but she doesn’t know any better. That’s the example she’s had from her mother – that’s the behaviour her mother presents to her towards her brother, so she knows no better.
– Beck’s mother
(or The Maestro as he refers to her) is one of those repulsive, horrific characters that YA produces (she makes me think of the step mother from Paper Butterflies). She is a downright piece of work. I hate everything about her. She’s manipulative. She’s mean. She’s abusive. She doesn’t deserve the brilliant kids she has. The scenes with mam in were hard to read. 

 August comes along and slowly but surely changes things in Beck’s life. He is reluctant to her friendship initially. He doesn’t need anyone distracting him from his piano. This changes to he doesn’t want anyone to have to see The Maestro’s cruelty. August is a breath of fresh air in Beck’s life. She’s calm, she’s sweet, she cares. She wants to know more. She’s curious about this piano playing boy. She wants to get to know him. She becomes an anchor in his very rocky sea. I really love August. She accepts the fact that Beck’s life is shitty and doesn’t judge him for it. She’s his solace. 

This is a gripping story, despite the many scenes that are hard to read. I wanted to keep reading because I wanted to know how Beck’s story would end. There are some horrific scenes of cold and hatred, but there are also some incredible scenes of warmth and love. Scenes with August and her family. Walks home after school. Scenes with Joey.

There’s a massive sense of duality in this book. So many comparisons between dark and light, cold and warmth, love and repulsion.
– Beck’s loneliness compared to the warmth and love he received from August. 
– Beck’s very different relationships with his mother versus his relationship with his sister.
The comparison between Beck’s very cold mother and August’s incredibly warm and welcoming family
– Beck’s passion for his own music and composing against his apathy towards playing others’ music

If you’re wondering where on the crying scale this would go, it goes at the VERY TOP. I cried SO SO SO much. This book broke my heart so many times. I can guarantee this will make you cry. 

Please go out and buy this if you can. It is so heartbreakingly wonderful.

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

 

 

BOOK BLOG: Stewart Foster

The Bubble Boy – a touching story about friendship and helping others

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“Eleven-year-old Joe can’t remember a life outside of his hospital room, with its beeping machines and view of London’s rooftops. His condition means he’s not allowed outside, not even for a moment, and his few visitors risk bringing life-threatening germs inside his ‘bubble’. But then someone new enters his world and changes it for ever”

The Bubble Boy tells the story of Joe (the Bubble Boy in question) and his life. He’s cooped up in his hospital room because he has a condition which means he can’t leave; he can’t go out into the world; he can’t socialise like you and me; he can’t feel fresh cut grass or wander around the park like the rest of us. He’d bed bound, or rather he’s room bound. However, Joe is this extraordinary character who takes all of that in his stride, he accepts that that’s his life and he’s making a life for himself from his hospital bed – he’s amazing

Joe has this amazing spirit and joy about him that’s evident from the beginning. He knows no other, so being in his hospital room is what he makes of it. He has brilliant nurses (shout out here to Greg – the good egg nurse in the story) who look after him; an older sister who stands by him through everything and a brilliant friend, who lives on the other side of the world, who he talks to through Skype. I loved Joe’s soul and his character – he’s so likeable and wonderful. You definitely feel for him, but without pity. I wanted to help look after him.

However things start to change when a new nurse comes along and tells Joe that he can in fact go out into the world and that things around Joe are going to start changing. Initially, I was NOT OK with this, why would a nurse come and tell him that? Were the doctors lying to Joe? Who was this new nurse? What was going to happen? A lot changes in Joe’s life when this new nurse comes along and once they start changing they snowball out of control. 

This new nurse brings some fun into Joe’s life that he didn’t have before. He also brings a strangeness, an awkwardness, a silence. I’m still on the fence about this new nurse and I think I will be forever. I won’t give away the story (although, you can probably guess what this new nurse wants to do, sorry about that) because I think everyone should read this book and make a decision for themselves. I’d love to talk about your thoughts on the new nurse.

There’s friendship and love.
There’s compassion and heartache.
There’s laughter and sadness.
Comparisons of the world and Joe’s very sterile hospital room. 

Reading this book really made me think, “I’m glad I get to go out and enjoy the world because being cooped up wouldn’t make me very happy”. A few of the children who have read this book have expressed very similar thought patterns commenting on the fact that living in one room for the rest of their life “wouldn’t be very fun, especially if you’re too poorly to even talk some days”. 

I loved this story. It made me laugh, it made me cry. This is a special story that kids, especially kids in Upper Key Stage 2/3 need to read. I’ve had nothing but positive reviews about it! Stewart Foster is quickly becoming a firm favourite at school… we need more books!

Have you read Bubble Boy?
Would you like to be kept in one room for the rest of your life?
Can you recommend me any books similar to this?

Let’s talk! I want to know what your thoughts are!

S x

BOOK BLOG: Andy Shepherd

The Boy Who Grew Dragons: fun, fast paced and (not so) firey!

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“When Tomas discovers a strange old tree at the bottom of his grandad’s garden, he doesn’t think much of it. But he takes the funny fruit from the tree back into the house – and gets the shock and delight of his life when a tiny dragon hatches! The tree is a dragonfruit tree, and Tomas has got his very own dragon, Flicker… Tomas soon finds out that life with Flicker is great fun, but also very… unpredictable. Yes, dragons are wonderful, but they also set fire to your toothbruth and leave your pants hanging from the TV aerial. Tomas has to learn how to look after Flicker – and quickly. And then something extraordinary happens – more dragonfruits appear on the tree. Tomas is officially growing dragons…”

Imagine that! Having your own pet dragon. What more could be better? I mean me as an adult thinks that’s amazing, so I can’t imagine how excited a child would be. But also, pretty scary? I don’t know that much about dragons apart from the fact they sometimes breathe fire and that they love collecting gold (you can thank Smaug for that reference!). 

The Boy Who Grew Dragons is a fun and friendly tale of a young boy who comes across a weird and wonderful plant growing in his grandad’s garden… and obviously, when the fruit comes off the tree, he just suspects that it is a fruit. But when it explodes and it has in it a dragon, his mind is BLOWN. He has this big secret to keep and he ends up having to stop helping his grandad do the garden and hides the secret from his friends in order to protect his dragon.

Obviously, there’s the school bully who just will NOT leave Tomas alone. Poor Tomas, having to deal with this dragon and this bully. The bully is mean and calls Tomas all sorts of names. But Tomas has his trusty friends who stand by him to feed him toffees (to help him stay quiet) or to support him in his times of need. 

I really enjoyed this book. It’s full of fun and lots of laughterwhat’s funnier than exploding dragon poo all over your room? Landing in your teacher’s coffee? There’s also the really touching relationship that Tomas has with his little sister which made me really happy too (as a little sister, I think their relationship is brilliant, my big brother is definitely as much a hero as Tomas is to Lottie). 

I can’t wait to put this in the hands of my kids, so watch out for their reviews to be added to this soon!

Thank you so much to Andy Shepherd and the publishers for sending me this copy, it will sit beautifully in the school library and I can’t wait to read the next one and see what the kids are up to!

Would you like a pet dragon?
Would you be too scared of exploding poo everywhere?
What’s your ideal mythical pet?

Let me know in the comments, or on twitter. I’d love to know the weird and wonderful pets you’d all like!

S x

 

BOOKBLOG: Leigh Bardugo (stole my heart)

Hello, I’m Steph and I finished reading Crooked Kingdom about 2 weeks ago. I’m STILL NOT OVER THESE BOOKS. I know. I know. The fact I’ve only just read them and it’s taken me so long to get this review up. I am the most terrible bookish human ever… BUT I HAVE SUCH FEELINGS NOW. SOMEONE SEND SOMEONE TO SAVE MY SOUL (preferable Kaz, although, maybe not… I don’t think I could cope being around that man. He’s too clever for me, but we’ll get to him in a minute!)

So… for those who, like me, have not read Six of Crows or Crooked Kingdom…

“Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…
A convict with a thirst for revenge. A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past. A spy known as the Wraith. A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. 

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.”

Basically… these two books are PERFECTION. I can’t put into words right now just HOW BRILLIANT THEY ARE. There’s so much I love about this duology: the characters, the plot, the writing, the world building, the sarcasm, the darkness, the cleverness of it all.

So Six of Crows is the plan for the heist and Crooked Kingdom is the aftermath of the heist.

Who better to go and steal something that could change the course of the world than members of one of the local gangs? Obviously.

Now I can’t talk about these books too much without giving away the plot for one (Or the other), but I will tell you this… once you start you won’t want to stop. I was lucky in that I owned both Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, so when I finished Six of Crows I could INSTANTLY move on to Crooked Kingdom. Had I not have owned it, I would’ve gone straight out to a bookshop and book Crooked Kingdom. The bombshell at the end of Six of Crows is THAT GOOD that you will NEED Crooked Kingdom in your life instantaneously.

(For those of you wondering, you don’t need to have read the Grisha trilogy to understand and adore this duology. You will love it anyway. The first chapter will confuse you a little, but bear with it! I’m looking forward to reading the Grisha trilogy now though… A LOT. However, I feel nothing will quite live up to the love I have for Mr. Brekker and his crew of merry thieves).

These books are so clever and Leigh Bardugo is quite clearly a genius. There is no doubt in my mind about that. 

You will 100% fall for the characters in this story. 100%. No doubt whatsoever. If you don’t love them then I will eat my hat (I don’t wear hats, sorry chaps, I’ll eat a packet of crisps or something…)

I need to take a moment to appreciate and share my love for Kaz Brekker – the leader of the gang. He’s clever, wily, suspicious, witty, brilliant. I just adore him. The way he adores one of the other characters is just incredible. His progress from the start of Crows to the end of Kingdom just made me delighted. He’s a special kind of character who comes along every now and again. Just takes your heart away with him. I miss him entirely. 

The rest of his gang have a MASSIVE place in my heart. It’s hard not to love this bunch of “losers”. They all have incredible back stories that you learn as you go through the books (this I adored, I love a bit of backstory!). There were MANY MANY times I feared for my pals’ lives. Many times where I was worried that they would not come out alive, but obviously, I do not know that well. There is always a plan. Brekker is a man with a plan. 

Guys. I just loved this book, OK? I’m sorry this review is just a ramble. There is too much to say and I have far too few words to be able to say them in. The world, the characters, the plot, the duality of lives, the magic, brutality, friendships, romance, terror, worry, laughter.. it’s everything that I need in my books. 

I mean… go check out other reviews. They’re probably far less rambling and less fangirling than mine. 

Have you read Six of Crows?
Will you be signing your life over to the Dregs and Brekker?
WHY HAVE YOU NOT READ IT YET PLZ?

OK, I’m going to lie down because it’s taken me so long to write this “review” that my brain has stopped. Talk to me, PLEASE, about these books and these characters. Let’s all join together and make Leigh Bardugo write us more Kaz and Dregs books. 

S x

 

 

Brilliant Barrington Stoke

Happy Friday everyone!

Today I am sharing some of my favourite recent reads from the people over at Barrington Stoke! Barrington Stoke specialises in ‘cracking reading’, publishing super-readable children’s books that break down the barriers that can stop kids getting into reading. Their books bring together the very best children’s authors and illustrators in the UK with a host of unique accessibility features to offer books which are accessible to more children including those with dyslexia or visual stress. If you’re interested in these books, go check out their website here. There’s more information about the books they publish and how they make their books accessible for everyone!

So what books from Barrington Stoke have I read recently? Some absolute crackers!

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Noah Scape Can’t Stop Repeating Himself – Guy Bass

“Noah Scape loves dinosaurs and spaghetti with tomato sauce. But Noah doesn’t always get what he wants and when school doesn’t revolve around dinosaur facts and lunch isn’t always his tried and tested favourite, well… enough is enough! It’s time for him to stop wishing and to decide on exactly what he needs; a world full of Noahs!”

What would you do if one day you woke up to find there are double the amount of yous in the world? Then the next day, there’s double again? And double again the next day? Noah just wants people to like dinosaurs, as he does, so he wishes for more people like him… him! He starts regretting it eventually… and it doesn’t go down well with his parents and teachers either! Real fun, great for 8+ years!

Shona, Word Detective – John Agard

“Shona has always loved words. She even has her very own strange word thesaurus! When her and her classmates learn that some languages are dying out, Miss Bates tasks them with becoming top-class word detectives, proving to themselves and their families that there are many beautiful languages still thriving, even within their own classroom.”

I absolutely loved this one. It reminded me about my love of words and language. There’s something really special about books that can do that! It’s one I’m definitely going to be keeping to use in the classroom. Great for readers 7+ years. 

Rose’s Dress of Dreams – Katherine Woodfine

“Young Rose dreams of sewing beautiful dresses for the women of Paris. But when a chance encounter with royalty changes her life, Rose must draw on all her skills to create the most breathtaking dress of them all. Based on the life of Rose Bertin, the woman credited with creating haute-couture and a remarkable pioneer of fashion at the court of Marie Antoinette.”

When I initially read this, I had no idea that it was based on a real woman in history, so reading that made me love it even more! This book is brilliant for teaching kids about the power of dreams and believing in your dreams, because they absolutely can come true! It’s beautifully illustrated by Kate Pankhurst too. Yay for brilliant women in history! Great for readers 5-8 years!

The Great Telephone Mix Up – Sally Nicholls

“When the village wires get crossed after a storm, there’s a lot of confusion and plenty of missed connections. Margaret can’t run her summer fair, Jai can’t speak to Aditi, and Will is rather happy because no one can tell his mum how much trouble he’s in! Can the villagers learn to love their neighbours and could the great telephone mix-up really be a blessing in disguise?”

Living in a village and all of the telephone wires have got crossed? Having to deliver messages for your neighbour? Imagine that. It’d be a nightmare, but the people in his village finds it brings them closer together. I really enjoyed this. For a generation who don’t use the phone much, it was nice to see a book about it! Great for kids 7+ years!

There are so many other brilliant books in the Barrington Stoke catalogue and you can read the first chapters of most of their books on the website (which I think is GENIUS btw! Be great for using in a lesson!)

Thank you so much to Barrington Stoke for sending this brilliant bookpost my way. 

S x