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

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BLOG TOUR: My Dad, The Earth Warrior

Hello!

Today is a very exciting day. Today you get another brilliant author guest post! Today, Gary Haq, author of the brilliant ‘My Dad, The Earth Warrior’ is featured on my blog. Gary has a passion for engaging children in talking about and learning about the environment. As a teacher, this is REALLY important to me, so I hope you enjoy Gary’s post!

On Writing

As an environmental researcher, I have written scientific papers and reports, non-fiction books and Op-Eds for the regional and national press but never fiction.

But that all changed when my mother died. Clearing out the family home I came across my Nana’s large well-worn black patent leather handbag. We had kept it for years in the back of the wardrobe, and for some reason,  the bag became a repository for all the important family documents.

Inside there were death and birth certificates of grandparents and relatives, a telegram from the Ministry of Defence informing that my grandfather was lost at sea in the Second World War, a letter of from King George honouring his service to the nation, and my primary school reports in a battered brown envelope.

In my old school report, there was a statement from my primary school teacher that said  how much I enjoyed writing stories.

As an academic researcher my career has been all about facts and referencing evidence. I had totally  forgotten the joy of making up stories.

I therefore decided to revisit the imagination I had as a child. Once I had opened that door in my mind, I was flooded ideas for a children’s book. Then one day, I was dancing around the living room being silly trying to calm my baby daughter, and thought how embarrassing she would find this if she were older.  It was then, I had the idea for a story about a boy who has an embarrassing father

Someone said that writing is about 10% putting words on paper and 90% editing – it’s true! It took me six months to write my first draft and six years editing it!

Since I have a busy home and work life, I try to find pockets of time to write and edit throughout my day. I do try to write at home but this has become increasingly difficult as my daughter grown older.  But here are a few places where I do manage to put pen to paper.

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ON THE BUS

Being temporarily based in Italy at a European research Centre, my workday begins by taking the bus to work, where I try and write and edit. 

 

 

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AT THE CAFFE’

In Italy you can’t start the day without your morning coffee. I visit a café before work to have my morning café macchiato, write a little and watch the array of characters that passby.

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IN THE CANTEEN

At lunch time, when fellow colleagues go to the canteen to eat together, I go alone so I can use the time to work on my book  although, my view is not always a concrete pillar!

What a brilliant post! Thank you so much to Gary to writing a blog post! It’s brilliant. Check out the rest of the blog tour below!

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You can also check out My Dad, The Earth Warrior out now!

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

Twinkl originals

Morning everyone! How are we all today? 

As you know I am a MASSIVE advocate for reading within school (and in my life outside of school, lets be real) and finding more books to read in school, which can be used in the classroom, is always a brilliant way to get books into classrooms. 

As a school, we have a Twinkl subscription and we are occasionally sent copies of their Originals books and I have to say that they’re brilliant. We have used all of the ones that we have been sent across the school and they’re brilliant to be used as one offs, or can be used as a topic. (I did have pictures to put in this post for examples of work and the children using the books, but technology never quite does what you want it to and they were deleted, sad face!)

There’s a WIDE variety of books available, covering all kinds of topics. Books suitable for EYFS to KS2 and beyond, depending how you use them! As you can see from the pictures there’s new ones and they’re being added all of the time! Check out all of the collection here – there’s some amazing books to use!

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One of our favourites is Ronald the Rhino. This is one of the first originals that we recevied. If you want to know about tis one, I posted all about Ronald the Rhino! book here. The synopsis reads: “Meet the wiggliest, jiggliest rhino in the forest! Ronald the Rhino is big and strong, but he doesn’t believe that he is as special as his forest friends. Follow Ronald on his journey of discovery in this powerful story about embracing your uniqueness.” 

He’s gone down brilliantly with our KS1 children in partricular! (For resources linked to Ronald the Rhino, click here!)

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I know in EYFS and KS1 in particular they have used Sparks in the Sky – Bo is excited to see her first fireworks. Join her as she enjoys the sights, sounds and smells of Bonfire Night with her big brother, Leo. A heartwarming tale to celebrate this magical night – all about bonfire night and it produced a wonderful display. For resources linked to that book, check here

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One of the newer ones that I definitely want to try out with the KS2 kids is Our Teachers are Superheroes. “When Freya and Benji suspect that their teachers may be real-life superheroes, they set out on a mission to discover their secret identities. However, the superpowers they uncover may not be what they were expecting! Follow their adventures as they try to expose the truth…” 

As we all know teachers ARE superheroes, so having a book based on this is brilliantly fun. I’ve downloaded it ready to use (it comes in ebook form, Mac form or PDF form, all very helpful depending on which computers you use at school!) As with Ronald the Rhino (and the rest of the originals collection) there are resources aplenty to go with the book – click here. There’s ideas for English and Maths obviously, but I love that there’s Art activities and PE activities linked too! There’s all sorts. 

There’s so many different books that I could go on about them for hours! Check back in the next few weeks to see how I get on with working with a few more of the books. 

Have you read any of the Twinkl Originals?
Which one would you like to read most?
Do teachers really have superpowers? 
What is your superpower?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments or on twitter (@eenalol). 

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

 

 

Rapid Fire Book Tag

Hi guys!

Today I’m doing a book tag I saw on my friend Kelly’s blog a while ago and I thought I’d get involved. I love a book tag. (If you’re interested in Kelly’s post, which is wonderful, check it out here. You should definitely check out Kelly’s blog, cause it’s lush!)

(Keep your eyes peeled for my very own tag coming in the next few weeks – I’m v excited for it to finally be started!)

Rapid Fire Book Tag

(LOL, like I do anything rapidly, especially when it comes to books… but yknow! One can try!)

Ebook or physical book?

Physical book EVERY DAY. If I’m going on holiday, I may use my kindle, but I’m generally a physical book kinda gal.

Paperback or hardback?

Paperback thanks. Hardbacks are sometimes too tall to fit into my shelves (sidenote: WHY ARE NOT ALL BOOKS THE SAME HEIGHT? *ahem*

Online or in-store shopping?

I love a good in-store shopping trip. Online is great if I’m just browsing for similar titles, but there’s nothing quite like actually visiting a shop (if you’re looking for a good book shop… go check out Waterstones Newcastle. Their basement is incredible for MG and YA books)

Trilogies or series?

Probably trilogies? I mean, how long of a series are we talking? If we’re talking like 11 or 12 books, I’m not here for that. Gimme 3. That’s the perfect number of books that I have to read and be invested in thanks. Also, I’m loving duologies at the minute.

Heroes or villains?

I am always the hero. I like to read a villain. But heroes thanks.

A book you want everyone to read?

Primarily because it is HILARIOUS – The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven. It’s just so brilliant, so relevant and so hilarious. I miss Izzy O’Neill and can’t wait for her to come back into my life.

Recommend an underrated book?

The Paper Magician trilogy by Charlie N. Holmberg. Man, if I could forget these books and read them again I totally would.

The last book you finished?

The Boy Who Grew Dragons by Andy Shepherd. A brilliantly fun MG book about a boy who gets a pet dragon.

The last book you bought?

OH GOSH. Erm… The Secret of the Night Train by Sylvia Bishop. I have read it and needed to buy a copy for the school library because the kids will LOVE it. I definitely did.

Weirdest thing you’ve used as a bookmark?

I don’t tend to use anything weird… maybe a train ticket? (I’m boring, soz guys)

Used books: yes or no?

YES. Absolutely. Our school library in particular is fond of a used book!

Top three genres?

Fantasy, magical realism and contemporary? 

Borrow or buy?

I tend to buy. I like to be able to keep my books if I love them.

Characters or plot?

Characters ALL THE TIME. If I’m not invested in someone’s life, I don’t care what they’re doing with it tbh. Ideally both are WONDERFUL, but I’d rather read a dull plot with a brilliant character than a dull character with a wonderful plot.

Long or short books?

It depends? Is that a cop out? If I’m invested in the world/characters then I’m all about the longer stories. However, it also depends on my mood. If I’m not in the mood for something weighty, I’ll choose a shorter book.

Long or short chapters?

Now Kelly knows my strong passion for short chapters. I can’t with longer chapters.

Name the first 3 books you think of

A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard, Floored – a bevy of wonderful YA authors, Clean – Juno Dawson.

Books that made you laugh or cry?

Laugh: Coco Pinchard books by Robert Bryndza
Cry: Countless (and most other books I read tbf, I’m a crier)

Our world or fictional worlds?

Fictional. All the time. I have the reality of our world every day it’s nice to escape.

Audiobooks: yes or no?

Confession time: I’ve never listened to an audiobook for my own consumption. I’m not against them, I just like the physical act of reading a physical book a lot.

Do you ever judge a book by its cover?

All the time. I have no shame about it. I’m such a cover magpie. However, I’m not one of these “I WON’T pick it up because the cover is horrid”. I’m more of a “ah man this cover could be so much better to match how awesome the story is”

Book to movie, or movie to book adaptations?

Book to movie. Idk. I don’t think about this much.

A movie or TV series you prefered to the book?

I’m not sure I’ve ever come across that?

Series or standalones?

I like to have a bit of both in my life. I like to get so invested in characters’ lives that I have to read 2/3 books in one go. But also I like standalones because you get the entire story in one book.

And there you go! Some not so rapid fire answers!

Let me know if you do this tag and your thoughts on my answers!

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