S4S – YALC books

Hello!

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

YALC books

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

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

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

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

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

S x

Favourite Protagonists

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter

WordPress

S x

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. 

Penguin
Amazon
Goodreads

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

 

 

S4S – TBR forever

Good morning! It is Sunday once more. How are you all? 

‘What are we talking about this week?’ I hear you say!

This week’s #SixforSunday topic is:

Books that have been on my TBR forever

  1. Chaos Walking trilogy – Patrick Ness 
  2. The Bone Season series – Samantha Shannon
  3. The Grisha trilogy – Leigh Bardugo
  4. Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdon – Leigh Bardugo
  5. The Sun is Also a Star – Nicola Yoon
  6. Noughts and Crosses series – Malorie Blackman

I know. I should get on this. I have a Summer holiday to fill… I know what I’ll be reading!

What books have been on your TBR forever?
Does my list surprise you?
What do you plan on reading in the Summer?

Let me know on twitter, using the hashtag #SixforSunday! I would love to see your lists too!

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

S4S – YA characters

Hello!

This week’s #SixForSunday is a bit later than normal… I do apologise! This week’s theme is:

Badass characters in YA books

(I am totally not prepared for how hard this is going to be…)

  1. Twylla – The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy 
  2. Jin – Rebel of the Sands/Traitor to the Throne
  3. Moonbeam – After The Fire
  4. Leora – Ink
  5. Hedda – Countless
  6. Amani – Rebel of the Sands/Traitor to the Throne

Ha, this list may not stand in a day, a week or a month. But go and read their stories. You’ll love them. I promise. 

Let me know your #SixforSunday use the hashtag on twitter! Share your links with me. I love seeing what others think! 

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