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

5 YA Everyone Should Read

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

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5 YA Books Everyone Should Read

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

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

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A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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Goodreads link

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

 A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

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Goodreads link

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

Wing Jones by Katherine Webber

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Goodreads link

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

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

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Goodreads link

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

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Goodreads link

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

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

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

 

Book snatching?!

Hello, tis Wednesday guest blog time again! This time you are very lucky to be in the hands of my lovely Irish friend Aoife, blogger extraordinaire over at Pretty Purple Polka Dots and Twitterer to the max at @PrettyPPD (you should probably follow her, it’s a good idea kids). 
She’s going to talk to you all about the books on my shelves that she wants to get her hands on! 
Without further ado…
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Steph and I are in a vicious cycle where we recommend each other books and then probably never end up actually reading them. This time, it’s time to break the chain and actually read something she has.

I took a peek at Steph’s (well stocked) personal library and picked out five tomes I’d love to get my hands on. All I have to do is turn up at her place and demand them. Simple.

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Scrappy Little Nobody – Anna Kendrick
 
I love Anna Kendrick  – she’s hilarious in Pitch Perfect, and when I found out she was releasing a book I knew I had to get my hands on it.
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Flawed – Cecelia Ahern
 
I love Cecelia’s more grown up work and I’d really love to give her YA fiction a go.

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The Graces – Laure Eve
This was read by my book club in Dublin and they all loved it. I missed the meeting because I was in Wales at the time doing an MA, so I think I have a little catching up to do.
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The Scarecrow trilogy – Melinda Salisbury

Steph has been singing the praises of this series for months, so I’m really tempted. This is one that’s going straight on my TBR.

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Silence is Goldfish – Annabel Pitcher
 
Cheating a little – Steph actually sent me this book a few months ago. 
 
Aoife

Pretty Purple Polka Dots
@PrettyPPD 
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Thank you so much Aoife! Consider these books on their way to you once they’ve been read! 
S x

Favourite YA authors

Hello! It’s Wednesday! You know what that means, guest post Wednesday (I really need to think of a new name for this, that’s better! But hey ho, we’ll go with guest post wednesday for now!) 

Without further ado, I welcome my lovely friend Amy (links at the bottom of the post) who is here to talk about her favourite YA books! You can check out my post on Amy’s blog too in the next few days! I would love to see what you all think about our choices!

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Thanks for having me Steph to discuss my favourite YA books! When we decided to do this, I didn’t realise how difficult it would be. I eventually narrowed my list down and realised the books that have really stayed with me are set in vivid fantasy worlds, with characters that made me care about what happened to them.

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Northern Lights by Philip Pullman was the book that got me into fantasy. I’ve seen the play, travelled across the country to meet Philip Pullman and read it more times than I can count. There aren’t many books that I was able to read as a child and still get so much out of as an adult. I’m not sure it’s technically a YA book but I’m including it because it has something for everybody.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor is my ultimate YA book. I can still remember the first time I read it, how I had no idea what was coming and really loved those characters. Karou and Akiva are my ultimate OTP and Laini Taylor’s writing is beautiful.

The Weight of Feathers by Anna Marie McLemore is one of those books that engages all of the senses. The descriptions are lyrical and gorgeous, and this is my favourite example of magical realism.

The Forbidden Game by LJ Smith was my favourite book as a teenager. I read it so many times that I almost knew it by heart and I think Julian was my first book crush. I reread it recently and it has definitely stood the test of time.

These are my other favourites: a mixture of high concept fantasy; believable, thought-provoking contemporary and even a little horror.

  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
  • City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
  • Glass Houses (The Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine
  • Am I normal yet? by Holly Bourne
  • The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
  • Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
  • The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
  • The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
  • Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  • Because You’ll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas
  • Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

If you want to read more of my YA recommendations or chat about books, you can find me on Twitter (@yaundermyskin) and on my blog (www.yaundermyskin.co.uk).

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As you can see a lot of my personal favourites are on Amy’s long list, but to see my list of favourite YA I would love you to go over to my post at YA Under My Skin to find out my choices!

Thanks Amy for your guest post, I loved it! 

S x

Mental Health in YA

Hello Wednesday folks! Sorry this is late, I have had a mega stressful week, however you are in for a treat with this guest blog this week. My gorgeous friend Rachel, over-lady of #SundayYA, #SundayYAthon and 100-or-less has popped along to talk about YA books which discuss one of the most important things to a person – their mental health. It’s Mental Health Awareness Week next week so it was only natural that this fit in perfectly here!!

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Mental Health in YA: Some recommendations

For those of you that don’t know, next week (8th to 14th May) is the Mental Health Awareness Week. Over at #SundayYA I will be hosting a chat on mental health YA with some lovely guest authors, but today I want to share with you some of my favourite YA that talk about and raise awareness of mental health issues.

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia follows the story of Alex, a girl diagnosed with schizophrenia, as she tries to figure out the world with her Magic 8-Ball and her trusty camera. She thinks she has it all sorted out but then she meets Miles, and Alex begins to question her reality. As the title suggests, the story is told from first person so it’s pretty hard to tell what is real and what is due to Alex schizophrenia, but all this makes Made You Up a wonderful insight into what it is like to live with psychosis, and how those with a diagnosis can learn to live with it.

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An older YA that deals with mental health, and one that often gets overlooked, is My Heart And Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga. Aysel wants to commit suicide and, in her search for a Suicide Partner, meets Roman. They plot their death together but, in doing so, Aysel realises she has a lot more reasons to live. I thought this would be a very difficult read and at times I was ready to give up on it, but it turned out to be a beautifully hopeful story of rediscovery that I fell in love with.

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A book I have recently read that talking about mental health is Countless by Karen Gregory. Hedda has anorexia (which she refers to throughout her story as a person called Nia), but when she discovers she is pregnant she calls a truce with her eating disorder. As she goes through the pregnancy she learns that some choices are harder than others, and not everything in life can be counted. Countless is a particularly harrowing read, but one that I couldn’t put down. What struck me about this book was that, despite dealing with eating disorders, not once is a number mentioned. I found this to be rather important, as it demonstrates that it is possible to tell a story about mental health that can be realistic without being potentially triggering.

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I couldn’t talk about mental health in YA without mentioning Under Rose-Tainted Skies, an Own Voices novel by Louise Gornall. Norah has agoraphobia and OCD and has accepted that the four walls of her house will be where she spends her life. That is, until Luke turns up on her door and changes everything. He’s patient and understanding, and sees Norah for who she really is. Under Rose-Tainted Skies is a truly wonderful read, and one that shows that sometimes, it’s okay to take risks.

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On the topic of OCD, another YA I have loved, and the only one so far I have re-read, is Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne. Evie has OCD and believes she is coping with it, but as she starts college and makes new friends she soon begins to spiral out of control. Although Am I Normal Yet? deals with some pretty tough themes, it manages to be light hearted and funny throughout, which made this story really stand out to me and will see me go back to it many times in the future.

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There are a lot of YA books about anxiety, but recently I really enjoyed reading A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard. Steffi is a selective mute and struggles to communicate to people outside of her immediate family. Her headteacher introduces her to Rhys, who is deaf, and with her limited understanding of British Sign Language she builds a friendship she can truly be a part of. A Quiet Kind of Thunder really captures what it is to have anxiety, and is written in such a way that, by the time I read the last page, I felt like I was parting ways with a friend.

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Mental health comes in many forms, and a YA read that particularly stands out when I think of neurodiversity is The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas. The State of Grace follows Grace, a narrator with Asperger’s, as she comes to term with a lot of changes in her life whilst trying to fit in with her friends. I found the State of Grace to be not just enjoyable but fascinating to read and, as someone who works with students on the ASD spectrum, a real insight into what it is like to be on the spectrum. I learnt a lot from reading it, and will carry this story with me for a long time to come.

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Of course, there are a lot of amazing YA books out there that talk about mental health, but these are the ones that have particularly stood out for me. Happy reading!

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Thank you so much to Rachel for writing this incredible insightful blog all about different YA books which deal with mental health, in all its variations. 

Rachel’s links (you should follow her, she’s incredible!)

Remember to join in #SundayYA chats on Sundays between 6 and 7 pm!

I have read and reviewed some of these books and the ones which I have not I will be buying AS SOON AS my May book ban is over (you can read all about that here: You MAY not buy any books)

Reviews:

Review of Countless to come, I just recently finished it and my word. I loved every second of it. It absolutely killed me. 

Have you read any of these books?
Which other YA books would you recommend for Mental Health Awareness Week?

S x

Book Happiness Project

Welcome to the 4th guest blog of the year! I am so happy to introduce you all to my lovely friend Aimee – her links will be at the bottom of the post!

Well hello dear readers of Steph’s gorgeous blog, A Little But A Lot!

I am delighted that Steph has asked me to write yet another guest post for her ever-blossoming blog, which I absolutely love. We discussed topic options and it was decided that I’d share with you all a very exciting 2017 project that I’m involved with – The Book Happiness Project.

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The Book Happiness Project is a year-long project designed to spread bookish love and bring together the Book Blogging and BookTube communities. By bringing together these two communities, we’re hoping that it inspires your creative flair and inspires you to join us on our journey with this amazing project. With a total of 12 hosts; we’re aiming to bring exciting themes each month, along with some amazing challenges and readathons that you can all be a part of.

Each month has two main hosts and to kick off 2017, the theme is Happiness in New. January’s theme is hosted by Hannah over at A Cup of Wonderland and Taylor at Bookaflix Taylor – both amazing BookTubers, so please do check them out when you have time. Without these two gorgeous ladies The Book Happiness Project wouldn’t be happening, so it’s only right that they kick off the year with Happiness In New.

So what is Happiness in New all about?

Here are the beautiful Hannah and Taylor explaining what The Happiness Book Project has in store for this month:

Hannah’s video

Taylor’s video

I do hope you guys will join in with this phenomenal project as much as possible over the year by and if you want to find out more then check out my announcement blog post: My blog announcement and join in the conversations over on Twitter by using the #BookHappinessProject.

Sending much bookish happiness and love your way,

Aimee x

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I think this is such an incredible idea! It’s lovely to unite all of the book lovers in the world. We all love books and sharing all of this incredible creativity is wonderful. I can’t wait to see what the year has in store for the #BookHappinessProject folk! 

Thank you so much Aimee for writing this blog post!

You can find Aimee here on Twitter and here on her blog.

S x

Blogger Recognition Award

A big thank you to the lovely Kelly @ Kelly’s Ramblings for nominating me for this one. You should go and check out her blog!

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RULES…

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
2. Write a post to show your award
3. Give a brief story of how your blog started
4. Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers
5. Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to
6. Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them & provide the link to the post you created

How did my blog start?!

I haven’t been blogging ALL THAT LONG. Maybe about 6 months now? So I’m relatively new in the blogging world. I started blogging because I wanted a place to talk about books and teaching. There wasn’t really anywhere else I could think – I had a tumblr years ago and didn’t feel like going back there. I blog regularly for work (each of the classes has their own blog) so I knew the workings of WordPress so figured ‘why not go for it?’ And one day I just sat down and decided that A Little But A Lot would be born. The words are a play on lyrics from Matilda the Musical (which I wrote a blog post about… one of my very first! You can read it here: Matilda The Musical) and I have loved blogging ever since.

Two pieces of advice to new bloggers?

  1. Absolutely blog for yourself.
    Write blog posts you want to tell the world about. Write because you want to share. Write because there’s something in you that you want to shout about. Write things that you would want to read. Too many bloggers get into blogging think it’ll be easy, thinking there’ll be loads of free stuff… those things are wonderful and they’l come to you eventually, but you have to blog for the right reasons. And make sure you’re putting across a perception of yourself that you’re happy for people to see. Your blog is just an extension of you. Be proud of it in its entirety.
  2. The blogging community is a wonderful place, filled with exceptional people.
    Some of my best “pocket friends” as we call each other I have met because of my blogging. Find your niche in the world of blogging and I can guarantee you’ll make some exceptional friends. Don’t be scared to join in twitter chats, put yourself out there and share your blog posts. If you surround yourself with the right people you’ll be grand. Talk to people who are like minded and people who lift you up. I absolutely can not applaud my online community enough. They are my biggest fans, supporters and the people who challenge me most.

Who do I nominate?

 

3 stars and above, please

Welcome to guest blog number 2, this time coming from my wonderful friend Kelly – This Northern Gal (her details are at the bottom of this blog post!).

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I’m not a very good book-worm, or book-blogger for that matter. I think Shakespeare is kind of over rated, and way too overvalued in English schooling. I don’t have much time for Austen. My bookcases aren’t picture perfect and my collection is spread between houses. I tend not to have all the latest books, nor the prettiest editions.

Worse than that though, I only share positive reviews on my blog.

In part, that is because I have always wanted This Northern Gal to be a positive place, where I share the things I have been loving and that have been making me happy. That ethos continues to the books that I choose to share there. If I love a book, I want to write about it in the hopes that someone else will love it too. I’ve found that to be slightly more effective than babbling incoherently and thrusting my favourite books at confounded friends.

But more than that, it’s due to a much bigger decision to avoid reading books that I don’t enjoy in my free time.

You see, I read a lot of books. A LOT. I’m four years into a degree in Classical Studies and English which means that I’m constantly carrying books and trying to deny how long my to-be-read list is. At its worst, I was expected to work on three novels a week, as well as critical reading, and you know, sleeping. Anna Karenina and Great Expectations were among the lists too, if that helps you feel bad for me.

It’s calmed down a little now but not by much. So, to save my love of reading from total annihilation I promised myself that I don’t have to read any books that I don’t want to in my free time. If I’m not into it in the first 25% of it, I stop.

Some, that I think I could enjoy but are too much of a challenging read for right now, are added to my post-graduation list. Anything too dense or too long is reserved for that glorious time of unemployment. As is the entire Harry Potter series because I have been waiting a long, long time to re-read that.

Only books that I am enjoying make it to my blog because they are the books that I spend my time reading.

The kind of books that I read has also changed during my degree. My love for fantasy has increased, and I’ve been really enjoying short stories and poetry at the moment. Books that make a delightful treat after a long day of studying or working are on my agenda and therefore my blog.  I no longer feel guilty about that, about not ticking every box that comes with the title of ‘book worm’, ‘book blogger’ or even ‘literature student’. Why should I?

I might not have a very balanced blog, or read the books that I should but I do love to read. Surely that’s what matters. Especially if it gives me a chance to natter about books with other literary lovers.

 If that makes me a bad book blogger, then I’ll wear that badge with pride.

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I think the message that Kelly is getting across is SO important here and it’s one that I stand by firmly. There are books that I read that I don;t particularly enjoy but I would never put a negative review on my blog. I want this blog, just as Kelly wants hers, to be a place of positivity. Books are one of the things that I love most about the world and about my little world. I have all the time in the world for supporting incredible authors and their incredible stories. I’ll always be honest, I’ll always tell you my real thoughts about a book but I would hate to think that people thought of A Little But A Lot as a negative place. 

If you’d like to follow Kelly (and I suggest that would be a wise move on your part) you’ll find her:
Twitter

Youtube

Instagram

This Northern Gal blog

Thank you so much Kelly for this wonderful message,

S x

Versatile Blogger Award

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A while back I got a lovely tweet to say that my lovely friend Jess had nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award! What? Little old me and my little old blog? I was very happy and it was so lovely of her! So thank you SO MUCH Jess. (If you want to check Jess’ blog out… you’ll find her here: Bookends And Endings)

So, to start with, here are the rules.

  • Show the award on your blog
  • Thank the person that has nominated you
  • Share 7 random facts about yourself
  • Nominate a few blogs
  • Link your nominees

So, 7 facts about me? Well… 

  1. I’ve never broken a bone. (I say that, touching wood). I have a very slight dint in my forehead from when I was a kid. I was rollerskating down the middle of the road and a car was coming so I veered in to the kerb, got a rock caught in my skate and knocked my head off the corner of the kerb… I was fine though.
  2. I’m a little bit superstitious – I’ll salute one magpie if he’s alone, I don’t walk under ladders, I don’t like walking under signs/scaffolding. Not massively so… just the magpie thing mainly. And there’s always loads of magpies around where I live. I’m sure they’re sent to taunt me!
  3. I love taking journeys by train. I think they’re the most relaxing. There’s something very calming about trains. If I’m at a table, then even better. If it’s a table that no one else is occupying then winner!
  4. I’m not a big fan of London. It scares me. It’s so big and so busy. Once I’ve been tehre for a few days I have to get home. Back to lovely Newcastle. My absolutely wonderful home. I love coming home. 
  5. The seaside is my happy place. Now granted I haven’t been that many times in the past few years (for well, emotional reasons) but the seaside always seems to calm me down and it just helps me right all the wrongs in my world and I come back to the city and I feel better and ready to take on the world again.
  6. I am TERRIFIED of failure. Yep. That’s me. Hello. So much so that sometimes I won’t try something because I’m scared I’ll fail… probably why I’m writing this instead of writing my dissertation… SHHH.
  7. Matilda will forever be my fail safe book. 

So there you have it. 7 facts, some little known, some well known about me!

I nominate:

S x

Christmas Cora-ling!

IT’S GUEST BLOGGER TIMEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. This time round we have one of my newest blogger pals and she is amazing. We’ve been friends on Twitter for a while but (like I’ve been mentioning in lots of posts recently) we met at YAShot in London in October. We bonded more over our love of books and wine! (If you were following me on Instagram at the time you would’ve seen my pictures of wine… they were ALL CORA’S FAULT). You should all go and check out Cora, she’s incredible and her blog is lush! She’s a northern book loving gal like me… what’s not to love!! (links at the bottom of this post!!) 
What are your favourite things to do in Winter/Christmas time?
Every December, I drop whatever I was reading before and I throw myself into festive reading. If it has even the merest hint of Christmas or winter, I’m all over it. It’s something I only started when I started blogging, but it is so much fun. Then when Christmas passes, it’s a made rush to finish those books I unceremoniously dumped in those few days before New Year – I love a fresh start with new books.
Perhaps my favourite thing, when it’s cold and wet outside, is to curl up with a blanket draped around me, a scented candle burning away, a hot cup of tea on the table, a book in my hand… And escape into a book.
What were some presents you loved as a child?
I probably loved books second best at Christmas, because when I was a wee yin I loved Polly Pockets. I could sit for hours playing with those tiny figures, playing out any and every story in my head. I had all of the book shaped ones and those were my favourites – I used to set them side-by-side and imagine transporting through worlds like the Pevensie children stepping through the wardrobe.
If you could have Christmas anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

I love Christmas with my family, and I wouldn’t change it. I love the mad scramble mid-December to tidy the living room for the tree – we’re a very messy bunch – and then never putting on The Big Light for the rest of the year, lighting our way with fairy lights. I love waking early, sitting on the floor and arguing over who will make the tea, and then drinking bucks fizz anyway. I love the six hour family Man vs Food event that is Christmas Dinner, and the dogs circling the table like hopeful, land-bound buzzards. I love the board games and charades as we laze around the table picking at left-overs and ignoring the dishes, cackling again at the bad Christmas cracker jokes…

I wouldn’t change a single thing, but it could be anywhere so long as it’s with my family.

Tea Party Princess Book Blog

Cora’s Blog – Tea Party Princess
Cora’s Goodreads
Cora’s twitter

Now go my friends and follow Cora, you won’t regret it!! 

Thank you so much to Cora for agreeing to write this blog for me for my first blogmas! It means the world! 

S xx