Six for Sunday – Waiting in the Wings

Six for Sunday is Steph at alittlebutalot‘s creation with a prompt each week to blog about. I’ve not taken part for a while, but I’m hoping to get involved again this month.

Today’s prompt is:

Oh, there’s so many more than six! There are some that have been physically waiting for a ridiculously long time and even more that I ‘mean to read’ but haven’t picked up yet.

Today I’m going to pick six that have been here, ready and waiting for way too long!

1. Storm Witch by Ellen Renner

2. The Distance Between me and the Cherry Tree by Paola Peretti

3. The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton

4. Scar by Alice Broadway

5. Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

5. Alice by Christina Henry

Which books are gathering dust in your TBR pile? Which of these should I bump up my list?

Six for Sunday – I ❤️ Blogging

Six for Sunday is Steph at alittlebutalot‘s creation with a prompt each week to blog about.

Today’s prompt is:

It’s apt that this month’s Six got Sunday prompts are under the umbrella theme of Share the Love, as that kind of underpins most of my reasons for loving blogging…

1. It gets my reviews written! I started blogging partly as a way to get my thoughts down about books I needed and/or wanted to review. I was struggling to type a review straight onto websites, blank page syndrome I think. Writing for my blog first gave me a way to write a more personal (and, sorry, often more waffly!) review that I could trim and adapt.

2. It’s a way of recording, remembering and reflecting on my reading. The other reason I started blogging was to have a record not just of what I’d read but also what I’d felt about it. Likewise, I wanted to be able to look back at books Peapod reads as he grows.

3. I get to talk about kids books with people who are as excited about them as I am. Even though I work in a bookshop I still often find my excitement at new kids books (especially picture books) met with a quizzical look, non-comprehension or indulgence at best. Here, I get to share that excitement with people who get it and read about the books they’re excited about too.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of waiting for a book, or offinally getting your hands on one you’ve been waiting for, or if spotting one by a favourite author you’d missed, forgotten or didn’t know about or of finding something completely new but fantastic by chance and this is a brilliant place for sharing that excitement with each other.

4. Finding out about books that might have slipped under my radar, and those that I don’t necessarily want to read but do want to know about. I’m so lucky to have a host of great kids book bloggers to follow and one of the things I love best about this is seeing what others have loved reading, often ones I haven’t come across yet but seek out after hearing of them.

Likewise, it’s great to be able to read reviews from people whose opinions I trust about books I won’t necessarily read but want to be able to recommend (funny/contemporary MG, YA, early chapter books etc).

5. Having a bit of space for me. I started my blog when I was pregnant with Peapod and its helped me keep a little slice of me since his arrival. Its too complex a feeling to go into here without going wildly off topic or waffling on, but suffice to say its been good to have a place to lay down some non-baby thoughts that nevertheless included him often.

6. Being able to let authors and illustrators and publishers know how much I’ve loved a book. As much as I love sharing the book love with others who’ve read a book and those who may read it in the future (and those who will never read it but can appreciatey enthusiasm for it!), I also love having a way to thank its creators and tell them how much I enjoyed it.

I’m a pretty socially anxious person (often well hidden but that’s yet another tangent) and this extends to non-face-to-face situations, so I’d probably never just outright contact an author/illustrator etc to tell them how fantastic I think their work is, but sharing my reviews gives me a way to do this.

What do you love best about blogging?

Six for Sunday – Habits

Six for Sunday is Steph at alittlebutalot‘s creation with a prompt each week to blog about.

Today’s prompt is:

Another I’ve had to ponder. I’m sure as I read the habits others have I’ll recognise many I have too, but all I can think of is my habits regarding when and where I read, so I’m going with that.

Six times and places you’ll almost certainly find me reading…

1. On my lunch break. This is one if the main chunks of time I get to read a physical book, so invariably I will be at the staff room table, lunch in one hand and book in the other

2. On my commute. I usually read my ebook on the way to work and back but if I don’t have too much stuff and get a seat on the tram I sometimes read my physical book too.

3. Nap times. I usually spend most of Peapod’s naptime listening to an audiobook while I do jobs around the house, but try to squeeze in a bit of time for a sit down with a coffee and a physical book too if he hasn’t woken by the time I’ve finished the housework.

4. In the evenings when I’m up and downstairs resettling Peapod. Peapod is a frequent waker still, so while I do get to go downstairs after putting him to bed, I’m usually up a few times with him before I go up to bed too. I usually read an ebook on my phone while he feeds back to sleep.

5. Before bed. It used to be that my main reading time was in bed before I went to sleep. I can’t really read my physical book in bed now without rusking waking Peapod but I manage to get a few pages in with a glass of wine and some chocolate before I go up most nights!

6. Peapod’s bedtime. The three of us all share a story when putting Peapod to bed. We have done since he was new born and I hope it will be something that sticks as he gets older and be ones a habit for him too!

When and where do you read? Do you have any bookish habits?

Six for Sunday: Reading Resolutions

Six for Sunday is Steph at alittlebutalot‘s creation with a prompt each week to blog about.

Today’s prompt is:

Six Bookish Resolutions

This ties in to much of what I mused on in this post, but in briefer terms, my goals (I’m not kidding myself they’re resolutions – I’d fall at the first hurdle!) areb

  • Read more adult fiction
  •
  • Read more early chapter books
  • Keep on top of reviews (!!)
  • Reach my Goodreads target of 100 books.
  • Balance new with old to make a dint in my book backlog!

I’ve been thinking of ways I can actually try to achieve some of these.

I’m most definitely not a forward planner when it comes to reading, but after seeing lots of others post books they’re planning to read in Jan and thinking back to how choosing a selection of wintery books in December and a reading list for Believathon helped me aim to complete them, I thought I’d try picking out six books I’d like to read this month and see if that helps!

So I’ve chosen…

Lost Tide Warriors by Catherine Doyle (no, I can’t believe I still haven’t read this either!)

Shadowsea by Peter Bunzl

Shadows of Winterspell by Amy Wilson

Becoming Dinah by Kit de Waal

Hey, Sherlock! or Running Girl by Simon Mason

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Have you got a TBR for the month, or reading resolutions for the year?

Six for Sunday – Blue Books

Six for Sunday is Steph at alittlebutalot‘s creation with a prompt each week to blog about.

Today’s prompt is:

Books with Blue Covers

A book for all ages – The Fox and The Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith

Just gorgeous (though not as satisfyingly wry as The Bird and the Worm!)

A picture book – Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers

I don’t mention Oliver Jeffers nearly enough when talking about my favourite picture books and picture book authors. This is up there!

An early chapter book – The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson

Speaking of favourites – I grew up with Plop. He has a firm place in both mine and my mum’s hearts!

An MG book – The Time of Green Magic by Hilary McKay

I really loved this, but I think it’s been a bit under-rated! It has such a cosy feel for this time of year. You can read my review of it here.

A YA bookHis Dark Materials vol. 1: Northern Lights

Another favourite! I’ve just finished my re-read of the trilogy so had to pick this one. Not sure yet what I think of the TV series – anyone else watching it?

An adult book – The Binding by Bridget Collins

Atmospheric, historic, gothic and bookish – even the fact that it’s a love story in disguise couldn’t put me off! You can read my review here.

Six for Sunday – Snow and Ice

I always enjoy reading everyone’s Six for Sunday posts, based on prompts from Steph at alittlebutalot, and have been saying since about this time last year I was going to join in more often! Having failed miserably, I’m going to try and get into it now ahead of 2020 in the hopes of establishing a routine for getting the posts up…

So, onto today’s prompt –

Books with Snow or Ice in the title…

A book for all ages – The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson

This has always been a favourite fairytale of mine – a cold, charming female villain; a beautiful, wintry setting; a quest to save a missing friend who is suddenly changed and distant with a brave and determined girl undertaking it (hello MG fantasy adventure!); the exquisite violence of shards of mirror to the eye; the imagery and, well, fairytale-ness of the whole thing!

A picture book – One Snowy Night by Nick Butterworth

This might be my absolute favourite wintry picture book. I love the Percy the Park Keeper stories – full of nature, kindness, warmth and a gentle humour, these are classic stories which stand the test of time and never fail to make me smile. And One Snowy Night is probably my favourite of all of them too – when all the animals get too cold, they turn yo Pedcy to find a bed in his warm hut for the night. It’s getting pretty full when there’s a strange noise…what could it be?

The cosiest bedtime story going – nothing better to snuggle up together with on a winter night! I love it!

An early chapter book – Bad Nana: That’s Snow Business by Sophy Henn

Bad Nana is brilliant and she’s back with snow and showbiz sparkle ready for the local Winter talent show!

Pacy, hilarious and superbly written (there’s a flavour of Lauren Child but a distinct style and voice too) this is such a great illustrated series for those just starting on chapter books.

An MG book – Snowglobe by Amy Wilson

Magical, imaginative and atmospheric with some fantastic works building and imagery – this is a great read any time of year. You can read my review of it here.

A YA bookA Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa LueddeckeTBR!

OK, while I could think of a fair few YA books with snow in the title, I hadn’t actually read any of them (yes, I need to up my YA reading game!) but this is one I’d like to try based on its blurb!

An adult book – Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

I love this – inspired by a fairytale (though not one I know) it’s a wonderful winter read, perfect for cosying up with.

Although, I should also add that while magical and atmospheric and hopeful it is also heartbreaking at times, with both the loss of and longing for a child main themes.

Six for Sunday – Bookish Hates

#SixforSunday is hosted by Steph at A Little But A Lot. Each week she gives a book-themed prompt for a list of six and this week that prompt is

Bookish Hates

This is a tough one. I’m not sure I’d say hate, but these are certainly things I’m not keen on. In no particular order:

  • Didactic picture books. I don’t mind a book with a message as such, I just hate it being put across too obviously or with too much sentimentality. I read one recently where I loved the illustrations (seriously beautiful, colourful things) and I enjoyed the story…until the last page. Then vom. For some picture books with messages that aren’t rammed down your throat, try Steve Anthony’s Mr Panda series or I Don’t Want to be a Pea by Ann Bonwill and Simon Rickerty.
  • Bad rhyme. Again usually in picture books. I just hate clunky rhythm or words and phrases that have been shoe-horned in in an attempt to maintain the rhyme. Dodgy, repetitive or just poorly flowing – ugh! For picture books with great rhyme, there’s always the great Julia Donaldson, the classic Hairy Maclary books by Linley Dodd or try the Ten Little… series by Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty (who I promise has not commissioned this post!)
  • Celebrity authors. So, this could be a blog post in itself. Yes, if a celeb gets a parent whose own relationship with reading isn’t great or who are intimidated by bookshops to read, buy or borrow books for their kids – I’m all for it. If their popularity gets kids reading and talking about books, brilliant. I just love it when they’re a springboard rather than an end point. And I think it’s sad the amount of hype, space and promotion they get which could be given to actual authors who need it. I tried to think of exceptions to the rule to recommend but I couldn’t. Are there any celeb authors you rate?
  • Romance. Im just not a fan. There’s nothing wrong with it, if you enjoy it that’s great, but it’s not for me. Though I think there’s maybe no greater love stories than I Love You Stick Insect by Chris Naylor-ballesteros and Tadpole’s Promise by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross.
  • Happy endings. Not to be confused with hopeful endings. I love a hopeful ending, I just hate it when everything is perfectly tied up and fixed. I like a bit of misery/anguish/grief/bleakness in a book! I think there’s a lot of MG authors doing hopeful over happy incredibly well at the moment – Kiran Millwood-Hargrave, Abi Elphinstone, Kieran Larwood…
  • Charles Dickens. We just don’t get on!

What are your bookish hates? Do we agree, or disagree, on any?

Have you taken part in #SixforSunday?

Six For Sunday: Best Trilogies or Series

Six for Sunday is hosted by Steph at A Little But A Lot. She gives a prompt for a list of six books each Sunday – the list can be found here. This week it’s

Favourite Trilogies or Series

So tough – old or new? Picture book, MG, YA or adult?

In the end I decided to go with a mixture of ages and only more recent books (bar one) otherwise it risked being a list of the obvious – Harry Potter, His Dark Materials (even if The Amber Spyglass is nowhere near as good as the first 2), Judith Kerr’s Out of Hitler Time trilogy etc. (see how I snuck some in anyway!)

Picture Books

Triangle/Square/Circle – Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

I LOVE this trilogy. SO much. Even though Circle isn’t out yet (one of my most anticipated books of 2019!) See this post to find out more!

Oi Frog/Dog/Cat/Duck-Billed Platypus by Kes Gray and Jim Field

These books are so clever. Writing good picture books is hard. Writing good, funny picture books is even harder. Writing good, funny, rhyming picture books is harder still. So to do that not just once but to take the format and create four (five including Oi Goat) hilarious books from it is quite something. Unbelievably good. See this post for more.

MG (“Middle Grade”)

The Huntress trilogy by Sarah Driver: Sea, Storm, Sky

Deserving of being on the list for the gorgeous covers alone (created by Joe McLaren) , I loved how original and exciting this series was. A truly wild adventure with the most fantastic and inventive world-building. Find out more here.

The Five Realms series by Kieran Larwood: The Legend of Podkin One-Ear, The Gift of Dark Hollow and The Beasts of Grimheart (so far!)

Another hugely original and brilliantly told series with more top class world building and interesting characters. I’ll be honest when book one came out I wasn’t sold on the idea of this adventure with talking rabbits – I read it anyway and was absolutely hooked. I gulp these down and am so pleased there’ll be more than three in the series!

The Bromeliad by Terry Pratchett: Truckers, Diggers, Wings

OK, this one breaks my ‘recent books’ rule but it was a favourite of mine growing up, as was his Discworld series (two for one in my list of 6 there!) and both require a reread soon! Dry and witty, Pratchett was a master at poking fun at the world and making the absurd seem utterly normal.


Ink Trilogy by Alice Broadway: Ink, Spark (plus book 3 still to come)

OK, it’s another incomplete series. And yes, it’s another that would be on the list just for its covers and inner maps (beautifully illustrated by Jamie Gregory) but I love this series too. Rich in storytelling culture, imagery and symbolism and with a highly unique take on some very relevant themes – segregation, prejudice, propaganda and power – this is a must-read series! Looking forward to book 3!

What are your favourite trilogies/series? Do we agree on any?

Have you taken part in #SixforSunday too – leave me a link to your list!