Trials of a Trainee Teacher- My first school trip on placement.

I’ve been in my second placement for two weeks, and I have already settled in. I love the class I’m working with, but today, I was given the opportunity to attend a school trip with Year 3 to the Roman Fortress in Caerleon.

As I’m in Year 4, I didn’t know the names of the children in Year 3, but I only had a small group of 5 to worry about!

However, the trip had a disastrous start when we were stuck in a lane next to the school for a good twenty minutes because the coach couldn’t get past a lorry and the lorry driver decided to reverse last minute. The children were getting bored, but after we headed off, they played a game where they would count every lorry that they saw! Needless to say we arrived fifteen minutes behind schedule and had to try and make up the time…..which we did!

It’s quite surprising how quick you can frog march 26 6-7 year olds around windy Wales when needed.

It was a very educational trip, from a roleplay in a Roman school (boys only of course- the girls got to lounge around at home wearing pretty clothes…) to visiting the amphitheater, and the remains of barracks (where I slipped and fell in the mud trying to help other children up the hill- the things we do eh?)

I think my favourite part was the Roman Baths as A- I got tea, and B- the atmosphere whilst myself and my group were in there was exciting for them and quite calming for me. I liked how they used lighting to mimic the water. It was just nice to look at.

I didn’t lose any children- which was good.

The final activity involved either playing on iPads or dressing up in armour. All I had to do was help the children put it on, so it was a nice relaxing end to a fun and educational day!

I may have had a cheeky kip on the coach home….it was a long day.

I’ve gained experience though!

 

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February Reviews.

February was a busy month- not only did I both finish and start a placement, but I also had an assignment to write and submit. So I am really surprised that I managed to finish 5 books! At this moment in time with my Goodreads challenge I am one book behind schedule but I am pretty happy to only be one book behind.

The first book I read was Identity Revealed by J.M Butler.

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Read between: 22nd January- 9th February.
Rating: Image result for 3.5 stars
Synopsis: What if you prepared for the wrong destiny?

Cursed by her devious mother, Amelia, a young mindreader is driven by a deadly destiny. Only she can defeat Naatos, the shapeshifting warlord, in his march of terror across the thirty-six worlds. But Naatos conquers her home in a murderous midnight ambush before she has even learned how to throw a knife. She flees to Earth where she dedicates her life to training, fearing the curse will make her a monster if she does not succeed in defeating the brothers.
Naatos understands that with choice comes tragedy. He seeks to gather the worlds beneath his rule, righting the errors of previous monarchs and eliminating the complications of ignorant inhabitants. His only weakness is a young mindreader, the last living Neyeb. She doesn’t know who she really is, let alone what she will become, allowing him to twist both her destiny and curse to his advantage.

When Amelia finally returns to her home, the land of the bruin riders, she discovers her family captured, the royal court slaughtered, and her people imprisoned. She launches a rescue only to discover Naatos’s savagery and abilities exceed all reports. Even worse, the truth behind the curse and her identity eviscerates her resolve, forcing her to question everything from her beliefs to her priorities to her character.
Outmatched and outflanked, Amelia must defend her nation and take control of her true destiny or condemn the worlds to Naatos’s rule and millions
to death.

Review: Firstly, thank you to Book Tasters and J.M Butler for letting me read this book in exchange for an honest review.

I really like fantasy but this was different to ones I’ve read before, with the mix of races, and shape shifters rather than in an medieval setting with knights and dragons- okay, the main character is a princess but that’s about where the similarities end.

When we first meet her, she’s a child, but she didn’t sound like one, which irritated me to start with but it all made sense as the book moved on. Her voice definitely suits her more as a grown woman than it does as a six year old child. Amelia is strong willed, and I really liked that, but she can definitely lose her temper and sometimes I thought she was over-reacting. Just forget about it and move on!

The romance aspect of the book is slightly problematic- mainly because it reminded me more like ownership than marriage, because Amelia has no choice, and she may love someone else….Naatos is definitely not suited to her and I hoped he would become a charming husband but…no. He was still a bit of a dick come the end of the book.

He and Amelia argued all the time and I got bored of their squabbling.

Another thing I didn’t like- the spiders. I have a fear of spiders and I couldn’t read those scenes without my skin crawling! But that’s just me! They’re great as monsters in this adventure.

Overall, it was a good book. It started off slow and it took me a while to get into it due to the large amount of characters and the speed in which all of the events happened but I ended up enjoying it. Despite the flaws I picked out, there are some really great moments of action, of love, of adventure- and there’s even a time travel element which really added to the story!

I’d give it a 3.5/5 stars.
An enjoyable story, with characters to love and to hate.

The second book I read was Eve of Man by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher.

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Read between: 9th- 16th February

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis: AGAINST ALL ODDS, SHE SURVIVED.
THE FIRST GIRL BORN IN FIFTY YEARS.
THEY CALLED HER EVE . . .

All her life Eve has been kept away from the opposite sex. Kept from the truth of her past.

But at sixteen it’s time for Eve to face her destiny. Three potential males have been selected for her. The future of humanity is in her hands. She’s always accepted her fate.

Until she meets Bram.

Eve wants control over her life. She wants freedom.

But how do you choose between love and the future of the human race?

EVE OF MAN is the first in an explosive new trilogy by bestselling authors Giovanna & Tom Fletcher.

Review: When I first heard of this book I was intrigued. I love Giovanna’s chicklit writing and I have never read anything by Tom but I am a fan of his music so I was excited to see how they handled the genre of dystopia.

It’s a really interesting concept and I really enjoyed it.

Eve is the first girl to be born in 50 years and that makes her extremely special. Bram is a member of the EPO, an armed unit built to protect her. They are bought together through Holly, a artificial intelligence protective best friend for Eve in her bubble.

And that’s when everything changes…

Both characters have lovable personalities, Eve is very head strong, which isn’t surprising considering she’s cut off from the outside world and the majority of people who live there.

I really liked the story. It was really to easy to get invested in the characters and once I got into the story I couldn’t put it down! It’s very cleverly thought out, I love the technology. The only downside however was how Eve got treated by the EPO nearer the end of the book. The change in personality was quite a shock!

Overall it’s a really good story and I’m looking forward to the next one!
4/5 stars.

The third book I read was my least favourite of the month as I gave it 2 stars and that was Wilder (The Guardian #1) by G.K DeRosa.

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Read between: 16th-19th February
Rating: Image result for 2 stars
Synopsis: All that Celeste Wilder ever wanted was to find someone who would sweep her off her feet like she had seen in countless romantic movies. When she meets the gorgeous and mysterious Constantin brothers her senior year of high school, she gets much more than what she had bargained for. As they introduce her to an exciting supernatural world that she never imagined existed, she makes a startling discovery about her own family legacy and is forced to make a decision that will change her life forever.

Review: I was very close to DNFing this book to begin with because I just couldn’t get in with the writing style. The main character, Celeste, was a really irritating character, she seemed really childish for an 18 year old.

But then something clicked.

Once we got into the main story there was something that pushed me to read on, but a human falling in love with a vampire was very ‘Twilight’ although with different circumstances.

I just wish the kissing scenes weren’t just snogging because it was a bit cringey. It does read a bit like it was written by a teenager.

However, I loved how badass Celeste got when she got her powers. Not as cool as Buffy but still cool.

I was expecting something more. It was okay. I liked what I read but I won’t be continuing with the series. There’s a good range of characters and it works out as a supernatural YA story….but it wasn’t for me.

2/5 stars.
Slow start. Could have been better!

The next book I haven’t reviewed as I read it for a task on my university course, and that is Carol Ann Duffy’s New and Collected Poems for Children.

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I gave this five stars, I really enjoyed it, and it was great to dip in and out of over the month whilst I was reading other books as well.

Finally, I finished the month off by reading The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert.

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Read between: 19th- 24th February
Rating: Image result for 4 stars
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate – the Hazel Wood – Alice learns how bad her luck can really get. Her mother is stolen away – by a figure who claims to come from the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: STAY AWAY FROM THE HAZEL WOOD.

To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began

Review: Alice and Ella have had to move around a lot. However, when Alice’s grandmother dies it seems that their luck is changing….then strange things start to happen, and they’re linked to the Hazel Wood. What secrets does her grandmother’s estate hold?

This book was quiet a surprise. It had been really hyped up and I can see why! It was a good story. The mix of fairy-tale and the real world was interesting, especially with the way it was written. I really liked the plot twists too because I really didn’t expect it.

I went through a lot of emotions whilst reading this book which is how I know it was good. The only reason I didn’t give it a full five stars is because sometimes Alice’s attitude was really annoying.

Overall, this book was really good and unlike anything I’ve read before. We all know the original fairy-tales were dark and this proves it.

4/5 stars.
If you like mystery and contemporary I’d definitely recommend it.

 

And that’s everything I read in the month of February!
Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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January Reviews

I’ve decided to run my monthly reads a little differently, I haven’t been updating you guys about my Teacher Training because a) I’ve been forgetting and b) I just want to focus on it without having to worry about blogging. (also I’ve been sick in the latter part of January so apologies for the lateness) I feel that is helping me improve in my teaching, behaviour management, focus etc.

So, as a change, instead of a Wrap-Up, I’ll review all the books I have read at the end of each month in one post with a reflection of my favourites to finish it off.

This post will be long so grab a snack and read on if you want to know what I read!

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In January, I have read 5 books.

  1. The Smoking Lamp by Kimberley Roth. I gave it 4/5 stars. Here is my review:
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Format: ebook
Read between: 29th December- 3rd January
Published: 13th September 2017

Review:
When a hot guy appears in Liv’s room, gives her his shirt, and then tells him to leave- it could be her mind playing tricks on her. After all, she has just broken up with her long term boyfriend.

It can’t have anything to do with the smoking glass bottles she bought back from Egypt….could it?

Gabe is Jinn (we would call them genies) and Liv, unknowingly, is his new mistress. Unfortunately, this means her life will soon end….that is, if Gabe can stop his cravings. Will Liv find out the truth?

I really enjoyed this book. The concept of genies in the modern world is always fascinating- especially as its not all rubbing lamps and granting wishes. In this book, Jinn’s only have mistresses and exploit them until they die!!

Gabe and Live’s relationship was actually really cute and I loved the dual perspectives so you could get the thoughts and feelings of both of them. Aside from these two, my favourite characters were twins Scarlett and Penny- because they dressed around Harry Potter, even their prom dresses! I live for Harry Potter references in other books.

Overall this book surprised me because I had no idea about the plot apart from the fact it featured genies (which I got from the cover) . Paranormal romance can be good or bad but this ended up being really good!

Going in blind definitely helped me to enjoy this story a lot more. I would definitely recommend it.

2. The Pirate’s Tempting Stowaway by Erica Ridley- 5/5 stars

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Format: ebook
Read between: 3rd-4th January
Published: 1st December 2015.

Review: Captain Blackheart is being paid to kidnap an elderly widow and return her to her family. However, Clara is not what he expected, and she is certainly not convinced by the dashing Mr Steele (Blackheart’s Christian name).

As she spends time on board the Dark Crystal- will her view of pirates change? The book definitely goes against the stereotype- that not all pirates have eyepatches, peg legs, parrots, and drink plentiful amounts of rum.

It’s steamy, but it’s so good! I loved Clara’s bravery and Steele’s struggle with his emotions. Pirate’s aren’t meant to fall for their hostages! Both of the characters were well thought out, and the story was really easy to follow.

This book is part of a series but can be read as a standalone- which I did. I really enjoyed this book! I flew through it because it’s historical romance and is right up my alley! It also gave me Pirates of the Caribbean vibes.

The mention of places in South West England was great because I knew where they all were being from that area!

It’s a great read, that made me feel warm when I read it.

3. Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell- 5/5 stars

Image result for kindred spirits rainbow rowell

Format: ebook
Read: 4th January
Published: 25th February 2016

Review:  Short and sweet is best to describe this book. It’s perfectly written by Rainbow Rowell of course.

It all takes place in a line for the release of The Force Awakens. Elena is very excited for the new Star Wars movie, so much that she wants to camp out before hand- but it’s not what she expected! The line is Elena and two other people. That’s it. Not exactly what the media makes them out to be.

But it’s fun!

From  peeing in a cup, to her mother checking up on her every so often, Elena isn’t complaining. It will all be worth it when she gets into the movie and be one of the first to see it!

It has a hilarious ending and a hint of romance, I really liked it! Rainbow Rowell is one of my favourite authors and her books always make me feel happy.

I enjoyed the book was and it was nice to read something short to try and tackle my TBR.

4. Torchwood: Another Life by Peter Anghelides- 3/5 stars.

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Format: Hardback
Read between: 5th-13th January
Published: 11th January 2007

Review: Based around the first season of Torchwood, in a rainy Cardiff, this book shows the team dealing with an alien that takes over humans- causing them to kill, with their teeth. Not a pretty sight- a corpse with a bitten off face!

Jack and the team definitely have their work cut out.

The thing I liked about these books is that the characters are always written like Russell T Davies described them in the show so I can really get involved in the story.

I couldn’t see this being featured on the show mainly because when we finally meet the alien I felt like I had been transported into outer-space with the description that I forgot they were actually under water in the Bay.

Overall, it was great to have another adventure with the original Torchwood team especially as the show is no longer on air. I really enjoyed the story despite the slow start as I knew it would pick up.

If you’re a fan of the show I’d definitely recommend it as it helps to know the characters.

5. Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk

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Format: Hardback
Read between: 13th-22nd January
Published: 16th January 2018

Review: This book is action packed, and I couldn’t put it down. With fiction crossing over real historical events I really felt like I had been taken back to the Roman Empire.

Attia is a princess, well, no longer- sold into slavery she now belongs to Xanthus, Champion of Rome, for him to do as he pleases. Her whole life as she knew it changed when the Romans came in and destroyed everything.

Now she seeks revenge. With Xanthus’ help, she’ll get it.

She becomes Spartacus, a skilled warrior, small as a sparrow, but strong as a bear. And she’s the most wanted warrior in all Rome. I loved this twist! I know the Spartacus story, not in detail, but I’ve heard it and this was a great re-telling of it.

I really enjoyed this story, the romance was amazing, there were twists and turns everywhere, and I really liked the way the story was written.

I’m looking forward to the sequel!


And that’s everything I read in January!

Thanks for reading!

~Katie
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2018 Reading in Review.

From Goodreads:

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So as you can see I read a whopping 61 books over the course of this year, which is crazy! This year I decided to use a spreadsheet to create some stats about my reading so that I can reflect back on the year.

Firstly, I read mainly female authors than male authors.
author gender

I read authors that were mainly from the UK, but this year I did branch out and read books by authors from a variety of other countries.

nationality

I read mainly paperback books.

format

Of which the main genre was children’s fiction.

genre

And finally, the most surprising, is that I rated most of the books I read 3 stars!

rating

It’s been an interesting year for reading. Bring on 2019!

December Wrap Up/Reviews

Sorry this is late! For some reason my internet doesn’t like WordPress. 😛

Anyway, here are the books I read in December, and my reviews of them so I apologise for the length of this post. Let’s get started!
The first book I finished in December was Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman .

I gave it 4/5 stars, it was an enjoyable read.

The next book I read in December was The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.
Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This book was heartbreaking but oh so important and rightly so, I gave it a full 5 stars!

The next book I read in December was The King’s Curse by Philippa Gregory and I gave this book 3/5 stars.

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Review: This novel focuses on Margaret Pole, Countess of Sailsbury. Cousin of Elizabeth of York, niece of Edward IV and Richard III, governess to one of the most notorious Kings, Henry VIII, all with a claim to the English throne as a Plantagenet heir.

However, with the rise of the Tudor dynasty, can Margaret remain a friend to the throne?

I know a lot abut the Tudors, so I know what happened to Margaret. The thing I like about Gregory’s books is they give a voice to women in history.

As Margaret ages as the novel progresses, as does her voice, with the way she speaks about her losses, triumphs and emotions change, but not too much. Even though it changes, her voice is consistent.

I liked this book, I felt like I learnt new things and it was interesting to hear about Henry VIII through the eyes of someone who has known and cared for him her whole life. Even though it is fictional, the fact the story is based on real history meant it felt real.

So it hurt to see Henry turn against Margaret.

Overall its a good book if you like historical fiction and I would recommend it.

 

The final book I read in December is Phoenix Awakens by Eliza Nolan. I gave it 2.5/5 stars.

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Review: Julia keeps having strange dreams- they seem to be real, but what do they mean? The answer comes when a new girl, Clara, and her older brother Graham, arrive at Julia’s school.

Obviously, Julia starts crushing on Graham.

I admit, despite the cliche and predictable moments, I found the story interesting, so I got through the book quite quickly so I could see how it ends, and also to see if there was an explanation about what happened to Julia.

It wasn’t the ending I was expecting but this is the first book in a series. As much as I enjoyed the book, it didn’t inspire me to pick up the other books in the series. Supernatural fiction isn’t really a genre I’m drawn to.

I did like the characters and the writing style, so this book was really easy to read. Overall, it was a good book with an interesting premise but I felt it follow a lot of similar tropes to other supernatural romance novels. At least other ones I have read. I wish there had been a bit more of a focus on Julia’s powers rather than her backstory.

And that is all I read in December!

Thanks for reading!

~Katie

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Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Read between: 8th-19th December
Format: Paperback
Published: 6th April
Publisher: Walker Books
How did I get it? Library loan

Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Rating: ef735-star5

Review:

Police brutality and the Black Lives Matter are important- and this book uses them to raise awareness, when 16 year old Starr witnesses her friend get shot by a police officer, before finding herself looking down the barrel of a gun.

What happens next is a fight for justice that is an emotional rollercoaster for Starr and her family..

As a white British person, I can’t relate to the story in an emotional way because it is extremely unlikely to happen to me, but I still feel like this book was important, and by reading it, I was able to educate myself about the problems that African American teenagers have to face.

I’d be terrified.

I liked this book. Starr’s story is very different to what I usually read, mainly because the protagonist tend to be white….but it is also based on very real events. Although the story wasn’t the happiest, I admire Starr’s strength and her courage to speak out.

I couldn’t put myself in her shoes, but there were moments in the book that were really difficult to read due to the content, for example, when the father of the police officer made him look like the victim. It made me angry, and that’s why this story is so good at making people aware of the situation.

I would recommend this book to everyone. It’s a good story and the meaning behind it is a powerful one. It definitely made me think.

Overall I sped through this book! It’s a story I will definitely be thinking about for a while.

5/5 stars!

Heartfelt.
Important.
Please read it.

Thanks for reading!
~Katie

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Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

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Read between: 15th November- 8th December
Format: ebook
Published: 18th May 2017
Publisher: Harper Collins.
Where did I get it?- Netgalley!

Synopsis: No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Soon to be a major motion picture produced by Reese Witherspoon, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .

The only way to survive is to open your heart.

Rating: Related image

Review:

This book started off really slow but once I got into the story I started to enjoy it!

Eleanor Oliphant is a very peculiar character but in some ways, she is also very relatable. I can see why this book had so much hype, despite the trigger warnings of abuse, suicide and depression, I think it’s a book for everyone.

I liked the mystery surrounding Eleanor. Honeyman manages to write the reveal of her life in a way that I was genuinely shocked. I am glad we were told though, because I’m a curious person and it would have bugged me trying to come up with my own theories.

I was disappointed that there was no romance between Eleanor and Raymond though, That would have ended the story nicely in my opinion.

Overall its a well thought out story about a woman trying her best to get through life. Thank you Netgalley for letting me read the book- although this review is really late! I ended up really liking it.

4/5 star.

Slow to start with but once you are eased into the story it’s brilliant. I’d recommend it.

Thanks for reading!

~Katie