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Circ- Various Authors


Disclaimer: I was given this book free of charge (by the publisher) in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis (from amazon)

Razvan Popescu lives in a flat overlooking the seaside town of Skegness. He keeps himself to himself and few know the man at all. Even fewer know his past, which he has tried to leave behind in the Romanian woods.

But when a tattooed man is found murdered on the beach, it is clear that some of that past has followed him to this tacky seaside town. As battle erupts within the criminal fraternity, dark forces gather around the town and Popescu’s acquaintances find themselves dragged into a world of violence, fire and fairy tales.

One thing is certain: the circus has come to town.

Ten To One is a novel writing project in which ten authors write a novel together, seeking the approval of a judging panel and a public vote to keep their character in the story.

Circ, the first Ten To One novel, is written by Simon Fairbanks, Maria Mankin, Yasmin Ali, Jason Holloway, Livia Akstein Vioto, Luke Beddow, Danielle Rose Bentley, William Thirsk-Gaskill, Sue Barsby and Giselle Thompson.

Review

The main reason I agreed to review this book is because of the concept. I was interested to see how a story could be pulled off with so many different authors, when the author changed not just from chapter to chapter but within chapters. And where nobody really knew where the story was going t go, because they didn’t know when they would loose different stories. Of course it would mean working together, and knowing each others plans for the characters.

I had had the concern that the story wouldn’t be very cohesive, that the writing styles of the different authors would be too different. It gelled much better than I had dared hope though. The first chapter, admittedly, took me about the same amount of time to read as the rest of the book as a whole. I think that was just because so many characters needed to be introduced, it was a lot to be crammed into one chapter. From the second chapter on however things continued to get better, until I was enthralled by the end.

As you would expect from a novel where characters were voted out some stories remained somewhat unfinished, and I would have liked to see what would have happened to some of the characters later. I think that shows good writing though, that I became interested in the characters.

The story itself was sometimes a little strange, which may be due to the nature of the peculiar writing process. However it was exciting, and had a lot of twists (not shocking really as even the authors could be sure what they would get). It kept me reading, and at times on the edge of my seat.

I am interested to find out more about the writing process, so to that end I’m hoping to get to the Separated By a Common Language event to see what I can find.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£3.09)

Paperback (£7.99)

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Children’s Hour: I Don’t Want To Go To Bed


Children’s Hour is the weekly feature where I look at picture books I have encountered during my work at nursery. My reviews contain children’s opinions which are usually from the children in toddler room (so they are all 2). Sometimes I also have books which my niece and nephew are enjoying too.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.


I Don’t Want to Go to Bed is all about Little Tiger. Little Tiger never wants to go to bed and one day his Mum has had enough, she decides to let him stay up. Little Tiger is thrilled and goes off to find his friends to play with, but of course they are all going to bed.

It was one of the books we got at the library, and it has had a bit of a mixed reception. The kids pick it a lot because, well, tiger, anything with a tiger on will get picked (or a lion for that matter), and these are particularly bright and engaging pictures.

The story is quite simple and easy for the kids to follow, and they liked seeing the different animals, however it was a little too long and I found that the kids would often lose concentration before the end. I’m not sure if it would be better for pre-schoolers either, because whilst they would be more likely to maintain concentration I don’t think that they would be interested enough in the story itself, I think it would be too simple and repetitive. I think it is suitable for toddlers, but maybe not when reading in a group. It’s easier to talk about things when you’re reading a book between one or two because you can focus the attention on that child without loosing others who might not be interested in the same aspects of the story, so you can go into more depth with questions, it’s easier to bring back the attention of one or two children as well, rather than twelve!

 

Buy from an indie store (via Hive):

Paperback with jigsaw (£7.25)
Paperback with CD (£6.75)

Buy from amazon:

Paperback (£5.99)

Hardback with jigsaw (£6.39)

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Film of the Book: Mockingjay (Part 1)


Mockingjay is the third film based on The Hunger Games Books you can see my posts on books and previous films using The Hunger Games tag.

Please note this post may contain spoilers for The Hunger Games books and films, including Mockingjay

It feels like I have been waiting for this film for ages. As far as films of books go I think The Hunger Games films are really good. Fairly faithful to the books, and good as films in their own right too. Maybe it’s because Suzanne Collins works on the screenplays herself, or maybe it’s because she’s worked in television writing so her writing transfers well to screen.

The one concern I really had about Mockingjay was that it had been split into two films. I was concerned that it would be like the last Harry Potter films (part 1, part 2) or The Hobbit films (I couldn’t even bear to see the second) and be over stretched in a way that makes it seem very much like a way to make money out of a popular franchise. So far however it’s worked out good. There was still plenty of action and plot though and the film actually seemed to be over quickly, I’m still holding my reservations as to whether or not it ultimately works, because I may find that the last film is too stretched.

To be honest I didn’t actually remember a great deal of detail about the book of Mockingjay. I had thought to re-read it, just hadn’t gotten around to it. Consequently I sort of missed the major plot point which wasn’t in the film. (I’m going to put this as a spoiler because it’s major, highlight to read) that Katniss asked to be the one to execute Snow. This leads to the big ending where Katniss shoots Coin instead. It’s not exactly that I forgot that it happened, so much as I forgot when it happened (spoiler) the deal, not the execution. I thought it might be still to come, and possibly it still can be worked in at a later date. Of course they may change the controversial ending (like they did with My Sister’s Keeper- bleugh), or they may just have re-worked how it happens. I certainly hope it’s closer to the second possibilty.

 

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Clovenhoof- Heide Goody and Iain Grant


Synopsis (from amazon)

Charged with gross incompetence, Satan is fired from his job as Prince of Hell and exiled to that most terrible of places: English suburbia. Forced to live as a human under the name of Jeremy Clovenhoof, the dark lord not only has to contend with the fact that no one recognises him or gives him the credit he deserves but also has to put up with the bookish wargamer next door and the voracious man-eater upstairs.

Heaven, Hell and the city of Birmingham collide in a story that features murder, heavy metal, cannibalism, armed robbers, devious old ladies, Satanists who live with their mums, gentlemen of limited stature, dead vicars, petty archangels, flamethrowers, sex dolls, a blood-soaked school assembly and way too much alcohol.

Review

Clovenhoof was one of the books I got at the Birmingham Independent Book Fair (I also got the sequel, Pigeonwings, which I haven’t yet read). My boyfriend read it before me and compared it to Good Omens (which I haven’t read), a book he had enjoyed. He was excited to see where I was whilst reading it too.

It was a funny, and quite light read. It was interesting how the reader was made sympathetic to Satan, to even like him, and to dislike the angel Michael. It should really be the other way round, shouldn’t it?

I suppose in a way it shows how bureaucracy has good intentions, but sometimes you have to break the rules so that things will work, and some rules are more important than others. Or even that sometimes old rules loose their importance as things change. I guess what I’m trying to say is that there’s a bit of a serious message which you can read into Clovenhoof.

There’s also a bit of a message about there really being no absolute good or evil, because something meant for good can have bad consequences, and things meant for bad can have good consequences.

You don’t have to make it serious though, you can just read it as a funny story about the devil having to live on earth.

Plus it’s sent in Birmingham, it’s always nice when a story is

There’s a great twist at the end too.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£2.00)

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Filed under Contempory, Fantasy, Fiction review, Humour

Sunday Surfing 23/11/14


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

 Some Cinemas in Thailand Have Cancelled Showings of Mockingjay After Students Were Arrested for Giving the Three Fingered Salute to the Prime Minister. It has been banned there after being used as a symbol against the military coup.

A Library on a Train Has Opened in Ontario

Transition Books from Child to Adulthood

Bookish Gifts

Words Invented By Writers

Sign-ups for the Holiday Card Exchange are Open

And on the blog this week…

It’s been quiet this week, hopefully I will make up for it next week…

The kids read ‘Mr Cool’

 

 

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Children’s Hour: Mr Cool


Children’s Hour is the weekly feature where I look at picture books I have encountered during my work at nursery. My reviews contain children’s opinions which are usually from the children in toddler room (so they are all 2). Sometimes I also have books which my niece and nephew are enjoying too.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.
Spotty and Spike and Growly Mike are best friends, they do everything together, but one day Spike finds a scooter and he isn’t Spike anymore he’s Mr Cool.  Mr Cool is too cool to do the things he used to do with his friends they’re “boring”. Poor Spotty and Growly Mike feel rather rejected, but when problems come Mr Cool realises that he does need his friends, and that things are more fun with his friends.

It is a lovely story about friendship, th kids aren’t especially engaged with it most of the time however. They like it when  Spike has his ‘problem’ because you can be quite dramatic, but the things which they get up to as friends aren’t as interesting for them as the differences that Panda Big and Panda Small have.

The pictures were probably the best bit of this book, eye catching and fun, and that meant the book was of an initial interest to the kids.

Buy from amazon:

Paperback (£4.99)

Hardback (£10.99)

 

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Sunday Surfing 16/11/14


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

Places Book Lovers Should Visit

200 Years of Jan Austen Cover Designs

Caitlin Moran’s ‘How to Build a Girl’ is Being Made into a Film. I’m yet to read the book but this will bring it up my wishlist.

Amazon Revealed Their 100 Best Books of 2014

The Amazon-Hachette War is Over

Julia Donaldson has Sold £10m Worth of Books Every Year For the Past Five Years

Books Which Have Changed People’s Lives

Liverpool’s Library Closure Plans Have Been Dropped

Waterstone’s Released Their ‘Book of the Year’ Shortlist. The only one I’ve read is Everyday Sexism, which I really didn’t think is worth the hype (and I can’t find my review of….)

And watch the video of the ‘book’ which makes water safe to drink

 

 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed Dexter is Delicious

The kids read Panda Big and Panda Small

 

 

 

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Children’s Hour: Panda Big and Panda Small


Children’s Hour is the weekly feature where I look at picture books I have encountered during my work at nursery. My reviews contain children’s opinions which are usually from the children in toddler room (so they are all 2). Sometimes I also have books which my niece and nephew are enjoying too.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.


Panda Big and Panda Small are very different, but they love each other very much. This book (which is one we got on our visit to the library) talks about all the things which each of the pandas like to do. It talks a lot about concepts like size and distance, and talks about opposites so it’s good for developing language. Plus the kids love telling you which things they like to do (which is pretty much all the things). It’s simple language, but with good reading it can still be exciting.

The pictures are my personal favourite part. Beautiful, bold, bright.

Buy from amazon:

Hardback- used (from £0.05)

Paperback- new (from £127.76)

Paperback- used (from £0.01)

 

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Dexter is Delicious- Jeff Lindsey


Dexter is Delicious is the fifth book in the Dexter series. You can read my reviews of the previous books using the Jeff Lindsey tag

Synopsis (from amazon)

Everything’s changing for our friendly neighbourhood serial killer. As if getting married wasn’t enough to complete his nice-guy persona, Dexter is now the proud father of a baby girl. And disconcertingly, he actually seems to care. But even if fatherhood is distracting Dexter from his midnight excursions to rid Miami of a few more lowlifes, there’s no let-up at work. Two young girls are missing – and it’s not long before one of the bodies turns up, partially eaten. But as Dexter and Miami PD’s finest investigate, Dexter can’t shake the feeling that somebody’s watching him…

Review

Dexter is Delicious is probably the most disturbing book so far of the Dexter series. It’s kind of sick, and even the title makes me remember and shudder a bit. It’s strange because it’s not like there aren’t other gruesome crimes in Dexter books, chopping up and freezing body parts is probably the least gruesome, cuttings off parts of someone’s body whilst they are concious is a particularly cruel way to go, and the idea of body parts and death as art is not without its gruesome factor either.

Maybe it’s the nature of the death. It wasn’t exactly intended as something violent or something to kill someone, it was more like survival in some weird twisted way. Plus there was a sexual element (something between necrophilia and some sort of sexual fascination with death) which is just uggh.

It wasn’t violet as in violent for the sake of violence is what I suppose I am trying to say, but in a way that made things worse.

It’s also however part of what made Dexter is Delicious more interesting to me. It was sort of intriguing. I also liked seeing a bit more of a human Dexter, and how he was squaring his ‘human’ side with his ‘monster’ side.

4/5

Buy from an indie store (via Hive):

Paperback (£7.99)

e-book (£5.49)

Buy from amazon:

Paperback (£5.99)

Kindle (£5.49)

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Sunday Surfing 9/11/14


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

The Hunger Games is Coming to the Stage

Paddington Bear Statues are Popping up all Over London

Books You Should Read Based On Your Favourite Films

A Virtual Library is Opening on the Moscow Metro. This is pretty cool. You can download free e-books to your e-reader/smartphone/tablet whilst on the subway.

An Author has Allegedly Attacked a Book Reviewer. And we thought stalking was bad

Gifts for Book Lovers

 

And on the blog this week…

I Talked About Current Great Deals on Kindle

The Kids Read ‘Bridget Fidget’

 

 

 

 

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Deals of the Moment


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Usually I tweet about the interesting deals and leave it at that, but this month I would like to do something different and share them more widely. If the idea seems to appeal I may make it a monthly feature.

So I’m going to briefly talk about the books I’ve read which are on offer, and those that I have bought myself. Why I liked them/bought them, and what they are about. End links are to the amazon page, any other links are to my reviews.

Please note prices are correct at time of publishing and may be subject to change.


 

The Diplomat’s Wife- Pam Jenoff

This is one I bought. It follows Marta who survived a Nazi prison camp. She looses one love and gains another, but something from her past threatens her happiness.

I bought this one because I’ve really enjoyed the other Pam Jenoff books I’ve read. I reviewed The Officer’s Lover some time ago, and loved The Kommandant’s Girl which I read a couple of weeks ago. I couldn’t resist another, especially on offer! You can buy it…here (only £0.99)



Keeping Faith- Jodi Picoult

This is one I read in my pre-blogging days. It is the story of a girl who says she can hear God. There is lots of fuss from the media, from religious people, and from doctors but nobody knows the truth, and in the middle of it is a little girl.

Although not my favourite Picoult book it still holds some of the best features which I would expect from a Picoult book. It really gets you thinking and it’s very emotion, and even at the end it keeps you guessing, I always like a story which lingers with you. You can buy it…here (only £2.49)


 

QI books

Ok this is two books not one but they are safe to clump together. I’ve read both and they are both very interesting (or should I say Quite Interesting) books with lesser know facts. The QI Book of the Dead focuses on people whereas the QI Book of General Ignorance is more general knowledge. They are both equally as entertaining as the other although The QI Book of the Dead is probably easier to read cover to cover whereas you could easily flick through the book of general ignorance. Buy the QI Book of the Dead…here (only £2.29) and The QI Book of General Ignorance…here. (also only £2.29)

 



Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury

Another one I bought. This has been on my wishlist for years, and it’s on the Rory List. It’s one of those sort of ‘required reading’ books for bookworms.

Fahrenheit 451 is set in a world where books are burnt as routine, and TV is the entertainment of choice. You can buy it…here (only £1.49)


Still Alice- Lisa Genova

Over the last year I’ve read two books which have a protagonist called Alice who looses her memory. Still Alice was the best of the two (The other is What Alice Forgot, if you were wondering). In Still Alice, Alice is a professor who has early onset Alzheimer’s. It’s a very emotional story, but beautiful too. You can buy it…here (only £2.49)



The Crimson Petal and the White- Michel Faber

This is one of those books I just love to recommend. It’s difficult to put into words what makes The Crimson Petal and the White so good, just read it! I bought it for my sister after I read it, and I recommended it to my Mum’s book group (although tentatively because the main character is a prostitute, and they didn’t like the sex in The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts). It follows Sugar as she goes from ‘admired’ prostitute to kept woman, to secret live in mistress. It’s about the underside of 19th century London, basically. You can buy it…here (only £1.29)


 

Under the Skin- Michel Faber

This is neither one I have bought nor one I have read. I am tempted by it simply because it’s by Michel Faber. It sounds sort of interesting, but I’m unsure. It’s about a woman who likes picking up handsome hitch-hikers. Has anyone read it? What did you think? You can buy it…here (only £1.29)


Tampa- Alison Nutting

I bought this one because I’ve heard really good things about it. It’s been describes as a modern day Lolita with a woman. I think it could be disturbing, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be good. You can buy it…here (only £1.99)

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Children’s Hour: Bridget Fidget


Children’s Hour is the weekly feature where I look at picture books I have encountered during my work at nursery. My reviews contain children’s opinions which are usually from the children in toddler room (so they are all 2). Sometimes I also have books which my niece and nephew are enjoying too.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

Bridget Fidget is one of the books we got from the library. It’s about a girl called Bridget who is convinced that a parcel which is delivered to her house will contain a pet for her.

It’s a book that does get requested a lot, but also gets a mixed reception. The older toddlers love guessing at what might be in the box and are eager to see what it contains, but the toddlers who have only recently become two loose interest fairly quickly. There’s a fair bit of waiting to see what it is where I think the younger kids would benefit more from a less delayed discovery.

It is a good book to get the kids thinking about what might happen next, which is something the older children can do.

The tone is easy to understand and has lots of mini climaxes which keep things fairly exciting.

Buy from amazon:

Hardback or paperback (from £0.01)

 

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Sunday Surfing 2/11/14


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

The Literary Giveaway Blog Hop Is On

J.K. Rowling posted some new Harry Potter Stuff. Here’s What We Learned….

…and Here’s Her Story About Umbridge

How To Take Advantage of NaNoWriMo Without Taking Part in NaNoWriMo. Personally I am going to actually finish my Nano from last year

10 Things You Might Not Know About J.R.R Tolkien

The French Minister for Culture Admitted She Hasn’t Read a Book in 2 Years

Pictures Which Will Make Harry Potter Fans Laugh. Some are a bit cheesy but some are funny

Why Digital Books and Publishers Shouldn’t Be Excluded From Book Prizes

Matt Haig Said That There Are Too Many Positive Reviews…and Some People Got Offended

 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed The Forgotten Daughter

And the kids read You’re Not So Scary Sid

 

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Children’s Hour: You’re Not So Scary Sid


Children’s Hour is the weekly feature where I look at picture books I have encountered during my work at nursery. My reviews contain children’s opinions which are usually from the children in toddler room (so they are all 2). Sometimes I also have books which my niece and nephew are enjoying too.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

You’re Not So Scary Sid is one of the books we read on our visit to the library a couple of weeks ago, and it was the runaway favourite. It features Sid who loves to eat fingers, and thinks he’s scary, but is he so brave after all?

You’re Not So Scary Sid is one of those ‘puppet books’ so execution is really important. Luckily the librarian was very good at this. He got all the kids involved, and excited. It’s really great for child-adult interaction, and the kids find Sid really funny.

The story itself is pretty simple, and I can see that being a negative point, but even the simplest stories can be entertaining if read well. After all our kids still love Brown Bear, and that’s very simple.

 

Buy from an indie store (via Hive):

Hardback (£8.19)

Buy from amazon:

Hardback (£7.99)

 

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The Forgotten Daughter- Renita D’Silva


Synopsis (from amazon)

‘You were adopted’. Three simple words, in a letter accompanying her parent’s will, tear Nisha’s carefully ordered world apart. Raised in England, by her caring but emotionally reserved parents, Nisha has never been one to take risks. Now, with the scrawled address of an Indian convent begins a search for the mother and family she never knew and the awakening of childhood memories long forgotten. The secrets, culture and people that Nisha discover will change her life forever. And, as her eyes are opened to a side of herself she didn’t know existed, Nisha realizes that she must also seek answers to the hardest question of all – why?

Review

The Forgotten Daughter is one of those books which is written in different voices. Obviously the voice of Nisha, but also a girl called Devi and a woman called Shilpa. The three woman are (as you would expect) linked, but initially the reader does not know why.

I’m not sure I liked the three narrator part of this. Whilst I enjoyed reading each character, and there were times when one character’s story would take over another’s in my mind it did mean that the reader knew more, and I think that made the emotions pack less of a punch at times. However it did more of a context which made the story more interesting, and meant you could have up to three cliffhangers at a time.

It was a fairly easy read, and exciting enough for me to wan to read it. However it was fairly predictable and at times a little far fetched

3.5/5

Buy from amazon:

Kindle (£1.59)

Paperback (£9.99)

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Sunday Surfing 26/10/14


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

The Problems With ‘Netflix for Books’

Great Stories By Poets

The Website Creating a Dictionary with Limericks

Chamber’s Dictionary Has Named ‘Overshare’ the Word of the Year, Collin’s Has Gone For ‘Photobomb’

The Bookish Bouquet I like it but not sure I could sacrifice a book.

The UK Publishes More Books Per Capita Than Any Other Country

This Author Tracked Down a Book Blogger Who Gave Her Book a Bad Review. I talked about the is in this post

Umbridge Back Story to Be Released on Pottermore for Halloween

Waterstone’s Held a ‘Lock-in’

 

And on the blog this week…

I Reviewed Clash of Kings

The Kids Visited the Library

I Talked About Goodreads, Negative Reviews, Authors and Reviewers

 

 

 

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Goodreads, negative reviews, authors, and reviewers.


Okay, so I don’t get much into the politics in the book blogging world. I’ve heard of people having trouble from authors for negative reviews but have little personal experience of it. However the discussion around Kathleen Hale’s article has interested me.

The article talks about Hale’s reaction to this review. The reviewer posted a negative review which Hale thought was unfair and untruthful, and got more than a little obsessed with it. Her article caused uproar in different parts of the book blogging world, and even division between authors.

So what do I have to add which hasn’t been said, I hope some balance.

I haven’t read the book, I cannot say if the reviewer was truthful about the book, however I can see how wires may have been crossed.

For an author their books can be a little like their children, it’s easy to be upset by negative reviews. Goodreads is probably right to say not to talk back to them. It’s something that people will like or won’t, and they should be free to express either of those feelings. Most bloggers will state that their reviews are truthful regardless of whether they were given free copies of the book or not, and authors shouldn’t expect a good review just because someone has taken something off them for free.

Having said that bloggers should be sensitive about how they approach reviewing a book. I hate writing negative reviews, although I have done it. Usually I try to make them balanced, even if the only good thing I can say about it is that the premise was good, if not the execution. I’m the same with positive reviews, if there is something I didn’t like I say. I’m not one for rave reviews.

So was this review unfair? Maybe, maybe not. It wasn’t a particularly strong review. It’s barely a review at all, more thoughts as they come up. Maybe a fuller review by the reviewer would be more balanced, and have more evidence (quotes, description of events) to back up her feelings.

Hale claims that the main reason she was upset was that she didn’t think there was rape in the book. The reviewer says there is, and that it’s ‘justified’ by the characters, and a whole handful of other things, slut-shaming for example, are used in a throwaway manner. But isn’t that realistic? When people do things like that they aren’t thinking of political correctness. Yes, I think Hale should have found a way to show that wasn’t right. I don’t know if she did. To be honest I don’t know if the reviewer herself knows. She claims in comments that:

“What I’m doing with this book is basically just reading until I find something offensive, but since that’s normally every other page or so, I try to make it through a chapter. But I’ve been busy reading better books lately, so this is not one of my top priorities, ha.”

And later

“Ha, read the above comments and status updates. I finally gave up. I’m going to ask my co-blogger who killed whom and promptly rid this book from my mind.”

 

Which suggests she could have missed things which make the things she didn’t like be better. She might not have too. (It is worth reading at least a few of the comments by the way, they go into more of a discussion and some people who liked the book show how they read it.)

Hale wanting right of reply isn’t wrong. If she thought the reviewer had read something in her book which she didn’t think was covered then I think Hale did have the right to ask for clarification. I think it’s decent for the reviewer to enter into a discussion, but I don’t think they should have to.

The real problem was the extremes of Hale’s reaction. Wanting to know on one thing. Asking on twitter, okay, asking on goodreads, okay. Trying to pressure a reviewer to interact, especially when acting like they want to talk about something different, not okay. Finding a reviewer’s address and turning up there, not okay. Finding their number and calling them, not okay. Pretending to be someone else not okay. Goading someone online, not okay. (Hale claims the reviewer did this too, which is not right on the reviewer’s side either).

I am ashamed too that The Guardian published the reviewer’s real name (presuming it is the real name). That is not right. Part of writing on the internet is being anonymous. That does mean you can say nasty things without fear of retribution, but it also means you can be truthful without worrying about the consequences, or at least you can supposedly be. It is okay that the reviewer pretended to be someone else, didn’t give her real name or picture. It’s a fairly vital thing for internet safety.

If she however did do the things which Hale accuses her of doing then she does seem to be looking for conflict, and you could even go as far as to call it cyber-bullying, and that is not okay. Whatever you say online you still have to be mindful that real people are reading it, and real feelings are involved.

Others have written negative reviews, or critical comments based solely on Hale’s article. I don’t feel this is right either. Hale’s reaction was wrong, but reading should be based on the book, not the author. At least that’s how I feel.

Hale blew everything far out of proportion, and if I have to pick a side I will go with the reviewer, however I do feel some sympathy for Hale, and I do think both sides did things which aren’t right.

As far as Hale’s article goes. It’s what really caused the trouble. Does that mean she shouldn’t have written it? Maybe, but it seems to have done more damage to her than anything else.Maybe it was a form of confession for her, or maybe she hoped more people would read the book and make up their own minds. Part of me does want to read it to see if I agree with the reviewer, but at the same time I wouldn’t want to ‘reward’ Hale for her behaviour.

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Filed under general, Musings, News

Children’s Hour: Toddlers’ Trip to the Library


Children’s Hour is the weekly feature where I look at picture books I have encountered during my work at nursery. My reviews contain children’s opinions which are usually from the children in toddler room (so they are all 2). Sometimes I also have books which my niece and nephew are enjoying too.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

DSCN0837Last week we took the toddlers to a local library (I was going to say which one but have decided not to for reasons of child protection). We went on the bus, which was very exciting (about as exciting as the library itself actually). The plan had been to go to the main Library of Birmingham (pictured) but they weren’t very helpful when we were trying to arrange a visit and the one we went to actually organised a little even for us.

They read us a few stories, Little Red Riding Hood, I’m Not Cute, and You’re Not So Scary Sid. And we sung some songs. The male librarian in particular was very entertaining and enthusiastic. The way things were split up was good too, with two stories, then some songs, then some stories.

After that the kids had a little time to look at books, although maybe there was too much choice! They had some trouble sitting for a whole story without being distracted by another! However we picked some to take back to the nursery, and plan on reading them over the next few weeks. It will certainly be nice to have something new to read.

The library was a lovely library, with a seperate children’s room which was bright and full of chairs, tables and bean bags.

 

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Clash of Kings- George R.R Martin


Clash of Kings is the second book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series which started with A Game of Thrones

Synopsis (from amazon)

Throughout Westeros, the cold winds are rising.

From the ancient citadel of Dragonstone to the forbidding lands of Winterfell, chaos reigns as pretenders to the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms stake their claims through tempest, turmoil and war.

As a prophecy of doom cuts across the sky – a comet the colour of blood and flame – five factions struggle for control of a divided land. Brother plots against brother and the dead rise to walk in the night.

Against a backdrop of incest, fratricide, alchemy and murder, the price of glory is measured in blood.

Review

You know what? I don’t think I really get on that well with epic fantasy novels. I’ve never been able to get further than the forming of the fellowship in Lord of the Rings. I did like Clash of Kings but it took me a long time to read, and I didn’t come out of it eager to read the next one (unlike I had for A Game of Thrones).

As with Game of Thrones there were parts I really liked, and parts I didn’t like so much. I actually liked Sansa’s chapters more than I had previously, but found Jon’s chapters held my attention less.

In general it felt less actiony, which is strange as war is definitely taking hold now. Maybe I just don’t find battles that engaging to read?

Tyrion’s chapters were undoubtedly my favourites. I still can’t quite work him out, I think maybe that he is just out for himself and sort of waiting to see what will happen, although he was more on a Lannister in this book.

There has been a lot set up for the future however, and it interested me enough to want to keep reading, I’m just in no hurry.

3.5/5

Buy it from an indie store (via Hive):

Paperback (£8.49)

E-book (£6.71)

Buy it from amazon:

Paperback (£3.85)

Kindle (£3.66)

Other Reviews:

Nylon Admiral

Reading is the Ultimate Aphrodisiac

Under a Gray Sky

Nishita’s Rants and Ravings

 

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Sunday Surfing 19/10/14


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

 John Grisham Suggested that Sentences for Those Who Viewed Child Porn Images Were Too Severe then He Realised That Was a Stupid Thing To Say To The Media

Why Targets Are Destroying Reading in School

Dating Advice From Classic Literature

The Five Best Writer’s Sheds, by the way J.K Rowling’s Hagrid Hut doesn’t sound like it is intended as a shed for writing in

Pride and Prejudice on Screen, The Good, and Not so Good

Richard Flanagan Won The Booker Prize

And Simon Sylvester Won Not The Booker Prize

And on the blog this week…

I Reviewed Larger Than Life

The Kids Read Knick Knack Paddy Whack

 

 

 

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Children’s Hour: Knick Knack Paddy Whack


Children’s Hour is the weekly feature where I look at picture books I have encountered during my work at nursery. My reviews contain children’s opinions which are usually from the children in toddler room (so they are all 2). Sometimes I also have books which my niece and nephew are enjoying too.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

Knick Knack Paddy Whack s a bit of a cheat when it comes to a book the children enjoy because it’s actually the CD with the song which the kids enjoy the most- more than the book itself. They love dancing to the introduction music, as much as dancing to the song itself, and they don’t really pay a great deal of attention to the actual book. I think if we sung it ourselves it may actually be better for engaging them with the book, however they always ask for the CD to be put on.

Knick Knack Paddy Whack is a Barefoot Book, which are always popular (I’ve featured Walking Through the Jungle, Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush, and The Animal Boogie before), with their bright pictures, their interaction, and the fact that they are written in a way that captures the children’s attention.

Buy from and indie store (via Hive):

Paperback with CD (£6.23)

Buy from amazon:

Paperback with CD (£6.99)

 

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Larger Than Life- Jodi Picoult


Synopsis (from amazon)

Alice is a researcher studying memory in elephants, and is fascinated by the bonds between mother and calf – the mother’s powerful protective instincts and her newborn’s unwavering loyalty. Living on a game reserve in Botswana, Alice is able to view the animals in their natural habitat, as long as she obeys one important rule: she must only observe and never interfere.

Then she finds an orphaned young elephant in the bush and cannot bear to leave the helpless baby behind. Alice will risk her career to care for the calf. Yet what she comes to understand is the depth of a parent’s love.

Review

Larger Than Life is another one of Jodi Picoult’s Kindle Singles. This time it is based around a character her up and coming novel Leaving Time.

It’s probably the best of her kindle singles which I have read (I have also read The Color War, and Where There’s Smoke). I think it stands quite well as it’s own story, and fits ok as a short story. I still wanted more (as I tend to with short stories) but it was good whilst it lasted, and I didn’t really feel like there needed to be more.

It was a cute little story. The main focus was the baby elephant, and that was really all it needed, it was sweet to imagine and I enjoyed Alice’s interactions and thoughts around the elephant.

There was also a romance element, which I had anticipated early on, and which was nice, but maybe unneeded.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£1.49)

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Short story

Sanday Surfing 12/10/14


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

I think I am making up for the lack of links last week…

Celebrity Books Which are Worth Reading

Votes are Open for the Not The Booker Prize

Things Only Adults Would say on a Tour of the World Of Harry Potter (note not child friendly)

Songs Which Reference Books

Works of Literature Recreated in Lego

The Longest English Words on Literature. Some of these words really make my head hurt

Writers Working to Save Libraries in Liverpool

Novels Based on Shakespeare Plays

Jodi Picoult Releasing a Follow up to Between the Lines with her Daughter

Haruki Murakami and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o were Favourites to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, but this is who did win….

 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed The Silkwork

The kids read Fergus Goes Quackers

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Children’s Hour: Fergus Goes Quackers


Children’s Hour is the weekly feature where I look at picture books I have encountered during my work at nursery. My reviews contain children’s opinions which are usually from the children in toddler room (so they are all 2). Sometimes I also have books which my niece and nephew are enjoying too.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.
Fergus is a dog. In Fergus Goes Quackers Fergus gets followed by a brood of ducklings. He tries to get the ducklings to go away by barking at them, but it doesn’t quite work- the ducks start barking too! The other animals think it’s a great game, and start copying each others’ noises.

It’s a fairly simple book, simpler than the similar Cock-a-moo-moo (which apparently I haven’t featured…), and maybe not quite as good. The kids still found it funny however, and they like copying the noises.

There’s not a great deal to say about it really. It’s entertaining enough, I’m not too enamoured with the pictures…yeah, that’s it really.

 

Buy from amazon:

Hardback (£4.83)

Paperback (£6.99)

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The Silkworm- Robert Galbraith


The Silkworm is the second book in the Cormoran Strike series

Synopsis (from amazon)

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days – as he has done before – and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives – so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him.

Review

After really enjoying the first Cormoran Strike book I was rather excited for the second. In terms of excitement it was probably a bit higher than The Cuckoo’s Calling, although it took a little longer to set off. However it missed a certain something which The Cuckoo’s Calling had, something which I struggle to put my finger on, but which made the book less easily readable.

Maybe it was that in The Cuckoo’s Calling Cormoran was working completely on his own theories. As far as the police were concerned it was s done deal- as it were, whereas in this one Cormoran was still trying very much to work on his own and use the same theories but he was investigating something a the same time as the police. It felt more like he was snubbing the police, and that he didn’t think they were good enough. He could have worked with them but he kept information from them. I get that he was being paid a fee, and I get that they didn’t agree on certain elements, but maybe if a bit of information sharing went on there would have been able to work together.

He was certainly still clever, and Robin was still very much his right-hand woman. There were still lots of twists and turns. It still kept me on the edge of my seat. I still really enjoyed it. There was a certain sense of ‘this is an adult novel’ about it. There was a particularly graphic scene, which did add something to the story, but was also rather brutal. There was lots of sex, which didn’t always add something.

4/5

Buy it from an Indie store (via Hive):

Hardback (£15.60)

On CD (£25.18)

Buy it from amazon:

Kindle (£6.99)

Hardback (£9.99)

Other Reviews:

Alison McCarthy

Recovering Potter Addict

Mama Kucing Books and Ravings

The Eye of Loni’s Storm

 

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Sunday Surfing 5/10/14


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

 New release paperbacks and hardbacks are outselling new release e-books

A draft of the last Sherlock Holmes story is going on display

Authors on bank notes

And The Owl and the Pussycat has been voted Britain’s favourite children’s poem. Twinkle, twinkle little star, the most boring nursery rhyme ever, is second.

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed The Humans

The kids read The Snails’ Tales

 

 

 

 

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Children’s Hour: The Snails’ Tales


Children’s Hour is the weekly feature where I look at picture books I have encountered during my work at nursery. My reviews contain children’s opinions which are usually from the children in toddler room (so they are all 2). Sometimes I also have books which my niece and nephew are enjoying too.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.


I was sent Snails’ Tales for review (by the publishers). It’s a book with two tales, both about snails (believe it or not!). The first story talks about the snails in the narrator’s garden and what they spend the day doing. The second story is all about the snails going on holiday.

As an ‘educator’ I really liked the book. There is lots of prompts for the children to use their imagination and plenty of places where I could ask questions, I could see it being a really good book to do a whole project on- about snails mainly, but also about holidays, and travel, and about the environment around us. The style of writing was very conversational which almost makes it feel like you’re not so much reading as having a discussion. Plus the pictures are really nice and bright, just in themselves the pictures could lead to some great discussion, and the toddlers did show a lot of interest in the pictures.

In terms of the toddlers, it didn’t have the greatest reaction. The kids liked the pictures, and got quite engaged when I talked about them. The story itself however they did loose interest in, I think they were a bit too long for them. The first story- the one just about the snails being n the garden they were more engaged with. They did join in with some discussion, although in a fairly basic way. I think it was just easier for them to connect with than the holiday story. It contained the sorts of things they would see and do on a daily basis so it was easier for them to imagine, whereas some of them have never been on holiday, and those that have often remember little. Trying to prompt them to think where the snails was particularly problematic as 99% of the time their answers to where is he/she/it going? or where are you going? is “the shop” (really, that’s where they are going on the bikes, that’s where the helicopter or plane is going to), not really a holiday location!

I’ve given the book to pre-school now, who I think it will be better suited too, although I haven’t had the opportunity to see their reactions to it yet.

 

Buy from amazon:

Hardback (£6.29)

 

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The Humans- Matt Haig


Synopsis (from amazon)

After an ‘incident’ one wet Friday night where Professor Andrew Martin is found walking naked through the streets of Cambridge, he is not feeling quite himself. Food sickens him. Clothes confound him. Even his loving wife and teenage son are repulsive to him. He feels lost amongst a crazy alien species and hates everyone on the planet. Everyone, that is, except Newton, and he’s a dog.

What could possibly make someone change their mind about the human race. . . ?

Review

The trailer for The Humans is the only book trailer I have ever seen which has convinced me that I want to read a book. (As a general rule I don’t like book trailers, I don’t see why people would want pictures to promote something which is about words).

Haig was already on my radar. The Radleys has been on my wishlist for years (yes again my problem with not buying from my wishlist strikes) and I’ve read a few of his (rather entertaining) blog posts, so I expected entertaining novels too.

Haig’s style of writing is quite similar to Nick Hornby, or Danny Wallace. It’s easy to read, and conversational. However it’s not without its emotion, as easy to read things can tend to be as they strive to be entertaining.

In it’s own way The Humans was actually quite deep. A sort of ode to what it is to be human. How it is great. How it isn’t.

There are lots of things wrong with humanity, but does that mean that there are lots of things wrong with humans?

It’s a funny, sweet, and charming book, and an easy read.

4/5

Buy it:

From an indie store (via Hive):

Paperback (£6.97)

E-book (£7.18)

From amazon:

Paperback (£3.50)

Kindle (£2.69)

Hardback (£19.05)

Other reviews:

Blog A Book Etc

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Sci-Fi

Sunday Surfing 28/9/14


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

It was banned books week last week, so lots of banned books related weeks in this edition of Sunday Surfing.

21st Century Banned Books and Why They Were Banned

Film Adaptations From Banned Books

Which Banned Book Are You?

Who Said it? Umbridge or Gove?

Author of ‘Go the F*** to Sleep’ Releasing a New Book About Eating

The Tories Are in Uproar About Hilary Mantel’s New Story

‘A Room of One’s Own’ Rearranged to Create a Story

How Long Would it Take You to Read the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ Series?

 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed The Color War

And Dexter By Design

The Kids Looked at Video Readings of Books

 

 

 

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Children’s Hour: Books on Screen


Children’s Hour is the weekly feature where I look at picture books I have encountered during my work at nursery. My reviews contain children’s opinions which are usually from the children in toddler room (so they are all 2). Sometimes I also have books which my niece and nephew are enjoying too.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

The kids were acting crazy the other night so we decided to calm things down by watching a few stories on the big screen. We started off with the ever popular We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

One of the parents actually recommended this one to us because her son (who is 2) and her nieces (both under 2) really love it. It seems to be popular with the other kids too. They love joining in with the actions and the noises. Michael Rosen is a great storyteller, and even without doing anything fancy with the pictures it’s probably the most entertaining one we watched.

Next we moved onto Handa’s Surprise

The animals were the most popular bit of this one (as in the book actually), the kids loved shouting out what the animals were, and found it hilarious when the animals swept down to take the fruit. It’s one which works well as a video as a lot of the story from the book is from the pictures rather than the words, it’s almost like a storyboard in fact. I also like that Handa has an African accent.

After Handa we visited Mr Bear with Peace at Last

Peace at Last is still a favourite in toddler room, so I had expected it to be popular, but it didn’t go down so well. Maybe it was because it wasn’t read the way they are used to reading it (Mr Bear is usually more shouty when we read it, and the kids join in), or maybe it was because it was the last one we watched but they didn’t join in as much as they  (had in the past. In fact it took the alarm at the end to bring the kid’s attention back to the screen. I must admit I wasn’t that impressed with the reading or the video. There wasn’t really anything added which wouldn’t be possible to do when you were just reading it yourself. In fact if anything there was less because we couldn’t see the reader’s facial expressions. The only real advantage is when they zoom into whatever is being spoken of in the story at the time.

 

Buy the books from an indie store:

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (from £5.31)

Handa’s Surprise (from £4.91)

Peace at Last (from £4.81)

Buy the books from amazon:

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (from £3.86)

Handa’s Surprise (from £4.11)

Peace at Last (from £4.79)

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Dexter By Design- Jeff Lindsey


Dexter By Design is the fourth book in the Dexter series. You can find my reviews for the previous books here.

Synopsis (from amazon)

Being a blood spatter analyst who hates the sight of blood has always made Dexter’s work for the Miami PD tough. But it means he’s very neat when it comes to his out-of-hours hobby: murder. Of course, the fact Dexter only kills bad people helps too.

Now Dex is facing a disturbing situation. He’s used to blood at work, and blood when he’s out with the dark passenger (the voice that guides him on his deadly outings). But he’s not sure what to make of the man who says blood is art. Using bodies as his canvas, someone is out there expressing themselves in the most lethal and painful of ways.

Review

I’ve started watching the TV show of Dexter recently. I was under the impression that each series followed one book (I couldn’t have been more wrong as it turned out…but that’s a post for another time), so I had decided to let myself watch up to series 4, but no further until I had read the next book. So as I was drawing to the end of series three I bought book four- Dexter By Design.

The previous book, Dexter in the Dark had been disappointing for me. I’m used to Dexter books having certain qualities and Dexter in the Dark was low on those qualities.

With Dexter by Design it certainly picked up again. Back to the strange and rather gruesome murders- this time with murders as ‘art’. All I can say is be prepared to get grossed out! In particular one of the first scenes seems really…oh I’m just shuddering thinking about it.

As it so often seems Dexter had attracted some attention from the killer (doesn’t it seem strange that other killers seem to recognise Dexter but ‘normal’ people don’t?). So, with a new family, should Dexter be more cautious?

It’s the usual fast pace that I expect from Dexter, but there is also a more emotional element which we didn’t get in the past. I suppose you could say we can see Dexter growing.

Actually possibly the best Dexter I’ve read so far.

4/5

 Buy it (from amazon):

Paperback (£5.59)

Kindle (£5.49)

Other reviews:

Book Sanctuary

Did I miss your review? Leave a link in comments and I will add it

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Filed under Crime, Fiction review

The Color War- Jodi Picoult


Synopsis (from amazon)

All Raymond wants to do is hang out with his best friend, Monroe, but life has other plans. This summer, his mother has decided to send him to Bible camp for inner-city kids. On the bus there, he dreams of the best night of his life, when he and Monroe slipped away from home and jumped the turnstiles to ride the subway to downtown Boston on New Year’s Eve. The elaborate ice sculptures on display thrilled them, especially an angel with outstretched wings that glowed ghostly in the night. Raymond wakes on the bus to what he takes for another angel: Melody, a camp counselor and lifeguard. Like all the staff, she’s white. Pretty, blond, and friendly, she’s the person Raymond most wants to impress during the Color War, the camp’s sports competition, and to whom he confesses his most painful secret, a loss that has made him grow up far too fast and left him wise beyond his mere nine years.

Review

I’ve read a few of Picoult’s kindle singles now. Apparently I didn’t bother reviewing Where There’s Smoke, and I have Larger Than Life on the list waiting for review.

I can’t remember why I decided not to review Where There’s Smoke, maybe I was waiting for the book it was based on to come out?

Either way The Color War  is probably the one I liked the least of the three. It had good areas, or I suppose interesting areas. It didn’t really work for me in terms of a short story however. Too many big issues which needed a ‘proper’ book. Maybe not a long one, but more than the few pages you get with a kindle single (according to goodreads The Color War has 34 pages). If it had to be a shorter story then there should have been less in it. Have the major event, or something to do with Raymond’s emotions after. As it was it was too sketchy.

Plus unlike both of Picoult’s other kindle singles which I’ve read The Color War is stand alone, so you can’t hope to get more from reading the book which it is connected to.

2/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£1.81)

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Bloggiesta Wrap-up


Bloggiesta Starting Line

I think that’s going to be it for Bloggiesta this time around. I feel like I got a lot done…lot’s have a look back at my list…

The List (in no specific order)

  • Review:- The Shock of the Fall, Dexter by Design, Dexter is Delicious, Slaughter-House Five, The Color War, The Humans, The Silkworm, Clash of Kings, The Forgotten Daughter, Larger Than Life.
  • Update review masterlists author and title, and Children’s Hour masterlist
  • Update reviews on goodreads and amazon
  • Re-write intros for Children’s Hour and Sunday Surfing
  • Update review policy
  • Update blog roll and feedly subscriptions
  • Take part in a/some mini challenges -Anchor Links for masterlists
  • Update twitter profile
  • Unfollow spammy twitter people
  • Sort out twitter lists
  • Do something about the pages links
  • Musings post about concept of literary (?)
  • Sort out e-mails
  • Sort new stuff for facebook page
  • Write Sunday Surfing
  • Schedule ‘what’s been popular’ twitter and facebook updates

Didn’t quite have the material for that musings post, but that’s ok, maybe another time.

I’m going to do the intro for Children’s Hour when I write my next one, as I did with Sunday Surfing.

Still a few reviews to write but I think I made a decent dent in the pile, and I have one scheduled for this week so shouldn’t have to worry about getting another out until next week.

I’m most happy with my new review masterlists, I’ve wanted to put anchor links in for years, but I didn’t know how.

Participated in the twitter chats too which were really good fun, and I met some great other bloggers. :) Going to have a look around and see how everyone else has been doing now.

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Sunday Surfing 21/9/14


bird surf

Sunday Surfing is my weekly feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging. Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week.

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

The most highlighted passages in classic kindle books

Is YA fiction popular because adult fiction is too narrow?

Quotes from banned books

Brave fictional characters

Apparently my life can be described by Lord of the Rings (which obviously means it’s epic!) Which classic novel describes your life?

 

And on the blog this week…

It’s Bloggiesta weekend so I’ve been busy

The kids read Fred the Firefighter

I reviewed Slaughterhouse-Five

And The Shock of the Fall

 

 

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Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Slaughterhouse-Five- Kurt Vonnegut


This book was read as part of The Rory List

Synopsis (adapted from amazon)

Slaughterhouse-Five (1969) is the now famous parable of Billy Pilgrim, a World War II veteran and POW, who has in the later stage of his life become “unstuck in time” and who experiences at will (or unwillingly) all known events of his chronology out of order and sometimes simultaneously.

Review

I’ve been rewatching a lot of Lost recently (yay netflix!), I’m pretty sure a whole load of series 4 is based (ok…loosely) on slaughterhouse-five. Basically what happens is Two guys get off the island, and one of the guys gets unstuck in time- like Billy Pilgram. He keeps flicking from present day back to when he was in the army. What’s it caused by? Well I have theories but I haven’t actually seen the end yet.

In Slaughterhouse-Five we know why Billy is unstuck in time. Or at least we know why Billy thinks he’s unstuck in time. It could just be post-dramatic stress disorder induced fantasies. He may well be in the hospital bed, or even living a ‘normal’ life the whole time.

It’s weird, and different, and it doesn’t make sense. So what? Does fiction have to make sense?

3/5

Buy it (from amazon):

Kindle (£2.99)

Paperback (£6.29)

Other reviews:

Giraffe Days

 

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Filed under Classics, Fiction review, Sci-Fi

The Shock of the Fall- Nathan Filer


Note: This book is sold as ‘Where the Moon Isn’t’ in the US

Synopsis (from amazon)

‘I’ll tell you what happened because it will be a good way to introduce my brother. His name’s Simon. I think you’re going to like him. I really do. But in a couple of pages he’ll be dead. And he was never the same after that.’

 

Review

Two things before I start:

1) I wrote a copy of this post I was really happy with, then it got eaten by wordpress :(

2) After writing my first version of this review I read Ellie’s review. Ellie suggested that to reveal what Matt’s illness was would be a bit of a spoiler, because it would give you pre-conceived ideas of what Matt was like. When I thought about it I could see where she was coming from, but my review was too much based on his condition to avoid mentioning what it was. Therefore I have blanked out everytime I have written the name of Matt’s condition, and put brackets around it. If you want to know what the illness is just highlight between the brackets. The review should still make sense missing this word out.

Okay, on to the review.

You can tell that The Shock of The Fall is written by someone with experience of mental health, the voice of Matt sounds very authentic. His mental health condition seems realistic too, it is not unknown for a serious emotional event (such as the death of a brother) to trigger (schizophrenia), and it is often part of what will make up the (schizophrenic) episodes too. What makes it even more authentic is that it is narrated by Matt himself. It’s not like seeing a (schizophrenic) episode, where it can be quite obvious that the person is unwell. You can rarely be 100% sure if what Matt is experiencing is ‘real’ or part of his illness.

Matt’s family are obviously important to him. They are like his rock. The way he talks about his Nan, and , most notably, Simon shows how much he loves them. They are both easily the most likeable characters. Matt himself? Maybe not likeable, but that works. If he was more likeable it would make the story less realistic, because of the ways he sees himself.

I do wonder a bit if Filer is having a bit of a bash at the government for it’s cuts to the NHS. An important thing which happens in the book is caused by budget cuts, and is one of the things which gets cut in reality too. On the day I originally wrote this review there had been a piece on radio 4 about how the waiting times for talking therapies are effecting patients. According to a study by We Need to Talk 1 in 6 patients awaiting treatment attempt suicide. To have to wait at all is pretty bad, but it really shouldn’t get to this state. For someone with mental health difficulties to ask for help is often the first step towards getting better. It’s like taking one step on a stair and finding a wall in the way, isn’t the easiest option to step back?

Sorry this has turned into somewhat of a political rant.

The Shock of the Fall was the winner of the Costa Prize. It’s what prompted me to look at it, but it still is the sort of thing that I would have wanted to read. Was it worth the prize? Maybe. I’m not sure I would say it has literary greatness (whatever that is…). It’s too…conversational, but actually in terms of readability and reader connection that makes a good book, for me at least.

In the US The Shock of the Fall is renamed to Where the Moon isn’t. Why? I don’t know (maybe I could find out). I’m not sure I like it though. The Shock of the Fall seems like a strange name to start off with. However when you finish it seems like a pretty perfect name. I won’t say why, spoilers. Where the Moon Isn’t sort of fits though. You know what they say about the moon and mental illness.

4/5

Buy it:

From an indie store (via Hive):

Paperback (£6.97)

E-book (£3.99)

Buy from amazon:

Kindle (£2.99)

Paperback (£3.85)- Part of the 3 for £10 promotion

Hardback (£14.94)- As ‘Where The Moon Isn’t’

Other reviews:

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

Thought Scratchings

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Psychology (fiction)

Bloggiesta Start Line


It’s Thursday. It’s the first day of Bloggiesta. I’m not long back from work and have a cup of tea, all ready to start.

You can see my to-do list here (which I may well add to as I go along, and which I will strike as I go along).

I’m starting off with my review of The Shock of the Fall, which I actually had already written, but wordpress ate it (I was really happy with it as well, and wordpress almost never eats things). Hopefully that should be posted tomorrow (with this and Children’s Hour posted today I don’t think I need a standard review too).

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Children’s Hour: Fred the Firefighter


Children’s Hour is a feature posted every Thursday here at Lucybird’s Book Blog. Children’s Hour is my time for reviewing children’s picture books. In my job in a nursery I encounter lots of children’s books, and these are the books I use for Children’s Hour.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

I was convinced I had already done a Children’s Hour on Fred the Firefighter, but apparently not. We used to have a kid who was obsessed with firefighters, and I was sure I had done it then (this must have been at least 3 years ago actually…so pre-children’s hour, the first one was  May 2012…really that long ago?!). It’s a book from the same series as Sam the Chef, and has a similar formula. We see Fred and his colleagues, we see the place where he works, and some of the things he has to do at the fire station, and of course he goes to fight a fire. There is some explanation of what caused the fire, and Fred has to save a dog who was caught in the fire. This always seems to be the way with fire books for kids, it’s an animal that needs saving rather than a person.

The kids are obsessed with firefighters at the moment. Everytime we go outside they have to fight a fire, they get out the firefighter dressing up, the ask for the role play fire engines, one of the kids sings the Fireman Sam theme tune everytime he’s on the toilet(!), and when they are looking independently at books they ask for this one.

They do like to look at it independently, which suggests that it’s actually the pictures that they like more than the words, although they will ask questions about things they don’t recognise- so they still get some of the learning which they would get from the words too.

As far as more factual books go I do like this series. It has a bit of a plot which makes it easier for the kids to be attentive, and the pictures are colourful and interesting.

Buy it:

Paperback- new (from £20.00)

Paperback- used (from £0.01)

Book and toy- new (from £51.50)

Book and toy- used (from £49.27)

 

 

 

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Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

Bloggiesta To-Do List


It’s Bloggiesta next week folks. There is so much I need to get done (I think I even commented somewhere last week that I needed a Bloggiesta to make me do stuff) so it’s about time I participated.

Bloggiesta is a blogging event about doing those things which you’ve been meaning to do on your blog but have been procrastinating over or not found time for. It’s a time where you say ‘right, I’m getting this done’. There are always lots of other bloggers on hand to help out, especially on twitter and there are mini challenges so you can find out how to do new things on your blog (I joined twitter thanks to one of these in the past).

Sign-up to take part here.

The List (in no specific order)

  • Review:- The Shock of the Fall, Dexter by Design, Dexter is Delicious, Slaughter-House Five, The Color War, The Humans, The Silkworm, Clash of Kings, The Forgotten Daughter, Larger Than Life.
  • Update review masterlists author and title, and Children’s Hour masterlist
  • Update reviews on goodreads and amazon
  • Re-write intros for Children’s Hour and Sunday Surfing
  • Update review policy
  • Update blog roll and feedly subscriptions
  • Take part in a/some mini challenges -Anchor Links for masterlists
  • Update twitter profile
  • Unfollow spammy twitter people
  • Sort out twitter lists
  • Do something about the pages links
  • Musings post about concept of literary (?)
  • Sort  out e-mails
  • Sort new stuff for facebook page
  • Write Sunday Surfing
  • Schedule ‘what’s been popular’ twitter and facebook updates

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Sunday Surfing 14/9/14


bird surf

Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed I’m been posting a lot of links recently. Sunday Surfing is my  feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging.

Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Lets get started.

 

Around the web this week

Artists reflections on the changing face of reading

The Booker Shortlist has Arrived

Experimental fiction worth reading

This college Professor will pay for the text books of one student who beats him at a computer game. Seems strange to give them a reason to procrastinate from working.

Our favourite books- according to facebook

Rainbow Rowell’s journey from newspaper reporter to famous author

What to read now based on your high school favourites. I don’t get why Frankenstein and The Historian go together rather than Dracula and The Historian

Which Roald Dahl character are you? I got Charlie Bucket

Bloggers as Publicists and Bookbridgr. I was pleasantly surprised to see Ellie mentioned in this article.

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed The Cuckoo’s Calling

Children’s Hour revisited Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

And my giveaway results were revealed

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Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? (revisited)


Children’s Hour is a feature posted every Thursday here at Lucybird’s Book Blog. Children’s Hour is my time for reviewing children’s picture books. In my job in a nursery I encounter lots of children’s books, and these are the books I use for Children’s Hour.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

I couldn’t think what to write about for this week’s Children’s Hour. No new books, and there doesn’t seem to be a particular interest in old books which I haven’t already written about. I had been talking about how ‘my’ children continued to get on with Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Can You Hear? at home so Mum suggested that I revisit it. So that’s what I’ve decided to do. This almost feels like an early years blog. (You should read my Mum’s Blog by the way. It’s very good, and I don’t just say that because she’s my Mum).

First off here is my original Polar Bear post.

One of the more negative things I had said is that the kids don’t really know what the animals are. However they are learning this, some children better than others. They can name flamingo, walrus and leopard now (even as separate from lion, which is a frequent confusion when it comes to big cats). Whether they could do this out of context I’m not so sure. They do still call the boa constrictor a snake, which is right but is a similar thing to knowing the difference between a leopard and a lion. They have some problems with peacock too, but they are getting there. Initially they could get it from me saying “pea” but now they get it from the ‘p’ sound, and that’s good for other types of learning too. The zoo keeper only one child calls a zoo keeper rather than just a man, and Polar Bear is his favourite book, he always asks for it.

We’ve looked at the sounds of the animals too. We looked for them on youtube, and the kids liked trying to copy some of the sounds. They didn’t remember much, and it was something which required a little too much concentration to keep repeating. It has made it more popular for them to make the sounds of the animals, however.

The child who adores Brown Bear has been introduced to Polar Bear too now. It’s one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while. He was so confused, bless him. He would look at the page I was reading, look a bit puzzled, then go and look at the cover, then the page again. He wasn’t very impressed. Maybe it just wasn’t as good as Brown Bear. Or maybe he feels about it the same way as I feel about the Harry Potter films.

Buy it:

I’m not doing buying links this week, you can look at the original post, or the picture links to amazon.

 

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Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

Blogiversary Giveaway Results


Thank you to everyone who entered my blogiversary giveaways, it is time to announce the results…..

The winner of the book from list 1 is….

Botezatu and she wins a copy of Everything is Illuminated, or £6.29 for a charity of her choice

 

The winner of a book from list 2 is….

Karina and she wins a copy of The Secret Keeper or £4.52 for a charity of her choice

 

And the winner of a book from list 3 is…

Anjanette and she wins a copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (I will let her pick The Philosopher’s Stone if she hasn’t already started the series) or £6.40 for a charity of her choice

 

Well done to all the winners, I will be in touch with you shortly. And thank you to everyone for celebrating with me :)

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The Cuckoo’s Calling- Robert Galbraith


Synopsis (from amazon)

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger . . .

Review

Ok, everyone know it, but we can’t not mention it can we? Robert Galbraith is J.K Rowling. She always said she wanted to have a pen name and write crime after Harry Potter.

Would I have read it if I didn’t know it was J.K. Rowling? Probably not. For one thing until it was leaked that The Cuckoo’s Calling was written by J.K it wasn’t an especially well known book, for another I don’t read that much crime.

The person who ‘discovered’ the truth said that it was because they could recognise J.K’s style of writing. I certainly could see her style, especially in the opening to The Cuckoo’s Calling. I don’t know if I would have noticed if I didn’t already know Galbraith and Rowling were one and the same, however. Unless I approached every crime novel released post-Harry as having the potential to be written by J.K

One more thing, before I get to the actual review. I kept hearing an Audible advert for The Cuckoo’s Calling on Spotify before I read this. Anyone else find that really off putting? It almost made me not want to read it.

I did like The Cuckoo’s Calling, you know. It was rather compulsive reading. There were lots of twists, and the end was unpredictable, I might even go as far as to says it seemed impossible…except it wasn’t! It’s rather memorable too, I was trying to think of what I wanted to write in this review (I’m about 10 books behind…I think I need a bloggiesta…), and little bits kept resurfacing in my memory- although nothing specific that I want to mention.

There was one little thing that annoyed me. There were moments when strange specifics were put in, like the names of pubs, or even the beer that Cormoran was drinking, they weren’t important to the story, maybe they were meant to make things more authentic, but I began to think that the series had been sponsored by Doom Bar (and I can tell you it doesn’t stop in The Silkworm either)

4/5

Buy it from an Indie Store (via Hive):

Paperback (£7.11)

Hardback (£12.75)

 Buy it from amazon:

Kindle (£2.79)

Paperback (£3.85)

Hardback (£14.95)

Other reviews:

Recovering Potterholic

The Eye of Loni’s Storm

Quirky Bookworm

Alison McCarthy

Books By Rotten

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Filed under Contempory, Crime, Fiction review

Sunday Surfing 7/9/14


bird surf

Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed I’m been posting a lot of links recently. Sunday Surfing is my new feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging.

Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Lets get started.

 

Around the web this week

The Worst Jobs in Literature

Why Reading is Important for Teenagers

Books and Films About Being New in School

Unusual Public Libraries

Margaret Atwood is the First Author to Participate in The Future Library Project. This sounds really cool, it’s a shame that I’m very unlickly to be around in 100 years to read the entries

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed Fangirl

The kids read Messy Baby

I launched my blogiversary giveaway

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Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Messy Baby


Children’s Hour is a feature posted every Thursday here at Lucybird’s Book Blog. Children’s Hour is my time for reviewing children’s picture books. In my job in a nursery I encounter lots of children’s books, and these are the books I use for Children’s Hour.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

One of the new children in toddler room (she has just moved up from babies) loves books, and her favourite seems to be Messy Baby. There is nothing I can see that’s great about the book, it’s one of those books which names items, but it is trying to be a story too. It pretty much fails at that but I think that may be what the kids like about it, they can basically read it themselves, they just have to say what they can see most of the time.

For adults it’s a boring book to read, but at least it isn’t annoying (like some books I could mention)

Buy it:

 Boardbook- new (from £3.99)

Boardbook- used (from £0.01)

 

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Filed under Children's, Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

Fangirl- Rainbow Rowell


Synopsis (from amazon)

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.

Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She’s got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realizing that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible.

Review

When I reviewed Landline I mentioned how much I had loved Fangirl (which I had just finished reading).

I really identified with Cath, more than I identified with Eleanor (of Eleanor & Park), I think that’s a skill of Rainbow Rowell’s- making characters which are easy to identify with.

To me Cath was a Harry Potter fangirl, I’m not quite her (only the occasional dip into the world of fanfiction) but I certainly ‘knew’ people like her, and saw a lot of elements of myself in her. Harry Potter was a big part of my world for a while (which I have spoken about before), so I think I understood Cath, although maybe I was more of a balance between her and Wren when it came to uni.

Thinking about it, actually, Fangirl is quite a lot like 4 to 16 characters, although I did prefer it.

It’s cute, and it’s romantic, and it’s real, that’s what’s awesome about it.

5/5

Buy it from an indie store (via hive):

Paperback (£6.23)

Buy it from amazon:

Kindle (£2.99)

Paperback (£4.19)

Hardcover (£9.09)

Other reviews:

The Perpetual Page Turner

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

Bookjourney

The Leading Librarian

Recovering Potter Addict

So Long And Thanks For All The Fish

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Filed under Fiction review, Romantic, YA

Blogiversary Competition Time


 photo 20110129_104350_BalloonsTopImag-1.gif

The weekend just gone was Lucybird’s Book Blog’s fifth blogiversary, can you believe it’s been five years?

So to celebrate it’s competition time.

You know how I like to do things differently here, so this time I’m giving away three books, but there’s a catch!

There are three lists, each with five five star books, you pick which list you would like to enter, but the book you win from that list will be picked at random. If you don’t want the book which was picked then you can choose to give the money to a charity of your choice.

You can enter for each list, however you can only win a book from one list.

To participate you must live in a country where The Book Depository delivers for free. You do not need to be a follower, but if would be nice if you were.

Entries are open for one week

So on to the lists…

List 1

Room- Emma Donoghue

Everything is Illuminated- Jonathon Safron Foer

Handle with Care- Jodi Picoult

The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts- Louis de Bernieres

Kafka on the Shore- Haruki Murkami

Enter to win a book from list 1

List 2

The Help- Kathryn Stockett

The Secret Keeper- Kate Morton

The Almond Tree- Michelle Cohen Corasanti

Life After Life- Kate Atkinson

The Last Hundred Days- Patrick McGuinness
Enter to win a book from list 2
List 3

Charlotte Street- Danny Wallace

The Rosie Project- Graeme Simsion

Fangirl- Rainbow Rowell (review is up tomorrow…hopefully…)

The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets- J.K. Rowling

Enter to win a book from list 3

 

 

 

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Filed under general, Giveaway

Sunday Surfing 31/8/14


bird surf

Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed I’m been posting a lot of links recently. Sunday Surfing is my new feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging.

Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Lets get started.

 

It’s Lucybird’s Book Blog’s Blogiversary today, and I only just realised!

 

Around the web this week

Kobo is launching a waterproof e-reader.

Dan Brown’s Inferno is being made into a film

Malorie Blackman received racist abuse on twitter

Things which happen when you can’t put a book down

The week that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory turned 50 Aldi banned another of Roald Dahl’s books from its Australian stores

Speaking of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory you can read an unpublished early draft chapter here

 

And on the blog this week…

I talked about the Top 10 Books on my Wishlist

I reviewed The Forgotten Sister

And the kids read Sam the Chef

 

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Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Sam the Chef


Children’s Hour is a feature posted every Thursday here at Lucybird’s Book Blog. Children’s Hour is my time for reviewing children’s picture books. In my job in a nursery I encounter lots of children’s books, and these are the books I use for Children’s Hour.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

 

We have a few ‘career books’ like Sam the Chef in the nursery. Formerly Fred the Firefighter has been our favourite, but now it’s Sam’s turn. Believe it or not Sam the Chef is about a chef, called Sam. Sam is opening a new restaurant and has some VIPs visiting. Everyone is eager to do well but there are a few hiccups on the way.

We learn all about the things which Sam and his team do. Cooking, serving, buying food, and Sam is in charge of it all.

What is it about it? I’m not sure. It’s less dry than other books with a factual basis. Plus there is a little drama. The pictures are interesting, they are a bit like those puppet TV shows, like Fireman Sam, or Thomas the Tank.

Buy it:

Paperback- new (from £3,878.89)

Paperback- used (from £0.01)

Hardcover- new (from £10.99)

Hardcover- used (from £2.00)

 

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Filed under Children's Hour, Fiction review, Picture books

The Forgotten Sister- Jennifer Paynter


Synopsis (from amazon)

As a middle child flanked by two pairs of closely bonded sisters, marginalized by her mother, and ridiculed by her father, Mary Bennet feels isolated within her own family. She retreats to her room to read and play the pianoforte and, when obliged to mix in society, finds it safer to quote platitudes from books rather than express her real opinions. She also finds it safer to befriend those who are socially “beneath” her. When wealthy Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley glide into her sisters’ lives, Mary becomes infatuated with an impoverished young musician, the son of her old wet-nurse, who plays the fiddle at the Meryton assemblies.

It is only after her sisters tease her about her “beau with the bow” that Mary is forced to examine her real feelings and confront her own brand of pride and prejudice.

Review

I liked the idea of The Forgotten Sister. Mary Bennet is a pretty marginalised character in Pride and Prejudice (so is Kitty, she is basically Lydia’s shadow), but I wonder what makes her so much different from her sisters.

Paynter tries to address this problem, and she does, to a point. However she makes the other sisters (especially Elizabeth) seem pretty horrible in turn, and that just doesn’t seem canon to me. Surely if Elizabeth really disliked Mary that would come up in Pride and Prejudice itself?

For a long time I didn’t really like Mary, although by the end I did. Actually it sort of reminded me of Little Women, but with just one main character. The end didn’t seem quite to fit with the rest of the story either. Mary didn’t seem so much like Mary from it, or at least the Mary of the rest of the story. However I did get more into the story by the end, so I was enjoying it, despite inconsistency.

I think a problem with writing sequels to books by other authors is that it’s hard to get the tone right, and (especially with well known books like Pride and Prejudice) everybody already has their own ideas, and their own like and dislikes about the original book- which are hard not to hit on when another person writes about a book.

3/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£3.49)

Paperback (£6.57)

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Historical