I love comments! Feel free to follow my blog in any of these ways or to contact me

5 Comments

Filed under general

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)

Leave a comment

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Short story

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.

3 Comments

Filed under Fiction review

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

 

 

2 Comments

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

 

6 Comments

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

3 Comments

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).

Leave a comment

Filed under general

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)

 

 

 

2 Comments

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

15 Comments

Filed under general

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

Leave a comment

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.

 

2 Comments

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 :)

2 Comments

Filed under Fiction review

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

6 Comments

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

1 Comment

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)

 

1 Comment

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

1 Comment

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

 

 

 

4 Comments

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

 

Leave a comment

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)

 

2 Comments

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)

2 Comments

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Historical

Top 10 Books I Really Want To Read But Don’t Own Yet


Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About Books

It’s Tuesday again so The Broke and the Bookish are hosting Top Ten Tuesday.

This week it’s Top 10 Books I Really want To Read But Don’t Own Yet. I’m really bad at impulse buying when it comes to books, so my wishlist is 122 books long (on amazon alone), that made it quite hard to choose just 10 books. The list is in no specific order, title links are to amazon, and synopses come from amazon too.

Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord- Louis de Bernières

Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord is the sequel to The War of Don Emmanual’s Nether Parts which is one of my favourite books.

“Dionisio Vivo, a South American lecturer in philosophy, is puzzled by the hideously mutilated corpses that keep turning up outside his front door. To his friend, Ramon, one of the few honest policemen in town, the message is all too clear: Dionisio’s letters to the press, exposing the drug barons, must stop; and although Dionisio manages to escape the hit-men sent to get him, he soon realises that others are more vulnerable, and his love for them leads him to take a colossal revenge.”

Moranthology-Caitlin Moran

I basically fell in love with Caitlin Moran when I read How To Be A Woman, so of course I want to read Moranology

“In MORANTHOLOGY Caitlin ‘gets quite chatty’ about many subjects, including cultural, social and political issues which are usually left to hot-shot wonks and not a woman who sometimes keeps a falafel in her handbag. These other subjects include…

Caffeine | Ghostbusters | Being Poor | Twitter | Caravans | Obama | Wales | Paul McCartney | The Welfare State | Sherlock | David Cameron Looking Like Ham | Amy Winehouse | ‘The Big Society’ | Big Hair | Nutter-letters | Michael Jackson’s funeral | Failed Nicknames | Wolverhampton | Squirrels’ Testicles | Sexy Tax | Binge-drinking | Chivalry | Rihanna’s Cardigan | Party Bags | Hot People| Transsexuals | The Gay Moon Landings”


A Recipe for Bees- Gail Anderson-Dargatz

I want to read this one after rather enjoying The Cure For Death By Lightening, although it doesn’t appear to be in print in the UK

“Augusta Olsen is a woman with passions and desires who has inherited three things from her mother: a wayward heart, a talent for beekeeping and the very dubious gift of second sight. These are legacies just too big for a young wife who finds life on a remote farm with shy, awkward Karl and his detestable father almost unbearable. But farming husbands and wives are married to their land as much as to each other. From that kind of necessity, a different sort of love is made – and remade…”


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close- Jonathan Safran Foer

Again this is one where I have enjoyed a different book by the same author, in this case Everything is Illuminated

 “Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor, amateur entomologist, computer consultant, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, amateur astronomer, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweller, origamist, detective, vegan and collector of butterflies.

When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, Oskar sets out to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father’s closet. It is a search which leads him into the lives of strangers, through the five boroughs of New York, into history, to the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima, and on an inward journey which brings him ever closer to some kind of peace…”

Ape House- Sara Gruen

I will probably actually like Ape House more than I enjoyed Water for Elephants, because monkeys are my favourite animals.

“These bonobos are no ordinary apes. Like others of their species, they are capable of reason and carrying on deep relationships – but, unlike most bonobos, they also know American Sign Language.

Isabel Duncan, a scientist at the Great Ape Language Lab, doesn’t understand people, but animals she gets, especially the bonobos. Isabel feels more comfortable in their world than she’s ever felt among humans . . . until she meets John Thigpen, a very married reporter who braves the ever-present animal rights protesters outside the lab to see what’s really going on inside.

When an explosion tears apart the lab, severely injuring Isabel and ‘liberating’ the apes to an unknown destination, John’s human interest piece turns into the story of a lifetime.”


Record Collecting for Girls: Unleashing Your Inner Music Nerd, One Album at a Time- Courtney E. Smith

I read about this one on another blog (don’t ask me where, it was several years ago). I always like to find new music.

“Mariner Books Record Collecting for Girls is an invitation for all of you stereophiles (who happen to be female) to make your own top-five lists. and then. witharmed and ready with the book’s fun facts. to argue their merits to the ever-present boys’ club of music snobs in your life.”

Night- Elie Wiesel

“Born into a Jewish ghetto in Hungary, as a child, Elie Wiesel was sent to the Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. This is his account of that atrocity: the ever-increasing horrors he endured, the loss of his family and his struggle to survive in a world that stripped him of humanity, dignity and faith. Describing in simple terms the tragic murder of a people from a survivor’s perspective, Night is among the most personal, intimate and poignant of all accounts of the Holocaust.”

Graduates in Wonderland: The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults- Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale

I read an article by one of the writers of this book which made me add it to my wishlist, although I’m not sure which author it was

“Two best friends document their post-college life in a hilarious and relatable epistolary memoir. Friends since they met at Brown University freshman year, Jessica Pan and Rachel Kapelke-Dale vowed to keep in touch after senior year through in-depth and brutally honest weekly e-mails. After graduation, Jess moves to Beijing while Rachel heads to New York. Each spends the next few years tumbling through adulthood and reinventing themselves in various countries, including France, China, and Australia. Through their messages, they swap tales of teaching classes of military men, running a magazine, and flirting in foreign languages, along with the hard stuff: from near-death run-ins, breakups, and breakdowns.”


Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage- Haruki Murakami

Yay, Murakami!

“Tsukuru Tazaki had four best friends at school. By chance all of their names contained a colour. The two boys were called Akamatsu, meaning ‘red pine’, and Oumi, ‘blue sea’, while the girls’ names were Shirane, ‘white root’, and Kurono, ‘black field’. Tazaki was the only last name with no colour in it.

One day Tsukuru Tazaki’s friends announced that they didn’t want to see him, or talk to him, ever again.

Since that day Tsukuru has been floating through life, unable to form intimate connections with anyone. But then he meets Sara, who tells him that the time has come to find out what happened all those years ago.”

12 Comments

Filed under Memes, Top 10 Tuesday

Sunday Surfing 24/8/14


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.

Around the web this week

I can’t see why Readers Absorb Less When Reading on E-readers, but apparently they do. I can see why in the ‘real’ world but not in laboratory settings.

Ways to Find Great Indie Books

Signed Copy of Tale Of Two Cities, Made Out to George Eliot, For Sale

Kate Atkinson’s Next Novel Will Be a Companion to Life After Life. So excited, I loved Life After Life

Things That Are Actually Scary About The Harry Potter Universe

Which Type of Murakami Character Are You?

 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed Me Talk Pretty One Day

The Kids Read Let’s Go to Nursery

 

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Let’s Go to Nursery


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.


Let’s Go To Nursery is what you would expect it to be. A story about going to nursery. It has all the stereotypical things, like eating snack, painting, the sand box. The kids don’t pick it up frequently, but more frequently than a lot of books. They don’t really have that much of a response to it either, but I think they like seeing things they recognise in it.

As a story for those starting nursery I don’t really rate it. It doesn’t have any of the things in it which are scary about starting nursery, or not nice about nursery. No Mums leaving, not arguments, no new people. It shows a good, positive nursery attitude but I’m not sure it would be much of a comfort or good preparation

Buy it:

Boardbook- new (from £2,499.50)

Boardbook- used (from £0.01)

 

1 Comment

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

Me Talk Pretty One Day- David Sedaris


This book was read as part of The Rory List

Synopsis (from amazon)

Anyone that has read NAKED and BARREL FEVER, or heard David Sedaris speaking live or on the radio will tell you that a new collection from him is cause for jubilation. His recent move to Paris from New York inspired these hilarious new pieces, including ‘Me Talk Pretty One Day’, about his attempts to learn French from a sadistic teacher who declares that ‘every day spent with you is like having a caesarean section’. His family is another inspiration. ‘You Can’t Kill the Rooster’ is a portrait of his brother, who talks incessant hip-hop slang to his bewildered father. And no one hones a finer fury in response to such modern annoyances as restaurant meals presented in ludicrous towers of food and cashiers with six-inch fingernails.
Review
I don’t know what it is but there is some link in my mind between David Sedaris and Alan Carr, it probably unfairly biases me because Alan Carr really annoys me (seriously, I don’t get why he’s so popular).
I must admit I didn’t take to David Sedaris himself. I felt he was rather self-satisfied, and that he thought he had to be better than everyone. At times his stories were funny, but not usually the ones focused on him. I liked Paul ‘The Rooster’ best, I could have happily read more about him, but he was a brief character.
3/5
 
Buy it from an indie store:
Paperback(£7.67)
Buy it from amazon:
Kindle (£4.49)
Paperback (£8.18)
Hardback (£11.19)

1 Comment

Filed under Biography, non-fiction review

Sunday Surfing 17/8/14


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.

 

Around the web this week

20 Book Reviewer Clichés. I must admit to occasionally using a couple of these…but I’m not so bad.

3D Books For The Blind

After last week’s reveal of the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Cover Buzzfeed Have Imagined New Covers For Other Children’s Books

New Words, Including YOLO, have Been Added to the Online Version of the OED

Would You Survive the Battle Of Hogwarts? Apparently I wouldn’t :(

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed the film of The Book Thief

And the kids read Fred and Ted’s Treasure Hunt

 

1 Comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Fred and Ted’s Treasure Hunt


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.

Fred and Ted’s Treasure Hunt is  another story we’ve had for quite a while but which has only recently become popular. In fact one of the children seemed to be following me around with it all day the other day. It is (believe it or not) a book about a treasure hunt.

Fred and Ted follow the directions on the map, and the kids can too. With counting and actions it’s a great book to join in with, although it doesn’t really have that much of a plot as such. You can make it exciting though, with careful reading. The kids enjoy being able to join in with the directions and the counting, but some bits are a bit difficult for two year olds to count, especially when you have to count different things on the same page.

Buy it:

Paperback- used (from £0.01)

Hardback- new (from £4,538.50)

Hardback- used (from £0.01)

 

 

1 Comment

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

Film of the Book: The Book Thief


Read my review of the book

Please note this post contains spoilers for the film and the book The Book Thief

I watched The Book Thief with my boyfriend this weekend. It was good to watch with someone who hadn’t read the book because where I thought everything was quite clear, even with what had been left out he thought otherwise on that (although him not know who Jesse Owens was didn’t help either).

Generally the film was fairly faithful to the book. There were a few bits cut, mainly things with Rudy and things with the Hitler Youth, but it is a big book and I think most of the cuts made sense. The only thing really which bugged me was that Rudy was recruited for the elite group of children, but at the time his father had already gone to war. In the book the father is conscripted as a punishment for refusing to send Rudy to this camp. As it was though Rudy was recruited but didn’t go making it seem strange that it was in there at all.

Because so much of Rudy was cut it was less upsetting when he died, it was still sad, but not as sad as Liesel’s ‘parents’. There was less of her Papa too, but the still made him loveble, and his death was probably the saddest.

Buy it:

DVD (£9.99)

Blu-ray (£14.99)

1 Comment

Filed under Film review

Sunday Surfing 10/08/14


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

There’s an awful new cover for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory here is is along with some more awful covers

When Casting Directors Get it Wrong

Great Novels by Women Under 50 The End of Mr Y is great, but Pop Co. is better

British People are Still Reading and apparently the average British person owns 86 books….which doesn’t seem that many to me

And on the blog this week…

The kids read Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

1 Comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

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


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 bought Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? to use as part of our project on sound. As Brown Bear is still a favourite I thought they would appreciate something similar. It did go down quite well, especially with pre-school who tried to join in straight away. It took my toddlers a little longer, and a week later (having read it everyday) they do still struggle with some of the animals. They do enjoy the similar rhythm though, and like making the sounds of the animals that they do know.

To be honest the animals were the main problem. The kids couldn’t name quite a few of them, and sometimes the right answer wasn’t quite right (where the kids said snake it was a Boa Constrictor), and could make the sounds for even less. I didn’t even know the sounds for some.

It’s not quite Brown Bear, but it is good.

Buy From an Independent Shop via Hive:
Paperback (£5.23)

Boardbook (£5.41)

Buy from Amazon:

Paperback (£5.99)

Boardbook (£5.99)

2 Comments

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

Sunday Surfing 3/8/14


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.

 

Around the web this week

Unique Ways of Retelling Stories

Studies Suggest Reading Harry Potter Makes Children Less Prejudiced

David Cameron Has Backed Plans To Restrict Books Sent to Prisons

The Rights to The Goldfinch Have Been Sold

Vote For The Shortlist of ‘Not the Booker Prize’

Harry Potter Jewellery

And on the blog this week…

The Kids Read Friska the Sheep That Was Too Small

I’m away next week. Hoping to schedule Children’s Hour before I go but things may be a bit quiet.

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Friska the sheep that was too small


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’ve had Friska on our shelf for a long time, but it has only recently become popular, until now the kids haven’t been that bothered about it. It may not be Brown Bear, or Peace at Last, or Don’t Wake the Bear, Hare! (which are still firm favourites). Firska is the story of the smallest sheep in the herd. All the other sheep laugh at Friska because she is so small, so Friska decides to try lots of things to make herself look bigger.

The kids love to look at the different ways that Friska uses to make herself bigger. The favourite is probably stealing a fleece from a sheep who had been sheered. They love the annoyed look on the farmer when he finds out. and how silly Friska looks.

The expressions of the characters are one of the best things about this book. They make me chuckle- and you wouldn’t think a sheep could have so many expressions!

 

Buy Friska the sheep that was too small:

Paperback- new (from £660.62)

Paperback- used (from £0.01)

Hardback- new (from £50.99)

Hardback- used (from £2.99)

 

1 Comment

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

Sunday Surfing 27/7/14


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

How Libraries Create Readers

Apparently Successful Writers Get Up Early. I’m screwed then

Art on Old Books

The Company Who Wants to Create the Whole of Alice in Wonderland in Temporary Tattoos

Ways of Organising Your Bookshelf.  Am I the only person who thinks it would be difficult to find something in a colour sorted bookcase?

The Longlist for the Booker Prize was Revealed

Can You Identify These Fantasy Books From Their Covers?

And on the blog this week…

I Reviewed Just Destiny

And The Pre-Raphaelite Seamstress

The Kids Read Fidgit and Quilly Make a Noise

 

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Fidgit and Quilly Make a Noise


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.

Fidget and Quilly Make a Noise  is  all about the noises (believe it for not!). Fidget and Quilly are in a battle to see who can be nosier, CLANG! BANG! CRASH! It’s the noises which make the story (if you can really call it a story) enjoyable for the kids. They like to join in with shouting out the sounds, especially towards the end as it gets louder and louder. I can’t say that they’re bothered about the bits which make it more of a story.

 

Buy Fidget and Quilly Make a Noise new or used:

Boardbook- new (from £5.99)

Boardbook- used (from £0.01)

 

 

1 Comment

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

The Pre-Raphaelite Seamstress- Amita Murray


Disclaimer: I was given this book free of charge, by the author, in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (from amazon)

It is the 1860s, and Rachel Faraday is trying to follow in the footsteps of the Pre-Raphaelite artists. Struggling to make a living, in a world that looks down on female traders, she paints her fabrics in the colours and styles of the artists and sells them to wealthy women who daydream about clasping the men of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood between their thighs. One night, she meets a man, who, after the coldness of her cottage and the loneliness of her existence, shows her the possibility of a different life. The next day, he is arrested on suspicion of cold-blooded murder. As Rachel sets out to prove his innocence, she realizes that she must come to terms not only with the evidence in front of her, the vagaries of her trade, the hot-blooded attentions of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, but her own erotic longings and the secrets of her past.

Review

I’m trying to remember anything of note about The Pre-Raphaelite Seamstress. There isn’t a hell of a lot to be honest. In fact the main thing of note I can think of is that as a historical novel it seemed loose. I wouldn’t really say historically inaccurate, but it had little real history except for the setting.

As a crime novel it was better, but a little sketchy. Not as much detail as I would have liked, but enough to keep me wondering and reading.

The sections with Rossetti were…strange. It seemed almost as if Murray wanted to write the story about  Rossetti but couldn’t find a whole story there so decided to find a place in another story for it. It fit in with the rest of the story, but only slightly, it seemed an unnecessary plot line.

There was a romantic element too. Which was a driving force but a minor element to the story, according to amazon this book is the first in a series which is yet to be finished, I can see the romantic element being a larger plot line than in this first book.

3.5/5

Buy it:
Kindle (£0.77)
Paperback (£5.43)

 

1 Comment

Filed under Crime, Fiction review, Historical, Mystery, Romantic

Just Destiny- Theresa Rizzo


Disclaimer: I was sent this books free of charge, by the author, in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (from amazon)

What would you do if your whole world fell apart?
Jenny Harrison made some poor choices in the past, but marrying Gabe was the best thing she’d ever done. They had the perfect marriage, until a tragic accident leaves Gabe brain dead and her world in ruins.
Devastated by grief, she decides to preserve the best of their love by conceiving his child, but Gabe’s family is adamantly opposed, even willing to chance exposing long-held family secrets to stop her. Caught in a web of twisted motives and contentious legal issues, Jenny turns to best friend and attorney, Steve Grant. Steve wants to help Jenny, but he has reservations and secrets of his own.
When something so private and simple turns public and complicated, will Jenny relent? What is Steve willing to sacrifice to help Jenny?
Review
Just Destiny reminded me a lot of of Jodi Picoult books. A sort of debate. Is it right to take sperm from a dead guy? Even if he is your husband? There was the emotional element, and the personal element. There was a higher romantic element than in Picoult books, and that was, ultimately, what made it fall behind Picoult’s books.
The romance element was interesting, and I did like it. However it drowned out the moral elements, which were what interested me the most.
It was well written, and I quite liked the characters, especially Steve. It was an easy read too, and fairly compelling. I wouldn’t call it an amazing novel, but enjoyable enough
3.5/5
Buy it:
Kindle (£2.39)
Paperback (£12.73)

1 Comment

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Romantic

Sunday Surfing 20/7/14


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.

Sunday Surfing is on Monday this week, I was away yesterday

Around the web this week

The Library of Birmingham is up  for an architecture award

What margin notes reveal

Why it’s ok to love your e-reader

Amazon is Launching an E-book Subscription Service

How To Draw Kipper

And on the blog this week…

The kids read Goose on the Loose

I Reviewed Landline

 

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Landline- Rainbow Rowell


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

Synopsis (from amazon)

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and he still loves her – but that almost seems besides the point now.Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells him that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her – he is always a little upset with her – but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts…

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

Review

I was all set to start my review with talking about how Landline is the best book by Rainbow Rowell that I’ve read so far. I even had to stay sitting at a bus top because I couldn’t walk home without finishing it. But today I finished Fangirl (the only book I hadn’t yet read by her), and Fangirl is just…better.

Landline was the best Rainbow Rowell book I’d read at the time, however, and I still think it was really good. It’s different to any of her others. It feels more adult than Attachments did. Maybe because Georgie is older, and Lincoln is basically a uni student stuck in a working person’s body (hey, aren’t we all a little like that?), maybe because Georgie has more of an ‘adult life’.

Landline is more instantly engaging than either Attachments or Eleanor & Park (or Fangirl actually, just Fangirl became like an addiction).

I expected the supernatural phone to the past to be a bit too far fetched, but somehow it worked. It seemed almost realistic. It felt more like a classic love story- or rediscovering love story. Plus it took some of the cuteness out of it, and sometimes love stories are too cute.

4/5

Buy it:

Independent via Hive:
Hardback (£8.77)

From Amazon:

Kindle (£4.99)

Hardback (£6.89)

Paperback- released March 2015 (£7.53)

Other reviews:

Curiosity Called the Bookworm

Words for Worms

Nylon Admiral

The Perpetual Page Turner

As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) (as part of month in review)

 

7 Comments

Filed under Chicklit, Contempory, Fiction review, Romantic

Children’s Hour: Goose on the Loose


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.

Goose on the Loose as a new book for the toddlers this week, and it had mixed reception. It’s about a goose which goes scooting, and is rather a threat to the road.

The kids enjoyed the loud “HONK! HONK!”‘s, but weren’t actually that interested in the story itself, and quickly lost attention. Having said that they were in a particularly wild mood today- so that could account for it.

I think they would have liked it if they were in a different frame of mind. It has a bit of a dramatic tone, and rhymes- both things which tends to be popular, and it has (a couple) of flaps to open. There was actually a book we used to have which was called The Skydiver (but I can’t find anywhere), which had three stories in it including a very similar one which the kids loved, so I can see that they would like Goose on the Loose

Buy Goose on the Loose:

Paperback (£4.81)

 

1 Comment

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

Sunday Surfing 13/7/14


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

J.K Rowling’s New Potter related Work

Virginia Wolfe Exhibit At The National Portrait Gallery

Rumours That The Goldfinch is to Be Made Into a Film

Children’s Books Banned in Singapore for Gay Message

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed The Glass Guardian

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

The Glass Guardian- Linda Gillard


Synopsis (from amazon)
Ruth Travers has lost a lover, both parents and her job. Now she thinks she might be losing her mind.

When death strikes again, Ruth finds herself the owner of a dilapidated Victorian house on the Isle of Skye: Tigh na Linne, the summer home she shared as a child with her beloved Aunt Janet, the woman she’d regarded as a mother.

As Ruth prepares to put the old house up for sale, she discovers she’s not the only occupant. Worse, she suspects she might be falling in love again.

With a man who died almost a hundred years ago…

Review

This is probably the best Linda Gillard I’ve read since A Lifetime Burning (which still remains my favourite). They both do have a supernatural element, although much stronger in this one.

It actually reminds me quite a bit of Her Fearful Symmetry it has a similar gothic feel, and I always like gothic stories.

The love story was good too, strangely realistic, although the way it ended was a bit too perfect.

3.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£1.99)

Paperback (£5.93)

Other Reviews:

The Little Reader Library

Have I Missed Your Review? Leave Me a Link In Comments and I’ll Add it Here

1 Comment

Filed under Contempory, Fantasy, Fiction review, Paranormal, Romantic

Sunday Surfing 6/7/14


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 Guardian is looking for nominations for their First Book Award

Authors intervene in the Hachette/Amazon row

Julia Donaldson talks about The Gruffallo, living simply, and family

Army Service People Reading to their Families Overseas

And on the blog this week…

Children’s Hour looked at A Bag Full of Pups

 

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: A Bag Full of Pups


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.

A Bag Full Of Pups is  story we (my sisters and I) read as children. We still have it on the shelf and my nephew was quite transfixed with it this weekend (apparently all dogs are big doggies). The story is about  a man who gives away puppies to various people, some are worker dogs (guide dogs, rat catchers), some are primped and preened (a show dog, a dog who is dressed up) and one is just loved.

My nephew liked seeing all the different dogs, but didn’t seem to be too bothered about what they were doing, although the pictures are interesting enough for an older child to get something out of it too.

Buy A Bag Full of Pups new or used:

Hardback- new (from £79.68)

Hardback- used (from £1.11)

Paperback- used (from £0.01)

 

1 Comment

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

Sunday Surfing 29/6/14


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.

 

Last Sunday Surfing of 2013! Hope you all had a lovely Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Around the web this week

Wimbledon’s Players Book Preferences

J.K. Rowling Actually Tweeted at People

Children’s Books Given Away at Food Banks

When Tumblr Made Harry Potter Fans Cry I think I prefered it when they made laugh.

What Would Your ‘Game of Thrones’ Occupation Be?

 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed The Library of Unrequited Love

 

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

The Library of Unrequited Love- Sophie Divry


Synopsis (from amazon)

One morning a librarian finds a reader who has been locked in overnight.

She begins to talk to him, a one-way conversation full of sharp insight and quiet outrage. As she rails against snobbish senior colleagues, an ungrateful and ignorant public, the strictures of the Dewey Decimal System and the sinister expansionist conspiracies of the books themselves, two things shine through: her unrequited passion for a researcher named Martin, and an ardent and absolute love for the arts.

A delightful divertissement for the discerning bookworm…

Review

So what to say? I got this book because a few people on The Book Club Forum were saying how much they liked it. And because it was on offer on kindle (it’s still cheap, but it was cheaper). It should be cheap really, it’s a short book, and lacks plot.

It does have a certain charm, but it wasn’t really my type of book. I disliked the protagonist. She seemed bitter, and thought highly of herself whilst looking down on others. She seemed to be a dreamer too though, and I liked that.

The whole book was one long monologue, so it’s best read in one sitting, although I think I may have got bored if I did actually read it in one sitting. It’s short so it is possible, it’s just I tend to use my kindle when travelling so I don’t have unrestricted time.

3/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£2.98)

Paperback (£4.89)

Hardback (£7.00)

Other Reviews:

Have you reviewed this book? Leave me a link to your review in comments and I will add it here

2 Comments

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review

Sunday Surfing 22/6/14


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.

 

Last Sunday Surfing of 2013! Hope you all had a lovely Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Around the web this week

Romantic Passages for Book Lovers

Will the Internet ‘Kill’ Literature?

Are You a Literature Expert? I am…apparently

Should Schools Be Able to Fine Parents Who Don’t Read To Their Children? There are so many things wrong with this idea. It’s just…ugh…

Publishers are Being ‘Jailed’ to Protest Books Being Banned in Prisons. Is it just me or would 24 hours with nothing for company except a book actually be kind of nice?

Book and Music Pairings

The Literary Giveaway Blog Hop is on Until Wednesday

The Site Turning Handwriting Into a Typeface

Someone on Slate said Adults Should Be Ashamed to Read YA Books, this is the best response I have seen

Harry Potter Questions. This is hilarious. The best Harry Potter related thing I’ve read in years

 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed The Temporary Gentleman

And Children’s Hour was all About Goodnight, Gorilla

 

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Goodnight, Gorilla


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.


When I bought Rosie’s Magic Horse for my niece I bout my nephew Goodnight, Gorrila. It’s not a book with a whole lot of words (the majority of them being “goodnight”) but the pictures tell an amusing story.

In the story we follow a zookeeper as he shuts up the zoo for the night, saying goodnight to all the animals as he goes. But something is going on in the background, and when the zookeeper is at home in bed he discovers that all the animals have followed him home.

The pictures are bright and I think very nicely painted. I especially like the expressions on the gorilla’s face.

It’s a great book for encouraging talking because the children have to try to tell what is going on from the pictures.

Buy Goodnight, Gorilla:

Paperback (£3.95)

 

 

2 Comments

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

The Temporary Gentleman- Sebastian Barry


Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge from the publisher (via netgalley) in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis (from amazon)

Jack McNulty is a ‘temporary gentleman’, an Irishman whose commission in the British army in the Second World War was never permanent. In 1957, sitting in his lodgings in Accra, he urgently sets out to write his story. He feels he cannot take one step further, or even hardly a breath, without looking back at all that has befallen him.

He is an ordinary man, both petty and heroic, but he has seen extraordinary things. He has worked

and wandered around the world – as a soldier, an engineer, a UN observer – trying to follow his childhood ambition to better himself. And he has had a strange and tumultuous marriage. Mai Kirwan was a great beauty of Sligo in the 1920s, a vivid mind, but an elusive and mysterious figure too. Jack married her, and shared his life with her, but in time she slipped from his grasp.

Review

Every time I read a Sebastian Barry novel I hope that it will be as good as The Secret Scripture. So far I have been disappointed. Although I have still generally enjoyed and had an appreciation for his work it just hasn’t met up.

I’ve put a little note on my goodreads review of this (where I sometimes make a note before I write a full review) which says simply “That was rather… anti climatic…“. Which is true. The whole way through it seemed that something dramatic was promised in the future, in fact it was part of what made me keep wanting to read- to find out what it was. Something happened (in a way) but it was more of a consistent event rather than one dramatic thing, and it was only a the end that I realised that it was what Jack was referring to.

The book had two parts. A story of what was happening now, and a story of Jack looking back at what had happened before. The looking back bit was what made up the bulk of the story, and the most interesting bit, although at times it was rather too brief about events. In a way that was because we only saw things through Jack’s eyes, so when things were happening at home when he was not there we only saw what Jack was told or the snippets of what Jack saw. We didn’t see what was really going on. In a way that was rather frustrating, because some of the most interesting things seemed to come about when Jack wasn’t there, but at the same time it gave us a good insight into what Jack was feeling.

Mai was undoubtedly the most interesting character. It might have been better to see things through her eyes. Jack seemed to have very little real understanding of her. He saw her as a beauty, and as somewhat untouchable- or out of his league. There was a certain disappointment with the way she went from being when he met her as a young woman to being who she was when she was his wife. The two people seemed completely different. It was almost as if she gave up on her dreams in order to be his wife, although I am not sure if it was that so much as the effects that certain events had on her. I would really like to know. That’s one thing which was rather unsatisfying, we could never get any answers when it came to Mai…maybe that will come in a later book- after all there are a lot of books related to the McNaultys already.

3.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£5.39)

Hardback (£12.23)

Paperback- pre-order (£7.59)

2 Comments

Filed under Fiction review, Historical

Sunday Surfing 15/6/14


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 Best Literary Parents

The creator of Spot (and inventor of lift-the-flap books), Eric Hill, died

10 Things to know about Anne Frank’s diary. I have a feeling I’ve posted this one before.

Should bribery be used when teaching children to read?

Modern Versions of Classic Novels

 

And on the blog this week…

I reposted the Children’s Hour post about Spot

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Spot


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’m doing a re-run this week, partly because wordpress wasn’t letting me in to schedule a post yesterday, and partly in memoriam of Eric Hill who died this week (did you know he invented the lift-the-flap book?)

Spot is one of those books which is more of a constant friend than a great favourite in toddler room. We can go days and days without reading it once, but the kids always come back to it. We have a few of them at the nursery. Spot’s Show and Tell, Time for Bed Spot, Spot’s Tummy Ache, Spot’s New Game and Spot and his Grandma. At the moment Spot’s Show and Tell is the forerunner but they’ve all had their moments.

The pictures are simple and bright. The stories are quite easy for the kids to relate to which is I think why they are always popular, another book might be more exciting but Spot is comfortable.

Buy Spot books:

Time for Bed Spot (£3.73)

Spot’s Show and Tell (new and used from £0.01)

Spot’s Tummy Ache (new and used from £0.01)

Spot and his Grandma (new and used from £0.01)

Spot’s New Game (new and used from £0.01)

See more Spot books

2 Comments

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

Sunday Surfing 8/6/14


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

Literary Insults

Celebrities who love Judy Blume

Ebooks set to outsell print books by 2018

Book shaped benches are coming to London I don’t particularly like them myself.

George R.R Martin’s editor says there may be 8 A Song Of Ice and Fire books, but George R.R Martin says that’s unlikely

How libraries promote literacy

The ‘Hunger Games’ Salute has Been Banned in Thailand as it’s being used as a real political symbol

A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing has won the Women’s Prize for Fiction

So much The Fault in Our Stars Merchandise

 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed Persuasion

And Weeks in Naviras

The Kids Read The Teeny Weeny Tadpole

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Weeks in Naviras- Chris Wimpress


Disclaimer: I was given this novel free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (from amazon)

It’s late afternoon in the tiny fishing village of Naviras, where Eleanor Weeks is sipping wine and watching the ocean.

Even though she’s been there dozens of times, how she arrived that particular afternoon is a mystery to her. Until she remembers she’s the wife of the British prime minister, and that she’s just been killed in a terrorist attack.

As Ellie explores her personal afterlife, she recalls her troubled marriage during her husband’s rise to the very top of British politics. She remembers the tragedy and secrets which dominated the last ten years of her life, before recounting her role in a conspiracy which threatens to destabilise not just Britain but the wider world.

Review
This book wasn’t what I expected at all. I expected an introspective look back at what had gone wrong. Maybe a view other that Ellie’s at what had happened, and why. Possibly a detached look at what happened afterwards.
There was an introspective element, however that was about as far as it went. Mainly we saw Ellie exploring the world of her afterlife- but it wasn’t all that it seemed. Heaven? Maybe? Or hell? Either way there was something not quite right.
I expected, I don’t know. Something more political and less thriller. That doesn’t mean it was bad, just different. I think I might have prefered what I expected, however this probably is an easier read than the novel I expected, and it certainly kept you hooked.
There was a slight paranormal element which I wasn’t expecting, and which I still can’t quite figure out. If I’d known that there was a paranormal element I probably would have turned the free copy down. However it did make for a unique story, and I did rather enjoy it in the end
3.5/5
Buy it:
Kindle (FREE!)
Paperback (£7.99)

2 Comments

Filed under Contempory, Crime, Fiction review, Mystery, Paranormal