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

5 Comments

Filed under general

Sunday Surfing 1/3/15


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 Cover for the Illustrated Edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was Revealed

And So Were the US and UK Covers of Go Set a Watchman.

Things You Can Do With Your Kindle. I didn’t know you can take a screen shot, that could be helpful

On Moving Books

Books With Strong Female Characters

The Finalists for the International Booker Prize Were Revealed

The Game of Thrones TV Series Will Spoil the Books

And on the blog this week…

The kids read ‘Incy-Wincy Spider’

I talked about Cover Art and New Covers

1 Comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

On Cover Art and New Covers


This week there have been a few new covers revealed this week. Both the US and the UK covers of Go Set and Watchman  (the ‘new’ Harper Lee novel) were released this week, and so was the cover of the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I had planned to write this post just about the Go Set A Watchman covers, but when I saw the Harry Potter cover I thought I may as well use that too.

US Cover

The first cover I saw was the US Go Set a Watchman cover. My initial feelings were ‘meh’ it’s ok, but not great. There’s something kind of amateur about it I think. It looks like a good indie ebook cover, not remarkable, but better than a lot of things out there. There’s also a bit of an old fashioned air, which I think is probably to reflect the time when it was written. I can see reflections of the original To Killa Mockingbird cover with the tree. Plus apparently a train journey is apparently important, so I suppose it makes some sense at least.

UK cover


I guessed that the UK cover would somehow link with the To Kill a Mockingbird cover too. I was pretty much right, there’s the tree which reflects the original cover, and the bird which reflects some of the subsequent covers, including the longest standing cover. Plus the orange reflects the orange from the original and later covers. Generally I prefer the UK cover, although I don’t like the text on the cover, it’s silly to read, first time I read it as “Go Set A To Kill A Watchman Mockingbird” which makes no sense. Then I began to wonder if the UK publishers are trying to trick people into thinking they’re buying a double edition, then text for the To Kill a Mockingbird bit is just too big to seem to refer to a by the author of note, which is what it actually is. Really I can’t say I like the UK cover so much either, but it is more instantly likeable.

So onto the illustrated Philosopher’s Stone. We’ve seen a few images from this already (if you look at the pictures on the amazon page you can see what has already been released) and I’ve had mixed feelings about them, I can certainly see the appeal, but I’ve grown up with the original covers, anything else just seems strange. I do like the cover art though. It makes Platform 9 3/4 seem more magical than the original covers. Generally I have to admit the illustrations are good. I especially have liked how Hermione is drawn. I think this is a book I would like to posses when it is released.

What do you think of these new covers?

Pre-order ‘Go Set a Watchman’ (UK cover):

Hardcover (£9.00)

Kindle (£7.47)

Pre-order the illustrated edition of Philosopher’s Stone:

Hardcover (£30.00)

5 Comments

Filed under general, Musings

Children’s Hour: Incy-Wincy Spider


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday, where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

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.

On World Book Day two of the kids brought Incy-Wincy Spider books. One brought a puppet book, the other brought a sound book. They were, as you would expect, the incy-wincy spider song with pictures.

We preferred the sound book. Pressing buttons is exciting! And it was easy to sing along too. We did have to read it several times so everybody could have a turn pressing the button though, which was rather frustrating after some time- especially as the batteries seemed to be running out.

There were a couple of issues with the puppet one. It was a small book, so not really designed to read in a group. Plus the child who brought it in really did not like sharing it, he cried through the whole thing. We liked the puppet crawling on us though!

 

1 Comment

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

Sunday Surfing 22/3/15


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

Audible Releasing ‘Straight to audio’ Books. Not sure how I feel about this, I suppose it gives some extra scope for storytelling, but when does it cease to be a book and become a play?

Facts About ‘The Scarlet Letter’

Harry Potter Scenes Which Should Have Been in the Films

YA Books Adults Should Read

How Many Books From Lost Have You Read?

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed Pigeon Wings

And We Should All Be Feminists

The kids read Mr Nosey and the Big Surprise

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Mr Nosey and the Big Surprise


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday, where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

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.


Mr Nosey and the Big Surprise is one of the books which the children brought to share on World Book Day. It features Mr Nosey from the Mr Men series. In this book Mr Nosey sees a door, so of course he has to go through it! What will he find on the other side?

It’s a fairly simple story, it’s pretty much all about the build up, and our toddlers love build up, especially if you read a book so it builds tension. They did find a it a little on the long side however.

The pictures are of the classic Mr Men style, bright, simple. I’ve always rather liked them myself.

 

Buy it:

Paperback- new (from £500.05)

Paperback-used (from £0.01)

2 Comments

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

We Should All Be Feminists- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


Synopsis (from amazon)

A personal and powerful essay from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the bestselling author of ‘Americanah’ and ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, based on her 2013 TEDx Talk of the same name.

What does “feminism” mean today? That is the question at the heart of We Should All Be Feminists, a personal, eloquently-argued essay – adapted from her much-viewed Tedx talk of the same name – by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the award-winning author of ‘Americanah’ and ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’. With humour and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century – one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviours that marginalise women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics. Throughout, she draws extensively on her own experiences – in the U.S., in her native Nigeria – offering an artfully nuanced explanation of why the gender divide is harmful for women and men, alike. Argued in the same observant, witty and clever prose that has made Adichie a best-selling novelist, here is one remarkable author’s exploration of what it means to be a woman today – and an of-the-moment rallying cry for why we should all be feminists.

Review

I wanted to read this little book, or essay if you want after seeing it around on a few blogs.

For me despite it being so short it still seemed to have things which longer feminist writings have. It said a lot of the same things that Everyday Sexism says, but I didn’t review that because it made me angry for the wrong reasons. We should All Be Feminists talks of some of the same sort of level of sexism, a sort of thing which seems so ingrained that it’s almost seen as normal and therefore acceptable.

She also talks of the sort of attitudes towards feminists which makes feminism into some sort of bad words. I know women who would say that they aren’t feminists, but that’s like saying men are better, that they should get better chances and opportunities. How can you be a woman but not be a feminist?

She talked widely of her experiences in Nigeria- her native country, and made it seem that sexism is worse there, maybe it s, maybe not, it could just be what she is sharing.

It’s a good book for people who wouldn’t really consider themselves as being feminists, women and men alike.

I feel my own review is lacking something, I wish I hadn’t left it so long. Bex’s review is what convinced me, and is much better than mine.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£0.99)

Paperback (£4.00)

Other Reviews:

An Armchair By the Sea

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

1 Comment

Filed under Feminism, non-fiction review

Pigeonwings- Heide Goody and Iain Grant


Pigeonwings is the follow-up novel to Clovenhoof.

Synopsis (from amazon)

As punishment for his part in an attempted coup in Heaven, the Archangel Michael is banished to Earth. The holiest of the angelic host has to learn to live as a mortal, not an easy job when you’ve got Satan as a next-door neighbour.

Michael soon finds that being a good person involves more than helping out at Sunday school and attending church coffee mornings. He has to find his purpose in life, deal with earthly temptations and solve a mystery involving some unusual monks and a jar of very dangerous jam.

Heide Goody and Iain Grant have written a wild comedy that features spear-wielding cub scouts, accidental transvestites, King Arthur, a super-intelligent sheepdog, hallucinogenic snacks, evil peacocks, old ladies with biscuits, naked paintball, stolen tractors, clairvoyant computers, the Women’s Institute, and way too much alcohol.

Review

This book follows on from Clovenhoof but his time instead of focusing on Satan it focuses on the Archangel Michael who has recently been banished from Heaven.

It was my first read of 2014 (and I’m only now writing the review!) and it was a fun way to start the year

I must admit I didn’t enjoy Pigeonwings as much as I enjoyed Clovenhoof, Michael just wasn’t as exciting as a character.

Having said that there were more topics which verged on the serious, as Michael fried to re-establish his relationship with God, something which he had taken for granted before. It was interesting to see him explore faith in different ways, and finding how difficult it can seem for a human to have a relationship with God.

Ultimately though it was still funny, and there waa less dark humour than there was in Clovenhoof, which I personally am not a big fan of anyway. I think it was less funny overall though as well.

There was the mystery side of it which I liked however.

I’m looking forward to the next one which is due out later this year.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£2.99)

 

1 Comment

Filed under Contempory, Fantasy, Fiction review, Humour

Sunday Surfing 14/3/15


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

Author Terry Pratchett Died

Alabama Finds no Evidence of Elderly Abuse to Harper Lee

50 Books About Inspirational Women

Fears and Struggles of Readers

10 Book Charities

The Longlist for the Bailey’s Prize was Announced

Sign-ups for Bloggiesta are open

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed More Fool Me

The kids read Bruno’s Box

I talked about books for Feminist Readers

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Bruno’s Box


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday, where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

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.

Bruno’s Box is one of the books that the kids brought in on World Book Day. It was (at least in my opinion) the best of the selection, and the kids seemed to enjoy it too.

Bruno’s Box is (believe it or not) all about Bruno’s box, and why it’s brilliant. We see the different things that Bruno does with his box, things such as turning it into a rocket or a pirate ship, or even a dinosaur! The kids love to talk about what Bruno’s box has become, and we can try and think of other things that Bruno’s box could become.

Unfortunately the last couple of pages were missing :( but at least we could talk about what might have happened.

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.99)

Board Book (£3.99)

1 Comment

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

Top 10 Books for Feminist Readers


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 Ten Books For Readers Who Like _________ as it was International Woman’s Day over the weekend I’ve decided to look at books with feminist messages (whether it’s because it has a strong female character, or because it’s a book written to do with feminism)

In no particular order…

How to Be a Woman- Caitlin Moran. 

Feminist, and funny. Talks about lots of feminist issues but easy to read and not in your face.

How to Be a Heroine- Samantha Ellis

Talks about female heroines in books, very entertaining.

We Should All Be Feminists- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I read this a few weeks ago but haven’t reviewed it yet. It’s about being a feminist in Nigeria and the US, and why feminism is important. It’s a short book and I highly recommend it.

The Thursday Next Series- Jasper Fforde

Thursday is pretty awesome. she helps save not just one world but two!

His Dark Materials- Philip Pullman

Lyra is only a kid when she goes to save her friend Roger, but she doesn’t care about her age. She’s one powerful kid

Living Dolls- Natasha Walter

About modern day sexism, very thought provoking. One of my most frequently recommended books.

 

11 Comments

Filed under Memes, Top 10 Tuesday

More Fool Me- Stephen Fry


Synopsis (from amazon)

In his early thirties, Stephen Fry – writer, comedian, star of stage and screen – had, as they say, ‘made it’. Much loved in A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Blackadder and Jeeves and Wooster, author of a critically acclaimed and bestselling first novel, The Liar, with a glamorous and glittering cast of friends, he had more work than was perhaps good for him.
What could possibly go wrong?
Then, as the 80s drew to a close, he discovered a most enjoyable way to burn the candle at both ends, and took to excess like a duck to breadcrumbs. Writing and recording by day, and haunting a never ending series of celebrity parties, drinking dens, and poker games by night, in a ludicrous and impressive act of bravado, he fooled all those except the very closest to him, some of whom were most enjoyably engaged in the same dance.
He was – to all intents and purposes – a high functioning addict. Blazing brightly and partying wildly as the 80s turned to the 90s, AIDS became an epidemic and politics turned really nasty, he was so busy, so distracted by the high life, that he could hardly see the inevitable, headlong tumble that must surely follow . . .

Review

Having enjoyed Moab is my Washpot and The Fry Chronicles I was rather looking forward to reading the latest instalment of Stephen Fry’s memoirs. Plus The Fry Chronicles had ended on somewhat of a cliffhanger with Stephen taking his first snort of cocaine, which suggested we could expect some excitement.

Unfortunately More Fool Me really didn’t capitalise on those promises, and I found myself rather disappointed.

The first 60 or so pages were a re-cap of Moab is my Washpot and The Fry Chronicles. Fine if you haven’t read either, or if you have the memory of a sieve. I started off reading them thinking that it had been a long time since I read Moab is my Washpot. Turned out I didn’t need such a detailed recap. I got bored around about 20 pages in and spent the rest of the time flicking through just reading a sentence or a paragraph here and there to see if I had forgotten anything, I hadn’t.

The next few pages were probably the best bit of the book. They showed the sort of wit that I would have expected from Stephen Fry, and a certain amount of self-criticism. He told a little of his early drug taking days and explained what attraction cocaine held for him. He promised that by the end of the book we would understand why taking cocaine was such a mistake.

I was really getting into the book when I find the section ended and a new section began, ‘The Diary’.

What followed was basically a copy of his diary for a few months during this time, with the occasional footnote to explain. There are no other words for it, it was dull. There was next to no introspection. It was written as you would write a diary to yourself, semi-note form, no great prose or witty remarks. A lot of the time it seemed to be lists of names and places, and ‘got drunk’ ‘took coke’ type references. There were a few more detailed and interesting entries, which were mainly when he was writing The Hippopotamus, and not doing drugs- maybe that was what he meant by we would know why it was bad- there wasn’t anything else which suggested anything really negative.

Half the time I couldn’t follow who all the people were, they were often refereed to by just first name, which might be fine in terms of Stephen reading his diary ut how was a reader expected to remember after just one explanation who everyone was?

All I really got out of it was an addition of The Hippopotamus on my wishlist.

Skip this one, Moab and The Fry Chronicles are worth reading, this one, not so much.

2/5

Buy it:

Hardback (£11.00)

Kindle (£12.89)

Paperback- pre-order (£7.19)

4 Comments

Filed under Biography, Memoir, non-fiction review

Sunday Surfing 8/3/15


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

This Kid Was Send Home From School on World Book Day for Dressing as Christian Grey

A Maya Angelo Stamp is Being Released (in the US)

Famous Literary Rumours

J.K Rowling Was Re-Tweeting Picture of People Dressed Up as Harry Potter Characters.

And I am the Luckiest Unlucky Potterhead yes I am still squeeing

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed The Diplomat’s Wife

I looked at current kindle deals

Top 10 favourite books from the last 3 years

The kids shared their favourite books.

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

The Diplomat’s Wife- Pam Jenoff


The Diplomat’s Wife is a follow up to The Kommandant’s Girl. However you do not need to read The Kommandant’s Girl to understand The Diplomat’s Wife.

Synopsis

1945. Surviving the brutality of a Nazi prison camp, Marta Nederman is lucky to have escaped with her life. Recovering from the horror, she meets Paul, an American soldier who gives her hope of a happier future. But their plans to meet in London are dashed when Paul’s plane crashes.

Devastated and pregnant, Marta marries Simon, a caring British diplomat, and glimpses the joy that home and family can bring. But her happiness is threatened when she learns of a Communist spy in British intelligence, and that the one person who can expose the traitor is connected to her past.

Review

I really wanted to read this after finishing The Kommandant’s Girl. I’m fairly certain I didn’t even read the blurb (which I always do) before I read it. When I found out that it was about Martha I was a bit disappointed, I wanted to know what happened to Emma next. It’s not that I hadn’t liked Martha in The Kommandant’s Girl, I was just satisfied with how her story had been left, I would rather have known what happened to Emma when she left for the mountains.

I would still like to know what happened to Emma, but it didn’t take me long to get dragged into Martha’s story, and then I mainly forgot that she was even connected to Emma. Her past was important, so in that sense it was good to have the knowledge from The Kommandant’s Girl, but it wasn’t crucial.

The Diplomat’s Wife is less of an overtly political novel than The Kommandant’s Girl, and a lot of the time it felt more…normal. I wasn’t really expecting anything exciting, and the best bits of the story were at the beginning and the end, with the story carrying on well enough in the middle to keep me going.

I liked Martha more by the end of The Diplomat’s Wife than I had at the end of The Kommandant’s Girl. I admired her at the end of The Kommandant’s Girl, but she felt more real by the end of her own story.

3.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£4.79)

Paperback (£6.99)

1 Comment

Filed under Fiction review, Historical

Children’s Hour: World Book Day


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday, where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

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.

Happy World Book Day book fans! To celebrate the toddlers brought in some of their favourite books to share with their friends. Over the next few weeks we are going to look at some of them in more detail, but for today I wanted to share what they decided to bring in. Where available links lead to amazon.

Something Beginning with Blue

We’ve looked at this book before on Children’s Hour, although our copy has become ‘over-loved’ it was nice to read it in its entirety again. A book around colours.

 


Dumbo

We didn’t read this one, it seemed a bit long for the toddlers. It’s a basic version of the Disney Dumbo story


Bruno’s Box

A story about Bruno and his box, and why his box is so fantastic


Mr Nosey and the Big Surprise

Mr Nosey finds a door so, being Mr Nosey, he had to see what is behind it


Incy Wincy Spider

Two kids brought in Incy Wincy Spider books. One a puppet book, and the other a sound book. Exactly the sort of thing you would expect.

Fireman Sam Ready For Action

Simple Fireman Sam sound book.

 

 

Monster’s University Magnetic Drawing Book

We didn’t read this because it’s more of an activity book really. With the idea being that you do the activity on the board.

 

3 Comments

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

Deals of the Moment- March


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Usually I tweet about the interesting deals and leave it at that, but a couple of months ago I decided to try sharing them more widely. There was nothing of interest last month but this month there are a few.

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 Returned- Jason Mott

I read The Returned as a review book in 2013. It’s rather strange, but intriguing. A story about the dead returning.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99) you can also get all the prequels for free here


Tigers in Red Weather- Liza Klaussmann

This is one I’m going to buy. Rory recommended it to me a couple of years ago (there goes me not buying from my wishlist again!). It’s a coming of age story set in the years and decades following the second world war.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)



The Other Boleyn Girl- Philippa Gregory

This has been on my wishlist for so long that I’m not even sure I want it anymore! It’s about Anne Boleyn’s sister, Mary

You can buy it…here. (only £2.99)

 



Remarkable Creatures- Tracy Chevalier

I want to read this one because I’ve been meaning to read something by Chevalier since I read (and enjoyed) The Girl With the Pearl Earring (before my blogging days). remarkable Creatures is about a woman who makes a scientific discovery in a time when women aren’t seen as scientists.

You can buy it…here (only £2.49)


Left Neglected- Lisa Genova
If Left Neglected is anywhere near as moving as Still Alice I think it’s well worth buying. It’s about a woman who has a brain injury meaning that she can only use one half of her body.

You can buy it…here (only £1.49)


 

1 Comment

Filed under general

Top 10 Books of the Last 3 Years


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 Ten Books You Would Classify As ALL TIME FAVOURITE BOOKS from the past 3 years. I like this topic, gives me a good chance to look back on some of my favourites

In no particular order…

How to Be a Woman- Caitlin Moran. 

Made me pretty much gave me a girl crush on Caitlin Moran. Very funny, and clever.

Texts From Jane Eyre- Mallory Ortberg

Funny, and clever. Must read for literary people. I’ve been recommending this one all over the place.

Brooklyn Bites Series- Scott Stabile

A little bit of a cheat here since there are technically 3 books (Truffle Fries and a Little Taste of Chocolate, A Pickle and Carrot Cake, and, Meatball Sandwich and Cream Crumb), but they are short, each containing two short stories with a food as the starting point. They’re beautifully written and you wouldn’t think you could get so much thought and emotion into such short stories. These are probably my most championed indie books.
Life After Life- Kate Atkinson

Still remains the only Atkinson I’ve ever read (but I am eagerly awaiting the parallel novel due to come out in May) but it is one of my favourite books. It’s a little hard to describe without it sounding gimmicky, so I usually just tell people they must read it!

 The Crimson Petal and the White- Michael Faber. 

Another one I’ve forced on a few people! It takes a fair amount of energy to read, but it’s well worth it. I wanted to recommend this to my Mum‘s book group, but they weren’t impressed with the sex in The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts so I decided they probably wouldn’t take to a book in which the main character was a prostitute.

How to Be a Heroine- Samantha Ellis

Another must read for bibliophiles. This one is more thoughtful, and also funny. Gets you thinking about old favourites.

The Storyteller- Jodi Picoult

The Storyteller is a bit different from other books by Picoult, but it still is very moving.

The Horologicon- Mark Forsyth

Great, entertaining, and witty book all about words. I just wish I could remember more of them

6 Comments

Filed under Memes, Top 10 Tuesday

Sunday Surfing 1/3/15


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

Studies Which Show Show Paper Books Still Have It

Are Women Hardwired to Love Thrillers?

The Funniest Neil Gaiman Tweets of All Time. 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed How to Build a Girl

The kids read Freddie Goes Swimming

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Freddie Goes Swimming


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday, where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

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 really don’t get what the kids like about Freddie Goes Swimming. It is a very basic (and in my opinion rather dull) story about Freddie’s first time swimming.We see the pool, we see the difficulties, then we see Freddie swimming on his own (with armbands of course).

I try and stretch it out a bit by talking about the children swimming with their families, and about the things we do at the pool which are less implicitly mentioned in the book (e.g. “What do you wear?” “Why do you wear armbands?”), and the kids do like to talk about themselves and their families. They still seem to like it without this though, maybe it’s just that they can connect to it.

The pictures are nice, I’ll say that for it.

Buy it:

Paperback- new (from £503.36)

Paperback-used (from £0.01)

Hardcover- used (from £1.85)

1 Comment

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

How to Build a Girl- Caitlin Moran


Synopsis (from amazon)

What do you do in your teenage years when you realise what your parents taught you wasn’t enough? You must go out and find books and poetry and pop songs and bad heroes – and build yourself.

It’s 1990. Johanna Morrigan, 14, has shamed herself so badly on local TV that she decides that there’s no point in being Johanna anymore and reinvents herself as Dolly Wilde – fast-talking, hard-drinking Gothic hero and full-time Lady Sex Adventurer! She will save her poverty stricken Bohemian family by becoming a writer – like Jo in Little Women, or the Brontes – but without the dying young bit.

By 16, she’s smoking cigarettes, getting drunk and working for a music paper. She’s writing pornographic letters to rock-stars, having all the kinds of sex with all the kinds of men, and eviscerating bands in reviews of 600 words or less.

But what happens when Johanna realises she’s built Dolly with a fatal flaw? Is a box full of records, a wall full of posters and a head full of paperbacks, enough to build a girl after all?

Review

Some books you want to review as soon as you’ve finished them, you don’t want to wait for all the feelings and thoughts to fall out of your head. How to Make a Girl was one of these books, so I moved it to the top of my review pile (despite the fact that I still have reviews of books I read in 2014 that I need to write). Unfortunately I couldn’t actually write the review straight away, so I hope my thoughts are still clear enough.

I was excited to read something of Caitlin Moran’s after basically having a girl crush on her after reading How to Be a Woman (don’t ask me how I haven’t managed to read Moranology yet, it’s a mystery to me). I must admit though I had my doubts about How to Build a Girl, it seemed basically to be an autobiography pretending to be fiction (a bit like Stephen Fry’s Moab is my Washpot and The Liar, which I still confuse).

There are a lot of similarities between Caitlin’s life and Johanna. They both grew up in Wolverhampton. They both had Irish fathers who were once in bands but now had some sort of problem causing them pain. They both had large families. They both had early jobs writing for music magazines. They even both won awards for writing before they entered the world of work. Oh and they both had a slightly goth look.

So you can see why I was wondering how much more was based on Caitlin’s life. At times it even distracted me from the story itself, especially early on. It didn’t help that Johanna had a very similar voice to Caitlin too.

One thing I like about Moran is that she’s so forthright. She’ll say whatever she’s thinking, not worrying about embarrassing herself or others.  I admire her for it. Johanna is the same. Although I think more with Johanna I didn’t want to know, maybe because for a good chunk of the book she was a teenager. In a sense I would say this is a YA book, I could certainly see myself connecting with Johanna at the beginning of the story, in some ways at least. However I can see it not being a hit with parents due to how frank it is. There’s little in there I don’t think the average teen would know, but I think it’s the way it’s put across too. I don’t really want to go into too much detail here, but if you have listened to Lily Allen’s album ‘Sheezus’ it’s a similar sort of frankness (listen here, beware explicit), you can probably guess just by looking at the titles in fact.

I did really like How to Build a Girl in the end though. I loved Johanna, even if she made me cringe at times at her decisions, and at her cluelessness when she seemed so ‘grown-up’. She seemed fairly realistic, if a bit of a teenagers dream. The ending was satisfying but did seem to lead to more. Apparently there are two more books to come, which I would be interested to read too.

4/5

Buy it:

Hardback (£10.49)

Kindle (£9.42)

Paperback- pre-order (£6.39)

Other Reviews:

Sam Still Reading

Lit and Life

Nylon Admiral -start of a readalong

As the Crowe Flies (And Reads) – also start of a read-a-long

Have I missed your review? Post a link in comments and I will add it here

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, YA

Sunday Surfing 22/2/15


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

Outfit Ideas for World Book Day (it’s on the 5th March)

Therapy Dogs Help Struggling Readers

The Child Author Who Disappeared

A Lost Sherlock Holmes Story has Been Discovered

Andi @ Estella’s Revenge Talks About Blogging Pressure

Pharrell’s Happy To Be Turned into a Children’s Book. Not sure how I feel about this, but it gives me an excuse to post the video!

 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed The Casual Vacancy

If You Could Remember Just One Book for the Rest of Your Life What Would You Want It To Be?

The kids read Row Your Boat

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Row Your Boat


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday, where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

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.

 

Row Your Boat is a different version of the classic children’s nursery rhyme. It starts the same, but adds some new verses which create a sort of story where the two children have a mini adventure.

The kids enjoy the familiarity of the tune, but enjoy the differences, especially the parts with the lion and the elephant. They like laughing at the elephant and shrieking for the lion.

The new words fit well with the original song so it’s pretty easy to sing on the first reading (if you can read of course!). The pictures are quite nice, although the cover picture seems a little romanticised to me, I prefer the more ‘active’ pictures.

Buy it:

Paperback- new (from £323.85)

Paperback- used (from £0.01)

Hardback- used (from £1.20)

Soundbook- used (from £3.48)

1 Comment

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

If You Could Only Remember 1 Book


I just finished reading Fahrenheit 451 (review is still in my head). It got me thinking about what book I would want to remember if I could only remember one book, or read one book for the rest of my life. What book would I ‘be’?

My initial thought was one of the Harry Potters (of course), Half-Blood Prince because it’s my joint favourite, and has more substance than Chamber of Secrets. Then I thought just remembering one book from the middle of a series would probably be pretty pointless without the other books to give it context. So I thought maybe it would be better to remember Philosopher’s Stone instead, even though it’s my least favourite of the series, except then I would want to continue the story, and well if I can only remember one book that would be incredibly disappointing. I remember endlessly looking for Chamber of Secrets after I read Philosopher’s Stone. It would be like that, except it would literally be endless.

So I started thinking of other books which I have loved, or love. I kept coming back to series books, which is strange as I don’t actually read that many series. I thought of Northern Lights, but that so obviously leads on to The Subtle Knife that it wouldn’t work either. Maybe The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts would work. I still haven’t read the next in the series and whilst I want to Don Emmanuel does seem like a fairly good book in of itself. I am still trying to convince myself that it could be the ‘winner’.

Don Emmanuel got me thinking about Captain Correlli’s Mandolin, which I was trying to beat with other de Berniéres books for so long. Maybe it would still hold the same amazement if I hadn’t read Don Emmanuel, and it’s certainly a good book to stand alone.

I got thinking about another of my favourites which I first read at around about the same time as Captain Correlli. The one that stands out is Birdsong, which technically is a series book, but is probably the better of the three (the other two are The Girl at the Lion d’or and Charlotte Gray, if you wondered). I read the Regeneration trilogy around that time too, a series again (see I’ve always had a thing for books set in wartime).

I suppose Life After Life would be a good one. I loved it, there is a companion novel coming out but I think it still counts as a stand-alone novel.

 

If you could only remember one book for the rest of your life what would it be?

4 Comments

Filed under Musings

The Casual Vacancy- J.K. Rowling


Synopsis (from Amazon)

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty facade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils… Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Review

It’s taken me a long time to actually get around to buying and reading The Casual Vacancy. I love the Harry Potter books so I had some reservations when it came to J.K. Rowling’s first adult novel. What prompted me to actually read it was the series starting on TV, I wanted to read the book before I watched it (and I managed it, just!).

When it comes down to it you probably can’t get much further away from Harry. You probably wouldn’t even know that The Casual Vacancy was by the same author unless you’re a Potter addict who can spot J.K’s style t 100 pages. I can’t help comparing to Potter but it’s not really comparable. If you are looking for something with magic, or something exciting, or something fast paced you won’t get it with The Casual Vacancy.

The Casual Vacancy, you see, is not plot driven, it barely has a plot at all to be perfectly honest. It is more of a study of the characters. That means that despite the characters being very flawed you come to care at least somewhat, even whilst not liking most of them. Probably the most likeable character was Kay, she cared, but she was weak. Krystal was probably the standout character though, at least for me. She was caustic, but I admired her (note admired, not liked). I can’t imagine being friends with any of these people, but they are real.

It took me a long time to get into the book, you need to be prepared to wait, to take the time. There was enough to keep me going, until I realised that it was sort of like a soap (you know how in soaps there are no ‘normal’ families, they all have these ‘issues’). I suppose it’s meant to be a sort of ‘you never know what goes on behind closed doors’ type of thing, but it did put me off a little.

The ending hooked me though, one of those stay up for just one more paragraph/page/chapter type things. I hear that the TV series has changed the ending. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

A lot of people have criticised how much sex and bad language J.K has used in A Casual Vacancy. There is a lot, but I don’t think it’s completely unnecessary. People have been saying that it’s J.K’s way of saying she can write adult fiction. I think that makes her sound like a former child star who does a nude photo shoot to show that they are ‘all grown up’ (because of course becoming a woman automatically makes you a sex object). I don’t see it like that. People swear, people have sex. Can it be realistic if you make it all family friendly? Life isn’t always family friendly.

I intend to write something about the first episode of The Casual Vacancy later in the week.

3.5/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£3.85)

Kindle (£3.66)

Hardback (£13.60)

Other Reviews:

Book Jay

Words For Worms

The Eye of Loni’s Storm

Alison McCarthy

Reading With Tea

Recovering Potter Addict

So Many Books, So Little Time

Sam Still Reading

Mama Kucing Reviews and Ravings

Heavenali

Nishita’s Rants and Ravings

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

4 Comments

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Literary

Sunday Surfing 15/2/15


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

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Bookworms

Books and Films About Modern War

Why Romeo and Juliet Isn’t Romantic.

Times When the Harry Potter Books Were Really Clever

Confessions of a Literature Addict

Harry Potter Based Valentine’s Day Cards

How Books Can Help Mental Health

 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed ‘Tampa

And ‘Humans: An A to Z

The Kids Read ‘When I Was a Baby’

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Humans: An A-Z- Matt Haig


Synopsis (from amazon)

DO YOU

A) Know a human?

B) Love a human?

C) Have trouble dealing with humans?

IF YOU’VE ANSWERED YES TO ANY OF THE ABOVE, THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU

Whether you are planning a high level of human interaction or just a casual visit to the planet, this user-guide to the human race will help you translate their sayings, understand exotic concepts such as ‘democracy’ and ‘sofas’, and make sense of their habits and bizarre customs.

A phrase book, a dictionary and a survival guide, this book unravels all the oddness, idiosyncrasies and wonder of the species, allowing everyone to make the most of their time on Earth.

Review

Humans: An A-Z is a sort of companion book to The Humans. It’s like a guide book for visitors to earth. Sort of an extended version of the tips for being human at the end of the novel itself.

It was, as I expected, amusing, but it lost most of the heart warming aspects that I liked in the main novel.

I had it on kindle but would personally recommend the hard copy, it would have been nice to be able to flick back and forth, especially as some sections refereed to others, it would have been good to be able to cross reference.

In the music section Haig writes about music for different mood, sometimes songs, sometimes albums. I made a spotify playlist for it, and everything was there (which was nice after my playlist for 31 Songs was a bit of a failure)

 3/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.99)

Kindle (£1.79)

1 Comment

Filed under Fiction review, Humour

Children’s Hour: When I Was A Baby


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday, where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

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 was a Baby is pretty much what you would expect from its title. It talks about what the narrator (a toddler) was like as a baby, and how he is different now. It’s a cute, simple story. Maybe a little too simple for most of my toddlers if I am perfectly honest.

It was fairly easy to extend however to engage the toddlers more. Asking them about how they were different when they were babies, or how they are different from babies who they know. You could even extend it and talk about how pre-schoolers are different to them.

It has a nice rhythm, and is written as if a child is speaking, so it would probably suit under-twos too. The pictures are simple and bright.

Buy it:

Paperback- used (from £0.01)

3 Comments

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

Tampa- Alissa Nutting


Synopsis (from amazon)

Celeste Price is an eighth-grade English teacher in suburban Tampa. She is attractive. She drives a red Corvette. Her husband, Ford, is rich, square-jawed and devoted to her. But Celeste has a secret. She has a singular sexual obsession – fourteen-year-old boys. It is a craving she pursues with sociopathic meticulousness and forethought.

Within weeks of her first term at a new school, Celeste has lured the charmingly modest Jack Patrick into her web – car rides after dark, rendezvous at Jack’s house while his single father works the late shift, and body-slamming encounters in Celeste’s empty classroom between periods. It is bliss.

Celeste must constantly confront the forces threatening their affair – the perpetual risk of exposure, Jack’s father’s own attraction to her, and the ticking clock as Jack leaves innocent boyhood behind. But the insatiable Celeste is remorseless. She deceives everyone, is close to no one and cares little for anything but her pleasure.

Review

It feels kind of wrong to get any sort of enjoyment out of Tampa, but I did enjoy it, or at least found it interesting.

Celeste is like no character I have ever read before. You couldn’t get much further away from a likeable character.

It was interesting though. She is like an addict. I suppose you can say she is an addict. She will do pretty much anything to get teenage boys, take all sorts of risks. She knows it’s ‘wrong’ but she can’t help herself, and she doesn’t really care.

It is quite graphic in parts, as you would expect I suppose. It’s interesting her approach to sex though, and the different ways similar events can be written. When she has sex with the boys you can tell that’s it’s pleasurable for her. Whereas you can see that she is disgusted by the same acts with her husband.

It is pretty well written. Whilst not likeable, Celeste is pretty engaging, and believable (which is just whole other reason for the book to make you feel uncomfortable).

It is worth reading, but it’s probably not for everyone.

I noticed when looking up amazon links that the paperback cover of Tampa has changed to something less rude looking (although technically the old cover wasn’t rude). See it over there->

3.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£4.19)

Paperback (£6.39)

Other Reviews:

Giraffe Days

Roof Beam Reader

Did I miss your review? Leave me a link in comments.

 

1 Comment

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review

Sunday Surfing 8/2/15


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

There’s  New Harper Lee Novel Coming Out

J.K. Rowling is Answering Questions

Boy Suspended for Threatening Another Child With the ‘One Ring’

Books for Kids Similar to Their Favourite TV Shows

The Book Cover Which Judges You

Children’s Books on Bereavement

First Drafts of Favourite Novels

No More A Song of Ice and Fire books for 2015

The Best Feminist Picture Books

And on the blog this week…

I Talked About Harper Lee’s New Novel, and the Problems With New Books From Famous Authors

The Kids Read ‘Suddenly’

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Suddenly!


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday, where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

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.


Suddenly! is a Preston Pig story. In this one Preston is going about his day as normal…or so he believes. He doesn’t realise there is a wolf after him, but keeps managing to thwart his plans all the same.

Suddenly! has been popular with all the toddlers, but I think it’s probably more suited to the older toddlers, or maybe pre-schoolers. The younger toddlers like to spot the wolf on all the pages (in fact one today was chanting “big bad wolf” all the way through). The older toddlers though are more likely to be able to describe what the wolf is trying to do, and what has happened to the wolf. I reckon that pre-schoolers would probably get the joke at the end too, although I haven’t had the opportunity to try it out on them.

In terms of learning that makes Suddenly! a good book, but it’s also exciting, and it works best if the kids work things out, so you don’t feel like you’re asking questions for the sake of asking questions.

Buy it:

Paperback (£6.99)

1 Comment

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

Famous Writers and New Books



I have posts planned to write, reviews, a different musings post, but yesterday the news was revealed that Harper Lee is releasing a new book, after over 50 years.

Technically it’s not a new book, but an old one. It features ‘To Kill a Mockingbird”s Scout as an adult and was actually written before ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, only the manuscript was thought lost.

This got me thinking about authors who are famous for one book releasing new books. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is a modern classic. It has lots of fans who think it’s one of the best books ever written.

So what does this mean for ‘Go Set A Watchman’ (that’s the title of the new book)? Well for one thing it will probably be pretty much required reading. Whether or not it’s any good I should think that it will get plenty of sales (which almost makes one doubt the lost manuscript story).

Then of course there are all the expectations which come with the book. You would expect it to be at least as good as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, so if it isn’t then that would be a great disappointment. You would expect some great moral story, but does it really have to be that, after all authors have worked in different genres before. Although it still featuring Scout suggests that it will at least have some moral standing.

Will it be as good though? It was written before ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ which could suggest that Harper Lee knew less of what publishing wanted (whether or not they know what will make a good, and successful book is a discussion for another day). In fact it was because the editor liked the looking back sections of ‘Go Set a Watchman’ that ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was written, and it seems that it was meant as a replacement, rather than a prequel. Does that mean that ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is basically the best bits of ‘Go Set a Watchman’?


It reminds me a little of when authors back catalogues are re-released because they have become more popular since the books were first released. The author who springs to mind is Jodi Picoult. I’ve still (generally) enjoyed her older books, but they have been a bit disappointing in comparison to some of her more recent novels.


At the moment I’m reading J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis will know what a big Harry Potter nut I am. So why has it taken me so long to get around to reading The Casual Vacancy. Partly it was that I was worried I would end up being disappointed, or that I would have a bias favourable view just because it’s J.K. I think I might end up the same with ‘Go Set a Watchman’. I certainly want to read it, but I have reservations (not least that Harper Lee may not actually want it to be published). I will probably wait for the paperback.


I’ve always thought that I understand J.K. Rowling wanting to write a novel not as J.K. Rowling, which she did. It means it would be judged for it’s own merit. The Cuckoo’s Calling did get quite good reviews prior to J.K. being unmasked as the real author, but it wasn’t until after then that it got to be a best seller. It’s a shame in a way because it is a pretty good crime story, and so many people read it because it was J.K. rather than because they actually wanted to read it.

So what do you think. Do you want to read the new Harper Lee? Do you think that your reading of books by favourite authors are coloured based on who the author is?

You can already pre-order ‘Go Set a Watchman’ which is set for release on 14th June 2015

Hardback (£18.99)

Kindle (£10.99)

6 Comments

Filed under general, Musings, News

Sunday Surfing 4/1/15


bird surfOk so weird things happen. For some reason wordpress decided this was a draft not an actual post…and I just realised, so here it is…

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

Feminist Picture Books

Churchill in Fiction

British Bookshelves Average 86 Books. I have a feeling I have posted this before…

Still Alice Being Prescribed to Dementia Patients.  In terms of the article there are at least two problems immediately, but the information is interesting. I’m planning a musings post on this sometime this week.

 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed The Kommandant’s Girl

The Kids Read Sometimes I Like to Curl Up In a Ball

 

2 Comments

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Sometimes I Like To Curl Up In a Ball


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday, where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

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.

 

Sometimes I Like to Curl Up In a Ball is all about the actions Little Wombat likes to do, from curling up in a ball, to jumping up and down, to shouting really loud. It is told in Wombat’s voice, and we not only hear what he likes to do but also why.

Books with actions tend to be quite a hit with the toddlers, especially if they get to copy the actions, and for some reason talking really, really, fast to show running is hilarious! This is as true for I Like to Curl up in a Ball as for anything else.

This book also has the often popular rhythm and rhyme which helps the kids to stay focused and interested, and makes it easier for them to join in. We only have it as a library book, so we haven’t quite read it enough times yet to know it off by heart- and sometimes that makes us love books even more (case in point, Brown Bear).

 

Buy it:

Paperback Dual Language English and Welsh (£4.99)

Paperback- new (from £0.40)

Paperback- used (from £0.01)

Boardbook- new (from £90.51)

Boardbook- used (from £0.01)

1 Comment

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

The Kommandant’s Girl- Pam Jenoff


Synopsis (from amazon)

Nineteen-year-old Emma Bau has been married only three weeks when Nazi tanks thunder into her native Poland. Within days Emma’s husband, Jacob, is forced to disappear underground, leaving her imprisoned within the city’s decrepit, moldering Jewish ghetto. But then, in the dead of night, the resistance smuggles her out. Taken to Krakow to live with Jacob’s Catholic cousin, Krysia, Emma takes on a new identity as Anna Lipowski, a gentile.

Emma’s already precarious situation is complicated by her introduction to Kommandant Richwalder, a high-ranking Nazi official who hires her to work as his assistant. Urged by the resistance to use her position to access details of the Nazi occupation, Emma must compromise her safety–and her marriage vows–in order to help Jacob’s cause. As the atrocities of war intensify, so does Emma’s relationship with the Kommandant, building to a climax that will risk not only her double life, but also the lives of those she loves.

Review

Since reading The Officer’s Lover I’d really wanted to read another book by Pam Jenoff. The Kommandant’s Girl seemed perfect, set in the war (and we all know about my penchant for war stories), with Jews, and Nazis, and the resistance, and love.

I really liked The Kommandant’s Girl. I liked Emma, she started off a bit naive, but love made her strong, and made her take risks. A heroine in the end anyway.

There was even a little bit of me that liked the Kommandant. Not the Jew killing bit (obviously) but the bit where he was genuinely caring towards Emma.

It was dramatic, and emotional, really kept me turning the pages (or pressing the buttons I suppose as I read it on kindle).

4/5

Buy it from amazon:

Kindle (£4.79)

Paperback (£5.99)

 Other reviews:

Between the Pages

Have I missed your review? Post a link in comments and I will add it here

 

4 Comments

Filed under Fiction review, Historical

Sunday Surfing 25/1/15


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 Greatest TV Adaptations of Books

Behind the Deception of ‘The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven’

The Best Novels of the 21st Century.

Authors Favourite Games

Books You Should Read Based on Your Favourite TV Shows

The Ban on Sending Books to Prisoners Has Been Lifted. Yay!

Signs that Prove You’re a Book Addict. This is based on kids, but I think it still applies, mainly.

Why Harry Potter Fans Are Awesome

 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed Night

I showed you the top 10 books on my wishlist

And I hand wrote a review for ‘Trains and Lovers’

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Trains and Lovers- Alexander McCall-Smith


Foreword

It was National Handwriting Day on Friday, I only found out about it yesterday, so I decided to pay my tribute a little late. I’ve decided to write a review as in actually handwrite it. I like handwriting, it helps me to think. I don’t like how little I do it.

I’m doing copying bits (links to buy, synopsis, hyperlinks) in typing, and I will transcribe afterwards in case you can’t, or don’t want to, read my handwriting.

Oh and I apologise for any misspellings- handwriting has no inbuilt dictionary.

Synopsis (from amazon)

In the words of Alexander McCall Smith: ‘You feel the rocking of the train, you hear the sound of its wheels on the rails; you are in the world rather than suspended somewhere above it. And sometimes there are conversations to be had, which is what the overarching story in this collection is all about. It is a simple device: people brought together entertain one another with tales of what happened to them on trains. It takes place on a journey I frequently make myself and know well, the journey between Edinburgh and London. It is best read on a train, preferably that one.’

 photo review_zpscf65102c.jpeg
 photo reviewp2_zpsa9cd9c7a.jpg

Buy it on amazon:

Paperback (£6.27)

Kindle (£4.87)

Hardcover (£8.99)

Transcript

So here goes. The review.

I decided to write a review of ‘Trains and Lovers’ as my handwritten review because I don’t actually have much to say on it. With the fact that handwriting takes longer than typing, plus me wanting to type it up, I don’t want to have to write lots. (Although I probably will end up writing as much with all this explanation)

‘Trains and Lovers’ is a bit different from the other McCall-Smith books I’ve read. To be fair the others have been detective novels- No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, and one of the Isabel Dalhousie books. There’s less to figure out- which you would, of course, expect seeing as it’s more of a romance novel. Although McCall-Smith can’t quite resist, there is one story which has a bit of a mystery to it.

It has the same ‘nice-ness’ which I would expect from McCall-Smith, but it’s sweeter. There’s a certain poetry, which probably replaces most of the humour which I would have expected. I liked that.

I also liked that it was real. The stories were not great ‘perfect’ romances, or a rehash of Pride and Prejudice (as so much chick-lit is). They were romantic in an everyday was, no grand gestures. They were romances I could believe, and in a sense that makes them more inspirational than ‘great’ love stories.

I think I likes this more more than I realised. Writing this has made me look at things differently.

3.5/5

 

2 Comments

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Romantic

Night- Elie Wiesel


This book was read as part of The Rory List

Synopsis (from amazon)

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

Review

I have started and stopped this review a number of times. I want to write it, but somehow it seems that reviewing a book of somebody’s experiences, especially such horrible experiences, makes it loose some of its importance. I’ve written reviews of this type of book before, but only when I’ve been asked to, in which case I feel duty bound to write a review, even if I feel it trivialises something, This is the first time I’ve reviewed a book like this by choice, and to say anything that isn’t the highest praise seems wrong.

I suppose what that means is that I am not one of those people blown away by Night. There is one thing about autobiographies, when it’s something which is real you can be more matter of fact about it, or writing re-feels the emotions, which makes it more matter of fact. With fiction it’s more detached, you are writing about imagined emotions, it can still be hard, because you are attached to a character.

We had to write autobiographical pieces when I was in sixth form, I wrote about my osteoporosis (which I spoke about here, when discussing Handle With Care). My teacher praised my piece because of a lack of self pity, but for me it’s nothing special, it’s just my life, matter of fact.

When it comes to something emotional though, I think this can make it less hard hitting than fiction. In a way Wiesel’s experiences didn’t seem to be the worst. Not that they weren’t horrible experiences, but you didn’t get the same sort of descriptives that you might get in a fictional book, which made it seem…less. It was partially balanced out by knowing that it was real. Fiction is fiction, even when based on fact, you can’t know how much can really be close to how it really was. With non-fiction at least you know what you are reading is true. Maybe it’s less descriptive, less emotional, but in the end it means more.

Sometimes I think that I read too much about the Holocaust, like I’ve become somehow sensitised to it. Did that make a difference to how I viewed Night? Probably. Did the fact that it has been so praised mean that I was expecting more? Possibly. The first edition of Night in a similar version to what we now read was published thirteen years after the end of World War Two. At that time it may have been more powerful. It was probably an event which lived much more in the memory at the time, and people would remember finding out the full truth of what the Nazis did. Those who had been through the concentration camps may have had enough time to start talking, and I imagine there was not much literature about the events, it was too soon. It would have given people truth that they may not have otherwise seen.

Night is still powerful. Still important. The writing is still good writing. However there was a certain lack of detail which I hadn’t expected, maybe I would have liked that. It is reported that Wiesel said he had originally written a manuscript in Yiddish which was over 800 pages long, maybe the less edited version was more detailed, maybe too much so. Would it make it harder to read, and therefore read less widely?

I’m not going to give a score because I don’t feel this can be scored.

Buy it from amazon:

Paperback (£7.19)

Kindle (£3.49)

Other reviews:

Book Journey

Did I Miss Your Review? Leave Me a Link in Comments And I Will Add it Here

2 Comments

Filed under History, Memoir, non-fiction review

Top 10 Books on my Wishlist


Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About BooksTop 10 Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week is a free for all so I’m looking at some of the books on my wishlist.

top 10 wishlist

6 Comments

Filed under general, Memes, Top 10 Tuesday

Sunday Surfing 18/1/15


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

10 Signs You’re a Bibliophile

Children’s Reading Simultaneously Rising and Falling -huh?

Illustrations From the Illustrated Harry Potter.

Books to Breed Tolerance

Choose Your Own Adventure on Twitter you don’t need an account to take part

And on the blog this week…

Review of the Year 2014: Children’s Hour

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Review of the Year 2014: Children’s Hour


I was going to talk about the best books we’ve read this year. Then I though, actually, we’ve had different kids this year to last year, and often the books are the same, shouldn’t it mean something if favourites stay?

So here are the books we have kept coming back to this year…

Peace a Last

This featured on Children’s Hour back in 2012 (huh, I didn’t even realise Children’s Hour had been around that long!). The children still love being able to ‘read’ it themselves. They still love being able to join in, especially shouting “Oh no!” said Mr Bear “I can’t stand this”


Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

A constant favourite with the kids, and we don’t even need to read it to them anymore- they pretty much all know it by heart! First featured in 2013

Don’t Wake The Bear, Hare!

This is the only book which proves a certain toddler can have a quiet voice. And they still love the panic

 


Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

I prefer this one to Brown Bear, and it’s a good substitute for the kids. I would even say it’s better as a group, just harder for the kids to remember


One Mole Digging a Hole

We don’t quite have a 3 Bears Picking Pears kid, but this still gets chosen a lot. The kids feel an achievement when they can count the number of animals correctly too.

1 Comment

Filed under Fiction review

Sunday Surfing 11/1/15


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

20 Literary Facts

Less Children Are Reading For Pleasure

Books to Read Before the Film Comes Out

The ‘Facebook Book Club’ is Massively Increasing Book Sales

Books to Read Based on Your Childhood Favourites

Haruki Murakami is Going to be an Agony Uncle. Yes you read that right

And on the blog this week…

Review of the Year: Challenges

Review of the Year: Fiction

Review of the Year: Non-fiction

Review of the Year: Popular Posts

Children’s Hour: Silly Suzy Goose

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Silly Suzy Goose


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday, where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

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.

Silly Suzy Goose is about a goose who wants to be different, so she decides to copy other animals, not always with good effects.

The kids enjoy following Suzy’s actions and copying the sounds she makes. They also find it amusing, especially when she “ROARHONK”s at the lion.

It’s a really good story to be dramatic with, which makes it more entertaining for the kids too.

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.99)

Hardback- Pop-up (£6.99)

Kindle (£4.79)

1 Comment

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

Review of the Year 2014- Popular Posts


What have my visitors been reading and looking at this year?

Most popular reviews:

Fiction- The Weight Of Silence This one always gets a lot of hits from the search engines for some reason.

Non-fiction- How Winning The Lottery Changed My Life

Children’s Hour post- The Hungry Hen

Film of a Book- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Bookish posts:

Lists- Top Ten Books Set in War Time (this was my most popular post this year too, and my most popular list last year)

Musings- On Review Requests and Approaching the Blogger

Sunday Surfing- This one from November

1 Comment

Filed under Fiction review

Review of the Year 2014- Non-Fiction


I’ve done better really with non-fiction this year than with fiction. I’ve read 9 non-fiction books and 2 of those have been five star books. I really loved them both, so it’s tough choosing a favourite.


Let’s Pretend This Never Happened- Jenny Lawson

The memoir of Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) who is a pretty well known blogger and generally crazy person

 

 


How to be a Heroine- Samantha Ellis

Is a about all the literary heroines Ellis has ever had. It’s part literary musings, part memoir, part feminist writing.

 

 

And the winner is…

Samantha Ellis’ How to be a Heroine

Whilst I found ‘Let’s Pretend This Never Happened’ too hilarious to safely read in public I feel that How to be a Heroine offers me more long term. I love how it made me want to read certain books, I loved it’s feminist element, and I love Ellis’ way of writing. If it wasn’t for the fact that I only read it a couple of weeks before the end of 2014 I think it could have become my most recommended book of the year.

2 Comments

Filed under general

Review of the Year 2014- Fiction


Note: This is a new version of my fiction review of the year post. For some reason I had put my favourite fiction book in the non-fiction category (yeah, I don’t know). The previous winner was Fangirl.

I’ve only read three 5/5 fiction books this year, and to be completely honest I can’t say that either of them have had the literary merits of any of last year’s choices. Although I enjoyed them both, I’m not sure how much either of them stuck with me.

Anyway they were…
The Rosie Project- Graeme Simison

The Rosie Project is about a (probably) autistic professor trying to find a partner. He joins a dating site and writes a questionnaire to scientifically find his ‘perfect’ mate, but maybe love isn’t that simple.

 

 


Fangirl- Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl is about a girl, Cath. Cath is a twin, and a big fangirl (the type who hangs out on fansites and writes fanfiction) for a series of books. Cath and her sister Wren start university, and things go good for Wren, who is fairly outgoing, but not so great for shy Cath.

 


Texts From Jane Eyre- Mallory Ortberg

Texts From Jane Eyre imagines text conversations between literary characters or writers.

 

 

And my book of the year is…

Mallory Ortberg’s Texts from Jane Eyre

I found this one really funny, and it’s a great flick through books. I only read it in December but it quickly became my most recommended book of the year.

 

3 Comments

Filed under general

Review of the Year 2014- Challenges


I’ve done just two challenges this year. I’m only doing The Rory List this year, I am trying to make my blogging more relaxed, and Rory is really an if it comes up challenge rather than a strive for numbers challenge

Edward Herman (who played Richard Gilmore) died on New Year’s Eve so it seems fitting that The Rory List should be my only challenge this year

The Rory List (ongoing challenge)

There has been a bit of a crossover with my other challenge, which is good, so I think I did good on this this year, 7 books:

Night (not yet reviewed)

31 Songs

Slaughterhouse 5

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Me Talk Pretty One Day

Little Women

House of Sand and Fog (started 2013)

 

I gave up on the TBR Pile Challenge About half way through the year, I was having stress in other parts of my life and wanted to make other things relaxed. I read 5 of 12 books:

A Game of Thrones

Dracula

Persuasion

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Little Women

 

1 Comment

Filed under Challenges, general

Sunday Surfing 4/1/15


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.

First Sunday Surfing of 2015!

Around the web this week

err well over the last 2 weeks actually!

The Year Ahead in Books

And in Films Based on Books

Quotes from Writers Who Died in 2014

30 of the Best Parents in Literature

Why We Love Roald Dahl

The Origins of 11 Nursery Rhymes

Are You As Well Read As Lisa Simpson?

 

And on the blog this week…

Review of the Year 2014: Overview

Children’s Hour: Shh! We Have a Plan

I Reviewed How To Be a Heroine

And Texts From Jane Eyre

I re-read the Harry Potter Books

December Deals (some of these are still applicable)

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Review of the Year 2014- Overview


tagblogThis year I’m doing five posts for the first time. This one, a look at my challenges, a fiction post, a non-fiction post, and a (new!) Children’s Hour Post.

This year I have read 61 books, that’s 2 less than last year, I think I’ll stick with the same goal for 2015, which was to read 65 books.

  • 7 have been non-fiction, 54 have been fiction
  • 7 re-reads this year (all the Harry Potter Books)
  • 11  have been read as part of reading challenges.
  • I didn’t finish 2
  • I started 1 which I intend to return to

My wishlist currently contains 122 books, which is just 1 less than last year.

My To be Read Pile totals up to 60 books that’s gone up again, despite the TBR Pile Challenge.

Not counting re-reads…

5 books have scored 5/5

33 books have scored 4/5

15 books have scored 3/5

1 books have scored 2/5

0 books have scored 1/5

The numbers are more or less the same as last year, less in the 2/2 category, which is nice, and more in the 5/5 which is also nice.

The Challenges post will hopefully be up this weekend

1 Comment

Filed under general

Children’s Hour: Shh! We Have A Plan


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 bought Shh! We Have a Plan for my two year old nephew for Christmas. It’s a simple enough story. There are three people trying to catch a bird, but things keep going wrong. It’s quite funny when you add the pictures.

My nephew appreciates that he can shout “go!” every couple of pages, and he likes to spot the bird, and to see what has happened to the people chasing him. My niece (who is five) likes that she can read it herself, partly from actual reading, partly from remembering.

Personally I do prefer Oh no, George! which is by the same author, but they are both quite entertaining.

My niece has just told me that Shh! We Have a Plan is funny because they say Shh! and they try to catch the bird, then they fall out of the tree, then they fall in the water.

Buy from amazon:

Hardback (£8.99)

Paperback (£6.13)

Buy from an indie shop (via Hive)

Hardback (£9.23)

1 Comment

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

How to be a Heroine (Or What I’ve Learned From Reading Too Much)- Samantha Ellis


Synopsis (by me)

In ‘How To Be a Heroine’ Ellis revisits her bookish heroines from the past and evaluates whether they really deserved to be heroines, and why they were her heroines to begin with.

Review

I mentioned in my review of Texts From Jane Eyre that this book has probably overtaken it in terms of book I am most likely to recommend. That’s probably true, although Texts from Jane Eyre may hold a wider appeal.

How to Be a Heroine is part memoir, part literary analysis, part feminist, part religious discussion. I didn’t expect all that. I expected a book simply about books.

It was interesting to see what Ellis got from her re-reads, and what her younger self had got from her initial reads. Sometimes she couldn’t see any heroism in the characters she had once wanted to emulate, sometimes she saw that the real heroines in the books were not the ones you would expect. Of course it all came together. Even if she couldn’t see someone as a heroine now they had helped shape her.

Ellis’ storytelling was what really drew me in. I really got a sense of what life was like for her, maybe because I saw some similarities with myself (whilst also having tons of differences).  I often wanted to read the books she had described when she wrote about reading them for the first time. Sometimes her more recent images made me change my mind, which was a shame in a way, but then maybe that means I’m not in the right stage of life or frame of mind to appreciate the books as she did first time. At other times her changes of mind made me want to read things more, or just the same, but maybe for different reasons.

I thoroughly recommend it, especially for female book readers (although there is no reason a man couldn’t enjoy it).

5/5

Buy it from amazon:

Hardback (£13.59)

Paperback (£9.99)

Kindle (£6.99)

Buy from an indie store (via Hive):

e-book (£7.99)

Other Reviews:

Lit Nerd

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

 

 

5 Comments

Filed under Biography, Feminism, Memoir, non-fiction review, Politics, Reading/reviews

Texts From Jane Eyre- Mallory Ortberg.


Disclaimer: I was given a free copy of this book (from the US publisher) in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis (my own- for once!)

Texts From Jane Eyre is a collection of text conversations between various (generally famous) literary characters and writers.

Review

I’m rushing through my notable books in my backlog of reviews because I want reviews of the ones I might mention in my review of the year. I’m doing this one first partly because I really enjoyed it, and partly because I bought it for my sister for Christmas so I had been waiting to write it.

This is my most recommended book currently (although since finishing How to be a Heroine over Christmas that may overtake it). I recommended it on both my Book Blogger Holiday Card Exchange cards, and I bought it for my sister (I ordered it from The Book Depository because it’s not out over here yet).

Actually when I was first sent the offer of an advanced copy of this I was unsure. Sometimes these types of things can be more annoying than funny, but then I read some reviews and realised I had to say yes. I’m so glad I did.

It was funny. Especially when I knew the writers or characters. In fact the only bad thing about it really is that a lot of the humour is lost if you haven’t read the books in question.

My favourite bits were the Poe sections:

“whoa
I wasn’t LOOKING at a bird
wow where is this even coming from?
the BIRD
wouldn’t stop LOOKING
at ME”

and the William Blake sections:

“Is it a picture of someone being flayed?”

“Well

sort of

I mean they’re already flayed but they’re not getting flayed

it’s not like a double flaying

ooh wait

hang on”

It’s a good flick through book too, so probably better in the physical book format. That is a problem with kindle books, no good for flicking.

Basically anyone who likes books should appreciate it, and should read it.

4.5/5

Buy it from amazon:

Hardback pre-order (£14.99) – released November 2015

Buy it from The Book Depository:

Hardback (£11.00)

Other Reviews:

So…I know I had said I read reviews on a load of blogs, but apparently none of these bloggers have put them on goodreads, and feedly doesn’t allow me to search (unless I pay..booo!), so if you have written one please put a link in comments and I will add it here.

4 Comments

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Humour