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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

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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

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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)

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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

 

 

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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

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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)

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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?

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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

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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’

 

 

 

 

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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)

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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)

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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.

 

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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’

 

 

 

 

 

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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)

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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)

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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

 

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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)

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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

 

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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’

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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

 

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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

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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

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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

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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

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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)

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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

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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.

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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.

 

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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

 

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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)

 

 

 

 

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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

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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)

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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

 

 

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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.

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Humour

Harry Potter re-reads


If you follow me on twitter or facebook you may have noticed that I’ve been re-reading the Potter books.

After each book I have done a ‘thoughts on re-reading’ post on facebook. I thought I would post them all here, with the photots I posted to twitter.

This post contains spoilers

Philosopher’s Stone


1) a lot happens for such a short book

2) chapter 1 is so Rowling… it’s the best way to see her style… and be able to tell Galbraith is her

3) Reading PS with a knowledge of what happens later is heart wrenching

3a) and in light of that Dumbledore is the stupidest genius

4) Considering Harry’s link to Voldy do his dreams in PS mean now than it seems? They are described in surprising detail

5) Hermione really keeps her promises

6) I should have started this re-read as soon as I first had wanted to

7) Why did Harry’s scar hurt at the welcome feast? Voldy wasn’t attached to Quirrell then and Harry didn’t get the same affect from shaking Quirrell’s hand

8) Chamber of Secrets next… my joint favourite

Chamber of Secrets

I’m Sure I remember writing thoughts for Chamber of Secrets, but I can’t seem to find them

For some reason I can’t imagine Harry clutching a mop without seeing him laughing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prisoner of Azkaban

1 ) you know what POA might be my least favourite *cue cries of horror* I know it is important plot wise but it doesn’t seem to add much. Not that I don’t still love it

2) Lupin oh Lupin what happened?

2a) Only kidding… still can’t help loving you even after the fiascos of Deathly Hallows
2b) and you are more attractive than David Thewlis

The introduction of Lupin

3) If Lupin isn’t gay Sirius has to be

4) Whatever happened to Penelope?

5) ugh, Snape

6) The way Pettigrew pays back his debt to Harry is rubbish

7) Did Lupin really think Sirius being an animagus wasn’t something people needed to know?

8) Why was Sirius so insistent on killing Peter? He was the easiest way to show proof of Sirius’ innocence

Goblet of Fire

So of course Harry gets it

1) How many girls actually are there in Hogwarts? It seems there are more boys

2) If the Patel twins are the hottest in the year why didn’t they get dates sooner?

3) This one took me longer this time, not sure why.

4) Charlie is the most underated Weasley. He works with dragons, that’s hot.

5) Harry is a real idiot sometimes

Touching an unknown magical substance with your finger is dangerous, but obviously touching it with your wand will be ok


6) as is Ron (but that is a major characteristic of him)

7) If Barty Crouch Jr was a deatheater why did he teach kids how to fight the Imperius curse?
7a) yeah, yeah, I know it’s what Moody would have done

8) How would anyone ever be able to complete the triwizard tournament without cheating. I mean how do you just know how to get past a dragon? Who would think to open an egg under water? The only vaguely possible task to complete without cheating is the last.

9) I really do like Hermione

10) Why did the films give do much Dobby material to Neville? It would have made Harry’s life easier if Neville knew his problem with breathing underwater

Order of the Phoenix


1) I really enjoyed it this time for some reason

2) I am still in denial about Sirius’ death

3) If I could ask JK anything it would probably be about the veil

4) Luna is awesome…There should be more Luna
4a) I’m convinced she had a thing for Ron

5) Umbridge is the worst. I actually hate her more than Voldy
5b) And it really irritates me that I can’t see Harry getting angry at her without seeing Daniel Radcliffe’s awful emotionless acting

6) The best fighting scenes are in this book

7) why is it that we know Fred and George passed a handful of OWLs when school finishes in GOF but the trio have to wait for the holidays?

8) We never really do find out when James stops being an ass

9) The DA. Yay!

10) Harry, it is time I told you everything… except that you’re a horcrux, because, you know, that’s not important…

When you know what it really means this moment is so sad


11) It’s actually quite surprising Harry isn’t all emo before now

Half-Blood Prince

1) My favourite along with Chamber of Secrets

2) oh the feels! Snape kills Dumbledore! Hogwarts might close

3) I think I have finally accepted the Harry and Ginny thing. It was always just too expected, I wanted a coupling which wasn’t so set out from the start

4) Voldy is 1 evil dude

5) I never got why they didn’t just try spilling the green potion. It probably wouldn’t have worked, but you know they didn’t even try

6) How do you actually learn to fight like Dumbledore? Harry really doesn’t seem equipped to fight Voldy

7) Here goes Harry being noble and stupid again. Does he really think Voldy wouldn’t use Ginny just because they spilt up?

8) Harry also doesn’t seem to be very equipped for finding other horcruxes, or destroying them. Couldn’t Dumbledore just have told him there are 7 horcruxes, here’s how you destroy them,and here are some awesome spells so you can actually defeat Voldy?

9) If Snape is the half-blood prince then why doesn’t Harry do better in potion lessons prior to this book? Does Snape just not teach the best method?

10) Luna is the best commentator

11) So close to getting another Horcrux

Deathly Hallows

1) Whilst not my favourite Potter this has probably been my best re-read. I felt almost as hooked as first time round (although without having to read a bit if I awoke during the night). Probably because I haven’t read it as much so there were bits I had forgotten, or at least don’t know off by heart.

2) Lupin is such an idiot in this book, but still understandably so.

3) If Harry’s cloak is THE cloak of invisibility why can Moody see through it?

4) All the tears

5) I still don’t 100% get why Harry doesn’t die

6) Neither do I think Snape is a big hero. He may not be a villan as such, but I don’t think his motives are completely good either

7) The epilogue still disappoints me

8) Dumbledore is totally channeling Stephen Fry in ‘King’s Cross’
8a) and he is rather shady

9) I can’t believe my re-read is over

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Deals of the Moment- December


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 they have holiday offers too and there are a few interesting offers there

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 Humans: An A to Z- Matt Haig

This is one I bought. A ‘guide’ for being human

I bought this one because I loved The Humans. You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


The Forgotten Garden- Kate Morton

The Forgotten Garden was my introduction to Morton from my pre-blogging days. I’ve since read all of Morton’s books, and whilst this is no longer my favourite (That’s probably The Distant Hours) it’s still one of her best. It looks into the mysteries in the past of a family and has Morton’s usual slightly gothic feel. You can buy it…here (only £1.79)


Bodies of Light- Sarah Moss

I’m interested in Bodies of Light because I enjoyed Moss’ other novel Night Waking, The two stories are linked with the main character of Bodies of Light being the sister of the main character in Night Waking. In Bodies of Light the main character is constantly striving to impress and gain affection from her mother. I’ve not bought it because I am unsure of the story itself. You can buy it…here. (only £2.49)

 


The Horologicon- Mark Forsyth

I really love the language books by Forsyth. I’ve read and loved The Etymologicon, The Horologicon and The Elements of Eloquence and thoroughly recommend them all. They’re smart, witty and humorous.

You can buy The Horologicon…here (only £0.99)


Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet- Jamie Ford


Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is one of my favourite novels set during wartime. (It’s even in The List). It’s about Japanese-Americans during the second world war. You can buy it…here (only £0.99)



The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy in Five Parts- Douglas Adams

I must admit I think this one is a real bargain. Funny, geeky, quirky, I love The Hitchhiker’s Guide which follows Arthur Dent a guy who occidentally goes hitchhiking across space when Earth is destroyed. You can buy it…here (only £2.29)


 

 

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Sunday Surfing 21/12/14


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

Amazon Removed a Book for Containing Too Many Hyphens It has since been put back on sale

The Most Recommended Book is To Kill a Mockingbird

Guardian Readers Think These Were the Best Books of 2014

Famous Writer’s Favourite Snacks

The Problems With Kindle

J.K Rowling’s Favourite Harry Potter Quote. I’m quite fond of this one too

A Report Says Libraries Should be More Like Coffee Shops. Hmm maybe if they had quiet corners

Which Children’s Book Character Are You? I got Bilbo Baggins

 

And on the blog this week…

The kids read weather books.

I’m at my partner’s parents next weekend so there may be no Sunday Surfing (or I may release it on Monday). I will certainly still be tweeting links though.

 

 

 

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Children’s Hour: Weather Books


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

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

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.
The toddlers have been really interested in weather books recently. They’ve been asking to read Weather (Little Princess) and Weather (Learn With Thomas). In fact almost all the toddlers came and listened to one of my colleagues reading the Thomas weather book yesterday- completely independently.

Both books are pretty simple. The Little Princess book shows different weathers and shows how they feel (e.g. “the rain is wet”) and how the Little Princess copes with it (e.g. “but we are dry” showing the Princess with an umbrella, and rain clothes). You can ask questions about the pictures, and about what the weather is like, and sometimes the kids make comments on the pictures. It’s more storylike than the Thomas book.


The Thomas book shows different engines in different weathers and small pictures of things associated with that weather which they can find in the main picture. It’s more interactive than the Princess book, but it’s sort of forced interactiveness, and I find the kids are often more interested in the trains than the rest of the pictures.

Buy The Princess Book from amazon:

Hardback- new (from £104.96)

Hardback- used (from £0.01)

Buy The Thomas Book from amazon:

Hardback- new (from £2.99)

Hardback- used (from £0.01)

 

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Sunday Surfing 14/12/14


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

Watching the Final Harry Potter Film for the First Time. There is a whole series of these, I recommend reading them all- and I’m not even a fan of the films

When Adaptations Go Good

Fewer Than Half of Bestsellers are Actually Completed by Readers

As Cuts Are Being Made to Libraries Library Usage is Falling

Famous Authors on Readers

The Australian Prime Minister Has Overruled His Panel To Award a Book Award To Richard Flanagan

Writer and Journalist Malcolm Gladwell has Been Accused of Plagiarism

Vote For the Book of the Year in The National Book Awards

And on the blog this week…

I didn’t finish ‘The Teacher Wars’

The kids read ‘The Jungle Run’

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Children’s Hour: The Jungle Run


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

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

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

The Jungle Run is similar in a lot of ways to Giraffes Can’t Dance (it’s even illustrated by the same person). This time it’s a run instead of a dance and a lion cub rather than a giraffe, but you get the idea. The cub is jeered at because he’s too small to race, he could never win.  I had expected a sort of hare and tortoise story (i.e. the other animals get cocky so the cub wins). I wasn’t quite right, it was more that what the other animals had seen as barriers for cub to win the race ended up helping him.

It’s a good book. It has a nice rhythm, some load noises to make, and a nice message. However it doesn’t quite meet up to Giraffes Can’t Dance, and the kids didn’t stay quite as interested, although once the noises came their attention was drawn back.

Buy from amazon:

Paperback (£5.99)

Hardback (£3.28)

 

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DNF: The Teacher Wars



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

Synopsis (from amazon)

Teaching is a wildly contentious profession in America, one attacked and admired in equal measure. In The Teacher Wars, a rich, lively, and unprecedented history of public school teaching, Dana Goldstein reveals that teachers have been similarly embattled for nearly two centuries. From the genteel founding of the common schools movement in the nineteenth century to the violent inner-city teacher strikes of the 1960s and ’70s, from the dispatching of Northeastern women to frontier schoolhouses to the founding of Teach for America on the Princeton University campus in 1989, Goldstein shows that the same issues have continued to bedevil us: Who should teach? What should be taught? Who should be held accountable for how our children learn?
She uncovers the surprising roots of hot button issues, from teacher tenure to charter schools, and finds that recent popular ideas to improve schools—instituting merit pay, evaluating teachers by student test scores, ranking and firing veteran teachers, and recruiting “elite” graduates to teach—are all approaches that have been tried in the past without producing widespread change. And she also discovers an emerging effort that stands a real chance of transforming our schools for the better: drawing on the best practices of the three million public school teachers we already have in order to improve learning throughout our nation’s classrooms.
  

Thoughts

I wanted to like this book, I really did. In a way I was enjoying it, I did find it interesting. However I also found it difficult to connect with because I have no experience of the American education system. I began to find things a little repetitive, and I found myself reading it less and less (although to be honest I’ve been finding that a lot recently with my kindle reads). I’ve read about three other kindle books since I last looked at The Teacher Wars, I had intended to finish, but I don’t think that’s really going to happen.

I do think if you have an interest or knowledge of the American education system you will find it interesting, and it is a fairly easy read for a none-fiction book

DNF

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Sunday Surfing 7/12/14


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

Kent Haruf has Passed Away

The World Book Night Books Have Been Revealed. There are some good ones on the list this year but I still wish they let readers choose.

‘Hawt’ and ‘Obamacare’ are Amongst the New Words Added to the Online Oxford English Dictionary.

Ben Okri has Won the Bad Sex in Fiction Award

Authors Who Wrote Themselves into Their Work

 

And on the blog this week…

The Kids Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar

I Posted my Annual Bookish Gifts Post

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Bookish Gifts 2014


It’s that time of year again, time for the bookish gifts post. I’ve got lots of gifts for you this year. Merry Christmas! (Or Happy Holidays f you prefer). Prices are correct at time of publication.

Some of the items from my old bookish gift posts are also still for sale.

Alice in Wonderland ‘pouch‘. From Out of Print. Other styles are available. $12

Espresso Patronum t-shirt. From Bookriot. For lovers of coffee and books. $22

Great Writers Magnetic Finger Puppets. From The Literary Gift Company. Includes Shakespeare, Virginia Wolfe,  Dickens and Tolstoy. £19.95

Emily Dickinson Poetry Tights. From Coline Designs @ Etsy. No a fan of Emily Dickinson? You can also choose your own print. £16.39

Little Women Sweatshirt. From Out of Print. Other designs are available. $40

Book Necklace. From Bookriot. $18.00

Bathtub Tray. From The Literary Gift Company. Space for a book and two glasses. £49.95

Owl Bookend and Glasses Holder. From Uligo @ Etsy This would be helpful to me, I take me glasses off when reading sometimes and the forgot where I put them. Also available in other colours. £41.48

East and West Egg joining necklaces. From Bookriot. Also available in silver. $30.00

Literary Map of the UK. From The Literary Gift Company. £12.00

Banned Books Socks. From Uncommon Goods. £8.11

Personal Library Embosser. From Horchow. $26.00

Team Edward Rochester t-shirt. From Cafepress. Other colours are available. £18.00

Storybook recorder. From Hammacher Schlemmer. $69.95

Marauder’s Map Dress. From Blackmilk. Other Harry Potter clothing is available. $95.00 AUD

Finger Pointing Bookmark. From amazon. Point to the line you stopped reading at. $7.14

Bookish Smell Candles. From Frostbeard @ Etsy. £9.22

Toilet Roll Holder Book Rest. From The Literary Gift Company. £25.00

 

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Children’s Hour: The Very Hungry Caterpillar.


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

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

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

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is very popular book, so you can forgive me for presuming that the toddlers would like it. I wouldn’t go as far as to say they disliked it, just that they didn’t have any particularly strong feelings about it. They like it more as it becomes predictable, and now they know what the slightly unusual foods are. They still wouldn’t pick it though, and they find it hard to concentrate for the whole thing

 

Buy from amazon:

Paperback (£3.85)

Boardbook (£3.49)

 

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Sunday Surfing 30/11/14


bird surf

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

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

Author P.D James has Died

Charts that ‘Hunger Games’ Fans will Understand

Harry Potter Fan Theories Which Might Be True (I’m sorry but the Sirius/Lupin pairing is not ‘crazy’)

T-shirts for the Bookish

Libraries and Museums are Showing Empty Displays to Protest Against New Copyright Laws

Which Gothic Literary Character Are You?

 

And on the blog this week…

I think I’ve made up for the quiet week last week

I reviewed Clovenhoof

I talked about the Mockingjay Film

The kids read ‘I Don’t Want to Go to Bed’

I reviewed Circ

And talked about the process of writing a collaborative novel as part of a competition (which Circ was)

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Circ: Separated by a Common Language.


On Friday when I posted my review of Circ I mentioned that I was planning on attending an event about it today.

Separated by a Common Language was all about the process of writing a collaborative piece and the sorts of barriers that you would have to overcome to do so, including cultural barriers (and the writers  were international). It was designed to be accessible to someone who hadn’t read Circ, so having read Circ is not really a requirement to understand this post either.

It was an interesting session to attend. It was interesting to see how the writers had experienced the process, and got me thinking about sides which I hadn’t considered. Plus it reminded me of parts of the novel that maybe I should have mentioned in my review (just goes to show that maybe I should start writing notes when I finish a book). I am going to add these bits splattered about

I’m going to give a little information about Circ and the process so things can be understood, no spoilers!

Circ was written by ten different authors, each author wrote a different character and characters were gradually voted off ‘X-Factor style’.as such it was a competition, although the contestants did have to work together at least to an extent, because the story had to work and the characters had to interact with each other.

One author in particular spoke about how sometimes these interactions meant that a character getting voted out could be as much of a bother to an author who was still in the process as for the author who had actually been voted out. He gave the example of his own character (which makes sense). His character was a teenager who worked in a shop and didn’t attend school, pretending to be older than school age. Another of the characters was a social worker so the author could see lots of interactions happening between his character and the social worker, which of course couldn’t be fulfilled once the social worker was out of the picture. He still had ways he could take the story, but this was a big chunk of what he could have done.

Another author (the author who won, as it happens) talked about what he had done to guard against this problem. He said that he had tried to make it so that his character had  connections with lots of other characters, so when one character ‘gets lost’ he had plenty of other characters to follow. Plus his character had his own loner related storyline. Not a surprise he won really, he had his finger in lots of pies, plenty of storylines for readers to want to discover the end of.  One of the characters he had an early interaction with was actually a character I wished we could see more of, she seemed to have lots of back story which I really would have liked to find out about. Let’s say she was my type of character, the type I like to read about.

The author who wrote the gangster character had a different approach to staying in the game. He decided to make all his character’s scenes as exciting as he could, in his first scene he killed someone by poking a pencil in their eye. That worked pretty well too. The gangster was one of the last characters to go.

The author who wrote the gangster was also the only person on the panel who didn’t live in the UK (he wasn’t the only author who  didn’t live in the UK but not all the authors were there) so he gave the best varied cultural insight. It seemed that his only real ‘problem’ was that he would use words and phases that British people wouldn’t use, and his character was meant to be British. He had to change other aspects of his character too, to make him more British. He wanted him to have gone to Sandhurst, but he was black, so him having gone to Sandhurst was very unlikely. Him  living in Skegness (where the book is set) was also somewhat unlikely, but that was too major to change. I actually really liked the gangster character, especially his interactions with the clown (the winning character). He was funny. He somehow seemed more funny when the author read an extract.

I feel this post is getting too long, but I wanted to comment on one more thing. I asked about how the writers managed to make things so cohesive, seeing as they all had their own backgrounds and styles. I found it interesting that they could tell the differences in styles, where I couldn’t. Maybe that was just to do with the familiarity with each other’s work. It’s a bit like how I  could tell that The Cuckoo’s Calling was written by J.K Rowling, because I am so familiar with and expected her style. They said they did occasionally need a push in the right direction when writing each other’s characters, because a writer will know more about their characters than what you can read, or what a description can really show. It’s part of the reason that they really needed to work together.

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Circ- Various Authors


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

Synopsis (from amazon)

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

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

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£3.09)

Paperback (£7.99)

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

 

Buy from an indie store (via Hive):

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

Buy from amazon:

Paperback (£5.99)

Hardback with jigsaw (£6.39)

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Film of the Book: Mockingjay (Part 1)


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

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

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

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

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

 

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