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

5 Comments

Filed under general

Armada- Ernest Cline


Synopsis

Zack Lightman is a video game addict. He spends hours playing Armada and is one of the top players in the world. Then one day he sees a spaceship outside the window, and the really strange thing? It’s a spaceship he recognises from Armada, is he going crazy, or is it something else?

Review

I read Armada as part of Dewey’s Readathon and it was a pretty perfect choice for a readathon. It was easy to read and engaging, I got to geek out, and I didn’t have to think about it too hard. It took a little time to really get going but once it did I was really hooked and it took me less than a day to read the whole thing.

I had bought Armada as a present for my partner after he loved Ready Player One, and I read it because I loved ‘Ready Player One’ too. The boyfriend described it as reading like a book written on the way to getting to ‘Ready Player One’, very similar in lots of ways, but not quite there yet. I get that completely. It wasn’t quite up to the awesomeness that was ‘Ready Player One’, but it had a lot of the same sort of geeky references which were one of the good things about ‘Ready Player One’.

Armada’s storyline is probably a bit more relatable than ‘Ready Player One’, but it makes it less of a fantasy and less escapist too. It also means that you don’t have quite as strong a feeling towards the characters. And it makes it more predictable, I guessed at least some of the plot beforehand and although I still enjoyed it but I like it when plots keep me guessing.

If you’ve not read any Ernest Cline I would go for ‘Ready Player One’ first, but ‘Armada’ may fill some of the void which was left (or may be a big disappointment if you believe some other reviewers, views are very mixed)

4/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£6.19)

Kindle (£4.99)

Other reviews:

Annette’s Book Spot

Leeswammes’ Blog

Silly Little Mischief

Words for Worms

Book Journey

Leave a comment

Filed under Fantasy, Fiction review, Sci-Fi

Yes Means Yes: Nice Guys Finish Last


Recently I have been reading ‘Yes Means Yes‘, a collection of essays which talk about female sexuality and consent and how stereotypical visions of female sexuality contribute to a rape culture. It’s a powerful book. I had planned to get to the end and then talk about it overall as I would do with a book normally, but recently some of the articles have really been getting in my head and I feel like it might be better to write down some thoughts specifically on those articles. I probably won’t do this for every article but it seems like a better way to look at it, and I will do a sort of summery post when I’m completely done.

This is my fifth of these review/thought posts for Yes Means Yes, you can read the rest here:

Touch and Consent / Killing Misogyny / The First Time / Sex Education

Why Nice Guys Finish Last

-Julia Serano

‘Why Nice Guys Finish Last’ is probably the article which will be the most controversial amongst feminists, simply because it suggests that women (or more accurately girls) have an active part to play in destroying rape culture. This is somewhat at odds with the idea that girls shouldn’t act in a certain way to avoid rape, however I can certainly understand her argument.

Serano is transgender so she has the advantage of having seen the issue from a male and a female perspective. She has experienced some of the sexist issues which many women experience, but spent her years at school and college as a man.

Serano’s argument is based around the idea of men as predators and women as prey, she says that because women often act like prey that influences men to act as predators.

Serano particularly focussed on how ‘bad’ guys seemed to attract more women than nice guys (actually nice guys, not the type who act nice until they hear no). She says that this influences nice guys to act like bad guys to attract women, and eventually for them to morph into bad guys, because women ‘like it’.

The whole women ‘like it’ argument comes out a little similar to the ‘she was asking for it’ idea, and that’s more what puts me off this than the actual argument. I’m also unsure that the whole women acting like prey thing is completely true. I know plenty of people who date nice guys, and I can’t think of anyone who says they prefer bad guys (although in a general way I have heard the ‘bad guys are hot’ idea), plus I don’t think many people would stick with a bad guy, they might date them but if they are really bad guys then that’s not something which they would commit to. Even if bad guys get more girls I wouldn’t be surprised if nice guys end up in more committed relationships (although those who are interested just in sex are probably going to be the ones who go for it).

What do you think? Do women act like prey? Does that impact on how they are treated by men? Do nice guys really finish last?

Leave a comment

Filed under essays, Feminism, non-fiction review

Gather the Daughters- Jennie Melamed


Disclaimer: This book was given to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis

A remote community lives on an island, the only place that is safe after a disaster left the rest of the world as a wastelands. Only the wanderers have seen the wastelands, where they go to forage for supplies, and occasionally save survivors.

There are rules to the island. The men lead, it is the women’s job to keep house and birth children, which they start to do on their first ‘Summer of Fruition’.

But one year a girl, who is soon to become a woman, sees something which starts the girls questioning what they had always been told, and that things had to be the way they are.

Review

I really raced through this book, it reads like a pretty standard dystopian YA novel, but it has some really dark subject matters which are hinted at; rape, domestic violence, paedophillia, murder, anorexia, and persecution. The community follows the laws laid down by the ancestors in ‘Our book’, and in this sense and the way that the community was quite basic and old-fashioned made me think of the Amish (although I wouldn’t expect the Amish to have a community who raped their daughters as a ‘normal’ thing).

Looking back it does seem that that Melamed wanted to add as many issues as she possibly could, but at the time of reading I found that I wanted to keep reading to see what would happen next, so I guess that was actually a good thing.

At the beginning I found it a little difficult to define the characters from each other, but as I got to know them better I found them easier to distinguish. I ended up really liking Janey, she was strong, I would call her a role model but I’m not sure she is really a good one, whilst her actions have fairly sound reasoning behind them they aren’t always the best choices, and I can see some parents not wanting their kids to read the books because of it.

Other reviews I’ve read have described ‘Gather the Daughters’ as too depressing. Whilst I don’t think it is too depressing I also would say that if you like to read light and easy books it won’t be for you. Overall though I would recommend it.

4/5

‘Gather the Daughters’ is released on 25/7/17 in hardback and kindle editions and on 5/4/18 in paperback

Pre-order now:

Hardcover (£14.88)

Kindle (£8.49)

Paperback (£8.99)

Other Reviews:

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

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

Visit the Official ‘Gather The Daughters’ webpage

1 Comment

Filed under Dystopian, Fiction review, YA

Deals of the Moment- July 2017


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

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.


Room- Emma Donoghue

Sad but beautiful book about a mother who is being held captive with her (and her captor’s) son.

You can buy it…here (only £1.39)


Alone in Berlin- Hans Fallada

Alone in Berlin has been on my wishlist so long that I couldn’t even remember what it was about, but I do remember that it was a review I read on BCF in my pre-blogging days that made me add it. So maybe I should buy it.

It’s about a house of families living in Berlin during WW2, and how one family starts a campaign of defiance against the Nazis

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


One Hundred Years of Solitude- Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I haven’t read anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, probably something I should rectify. Plus this one is on The Rory List

You can buy it….here (only £1.99)


Eleanor & Park- Rainbow Rowell

I’m not a big fan of YA, but I do like Rainbow Rowell, I think it’s because she writes about ‘real’ characters, people like me. Eleanor & Park is a love story with a difference, two teenagers, not particularly popular or stereotypically attractive, but real.

Buy it…here (only £0.99)


Number 11- Jonathan Coe

I really enjoy reading Jonathon Coe. This one is about the connections between the public and private worlds

Buy it…here (only £1.99)

2 Comments

Filed under general


You can now follow Lucybird’s Book Blog on Instagram

Leave a comment

Filed under general

Yes Means Yes: Sex Education


Warning: This post contains discussion of sexual subjects

Recently I have been reading ‘Yes Means Yes‘, a collection of essays which talk about female sexuality and consent and how stereotypical visions of female sexuality contribute to a rape culture. It’s a powerful book. I had planned to get to the end and then talk about it overall as I would do with a book normally, but recently some of the articles have really been getting in my head and I feel like it might be better to write down some thoughts specifically on those articles. I probably won’t do this for every article but it seems like a better way to look at it, and I will do a sort of summery post when I’m completely done.

This is my fourth of these review/thought posts for Yes Means Yes, you can read the first here,the second here and the third here

Real Sex Education

-Cara Kulwicki

In her article Kulwicki talks of what she thinks is an ideal sex education. She says that yes it should include those things a classic sex ed should include; information about STI/Ds, information about safe sex, birth control and pregnancy; but it should also include topics like consent and what makes a healthy sexual relationship- that is consent and pleasure for both parties. She says it should include different types of sexual intercourse than just standard hetrosexual penis in vagina type sex. It should include gay sex, oral sex, masturbation.

Initially this idea sounds a bit like encouraging sex, but actually when you read more you realise that it doesn’t encourage sex as such but physically and emotionally healthy sex lives. It says you shouldn’t be ashamed of exploring your sexuality and of seeking sexual pleasure. Sex is a way of giving and receiving pleasure as well as a way of connecting with someone else, and as a way of creating life.

It also encourages openly talking about sex, which makes it easier for those participating to talk about what they like and don’t, and makes it easier for questions to be asked. It means people shouldn’t feel ashamed about buying condoms, or asking about sexual health concerns, which will promote better physical sexual health.

Shame of sex only breeds the sort of culture where a raped woman can be blamed for her rape, whilst a boy can be forgiven because his sexual urges got the better of him. Where it is understood that everyone should be enjoying what is happening then the idea that a girl who gives no consent is ‘asking for it’ shows that there is no healthy sexual relationship there. It won’t stop rape, but hopefully changing the culture around sex can make it be less excusable.

Reading this chapter made me think about my own sex ed. at school. I went to an all girl’s catholic school (almost 20 years ago) so my experience of sex ed. is probably particularly bad for the time but I do remember it being more or less non existent. I remember learning the very basics of mechanics in science, which was more conception than sex itself, I remember seeing a diagram of intercourse in the science text book- but I don’t actually remember it being mentioned (almost as if sperm just magically appears in your vagina!).

I also remember a talk about contraception. It was given by an unmarried female RE teacher who had taught my Mum when she (Mum) was a teenager. Let’s just say as a group of teenagers we couldn’t imagine that she had any sexual experience (of course now I know that presumption may well be untrue but it meant that the likelihood of us going to her with questions was next to nothing). In the talk she basically listed the different types of contraception, what they did and didn’t do, and told us that ‘The Catholic way’ was the best (i.e. don’t have sex until you’re married then have lots of babies). I can’t imagine Kulwicki’s ‘Real’ sex education ever going down well in schools like mine, but I do think that it may actually be more important there because the girl’s knowledge came from unreliable sources like magazines, and other teenagers, maybe we got the information, but we didn’t get the emotional education, and if parent’s were ‘ultracatholic’ then they wouldn’t feel comfortable asking their parents either.

What do you think should sex ed be changed this much? Does it encourage sex? If it does is that a bad thing? How does this type of sex ed line up with your own experiences?

1 Comment

Filed under essays, Feminism, non-fiction review

The Accidental Woman- Jonathan Coe


Synopsis

Maria is a woman who is drifting through life. Things happen to her, but she has little drive in what happens. We follow her life for fifteen years, starting just before she starts university.

 

Review

I found The Accidental Woman a little awkward. It’s Coe’s first novel and bares little resemblance to his others. The style of writing is different, and although it is interesting in its difference it also feels a bit like it was used to spread out a story where nothing much really happens.

Coe himself is the narrator, he tells Maria’s story as an author, referring to himself as such. At times this is somewhat amusing because he suggests that he might know how the reader is feeling, but then proceeds not to follow the thought pattern of the reader. In this way he ends up going off on tangents, saying he will tell us about something, then taking a chapter to talk about something else. It is this that makes it seem like a device to spread out the story, but it also makes the reader feel a little like Maria- powerless.

Maria was unlikeable. She seemed so unconnected to her own life, things happened to her and she just let them happen. She would want things but never go for them. She liked to think of herself as somewhat of a loner, but she had friends who she didn’t make any effort with, or any effort to keep, even when she liked them (which was rare).

At a few points it did seem like there was going to be more of a plot, but those points were never explored (which I suppose is Maria’s way), and that was frustrating as a reader.

If you’ve read other novels by Coe you may like to explore the differences in his style by reading ‘The Accidental Woman’, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend it as your first Coe- maybe ‘The Rotter’s Club’ instead

2.5/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£8.99)

Kindle (£2.99)

Leave a comment

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review

Yes Means Yes: The First Time


Warning: This post contains discussion of sexual subjects

Recently I have been reading ‘Yes Means Yes‘, a collection of essays which talk about female sexuality and consent and how stereotypical visions of female sexuality contribute to a rape culture. It’s a powerful book. I had planned to get to the end and then talk about it overall as I would do with a book normally, but recently some of the articles have really been getting in my head and I feel like it might be better to write down some thoughts specifically on those articles. I probably won’t do this for every article but it seems like a better way to look at it, and I will do a sort of summery post when I’m completely done.

This is my third of these review/though posts for Yes Means Yes, you can read the first here and the second here

An Immodest Proposal

-Heather Corinna

In ‘An Immodest Proposal’ Corinna tells the story of a stereotypical loss of virginity. Two teenagers, a boy and a girl. They have been dating for some time and are becoming gradually more sexually involved. The boy has made it be known that he would like to have sex, but has not been pushy. The girl decides that she is ready and when an appropriate time comes they lose their virginities together. There is some bleeding for her but it is not painful, he orgasms, she doesn’t.

It is what would often be described as a ‘good’ first time for her. She didn’t feel forced or unprepared, he was nice to her and waited for her to be ready.

Initially you think what is the issue here? Then Corinna reveals that this story- a perfectly believable- and for many associatable- story is about the boy. He wants sex, she is merely ready. For her the experience is not unpleasant, but she gets no real pleasure from it. So is it really fair to call it a good first time? Should she not hope for more? The whole way the language is used to describe a first time makes it seem very passive. Maybe she does want sex, maybe she does want it to feel good, but she has been always told that for a girl’s first time to be good she only has to be willing. When you really think about it that isn’t fair. A boy is expected to want sex, she is expected to wait for love, or at least someone special.

On the other hand a first time should maybe not be expected to be actually good. The participants are inexperienced, they might not even fully know what they themselves like, let alone what their partner wants. They know the mechanics, but maybe not specifics. As they do more and see more what they like, and get to find what makes the other person feel good, as they become more confident, thing should (hopefully) get better. The girl may feel she can get more involved, and be a participant, rather than just someone who had something happening to them.

In an ideal world everytime should be good, but it’s a bit far to actually expect every time to be good. I think women should be able to feel that they can seek pleasure (even the first time), and that they can initiate sex, but for them to expect it, maybe not.

What do you think of this? Are women at a disadvantage when it comes to sexual pleasure from the onset?

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under essays, Feminism, non-fiction review

Yes Means Yes: Killing Misogyny


Trigger Warning: Rape and (sexual and physical) violence

Recently I have been reading ‘Yes Means Yes‘, a collection of essays which talk about female sexuality and consent and how stereotypical visions of female sexuality contribute to a rape culture. It’s a powerful book. I had planned to get to the end and then talk about it overall as I would do with a book normally, but recently some of the articles have really been getting in my head and I feel like it might be better to write down some thoughts specifically on those articles. I probably won’t do this for every article but it seems like a better way to look at it, and I will do a sort of summery post when I’m completely done.

This is my second of these review/though posts for Yes Means Yes, you can read the first here

Killing Misogyny: A Personal Story of Love, Violence, and Strategies for Survival

-Cristina Meztli Tzintzún

Cristina grew up in a family which seemed stuck in a loop of misogyny. Her father cheated repeatedly on her mother, he was violent, on their first date he raped her, not even the first time she had been raped. Her aunt faced a similar fate, beaten by her father for being raped and later forced to marry her rapist.

Cristina vowed to break the chain, she would never let a man treat her as her family members had been treated. She started reading feminist literature, and became a self-proclaimed feminist. In her late teens she even wrote and had published an article about how she planned to break the chain of misogyny.

Then she met Alan. Alan seemed like the perfect man from first glance. He was a male feminist, and would get into discussions about feminism with Cristina. When their relationship became sexual he agreed to get tested for STIs before they had sex for the first time.

But things were not as they seemed. Cristina developed herpes from oral sex. Initially she refused to see Alan, but she believed that he would be the only one to give her attention knowing that she had an STI and she returned to him.

Over the next few years Alan and Cristina had an on again off again relationship. He would cheat on her, or give her and STI and she would leave him, but she couldn’t resist him and kept returning. She even went to a group for women like her, but they didn’t know about feminism and she didn’t feel a connection to them. Alan knew about feminism and she believed that he wanted to change, despite all the evidence to the contrary she thought she could be the one to change him.

Cristina has left Alan now, for good. She helps support women who are in the situation she was in. She says that she needed to experience that misogyny for herself to be able to understand it, to understand those who are trapped by it, and to do her best to defeat it.

That she has turned her life around is a hopeful message. It says you can change your life. You can get yourself out that hole. You might fall, but you can get up again. Or at least that is how it should be.

Somehow I find that hope hard to see. She kept returning, how can she be sure that this is it? Even her mother was disappointed with Cristina for leaving Alan, but she is stuck in the same life herself. I get that she doesn’t want that life for her daughter, but I find it hard to see why she stays. I know there probably is not one simple reason, but it seems to diminish the hope from Cristina’s own escape.

I have said before that I feel I’m privileged when it comes to my experiences as a woman, so maybe this is why I can’t see the hope in this story, because I have never experienced anything close to it (and I am thankful for that)?

 

What do you think? Am I missing the hope in this story? Does it have more power than I realise for the right people?

 

Feel free to comment anonymously on this post. It will go into a moderating queue but am unlikely not to approve it

3 Comments

Filed under essays, Feminism, non-fiction review

Yes Means Yes: Touch and Consent


Recently I have been reading ‘Yes Means Yes‘, a collection of essays which talk about female sexuality and consent and how stereotypical visions of female sexuality contribute to a rape culture. It’s a powerful book. I had planned to get to the end and then talk about it overall as I would do with a book normally, but recently some of the articles have really been getting in my head and I feel like it might be better to write down some thoughts specifically on those articles. I probably won’t do this for every article but it seems like a better way to look at it, and I will do a sort of summery post when I’m completely done.

Reclaiming Touch: Rape Culture, Explicit Verbal Consent, and Body Sovereignty.

-Hazel/Cedar Troost

Reclaiming Touch is the first article which really got into my head because it made me look at consent in a whole different light, but I’m still debating with myself over it. In the essay Hazel/Cedar Troost talks about the idea of a sort of expanded consent. The idea is that you should seek consent, and be asked for consent for any type of physical contact, be it a simple hug or something that already requires consent.

Initially I did think that the idea was a bit extreme, that was my sort of gut reaction. I couldn’t really imagine the idea of asking my friends if I could hug them, or my partner if I could hold his hand, because it’s just something that we do. I’m a quite physically affectionate person, I probably wouldn’t just go ahead and hug someone I’d never hugged before without asking, but I guess I would presume consent from having done it before.

It came to a point though where I realised that actually some of that sort of talk is used to justify rape where someone has had sex with the rapist before. In those situations we talk of saying yes once as being consent for that one time, we shouldn’t presume that another time the person may not want it.

It could be the same for any sort of physical contact, just because I have hugged my friend in the past it doesn’t mean that they want a hug now, plus there are times when different types of physical contact might not be appropriate.

Another point Troost made is that seeking consent for small things made seeking consent for bigger things easier. It sets a sort of precedent which means that you wouldn’t even think twice to ask about big things, because you ask for everything else. To me this means that teaching people to ask for consent for everything would mean that they grow to respect other boundaries and makes ‘grey’ rape less likely.

Troost also says that this type of consent actually improves a person’s sex life. I don’t know, it somehow to me makes it seem that things would be less spontaneous, and when you know someone well you can probably read the signs that they aren’t into it (or they would tell you). However I can see it being liberating knowing exactly what each other wants, and knowing that you are both getting enjoyment from the situation. It makes sure you are both on the same level.

 

 

What do you think? Is it extreme to seek consent for everything, or does it create a good habit?

4 Comments

Filed under essays, Feminism, non-fiction review

Do No Harm- Henry Marsh


Synopsis

Henry Marsh is a renowned brain surgeon working in the NHS in the UK. In ‘Do No Harm’ he gives an account of his life as a brain surgeon. He speaks of how the NHS has changed over the years, his victories and his failures, and the effects these things have had on his life.

 

Review

I found out about ‘Do No Harm’ first through Ellie’s blog, and I added it to my wishlist instantly, since that time I heard lots of great things about it, but it was only when it came up on the kindle monthly deals that I actually bought it, in some ways I’m glad I waited, in others I wish I’d gotten to it sooner.

I actually ended up reading it when I was in hospital for my own operation (because apparently I’m insane) I think that I could read about operations at the time without getting freaked out shows just how interested I was. Having said that I wouldn’t say it’s a good book for the faint hearted, there are some rather graphic descriptions of operations- although personally I felt Marsh’s sense of control and anxiety more than I felt squeamish.

You did get a sense of Marsh caring about his patients, he spoke about how he had caused the death, or lack of life, in some patients and how you had to lock that knowledge away because otherwise you would just give up, but that didn’t stop you from feeling guilty. When you do operations which do have such a high level of risk then there are bound to be times that it doesn’t go to plan, and Marsh has probably saved more lives than he has ended, he has a strange mix of guilt for these cases and the stereotypical surgeon arrogance. It made me start to think of that arrogance as a sort of defense mechanism- like a surgeon needs that arrogance otherwise they will always be terrified of what failure will cause, they have to believe things will go right to be able to take that risk.

Another interesting thing was how Marsh talked about how the NHS has changed, and, as he sees it, has become less effective. He wrote of how things were held back by too much paperwork, and bureaucracy, and computers that didn’t work. At one point he is trying to get some x-ray results, but he doesn’t seem to be able to see them on his computer so he goes to the x-ray department, who only seem to be able to see them with one person’s log in. The computers are meant to make things easier but Marsh says if they had the old x-ray films he could have just picked it up and looked in a few seconds instead of trying for a long time to see them on the computer.

This is particularly poignant now because the NHS has been getting lots of cuts, and sold off to private companies, both things which makes it harder for frontline staff to do their jobs. We are very lucky in this country. Our NHS is (generally) free. Anyone can access healthcare. Without the NHS some of Marsh’s patients wouldn’t have been able to afford their operations. It seems crazy that people think the NHS should be scrapped. No it’s not perfect, but the thought of it going away terrifies me, and that seems to be what our current government is working towards. We have a nursing shortage but for some reason the government decided that they would stop the nursing bursary, and we have lots of foreign nurses which we may no longer have with Brexit, and lots of nurses are leaving because their pay has been frozen, they’re having to do more hours, and the paperwork side of things has increased so much that they feel they can’t give time to patients.

Okay end of political rant.

I really found this book interesting and Marsh’s style of writing made it easy to read as well rather than clinical and dry. Now I just have to decide whether to buy a similar book about heart surgery next or Marsh’s second memoir…any recommendations?

4.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£5.99)

Paperback (£6.29)

Other Reviews:

Ellie @ Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

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

Leave a comment

Filed under health, Memoir, non-fiction review

All the things the Witches of Harry Potter Taught Us (Part 3)


See part one here (all about Hermione) and part two here (Luna and Ginny)

molly_weasley_sketch_by_crazyukulele-d73s1rl

Image by Jodi Jones

Molly

I doubt there is a Potter fan out there who doesn’t love the moment when Molly shouts “Not my daughter you bitch!” before defeating Bellatrix, in some ways it’s a surprise because we never really saw Molly using non-household spells, we know she’s good at those, but it doesn’t make us expect her to be a powerful witch, but on the other hand we know how much she cares about her family, of course she’s going to do everything she can to protect Ginny, and we know she’s fierce, even Arthur seems a bit afraid of her! It’s easy to underestimate her, but we really shouldn’t.

lily__s_sacrifice_by_julvett

Image by julvett

Lily

Lily shares a lot with Molly when you think about it, her strength is her love for others, she even sacrifices herself for Harry. That’s pretty much the bravest thing she could have done. From what we have been told about her we also know she is a very powerful witch.

I also want to mention Narcissa here, although not exactly a hero just as Molly and Lily she puts her family first. She took a risk with making the unbreakable vow with Snape, and lying to Voldemort about Harry’s death. Her decisions weren’t the best, but I sort of see her as how Lily might have been if she had followed Voldemort to protect Harry instead (which I know wouldn’t have worked, but if it could have she may have been quite similar).

 

Leave a comment

Filed under general

All the things the Witches of Harry Potter Taught Us (Part 2)


Hermione fans see part one here

luna_with_gryffindor_lion_by_feliciacano-d55yjto

Image by Felicia Cano

 

Luna

If you were to ask me who my favourite Harry Potter character is I would probably tell you that it’s Luna. Luna is ‘different’ but she doesn’t seem fazed that people think she is ‘loony’, she stays true to who she is which is a really difficult thing to do when you don’t really fit it, especially when you’re a teenager. I also love how Luna is so able to believe in things, maybe they don’t exist, but rather than believing what she can see Luna also believes that you can’t prove that things don’t exist just because you can’t see them. It’s where Luna and Hermione can really clash, but in a way they are both clever for the way they see things, Luna wants to explore and discover, whereas Hermione is about knowing things which are already known, Luna might not be able to reel off parts of Hogwarts; A History, but she could tell you how to know when a wrackspurt is about.

Luna is also very loyal, even though the trio haven’t exactly been the best of friends to her she still helps fight, firstly at the Ministry of Magic, and the mural in her room, whilst a little disconcerting shows how much her friends mean to her. Plus she’s kind and caring to others, helping Mr Ollivander when they are both locked up in Malfoy Manor, and helping those students who were having trouble once the deatheaters ruled the school.

Ginny

Initially I didn’t really like Ginny, she just seemed a bit flat as a character, I suppose at least part of that is because we see things through Harry’s eyes, and Ginny was fan girl type obsessed. In that sense she’s probably initially the closest we get to a stereotypical teenager, and also with how she comes out later. I also didn’t really like the Harry/Ginny thing, I think it was just too perfect, although by that point I did like Ginny herself.

As we learn more about Ginny I came to like her more. Despite being the youngest of 7, and with all her older brothers she managed to make herself known. From breaking into the broom closest to practice flying, to her bat boogey hex, size is no measure of power.

We also see her caring side with Luna, and with Harry.

One thing I really haven’t like is a tendency for fans to ‘slut shame’ Ginny for basically being a normal teenager. So she dated more than any of the trio but they are probably the exception, I imagine that there are plenty of others in Hogwarts who dated just as much (or even more) than Ginny did, we just never heard about it (I bet Bill was popular in his day!).

 

I think this post is long enough now. I’ll continue later in the week.

1 Comment

Filed under general

All the Things the Witches in Harry Potter Taught Us (Part 1)


It has been 20 years (20 years!) since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone first made it’s quiet little entrance onto our shelves, who would have thought that kid’s book I pulled out my stocking on Christmas day 20 years (20 years!) ago would turn into what it has today. Books, and films, and spin-offs and theme parks. My first home online, with the old DSL connection, on the very basic Bloomsbury message board where you had to type in your username everytime, was because of Harry. I have spoken often before about how much these books have been so important to me, and I don’t want to just be rehashing old ground (I’ll leave some links at the bottom though). but I do need to do something.

So I was thinking, and I thought about those beautiful new house editions which came out yesterday, and I was thinking about how they are a thing to possess and treasure, rather than just a book to read, but it’s not really the books as an object that are the things you treasure. You treasure the memories, and the stories, and the characters.

Then I started thinking about how J.K has been criticised for her books being too white, too middle-class. Maybe it’s not representative of the whole world, maybe it doesn’t have to be because guess what? There are some amazing characters in there. And, at a time when J.K was being told not to put her first name on books because it would put boys off, she wrote some really amazing, strong women. Harry Potter isn’t a feminist novel, but maybe it should be. Let’s see we have to of course start with…

hermione_-_jim_kay_1_

Copyright Jim Kay

Hermione

The ‘Greatest Witch of Her Age’. Hermione I think is so many of us, she was certainly the character I would have said I had most in common with, at least early on. She’s smart, and bookish, and ‘good’, and she doesn’t have many friends. She’s not beautiful, she has big teeth and bushy hair (let’s put to the side the idea that she’s black, imagine her how you always imagine her). I even thought that I looked like Hermione. We can all see why she’s bookish, we are all the readers escaping into another world, and think about it Hermione was actually escaping into another world, she was muggleborn, she’d probably read The Hobbit, and The Secret Garden, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, things like that don’t happen to ‘normal’ people. She must have been so excited.

So with this bond of hers of course Hogwarts was exciting, and of course she wanted to do well, so of course she spent days reading the textbooks and anything else she could lay her hands on, it was a dream. I even imagine that it was disappointing to find how much was the same as a muggle school. No wonder she was upset that ‘nobody liked her’ it stopped the place from being an amazing fairytale she had ended up in. The  Harry and Ron brought that fairytale back (maybe more than she would really have expected!).

She was the clever one, Harry may have thought with his heart, but he really needed Hermione to be his head. And she ended up not being such a goody-two-shoes after all.  In first year she set a teacher on fire. In second year she brewed an advanced potion which required taking a book from the restricted section of the library, stealing potions from the Snape’s  personal supplies, and hiding it in a bathroom. And that was just the first two years!

I guess what I’m saying is that she had a sense of being good, and right. She appreciated the rules, but she was willing to break them for the right reasons, and her friends were top of that list of reasons.

She taught us that it’s ok to be clever, and strong, and to stand-up for people (and house elves). She showed us that women can get high up  politics without having to be ‘bitches’ (even if she did have a slight bossy streak).

We are all Hermione, and that’s awesome.

(ok so I got here and realised I’d basically written a mini essay on Hermione….so stay tuned for part two)

Other places where I rave about Harry Potter:

How to Know You’re Still a Potterhead

If You Could Only Remember 1 Book

Chamber of Secrets Forum- In Memoriam

Looking back, teenage reading

Harry Potter Week

Me and Harry

Me and Books

2 Comments

Filed under general, Musings

The Lake House- Kate Morton


Synopsis

Whilst on enforced holiday police officer Sadie Sparrow stumbles across an abandoned house that holds a secret. 70 years ago a young child went missing and was never found. Sadie decides to revisit the case and see if she can solve it.

Reveiw

I really enjoy Kate Morton’s books, I like the combinations of mystery, history and relationships. The Lake House is a little bit different, it has more of a ‘standard’ mystery story about it, mainly because it involves an unsolved crime and the actual police where her others are generally more about the people who are involved in the mystery. It still definitely had her personal element, looking at the way the past had affected people now. From how Sadie’s own past had an effect on her to how the child’s own family had been affected by his disappearance.

There were a lot of theories banded about, at first I thought that maybe ‘The Lake House’ was an earlier book by Morton which had been republished because I always felt I was one step ahead of Sadie. Thinking about it a bit more closely though I think that made me be more closely entangled with what Sadie was thinking, and I had more information than Sadie as the book would shift between times, and included sections where you saw into the minds of different people involved.  This gave not just a good look into the mystery, but also a look at the lives and minds of those involved.

There were a couple of things I disliked I thought that (highlight for spoiler) Constance’s killing of Mr LLewellyn just didn’t seem like it was really needed for the story and I found that (highlight for spoiler)Bertie actually being Theo was just a bit too convenient, it fact it slightly spoiled the end of the book for me, maybe I just like a few loose ends.  It didn’t quite hold my attention as well as other Morton books either.

3.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£4.74)

Paperback (£5.59)

Hardback (£14.99)

Other reviews:

The Book Musings

Silver’s Reviews

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction review, Historical, Mystery

Nasty Women- 404 Inc.


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

Synopsis

‘Nasty Women’ is a series of essays written by nasty women, that is women who apart from being marginalised because of being women are also marginalised for other reasons e.g. being gay. being of non-white descent. The essays talk of life for women in the world today.

Review

I’ve really been into feminist books recently (apart from this I have recently read Moranifesto and Animal, and I’ve started Yes Means Yes), so when I saw this on netgalley it instantly caught my eye.

Nasty Women is inspired by Donald Trump’s comment about Hillary Clinton being a “Nasty woman” and the following twitter trend, because of that I sort of presumed that the book would be written by American women. I was wrong, it doesn’t matter to me, just a comment. 404 Inc. are based in Scotland so, understandably, a lot of the writers were British, and many of those Scottish. In a way I maybe prefered this being British myself because that made a lot of the essays easier for me to relate too.

Having said that I do think I’m a privileged woman. My everyday sexism stories are few and far between, I’m straight, I’m white, I’m educated. Some of the people in these essays aren’t as lucky as I am, and those essays were eye opening. I don’t want to go into too much detail, there were elements I recognised and connected to, and those I didn’t so much but which I could understand.

As far as readability goes it was quite variable. Most of the essays were easy to read, I’d say the conversational types, it doesn’t mean the ones I had to concentrate on more weren’t good, just harder going.

The fact that Donald Trump won though really makes me angry. Partly as a woman, mainly as a human being.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£4.99)

Paperback (£8.99)

Leave a comment

Filed under Feminism, non-fiction review

Readathon Closing Survey


Well, here we are, I finished! That was good fun, could have kept going though.

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

Hour 10/11 somewhere between 11pm and midnight I started . getting a bit blurry eyed so took a break to look at twitter and the challenges, then had supper whilst reading and got some sleep. I guess my waking up hour was tough too, I spent about half an hour hitting snooze, that was 8:30am…not sure which hour
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a reader engaged for next year?

Armada when really well for me, I spent most of yesterday evening and some of this morning on that one. I did have in my head to read bits of Moranifesto in between because I could just read one essay to break things up, but I ended up not doing that.
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season?

Not really. I wouldn’t mind it being longer, but I suppose people who read the whole 24hrs wouldn’t agree with me there!
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

I liked the challenges, especially some of the more creative ones.
5. How many books did you read?

2 and a bit.
6. What were the names of the books you read?

Career of Evil- Robert Galbriath

Armada- Ernest Cline

and I started Cauldestone- Linda Gillard
7. Which book did you enjoy most?

Probably Armada
8. Which did you enjoy least?

errr…I guess Cauldstone because I didn’t finish
9. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I really want to, but it depends, this time I had an excuse to do nothing.

Leave a comment

Filed under general, Memes, readathon

Readathon Opening Survey


18156250_1845241188837582_6675611227449692308_oEkkk I’m so excited it’s my first readathon!

You can find Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon here

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

I’m in the UK, Birmingham, which means I’m starting at 13:00, I think that’s a good time to start!
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Most of my books are actually on my kindle, I loaded a load when I was going to hospital, most of which I didn’t read. I’m looking forward to finishing ‘Career of Evil’ which is my current major read. And I’m looking forward to ‘Moranifesto’.
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

I bought myself some chocolate cornflake cakes which I am really addicted to. Also we’re ordering in curry from my favourite Indian for dinner, not exactly a snack but still yumm!
4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

My name is Lucy, I’m 30. I’ve had this blog for almost 10 years but this is my first readathon, I’ve been wanting to join in for ages but the times have never matched up with my schedule. This time I’m on sick leave from work and pretty much not allowed to move from the sofa so it’s perfect.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I’m really looking forward to the community spirit side of things, and also hopefully making a decent dent in my TBR pile

2 Comments

Filed under general, readathon

Children’s Hour: Jack and the Beanstalk


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.
A few months ago we got a forest school put into our nursery. The kids loved it, and still do, and we found it really sparked the imagination of some of the children. One of the children suggested that the posts for the hammocks (which we put up as an when) could be candles for a giant’s birthday cake, so that started us off on a whole topic about the giant who had visited our forest school. Of course we needed to find out more about giants so we read Jack and the Beanstalk.

I think there is a reason why some stories stay around for a long time, and the kids certainly enjoyed this one. They used what they had learnt from the book to facilitate their play, from hiding, to cutting down the big tree so that he would fall.

The edition which we have is a lift-the-flap book (it’s the same as the one shown and linked below) which is always something which helps to engage the kids because they love lifting the flaps. They asked to read it quite a few times after it had first been introduced, and a lot of them could tell parts of the story off by heart. We even had one parent coe in and tell us that their son had been talking about Jack and the Beanstalk at home- which is really lovely to hear.

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.99)

Paperback with CD (£7.99)

Kindle (£2.69)

Leave a comment

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

Small Great Things- Jodi Picoult


Synopsis

When the baby of .a white supremacist dies fingers point to black nurse Ruth who had been banned from caring for the child.

Review

I was excited about reading ‘Small Great Things’ as I generally really enjoy what Picoult writes, but I was also a little unsure. For a white author to write in the voice of a black woman could be problematic, I was concerned about stereotypes, or just that generally the character wouldn’t be right. Thinking about it more I thought that maybe I shouldn’t be concerned about it, after all part of Picoult’s writing is about people who aren’t herself. She can never be a black woman, but then she can never be a male lawyer with epilepsy either, or a child who speaks to God (or at least she can’t be that and a teenage witch, school shooter, abused teenager, abused child, suicide victim) so why shouldn’t she be able to imagine the voice of a black woman?

Whether she wrote an actual realistic representation of a black woman, I can’t say, but I didn’t think that it was stereotypical, and I did think that an interesting view was put on racism which seemed rather empathic. Whether she was actually a believable character is a bit of a moot point, because Picoult definitely did a good job of highlighting, sometimes unnoticed, elements of prejudice and racism.

What I was more surprised about was how Picoult managed to make the voice of the white supremacist a voice which couple be understood and sympathised with- beyond simply as the voice of a man who had lost his child. It wasn’t so much that you could understand why he was racist as you could see how someone could fall into that life.

There was one part of the story which I did find hard to believe, and I don’t think it was really needed. Maybe Picoult just wanted a twist at the end. I won’t say what it was because of spoilers.

I found when I started writing this review that ‘Small Great Things’ is being made into a film– lets hope a better job is made of it as there was on ‘My Sister’s Keeper.’

4//5

Buy it:

Paperback (£2.99)

Kindle (£4.99)

Hardback (£4.99)

Other Reviews:

Annette’s Book Stop

So Many Books, So Little Time

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Contempory, Crime, Fiction review

Beelzebelle- Heide Goody and Iain Grant


Beelzebelle is the fifth book in the Clovenhoof series

Synopsis

Only Jeremy Clovenhoof could accidentally acquire a baby, but he’s ready to be a Dad- in his own way.

Meanwhile Michael has discovered a new church, Ben has found a new hobby in taxidermy, and there is a wild beast roaming around Sutton Coldfield.

Review

I’m glad to see the series back with Clovenhoof, not that I didn’t like the others, I just missed that group.

Clovenhoof approaches parenthood like no other, including hiring a monkey assistant  and joining a mother’s group in a quest for milk for the baby. Of course things don’t quite go to plan, especially as he’s not really the baby’s father!

A lot of the more action-y part of the story is focussed around Michael who finds a new church which rewards its members for ‘good deads’, a bit like a supermarket loyalty card. and also, accidently creates a beast in the lab where he works.

As with most of the clovenhoof novels most of the action is towards the end, but there is an amusing journey to get there.

4/5 

Buy it

Kindle (£3.50)

Paperback (£8.99)

Leave a comment

Filed under Contempory, Fantasy, Fiction review, Humour

Problems with E-books


I love my kindle. It’s small. It fits in my bag perfectly, I can carry thousands of pages without needing a massive bag, and my arms won’t fall off. The books tend to be cheaper, I can even get free books, and it’s easier as a reviewer to get ebooks to review.

Before I got my kindle I really was unsure. I thought you couldn’t replace a real book. The feel of paper in your hands, the smell of the paper and the ink. The idea of snuggling up with what was essentially a computer just seemed impossible. I would say I still prefer the overall experience of reading a paper book, but actually snuggling up with my kindle is sometimes easier, especially when a paper version would be a big tome.

However there are some things which really annoy me about kindle books. I dislike that amazon presumes where you want to start a book, and where you want to finish it. I usually flick back (I say flick but you can’t really flick a kindle book) to the actual beginning, the cover page, because amazon will miss out those little quotes, or the forward, or any other little bit that comes before the first ‘official’ chapter, and sometimes these really add to the book itself. Amazon will also tell you that you’ve finished a book before the afterword, or the appendix, or the thanks, they aren’t always things you read, but again they often add a little something. According to amazon the book I just read (‘Animal’ by Sara Pascoe) starts at 2% and finishes at 98%, and I can tell you that there are actual interesting things to read in that extra 4%.

It’s actually ‘Animal’ which started me off on this whole train of thought.  ‘Animal’ has footnotes. I am yet to find a kindle book with footnotes which work (I’ve mentioned it before in reviews I believe). In ‘Animal’ the footnotes are at the end of the chapter, in a paper book that’s fine because you can flick back and forth (which I still don’t find perfect but it’s easy enough), in a kindle book you can’t flick, you either have to click through each page, or just wait and read all the footnotes when you’ve finished the chapter, by which time you’ve forgotten what most of them refer to. If it’s just references that’s one thing, but in ‘Animal’ it actually adds to the writing as it is written, which means that you do need to know what the footnotes refer to. ‘The Princess Bride’ actually uses footnotes as part of the story, that must be a nightmare on kindle. I don’t know if it’s the publishers who are causing this problem by the way they reformat books for kindle, or if it’s that amazon doesn’t allow formatting which works out better, but either way it really frustrates me.

The other books which don’t really work are the sort of books which are designed to be flicked through rather than read from cover to cover, although those type of books are more for sharing so I wouldn’t personally buy them for kindle so that doesn’t matter so much.

6 Comments

Filed under Musings

Deals of the Moment- April 2017


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

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.



A Girl is a Half-formed Thing- Eimear McBride

A Girl is a Half-formed Thing has been on my radar since in won the women’s prize. One of those on the wishlist but never bought ones. It is about a girl and her relationship with her brother who had a brain tumour as a child.

You can buy it…here (only £2.29)


Freedom- Jonathan Frazan

I’ve never read any Frazan, there’s a reason he’s popular right? Otherwise nobody would read him because of his tendency to be a bit of a…idiot.

This is one of those expansive novels and I can’t quite work out the plot except that it’s about a family.

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)



The Lady in the Van- Alan Bennett

About the lady who lived in a van by Alan Bennett’s house. Completely on this list because Alan Bennett.

You can buy it….here (only £1.29)


Grief is the Thing With Feathers- Max Porter

I’ve picked up this one several times in the bookshop, but somehow never actually bought it. It’s about 2 boys, and their father, and a crow, and their lives after their mother/wife dies.

Buy it…here (only £2.59)


Leave a comment

Filed under general

What I’m Reading Now


Hi, I’m back! Considering all the reading I’m going to be having the time to do, and that I’ve done already I thought I would do a sort of last, now and next post.

I’ve also linked this post up with ‘It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?’

I have just finished…

‘Small Great Things’- Jodi Picoult

I got a surprisingly good deal on the hardback of this, it was actually cheaper than the paperback. It’s the usual Jodi Picoult moral dilemma story. This time a black nurse is accused of being the cause of the death of the child of a white supremacist. I thought the voice of the white supremacist was surprisingly easy to emphasise with, but it’s difficult to judge how well her voice of a black woman came across. Full review to        follow

I am currently reading…

Do No Harm- Henry Marsh

Because I am insane I decided to start reading this memoir of a neurosurgeon about a week before I went into hospital. Whilst there I put it on a break (although I was still reading it the day before my surgery). I am finding it really interesting, and readable, and I’m almost done with it now. I got a good deal on this one too.

All the Light We Cannot See- Anthony Doeer

This one has been on my TBR pile since Christmas. I only started it today so I have no real opinion yet but I’ve heard great things, and it’s a novel set during wartime which I tend to enjoy.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone- J.K. Rowling

I brought this one into the hospital mainly as a comfort read, and actually didn’t read much of it in the end (I have been tending to watch The Gilmore Girls as a comfort thing instead which takes even less concentration). I may still read it but it’s looking pretty unlikely. (link is to another edition)

Up next…

Nasty Women- Various

I got this series of essays about being a woman in the 21st century from netgalley. Once I’m done with ‘Do no Harm’ it’s going to be the next read on my kindle

3 Comments

Filed under general, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Memes, what are you reading?

On Hiatus


I’m going into hospital today for a heart operation I have been waiting about 5 years for. I will probably be in hospital for a couple of weeks, although recovery is much longer.

I hope I’ll be able to be back to blogging when I get back, but no promises!

6 Comments

Filed under general

Deals of the Moment- March 2017


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

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.



Left Neglected- Lisa Genova

Left Neglected is about a woman who essentially looses the left side of her body, her mind just can’t connect to it. With Genova’s medical knowledge and sensitivity it’s a great read.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


Inside the O’Briens- Lisa Genova

Inside the O’Briens was one of my favourite reads last year. This one is about a man with Huntington’s and his family

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)



The Dust That Falls from Dreams- Louis de Bernieres

I’ve bought this one mainly because it’s by Louis de Bernieres and it’s set during war time, about 3 sisters and the boys who lived next door.

You can buy it….here (only £1.99)


Do No Harm- Henry Marsh

I bought this after having it on my wishlist after reading Ellie’s review. It’s the biography of a neurosurgeon and I’m reading it now, so far it’s interesting, although I’m not sure it’s the wisest thing to read on the week I’m due to go to hospital for an operation myself!

Buy it…here (only £0.99)


 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under general

Opinions wanted


In my last post I wrote my first original synopsis (i.e. not copied off amazon). Before I have slightly adapted amazon synopsis’ when I think that the amazon versions are lacking.

I wondered what you thought of me doing this more frequently, or if you prefer the ‘official’ blurbs?

1 Comment

Filed under general

Our Endless Numbered Days- Claire Fuller


Synopsis (written by me!)

When Peggy is young she goes on a trip with her father to a cut off area of the woods, her father tells her that the world has ended, and everyone she knew is dead. They are the only survivors and must keep themselves alive living off the land.  The story is told looking back after Peggy has found the world again, and discovered that her father was lying.

Review

It took me a very long time to get into this book, I as reading it for months. I was in the middle of a slump, which probably was a part of it, but the story was slower than I had expected, and a lot of the time not much was really happening. Towards the end it picked up a lot, and I read the last, maybe third, quite quickly. I’m not sure that last section actually brought up the story enough for me to recommend it, but it probably just about made it worthwhile for me as someone who had already started it.

As I’m writing this review more bits of the book are coming back to me from what was quite hazy. There were some good plot points throughout, although not enough to make me eager to read. They were nice little touches though, and they might be enough for others.

Looking at other reviews it seems to be a very much ‘marmite’ book, so I suppose it might be worth giving a try, although it seems that if you don’t like it close to the

3/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.59)

Kindle (£4.99)

Other Reviews

Me, My Shelf and I

Curiosity Killed the Bookworm

Word By Word

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review

Children’s Hour: The Lion Inside


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.

I bought The Lion Inside for the kids when I got a new copy of Bear Hunt for our workshop, because it was on the same offer. At the moment we have a group of kids who re really rowdy, and some of them find storytime/carpet time really difficult to sit through and listen during, so I was looking for a book which would engage them (because I know they can be engaged). The Lion Inside did a pretty good job; if anything too good a job because rather than jumping up to mess around or turning and poking their friends they were jumping up to look at the pictures or ask questions (which is a good reason to jump up, just makes it difficult for the other kids).

The story is about a mouse who wants to make friends and be noticed, but is too small and too quiet, so she decides to ask the loud, popular, lion to . teach her how to roar. It’s a nice story about friendship, and being brave, and about judging others. I was hoping it would teach that you don’t have to be loud to be noticed- I’m not sure that quite got through though!

The pictures are beautiful, I especially like the image below, where the lion looks big and scary- although you soon find that he is not what you expect!

There was one line in the book which almost stopped me from buying it “If you want to change, you first have to change you”, it sort of suggests that you should change for others, although it’s later shown not to be true. I’m not sure the kids got this subtlety, although one asked about the line so I could explain it anyway!

Buy it:

Paperback (£3.85)

Kindle (£3.99)

Leave a comment

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

Hellzapoppin’- Heide Goody and Iain Grant


Synopsis (from amazon)

Life at St Cadfan’s is never dull. There’s the cellar full of unexplained corpses. There’s the struggle to find food when the island is placed under quarantine. And there’s that peculiar staircase in the cellar… Being a demon in Hell has its own problems. There’s the increasingly impossible torture quotas to meet. There’s the entire horde of Hell waiting for you to slip up and make a mistake. And there’s that weird staircase in the service tunnels… Brother Stephen of St Cadfan’s and Rutpsud of the Sixth Circle, natural enemies and the most unnatural of friends, join forces to solve a murder mystery, save a rare species from extinction and stop Hell itself exploding. The fourth novel in the Clovenhoof series, Hellzapoppin’ is an astonishing comedy featuring suicidal sea birds, deadly plagues, exploding barbecues, dancing rats, magical wardrobes, King Arthur’s American descendants, mole-hunting monks, demonic possession and way too much seaweed beer.

Review

Hellzapoppin’ is the fourth book in the Clovenhoof series, but can easily be read as a standalone novel. We have seen the characters in previous books in the series, but they were minor characters, and the events in the previous books they appeared in don’t really have an effect on the events in this one (I would recommend reading the others anyway).

This one did take a little more getting into than the first couple (probably about the same as Godsquad though), and it had less of an action focus.

I did like seeing the image of what Hell might be like though- again a little bit of a poke at bureaucracy that we first saw in Clovenhoof. I also likes the friendship between Ratspud and Stephen. It seems like an unlikely friendship- a monk and a demon, but actually they ended up bringing out the best in each other.

I also liked some of the odd inventions in hell, and the inclusion of Escher and C.S Lewis. If you know the work of Escher you can probably imagine how hellish a piece of architecture based on his work could be. C.S Lewis is known for being a Christian and his Christian writings so it’s interesting to see him here, ‘on loan’ from Heaven.

escheromhoogomlaag

I enjoyed the comedy of the events at the monastery, even the dark humour which isn’t always to my taste.

Part of the reason I picked up Hellzapoppin’ was because of my loss of reading mojo, which I thought this might get through, and I was right.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£2.99)

Paperback (£7.99)

1 Comment

Filed under Fantasy, Fiction review, Humour

Children’s Hour: Our Bear Hunt Workshop *Special*


Children’s Hour is a feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog on Thursdays where I look 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 currently work with the pre-schoolers (aged 3-4) so most of my readings are to them.

This week I am not talking about a book as such, but about an afternoon we had based around our favourite book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.

One of our parents had suggested a story hour as a workshop idea as her kid loves stories, but most of our kids couldn’t sit and listen to stories for that long! So I decided to do a story based workshop instead, based around Bear Hunt.

We started off reading the story together, and it was really nice to have the children and the parents joining in. Then we had a talk about how the bear felt (sad, because he wanted to be friends) before doing some bear hunt related activities. (unfortunately child protection means I can’t put any photos).

We had planting seeds, for the grass. This was popular but most of the kids were more interested in just chucking all the dirt in the pots, and one of the kids put soil in the water, which meant we then couldn’t use the water for the river.

For the snow storm we had some coloured ice with things frozen in it. The girls especially seemed to like this one, one of the girls actually stayed doing it for a whole hour! This might have been because of the gems hidden in one of the ice pieces. The boys became more interested about it when they saw that there was a tiger in some of the ice!

For the forest we had painting with sticks, this didn’t seem that popular, which sort of surprised me, but one kid did lots of pictures and said he prefered painting with sticks over brushes.

The ‘mud’ was very popular, but also very messy! We had making muddy footprints with brown paint. Part of the mess issue with this is that the kids who didn’t have parents there were sort of taking over and it . was something that needed supervision.

Probably the most popular bit though was the cave and the bears. I put this in our forest school area, making a covered ‘cave’ area, hiding bears and leaving torches. The idea was for the kids to see how many bears that they could find, but to be honest they were more interested in just using the torches.

1 Comment

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

Deals of the Moment- February 2017


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

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 Thorn Birds- Colleen McClough

I read ‘The Thorn Birds’ quite recently, I haven’t reviewed it yet but I did enjoy it. It’s about a family who move to Australia and the following generations of that family.

You can buy it…here (only £2.39)




Love Anthony- Lisa Genova

The usual grip of Genova’s compassion and realism. Love Anthony is about two women. One coming to terms with life after her autistic child has died, and another dealing with separation from her partner and how they help each other in unexpected ways

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


Bad Science- Ben Goldacre

I’ve been interested in Bad Science for a while. It’s about all the less that scientific science things which we are exposed too. Things like ‘detox’ diets, and studies sponsored by companies which will benefit from certain results.

You can buy it….here (only £1.99)



The Hunger Games- Suzanne Collins

I’m pretty sure most people know the general premise of ‘The Hunger Games’ by now, and it’s well worth a read. It focuses around one contestant in ‘The Hunger Games’ a game held every year where children are chosed to fight to the death.

Buy it…here (only £2.69



The Secret Scripture- Sebastian Barry

Ever since I read ‘The Secret Scripture’ I’ve been hoping for a Barry novel which I loved as much. It’s the story of Roseanne, a woman who has spent most of her adult life in a mental institution in Ireland, how she got there, and her life in there.

Buy it…here (only £3.09)


The Good Immigrant- Various

The good immigrant is a series of stories from immigrants to the UK about the nature of being an immigrant. I’m really interested in this one

Buy it…here (only £2.99)


The Storyteller- Jodi Picoult

I always love a Picoult novel and ‘The Storyteller’ is no different. The story of a hidden Nazi war criminal who confesses his sins to a Jew, and her battle with what to do with the information

Buy it…here (only £0.99)

Leave a comment

Filed under general

Didn’t Get Frazzled- David Z. Hirsch


Disclaimer: This book was given to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis (from amazon)

Medical student Seth Levine faces escalating stress and gallows humor as he struggles with the collapse of his romantic relationships and all preconceived notions of what it means to be a doctor. It doesn’t take long before he realizes not getting frazzled is the least of his problems.

Seth encounters a student so arrogant he boasts that he’ll eat any cadaver part he can’t name, an instructor so dedicated she tests the student’s ability to perform a gynecological exam on herself, and a woman so captivating that Seth will do whatever it takes to make her laugh, including regale her with a story about a diagnostic squabble over an erection.

Review

The author of ‘Didn’t Get Frazzled’ (whose name isn’t actually David Z. Hirsch, that’s a pen name) is a doctor, and that made me a puzzle a lot of the time over how much was true and how much of this story was made up. I’d like to think that most of the actual medical stuff was true, but with patients and doctors given different names, but that the personal stuff was more made up. I at least would expect medical fact to be true.

It compares fairly closely to ‘The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly’ which I think is part of what confused me. It probably is a bit more accessible though because of the extra personal details given. Although I think I would be perfectly happy with just the medical bits to be honest, they were the sections which interested me the most.

Overall I really did enjoy it, there was just one section, where Seth and his friends went to a sort of sex club which I didn’t like, and found completely unneeded to the plot.

I would recommend it though. It’s an interesting, engaging, sometimes funny, and easy read, You could probably read it in one sitting if you had time.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£3.21)

Paperback (£12.89)

Leave a comment

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review

Inside the O’Briens- Lisa Genova


Synopsis (from amazon)

Joe O’Brien is a Boston cop; his physical stamina and methodical mind have seen him through decades policing the city streets, while raising a family with his wife Rosie. When he starts making uncharacteristic errors, he attributes them to stress. Finally, he agrees to see a doctor and is handed a terrifying, unexpected diagnosis: Huntington’s disease.

Not only is Joe’s life set to change beyond recognition, but each of his four grown children has a fifty-fifty chance of inheriting the disease. Observing her potential future play out in his escalating symptoms, his pretty yoga teacher daughter Katie wrestles with how to make the most of the here and now, and how to care for her dad who is, inside, always an O’Brien.

Review

‘Inside the O’Briens’ was one of my favourite reads of last year (along with ‘Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole’). It has the same sort of emotional grip of Genova’s previous novel, Still Alice, but rather than most of the emotion being focused on the ‘sufferer’ a lot is focused on the family, who can see what may come to be, and who don’t know if they want to know.

In a way the more family focused plot line is more accessible than the story of Joe himself, it’s hard to imagine yourself being ill, but easier to think of the type of dread that you may experience when you know you might be ill.

In lots of ways Inside the O’Briens is like Still Alice, except that the illness is more physical than neurological (or should I say the symptoms are as Huntington’s is a neurological disease). Like Alice, Joe was loosing a major part of himself, as a police officer his job was very physical where Alice’s required her memory and intellect. It’s hard not to compare them.

Genova’s neurological background means that the story is both realistic, and factually accurate. Her skill as a writer means that the story reads not like a dry case study, but like a compassionate look at how the medical facts can impact on real people. It is not a true story, but you can well imagine that it could be.

You can find out more about Huntington’s Disease at The Huntington Disease Association

5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£6.99)

Paperback (£7.99)

Other reviews:

So Many Books So Little Time

Book Journey

Same Still Reading

So Many Books So Little Time (yes it is a different one!)

Words For Worms

 

3 Comments

Filed under Fiction review

Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole- Allan Ropper and David Brian Burrell


Synopsis (from amazon)

What is it like to try to heal the body when the mind is under attack? In this gripping and illuminating book, Dr Allan Ropper reveals the extraordinary stories behind some of the life-altering afflictions that he and his staff are confronted with at the Neurology Unit of Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Like Alice in Wonderland, Dr Ropper inhabits a place where absurdities abound: a sportsman who starts spouting gibberish; an undergraduate who suddenly becomes psychotic; a mother who has to decide whether a life locked inside her own head is worth living. How does one begin to treat such cases, to counsel people whose lives may be changed forever? Dr Ropper answers these questions by taking the reader into a world where lives and minds hang in the balance.

Review

Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole was one of my five star reads last year, but my lack of blogging means I haven’t actually reviewed it yet.

In fact I’ve been on a bit of a non-fiction drive over the last year. In so far as I’ve been reading this year proportionally I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction.

It’s a little bit like ‘The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly’ combined with ‘House’. Lots of real life medical symptoms which seem to have obscure reasons behind them. That tends to be a lot of physical symptoms which have neurological causes, or neurological or psychological symptoms which actually have a physical cause. It’s part of what I always found interesting about House, so it’s even more interesting to see it in real life.

In other ways it’s a lot like some of Oliver Saks work. However I found it easier to read than the things that Saks had written (and I’ve read).

I also liked that you got to see a bit of the hospital itself and also the authors own learning curve. It added a little something. I guess you could say it’s a human element which you don’t get from standard case studies.

5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£6.64)

Paperback (£6.99)

Hardback (£17.99)

1 Comment

Filed under Fiction review, health, non-fiction review, psychology (non-fiction)

Year in Review 2016


2016 hasn’t been the best year when it comes to reading, and when it comes to blogging things have been even worse.

I’ve read 27 books, considering that at one point I was averaging two a week this is a big dip, and quite a few of those were short books.

Slowly things are getting back on track, and I’m hoping to read more, and blog more in 2017.

I rated three books as 5 stars in 2016. I’ve only reviewed one so far;

Ready, Player One by Ernest Cline which is really a book you have to read. I put it off because I wasn’t sure if it was my thing, and how I regretted it.

The other two are; a none fiction book about brain disorders, Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole by Allan Ropper and Brian David Burrell, which is really interesting.

And Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova, a story about a man diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, and his children who may also have the disease in their futures.

I’m not going to talk about my disappointing reads this year, mainly because I think that my lack of concentration may have made me less tolerant of harder books.

3 Comments

Filed under Fiction review, general, Musings, non-fiction review

Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Books Santa Should Leave Under my Tree


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 10 Books Santa (or Father Christmas if I’m being English) should leave under my tree. My wishlist is over 180 items long, most of them are book, because every time I see a book I want to read I add it to my list, but then when I’m shopping I see other books I want, so I only tend to get books from my list as presents. Some things have been on there a long time, the oldest item was added in 2006, the oldest book in 2009. So my problem isn’t pickig 10 things but narrowing it down to 10!

As always in o particular order

1) Where My Heart Used to Beat- Sebastian Faulks

I have been a bit disappointed by the last few Sebastian Faulks novels, but I also have loved past novels, so I shall keep going, this one sounds like it will be a good ‘un.

A man looking back on his life which includes some of the biggest events of the 20th century

 

 

2) Yes Means Yes- Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti

Maybe not really a present book, but one I am really interested in all the same.

It’s about approaches to women’s sexuality and rape. How approach to a woman’s sexuality leads to the type of victim blaming which is often seen in rape cases, and how things need to change.

 

3) Moranifesto- Caitlin Moran

What can I say, I love Caitlin Moran. Another collection of her columns, and a few unique to the book pieces.


 

 

4) The Lake House- Kate Morton

Another favourite author. I’ve loved everything my Kate Morton. With all the usual intrigue, a missing person, an abandoned house, and an old woman with secrets The Lake House promises to be no different.



5) Career of Evil- Robert Galbraith

 I have somehow yet to get my hands on this third Cormoran Strike book.

 

 

6) Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki And His Years of Pilgrimage- Haruki Murakami

 

It’s been too long since I read any Murakami (I read Sputnik Sweetheart a few months ago) and I really like the sound of this one. Tsukuru had four best friends in school, but one day they decide they don’t want to be his friends anymore. Since then Tsukuru has been adrift.

7) Migraine- Oliver Saks

 A psychology one, always high on my non-fiction lists. This one is about migraine, and manly interests me because I get the

8) The Closed Circle- Jonathan Coe

I mainly want this one because it’s a sequel to The Rotter’s Club. This time about the characters who were teenagers in The Rotter’s Club now living in the Britain of ‘New Labour’

9) A Recipe for Bees- Gail Anderson-Dargatz

I read A Cure for Death By Lightening a few years ago and really loved it. This book, by the same author is about a normal woman with gifts she can’t quite cope with. I very much doubt this will be under the tree, it doesn’t appear to be in print anymore

10) A new Kindle.

 

I haven’t even asked for this because I don’t know what kindle I want. I just know my current one is getting tired and I could really do with a new one before it completely conks out on me.

 

5 Comments

Filed under general, Memes, Top 10 Tuesday

Bookish Gifts 2016


It’s almost Christmas again so time for our round-up of Christmas bookish gifts.

Prices are correct at time of publication, and only amazon links are affiliate links.

a7074299d629889a049518e71a095346

Barbar ‘Yoga for Elephants’ tote bag

Out of Print Clothing

$18

 

 

 

 

‘When in Doubt go to the Library’ t-shirtwhen_in_doubt_library_t-shirt

The Literary Gift Company

£19.95

 

 

 

 

gone-snitchHarry Potter Snitch t-shirt

Tee Public

$14

Banned Books Mug

Uncommon Goods

$12

bookmark-light-kyouei-designIlluminated Bookmark

DesignBoom Shop

$16

 

 

 

Silver Snitch Bracelet

Sour Cherrysilver_harry_potter_snitch_bracelet_design_2__08108-1448421539

£9

 

 

socks-1013-very-hungry-caterpillar-adult-socks_1_1024x1024The Very Hungry Caterpillar Socks

Out of Print Clothing

$10

 

 

 

 

Gryffindor Sword Letter Opener

Amazon

£41.53

 

il_570xn-988829323_luniSilver ‘Moby Dick’ Bookmark

Silverleafitaly @ etsy

£379.37

 

 

beetrix_potter_necklace_3__46853-14267851181

Mrs Tittlemouse Pendant

Sour Cherry

£10

 

 

 

1147512_16090912280046286936A Stay at the Tokyo Book and Bed Hotel

From ¥3,800

1 Comment

Filed under Fiction review

Some Small Reviews, and Serial Reader


breakfast-serial-iconRecently I’ve been reading some books on an app called Serial Reader. Serial Reader is a free app, which I found out about on thingy thing. It has a number of  books on it (mainly classics) which are sent to the app in small bite sized chunks (of about 10 minutes worth of reading time) with one chunk being sent per day.

It’s really designed for people who don’t have time to read (who I don’t understand) but I find it’s good for when I’m waiting for a little time and don’t want to get involved in a whole book.

So far I’ve only been reading the shorter pieces, which I feel is more ideal, but you can read longer things, it just takes longer.

There is a Serial Reader premium, which allows you to read ahead and highlight, among other things.

So far I’ve read two books, and started two others, so I thought I’d review these. I also started Sun Tzu’s Art of War which I doubt I’ll finish but is on the Rory List

The Monkey’s Paw– W.W. Jacobs

Most people know the barebones of The Monkey’s Paw, at least anyone who has watched a few of The Simpson’s Halloween episodes. The  basic premise is that there is a monkey’s paw which gives the owner three wishes. However it is somewhat of a curse because of the way the stories came true.

It was pretty spooky, but had a little too much superfluous information which made the beginning drag, and the actual wishing bit was more brief than I expected. A quite entertaining little read.

If you would rather read it on your kindle it’s only 49p

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button– F Scott Fitzgerald

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is the story of a man who ages backwards, he is born as an old man, and dies as a baby.

My own knowledge of the story comes mainly from the film, the film lasts over two hours, so I knew they really must have stretched the plot to make a short story into such a long film. I think I expected a bit more similarity though.

It was an enjoyable read, and I think it did well as a short story (which I often find are lacking in something). I didn’t really feel much for Benjamin, but I think what was more interesting was how others reacted to him.

You can read this one on kindle for free (as part of Tales of the Jazz Age)

1 Comment

Filed under Fiction review, general

What the world needs now is Hygge? | Chrisbookarama


Finding comfort with hygge reading.

Source: What the world needs now is Hygge? | Chrisbookarama

I saw this post earlier today on Chrisbookarama (but for some reason wouldn’t comment, so I hope she doesn’t mind me borrowing her idea).

The post was about comfort reading, which I think a lot of us are in need of right now.

My ultimate comfort read is Harry Potter. There’s an escapism in those books, that whole new world that Rowling has created, I think theirs also the element that I grew up with those books so it sort of takes me back to happy times reading them for the first time. I have many happy memories related to Harry Potter.

If buzzfeed is to be believed I’m not the only one who finds comfort (and even strength) in Potter.

There are other books to escape into, although not a chick-lit fan generally, I do find that chick-lit is pretty easy to sort of ‘dive’ into, and in that sense it’s comforting because I find I don’t need the same concentration to get into a story.

The other thing is ‘issue’ type books (especially Jodi Picoult, not exactly comforting as such, more they wrap you up in someone else’s world and someone else’s problems, somehow your problems don’t seem so bad themselves.

What are some stories you like to escape into?

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Musings

Children’s Hour: Dinosaur Kisses


Children’s Hour is a new 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.

It was quite a long time ago that I read Dinosaur Kisses to the pre-schoolers, in fact I think I originally chose it from the library for the toddlers. However I do remember that they found it funny. In it Dinah, the dinosaur wants to give everybody a kiss but keeps getting it wrong, she just has too many teeth for kissing!

It’s a cute little book, and Dinah is a loving character. The kids loved laughing at her getting the kissing wrong, and they described what she was doing instead. Some of the reviewers on amazon seem to think that their kids would learn to bite instead of kiss because of it, which seems strange to me, but maybe for some kids if it’s not explained.

Buy it:

Paperback (£6.99)

Leave a comment

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

Film of the book- Still Alice


This post contains spoilers for the book and film of Still Alice.

I’ve been wanting to watch Still Alice for a long time. Having loved the book. and heard good things about the film. So I was excited, but also a bit unsure, mainly because when I love a book I see every problem in the film.

The film did stand up quite well. It stayed quite close to the original story, and it certainly pitched a punch emotionally, although not quite as well as the book. The thing with the book which was emotionally hard were the  questions to see how much she had forgot. They were in the film but they seemed less significant than in the book. Maybe it was because they were a word rather than an action thing, something harder to see than to read.

I was also put off by Kristen Stewart, but that was nothing to do with the plot or the way that she acted, her mannerisms just really grate on me. (And it doesn’t help that she was Bella, the worst character ever).

Buy it:

DVD (£5)

Blu-ray (£7)

Download (£5.99)

Free with Prime

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction review

Children’s Hour: Banana (revisited)


Children’s Hour is a new 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.

When I first reviewed Banana I wasn’t the one reading it, and to be honest I don’t think my co-worker quite ‘got’ it. It wasn’t so popular with the toddlers. The pre-schoolers though wanted it again- straight away. (I am just going to say it was my reading 😉 ). The book only has two words, banana and please, really the story is in the tone of voice, and the pictures. Maybe that’s part of what made it better for the pre-schoolers, that they could recognise the emotions in the pictures more easily than the toddlers, and I, of course asked them how the monkey felt.

If you’re a bit theatrical it’s a great book to read, but if you’re more about reading what’s written I’d leave it.

 

Buy it:

Paperback (£6.99)

Leave a comment

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

Delusions of Gender- Cordelia Fine


Synopsis (from amazon)

This is a vehement attack on the latest pseudo-scientific claims about the differences between the sexes – with the scientific evidence to back it up. Sex discrimination is supposedly a distant memory. Yet popular books, magazines and even scientific articles increasingly defend inequalities by citing immutable biological differences between the male and female brain. Why are there so few women in science and engineering, so few men in the laundry room? Well, they say, it’s our brains. Drawing on the latest research in developmental psychology, neuroscience, and social psychology, “Delusions of Gender” rebuts these claims, showing how old myths, dressed up in new scientific finery, help perpetuate the status quo. Cordelia Fine reveals the mind’s remarkable plasticity, shows the substantial influence of culture on identity, and, ultimately, exposes just how much of what we consider ‘hardwired’ is actually malleable. This startling, original and witty book shows the surprising extent to which boys and girls, men and women are made – and not born.

Review

This book has been on my kindle since 2014 (according amazon anyway), which makes me wonder how long some of my ‘real’ books have been on the shelves unread.

I kind of wish I had read it sooner, but I’ve been on a bit of a roll when it comes to non-fiction recently, so maybe I just wasn’t in the right frame of mind before.

It was a while ago so more exact details are lost to me, but there are certain things which still stand out, and in a way doesn’t that make for a better review? I was helped a little to remember by reading Ruth’s review (which I recommend).

Delusions of Gender did take a little getting into, in terms of a ‘sciencey’ book it was easy to read, and it was interesting, but not necessarily immediately engaging.

I did find some of the arguments a bit repetitive, which makes sense when you’re talking about different but similar studies, but not so much when you are talking about the same one. It is difficult though if you are referring to something said earlier to know how much to say to make sure the person you are writing to knows what you are referring to.

The main thing I got out of it really is about how much difference small things might be able to make, especially when a child is still trying to work out their identity. Would not gendering a child change this? I’m not so sure, at some point the child themselves would want to know what they are, and I’m sure they could work it out.

In a way those little things seem hopeless, because they’re the type of things that you don’t even think about, so how can you hope to have a gender neutral environment.

4/5

Buy:

Kindle (£4.68)

Paperback (£8.99)

Leave a comment

Filed under Feminism, Fiction review, non-fiction review, psychology (non-fiction)

Film of the Book: Room


Note: This review contains spoilers for the film and book of Room

I wanted to watch Still Alice when I watched this, but netflix was being stupid so I watched Room on amazon instead, which turned out to be a good choice I think.

I rather enjoyed the book of Room which made me in equal parts excited about the film and anxious because so often films just don’t do the book justice.

It’s been a long time since I read it, so I probably forgot a few finer details, and the film reminded me of some others. Generally though I thought that Room was a good portrayal of the book.

As the book is told in a first person narrative I was unsure how well it would translate to film without having Jack speaking throughout, but actually they did it well. The way the story was still focused as Jack would see it was good, and sometimes Jack would say things ‘in his head’ but not to the point where it seemed pointless for it to be a film.

I found the suicide part of the storyline more hardhitting in the film than I remember it being in the book, maybe because you actually saw the suicide, which I have a feeling you didn’t in the book (feel free to correct me, it has been a long time).

They did miss some bits out though which I think might add something. The most notable thing left out for me was the stillborn baby which had come before Jack. Although I did see a hint towards it in the film it was only through what was seen by the viewer and I don’t think it would have been read that was by someone who didn’t have prior knowledge of the storyline

Buy:

DVD (£4.99)

Streamed film(from £9.99)

Book (£6.29)

Leave a comment

Filed under Adaptation review, Film review

Juliet, Naked- Nick Hornby


Synopsis (from amazon)

Annie lives in a dull town on England’s bleak east coast and is in a relationship with Duncan which mirrors the place; Tucker was once a brilliant songwriter and performer, who’s gone into seclusion in rural America – or at least that’s what his fans think. Duncan is obsessed with Tucker’s work, to the point of derangement, and when Annie dares to go public on her dislike of his latest album, there are quite unexpected, life-changing consequences for all three.

Review

Wow it’s been a long time since I’ve read a book this quickly, took me just over a day. I’m not convinced it’s all down to the book, I was phoneless at the time (ok that’s not quite true, I had the boyfriend’s old iphone which is so out of date that apps just aren’t compatible with it) so there were less distractions.

Part of it was the book though. Hornby is very readable, and the story was engaging. It had a bit of a High Fidelity feel about it, although I wouldn’t say it’s up to the same level.

Part of what I liked but also sort of disliked was that the characters were rather unlikeable. I suppose that makes them more real, which is good, but it did mean I didn’t feel that much of a connection with them.

The ending sort of fizzled out too which was disappointing but maybe true to life.

4/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£8.99)

Kindle (£3.99)

Leave a comment

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Humour

That Day in September- Artie Van Why


This review was originally posted 11/9/11.
You can buy a copy here

Lucybird's Book Blog

Cover of "That Day In September"

This book was sent to me free in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis (from Amazon)

We all have our stories to tell of where we were the morning of September 11, 2001. This is one of them. In “That Day In September” Artie Van Why gives an eyewitness account of that fateful morning. From the moment he heard “a loud boom” in his office across from the World Trade Center, to stepping out onto the street, Artie vividly transports the reader back to the day that changed our lives and our country forever. “That Day In September” takes you beyond the events of that morning. By sharing his thoughts, fears and hopes, Artie expresses what it was like to be in New York City in the weeks and months following. The reader comes away from “That Day In September” with not only a more intimate understanding of the…

View original post 304 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Fiction review

Love Anthony- Lisa Genova


Synopsis (from amazon)

Olivia Donatelli’s dream of a ‘normal’ life was shattered when her son, Anthony, was diagnosed with autism at age three. He didn’t speak, hated to be touched, almost never made eye contact. Then, just as Olivia was learning that happiness and autism could coexist after all, Anthony was gone.

Now she’s alone on Nantucket, desperate to find meaning in her son’s short life, when a chance encounter with another woman, Beth, brings Anthony alive again in a most unexpected way. In a piercing story about motherhood, autism and love, two unforgettable women discover the small but exuberant voice that leads them both to the answers they need.

Review

I’m becoming quite a fan of Lisa Genova, and I enjoyed this one, but it wasn’t quite what I expected. It still had the sort of knowledge I would expect of Genova, she obviously had more than a layman’s knowledge of autism, but that didn’t really feel like the centre of the story.

The story was more about the two women, and, although that story was somewhat involving, it didn’t have that extra kick that I expect from a Genova novel.

I felt like I was reading the novel waiting for the two stories, the stories of the two women, to intertwine. Part of that was I think because of the synopsis I read (which was the one above) which made it seem like there would be more of a relationship between the two women. The relationship was pretty intense, but it was also a while in coming.

I did enjoy it it just wasn’t a typical Genova.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£5.99)

Paperback (£7.99)

Currently part of amazon’s 3 of £10 promotion

Other reviews:

So Many Books, So Little Time

Reading With Tea

 

3 Comments

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Psychology (fiction)

Deals of the Moment- September 2016


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. Whenever there are deals of interest I post on here. Links are associate links but money goes back into the blog.

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.


Going Solo- Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl’s second autobiography, chronicalling his adult life, mainly his time in the RAF during WW2. As a child I prefered the first; Boy, but now I think I’d prefer this one, it’s been a long time, maybe I should re-read.

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


Inside the O’Brians- Lisa Genova

I enjoy Lisa Genova, so I’ll almost certainly buy this one. It’s about a cop diagnosed with Huntington’s, and the impact the inheritable disease has on him and his family.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


Where’d You Go, Bernadette?- Maria Semple

I’ve heard really good things about this book, but I’ve never read it, so I’m considering it. It’s about an amazing woman who goes missing, and her teenage daughter’s search for her.

You can buy it…here (only £1.99)


The Horologican- Mark Forsyth

The Horologicon, a book all about language, is one of my favourite books. Interesting, funny, entertaining, and easy to read. I recommend it to everyone.

You can buy it…here (only £2.79)

 

Leave a comment

Filed under general

Children’s Hour: Stick Man


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.

Stick Man is a favourite for our pre-schoolers at the moment (we got this, Zog, A Squash and a Squeeze and Monkey Puzzle recently and Stick Man is the favourite). It’s about a stick man who keeps getting mistaken for a normal stick, with worse and worse consequences. It has Santa in it, so you could get away with using it as a Christmas book, but he’s barely in it, and Christmas is only in it a little too so it doesn’t have to be a Christmas book.

As with all Julia Donaldson books it has that tried and tested formula, rhyme and repetition, helped along by Axel Scheffler’s lovely illustrations.

It makes it easy to follow for the kids. They love joining i with “I’m Stick man, I’m Stick Man, I”M STICK MAN, that’s me”, and enjoying seeing the adults shouting and being silly too.

It’s on 3 for £10 on amazon at the moment too

Buy it:

Paoerback (£3.85)

Boardbook (£4.79)

Leave a comment

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