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Children’s Hour: Is it Bedtime Wibbly Pig?


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.

Is it Bedtime Wibbley Pig? Has to be one of the most patronising children’s books I have ever had to read. After we read and really enjoyed ‘Suddenly!’ I expected this one to be better, but it was just so boring.

The premise is that Wibbley Pig is getting ready for bed and the narrator is asking him what he is doing, but in some of the most stupid ways “Are you brushing your teeth Wibbley Pig?” “Have you finished your cocoa Wibbley Pig?”. I can see it being the way parents might ask their children but it was just so mundane.

The kids I read it to (just 4 pre-schoolers) did sort of like answering the questions for him, but to be honest it was too young for the pre-schoolers, it may be better for my toddlers, but I guess  that they enjoyed it well enough.

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.99)

Boardbook (£5.99)

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

Children’s Hour: I’m Not Cute (revisited)


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.

 

Back when Children’s Hour was just a baby the kids really loved a book called I’m Not Cute. It was only the second Children’s Hour book featured on this blog, and I am the only remaining member of toddler room staff from that time. It was so loved that now it is just a distant memory, because the kids loved it to death.

But when I got back from jury service I saw that we had a new copy.

I’m Not Cute is the story of Baby Owl. All the other animals are calling Baby Owl cute, but he’s not cute, he is a hunting machine! He gets very frustrated with the other animals.

It was a pretty much instant hit with the kids. We read Puffin Peter first and I was concerned that they wouldn’t concentrate for a second story (the kids will often ask to read a second story but tend to loose interest if you read it to them) but they actually became more engaged not less.

They love watching Baby Owl’s tantrums, and staff ‘shouting’ like a toddler is always popular. They were quick to be able to join in, and showed lots of pride in being able to name the different animals.

The squirrel still doesn’t like a squirrel though!

Buy it:

Boardbook (£4.99)

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

Sunday Surfing 10/5/15


bird surf

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

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

J.K Rowling Has Spoken Out Against Abuse on Twitter

Mindy Kaling Has Revealed the Release Date For Her Latest Book

Book Lover’s Problems

Children’s Books Which Inspired Future Writers

Children’s Books Which Promote Deaf Awareness

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed ‘Ajax Penumbra: 1969′

 The kid’s read ‘Puffin Peter’

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Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Puffin Peter


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

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

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


When I came back from jury duty there were two new books in toddler room, on of them was Puffin Peter (the other was a book which was loved so much a few years ago that it literally got read to death).

Puffin Peter is a story about two friends, Peter and Paul. One day Peter gets lost in a storm and can’t find his friend Paul, but he meets a whale who tries to help him. It is very loosely based on the rhyme Two Little Dicky Birds.

As a story it’s very similar to Monkey Puzzle, but more complex in a way. The whale listens to Peter’s instructions and finds things which meet all of his descriptions (rather than the latest one as in Monkey Puzzle). It makes the whale seem smarter, but it’s less funny.

There’s no rhyme either, which makes it less interesting for the kids. They still liked to see if the different animals were Paul, but they were less focused than they would have been if we were reading a favourite.

I really like the pictures. They are bright and quite atmospheric.

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.99)

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

Ajax Penumbra: 1969- Robin Sloan


Synopsis (from amazon)

San Francisco, 1969. The summer of drugs, music and a new age dawning. A young, earnest Ajax Penumbra has been given his first assignment as a Junior Acquisitions Officer – to find the single surviving copy of the Techne Tycheon, a mysterious volume that has brought and lost great fortune for anyone who has owned it. After a few weeks of rigorous hunting, Penumbra feels no closer to his goal than when he started. But late one night, after another day of dispiriting dead ends, he stumbles upon a 24-hour bookstore and the possibilities before him expand exponentially. With the help of his friend’s homemade computer, an ancient map, a sunken ship and the vast shelves of the 24-hour bookstore, Ajax Penumbra might just find what he’s seeking…

Review

Ajax Penumbra 1969 is the prequel to Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, it can be read alone with no problems, but I think those who have read the sequel first would probably get more out of it.

I must admit I actually think I prefered this one to the sequel. It certainly was quicker to get going, but then it was a short story- so I suppose there wasn’t much time for ‘faffing’.

It was interesting to see how Penumbra started, and his job sounded like a great job! I found his adventure more interesting than the adventure in the sequel too, although I would have liked to see more of his early days in the bookstore.

I came out of it liking Penumbra as a character much more too. He had interested me before, but we didn’t really get to know him.

I would like to know if they really did sink ships in San Francisco and build on top of them.

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£1.89)

Hardback (£6.39)

 

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review

Sunday Surfing 3/5/15


bird surf

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

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

Ruth Rendell Passed Away

A Couple is Suing a Number of Indie Book Publishers Because a Photo of Them Was Used on the Cover of an Erotic Novel.

Anti-Nazi Graphic Novel Maus Has Been Banned in Russia under anti-nazi propaganda laws, because that makes sense

Should Hardcover Books Cost More?

UK Publishers Ordered to Stop Selling ‘The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared’ Over Royalties Battle

Would You Survive the Journey to Mount Doom?

And on the blog this week…

I Posted Some Short Reviews

I Reviewed ‘Raven Girl’

And ‘The Dirt’

The Kids Read ‘Fix It’

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The Dirt- Tommy Lee, Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil, and Mick Mars


This book was read as part of The Rory List

Synopsis (from amazon, but I’m a bit meh about it)

Ten years ago, Motley Crue’s bestselling The Dirt—penned with rock chronicler extraordinaire Neil Strauss—set a new bar for rock ‘n’ roll memoirs. A genuine cultural phenomenon, this turbocharged blockbuster, with more than half a million copies in print, has now been reissued to celebrate thirty wild years with rock’s most infamous band. No band has ever lived this hard, and lived to tell the tale. You won’t just find sex, drugs, violence, fast cars, and every rock & roll cliche turned on its head inside, you will find uses for burritos and telephone handsets that you couldn’t have even imagined in your wildest dreams. This is the classic book that’s made countless ordinary mortals want to transform into lawless rock stars, and created countless spin-off books for Tommy Lee, Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil, and Mick Mars, who hold nothing back in this outrageous, legendary, no-holds-barred autobiography.

Review

Right from the offset Motley Crue make their intentions clear, they are out to disgust and disturb you, for they are the world’s most notorious rock and roll band- and they are going to prove that.

For all of the first few chapters they seem to be out to shock you more and more, even if you think it can’t get worse- except then it does. It even got to the point that it seemed almost normal- which is possibly worse.

I think it was probably planned that way. Nikki in particular seemed so egotistical that I can see him wanting to be the most scandalous band, which makes you wonder if you should believe it all. Indeed at some point each of the members mentioned how it was an expected rock and roll lifestyle- like they had to do it o have any credibility, which is a bi crazy.

Later on things get lighter, as the band members get married and start having kids, and at times it is rather sad.

I don’t really know anything about Motley Crue. I knew the names of the band members, but not in relation to the band. And I don’t think I could name any of their songs, they’re not really my style to be honest. I don’t think that mattered though, I could still read the book, sometimes I got a little confused with who was who and especially who was dating who, but I’m not sure how much easier that would have been if I knew the band.

In a way I would say it’s a bit of a coming of age tale. As the band begins to change and grow, even what they write seems less egotistical and more introspective.

If you can make it though the first disgusting bits then you will be rewarded by the end (and I think the beginning is needed for the balance).

4.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£4.68)

Paperback (£8.99)

Hardback (£18.94)

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Filed under Biography, non-fiction review

Children’s Hour: Fix It


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.

I don’t quite get what the kids get out of Fix It. It is possibly one of the most boring books ever. It doesn’t even need words, the words just describe what you can see in the picture, that is the different things that the girl can fix.

I suppose in some sense that does make the book good though. It means the kids can easily ‘read’ the story (in as far as it’s a story) to themselves with little, or even no, adult input. It’s nice when the kids can read for themselves, it gives them a sense of independence.

I quite like that the protagonist is a girl too, it’s calculated, but that’s not a bad thing, it says girls can do these things too. We had a similar book as kids, Mum Can Fix It, although I remember it being more sophisticated than Fix It is.

The pictures are bright, and quite simple, and more instantly noticeable than more fancy pictures, just the sort that attract our toddlers.

Buy it:

Paoerback (£4.99)

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Some More Short Reviews


I’ve decided to do some little reviews again. This time for books that I don’t have a lot to say about, but I still want to mention.

The bold links are amazon affiliate links (the money goes back into the blog).

 

Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore- Robin Sloan

Wasn’t there a character on some TV programme called Robin Sloan? (Maybe I’m thinking of Diagnosis Murder, but that was Mark… I think).

Anyway Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is about a 24-hour bookstore (believe it or not!), but there’s something not quite ‘normal’ about the bookstore and the new clerk starts to find out what it is. Lots of people have told me that they loved this book because it was about a bookstore. I don’t really see that- it’s more a mystery, almost an Indiana Jones type story. It was strange but rather intriguing and there was a good amount to puzzle out and action towards the end. I got into it well enough to buy the prequel. 3.5/5

 

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared- Jonas Jonasson

Try saying that with a mouthful of toffee! I’m going to abbreviate it (laziness!) to THMCWD.

THMCWD is a book about THMCWD, sounds dull? Well he gets up to all sorts of things which you wouldn’t expect, with the police on his tails all the time. There’s robbery, criminal gangs, murder, and an elephant. When the action was going on I read it quite quickly but when it wasn’t I found I wasn’t too encouraged to read it at all. I did find that despite not being the longest book it took me a long time to read because I lost interest. However at times it was funny, and bizarre, and I really thought that Allan was an interesting character.

THMCWD is in a middle of a lawsuit here in the UK and can no longer be sold by the British publishers, but you may still be able to get your hands on a copy somewhere. Amazon is selling the US version of the kindle edition (by the way what is up with that cover? Allan looks more like 30 than 100) 3/5

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Raven Girl- Audrey Niffenegger


Synopsis (from amazon)

Once there was a Postman who fell in love with a Raven…

So begins the tale of a postman who encounters a fledgling raven while on the edge of his route and decides to take her home. The unlikely couple falls in love and conceives a child – an extraordinary raven girl trapped in a human body

Review

Raven Girl is a graphic novel by the author best known for the fantastic book The Time Traveller’s Wife. It tells the story of a man and a raven who fall in love and have a daughter, she looks like a girl, but inside she is a raven, and is stuck in a sort of hole where she can never truly be either.

Raven Girl is a strange little story, right from the premise really. It’s sort of a sweet story though, and you could almost swap the Raven Girl for anyone trying to fit in, or anyone stuck between two cultures. You can see the style of Niffenegger’s writing which you recognise from her novels- it’s style is probably closer to Her Fearful Symmetry than to The Time Traveller’s Wife- although the story itself is much more simple.

The art work (also created by Niffenegger) fits the story well. It’s a bit mismatched, a bit strange, but still quite pretty. I’m sure Niffeneger designed the pictures to be like this as her other graphic novel which I have read, The Night Bookmobile, has much more realistic pictures (see below)

Image from The Night Bookmobile Source

Image from Raven Girl Source

It’s the sort of book you want to possess as much as read, like a piece of artwork.

I found out during my search for the images above that there is a ballet of Raven Girl which is showing at the Royal Opera House in October, I think i would be quite interesting to see.

4/5

Buy it:

Hardback (£13.59)

Other Reviews:

Alison Mccarthy

Have I missed your review? Leave me a comment in links and I will add it here.

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Sunday Surfing 26/4/15


bird surf

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

Let’s get started.

I’ve been on jury duty this week, which meant I’ve had a fair bit of time to sit and find interesting stuff online, this is going to be a long Sunday Surfing!

Around the web this week

80% of the Books Challenged Last Year Featured Diversity and/or Different Cultures

Little Reviews of All the Books on the World Book Night List

The Internet Seems to be Going Crazy on This Fan Theory of Why the Dursley’s Were so Horrible to Harry– even though it’s full of giant holes.

Memorable Animals in Literature

Around Half of the Money Earned By Writers is Earned by Just 5% of Them

Get Sorted by the Sorting Bot

And See if You Would Survive the Battle of Hogwarts

Why ‘Pay What You Want’ Bookshops Won’t Work

And on the blog this week…

Just one post, my evenings have been more busy!

How to Know You’re Still a Potterhead

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How to Know You’re Still a Potterhead


Source

1) The word “Always” “Always” has quotation marks around it

2) Everything can be linked to Harry Potter

Source

3) You’re still half-convinced Sirius is actually alive

4) It takes you hours to write a simple list post because you get distracted by all the Potter stuff online

5) You never give up hope for ‘The Scottish Book’…

6)…or a prequel

7)…or sequel

8) You have a strange relationship with the films, they aren’t the books, but you still can’t quite resist

9)…and when you watch them you “Always” complain about what was changed or left out

10) New covers aren’t right, but you still covet them

11) They are your comfort read

12) You still want to re-read no matter how many times you’ve read them…

13)…even if you practically know them off by heart

14) There are several copies of the books in your house because nobody wants to get rid of theirs (and they are half fallen apart so you needed new copies)

Source

15) When you re-read Deathly Hallows you still cry at Harry’s death, even though you know it’s not really death

16) Getting a tweet from J.K. is a dream

17)…and if you get one you have a mini panic attack

18)…God know what you’d be like if you actually met her

19) You are disappointed in the lack of book based merchandise

20)…but you still own some sort of Potter merchandise

Source

21) Dumbledore is the wisest person you know

22)…even if he is a bit shady

23) And Snape is still a villain (unless you were a Snape fan already)

24) You still ship non-canon pairings

25) You plan on naming your kids after Harry Potter characters (or have already)

26) You’re still waiting for your Hogwarts letter

27) You write posts about how you are still a Potterhead

28) You miss Harry

Source

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Sunday Surfing 19/4/15


bird surf

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

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

Oyster’s 100 Best Books of the Decade so far

10 Things You May Not Have Known About ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Why ‘High Fidelity’ is Still Relevant

Book Riot is Recruiting. Today is the last day for applications

And on the blog this week…

The kids Read ‘No Matter What’

I Reviewed ‘The Girls At the Kingfisher Club’

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The Girls at the Kingfisher Club- Genevieve Valentine


Synopsis (adapted from amazon)

Jo, the firstborn, “The General” to her eleven sisters, is the only thing the Hamilton girls have in place of a mother. She is the one who taught them how to dance, the one who gives the signal each night, as they slip out of the confines of their father’s townhouse to await the cabs that will take them to the speakeasy. Together they elude their distant and controlling father, until the day he decides to marry them all off. The girls, meanwhile, continue to dance, from Salon Renaud to the Swan and, finally, the Kingfisher, the club they come to call home. They dance until one night when they are caught in a raid.

Review

Girls at the Kingfisher Club is based on the fairytale of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and set in the prohibition era in the US. I read about it on somebody’s blog and really can’t remember whose it was (if it was you, sorry! Let me know), and I really liked the premise.

I can’t really say that it was much like the fairytale. Sure there were 12 sisters. And a rather domineering father. That was where the comparison ended though.

Having said that I did like it as a story in itself. I liked Jo (who was actually rather Jo March-esque). She was clever, and obviously cared a lot for her sisters. I would have liked to know more about the other sisters (the story was shown from Jo’s perspective), and I would have been interested to know more about her parent’s lives too.

The speakeasies (is that the right plural?) were written with a good atmosphere, and I’d actually quite like to visit The Kingfisher. (Although how they afford it without actually prostituting themselves I don’t know)

I found the story carried along nicely and got better towards the end.

4/5

Buy it:

Hardback (£15.90)

Kindle (£7.13)

Paperback- pre-order (£10.04)

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Children’s Hour: No Matter What


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.
We had No Matter What on on our shelves for quite a long time before the kids really started to pay any attention to it. I still wouldn’t call it popular, but it gets picked up on a fairly regular basis.

No Matter What is the tale of a little fox and its mother. The little fox is asking its mother about the conditions of her love, “Would you still love me if I was a bug?” with the conditions getting stranger and stranger. Of course mother fox will always love little fox “no matter what”.

It reminds me a lot of Guess How Much I Love You, but in a sort of backwards way.

The rhyme to it helps keep the kids interested, but I can’t say they are especially into the story or pictures.

 

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.99)

Boardbook (£5.99)

Kindle (£4.70)

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

Sunday Surfing 12/4/15


bird surf

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

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

Audrey Niffenegger is Writing a Sequel to ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’

There is a Hunger Games Theme Park Opening

Royals Who Have Written Books

Diagrams for Readers

Opps! Quote on Maya Angelo Stamp is Not Actually From her

Buzzfeed wants to Guess Your Age Based on Your Taste in Books

Looks like Paper Books are Here to Stay

Amazing European Libraries. My local Library of Birmingham is in this list

20 Reasons to be a Reader

Popularity of Names from Game of Thrones is Rising

Men Still Dominate Literary Criticism, but the Gap is Closing

And on the blog this week…

I posted some Short Reviews

The kids read Barry The Fish With Fingers and The Hairy Scary Monster

I looked at this months Deals of the Moment

And I posted a Clue for The Last Treasure Hunt Giveaway

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Giveaway: The Last Treasure Hunt


LTH-gifI’m taking part in this rather different and fun giveaway for a signed copy of The Last Treasure Hunt. It’s not a case of just adding your name on a list but a treasure hunt! I’m revealing clue number 12 (if you already know how this works clink the link to jump to the clue)

Here’s how it works…

  • Each clue refers to a landmark or iconic location in a film. The landmark/location is the answer – when you figure it out, make a note of it!
  • (If you need a hand, check out the #treasurehunt hashtag on Twitter or Instagram for a hint to the landmark’s location…)
  • When all the clues are revealed, the first letter of every answer will make an anagram. Solve the anagram and you have your final answer!
  • Email this answer and all the landmarks you figured out to hermes@saraband.net by April 30th to be entered into the prize draw. Two entrants will win a signed copy of The Last Treasure Hunt – and if you’ve guessed the most landmarks and locations, you’ll win a goodie bag and something special from Jane personally! On top of that you’ll get bragging rights on Twitter and we’ll publicly dub you queen/king sleuth.

So on to the clue

Clue 12

 

There’s no way out of here alive

But three desperate men

Found a way to set sail –

And were never seen again.

About the Book

LTH_cover_sAt the age of thirty, Campbell Johnstone is a failure. He’s stuck behind the bar of a shabby pub, watching from the sidelines while everyone else makes a success of their lives. The most visible is Eve Sadler, a childhood friend and rising Hollywood star.

When Campbell tries to rekindle their relationship, he longs for the glitter of her success to rub off on him, but a single shocking night – the novel’s shattering twist delivered with a knockout punch – changes everything. Campbell is about to discover the bittersweet taste of fame, and in the process, struggle to save his soul and overcome his own self-delusion.

The Last Treasure Hunt explores our obsession with fame and celebrity with great intelligence and sly wit – it’s a modern media morality tale with bite.

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Children’s Hour: Barry the Fish With Fingers and the Hairy Scary Monster


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.
Last week some of the kids went to the library, one of the books they borrowed was Barry the Fish With Fingers and The Hairy Scary Monster. In it Barry and his friends are playing hide and seek, and one of Barry’s friends finds something scary.

It’s a nice story about friendship. It’s maybe a little long for the younger toddlers but there is plenty of suspense to keep them interested most of the time.

The pictures mean that the kids are instantly interested. They’re lovely and bright, and have sparkly bits! I personally love Barry’s fingers too!

Buy it:

Paperback (£4.00)

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

Deals of the Moment- April


Every month amazon has a set of kindle monthly deals. This in the post where I talk about any books which are of interest.

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. Amazon links are affiliate links but any money made goes back into the blog (e.g. for giveaways)

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


QI Books

I’ve read a few QI books and they are interesting whilst still being easy reads. I’ve not read either of the two on offer so I will probably buy them

You can buy The Second Book of General Ignorance…here (only £2.29) or the Book of Advanced Banter…here (also only £2.29)


Clovenhoof- Heide Goody and Iain Grant

This is the first book in the Clovenhoof series (I’ve read Pigeonwings too). It’s about the devil being banished too earth. Rather funny. The boyfriend has compared it to Good Omens (which I haven’t read yet)

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


Middlesex- Jeffrey Eugenides

Middlesex is one of those books that people have to read to really get. It is a must read, I loved it. It’s about Cal, and how she finds out she’s a hermaphrodite.

You can buy it…here. (only £2.99)


The Etymologicon- Mark Forsyth

I don’t know why these books about language are so frequently reduced because they are really good. Interesting, funny, conversational. The Etymologicon is probably the best of the group

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


The Winter Guest- Pam Jenoff

I’ve read a few of Pam Jenoff‘s war books recently so I’m quite interested in The Winter Guest. It’s about two sisters during WW2 who shelter an injured enemy paratrooper.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band

This one is on The Rory List which is why I’m thinking of buying it, although I’m shying away because apparently it’s rather graphic. It’s an autobiography of Mötley Crüe.

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)


The House at Riverton- Kate Morton

I like the gothic type atmosphere in Kate Morton books. The House at Riverton is about the circumstances around a poet’s suicide.

You can buy it…here (only £1.69)


The Pact- Jodi Picoult

I really like Picoult books, they always make me think. The Pact is about two teenagers who make a pact to commit suicide together, but only one dies and the other is arrested for her murder.

You can buy it…here (only £1.49)


Books By Sebastian Barry.

I’ve read and loved Sebastian Barry’s The Secret Scripture, if you’re going to buy one of the Barry books I would recommend this one. I’ve also read The Temporary Gentleman and A Long Long Way which are good but not fantastic. On Canaan’s Side is the only one on special offer which I haven’t read, and I may buy it in my quest to find something as good as The Secret Scripture.

Buy The Secret Scripture… here (only £2.59)

Buy A Long, Long Way… here (only £2.59)

Buy The Temporary Gentleman… here (only £2.29)

Buy On Canaan’s Side… here (only £1.69)

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Some Short Reviews


Seeing as I am rather behind on my reviews (I still haven’t reviewed some books I read back in 2014) I thought I would try the quick review thing for books I have partly forgotten or have little to say about.

The bold links are amazon affiliate links (the money goes back into the blog).

Somebody Else’s Kids- Torey Hayden

This one was not quite what I expected, I expected one of those ‘please Daddy, no’ type books, it’s what it looks like. I guess I shouldn’t have judged by the cover because it wasn’t that at all. It was about kids with learning problems (for a variety of reasons) and the teacher who helps them (that’s Hayden). It was more interesting and a better read than I expected. 4/5



Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury. 

This is one of those must-reads, and it’s on The Rory List. About a world where books are banned. It got me thinking about books I’d want to remember, but other than that I found it generally unremarkable 3/5

Expo 58- Jonathon Coe

About the World Fair during the Cold War. Quite funny in parts. I couldn’t decide if the main character was an ass or an idiot, but him being either made me sometimes annoyed and sometimes amused. I especially liked the secret service agents for a laugh 4/5


Leaving Time- Jodi Picoult

I liked the balance in this Picoult novel. It had some of the mystic element that I found too much in Second Glance, the crime/mystery element you get in things like House Rules, and the emotional element like you would get in something like My Sister’s Keeper. Plus there are some interesting facts about elephants thrown in. Classic Picoult. 4/5

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Sunday Surfing 5/4/15


bird surf

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

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

Realistic YA

New ‘Stieg Larsson’ Book Cover Revealed

Excerpt from ‘Winds of Winter’ Released

Which Bennett Sister Are You? I got Elizabeth (yay)

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed The Guest Cat

 

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Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

The Guest Cat- Takashi Hiraide


Synopsis (from amazon)

A couple in their thirties live in a small rented cottage in a quiet part of Tokyo. They work at home as freelance writers. They no longer have very much to say to one another.

One day a cat invites itself into their small kitchen. She is a beautiful creature. She leaves, but the next day comes again, and then again and again. New, small joys accompany the cat; the days have more light and colour. Life suddenly seems to have more promise for the husband and wife; they go walking together, talk and share stories of the cat and its little ways, play in the nearby Garden. But then something happens that will change everything again.

Review

The Guest Cat is a beautiful book in the same sort of was that The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly was a beautiful book. It had a simplicity which some may find boring, but the writing made it beautiful.

I liked the descriptions of the cat, she was so playful, and just generally cute.

Hiraide is a poet, and you can tell.

If you’re looking for a story which will race on this isn’t for you. But if you want something more relaxed and everyday, you’ll probably enjoy it. It’s the sort of story to read on a lazy Sunday afternoon

4/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.59)

Kindle (£3.59)

Other Reviews:

Wensend

3 Comments

Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Literary

Sunday Surfing 1/3/15


bird surf

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

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

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

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

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

On Moving Books

Books With Strong Female Characters

The Finalists for the International Booker Prize Were Revealed

The Game of Thrones TV Series Will Spoil the Books

And on the blog this week…

The kids read ‘Incy-Wincy Spider’

I talked about Cover Art and New Covers

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Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

On Cover Art and New Covers


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

US Cover

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

UK cover


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

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

What do you think of these new covers?

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

Hardcover (£9.00)

Kindle (£7.47)

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

Hardcover (£30.00)

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Filed under general, Musings

Children’s Hour: Incy-Wincy Spider


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Sunday Surfing 22/3/15


bird surf

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

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

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

Facts About ‘The Scarlet Letter’

Harry Potter Scenes Which Should Have Been in the Films

YA Books Adults Should Read

How Many Books From Lost Have You Read?

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed Pigeon Wings

And We Should All Be Feminists

The kids read Mr Nosey and the Big Surprise

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Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Mr Nosey and the Big Surprise


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

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

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


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

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

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

 

Buy it:

Paperback- new (from £500.05)

Paperback-used (from £0.01)

2 Comments

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

We Should All Be Feminists- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


Synopsis (from amazon)

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£0.99)

Paperback (£4.00)

Other Reviews:

An Armchair By the Sea

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

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Filed under Feminism, non-fiction review

Pigeonwings- Heide Goody and Iain Grant


Pigeonwings is the follow-up novel to Clovenhoof.

Synopsis (from amazon)

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£2.99)

 

2 Comments

Filed under Contempory, Fantasy, Fiction review, Humour

Sunday Surfing 14/3/15


bird surf

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

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

Author Terry Pratchett Died

Alabama Finds no Evidence of Elderly Abuse to Harper Lee

50 Books About Inspirational Women

Fears and Struggles of Readers

10 Book Charities

The Longlist for the Bailey’s Prize was Announced

Sign-ups for Bloggiesta are open

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed More Fool Me

The kids read Bruno’s Box

I talked about books for Feminist Readers

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Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Bruno’s Box


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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.99)

Board Book (£3.99)

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

Top 10 Books for Feminist Readers


Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About Books

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

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

In no particular order…

How to Be a Woman- Caitlin Moran. 

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

How to Be a Heroine- Samantha Ellis

Talks about female heroines in books, very entertaining.

We Should All Be Feminists- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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

The Thursday Next Series- Jasper Fforde

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

His Dark Materials- Philip Pullman

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

Living Dolls- Natasha Walter

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

 

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Filed under Memes, Top 10 Tuesday

More Fool Me- Stephen Fry


Synopsis (from amazon)

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2/5

Buy it:

Hardback (£11.00)

Kindle (£12.89)

Paperback- pre-order (£7.19)

4 Comments

Filed under Biography, Memoir, non-fiction review

Sunday Surfing 8/3/15


bird surf

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

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

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

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

Famous Literary Rumours

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

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

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed The Diplomat’s Wife

I looked at current kindle deals

Top 10 favourite books from the last 3 years

The kids shared their favourite books.

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Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

The Diplomat’s Wife- Pam Jenoff


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

Synopsis

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

3.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£4.79)

Paperback (£6.99)

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Filed under Fiction review, Historical

Children’s Hour: World Book Day


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

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

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

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

Something Beginning with Blue

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

 


Dumbo

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


Bruno’s Box

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


Mr Nosey and the Big Surprise

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


Incy Wincy Spider

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

Fireman Sam Ready For Action

Simple Fireman Sam sound book.

 

 

Monster’s University Magnetic Drawing Book

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

 

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

Deals of the Moment- March


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

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

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


The Returned- Jason Mott

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

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


Tigers in Red Weather- Liza Klaussmann

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

You can buy it…here (only £0.99)



The Other Boleyn Girl- Philippa Gregory

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

You can buy it…here. (only £2.99)

 



Remarkable Creatures- Tracy Chevalier

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

You can buy it…here (only £2.49)


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

You can buy it…here (only £1.49)


 

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Top 10 Books of the Last 3 Years


Top 10 Sites I Visit that AREN'T About Books

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

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

In no particular order…

How to Be a Woman- Caitlin Moran. 

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

Texts From Jane Eyre- Mallory Ortberg

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

Brooklyn Bites Series- Scott Stabile

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

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

 The Crimson Petal and the White- Michael Faber. 

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

How to Be a Heroine- Samantha Ellis

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

The Storyteller- Jodi Picoult

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

The Horologicon- Mark Forsyth

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

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Filed under Memes, Top 10 Tuesday

Sunday Surfing 1/3/15


bird surf

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

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

Studies Which Show Show Paper Books Still Have It

Are Women Hardwired to Love Thrillers?

The Funniest Neil Gaiman Tweets of All Time. 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed How to Build a Girl

The kids read Freddie Goes Swimming

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Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Children’s Hour: Freddie Goes Swimming


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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy it:

Paperback- new (from £503.36)

Paperback-used (from £0.01)

Hardcover- used (from £1.85)

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How to Build a Girl- Caitlin Moran


Synopsis (from amazon)

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

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

4/5

Buy it:

Hardback (£10.49)

Kindle (£9.42)

Paperback- pre-order (£6.39)

Other Reviews:

Sam Still Reading

Lit and Life

Nylon Admiral –start of a readalong

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

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

 

 

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, YA

Sunday Surfing 22/2/15


bird surf

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

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

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

Therapy Dogs Help Struggling Readers

The Child Author Who Disappeared

A Lost Sherlock Holmes Story has Been Discovered

Andi @ Estella’s Revenge Talks About Blogging Pressure

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

 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed The Casual Vacancy

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

The kids read Row Your Boat

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Children’s Hour: Row Your Boat


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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Buy it:

Paperback- new (from £323.85)

Paperback- used (from £0.01)

Hardback- used (from £1.20)

Soundbook- used (from £3.48)

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If You Could Only Remember 1 Book


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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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The Casual Vacancy- J.K. Rowling


Synopsis (from Amazon)

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

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.5/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£3.85)

Kindle (£3.66)

Hardback (£13.60)

Other Reviews:

Book Jay

Words For Worms

The Eye of Loni’s Storm

Alison McCarthy

Reading With Tea

Recovering Potter Addict

So Many Books, So Little Time

Sam Still Reading

Mama Kucing Reviews and Ravings

Heavenali

Nishita’s Rants and Ravings

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

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Filed under Contempory, Fiction review, Literary

Sunday Surfing 15/2/15


bird surf

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

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Bookworms

Books and Films About Modern War

Why Romeo and Juliet Isn’t Romantic.

Times When the Harry Potter Books Were Really Clever

Confessions of a Literature Addict

Harry Potter Based Valentine’s Day Cards

How Books Can Help Mental Health

 

And on the blog this week…

I reviewed ‘Tampa

And ‘Humans: An A to Z

The Kids Read ‘When I Was a Baby’

 

 

 

 

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Humans: An A-Z- Matt Haig


Synopsis (from amazon)

DO YOU

A) Know a human?

B) Love a human?

C) Have trouble dealing with humans?

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

 3/5

Buy it:

Paperback (£5.99)

Kindle (£1.79)

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Children’s Hour: When I Was A Baby


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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy it:

Paperback- used (from £0.01)

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

Tampa- Alissa Nutting


Synopsis (from amazon)

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£4.19)

Paperback (£6.39)

Other Reviews:

Giraffe Days

Roof Beam Reader

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

 

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Sunday Surfing 8/2/15


bird surf

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

Let’s get started.

Around the web this week

There’s  New Harper Lee Novel Coming Out

J.K. Rowling is Answering Questions

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

Books for Kids Similar to Their Favourite TV Shows

The Book Cover Which Judges You

Children’s Books on Bereavement

First Drafts of Favourite Novels

No More A Song of Ice and Fire books for 2015

The Best Feminist Picture Books

And on the blog this week…

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

The Kids Read ‘Suddenly’

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing