Sunday, 29 March 2015

His Dark Materials Readalong - The Collectors

I forgot to tweet and blog that I was relistening to this yesterday. I got myself in a bit of a state with my computer and today, after my other half attacked it and made it workable again, did I realise and am now writing this quick blog post up!

If you read my review on when I listened to this the first time (review is here, by the way), I wasn't that thrilled by it so when all of us taking part of the #HDMReadalong decided to include this, I thought it might be interesting to go back and see if it was better the second time round! 

The Collectors is set within the world of His Dark Materials and, at the same time, not. And because of this, it's hard to figure out whether I like this or not. 

On one hand, I can't help but think Philip Pullman wrote this and then, halfway through, decided to include the elements of this. But, at the same time, the elements he used with hinted at and wasn't in your face, something I really liked on this second listen. 

I think the problem is that when this audiobook (and now, eNovella) was released, it was heavily hinted that this would give a look at Mrs Coulter's life and it doesn't do. It hints at a character very similar to her (and it could be her), but it is never confirmed. It's hinted at. 

It still has the strong feeling of Susan Hill's The Man In The Picture. It is a nice short story and a nice-ish addition to the His Dark Materials world. Might not be an "essential" read for fans, but it will take a few rereads/relistens before I warmed to it, but am glad I relistened to it! 

Anyone Seen the New Harry Potter Cover?

As you guys know, Bloomsbury and other publishers round the world are publishing the first illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone later this year. Now, I had a bit of a mixed reaction over some of the illustrations I have seen but you have to admit, the cover is beautiful! 

Saturday, 28 March 2015

His Dark Materials Readalong - Lyra's Oxford

As part of the #HDMReadalong, I reread Lyra's Oxford by Philip Pullman. It was an odd experience to reread something I haven't read in a very long time. And with my memory, I knew bits but not all of it.

The book is a collection of things. One short story, a map of Lyra's Oxford, a postcard and leaflet of a cruise ship.

I remember getting very excited when this first came out and devoured it very quickly. This time round, I tried to take it slow. I read it within 3 days.

The story - Lyra and the Birds - was different from what I remember. First of all, it was MUCH SHORTER than I remembered. And when you read it and compare it to the rest of the His Dark Materials trilogy, it doesn't seem to fit. It takes after the events of the series, but Lyra doesn't feel like she's aged and it seems odd to me for some reason.

There are hints to the mysterious Book of Dust that Philip Pullman has been working on for YEARS (pages 46 and 47), and I get the feeling this was meant to be a tease for Book of Dust that would becoming out in a year's time, but Book of Dust took longer to write so, when we get news on this getting published, it might be a good idea to reread this.

The postcard written Dr Mary Malone to one of her nun friend, Angela Gorman, gave tiny details about her, but it was the postcard she picked which was interesting. It showed four locations, which have huge importance to the series as a whole.

The leaflet of a cruise ship is the only thing I don't understand. If someone could tell me it's importance, that would be great as I haven't the foggest.

While this was a lovely book and a nice reread, I'm unsure over how I feel about it. It feels like it's hinting to something that hasn't happened yet. Plus, I feel like it's a tiny bit of a con. When this first came out, it was £9.99 and all it had was a short story of 40-odd pages and some titbits, which seems like a ripoff to the fans of this series. But you can get it secondhand now for not that much so that's ok.

All in all, I'm not sure if this is a worthy addition to the series. Maybe reading Once Upon A Time In The North will change my opinion...

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Pick My Next Read

Normally, I don't normally post my videos for Bookish Brits up here but I thought, with this video, I'll make an expectation.

In this video, I ask for the Bookish Brits subscribors to pick my next read. And now, I am throwing it out there to you guys as well!

As you can see from the video, I have 12 books - TWELVE!!! - books to choose from and barring two or three books that I am going to read in the coming weeks, NO MATTER WHAT, I know you guys have excellent taste in books. So, am showing you the video and hoping you guys pick a good book to read.

Plus, if this is a success, I will do it again (I know I do this via Twitter sometimes, but doing it via YouTube or blog would be fun as well!)

Ok, boring stuff now, you have till 6pm this Friday to vote as am going to record the winner on Saturday so I can upload it on Sunday. You can comment here or on the YouTube page and you can pick more than one book in your comments, but I will be going for the book with the most votes so don't hold it against me if I choose the wrong book.

Oh, the list! It is (in case you are too lazy to watch the video) is this:

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J MaasTHE BONE SEASON by Samantha ShannonCITY OF FALLEN ANGELS by Cassandra ClareGRASSHOPPER JUNGLE by Andrew SmithTHIS BOOK IS GAY by James DawsonTHE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie StiefvaterTHE MINIATURIST by Jessie BurtonFANGIRL by Rainbow RowellA GAME OF THRONES by George RR MartinI'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson

And that's it! Was going to write a blog post about my reading slump using gifs of Gloria from Modern Family (my latest DVD obsession!), but it's a tad late now so might save it for the weekend. But I shall leave you with this gif...

Thank you for reading/watching/voting and everything else!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

GoodRead - Mistress of Souls

I'm not sure what made me return to the world of Michelle Zink's Prophecy of the Sisters. I think there has been some news linked to her son (which I have read and am totally on Michelle's side over. What to know more, go to her website and read the story up), and I thought "Sod that! I want to support her" and I did consider writing a blog post about this thorny topic. But I thought "Actually, if I reviewed her writing, that will work also... will it?"

Ok, it might not, but I went to my kindle and blitzed this, the second in the Prophecy of the Sisters enovella spin off, we follow Alice after the events of Prophecy of the Sisters (this eNovellas takes place between the first and second books in the Prophecy of the Sisters trilogy). Alice is alone in Birchwood, New York. She barely eats. She spends most of her time in the Otherworlds where the Souls welcome her and the demon Samael gives her companionship. But something unexpected happens. Something that surprises even herself. Her sister's fiancee, James, and her feelings towards him.

I forgot how much I enjoyed Michelle's writing. It's easy to read and yet, it has this Gothic quality to it that fits this Victorian setting. And she made me get excited for this series again - a series I never finished (reading slump in 2012 really threw me and I haven't got books 2 or 3 in this trilogy. I know, I suck).

It was also interesting to read from Alice's point of view. While Lia was our heroine and who was meek yet strong of will, Alice was loud, headstrong and yet the "bad girl" in this situation (till the end of Prophecy of the Sisters, when she did something unforgivable). But here, we see a different side of Alice. A more fragile, lonely girl who is just trying to find herself and to find acceptable from the people around her. But she's not exactly doing the right way...

While this doesn't redeem her, I found I understood her a little better, and I feel believe enough to go back to this series and try again. If not, read the third and final eNovella in this spinoff series, Rise of the Souls that takes place after the trilogy's end (which I have on my kindle). But yes, I liked this and I will be returning to Michelle's writing soon...

#re3 - Clockwork

As you probably know, I have been in a reading slump (something I hate! Will write a blog post on this in the future) so I have been, the past few days, reading very short stories/novellas to get out of it and I have, so far, managed to read two (The Fisherman's Net by Laura Lam and now, Clockwork [or All Wound Up] by Philip Pullman). And, barring my Harry Potter #re3 challenge, this is my first #re3 of the year so, yes, LET'S GET CRACKING WITH MY #RE3 QUESTIONS!

Reading slump. I fell into it and I just wanted to read something quite short till I got back on my reading feet. Plus, as part of the His Dark Materials Readalong with a few other bloggers, I wanted to read Philip Pullman before I reread Lyra's Oxford and The Collectors and read Once Upon A Time In The North.

When I audiobooked this the first time, I really enjoyed it. I liked how, even though this was a middle grade book, how layered it was. How it hinted at little things and they grew over the short space of time the story took hold. Plus, I had discovered this book just after I discovered Northern Lights and The Subtle Knife so nothing could fault it at the time.

I can see that this is a middle-grade book. I am too old to read this, but I liked the little hints that mature readers got (for example, what happened to Fitz at the end of the book).

Unlike the audiobook, there is some sections of the story that is put in boxes (like footnotes) and you have to read them at just the right moment so it doesn't upset the flow of the story. But in the audiobook, they are slotted in perfect and as they are very short, it never felt upset and distracting.

As this is a standalone, no. But I am going to read Lyra's Oxford, The Collectors and Once Upon A Time in the North as part of the His Dark Materials Readalong as I am going to read more from this author. I might read Philip Pullman's younger-aiming books in the future. Maybe The Firework-Maker's Daughter...

Friday, 20 March 2015

SMILE - My Dear Human...

Saw this on Pinterest and yes. I owned a cat in the past and yes, this is so true!

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

GoodRead - The Fisherman's Net

I had fallen into a bit of a reading slump in the past few weeks. I have picked up several books and then always put them down again. I just can't seem to click with anything. So, out of sheer "what the heck", I looked for something short to read. Something that could kick start my reading again.

And this is what I picked.

In this, The Fisherman's Net is a fable set in the world of Laura Lam's Pantomime. In this fable, a fisherman buys a trinket in the market. It is only several days later that he realises its true wealth and soon, he becomes a wealth fisherman. One day, he catches something that shouldn't exist. Something that begs to be released. Something he's not sure he can let go...

Ok, I love Laura Lam's Pantomime and I have every intention to read Shadowplay (which is sitting angrily on my kindle) so reading the second short within the Vestigial Tales, I knew, was more for world building.

And this was world building short. It is a fable parents tell their children. Even though, at the start of the story, it warns us that every person that reads it comes away with a different morale, which I found huge intriguing. If anyone else read this, could you let me know what you thought the story's morale was. I would love to compare.

It is short, which is ok. It is a fable (notice that this word is being repeated a lot in the post) so they should be short. But for some reason, I wish it was a tad longer (yet I have seen reviews that say it was the perfect length). I think it's because quite close to the end, it introduces a character that intrigues me greatly. Maybe if I ask nicely, Laura might write something about this character/creature on her blog...

While this isn't necessary story to read with the Micah Gray series, it's was a nice addition, which you guys could probably read within 10 minutes (I took longer - reading slump). I think this has got me a little more excited over reading Shadowplay and the Vestigial Tale that is on my kindle, The Card Sharp (don't own the third story, The Tarot Reader, as this has a character that is introduced within Shadowplay and I don't want to read that till after Shadowplay).

PS - sorry if this review isn't as helpful compared to my others, my reading slump has kinda knocked my reading/reviewing out of me. Which sucks. But I will get back into the swing of things. Just you watch me...!