Monday, 31 March 2014

SMILE - I Am Who I Am!

My thanks goes to Pinterest. As soon as I saw this, I knew I had to pin it to my SMILE board. If you're on Pinterest, you can either just follow the SMILE board or you can follow ALL MY BOARDS!!!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

#re3 - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

MY FIRST #RE3 OF THE YEAR! And, with all my possible planning, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets wasn't my first #re3 read of the year. I was actually thinking of rereading either Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi or Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.

But here we are so let's get cracking, shall we? 

WHY DID YOU REREAD HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS?As I have previously stated, this wasn't my first choice for a reread. I wanted to reread either Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi or Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi. But stuff happened (which I might tell you about in a future post but not yet. Let me enjoy this newness! [It's not a bad thing, by the way so NO WORRYING!]) and I wanted something comforting. And, for a reason I don't really understand, Chamber of Secrets was the book that called to me. 

When I first read this (I was either 12 or 13 at the time), I really enjoyed this book, but I felt that it was very dark compared to Philosopher's Stone (oh, the irony!). And for a very long time, I disliked this book with quite a bit of passion till a few years ago when, on impulse, I decided to reread this and I actually enjoyed the book and I felt like I "got" it... 

Ok, this isn't going to be my fave Harry Potter book. I've accepted this fact a few years ago, but rereading Chamber of Secrets this time round, I suddenly remembered why I had a strong dislike for this book - Gilderoy Lockhart. I forgot how much I LOATHE the man. I mean, HOW CAN NO ONE SEE THAT HE'S A FRAUD?! HOW CAN NO ONE SEE IT?! 

Two things, real quick. 

The first is chapter five - The Whomping Willow - when, on page 54 of the UK edition, the Weasley family had "...almost reached the motorway when Ginny shrieked that she'd left her diary." This is Tom Riddle's diary. If she didn't realise that she had forgotten it till she was at Hogwarts, then maybe all the craziness wouldn't have happened! As she wouldn't have it on her and all... 

And second is Hermione. My homegirl. I adore Hermione. But is it just me or is it out of all the books, this is the book she acts the most out of character? She breaks goodness knows how many rules to make Polyjuice Potion (Harry and Ron never suggested this, she did) and then, before she was Petrified, she went to the library and then she tore a page out of a very old library book and wrote the words pipes on it. HERMIONE, THE BOOK LOVER AND THE ONE WHO ADORED THE LIBRARY, DEFACED A BOOK! And no one goes "What the heck?" Why didn't she take the book out of the library and bookmarked the page? Surely Dumbledore or McGonagall would have looked - we know Harry and Ron are quite unobservant - but I can't imagine Dumbledore not looking at why Hermione was carrying a book beyond her educational years... 

I have always said that I want to reread Goblet of Fire and I have every intention to. It is a beast of a book and I think that I am going to reread this book, I want time to read and enjoy the book. There was times while reading Chamber of Secrets (and this is completely my fault) that I was skimming it and not reading it. But yes, Goblet of Fire is the one I would most like to reread before the year is out! 

Monday, 24 March 2014

Thursday, 20 March 2014

GoodRead - The Boy In The Smoke

It was World Book Day a few weeks back (6th March. I had to check this so I missed it! Oops!) and, due to stress and illness, I have discovered that I can't read when I am either one or both of these things. So, due to this, I decided to try and read something small to get back into my reading swing. Hopefully, this will get me ready to attack my big reads!

The Boy In The Smoke is a prequel to the Shades of London series where we meet Stephen Dene has a teenager. Something awful has happened to him in his life and just when Stephen thinks he's recovering, something is said which leads him into doing a desperate act. But will someone stop him when he realises that he's making a terrible mistake?

If you have read the series, or even the first book in the series, The Name of the Star (review for that is here as I haven't read the second book in the series, The Madness Underneath) but we know Stephen enough or have enough information about Stephen's past to make an educated guess, but here it is and it was good.

I was gripped in reading this for over an hour and it made me long to find my proof of The Madness Underneath and start reading that (but I might save that for nearer the The Shadow Cabinet release as there's someone in there, I think, who will appear in that book...)

And Peter. I want to know more about Peter! I love Peter! Another novella about him and how he came to be, please, Maureen...

But this is a must for fans of the series. Not as scary and unnerving as The Name of the Star but give real insight into one of the series's main characters and will tie everyone over till Shadow Cabinet...

Friday, 14 March 2014

GoodRead - Squishy McFluffy

Another day, another review... well, it's for younger children who are learning to read by themselves so this is perfect.

When Ava discovers an invisible cat in her vegetable plot, little does she or her family realise that this little cat can cause a lot of trouble and naughtiness.

Of course, I was going to read this. Of course I was. IT HAS AN INVISIBLE CAT!

And I really liked this. Written in rhyming verse by Pip Jones and with pretty illustrations by Ella Okstad, young children who will have this being read to them will laugh out loud at Squishy's adventures but when they read it to themselves, they will feel smart.

Either way, they will be excited to read what Ava and Squishy do next in the second book in the series, Supermarket Sweep. And so will I.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

GoodRead - Hog In The Fog

It's rare for me to review picture books. I know that's a weird thing to say but it is VERY rare. But when at the Faber Bloggers Event earlier in the year, Faber revealed their picture books throughout the year (only four), everyone in the room went nuts over them. So, when the lovely Hannah from Faber asked if I wanted to review them, I jumped at the chance! 

This will be a mini-review, so I hope everyone doesn't mind this isn't a full blown review!

This is the story of Candy Stripe Lil, and her friend, Harry the Hog, who lives over the hill. One foggy day, Lil is expecting Harry over for tea but when he doesn't arrive, Lil goes in search for him... 

There is something about this story that reminds me of The Gruffalo. I can't put my finger of what it is, but there is something that instantly made me smile as the story kept going. And the illustrations are wonderful! I love how Eunyoung Seo drew the fog and the creatures. 

I think little ones will love this. If it's not the illustrations enthralled your little ones, the rhyming will! 

Friday, 7 March 2014

GoodRead - Daughters of Time

To celebrate International Women's Day (which is tomorrow, my lovelies!), I was asked by the lovely people of Templar to read this collection of short stories inspired by women throughout history. And I do like a collection of short stories.

Within this collection of short stories, we have thirteen tales from thirteen bestselling historical authors. These women range from Queen Boudica and Lady Jane Grey to Aphra Behn, Mary Seacole and Emily Davison, to name but a few.

With all anthologies, there are stories I did really enjoy reading. But there were a few I just didn't click with (Won't say which I liked and which I didn't as I don't think that won't be fair for the collection as a whole). I'm not sure if was the style of narration or the fact that the story slimmed over the stories depth. But it was a mixed bag and the stories I did enjoy were of women that I knew vaguely or didn't know anything about. So, I learnt something new!

And who says books don't teach you anything?

This was an easy read to dip in and out of, but it was a fast read (well, to me, it was fast), and I think girls who read this will find these women inspiring - hopefully more inspiration than some role models and celebrities we have nowadays...

Daughters of Time - Mary Seacole

As part of the Daughters of Time blog tour, I have been asked to let Catherine Johnson - author of the short story within the collection, The Lad That Stands Before Me - why she decided to write about Mary Seacole.

Oh, there will be a small review of Daughters of Time sometime later today... So, keep your eyes peeled. Now, will hand you over to Catherine Johnson...

Why I Chose Mary Seacole
To be honest, I didn’t really choose Mary Seacole – she sort of chose me. I’m mixed race, like Mary, and I knew about her already. In fact, my uncle Curtis Johnson made a bust of Mary that was reproduced on one of Jamaica’s postage stamps. And one of my big ‘things’ is people of colour in Britain in the past – we have been here for ever, you know, or at least since Roman times! When I started, I thought I wanted to write about Mary in London, aged about fifteen or sixteen, on her first visit. She never really talked about this trip
and there are only two lines in her book about it. It made me think: A girl from a tiny island in the 
Caribbean in the biggest city on earth… But I think  that story will have to wait for another time.

One other thing – I’ve used the word ‘Negro’ in my story. It’s how an officer in the British Army describes Mrs Seacole; the word was in common use and not thought to be derogatory at the time. In her own writing, Mrs Seacole described herself  as ‘Creole’ (meaning ‘one born in Jamaica’) and sometimes simply as ‘brown’.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

GoodRead - Life Before Legend

This was an accidental purchase! I feel I have to state this before I start this review. I didn't want to buy it! I wanted to read a sampler of it as I was, at the time, reading Legend at the time (review here, by the way) and I wanted to read a sampler in case of spoilers. Shouldn't have worried, though.

In this prequel, readers get a glimpse in Day's and June's everyday lives several year before the events of Legend took place and the two met. We see how, via some distance, their lives affected each other. The days in question is June's first day at Drake University and Day trying to survive on the streets.

Now, I am torn over this. I'm not sure if it's because I read it so soon after Legend or because I liked Marie Lu's writing style, but I did like slipping in and out of reading this novella. It was nice to see their lives BEFORE the events and the tiny hints of foreshadowing to the rest of the series. It's a good way to introduce yourself to Marie Lu's writing and the series if you haven't read the series and you want to know if you would like it. It was a good taster into this world.

However, I do have two big points I want to raise and one of which has NOTHING to do with the author but the publishers.

The first is me wondering what exactly was the point of this novella? It kinda didn't give us anything new. If anything, we see Day's first kiss (which wasn't as amazing as it sounds), his first act against the Republic (this could have gone more in depth) and June's relationship with her brother (again, this could have gone SO MUCH MORE in depth). But, if you think about this, we kinda go over these details (barring the first kiss) at the beginning of Legend, so you wonder why these points are so crucial?

My second point is price. If you know me, you know I have issues with pricing with eNovellas and it's not the author's fault. Some eNovellas's prices I agree with due to length, while others are priced ridiculously! We readers want our money's worth! And with Life Before Legend, I think the pricing is too high. For an eNovella that, according to Goodreads, is 38 pages long, it's £1.81. Which, when you compare to other eNovellas's page lengths and their prices (The Prince by Kiera Cass [64 pages] is 99p, Die For Her by Amy Plum [60 pages] is 99p & Radiant by Cynthia Hand [94 pages] is 99p), you have to wonder why, on this eNovella, the price is double but the length is shorter?

Fans of the series will enjoy this and I think if you want to start this series, you might want to check this out. But at that price, me thinks you should wait till a sale happens on your eReaders...

Monday, 3 March 2014

SMILE - They Told Me...

I think I aw this pic on Tumbr but can't find out where! Sorry, but THANK YOU!!!