Tuesday, 13 January 2015

The Harry Potter Spells book tag

1. Expecto Patronum: A childhood book connected to good memories

I'm going to go for The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. The book deals with a princess who's sent away to be married off and doesn't want to be but then oh no things happen and she's the goose girl at the palace. Makes friends, and not friends, and talks to the geese, and tells stories... an excellent book. And although it's listed somewhere (don't ask me where, I have no idea) as a middle grade, I think it reads well for all ages. 

2. Expelliarmus: A book that took you by surprise

One of many books which took me by surprise (I never see the plot twist coming.) is The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen. I won't say what took me by surprise but I will say I do not usually read books with it in. Because they freak me out. 

3. Prior Incantato: The last book you read.

The last book I read some of is The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. But I wasn't getting on with it so I don't think I'll carry on. The last book I finished reading was Harry, A History by Melissa Anelli. It's very fun, lots of brilliant anecdotes and a good overview of Harry Potter, how it came to be and everything that surrounded it in the years between Philosopher's Stone and Deathly Hallows. And it has a foreword by JK Rowling herself! Just in case there was any doubt this is good stuff. 

4. Alohamora: A book that introduced you to a genre you had not considered before.

Carrie by Stephen King. I still don't read much horror but it kind of... I don't know, does Stephen King count as a genre? I'm counting him as a genre. Because now I desperately want to read The Shining. And Doctor Sleep. Which I never would have before Carrie. So there you go, maybe I'll get into horror more later on? Who knows? Not me. 

5. Riddikulus: A funny book you've read.

I think any of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's books are hilarious! So for argument's sake let's say... All Wound Up. They're about knitting but really if you have any hobby that's rewarding, takes a bit of time and people think is a little pointless (I'm looking at you 'Why don't you just see the film?' people...) you'll get it. Her books are insightful and funny and very, very good for when you want to get up some enthusiasm for doing aforementioned hobby. 

6. Sonorus: A book you think everybody should know about.

I think everybody should know about Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children. Partly because it's wonderful and just the right amount of unsettling, but also because the photographs alone keep you guessing. 

7. Obliviate: A book or spoiler you would like to forget having read.

Oh. Oh oh oh oh oh. Oh. I used to deliberately spoil myself for some books because if I was feeling really fragile I felt like I couldn't really do the whole thing but I really, really wish I hadn't read the spoiler for Clariel. Because I wasn't looking for it, it just came out of nowhere and it completely changed the way I read the book. 

8. Imperio: A book you had to read for school.

I had to read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood for school and I loved it! Well no. I didn't have to, I could have chosen a different book but this was the one I really really liked, I won't go into what it's about but I can tell you it's awesomely feministical and scary. In a good way.

9. Crucio: A book that was painful to read.

Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton was really really painful in a good way. I just wanted to reach through the book and hug almost everyone involved. Note I said almost. There is one person I would very much like to give the cold shoulder to in a very emphatic manner. Because let's face it I am not going to get close to slapping anyone...

10. Avada Kedavra: A book that could kill (interpret as you will).

I'm going to pick S by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst. This book could kill you with it's longevity. It's made to be a mock up library book that two people have written in and stuffed bits of paper into with notes and newspaper articles and postcards and letters... it is a magnificent concept. 


You have to read the whole thing (which is so heavy and stuffed with awesome little titbits and scraps of paper I can't take it outside with me) cover to cover four times. It is a tome.A tome that can't leave home for fear of dropping aforementioned titbits. 

It's also really confusing to read. Hence reading it four times, each time following a different set of notes. And then there's the book all the notes are to. You have to read that as well. As such I am on page 17 and have been for about two months now completely stuck, trying to work out what to do about it. 

Plus if you fall asleep in bed with it it will crush you. So yeah. It can kill you in two ways. 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

There was only one element of this book I didn't like.

Simon Snow.

I love and adore Harry Potter but I didn't feel like they had a whole lot in common. Sure, there was a school and magic and... yeah. But both of those things are also in The Worst Witch and that's not Harry Potter either.

I felt a little jarred out of my reading haze by the passages from Simon Snow as well. Which probably says more about me than the book, but there you go.

Other than the Simon Snow thing I loved Fangirl!

I loved the way Cath didn't grow out of fandom like people do in fan books. They fall in love and suddenly their fandoms are silly and childish and that annoys the heck out of me because a) fanning all over things is what I DO and b) surely it isn't healthy to suddenly have a boy/girlfriend and have everything you used to be obsessed with just fall away?

I know. And don't call you Shirley.

I did like the way Wren... ok, this is going to be spoilerific, but I loved the way Wren grew out of fandom and then grew back into it. It reminded me a little of Pokemon. (Which is something I like.) (Big surprise there.) You know, how Pokemon used to be massive. And then it died away a little... AND THEN IT CAME BACK! And we were all old enough to stop going 'For babies' and start going 'Actually this is pretty cool...' again.

I thought it was really well done and I enjoyed the book. I used to write fanfic too, albeit not popular fanfic, but I know the whole I-AM-SO-BEHIND-ON-POSTING thing. It is an old friend of mine.

I enjoyed relating to this book.

This review isn't making any sense so I'll leave it there.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Clariel by Garth Nix

Now this one was a slow read.

Not because I didn't enjoy it, just because... I'm not sure why. It took forever. Or a week, one or the other. It's not a quick book even if you're a fast reader because it's so big but I liked it.

I liked Lirael more.

Not that that says much. Lirael is a book I love for lots of reasons, not least because it got me through a hard year at one point. I was pleased to have Clariel's story and all the little details made it better. But I didn't like it as much. I liked it better than Abhorsen though, but then the ends of series were all a bit wobbly for me. I may attempt a reread and see how that goes. But for now I have a towering TBR and more books on the way!

It's a prequel but it's a tricky sort of prequel... I won't go into the plot because of that but I will say two things.

A) As someone who is homesick a lot (without any reason but that's another story for another time) this book truly captured the feeling of homesickness to me. The longing and thoughts and oh, just everything. It reminded me of how I feel and I connected with Clariel over that. I know some people had problems with her, saying she's (POSSIBLE SPOILERS) selfish and 'nobody cares, get over it' (SPOILERS DONE) But I feel like that's what homesickness does to you. It does make you a more... that kind of person.


B) I got spoilered for this book by accident and it made me go 'Wait, WHAT?!'

If you've read his other books or you fancy trying them I'd say this book is a good one to get deeper into the world. The mythology and history of The Old Kingdom is really interesting... but I'd suggest reading the original series first. There's a little less action in this one, Sabriel is a more welcoming introduction to the world. So although it's a prequel it's handier as a companion to the series.

I'm looking forwards to the next book, whenever it happens!

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

New year, new nothing!

In wild contrast with how I feel about christmas, I hate new year with a passion.

I'm not wild on change (see previous posts for more of my not keenness on change) and beginnings scare the heck out of me so new year with the newness and the resolutions and the get togethers and the "new year new me" and "remove toxic people from your life!" stuff makes me ever so slightly hugely anxious.

Mostly because I'm terrified people will find out I am a toxic people and I'll be left.

Joy, right?

Only this year we're having a quiet family thing and by quiet I mean it is now quarter to midnight and I'm sitting in my room watching Supernatural (season 9 on the 6th January! YAY!) with my parents downstairs and my sister off at a party. So if it got much quieter the apocalypse would have occurred.

I also tend to break resolutions like I'm being paid to do so. And I've tried and tried and basically this year I'm not bothering.

Ooh, fireworks. Already?

Ruffelina's not a fan by the way, but she can cope more or less once she's used to them. We have neighbours who love their fireworks so that works out quite well for us.

So next year I suspect I'll be the same old me.

Ah well.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

'Tis The Season book tag

Ok, I have decided to do the 'Tis The Season book tag from booktube. Because why not, I ask you? Why not? Also it's Christmas Eve Eve and I've finally worked out how to schedule posts which has taken out so much anxiety. 

There's a list of questions. I wasn't officially tagged by anyone but a bunch of people said 'If you want to do this tag I CHOOSE YOU!' so...

1. Do you have a favourite Winter read?

I do! I love The Hobbit. Not a traditional winter read but I tend to come back to it around christmas time. I also love love love The Chronicles Of Narnia and I'm plotting a reread of some of them (Or all of them!) In the new year. My parents bought me the book of all the stories one year and it weighs a ton. I mean that in a good way. So much stories!

2. Find a book with blue on the cover

I chose The Circle of Magic books by Tamora Pierce. If you've read before you'll know of my deep and abiding love for her writing, especially the Emelan books. Here's a picture to show you the covers I'm talking about in all their blue glory. These  books are about four kids who have bad pasts who come to Winding Circle which is a temple, after being 'discovered' in various predicaments by Niko. There they find...well, what they need really and they become a family. Each has a subtle sort of magic which is occasionally not so subtle. These books are wonderful. Good for any time of year but they're set in the summer which is good for the winter when you need warming up! (My copies don't match but they still count. Because I think it should.)

3. Find a book you’d use as the star on a Christmas tree

I'd like to use The Language Of Others by Clare Morrall as the star on my mythical christmas tree for a few reasons. For one it reminds me of how I feel at this time of year. Every year there is what I call The Inevitable Christmas Meltdown (one reason I don't decorate my room) and I have to run away because it's so overwhelming. The story follows a woman throughout her life, her childhood and onwards where she has a son and a husband. SPOILER ALERT If you've read the book you'll know what I mean when I say that Asperger's is part of the reason she feels this way. I don't know if I have Asperger's - it's been suggested more than once and we did look into it and the questionnaire said no, but it keeps cropping up so there's that. Even the image on the cover reminds me of a lot of times around christmas when I was small. But I relate a lot to this book at this time of year. Equally as I have no friends or family with Asperger's I have no idea if this book is accurate or not so I'm not going to say anything in that direction. But like I said, this time of year I feel very much like the book describes. 

Also it's yellow. I like yellow. 

4. Pick one fictional place that would be perfect for a Winter vacation!

Ooh. This is hard. I think it goes without saying that Panem is out of the question! I think I'd pick The Old Kingdom from Garth Nix's Abhorsen series. More specifically I'd choose the library of the Clayr in Lirael. Again, I relate a lot to Lirael. Especially the library element! I'm a big fan of libraries. Especially ones where... well, I'll let you read it. But suffice to say I carried this book in my school bag for more than a year so my copy is falling apart. I might not quite fit with the Clayr but I have a huge desire to see their library. 

5. Pick one fictional character you’d take with you on your Winter vacation

Another hard one. I think I'd pick Clare Waverly from Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. She might be a little... not sure of people. And I can't cook but I'm always interested in that kind of magic. Plus I get the feeling she'd (pre-book at least) enjoy a quiet  christmas! Plus the Clayr would probably love her magic and cooking and all those things. And as I'm assuming Lirael will be there because it's her world we three could have a quiet magic tea sipping time with The Disreputable Dog and now I really want to reread Lirael and Garden Spells and and all the books... 

6. Name one book on your Wishlist this year

One book on my wishlist this year is Neil Gaiman's Book of Death companion to The Sandman series (Twelve books!) It's a graphic novel all about Death. Death is a woman, which I like. A friendly woman who hugs people and Dream says (SPOILERS AGAIN) she is much kinder than he is. 

I'm not sure why but I love that. Also someone did a fanart of her and Sherlock which I love but can't find right now. Of course that assumes she actually meets Sherlock and stuff but I'm willing to suspend the disbelief. Part of me really hopes Neil Gaiman is some kind of prophet or something and this is actually who Death is. That is how much I love her. 

7. Favourite Holiday drink, treat, & movie?

My favourite holiday drink has to be hazelnut hot chocolate. 

And I'm not sure what my favourite treat would be. I like mince pies but they're not my favourite... Tin of roses? Wll they're not tins any more. They're plastic pots with an alarm on them. It's a very low tech alarm but when you open the box it sounds like you've unleashed some kind of noise making monster. Fortunately you can put the lid on more or less quietly, but you can't have a chocolate without the entire northern hemisphere (or, if you're from the southern hemisphere, that one) being alerted that you will shortly be enjoying chocolate. Personally I enjoy seeing the christmas pudding on fire. When else do you get to set fire to food? Maybe that counts as a treat. Oh I know! I love the feeling when someone opens a present and it's just what they wanted and you can see them going YAY! That is my favourite christmas treat. 

As for movie I'd have to say Ballet Shoes. (The book is better.) But the film is pretty good. Admittedly the ages don't match up and there's a love interest (not for Posy, Petrova or Pauline mercifully) but I still love it. Not as much as the book but if you have a spare couple of hours and feel like Ballet Shoes but you can't finish the book in that time you have an answer. I love when Pauline does her maudition piece with Puck. And the way they all band together and things. My favourite character is Petrova though. I love her perseverance and generosity. And it shows you can be good at something with no natural talent! We don't get enough of that, I think. 

And that's it! 

Merry christmas, if you want to do this tag tell everyone I tagged you if you feel like it! 

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

At first I didn't like this book much at all. I got about halfway through and stopped... But I picked it back up again last night and took it into the bath (I read better in the bath. I have no idea why, it just happens. I swear if reading in the shower was an option I'd get so much done. But it's not so I can't. Sads.) and while I was in the bath I flew through it. Then I took it to bed and flew through the rest of it.

At the beginning it felt a lot like another dystopian story. Maybe I'm just too quickly post divergent but maybe I'm sort of done with dystopian books right now. Either way I muddled along. I didn't connect to Lena very well possibly because aside from certain obvious things like running I have a lot in common with her. I'm neither naturally rebellious or the type of person who upsets the status quo, but Lena ends up doing both by the end of the book. Lena is a good girl. She gets good grades, she does what is expected of her... I was forcibly reminded of school where I was that girl. And then everything fell apart. For Lena it falls apart in the best way. Even though, you know, it's a disease and suchlike.

I carried on my theme with the nonverbal character, Grace. I love her to bits and I hope she turns up again. I liked that Grace not talking wasn't an enormous plot point although (SPOILER ALERT) I found her talking at the end of the book a little unrealistic. In a high stress situation like that...

I probably have too much of a 'me' hat on thinking about that point though so I'll leave it be.

So at the beginning, the first half I honestly thought I wouldn't get the rest of the series. I've been looking at Delirium for a long time, I was a little disappointed after all I heard about it that it turned out I could take or leave it.

Like I said in my review of Landline I'm not much for love stories. I don't know why, they just irritate me a little, but this one was more story than love story. Sure, boy meets girl, but it's a story about love. And as someone who tends to at least think 'I love you' a hundred times a day I'm very interested in love. Especially platonic and familial love. And there was plenty in this book. Because while the 'cure' ensures you'll never fall in love in a Romeo and Juliet head over heels sort of way it also blocks out (and this is the part I didn't realise until I was almost done) the love between friends and family.

It's not that they don't care any more. They're just detached.

But it creeps me out. A parent not loving their child? That's just... ugh. And it messes with my brain. I might be irritated by love because it gets everywhere, it's all over music and books and movies - they put a love interest into Ballet Shoes for the love of Maude - but honestly a world without love is frankly creepy.

Then again a lot of the 'love' in the songs, stories and films is about sex and we all know that's a different kettle of gerbils all together. Although they do get so tangled sometimes  it gets confusing.

I can kind of understand why, on the back of the book, it is compared to The Handmaid's Tale. But for me it wasn't that. I can see the similarities a little. But it didn't do that much for me. Mind you, The Handmaid's Tale freaked the heck out of me in every way.

So I think I'll carry on with this series, but not for a while. I want to know what happens but at the same time I have a TBR pile, and I want to get through it a bit. I haven't really decided what to read next, I'll just see what I feel like. Part of me wants to start The Hobbit on christmas eve, just because, but I don't know what will happen.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Tonight is the longest night.

Tonight is the longest night. 

Official I don't celebrate solstice, because... There isn't really a because. We just don't. But I love the idea of it. 

Tomorrow the day will be a little longer. 

The night is always darkest before the dawn. 

Maybe it's good that some things never change. 

Have a wonderful night whatever you celebrate.