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 Sunday, 13 November 2011

So... Hi...

Dammit now I've freaked you all out, stop shrieking folks I'm not that shocking to see I hope. Bah maybe I am it's been so long I'm surprised I still remember what my blog looks like. I can't really make a sincere apology for my absence as that'll require me to promise not to bugger off without warning again for several months and I'm not entirely sure I can do that.

Reality is truly a bitch and it's very sad that I've essentially cut myself off from something that I really used to enjoy doing. But work is such that my brain literally can't think creatively or constructively outside of the office, I'm still managing to read thank god but it's becoming more of a life raft to stop myself from turning into a hideously boring person who does nothing but talk about work.

I worry that if I tried to kick-start my blogging again then I'll distract myself too much from work and since the internet (and Nanowrimo) factored largely into my breakdown of interest in University then I don't want to get myself fired because my sometimes addictive personality has me checking twitter every hour when I'm at work. I don't even dare to open the card games on my computer for fear I dissolve into a Freecell junkie once more :S

So where do we go from here? I did actually start a review post the other week after I read the third book in the Beka Cooper trilogy by the incomparable Tamora Pierce (the draft got incredibly gushy and due to a saving error I lost the gushiest chunk of it - a blessing perhaps?). The major thread of the review was that I'm now desperately in love with Farmer Cape and I seriously want to marry him when I grows up :D Oh and Mastiff was fecking awesome although Tammy did break my heart a little (why him?) but in the end everything that happened only helped to make it a fantastic end to a fantabulous trilogy. Oddly Beka is the character I feel most similar to, if that makes any sense (except for the pigeons, god I hate pigeons *shudders*). She's a pragmatic lass who won't take no nonsense on the job but is as shy as a dormouse without her baton. But I digress.

What do people reckon? Should I start posting the odd review now and then? I don't think they'll be anything extraordinary unless of course I read a book that blows me away, just brief thoughts and a rating perhaps? I find myself watching a lot of dvds at the moment since it requires a lot less concentration to stare at a screen than to process words. I'm a serious Downton Abbey convert (with the nerdy advantage for me that the company I work for has actually done mugs for Highclere Castle where they film the show so I got to squee just a little) I just finished earlier tonight watching the second season and God knows I'm going to be on tenterhooks until the Christmas Special and then Season 3 because IWILLNOTBEABLETOCOPEIFMATTHEWANDMARYDON'TGETTOGETHERINTHEENDARGH!

*ahem* Tangent should be my third middle name. Anyway if I stay in the right mood I'll post something with an updated list of what I've read in the past few months, some corkers I remember and an actual DNF I'm sad to say (luckily it was a library book so I'm glad I didn't buy it first). If people want more detailed thoughts on anything leave me a comment and I'll try to do some mini-reviews or something. Oh and the point of the last paragraph was that I may do the odd TV/DVD review if it's something I really get into. Don't be too surprised if a post appears in the future that is an Ode to Matthew Crawley and his drop-dead quirk of a smile. You've been warned.

Now this has rambled and raved long enough, it's 2am and I'm two glasses of wine worse off. But it's certainly been cathartic to just type for a while and I hope that you lovely folk might motivate me into posting a little more because I really need to do something more productive with my time than just bulk digest CSI re-runs every evening.

It's been good to tread the boards again, here's hoping they're not all rotten through.



In Despair of not quite being there

 Monday, 29 August 2011

Yes I realise that I have totally dropped off the face of the planet for nearly a month and a half and I apologise for doing so without notice. While I was on holiday I was all optimistic that I could have a decent work-play routine that actually left me with enough energy to so much as switch on my laptop when I got home. Well, you can all see how brilliantly *that* plan turned out.

I'm rather at a loss to understand where August and in fact Summer has gone, I'm somewhat doubtful that Summer even exists at the moment since I'm wearing a hoodie as well as a dressing gown and thick bed-socks- oh and not to mention the fact that the central heating is on - IN FREAKING AUGUST! Bah anyways I didn't dig myself out of my hermit hole merely to rant about how effing cold it is right now.

Basically I've realised something recently - I am getting ever closer to my 21st birthday (bricking it btw) and I have yet to find the niche in this world where I feel like I truly belong. This revelation of sorts came to me this weekend while I was in Oxford with my family for a Bank Holiday weekend break. Back when I was still with my boyfriend I went down to Oxford to visit him at uni several times so I knew my way around the town reasonably well. As we walked about I found myself wishing I could live in this gorgeous town since it's chock-full of bookstores and coffee-shops, which are pretty much the two best things I could hope for in a
place to live.  Yet for some bizarre reason I felt like I shouldn't be there, like I was invading an intellectual nest where I wasn't welcome.

Before I ended up at Aberystwyth Uni, I had applied to Oxford university (although in retrospect it really was a crap idea and a waste of a uni choice) and when I got rejected I couldn't help feeling like it was a massive door slammed in my face which really quite upset me at the time. It was like being told that I wasn't smart enough to deserve to go to Oxford when I'd been told waaay back in primary school that I was in fact *that* smart.

After I left uni last December I did actually reapply to do a totally different course which at the time I thought I'd really enjoy, ironically enough the best place in the country to do that course (Publishing media if you're interested) was at Oxford Brookes - Oxford's little sister uni as it were. In the months after applying I slowly lost all enthusiasm for the course and when I finally got the email saying I'd been unsuccessful in my application I really wasn't massively bothered (bear in mind that it was on the day of my Grandad's funeral and I had just got a job that morning after 5 months of being tediously unemployed so I was a tad hysterical) but this weekend I came to the conclusion that perhaps I'm supposed to stay away from Oxford since neither of the universities want me there so as much as I'd like to live there I just don't ... belong there.

I've been feeling somewhat the same at work recently, it gets remarked on frequently that I use a lot of big words - my production manager kept asking me to repeat the word "eviscerate" most days for nearly 3 weeks. Whenever someone asks me what I was doing at university there's always a quiet moment after I say  "French & Spanish" like they don't quite know what to make of me. My love of Harry Potter is gently mocked on a regular basis by one of the directors (whose 16 yr old son got onto to Pottermore early) like my enthusiasm about the books is something to find amusing.

I have a bad habit of launching into long-winded explanations for things that could really be summed up in a few short sentences (this blog post for example) - although I try to improve myself on this front it's pretty dang hard so I do waffle on a bit at work. However I find it rather hurtful when my production manager (who I end up pestering for large portions of the day so I know that jobs are getting done and that I'm not going to have angry customers ringing me up wanting to know where their mugs are), blatantly tunes me out when I'm trying to talk to him and maybe making a hash of it. It's bad enough that my own sister does it to me if I'm waxing lyrical on something vaguely nerdy but when my employer does it to me when I'm trying to do my job then it does make you feel pretty shit.

At the risk of sounding terribly snobby I feel like no one at work is quite on the same intellectual wavelength as me. Don't get me wrong most of the people I work with are lovely in their own quirky way but I feel like I'm masquerading in a boxful of round pegs when I am secretly a octagonal one - I can't help but wonder if there are some other weird pegs like me in jobs that don't entirely satisfy.

All in all I'm not altogether happy with the turn my life is taking right now - yes, I have a stable job which on it's less stressful days I do enjoy. But the next few months are going to get progressively more insane and I worry that the day will actually come I that do stay so late at the office that I fall asleep there. At my age I *really* don't find that prospect appealing, I need a job that won't keep me stressing all weekend because I know everything is going to go horribly wrong the next week when half of the factory staff is on holiday (this will soon become a reality so don't ask me how my week's been on Friday - it's for your own safety). I need a job that I can switch off from in the evenings, one that doesn't keep me late and take up my lunch hour. I need a job that doesn't lump a massive amount of pressure on me and leave me with inadequate managerial support. I need employers who respect and appreciate how freaking hard I work sometimes and don't just bitch about how infrequently I make the tea.

Basically I need a new job - but considering how long it took me to get this job I'm obviously very wary to just hand in my notice and jump ship blindly. I'd actually have to have another position secured without a doubt before I could say "cheerio" and in these times that's next to bloody impossible.

So my dilemma is eating all of the brainpower I've got left at the end of a day, I'd read almost nothing for a week until this weekend. I've not blogged since I was on Holiday, I've not made a youtube video since the same time, I'm barely on facebook or twitter anymore. It seems like I've living for work, food and sleep with odd moments of sociability on Friday nights - I cannot spend the next year like this, I just can't.

Help. Please. I need to get off this merry-go-round of highs and lows. Hell I just need this whole year to become a faint memory - it's times like these that I get mightily nostalgic for high school.

You may now go back to your lives (thank you if you were dedicated enough to reach the end of this - I owe you a cookie or something).



Hogwarts and Horrendous Weather

 Sunday, 10 July 2011

Thursday was a mixture of Awesome Nerdy times and seriously insane rain. To my extreme joy we went to Universal's Island of Adventure which if you don't know is the home of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!! Last time I'd been to Florida the park was still being built so I've been dying to visit it for *aaages*!

The day started off looking bright enough although it still took a beastie-sized cup of coffee to de-zombiefy my lazy ass. When we got to Universal it was batshit-crazy busy in Hogsmeade, seriously there was a line that looked nearly an hour long just to get into Ollivanders! That's not even mentioning the 75 minute line to get into the Hogwarts Castle ride.

We first hit up the Triwizard Dragon Challenge ride (formally the Duelling Dragons ride) which is a fab way to make yourself light-headed early in the morning. Strangely the queue for this ride was tiny in comparison to the Hippogriff ride which was nothing more than a glorified runaway train, being the adrenaline junkie that I am I found that odd since who'd pass up the chance to get flung around upside down and instead sit and go round and round in speedy circles with a bit of steep banking?

After retrieving our bags from the teeny-tiny-omg-why-are-they-so-small? lockers we wandered towards the castle, shuffled our way through the *extremely* packed shop by the exit to the ride, drooled enviously over purdy scarves, ties and $50 Marauder's maps (yipes that was crazy), before escaping to freedom in the baking sunshine. That's when we noticed the cart selling wands.

Spot my Mommy in Hogsmeade!
Now before this trip I knew that what I wanted most from TWWoHP was a wand, so that I could finally stop messing about like a pathetic muggle with the crappy wand I made from K'nex donkey's years ago (no, really). So my sister and I had a nosy at the different character's wands and decided that we both really liked Ginny's and Luna's wands so we batted our eyelashes like suck-ups and the rentals agreed to let us have them *happy dance*. We also got Hermione's wand for a very special Twin of mine - Jess m'dear we are gonna Accio nerdytimes like nobody's business! I think we should mock-duel in the middle of the cinema when we meet oui?

Ahem, moving on. Thus wandified we then had to decide what to do next and with a choice of humungous queue for Hippogriff ride or humungous queue for the Hogwarts Castle ride... Hogwarts won out. Once again we had to stuff our bags into lockers I swear someone had hexed to be that tiny and useless, and join the endless queue which snaked *outside* of the normal park area into hidden, special staff only areas because it was *SO FREAKING LONG*.

For an hour we shuffled round all the queue lanes, getting baked by the sun (which later became sunburn),  and fanning ourselves frantically with maps so our entire faces didn't melt off. It was actually kinda cool being in the queue as you end up in the Herbology greenhouses just before you enter the actual castle, there were mandrakes behind a little cage thing and what I think might have been a Venomous Tentacula but alas there were no staff around to ask and I'd hate to reveal my extreme nerdiness by asking the general queue-folk.

The House Points system

This is my sister and I just as we get to the castle entrance (praise be to sweet, sweet air conditioning), please ignore how hideous I look as I am not suited to hot climates :S

Inside was super-cool and chock-full of awesome Hogwarty stuff as we continued queueing to the actual ride. Check out ze pics.

Entrance to Dumbledore's Office
 The ride itself was an awesome amalgam of a simulator ride with a big-ass projector screen (like Soaring at Epcot) and a crazy coaster. You have to run down one of those conveyor belts and jump into the four-seat box thing and chuck your harness down as everything keeps moving the whole time so you gotta be quick!

Then you get lifted off the ground and away you go! There's an awesome bar on the front of your harness which you hold like you're on a broom and it seriously feels like your flying round Hogwarts. Occasionally the scene changes and bam! You're in the Forbidden Forest and there's fecking SPIDERS EVERYWHERE! Then everything goes back to nice and normal for a while... wait no NOW THE DEMENTORS ARE COMING FOR YOU!!! *Freaks the frick out*

Sorting Hat!
I will hands-up confess to being genuinely scared when the Dementors appeared because damn... that's one thing the movies did perfectly *shudders*. I will also own up to being a major spaz and yelling "Expecto Patronum" like it would bloody do something, oy vay I'm an idiot.

Overall the ride was absolutely amazing and dang if you didn't feel like you were really flying (I know I was leaning forward to go faster), it was a total rush and *so* worth the hour's queue time. If we could have I would have ran back round and rejoined the line as I wanted to live in that castle!

By the time we got finished in Hogwarts we were starved so we went and sat at the back of the Three Broomsticks and ate our sandwiches whilst cooing over our wands (Beth and me that is, our parents just thought we were mental :P). We still had a few more places we wanted to go in Hogsmeade, like Honeydukes so after lunch we joined the crush in the sweet shop. There were so many awesome looking sweets in there (although jeepers they were pricey) but we eventually got a chocolate frog and some Bertie Bott's beans for my sister and I to share. Later however when my sister butchered the poor frog we realised that the chocolate wasn't all that great so we still haven't finished it *oops*. On the bright side we got Rowena Ravenclaw as our Wizarding Card.

Beth  & Me outside the Post Office
As the day was getting on we had to finally try and do some other rides cos we'd done only two so far and we'd been in the park for 3 hours or more. So we started walking round toward the Hulk ride but as we got into the Jurassic Park area it started. The Rain. The Torrential Monsoon Season Rain. The OMG Will It Ever Stop Rain.

We were stuck inside a restaurant for probably getting on for an hour waiting for the downpour to ease off, in the end we just manned up and got out there in our super-cool yellow ponchos (I was lucky enough to have my special pink mac instead :P). With how shit the weather was the two rides that we'd wanted to go on (Hulk and Dr Doom's Fearfall) were now closed cos of the lightning risk so we decided to schlep our way to the exit and went for an early dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe (the food was really nice btw).

So that was our Epic-turned-Epicly-Wet day at Universal's Island of Adventure where we managed an amazing TWO rides due to the horrific turn in the weather. But in my eyes it was totally worth it because we got to go to HOGWARTS for crying out loud! I kinda wish that the other shops in Hogsmeade were actually accessible instead of just being cool shopfronts with "just popped out" signs on the doors cos that would have been super-awesome. I also think that it would rock if they built a full-size Hogwarts Express that you could travel round the outside of the park on cos then you could sit with other Harry Potter nerds in the compartments and revel in the awesomeness! (Alas I realise that Universal has like no space for expansion unlike Disney who have practically a county to themselves).

But yea, it was a fab day and I gots to say thanks very muchly to my parentals for tolerating my nerdiness enough to take us to the park (not that they'll read this but at least the thought is there).

Has anyone else been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? If so what bit did you like best? Do you think that it could have been even more awesome? What HP goodies did you buy? Let me know!

Witchily Yours


In My Mailbox #53 ze magical one!

Hola mis chicas! (or chicos I dunno what the female:male ratio is for ze blog). Tis the end of the first full week of my stay in Florida and it's kinda scary that in just a week I'll be going home again, gawd knows how I'm gonna adjust to having to go back to work *sad face*. Just as I've got into a routine of responsible adultness this holiday has set me back at least three years on the maturity ladder, so although I'm inching ever closer to my 21st birthday right now I'm feeling rather like a sixteen year old on her summer vacation. Ugh, why can't I just stay here and work at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? I would *kill* to be able to spend all day dressed in Hogwarts robes and to buggery if I'm sweltering in the heat-  I'd have the best job EVER!

But anyways digressions are the bane of my life. To business!
In My Mailbox is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Kristi @The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie

Books Acquired this week
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway

Luna Lovegood's Wand *squee* (I did want to maybe get a Ravenclaw scarf but the shops were so crazy-cakes busy that it was a challenge to move around in there so escaping was the sensible option)
Hermione Granger's Wand  - for the Darling Jess of Jess Hearts Books (So we can be nerdy witchy nutters when we go see HP7 Pt2 later this month)

My post detailing the awesomeness of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter avec pictures will hopefully be up later today so keep your peepers peeled for that!

So do let me know what Y'all got in Your Mailboxes this week!

Magically Yours


Book Review - Words

 Monday, 4 July 2011

Cripes, I started this review over a week ago :S I gotta sort myself out.

Title: Words
Author: Ginny Yttrup
Date: 7/6/2011 PM
Source: Received for Review from LTER
Description: Ten-year old Kaylee Wren doesn’t speak. Not since her drug-addled mother walked away, leaving her in a remote cabin nestled in the towering redwoods-in the care of a man who is as dangerous as he is evil. With silence her only refuge, Kaylee collects words she might never speak from the only memento her mother left behind: a dictionary. Sierra Dawn is thirty-four, an artist, and alone. She has allowed the shame of her past to silence her present hopes and chooses to bury her pain by trying to control her circumstances. But on the twelfth anniversary of her daughter’s death, Sierra’s control begins to crumble as the God of her childhood woos her back to Himself.
Brought together by Divine design, Kaylee and Sierra will discover together the healing mercy of the Word. (Description taken from LibraryThing)

My Review
I never thought I'd find myself reading a Christian Fiction book but when I got a message saying I'd won an ARC of Words, I thought why not give it a fair shot? The story sounded genuinely interesting despite my concerns about how strong the religious overtones were going to be.

The two main characters Kaylee and Sierra are remarkably developed for a debut novel, they both have complex histories and are wonderfully flawed. Although very mature for a ten year old Kaylee still has a childish personality that comes across in her POV chapters. She's got a quirky sense of humour which considering the horrors she's been through shows her amazing strength of character.

Sierra is a very admirable woman for actually taking it upon herself to help Kaylee out of her awful situation when so many people in this day and age would just walk away and stay out of what isn't their business. It gives a hopeful message that there are some truly good people in a world where evil people often get away with the terrible acts they commit in their isolated corners of society. 

On occasions the religious aspects of the book got a tad intense, I don't quite care for being told over and over that Jesus is the only way to find the truth/only way to forgiveness etc. but as it wasn't continuous through the whole book it didn't detract from the enjoyment of the story too much.

Overall it was an interesting and uplifting book with realistic and unique characters that make for enjoyable yet serious read.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Gawsh it's taken me *waaay* too long to get this review done. I really shouldn't watch tv and blog cos blogging will inevitably be procrastinated. 

Hopefully the next few reviews won't take so long


In My Mailbox #52

 Sunday, 3 July 2011

Morning all, tis very bizarre to be posting 5 hours behind my usual schedule but what the hey that's what post-scheduling is for right? Holidays are a dangerous time for a book addict like myself especially when there are book shops to be found so the next couple of IMMs might be a bit crazy (unless my parents put an embargo on my spending :P).

In My Mailbox is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Kristi @The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie

Books Acquired this week
Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead (I needed the US edition :P)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Mistwood by Leah Cypess
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
Heist Society by Ally Carter

A pretty decent haul for two days, I will be slightly concerned about going home if I buy too many more books though :S

What's in your Mailbox this week?


June Round-Off

 Saturday, 2 July 2011

Aft'noon Folks!
June has been a very quiet month for the Library so this post will be pretty quick. We're now half way through the year and I'm kinda curious to know what the next 6 months will bring, but considering what has already happened in 2011 I seriously doubt that it can get any worse. What will be in store for the blog I don't yet know.

Here's what happened in June.

Books Read
75. Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson (2/6/2011 AM)
76. Words by Ginny L. Yttrup (7/6/2011 PM)
77. The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell (11/6/2011 AM)
78. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen (12/6/2011 AM)
79. A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell (13/6/2011 AM)
80. Last Chance by Sarah Dessen (14/6/2011 AM) Re-Read
81. Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (15/6/2011 AM)
82. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (19/6/2011 AM)
83. The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen (19/6/2011 PM) Re-Read
84. Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway (25/6/2011 PM) Re-Read

Book Reviewed
As I am woefully behind on my reviews June boasts the lowest count of reviews ever! And this one was a month later than I'd planned to boot so Fail-Rachel all round methinks!
Random Magic by Sasha Soren 
Must.Do.Better :S

Favourite Book of the Month
If I discount re-reads I'm only left with 7 options for favourite book of the month but thankfully it's not too difficult a decision to make.

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson was a completely unexpected gem, I had no inkling of what the story really was about after reading only the blurb but as the book unfolded so did the fascinating layers of plot and character and boy what a fab read! 

The other favourite of June (I'm changing the rules slightly cos these were both awesome in different genres) was What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen. I love Sarah Dessen's books and this latest one was simply fantastic. It's definitely gonna be tough to decide which Dessen is my all-time fav when it comes down to it.

What to Expect in July
It's very hard to say what might happen as the best laid plans often go awry. I may say that I'll post more reviews and it never happens so to avoid disappointment I won't promise anything and it'll be a pleasant surprise when you get something ;-)
But what I do want to happen is something involving Harry Potter. With the end of the films looming everyone has been feeling rather nostalgic and lamenting it as the end of an era, which is perfectly true in some respects. The end of the films is almost like the end of our childhood, so many fans of the books and/or the films (I'm more a book fan for reasons we won't go into now) grew up with this series that when it's all over we'll have the horrible feeling that we have to move on from Harry Potter and everyone at Hogwarts just like we have to do with High School and the other pillars of childhood and teenagehood.

So there may be some wittering, lengthy posts about Harry Potter coming in the near future, let's just say that I'm gonna have a hard time letting go of that hope that my letter is still coming ten years later :P

Nostalgicially Yours


I'm crossing the pond!

 Monday, 27 June 2011

Oh Hai there folks, I know, I know I am totally failing at getting a blog routine going but with work kicking my ass mentally I just have no energy to write reviews :S But fear not as things might pick up around here in three short days when I hop a flight to the wonderful US of A!!

It's been nearly 3 years since I last got to go on a family holiday to Florida so you can understand that I am super-excited to be going for two and a half weeks. We're gonna be hitting up all the parks (cos we're crazy like that) and by damn if I'm not going to the Harry Potter park! They were still building it when I was last at Universal so I'm gonna be running round that place with the dorkiest grin on my face and I *will* be coming out of that place with at least a wand :P

What I'm also seriously looking forward to is actually not a park but the bookstores! There are a few bookstores near our villa which I will be dying to raid (luggage allowance permitting) so there will be some pretty cool IMMs over the next few weeks.

In the time when we're not at the parks we'll be chillin' at the villa so hopefully I'll be able to get quite a few reviews done, not to mention getting some good chunks of reading done. Heck knows I need to chill after two months of full-time work (I know there are people who work way crazier hours than I do but this is the first full-time job I've had so I'm still adjusting).

So just thought I'd update you lovely folk and let you know that I've not entirely left the blogosphere :D

See y'all on the flipside


It's Monday What are you Reading (40)

 Monday, 13 June 2011

Another week gone and it's now just over two weeks until I hop over the other side of the pond for a much-anticipated holiday in Sunny Florida! Man I cannot *wait* to go, it's been 3 years since I've been with being at University and all I wasn't able to go with my parents and sister. But now since I've dropped out of Uni I get to once again visit all the awesome theme parks and raid the beyond-awesome bookshops that are rife in Florida, excited is just one word I'd use to describe how I'm feeling. Seriously fecking excited are three :P

It's Monday What are you Reading? Is a weekly bookish meme where we get together to share what books we've read in the past week, what books we're currently reading and what new books we're planning on reading in the coming week along with any reviews or interesting posts. It's hosted by Sheila @Book Journey

Books I've read in the Past Week
Words by Ginny Yttrup - Surprisingly enjoyable despite occasionally over-done preachiness, will be doing proper review soonish.
The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell - Fascinatingly mysterious historical read.
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen - LOVE LOVE LOVE! 

Book I reviewed in the past week
Finally I've got my long-overdue review of Random Magic by Sasha Soren posted. This should have been a vlog review but Youtube was adamant that every time I tried to film it that it would eat my footage and after several attempts you kinda get demotivated so it's a written review. Enjoy.

Books I'm Currently Reading
A Map of the Known World is so far a beautifully written story and I'm enjoying it. Will probably have it finished in a day or so.

Reading Like a Writer - I starting reading this non-fiction on the train to see Jess on Saturday, it's quite interesting although how much help it'll be to me on an informative level I don't know yet.

Books I'm Planning to read this week
Erm not sure really, probably will put a fairly short book in my bag to read on my lunch break, if I actually take one this week since I ate my lunch at my desk every day last week :S I really don't wanna drop too much on my reading intake or I'll never meet my target for the year.

So are you Reading anything interesting this week?


Book Review - Random Magic

 Sunday, 12 June 2011

Ahoy there maties! This 'ere review is part of my contribution to the swash-buckling Random Magic blog tour. Twas supposed t'be a video review but with the blogger downtime and my own issues in trying to film the videos for my stop I've decided to do my review of the book in written form.

Title: Random Magic
Author: Sasha Soren
Date: 9/5/2011 PM
Source: Received for Review from the author
Description: When absent-minded Professor Random misplaces the main character from Alice in Wonderland, young Henry Witherspoon must book-jump to fetch Alice before chaos theory kicks in and the world vanishes. Along the way he meets Winnie Flapjack, a wit-cracking doodle witch with nothing to her name but a magic feather and a plan. Such as it is. Henry and Winnie brave the Dark Queen, whatwolves, pirates, Struths, and fluttersmoths, Priscilla and Charybdis, obnoxiously cheerful vampires, Baron Samedi, a nine-dimensional cat, and one perpetually inebriated Muse to rescue Alice and save the world by tea time. (Description taken from Goodreads)

My Review
I got asked if I wanted to review Random Magic because Sasha thought it's quirky nature would be something I would enjoy, being of a kooky persuasion myself. I mean a book about literary characters, mythology, magic, pirates and randomosity? Doesn't that just sound right up my street?

The story starts off in a lacksidaisical fashion as we are introduced to various characters who while being amusingly eccentric don't actually feature in the story except in the first and last few chapters. The scene setting is lavishly descriptive and oddly hunger-inducing (believe me you'll be hankering for a cup of tea and teeny sandwiches after reading about a tea party). It does take a couple of chapters to get into the main swing of the story but it's certainly a quirky way to begin.

The two main characters are Henry Witherspoon and Winnie Flapjack and I gotta say that Winnie is my kinda gal; wise-cracking, no-nonsense with a creative bent towards profanity. She tends to keep Henry at a distance but occasionally you do get a glimpse of her softer side which I love. Henry is rather adorable in a dorky way and I really enjoyed seeing him mature over the course of the book. I also loved all the back-and forth banter between Henry and Winnie although at times it did get a little confusing as to who exactly was speaking.

Trying to explain what happens in a book like Random Magic is nigh on impossible as it's like a trippy train of thought that skips through a variety of different literary worlds, greek myths, russian folklore, hell it gets pretty "Treasure Island" around Chapter 26 and there's apparently a sneaky anagramatical homage to Douglas Adams in Chapter 42 (I didn't spot it myself but I know it's there somewhere). The simple explanation for the adventures of Henry and Winnie is that they're searching for Alice and have to trek here, there and bloody everywhere to find her. What passes in the pages of this book is like a massively out of control game of hide and seek where Alice is totally winning. 

Sasha has created a really quirky and fascinating world and while it may at first seem befuddling, the further you tumble down the proverbial rabbit hole the more everything starts to make sense, especially when Winnie delivers a perfectly serious line that *would* seem ridiculous if it was in another book but in Random Magic it makes you think "huh, of course she's right!"

I am super grateful for being given the chance to read this book as it was a terrifically fun romp with a cast of zany characters through a lavishly described world that kept surprising me with what weird and wonderful creature came jumping out from the hedges next. Sasha is a seriously cool gal and I'd be vair interested to read whatever she writes next as I'm sure it'll be delightfully quirky.

My Rating: 4 out 5 Stars

Holy cow! I cannot believe how late I am with getting this review done, my original tour stop was on the 13th May and it's taken me until now to actually finish the fracking thing with all the crap Youtube was giving me and just my general lack of blogger mojo making it impossible to string my thoughts together. I have apologised a gallon already to Sasha for being ridiculously delayed with posting but I'll say it again - Sooo Sorry! :S

Next time I will have to be *Far* more organised with expected reviews as I cannot be this bad a second time.



In My Mailbox #51 - the icky rainy one

Dude have you *seen* how disgusting the weather is today?!? It has literally rained non-stop since I woke up this morning (so for at least 6 hours :P) and there's no sign of it letting up any time soon. Tis definitely the type of day you'd spend curled up in a quilt with a book and a hot drink - I know I'm gonna be busting out a book shortly. Anyways on with business!

In My Mailbox is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Kristi @The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie

Books acquired this week
Plague by Michael Grant
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen (I stayed up til 3am reading this - SO GOOD!)

Also got a super-cool notebook with all sorts of funky sections, it's pretty!

I was really happy that I got to spend Saturday with my awesome bestie Jess since I hadn't seen her since January. Excepting a slight downpour and one hella creepy old guy, the day was perfect and we didn't even spend loads of money on books! :O Man I often wish that I lived closer to Jess and my other blogging bestie Ellie as it takes a lot of pre-planning to see them because of us all working and living about an hour away from each other *sad face*

One day maybe things will work out so we're all near enough to each other that it won't be so difficult to hang out on a regular basis.

Anyhow do let me know what you got in Your Mailbox this week


It's Monday What are you Reading (39)

 Monday, 6 June 2011

Howdy all, another week ahead and I have something pretty awesome to look forward to - next Saturday I'm gonna be heading off on a train to see my bestie Jess (of Jess Hearts Books fame) for the day. We were gonna be heading off the Northern Blogger Meet-up in Manchester but due to unexpected occurrences our plans are now scaled-down to just us, drinks of varying levels of caffeination and Nandos so I am *vair* excited!

It's Monday What are you Reading? Is a weekly bookish meme where we get together to share what books we've read in the past week, what books we're currently reading and what new books we're planning on reading in the coming week along with any reviews or interesting posts. It's hosted by Sheila @Book Journey

Books Read this past week
Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson - my 75th book of the year and wow what a corker! A fantastic blend of several genres with a very surprising turn of events at the end. I had very little idea of what the book was going to be about before I started reading and it became quickly apparent that it is nearly impossible to describe what it's about without resorting to adjectives and metaphors that don't even come close to doing it justice. 
Simply put, this book is a multisensory phenomenon that very nearly blew my mind and I seriously suggest that y'all read it ASAP cos I'm damn sure that you'll be savouring every beautifully crafted sentence for days after you're finished. Dang I wish I could hear colours.

Books I'm Currently Reading
I'm still chugging through Jane Austen's Minor Works and The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell although progress has definitely been slow this past week (*coughnoprogressatallcough*). What I have been reading a fair bit of over the weekend is an Early Review book I won from LibraryThing a few months back.

Words by Ginny L. Yttrup - Technically this is a Christian fiction book which is not my usual fare but as I requested it understanding the fact that if I won it I would be obliged to review it I thought that I ought to start reading it before the Almighty Algorithm which decides who wins which books each month punishes me for my tardiness in reading my LTER books. 
Oddly enough I'm actually rather enjoying it (no offence to any people who do read Christian fiction on a regular basis) as it feels more spiritually Christian than out-and-out evangelically so. I was a little wary at first as I've heard a few stories from friends about their iffy experiences reading overly intense Christian fiction but so far my experience is quite pleasant and mild. Here's hoping it remains that way.

Books I Plan to read this week
Darn it I just don't know, I read one book in the whole of last week which is truly terrible by my standards. I really need to stop eating my lunch at my desk and actually take a break or I will get barely anything read for the rest of the year. I want to finish The Vespertine at least as I've promised I'd lend it to Jess once I'm finished and since I'm going to see her this Saturday it would be rather sensible to have read it by then n'est-ce pas? God I hope I can get some reviews done but the mojo has gone fishing again it seems, the brief monologue above may be as close to a review of Ultraviolet as I'll get for a while so enjoy it folks! (ack sorry late-night posting means I write crankily)

Anyways let me know What You're reading this Week!


In My Mailbox #50 - dang so many?

 Sunday, 5 June 2011

Holy crappola how did I get to 50 IMMs? I would be rather terrified to add up exactly how many books I've bought over the course of those posts but hey *party poppers and cake all round*. This week is fairly mild on the book buying front so here we go!

In My Mailbox is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Kristi @The Story Siren and inspired by Alea @Pop Culture Junkie

Book Acquired this week
Just the one acquisition this week from a charity shop at a bargain price of 99p! I've never read a Holly Black book and I've heard really good things about this series so I thought what the hell?

Also arriving through the Mailbox this week was my next dose of the Gilmore Girls in a handy two season chunk. Since I devoured the first Season in an alarmingly short period of time I decided to wait a little while before buying the next installment (just so my parents didn't confiscate my debit card). Now I'm glutting on Season Two, I must say although I'm terribly envious that Alexis Bledel got to spend copious amounts of time locking lips with Jared Padalecki, I can't help but hope that Rory and Jess get together cos dude he reads! *swoons*

I owe all the credit for my newly fledged addiction to my dear friend Ellie of Musings of a Bookshop Girl who totally piqued my interest with her post about a Gilmore Girls Book and Movie project that she was working on. A show with *that* many references to literature and other cool things has gotta be worth a watch. Not to mention the fact that it's hilariously witty and chock-full of wonderfully quirky characters. If you've never seen an episode, watch one ASAP although I recommend starting from the beginning as I think it is rather confusing to jump in at a random point (Not like Friends where you can literally find any episode playing and watch it without a single "wuh?" moment).

So after this semi-random segway into a gush-fest over the Gilmore Girls thus I end this post (at a hideously late hour post-wine). Anyhow do tell what you got in *your* Mailbox this week.


May Round-off

 Wednesday, 1 June 2011

I know I say this at the start of every montly round-off but dude it is true every time - WHERE HAS THE MONTH GONE?!? Honestly I have no clue what happened to the last two weeks, as far as I'm aware it's only the 15th of May. This month has been a *terrible* reading month for me, seriously bloody awful - I've only read 8 books, I know for some people that's a perfectly respectable total but as someone who normally reads at least 15 books a month it's rather disappointing.

After a full month of working five days a week I think it's now apparent that I'm gonna have a fair bit of difficulty keeping up with my usual pace of reading without exhausting myself by staying up later after work so I shall have to resign myself to the more modest intake I can get through reading in my lunch breaks and at home.

I have literally reviewed only two books all month and since I read them in March and early April respectively I am thoroughly ashamed of myself. Book blogger indeed! Lazy mother-clucker more like! In June I am gonna start afresh and review the last couple of books from May and then try and keep up with June's cos there's now no way in hell I'll get caught up with April's reviews.

Books Read in May
67. Beastly by Alex Flinn (4/5/2011 AM) Re-read
68. Random Magic by Sasha Soren (9/5/2011 PM)
69. Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Philips (10/5/2011 PM)
70. When it Happens by Susane Colasanti (12/5/2011 AM)
71. The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell (14/5/2011 PM)
72. Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon (17/5/2011 PM)
73. Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen (22/5/2011 PM)
74. Die for Me by Amy Plum (29/5/2011 PM)

Books Reviewed in May
The Lady in the Tower by Marie-Louise Jensen
Pretty Bad Things by C.J. Skuse

Other Posts of Note
You  might have heard me talk about the Random Magic blog tour quite often last month so I reckon you've wondered where the heck my posts have been about it, well my Pirate Queens post went up on time but I'm still owing my vlog review and the video reading so... I'm a bad blogger :S But I'm determined to have both done by the end of this week.

Fav Book of the Month

I'd been pretty darn excited to read this since I'd heard about it so when I saw it in a 3 for 2 offer last week I just couldn't resist picking it up and devouring it. I'm a sucker for books set in Paris and the concept behind the Revenants is fabulous. I will be getting my review done for this soonish along with an as yet undefined post waxing lyrical on my love for Paris through the YA books I read.

Honourable Mention goes to Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon - a book that makes learning Latin actually sound like fun has got to be pretty awesome. I will also be trying to get a review done for this.

What I'm looking forward to in June
Well I'm gonna be spending this month waiting to get to next month as I'm heading off to Sunny Florida on the 29th with the family for what could be the last family holiday we have together. I'm gonna be taking my laptop so I will still be posting while I'm away (expect some crazy videos as my sister and I stalk the bookshops :P). Otherwise in June I'm gonna simply try and keep up with my reviewing and read more than ten books as I'm horrified by just eight :P Hopefully I can also do some other non-review posts that won't bore the pants off y'all.

Anyways I hope everyone has a great June and here's to hoping the year keeps getting better


RMT - The Parting Glass (Wrap Day)

 Monday, 30 May 2011

May 30
The Parting Glass

Today’s the wrap day for Random Magic Tour: Pirates! (May 10-30).
Click the link to see the full schedule with all the myriads of fascinating posts from the whole tour.

As one of the mates - ahoy, matey! - sailing with this 'ere crew of buccaneers, I would like to say thank you for visiting the blog on the 13th o' May although I know that not all of what ye were expectin' has appeared - that be though the bad luck of Blogger and Youtube and a good dose of lily-livered laziness from me. I hope that the posts from the rest of the fine folk in this crew made up for my lack of participation.

Since my vlog review of the book is still forth-coming (it *will* be making an appearance I assure you), why not check out this fabulous review done by Tara @ Fiction Folio. It is literally her first ever vlog and dang if it ain't a bucket-load more coherent and articulate than mine was :P

Also check out the video reading of Random Magic that Christina the Book Addict did for her tour stop as a small reparation for the delay with my piratically themed reading. (That will be turning up soon as well)

And not forgetting a massive thank you to Sasha herself for being such a stellar Captain of this tour and for being so wonderfully patient with daft old me when frankly I should have been sent to the brig for my desertion when I was supposed to fulfil my duties. The amount of time and effort that she's put into making this tour happen is astounding and I seriously hope that she spends June chilling out every day with a cup of tea in a quiet corner cos heck knows she deserves a good rest.

For the wrap day of the tour, we’re just going to raise a final pint o’ grog to say thanks for the good company. Smooth seas be ahead o’ ye!

Song of the Mermaid Queen

Message in a Bottle:  visit Liana's Paper Doll Blog to see the Pirate Queen Sasha and read more about her at Moonlight Gleam's Bookshelf.

Fair thee well ye fine folk!


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