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Nothing going on here... as you were...

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


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