Musing Monday (24th August)

musingmondays51

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of A Daily Rythym that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Does your local library ever have book sales? What are the prices like? Tell us about any great finds you have found there!

My Musing (and answer)

I have stacks of books both physical and digital, ready for me to read; yet I don’t feel like picking any of them up next. So today I went to the library to find something I’d be excited about

Weird little segue into today’s questions – yes, my local library often have sales of books 30p each or 4 for a £1; though recently it has only been children’s books and other than the odd book picked up for a friend’s toddler I haven’t bought anything from them in quite a long time.

And back into what I was saying. So I wanted to find something that was light and fun, without being boring. I have been reading a lot of war intense books lately, both fiction and non-fiction and think I need a break. I also didn’t want a love story, which is when I discovered that pretty much every book has a love story, and it’s usually the focus. Every book I picked up, the blurb described a boy and a girl who have to learn to deal with each other. And this was in every genre.

I looked at Fantasy and nearly picked up a discworld book by Terry Pratchett but then decided if I was going to read them I should start at the beginning and they didn’t have the first one (it made sense in my head at the time), and most other Fantasy books were a lot thicker than I was looking for (not that I have a thing against big books, just that I’m trying to at least attempt to keep up with my Goodreads goal of 50 books this year). I’ve never been into Horror or Thrillers so I gave them a pass as I wasn’t looking to widen my scope, just find something I would love reading. I looked for the Science Fiction section which said it was in the same place but was filled with Horror so I gave up looking for that. I looked at YP Fiction, but again everything was about romance.

Just as I’d given up hope of finding anything that would appeal to me I came across the 15+ section which I didn’t even know existed and settled on Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly which (according to the blurb) is about a girl who is sent to France and discovers a diary written by another girl during the French Revolution (I only now realised this means I’ve probably picked up another war book but hopefully it won’t all be doom and gloom). Once I’d picked it up it was as if a weight was lifted and suddenly almost every book looked interesting. I allowed myself to get one other book (Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho), as honestly I don’t need to be going to the library for something to read.

While it took a while for me to ‘wander’ (in my mobility scooter) and find anything that sparked my interest, the trip to the library was definitely worth it as I’m starting to feel excited about reading again which is just what I needed.

Any suggestions on happyish/fun books that don’t have too much romance filling their pages?

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Teaser Tuesday (18th August)

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Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

Dominik looked down at his plate. His final slice of toast sat there, forlorn.

p.p.26 Eighty Days Red by Vina Jackson (just so you know, this is a BDSM erotica series)

Musing Monday (17th August)

musingmondays51

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of A Daily Rythym that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Have you ever won a copy of a book (other than for review)? What was the book, and what were the circumstances?

My Musing/Answer:

I have entered a lot of competitions/giveaways online, most of which are for books, though lately I haven’t entered so many (this question has made me think I should start doing so again).

There is one book I’ve won that stands out for me; I can’t remember exactly how I won it, though it was through entering giveaways on blogs. This was a physical copy of Paranormalcy by Kiersten White. For me this was a big deal as I’d been following her writing blog for a few years and felt like I’d been with her on her journey to being published. I no longer have the copy I won; it was hard for me to give away but knew I no longer needed the physical book to remind me of winning it, and if I choose to read it again (I’ve read it twice as read it when Supernaturally came out), I’ll buy it on Kindle (as the other two books in the series are already on my Kindle).

Review: Harry’s War by Harry Drinkwater

Harry's WarTitle: Harry’s War – The Great War Diary of Harry Drinkwater

Author: Harry Drinkwater

Editor: Jon Cooksey

Publisher: Ebury Press

Published: July 2014

Genre: Non-Fiction HIstorical Diary

Source: Library

My Rating: 5/5

Harry’s War is nothing more than a diary kept by a soldier during the First World War; yet it so much more than that as it’s one of the few (if not only) vivid and descriptive firsthand accounts written by a soldier who not only survived the War but went back and edited his diary accounts.  Recently rediscovered and edited, Harry’s War was published for the centenary anniversary of the start of The Great War.

I have an interest in history, particularly accounts and memories of those who lived, rather than just names and dates. Because of this I’ve always felt a little annoyed there wasn’t more than metaphoric poetry to describe what life was like at the front during the First World War (I now know diaries were forbidden on the front which no doubt is why there are so few accounts). Perhaps it’s because so much is written about WWII that the utter lack of description from the First World War bothered me; though it is also the need to learn and understand.  Shortly into Harry’s War I understood why so many chose not to actively remember and discuss their experiences.

Harry Drinkwater honestly recorded as much of his experiences as he could, which in itself. However, I felt a lot of it lacked emotion, with gruesome details being plainly described (the one that will always stay with me is when his arm literally sunk into a dead German as Harry tried to use him to lever himself out of a hole). I expect this is because to survive living through something as horrific as the frontline during the First World War, the men must have dissociated themselves from what was happening on a day-to-day basis; but it makes reading this diary not only very uncomfortable and disturbing, but sometimes causes the reader to dissociate from the experience as well, making it an effort to truly accept the terribleness of what actually happened.

One thing I particularly liked about Harry’s War is that the diary doesn’t stop when Harry was on reprieve, so that it covers all of his experiences as a soldier rather than simply what happened to him on the front. In fact, Harry himself often comments on how the time spent away from the front is like heaven compared to the hell of being in the trenches, showing he had clarity and could understand how bizarre his situation was.

To bring together the diary, the editor Jon Cooksey includes notes which put the situations and places into context in regards to the war, and important events that were happening at the time.  I found this really useful as it gives the reader information to understand how Harry’s experiences related to what else was happening at the time. This, along with Harry Drinkwater’s voice, is gratefully the closest any of us can get to imagining what The Great War was like.

I would recommend Harry’s War to anyone with an interest in social history or the First World War, though I think almost everyone could benefit from reading this detailed account of man’s fight to create the world we live in today.

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Teaser Tuesday (4th Aug)

teasertuesdays2014e

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

Several ambassadors are holding court in huddles, reminding me of circles of boys in a playground. The British one’s about somewhere.

p.p. 309 The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Apologies

Apologies for the lack of review this week, I promise it’s in the process of being written and I’ll post it the moment it’s finished so you wont miss out. Unfortunately sometimes this will happen as I live with M.E. and am not always able to get done what I plan to do and really hope you understand and won’t mind waiting a few extra days.

Teaser Tuesday (28th July)

teasertuesdays2014e

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
e• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!I am

I am currently reading a book of war poetry: Three Poets of the First World War – Ivor Gurney, Isaac Rosenberg, Wilfred Owen so this week thought I’d include a whole poem, rather than just a couple of line.

My Teaser:

Old Dreams

Once I had dreamed of return to a sunlit land

Of summer and firelit winter with inns to visit,

But here are tangles of Fate one does not understand,

And as for rest or true ease, where is it and what is it.

With criss-cross purposes and spoilt threads of life,

Perverse pathways, the savour of life is gone.

What have I then with crumbling wood or glowing coals,

Or a four-hours’ walking, to work, through a setting Sun?

                                       p.p. 26 Ivor Gurney

Musing Monday (27th July)

musingmondays51

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by Jenn of A Daily Rhythm that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT at her blog with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your answer in a comment there.

My Musing:

When I started book blogging I had no idea what I was letting myself in for (not to mention I wasn’t starting it alone).   I think I was never really as committed as I wanted to be. I went months without reviewing anything, and my participation of memes was random; it’s not that I didn’t want to make this into a successful blog, I just didn’t have the understanding of what I was really doing.

Finally I’m starting to see what I really want to do. The past couple of weeks I’ve been posting more regularly and I sincerely plan to keep doing so. I considered letting this blog die, and with it the worry and stress it was causing by knowing I wasn’t keeping it up to date. I’m glad I didn’t as for the first time I’m feeling truly committed to this blog. A part of it is I want to use it to help me achieve my dreams of becoming a freelance editor and proof-reader, but that’s not the main reason.

When it comes down to it, I love books – have always loved books – the way the words dance across your mind, the way a theory or idea can be conveyed without ever having to say it, the way in which words can literally change your life. I think with being ill and struggling to get through each day, along with my focus going all over the place (crafts, cooking, writing, various blogs) I had forgotten that. Books and words are part of who I am and I’m glad to have found the focus and belief in myself once again. Of course, I still enjoy crafts and cooking and writing, but I know that when everything else is stripped away, words will always be there, and they will always be in my life. Realising this has given me hope I thought I’d lost and dedication I wasn’t sure I had, and hopefully the results will be seen in this blog becoming regularly updated and more interactive.

No doubt there are still kinks I need to work through (trying to find a way for this blog to look the way I imagine it being one), and I won’t always be as active as I wish I could be; but I’m certain I’ll pull through, and words are the way I’ll do so.

Review: The 100 by Kass Morgan

The 100 Kass MorganTitle: The 100 (The Hundred #1)

Author: Kass Morgan

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Published: 2013

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

Source: Library

My Rating: 3.5/5

When Earth becomes uninhabitable due to nuclear war, humanity continues on spaceships.  These spaceships have strict rules, with crime being punished by death for adults and prison for those under 18; now 100 of those young convicts are being sent to Earth to find out if it’s habitable once again. While Clark, Wells, Bellamy and 97 others are trying to survive the dangers of Earth (including each other), Glass manages to escape back to her life on the spaceship only to find that has dangers of its own.

I watched the first season of the series a while back and quite enjoyed it, so when I saw the book at the library I had to pick it up to see if it was as good/better than the TV show.  Honestly I was surprised at how truthful to the book the series was, though it moves at a much faster pace (something that doesn’t really surprise me) to the point that spoiler: [the current inhabitants of Earth don’t appear in the book til the very end, whereas I remember them appearing quite quickly in the series]. The characterization and back stories were pretty much as I remembered them, to the point that at certain points it felt as if I’d already read the book.

The book is written through the viewpoints of 4 young people, all from different walks of life (guess I shouldn’t be surprised to know in the future the class system is more pronounced than ever).  It took me a while to work out who was who as I was reading as the narrative doesn’t change style and to begin with everyone is in the situation and it was only as the story unravelled I was able to distinguish which name went with who. For me this spoilt the book, especially at the start, as I was spending more time trying to work out which story I was following.

To be honest by the end of the book I didn’t feel I knew or connected with any of the characters, meaning I didn’t feel invested in the story enough to want to keep constantly reading. I think if I hadn’t already seen the TV show, I probably wouldn’t have bothered from reading the book.  While the scenario was interesting, the entire book felt more like a lead up to the main story – I know it is the first in the series, but in my opinion needed a little more action or emotional turmoil for the book to be able to stand on its own.

I don’t know if I’m going to continue reading the series, though will likely watch the next season when it becomes available. Overall, I liked the idea behind it, but just didn’t find the story or characters particularly engaging. However, if you are looking for a quick, light read and enjoy teen futuristic books, you might still want to check this one out.

Goodreads

Amazon UK

Amazon.com