Thursday, 29 December 2011

Book review: The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri

The Shape of WaterThe Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri

I read this after catching half of Inspector Montalbano on the BBC. Having read a few foreign novels (translated into English mind!) I had some idea of what to expect.
For a start, I would've thought it was written in English, you cannot tell at all that it is translated from Italian. But there were some problems with the plot. Although I felt it was well written, I didn't particularly care about the characters and what happened to them. I also felt that Camilleri left far too much open. I'm not sure if it's just me, but I couldn't tell you who killed the victim and why.
On the other hand, I loved Montalbano himself, and Fazio and am looking forward to reading more about them. This wasn't brilliant, but it wasn't all that bad and I flew through it pretty quickly.

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Saturday, 24 December 2011

Book review: Agatha Raisin and a Spoonful of Poison by M.C. Beaton

Agatha Raisin and a Spoonful of Poison (Agatha Raisin, #19)Agatha Raisin and a Spoonful of Poison by M.C. Beaton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Agatha Raisin and a Spoonful of Poison by M.C.Beaton

I haven't read an Agatha Raisin book in a long time, and starting this one felt like slipping on a comfy cardigan. I love Agatha, she's grumpy, is obsessed with men and always ends up getting herself in trouble. But she's a brilliant detective, which is why we love her.
The plot of this one, wasn't as tight as I'd have liked it to be. The person who committed the murders didn't really have a reason for it, and now thinking back, not all of the ends were tied up. But you can't help but be engrossed in Agatha's personal life, her dinner dates with Gorgeous George Selby and the goings on of her friends.
All in all, a welcome return home for me and it's about time someone made this into a TV series! With it's eclectic characters and beyond believable plot lines it would show Midsomer Murders a thing or two!

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Thursday, 22 December 2011

Book review: Carrie by Stephen King

CarrieCarrie by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Carrie by Stephen King

I've always thought King was my favourite author, and this book was just another to cement that fact. I didn't realise Carrie was his first book. If that had been the case I would have tried to read it first.
King has never, at any point in his life, been a teenage girl, so it comes as a surprise to find a believable story about a troubled teenager who just happens to have the power of telekinesis.
Before I started reading, I was unaware of the way the story was told, which I thought was very clever. Telling Carrie from different points of view, from different texts and books was genius!
The fact that it only took me two days, also shows how much pull this story had. Normally, although I'm a fast reader, it takes me a while to read Stephen Kind, I tend to savour it. But with this, I just had to find out what happened.

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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Book review: Last Seen Wearing/Last Bus to Woodstock by Colin Dexter

Last Seen Wearing / Last Bus to WoodstockLast Seen Wearing / Last Bus to Woodstock by Colin Dexter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Last Seen Wearing/Last Bus to Woodstock by Colin Dexter

The first, really annoying thing about this book was that it was printed the wrong way round. Last Bus to Woodstock, the first ever Morse book, was the second book, so I started halfway through, and finished halfway through by the time I'd read Last Seen Wearing. I've watched a few episodes of Morse on the TV, therefore John Thaw and Kevin Whately were stuck in my head and Morse and Lewis, but I don't consider this a bad thing. Now having read Morse, I think they were perfectly cast, although I still can't get my head around Morse ever falling in love with someone.
Both novels were excellent, and although I worked it out in Last Bus to Woodstock, I hadn't in Last Seen Wearing. What I love most about these books is the fact that Morse spends most of the novel, barking up the wrong tree! He came up with endless theories and many of them turned out to be incorrect. So often detectives are perfect, and there's a light bulb moment when everything clicks into place. This isn't so with Morse. Colin Dexter also manages to create a simmering 'pull'. You never rush to turn the page, but your brain keeps telling you to read one more chapter. Before you know it, it's two in the morning.

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Thursday, 15 December 2011

Book review: Days Gone Bye (The Walking Dead Vol.1) by Robert Kirkman

The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone ByeThe Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman

I've wanted to read this ever since watching the series on TV. I've read a few graphic novels in the past but I'm not an expert so I wasn't entirely sure what to expect.
First of all, I loved the drawings. The close ups were incredible, but the pictures further away were a bit cartoonish. I was a bit disappointed that it was in black and white, but I think it adds to the bleak situation they're all in.
Although graphic novels are easier to read, I think character development can be a bit slower. Because I'd seen the show, my brain filled in the gaps. Obviously, in novels there are often descriptions of the people so help you flesh them out a bit. No pun intended.
I read this in a matter of hours, and although I felt some of it was rushed and some of the dialogue was a bit unrealistic I still loved it and I can't wait to see where it's going. From the last page I can already tell it's going to be different from the series.

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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Book review: Dead Simple by Peter James

Dead Simple (Roy Grace, #1)Dead Simple by Peter James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dead Simple is the first in the Roy Grace series, by author Peter James, who is from and sets his novels in my home town of Brighton.
That's my first, major point. I love knowing exactly where Grace, the victim and the murderers are. I can picture the places easily and sometimes are even familiar with the places where they go, especially if it's in Lewes.
The story is also epic. The victim, on his stag night is buried alive by his friends, all of whom get killed in a car accident moments later, so no one knows where he is. This is the principal idea, but James takes it further with a range of other victims and suspects and no one appears as they seem.
It's a quick read, with exciting chases on car and on foot and a race to find the victim before he runs out of air.
The only reason I gave it four stars was because of Grace's supernatural beliefs. I don't believe that police would go to a psychic of a medium, however I have been assured by the author since that they would!

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Monday, 5 December 2011

Book review: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Cloud AtlasCloud Atlas by David Mitchell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from this book. All I knew was that it was told in six parts and they were all linked.
Each part was very different and there were some parts I liked more than others. The first part, the journals of Adam Ewing, was my second to least favourite. I've recently read Sea of Poppies and it was a very similar vein, so it felt old. Mitchell used & rather than the word and, which was very irritating. Thankfully he only used it for the first section.
The second section, about Robert Frobisher was my favourite, although I've heard other describe it as the least relevant. I love the language Frobisher uses and I was completely drawn into his story.
The third section was all about Luisa Rey. I got through this section the quickest, although it wasn't clear that it was set in the seventies until it was actually mentioned by a character. The connection between Letters from Zedelghem is much stronger.
The fourth section, about Timothy Cavendish was excellent, especially the second half. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the activities that Cavendish and his cronies got up to.
Sonmi~451 was very interesting, but could be difficult. You definitely had to concentrate as normal words were replaced with brand names which I thought was very clever.
The final section, Sloosha's Crossin' was my least favourite. If this had been the opening section, I would have stopped because it was so complicated and difficult to read. Sea of Poppies had similar language and I hated it! However, this held the biggest surprises, so it was the most worthwhile section.
I must admit I was expecting more twists than there was. A lot of reviews discussed 'reveals' and apart from Sonmi~451 and Sloosh's Crossin' there wasn't anything spectacular.

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Friday, 18 November 2011

Book review: The Commitments by Roddy Doyle

The CommitmentsThe Commitments by Roddy Doyle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Commitments by Roddy Doyle

First of all, I was not aware that The Commitments was based on a book. It's one of my all time favourite films, I love the characters, the music, the story. So, I was very intrigued to see how Roddy Doyle had written singing.
It's a thin book, but I really loved it. It carries the same charm as the film and you're left smiling throughout. The dialogue is impeccable, and you can tell that some parts of the book have been put directly into the screenplay.
There were a few reasons I didn't give it five stars. The first is that sometimes, I didn't understand fully what everybody said, and who said it. There are no speech marks and the author has written everything in an Irish accent, which is brilliant but sometimes confusing. The only other problem was the singing. If you didn't know the songs, it was hard to follow them. However, I did go and search for them afterwards.
Brilliant book! Highly recommended.

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Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Book review: Dreamcatcher by Stephen King

DreamcatcherDreamcatcher by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dreamcatcher by Stephen King

A lot of people dislike this King novel, they say it's very similar to others, and you can tell that he had just recovered from an accident before writing the book in long hand.
As a man who has written 57 books in total, it's hardly surprising that similar ideas arise. I don't mind when King sticks to what he does best. Writing stories focused on groups of four boys, growing up into men and the surrounding events. Dreamcatcher features a very special character, Duddits. Duddits makes this book, especially his relationship with the four other men. All of their relationships make this book special.
The pace of this book was brilliant, it only dimmed when the military arrived. I loved the characters of Henry, Jonesy, Beav and Pete and actually wish we got to read more about Beav and Pete.
Overall, a great King book. I can always rely on him for a good story and great characters.

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Monday, 7 November 2011

Remember, Remember the 5th of November...

Every year, there's the countdown to Christmas. For our family there are two big events before Christmas, and once they're over we can start to celebrate the 25th of December. The second of those (after Halloween) is Bonfire Night. 
In our family it is massive! My Dad has been in it since he was a teenager and his Dad used to march before that. You could say it's a tradition of sorts. I've walked in it as well for the majority of my life as a Tudor, a smuggler and a Greek. I've watched it now, for two years running ever since I've lived in Shropshire and although I don't enjoy it as much, Bonfire Night is still Lewes' biggest event and a sight to behold.
The streets are cordoned off from around five, until two am, but it isn't until later when the fun really begins. 
There are a number of Lewes based societies that parade up and down School Hill before finally ending up at their fire sites to let off the best and brightest fireworks in all of Europe. I have always been Waterloo through and through. 
Bonfire Night is always busy in Lewes no matter what, but on a Saturday night the town is literally flooded with people. Where I was standing it was at least seven deep and occasionally I managed to get to the front of the crowd, to watch the procession. The costumes were incredible, the detail impeccable and the glow from the torches and the flares brings Lewes to life. It's hard to describe what watching it is like without being there yourself. The streets come alive with noise, and light. Each society has one or two bands beating a rhythm, while select society members let of bangers and Chinese firecrackers that make your ears pop and your heart skip a beat. 

Bonfire Night is truly one of the best sights to behold in all of the country, but next year, I think I'll forgo my camera, and pick up a torch.

Book review: When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman

When God Was a RabbitWhen God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman
It was fair to say, when I started this book, I didn't have high hopes. The other books for book club weren't my cup of tea and the books I had been reading lately didn't ignite excitement. I needed a book I was passionate about, one that I couldn't put down and recommended to everyone. This was the book. It was breathtaking, made me laugh aloud and cry. Sarah Winman describes feelings, sounds and smells for each memory, making it come alive. The ecclectic characters are a joy to read about. Elly isn't particularly eccentric, but you share her joys and her pain with every word you read.
This truly is a magical read and I can't wait for more from her. In fact, I'm hoping for a sequel as this book ended far too quickly!

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Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Driving Me Crazy!

Women learning to drive is becoming a bit of a joke in my family. My Mum can't drive because she was told that she couldn't steer by her instructor. My Aunt can't drive because she couldn't pass her test and my Nan can only drive a tractor. As you can see, it's not looking good. Unfortunately learning to drive is going to be a necessity. I regularly finish work at ten 'o' clock and although my Mum's partner comes to pick me up whenever he can (which is most nights), it's not fair for him. Especially on the weekend when he wants to unwind and relax. It will also be great when the snow hits, as I expect public transport to grind to a halt and when I travel down South to see my friends and family. So I took the plunge and booked up my driving lessons with a company called Zoom Zoom. I've now had two lessons with my instructor Shaun. For a start, he is a really good teacher, or coach, as he prefers to be called. He encourages independence, and only uses the other controls if necessary. So far, only once! He's also incredibly patient which is what I need! My brain has a habit of freezing up when I'm trying to do too many things. In fact I didn't realise how much the driver has to do! Steering, pedals, indicators, looking where you're going and checking the mirrors. I have no idea how drivers talk or sing as well as driving, let alone eat, or go on their mobile phones! Doing anything but driving should be made illegal! After my second lesson, two big problems have become apparent. The first is that my steering leaves a bit to be desired. It seems like I'm taking after Mum! I over steer, which I'm blaming Dad for, so it takes me a while to get straight again. The second problem is how much pressure I put on the accelerator. It is so sensitive, that sometimes I don't even realise I'm putting any pressure on it. Thankfully, (and hopefully) these things can be sorted out. Shaun has told me he's expecting me to drive home next Monday, which has made me both nervous and excited. It's such an achievement, but I can't wait until I'm able to drive like it's second nature! Hopefully all this worrying will pay off!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Book review: Panic by Jeff Abbott

PanicPanic by Jeff Abbott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Panic by Jeff Abbott

I really wanted a book that I could race through and finish quickly, just so I could up the pace. This book unfortunately didn't do that.
It started off great. You're introduced to Evan Casher and his life. He's an interesting likable character, even if he's a bit mushy when discussing Carrie, his girlfriend. Then his life starts to go downhill as his life is revealed to be something different to what he knows. But around a third of the way through the book, my interest dwindled. There were too many characters, too many acronyms (CIA, FBI, MI5...) and the pace just stopped. I also didn't really care about the other characters, especially Evan's dad Mitchell, or the bad guys. Even the technology was too complicated and it went too far into the unbelievable. I understand that this isn't going to be fact, but at least it should be based on truth.
In the end, what would have been Abbott's twist in the story, was very predictable. So, just three stars from me. I still need to find a book I would give more than three stars!

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Thursday, 13 October 2011

Book review: Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

Sea of PoppiesSea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh

This book took me forever to read and I'm not entirely sure why as it was my favourite 'book club' book yet!
In some ways Sea of Poppies reminded me of Pillars of the Earth, the way that all the characters are introduced separately and at some point in the novel are brought together. It's what I call an epic book and I really can't wait for the next one in the trilogy to come out. This one ends rather suddenly and leaves you wanting more.
The reason why this book only has three stars is for two main reasons, one which could have been avoided. The first was the chapter structure. I hate long chapters. Ideally I should be able to read a chapter in half an hour, that way I can read two or three if I've got the time, or only one if I'm tired. This book had a lot of long chapters, and when I got home from work I really couldn't be bothered to read a whole one, so I would just read chunks. It took me a lot longer because when I started reading the books, I might forgo a night of reading Sea of Poppies because I wasn't looking forward to it.
The other thing that put me off initially was the language. The way things are phrased and anything spoken by Serang Ali was particularly hard to read. To put it bluntly I couldn't be bothered to translate the text! But as I carried on reading I found it easier and eventually learnt to love it as something that makes the book unique.
Overall, three out of five! Bring on the sequel!

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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Book review: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carre

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, SpyTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carre

I read this book in preparation for going to see the film when it came out of the cinema and as soon as I started reading it, I was hooked.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was one of the most tense books I have ever read. As it neared towards the climax and the mole was revealed I was reading so fast because I couldn't wait to find out who it was! This book certainly has 'the pull' as well as memorable characters. I love the fact that George Smiley is overweight and wears glasses, not the typical spy of modern novels.
The reason why I only gave it three stars was because for some parts of the book, I had no idea what was going on. It's very complicated and you really need to concentrate. If I was tired, or my mind was focused on other things I would feel it wandering and I would have to reread the page or paragraph. I also guessed who the mole was before the reveal!
Overall, a book everyone should read, simply because it's legendary. But be prepared to concentrate!

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Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Book review: Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

AngelologyAngelology by Danielle Trussoni
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

Although I've given this book two, it's more two point five, but I was so disappointed that I thought I round down rather than up.
I was recommended this book by my Aunt, who is usually a genius when it comes to giving me good books but with this one, it got worse as it went along. It recovered itself a little bit at the end, but when I was reading a book, within a flashback, I was ready to give up!
The first problem with this book, is that Trussoni cramms as many long, intelligent words she can in each sentence. It's as if she's showing off her vocabulary, but really it's completely unnecessary and it makes it harder to read.
When I started I thought it was going to go well. I liked the characters of Evangeline and Verlaine and I was intirigued by the mysterious letters. However it went back sixty odd years, in the mind of a senior nun Celestine. That's when it lost me. What could have been done as several conversations took up the middle of the story and what made it worse was that the interesting bits (like the expedition to get the lyre) were shorter than the boring 'talky' bits. Then I found I was reading a translation by one of the characters! That was unnecessary as well! It could have been shortened, or it could have just been the paragraphs that were essential to the plot. In fact, the whole flashback could have been a separate book, and I wish it was.
When we came back to modern times, it did get better. We were back on track, even if the way the characters spoke was a little iffy. Trussoni also introduced a load of characters that weren't needed and just complicated things as I tried to remember what everyone looked like.
I will admit, I was surprised by the end, but the journey, wasn't really worth it!

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Monday, 5 September 2011

Waiting for my lift home!

I'm standing outside Fairholme, waiting for Mum and Jim to pick me up and seeing as I haven't blogged in a while I thought I might as well.
Work is still going well, as expected. I really do love it, the residents, the staff. At the end of a shift when you do handover (inform the manager of anything of note) you realise how much of a team you are. Everyone comes together and shares shift stories. So all is well on the work front.
On Saturday night I had Oswestry best friend, Miss Sophie Louise Matthews over to stay. We had a great time on SingStar, playing cards and general sleepover stuff. Even if she did clobber me in the head in the middle of the night!
As well as all this I'm trying to organise my time off so I can go and see Bonfire Night this November and go and see The Tavares, The Four Tops, The Temptations and The Crystals next March with Dad. I've been calculating all my holiday hours to work everything out. I've got twelve hours left to last me until the 1st of April.
The only other major problem I've got is writer's block. I keep getting jammed, only being able to get so far in a book before I get stuck. I either lose my passion for it or I conclude it's rubbish and give up. Sometimes I wish I spent my year 'off' (jobhunting) more wisely. Maybe then I would have got something finished!
Much love, Sian xx
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Friday, 19 August 2011

Book review: Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King

Nightmares and DreamscapesNightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King

I love Stephen King's short story collections simply because if you don't like one, you know that it'll be finished soon and you can move onto the next, not that this happens very regularly! My favourite stories in this collection were The Moving Finger, which was insanely creepy! I had to search my bathroom every time I went in there; The House On Maple Street where the kids get one up on their stepfather and The Ten 'O' Clock People, which is a genius piece of observation. Umney's Last Case, The Doctor's Case and Sorry, Right Number were also brilliant. The only story I didn't really like, and it was more of an essay anyway was Head Down. I'm British, have never seen a game of baseball ever played and don't know anything about it, so for most of that story I was lost!
Otherwise, an excellent collection, as always, from the master that is Stephen King!

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Friday, 12 August 2011

Book review: Tooth and Nail/Strip Jack by Ian Rankin

Tooth And Nail / Strip Jack (Inspector Rebus, #3, #4)Tooth And Nail / Strip Jack by Ian Rankin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tooth and Nail & Strip Jack by Ian Rankin

I love Rebus, and it wasn't until I was reading two murder mysteries side by side that I realised how much a better writer Rankin is. Not only were the plots excellent, but Rankin injects little thoughts from Rebus that make you smile, even if you've just been faced with a bloody body.
The first book, Tooth and Nail was the weaker of the two. Rebus had been called down to London to help George Flight with a serial killer. Although it was good, I prefer Rebus in his own place, because something felt missing.
Strip Jack was brilliant. Rankin juggles a lot of characters but makes it easy for the reader to follow them all, as always, the ending is a surprise and every word is perfectly written!

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Book review: The Rosary Girls by Richard Montanari

The Rosary Girls (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne, #1)The Rosary Girls by Richard Montanari

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Rosary Girls by Richard Montanari

Right from the off, I didn't like Kevin Byrne which was one of the main reasons I only gave this three stars. I thought he was a thug and he twisted the law to suit himself, but the addition of Jessica saved this book. She's a likable character, even if she's unrealistic. There were also more characters than necessary, extra cops that I don't think added anything to the book.
The plot on the other hand was good. I felt like Montanari had done his research about the Catholic church as well as the Philadelphia Police Force. I thought I'd figured out who the murderer was, but Montanari was one step ahead of me and actually surprised me. I also love how he tied everything together. A few words mentioned at the beginning of the book were more relevant than I ever realised! I will read some more Montanari books, in hope that I grow to like Detective Byrne.

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Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Trains, Planes and Automobiles

You would think that I would be used to travelling on public transport by now seeing as I do it with regularity. I get the bus to work and I get three trains and the tube every few months when I go down South. Nevertheless it never seems to be the same and the several theories I have about travelling are always proved wrong.
I'm currently on a Virgin train back home (to Chester specifically, where I change for Chirk). My first theory is that travelling in the evening is quieter. Last year I was surrounded by an arty-farty group of people who thought everything was hiLARIOUS and would laugh several decibels above the norm. Tonight I'm surrounded by kids, half of them are quizzing eachother on Harry Potter (they're rubbish by the way! They don't know half of the answers), the other half are literally squealing and screaming! It is definitely not quieter to travel at night.
The second theory, which I'm glad has been proved wrong is that once there's a cockup, everything goes down hill. Well tonight the family with the screaming kids stole my seat, so I moved back a row. I was busy worrying that I ha stolen someone else's seat when this gorgeous guy came towards me and put his bag in the overhead compartment. Then he (and his lovely smell, may I add in a non-pervy way) sat down next to me :) I am one happy bunny! Oh and btw, his name is Stuart (I think, not that I'm earwigging or anything!)
Much love as always! Xxx
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Saturday, 6 August 2011

Updates From East Sussex

Hello, good readers! I'm currently in Barcombe, staying at my Nan's house until the 10th of August. Tonight I'm off to the Highlands to meet up with the UCTC crew but I thought I'd give you an update on what I've been up to these last few days.
For a start, on Wednesday I went to The Bull Ring in Oswestry with Sophie for a meal. The starter was Garlic Mushrooms! Absolutely gorgeous! The sauce was delicious and the mushrooms were diving. For my main course I had some kind of pasta dish. That was pretty bad. There was no flavour and it was really stodgy. In fact, I didn't eat much of it. For pudding we had chocolate fudge cake, which was beautiful, but a little dry. Overall the meal was okay, the starter more than made up for the crappy main. The atmosphere in The Bull Ring wasn't the best. There were only a few other people so when it came to talking we kept our voices low for fear of being overheard. The prices weren't bad, three courses for a tenner, but it would've been nicer for there to me more customers around. It doesn't make the place look good at all!
Friday daytime I travelled down South with my Aunt and Uncle. It was my Uncle's birthday on the 4th, so he and his wife had come up to Coventry to go to a motor museum of some kind. They gave me a lift back on the Friday. It was a long day, but I'm glad to be down here for a few days to visit my friends and family.
Anyway, I better be off! Time to get ready! Much love xxx

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Heatwaves and Brainwaves

I am currently at Oswestry bus station waiting for the 2A to take me back home. For only the second time this morning I did an 8-2 shift and now, I'm completely nackered. It didn't help that the dogs woke up at five-thirty this morning. When I got to the kitchen (at six thirty, I'm not that mental), they were both completely crazy. I'd never seen them more excited, running back and forth, chucking the ball in the air. Normally when I get there (and that's not very often) Blackie becomes attached to you until you give him food and Spot looks like he's got a hangover. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. My point is, that there is seriously something wrong with the world at the moment. In the immortal words of Phil Collins: 'I can feel it coming in the air tonight'.
The thing that's coming, or rather, is already here, is the heat. It's too hot. Walking from the bus stop to work at half seven this morning was bad enough let alone being stuck inside the stuffy rooms at Fairholme. There's no air in the building, no breeze, it's just stilted and muggy. It makes everyone sleepy, headaches and illnesses worse. Now that I'm out still at the bus station by the way, it's not so bad. But I long for an ice cold shower.
On a side note to my best friend Kieran, who normally reads this. Thank you for the answerphone message. But do you really have to make them so bloody long haha! He has a tendancy to make them a one sided conversation telling me about everything from the weather to how work's going. Although normally he's asking me to remind him of something we discussed in our last conversation, like when I'm coming down South. It's this Friday by the way.
Anyhoo, I'm going out with Sophie tonight, for a drink and dinner. Some girly time is very much needed! Much love xx
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Monday, 1 August 2011

Book review: The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell

The Troubled Man: A Kurt Wallander MysteryThe Troubled Man: A Kurt Wallander Mystery by Henning Mankell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell

I'm a massive fan of the Swedish television series Wallander, so was excited to get my hands on the book that it was based on. Unfortunately I was disappointed. The main character of Kurt Wallander was a cold, almost detached person, nothing like the series, even if the books came first. I also missed the presence of the other characters such as Svartman, Martinsson and Nyberg. Sometimes I felt like the translation was a bit iffy as well, not quite hitting the mark or flowing smoothly. Otherwise it was well written and had 'the pull'. The plot was good, but didn't cover a subject matter I was interested in. However, I will investigate the first Wallander books in hope of a more warm protagonist, surrounded by his team.

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Saturday, 23 July 2011

A Rare Phenomenon

I'm probably going to jinx it now but today is a rarity, my second day off in a row! I only think this has happened once before and although I absolutley love work it's nice to have the occasional break! These last few days have been fairly hectic. I met my friend Sophie on Wednesday for coffee. She had a job interview on Thursday at a primary school in Shrewsbury that unfortunatley she didn't get. It's such a shame because she deserves it! Not only is she lovely and gorgeous she's bloody qualified too! But thanks to David Cameron the rate of unemployment for people in our age group has grown!
This has been quite a general post so I'm going to add in the fact that I'm heading down South in early August. (Not sure if I've mentioned this already.) It's been too long since I met up with my friends, but I'm also looking forward to seeing my family, especially my Dad. I've been working on his birthday present so that it's extra special this year. I won't write it down in case he finally gets his bum in gear and goes on the computer!
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Thursday, 14 July 2011

Book review: Stuart: A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters

Stuart : A Life BackwardsStuart : A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stuart: A Life Backwards by Alexander Masters

When I found out that this was one of the 25 books I had won from Booka I was really excited. I'd seen the film and absolutley loved it thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy. It hadn't taken me long to love Stuart. When I started the book I felt that same tone. Despite the potentially depressing subject matter I found myself smiling at what Stuart said and I was eager to read the next chapter. Unlike most biographies there was real humour and warmth. Normally I find they are simply the bare facts. The book is obviously more detailed than the film and the friendship between Alexander and Stuart really shines through. Masters does a brilliant job of making chaotic, homeless, violent, druggie Stuart likeable as well as someone you care about and would like to meet. Unfortunately the latter isn't possible. The only reason I gave it four rather than five was because I found the book lagged slightly in the middle before picking up again at the end.

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Book review: The Dead by Charlie Higson

The Dead (The Enemy #2)The Dead by Charlie Higson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Dead by Charlie Higson

I had read The Enemy and was expecting this to be a sequel so I was very surprised when I discovered these events happened a year before with a completely new set of kids. Higson is a brilliant YA writer. He manages to grab your attention and keep hold of it right until the end of the book. The characters he creates can be stereotypical but generally there's someone there for everybody to like. The amount of gore and the vivid descriptions do surprise me for the age group but it's not any different from his first book. The fact that the kids get killed off so quickly and suddenly is a surprise too but regular readers will learn not to get too attached to anyone. Overall when I'm reading the book I can't put it down, but when I'm finished I feel like there's something missing from making it one of my favourite YA books.

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9 to 5...

First I must apologise to my faithful readers (if there are any) for not posting anything in a while. I feel like I haven't had much time to just stop and do stuff like this during the last couple of weeks because my job started. I am now one of the employed! Wehey! I was so nervous about being a Care Assistant because it is a big responsibility. You are one of the people that has to ensure the residents of the care home are happy, comfortable and well. As my deputy manager pointed out: 'it's not just cups of tea', although that is a big part of it haha! The staff at Fairholme have been even better than I imagined they would be. As well as someone to have a laugh with they've given me great advice, always offering support and saying 'if you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask'. The residents themselves are great characters and it is a really rewarding seeing them make progress. It's a much more fulfilling job than I expected it to be. When I found out that I'd got the job I was just grateful to be employed, now I'm grateful that it's with Coverage Care at Fairholme. I've only been there three weeks, but I already feel like part of the staff, even if I haven't got all of the uniform (only the trousers and the badge). Being a carer is certainly a job that you look forward to doing. I wake up in the morning, bleary eyed, but ultimately excited to see the residents and talk to them. I'm lucky to be this age and be in a job that I enjoy which has a future. There's plenty of opportunity to further my training (NVQ2 & 3) and eventually I may study Nursing. A new Coverage Care Home is being built just down the road to replace Fairholme in two years time. It will be nursing as well as care. But that's a long way off. For now, I'm glad I'm a Care Assistant at Fairholme, even if I'm tired, have achey feet and no social life!

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Book review: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

The Poisonwood BibleThe Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

I was a little bit disappointed at the end of this book. It seems I spent the whole time warming up to them, but by the end of it I still wasn't sure if I liked them. The main characters are Leah, Rachel, Adah and Ruth May and they were all fairly one dimensional, particularly Rachel. It seemed over the span of forty years she didn't change from being the whiney teenager, whereas Leah went from following her father around to following Anatole around. Adah was the only one not to annoy me. I'm not a mother, but I would like to think that when things started going downhill I would have gotten my children out of there no matter what the cost. An added thing that I thought was missed was a chapter or two from Nathan Price. He was probably the most interesting character of the lot.
Overall, I thought it was well written, but by the end, I was bored.

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Thursday, 23 June 2011

Book review: Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

Case HistoriesCase Histories by Kate Atkinson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

I won this book as part of a competition and I really wanted to read it because I'd recently watched the Case Histories series starring Jason Isaacs. The writing was superb, Atkinson really delves into the characters and you learn a lot about the families of those missing or dead. I'd say only about half of the book is Jackson Brodie. It's not a traditional crime novel, which is brilliant and instead it tells the story as if someone is speaking to you, with little injections of thought. This makes it really easy to read, although it didn't have 'the pull'. Maybe that was because I already knew the plot, so I knew who the killers were. Unfortunately this means that all of the Jackson Brodie novels, that have been adapted for the BBC, won't be five stars, however I am eager to read something without Brodie as the main character, so I can use my own imagination!

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Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Dad's Visit

These last few days have been exceptionally busy. Normally my life is dull, well, it is according to my friends haha, but on the weekend I went back down South to visit some loved ones and then on the Sunday, my Dad (left) came up with me to see where I live.
On the Monday, we went to Llangollen, a lovely little tourist town just over the border into Wales. There's a fantastic river that rushes through it, as well as a train station and a canal where you can go on a narrow boat ride. The reason why I love the place is because it's full of little delicatessens and touristy shops. You can get horseradish cheese there that is simply to die for! So I spent a load of money on food haha and we had a lovely lunch in one of the little cafes by the river.
After leaving Llangollen town centre, we went to Valle Crucis Abbey (pictured to the right). It was only a five minute drive away, but was situated in the middle of nowhere. The place was completely empty, which surprised me because it was a wonderful thing to see. Obviously some kids from the next door campsite did too because there were a few beer bottles lying around. The front of the abbey, and the ruins that remained were amazing. It's hard to believe that a building built so solidly is now in ruins. The people that now own the abbey have restored some of it, which I think was a bit of a disappointment, because it was shoddily done, the ground was uneven and there was no beauty in it. What did remain was incredible to see and after watching and reading Pillars Of The Earth (completely unrelated I know!), I now know more about monks and how they would go about their day to day activities. It's easy to picture them roaming about the now desolate abbey. If you ever go to Llangollen it's definitely something to see!     

Friday, 17 June 2011

Book review: Hidden Depths by Ann Cleeves

Hidden depthsHidden depths by Ann Cleeves

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hidden Depths by Ann Cleeves

I read Hidden Depths in preparation for meeting the author at my local independent book store in Oswestry. Before this, I had read one of Cleeves' Jimmy Perez novels which I enjoyed but wasn't wowed by. Then they showed 'Vera' on ITV, the television versions of Cleeves' Vera Stanhope books. If I hadn't known who the killer was, this book would've been five stars. In a way, I took the mystery out of it myself, which I wish I hadn't done! All the other Vera Stanhope books have also been made into the series, so although I will enjoy them, they won't be five starrers. Silent Voices, the newest Ann Cleeves book hasn't been televised yet, so I can't wait to get my hands on that one! They are solid crime fiction and the character of Vera is exceptionally written. If I hadn't watched it, I would never have guessed who the killer was. Brilliant crime fiction!

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Thursday, 16 June 2011

CSI Oswestry

Tonight, me and Mum went to CSI Oswestry, a local event held by Shropshire Libraries and Booka Bookshop in town. There were two parts to the evening, the first was a talk by Elly Griffiths (right) one of my favourite authors! Following her was Paul Beeton, a CSI who worked in Shropshire. Unfortunately, I have no picture for him. I did take a picture of his amazingly cool van, it had Forensic Investigation written across the side and a big picture of a thumbprint in a magnifying glass. However, I can't get it off my phone! Grrrr! You'll just have to trust me that it's awesome.
Elly was lovely to listen to. Her books about Dr. Ruth Galloway, Forensic Archaeologist are excellent. I love the fact that she manages to talk about love and murder and still throw in a twist at the end. She discussed her inspirations and answered questions about her writing style and ideas. Her new book is due out in January. Can't wait! I might have to make an exception in my book ban haha! At the end she signed my copy of The House At Sea's End.
Paul Beeton was also excellent. His first bit of information was that we live in a murder hot spot. Oswestry has the most murders in Shropshire by far apparently! He discussed the TV shows like CSI and how unlike the real world they actually are. Most of it was pretty much common knowledge, but it was interesting to hear it from his point of view. It certainly gave me some ideas about my own books!
All in all it has been a great night. Tomorrow, I'm travelling down to Sussex and then Dad's coming up for a few days, so there probably won't be another entry in a while unless I can get Nan's Wi-Fi up and running! Fingers crossed!  

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Cleeves and Booka!

These last few days have been very eventful! For a start I got my haircut and dyed. Why is it that the day before you get your haircut you have a great hair day? Anyway, I've now got a bob and bright red hair! Wahoo!
Yesterday evening me and Mum went to Booka Bookshop to meet Ann Cleeves (left), writer of the Jimmy Perez and Vera Stanhope novels. The latter of which have recently been made into an ITV series. She was lovely and really interesting, talked about her books and the series, answering a few questions afterwards. I plucked up the courage and asked her how far into the book she knew who the murderer was. Her answer was sometimes up to 3/4 of the way through! Sitting in front of me and Mum was Mavis Nicholson (right), political broadcaster from the 70's and 80's. She was very chatty and talked to us before Ann Cleeves started.
Today, I went back to Booka to collect a prize that I won. A while ago I entered a competition, writing a 50 word review for Stephen King's The Stand. I never expected to win, normally I don't win! But I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from Carrie Morris, owner of Booka, telling me that I'd won! My prize was 25 books. They're the books from World Book Night 2011 and consequently cannot be bought. The idea is that they should be shared and passed on to other people to read. I think that's a great idea, but I am reluctant to pass on my prize haha! When sorting out my books, I now realised that I have 100 books that I haven't yet read, so I'm banning myself from buying any more books! I wonder how long that will last!
I'm still trying out my camera and my A Photo A Day Project can be seen here. Instead of adding the pictures on here, they can be seen via my Facebook account.
Right, I'm off to read, I have to get through all of those books!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Photography - Day 4

Ginge The Bunny
It's Day 4 and remarkably, I'm still keeping up with my photography mission. Normally I get bored or forget haha! After my expedition down to the end of the garden yesterday in the pouring rain I thought I'd have another go in drier conditions. Today, the very cute Ginge The Bunny (that's his full title by the way) was outside . He's from next door but he often pops over for carrots and lettuce. He's a very sociable rabbit and I could actually lie down next to him and snap away without him really caring. Anyway, another photo tomorrow!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Photography Mission!

10th June 2011

12th June 2011
11th June 2011
For my last birthday (Apr 21), my lovely Dad gave me a brand new, shiny DSLR and I've made it my mission to take a decent picture everyday. This is mostly so I can get use to the camera and find out which button does what so that when I go on holiday and for special occasions I know exactly what I'm doing. I started this a couple of days ago so there are three pics one for the 10th, 11th and 12th. Let me know what you think! xxx

Friday, 10 June 2011

Book review: The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

The City of Ember (The Ember Series, #1)The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The City of Ember by Jeanne Du Prau

I made the mistake of seeing the film first when it came to this book. Unlike the majority of other cases I actually enjoyed the film more than the book. Despite that, I did like the book. It had 'the pull' that kept you turning page after page. The characters of Lina, Doon and their respective guardians were well written and I'm glad that the author didn't create a romantic storyline for them. It was an easy read, which was just what I was looking for. However, there were several downsides in relation to the film. The one think I remembered about the movie was the clever mechanism with the boats and how they got into the water. It was a bit of a disappointment for them to just pick up the boats and put them in the river. I felt like the instructions were a bit of a disappointment. It was simply, find the hole and climb into it rather than working anything out.
Overall, I gave it three stars because it did entertain and if I come across the rest of the books I will read them. The idea itself is also brilliant. But I actually would've preferred a novelised version of the film!

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Friday, 3 June 2011

Book review: Disclosure by Michael Crichton

DisclosureDisclosure by Michael Crichton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclosure by Michael Crichton

This is one of the most addictive books I've ever read. If I hadn't had to finish a book due back at the library as well as one for my book club, then I would have read this in perhaps three or four days.
For a start, Crichton treates his readers as intelligent. He explains DigiCom in great detail, including the various products they're working on. To begin with, I wasn't entirely sure why he was telling us all about it, but it becomes clear later in the novel. The characters he portrays are vivid, well written and easily imaginable.
When the sexual harrassment occurs and the case begins to open up, it's easy to find yourself taking sides. It's easy to understand why this book was talked about for such a long time after it's publication. As a female I was horrified to read what female characters said about men in terms of sexual harrassment. Another character made the broad statement that all men were violent. It's definately a very contraversial book. I now wish I had someone to talk to about it because it makes you want to talk to others and find out their opinions.

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Thursday, 2 June 2011

A Book And A Beer (And A Laugh)...

I have just got back from A Book And A Beer, a local book club held in Oswestry in an independant book store, Booka. There are far too many 'books' in that sentence! It's the first time I've been, but it does mean I've completed the third part of the new me, attending the book club! Now I need some new challenges, the first of which I think will be going walking with Sophie, followed closely by actually starting my new job. Sophie, by the way, is the friend I made at Routeway, the programme I go to every Thursday to look for jobs and get the assistance I need.
Anyway, back to the book club. We started off discussing the book, Waterlog by Roger Deakin. You can see my review of the book on Goodreads, here. Some people were very passionate about it, while others thought it floundered towards the end, no pun intended. It was interesting listening to other people's opinions. Afterwards, we picked the book to be read in two sessions time, To Miss With Love by Katharine Birbalsingh. I was generally happy with the choice, but it was a hard one to make with such a fantastic choice from Lorraine. There were several other books on the list I would have been happy with. I'm already filing some books away in my head for when I get the chance to offer a shortlist. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett and The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson are already on there. Following the book club, we went to do the beer part of A Book And A Beer at The Oak. It was nice chatting to Tim and Carrie about books and the shop, which I am very envious of! The conversation drifted off a bit into other topics and I'm now bringing half a dozen eggs into Booka on Saturday for Carrie. It was lovely to spend time with people that I've never met before and I can't wait for six weeks to go by so I can get stuck into The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver and meet up with the others to chat about life in general and the book. 

Book review: Waterlog by Roger Deakin

Waterlog: A Swimmer's Journey Through BritainWaterlog: A Swimmer's Journey Through Britain by Roger Deakin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Waterlog: A Swimmer's Journey Through Britain by Roger Deakin

This review and rating is more a reflection of my likes rather than the book itself. Roger Deakin is a brilliant writer, there's no question in that. His writing is almost poetic full or rich similies and metaphors. The way he describes the rivers and the towns in which they reside makes the reader want to go there and visit. I unfortunately am not a fan of non-fiction, I struggle because of the lack of plot and 'the pull'. I wish I did enjoy travel writing, because if so this would be a definite five out of five. If I travel to any of the places mentioned in the book, I will be taking this book for me as a reference to the history and famous faces that go with the wild rivers, lidos and lakes.

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Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Book review: Murder Under the Midnight Sun by Nicholas Rhea

Murder Under the Midnight SunMurder Under the Midnight Sun by Nicholas Rhea

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Murder Under the Midnight Sun by Nicholas Rhea

I feel really bad for giving this book two stars because it's the only rating on the page! But unfortunately, it's deserved. The idea, that a murder is commited on a cruise ship is brilliant. It's on the levels of Agatha Christie in that the detectives are isolated WITH the killer. But it wasn't executed very well. To begin with, I didn't get a good feel of the characters. I had no idea what DS Mark Pemberton or DC Lorraine Cashmore looked like at all, and despite them being partners I felt no romantic connection between them.
A great deal of time was spent describing the detectives get on the cruise ship and what they did, so it took a while to actually get to the murder. When the person was eventually killed, Rhea spent a great deal of time describing the various procedures. I just wanted to skip a lot of unnecessary words. Furthermore, pretty much all the characters sounded the same. I didn't see the point of half of them either, especially Pemberton's partner. And despite it taking me an age to read the book itself was actually quite short. Some parts of it could have been fleshed out better. In a lot of cases, Rhea just stated what happened rather than described it.
The actual plot was well thought out and I didn't see the culprit coming, but it was a bit of a letdown.
Overall, it could have been a lot better. I'm not sure I will look at Nicholas Rhea again.

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Monday, 23 May 2011

We're all going on a Summer holiday...

With this crap weather, the subject of holidays is bound to come up. For a while now, I've been planning to go away with my best friend, sounding board and full time agony aunt, Kieran (pictured to the left). To begin with, it was Mallorca, but after a lot of umming and aahing and the film PS I Love You, we switched to Ireland. That film can make anyone fall in love with the beautiful country. Kieran also has family there. We're planning to visit Dublin to see the sights for a few days and then retire to Cork for a bit of R&R. I've let him organise everything, because it makes life a hell of a lot easier! This will be my first, non-supervised holiday. At aged nineteen, it should have happened by now, but lack of money got in the way. Hopefully, some other friends will be joining me and Kieran for an amazing week across the Irish Sea.
As well as me going away, some other family members are coming to us in October for my mum's birthday. My nan, aunt and uncle will be staying with us for a week. My mum is planning on hiring a canal boat for a day while they're here. This sounds like a great idea, but with my nan, who is afraid of water and my aunt, who once fainted on a bus boat in Venice, it's not exactly popular. However, my nan has changed her tune, she's talking about steering the thing! If that's the case then I will definately be investing in a life jacket! 

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Book review: The Tree of Season by Stephen Gately

The Tree of SeasonsThe Tree of Seasons by Stephen Gately

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Tree of Seasons by Stephen Gately

Until I found this book in my local library, I was unaware that Stephen Gately had written a book. He's a man I very much admired and I was saddened to hear about his passing.
The book was a great surprise. It started off a little slow, but for these last few days I've been reading it as much as possible. He's a good writer, which somewhat suprised me, and the story was excellent, full of wonder and magic. My only criticism is that there are some events which I wish were told with more detail. Instead they're passed by rather quickly. It's not a masterpiece, but it is a lovely novel. It will be adored by children. I just don't understand how it wasn't promoted in the months after his death, maybe then more people will of heard of it and read it.

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Friday, 20 May 2011

The New Me

I'm taking a leaf from Miranda. The comedy genius that is, not our chicken. Last night I decided that The New Me would go into effect today. As regular readers will know, I had a job interview. Part of my change was that I would ace the interview and get the job. Well I can tick them off the list as I did both! Whoooohoooo! The second part of The New Me, was joining the book club at my local independant book store, Booka. I can tick that off too! I bought the book that they're currently reading and need to catch up before June the 2nd, their next meeting. The third part of the The New Me was taking the dogs for a walk this weekend, so hopefully I can tick that off the list too. Embrace the change!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Chickens are mean... OFFICIAL

Now that my mum has a job, there are quite a few days where I'm left on my lonesome to get on with things. Today is one of those days. Mum often asks me to do a few things around the house and the garden. One of those things is to collect the eggs that Miranda and Mavis lay every day. So, at any point after 10:30am, I go down there, collect the eggs and put them in the tub we are currently using to store them. It sounds simple and normally it is, I've done it half a dozen times.
Today though, was a different matter. I opened the gate, walked in and used the wiring to fasten the gate on the other side. I made sure it was secure, double checked even, then I went to the chicken house to get the eggs, being careful not to bang my head. All was going well when a sudden gust of wind came along and the gate to the chicken coop flew open. I ran as fast as I could to the gate to close it before any chickens could get out, but I wasn't quite fast enough. Cristina managed to escape. So I spent a good twenty minutes chasing her around the garden. She went underneath the shed next door and started to giver herself a mud bath. Everytime I got near her, she would flap so I couldn't pick her up. Knowing the simple 'chase and grab' routine wasn't working I thought I would lure her to me, so I picked up the chicken feeder from the inside and put it down near me, hoping she would come over to it and then I would grab her. Needless to say, it didn't work.
Eventually, I managed to guide her around the back and then put her over the fence in the extra section of the chicken coop that we don't use. Cristina was in! Hurrah! Now I'd go and enjoy my cup of tea after I put the feeder back. That was my mistake. You have to lift the feeder with two hands, so after I'd opened the gate I had to lift the feeder, then shut the gate before any more chickens went rogue. Did I manage it? No, of course not. Out popped Miranda, who is possibly the biggest chicken I've ever seen. She wasn't as bad as Cristina, she didn't go off hiding, but she still flapped constantly. She kept shoving her head through the fence to try and get back in, but obviously she couldn't get through. Finally, I picked her upm, slung her over the fence and left. There you have it. That is why chickens are officially mean!

Book review: The Thin Executioner by Darren Shan

The Thin ExecutionerThe Thin Executioner by Darren Shan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Thin Executioner by Darren Shan

I've always been a big fan of Darren Shan ever since I read Cirque Du Freak, so I was looking forward to this when it was recommended. At first I was so overwhelmed by all of the names. You're introduced to at least half a dozen characters within a few pages and you also have to learn about their ways and beliefs. However, after you get used to the different names it becomes a lot easier and a very enjoyable book! Shan manages to combine humour and adventure with important lessons in tolerance and faith. The characters of Masters Blair and Bush are also genius!
Overall, it's an exciting book full of wonder and action. A definite recommendation and I look forward to reading more Darren Shan in the future.

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Friday, 13 May 2011

Heigh-Ho, it's off to work we go (hopefully)...

Things might have just turned around on the job front! Going to this Routeway Training Programme seems to be paying off. I've got a job interview next Friday at a care home in Oswestry. From what I can remember it's the first interview I've got since I've been living in Weston Rhyn. The first one where they've actually looked at my application and narrowed me down for an interview. The only time I came close to a job was an open day for the new McLarins building.
Part of me is mega-excited about the idea that I could be working very soon, but the other part of me is as nervous as hell! Plus it's been great to meet people around my age group at Routeway. I know I'll have to move on eventually.
Even if I don't get the job, getting this interview has been a great reassurance. Sometimes when you don't hear back from an employer it makes you feel useless, like all the stuff you've done so far in your life doesn't amount to anything. It's good to know that what I've learnt and my experiences are giving me a chance.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Book review: The Stand by Stephen King

The StandThe Stand by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Stand by Stephen King

When I started this, I expected this to be my favourite King book, if not my favourite book of all time. I'd read Under The Dome first and the readers of that recommended this. I must admit, it took me a while to get into it. It seemed like the book started three or four times as it introduced all the main characters and I really struggled. However, as soon as I got over that hump I was in! The Stand just draws you in, you're completely absorbed in the storylines, the characters and the whole world that King creates. As soon as I finished it, the first thing I wanted to do was start again, but thanks to the growing heap of to-read books it'll have to wait.
I found myself holding my breath and on the verge of tears, smiling at the characters' accomplishments. And for once there was a proper ending, which normally King doesn't do. Having read a number of forums and message boards I know a lot of fans want a sequel and I second that! For King addicts, this book is like a bible and I completely understand that. I'm now officially a disciple of Stephen King. It doesn't get better than this.

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Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Sweet Home Oswestry...

It's taken a while for me to get used to Oswestry town. It's certainly bigger than Uckfield or Lewes and is a wonderful mix of old and new. There are some buildings from the 17th century, next to ones that have been built within the last few years. It's a wonderful, but very confusing, place. There's a market on Wednesday and Saturday which I absolutley love! It makes me feel as though I've stepped back in time, despite the butcher wearing a headset to promote his produce and all of the tarpaulin. There are certainly some characters in Oswestry. Take for example the woman on her motorised scooter. She charges about, forcing people to jump out of the way. I've never been more scared of an old woman before in my life! As well as the market, there's practically everything else you need, we have Superdrug, WHSmiths, Wilkos (and every other discount store). I like being so close to such a charming little town. All I need now is a job so I can pay for all the stuff I want!
I thought this post should be more about my surroundings so that my friends and family have an idea about where I am. I can't wait for them to come and visit. More posts will be here soon! Much love x.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Losing my blogging virginity...

So, here we go. Let's not beat around the bush, I was nervous about starting a blog. I know my values and opinions are important to me, but I'm not sure everyone else wants to read about them! But in the end, I just took the plunge and decided to go for it. I read somewhere that if you want to get anything published the best thing to do is write a blog. I also love the fact that there is proof of your existence somewhere, even if it's just a blog amongst thousands. The internet is a wonderful thing (even when it breaks down) that lets us communicate across oceans. Only fifty or so years ago, the idea of something like this was pure science-fiction. I'm not going to delve into a debate on the internet here and now, I just want others to appreciate something that we take for granted.
Anyhoo, I'm going to start wrapping this up. Check out my profile and pop back when you like to see what I've been upto. There will be more Wadey Words and Wonderings coming your way. Much love, x.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Book review: The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde

The Big Over Easy (Nursery Crime, #1)The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde

Like I always do, I read the second book first, so this book was a little odd as I already knew the characters, but they were a step backwards from the ones I'd met. I didn't enjoy it as much as the The Fourth Bear, but I'm not sure why. I love the idea that nursery rhymes are real and their deaths have to be solved, but this one seemed over complicated. Sometimes I couldn't remember which character went with which name. As much as I love Ashley, I don't get why aliens are in this universe. They're completely unrelated to nursery rhymes. Overall an enjoyable book that has the much needed 'pull', but isn't as good as other works of Jasper Fforde. Regardless, I'll still be on the hunt for the third and fourth books.

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Friday, 29 April 2011

Book review: The Innocent by Harlan Coben

The InnocentThe Innocent by Harlan Coben

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Innocent by Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben is one of my favourite authors, but this book isn't one of his best. It started off, like all brilliant Coben books with several starts, all to be revealed at the end. I enjoyed the chapters in second person ('you do this...'), it made it much easier to see it from the main character, Matt Hunter's, point of view. I liked Matt and sympathised with him, but the story wasn't really about him, it was about his wife Olivia and all her secrets. I felt the book lost 'the pull' about halfway through and I guessed some of twists before they happened, especially the last one. There were also far too many characters. I had to stop and think about who was who and how they related to the case. However, saying that, I enjoyed reading about Loren Muse. She's appeared before in another book.
Overall three stars, a good book, but not as good as the others.

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Sunday, 24 April 2011

Book review: The House At Sea's End by Elly Griffiths

The House at Sea's End (Ruth Galloway #3)The House at Sea's End by Elly Griffiths

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The House at Sea's End by Elly Griffiths

I love Elly Griffiths, her books just keep getting better and better. Not only does she write a superb murder mystery, but she also manages to control and keep check of a number of extra characters not integral to the plot, which I sometimes enjoy more than the murder mytsery aspect of it.

In this book, Ruth has just had her baby, which is the product of an affair with the mairried, DCI Nelson. Ruth is a great character and you feel for her and all her worries. Their relationship is always interesting to read about.

The main plot focuses on six dead bodies which have been found buried on a beach and the ensuing murders that happen as their secrets are told. It's a brilliant plot, slightly more outlansdish than the others, but I loved it.

I can't wait to read more about Ruth Galloway!

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Monday, 18 April 2011

Book review: Being Human: The Road by Simon Guerrier

Being Human: The Road (Being Human Novels)Being Human: The Road by Simon Guerrier

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Being Human: The Road by Simon Guerrier

I'm a massive fan of the Being Human series, and I was a bit sceptical about the accompanying book, but my aunt, also a big fan of the series, recommended it to me. I've read other books from TV shows, such as CSI and Dr Who, but my main problem was that Being Human is a series and has an ongoing storyline every week where as the other books (from TV Shows) I've read are distinct and you can read them (or watch them) without knowing the back story. You can't with this, not that it personally mattered, but it felt like a part of the book was missing. The plot otherwise was good, intriguing and I didn't guess the ending at all and the quality of writing was good, but other points let the book down. For example, the writer didn't capture the characters very well. There were a few moments with George, where he nailed it, but I found myself shaking my head when a character did or said something more often than not. If I find another Being Human book by a different author then I'll check it out, but if not, I'll stick to the TV series.

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Sunday, 17 April 2011

Book review: 206 Bones by Kathy Reichs

206 Bones (Temperance Brennan, #12)206 Bones by Kathy Reichs

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

206 Bones by Kathy Reichs

I'm a big fan of the Bones TV show, but I'm fully aware that the only thing the books and the programme have in common is Tempe Brennan. Having said that, I think the character in the books is far more likeable. The relationship she has with Ryan is brilliant and I often spent a lot of time waiting for them to meet up. I've read another of Reichs books which I must say, I enjoyed more. I read that within a matter of days, this took me a lot longer. I love Reichs' style of writing, but sometimes, she doesn't say who's speaking and I have to back track a few lines to work out who says what. I was also quite confused with the several cases going on, and the several aliases that one man had. Having said that, Reichs has the much needed pull that some authors do not, the one that keeps you turning the pages, no matter what time of night. Although I was disappointed with this book, I'll definately read more Reichs books.

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Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Book review: Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose

Band of Brothers : E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's NestBand of Brothers : E Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler's Eagle's Nest by Stephen E. Ambrose

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Band of Brothers by Stephen E. Ambrose

I'd never read a non-fiction book before, apart from autobiographies, so I was a bit reluctant to pick this up. However, I'd seen the series and wanted to know as much as possible about the men of E Company. Ambrose is brilliant at bringing the places and battles to life and describing the battles involved. The only reason I'm not giving it five stars is because I sometimes struggled with remembering who was who, the injuries they had suffered and what they had done. After watching the series, I could easily put a name to a face which definately helped. I'll even admit that at the end I cried. This is a phenomenal book and series which everyone should read and watch.

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Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Book review: Flood Tide by Clive Cussler

Flood Tide (Dirk Pitt, #14)Flood Tide by Clive Cussler

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Flood Tide by Clive Cussler

I'm a massive fan of Clive Cussler, but this one wasn't as good as the others. It was too much politics and not enough treasure hunting. As always the action sequences were incredible and I love the banter between Pitt and Giordino. The characters were brilliant with the exception of Julia Lee. She was supposed to be an INS agent, yet half the time, all she did was cook, swoon over Pitt and wear leather blue miniskirts! I know Cussler can represent women well, but in this book he didn't at all! Sorry for being all feminismy!
Overall, three stars. I'll chalk this up as one of the bad ones and move onto Spartan Gold which is sitting on my shelf.

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