Tuesday, 21 January 2014

London Calling

 Hey y'all,

So for the next week this crazy Scottish chit is hitting London, the Big Lights, The City, The Place To Be. That Place Down South! So enjoy a little Clash as London calls.
Ok - London calling aside, what have I got to speak to y'all about? (Besides my new found love of using y'all, it's just so friendly and welcoming).

Well my gap year is falling brick by over organised brick apart. I'm learning spontaneity guys. Learning it! And learning and spontaneous should not be in the same sentence! However anyone following any of my posts would know I like things planned to the tiniest meticulous detail so if ever a time came when I'd discover spontaneity it would be in a controlled situation such as learning!

So anyway yes; my gap year is turning into a patchwork quilt - a week here and a week there - but most of it will be spent at home..... I am going to be dying to get to Universityby September, and I'm already pretty desperate! I have had to Work. Work. Work. I even had to make soup today - funnily enough not as difficult as I imagined!

Now asides from gap year antics nothing much is going on - I have discovered a new addiction: Nothing To Declare.

Imagine.... A dark room, there's a man sitting across from you, his face shaded as he growls out in a deep gravelly voice:

Thousands of men and women dedicate their lives to protecting Australia's border.

OK so that's not how the program starts but that is the type of life or death atmosphere they give it, to what is basically videos of officers looking in peoples luggage and finding drugs. Some of the stuff they refuse to let into Australia is ridiculously over the top protective but the program is such Good Fun.

To finish off - last night my daddy and I watched Kick Ass - god I love that film. It is Hilarious (though apparently controversial and caused a lot of bother when it came out!) Just noticed though that this photo is a little dodgy looking with the dude's hands but no, nothing perverse happens in Kick Ass!
Have a Good Week,
(Scottish Lass Off To Conquer London)

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Cross my heart

Cross My HeartCross My Heart by Carmen Reid was an inspirational adventure set in the Second World War. Following plucky bold Nicole as she joins the Belgian resistance, determined to do all she can to make it harder for the Nazi Germans who have stolen her city for them-selves, Reid tells a emotional heartbreaking story with vivid threads of truth sewn through it which gives it an edge over other fictional novels.

Brussels, 1940. Fifteen-year-old Nicole watches as the Nazis invade Belgium. Determined not to stand by as her country is brought to its knees, Nicole vows to fight back and joins the Belgian Resistance. Under her new alias - Coco - Nicole embarks on a dangerous new life as a spy, where the only question is not if you'll be caught, but when...

Cross My Heart was well written in that it managed to include scenarios where some warmth was instilled again - it wasn't an overly cold distressing desolate novel as many WWII novels are (it wasn't exactly a period where many good things happened). Reid's character creation was brilliant and her characters extremely real. I was completely invested in Nicole's life and actions and fell in love with kind strong Anton at the same time as her.

Reid also conveyed Nicole's steeled determination to resist but also the fear and guilt she felt at endangering her family excellently. Reid's imagery and description was spot on and the Ravensbruck part of the novel was real enough without being too real. Reid didn't need to overload the reader with horrific graphic descriptions as the dire atmosphere of the camps and the defeated scared feelings of the inhabitants was reinforced throughout her writing and didn't need the overload.

All in All Cross My Heart was a good historic fiction and was a welcome addition to the growing YA market. A solid 4 for  Reid's novel and I'm definitely going to be on the lookout for her next novel for YA.
Published by Corgi, an imprint of Random House Childrens Publishers Cross My Heart  can be bought from all decent book stores.

Good Reading

Tuesday, 7 January 2014


I needed a book to pull me out of my post-Christmas depressive slump and Twinmaker by Sean Williams did just that. I had started it before Christmas and hadn't felt it but when I picked it up again I was sucked right into the twisting traitorous plot of betrayal, misused global technology, best friends, terrorists and corrupted powerful corporations. 

A near-future thriller that fans of the GONE series and Doctor Who will love

Clair is pretty sure the offer in the ‘Improvement' meme is just another viral spam, though Libby is determined to give it a try.

But what starts as Libby's dream turns into Clair's nightmare when her friend vanishes.

In her search for answers, Clair seeks out Jesse - a boy whose alternative lifestyle might help to uncover the truth.

What they don't anticipate is intervention from the mysterious contact known only as Q, and being caught up in a conspiracy that will change everything.

Set in the relative new future after global warming has caused huge tidal surges and humanity has taken great steps to reduce their impact and emissions, Twinmaker follows Clair Hill on her mission to save her best friend. Although Libby (the BFF) wasn't a character who endeared herself to me, it wasn't a Yin Yang - you complete me - relationship but more of a let Libby walk all over Clair and Clair will be there to fix everything Libby breaks, Clair was a great character who really progressed and developed throughout the novel.  Libby has taken part in Improvement, the new viral meme circling the Air (not happy with your body, say what you want to change, jump in a booth, teleport a lot of times and you'll be Improved) but Improvement isn't what it appears to be. Something more sinister is evolving in Sean William's world.

Williams concept and plot was original (the basic theme was of the power of technology and the way it is the user who abuses the system not the system itself that is corrupt) and he explored it thoroughly to each little detail. However what was missing for me, and what I look for in a dystopian novel, is the creation and exploration of the world it's set in. And Williams' world would have been amazing, especially due to his creation of the d-mat (a teleportation system that transmits users all over the world to booths, wherever they wish to go), which would have given him the opportunity to really enhance and embellish his world. Although there's plenty of time for that in his sequel Crashland. 

Twinmaker is all action, fast and furious, relentless to a certain extent, once Williams gets going there was no stopping him. Definitely a novel I'd need to re-read before I read the sequel it was excellent all the same. Williams has a talent for creating characters, both villains and heroes were realistic, the former dastardly scary and all too real, the latter glorious normal and attainable. Jesse (an Abstainer boy) and Q (she's a secret you'll need to discover for yourself) really stood out for me and I was glad that their parts grew as the book progressed and their importance to Clair increased.

A solid 5 out of 5 for Twinmaker and I can't wait till Crashland is out and I can join up with Q, Clair and Jesse and have some strings untangled. Published by Electric Monkey an imprint of Egmont I promise Twinmaker is a book you need to read. Especially so you can learn that you really should accept that you're great as you are. Improvement is not the way to go.

Good Reading

Monday, 6 January 2014

Happy New Year!

Well, it's the 6th January - Christmas trees are coming down (I tried to stop Dad taking ours down but to no avail), school has restarted (mwahaha Gap Year folks), T.V. has returned to its less than jolly, no longer nostalgic self and really it's a bit of a sad time of year. Christmas is over. New Year is over. Everyone's getting back to their lives. Friends have left. Family has gone home. It's pretty shitty.

But I have managed to pull myself out of my warm cocoon of a bed ....I got a new memory foam mattress for Christmas and it is flipping BLISS..... I have fed my horses in the howling gale Scotland has decided is the default weather of winter (at least it's not hailing.. oh spoke too soon) and I am now writing this post for you all. I'm too kind aren't I.

However please regard Exhibit A - this is my excuse for my considerable lack of blogging since 15th December..... Christmas shenanigans. I mean c'mon! The 50 GREATEST MOMENTS OF HARRY POTTER was on T.V. Can you blame me? My addiction to Harry Potter was at an all time high this Christmas.... Especially once I realised the last Harry Potter book was published in 2007. That was almost 5 years ago. It depressed me I must admit - made me feel old and more than slightly obsessed. But I am in the middle of re-reading them all again (twice in 2013 this shall be my first of 2014 - 2014 Harry Potter cherry consider yourself popped). And my sadness is slowly evaporating with every successive defeat of Voldemort.

Now for Exhibit B we have the dreaded electricity outage. We've lost power over seven times since I came home. Christmas day from 9 till 6 inclusive. I did feel sorry for the electricity people who must have had to abandon their Christmas dinners just to put our power back on. Thank the Lord it was back on for Doctor Who though. I don't think I could have survived if it hadn't been. We have been luckier than some people though - I think in England some people lost it for five days - now there's a reason to be depressed. To add to our luck we have the most amazing cookers - powered by gas and oil - yeah not very eco-friendly but I'm sorry Mother Earth it meant our geese were ready on Christmas Day and so I'm not complaining!

Well I'm going to end this post whilst I'm ahead by sending a few thoughts to all the people in America and Canada suffering what apparently is being called 'the record storm' (though every storm seems to be called that). Anyway it looks pretty fricking cold so my thoughts are with them all and I hope for their sakes they have a non-eco friendly stove!