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Reading Slumps, Second Hand Books and Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire Review.

Recently I have been in a bit of a reading slump, they are the worst, right? I used to have a bit of a system to get me out of slumps, read a bit of super trashy YA, give me the romance, give me the tropes, the works and then work my way back to normal reading habits from there.
 But recently I have been doing a lot of stop starting, stop starting, picking up books put them down again. It’s been a reader’s worst nightmare because really all you need to get you out of a slump is that one book that draws you and holds you there and then you’re away.

I have just finished Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan Mcguire this book has been on my TBR for a really long time and I’ve seen it bouncing around book blogs and BookTube and it’s kept my interest (since 2016 when it was first published). I finally purchased a second hand copy which, I do a lot unless I really want to go out my way to support the author or am really excited for a release so will already have the book  on pre-order.
But I l do love secondhand books and a good bargain it’s my way of buying a lot of books with out it costing the moon (and back). The thing that often happens when you buy second hand is that they can (not always) take ages to arrive. So, I completely forgot Every Heart a Doorway was coming until it turned up at my house. (Yay book mail!)

For those of you who have read the book you know it’s short, finishing at 169 pages which was great for me as someone just coming off a reading slump it was just what I needed to ease myself back in. Also, the premise sounds really original-  Children who have doors opened up to them in their childhood and are taken to different fairy worlds but what happens to them when they come back and how do they cope living in a world that they no longer consider to be come? It’s a really interesting concept, almost like Narnia gone wrong… what would it be like if the Pevensey Children came back from Narnia with some serious mental health problems because they could never go back and that is basically what we are talking about here. As well as watching our interesting cast of characters adjust to life in school for children who are just like them… but not quite.  As we get to know our main character Nancy  she is the new member of the school and our gateway into the story it is fascinating to learn about all of the children’s different worlds and as a mystery unfolds around them they use the skills developed in these worlds to cope  with what is going on. The book is also diverse as it has a Transgender character, Kade and our main character Nancy is A Sexual. This was interesting as the book being in the YA genre was just getting to the point where in my mind it was ‘setting up the romance’ and then Nancy’s sexuality was revealed, it was really refreshing not only to have a broad range of representation with in the book I was reading but to know for certain in a YA fiction book that Romance was off the table; because that is something we have come to expect in the genre and it allowed the story to go in a different direction.

Overall, I really like the book, I’m unsure of weather to call it a novel or novella because of its size but regardless it was great. I have recently found out that it is part of a series and I am picking the second one up immediately  the second book is called Down Among The Sticks And Bones and from what I have seen on Goodreads it follows two other characters from the school Jack and Jill.

 Down Among the Sticks and Bones By Seanan McGuire

4/5 stars from me I will be continuing with this series and look forward to what comes next.

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See you next time guys!

Lucy Narnia

WWW Wednesday 20/2/19

WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words. Three questions, three answers. Go!

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier I’m in the mood for something a little darker and bit brooding which is typical from Du  Maurier I’m only few pages in but so far I’m getting the right vibes.

What did you recently finish reading?

I have read loads (for me) in February I have read Kindred by Octavia E. Butler, Lethal White by Robert Galbraith, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness and Shadow and Night by Deborah Harkness.

You can find my A Discovery of Witches review here.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m quite keen to finish reading the All Souls Trilogy so I imagine I will read The Book of Life next after that I’m not sure I’ve kept my TBR pretty open as there are quite a few new releases I want to get my hands on!

What are you guys reading at the moment?

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A Discovery of Witches- All Souls Trilogy Book 1- Review

All of last year I was in the most frustrating reading slump I did read but I seemed to just bounce from slump to slump never quite making it over the mountain and over the other side. I don’t know whether it was me or my reading choices, but I was stuck.
Luckily, I seem to be having a much better time in 2019 steadily making my way through my TBR which is heavily featured on my Instagram if you fancy peep.

My most recent read was The Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, back in the Autumn I watched the series on t.v and loved every episode and the series quickly made it’s way to my TBR and this February I finally got around to reading it.

For those of you who don’t know, the story follows Doctor Diana Bishop she is a reluctant witch, and a Yale graduate, currently teaching at Oxford University. She is doing research in the famous Bodleian Library when she requests a book for her alchemical research, the manuscript Ashmole 782. Once she touches the book Diana instantly knows this isn’t just an ordinary text but a magical book, a lost book that creatures believe has the answers to their creation. It is in this same library where she meets Vampire Mathew Clairmont and of course that’s where all the real trouble begins.

I really enjoyed A Discovery of Witches, normally when reading books about magical creatures’ whether they be witches or vampires or other worldly beings I have found that these ‘tropes’ can often be found in Young Adult books. Which is fine but can feel a little tiered after a while because let’s be honest when reading a YA fantasy romance 9/10 times you know where the plot is going and whose ending up with who, of course there are exceptions but that’s for another day, another post. I find reading an adult novel in this genre interesting, the stakes feel higher when reading about an adult romance in fantasy which I found interesting, it’s defiantly something I’m going to explore further.

I love history and our main character Diana is a History Professor I really enjoyed reading about such an accomplished young woman this allowed the plot to based in the historic city of Oxford and this added a creepy layer to the world which the All Souls Trilogy inhabits every page peeling back a little bit more. The book has its roots embedded in history and historical fact and you can tell the author both knows her stuff and has done a lot of research when writing this book this gave the novel a feeling of authenticity, the fact that a lot of what is being written is rooted in fact I loved that. The only small issue I have is that sometimes you can really tell this book was written by an American which can pull you out of the writing a bit when you’re reading about England clearly written by someone who isn’t British but trying to sound as authentic as possible it can be a little jarring when you know what is written isn’t quite accurate, or describe quite right. It’s only sometimes and not a big deal but as I’m about to start book three The Book of Life I’ve clearly been having a great time making my way through this trilogy.

If you love a good romantic romp, with vampires and daemons not forgetting the witches of course then I would highly recommend you start this trilogy. The romance in this book is an interesting one it’s gripping as well as frustrating and although it falls in line with all the usual ‘vampire falls in love’ tropes the author did a great job weaving them through out the story and just made it fun to read. This book is also full of positive representation which was great about I can’t see where this story goes next.

Why not check out all my other book reviews here!

3/5 stars!

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My Problem with Pooh and Christopher Robin too.

Unexpectedly I came to see the (2017) film Goodbye Christopher Robin which tells the tale of the world famous Playwright and Author A.A Milne but most notably as author of Winnie- the Pooh. First published in the wake on the first world war in 1926, the film follows Milne known to his family as Blue as he returns from the first world war with shell shock or what we now may recognise as PTSD. Devastated by his time at the Somme Blue wants to write a book about war, encouraging peace for future generations; but that is not the story that finds him.

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Thanks to the decision to move his young family to the Sussex country side Blue started to spend more time with  his young son known to the family as Billy Moon and his beloved bear affectionately named Edward  (would later be re-named Winne-the-Pooh). I saw a video with the films director and he talks about how Blue and his wife Daphne were very much of their time, how it wasn’t uncommon to have baby and continue on with life as if nothing had happened only seeing the child for half an hour in the morning and evening. Looking at the relationship of Billy, Daphne and Blue through modern eyes is difficult and it is almost impossible not to judge their relationship. Billy Moon has a nanny Nou whom he adores and as the film unfolds I found myself wondering in a house or family like this when a child has so little access to their own parents who is really Billy Moon’s mother is it Daphne or is it Nou?

In later life a grownup Christopher Robin is even quoted when describing Nou as ‘Almost a part of me’ and they remained close for her entire life.

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Blue and Billy eventually get to bond when both Nou and Daphne are away from the house hold leaving the pair alone together with no choice but to either sink or swim. Blue eventually discovers what a bright and vibrant imagination his son has discovering the names of his favourite toys, which along with Edward Bear included Piglet, Tigger and Eeyore the depressed Donkey. They play together in the long hot summer days just Blue, Billy and his toys and Billy’s imagination that essence of childhood become the inspiration for A.A Milne’s most famous creation, his Winnie the Pooh stories. The Stories were an instant success, lifted up on the back of the tragedy of World War One ‘the country is wounded’ Blue cries to his wife Daphne in the film and with the help of Winnie the Pooh they could remember that life could be good again and life was worth living after all.

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But by writing about his son and his toys  Blue was effectively selling his sons childhood to the masses. The books were an instant stand out success and at one point Christopher Robin who was slowly but surely losing his identity as Billy Moon was named the most famous child in the world. Comparing it not just to today’s standards but famous children throughout history there are very few examples where child stars come off unscathed. Christopher Robin was more famous than his father A.A Milne and his mother was  not only the driving force behind commercialising Milne’s’ books also could see what a commodity her son was becoming. He would do interviews and photographs, signings; all the while Edward Bear had become Pooh and no longer just belonged to him but him and millions of other people all over the world. Billy Moon’s real problems started when he attended boarding school at age nine. It is depicted in the film but the real Christopher Robin had spoken of it many times in his books and interviews over the years that he was consistently bullied for being the child in his father’s books and poems he was pushed kicked and repeatedly pushed down the stairs.  He felt his father had ‘climbed on the back of my infant shoulders’ to forge his career leaving Billy without any identity and with no say in how famous he had become and he was famous for no real reason.

Eventually Billy Moon would shed his Christopher Robin identify all together when he joined the army and became Private Milne. He would survive the war and later marry his first cousin. This would cause great strain on his relationship with his parents one that was already full of emotional entanglements and resentments.

goodbye christopher robin

Daphne and Christopher soon to wife’s father were brother and sister and did not get on and the marriage between the pair further strained his relationship with his mother who was a hard woman at times and is depicted as such in the film. As he grew into a man Christopher seemed to always looking back to his childhood his was filled with a bitter resentment towards the books and what they did to his life and was still angry at his father. He did not speak or see to his father until he was on his death bed and Daphne and Christopher would never reconcile.

Goodbye Christopher Robin did a good job of showing that Daphne and Blue were flawed humans and their relationship with him was fraught. But it ends right when a young Christopher Robin gets home from war, the viewers never gets to know how it ended for the family and how they would never be reconciled. How Christopher would never take a penny from the Winnie the Pooh franchise but eventually when he and his wife had a disabled daughter they were eventually forced to take some money to pay for her care  ‘For Clare’ I read  him say, which is both beautiful that he loved his child in a different way than his he parents loved him but tragic that he had to forgo his principles in the end and his wishes to separate himself from Pooh.

The origin story of Winnie the Pooh is a sad one but it got me thinking about the new Christopher Robin movie to be released this year. (2018) When you’re telling the story of an adult Christopher Robin who famously came to hate Pooh Bear shouldn’t how he really felt about his situation be addressed?

Christopher Robin Movie

I get it, this is Disney and this is the sentimental tripe we love, it has echoes of Robin William’s Hook to me and I’m sure it will be a box office smash. But where does the morality come in? The Little boy Christopher Robin is immortalised in book form destined to be playing with his ‘Silly old Bear’ forever but the adult man who grew up and away from Pooh does he stop mattering cause he’s dead? When did we stop caring about truth? Honestly I think that this movie is a morally bankrupt idea, and yes people will love it because it’s Disney but they will be loving a lie somehow I don’t think I will ever look at Winne- the -Pooh ever the same way again and that’s both a good and a bad thing.

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Disney Winnie the Pooh

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The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill – A Review.

The Surface Breaks is a feminist re-telling of The Little Mermaid all dressed up and ready to go in the most beautiful cover I’ve seen all year. Louise O’Neill takes the story of The Little Mermaid back to it’s Hans Christian Anderson roots moving away from the Disney version we all know so well.

the little mermaid 1975

When I was a little girl I loved Ariel and watched that movie many times but I also owned the (1975) Anime version of the tale. Which is a very close re-telling to the original fairy-tale and as a girl enjoyed both but for different reasons. It’s a much darker story which Disney turned on it’s head and made into something light and filled with a romantic musicality.

The Little Mermaid

I was excited to head into this new re-telling and from the first few pages I knew it had the original story ingrained in it’s roots. Louise O’Neill tells the story we all know well of a young mermaid princess who falls in love with a human boy, and after saving his life desperately wishes to become human. But there are two twists to this tale, the first is her feminist take on a classic, the Mer-people but specifically the mermaids live in a misogynistic and patriarchal society where there only choices are to be pretty to be silent and to be mothers. Beauty is how our little mermaid and her sisters measure their value and it causes repression, anguish and a fierce sibling rivalry.

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The second twist to this tale, no pun intended is this stories darkness long gone are the singing crabs and fishes for best friends but one thing stood still and firm, her roots at the very centre of  The Little Mermaid’s story, I am talking of cause about The Sea Witch. But even the word witch is turned on it’s head on this tale.  The Sea Witch is a major character in all versions and in The Surface Breaks I enjoyed this complicated interpretation of her character Ceto. She’s the centre of most of the stories darkest moments but has some great lines and oodles of body positivity all the while leaving me not really knowing if she was good or evil or just morally grey.

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Enjoying my summer reading time.

I really enjoyed this book, I would say it took a little while to get going, a lot of time was spent in Mer-society which was great… but I could of cut that just slightly shorter and gone above water sooner. The is a very famous fairy tale after all even down to the mermaid  losing her beautiful singing voice, all major plot points we know and love they remain. So there was no need to drag certain things out because as readers we know where the story is heading because we’ve been there before, it’s just a case of where we end up.

The book really got going up for me in the last 50 pages and while reading I felt we were in for a huge pay off. And I really did love the ending… but I could of done with an Epilogue or another chapter, the ending just felt a little unfinished to me especially in terms of Oliver I think he (and i’m being as vague as possibly here to keep it spoiler free) but I feel that all I really needed was a paragraph or two on him and then a chapter on what happens after the end of the book as we know it. It was brilliant but felt a little vague.

Anyone who has read The Surface Breaks let me know your opinions I would love to hear your thoughts.

Over all loved it! Great story telling and an interesting perspective from a unique female character who grows and develops as the story unfurls.

3/5 Stars!

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The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer & Annie Barrow (A Review)

Both happily and unhappily I have just finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, from here on out I shall just refer to it as Guernsey and I think you will understand why.

It has been softly on my radar for a few years now but with no real intention of reading but I’m not sure why. It’s definitely my genre, it had been sat on my Goodreads shelves for awhile now and it’s one of those books that I had seen around in varying covers but had never quite reached for.

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Then I saw the trailer the Guernsey movie and knew I’d been missing out and bought the book without hesitation. The first thing I discovered was this book is a epistolary novel for those who don’t know this book is written in the form of letters, I have only ever read one book in a similar format before Cecilia Ahern’s Love, Rosie and I just didn’t get on with the structure and ended up DNF-ing the novel. But Guernsey is different, it is so easy to fall on love with the characters. The book follows Juliet a young writer and journalist who has been writing fluff pieces during the second world war to cheer up the nation she’s looking for a new and interesting book idea when she get’s a letter from a man in Guernsey who has bought one of her old books that had her contact detail written inside.

love rosie

They begin to correspond and he discuss he is a member of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. They enjoy corresponding so much that Juliet begins to get letters from other members of the society and this is where the fun really begins. When Juliet travels to Guernsey and meets the real people she has been writing to, her new friends from her letters and becomes part of their lives. She discovers what Guernsey and it’s people went through during the war, occupied by the Germans, Guernsey was the only part of the British Isles to really have to live with their enemy and Juliet a writer and a seeker of truth is determined to find out what that really means. She also becomes curious about the societies founder Elizabeth, Elizabeth becomes the centre of this story that Juliet becomes determined to write and her love for the island pours out of her and onto every page.

guernsey movie

Guernsey is a book about friendship, loyalty and love, in a period in history when there had been so much tragedy and devastation it shows is the small things that truly bind people together and love will always win out even in the darkest and most brutal of times. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society is a beautiful story that everyone should read it is written in letters but the characters feel fully formed and full of colour. The book is so short it was like being on a short visit with great friends, who I already miss.

5/5 Stars!

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WWW Wednesday – 18/4/18

Hi guys it’s Wednesday and you know what that means? It’s time for WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @Taking On A World Of Words, the rules are simple you just have to answer these three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

literary

I have just started reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. This Historical fiction novel is set shortly after WW2 and written as a series of letters between the characters. I have only read one book in a similar format before and that was Love, Rosie by Cecilia Ahern and really didn’t get on with the writing style. I’m going to see this in the cinema when it comes out and know it’s a very popular novel so hopefully this time round this style of writing will be a hit with me.

What did you recently finish reading?

I have been on a bit of a Angel kick recently and have just finished Fallen by Lauren Kate and Angelfall and WorldAfter by Susan Ee. Reviews for all three on the way soon (promise).

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m really excited to read a few books at the moment, Folk by Zoe Gilbert, The Cruel Prince by Holly Black and Circe by Madeline Miller. What are you guys reading this month? Let me know in the comments.

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jamestown

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