Thursday, April 29, 2010

The end of April brings ...

... the end of the LOTR readalong.

I'm not going to post any more questions, but I just wanted to say how much I've enjoyed taking the journey to Middle Earth again even though I'm still reading The Two Towers and whether it was your first reading, or your hundred-and-first reading, I hope you enjoyed taking it, too with me, Eva from, Clare ar and Teresa at

Also, Clare has proposed a movie re-watch - I'm not sure if that's still on, but if it is, I'm in!


The road goes ever on and on ...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Short reviews

Very short reviews of Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.

Howl's Moving Castle first.
How have I never read Wynne Jones before? I feel, suddenly, like there's a massive gap in my reading and I need to fix that right quick - lol.

Sophie is the eldest of three sisters, and is somewhat resigned to her fate - she knows that - as the eldest - she's not destined to marry a prince, or have adventures. So she goes to work in her stepmother's hat shop and seems fairly content with her lot.

The only shadow over the town is the wizard Howl; well-known to eat the souls of young girls.

Apart from that little niggle, life for Sophie goes on as normal. Until a witch turns her into an old woman and she finds herself living in Howl's moving castle. And it turns out that Howl's not actually evil - vain and self-centred, but not evil.

Sophie has her work cut out for her with Howl, and with his apprentice Michael - and her sisters.

Howl's Moving Castle is lovely - entertaining and creative; it's a well-written tale that takes fairytale conventions, turns them on their heads and shakes out their pockets.

8/10 That movie that you've watched 100 times and you never get tired of

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Book two of The Hunger Games, so if you haven't read that, there may be spoilers.

The Hunger Games are over, and Peeta and Katniss - having outwitted the system - are back in District 12, trying to adjust to their new lives of privilege.

It's not easy for anyone, and there are rumours and rumblings of unrest from the other Districts, that the Capitol tries to shut down - by initiating another Hunger Games, featuring past winners.

As the rumblings get louder, Katniss and Peeta find themselves back in the arena, fighting for their lives.

I liked Catching Fire, I think, a little better than The Hunger Games. It felt faster-paced and I loved the storyline with the resistance coming together.

I will never, ever understand the compulsion in YA literature for love triangles, but I remain on #teamboyskissing - it's easier that way - lol.

Now to wait for Mockingjay ...

8/10 That movie that you've watched 100 times and you never get tired of

NB: I realised a couple of days ago that these short reviews meant I had finished the Once Upon a Time Challenge as I joined up for the journey. So I'm editing on May 4 to add the logo and add it to the book reviews site. :D

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

ROTK Mid-month post

It's the halfway point for the Return of the King part of the Lord of the Rings readalong, so let's see if we can get a bit of a discussion going with a few questions that ... I totally made up and may or may not be repeats.
let's not talk about how I'm still reading The Two Towers, 'kay?

Go here - to get the links for the previous blogs that have hosted the other books (I know. I should link them all, but I'm lazy AND a html fail - lol. And I know you gave me the links Clare and thank you but I've already done a faily Mr Linky and I don't want to push my luck - lol!)

1) Where are you in your reading? Are you still with Bilbo and Smaug? Just starting out? Or have you finished already and are tapping your fingernales on the book cover, waiting for me to catch up?

2) If this is your first time reading LOTR, how are you finding it? Are you falling in love with Middle Earth? and Legolas?

3) If you're a repeat offender reader, like me, how are you finding the return journey? Are you loving it just as much as ever? What little treasures have you found in ROTK that you never noticed before?

4) How do you feel, when you close the end of the last part; after Sam's words on the last page? Are you sad it's over, nostalgic? Looking for your next read already?

5) What's your favourite scene in ROTK?

H'm. That will do, I think? I'll save the big questionnare for the end of the month. (Don't get excited. It'll probably be five questions written on the fly again - lol)
The road goes ever on ...

Aaaaaaaaaaand Mr Linky for you!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Readathon wrap-up

I feel slightly fraudulent doing this one, because I haven't finished Catching Fire, and I piked on the cheerleading. But. Here goes:

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? Uh. The ones when Patrick was up - lol
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? I started Catching Fire, and I would have finished it today if not for acts of toddler. So that and The Hunger Games would make good readathon reads
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope!
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Everything :)
5. How many books did you read? Er ... I finished one that I started before the readathon and I started another one. So ... one and a bit?
6. What were the names of the books you read? Howl's Moving Castle, and Catching Fire
7. Which book did you enjoy most? Hmm ... I liked them both
8. Which did you enjoy least? See above :)
9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? Enthusiasm! And don't be afraid to ask for help to get motivated if you feel your cheer lagging (like mine did)
10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? Very likely. Probably both again. I failed, but I'm an optimist.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Readathon mini-challenge

Fun mini-challenge! Details right here:

The first book I remember absolutely loving and reading over, and over again, was A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

I never had my own copy as a child, but I got it out of the library so many times, I'm sure I wore a path to the shelf where it was kept.

I'm sure there are earlier books that I would have made my sister read to me over and over again as a very small child, but A Little Princess is the one that comes to me the clearest when I think about it. :D

Readathon mini-challenge - mid event meme

Halfway already!!!

1. What are you reading right now? - Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
2. How many books have you read so far? - Finished one; started another
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? - Catching Fire, and The Wild Things :)
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? - No
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? - Just the usual family stuff. Deal with them and carry on - lol
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? - How fast it's going!
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? - Nope - the organisers are awesome, like always
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? - Hmmm ... can't think of anything off the top of my head
9. Are you getting tired yet? - I had four hours sleep so ... yes - lol
10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? - Just have fun. It's all about the reading <3>

Readathon update

I'm up, I'm up!!! Got some sleep, and I'm doing a spot of cheering before diving into Catching Fire, probably followed by The Wild Things, with the odd short story from King's Everything's Eventual collection.

These plans - as always - are Patrick -dependent - lol.

Readathon mini-challenge

This is what happens, when you get up to tweet/cheerlead for a bit. Bear in mind that before I moved, I had all four of those cats on my lap. And Piper (B&W) stole my seat!

Anyway. Bart at is hosting this hour's mini-challenge, which challenges us to create a sentence out of book titles.
I went to my readathon pile and this was the best I could do (and it's only two books, so it's a slight challenge fail - lol):

So - because I also have a slightly faily camera (and my pic-taking skills aren't the best) - we have "Memories of my melancholy whores/Catching Fire" - and that is the kind of sentence you will get from me at 3.30am - lol.

Readathon mini-challenge 1 - late - oops!

Where are you reading from today? The couch, mostly. Probably bed later - lol.

3 facts about me … Uhm ... I'll be 39 in June. I've turned into a slow reader lately. I have a deep and abiding love for The Big Bang Theory.

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? Optimistically, nine.

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)? Not really, no. Perhaps I should have ...

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time? Have fun! :D

Friday, April 9, 2010


Okay, that didn't take half as long to upload as I thought, and now I've done three blog posts today - oops!
As Mr Neil Gaiman would say, warning: contains me:


It's time! Well, it is for me, anyway, because otherwise I'd be starting at 1am my time - lol.

I've done a vlog; I'm just waiting for my husband to work his magic to upload it; so I'll post that in a few hours.

I'm cheering too for #teamshelley so I'll be along to see some of you awesome readers a bit later on.
Right. I have a date with Howl's Moving Castle.

Later, readers and cheerleaders!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Under the Dome review

Under the Dome is Mr Stephen King's latest offering.

The small Maine town of Chester Mills is going about its business on a normal October day.

However, the day takes an unexpectedly strange turn when the people of Chester Mills find out that they can't leave because a giant, invisible Dome has been lowered over the town.

Some see the Dome as a trap, while others see it as an opportunity.

Under the Dome isn't my absolute favourite Stephen King novel of all time; I thought it started a little slow, and, for me, didn't really hit its stride until about halfway through, but when it gets going it really gets going, and there are few authors who can match King for his sharp characterisations.

Once Under the Dome does hit its stride, it's a speedy, shocking ride to the end, and a somewhat unpredictable outcome.

Well done, Mr King.