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Weekly Reflection #71

More of a mid-weekly Reflection this week - sorry! Here's what I've been up to :)


MOTHERS DAY REMINDER! Mother's Day this Sunday in the UK so I hope many of you have plans to treat your mum! I made my mum a unicorn themed card this year with these stickers I found in Paperchase. I think I may need to go back and buy the rest of their stock of them! Too cute :)

I have been enjoying seeing the little explosions of colour popping up around our garden. We spent a lot of time last year digging new beds, clearing overgrown areas and planting up bulbs and cuttings for this Spring and it's lovely to see what the work has amounted to! Unfortunately, city foxes have been at our rock bed so I don't think we'll be seeing many of the bluebells we had tucked away in there :(

#NinjaBookSwap has come round again - one of my favourite swaps! I sent my parcel out to my partner in Australia with a letter and some info about Bristol as it was a "local" themed swap. I won;t divulge any more as it may not have arrived yet. I hope she likes it!

I have been eyeing up some sailor-y pieces in Seasalt for a while, and this weekend I finally allowed myself the treat. Not cheap, but hopefully long lasting, I got two stripey tops, jeans and a gorgeous green waterproof. Perfect from rainy Spring days!

Finally, we stopped off for cake at our favourite Bath cafe, Green Rocket, after the shopping trip. It's a veggie/vegan cafe that does amazing light bites and also caters extremely well to a sweet tooth. Stop by if you are ever in Bath!

That's it for this week. See you all next Monday with another!

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I Am The Cheese and Why I write about books

I thought I would put together a little post to share with you why I write about books for World Book Day. I hope you enjoy it!:



I Am The Cheese and Why I write about books

I suppose that I have a lot to thank author Robert Cormier for. There is a defined, singular moment in my life where I can say I literally felt my attitude towards books take a shift from "I like reading" to "my life would not be the same without books". That moment came while reading the final chapters of I Am The Cheese.

Never before had a book taken me by surprise in such a way. I couldn't believe it; I had just been lied to by these pages for almost a week! And I was the fool! I didn't know books could do this. I was 11 years old, starting to realise I kind of really liked my English class, and had been given the book by the teacher to encourage me outside of curricular reading. I guess I also have a lot to thank that teacher for.

I Am The Cheese started me on my quest to be lied to. I loved having the ground pulled from beneath my feet (in pages!) and I devoured the thriller section of my school library very quickly. Four years later, my GCSE teacher placed Rebecca by Daphne De Maurier in my hands and that was it. Gothic literature was opened up to me and I have never looked back. So, thank you to that teacher, too ;)

Books took a huge role in my college education as I studied English Language and English Literature (more on that here!) and when I left college I began work as a production assistant. There was suddenly a huge void in my existence: I wasn't writing about books anymore! I guess when it comes down to it, that is why Mab is Mab exists; I didn't like my life as much when I wasn't talking about books. I needed it. I was lost without the need to analyze, decode, learn from and form opinions around writing.

Although I write about books for myself, I do hope that my need to do so means something to someone, somewhere. As egotistical as that may be... If just one person picks up a book as a result of this blog, it would make me warm and glow-y inside for quite a while. I hope they do :)




Disclaimer: I was contacted by My Voucher Codes to share my story as part of a World Book Day campaign. All text is my own and I will be entering this post as a competition entry to be featured on their site.

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How To Fly With Broken Wings by Jane Elson - review

If Finn Maison shouts jump you jump or you are dead."  

Title: How To Fly With Broken Wings
Author: Jane Elson
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Source: ARC from Netgalley
Available: 03 March 2015
Buy it:  Here


Synopsis

Willem is a boy with Aspergers Syndrome, and he is trying to make two friends his own age for his homework. A tough task for anyone, Willem also faces the challenge of navigating gang cultures, riots, the complexities of attraction and the fact that he can't work out whether Finn Maison is a friend or foe.

Review

How To Fly With Broken Wings is a sweet story that takes place in very recent times of the London riots. There is a huge cast of characters, including a dog, an aeroplane and people both alive and dead (yes, really). We read the story from the view points of Willem and his new friend Sasha as they find ways to unite the people they care about and heal their estate, and I think these view points help get a good view of everything that's going on. However, I personally found Sasha's voice annoying at times. There were so many CAPITALS I felt like I was reading Facebook updates from people I had long ago unfollowed for that very reason!

How To Fly... presents some very complex issues throughout it's short story - gang culture, autism, domestic abuse and death to name but a few - but I never felt the book ever really went deep enough to have any kind of effect. Maybe an affecting read wasn't the aim, but I would question why there are so many YA-relevant talking points if it wasn't.

That said, I loved the tragic romance of "the plane" - if there was one message I did take away from this book, it is to love everyone you care about as much as you can, for the time you have them. You never know how short that time will be.

Overall

A very quick read that is enjoyable but doesn't fall into its themes enough to be affecting. I think that for younger readers of the YA spectrum, How To Fly... would be a perfect gateway into other books that explore topics along the same lines - perhaps Wonder or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night.

Score
 

★★

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Weekly Reflection #70

This weekend I was in London with some very cute cats and some impressive Lego!


I've had a really fun week this week - first of all, my Harry Potter Tour tickets arrived! I've been before but since going, they have opened up a Dark Arts section I'm excited to see, so I'm taking my mum in July!

Secondly, I spent the weekend visiting a friend in London. We were booked in for afternoon tea at Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium in Shoreditch, which was really cute. The cake and cats were good, but the place wasn't as cosy as I expected - and sometimes the other people in the space got on my nerves. (Hanging ACROSS my table to stroke a cat while I'm drinking tea with my friend is not cool, there are 8 other cats, go stroke them!)

We also stumbled across The Art Of The Brick (an exhibition just off of Brick Lane) which had some AMAZING Lego sculptures on display. I highly recommend a visit if you are in the area :)

This week has been a LOT of train travel. I've been to London twice, with a trip to Birmingham in between, and hot chocolate and tea have been my early start/late return saviours! I do actually really like train travel - always a chance to catch up on some reading! - but the early mornings are not my friend!

Lastly, I have been having some post issues. I wanted to put a question out there to see if anyone else regularly receives open post? It's becoming quite regular for me and I don't know whether it's worth complaining or not. I don't like to be a moaner - especially if it just being subject to regular checks! What would you do?

Ok that's it for now. Hope you all have a great week!


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The Ship by Antonia Honeywell - review

I was born at the end of the world"  

Title: The Ship
Author: Antonia Honeywell
Publisher: Orion
Source: ARC from Netgalley
Available: 19 February 2015
Buy it:  Here


Synopsis

Lalla was born "at the end of the world" - London is destroyed by the environmental choices of people in a time long since gone; food is scarce, living space is compromised and The Dove is a new government initiative set in place by Lalla's father - if you don't have an ID card, you officially do not exist, and are not provided for. As mass "population control" comes into effect, and London sees an increase in danger and violence, Lalla's father holds the key to their escape and guaranteed happiness: The Ship. But at what price?

Review

The synopsis of this book grabbed my attention for its darkly political themes that are an exploration of the choices we are making right now. I thought the London of The Ship was brilliantly presented as a harsh and military environment, and many of the chosen themes Honeywell focuses on (belonging, community, responsibility and happiness) are very well reflected throughout the choice of setting.

I also LOVED that after a shocking life event, Lalla is given time to grieve throughout the writing. The after effects of what happened are not brushed under the carpet in favour of a new plot point, but instead cause ripples throughout all that is to come. This was one of the most pleasing things for me about The Ship. It felt honest.

However, I had a small problem. After devouring the first third of the book, we follow Lalla, 100% behind her and her brave choices, onto the ship. It is here that I think The Ship falls a little flat. While the ship itself has it's own eerie presence and disguised motives, I couldn't help but feel the REAL story of The Ship was happening on land. Like Lalla, I desperately wanted to return. I felt the book had only really started to properly begin at its end point - so I'm hoping there is a sequel :)

Overall

I mentioned "after effects" in my review and I really think it could have been an alternative title! The Ship focuses a lot on the after effects of choices we make as individuals, as communities and as humans. It offers good food for thought, and an engrossing world to view our own choices against. I really hope a sequel is on the cards.

Score
 

★★

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