Saturday, 14 May 2016

Why We Love... Hugless Douglas

Picture Book Review: Hugless Douglas 

We have been enjoying the World Book Day edition of Hugluss Douglas for a year now, but we have only recently tried the longer stories. The characters in Hugluss Douglas are charming and the series places lots of emphasis on friendship, which is great to see. 

One of the best things about this book is there are lots of excuses for cuddles and any book which encourages those is a hit in my eyes. 

The books are bright and cheery, with lovely artwork and typography. There's also a nice number of words per page, and lots to point out and discuss in the pictures, so they hold my daughter's attention really well. 

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

War & Peace: Post Three - Half Way

Half way! Half way! Half way!

That's right, recently I got to see THIS amazing update at the bottom of my Kindle - and we're not even half way through the year yet!

Unfortunately, I am also up to the part of the novel that I was dreading reading, and I hope my reading speed doesn't slow down as a result. I normally read the second half of novels more quickly than the first, so fingers crossed War and Peace will be no different. 

Overall, I am still really enjoying Tolstoy's epic. I may have started reading it for a challenge, but I'm continuing because I love it. 

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Carry On

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story — but far, far more monsters. {Goodreads Summary}

"I meet his gaze and sneer. My arm is a steel band around his waist. "I choose you," I say. "Simon Snow, I choose you.”

Carry On is the third Rowell novel I have read and it's the first novel I've finished this year by an author I have read before (Tolstoy doesn't count as the end of War & Peace is still twelve hours of reading time away...) It's also the third novel I've read this year written from multiple perspectives. 

“Just when you think you're having a scene without Simon, he drops in to remind you that everyone else is a supporting character in his catastrophe.”

I had seen a lot of love for Carry On online before I started reading it, but when I started I was a little disappointed and began to wonder what the hype was about. Then I read the first Baz chapter, and I was hooked. 

“Everyone’s still gossiping about where he’s been. The most popular rumours are “dark coming-of-age ceremony that left him too marked up to be in public” and “Ibiza.” 

I loved Baz. His perspective on the story was brilliant and not at all what I was expecting from Simon's complaints (which I guess was the point, but it still took me by surprise). I loved his dry humour and most of the funniest lines in the novel were his, but so were the most intense and the most romantic.

“Sharing a room with the person you want most is like sharing a room with an open fire.

He's constantly drawing you in. And you're constantly stepping too close. And you know it's not good--that there is no good--that there's absolutely nothing that can ever come of it.
But you do it anyway. 
And then...
Well. Then you burn.”

There are so many subtle Harry Potter references and parallels that I was thinking about them even while I wasn't reading. I had lots of fun spotting them. I also loved the pop culture references Rowell included through her spells (her whole concept of magic was really unique and interesting) and kept getting songs stuck in my head as a result. Despite being written by an American author, Carry On felt very British, from the language to the Bacadri Breezer references. Rowell has also given new meaning to the word 'numpty'.

“The front seat is for people who've never been kidnapped by bloody numpties. Jesus Christ, Baz.” 

I've purposely not included my favourite quote from the book, even though it appears four or five times in the Goodreads quote section, because I think you have to read it in-situ to get the full effect. When it occurs, at the end of one of Baz's first chapters, it starts the novel on a whole other level of amazingness.