Sunday, 30 December 2012

What's in My Bag Tag!

It hit youtube hard, with lots of girls living in hot countries showing off their Gucci umbrellas, but I'm bringing 'What's in My Bag?' to the blogosphere! I've recruited three lovely bloggy ladies who are going to bare the real contents of their bags to the world, you know, the practical world. There will be links to their blogs at the end of the post, so please check them out. Let's get going, here's what's in my bag today:

The Bag:
My handbag at the moment is this Fossil, brown leather, shoulder bag that I got for christmas. It is a really good satchel as it has loads and loads of pockets and a good comfortable strap which doesn't hurt my shoulder. It keeps out of the way so I can work Laila well without scaring her with a slipping bag.

You may laugh, but my keys are caribbean clipped to the strap of my bag because they would simply run away if they were anywhere else. A large purple turtle and a tiny lego man wearing a bandana keep guard of my RADAR and house key.

In the front compartments of my bag I have two of my tear duct replacement treatments, a tiny spring pen, a little flick out magnifier and my bus pass.

Second Pocket:
More of my portable pharmacy, a bottle of 'morning energy' moisturiser which I hardly ever use but like the idea of using. A packet of mentos just because they are yummy. Carbomer gel (another tear thing), paracetamol, antihistamine for my pathetic allergies and vocal zone throat pastels for choir.

Main Compartment:
Kindle - always the reader-, earphones, and a high visibility vest for when I'm out before the sun has woken up (how long is this winter lark going to go on for?!) or when I go for a wander in the dark.

Various Pockets in the Middle:
My purse, which contains various bits and bobs, a ring which I love and aspire to wear but I get frustrated with it quite quickly and take it off. My iPod is in here too, I used the cash machine yesterday so the earphones are in another pocket separately. And my phone, but I am taking the photos with that!

Back Pocket:
Black and red, rather old, fingerless gloves. Spending bags for Laila (ever practical) and some Carex refreshing wipes.

So in summary my bag is very full, very practical and is basically my survival kit for any situation I may come across. 

Check out my fellow participants:

And why don't you join in?

Friday, 21 December 2012

Seriously I'm Kidding - Ellen Degeneres

"Oh, hi. I'm so glad you decided to turn the book over. Inside you will find an assortment of wonderful things - words, pictures, advice, tidbits, morsels, shenanigans, and, in some copies, four hundred dollars cash. So you might want to buy a few."

Many know Ellen as a witty talk show host with hilarious monologues and a tendency to dance. Not many will know that she also writes, and compelling reads they are too. I bought the audio download of 'Seriously I'm Kidding' from itunes for £11.95- but it was well worth the steep price. This book is the most addictive thing since angry birds, with a mixture of advice, anecdotes, and just outright hilarity. 

The audiobook, I get the impression, is very different from the paper copy. In the audio edition Ellen openly addresses the listener similar to the way she does in her show, this works a treat. She also makes several references to the fact that readers are 'listening' to her. The audiobook is read by Ellen herself, which is a bonus in the autobiography scene. But this isn't just an autobiography, in fact I'm not sure if it even is, it is more an audio production and a must see play. The informal style makes it a light hearted read, but you most certainly will not be putting it down or pressing pause. I listened to this book months ago, yet still at night I will pick out chapters to listen to. 

Ellen's third book has made a huge impact, so what's next? What a fantastic achievement for her to have produced such a unique and spellbinding book. The only criticism I can find is the itunes price, though it was well worth it. 

Book cover

Friday, 14 December 2012

Perfect People - Peter James

This book is a thriller which will keep you gripped from the very start. John and Naomi are still mourning the loss of their young son Hallie, who died of a rare hereditary disease caused by a complication in their gene pools. They long for a family but daren’t take the risk of losing another child. That’s until they meet scientist Dr Leo Detorre, who can make children who are not only perfect, but invincible too. Facing bankruptcy and debts, John and Naomi set off on a journey to create their perfect son, one that could live and experience what their deceased son couldn’t. However, Dr Detorre’s controversial practice causes a stir throughout the world, a religious group- Disciples of the Third Millennium are rising against his techniques in the name of God; and they will not stop until they gain justice. No matter what it takes.
I think this book covers such an interesting topic, and all through the book I kept thinking ‘is this really what we should fear for the future?’. Genetically modified or designer babies could leave natural children at a major disadvantage intellectually, making them second class citizens. Plus, if designer babies become a regular occrance what can we expect from life? Death would become an anomaly because everyone is immune to everything, everyone becomes equal intellectually so no progress can ever be gained, and everyone would want the same positive characteristics, so everyone would be the same.
I found John and Naomi particularly powerful characters who really jumped out of the page, their emotions were so realistic and deep. At first they are filled with delight and naivety as they realise their dream child can become a reality, turning to shock and exhausted adrenaline as things rapidly fall apart. So read this book, get your clone to read it, and design your children to like it too!
Four stars
* * * *
Book Cover

Thursday, 13 December 2012

In my stocking... Christmas Book Haul

Every year at christmas I get through a fair amount of books. Also, due to the general generosity of the season I feel I can indulge myself with a few good titles (after I've managed to get everyone's presents sorted of course)! Recently I've been ill and off school for a few weeks (long story) and have read and listened to everything I own, so it is all the more reason to get buying!

A beautiful old fashioned book cover with green swirls entitled 'dolly' with a lifeless doll beneath the title.

1) Dolly by Susan Hill
I was so excited to see that Susan Hill (author of The Women in Black and The Small Hand) has a new book out. It was brought to my attention when my ever loving Father started boasting about how beautiful the hardback is, with such a beautiful dust wrapper. Sure- a hardback copy would be little to no use to me, but I do love books. I bought it for my kindle for £4.74 at Amazon.

"The remoter parts of the English Fens are forlorn, lost and damp even in the height of summer. At Iyot Lock, a large decaying house, two young cousins, Leonora and Edward are parked for the summer with their ageing spinster aunt and her cruel housekeeper. At first the unpleasantness and petty meannesses appear simply spiteful, calculated to destroy Edward's equanimity. But when spoilt Leonora is not given the birthday present of a specific dolly that she wants, affairs inexorably take a much darker turn with terrifying, life destroying, consequences for everyone."

Dolly's Book Trailer - 

A door knokker is on the cover2) The Secret of Crickley Hall by James Herbert
I usually would decide against reading a book when I know what happens at the end, especially in ghost/mystery genres. However after watching the recent serial drama on BBC 1 based on this book I was head over heels in love with the plot and needed to know more. I bought The Secrets of Crickley Hall as an unabridged audiobook from Audible for one audible credit, but it retails for non-members at £15.74.

"There is an old, empty house in Devil's Cleave, a deep gorge that leads from the high moors down to the harbour village of Hollow Bay. The house is Crickley Hall and it's large and grim, somehow foreboding. It's rumoured to be haunted. It's thought to hold a secret. Despite some reservations, the Caleighs move in, searching for respite in this beautiful part of North Devon, seeking peace and perhaps to come to terms with what's happened to them as a family.
But all is not well with the house. They hear unaccountable noises. A cellar door they shut every night is always open again in the morning. They see things that cannot be real. The house is the last place the Caleighs should have come to, for the terror that unfolds is beyond belief. Soon they will discover the secret horror of Crickley Hall...."

The Secret of Crickley Hall's Television Advert (from the serial drama): 

A planet with a tongue sticking out, and a hitchhiking thumb on the cover3) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
I know I know, how on earth have I got to this point in my life (at 15 years and 7 months) without reading this book?! Not only as a book reviewer but as a general human being? I can't wait to get stuck into this award winning read, so I can finally put a story behind the quotes I know (somehow) from here. I got a download from Audible with a credit, and it retails at £8.92.

"One Thursday lunchtime, the Earth gets unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. For Arthur Dent, who has only just had his house demolished that morning, this seems already to be more than he can cope with. Sadly, however, the weekend has only just begun, and the galaxy is a very strange and startling place."

Two figures embracing underwater, one male and one female. The female wearing a long white dress and the man a shirt and black trousers with the shirt sleeves rolled up.4) The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
This book has had more hype surrounding it than a grandparent at a birthday party. I am nervous to read this book in case it doesn't live up to my seriously high hopes for it. I bought it for Kindle at £4.99.

"Mara Dyer doesn't think life can get any stranger. She wakes from a coma in hospital with no memory of how she got there or of the bizarre accident that caused the deaths of her best friends and her boyfriend, yet left her mysteriously unharmed. The doctors suggest that starting over in a new city, a new school, would be good for her and just to let the memories gradually come back on their own. But Mara's new start is anything but comforting. She sees the faces of her dead friends everywhere, and when she suddenly begins to see other people's deaths right before they happen, Mara wonders whether she's going crazy! And if dealing with all this wasn't enough, Noah Shaw, the most beautiful boy she has ever seen can't seem to leave her alone… but as her life unravels around her, Mara can't help but wonder if Noah has another agenda altogether…"

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer's Book Trailer- 

5) Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Three faces with three different back grounds are above the title 'Good Omens' This was something that, like Hitchhikers, I HAD to be exposed to. My best friend is on the verge of killing me for claiming that "I am not a fan of Neil Gaiman" after reviewing Coraline as 'Disappointing'. Apparently his children's and adults books are worlds apart and I simply must persevere. So I shall... to protect our friendship. I bought an audible download for one membership credit and it retails at £11.02. As not a big fan of fantasy, and a pessimist, I am sceptical about this one.

"According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch - the world's only totally reliable guide to the future - the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just after tea...The armies of Good and Evil are amassing, the Four Bikers of the apocalypse are revving up, and everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except that a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon are not particularly looking forward to the coming rapture - having thoroughly enjoyed life on earth amongst the mortals.

If Crowley and Aziraphale are going to stop it from happening, they've got to find and kill the Antichrist. There's just one glitch: someone seems to have misplaced him..."

A merry holiday book shopping to you all! 
What is in your winter reads? 

Friday, 7 December 2012

Wildthorn - Jane Eagland

Betrayal is deeply riddled within this story, and the plot just keeps twisting. Louisa Cosgrove is from a high class Victorian family, her father is a doctor, her brother is his apprentice and her mother is a lady of leisure. But Louisa is unhappy, she wants more from her future than just marriage and children and refuses to be like her mother. What nobody knows is that she studies medicine in her free time, reading her father’s books, and longs to become a doctor. But sometimes the most powerful thing to stand in your way are those who supposedly support you, and when an unexpected death occurs Louisa’s life begins spiralling out of control…

This book admittedly took a lot of determination to finish, I believe I started reading it close to a year ago and have only just finished it today, I think maybe this is because the plot can be very slow moving in some places and tends to drag on a bit. However, it is nicely put together and well researched. The romance aspect of the book is quite tiring by the end, and the plot very exhausting and highly depressing. I find the idea interesting: being falsely placed in an asylum and how to go about  proving your sanity in such a maddening situation.
Overall, a not too interesting read, be prepared to make a commitment.
One star.
Wildthorn Cover