Friday, 27 November 2020

November Book Blogger Hop!

6th - 12th - Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo? If yes, how did it go?
Yes, I have. It was... Interesting. And by interesting, I mean a disaster.
I participated a few years ago and for a multitude of reasons, I didn't have much time or energy to dedicate to it but it was fun and, despite not identifying as a writer, I continued pecking away at it.
I eventually finished it. 
I revised it. 
I had people look at it. (Most terrifying thing in the world.)
They liked it... In most cases. 😆
I self-pubbed it under a pseudonym. 
Then, I had a fit of impostor syndrome, decided it was silly, and crap and all things awful, and took it down. What was I thinking?! I'm not a writer/author - I'm a reader and a blogger!
However, I've continued writing random things here and there... And I plan on re-publishing that book in the new year because there's no reason not to. 
You can be more than one thing... In fact, we're all more than a single hobby.
I can write when I feel like it. I can self-pub if I want to. Life's too short to overthink stuff (even though I excel at overthinking).
Phew. It's nice getting that off the chest. 

13th - 19th - What is your favourite social media and why?
Hmm... Let's see.
Twitter is a ragey, over-opinionated trash fire and Facebook is... Facebook.
I guess I'm going with Instagram even though I don't use it much.

20th - 26th - Have you ever started reading a book and suddenly realized you've already read it?

Nope. I tend to remember what I've read... But, I'm sure it'll happen at some point!

27th - Dec. 3rd - Do you own an e-reader? If so, what is your favorite thing about it?

 Yes, I currently own a couple. (And I've had 4 in total.)

I have my Kindle Voyage (#4) which is freaking awesome and I'm still mad at Amazon for discontinuing the model.

I have an older, no backlight, standard e-ink kindle but I can't remember the model (#3)... But I never use that one. It's my back up kindle.

The reason I have two working kindles is because my husband bought me #4 for Christmas as he thought I'd appreciate the additional functionality - and I do - but #3 wasn't broken.

Kindle #2 was one with a keypad at the bottom and I only replaced that one when it broke.

My first ever reader was a Sony e-reader (#1) - I don't think Kindles existed back then - and it was cool but it was a pain in the ass to load books onto and availability of books wasn't too great.
I was happy to replace that one... Although, I actually didn't. Once again, my husband bought me my first kindle (#2) as an upgrade (and to control the volume of books in our house!)

Come to think of it, my husband was responsible for reader #1 too as I kept stealing his devices to read ebooks on... He's been responsible for the procurement of all my ereaders! 
It's official! My digital book hoarding is all my husband's fault! 😁

10th Annual Black Friday Giveaway Hop!

It's time for the 10th Annual Black Friday Giveaway Hop is hosted by Marlene @ Reading Reality and Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer!

Yes, that hellish day known as Black Friday is once again upon us and I'm not exaggerating when I say I've never been so happy to be in lockdown as I am today! 
Hopefully, it stops the massive feats of stupidity and stampeding nastiness that usually occur on this fine day... But the online scrum is inevitable (and more acceptable) therefore I wish all those who partake of Black Friday madness lots of luck!
Here's hoping the item you've been stalking plummets in price and allows you to snap up your deal!

(And if your stores are open here's hoping they have proper socially distanced crowd control and masks... 😷 )

I'm giving away a $10 Amazon giftcard to one winner OR the winner can choose a book (up to the value of £/$15) to be delivered via The Book Depository. 
Giveaway is open internationally (but Amazon/Book Depository must be accessible in your country).
Entrants must be 18 years and over.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Kiddie's Corner: Grumpy Goes Home For The Holidays, Two If By Sea and Mr Squirrel Finds A Treasure by Susan Marie Chapman

Two If By Sea by Susan Marie Chapman

Grumpy The Iguana and his best friend, the Green Parrot have set sail on their boat, the PARDON ME. They planned to have a relaxing day of friendship and fishing. Instead, everything went terribly wrong and now they are lost at sea without catching any fish.

How will the friends find their way home?

My Thoughts:
This was terrible. I appreciated that the author was trying to highlight the negative impacts humans have on sea life (plastic pollution, boating accidents) but the story was stiff and awkward. It didn't flow, it lacked humour and it was terribly boring and un-engaging. There are so many stories that bring this topic to life for children and that's why I'd give this one a pass.  

Mr Squirrel Finds A Treasure by Susan Marie Chapman

A group of animal friends wake up to find litter in their neighborhood. When Mr. Squirrel finds some plastic lodged under a rock, his friends help him free it so he can take it back to his tree home. How will Grumpy, the Green Parrot, and Mr. Squirrel solve the issue of trash in their park that is toxic to animals and humans?

My Thoughts:
Again... This wasn't good. The message was good - looking after the planet, picking up litter, the impact on animals etc. - but the execution of the story? Nope. Watching paint dry is more entertaining. The constant switching of text size and colour was also a particular source of irritation. 
Can't say I recommend.

Grumpy Goes Home For The Holidays by Susan Marie Chapman

Grumpy has decided that it is time for him to go home for the Holidays to see his mom and dad and his little sister. Mr. Squirrel helps Grumpy choose the perfect gifts for his family. The Green Parrot helps Grumpy to get to the bus station on time. What happens when Grumpy reaches his destination in the Florida Keys? Will his family be surprised to see him? Join us as we follow Grumpy Home for the Holidays.

My Thoughts:
This one was a little better than the other two! It was a bit dry but the story was sweet and more engaging than the other books... The message was lovely in that the holidays are not about gifts or what you can give people but spending time with the people you love. 
If you're reading it to a younger reader (pre-school) it would work but I wouldn't recommend it outwith that age bracket. 

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Weekly Update #129

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer
It’s a chance to share News. A post to recap the past week, showcase books and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

Now that's explained, it's on to my weekly recap!

Hey, check me out! Only two weeks since I last joined the Sunday Post... I'm getting better. 
Maybe soon I'll be back in a weekly routine? That would be nice. 

I'm still lacking in motivation, still reading super slowly, and generally feeling lethargic and miserable but good news (?) is that it's not just the pandemic blues! 
My thyroid is going haywire and can pretty much be blamed for all the shitness so that's a surprising relief. 
The long story made short (well, as short as I can make it) is that I've had an underactive thyroid pretty much since my son was born. It went high after he was born, then low and stayed low - thus medication - and it's been pretty much stable and consistent for the past 8 years (after about 18months of it making its mind up as to what it was going to do). It gets checked annually at my medication review and it's always fine and the dose stays the same... But not this year. This year at my annual check it was super high, which was weird. They decided to keep my dose the same and recheck in 6 weeks thinking it was an anomaly. When that check rolled around it was super low... So, they've kept my meds the same again and are going to test again in another 4-6 weeks and then take it from there. 
We don't know what's set it off yo-yo-ing again but it's off... The frustrating thing is that no matter what they try they need to wait 4-6 weeks to see if it's working because that's how things roll with the thyroid so this could rumble along for a while. I don't really feel ill effects when it goes too high (I don't even get the weight loss!) but when it goes low I feel so ill... I'm so tired, the brain fog is horrendous and my mood plummets. All I can say is that I'm glad the CFS is in remission or I doubt I'd be even semi-functional. 
Nice excuse (reason?) to curl up under a blanket and refuse to move though! 😉
Now if the reading mojo would just speed up that'd be great...

Beyond that, my mum seems to be pretty much recovered from covid. She's still a bit tired but otherwise completely fine which is a relief.

The professor's mum finally got her surgery (and simultaneous reconstruction) and is doing well which is a massive relief. We were worried it would get cancelled seeing as Ireland has been in lockdown for the past month or so (and like everywhere else is struggling with hospital capacity) but it wasn't, so phew!

And now we're just preparing for Christmas... There's no denying it - it'll be a strange one! 
But we'll take it as it comes. The important thing is everyone being okay and getting to see next Christmas, you know?
I've got a giveaway running in the sidebar, the Annual Black Friday giveaway Hop begins on Friday and (in case I don't post next week) there will be another couple of festive giveaways the week after! So... Lot's of opportunities to win gift cards or books!

Hope you're all doing well!

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Runaway Road by Devney Perry
One Winters Night by Kiley Dunbar
Ruthless King by Meghan March
The Wright Mistake by KA Linde
Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye
Cupcakes For Christmas by Kate Hewitt

Mixed bag of books these past couple of weeks and unfortunately none of them higher than a 3.5 stars... My biggest disappointment was The Little Christmas Shop on Nutcracker Lane by Jaimie Admans. It was one I really wanted to love but it had too many things that niggled me. 😔

We watched Enola Holmes last week and really enjoyed it!
Millie Bobby Brown is absolutely delightful as Enola and Henry Cavill in Victorian apparel? *fans oneself* 

The little dude and I also watched The Nutcracker and The Four Realms and even though it was visually stunning, what in the ever-loving god was that about?! What was wrong with the original story of The Nutcracker? Why did they have to ruin it?! *sigh*

TV shows:
Binge re-watching Big Bang Theory and am almost finished. Again. We finished our last re-watch only in January... But familiar and funny is just the ticket at the moment.
I'm really in the mood for a The Musketeers rewatch too so that will begin this week. 

Have a great week all!

Friday, 20 November 2020

Bookish Thoughts: Thoughts of A Dog by Matt Nelson and Peter Pan by JM Barrie

Thoughts of A Dog by Matt Nelson

Based on the beloved Twitter sensation, Thoughts of Dog contains never-before-seen, sweet and funny reflections on life from the pup-spective of a gooooob dog, who, above all else, loves their human. 

Join a dog and their stuffed “fren” sebastian as they navigate life’s adventures through the most wholesome lens imaginable.

The mastermind behind WeRateDogs, Matt Nelson, expands the Thoughts of Dog universe born on social media with his new book for anyone looking for a smile.

My Thoughts
I was expecting a light-hearted book of little sketches featuring a human's interpretation on, well, the thoughts of a dog... And that is in a nutshell what this book is. 
The only problem is that I was expecting them to be funny and they weren't all that funny. I was expecting them to be super sweet but they were a bit blah (except the one about the Mail Man. That almost had me in tears.) However, they were super relatable if you've lived with dogs even if the representation of all the doggy-isms was pretty basic. 
The entire book read like a series of sketches that wouldn't be out of place in a kid's picture book only they occasionally use vocabulary that would be a little advanced for 3-5 year olds, like benevolently. 
I guess you could call this a book for all ages of dog lovers... It just falls short in that the stories aren't all that entertaining for adults. *shrug*

Peter Pan by JM Barie

Journey to Neverland in a new Audible Originals drama of J.M. Barrie’s magical masterpiece.

This enchanting adaptation of the enduring story of the boy who never grows up, produced in association with Great Ormond Street Hospital, stars Rupert Everett as the villainous Captain Hook and Adeel Akhtar as his right-hand man Smee. Beloved by both children and adults alike, the entire family will be transported to a world made of faith, trust, and pixie dust.

This Audible Original Drama of Peter Pan takes listeners on a magical adventure with Peter, Wendy, Michael and John as they arrive in Neverland and take on Captain Hook with the help of Tiger Lilly and Tinker Bell.

The story begins at home in London during The Blitz and Mary Darling is planning to evacuate her children to the countryside. However, her plans take an unexpected turn when a familiar face from her childhood returns...the one and only Peter Pan, the mysterious boy from Kensington Gardens. Intrigued by their mother’s friend, Wendy, Michael and John seek Peter Pan out, resulting in them being whisked off to Neverland and setting up home with Peter, Tinker Bell and The Lost Boys.

As Peter and his gang come up against the wickedly evil Captain Hook their friendships and relationships are put to the test - can Wendy be honest with Peter about how she really feels, and will Michael and John return home without their sister?

Duration: 3hrs 17min
Performed by: Adeel Akhtar, Mariska Ariya, Catherine Bailey, Rupert Everett, Neil Frost, William Harper, Gerran Howell, Simon Kane, Mack Keith Roach, Rocco Padden, Richard Reed, Maya Shepelev, Louis Suc, Harry Tuffin and Eleanor Worthington-Cox.

My Thoughts:
This was the first audiobook I've ever listened to that has a full cast and presents like a full stage production for the ears - music, sound effects, the works.
I wasn't sure I liked it but once I adjusted, I loved it!
It was delightfully charming and packed full of humour and wit. The voice actors did a marvellous job of bringing Peter Pan to life but Rupert Everett absolutely stole the show as Hook! He was definitely the bad guy who you can't help but love... He was my favourite character which is unsurprising really as I've always found Wendy and Peter to be insipid characters. 

Now, for a confession... I've never read Peter Pan before but I've seen it many times on stage during Panto season, and in various movies, and the story doesn't vary much. Therefore, I had a vague expectation of what would be in the audiobook but I was thrown for a loop when this version was set during the Blitz rather than Victorian London! (The bits outside of Neverland, I mean.) I thought it was Victorian (maybe Edwardian) but apparently not... After listening, I dug into Peter Pan and it turns out that it was written for stage (Edwardian era!) and JM Barrie kept tweaking it over a great number of years so good luck finding a definitive version! And if you've seen it on stage, or in a movie, then I'm pretty sure that you'll have the full story of Peter Pan for that all there is to it... Although, I found the audiobook a little more sad, sinister and, well, mean, than the versions I'd seen elsewhere. 
Regardless, the audiobook was fun and it'll be a story that will continue to entertain children (and adults) for many years yet to come.