Sunday, 18 May 2014


Imagine watching the T.V. and your favourite character is watching something spectacular, unsuspecting as a mysterious figure clothed in dark and intrigue creeps closer behind them, producing a long, sharp, shining dagger preparing to thrust it between his shoulder blades and just as the darting tip pricks his flesh your character spins and deflects the blade much to your anxious relief causing you to release your breath you didn't realise you were holding. Only for 3 more assailants to appear out the shadows and begin attacking him and as he grows steadily weaker and things begin to seem dire and hopeless your characters love interest arrives and sparks explode as they protect each other whilst arguing over who is taking whom and going where.

This scene portrays the mixed emotions and rollercoaster ride I embarked on whilst reading Seraphina. Rachel Hartman has in her fantastical debut spun a bittersweet story of politics, romance, music and dragons. Her characters are so well developed and I fell in love with them all, even the villains. Her style of writing is so lyrical and smooth that I just fell into the rhythm she weaved even though I was desperate to speed ahead and find out what happened. Hartman knows how to control and direct the reader without losing their interest, instead allowing your involvement in the story to spiral constantly feeding titbits to fan your flame until it all explodes in a shower of fabulousness.

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they've turned the final page

However I have one complaint..... it has a sequel which isn't out until March 24th 2015.. Cruel Hartman very cruel. I await it with bated breath meanwhile naming Seraphina my book of 2014 so far and awarding it the coveted Skinny rating.

Good Reading

Life as I know it..... in this moment of time

Hello dear people,

I am home, snug with my laptop, lying on my sofa, rain battering at the window (in fierce denial that it's actually SUMMER), watching Four Rooms. And it strikes me..

a) i'm being completely lazy not bothering to write on my blog to all you dear people

b) my feet are uneven sizes, but that's by the by

c) rich dealers tend to be overweight

d) i'm extremely lucky


e) when i do eventually start blogging, inevitably starting a list that's actually incredibly difficult to think of things to put in a  list once you've started

Well I hope you're all well and that you enjoy my forthcoming review of my book of the year so far (Seraphina) and that I'll speak to you all soon!

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The Lego Movie

Here I was, finally rediscovering my passion for blogging, prepared to write a whole speech about how I'm now 18, far more mature, embracing the new order of adult life. But instead I find myself dying to tell you about the hilarious, uplifting, cheerful film phenomenon The Lego Movie. Find below the amazing song that is strung throughout the movie, and is one of those horrifically annoyingly catchy songs that you can't help loving  but hating in equal measures.

OK unfortunately this isn't the sequence from the actual movie but it gives you an idea. I didn't want to go and see The Lego Movie, I thought it was bound to be a childish couple of hours worth of shameless Lego promoting drivel. Which it was... but it was also fricking awesome! It is one of those films marketed towards children but that adults drag their children along to on the pretense of a movie night out for the children, but really it's only the adults who get all the snide jokes, and play on words. The children are just distracted by the bright colours, catchy songs and multiple explosions!

It's worth the watch and I'm looking forward to it coming out on DVD..... under the pretense of watching it with my tiny cousins of course!! 

So Hello World, Just This Teenager's back and as immature, fun loving, and generally awesome, as EVER!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Grimm Tales for Young and Old

The Grimm Tales, for young and old, by Philip Pullman was a delight. A retelling of the magical fairy tales of the Grimm Brothers, Pullman weaves in a little of his own magic with sprinkles of wit, reflections and swift direction into these iconic famous tales.

I was smitten from the moment I saw it in Waterstones; not only was it a collection of popular and not so popular fairy tales but it had been retold by one of the best fantasy authors of our time Philip Pullman, with each tale ending with a small concise and often funny analysis by the man himself.

A collection of 50 folk stories there are some classically brilliant ones (variations of Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and the Three Musicians of Bremen) and some less known, however no less entertaining.

Pullman has selected the best of the Grimm Tales and given them a new lease of life for the children and adults of today to read and enjoy in a far more modern manner.

A extremely obvious Skinny Rating for my new fairy tale collection of all time.

Good Reading

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

18 Baby!

So on the 3rd February at 11.06am exactly I turned 18. F*ck Yeah! It was the most perfect birthday ever considering the circumstances! My parents decorated my granny's kitchen with balloons and streamers as I'd said jokingly last weekend that I wanted a party with my family. Darn they delivered. I cried when I walked into the room!

It's been quite difficult this gap year due to the fact that all my friends are spread out across the globe and country literally and this birthday was promising to be pretty dull and boring seeing as none of them could make it on the day. But it turned out perfectly.
I even got a pancake pan.

This pretty much summed it up.

Peace out

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

London Calling

 Hey y'all,

So for the next week this crazy Scottish chit is hitting London, the Big Lights, The City, The Place To Be. That Place Down South! So enjoy a little Clash as London calls.
Ok - London calling aside, what have I got to speak to y'all about? (Besides my new found love of using y'all, it's just so friendly and welcoming).

Well my gap year is falling brick by over organised brick apart. I'm learning spontaneity guys. Learning it! And learning and spontaneous should not be in the same sentence! However anyone following any of my posts would know I like things planned to the tiniest meticulous detail so if ever a time came when I'd discover spontaneity it would be in a controlled situation such as learning!

So anyway yes; my gap year is turning into a patchwork quilt - a week here and a week there - but most of it will be spent at home..... I am going to be dying to get to Universityby September, and I'm already pretty desperate! I have had to Work. Work. Work. I even had to make soup today - funnily enough not as difficult as I imagined!

Now asides from gap year antics nothing much is going on - I have discovered a new addiction: Nothing To Declare.

Imagine.... A dark room, there's a man sitting across from you, his face shaded as he growls out in a deep gravelly voice:

Thousands of men and women dedicate their lives to protecting Australia's border.

OK so that's not how the program starts but that is the type of life or death atmosphere they give it, to what is basically videos of officers looking in peoples luggage and finding drugs. Some of the stuff they refuse to let into Australia is ridiculously over the top protective but the program is such Good Fun.

To finish off - last night my daddy and I watched Kick Ass - god I love that film. It is Hilarious (though apparently controversial and caused a lot of bother when it came out!) Just noticed though that this photo is a little dodgy looking with the dude's hands but no, nothing perverse happens in Kick Ass!
Have a Good Week,
(Scottish Lass Off To Conquer London)

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Cross my heart

Cross My HeartCross My Heart by Carmen Reid was an inspirational adventure set in the Second World War. Following plucky bold Nicole as she joins the Belgian resistance, determined to do all she can to make it harder for the Nazi Germans who have stolen her city for them-selves, Reid tells a emotional heartbreaking story with vivid threads of truth sewn through it which gives it an edge over other fictional novels.

Brussels, 1940. Fifteen-year-old Nicole watches as the Nazis invade Belgium. Determined not to stand by as her country is brought to its knees, Nicole vows to fight back and joins the Belgian Resistance. Under her new alias - Coco - Nicole embarks on a dangerous new life as a spy, where the only question is not if you'll be caught, but when...

Cross My Heart was well written in that it managed to include scenarios where some warmth was instilled again - it wasn't an overly cold distressing desolate novel as many WWII novels are (it wasn't exactly a period where many good things happened). Reid's character creation was brilliant and her characters extremely real. I was completely invested in Nicole's life and actions and fell in love with kind strong Anton at the same time as her.

Reid also conveyed Nicole's steeled determination to resist but also the fear and guilt she felt at endangering her family excellently. Reid's imagery and description was spot on and the Ravensbruck part of the novel was real enough without being too real. Reid didn't need to overload the reader with horrific graphic descriptions as the dire atmosphere of the camps and the defeated scared feelings of the inhabitants was reinforced throughout her writing and didn't need the overload.

All in All Cross My Heart was a good historic fiction and was a welcome addition to the growing YA market. A solid 4 for  Reid's novel and I'm definitely going to be on the lookout for her next novel for YA.
Published by Corgi, an imprint of Random House Childrens Publishers Cross My Heart  can be bought from all decent book stores.

Good Reading

Tuesday, 7 January 2014


I needed a book to pull me out of my post-Christmas depressive slump and Twinmaker by Sean Williams did just that. I had started it before Christmas and hadn't felt it but when I picked it up again I was sucked right into the twisting traitorous plot of betrayal, misused global technology, best friends, terrorists and corrupted powerful corporations. 

A near-future thriller that fans of the GONE series and Doctor Who will love

Clair is pretty sure the offer in the ‘Improvement' meme is just another viral spam, though Libby is determined to give it a try.

But what starts as Libby's dream turns into Clair's nightmare when her friend vanishes.

In her search for answers, Clair seeks out Jesse - a boy whose alternative lifestyle might help to uncover the truth.

What they don't anticipate is intervention from the mysterious contact known only as Q, and being caught up in a conspiracy that will change everything.

Set in the relative new future after global warming has caused huge tidal surges and humanity has taken great steps to reduce their impact and emissions, Twinmaker follows Clair Hill on her mission to save her best friend. Although Libby (the BFF) wasn't a character who endeared herself to me, it wasn't a Yin Yang - you complete me - relationship but more of a let Libby walk all over Clair and Clair will be there to fix everything Libby breaks, Clair was a great character who really progressed and developed throughout the novel.  Libby has taken part in Improvement, the new viral meme circling the Air (not happy with your body, say what you want to change, jump in a booth, teleport a lot of times and you'll be Improved) but Improvement isn't what it appears to be. Something more sinister is evolving in Sean William's world.

Williams concept and plot was original (the basic theme was of the power of technology and the way it is the user who abuses the system not the system itself that is corrupt) and he explored it thoroughly to each little detail. However what was missing for me, and what I look for in a dystopian novel, is the creation and exploration of the world it's set in. And Williams' world would have been amazing, especially due to his creation of the d-mat (a teleportation system that transmits users all over the world to booths, wherever they wish to go), which would have given him the opportunity to really enhance and embellish his world. Although there's plenty of time for that in his sequel Crashland. 

Twinmaker is all action, fast and furious, relentless to a certain extent, once Williams gets going there was no stopping him. Definitely a novel I'd need to re-read before I read the sequel it was excellent all the same. Williams has a talent for creating characters, both villains and heroes were realistic, the former dastardly scary and all too real, the latter glorious normal and attainable. Jesse (an Abstainer boy) and Q (she's a secret you'll need to discover for yourself) really stood out for me and I was glad that their parts grew as the book progressed and their importance to Clair increased.

A solid 5 out of 5 for Twinmaker and I can't wait till Crashland is out and I can join up with Q, Clair and Jesse and have some strings untangled. Published by Electric Monkey an imprint of Egmont I promise Twinmaker is a book you need to read. Especially so you can learn that you really should accept that you're great as you are. Improvement is not the way to go.

Good Reading

Monday, 6 January 2014

Happy New Year!

Well, it's the 6th January - Christmas trees are coming down (I tried to stop Dad taking ours down but to no avail), school has restarted (mwahaha Gap Year folks), T.V. has returned to its less than jolly, no longer nostalgic self and really it's a bit of a sad time of year. Christmas is over. New Year is over. Everyone's getting back to their lives. Friends have left. Family has gone home. It's pretty shitty.

But I have managed to pull myself out of my warm cocoon of a bed ....I got a new memory foam mattress for Christmas and it is flipping BLISS..... I have fed my horses in the howling gale Scotland has decided is the default weather of winter (at least it's not hailing.. oh spoke too soon) and I am now writing this post for you all. I'm too kind aren't I.

However please regard Exhibit A - this is my excuse for my considerable lack of blogging since 15th December..... Christmas shenanigans. I mean c'mon! The 50 GREATEST MOMENTS OF HARRY POTTER was on T.V. Can you blame me? My addiction to Harry Potter was at an all time high this Christmas.... Especially once I realised the last Harry Potter book was published in 2007. That was almost 5 years ago. It depressed me I must admit - made me feel old and more than slightly obsessed. But I am in the middle of re-reading them all again (twice in 2013 this shall be my first of 2014 - 2014 Harry Potter cherry consider yourself popped). And my sadness is slowly evaporating with every successive defeat of Voldemort.

Now for Exhibit B we have the dreaded electricity outage. We've lost power over seven times since I came home. Christmas day from 9 till 6 inclusive. I did feel sorry for the electricity people who must have had to abandon their Christmas dinners just to put our power back on. Thank the Lord it was back on for Doctor Who though. I don't think I could have survived if it hadn't been. We have been luckier than some people though - I think in England some people lost it for five days - now there's a reason to be depressed. To add to our luck we have the most amazing cookers - powered by gas and oil - yeah not very eco-friendly but I'm sorry Mother Earth it meant our geese were ready on Christmas Day and so I'm not complaining!

Well I'm going to end this post whilst I'm ahead by sending a few thoughts to all the people in America and Canada suffering what apparently is being called 'the record storm' (though every storm seems to be called that). Anyway it looks pretty fricking cold so my thoughts are with them all and I hope for their sakes they have a non-eco friendly stove!