Books, Recountings

recountings: the cover is pretty though

Some books and I get on very nicely; if they were a person, we could have tea and crumpets and bemoan the weather together quite cheerfully. I didn’t like Wintersong. There will be no tea and crumpets.

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Liesl likes to compose but her dreams in that direction are fading. But then her sister gets nabbed by the Goblin King and Liesl must save her. She does so, but runs smack into Angst! True love! (And dishes of eyeballs.)

SOME POSITIVES

  • Jae-Jones is a talented writer and can turn a phrase quite nicely.
  • The front cover is excessively pretty.
  • I liked the feel of the book. The font was a nice size and the spine was lovely and soft, but not too soft.
  • The ending, Liesl was able to take a stand as her own person. Huzzah for character growth.

LIESL NEEDS VALIDATION

Whether it be from her family, or the Goblin King himself, Liesl looks to others for validation; for her worth.

Yes, in the end, Liesl is able to walk away …

Elisabeth, entire.

… which is brilliant, but the path to her arriving at such a conclusion was fraught with looking to others to validate her worth. I thought this to be odd. For you see, it’s really best not to look to others in order to best view ourselves.

Like, no. Find your own mirror.

THE SETTING WAS NOT MINE SCENE

I didn’t like the Underground. The very idea of being stuck underground is an awful, no good thought. If there was a choice of: ‘would you like to go to the Underground Kingdom which is full of ILLUSIONS!!! And goblins and dishes that look nice but are actually eyeballs and lots of gothic weird and wonderful things OR paint a country house in the shade of eggshell from top to bottom’ I would choose the country house.

(I hate painting. And country homes are huge. And their ceilings are massive and, being no Michelangelo, I loathe painting ceilings. I’d still chose it though. Every time.)

THE ROMANTICLE ROMANCE

The Terrible Sorrow, Pain, and Heart-Wrenching Love that Surpassed All Others was ‘meh’.

I’m sorry. I didn’t get it; I did in that I understood the plot, but my emotions were never invested or in danger of sending streaming rivers from my teary ducks.

WRONGLY FILED

Look, unless YA fiction has greatly changed whilst I wasn’t looking (which is possible. I look away for long periods of time), I think this book is in the wrong category/genre. There are scenes that shouldn’t be classed as Young Adult. New Adult – yes. Mills and Boon – that too. But Young Adult? No. Nope. IS THERE NO INNOCENCE LEFT IN THIS WORLD?

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THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE CAST

… were selfish and horrible and unlikable. The sister. The brother. The parents. All of ‘em. Apart from the Goblin King. Maybe. I can’t remember – I was going to reread this book, just to make sure but after deep thought and momentary reflection, I decided … nah. Life is too short.

TO CONCLUDE

If you’ve read Wintersong and enjoyed it … than that’s wonderful. I’m pleased for you. But as for me? No. I didn’t like it. And that’s okay too. It’s good to have differences of opinion and books you don’t like. If we all liked the same thing, why, the world would be an astoundingly boring place.

In the future, if I ever feel the pressing urge to read about goblins, I shall pick up The Hollow Kingdom.

But take a character I didn’t much like, pop her in a setting that depressed me, add in a huge dollop of romance that felt more ‘meh’ than a cardboard sandwich, and we find ourselves with a book that simply wasn’t my cup of tea.

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Thank you and goodnight.

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Books, Life

films swooning (and Wodehouse)

I’ve just finished a long week of work. My brain is a little frazzled and glitchy, but that’s okay. I’m sure I’ll survive. (BUT WILL EVERYONE ELSE? HUH? HUH?!)

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My place of work is less than ten minutes away, and on the way there, I find myself listening to a few songs of Imagine Dragons – chiefly, Bleeding Out.

I’ve got the lyrics mostly memorised. Which means I can sing every other line. I’m dreadfully pleased with myself.

(I’m not entirely sure what the song is about – someone bleeding out? Probably. Maybe?)

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reading

I’ve finished Ukridge (NOT pronounced Uk-bridge. Learn to read, Ness) by P.G Wodehouse. I have to say three things about this book:

  1. Ukridge is infuriating in that you want to hate him, you know you ought to hate him … but you can’t quite bring yourself to say that he is the most loathesomely selfish character in the history of ever.
  2. He has little redeeming qualities, other than being a creation of Wodehouse, and so therefore, inherently funny.
  3. Corky needed a romance, and a medal for being such a good friend – for valiantly attempting to intercede with Ukridge’s aunt on his behalf, for putting up with Cecil, and yes – even and especially Ukridge himself.

Cecil, by the way, is a young boy who wants to see the sites of London. And by ‘sites’ I mean ‘the sites where all the gory murders have taken place’.

Then, again, Cecil’s was not one of those personalities which become more attractive with familiarity. I should say at a venture that those who liked him best were those who saw the least of him.

Wodehouse always comes out with these one liners that catch you off guard and induce great merriment:

“”I’m not saying that Cecil doesn’t take a bit of knowing. He’s the sort of boy you have to be patient with and bring out, if you know what I mean. I think he grows on you.”

“If he ever grows on me, I’ll have him amputated.”

watching

Recently, I watched Last Knights and honestly … this movie. Why? Why was it made? When was it set? What was its point?

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“Why’d you put us in this film?!!”

I just … they took all the cultures and put them in a blender, added tons of epic high fantasy stills from DeviantArt, grabbed Morgan Freeman and gave him Wise Man Dialogue and *boom!* a movie. And then – just to make it that more interesting, they shoved in so many fade to blacks, it’s like the movie is constantly swooning.

Oh, and the hero? No reason to like him. No reason to sympathise with him. GIVE ME REASONS TO CARE MOVIE! But they gave me none. Zilch. Nada. They made him irredeemable and then *haha* just pretending.

But no. OOOHHH NOOOO!! THAT IS NOT HOW YOU DO IT MOVIE! THAT IS NOT HOW YOU DO IT! No. There is a line, movie. You just nuked it. It’s glass now. GLASS!

And the final shot? THE FINAL SHOT?!! He closes his eyes … and everyone sighs with relief. The movie is over. The ending wasn’t so-

BUT THEN!! His eyes flash open and it’s like the character is like:

OH SHOOT! THE OVEN! I FORGOT TO TURN IT OFF!

BAM!

*fade to black*

Books

recountings: hook, captain of respawning

*** Avast ye! LOTS OF MANDATORY PIRATE TALK. There be slight spoilers ahead. Arrgh***

As time as gone by, I’ve found my feelings about the book become more ‘meh-ish’. One of the plot lines left me feeling vaguely disappointed – as if someone had promised me a huge heaping of ice cream and I’d been given a block of cheese instead.

Now I like cheese (Not blue cheese. Blue cheese is evil), but when you’re anticipating ice cream … it isn’t quite the same thing.

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THE PLOT

I’ve always liked Peter Pan because there’s something swashbuckling about him, and also he wears the Lincoln green of Robin Hood. So there’s that. However, what if Peter Pan was the villain? What if Captain Hook has been cursed to play the villain in an eternal, pointless war for a group of malicious little boys?

HOOKED ON RESPAWNING

(did you see what I did there? *wink wink wink*)

Hook cannot die. Well, he can. But he can’t die die. (There is a difference.) Like a video game character, he respawns. He has been slain by Peter Pan and his lovely group of boys countless times. I liked this (I assure you, I am no sadist.) It makes for a truly interesting character; a character who has died over and over, who knows the part he has to play, who has the lines all rehearsed, and who is utterly sick and Very Done with it all.

No one has ever cried for me before, not the Wendys, nor generations of Lost Boys, nor any of the children to whom the story is so often told.

They always cheer when Hook dies.

THE PAN IS A PAIN

Peter Pan is evil. There. I said it. And Peter Pan does not receive the comeuppance I wanted for him. In fact, his actions – thoughtless and lacking in knowledge of this is bad don’t do it – are hideous. It’s the very lack of awareness of the wrongness of his actions that is so chilling.

And he doesn’t get what’s coming to him. It’s sort of brushed off. This did not please me. I was the opposite of pleased.

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HOOK, STUCK IN A GROOVE

Hook has been stuck in Neverland for two centuries – he’s tried everything in an attempt to leave, with no success. But oh wait, he hasn’t. It takes the arrival of Stella Parrish (GASP SHE IS A WOMAN GROWN!!!) to send events into a new direction. What I couldn’t understand was this: if you have two hundred years to think of plots and plans to leave SURELY YOU WOULD HAVE THOUGHT OF NEW AND VARIED PLOTS!!

Now granted, if it was me stuck in Neverland (PLEASE NO) for centuries, yes – this would be a likely scenario. My brother says (to paraphrase) that I’m not lacking in intelligence – it’s just that I don’t use it. The obvious questions are never obvious to me. I have ‘The Blindingly Obvious Blinders’ on. It’s tragic.

But this is Captain James Benjamin Hook who actually is a pirate. Who has sailed the world. Surely, surely he would not have such blinders on. Surely he would ask more questions and not just settle into a groove that is LITERALLY KILLING HIM.

But he isn’t, and he is.

And this frustrates me.

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TO SUM UP BADLY

In short, Alias Hook is a new, extremely intriguing take on the world of Peter Pan. Jensen has woven a terrible mythos into Neverland, and formed Captain Hook into a character you can truly sympathise with.

The book is definitely not Young Adult – there is language (well, of course there is. But y’know what I mean) and the Fairy Revels are … ah-hem … are not Young Adult. At all.

I liked the ending and the idea of Hook having to play the part of a villain. However, I found Neverland to be claustrophobic (as I’m sure Hook did) and Peter Pan should have been flayed alive by malicious pineapples probably.

Thank you and goodnight.

Books, Life

interview: blue cats and paper crowns

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that cover art tho’

This post is a little late because, like Ginger in Paper Crowns, I’m off on an adventure I hadn’t quite expected. All right. I don’t suppose that America is quite like the world of fae, but … an adventure is an adventure, yes? Though, alas … mine lacks one very hilarious blue cat.

Today (or this evening, whatever the case maybe) I am very happy to present Mirriam Neal, who’s stopped by for a quick chat …

As always, the crucial question must be asked first: do you prefer tea or coffee? [or neither?!] Coffee. Always coffee. Black coffee in a large, irregular mug. I will never turn that down.

What has your writing journey been like? It’s been like most journeys – full of ups and downs and unexpected turns. When I started writing short stories about unicorns as a twelve-year-old, I never imagined I would end up as a published author. It’s been rocky, but always amazing.

How was the experience of writing Paper Crowns different to that of writing your first book, Monster? It was hugely different. Day and night different. Black and white different. Monster was blood, sweat and tears over several years; Paper Crowns was like eating dessert and took all of a month to finish (although all the editing added several months onto that). 18076372Monster hurt to write, but Paper Crowns never did. I guess that’s the difference between writing a novel on bioethics, and a faerie-tale for all ages.

Do you have a favourite scene in Paper Crowns? What is it? [NO SPOILERS! :D] I don’t have a favorite scene, actually. I really enjoyed any scene with Azrael, and any scene with Salazar, and any scene with Ginny and Hal together. They’re my favorites.

What’s a book that you’ve recently enjoyed reading? I recently read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, and it falls right into the ‘life-changing’ category.

Would you rather share a meal with someone from a musical who would sing. about. everything. you. did (‘she’s frowning at the salad / oh yes, look / there’s a slug in the saaaaalad!’) OR a supervillain with one facial expression (a death glare) who may, or may not have slipped arsenic in your beverage? Assuming I have to actually finish this meal, I choose the supervillain. At the very least, a supervillain would be an interesting dinner partner. (And I may or may not have spent years building an immunity to arsenic.)

If you could have any fictional creature as a pet – what would it be? (Personally, I’d have a dragon. If it was tame.) A dragon with the ability to shapeshift into any form it likes. Is that cheating? (I don’t care if it is cheating, actually.)

mirriamneal
future shapeshifting dragon owner

you may find thingy things here:

// Paper Crowns // My Review of Paper Crowns // The Author //

Books, Recountings, Uncategorized

mini recountings from a boat

I am currently aboard a boat. Naturally, I lugged books along with me. Unnaturally, there is wifi. Let the recountings commence!

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Uprooted by Naomi Novik

For a single book this had a lot packed in; there were three distinctive acts which could have easily been turned into a trilogy, but I was rather satisfied that it was a standalone.

There was a moment when I had to close the book because I was certain that it was going to suffer from Sagging In The Middle, but it didn’t. IT DIDN’T, I TELL YOU!

I loved the heroine, who was quite down to earth, there was one scene that I could have done without, and the Dragon WASN’T a dragon (I’ll forgive him) but other than that – yes, a most satisfying read.

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The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokski

I was so looking forward to this book, it arrived in time to be dragged along with me and I read it on the first day. But get this – I didn’t like it. My suspension of disbelief didn’t suspend very well. My favourite character was a cannibalistic horse who only appears in the last half. (Seriously though – she has all the best lines.)

YA and I have a very temperamental relationship, and this book – which I was so intrigued by – just wasn’t for me.

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The Partner by John Grisham

Found in the Post Office of a village that had bunting and so. many. ducks. This book actually made me hold my breath AND WHAT A TWIST AT THE END! (Well, there were actually two twists and the very last one left me a little down and put out with the author who hasn’t written a sequel. WHY?!)

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Well, I’d better dash as a) a kingfisher has been spotted and b) the wifi might forsake me.

have a grand weekend!