Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Kendal's Column: On the seventh day of Christmas

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Hello all! I wish you a happy and prosperous new year.

As the new year rolls in it often provokes a mental review of the previous year and an analysis of all that you've learnt.

This year I learnt that not everything is always going to be okay. If it was always 'okay' then I doubt that anyone would actually have any appreciation for life because it would all be 'okay'. Also if no one was ever sad or if no one ever had a bad day, then no one would truly know what it meant to have a good day because they wouldn't have had the darkest days to compare it too. 

I think I've also learnt to be stronger as some people are going to decide that they hate you and there is nothing you can do about that apart from be nice to them and let them think what they want to think.
Everyone has opinions and you have to live with it. 
If someone doesn't want to witness your awesomeness then it's THEIR LOSS. 
Moreover, if someone gives you the silent treatment just carry on interacting with them as you would because, honestly and truly, it will do so much more for you than ignoring them back could.


Happy Christmas!
@Team_Haymitch
Kendal 

Kendal's Column: On the sixth day of christmas

Resolution (noun)
1) a firm decision to do or not to do something

It's New Years Eve Eve and at this time of the year a lot of people around the world will be making New Year's Resolutions.

I feel like people under estimate the term 'resolution' (which is a FIRM DECISION)  and make over ambitious promises to themselves (I'm not going to name examples of these because some people do achieve what may seem like the impossible at the start, and major kudos to them). Some people barely spend 5 seconds on their resolution each year; sometimes coming up with blatantly unrealistic goals to achieve in a ridiculously short timeframe that they've set themselves.
Doing this has the potential to make you feel bad about yourself for not achieving your target-which is the complete opposite of what the result of a resolution should be.
Spend time on making a resolution and make it realistic and make it actually mean something instead of some spiel that you'll just rattle out during an awkward elevator encounter with an acquaintance.

New Year also comes with numerous people spewing out 'New year, new me' with few being truly dedicated to it and I ask myself 'why new year?' as in,
"I understand that a New Year is a good benchmark to change aspects of your life but, with this statement, you're indicating that you have been unhappy with said aspects  for some time, hence my question 'why new year?'. I understand that it may be confusing to make such a statement in ,say , September, when you originally began to feel unhappy but, if aspects of your life are bad then why not immediately change them. 
It's like a waiter bringing you cold soup and you saying 'No, I must wait an hour before I have the waiter take it back, even though I am fully able to have fresh, hot soup now. I'm just going to sit here being disgusted at the fact I have cold soup that is getting colder'. 
If there is something in your life that makes you feel bad then change it.

On the other hand, I do fully understand that some people use the new years resolution for it's purpose which is to make a definite choice to make a change for the better within your life such as smoking and healthier eating.

However, personally, I think i will always think of making a New Years Resolutions as strange because, in my honest opinion, if you wanted to really change something then you wouldn't need the incentive of  being your 'resolution' to do it.
If a 'New Years' Resolution is needed to make a change in life then there probably isn't full investment in making the change.
Besides, as long as you are happy and healthy then the world is your oyster.

Happy Christmas!
@Team_Haymitch
Kendal
xx

Monday, 30 December 2013

Kendal's Column: On the fifth day of Christmas...

Book Review- Jess Jordan:Flirting for England by Sue Limb
Flirting for England is the opening book to a saga of embarrassment, laughter and tales of adolescent romance. The series follows Jess Jordan a 'barely 15' year old girl as she stumbles (sometimes literally through high school.

Rating: Friday
Jess Jordan is barely 15. Fred is her often-aggravating best guy friend; her father is a lonely bachelor; Flora is her gorgeous best friend, a constant liability; and Ben Jones is barely a twinkle in her eye. Into this innocent scene are dropped 30 or so helpless French exchange students. Jess and her mother are assigned to house Eduoard, a shy, awkward, and painfully English-deprived boy Jess’s age. To counter what Jess fears is Eduoard’s growing crush on her, Jess convinces her friend Fred to pose as her boyfriend, but he refuses to take their fake relationship seriously. Add a gorgeous, womanizing French student, an ill-fated camping trip in a student’s backyard, and Flora just being, well, Flora, and you have all the makings of an international incident. Will Jess be able to keep the peace, or even translate the whole debacle to the confused French students? The future of England is on the line. . . .

I first came to discover this series when I was around 13 and have loved every word on the page. This series is lighthearted and fun and it is a book that enables you to sit back and laugh at life and the silly things that just...happen. 
The writing itself is as if it was actually made by a 15 year old- as in, it is taken from the exact viewpoint of a 15 year old girl- and ,the best part is, it isn't a book that's trying to hard to be 15 by abusing 'LOL' and 'OMG'.
Moreover, the book isn't unrealistic.  I can actually imagine most of the things in this book happening at my school.
Overall, I have to say this book is a great pick-me-up and i'd recommend it too anyone who's looking for a lighthearted, easy read.

Happy Christmas!
@Team_Haymitch
Kendal
xx

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Kendal's Column: On the fourth day of christmas...

At this time of year especially, there are many films being played on TV around the clock and they often clash with each other so the question is, what to choose?

Here are my top 5 films that, in my opinion, are a requirement to watch at least once over christmas.

1) Love Actually- The star studded christmas classic gets funnier everytime you watch it. It's both hard hitting and light hearted blending together in a perfect mix. The stories of a handful of people converge over christmas in an intracete web of storylines
2 )Olive The Other Reindeer- this film has been a tradition in my family since i can remember. It's the story of a dog called Olive who hears that one of santa's reindeer is unable to pull the sleigh and so sets off to help pull the sleigh. this is a lesser known film produced by Matt Groening. Here is a playlist on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5D1B69DC7CA19D54 (it's 45 minutes long in total) 
3) Harry Potter- come on, who even needs an excuse to whack out some Harry Potter?
4) The Snowman/The Snowman and the Snowdog- both of these 20 minutes films follow the story of a boy who makes a snowman who, at midnight, becomes fully animated. both heartwarming and heartbreaking, these are christmas necessities 
5) Home Alone- who could forget the little boy who gets left behind at christmas? Kevin's family fly to france for christmas but accidently leave him behind. Unfortunately for kevin, whilst his family are away Kevin has to defend the house from 2 burglars.

Happy Christmas!
@Team_Haymitch
Kendal


Friday, 27 December 2013

Kendal's Column: on the third day of Christmas...

Sorry this is so late but I did not anticipate the theatre to finish so late.(War horse: 11/10 would recommend)

Today's post is going to look at books to read in the new year and my own personal recommendations. 

At the start of the year I set myself a goodreads challenge to read 52 in 2013. Unfortunately, to my shame, I failed miserably. I read half of that and with my gcse's coming up in 2014, things don't look to great in the reading front for the near future. This means my reading challenge for next year is probably going to be a lot less than a book a week. 

--Note: All hope is not lost as, after June 25th (at the latest) I will have until September to myself and my books.-- 

Nevertheless I have read some truly fantastic books this year and have some that i desperately want to read next year. 

1) The Gallagher Girls series- Ally Carter
I have been following this series since the beginning and after finishing the last book in the series in September I have been searching the shelves for more spy fiction. There's plot twists,secrets with gooddies and baddies. Admittedly the first book seems to be kind of irrelevant towards the rest of the series, however in thefinal installment it all becomes clear.

2) Teen Angst? naaaaah...-Ned Vissini
Ned Vissini tells the story of his teens in the most charming way possible. the stories in the book are so relatable and will make you feel warm and happy.

3)Incarnate-Jodie Meadows (want to read)
NEWSOUL
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.
NOSOUL
Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?
HEART
Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana's enemies—human and creature alike—let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?
Jodi Meadows expertly weaves soul-deep romance, fantasy, and danger into an extraordinary tale of new life.
4)The 5th Wave-Rick Yancy (want to read)
The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

5)Every Day- David Levithan (want to read)
Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.
There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.
It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

Happy Christmas!
@Team_Haymitch
Kendal
xx

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Kendal's column: On the second day of christmas....

Hello! I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas day and have had a thoroughly relaxing boxing day.

Today, we are going to look back on the events of last night. specifically those that occured last night on bbc one at 7:30pm, that's right- doctor who.

*THIS POST WILL CONTAIN MINOR SPOILERS (srsly i'm trying not to spoil things for people whilst still actually reviewing)*

Rating: Thursday

The Christmas special marked the end of an era for the 11th doctor and paved the way for the regeneration from Matt Smith to Peter Capaldi. Some fans regarded this regeneration as puzzling as the doctor has mentioned that the time lord species may only regenerate 12 times (11 faces+war doctor+10's 'same-face' regeneration=12) yet the regeneration still occurred, remarkably without breaking the timelord's previous statement (i can't/won't say anymore bc spoilers)

I thoroughly enjoyed the episode, it had everything doctor who stands for-daleks, explosions, questions answered and even more complex questions asked and i love that about doctor who.
so why only a thursday?

Well...
a small part of me feels that the 11th's hour should have ended with more emotion and more developement of the plot as it seemed to jump from even to event without a pause on the 'oh my god...so that's that and thats why that happened before, and OH that who they are' and there is one scene that i really really wish that moffat had gone to town with- full heartbreaking meltdown for the audience- but he didn't and there was potential for a major 'hold-your-breath-moment' but it didn't happen

Nevertheless, the christmas special was amazing and the regeneration was.....fast, like really fast. and it resulted in two lines from our new doctor and fro  those two lines, I can say that I have strong hope that this doctor is going to be good (I dare not say more/less of him as of yet)

Happy Christmas!
@Team_Haymitch
Kendal
xx

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Kendal's Column: On the first day of christmas....

MERRY CHRISTMAS
Many happy returns to you all and i hope you have the best day ever!

The day is now in full swing and the turkey (or in my case, goose) is cooking nicely. so with this in mind i'm going to make the first post of  blogmas a music post. enjoy! i hope you have a very wonderful christmas and i'll see you tomorrow, overfed and under slept.

Merry christmas!
@Team_Haymitch
Kendal

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Kendal's Column:*nervous laugh* err hello

Hi! lovely to see you again...finally.

First, let me sincerely apologise for being a failure of a 'weekly' blogger BUT let me explain.
Before christmas my weeks consisted of one evening off a fortnight and that wasn't even including mock exams and art coursework deadlines and learning spanish essays and...STUFF but, whilst most of this 'STUFF' isn't gone for a while, some activities have gone from my week and now a i have 3 nights free a fortnight- two of which are fridays. So....guess what that means?

I'M BACK!



Also, to say sorry for my absence get back into the blogging spirit, I'm going to have a 12 days of Blogmas.
There's going to be music posts, reviews, columns and more! So put on a tinsel scarf and grab a mince pie because it's going to get festive.



Merry Christmas!
@Team_Haymitch
Kendal

Have a merry Christmas!

Hello! This is going to be my last post for the year (possibly) so I am going to tell you what's happening on the blog in 2014.

First of all though, I hope you have a merry Christmas! I also hope you get all the books you want - I usually get quite a bit of money from my family, so my first shopping trip after Christmas will consist solely of books. I have a few in mind and I can't wait to share my purchases with you.

I am sitting here, writing this post, so that must mean I've finished everything I needed to do in preparation for good old St Nick. Today I've wrapped all my presents, made and written my cards, cleaned out my fish tank, changed the sheets on my bed, and of course... I made some festive cakes!

This is my first batch of cakes. They are a simple fairy cake with Nutella on top, with various Christmassy decorations on top too:



My second batch have a buttercream top and little wafer decorations. I call this batch my 'cumberbatch':




I also wanted to tell you about the many things going on in 2014 on the blog. I know I haven't uploaded as much as I would like to this year, but next year is going to be different. Here are just a few things I have coming up:

  • More frequent book reviews
  • Author interviews
  • Guest posts from bloggers, writers, authors, and enthusiasts
  • Original poetry
  • Original short stories
  • Fangirl/fanboy posts
I have already scheduled and prepared loads of posts for the new year, just in case you didn't believe me! 

And I have a new, exiting rating system for my book reviews! They are British cups of tea. This is what 5/5 stars would look like:

I would also like to announce that I'm not going to sign my posts with The Book Critic anymore, even though this will still be my pen-name for the time being. I want to make this blog more personal.

Have a good Christmas!


Friday, 13 September 2013

Kendal's Column: So Tired

I am one week into my last grilling 8 months of high school and I am already so tired I think I genuinely hallucinated today (I rubbed my eyes and then opened them and saw what I thought were flies everywhere)- this can't be good.
'Get more sleep' you cry.
I would however, I only have one day a week of which I could possibly take a nap/go to bed early on because of other commitments both in and out of school (eg. homework, part time jobs, clubs, hobbies etc) and even then there is the other problem that I am a night owl.
You will have seen that Kendal's Column often doesn't go up until 11pm and thats because I'm more comfortable doing work in the evening because I like to get my big fluffy jumper on and a mug of hot chocolate and do homework/blog- it's just how my brain works.
I have tried doing work earlier and discovered that a) there wasn't enough time to to do enough work justify the time it took to get setup (if that makes any sense) and b) when i have finished work early and i can get into bed early I won't be able to sleep- I'll have been tired all day but as soon as I'm ready for bed my mind starts racing (WHY?) and that results in me falling asleep even later.
Pair this problem with having to get up at 7am to catch a bus to school and I'm lucky to get 7 hours sleep a night (compared to the recommended 9, for a teenager).
Teenage Night Owl-age can be backed up by science. It's knowledge that's been floating around the internet recently that teenagers have a different natural sleeping pattern than adults and children

'One important change that occurs at night time is increased levels of the 'darkness hormone' melatonin, which helps us to fall asleep. Most adults start to produce melatonin at about 10pm. When teenagers were studied in a sleep laboratory, researchers discovered that they only began to produce the hormone at 1am.' -http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/articles/emotions/teenagers/sleep.shtml

Happy Friday(13th!)!
@Team_Haymitch
Kendal
xx

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Saturday: Celebrations and new beginnings


Hey! I thought I would update you on my life at the moment - I have just started sixth form at my high school and I have taken four subjects to do a-levels in:



  1. English Literature (obviously, because of all the reading I get to do!)
  2. History (More reading and great teachers!)
  3. Philosophy and Ethics (Again, more reading and a lot of thinking)
  4. French (reading French books!)

In other news I got my GCSE results a couple of weeks back, and I have spent the last week or so trying to figure them out and also figure my life out. These were my results:

English Literature: A*
English Language: A*
RE: A (2 marks off an A*)
Geography: A (4 marks off an A*)
French: A
History: B 
Maths: B
Music: B (one mark off an A!)
Core Science: B
Additional Science: C (oops!)

Being the weirdo that I am, I ideally wanted all A*'s and A's. But reality check... I am not good at everything. 

There are some people in my school who pretty much got all A*'s, but everyone has their own home and personal circumstances that meant they either did better or worse. Some people have pushy parents (mine are not pushy in the slightest, they encourage me to do my best but only want me to be happy) and other people just can't stretch to being perfect in everything. It's normal not to be great at everything.

For my reward, my parents didn't know what to get me. I had a lot of money spent on me during the holidays, so I wasn't prepared to ask for any more. However, my mum knows me well and took me to a bookstore to pick something that is more valuable to me than any amount of cash... books!

Instagram Update:



This is the book I finally settled on for my gift! I got the most beautiful volume of Death Note (which I have been so excited to buy) and the envelope contains a gift voucher for a popular book store in England. 

It was emotionally hard for me doing those GCSE's and after two years I was just glad to finally have a fresh start. It's not that they're ridiculously hard (depends what you take in my opinion) but I had to do module exams which meant I had exams every few months, and if I re-sat any then they would be when the next lot of exams were and I was constantly catching up. 

I'm not going to lie to you. I felt stressed, I couldn't cope at some points (and this is coming from a dedicated student) and felt a depression that no teenager should have to feel. But hopefully all those that are doing GCSE's soon will just have them at the end month of each year. You will be fine as long as you go and ask for help when you don't understand something! 

That's all for now. I will probably do a book and stationary haul next week seeing as I need a ton of stuff for school. 

Have a good saturday!
The Book Critic x 




Friday, 6 September 2013

Kendal's Column: Keep looking forward

School has started.
Yay.
As I have said before, this year is going to be a big year for my education as it's my GCSE year and with all the exams there's going to be a lot of stress and anxiety.
It's the same for all teenagers in England when they reach 16 and, I think the majority will agree, it's horrible.
However, I have had to cope with exam stress before as I was put forward for some exams early so Fortunately, I found a way to manage my stress. I look forward to things.
This might not work for everybody but I find that looking past the problem of the present towards something happier/more enjoyable in the future gives me the strength to carry on and get through it.
Imagine a tightrope walker. If they look down at where they are then their more likely to lose their balance and fall but if they keep their head up and look forward to where they are going to be then they'll keep their balance and make it to the end (best metaphor I can think of).
At the moment i'm looking forward to 3 concerts (one of which is with The Book Critic) which all happen before the end of November so if ever i feel stressed i will think about those concerts and start internally screaming with excitement and that'll get me through the stress. Your 'something-to-look-forward-to' doesn't have to be a concert though, it can be an event as big as you like, it can be seeing your friends at the weekend, your favorite band's new album coming out, a birthday or even leaving school, as long as you are excited for it then that can be your 'something-to-look-forward-to'. 
Once the moment your looking forward to comes create/find another and another and another because they're all there. Life is full of moments to look forward to that will be so much bigger and better and will mean so much more to you than the present stress.

Happy Friday!
@Team_Haymitch
Kendal
xx

Monday, 26 August 2013

Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

  

If you spend more than a healthy amount of your time on the Internet, you will have heard of this man's name... John Green. You will also have read those oh so overused quotes from The Fault in our Stars (not that I'm complaining, I loved that book too) and if you like reading his stuff then you may be looking for a very different kind of book to TFIOS. There is a lot more to John Green than TFIOS, and An Abundance of Katherine's proves that you don't have to stop at the one Green book. 

This is a book centred around a boy called Colin who is a child prodigy, and so the whole book focuses on his academic point of view. The maths may seem complicated to look at, but you don't exactly need a degree in algebra to keep up - just a basic understanding of maths means that you can easily follow, and you don't have to be a genius to find the linguistic humour funny. 

The story involves Colin, who has a bit of an unhealthy obsession with dating girls named Katherine. In fact, he has dated nineteen Katherine's over his school life. It's not his fault he falls for girls only named Katherine! It never seems to go well for him anyway, because all nineteen have dumped him, and he has spent many an hour sprawled out on the floor, trying to get his brain together and get over them.

After the nineteenth girl dumps him, his best friend Hassan comes around to his house and tries to make him feel better, like he always does. This time though, it doesn't go as easily as usual, so Hassan decides that what him and Colin needs is a road trip. 

A bit of time on the road and they come across the resting place of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, so being the academic he is, Colin wants to go and have a tour. A girl called Lyndsey runs the tour, and as she gets to know the two boys she becomes very interested in them. Anyway, to cut a long story short she invites them back to her house in Gutshot where her mother gives them food and shelter in exchange for working as interviewers of the public for her. They also get paid a lot of money for this job.

The reason why all the maths was being used was because Colin wanted to create a Theorem that would explain the relationship pattern of every Katherine he has ever dated, so that he can determine when each future relationship would end, depending on the type of Katherine. 

SPOILER ALERT:

Colin successfully finishes the theorem, and also ends up dating Lyndsey, which wasn't obvious from the way the book was going. 

I loved this book because of how clever John Green treats his audience in particular, which is great for an author to do. There are an array of graphs and foreign languages incorporated into this book and the whole thing was just so... Comfortable to read. Which is a good thing! 

Hassan was hilarious, and thanks to him I am going to be calling myself a 'sitzpinkler' whenever I wimp out of something. I was in love with the linguistic concept of the book, and I actually learnt something from a fiction novel! Each and every footnote was a joy to read, and I found it refreshing to have a book where a boy is pining over and girl and not the other way around. That just added to how much of a new experience this book was overall. I raced through it unintentionally because I was so interested in the plot and the facts, and so I got through this book within a couple of days. 

I can find no fault in this book. If you want a completely different reading experience, get a copy of An Abundance of Katherine's.


My scrabble rating for An Abundance of Katherines is:




Friday, 23 August 2013

Kendal's Column: Some advice about GCSE's

Yesterday, I collected 2 Year 10 GCSE results. You go in and come out with a piece of paper with a letter or a group of letters that eventually lead you to go for college/6th form/vocational course. 
I have been to collect results before but still have to go one more time for year 11- THE BIG ONES.
Next year is my last year of high school and, as you have probably guessed, it's a big one with controlled assessments and exams and college applications and open evenings and-oh lord.

But lets just step back a minute

You are at school to do work and learn (I know- big shocker there), and I will tell you now that if you do the work in class and try your hardest to understand the topic then it is a damn-sight easier to revise and get good results. 
Now, I'm not saying that if you understood the topics in class you shouldn't revise because YOU SHOULD ALWAYS REVISE whether it's for a proper exam or a end of unit- REVISE. The more you revise now the easier it will be when you revise it later. It's basically revising to revise. 
Once you get in the exam, if a question pops up where you wonder whether you even learnt this topic in class 
  • First, move on and come back to it later -you might have an epiphany. 
  • If no epiphany arrives then look at the question carefully (and usually the topic title is at the top of the page) and try to think of key words for the question and write them down as you can get marks for it.
  • Write information about what the question is asking ie. if the questions is about pros and cons of fracking then include what the process of fracking is and not just the pros and cons.
  • IF ALL ELSE FAILS WING IT. if you cannot think of anything else to answer the question with then just go with whatever educated guess your brain comes up with. putting something is better than nothing. You can pick up marks for something- you can't with nothing.
Finally, once the exam is over, try not to worry about it. What's done is done and you can't go back on it. All you can do is wait for the result. 
Good luck in all the exams of the future.

Happy Friday!
@Team_Haymitch
Kendal


Monday, 19 August 2013

Review: Infinite Sky by CJ Flood





This is the perfect summer read. On the beach, in the garden, by the pool... There is no better time than summer to get stuck into this book. 

Infinite Sky is an insightful book about a girl named Iris Dancy who lives in the countryside, with a semi-alcoholic father and an older brother who went off the rails after their mother left without a warning or a proper reason. The story is centred around travellers and the idea of being your own person, so when a family of travellers illegally set up camp in Iris' family farm, this is where the real trouble starts. Iris is keen to get to know the boy of the travelling family, Trick, and doing so sparks a friendship that could just save her from being completely alone in the World.

Of course, both her father and older brother, Sam, disapprove of the family camping out in their field. Against both of their wishes, Iris befriends Trick and starts to actually enjoy her summer... Even after she falls out with her best friend Matty, whose mother is unbearable and plays the "I'm so sorry your mother ran away" card every time she goes over to Matty's house. But nothing is ever simple, and the grudge the rest of the Dancy family have against travellers makes a tragic ending for the story. I'm not going to spoil anything, so no spoilers will be used in this review.

In my opinion, this was everything I was hoping the story would be and more. It was extremely insightful into the world of travellers and the way they are stereotyped, which is a large issue that arises in the book. CJ Flood included many hard hitting subject matters and dealt with them in an appropriate way, whilst still managing to make the reader empathise with Iris and anyone else who was having a hard time.

The book made me giggle in places, but mostly I felt terribly sorry for the innocent travellers who were wrongly accused for all sorts of things and had to battle with the stereotyping commonly seen in real life. The love story that formed between Iris and Trick was very subtle and did not ruin the tone of the book nor the importance of the friendship for this book, and I commend Flood on the success of this factor.

I think what I loved about this book the most was that the characters all had their own minds. Each character was perfectly drawn up and I could understand their personal stories and feelings, which is a rare thing in an individual book. That just made it all the more special! I couldn't put the book down and I practically devoured it. It was a powerful book that left me satisfied after I had finished. 

I would recommend this book to pretty much everyone. I think it is suitable for most adults who want to experience a fresh concept and a different perspective of life. There were many beautiful quotes that I took out of this book and I will carry them with me for a long time. This is why I gave the book 5/5 stars. 

Get it on your 'to read' list now! 

My scrabble rating for this book:




Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Fanfiction Focus: Shamy #2

I have just read the cutest shamy fanfiction ever!

Yep, Sheldon and Amy from The Big Bang Theory have stolen my heart again. And this is all thanks to possibly one of my favourite fanfiction authors EVER, Genki-Escapist!

This girl is a must-read for anyone who loves fanfiction. Her main topic of writing is Shamy, but she also writes about Naruto, Fairy Tale, Game of Thrones, Star Trek, Harry Potter, and Avatar (the last airbender). Her stories are super cute, insanely accurate to each fandom, and just down right amazing. 


Her profile pic!


The story that I have just been reading is called 'The First Date Resurgence', which is a four chapter fic concerning Shamy. In this story, Leonard's mother comes to visit from New Jersey and she is introdiced to Amy Farrah Fowler, but she finds Amy's face all too familiar. Then she is reminded of where she knows Amy... she was the first girl Leonard ever dated! Leonard had since forgotten and when Sheldon hears about their rendevous at 13 years old he gets jealous. Even though many years have passed since the date happened, Beverly Hofstadter is determined to pair Amy and Leonard up again, because she thinks the two are made for each other...

But will Amy leave Sheldon? 

Will Penny let 'Lamy' happen?

Read it for yourself to find out!


This girl's fanfictions are the cutest. They are rated from K+ to T, which basically means they are suitable for any age. I know we all secretly read smutty fics, but I seriously recommend this girl's work. You will be just as happy reading this as you would with Johnlock smut or something!

Her Tumblr can also be found at genki-escapist.tumblr.com 

Go and check it out!

Monday, 12 August 2013

Review: The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong




Okay, I had pretty low expectations for this one since the first two didn't impress me at all. And for a reader, that's a really depressing thing to admit. I gave this book three out of five stars because it was conducted much better than the second, but did not grip me as much as the first. My other ratings and reviews for the rest of the trilogy prove my findings.


(NOT SO) SPOILER ALERT:



If you haven't read this book yet, it's okay to keep reading the review. In fact, I would like very much to put you out of your misery. Being completely honest with you, there isn't much to tell. The book starts with the teens settling in Andrew's house after their week on the run, and finishes with them going on the run again. In between this, the love triangle starts to straighten itself out and becomes a rather anti-climatic love story. Nothing really happens and there seemed to be confusion on how Derek really felt, because at the start of the trilogy Armstrong stressed enough times that this werewolf couldn't feel emotion like everyone else. But apparently she got her own character wrong and he ended up being the most sentient one of the lot. Of course, I'm not bashing Derek, because quite frankly he was the only reason I kept willingly turning the pages.



Real spoiler now: it was plainly obvious to see that Andrew was one of the bad guys. Margaret was dodgy from the start and Russell didn't have much of an appearance in the whole book yet the other characters were really scared of him. His lack of presence in the novel didn't allow the readers to fully appreciate the fear he struck into everyone. The adult characters, overall, were weak. Aunt Lauren's motives still baffle me even after completing the book.



I really wanted to praise this book today, because I got to the last 50 or so pages and the story really picked up. As someone who was quite pessimistic about the whole series, it was refreshing to see more action and pure terror in the book. I had a lovely review planned for that, but then the last two pages completely spoilt the mood. I understand that Chloe and Derek are together now, but Armstrong did not have to waste her last thousand words on a poorly depicted love scene between the two. It was an anticlimactic ending to what started out as a climatic ending for the trilogy.



At the end of the book, Simon's dad was found. Thank goodness for that. I had only waited 900 pages for their very first objective to finally pan out. And then they all decided they had to lay low and so went on the run again... Which is literally all I had been reading for the past week of my life. 



Can I just point out the fact that we never got any closure in this book? A few pages ago, Chloe was being told that Simon and Tori were related. That's a pretty big deal. Will Tori ever find out? Do the gang flee to safety? Do they all die in the end? Did they find Rae? A minute ago they were all desperate to find Rae and that never happened. I don't like being left in the lurch in real life and I hate it in books. There was no closure at all and there were too many loose strings in the plot that should have been tied together by the end. YOU HAD THREE WHOLE BOOKS TO DO IT IN! 



Rant over. Trilogy read. Case closed.



Unless you're willing to give this trilogy a good go and you have the patient of a saint, I wouldn't recommend reading this series. Do something better with your time. I hate giving bad reviews but the truth had to be given out. I wasn't impressed with the plot structure overall.

My rating:



Friday, 9 August 2013

Kendal's Column: Conventions

Over the last month or so, many conventions and gatherings have happened around the world including comic-con(s), vidcon and this weekend is Summer In The City. With all of these events happening a lot of things have been announced, been shown and been revealed.

However, I'm not planning to list all that has come to light over the last few weeks because that is what tumblr and twitter are for but what i am going to write about is my own experience at comic-con (manchester).
This year was my first time going to a convention and me and my friends only decided we were going days before the event so I had no time to find a costume and cosplay but the cosplayers that were there were amazing and should all get some kind of award for being so damn creative.
From 11:30 until around 2 we walked around looking at stalls and buying merch and crying with the feels at seeing the face of Warwick Davis and soon I had run out of cash so me and my friend had to join the hour long queue for the one ATM at the convention centre after about half an hour in the queue I decided to check my DS for spotpass. The guy in front of us was by himself and he saw me get my DS out and asked me what I was playing and we got into a conversation. This may seem like really random story to tell but the guy seemed really nervous but it was great because it got me thinking that comic-con, vidcon and everything else is not only an opportunity to fangirl at everything and everyone, its also an opportunity to talk to people who might not feel so comfortable in social situations so if you are going to a gathering/convention- try to socialize, it's a great oppotunity to make new friends and make someone else feel more confident.


Summer Playlist: https://play.spotify.com/user/kendalface/playlist/5fRTFpKbwm9y1jaWV3ifjh


Happy Friday!
Kendal
@Team_Haymitch
xx

Friday, 2 August 2013

Kendal's Column: Summer update ft. Lifescouts #7

The summer holidays have finally arrived and I, for one, cannot be happier.
I have a few things I need to do this summer including getting ahead of blogging and catching up on reading (I'm 15 books behind on my goodreads challenge *THE SHAME*) which will also mean more book reviews (find my summer reading list below). I have also recently bought a kindle paperwhite, which is either going to make me read loads or make me buy the books and never read them.
There are also quite a few film releases that are happening in August including Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters (August 7th) and The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones (August 21st) so I'll probably do posts on those as well. 
I forewarn you that I am on holiday on Friday August 30th so I don't know if there'll be a post that day (depends on if I can schedule enough posts to last until then/ if i can get wifi to write a post if I don't have one already scheduled) 

Lifescouts #7
Lifescouts have officially stopped releasing new badges for this year so the number of badges included in a Kendal's Lifescout badges post will be going down considerably so that i have enough badges to post about. This post will only include one as this post is to do with summer updates.

Rollercoater
I am a rollercoaster junkie. You take me to a theme park and i swear i will go on every single one regardless of loops, upside down bits, water, scariness or if i've just eaten.
(kind of like the ride
i'm talking about)
I was 11 and went to butlins park during a horse-riding holiday and I got on one of those rides thats like an arm that rotates on an axle so when you are at the highest point you're upside down. They had a height restriction and ,being 11, I was ONLY JUST tall enough. When we sat down on the ride there was a button that you were sat on when you rode and someone told me that if you weren't pushing down the button then
the harness would come up. The ride starts and goes upside down and , because of gravity, am leaning on the harness and I come off the button because my upper body is so small so there i am 60ft above the ground looking at the tarmac and thinking 'this is how i am going to die- on a ride with a teddy bear painted on the side, the harness is going to come up because I'm not on the damn button. this is it'
It was the longest 90 seconds of my life and the only ride I was actually terrified on. Needless to say, the arm didn't come up and i realised later that it couldn't have because of the backup seatbelt buckle that held the harness down- so to the person who told me that: *angry glare*

And finally, instead of just one track, I figured I'd make a summer playlist as I normally listen to COMPLETELY different music during summer than I do at any other time of year.  i'll also be adding to this playlist over the course of summer (link will be incuded in every post up to the 6th September post)



Summer Reading list:
(note: list is open to change)
My sisters Keeper-Jodi Picoult (currently reading)
Selection-Kiera Cass
Eleanor and Park- Rainbow Rowell (recommended to me by Keris Stainton -@keris)
Maze Runner Trilogy- James Dashner
Au Revoir Crazy European Chick- Joe Schreiber
The 5th Wave- Rick Yancey
About a boy- Nick Hornby (for school)
SARAH DESSEN. 

Happy Friday!
Kendal
@Team_Haymitch
xx




Monday, 29 July 2013

Review: The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong



"Chloe Saunders is on the run and raising hell. Literally." 

Well that's good, because she doesn't do much else. I rarely ever write a review of a book which comes out negative, but I'm afraid that in this case it has to be a one off. For the whole book, we saw Chloe, Simon, Derek and Tori running while trying to find one of Derek and Simon's father's friends, Andrew. The Book starts with the four teens on the run from a supernatural experimentation group called The Edison Group, and the book also ends with them running from the Edison group.

In terms of what happens in the middle of this, I can sum this up in a few points:

1. Chloe plays the damsel in distress and hurts her arm three times. I only hope that her arm doesn't end up a separate character in the next book, but it's had enough cameos. 

2. Tori gets ignored for just about the whole book. And despite her characteristics of being a powerful witch that could probably kill Chloe in an instant, I was saddened to read that she chose not to. 

3. There is a lot of 'will they, wont they' tension between both Chloe and Simon and Chloe and Derek - which doesn't make sense because the author is obviously confused as to which boy she wants Chloe to hook up with in the end. Chloe also is confused as to what the funny feeling in her stomach is when she looks at either of the guys, which doesn't correspond with her character profile either as she isn't stupid and should know what a crush is. Maybe I'm wrong, and she just ate something bad. But then again, the teens (including Derek who requires constant feeding and Simon who is diabetic) survived on two candy bars each for the whole week. Maybe she's secretly a cannibal - that's just about the only thing that could have made this book even slightly appealing.

I'm going to be sympathetic here... I completely understand that in real life, if four unexperienced teens managed to run away from a secure home, the path to safety wouldn't be easy and there would be a few complications. But this was a fiction novel, and Armstrong had the power to play each chapter out however she wanted. 

Obviously she went for the realistic touch, because all 400 or so pages were of them running and nearly getting killed and them complaining that they were hungry, even with four hundred dollars stashed in Chloe's shoe. That, and Chloe blushing that one time when Simon gave her a thumbs up. 

There were far too many sentences of dialogue that were cut off. Kelley Armstrong hardly let a character get a word in edge ways without another cutting in to have their opinion. After a while I really started to notice the dashes on the page and was dreading the next one which I knew was just a page turn away. 

Here are some positives, though. Kudos for being able to drag a book out that long, because I know how hard it is to get a few thousand words out when you're beautifully uninspired. Also, I have loved Derek from the first book and I hope he continues to be a successful character in the final book. If I can just mention the boys, I'm glad this book isn't dominated by the theme of love. It would have been downright cringy in the circumstances. Don't get me wrong, I like love-orientated books, but this wasn't something I wanted in this series. 

This book was dedicated to Julia, who I'm presuming is a friend of Kelley Armstrong. Poor woman. I would have been mortified to get a dedication in a book like this. 

SPOILER ALERT:

The teens finally find Andrew, and then begin hiding away from The Edison Group again. After a six page description of Derek transforming into a werewolf, I was ecstatic to come to the end of the book. The two stars I gave this book are literally just for Derek being in it. 

I wouldn't recommend this book to many people. Read the first book in the series by all means, but just google it to find out the ending. It really isn't worth reading another 800 pages of running and jumping, as your time definitely will be wasted. I've got another 400 pages to go, as I will be attempting to gather any life that hasn't already been sucked out of me from the first two books, and I shall be reading the last one in the series. I also want to see if Derek finally gives in to his hereditary cannibal needs and eats Chloe.

And the most ironic quote award goes to...

"I knew this wasn't the end. Not by a long shot."

Me too, Chloe. Me too.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Fanfiction Focus: Shamy

Shamy is a name for the couple consisting of Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory, or as Leonard describes them, 'a couple of weirdos'. Personally, they are my OTP and Johnlock follows closely behind them. 

This is my first fanfiction focus post, where each Tuesday I will be recommending the best fanfiction around the internet... as well as the more creepy stuff too. 

Yes that's right, I'm directing that at the Phandom.

I read a lot of fanfiction because it calms me down during a hiatus or a show or book/movie franchise. The one I would like to recommend to you today is a one-shot called "Prince or Frog?" by user inwhatuniverse and it follows the end of an episode of The Big Bang. The actual episode, The Contractual Obligation, ended on the women coming home in their Disney outfits, and while the other two men were pleased with the cosplay, Sheldon left poor Snow White (Amy) hoping for a kiss to wake her up.

But what really happened after the episode ended? Well, I'm assuming the actors went home. But in a fictional situation, what would have happened between Sheldon and Amy?

I guess you'll have to read this story to get a better idea.


It is well worth a read! I read it today and I found it really delightful to get stuck into. The scene was written out so tastefully and I shall be reading more of this user's work.

Go and have a read! Be sure to write nice comments if you liked it as much as I did.
The Book Critic x

Review: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong




This book is the first in a trilogy called 'The Darkest Powers Trilogy' and the whole series is based around Chloe Saunders, a fifteen year old girl who has been able to see ghosts since she was young. However, with her father away on business trips and her mother having passed away, Aunt Lauren looks after her most of the time. One day at school, Chloe is chased by a ghost man who can manipulate his face to look as scary as he wants to, leaving poor Chloe (who hasn't seen a ghost in years) to run around the school looking like a maniac. She is restrained, taken to hospital and diagnosed Schizophrenic, which is the point in which Aunt Lauren take her to Lyle House with a bunch of teens with supposed mental illnesses too.

I'm not going to tell you the rest or give out any spoilers, but let's just say that none of the other teens, as well as Chloe, have mental illnesses. They have also been grouped together for a special reason...

On to the review! I have been as two-sided as I can but obviously I need to express my own opinion. 

Our protagonist, Chloe Saunders, was a very relatable character for a teenage girl. She especially related to me because I am a late developer as she is, and this allowed me to bond with the character throughout the book. She wasn't a particularly strong main character as she seemed to change personas every once in a while, but for a teen who loves an easy-read, this would be your kind of book.


I found the beginning of the book fast paced and the story caught my attention throughout, but I feel as though there was a lot of plot dragging after the fist hundred or so pages. Perhaps the whole trilogy could have been spread out better into one or two books, but then again good things always come in threes and this is an approach popular modern authors like to take. 



I am not disappointed with this book because it was the sort of story that I usually really enjoy, so if you're a teen you will probably get the same enjoyment that I did out of it. If you don't mind the story dragging on a bit, you'll love it. However, I wouldn't recommend it to adults as this just isn't the sort of young adult literature that adults typically go for. 



The other characters had a bit more life in them. I particularly enjoyed the care that Simon had for his brother and Chloe. Derek has to be one of my favourite characters so far - he can't feel emotion like other people but you can tell he really does love Simon and he feels very protective over Chloe. Tori really annoyed me throughout the book, but then again I'm one for the good guys. Tori isn't supposed to be an enjoyable character, so maybe Armstrong got her spot on.








SPOILERS COMING UP:


The ending was shocking and yet I feel somewhat embarrassed that I gasped while reading it. Aunt Lauren seemed like a shady character from the beginning and I suppose I should have seen her true objectives coming. I felt like she was not a sturdy character and maybe that's why I was so confused as to why she would compromise her own niece's happiness. I was disappointed that Chloe and Rae actually got caught and taken to yet another mental institution (well, it was the asylum in the hospital but you catch my drift) as I thought if they were successful then they could find Simon's dad by the end of the book. Unfortunately, I can see myself trying to be bothered to keep up with another 200 pages of running and hiding in the next book.



In conclusion: if you like paranormal novels that you can relax with, this is your kind of read. I do not recommend this to adults at all, as I think you will find yourself very disappointed with the quality of plot. 



I gave this 4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads because I personally enjoyed it to the point where I picked up the next book. I only wish I could give this a better review, but I had to tell the truth. 


So here is my personal 4/5 British Scrabble rating: 






Happy reading :)
The Book Critic x