Children’s book: No One Else Like You

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“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”  C.S. Lewis

Children books are the gem stones of literature. I strongly believe that a good book written for children is a book an adult can read as well. Aside from that fact, I believe a good children’s book has to have a sweet story, an adventure maybe, and most importantly: a valuable lesson. I read one such book recently, and here’s what I can tell you about it.

So many people, all different.

In a world populated by seven billion people, it is easy to feel like you are the same as everybody else. But if you look closely enough, you will find that we are all different in our own way. It might be a physical difference, or it might be the family we grew up in. It might be our emotions, or the way we react to things. What you need to remember, is that there is no one else like you.

But being different is not necessarily a bad thing.

Siska Goeminne manages to give a beautiful description of some of the differences you might find among all those people that inhabit our world. This is a simple, yet effective and nice way to show a child (and why not?even an adult) that every person is unique, and this uniqueness should be celebrated.

Another thing I got from this book is that we shouldn’t be jealous of what others have. As seen in the part talking about families, you might have a lot of family members and wish for quiet, or you might be an only child and wish you had a big family.

Everyone wishes for something different, but there’s always something good about what we have. Consequently, the story helps us become a little more grateful for what we actually have.

All in all, this is a book I would definitely buy for a child. Beautifully written, filled with wonderful ideas and definitely worth sitting down and reading it with your child.

On finding more time for your reading obsession

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Sirius, my reading buddy, and a part of February’s tbr pile

Free time is scarce

…this doesn’t look like a very promising start for a post about reading, does it? Bear with me, it gets better.

I know most of you have little precious time to devote on your reading habits. Working 9-5 (at the best of situations) leaves most people tired and drained, and we all know that a tired mind can’t fully enjoy free time, let alone a book. Then there’s the grocery shopping, the studying, the household chores. The social life (for those brave enough to have one on weekdays). What’s left of your precious time for that book that has been waiting for you on the nightstand for the past couple of months?

We need more time, but where can we find it?

Night time is my favorite part of the day to read. I’ve had time to do the chores and relax a bit, and then I snuggle with a book and read for an hour or two before bed. (Occasionally, as I’m sure a lot of you have done, I’ll pull an all nighter when a story is particularly catchy).

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But there is more than just bed time

Have you ever wondered how much time we spend every day aimlessly scrolling on our phones? How many times do we put our phone down just to pick it up in a matter of minutes, if not seconds? There’s all kind of amazing apps in there, I get it. And then there is, of course, the social media.

Don’t get me wrong, I use them as well. A lot. So much so that I decided to make a rough estimate on how much time I spend on social media in a day. Now, social media on moderation can be amazing. I connect with many friends that live far away. And, of course, as a book blogger, I use them amply for promoting my work.

But what happens when we overdo it?

Five minutes here, ten minutes there, and you end up consuming three to five hours daily on social media. Mind you, they are not even active hours. In the biggest part of that time, we just scroll around.

And it’s not just social media

It’s not just about social media. It’s not even just about our phone. There’s aimlessly watching TV shows you don’t even like that much, or spending time on any activity that, deep inside, you find time consuming and aimless.

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Spending time on what you truly love

So, starting January, I tried being more mindful of the free time I spend on various things. Where do I spend my time? Do I like what I do with it? Could I use it on something I like better?

And, just like that, I cut off on my social media “aimless scrolling time”, gaining about 2 more hours of reading every day. I caught up on my tbr list, and I loved it. It doesn’t mean I don’t pick up my phone to have a look from time to time, but it does mean I don’t do it aimlessly that often.

Bottom line, whatever it is that consumes your time a bit too much (and it certainly is something different for everyone), try doing it consciously. You’ll find you can cut down the time of it while still enjoying its fun side, and soon enough, you’ll be spending more time with those friends that patiently wait for you on your bookshelf.

 

Mystery in the 1920s : Found Drowned, by BK Duncan

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London, 1920.

The unrecognizable body of a young boy is found in the river. Accidents happen a lot around this impoverished part of the town, but can it actually have been one? Might it have been a suicide instead? Or might his death have been a result of something much more sinister?

London in the 1920s is a difficult place to live in. Being both a woman and a Coroner’s Officer makes it even more so. May Keaps, however, is not intimidated easily, and she certainly doesn’t give up on the first difficulty.

 

Having been tasked with the difficult job of finding the identity of the drowned child, she finds herself in the middle of dark secrets, politics, and dangerous people. Among those who will reach for her, who can she actually trust? Might there be a wolf in disguise among the people who claim to be helping her?

 

This is a fast paced and certainly well written story. As a reader, I had a hard time finding out the culprit, which speaks in volumes as far as the success of a mystery book is concerned. An elaborate plot leads the reader through ups and downs, and you can expect something new in every turn of the page. Lacking any boring or long drawn intervals, Fund Drowned is the mystery book you want to read when you need a fast, strong plot, and well built characters.  A very sad, but very beautiful story nonetheless.

A strong heroine

May Keaps is a strong, confident heroine who knows what she wants and has a very acute sense of justice. She strives for what is right, longing to protect not only the people she considers her own, but also the weak ones that she meets along the way. An admirable character, she is unique in both her passion and her courage.

She is not, however, the only admirable character. Along the story, you will meet some interestingly unique people. Smart, cunning, dangerous, vulnerable, each of them has a part to play in a plot woven elaborately, and some of them may keep more secrets than you would expect.

Found Drowned is the second book in a mystery series by author B.K. Duncan, with the first one being Foul Trade.

Reading strangely amusing books: Peril in the Old Country, by Sam Hooker

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Sometimes you just need to find a book that is very different from your every day reads. I’m not just talking about the theme. It’s more than that. It’s the humor, the descriptions, the ending. You will probably wonder how you can find such a book. Well, luckily I might be able to help you with that. So, here’s what I just finished reading.

Let me introduce you to Sloot Peril

Sloot is an anxious, law abiding citizen of the Old Country, a devoted accountant, and a loyal subordinate to the Domnitor – long may he reign. No way would he ever have anything to do with his country’s greatest enemy, Carpathia, thank you very much. He is as loyal as a loyal citizen can be, Oath declared every day and all.

But everything is about to change

An accounting report, however, is about to change all that. Sloot becomes a dinner guest of Lord Hapsgalt, one of the most powerful, and vastly rich people in the country. And that is where everything goes terribly, terribly wrong. That’s the part when he learns he’s a Carpathian, meets a bunch of very peculiar people, and finds his bravery. It’s also the part where he gets in grave danger. And, let’s not forget, Sloot wants nothing to do with any of these things.

 

Welcome to the Old Country

whose true name is never pronounced, and where goblins are a real threat. This is the land where no one can swear, lines in Public Services are bound to be long – or else one would get the wrong impression- and freedom is not a word the citizens are quite familiar with. Nevertheless, it beats the neighboring country, Carpathia, where citizens are complete savages, beating people up and killing for no reason. Or is all this just tale tell?

 

This is a witty tale,full of creatively constructed countries and peculiar heroes. Much more humane than in mostly other heroic tales, the people you meet in Sloot’s story are genuinely real. They’re not made of steel, and so they can, too, experience fear and agony, and still be heroic in their own way. From a crazy old nanny to the ruler of the great and mighty Carpathia, each one offers an abundance of laughter, witty remarks, and snappy remarks. Twisting and turning, the plot is full of dark humor, but can also leave you shocked at times (let’s not elaborate on that, we want to keep it spoil free).

Why should you add this to your tbr pile?

Sam Hooker’s writing reminded me, in essence, a lot of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, mixed with a humorous 007 story plot. The Old Country has something strongly Orwellian about it, giving the story a larger depth, while showing that a humorous mystery tale can also reveal many, many ugly truths about society. That being said, it would be a book to recommend for all of the fiction lovers out there. Pick up the book, follow Peril through his perilous adventures, and get lost in a world of strange habits, strange people, and strange happenings.

Peril in the Old Country comes out on June 5th, 2018. Mark your calendars, book dragons!

 

The fiction book you will love: Grey Lore, by Jean Knight Pace & Jacob Kennedy

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Grey Lore

“Not all wolves are bad. And not all men are good. And most are unfortunately stuck somewhere in between”.

 

Living in a small town in Indianapolis with her dull, distant aunt was never Ella’s plan. But then again, neither was it to become an orphan after her mother’s accident. Life in Napper is slow, quiet, and definitely uneventful. Until Ella starts hearing voices from creatures that are not supposed to talk. Is she slowly losing her mind? Or are there things out there she never had imagined would be true?

But Ella is not alone

Along with her two new friends, Sam and Sarah, the young girl will find herself in the middle of more action than she had expected in this place. Fate seems to have a lot in place for all of them, and not everyone on their road to discovery is there to help them. A peculiar and unique past unravels for each of them, but their choices are what will ultimately define them!

A story like no other

bibliophilegrPrepare yourself for some of the most intricately woven plot you will ever find in a book. Gorgeous storytelling, detailed narrative, unexpected twists are all woven together in this amazingly strange story. This is more than a book for the fans of fiction. This is a world of lore and tales within a larger one, a modern fairy tale that encases so many others. Grey Lore shows you how fairy tales are made. Sometimes subtly, other times less so, the reader sees how the battle of good and evil and the heroes and the villains of real life are what moves humanity to create its myths and legends.

 

Fast paced and with no lack of plot, the story keeps you hooked from the first page up to the very last. Expertly managing to avoid cliches, it also creates an air of mystery around characters, keeping you guessing  about their pasts,as well as  their intentions. There is a fun game of the reader involved, in which you will desperately try to find the culprits and the villains. It is not as easy as it looks – which makes it even more fun to be involved with. By the time the pieces of the puzzle fit together, the reader has reached the climax of the story.

As a fantasy enthusiast, I was completely engrossed in the story. Having read dozens, if not hundreds, of fantasy books, I have to admit that it is very difficult to bump into a unique structure in a book, and a different plot than what hides in most fantasy books. I can happily declare that Grey Lore was one of those rare occasions where a book absolutely (and happily) surprises you.

There’s a lot more I could say about the book, but I definitely do not want to spoil any of the fun you can have with it. So I will wrap up, saying that I strongly recommend reading this, especially for the fantasy genre enthusiasts.

A January Reading Recap: Irish Folk Tales, Dystopias and Vikings.

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January. The month of fresh starts.

The time of optimism and setting goals. Sometimes those goals are a little bit unrealistic, but we all deserve to hope, right?

My humble goals for the New Year revolve (unsurprisingly) around books. So I vouched I would read more diversely. Fiction will always be the (bookish) love of my life, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try out other styles.

So here I am. It’s February 2nd , and January’s reads have given me an insight into topics I didn’t expect I would get to study into any degree of details.

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Vikings and Fairies

The Sea Wolves by Lars Brownworth gave me a glimpse into a people that strove to live in  inhospitable environments, trades, explored and conquered. Irish Fairy and Folk Tales by W.B.Yeats taught me a thing or two about faeries. I learned what a Banshee is (not a pleasant being, but interesting none the less). I also realised that Irish Gaelic is incredibly difficult to pronounce – but what a gorgeous language it is!

A first dive into Dystopias

January was also the month of my initiation in Dystopias. To this day, I have to admit I never got round to reading the Hunger Games. This month, I read Scythe By Neil Shusterman. I will be honest with you. Was it good? Better than what I had expected, and a good introduction to the genre. Still not my cup of tea, though.

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Getting acquainted with the works of Rupi Kaur

Poetry is a word many people are afraid of, and I used to belong in that category. Reluctantly at first, I started Rupi Kaur’s Milk and Honey, the result being that I also read her The Sun and Her Flowers poetic anthology in the same day. I found her writing beautiful and empowering. There, all fear of Poetry is now gone. That’s a definite win.

Thrillers? Yes, please!

Final Girls by Riley Sager was quite the thriller! With lots of twists and turns, it was one of those books that you read through a single night. Have you ever found yourself muttering “one more chapter”, never actually putting it down? Well, that’s what happened with me and the Final Girls.

Getting better sleep

The Sleep Solution by W.Chris Winter was, bottom line, a self help book about sleeping better. Although I don’t usually encounter problems with my sleep, there were some interesting facts in there. You can learn a lot about the way your brain functions during sleep, what kind of problems can arise, and what you can do to have a better night’s sleep. I’m still not a big fan of self help books, though.

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Evil Librarian

Reading outside your comfort zone doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read some of your favorite genres as well. This month I got to read the Evil Librarian (see full review here), a hilarious,smart fiction book. I also read The Ocean at the end of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (which was long overdue).  In between trying new things, always go back to some of your loved ones as well. Reading, after all, shouldn’t be a chore.

In total, I managed to read fourteen books this past month. I don’t expect every month to be as prolific, but that’s not the point. This January, I read some books that I knew I’d probably like, but I also tried new genres. In the best of situations, I discovered new kinds of literature I liked, and learned various things. In the worst of situations, I confirmed my not liking some types of styles and plots, which I also count as a good thing.

So here’s to a different, more diverse bookish year. I hope you have made some bookish resolutions, too. But even if you haven’t, there’s always time. You might discover some interesting things about yourself. And they say there’s no better time than the present, right?