Friday, 20 October 2017

Nayu's News #237 My new console is here!!!!

Isn't it gorgeous! Got the original with the light down the middle!!! My controler has a blue cover.

I honestly was going to do hints in a blog post about my new console, but the week ended up being busy, and my beautiful ps4 arrived Wednesday! 

It took about 1 hour to set up (the set up was easy, but of course it needed to update itself so I had to wait while it did that). I was out most of yesterday morning, but by the afternoon I'd tried out all 3 games Blue Reflection 
JRPG, it's like being in an anime! Life at a Japanese high school with an alternate dimension
This girl, Lime, does attacks with her teddy!!! So cool! (not got that far yet)
Hatsune Miku Project Diva X (Miku-chan!!!!!)
I love Miku!
With a unique system of separating songs (& fun way to get modules)

World of Final Fantasy 
New story with brother and sister as main characters, meeting a lot of previous FF characters and a load of new ones.

(mega cute, a real treat if you're a fan of the earlier games in the series (before FF12)  (so AWESOME!) and am thoroughly in love with it. 

My PS3 will still get lots of attention as I've got some games that need completeing and ones I enjoy replaying. This is a short for both blogs because today I'm downloading...

Hatsune Miku Project Diva Future Tone!!! 
Miku heaven! (Which doesn't have PD X songs, hence why I got both)

So many costumes!!!

This is the ultimate Miku game, with over 300 modules (outfits), 230+ songs (I doubt I'll ever get to/past hard level), no diva room (which I never really used). I've wanted this ever since I learnt about it, and it's the reason why I've bought a PS4. I only bought the PS3 for Final Fantasy games (although only like FF7-12. More on FF13 in another post), but obviously play more games than that. 

I will wax lyrical over the console and the games in another post because I need to get offline so the only internet usage is for Future Tone which may take 5 hours to download...Yeah. 5 hours. The internet isn't stable enough in my room so I'm using the main TV downstairs. Family are mostly offline this morning and most of the afternoon so I can safely let it upload at the fastest rate possible. So bye for now and will speak soon (hopefully Sunday). 
Bye for now!

Reena's Rainbow by Dee White and Tracie Grimwood (Children's, Picture book, 10E/10E)

 September 2017, EK Books, 32 pages, Hardback, Review copy

Summary from EK Books
Reena is deaf and Dog is homeless, but they are also so much more than that. At first Reena and Dog feel like they don’t belong, but when they form a unique bond with each other, and become friends with the hearing children in the park, they discover that everyone is different and special in their own way.

Nayu's thoughts
I've read a few books over the past few months which inckude rainbows as part of the story, and each one stands out from the rest, with Reema's Rainbow being no exception (and one of few books about being deaf that I've read). I liked how it is made clear that while Reema can't hear well like most people, her body compensates by making her extra observant and seeing this others miss. It helps her save a boy from danger, find the stray dog who becomes her constant companion, lets her excel at hide and seek in both positions as the hider and the seeker. 

The brightly coloured soft and cosy seeming illustrations moved me to tears at the end. I loved how cute Reema is, and the way her happiness gets portrayed on one page is exactly as I'd imagined it, which made me cry as the scene is so touching with Reema's emotions are enhanced by the illustrations. I like how she fimally fits in, even if I'm not sure why all the children cross their arms in a certain way on the last page. Maybe it's sign language for friends. This is a must read for everyone, to raise awareness of what life can be like for deaf children, and that we all have at least one talent. 

Suggested read
A book which deals with a common issue children and adults can struggle with, wearing glasses, is Specs For Rex by Yasmeen Ismail (Children's, Picture book, 10E/10E, short 'n' sweet review)

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Witch for a Week by Kaye Umanskyand Ashley King (Children's, 7 years +, 10E/10E)

 5th October 2017, Simon & Schuster Children's, 192 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Summary from Simon and Schuster
When Elsie Pickles offers to house-sit the mysterious home of local witch Magenta Sharp, she has no idea what she's getting herself into. Left with a talking raven and a scruffy dog for company, a magical tower that has a mind of its own and a book of instruction called Everything You Need to Know, what could possibly go wrong?

With an assortment of weird and wonderful neighbours banging at the door and a box of volatile magical ingredients that must be used immediately, Elsie finds out that looking after Magenta's home might not be as easy as she first thought ... does she have what it takes to be a witch for a week or will it all end in a magical disaster?

Nayu's thoughts
I don't remember reading many of Kaye's popular Pingwiffy series, but I hope to read every book in Elsie's adventure! They are nice, nothing overly nasty or gross, no snakes!!!, lots of laughter (+ eggs) and plenty of mayhem (+ toads). I was sad when t ended, event though it's obvious Elsie will be back in Magenta's home to learn more magic. I like how she stubbornly refused to do anything magical but ends up so curious that she simply can't help but try making eggs and frogs appear and disappear. She finds it rather fun! 

Talent isn't all that Elsie has. Her apttude for good customer service gives her the vital skills to deal with the unique characters who are determined to enter Magenta's tower while Magenta is visitng family. She knows how to make them happy when they are a bit miffed at having their desires thwarted...including the ill fated love spell. I'd have liked more page time from the clearly sentient tower, but Im sure that will happen in later books (this can't just be a single book!) Cranky witch companions like Corvette add more hilarity to the already enjoyable tale about a young girl with higher aspirations than in her distinctly unprospering family business. I wanted Elsie to stay with Magenta forever, but she does like the chaos of her family (so did I!) and Magenta doesn't need her full time, not just yet. 

Find out more on Kaye's website.  

Suggested read

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

The Undercover Princess by Connie Glynn (Young adult, 10E/10E)

 2nd November 2017, Penguin, 348 pages, Paperback, Review copy
Summary from Penguin
When fairy tale obsessed Lottie Pumpkin starts at the infamous Rosewood Hall, she is not expecting to share a room with the Crown Princess of Maradova, Ellie Wolf. Due to a series of lies and coincidences, 14-year-old Lottie finds herself pretending to be the princess so that Ellie can live a more normal teenage life. 

Lottie is thrust into the real world of royalty - a world filled with secrets, intrigue and betrayal. She must do everything she can to help Ellie keep her secret, but with school, the looming Maradovian ball and the mysterious new boy Jamie, she'll soon discover that reality doesn't always have the happily ever after you'd expect...

A thrilling world of parties, politics and bad ass princesses, this is the first book in the brand new series THE ROSEWOOD CHRONICLES.

Nayu's thoughts 
Best princess decoy story EVER!!  I've read quite a few as it's a fun type of story. A lot of the ones I read get quite dark, but not Lottie's tale. There are some extremely serious moments, and I kept anticipating when the story would go in a direction I wasn't keen on but it never happened! Lottie truly is perfect to pretend to be a princess for a royal who hates everythin traditional. I saw myself reflected in Lottie, having grown up with loving Disney Princesses, and at times, like Lottie, being naive about the reality of the world we live in. Lottie has inner spunk when she needs it, her personal mantras are inspiring, and she tries so hard at her new job. 

I loved how certain classic fairytale elements wound themselves into this story of love. There was oodles (I used this term before learning about Connie's identity) of aspects of boarding school woven in (rivalry, midnight shenanigans, friendly matrons), plenty of drama and high jinx that constantly surprised me. The viewpoint is mostly from Lottie's view, with occasional shifts that made sense.  I loved how well Lottie fitted in her role-it's a serious one but she lets herself be swept away by it all because it's all that she's daydreamed about. 

What I found refreshing was that romance wasn't an overt theme, so I didn't have to put up with Lottie mooning over someone. That's not to say romance doesn't exist, it does, in an extremely subtle way that I'm surprised I picked up on who Lottie falls for, and I sincerely hope Lottie realises and is able to enjoy that precious link with the one she loves but doesn't know it. The subtlty of that romance strongly counters the fake Disney-fied romance she thinks she has for a different character, but I will be surprised if my suspicions are proved entirely wrong before the final book in this trilogy. I'm sad I have to wait a year for the next book, but I'm eager to see what trouble Lottie and Ellie find themselves in next! This tale fulfils all my dreams of a princess decoy book, is truly magical, very touching, charming, and overall an incredible read. Definitely one for the reread shelf!

Added after I wrote the main part of the review - I had no idea until I googled Connie's details that she's the Youtuber Noodlerella! Wow. I don't follow her yet but I've seen a few of her videos many months ago - will have to check out her out again! 

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Blog Tour: A Season of Hopes and Dreams by Lynsey James (Romance, 10E/10E)

Pretty cover!

11th September 2017, HQ Digital, 384 pages, Ebook, Review copy

Summary from Harpercollins UK
A season of second chances

It’s been a difficult year for Cleo Jones. The car accident that crushed her leg didn’t just destroy the village baker’s dreams of becoming a dancer, but crushed her confidence too. And recovering from that has been harder than healing from any number of broken bones

But this season is going to be different. Life is turning around for Cleo! Maybe it’s the invitation from her childhood bully to their high-school reunion that’s shocked her out of a ten-year slump. Or joining Carb Counters and finally starting to shed the weight she’d piled on during her recovery or maybe it’s catching the eye of her gorgeous personal trainer!

Whatever the answer, this is going to be a feeling she never forgets watch out world, Cleo Jones is finally fighting back!

Nayu's thoughts 
While not a cozy mystery genre read, I like to think of this book as cozy in the sense it is uplifting, funny with some deep moments, the type of read to settle with a cup of hot chocolate with a few hours to spare. Cleo is a sweet girl, never giving up despite having a zillion job rejections which doesn't sit well with her family. She matures and gains so much self-confidence by the end of the book it was a real pleasure to see her personal growth. I was cheering her on when she tried new things, wanted to face-palm at the embarrassing moments- her clumsiness is adorable and is a trait that her eventual boyfriend likes and anticipates. 

The issues Cleo faces are deep rooted, and she can't get through them on her own, that's where her friends come in, both new and old who all contribute to her increasing self-esteem. I liked the story issue surrounding the health group which included bullying because it feels realistic, and has several self-empowerment moments for Cleo where I mentally cheered and waved pink and purple pompoms for her achievements - which aren't limited to weight loss. By doing what she did (can't spoil it for you) she not only helped herself, but changed the situation for the whole group in a positive fashion. It goes to show you never know what will happen when you try something in life. 

She also has to deal with her old school's residenet mean girl, who is even meaner now she is older, and who tries to destroy her sweet relationship with Scott (her personal trainer), but she doesn't succeed! She comes close, but Scott has changed from the person he was in his past (the part related to Cleo's struggles), and along with Cleo's best friends manages to bash some sense into her (not quite literally), leading to an ending I loved but didn't want because it meant Cleo's story had stopped! Really hoping there may a sequel.

Find out more on Lynsey's blog (she reviews books!).

Monday, 16 October 2017

The Good Mother by Karen Osman (Crime, Thriller, 10E/10E)

 1st October 2017, Aria, 432 pages, Ebook, Review copy

Summary from Aria
How far would you go to protect your children?

Catherine is a good mother and a good wife. The family home is immaculate, her husband's supper is cooked on time, but when she starts writing to Michael, a prisoner convicted of murder, she finds herself obsessing about his crime and whether he can ever truly be forgiven...

Kate has no time for herself. Caught in the maelstrom of bringing up two young children with no money, and an out-of-work husband, she longs to escape the drudgery of being a wife and a mother. And she soon starts taking dangerous risks to feel alive...

Alison has flown the nest. But university life is not what she had hoped for, and she finds herself alone and unhappy. Until the day her professor takes a sudden interest in her. Then everything changes...

Three women – all with secrets. And as the days tick down to Michael's release, those secrets can no longer be ignored.

Nayu's thoughts 
This book is cleverly written! There are mega plot twists at the end which completely surprised me. By chapter 15 I realised there were several characters who might get murdered. Later on I guessed accurately who it was, but what happens after I can't talk about without the spoilng the intricate plot. To come up with the big plot twist some clever writing tricks are used, which I only realised the significance of at the end. 

Kate, Alison, and Catherine are three very different women, each with their own problems and guilty secret. While at different stages in their lives they all get entangled with an evil man, which has repercussions for the rest of their lives. I liked when Catherine wrote to a prisoner because it had me Googling what prison was like for 20 mimutes. She is lonely despite having a fulfilling life, unlike Alison, who is struggling in her first year at uni which is very different from Kate's issues of raising 2 young daughters while her husband works. 

They all find company in the wrong type of person, they all have a lot to lose if their secrets are revealed to their families, and they all have an important role to play. Once I got used to them all I didn't mind the frequent point of view switches (which naturally happened at tense moments). I like that the difficulty of being in an abusive relationship was brought up because domestic violence sadly still exists today and victims all too easily can make excuses for the abuser's behaviour. 

I'd love to know if anyone else has guessed the big plot twist before it happened, as it's a brilliant turn of events. I don't yet know i I will reread it, because these types of books rely heavily on me not knowing whats happening, which doesn't happen so much in a reread, but I most definitely recommend it! 

Suggested read

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Over on Nayu's Crochet Dreams #33 My week

Akari & Sumire aren't the first Aikatsu! idols to climb cliffs
Find out what I've been up to while recovering from my mega strong meds in today's Nayu's Craft Time #260 Finally Back on my other blog Nayu's Crochet Dreams! It involves rock climbing, a secret project, and news about an exciting games console arriving this week! 
What am I getting?