Monday, 20 May 2019

Nayu's News #248 I am a reluctant smart technology user

No idea who the artist is, but they really capture the cuteness of this girl!
When I was younger, I used to be the one in my family who had the latest gadgets & technology, both gaming and non-gaming items. These days I am the least technologically advanced person in my family. I've only just got a smart phone: I had one over 10 years ago when they first came out, but then didn't get on with them. I only have one now so I feel safer when I'm out and about for hospital appointments in London, when my family take the more fun option of going shopping while I wait for my appointment. If anything happened, I wouldn't know about it unless the hospital went in lockdown. Having BBC news on my new smart phone makes me a lot happier. 

I love some of the technology advancements. I like how when I forgot a password this morning, the software I was using instantly linked up with my phone to help verify my identity. That was impressive. I believe smart devices have their place in life, and are more useful to some people than others: being able to ask a device for info instead of having to search for it when you have sight loss is hugely important to a family member. I do not have a smart device like that, and I don't want one. The more advanced something is the more concern I have for it going wrong. I prefer simpler technology that I understand and can use without worry. 

Go check out this artist! 
I am talking about smart lights in particular. Saw an add on my Kindle Fire for some smart lights. Never heard of them so I clicked on the link to look at what they do (and their expense). Frankly I don't get why most people would need/want them. If you want lights to go on/off at certain times so the house looks occupied you can use simple timer plugs. You can't control those lights through an app in your phone, but bearing in mind I only use my phone for messaging/calling and Twitter, I am not the targeted market for a smart light that can be in a zillion and one colours/hues according to the blurb. 

A light is a light. I like switching them on with a switch myself. While I believe smart technology is appropriate and innovative for people who may struggle a bit without it, mostly I honestly don't see the point in it. Why pay well over £100 for 1 or sometimes 3 fancy light bulbs when all you actually need is one that gives you light to see? Even if you have the money I feel society expects people to welcome smart technology with open arms, and if you don't like it then you are weird. I am happy being weird! I am happy with my normal lighting, and with minimal apps on my phone. 

If I have already posted something similar to this, apologies, my memory is on the lousy side. Life's been a little crazier than normal.  I feel very blessed to live in the modern world with both advances in and access to medicine, which so many people in the world still don't have as a basic right. I will be doing a Ramadan post later in the week, and ask that you really count the blessings you do have, rather than focus on what you don't. If you read this post you are very blessed for access to the internet, at least one with uncensored speech, which again not all people have. It's ok, I am climbing off my soap box now!  The next post will be a fun one, I promise!
Quite an apt picture for this post: artist unknown. 

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Nayu's News #247 Unsolicited emails are entertaining

No idea who the author is for this awesome artwork that's on my laptop
This morning I went through emails, even checked my spam email which make me laugh. There's the usual asking for money, the notice of a tax repayment, a TV licence issue (I don't even pay it, my family does), a delivery issue with a company I do sometimes receive goods from but I know it's fake, various inappropriate emails to name just a few. A few real emails got caught up in there which wasn't so good, but I've rescued them. 
I am primarily a book reviewer but my inbox sees a variety of requests which again make me smile. I've had a company contact me because they saw one post of mine a long time ago about a car wash, so they want to tell me all about how to wash my car. I get many requests for mentioning new bands/singers - I don't even listen to mainstream music so why would I be interested? I spotted one about a multi-climate control thingy - like why on earth would I need that? Seriously people definitely don't read my review policy, something that unfortunately happens far too regularly in the blogging world.

I hope to schedule more reviews next week: having my mega meds tonight, praying the weather improves soon as my body hates all the rain and cold, and in theory I should receive my special supplements which turn out to have more of an impact than I realised this week - the hospital pharmacy didn't inform me of the delay so I am on reduced dose of one and zero dose of the other. Fun times.

I feel is is what would happen if Hatsune Miku was evil
I've been reading a bit, and gaming loads on Animal Crossing Pocket Camp, which has had a fun event on, Farm Together which has me working hard on an event because the prizes are so cute (will show pictures when I talk about it in a future post, Yoshi's Crafted World which I am for some reason trying to complete absolutely everything on (all the collectibles) which is fun to do, if a bit time consuming, Dragon Quest  Builders 2 got even more amazing than it already was (again it will have a post soon), Animal Crossing Wild World which I'm replaying for fun and just got a house upgrade (so my room is no longer super tiny), and I think those are the main ones. Due to get The Caligula Effect: Overdose today or tomorrow which I really want to get into. Think it's a JRPG, I know that it has an idol like Miku (but eviler) in charge of the word that lets people live out their school lives in virtual reality. When I'm better I promise I'll do more game posts, need to rest for now. I stupidly got excited when a newspaper online had the headline including blistering heatwave: unfortunately I do not count 16'C as a heatwave. That is merely warm. A heatwave involves temperatures of over 20'C! Ideally nearer 30. Should have known better from a tabloid. 
Love this fanart of a Muslim Miku, she still looks as adoable as ever!

 I usually put a saying or quote, but would like to mention a random Twitter user I follow which is about the life of some frogs (yes I like frogs quite a bit, not as much as cats). Go check out Sticky Frogs whose latest tweet at the time of writing this post included the follow image. I love the colours frogs come in, the shine on their body and their cute little feet as much as I love how prehistoric looking crocodiles are, and how the babies are super miniature versions of their parents, which in turn I love as much as super adorable furry kitten. My tastes are eclectic! *coughstrangecough*

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

A Good Girl's Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson (Young Adult, 10E/10E)

 2nd May 2019, Electric Monkey, 448 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Book summary from press release
The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it. But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the crime, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn't so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden.

And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth . . . ?

Nayu's thoughts
Wow! Oh boy this was a good book, not just because of the story either. I flipped through the book before reading it and discovered a whole load of pages missing, with a note saying that the murderer had them and I needed to email the publicity team for the pages. It wasn't as simple as being given them. I had to guess out of 3 suspects who did it, then reply. 
If you don't want to know how I figured it out then don't highlight the next paragraph! 

I was so worried that I wouldn't get the pages if I guessed wrong, that on seeing Holly had posted a video of her flipping through the final chapters in a finished non-ARC copy of the book, I spent time stopping and starting those clips to see if I could get a clue. I did. Although there's a lot more to the end than I expected, so I was surprised by the truth. However, even if I hadn't have worked out who it could be, I still would have raised suspicion on that character just because a few things stood out when I read the book. I am not saying what, you can read it for yourself. Unsure if this counts as cheating, but it definitely means that authors need to be careful what they flip through on social media!!!! I should have known better that I would still get the chapters even if I did guess wrong. I don't regret looking either! 

Back to the book review...

The ARC publicity antics added to the fun of reading the book. Pip is a likeable characters, unlike Andie who personally reminded me of Alison in the book and TV series Pretty Little Liars. It felt so much like that in the beginning which made me like the story even more. Pip isn't afraid to dig deep for the truth, and I am not the only person thankful that she did that. I was frequently scared for the danger she put herself in, especially when someone (not necessarily the murderer) started warning her off from her investigation. It made me glad I was reading it in daylight, and extremely annoyed I had to wait to read the last few chapters because I wanted to know right then! The sense that Pip was in danger for what she was doing grew greater throughout the story, and she isn't the only one directly affected by her quest for the truth, which made me even harder to read.

There are some real sad parts, so be prepared to need tissues and a cup of hot tea to relax you. There's no denying some of the scenes are hardhitting, but that's what a thriller and mystery book should entail. Pip's friends, both old and new, really do help support her. I liked how the style of the information was portrayed to the reader because readers will easily relate to that format, it made it seem more real. especially at the beginning because the inclusion of technology is very relevant to readers. I still don't really know what an EQP or whatever assessment she was writing is, but I didn't need to know because it was important, even if she did break all the rules set by her teachers to keep her disruption and possible distress to those involved in Andie's case to a minimum. But then there wouldn't have been a story, so I'm glad she bent the rules. 

I especially liked how much Pip's family featured in her life. I like how her younger brother always asks a new friend to play with him, it's what children do and while I don't have a younger sibling, I can easily imagine one being a bit pesky. 

I feel this book does genuinely need to be reread a few times to pick up all the hints that are in the story, and it's so good that I know I will reread the mystery, as I will forget the finer details of exactly what happens to Andie. Be sure to pick it up - don't worry, the finished copies have all the chapters in the book already in them, no clue solving for you!

Be sure to follow Holly on Twitter to keep up with her news!

Suggested read 
For another girl caught up in a murder case check out I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelson (Young Adult, Thriller, 10E/10E)

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

The Tunnels Below by Nadine Wild-Palmer (Children's, 9 years +, 9/10E)

25th April, Pushkin Press, 256 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Summary from Pushkin Press
On her twelfth birthday Cecilia goes out with her parents and sister to celebrate with a visit to a museum. On their way Cecilia drops the marble that her sister gave her as a present, and running to pick it up she is taken away on an empty underground train into a dark and deep tunnel. The fun family outing becomes a much more serious mission when Cecilia finds that she and her marble have a very important role to play in freeing the inhabitants of the tunnels from the tyrannical rule of the Corvus.

Nayu's thoughts
I very nearly stopped reading a few chapters in, because I have a limit to how much weird and wonderful stuff I can handle, and the world Cecelia found herself in was very weird, plus I got put off by having something I have a phobia about be her new 'food'. I'm glad I gave it another chance as it ended up being such a sweet tale of friendship, and standing up for what you believe in (although it shouldn't impede on others unless they are literally trying to hurt you. I'm all for peaceful protest, but widespread disruption, as is happening in cities across the world thanks to a group who I'll leave nameless but many who read this review will know exactly what I'm talking about). 

It's very much an Alice in Wonderland style read, thankfully without the freaky Cheshire cat who gives me the heebee geebees. Instead Cecelia comes up against the ruler *coughdictatorcough* of the Tunnels, a selfish, greedy feather brain who thinks ruling by fear is the best way to get the most out of society. Trust me it isn't. The way Cecelia gets lost and in the new world is refreshing, as is the way she gets back home. I liked that there are a handful of chapters (maybe even just 1 or 2, I can't quite remember) that looks at her disappearance from her family's views, something you'll be needing a tissue for. 

I prefer not to make book comparisons, but you'll get the feel of the story if I say it's also a bit like the Narnia books. The way Jacque D'Or has control over the world he inhabits, with informants everywhere made me think of the Snow Queen and her secret police group (or whatever the wolves are cold). This isn't a negative comparison, I got a few shocks along with Cecelia when she got caught in places and by people I wouldn't have expected to be as they are. Having everyone be mostly animals with a bit of humanistic traits was fun, especially when one of Cecelia's friends says who they think she reassembles. 

Cecelia has more inner strength than she thinks. She learns to control her emotions a little, which initially got her in trouble. She learns to see beyond the obvious, and realise that what she has is far more precious than she knows. I totally wanted the dress and matching bag that she got to wear to an event, it sounded divine! It seemed a bit weird for such finery to exist in a society where essentials like water aren't commonplace, but the way it made her feel buoyed up her spirits for what would be a momentous occasion. 

Until I reached the last few chapters I wouldn't have said I'd reread this, but I want to go back to the Tunnels Below because the characters are memorable and felt like real friends by the end. The only reason this doesn't get a top grade is because of what I mentioned at the start of this review, which is a personal issue, not one that many readers will struggle with. 

Find out more on Nadine's website
Suggested read
My recommended book is one that's technically for younger readers, but the feel of the story fits with The Tunnels Below: Alice Dent and The Incredible Germs by Gwen Lowe (Children's, 7 years +, 10E/10E) 

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Nayu's Gaming Time #24 My Time At Portia Launch day!

The day has finally come - My Time At Portia is now available on all major consoles as well as PC which launched earlier this year! I am so excited, this is all I'll be playing for the next few days, so do say hi on Twitter if you play it too, and expect a lot of tweets from me about it. I predownloaded it on my Switch when it was announced, and yeah, this day has been a long time coming!

Monday, 15 April 2019

Nayu's News #246 Winter Returns + Pokemon Go fun

If only I could bribe this Pokemon to influence the real world weather....(Picture source unknown)

This time of year feels like the weather should be getting warmer, but unfortunately England is enduring a cold spell due to various air currents and weather stuff that I have no clue about. It is due to get warmer in a few days, but the lowest temp is still way too low for my comfort as my body is stupid and bases itself around the lowest temperature of the day, so I'm hibernating this week! Got lots of gaming and reading planned, especially with tomorrow's My Time At Portia launch on Switch (+ Xbox One + Playstation 4) you will know what I'm doing! 

Have to go out today for routine doctor's app so I will be checking out Pokemon Go stops on my way there - yes, I now have Pokemon Go! I will do a full post soon about it all, I won't do all the walking, for obvious reasons, but if I go somewhere I will check to see if they have anything. Although I do wonder the logic of putting Pokestops at war memorials...I guess maybe they want to encourage people to visit them? I didn't expect anything where I live in the country, so it's a great blessing. I won't take on a gym, but staying home I've caught quite a few so far! Would love to know if you play it too.