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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Nayu's News #148 Happy Nayu

I love this girl's outfit
Hi everyone! I hope you are having a good start to the weekend. Today I've been...
Grocery shopping! No idea if that's what this girl is doing, but she's cute & looks as if she's in a shopping centre ^o^ 
Writing! I'd love to write with a quill and book, but weak hands means laptop/tablet is my writing medium!
Here's Sora thinking! 

...and watching Aikatsu! I'm totally addicted to it at the moment, and it's all I've watched today. I had to refrain from watching episode 61 more than once today - I can say why in a week, but for now let's just say Sora's debut as an Aikatsu card brand is related to my forthcoming secret project announcement ^o^


Wrapping up warm is a must!

I'm finally getting over the cold I have. Winter has begun for me, as my body is already protesting at both the cooler temperature & the rain. Both conditions makes my body go on strike, amping up pain & discomfort + making me more like a sloth than my standard tortoise pace of life. Yes, I miss the summer heat wave!


However, I'm a firm believer that there's always blessings to found in every life challenge. Being extra kind to myself by ensuring I watch a greater percentage of happy anime than ones with some conflict in is a win-win occasion/event!

Tomorrow will be filled with lots of fun!
I'll be doing a bit of blog work. I won't do too much, and will be resting more than normal because I've got my dreaded 2 yearly heart check up on Monday. It involves a long day, train travel, a few tests in the morning, and a consultation in the afternoon. Hopefully all will be well - my view is I'm still breathing, so I must be ok! I have to go because part of having mitochondrial myopathy means any muscle can be affected, including the heart. *nose wrinkle* Ho hum. 

Pretend this is crochet...
I will be taking crochet to keep me occupied. I've been to hospital enough times to know that reading doesn't happen easily because I constantly have to keep an ear out for my name being called. I found out the last time that crochet is the best option. I'll take a blanket one that's going to be a present for someone in my family, as it's super fun colours and will make me smile. 

I've got Tuesday off work so I have 2 days to recover from the long day. I'm looking forward to getting the train home because I always have a creamy cooler from Costa ^o^ It boosts me up for the journey home.

I'll be feeling like Sophie from PriPara when her energy crashes

I won't quite be up for singing in concert, but I'll be able to keep going til I get home

That's all the news I have for today - I'll do a quick post Tuesday to let you know how Monday goes. Enjoy your weekend!

Have fun like Holo from Spice & Wolf does!

Oksa Pollock: The Heart of The Worlds by Anne Plichota & Cendrine Wolf (Children's, 11 years +, 10E/10E, short 'n' sweet review)

9th October 2014, Pushkin Press, 400 pages, Hardback, Review copy

Content: some fighting, some humour, tragedy, tissues definitely needed

Summary from Pushkin Press
Oksa's heart-stopping adventures continue, as she journeys to her enchanted homeland


Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, torrential rain... The Earth is in turmoil. Fleeing a flooded London, Oksa and the rest of the Pollock family set off in search of the Entrance Portal of Edefia, their magical home. It is their only chance of restoring the Earth's balance. To get there, Oksa is forced to ally herself with the terrible Felons, mortal enemies who could betray her at any moment. Luckily she also has some real friends at her side: Pavel, her shapeshifting father; Gus and Tugdual, the two rivals for her heart; and, of course, her formidable grandmother Dragomira, along with her menagerie of Edefian creatures. But little does Oksa know, not only will she have to brave countless dangers to reach the portal, she must also pay a terrible price to enter the hidden world... And what will await her on the other side?

Nayu's thoughts
Oksa is my Harry Potter. She has some highly cool powers, but she needs them to save the world – no, save two worlds. She finally gets to go to Edefia in this 3rd book in the series, but how she gets there, and what happens when she gets there is horrifying. So much so that although I love the stories, and I'm desperate to read it, and I can read French so in theory can read the rest of the series (which are all out in France), I'm not going to. I can wait for the English translation to be published. It is a heavy emotional read for me. There are heart wrenching scenes which you'll need tissues for. I needed super cute and fluffy anime to counteract the harsh reality of Oksa's world. 

Most of it is hard going, but the Edefia creatures provide great entertainment in exaggerating events, stating the obvious that no one wants to say. Oksa struggles with her relationship with pretty much very teen, especially moody Gus. I don't blame her as they were pretty close in book 1, but now they seem so distant and unable to speak what they truly feel. Oksa also struggles with how everyone - including their enemies - treat her. She just wants to be normal, which is something she'll never be. 

Find out more on the dedicated website.

Suggested read
Naturally read the first two books Oksa Pollock: The Last Hope & The Forest of Souls (Children's, 11 years +, 10E/10E)


Friday, 24 October 2014

Pink and Green is the New Black by Lisa Greenwald (Children's, 11 years +, 10/10E, short 'n' sweet review)


7th October 2014, Amulet Books, 272 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Content: teen life including a bit of romance, lots of humour

Summary from Abrams & Chronicle
In the third book in the Pink & Green series, Lucy Desberg starts 8th grade and her make-up and problem-solving skills will be put to the test. Her dad has moved back to town and her beloved sister Claudia is taking time off from college -- which means lots of unexpected family drama. And her sort-of boyfriend, Yamir, is starting high school and Lucy feels like she might not be cool enough to hang out with him. She focuses her attention on the 8th grade masquerade, using her make-up skills to rally her classmates and take her mind off her other issues. But when it comes down to it, will make-up be enough?

Nayu's thoughts
I like the colours pink and green separately. Together? Hmmm, undecided on that one. Reading book 3 has me wanting to read the first two books in this funny school drama. I'm pretty sure that (like Twilight) it's not meant to be as hilarious as I found it. Oh well! It made me laugh at the teen angst and melodrama. Some of it was ridiculous, but that's a part of growing up, thinking tiny things are the end of the world when in reality they are easy to live through compared to harder life experiences. Lucy certainly had an interesting view on life, that's for sure! I did like the fact that her family rus a spa - that was so cool! I adore books which feature a family business. 

Find out more on Lisa's website

Suggested read
Another fun spa read is Rainbow Beauty: Peppermint Kiss by Kelly McKain (Children's, 11 years +, 10/10E) First book on the page

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Blog Tour Review & Guest Blog Post: Enscrolled by Connie L. Smith (Young Adult, 10E/10E, semi short 'n' sweet review)

All the covers are gorgeous!
14th October 2014, Createspace, 308 pages, Ebook & Paperback, Review copy 

Content: some teen romance, lots of violence, tragedy, a fair amount of humour, tissues needed 

Blurb
In the aftermath of the latest battle, the stakes are higher than ever before, time hardly an ally to Nicholai’s army of paranormal soldiers. The Tomes remain hidden, and the clock is ticking for the Essenced tainted with the demon’s incurable toxin. And beyond those worries, reason exists to suspect that magic might be vanishing, a twist that could insurmountably cripple the army’s capabilities prior to the war’s conclusion.

Never has the conflict felt quite as desperate, danger escalating and hope lessening with the slow drain of each issue’s hourglass.

Will the answers to these dilemmas surface in time, or will the efforts of the band of warriors fail to prevent the ruin of the world?

Nayu's thoughts
*Wails* I'm so upset with this book because it's the end of an amazing series. I loved so much of it. I love how there's more focus on the characters than the war side of the story, that although there are a lot of people to remember, time is spent with each one, making them more memorable and, for those who die (there are deaths, hence the tissue warning), it makes it more bittersweet. The war gets stopped in a way which took me by surprise, but was AWESOME! I love the magical talents all the teens have, and how they continue to affect their daily lives. The banter was constantly making me smile, or cry when a character died. I wanted to keep on reading, but, I couldn't, as there isn't another book. Yet! Maybe if enough people want more Connie will write a sequel.... 

*Ahem* Tension is higher than it's ever been in this series for this book. Gloom plays a prominent role, but that's because the stakes are so high I didn't think there could be happy endings. AJ and the others struggle to cope with grief, which hits them all hard, and makes it hard to keep fighting, but together they find the strength to keep going, for the sake of their loved ones who are still alive, and for those they've lost. One of many great parts about the book is that there is closure at the end, of what happens to everyone. It's not a cliffhanger - phew! I'll definitely be rereading this series at some point in the future, as I'm sure you will too once you get started! 

Find out more on Connie's website.

Suggested read
This is less a suggestion and more of a must-do: read the other books in the series Essenced and Emblazed  (Young Adult, 9/10E)



Bad Reviews by Connie L Smith

Nayu here! It's with great pleasure that I present Connie's advice on how to deal with a negative review of your book - it's not as bad as it seems, and can be a huge learning experience, if you can get past the initial horror that someone doesn't love your novel as much you do. Thank you Connie! 

Connie! 
If there’s a book somewhere that everyone loves, I would be shocked. What’s a fictional gem to one person might be utter garbage to another person, and there’s really no way to get around that. Writing styles, characters, genres, plots… There are so many elements that go into each story, and a host of preferences from readers to go along with that mix.

The point? Odds are, if you’re an author, your book will find its way to someone who doesn’t really like it. Call it a hazard of the job, I suppose, but you’re likely to check on your book through Goodreads, Amazon, etc. and find a colorful explanation of what’s hate-able in your work. In fact, if you gain enough readers, you can pretty much depend on seeing one (or more), and it’s no fun knowing that the novel that you invested so much time in, gave so much of yourself to, is being bashed on the Internet.

But those people are entitled to their opinions, just as much as you’re entitled to write the book you want to create. And you’ll find more good reviews than bad, if your luck and efforts hold up.

So what do you do with a bad review? Truthfully, you can start preparing yourself for a bad review before you write the beginning word of your book. Before I published the first time, I went to Amazon, looked up my favorite fiction book, and read bad reviews for it. The rationale? If people can find things to hate about that book, then there’s no shame in them in finding things they don’t care for in mine. Knowing that a story I love so much endured that type of thing makes it a little less devastating, almost inevitable.

And okay. It happens, because people have different literary likes. It doesn’t make you a bad author, and shouldn’t keep you from writing.

Keep that in mind as you write, and write the book that you’d want to read. Even if some reviewers hate it, at least you’ll approve :)

And, once you see the dreaded bad review, don’t (don’t, don’t, don’t) confront the reviewer. As I’ve said before, that person is entitled to his opinion, and there’s little good that can come out of being the author who harasses people who don’t approve of his books. Don’t tweet your defense, or post a long-winded rebuttal on your blog, no matter how much the writer in you – the one who spent so many hours for so many weeks or months working on the book that’s being criticized – is offended.

If you have to vent your frustrations about the review, do yourself a favor and do so in a conversation with a good friend or family member. Anything negative that you post for public display might very well come back and haunt you someday.

You can, however, take the advice from a bad review and use it for future possibilities. Clearly, if the reviewer criticizes something about your story that you adored, then you might not change your upcoming projects to fit the review – and it wouldn’t be sensible to do that, particularly if other people liked your book – but the little details might make for a better or easier read next time. If someone makes a comment that the font is hard to read, for instance, you could keep that in mind for future books or editions.

So basically, at times, a bad review might actually work in your favor.

There’s still no fun to read though :)

Thanks for reading my post! I have a Goodreads giveaway going on right now through Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/111090-essenced.

And you can add my upcoming NA Romance novel to your to-read list here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23267803-tail-lights.

Author bio: Connie L. Smith spends far too much time with her mind wandering in fictional places. She reads too much, likes to bake, and might forever be sad that she doesn’t have fairy wings. And that she can’t swing dance. Her music of choice is severely outdated, and as an adult she’s kind of obsessed with Power Rangers. She has her BA from Northern Kentucky University in Speech Communication and History (she doesn’t totally get the connection either), and is currently working on her MA.


Links:

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain by Richard Roberts (Children's, 11 years +, 10E/10E)

Feburary 2014, Curiosity Quills, 374 pages, Ebook, Review copy

Content: inventions, some fighting, humour, lots of fun

Summary from Curiosity Quills
Penelope Akk wants to be a superhero. She’s got superhero parents. She’s got the ultimate mad science power, filling her life with crazy gadgets even she doesn’t understand. She has two super powered best friends. In middle school, the line between good and evil looks clear.

In real life, nothing is that clear. All it takes is one hero’s sidekick picking a fight, and Penny and her friends are labeled supervillains. In the process, Penny learns a hard lesson about villainy: She’s good at it.


Criminal masterminds, heroes in power armor, bottles of dragon blood, alien war drones, shape shifters and ghosts, no matter what the super powered world throws at her, Penny and her friends come out on top. They have to. If she can keep winning, maybe she can clear her name before her mom and dad find out.

Nayu's thoughts
This book took me months to read, not because it's bad or anything, but because there is a lot of technical detail with all of Penny's experiments – I guess it's partly a sci-fi read. Since I'm tired most of the time, I need more straight forward reads, which this wasn't, and I wasn't always in the mood for good fighting evil. Anyway, the important point is that I finished it! It's brilliant!!! Truly brilliant. I know one friend I'm recommending it to. I mean, every good person wants to be a hero, right? Well, imagine how hard it is having hero parents but Penny's talent veers towards being a villain. 

She tries to deny it, and become a hero, but, for a while comes to accept and on a level enjoy being a supervillain. I loved her crazy inventions. I loved how her friends developed powers. I have to say that I possibly prefer Claire to Penny, because she got to wear cute outfits! & her ability was being cute, although that took time to figure out. I loved imagining her skating about and turning on the cute charm. I loved the strength of their friendship which showed by the way they fought in the battles they had to endure. 

Some of the supervillains are terrifying. There were some sweetly horrific moments when Claire gets too freaked out, but she has to endure the event, so Penny & Ray do all they can to shield Claire from it. It was funny how everyone assumed they were villains. I loved the computer game they played which gave them inspiration for battle tactics. As a rule I hate zombies, but I loved Claires zombie dolls. (If I've remembered that part correctly...) They are the best type of weapon! 

I seriously hope there will be more books in the series as this humourous tale is incredible, and I suspect the adventures have only just begun for Penny, Claire & Ray. 

Suggested read 
Another fun series involving children with powers/responsibility who have famous parents is Ever After High by Shannon Hale which starts with Ever After High: The Storybook of Legends Children's, 11 years +, 10/10E)

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Ellie's Magical Bakery: Perfect Pie for A Perfect Pet by Ellie Simmonds (Children's, 7 years +, 7/10E, short 'n' sweet review)


September 2014, Red Fox, 160 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Content: lost pet, fairy, magic

Ellie's Magical Bakery is a great success. Ellie and Victoria Sponge are having lots of fun baking cakes which Ellie sells in the shop and Basil delivers on his roller skates. Even Whisk is helping out, by decorating the boxes! 


But when a local boy loses his new puppy, Ellie and Basil are desperate to find it for him. Ellie's magical book has a recipe to help them, but it is rather unusual. The recipe leads them to the butcher's, where they find the puppy has stolen some sausages, and to the village green where they find a stick . . . But how will the recipe help Ellie and her friends find the lost puppy?

Nayu's Thoughts 
I was super excited about this book because I like shop based stories, especially food ones. The illustrations matched the cuteness of the cover, so no surprises there. The story didn't live up to my expectations. I hadn't & haven't read book 1 of the series, which may explain a lot of what I don't understand. I don't understand why Ellie is so stuck with her family, why she doesn't try and get away from them. They are vile! They play dirty, trying to discredit her prosperous bakery. 


More than that I couldn't suspend belief that Ellie ran the bakery. I loved and believed in Victoria Sponge's magic (the baking fairy), the magical book which gave Ellie just the right recipe for every occasion. I couldn't figure out if Ellie was on holiday, and able to take care of her store all day. I wondered which adult was supposed to be in charge of it - I know fiction isn't reality, but I like to be able to believe a story could be real, you know? This is a sweet story, I just have certain elements I couldn't gel with. 


Suggested read
Another cute magical read is Hattie B Magical Vet: The Dragon's Song by Claire Taylor-Smith (Children's, 7 years +, 10E/10E)

Monday, 20 October 2014

What are YOU reading? #240





What are you reading on Monday? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys where you post books completed last week and plans for upcoming books. Jump over to her blog and see who else is participating.




Read


The Little Dragon I Can’t by Timo Firtina & Vivien Stennulat
Children’s, Picture book
10E/10E
(Mega cute illustrations teamed with a clever, true to life tale...)





Dizzy Miss Lizzie by R. M. Clark
Children’s, 11 years +
10E/10E
(Spooky friendship is only part of this mysterious story!)





Rainbow Beauty: Blueberry Wishes by Kelly McKain
Children’s, 11 years +
10E/10E
(Another nail-biting read in this fun beauty shop themed book!)





White Horse by Yan Ge
Translated by Nicky Harman
Adult
7/10E
(A story of a Chinese community which has diverse issues to address...)





Action Kids’ Club #1 by Lydia Howe
Children’s, 9 years +
9/10E
(A fun start to a new series about a club for children which is great fun & includes colour illustrations [my ARC did]!)





Emerson’s Attic: The Blue Velvet + Smoke and Mirrors by Kathleen Andrews Davis
Children’s, 9 years +
10E/10E
(Awesome time travelling new series - not too scary either!)





The Girl With The Sunshine Smile by Karen McCombie
Children’s, 9 years +
Dyslexia friendly
9/10E
(A change in life-style temporarily makes Meg lose her famous smile...)









Reread


Pea’s Book of Best Friends by Susie Day
Children’s, 9 years +
10E/10E
(The ultimate pick me up read when you need a boost. Life centres round a trio of sisters with a mother who’s a writer - trust me, you don’t want the youngest sister Tink annoyed with you! Her mischievous tricks made me smile when I needed to most...)










Listened
I haven’t completed anything this week, but have been listening to a bit of murder, magic, mischief, teen angst, baking and somewhere a puffin is included.   ^o^











Watched


Casualty
Medical drama, English version
8/10E
(Funerals of characters can be melodramatic, as this one was, but equally I was tearing up in parts too as Jeff was a great paramedic...)





Holby City
Medical drama, English version
9/10E
(Raf was back…and managed to lose the plot & nearly a patient. I was far more interested in poor Jac’s longing to be a part of her daughter’s life, but I do understand why she thinks she can’t be a mother to Emma...)





My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Season 2
REWATCH! - Anime
10E/10E
(I love how real life commercial holidays which I don’t believe in are changed into a pony themed fun day, with the 3 Cutie Mark Crusaders determined to find Cheerilee a ‘special somepony’...)





Aikatsu
REWATCH! - Anime, Japanese version
10E/10E
(This is at the top of my anime playlists at the moment, & I’m now at the part where Seira appears!)





Avatar: Book 2 Earth
REWATCH! - Anime, English version
10E/10E
(Yay - Thoth has arrived on the scene! Cue happy Nayu as she [Toth] is funny, has pretty outfits, and has phenomenal earth bending powers!)





Spice and Wolf
REWATCH! - Anime, English version
10E/10E
(Holo’s personality quirks never fail to make me smile & laugh!)









Games
I am back in full force trying to level up my Gameloft games which I mistakenly reset, these include...



... Ice Age Village
9/10E
 I managed to win Stonehenge! Maybe it’s an English thing, but I was stoked to win this in a challenge.




My Little Pony
10E/10E
I love the mine games at the moment, and the apple grabbing.




Littlest Pet Shop
10E/10E
I’ve got the dalmatians back! Happy me as they are adorable.




Remember I mentioned a new game last week, Panda Jam, which is so cute and amazing? Well my rating has gone down to 0. I played a few levels, picked my bonus items for the next level, clicked next and it said I needed to pay some money to carry on rescuing the panda babies for their mummy. I cancelled it, and tried again…and again…and again, until eventually I twigged that the game is not truly free like a lot of games I have, it makes you pay to play all the levels, which really sucks considering how other free games are just as good and manage to stay free, buy providing the opportunity to buy items if you so wish (I do wish, but I don’t have the funds to do so, so I don’t). So no more adorable baby pandas! Stupid game. Deleting it is necessary yet bittersweet.





Final Fantasy 10 by Square Enix
REPLAY! - Japanese Role Playing Game (RPG)
10E/10E
I haven’t played this for a few years - I was going to be continuing Final Fantasy 9 but I managed to delete the data on the virtual memory cards (playing on PS3 means there are virtual memory cards for PS1 & PS2 games). I couldn’t quite face restarting FF9 again, so I went for FF10. One of the female characters, Yuna (full name Yunaleska) should sound familiar as she is how I came up with Nayu & Nayuleska. I adored Yuna (I still do, mostly, although there are a few things that annoy this fangirl about her), and didn’t want to break any copyright laws so I changed the syllables around! So far Tidus has met Rikku, but that’s about it Which means I’m still in the dull part of the game, because the fun parts all involve, Yuna, of course!!!









Crafts
Secret project work #1: check out this cute brown and orange blanket - I just need to sew up the ends!  




Secret project work #2: I’ve received more yarn for this multi-red & orange blanket so I can crack on with finishing it! 




Secret project work #3: I started a fun blue & green blanket, which is on hold as I finish 





Fingerless gloves #1 I finished some more of these red ones, although I’ve yet to sew them up....Fingerless gloves #2 I tweeted my progress for these, yet again need to sew them up (I have to be in the mood for sewing, which being ill I wasn’t. I simply wanted to crochet)




So far I’m all on schedule to reveal my secret project at the end of this month! It’s a good one, I promise you that!