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Thursday, 29 January 2015

Stardust Stables #2: Wildfire by Sable Hamilton (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E semi-short & sweet review)

  May 2013, Stripes, 160 pages, Paperback, Review copy 

Summary from Little Tiger Press
Welcome to Stardust Stables – only daredevil riders need apply! Stardust is a stables with a difference… Set in the Colorado mountains, it’s home to the super-talented kids who are stunt riders for movie stars!

Alisa and Diabolo have been chosen to work as stunt doubles on a big adventure movie being shot in Colorado. But the minute Alisa begins work, her co-rider, Lucy, seems to have it in for her. Things go from bad to worse on set, and all is not well at Stardust either – Lizzie’s ex has put in a claim for fifty per cent of the Stardust horses, and Diabolo is on his list…

Nayu's thoughts
I liked seeing Stardust Stables from a different point of view to book one (see suggested reads). Alisa is fun to be with. I felt so sorry for her because due to her rival she got blamed for incidents which were awful yet not her fault. Thankfully everything becomes right in the end, but only after a lot of anxiety for Alisa, who finds that the fire stunts she has to perform are the least worrying part of her current job. 

Find out more on Sable also known as Jenny Oldfield's website.

Suggested read
Be sure to read book 1 in the series, A Star Is Born (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Nayu's News #168 Expect the Unexpected, Reading & Writing Mojo, Successful Holiday

Feeling bright like Holo from the anime Spice and Wolf
Hi all! I hadn't expected to have some down time this week, but, as it says in today's title, always expect the unexpected. Monday I became unwell, which continued through to Tuesday, unfortunately resulting in me being unable to attend my grandfather's funeral. The positive result of that is that thanks to the wonders of modern technology and several people living abroad who were unable to attend the funeral was filmed, so I will get to see it soon. I spent the afternoon focusing on resting. I can happily say I'm on the mend.

You never know who you'll make smile
Whenever I look at my blog I scan which posts are the most popular (see the bottom of the page). When Nayu's News #35 showed up, I jumped to have a peek and it ended up that I gave myself advice which I'd needed to hear but had forgotten I'd given. I love it when that happens!

Books, glorious books!
You'll be pleased to hear that my reading and writing mojo is back. Energy permitting I can be found curled up on the sofa with a good book (haven't read a 'bad' book for ages).
It's a wonderful thing to see my mostly grumpy Muse so annoyed - I'm looking forward to making her smile!
 Writing wise Muse has pushed through the fog of grief & is now tapping her feet a lot. I'm going to let her loose this afternoon after giving her inspiration from some anime episodes.

Speaking of anime, I've taken up my subscription with Crunchyroll again. I wanted to watch a few anime but couldn't easily find them online. Since I knew they were on Crunchyroll, I tried watching it for free. Oye! The frequency of ads had me dashing to resubscribe at once. I'm sure the ads are put that way on purpose! It's £5 a month, which isn't too dear, not considering how much anime I watch. I'm loving rewatching favourite series like:

Turns out I liked music idol anime a long way back!
Bodacious Space Pirates
An anime filled with oodles of comedy
and delving into new ones whose titles elude me right now but which are awesome! I'd love to hear if you subscribe to any online channels. Video streaming is certainly a wonderful invention!

A break is always welcome
Today is the last day of what has been a successful holiday. Due to illness on 2 occasions I didn't quite do all that I had planned, but I'm all relaxed and ready to face the stack of email in my inbox when I reach work tomorrow. I've worked a bit more on the website for Nayu's Crochet Dreams, and will be setting up an Etsy account soon (now that I learnt that joining a community isn't mandatory. I will in time, but for now I won't).

I hope you have made it safely to this halfway point to the weekend - not long to go now!
Go unleash your creative side!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Blog Tour: Review, Guest Blog Post & Competition Suzy P, Forever Me by Karen Saunders (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)

 January 2015, Templar, 352 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Themes: friendship, school life, bullying (including phone bullying), families, lies,

Content: oodles of humour and oh no moments, tissues needed

Summary from Karen's website (it's not yet up on Templar's)
Suzy P’s made a promise she can’t keep. Kind of a big promise. To her entire school!

Why, oh why, did she say The Drifting would be performing at the Collinsbrook fundraiser? As if trying to sort out that mess wasn’t enough, she also needs to make sure Dad’s birthday bash isn’t a total disaster – especially as he’s already showing signs of a mid-life crisis…

Suzy has her best mates helping out, but will she be able to pull off TWO parties of a lifetime?

Nayu's thoughts
With only a dim recollection due to a poor memory that I loved the other 2 books in Karen's Suzy P series, I jumped at the chance to be part of the blog tour for this 3rd book. Once I began reading I started grinning at the book because I then remembered just how much I love Suzy's crazy life. Suzy doesn't always make the best choices - certain huge lies did just fall out of her mouth - but she means well and has a good heart. She wasn't so wise to keep the bullying to herself, not really, but I promise it gets sorted eventually. I feel for Suzy when life continually gets worse, just when both she and I don't think it can. That's why her story is charming, she ends up with a load of unbelievable stuff going on, which you can guarantee eventually irons out. Well, that incident with the school fire alarm can't exactly be put right but distance will make that a thing of the past. Which Suzy probably will remember forever...

Suzy's books aren't just about herself. Not that any book is just about the main character, but I happen to be fond of a lot of Suzy's friends and family. Millie, Suzy's best friend, is a sugar addict. Watching her go through a detox just to get an ipad was a bit insane (not least because I intensely dislike anything Apple related). I felt both sorry for Mille, and in awe of her bravery to follow her mother's wishes. I was surprised at the alternative she took to jelly babies, simply because I thought sugar substitutes were still sort of like sugar. The effect of the detox is hilarious, and a total joy to read.

Next up on my favourite characters is Harry, Suzy's sister (not a brother). Harry is quite a prankster, whose antics make me cringe on the behalf of whoever is on the receiving end and smile at Harry's genius. Be warned: if you let a sibling read this book (which they so should) you could well end up having a lot of mishaps on film, should they go and copy what Harry does.

Last but not least because they are 3 characters, is Suzy's older sister Amber and her twin girls, Chichi & Uni. Those aren't their full names either. At first I was amused, but by the end they seemed entirely normal. The poo on the carpet incident cracked me up because I hear of babies who managed to get themselves & everything around them covered in poo from time to time. I better state now I don't have any children and don't have younger siblings so I haven't personally experienced this level of torture. I like the girls as smurfs! Amber, I really love Amber. She is what you could call an air-head, but the lovable kind. She lives in her own little world (like me), she mostly sees the good in situations (like me), often misses the point even when it is spelled out (sort of like me), and every now and then surprises her family by saying/doing something rather sweet, especially at the end (I like to think I do this). I don't share her numerous terms of endearment for those she loves, but it's cute to read.

Find out more on Karen's website where you can read chapter 1 for free!

Suggested read
This is a no-brainer but you must read book 1, Me, Suzy P (Children's, 9 years +, 8/10E - I suspect on rereading this the grade will change)

and book 2, Suzy P and the Trouble with Three (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)
 Guest Blog Post: Which Suzy P Character Are you?

Nayu here! It's with great pleasure to present the following fun quiz created by Karen - I ended up as Suzy, which was a little disappointing as I am more in my own world like Amber and a bit crazy hyper like Millie, but still a good result as Suzy's cool too. Time to pass you over to Karen!

Picture by Neil Griffiths

*sounds the exciting news klaxon* There’s a new Suzy P book available RIGHT NOW! The third in the Suzy series, Suzy P, Forever Me, has just been released. This time, Suzy’s opened her big mouth and promised everyone in her school that super-famous band The Drifting will come and play at the Collinsbrooke fundraiser. Uh oh. And if that wasn’t enough to contend with she’s stuck helping plan her Dad’s surprise birthday party too. Just to make matters even worse, both parties are happening on the same day…

The Suzy books are stories about mates, boyfriends, family and finding yourself in ridiculous situations, and to celebrate the release of this latest title, we’ve got this fun quiz for you so you can find out which Suzy character you’re most like!

  1. What do you like to do for fun?
A Hang out with your mates
B Leap around on your bed singing along to your favourite music
C Read gossip magazines
D Secretly film your family

  1. What do you think about your siblings?
A Ideally, they’d disappear
B They’re total argumentative drama queens
C I love them, they’re my favourite people
D They’re there to be tortured as much as possible

  1. Which most describes your style?
A Anything that blends in with the crowd and isn’t a dress
B Bright colours and individual
C Designer wear if possible, modelled on celebs
D Jeans and t-shirts, absolutely nothing girly

  1. What’s your favourite food or drink?
A Hot chocolate with marshmallows
B Jelly babies
C Whatever my favourite celebrity is eating
D Anything and everything

  1. What do you think about your boyfriend?
A He’s fab, although more affection in public would be nice
B He’s amazing, although he eats ALL THE TIME. And never stops playing football
C I love my little snoochy-poochy snuggly-wuggly pup to pieces!
D Boyfriend? Yuck, I don’t have one. Boys are gross!

  1. What’s your favourite animal?
A Anything you don’t have to exercise
B Irish Wolfhound
C Chihuahua or unicorn
D Rat

Now tot up your answers…

Mostly A’s
You’re SUZY!
The heroine of the stories, you always seem to find yourself in daft situations and your mouth often goes off before your brain can engage. Luckily you’ve got a great group of mates around you to help you out when you get yourself in these pickles!

Mostly B’s
You’re MILLIE!
Suzy’s best friend. You’re a great mate, and very loyal, as well as being high energy and super enthusiastic about everything. Plus you’ve always got sweets to hand.

Mostly C’s
You’re AMBER!
Suzy’s ditzy older sister. You’re obsessed with celebrity culture and live in your own delightful fairy tale world. You’ve got a heart of gold, though.

Mostly D’s
You’re HARRY!
Suzy’s younger sister, who’s dedicated her life to annoying her older sisters. You love magic, movies and aren’t really interested in boys yet. Tormenting your siblings is much more fun!

Book 1, 2, and 3
Suzy P, Forever Me; Suzy P and the Trouble With Three and Me, Suzy P by Karen Saunders are available to buy online and from all good bookshops. If you’d like to find out more about the books or the author, do visit Karen online at, ‘like’ her on Facebook at or follow Karen on Twitter @writingkaren. Suzy tweets too, @suzyputtock, so don’t forget to follow her, too!

Competition Time! 

Win this!
 Nayu here! The lovely people of Hot Key Books are hosting a fun competition to win a copy of Suzy P, Forever Me. This is for UK & Ireland residents only, and ends 12pm GMT Sunday 1st February 2015.

Tweet Suzy @suzyputtock to let us know what your favourite animal is using the hashtag #SuzyPQuiz and the best answer will win a copy of the book, all cute animal pictures welcome! Good luck!

Monday, 26 January 2015

What are YOU reading? #253

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.


Best Kind of Broken by Chelsea Fine
Young Adult/New Adult
(Romantic parts aside this is a heart-wrenching read about a girl with an abusive mother who becomes ever so strong.)

The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk by Glenda Millard and Stephen Michael King
Children's, 9 years +
(À charming read covering so many life topics including illness, adoption, loss of a young child, depression...)

Rules for Riders: Best Friends. Deadly Rivals by Natalie Scott
Young Adult
( Bebe's life is full of surprises that I had no idea about!)

Chestnut Hill: Making Strides by Lauren Brooke
Young Adult
(Dealing with an abused horse is no walk in the park as Malory discovers...)

Saving Quinton by Jessica Sorensen
New Adult
(Ever so much a realistic read regarding drug addiction...)

Many books, just not finished any this week!


Medical drama, English version
(Brilliant episode involving Connie learning what her daughter Grace could end up like if Connie doesn't find a way to connect with her.) 

Holby City
Medical drama, English version
(I know it was a good episode, I just can't remember what happened!) 

Waterloo Road
School drama, English version
(Back to its wonderful melodramatic self with a plot twist I didn't see coming among the more obvious ones.)

REWATCH! - Anime, Japanese version
(I vaguely remember dreaming/daydreaming about when Mizuki dances the song Precious this week.)

Pretty Rhythm Aurora Dream
REWATCH! - Anime, Japanese version
(I know Mion is stuck up at the beginning but she does really care about Aira & Rhythm...) 

Pretty Rhythm Rainbow Live
REWATCH! - Anime, Japanese version
(The episode where Beru/Bell has to fight her mother to keep on doing Prism shows makes me well up whenever I watch it!)

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic: Season 4
Anime, English version
(Twilight is wonderful as a princess! She has wings, but is her usual graceful long as its not when she's learning how to fly!)

Family comedy, English version
(A slice of life show filled with laughs...)

Prison Break: Season 3 & 4
Thriller, English version
(I'm on the final season, and oh boy are the surprises coming thick and fast!) 

Top Gear
Car show, English version
(I love the specials which focus on bizarre challenged across the world. This is a hilarious show, which only misses the top grade due to a tiny bit of mature content...)

The Ugly Duckling and Me
Animated film, English version
(This is much sweeter than I expected it to be!) 

Mirror, Mirror
Fantasy film, English version
(A brilliant version of Snow White's tale, which I'm finally getting into, some parts weren't to my taste but some of the costumes were amazing! One to rewatch.)

Help I'm A Fish!
Animated film, English version
(A bit scary in places, but the three children who turn into fish learn to help each other and make new friends. You'll need tissues for the seahorse!)

Cynthia et la Rhythm de la Vie
Anime, French version
(Watching Cynthia succeed in the competition is brilliant...not so brilliant is the sabotage which goes on from the jealous girls.) 

Winx: Season 2
Anime, French version
(Nearly at the part which Bloom meets the pixi/mini fee [fairy in French] Lockette!) 

Angelic Layer
REWATCH! - Anime, Japanese version
(I want to have/be one of the battle dolls almost as much as I want to be in the world of Aikatsu, Pripara & Pretty Rhythm. Happy sigh!)

Games, craft and more
As ever this week I've been playing and leveling up on the usual 3 10E/10E games...

...Ice Age Village where I got some cute raccoons, Littlest Pet Shop where I'm wishing I could exchange bits (money) for bling (what you need to get the special pets which I refuse to pay for so I'm having to save ever so slowly) & My Little Pony where I got a second pony who is part of the Wonderbolts!. 

I've made a lot of progress on the secret project I can't tell you about! I've also started this pink and cream crochet blanket...(picture following soon)

...and continued with this cute bubblegum coloured blanket. (picture following soon)

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Nayu's News #167: My 1st ever Guest Blog Post on Fat Fox Books!

"SQUEEEEE!" A mega happy excited Nayu
Squeee! In scheduling up a forthcoming review for the sort of new publisher Fat Fox Books I remembered that I'd written a guest blog post for them all about my blog. This was in November, and I somehow didn't link to it here on NRC, so here's the link for you now! My book feature post on Fat Fox.
"Squee!" A relatively calm happy Nayu

Saturday, 24 January 2015

National Readathon Day 2015!

Welcome to National Readathon Day! Wondering what it's all about? In a nutshell the aim is to get people all over the world reading for 4 hours from 12pm in their time zone. There's fundraising involved to help keep people interested in reading, more information can be found about this extremely new celebration day on The National Book Foundation website.

The Nayu bubble is a wonderful place to be!
Knowing that I live in a bit of a bubble by not always having my finger on the pulse of the latest book news (mostly due to the need to rest lots for my health and my personal enjoyment of 'switching off' from the world) I learnt about today from a mattress publicist. Yes it's a bit random, but I'm thankful to Casper, a new mattress company in the United States who have a mattress that I quote 'ships right to your door in a box the size of a mini fridge'. I don't benefit in any way by providing links to their site, nor have I tried their mattress out since I'm in the UK, but I love the concept of a mattress being that small when it arrives at my house. Maybe one day Casper will make it across the pond... 
I can see my magical cross-the-big-pond carrier doves winging their way with this sort of small box to me, or even imagine it bobbing about in the ocean...

Sorry for getting distracted! Casper contacted me because, as part of National Readathon Day, they are asking bloggers what books they have on their nightstand. Now, since I regularly state which books I read each week in the What Are You Reading? meme on Monday, I'm doing something a little different. I could talk about my nightly reading routine, but I can't. I don't have one. 
Say what???
Before you glare at me, these days my body runs out of energy way before bedtime, so reading is out of the question. And, even when I can muster the energy, reading before bedtime for me is fairly fatal in the sense that I'd lose track of time and finish the book...
I'd burn lots of candles!
...leaving myself too tired to function the next day.
Most days I go to work, sadly without a squirrel friend and such a funky outfit.
 I could talk about reading during the day, which I do a lot, 
 but that doesn't involve a bed unless I'm ill and need to rest in my room.

So instead I'm talking about my morning routine. 
Ah, reading over hot chocolate or herbal tea!
No, not that kind of morning reading! Early morning, before 6 am. 
In winter it's early and the stars are still out. In summer the sun can be awake before me.
 Sometimes I'm able to fit in a few hours of reading before I start my day. This happens when I wake super early - 3am starts are not uncommon for me, due to unconsciously worrying about something, or more frequently my pain waking me up. While I usually reach for anime to distract me at times like that, first thing after waking I often want as few of the 5 senses to be used as possible. Anime involves listening and watching and, if it's my usual non-English anime, engaging brain to translate the language used. I can't always handle being that much awake when my body simply wants to sleep but can't. 

Now this is an awesome 'bed' to sleep in!
Reading books means I can go at my own pace, I know that lots of bright colours and cheery music won't disrupt my super slow way of waking up.
When I wake that early, I frequently feel like an overtired toddler.

It's wonderful to snuggle under the covers with my favourite toys and discover new awesome reads.
Not quite in bed but the cute toy is there!
Books are magical, hugely distracting and it's kind of cool knowing that there won't be loads of people reading a book at 3am, since many are snoozing away, having their heads filled with dreams hopefully influenced by the books they read before bed. 
Books are one of many things which influence what we dream each night. I prefer peaceful dreams! Sadly the books which influence my dreams tend to be the scary ones...

I think promoting National Readathon Day 2015 is important because books open doors to new worlds, they can be a thrilling escape from a dull day or provide comfort when you're going through 'stuff'. Books are great at bed time, in the mornings, and in the day.
Where will your book take you?
Please feel free to share when and what you read, whether before you fall asleep or after you wake up, and all the times between!
Books rule!