This would have been a useful reference guide at the start of the series when all the different types of voyants were a bit confusing! I do like in-woThis would have been a useful reference guide at the start of the series when all the different types of voyants were a bit confusing! I do like in-world books in general and Jaxon's snobbishness towards the different orders comes through in the tone. Not worth reading if you're not going to read the series though....more
Spot the Difference is about an important subject for teens that often gets overlooked in fiction; acne. It’s something that so many of us go throughSpot the Difference is about an important subject for teens that often gets overlooked in fiction; acne. It’s something that so many of us go through yet characters in books have great skin, the most they get seems to be an odd spot. Avery has severe acne, so much so that she’s been seeing a specialist about it for years. Her mum’s been holding out putting her on medication due to side effects, but there’s a new drug trial on the horizon. What happens when Avery is freed from her skin?
It’s not as shallow as it seems because, of course, Avery learns an important lesson. But your appearance is something that affects you a whole lot, even if deep down we know it shouldn’t. Plus Juno gives you a great World Book Day costume for future years in the finale!...more
Kindred Spirits, follows Elena as she joins The Line for the new Star Wars movie. Turns out the line is only three people long and she really does havKindred Spirits, follows Elena as she joins The Line for the new Star Wars movie. Turns out the line is only three people long and she really does have a weak bladder. The story spans over 4 days of queuing and sleeping rough, for a film you can buy tickets for online, but that’s not the point. It’s a cute celebration of fandom and nerdiness, and also touches a little on the feelings of both sides when it comes to the subject of “fake geek girls”....more
Periene’s mission is to provide books that can be read in one sitting, and I often love this short burst of literature, but in this case I wanted morePeriene’s mission is to provide books that can be read in one sitting, and I often love this short burst of literature, but in this case I wanted more. It does have that parable feel without me quite not knowing what the parable was. The beginning felt like a tale of slavery, later on perhaps it is a message on messing with nature, or is it about the superficial nature of humans? The overriding theme is evolution, a reminder of our beginnings. I don’t know, maybe it’s all of the above, but that’s a lot to fit into 121 pages.
I did enjoy reading it though. The prose is easy to read but at times unnerving. Teaching the gorillas human etiquette highlights how ridiculous some things are. It becomes quite surreal when we meet the other animals, it seems almost believable to try and force the evolution of apes, but taking giraffes and lions to a dinner party?
The performance of the savannah is quite disturbing really. Here are animals who have been evolved so to speak, to be intelligent and cultured, yet they must play out their origins, a reminder of how fragile their life is, how some of their peers could quite easily eat them.
I liked the summer camp setting which took me back to a nostalgic time when read books about pony camp and dreamed about being sent to America for theI liked the summer camp setting which took me back to a nostalgic time when read books about pony camp and dreamed about being sent to America for the summer. Yet this summer camp is hard work, with most of Amber’s time spent trying to look after the kids and desperately trying to get her mum’s attention. She feels Bumface Kevin is always getting in the way.
Amber’s mum is a recovering alcoholic and the book explores what that means to a child who has often had an absent mother. She remembers times when her mother couldn’t take her to school or her dad had to cover for her behaviour. Even now she’s sober, she still have to be selfish to keep herself alive. It’s still hard for both of them, but Amber learns how to be a more accepting person by the end of the book.
Whilst I preferred Am I Normal Yet? on a story and character level, How Hard Can Love Be? does a much better job of including feminist issues without them being an info dump which I found in her previous novel. We learn about raunch culture and the idea of a Female Chauvinist Pig through one of the characters and also how feminism can help men escape gender stereotypes.
I really liked the fact that the idea of a nice guy being boring is explored. So many novels focus on troublesome relationships, and women do claim to love a bad boy persona. Yet finding someone good, kind and trustworthy, who won’t mess you around is actually a good thing. I probably would have scoffed a bit at the romance when I was younger, but it is good to see a writer showing how relationships don’t have to be all drama.
Whilst this book does contain characters from Am I Normal Yet? it can be read independently. There are a few references to Evie that could be considered spoilers, so if you want to reads both they are best read in order. There's also plenty of humour in amongst the serious issues; Holly generally writes really likeable charaters....more
Like many books on a niche subject, Severed explores heads from different angles, using history, culture and science. It’s split into fairly long chapLike many books on a niche subject, Severed explores heads from different angles, using history, culture and science. It’s split into fairly long chapters on Shrunken Heads, Trophy Heads (war), Deposed Heads (execution), Framed Heads (art), Potent Heads (religion), Bone Heads (skulls), Dissected Heads (medical) and Living Heads. It seems there’s a long-standing fascination with the human head once it’s been removed from the body.
Obviously it covers the well-known guillotine and the French obsession with it during the revolution. It’s worrying to think it was created to reduce the spectacle; an efficient machine to remove head but to reduce the gore and horror that could be seen, and revelled in, by the crowds. I didn’t know that Madame Tussaud was an actual person and her original wax museum was filled with portraits cast from heads fresh from the guillotine.
It does serve as a reminder of the awfulness of Europeans throughout history (and I’m including those who colonised America in this, they weren't innocent either). From creating an artificial demand for shrunken heads, so much so that people (or sloths!) were killed to order, to the degrading way bodies of the poor were treated, this is a side of history many would like to forget.
We hear a lot about the Victorian obsession with classification of the natural world but not that it extended to the human race as well. Thousands of skulls were collected and studied in an aim to work out what made some people better than others. To classify races and keep a record of indigenous peoples practically wiped out by the rabid colonisation of the world.
I found the most uncomfortable reading was that surrounding the experimentation on recently guillotined heads to see if they were still alive in there. There’s something really unsettling about this, and if it were true, what horrible tortures were committed during the period.
On a more positive note, it redresses some of the bad rep of medical students, showing a huge amount of respect, and even tenderness, for their cadavers. There are no tales of pranks, but shows how people come to terms with cutting up a human being, how it’s not always an easy thing to live with, even if the end goal is something worthy.
It’s a grisly but fascinating look at human history, I was probably less engaged in the parts about saints and the severed head in art. Not to say there weren’t interesting bits but I felt these chapters were too long for the material contained. There’s a fair bit of repetition across the chapters and the final one, “Living Heads” seemed to be a bit of a mish-mash of some areas already covered as well as a little bit on cryogenics and scientific experimentation. ...more
A lot of what’s covered in Modern Romance applies to other areas of modern life. Text messaging is damaging our ability to conduct spontaneous conversA lot of what’s covered in Modern Romance applies to other areas of modern life. Text messaging is damaging our ability to conduct spontaneous conversations, people don’t want to speak on the phone and we’d much rather do everything over the internet, thanks very much.
The books has plenty of statistics and looks at how dating has changed, just over a few generations. We no longer marry the boy next door, or the just good enough partner, instead we’re searching for a soul mate and over a much wider geographical area. Much of this has been thanks to the rise of the internet and mobile technology.
The section on romance in Japan was the most interesting. Birth rates have dropped significantly in recent years and the government is worried that the Japanese race will die out, or at least they’ll have an elderly population with no one to look after them. Younger Japanese generations are just not interested in dating or sex any more. The book briefly looks at some of the cultural reasons behind this as well as what the government is doing to help. I could probably read a whole book on this.
There’s a fair bit of padding and repetition of points, but I imagine if you were reading this in snippets, this wouldn’t be much of a problem. The cover states that it’s hilarious but I’d say it’s mildly amusing, with much of Aziz’s personality coming through, especially in his mission to feed his tum tum wherever he may be researching.
I reckon if you’re internet dating at the moment, you should definitely read this, if only to make you aware of your own behaviour, but also maybe why other people are doing the things they do. It’s also a bit of an eye-opener for anyone who’s been out of the dating scene for a while, it’s not pretty out there. I can’t imagine having to rely on something like Tinder to find a date and feel very fortunate to have found my soul mate having read this....more