Confessions of a Reader

'Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.' – Mason Cooley


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Book Review // Jane, The Fox & Me by Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault

JaneTheFox&Me

Format: Hardcover
Published: 6th February 2014
Publisher: Walker Books UK
Pages: 104

This is a non-spoiler review. I’ve never reviewed a graphic novel before, I will do my best – although it will be a slightly shorter one than usual. Also, this is a part of my 2015 Reading Challenge.

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Synopsis:
Hélène has been inexplicably ostracized by the girls who were once her friends. Her school life is full of whispers and lies — Hélène weighs 216; she smells like BO. Her loving mother is too tired to be any help. Fortunately, Hélène has one consolation, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Hélène identifies strongly with Jane’s tribulations, and when she is lost in the pages of this wonderful book, she is able to ignore her tormentors. But when Hélène is humiliated on a class trip in front of her entire grade, she needs more than a fictional character to allow her to see herself as a person deserving of laughter and friendship.

Leaving the outcasts’ tent one night, Hélène encounters a fox, a beautiful creature with whom she shares a moment of connection. But when Suzanne Lipsky frightens the fox away, insisting that it must be rabid, Hélène’s despair becomes even more pronounced: now she believes that only a diseased and dangerous creature would ever voluntarily approach her. But then a new girl joins the outcasts’ circle, Géraldine, who does not even appear to notice that she is in danger of becoming an outcast herself. And before long Hélène realizes that the less time she spends worrying about what the other girls say is wrong with her, the more able she is to believe that there is nothing wrong at all.

This emotionally honest and visually stunning graphic novel reveals the casual brutality of which children are capable, but also assures readers that redemption can be found through connecting with another, whether the other is a friend, a fictional character or even, amazingly, a fox.

My Thoughts:
I heard about this graphic novel through Mercedes over at MercysBookishMusings on YouTube. Whilst browsing at the library during the week I saw it and knew I had to borrow it – I’m glad I did.

Firstly, I loved the presentation of this novel. The book itself is gorgeous, extremely good quality. The idea of the story encompassing Jane Eyre also intrigued me, as I love the original.

The artwork is lovely. Part of it is drawn in black and white and the other part in vibrant colours. I will let you discover for yourselves what this symbolises.

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The story is wonderful. It is so touching, one of the most touching graphic novels I’ve read. It is a story about loneliness, friendship, bullying and ultimately hope. The story would be relatable to any reader, young or old.

StarRating5 out of 5 stars


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Bloggers, Weaning & A Nutella Mug Cake! #LittleLoves

LittleLoves

Hello!

#LittleLoves is a linky held over at But Why Mummy Why. I thought it would be fun to join in with this once a week.

The idea behind the posts is that they are a weekly chance to remember the little things you’ve loved that join up to make your week. You don’t need to be a parenting blogger to join in, all bloggers are welcome!

I’m really sorry for my lack of photos this week – I was having a bit of a nightmare whilst writing this post.

Read

I haven’t been reading very much in the way of physical books lately. This has actually made me decide to venture out and purchase my own domain, freshen up the blog a bit and start posting different topics.

I have discovered some wonderful new blogs this week though.

youbabymemummy.com
I have found the blogging tips on this blog invaluable. It has been a lifesaver!

writelikenooneswatching.com
The recipes on this blog are just delicious!

Watched

YouTube! I recently discovered Sarah Barnes and have loved watching her grocery hauls, slimming world updates and cake tutorials. She deserves more subscribers!

Heard

I have been listening to the George Ezra album via Spotify this week, I really love his voice.

 

Made

I have actually made lots this week! I’m really pleased with myself. I have made some meals for Parker – Cauliflower, Apple and Carrot Purees all frozen and stored ready for the week ahead. I am going to be doing Pear & Sweet Potato over the weekend too.

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I made (and enjoyed) Cauliflower Rice for the first time this week too. Just followed a very simple recipe, it really was so easy – it turned out well. It’s really healthy, so definitely a winner for me.

Then I made a very, very naughty Nutella Mug Cake. It was sooooo delicious, and super easy to do. 1 min in the microwave! It had the perfect gooey brownie-ness to it. You can find the recipe I used here.

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Excuse the messiness – I was just too eager to eat it!

Wore

My new Primark jeans – for £15 you can’t go wrong.

And Lastly

I’ve downloaded the Annabel Karmel app to help me with weaning. Being a first time mum I really don’t have a clue, so thought this would be handy. It has been fantastic so far – well worth the £3.99. It has loads of recipes, and a shopping list function. The most useful feature for me has been the meal planner. You can follow a pre-made planner (great for first tastes) suggesting when to give breakfast and lunch, and what foods to give. You can also create your own meaning I can input recipes into a visible planner, preparing for the weeks ahead.

Also, I’m hoping to go solo with my blog in the next week or so. I have purchased a new domain and am currently looking at hosting etc (getting my head around it all!). I’m looking at new themes too, thinking of treating myself. I really want to refresh my blog and add a variety of posts, I feel this is the way forward for me.

Hope you’ve all had a good week, would love to know what you’ve been up to!


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Baby Rice, Apple Porridge & Mess! #WeaningWednesday

Hello!

So, last Wednesday I shared my weaning equipment here on the blog. I have since then tried Parker on two different foods.

Firstly, Aptamil Organic Baby Rice.

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The first day we tried this he seemed to enjoy it and couldn’t wait to get it off the spoon. I thought it had a strange consistency, and worried that I actually didn’t make it properly although I followed the instructions. Nevertheless, he ate it.

Day Two – he wouldn’t touch the stuff! Was not interested at all, closed mouth and looked away – totally unimpressed. I decided that maybe he wasn’t quite ready, so left it a couple of days before we tried again. I also now think that he just didn’t like the taste – it is very bland.


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The next time we tried – after his lunchtime milk feed (as we had done the previous times) – Organix Fruity Apple Porridge. This seemed to have a much better consistency, it looked like a very smooth porridge (I added a little more milk after I took the photo above). Parker loved it! He kept wanting more off the spoon each time I offered it, in the end I had to take the bowl away and distract him with Sophie the Giraffe.

I am going to try one more day of the porridge, and then (all being well) move on to veggie first tastes from the Ella’s Kitchen First Tastes book.

I am looking into what veggies can actually be frozen, and still taste nice – does any one have any tips or advice?

 


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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted buy The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they post a new topic and invite everyone to share their lists.

Top10

Top Ten All Time Favourite Authors

I actually found this weeks TTT really difficult. I am a mood reader, so only pick up books when I fancy reading them. This means that although I may have really enjoyed a book by an author, I may not read another one by them for a few months, or even sometimes a year!

When the following authors release books, or I see one in a bookstore, charity shop or at the library I know that I am going to enjoy it. Although I may not have read all of their works – the ones that I have read I loved!

  1. Sophie Kinsella – my go-to chick lit author. I have such good memories of reading I’ve Got your Number whilst sipping a cocktail in Mexico. All of her books are fun and make perfect beach/holiday reads!
  2. Sarah J Maas – only discovered in the last year or so. I love the Throne of Glass series, it really got me back into fantasy. I need to get on to Heir of Fire now.
  3. M J Arlidge – also writes Silent Witness (a UK crime drama). His books are just so easy to read, gripping from the first page. I have The Doll’s House on my kindle waiting for me to read it.
  4. J K Rowling – do I need to explain?! I am ashamed to say that I haven’t read The Casual Vacancy or The Robert Galbraith books.
  5. Louise O’Neill – a relatively new addition. I read Only Ever Yours this year and loved it, seriously loved it. Even though this was a debut novel I’m really excited to see what Asking for It is like, due to be published in September 2015.
  6. Roald Dahl – a childhood favourite. I still love all of his books now, I hope Parker will one day too.
  7. Sara Gruen – I have only read Water for Elephants but it has stuck with me since I read it a few years back. I am desperate to read some more of her work as I am sure I will love it.
  8. Lucy Diamond – I picked up one of Lucy’s books in January this year. Again, the perfect chick lit author and perfect for reading at the beach. I am so pleased that there are so many more books to read.
  9. Neil Gaiman – Now, I have only read three books by Neil Gaiman. Two children’s books and a YA/Adult Novel. I enjoyed all three of them, and I’m sure that when I manage to pick up some more I will feel the same.
  10. Brandon Sanderson – I read Steelheart last year and really, really loved it! A fantastic fantasy book that I read in a few sittings. I have Book 1 in the Mistborn Trilogy on my kindle and am yet to read it, but I am sure that I will love it.

Happy Reading!

Stacie🙂

 


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Book Review // The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld

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Format: Paperback
Published: 12th March 2015
Publisher: Phoenix (Orion Publishing Group Ltd)
Pages: 238

This is a non-spoiler review.

Blurb:

A wondrous and redemptive debut novel, set in a stark world where evil and magic coincide, The Enchanted combines the empathy and lyricism of Alice Sebold with the dark, imaginative power of Stephen King.

“This is an enchanted place. Others don’t see it, but I do.”

The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison, viewed through the eyes of a death row inmate who finds escape in his books and in re-imagining life around him, weaving a fantastical story of the people he observes and the world he inhabits. Fearful and reclusive, he senses what others cannot. Though bars confine him every minute of every day, he marries magical visions of golden horses running beneath the prison, heat flowing like molten metal from their backs, with the devastating violence of prison life.

Two outsiders venture here: a fallen priest, and the Lady, an investigator who searches for buried information from prisoners’ pasts that can save those soon-to-be-executed. Digging into the background of a killer named York, she uncovers wrenching truths that challenge familiar notions of victim and criminal, innocence and guilt, honor and corruption-ultimately revealing shocking secrets of her own.

Beautiful and transcendent, The Enchanted reminds us of how our humanity connects us all, and how beauty and love exist even amidst the most nightmarish reality.

First Sentence:
This is an enchanted place. Others don’t see it but I do.

My Thoughts:
I just absolutely adored this book. It was – for me – absolutely beautiful. Dark, poetic, intense and thought-provoking. I’ve not read a book quite like this in a long time, if ever.

Firstly, this is Rene Denfeld’s non fiction debut – which astounds me. The way this book is written suggests an author with many, many previous works. I didn’t know what to expect when starting this book, it took me a few pages to really get sucked into the story. It has a writing style that I’m not used to, you need to savour the words. The prose is so beautifully written, every single word flowed with such ease. It is truly stunning.

The Enchanted explores many different themes. Here are just a few that I picked up on whilst reading – identity, loss, love, crime, reality of prison and death row, imagination, redemption, longing, understanding and being accepted. 

I really enjoyed the POV the story is told from. Choosing a death row inmate to tell the story, as opposed to an outsider, was a brave and brilliant decision. It is unlike anything I’ve read before. I found my feelings and values completely contrasting throughout the book because of this narrator. I felt absolutely horrified in some respects, and then I found myself feeling sorry for him – even though I knew that morally he had done something wrong. This, in my eyes, is the work of a great author.

The character ‘stories’ were so intriguing. Each of them were like real people, they have been created and moulded into people that I felt I knew. The pain, heartache and suffering in all of them was so heartbreakingly raw – it mustered up so many different emotions in me.  

I researched Rene Denfeld and found out that she is in fact a death-penalty investigator herself. What an amazing insight into the world of crime, death row and the people who are considered monsters. It really gave the book that extra ‘edge’ for me.

A deep and beautifully written book, that has so many underlying messages. Raw, real and edgy. I will definitely be adding this to my favourites shelf.

StarRating5 out of 5 stars

Website: renedenfeld.com
Twitter: @renedenfeld


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Lunch Dates, Bluewater & Lots of Sun! #LittleLoves

LittleLoves

Hello!

#LittleLoves is a linky held over at But Why Mummy Why. I thought it would be fun to join in with this once a week.

The idea behind the posts is that they are a weekly chance to remember the little things you’ve loved that join up to make your week. You don’t need to be a parenting blogger to join in, all bloggers are welcome!

I’m a little bit late this week, been another busy one! I really must learn to schedule these posts.

Read

I have just finished Stardust by Neil Gaiman for my new blog feature, Random Reads. It was actually a re-read for me but I enjoyed it so much more the second time around. I’m now reading The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld – it is beautifully written and I’m really enjoying it so far. I aim to pick up some of my Penguin Little Black Classics afterwards.

Watched

I have been loving Alan Carr Chatty Man and catching up with Hollyoaks. I’m aiming to start watching The 100 as it has just become available on Amazon Prime. To be honest, I don’t really watch much TV – I prefer reading and discovering new blogs. I have rediscovered GoggleBox though – a guilty pleasure of mine!

Heard

Parker laughing, it truly makes my day. He is such a happy, contented baby – I feel extremely lucky.

Made

I have started to make purees for Parker. I had a couple of Parsnips in the fridge that needed to be used so thought I’d give it a go. Easy and totally do-able, I’m really hoping to make him as much as I can myself. I’m aiming to use the Ella’s Kitchen First Foods CookBook, it has great recipes from first tastes to 12 months plus. It also says about giving baby a new veggie taste, every day, for the first two weeks – apparently this is meant to develop their taste for savoury foods as opposed to a sweet tooth.

On the topic of the Ella’s Kitchen CookBook – we actually made a meal from it this week to try for ourselves. We adapted certain steps, because Parker isn’t eating with us yet. I have to say it was absolutely delicious! We decided to try the Jammin’ Jamaican Fish Curry – yummy.

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Wore

We took a trip to Bluewater this week as it was my Birthday last weekend and I had some money to spend. I got a gorgeous new raincoat from Superdry, it has a festival chick vibe about it – I love it. I wore it a few days this week, it is light and totally waterproof – great for those unexpected showers! I also got some new books (of course), a few bits from Lush and a couple of Pandora charms, I am very lucky.

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And Lastly

I had two lovely lunch dates this week. I went over to a friends house for some yummy lasagne, with Parker and a few other friends. It was so lovely to see everyone and relax together. They haven’t seen Parker for a while, so were rather surprised at how much he has changed!

I then met up with two of my very good friends and work colleagues, and went for lunch at Wyatt & Jones – a lovely, seaside restaurant serving British food. I didn’t take Parker with me this time – it was nice not to have to worry about feeding and changing bums whilst eating, although I did miss him.

We also enjoyed the lovely sunshine this week and took a walk along the seafront. I love living by the seaside, I cannot wait to spend time here with Parker when he is older, building sandcastles and paddling!

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Hope you’ve all had a good week, would love to know what you’ve been up to!