Brief blogs for busy bees

Recent Posts

Blog tour: Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi

Blog tour: Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi

I’m so pleased to be welcoming debut author Aminah Mae Safi to the blog today, to talk about how she finds inspiration. Before I pass you over, I’m going to share a little bit more about Not the Girls You’re Looking For, just in case you […]

Review: S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett

Review: S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett

‘I think I might be a murderer. Although, as I didn’t mean to kill, I suppose it was manslaughter, so technically I would be a ‘manslaughterer’, although I don’t think that’s a word.’  I finished S.T.A.G.S way back towards the end of April, but it’s almost impossible […]

Review: Make More Noise! anthology

Review: Make More Noise! anthology

The Make More Noise! anthology was released to celebrate the 100th anniversary of (some) women getting the right to vote, but that doesn’t mean that all of the stories are politically focused.

In fact, it’s a rather conflicting collection: some of the stories are set in the present day, while some are set many years ago; some of them are set in England, while some of them are set in different countries (and one is set in a mystical realm). The settings are often ambiguous, making it impossible to know which time period you’re supposed to be reading until the story is almost at a close. I found it disorienting as an adult reader, so I can’t imagine how the children this collection is aimed at figured things out!

Here are my thoughts on each of the ten stories individually, with the rating for the collection as a whole being the average rating:

Out For The Count by Sally Nicholls – 5/5: I hadn’t heard of the 1911 census boycott before, but that’s what this short story focuses upon. Peeking into an unknown aspect of the suffrage movement was a lot of fun, so Out For The Count was probably my favourite story of the entire collection.

The Bug Hunters by M.G. Leonard – 2/5: A girl is bullied for being fascinated by bugs. Had a nice moral about appreciating who your true friends are but I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style.

All Things Bright and Beautiful by Patrice Lawrence – 3/5: Based on a true story, which I appreciated, but it felt unfinished and a little bit bland. This was the most forgettable story in the collection, so I can’t really say anything else about it!

The Green-Hearted Girl by Kiran Millwood Hargrave – 3/5: I’ve never been a huge fan of magical realism, but I loved Hargrave’s The Girl of Ink and Stars. Her writing style doesn’t really work in short story form. There are too many aspects that are unexplored, which leaves the reader with a lot of questions, but if she ever decided to expand this story I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

Tea and Jam by Katherine Woodfine – 5/5: A girl explores the idea of freedom after her employer’s friend teaches her about libraries. The bookworm in me was drawn to the protagonist – even though it was left on a cliffhanger and felt unfinished, I was absorbed and couldn’t resist giving it such a high rating.

On Your Bike by Jeanne Willis – 2/5: A mother decides to cycle around the world, only cutting a few corners on the way. This was told through diary entries, which I liked, but they’re far too close together at the beginning and extremely spaced out at the end, making the story feel rushed and hard to follow.

The Tuesday Afternoon Ghost by Ella Risbridger – 1/5: My least favourite story in the collection. The voices are unrealistic – the adults sound like children, while the child protagonist sounds ancient – and the ghost but not a ghost plotline was cliched.

The Otter Path by Emma Carroll – 5/5: Beautifully written, making me want to read more of Carroll’s stories. The otters have strong personalities, while the English countryside is so realistically described that it threw me back in time to my childhood. Delightful from beginning to end.

The Race by Ally Kennen – 4/5: Another very fun story. A girl goes to stay with distant relatives while her parents go on holiday without her, racing against them to try to prove that girls are just as good as boys at riding horses. Wasn’t perfect – the time period was ambiguous and the ending was a little disappointing – but was one of the most enjoyable stories in the collection.

Discuss, Decide, Do by Catherine Johnson – 3/5: Another story with an ambiguous time period. The beginning of the story feels very modern, but it’s eventually established that it takes place in the past. It smoothly combines real historical events with fictional characters, making it a solid end to the collection.

Taking all of that into consideration, I’m giving Make More Noise! a rating of 3.3/5 stars, which rounds down to 3 stars. It’s certainly a fun collection and some of the stories do a great job of informing younger readers of events that occurred during the suffrage movement and how girls felt when women were still unable to vote. Sadly some of the inclusions just don’t feel necessary, no matter how popular the author is in their field.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about Make More Noise!, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!

 

Alyce

X

Sub of the Day reviews

Sub of the Day reviews

I’m a huge fan of Subway. It’s one of the only fast food places that I actually like (with the exception of McDonald’s Garlic Mayo Chicken wrap, which I can never resist). So when Subway announced that they were bringing back their Sub of the […]

Top Ten Tuesday: Books which awaken my travel bug

Top Ten Tuesday: Books which awaken my travel bug

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, but was recently relocated to That Artsy Reader Girl.  Hey again lovely readers! I’m sure you agree with me that sometimes you read a book that just fills you with wanderlust. All you want to do […]

Gift ideas for Father’s day

Gift ideas for Father’s day

This Sunday is Father’s day, which makes this week the prime time to start panic buying some last minute presents. I know I struggled to think of ideas of gifts for my partner, and with our little one turning 12 weeks tomorrow she didn’t exactly participate in the brainstorming process.

After many hours of deliberation, these are the ten gifts I’d recommend getting for your dad/grandad/partner/whoever you’re purchasing for. I can’t guarantee that they’ll love them, but I can guarantee that it won’t cost you an arm and a leg, and you’ll have at least something to wrap up before Sunday.

(Disclaimer: some of the recommended products will contain my Amazon affiliate link. I will receive a few pennies from your purchase, but the price you pay will not increase.)

10) Tickets

Pile of tickets

Buying tickets can get quite expensive, which is why I’ve placed them so low on the list. This is the perfect gift if you and your dad have common interests: you can buy two tickets and have a great day out together, meaning the Father’s day fun lasts even longer.

9) Cuddly toys

Cuddly bear
Bailey the bear, my 22nd birthday present from my partner

Fathers might act as though they’re manly and tough, but I’m sure most of them would love to receive a cuddly toy from a loved one. My partner is a huge fan of stuffies, which is convenient as this is my go-to gift for every occasion.

8) Keyring

Keyrings

Everyone has at least one key, so giving the gift of a keyring is practical (as well as pretty cheap).

7) A blind date with a book

Blind Date with a Book

I’ll be surprised if you haven’t heard of the concept of Blind Date with a Book. A book gets wrapped in paper, with a list of hints towards what’s included written on the outside of the package. They have a special Father’s day section on their site, so if your dad is as much of a bookworm as you are, this is the ideal gift. You could even treat yourself to a secret book at the same time.

6) Mugs

You can’t go wrong with a novelty mug. Over the years I’ve bought my grandad more mugs than I can count, and although they take up quite a bit of space they all get regularly used.

5) Slippers

Pile of slippers

This depends on the type of dad that you have, but most of the males in my family can’t resist a good old pair of slippers. There’s a lot of variety here: you could get him a nice fluffy moccasin, or a slip on mule (perfect if you don’t know his specific size!)

4) Grooming kit

Man trimming

My partner doesn’t have a huge beard, but my grandad does. I’m sure at least one of the men in your family will be hairy enough for a beard and hair trimming kit, and your mum or gran is sure to thank you for making them look a little less unkempt.

3) Socks

Pile of socks

Old but gold. You can’t really go wrong with socks, particularly novelty ones which will make your dad laugh! Is he absolutely bananas? Or a huge Marvel fan? There’s a sock out there for every type of father. Whereas some dads don’t wear slippers, I don’t know many dads who don’t wear socks!

2) Personalised gift from Thorntons

Thorntons gifts
The personalised gifts I’m giving my family this Father’s day

This might be a cheeky one to include because I recently started working at Thorntons, but I have been buying their products at every holiday for as long as I can remember. Of course, Thorntons are one of the first places you think of when it comes to Easter – their Easter eggs are absolutely divine – but did you know that they also have some cool Father’s day trophies which you can get personalised, letting your dad know how highly you rate him? Even better, they’re featured in the 2 for £10 offer: find out what his favourite type of chocolate is and you’ll be able to get two gifts easily!

1) Customised star map

Customised star map

You can buy custom star maps from a few different sites, but it’s hard to choose between Posterhaste and The Night Sky when it comes to which offers the most beautiful design. Although I haven’t purchased one myself yet, I know a few friends who’ve bought or received them as gifts and have been absolutely delighted. When I eventually buy one I’ll be getting it for my partner, so I’ll probably order a star map from the night our daughter was born. If you’re thinking of getting one for your dad, why not pick the day that you were born?

 

I hope you enjoyed this Father’s day gift guide. Leave your gift suggestions down below to help give your fellow readers even more ideas!

Alyce

X

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I should have DNF’d

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I should have DNF’d

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, but was recently relocated to That Artsy Reader Girl.  I’m actually rebelling when it comes to this week’s topic, because I NEVER DNF books. Even if it’s 800 pages long and I’m absolutely hating it, I’ll […]

Review: All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor

Review: All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor

‘You see, you can be in love with a thing the way you can be in love with a person. A thing can trigger the same chemical responses as another human can: oxytocin and vasopressin. Fatima taught me this. Her book proved it.’ Hi there, […]

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish worlds I’d never want to live in

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish worlds I’d never want to live in

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, but was recently relocated to That Artsy Reader Girl

I was torn while creating this list, because some of these bookish worlds would be awful to live in… But I’m still kind of tempted by them. I’m interested to know whether I could survive in a zombie apocalypse, or what personality type I’d be sorted into. I’d love to encounter aliens, but I’m not sure whether I’m into the ‘invasion’ part.

These ten books feature worlds I say I’d never want to live in… But probably would anyway.

10) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I haven’t read or watched The Hunger Games yet, but I know enough about it to say that I 100% definitely would not want to live in that world. Nope.

9) Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Because if vampires existed I wouldn’t want them to be sparkly. I’d start laughing at them, they’d take the opportunity to rip my throat out. I mean, I’d deserve it for laughing at them, but *shrug*

8) The 100 by Kass Morgan

The 100 by Kass Morgan

I’d be interested in living in the world of The 100, because it would be fascinating to see how much Earth changed with 100 years away from human interference… But I have a terrible immune system, so the likelihood is that it would affect my body terribly and I’d just drop dead. Unfortunate.

7) War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

The descriptions of the aliens in this book haunt me. I read it way, way back in 2012, and I can still visualise them so powerfully. If I ever encountered one I’d just lay down and let it take me out, because there’s no way I’d try to fight it.

6) Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

I’m a fan of the weather being warm, but not too hot, cool, but not too cold. Living in a world where you only ever got to experience one season? That would be my worst nightmare.

5) Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

No matter how much I love Red Rising, I wouldn’t love to live in Darrow’s world. Having your worth judged on your physical stature isn’t the one, and although I like to think I’d be a Violet – part of the creative class – I’d hate to find out for sure.

4) The Host by Stephenie Meyer

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

This list is surprisingly alien oriented. Compared to War of the WorldsThe Host is a far less scary novel, but I think that the aliens are much worse. They’re implanted into you and take control of your body, leaving you conscious in the back of your mind but unable to do anything. Shudder.

3) Autumn by David Moody

Autumn by David Moody

Autumn is one of the less scary zombie worlds, but I still wouldn’t love to live in it. These are zombies that don’t act how you’d expect: they’re pretty placid and immobile to start with, but they quickly become ravenous monsters hellbent on ripping your face off. I’d hate to be lulled into a false sense of security just to have it turn around and bite me on the ass (literally!)

2) Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth

This trilogy is jam-packed with death and destruction. I know for a fact I’d be dead within a few pages, but I’d also love to know what I’d be sorted as. I’m not brave enough to be Dauntless, and although I’m nice I don’t know if I’m either kind or selfless enough to fit into Amity or Abnegation. Perhaps I’d be Divergent myself? Who knows.

1) The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

I mean, some of the waves are horrible. Electromagnetic pulses, flooding, alien invasion… None of these sound as though they’re going to be a whale of a time. I think this is worse than War of the Worlds because those aliens are quite obviously ALIENS, whereas the aliens in The 5th Wave appear as humans, which is much more terrifying.

 

If you’re interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon Affiliate link (found in the book’s title). If you’d like to read more about each book, please click their cover: you’ll be redirected to their Goodreads page.

 

Would you love to live in any of these bookish worlds, or are you torn like me?

Alyce

X

Top Ten Tuesday: Best character names

Top Ten Tuesday: Best character names

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, but was recently relocated to That Artsy Reader Girl.  I have a really terrible memory, so this topic has been a nightmare. Some days I struggle to remember my name, so how am I supposed to […]