Wednesday 19 December 2018

Book Review: Haunt Me by Liz Kessler

Reading books because they remind me of trashy "reality" tv shows.

Erin wants to face the future. 
Joe is desperate to remember his past.
Olly only ever lives for today.

When love weaves its dangerous magic around their lives, each of them face their own demons.

And as the past catches up with them, it comes down to the ultimate question...

Would you swap Love for Life itself?

I presumed this book was about ghosts, and luckily it was actual ghosts, not the mental ghosts of your past. Well, all the characters are meant to have those as well. This tries to deal with a lot of things including suicide, mental illness and drug abuse, none really that successful. This book feels very old school YA, mostly in the negative ways. It's okay, there was a point that annoyed me enough that I almost quit the book (chapter 10, anyone?) and then I remember that I choose to watch 'A Haunting'

So I should probably just let this stupidity go and I was only reading to fulfil my trashy need for terrible ghost stories, whether people claim they're real or not. My main problem, was that it very passive of the main character and was done to quickly move on the plot without thinking about the meaning or the why. I mean if this had been A Haunting episode then a demon would have suddenly appeared and that would be more entertaining. Do you know how hard it is to find someone to bless your house? Yeah, neither do I, but a day is just so quick.

Erin and Joe are soulmates because they write and have/had no friends. Their poetry is littered through the book, I'm not really a poetry person anymore but I definitely believe that the poems were written by two sixteen-year-olds, and maybe if I was sixteen too I would think they were great.

Erin is "not like other girls" so that's great. In her deference, she does not describe herself as that, but it's still a line in the book. It could be read that the other love interest Olly is just a dimwit who never dated anyone for their personality before. The book is told from the POV of the different angles of the love triangle: Erin the Sad Girl, Joe the Ghost and Olly the Alive Brother. I never felt deeply for anyone or anything, obviously only one of the romances is healthfully viable and even then I felt like it should have been a case where everyone moves on.

Erin had been in car accident in the past that took months of recovery but has no side effects of this and her injuries are never explained other than she had access to painkillers at one time. This would have happened four years ago during the main events of the novel, it's possible that she surfers no long term injuries or they won't effect till she is older but it would have been nice to see physical issues since so few books have physically disabled characters. It's nice that the psychological issues are acknowledged from suffering a traumatic incident like this, except it's very much for plot.

We have Mean Girl Zoe, Zoe that no one likes but is somehow popular. At least Zoe isn't just some flat sociopathic sadist stereotype that targets the main character for no reason and actually has some motivation for what she doing. She also described as being vain, obsessed with social media and image. So she is better than most stereotypical mean girls but she is still flat, plot driven character and still in lines with being a stereotype, just better than the other ones you can find.
Her actions at the end don't really make sense, unless she lied, but why would you want a rumour like that getting out about you.

Bullying and suicide are big theme in this book. I don't think they dealt with well, or terribly. They are used as plot. Erin is introduced immediately as having had a bad time which caused her family to move. Joe is this young guy who didn't seem to have any friends and wrote poems, so suicide did immediately spring to mind. I can't really comment on the impact of bully because I'm always like why do you care what dimwits think about you? I had people call me stupid names but it was very whatever, my nature means that unless it get physical or they get you into trouble it's hard for me to relate to characters that get so obsessed with it. The bit where its used for straight up plot I do take issue with. It's very sudden and lazy.

There is 26 chapters in this book. The POV changes within the chapters and the chapters just seem to end really randomly. Like the chapter will end but we're in the same scene and nothing dramatic will have happen to justify the chapter end. I'm not sure what the logic was behind this choice.

This is almost 400 pages and the plot is slow and steady and then at hyper-spreed twice in the book.
The ending was bit rushed, I feel like Erin would have had more defences up realistically meaning that ending didn't feel earned for me, even with it being established that she had past of doing what she did.

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars for wallpaper. This is a books with tons of popular 00s tropes released in 2016. I wouldn't say it's harmful, but it's not a powerfully story and I doubt it will stay with me for long.

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Book Review: Snow in Love by Melissa De La Cruz, Nic Stone, Aimme Friedman and Kasie West

Christmas isn't Christmas unless you get stuck in Snow.

What's better than one deliviously cozy, swoon-worthy Holiday Story?

Four of them, from some of today's bestselling authors.

So going on Goodreads I found out that half of this books was in another book, so they've replace two stories with more current authors and renamed it. The other book is from 2009 so it is probably out of print and knowing that worse stories were written in 2000s makes sense.

Snow and Mistletoe by Kasie West: A girl ends up stranded at Airport due to snow so gets in a car with a much of randoms of from her old high school to get home, where no ones knows she even in the country. Roadtrip. This was cute, talks about growth and ending possible careers for yourself. I get the feeling everything is meant to be fine at the end of this story, but I'm not sure it is. 4/5 stars for Wasted Italian.

Working in a Winter Wonderland by Aimee Friedman: A Jewish girl a job at Christmas to combat Boredom of while her friends are away celebrating Christmas and so that she can buy a dress for a party, to impress a boy. Hanukkah is briefly in this story but after night 2, it's a skip ahead. These are College age character which is fun. It's also another Christmas in New York story. This was a fun game of spot the love interest, because it literally could have been anyone till the last 10 percent in. I like it but it's on the Hallmark level of okay, it's Christmas/Chanukkah. 3/5 stars for Exlambet Costumes.

The Magi's Gift (A.K.A. The Christmas Choos) by Melissa de la Cruz: This was the worst story. I actually DNF it 20 pages in and I went back just to read it. 40 pages and tanks the rating of the book by whole Stars. I wanted to slap all the characters. All of them. I Know it's a retelling of classic story but this was the worst one I've came across of it. This story involves someone selling a family heirloom without consulting her family for her boyfriend. The only thing of her Grandma's they have. Right before she goes off to sell this dress that she has no idea the value of, it's revealed that she has a little sister. Basically, this dress is in no way shape hers to sell. This girl also has 45 dollars to spend on her boyfriend but that's not enough in 2006 to buy him a fake leather jacket. Actually, in 2006 she might have been able to buy a real leather jack for that price if went to right place. Go to the poor people's mall. Maybe she has less than ten dollar I could buy she couldn't find anything but $45 is enough for something. I haven't read the original but it doesn't work when the two people still can use the objects they are given and one of them definitely had money for a gift. This isn't a tale about it's the spirit of giving that matters, it's tale of if it ain't designer then it worth shit. The fact that this was originally named after designer shoes says everything about how materialistic it is. I think it was meant to be the opposite of that but fails majorly. Why go into stores you know can't afford? Why hang out with shitty rich people? 1/5 stars for Broken up by next Christmas.

Grounded by Nic Stone: Now time for the story that I brought this book for (it also was a group read for a readathon but wouldn't brought it didn't have a Queer story in it). This is about scavenger hunt/Hide and Seek in the Airport, while questioning your feeling towards the first girl who made feel that certain way. It made me feel like I have been stuck in Atlantic Airport, I haven't been there. The story also talks about how being a minority isn't solved by being rich, which dur is true. Privilege is stacked system, yes being rich is a privilege but doesn't change the colour of skin or cultural background. Rich, White, male and never touched a poor person is still the ideal we stuck with. Let's move away from how messed up Society is. A lot of it's text messages and my only criticism is that it could have been clear who Leigh was texting any given time. I could figure it from context, but maybe second of 'what?' sometimes. Also this has some Hanukkah/Jewish representation with Leigh having Jewish Grandma and being annoyed that she doesn't get to spend her Christmas break with her. This is a fun Christmas story, wraps up perfectly but this Christmas so that's what we want. 5/5 stars for Girl Love in Airport.

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars for Snow in Airports. The avenge is 3.25/5 stars, without Magi one it would have been 4 and I probably would have gave it that with out the maths. Most of these are nice Christmas time stories which would perfect in your in the mood for some Christmas, even if it slight silly sometimes. Like I said that one story was only 40 pages so it's up to if 210 pages is worth the money. Maybe you're library will happen to have it, then of course it worth checking out. This was my first time reading any of these authors. Some of it will definitely the last, others I brought one of their books after reading their story. It was alright, anthology are always a risk.

Bonus this info for that other book.

Mistletoe by Hailey Abbott,  Melissa de la Cruz, Aimee Friedman, Nina Malkin

Glittering white snowflakes. The handsome blond ski instructor. The sparkle on a cashmere skirt. Hot cocoa and kisses in front of a crackling fire.

I just wanted to show that you that awkward couple kissing. The girl is going for it but I don't think the guy knows what is happening.

Wednesday 28 November 2018

Book Review: The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud

Yeah, that Unicorn thing was a mess.

After their recent escapades, Lockwood & Co deserve a well-earned naturally they decide to break into the country's most heavily-guarded crypt.

What they discover will change everything.

So begins a race to uncover the truth behind 'the Problem' 
-igniting an epic battle against the Fittes agency. A battle that will force the team to journey to the Other Side, and pit them against the most terrifying enemy they have ever faced.

Not everyone will make it out alive...

This is the fifth and last book in the Lockwood & Co series. If you're reading the review, I presumed you've read the four other books or don't care if you're spoiled for those books, I am going to spoil past books in this review. I have reviews of all books on here so check them out instead if that's not here for that.

This book takes place five months after the last book, starts with them breaking and entering. Kipps is just here now.

This case of escapist, turned soul sucking ghost was cool. I liked her, it of course gave room for girl hate because she was hot. "Can't find the quote. I must rage without documenting it. Now I can't like Holly either.

The body shaming continues in general. There are constant comments about George's body. Basically George is fat and disgusting, that what we are repeatedly told. We also have Holly being shamed for liking healthy foods. This is just a continued thing, the only "growth" is now Holly will eat donuts if pressured. Banter is definitely a thing, but they're always focused on George. They don't even mock Kipps as much in this book, with him having more page time. Basically, it's mixed messages and it's gets hella stale after 2500 pages of it. Well, 500 pages were definitely enough for it to be stale. The fat shaming continues with Mr Tufnell, this book's customer. Every single customer in this series was terrible if they were for the main case, maybe except for the first one when they burnt down their house. Mr Tufnell is fat and eats all the cake.

There is part in this book where the time gets messed up, so that Lucy can feel sad about her non-existent sisters: "My sister Mary gave me the money to make one go once...'
 'Didn't know you had a sister, the skull said.
'I've got six.' I didn't mention that I hadn't seen any of them for years; that only Mary still wrote to me from the north of England. I tried to ignore the dull pang that accompanied the thought."
Time for A maths game of timelines: The second book is seven months after the first.
I don't think the third book has stated amount of months but it's probably three months, the second book takes place in summer and we at the start of the Black Winter so it could be shorter or longer, but it's between two and four months so let's just with three.  Meaning that the Lucy is 10 months into her time at Lockwood & Co. It's doesn't really matter, but what does matter is this is the book where Holly is hired while Lucy is visiting family.

The fourth book four months after the third, so with the five being five months meaning that Lucy last saw at least some of her sisters nine months ago so not even a single year ago. I guess as we never saw anything from that visit, but I'm certain she mentions her strain relation with her siblings then. There are other thing we count too.

Lucy is fourteen at the start of the series. Lockwood and George are like fifteen. So are like fifteen and sixteen unless years are randomly skipped in the second books, making Holly two years older being 18 years old when she is introduced. Kipps is in his twenties at the start of the series and is  stated to be 22 in this book, meaning that two years is all the time that these books can take place in, meaning that Lucy has has not even lived years years without her sisters. Yes, she could be exaggerating, but she would be exaggerating if she said she hadn't seen any of them in year. Lucy doesn't even mention her sister in the last book or the second, they literally only show up for background and plot, and yet Stroud can't even tract that. Lucy doesn't give care about her sisters. She doesn't even think about them when Lockwood tells her about his dead sister. Anyway, this is just a very long way of saying this bullshit. Obviously, there is also the time the books themselves take place (though the seven months of the first might be Lucy joint date). Let's give two months for the books themselves before the fifth book for case time, and we have twenty-one months a.k.a. a year and nine months. Maybe you want to add another month to that case time, but it's still not even twos years.

This is just a very long way of saying that you have to set up relationships, maybe even name her sisters or family. Or just stick to her being closed to the only named sister she has. I don't own the books, so I'm reliant on my memory and reviews, with some internet checking for this timeline. It's probably best because that was probably too much effect for this bit already.

So now Holly Munro who has darker skin than every other character (it's never more specific, she has smooth hair so it could mean a lot of things), was introduce Three books in, to cause a wedge in the group, cause Lucy be jealous that maybe Lockwood would want an older women, but fear not. Lockwood is not her "type" and there are other options, she also shares a flat with another girl. There is so many things. Well, having diversity is automatically great right? No, not when diversity is literally a single person who never clarified, just ambiguous. Sure, this is a kids book (with Late teens and twenty-somethings characters ), but better rep exists in the same age group. Holly being gay feels like it so she doesn't get in the way of the other ships, because Lockwood and Lucy being endgame.
Also Holly was into Lucy going off the last book, not sure why she would still be at that points since Lucy is a troll, not in appearance, but in soul. Falling in Lust with terrible straight people is totally a thing for gay girls, but come on Holly, Lucy would have to be supermodel hot for that to happen, or Holly needs psychological help. The main issue is Holly Munro is the constant token.

The world building is interesting, but certainly isn't perfect. I mean we did never learn why the evil company decided to have a unicorn for symbol. I guess shitty world building and the whole Great Britain Crest thing. Though, what was with the Lamps as symbol as well.

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars for Deadly Magic. The Plot and the world is still majorly better than the characters. Though, a bit rushed and not fully answered questions that I would have liked. The characters are such major pain and so samely the more time I spent with them, they're be tolerable if they were just bland, instead of Arseholes. Once again this children series where I wouldn't give them to children. I mean if grown arse adult capable of questioning characters' shitty behaviour, why not read this series?

I will be back with a video review of all the whole series. It will be doubtfully be fun.

P11, "Like the rest of us, she was in stealth mode: she had her long dark hair clipped back in a ponytail, and wore a zip-up top, skirt and leggings. I could go on about how well the all-black get-up suited her, but why bother? With Holly, that was a given. If she'd gone around wearing nothing but a dustbin suspended from her shoulders by a pair of spotty braces, she'd have somehow made it look svelte."

Page 13, "'You've heard of racism. You've heard of Sexism. Well, this is skullism, pure and simple. You're judging me by my outward appearance. You doing my word solely because I'm a skull lurking in a jar of slime-green plasm. Admit it!'" The skull is meant to be a bad person but someone sat down and wrote this.

Page 75,"[George speaking] 'Holly, you look upset. Crack those doughnuts open.'
'Thanks, I'll have an apple.'
He shook his head sadly. 'You've got to learn that when you're stressed, an apple doesn't cut it... I feel quite shaken myself, come to think of it.' His eyes flitted to the sideboard.
'Yes, grab the plates, George,' Lockwood said. 'We'll all have one.
And we all did, even Holly. George was wise in such matters: a doughnut was a good corrective".

Page 78-79, "Holly met it as she did all obstacles: with brisk efficiency that looked a problem in the eye and didn't blink. Whether it was breaking into the Fittes Mausoleum or standing up to interrogation in the street, she always maintained her trademark Munro cool. It was hard to imagine her ever losing this quality, and somehow, despite everything, that made me confident that nothing really dreadful could or would happen in this world. Her unflappable demeanour used to make me seethe, yet now I found it a source of reassurance. Come what may, I knew Holly's hair would swish like gossamer as she walked; her clothes would flow effortlessly round her curves; her skin would glow with that same coffee-coloured lustre that spoke of close association with mineral water and green-been salads, and contrasted, reprovingly, with my famous burger-and-biscuit complexion. No, Holly would always be the same, and that made me happy." Okay, but she still obsessed with the way Holly looks. She goes on discrible George and "His doughy, featureless face lacked signposts to a personality, let alone a strong opinion." So he looks stupid but isn't, is her whole point.

P169, "My sister Mary gave me the money to make one go once...'
 'Didn't know you had a sister, the skull said.
'I've got six.' I didn't mention that I hadn't seen any of them for years; that only Mary still wrote to me from the north of England. I tried to ignore the dull pang that accompanied the thought." Okay Holly shows up in the third book, and was hired when Lucy had went to visit family including sisters meaning that she has seen some of them less than a year.

P314, "From the expression on her face I expected trade-mark Flo diatribe at this point, but she just went quiet, nodded and slipped away into the garden. When Lockwood really wanted something, it was very hard for anyone to say no."

P318, "The basement had long been our main concern, Again, the front of the house was theoretically vulnerable. It was true that our office window opened directly onto the sunken yard below our front door. Steps led down here from the gate and, though dead plants in big pots filled the space, intruders easily reach the windows. However, after a burglary years before, we had added iron bars to these, and it was hard to see how they could be bypassed. This meant we all focus our attention on the back.
At the rear of the office, past the rapier practice room, the storeroom and the laundry room, you came to back door. It was made of glass, and opened straight onto the grass of the garden. Of all parts of the house, this door was the weakest point. Kipps put a series Of boards across the opening, but we doubted they'd survive."

Page 326, "'Anything would be better than getting chopped into pieces by a group of smelly relic-men,' Kipps said. 'No offence intended there, Flo - you've a girl. Come on, Lockwood - what's the plan?'

Page 354, "'Oh, don't worry about that. We've talked about that before.' She pushed her hair back from her face. 'I'm sure I was an utter pain as well. Anyway, it must have been odd, having me show up.'
'It was a bit, but—'
'But you needn't have worried.' She smiled at me. 'Funnily enough, Lockwood isn't actually my type.'
In my embarrassment, I'm not sure quite what expression was right then, though I doubt the eerie glow in the room made it massively attractive. It was sufficient to make Holly laugh. She moved to look through another spy-hole at the far end of the window, which gave a different angle on the garden.
'Don't look so shocked, Lucy,' she said. 'I know how you feel about him. But, if anything, I had my eye on someone else.'
'Good God, you don't mean George?'
Holly laughed again; her eyes sparkled as she glanced at me sidelong. 'You must know there are other possibilities in this world,' The smile faded, her body tensed. 'Hold it — we've got company out there.' "

"She likes having her own place. Did you know she got a flatmate? A girl who works at the DEPRAC. That was news to me.' Lockwood about Holly.

Wednesday 7 November 2018

Book Review: Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt

Yes, let me to criticise a book about conventions when I have never been to one.

Lexi Angelo is a convention Kid - she got a slip-board and a walkie talkie to prove it.

Aidan Green is a messy-haired, annoying arrogant author and he's disrupting her perfect planning.

In a flurry of awkward encounters, lost schedules and late-night conversations, Lexi discovers that some things can't be planned...Things like falling in love.

Lexi's, our protagonist and narrator, life revolves around conventions. Helping to plan and run them, even when she should be doing school work. A big part of the book is actually about Lexi feelings towards conventions and what they mean to her.

Besides the obvious romance, we also have Lexi dealing with her dad deciding to get married to a woman he's never lived with.

Some of the novel I felt unrealistic, like the marriage being at a convention, maybe if it had been explained exactly why it had to happen then and there, besides the main events of the novel happening at conventions. There is generally a bit of disbelief when it comes to this book, but could technically happen, like a film actually being made straight away when the film rights are sold. There a lot of books that had the film rights sell before publication and were hits but are still not out years later. The fastest I've seen a book to film adaption would be the 'The Hate U Give' by Angie Thompson but that didn't have casting confirmed three months after it's release and the films rights were sold a month after the book did, and that was a contemporary novel with a very timely story to tell. I guess this meant to be Harry Potter level but stuff still takes time script writing, casting, location scouting, hiring a crew and if it going to need a lot special effects that has to be considered in the pre-production as well. Though, maybe the film is just going to be garbage fire because they rushed it. That does happen too. You do just have to accept that this book gets massive as soon as it published. It can happen, often doesn't. No one has really got HP or Twilight big over night which I think this fictional book is meant to be. I mean even pre-publishing buzz doesn't mean success. Okay, this was weird tangent, it just did take me out of the story a little.

There is a lot of characters in this book, probably due to the fact that it takes a lot of people to run a convention, including Lexi's best friends Samira, Nadiya and Bede. We don't get a lot of time with these characters, but it's still believable friendships and history behind these characters. Harcourt does a good job of suggesting this history from the start. The romance side is okay, it's kinda hate to love thing and the characters talk to each so it more than just surface nonsense.

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars for Running Trays. It's fun and does a pretty good job of building this Conventional community. It's a fun book, so if don't think too much about publishing and how film work it's fine. That's just me.

Wednesday 31 October 2018

Book Review: The Creeping Shadows by Jonathan Stroud

The scariest thing about this the toxic work environment.

A city besieged by Spirits? A cannibal risen from the dead? There's only one ghost-hunting team you need...

But Lockwood & Co. is an agent down - Lucy Carlyle is now a freelance operative.

ANd they have a lot on their plate: monstrous handprints on a window, sinister chopping sounds from a haunted kitchen...
Not to mention the Creeping Shadow - a hulking menace that stalks a village churchyard, raising spectres from their graves. 

The team desperately need Lucy's help. If she can be persuaded to return...

This is the fourth book in the series of Lockwood & Co. series, four months after the last one that had Lucy leave Lockwood & Co, but obvious she joins back up. Making the whole reflective thing that last book had weird.

The Lucy joins back in due to a cannibal killer named Soloman Guppy that is of course a giant, because if you're named Soloman. Of course, this is clearly based on a myth that is also a DC villain, Solomon Grundy, the nursery rhyme says nothing about him being giant, I guess the giant thing comes from the Soloman Island, also that has cannibalism link too. I didn't mind the body in the walls, in the first book, that was fun for me, but this rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe because I'm kinda just done. It's not a main plot thing. It's just the usual single ghost set up.

I've never really liked any of the characters, but the more I read the more they feel the same. I mean they technically all have different roles in the plot/team but they all talk the same, despite being from different places/classes. Basically, they all dig at each other except for Holly who turns out is just there to be all the rep we're going to get (that's me having a dig at the next novel in the series. It's dumb so don't worry about it).

Turns out Lucy is still the catty idiot we all hate, and doesn't realise what a major dick she was to Holly for no reason. The conversations about her leaving due to Holly is done several times (I've got four counted, basically she has with every series character). I think Holly and Lucy are meant to be friends by the end of this, but honestly I think Holly should be the one to leave, go get a job that's not fighting ghosts in an unsafe environment. Basically, Holly only full likable character in Lockwood & Co. and I want better for her.

The big problem with this series and the reason that I would not recommend it for it's target audience, is there is a lot of toxic shit in this book. There is the girl hate, the fat shaming of George by all the characters (I mean his last name is also Cubbins) and at the same time Holly is shamed for being thin, liking "healthy" food. I know the hate of salad is probably to be #relatable but there are kids who like lettuce. I was one of them, still ended up over weight. I'm just not here for body shamming anyone especially at someone who is possibly going through puberty. The more the series goes on, I'm not sure what the intention is with Lucy being obsessed with Holly's appearance and never acknowledges even to herself what a tool she been. Some of this comes from all the characters including Lockwood so it meant to be acceptable thing. Maybe Stroud thinks that because Lucy isn't being as straight up hostile to Holly in this one, that's character growth when Lucy is constantly taking stabs at Holly. Even if it meant to be Lucy having issues with her self-image, it's not great. It's still Lucy not being happy unless she the prettiest girl there.

Overall, I give this 3/5 stars for Skull Sources. This book feels like tries to answer some of my issues I had with the last one, but does so terribly and in a way that in denial. The character pretty much trash, but weren't as big as trash as Lucy was in the last book. The world building is something but also feel kinda unstable. We finally actually getting in over-arcing plot of the series that's only been hinted at so far. I don't know, of course I'm going to read the last book, maybe because I hate myself. Also Lucy was less annoying but still her same self.

Four months later and we find out that Lucy has learnt nothing.

Page 42, "It had just been me; Anthony Lockwood, who ran and George Cubbins, who researched stuff. We'd lived in a house in Portland Row, Marylebone. Oh, there'd been another employee as well. Her name was Holly Munro, she was new, a kind of assistant to the rest of us. She  sort of counted too, I guess, but it was George and Lockwood who had meant the most to me. Meant so much, in fact that in the end I'd been forced to turn my back on them and go a different way.
Four months earlier, you see, a ghost had shown glimpse of one possible future. It was a future in which my actions would lead directly to Lockwood's death. The ghost itself was malignant, and I had no reason to trust it, except for one thing: it echoed my own intuitions. Time and again Lockwood had risked his life to save mine, the line between success and disaster growing finer and less definite on each occasion. Coupled with that, even as my psychic Talents had grown strong, my ability to master those Talents had become frayed. Several times during cases I had lost control of my emotions — and this had dangerously strengthened the ghosts that we fighting. A series of near catastrophes had ended me unleashing the power of a Poltergeist; in the ensuring battle Lockwood (and others) had nearly died." So she really doesn't get it does she.

Page 43, "And here he was, finally, in perhaps my least favourite image of the sequence, receiving the Coveted Agency of the Month award at the Times offices in London, With the slim and elegant figure of Holly Munro standing picturesquely beside him." She fine with him by himself and with George.

Page 52, about the Furnaces where the sources are burnt: "They said that if you stood on the viewing platform after dark, you could spot a dozen ghosts at once, writhing briefly, blue and green, as the flames engulfed their objects and their ties to this earth were finally snuffled out. Right now it was getting light outside and the ghosts were not visible, but even from a distance I could feel the occasional psychic aftershock. Each was like the moment of silence after a scream." Okay, that's disturbing. 

Page 75, "He flicked a glance up at me — it was sad and hopeful all at once, a glance that presumed nothing — then gently lowered his gaze and went back to contemplating his hands. He'd made his pitch; there wasn't much else he could say. I was looking at my own hands, frowning at the scrapes on the knuckles, the faint magnesium staining on the fingers, the dirty flecks of iron and salt crusted under the nails ... What was all that about? Flo Bones probably had a better manicure, and she made her living scraping holes in river-ooze. The skull was right: I wasn't in good shape. Sometime over the winter I'd stopped taking care of myself; I'd let myself go. But in the meantime I had been focusing on some- thing else, and that was my Talent. Could I control it better now? I thought so, yes — working with adult super- visors was an endless test of the emotions."

Page 76, "'There are other Listeners out there,' I said. 'Good ones too.' 
'Like who?'
'Kate Goodwin's okay.'
'Oh, come on, she not half the listener you are.' [names others that are not worthy to Lockwood.]
This was true. And he was quite incidentally. The rest was rubbish compared to me. Only one other person who had ever spoken with ghosts the way I did, and she'd died a long time ago."

Page 82-83, "'I'm not "back" with them,' I said. 'I'm helping them out. It's one time only.'
'One time? Pull the other one! Give it five minutes, and you'll be back sleeping in your cramped little attic at Lockwood's, snuggling up with that Holly Munro. I bet she uses your room now.'
'Ugh! That's never going to happen.'"

Page 90, "Charming Holly, as pretty and perfect as ever. She hadn't altered much during these last months; she hadn't suddenly become saggy or bedraggled or noticeably flawed or anything. In fact, because of the importance of the meeting, she'd dolled herself up even more than usual. She wore the kind of dress you need to be poured into; the sort I would have ripped as soon as I tried wiggling it over my shoulders. It was the sort of dress that would have got stuck halfway down my midriff, with my arms trapped and my head is covered, and left me bouncing blindly off the walls for hours, half naked, trying to struggle free. That sort of dress. For completists, who want details, it was blue." I actually have no idea what style of dress you're describing Stroud, a dress too small for Lucy is all I got. Holly is described as being taller than Lucy so it possible they actually the same dress size.

Page 91, "'It's lovely to see again.'
'Yeah, you too. You look good.'
'So do you. Freelancing obviously suits you. I'd love to hear all about how you've been getting on. I've heard great things. I think you're doing so well.'
Once upon a time it would have annoyed me, the record number of fibs crammed into that single scrap of dialogue. I was sure Holly had about the same interest in my freelance work as she had in my choice of toothpaste (less, actually - given the way her perfect teeth gleamed so brightly every time she smiled). And everything else was a lie too, since I was clearly didn't look good at all." A conversation between Holly and Lucy, Lucy is also sweating a lot.

Page 107, "'Going to do a job with him. Only a one-off. I'm not rejoining.'
'No, well, of course you aren't.' Flo picked up a sharper tool, thick with blue-black river clay. "That Holly Munro's still there, isn't she?'
I paused. 'Actually, it wasn't because of Holly that I left.'
She scraped muck off her prong. 'Uh-huh.'
'I had other reasons.'
'You don't believe me?'
'Can you hold this muck prong a tick?'" We will have this conversation often. This feels like Stroud responding to criticism from the last book.

Page 110, "I sit back and considered her. It was her skin that always got me. It was darkly buttery, with not a pimple to be seen. And her features too - everything in it's proper place. There'd been a time when her easy perfection drove me mad, and I knew that in my dishevelled, wildly imperfect way, I'd done the same to her." I guess Lucy is clearly meant to be deluded about this one sided rivary. But I continue to be done with this.
"'You're so brave,' she said. 'To leave and strike out on your own. It's very risky.'
'Well, it has its compensations. I've learned a lot about my Talents and got better at managing other people, even the irritating ones.' She gave a laugh. Oh joy — it was the special tinkling one that set my teeth on edge."

Page 111, "'I know we had our issues, Lucy, but it's been odd being the only girl. Lockwood and George are lovely, of course, but they're both off in their own worlds. George with his experiments and Lockwood . , .' Her brow formed shapely furrows. 'He's so restless and remote. He never sits still long enough for me to reach him." Holly basically saying she misses Lucy.

Page 114, "More than one lady was obliged to leave the room." About the Soloman trial. Yeah, women love that shit. Sounds like sexist bull to me.

Page 115, "No one's that scary, not even a big fat cannibal." said by Lockwood.

Page 130, "I thought you'd basically just hoofed it when Holly Munro showed. Still, what do I know?" Kipps in response to Lucy reasons to being freelance.

Page 131, "To my surprise, Holly had taken a biscuit."

Page 143, "I'm very happy to be working alongside you all again.'
There was silence. 'Are you?' he said. 'That's a surprises me.'  [setting up chains] 'And why wouldn't I be?" I asked.
He didn't answer for a time. [more chains] 'Well,' he said at last. 'There's Holly'.
'Not you as well!' I let out an angry oath. 'I keep telling everyone. I didn't leave because of her." Except you clearly did.

Page 144, "'That Poltergeist was you sorting things out," George said, and in a way he was quite right. 'You left because you got so mad at her.'
'No. I left because I lost control of my Talent,' I said. 'Because I roused the ghosts and endangered you all, and I couldn't face doing it again.'" Not at all that all what happen, Lucy roused the ghost by losing her cool and starting an argument with Holly at the centre of a massive haunting. It's absolutely nothing to do with her powers. Like Stroud this feels like you trying to backtrack more than Lucy being in denial, even that's the case. It's book four out of five, move on to actually character development.

Page 221, " I was staring at him. My warm feeling had partially retreated, 'I'll take the juice, So Holly stayed over last night?'
 'Personally I've always thought straining it through your teeth is part of the fun,' Lockwood said. 'You can pretend you're a blue whale.' He caught my look. 'What?'
 'Holly, She's staying over now?'
 'Oh, not always. Depends how the night turns out."

Page 222,"How often does she stay over?' Lockwood flicked the toaster on. 'I don't know that it's  really something for a freelance like you to worry about. She's not using your old room, if that's what bothering you.'

Page 231, "Holly had stopped pouring and was gazing at me with evident concern. In the old days I'd have bristled at her attention, suspecting it of being patronizing and insincere."

Page 251, Holly has made a cake and Lucy of course questions it. "Oh, Hol's still fixated on salads - but don't worry, I'm corrupting her slowly. We'll have her scoffing junk food by and by." said by George.

Page 252, "Tom Rotowell holding his homemade sword, and Marissa beside him holding her little lantern. The two objects become symbols of their agencies. It's funny to think of them actually used, the first time." But they both use animals for logos, a lion and an unicorn. How many symbols do they need?

"True to form, Holly had piled her plate up with salad, but I pleased to see a decent mound of spaghetti too. She twirled her fork with a delicate motion of her wrist." Lucy made the spaghetti.

Page 283, Lockwood said "I've missed you so much, Lucy" and with that Lucy dropped down dead.

Page 290, About Leopold Winkman "He was in his mid-teens, his face dumpling-soft and malleable, with toad-like strongly reminiscent of his father, the imprisoned Julius Winkman." This is funny because Julius Winkman was described as having very feminine lips.

Page 343, "One's a double. Here's the key for the double room — it's also got a camp bed at the end. The other's a twin. hope you have a lovely stay. I'll leave you to settle in, and see you in the bar later.' With that, he departed.
There was a heavy silence. I scanned the others, taking in at a glance Holly's neat traveling bag, doubtless crammed with body lotions and skin cleansers; George's ominously light rucksack, which lacked room for any conceivable change of clothes; Kipps's angular and palely ginger frame, the horrors of which were just hinted at beneath his roll- neck; and Lockwood. To share a room with any of them presented problems.
The others were making similar swift calculations.
'Lucy—?' Holly began.
'You beat me to it. Don't mind if I do.'
'In that case,' she said, plucking a key from Lockwood's hand, 'we'll take the twin room and leave you boys to it. Good luck deciding who gets the camp bed.' All the fanfiction about Lockwood and Kipps sharing a bed is about to be lost. Also I really can't remember the exact the age difference between  these characters anymore, especially as there are all as immature as each other.

Page 344, 'You know something? Holly said. I'm glad it worked out this way. I'm pleased you're here.'
'Well, if I wasn't, you'd have to share rooms With one of the boys,' I said.
 She gave a delicate little shudder and drew her coat, elegantly around her. 'True . . But I didn't just mean that. I've felt bad ever since you left. About you about the way it all ended back then. I felt responsible.'
'Oh, don't you start!' I said. 'Everyone thinks I because of you. And I really didn't. If it was just you, believe me, I would have stayed.' I gave her a stern glare.
Holly lifted her hands in a peaceable gesture. 'There you go with that look again! I just mean it was the arguements we had that brought it to a head — that made you lose control.' She was referring to the Poltergeist I'd conjured up during our blazing row at Aickmere's department store, and she was quite correct — but that didn't mean enjoyed hearing her say it. My frown deepened." I'm real confused as to when Lucy gained the power to summon ghosts, because everything we've been told that's not how it works. It was her negative emotions that brought the ghost out at full strength.

Page 344-45,"'Oh, you're getting angry at me again,' Holly went on, 'and I don't think I'm doing anything wrong.'"

I gave up writing the quotes I took photos of, what does it matter really.

Wednesday 17 October 2018

Book Review: Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

When you've got to be slightly different?

What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong? 

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.
Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…

She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.

I reviewed Alice Osman's debut, Solitaire and just to say that this book is set in the same world/town so Radio Silence spoils the end of Solitaire, not majorly but I know some people don't want to have knowledge of any kind about the books before they read them. So just a heads up.

So why don't I liked Radio Silence as much as everyone else. Okay, this story doesn't feel like it about Frances. Yes, she has a lot of growth and realisation about herself and life. However, we also  have an odd ball character that Frances saves, with me relating to that character more (shared labels and all), I didn't like that.

I do find it kinda funny that Tumblr is called Tumblr in this book instead of just refereed to as blogging like it was in Solitaire, but I suppose that was the early days of Tumblr so no way to know if it would last any point of time. The internet use to move on a lot quicker than it does now. Does anyone still use LiveJournal anymore?

This book is more than diverse than her last book, with the main character being mixed-race  and other characters clearly being described as not being white. There is a conversation about growing up in a British white dominated culture and with Frances lives with her white mum, how she feels like she is not in touch to the other side of her heritage. As I am Scottish white, I can't say how good this diversity is. It's seems like a good effect, the things I can comment on. Once again, there is a character that could be read as being autistic, as in if I met them in real life I would wonder if they were autistic.

This book might have been sold to you as having a demisexual character. It does, but it's a big reveal at the end of the book. It's discussed by other characters more than the the demisexual character themself. It's more this is a thing than exists and you shouldn't be confused by Ace/greysexual people. It's a starting point but don't get your hopes really high in finding yourself if that you. It's wrote more for others to understand than it being about that character. There's not a lot of other demisexual characters so it's something to be appreciated, but in the hope that it will cause other books to have main characters that are demisexual or even side characters from the start being stated as that.

In terms of plot structure this is a mystery, Frances wants to know who the creator is, then what happened to this person, what is behind this plot element which I guess is why the book in the point of review of Frances.

Another good thing is that this book explores possibilities outside of going to uni and how that's not for everyone, and is some for others. Not many YA books discuss this positively.

This book as also been sold on it's fandom Tumblr aspect, of this story podcast/hosted on YouTube in the vain of "Welcome to NightVale." That sounded cool, but similar to in her last book, in it is more to surfiliate the characters interaction with each other. The only fandom parts it goes into is the annoying, toxic side of fandom that harass the creators of shows, the side that ruins it for everyone else. Parts of the podcast are in the book, but it was disappointingly lacking in those part of the audiobook. But hell I finished listening to this book right after Sadie by Courtney Summers which will go down as the standard to beat when having a audiobook involve a podcast. This was an okay book to listen to on audio.

I am a fan of NightVale and found it an odd choice to make it so that NightVale exist in this world. I think that always a risky thing to do to co-exist with the thing you're inspired by. I think the fictional Podcast, University City is meant to be smaller than NightVale at the start of the novel. Also University City is different, it's just be this odd alternative place like Night Vale and is also used to give insight to the Creator. Fan Theories are thing that plays into character plot.

I wouldn't recommend reading Oseman's books back to back, she could have up her game with "I was Born for this", but these books are actually really similar except now it a podcast that pushes the plot instead of a weird prank website. I definitely wouldn't recommend reading Solitaire while having Radio Silence be the audiobook you listen to while you have to do stuff other than just read all day.

Overall, I give this book 4/5 stars for Drunken Uploads. I just didn't like it much as Solitaire, I know Oseman sees this as growth, but the only improvement I see is giving more diversity in terms of race. Maybe 'We born for this' will have disabled characters (outside of mental illness), on serious note it does explore more letters of the LGBTQ+. I guess it just might be preference and my hang up of characters with autistic traits being side characters to someone else's discovery about them. I don't think it was intentional, especially with the plot this book was meant to have with the whole podcast thing: the take on the fantasy of becoming friends with the person that made something you love so much. It also one of those rare things where the main character finds growth by making a friend, instead of getting a lovefriend, which is there is definitely not enough YA books about friendship. (Okay, imagine if Lovefriend if that becomes the acceptable gender neural term for boyfriend/girlfriend. I am sorry if it does.)

Disclaimer: A long time ago, I did received this book from NetGalley for an honest review. I also brought this book on audiobook.

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Book Review: Solitaire by Alice Oseman

Funfact: Radio Silence technically spoils the end of this book.

'I don't ever remember not being serious. As far as I'm concerned, I came out of the womb spouting cynicism and wishing for rain.'

My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.

Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.

I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael

I really don’t.

This is a book I have owned since it came out, many years ago. So many years ago, I do not remember why I brought it. Well, probably because it says it's not a Love story and even then I hated the fact that every book seemed to be a love story at it's centre and they were often very bad. 

This book is more about friendship than romantic love, but it's also sort of there. We also have sibling relationships and as well as dealing with being a family with a sick sibling, which from my experience was done pretty well.

The way mental health is dealt with in this book is so great. If you're someone who wants to know nothing then leave this paragraph now. I related to Tori hating everything because I too kinda hated everything when I was seventeen and then I realise that this book was slowly showing beginning to related even more to my seventeen old self in an important way. It's done so fucking well. It's remind me of my slow dive into that state of numbness and then mixed in with the guilt because wasn't allowed to be sick. But haha that doesn't stop it.

I've seen others hate on the mental illness rep and the fact the main character is a teenager. Tori is shitty person, most teenagers are, I think that's pretty realistic to the story. Reading other reviews is interesting because you can see where other people get real hanged up on.

The plot is about this website called that is playing planks on the Grammar School that Tori goes to. It used to drive the characters interactions with each other to figure out whose behind it/why.  With the plot description, it might seem like a thriller but it's really not, especially it's usually going on in the background. The focus is very much on the characters and their relationships together.

In terms of rep, we have Queer supporting characters as well as the mental health side. It sort of comes into the plot, but it's realistic and fine besides that. They function for the most part like a straight couple. There's also autistic feel to some characters, not saying they meant to be coded autistic but you could read them that way.

Overall, I give this book 5/5 stars for soft muttering. I related to this book a lot so I really loved it. I don't know if I liked it so much because I related to it so much, but I think either way it was done pretty well. In terms of her other books, I like this book better than Radio Silence. They have similar themes/issues and I think it works better in this one. I'm doing an review of Radio Silence so I talk about it there. Both are good, but I think this one was better, I also get why that might be a me thing. This book does have issues, but I like intention over all.

Wednesday 3 October 2018

Book Review:The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud

It's always the stairs.

Phantoms in your Attic? Spectres by your Bed? Never fear - Lockwood & Co. are here!

A terrible new outbreak of ghosts is causing chaos across London. With the authorities baffled, psychic investigators Lockwood, Lucy and George see a fresh chance for fame and glory.

But countless horror await them: bloody footprints on a spiral stair, murderous ambushes in the night - and, waiting at the centre of the outbreak, the most fearful apparition of all.

This the third book in the Lockwood and Co series (reviews of the previous novels here).  This book is told reflectively so we know something is up.

This book was really hard to get through because we had a new girl character introduced and Lucy is toxic piece of shit that needs both a slapping and a talking to about how girls are your friends, not threats and they can be more than one girl in a group. I know Lucy has been established as being Dick to everyone whose not Lockwood, but the girl hate is just the worst. It was there is the past book but it goes up a notion in this one as it becomes part of the plot. Also this written by man, who has dedicated the last two books to pairs of girls, so what are trying to do with this Stroud? Also it awkward especially as Holly is described as having "caramel" skin so is the first person of colour described and her main function is to create a wedge in the dynamics of the company. Also for Lucy to be a dick to her.

Just the way Lucy talks about other girls is terrible, but her fixuation with Holly gives so many gems: "I was fine with Holly. Really I was. So she was well proportioned. So her hair was all glossy. So she looked as if her lips had never been the wrong side of a second doughnut in her life. What was any of that to me? I didn't care one bit. She wasn't perfect by any means. Probably, for example, if I'd thought hard enough about it, I could have found something flawed about the width of her thighs." and "Lockwood remained distinctly chilly towards over sandwiches and biscuits. Holly's presence unsettled me. She was at once submissive and assertive, her inexperience overlapping with her smooth self-confidence. Both these aspects, in different ways, contrived to snare Lockwood's attention. It left me out on a limb, feeling awkward and exposed." There's so much that I gave up quoting this stuff. It's lot of projecting from Lucy, and then there's oddstuff like Holly apparently having small feet which a weird observation when Lucy is avenge height with avenge size feet.

You can have characters that have flaws and are unlikable, that doesn't make a bad book, but this book about actual ghost hunting. What is the point? I think Lucy is meant to have a growth during this novel, but I'm not completely sure what it's meant to be. There is one thing Holly does is kinda messed up: "She may have made great sandwiches, she may have had small feet, but at least I could console myself that Holly Munro was desk-bound. She didn't wear a rapier. She didn't do what I did, going out nightly and risking her life to save London. This knowledge enabled me to hold it together when I got home to discover she'd been into my bedroom and, in a spasm of brisk officiousness, tidied all my clothes." Lucy being annoyed at Holly being in her room without permission and her stuff is the only thing that Holly does, to justify pages of hate towards her but the pages started as soon as Lucy sees Holly. Her annoyance at Holly being hired without her being present is also justified but she never annoyed at Lockwood or George who did it.

I went to GoodReads to see what other people were saying, it was mainly that they don't want Holly to get between Lucy and Lockwood because they're shipped them together where as I hope everyone in Lockwood & Co all get ghost touched except Holly. Holly can go join a girl gang of agencies. Or get a job that will last her into adulthood. Basically, it's cermets that this bad for humans as it only enforces bad thoughts. This is so far into the series as well by this point and it's just not done well even Lucy is meant to be learning not to be a dick.

So the plot, besides the characters being bland and mean to each other, was fine. Conspiracy and Privilege. There's been unusually extreme activity in a Chelsea so all the other agencies are dealing with that while Lockwood moans about having ton of business while not being in the news which is Lockwood's defining trait. Always. Not the mysterious aspect that meant to be it, there's also plot stuff about that too.

Wanting to be in the news to drummed up customers makes senses but just dickish when have more business than you can safely handle. Okay, I'll stop talking about the characters now. There's is actually an interesting idea/story going on underneath this all, which is why it's such a shame.

I like the world building for the most part but there's this weird, probably ill-informed choice of what the main agency in this world use as their symbols: "At head of line the out in red and silver, the of Above it, bobbing gently against the darkened sky, hung vast helium balloons, firmly cabled — a unicorn and a rampant lion, the symbols of Fittes and Rotwell respectively." An example of shitty world building where someone doesn't know what the lion and the unicorn from the royal crest means: The Unicorn equals Scotland; the Lion equals England. Going off what's hinted in this book, this could get hella problematic. It meant not be thing, but I still think it's pretty lazy and gives association to two specific countries without much thought or intention. Rotwell who use the lion, also use the colour red so hella English representation there. Gold might have been a better colour choice or yellow. A lion is also on the Royal flag of Scotland, but still using the national animals of two countries that have a fought history is not the best choice. Basically, Stroud this is something you should have googled.

Overall, 3/5 stars for GirlHate Trash. The characters are all trash. That's the defining thing in this novel of the series. It's true for the whole of the series so far. Maybe we're have some magical growth but who knows. I still like the world, and the writing is decent. The characters choices are the worst. The main thing is that it's not fun. Some of the book relays on you caring about the characters and I just really don't. Also I would officially not let a children read this because not enough is done to show that Lucy is being a unreasonable dick and we're three books in a five book series (Pretty sure it's finished now), there's so media that enforcing this toxic mentality and I'm not here for it.
(I even have the ones that don't make Lucy as complete dick, but then she goes there afterwards.)

Page 16, "I'm just under five foot six inches tall, have hair the colour of a walnut coffin, and wear size six ectoplasm-proof boots."

 Page 19, "Inside it, floating in green liquid, was a leering face. And I don't mean nicely leering." What do you think 'Leering' means Lucy? Just looking at someone.

Page 121, "I was fine with Holly. Really I was. So she was well proportioned. So her hair was all glossy. So she looked as if her lips had never been the wrong side of a second doughnut in her life. What was any of that to me? I didn't care one bit. She wasn't perfect by any means. Probably, for example, if I'd thought hard enough about it, I could have found something flawed about the width of her thighs. But I didn't need to. None of that was important. I was an agent. I had other things to do."

Page ?, "I mean, they're servants. Servants and children. I don't pay to indulge in squealing hysterics. She glared around, as if daring any of us to disagree. As I met her glaze, I took away the impression of a humourless, rather unintelligent person, for whom only prim correctness and snobbery kept of world at bay. That's what I picked up from a quick look in her eyes, anyhow. No doubt she thought I was great.
Lockwood wore his gentle, placatory face, which he often used on Whitechapel housewives. 'I entirely understand,' he said. 'Perhaps you had better tell us all about it from the beginning.' He lifted his hand as if to pat her reassuringly on 'the knee, but then thought better of it.
'Very well,' Miss Wintergarden said."

Page 160, "Lockwood shook his head. 'Actually, we don't really know one way or the other. We've got to be careful with all Visitors. I don't care if a ghost's friendly, or needy, or just wants a big cuddle, We keep it at a safe distance. All the big agencies follow that policy, Holly says.' I didn't intend to be angry. Basically I knew that Lockwood was right. But my emotions felt stretched right then; it had been a long night - and, back at Portland Row, a long few days. 'This ghost is a serving boy- a lad being chased to his death!' I snapped, 'l saw him as he passed; he running for life, I don't shrug at me like that! He was so desperate. We've got to feel sympathy for him.' That was a mistake - I knew it at once.
A light in Lockwood's eyes flicked out,his voice was cold. 'Lucy, I don't have sympathy for any of them.'
Which, lets face it, was a bit of a conversation killer."

Page 161, "She may have made great sandwiches, she may have had small feet, but at least I could console myself that Holly Munro was desk-bound. She didn't wear a rapier. She didn't do what I did, going out nightly and risking her life to save London. This knowledge enabled me to hold it together when I got home to discover she'd been into my bedroom and, in a spasm of brisk officiousness, tidied all my clothes.
I meant to mention it to her (calmly, politely, in that way we had) the following morning, but it slipped my mind."

Page 177, " Holly and I stood facing each other down the hall. She had that little smile on; the default one that might mean anything or nothing."

Page 177 to 178, "Where had she got the gloves from? They looked suspiciously like the spare ones that I kept in my weapons locker. I recognized the sword for sure: it was one of the old blades we used for practice in the rapier room.[reasonable explanation] I offered to come along and he's found a few things to make sure I'm protected and warm. I hope you don't mind this, Lucy.'
'No, not at all,' I said. Why should I mind? It was just like her to assume that I had some problem with it.'"

Page 183, "Lockwood remained distinctly chilly towards over sandwiches and biscuits. Holly's presence unsettled me. She was at once submissive and assertive, her inexperience overlapping with her smooth self-confidence. Both these aspects, in different ways, contrived to snare Lockwood's attention. It left me out on a limb, feeling awkward and exposed."
"Part of me knew that I was being unreasonable. Nothing Lockwood was doing was essentially wrong. But the rightful pattern of events — of him and me working side by side had been disrupted and my disapproval chafed at my belly, as if I'd swallowed a bucketful of sharp stones."

Page 184, " Oh, sure, he was charming enough when he wanted to be. But it meant nothing. You could see it in his behaviour now, the ease with which he mollycoddled his new assistant, while turning his back on me. [No George or Skull.] There was nobody here to talk too I was entirely alone... I shook the self-pity away. No, I was being stupid. Lockwood's behaviour didn't mean anything. I turned the lantern up a notch and opened the book. I didn't care. Even so, black thoughts lingered over me as I began to read."

Page 193, " My fingers were too numb, the wood too smooth. I began to slip...
Then my wrists were firmly caught, and there was Holly Munro bracing herself against the banister and calling out, and here was George flinging himself alongside her, grabbing at my arms and pulling; and together, not gently, like fishermen dragging in a catch, they scooped and gathered me in slow, ignominious stages, up and over onto the landing.
Where I saw Lockwood lying face down on the boards." This is Holly saving Lucy's life. Lockwood is dead and forever a ghost that haunts them.

Page 208, "'Wrong!' The voice spoke with sudden passion. 'She's a cuckoo in your nest! She's an interloper in the nice little kingdom you've made your own. And she knows it. She loves the effect she's having on you. That kind always does.'
'Yeah, well.' I groaned and rolled into a sitting position on the side of the bed, 'She saved my life last night.'
It chuckled again. 'Big deal. We've all done that. Lockwood. Cubbins. There's me, of course; I've saved you lots of times.' 
'I was talking to a ghost. I got so obsessed with it I threw away my defences. Holly saved me. And that means,' I went on doggedly, 'that I'm OK with her now. Understand? You don't need to go on about her. It's not a problem any more.'
'In fact, who hasn't saved your bacon ? I expect even old Arif at the corner shop's done it once or twice, you're that hapless.'
I threw a sock at the jar. 'Shut up!'

Page 226? "At head of line the out in red and silver, the of Above it, bobbing gently against the darkened sky, hung vast helium balloons, firmly cabled — a unicorn and a rampant lion, the symbols of Fittes and Rotwell respectively."

Page 289, "Kate Godwin was just as stiff as I'd been when I first meeting Holly; our assistant seemed to affect girls that way."

I give up quoting the girlhate bull.

Wednesday 19 September 2018

Book Review: The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud

"Problem is: you're stupid, Lucy." I can't help but agree.

Ghosts and Ghouls beware!
The Smallest, shabbiest, most talented
phychic detection agency is back. 

There are strange things happening at one of  London's biggest cemeteries. A sinister coffin has been opened and a terrible phantom set free. 

When Lockwood & Co. investigate, they discover a dangerous relic has been stolen - and it's a race against time before its full power is unleashed...

This is the second book in the Lockwood & Co series and takes place seven months after the first, which I was surprised by considering they is a limited time where they will be able to fight ghosts.

Okay, Lucy becomes real unlikable right at the start of the book with the amount of girl hate she has, this was in the first book, but it's worst in this one: on page 20 she says this about a "She was Blonde, slim and pouty, which would have given me three reasons to dislike her even if she'd been a sweet lass who spent her free time tending poorly hedgehogs." So Lucy doesn't like stereotypical good looking girls, though "She was good-looking, though her jaw was a bit too sharp. If she’d repeatedly fallen over while crossing soft ground, you could have sewn a crop of beans in the chin-holes she left behind." Now this isn't the only description that Lucy gives about someone of her gender: "I also noted a posse of teenage girls, whose shapeless floaty dresses, black eyeliner, outsize bangles and lank armpit-length hair marked them out as Sensitives, Sensitives do psychic work, but refuse to ever actually fight ghosts for pacifist principle. They generally as dippy as summer cold and as irritating as nettle rash. We don't normally get on."

I have issues with the idea of the Sensitives as well, but this tops it off for me: "You miss'- he turned to the Senstive - 'you've clearly had a terrible experience. Are you able to tell me about it?'
This was classic Lockwood. Friendly, considerate, empathetic. My personal impulse would have been to slap the girl soundly around the face and boot her moaning backside out into the night. Which is why he's the leader, and I'm not. Also why I have no female friends". So you're saying all girls are like this. Is Lucy not a girl? I'm mean she could be Trans Boy and not realised, but I don't think that where this series is going. Still hella sexist either way.

You can be a tom-boy without hating on other girls. The thing is Stroud is not a woman, therefore it's not him accidentality giving a character the same trait he has, I guess he could hate stereotypical pretty feminine girls, which if so he should work on that. This is him choosing for Lucy to be against her own gender. This is kinda Society is bullshit where girls are encouraged abandoned feminine quality to fit in with boys, instead of just liking what you like. Everyone is socialised to dislike stereotypical feminine qualities, it's bullshit but it's also hella damaging because it's leads to people denying who they are. So not great for children to be reading.

Also this book is aimed at children, where they not at a stage necessary to question Society's bullshit and I think Lucy is meant to be relatable with this trait, instead of it being a major character flaw. This is the second book and it's only reinforced instead of questioned. Also they no other girl character to really go against this trait. There is no Buffy or Phryne Fisher. You can be a girly girl, nice and a bad arse. There are other female characters introduced, one is her own issue and the other is an adult that's being set up for future books. The main thing is it's not fun to read about a character who hates her own gender. Sexism isn't fun.

While on the Sexist aspect of the book, The Senstives are only presented as girls, and never mentioned again in the book that introduces the idea of them. Literally, just there for Lucy to hate on. The idea that makes them bad as idea is that they don't fight ghost but still help with the destroying of the sources and if they were pacifist they probably see this as helping to kill ghosts. Maybe they see it as them just warning living people of danger, for money. But they presented as girls that don't want to fight. If there was boy Senstives that were introduced with them, then this wouldn't be as much of a problem or even if at any time was spent with them besides this one conversation then we could have something. I guess they could appear in future books but introductions are everything. The idea of Senstives could be interesting, because the lack of information on ghosts and pre-problem ideas would suggest that not all ghosts are bad. Just some ghost want to attack you because they are dicks. Though, all ghosts can kill you in this world so it still seems kinda dumb. We're see.

I really don't like Lucy now. I know she's in her early teens so a dick as a rule, but she especially one with her girl hate and general attitude. The other characters are the same as the first book, there's more of an effect to explore how they work as term now that they've been together for a year. It works well for the plot. Except even I still don't like Cubbins, even with my dislike for Lucy and Lockwood feels like a plot point more than a person. I guess I wouldn't recommend this series for the characters.

This book is more quicker to start going somewhere than the first, which is good, a mystery with a deadline and a race aspect, though didn't have a lot of tension for me. Perhaps if I was more invested in Lockwood & Co. except they are the underdog.I figure out the mystery aspect half way through, but it not stupidly obvious. Still more complicated than some of the adult thrillers I've read. It also has dark magic and cults, digging up bodies in a graveyard so it's good.

I still like this world and want to know what's going on, outweighing the characters. The ghosts are interesting, with horrifying descriptions without just being gore galore with no rhythm or reason. This book felt more now, with alternative tech due to what went down. I'm waiting to know what happened to founding members of the agency because it's only been 50 years and they lived to have children so.. but I guess they're dead.

Overall, I give this book 3/5 stars for Smart Skulls. I like the world and the story, the characters are lacking. The thing is this is a kids books and I would hesitate to give this to a child, I would have to give them a lecture about how feminine quality are not bad and that girls that say they have no girl friends tend to be the issue and not the other girls. Girls are cool. These books are clearly aimed at boys, going off the covers, so I was down for tricking them into reading a book with bad arse female protagonist as the narrator, except she not a bad arse, she's a sexist loser. Thanks, Stroud. It's just really disappointing. I will be reading the sequel, hopefully, we'll get some character growth so Lucy stops being such a loser.


Page 20, "Kat Godwin, Kippe's right-hand operative, was a listener like me, but that was about all we had in common. She was Blonde, slim and pouty, which would have given me three reasons to dislike her even if she'd been a sweet lass who spent her free time tending poorly hedgehogs."

Page 21, "She was good-looking, though her jaw was a bit too sharp. If she’d repeatedly fallen over while crossing soft ground, you could have sewn a crop of beans in the chin-holes she left behind."

Page 79, "I also noted a posse of teenage girls, whose shapeless floaty dresses, black eyeliner, outsize bangles and lank armpit-length hair marked them out as Sensitives, Sensitives do psychic work, but refuse to ever actually fight ghosts for pacifist principle. They generally as dippy as summer cold and as irritating as nettle rash. We don't normally get on."

Page 80, "With a clatter of bangles, the floatiest and wettest-looking of the Sensitives stepped forward. 'Mr Sanders! Miranda, Tricia and I refuse to work in any sector near that grave until it's been made safe! I wish to make that clear.'"

"'You miss'- he turned to the Sensitive - 'you've clearly had a terrible experience. Are you able to tell me about it?
 This was classic Lockwood. Friendly, considerate, empathetic. My personal impulse would have been to slap the girl soundly around the face and boot her moaning backside out into the night. Which is why he's the leader, and I'm not. Also why I have no female friends."-Sexist to presume all girls are like that, are you like that Lucy.

Page 111, "Problem is: you're stupid, Lucy."

Page 198, "There was a curiously feminine quality to his eyes and mouth that sat oddly with his hirsute frame."

Wednesday 12 September 2018

Book Review: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

I too hunted Ghosts when I was Young.

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again . . .

A group of Twelve Year olds (Okay, I think they might be slightly older than that, but I forget, they roughly that age. Update 29/11/2018, they actually meant to be 15/16) are the only Ghost Fighting Company that has no adults. In this world Ghosts are dangerous, can kill you if they touch you but Children are the only one who can see/sense them fully, meaning adults are basically useless when fighting them. It's not made clear how old you are when you lose your ability to sense ghosts fully (adults can feel them, but can't hear or see them. The powers vary between the kids). I imagine it will come up in the future books. 

The Premise alone is pretty good. The kids only being able to see them is a bit kid-ful but this is children's book and they has to be a reason why the government would be chill with kids fighting ghosts in this world.The feel that there's something else going with that. It's also a kids book with a Murder Mystery which always fun.

The mystery side is done pretty well and is on a higher level than some of the thrillers that I have read aimed at an older audiences (there are adult mystery books that don't even try). It has quite similarity to popular mystery tropes and urban legends (also real life cases with something similar have happened. Also an Angel Episode), but this is aimed at kids and someone has to introduce them to the stapes. Also it's done really well.

This book is told in first person by Lucy Carlyle, the newbie to the organisation which works fine. It is kinda slow getting into this book. There is a lot to introduce and there is a lot flashbacks. It someone what expective when you're setting up 50 years of history and a made up industrial. I think it set now but there's also something old fashioned about this world. I guess ghosts and different technology developments and maybe I don't play enough attention to remember.

The world building is decent. The rules of the ghosts are set up pretty quickly and we get different level of ghosts so there's stakes. It's an alternative time line thing where ghosts made themselves known 50 years ago, so basically everyone has grown up with ghosts being a dangerous thing and the things to deal with them have been established, like special street lights and building water cannels because ghosts are vampires apparently.

There's three main characters: Lockwood, Lucy and the fat one. That's not his name, but that his characterisation with being obsessed with food and being described as chubby, so not great on Plus Size representation. I need to look up his name, it was George Cubbins...great last name choice. He's also would rather do research than jump into danger so he spends a lot time inactive too. Of course, research is skill that will last into adult hood and will always be usefully for hunting ghosts so jokes on the others. George is also unlikable, as our POV Lucy and him do not get along. It was the only thing that puts me off this series. Hopefully, the characters will all show more depth. Lockwood has some mysterious past and I remember nothing being said about George's background so I guess we're see. Being in Lucy's head mean we know the most about her, she works pretty well as our narrator and action hero.Though, something I don't quite love is that she hates on "Pretty girls", she straight says she doesn't like girls based on her looks, one of these was the victim. Maybe she'll grow as person, but this is a kids book and it's not resolved in this one, a kid might never get their hands on more of the series. Lucy knows she doesn't like girl who are "prettier" than her, but she fine with this as if not a bad trait to be prejudice against someone, and she is the audience replacement character in terms of being introduced into the company, in a book aimed at children. This such a toxic thing that girls are socialised to do, so if not going to be character development moment in the book it's introduced, then just don't. Especially, as Lucy has no girl friends and the other girls in the books are either dead or an antagonist. Stroud is a man (and as always socialise as one to my knowledge) so this is especially not a great look for him. Yes, woman writers do this as well but that's their own society bullshit to deal with. I know men do the same thing to other men. It's just an odd and dangerous trait to give as one of the defining characterisation of your main character.

Overall, I give this book 4/5 stars for ghost touching. I am going to continue with the series, if the plot sounds like your jam then you should definitely pick this book up.

 So I read this book over a month ago so not the best way to write reviews and I read like 20 books since reading this so I've not been great with details.

I also read the novelle The Dagger in the Desk, it's a bit weak, but it was written I think in a tight deadline and was written as pact of a thing where fans/children picked out the elements of the story. It's just a short thing and a audio version of it is currently online for free so worth listening to if you like the first book which you should definitely read before the novelle. 

Saturday 1 September 2018

1st September Changes

Do you ever think about how stupid it would be if Hogwarts always started up on the 1st of September. We know they observe weekends due to visits to Hogsmeade (perhaps their weekend is different to ours, but would still be at some point during the weekend) For example, the 1st of September falls today, a Saturday meaning the students are going up to do nothing on the Sunday. It would more sense for them to go up on the Sunday and start on Monday 3rd.

Schools have been known to start back on a Thursday, but in Hogwarts case classes would only be on the Friday. Meaning travelling up on Thursday or Friday would make no sense.

Wouldn't the parents be annoyed that missing out on time they could have with their children that they only see twice in the year. I know some parents are arseholes that only had kids for the sack of an heir, but wizarding parents probably mostly love their children. Also having a much of first years and teenagers in generally wandering about unguided while they pumped up from summer seems like a bad idea.

Basically, it's one of the many things about Hogwarts that makes aspect no sense. It would make more sense if Hogwarts started that kids would leave for Hogwarts the first Monday after the 1st of September (if have we have to stick with the September month) or what go up the Sunday before the Week that has the 1st September in it.

Another more illogical idea would be that Class always starts on the 2rd of September and goes for the five days (six, I've have did enough research to figure out a wizarding week and I'm not re-reading six books to figure this out right now) and then the weekend is whatever day the six day lands on. Though, that would mean that the weekend changes every year, confuses the hell out of everyone. There is a magical government meaning they must have some sort of Calendar that they stick to.

I do plan to re-read the Harry Potter series someday. I guess I'm just scared that the magic it will be gone.

Saturday 25 August 2018

Continued Hardship

Life is a continued hardship. Okay, this week I am actually just being dramatic as hell, which is fun instead of the usual heartbreaking strain I am always under. I'm going to make Tacos this weekend, so my back will hurt for a day. I am pessimistic, I can't help but go into the negative. It's who I am as a person, then you have all the bad things that happen to my family on a regular basices, I have to see and think why me sometimes. I could have it worst, I sit and think about that too.

See, even when things ain't falling apart progressively. I still can't make the effect to go anyway. Leaving your house shouldn't be so hard. But yet it is. 

Saturday 18 August 2018

A Phone Call

Stalker called me on Friday from my brother's phone. To be clear she not an actual stalker, like call the police stalker, but she stalked me online and then had the balls to tell people like that was normal. It is not normal to follow people you know in real online without telling them. She had this elaborate lie about how she wasn't a stalker. Anyway, she is. I mean if she see this and feel the need to comment on this then we know that she is definitely a stalker.

So I was in my car, parked eating chips, so when I saw my brother calling I didn't answer because I was eating and I wasn't sure I the energy to deal with him today (or anyone on the phone. I hate phones) and I can't imagine a world where he calling me for something important. Probably some bullshit reason. I hang up the call.

A few minutes, he calls again, so in case I am somehow the only family member out of the actual seven he has on my side he can contract, I answer on speaker phone because I have witnesses to whatever bull this is, including our sibling who he has not called. So no clue what this about. Maybe I'm dying. Physically this time, not mentally because he definitely never cared about that.

So I answer, I say hi or hello, one of those greeting words. Does it matter?

She, definitely not my brother says "Verna is that you?" I don't believe she did a proper greeting. I could ask one of the witnesses but does it matters?

I'm not with 'Verna', if I was I would have let her have the phone so she can deal whatever bullshit this is. I mean you don't accidentally call someone twice in a roll. Bullshit is what usually arrives when I see/hear my brother now.

I answer "It is not." She hangs up without a word. How very rude. Not that I care, but you know usually make up a lie like I called the wrong number. Somehow on a mobile that is not yours. We end up discussing Stalker more bullshit, bullshit that she has done. Like calling my mother due to reading on this blog that I didn't like the gift she had clearly brought due to how impersonal it was and would expect my brother to know that I can't wear jumpers. Only hoodies with zippers. Like calling everyone in my families with lies as what I said at her dress fitting. I had meltdown at the dress fitting but I did not saying anything about her. I called my brother an arsehole which my god given right as his sister to do. I suppose it's my Fate given right really. But alliteration.

So I told my mother who got this weird lie from her. If it's true it's weird, but I think it's a lie because stalker often gives weird lies. I won't brother with more examples.

I am still listed as Dad on my brother's phone, despite it having become my phone for the past eight years, but I buy that part because I haven't had an older brother for the past ten. The part I don't buy is that stalker thought it was her Dad listed as Dad on someone else's phone. Especially as my brother has two father's. So it would be Russian Roulette either way. Maybe it is true, she could just be that self-centred.

My theory is that I accidentally called my brother, a week ago (actually I've checked, it was a month ago so extra sad if I'm right) and Stalker was going through his call history because she definitely the sort of person to do that. She used to often stalk people on his phone. It's doesn't matter either way.

Now as an adult I can see that my brother is in a mentally abusive relationship. Maybe it's suddenly not. One person mocking someone for their likes and interests is abusive, and does not make a healthy relationship. She also encouraged his isolation from his family. He's did shitty stuff on his own and has a messed up view point like you stop having family when you get married. There were reasons why I stopped being closed to my bother.

Well, I'm not sixteen on the verge of killing myself so I no long care, other than wow that some bullshit, on either of them. This is just a funny thing that happened, because she has publicly said she will never talked me again because I called her a cunt in a chat she couldn't see. She just so self-centred that she ignored me calling my brother an arsehole and a sister a bitch after having left the chat ten times. I don't think either of us are in the right, but I own my bullshit.