Sunday, 28 October 2012

Scarlet Read-Along - November 1st

Just a quick post to say I'm joining the read-along for Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen, hosted by the lovely Jessica at Thoughts at One in the Morning and Marie at Ramblings of a Daydreamer.

Starting November 1st, it's a month long event. They'll be designated chapters to read each week, discussion topics and a chance to share favourite quotes. A. C. Gaughen has even gotten involved and will be donating bookmarks as prizes!

I've always wanted to do a read-along but this is the first time I've: a) known about one before it happened, and b) had the book to hand. Also, because we're only reading chapters every week, it'll be easy for me to fit it in around my other reading. I'm very excited to take part.

Full details and sign up sheet are available here. Come join us!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon (Check back for updates!)

I'm taking part in Dewey's Read-a-thon for the second time today. My first time was last April and I enjoyed it so much. However, I'm not going to be able to commit to the same length of time as I did then. I'm not teaching at a school Monday-Friday anymore; I'm doing private tuition sessions almost every day of the week, and I have a session tomorrow at midday. The Read-a-Thon doesn't end until 1pm tomorrow in UK time, so I have no choice but to cut it an hour short and, well, I don't think my tutee would appreciate me turning up after an all-night binge (even if it was a binge on books!), so I think I should get some sleep tonight.

I also have plans to see a film with friends this evening BUT I'm hoping this counts towards the Read-a-Thon because (hear me out!) the Read-a-Thon is not just for reading, but for doing bookish things. The movie I'm seeing is The Perks of Being a Wallflower - it's based on a book; that counts as a bookish thing to me.

I feel a little bad about not devoting as much time to reading, which is one of the reasons I've signed up to do two hours of cheerleading this year. The other reason is that I'm going to love cheering my fellow Thon-ers on, so I'm really looking forward to that.

The October Read-a-Thon has come at a busy time for me and I am sorry that I'm only going to be able to do it halfway, but I still feel like that's better than not doing it at all.

Wish me luck and great reading!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Book Review: Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

First published: 25th October 2011
By: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Tuesdays at Castle Glower are Princess Celia's favorite days. That's because on Tuesdays the castle adds a new room, a turret, or sometimes even an entire wing to itself. No one ever knows what the castle will do next, and no one - other than Celia, that is - takes time to map out the new additions. But when King and Queen Glower are ambushed and reportedly killed, it's up to Celia with her secret knowledge of the Castle's many twists and turns, to protect their home and save their kingdom.

My review:

Note to self: If you are ever in a reading slump and feeling unenthusiastic about your TBR list, pick up a cute, cheery children's novel. Tuesdays at the Castle was just the tonic I needed right now; an adorable adventure that spread a huge smile on my face and filled me with the desire to put a copy into the hands of every little girl I meet.

Jessica Day George's middle-grade fantasy just hits the mark and succeeds at being everything it needs to be. Its writing is simple, yet in its simplicity, it still manages to give us clearly defined and likeable characters; a clever, fast-paced plot; a real threat of danger from the villains; and most importantly, that thrill of magic, action and fun that exists in all the best children's books.

Hard to believe one of the most kick-ass protagonist I've come across this year is an eleven-year-old girl, but Celie is awesome: smart, selfless and brave. I defy anyone not to cheer her on during the climax, where she starts fighting back against the antagonists hard

Tuesdays at the Castle has a strong emphasis on family, with Celie and her siblings all working together and saving each other, but Celie's strongest relationship is with the castle. I just love the idea of a castle that's always changing and Tuesdays at the Castle really delivers on all the cool possibilities of this.

It's not perfect, no. The ending is a bit rushed and wrapped up too quickly. And yes, this book is aimed at a younger audience than YA and that's obvious with some of the more childish humour and the pranks the characters pull. However, I know I would've greatly enjoyed these jokes as a kid. And for its 256 pages, Tuesdays at the Castle did make me feel like a kid again: A kid who dreamed about being a princess and having great adventures. If you know one, or you were one, then buy this book.

Rating: 4.5 stars