Book Tour: The Sunflower Cottage Breakfast Club by Lynsey James

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About the author

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Lynsey James was born in Fife. She’s an incurable bookworm who loves nothing more than getting lost in a good story with memorable characters. She started writing when she was really young and credits her lovely Grandad with her love of telling stories.

A careers adviser at school once told Lynsey that writing wasn’t a “good option” and she believed her, trying all sorts of things including make-up artistry, teaching and doing admin for a chocolate fountain company before she started writing full-time after she left her job a couple of years ago. As soon as she started working on her story, Lynsey fell in love with the whole thing and decided to finally pursue her dream.


Review

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The perfect summer romance for a sunny afternoon and a picnic in the park

We follow the ups and downs of Emily Reed, a hardworking and independent woman, who devastated after having  lost her promotion to Tara her co-worker who’s sleeping with the boss, her mother drops a devastating bombshell—the dad she’s known and loved for twenty-five years isn’t her biological father!

I’d rather do the eating trial from I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here than force down a fry-up.

The Sunflower Cottage Breakfast Club is a funny and witty novel that throws you straight into Emily’s drama from the very beginning.

Although this is a second book in a series (something I hadn’t even realised when I first started reading it!) it works perfectly as a stand-alone book as I didn’t feel like I was missing any information or background not having read the first.

Along with her hilarious chum Frankie, I loved Emily’s sarcastic and straightforward tone which really eased me through this wonderfully magical romance as Emily has to choose between busy life in Glasgow and her newfound love of Luna Bay, a little village in Yorkshire.

‘Derek Simpson is your biological father.’

With that, my neat and ordered world slipped and crumbled around me.

“Setting up the Sunflower Cottage breakfast club should be a great way to meet the locals and maybe even find out who her father is! The only problem is that brooding and insanely gorgeous, Noah, is determined to make Emily’s stay perfectly uncomfortable.

Finding out the truth was never going to be simple, but she never thought her heart would get in the way…”


I hope you enjoyed this little review. Thanks to Carina and Neverland Book Tours for organising everything.

Don’t forget to follow if you like my reviews, I have a ‘Life of Pi’ one coming up soon!

Until another time,

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Saturday 25th June: Bookshop Crawl

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So this blog post is a little late, but I’d still like to talk about this year’s bookshop crawl which I took part in.

So on the morning of the 25th of June, I set off to crawl the bookshops of London. I’d like to say it all went as planned, but unfortunately torrential rain and my phone battery dying on me did delay the crawl which meant I didn’t get to visit as many bookshops as I would have liked to.

My first stop was Nomad Books, a beautiful little bookshop in Fulham. I had never been here before, despite being near to where I live, and I was honestly so happy to find it. It smelt lovey and book-ish and they even have a book club which I’d love to join!

First stop! @nomadbooks #IBW2016 #BookShopCrawl

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It was here that I  thought I’d treat myself to this beautiful copy of ‘Go Set a Watchman’ which I am so excited to read! ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ was probably one of the only books we studied in English that I actually enjoyed during my whole time at school.

It also meant I managed to tick off one of the points in the Bookshop Crawl Challenge (locate a book with an orange cover!).

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Next, I headed over to central London where I found Stanfords in Covent Garden, a bookshop dedicated to maps and world travel (as evident by the epic map floors).

@stanfords #IBW2016 #BookShopCrawl

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It was around this time that, first, my phone ran out of battery, and, secondly,  it started raining like crazy and so I had to seek shelter in a Pret for a very long time so by the time I reached Goldsboro Books, it was shut!

Dun dun dun... Goldsboro Bookshop! #IBW2016 #IBW2016 #BookCrawl

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And then… it started raining again! *welcome to London summers*. As well as this, it was Pride weekend and I managed to get caught in the mass hubbub of people as I rushed to Southbank’s branch of Foyles.

This literally my favourite bookshop. @foyles in Southbank! #IBW2016 #BookShopCrawl

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Here, many books caught my eye as I  hid from the rain , although unfortunately they didn’t catch the eye of my bank balance!

So I headed on over to The National Theatre. I hadn’t even known that they had a specialised bookshop in there so it was very cool. It was filled with plays, theatre books, and play analyses.

National Theatre Bookshop! #IBW2016 #BookShopCrawl

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As I was meeting friends in Waterloo, I crossed over to the station’s Foyles where, again, I had a little look around.

And just as I was ending my Bookshop Crawl, I caught sight of Travelling Through… which was unfortunately shut but which I would love to actually visit when it’s open as it has a cafe and lounge!

#ibw2016 #BookShopCrawl

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I had so much fun exploring London through bookshops and doing what I love doing most, browsing for books! It would have been a lot more fun were I to have had some company along the way, but hey – next time, eh?

Thanks for reading and thanks to all my new followers for following 😀

Until next time,

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Book Tour: Where is Emma Butler’s Life Plan? By Julia Wilmot + GIVEAWAY

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A little about the author…

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Twitter | Website

Julia Wilmot first discovered Transcendental Meditation (TM)  as a teenager at school. She was so sure of her path that she decided not to go to University and study law but devote herself to teaching TM and working with the charity that teaches the technique instead! She’s been a founder for a TM community and the Centre Chairman of the largest teaching centre for TM in Europe, based in Central London. 

As for this novel, Julia began it in 1995 but it remained in a drawer for many years. She came across it again in the early 2000s and finally finished it in 2015!

Julia currently focusses her attention on her writing, blogging and looking after her family. Forty years on and she still practises TM, as do her husband and son whom she lives with in Chilterns, Buckinghamshire. 

 

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Goodreads | Buy: Book Depository / Amazon UK

My review!

‘Where is Emma Butler’s Life Plan?’ is spiritual from the very start. Its whole concept is based on the idea of rebirth and the idea that all souls have a plan that is completely forgotten once they are reborn. I love how each person on Earth is accompanied by a guardian angel and team of spirit guides that they can’t see.

It’s not possible for there to be a mistake in a world governed perfectly by the Divine. Mistakes are what we humans perceive when our vision is obscured.

It’s interesting that the word ‘death’ is never actually mentioned in the novel, it is always referred to as a  “recall” of the soul and that the aim of one’s ‘life’ is to complete everything left to do in life, except unlike a bucketlist, the tasks which each soul has to complete every time are pre-chosen.

Emma Butler only has one week left to live – a fact which set all my fear of death anxieties off – but has completed none of the tasks she had set herself for this life time. They must be completed before she is ‘recalled’ and time is running out so Arch Angel Gregory decides to take over. He will be her Guardian Angel to ensure it all gets done.

Wouldn’t it be nice if people were given a bit of notice so that they could get their affairs in order, say all those things that so often remain unsaid, heal all those old wounds…

The concept of this novel is fantastic in my opinion, I loved that Wilmot’s concept of heaven in the novel had a modern corporate twist i.e. Guardian Angel Control Room, files of all the souls, a hierarchal system of angels, and arranged meetings with GOD (reminds me of the 2010 film Tooth Fairy!)

This novel had lots of little quirks which made me giggle, the jokes about heaven not being computerised yet, and Gregory’s assistant,the clumsy Josh! As well as this, there was the physicalisation of figurative concepts e.g literal thinking caps.

He trolled out the events as though he was placing an order for a take away.

As well as being a fascinating concept which I hadn’t encountered in literature before, I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Where is Emma Butler’s Life Plan?’ as it was well paced with timed humour and comic references to aspects of Western modernity such as health crazes and details about daytime reality television. I felt like this kept it current as well as funny.

His ego was so large that it needed it’s own LinkedIn entry.

 

Books seemed to be written about every awful thing that one human being could do to another in any and every continent of the world.

 

GIVEAWAY…

There is a giveaway of one of three paperback copies of the book to one lucky reader. Click here to be in with the chance of winning! (bear in mind that the giveaway is tour-wide) 

Good luck!

Thank you very much to Julia Wilmot and to Neverland Blog Tours for providing me with a copy of the novel, and letting me take part in the blog tour!

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#BangingBookClub: The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

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 Yes, I haven’t blogged for ages. Yes, this should have been posted in February. Yes, I’m sorry. Now on with the show…  *

(*I truly am sorry)

This play is about exactly what you think it’s about – vaginas (which sounds so weird to say, I guess because I’ve internalised this shame and secrecy surrounding the female genitalia, heck even writing the word genitalia makes me feel awkward). The play goes back and forth between dialogue, individual stories about certain women’s experiences with their own vaginas and facts.

There is this “darkness and secrecy surrounding them”, a shame I think originates from the patriarchal idea that women’s bodies should be private and unseen . It is hilariously described as a mysterious place, like a cave “nobody ever reports back” from. Continuously throughout the different accounts, the same feeling about the vagina being  detached from us, not a part of us, seemed to crop up a lot, for example the lady in The Flood was so ashamed about having an orgasm in her youth that she locked it up like a “cellar”. Contrastingly, it’s interesting that when a six-year-old is asked to describe her vagina, her descriptions are mostly positive images, “snowflakes”, “peach”, and a smart “diamond”, like she hasn’t been impacted by the negativity surrounding her own body yet. 

Who needs a handgun when you’ve got a semiautomatic?

When asked to speak about their vaginas, the women got “excited” – we internalise this shamefulness surrounding them but once it became normalised these women felt happy to talk about their vaginas. But they aren’t just something sexual, as reinforced in I Was There In The Room, they’re “a sacred vessel”, a gateway to human life.

A deep well with a tiny stuck child inside, waiting to be rescued.

I will now talk about some of the individual stories…

Hair  

In this story the woman was made to shave off her pubic hair by her husband, despite the fact that she didn’t want to. She was made to do something to her own vagina that she wasn’t happy nor comfortable with and even the therapist called it a compromise that must be made in marriage. Yet this was a one way compromise, and after everything, her husband still cheated on her.

The Vagina Workshop

This was such an odd concept to me, do these really exist? The lady who attended the workshop felt that her vagina was like an “abstract plane”, she also did not see it as something attached to her and only knew what she knew about vaginas from things she’d heard . And like so many other women she also held this  shame of orgasming and fear of being “frigid” and incapable.

My Angry Vagina was a right chuckle and definitely one of my favourites! The way it was personified and the voice of the story was just great. This contrasted starkly with My Vagina Was My Village, a darker and jarred story.  

I dream there’s a dead animal sewn in down there with thick black fishing line

Did you know that it’s illegal to sell vibrators in some states in the US? Like you can buy a gun, but not a VIBRATOR?

We have yet to hear of a mass murder committed with a vibrator.

 I Was There In The Room, the last of the stories, was one of my favourites. It was so graphic, yet beautifully written, to emphasise the ugly and the preciousness of childbirth. The ending was almost poetic, and perfect end to the play in my opinion. I’d love to see it live!

The heart is capable of sacrifice.
So is the vagina.
The heart is able to forgive and repair.
It can change its shape to let us in.
It can expand to let us out.
So can the vagina.
It can ache for us and stretch for us, die for us
and bleed and bleed us into this difficult, wondrous world. I was there in the room.
I remember.

Overall, The Vagina Monologues were funny, quirky, and fascinating to read. It’s a quick and light read (despite it taking me so long to blog about it!) and definitely one I recommend to anyone. The only criticism I really have is that it ignores sexuality and gender.

Goodreads |Buy The Vagina Monologues

Until another time,

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STRANGE THE DREAMER COVER REVEAL!#StrangeTheDreamer

I’m throughly sorry for not having posted for so long! Exam revision and general half-term procrastination really has gotten in the way lately…

As an apology for the lack of posts recently I hereby present a little present in the form of  an exclusive preview of Laini Taylor’s new novel Strange The Dreamer.

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UK jacket of Strange the Dreamer

(Isn’t the cover stunning?)

A little bit about the author….

Laini  lives in Portland, USA with her husband Jim and daughter Clementine Pie. She enjoys books, travelling, desserts and taking pictures. She has a degree in English and has previously studied illustration.She is  the author of three previous books, the most recent of which, Lips Touch: Three Times, was a silver medal finalist for the 2009 National Book Award.

You can find her blog here!

Strange the Dreamer is the first in Taylor’s new duology, which will be followed by its sequel The Muse of Nightmares. It follows the magical story of Lazlo Strange, a junior librarian at the world’s greatest library, so-called ‘Strange the Dreamer’ by his colleagues due to his constant daydreaming!

Strange the Dreamer is the story of:

the aftermath of a war between gods and men
a mysterious city stripped of its name
a mythic hero with blood on his hands
a young librarian with a singular dream
a girl every bit as perilous as she is imperilled
alchemy and blood candy, nightmares and godspawn, moths and monsters, friendship and treachery, love and carnage

I honestly can’t wait to read it!

Strange the Dreamer will be released on September 27, 2016

Keep your eyes peeled for a sneak preview of the prologue coming soon on the blog.

Hasta la vista,

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#BangingBookClub: Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

So Youtubers Hannah Witton, Leena Norms and Lucy Moon are  running a book reading club called #BangingBookClub. As opposed to making a video, I’ll be participating via my blog!

Their video review

The first in this year’s list is…

Asking For It by Louise O’Neil

**trigger warning:novel contains rape and descriptions of self-harm**

{Blog post will be referencing these}

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Is it possible to want everything to change and nothing to change, all at the same time?

This book got me thinking a lot about how we treat victims of rape, how every societal institution plays their part in victim blaming, through the eyes of the media, the law, local communities, and family & friends etc.

Admittedly, yes, the main character Emma was portrayed as an absolute bitch from the very beginning: she belittled her own friends, bullied her fellow students, and was generally a right pain in the arse. However, that dislike of her character I had felt at the start instantly disappeared once she became a victim.

While she wasn’t there for Jamie, her friend who also tells her that she was raped,she soon learns what it actually means to be. None of her friends are truly there for her, although after some initial hostility her friends talk to her again, there is still a sense of blame from them (Ali: “forgives” her for sleeping with Sean, the guy she fancies, the guy who rapes Emma).

Her parents are also very oblivious to how their behaviour is affecting their daughter. Emma’s Father ignores her completely, again reinforcing this feeling of self-blame within Emma, while her Mother turns to alcohol and becomes a victim instead of staying strong for her daughter who is an actual victim, always stopping short at ‘this wouldn’t have happened if… [you hadn’t gotten raped]’. Reading this through Emma’s eyes made me feel like nobody cared for her wants and needs, even when she decides to withdraw her complaint to please her parents, I felt like it was not what she truly wanted.

Media hysteria, and in this day and age, social media also, play a part in victim blaming, highlighted through the the snippets of the Ned O’Dwyer show that Emma eavesdrops on and sensationalist newspapers she finds.  

  •  What did she expect?
  •  Wearing skirts up to their arses
  •  She was asking for trouble

These kind of questions and thinking are preventing young women in situations like Emma’s from being helped.

Even religion’s part in the treatment of rape victims is criticised in the novel, with Father Michael, the book’s local priest, openly shaking hands with and giving his condolences to the perpetrators. I don’t want to go too much into it but I feel like many fundamentalist thinkers see women as temptresses, thus again enforcing this stereotype that women who are raped are to be blamed, especially in Catholic communities in Ireland like Ballinatoom, where the book is set in (which I can’t help thinking sounds like a fictitious Cbeebies town!)

The only characters who fully understand, or attempt to understand Emma, and are completely there for her throughout are Bryan (her brother) and Conor, whom are ironically both male (I’m not sure if O’Neill did this on purpose or not!)

Another thing which shocked me was how much the small community they lived in mattered to the issue so much, an aspect I hadn’t considered having lived in a city all my life. The fact that everybody knew each other  and that the perpetrators were considered to be ‘good local boys’ added to the disbelief of the fact that Emmie had been raped,her  Mother even going as far as to say that she didn’t understand how it could have happened because “he dressed nicely”.

And finally, I’d just like to comment on the injustice of the law that allowed Emma’s abusers to still walk free in her community and allowed them to continue harassing her. How is this allowed? I don’t completely know how the Irish justice system works in comparison to other parts of the UK or how claims of rape are dealt with, but the fact that abusers can get away with their behaviour and continue harassing and abusing is completely absurd to me.

I liked the use of the repetition of negative phrases throughout the book which Emma had heard and read about her, as it showed how much the negativity around her had impacted upon her, which I thought perfectly depicted the anxiety aspects of depression, the words going around and around in her head, squeezing into every part of your brain and chest, rendering you worthless and necessary, at least mentally anyway.

The novel ends on an ambiguous note, atypical of normal books, but it serves to indicate that it is not all rainbows and sunshine for victims like Emma, like all the Emmas of the world, who still have a long way to go and a lot of healing to go through.

I  really enjoyed this novel. I’m glad I read it as it gave me a lot to think about and really presented ideas of rape in a very thought provoking manner.

Thoughts? Have any of you read this before or would like to?


 

If you’ve been affected by any of the issues talked about here///

If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call the Police on 999.

NHS Direct Helpline ‐ 24 hour medical advice and information service: 111

Alternatively, you can contact several voluntary organisations for emotional support:

The Samaritans | 0845 790 9090 | www.samaritans.org

Saneline |0845 767 8000 | www.sane.org.uk

RoI Rape Crisis Centre | 1800 77 8888 | www.drcc.ie

UK Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre | 0808 802 9999 | www.rasasc.org.uk


Don’t forget to follow!

Until next time,
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#10 Book Review: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke by Anne Blankman

This book me took me a while to read, both because in all honesty it’s not genre I usually read and so it took me a while to really get into it, and because I’ve been so damn busy!

“soon she wouldn’t witness the miracle of blood and sinew responding to her thoughts. Soon she wouldn’t feel anything at all.”

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Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke tells the story of Gretchen, a former family friend of Adolf Hitler, who progressively finds out that things are not all what they seem. In falling in love with a Jewish boy, Daniel, and having to face all  the consequences that come with it during the unfolding of Nazi Germany, all the truths Gretchen once thought she knew start falling apart. The mesmerising authority figure of her childhood, Hitler, is not as charming and fantastical as he once seemed, and she even realises that her own father had his flaws. This applies to so many of us, the naïve view we have of our parents when we’re young is often faulted and tinged with childhood idolization before realising that they are in fact not as perfect as we thought and we could be a better person than them of we chose.

Additionally, all the stereotypes Gretchen has ever known are called into question throughout her evolution within the book. Jews are obviously not the “virus” that she was taught they were and even the corrupted and evil criminals she expects when she meets The Ringvereine men (a gang of criminals persecuted by the Nazis), she finds that they are much more complex than that. They treat her with kindness and welcome arms and Gretchen is surprised to see that their leader, Friedrich, is so kindly, especially in his gentle attitude towards his children, proving himself to be a better father than the upright National socialist her own father was.

“what would death be like? The fields of wildflowers and angels her childhood priest had preached about, or a void of blackness and silence?”

The only negative thing I can think to say is that at times I felt like Gretchen’s thought process was oversimplified and  2-dimensionalised , she would make correct decisions without explanation or deliberation, like when looking for the door to the Reichstag building, she managed to bypass two sets of forked corridors and get to her desired destination by an utter and complete miracle.

Despite knowing what was going to happen in terms of the historical aspect of the book, as I knew what the events were that led to Hitler becoming Chancellor, and later on Führer, especially regarding Enabling Act, the fact that the story intertwined fiction with history meant that you could really focus on the main story and become invested in the heart-wrenchingly beautiful relationship between David and Gretchen without the fact that you knew what was going to happen historically becoming an anticlimax.

Thank you to bookbridg and Headline Publishing for sending me this book, all opinions (and this whole review in fact) are my own!


Opinions/comments – tell me what you think! And if you haven’t read it, would you like to?

As always, follow Acreativegirlnadia for more of my book reviews and other such things!

Hasta pronto,

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Bookish New Year Resolutions

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

So unfortunately, I didn’t reach my Goodread’s Reading Challenge goal in 2015, my sincere apologies to The Book Lord *cowers in fear*.

So here’s hoping I reach my reading goal this year. To help me, I’ve written down the list of books I’ve been hoping to read, which I will hopefully get around to this year.

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As you can see, this list is very random. Some are books which were hyped ages ago which I still haven’t read, while others are ones I’ve recently added to my list. They’re only a small selection, of course, so I will obviously read plenty of other books as well.


 

Do you have any new year’s resolutions (doesn’t have to be book related)?!

As ever, thank you to any new followers, and feel free to follow if you enjoy my content.

Hasta luego,

 

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A Little Christmas Message + TBT#9: Scribbleboy by Philip Ridley

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A Little Christmas Message

So I know sometimes how hard it is when people are telling you to “be happy, it’s Christmas!” and you just can’t. But try and distract yourself as much as you can. Do things you enjoy, read a book (eh!), watch a film or binge on some shows – whatever it takes. And try and relax as much as possible! I mean it’s not every day you get to watch endless movies over a period of time without feeling guilty!

And of course, eat yummy food and spend plenty of time with family and friends.

I wish all my lovely readers a happy holidays and a merry Christmas!

And now on with the show!


TBT #9: Scribbleboy by Philip Ridley
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Transcript

I really like Philip Ridley, not because he wrote Kindlebrax (that’s the book we read in year 3) but because he has really imaginative ideas for his stories. I can’t believe Scibbleboy (well, Scribblegirl) was actually Tiffany, Monty’s fionce [sic] (now his wife), at the beggining, end [sic] I thought it was Bailey’s ancestors, since Bailey was as good as scribbling as Scribblegirl.

I would never want a mum like Ziggy’s who every time she feels she needs cheering up or feels like it puts on disco music and makes everyone dance by saying things like “Come on!”, “Let’s shimmy and shake!”, “Strutt your stuff!” .

But not only,that, every character in the book has their own way of speaking.

BAILEY SILK! BAILEY SILK!
DON’T LET THE SCRIBBLING END!
BAILEY SILK! BAILEY SILK!
COME BACK AND BE OUR FRIEND!


Nice chant at the end there I guess!?

I tended to go on many tangents and just leave them abruptly and move on to the next one.  I hope I’m not like that still!

Anywho. Last Throwback Thursday of 2015! (I’ve got something a little different for next week)

Hasta luego,

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TBT #8:The Haunting of Ellen by Martin Waddell

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Eight-year-old Nadia has left the building! For the new batch of throwbacks, I have included some book reviews I had to do for school (hence the marking). These were completed in 2007 where I would have been ten years old.

Enjoy!

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Transcript

I think this fiction book is the best i’ve ever read because it’s mixed with fiction present and fiction past.

I wonder if the old local legend is actually true, I think it is true because I can’t believe that the author Martin Waddel [sic] made up such a credulous legend. I would not like to bump into a ghost or want a ghost giving me images of when she/he was alive, like what happened to Ellen.

I like the way Martin(author) dind’t [sic] tell you what was happening to Ellen until the end of the story but he did give you little clues along the way.It would be great if there was a dark secret in a legend that no one kew  [sic] and my friends and I could investigate. If I belonged to the Mooney family I would be sick with all of the younger children moaning all the time.


 

Great conclusion Nadia. “I would be sick” – what?!?

Oh well, at least my spelling was alright eh?

Hasta luego,

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