MYSTORY NOTES

SHARING IN THE WONDERS OF STORY TELLING

WWW Wednesday is a weekly link up at Sam’s blog Taking On A World of Words. It challenges you to answer the three Ws of reading.

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What I am currently reading:

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Travelling to and from YA Shot allowed me to clock up nearly another 5 hours of listening time – but have still only listened to 57%!

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Even though this edition was only published at the end of March, it was originally published back in 1936! As an Agatha Christie fan I am loving it so far.

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Another ARC, this time for a middle grade book that is being published early next month. I am really enjoying the twist on time travel within the story and the language used to describe the painful relationships between the children and their parents. It is going really well so far with this one!

What I have just finished reading:

Last night I read two e-ARCs and reviewed them straight away. #QuickReads

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Due for publication on 12th June 2018. I will post my review here the week before.

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Due for publication on May 15th.  I will post my review here the week before.

I also abandoned my first book in a while. ‘Emotional Sandwiches’ was another ARC that sadly was too much of a slog for me to get any further with. It is a real shame as I really liked the premise.

What I will read next:

I picked up some amazing books from YA Shot last weekend. Which I will read next I am not sure but I have some great ones to choose from!

YA Shot Book Haul

 

Well this week has been quite an eclectic mix! I wonder if I will ever be able to repeat it?

What about you? What are your answers to the Wednesday Whats?

The British Books Challenge is a simple one. Read one book each month throughout 2018 that has a British author. You can my other #BritishBooksChallenge18 posts here.

As with last month, Alex Bell is not an author I had heard of before. She has written a mixture of adult and children’s fiction and I would definitely pick up another of her books based of my experience with this one. She is also an author who replies to tweets which you can read about here.

When I snowed recently I took advantage and snapped this picture. I am not someone who regularly sets up epic photo shots. Here I just opened the back door, held up the book and voila!

March 01, 2018 at 09_35AM (2)


REVIEW

34210986Book Title: The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club
Author: Alex Bell
Series: N/A (although apparently a sequel is coming!)
Genres: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Childrens, Adventure
Format: Paperback

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Synopsis

It sounded like a respectable and worthy enough death for an explorer – tumbling from an ice bridge to be impaled upon a mammoth tusk – but Stella really, really didn’t want that to happen, just the same.

Join Stella Starflake Pearl and her three fellow explorers as they trek across the snowy Icelands and come face-to-face with frost fairies, snow queens, outlaw hideouts, unicorns, pygmy dinosaurs and carnivorous cabbages . . .

When Stella and three other junior explorers get separated from their expedition can they cross the frozen wilderness and live to tell the tale?


I LOVED this book. It had everything I could possibly want for a fun, adventurous read. I mean unicorns and pet polar bears? Yes please.

There were moments that had me chuckling out load, particularly as my boyfriend takes his beard care very seriously. I read the part about beard care being an important part of exploring out loud to him. In fact there were several occasions where I read passages out loud. I so rarely do this and is a testament to how much I was enjoying both the story and the writing.

Woven into the book were some sweet and important messages about acceptance and thankfully these weren’t done in a preachy way. It was a lovely fantasy story with some lessons woven in there without feeling ramming them down my throat.

Wonderful.

This review is also featured on Goodreads

 

5 Stars

Cannot say enough good things about it! 

25180871Book Title: The Subtle Knife
Author: Philip Pullman
Series: His Dark Materials, Book 2
Genres: Young Adult, Children, Fantasy
Format: Audible

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Synopsis

Lyra and Will, her newfound friend, tumble separately into the strange tropical otherworld of Cittagazze, “the city of magpies,” where adults are curiously absent and children run wild. Here their lives become inextricably entwined when Lyra’s alethiometer gives her a simple command: find Will’s father. Their search is plagued with obstacles–some familiar and some horribly new and unfathomable–but it eventually brings them closer to Will’s father and to the Subtle Knife, a deadly, magical, ancient tool that cuts windows between worlds. Through it all, Will and Lyra find themselves hurtling toward the centre of a fierce battle against a force so awesome that leagues of mortals, witches, beasts, and spirits from every world are uniting in fear and anger against it. This breath taking sequel will leave readers eager for the third and final volume of “His Dark Materials.”


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I was always going to enjoy this book more than the first because I listened to it in a matter of days rather than years! (Book 1 Review).

Even taking that into account, I much prefer this story. I welcomed the addition of Will. Voice actor wise he was also much easier to listen to than Roger whose accent I found incredibly grating. Lyra’s atrocious grammar continued to wind me up (surely being schooled in Oxford would have seen to that?) but her character growth made it more tolerable.

I found Will an interesting and relatable character. I too like to blend in as a way to survive situations I don’t want to be in. I also liked his relationship with Lyra, and the way he influenced her character development. They are an interesting pair to follow and I am keen to see how things turn out for them in the next book.

I’ve actually already started listening to The Amber Spyglass which you can read about here.

I think this may be the shortest audiobook I have listened to (it is the shortest of all books in the trilogy) and I found that a real help in getting through the story. I don’t like to listen in too many pieces as it impacts my ability to follow the story.

This book left me excited to see what was coming next. It gets an extra star compared to ‘Northern Lights’.

4 Stars

Really enjoyed the story. Related to the characters. Would strongly recommend.

 

Happy Sunday Everyone!

I’m linking up with #SixForSunday which hosted by Steph @ A Little But A Lot (who incidentally won an award last night!).

The theme for this week is:

FAVOURITE PLACES TO READ

This is my first week taking part in #SixForSunday (although I have been enjoying reading others posts for quite some time) and I’m excited to dive in. I am however going to tweak the theme slightly and then split it into two.

FAVOURITE PLACES…

…I WISH I COULD READ

Unfortunately I suffer with motion sickness and I find this really limiting when it comes to my reading. Here are 3 places I wish I could read:

  1. On the train – Commuting is the perfect time to clock up some reading hours but sadly not for me 😦
  2. On a plane – While I do enjoy catching up on films during flights, I do wish I could take advantage of the reading time 😦
  3. In the car – My partner and I like to share the driving, and I wish I could curl up and read in my ‘off’ time 😦

…TO LISTEN TO BOOKS

Here are 3 places where I manage to clock up the most listening time:

  1. Long walks – I find I need to be out for more than 20 minutes to really see any benefit to my listening. Otherwise I find it too bitty and hard to pick back up again.
  2. Long drives – Sense a theme here? There are books I listen to when I am on long drives alone, and then there are books that my partner and I listen to together on our road trips. Thankfully there are books that we both enjoy but the more soppy books tend to be for solo trips.
  3. On the train – I clocked up just shy of 5 hours listening time yesterday going to and from #YAShot2018.

 


Don’t forget to check out #SixForSunday on Twitter to see what other people have picked.

The first few days of Camp were great and I was really pleased with the progress I was making.

Then life did that thing where it gets in the way.

Over the past couple of years my partner Chris and I have been saving up to buy a house. Late last year we reached our goal when an unexpected lump sum of inheritance came our way.

We started looking in January once the Christmas madness was out the way. As Chris is on a fixed term employment contract we were told we had to wait a couple of months to see if it was renewed. Thankfully it was.

So we started the process again in March only to be told that we were still going to struggle to get a mortgage. I could go into more detail about how ridiculous this is considering our combined annual income and how much we have saved up but, I will spare you the rant that would ensue.

It became clear in late March that Shared Ownership (a part-rent, part-buy scheme) was the only way we were going to get onto the property ladder. We could have carried on renting but after 15 years of doing just that I want to be able to knock a hole in a wall! #LifeGoals

A week ago (so the end of the first week of camp) we discovered our perfect house. This meant that instead of spending my evenings writing I was spending them filling in forms. And making spreadsheets. And digging out paperwork.

Fingers crossed all of this comes together for us although, if it does it will mean I will miss the next round of camp as well – as we will be moving into new house! 🙂

Normal-ish service will now resume here until the point that my books start disappearing into boxes…

Have you heard of CampNaNoWriMo? This April I will be taking part of the first time and I am really excited to dive in. I won NaNoWriMo back in November last year and I still don’t fully understand how I managed to write 50,000 words so quickly! [Read about my NaNo adventure here]

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Here is what I have declared as my plan for Camp:

Back in November I had an idea. That idea grew, evolved and tangled itself into 50,000 words under the title ‘The Lion, the Witch and the New Kid.’

I’ve revisited the story a few times but still have yet to untangle the mess completely. During Camp I am planning on revising the story and coming out with a piece of fiction that is aimed at younger readers than previously (upper KS2) and a more straight forward adventure. I would expect this to be about 35000 words long.

The only ‘problem’ is that camp will eat into my reading and blogging time. If I am going to do it (and I really want to), I need to focus on my writing. I’m going to #YAShot2018 on April 14th which other than taking me away from my computer for a day, I’m sure will help my story progress.

So apologies for it going quiet here @MystoryNotes. You can follow me @PhiliBWriting to see how things are going throughout April. Expect some entertaining GIFs along the way!

 

Here are my highlights from the story. That is to say, what I highlighted while I was reading. I’m not looking for any particular when I highlight, I just feel the need to do it sometimes as I am reading along and here I share those moments with you.

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1. I love this sentence structure 🙂

2. This sounds magical!

3. Now this is a mouthful. I don’t mind the dodgy sentence structures here because it speaks to the alien situation the characters are in.

4. I adore the expression “old sport” and it makes me sad that you don’t hear it anymore. I imagine this line will have been updated for the movie 😉

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5. I like this turning point here. Meg has deciding that she doesn’t need to turn to the boys for support. I don’t like the fact that she is following along behind them though. Be brave Meg! Walk out in front!

6. This is a good example of the science getting a bit too science-y for my liking.

7. Now there is a powerful image. Sometimes it is hard to think of the right word for how extreme the emotion is so the only way to describe it is “beyond”

8. This is a real pet peeve of mine with children’s literature. How did Meg manage to pull herself together that quickly? It is almost like the emotion wasn’t real before and she was fake crying or something. Granted this is a fantasy story and the highlight in question takes place while characters are on an alien planet but still, can we have some reality when it comes to human emotion please?

Want to read my full review? Click here.