Thursday, 1 December 2016

QI BLOG TOUR | Top Ten Literary Facts!

Hello readers, and happy Thursday! Today I am very excited to be on blog tour, to celebrate a book that would make a marvellous Christmas present for your loved ones... the latest QI book: 1,342 QI Facts To leave you Flabbergasted written by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson, James Harkin and Anne Miller.

This is a wonderful book jam-packed full of facts that you can share around the dinner table at Christmas lunch this year to impress your family, or just to brush up on your general knowledge. Whether you're a fan of the programme or not, 1,342 QI Facts To leave you Flabbergasted is a fascinating, entertaining and relatively easy read for people of any age!

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...


The sock-blasting, jaw-dropping, side-swiping phenomenon that is QI serves up a sparkling new selection of 1,342 facts to leave you flabbergasted.

Trees sleep at night.

Google searches for 'How to put on a condom' peak at 10.28pm.

There is no word for time in any Aboriginal language.

Scotland has 421 words for snow.

Emoji is the fastest growing language in history.

Astronauts wear belts to stop their trousers falling up.

The name Donald means 'ruler of the world'.

Tanks are exempt from London's Congestion charge.

The anti-spam industry is worth more than the spam industry.

Florida has more bear hunters than bears.

Selfies kill more people than sharks.

Two-thirds of deaths in the world go unrecorded.

On each anniversary of its landing on Mars, the Curiosity rover hums 'Happy Birthday' to itself.

Nostalgia was classified as a disease by the Royal College of Physicians until 1899.

1 in 3 children pretend to believe in Santa Claus to keep their parents happy.

Black coffee drinkers are more likely to be psychopaths.

When you blush so does the lining of your stomach.

Quidditch, Digestive biscuits and overdrafts were all invented in Edinburgh.

The world's only Cornish pasty museum is in Mexico.

Nobody knows why the Oscars are called the Oscars.

Las Vegas hosts an awards ceremony for people who make awards.

In 2015, America's 'National Hero Dog Award' was won by a cat.

A group of unicorns is called a blessing.


If there are any facts you don't believe, or if you want to know more about them, all the sources can be found on www.qi.com

And if that amount of facts wasn't enough to tickle your tastebuds, today I am delighted to have Anne Miller on the blog, to share with us her top ten favourite literary facts!

As I type this, my keyboard is wedged onto the last remaining bit of space on my desk. Even though I regularly try to clear it, the space is constantly being colonised by books. Personally, I think this is a marvelous state of affairs but when the piles get too high they become a health and safety hazard so some of them have to head back to the QI office library.

We are just about to start work on the next series of QI which will be themed around the letter O so books about otters, owls and oranges are beginning to appear and are stacked neatly next to a volume of the second edition of The Oxford English Dictionary (from ‘Moul-Ovum’).

I also have a pile of books from researching our BBC Radio 4 programme The Museum of Curiosity including Dave Goulson’s beautiful nature books A Sting in the Tale and A Buzz in the Meadow, Tony Robinson’s autobiography No Cunning Plan and Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum – the poems of Aemilia Lanyer. Our edition is from 1993 but it was originally published in 1611.

There’s also a few novels, although they’re usually in my bag as I like reading on the tube and have almost perfected the rush hour balancing act of being able to hold onto a bar and turn pages at the same time. Finally, to my right, is a stack of newly-delivered finished copies of 1,342 QI Facts To Leave You Flabbergasted. The book is bursting with facts, which are linked together one to the next. I think they’re all flabbergasting but I have a soft spot for the literary facts. Here are some of my favourites:



The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is how the author Stieg Larsson imagined Pippi Longstocking as an adult.

The Oompa-Loompas were originally called Whipple-Scrumpets.

The video game Fallout 4 is set in a post-apocalyptic world where you get rewarded for returning library books.

In his lifetime, Edgar Allan Poe’s bestselling book was a textbook about seashells.

Charlotte Brontë’s school report said she ‘writes indifferently’ and ‘knows nothing of grammar, geography, history or accomplishments’. 

In the seven years Wordsworth was Poet Laureate, he didn’t write a single
line of poetry. 

Man Group,
sponsors of the Booker Prize, were once responsible for supplying the Royal Navy’s rum ration. 

The Norwegian version
of the Mr Men book Mr Bump is called Herr Dumpidump.

There’s a bookshop in Tokyo that only stocks one book at a time. 

The earliest known book of manners advises: ‘Do not attack your enemy while he is squatting

to defecate.’ 


Thank you so much, Anne, for appearing on my blog and for sharing with us these facts!

1,342 QI Facts to leave you flabbergasted is available from Amazon and Waterstones at price £9.99!

Make sure you guys check out the rest of the stops on the tour <3

Until next time :)



Wednesday, 30 November 2016

EVENTBRITE | My Dream Bookish Panel

Hello readers, and happy Wednesday! Today I am super excited to share this post with you, because it has been so much fun to write...

Today I am excited to be participating in a project where where bookworms imagine their dream conference panel... whether it would be to hear John Green and Suzanne Collins talk Young Adult Fiction or to see J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien give their best tips for writing Fantasy... the choices are endless!


 If you feel inspired by this post and want to come up with your own dream bookish panel, I'd love to see what you guys come up with <3

Who would be on your panel?

On my panel I would love to have Charlotte Brontë, Rainbow Rowell, Louise O' Neil, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Malala Yousafzai. This might seem like quite an odd grouping but they are all respectively my favourite authors and feminist influences. As my dream panel would be a discussion about feminist literature it's important that a vast array of women are represented, and I think that comes across in my choice of panel members. Not least because they are all individually amazing authors and important role models to me.

What questions would you ask?

This might go on for days! I would love to know each of these authors' thoughts on where feminism stands in the 21st century. In a world that seems to periodically constrain and punish women, particularly women of ethnic, religious, class and sexual minorities, I would like to know where these women see feminism heading, and how they think we can make the world a better and safer place for women. I would also like to ask Charlotte Brontë, who obviously was alive a very long time ago, how she thinks things have advanced for women, and how things have not advanced. I think this panel would be very interesting and enlightening.


Who would moderate?

This is a toughie. I think, after much deliberating, I would have to ask Mary Wollstonecraft to moderate. At the end of the day, she was the first person in popular culture to have the absolute audacity to imply that women should have equal rights to men. I know - what a shocker! 

Where would it take place?


This is a again, a very tough question. I think that it would have to take place in the British Museum in London - a place of intellect, ideas, and change. As feminism is an important issue, this discussion needs to take place within an equally significant location. 


Thanks for reading everybody, and remember I would love to see your dream bookish panels if you decide to create your own! Check out Eventbrite's conference management page here where you can plan and find events in your local area!

Until next time :)





Friday, 18 November 2016

AUTHOR INTERVIEW | 5 Minutes with Hallie Fletcher, author of 'Love, Sex and Death'

Hello readers, and happy Friday! I know I haven't spoken to you in a while, but my week has been absolutely swamped with essays, group projects and a lot of reading! Today, however, I have an author interview of the wonderful self-published book Love, Sex and Death by Hallie Fletcher!

I adored Love, Sex and Death and you can check out my review here. In the meantime, check out Hallie's bio...

Hallie is a young mother living in the North of Manchester. Growing up in Harpurhey and giving birth to her son Cullen at just sixteen years old, she never expected by the age of twenty that she would be a published poet studying a bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature at the University of Manchester. Her successful poem Apple Of My Life was first released in the Portico prize for young writers Anthology and has since been used at events as well as appearing in an opera by Canadian composer Barry Truax. Callie enjoys writing poetry and short stories and is hoping for it to become her full-time career one day.

Check out my interview with Hallie below <3

What inspired you to write Love, Sex and Death?

I have had a hard time this year, it has been quite the rollercoaster for nine years If I am honest. Writing to me is my escape, it always has been, although I never used to share my poetry. Though when I did, more and more people began to give feedback such as, 'I don't usually read, however, I love reading your poems.' I thought it would be a great idea to write a book, as those messages inspired me. I wanted to write a book that people can relate to. A book that non-readers would be interested in reading. I honestly never knew that my poetry helped people until I began posting it online, the feedback I received inspired me to write Love, Sex, And Death.

Describe your writing process for us...

My writing process is a weird one. I don't sleep very well, which is why I usually write my favourite poetry at around 3am. I like to use my typewriter when writing, however, it can be a problem when I need to erase parts. The poetry, prose and stories that I write depend on my mood at the time. I mean sometimes I could be on my way to University on the bus and I will take my phone out of my pocket and put together a quick poem. I suppose I'm rather unpredictable, my work can be rather messy at times as I just write about my emotions and they come and go rather quick.

 How do you balance writing along with working and your university studies?

I have always loved creative writing. I used to make books in reception (my mum has still kept some, which is sweet). I make sure to have time to write, because it is a part of me. I have to have time for it, whether that means I have to stop my essay writing/reading for ten minutes, then that's what I do. The most beautiful part about it is, my son who is five has followed in my footsteps, not only is he a bookworm but he enjoys writing stories and creating little books. 

How far have your personal experiences helped your writing?

There is a quote by Ernest Hemingway which I had tattooed on my leg two years ago. The quote reads: 'There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.' That is what I do, every piece of text in Love, Sex, And Death is a part of myself. Whether that is past experiences or present, I can relate to all of it. I believe that my experiences have helped my writing and my writing, has helped me heal.

What books have inspired you?

There is a beautiful quote in Lyrical Ballads, that I absoloutly love, 'poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.' ― William Wordsworth. Also, Maus by Art Spiegelman is a book that inspired me to carry on writing, no matter how painful it can be. The raw, powerful, intense feelings throughout Maus is something I will never forget.


Thank you so much Hallie, for appearing on my blog!


Check out Hallie Fletcher's Facebook page here: https://en-gb.facebook.com/Halliefletcherpoetry/

Check out Hallie's website here: http://www.halliefletcher.com

Buy Love, Sex, And Death here: http://www.halliefletcher.com/product/love-sex-death

Until next time :)






Thursday, 10 November 2016

DELIGHTFUL KIDS BOOKS | JENNIFER HIGGIE BLOG TOUR | 'There's Not One' (****)

Hello readers, and happy Thursday! Today I am very excited to welcome you to another children's books feature, and today just so happens to coincide with a blog tour I am part of today, for the wonderful Jennifer Higgie's children's picture book There's Not One!


I was very kindly sent There's Not One by Scribe Publishing in exchange for an honest review :)

Today is the perfect day to feature this book on my children's book feature, as today is the publication date - so if you like the sound of it, pop online or to your nearest bookshop to grab a copy for your littles <3

There's Not One is a wonderfully artistic, beautifully curated picture book that celebrates and wonders at the phenomenon that is the diversity of our world, and the indescribable vastness of it! It is a lovely book that couples counting with cheerful creativity, and I am sure that any child age 0-5 years would adore it.

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...


This joyous debut from well-known writer and editor Jennifer Higgie (Frieze Magazine) celebrates both the individual and the diversity of the world around us. In kaleidoscopic colour, Higgie takes young readers on a journey from some of life’s most important things (baked beans!) to some of life’s biggest wonders (stars!). The perfect early picture book for budding art lovers! 

This book includes the most important parts of any children's book - wonderfully designed pages filled with colours, shapes, numbers and lovely messages such as 'there is only one you' which makes for an interactive and engaging reading experience. While you read the pages your baby or toddler can point out the numbers or the shapes and delight at the gorgeous illustrations. 

In this sometimes horrific and hurtful world, it's important to remind young children that diversity and individuality is vital in maintaining a beautiful world. This is shown in the book by the joyful collage illustrations - and the final message which is 'we're all in this together!' affirms the exuberant nature of this book. The images are very Matisse-like in style and would be ideal for any children interested in art.

The book itself is also very well-made and the pages themselves as well as the front cover are incredibly luxurious - ideal for allowing children to turn the pages for themselves!

As you can tell I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I'm sure your little one would love it too. There's Not One is perfect for bedtime reading, which will also teach your child about numbers, colours and shapes.

Make sure you check out the other spots on the blog tour!


Check out Jennifer Higgie here: https://www.instagram.com/jenniferhiggie/?hl=en





Until next time :) 


Monday, 7 November 2016

CHILDREN'S BOOK MONTH | Resources To Get Your Kids Reading...

Hi guys, and happy Monday! Today I just have a short post for you, just to share some exciting news that Alma books emailed me about the other day...

This is not a sponsored post - as an avid reader and devourer of children's books myself, I wanted to spread the word!

I'm not sure if you guys are aware, but this Monday was the start of Children’s Book Week set up by Book Trust. Alma Books is a fantastic independent publishing company that publishes an amazing array of books - along with a gorgeous selection of children's books - and they decided that they would help to promote children’s books across the whole month of November, to stretch Children's Book Week to Children's Book Month! 

There are a lot of exciting things happening, so check out everything below!

- Alma Books are offering 50% off all children's classics including all the usual suspects – The Secret Garden, Peter Pan, The Jungle Books and many more besides!

- Alma are holding The Monster Story Competition –  to celebrate the release of The Horror Handbook… where the five best stories will be printed in a special collection and signed by Axel Scheffler.

- For those who like to doodle Alma have curated some free colouring pages – created from some of the greatest children's classics on Alma's extensive list.

- There is also a signed copy of The Double Axe to give away to one lucky winner.

- If an adult signs up to Alma's eNewsletter they will send you a link to download a free My First Classics Activity Book.

- Last but not least… David Mackintosh, the illustrator of Dracula, The Hound of the Baskervilles and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, has given Alma a beautiful framed print of the dreadful Count Dracula from Bram Stoker's classic tale.

How brilliant does this all sound?! Make sure you head to Alma's website to check everything out for yourself: http://www.almabooks.com/page.html?id=96.

Until next time :)

 

Thursday, 3 November 2016

DELIGHTFUL KIDS BOOKS | 'The Goblin Princess: Smoky the Dragon Baby' by Jenny O' Connor (****)

Hello readers, and happy Thursday! Today I am delighted to welcome you back to my children's book feature after a long break - I have missed talking about kids books, and my return has been long overdue!

And what better way to bring back Delightful Kids Books than to talk about a gorgeous children's book from Faber & Faber - The Goblin Princess: Smoky the Dragon Baby, which was published in July this year and is a wonderful story about Princess Matty and her new pet dragon, the terribly well behaved Smoky!

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...


Everything is topsy-turvy in Goblin world and Matty, the Goblin Princess, just doesn't fit in! Her mum, the Goblin Queen, is always telling her to un-tidy her room and eat up her slug porridge (yee-uk!). Most of all goblins HATE nice things, including their enemies the sparkly Forest Fairies. 
book 1:

Matty has a problem. Her new pet baby dragon, Smoky, is far too good and her parents, the Goblin King and Queen, are threatening to send him away! But Smoky is her best friend - can she find a way to make him naughty enough to keep? She just might need the Forest Fairies' help...

I enjoyed everything about this book - from the fantastic world of the goblins and fairies, the hilarious characters, to the heartwarming story and the beautifully elegant illustrations. The cover is of fantastic quality and so are the pages - which makes this the perfect book for your little ones to begin to read by themselves. There was just the right amount of text on every page and I really liked the fact that on some pages the text was submerged in between the pictures, which made every single page a delight to look at.

The Goblin Princess: Smoky the Dragon Baby is a funny story where the world is turned on its head - tidiness and good behaviour is abominable, and porridge is better hurled across the breakfast table than eaten politely with a bowl. As a kid I'm sure I would have loved the scenes where Princess Matty's parents are telling her to 'untidy' her room and telling her off for washing and brushing her hair! But aside from this, the book was a fantastic story about adventure and loyalty and never giving up - even when the end goal seems unachievable. 

O' Connor creates brilliant, memorable characters with names such as Stinkwort, Plop and Mrs. Dollop, which makes The Goblin Princess: Smoky the Dragon Baby a hilarious story to read aloud and almost as enjoyable for the adults as it is for the kids!

Overall, I loved The Goblin Princess: Smoky the Dragon Baby and would highly recommend it to children aged 5 to 8, however younger children would definitely enjoy it if it was read out loud to them.

Buy The Goblin Princess: Smoky the Dragon Baby here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Goblin-Princess-Smoky-Dragon-Baby/dp/0571316581




Check back next week for another children's book to be featured!

Until next time :) 

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

BOOK REVIEW | 'Love, Sex, And Death' by Hallie Fletcher (****)

Hello readers, and happy Tuesday! I know I haven't posted in a while but life has been really busy and chaotic with university work and (admittedly) a bit too much socialising! Nonetheless, today I have a book review to share with you - Love, Sex, And Death written by Hallie Fletcher - a self-published collection of poetry and short stories chronicling life's most potent events and emotions.

Hallie is actually a fellow English Literature student at my university, and when I saw on Facebook that she had recently published a book, I couldn't wait to give it a read. Luckily Hallie knew that I did book reviews so she offered to give me a copy in exchange for an honest review, and I was more than happy to oblige!

As soon as I started reading Love, Sex, And Death, I knew immediately that it was a collection of writing that I would enjoy. I used to accept self-published books for review on my blog but I often found myself disappointed with unedited and unoriginal books, so I stopped accepting them. With Love, Sex, And Death I was delighted to be proven wrong. It is a collection of beautifully lyrical writing filled with haunting emotions and powerful language and imagery. The poetry is soulful, heartfelt and, at times, bitterly angry. I particularly enjoyed reading these poems and thought that rhyme was used imaginatively and with flair.

Throughout Love, Sex, And Death the emotion came through so strongly and I felt so personally connected to the writing. My favourite poems were 'Guernica Art' and 'She Shall Remain'. Throughout the book there were so many phrases and lines that I wanted to highlight - in particular the line in 'Chapter One': 'Because I have lost you, I have lost myself'. 

The book's focus on life's most prominent episodes: love, sex, and death made the collection really powerful and profound and the book was thoroughly gritty in its portrayal of these events. I also enjoyed that Fletcher dealt with the darker aspects of love in the 'sex' chapter of the book. So many of the poems and the short story in this section were written in such a fresh manner and also slightly tongue-in-cheek. 

Overall, I think it is evident that I loved Love, Sex, And Death and I think you should all go and grab yourself a copy! Just a note however - make sure that you're 18+ because the book contains some material inappropriate for kids!

Check out Hallie Fletcher's Facebook page here: https://en-gb.facebook.com/Halliefletcherpoetry/

Check out Hallie's website here: http://www.halliefletcher.com

Buy Love, Sex, And Death here: http://www.halliefletcher.com/product/love-sex-death

Until next time :)