Wednesday, 30 July 2014

The Fandom Confectionery: July 2014

1) Divergent Four Maxi Poster
It seems like Divergent the movie has been out for ages but I'm pretty sure it hasn't been that long... Anyway, I thought I'd kick off this month's fandom confectionery with a poster of Four which is 61 x 91.5cm. 
Buy - £5.06

2) Dalek Bubble Bath 
I'll be honest, I haven't properly watched Doctor Who before. I've watched the odd episode here and there, but I haven't kept up to date with the series. But I saw this on Forbidden Planet and I had to include it for the people who love Doctor Who. I mean, who wouldn't want to get their bubble bath out of a Dalek? 
Buy - £6.99

3) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell T-Shirt 
Fangirl has been a book that I really want to read along with the rest of Rainbow Rowell's books. So, I though I would throw this t-shirt in. The quote reads, "I'm not really a book person." "That might be the most idiotic thing you've ever said to me." I really, really like this top and I haven't even read the book yet! 
Buy - £16.53
4) Nintendo Zelda Skyward Sword MB Logo Messenger Bag
Just another thing from Forbidden Planet. I know one or two people that really love Zelda and I've seen it all across my dashboard on tumblr. If you're one of the very many Zelda fans what better way to store everything whilst on the go than in a Zelda messenger bag? 
Buy - £24.99

5) Sherlock Holmes Mug 
"I don't shave for Sherlock Holmes." If you've watched season 3 of Sherlock you might just be a fan of this mug. I love it! If I used mugs more often then I would probably end up getting this one but I don't. It's a handmade ceramic mug, for any Sherlock lovers.
Buy - Shop is currently on holiday but will be back 

6) Marvel Poster 
In at number six is a Marvel poster that has the comic book covers of the Marvel world! The poster is 61 x 91 cm. You can get the poster framed on the site but it does cost quite a bit more. But here you have it! 
Buy - £6.99 

7) Finding Nemo Rubber Bracelet. 
This has to be my favourite thing of the month because I love Finding Nemo. It's a rubber bracelet which has "Fish are friends, not food." on the inside. And on the other side of the bracelet is a picture of Marlin and Dory hugging each other after seeing Bruce. 
Buy - £3.30

8) Teen Wolf T-Shirt 
The top says, "Derek and Stiles School for Teens Who Can't Werewolf So Good." I've been in two minds about watching Teen Wolf and I'm still not sure yet but I saw this top and thought that it was absolutely gorgeous so I had to add it on to the list. 
Buy - £10.88


9) Harry Potter Bundle Kit 

So, this little pack comes with: a Marauder's Map, a Diagon Alley Map, a Yule Ball invitation/programme, a Platform 9 and 3/4 Hogwarts Express train ticket, and a Triple Decker Knight Bus ticket. If you love Harry Potter, these would be great to stick around your room or if you know anyone who loves Harry Potter, you could give these as a gift. Perfect proof that you are in fact a wizard. 
Buy - £8.99

10) Rue's Lullaby Print 
We've had so many teasers for Mockingjay around and about lately that I thought it would be fitting to add something from the Hunger Games. It's a print that has Rue's lullaby on it and you can get it in a few different colours. I am completely not responsible for any feels! 
Buy - £8.50

*Prices may change since some of these products are on scale or have been taken off of American sites where I have just converted the price. These prices do not include postage and package. 

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Book Review: Blood Promise

Title: Blood Promise
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Series: Vampire Academy #4
Release Date: 25/08/2009
Pages: 512
Format: Paperback

Buy: Book Depository
Author Twitter: @RichelleMead

'The recent Strigoi attack at St. Vladimir's was the deadliest ever in the school's history, claiming the lives of Moroi students, teachers, and guardians alike. Even worse, the Strigoi took some of their victims with them... including Dimitri. He'd rather die than be one of them, and now Rose must abandon her, Lissa - the one she has sworn to protect no matter what - and keep the promise Dimitri begged to make her long ago. But with everything else at stake, how can she possibly destroy the person she loves the most?

I have loved the Vampire Academy series so much. If I were going to be honest with you though, this wasn't exactly my favourite book in the series and I didn't enjoy it so much. 

I have loved the way Mead has developed Rose's character throughout the series but I think this is the one book where I didn't feel like I could connect with Rose's character. I understood a lot of the actions Rose did throughout the book but I just didn't feel interested in her character. She just felt extremely flat in this book. I mean, I understand she couldn't be as happy and perky as she was in the other books but I just didn't really get anything from her character in this book. 

What I really did like about this book was the fact that we were taken to Dimitri's home town of Siberia. I absolutely loved the way it was all described and I could picture everything in my head and almost feel as though I was there. I was nice to be taken quite far from St. Vladimir's and see how Rose is out of the school and just be able to see the way Moroi, guardians and Strigoi work in the normal world. 

There were some really interesting characters that you meet along the way in the book which make the book quite interesting. You want to know so much more about people like Avery and Abe. Abe especially, who seems very mysterious. I made quite a few guesses about what was going on about him and who he was, guesses where I ended up right but that still did surprise me because I didn't think I was going to be. 

The ending was something that I hadn't really be expecting and was a huge cliff hanger. I wanted to start the next book so badly! 

Overall, probably not my favourite VA book. It did feel like it dragged quite a bit but definitely worth the read for any fans of the series: 

Rating: ★★★

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

WISE: Emily Warren Roebling

Emily Warren Roebling was born on the 23rd September 1843 in New York and was the second youngest of twelve children. She was close to her older brother Gouverneur Kemble Warren, who eventually became a general in the United States Army. When Roebling was fifteen years old, her brother had decided to enroll her in the Georgetown Visitation Convent in Washington D.C. Here she studied a wide range of subjects that included French, algebra and geography as well as piano and tapestry. 


In the February of 1864, Roebling had travelled to visit her brother at an army camp. It was whilst on this trip that she found a young officer named Washington Roebling, who had been serving under her brother during the Civil War. After eleven months of keeping in contact with each other once she had left, the pair were married in 1865. After the war was over Roebling and her husband travelled Europe to study caissons which are used on bridges. Whilst she was overseas Roebling gave birth to her first and only child. John August Roebling II in 1867

Her father-in-law at this point had been planning and undertaking a huge mission that would see a bridge that'd connect Manhattan and New York in construction. On the couple's return, Roebling's father-in-law passed away from tetanus. During the construction of the actual bridge, her husband ended up falling ill and was bed ridden. It was at this point that Roebling stepped in and became the "first woman field engineer" and overlooked the completion of Brooklyn Bridge. 

She was the only person that visited her husband whilst he was ill, due to this she ended up relaying information from her husband to his assistants and reported on the progress of the construction of the bridge. Through her husband's teachings Roebling had developed an extensive knowledge of strength of materials, stress analysis, cable construction, and calculating catenary curves. Her knowledge had been complemented by her interest in and study of the bridge's construction when her husband had become Chief Engineer for the bridge. 

Over the next fourteen years, Roebling became determined in seeing the completion of the bridge. She had taken over a lot of the chief engineer's duties, which included the day-to-day supervision and project management. Together with her husband, the Roebling's planned the bridge's continued construction. Roebling had dealt with the politicians and competing engineers. 

At last in 1883 the construction of Brooklyn Bridge was completed and Congressman Abram S. Hewitt said that the bridge was "an everlasting monument to the sacrificing devotion of a woman and of her capacity for that higher education from which she has been too long disbarred." Due to her dedication to the bridge, Roebling was the very first person to cross it at its opening on May 24th 1883. 


Roebling had accomplished much more in her life though, such as obtaining her law degree from New York University's Women's Law class which she had enrolled in in 1899. However, four years later, Roebling's health had started to decline and she passed away on February 28th 1903. 

Emily Warren Roebling took a leading role in the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge and did not give up. There's now a plaque on the bridge that is dedicated in memory of herself, her husband and father-in-law. 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Saira's Speculating Mind: Dressing To Impress?

This is something that I've seen happen quite a lot and it ended up being something that I wanted to write about. Do we dress to impress? 

I have heard so many comments when I'm passing people in school and have seen them online and they all tend to be the same sort of thing. Always giving abuse to people because they might have decided to dress up a little more nicely that usual, or do their hair differently or wear some make up. Sometimes it's yelling abuse at the same person everyday because they always make an effort. There are people out there who tend to think that these other people are dressing up and putting that effort in for someone else. But is that always the case? 

I'm not a person that tends to dress up a whole lot and I'm more than happy in my jeans with no make up but that's not to say that I dislike people who wear skirt or dresses and wear make up. At the end of the day, these are the things that people feel comfortable in and I respect that. I get the off occasion where I do decide to dress up a little more nicely that usual and do my hair nicely. That doesn't mean that I'm making an effort for anyone though. At the end of the day I, and I'm sure a lot of other people, take pride in my appearance. I'm not a vain person but I like looking presentable. I do like to put in that extra bit of effort sometimes.  So, why do people think that we're always dressing up for someone else? And why to people always have to make fun of that and abuse people? 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to feel good about yourself and you shouldn't let other people tell you otherwise. Sometimes, it's just the right pair of shoes, or a certain hairstyle that makes you feel so much more confident in a day. Make you walk with you head held that little bit higher. There are so many people who feel the need to make people feel ashamed for taking care of the way that they look when that really shouldn't be the case and it annoys me that it happens.  

Self confidence is never a bad thing and we shouldn't be made to feel that it is. Who says that everything we do is to impress someone? 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Book Review: Delirium

Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Series: Delirium #1
Release Date: 07/02/2012
Pages: 441
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository
Author Twitter: @OliverBooks

'Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.' 

I'm going to start this off and say that this book was a DNF for me. I didn't get too far in the book before I had to stop reading it. I don't really have many DNF's but I really struggled to get through this book. 

For me, I didn't really like the writing style, the beginning of the book just didn't interest me. I know that you do have to wait for the action in a book to happen but normally I really enjoy the build up. With Delirium, it felt like I was enjoying every other chapter and it just felt like I could really get into any of them. 

I felt no connection with Lena, I'm not sure that because I was meant to or not but there was nothing that made me feel like I could really gage what her character was like. That's partially the reason why I really struggled to be interested into the book. I don't really know what it was about her character, I just felt like there was nothing there for me to connect with or become attached to. 

All in all, I just had to put it down. I wasn't enjoying the book and there was nothing that was making me want to read it. 

Rating: DNF 

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss

Title: Anna and the French Kiss 
Author: Stephanie Perkins 
Publisher: Usborne Publishing 
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #1
Release Date: 01/01/2014
Pages: 416
Format: Ebook 
Download: iBooks 
Buy: Book Depository 
Author Twitter: @NaturallySteph

'Anna has everything figured out - she was about to start her senior year with her best friend, she had a great weekend job, and her huge work crush looked as if it finally might be going somewhere... Until her dad decides to send her 4383 miles away to Paris. On her own.

But despite not speaking a work of French, Anna finds herself making new friends, including Etienne, the smart, beautiful boy from the floor above. But he's taken - and Anna might be too. Will a year of romantic near-missed end with the French kiss she's been waiting for.'

I'm going to be completely honest, this was a book that I was in two minds about and I didn't really think about picking it up. My sister ended up getting it on iBooks because it was free for a while and she told me to get it and after a few times of her reminding me, I ended up getting it. And I am so glad that I did. This whole book surprised me so much, I didn't think I would fall in love with it half as much as I did. 

I fell in love with it from the very first chapter and it didn't take me all too long to love Anna. There were so many aspects of this girl which made her seem so much more real. She gets annoyed with her parents and brother but yet, you can see that she still loves them. She not quickly drawn into the whole amazing feeling of living in Paris, instead she's quite reluctant. She doesn't jump at the chance to learn French and Perkins didn't make her just quickly latch onto the language with no problem. You can see the struggle she has with the language and with some of her subjects in school. 

Your fictional crush can move out of the way for Ettiene St. Clair. Yet another beautifully crafted, realistic character that Perkins had created and you can't help but fall in love with him. He isn't the perfect, general player or jock type character that you seem to find in some books. He has clear flaws, he isn't that tall and he loves history to the point his friends tell him to shut up. Perkins doesn't just mention these problems once and leave them but but they are part of the book and we constantly see how he does feel slightly insecure about them as any person would. 

This book moved at a really good pace. The chapters weren't too long but nothing seemed rushed. Even though this was a romance story, it was nice to see the way Anna grew as a person and the friendships that she had within the group. The way how she saw that she was sometimes wrong in the things that she did and tried to make up for those things. 

'Anna and the French Kiss' was a book that made me just sigh and feel all happy and warm inside and I know that it's a book that I can turn to if I ever I'm ever feeling a little down. I would 100% recommend this to anyone who is just looking for a book that will make them want to melt and make them feel a lot better. 


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Book Review: Shovel Ready

Title: Shovel Ready
Author: Adam Sternbergh
Publisher: Hachette
Release Date: 14/01/2014
Pages: 256
Service: Bookbridgr
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository
Author Twitter: @Sternbergh

‘Spademan used to be a garbage man. That was before the dirty bomb hit Times Square, before his wife was killed, before New York became a burnt-out shell. Now the wealthy escape the grim reality by spending their days tapped into a virtual world; the rest of the population have to fend for itself on the streets. Now there’s nothing but garbage.

So, Spademan has become a hit man. He doesn’t ask questions, he works quickly, and he’s very hand with a box-cutter.

When he’s hired to kill the daughter of a high-profile evangelist, Spademan’s life upended. To survive, he will have to navigate two worlds – the slick fantasy world of the elite and the waste land reality of the rest of the city’s inhabitants – to finish his job, clear his conscience, and make sure he’s not the one who winds up in the ground.’

So, I ended up requesting this book on BookBridgr because it looked pretty interesting and I hadn’t read a book like this in a while. Once I got I started to read it an immediately found that I was hooked, however, this did end up becoming a DNF for me.

This was not because of the writing though. I absolutely loved the plotline, it was fast paced and such a page turner. I was hooked as soon as the book started. Sternbergh wasted no time in making sure that his reader would be captivated. The very first page left you feeling extremely curious an wanting to find out more.

From what I had read of the book, the plot was really well thought out and I loved the way it was all being played out. Spademan was a character you seemed to learn more and more about as the book went on and it was just fascinating to see the way everything in his past ended up effecting him. Even though he is a hit man, I really struggled to dislike him and just wanted to give him a hug a lot of the time because you could see why he was doing these things.

You’re constantly sitting there trying to fit pieces together and wonder what will happen next. You’re trying to understand Spademan and understand everything else that’s going on in the plot and there are some things that you don’t really realise until the part is over.

One thing I did find extremely confusing throughout the book was the way the speech was laid out. I found it hard to keep track of who was talking and when people stopped talking since there were no speech marks in use.

I honestly did love reading this book up until the point I read some slightly explicit material in there. It was extremely explicit but I didn’t feel comfortable reading it so I did end up putting the book down. That kind of stuff really isn’t for me.

I don’t really have a huge amount to say on the book since I didn’t finish it. All I can say is if you don’t mind reading that kind of material and want a bit of a mystery book then I would definitely pick it up. I don’t want to give this book a rating as it did become a DNF for me and I don’t think that would be fair.

Rating: DNF 

Thank you to Hachette publishing and Bookbridgr for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Book Review: The School for Good And Evil

Title: The School for Good and Evil
Author: Soman Chainani
Publisher: HarperCollins
Series: The School for Good And Evil #1
Release Date: 06/06/13
Pages: 488
Service: Giveaway
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository
Author Twitter: @SomanChainani

‘The first kidnappings happened two hundred years. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls were taken, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth ad spirited away.

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good and Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale villains and heroes. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a fairy tale princess. Meanwhile, Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School of Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Wood, they find their fortunes reversed – Sophie’s dumped into the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School for Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication… But what if the mistake is the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are?...’

So, this is a book I saw floating around in my local Waterstones and seemed pretty interesting and when I saw it being given away and I just had to get my hands on it.

I just want to start off on my thoughts about Sophie, Soman Chainani did a wonderful job in making me dislike her so much. It’s been a while since I’ve felt that annoyed with a character that I had to just put the book down a breath. But it wasn’t due to the fact that Sophie was poorly written. She was beautifully written in a way that made me loath her throughout the entire book. Every time I thought that I might be able to cope with her character she ended up doing something that ruined that. Agatha was a character that I did feel horrendously bad for at some points and though a lot of the time I was annoyed with her choices and wished that she would open her eyes to see what wold happen, I understood from the character’s point of view. Agatha wasn’t someone who had many friends and the way she was acting was realistic I think for the way that someone might have been in her position.

The main thing that I loved about this story was how much some of the things in the book were true. We grow up with this idea that a princess has to be this beautiful person and in real life that isn’t always the case. This book shows just that. Sometimes, you just have to look beneath what a person is on the outside and see what someone is really like. It was just one of those books where you could clearly see the message that they were trying to give across.
The beginning of the book I found myself getting into quite quickly and felt that I just wanted to keep reading. About a third of the way into the book though I found that the plot was just moving a little slow for me but it was definitely worth carrying on reading because as I moved along I found it starting to pick up again and I was getting drawn in. The end left me wanting to read the next book so badly, I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

The only problem that I had with this book is that they show why Sophie is in the School for Evil but then when you look at the School for Good a lot of the people are exactly the same. It was something that bugged me along the book.

It’s well worth the read though if you’re looking for something fantasy that incorporates a lot of the old fairy tales within it.

Rating: ★★★★

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Summer Reads 2014

Exam time has meant that even though I can and have been reading, they haven't been the thicker books that I own and would really, really like to get through. My Summer reading list consists of books that I know I would not be able to get through during exams or I knew I would end up not being able to get into. So, now that I only have the one exam left, I thought I would show you guys the books that I'm hopefully going to get through as soon as I finish my last exam! I'm not sure I'm going to get through all of them and I'll probably be reading a few other books through Summer but these are just the ones that I really want to get through before school starts in September. 

So, this Summer I really want to start 'The Inheritance Cycle' again.  I read Eragon a little bit ago and then got a fair way through Eldest but I never finished it off, even though I was really enjoying it. I have got the last two in the series as well. So, I'm going to see what I can get through in Summer with these lot. Even if I can just finish Eldest off. 

'1984' by George Orwell is one that I am dying to read. My sister has a copy of the book and I've wanted to read it so much but I though I would wait until after all of my exams are over so I can properly get into it all. 

'Far From You' by Tess Sharpe is another one I'm really looking forward to start and one that my sister had bought me a little while ago. I've heard so much about this book and I just want to see what it's like for myself now. So, that should be a really good one to start and I'm really excited to get through that one. I've heard some mixed reviews about this book but the plot line sounds extremely good so I shall see how it goes. 

The last one that I'm hoping to get through this Summer is 'The Magician' by Raymond E. Feist. It's book one and two in 'The Riftwater Saga'. It's a pretty thick book which I know might take me a while to get through so I'd like some time without school work getting in the way to just get through the book without having to put it down for ages! 

So, is there anything you guys are looking forward to reading this Summer? 

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Looking Back At: June 2014

June has very much been a month that has sort of just merged into May, I really didn't know when the month had begun or where the days went. Especially during the beginning of the month, which was partially a good thing and I finished my last five exams at the beginning of June. They were extremely nice to get done and over with so I shall just be waiting on the results of those. 

Thankfully, it's been a more exciting month that May has been which is always good since I didn't feel like anything really happened in May. My sister @pagex394 has finally finished her degree after three years of extremely hard work. You guys might have seen my little freak out on twitter, which went a little something like this: 

If you didn't guess I'm extremely proud of her and cannot wait to see her graduate! 
I also finished my practice expedition and my actual expedition for my Bronze Duke of Edinburgh.. My practice expedition was absolutely amazing. That's not to say that it wasn't hard, I felt like I was dying but the views and that sense of accomplishment was phenomenal. My group did get lost a fair few times but we got there in the end. The expedition was a lot better. We all knew what to expect and what we were heading into this time but I don't think anything could prepare us for the heat that weekend. We didn't get that lost on the first day and got to camp in one piece. We ended up playing  few games before we decided that it was probably best to settle down for the night. The second day was a little more problematic... My group ended up being lost... for five hours... But the good news is that we got home in the end! And I've passed my expedition. All I have to do now is just upload pictures of all the otehr parts that go towards my DofE and I should hopefully get my certificate!

My school also had their annual Orchestra Day towards the end of the month. We didn't end up having one last year because both of my music teachers were off on maternity leave. I was so excited for this one though because having a whole day of just playing violin is bliss for me. It was such an amazing feeling and the concert went pretty well. The highlight of that day was hearing our staff choir. 

I also ended up seeing off our year 11s to Prom. Our year group got asked if a few of us could help out with the mocktails in the hall before the year 11s got on the bus to go to Prom and I said that I would help out. We didn't really do much, majority of the time we were just saying hi to people and looking at their dresses. It's so weird to think that it's going to be me this time next year! 

I also finished my exams, which was a huge relief but at the moment, it felt like I finished them ages ago when it was only about two weeks ago! I'm not going to get the results to those exams until September so I'm just going to have to wait and see how they went! 

Caught up on some reading this month and there were some really, really good reads. This month I read: 

  • The Pledge by Kimberly Derting 
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart 
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck 
  • Heroes by Robert Cormier 
  • The Real Prom Queens of Westfield High by Laurie Boyle Crompton 
And I'm in the midst of reading: 

  • Outshine by Nola Decker
I think I'm on track for my Goodreads reading challenge and hopefully I should be able to get through a good few more book in July. I am determined to finish Outshine since I've been reading it for a while now! 

Hope all of you have an awesome June!