Liebster Award Nomination

Today I was nominated by Maaike from Floating In Dreams  for the Liebster Award. Firstly, thank you Maaike for the nomination!
Secondly, although I’ve seen this “award” around I’ve never really quite understood what it’s all about or more… what the aim of it was. Basically the aim is to share the love, get and provide more exposure for smaller blogs (fewer than 200-500 followers).
It comes with some rules (see below) which have changed a few times since it first started – mostly it’s a bit of fun and sharing the love.

So the rules I’m following are:

  • Make a post about the Liebster Award & thank the blogger who nominated you
  • State 11 interesting facts about yourself
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you
  • Nominate 5 – 11 new bloggers with 500 followers or less (make sure you tell them they’re nominated!)
  • Write 11 new questions for your nominees

So without further ado…

11 Facts:

  1. I’m a complete geek. I mostly read sci-fi or fantasy and my DVD collection is much the same (plus Studio Ghibli and Disney). I own lightsaber (it a replica not a toy!) and I’m working on building a Lego Millenium Falcon. Oh and video games.
  2. I am a bibliophile – I love books and collect them. 99% of the books I read I keep. My to-read list is neverending and always growing. I’ve already read 8 books so far this year.
  3. I have crazy dreams to which there is rarely any rhyme or reason. Example: A few nights ago I dreamt I flew to Germany, but the hotel was in the basement of a multistory car park which was super creepy. The elevator in the hotel was a whole room that moved from floor to floor and there was a “bowling alley” – I put that in quotes because it was just plastic cups and an apple for a ball. And that isn’t even the weirdest dream I’ve had.
  4. I”m a homebody. I like being at home. I like me time. I need me time. That doesn’t mean I don’t like going out to the movies or to eat or to visit friends though, I just really enjoy the comfort of being at home.
  5. Despite suffering from hayfever (which seems to be getting worse every year) I love being in the countryside, it relaxes me and refreshes me.
  6. I have too much nail polish (is that even possible?) -okay maybe not too much but there are some I haven’t even worn yet. I just love nail polish!
  7. Even though I love nail polish, I keep my nails short. I can’t stand having long nails anymore, I think because I always used to have long nails as a child. Plus my nails grow really fast!
  8. I’m not shy but I am quite an introvert. I’m not anti-social either, it’s just that if I don’t know you – I’m not going to strike up a conversation. Infact I’ll be the one sitting quietly trying not to be the centre of attention in way whatsoever. However, if I’m with friends…try shutting me up.
  9. I’m an animal lover. There’s not many any animals I don’t love. I mean I’m not keen on spiders and insects particularly but they still fascinate me – I just don’t you know… want to cuddle them.
  10. I have a sweet tooth, a major sweet tooth. This is not good for dieting/healthy eating so I have to control myself!
  11. I love sleep. Particularly when you just so relaxed before you fall asleep, it’s such a good feeling.

Maaike’s Questions:

1./ Why did you start your blog?
Originally? Wow, I’m not sure I remember the whole reason. However suffice to say I wanted a place to share my interests and write.

2./ What is your favorite place?
Anywhere with my dog. I feel lost without him. But I guess in geographical terms I love The Netherlands and I love just being in the countryside in general.

3./ What beauty product would you suggest to anyone in a heartbeat?
Hmmm a difficult one because everyone has different skin types. I think right now it would be the collection 2000 concealer, it just works so well and they have a good light shade too.

4./ What is the best experience of your life?
Not sure I can pick one! Hmmm I’m going to go with my trip to The Netherlands last year as it was such a big step for me, I had so much fun and ugh… it’s hard to describe to someone not in my position but it was just like huge milestone whilst having a blast with friends.

5./ Favorite music?
I love rock music or like rock/pop mostly. I like a little bit of everything though I guess, to me if I like a song I like a song, doesn’t matter what genre it’s in.

6./ If you’d win 1000 dollars in gift vouchers, at which store would you spend it and what would you buy?
I’m not sure I know of a store because I’d like somewhere that sells a bit of everything. So Amazon? That counts right? I’d probably buy another bookshelf, more books, DVDs, a new camera…. so many possibilities!

7./ Favorite magazines?
I honestly don’t really read magazines.

8./ Do you have a ‘pamper routine’, if so, what is it? 
Hot bath with Radox Stress Relief bubble bath or Gok Wan Gorgeous bubble bath. Clean bed sheets. Candles in some nice fresh clean scent like clean cotton burning. Get into bed and read with a smoothie.

9./ What’s your quirky habit?
I don’t think I have any? Or maybe I just don’t realise I have one?

10./ What will your life be like in 10 years?
I have no idea but I hope I’m happy/content.

11./ Favorite childhood memory?
Eating nutella on crackers whilst watching Saturday morning cartoons.

Okay so I nominate…

My questions for the above people are…

  1. Why did you start your blog?
  2. What’s your biggest regret?
  3. Favourite Author?
  4. What would be the title of your autobiography?
  5. You have three wishes, but you can’t use them for yourself or for your person gain. What do you wish for?
  6. Who inspires you?
  7. What piece of technology couldn’t you get by without?
  8. What book are you reading right now?
  9. What was your favourite TV show/cartoon as a child?
  10. Favourite quote?
  11. Where do you hope your life is at in a years time?

Okay… and go!

Book Review: First Born by Brandon Sanderson

Firstborn by Brandon Sanderson is only available in eBook format and is a short story/novella of only 47 pages. Many of you will know that Brandon Sanderson is one of my favourite authors so I couldn’t resist a short eBook for £0.62!

First Born by Brandon Sanderson

Firstborn by Brandon Sanderson

This novella follows Dennison Crestmar. As the son of a High Duke of the interstellar Empire which means not only is he of noble birth but is expected to do great things and be a prodigy when it comes to war – just like his much older brother. Unfortunately Dennison has no talent whatsoever for battles he fails all his test battles, makes a mockery of simulation battles and the sad thing is – he really is trying.
And yet the empire won’t let him quit, won’t give up on him even when he begs and pleads with them. And then he meets his older brother who has been at war for the very first time and he learns a few things.

The writing is great as you would expect, and as much as possible is provided given the shortness of the book. There isn’t a whole lot of character development but what can you expect in 47 pages? You know what you need to know however to set the scene in your head and keep the story interesting.

Because of the central character’s position and the setting of the story (war) there is a fair bit of battle strategy, this was fine for me but I can imagine if your new to that sort of thing or even your interest in it is zero you may not enjoy this book so much.  It’s nothing overly complicated to understand but as Dennison is working on his skills a lot throughout it just may not be your cup of tea.

Sci-Fi and Sanderson is a new combination to me and he does write it well, but I’m torn between the fact that it lacks the pull, the “just one more page” pull of his actual full length novels and making allowances for the fact that this is only 47 pages (maybe that’s why I keep mentioning how short it is?).

Measuring this against other short stories I’ve read – it’s right up there, it’s a great, quick read with lots of action. Would I recommend it? Yes I think I would.

Rating: stars_4

———-

Author Website: http://brandonsanderson.com/
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 47
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Short Stories, War
Purchased From: Amazon UK (Kindle)

Movie Review: The LEGO Movie

This weekend I went to see a movie which I’ve been waiting to see for a while and last week it was finally released. The long wait for The Lego Movie was over.

The LEGO Movie

The LEGO Movie

The storyline follows Emmet who is your average construction worker in town, a run of the mill minifigure with no distinguishing features at all. He’s an ordinary guy who sticks to his routine, follows the rules… oh, I mean follows the instructions.
Unfortunately for Emmet he accidentally stumbles upon “Piece of Resistance” which is the key to saving the world and thus finds himself identified as a “special” (i.e. a special edition minifigure).
Cue the entrance of the “Master Builders” who can build anything from Lego and fast, these Master Builders are made up from different special edition minifigures including Batman, Gandalf, Green Lantern, Swamp Thing and Dumbledore among others.
All these talented, super hero-type “people” with superpowers are all relying on Emmet to save the world, after all he’s the one the prophecy spoke about… isn’t he? Shame Emmet has no idea what he’s doing.

This such a fantastic movie, the imagination put into it is fascinating from the storyline, characters and major kudos for all the awesome stuff they built with lego and the innovative ways used different lego bricks for different things.
With so much of it being lego, you would think it would tediously like watching a long stop motion movie, but it really not. The Lego moves like Lego does, but the animation has made it seamless.

It’s simple enough to keep the kids entertained with some  classic slapstick humour (mostly from Emmet), but there’s plenty to the storyline to keep adults enthralled too.

Without giving too much away because I don’t like to give spoilers the ending is sweet, explosive and quirky. It will make you want to run home, hug your lego and then play with it, build things, build anything you can think of and pull it apart and build something else.

Yes in some ways it is a very long but clever advert for Lego, but in the best way possible. It inspires the kid in you to come out and play and the adult in you to bring your knowledge to play time resulting in a big old Lego party with the best of both worlds.

If you’re kid, if you love lego, if you’re a geek, if you have kids, if your an adult who is just a big kid at heart – go and see this movie.

The LEGO Movie is out in theatres across the UK now.

FUNFACT: Some of the adverts before the movie started were remade with LEGO!

Watch the video below, no wait… don’t. Seriously, this will get stuck in your head. I’m not kidding… don’t do it!!!….

… I did warn you!

Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I’ve been wanting to read The Maze Runner by James Dashner for a while, heck I’ve even had the book for a year (so many books so little time!) but I finally started it about a week ago and I’m surprised at how much I liked it. Sure I had been interested from the many good reviews it has gotten, but at the same time I was pretty reserved about how a story about a boy or a few boys running around a maze could really be that enthralling.

The story surrounds Thomas, who we meet as he wakes up in darkness feeling around walls to get some sense of his surroundings. He has no memory of who he is; he only remembers that his name is Thomas. He doesn’t know how old he is, his last name and he can’t remember any relatives, friends or well… anyone actually. He can remember absolutely nothing specific about his life – he has knowledge, he knows what things are but he doesn’t know how he learnt about them, who taught him.
Thomas arrives at the Glade which is a walled community in the middle of a maze where other teenage boys have lived for 2 years now. None of the boys their have memories of their life before being in the maze either. Together, they have one aim – to get solve the maze, to get out, to get home – wherever that is.

This is a fast paced book with pretty short chapters most of which have a cliffhanger at the end, so it’s definitely one of those “just one more chapter” books.
There a lot of boys in the glade but the book focuses on the just a few of them that are involved with Thomas. These main characters are very likable but Dashner makes sure to show how each has their own faults. As for the community as a whole, even though you don’t meet the vast majority of the gladers you just know they have fostered great solidarity as a whole.
I love how Dashner has captured the whole “boys will be boys” part. The gladers swear as teenage boys around peers would, but he has kept hit clean by creating a system of slang swear words used within the glade like “shank” and “klunk”. It makes the boys personalities more realistic whilst staying in the realms of the Young Adult genre.

Overall it’s a quick read because of the fast pace, the intensity never really lets up and I really enjoyed the relationships and compassion between the characters.

Rating: stars_4

———-

Author Website: http://jamesdashner.com/
Publisher: Chicken House
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 371
Genre(s): Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Purchased From: Waterstones

 

End of Year Update (2013 Review)

Note: Bare with me, I need to cover a few things in this post.
I’ve been dragging my feet a lot with blogging lately, there’s just been a lot of (stressful) things going on in life that I just don’t have the energy to blog or to do anything interesting to blog about. My reading has been really slow – apart from one book, the reviews here are actually up to date.
I’ve also been steering this blog into a more “bookish” direction, but I must admit, I’m missing blogging about other things (or I would do if I was doing anything interesting). So I think I’m going to go back to mostly books but also more “me” in here.

2013 has been a rather rollercoaster year for me. I’ve had some great times but it’s been stressful and challenging.
I don’t talk about this a whole lot here but 2013 has been the year I’ve had to take a step back and look at what I need. This has meant I’ve had to give up work/looking for work after realising that it’s too much for me to handle, I’ve spent years trying to hold down a job and feel okay/comfortable in a work environment and it’s just not happening. So I have to step back and take time to deal with my Depression, Anxiety and PTSD (and whatever else I discover along the way!) and start seeing a psychologist which is mega exhausting.
I’ve also spent a huge amount of time stressing over many communications with the government to secure some benefits whilst I get on my feet – they’re not very understanding about mental illnesses. This is still going on and won’t be resolved until mid-January (please pray and hope that things go in my favour, I don’t know what I’ll do if they don’t, I’ll be stuck!).

Anyway, onto better things. I was a failure at most of my goals for 2013 but I did do two of the things I planned. I visited Maaike in Holland and whilst there visited an old Library. Visiting Holland was most definitely the biggest highlight of my year and a huge achievement – my anxiety didn’t get the better of me (although it tried on the plane over there as I was flying alone). Thinking back to it still makes me smile now.

Right now, I’m holding off making plans for 2014 until this whole situation with benefits is sorted out – so there won’t be a post with goals and plans, etc until after then as things are just too uncertain. I do have a few posts ready in my head to write though so as long as I’m not super stressed out like I have been lately, I’ll still get a few up in the early half of January.

Hope 2013 was good to you!

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