Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books I Recommend the Most

It's that time of the week for Top Ten Tuesday, the weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week it is the top ten books I recommend the most.

I feel like these lists might get a little repetitive... ah, who cares.
  • The Fault in our Stars by John Green. Have I conveyed yet how much I love this book?? This is a book that I think lives up to its hype. And I'll recommend it to anyone who talks to me for long enough!
  • The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. Do you need a reason why I recommend this series to the three people in the world who haven't read it?
  • Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. Even after what I'd heard about this being a surprisingly sweet zombie love story, I was still pleasantly surprised. I would recommend this to anyone who thinks they don't like zombies, but like supernatural stuff. And to anyone else.
  • The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer. If, despite recent events, I end up working with kids, I will be making sure the school library has a copy of this book. It is perfect for kids. Twists on classic fairytales and a few new characters thrown in. And big kids will love this too.
  • The Life of Pi by Yann Martell. This is a book I'd recommend to people who like philosophical or spiritual books. It doesn't preach but instead makes you challenge your own perceptions. And there is also a tiger involved.
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I recommend for anyone who loves a swoon-worthy YA romance set in Paris. Always makes me want to go to Paris when I think about this book.
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Still the cream of the crop when it comes to YA dystopian fiction, in my humble opinion.
  • Watching the English by Kate Fox. This book is like seeing my own quirks laid out before me. If you're British, you should read this book because it is one of those books that make you go "Omg, I so do that! That is so true!" If you're not British, you should read it because it will explain why the Brits act like they do. It's one of those popular science-type books, that you can just pick up, open anywhere and read. I love this book.
  • Nefertiti by Michelle Moran. I would recommend this to anyone who like The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. Quite a similar set-up but set in the time of the Pharoahs. Fascinating.
  • Finding Himself by Minisinoo. Ok, so this isn't technically a book, but a Harry Potter fanfiction, but I constantly recommend this to anyone who wants really well-written fanfiction. It could be a book! Seriously, one of the best, if not THE best fanfiction I've ever read (which is a lot). (Cedric/Hermione, AU Cedric survives GoF. E-book download here.)

Back-Up Plan Engage!

Life sucks sometimes.

I had an interview to get onto a PGCE teaching course on Friday, down in Southampton. I thought it had gone ok, because I've got tons of experience in schools, thought I answered all the questions ok and I had all the stuff I needed.


Apparently, that is not enough. And I didn't get in.


Life goes on.

On the bright side, I do have a back-up plan involving sign language, which I'm learning at the moment. Which may still lead to working in school at the very least.

Keeping positive!

But boo hiss.

Special Review: A Very Potter Senior Year by Team Starkid

If you are unaware of Team Starkid and their Harry Potter parody musicals, then I suggest, nay, urge you to take your good self over to YouTube and sort that out.

Last night, there was a moment. A moment we, as a fandom, had been looking for forever. The premiere of A Very Potter Senior Year. The third and final musical adventure for Harry Potter and his friends. Here is my rambly review-esque thing.

And it was totally awesome. 10/10

This version of AVPSY that Starkid present us with is not a polished production, like their other works, but a staged reading. Basically, it is the show as it would essentially be but the actors are holding their scripts, and stuff may (did) go wrong.

But to be honest, in true Starkid style, this only adds to the charm of their shows. Every person that takes part in their shows does it because they love it, and they are all friends together, and it just shines through.

In fact, the lack of rehearsed-ness, I think either made the moment funnier or more emotional. One of the funniest moments is when Moaning Myrtle (Chris Allen) has to leave stage. Myrtle is supposed to be dead (this is a flashback scene) and while s/he is dragged off s/he loses her hair and helps herself off stage. We, the audience, are dying with laughing as are the other actors on stage. Comedy gold. And on the other side, when Harry (Darren Criss) says goodbye to Hogwarts (and Criss, to Harry), his voice cracks and I cry with him.

Starkid are brilliant at creating shows that are not just trying to get big laughs. They're fans like the rest of us, and lovingly poke holes in the plot and bring emotional heart to, what is quite frankly, a ridiculous plot of their own. I also loved the little references to the previous shows. Starkid are nothing if not able to make fun of themselves.

As it is the last Potter musical Starkid have said they will do, it was like a last hurrah. While there were some new, brilliant characters like Gilderoy Lockhart (AJ Holmes) and Hagrid (Brian Holden), beloved old characters made at least brief appearances, like Snape (Joe Moses) and Cedric Diggory (Tyler Brunsman). It's like seeing old friends after a long time apart.

The music was, as usual, great. The new songs were catchy, while the old favourites were brought back and adapted to the story. Seeing the cast sing Get Back to Hogwarts is just so heartwarming... if you don't think so, I'm not sure we can be friends ;).

Starkid have done what we all wished we might have done with this thing that we all love: made something amazing with their friends. And the best part is, is they shared it with us! The members of Starkid are just one of us. They are fanboys and girls who got lucky. But we are also lucky that they got lucky. If that makes sense! I can't imagine the Harry Potter fandom now without Starkid. I can't even watch/read Harry Potter without referencing AVPM.

One of the songs is called 'Everything Ends' and while this might feel like the end, I'm pretty sure it's not. The last Harry Potter book came out nearly 6 years ago! And the last film nearly 2 years ago! But we are still here. And thanks to stuff like AVPSY, it is still going.

Thanks Starkid, it has been and always will be totally awesome. I can't wait to see what you all do next.

Top Ten Tuesday - Books At The TOP Of My 2013 TBR list!

It's that time of the week again. Time for Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Today's Top Ten Topic is... *drum roll*...

The Top Ten Books At The TOP Of My Spring 2013 TBR list!
  • The Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin. Actually reading that right now. I am loving this series. A cross between fantasy and historical fiction. Full of political wrangling and nefarious underhanded plots. And I'm pretty sure Tyrion is my favourite character.
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. This is a book I've been meaning to read for ages. It's Tudor historical fiction. I just know I'll love it.
  • Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. Same.
  • Crossed by Ally Condie. I just reviewed Matched and this is the follow up. Probably going to start this soon.
  • Les Misérables by Victor Hugo. Again, currently reading this. This is the book I'm reading in the background. I wanted to start reading a few classics and I wanted to read the book that inspired the musical.
  • Angel Fire by L.A. Weatherly. I really enjoyed the first book of this series and have been meaning to read this for ages. Hopefully I'll get around to it this year...
  • VIII by H.M. Castor. Another Tudor historical fiction but young adult. It's like they knew I was coming.
  • Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. I've been wanting to read some books by this guy for a while. I've read his collaboration with John Green and really enjoyed it so I have high hopes.
  • Dominion by C.J. Sansom. Some more historical fiction but set in the 50s and with a What If twist. I'm intrigued.
  • The Marlowe Papers by Ros Barber. A book written entirely in verse. After reading Chopsticks, a story told in photographs, I want expand my horizons with different ways of telling stories. I'm excited about this one.

Book Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Synopsis: On her seventeenth birthday, Cassia meets her Match. Society dictates he is her perfect partner for life. Except he's not. In Cassia's society, Officials decide who people love. How many children then have. Where they work. When they die. But as Cassia finds herself falling in love with another boy, she is determined to make some choices of her own. And that's when her whole world beings to unravel…

Pages: 366

Rating: 5/10

Overall Thoughts: An enjoyable read, but rather slow-paced. The plot was disappointing. The world that Condie creates is perhaps the best bit, with the ominous faceless presence of the Society giving you a persistent undercurrent of the heebie jeebies.
Matched (Matched, #1)

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Top Ten Tuesday - Top Series I'd Like To Start But Haven't Yet

This week's (and every week's) Top Ten Tuesday meme is brought to you by the letter Broke and and number Bookish.

This week is the top ten series I'd like to start but haven't yet. This was quite hard as I've got a lot of books I'd like to read, but many of them are stand-alones, or part of series I've already started. But anyway. Here's my list:
  • The Killables by Gemma Malley. This has been recommended to me on this blog actually, and I really like the look of it.
  • Harry Potter en français. Yeah, I know, I'm a huge nerd and technically a reread.
  • The Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. I got the boxset for Christmas '11, and still haven't got around to reading them. I do love me some vampire fiction.
  • The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. I think I want to read these out of some sort of morbid curiosity. If you are at all in the know about the world of Harry Potter fanfiction, you may know that there is some controversy surrounding Clare and her writing. So yeah, morbid curiosity.
  • Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. Again, another supernatural series, but I don't think vampires are directly involved... I want to read it before I eventually see the film.
  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver. YA dystopia, so obviously on my to-read list.
  • Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. Supernatural YA with wolves. That could be the synopsis and I'd be interested.
  • Unearthly by Cynthia Hand. Angels this time. I feel like a broken record...
  • The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. I'm sure my old housemate will be pleased to hear I'm interested in reading this series. Can't go wrong with a good fantasy series. Even if there are loads of books in the series, and they are all like doorstops...
  • Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein. So I tried reading it back when I was about 10, after reading the Hobbit, but got about half way and had no idea what was going on, so I gave up. I think I could get through it now and hopefully enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the films.

Lifescouts: Animals

February on Lifescouts has been Animal month. So here are my memories/experiences that go with the badges.

Swimming with Dolphins
When I was about 10, my mum and dad in an amazing feat of sneakery took me and my sister to Florida for 2 weeks. As in, we had no idea until the night before that we were even going. Yeah... neither of us got a whole lot of sleep that night. Anyway, when we went to Seaworld Orlando, I got to swim with the dolphins! At the time, they were my favourite animal so I was ecstatic. We got to hold on to their dorsal fin and be dragged along and feed them and all sorts. I think we also got to make them do some tricks. It was amazing. And to top it off, I swam with the dolphin was named Dixie, which is the name of my school!
Snake Holding Badge
I have held a snake a grand total of once, and it was when I attended the Summer Ball at my university in 2009. Summer Balls at university literally took over the whole campus. There was a mini fairground in one of the car parks and some sort of 'big' name in the Sports Hall... I can't even remember who performed. Was it Chesney Hawkes (of "I'm am the one and only!" fame) that year? Possibly. Anyway, in the middle of campus there were some people carrying snakes. You could go up to them and hold the snakes. Considering the clamour of drunk students, these snakes were very tame, and seemed quite unfazed by the whole ordeal.

Pet-Owning Badge
My family and I have owned a few pets through the years. We've had a few goldfish, the last two were called Coddy and Chips.

We had a guinea pig, called Jumbo. He was black with a strip of orange on one shoulder. He was lovely, we even managed to potty-train him in a fashion. Basically, Jumbo wouldn't wee on you. He would start to squirm and we'd put him on the floor and then he would wee. Well... it was better than being weed on. I should stop saying wee.

The last one on the list is Dobby. No, not a house elf (S.P.E.W supporter ;) ), but a West Highland White Terrier. He can be a grumpy old git, but the adorableness factor makes up for it. I mean look at that face...

Badges from this month that I'd like to gain/fulfill in the future: