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Sunshine Blogger Award

I’m joining the very funny Kiersten over at, Once Upon A Spine, who invited everyone who hadn’t previously been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award, to answer her questions. Thank you, Kiersten, I don’t mind if I do.

I’m sure my answers are not half way as funny as Kiersten, but here goes nothing

The Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and ask them 11 new questions
  • List the rules and display the sunshine blogger award logo in your post/or on your blog.

The Questions:

If you’re happy and you know it, do you clap your hands?

Eh, maybe when I was 7 or 8 and I got a great birthday/Christmas present, but as someone born when the dinosaurs still roamed the earth, the answer now is, no!

Which fictional character probably has the best shoe collection?

Oh, come on, it’s got to be Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz series. I mean, think about it, as a young teenager she inherits that natty pair of ruby red slippers, so it goes without saying that, as she grows up, she’s going to be a shoe collector and hoarder. That woman is going to have closets full of ’em!

Do you believe in nargles?

Oh yes, most definitely, super duper sure eh, what’s a nargle, again?

If you could have coffee (or tea, if you prefer) with any fictional character, who would you choose?

So I’ve had afternoon tea with Alice, and the monkey’s at London Zoo, so who does that leave? Hmm you know what, I think I might just choose Chief Inspector Gamache to have tea with, in the Bistro at Three Pines, the one owned by Gabri and Oliver. With cake, yeah, definitely cake.

Are you a fan of animal sidekicks in books?

I guess I’m not really for, nor am I against. A talking pig, however, in a contemporary romance might seem a bit odd. But in Animal Farm? Well, it seemed okay at the time. I’m not sure about the likes of Jane Marple having a companion dog she spoke to all the way through an Agatha Christy novel. Might not have the same impact, right?

Where is my cake? I was told there would be cake.

Hey, settle down, settle down, I’m making carrot cake as we speak, no, really check the oven!

If you could turn any movie into a book, which one would you choose?

Hmm curiouser and curiouser movie to book? A lot of the movies I personally like, have been adaptations of books. I’m not sure I’ve seen a movie I would get so excited about hearing it had been given the book treatment. I mean, the Avengers as a book? Naah! Just doesn’t work. The whole point of a movie is it’s visual medium. To bookify a movie is something of an oxymoron, isn’t it?

What book has had the biggest impact on your life?

One book? Really, only one? Different sets of books at different times in my life, have had a lasting effect. I mean, I was blown away as an 8 year old reading Narnia and the fact I might climb into a wardrobe, and find another land, just beyond the back. And every time I went into the woods, as a kid, I kept expecting to find Pooh Bear and Piglet. I never did. And later, I was convinced that if my dad bought me a secondhand space suit, from NASA, like in Robert Heinlein’s Have Space Suit Will Travel, that aliens would come for me.

Which fictional character would you choose to write a guest post for your blog?

As a fan of both Alice and Pooh Bear, I think I might choose Alice, and ask her to talk about her adventures in Wonderland, as poor Pooh might be apt to wander off looking for pots of honey, or forget what the question was. Alice, on the other hand, had some of the best adventures next to the Pevensie kids in Narnia. I mean, what was it really like to drink the potion and shrink?

Which fictional world would  be the worst to live in?

It would have to be a fantasy world—probably Game of Thrones—because, for me that would be the worst kind, they’re always medieval in setting, no one ever gets to eat, there are no flushing toilets, and bathing always seems to be an option. And all that magic, I’d probably be stuck with only ever being able to conjure thin air!

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

What, I can only have one, but, but, I have so many! My biggest pet peeve at the moment is the number of authors, a lot of them women at that, who seem to think it’s okay to “normalize” rape and sexual assault because, well, they’re writing fantasy, so it’s okay, right? No, it’s not okay. It’s downright disgusting — stop, just stop it, okay!

My Questions:

  1. If you had the chance, which Doctor Who would you go with, if asked?
  2. What’s you least favourite genre and why?
  3. What fictional character would you have as a best friend, and why?
  4. It’s the end of the Universe and you’ve been granted one last wish, what is it?
  5. A Unicorn wanders into your back garden, who do you call?
  6. The Red Pill or the Blue Pill, why?
  7. What’s your favourite Halloween outfit?
  8. Which real or fictional TV soap would you love to star in?
  9. The guillotine is about to fall, are you knitting or crocheting?
  10. Did you ever pee your pants watching a horror movie, if so, which one?
  11. King Kong or Godzilla?

My Nominees are:

Reading Beneath The Blankie
The Belgian Reviewer
Bionic Book Worm
Beware The Reader
Unfiltered Tales
Reader Voracious

And, of course, anyone else who wants to participate.

Top 5 Tuesday: Fabulous Fun Fantasy Fiction

It’s Tuesday so it must be Top 5 Tuesday from Shanah over at Bionic Book Worm, and this week’s topic is: YA & Adult Fantasy.

This one turned out to be a no-brainer given the top 5 books that made me laugh—from earlier this month—were, for the most part, all fantasies. So, surprise, here they are again in my top favourite fantasies.

#1 : THE PRINCESS BRIDE — William Goldman

Swashbuckling pirates, giants, a touch of romance and adventure, as young Westley seeks his fortune in order to marry his childhood sweetheart, Buttercup. And no sooner are the words, ‘As you Wish’ spoken, and we’re off chasing across the land, duelling, fighting and besting the bad guys in a fictional romp that has since become a must-read classic.

#2 : THE COLOUR OF MAGIC — Terry Pratchett

Another British classic, Pratchett created a whole world travelling through space upon the back of a giant turtle, held up on the backs of four elephants: Discworld. If that doesn’t intrigue you, then nothing will. Follow the exploits of the incompetent wizard, Rincewind, hired as a guide for tourist, Twoflowers, and his enchanted Luggage. Let chaos ensue    

#3 : THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY — Douglas Adams

Funny, silly, irreverent, and packed with humour you’ll either love, or don’t get, and where the answer to everything is, of course, 42! Join Arthur Dent and Ford Perfect as they journey around the galaxy before heading off to The Restaurant at the End of the Universe in time for breakfast!

#4 : EARTHSEA — Ursula K. Le Guin

A myriad islands in an unending sea, populated by a diversity of peoples—where magic is inborn,  and wizards are trained. Oh, and dragons, dragons who are more powerful and act instinctively to keep the balance between good and evil. What more could you ask for?

#5 : NARNIA — C. S. Lewis

Incredible quests, fantastical beast, talking creatures, enchanted beings, and an evil White Witch that will scare the hell out of you, she’s so cruel and vindictive. Join the Pevensie children as they journey to Narnia and meet Aslan, a talking Lion, in this children’s classic.

LOL and OMG Toll the Death-knell of the English Language

Really? I don’t think so.

English is one of those languages that begs, borrows and downright steals from other languages to the point of stalking them down dark alleys. Where, before hitting them over the head with a dangling participle, rifles through a language’s pockets in search of any word it thinks it can get away with. It doesn’t care whether it’s bright, shiny, and new, or if it is dog-eared and long since forgotten. The only criteria is, can I use it?

You have to remember, languages live by adapting or die by stagnating. English (and yes, we’ll include American, Canadian and Australian English here too) knows this and isn’t above grand theft and petty larceny in the verbiage world at large.

So, to any and all of you out there bemoaning the death-knell of the English language when reading announcements that the OED (Oxford English Dictionary) has once again added new and controversial words to its pages. Ask yourselves, do we speak the same language of Shakespeare, or even the Victorians? Could you imagine a dapper-dressed Victorian saying, “By Jove, I better Google that, or check that fact on Bing.” Eh, of course not, nor do we, in our time, go around asking, “doth thine eyes, of palest emerald, beseech the heavens

Hell, no!

We speak and write a vibrant, living, growing, transforming language that is constantly in flux and adapting to the changing needs of those using it.

And to that, I say, hallelujah!

Spam, Spam, Spam!

No, I am not talking about the Monty Python version of spam, but that less nutritious version that plops into our in-boxes not daily, but by the hour and the minute!

Oh, it was so nice of the UN to write to me personally telling me some distant relative in some unnamed country has left me millions, which are all tied up in that unnamed county’s banks. And that I would have to submit a form, duly filled out with all my personal and banking details, so they could make sure I got my inheritance.

And wasn’t it nice of General Ungagwa’s wife to write to me personally, and let me know that I could help her get her husband’s considerable (stolen) fortune out of Nigeria. She would be only too willing to cut me a big pay check. All I need to do is facilitate moving these millions from her late husband’s bank, to mine, and I would be rich yeah! Sure!

You know I get as much fun reading the SPAM mail in my Gmail inbox, as I do picking up the latest thriller from Tom Clancy. They are nearly as inventive as the man himself, in coming up with these weird and wonderful plots and scenarios to get us to part with our banking details, as the Russians are at manipulating American’s into voting for Donald Trump—a failed entrepreneur and dud reality TV star—as President of the United States of America.

All endlessly fascinating I’m sure, and great fodder, as in there, somewhere, is a book. But thank the small gods of the internet and Google for syphoning off said email into a spam folder, and allowing us to delete them all, en-masse!

Click, click, delete bye!

First Impressions Friday: Lockdown

It’s that time of week, again, which means, it’s First Impressions Friday. For those of you who are unfamiliar, #FIF is a weekly meme created by J.W. Martin. The goal is to talk about a book you recently started reading then, share your first impressions, predict what you think will happen, and say whether you think you’ll enjoy it.

Career Day at Guadalupe Middle School: A day given to innocent hopes and youthful dreams. A day no one in attendance will ever forget.”

A year ago, Principal Linda McDonald arrived at Guadalupe determined to overturn the school’s reputation for truancy, gang violence, and neglect. One of her initiatives is Career Day—bringing together children, teachers, and community presenters in a celebration of the future. But there are some in attendance who reject McDonald’s bright vision.

A principal with a secret. A husband with a murky past. A cop with too many questions. A kid under pressure to prove himself. A girl struggling to escape a mother’s history. A young basketball player with an affection for guns.

Even the school janitor has a story he dare not reveal.

But no one at the gathering anticipates the shocking turn of events that will transform a day of possibilities into an explosive confrontation.

This week I started, LOCKDOWN, by the amazing Laurie R. King. This is—at its core—a suspense novel that, from the title alone and reading the back cover blurb, would give you the impression is solely about a school under siege. But you would be wrong. And so was I. Almost 95 pages in, last night, and I discovered this is so much more than a story about a school. And certainly so much more than the liner novel we are use to reading.

We are use to reading novels with lots of flashbacks—though I am not a big fan of that plot device—but in LOCKDOWN, King uses an unusual method to tell the story, from multiple POV. Something I know a lot of people hate as well. But, in this instance, it works brilliantly. Both to ratchet up the underlying and simmering tensions of the various characters, and in muddying the waters with a couple of mysteries. Not least of which is, what has happened to Bee Cuomo.

King has put into place a diverse cast of characters with enough secrets, scandals and lies to keep readers guessing—because, believe me, I’m already scratching my head wondering where the danger is going to come from. And just who, out of those I’ve read about, so far, are going to ignite the touch paper of the powder keg that is Guadalupe Middle School.

My Prediction: 9 / 10