Fledglings (Followers)

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Guest Review- Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

Hi! Well, as you might have realised, I am a member of this site called "Book Blogs", and on it, I was fortunate enough to meet the lovely Nazia, or Naz from http://thatartsygirlsbookblog.wordpress.com/ which is an amazing blog which you should obviously check out. Now.
Do it! Anyway, I asked if she would be willing to do a guest post, and in response she has sent me a review of the book, "Strands of Bronze and Gold" by author Jane Nickerson ( http://www.jane-nickerson.com/ ).
So, without further ado, here we have it! Enjoy, and do check out Naz's blog. And if you follow, I'll 
give you a metaphorical biscuit. Hugs!
Book Worm (Nerdy Birdy)

Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson
I was quite intrigued by the blurb when I picked up this book. Being from India, I am not familiar with the tale of Bluebeard. So, I dove into this book not knowing what to expect. I didn’t like the way the story started. Sophia seemed a bit of an airhead, who only cared for pretty clothes and handsome men. Also, there was an awful lot of descriptions. I understand that Sophia, when she sees such opulence and luxury, is overwhelmed, but that doesn’t mean she has to describe every tapestry and fabric she claps eyes on. At one point, I even thought of skipping to the end, which is something I never do. I think, more than anything, what turned me off during the initial part of the story was that the characters seemed a little flat and one-dimensional. Sophie was the naïve Yankee girl. Monsieur de Cressac was the godfather with ulterior motives. There were characters placed here and there, like Ling and Garvey, who were meant to unsettle Sophie. Mrs. Duckworth was the comforting point for her in the big, scary mansion. The characters did what they were supposed to do, but there was nothing more, no depth to them. But don’t let that bring you down because the book does get better. As the story progresses, we see Sophie grow as a character. She begins to notice the strange things at WyndrivenAbbey and the stranger mood swings of Monsieur de Cressac. Though at first she is attracted to his handsome looks and immense riches, she soon starts to look past his charming façade at the unpleasantness lying underneath. From there, the story swiftly becomes more interesting. As we move from one chapter to another, we begin to anticipate the next horrible thing that is going to happen at the Abbey. We also begin to learn more about de Cressac’s history which sheds light upon his true character. I enjoyed reading about the supporting characters especially, Charles, Talitha, Gideon and Odette, but my favorite was de Cressac himself. The way his character was carved out was particularly good. Before Sophie and de Cressac become engaged, he was a little well-behaved, but you can notice hisdemeanour begin to change after the engagement. It is as if once he was sure that Sophie was firmly in his hands, he could let his nature show. There is one particular scene in the “folly” thatseriously scared the life out of me. The best part about deCressac is that he seems realistic. He doesn’t seem like a macabre character one might only read about in a book or watch in a movie. We can imagine the things he does (excluding the murdering part, of course) actually happening in real life. Finally, I have to commend the author on writing an ending that didn’t turn the dead wives into gory, horror movie props, butrather focused on the sick nature of de Cressac.

Initially bland characters

Slow-paced for the first few pages

A gem of a character in Bernard de Cressac

A strong heroine

Great supporting characters

Descriptions (I decided to put this in the pros and not the cons because although initially the long descriptions annoyed me, they do contribute to the overall atmosphere of the story)

Solid climax
With an interesting plot, well-drawn characters and a satisfying end, Strands of Bronze and Gold is definitely worth reading more than once. I really liked it.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

ABANDONED Star Wars set in the desert; when can I move in?!

Holy bloody cow I need to li-Back in 2010, artist and photographer Rä di Martino ventured into the Tunisian desert to find the abandoned movie sets from Star Wars. The desert location was used in 1976 to film Lars Homestead on Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine. In Martino’s series entitled NO MORE STARS, she explains:

“This is a series of photographs taken in the abandoned movie sets of the film saga Star Wars, filmed through the years in different locations in the south of Tunisia. Unexpectedly those sets have been left on location, probably because in the middle of nowhere and because no-one from the local authorities complained and therefore after years some of it have now become ruins, almost as some sort strange archaeological sites. The particular hot and dry climate has helped maintain intact many parts of the sets, or buried under the sand just sections of it. The sets visited are in four different locations.” Here's the most striking (and only available) picture...

here it is!!!!!

Monday, 20 May 2013

how to make book earrings (or, what to do with your spare copies of twilight even though you don't even need a book for this tutorial but hey, it's a cool title. leave me alone.)

Well, I love books. You have probably gathered that by now. Anyhow, it's really important to keep books safe. But sometimes you've entered one too many giveaways, or you have that copy of twilight that you're never going to read. And you don't know what to do with it. I have a solution; BOOK CRAFTS!
Yes. Whenever possible, I will post all the loveliness that is book crafts and thou shalt see how amazing that book can be. When you wear it or something.
Book earrings...
Book earrings make a great gift for anyone who loves to read, including yourself. You can make your own in a matter of hours and express your status as a bookworm or your belief in literacy.
1- Cut two rectangles out of cardboard, each 1 inch (2.5cm) tall by 1.75 inches (4.5cm). Use a ruler or paper cutter to get the edges square and straight. This will provide the structure for the cover of your book.
2- Locate the centre of each rectangle and mark it from top to bottom with a pencil. Hold a ruler on the second line, and make ticks 
1/16th" (1.5mm) away on each side. Score the lines on either side of the centre from top to bottom, using an empty ball point pen or a bone folder.
3- Fold the cardboard along the scored lines to form the covers for your tiny book. Don't fold along the centre line.
4- Cut out your pages. Cut sixteen rectangles of ordinary printer paper, measuring 7/8" (22mm) long by 1.5" (3.8cm) wide. If you have access to a paper cutter it will help make the pages even, as will stacking or folding the paper before cutting. (Don't stack too thickly, though, or you'll have trouble cutting. Two stacks of eight layers each seem to cut reasonably easily, and it doesn't matter if the pages for one book are slightly different from the other.)
5- Fold each stack of eight sheets in half down the middle. Trim the outside edges so that they're once again even. These will form the pages of the books.
6- Punch out holes for binding. Line up the centres of the pages with the centres of the cover cardboard. Lay the book open flat with the cover side down on a cutting mat or a spare chunk of scrap cardboard. Use a push pin to poke three holes in the spine, through the centre of the pages. Do this for both books.
7- Thread a needle and tie a knot with some white thread or thin string.
8- Stitch down through the top hole.
9- Stitch up through the middle hole.
10- Stitch down through the bottom hole.
11- Do a second stitching pattern. Bring the needle back up through the middle hole, down through the top hole, etc. If you're using thin thread, you may want to do this figure-8 pattern a couple more times before tying it off. Loop the thread through itself on the back side a few times to tie off the stitches, then trim the excess thread.
12- Cut out your cover. Cut two rectangles of the decorative fabric or paper, 3.25" (8.25cm) wide by 2" (5cm) long. If there is a pattern or grain to the fabric or paper, check to make sure that your rectangles run parallel to it. These will become the covers of your books.
13- Centre one book on the decorative sheet with the pages wide open. Keep each decorative cover together with the book you used to measure it, in case they are slightly different sizes.
14- Score or lightly mark the decorative material around the edges of the book. In the photo, the book has been moved to show the score lines.
15- Cut out the corners as shown. Cut at a shallow angle from the corners of the score marks to the edge. The exact angle is not important, but try to get it reasonably symmetrical.
16- Centre the book on the cover and cut V-shaped notches as shown around where the spine will be.
17- Score the decorative material on either side of the spine if you are using paper. The photo shows the cover ready to glue.
18- Apply a generous (but not sloppy) amount of glue to the centre of the decorative material and to the top and bottom flaps. Make sure to put the glue on the "back" or "wrong" side of the material, and make sure to apply glue on the entire area, all the way to the edges.It helps to put a piece of scrap paper behind as you apply the glue, to catch any that runs over the edges.A glue stick is a bit neater than liquid glue, but either will work.
19- Place the book onto the decorative material and press it firmly against the back, making sure the edges line up with the score marks. Fold the top flaps over and press them firmly. Repeat for the bottom flaps.
20- Apply glue to the side flaps and fold them in, over the top and bottom flaps. Press firmly.
21- Thread a string between the top portion of binding and the cardboard you used as the basis for your cover.Alternatively, you could glue the string, but be sure it is secure.
22- Tie a simple knot in the string. Pull it close to the book, then tighten it firmly.
23- Turn the knot downward and trim off the excess string.
24- Open the ring on the earring mount, thread it through the loop on the book, and close it again. Use needle-nose pliers or jewellery pliers without teeth. Insert the earring mounts so that the books will both point forward when the earrings are worn.
25- Let the glue dry thoroughly before trying on the earrings. Rest a heavy book on top of them to hold them closed while the glue dries.

-Another nice gift is to make a necklace to match the earrings.
-If these are a gift for a girl you want to impress, write a little love story in the book about you and her.
-For a more compact earring or to hide a messy binding job, glue the pages shut. This can also help to avoid catching hair.
-Cutting fabric on the bias (diagonal) helps deter fraying. So does a generous application of glue around the edges.
-Look around for materials to reuse for this project. A cereal box or other package works nicely for the cover. Also see if you have a scrap of fabric or decorative paper floating around that you could use for the cover, too.
-You could instead buy tiny books that are for doll-houses to make into earrings if you do not wish to make your own little book.
-You can scale this design up about 10 times to create a somewhat regular-sized book that you can write in easily.
-This is also a good way to make a book or journal or a sketchbook you can write in. Just make everything a bit bigger.
-If you make these earrings as a gift, watch what your intended recipient wears. Try to match the colors and styles of that person.
-If your intended recipient doesn't wear earrings, try making a single book this way as a holiday ornament or necklace. As an ornament, you may want to enlarge the whole thing a bit.
-Check how sheer your decorative paper or fabric is, especially once it has glue on it. If you're using a cereal box or other printed paper for the cardboard, try gluing a small sample of the decorative material to a printed portion of the cardboard and see what shows through. If there's any problem, use the plain side of the cardboard as the outside.
-If you can't finesse stitching a tiny binding like this, try stapling it. Staple so that the straight side of the staple goes on the outside and the hooked parts are inside, near the pages. Carefully line up the staple and the pages so it goes through the center. Two staples should be enough.
-Choose a pattern for your decorative material that is on a scale with the book. These books are one inch tall, so a 12-inch floral pattern is probably not the best bet.
-You could also use a word processor or page layout program to create the text in very small letters. It might be easiest to make a table grid with cells the same size as your pages and then type in the grid. To get printing on both sides of the pages, duplex them with a duplexing printer or photocopier, or just print on both sides of a page.
-Write in them! You could personalize these earrings by writing something in tiny writing in the book, or carefully sticking in a favorite locket-sized photo or two. Practice on a scrap to find out how small you have to write what you have to say. You may find that one or two words fill a page.

-Make sure your fingers aren't behind the needle as you stitch the binding.
If you're making these as a gift, make sure to check whether your recipient has pierced ears.
To put holes in the pages and the back, place it against an object that can support it but take a tiny hole. A scrap of cardboard or an old magazine are both good choices. Don't hold the project in your fingers to poke holes. You can also place a blob of sticky-tack or blue tack on the table to pierce into, to avoid pushing the needle through fingers or scratching the table. Put holes in the pages and the cover separately if you need to.
Use scissors, X-acto knives, and paper cutters safely. Cover your X-acto knife when not in use, and never cut towards yourself.
Since these earrings are made mostly out of paper, avoid getting them wet.

-A piece of stiff (but not corrugated) cardboard, such as a cereal box, the back of a notebook, or a piece of card stock from junk mail printed on heavy paper. A stiff index card or old business card could also work.
-A sheet of plain, white printer paper
-A piece of decorative paper or thin fabric
-Try the scrapbook section of a craft store for wonderful decorative papers. Gift wrap and origami paper are also good possibilities.
-A piece of thin string or cord to match your decorative paper or fabric.
-Earring mounts, your choice
-A glue stick or glue
-Paper cutter (optional)
-X-acto knife (optional)
-Needle and thread
-Thimble (optional)
-Push pin/thumbtack (optional)
-Scoring implement (stylus, ball point pen with no ink, bone folder for bookmaking)
-Needle-nose pliers or jewelry pliers without teeth
-A cutting mat or other object to cut against. Cardboard and old magazines both work well.


Quote of the day...

"We're all mad here.” 
― Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland 

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Book Review- The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness

Well, I think I should apologise first. I have no excuse but I didn't forget about you all. 
How's life? Miss me? Nah, didn't think so. :-)
So, here's a review Imfound for you lovely people. 
It's from the website http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2013/apr/20/crane-wife-patrick-ness-review which is an awesome
website which you should look at more often. 
Here goes...

In Patrick Ness's return to adult fiction after his prizewinning Chaos Walking trilogy, George – fortyish, divorced, American – hears a strange cry in the winter night, a keening (the word is italicised as if it were in a foreign language). He goes out to find a great white bird in his London back garden with an arrow in its wing. He removes the arrow and tells the crane his name; it bows and flies away, leaving George to do the keening.
  1. The Crane Wife
  2. by Patrick Ness
  1. Tell us what you think:Star-rate and review this book
The legendary situation is clear and vivid, though its development in the novel is complicated by wandering focus and constant changes of narrative tone. In George's printing shop next day we meet his Turkish assistant Mehmet, an entertaining character. The chapter, like many in the book, consists almost entirely of inconsequential dialogue, and it ends suddenly with the entry of a customer, lent drama by the paragraphing and phrasing:
'"My name," she said, "is Kumiko."'
I thought the name Kumiko might signify the crane of the Japanese legend, but my computer tells me it means something more like "child of lasting beauty". Kumiko is a sweet and mysterious lady. George, a defencelessly amiable man, naturally falls in love with her, and she with him. She shows him an artwork she has made, an image cut from white feathers on a black tile. George's own hobby involves slicing old books up into slivers and shapes of paper and collaging them; under Kumiko's inspiration he slices up a book and by joining his creation to hers makes a tile of such wondrous and meaningful beauty that all who see it are amazed, burst into tears, and want to pay vast sums of money for it. Kumiko and George go on combining their artwork, and in no time they are both rich.
Some of the tiles portray a story, appearing in sections in a different typeface, which is Kumiko's supernatural life history, or one version of it. Concurrently we get to know George's grown-up daughter Amanda, who has a difficult job with a difficult boss, distrusts herself, still loves her French ex-husband, and doesn't get much joy out of life except from her little son. Though her story is interwoven with George's, the aesthetic and psychological connection of her life with the supernatural beings her father has got himself involved with seems coincidental, perhaps accidental. You can be sure, however, if somebody with green eyes turns up, he or she is an embodiment of the great enemy, or harmful lover, or shadow-self of the crane – the Volcano. As Kumiko is the Forgiver, the Volcano is the Destroyer.
The tremendous effect of the sliced-up-book-and-feather artworks on everyone's emotions isn't made very believable, and the passages where deep mythic chords are struck ring less true than the scenes having to do with ordinary London life. The merely human characters are vivid and likeable, the story is lively and often quite funny. Momentum slackens only in the long passages of unbroken, unascribed, brief-line dialogue. Where a play or film script might use [Pause] or [Beat] as a signal to the actors, these dialogues repeatedly use ellipses-in-quotes: "…" Is the reader expected somehow to perform these silences? A script isn't a narrative; it's a quite different way of telling a story, and for me these dialogues, even when clever, fail to work as part of a novel. But expectations change with generations, and the reduction of human relationships to a back-and-forth table-tennis bounce of bodiless voices may be perfectly satisfactory to readers who spend a lot of time on a mobile phone.
This essentially light, good-natured book tries to invoke powerful, elemental emotions using a vocabulary and imagery too trite to do the job. Ness mixes highly staged drama with deliberate deflation, as when George first sees the great white crane:
"No sound came from anywhere. The two of them could have been standing in a dream – though the cold that shifted through his shoes and bit at his fingers suggested otherwise, and the quotidian leaking of a stray drop, despite his best efforts, onto the crotch of his underwear-less trousers, told him definitively this was still real life, with all its disappointments."
There is a good deal of such self-conscious striving for cool. Yet in other passages emotionality is pushed almost to the point of hysteria, while banal language reduces the beautiful central legend to sentimentality. It's too bad, because there is real kindliness in the story; and kindliness is a quality even rarer in novels than in "real life, with all its disappointments".

Monday, 4 March 2013

How to write like a ninja-

Hi guys! I don't suppose anyone's reading this, but oh well! *stares sadly at screen, drowning sadly in the bathtub of self pity*
Here's a really cool blog post from an awesome blog. It's epic.

Now, you're probably wondering, "Why would I want to write like a ninja?" To which I would reply with another simple statement: Ninjas are swift, precise, to the point -- and, most importantly -- you never mess with a ninja. (Also, ninjas are super-cool!)

These are the reasons, you, you smart person, you, want to write like a ninja:

1.)Ninjas are fierce.

To write fiercely, you have to be fierce. You can't write half-assed and expect to be called great (let alone good -- or even mediocre). You have to mean it and own it -- just like a ninja. 
2) Ninjas are concise. 
A ninja (aka "good writer") doesn't go on and on for six pages about the color of the sky. A ninja can paint a vibrant picture with just a few strokes of the brush (or, in your case, pen or keys). A ninja knows how to balance action and description to write prose so exquisitely executed it makes the angels cry, babies smile, and mayors give you a key to their city. A ninja is concise. 
3)Nobody corrects a ninja. 
Remember how in school, your teacher would take out her read pen and strike through your page that was riddled with comma splices, because all you wanted to do was show her what a good comma-user you were? Well, when you write in The Real World (yes, capitol letters), the closest equivalent to English teachers are editors. If you are sending in work, hoping to be published by their publication, they won't take out their nifty red pen, hold your hand, and show you what you did wrong. They'll throw you beloved manuscript (aka "Baby") into the slush pile (aka "trash"). 
Now, you have a horrified look on you're face and you're saying, "I never want that to happen tome!" The good news is: it doesn't have to. Because nobody corrects a ninja. If you pay attention to what I say, you'll laugh in the face of red pens, secure in the knowledge that your use of commas is now appropriate -- and, better yet -- appreciated.  
4.) People who write like ninjas are often referred to as "good writers". 
Precision, technique, practice and a strong command of your own written language is all you need to write like a ninja. You CAN do it. 
5.) Ninjas are super-cool. 
You know they are. 
As you can see, I take a ridiculous and awesome (or ridiculously awesome) approach to teaching writing. Want to be like me? Be a ninja. Read your blog.

Adieu! ^.*

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Liebster Book Award

Thanks t for nominating my blog in the Liebster blog award!

In order to accept and participate there are some steps to follow:

1. Tell 11 things about yourself.
2. Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
3. Post 11 questions for those who will be nominated by you.
4. Nominate 11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
5. Get in contact with those 11 bloggers in order to inform them that you nominated them.
11 Things about me:

I would like to thank Mia Hoddell extremely hugely awesomely painfully ridiculously very much. Sorry about my English. Anyway, she nominated my blog for this award- the LIEBSTER BLOG AWARD!

So, here's the post thingy that has to go with it...
Apparently, I have to...
1. Tell 11 things about yourself.
2. Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated you.
3. Post 11 questions for those who will be nominated by you.
4. Nominate 11 bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
5. Get in contact with those 11 bloggers in order to inform them that you nominated them.

So, here goes! ;-)

11 things-

- I love pizza
- Even though I've just turned into one of those foul beings called ADOLESCENTS, I have had a reading age of 16+ since the age of 7 (year 3)
- I have 8 fish, one of whom is deceased, who are called Moriaty (the dead one), Sir Not Appearing in this tank, Sir Lancelot, Frodo, Sherlock, Spock and Mycroft. And King Arthur.
- I pick up books like Homer picks up beers. So I have a serious reading problem.
- I have an unhealthy obsession with Doodle Jump, Sherlock Holmes and Murderpedia.
- I would like to be a forensic psychologist. Or a criminal profiler/private or consultant detective/ normal detective/ journalist/ librarian/ Archaeologist/ Time Travelling hipster.
- I consider myself very weird.
- I wear my parents' clothes
- I think that fezzes are cool.
- I have an IQ of 120 without using a calculator. ;-)
- I hate sounding posh, so I'm going to an american uni. And I would like to study archaeology, criminalology or psychology.