I’m trying a thing…

I decided to mess around with video editing a little bit by making a booktube video.

It’s fun, but there’s definitely a lot of work involved! Although there are things I’d change if I were to do this again, I’m still pretty proud. I’m not sure how much I’ll continue messing around with it, but for now I like it. :)

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Review: Sabriel (Abhorsen #1) Audiobook

Sabriel Covers

Book: Sabriel (Abhorsen #1) by Garth Nix
Publisher: 2002, Random House, Inc., Listening Library, An Imprint Of The Random House Audio Publishing Group
Narrator: Tim Freakin’ Curry
Time: 10 hrs, 28 mins
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Recommend: fantasy fans, magic fans
Book Pro’s: SO MUCH! Tim CURRY LOVE FOREVER
Book Con’s: This category can’t even exist for this
Rating: ★★★★★

Summary: Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him.
More Information: GoodReads

Review: The good, bad & ugly…

First of all, y’all should read our previous review of the Sabriel book. This review focuses on the audiobook that I recently purchased from Audible (you can probably hear Nikki hissing at me in the background, she’s very anti-Amazon and seeing that Audible is an Amazon company, my using this platform for my audio-lovin’ isn’t going down well).

Tim Curry Love Forever: First of all, this audiobook is the shiz-nit. It’s absolutely brilliant, hilarious, engrossing, engaging and it sucks you in for hours on end. Why? Because Tim Curry is the best damn thing to happen to audiobooks (even more so that Stephen Fry, I WENT THERE- YES). I knew I was going to love this audiobook when I was shopping on Oxford Circus (a most busy street filled with shops I like to avoid like the plague)- so I was already not too happy. All of a sudden, we get to a bit in the first chapter when Sabriel helps a rabbit out, and just hearing Tim Curry scream BUNNY! in an attempt to imitate a 10 year old girl, I pealed out into a string of laughter and had to run down a side street holding my side. Then I texted Nikki with the gloriousness of it all.

Tim Curry is a great, gifted narrator. He doesn’t try too hard to mock or imitate, he changes his inflection, his tones and his pronunciations for some but stays true to the content and the characters. Listening to audiobooks is a risk in my opinion, because you have to love two things, the story but also the narrator and that adds an extra layer of risk and apprehension. He was the perfect choice for this series and if you don’t go listen to it now, I’ll be mad.

Mogget Is Fire: Ok, so fine, I guess it’s pronounced Mog-Get now (even though I want it to be Mo-Jay like how I first read it in my head a year ago). What made this audiobook truly delightful was Curry’s interpretation of our feline-demon-scary-free-magic thing. He yowls, is full of sass and wonder and never fails to please. His portions in the reading book were interesting but not my favourite bits, I liked Sabriel’s bits more. However, for this audiobook I fond myself craving Mogget, I wanted his sass. I needed his fire!

The Dead are Terrifying: Don’t listen to this at night like I did, I truly got creeped out. This book touches on some scary themes which never bothered me when I was speed reading my way through it! However, I’ve gotten myself into a habit of unwinding with an hour or two of audiobook listening before bed and when it’s midnight and Tim Curry is hissing like the dead and you can hear their jaws gnashing outside your window with every bump in the night, you get super into it and you get suppppper terrified. And I actually really liked that? It’s one thing to read about terror, but it’s another to imagine it and almost hear it coming for you!

It’s not too Expensive: Some audiobooks are ridiculously expensive (Have you seen the prices for HP series?!) but I found to purchase Sabriel outright wasn’t too bad. Almost the price of a paperback actually, so why not give it a shot?

So some recommendations before you approach this book?

  1. It’s only about 10 hrs so it’s not a slow audiobook. Take some time (maybe when it’s light outside) or snuggle in for a few nights!
  2. Prepare to laugh
  3. Prepare to fall in love

NameNikkixClaire

Posted in Audiobook, Book Reviews, SFF, YA | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

A Well-Read Jaunt: Harry Potter & The Cursed Child Midnight Release

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On July 30th a few friends and myself, exited the Tottenham Court Road tube to make our way to Foyles Charing Cross for the Harry Potter and the Curse Child midnight release. I’ve always wanted to go to a bookish midnight release and I’m quite happy to say that I can now cross it off my bucket list! There were 2 midnight releases in London: Waterstones Piccadilly and Foyles Charing Cross.

I’m quite glad that I chose Foyles, it was very homey and low-key. I did hear that Waterstones was wonderful though!

First we were told to wait in the YA section on the ground floor where our MC, Professor Sparklord I believe was his name, goaded us into excitement and shouting out random spells. It was quite funny. Then we got sorted into houses by pulling a house from the Sorting Hat- I got Gryffindor which sort of pissed me off, but I traded it for Slytherin with a friend.

I came to almost regret that.

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Because the Harry Potter quiz and events were by houses and all of my friends got Gryffindor! So in true Slytherin style, I snuck over to the Gryffindor side and called myself Imposter 1. IMG_0650

Then we were given chocolate frogs, the most delicious Harry Potter cupcakes ever, witches brew (aka fruit punch), wine, prosecco, etc. So many nibbles!

SO MUCH SUGAR.
I ate way too much sugar.

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Then we had the quiz! Topics ranged from examining our knowledge of the books, quotes, character backgrounds, etc. But some of the categories were about like the HP publishers or illustrators, which I knew nothing on. One section we had to name the page a quote was said! I always got the character and book right, but was always off by 50 or so pages🙂 It was so much fun and it was great to flex my knowledge somehow and apply some logic. For instance, I can’t remember exactly, one of the quotes was about Percy not having a sense of humor even if it jumped infront of him like Dobby wearing a tea cosy. Who said it and what book? Come on, tell me! Then there was a scavengers hunt I had to tap out of because I had an asthma attack😦

Some questions that stumped me (NO GOOGLING) or had me super chuffed when I got them right were:

  • Finish the sentence: Babbity Rabbity and the BLANK BLANK
  • What is the name of Dursley’s company and what do they sell?
  • Name 4 items of clothing first years need for Hogwarts
  • How do you get into the Ravenclaw common room?
  • Where is the Hufflepuff and Slytherin common rooms?

What was great about the entire experience is it felt so good and right being able to just talk about one of our beloved things in a judgement free environment. Some people came in kick ass costumes and we got to make some new friends too. It was absolutely amazing.

On Sunday, the 31st for Harry’s Birthday I went to Waterstones to pick up a copy of the book. I didn’t pre-order it during the midnight release because I wanted to be sure that I wanted an actual copy  because I’m seeing the play in November. However, with all the excitement at Foyles, I basically woke up early to wait in line to get a copy on Sunday myself!
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Name

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Claire x Nikki Review July 2016

BitchinRundownClaire x Nikki Mash Ups

Bitches Book Club Review: We Have Always Lived In the Castle
Claire x Nikki Review June 2016

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Nikki

July was a super(!) busy month for me! I went up (more) North to housesit at my boyfriend’s parents’ place for a week and a half, then my mum came up for two weeks and I showed her around the area. We also went over to Llandudno (North Wales seaside town) to see the Agatha Christie play The Mousetrap! It was so fun(!!) and after the play they made the audience swear to secrecy not to reveal the plot!😮 So I’ll never tell..! haha

mousetrap

Posts

Book Goal Conflict
Review :: The Regional Office Is Under Attack!
Intimidating TBR Tag
Review :: Miss Pas Touche tome 1
Review :: Jonathan Livingston Seagull

Books Read (let me know if you want a review of any of these!)

How We Weep and Laugh at the Same Thing (Little Black Classics #29) by Michel de Montaigne ★★★☆☆ (3.5 stars)
Coraline by Neil Gaiman ★★★☆☆
What is Obscenity?: The Story of a Good For Nothing Artist and her Pussy by Rokudenashiko
The Regional Office Is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales ★★★★☆
La Vierge du bordel (Miss Pas Touche, #1) by Hubery & Kerascoët ★★★★★

Book of the Month:

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This month was actually a really hard month to pick a favourite for! The last three books I read were all fantastic. I love months like that🙂

Miscellaneous Favourites:

The beautiful North
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YouTube: SolangeTeParle

https://youtu.be/sNd2K5-VR-c

OK! En juillet j’ai trouvé « SolangeTeParle ». Dans le cadre de mon apprentissage du français continu, mon prof me l’a montrée. Comme j’aime bien ses vidéos, j’en partage une. Elle parle très franchement mais elle est souvent très marrante en même temps. Si vous l’aimez, regardez le reste de ses vidéos.🙂

OK! In July I discovered “SolangeTeParle“. In the course of my ongoing French learning, my italki teacher showed her to me. So since I rather like her videos, I’m sharing one. She speaks very openly but she’s often very funny at the same time. If you like this video, watch the rest too!🙂

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Claire

Hello all! So July was a hard but good month. It was hard because I was inundated with projects at work, clocking in roughly 50+ hours of work a week with an average or so of 20 overtime. I enjoy what I do, so don’t take this as a complaint but it did concern me that my life had become nothing but work, home and crash, then work again. I was even in on my weekends! However, a champion emerged during this time: Audiobooks! I found it so pleasant to just sit and listen to books in the darkness of my room when I had gotten home late (so late that it didn’t make much sense doing much because I’d have to go to bed soon, but not too little time that it warranted my jumping straight into bed!).

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It was a great month because there was so much fun to be had! I went to the local Foyles’ Harry Potter and the Cursed Child midnight release (I will write a separate post on that so I won’t get into that too much now), got many many books, went to many films (some good, some bad), plus I had my birthday to look forward to in August (it was the 5th)! It was also the month for Pokemon Go which I’ve embraced with a whole passion. I’m not the best player but I was fortunate to get a CP1600 Snorlax (seen in my shot before I had leveled it up) and I managed to win a few battles and be gym leader for a bit (before someone else came and kicked me out, as is usual).

Posts

Review: Six Four
Review: The Body Reader
Literary Listings: 4 Library Borrows by East Asian Authors

Books Read

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by JK Rowling (Audiobook) ★★★★★
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by JK Rowling (Audiobook) ★★★★★
Six Four  by Hideo Yokoyama ★★★★☆
The Body Reader by Anne Frasier ★★★☆☆
The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson ★★★☆☆

Book of the Month

Narrator: Stephen Fry- who is, hands down, the best and most amazing audiobook narrator I’ve ever heard.

Favies

Films Watched

Finding Dory ★★★★☆
Star Trek Beyond ★★★★☆
The Legend of Tarzan ★★★☆☆
Ghostbusters (twice!) ★★★★★
Ice Age: Collision Course ★★☆☆☆
Central Intelligence ★★★☆☆

Library Books Borrowed (AKA, the growing of the TBR)

The Children’s Book by AS Byatt
The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo
The Officer’s Prey by Armand Cabasson
Real World by Natsuo Kirino
The ladies of Grace Adieu and other stories by Susanna Clark
The Enterprise of Death by Jesse Billington
The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay
Big Breasts and Wide Hips by Yan Mo

Youtube Adventures

I love this song, love love love it! I loved it so much I bought my first itunes track! Normally I buy entire CD’s but I loved it so much I had to have it immediately. Any other Royksopp tracks?

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How was your July?

The Bitchin’ Book Club pick for the Summer (we’re combining July and August into one feminist summer fest!) is….

Feel free to read along with us!

NameNikkixClaire

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The Review: The Butterfly Garden

Book: The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer, 2016
Genre: Murder mystery, thriller
Rating:
Source + Date Read
: Kindle Unlimited, June 2016
Recommend: For lovers of a visual thriller mystery
Book Pro’s: Truly original concept
Book Con’s: SO GRAPHIC

Summary:
For three years, Detective Jude Fontaine was kept from the outside world. Held in an underground cell, her only contact was with her sadistic captor, and reading his face was her entire existence. Learning his every line, every movement, and every flicker of thought is what kept her alive. After her experience with isolation and torture, she is left with a fierce desire for justice—and a heightened ability to interpret the body language of both the living and the dead. Despite colleagues’ doubts about her mental state, she resumes her role at Homicide. Her new partner, Detective Uriah Ashby, doesn’t trust her sanity, and he has a story of his own he’d rather keep hidden. But a killer is on the loose, murdering young women, so the detectives have no choice: they must work together to catch the madman before he strikes again. And no one knows madmen like Jude Fontaine.
More Information: GoodReads

Review: The good, bad & ugly…

  1. It’s an interesting concept: I’ve never ever read a book like this in my life. The concept was both terribly interesting and absolutely horrifying but that’s what sucked me in! It kept me going even through the constant flashbacks and introduction of new characters
  2. Great characters:  I really like Maya. I think she is absolutely unrealistic but I do love her brashness, her hardness. She’s like a broken mirror and she’s taken the chipped edges and made that part of her armor. I liked that
  3. Its very visual: this is both great and utterly problematic. It’s wonderful because it makes the horrible beautiful for one moment but then it’s also terrible because the gravity of these girls’ situations hit you and then the kidnapper does his “thang” and you’re just left feeling a bit… awful
  4. I really hate this flashback device: I really dislike it when authors do flashbacks. It had a purpose here so it actually suited the novel and plot quite richly, but I found myself either skipping the past or present because I was so impatient to find out what happened next for that particular session

So some recommendations before you approach this book?

  1. Major graphic descriptions so if you have triggers, please rethink this
  2. Take what is said with a grain of salt, it’s utterly unrealistic because that’s what it is, a real work of fiction 
  3. It’ll be a fast read if you give it the time. I finished this in about… 5 to 6 hours max

Gonna give it a shot?

Book read before this: A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
Book read after this: The Body Reader by Anne Frasier

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Literary Listings: 4 Library Borrows by East Asian Authors

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4 Library Borrows by East Asian Authors

Real World by Natsuo Kirino, Philip Gabriel (Translator)

I read Out by Kirino and I absolutely loved it! I was so happy when I realised my library had this I had to run down and get it at once. This one seems to be a bit different from Out in that it isn’t the young women doing the crime, but I can’t wait to sink my teeth into because Kirino writes with such a feminist flair, it always makes me smile.

Genres: Mystery, thriller, culture, Japan
Summary: In a crowded residential suburb on the outskirts of Tokyo, four teenage girls indifferently wade their way through a hot, smoggy summer and endless “cram school” sessions meant to ensure entry into good colleges. There’s Toshi, the dependable one; Terauchi, the great student; Yuzan, the sad one, grieving over the death of her mother—and trying to hide her sexual orientation from her friends; and Kirarin, the sweet one, whose late nights and reckless behavior remain a secret from those around her. When Toshi’s next-door neighbor is found brutally murdered, the girls suspect the killer is the neighbor’s son, a high school boy they nickname Worm. But when he flees, taking Toshi’s bike and cell phone with him, the four girls get caught up in a tempest of dangers—dangers they never could have even imagined—that rises from within them as well as from the world around them.

The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara

I was actually ay my local library looking for Ghost Bride when I ran into this. What I was attracted to was the problematic anthropologist, which is what I studied, so I thought why not? I really liked the cover as well and we all know I’m a sucker for a good cover… It wasn’t till after I got home that I realised that it has a fantasy element to it I think!

Genres: Fantasy, historical fiction
Summary: In 1950, a young doctor called Norton Perina signs on with the anthropologist Paul Tallent for an expedition to the remote Micronesian island of Ivu’ivu in search of a rumored lost tribe. They succeed, finding not only that tribe but also a group of forest dwellers they dub “The Dreamers,” who turn out to be fantastically long-lived but progressively more senile. Perina suspects the source of their longevity is a hard-to-find turtle; unable to resist the possibility of eternal life, he kills one and smuggles some meat back to the States. He scientifically proves his thesis, earning worldwide fame and the Nobel Prize, but he soon discovers that its miraculous property comes at a terrible price. As things quickly spiral out of his control, his own demons take hold, with devastating personal consequences.

Big Breasts and Wide Hips (丰乳肥臀 [Fēng rǔ féi tún] #1) by Mo Yan, Howard Goldblatt (translator)

This is also a pick-up from the same time as The People In The Trees and so it’s a bit of a whim read. I’m a bit hesitant to get at it, it seems super heavy and I’m not 100% convinced that I’m going to enjoy it but I really want to try and branch out in baby steps, so I’ll give it a shot.

Genres: Historical Fiction, international, China
Summary: In a country where men dominate, this epic novel is first and foremost about women. As the title implies, the female body serves as the book’s most important image and metaphor. The protagonist, Mother, is born in 1900. Married at 17 into the Shangguan family, she has nine children, only one of whom is a boy, the narrator of the book, a spoiled and ineffectual child who stands in stark contrast to his eight strong and forceful female siblings. Mother, a survivor, is the quintessential strong woman, who risks her life to save the lives of several of her children and grandchildren. The writing is full of life-picturesque, bawdy, shocking, imaginative. Each of the seven chapters represents a different time period, from the end of the Qing dynasty up through the Japanese invasion in the 1930s, the civil war, the Cultural Revolution, and the post-Mao years. In sum, this stunning novel is Mo Yan’s searing vision of 20th-century China.

Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

I’ve wanted to read this for forever. I’ve read great reviews for it on fantasy and YA blogs so I’m super happy to be able to get my hands on it. I quite like the cover but I will also admit that I’m a bit hesitant for the romance. Not a huge romance fan but it seems like a worthwhile read, so I’ll give it a shot.

Genres: YA, historical fiction, international
Summary: Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound. Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family’s only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price. After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim’s handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

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Review: The Body Reader

Book: The Body Reader by Anne Frasier
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer, 2016
Genre: Murder mystery, thriller
Rating:
Source + Date Read
: Kindle Unlimited, June 2016
Recommend: For quick read thriller lovers
Book Pro’s: Quick burn novel with tons of intrigue
Book Con’s: Some assault and graphic descriptions so be careful!

Summary:
For three years, Detective Jude Fontaine was kept from the outside world. Held in an underground cell, her only contact was with her sadistic captor, and reading his face was her entire existence. Learning his every line, every movement, and every flicker of thought is what kept her alive. After her experience with isolation and torture, she is left with a fierce desire for justice—and a heightened ability to interpret the body language of both the living and the dead. Despite colleagues’ doubts about her mental state, she resumes her role at Homicide. Her new partner, Detective Uriah Ashby, doesn’t trust her sanity, and he has a story of his own he’d rather keep hidden. But a killer is on the loose, murdering young women, so the detectives have no choice: they must work together to catch the madman before he strikes again. And no one knows madmen like Jude Fontaine.
More Information: GoodReads

Why do I love this book? I find it easier to do reviews when I’m able to think about them in bullet points, so let us begin:

  1. It is super fast paced: I approached this book at a time when I wanted a quick read I could get into quickly and finish just as quickly. The Body Reader does that well because the intrigue built well, and it kept me on that wave the entire time
  2. Great characters: I must say that the characters here are well done for what really is a quick and cheap thriller! I thought the protagonist was well fleshed out (if flawed, oh so flawed) and had decent relationships with people, especially her new partner in the PD. However, her relationships with others were either jerky or left unexplained (especially when she had obvious hostility for them!)
  3. It’s great till half way then EVERYTHING HAPPENS: this book goes at a decent pace and then like half way the author realised that she hadn’t really advanced the plot and then WHAM, in the period of one chapter, everything changes and goes up into the air. As my mum said, “you’re up shit’s creek” (I think the phrase is ship but she say the other so… I go with that)
  4. You’re left asking WHY? Even when it ended I was left feeling very much WHY, which though irksome, wasn’t the end of the world. This isn’t the type of book to invest too much emotions into so it didn’t bother me that I didn’t have questions answered. It entertained me, heck yeah, so I think it did its job🙂

So some recommendations before you approach this book?

  1. Prepare for an entertaining read
  2. Don’t emotionally invest too much, this ain’t that kind of party
  3. There are some graphic descriptions so those with triggers should avoid this

Gonna give it a shot?

Book read before this:The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson
Book read after this: Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama

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Review :: Jonathan Livingston Seagull

A review of Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull

SUMMARY
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This is a story for people who follow their hearts and make their own rules…people who get special pleasure out of doing something well, even if only for themselves…people who know there’s more to this living than meets the eye: they’ll be right there with Jonathan, flying higher and faster than ever they dreamed.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull is no ordinary bird. He believes it is every gull’s right to fly, to reach the ultimate freedom of challenge and discovery, finding his greatest reward in teaching younger gulls the joy of flight and the power of dreams.

• • •

This was a really great philosophical allegory about the unabashed desire to learn, understanding and unapologetically being oneself, appreciating and loving others despite the ways they might wrong you, and teaching others to do likewise. I really enjoyed it, short as it was, and the photographs helped set the tone well (except that one time when the double-page photo spread broke up a sentence…but it was only that one time).
It’s a great book for people frustrated with the restrictions of society, those who are ostracised because of their desire to know/experience/see/feel more, and those who want a little extra encouragement/reminder to explore their true selves despite push back from others. It’s not necessarily mind-blowing (though it could be if read at the right time). It’s more a simple reminder and should be approached that way.

You can also really tell that the author is a US Air Force pilot and he has clearly felt a lot of the frustrations (with society and pushing one’s own limits) as Jonathan Livingston Seagull as well as the desire to share with others what he’s learned. I actually read this book aloud to my boyfriend (who is a flight enthusiast) one day when we were walking in the woods and it’s become one of his favourite books. (I like to believe my enthusiastic narration and emotive characters has something to do with that too.)

I would recommend it to fans of The Little Prince, but I think most people would benefit from or be able to appreciate it.

Potential spoiler?? : I have described it to friends as “the last thing I really enjoyed was about a seagull who wanted to fly for fun instead of just to find food and by the end he had psychic flight powers to bend spacetime.”

rating: ★★★★☆
genre: fiction, novella, philosophy
publisher: Harper Element
source: gifted to my boyfriend from my dad :’)
date read: 29 May 2016
recommend for: philosophical fiction fans, fans of The Little Prince
pros: lots of social commentary in a relatively simple and short story
cons: some people might not get on with this style?


Nikki

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