What I Read In March

What I Read In March | bluchickenninja.com

The Humans by Matt Haig. This is basically the story of an alien that comes to Earth and is trying to understand why we humans do the things we do and it was really enjoyable.

The Martian by Andy Weir. So for the last 6 months every time I talked to my sister about books she would go “Have you read The Martian? Its really good“. And finally I read The Martian and its really good. This is the first book in years where I have actually laughed out loud while reading it. Go read it.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. This book is a little hard to get your head around at first. Its about time travel and its about physics and its about history. Again I really enjoyed this.

The People’s Guide to J. R. R. Tolkien by theonering.net. This was a bit of a strange find, I came across it in a charity shop. It is basically a collection of essays from theonering.net’s forums. It has essays on everything from why J. R. R. Tolkien writes female characters the way he does – or did. To a moderator’s account of spending a week in New Zealand on set during the filming of The Lord of The Rings.

Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre. This is about the ways that pharmaceutical companies lie to doctors and patients. This was really fascinating and even includes ways that you can help change the industry.

How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran. I didn’t enjoy this as much as I expected to. The book is at least partially autobiographical but the entire way through I was constantly wondering if these situations were made up or had actually happened to the author.

The Mirror World of Melody Black by Gavin Extence. I really like Gavin Extence’s other book and I enjoyed this. It was nice to read about a character with a mental illness which actually showed the character getting better. The only problem I had with this book was the title, there is a ‘mirror world’ idea in this book but I didn’t think it played a big enough part that the book should be named after it. Maybe thats just me.

Books I Reviewed In March

What I Read In March | bluchickenninja.com
Wylie ~The Room ~ The Catalyst ~ Arcadia
The Book of Strange New Things ~ Those Above ~ The Shore

The Shore by Sara Taylor

The Shore by Sara TaylorRating: 2 / 5 stars
Format: ebook
Published: 26th March 2015
Book Depository | Goodreads

Welcome to The Shore: a collection of small islands sticking out from the coast of Virginia into the Atlantic Ocean. Where clumps of evergreens meet wild ponies, oyster-shell roads, tumble-down houses, unwanted pregnancies, murder, storm-making and dark magic in the marshes. . .

Situated off the coast of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay, the group of islands known as the Shore has been home to generations of fierce and resilient women. Sanctuary to some but nightmare to others, it’s a place they’ve inhabited, fled, and returned to for hundreds of years.

From a half-Shawnee Indian’s bold choice to flee an abusive home only to find herself with a man who will one day try to kill her to a brave young girl’s determination to protect her younger sister as methamphetamine ravages their family, to a lesson in summoning storm clouds to help end a drought, these women struggle against domestic violence, savage wilderness, and the corrosive effects of poverty and addiction to secure a sense of well-being for themselves and for those they love.

This started off really good. It is a novel but almost feels like a series of short stories, every chapter tells a stand alone story about a female member of one family. I think this is the type of book you need to read more than once to fully understand what is going on, there is a family tree at the front of the book which helps, however flicking back and forth through the ebook version was slightly difficult.

The book is sort of a historical/ modern day fiction. However the final few chapters got so weird that I couldn’t believe it was part of the same book. These chapters show what has happened to the family over 100 years in the future. I don’t want to give away spoilers but it got really strange and these few final chapters are the reason why I gave this book such a low rating. Its almost like the book was trying to be like Cloud Atlas but it didn’t work. I’m really quite disappointed as I was enjoying it up to that point.

Buy The Shore on Book Depository

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*I received a copy of this book from Cornerstone Digital in exchange for an honest review.

Don’t Stop Believing?

Don't Stop Believing? | bluchickenninja.com

Last Saturday the final episode of Glee aired, I’m sure you could hear the fangirls all across the internet crying over the finale. At least I’m assuming thats what happened, I haven’t actually checked.

I’ve been trying to work out why I don’t care anymore. Because I used to be a massive fan of Glee. I would watch the episodes as they were aired live in America (since I’m in the UK this involved staying up till 2am), I had all the albums, I even went to the Glee Live concert in London. And now I’m not that bothered, I can’t tell if it is because I changed or if it is because Glee changed. Or maybe it was a bit of both.

I didn’t actually watch Glee when it first aired in the UK. It was because of Tumblr that I became a fan. Or part of the ‘fandom’ as the kids would say. I’m sure that Tumblr is the reason why many television shows have the fandom it does. Its a place where you can meet and talk to thousands and even millions of people who like the same thing as you. The only problem with this is the fans.

Tumblr was the place where people could talk about the things they liked, the problem is people don’t all like the same things. You would assume people would accept this and move on but not on Tumblr. You would see arguments because some person’s favourite character wasn’t getting as many songs as another character. You would see arguments because some person’s character wasn’t in every episode.

Don't Stop Believing? | bluchickenninja.com

And then there was the shipping wars (if you’re confused a ‘ship’ is when a person thinks two people should be in a relationship). I didn’t realise it was possible for so many people to argue about the love lives of fictional characters. Eventually I grew tired of the constant arguing. It sounds ironic to say but at least part of the reason I stopped watching Glee was because of the fans.

Thats not the only reason I stopped watching Glee. In all honesty it got weird. I watched an episode a few weeks ago and Kurt went from dating a 40-year-old man to marrying Blaine in 20 minutes. And thats not even the strangest thing that has happened.

I think along the way the makers of Glee forgot what it was supposed to be about. Its a musical/ comedy about the kids in a show choir. But it stayed with those kids after the graduated school while still showing what was going on in the choir. It was almost like it should have been split into two separate television shows and wasn’t.

I have not been a fan of Glee for a long time. I enjoy the songs but I have no intention of watching the finale or any episode from season 6. It just feels strange because I still remember being a fan. Its almost like I think I should be feeling some sort of emotion over the finale and don’t. As a friend put it:

Glee finished last night
Didn’t even care to watch
Been shit for 5 years

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On Learning To Paint

On Learning To Paint | bluchickenninja.com

A few weeks ago I decided to buy a set of acrylic paints. I had been wanting to try painting with acrylics for a while and Cass Art had an amazing deal on this particular set. I tried a few little paintings with my new fancy paints but wasn’t happy with the result. I have a feeling that this is because for most of last year I only painted in watercolours and its surprising how different the two mediums are.

With watercolour you start off light then work darker. With acrylic you start with a midtone then work lighter and darker. When I’m working in watercolour I know exactly what paints I need to mix to get a specific colour. With acrylic you need to use entirely different paints to get the same result. I basically had to start back at the beginning.

I decided to try doing a master study. This is basically where you copy a painting, all the hard bits like composition have already been done for you. You’ve probably seen people doing this in art gallerys. Now many people on the internet will tell you that this is a fantastic way to learn how to paint. But I just can’t get my head around the fact that I’m copying something.

All the way through school and college you’re told that copying is bad. Everything you do has to be your own original work. But the rules are a little different in the art world. Copying is okay if you are trying to learn and I have learned a huge amount. But it still feels weird knowing I am copying another persons work.

Those Above by Daniel Polansky

Those Above by Daniel Polansky Rating: 3 / 5 stars
Format: Hardback
Published: 26th February 2015
Book Depository | Goodreads

They enslaved humanity three thousand years ago. Tall, strong, perfect, superhuman and near immortal they rule from their glittering palaces in the eternal city in the centre of the world. They are called Those Above by their subjects. They enforce their will with fire and sword.

Twenty five years ago mankind mustered an army and rose up against them, only to be slaughtered in a terrible battle. Hope died that day, but hatred survived. Whispers of another revolt are beginning to stir in the hearts of the oppressed: a woman, widowed in the war, who has dedicated her life to revenge; the general, the only man to ever defeat one of Those Above in single combat, summoned forth to raise a new legion; and a boy killer who rises from the gutter to lead an uprising in the capital.

I felt that this was very similar to The Broken Kingdoms series by N. K. Jemisin. In both the gods are physical beings who walk the earth. Though in this the gods didn’t really feel like gods. In this the gods made a city then spent 3000 years living in that city ruling over the humans and expecting to be waited on hand and foot. Apparently they rule over this world though they don’t do much ruling. In fact they spend most of their time dressing in fancy clothes and going to parties. They do so little it makes you wonder if they are really gods.

This is also the first part of a duology so we might find out more in the next book. Though I don’t think I will be reading it. This was a reasonably good high fantasy novel but it didn’t have anything that made it stand out. It was just one of many reasonably good high fantasy novels.

Buy Those Above on Book Depository

Thanks for reading.
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*I received a copy of this book from Hodder & Stoughton in exchange for an honest review.

** I should also say that I much prefer The Broken Kingdoms to this and if you had to choose between the two you should read The Broken Kingdoms :)

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