My All Time Favourite Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Every week they post a new top ten list and invite everyone to share their answers. This week we are looking at my top ten all time favourite books from the last 3 years (some of these were not published in the last 3 years but don’t tell anyone).

My All Time Favourite Books | bluchickenninja.com

1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I am literally incapable of talking about my favourite books without mentioning Ready Player One. Its about gaming and pop culture, what’s not to live?

2. World War Z by Max Brooks. I was five pages into this book when I decided I loved it. Its a typical zombie story but told through interviews with survivors of the “zombie war“.

3. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. This is a really complicated historical/ sci-fi type story. But the thing I enjoyed was that to understand it fully you need to read the book then watch the movie at least a few times.

4. A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. Its about a Japanese girl writing about her life and an author who finds the diary. And its fantastic.

5. An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth by Chris Hadfield. The dude sang Space Oddity on the freaking international space station. And he is pretty good at writing books too!

6. The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence. Its about Kurt Vonnegut and growing old. Thats all I will say.

7. Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. Its about books and graphic design. Basically my two favourite things.

8. The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin. This is a really fantastic fantasy. But also has a really interesting religion in which the priests are allowed to kill people.

9. The Forever Watch by David Ramerez. I love that this book is full of computer science and even though it is futuristic it is based on real world computer science.

10. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I pretty much grew up reading Star Trek fanfiction and I loved being able to read about fanfiction from the perspective of someone who writes fanfiction.

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Wylie by Pen Farthing

Wylie by Pen Farthing Rating: DNF
Format: Paperback
Published: 11th September 2014
Book Depository | Goodreads

For a street dog born in the city of Kandahar, Afghanistan, to be crowned top dog at Scruffts, a competition for crossbreeds held during Crufts, the largest dog show on earth, is nothing short of a miracle. But for Wylie, the gentle, cropped eared ball of fur, miracles seemed to happen quite regularly.

Beaten and abused at the hands of uncaring humans, Wylie suffered terrible injuries that needed urgent treatment. Rescued close to death, with hacked off ears and a severed tail, he was attended to by soldiers who feared he would not last the night. Astonishingly he did, only to return days later with new injuries.

However a lifeline came when he was handed over to animal welfare Charity Nowzad and flown to Britain in the hope of finding a new life. But would anyone take a chance on a seemingly undomesticated stray? Luckily for Wylie his biggest adventure yet was about to begin…

I love animal stories. Give me a good animal story and I’m happy. Just don’t give me Marley and Me because I can’t read that without crying. I love animal stories but this book was so bad I literally couldn’t finish it. I have no doubt that this is ultimately a heartwarming story but I hated the way it was written. This is a true story but the author has written it like it was a work of fiction. It was written from the dog’s point of view.

There is a disclaimer at the start of the book stating that the author took some liberties with the story. But I just couldn’t get past the fact that the author is trying to tell a true story but just made parts of it up. And its not just that they made parts of it up. The author is trying to make the dog seem more special than other dogs. The dog lost its mummy. The dog was hungry but it stopped to play with a bottle. The dog got caught in the middle of a fight between Afghans and the British but instead of running away it stopped to look at the guy operating the machine gun. This dog isn’t special. Its not Lassie. Its just one of many stray dogs. I really wanted to like this book and I hated it.

Buy Wylie on Book Depository

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

What I Read In February

What I Read In February

Sand by Hugh Howey. This was interesting. Its set in a futuristic world where everything is covered in sand. Technology has been invented to allow people to swim in sand almost like how you would swim in water. These divers are looking for relics from the time before everything was covered in sand. Its definitely an original idea. Its started off good but the middle was rather boring. By the end it got interesting again. I’m not sure if Hugh Howey is going to write a sequel to this but I would be interested in reading it.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I enjoyed this. I though it was going to be like Ender’s Game but it ended up being quite similar to The Hunger Games. I was quite surprised by that, I think I expected there to be more space in it. But it was good.

How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran. So basically women are sort of expected to have babies and wear makeup and like buying clothes and to have a big fancy wedding. And this is basically Caitlin Moran saying you don’t need to do any of that and still be a woman. Also its bloody funny.

The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting by Holly Bourne. So I picked up this book because I had heard it was about a blogger. It was a good story but the parts about blogging were really quite unrealistic. Basically by the end of the book the girl finds out millions of people have been reading her blog and she ends up being an internet sensation.

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld. I didn’t think I was going to like this that much. And I ended up loving it. Basically half of the book is a typical YA story. The other half is the authors story of moving to New York and basically the year running up to her book being published. This was a really interesting behind the scenes look at the publishing world.

Golden Son by Pierce Brown (this isn’t in the photo because I’m dumb and forgot I had read it). So when I started this I described it on Twitter as “Star Trek with Roman gods“. Now that I’ve finished the book I think Star Trek with Roman gods is still a pretty good description. Though I admit there are not many space scenes, most of the action takes place planet side. There are also quite a lot of plot twists, you never really know who to trust. But I really enjoyed this. I think I enjoyed this more than Red Rising.

A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. I know its only February but I think this might be my favourite book of the year. Part of the story is a Japanese girl writing in a journal about her grandmother and her life. The other part is about a Canadian woman who finds the journal washed up on a beach and reads it. I loved this book and everyone needs to read it.

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon. I have to admit I didn’t enjoy The Bone Season that much. It was interesting enough that I read the sequel but I didn’t love it. This is a good enough book but again I didn’t love it. I will continue the series but yeah… very 3 star average stuff.

Books I Reviewed In February

What I Read In February
Smiler’s Fair ~ Tomorrow and Tomorrow ~ Written In The Blood
The Chimes ~ The Fire Sermon ~ Girl Runner

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Girl Runner by Carrie Snyder

Girl Runner by Carrie Snyder Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Format: Hardback
Published: 12th February 2015
Book Depository | Goodreads

Aganetha Smart was a poor farm girl who could run like the wind, but this was rural Canada in the 1920s when girls didn’t run, they didn’t train, they didn’t compete or dream of the Olympics and they certainly didn’t win.

Aganetha Smart was about to change all that.

Girl Runner, Carrie Snyder’s debut novel, is the story of Aganetha Smart, a former Olympic athlete who was famous in the 1920s, but now, at age 104, lives in a nursing home, alone and forgotten by history. For Aganetha, a competitive and ambitious woman, her life remains present and unfinished in her mind.

I have to admit when I first got this book I assumed it was non-fiction. I was quite surprised to find out it wasn’t but I enjoyed it anyway. It is quite similar to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Hundred-Year-Old Man, we see Aganetha at the age of 104 looking back on her life. Though I think this novel is quite a bit more serious.

This book is about running and the Olympics. The way the author writes about running is so lyrical it will make you want to go outside and run. But it is also about women’s rights and unwanted pregnancy. I have to admit when I got to the end of this book I refused to believe I was finished. It was a lovely book to read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think everyone should read this.

Buy Girl Runner on Book Depository

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*I received a copy of this book from Two Roads Books in exchange for an honest review.

My Blogging Essentials

I am a firm believer that you don’t need to go off and buy lots of expensive equipment and software to have a successful blog. All you need is an internet connection. These are what I consider my blogging essentials.

My Blogging Essentials | bluchickenninja.com

I love writing on my Macbook. I can’t explain why, the keyboard is just really nice. But the important thing is the mindset I have while I am using my Mac. While my PC is for playing games, watching YouTube and general procrastination, I try to only use my Mac while I am working on something. I’ve found that this way I am in a mindset to work while I am using it and therefore get more done.

While you can use images found on google you have to be careful that you are not using copyrighted images. A way to avoid this is by taking all the photos you use on your blog. My camera is a Canon EOS 600D. You don’t need to go buying a fancy SLR if you’re just starting out. Any old point and shoot camera will do. The cameras on some phones are now so good you don’t even need to buy a camera.

I like to have a white background in some of my photos. You can buy studio kits on Amazon but I prefer to use pieces of A2 foam board from Hobbycraft, you can buy these for £3. As I only use natural lighting in my photos a piece of white foam board is also useful to bounce light onto the shadowed side of the object I am trying to photograph. You can find an example of this in my A Day In My Life post.

Blu tack is also surprisingly useful while photographing objects. I’ve used blu tack to hold the covers of books shut and stop things from moving around.

I have an A5 flexi journal from Paperchase that I use as my blogging notebook. I use this to take notes, make lists, write blog posts and plan out my posting schedule. Basically anything to do with my blog lives in this notebook.

You can buy lots of books about blogging but I think that Blog, Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho is one of the best. If you just blog as a hobby you will find lots of hints and tricks in it. But it is especially useful if you are trying to turn your blog into a full time business.

I pretty much need a cup of tea in my hand to get anything done. And that is especially true with blogging. I write till I have finished my tea and then take a break to go make another cup. I drink a lot of tea. I also want to point out I don’t normally drink tea that fancy, I just really like the packaging.

Thanks for reading.
Find me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads.

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