My first thought while reading Noteworthy was that it connected with both Pitch Perfect and She’s the Man. As I love both of these films, I knew then that I would love this book.

Noteworthy

I loved the discussion about being feminine that Jordan has in her head. I feel like it’s a really important point for women and especially young girls. Not being feminine does not mean you’re bad at being a woman. Also, Jordan did not revert back to her old self at the end of the book. I loved that as a character she grew a lot and changed for the better.

Redgate also wrote the friendships between characters really well. Each of the eight members of the Sharps in particular. Each of them had different friendships with one another, and they all had their own personalities. Obviously some had more exploration depending on how much Jordan was with them. But they definitely were full characters and not just stereotypes or ghost-like secondary people. The characters were so diverse so writing non-stereotypical characters was like a sigh of relief.

The only issue I had, which is completely personal to me, is the music references I did not get. This book is packed full of musical terms, which is fine. You dont lose anything from the book if you dont understand. But I did keep skipping sentences because they were ‘technical’ about it. But again, just to reiterate, this book is amazing even if you dont understand the music aspect. I loved it and I would definitely recommend reading it.

I received Noteworthy* by Riley Redgate as an e-book from the publisher via Netgalley. This is an unbiased and honest review. It will be published and ready to purchase on the 2nd May.

 

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Pretty much anyone who knows me, knows how much I love The Lord of the Rings. I have watched the extended edition films over and over again. I’ve also had the books for a good ten years, my copies look slightly battered now. I was lucky enough to get The Art of Lord of the Rings for Christmas and it was my favourite present.

As you can it is in this gorgeously designed black hard cover. The cover actually has the artwork of The Return of the Kind book. I’m really happy about this as I have those covers for my books so they match. Although my books are at my mums house instead of with me near my dads.

The book itself is also hardback. It’s just so simplistically beautiful as a book. I just love hardback books. If I could have an library with old leather bound books, I would. Just imagine hundreds of books in blacks, golds, greens and reds.

Unfortunately, most of the artwork is sketches and not very colourful. But this Hobbiton drawing and the Lothlorien one below are coloured.  The Hobbiton drawing is also one of the most detailed images. I really loved it, the colours made it look happy and cheerful which is very similar to how it’s shown in the book.

I especially love Lothlorien because there’s a soft glow to it. It just makes me think of the elves, which is perfect really.

Now this is Helm’s Deep, and this is where it gets weird. The film has made it look very different I think. A lot of the drawings I could recognise, like Hobbiton, but I couldn’t for this one.

These sketches are of Orthanc in Isengard. Again very different to how they made it in the film. I like it though and you really see the progression of thought into it. I think a lot of writers dont think about these things as much as Tolkien did. Which is a shame, because this is why Middle-Earth is so deep and well written.

The map of Middle-Earth is my favourite book map. I just had to take a photo of it.

The design on the right is one I have on my copy. Tolkien had so much input into the designs, which just excites me as a reader. Plus, it’s still his design on my cover.

I really love the inscriptions so again I had to include an image.

 

 

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My to-be-read pile is always growing. Sometimes I just take a wander in a bookshop and then oops I’ve bought a new book. NetGalley is a killer as I love requesting books – but I really need to stop. I also have family members who give me free books. Then of course there’s Amazon and other bloggers and booktubers suggestions. I’m always just adding, to the point where I have too many books I need to read. Now this gets quite intimidating right? Now, I have created a method for me to shrink my TBR pile and also combat it head on.

1. Accept and Acknowledge

First you need to acknowledge that you have a mountainous TBR pile. Then you need to accept that you need to start reading it. Also, accept that it is okay if you’re in a reading slump. But if you keep putting it off, the pile will probably grow instead of shrink and you’ll feel even more intimidated.

2. Decide on a Number

Now this is the important part. Pick a time frame E.g 3 months and think about how many books you can read in this time frame realistically. So in 3 months maybe you can read 10 books? So then your TBR list will now be just 10 books. You can do this per month, per 3 months, yearly etc. Just make sure you think realistically. I do 3 months because at uni my free time changes a lot over the whole year. So in Summer months I can read a lot more than in November/December when I have assignment hand-ins.

3. Split and Be Particular

Go through your TBR pile and split it into exactly the amount of books you can read in the time period you’ve stated. Be really precise with your choices, and then those which havn’t been chosen put aside. So I put all my unread books on one shelf so I know I havn’t read them. These will then be the ones you pick for the next time period. Or whenever you complete your list. You will then have a TBR in this amount of time book list or pile.

4. Proclaim and Publicise

If you tell people you will be more likely to actually do it. If you’re a blogger, tell your followers. If you’re not let your friends and family know. This is what I love about the Goodreads yearly challenge because you can publically announce how many you’re going to read, and you can also make TBR lists.

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With a long Easter break and an upcoming shorter summer due to starting work, I decided to visit family early this year. With the stunning North Wales countryside a simple train journey away, I spent 2 nights staying with my aunt. Although catching up was the main reason, as a family we can’t not visit the local art gallery while we’re wandering with coffee shop visits a must.

Conwy Castle

We vist Conwy nearly every year as it’s so easy to drive to. Although I’ve visited often, I’ve never had the chance to visit the castle and the walls. This year I dragged my aunt up along some of the wall to get a glimpse of the views from above.

Conwy Castle - North Wales

Conwy Castle - North Wales

The Royal Cambrian Academy Art Gallery

Along a side road and up a hill you’ll find the hidden treasure that is the Royal Cambrian Academy Art Gallery in Conwy. With only two artists on display, I fell in love with Rob Piercy’s watercolour paintings of Snowdonia.

Top left: Diane Lawson – ‘Mortal Coil’ charcoal drawing and bronze resin statue; The others are all part of Rob Piercy’s ‘Landscapes, Drawings and Personal Memories’ exhibition. They consist of watercolour and oil paintings, mainly of the Snowdonia landscape. 

Rob Piercy - Art Gallery - North Wales

Coffee and Bookshop

A bit more coffee shop than bookshop nowadays, but the food here was wonderful. They let dogs in as well, so there were so many cute pets in the shop.

Denbighshire Art Society

A quick detour to the Denbighshire Art Society let me take a quick nosey through some of the work before their upcoming exhibition. North Wales is the perfect place for artists due to the gorgeous countryside I swear.

Prestatyn

My family live in a few places across North Wales but I was staying in Prestatyn. It never gets old how stunning the view from their house is. We also spent some time along the beach while it was sunny although it’s still pretty cold out with the wind.

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I received All The Places I’ve Ever Lived* by David Gaffney as an e-book from the publisher via Netgalley. This is an unbiased and honest review.

I found this book… strange. But in a good way. It’s got mass murder, a ghost who isn’t really a ghost? time travel and some teen drama as well. When I described it like that, it doesn’t sound that great. Honestly? It worked really well. We follow Barry Dyer (although I kept reading it as Danny Dyer oops) after a local attack has taken place on a girl from his school in the 70’s. He is a ‘tether’ to the paranormal in this plot due to the metal discs on his body which only he can see.

At first I struggled to read this book, just because I didn’t know what I was going into. I’d completely forgotten the blurb, and I thought ‘eh I’ll just read it instead of googling it’. Some of the scenes were extremely surreal, and I still have a lot of questions. Maybe I didn’t read into the details enough but I still don’t know who the murderer is. In a mystery styled book, I normally want to find out a bit more about who the person is. We only really get an insight into Barry and his friends and family, the second story line, if I can call it that, doesn’t have much expansion on who people really are.

Another issue I had, which isn’t by any means a problem. It might not annoy anyone else, it could just be me. But once you notice something, and you realise it’s unnecessary it can get quite annoying. So Barry has a friend called Samantha Fry, and she seems great, yeah, good addition to the story as the coming of age aspect. What bugged me, was that whenever she was mentioned, it was always ‘Samantha Fry’ it was never just Samantha. I just don’t understand why the last name always had to be used.

Petal, the ghost in the story is explained about halfway through by a secondary character. I really liked this explanation because it brought the information needed to the question I, and Barry, had. I also really liked that the time travel didn’t enable them to talk to people and move things etc. Because this way was a reasonable way to make it work well.

I would recommend this book, for definite. The only problem’s I had were me just being picky about it. The name thing isn’t a big deal, and the knowing the killer isn’t actually important to the plot. I just personally would have changed it slightly. It’s still a great book though.

 

 

 

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