In horrible news my old Kindle died. 

I went to charge it up and it took 6.5 hours to charge to 30%. Thinking it was being glitchy, I left it overnight. 12 hours later it was still at 30%. Ergh. Oddly, a twitter conversation later, I found out that the new(ish) Amazon Fire 7 inch was selling for £35. So I bought another, using vouchers from leaving my old job, and then managed to get freeeee Amazon Prime delivery. My new Kindle all in all cost me £5. Bang on. Plus it’s tangerine in colour. Gah it’s gorgeous. Is it worth investing in? Read on.

Specifications

Beautiful 7″ IPS display (171 ppi / 1024 x 600). Available in four colours.

Fast 1.3 GHz quad-core processor and rear- and front-facing cameras.

Amazon Underground: All-new, one-of-a-kind app store experience where thousands of apps, games, books etc. 

Up to 7 hours of reading, surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video and listening to music

Stay connected with fast web browsing, e-mail and calendar support

115 x 191 x 10.6 mm

313g

First Thoughts

I love how thick and chunky this Fire tablet feels. It has a weight, is sturdy and is covered in a textured (tangerine) plastic. Weighing 313g it feels weighty in my hand. Apparently it’s twice as durable as a Apple iPad Air 2. I believe that, but it is a lot, (lot) smaller in size.

Is it my eyes?

The 7in screen isn’t HD. The resolution is only 1024 x 600 pixels, so it can be a little blurry. But, the screen is pretty bright, and although the blacks are a little grey and it’s not as crisp as an Ipad it’s a 6th of the price. Plus for reading (which I’m mainly using it for) it’s brilliant.

Lag?

I’ve played numerous games on my new fire and I really love it. Although a little slow sometimes to load, all the games I’ve played, have been lag-free. SimCityBuilder (definitely worth a download) played seamlessly and Doodle Jump also. Switching between apps can be sluggish but not frustrating.

Battery lasts around 5 hours when just watching Video playback with maximum brightness. Obviously will last longer when dimmed. Charging takes a while but I just charge it overnight. (No biggie.)

Shall we go shopping?

Yes you only have access to the Amazon store but all main apps are available including video streaming services (I.e Netfix.) The camera is poor as like my old Kindle. Don’t bother downloading camera editing software use your phone instead. (I have an Iphone 5S and it is four times as good – maybe.)

Final Thoughts

Definitely worth buying. It’s not an incredible tablet and to be honest that’s not why I purchased it. The screen resolution isn’t incredibly high and moving between apps can be clunky but for reading it’s fantastic. Yes the battery isn’t crazy strong and yes it might be a little chunky (which I really like.) But I love this not only for the price but for  the colour. Oh my life – the tangerine colour is lit.

(+ it’s so good to photograph.)

 

2017 is the year I fell for the Pigeonhole App. I am a voracious reader. I have all the symptoms; always

1)     A book on ‘the go’

2)     A book in my bag

3)     A next book to read

But life gets in the way. There are bedsheets to wash, pots to scrub and partners to love. My reading fixation often takes a second seat. And then I met Pigeonhole. I’ve written all about it here but I wanted to touch on taking part in their DISAPEARING serialisation.

All classic books on Pigeonhole are free. New books are charged from £2. These live books (released daily in staves) have free spots for the 200 readers or so who sign up. I snagged one of these spots and looked forward to the first stave. The next morning my phone pipped up – “You have 24 hrs to read the first stave of ‘All the Missing Girls.’ Ignoring it I turned over and slept. But, no the nightmare was realised later when I took another look. You have 24 hours to read each stave. Then it disappears FOREVER.

Okay, that’s not strictly true. Once the live reading is over the book reappears in its entirety. But, if you miss a stave you then have to wait. Readers of a good book do not like waiting.

I wanted to share taking part in a live disappearing serialization and why you should too.

All the PROS

It made the book like a book club. At the end of stave one I disagreed on the coldness of a character with another reader. We discussed whether he was controlling or if his personality was to contrast with another. It felt exciting to have an instant reaction.

We all miss things when we read. That tiny bit of symbolism, the usage of a certain word. Being able to comment and then read these created another dimension to the book.

The author/Pigeonhole can add in titbits. A photograph that gives a visual of the scene. Or, a snippet or fact that explains a deeper meaning. It helped me to step into the book and look around. I could see the claustrophobic mountains. The decaying houses and the characters more deeply.

Finally, the book is written backwards. It begins at the end and works back. It’s very difficult to do and shows the merit of the author. Problem is that reading this in such short sections not only did you have to read it in snippets you had to remember exactly what had been written the day before. Not always easy to do. Obviously you can’t go back because it’s not there anymore.  But, I did enjoy the mental gymnastics. It made me think – a lot.

Okay, there were some CONS

Spoilers. SO MANY SPOILERS. Mebbe I should have turned off the notifications but the comments were at times. Well, they ruined things. A commenter posted ‘Oh this is exciting – especially when we learn XYZ.’ XYZ wasn’t explained during that stave and it FRUSTRATED me no end. If you’ve read the book already and you’re re-reading be careful.

The staves were only 20 minutes long. It’s nit-picking but I felt that some of the staves didn’t have quite enough to go on. The stave was cut too short to really push that hungry emotion from a reader.

Technically (and this is mentioned on the app website) my app kept malfunctioning. It often refused to update meaning I couldn’t read the next stave until I was connected to a strong Wifi connection. Several days during the read I was terrified I would miss a stave!

But,

I loved the excitement. The stress of reading it in such a short space of time and the comments from authors really R E A L L Y made it. Certain plot twists I hadn’t noticed, characters that other readers thought were fine but I thought more unsavoury. It boosted the reading experience. I’m signing up for the next one as we speak.

You might have seen recently that I’ve fallen for the Pigeonhole App. I wrote about it a little here and here. Today I’m reviewing a book from their disappearing stave collection. There’s a post about the concept and my experience with that coming Friday. But today I take you into the chilling book All the missing girls by Megan Miranda

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Blurb

It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared from Cooley Ridge without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her ailing father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched.

The decade-old investigation focused on Nic, her brother Daniel, boyfriend Tyler, and Corinne’s boyfriend Jackson. Since then, only Nic has left Cooley Ridge. Daniel and his wife, Laura, are expecting a baby; Jackson works at the town bar; and Tyler is dating Annaleise Carter, Nic’s younger neighbor and the group’s alibi the night Corinne disappeared. Then, within days of Nic’s return, Annaleise goes missing.

But here’s the thing I’ve learned about leaving – you can’t really go back. I don’t know what to do with Cooley Ridge anymore and Cooley Ridge doesn’t know what to do with me, either. The distance only increases with the years.

My Review

After the initial set-up of the story, All the missing Girls is told backwards. We start from Day 15 and go back to Day 1 following Nic’s return to her old home. She attempts to unravel in these what has happened to Annaleise, and Corinne all those years ago. Nic must also come to terms with the secrets her family have kept hidden whilst protecting them too.

The book kept me hooked from start to finish. Telling the tale backwards means that you have work out the references without the build-up to an event. Then you read what actually happened before in the next (previous) chapter. Throughout Megan Miranda doesn’t miss a beat. I was second guessing myself through the reading, trying to pick through the lies and work out the truth. At times I struggled to trust Nic as a narrator making the reading more haphazard. (This is mentioned at the beginning but when I reading I try to find a credible source.)

A polaroid fading from the edges in, the colors bled out; the outline of a ghost town full of ghosts.

The writing is claustrophobic and dense. It has a magical, woven sense of style and I devoured it. It’s blustery and free-spirited but always with a sense of danger. I have a feeling I will buying everything and anything this author writes.

“The woods have eyes and monsters and stories. We are them as much as they are us.”

The characters are fantastically written. Tyler the ex-boyfriend who was/is always there for Nic. Trusting but also cold he was a favourite of mine. Nic can be a struggle to empathise with but as I threw myself deeper into the rabbit hole I wanted it to all be okay. Her ailing father, closed off brother it’s an infuriating and exciting mess. The flashbacks to the group ten years ago tell of a dangerously intense female friendships that left me gripping the edge of the book.

The biggest credit to this book was I constantly judged every character I came across. I was toying and frowing as to who I thought had done it. Towards the end I managed to stumble on a conclusion but I didn’t quite get it. The execution is spot on. I want to go back and read this the other way round – but I’m not ready to yet. The initial excitement of reading this hasn’t worn off. The ending is brilliant too – maybe there are monsters in all of us. That’s all I’m saying.

Final Thoughts

It’s better than Gone Girl, and The Girl on the Train. It’s sublime. GO get it.

GoodreadsAmazon 

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Hi guys and dolls.

I realised that last week, my week commencing’s have been a bit grumpy. It’s not that I’m having a shitty time, for some reason I’ve been grumbling. Really grumbling. I wanted to switch that around because, despite everything it’s been a great week. Here’s what happened.

World Book Day

It was world book day this week! It’s always a bit tough to dress up for WBD when you work in an office. But, I had too. I dressed up a pretty casual outfit of leggings and black blouse with my Harry Potter time-turner. My bestie Dani bought me this for Christmas last year and whenever I’m predicting a bad day I pop it on. It’s so beautiful and just fabby. Love it.

Harry Potter Time Turner Necklace

Peckham Salvage Yard 

T and I travelled to Peckham Salvage Yard this week. It was actually super lovely although smaller than I thought. I don’t think we were quite hipster enough, but the things being sold were wonderful. From cardigans to Penguin books to old toys it’s a brilliant place to browse. The next one is in July. Put it in your diary – you should totally go.

Vintage Penguin Books

Word of the Week

I’ve started sharing a word of the week on instagram. (You can follow me here.)  This weeks word is Ebullient which means both enthusiastic and lively.

Handwritten word Ebullient

Recipes with courgette (spiralising.)

Fell back in love with my spiraliser this week. I’ve been making a lot of courgetti recipes. Some with tomato sauces, a couple with egg and a new carbonara recipe that I’ll share soon(ish.) I want to spiralise more but it’s helping me cut evening carbs but stay super full. Plus, courgette is freaking delicious.

Courgetti Spaghetti

Dragonite

Finally evolved a Dratini. After the third from 10K eggs still without a super high IV,  I evolved a 80% Dratini. After burning through 100 candies and 100,000 star-dust, I bring you Dragonwin. He’s a beast. (Also I promise less Pokemon references.)

Pokemon Dragonite

There’s my week commencing – how was yours?

Crap.

You sit down on the bus/train/coach and you’ve forgotten your book. It’s sat on your kitchen counter, or it’s in the fridge. (Knowing me.) Plus you now have nothing to read. Joyous.

Although I would agree a physical book can never be bested, there is a way of making sure you forever have a virtual read in your back pocket. (Or your bra – if you’re in a rush.)

Pigeonhole App

The Pigeonhole App

The Pigeonhole App is a lifesaver. It works practically as a virtual library in an app but instead of it being static, it becomes a valuable and very social reading space. This very lovely app appears to have been painstakingly designed to fit into the life of a very busy twenty/thirty – something year old. There’s a wide selection of books to pick and download. Plus, instead of drowning the reading in tiny text formatted on tiny, tiny pages – you read the book in staves. Yes staves. A stave could be a couple of pages or chapters (depending on the book) but it allows you to read along at your own pace. Oh and it keeps your page.

There are two types of book – books on your bookshelf, and live books. Live books are given to you a stave a time and you then have to tune in the next day to get the next chapter. It makes reading more exciting but also helps you fit it into everyday life. Books on your bookshelf are still separated in staves but you can read them as you wish. Read 1 or read 10. Up to you.

If you’re worrying it’s limiting to a reading binge it has allowed me to sit down and really digest the stave that I’m reading. I’m attempting Moby Dick and it’s a toughie. The language is difficult and the staves are perfect for not sending my brain into MELTDOWN.

When I’m reading on buses/public transport I often find myself gabbling to get the next chapter only to find out when I next pick up the book I’ve accidentally missed a crucial part of the story. The Pidgeonhole App has stopped that. Completely. You can choose also how often you get the staves; so it allows you to go at your pace. Lavely.

Pigeonhole App

Let’s get social

The social part is what really bumps this up for me. While you’re reading books that are given to you in chunks i.e. live books you might get a comment or social update allowing a solo reader to share a thought on an individual page. You can also save sections through the book, add your own comments or stay very silent. If you so wish. There are extra’s in the margins, additional information and author comments too. It allows books that might be difficult to swallow to become more digestible. Books that sit on your bookshelf sit there forever – so you can get through as you like and wish. Live books encourage social interaction and it really works.

The site is growing – there are not thousands of books but there’s enough to get your teeth stuck into. I read almost every day (through this app) and will always find a minute to read, but – for the person flicking through their social media, or forever scrolling I hope The Pigeonhole might encourage them to pick up a classic. I’m off to add a comment on how Moby Dick really does remind me of Gay Erotica. Soz.