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.)

 

I am slowly falling back in love with my Kindle.

Physical copies of books are the bomb, but they take up a lot of room. Especially if you read close to 100 books a year. I’m 23 – 2300 books is too many to store. The Kindle is definitely a method of space control. Oh, and it’s tangerine coloured which is also cool. This is one one of the first books I downloaded on my new Kindle and it’s a stunner. Shall we dive in? (Or surf in?)

The Wave at Hanging Rock

Blurb

Jesse tells the story of his coming-of-age on the wild Atlantic coast, where he fails to notice the disturbing behaviour of his best friend.

Natalie’s husband goes missing at sea in circumstances which don’t make sense. And while she searches for him, it seems she also has something to hide.

You’ll be shocked at how Jesse and Natalie’s stories come crashing together. And at the end, you won’t see the twist coming.

The Wave at Hanging Rock is a powerful and intelligent thriller that will grip you from the first line, and keep you guessing till the very last page.

The Wave at Hanging Rock

My Review

The book follows two seemingly unrelated stories. Jesse and his friends surfing in sublime Wales and Natalie a psychologist whose husband has oddly disappeared. We follow the first person perspective from Jesse during childhood. He spends most of his days surfing with Darren and John. Fishing for crabs and fighting for the best waves. Natalie’s story is told from the present. After her husband fails to arrive home she continues her life the best she can. Only for eight years later the disappearance of Jim raises its ugly head. Jesse and Natalie’s are about to collide and there’s nothing to stop it.

The writing is dark and foreboding. The sections of surfing really drew me into the writing and are writtrn really well. Throughout it has an intense feeling – Jesse has a cloudy and murky personality. John and Darren also have quirks. Darren struggles to keep up with the other two and John is downright terrifying. His dominating personality kept me on edge throughout. All of the character dialogue was written well – it felt real which I liked. Natalie’s character is well built too. She has bite and drive but also a vulnerability. The transitions from present to past work well and don’t jar. Thumbs up there.

At the beginning it’s slow read and takes time to build speed but it builds. The second half of the book I galloped through and found myself desperate to get to the end. The ending will probably upset you – it has many on Goodreads. I’m going to let you decide whether it works. (But let me know in the comments.)

The Wave at Hanging Rock

Final Thoughts

This is a dark psychological thriller. It will keep you second guessing and trying to put your finger on the final ending. The characters are dark and brutal but ultimately likeable. I definitely want to read into this author more. He’s one to watch I think.

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I’ve always struggled with series books. The Fire Within is no different.

I was bought this book years ago when I was a child. I read though it in a whirlwind but. But only read book one. I’ve read the book mebbe 4/5 times but I’ve never read further into the series. I read a lot more serious books recently. (LOL adulthood.) But I thought I might start a series feature – beginning with The Fire Within. Let me know whether that’s exciting (OR TOTES NOT. )

Blurb

When David moves in with Elizabeth Pennykettle and her eleven-year-old daughter, Lucy, he discovers a collection of clay dragons that come to life. David’s own special dragon inspires him to write a story, which reveals the secrets behind a mystery.

In order to solve the mystery and save his dragon, David must master the magic of the fire within—not only with his hands but also with his heart.

The Fire Within by Chris D'Lacey

My Review

The book follows the David arrival at Wayward Cresent. He’s come to study Geography at the local college and rent a small room. But, once he arrives and meets Liz and Lucy Pennykettle he senses something isn’t quite right. His landlord Liz creates clay dragons for a living, and Lucy is her daughter who adores squirrels. But something is off.  For a start – he can hear a hrrrrr-ing noise. It turns out the clay dragons are kinda real. But I’ll let you read and find out more.

The book is an interweaving of three stories. The story being told and the re-telling of the story of the last dragon. But, David is also roped into writing a birthday story for Lucy for her birthday. It features a squirrel called Conker. Super cute. All interweave perfectly. They support one another and help to keep the writing free-flowing. As always I preferred one over the two. The story of the dragons pipped it for me. Many of the negative comments focus on the squirrel story feeling it overshadows. I don’t think it does really.

The novel definitely has a strong sense of innocence. It is a beautiful mix of nature and fantasy and real concern for the environment. Yes, relationships are built very quickly and dissolved very quickly. Lucy and the lodger make friends in the wink of an eye. There’s an evil crow that is instantly recognisable. It’s sweet. Oh, and you should never made your dragon cry.

It also desperately made want my own Liz dragon. They’re moulded on the personality traits of their owner. Mine would be holding a book, with a pencil (like David’s.) With maybe a can of Pepsi Max and a tube of Pringles? Classy.

Final Thoughts

This book is a fantastic mix of nature quests, fantasy, art and writing. The layers of the story will intrigue eager readers but also reluctant readers. It will inspire anyone that reads this book to look for more.

Amazon Goodreads 

The Fire Within by Chris D'Lacey

The Fire Within by Chris D'Lacey

 

I am a cola addict.

It’s one of the bad habits from my University days that I haven’t managed to shake. If you bump into me reading/blogging/writing there will be probably be a can of the good stuff nearby. When Juicy Cola DM’d me I had to accept their offer to fuel my cola fix but maybe a little more naturally.

Juicy Fuel Cola is described as a sparkling cola made from fruit juices. All the ingredients are grown, it contains Kola nut extract and Grape Fruit to sweeten and Lemon juice is used instead of scary citric acid and barley malt to add colour. The cola doesn’t contain preservatives either. It’s sounding good. Based in Poynton Cheshire The Juicy Shed Company are said to be the first people to produce cola from fruit juice. (Or Juicy Fuel.)

Juicy Fuel Cola by the Juice Shed Company

Fruity and natural!

Last week a lovely box appeared filled with a couple of cans of their original cola flavor and the cherry flavour to try. I was a little apprehensive they wouldn’t taste of cola (I’m used too) but I popped them in the fridge to chill. Later for dinner I cracked two open for T and I and was delightfully surprised. It doesn’t differ (too far) from the cola I’m used to and it didn’t have an after taste. It has a fresh, light taste and I can taste the citrus coming through.

The Cherry flavour is a mash up of Pepsi Max (my favourite cola) and Dr Pepper. I liked the fact it didn’t lose its fizz and it didn’t have a slight metallic taste. I find that Diet Coke with Cherry tastes a little like sucking a penny. The cherry flavour is bold and there’s also the taste of grape. It’s a well-balanced flavour.

Oh and I forgot to add.

It’s 50Kcal per 100ml and 1 of your five a day.

Juicy Fuel Cola by the Juice Shed Company

Juicy Fuel Cola by the Juice Shed Company

O N E   O F  Y O U R  F I V E  A  D A Y!

I wouldn’t recommend drinking one of your five a day every day but I think every once in a while this is a wonderful, slightly more natural compromise. See, the Juicy Fruit cans also have no added sugar, no added sweeteners and no e-numbers. I mean cutting out the terrifying names of chemicals I find on the back of Coke Cans sounds alright to me.

There is one wobble. The Juicy Fuel Cola does include an incredible amount of sugar. Yes it’s a natural alternative but it’s still a high-ish amount. As someone that is fairly relaxed but follows a healthy(ish) diet I don’t tell myself off for the occasional fizzy drink or chocolate fix. But I wouldn’t have these every day. My teeth might cave in on themselves.

I really enjoyed both of the cans. The original just pipped it for me. I’m not the most enthusiastic cherry cola fan but it was still delicious. Pick up a couple of cans today and juicy fuel your day. (I’m sorry – I’m blaming the cola.)

The Juicy Shed Company Twitter – Facebook 

Juicy Fuel Cola by the Juice Shed Company

*Cola gifted by the Juicy Shed Company
(If I didn’t love it, I wouldn’t blog it!) 

Couple of months I got an exciting interview. Didn’t get the job – kinda sucked but I walked away with a new book. That book was Serafina and the Black Cloak. Now I’m not one for fantasy books but this one was pretty good. It has dark magic, a delightful main character and a mystery. Here’s what I thought.

Blurb

“Never go into the deep parts of the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul.”

Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of the Biltmore estate. There’s plenty to explore in her grand home, although she must take care to never be seen.

But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows who the culprit is. A terrifying man in a black cloak who stalks Biltmore’s corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt. He is the young nephew of the Biltmore’s owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak’s true identity. Before all of the children vanish one by one.

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

My Review

So you get the jist. Serafina and her father live in the boiler room. Hiding away from the rich guests who stay in the house. Serafina is a little preternaturally quiet and has eight toes but she’s normal. Kinda.  She witnesses a man in a black cloak, children go missing, her and the nephew of the man of the mansion go in search. We all hooked up. Good.

This book is definitely aimed at a younger reader. Basic language and one dimensional characters make this feel, well, young. I liked the premise – dark mysterious character, demon cloak, a terrifying chase. It’s exciting and the beginning of the book really sets down the foundations for a solid read.

The problem is the writing is incredibly dry. The characters lack warmth, and depth. They don’t spring from the pages like they should and although it’s written for a younger audience, it still needs to be rich. Rich with descriptions that make the reader empathise with each of the characters.

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

The twist wasn’t kept secret for long; dropping hints is good but don’t give the game away. The boss battle was also, disappointing. It was over quickly and without enough aversion. Children aren’t easily fooled and I don’t think the author pulled the wool over the reader’s eye enough.

The author states that he wrote the book to give his daughter’s a strong female character to look up to. To idolise and take confidence from. It’s misleading as Serafina seems to take all her actions from the men around her. Hiding in the basement with her father, putting her life in danger for Braeden. A boy she barely knows and yet she’ll risk her life for him. (cough.) 

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

Final Thoughts

I think the book had a brilliant premise. It could have been a kick-ass novel that promoted female confidence. Even young readers need something that they can sink their teeth into. They’re not easily fooled and I’m not sure this would have kept their attention. It’s a nice book – but nice doesn’t quite swing it for me.

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