How Girl Guides Won The War

A completely original history of one of the most extraordinary movements in the world — the Girl Guides — and how they helped win the war.

Being part of the Guides is something I have always enjoyed and been proud of but after reading this I am even more so. This book isn’t a story or just a collection of entries from various girls but a well put together account of how Guides all over the world coped with the war. There were plenty of moments throughout the book that provoked a lot of emotion, both good and bad. The strength and bravery of Girls in Poland particularly effected me and the loyalty all the girls in the book had towards the movement made me a little sad that at the moment we don’t seem to have that. I was surprised to find out that Guides continued in all circumstances, undercover in countries where it had been band and even in prisoner camps. Guides risked their lives helping peoples in camps and even doing tasks for the military. Guiders did a wonderful job continuing to open up units for evacuated and refugee children as well as opening and running various centers to look after children and sick. In the East Guiders also took on the role of parent when a whole school of British children was moved to a prisoner camp and Guides and Brownies allowed them to continue to learn and deal with the worsening conditions around them.

If you are involved in Guiding or ever have been I thoroughly recommend this book. In it you will see things that have survived since the start of Guiding but also just how important the movement was to not only the girls involved but also whole populations. It shows how the skills they learnt helped them to do this and that even in the hardest of times going away camping is always a fun experience.

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Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books I’d Recommend The Most

This weeks topic from The Broke and The Bookish is Top Ten Books I’d Recommend The Most. I am being a little lazy this week as although I have a few new books to list here I already have a page for my most recommended books. There are 8 on the list which can be found on my MUST READS page which I made when I first started my blog but I have since come across 1 more which I want to include.

  • MUST READS Page
  • Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson  A story like no other I have read before or since. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this book but it kept me hooked from beginning to end introducing me to a new genre.     

What Book Are Your Most Recommended?

 

Reached

Book Blurb

After leaving Society to desperately seek The Rising, and each other, Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, but at the cost of losing each other yet again. Cassia is assigned undercover in Central city, Ky outside the borders, an airship pilot with Indie. Xander is a medic, with a secret. All too soon, everything shifts again.

My Synopsis

In the final part of the Matched trilogy all three of our characters are in someway or another back in the society. Now however they are following new orders. 

Xander has his final work placement. He has been helping the rising by changing the medication given to protect new-borns however people are starting to get sick and he knows this is the sign.

Cassia is working as a sorter but also continuing to trade for information from the boys. The museums are no longer open however and have been walled off as the society tries to hide that more and more people are becoming ill.

Ky is working as a pilot back at base looking forward to seeing Cassia again. This is the moment however The Pilot chooses to start their take over and he finds himself reunited with Indie to take the cure into another province. 

Although they are all doing what they can for the raising and believe that it is right Cassia still hates being separated from Ky and she missed Xander. As the illness begins to brought under control she embraces the new freedom by bringing together words, picture and music. But these as well as her trades bring her to the attention of the Pilot and although she finds herself reunited with both Ky and Xander and other people from her past she realises not everything has gone to plan and there is a lot more still to be done and learn about herself.

Review

I’m not sure what I was expecting from this book. The situation they are in and the lack of knowledge about the Rising from the previous books made it difficult for me to predict how this book would turn out and I felt that it was actually resolved in a more peaceful way than I could ever have considered. There was some quite exciting moments throughout the book that kept me reading and I felt that we finally learnt a lot about the people each of our main characters had become as well as the pasts of people important to them. 

Having the three points of view in this story really worked for me. I think that although I agree with the way each book added a new character in it was always a story about all three of them and as this book emphasises more than the others they all had important roles to play in not shaping the future of their society. I found it very easy to like Xander in particular as I think his story was the hardest. He has had the easiest life and yet he couldn’t get the one thing he wanted, Cassia. Yet he still had hope and he believed in her and Ky and the Rising. 

For me there was a lot in this story that talked about the how countries are fun and about power and how it is used, controlled and passed on. All of this was really interesting and of course really important but there was also the continuing theme about culture and creativity. The use of poetry and paintings, the desire to be able to sing and dance and teach everyone in the world to write. These added a new dimension to the story and you really felt that these actions where a powerful expression of the people’s right to choose. 

This has been an enjoyable series to read. As with all dystopian novels it has got me to think about things in our lives now and consider how things could become and the problems with it. Although it was a love story, and this part is resolved in the book what I liked was that with many similar stories the society is left about to begin rebuilding itself and it is the feeling of hope that you are left with when you close the book. 

Girl Defective by Simmone Howell – Twitter Give Away Competition

A couple of weeks ago a discovered that it was just days till Simmone Howell’s new books Girl Defective was coming out. So, of course I went straight on to Amazon.co.uk to pre-order it but I was frustrated to find that I couldn’t seem to find it. I tried a few other sites and then went to Simmone Howell’s website where I found that the release date was on for Australia. I looked around for release dates elsewhere but was unable to find them so I went back to the Australian sites where it was available to see if I could get it shipped to the UK. Unfortunately although not impossible it was going to be very expensive, nearly £40 so that was out of the question. As a last resort I went for the contact email from Simmone’s website and decided to email her asking when the book would be available in the UK. If I am honest I wasn’t sure I would get an answer, so I was very excited when I got a reply for her saying that although the book is coming out in the US next year there isn’t currently a date for the UK. However she was doing a give-away competition on Twitter which she sent me the link to and told me I had a good chance at as not many people had answered. I had not long deleted my Twitter as I don’t really like it but I thought that as I wanted the book I would sign up for a new one and enter. The competition was to tweet about your favourite song and why as there is a lot of music in the book. It took me a while to come up with my answer, I wanted to write something truthful but interesting, so after some thought I settled on Sweet Child of Mine by Guns N Roses as this was the first thing that brought my Dad and I together as people who like the same thing now just family.

I had forgotten when the closing date for the competition was but I kept an eye out on twitter to see other entries and when the winners were announced. There is a goody bag of Girl Defective prizes for the Australian winner and as posting is so expensive a book and CD for the international winner. This morning I got an emailing from twitter with Simmone’s tweet in it announcing that I had one the international prize!. I couldn’t quite believe I had one and I am so excited to get the book and CD. I have loved both of her other books and I am looking forward to reading her new creation. I must admit that the fact I will probably be the only person in the UK to read it for a while to is also exciting but I’m sure my friends will be asking to borrow it too.

“WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20, 2013

Girl Defective giveaway winners!

WINNERS OF GIRL DEFECTIVE GIVEAWAY

Thanks to all who entered! I wish I could send my book around willy-nilly – I will say that it is quite cheap on Bookworld if you’re an e-reader … costs the same as two fancy coffees and less than a trip to the movies to see a likely crap Hollywood movie!

……

INTERNATIONAL

@Postteen Sweet Child of Mine by Guns&Roses it was the first thing that brought Dad and I together as people not just family #girldefective
Posted by simmone at 10:36 PM
You can read the full post here including the other winner and her competition entry.
She also did an interview recently about writing which you can find here if you want to find out more about her and some writing tips.

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books I HAD To Buy But Are Still Sitting On My Shelf Unread

This weeks topic from The Broke and The Bookish is Top Ten Books I HAD To Buy But Are Still Sitting On My Shelf Unread. This another easy list thankfully. I am quite good at buying books that go unread for ages, usually because I already have too many books to read.

  • Tomorrow, When The War Began by John Marsden                                                                                                                   
  • Wicked by Gregory Maguire                                                                                                                                                                  
  • The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult                                                                                                                                                          
  • Kissing The Rain by Kevin Brooks                                                                                                                                                      
  • Black Rabbit Summer by Kevin Brooks                                                                                                                                              
  • Wither by Lauren DeStefano                                                                                                                                                                   
  • The Fearful by Keith Gray                                                                                                                                                                        
  • The Blasphemer by Nigel Farndale                                                                                                                                                       
  • 31 Dream Street by Lisa Jewell                                                                                                                                                               
  • The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike                                                                                                                                                

What Books Have Are Still Sitting Unread On Your Shelves?

Crossed

Book Blurb

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky – taken by the Society to his certain death – only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander – who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart – change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

My Synopsis

Ky has returned to the outer provinces and though he is living through hell again he can see the Carving in the distance where he remembers his father trading and plans to run away into them to try and find his was back to Cassia. 

Cassia with the help of her family and Xander had been moving about working trying to find the perfect time to make a run for it herself. Although she wants to find Ky she has also learnt of a movement trying to stop the rules of the society, the Rising. As much as she tells herself getting back with Ky is the most important thing she finds herself driven to also find the Rising. 

With the help of knew friends the two teenagers find more about their world as well as each other. The discover secrets about the society that continue to fuel their hatred of it and push themselves to limits that, Cassia particularly, never thought would ever be possible. 

Review

In the second book of the series we get to hear from both Cassia and Ky point of view. This brings a whole new perspective to the story as we also get to fins out about a different side to the society. We learn Ky’s story, how his life was so different to Cassia’s and importantly about his interactions with Xander that make him fear loosing her. 

The travelling aspect of this story made it really interesting for me. It allows for more description of the world that they are in and this is something I enjoy reading. The characters in this book I also find a lot more interesting, with a young character you want to mother and one to be suspicious of. 

I felt the Cassia was trying to find herself as well through this book. Having put faith in the society for so long in the last book her world came crashing down and you can feel her using her journey as a way of rediscovering herself and what she wants to believe in. 

For me this book was as good as the first one and as good as the first time i read it. I am really exciting to read how the trilogy is going to end too and I am assured it is worth the wait. 

Matched

Book Blurb

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate… until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

My Synopsis

Cassia has always dreamed that her she might be lucky enough to have her matching banquet on her 16th birthday and when this happens she feels her future is going to be perfect. She is well on the way to becoming a professional sorter and everything else in her life is perfect. When her best friend Xander is announced as her match although at first a little take a back she continues to put her faith in the rules of the society.

When she puts her microchip in to see what is says about Xander however the face that flashes before her is not his. It is of someone else she knows. Ky. 

For Cassia this is a seed of doubt in her mind that is about to grow into many questions about how good her society really is. Slowly but surely things begin to change around her. She can’t keep herself away from Ky and the more time she spends with him the more questions she has. However she is about to see different sides to all the people in her life and how their love for her will help her achiever her new desires.

Review

The society in this book I find very easy to imagine. It has worked out the prime of everything, from putting together couples at the right age to food and exercise and even the perfect life span. As with everything though it too has it’s flaws. Cassia describes in the book that they have a good control over people because they give them just enough freedom to reign people in when they feel least faith in the system and that for most people providing the optimum conditions for living prevents people questioning the rules. The mistakes that leads to Cassia’s lack of faith however begins to show the flaws in their perfect world. 

I like the way the characters are introduced in this book. We are aware of many of them from the start but their stories are slowly dripped in and allow us to appreciate them all as interesting people. They all have their own story and I think these are really important to Cassia because she learns that it is ok to doubt and that she is still loves and surrounded by love. 

This is the second time I have read this book and I am re-reading it so that it is fresh in my head for reading the final book in the series. I’m not sure if I found it as good as the first time I read it but I just enjoyed it and I’m excited to read on.

 

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books On My Spring TBR List

All though we have snow on the ground spring is just around the corner and so this weeks topic from The Broke and The Bookish is our Top Ten book on my Spring TBR list. This was easy for me because I have a plan for my reading over the next few months. I need to catch up on my Dystopian Challenge Reading so with new book in series around I’m going to be doing some re-reading but I am also trying to catch up on John Green reading as a recently joined Nerdfighteria.

  • Matched, Crossed & Reached by Ally Condie                                                                                         
  • Slated & Fractured by Teri Terry                                                                                                                   
  • Looking For Alaska by John Green                                                                                                             
  • An Abundance of Katherines by John Green                                                                                       
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan                                                  
  • Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire                                                                                                             
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak                                                                                                                   

What Books Are You Excited About Reading This Spring?

Cinder

Book Blurb

A forbidden romance.

A deadly plague.

Earth’s fate hinges on one girl . . .

CINDER, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen – and a dangerous temptation.

Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth’s future.

This is not the fairytale you remember. But it’s one you won’t forget.

My Synopsis

In a part of the world slowing dying from a yet incurable plague Cinder also has to deal with being put down by everyone because she is cyborg, especially her guardian and her eldest daughter. She is famous however for her mechanical skills and it is this knowledge that results in her trying to fix the Princes very own android.  Cinder she has an android of her own to befriend and the youngest daughter is on Cinder’s side however on the same day as the prince’s visit her life is turned upside down.

The youngest daughter gets ill and Cinder is blamed. Furious she sends Cinder to become a test subject for curing the plague where she meets an unusual doctor. He seems curious of how Cinder reacts to the infection and even more so of her make up and when he lies to the prince she knows something isn’t quite right. However is he a bad guy? He warns Cinder to stay away from the palace when the Queen of Luna comes and when she doesn’t we learn the truth about both his and her past. 

Review

I don’t know if it is because I have read so many great reviews about this book or just because of how it was but this book really didn’t do anything for me. I appreciated the originality of the retelling of such a classic story but I felt it didn’t help excite me through out the predictable plot. For me everything was just ok, nothing was spectacular.

I liked the characters but I felt the other characters had more energy about them than Cinder. I liked the idea of combined continental nations and the new technologies but for me I just couldn’t get a pleasant picture in my head of how it all worked out that made me want to keep reading. My biggest issue I think with it though is that although it is part of a series and I accept that it still needs to stand alone in its own right as a book and the end just didn’t satisfy me as doing that. None of the issues raised in the book were concluded at all at the end so for me it was really a completed story as part of a wider story. 

For people who enjoy fairy tale retellings I am sure you will appreciate this book. For me however it just didn’t hit the spot and I’m not going to bother reading the next one. 

Sisters Red

Book Blurb

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris–the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She’s determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls’ bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett’s only friend–but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they’ve worked for?

My Synopsis

For Scarlet life is all about the fight. She has given up everything to try and prevent as many girls as possible from being killed because she feels that because she knows about the monsters she has a duty to do something about them.

Rosie however feels its Scarlet she owes her life to. When their Grandmother was attached Scarlet fought to protect her and so she is also learning to fight because she knows it will make Scarlet happy. 

When their best friend Silas returns however things begin to change. They all notice the increase of the monsters where they are and when the have a close encounter with an alpha they discover it is because they are looking for a new boy to join their pack. They decide to move to the city to try and attack the problem where they can do more. Life in a city is different though. Here there are plenty of girls luring the monsters so she can’t get close enough and even then they are trying hard not to hunt for prey but for the potential. While she is putting her heart into find who that is though Silas and Rosie are building a new relationship. He see’s than she wants something more like him and encourages her to try something new and slowly she falls for him. 

Together however they continue to try and fight and to find out as much about the potential as they can. When Scarlet discovers about Rosie and Silas new relationship though she also learns a shocking truth that could change her relationship with Rosie even more than she scared of. 

Review

I found this an easy book to get into. The chapters alternates between Scarlet and Rosie’s point of view and this allows the reader  to understand everything that is going on. The two sisters have always been close but Scarlet’s drive for fighting is clouding her decisions about Rosie. Rosie on the other hand is torn between her love for her sister and the normal life she dreams of. Their relationship is really important to the story and I think there is a cycle within it about how they have been shaped by their experiences with the monster however they are different experiences because Scarlet has wanted to protect her sister.

I have to admit I had pretty much worked out what was going to happen in the story but that didn’t make it less interesting to read. I think that although it is part of a re-telling series it is more a what-happened-next twist on Red Riding Hood. It had been well built up with different packs, myths and rituals that allowed there to be a good plot but the characters and their relationships with one another were also good. 

This was a really good book and I feel that I haven’t really given it justice in this review but I feel if you read it you will understand that it is just one of those books that you put down feeling satisfied.