Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Monthly Wrap-Up | March 2015

I'm trying out something a little different today! Since I started blogging I've pretty much always done reading wrap-ups at the end of each month to share what I read that month and what I thought of the things I read. I still want to do that, but then I thought I might broaden it out and just talk about my month in general in the hopes of making my wrap-ups a little more personal.

Not only that, but I took part in the blog hop What's Up Wednesday until last week when the lovely hosts Jaime and Erin decided it was time for them to wind it down. I enjoyed talking about my writing progress and other more personal stuff during that blog hop, and now that it's over I want to continue to talk about it and what better way to do that than in a big monthly wrap-up?

So now, as well as sharing with you what I read each month, I'm also going to talk about things I've watched, things I've done and anything else in between!

(I'm also going to choose a different colour each month, because there are so many pretty colours out there. I think March is a very green month.)

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman (4.5 Stars)
Reviewed here!

The Ice Dragon by George R. R. Martin (4 Stars)

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll (4.5 Stars)

The Great God Pan and Other Stories by Arthur Machen (3 Stars)

Coraline by Neil Gaiman (4 Stars)
Reviewed here!

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (5 Stars)

Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (5 Stars)
Reviewed here!

March ended up being a pretty good reading month for me. I'm glad that I've been able to consistently read, except for the odd couple of days, since my great reading start to the year in January. Signal to Noise was definitely the highlight of the month for me, and, alongside Rat Queens, has been my best read of the year so far. I absolutely loved it, and it's definitely earned itself a place on my favourite books list.

There are a few books I'm in the middle of I haven't gotten around to finishing yet, but I'm hoping to finish them in April!

Relic by Renee Collins

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Mistress Firebrand by Donna Thorland

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

I'm much more likely to sit down and watch a film than I am to watch a TV show. There are some amazing TV shows out there, but I'm just really bad at watching TV; I have to work myself up to watching a new show because I really have to concentrate and I get bored very easily. If a show doesn't impress me within the first ten minutes then the likelihood is I'll turn it off. I'm very fussy.

I managed to watch quite a bit this month, though, including the entire first season of Penny Dreadful. Congratulations, Penny Dreadful, on keeping me interested for the entire season! I'm looking forward to seeing what they do with season 2. I think I'm a little bit in love with Ethan Chandler.

I also watched the first episode of 12 Monkeys and the first episode of Vikings, but neither of them left me feeling particularly interested. I'm much more likely to go back to Vikings, I've certainly heard amazing things about it as the series progresses, but I gave up on 12 Monkeys. I just thought it was rubbish.

Mockingjay: Part 1 is out on DVD! I treated myself to a copy and watched it for the first time since I saw it in the cinema, and I still like it. I know a lot of people really dislike
Mockingjay, but I found the whole aspect of making propaganda and fighting a war with words - "moves and countermoves" - really interesting. I think Francis Lawrence is fantastic.

I also watched the film adaptation of If I Stay for the very time this month and really enjoyed it - I thought it was a really good adaptation. I didn't cry while reading the book, but the scene in the film between Mia and her grandfather in the hospital did make me tear up. Chloe Grace Moretz did a good job as Mia, too.

And on Sunday I went to see the new Cinderella film. I didn't love it - I didn't think it'd be possible for something to be too Disney, but this film was so twee I'm pretty sure I came out of it with diabetes. Or maybe that was just all the popcorn - but I did love the way it looked. The colours and the costumes were gorgeous; I want basically everything Cate Blanchett wore. Plus Richard Madden was a very adorable Prince; it was nice to see him fleshed out a little more, because so often the Prince in Cinderella is just a generic Prince Charming figure. Was he an entirely original character? No. Was he a cutie pie? Hell yes.

And it was nice to see him attend a wedding and live through it.

Saw some upcoming films that look pretty cool, too; there's one coming out about the Queen and her sister, the late Princess Margaret, in their youth who are allowed out for one night with a pair of chaperones. It looks like a lot of fun! There's also an upcoming adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd which looks lovely. I've never read it - I'm not the biggest fan of Thomas Hardy - but I would like to see that.

Pan also looks amazing, but I really don't want to see a film where Tiger Lily has been whitewashed.

Game of Thrones is back in April - I wonder who they're going to kill this time...

Work's starting to get a little busier - for any of you who don't know but are curious, I work at an independent publishers in Wales! - but I'd rather have plenty to do than nothing at all! I'm pretty much in charge of the blog now, and it's a lot of fun being able to write blog posts and get paid to do it, not to mention the fact that I'm also basically getting paid to use social media!

Last Friday I met up with a friend of mine who was on my MA course and who has recently moved down to South Wales. I've talked about this a little bit on my blog before - usually in my What's Up Wednesday posts - but I'm living back with my parents after finishing my MA in October until I'm more firmly on my feet. The only real problem is my parents live in South Wales, and all my friends live in the north of England. Needless to say, I've been pretty lonely since I moved back home, although I've met some great people through work.

I went round to her lovely new house and also met another friends of hers, who I'd actually already met, just not in person, because last year I did a little proofreading for her feminist Harry Potter magazine, Sonorus. Yes, this lady has a feminist Harry Potter magazine - and they're currently open for submissions!

We had a really fun evening involving pizza, dragons and Victorian lesbians. It was so nice to just be in the presence of one of my friends again, because I really miss them.

I may also be taking driving lessons again soon. I know what you're all probably thinking: 'you're 23 and you can't drive?' but the thought of getting behind the wheel of a car again terrifies me. I took lessons while I was in sixth form - I even took a driving test! - but unfortunately I failed, and then before I could take another one I was off to uni. Now I'm craving the independence that will come with being able to drive myself anywhere, but I'm still really scared. I have to stop letting fear hold me back, though.

Oh and, on a final note, my story 'Coffee Break' was published on Flash Fiction Magazine this month! Yay!

What did you get up to in March?

Top Ten Tuesday | Recent TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week's theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!

This week's theme is 'Ten Books You Recently Added To Your TBR'. For this I turned to Goodreads, and picked the ten books I'm most eager to read from the fairly recent additions to be TBR shelf!

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley: This hasn't been released just yet, but it sounds utterly enchanting. I'd definitely like to get my hands on a copy, even if I keep wanting to say 'magnolia' every time I see the title.

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott: When it comes to non-fiction it's history books I read the most, and as someone who loves learning about women in history this book really interests me.

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber: I'm always really interested in stories that combine religion and science, so a story about an intergalactic preacher is right up my street.

This Strange Way of Dying by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: I loved Moreno-Garcia's novel, Signal to Noise, so I'd love to read some more of her stuff and this collection sounds great. Plus I've been really into short story collections lately.

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell: I just love how bizarre this story sounds. It has quite mixed reviews - I'm fairly certain it's an extension of a short story in one of Russell's collections, which is something that doesn't always work - but I'd like to give it a go myself purely because I haven't come across anything like it before.

Resistance is Futile by Jenny T. Colgan: I'm a big fan of Jenny Colgan's contemporary stuff, but she also writes sci-fi and I think this book is sort of a combination of science and a rom-com. It sounds really cute, and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a copy!

Mosquitoland by David Arnold: This book just sounds really quirky, and I've heard wonderful things about the way it's written. I'm a sucker for a pretty sentence.

Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear: This just sounds really cool.


The Princess and the Guard by Marissa Meyer: I love The Lunar Chronicles, and I need my fix before Winter is finally released in November!

Summer Days & Summer Nights ed. by Stephanie Perkins: This won't be released until 2016, but I really enjoyed My True Love Gave to Me so I'm hoping this anthology will be a lot of fun, too. Even if it is missing all the fun of Christmas.

Which books made your list?

Monday, 30 March 2015

S&S Bingo Challenge!

I'm taking part in quite a few reading challenges this year, but as far as I'm concerned there's nothing wrong with even more, especially when they're as fun as this one!

The fabulous Kritika @ Snowflakes & Spidersilk has created the brilliant Bingo Challenge, and I'm so annoyed that I didn't discover this earlier on in the year because it looks like so much fun! The challenge is aimed at SFF, and the aim is to fill out the bingo card below:


1. One book can only count as one square, but feel free to shuffle which square you're using the book for as the year progresses
2. Although this card is geared towards SF/F, you can use other genres for squares like "debut author" or "reread a favorite"
3. Fill out the entire square if you're feeling motivated, or 5 in a row (across, vertically, or diagonally) for a more relaxed challenge. You are welcome to fill out as much or as little as you like!

Let's play bingo!

I've already read a few SFF books this year, so I'm gonna go ahead and start marking my card - I'd love to fill out the whole square!
Space Travel: Saga, Vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Female Author: Fairest by Marissa Meyer

Fairy Tale Retelling: The Meat Tree by Gwyneth Lewis

Published 2015: Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Urban Fantasy: My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland

Aliens: Saga, Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

2nd Book in a Series: Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues by Diana Rowland

POC Main Character: Ms. Marvel, Vol.1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona

Novella/Short Story: A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman

Dragons: The Ice Dragon by George R. R. Martin

New-to-Me Author: Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Humorous SFF: Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch

Non-Human Main Character: Saga, Vol. 4 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

I think I've made pretty good progress so far!

2015 Forgotten Histories Reading Challenge | Giveaway Winner!

Well, the Forgotten Histories Reading Challenge has come to an end. Thank you so much to those of you who took part; more than anything I hope you had fun reading, and that you enjoyed the challenges!

At the very start of the challenge I mentioned a giveaway which, with the ending of the challenge, has now also come to a close, and the winner is...

Congratulations, Deanna! I've sent you an email, so please get back to me with your address and I'll send your copy of Long Hidden to you!

Thanks again to everyone who took part. I may do another challenge like this one in future, and until then let's hope we all continue to read diversely!

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Henry VII and Elizabeth of York

Today I'm going to be talking about Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. Just because I feel like it, and I'm a big history nerd. Perhaps enough has been said about them already, but I couldn't resist the chance to talk about the pair who started the Tudor dynasty.

Henry VII became King of England after defeating Richard III, the king who was discovered in a carpark in Leicester in 2012, at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. It brought to an end the Wars of the Roses, the civil war between the houses of Lancaster, the red rose, and York, the white rose (any high fantasy fans out there may be interested to know that George R. R. Martin was inspired by a lot of the events of the Wars of the Roses for his A Song of Ice and Fire series). Henry Tudor, the Lancastrian claimant, was victorious.
The Tudor Rose

To further solidify his victory and heal the wounds England and Wales suffered during the turbulent times of war, Henry chose for his bride Richard III's niece, Elizabeth of York, thus uniting the two houses and creating the famous symbol of the Tudor rose; the white rose within the red.

What began as a political union slowly but surely turned into a genuinely affectionate and loving marriage. It is rumoured that Henry never took any mistresses - a rather impressive sign of his devotion! - and in a reign that was brimming with suspicion and uneasiness due to Henry's increasing paranoia over the security of his kingship, it was Elizabeth who was a constant comfort to him, and whom he trusted implicitly.

As Queens go Elizabeth certainly did her wifely duty. The two married on the 18th January, 1486, and on the 20th September of that year their first child, a son and heir, was born, whom they named Arthur. Is it just me, or do those dates seem to suggest the two of them didn't wait until they married to consummate their relationship?

In 1491 Elizabeth produced a second son, Henry (who would later become the notorious Henry VIII), meaning she did what the great queens of history did by producing 'an heir and a spare'; in 1499 she gave birth to a third son, Edmund, but he sadly passed away when he was 15 months old. As well as those three sons, she also produced Margaret, Elizabeth (who sadly died when she was 3 years old), and Mary. Both Margaret and Mary were married off, Margaret to James IV of Scotland and Mary to Louis XII of France, building political relations that benefitted Henry's often uneasy reign.

But tragedy struck the pair in 1502 when, on the 2nd April, Arthur passed away. He was 15. 

Naturally Henry and Elizabeth were heartbroken at the loss of their firstborn son, for whom they had surely hoped a long and successful reign as King Arthur, securing the lineage of the Tudors, but for Henry there was another fear. Yes, they had another son, Henry, but while Arthur had been raised as the future king Henry had been prepared to enter the church, and now that Arthur had died who was to say the same fate wouldn't befall their second son?

As always it was Elizabeth who brought Henry comfort when she reassured him they could still have more children. At 36 years old, very old to be having children in the 16th century, and at great personal risk to her own health, she quickly fell pregnant with their seventh child. Tragedy, however, had not finished with Henry.

On the 2nd February a daughter, Katherine, was born, only to die eight says later. The day after Elizabeth followed. She died of a post partum infection on the 11th February, 1503; her 37th birthday.

Henry and their children deeply mourned Elizabeth's death. Henry's contemporaries noted that he went into seclusion for six weeks, and quickly began to show signs of illness himself. It was a rare occassion in which Henry showed any sign of weakness, and yet in the weeks following his wife's death he allowed only his mother, Margaret Beaufort, to attend him.

A manuscript depicting the aftermath of Elizabeth's death. To the left can be seen Margaret and Mary, wearing black mourning veils, and in the top left corner is a depiction of 11 year old Henry VIII, weeping into his mother's empty bed.

After Elizabeth's death Henry's paranoia and miserliness grew markedly worse, and it is believed that when he died a widower in 1509 it was partly from a broken heart, for he never stopped mourning the loss of Elizabeth. Each year on the anniversary of her death he decreed a requiem mass be sung, the bells be tolled and 100 candles be lit in her honour. He was buried beside her, and the two still lie together now.

Friday, 27 March 2015

The Cake Book Tag!

I've seen this tag around, never did it and then forgot about it, and then yesterday I saw Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight post her answers and I thought 'huh, I should really have a go at this!'

A book that was a little slow to start off but really picked up as it went along

by Geraldine Brooks

I had a bit of trouble thinking of something for this one because a lot of the books I read are quite slow-building stories, and I really enjoy slow reads. Year of Wonders is an absolutely gorgeous book, and for the most part it's a rather slow book and then suddenly, towards the end, it just takes this turn. Very worth reading!

A book that had a rich, great plot

by Neil Gaiman

This was my very first read of 2014, and ended up being one of the best things I read last year, too. There's certainly a reason this is regarded as Gaiman's masterpiece, and I can't wait for the TV adaptation!

A book you thought was going to be bad but actually turned out quite enjoyable

by Robin LaFevers

What can I say? I didn't expect to enjoy this book all that much, and I ended up really, really enjoying it. 

A sugary sweet book

by Jenny Colgan

Ha. See what I did there? This is a very cute book, and worth a read if you're a fan of contemporary.

A book that covered every single element that you enjoy about a book (funny moments, action moments, sad moments, etc.)

by Mira Grant

You all know how much I adore this book. This was my favourite book of 2014 and one of my favourite reads of all time and I love it.

A book series that you can kind of turn back to for a little pick me up when you're feeling down

by Marissa Meyer

Now obviously I love Harry Potter - if I had to pick an all time favourite series then that would be it, without question - but if I start re-reading Harry Potter then I want to re-read the entire series. If I want to just dip in and out of something, however, then it's The Lunar Chronicles I turn to; lately if I ever need a pick me up I re-read the scene where Cinder and Kai are finally reunited in Cress, because it gives me all the happy feels.

The Cherry On Top
Your favourite book this year so far

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I loved this book. It was exquisite and unexpected and I loved reading it, I was genuinely quite distressed when it was over. Highly recommended! You can check out my review here!

I Tag:

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

What's Up Wednesday! | 25/03/15

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk as a way for writers and readers to stay in touch!

What I'm Reading

Since last week I've finished Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and it's definitely a new favourite of mine. I just loved it. I reviewed it here if you're interested in my thoughts on it!

I'm still reading Fingersmith by Sarah Waters and getting shocked beyond belief at some of the twists and turns, and I also started Dangerous Women Part I ed. by George R. R. Martin and Gardner R. Dozois, and then ended up putting it down after having to DNF Martin's novella. I've discovered I'm not a big fan of Martin's writing style, and the novella - 'The Princess and the Queen' - was so dull. I definitely want to return to the anthology, but it's a shame they decided to open it with such a boring story.

What I'm Writing

Y'know that short story I mentioned last week? Well there's a chance it's turning into a novella... 

Speaking of novellas, Twelfth Planet Press, who published Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories, are currently accepting submissions for novellas. So if you have a completed story between 10,000-40,000 words that fits into the speculative fiction category, why not send it their way before March 31st?

Also my story 'Coffee Break' is being published on Flash Fiction Magazine today!

What Works For Me

Neil Gaiman? What are you doing in my falafel?

What Else Is New

Today is the very last WUW as the lovely hosts Jaime and Erin have made the decision to wind it down, because that's what's best for them. I'm sad to see WUW go - I've always found these posts a lot of fun and I've met so many wonderful people I wouldn't have otherwise met - but perhaps in their absence I'll get a lot more writing done. ;)

Thanks Jaime and Erin! It's been great!

Monday, 23 March 2015

2015 Forgotten Histories Reading Challenge | Week 4

It's week three of the Forgotten Histories Reading Challenge, and this week's challenge is to read a book that is NOT set in Europe (including Britain) or North America.

Below are a list of books for any of you who are unsure as to which book to read. Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

by Richard Flanagan

by Eleanor Dark

by Kenneth Bonert

by Stephanie Thornton

by R. L. LaFevers

by Jeannie Lin

by Lisa See

by Kate Furnivall

by Michelle Moran

by John Caviglia

Happy Reading!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Review | The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

by Neil Gaiman

My Rating: 

On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future – and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems.

Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell are like the Tim Burton and Johnny Depp of the literary world. Everything they produce is wonderfully weird and a tad creepy, and The Sleeper and the Spindle is no different.

Now I'll admit the main reason I picked this up is that stunning cover, which the picture above does no real justice. Seriously if you find this book in your local bookstore just pick it up and try not to buy it. I dare you.

Gaiman's prose is lovely and peculiar, and accompanied by Riddell's illustrations the entire story comes to life; reading this was like going back to my childhood and reading the fairy tales I read then, each one beautifully illustrated with stunning princesses and ghastly crones. The plot itself I loved. I don't think it spoils anything if I say the main protagonist of this tale is Snow White, and it was great to see a Snow White who'd already defeated her stepmother, a Snow White who was already Queen and whose people were in need of her help.

Having said that, I guessed what was coming at the end which is the main reason I didn't give this story a full 5 stars. I was hoping to be completely surprised as so many other readers had mentioned the big twist at the end, but it wasn't quite twisty enough. I still thoroughly enjoyed the read, though.

If you're a lover of fairy tales then this is a must read for you, and even though the story is included in Gaiman's latest short story collection, Trigger Warning, I highly recommend getting your hands on this gorgeous illustrated edition. If you're looking for an LGBT fairy tale, however, you will be disappointed. I've seen quite a few people describing this as an LGBT retelling and it's really not, so if that's the main reason you want to check this story out I'm afraid it won't meet your expectations.

But as I said this is a beautiful story, and I'm so glad to have this beautiful book on my shelf.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Review | Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia Moreno-Garcia

My Rating: 

Mexico City, 1988: Long before iTunes or MP3s, you said "I love you" with a mixtape. Meche, awkward and fifteen, has two equally unhip friends - Sebastian and Daniela - and a whole lot of vinyl records to keep her company. When she discovers how to cast spells using music, the future looks brighter for the trio. The three friends will piece together their broken families, change their status as non-entities, and maybe even find love...

Mexico City, 2009: Two decades after abandoning the metropolis, Meche returns for her estranged father's funeral. It's hard enough to cope with her family, but then she runs into Sebastian, reviving memories from her childhood she thought she buried a long time ago. What really happened back then? What precipitated the bitter falling out with her father? Is there any magic left?

I knew absolutely nothing about Signal to Noise until I was lucky enough to win a giveaway on Twitter which led to SciFiNow sending me a box full of SFF books. One of those books just happened to be Signal to Noise.

If the cover isn't enough to spark your interest then the blurb certainly should be. A teenager casting spells using music in the '80s? Yes please! I didn't know how much I wanted to read a story about that until I was holding it in my hand. Add to that the setting of Mexico City and I'm a happy bunny, because I've been trying to read more books set outside the UK and the USA.

If you're looking for a book all about magic and how it works then this probably isn't the book for you; Signal to Noise is much more along the lines of magical realism than urban fantasy, which basically means that it's our world, with teenagers who've discovered magic, and you just have to suspend your belief and accept it. I really loved the concept of magic Moreno-Garcia created; as much as this book doesn't dedicate pages and pages to how the magic works you aren't left completely in the dark either. We discover how it works at the same time Meche discovers it, because while she might be able to wield magic that doesn't make her an expert over night.

Signal to Noise is instead a lot more focused on the repercussions of magic, and how it might really be used if a bunch of confused teenagers discovered it. Moreno-Garcia handled this aspect of the novel so well. I really believed the characters she created; Meche, Sebastian and Daniela are divine and raw and real, and when I finally closed this book I was disappointed that their story was over. Meche and Sebastian's relationship in particular was exquisite. Though there were times in the novel when I grew frustrated with them I never disliked them, because everything they do is understandable even when it isn't excusable.

It would be foolish of me not to also mention the music, which is a constant throughout this book. I wouldn't consider myself particularly knowledgeable when it comes to music - unless it's a Disney soundtrack, in which case I probably know too much. In fact as much I love music I know nothing about music genres; music aficionados out there would wince at my complete inability to tell the difference between punk and rock. Genres have just never really mattered to me, I guess - if I like a song then I'll listen to it, regardless of what it is.

I do love people who love music, though; people who love it so much that they can't go a day without listening to it, who know everything about music genres and the history of music and who love to talk about it. So as you can imagine Signal to Noise was a lot of fun for me to read, because Meche practically lives for music. Honestly I wish I'd been as knowledgeable as her when I was 15. If you're a music lover, then you definitely need to read this book.

If you can't already tell I fell head over heels in love with this book. I love it when books surprise me, when I come across a book I've never even heard of before and then love it, and I'll definitely be adding this book to my favourites list.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Review | Coraline by Neil Gaiman

by Neil Gaiman

My Rating: 

There is something strange about Coraline's new home. It's not the mist, or the cat that always seems to be watching her, nor the signs of danger that Miss Spink and Miss Forcible, her new neighbours, read in the tea leaves. It's the other house - the one behind the old door in the drawing room. Another mother and father with black-button eyes and papery skin are waiting for Coraline to join them there. And they want her to stay with them. For ever. She knows that if she ventures through that door, she may never come back.

Neil Gaiman's one of those people who was just born to write. He's written more stories than I've had hot dinners, and many of those stories have gone on to be adapted into other mediums. I've been meaning to read Coraline for a while now, especially as I love the film adaptation so much - but how could I not when it was directed by Henry Selick, the man who also directed The Nightmare Before Christmas?

Now this could be a pretty unpopular opinion, but I'm going to start off by saying that I enjoy the film just a little bit more than I enjoyed the book, but that doesn't mean the book isn't brilliant. The film took an already amazing story and fleshed it out, not to mention I have something of a soft spot for stop motion films. Again, blame it on my eternal love for The Nightmare Before Christmas.

I love Gaiman's stories. From American Gods to Stardust to The Graveyard Book he just has this wonderful ability for creating stories you feel as though you could step into, each with that signature weirdness that no one can quite describe but is unique to him. Needless to say, Coraline is another story I love; if I'd read this as a child it would have had me sleeping with the light on for weeks, because frankly the Other Mother is probably one of Gaiman's creepiest villains.

Reading this very much reminded me of my childhood, reading fairy tales and other children's stories that began my love for speculative fiction and magical realism, but it was this fairy tale quality that also caused the biggest problem for me. Because Coraline read very much like a fairy tale, there didn't seem to be much depth to any of the characters which was a shame. Having said that, I still really, really enjoyed the story and I'm glad I finally read it. If I ever have children of my own, I'll definitely be reading this to them before they go to bed...