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Book Review – The Passion of Dolssa

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Title: The Passion of Dolssa

Author: Julie Berry

Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction

Length: 271

Rating: 4 (4.5) Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Dolssa is a young gentlewoman with uncanny gifts, on the run from an obsessed friar determined to burn her as a heretic for the passion she refuses to tame.

Botille is a wily and charismatic peasant, a matchmaker running a tavern with her two sisters in a tiny seaside town.

The year is 1241; the place, Provensa, what we now call Provence, France—a land still reeling from the bloody crusades waged there by the Catholic Church and its northern French armies.

When the matchmaker finds the mystic near death by a riverside, Botille takes Dolssa in and discovers the girl’s extraordinary healing power. But as the vengeful Friar Lucien hunts down his heretic, the two girls find themselves putting an entire village at the mercy of murderers.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I would like to thank HarperCollins Australia for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for a full review! Sorry its been a long time in the making.

While I received an ARC of this book to read i noticed that my motivation for reading wasn’t very high last year when I received this book so I went out and got myself the audio book. I loved it. I would strongly recommend this books audio version. Its super easy to listen to and has good voice actors.

There was only one thing within this book that I didn’t completely fall in love with, and that was the high religious component to the plot. I don’t remember how I came about to get this book from the publishers, I don’t remember if I asked for or if it was just sent to me, and I didn’t remember this when I listened to it either so I went into this book pretty much not knowing anything about it, and I was not overly thrilled to find out that her passion was for god. Now I don’t want to offend anyone, I have nothing against people being highly Christian or anything, but I myself am Pagan so I am not really interested in reading about that Christian faith. Other stories I have reviewed such His Dark Materials have been marked down because of the high dose of religion. BUT it is major part of the story, and the more I got into it, really the less it bothered me.

The plot of this story was just spot on. It was very dark and had some pretty gruesome parts in there while also having some lighter moments. The way it was written had me waiting on the edge of my seat and making me eager to get back into the car again or made me sit in the car longer than was necessary so that I could hear the conclusion to something. I don’t remember finding anything predictable and parts of it nearly broke my heart. Everything was beautifully described and the pictures that Berry painted with her words were spot on.

All the characters in this book are well developed and thought out. There isn’t anyone in this book for the sake of trying to move something along needlessly or that seemed pointless. They were all well developed and had a purpose and enhanced the story by them being there, whether that took the story to a happy or sad place it didn’t matter. Despite the plot being very powerful this would have to be a character driven novel because each part was decided wholeheartedly by the characters.

The characters were great by themselves but they were also great in groups. Each relationship is introduced in a sort of gentle way that by the time you are done learning about each relationship you feel as though you are part of it and it just straight up hurts when something happens to any of them. You hurt because you care about them, and you hurt for those who also love them.

Something I also noticed more when picked my ARC up for this review that I feel needs mentioning as well is that Berry did a truly wonderful and great job at researching the time period that she set the book in. There are historical notes, additional readings, and glossaries for it all in the book! I think she did such a wonderful job that if you took out the dates, people could probably still work out what time frame in history they were reading about. You can also go into it knowing absolutely nothing about the 1200s and still just know and understand and visualise everything in perfect detail. I really love when an author puts that much research into their stories.

This is where I am going to leave you for this one. This book book was surprisingly good, and had me totally hooked. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction in any regard. For those who are turned off by religious things like me, take me word for it, you wont care about it by the end. I think most people would enjoy this book, if only the word of it was out a little more.

 

Till Next Time. . .

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Book Review – Tell The Truth, Shame The Devil

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Title: Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil

Author: Melina Marchetta

Genre: Mystery, Thriller

Length: 405

Rating: 4 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

Bashir “Bish” Ortley is a London desk cop. Almost over it. Still not dealing with the death of his son years ago, as well as the break-up of his marriage.

Across the channel, a summer bus tour, carrying a group of English teenagers is subject to a deadly bomb attack, killing four of the passengers and injuring a handful of others. Bish’s daughter is one of those on board.

The suspect is 17 year old Violette LeBrac whose grandfather was responsible for a bombing that claimed the lives of dozens of people fourteen years ago; and whose mother, Noor, has been serving a life sentence for the part she was supposed to have played in the attack.

As Bish is dragged into the search for the missing Violette, he finds himself reluctantly working with Noor LeBrac and her younger brother, Jimmy Sarraf.

And the more he delves into the lives of the family he helped put away, the more Bish realizes that they may have got it wrong all those years ago, and that truth wears many colours. Especially when it comes to the teenagers on board the recent bus bombing. Including his daughter.

Tell the truth. Shame the devil. Bish can’t get Violette LeBrac’s words out of his head. But what he may get is some sort of peace with his own past as the worlds of those involved in two bombings, years apart, collide into the journey of his life.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I would like to thank Penguin Australia for sending me a copy of this book for an honest review. Sorry it took so long to publish!

I am going to apologise straight off the bat if anyone finds this review lacking depth. I am reviewing this a while after I read it and I find thriller books hard enough to review the day after I have read them. I held off writing a review for this book because I found it hard to come up with words for it and its not any easier for me now.

This book is very different from everything Marchetta has written before, but you can still feel that it is her writing the words. She is there in the way that the story unfolds, that she is more interested in the way terrorism or racial profiling affects certain families more than people on a grand scale (even though she does touch on this).

I really enjoyed the plot of this story despite the fact it is not something I am normally interested in reading, there is enough of this kind of thing just happening in our world for me to read about. I liked the different perspectives that we were given and the way we are made to question just about everything, In saying all that though I do feel like a few things were shoved down my throat more than what I would have expected from Marchetta’s writing style.

I also really liked the characters. I liked Bish the most even though I think he was a little bit hopeless at times. Marchetta is great at crafting just real characters who you can relate to and like despite how flawed they are. One small thing that I found annoying with the characters in this book though was just how many of them there were. There were a lot and each of them basically had there own plot/backstory being weaved into the main plot line and at times it became a little confusing or hard to keep up with them all.

And I think that is where I will leave the review for today. If you like Marchetta and thriller books or political stories then you would like this book and I suggest you read it. If you have not read Marchetta before and are just looking for another thriller then you may want to read some more reviews before picking it up. She has a certain style about her and if it had not been her writing it I don’t think I would have liked this book as much.

 

Till Next Time. . .

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Book Review – Soundless

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Title: Soundless

Author: Richelle Mead

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Length: 266

Rating: 3 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

In a village without sound…

For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her village has been able to hear. Rocky terrain and frequent avalanches make it impossible to leave the village, so Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink. Many go hungry. Fei and all the people she loves are plunged into crisis, with nothing to look forward to but darkness and starvation.

One girl hears a call to action…

Until one night, Fei is awoken by a searing noise. Sound becomes her weapon.

She sets out to uncover what’s happened to her and to fight the dangers threatening her village. A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies Fei on her quest, bringing with him new risks and the possibility of romance. They embark on a majestic journey from the peak of their jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiguo, where a startling truth will change their lives forever…

And unlocks a power that will save her people.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

First I would like to thank Penguin Australia for sending me a copy of this book for review and I am sorry it has taken me this long to post it despite the fact I read it ages ago.

This book… I so wanted to enjoy this book despite all the bad things I had hear about it. I was still hoping that people just didn’t like a story outside of Vampire Academy. But I was really rather disappointed. It had so much potential. I mean just think about a small isolated town that can’t hear a thing and take great pride in their visual works because its their only medium and suddenly someone wakes up and they can hear things! Sounds pretty damn good doesn’t it? So much potential. . .

I will say this positive for the book though. Its still Mead’s writing. She has a way of writing things in a very simple yet still interesting way and lets you fly through her books. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the sounds.

One of the main things that I agree with everyone else about is the world building. There could have been more world building and this probably would have made the story more interesting. However, if I had to pick between what we did get and fixing something else that deeply annoyed me in this book I would leave the world building as it was.

The art aspect of the story was also a bit ruined for me. In this town everyone is divided into three classes, Artists, Suppliers, and Miners. Artists are the highest ranking and Miners are the lowest and thusly in this land with limited food the Miners are given the least amount of food. I can see why they Artists rank the highest since they create and document their history in a visually appealing way, but I don’t get why the food isn’t given out evenly or you know based on each individual. Miners have the hardest job, and supply the Suppliers with the things they need to get them all food so wouldn’t you want to keep them in the best health possible? By like… giving them more food?

Then we have our characters, which I am not even going to go into individually because I don’t remember much about them by themselves. There were not really flushed out, even the main characters. I wasn’t too invested in them and I didn’t care too much about the love that was happening either. It was a bit forced.

Now for the bit that annoyed me the most. The ending, and really the only fantasy part in this whole book. Oh my gods I hated it. I won’t go into it encase there are still some who want to get into this book who hasn’t yet, but it was so random. We had basically no fantasy up until then and it was so disorientating to suddenly have have some. The book could probably have been better had it just accepted the fact that it wasn’t a fantasy rather than panicking about the lack of it at the end and throwing some in.

I think this is where I will leave this review for now. Guys, it sounds bad, and in the grand scheme of things it was, but I really did enjoy at least the first half of the book and it was after than point that it started to go downhill for me. There are others who have really enjoyed it, so if it sounds like you would like it pick it up for cheap and give it a go. Its short, its not like you will be wasting loads of your time. If it sounds a bit iffy for you though just stay away. You wont get anything from it.

 

Till Next Time. . .

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Book Review – The Quicksand Pony

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Title: The Quicksand Pony

Author: Alison Lester

Genre: Childrens, Australian

Length: 162

Rating: 4 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

‘Biddy, I’m sorry, we’re going to have to leave her.’
‘What?’ Biddy struggled out of the quicksand. ‘You can’t leave her! The tide’s coming in. She’ll drown!’

But the pony is trapped and Biddy is forced to go on without her. The next day the only signs of Bella area hoofprints in the sand…with small footprints and the paw marks of a dog. Who has rescued Bella? Who could be so small and be alone on this remote beach?

Biddy’s search takes her into wild secret country where she discovers the truth about a mysterious disappearance that happened many years ago.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

I read this book years ago when I was in primary school. I took it with me and my mother moved twice while I was still in school, brought it with me when I moved across the country to Melbourne, and then moved it with me once more when I moved across country again to Brisbane. I brought it with me all these times because I remembered really loving it the very first time I read it and I could not bring myself to let go of it. Now that I have reread it I can completely see why I felt the need to bring it with me each time I moved despite the fact it was a children’s story.

This is an excellent example of a story that both child and parent can enjoy at the same time. For the children it is a story about the rescue of a young girls pony and finding a small boy who has survived many years in the Australian bush and bring him back into the world. All happy endings and interesting adventures. For the adult its about all those things too, but also about, how the child can turn into the parent, the loss of trust that can be born through change, and the need to change and risk everything you have known your whole life to not feel lonely anymore.

I loved each and every character within this book. Our main two are Biddy and Joe and I think they were the perfect two to tell the story. Poor Joe has lived in the bush for years because his mother stole away with him when he was a baby due to a tragic accident with his father and made the rest of their family think they were both dead, keeping their distance from the rest of the world.

**SPOILERS** and with the years that pass his mother slowly becomes more and more filled with fear and more and more sick, forcing Joe to take over the role of the parent, until finally the sickness I suspect was cancer takes its final hold of his mother and she dies, leaving him all alone in the world. He lives alone for at least another year, with only a dingo puppy as his friend. But he longs for someone who will talk back to him. He then risks his whole world and small happiness he already has by exposing himself to the strangers he hatched watched drive the cattle, leaving his best friend behind. **END SPOILER**

Throughout the book Biddy is driven to correct the wrongs she feels she keeps on committing one after another, making things worst and worst, until they lead her to Joe, someone everyone but her and her best friend, Joe’s cousin, thought was dead all these years. They story being told through their perspective makes the story and sweet enough to the child’s mind, and it gives the adult an innocent view into much more complex things that if told through the eyes of another adult could have been much darker.

This is simply just a beautiful book, so I am going to end the review here. Everything that needs to be said about it have already been spoken and I don’t want to ruin this wonderful little bit of magic by going on and on about it in detail. Recommend this book to people who have children, enjoy these kind of simple stories, or have some connect to Australia in someway. If you don’t really like children’s stories I would not recommend it though. Do I still feel like I need to cart this book around since I have read it again? I don’t know. When I was finished I felt so satisfied with it that I could finally let the book move on, but now that I have been thinking about it for awhile, I don’t know if I can. I might want to read this to my children one day since I love it so.

 

 

Till Next Time…

 

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Book Review – On The Jellicoe Road

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Title: On The Jellicoe Road

Author: Melina Marchetta

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mystery

Length: 289

Rating: 5 Star

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Description/Synopsis:

I’m dreaming of the boy in the tree. I tell him stories. About the Jellicoe School and the Townies and the Cadets from a school in Sydney. I tell him about the war between us for territory. And I tell him about Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river. Hannah, who is too young to be hiding away from the world. Hannah, who found me on the Jellicoe Road six years ago.

Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs – the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor’s only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother – who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Ahh. I just don’t have the right words to explain how I feel about this book. I have read it so many times yet when I go to tell people they should read it, I can never find the words that will make them understand just how I feel about this book.

This is one of a few books that has made me cry my eyes out. Multiple times.

This is one of two books that once I finished it I found I wasn’t ready to stop yet and immediately turned back to the start and read it again.

Forget about the description, it doesn’t prepare you for what is hidden within this book. But I don’t know if I should try and explain it to you or not. I think perhaps you should go in blind and come out with new eyes.

All of this being said however I can see where some people might hate this book.Its depressing and there are very few happy moments, and so there is a lot of teen agnst. The structure might also annoy some, know the first time you read this you might be confused by its structure.

None of those things affected me though.

I love each and everyone of the characters, even the ones I hate I love. The angst doesn’t bother me at all. If I had been through the lives of some of characters within the book I would be angry or depressed too. I would find it unrealistic and less enjoyable if they were still so upbeat. However, the connection and love that develops between them all is just so beautiful and touching. It is probably wrong to say this, I would never want my life to be anywhere near as tragic as the ones they live, but I wish I could join in. I want to be part of that circle of friendship and family so badly, I kind of feel like I am though because of how I feel about them.

The structure and plot of the story is presented both in the present and the past, with the past story being presented to us in random segments. Part of the thing I loved about the structure was that I had to work out in what order those past events happened and understand how it relates to what we are living through in the present.

The writing is beautiful. Some of my favourite quotes of all time come from this book. If I was ever to get any tattoo, which I am so against, it would be a quote from this book. It is firmly placed in the top of my favourite books list. I am so glad I noticed the cover when it was on sale at Big W years ago. I don’t like to think about if I had of kept walking and decided I didn’t have enough money. It has gotten me through sad times despite its own sadness.

I will continue reading this book until the day I die. Its part of me.

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From Book to Movie – Looking For Alibrandi

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Title: Looking For Alibrandi

Genre: Drama, Coming of Age, Young Adult, Australia

Rating: 2 Star

Book Review

Description/Synopsis:

A teenage Australian girl deals with the traumas of everyday life. These include her difficult relationship with her single mother, the unexpected return of her long-lost father, the disapproving nuns at her strict Catholic school, the acceptance of her schoolmates,and romantic dilemmas over two very different boys.

Movie Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

This movie kind of went by without me noticing much about what was happening. This is the reason why it got such a low rating, that and the fact that I don’t think I will watch it again. I’m not saying It was all that bad, I’m sure some people would love it if they liked the book more than I did.

The casting choices in the movie I thought were very good ones. The only one that I really had an issue with was Kick Gurry as Jacob Coote. Compared to all the other kids in the movie he just looked so much older than all of them and it was just weird.

I liked her Nonna and her father much more in this time round. They came off less harsh and mean. I still didn’t like her Nonna though.

In terms of plot they did leave out a few things, but that’s to be expected. I didn’t even notice they had left out certain scenes until I was sitting here writing this review so clearly they didn’t matter all that much.

The only thing that really bothered me about the movie was the fact I feel like they downplayed John Baton’s death a bit. I don’t feel they played up all the signs of distress and sadness he expressed to Josie before he committed suicide. I think they also downplayed everyones reaction to his death. I really connected with Josie in the book at this section, but here I didn’t so much. I think they also skipped over her section with Carly after his death, where they kind of connect, and that made me a bit sad.

So yes, I don’t think this was a bad movie. Those who love the book will probably love this movie. But like the book this movie was just not for me. If I had of been doing my HSC when I first saw this movie I think I would have liked it alot more. My own preference is why the rating is low, not because I don’t think people will enjoy it.

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Book Review – Harmless

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Title: Harmless

Author: Julienne van Loon

Genre: Adult Fiction

Length: 137

Rating: 4 Star

Description/Synopsis:

Full of suspense, Harmless, is the tightly woven story of eight year old Amanda, whose father is in prison, and Rattuwat, a Thai man burying his daughter in a strange land.
Abandoning their broken-down car on the way to the prison’s visiting hour, Amanda and Rattuwat venture into the trackless scrub of Australia’s outer suburbs. As the day heats up, the sense of menace intensifies and each of them enters the no-man’s-land between safety and peril.

Review – MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

This was a very simple but very appealing read.

I would not by any means call this book ‘full of suspense,’ and found this very line very misleading. Because of that line I was expecting a very action packed story, or one that would have my mind constantly searching for answers. Instead what I got was very mellow and rather easy to follow story that spans the length of one day, shifting between three family members, dipping into back story continuously. So much so that the back stories make up most of the novella. I didn’t mind at all by the end though that my expectations where not met.

The story jumped around a rather big plot point that was made obvious but not clearly stated for the entire story, but you are fading in and out so much you hardly have time to care. I would describe the changes like slow moving waves coming in and out. Rather pleasant.

The characters are well developed and you feel for them and the things that they have gone through, for the things that still have to go through. All of their lives are twisted by some grim form,  but you see them from a comfortable distance.

I pretty much felt like I was floating in the ocean on my back watching the sky, content, no matter where the story ends up I’m going to be content with where it ends, and I was. It didn’t really end, but it ended enough. I wouldn’t mind picking up another novella for an update on their lives.

Really the only ‘negative’ feeling I had was when I found one of the pages to the book was damaged before it came to me. Poor hurt book.

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The Last Couple of Weeks

For the last couple of weeks I have been visiting the family in the land with no internet. You would this would be the perfect time to get some serious reading done, this is what I thought too. Then Centrelink decided to ruin that plan.

Anyone in Australia will probably know about centrelink, and you will know just how they like to make your life a living hell. Well thats what they did to me. After telling me one thing which made me decide that I could drop out of uni and do a different tafe course with no hassle from them, they then change their minds about the whole thing. This resulted in me having to cram my 10-15 month course into 6 months. Safe to say Im behind now. So instead of reading novels, I have been reading this instead: Image Though its interesting, I can only focus on the same subject matter for so long before I just can’t look at it anymore. Im attempting to get it all done this weekend so hopefully I can start doing reviews again on Monday!

Im home again now, and though I enjoyed spending time with my family going to theme parks and just hanging out inbetween doing work, Im glad to be back. I missed my own bed and my kitten and my boyfriend quite a bit. I hope you all had a good easter holiday as well :)

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eReader Rant

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So today I was a bad Jazz and I spent the entire day researching and going to stores to look at eReaders because I loath reading books on my computer screen since it hurts my eyes (and I can never get comfy…) and haven’t read any more of either of the books I am currently reading. (There is still a few hours of me being awake where I can read, so can I be forgiven?).

So at first I was looking really closely at the Kindle Fire, but I quickly worked out that it thinks along the lines of ‘Stuff you Australia,’ and pretty much wont work unless you live within the US. I then spent the rest of the day researching, looking at youtube reviews and other such things on both Kobo and other Kindles. I disregarded all eReaders that dont come with a light because they were too old/small/ugly. Seriously though, don’t you think the old Kindles are ugly? I don’t like the look of the old phone style directional tool or the keyboard. I decided one with frontlighting would be best for me since the light wont be glaring up at me like backlight/my computer screen does, so it probably a good thing Kindle Fire doesn’t work here or I would have bought it without doing much more research and had serious issues with the light on my eyes.

So this selection left me with the Kobo Glo and the Kindle PaperWhite. The first thing that annoyed me about both was that they don’t have a headphone jack so don’t make noise. This was almost enough for me to give up my entire plan and just forget about everything until I had a realisation. Jazz, do your current much loved paperbacks sing to you? No… How do you listen to music while reading at the moment? With my iPod… Are you ever going to want the computer voice to read to you? Hell no! So why in the would you even need the headphone jack?!?! I tried going to look at the Kobo Glo in stores, but of course that is the one that was out of charge for all of them and I never got to test it. I couldn’t even think about testing the Kindle Paperwhite though, because Kindle still has a ‘Stuff you Australia’ mind frame and has only released like one instores. Luckily though, Amazon has started shipping to Australia. Many youtube/online reviews later I’m pretty sure I have settled for the Kindle Paperwhite. I like the idea of buying from Amazon better than using Bookworld’s ePUB format, and Amazon seems to have cheaper/wider range of books. Kindle is also greatly associated with NetGalley and that helped make up my mind. I hate the idea of getting less than 2gbs of memory and not having an option to make it bigger and this almost made me go with Kobo, but in the end I decided the lag that seemed to stand out and the less touch sensative screen was enough to annoy me. If the Kindle can fit over 1000 books on it surely its big enough for me, and if its not there is always cloud so why bother worry about it? I would like to point out here though that I am not technological savvy and thusly really don’t need something huge. I still use an old 8gb iPod nano and slide screen nokia that I only use as a phone. A phone used as a phone, what a shocker hey? Below are pictures of my phone and iPod if they were new, which they most certainly aren’t. They are much more dodgy than those pictures. Im avoiding upgrading to touch screen in both of them cause I currently hate them all and would rebuy ones like these anyday.

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The only thing left to is decide on just the wifi Kindle or the 3G… Though I think the 3G would suit me more since my house wifi gets turned off all the time because apparently it disturbs people in the house who are gamers and makes their games lag, and when I visit family there is zero internet at all, but the price difference between the wifi at $139 and the 3G at $199 is huge and im having issues coming to terms with it since all it does it show me books… But its also very pretty and I kinda need it… I dunno what are your thoughts on it? Which should I go with, wifi or 3G? Or do you think im going with the completely wrong brand? I have to wait till I get some more money before I buy it anyway so let me know your thoughts so I can think them over.

On another note I got two more Netgalley books to review today today :3

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I really need to get a move on with reading now don’t I?