Thursday, 18 September 2014

In the Mail {20} - Nowhere People by Paulo Scott & The Heart Whisperer by Ella Griffin

In the Mail this week, I had two books I am really looking forward to reading.

Nowhere People (published by &Other Stories) is the English translation of Habitante Irreal by award winning Brazilian writer Paulo Scott. This is the first translated Brazilian book I receive for review, so I'm really excited!! Scott actually visited England in August this year, when he talked about his book at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

The Heart Whisperer is the second book by one of my favourite authors, Ella Griffin. I reviewed Ella's first book Postcard from the Heart back in 2012 for the Melissa Nathan Awards and subsequently over at Waterstones and Amazon. She then personally asked me to review her second book. I was thrilled! Reading the first book was such a good experience! If this second book is even half as funny, I will love it.

"Driving home, law student Paulo passes a figure at the side of the road. The indigenous girl stands in

the heavy rain, as if waiting for something. Paulo gives her a lift to her family's roadside camp.

Through sudden shifts in the characters' lives, this novel takes in the whole story: telling of love, loss and family, it spans the worlds of São Paulo's rich kids and dispossessed Guarani Indians along Brazil's highways. One man escapes into an immigrant squatter's life in London, while another's performance activism leads to unexpected fame on YouTube. 

Written from the gut, Nowhere People is a raw and passionate classic in the making, about our need for home."

You can read more about this book and its translation, as well as a small extract, here.

"Claire Dillon lives in the shadow of the past. On her 33rd birthday she gives herself a present. One year to change her future.

At 33, Claire's mother had everything to live for. But she died in a tragic accident. And it was her daughter's fault. Now Claire is the same age. A floundering actress with a broken heart. Her life is going nowhere in the company of her gorgeous best friend, ex-rock star, Ray Devine. Her estranged bother, Nick, is back from America with his perfect wife. But Dublin is full of dark memories and he is already planning his escape. What will happen when another accident throws brother and sister together and a lifetime of secrets come to light?"

I can't wait!!! :)

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Book Review ~ The Jonas Trust Deception by AFN Clarke

Conspiracy, romance, the mafia, politics, money, sex and Hollywood, The Jonas Trust Deception has it all. And let's not forget an overdose of action with the required hell of bullets and bodies.

"Thomas Gunn is ex-British Special Forces with a talent for infiltration and assassination. Skills that year ago he reluctantly called on, to expose an international conspiracy that led to the murder of his father and death of his best friend. He thought it was all behind him. But a desperate call from his journalist friend Morgan, propels him into an even more sinister plot that threatens global politics and the security of the United States. Racing to follow her cryptic clues, Thomas and his partner Julie are thrown into the deadly path of Mexican drug cartels, corrupt politicians, the CIA, FBI, MI5, and ruthless Wall St brokers."


Monday, 15 September 2014

Music Monday ~ Goddess by Banks

American singer-songwriter Banks was nominated the new cool kid on the block by both the BBC and MTV. Personally, I just love her sexy and angry "up yours", somewhat feminist, somewhat smoking hot sound. And that base... Come on!!! How could a girl that loves a good base resist?

When I heard this song the first time, I had to forward it to all my girl friends for a little bit of girl power (sorry boys!). They probably thought I was having a "Paula moment" (random outbursts of random information you might not understand the first time you hear it). I might get them all Banks' album Goddess for Christmas. :)

I hope you love it as much as I do. The lyrics are below, just in case trying to read the lyrics on the video gives you motion sickness like it did me.

Happy Monday my ladies!!

LYRICS... *contain swearing*

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Bookish Comic Strips

These comic strips are so cute, I just had to share them. Not to mention that, as a book lover or a writer, you might sympathise with some of them. :)

These two are definitely me. I love the smell of old books! In fact, did you know books can smell differently as they age, depending on the binding process they underwent during publication? No? Read more about it and other bookish nerd facts here.

Which book lover has not stayed awake until some ridiculous o'clock to finish a chapter or a book? And which bookworm has not hid in a secret corner somewhere in the library, under the duvet, in the garden, to read that all so important moment of the book when all the pieces of the puzzle come together and you finally get the whole picture? Yes, you know what I'm talking about. Don't talk to us when the world is about to fictionally end.

For the aspiring or published writers out there, this one says it all. It's that all too familiar feeling "it sounded funny/sexy/romantic/intriguing in my head." Good writing provokes a reaction. You laugh your head off; you gain some insight into your own nature; you feel inspired; you dream. You bawl your eyes out; you suffer as if it was you; you throw the book on the floor, you want to burn it with your anger; you even wish someone (a character) dead. Somehow, your very real and human partner just doesn't step up to the fictional love mark; that main character is your reserve wife/husband; oh, if he/she was real! Behind all those feelings there is a writing genius, someone that brought that book to life after many hours of labour. And at some point, they too would have been human and doubted their gift, like every other mortal. Hats off to them, not only for creating the world we love to travel to and in, but for persevering against their own mental blocks and blank spots. Knights in their literary armour. :)

Friday, 1 August 2014

August 2014 ~ Events for Book Lovers, Writers and Curious Souls

This will be a busy summer! Competitions, book clubs, writing groups, theatre, signings, comic cons, festivals, exhibitions... It's all going on in August. And if you are a fan of sci-fi, this is definitely a good month for you.


Deadline: Fri 28th August ~ Are you an aspiring crime writer? Then The Northern Crime Competition is looking for you. The winning novel will be published on eBook and paper. More information

Deadline: Sun 31t August ~ Just the thing for aspiring poets. The Portico Brotherton Poetry Prize is now open for entries. The theme is 'Conflict and Community'. You can focus on particular conflicts and their effect on the community or write from the perspective of an individual experiencing conflict. Check categories and details.

Deadline: Mon 15th September ~ Fancy winning return tickets to Brazil? Well... Undergraduates studying a Portuguese language course in any UK university can. All you have to do is write an essay. More information.


Don't forget to check your local library and bookshop for events. Most of them host book clubs and writing groups. Libraries, in particular, are very good at hosting events for young children.

Mon 11th August ~ The Continental Book Club takes place in Preston on the second Monday of every month and it's FREE. This month, the club reads and discusses the winner of Theakstons Old Peculiar 2014 Crime Novel of the Year, Rubberneck by Belinda Bauer. In September, they read The Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry. Details and location here. Tags: BOOK CLUBS

Mon 18th August ~ Geek Up Preston takes place every third Monday of the month at The Continental and it's aimed at people working or interested in the Internet & Technology Industry. Ideal if you want to meet and chat with web developers and programmers. Notice I said 'meet and chat', not network. You'll most certainly do both, but this is a casual social event, rather than a business scouting session, so have a taste of one of the many local and international beers served at the bar and go make some new friends. :) Details. Tags: SOCIAL EVENTS, NETWORKING, TECHNOLOGY, LOCAL EVENTS

Mon 25th August ~ The ScRibble Creative Writing Group meets on the last Monday of every month at The Continental in Preston. It's free to join and it offers a monthly challenge, writing exercises and constructive feedback on your writing. Ideal if you want to strengthen your writing or build your confidence in your writing skills. Location and more info. Tags: WRITING


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

In the Mail {19} - Replica by Jack Heath and The Colour Black by Maia Walczak

I'm being spoiled this week. Both Oxford University Press and Jacaranda Books have sent me a copy of their latest releases. 

Sci-fi YA novel Replica is the seventh novel of Australian born author Jack Heath. Published by Oxford University Press, Replica releases on August 7th, just in time for all the Sci-Fi Cons hitting the UK in August - keep tuned for a list.

'Whose body is that on the table?' I ask.
She stares at me, as though the answer is obvious. 
'It's yours,' she says. 

Chloe’s memories have been erased. All she knows is she’s imprisoned in the basement of a girl who looks exactly like her. Who is her captor? What does she want? Chloe is running out of time. She’s in more danger than she realises, and nothing is as it seems… 

I'm having the chills already! :)

The Colour Black is the adult debut novel of artist and illustrator Maia Walczak. A fan of traveling herself, Maia uses her experiences to write an adventure about love, life and discovery. Published by Jacaranda Books, it released on July 24th.

Silvia Cruz lives quietly as an artist in San Diego, drawing the contours of the human body - Max, Arthur and then one day, Jack.

Silvia is inexplicably drawn to Jack, and confines in him about her past, revealing a secret which drives them both out of town. Together they travel across the landscapes of America to Alaska, looking for answers and finding adventure.

Two lives, one secret and a journey that will change everything, The Colour Black is a stirring take on the American road novel from debut British novelist Maia Walczak.

Sounds interesting, right? I have Under the Tuscan Sun  and Eat Pray Love in my head. If it heads along the same lines, I know I will love it. :)

Monday, 21 July 2014

Music Monday ~ Cold by Rae Morris

It was tough choosing a song to feature on today's Music Monday. That's because I heard so many good new tracks this week, it was untrue. But  Rae Morris just had to be the one. Not only because her song Cold was on permanent repeat on my YouTube Channel, but also because the girl is from Blackpool, around the corner from where I live. Go Lancashire!!
I'm no music expert, but it doesn't take one of those to see that her voice, lyrics and style create enough momentum to lift you and take you to another place, making you sympathise with the heart-breaking conversation of a couple that lost their spark. I just loooove this track!!! Good luck with the launch of your EP, Rae. I honestly hope it does well.

Happy Monday people! I hope you all have a great week!

Thanks for dropping by.


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Interview ~ Writing STUFF by Playwright Mick Cooper

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of watching the play STUFF, part of the 24:7 Theatre Festival happening in Manchester until the 25th of July (you can read my review of this play over at Lancashire Life Magazine). Curious about the idea and concept behind the play as well as the idea of writing for theatre, I just had to interrogate Mick Cooper, the playwright behind STUFF, and unveil the story behind the curtains. Here is the result:

1. I understand you are not originally from Manchester, so how did you come to be in the North?

No. I'm originally from Basildon, Essex (hence my undying love for West Ham United), but I grew up in Morley, West Yorkshire, and went to university in Keele, Staffordshire. Manchester is a popular "post Keele" destination, so I moved here in 2004, post graduation, with several of my friends. Co-incidentaly, Keele was also where I originally met the man who would become the director of STUFF, Gregg Scott.

2. How did an English and Law student become an actor?

In my head, I was an actor well before being an English and Law student. I was a marvellous Vince Fontaine in Woodkirk High School's production of Grease! So I stayed an actor throughout my degree, performing with Keele Drama Society, then I joined Stockport Garrick Theatre post-uni and have kept working ever since.

3. Have you always written or was writing something you discovered later on?

I've always written, but it wasn't until last year that writing became my biggest focus. I was always concerned that my ego wouldn't allow me to not perform in the spotlight, but I've found watching my own work being developed by others to be quite a rush.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

In the Mail {18} - Night Runner by Tim Bowler

I love receiving books in the post! It's as if Christmas has come early! 

Today, I received a proof copy of the Night Runner by teen fiction (YA) master Tim Bowler (published by Oxford University Press). Bowler has had great reviews from both national press and bloggers, and I'm definitely itching to get started on this baby. Here is a little taster for you:

"Zinny's life is falling apart. Shadowy figures are following him. His parents are keeping secrets but he can't figure out why. Then his mum ends up in hospital, his dad disappears, and Zinny has to do whatever he can to save his family. Even if it means helping the very men he's running from...

 As the clock ticks, Zinny knows it's only a matter of time before someone ends up dead - and it could be him."

If you are a fan of Michael Grant's books or action-packed films like The Bourne Identity and Abduction, this might be just up your street. Night Runner launches on August 7th.

Thanks the team at OUP for sending me a copy! :)

Monday, 14 July 2014

Music Monday ~ Youth by Ben Khan

While British musician Ben Khan is still a bit of a mystery, I'm in love with the sultry, dark and seductive sound of his music. I'm no music expert, but I'm a sucker for the mixture of deep base, catchy mixers and smooth vocals.

The video can be taken as a little out there, but I think it eludes to Youth Chav Culture in the UK. In case you are not familiar with the term, Chav is a British stereotype of working-class youth who, although not always connected to a group or gang, behave under a sort of 'gang mentality' - dressing the same, behaving the same and having pride in being feared by and offensive to others, sometimes engaging in illegal activities.

Ben Khan's Youth is slowly but surely becoming one of the tunes for this summer, I can imagine it being amazing at festivals, but don't stop just on this single, please also check the other tracks on Khan's 1992 EP. Absolute genius. The type of music you can dance along to even if you are alone in your kitchen, which I do quite often. My neighbours probably thing I'm having a fit or something. But who cares! Get those bones moving. All you have to do is close your eyes and let the waves take you. :)

Happy Monday! I hope you lot have an great week.

There were conflicting lyrics online, so this is my transcription. If you find any mistakes, please drop me a note in the comments box and I will rectify them.


Saturday, 12 July 2014

Bookish Art {2} ~ The Paper Art of Adersen M Studio


I first came across Adersen M Studio last year, at the Manchester Art Gallery's The First Cut exhibition, an exhibition showcasing what paper could become in the talented hands of several artists. I have been a fan ever since.

You too would have seen and admired their work, albeit not being aware it was them. Do you remember the Nationwide bank TV advert with a city made of paper? Yes, it was them. Or the ITV3 paper scene domes in between programs? Yeap, them as well. Do you want a book connection stronger than just using paper? Then you are in for a treat... for nobody less than J.K. Rowling has also used their paper art skills for the introduction video of Harry Potter's virtual world Pottermore. These guys can literally make a book come to life by cutting and moulding the pages to create 3D images. I personally prefer calling them works of art, as can only imagine how time consuming each of these projects must be!!

You can watch an interview with the two brilliant minds behind Adersen M Studio, brother and sister Martin and Line Adersen, over a Little Scraps of Paper and watch videos of their artwork on their YouTube channel.

Lucky for us, we get to enjoy and admire their beautiful work. :)

Friday, 11 July 2014

July 2014 ~ Events for Book Lovers, Writers and Curious Souls

There are so many cool events going on in July, it was honestly a nightmare not to get sidetracked. I couldn't help it! The result is a list involving events in Bolton, Bury, Harrogate, Huddersfield, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Preston and Whalley.

I'm also trying something different on the way we publish our event list... this month's events are listed by date and have highlighted tags just in case you are looking for something in particular, for example, a movie screening. Tell me what you think about it and if it makes it easier for you to find what you need when you need it. 

Enjoy your July! :)


Deadline: Fri 28th August ~ Are you an aspiring crime writer? Then The Northern Crime Competition is looking for you. The winning novel will be published on eBook and paper. More information

Deadline: Sun 31t August ~ Just the thing for aspiring poets. The Portico Brotherton Poetry Prize is now open for entries. The theme is 'Conflict and Community'. You can focus on particular conflicts and their effect on the community or write from the perspective of an individual experiencing conflict. Check categories and details.


Don't forget to check your local library and bookshop for events. Most of them host book clubs and writing groups. Libraries, in particular, are very good at hosting events for young children.

Bookshop Foyles is now offering Literary Tours around England & Wales. If you enjoy exploring the places where literature meets real life, you can check dates and details here.

Tue 22nd July ~ BookMachine London with Sam Missingham. BookMachine is a networking event for anyone involved in the world of book publishing. They also regularly invite speakers to talk about their experience and challenges in the industry - this month's guest speaker is Sam Missingham, Head of Events at HarperCollins. Tickets and info.

Mon 28th July ~ The ScRibble Creative Writing Group meets on the last Monday of every month at The New Continental Inn in Preston. It's free to join and it offers a monthly challenge, writing exercises and constructive feedback on your writing. Ideal if you want to strengthen your writing or build your confidence in your writing skills. Location and more info


Tuesday, 8 July 2014

BBC Radio Lancashire Interview with John Gillmore {3}

Once again I have invaded BBC Radio Lancashire for part of the afternoon to catch up with John Gillmore and talk about books, Brazil and the World Cup. It's all part of my World domination plan (insert evil laugh here). ;)
I don't know if it was because I was flustered (tyre problems are never a good way to start the day), but I seem to have been suffering from an inability to think straight and string coherent sentences together during my interview. Oh dear! *drops head in shame* This is when some music genius makes a rap of my repetitions (Oh Lord Jesus is a fire!). *_*
Anyhow, I had a great time over at BBC Lancashire, as always, and was invited to return, despite the fact Gilly had to remind me that I couldn't say the female character was "badass" on live radio. :) However, there are a few things I must apologise for and correct before you watch the little video I have made for you:
P.S. You will be happy to see a good improvement on my video making skills after my debut masterpiece a couple of weeks ago. (I'm sorry! I had to behave like an overly proud parent, as I think this is a lot better than the last one. But ok... Focus!)
1. Both Sao Paulo and Rio are hosts cities to the World Cup, ignore when I say it's just Rio.
2. The Negro River is 5 miles wide and 900 miles away from the sea. Not 900 meters away from the sea. Let's not mention that's not even a kilometre, which is under a mile!! Oh dear Lord... I don't think my two neurons were talking to each other. *_*
Anyway... Thanks Gilly and the guys over at BBC Radio Lancashire for inviting me yet again. It's always a pleasure!


Monday, 7 July 2014

Music Monday ~ L O N E R by Marz Leon

American indie singer songwriter and producer Marz Leon is brand new to the music scene, but her debut single L O N E R is only the scout for the EP she is planning to launch in the summer. Full of style, with a dark sultry and catchy sound, Marz exudes intrigue and inspires curiosity. I heard this track on BBC Radio 1 and liked it so much I had to go digging the playlist on their website to find out what it was. You can read more about Marz over at Pigeons & Planes, where she talks about her new EP.

The track is so new, I couldn't find a reference for the lyrics anywhere. The lyrics below are my own transcript. If you notice something is not correct, just give me shout in the comments box and I'll rectify the mistake.

I hope you like it as much as I do!! :)

Happy Monday!! 


Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Independent Booksellers Week & The Guardian's List of Indie Bookshops

It's Independent Booksellers Week from tomorrow, the 26th June, to the 5th of July. And we should celebrate our appreciation of them and show our support not only during this coming week, but throughout the year.

We all know that independent bookshops are becoming a rare bread. I would like to say that the love of books will keep them going forever, but convenience, the high-street, digitalization, competition, sometimes a lack of foresight and, in cases, a slow reaction to change, as well as ever shrinking margins and ever higher rents and rates are enough to squeeze the passion out of any business, never mind one based on a creative industry.

Having said that, in the last few years, huge effort has been put into showing these surviving mavericks our appreciation and support. More and more we see communities getting together to protect local libraries and bookshops, from small country towns to big metropolises, including famous people like acclaimed crime author James Patterson who is to donate £250K to keep indie booksellers going. It's hard to keep a foot in the future while appreciating the present and preserving the past, but some are managing to do just that. A newspaper both online and on print, The Guardian is also a reference for culture and literature. I'm a fan of its style guide, which keeps my spelling in check the British way, and now I'm a big fan of their UK Independent Bookshop Directory. According to their website, you can order what looks like a paper copy, but online you can use the interactive map to find your nearest treasure trove.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Vision Aid Overseas ~ Recycling Old Glasses

As you might have seen on social media, if you follow my rumblings there, I have just changed my specs. I no longer look like a librarian; I now officially look like a geek! :) Either are just fine by me, but I'm blessed enough to be able to change my specs whenever I get bored of them and have the excuse of a new prescription. So when I got back home with my brand new pair of eyes (and I'm like a child with a new toy. Sad, but true.), I had a problem: what to do with my old boring pair of glasses?
The rubbish bin looked very tempting, with its big mouth that swallows everything I don't want to see in my house and solves quite a few of my problems. But I decided earlier this year that I would try to recycle things that were on working order, rather than letting the very capitalist consumerist in me use and dispose of everything in the path of my 30 seconds attention span. So I set off looking for a way to ethically dispose of my perfectly good, but now unwanted, pair of glasses. This is when I came across Vision Aid Overseas.
Vision Aid Overseas works mostly in Africa; it provides glasses for free for adults and children, builds vision centres and trains local people to work in them as specialists. Here in the UK, we take for granted the fact opticians are widely available and wearing glasses is within anyone's reach even if you can't fund them yourself, but poor vision can really halt a child's education and an adult's job prospects elsewhere in the world. I remember when I was younger and it became apparent I needed glasses. I couldn't read anything in the board at school and I had constant headaches from straining my vision trying to read it. Not fun. 

In the UK, a lot of the optical practices will collect your old specs and send it to them. So why not let them have it and recycle it by giving it to someone who needs them and can't afford to buy them? Mine are on their way. If you have unwanted specs lying around your house for whatever reason, you can really help someone else by decluttering. And if you are feeling truly generous, you can also donate to this amazing project. People can't read if they can't see.

The video below is a little old, Blogger wouldn't let me find the newer ones on YouTube, but this one gives you a good insight into the amazing work Vision Aid Overseas is doing. You can also visit their YouTube channel here.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Music Monday ~ Slave by Jakwob

The man behind Ellie Goulding's hugely successful Starry Eyed, British music producer Jakwob is better known for his work with other artists, but he also produces his own music. Some people are just born with a talent and this certainly seems to be his case. He started playing music when he was only 10 years-old and now, he not only produces music and works with an array of other artists, but he also owns his own record label - Boom Ting Recordings, worth checking if you like something edgy and cool.

His new song, the summer tune Somebody New, is out now but I would highly recommend you check all the others too. Fade is another one of my favourites, but here we will talk about the song Slave. I struggled finding the lyrics for this song anywhere, so this is my transcription as I understand it. It might be completely off the mark in some lines, but I like the lyrics I hear. If you notice something different, ignore my version. :)

I hope you guys have a wonderful week and thank you for popping by!

Happy Monday!!


Saturday, 21 June 2014

#THISBOOK ~ The Books That Changed My Life

If you love to read, chances are, you'll have come across a book that provokes you, makes you think, makes you happy, angry, sad, elicits your sympathy... A book that has marked your life in one way or another. This is what #THISBOOK celebrates, as well as the achievement of women in fiction writing.

#THISBOOK is a conversation on Twitter and, as I wanted to take part in it, I sat here trying to think of what book written by a woman changed my life. I managed to narrow it down to two. I know, I know... It's meant to be only one but, like any woman, I'm a complicated and multifaceted nutcase. This is what you get with creative people, untamed vision and an unwillingness to conform at times!!

Friday, 20 June 2014

Out & About ~ Mr Baker

As a Brazilian who has been living away from her homeland for a good 15 years, I know what it feels like to crave the food you love. Trust me, sometimes I can even smell it!! This is for the expats living in Brazil and for anyone in Brazil wanting to try something new.

Mr Baker is the jazzy combination of a Brazilian/English pair. Set to be an organic café that makes everything from scratch, this is the spot in São Paulo where you might be able to find some British goodies, such as Cumberland sausages and English tea. My guess is that it could not escape the owner's husband's English influence. He probably missed his food!! So if you are an English expat in São Paulo and you have been missing English yummies, head to Mr Baker.

Mostly organic, they bake a good and exotic selection of fresh artisan breads everyday. Not only that, but the food is cooked behind a glass panel, so you can see it being done, and all the juices are made from real fruit right in front of you if you want to watch it. You don't get much fresher than that!! The last time I was there, I had a steak sandwich with fresh orange and passion fruit juice that was just sublime. The steak was a good tender cut, soft and juicy. It makes me hungry just thinking about it and I can honestly tell you I was short of eating the plate!

Thursday, 19 June 2014

BBC Radio Lancashire Interview with John Gillmore {2}

It's always interesting to be on the opposite side of the fence. Yesterday, instead of interrogating an unsuspecting victim, I was the one having a great chinwag with John Gillmore over at BBC Radio Lancashire.

We talked about Brazil, blogging and football. Gilly's program went on for most of the afternoon, but to make it easier, and because the link over at BBC Radio Lancashire's website only stays up for 7 days, disappearing into the abyss after,  I have created and edited (very badly) a little video for you.

Apologies in advance for the state of it. I'm a novice to the art of video making and I had problems accessing the original source audio, hence why you will hear hiccups and the odd repetition here and there.

To Gilly, thank you so much for having me (again!). I had a great time! 

Monday, 16 June 2014

Music Monday ~ Translation of Largadinho by Claudia Leitte
Following the World Cup and staying with the Brazilian theme, it's time you learn some Brazilian dancing!! :) This is one you should recognise if you like Rumba. If not, together with Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull, Claudia Leitte is the Brazilian singer who performs the official song for the World Cup 2014.

Brazilians love choreographed dancing, with steps that everybody knows and follows in a mass performance. Think something like line dancing, Cha Cha Slide or even, if you must, the Macarena! But way cooler and sexier. :)

There are certain genres of Brazilian music in which this is more common, in particular Brazilian Funk/ Funk Carioca and Axé. Clique on the links for the definition of these if you haven't come across them before or if you rather have examples, check our Music Monday with Brazilian "funkeira" Flora Matos and the song below is an example of Axé. If you are in Brazil at the moment, you should most definitely come across this one, so leave your inhibitions behind and let it loose! :)

Have a wonderful Monday!!!

Image Credit: Brazilian flag by leaod


Saturday, 14 June 2014

Father's Day Gift Ideas

My attempt at a Father's Day blog post comes far too late, this is due to the fact I thought Father's Day wasn't until June 25th!!! And I checked the calendar, would you believe? Epic fail. Anyway... if, like me, you are now desperately running around looking for a gift, because you are a last minute shopper and only work under pressure (yikes!!), here are some ideas:

1. Take you dad to his favourite restaurant. Have you ever heard them say you can get a man by his stomach? It's true. Chances are, this is going to cost you some money, but the old boy deserves it. If you don't know what is your old man's favourite eating spot or it's not in Lancashire, click here for ideas of where to take him.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Bookish Nerd Facts {1} - The Making and Smell of Paper Books

I always talk about the book-lovers' obsession with good writing, paper books and the smell of them, and how to proudly display your book love in your house and on your person, but there are some very interesting facts on the actual making of them, which book-lovers some times are blissfully unaware of or just never think about. Here are some bookish nerd facts I learned this week.

We love paper books, but have you ever stopped to think about their design? Well... Any ignorance on the matter is about to be squashed. Designers Insights published an interesting image of the anatomy of a hardcover and, being a nerd, I found this quite interesting, as I had never stopped to think about it.

Did you know there are different types of binding processes by which book pages are put together? No? Neither did I. The Discovery Channel helped me with that one. Here is How It's Made for you.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Movie Review ~ Maleficent

Fairy tales are on the up for movies. In the last two years, we already had Snow White, Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood... and now, Sleeping Beauty.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised with this movie. If I am honest, I was expecting either the story we know well to be told from a different point of view or a cliché - a history of suffering or abuse as a child that explains the anger and evilness at later life. Granted, there was a little of that, but I wasn't quite expecting the twist at the end. It's hard to talk too much about it without giving the end away, so I will be brief. I don't want to spoil it for you if you haven't watched it yet. 

As expected, Angelina Jolie does a really great job as Maleficent and the character suits her well. I have also become a big fan of the crow Diaval (Sam Riley), which was transformed into a man for a good part of the movie. Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning), on the other hand, was incredibly annoying and so was the prince and the three fairies. However, I thought it was quite interesting that on this version the fairies don't really know how to look after a human child, which brought a level of realism to it. Why would they? But I suppose my biggest surprise was Sharlto Copley, who plays King Stefan, Aurora's father. Bearing in mind I haven't watched any other films he has starred on and had never heard of the guy before, I thought he was quite good at portraying an obsessed man who slowly descents into madness.

And despite the darkness that seems to envelop most of the recent fairy tale remakes, as every Disney film, Maleficent surely comes with a big moral lesson - ruthless greed is the evil of the world and love and the good in people always prevail.

I would say Angelina Jolie and Sharlto Copley are definitely worth the watch.



Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Book-Turned-Movie {6} - Belle, Secret Sharer, Devil's Knot, The Fault in Our Stars, Cold in July

There are a series of interesting movies out this month and although some of them may not have a book connection, they still tell really interesting stories.

Fri 13th June sees the release of Belle, the film based on a painting and the real life story of Dido Belle, the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of a navy officer who on his return to England caused a stir when, at the height of the slavery trade, he decided to bring his daughter up as an aristocrat. The painting of her and her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray, the inspiration for the movie, was one of the first paintings to ever depict a person of colour at the same level as a white aristocrat. You can read more about Dido and said painting here.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

June 2014 ~ Events for Book Lovers, Writers and Curious Souls

Exhibitions, festivals, signings, competitions, courses and workshops, and regular events... There is a lot going on in June and some of it it's free, so don't stay at home!! 

Today!!! 10th June ~ Screening of Common People I don't usually add film screenings to the monthly event lists, but this indie gem will be screening just for today in selected cities in the North West and because it is so cute and I am dying to watch it, I think it deserves a spot. Common People is a British comedy about 30 characters in 6 stories, intertwined by a escapee parrot and a London park. I laughed just reading the synopsis!! If you are near York or Liverpool, this is a 'must watch'. Book tickets here.

Until the 30th June ~ The Portico Library in Manchester hosts A Northern Narrative Exhibition, a collaboration of four artists inspired by the life up North and its people. Admission is free and if you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I have already mention how beautiful The Portico Library is as a building. Definitely worth the visit. More details here.

Until the 9th July ~ The Text Festival celebrates the connection in between language and art. It's main idea is to be experimental, finding new ways to mix the two and creating something any geek linguist like me might find fascinating. There are some really interesting exhibitions on offer and admission is free at the Bury Sculpture Centre. More information here.

Fri 20th - Sun 22nd June ~ The first ever London Short Story Festival is taking place at Waterstones Piccadilly, London, with a whole array of events from workshops to readings and interviews. If you are from that neck of the woods, check it out! More info and tickets here.

Thu 26th Jun - Sun 6th July ~ the Manchester Children's Book Festival takes place in iconic locations all over Manchester and this year, it will host events with famous authors such as Michael Morpurgo. For the full list of events click here.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Music Monday ~ Translation of Todo Mundo by Gaby Amarantos & Monobloco

So the World Cup is around the corner and, despite not really agreeing with the huge amount of money spent on it, I will give in to the football mania for a matter of national pride and indeed parade the beautiful Brazilian flag on all my windows! :)

If you are wondering why people in Brazil are protesting against the World Cup, it's simple. While Brazil is spending more than the cost of the last 3 World Cups put together on its peacock display, the cases of relatives holding their elderly family members in their arms in hospital waiting rooms and pregnant women giving birth in the waiting areas of overloaded maternity units are becoming the norm in our overloaded public health system. Don't even get me started on the educational system, corruption or violence! In case you don't know how much money the amount above is, Japan and South Korea spent 5 billion dollars on the 2002 World Cup, Germany 6 billion on the 2006 games, and South Africa 4 billion on the 2010 festivities. Brazil has so far spent 16 billion dollars, an investment much needed elsewhere. My advice, if you are traveling to Brazil, is don't get ill or have any accidents. You might never make it to the top of the queue in a public hospital.

I know this sounds awful. But don't be mistaken, I love my country, I really do. It just makes me sad that, like they say, "men in denim build the land, men in suits destroy it." Brazil is a wonderful and warm country full of warm people who are happy-go-lucky despite the unfairness of life. If you have the chance to experience the real Brazil, you will fall in love not only with the country itself, but with its fun-loving people too. You can read more about my beautiful country here, including some places worth visiting.

On a happier note, FIFA released the official soundtrack for the World Cup 2014 a while ago, but if I am honest, despite pulling some big names out of the bag, none of the tracks sound really Brazilian to me. In fact, a lot of them seem to be sung in Spanish, which is not our language by the way. So when I was looking for a World Cup 2014 song, I found that the tune that most made me feel like I was back home was actually the Coca Cola's official Brazilian song for the games. A little sad, I know; but I have always admired Coca Cola's marketing power and market placement knowledge. They surely seem to understand Brazilian Culture more than FIFA!

So enjoy and I hope the Brazilian warmth finds you wherever you are today. :)

Happy Monday!!! 


Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Tomorrow is World Book Night!

World Book Night (WBN) is about spreading the love for reading. The idea is to celebrate and encourage reading by giving books away and creating events to inspire current readers and, in particular, spark the curiosity of new ones.

Mostly, reading for pleasure is an individual and personal thing. However, there is a wide community of booklovers out here crazy to share their passion for reading. In blogs like this one, bookshops, book clubs and libraries you can chat, read about books, review and recommend them. World Book Night is the giant, even better, version of this. It annually celebrates books and reading with a massive shebang! :) So tomorrow night, the 23rd of April, several events are due to take place all over the UK and the US to celebrate reading and books. 

Monday, 21 April 2014

Music Monday - Sweater Weather by Kina Grannis

Kina Grannis is quickly becoming one of my favourite singers. The half Japanese half American singer-songwriter has a fantastic YouTube channel where she does both covers of other people's songs (like this one, originally recorded by The Neighbourhood) and her own stuff.

While you are checking her MTV award winning channel, check Dear River (love it!!!), one of her newer songs launched earlier this month, and In Your Arms, one of her older ones. The video for the latter was made using 288,000 jelly beans!! :P

I hope you had a good Monday and a fantastic Easter. :)


Sunday, 30 March 2014

2014 Mother's Day - Mothers Wanted

It's Mother's Day in the UK today. To me, motherhood is a double-edged sword - both the toughest and the most rewarding job I ever had. I keep on imagining what it would be like if you applied for motherhood as you apply for a job:

SALARY GRADE: Volunteer position, expenses not covered
The ideal candidate must be flexible and able to work long hours in 24/7 shifts. She must be able to walk the fine line in between discipline and care, being careful not to over indulge or give the child bad habits as well as being able to teach the child good manners and responsibility. 

This is a long-term (lifelong) position and you will only see the finished product once the child is an adult. Therefore, the candidate must be able to work under stress and under pressure as well as show stamina and being able to not despair or lose hope when the child disappoints her. She must also be able to handle difficult situations, including navigating around playground and high-school disagreements, other people's child behaviour expectations and competitive parents as well as being able to be a neutral friend whenever needed without ever losing sight of the fact she is a parent.
  • Overall maintenance of child's health, safety and well-being
  • Looking after the child when they are sick, being able to magically kiss things better
  • Overall educating and teaching life skills for everyday life
  • Cooking, cleaning, ironing, washing clothes, tidying messy bedrooms
  • Surviving pregnancy
  • Nappy changing, feeding, bathing and overall care while child is young
  • Helping with homework and taxing services when the child is older
  • Helping to find a job when the child becomes a teenager
  • Driving said teenager home at early mornings when she/he starts going out
  • Helping to heal broken hearts (without trying to kill first boyfriend/girlfriend)
  • If necessary deal with bullies appropriately (without forgetting you are a reasonable adult and trying to give them a dose of their own medicine)
Women who barely keep children alive, like starved plants, need not apply. 
So... Would you be up for the job???

Happy Mother's Day to all the amazing women who were and are up for it. 3>

Friday, 28 March 2014

Books in Fashion ~ Bookish Nail Art

This is one for the girls. Love your books? Want to make a bookish statement while looking pretty, cool, and ever so slightly geekish (bonus!)? Then check this newspaper/book print nail art out!

This is so simple anyone can do it. And you don't have to use rubbing alcohol if you don't want to or prefer not to, you can also use water. The print won't be as strong, but it will work nonetheless. 

Picture by Cutepolish

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Bookshop of the Month ~ Books for Free

This month I have to feature Books for Free as my bookshop of the month. Not because it's the
coolest or the most swazy, but because of its mission - to recycle unwanted books by redistributing them to local communities for free. Yes, you read that right - FOR FREE.

Books for Free Centres are not libraries or your regular bookshop where you can sit have a read and watch the world go by. Although the idea is that you shop - you browse the ever-changing stock, pick what you like most and take it home - the difference is: it won't cost you a penny and you can take a maximum of 3 books at a time. So if you are a book lover, but struggle to buy books on your student budget or low salary (we all know the feeling the economic downturn has had on our wallets!) this is perfect.

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