Sunday, August 14

Wonderland Cake

My apologies for my awful photo editing skills but I wanted to make a picture that had the bizarreness and dreaminess of Wonderland. Alice in Wonderland is one of my favourite stories ever. As a child I had this big book with thick boards as pages and jigsaws on every second page. It was my favourite. I also had a video (tape) of Alice through the looking glass from 1987 that I watched so much I'm fairly sure our video player didn't even need the tape to know what to play.

And somehow there are pictures on google images of the exact one! LOOK!!!(actually its for sale on eBay too) Oh that does bring back memories....

Anyway, as you all know, Alice Through The Looking Glass came out in cinema a couple of months ago as a follow on from the fabulously mad Alice in Wonderland by Tim Burton. Unfortunately I only got to see the movie last week but for what it's worth I thought it was excellent! The whole concept of time and the story behind the red queen and the white queen really put into context their own stories as characters.

For the occasion of this movie I decided to make a Wonderland Cake. I love baking in themes and of course my mind with crazy with ideas for this cake so my initial plan was to have a very simple and almost calm decor. So that when you cut into the cake you'll see where Wonderland exists. On the inside.

I'll give myself 90% for effort and maybe 40% for execution.

I do need to work on my decorating skills....

Alice in Wonderland always gives me that fuzzy feeling. A feeling of wonder, magic, freedom and of course your hair miraculously turning ginger.

....with a few mad laughs from dear old bloody big head....

But that is all for now folks. I must arise and go now, and go ( no, not to Innisfree) to Wonderland (obviously!)

A very merry unbirthday to you!
M x

Tuesday, August 9

Kitty Hawk [Books Two and Three]

I must thank the publisher and author Iain Reading for sending me these books. Of course this has no way affected my opinion or review but free books are absolutely awesome! I am super excited to continue this series. Especially since the next one is apparently in Ireland and also features the Titanic! One of my many favourite things.

The Hunt For Hemingway's Ghost

SaveSaveTitle: Kitty Hawk and the Hunt for Hemingway's Ghost
Author: Iain Reading
Pages: 236
Stars:  ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Three Words: Mysterious, Adventurous, Enlightening

There was about a year between when I read the first book, The Curse of the Yukon Gold and this one, the second book. I had very much enjoyed the first instalment of Kitty Hawk. Actually no, I surprisingly really loved my adventure with Kitty. She brought me to Alaska in her De Havilland Beaver ( sea plane) and taught me much more than how to spot a humpback whale.

This is why I can't believe I didn't read Iain Reading's next book so soon! The Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency series has something for everyone!

Interestingly enough I started reading this book on a plane to Spain. So as Kitty sat in her pilot's seat flying over North America, I sat in my 14F  aerlingus seat flying over the English Channel or Bay of Biscay or whatever it's called. It filled me with excitement and a longing to explore. There's an innocence about this book that makes me feel childish or somewhat foolish. When I was reading this books I felt I could do anything and go anywhere. My dreams suddenly seemed so much more achievable. I like that this book makes me feel young. Although don't get me wrong, this book isn't just a child's book. I was afraid it would be aimed for a lot younger readers but I think that it's so universal that anyone could read and love it.

On the plane
The main reasons I give this book such a high rating are because of firstly what an awesome character Kitty is. She is curious and independent. She loves to explore and learn. She is ambitious and somebody I would aspire to be. Secondly the secondary characters in this are fantastic! Just like the first book I really felt I knew them and that they could also have been main characters. Jack and Jodi were just very cool people and if I knew them in real life then I think we could be very good friends. I'd go scuba diving with Jodi and listen to old stories from Jack. This leads me to my third point, the amount of stuff I learned in this book. All this information about pirates, pieces of eight, treasure, Spanish ships and voyages was presented in such a fascinating way that I didn't even realise I was learning at all. I don't want to talk too much about the story but the mystery in this book was successful in such way that all my guesses were wrong and it had be doubting my own guesses. I was certainly glued to this book from the moment she set foot on the Keys.

Even though Hemingway isn't exactly the main point of this story I still loved how such a famous author was weaved into it. Any book that talks about authors or books just makes me feel more connected to it. I loved the history in this book and how vivid the adventure becomes.

I highly recommend anyone to read this book. If you love travelling as much as I do it's a fantastic way to learn about cultures. And if you love mystery it is almost like a modern day Nancy Drew. And if you love YA, it's not a typical YA but I still think you should read it!

The Icelandic Intrigue

Title: Kitty Hawk and The Icelandic Intrigue
Author: Iain Reading
Pages: 201
Stars: ★★★★
Three Words: Informative, Beautiful, Gripping

First off, I have to say, what a beautiful cover!! When I saw this I just fell in love! It looks like a painting. As they say a picture can paint a 1000 words and this one paints a million. I think it's the colours, the brush work and the fact that it's right in the middle of action, I can tell that something big is happening!

In this next story line, Kitty is continuing her round the world adventure and lands in Iceland. Although I Ireland is (relatively) near to Iceland I have never been there. By the end of this book though I felt like I had. The country is described so beautifully by Iain Reading. I also learned a HUGE amount about Icelandic culture. For instance, people don't have family names but instead make up their own second name by combining "daughter of/ son of " with one of their parent's names. It's so fascinating, I never knew this stuff before.

The action in this book got a lot more dramatic and definitely kept me gripped. The story feels like it's getting older as if aimed at an audience that is growing. I also really liked the environmental factor and learned so much about geographical things like volcanoes  and geothermal energy.

However I felt like some things didn't fit together. The Russian guys are kind of random and I was still waiting to come full circle and find out that they were connected in some mad way. I was wondering about a mystery that wasn't even really a mystery. Perhaps I just missed this in the book and haven't realised some mega plot line ....

Anyhoo another element I very much loved was all the fables, the elves and the magic! And also how this tied in with story. Very cool!

I do like when a jigsaw fits nicely together and for the most part this book did. I encourage anyone with a yearning for knowledge and fun to read these books.

What are you reading at the moment?

Happy Reading!
M x