Monday, 20 April 2015

REVIEW 'Liesl & Po' by Lauren Oliver

'Liesl & Po' by Lauren Oliver

Goodreads Synopsis:

"Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice—until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.

That same night, an alchemist’s apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable.

Will’s mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey."


Hi Elementareaders!

‘Liesl & Po’ by Lauren Oliver is a charming middle-grade book full of friendship, mix-ups and adventure.

Liesl is a lonely little girl who has been locked away in an attic by her nasty stepmother, after the death of her father. One night she meets a ghost named Po and it’s pet Bundle. Po and Bundle are visiting from The Other Side (a kind of limbo where the dead go before they can move Beyond) and Po says that it will try and find Liesl’s father and tell him that she misses him and ‘good-bye’. I love this passage from page 45 where Po tries to explain how people on The Other Side blur and lose themselves;
“The ghost did not want the girl to get her hopes up. It might not even recognise Liesl’s father if it saw him again; by then, Liesl’s father might not recognise himself. He might have begun to blur, letting the infinity tug on him gently from all sides, like sand being pulled by an eternal tide. He might have already begun the process of becoming part of the Everything. He would begin to feel the electricity from distant stars pulsing through him like a heartbeat. He would feel the weight of old planets on his shoulders, and he would feel the winds of distant corners of the universe blowing through him.” (Liesl & Po p45)

Meanwhile Will, a young alchemist’s assistant is running errands when he makes a detour to look a Liesl through her attic room window. Because of his detour he performs his errands in a different order, going to collect ingredients from Mr Grey, the undertaker, first. He then delivers the alchemist’s box of powerful magic to the formidable Lady Premiere afterwards. But Will has made a terrible mistake. While at Mr Grey’s he put the box of magic down and accidentally picked up the box of Liesl’s fathers ashes which he delivers to the Lady.

“Coincidences; mix-ups; harmless mistakes and switches. And so a story is born.” (Liesl & Po p35)

Liesl wants to take her father’s ashes to the willow tree by her old house to bury them next to her mother. Little does she know that she is actually carrying the box of magic that the Lady Premiere and the alchemist desperately want back. Liesl and Will are thrown together and set out on a journey pursued by a variety of adults all with their own agendas.

I thought this was such a lovely story. It was fast-paced with lots of adventure but was also a really beautiful tale about friendship and love. I think it gives hope that even the loneliest of children living in sad circumstances can find friends.

I adored the beautiful illustrations by Kei Acedera. They are honestly some of the best works of art I've ever seen in a children's book and they really added to the story.

This is such a wonderful book for both children and adults and I’ll definitely be re-reading it in the future.

I’ll leave you with another quote that I loved and think we can all relate to:
“(That was the kind of world they lived in: When people were afraid, they did not always do what they knew to be right. They turned away. They closed their eyes. They said, Tomorrow. Tomorrow, perhaps, I’ll do something about it. And they said that until they died.)” (Liesl & Po p96) 

I would give this book 5 stars :)

Let me know in the comments if you’ve read this book and what you thought of it!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

'Loot Crate' March 2015 - Unboxing & Review

Hey there Elementareaders!

I'm rather late (again) this month, but here's what I got in my March 'Covert' Loot Crate!

What is Loot Crate?
Loot Crate is a monthly subscription service where you receive a box of awesome geek and gaming items. It is based in America but they ship to many countries including the UK. For someone in the UK the box costs $29.95 a month which usually works out at around £20 (it varies slightly depending on the current exchange rate). Shipping is included in this cost. The items you receive add up to $40+ retail value, and each box usually has some exclusive items that you can only get in a Loot Crate. By subscribing you are also entered into a draw each month for a chance to win the Mega Crate which usually has a $ value in the thousands. Each month's box has a theme. This month's theme was 'Covert'. The crates are usually posted around the 20th of each month.

The box looked like this. It comes in a sturdy black box with 'Loot Crate' across the top.

Right of the top was this (rather creased) James Bond 'This is stirred...' t-shirt. I'm not really into James Bond so this wasn't a great item for me (plus I don't really like white shirts) but I'm sure a lot of people will like it.

Next was this 'Stealth Watch'. Kinda cool I guess but I can't see that I'm ever going to wear it. You press the centre and the time appears, press it again and it goes. Though why you would need to keep the time hidden from people is beyond me! Must be a secret agent thing... This watch has Loot Crate Exclusive packaging.

When I heard there was going to be an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D prop replica I was excited because I love the show but I have to say I was a little disappointed when saw that it was just a lanyard (I haven't opened it yet!). Still pretty cool though I guess, and it's a Loot Crate Exclusive.

Next were these pocket-sized notebooks. Two notebooks, one with squared paper and one with lined. Always handy!

Next was this Paracord Survival Bracelet and a little flyer explaining how to use it. I'd heard of these before and I think they're such a great idea if you're going hiking or something. This one is a Loot Crate exclusive with the Loot Crate colours and logo.

Also in my crate was this book of Spy Mad Libs. Hours of fun!

There was also this Orphan Black comic. I don't really know anything about Orphan Black but I'm sure this will be a good read. It has a Loot Crate Exclusive variant cover.

Finally was this months Loot Crate magazine explaining what all the goodies are and containing fun articles. Also, the Loot Crate pin for this month with the theme 'Covert'.

The box itself this month was set out like a spy's computer. Neat!

I liked some parts of this months Loot Crate but I found most of it quite disappointing. I think my favourite items were the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D lanyard and the comic.

If you want to sign up for your own Loot Crate you can do HERE

April's theme is Fantasy! Very much looking forward to my next crate :)

Let me know in the comments if you get Loot Crate, and what your favourite item this month was :)