Quickfire Reviews • Waistcoats, Perks, Symmetry, Beauty Queens, and Dark Minds

Quickfire Reviews

Waistcoats & Weaponry

Book: Waistcoats & Weaponry by Gail Carriger
Rating: 5 out of 5 teacups

It’s been a while since I finished this book but aaaaahhhhh I had so many feels! Everything was so exciting and I very much adored the girls leaving the school grounds (so to speak) and adventuring. Not sure how much I like the romantic interest bits but ughhh I just love the world that Carriger created. Plus, I really adore reading about girls being kickass. The whole secret agent thing is fabulous and I love just how much these girls care about each other, especially in this book when they’re hellbent on helping Sidheag. Ugh. SO good!

 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Book: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 teacups

Alas, I wanted to like it more than I did. It wasn’t a terrible book, far from it, but I think maybe the whole coming of age bracket in the genre is just not my thing. Perks reminded me quite a bit of The Catcher in the Rye, which made me rage a lot at the time. I just have no patience for main characters like these and maybe I would’ve liked the book more had I been younger, you know? It’s not bad, it’s just not my thing and I couldn’t really identify with Charlie at all. I was just exasperated with him. Not the character’s fault, of course, I just have very little patience with these stories.

 

Her Fearful Symmetry

Book: Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
Rating: 3 out of 5 teacups

Niiiiiice book. Here’s the thing with Niffenegger’s books: I can’t really build up an emotional connection to them, I will not fangirl or moan about them, but I will be incredibly intrigued by them. In particular, Her Fearful Symmetry wasn’t very big on the likeable characters front, I couldn’t identify with any of them and the mystery was easy to unravel if you wanted to (I sort of called everything, and the things I didn’t call I at least sort of had an inkling about), but ohhh the story-telling was pretty neat. It kept me glued to the pages (actual pages, for once! I read a physical copy of a book, go me!) and I just had continue reading so I could find out if my suspicions were true. They were. I’m afraid the title sort of gave a bit of it away, after a while, but this book combines some of my favourite things: twins, ghosts, and being set in the UK, and I really enjoyed how it all turned out. Only three stars because it wasn’t much of a OMGWTFBBQ sort of book, but it was good and I liked the dark tone of it, the differences between the twins, the twins trying to figure out why their mother wasn’t allowed to visit with them and stuff like that. I really liked that.

 

Beauty Queens

Book: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Rating: 5 out of 5 teacups

If you do not like this book, please take your opinion out with the trash where it belongs. (I kid. You are of course welcome to dislike a book. Any book.) I loved Beauty Queens. It was G.R.E.A.T. It was hilarious and beautiful and full of sarcasm and satirical remarks on good ol’ ‘murricah and by god, I loved it so so so much. The characters, a bunch of pageant contestants, started out really shallow and dumb — just like you’d expect, but then bam! These are all smart girls who know how to do certain things and they’re winners at life on this seemingly secluded island. I loved everything about them and whether or not you think it’s silly to set up a story like this, it just made me grin from ear to ear. This is a book about kickass girls doing awesome things, quite unlike what society expects of them. I loved the inclusion of LGBT issues particularly and idk Libba Bray wrote a fabulous thing here and I am glad that Ren told me to read it.

 

The Darkest Minds

Book: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Rating: 4 out of 5 teacups

Oooh, I liked this book a lot more than I expected! Which is good because I bought a physical copy of it and I always get more upset when I dislike physical copies. The premise of kids with brainy powers is particularly fascinating and I quite like seeing it all through the eyes of Ruby, who is far from perfect. Most of the time YA protagonists are just good at everything they do and of course the hero isn’t the shy quiet kid, but I am always so much more interested in those characters. Ruby grows a lot as a person and while other readers might be frustrated with how naive she is, I understand where she comes from. The girl is sixteen, for heaven’s sake! I’m pretty sure I was worse than her at that age. The only thing that bugged me was that I didn’t really understand the implications of the “disease”, either because I didn’t get it or because it wasn’t explained very well. But there were kids dying left and right and there was no explanation for that, only that the kids who weren’t dying were ~~~evil~~~. So. I hope I can figure that out for myself before I start Never Fade.

Isa

What’s Up Buttercup • December Edition

What's Up, Buttercup?
What’s Up Buttercup is an overview of the past, present and future here on Words in a Teacup, posted around the middle of the month.

 

♦ A Small Update ♦

What's Been Going On:

As you may have noticed, we’ve barely been around lately. :( Alas, we miss blogging and commenting and participating in the community, but time is a rare commodity for us these days. I know, I know, you’re going to say “well, if you love something, you’ll make time for it!” You’re right, of course, but until they invent 48-hour days while keeping the work hours we have, time isn’t going to magically appear for us. If only we had a time-turner!

We’re still here and still reading posts if we get around to it, but looking through 200 unread posts every other day is a daunting task that can hardly be finished.

Did you know that Ren doesn’t like cheese? I know, right?! It’s a mystery to me that I’ve collected a bunch of friends who do not like cheese, actually. Am I a cheese-disliker magnet?

So anyhow, we’ve decided to cut back a lot. Not that we’ve been producing tons of posts, but we decided to take away some of the pressure we put on ourselves. Not taking review requests (UNLESS YOU ARE MARISSA MEYER PLEASE ASK US TO DO ANYTHING FOR YOU, MISS MEYER, WE WILL EVEN GIVE YOU OUR SOULS IF NEEDED) is part of it, but we’ve also decided to skip out on PFM for the time being and reviews (and other posts?? we just don’t know) will happen on a if-we-can-be-bothered-to-write-them basis.

Did you know that in order to sleep the ideal amount of time on nights before my early shift, I would need to go to bed before I even get home from work? I know, right?! What a marvellous way of creating loathing and despair.

In the meantime, please check out all the other sites in the great sea of internetty publications, such as Oh, the Books!, which has amazing round-ups every Sunday (the only book-related posts I religiously read, negl) or The Toast for all the possible needs you might have.

Did you know that on New Year’s Eve, the bakery shop that I work in will get at least 2,000 jam-filled doughnuts with sugar icing? And that’s only the ones with regular jam and sugar icing! There’s also regular ones with sugar on top, the ones with plum jam in it, or nougat, or marzipan, or egg liqueur. I’m already terrified of the numbers alone.

We wish you Happy Holidays, Happy Winter, Happy Friday and an otherwise Happy Time. ♥
Isa

 

[Isa] Also Known As (Also Known As #1) by Robin Benway

Also Known As (Also Known As #1) by Robin BenwayyTitle: Also Known As (Also Known As #1)
Author: Robin Benway
Published: February 26, 2013
Rating: 3 out of 5 teacups
Find it at: amazonbarnesandnoblebookdepositorygoodreads

Which is more dangerous: being an international spy… or surviving high school?

Maggie Silver has never minded her unusual life. Cracking safes for the world’s premier spy organization and traveling the world with her insanely cool parents definitely beat high school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations. (If it’s three digits, why bother locking it at all?)

But when Maggie and her parents are sent to New York City for her first solo assignment, her world is transformed. Suddenly, she’s attending a private school with hundreds of “mean girl” wannabes, trying to avoid the temptation to hack the school’s elementary security system, and working to befriend the aggravatingly cute son of a potential national security threat… all while trying not to blow her cover. — Goodreads Description

Also Known As was a really fun and quick read! You can always lure me in with promises about schools or teenage espionage and, oh look, this has both!

♦ On the upside ♦

Fun characters! Maggie was a lovely character to read about, especially since she was extremely realistic as far as my opinion goes. There’s the old teenage drama trope, sure, but it felt very close to the drama that I observe in the teenagers I encounter. Her best friend Roux was absolutely hilarious, to say the least, but could also be very serious when the situation required it. I really liked her and her attitute and I hope to see more of her in the sequels.

Maggie’s specialty: safe-cracking! It made for an intriguing premise — a teenager being raised as a spy but not necessarily to do some fancy martial arts kind of bad-guy-fighting, but rather as somebody who knows exactly how to do a specific job and that’s what they stick with. It made the story more down-to-earth, despite the general not-so-normal life as a spy.

The focus on wanting to be normal. Like any other teenager who is different, Maggie yearns to be normal and to lead a normal life. Maggie’s struggle with wanting to be normal and also a perfect spy was very authentic, as far as books about teenage spies go.

The writing was very straightforward and easy to follow along, which made for a quick read.

♦ Favourite Quote ♦

“Do the passport thing,” Roux piped up. “That’s really effective.”

♦ On the downside ♦

Having read Ally Carter’s books about teenage girl spies (and also the ones about teenage criminals because hell yeah Ally Carter ♥) I was a little let down. I don’t mean to compare them quite so intently but Ally Carter has spoiled me. Also Known As is a very nice book but there’s just something missing that gives it a little bit of a kick, you know? It doesn’t wow me. The story is nice, the writing is nice, the characters are nice, but nice isn’t omgwowamazing.

Occasionally the characters were a little too authentic. I shouldn’t complain, not after praising it, but I had trouble following Roux’s mood patterns and resulting attitude.

♦ Should you read it? ♦

Sure. It is a nice read after all. There’s room for improvement and if you’ve enjoyed Ally Carter’s books (or even Gail Carriger’s Finishing School series) you might want to lower your expectations, but I think it’s enjoyable all the same!
Isa

[Isa] The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1) by Alan Bradley

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1) by Alan BradleyPick For Me badgeTitle: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1)
Author: Alan Bradley
Published: April 28, 2009
Rating: 3 out of 5 teacups
Find it at: amazonbarnesandnoblebookdepositorygoodreads

It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath.

For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.” — Goodreads Description

This was a pretty lovely read, and I think if I had been younger, I might’ve enjoyed it more.

♦ On the upside ♦

Flavia was adorable! She’s into chemistry, very no-nonsense about the state of affection in her family and a very, very curious child.

There was a lot of culture shock on my part, most likely due to somehow expecting the story to be set much earlier than it was really set (it says 1950, so I have no idea why I thought differently), but it was a good kind of shock. It was really interesting to read about Flavia’s world and how things sort of worked back in the day.

♦ Favourite Quote ♦

Nobody loved me, and that was a fact. Harriet might have when I was a baby, but she was dead.
And then, to my horror, I found myself in tears.
I was appalled.

♦ On the downside ♦

Unfortunately, the mystery just dragged on for too long. I have a limited attention span as it is because I am a goldfish, and this was really trying for me. I wanted to know all about the mystery, but it just took forever and there was so much unnecessary yammering about things unrelated to it. :(

Flavia was often too adorable. I know, I said it was a good thing, but eventually it gets old when the kid is just reciting random chemistry babble. Especially to someone who gloriously flunked chem in high school.

I also think that the family dynamic could have benefitted from somebody who actually cares about Flavia. She must lead a pretty loveless life (obviously, because she’s dead serious in the quote I included) and that’s a shame considering that she has two sisters, after all. An absent father I understand, even some sort of sibling rivalry, but there’s hardly any love shining through at all. I never know whether they truly care when she’s missing or whether it’s just for appearance’s sake, you know? That’s pretty frustrating to read about.

♦ Should you read it? ♦

Tough question. You should pick it up if you like small mysteries and don’t mind that the book could’ve benefitted from some heavy editing to clean up some of the “useless” information. It’s a nice read for a younger audience around Flavia’s age.
Isa

What to do when your beloved E-Reader breaks

Hello and good day to you, fine sir or madam! Random Rambles is a non-regular feature at Words in a Teacup where we take the time to talk about those things on our minds that are (often) unrelated to books but desperately need voicing. This time, as you can glean from the banner above:

 

What to do when your beloved E-Reader breaks

If you’re cheap like me, you totally invested into an e-reader at one point. They’re just so awesome! So many books you can carry in a tiny little gadget! And you can even save some money! Most times ebooks are cheaper than the printed ones, after all. Don’t get me wrong, I love printed books, theyre ever so shiny and ugh I love holding a book, but I also love having a huge selection to choose from. I can’t very well carry a hundred books in my purse, can I? (Well. Well. I am sure that if I had a big enough purse, I could. I just might die underneath the weight of it.)

Turned off and turned on. It’s definitely broken.

But then the unimaginable horror story has come true: your choice of medium through which you devour books is broken. It’s shot. On the fritz. Kaput. All buggered up. Or as the Germans say, “im Arsch”. Unfortunately, I appear to have a bad track record with e-readers so far. Granted, it’s only my second one (both of them were a Kindle 4, btw), but still. Breaking two out of two? Not something you would call good. And it’s even worse when you don’t know how you break it. At least with the first one, I dropped it in the floor. That’s how the e-ink screen inside broke. The second one? Not so sure. Same result, but I have no idea what happened. It was just fine the other day!

Okay, so get to the point, Isa. My e-reader is broken.
What do I do now?

 

Option 1: Cry a lot and pray for a miracle

Definitely an option I am very much in favour of. Crying doesn’t help anything but it sure gives you an outlet for all the feelings. After all, you just lost a bajillion of books all ready to be read! It’s a tragic thing to have happened to you. (I’m not kidding. Dead technology is the worst and will reduce me to tears of rage and later sadness.) If you’ve got the means, you should definitely go and sit in the shower and cry some more.

Also wish for that miracle. I’ve been there and done that, it doesn’t fix it either, but at least you tried. Don’t come crying to me before you’ve wished for a miracle.

Option 2: Call your e-reader’s manufacturer

You’re not the first person with your problem and you won’t be the last. If you’ve got a Kindle, Amazon has a very helpful customer support, at least here in Germany, and while they couldn’t actually help me, they sure were nice. (The guy even advised me to go to a different shop to buy a new Kindle there because they had them on sale there! Super nice, 10/10 would recommend Amazon customer support). Depending on the issue with your device, they’re usually very quick to replace them. Unless you’re just past the guarantee limit, like I was. They won’t be able to do anything then. :( Or, similarly, a lot of the time, certain aspects of your device will not be included in that guarantee. Like the display. Or charger sockets on laptops. It’s really frustrating. At this point I would advise you to return to Option 1.

Option 3: For the time being, return to “real” books

I mean, they do exist for a reason! And you did read them before you had an e-reader.

Option 3a: Go to the library more often!

I don’t think I need to tell you how the whole library thing works, considering that you are a reader. But still, they exist! (Only not here. No good libraries here. Why do you think I resort to electronic books?????) Please visit your local library and, if you are unsettled by the existence of other humans inside them, contact a helpful librarian (who belong to a special group of beings not classified as humans) at the front desk and tell them about your dilemma. Possibly employ Option 1 in front of them and then ask where the section is that contains your favourite genre.

Option 3b: Buy new books in a bookshop!

“But Isaaaa! I don’t have any money!” I know. Me neither. That’s the whole problem, isn’t it? But they might have some things on sale! Or secondhand books! You never know if you don’t go there. Maybe they’ll even share some wine with you!

(Of course, if you live where I live, there are also no handy bookshops anywhere close. Life is just so hard, damn it.)

Option 3c: Re-read all the printed books that you own

Come on, you know you want to. You’ve been talking about re-reading loads of them before and yet you never do it. Go on! I believe in you. You can overcome these terrible e-reader-less times and re-read some much-loved printed books. There’s still hope for happiness, my dear! Do not despair. (If you do despair, I would like to redirect you to Option 1.)

Option 4: Try out new things

New things? What are these new things you speak of, Isa? I have not heard of these new-fangled things-other-than-reading that you insinuate I should do!

Option 4a: Read some fanfiction

Touchy subject, I know, but you’re desperate, so why not check out some of the fanfiction that’s been written in your favourite fandoms? When in doubt, I turn to Harry Potter fanfiction, negl. I am not ashamed and I think fanfiction is a marvellous concept. Of course, I used to read fanfic on my Kindle… I might have to go and give Option 1 a good try right now. And then I might go to my favourite fanfic sites – I know you’re wondering: AO3 for all the good fic, and fanfiction.net for all my deplorable and quite frankly dubious tastes – and try to console myself.

Option 4b: Read other things online

There are other things online? Yes! Yes there are. You should go and read Nimona. I’m currently doing so. Go on and do it.

Option 4c: Television!

Don’t tell me you haven’t considered that yet. I love me a good tv show and so should you. It will distract you from the painful loss of your e-reader by throwing other feelings on you. You will probably become attached to the characters and feel a lot of things because that’s usually what happens. Because people on tv are never happy. It’s the law. (At this point I feel obligated to point out that you should watch Orphan Black, Orange is the New Black, and Great British Bake Off.)

Option 4d: Podcasts! Audioplays!

Want more stories and funtimes? You should check out the grand world of audioplays and podcasts. My personal favourites: Cabin Pressure (it’s about a small charter airline and it’s hilarious and flawfree and John Finnemore is a god), John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme (let me educate you about Winnie the Pooh’s interdivention), and Welcome To Night Vale. The latter is particularly beautiful and I adore the storytelling through the medium of radio. Bless Night Vale, I love it so much.

Option 5: Scrap together your last cents, get over yourself and buy a new e-reader

I mean. You’re going to do it anyway.

Learn about all the new devices on the market, weigh all the awesomeness against your money situation and buy a new one. Your old one, unless replaced by the manufacturer, will not suddenly revive itself. Sooner or later you will want a new e-reader and you might as well just give in now. Though I do suggest you give Option 1 at least a short try so you can get rid of all those pesky sad feelings.
Isa

[Isa] Rivers of London (Peter Grant #1) by Ben Aaronovitch

Rivers of London (Peter Grant #1) by Ben AaronovitchPick For Me badgeTitle: Rivers of London (Peter Grant #1)
Author: Ben Aaronovitch
Published: January 10, 2011
Rating: 3 out of 5 teacups
Find it at: amazonbarnesandnoblebookdepositorygoodreads

Peter Grant may have been a probationary constable for the Metropolitan Police Service back in January, but he’s certainly not now. After a spooky encounter with a ghost, he’s now a newly appointed Detective Constable and first wizard-in-training in fifty years trying to solve a series of mysterious violent outbreaks and riots. Add to that a case of couples counselling for a god and goddess who are anything but easily handled and Peter’s got his hands full.

Just like the reader! There’s a lot of things I liked and a lot of things that frustrated me quite a bit.

♦ On the upside ♦

I really enjoyed Peter as a character. He’s well written, dead funny and I quite liked reading things from his POV, even though I usually steer away from male MCs. Aaronovitch did a remarkable job in developing that character and I was really hooked by Peter’s narration.

Similarly intriguing were the premise and the magic system that the author used. He combined magic with science, had Peter experiment to figure out the limits of what magic can do, and it really shows that he put a lot of thought and planning into it.

I particularly enjoyed all the lore and myth about the river spirits, learning about all the rivers that eventually join the Thames. Usually the most us non-Brits learn about water in London is that the Thames exists but nothing more than that, so that was very educating and I loved how every little stream played some part in the grand scheme of things.

♦ Favourite Quote ♦

I certainly wanted to scream, but I remembered that, right then and there, Lesley and I were the only coppers on the scene, and the public doesn’t like it when the police start screaming: it contributes to an impression of things not being conducive to public calm.

♦ On the downside ♦

It was dragging a lot. I don’t know if I only felt this way because I took forever to finish it since I couldn’t find the time to properly sit down and read more than three pages, but towards the end of it I just wanted it to be over and it just didn’t happen. I’d look at the percentage, thinking “surely it must be over quite soon” and I still had 20% to go. And it just didn’t end.

There was entirely too much action happening, especially after three quarters of the book were already over. Every time I figured that I had reached the climax, something more was about to happen. In fact, there was no real climax at all. It just kept going on and on like the author tried to cram as many fitting magic things into the plot as possible, not really caring whether or not they were relevant. In the end the story just sort of petered out, finally trickling to a stop.

Generally there was a lot of useless information in the book. I understand wanting to share as much as possible in regards to the world you’ve built, but there was a lot of yammering about this river and that river and going here and going there, and I think that the story could’ve worked just as well with 300 instead of 400 pages. The premise was good but at one point it was just overdone, and less pages might’ve helped with the awkward typos that nobody caught and the mixed up names that were really quite embarrassing (how can you not know your characters’ names???).

♦ Should you read it? ♦

Yes. All in all, I liked the book well enough to be interested in the sequels. It was a pretty fascinating read and I really hope to learn more about the magic of this series. :D
Isa

HPIATC • One can never have enough socks

Harry Potter in a Teacup • The Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter in a Teacup is a new weekly feature at Words in a Teacup where Isa will re-read her most cherished books and share her thoughts and favourite bits with you. For a detailed schedule, please follow the spiders, and if you want to suggest specific post topics, please consider sending us a Howler.

 

Chapter 12Chapter 13Chapter 14Chapter 15Chapter 16Chapter 17Thoughts

Oh gosh, so I’m three four weeks behind on my initial schedule for this but work is more exhausting than I initially thought it would be. Sleep >>>> books, I’m afraid. Even when it concerns Harry. I have finished Philosopher’s Stone, though! And I shall talk about socks! Be prepared for knitting patterns!

‘You haven’t got a letter on yours,’ George observed. ‘I suppose she thinks you don’t forget your name. But we’re not stupid – we know we’re called Gred and Forge.’
— Chapter 12: The Mirror of Erised —

After the revelation that Nicholas Flamel is important to the Trio’s research we skip to Christmas. Everyone’s ready for the hols and Demon Child 2.0 taunts Harry about having to stay at the castle. Makes me wonder how the obnoxious brat knew that but whatever, I hope Harry has a grand ol’ time without the Gruesome Twosome and their own Demon Child. Before the hols start for realsies though, the Trio do some extracurricular work by researching Nicholas Flamel in the library. As you do. I’ve never seen eleven-year-olds do so much research on stuff on their own, but then I guess that’s what you do when there’s a mysterious thing happening in your life. Probably. Tragically they do not find the information they seek before Hermione leaves to be with her scary dentist parents. The holidays start, Harry gets presents (it’s a bloody Christmas miracle for him, alright) and on top of that he finds a magic mirror randomly standing about the school. It’s a real proper magic mirror, too, though it does not tell him where Snow White lives. Instead it shows him his entire dead family. Cause that’s not macabre at all.

Chapters 13 through 17 and socks!

Random Rambles • The one with the time management skills (and lots of cake)

rambles-work

Hello and good day to you, fine sir or madam! Random Rambles is a non-regular feature at Words in a Teacup where we take the time to talk about those things on our minds that are (often) unrelated to books but desperately need voicing. This time, as you can glean from the banner above:

 

How to manage work and blogging

Short answer: I don’t.

 

Guess who’s tired?

Yep, you got it. It’s this gal.

It’s 1:30pm on a fine Sunday and I’m currently sitting in bed pondering my life and how other people do it. School (and college and uni) has started again for a lot of bloggers and I am in awe of those who still manage to find time to read and blog. Same with those who work full-time. I. Am. In. Awe. Because I fail to do the same. I should be writing a review right now, one that I’ve been postponing for a while now, but I just cannot muster the motivation. I didn’t even get around to reading Harry Potter for my HP feature…

I recently started full-time work in a bakery as an apprentice.

You know, in the front-end part of a bakery selling stuff, not in the baking part, though we do get raw breadrolls and pretzel sticks that we bake freshly in our shop. I love my new job. It’s exhausting and stressful and I work in an area where people are particularly full of themselves and arrogant about it and I work six days a week (except from August 25th on I will go to school two days a week) but I love it. I made some bad decisions in the past and I’m very glad to have this opportunity now. And I mean, in a bakery… All. That. Food. It’s a bit like heaven.

I am also terrified. There are a lot of expectations and because I’m doing pretty well, it makes me all the more terrified that I might eff it all up somehow. I’ve got a four-month-long probation period during which they can fire me at any time. I know I’m good at what I do once I’ve learned how to do it (I have yet to master doing specific things at the same time — like preparing the raw breadrolls for the oven and simultaneously filling already baked breadrolls so we can sell them… there’s some sort of time magic behind that process, I’m sure of it), but that doesn’t take away the sheer horror of possibly making mistakes.

I think my saving grace so far is that I’ve worked in retail before. And that the other apprentice keeps messing up all the time, which makes me shine. I feel like a horrible person for that. When I started my new job, the shop manager was still on holiday and the other two colleagues I worked with sort of eased me into it. I’ve been properly cautioned not to catch the shop manager on the wrong foot because she can apparently dig into you quite well. So far I haven’t witnessed anything like that from her, but that just makes it a little bit more stressful. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for my mess-ups to be noticed, waiting to be chewed out (… that damn coffee machine and I are never going to be friends, I swear.) It doesn’t help that I’ve got the worst crush on my shop manager and keep being awfully cheeky with her because I cannot in fact behave like a normal human being.

But you know, besides all that pressure, besides knowing that they expect me to run the shop alone in the afternoons come the second week of September (oh dear god, I am absolutely terrified), I really do love my new job. It’s fun.

What’s not fun is how little time I have these days. I expect the school days to be less exhausting — my shop manager already prepared me for the possibility of unbearable boredom because I not only had the qualifications for uni, but also because I’m 24 and most other apprentices are six to eight years younger than I am — but it doesn’t take away the fact that I get up at 2:50am on early shift days. When I come home at around noon on those days, I’m just glad to get out of my car because I will start shutting down around that time. Once I’m home don’t expect me to be capable of anything. Late shift days aren’t much better. I might get more sleep, but I probably have to go to bed at 9pm at the latest on those days because usually our shifts alternate. :(

I miss being able to do stuff. Oh, I’m still around. You’ll probably find me on twitter or tumblr (especially on Thursdays because that’s when I usually watch Great British Bake Off and then proceed to reblog all the things). In fact, you’ll definitely find me on twitter. You should come and find me on twitter and talk to me and stop me from napping, actually. (You should drop me a line who you are though because I’ll probably just miss it otherwise and you will be sad and I will sad and everybody will be sad and we do not want that, do we?) Also to become friends with me. I’m awesome and complain about being tired, swoon over fitting clothes (it’s a miracle when that happens) and generally tweet a lot of random useless stuff. No regrets. Sorry, but I’m not sorry at all.

But I miss being awake enough to concentrate on reading. I miss talking to people that I used to talk to all the time. My new work has brought me closer to my besties again because now we have stuff to talk about (mainly the stupid crush on my shop manager but you know…), but I rarely talk to Ren now. And I miss Ren terribly. Ren, fyi, I miss you loads and love you more than bread week, even though this year’s bread week was not as good as all the past bread weeks. And I almost never talk to the one friend I used to talk to all the time simply because by the time she gets online I’m already in bed. It is the curse of working cruel hours.

I feel a little bit bad for dropping the ball in regards to blogging, but I hope I’ll manage to be around in other ways. I hope that school days will leave me with some much needed reading time, but I might just be even more invisible than I’ve already been lately. But now you know why I’ve been so inactive lately and why it looks like Ren is running this show on her own. Hint: it’s because she is. (Well. More inactive than usually, anyhow. I’ve been rarely commenting on things as it is but now all I see are walls of text and I simply cannot focus on the content, no matter how hard I try. It’s not you, it’s me, I swear. Plus, I’m not the best conversationalist in general, that’s more Ren’s forte. ;) I am blessed to have her, honestly.)

And now I’ll just lie down to nap or something.

Isa

HPIATC • Sorting Shenanigans

Harry Potter in a Teacup • The Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter in a Teacup is a new weekly feature at Words in a Teacup where Isa will re-read her most cherished books and share her thoughts and favourite bits with you. For a detailed schedule, please follow the spiders, and if you want to suggest specific post topics, please consider sending us a Howler.

 

Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9Chapter 10Chapter 11Thoughts

‘Blimey,’ said the other twin. ‘Are you –?’
‘He is,’ said the first twin. ‘Aren’t you?’ he added to Harry.
‘What?’ said Harry.
Harry Potter,’ chorused the twins.
‘Oh, him,’ said Harry. ‘I mean, yes, I am.’
— Chapter 6: The Journey from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters —

After being left with no instructions on how to actually get to the magic train that will bring him to Hogwarts, Harry frantically wanders King’s Cross until he conveniently overhears a family talking about muggles. Thankfully it’s the Weasley family and not somebody more sinister and so Harry not only meets his surrogate family, he also gets to the train safe and sound. We find out that the twins are clearly hilarious, Percy is a self-important prefect and Ickle Ronniekins does not care that his nose is dirty. Demon Child 2.0 introduces himself as Draco Malfoy, and Harry buys just about everything that’s on the food trolley (sucks to be the other students on the train). And then, after a very long train ride and a trip across the lake, Harry and his new friend see Hogwarts for the first time in all its towering glory.

Chapters 6 through 11 and a few random ponderings about the sorting!

HPIATC • First Impressions

Harry Potter in a Teacup • The Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter in a Teacup is a new weekly feature at Words in a Teacup where Isa will re-read her most cherished books and share her thoughts and favourite bits with you. For a detailed schedule, please follow the spiders, and if you want to suggest specific post topics, please consider sending us a Howler.

 

Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5Thoughts

 

‘A letter?’ repeated Professor McGonagall faintly, sitting back down on the wall. ‘Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter?’
— Chapter 1: The Boy Who Lived —

In the first chapter of the saga we get to know the Dursleys (I shall henceforth call them the Gruesome Twosome): they’re in their early to mid-twenties — nobody knows how that happened, really, because I swear they just spawned from hell in a horrifying I-never-ever-want-to-look-like-that mid-30s sort of appearance — they have a horribly misbehaving child and they have a terrible, terrible secret. Namely the fact that Mrs Dursley’s parents did the do at least twice in their lives. Ghastly thing, that. They’re also incredibly talented at pretending that nothing is wrong and probably have certificates that confirm their denial skills.

Sadly, the certificate means nothing because fate, who is an old dude with a beard not unlike Santa’s and twinkly eyes in the colour of fancy toilet water, decides to drop their own personal slave — sorry, I mean orphaned nephew — off on their doorstep. As you do. The old dude with a beard turns out to be Albus Dumbledore, meddler extraordinaire, who gave matters a long, hard think before reaching the conclusion that little Harry Potter, Vanquisher of All That Is Evil, Future Ruler over the Spider Kingdom in His Cupboard, must live with his aunt and uncle (who do not like babies with a special connection to spiders, dust and incidentally lightning). As you do, of course. I mean, that’s a totally sound decision and I don’t see an issue with that at all.

Chapters 2 through 4 and some ponderings on the introduction of Muggleborns to the wizarding world!