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The second Stephen King book I chose to read was The Eyes of the Dragon. I started reading this a few years ago for a sponsored reading challenge I was trying to do. I think I was probably a bit young to appreciate Stephen King’s writing, so I didn’t actually make it past a third of the way in. Now that I am older, and have read and loved a few of his other books, I decided I would give it another try. This is what the blurb says:

The passage through the castle is dim and deep, sensed by few and walked by only one. Flagg knows it well. In four hundred years he has walked it many times, in many guises, but now the passage serves its true purpose. Through the spyhole it conceals, the court magician observes King Roland. The king is old and weak, yet still a king. But his time is nearly over.

Young Prince Peter, tall and handsome, the measure of a king in all ways, stands to inherit the realm. But a tiny mouse is enough to bring him down, a mouse that chanced upon a grain of Dragon Sand behind Peter’s shelves and dies crying tears of fire and belching grey smoke. A mouse that dies as King Roland does. Flagg saw it all and smiled, for now Prince Thomas, a young boy easily swayed to Flagg’s own purposes, would rule the kingdom. But Thomas has a secret that even Flagg cannot guess, a secret that has turned his days into nightmares and his nights into prayed-for oblivion. The last bastion of hope lies at the top of the needle, the royal prison where Peter plans a daring escape.

Imprisoned in innocence, he requires only the most innocent of tools: a child’s dollhouse and an object rarely used in Delain, a table napkin. But Flagg’s words echo in Peter’s mind: ‘I’ll carry your head on my saddle-horn for a thousand years. Here I come, Peter! Coming for your head!’

I really enjoyed reading this book. It isn’t like any of the others of his books I have read. Instead of his classic horror genres, this book is more like a modern, grown-up twist on a fairytale. I really liked the characters, and although it didn’t seem like a whole lot was happening at the time, as I was reading it, I found I couldn’t put it down, I just wanted to know more. The version I have has really nice pictures in it too, which is always a bonus. It didn’t take me very long to read it. In fact, it has taken me longer to write this review, and I am almost halfway through the next book! Never mind.

All in all I thought this was a great book, and I am really glad I decided to give it another shot. It was totally worth reading and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to try out Stephen King, but doesn’t want to be completely freaked out. Or am I just scared too easily?

The next book I am reading is The Dark Half.

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Barcelona

On 11th April to 14th April 2011 (yes that long ago…), I went on a Business Studies trip to Barcelona with my College. To take a break from my revision, and I have actually done some!, I am going to post about it finally :).

I had to be at school for 2.30am (eep!) on the Monday morning, so we could get the coach to Liverpool airport. I’d only had a few hours sleep from a mixture of excitement, nerves, and Ivy accidentally setting the alarm to go off an hour too early. My poor step-dad had to drive me to school at that ridiculous early hour of the morning. The coach journey was fine, I was in a bit of a daze, so I didn’t really process much of it… We got to the airport a few hours early to allow time for checking in and making sure everyone was still with us (we were a group of 21, so there were a lot to get gathered). I slept through most of the flight…

When we actually landed in Barcelona, I noticed first how warm it was. Gotta love the sunshine! I also noticed that the city looked very clean and shiny, although that may have been because of the bright sun.

The square where we ate most nights

After checking into our youth hostel, we went in search for lunch. Most people went to McDonald’s, there was time for Spanish food later! I don’t eat very well when I’m in an unfamiliar place, and when I’m nervous, so I had this for lunch…

I am aware that picture is really out of focus, I’m not the best photographer.

The main trip of the first day was to the Nou Camp Football stadium, which is apparently the most famous football stadium, or something. I don’t know, I’m not into football. I found it strangely interesting though. The beginning bit was like a mini museum, and then we went and sat in the stands, and got really close to the pitch, and had a look round the changing rooms. It was a lot of fun. Picture time!

I managed to find the only music related thing in a football stadium!

Lots of pictures!! I’ve never had so much colour in a post :).

On day 2 we went to the Seat car factory. I thought it was going to be really boring because I’m not into cars either, but it was actually amazing. We had to have headphones in the entire time so we could hear the guide over the noise of the factory. As we went down the production line there were sparks flying over us. Obviously the Spanish are less concerned about health and safety! The coolest thing was watching the robots work. They were scarily human for giant robotic arms. I loved the way they moved so smoothly. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures, so I can’t show you them *sadface*.

For the rest of the day, we went to the main street in Barcelona, Las Ramblas. On the way we saw the Sagrada Familia, a cathedral that started construction in 1882, and is still being built today!

All along Las Ramblas there were street performers, living statues, and loads of crazy different stalls and shops. There were so many people doing all sorts of different things, it was hard to take it all in. It was amazing.

On the 3rd day, we went to an ice cream factory to see how local ice cream was produced on a small scale. As fun as that sounds, the tour was actually a bit boring. One of our teachers got told off for talking, and another nearly fell asleep on his feet! We were given a good sized portion of free ice cream to try though. I don’t actually like ice cream, but I made a few more friends when I shared my portion out!

We spent the afternoon after the visit to the ice cream factory on the beach. It was our last proper day, so our teachers decided we could just have a bit of fun and relax. We played frisbee, and buried someone in the sand to pose for a group photo. It was awesome!

One thing my business teacher wanted to do while we were in Spain was to experience a Tapas meal. Tapas is the traditional Spanish way of eating food. Basically you order lots of little things and everyone tries a bit of it all. Being a vegetarian, it was difficult to share the food, but my spicy potato wedges were so good! I didn’t want to share those :P.

That’s pretty much it for the main feel of the trip. I had so much fun, and became closer friends with a lot of the people in my class. I will leave you with a picture of me when they dressed me up and did my hair…

…and one of the largest vending machine I have ever seen. 🙂

A Belated Birthday

On 21st April, it was my baby sister’s birthday. She turned 3. As her Birthday treat, we took a trip to Dudley Zoo. It was an awesome day, the sun was shining, and the little monster had a great time.

I think it’s crazy that she’s already three. It seems like yesterday that mum told us she was pregnant after she threw up all over the road on the way to our holiday villa in Greece. For her first birthday, I made a video of pictures of her first year. I would like to share it as a reminder of how tiny she was :).

She’s not so tiny anymore. She runs around, and you can have pretty decent conversations with her. Some of the things she comes out with are fantastic. At the zoo, she started interacting with other children around her age for the first time. Every time they had to leave, and more children came, she would say “more friends are coming!!” She also learned the song that goes “we’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo” and was singing that all the way round. It was the cutest thing.

I think that’s about it, so I’m going to sign off with a belated Birthday Wish. Love you little monster! xxx

After completing the 30 Day Song Challenge, a combination of being in Barcelona (more about that in another post), being busy, and generally not knowing what to post, has caused a lack in posting on my part. I thought I would change that by writing my first 2011 Stephen King Challenge post.

The first book I chose to read was Carrie. I watched the film around the same time I saw Misery because it came in the same box set. I thought the film was great, so I wanted to read the book. Now Carrie was actually one that wasn’t in my mum’s collection, but luckily I found it for 99p in a local charity shop. Liberty very kindly bought it for me, as I didn’t have any money on me.

The blurb on the back of the book says:

Carrie White is no ordinary girl.

Carrie White has a gift – the gift of telekinesis.

To be invited to Prom Night by Tommy Ross is a dream come true for Carrie – the first step towards social acceptance by her high school colleagues.

But events will take a decidedly macabre turn on that horrifying and endless night as she is forced to exercise her terrible gift on the town that mocks and loathes her.

I thought this book was great. It plays out almost exactly how it does in the film, so there wasn’t a lot to surprise me, but I did like that between the main story line, there were extracts from future articles that try to explain the whole event. It was a nice way of breaking up the narration. This book was easy to read, not particularly long, and I didn’t want to put it down. As a result of this, it only took me a few days to read. I really enjoyed the story, and could sympathise with the main character, Carrie, even when she went on a rampage around the town! You get a really good idea of what the characters are like, and can picture the whole thing very easily, although that may only be because I’ve seen the film…

All in all, I thought it was a brilliant book. Simple as.

The next Stephen King I’m tackling is The Eyes of the Dragon.

Day 30 of the challenge is: Your Favourite Song at This Time Last Year

I played this with Liberty at our mum’s wedding last year in February. It is an awesome song, and I loved playing it, and listening to it whenever I could.

Geek Love – Nerina Pallot

That’s it for the song challenge. I may actually get round to writing my Stephen King challenge post now. 🙂

Day 29 of the challenge is: A Song From Your Childhood

As Liberty pointed out to me the other day when writing bios for our band blog (check it out here!) I used to listen to this song all the time, and sing it very badly and out of key, and tune, and anything that should resemble music…

Unchained Melody – Gareth Gates

Day 28 of the challenge is: A Song That Makes You Feel Guilty

This song makes me feel guilty… guilty of being a complete idiot. Ivy asked me to buy a song on iTunes for her, so I did. It wasn’t until I came to play it that I realized instead of buying the proper version, I accidentally bought a tribute version of this song… And it isn’t even a very good tribute version.

Who Says – Selena Gomez & the Scene

Day 27 of the challenge is: A Song That You Wish You Could Play

This song is a classic, and it has, I think, one of the coolest piano solos in it. I reeeeeeally wish I could play it, but I’m not good enough to work it out for myself, and I can’t find the sheet music for this version. It’s always the shortened version with just the lyrics. 😦

Cruella De Vil – Bill Lee (from 101 Dalmatians)

Day 26 of the challenge is: A Song That You Can Play on an Instrument

Being a drummer, piano player and guitar player, there are several songs that I can play on one instrument or another. Usually I just play chords, but this song I can do the tab to, and I was really happy when I learned it. It’s a really great song too.

Hey There Delilah – Plain White T’s

Day 25 of the challenge is: A Song That Makes You Laugh

This was a hard one. Not because there aren’t any songs that make me laugh, there are lots, but because I straight away picked the artist I was going to use, but couldn’t decide which song to pick. This man is incredibly funny, and AMAZING at the piano. I am so jealous of his mad skills XD. In the end I picked this one, purely because of the ninja line. Warning, he swears a bit… ok, maybe a lot.

Prejudice – Tim Minchin