Monday, 26 August 2013


I've decided to take a temporary break from my Weekly Inspirations posts and from blogging regularly. I'm definitely not abandoning ship but life is just too crazy right now. I might post occasionally if the inspiration hits but at the moment that is not very often! I'm still studying-my last paper so I can get my Certificate in Literature and Services for Children and Young People and I'm finding it is taking a lot of time and brain power. I'm definitely still committed to blogging and will start up again in late October. I'll miss posting my thoughts on here for the next couple of months but am looking forward to coming back refreshed and ready to go! The cute picture is my animal alter-ego waving goodbye (temporarily).

P.S.I'll still be active on Twitter so feel free to chat me up ;) @JuliadeRuiter

Monday, 19 August 2013

Book Review: Fire by Kristin Cashore

Kristin Cashore is an American author and has written a trilogy of fantasy books, of which Fire is the second. This was my first attempt at reading a 'hardcore' fantasy book for quite a while and I finished it in one day! It usually takes me about two chapters to know whether a book is going to be a winner for me or not and as soon as I started reading Fire I could tell I was going to enjoy it. 

This novel follows a young woman named Fire who is part human/part 'Monster.' Because she is so beautiful and can control people with her mind she is hated and feared by everyone around her. The powerful King of her country finds out about her talents and commands her to travel to the King's City so she can interrogate prisoners for him. As she embarks on this journey, she ends up learning a lot about herself and about human nature. There are the usual evil characters, unexpected romance and plenty of action & fighting scenes.

One of the key factors that make a book enjoyable for me is how I relate to the characters. This wasn't a problem with Fire. Although she isn't my favourite book character ever ( that would have to go to Tris from Veronica Roth's Divergent series), I was definitely on her side.

What stood out to me the most in this novel was how complete it was. I feel that with fantasy novels, the settings and characters are often very complicated and hard to keep track of. Whilst there were a lot of characters in this novel and the setting changed numerous times, it still felt pulled together and complete.

I would recommend this book to older teens ( 15 & older) because of more mature themes.   ( But of course as a librarian it is not my job to censor!)

Overall I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Weekly Inspiration ~ 5-9 August

Actually enjoying an assignment:
I'm studying a children's services paper at the moment ( of my own choice!) and the assignments look really valuable. I'm looking forward to learning about lots of other practical areas of children's librarianship.

Pittacus Lore:
I've been making a conscious effort to try and read more for relaxation purposes rather than textbooks or professional reading. This series has been really popular in our library and I can see why. I've finished both the first and second in one day each and I can't wait to read the third.

Kristin Cashore:
Cashore has written a rather gritty YA fantasy series which exceeded expectations. I enjoyed the first two books in the series, Graceling and Fire, more than the third, Bitterblue. I would recommend these books to older teens as they deal with some quite grown up themes ( not that it is our job to censor of course). 

My job:
Has anyone had those days or weeks, when everything seems to be ticking along nicely, problems have been resolved and you find renewed passion for your job? Well, I'm having one of those phases now and I hope it lasts for a long time!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Weekly inspiration ~ 29 July - 2 August

The end of Comment July!! 
I enjoyed this month of commenting on blogs every day of the week but boy, am I glad it's over! You can read my reflections here.

Little Talks by Of Monsters and Men:
This song makes me feel nostalgia for something I can't quite put my finger on. 

Planning a jungle themed Toddler Time:
It still brings a smile to my face when I realise that I get to listen to the Jungle Book soundtrack as part of my job!

Hairy Maclary:
I had heaps of fun planning and delivering this specially themed Toddler Time. We also had some special canine visitors :)

As always, I'd love to hear what has been inspiring you this week. Just leave a comment here on the blog or send me a tweet @JuliadeRuiter

Thursday, 1 August 2013

My Top five YA novels

In the time I've been reading YA novels, these are the five books that have really stood out to me and that I'd be happy to read again and again. I've done book reviews for all of these books here on the blog except Winter of Fire, so just click on the tiles for a more in depth review.

1: Somebody everybody listens to by Suzanne Supplee: 
I reviewed this book for one of our local papers,The Waitaki Herald.  You can read it here. 
I really, really enjoyed this. 

2: Winter of Fire by Sheryl Jordan:
I got this book given to me as a prize when I was at primary school. It has such good memories associated with it, but I've also reread it as an adult and really enjoyed it. ( I haven't put a book cover on because none of the ones I can find are the same as the copy I own!)

3: Divergent by Veronica Roth:
Ah, Veronica Roth. In my eyes she is almost equal to JK Rowling. Probably the best YA series I've read. Cannot wait for Allegiant!!!!

4: Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt: 
This is the most recent read for me. I really enjoyed the story line and thought it was something a bit different.


5:Saving June by Hannah Harrington:
I read this as an ebook while I was on holiday and I probably enjoyed it the most out of all the books listed here.