Article: Reasons You Should Read The Little Shop Of Happy Ever After by Jenny Colgan

The Little Shop Of Happy Ever After by Jenny Colgan, which is also known as The Bookshop On The Corner, is a story of love, hope, independence, and courage that will render readers unable to put the book down from the minute they start reading!

The Little Shop of Happy Ever After follows twenty-nine year old Nina Redmond who, following the closure of her beloved library, is left jobless and at a loss as to what she should do next. Her luck changes when she sees the opportunity to own her very own van which she plans to turn into a mobile library. Leaving her old life in Birmingham, Nina moves to the Scottish Highlands in an attempt to pursue her dream. However, reality is no fairy-tale and Nina encounters very real struggles in her attempts to create a new life in the middle-of-nowhere. Luckily for her, whilst this may be the real world, Knights-In-Shining-Armour could very well exist…

Jenny Colgan The Little Shop of Happy Ever After

Perhaps you’re still not convinced that this is the book for you… Well, here’s a few reasons that may convince you otherwise!

Setting

The thing about reading is that most people use books as a means of escaping their own everyday lives, which can be forgotten about with every turn of a page. Usually, the books they choose as a refuge are ones which take place in some far off land. Well, why not just choose one that offers that same sense of escapism but is set within the same reality? The Little Shop of Happy Ever After provides just that for its readers and it has a strange ability to reawaken the magic and wonder which exists within the reality in which we all live. Colgan’s writing throughout the novel, and though the use of Nina’s character, lets the story offer a fresh perspective on a country whose beauty is often dulled, allowing it to shine.

Plot

The tale of Nina’s adventure and the chance to witness her gain both independence and confidence gives the story a ‘coming-of-age’ feel to it, despite how the main character is already an adult. However, even this alone has something comforting in it, especially when now-a-days within reality, people are expected to have settled by that time and their time for adventure is deemed over.

The Characters

Whilst many characters are mentioned throughout this novel and play a part in the tale, there are four whom stand out more so than all others: Nina, Surinder, Marek, and Lennox. Kudos must be given to the author for her creation of such relatable and realistic characters. All four are completely lovable despite their individual flaws and even the side characters within the story are likely to hold a place in your heart by the time you finish the book!

Romance

The thing about love is that the concept itself is a complicated one: there are so many types of love and, even more importantly, love is unpredictable. That is a theme which is quite prominent throughout the course of this story and if that wasn’t enough to get you racing to the library to borrow a copy or the nearest shop to purchase your own then don’t worry, there’s more. For who doesn’t love a story in which the main character is torn between two others. Of course, it’s something which occurs in nearly every romance novel, but the question of whom Nina chooses really is one which is asked throughout the story, even when you think you know the answer!

Life Lessons

What is a good story unless it successfully teaches valuable life lessons? In The Little Shop Of Happy Ever After, many valuable lessons can be learned. Throughout the book, readers journey alongside Nina and share with her the experiences she has and the consequences she faces. Along with Nina, readers are able to learn the importance of always being yourself, witness how it one should always dare to dream and follow those dreams… More importantly, Nina and the readers alike are able to come to terms with how love is never where you may originally look and that everyone has a story. For, as stated in chapter 24:

There was a universe inside every human being every bit as big as the universe outside them.

A solemn reminder that each and every one of us is as different as we are the same, and that is something which we should all respect.

Curious about reading the novel now? Then why not give it a try, then maybe even have a read at Jenny Colgan’s other novels – all of which can be found on her website.

The Little Shop of Happy Ever After is available from AmazonBook Depository, and other good book retailers.

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Article: For The Love Of Our Libraries

Why We Love Libraries

His library was a fine dark place bricked with books, so anything could happen there and always did. All you had to do was pull a book from the shelf and open it and suddenly the darkness was not so dark anymore. – Ray Bradbury, Farewell Summer.

To ask, “what is a library?” may be a question which gains nothing but confused looks and sniggers from those within hearing distance. Why, the answer is simple, isn’t it? A library is just a building like many others and inside that building books are kept. These books are available to be read free of charge within the library itself or taken out on loan to be read elsewhere until eventually being returned to its original shelf. Yes?

No. A library is so much more than that simplistic and mundane description. A library is a place in which every book lover may find solace. It is a haven in which books are kept and protected, waiting for the moment in which a curious individual chooses to pick them up and allow the book to transport them to whichever time, place, or other world that exists within its pages…

So how and when did the idea of such a place come into existence? If you look closely, libraries have existed throughout history in many shapes and forms, from temples filled with clay tablets and hieroglyphics to small book collections kept in monasteries, to the existence of public and even national libraries. They all serve the purpose of storing and providing access to official and legal records, historical and religious documents, and books of fact and fiction alike. By examining the history of libraries, we can see that they have existed almost for as long as humankind itself and holds significance to most—if not all—of the individuals alive today. Even within the modern world, libraries are available to the public in many forms, ranging from public libraries to academic libraries and even mobile libraries which essentially bring the books to you!

What is it, then, that makes libraries so popular? What makes them popular as to allow them to remain in existence and even to progress to a state in which books come to us, rather than the public having to travel to a library in pursuit of a good read?

Libraries now allow for a multitude of books to be accessible to the public ranging from all sorts of subject matters—books of facts, autobiographies, biographies, fictional works, graphic novels, and comic books… These can all be found under the roof of your nearest library. Of course, books are not all that can be found there. Throughout time, libraries have advanced and expanded their own horizons as to keep up with the times in which we live. Computers, e-books, audiobooks, and even amenities such as a café and public toilets can be found within the vicinity, allowing for individuals to spend hours upon end within the library. The best part of it all is that it’s free—aside from the café, of course!

The atmosphere of the library itself is something that is cherished by its visitors; the comforting silence which descends once you’ve entered the building, broken only by the sound of turning pages, computer keys being tapped away at ,and the hushed whispers of those excited readers conversing with one another. This topped with the friendly and comforting greetings given by the librarians themselves and the support, encouragement, and guidance which they provide further aid in making visitors feel welcome to both stay and return in the future. However, the amenities, atmosphere, and company aren’t the only things which makes going to a library worthwhile. Many libraries also hold events as well to attract more publicity and to give their visitors and readers a chance to interact with one another and sometimes even the beloved authors of their favourite books—as though libraries couldn’t get anymore incredible!

Furthermore, a library not only is special because of what it provides, but because of what else can be gained from it. Upon entering a library, there is an overwhelming sense of community and belonging which can be felt. A silent recognition between the individuals inside the building that each of them hold a mutual respect for the library’s rules and the library itself. Alas with these modern libraries being accessible to individuals of all ages it is understandable that, at times, us library-goers may take them for granted. The library acts as a second home to book lovers and with that comes the blissful ignorance at just how special the buildings and what they provide are.

Perhaps you are one of those who have fallen into the unfortunately inevitable habit of entering a library, grabbing the books you want and leaving in a hurry to read them in the comfort of your own home… If this is the case, then why not take a few moments the next time you are visiting your local library to stop and observe. Look around at the others seated with their eyes plastered to the pages of books, the shelves filled with endless opportunities to venture to somewhere new and admire just how majestic and wondrous the library truly is!

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Article: The Family We Call Fandoms

What is a “fandom”? Of course, if you’re interested in discovering the definition then you could just use Google to search for and find your answer. Google defines the word fandom as “the state or condition of being a fan of someone or something” and “the fans of a particular person, team, fictional series, etc. regarded collectively as a community or subculture”. In regard to this examination of fandoms within the society of us readers, TV show lovers, and movie fanatics, neither definition is wrong.

However, neither definition succeeds in doing anything beyond scratching the surface as to what fandoms truly are. The term ‘community’ used in the definition provided by Google is fitting yet doesn’t quite express the strength and power to which being a part of a fandom holds. ‘Community’ portrays this idealistic, yet untrue, image of a large collection of individuals living and expressing their mutual love for said thing in harmony. However, there are times in which being a part of a fandom, or indeed multiple fandoms, is anything but harmonious… Therefore, it could be more fitting to use a different term to describe what fandoms are: fandoms are families. Those a part of a fandom can most likely agree to this use of terminology.

Fandoms are filled with people worldwide who come together to participate in the discussion of their favourite TV shows, books, movies, etc. Those individuals participate in a wide variety of activities which play a part in the ‘fandom life’ such as fanfiction writing, drawing fanart, and roleplaying etc.

There are many fandoms which exist today, some more popular than others and each with their own delights and disasters. Examples of the more popular fandoms today are as follows:

  • Potterheads – fans of the Harry Potter book/movie series
  • Whovians – Doctor Who fanatics
  • Thronies – Game of Thrones fans
  • Sherlockians – Sherlock fans, mostly those who are fans of the BBC TV series although it does extend to those who are fans solely of the movie adaptations of the Sherlock Holmes tales starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law
  • Merlinians – Fans of the beloved show Merlin which featured also on the BBC channel

Other fandoms which exist revolve around a mixture of TV shows, movies, books and even just individual actors, such as ShadowhuntersSupernaturalTeen WolfThe Hunger GamesMaze RunnerLord of the RingsTwilight and more…

But whilst all these fandom ‘families’ may dwell within their own fictional worlds, sometimes two separate fandoms, or even three, may co-join with one another. This occurrence is known as a crossover and is often seen in fanfiction or even encountered during roleplaying, examples of this include:

  • PotterLock – In which the Sherlock characters are enrolled or have been at Hogwarts much like the characters of Harry Potterthemselves.
  • SuperWhoLock – A mix of SupernaturalDoctor Who, and Sherlock characters merged together to create an even wider universe for fanfiction writing and roleplaying prompts.

The fandoms mentioned and the others which exist are able to merge so easily now with the help that the Internet provides and sites like Twitter, Tumblr, ArchiveOfOurOwn, Fanfiction.net, and those used for roleplaying help to further expand the material surrounding a fandom by use of the fans’ imagination. One of the advantages which the Internet has with providing fans with the opportunity to interact with one another and create even their own material is that it allows—more often than not—for fans to keep the show alive even after it is over. For example, the BBC TV Show Merlin which ended in 2014 and MTV’s Teen Wolf has long been kept alive with the help of fans sharing their own AU fan fictions and fan art via sites such as Tumblr and even groups which can be found on Facebook. However, it’s not just the internet which allows for fans to interact with each other and even with their favourite actors and authors alike, but events held like Comic-Con allow for fans to gather, cosplay (dress up as their favourite characters), and meet those whom they admire!

Of course, as stated earlier in this article, not everything about being a part of a fandom is smiles, laughter, and fans coming together without complaint or disagreement… Fandoms are like families, after all, and families have their rocky patches. A big issue with the fandom life is the controversy which comes with being an individual fan in a sea of them, each with their own beliefs surrounding the material which canon provides. One of the biggest controversies within a fandom comes with the idea of shipping.

More often than not, fans are happy with the final relationships which come out of the works produced by their beloved authors and directors. However, this isn’t always the case and even if it is, where is the fun in refusing to explore the various outcomes of a product. Various ships which exist out with canon are:

Dramione – Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series
Jalec – Jace Herondale and Alec Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments series
Newtmas – Newt and Thomas from The Maze Runner series
Sterek – Stiles Stilinski and Derek Hale from the Teen Wolf series
Cherik – Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr from the X-Men series
JohnLock – John Watson and Sherlock Holmes from the Sherlock series
Merthur – Merlin and Arthur Pendragon from the Merlin series

All these ships allow for individual fans to explore the “what if’s” of their favourite movies, TV shows, and romance storylines. However, not everyone is a fan of a particular ship or in agreement of two characters being anything more than what they are in canon or even just friends and so the controversy starts. Shipping is not the only thing within a fandom which causes controversy either, more often than not fans headbutt each other when it comes to the many theories which each of them create; theories such as “How Did Sherlock Holmes survive? Is Jim Moriarty truly dead? Is the new Doctor being a woman a good thing? What if Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter had become friends in Year 1? What if Arthur had known about Merlin’s magic all along?” All of these theories can be found somewhere online with a great number of people arguing their own case, agreeing, disagreeing, and providing evidence to back up their points, the entire experience of joining in or even just observing is highly intriguing.

As stated, all these fan interactions allow for a fandom to remain alive through the fans themselves but just how far are fans willing to go to save what they love? One fandom, in particular, is the perfect example to use when exploring this question.

With the cancellation of the Shadowhunters series being announced on June 5th 2018, the fans of the beloved show were sent into a frenzy and it’s clear that Freeform picked the wrong fandom to mess with… The below image provides merely a few stories as to what lengths the fans have gone to in their attempts to save the show from creating the trending tweets #saveshadowhunters, #savetheshadowworld and sharing multiple images throughout the internet to hiring a plane to fly over the Netflix HQ carrying the banner #saveshadowhunters and more!

Saving Shadowhunters In The News

With campaigns being held over the social media and petitions going around via Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, countless fans doing their part in helping to save the shadow world which we have come to love from the moment it hit our screens, there is no doubt that proof exists as to how important fandoms can be to us fangirl and fanboys. And whilst the fate of the show can not yet be determined, it’s clear that the dedication shown by fans allow for everyone to see how much of a family the fans truly are. They may be at war with one another at times regarding various aspects of the show, but mess with the show itself and the fans will stand together to fight side by side to save what has allowed for them to create such a family in the first place.

If that’s not family, then what is?

This article can also be read on The Nerd Daily website by clicking on the following link: http://www.thenerddaily.com/the-family-we-call-fandoms/

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Article: Reasons You Should Read ‘The Immortals’ Book Series by Alyson Noel.

Written by Alyson Noel, The Immortals is a young adult fantasy books series consisting of six individual novels. From Evermore to Everlasting, the tale is beyond gripping and filled with many moments which will have the reader dying to know what comes next…

The series follow the life of a young teenager, Ever Bloom, who possesses many peculiar abilities after being the lone survivor of a car crash which killed her family. Gifted, or rather cursed, to see auras, hear thoughts, and know a person’s entire life story through one simple touch causes Ever to work hard to isolate herself from others and avoid human contact at all costs. Cue Damen Auguste: tall, dark, and handsome, he surprises Ever by being ‘unreadable’. With no aura, and immune to Ever’s gifts, he holds many secrets and the biggest one of all could explain why Ever can’t ‘read’ him—because those whom Ever has been unable to read are dead…

If you’re still unsure if you should put aside your time to dedicate it to reading The Immortals series, then here are a few reasons as to why you should!

Great Writing

Author Alyson Noel’s talent of being a successful writer ultimately shines through every word as the plot is spread evenly throughout all six books, allowing for each novel to be a definite page-turner but never once overwhelming the reader with too much information. Furthermore, this also allows for the plot to thicken at a steady pace and for the stakes to rise within the events which occur throughout each individual novel.

An Excellent Blend

The story itself is filled with everything that a reader could ask for: Adventure, romance, loss, love, betrayal, friendship, and everything that makes a story truly great. The novels incorporate each of these genres and more into the story, making The Immortals a series which could be enjoyed by many readers. The Immortals combines both the real world and fictional world which Noel created effortlessly, allowing for a change in setting throughout the books and more intriguing read as the readers not only get to enjoy seeing the characters within and outside their comfort zones.

Forbidden Romance

Speaking of a romantic tale, the presence of romance within the novels itself is a reason alone as to why the books should be read. Who doesn’t enjoy a good romance novel, especially one which tells the story of a forbidden romance, in which nearly every outside force is trying to come between two destined lovers? If that sounds like the genre of book which you would enjoy, then add The Immortals book series to your TBR pile right now.

The Characters

One aspect of Noel’s novels which should also be commended is her ability to provide readers of The Immortals series with a wide variety of characters, each of whom can spark several emotions within the reader. From the main character to those mentioned briefly, each character is one whom the reader can either relate to or can find similarities in with people from their own realities. Throughout the entirety of the series, Ever’s ability to ‘read’ individuals allows us to gain an insight into many other characters of whom we would not be able to if this series were written like any other novel.

A Complete Series

Finally, one of the advantages which comes with reading The Immortals book series written by Alyson Noel is that the series is complete—something which many readers often find comfort in. No waiting around and twiddling thumbs in wait for the next book to be written or published. The entire series is available to buy and read in whichever form of reading you enjoy best at your own pleasure.

However, if you do decide to read the series and are wary of perhaps wanting more, then the spin-off series also written by Alyson Noel titled the Riley Bloom series is also complete and available to read also! This series tells the story of Riley Bloom, Ever’s sister, in the afterlife following the events of the crash. This allows for the reader to dive once more into the wondrous world which Alyson Noel has created…

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This article can also be found on The Nerd Daily website. To view, just click on the following link: http://www.thenerddaily.com/immortal-series-alyson-noel/