Thursday, 14 September 2017

Autumn/Winter TBR 2017

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Winter is coming and that can only mean one thing... cosy nights in snuggled up on the sofa, with a good book and a cup of tea! I would say hot chocolate, but I'm trying (and failing) to be healthy.

Now usually for me this means that I end up reading all the Harry Potters again and my entire family (especially my husband) despairs. But this year, having started this blog, I told myself that I wanted to read new books rather than re-reading ones that I already know I love. I am searching for that next series that could potentially rival Harry Potter. I'm not sure it exists yet, but I want to be there when it's discovered!

So without further ado, here is my FW TBR for 2017! 



I know it's not a particularly long list, but I am going to be moving house within the next couple of months and I wanted to keep it manageable. Plus I'll probably throw in a few irresistible re-reads! These are all books that I've heard people talking about or seen somewhere that I've liked enough to note down. 

I'd love to know what's on your TBR this Autumn/Winter, so let me know in the comments below. Odds are I'll probably add them to mine too! 

Happy reading! xxx

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Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Sometimes life just gets in the way

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I've not posted anything in a few weeks and it's been weird. What I mean to say is, there's been notable steps my mind has gone through during this absence. Something that I didn't realise would happen. When I read blogs or watch people on youtube and they've had some well deserved time off or have just been simply too busy to post, they always seem to be apologising for their lack of content. I always find this weird. They don't have to make videos or write blog posts for our entertainment, so why do they feel the need to apologise?! Well now I get it.

I usually try and write one blog post a week. Sometimes I manage it, sometimes I don't. I'm new to this, so I try not to put too much pressure on myself. My blog is barely 6 months old and I'm still getting into the swing of things. So why when I end up missing a week do I feel such an insane amount of guilt?!

So here's my explanation. Life's been busy and I'm still trying to work out how this little blog fits into my life. I'm an inherently lazy person and when a bit of free time arises I will almost always choose to snuggle up on the sofa and read a book. Which means many things don't get done (including the pile of washing I'm currently avoiding while I write this post)!


The first box!




Also I'm in the middle of trying to buy a house. My first house! It's highly frustrating at the moment as my mortgage lender can't find anyone in the Greater Manchester area that can do a full home buyers valuation apparently, so it 14 days after they've taken my money and we're no further on! Apparently in Sweden the process of buying and moving into a house only takes around 1 week! I don't know how true this is, but it's apparently a rather fun bit of info to give to someone in my current predicament! People can be cruel. Can they not see the stress?!





But it's not been all stress, the most money ever spent and no play! I went to see he Adams Family the Musical at the Lowry this Saturday and it was possibly one of the best shows I've ever seen! It was absolutely magical and there will be a post all about it very soon!

Writing this has been a kind of therapy and I apologise for the rambling! I didn't realise how much I've come to enjoying doing this and I aim to get myself more organised in the future. But I can't promise a missed week here or there won't happen, but I will do my best.

TTFN! xxx

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Sunday, 20 August 2017

Kindle Vs Books

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Now I know that this is a very controversial topic, but I love my kindle. Don't get me wrong, nothing brings me more pleasure than reading from an actual book, both hardback and paperback. But kindles just enable the addiction. So if you'll allow me, I'd like to give you my reasoning...





Kindle

Light weight and easy to carry around.

Every time I leave the house I throw my kindle into my handbag, even if I'm just nipping out to Tesco to do the weekly shop. So when it comes to holiday time, I can't describe how much time and effort it saves, let alone saving my baggage allowance!

Space.

This ties in with the light weight point. Carrying around Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a nightmare, it makes your bag extremely heavy and it ruins your book. You can fit all the stories in one small kindle shaped spot! 

Can have multiple books in one small place.

Again I'm thinking of that baggage allowance, but how amazing is it that I can have all 7 Harry Potters on one tiny light weight device?!

Inexpensive.

Well, not always, but Amazon often have free kindle books as part of their offers. And it often works out that kindle books are cheaper than the physical books.

No Waiting!

Its the best thing ever. You finish a book, buy a new one and it's ready to go on you device straight away! (As long as you have WiFi).

Reading at night.

The kindle is fitted with an easily adjustable back light that makes reading comfortable in any situation! I can't tell you how much I'd have loved this when I was at school. I used to read books at night using my 'home screen' phone light (they didn't have the "torch" tool back then), with my duvet pulled up over my head to hide the light so that my mum wouldn't come in and tell me off!

No one can see what you're reading.

I'm thinking of 50 Shades here. Now there should be no shame in whatever it is that you choose to read, but sometimes (again 50 Shades) you might not want everyone to know.



Books

They smell amazing.

Especially the old ones. I love the smell of books, it’s pure bliss.

You can’t have a library with a kindle.

It is a dream of mine to one day have a Beauty and the Beast style library, which cannot be achieved with a kindle.

Comfort.

There is nothing more comforting than reading a good book in bed on a cold rainy day.

Can lend it to a friend. 

You can now do this with a kindle, but it’s a faff. (But if you lend a book on your kindle at least you know they aren’t going to crease the spine or dog-ear the pages!)

Everyone can see what you’re reading and it looks so pretty! 

Books are pretty, so why not show them off!

Presents! 

An Amazon voucher just isn’t the same as receiving a book.



Current Library Status
Dream Library Status
I'd love to know your thoughts on this. Are you a hard core books only person or are you a kindle lover like me? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy reading! xxx



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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Books - Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift

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Length: 346 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Author: Jonathan Swift
Format:Paperback
Publisher: The Penguin English Library

Wow. This book was my Everest! For a 346 page book it was The Never Ending Story without the cute creatures!

 










But don't let me put you off, because I really enjoyed the story.

This book has been on my TBR list for quite some time, but as soon as a brand new shiny book comes out I obviously forget all about the Classics. Terrible I know. When I was about 16 (so 10 years ago!) I wrote out the BBCs Big Read list, because I'd decided that I was going to read them all! I've Googled it just now and they all seem to have 100 books, but for some reason I've got 200, because I apparently am a slave driver. Anyway, Gulliver's Travels was obviously on there as it is a Classic. I never read it in school (so I didn't hate it).

When I went to visit my Mum down in Devon, I found a really old paperback copy in one of the charity shops and told myself that I had to read it as I now had a copy! So I started reading it in April...

I got 100 pages in and stopped, because oh my gosh what is this dude going on about! All he does is tell me measurements! I GET IT! They're small! That was Part 1.

I'd been watching Chboskyy on Youtube (you should go check her out, she's cool). Anyway, she was reading War and Peace as read-a-long and they were doing it by reading 6 chapters per day. Well this gave me an idea, since I wasn't getting anywhere fast, I told myself I will read 50 pages per day. Doable right? No. I managed this on 1 day! I kid you not I had to spend all weekend trying to read this. But that actually worked out well, because I actually enjoyed the story once I'd become immersed in the world.

The Actual Book


Gulliver's Travels, is split into 4 parts. Each part contains an adventure where Gulliver ends up stumbling into some new part of the world no one has discovered yet. 

Personally I felt that each part got more and more insane. With every adventure, Gulliver gets more and more intolerant of the human race. Which I enjoyed. 

This book was published in 1726. That's 291 years ago! What I'm trying to say is, I think I may have missed a few things that Swift was trying to get across. I absolutely wouldn't have understood 90% of this story without the appendix at the back. 

What does come across for me is Swift's intelligence. He was clearly very politically minded and very aware of what was going on at the time. He regularly makes reference to various trails and academic studies. And he had very strong opinions on them all. All of this is portrayed through Gulliver's character.

I definitely get the feeling that the entire work is a sarcastic answer to what he wanted to say to the world. The letters at the beginning of the story bring across a certain mockery of travel writings.  

Personally for me, I wasn't a massive fan of Gulliver as a character. He seemed a bit too much of a goody-two-shoes and it felt like he was regularly fishing for compliments. This definitely came across at the end of the story when he wont even allow his family to be in the same room as him, because of his new found superiority complex. Yes, I know he's been through quite an ordeal, but after everything his poor family has been through (they probably thought he was dead at some point during all 4 parts). And maybe this is part of the mockery of travelers of the time coming back from their various trips feeling that they were superior, but I just didn't like the guy OK?

I did however enjoy the book. I think that I struggled a bit more, due to the fact that my version is so old. I could have used a few extra explanations. (Sometimes the appendix needed an appendix!) I also found myself wanting to Google some of the trials he was making reference to. But overall I really liked the idea of these crazy places around the world that no one had yet discovered. I also enjoyed the fact that Gulliver had to be the most unfortunate Sailor, with the most skill.


It says 70p! I have no idea when my version was published, but it smells amazing!




Mr J Swift himself.

I'd love to know if you've read Gulliver's Travels and what your thoughts on it were? Next I'll be reading Aaru by David Meredith, why not join me?

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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Books - All That She Can See by Carrie Hope Fletcher

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Genre: Fiction
Author: Carrie Hope Fletcher
Format: Kindle
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group

For me this book is very reminiscent of Inside Out, the 2015 Disney Pixar movie. Our protagonist, Cherry Redgrave, can see feelings or "Medlums" as they are referred to in the book. She uses this ability to help others, as she discovers early on that she doesn't only see other people's feelings, but she can affect them as well. 

Cherry herself is a very sweet character. She has a history marred with sad events that have left her dealing with panic attacks and a very different view of the world (she only wears pajamas)! Which I would love to do. Life would be so much better if I could go to work in PJ's and slippers (as long as it not raining)! But I digress...

It's through these events that she learns she can help others and that becomes her escape/her new purpose in life. I love the idea of being able to pour feelings into your baking. It brings a whole new meaning to "made with love"! 

We start out following Cherry going around helping to fix other peoples problems and in fixing those problems we are brought quite the twist! It quickly turns from the sweet idealistic world of "feeling down, have some cake" to a very dark and scary 1984 style world, where Big Brother is watching! Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it. It took this novel from a sweet YA romance story to something much darker. I did not see it coming.

While I think this was  brilliant story, there was a moment that didn't make sense to me. A character who shouldn't have been able to see Cherry's Medlum, looks at it and comments on the fact that she's had that particular Medlum since they were young. I don't want to say the character's name, but you know it if you've read it. This however, is only minor and it doesn't effect the story line, it's just a moment between the two characters.

There was also a character that was supposed to be very unemotional, but she comes across as quite nasty and sarcastic at times, which didn't seem to fit. 

The overall theme for the book is "You can't appreciate the good, without having to deal with the bad." For me, this is something that helps me get through tougher moments in life. I always think it makes for a good moral basis to a story.

Carrie Hope Fletcher is fast becoming one of my favourite Authors. I love the way she melds the mundane and the magical. It creates a perfect world to escape to!

This book, a lot like her last, has a warmth to it that lets Carrie's enjoyment of writing shine through. It just makes it that much more difficult to put down. I can't help but think that it's her obsession with Disney that has helped her develop such a brilliant way of story telling.

I for one, can not wait for Carrie's next novel. I wonder where she'll take us next!

If you've read this book, I'd love to know what you think, so please leave a comment below. I'll be reading Gulliver's Travels next, why not join me? 
 
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    Friday, 4 August 2017

    August TBR 2017

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    Last month was very poor on the reading front, so I thought I'd share an August TBR, to give me something to aim for.

    Week 1 - All That She Can See by Carrie Hope Fletcher

    Week 2 - Gulliver's Travels by Johnathan Swift

    Week 3 - Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

    Week 4 - Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

    Now let's see if I can stick to it. Odds are another shiny new book will pass under my nose and I will be forced to switch out one of the previously stated books by my severe lack of will power. 



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    Wednesday, 2 August 2017

    July Wrap Up 2017

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    July has been a busy month for me Life wise, but slow blog wise. I've done some amazing things this month, but I'm looking forward to a more chilled August!

    Tim has been away for most of this month, so I've been a bit down, but hopefully he'll be back next week (for a while at least)!


     

      7th - 9th

     

    The first weekend had me at Cornbury festival! The most middle class of all festivals and I love it! I showered and the toilets were regularly cleaned, it's all I could have asked for and more! We usually only go for a day, but this year was both wonderful and sad at the same time... it was the last one! So they said goodbye in style with an epic line up! Some of my highlights were:
    • The amazing Pierce Brothers, their energy and genuine pleasure at being on stage doing what they love is always obvious and very infectious! Let alone their sheer talent! At one point between the 2 of them, they were playing 4 instruments! (Guitar, Didgeridoo, Harmonica and a Bass Drum!) I had the pleasure of seeing them perform for what I think was the first time at Cornbury last year. They were on stage at 2pm and by the end they had drawn a huge crowd which is quite the achievement! So to see them again after just one year with an even bigger crowd already anticipating their set and knowing the lyrics and screaming out songs was an absolute pleasure to witness! They were also an amazing lead into my next highlight...
    • Scouting For Girls. I mean need I say more? These guys were just one massive party! I'm gutted that they weren't on for a longer set. We were meant to leave this stage early to go and get a good place to see Bryan Adams, but needless to say we couldn't leave. They were just too good!
    • Bryan Adams - aside for the carnage that was the Hunger Games style* run from the smaller stage to the Main Stage, this was epic. We stood at the back on a hill with a clear line of sight to the stage, whilst drinking tea and eating a curry. We were singing and dancing like no one was watching (we were quite far back so no one else was this energetic) with loads of room and enjoying the fact that everyone around us just probably thought we were drunk. Or at least I hope they did! There is no better way to spend a Saturday night.
    • After this my Auntie fell off a hammock**. I've never laughed so hard in my life!
    Sunday was a fun day of food, shopping, more food and music. I'm a bit miffed that they had Bryan Adams on the Saturday and Jools Holland to finish the whole weekend on the Sunday. His set was the usual average, which I'm sure would have been fine had he had some decent guests, but the "special guests" he was advertised as having were 2 people that were already part of his band*** and someone he sings with ALL THE TIME. So much that we guessed who it would be before he even came on. So overall not impressed with Sunday at all. The only person worth watching was Imelda May (who I'd never heard of, but was an epic Rock Chick through and through!) 

    A couple of other acts worth mentioning were Laura Oakes, who had brilliant stage presence and was very easy to listen to! Also she was sporting an excellent sparkly playsuit and an absolutely gorgeous pair of boots that given half the opportunity, I would steal from her, I'm not going to lie.
    The other was Police Dog Hogan, who made me want to grab my instrument and join in! Again great stage presence and had the ability to go from fun silly songs, to powerful ballad and back again. Wonderful folk group. I actually bought one of their CDs and got it signed! They make me want to start my own folk group!


     

     

    15th - 16th

    The following weekend had me down South again! I was near Honiton for a Pedal Paddle expo and my goodness was it fun! Very hard work though! Pedal Paddles are clearly designed for leisurely travel, not the endurance run we were on! Great work out though! Highly recommend this if any of you enjoy a bit of water sports and want to try something different! Or even if you don't like water sports! I am not the sporty kind at all and other than my feet getting on and off the Pedal Paddle I didn't get wet all!

    http://www.pedalpaddle.co.uk/ 








     

     

    22nd - 23rd

    This weekend had me in Newark getting my hair done (Yes I travel for my hair dressers! Once you find a good one ladies, you never let go! I've been burned before!) It was also my Step-Dad's, Step-Dad's**** birthday on the Sunday, so we celebrated with a family BBQ, which was lovely as I rarely get to see that side of the family!












    29th - 31st

    And last but not least, it was Tim's birthday! Plus as an added bonus my brother-in-law and his wife (Will and Naomi) were up with their little girl, who live in Cardiff, so again we don't get to see them as often as we'd like!

    Overall I've loved this month, but I'm looking forward to a bit of a slower month and spending less time in my car! I'd love to know if you've been up to anything unusual, or even usual, in the comments below!

    TTFN! xxx

    *I swear children were being knocked out of the way. It was insane! And a tad scary and I'm fully grown with no tiny people to look after! 
    **She was fine, just a bruised shoulder.
    ***So... not guests.
    ****I'll let you work that one out!

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