Wednesday, 9 December 2015

BLOGMAS DAY NINE // MY BOOKLIST FOR SANTA


Hey guys. Today, I thought it was about time that I wrote my Christmas book wishlist for Santa, so that him and the elves can see if I can have my presents. It's only a book wishlist because that is easier, and it's only a select few because otherwise I could be here forever.







So that was five books on my book wishlist for Santa. Comment down below with some of the books that are on your wishlists and I'll see you tomorrow. See you guys.


Tuesday, 8 December 2015

BLOGMAS DAY EIGHT // LUSH CHRISTMAS RECOMMENDATIONS


Hey guys. How are you. Are you feeling festive yet? I certainly am. Today I have a post centred around on of my favourite things. Lush. If you don't know what Lush is, it is a cosmetics brand that makes fresh, handmade products that are free from animal testing, You should check them out. I love Lush, and especially over Christmas. They have some amazing products out as limited exclussives for Christmas, and today I thought I would give a guide to Lush Christmas must haves, whether they be for gifts or for yourself. They'll mainly be bath bombs, because that's what I've sourced most of, but I'll throw in some other things. Enough rambling from me though, and instead we'll get started.

BATH BOMBS

First up we have Butterbear Bath Bomb. This is a sweet, simple vanilla and cocoa butter bath bomb that turns your bath water so silky and moisturising. I love it and it's so simple and delightful, as well as inexpensive so is a great treat or gift. It smells like vanilla and cocoa, shocking, and I think this is one of those gifts everyone will like.

Next is Dashing Santa Bath Bomb. This is perfect for lovers of a citrus smell. It is a cute little bath bomb that whizzes around your bath, like Santa is dashing. As I say it is very citrussy smelling but if you like those sorts of smells I recommend this.

If you want a warming bath bomb this Christmas I recommend the Cinders Bath Bomb, It is a warming scent of warm fruit punch essentially, and has popping candy in it for that extra little something. This is one of my favourite Christmas Lush products, and I recommend it to everyone because I think it is that good.

For a more relaxed scented bath, I would suggest the Luxury Lush Pud Bath Bomb. This bath bomb has the same scent as the Twilight bath bomb, and is such a lovely bath bomb. It lets of lots of colours and I find it very soothing to watch. It, personally, feels like it is value for money and I think it would make a delightful gift.

My final bath bomb recommendation is the lovely So White Bath Bomb. This is a beautiful apple scented bath bomb that has hints of rose. It is a slow burner, so is really enjoyable and leaves your bath water a beautiful colour. After a So White bath, your skin feels so mouisturised. I think it's delightful.

So those were the bath bombs. I'm not going to talk about soaps, so my next category is...

SHOWER GELS

Or should I say gel? I have only one recommendation for this, and that is Snow Fairy Shower Gel. This is a candyfloss scented shower gel and is very sweet. It is a Lush Christmas staple and everyone has tried some at some point. It is lovely and, as you can get it in different sized bottles, it makes the perfect gift.

And onto my final category...

BUBBLE BARS

The first of two bubble bars I'm going to talk about is Candy Mountain Bubble Bar. This is a vanilla scented bubble bar that is surprisingly cheap. You can get more than one bath out of this and this turns your water a pale pink and gives you lovely bubbles. You crumble a little under the tap, and it is just lovely. A perfect gift.

The other bubble bar I'm recommending is Magic Wand Bubble Bar. This is a Snow Fairy scented reusable bubble bar that you hold under running water, or swish in the bath water. It causes lovely bubbles, and turns the water a lovely pink colour. It is delightful and makes the perfect gift for someone.

Those are some great Lush Christmas gifts, for someone else or for yourself. I know I have left out a lot but those are a great place to start. For gifts you can even get boxes of different Lush products. Let me know if you are a Lush lover, and what you would buy someone from Lush. Also please comment with some Christmas questions for me to answer. I'll see you tomorrow.


Saturday, 5 December 2015

BLOGMAS DAY FIVE // FAVOURITE 2015 CHRISTMAS ADVERTS


Hey guys. Sorry this post is a bit late in going up but this is the forth attempt on writing it. Between one site I needed going down, not having enough time for another and one taking forever to write, I'm going for this and I hope it isn't too late in going up. All the Christmas adverts are out now, and it means I can finally share with you four of my favourites. They are in no particular order. Shall we get started.

My first advert fav is the Sainsbury's Christmas advert this year. It's called Mog's Christmas Calamity. If you don't know who Mog is, Mog is a fictional cat created by Judith Kerr and I loved reading the Mog books as a kid, so when I saw this advert for the first time, I couldn't help but fall in love. It's such an amazing advert and I really love it.

My next advert is the John Lewis advert. It's about an old man on the moon, and I did cry at it. It does have major scientific inaccuracies, but it's still an amazing advert and I do really like it. It was trending on Twitter and John Lewis had a big budget for this advert. #ManOnTheMoon Plus, cover of the song is just amazing. I love this advert.

Irn Bru have always good adverts, especially their Christmas one. This year they appear to have a new one, which is good, and very funny, but it's not what I'm going to talk about. I'm talking about the older Irn Bru Christmas advert. I don't actually know when this was first aired, but I have seen it this year, so I'm counting it as a 2015 advert. It's based on The Snowman and, well you just ahve to watch it here. It's, well to quote another Irn Bru advert, it's phenomenal.

Also a quick mention to #TerryTheTurkey the new Vodafone Christmas advert. It's an amazing advert and I really like it. but it doesn't quite make the top three. It's just so cute.

And that is some of my favourite adverts. Comment down below with some of your favourites and also leave me questions so I can do a Christmas Q and A. I'll see you tomorrow with another Blogmas post. I'm sorry this one was a little rushed but I need to go out, and I didn't want to skip any days. See you tomorrow.
       

Friday, 4 December 2015

BLOGMAS DAY FOUR // GIFT GIVING TIPS


Hey guys. Happy Blogmas Day Four! So as I write this I've had a bit of bad day, and I really want to be cheered up. I'm sure I will though. Anyway, today I thought, as it's getting to the time for last order of presents online, and time to buy all your gifts for everyone, I would help you with a tips for secret Santa's you are taking part in and planning all your gifts.

Step One. Write a list of who you need to buy for and how much you are willing to spend. May Secret Santa's come with a budget and sticking to prices around that, especially for friends, is quite good. I put myself on a twenty pound budget for most, but I did have exceptions.

Step Two. You want to work out what they would like. This can be really difficult, but it needn't be. Think along the lines of TV programmes they like, or bands, or books, or films. You could go down the route of their hobbies, such as cooking, or a sport they play or watch or a game. I helped one of my mates with a secret Santa, Their SS liked to look through photographs, so I suggested a multi frame with photos already in it. I tend to make a list per person of their interests.

Step Three. Take the list from Two, and write possible ideas following each interest. For example, one of my friends likes one specific YouTuber, so I wrote the name of my friend, the name of the YouTuber and then things I could get to do with that YouTuber, such as jumpers, tops, posters, etc. I also write down some questions about these possible presents, such as what size or will it be in budget.

Step Four. Select some gift ideas. I can't help you with that, it's all down to you there. But the main part of Step Four is monitoring the prices of these items. Even just a couple of pennies or pounds under what it was one day is a saving. I managed to pick up one gift for three pound cheaper than it was the day prior. Make sure you order your presents early. Don't leave online shopping until the last minute.

Step Five. Buying in shops. If you actually need to go to a shop to buy something for someone, make a list of what shop it is, and what the item is. Shopping around Christmas can be stressful, especially the closer it gets to Christmas. If you are prepared and know what you are going to buy and where from, then you won't be as stressed, and you'll be able to get your presents more easily.

Step Six. Don't worry. Christmas is just one day a year, it doesn't matter. Don't get yourself into a massive frantic stress ball for just one day. It's not worth it.

I wish you luck in your Christmas shopping. Stay calm and just don't fret. Comment with any extra tips for people. Also I plan to do a Christmas Q and A at some point soon, so please leave questions for that or tweet me, @ZMacIver so I can do that. I'll see you tomorrow with Blogmas Day Five, but until then see you.


Thursday, 3 December 2015

BLOGMAS DAY THREE // MY CHRISTMAS BUCKET LIST


Hey guys. Day three has birthed.... I... I don't know, it's like my third post in a row, and I should be doing biology. Oops! Oh, well. Anyway, I've decided to share my Christmas bucket list. So this is my Christmas bucket list for all my life. Like all of it. Because I can't do half of these things quite yet. But enough chit chat, time to jump in.

1. Go to a Christmas market, preferably in France. I mean there is a strong chance of it coming up in my exam this year, I may as well experience it some time. And I want to buy the handmade Christmas tree decorations I describe.

2. Go to New York at Christmas and do the Christmas thing there. By Christmas thing I mean like Ice Skating at Rockefeller Centre Ice Skating Rink, under the huge Christmas Tree and seeing the Christmas display's in shop windows. Everyone say's America does Christmas well, and I would love to experience it.

3. Be in a Christmas single. I mean I have technically already ticked this one off, but you guys won't have any clue about it although it will revealed soon. But yeah, this definitely.

4. Go and watch The Nutcracker Ballet at Christmas. Every year I go to the pantomime and I absolutely love going to it, but one year I would also love to try and see the Nutcracker ballet somewhere. I just think it would be so amazing live and at Christmas.

5. Go to an actual Christmas tree light switch on. Where I live, the Christmas lights are dropped over the tree or stuck on the streetlights and that night when all the lights come on, so do they. We don't have someone coming to push a button or anything, so I'd love to go to an actual one.

6. Go carol singing. You know, like door to door. I've stood singing carols outside a supermarket with my school when I was younger, and I've been singing in a church, but I really want to go proper carol singing when you rock up outside someone's house, singing. It just looks fun. and festive.

So those were a few things on my Christmas bucket list. I have more, but I really do need to go and revise. I'll see you tomorrow, and until then... Nope I don't know. If anyone wants to, they could give me a Christmas present of a goodbye phrase to end posts with. Please. Comment down below with your Christmas bucket list, and if you've ever done of theses. See you tomorrow!


Wednesday, 2 December 2015

BLOGMAS DAY TWO // CHRISTMAS MOVIE CHALLENGE


It's Blogmas day two. I hope you're not already bored of me! Today I thought I would share with you my Christmas movie challenge.

So, shaming time here. I haven't seen what most people would call the Christmas movie classics. Like I haven't seen Love Actually, or Miracle on 34th Street, or even the whole of Elf. I did see the first hour or so of Elf, but it was in school, and then the class ended and I've never actually watched it. But, this year, I wanted to challenge myself to watch more Christmas films. I have three that I want to watch in complete for the first time.

First, is rightly Elf, the Will Ferrell film about Buddy the elf who goes to New York. As I say, I've only ever seen the first sort of hour of Elf, but I've never seen the end, so it has to be a film I watch this Christmas. Everyone loves this film, and I want to love as well. Plus, Zooey Deschanel is in it, and she's one of my favourite actors!







Next on my list is Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas. Who doesn't love a bit of Disney at Christmas and especially a bit of Mickey? It's a full length film that follows three stories and I am really looking forward to it. I mean, it's Disney. What's not to love, right?



And finally there is It's A Wonderful Life. A classic, all 145 minutes. I've started this a couple of times, and always been put off, but I know how well regarded the film is and I really want to watch it at some point this year. I just need to gear myself up for it.








And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my three film Christmas Movie Challenge. Of, course that's not the only films I want to watch this year. But those three are priorities, because I've never seen any of them before and I want to get to them this Christmas. Comment some more Christmas films you think I should watch this festive season, you know, when I'm not doing school work or blog posts! I'll see you tomorrow with another Blogmas post.


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

BLOGMAS DAY ONE // DECEMBER TBR


It's starting. December is here, as is intense stress. I thought to kick things off I would do my December TBR for you, because it seemed like the most appropriate day. So here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody's having fun. (Bonus points to whoever can name the song!)

Here they are...










I'm sorting them out into a rereads group and a select from group, because between school, Christmas things to do, Blogmas, and other such things, I very much doubt I'll be able to read them all.

Select from TBR:

Mystery In White by J. Jefferson Farjeon, a murder mystery that I received for Christmas last year. It's set over the Christmas period, so seems highly appropriate as some Christmas reading.
The Chocolate Lovers' Christmas by Carole Matthews. Carole Matthews is a great writer, and her Christmas books put me in a very festive mood.
The Winter Wedding by Abby Clements. Abby Clements are always really easy, quick reads and I'm sure this one will be the same.
Every Time A Bell Rings by Carmel Harrington. Okay, I'm going to be honest, the premise intrigued me and it was impulse buy in Tesco.
Make A Christmas Wish by Julia Williams. Julia Williams is.... Okay, so the main reason I bought the book is because of how beautiful it is, but it sounds good as well.
A Wedding At Christmas by Chrissie Manby. It was floppy, and Christmassy. I'm running out of different reasons.
The Heart Of Winter by Emma Hannigan. I was going to read this last year but never, so I thought I would possibly this year instead.
Just For Christmas by Scarlett Bailey. I've already read this one, it's going back to the library today, but this one was really good. I read a Scarlett Bailey novel a few years back and loved it, and I loved this one as well.

Reread TBR:

My True Love Gave To Me edited by Stephanie Perkins. YA short stories set around Christmas. Will only read the ones I liked from the first time of reading.
Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. Three interconnected short stories, that I loved.
- Forgot to add this one into the TBR photo but Dash & Lily's Book Of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan.
Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie. The first book I try to read every Christmas. There's nothing like a good murder to put you in the festive spirit, is there?
Nancy and Plum by Betty MacDonald. Another book I read every year. I landed up getting this for myself one year before Christmas, and as the book starts at Christmas, it's become one of my festive traditions.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Little Women is my favourite book of all time, and I read every year at Christmas, without fail. I adore it, and I find it such a comfort, and a book that makes me feel festive because I read annually at Christmas.

So that's my TBR. As you can probably tell, I tend towards the adult chick-lit's at this time of year, because I struggle to find any Christmassy YA reads. Comment down below letting me know what books you plan on reading this month, and with any suggestions you have for books for me. And if you want me to do a discussion post or a review on any of these books, then let me know which ones. I'll see you tomorrow for day 2 of Blogmas.




Monday, 30 November 2015

CATCH UP AND ANNOUNCEMENT

Hey guys! *waves* So that didn't last long, me posting. I have reasons.

October was a time I was supposed to use for working on this, this blog. But instead, I lost inspiration, momentum and motivation, I guess. And I apologise. The last two weeks in October were chaotic, to say the least. I had three tests in my first week back at school after the two week break, an essay due, and other things, so I spent a lot of my time working.

November has been busy. I decided for some unknown reason to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which you can safely say did not go well. I think my word document has like 4500 words, but I do have quite a bit completed on paper, because we had a disaster. I mean it wasn't, but it was when NaNoWriMo is a website, and your story is online. For four days my house had no internet. You would surprised at how much I needed to view online. I couldn't see part of my English homework, couldn't help my mum book my parents evening. Everything is online. And so still no blog posts. And the rest of November has been busy. Lots of tests and homework and other things.

But, I have an announcement...

I'm doing Blogmas! Yayyy! So as of tomorrow, there should be a post on this blog every single day. Now, that may not quite happen, as I will have a lot to do for school, and other commitments but I'm determined to try. So, prepare yourself's because there's a lot to come. Some posts will be bookish, and there'll be film, and music, and other festive things and I really hope you enjoy.

I think that's about all I have to tell you. I'll see you tomorrow for Blogmas day one. Please don't laugh at my Blogmas banner though... See you tomorrow then guys!


Saturday, 10 October 2015

LIFESTYLE // I AM...

I am called Zoe. I am 16. I am tall. I am short sighted. I am not very confident. I am very shy. I am a bundle of awkward. I am determined. I am always trying to be positive, even when I am not. I am creative. I am friendly. I am kind. I am patient. I am quiet. I am funny, I think. I am someone who can get very angry. I am kind of independent. I am helpful. I am trustworthy. I am loyal. I am a good person. I am a good friend. I am not someone who talks rubbish. I am opinionated. Does this make me weird? Does it make me boring?

I am quite smart. I am good at school. I am well behaved. I am studier. I am someone who tries hard. I am not very sporty. I am able to teach people things. I am easily stressed. I am always quite busy. Does this make me weird? Does it make me boring?

I am obsessed with Ross County. I am alright at singing. I am a lover of music. I am a watcher of TV and films. I am an animal lover. I am a doodler. I am a scribbler. I am a note taker. I am a writer. I am a dreamer. I am a thinker. I am a reader. I am a blogger. I am a people watcher. I am Does this make me weird? Does it make me boring?

I am not someone who likes dishonest  people. I am not someone who like jealous people. I am not someone who likes attention seekers. I am not someone who likes people who will shout in someone's ear without thinking. I am not someone who likes people who are false and say things that are definitely not true. I am not someone who likes people my age to tell me what I can or can't do with my stuff. Does this make me weird? Does it make me boring?

I am not interested in drinking, or partying. I am not someone who has made out with guys just because. I am not probably the average sixteen year old girl. I am not someone who talks to my mates about what the guys that I 'pull' are like. I am not someone who just 'pulls' guys. Does this make me weird? Does it make me boring?

Someone from school called me and a few of my mates negative people and boring. It got me thinking about what it is that makes me weird, or boring, or negative. And I decided. I may be boring, and negative, and weird. But I'm happy. I'm happy with the choices I make in life. And if they make me boring. Or if they make me weird, or even negative, then fine. I'll accept that, I'll do what Jeane says in Adorkable by Sarra Manning and turn hurtful words into positive statements of who I am. I am boring, and weird and negative. And I don't care. Because... I am happy. And that is the biggest I am of all.


Wednesday, 7 October 2015

TAG // THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE OFF BOOK TAG


Hey guys! How are you? Today, I'm going to be doing a tag. And, if you don't follow me on Twitter, and you should, then you won't see my updates on Ross County and on a Wednesday night, The Great British Bake Off. For anyone who has no idea what I'm on about, GBBO, as it is shortened to, is a competition in which twelve people go head to head for ten weeks until one is crowned the winner. The weeks are normally themed, such as cake, and it is such a good programme. Tonight is actually the final, come on Nadiya or Tamal! And to coincide with the final, I thought I would do the Great British Book tag which was created by Jack from the YouTube channel ReadingWithJack. (Watch the original here) I'm going to tag Sofia and Arianne to do this as they both tweet about GBBO when it's on! Let's get started.

Week One: CAKE. The cake has sunk in the middle. Pick a book that didn't rise to your expectations.

I chose This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith. I went into this book with such high expectations because it sounded like the sort of book I would have loved and a lot of my friends really enjoyed it but once I started to read it I did like it much. I didn't connect with the characters and I didn't like them much, I thought it was slightly obvious and a bit cliché and I DFN'ed it because I wasn't enjoying it.







Week Two: BISCUITS. Once you've eaten one, you're hungry for more and each time you eat another, they get more and more delicious. Pick a book series or trilogy that got progressively better.

I picked the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. I really love this series and these books just got better and better. The characters, the writing, the settings and just everything improved as the series went on. It had to be this trilogy.

Special mention : The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer



Week Three: BREAD. Kneading dough requires hard work and determination. Pick a book that you put off reading for ages and needed a lot of determination to pick up.

I chose The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. I tried to read this when it came out in 2012 and I couldn't get into it at all. From then on I just kept telling myself to read it but kept putting it off until this last summer when I was in a mood for some J.K. Rowling and picked it up. I'm so glad I did though, because it is such a good book, but it definitely took a lot of determination to pick it up.




Week Four: DESSERTS. Foreign deserts such as crème brûlée and Spanische Windtorte are on the menu. Pick a book set in a foreign country.

I picked Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I love, love, love this book. It's set in Paris for the most part, with only a wee bit in America. I love the character's and the plot and the romance and it's just so perfect. This book has made me want to visit Paris about three thousand times more than before. Love it!

Special Mention: Just One Day + Just One Year by Gayle Forman. 






Week Five: ALTERNATIVE INGREDIENTS. Not usually used, but surprisingly good. Pick a book from a genre you normally wouldn't read but ended up loving. 

I chose Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. I rarely read graphic novels but I read this one and absolutely loved it. I'm not going to say any more on this books though, because I have a possibly graphic if it works, review for this and another graphic novel going up in November, so you can read my thoughts then.







Week Six: PASTRY. Shortcrust pastry can crumble easily. Pick a character who you initially liked, but as you read more and more, your relationship with them crumbled apart.



I picked Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. I love the Wolves of Mercy Falls series and I really like all of the characters but, during Linger, I found Grace to be so annoying. I got pissed off at her a lot. I made up with her in the third book, and I loved her in the first book, but in this one she just bugs me. Our relationship crumbled apart, but we fixed it. I patched things up with Grace like the bakers do with their pastry.





Week Seven: VICTORIAN / OLD-FASHIONED BAKES. Recipes from the past that still taste delicious today. Pick your favourite classic novel.

I chose my favourite book of all time for this, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I adore this book. It's my favourite book, I reread every Christmas. I love all the characters and can see bits of myself in each of them, and I just feel at home with the March sisters. This is definitely my favourite classic. 










Week Eight: PATISSERIE. You're eating a chocolate éclair but there's barely any filling inside. Pick a book that lacked substance and fell flat. 

I chose the first two books in the Fallen series by Lauren Kate which are Fallen and Torment. Honestly, I really dislike both of these books, and I can't quite remember which of them fits the cookie cutter for this question but one of them does. I found the main character to be annoying, the romance to be off putting and the entire books very slow. I know some people like these books but they just weren't for me.




Week Nine: CHOCOLATE. Chocolate is a comfort food for many people. Pick a book you could read again and again and still find comforting. 

I chose The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I love the Harry Potter series. It's so magical, and the writing is lovely and I can lose hours at Hogwarts with the Golden Trio and I just adore. It's so comforting. 

Special Mention: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Twilight by Stephanie Perkins.






Week Ten: THE GRAND FINAL. Everyone is out to impress with extravagant show-stoppers. Pick your favourite book of the year so far that really impressed you.    

 This was so hard to chose, but I picked Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne. I read this in August, and I'm still thinking about it today. I loved the characters, I loved the plot. The entire book, including the themes and the way mental health was written about and portrayed was just fantastic. I might be doing a post soon, so if I am, this book will be in it. As I say, it was hard to pick and there were a few that came close but this book just stood out in my mind.







So that was the Great British Bake Off Book Tag. I hope you enjoyed it, and leave in the comments some of your answers to these questions and who you want to win GBBO. I'll be live tweeting so come and join me. I'll see you on Saturday for a lifestyle post and on Wednesday for a bookish post. See you soon!

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

I FEEL LIKE I DO THIS POST ALL THE TIME...

Hi! So I'm back. I think. Tbh, I don't know how consistent I will be at being back but for now I'm back. So hi. How ya been? Good, good. I'm good, thanks. And if you didn't ask, well, rude! So, my last blog post would have been... April?? My gosh! Long time ago! So what happened in the last few months.

Well, April was spent studying for the exams I sat and did well in in May. June, I went back to school, and started our new courses and I went from actually having time, to having negative hours. Like I need more hours in a day than I have. July and the first half of August I spent on holiday with my family. Oh, and the workmen that were re-harling my house, including a seventeen year old that looked twelve and a lot like the Milky Bar kid. And, in July I took part in Camp NaNoWriMo and won, reaching my 25k word count goal. Yay!! And then on my birthday, in August, I went back to school and have been drowning in work ever since. I mean, if it's not homework, it's extra and everything has taken a back seat. I spend my small amount of free time reading, watching YouTube, watching football or writing. (On a side not, M'ON THE STAGGIES!)

But I'm back! Yay!! So, I don't know how often I'll be posting but I'll try to get a post up at least every two weeks. I hope I can. I have a couple of books I want to do reviews for, and I have a few post ideas so in my two days off from school the week that I wrote this I'll try to write a few of these. I may also do some more life type posts, such as general chit chats, films, music, sport, LUSH and various other things. I hope that's okay, and if you are not interested in seeing these sort of posts, I'm going to tend to set them for Saturdays so you can not read them if you want.

For now, I'll say goodbye but don't worry. I'll be back. I just need to shake off the dust and cobwebs, I'm not as good at this now. Until next time... See you soon. (Need a ending sentence. Help!)

Sunday, 9 August 2015

[MUSINGS] REVIEW || Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Book Title: Landline
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Orion, 3rd July, 2014
Source: Book Swap
Format: Uncorrected Proof Copy, 354 pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now. Maybe that was always besides the point. Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her. When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything. That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . . Is that what she’s supposed to do? Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?
Oh Landline, what do I have to say about you?

What can I say about you?

Your concept certainly had me peering above my duvet, and it didn’t hurt that the writer who penned you is one that I’ve read of and loved before. What exactly are you supposed to be? I asked myself. I still don’t have an answer to that question, you were a strange mix of concepts between Contemporary and… magic? Which was done very well, I have to say, if not still quite a strange thing to accept without any explanation.

I enjoyed this book immensely, I did. It was interesting and had a certain quirkiness to it that appealed to my inner (or rather outer) eccentric self. The whole thing took a while to get used to, the writing style and the main character, to put it simply, I don’t like Georgie. At all.

The whole situation that the book was based around (Georgie and Neal’s not-happy-marriage) just annoyed me to no end, it was very irritating. All I wanted to do was knock some sense into them, the whole thing could have been solved very easily. Meaning that as the story went on I did get very wary of what was happening and how tangible it could really be when it was such an irritating situation. As a result of this, I did get pulled out of the immersion for at least half of the book. 

Then something else happened.

I actually started caring, there was a huge turnabout and nothing that I can pinpoint it to. Suddenly, I was okay with it all and I really started liking the book and liking the plot and the direction it was taking, at that point I just couldn’t stop reading.

Now, one thing that was immediately clear was that Rainbow hasn’t lost her talent for making absolutely adorable and cute romances, and romantic moments that can be believed. Once I really got into the novel I couldn’t stop echoing aww’s and ooh’s and oh my godddd’s. The moments between Neal and Georgie are things that you can’t help but love. It was fantastic to read a romance like that, even if it was broken or breaking at points. It’s very hard to separate what I hated and what I loved about this book because the end product of everything is something that I really like. And I don’t think I’d like this book as much as I do if I didn’t have issues with it, which means that what I hate about the book is also what I love about it.

It’s complicated. But, I liked the book, a hell of a lot. Eventually.

It’s one of the more so conflicting Contemporaries that I’ve read.

I don’t think I can round up this review in any way really, it was one of the tasks in the Triwizard Tournament to simple write the review itself because I was that confused and conflicted. In the end I can’t deny that I really liked this book. I adore Rainbow Rowell.

Reading this book was a strange experience, and I do recommend that you give it a go!

Rating = 4 Bookish Birds


Friday, 7 August 2015

REVIEW || An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Book Title: An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1)
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Publisher: Harper Voyager, 4th June, 2015
Source: Publisher
Format: Uncorrected Proof Copy, 450 pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
What if you were the spark that could ignite a revolution? For years Laia has lived in fear. Fear of the Empire, fear of the Martials, fear of truly living at all. Born as a Scholar, she’s never had much of a choice. For Elias it’s the opposite. He has seen too much on his path to becoming a Mask, one of the Empire’s elite soldiers. With the Masks’ help the Empire has conquered a continent and enslaved thousands, all in the name of power. When Laia’s brother is taken she must force herself to help the Resistance, the only people who have a chance of saving him. She must spy on the Commandant, ruthless overseer of Blackcliff Academy. Blackcliff is the training ground for Masks and the very place that Elias is planning to escape. If he succeeds, he will be named deserter. If found, the punishment will be death. But once Laia and Elias meet, they will find that their destinies are intertwined and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself. In the ashes of a broken world one person can make a difference. One voice in the dark can be heard. The price of freedom is always high and this time that price might demand everything, even life itself.
I’m going into this review with many mixed thoughts and different opinions, which means it’s always very hard to come to reasonable conclusion and not ramble on a lot or be quite controversial, as I tend to be but as one of my most anticipated reads of the year this book left me with an overwhelming sense of disappointment, because my expectations were very, very high. It certainly delivered on what it promised, brutality, and fantasy which was great in premise and in practice but it wasn’t an epic book, and it wasn’t an epic fantasy for me.

I think the beginning statement to get across about this book is that I love to hate loving it. I have issues with this book, most of which occurred after reading, some which annoyed me whilst reading and as a result my mind is very twisted and confused. Here’s why; when reading I really enjoyed the book, actually, I thought it was great – I didn’t connect to characters at all, but the plot of the book, the writing the pace of it all kept me enthralled. After reading it though, I just kept finding flaws and more flaws and things that bothered me, but I still couldn’t get over the fact that I really, really, liked this book. And I started hating that I loved it when there were so many obvious issues. 

Which leaves me at a stalemate.

First off, contrary to others, I thought the world building in An Ember in the Ashes was fantastic, it gave me just enough to really be able to build the world and give a feel for the whole era itself, whilst not being a huge info-dump. Something that also helped was the fact that I adore the Greco-Roman period and as this seemed to be a replicate, I enjoyed it. I loved the relationships and dynamics between the characters, it was the championing aspect of the book, for me.

It took me at least a third of the book to get used to the writing and the continuous pace, which I can’t say was a bad thing as the pacing was very well done - but I love the ebb and flow of things whereas this book was just a constant drumbeat. Furthermore, the book itself was quite predictable, in my opinion. There was nothing that surprised me, which did take away from the book immensely. I don’t know how to describe the writing itself other than “talkative”, there were short sentences that built the tension but a lot of the time it was just very talky, and I’m not referring to dialogue. Now this wouldn’t be a problem, because I tend to enjoy getting to grips with the characters mind and rummaging about inside, especially when they mental babble, but I didn’t really like the main characters, or connect with them at all, which was a bust.

Now, Laia and Elias are good, solid, characters, particularly for a book like this. Personally, I just didn’t connect with them in anyway, at all – I felt that they were very two-dimensional, and the way that they were presented… it seemed as though they had almost no flaws at all (we all love a flawed character). With Laia, her biggest flaw that is constantly factoring into her own mind babble, is that she’s a coward. That got a bit tiring. As the book was told from the perspective of both main characters, I believe it would have been much more effective if I had connected with them. A lot of the time it did feel like they were talking about everyone and everything else (when they weren’t dwelling on themselves and their motives) – in the end it made for flat characters, that were likable, but not much else.

On the other hand, we are told many a time (though rarely shown, which is indeed a bit of a sore point with me) how brutal and terrifying this world is, and the people that they live under. I thought that this was executed quite well within the writing, the way certain characters walked and talked, you really did get that feeling of brutality, but like I said, it was rarely shown and I’m someone who prefers to experience something rather than just be told about it. Despite this, when there were scenes of a bloody/violent nature, they definitely lived up to their expectancy. 

The plot of the book was well done, although I did think it predictable, it was still woven very well and the ending of the book leaves many exciting options and pathways open for the second novel, which I am eagerly anticipating. In conclusion, I did absolutely love this book, I would re-read it, and I definitely recommend it. I do have reservations about it, but to love something I think you also have to see it flaws, and if you can accept the flaws, then all the better. It took me a while to get this this conclusion, and I’m happy that I have. I look forward to the sequel very much, and hope that Tahir stuns me with her next book.

Rating = 4 Bookish Birds

Monday, 3 August 2015

Tunes and Tomes || First Edition

Yes, indeed, this is another one of those common blogging things called ‘features’. With me being back in the blogosphere again, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, brainstorming, and this was a product of that. I’ve mentioned before how I wanted to be able to talk about things other than books without going off on a complete tangent, but still including a more personal note to posts, so what did my ingenious mind come up with? A music feature. That also includes books.

Hold on, hold on, keep the assumptions at bay because as overlord of the realm I am about to explain what Tunes and Tomes is all about. It isn’t just about any music, because that would be boring. No, Tunes and Tomes is about physical music, not some digital widget or image I’ve just inserted with a bit of html.

Yes, it’s about visuals. It’s about vinyls. It’s about photography. It’s about music.

I love music. I adore records, especially. I eat, sleep, and inhale books – isn’t that a cracker of a combination? This is basically a feature that gives me the opportunity to talk about music and books and also exhibit some more-so justified photography. How will I do that? Well for every Tunes and Tomes post I’ll have an album/record/CD and a book pairing. The pairing might be because I think cover art corresponds or because I think the album personifies the book, you’ll just have to wait and see.

For the first installment of this new feature I thought we would take it easy, so yes, the record I picked for today’s post was not bought in a totally hipster fashion from a totally underground record store. It was bought from HMV, brand new.

Nonetheless, it is an awesome record, and it comes with a pretty awesome book, if I do say so myself.


Today’s pairing is The Rolling Stones and Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli!

I picked this vinyl and this book to go together for two main reasons.

Reason 1) I put these two together as a pair for appearances sake, at first, I will admit – I think the colours and design go together wonderfully and they complement each other quite well, with Simon Vs being very scarlet and that running through the cover art of the album but the tones or grey, white and mustard adding more to the palette, as well as the blue in the lettering of Simon Vs echoing in the pen script decorating the album. And with both having the profiles of young men.

Reason 2) Straight away I knew this was the perfect pairing anyway because if you asked me to describe Simon Vs, many words that come to mind are fun, cute, lovely, sweet etc. but it does have other things that it deals with very well and I think the songs on this particular album do work to that very well. They’re very fun and I hesitate to use this term but it fits, they are quite ‘hip’ whilst others are more serious in their lyrics if not their tone.

Now I am not an expert in music, or books – I just happen to enjoy them both, so please do not bite my head off if you don’t agree with this, it is just my own opinion and its completely fine if you disagree, in fact I would love to hear what your thoughts would be, but like I said, I’m no expert, I’m just doing this for fun and giggles.  All I have to wonder now is whether or not the author would agree with me! 

On a different note, Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a brilliant book as I have said many times before and I desperately urge you to read it. Even my review falls short of praising this book as much as it deserves to be praised, but you can check it out anyway (here) to see what I thought. I do hope you enjoyed this new project that I’m trying out, and if you would like to take part in the feature then please do contact me on Twitter or via email! Lastly, I'd just like to quickly thank Michelle, Cat and Georgia for helping me get this feature off of the ground!