Friday, 25 November 2011

Follow Friday #6

I know, I've not blogged in ages (again) and I'm sorry I suck so much, but hopefully this will change. I'm doing a marketing internship for TWCS Publishing House  and so hopefully that will encourage me to blog more. I'm also doing a reading challenge in 2012, so that will definitely make me blog more. But more about those two things in another post!

As always, Feature and Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee. This week's question is;

'It's Thanksgiving Day in the US so we want to know what you are thankful for - blogging related of course! Who has helped you out along the way? What books are you thankful for reading?'

Firstly and most importantly, I'm thankful for/to my friend Cait (The Cait Files) for encouraging me to start the blog in the first place, as well as answering my endless (and some stupid) questions. Cait also introduced me to some very cool people and most importantly told me about the internship that I'm now doing. So thanks, Cait!
Bloggers are an awesome asset to my internship too. Reading, reviewing and promoting the books that TWCS publish does wonders for the authors and their books. The blogging community is amazing, and I can't believe it took me so long to discover it! 
On that note too, I'm thankful for anyone/everyone who reads my blog! 

Hope you all have a great weekend! 

Friday, 7 October 2011

Follow Friday #5

Hello again! I was rather (well, completely) absent during September. I have a perfectly good excuse though, which can be found HERE, on my personal blog. I've just started updating my personal blog again and intend to use it a lot more now, to write about stuff that would take the focus off books too much if I wrote about it here. All of my Day Zero updates will now be over there, as well as a few other projects I have lined up. It should be an interesting read (I hope!) So please hop over and have a look :) Anyway, I'm going to write a longer update in another post. Now time for Follow Friday.

As you know, Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop which is hosted over at Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read. This week's question is:

If you could pick one character in a book, movie or television show to swap places with, who would it be?

I go through periods of watching one TV show from start to finish, and normally end up obsessed with the show and at least one character from it. At the minute it's Gossip Girl. I'm part way through season 3 at the minute, and completely in love with Chuck Bass. My friend Amie got me into Gossip Girl but before then, I couldn't understand her obsession with Ed Westwick (and Chuck Bass), but now it's all clear. Also, Blair Waldorf is kind of my heroine. She's the ultimate girly girl (something I can't seem to achieve) and her bitchiness and scheming really does baffle me and never fails to make me laugh. Therefore, I would totally swap places with Blair Waldorf, and be very happy with my little self.

Happy Blogging everyone, and have a fantastic weekend!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Follow Friday #4

Ok so I've not blogged for a week. This is because I have been debating reviewing Divergent, which I finished on Wednesday, and so I've been putting it off. It was just SO GOOD, so I don't want to sound super lame. 

Anyway, so today is Feature and Follow Friday, hosted over at Parajunkee's blog. 

This week's question iiissss:
In books like the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) series, the paranormal creature in question "comes out of the closet" and makes itself known to the world. Which mythical creature do you wish would come out of the closet for real?

Hmmmm. Yet another excellent but really tricky question! I think I'll leave the vampires and werewolves alone, I'm not as sadistic or just plain stupid like Bella Swan. I'm a bit of a wimp really, so I'd want one of the 'nice' mythical creatures to be real. Like mermaids, or unicorns. Aww yeah, I'd love a pet unicorn. I'd then totally get Olivander to make me a wand with a Unicorn hair in it. Dragons would be really cool I suppose...but like I said, I'm a wimp, so I'd probably never leave my house again if there were dragons hanging round outside.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Follow Friday #3

Happy Friday everybody! Friday is, of course, the day of the blog hop over at Parajunkee's blog. 

This week's question:

If you could write yourself a part in a book, what book would it be and what role would you play in that book? 

This is an awesome question, one I've really had to think hard to answer. My first, instant thought was 'Harry Potter, duh!' but that is probably going to be 99% of people's answer, so I'm going to try and think outside the box. I know this is going to make me sound like a 12 year old, but so be it! I absolutely adore the Adventure series by Enid Blyton, and as a kid I always, always wished that I was friends with Jack, Philip, Dinah and Lucy-Ann. I'd definitely write myself in as Jack and Dinah's sister! That way, I'd also get to go to boarding school, which is another thing I always wanted to do as a kid! 

Day Zero Update

Just a quick update! In the last couple of days I've managed to tick a few more off my list:

 I cashed in my change jar (£10.33 in copper!) 

I changed my passwords. (I've had the same ones since I was about 13, and quite a few people knew them!)

I also bought a Learn Italian pack, so I'm going to start my attempt to learn Italian. 

And finally, my copy of No Plot? No Problem! arrived in the post today, yay! This will hopefully aid my latest attempt to finish writing something I've started!

I'm not going to have chance to blog over the weekend as I have three 21st Birthday events and a Christening to attend, so I hope you all have an excellent few days :) 

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Day Zero Update

Day Zero

Happy Wednesday everybody :) One of my Day Zero challenges is to keep track of the list in this blog, so that's exactly what I'm doing now. After much consideration, I've decided to edit the list a bit. I love all of the challenges on there, but some of them are a bit...not pointless, but won't really have a long term effect. I really want to use the list as a way to sort my life out, which is currently at a bit of a post-graduation standstill.

So yeah, there's going to be a few changes. If any of you have got any suggestions, they would be very welcome :) I've managed to tick off three so far:

1. Write a letter to myself to open at the 1001 days.
This was really challenging, a lot more challenging than I thought it would be! It was originally 'write a letter to myself to open in 10 years', but I am way, way too impatient and I knew that I would never last ten years! I'd probably also lose a letter in that time, because who knows where I'll be in ten years?! Also, I think that the comparison between now and after the 1001 days will be more interesting, to see exactly how much it changed my life/me.

Anyway, challenging! I have kept a diary since I was really young, and most of my old ones are in boxes. Reading past diary entries, even ones from a few months ago, often makes me cringe. So writing a letter to myself had the odd effect of me cringing when I was writing it, as well as imagining myself cringing when I read it in 2014! Like I said though...the experience should be interesting.

18. Get a new haircut
This might not seem like a big deal to anybody else, but it was quite a big deal for me! I had been growing my hair for four years, from my second year of sixth form and all through uni. This was mainly because I couldn't decide what to do with it, so it was easier just to do nothing. Then when it got to a certain length it started to get really difficult to maintain; it took me ages to wash it, it took even longer to dry and straighten it etc. I'd wanted to do something dramatic with it for ages, so I finally got it all cut off. Well obviously not ALL of it, but let's just say that I lost more hair than I have left on my head.

86. Influence someone to make a day zero list.
This was a rather easy one. My friend Becca, who just graduated from my course with me and is also at a bit of a standstill, decided to make one too!

Once I've finished editing and have a final list, I'm going to print it off on to a big chart and stick it on my wall and decorate it :) It's all about having fun while achieving my goals after all, might as well make it look pretty too!

Book update

I'm currently reading The Lessons by Naomi Alderman, one of the books I got from the library. I'll save all the details for my review, but I will say this; the book has me hooked, but it's with very mixed and confused emotions that I keep on reading. 

As I've mentioned before, I studied Creative Writing at university. Unfortunately the fact that I was studying the art of writing actually put me off writing for fun for a while. I think this was mainly due to lack of inspiration more than anything else. All of my ideas were being used for my assignments, and so I was struggling to write for fun because I had nothing to write about. Anyway, I had a bit of a 'lightbulb above my head moment' when I was writing my last ever creative piece for my degree. It dawned on me that it was my last ever piece that I would be marked on, and that I might as well have some fun with it. I really enjoyed writing it after that, and it proved to me how much I do love writing.

So anyway, reading Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project led me to Chris Baty, the founder of National Novel Writing Month, and his book No Plot? No Problem! which I have just ordered and will be here very soon. Obviously I don't just expect to write an amazing novel in a month and just go 'tad daaaaa, it's finished', but I'm hoping that the advice and stratergies in there will help me get back on the metaphorical horse and start writing again and actually finish something!

So I think that's it! I'm going to sign off here because I've probably rambled enough for one day. I hope you all enjoy the rest of your day! :)

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The Single Girl's To-Do List Review

Sticking to my resolution to blog more! I'm hoping to get into a pattern of blogging every two or three days, which will also motivate me to read faster than I have been doing. I sat in my lounge yesterday (I hardly ever go in there) and just read my book in peace and quiet until I had finished it. It was bliss, something I haven't done in a long, long time. The book was Lindsey Kelk's The Single Girl's To-Do List. Lindsey Kelk is the author of the amazing I Heart series. Here's the Goodreads description:

Published 9th June 2011by Harper.
A hilarious and romantic standalone novel from the bestselling author of the I Heart series. Rachel Summers lives every area of her life according to a to-do list and so far, she is ticking most things off. She has a job she loves (make-up artist to the stars), the perfect boyfriend, a cosy London flat and a fantastic circle of friends. All that remains on her life to-do list is to get married, have a baby and live happily ever after. Simple. Well, not quite! Suddenly, Rachel's perfect boyfriend wants to take a break. She's convinced it's just cold feet but when the break turns into a split, her best friends Emelie and Matthew step in and come up with the ultimate heartbreak cure -- the single girl's to-do list, the top ten things Rachel must see and do to kick-start her fabulous, new single life. But nothing can prepare her for the adventures that unfold as the to-do list takes them all over town and even abroad, and proves to all three that love is out there if you're willing to take a chance!

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed the first two I Heart books, so I was excited to read this. It didn't let me down! Linsdey Kelk is a really funny writer, and I think I annoyed a few people (my mum, my brother, people at work, people on the bus) by laughing out loud (very loud) at times. I often find myself predicting what is going to happen when I'm reading, and end up spoiling books for myself when exactly what I predicted would happen, does. Although one prediction I made right at the start came true (though it's a spoiler so I won't reveal it), the rest of the book was quite unpredictable, and even what I predicted didn't happen exactly how I thought it would. 

I really liked the main character Rachel and her two best friends. At the start of the book Rachel did annoy me, as she acted like a doormat to Simon, her boyfriend, and his 'break'. But as the book goes on and she ticks off more of the list, we see her growing as a person and becoming stronger, which is good. She seemed quite oblivious and stubborn at times though, which is frustrating as a know-it-all reader. 

The only slightly negative thing I can say about this book is something that probably doesn't even register with other people, but I'm quite picky. It seemed that in every scene with Matthew in it (which was a lot), Kelk mentioned the fact that he was gay. Kinda got annoying after about the third time; I understand that he's gay, I don't need reminding every time he does something!

Other than that though, I really enjoyed this book. If chick lit isn't your thing, I'd suggest leaving it alone, but if you've just finished a mentally exhausting read and need something light and fluffy to get into and laugh at, this is perfect. I'd also recommend the I Heart series if you haven't read them!

I give this book:

Friday, 12 August 2011

Follow Friday #2

I'm determined to get into the habit of blogging more often, so I'm going to try and get involved and take part in a few blog hops through the week. One of these is Feature & Follow Friday, which is hosted over at Parajunkee's blog.

This week's question is:
Have have your reading habits changed since you were a teen?

I tend to read about people my own age or a bit older. So when I was a teenager, about 13 and 14, I read books about teens, such as the Girls in Love series by Jaqueline Wilson. I was quite a late bloomer when it came to boys and such (I blame going to an all girls' school and spending all my free time sat in a corner reading!) So I guess I was living vicariously through the older girls who were having those experiences in the books. 

Then when I got to 15/16, I started reading more paranormal stuff, which I got into through friends. It was either Amy (blog) or Caitlin (blog) (or possibly they ganged up on me!) who got me into the Wicca series by Cate Tiernan. We were all quite obsessed with those for a while. I'd like to read them again at some point, as I don't think I've read them since I was about 16.

 Another, similar series, is the Circle of Three series by Isobel Bird (which, I've literally just found out, is the pen name of Michael Thomas Ford. Very interesting!) My mum buys me new books every Christmas/Birthday, and one year she saw these and thought they'd make a nice change. They did make a nice change! I read them over and over again for months. Unfortunately, though I can't remember exactly what happened, something meant that they weren't in book stores for a while. I only for the first six, and I've still never read the remaining nine. Writing this has definitely just inspired me to though! *Adds to must read list.*

So anyway, to answer the question. I'm still quite into paranormal stuff, and I am ashamed to say I did catch the Twilight bug for a while. However studying Creative Writing at university put an end to that (thankfully). Nowadays I tend to read a lot of philosophical and psychological stuff. I'm also trying to get through the classics. Early this year I FINALLY managed to read To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye. I adore T.K.A.M but I wasn't really a fan of the other two. Especially Catcher. I couldn't stand Holden Caulfield. 

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The Happiness Project and Day Zero

Hello! Again, it's been a while. I know, I'm not doing very well! Hopefully that will change now though, as I have lots of exciting new things to blog about.
So I've just finished reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Here's the Goodreads description...

Published: January 2009 by HarperCollins

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. "The days are long, but the years are short," she realized. "Time is passing, and I'm not focusing enough on the things that really matter." In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

In this lively and compelling account of that year, Rubin carves out her place alongside the authors of bestselling memoirs such as Julie and JuliaThe Year of Living Biblically, and Eat, Pray, Love. With humor and insight, she chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier.

Rubin didn't have the option to uproot herself, nor did she really want to; instead she focused on improving her life as it was. Each month she tackled a new set of resolutions: give proofs of love, ask for help, find more fun, keep a gratitude notebook, forget about results. She immersed herself in principles set forth by all manner of experts, from Epicurus to Thoreau to Oprah to Martin Seligman to the Dalai Lama to see what worked for her—and what didn't.

Her conclusions are sometimes surprising—she finds that money can buy happiness, when spent wisely; that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that "treating" yourself can make you feel worse; that venting bad feelings doesn't relieve them; that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference—and they range from the practical to the profound.

Written with charm and wit, The Happiness Project is illuminating yet entertaining, thought-provoking yet compulsively readable. Gretchen Rubin's passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading just a few chapters of this book will inspire you to start your own happiness project.

My Thoughts:

I don't know how I'd never heard of this book before I stumbled across it on Amazon! But I'm so glad I found it when I did. As the description says, Rubin did an excellent job in proving that you don't have to change your life in order to change your life. She then wrote an awesome book about it. The description is right again in saying that it will inspire you to start your own; it has certainly made me want to start mine.

What I love most about this book is the message behind it. Although I adore Eat, Pray, Love, and I've said before how much I can relate to Liz Gilbert, everyone can relate to Gretchen Rubin. Her project deals with every day situations that every single person has to deal with, and gives examples of how to get as much happiness and as little unhappiness and stress out of them as possible. Though Rubin expresses strongly that everybody's project is unique, which they are, I can already feel myself mentally adjusting myself and my reactions in situations, according to what I've read in Rubin's book. It's amazing what changing your tone of voice or forcing yourself to laugh can do for most situations.

I've been searching my brain for anything negative to say about this book, but I just can't. It might not be everybody's cup of tea, but I loved it, and therefore I'm giving it:


Day Zero is a project started in 2003 by New Zealander, Michael Green. The aim of the project is for people to achieve 101 things in 1001 days, approximately 2.75 years. My friend Louise (you can find her blog here) started it first, and it was her list, mixed with The Happiness Project, and my mum's 40 Things before I'm 40 list that inspired me to take this challenge on. 

So I started mine today (, and I now have until 30th April 2014 (WOAH!) to get through everything on the list. There's a mixture of short-term, long-term and on-going goals in there, and I hope that, like the Happiness Project, they will result in me being a lot happier and also help me get a lot more out of life than I am doing at the moment! My favourite is 'Write a letter to myself to open at the end of the 1001 days', which I think I'm going to attempt to write tomorrow. I think it will just be so cool to see the difference between now and then, after I've achieved all of these things. 

One of them is to keep track of the project on my blog, so this is now officially more than a book blog! I'm still obviously going to be writing about books and giving reviews (hopefully more successfully than I have been doing!), but I'll also be using this as a way to chronicle my adventures as I tick off things my list. I hope that you will all find it an interesting read :) 

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Well...Hello again!

So, it's been...a while! My attempt at the 30 Books in 30 Days challenge failed miserably, mainly (well, wholly) because I did what I said I wasn't going to do and started reading Committed. It was just sat there whispering 'reeeaaddd meeee, reeeaaadd meeeeee!' and I've wanted to read it for so long that I just gave in to the pressure. Pathetic, I know. Anyhow, dya know like I said I didn't want to rush it? It turns out that I couldn't have rushed it if I'd wanted to. Man, that book is hard work!
For anybody who isn't familiar with Liz Gilbert, she is the author of Eat, Pray, Love, which is  perhaps my favourite book ever. Here's the Goodreads summary...

Published: February 2006 by Viking.
Find it on Amazon here.
In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want--husband, country home, successful career--but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she felt consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and of what she found in their place. Following a divorce and a crushing depression, Gilbert set out to examine three different aspects of her nature, set against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.

I actually wrote a little piece about this book on my personal blog (which you can find here, if you're interested), so I'm not going to talk too much about it here. I just think that everybody who hasn't already read it, should! It's a book about finding who you are in the world, and what you believe in and (at the risk of sounding really corny), it helped me a lot when I was asking myself these questions (still is helping me, too!) 
So anyway, Committed is the sequel, and here is the description, again from Goodreads;

Paperback version published by Viking in February 2011.
Find it here on Amazon.
At the end of her bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert fell in love with Felipe, a Brazilian-born man of Australian citizenship who’d been living in Indonesia when they met. Resettling in America, the couple swore eternal fidelity to each other, but also swore to never, ever, under any circumstances get legally married. (Both were survivors of previous horrific divorces. Enough said.) But providence intervened one day in the form of the United States government, which—after unexpectedly detaining Felipe at an American border crossing—gave the couple a choice: they could either get married, or Felipe would never be allowed to enter the country again. Having been effectively sentenced to wed, Gilbert tackled her fears of marriage by delving into this topic completely, trying with all her might to discover through historical research, interviews, and much personal reflection what this stubbornly enduring old institution actually is. Told with Gilbert’s trademark wit, intelligence and compassion, Committed attempts to “turn on all the lights” when it comes to matrimony, frankly examining questions of compatibility, infatuation, fidelity, family tradition, social expectations, divorce risks and humbling responsibilities. Gilbert’s memoir is ultimately a clear-eyed celebration of love with all the complexity and consequence that real love, in the real world, actually entails.

Huge description I know, but here are my thoughts:

I absolutely adore Liz Gilbert and I think she is an amazing writer, but if I'm completely honest, I found this book a lot of hard work. I know a lot of people who couldn't finish Eat, Pray, Love for the same reason (the India section in particular is a struggle for most people), but I got so involved in the story and the journey that Gilbert was on that I didn't mind that it dragged in some parts. Committed however, is a different story (literally). 

Committed does exactly what it says on the cover; it examines every aspect of marriage from every angle. Like I said and like the description says too, Gilbert tackles the tricky subject in an amazing way - and I personally think she's an incredibly intelligent and witty writer - but for me there's something missing. Gilbert admits that she is no expert on marriage, and everything she writes about -other than her own opinion- is based on research she has done and people she has discussed the topics with. There are a lot of theories, and a lot of opinions (which, I know, is the whole point of an in-depth study), but for me (and it seems Gilbert, too) that there's too much. There was a lot of theory in the first book too, but also a lot more narrative. This book has a lot more theory than it does actual narrative on the events of Liz and Felipe's ten month exile. For me, though the whole subject of marriage and the reason behind the study obviously linked to their impending wedding, without being let in on their journey as much and being able to link back the theory to what they were going through at the time, I hate to say it but to put it bluntly; I didn't care at times. 

I feel disloyal to Gilbert and to Eat, Pray, Love just saying that though! I just think that there was so much theory and different, contrasting opinions, that I ended up becoming tired and confused, and it was clear that Gilbert was too. Like I've said, with the first book I got so insanely involved in the story that I began to believe I was actually there myself. I was so on the same page as Gilbert, that I could identify with her journey and feel her emotions. (I'm sorry, I know that was incredibly cheesy.) With Committed however, there was no sense of journey. They went on a literal journey, but I couldn't see any clear emotional journey happening within Gilbert. After all the theories on all the different subjects, she ended up just as confused as I was, and seemed to just give up trying to work out how she felt. There was no 'OH!' moment, which I have to admit I was kind of disappointed by. 

Don't get me wrong though, I still think this book is fantastic. It's also very interesting, and has made me question a lot of ideas I had about marriage (not that I have much experience in that department myself!) It also has a happy ending -which I am a sucker for as a hopeless romantic-and I cried floods at the airport scene. (Sorry for anyone who hasn't read it -but let's be honest- we're warned how it's going to end from the beginning!) So although it has taken me almost two weeks (!!!) to read, and has left me quite exhausted, I did enjoy it and I think that everybody should read it, if only because Gilbert is extremely talented and will make you laugh and cry at the same time. 

Overall, I give this book:

Friday, 3 June 2011

My First Follow Friday!

So this is my first ever Follow Friday, a bloghop that is hosted over at parajunkee's blog!

This week's question is:  

What are you doing to prepare for an upcoming zombie apocalypse and/or the return of Mel Gibson to the silver screen? (Both of which could be terrifying.)

Zombieland taught me everything I need to know in the case of a zombie apocalypse! Cardio, the double tap, avoiding bathrooms! I've got a kick ass partner, I always carry a change of underwear, and I always check the back seat. Always’s a marathon, not a sprint, unless it’s a sprint, then sprint and; if in doubt, always know the way out! 

I'm rather behind on the official challenge, as I didn't start until today. I'm just going do two extra days! So today I went to the library and got some books out. I got Committed out, the sequel to Eat, Pray, Love by Liz Gilbert, which I've been meaning to buy for ages. As a long-awaited book by one of my favourite authors however, I don't want to rush it, so I'm not including it in the challenge. I will be reviewing that for you when I have read it though :) 

So I started today trying to read In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut.

 I couldn't get into it though and the writing style made me not want to try! Maybe I will try again at some point over the next 30 days, because it looks like a book I would enjoy if I did get into it! 

So I put that down and picked up How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu.

 Yes I admit that I chose it simply because of it's title, but can you blame me?! Yeeees I knooow 'never judge a book by it's cover', but this one just looked awesome and so far it's not failed to impress. I'll review it tomorrow and let you all know how I went on! 

Thursday, 2 June 2011


So I've decided (after much encouragement from Cait!) to finally start writing a book blog! I've just finished university and am therefore a jobless bum with lots of time to read during the whole application process. Cait has created a 30 Books in 30 Days challenge, and I figure that's a great way to kick this blog off. I know I'm a couple of days behind, so first thing tomorrow I'm going to the library and stocking up on some new books to read, as if I haven't got enough at home!