Saturday 30 May 2015


So this is a new kind of post for me but they're some of my favourite posts to read on other people's blogs so I thought I'd give it a go. I think it's important to appreciate the little things that brighten up each day so here are some of the things that have been making me happy this month:

Dairy Milk with Crunchie Bits
One thing I definitely couldn't live without is chocolate, I could give up all the other 'bad' things but I just need chocolate, it's my favourite food and cheers me up like nothing else! I've been loving the dairy milk with crunchie so much this month that I had to go out and buy another - it goes way too fast!

Tangle Teezer Compact Styler
I bought the special edition Lulu Guiness tangle teezer a while ago from FeelUnique when there was a sale but I've been really loving it this month. I've been well enough for a few trips out this month and this has been so handy to take with me in my bag because it's a good compact size and has a lid so the brush doesn't get dirty - genius! It glides through wet hair like nothing else and makes hair look shiny when it's dry, I'm never going back.

Di Palomo Wild Fig and Grape Hand Cream
We went on a trip to Suffolk earlier in the month and Mum bought me this from a little gift shop in Walberswick. It smells absolutely divine and is more moisturising than any other hand cream I've tried, and the fragrance actually sticks around which is nice. I've been keeping this by my bed and using it every day, I love it!

Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream
I got this a couple of months ago and have been using it pretty much every time I've worn makeup. I love bourjois bases in general, their healthy mix serum is another favourite, and this is just a really light alternative to normal foundation. It's really good coverage for a CC Cream, I'd say it gives a light to medium coverage and can be easily built up without looking cakey. When I'm wearing it I just feel like my skin can breathe and I don't want to scratch my face off by the end of the day, so that's always good.

Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet 'Frambourjoise'
I've always been a bit of a wimp when it comes to bold lipsticks, I own quite a few but I've never really felt like I've been able to pull them off. And then when I have worn them I find that they wear off quite easily and I've had to reapply often and it's just all a big mess. I picked up the bourjois rouge edition velvet lipstick in 'Frambourjoise' earlier in the month because I'd heard so many people saying how amazing they are so I thought I'd give bold lips one last ditch effort. I've got to say I was completely blown away, this liquid lipstick is ridiculously easy to apply, the colour is a beautiful pinky-red (it's a lot more red than it looks in the packaging) and the best thing is it lasts forever! This thing survived a burger and a glass of wine without smudging or really fading, that's how good it is. You need to go and buy this now. Go.

Yankee Candle Peach Smoothie
This is another thing that I loved so much I went out and bought another. This is from the Yankee Candle 'simply home' range, which is a bit cheaper than the normal range and I think is exclusive to Asda. I'm a cheapskate so I just bought the little votive size for £1 but they have larger jars which I might go for when this runs out. It's just a beautiful, fresh, fruity fragrance (ooooh alliteration!) and I've found that the scent really does fill the room even when it's not burning, love!

Ear Biscuits
Ear Biscuits is a weekly podcast from Youtubers Rhett and Link where they have a conversation with someone interesting from the internet - usually other Youtubers, for example; Grace Helbig, Tyler Oakley, Philip DeFranco, Hannah Hart, the Green brothers and so many more. I've been listening to this a lot whilst doing chores like laundry and cooking and just whilst relaxing. Every episode is just so interesting and often hilarious, they really delve into the lives of their interviewees and I've found out so much about Youtubers that I didn't know before. I particularly like the episodes with just Rhett and Link where they reminicise about their childhoods growing up together and other things. I find it quite soothing and it's something less exhausting for me than watching a tv programme.

I'm sure there's many other things that I've been loving throughout the month but this is all I can think of at the moment. I definitely think I'll make this a monthly thing as I've enjoyed noticing all the things that have been making me happy and being able to share them with others.

What have you been loving this month?

Wednesday 27 May 2015


Hello! Happy Wednesday! So I've been a little bit quiet on the internet lately, and I'm sorry to say that it isn't because I've been busy reading. I've been quite busy with life things and (probably consequently) I haven't been very well. I've just generally been feeling pretty slump-y this month and haven't been reading as much or as quickly as I usually do. Hopefully things will just naturally sort themselves out next month but I'm not going to force it.

So as you might've guessed, #RYBSAT was a bit of a fail for me. I managed to finish a grand total of one book in the whole week that RYBSAT was happening.

I started out with A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett as it was on my TBR for the month anyway and figured I'd read on from there. For the first couple of days I don't think I read at all, or I read a very small amount and then on Thursday it was sunny so I just sat outside for the afternoon and managed to finish A Little Princess. It was really quick and easy going and I reminded myself just how quick I can get through books when I sit down and give them some time. I started The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness the same day and enjoyed the 20 or so pages I read, but then I just slowed right down again and didn't read for a few days and then #RYBSAT ended. I felt pretty guilty about it but then reminded myself that I can't help it if I'm just not feeling it, I can't force myself to read or feel bad about it when I don't. I might do a whole post discussing this whole 'reading guilt' thing, as it's something that I've definitely been dealing with since starting blogging.

Anyway I'll discuss the one book I finished in my May reading wrap up, which will be up at the beginning of June. As for my first readathon experience, it definitely didn't go as well as I'd hoped and although I had all the best intentions of going for it and joining in with sprints and challenges on Twitter, I just wasn't feeling it. I'll definitely be giving readathons another go when they come around, maybe when I'm on a bit more of a reading roll. My physical TBR is currently 116 books (I know, ridiculous) so readathons are probably going to be the best way to get that number down. So onwards and upwards!

Have you ever participated in a readathon? What do you think about them?

Sunday 17 May 2015


#RYBSAT is a readathon that was started by Miranda from Bookss101. You can watch her announcement video for RYBSAT Round 5 here, she definitely explains it better than I do!

RYBSAT basically stands for Read Your Bookshelf-A-Thon, and the premise is that you pick a spot on your bookshelf and just read from there, seeing how many books you can complete in a week. The readathon will be running from 18th to the 25th wherever you are in the world and the idea is to join in and update your progress on social media using #RYBSAT. I think the appealing thing about this readathon is that it feels very productive as a chunk of your TBR shelf gets read and you can visibly see the progress. I've never taken part in a readathon before and this will be my first so I'm really excited!

I decided to pick the point on my bookshelf where some of my already planned TBR books for the month are sitting along with a few others. So today's post is quick comment on the books I plan to try and get through next week:

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
This was already on my May TBR so I thought that this would be a good point to start. It will also be my next classic for the 2015 Classics Challenge. I'm actually starting this today so really hoping it'll be a nice, quick read.

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
This is my TBR jar pick for this month so I'll be trying to get it read next week for sure, I'm excited to get back into the Chaos Walking trilogy although I might need to refresh my memory of the first book. This is kind of long so I'm not sure how far I'll get after this but I might as well give it a go.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
This is actually a library book which needs returning soon so hopefully I'll be able to get to it during the readathon. I've seen so many people rave about this book for so long and I think it'll be a nice light read that I should get through fairly quickly.

A Month in The Country by E.L.Carr
I got this for my birthday last year because I wanted a few of the penguin essentials editions and this one had a really beautiful cover. I haven't got round to picking it up yet and I think that's because I don't actually know too much about it. I'm pretty sure it's set just after World War One and follows a soldier and a war survivor in a small English village where they are each undergoing a mission of local recovery and restoration. Sounds a bit vague but as I said I don't know very much about it, it's a short book though so I should hopefully get through it.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
I probably won't end up getting to this but I'm going to try. I can't even remember how long this has been on my bookshelf so it definitely needs reading soon. Jeffrey Eugenides is a brilliant writer and I've heard nothing but good things about this book so I hope I can get to it.

So there is my rather ambitious TBR for #RYBSAT, I probably won't get to all of these but why not aim high?

Will you be participating in #RYBSAT?

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Quick Reviews: To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Like many book bloggers I sometimes struggle to write reviews for books that I don't have incredibly strong opinions about but still want to talk about on my blog. As bloggers we often feel pressured to write reviews and feel like we're not 'real' book bloggers if we don't write them, even though they often some of the least read/enjoyed posts. In spite of that I do still find that I want to talk about the books I've read but not necessarily write a big in-depth review or discussion. That's where quick reviews come in, these are going to be shorter, more casual reviews that sum up some of my thoughts about a book in bullet points. This is something that I'm going to be trying and if it's well received I'll keep doing them.

The first quick review is for To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han. I thought this book was okay, and I did have some issues with it so this review might come across as a bit of a rant but it really wasn't all bad.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all. [summary from Goodreads]

My rating: ☆☆

  • I read To All The Boys I've Loved Before all the way back in January and although I didn't absolutely love it, I've been mulling it over ever since and keep thinking about it from time to time. This is mainly due to some of the issues I had with the book that I just want to get off my chest here. I feel like if I talk about it here then I'll stop thinking about it so much.
  • I picked this up in December when I first started really getting into Booktube because it seemed like everyone was raving about it and saying that it was so sweet and so good and one of their favourite contemporaries. Naturally I was taken in by all the hype and decided to give it a go.
  • I really didn't love this book as much as I thought I was going to, I'm not sure whether it was because of all the hype or because I hadn't read a contemporary in a while so it was just a shock to the system. It was probably a combination of both.
  • I think that the summary is quite mis-leading, it sounds like it's going to be quite a fun book where Lara Jean has to confront all these boys about the letters but it doesn't actually really follow that. It turns out to be more of a sort of confused-romance that is heavily infused with teenage and family drama. It was quite a quick, light and easy read but it just didn't end up being that compelling for me..
  • I couldn't help but think that I would have enjoyed this book a lot more if I'd have read it when I was younger. The characters were all fairly young and the book was from the perspective of a 15 year old girl, Lara Jean, so at times the narrative style came across as overly saccharine and quite immature. I was quite conflicted about this because there were things that Lara Jean would do or say that made me want to shake her but then I'd remind myself that she's quite young but then I'd also think 'well she's not actually that young, I don't think I was that immature at her age'. So my thoughts were basically all over the place.
  • I also think the fact that she is called Lara Jean grated on me a bit, double names always make me cringe a bit and it was all a bit too tumblr-esque.
  • I really did find it hard to get invested in the characters and the story. A lot of the things the characters did didn't make a lot of sense and I just kind of ended up being confused about who to root for.
  • It was quite a cute and enjoyable read but I'm not really sure if I'll be picking up the sequel when it comes out. If it comes into my local library then I probably will but I don't think I'll be spending money on it.
Ok so there's my (kind of) quick review of To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han. If you don't mind a younger narrative voice and are looking for something light and easy then this might be one to pick up.

Have you read To All The Boys I've Loved Before? What did you think?

Monday 11 May 2015

Harry Potter Artifacts Book Tag

I wasn't tagged by anyone to do this but if there's a Harry Potter tag going around then I'm definitely in. This tag was created by Woolf's Whistle over on YouTube. Onto the questions..

1. The Wand: A book with an interesting magical system.

I think that the magic system in The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is really interesting, it just seems so intricate and beautiful. The interesting thing about it is that magic can be present from an individual from birth but it can also be learned by certain people. It is something that comes naturally to certain people but it can also be studied and crafted by seemingly non-magic individuals over time. The slow-moving, highly atmospheric nature of the book makes the beautifully described magic really stand out and it has it's own presence within the narrative, almost like it is a character.

2. The Time-Turner: A book with time-travels.
The book that immediately jumps out at me is The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. It's quite an obvious one by it's title but I really truly loved this book. It's very character driven and really pulls you into the story, it's very emotional and the time-travelling aspect is done so well. I really want to re-read this again soon.

3. Invisibility Cloak: A book about a missing object/person.
The obvious one is Gone Girl but I kind of hated that book so I'm going to go with Paper Towns by John Green. I think everyone is familiar with the plot but the main character Q has always had a crush on Margo Roth Spiegelman, they spend an adventure-filled night together but then the next day she disappears. Q then spends the rest of the novel trying to understand Margo and track her down. It's my favourite John Green book, I love how it explores the idea of understanding other people complexly and I'm definitely going to re-read it before the film comes out this summer.

4. The Felix Felicis Potion: A book that was a lucky buy.

I think for me that would have to be The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. I nearly bought it for full price in Waterstones a few months ago but put it down, deciding I didn't need more books. Then recently I found it in a charity shop for 30p, luckiest buy ever!

5. The Marauder's Map: A book with the prettiest map.

Oh there's so many with pretty maps. I really love the maps in the new UK editions of Harry Potter and the maps in the Grisha trilogy, they're beautifully illustrated. I mean look how pretty the Shadow and Bone map is:

6. Nosebleed Nougat: A book with a character so hot, that the thought of them gives you a nosebleed.
Hahaa this is such a hilarious question! I really recently finished the Shatter Me trilogy by Teherah Mafi and was so pleasantly surprised by the second and third books, particularly the third. I'll talk about them more in my wrap up but in terms of this question I just have one word: Warner.
Oh Warner, just Warner *passes out*

7. A Mirror of Erised: A book with an ending you wanted but didn't get.

Probably Mockingjay from the Hunger Games series. That ending, was just the worst, most disappointing ending ever. I wanted so much more from that last book and just didn't get any of it. I don't even have to say any more, it's just the actual worst. 

8. Golden Snitch: A hidden gem of any chosen genre.

I know I've mentioned these books a few times before but Paper Aeroplanes and Goose by Dawn O'Porter are just such hidden gems for YA contemporaries. I watch a lot of booktubers but I never really see these mentioned, maybe it's because I watch mostly US booktubers and these books are UK YA. But I promise you if you can get your hands on them, you will love them, they're just excellent.

Ok so that's it for the Harry Potter Artifacts book tag, that was fun! If you're reading this then I tag you to do this, I look forward to reading any that pop up!

Wednesday 6 May 2015

The 2015 Classics Challenge: The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

Thanks to A-Levels and a Literature degree I have probably read more classics than any other type of book. But since I graduated I haven't really been reading any classics, instead I've found myself choosing books I didn't have time for during my degree. However this now means that I have a whole host of unread classics on my physical TBR shelf and I want to try and whittle the number down a bit. Enter the 2015 Classics challenge, hosted by Stacey of Pretty Books! I have belatedly decided to start this challenge almost half way through the year but I think it will help me to get a lot of classics read before 2015 ends. The term 'classic' is going to be pretty flexible for me, I'm going to be reading everything from Roald Dahl to Jane Austen. Stacey has devised a set of questions to be answered to make the reviews a little easier and more fun so I'll be following that format and posting about one book each month. The first classic I've chosen for this challenge is:

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken 
My rating: ☆☆

Can you go a little faster? Can you run?
Long ago, at a time in history that never happened, England was overrun with wolves. But as Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia discover, real danger often lies closer to home. Their new governess, Miss Slighcarp, doesn't seem at all nice. She shuts Bonnie in a cupboard, fires the faithful servants and sends the cousins far away from Willoughby Chase to a place they will never be found. Can Bonnie and Sylvia outwit the wicked Miss Slighcarp and her network of criminals, forgers and snitches? [summary from Goodreads]

When I discovered this classic:
I used to watch the film all the time when I was younger and until quite recently I didn't even know it was a book first! I actually saw Stacey's review of it for her February classic and was surprised and pleased to discover it. I picked it up in a charity shop and read it last month.

Why I chose to read it:
As I said before I loved the film when I was younger even though it used to scare me quite a lot! I wanted to see if the book was similar or whether they'd changed the story for the film, although the film is quite different I think I loved the book even more. It's also quite short so I knew I'd fly through it.

What makes it a classic:
It's a fast-paced adventure story which manages to be heartwarming as well as exciting. The cast of characters are amazingly well-developed for such a short book and I found myself really getting attached to them. Aiken explores darker themes and plot lines in a way that is engaging and accessible to both a young and an adult audience without ever being patronising. Even though it was published in 1962, the language and writing style hasn't aged at all and its themes remain relevant and captivating.

What I thought of this classic:
I absolutely adored it and will definitely be re-reading it in the future, probably on a winter day in front of the fire. The book is extremely atmospheric, Aiken's descriptions draw you right into the world and writing is compelling and beautiful. The adventure story was well-paced and interesting and I loved all of the characters. I really want to read the rest of this series.

Will it stay a classic:
I certainly hope so! It makes me a little sad that I didn't know about it earlier which makes me think that it might be quite underrated. I know that there is a vintage children's classic edition so hopefully that will drive sales and increase the readership of this book amongst a new generation of young readers. I know that I would have loved to read this when I was younger.

Who I'd recommend it to:
Anyone who's a fan of classic children's adventure authors like Enid Blyton, or descriptive stories with a darker element like Peter Pan. But I would really recommend this to anyone, I think it's so universal that everyone could enjoy it.

So that's this month's classic, as I said I'll be posting these each month and if you would like to sign up to the challenge (it's not too late) click here.

Monday 4 May 2015


Hello! I hope you're having a great bank holiday if you're in the UK!

I haven't posted a TBR (to be read) on here before so I thought I'd try something new. I usually have an idea of what I want to read each month, a kind of mental TBR, but I thought it would be interesting to pick a few books I want to read and then see how it turns out at the end of the month. So here we go...

I am currently away for the bank holiday weekend (I've scheduled this in advance) and I've taken my e-reader, as it's great for travel and I don't often read on it when I'm at home. So here are a couple of books I want to get through on it:

We Were Liars by E.Lockhart
Everyone in the world has raved about this and I've been meaning to for ages, I started this before I went so have already read a chunk of it, and it's very short so I think I'll get through it quickly.

Unravel Me by Tehereh Mafi
I read Shatter Me in February and didn't really enjoy it that much, but everyone loves this series and I've heard it gets better so I've decided to give the second book a go. I decided to get it on my e-reader and if I enjoy it I might invest in the hard copy.

I might get through a few more on my e-reader, I seem to read quicker on it for some reason, but those are the ones I've planned. Next the physical books I plan on reading this month:

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
I bought this in December as kind of a Christmas present to myself and haven't got round to reading it yet. I'm planning on belatedly taking part in the 2015 Classics Challenge hosted by Pretty Books. So I think this will be the classic I read this month and hopefully a review will be up when I've read it.

The Fox by Sherwood Smith
I'm participating in the Inda readalong, hosted by Sam from Novels and Nonsense, again this month and this is the second book in the series. I really enjoyed the first book so I'm looking forward to getting into this one when I've got a big chunk of time to just sit and read.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
I've been really enjoying re-reading the Harry Potter series but didn't manage to get around to this last month. I have a couple of other long books to read this month but I'll hopefully get around to this if I have time.

The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness
This is the second book in the Chaos Walking trilogy, I read the first book for university last year and really enjoyed it but never got around to continuing with the series. This is my TBR jar pick for this month so I'm really hoping to get to this. I've been neglecting my TBR jar a bit lately but I really want to start making use of it in the next few months, so I can really try and tackle my crazy TBR.

So those are the books I'm hoping to get to this month! I know it's quite ambitious and I probably won't finish all of them but it's good to have something to aim for. I think it'll be interesting to review this in my wrap-up and see how I did.

What books are you hoping to read this month?

Saturday 2 May 2015

Another Book Haul!

I know it's not been very long since my last book haul, but charity shops happened and I just couldn't help myself! I've since counted my physical TBR and I'm ashamed to say that it adds up to 108 books, which is just way too many. So I'm really going to try for a book buying ban until I've got it to at least under 75, which is probably unlikely but I'll try! Most of these books were bought in various charity shops except for one from an independent book shop. So here are the books I bought last month, all in one go, oh dear...

The Midwich Cuckoos by John Whyndam - £1.49
I picked this up in Oxfam books and was pleased to find that it was printed in 1984 but still in perfect condition. I read The Day of the Trffids earlier this year and wanted to pick up this next, I had my eye on the lovely new covers and although this has a super creepy cover, it was £1.49 so I couldn't really say no.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - £1.50
The only copy of To Kill a Mockingbird I had was an old copy I had for school with a terrible cover. This copy is a little battered but I really like the cover. When Go Set a Watchman comes out I might get the matching edition of To Kill a Mockingbird, but this is good for now.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling - £6.99
I've been collecting these editions for a while, the covers are beautiful and I've been really enjoying re-reading them. I bought this at the only independent bookshop in my local town, Strays of Newark, it's an amazing little shop stocking a really good range of non-fiction, adult fiction and YA. I wish I could afford to support them more, I think I'll be buying the rest of the Harry Potter editions from here in the future.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed - 99p
I read the e-book edition last month and really enjoyed it, so I bought a physical copy for future re-reads. I usually don't like movie tie-in editions but this one is well done and Reese Witherspoon is beautiful, so I don't mind it.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton - 30p
I think this is the ultimate bargain of the haul, and to think I nearly bought this full price in Waterstones a few months ago. I've wanted to read this for ages so I'm really glad I picked it up.

The Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb - £1.99
I've wanted to read some Robin Hobb for a long time, Sam from Novels and Nonsense always raves about her and I think it was Jean from BookishThoughts who mentioned this series. I don't know much about it but I knew I had to have it when I saw it, a beautiful hardcover for £1.99! I'm hoping to get into this really soon.

Stephen Fry in America by Stephen Fry - £2.50
I've been wanting this for a while as I love Stephen Fry, I haven't seen the accompanying tv series but I will at some point. This looks like a good book to just have a flick through and Stephen Fry is always brilliant.

So those are all the books I bought, eep! I'm definitely going to try and lay off the book buying for a while and work on my TBR, but who knows, I might accidentally buy a bunch in a fit of neediness.

What books have you been buying lately?

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