Christmas Book Haul

Friday, 29 December 2017

Hello everyone! 

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and festive period if you don't celebrate Christmas itself! I had a wonderfully relaxing time, just spending quality time with my family and pets and, of course, eating all the food :-) 

It wouldn't be the holidays if I didn't receive at least one book, my friends and family know they are one of my major passions and tend to taylor their gifts around that. So here are the books I was lucky enough to get! 

Four of these books were from the wonderful Mr.GingerSnap. He is responsible for my acquiring the whole Discworld Collectors Library. For those of you who don't know, Terry Pratchett is my favourite author of all time and I was so excited to see they had started bringing out the Discworld series in these beautiful editions. When they stopped at Jingo I was so frustrated at potentially only ever having half of the collection! Luckily the second publishing house got on board and they have been bringing out four more every year. This years round are Going Postal, Thief Of Time, Monstrous Regiment and Night Watch. 

Going Postal follows Moist Von Lipwig as he is faced with the choice of being executed as a criminal or attempting the impossible task of reviving the Ankh-Morpork post office. Needless to say he chooses the option he is most likely to survive. The story shows all his hilarious ups and downs as he brings back good old snail mail and thrives on a new and honest business. 

Nightwatch is the next book in the City Watch collection, following Sam Vimes and his never ending fight against crime in the city. Sam Vimes is the ultimate under-dog, he tries so hard and has all sorts thrown at him, from dragons, crazy wizards and talking dogs to being knighted and sent to parlay with vampires!  

Thief Of Time is the next one in the Death collection. The anthropomorphism of Death is my favourite character choice of all time, he is so sassy and such a bad-ass really. In this book Death uncovers plans to create a clock destroying time and human mortality, unable to intervene himself he sends his grand-daughter Susan to the rescue...

Monstrous Regiment is all about women's rights and how having a war in your country changes the rules and freedom of women. There is a war on in the Discworld and it's about time women stepped up to fill the gaps men usually fill, with hilarious and heart-rending results. 

H. G. Wells is one of my favourite authors and the fact that he has been included so many times in the Penguin English Library makes me very happy. I have read all of his other works so I couldn't wait to get my hands on The Invisible Man. The tale follows Griffin, a man who is searching for the antidote to invisibility and he is willing to go to ANY length to achieve this. 

Finally we have Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton, well done if you made it this far through the post! I don't really know a lot about this book, but it's a Penguin Classic so it must be good! Naturally it follows Ethan Frome, a farmer struggling to make ends meet and reach the unreasonable standards set by his wife. His life changes suddenly when his wife's cousin comes to help them, obsessed with her, Ethan tries to picture a way to be happy. 

Wow, that was a longer post than I was expecting to write. I hope some of these books have piqued your interest. I certainly can't wait to dive into them! What did you guys get for Christmas? Any good books? Let me know in the comments below :-) 


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Bedknobs and Broomsticks Review

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Hello everyone, 

There is nothing nicer after a long day at work than settling down with a good book. For the last couple of years I have been trying to deepen my knowledge of children's classics. I find them so relaxing and soothing after a stressful day, is that silly? I did read quite a few when I was a child, but there are some I missed and some I want to re-read. One of the ones I missed was Bedknobs and Broomsticks by Mary Norton. 

Bedknobs and Broomsticks is an amalgamation of two shorter stories: The Magic Bedknob and Bonfires and Broomsticks. The stories start with Carey, Charles and Paul going to stay with their aunt in the countryside. Whilst there Paul discovers a witch and starts to watch her flying her broomstick every night through his window. One night she falls off! Paul, worried about her, alerts his older siblings and they set out to help her. This sparks a lovely friendship between the witch, Miss Price, and the children. In return for their silence she gives them a magic bedknob which allows them to travel anywhere in the present and into the past. However, all magic comes with a price and some hilarious and hair-raising adventures follow...

Rating - 5 stars! 

Positives: Charming characters, funny and whimsical plot 

Negatives: I wish there was a never ending supply of these stories to read

For lovers of: Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, Children of the New Forest by Captain Marryat and The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

I loved these stories and sped through them in one afternoon. At times they had me on the edge of my seat and I have since found myself wondering how Miss Price is getting on with her new life in the past! Only a truly good book can make you miss the characters after you have finished reading it. The narrative is simple, as it is aimed at younger children around 5-10 years old. However, the plot line is fast paced, with twists and turns only conceivable in children's literature. I think this is a perfect book for adults and children alike, and reading it aloud must be loads of fun :-) 

If you were wondering, this edition is from Orion Books. They have three titles so far in this collection: Ballet shoes, The Borrowers and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. This book is particularly special to me as it was a present from Mr. Gingersnap to match Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild, which was the first book her ever bought me. 

Did you read this book as a child or older? Did you love it and do you have any similar recommendations? Let me know in the comments below :-) 


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Christmas Reading List

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Hello everyone! 

With Christmas just around the corner, I am very much looking forward to a few days off to enjoy the festivities. During the holiday period I like nothing more than cooking for my family, spending quality time with them and getting down to some good books.  

For all of us Goodreads fanatics the approach of Christmas often means the winding up of reading challenges and, for some, frantic turning of pages to reach a target. I don't like to set too high a target for myself, it puts the pressure on too much and I end up in a reading slump! This year I finished my goal in good time so am quite merrily ticking along reading whatever I feel like :-) That being said, I love thinking up reading lists for myself, so here is my rather ambitious Christmas tbr: 

- The Adventures of Tom Bombadil by J. R. R. Tolkien
- Farmer Giles of Ham by J. R. R. Tolkien
- Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
- The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss

I am already into The Swiss Family Robinson and Mansfield Park and very much enjoying them both. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion Mansfield Park may creep into my top books of the year! 

What have you got planned to read over the festive period? Let me know in the comments below :-) 


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Broken Moon by Sarah Beth Moore - Review

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Hello everyone, 

I am back again today with a spoiler free review of Broken Moon by Sarah Beth Moore. Sarah approached me about her upcoming book, asking for an honest review in exchange for the ARC (advanced reader copy) of the book, but don't you guys worry, my gratitude to the author has in no way influenced my opinions on the story :-)

Broken Moon follows Naiya and her adopted brothers Pip and Enoch as they run from the guards and officials ruling their spectacularly corrupt city. Naiya has always treated the law as more of a guideline than a rule, making her living in the family business of scavenging old tech for sale to the highest bidder. Her family are her number one priority and she loves them more than anything else, which makes the suicide of her sister a most devastating blow. Just before her suicide, Amy gives Naiya a cryptic message to not trust the lies she has been told. This leaves Naiya with nothing but questions. Questions she does not have time to answer as she flees her home. Leaving the city undetected seems an impossible task and should not be delayed, but Naiya needs to answer the questions about her past, family and future. 

Rating - 4 stars! 

Positives: Good racial diversity, excellent world-building and believable characters 

Negatives: No tugging on the heart strings. Sarah I want you to make me cry next time! 

For lovers of: City Of Ember by Jeanne Du Prau, Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Divergent by Veronica Roth

This book is a fantastic blend of YA fantasy, sci-fi and dystopia, Sarah manages to seamlessly blend these three genres to create a riveting first instalment in what I'm sure will be a killer series! The idea of a tiered, industrialised city was very interesting and the description was spot on for making you feel like you were there, without tipping over into overly descriptive. I could hear the hustle and bustle, smell the grime and taste the scent of pollution as I was reading. 

It's not just the setting which felt real, the characters were highly relatable. In so many YA fantasy books the romance takes centre stage, eclipsing the whole quest story-line. I don't know about you, but someone trying to murder me would feel like a more pressing point than "ooh my crush just smiled at me, what could it possibly mean?!". Yes Naiya has a love interest, what YA protagonist doesn't, but this is background information. Her feelings are something she reflects on occasionally, never letting it over-ride her survival instinct. This felt more realistic, as did her reactions to all situations surrounding her family, rivals and strangers. However, I do think there is room for the romance to progress in the next book and I am excited about where it will lead, especially given how dreamy Enoch is! 

When it came to the narrative pace I was pleasantly surprised. Sarah never faltered in keeping the story flowing, effortlessly guiding the reader from location to location and easily introducing new characters. My one slightly negative comment is the character of Chen. I feel like she was introduced well, but without a huge purpose in the story. I would have liked to learn more about her and am hoping to do so in the next books. 

Well that's it for today, I hope you enjoyed this review and make sure to stay tuned for another post coming on Tuesday! :-) 


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Where The Heck I've Been!

Friday, 15 December 2017

Hello everyone! 

It has been such a long time since I last sat down to blog that I am almost ashamed to start up again, but here I am. I never intended to be away so long, but life has a funny habit of running away with you. So I thought I'd re-introduce my blog and explain where on earth I have been for the last 12 months (12 months?!? How has it been so long?). 

2016 to 2017 was the year of my final exams, after 5 years of study I was going to end my academic career with a gruelling 33 exams in 2 weeks! Some of those exams were short practicals, but I count them all the same. Needless to say it put a lot of pressure on me. I felt like I should be studying non-stop and prioritising this over all else. That meant putting a lot of time consuming hobbies on hold, unfortunately the first to go was blogging, closely followed by dance and swimming. Looking back this was a silly idea, I should have cut back not cut out completely. Staying sane when you don't allow yourself downtime is almost impossible and it left me a stressed out wreck! Moral of the story: work-life balance is not something to sniff at! 

As always, Tiger-Lilly likes to help with revision!

Exhausted mess that I was, I still managed to drag my bum onto a 36 hour flight to New Zealand with Mr. GingerSnap. He lived there for 8 months, working as a dairy farmer and I have always wanted to see all the places he tells me stories about. His tales filled my head with pictures of a magical place where everyone is relaxed and the world is your oyster. This was not just nostalgic dreaming. I, like him, fell head over heels in love with it. The people, the scenery, the food and the way we spent time out there were truly perfect. It was the best holiday I have ever had and going back is now number one on our To Do List :-) 

When we got back I had every intention of sitting down with my laptop and blogging, but then I was offered my dream job. How could I say no to a position as a vet dealing with many pet exotics in the heart of beautiful Cornwall? So Mr. Gingersnap and I upped sticks again and moved a couple of counties over. Since then we have been settling into our new life and organising our home, no small task by the way! 

That brings us up to speed, I think. As I write I am sat snuggled up in a blanket on our sofa, glancing up at our gorgeous Christmas tree, enjoying a cinnamon tea and the scent of our festive pomegranate candle, feeling grateful for the last year's ups and downs. Hopefully this is it, I am back to blogging! I have a great many ideas I want to work on and plan to post as regularly as I was before my blip, so sit back and enjoy the flood of posts :-) 


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