Autumn Book Tag

I saw this tag on Reading at Teatime blog, and because of how much I love Autumn, I thought I would get involved!

What is your favourite thing about Autumn?

When the leaves all change colour and start falling 🍁 The picture below is when I was walking to work last year and it was so sunny and the path was just covered in crispy leaves.

What book reminds you of your school days?

There are so many books, but just to name a few, Matilda by Ronald Dahl, and The Famous Five by Enid Blyton. As a teen, I was a twi-hard (guilty as charged), and so far, the twilight books are the only books I have ever reread 🙈

What cover reminds you of Autumn?

Paulo Coelho’s By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept reminds me of autumn because of the orange/yellow colours and the trees without their leaves 🍁

What is your favourite horror or Halloween film?

I really don’t like horror films and I hate anything that makes me jump 🙈🙈 but if I were to choose a Halloween film it would have to be Casper!

What fall book release are you looking forward to?

I have had a fall book release that I was looking forward too…and which I purchased a signed edition of….

Laura Purcell’s Bone China!

I will for sure, be doing a review on this. Gosh, I’ve missed her writing, and I’m only 80 pages in and it’s so eery, and the character is brilliant!!! Perfect Halloween book 🎃

What Autumn movie releases are you anticipating?

Noelle with Anna Kendrick in. I love Christmas, so a Christmas movie released in November…perfection!

What are the 3 books you plan to read this Autumn?

– Bone China by Laura Purcell

– The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

– Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

I would like to tag anyone that loves the sound of this autumn tag to join in and give it a go ☺️💖

That Bookish Monday

Had a great time at FriendsFest in MK this weekend!

The sets – although definitely not the real ones and definitely not to size – were amazing to see. To stand in Monica’s apartment, and Chandler/Joey’s apartment was so cool!

I have popped some panoramic pictures below of the sets.

I was really concerned about whether the coffee was any good in Central Perk, and if it wasn’t, whether it would ruin my whole perception of the show…but it was incredible coffee!!!

I also got to look through the peep hole in the door, so I was super happy to get this shot 😍

AUDIOBOOK OF THE WEEK

My job as a medico-legal proofreader sometimes takes its toll on my ability to read by the evening sometimes; my eyes get super-duper tired after intently staring at a screen all day. So listening to an audiobook is really relaxing. I was recommended a book called The Girl who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.

Synopsis

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule–but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her–even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.

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It’s an easy listen and a very interesting concept. I’ve enjoyed listening before bed, although, if I turn my lamp off I tend to fall asleep so better to not do that 😂🙈 I’m sure I’ll do a review once I’ve finished listening!

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Instead of telling you about my goals for the week, which are most likely the same as last week, I would love to know if you have set yourself a goal? Please comment below what it is you want to accomplish by week end!

That Bookish Monday

Good evening to you all 🌛

It’s that time of week again, that I do my weekly bookish blog.

I’m so excited for this weekend because I’m off to FriendsFest!! I will post some pics next Monday!

If you’re not sure what this is, basically they recreate the F.R.I.E.N.D.S TV set 😍

Also, this month, I am taking part in #secondhandseptember, a campaign by Oxfam to raise awareness of the environmental impact of fashion. I was shocked at the 11 million items of clothing that are sent to landfill every week and to find out that 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon emissions are produced by the fashion industry.

How quickly we buy and chuck away clothes has now been termed ‘fast fashion’. It refers to inexpensive clothing that is produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest fashion trends. As you keep up with the latest trend, you discard of the clothes you used to wear and replace them with newer ones.

Oxfam’s #secondhandseptember is encouraging people to buy secondhand clothes from places like charity shops, or sites like eBay…etc., which will save clothes from going to landfill and at the same time possibly save you money and have the chance to donate to charity.

My friend sent me a really informative video on YouTube about how fast fashion adds to the world’s clothing waste problem. It describes the recycling process and how only 1% of clothing is being truly recycled, and where your clothes are really going. Give it a watch here to gain some more understanding of how you can help.

I think this month will be very insightful for me. I tend to buy clothes that are only in the sale, because half the time I buy clothing at full price it ends up in the sale a week later. But thinking about this, I really am just adding to ‘fast fashion’. Buying secondhand clothing will be great for my bank account, but also great for the environment, so it’s a win win!

I hope by reading this post, some of you are encouraged to take the pledge. I’m going to hold my hand up and say I don’t think I’ve ever bought clothing from a charity shop before, and there has only been a handful of times that I have bought secondhand clothing from Facebook Marketplace or eBay. I wouldn’t hesitate at buying a book from a charity shop, but why have I all this time, hesitated to buy clothes?

This is the first day of #secondhandseptember and it has already got me thinking. So I would definitely recommend trying it for at least one month to see how much it can change your lifestyle.

Are you already participating? Or have I convinced you? Let me know in the comments below ☺️😍

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BOOK OF THE WEEK

I am still reading Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer and it’s already so incredible. It is gorgeously written, and just from the bit I’ve read so far, I have a favourite quote:

“None of us became monks to be nursemaids.”

To which the child Lazlo replied, with fire in his soul, “And none of us became children to be orphans.”

Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

Blunt realism. Love it!

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Exciting news! I completed all of the goals I set myself from last week, and I plan to continue with them this week!

These were:

  1. To read for 15 mins before going to bed
  2. Play piano twice a week
  3. Write a blog about another topic, not just a review

So pleased I finally nailed it, and I feel much more productive for doing so.

I hope you all have a great week!

Music to Listen to When….

You’re in need of some motivation

Guilty of being innocent of being Jack Sparrow Hans Zimmer “Pirates of the Caribbean”

I had the ultimate pleasure of watching Hans Zimmer’s orchestra live at Birmingham Arena and it was incredible. I was completely in awe and had goosebumps the whole of the way through the performance.

I used to listen to this song literally on repeat whilst writing my dissertation at university because sometimes I really needed that boost. The song became the ticking in my brain; when I was sat in the library at 2am, it motivated me to carry on, and reenergised my brain to come up with fresh ideas for my dissertation on Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea series.

You need to find some calmness

Elegy for the ArcticLudovico Einaudi

Einaudi is my close personal favourite. He was the first piano piece I learned, played and performed live on piano. I went to his concert a few years ago, and I have the pleasure of attending his UK tour this year! His music is inspirational; moving; minimalistic yet full of emotion. His performance is spectacular and I can’t wait to be an audience member once again. I was fortunate to meet him and have my book signed, fingers crossed I get that chance again 🤞🏻🤞🏻

I especially like this song because of the filming and recording of it. He films this on a specially built ‘iceberg’ in front of a glacier that is breaking and crumbling away in the Arctic! If you are interested in the filming of it please click here to be diverted to Classic FM’s website. However, I have linked the YouTube video to the name of the song above, and you can listen to the song as well as watch the filming of it. Seriously breathtaking.

You wake up in the morning

Dawn – Dario Marianelli “Pride and Prejudice”

This is a beautiful piano song that I have tried to learn over the years but I never get round to finishing it.

The song takes you on this journey almost, as it starts really slow and quiet, and builds up and up into this elegant masterpiece.

It’s also from the 2005 movie production of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice so it’s definitely worth a listen.

You’re happy or need to find happiness

Maestro – Hans Zimmer “The Holiday”

I’m going to walk down the aisle to this song. I told you all previously that I went to see Hans Zimmer’s orchestra live. Well, this song had me crying because it was so moving, so happy. When I’m listening to it, I just feel that I’m listening to my heart. It starts off really slow and quiet like Dawn, and then the strings come in with such a beautiful melody.

There are several times in the song when it almost comes to a complete stop, but unexpectedly comes back even stronger, louder and with such passion.

I listened to “The Holiday” soundtrack when I was reading Jojo Moyes’ One Plus One and it very much compliment that book. No wonder I was an emotional wreck after that book 🙈

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When I’m reading I always tend to have classical/piano/orchestral music on in the background. I believe that it can also have an impact on the way you interpret or feel about a book.

I will always remember that when reading Jojo Moyes’ The One Plus One book I was listening to Han Zimmer’s album from “The Holiday”. Every time one of those songs play, I see flickers of the scenes from Moyes’ novel.

I find it really therapeutic to listen to piano music or movie scores, and if you’re new to listening to something like this, Einaudi is a great place to start. His minimalistic and modern style is so calming. It’s perfect music to listen to when you’re stressed, or when you’re reading or studying.

I would love to know what music you listen to when you’re reading or studying, or perhaps just to help you de-stress. Please comment below and share your favourite artists and tracks 😍😍

That Bookish Monday

I have been soaking up every bit of sun I can this bank holiday weekend before I return to work tomorrow.

During the weekend I went to Welsbourne Market, the gym and to a fun fair. Very fun and very productive at the same time, and mostly outside ☺️😍 What have you been doing this bank holiday weekend?

MOST ANTICIPATED READ:

Literally yesterday I found out that Laura Purcell, author of The Corset which I reviewed a few weeks ago, is releasing a new book in September called Bone China!!! Extremely excited and it sounds so intense!! The pic below also references another of my favourite books Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

Here’s the blurb:

Consumption has ravaged Louise Pinecroft’s family, leaving her and her father alone and heartbroken. But Dr Pinecroft has plans for a revolutionary experiment: convinced that sea air will prove to be the cure his wife and children needed, he arranges to house a group of prisoners suffering from the same disease in the cliffs beneath his new Cornish home. While he devotes himself to his controversial medical trials, Louise finds herself increasingly discomfited by the strange tales her new maid tells of the fairies that hunt the land, searching for those they can steal away to their realm.

Forty years later, Hester Why arrives at Morvoren House to take up a position as nurse to the now partially paralysed and almost entirely mute Miss Pinecroft. Hester has fled to Cornwall to try and escape her past, but surrounded by superstitious staff enacting bizarre rituals, she soon discovers that her new home may be just as dangerous as her last. 

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Sounds so eery and mysterious; creepy and fantastical. I really like how Purcell is incorporating sinister fairy tales into the plot; it’ll be interesting to see how she does this. The supernatural powers in Ruth’s sewing from The Corset was fantastic, so I wonder how she’ll weave the eery fairy tales into this book. Anyone else a fan of Laura Purcell or excited to read this book?!

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I also feel especially guilty because I have completed zero goals from last week 🙈

My 3 goals last week were to:

– Play piano for 15 mins a day

– Wake up earlier to read

– Post a blog about another topic, not just a review

So I have done none of them and feel so so soooooo ashamed…

Therefore, I’m setting myself new ones  because clearly mine aren’t as achievable as I thought, apart from one….

1) Read for 15 mins before going to sleep

There has been no dragging me out of bed 15 mins earlier to read, so I thought this was a better alternative. My phone is an annoying distraction at night before I sleep, so I’m thinking if I set my alarm before I read, I won’t have to touch it again before I sleep and it’ll then help me wind down for the night.

2) Play piano twice a week

I set this originally at 15 mins a day, but to be honest, the majority of my evenings I’m out and about, or I have people over. So it wasn’t realistic for me to say I have to do 15 mins a day because sometimes it wasn’t physically possible. Thus, twice a week is more achievable, plus I’m not limiting myself to a time.

3) Post a blog about another topic, not just a review

I do have a post currently in the works that I hope you’ll all enjoy.  I have factored in plenty of time to complete this and share it with you! I have loved writing it and I hope you see why…

I hope you all have a fantastic week

💖

That Bookish Monday

Hello everyone!

How are you all? How has the past week been? Have you got anything adventurous or exciting planned for this week?

The last week has been super busy for me. But I had a fabulous weekend because I found a cute and hidden book store near my hometown. It’s called The Booksmith and they are on instagram (@thebooksmithuk). The shop is in the Royal Ordnance Depot in Weedon, which was built back in 1802. It was used to store and repair small arms and canons, but if you follow the link attached, you can find more interesting stuff about the buildings history. So this is why it was so difficult to find! I wasn’t aware that the buildings were now being let to businesses, so I was super happy to find that it was being used to store thousands of books 😍😍😍

I have put some pics below so you can see how cosy it is!

This will be my weekly haunt, with a plan to go there again this Saturday!

I’m also working on a creative sewing project with a friend of mine, but that will all be revealed in time 😏

On another note…I feel super guilty because I haven’t read much of Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor this week. On the two days I managed to wake up 15 mins earlier as per my goal for the week, I did read Strange the Dreamer and it started off on an incredible start. I know I’ll enjoy it but I think my busy schedule got in the way of last week’s reading.

What are you currently reading? I would love to know for some future inspiration, so pop it in the comments if you have anything interesting on the go!

Also, I’d be interested if you had set yourself 3 of goals for the week? Or any for that fact.

My 3 goals were to:

– Play piano for 15 mins a day

– Wake up earlier to read

– Post a book review ✔️

So, I have managed to post a book review this week on Sarah J Maas’ ACOTAR series, and if you haven’t already checked it out, please do!

I really struggled waking up earlier, but when I did read for 15 mins or so I did find it a nicer way to wake up so I am going to persevere with this goal for another week.

I did play piano several times for 15 mins, but not enough so I haven’t ticked it because it’s still a work in progress.

Therefore, I’m going to stick with my half-completed goals, and because I have posted my book review I’m going to set a new goal for the week:

– To post a blog about another topic, not just a review.

Recently, I have had a lot of ideas for blogs that I could be sharing with you guys so I’m going to try and get that on paper!

I am going to leave you with a question to answer in the comments, if you have the time I would love to hear your answers 😊

What bookshop have you most recently discovered?

Have a fabulous week

💖

Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

I first started this blog reviewing the trilogy as a whole (because I managed to binge read it in just over a week!), but I soon realised how many spoilers I would have to give, and I wanted it to be spoiler free.

Therefore, this review will be more about the first book A Court of Thorns and Roses, and won’t reveal any spoilers, but are just my general thoughts on the novel.

If you haven’t read any of these books before, make sure you make plenty of time because it is one heck of an addictive read. I couldn’t put it down and I started to get real agitated when people interrupted my intense ACOTAR sesh.

Looking back on all the books in this trilogy, I think that Feyre’s character development is incredible. Her mental and physical health and capabilities really shaped the novel and the series. At the beginning of the book she’s a poor, sickly and weak child that is hunting for animals to feed herself and her family. But she always strives to take care of herself and doesn’t want to rely on others for help and that’s what I love about her. She isn’t some damsel in distress that needs saving, but she always attempts to save herself even if she can’t physically, she has faith in herself mentally. Keep that in mind when you come to read the second book as her relationship with a certain male changes…

I was told it was a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast, and I definitely understand the likeness to it in the first half of A Court of Thorns and Roses but after that, not so much.

I was taken aback by the amount of explicit sexual content there was within the trilogy, so please be aware that this is New Adult and not Young Adult fiction. This is another reason why the series is unlike the children orientated, Disney book and film…

However, the fantasy part of it all was really interesting. Firstly the world-building with all the different courts – winter, autumn, summer, night, day…etc., made up Prythian, were portrayed really well. I don’t tend to like really long, descriptive and confusing world-building (for example, Game of Thrones, couldn’t read that to save my life). So, even though it was set in the world of Prythian, the names of places and the High Fae aren’t confusing and the story can be easily followed without too much concentration, or having to remind yourself of where the characters were or wondering “who was that again?”

The different types of creatures like Suriel’s, Attor’s and a Bogge. They are so drastically different to the picturesque environment of the Spring Court, which really emphasises their scary and evil character.

And I loved the plot twists which just never ended; you’ll always be kept on edge.

I think this series is an all-rounder to be honest. It fuels that desire for a fantasy world with lots of magic and scary beasts, but also has a lot of romance in it. It’s also an easy read but does get gradually more intense as the series continues.

The last book in series is EPIC, and everything ties together so well. Every book in this series made me laugh or cry, or seethe with anger.

So yes, I would very much recommend this series as it ticks all the boxes and more.

“To the stars who listen – and the dreams that are answered.”

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟