I’m very chuffed to announce that my blog’s been nominated for a leibster award. Thank you so much SS Readers Corner for the nomination!


So about the award… The Leibster award is given by bloggers to bloggers. The main aim is to help readers discover new blogs and welcome them to the blogger community.

The rules:

  • Link back to the person who nominated you
  • Post 11 facts about yourself.
  • Answer the 11 questions set by your nominator
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers with under 200 followers (you can’t nominate the person who nominated you)
  • Set 11 questions for your nominees to answer
  • Let your nominees know you’ve nominated them.

Eleven facts about myself

  1. I hate all types of bean
  2. I’m horribly scared of falling down an escalator
  3. I love mint tea
  4. I think of stories constantly
  5. Big fan of Strictly Come Dancing (I would simultaneously love and hate to be a contestant)
  6. I enjoy trivia and useless facts
  7. I had an embarrassing (true) story printed in Miranda Hart’s companion book, ‘No It’s Us Too’ … but I didn’t get an ebook until after they stopped selling the companion book, so I’ve never seen it.
  8. I have an uncle called Neale Diamond (he’s not the singer Neil Diamond but we’ve all had fun with it over the years).
  9. I love musicals and listen to the soundtracks way too much
  10. I’m completely teetotal
  11. If I was really rich I’d buy a driver instead of an expensive car. I hate to drive.


Eleven questions set by SS Readers Corner

1. What is your favourite book?

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – it holds a special place in my heart.

2. If you have a bookshelf or bookshelves, how do you arrange your books? 

I have a small book case with three shelves. On the top shelf I have my light reading (arranged by author), on the middle shelf I have my uni lit books (ordered into Penguin Classics and Oxford World Classics) and on my bottom shelf I have textbooks and classics that don’t fit into the above two categories.

3. What do you enjoy most about blogging?

Connecting with people with similar interests that are on opposite sides of the world. It’s really multicultural and I find that fascinating.

4. If you could have lunch with any fictional character, who would you choose?

Tyrion Lannister. He’d be a riot.

5. E-books or paperback/hardcover?

Real books, I love having hardcovers on my shelf.

6. What book are you currently reading?

I’m about to begin the Seventh Shopaholic Book.

7. Do you have any book suggestion(s) for a book club? If yes, please share.

For some fun reading I’d always say ‘The Rosie Project’, the sequel’s out now too. Or ‘One Day’ I think everyone should read that book.

8. Coffee or tea?

Tea. Always Tea.

9. What is your favourite travel destination?

I’ve never actually been there but I would love to go to Peru. That’s my dream.

10. If someone wants to get you a gift, what would you pick?

Currently there’s a skirt in River Island I’d quite like …

11. If you could meet an author, who would it be?

J.K. Rowling. I don’t think she gets enough credit for what an amazing bloody writer she is.

My Questions:

1. What is your favourite place to read?

2. What is the worst book you’ve ever read? 

3. What three things would you take to a deserted island?

4. Would you rather take the photo or be in it?

5. Do you prefer a starter or desert?

6. Can you do a handstand? 

7. Would you ever want to go into space?

8. Would you prefer a beach holiday or one in the countryside? 

9. What is your favourite colour?

10. What magical power would you most like? 

11. Are you a meat eater or veggie?

Now I would like to nominate these brill bloggers for a Liebster award:

It’s Only Three


bookmark lit

Disappear Into Reading

A Wee Bit Wordy


Looking forward to reading your posts!

So Much for Happily Ever After

The way I rate entertainment is based on how much I care about the characters. Whether I’m watching a film, series or reading a book, if I care about the characters I will enjoy the reading/watching process. (If the story’s good too that’s an extra bonus). Viewer/reader apathy is a sign of bad entertainment. (Well that and bad writing – but that’s a whole other topic).

With any series I’ve followed for a long time, I get irrationally attached to the characters. So much so that I had to physically stop myself from turning to the last page of Harry Potter. (I just wanted to check they were all ok!)

Two of my favourite things are coming out this month. The 7th Shopaholic book and Season 11 of Grey’s Anatomy (although I don’t actually know when that will be shown in the UK). I’ve googled Grey’s Anatomy a bit … just to break up the work day monotony, you know? Anywho. It’s all pointing to the two central characters splitting up. (Pause for shocked silence).

This news actually upset me. I love Grey’s, it’s just great escapist watching, and after ten years of loyal watching I want my two favourite characters to live happily ever after. Forget this splitting up nonsense. For me, one of the joys about escaping into light fiction of any media is the promise of a happy ending. It’s why I enjoy chick lit and rom coms so much.

I really hope this is just drumming up media attention, because if they do split up (god forbid) it’ll feel like I’ve wasted all those hours of my life caring. I could never re-watch an episode because I know that’s how it ends.

I know, I know, this doesn’t affect real day to day life. But in a way it does. Happy endings  give you hope and make you feel good. And when things don’t go how you want them to, well it’s a classic case of pinning life’s disappointments somewhere they don’t necessarily belong.

So here’s my plea to writers and creators, in a universe you can control (i.e. fiction), feel free to create a bit of dramatic conflict but let your romantic leads run off into the sunset in the end. Please?

After all, if I want upset on my screen, I can just turn on the news.

On a side note, (and a bit of good news) I’ve reached over 100 followers. I’m absolutely delighted and can’t thank you all enough for reading 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday • Authors I’ve Only Read One Book From But NEED to Read More

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme/feature hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

This week’s theme is author’s I’ve only read one book of and need to read more. I found this week’s theme quite difficult. If I like an author I’ve normally read more than one of their books, so I’ve mixed it up a bit. My list of ten is five author’s who I want to read more of and five whom one book was enough.

Authors I want more of:

Erin Morgenstern – I’ve only read The Night Circus so far and it’s one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read!

Michelle Lovric – Amazing, amazing writer! If you haven’t read The Book of Human Skin pick it up immediately.

Jacqueline Winspear – Another brilliant writer. I read the third in her Maisie Dobbs series – Pardonable Lies – and I keep meaning to pick up the rest of the series.

Catherine Alliott – I read A Rural Affair this year and it was lightest and funniest book I’d read in ages. Alliott proves you don’t have to write a serious story to be a great writer.

Jojo Moyes – I think she features on almost all my TTT lists! So I’ll stop going on about her and get down to reading some more.

Authors where one book was enough:

Kate Furnivall  – I’m struggling through one of hers at the moment. I’m distracted from the story, which is actually interesting, by her clumsy writing.

Rupert Thompson – Not for me. I read half of Divided Kingdom before giving up. The story wasn’t my cup of tea and I couldn’t get along with his writing. The story felt like it was being reported rather than told.

Sarra ManningNine Uses for an Ex-Boyfriend  – Not a bad writer but not a good story teller. This book looked fun but it was so dull! It was an entire book of the protagonist moaning. And these nine uses were never mentioned …

Dawn FrenchOh Dear Silvia – Oh dear Dawn! I love you as a comedienne but I could not get along with your book.

Thomas HardyThe Mayor of Casterbridge – it was a tough call between him and James Joyce but on the sheer weakness of his female protagonists it has to be Hardy. Get your pillows ready, he is a snooze.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my list! Please link to yours in the comments!

The Game of Thrones Bandwagon

You’ve hooked me George, I’m right on board. This is a series I couldn’t help but want to review.


I accidentally started watching GOT this year. It just happened to be on while I was in the living room and I found myself asking all the ‘who’s, why’s and what’s’ that come with starting something 4 seasons in. It wasn’t a love at first sight thing. The story and the characters gradually drew me in.

If it hadn’t happened to have been on and a friend hadn’t told me how much he was enjoying the books, I probably never would have bothered with the books at all … and I would have seriously missed out.

George R R Martin is an artist. He’s created the most amazing world, filled with the most brilliant collection of characters. The sheer breadth and depth of his work deserves a round of applause and absolutely all of the acclaim it has received.

The basis for the story (if you’ve been hiding under a rock) is about the power struggles of a fictional land, ruled by a King and governed by lords. Oh and there’s a big wall protecting the realm from the wild and that’s guarded by a band of warriors (they’re a bit like fighting monks). It would take me too long to do a proper summary of all five books. So instead, I’m going to tell you what I liked about it and why you should definitely read it.

1) He is an excellent writer. This point should never be overlooked. His words flow off the page with ease, the subject matter can get heavy but the words will never weigh you down.

2) The characters are like proper people. No character is truly all bad or all good, they have both good and bad parts to their personalities. His characters are the most vital part of the story, each chapter is told by a different character and you find yourself sympathising with them. The problem is, that when you’re favourite character belongs to the wrong cause, well, you don’t know who to side with then. There are so many protagonists and antagonists that your allegiances are constantly changing.

3) He roots the story in a past. Readers enter into the story at the end of a long summer, but throughout the novels you’re taught about the background of the land and it’s history. It’s a lot like reading about Alfred the Great, Ethelred the Unready etc. It also deals with the more immediate past and you get to know the background of the characters pretty thoroughly. (And there are some pretty big mysteries there that come out sooner or later!)

4) You’re always guessing. There’s too much going on to know who’s going to end up on the throne at the end of it. Sometimes I see the twists coming and other times I don’t. Just when I think I’ve figured it out a new plot emerges. I have an inkling who will be important, but how they will be important is a complete mystery- and I love that!

5) It’s not romanticised. A lot of this story is about war. With war comes death, rape and torture. Death is bloody and gruesome with faeces, torture is toe-curdling to think about, and rape is no big deal. War isn’t heroic, it’s awful. And when the ‘good’ cause are doing all the things the ‘evil’ cause are doing, you’re left wondering if one is ever better than the other.

I could go on and on and on about how much I’ve loved this series, but what I really think you should do is read it for yourself 🙂

Judging Books by their Covers . . .

As a figure of speech, ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ is a lovely sentiment, look to the inside and don’t be superficial. It’s a really great lesson. But when you’re talking about actual books, you know what, I completely judge a book by it’s cover.


The cover is the first thing you notice, it can make you want to pick the book up or make a mental note never to touch it.

My friend Maddie refers to the chick lit section of WHSmiths as ‘the pink and purple bit’. She’s got a point. Chick lit covers are 9/10 pastel shades or varying degrees of pink. You don’t even need to read the title to know that’s their genre. The same goes for the supernatural, there’s a lot of black. In fact the more you think about it, the more you can pick out a genre and audience before actually reading the title of the book. (Also try googling these and looking what images come up: historical novels, teen novels, chick lit novels… you’ll start noticing similarities).

I’m not saying that the first impression is necessarily the right one, but I can’t help it. If the cover’s appealing, I’ll read the title, if I like that I’ll flick to the blurb, if the blurb’s good, I’ll read the book. This has backfired on me for better and worse.

CeceliaAhern_WhereRainbowsEndFor instance, Cecilia Ahern ‘Where Rainbows End’, has, in my opinion, an appalling title, 12367267-2an unappealing cover and a crap blurb – but you know what, I really enjoyed the book.


On the other hand, Claire Merle ‘The Glimpse’, has, an intriguing title, an interesting cover and a good blurb – yet I couldn’t get past the first fifty pages it was so bad.

So what about you? Where has your cover judgement let you down? What have you picked up that was an unexpected delight. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Shoe Shopping – Part One

A story that has very little to do with shoes.

As soon as the car door slammed shut, her nostrils began to burn from the stench of the acid that had attached itself to her clothes. The acid was effective at removing the mess, but it really did stink. She repressed her immediate desire to leave the car for fresh air. Instead she calmly drove away winding the window down with her immaculate leather glove. There was no time to waste.  She drove with a quiet sense of purpose and continued with her day.

The car was quiet, she did not enjoy music. The sounds of the engine and the road were much more soothing to her than lyrics about, what, love? loss? regret? No, silence suited her much better. As she returned to the limits of her village she remembered the milk. As much as she didn’t feel like walking into a shop, she was supposed to buy the milk. If she didn’t, he would ask why, which would lead into a series of complicated lies about her day. Frankly, the activity of the morning had worn her out and buying the milk, as annoying as it was, would be more efficient.

When she stepped out of the privacy of her car and inhaled the fresh air, she realised that, once again, she’d grown acclimatised to the acidic gases. The acid worked so well for her that this was convenient, yet she was also sure it couldn’t be good for her health. The irony of this was lost on her. She strode into the shop and prepared herself by adopting a ‘friendly’ expression and quickly thinking of lines of idle chat. The shopkeeper lived around the corner and she saw him quite frequently, so she assumed that their mutual friendliness and the length and frequency of their relationship made them friends.

The bells tolled above the door, and the shopkeeper turned round with an expression on his face. Was it fear or surprise? She couldn’t tell. She always got those two confused.

“Rita, how are you my dear?” The shopkeeper said. “You’re the first customer I’ve seen today.” Definitely surprise, she thought.

“Slow day then?” She replied, smiling on queue. What was his name? Marvin? Martin? Michael? She couldn’t remember.

“Unfortunately so,” he said. “I resorted to reading all the newspapers this morning, even the local one!” He chortled and she gave a little laugh, but she couldn’t really get the hang of humour. She certainly wasn’t looking for conversation, it was far too much effort, but the man, (Malcolm?), kept yammering away.

She subtly moved to the back of the little shop to get the milk, and as she reached for it, she remembered. “Do you know a good stain remover?”

He pointed to the left at a tall yellow bottle. “That’s the best one we sell.”

“Great, I spilt red wine on my white shirt and I just don’t want to throw it away.” The lie flowed easily from her tongue.

“In this economy I can’t blame you, everything is an unnecessary expense.” He indicated the financial page of the latest newspaper he was reading. As she reached for her purse, he turned the page of the paper. It was an enlarged photo of a young woman captioned ‘missing’. He caught her gaze and shook his head. “Terrible isn’t it? The poor young thing, she hasn’t been seen for a week.”

“Awful,” she agreed, hoping that her tone was appropriate. They exchanged more small talk until she took her items, left the shop, and returned to her car. Although she’d only just seen the picture of that woman, she couldn’t remember her face. You would think such a detail would permanently remain inside her memory, but it never did. As she drove away she glanced down at the gear stick and caught sight of her shoes, black stiletto Manolo Blahnik’s, she needed no prompt to remember the shoes.

End of Part One.

The prompt for this story was to write about topic X without ever mentioning topic X.  How’d I do? Please tell me what you think!

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books I Really Want To Read But Don’t Own Yet.

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is top ten books I really want to read but don’t own yet. I cheated a little bit making this list as four of them haven’t been released yet … but I do really want to read them. (Writers and publishers hurry up!)

1) The Girl you Left Behind – JoJo Moyes – Heard amazing reports and its so high up on my TBR list, I just have to buy it!

2)  The One Plus One – JoJo Moyes  – Love her writing. Me Before You had me crying for days, I want to read all her work but this one really calls to me!

3) Shopholic to the Stars – Sophie Kinsella – I have been waiting 4 years for this book! I’m madly in love with the shopaholic series and I think Kinsella is a great writer.

4) The Rosie Effect – Graeme Simsion –  I told everyone I have ever met to read the Rosie Project and I’m really excited about the sequel! Not long to go …

5) The Suicide Shop – Jean Teule – I came across this on a review online on wordpress and it just sounds so quirky I can’t wait to pick it up.

6) The Universe Versus Alex Woods – Gavin Extence – I’ve downloaded a sample on my kindle – halfway there already

7) The Murder of Roger Ackroyd – Agatha Christie – The queen of detective fiction breaks all the rules in this book. I’m very excited for the twist.

8) Us – David Nicholls – I love David Nicholls, so I was so excited when I heard he’s got a new release coming soon!

9) Something by John Green – Maybe not the Fault in our Stars because the hype’s so high, but I want to see what all the fuss is about with Green.

10) The Winds of Winter – George R. R. Martin – Come the F*** on George! I’ve jumped on your bandwagon, you’ve got me hooked, now just give me a bloody release date!

There’s my slightly cheated list! Let me know your TTT either in a link or in the comments!

Writer’s Blog Tour

I was very excited when the delightful Pema Donyo (@PemaDonyo) asked me to take part in this writer’s tour. She’s a very talented and published author – just have a look at her blog. It’s taken me so long to do this! So I can only apologise to the very talented Dorcas who I have nominated to continue the hop.

What am I working on?

I’ve written and am in the process of editing my first ever novel called The Great Graduate Debacle.

graduation-caps-thrown-in-air The Great Graduate Debacle is about five childhood friends who have just graduated from university. They’re getting to grips with being back at home, living with their parents again and working full time. Oh and they’ve stolen quite a bit of money that was hidden by a local drug dealer. What could possibly go wrong?

The plot’s tongue in cheek, you can’t take it seriously and you’re not supposed to. It’s a fun story with relevant characters and themes. But mainly funny, it’s supposed to be funny.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?


I’ve never actually come across a book that deals with this very specific stage in your life, which is why I decided to write about it.

Graduation is a funny time because you feel no more adult than you did when you started university. And yet, you’re suddenly pushed into the real world with the expectation of putting your degree to use. To top things off, if you live back at home, you’re an adult in the day time and still a teenager in the evenings. It can be stressful but it’s funny too, trying something new can often end in brilliant anecdotes.

My novel could fit into the new adult genre but the way it differs is in the characters. My characters aren’t romanticised heroes or villains, they’re just people, with good and bad in them. The normality of the characters and the absurdity of the situation is where I’ve tried to create humour.

Why do I write what I do?

This felt like such a good project to work on for my first novel because it’s what I know. I thought I could tackle this story from real experience that gives it a sense of authenticity I may have not had with more ambitious projects.

As I progress as a writer I hope to write across many other genres, but this was great for getting my feet wet. (And it was fun to write).

How does my writing process work?

I get ideas everywhere. Watching telly, in the bath, chatting with friends … literally anywhere. This particular idea came from a hungover morning with my friends after the funniest night out I’ve ever been on.

Once the idea’s set, it’s on to the characters. Most of the times their names jump into my head and then I decide on their personalities and actions. I take inspiration from people around me but at the end of the day my characters aren’t real (sadly). unnamed

In previous projects, I’ve tried to plan chapter by chapter with no success. So this time I just decided the main points of my story, my chapter titles and the rest sorted itself out. I was lucky in that it just flowed, hopefully it reads that way too!

I’m still editing at the moment and then it’s on to looking for a publishing agent. But watch this space, much like Kodaline I have high hopes.

Now let me introduce you to a very talented writer named Dorcas Amis, a very talented young writer! Over to you my friend! 

DorcasMy name is Dorcas Amis, but my friends call me “Dee”. I am from Chingola, I am 23 years old and I graduated 2 weeks ago from university…yay me.

I have always enjoyed reading. I also enjoy writing my thoughts down. Before I discovered blogging it used to just be me and my diary, experimenting with poetry and just writing short stories which were just for my family’s eyes only. 🙂

I finally decided to get really serious and put more effort in my writing (it was impossible at times, with school and all) and I came up with the YA Fantasy story that I am working on, it is still a work in progress though.

Random facts – I love dolphins. My favourite fruit is a pineapple and I HATE bananas

Twitter, Blog,  Goodreads

I am what I say … or am I?

If you’re an artist, a writer, designer, painter, director, actor … should you keep your thoughts to yourself for risk of discouraging potential fans? Or should you say what you think? In short, how much are artists representative of their art?

Let’s look at some examples.

1) Oscar Wilde – Author, essayist and playwright. Wilde firmly believed art contained no moral Unknowninstruction. “Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” He thought that whatever meaning the reader interpreted, came from the reader and not the work or the writer. Ironically, Wilde’s own novel was used against him in his trial as proof of his homosexuality. His work might have worked against him at the time but Wilde’s notoriety has helped his work stay canonical. In history, art and artist have been bound, despite that artists protestations.


2) Mel Gibson – Actor. A more recent example. In 2006, Gibson reportedly said anti-Semitic mel_gibson320remarks when he was arrested for drunk driving. It was a bad night all round for him on the PR front. No one is contesting that racism is wrong or that drunk driving is dangerous but should the actors actions off screen effect the way you view their films? (Good) Actors are chameleons, slipping their skin to throw themselves into a role, so little of themselves remain in the character. Is there a separation between liking the actor, admitting he’s good at his job, and disliking the man, in this case because he’s a racist? Or are the two too closely linked?

JK3) J.K. Rowling – Author. In more current news, Rowling gave a sizeable contribution to the Scotland ‘Stay Together’ campaign. Arguably, this is much less controversial than the other two examples but raises the same point. Rowling’s support for this political issue has nothing to do with her work. But there are people out there that would turn away from it because they hold the opposite political view, even though this political view would be cited nowhere in her work.


These are just three examples but there are tons more, some more controversial than others. Should we view art and artist separately or not? Historically they have been viewed as one and the same and you can see the reasons why. On the one hand, you’re paying these people and you may not want to see them better off for views or actions you disagree with. But there is a case to be made for viewing them separately, you may be paying these people but they’re not politicians (yet). You’re not paying them for their views, you’re paying them for their work, which can have nothing to do with them as a person.

It’s a fact that you can’t please everybody. Whether it’s your religion, politics or lifestyle choices, you are going to offend somebody … but you can avoid deliberately annoying them (or inciting hatred). Artists in the public eye tread a fine line, sometimes the less controversial you are the better you do, i.e Matt Damon, and sometimes controversy can boost you up, i.e. Oscar Wilde or Miley Cyrus. (I never thought I’d use those two in the same sentence).

I try to separate the artist and the art in my mind but sometimes it’s hard. What about you? Do you think they should be viewed separately? Have you heard something about an artist that made you boycott their work?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’m Not Sure I Want To Read


Top Ten Tuesday is an original blog meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week’s prompt: “Top Ten Books I’m Not Sure I Want To Read (books you may have bought but aren’t sure if you are into it anymore, books you wanted to read but heard mixed things about, hyped books you aren’t sure about — basically any book that has you going, ‘TO READ OR NOT TO READ?’”

On my phone, I keep a to-read list, books I’ve come across online, in shops or through other people’s recommendations. I don’t know if I’ll get round to them and I’m embarrassed to admit that (at the moment) it’s due to sheer tiredness (cough laziness) on my part. I’m a former lit student – I’m still enjoying light relief novels, I’ll go back to the important ones in time …

1)  The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini – I’ve been told over and over again that it’s amazing and I’kiteve written it down to read … but it looks very emotionally taxing.

2) Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson – Two Christmases ago my cousin bought me a beautiful hardback edition of this book, which looks lovely on my shelf … where it’s remained untouched for two years. It just looks quite long …

3) Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks – I’ve only ever heard good things. But I’ve also heard the words heartbreaking, sorrow, war … I might get round to it one day.

4) Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier – The plot sounds great, I’m just worried about when it was written. I’ve never gotten along with early C20 work that well.

5) A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole – This was recommended by a friend as a ‘must read’ … it’s been a year and I still haven’t picked it up.

anna karenina6) Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy – Again it’s the word tragic that’s causing me the problem – but I’ve never read a book about the Russian aristocracy either and that does sound interesting. Decisions, decisions …

7) The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger – I read an excerpt of this a few years ago – thought it was great, added it to my list and never looked at it again. I really do want to read it! It’s just a matter of getting round to it.

8) C – Tom McCarthy – Exactly the same as above – read an extract, thought it was great. The problem here was when I read the blurb of the novel and heard the plot I was less interested. It’s a conundrum.

51JXXb2vpDL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_9) The Fault in Our Stars – John Green- It looks great, it does. But I’m putting it off for two reasons. One I’m not sure I’m emotionally stable enough to read it (‘Me Before You’ left me hysterical – I try to read only one book about dying protagonists per decade), and two it’s been so hyped up I’m worried it’ll be an anticlimax.

10) The Comoran Strike Novels – Robert Galbraith – I love J.K. she’s my hero. But … when author’s write a series, I have a hard time reading their other works as separate entities. (Sophie Kinsella novels particularly). In this case though, hopefully the genres are different enough so that I won’t expect the detective to pull a wand out at any moment…. When you think about it, choosing a pseudonym was the right way to go. Shame her cover was blown.

There’s my lazy little list. Is there anything on their you would 100% recommend? I might get over my laziness enough to pick it up!