If you can’t say anything nice…

Last month I read a blog post on 101 Books about an interview that author, A.S Byatt had given a few years ago where she basically was not only insulting J.K Rowling but also those of us who read her work. Yes, apparently we’re all total idiots who can’t handle anything deeper than a trashy tv show or cartoon! Not that she’s actually read any of J.K’s work, of course. And then my friend sent me an article where another writer said that J.K. Rowling ‘sucked the oxygen from the entire publishing and reading atmosphere’ and that she shouldn’t be trying to venture into another genre when she was already so successful. J.K’s venture into crime was supposedly stopping other writers from being successful. Seriously??!

Now, I don’t have a problem with people not liking an author or series that I like – we all have our own tastes after all – and I’m even prepared to overlook the fact that they’re clearly making snap judgements based on things like media reports or popularity levels, rather than the actual content of the books themselves. Who hasn’t formed an opinion at one time or another based on very little actual evidence? We’re only human after all.

What bothers me about these authors mouthing off about J.K Rowling (and other popular authors like her) in the press  – is that no one seems to have taught these people that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. That might seem hypocritical from a blogger who isn’t afraid to share her opinion on here but I’m not a world renowned, award-winning, well respected, professional and successful author speaking in the national press about another author for no apparent reason.

I don’t know if A S Byatt was maybe asked her opinion of J.K Rowling or not and that’s what lead to that article but the simple way to get out of that would have been to simply say she hadn’t read any of her work so couldn’t comment. So why did she feel the need to say these things? She doesn’t need the publicity for herself. She isn’t a struggling author jealous of the success of Harry Potter. Is it snobbery perhaps? Does she not think JK is ‘literary’ enough? There does, after all, seem to be a snobbery in certain areas of the book world when it comes to things like awards, for example. I’m sure that the books nominated for the prestigious literary awards that exist are all well-deserving of the honour but it does often seem, in recent years anyway, that unless there’s a heavy-hitting issue in the book, it doesn’t get nominated. Even if the book is beautifully written and truly unique or imaginative. So maybe A.S Byatt belongs to that camp.

As for the crime writer who believes that J.K should stay out of her genre and give other writers a chance… does she really think that writers should stop after a certain level of success to give other writers a chance? Would she follow that advice herself? Or is it more realistic that her books haven’t come close to the level of success that J.K has achieved and she’s scared of the extra competition?

But basically my point, at the end of this very long and all over the place rant, is that these two writers are supposed to be professionals and grown-ups, and instead of acting like it, they’re taking the chance to bitch about a fellow writer to the press. And in the case of A.S Byatt, insult her fans as well. No matter what line of work you’re in, there will always be people that, for one reason or another, you just don’t like, but if you’re a professional, you would never dream of throwing a hissy-fit tantrum and bitching about them to the wider public (maybe just to your friends!). All that these writers have succeeded in doing is to show themselves in a very poor light and most likely put a lot of people – myself included – off ever reading any more of their work. Nice work, ladies! Now why don’t you grow up and remember that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!

Reading, reading and more reading!

Okay so you may have noticed I’ve been MIA from the blogosphere for quite a wee while now – if you’re still interested in reading my blog after my prolonged absence, a great big thanks to you for bearing with me, and if not, then I don’t blame you! If you’ve read any of my earlier posts over the last few months you might remember that I’ve been having a lot of dental issues – basically I’m a dental mystery who has ‘flummoxed’ the dental health profession. I’ve had numerous treatments including getting a wisdom tooth out and still the problem continues so next up is Uber Important Specialist types so fingers crossed I get some answers soon!

Anyhoo, I didn’t venture back on here to moan about my dental problems – phew, I can hear you all saying! I thought as I’ve been out of it for a while a good place to start is always to catch you up with some of what I’ve been reading and see if you have any literary treats I can add to my wishlist.

So we start with…

The Good

1. Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder – This is the first in a series and my first encounter with Maria V. Snyder.  It didn’t disappoint. Avry of Kazan is a healer living in hiding as her kind are blamed for a mysterious plague which swept the land. After she’s arrested, she is broken out of prison by a group of strangers who want her to help heal their prince. This was a very quick and easy read but the characters were still very well thought out and believable, and while there is a love story brewing in the background it’s certainly not the main point of the story. It’s exciting, intriguing and sets up the rest of the series well. Can’t wait to find out what happens next!

2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer – Another first in a series and another one that I was introduced to by many of  you lovely bloggers. I would never have thought  I would be interested in, let alone, really, REALLY love a story which takes the classic story of Cinderella and puts it into a futuristic New Bejing where Cinderella is Cinder, a talented mechanic and cyborg. Throw in an impending invasion from an evil queen and a violent struggle, and you’ve got the makings of a really gripping series which I am soooo grateful to all you bloggers out there who introduced me to it. I’m not a sci-fi girl and I would totally  have missed this one without you!

3. Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod – This was a book I came across totally by chance when my friend and I were looking at travel guides to Paris for our trip that we plan to make in September. It was a total impulse buy and the first time in a long time that I bought a book that I didn’t even read the reviews for! Gasp, I hear you all say! I cannot say how much I loved this book! It’s a true story – Janice was stuck working as a copy-writer in America and hated it so she saved for a year and quit her job. The plan was to travel around Europe and then who knows, but in Paris, she met her soul-mate and though she did travel around, she later moved to Paris. Now, an artist, you can subscribe to her amazing, beautiful watercolour letters each month where she paints a different scene from Paris and writes about life there. You should check out her blog here! It’s a slice of Paris life in your letter box every month!

4. The Vintage Girl by Hester Browne – Another impulse buy, this time when I saw it cheap in the supermarket and was having a bad day. It’s the story of Evie who works in an antiques shop and is invited to a castle in Scotland to assess the price of their heirlooms. If you’re looking for a thought-provoking read this ain’t the book for you but if you like candelit dances in Scottish castles, a handsome and cynical heir to the estate and an easy to like heroine, then you could do a lot worse!

The Disappointment

5. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – I feel like I’m saying nasty things about my best friend behind her back when I say this and I know a lot of you will disagree but I just couldn’t warm up to this one. I really wanted to after loving Fangirl so much but it just didn’t connect with me the same way.

Currently Reading

6. The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty – Another one I came across on the blogs, this one is definitely unique. Zoe has just moved back to New York after a disastrous experience in her last job and ends up working for a publishing company but this is no ordinary publishing company. This publishing company is working on a travel guide to New York for all the supernatural creatures of the world. Something tells me things could get messy!

To Read 

7. A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller – A period drama featuring among other things, a young girl posing nude and getting kicked out of finishing school, secret applications to the Royal College of Art, the suffrage movement and true love. Count me in!

8. Come to the Edge by Joanna Kavenna – A community taking up arms and embarking on full-on revolution against all the middle-class bankers buying second homes in the countryside and ruining their communities. A black comedy about locals trying to take back their communities. This one has been on my wishlist for a while so it’s about time I read it!

9. Angel’s Blood by Nalini Singh – Vampire hunters, angels, vampires, seductions… need I say more?

10. The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris – I will admit to being shallow here and say that the first thing that attracted me to this book was its pretty cover. But the story does look good too – a first person account of the rise and fall of the Norse gods, told by Loki himself. Looking forward to this one!


So those are some of my highlights. What about you? Read anything good lately? Any recommendations?

Top 10 Tuesday Rewind: Favourite kick-ass heroines!



Okay so last week was my very first time participating in Top Ten Tuesday organised by the fab girls over at The Broke and the Bookish so when I saw that this week’s topic was to choose a favourite from all the past Tuesday’s I was very excited! I’d missed out on so many great posts! The only trouble was choosing which one to write about! In the end I went with kick-ass heroines because growing up there weren’t that many good ones around in books but thankfully that seems to be changing now and that should be celebrated!

1. Celeana Sardothien from Throne of Glass

There’s no real surprise that Celaena is top of the list here. Sarah J. Maas has created a character that well and truly kicks ass and has an edge of steel! Sure there’s some love interest, fierce loyalty to friends and though she might fight it at times, she tries to do what is right and help stop the evil King. But the best bit is that despite these good qualities, she never ever changes into some soft, wishy-washy character. She keeps her edge and you do NOT want to mess with Celaena Sardothien!

2. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games

Again this is a no brainer. Katniss is a survivor, she does what she needs to do to protect her family (and friends) even if it means sacrificing herself. She doesn’t stop fighting for them no matter what. Along the way she also becomes the symbol of a revolution and gives hope to people that had none. Sure she’s screwed up and has a hard time figuring out whether she loves Gale or Peeta, and she never asked to be the symbol of a revolution but despite all the confusion, she just keeps on fighting.

3. Katsa from Graceling

In Katsa’s world there are people who are born with special abilities – Graces – that allow them to excel in certain areas. Her grace, and one that she wishes she didn’t have, is the grace of killing. She is forced by her Uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, to do his dirty work but unbeknownst to him, she and some supporters have formed an underground council who are dedicated to fighting back against the tyranny of Randa and the kings of the other 6 kingdoms. There are obvious similarities to Throne of Glass but this is a great story in its own right – the world building is amazing, the tension is built up nicely and although there is the wonderful Prince Po, there are no love triangles!

4. Jenna Strong from ACID

Jenna Strong is the only female inmate in a high security prison controlled by the brutal and oppressive ACID police force. She’s there for killing her parents although she remembers little about the actual attack. You very quickly get to see just how Jenna has managed to stay alive amongst men that are much bigger and stronger than her! She doesn’t pull her punches and you don’t want to get on her bad side! When she’s broken out of prison she becomes involved in a race against time to take down ACID, find out what really happened to her parents and get her life back.

5. Merit from Chicagoland Vampires

Merit becomes a vampire against her will when the Master of Cadogan House, the deliciously dreamy, Ethan Sullivan, turns her to save her life following a vampire attack that should have killed her. Despite her reluctance to embrace her new life she’s appointed the Sentinel for Cadogan House meaning she has to guard everyone in it against the other big bads that go bump in the night. I love Merit! She’s sarcastic, she’s intelligent and bookish, she LOVES her food and for a long time she doesn’t realise her own strength. Plus the whole tension between her and Ethan is fangtastic – do you see what I did there? Ha ha ha! Okay, I’m sorry that was bad!

6. Elena from Bitten

Elena is another one who was turned against her will but in her case she was turned by her boyfriend, Clay, into a werewolf. Understandably having had no idea that her boyfriend was a werewolf or that they even existed, when she luckily manages to survive the transition (something very rare for a female) she’s more than a tad peeved. She wants nothing to do with Clay or any of the Pack. Then a series of brutal murders threaten them all and she has to make a choice between the life she’s living where she has to hide what she is or to embrace her inner werewolf. This series by Kelley Armstrong is not one for kids. For many reasons. Elena is tough, she doesn’t take any shit and she, like Katniss, will fight to the death to protect the people she cares about. She is one tough cookie!

7. Mackayla Lane from Darkfever

Mackayla Lane, otherwise known as Mac, is just an ordinary girl who suffers a tragic loss when her beloved sister is murdered in Dublin under mysterious circumstances. Mac goes to Dublin to find the truth and finds out not only that there really are fairies and they are definitely NOT the sweet, cheeky Tinkerbell type but that she has the power to stop the Fae, and stop the end of the world as we know it. Like Merit, Mac is sarcastic, fiesty and has some great one-liners. She will stop at nothing to find out the truth and stop the ‘man’ who killed her sister. This series also has the best tension building between her and Barrons who is a bad, bad, bad ‘man’! 😉

8. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter

I don’t think there’s very much I have to say about this one. Intelligent, brave, a study-aholic and you could never ask for a truer friend. She never once strays from doing what’s right despite the risk to herself, she is always there whenever Harry and Ron need her (which let’s face it, is a lot of the time!) and she gives all us bookish geeks hope that we too can be a hero if we want to be! 🙂


Okay, so once again I didn’t quite make it to 10 but I’m dying to know what you think? Who would your heroines be?

If you’re doing Top Ten Tuesday, what topic did you choose?




A few of my favourite things!

Last night I had an amazing trip to my first ever ballet, Swan Lake, with my mum where I got to indulge both my cultural side – the dancing and music were absolutely superb, the acting was impressive and so was the set design – and my shallow side. The version of Swan Lake that we saw was Matthew Bourne’s and for those of you who aren’t familiar with his work, this version of the ballet has all the ‘swans’ played by men whose costumes consist of feathery trousers, a bit of make-up and as you can see from this video (from another theatre’s performance of the show), not much else. 😉

I had such a great time and it put me in such a good mood that I thought today I’d do a post on a few of my other favourite things – both bookish and non-bookish. Give you a glimpse behind the curtain of Confessions of a Book Ninja as it were! So here we go…

This first one won’t be a surprise to any of you lovely people! These are a selection of my beloved bookcases…


Also in this shot you’ll see a few of my other favourite things like my foam claw from the trip of a lifetime to the University of Berkeley where my inner-hippy always dreamed of going and hanging down the wall are the medals from the races I’ve done so far. I’ve recently re-kindled my motivation to run so hopefully I’ll be adding to these this year!

Whether I’m reading or watching tv, on the many wet and dreary winter’s nights we’ve been having lately, I do love to indulge my caffeine addiction and curl up on the couch with a duvet and a nice steaming cup of tea/coffee/hot chocolate…


Okay, so this was a lovely cuppa I got at a wee cafe by the harbourside in Largs and not one I made at home but I do love it when they make a wee design with the chocolate on top! 🙂 If I’m feeling really wild and crazy, I might accompany the cuppa with one of these…


And while I’m supping and stuffing my face, if I’m not reading I might choose to escape with one of my favourite shows like these ones…

Favourite shows

My boxset collection is one of the few things that may actually rival my book collection. Both collections are pretty much taking over my house at this point!

One of the things I love about  living in Scotland is that on the very rare days we actually get to see some sunshine I can hop in my dream car called Berkeley (guess what she’s named after!)…


And get to go see things like this…


Or this…

Dean Castle

Now that I’ve shared a few of my favourite things with you all I have to go prepare for afternoon tea with my family. Unfortunately it won’t be an afternoon tea like this one at a speak-easy themed bar in Glasgow where the cocktails are served in teapots but as long as there’s caffeine and cake, I’m good! 🙂

Cocktail afternoon tea

What about all of you? What are a few of your favourite things? Bookish or otherwise?

Reading Round-Up Returns!

I had intended to write either a really funny or a really thought-provoking discussion post today but to be honest my mind doesn’t want to play so instead I’ll do another reading round-up post and hopefully get some good recomendations from all you lovely people! 🙂

What I’ve read

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

This is another one I probably would never have read if I hadn’t heard so much about it on the blogs and it’s another one where I am very glad that I did! It tells of  genetics professor, Don Tillman and Rosie. Don is a very Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory type of character and despite giving a lecture on Asperger’s doesn’t realise that he actually has it. He sets up a Wife Project where he hopes, through the use of a VERY detailed questionnaire, that he will be able to find himself a life companion. Enter Rosie. Rosie is disorganised, messed-up emotionally and in short doesn’t meet any of the criteria. Don doesn’t exactly match her ideal man criteria either. Instead, her priority is to find her biological dad and when Don offers to help, The Rosie Project begins. I didn’t love this just as much as Fangirl but it was a lovely, quirky story with characters that you couldn’t help rooting for. It was a really interesting insight into how someone with Asperger’s views the world as well and I thought Graeme Simsion handled Don’s Asperger’s with great sensitivity.

What I’m reading

Code Name: Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Set in WW2, it tells of two girls working as part of the war effort (one is actually a pilot) who are shot down over Germany. One girl is soon captured by the Gestapo and the other has managed to escape. The first part of the story is told from the captured girl’s perspective who after being tortured has agreed to write a ‘confession’ for the Germans. At this point it’s not clear what happened to her friend. Other than The Book Thief which isn’t exactly a typical war book, this is a genre that I never read but one of my resolutions is to read more widely and blog recommendations have been working so well for me lately that after hearing rave reviews of this, I decided to give it a try. I’m only about 60 pages in so I can’t say too much about this one yet but I think it’s really interesting to read a war story from the perspective of women involved in the war effort rather than just waiting at home for their beloved who’s probably missing, presumed dead. I’m looking forward to reading more of this one although I hear I’ll definitely be needing some tissues?

Still to read

  • Paris, Rue des Martyrs by Adria J. Cimino – This was my ‘mystery’ book that I mentioned in my last Reading Round-Up. It tells the story of four strangers in Paris, each with their own quest and each quest will intertwine as the novel progresses. I love stories set in Paris and I love reading stories which start out separate but then all come together!
  • Ragnarok by A.S. Byatt – This short book is the re-telling of Norse legend through the eyes of a small child evacuated to the countryside during WW2. I’ve heard that, although it’s a short one, it packs a punch so I’m waiting till I’m in the right frame of mind before tackling this one.
  • Touch of Power by Maria V. Synder – I’ve been wanting to try one of Maria’s series for a while now and have taken the plunge with this one. A fantasy set in the magical land of Kazan which has been ravaged by a mysterious plague for years. Avry, a woman with the power to heal, has been imprisoned for her abilities but men break into her cell one night and demand she use her powers to save their Prince. The man who unleashed the plague in the first place.
  • Named of the Dragon by Susanna Kearsley – Lyn is a literary agent (troubled, of course!) who is spending Christmas with one of her writers. There she meets Elen who is convinced that Lynn is there to save her young son. As if this wasn’t troubling enough, Lynn is also having disturbing dreams of legends, prophecies and a child destined for greatness. And there is obviously a brooding neighbour to help her figure it all out. Prophecies, destiny and brooding (and no doubt hunky!) neighbours?? Need I say more? 😉
  • The Romance of the Forest by Ann Radcliffe – I am determined to read more classics this year and will be starting with this one. To be honest I first became aware of it when it was mentioned in Emma but I enjoyed The Mysteries of Udolpho after reading about it in Northanger Abbey so I thought, ‘Why not?’ People seeking refuge in a gothic abbey, sinister relics and a libidinous Marquis – this sounds like my kind of classic! 🙂
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain – Another classic to tick off the list this has American mechanic Hank being knocked unconscious and waking up in Camelot. I’ve always loved stories where people are transported back to the past plus, if I’m honest, it was on sale! 🙂
  • Let Me Off at the Top by Ron Burgundy – The biography of Anchorman’s Ron Burgundy. What fan of Anchorman wouldn’t want to read this??

What about you? What are you reading?

How out of control is your TBR?


Top 10 Reasons I love being a blogger/reader


Well I’ve been trying to think of ways to get back into blogging more regularly after my hiatus and when I saw that this week’s Top 10 Tuesday was about the love of blogging/reading, I thought this was a perfect way to help me do that! I’m very excited to be participating in my first Top 10 Tuesday, so without further ado here we go…


1. Recommendations to die for!

As I mentioned in my last post some of the recommendations I’ve got from other blogs have lead to the discovery of new authors, new genres and favourite reads that came along just at the right time in my reading journey. Fangirl is the most recent and successful example but I’ve also been introduced to The Rosie Project (currently reading and loving), Touch of Power, Named of the Dragon and Code Name: Verity.

2. Support and encouragement

Like any new blogger, my blogging journey has had its fair share of ups and downs but whenever I’ve expressed some concerns I’ve been having whether it’s a reading slump, blogging anxieties or motivation issues, all you lovely bloggers have been quick to offer support and encouragement, and it’s meant a lot to me to know that all of you out there have my back!

3. Re-discovering the writer in me

I’ve talked before about the fact I used to write all the time, short stories mostly, but there was also the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist dream for a time. Somewhere along the way I just stopped for some reason but blogging has given me the chance to stretch my creative writing muscles again and it’s felt great! Suddenly I’m a writer again! 🙂

4. I get to talk books, books and more books!

I am a complete bookaholic – as you all know – and I love talking about books, and hearing about good books, and looking at pretty cover reveals…. everything literary. And getting to ‘spend time’ with and ‘talk’ to other people who are just as obsessed as I am, who get hyper and excited when a new book in our favourite series comes out or get mad when Hollywood ruins our favourite books, is one of the very bestest things in the whole world for me. 🙂


5. Armchair travels

I love to travel but for various reasons I don’t have the chance to do as much of it as I’d like –  not until the lottery win anyway. Being a reader gives me the chance to escape to different countries, different times, different worlds and different universes, and all without having to leave my house. The worlds my favourite writers create are so vivid that I have a hard time leaving them when I turn that last page but I love every second of it!

6. Journey to a happy place

My mind is an overactive whirlwind of thoughts and there aren’t many things that can calm the storm once I get really stressed about something. Spending time wandering around my favourite bookshop, picking out new books to add to my wishlist or curling up with a good escapist read are some of the very few things that can make the world, and my thoughts, go quiet for a while so I will always be grateful for a good book!

7. Kick ass characters

I’ve been lucky enough in my reading to come across some incredible characters that have left their mark on me forever – Katniss Everdeen, Celaena Sardothien, Cath from Fangirl, Harry Potter, Katsa from Graceling…I could go on and on. These characters come alive for me as I read and by the end of the book I feel like I really know them. Those are the books where it’s particularly hard to leave the world the author has created and I’m always dying to go back again.

8. Literary memories

As I sit here writing this, I am surrounded on all sides by my bookshelves and what I love about that is not only does looking at lots of books make me all warm and fuzzy inside, but many of these books also serve as reminders of a particular time and place in my life. They are my literary memories and that makes those books even more special to me.

Okay, I didn’t quite make it to 10 so my first Top 10 Tuesday wasn’t perhaps a total success but I had fun writing anyway and I hope you enjoyed reading it! So what about you? What are your top 10 reasons for loving blogging/reading?

Timing is everything!

Like with so many things in life whether we fall in love with a book can have a lot to do with timing. A book can have a killer plot, some truly kick-ass characters and world building that could blow your mind but if you’re not in the right mood or you don’t have the time to commit to it, or it’s maybe just too similar to something you read recently then you’re not going to be able to really get excited about it. Sometimes however, the literary stars align perfectly. You’re in exactly the right place, at the right time and in the right frame of mind to fall head over heels in love with a book. And I was very very lucky to have that happen to me not once, but twice recently. And with back to back books too!

I had heard soooo much about Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell on the blogs. For a time it seemed like I was the only blogger/reader on the planet who hadn’t yet read it but strangely despite all the glowing reviews, I was never able to get that excited about it. I wanted to read it at some point but I wasn’t overly fussed about when that would be. But then one day a couple of weeks ago I was in my happy place, Waterstones bookshop, with a friend and I had literally just told myself I shouldn’t buy any more books until I had finished the ones I already had, when I turned round and there it was. If there had been any windows in that section of the store the light would have been shining in straight onto the shelf it sat on with it’s lovely ‘buy one, get one half price’ sticker on it. Suddenly I just knew I had to have it. My new book excitement was off the charts, I had ‘must buy’ grabby hands and before I knew what was happening I was frantically searching the shelves for a companion special offer book.

And I am beyond glad that it was there when I turned round that day because it turned out to be one of my very favourite reads so far of 2014! There aren’t enough words in the English language to describe just how much I LOVE this book so I’ll have to resort to over capitalisation and exclamation marks!! Fangirl, for those of you who don’t know, is the story of Cath, who has just started college with her twin sister, Wren but while her sister is embracing the whole college experience (sometimes maybe a little too much!), Cath is struggling to come out from behind her laptop where she’s immersed in the world of fan fiction.

Like I said in my last post, while I can’t relate to everything she’s gone through, like her troubled family background, the anxiety of starting college and struggling to fit in was definitely something I could sympathise with. Getting lost in writing or the amazing world of books as a coping mechanism was obviously something I could relate to as well! Rainbow Rowell created such a real, sympathetic and funny portrayal of a young girl struggling to move on with her life and the characters that she met along the way were amazing. I’ve said this before about male characters but I LOVE Levi!! He is exactly the kind of guy that an obsessive neurotic fan of escapism like Cath and myself need, and I really want one of my own! He was perfect!

This book completely drew me in and cheered up every day that I got to read it. When it came time to turn that last page I really felt like I was saying goodbye to a friend and I was really upset that I had to do it. It was a lovely, warm-hearted and easy to relate to story, and it came along at the perfect time for me. I needed a book like this. I needed THIS book and I want to thank all you lovely bloggers who brought it to my attention because I may never have found it otherwise, and would’ve missed out on a wonderful reading journey!

The other book that timing helped me fall in love with was The Rook by Daniel O’Malley. I started to read this one immediately after Fangirl so I was still suffering withdrawal symptoms. All I really wanted to be reading was Fangirl so any book would’ve found it difficult to keep my interest at that point but this one in particular, I had a real struggle with.

I knew it would be an unusual read, after all the tagline describes it as MI5 for wizards and the plot starts with a woman waking up in a park, with no memory, surrounded by dead  bodies wearing latex gloves, and a note in her pocket which starts ‘Dear You, The body you are wearing used to be mine…’ Surprisingly though, given all that, I still don’t think I realised just how weird this would be. I don’t think I’ve ever said ‘What is this ****???’ quite so many times when starting a book. I wanted to give up with it, I really did but even though I had a few books left to read, I knew that my head wasn’t in the right place to do them justice, and new books I’d ordered hadn’t arrived yet. I could either go bookless (hell no!) or force myself to keep reading which is what I did. Thank God I did too! Yes it was quite possibly the weirdest book I’ve read in a long time but it turned out also to be really good! I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next and there were a few times that I got funny looks in the train from laughing out loud!

So thank you to the literary stars because you’ve provided me with just the right books at the right time. They were two very different reads, neither of them were my usual kind of read but they helped me with my new year’s resolutions to read more widely, and they were exactly the books I needed right now!

What about  you? Has timing ever helped you fall in love with a book or give up with one?

Reading Round-Up

I realise that every post I’ve done lately – and there hasn’t been a lot of those I know – has been to apologise for my absence and promise to be back to full blogging form soon! Well I’m afraid this post isn’t to mark my triumphant return to full form and there’s still a bit of recovery to do but in the meantime I thought I’d do a reading round-up – what I’ve read, what I’ve still to read and what I want to read. And hopefully find out what all of you lovely people are reading as well so I can get more inspiration for my Amazon wishlist! 🙂

What I’ve read lately

  • World After by Susan Ee – The sequel to one of my favourite reads of 2013, Angelfall, this was one of my most anticipated Christmas reads. There was a lot I liked about it – the infamous Pooky Bear I’d heard so much about, seeing Penryn struggle to deal with what the angels had done to her sister and life after the angel apocalypse, of course, any scenes with the oh so dreamy, Raffe. Unfortuntely I read this before the antibiotics kicked in and I think my general low mood affected my overall enjoyment. I hated that it took so long for Raffe to appear – though I had been warned of his absence – and I really didn’t like those scorpion/locust things. They were just freaky!  Overall, I liked this one but didn’t love it nearly as much as Angelfall. 😦
  • Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan – A very different book to the one above as you can probably tell from the title! Rosie Hopkins is an unemployed auxilliary nurse who is asked to visit the village of Lipton to help out her elderly great Aunt, Lillian, and fix up, and sell Lillian’s old fashioned sweet shop. As with any Jenny Colgan  book, the storyline is pretty predictable. With some books that’s a problem but with Jenny’s I actually find that quite comforting! You know there’s going to be a cast of loveable funny characters, the main character is going to find themselves and achieve their dreams, and, of course, there will be love. That all of this is threaded with delicious descriptions of sweets is just an added bonus. Though, in retrospect reading a book featuring lots of yummy goodies I can’t currently eat due to my dental issues, wasn’t the best idea! lol
  • Unbreakable by Kami Garcia – I’d heard this was pretty much, Supernatural, in book form and whoever said that was spot on. Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead and is then almost killed herself by a vengeance spirit posessing her cat and stealing her breath. Yes, you heard that right, the cat is possessed. I know! Luckily Kennedy is saved by two gorgeous (obviously!) demon hunting twin brothers who tell her that they are, and her mother was, part of an ancient society dedicated to protecting mankind from a demon. The similarities with Supernatural are everywhere – the twins’ family were part of the demon hunting society, their dad was killed by a demon, they all carry around family journals detailing demon hunting info, one brother is angst ridden and the other is the ‘good’ one…I could go on. There’s very little thought gone into the plotting of this one – the characters are weak as is the storybuilding but if you like Supernatural and want a quick, and easy read that’s just a bit of fun, then you could do a lot worse than this one!

What I’m currently reading

  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – I’ve been hearing about this one on the blogs for a long time and now it’s popping up everywhere in the bookshops. When I spotted it on a buy one, get one half price offer I just couldn’t resist! I only started this last night but so far I am loving it! Cath and her identical twin, Wren (I seem to have a twin thing at the moment!) have just moved to college and while Wren is throwing herself into the experience, distancing herself from Cath, Cath is struggling to engage with the real world instead of the fan fiction that she writes. Obviously there are certain things about the character that are exaggerated for the story but I can definitely relate to the struggle of fitting in at university and the anxiety that goes along with it! The writing style is really engaging and the characters are easy to get on board with so I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens next!

What I’ve still to read

  • Let Me Off At the Top by Ron Burgundy – The last of my Christmas books. I really don’t know why I haven’t read this yet!
  • The Rook by Daniel O’Malley – The tagline says MI5 for wizards so of course I had to buy it!
  • Almost French by Sarah Turnbull – Journalist moves to Paris to start a new life. This is my dream!
  • Mysterious unpublished story – This one is top secret until it’s publication in the near future but I was lucky enough to be asked by my fellow blogger, Adria, to read her new book and I can’t wait!


So what about you? What are you reading?

Read anything good lately?


A Future Bookaholic is born!

I can only send heartfelt apologies out into the blogosphere for my prolonged absence but thankfully I am on the mend and reading like mad so hopefully I’ll be back with a vengeance in the very near future! I have had a much more pleasant distraction lately though as my best friend gave birth to a future bookaholic on Friday night – Chloe Isabella McKay! Already decked out, curtesy of Auntie Jan, in the coolest baby clothes on the planet such as her Big Bang Theory Bazinga baby grow or her Future Bookworm t-shirt, she is definitely a keeper and I can’t wait to introduce her to the wonderful word of books that await her!


Confessions of a Book Ninja Update!

I had hoped by now to have written a triumphant return blog post with some sort of uber imaginative post title like – ‘I’m baaaaack!’. Unfortunately there’s still a lot going on here in Book Ninja land which is interfering with my blogging time and motivation. Chief among these is the seemingly never-ending dental issues that have been dragging on for 7 weeks now and are having a major impact in terms of both pain and frustration. Anyone can have a simple, easy to understand and treat dental issue but I’m not just anyone. I like to be different and have dental problems that, in their own words, ‘stump’ the dentists! 😦 Keep your fingers crossed I get some answers and solutions very, very soon!

When I’m feeling particularly stressed like this my mind goes into MAJOR overdrive and it’s difficult for me to concentrate on anything too heavy, so my trusted, go-to coping mechanisms (other than friends and family obviously!) are light-hearted books, and my old, and beloved friends, my Gilmore Girls boxsets. It’s a delicate balance finding the right light-hearted book – too light and it won’t hold my interest or offer any sort of distraction at all. At the moment, I’m reading Austenland by Shannon Hale. A very short book, it tells the story of Jane, a young New Yorker with a Jane Austen obsession, particularly with the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice. When Jane’s distant relative dies, she leaves her a trip to an Austen experience where visitors get to dress up and live as they would’ve lived in Regency England.

Admittedly the character of Jane is slightly irritating at times and it’s definitely not the best book in this genre that I’ve ever read but I have to say it’s doing the job nicely at the moment. Whether we’re a Jane Austen fan or not (obviously I am) who among us bookaholics hasn’t fantasised about getting the opportunity to live, even for a while, in one of the worlds that we come across in our books? I certainly don’t have the same level of obsession when it comes to dreaming of literary worlds that Jane has but I have to admit that I can relate and it has been a very pleasant distraction getting to live vicariously through her Austen experience. 🙂 I missed the movie when it was out here in Scotland due to a limited release but it’s definitely one I’ll be checking out when the dvd is available here next month.

As for the Gilmore Girls, that show has seen me (and my mum) through some tough times for years. When I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown during my university exams years ago what got me through? The Gilmore Girls! When my mum was ill and recovering from an operation, what got her through? The Gilmore Girls! For those of you who are unfamiliar with this lovely, lovely show, it’s set in a small-town in Connecticut and shows the ups and downs of life for Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter, Rory, who she had when she was 16. The show is just the right balance between light-hearted and drama, the cast of characters including the Gilmore Girls themselves, are just the right amount of quirky and eccentric without being annoying, and no matter how stressed I am, it always manages to get me back from the edge. If I could find a way to live in Stars Hollow and be BFFs with Lorelai, played of course, by the fabulous Lauren Graham, I would! If you haven’t seen this show, particularly if you’re going through a tough time, you HAVE to go get a copy immediately! It’s one of the best forms of stress relief I’ve ever come across and both me, and my mum, will be eternally grateful for it.

I really, really hope that I’ll get some dental answers and feel better soon so that I can get back to top blogging form, and engaging more with all you lovely people. Just hang in there a wee bit longer and I promise I’ll be back soon!


How about you? What are your go-to stress relief/feel better distractions?

Any light-hearted book recommendations for me?