Book Talk | My First Ever Unhaul!

I’ve never done a book unhaul before. If you could see the bookcases in my parents’ house this would be immediately obvious.

Unfortunately as we have a ton of Magic: the Gathering and gaming stuff I don’t have the option to line the walls in my own house with bookcases. Most of these books aren’t ones I hated, just ones that I feel I can bear to part with, and that will be better off in a school library rather than languishing on my spare room.

Most of them.

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The Truth and Lies of Ella Black

truth and lies

I hated this fucking book. I hate DNFing but oh boy did I come close. I know that it’s probably not aimed at my cynical 26 year old ass (and that’s the only reason I’m donating it instead of binning it) but 16 year old me would have hated it as well.

The Square Root of Summer

square root of summer

This book was…fine. It was just fine. I haven’t got room in my house for Just Fine, I’m afraid, and thus it’s off to be consumed somewhere else.

The Fandom

the fandom

This was one of the most highly anticipated books of last year, but because of this it ended up not lighting my fire at all. But I know how much fandoms can save lives and carry afloat the miserable, so this is going to reach someone at exactly the right time.

The Sun Is Also A Star

Yoon_9780553496680_jkt_all_r1.indd

Really enjoyed this, but if I’m going to be harsh with myself I’m probably not going to read it again. Sorry Natasha and Daniel. You live in New York though, so someone is going to love you they way you deserve.

The Art of Being Normal

art of being normal

This is absolutely not a bad book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. But as a book with some sensitive and important trans representation, I feel like it’s better off in a school library than sitting on my bookshelf.

Far From The Tree

tree

I liked this, but it ticked so many boxes that I feel like it is could tick those boxes for someone else. It’s wonderfully and sensitively written, and deserves a wider audience.

Blackbird

blackbird

This disappointed me. I think my crime-y tastes are too strong for YA. It’s not a bad book in itself though, so I’m sure someone else will enjoy it.

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Someone please tell me how to get rid of the crippling guilt that comes with taking books OUT of my house instead of the other way round.

The eight worst things about being gluten free

Let’s get straight. I hate describing myself as “gluten free”. It makes it sounds like a lifestyle choice I’ve willingly made, rather than a means to avoid playing body fluid roulette with every meal.

It’s true, I feel much better now that I’ve cut it out, but boy is it miserable. Here are the eight absolute worst things about having to avoid gluten in everyday life.

Bread SUCKS

Bread REALLY SUCKS. It tastes weird and has the structural integrity of the Brexit negotiations. I’d probably kill a man for a decent crusty loaf.

breadHello darkness my old friend.

It’s hella expensive

Like I get it’s dearer to make it and the demand for it is lower, but I still hiss pantomime-style when I pick anything up.

You get to play “hipster or death?” with people when you order food

I’ve seen The Look. The one people give you when they’re trying to work out if you have an allergy or if you’re just pretentious. Particularly if it’s somewhere that doesn’t have a dedicated menu and it becomes a team effort to work out what’s edible.

I’ve find myself frequently dropping hints that I’m intolerant during these times, which is daft because it shouldn’t make a difference, but my embarrassment is strong.

There’s gluten in more stuff than you think

I thought okay, bread, pasta, pizza, cakes. Miserable, but seems easy enough. Then I accidentally ate a stir fry sauce with “barley malt extract” in it and sat on the couch feeling like death.

barleySATAN

Turns out it pops up in the most unexpected places. “Malt vinegar” seems obvious in hindsight, I suppose. Maltesers were unexpected. McCains oven chips? COME ON.

Office snack days get a lot less fun

At my old job, birthdays meant bringing a cake in. Leftover sandwiches from a board meeting meant two lunches. Unfortunately food in the office is now a spectator sport for me.

cakeNOT ANY MORE.

You better hope you don’t get hungry when you’re out

If you’re on the way somewhere and you want something to eat on the train you better make sure you have time to search so you don’t end up with a miserable Pret salad.

Feeling like a diva

I dunno if people who are vegetarian or allergic to peanuts ever feel like this but when I’m round at someone else’s house I cringe myself inside out when the topic of food comes up. I will sustain myself on coffee and fruit, PLEASE don’t offer to make me something.

Accidental torture from your nearest and dearest

The number of times I’ve been offered a slice of pizza or a bit of cake by one of my friends only to watch their faces collapse halfway through when they realise what they’re doing to me…I forgive you all, but you’re killing me.

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Please send recommendations for good bread, restaurants in central Scotland and possibly a cure. TA.

 

Book Spotlight | Knots & Crosses by Ian Rankin

knots and crosses

Detective John Rebus: His city is being terrorised by a baffling series of murders…and he’s tied to a maniac by an invisible knot of blood. Once John Rebus served in Britain’s elite SAS. Now he’s an Edinburgh cop who hides from his memories, misses promotions and ignores a series of crank letters. But as the ghoulish killings mount and the tabloid headlines scream, Rebus cannot stop the feverish shrieks from within his own mind. Because he isn’t just one cop trying to catch a killer, he’s the man who’s got all the pieces to the puzzle… 

As someone who’s spent most of her life living in Fife, I’m ashamed that it’s taken me so long to read an Ian Rankin book. In my defence, I’d have done it sooner if I wasn’t a stickler for chronological order and the first book wasn’t the only one that my parents didn’t have in their house.

Never mind. Better late than never, and I LOVED IT.

I loved Rebus. He’s a cynical, divorced Detective Sergeant who drinks and smokes and is generally pretty sardonic. Should be so far, so cliche, but Ian Rankin’s writing of him makes him an absolute revelation.

I loved Rebus’ Edinburgh. It’s not the tourist’s Edinburgh, with the castle and the Mile and the Old Town. It’s Lothian Road and the seedy bars you only go into if you’re local, and the difference between the upper crust and the grotty bits.

I loved the story, which was intense and dark and full of unsavoury characters, but so clever and evocative that it was an absolute joy to read. Rankin’s writing style is gloriously dry and witty and Scottish I actually audibly snorted on the train.

See possibly my favourite line in any book ever:

“If you buzz down to him, I’ll come back up and kick that telephone so far up your arse that you really will be able to make internal calls. Do you get my drift?”

Magnificent stuff. I’ve not read a lot of crime fiction, but this has set the bar pretty high. You could have set it in any city and it would have been great, but the fact that it was set in Edinburgh, on streets that I see on my way to work every day, made it even more fun

Also Ian Rankin was only 25 years old when he wrote this. Man’s a genius. I am suitably intimidated.

Top Ten Tuesday | My Ten Favourite Words

ttt

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

I already sort of did a summer TBR post, so I went back into the archives and pulled a random topic. Here are ten of my favourite Scottish words.

Well, okay, there’s eight and one that isn’t a Scottish word.

Haar

A Scottish word I only recently learned when my mum pointed it out on the Forth. It refers, according to the Edinburgh Evening News, “specifically to the coastal fog which typically forms in Spring and Summer over eastern Scotland and England.” So there you go.

haar
Its haar, not fog. I mean, it is fog, but it’s haar. Ya ken?

Drumnadrochit

This is a place name rather than a word, but my god it’s fun to say, isn’t it?

How?

Not a Scottish word, you might say. Well, you’re right, but I’m not sure anywhere else has swapped it for the word “why” over time. It didn’t ever occur to me that we do this until it was pointed out by a few baffled non-Scots. It’s probably my favourite cute little quirk of language.

Crabbit

As a self-professed miserable cow, I use this one quite a lot. Incidentally, it was also one of the first colloquialisms we taught my friend Tackle before he came to visit. An excellent descriptor.

Shoogle

Roughly translates to “wobble” (“that chair’s a bit shoogly”) but can also mean to shake something. Giving someone a shoogle means to swing them around in a manner that may induce motion sickness.

Shan

In Edinburgh, “Barry” and “Shan” are used to mean “good” and “bad” respectively. I think shan is a brilliant word, which is just as well as since I started working in Morningside I’ve found myself picking it up from my colleagues. Definitely not shan.

Ken

I really want to know if anyone’s ever come away from a conversation with a Scottish person wondering who Ken is, and why he’s so popular. It means “know”. Ya ken?

Dreich

This is a good one to learn if you ever come to Scotland. It’s used to describe miserable weather, and as we have a fair few dreich days in all seasons,

And one that isn’t Scottish…

Bleach

This might be my favourite word and I have absolutely no justification for it. I just love the way it sounds.

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Gimme your favourite words in your local dialect. I love them.

Book Spotlight | Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

six of crows

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist.

Yes! Rejoice! I’ve finally read this book after buying it last October. I’m not going to lie, it took me a while to get into, but OH BOY was my initial disappointment blown away.

It’s an edge-of-your-seat story about a heist, about feuding and crime, but that’s not even the best bit. The more I found out about the six characters – criminals, a barbaric hunter, a privileged boy – the more my heart grew and broke at the same time.

 

It had love, it had drama, it had a world so dark and grubby and evocative that I wanted to have a bath at multiple points. The characters shine through it like diamonds.

Basically, I loved it. I’ll be buying the sequel for my holiday.

Oh and also, “I will have you without armour, Kaz Brekker, or I will not have you at all.” Hold me.

Rating: *****

The Mystery Blogger Award!

mystery blogger award

“This is an award for amazing bloggers with indigenous posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with so much love and passion.” – Okoto Enigma

I was nominated for this by Jemma @ Fantastic Books and Where To Find Them. She has a gr8 blog so go follow it nerds. Thanks Jemma! ❤

Rules

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog.
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
  • List the rules.
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  • Nominate 10 – 20 people.
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice, with one weird or funny question (specify).
  • Share a link to their best post(s).

Three Facts About Me

  1. I work for a company that manufactures and sells tartan fabrics and kilts.
  2. I have three scars – two from Typhoon Lagoon in Florida and one from the worst bout of sunburn I’ve ever had.
  3. Last week I held a baby for the first time ever and I was terrified. She cried. I don’t blame her.

Jemma’s Question

Which fictional world would you live in?

When I answered Kelly’s Fandom Frenzy prompt I said Hogwarts, but it’d be toss up between there and Pellinor, from Alison Croggon’s series.

If you were a fictional character and had an animal companion tell me about them, they can be a fictional creature too.

I know most people will expect me to say dragon, but I think I’d like a really clever dog. A big fluffy one. In reality I’d probably end up with a cat like my own actual cat: a bit of an idiot and totally unreliable.

What book do you wish you could read for the first time all over again?

PELLINOR.

What is your biggest bookish peeve?

Is movie tie-in covers a peeve? I think they’re U G L Y.

Where is your favourite place to be?

In my house. On the couch. With a G&T and my laptop.

I Nominate…

Malanie @ Malanie Loves Fiction
Kristina @ Books and Dachshunds
Life With All The Books
Laura @ Reading Sanctuary
Sara @ The Bibliophagist
Luna @ Bookish Luna
Asha @ A Cat, A Book and A Cup of Tea
Justine @ I Should Read That
Kate @ Reading Through Infinity
Hannah @ I Have Thoughts on Books

My questions for you

  1. Hardback or paperback?
  2. If you could have any book cover ever printed blown up into a poster for your wall, what would it be?
  3. How do you feel about sprayed edges?
  4. Do you dog ear your pages?
  5. Would you rather have a duck the size of a horse or ten horses the size of ducks?

PEACE.

My To-Buy list – pre-holiday

Last week I booked my summer holiday. Hooray! I’m off to Barcelona for a week at the end of this month. Sean’s brother lives there, so it’s amazing that it’s taken me so long to book a trip.

I’m very excited, but I’m going to need reading material. Partly for the beach, where I will drag Sean against his will, and partly to stave off my plane anxieties. Here is what I have so far.

The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock

mermaid mrs hancock

I know nothing about this book but I’ve seen enough people talking about it that I thoroughly want to read it.

Plus mermaids are cool.

The Cruel Prince – Holly Black

cruel prince

I really like Holly Black, but I haven’t read her books for years. Tithe, Ironside and Valiant were staples on my bookshelf when I was first getting into urban fantasy. The Cruel Prince sounds like my cue to get more involved.

Goodbye, Perfect – Sara Barnard

goodbye perfect

Slightly ashamed of myself for not owning this already, particularly as I loved the other two Sara Barnard books. This might be an airport pick-up…

Whatever the first Sarah J Maas book is

court ofIt’s probably not this one.

I have no idea how many of these there are but in my head its about 600. I’ve never heard people be so conflicted about an author’s, so even if I hate it I’m going to buy one and I’m going to read it. And then I’ll probably read more because I have FOMO.

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If you’ve read any of these and there’s one or two in particular that I MUST get, let me know. Particularly if it’ll distract me from my fear of meeting a fiery end in a Ryanair plane.

The Ten Album Tag

You might have seen the Facebook meme “Post the artwork of one of your favourite albums that you still listen to every day for ten days”. I was tagged by my buddy Derek, but as I’d inevitably forget to post something for ten days in a row, I’ll whack ’em all in one blog.

The Facebook post also says “No explanation required” but GUESS WHAT we’re not on Facebook.

Automatic For The People – R.E.M.

R.E.M._-_Automatic_for_the_People

I waxed lyrical about this album here. Still has the same effect on me as it did seventeen years ago.

Oregon – Broadway Calls

oregon

I discovered Broadway Calls when they were supporting Alkaline Trio in Glasgow. It’s the first time I’ve genuinely really enjoyed a support band. Their debut album is still one of my favourite pop-punk records ever.

The Sickness – Disturbed

220px-TheSickness

“Shout 2000” was playing on repeat when I got my first tattoo and it led me to the rest of the album. There’s not a bad track on it.

Take This To Your Grave – Fall Out Boy

Take_This_To_Your_Grave

Call me a purist, but I really don’t like Fall Out Boy’s new stuff. I’m a pre-hiatus person. TTTYG is the absolute pinnacle of Fall Out Boy for me. If you want my high school aesthetic on one album, this is it. I love it.

Good Mourning – Alkaline Trio

220px-Alkaline_Trio_-_Good_Mourning_cover

One of the soundtracks of my high school life. It’s dark and creepy and sinister and somehow really sweet in parts. Lyrically glorious.

 

Nevermind – Nirvana

NirvanaNevermindalbumcover

I was a classic disaffected, miserable teenager, and I discovered Nirvana at pretty much the right time. First Teen Spirit, then “Come As You Are”, but my favourite was and still is “Breed”.

Peter Bradley Adams

51e4uZ431oL._SX355_

I stumbled across Peter Bradley Adams on one of my first forays into World of Warcraft. It was autumn, the sun was going down, and I was sitting in my bedroom listening to Leavetaking. You know how some songs slam you back into the moment? “I’ll Forget You”, running around a cornfield saving things.

After the Party – The Menzingers

220px-After_the_Party_Menzingers

The Menzingers are one of the best bands around at the moment, and this is a genuinely flawless album. It covers the awkward period around turning thirty, when you’re not young or old and feel lost, and includes “Lookers” –  probably my most listened to song on Spotify.

Heartland – Runrig

Runrig_-_Heartland

I found this on vinyl in my house and it had an effect on me that very few albums ever had. Listening to “The Wire” on a cold, midwinter evening made all of my hair stand on end. Plus “Cnoc Na Feille” is THE creepiest song ever written. I accept no substitute.

Stunt – Barenaked Ladies

stunt

My mum really started my love for Barenaked Ladies. Stunt is my favourite of their albums – it starts with the classic “One Week” and includes my favourite track, “Light Up My Room”. Everything in between is sweet and irreverent and pretty good fun.

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There you go Derek! If anyone else wants to do this, consider yourself tagged.