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.

Top Ten Tuesday | Fictional Worlds I’d Like To Live In

I couldn’t think of ten book worlds that I’d actually like to live in. There’s a few I’d maybe like to go on holiday to…

I stretched the definition a little to cover all fictional worlds.

Hogwarts – Harry Potter

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Because OBVIOUSLY.

Edil-Amarandh – the Pellinor series

the singing

I mean, things weren’t always great in Edil-Amarandh but I’d LOVE to be a Bard.

Scotland – Outlander

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TECHNICALLY I’m cheating here because 18th century Scotland isn’t fictional. I’m also not entirely sure women were particularly well treated in Scotland during the clan era, although Claire never seems to complain. Regardless, even as someone who grew up in Scotland and spent time in the Highlands, I usually want to fling myself into the TV while I’m watching it.

Yorkshire – Downton Abbey

I am heavy obsessed with Downton Abbey. I have this probably romanticised view of working and living in a big posh Edwardian house that’s almost certainly because of this show. I might as well have been in this world to be honest, when the series ended I cried like I’d lost all my friends.

Kanto – Pokemon

Find me someone who grew up with Gen One Pokemon who doesn’t wish that they were real. Especially after Pokemon Go.

New York – The Great Gatsby

gggg

Also technically not a fictional world, but I can totally see myself in 1920s America drinking champagne in a swimming pool listening to jazz.

I’m not sure I can picture myself as a flapper though. Maybe if I could get away with it in jeans and Vans…

On The Road

on the road

Listening to jazz music and speaking in poetry and driving across the states with my friends sounds like an absolute dream. If I could go back ten years and get rid of my anxiety I’d drop everything and go.

Destiny

tower

Let’s face it, the world of Destiny actually sucks. Humanity is confined to one city and they’re always under the threat of attack from various space age beasties. I’d really just like to be a Guardian and be immortal, with a gun that shoots light bullets and the ability to throw fire from my hands.

The Famous Five

famous five

If you read these books as a kid and you didn’t dream of running away to a deserted island with a dog and a picnic, you have more restraint than I do. As a kid who spent a lot of the time feeling lonely, all I wanted to do was go on adventures on my bike with my friends in this wild and rolling countryside.

Skyrim

I love dragons. Everyone knows I love dragons. I’d probably end up eaten by a dragon but I want to live in a house made of stone in Whiterun and worship Talos don’t @ me.

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Who’s coming with me? Where would you go? SPEAK WITH ME.

Book Spotlight | I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman

For Angel Rahimi, life is only about one thing: The Ark – a pop-rock trio of teenage boys who are currently taking the world by storm. Being part of The Ark’s fandom has given her everything – her friendships, her dreams, her place in the world.

Jimmy Kaga-Ricci owes everything to The Ark too. He’s their frontman – and playing in a band is all he’s ever dreamed of doing. It’s just a shame that recently everything in his life seems to have turned into a bit of a nightmare.

Because that’s the problem with dreaming – eventually, inevitably, real life arrives with a wake-up call. And when Angel and Jimmy are unexpectedly thrust together, they will discover just how strange and surprising facing up to reality can be.

iwbft

I love Alice Oseman. Radio Silence and Solitaire are both books I wish I’d had when I was in high school. Instead of trying to look at them from the perspective of the current young adult audience, these books resonate with Younger Me in a big way, and it’s both heartbreaking and pretty therapeutic.

I Was Born For This is both completely different and exactly the same.

It’s the story of how pervasive and consuming pouring your heart and soul into something can be. A band, a TV show, a book…it’s an authentic look at how how important, and how destructive these things can be when they become everything. It’s also a testament to the friends and communities that build up around things can be to someone who’s lonely or struggling. It can save lives.

So why only four stars?

This didn’t resonate with me in the same way the previous two did, which is not a fault of the book. Most of my fandom adventures were solitary, borne of loneliness in school and mental illness, and I didn’t have anywhere near the experiences of Angel and Juliet. If I’d been more heavily involved? Hell yeah, I can see another version of me in this book.

Overall, not my favourite Alice Oseman book because it didn’t hit my buttons in the specific video-game-puzzle-solving order like the previous two, but still a gr8 book. Alice Oseman is one of the very best YA authors around, and I have absolutely no doubt that pretty much everyone who’s ever used the internet will see themselves in the pages.

Rating: ****

Top Ten Tuesday | Favourite Book Quotes

I’ve been out of the Top Ten Tuesday habit recently. Two and a half snow days last week has thrown my sense of time completely, so I’m currently hashing out a post on my lunch break. I only have six, because that’s all I have time for. Fight me.

…the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!” – On The Road (Jack Kerouac)

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. – The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)

Sleep tight, ya morons! – The Catcher in the Rye (JD Salinger)

  • I was about as miserable at school as Holden Caulfield was, so I scrawled this on the back of my shirt in Sharpie on my last day. I thought I was so cool.

When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time. You’d be shocked at how many adults are really dead inside—walking through their days with no idea who they are, just waiting for a heart attack or cancer or a Mack truck to come along and finish the job. It’s the saddest thing I know. – Speak (Laurie Halse Anderson)

They were a gloomy suite of rooms, in a lowering pile of building up a yard, where it had so little business to be, that one could scarcely help fancying it must have run there when it was a young house, playing at hide-and-seek with other houses, and forgotten the way out again. – A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens)

  • This description of Scrooge’s house tickled me to death when I read the book over Christmas. I was never a big fan of the classics but some of Dickens’ lines in this were glorious.

Can I help you?” said the footman. Richard had been told to fuck off and die with more warmth and good humour. Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman)

  •  I LOVE THIS LINE. I love Neil Gaiman.

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So that was a rather hasty TTT effort. What epic quotes have I missed? How’s your Tuesday going? Will I get my finger out over the weekend and learn what day it is? Why is it so cold? Talk to me!

 

Sunshine Blogger Award!

Hooray! I was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by Malanie @ Malanie Loves Fiction. Thanks Malanie! (And sorry it’s taken me approx. 78 years to do this, I’ve been dying on the couch.)

sba

Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or on your blog.

Malanie’s Questions

Name the first book that comes to mind GO

Solitaire by Alice Oseman. It’s the first one in my eye level when I look up!

What’s your favorite TV show of all time?

Doctor Who. It jumped the shark in a BIG way when Stephen Moffat took over but let’s talk about series one through four for a second. Or all day. Whichever you prefer.

Who is your favorite author?

JK Rowling, Laurie Halse Anderson, Alison Croggon.

Do you read ARCs? Favorite ARC you’ve ever received?

I don’t, but I’ve signed up to Netgalley – and then promptly fell ill, so now that I feel like a human again I’m going to actually look into it.

3 book characters who are most like you

Uhhhhhh

  • Hermione Granger – likes learning stuff, spends a lot of her time exasperated with her friends, has a cat.
  • Mia in the Princess Diaries series, because she was the most relatable character I’ve ever found for high school me.
  • Steffi in A Quiet Kind of Thunder, because while I wasn’t COMPLETELY mute in school, I certainly didn’t talk an awful lot until I got to probably my final year. Anxiety, yo.

Favorite animal?

Giraffes. They’re tall and goofy looking. Relatable.

Favorite book character?

Probably Cadvan from the Pellinor series.

Which book do you wish you could forget so you could reread it for the first time again?

The Gift by Alison Croggon. Honestly by this point I’ve likely hyped it up so much that anyone else picking these books up will be like “what is this girl on”.

Favorite book as a child?

I grew up with Harry Potter. The first book came out when I was seven, so I can barely remember what my favourite was before Harry!

Book you wish would be turned into a movie or TV show

The Pellinor series by Alison Croggon…but I know that I have such high expectations that it would have to be almost unrealistically good.

Book you’re really really looking forward to in 2018

Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, On The Come Up by Angie Thomas.

My questions:

  1. What’s the best present you’ve ever received?
  2. What song are you listening to right now? (Or what was the last song you listened to?)
  3. What’s your favourite quote from a book ever?
  4. What’s the furthest you’ve ever travelled? (And what was it like!)
  5. Favourite pizza topping?
  6. What top three things do you look for in a book?
  7. What’s the first book you can ever remember reading? (Or having read to you!)
  8. What are you looking forward to most in 2018?
  9. Is there a book out just now that you haven’t read but are DYING to?
  10. If you could meet any author, dead or alive, who would it be?
  11. What made you decide to start blogging?

I nominate:

Kristina @ Books and Dachshunds

Luna @ Bookish Luna

Taylor & Missy @ Frayed Books

Charlotte @ Charlotte Somewhere

Heidi @ This Is My Bookshelf

Golden Books Girl

Amy @ Tomes with Tea

Sarah @ Sarah Withers Blogs

Lauren @ Northern Plunder

Nadia @ Headscarves and Hardbacks

Liz @ Travel in Retrospect

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Have Been On My TBR the Longest and I Still Haven’t Read

I feel like I’ve mentioned most of these before, which gives you some idea of how miserably extensive my TBR list is. Maybe I’ll get so sick of myself that I’ll do something about it. Advance!

Wing Jones – Katherine Webb

wing jones

The fact that I’m putting this on a TBR list AGAIN brings me skin-crawling shame. I’ve had this since the Edinburgh Book Festival last year and its sprayed edges keep looking at me from the cabinet in the living room. Once I’ve read The Fandom, Wing Jones. I promise.

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

six of crows

Bought Six of Crows before going to Florida last year, got about five pages in on the red eye flight home and fell asleep after a gin and a dose of Kalms. I will read it again without any of these factors in the mix and hopefully stay conscious.

The Sun is Also a Star – Nicola Yoon

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This is one of my two longest-standing TBR books. I picked this up with Orangeboy and The Hate U Give, read THUG and then never quite got round to starting the other two. Oops.

Orangeboy – Patrice Lawrence

orangeboy

See above.

Les Miserables – Victor Hugo AND The Complete Fiction of HP Lovecraft

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Look at the cover of that Lovecraft anthology. Every time I pick it up to read it I end up staring at it instead.

Sean bought me that glorious hardback edition of Les Mis for a birthday present after he saw me eyeing it up. This means it looks really pretty in the bookcase, where it’s been sitting ever since. Multiple people have told me it’s even more of an experience than the musical, so I really have no excuse.

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

wuthering heights

I always felt like a horrible English student because I couldn’t stand the “classics”. I found them chronically dry, far too wordy and very difficult to read. In my old age (ha) I’m finding that I too am chronically dry, far too wordy and very difficult to read, and therefore I’m more inclined to give them another go.

Doctor Sax – Jack Kerouac

doctor sax

I don’t even remember buying this, but I loved On The Road (see last week’s TTT) so I’m assuming that was my motivation. Kerouac is one of my favourite writers, so I know this is going to be good…I just wish I didn’t keep forgetting I actually own it.

Tender Is The Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald

tender is the night

Similarly, I’m fairly sure I bought this because I loved The Great Gatsby, but have not read.

I must stop doing this.

 

Am I Normal Yet? – Holly Bourne

am i normal yet

I’ve never read any Holly Bourne books. Grab your pitchforks. Then chase me into a shop and force me to buy it without being distracted by notebooks and shiny covers. Thanks!

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Is there a support group for people like me? Cause I think I need one.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn’t Get To

So this is a bit of a cop out for me. Mainly because my previous Top Ten Tuesday of “Books I’m Planning on Reading Over Winter” sees me knock about…three off the list, namely A Christmas Carol, Blackbird and A Shiver of Snow and Sky.

At the risk of repeating myself, I suggest you go back and read that post. However, to make up numbers, I’ve got another three books that have been glaring at me for months until I want to die from the shame.

Wing Jones – Katherine Webber

wing jones

I’ve got a signed copy of Wing Jones that I picked up at the Edinburgh International Book festival this year, because a) I’ve heard literally NOTHING but good things about it, and b) I love signed books and sprayed edges. It’s been “next on my TBR” for so long and I always end up with something else that I want to blog about or want to read for a Twitter chat, but not this year because this year I am actually GOING TO READ IT.

Orangeboy – Patrice Lawrence

orangeboy

I’ve heard SO many good things about Orangeboy. And Patrice Lawrence in general, actually. This one is a book I picked up as part of a mad spree and it’s been sitting in my bookcase for a shamefully long time. I’m going to read it, and them I’m going to buy and read Indigo Donut too.

Babylon Berlin – Volker Kutscher

BABYLON BERLIN AW.indd

I’d never heard of Babylon Berlin until not too long ago. Apparently it’s a major TV series, which shows how on the pulse my finger is. Or isn’t. I’ll hold my hands up and say I wanted to read this for AGES before I even found out what it was about purely because it’s got a really cool title. I’m a marketing team’s dream.

Fortunately it only got cooler when I read the synopsys. Plus the English language version has been released by a Scottish publisher, Sandstone Press all the way up in Dingwall! Marvellous.

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Thus begins my TBR list for 2018. What else should be on it? Hit me!

Book review | A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke

asosas

On the frozen island of Skane, the sky speaks. Beautiful lights appear on clear nights, and their colours have meaning: Green means all is well, and the Goddess is happy. Blue means a snow storm is on the way.

And then there’s red. Red is rare. A warning.

Seventeen years ago, the sky turned red just as Ósa was born, unleashing a plague that claimed the lives of hundreds of villagers, including her own mother. This time, when the night sky once again bleeds crimson, she must discover how to stop the onslaught before so many lives are lost again.

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Buying books based on the cover can be a hit and miss approach. I’ve read some turgid books because they look pretty. Fortunately, A Shiver of Snow and Sky is both stunning AND excellent.

There’s fantasy, there’s magic, there’s heart. Beautiful book, beautiful words. Lisa Lueddecke dumps you headfirst into a crisis and it doesn’t really let up until the end.

The heroine, Ósa, will break your heart and have you punching the air in the same breath. The world is so deliciously chilly and evocative that you can imagine every burn of he snow and boat on the water. The switch between the points of view in the narrative is awesome because it lines up the contrast between Ósa’s surreal journey and the much more grim events in the villages. My only negative takeaway was that I thought the ending was a little abrupt, which was disappointing, but it was a very minor blip in what was a brilliant debut.

There’s still time to pick one up as a gift for a reader you know – it’s the perfect book for a chilly holiday night. It reminded me in a lot of ways of Skyrim, so if you know anyone who’s ever had their life consumed by The Elder Scrolls, why not send them a copy of this for the holidays?

Serving suggestion: Christmas tree lights, hot chocolate and Baileys, gentle snowfall.

asosas pic

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Want My Future Children to Read

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, and this week it’s books to hand down to your future kids! Or someone else’s kids, if they’re not really your bag.

Fortunately, I learned to read at some stupidly early age (my parents found out when I innocently asked who Colin Montgomery was after seeing his name in the paper my dad was reading) so I have no shortage of material from my formative years to choose from.

With a little help from my mother, here’s ten books that I’ll be forcing into the grubby little hands of any future kids I have.

Dogger

dogger

Yes, this is a real book, and yes I did produce it and triumphantly yell “DOGGER!” in the middle of Waterstones once to prove it to my mum.

We can forgive the name, given that it was released in 1977. (Believe me, I googled VERY carefully to find the date.) It’s a beloved classic, a boy with his favourite toy dog and what happens when it goes missing at the funfair. Reach the end without crying. I dare you.

Harry Potter

harry potter

I mean, come on. Do I even need to elaborate on this one? Harry’s consumed my life since I was in single digit numbers and my future children will be force fed the books once they’re old enough to understand. If they’re not looking for their Hogwarts letter at some point I will have failed as a parent.

The Famous Five

famous five

Another classic. I can’t think of an Enid Blyton book I DIDN’T love to be fair, but the Famous Five were always my favourite. Who didn’t want to go on an adventure with all your friends, a remarkably intelligent big dog and lashings of ginger beer? With a combined age of less than fifty they seemed to be more competent than every single police force in the series.

That Book About The Jumper

I can’t for the life of me remember what this book was actually called, but one of my earliest memories is getting a bus to the library in Inverkeithing and insisting that my mum check me out this book about a favourite jumper. Remember it Ma? I had a real vested obsession. (No pun intended.)

Old Bear Stories

old bear

Find me a more perfect childrens’ series. Spoiler alert: you can’t. I can’t formulate the words to describe how nice these books are. Even as an adult all I have to do is think about Little Bear’s Trousers or hum the theme tune and I regress into a fugue state.

In fact, I think I might go out and buy the whole lot and never leave the house ever again.

The Gruffalo

the gruffalo

This one’s a little past my time for picture books, but having a mother who worked in early years education meant that I have had the praises and relative merits of pretty much everything Julia Donaldson has ever written. There’s something charming about the Gruffalo, warts and claws and all.

Plus we – as in my entire, adult family – always end up watching The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child on TV every Christmas morning.

If Only They Could Talk

if only they could talk

When I was little I wanted to be a vet, before I realised my ineptitude in maths and science might be a hindrance. It did lead me to James Herriot, and his stories of veterinary practise in the Yorkshire Dales. Fun for the whole family.

I have vivid memories of lying on the sofa ill as a child with books piled around me, reading about prolapsed uteri, obese Pekingese dogs and the best way to treat mastitis.

The Polka Dot Horse

polka dot horse

This was – ironically, given the plot of the book – a forgotten favourite from when I was REALLY small. I haven’t read it for years, but I can still remember the pictures of the lonely little wooden polka dot horse rolling down the street in the dark.

Fortunately, it has a happy ending, but if this doesn’t make you want to weep, I fear you.

Wild at Heart series

wild at heart

OK so I LOVED these books as a child (see above re: veterinary dreams) and absorbed pretty much the whole series when they were sent to me from the US by my auntie Fee. I didn’t find out until years afterwards that they were written by Laurie Halse Anderson, who in my later years became my YA lit hero and the author of some of my favourite books. Now I love them even more.

Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness

I’ve always been a huge nerd and I loved these non-fiction books. Probably the reason my general knowledge is as broad as it is. In particular, anything involving animals and space. Or animals IN space.

And a special bonus shout-out to…

Every single electrical appliance my parents bought in my childhood. I had a bizarre proclivity for reading instruction manuals, which meant that as a youngster my understanding of how to work the TV, VCR, kettle, washing machine and hi – fi was sounder than that of my parents. It also meant that I was remarkably easy to entertain – just stick me in the middle of the room with a file full of instruction books and I was happy for hours.

Then I’d fix the clock on the oven.

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Share your favourite childhood books with me! Or if you know the jumper book I’m talking about, y’know. For nostalgia’s sake…