Thursday, July 31, 2014

Throwback Thursday Nails With Essence and Max Factor Fantasy Fire

Purple Cherry by Essence was probably one of the first Essence polishes I got. It’s not even part of their Color & Go polishes, it’s a Multi Dimension XXL Shine range! It’s a deep purple, one that I don’t often dig out but when I’m do I’m always happy with it. I thought it would be perfect as the base coat to Max Factor Fantasy Fire (often known as a ‘Unicorn Pee’ shade!).


A not so great picture of Purple Cherry




With flash


I’ve taken these at various angles and lights to try get idea of what it’s like in person. It adds a gorgeous shimmer on top that changes colours and adds a beautiful warmth to the base coat. It’s well worth having a few polishes like Fantasy Fire that you can add on top of other polishes, Indian Ocean by Model’s Own is another great one like that.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

White Rabbit by K.A. Laity Book Review

white rabbit

It was the cover that first drew me to this book! It’s just so simple but beautiful, Art Deco like. The next thing that intrigued me was the fact it was about a detective and after having just finished The Silkworm and Mr. Mercedes, I was in the mood for another detective based novel. Though it certainly didn’t sound like the average detective novel! James Draygo is a disgraced, ex-detective with a drug habit, who has taken over his aunt’s psychic business and is pretending to be a fake psychic, despite the fact he has real psychic abilities! When Peaches, trophy wife of her soon to be ex-husband, comes to Draygo for help on digging dirt up on her husband, she is shot dead in front of Draygo and he is left holding the gun. He discovers his bail has been covered by journal Saunders, who he reluctantly gets stuck helping with her inquiries into the White Rabbit and The Warren,a long with Draygo’s mute assistant Jinx.

I really liked this book. It has a twist on a detective story, with the slight supernatural elements to it. You might think that a mash of detectives and ghosts don’t work but it does! Peaches is a fun character, both in person and as a ghost. Draygo is a flawed protagonist, he’s more of an anti-hero really. Retired (and a big mark on his career that we find out about), he has a big reliance on all sorts of drugs, including alcohol, oxycontin and ‘Fairy Dust’. You’re left wondering throughout the book whether this whole investigation will completely ruin him and cause him to have a breakdown or if he’ll finally get his act together. He is very witty and I liked the banter between himself and Saunders. Jinx was another favourite of mine, despite the fact he never speaks! The book is short, less than 200 hundred pages, but it’s snappy and to the point, it doesn’t need extra pages. It held my attention and I loved going back to read it, found myself looking forward to it picking it back up again. However, even though it was a short book, there’s no chapters or breaks along the way, which I’m not a fan of as I generally like to stop after ending a chapter. That was the only real downside for me.

If you like both fantasy novels and mystery novels, you should give it a go, you might be pleasantly surprised. A witty, fun quick read!

This book was received from NetGalley, which I am under no obligation to review unless I want to!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Neon Splatter Nails

I did these a while back but kept forgetting I had them on my camera! I wanted to try the straw nail splatter technique that I kept seeing on Pinterest so I grabbed a bunch of straws and got going!




I started with a base coat of Barry M Hi-Shine Gelly in Coconut. I then dipped the straw in one colour, held it over the nail and blew into it. There will be some trial and error when doing this. Sometimes nothing happens, sometimes you get a nice sparse splatter (the ideal) and sometimes you get a massive blob splatter. When I wanted to change colour, I just snipped the end off the straw so I’d have a clean starting point and continued on! While I do like the look above, I think if I was to do it again I’d do it with 2 colours, try and keep it not so blobby so that the white is showing more. But it is a fun look if you want something bright and crazy!

Colours Used

-Barry M Hi-Shine Gelly in Coconut

-Maybelline Bleached Neons in Coral Heat

-Sinful Colors in Pink

-La Femme in Neon Yellow

I know there was more, like the green and orangey shades but I can’t remember what I used or what I mixed with them (as they weren’t proper bright neon shades). I know I ended up using Nails Inc in Fenchurch Street at some stage!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Purple hair with Essence Rock Style Hair Dye Powder

2 years ago I tried to dye the bottom of my hair purple with not so great results. Even though I bleached my hair first, the purple just wasn’t noticeable. So much so that I spent an entire weekend away in London with a friend, for her to only notice when we exited the airport when we had returned home! Later that year I tried pink and it turned out well but I still wanted to have purple hair.

Enter Essence Rock Style Hair Dye Powder! I was lucky enough to receive the purple one (Pretty Purple!) at the Manchester Launch and couldn’t wait to try it. So on my last day before starting my new job, I decided to give it a shot as I was going to wash it out at the end of the day. Here’s the results.


purple hair

The first picture really highlights how my hair does not like purple! But I just couldn’t get the picture right, I even took it outside and it just wouldn’t play nice for me! The second picture does give a better idea of how it looked though.

To use the product, you take small sections of your hair, place the strand on top of the powder where you want it to start, placing your thumb there to hold it in place and then pull the hair down long the stand until you reach the bottom. You might need to repeat that again to get the colour payout you want. Then just repeat the process on however many more strands of hair you want to colour. When finished, spritz your hair with hair spray to seal in the colour. Beware though, there is a lot of fall out with this product, so I recommend doing it over the sink, wearing an old t-shirt and even gloves if you wish (though it do wash out pretty well). It can be a bit fiddly, it did make me wonder if it was in a stick form if it would work better or not. Also if your hair is long and you want to do all of the bottom like I did, one of these powders should do, it does get uses up fast if you’re not just adding a streak or two! My powder is over half way gone but the price isn’t too expensive so I don’t mind. Next time I will be reaching for the green powder!

You may also notice in first picture I have purple lashes. That’s another Essence product that I will be covering in another post along with 2 other coloured mascaras.

The Rock Style Hair Dye Powder comes in 4 colours, purple, pink, blue and mint. Do you think you’d give it a go?

Monday, July 21, 2014

BookTubeAThon 2014 Results

I almost didn’t want to post this but decided that since I gave it a post before I started (read here) then I needed to do a wrap up post too. In case you haven’t guessed, I really didn’t do well! I didn’t manage to complete all 7 challenges. I’m not sure I’ve even completed one! Unlike last year, I didn’t keep track of what and how much I read each day, work pretty much took it out of me, especially working extra hours. I was usually way too tired to read after work, though I did try to read some during breaks. Let’s see how I got on.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

I got the first book from the library and read it that afternoon. The second book should have been on the shelves there but wasn’t so I ordered it online. Unfortunately it still hasn’t arrived, I checked each day and when I saw it didn’t come in Saturday, I ultimately just gave up on BookTubeAThon! If I had gotten the book I definitely would have pushed to complete everything. I will still read the second book as I loved it and found it so interesting.

The Antiques Magpie by Marc Allum

I got 48% through this. I read it mainly during breaks at work, it’s full of interesting titbits so it’s perfect for picking up for 15 minutes or so here and there. I will hopefully finish this this week.

The Hive by Gill Hornby (audiobook)

I listened to this to and from work, it was the perfect way to bump up my book numbers and be productive during times I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise read.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Didn’t get a chance to start this! I really need a kick up the bum when it comes to reading this. Hopefully I’ll get it read in August.


That’s it. Only one challenge fully completed, the read a book with pictures one! Shockingly bad compared to last year but then again last year I wasn’t working and spent a lot of my time reading! I’m still glad I did this, I really liked talking to friends about it and setting myself challenges. I’ll do it again next year and hopefully I’ll be better at juggling a job and reading and won’t be so bloody tired all the time! To be fair, I was up at 5am for my 6am starts!

Sharon, Roisin and Chloe all did the BookTubeAThon and I’ve been so busy that I don’t even know how they all did! (except Sharon who did complete it, with 3 children to be minding too!). Looking forward to seeing how they got on.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

TBT Nails with China Glaze Fast Track

This was the one colour that really stood out to me in the Capitol Colors Collection China Glaze did for the first Hunger Games movie. Though to be honest, I loved almost all of them! I tried to get my hands on a dupe from Essence (name escapes me now!) but it was sold out everywhere. Eventually though a friend of mine in America said she had this and sent it on to me. I think it’s so pretty! I think it’s a great colour to wear if you want to wear a nude with a bit of a twist.



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Think Like a Freak by Stephen D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner Book Review

think like a freak

Now I’ve been a fan of the Freakonomics books for a long time. I originally picked up the first book when I was in the airport, trying to find a 3rd book for the ‘3 for the price of 2’ deal going on. It intrigued me, for what reason I can not remember but I am so glad I picked it up! I found it fascinating, especially the chapter on baby naming. I loved the sequel Super Freakonomics (especially the name!) so when I heard there was going to be a third book, I was really looking forward it it (I featured it in my Books I’m Looking Forward To in 2014 post) and was lucky enough to get approved on NetGalley to read it.

This book is different to the others. It’s more about thinking, how to put a different angle on things to your advantage and stories that back the point up. It reminded me in that sense of David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell (I bet these authors are compared to each other all the time!). I liked the the chapter on the 3 hardest words to say in the English language. No, not ‘I love you’ but ‘I don’t know’. There is often a fear of saying ‘I don’t know’, that you’ll look stupid or that your boss will think you’re not fit for your job. We’re often encouraged to be able to bluff our way into an answering things we don’t know, which can often have detrimental effects. You’ll find out who’s easier to fool when it comes to magic tricks: children or adults? As well as the up side to quitting, why Nigerian scams are so badly written, why Van Halen requested no brown M&Ms in their rider and why hotdogs are used on the cover!

While I definitely enjoyed this book, I didn’t find myself captivated like the first 2 books. Possibly because the economic side of the first 2 books (and what made them stand out) isn’t really in this book. So it doesn’t seem as eye opening to me. Though the other reason here is possibly because I have just started listening to the Freakonomics podcast and a lot, if not all, of these stories crop up in the podcasts, which I really enjoyed listening to. I did find it was a quick read, there isn’t a lot of numbers or stats that will slow you down when reading. If you’re a fan of the first two books (or Malcolm Gladwell), you’ll probably also enjoy this one, just bare in mind that if you are up to date with the podcasts then you might have already heard these stories. If you have never read any Freakonomics books, I’d recommend starting with the first one. Overall I found it was an interesting read but just lacked the wow factor of the first two books.

I got a copy of this from NetGalley to review. Readers who are approved for titles from NetGalley are under no obligation to post reviews. I chose this book to review, wasn’t asked to review it, and I definitely would have read it anyway (come on, it was on my 2014 releases list!). All opinions are my own, I think it’s important to be honest about items you review.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Bloggerversary and BookTubeAThon TBR!

First off, just wanted to acknowledge that today marks 4 years since I first set up this blog! Can’t believe it’s 4 years! I’ve gone through phases of writing loads and not writing at all but at the moment I am really in the zone and loving it. Thank you to everyone who has read and supported me through the years and to all the new readers too!

Now, back to BookTubeAThon To Be Read List! I did a post during the week about tips and tricks for completing BookTubeAThon and now it’s time to post what I’m planning on reading this week!

The Antiques Magpie by Marc Allum

antiques magpie

This covers book with a red cover as well a book picked by someone else (my boyfriend). I’ve previously read The Science Magpie and recently The Kitchen Magpie so looking forward to this!





To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


This will cover the book to film adaptation as well as genre least read (classics). I have a physical copy but I also got the e-book free on Amazon UK the other day so that will be handy when on break at work. And it’s about time I read this book! And watch the film so I can stop my brother nagging me!





Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi


This will cover start and finish a series (there’s 2 books) as well as book with pictures as it’s a graphic novel (or rather a graphic autobiography!). I’ve been wanting to read this for a while as I want to try more graphic novels.



That covers all the challenges except read 7 books/300 pages a day. I am currently at the beginning of Lost, Stolen or Shredded by Rick Gekoski so I will continue with that as well. I have a few other books such as The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum out from the library and I’m waiting on a few to come in from the library as well (so many of them! The Miniaturist, Landline, Art of Baking Blind, This One Is Mine and How to Build a Girl!) . I might listen to an audiobook as well when walking to and from work to up my count and make me productive! I’m so tired these days that I need all the help I can get! I might try and read books that will cover the challenges to see if I can get one book per challenge instead of doubling up but that may not happen!

Are you planning on joining in? Sharon, Chloe and Roisin are reading along with me, which is awesome! Check out their blogs for their BookTubeAThon posts.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Real life Fangirl- Meeting Rainbow Rowell!

Yesterday I got the chance to go to Waterstones in Liverpool, where Rainbow Rowell was doing an author’s event! Beth from Plastic Rosaries very kindly gave me her spare ticket (or rather agreed to give it to me when I said I’d very kindly take it off her hands!).

Unfortunately transport was against me. Train was over 30 minutes late and once on it, the train company thought it would be wise to terminate it at the second last stop, because we weren’t late enough as it is! Which meant a 10 minute wait for next train. I eventually made it and caught the last 20-25 minutes of Rainbow, where she was answering questions from the crowd. Later I found out I missed her reading from Fangirl at the beginning! Damn you train company! (also, had a nightmare getting back as well, let’s just say I’m not a fan today of public transport).

After Rainbow was signing copies of her books, so I used this as the perfect excuse to buy the special collector’s edition of Fangirl. It’s sooooo pretty!

         DSC08804 DSC08805

Cover; signed by Rainbow!

DSC08808 DSC08807

Without dust jacket, awesome Simon Snow picture in metallic pink!

                                     DSC08809 DSC08810

Pretty cool to have the name on the pages; inside of dust jacket, Emergency Dance Party!

Isn’t it just the best?! It was too pretty to leave behind. PLUS, if you bought a copy of the special collector’s edition, you got a tote bag too! Couldn’t not get it!

DSC08801  DSC08802

Meeting Rainbow was great, she’s just so happy, super funny and seems like great fun. I wanted to hang around and chat more to her but I doubt all the girls and guys in the queue behind me would have been happy about that! I did get a picture with her though.


Afterwards, I finally got to meet Beth, I probably looked like a demented person trying to find her in the queue! I queued with her and then after we went to go chat for while, only leaving when a hen party entered the bar! I honestly could have sat talking to Beth for hours more, she’s great to talk to, especially since we have a common interest: BOOKS!

Overall I had a great time, this is the second author I’ve seen in person for a signing (the first being Suggs from Madness, got his book signed as a Christmas present for my Mum). I’m going to be on the look out for more book events. And thanks again Beth for the ticket, it was great meeting you!


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Throw Back Thursday Nail Edition with Catrice The Nude Scene & Essence The Huntsman

Another Throw Back Thursday Nail Edition! This time I went for a beautiful nude colour by Catrice, it was part of their Hollywood Fabulous 40ties Limited Edition Collection. It’s such a pretty, delicate and feminine polish. I had forgotten about it until I went rooting but I think it’s one of my all time favourite nude polishes.



I decided to jazz it up a little and so added another limited edition polish, this one being from Essence and their Snow White collection a few years ago.



I love how this polish has a mixture of small glitter, hex glitter and large shards. Only downside is it does take a bit of time to dry and it smudged a small bit. I have an older post featuring Huntsmans, over another of the Snow White LE nail polishes, Sleepy, which you can see here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tips & Tricks for Completing BookTubeAThon 2014

So excited! BookTubeAThon is back for a second year running, I did it last year, you can read my wrap up post here. For those of you who are asking ‘What is BookTubeAThon?’, it’s a week long reading marathon created and hosted by booktubers (YouTubers who talk about books) Ariel Bissett and Raeleen Lemay. It was a great success last year, with reading challenges, Twitter Sprints and lots of talking and excitement. This year will be bigger, as I’m pretty certain other booktubers are going to be involved with posting content to the official BookTubeAThon Twitter and YouTube page.

I’m going to get right to my hints and tricks in a moment but first here are the reading challenges for this year!

1. A book with pictures
2. Start and finish a series
3. A book with red on the cover
4. A book someone else picks out for you
5. A book from the genre you've read the least this year
6. A book to movie adaptation
7. Read seven books/Read an average of 300 pages a day

My number one tip if you’re interested in hitting all the challenges is to double up on challenges! So pick books that fit the criteria for 2 challenges (No more than two though, you can’t pick a book that satisfies 3 or more challenges). Believes me, this WILL make it easier to complete. I recommend going through the challenges and pick out the books you want for each challenge. These don’t have to be set in stone, I’ve already gone through mine and picked out books but I know these could change, due to the library not getting them in on time or even just losing interest in a book I picked. I’m going to go through each challenge now & give my thoughts on them.

A book with pictures

This is just so vast, there’s so much to choose from! You could go from something as simple as a Dr Seuss book, to maybe an older children’s book like a Roald Dahl one that has pictures peppered through it. You could choose something like a manga or graphic comic or even non-fiction with photos (fashion, art, nature etc.).

Start and finish a series

This one is probably the hardest!! I suggest going with something with only 2 books (or 3 even) and ones that are relatively short or quick to read. Now is not the time to pick up the Game of Thrones series!! You could also go with a children books here, one that just popped into mind is Charlie and Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.

A book with the colour red on the cover

This has to be one of the easiest to tie in with the other challenges! I had a hard time picking out a red book!

A book someone else picks out for you

For this you can ask for recommendations, get someone to pick from your Goodreads TBR list or pick a selection of books (5 would be a good number) and get someone to pick from that pile. I will agree with Ariel and say don’t read something you don’t want to read, it’ll drag you down trying to get it finished. So if someone picks a mystery and you don’t like them, get them to pick something else. I tied this in with the red cover challenge, laid 5 books with red in the cover in front of my boyfriend and got him to pick.

A book from a genre you’ve read the least this year

This is good and bad. It’s bad if you know what genres you’ve barely read but have no interest in that genre (I’m guilty of this when it comes to sci-fi). If that’s the case with you, again I suggest not forcing yourself to read that. Just pick a genre you enjoy and that you haven’t read much from this year. On the other hand, this is a good challenge if you like to do just that, challenge yourself. Never read manga? Now’s the perfect time to try it out! (and also tie it in with challenge 1!). Don’t read a lot of non-fiction? Give something a whirl.

A book to movie adaptation (watching the film after)

Again I think this is really easy to tie in with others. I know Chloe is thinking of doing the Divergent trilogy and then watching the film, it ties in nicely with the series challenge (as would Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!).

Read 7 books/Average 300 pages a day

Not much you can do about this one but read! I’m going to aim for both (just because 7 books can be easily done by reading 7 graphic novels!). In order to keep on track of the page goal, I suggest bringing a book everywhere with you. EVERYWHERE! Use idle time to read, even if it turns out to be 5 mins here and there, it adds up. So read if you commute by public transport, read waiting in doctor’s office, read if you’re meeting someone and they’re running late. Bring a physical book with you if you want though I find that if you have a smartphone, using an e-reader app is very handy. Also, use audiobooks, so if you’re out running or driving or generally you’re just busy but not able to read, at least you’re being productive. I would suggest that if you decide to listen to an audiobook, don’t do it in one go. Read a physical book alongside it, using the audiobook to break things up or when you’re able to multitask!

Finally make sure you’re having fun! Forcing yourself to do something really just makes it a chore. Join in on Twitter Sprints if that’s your thing, do the video challenges if you want, chat to people on Twitter who are also doing the challenge. Getting all the challenges completed is great but it’s not the end of the world. If you don’t read a lot as it is but want to join in, maybe set your own challenges? It could be something as simple as saying you’ll complete one book in the week if it usually takes you two weeks. Or it could be picking one or two of the official challenges and doing them.

I will probably do a post Sunday with the books I’m planning on reading and then I’ll do a wrap up post when it’s all over.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Coral Crush- 5 Coral Nail Polishes

So I just love coral colours, especially in the summer. I just can’t get enough of them! So I’ve decided to put together my favourite 5 corals that I own.




Thumb- Maybelline Bleached Neons in Coral Heat. Not the best picture of it but I wasn’t too fussed considering there’s a whole post about that range which you can check out here!

Index- Essence in Off To Miami! This was one of the polishes I knew I’d want to try before going to the Essence Launch. This is on the more pink coral side and it is beautiful!

Middle- Wet n Wild in Club Havana. This is the only Wet n Wild I picked up when I was last in Ireland and I was just drawn to how summery and juicy it is! On the more orange side of the scale and I love the brush.

Ring- Barry M in Papaya. This one is more on the peachy orange side of the scale, it has a great shine, as all the Barry M Gelly Hi Shine polishes do.

Little- Catrice in Meet Me at Coral Island. I tried to keep the polishes as current as I can but I couldn’t resist putting this one in! It’s discontinued now but I love it, I keep coming back to it. It’s probably my favourite of the bunch. The Essence one does look a bit similar though in the pictures above, I’ll have to swatch them side by side to see how similar they really are.

What’s your go to shade for summer? Let me know in the comments below?

Friday, July 4, 2014

Samaritans Talk To Us Campaign

The other day I was going about my business, hoping to nab a bargain for the shoes I need to start work when I crossed paths with a charity volunteer. In the past, I would usually stop and listen to what they had to say, usually before politely declining to sign up for direct debit donations. Though recently, the last few times I’ve been stopped, I walk away feel worse than I usually did, usually because the person is over aggressive (in a happy way, not threatening) with their pitch. And because increasingly they kept saying I should be able to afford to donate, even after I explained I had no job. So these days I’ve taken a stance to say a polite but firm ‘no thank you’. Which is what I did and off I went on my journey, bagging my shoes for a grand total of £1.50 (thank you charity shops!).


On my way back, I passed him again and this time he said ‘Hello again’. I decided to tell him ‘sorry, but I have no job or money so I can’t really afford to donate’ and he said that’s fine, he wasn’t looking for direct debit sign ups, could he talk to me about what he was there for. I decided to listen and he told me that the amount of calls The Samaritans receive has increased, to the point where there’s a call every 6 seconds. Unfortunately they don’t have the funds to answer every call, even though they do try their best. They are running a new campaign called Talk To Us, where volunteers will be out on the street, raising awareness for what they do and asking people to text to donate. I did it there and there and continued on my merry way.


I wasn’t going to write a post about this but after seeing all the tweets and photos about the man on the roof of Abercrombie and Fitch in Dublin, I decided I had to make a post. Luckily the man was talked down but I was sickened that people were taking photos of this, like it was some form of entertainment. And I know many other people I follow on Twitter feel the same. I don’t want to go on about this as I already have a post from a while back but there is always a way out, no matter how dark it feels. Please do try to talk to someone, a friend, family, a doctor or even a stranger like the Samaritans.

To text donate to the Samaritans, text SUPPORT to 70080 to donate £4 if you’re in the UK. Sorry Ireland, I don’t have a number for Ireland texts but if you do want to donate or even donate more than £4, you can do so through their website.

The Samaritans are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Check the website for the different ways and numbers to contact them. And if you don’t get through because they are busy, please try again later, it will be well worth it.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Throw Back Thursday Nail Edition with Essence Blue Addicted

I got idea the other day that I really should try use some of my older polishes that I used to love more enough. And thought that a Throw Back Thursday sort of series would be a fun way to motive me. So I went straight for Essence in the shade Blue Addicted, a polish everyone went mad for when it came out as it’s a dupe to Deborah Lippmann’s Across The Universe.



I love it, I think it’s so beautiful! And that it reminds me of a jelly sandwich without the topcoat over it. I really wish it wasn’t discontinued but I’m guessing that when I run out of it (I have 2 bottles) that I can always shell out for the Deborah Lippmann one if I still love it this much.

I’m very excited about this series, I have rooted through my polishes and already picked out a good handful to show on here. I even have the pictures for the next post ready! Talk about dedication.

Did you manage to get your hand on this shade? Is there any other shade that’s been discontinued and you’re still mourning? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

June Wrap Up

Half way through the year already! And well into summer too. We’ve been lucky to have some good weather here but I miss being by the beach! Luckily in a few weeks time I’ll be heading back home. Here’s some of what I got up to in June.

Walking- Around the local water park when the weather has been good, taking pictures of the geese and swans and one day we also had a picnic!



Watching- Orange Is The New Black! Though considering the fact I watched it in one weekend, I don’t think I can consider it what I watched in June! I did finish off Numb3rs and I’ve only watched one World Cup game so far.

orange is the new black


Playing- QuizUp. An app that allows you to pick a topic to answer questions on and then either challenge your friends or play random matches from around the world. Perfect for my competitive side! I got in the Top Ten in the UK in the Ireland topic.



Making- New friends. I had the chance to go to the Essence Launch the other week (post here) and got to meet some people I had got to know online (Like Lou from Painted Nails and Baking Scales) as well as meet new people. I joined blogger Facebook groups as well and was especially excited to discover The Lucky Rainbow, who’s another Irish expat here in Manchester. I also made friends with my neighbours cats and dog!

animal Collage


Winning- This book! I had entered the First Reads competition on Goodreads and won Lionheart by Justin Cartwright, published by Bloomsbury. Got it in the post yesterday, looking forward to reading it.



Listening- To Fancy by Iggy Azalea. I wasn’t a fan the first few times I read it but then it got stuck in my head as it’s so damn catchy and I think I know most of the words now! Plus I love the Clueless inspired video.


Reading- Here’s the link to yesterday’s June Reads post in case you missed it. Managed to double last month’s total!


That’s it for now. Hoping to have a super packed July to tell you about, I’m really looking forward to it!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

June Reads

I think I managed to make up for May’s abysmal count, which was 5 books. I managed to get 10 this month! Well, 9.5 really as one was a mini book but considering I’m half way through another book that won’t show up until next month’s roundup, I’m saying 10!

The Disengagement Ring by Clodagh Murphy

disengagement ring

I first read Clodagh Murphy back in March when I was doing my Irish authors month. I enjoyed it, I like sometimes reading books like that to break things up, so I decided to try another. This one is about Kate, who’s commitment-phobic boyfriend finally proposing. But Kate’s tightly knit family hate him and her mother and sister decide to try break them up because they figure, since he didn’t produce a ring it’s all fair game! So they recruit Will, a very close friend of the family who’s practically family himself to try and help this break along. Kate’s always had a crush on Will so Kate’s mother uses this to her advantage to get Will to hire Kate to be the chef for the cool band he manages while they record their new album in Italy. It was a fun book, of course you know books like this will be predictable but that certainly doesn’t make me enjoy them any less. I like how Murphy writes the characters and I will be checking out more of her books for sure!


Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes

look who's back

I already wrote a big review for this in a separate post, if you want to check that out click HERE. Basically, Hitler awakes to find himself in 2011, having not aged since 1945. He decides he wants to continue on with his mission of bettering Germany and sets about doing so. He lands himself a role on TV playing a Hitler impersonator (they think him telling them that he really IS Hitler is all part of the act and that he really likes to stay in character) and after a video goes viral on YouTube, he finds himself back in the limelight. I laughed out loud at parts, I really thought this was a clever, funny satire.


Goose by Dawn O’Porter


This is the sequel to Paper Aeroplanes which I read back in April. It contines the story of Renee and Flo, now in a new school studying for their A Levels. Flo is excited to get off Jersey and go live on the mainland with Renee for university. Renee however doesn’t want to study anymore and this causes Flo and Renee to drift apart a bit and mix with different groups. Flo rediscovers her faith in God, while Renee is put off by this and ends up having a fling with an older playright. There’s some drama of course which I’m not going to mention and ruin for you though. Overall I liked this book more, it was nice to see how the girls’ lives have improved (Flo not being bullied by her ‘best friend’ and being taken advantage of at home as a glorified babysitter for her younger sister; Renee having a better home life) and I think it’s the fact I was getting to know them more, that I was always familiar with them from Paper Aeroplanes, that made me like it more than PA. If there is a 3rd book, I’d be interested in reading it!


Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik

stuff matters

This has been on my to-read list for a while, I was a bit hesitant to read it because I thought it would be really heavy but it’s not! Yes, there are some sciencey views on things but overall it’s very easy to read and understand. The author takes 10 different everyday materials and analyses them, how they’re made and what they’re used for, how they’ve impacted our lives. These include chocolate, steel (and other metals), concrete and paper, to name a few. I found this very interesting and actually amusing and funny in parts. While worth a read if you’ve ever found yourself curious about everyday items in your life.


A Brief History of Chocolate by Steve Berry & Phil Norman

a brief history of chocolate

This is the mini-book I mentioned at the beginning of this post. It’s taken from The Great British Tuckshop, by the same authors. I did a full review post, click HERE if you’re interested in that. It’s a trip down memory lane, all those brands that no longer exist but that you fondly remember from your childhood. And how current brands were first packaged and named (Marathon/Snickers anyone?). It’s probably better for someone who’s in their mid 30s up, while I did recognize a lot of products, some of them were just before my time. Still an interesting and fun read though regardless.


The Palace of Curiosities by Rosie Garland

palace of curiosities

I’ll admit, I was originally drawn to this because it’s set in Victorian London and features a circus! Well, it’s not so much a circus but a freak show. The story follows Eve, The Lion-Faced Girl, who is covered in fur and looks like a lion. One day, a man calls to the door, intending on wooing Eve. Her mother is relieved as she thought Eve would never marry. Eve eventually marries Josiah Arroner and is excited to be his wife, until she discovers he’s only married her so he can ‘own’ her and make money by showing her off to the public. When Eve complains she’s bored, Arroner has the idea to get her friends (which basically translates to hiring more freaks). This leads Eve to meeting Abel, The Flayed Man, who’s story we’ve also been following in this duel point of view book. Abel wakes up every morning, not knowing who he is, where he is or what he is. He discovers he has all these hidden talents, like fixing watches, that he has no recollection of learning, except during nightmares (which are actually flashbacks). Abel can cut himself but not bleed, he is a man who can’t die. I did enjoy this book, at first I wasn’t sure if I was liking it because it was a bit strange but it did turn out to be a good read, I was curious about everything and really felt sorry for Eve. While I liked the writing and descriptions, it was very vivid and beautifully written at times, I didn’t find myself overwhelmed by it, in the sense that I couldn’t see myself reading again. Not necessarily a bad thing, there’s plenty of books I’ve enjoyed and wouldn’t read again. I just felt like it was missing ‘something’, just that little bit extra to make it really memorable. Still worth a read if you like Victorian times and circus stories!


Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King

mr mercedes

The 3rd ever King novel! I read two last year. I mentioned this one in my 2014 books I was looking forward to. After reading The Cuckoo’s Calling and finding myself enjoy the whole detective and mystery element of it, I decided I wanted to give other detective books a go and this one sounded great. Retired, depressed detective Bill Hodges gets an anonymous letter in the mail, claiming to be ‘The Mercedes Killer’, the man who stole a Mercedes and deliberately drove into a crowd of unemployed people queuing outside a jobsfair in the early hours of the morning. The Mercedes Killer was the main unsolved crime before Hodges left the force, ‘The One Who Got Away’. Hodges is spurred on by this letter, determined to finally find who this man is and stop him from committing another heinous crime. What I liked about this story was it’s another duel point of view, from Hodges to the actual killer, who’s secretly watching Hodges. It really built the suspense and I thought King did a really good job of portraying Mr.Mercedes as a stereotypical psychopath. It is dark in places but nothing too scary or gory, it’s just mainly a really good thriller.


The Kitchen Magpie by James Steen


Another book I did a full review of, which you can check out HERE. I read The Science Magpie back in January 2013 so when I saw this book, I leapt at the chance of reading it as I love cooking and baking. The book is divided into different sections and there’s a great mix of stories, recipes, tips and tricks, and facts,as well contributions from names you’ll know like Mary Berry, Ken Hom and Marco Pierre White. What I like this of this series of books is that they’re the adult equivalent of annuals we used to get at school around Christmas time, which had a mix of plenty of things to keep you entertained. Now I must read The Antiques Magpie and The Nature Magpie.


The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith


Another book that was on my 2014 Watch List! The sequel to The Cuckoo’s Calling, follows up on ex-military now detective Cormoran Strike, along with his assistant and secretary Robin. Novelist Owen Quine has gone missing and his wife asks Cormoran to help find him. At first Strike thinks this will be an easy case, Quine often goes missing and it should be a case of simply tracking him down. However things take a turn, when Strike discovers Quine has written a poisonous novel, which not to subtly tells stories about people in his life and all the bad they’ve done. Strike thinks there could be something more to Quine’s disappearance and decides to start digging, starting with the people who stand to lose the most if the novel is published. I did enjoy this book, I can’t say if I enjoyed it more than The Cuckoo’s Calling, I’d have to read them both again to make up my mind! I didn’t guess who it was this time, so I enjoyed that, it kept me guessing until the end. I’m already looking forward to the next instalment (And yes, you do find out what the title means!).


Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe

Love Nina

I got this as an audiobook for Audible, narrated by Stibbe herself. I had seen this book in shops around Christmas and was intrigued by the cover, it’s so pretty. It’s the story of 20 year old Nina, who moves from Leicestershire to London in the early 80s to be the nanny for two boys, Sam (10) and Will (9). Their mother is Mary-Kay Wilmers, now editor of the London Review of Books (their father director Stephen Frears, though he’s rarely mentioned as he and MK are divorced), as well as other arty, literary types, the most significant being Alan Bennett, who spends most evenings having dinner with the family. The family has a slightly bohemian feeling to it, the kids are allowed to curse, they sit around after dinner discussing their favourite words and reading out of the dictionary. The book is actually a series of letters that Nina wrote to her sister Victoria, who was living back home and didn’t have frequent access to a telephone, so they wrote to each other instead. Victoria found the letters one day and years later they were published into this book. I absolutely loved this book. I’ve seen many reviews where people complain about how boring and mundane it is, I can understand why people don’t like it because of that but honestly it didn’t bother me. I didn’t mind hearing what they had for dinner or other things like that, because the best thing for me was the conversations they had. The children are so clever and witty, I found myself laughing out loud.. I definitely think listening to the ebook helped, Nina did a good job at conveying things like when the delivery of an ordinary line like ‘oh right’ that showed, say, Mary-Kay’s meaning behind it was really ‘you’re an idiot’. The book made me sad in two parts, the big one was when people where discussing that babies used to be bundled up and left on the steps of Great Ormond Street hospital and Sam said that that should have happened to him because of his illness, it broke my heart that a small boy thought like that. But overall I really enjoyed it, I couldn’t stop laughing and I think I’ll buy a physical copy of this, so I can reread my favourite lines!


June Stats

Number of books read- 10

Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 6:4

Number of eBooks- 5 (Look Who’s Back, A Brief History of Chocolate, Mr. Mercedes, The Silkworm and The Kitchen Magpie)

Number of audiobooks- 1 (Love, Nina)

Number of books borrowed from library- 4

Number of books from Reading Resolutions- 0

That wraps up June! Definitely an improvement on May, and this seems to be the month of lovely and interesting covers! Look Who’s Back, A Brief History of Chocolate, Mr. Mercedes, The Kitchen Magpie, Stuff Matters, The Palace of Curiosities and Love, Nina, I really liked all those covers. I don’t even think I could pick a favourite!

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