Sunday, December 31, 2017

New Beginnings and Fresh Starts

Hello! It's pretty cliched to be writing a blog post today, talking about new beginnings, fresh starts and resolutions but sure, just humour me! I've been wanting to post for a while, it get back in the swing of things but there's been a few things that have got in the way. 

First off I have a mental block of being behind on my monthly book reviews and I've just got it into my head that if I don't post those, then I can't post anything. Which is rubbish really, as there's nothing stopping me from posting what I want, when I want. It just dawned on me to cop on and stop using that as a reason as it's not good enough. While I might start my monthly reviews on here or maybe change it to just a round up of what I've read, I don't think I'll get through the backlog. Which is fine. I might post up some reviews of the books I enjoyed most during the year, as well as post reviews over on Goodreads. 

I also started working again towards the end  of the year, which also coincided with turning 30 and so many of my friends turning 30. And then Christmas was upon us. There was something on nearly every weekend and as much as I wanted to get back into things, I just didn't have the time and energy. January should be much quieter and I'll have time to focus on what I want to do on here. I love the posts I usually do in January so hopefully it'll give me the momentum to get back in the swing of things.

For now though, Happy New Year! Here's to a fantastic 2018. Let me know if you have any resolutions or plans for 2018 in comments below

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Recently Bought Books

So it’s been a while since I did a post showing what books I bought. The last one was back in January, so there’s quite a few books to show. So let’s get cracking!


The Murder at the Vicarage Agatha Christie, Small Great Things Jodi Picoult Juniper Lemon's Happiness Index Julia Israel A Court of Mist and Fury Sarah J Maas Shadow and Bone Leigh Bardugo Harry Potter and the Philospher's Stone Slytherin 20th Anniversary Edition J.K. Rowling Second Chance Summer Morgan Matson Beatlebone Kevin Barry The Roanoke Girls Amy Engels books

From the top down

-The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie. I bought this in Charlie Byrne’s in Galway

-Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. It’s actually my sister’s book but it’ll be mine until I read it!

-Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julia Israel. I kept hearing about this book so when it was announced as the offical book for the BookTubeAThon I decided to pick it up

-A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas. I had owned the first book in this series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, as an ebook for ages and when I finally got around to reading it in July, I had to go buy this one so I could keep reading!

-Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. I got this in the little free books box at one of the local libraries.

-Harry Potter and the Philopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. This is the 20th anniversary Slytherin paperback edition, HAD to have it!

-Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson. Charity shop buy

-Beatlebone by Kevin Barry. This was on offer at Eason’s for a few euro.

-The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel. A friend gave me this ARC edition of the book


ticket to ride tom chesshyre me talk pretty one day david sedaris walking Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way Paul Clements Dent's Modern Tribes Susie Dent Mail Obsession Mark Mason Fat Chance Louise McSharry books

From top to bottom

-Ticket to Ride by Tom Chesshyre. Bought this in Manchester Airport after a hen weekend, it’s a book about different train journeys

-Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. I’ve only read one Sedaris book so when I saw this in a charity shop I thought I’d pick it up

-Walking Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way by Paul Clements. Bought this in Waterstones in Cork

-Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrase Tyson. A Goodreads Giveaway win!

-Dent’s Modern Tribes by Susie Dent. A book about the unique lingo used by different professionals.

-Mail Obsession by Mark Mason.

-Fat Chance by Louise McSharry. The lovely Chloe from NurseFancyPants gave me this book!



-Eat Sweat Play by Anna Kessel. I read this earlier this year after borrowing it from the library, so when it was on offer I snapped it up as it something I see myself rereading and going back to

-Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Nygozi Adichie

-A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan. I saw Books and Pieces talk about this and when it was on offer I decided to get it and give it a chance.

-The Summer Seaside Kitchen by Jenny Colgan

-Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I’ve seen a lot of hype about this, I’m still not sure I want to read it but it was on offer so I decided to get it


-You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane

-To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

-Love and Gelato by Jenna Evan Welch

-Lie with Me by Sabine Durrant

-Just Haven’t Met You Yet by Cate Woods

All these were free books on Amazon or iBooks. There were other free ones that I didn’t get, I picked these as I’ve either read the author before or heard good things.

Audio Books

audible fiction

-Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. This was a free download on Audible

-Prudence and Imprudence by Gail Carriger. Books 1 and 2 in The Custard Protocol. I liked listening to the Parasol Protectorate so much that I decided to get these as audiobooks as well

audible nonfiction

-Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly. I’ve yet to see the film but I thought I might listen to the book

-Shrill by Lindy West. I have a feeling this one will crack me up!

-The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester

-The Butterly Effect by Jon Ronson. Free Audible short and I do love Jon Ronson

Phew! Quite a list, I need to keep on top of things and not wait 9 months or so to do a book purchases post. If you’ve read any of these I’d love to know

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Break by Marian Keyes Book Review

the break marian keyes44 year old Amy is blindsided when her husband Hugh declares he wants a break from their marriage to travel South East Asia alone for 6 months. A break, not a break up Hugh is careful to emphasis but that doesn’t matter to Amy. She is devastated. It took her years to trust anyone after her first husband, footballer Richie, walked out on her and left her a single mother. As Hugh jets off with a quick dry towel and rucksack on his back, Amy has no time to fall apart. She has her three children to look after: Neeve, a vlogger who’s glad to see the back of Hugh and is desparate to get her father Richie back with Amy, Kiara who’s wise beyond her years and the dream child, and Sofie, Amy’s niece who’s delicate and has a fragile relationship with her parents. On top of this Amy has her PR job which takes her to London two days a week, her father who has dementia, her mother who has spent years being sick and just wants to have some fun, her slew of siblnigs and there problems and advise, not to mention all her ‘friends’ who only seem interested in Amy to get all the gossip about this Break. However, if Hugh’s on a break and allowed to sleep with other people, so is Amy right? So will she have some fun of her own? Will 6 months away change Amy and Hugh’s relationship? And will it change the rest of the family too?

On the suface, we have the basic story of Amy and Hugh and how this 6 month break will pan out and the idea of falling in love and staying in love. There are so many other subplots to keep everything interesting too. I love Marian Keyes, I’ve mentioned it on here so many times before. Her Walsh family series is my favourite because of the family dynamic and in The Break Keyes manages to nail that family dynamic again. Keyes writes Irish family life so well and it’s fantastic to see this modern family in action: A second marriage for Amy, with a child from her first marriage, a child from a second marriage and raising a niece like her own child, as well as how Amy’s own parents and siblings all interact with each other, the highs and lows of family life.

Keyes is amazing at writing something that will have you laughing on one page and then crying on the next. I could feel my heart breaking along with Amy after Hugh had made his decision to go. And the crisis pregnacy plot was fantastic, something that is such an important issue today in Ireland and that needs to be talked about more. I love that Keyes isn’t afraid to tackle more serious things like this, something she’s done before in past books with issues like addiction and depression. We also get plenty of laughs in this book, especially from Neeve and her granny vlogging, as well as Amy’s work collegues. I love Keyes’ humour, it always has a touch of Irishness to it that makes it so unique.

As for the characters, I neither loved nor hated Amy. I did like her and I empathised with her, but there was other times I wanted to shake her. Which I liked to be honest! Keyes writes complex and real characters who have flaws, it’s refreshing to have a leading character that isn’t perfect. She also writes arseholes well too, you’ll really want to reach into the book to give Hugh, Richie and a few others a good ol’ slap!

A fantastic read if you want something light and funny with substance. I’d love to see a follow up book with this family, they were so entertaining. Hands down my favourite Keyes novel since The Mystery at Mercy Close.

This book was provided as a digital review copy from NetGalley. I am under no obligation to post a review and all opinions are strictly my own

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

BookTubeAThon 2017 Wrap Up

Hello! So the BookTubeAThon finished a few weeks ago, so it’s old news really but I’m only just getting the chance to write my wrap up post now and I always like documenting how I did with BookTubeAThon. I did a post before it started with the list of challenges and the books I was hoping to read which you can check out here.


Here’s a picture of all the books I read minus one book, which was an ebook.

Read a book with a person on the cover- Lumberjanes Volume 5

Read a book in one day- Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index

Read a book outside- The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Volume 4

Read a book about a character completely different to you- HHhH

Read a book you bought because of the cover- The Sun is Also a Star

Read a hyped book- A Court of Thorns and Roses

Read seven books- Saga Volume 7

I also read Are You Watching Me? by Sinead Crowley.

There are some changes from what I wanted to read. I read more graphic novels than intended, this is because there was a bereavement and Are You Watching Me? was supposed to be my 7th book but I decided to read Saga Volume 7 instead so I could complete all the changes but I actually did manage to finish Are You Watching Me? after all.

Overall I’m happy with my results, I’m pleased I managed to get all the challenges done, especially the read a book outside challenge! I did that on the Monday when it was sunny, I sat on the balcony reading with a cup of buttermint tea. It’s a good thing I got that challenge done that day as the weather was shit the rest of the week. I also got two  more of my Book Riot Read Harder challenges completed too, which I’m super pleased with as I really need to get cracking on completing that!

Monday, July 24, 2017

April Reads 2017

So it’s been a while since I’ve done a reading wrap up post. I wasn’t in the mood for posting much to be honest and then it turned into months instead of weeks before I got around to posting again. I’m hoping to get back into a routine and catching up on what I’ve read over the past few months will hopefully help!

April Reads

A-Force Presents Volume One by Various Artists

a-force presents volume 1 with Black Widow, She-Hulk, Thor, Captain Marvel, Ms Marvel and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl graphic novel comic book
This is actually a bit different to what I thought it was going to be. I thought it was a series called A-Force, which does exist, but it’s actually the first edition for 6 different female Marvel comics. There’s Black Widow, She-Hulk, Thor, Captain Marvel, Ms Marvel and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. I was aware of most of these characters but it was interesting to read some of the other comics and see different styles. My favourites out of this were She-Hulk, Ms Marvel and Squirrel Girl. I didn’t mind this Captain Marvel either, it’s a new reboot from the one I read earlier this year so I might actually pick up this one as I preferred it to the other one I read (which I have no intention of continuing to read). This would be good to pick up if you’re new to comics and what to try a few different things before committing to a series but if you regularly read comics then you don’t really need this.

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne
Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne book one in the spinsters club
This is the first book in Bourne’s Spinster Club trilogy and I’d heard lots of great things before picking this up. There’s 3 girls in the Spinsters Club, Evie, Amber and Lottie, and this book is from Evie’s point of view. Evie is 16 and has OCD. She’s slowly coming off her medication and wants nothing more than to be a ‘normal’ teenager. Evie is thrilled she’s making new friends and catching the eyes of boys but every day is a constant struggle for her and she tries desperately to keep the bad thoughts at bay, all while keep her condition secret. Relapse is on the horizon but can Evie keep it all together?

Bourne does a great job in this book talking about mental health and the different ways to manage conditions and relapses. The other amazing thing about this series is the female friendships and the feminism, these girls become great friends and it’s so awesome to see these girls support each other. And for feminism to be a normal, empowering thing that the girls talk about. The books reminded me of the fun tone of the Louise Rennison books, with a bit more of a serious side to things but never feeling preachy or too heavy. Bourne nails the humour and conservations of teenage girls, it had me laughing out loud at times! The only downside I found was the feminism at times wasn’t very inclusive to trans women and it lacks intersectionality but I don’t think it takes away too much from the story. This book is great for teenagers (I see a lot of people say they wish it was around when they were a teenager and I’ve got to agree) and adults who appreciate YA novels.

Lumberjanes Volume 4 by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis , Maarta Laiho, Aubrey Aiese, Brooke A. Allen

lumberjanes volume 4 graphic novel noelle stevenson After being slightly let down by Volume 3, Lumberjanes Volume 4 was just so refreshing to read! All the girls are in the same storyline again (in Vol 3, there was two stories going on) and it’s just so much fun to see them all together again. And for the drawing style to be back to normal! If you were disappointed by 3 and not sure if you want to continue on with the series, you should pick up Volume 4 as it should make you happy again!

Let The Dead Speak by Jane Casey
Let the Dead Speak by Jane Casey book 7 in Maeve Kerrigan series
I flew through books two to six in March in order to get this one and couldn't wait to get stuck in. Reading the other books so quickly together meant I had built up a relationship with Maeve and Josh and was dying to know how things worked out from the ending of book 6.

The book opens with Maeve being promoted, meaning she has a rookie to look out for and mentor. This added something new to the whole work dynamic and shook things up a bit but there's not a lot you can do to keep Derwent away from Maeve! The murder the team is investigating isn't a simple one. 18 year old Chloe has returned home early from being at her father's, only to find her mother gone and the house covered with blood. With no body and no leads, it's a tricky case. Chloe stays at best friend's Bethany's house and everyone in that house is trying to protect and silence Chloe, which frustrates Maeve. Dodgy characters crop up everywhere and all Maeve needs is for one person to break their silence and she'll have a lead.
Casey does a great job of writing these books, I'm always left guessing about who was behind the crime. The real reason I come back though is because of the Maeve and Josh dynamic, it's always interesting to see how they're getting on. I am warming more and more to Derwent but he's so tiring at times! Though this time around, it was Maeve that was tiring. After all they went through at the end of book 6, she STILL doesn't feel like she can trust Derwent and I was really let down and disappointed by that, it feels like Maeve hasn't grown up from first few books if she really still thinks like that. I think this is part of the reason this book felt a bit off for me compared to the others, the other reasons being the new role Maeve is in and the strangeness of the plot (there being no body to investigate). I did still enjoy the book though, like I said Casey is a fantastic storyteller and it kept me gripped, I couldn't put it down. I do encourage anyone wanting to read the Maeve series to start at the beginning though, you can jump in where ever you want but there are background stories and character developments so it's well worth reading the entire series. [NetGalley]

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Volume One Squirrel Power by Ryan North and Erica Henderson
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Volume One Marvel Comic Book Graphic Novel
I had been hoping to read Squirrel Girl for a while but it wasn’t available in my library network. Luckily by April the two library networks here had combined and I was able to order this. Good thing too because reading A-Force Presents Volume One really had me wanting to read this more!

Doreen Green is starting college but she’s not your ordinary college students, she’s Squirrel Girl! She had a big squirrel tail she hides, can talk to Squirrels and squirrel best friend, Tippy. This series is super fun and silly, I love Squirrel Girl and how sassy and confident she is and the drawing style is right up my alley too. It had me laughing out loud at times! This comic is perfect for all ages really, there’s something for everyone. A genuine delight!

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin
Amanda is dying in hospital. David, a little boy, sits next to her. He is not her son, but he is there to ask her questions about how she landed in hospital. From there we go back to the beginning of the story and start to work out what’s happened, something that is difficult as Amanda is disorientated at times. It’s a creepy short read, not like anything I’d ever read before. I did a full review post here which you can check out if you’d like to learn more about the book. [NetGalley]

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon YA novel
Dimple Shah knows exactly what she wants to do the summer before starting college: go on this kick ass web developers summer programme. She wants to win the prize to meet her idol. The fact that it would get her away from her Mamma and her obsession with finding Dimple the perfect Indian husband. So she’s delighted when her parents allow her to go. Rishi Patel is also going on this programe, to meet the girl his parents are hoping to be his potential future wife. He’s excited to meet her but their first meeting doesn’t go to plan. Mainly because Dimple has NO idea who Rishi is and throws an iced drink in face! Will they get to know each other over the summer? Or will Dimple’s stubborness prevent her from warming to Rishi?

There has been a lot of hype around this book so I was excited to read it. I flew through it in two days because it was just so cute! I liked the characters, I’ve seen a lot of reviews complaining about Dimple but I thought she was strong, knew her own mind but yet grew too as the novel went on. Rishi is the perfect gentleman and is very sweet. I love that we get to see another point of view in this book when it comes to culture, it’s so refreshing to see diverse stories. This book has everything the perfect YA romance needs, a good plot, strong characters, humour and plenty of cute moments. Perfect summer comtemporary! [NetGalley]

The Other Half of Happiness by Ayisha Malik
The Other Half of Happiness by Ayisha Malik, sequel to Sofia Khan is Not Obliged
This is the follow up to Sofia Khan is Not Obliged so I was very excited to read this as I adored the first book. It picks up at the end of the first book, so I don’t want to give a lot away. But this is a lot heavier than the first book, Sofia deals with a lot more stuff in this book. I loved coming back to these characters and this world, that was a joy. I have mixed feelings overall about the book though. A lot is packed in for one novel, almost too much really and it’s certainly an emotional rollercoaster. But Malik’s humour prevents it from being too much of a downer at times. Overall I enjoyed most of it but it’s just so different to Sofia Khan is Not Obliged that I felt disappointed too. It’s not a bad book, but seeing as the other half of happiness is sadness, there’s plenty in this book. [Book sent by publishers]

Ms Marvel Volume 5 Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa, Adrian Alphona, Nico Leon
Ms Marvel Volume 5 Super Famous G. Willow Wilson Marvel comic book graphic novel
I ordered book 4 and 5 together, thinking they would arrive at the same time but 4 took forever to get to me from the library! Because Volume 5 started a new storyline, I decided to read it before Volume 4 and continue on. Ms Marvel is now super famous (if the title of the volume didn’t give that away) and is also now an Avenger! This however means that Kamala has a lot more things to juggle and we see her being stretched thin, trying to keep up with every part of her life. I really enjoyed this volume, I had no complaints. As always, Ms Marvel is funny, kick ass and just generally awesome!

How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne
How Hard Can Love Be? Holly Bourne book 2 in Spinsters Club

I didn’t want to hold off reading The Spinster’s Club, so I got stuck into book two, which is Amber’s book. Amber is off to California for the summer, to spend time with her mother (and her stupid new husband), while also working in their summer camp for children as a camp leader. Not everything is hunky dory however. Amber’s Mum is completely different and doesn’t seem to prioritise Amber at all. Then there’s Kyle, the walking and talking All American perfect prom king cliche. All the girls fancy him, including Amber, but being very tall, very ginger and very awkward isn’t going to attract him, right?

As with Bourne’s other books, this one mixes the fun with the serious. Here we deal with alcoholism and abandoment and all that goes with that. Amber is dying to connect with her mother, who just doesn’t seem all that interested in her and it breaks your heart a bit. Bourne does such a good job at giving these characters dimmension, they’re flawed and that just makes them feel so much more real (as does the fact that the teenagers in these book talk and act like teenagers, swearing and drinking and generally rebelling). There’s plenty of humour throughout the books and the theme of strong female friendships is also here. We don’t get to see a lot of Evie or Lottie but they do make appearances in emails and video calls and Amber also makes friends with some of the other camp leaders. The romance is cute too without being too sappy. If you want a summer comtemporary with a bit of a bite, then this is perfect to pick up and read!

Ms Marvel Volume 6 Civil War II by G. Willow Wilson, Takeshi Miyazawa, Adrian Alphona
Ms Marvel Volume 6 Civil War II Marvel commic book graphic novel
As you can tell by the title, all is not well with Ms Marvel! We see the events of Civil War II bleed into this edition and Ms Marvel is not too happy with her namesake, Captain Marvel!
I had to read over a run down about what happened in this volume to refresh my mind as I couldn’t remind. I wasn’t blown away by this one, I did like it but it wasn’t all that memorable.  I did like the flashback scenes though of Kamala’s family in Pakistan and seeing the all the generations that came before Kamala. I think I need to reread this but I will continue on with the series when Volume 7 comes out.

Constable Colgan’s Connectoscope: How One Thing Leads to Another by Stevyn Colgan
Constable Colgan's Connectoscope by Stevyn Colgan
I read Colgan’s first book, Joined Up Thinking, a few years ago and enjoyed it. In it, each chapter would begin and end with the same sentence. Between then was a number of facts that eventually leads back to the first fact. Think 6 degrees of separation but if that was a circle and you get the idea. This book is similar and I was reading it for ages. It was something that I read in between books, reading a chapter or two as a pallette refresher or picking up when I was beginning to lose my reading mojo but wanted to try continue reading. Colgan is a QI elf too which is just a bonus in my eyes and I’ll be picking up other books by him too as I do enjoy reading fact books every now and again. My favourite fact from this book is that in Japan the Teletubbies are called Antenna Babies!

April Stats
Number of Books Read- 12
Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 11:1
Number of eBooks- 4 (Let The Dead Speak, Fever Dream, When Dimple Met Rishi and Constable Colgan’s Connectoscope)
Number of Books Borrowed from Library- 6 (Am I Normal Yet?, Lumberjanes Vol 4, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Vol 1, Ms Marvel Volumes 5 & 6 and How Hard Can Love Be?)

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2017 Checklist
Read a book set in Central or South America written by a Central or South American author- Fever Dream
Read a book set within 100 miles or your location- The Blood Miracles

Overall this was a good month in terms of the amount I read but not for non-fiction or for the amount of Book Riot challenges I completed. But there’s still plenty of time for that!
My favourites for this month were probably both Holly Bourne books, Squirrel Girl and When Dimple Met Rishi. Clearly I was in the mood for YA books!
If you’ve read any of these books or have questions, leave a comment below.

Monday, July 17, 2017

2017 BookTubeAThon Challenges and TBR

It’s that time of year again! The BookTubeAThon! If you don’t know what that is, it’s a week long readathon, hosted by YouTuber Ariel Bissett and starts on 24th July. There’s various reading, vlogging and Instagram challenges and all sorts of other things to make this interesting. This will be the 5th year running and I’ve done it every year, with varying success. The 1st and 3rd year I was successful and completed every challenge and the 2nd and 4th year I wasn’t successful. So I’m hoping this year will continue the trend of good and bad year and I’ll be able to complete all the challenges.

Speaking of challenges, the video above outlines what the reading challenges are this year. Here they are:
  1. Read a book with a person on the cover. It can be a full person, just a body part, a photo or a drawing.
  2. Read a hyped book. Seeing as this is the BookTubeAThon, a book big on BookTube would probably be a good pick but it can be any hyped book.
  3. Finish a book in one day
  4. Read about a character that is very different to you
  5. Finish a book completely outdoors. This can be done in chunks throughout the week but the book needs to be read outdoors.
  6. Read a book you bought because of the cover
  7. Read seven books. This has always been the 7th challenge since the first BookTubeAThon
If you want to double or triple up on challenges for one book, that’s perfectly fine. For example, if you find a hyped book that you bought because of the cover and it has a person on the cover, it can tick off all those challenges. I tend to stick to one book for each challenge though, I find it more challenging for me and also it means I’ll be able to get 7 books read.

BookTubeAThon 2017 TBR

booktubeathon 2017 TBR

The Color Purple- Book with person on the cover
A Court of Thorns and Roses- A hyped book
Dear Lupin- A book in one day
HHhH- A book with a character different to you
Lumberjanes Volume 5- Read a book outside
The Sun is Also a Star/Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index- A book you bought because of the cover
Heartless- A book with a person on the cover/ a book in one day (back up)
Northern Lights- Seven books in seven days

I picked a nice mix of books, some of these tick off Book Riot Read Harder challenges which is partly why I’m reading them. Depending on my mood, I might not pick up my first choices for these and I might not pick up any of these! I’m going to try not to read too many graphic novels for this week though. I could easily read one for each challenge but there’s so many novels I want to read too that I’m only picking a graphic novel for the reading outside challenge. The less time outdoors, the better!

I'm looking forward to the Instagram challenges, I did a few last year and hopefully I'll be able to do more this year. I might participate in the Twitter sprints more as well.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin Book Review

fever dream

Amanda is dying in hospital while a boy called David sits next to her. He’s not her son but starts to ask her questions about how she's ended up in hospital. We learn it's all started when Amanda goes to the countryside to holiday with her daughter, waiting for her husband to join her. There she meets Carla, David's mother, who tells Amanda that David was her son but now he isn't. She goes on to explain how David drank some poisoned river water and in act of desperation, Amanda takes David to see a local woman. She says she can save David but only by sending part of his soul into another body and inviting a different soul to inhabit his body. The book continues with Amanda trying to recount the events that lead up to her being in hospital, with David there to help get her back on track.

I devoured this book in one sitting at night, I just couldn't put it down! The book has this eerie feeling that creeps up on you and unsettles you. Right off the bat you're left wondering what's happened and my mind twisted all over the place trying to work out what went wrong and who to trust. I was confused for most of the time reading this, which I liked as it felt it fit in well with the title of the book and the how disorientated Amanda is recounting the story. I do wish the ending had been a little bit clearer, I was still a bit confused at the end and had to read other reviews to figure out what had happened. Even then it’s not entirely clear but I don’t mind it that much as it really adds to the story of a whole. And I’ve read books with way much frustrating conclusions trust me! If you’re looking for a quick summer read that isn’t an easy going beach read and like strange, eerie stories then give it a go.

I received this e-book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I’m not required to post a review on here and all thoughts are my own

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

March Reads 2017

So I’m very late writing up my March book reviews but better late than never! March was my Irish Authors reading month. In previous years I’ve tried to read all new-to-me authors but this month I read a mix of new and authors I’ve read before.

March Reads

Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden

Knights of the Borrowed Dark

So last year I won a bunch of books (which I showed in this post) and amongst those books was Knights of the Borrowed Dark. I’ll admit, I did what any bookworm shouldn’t do, I judged it by it’s cover and put it on my bookcase. But then I started hearing about the book and after seeing Dave Rudden win at the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards I decided I was going to take the book off the shelf and give it a go. I waited especially for March as I knew I wanted to kick off the month reading this book.

Denizen Hardwick is an orphan who lives in the rainy west of Ireland. He’s at the age where he’s given up hope that a long lost relative will come and rescue him. That is, until someone come to take him away to meet his aunt in Dublin. On the way there they’re attacked by mysterious shadows and Denizen learns there’s a whole other world full of darkness and evil creatures. He learns of an ancient order of knights who fight to keep the world safe using these special powers that come with a cost. Denizen must decide whether he wants to join this order or not. I really enjoyed reading this, I loved that it’s a fantasy story set in a comtemporary Ireland and enjoyed the world building. It was an exciting read, I flew through reading this as I just couldn’t put it down! It’s full of suspense and mysterious and genuinely funny at times. The book is aimed at early teenagers and they’ll love it, but adults will love it too! If you’re a fan of Artemis Fowl or Darkmouth, then this is for you.


The Reckoning by Jane Casey

the reckoning

This is the second book in the Maeve Kerrigan series, featuring the Detective Constable of Irish descent in the London Met. I read the first book, The Burning, back in July and enjoyed it enough to decide to read the rest of the series but somehow just never found the time to pick this one up. So when I was putting together a rough TBR for this month I decided to definitely pick up this book.

In The Reckoning Maeve is tasked with finding a killer who is targeting paedophiles. Without giving anything away, I loved this book! It’s a fantastic thriller, I loved the introduction of the new characters and this book really sets up some events for future books. It gripped me a lot more than The Burning and ignited my desire to just devour more Maeve Kerrigan. So much so that it was the next book I picked up!


The Last Girl by Jane Casey

the last girl

In the third Maeve Kerrigan book, the team are investigating a break in at a top London defense attorney’s home which resulted in him being knocked out and his wife and one twin daughter murdered. Only Lydia, the inferior twin daugher, is left untouched. As Maeve digs deeper, all these secrets from an unhappy family come to front. We get a twisted supense filled story, with some added friction thrown in from Maeve’s work life and love life, adding extra dimension to the main plotline. I do enjoy Maeve as a character, she’s not without flaws. And I warmed a bit more to DI Derwent in this book, but at times he infuriates me. I guess though he’s also not perfect!



Holding by Graham Norton


Set in a fictional village in Cork, the story kicks off when a body is found during a building job. The remains are found at a house that Tommy used to live, a man last seen in the village 20 years ago. Everyone has assumed he’s run off to England after a love triangle has gone wrong. This isn’t a typical crime book, the main focus of the story is the local Garda (policeman) having a shot to do something exicting with his life. The story also looks at the two women linked with Tommy and how their lives has since turned out. We slowly see the story unfurl and discover all sorts of secrets in this sleepy town. I enjoyed this book, there was a lot of hype around it so I wasn’t blown away by it. It’s something quick and cosy to read. At times there were beautiful turns of phrase, I think Graham has a descriptive eye and he really nails the nuances of small rural living. This would be a nice comforting summer read.


The Forever Court by Dave Rudden

the forever court

The Forever Court was just as exciting as fun as Knights of the Borrowed Dark. At first I wasn't feeling the second story line that was woven in but I think it'll be interesting for the next book. It definitely made sure the world and story didn't become too stale and added more mystery and dimension. Some questions are still left unanswered and I will be picking up the 3rd book for sure! [NetGalley]





American Monsters by Derek Landry

American Monsters

Final book in the Demon Road series, I felt like it was a solid enough ending to the story. The story is very plot driven which was kind of exhausting, I wish there had been more character development to be honest. But as I've stated in previous reviews, I feel like this is something I would have enjoyed more as a teenager as it's great fun and fast paced. Not a bad series, I did enjoy it at times but I think I’m just a little too old for it. [NetGalley]





The Stranger You Know by Jane Casey

the stanger you know

Book 4 in the Maeve Kerrigan series. This time three women have been strangled in their homes and with no signs of a break in and neighbours and friends not remembering anything suspicious, Maeve is at a bit of a loss. Until evidence starts to point at DCI Josh Derwent, Maeve’s partner on the squad. We learn more about Derwent’s past and why he’s being linked to these new cases. I flew through this like the previous books and loved reading it. It is possible to pick up any of these books by themselves but I suggest you do start at the begining, especially for this one because it’s best to build up Maeve and Derwent’s relationship and get all the history behind it.


The Kill by Jane Casey

the kill

And yet again I couldn’t help go straight to the next Maeve Kerrigan book! This time the police are the targets, so Maeve and the rest of the squad must work fast. I’m growing to like Maeve more, not that I ever disliked her but it’s great to see her progress and grow in confidence. And the slight changes in dynamic with Derwent. This book also has some more of Maeve’s personal life which was a great addition. Much like the other books, I devoured this and loved it.




The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

the heart's invisible furies

This was one of the March book picks for The Rick O’Shea Book Club. Not going to lie, I was half paying attention to someone posting about the book on the group and thought I read that it was a short book so I requested it on NetGalley. Only to discover after I was approved that it’s roughly 600 pages long! I probably wouldn’t have read this had I known that beforehand but I’m really really glad I did read this.

We start in 1945 in a church in rural Cork, where the priest makes 16 year old Catherine Goggin stand in front of the congregation and condemned for being a whore. The entire parish is told she is pregnant and the priest casts her out and tells her to leave the village and never return. She goes to Dublin and has her son adopted. The rest of the book spans Cyril’s life all the way to 2015. We see his relationship with his adoptive parents (Cyril Avery is not a real Avery), meeting Julian Woodbead at 7 years old and making a lifelong connection, to struggling with his sexuality in an Ireland where being gay is illegal and dangerous. This book was just amazing! It made me laugh  several times and it made me cry too. Cyril is a complex character, there’s times where I liked him and times where I loathed him but I did always find myself rooting for him. It’s poignant, sweet, a little bit heartbreaking and thought provoking. It’s an emotional roller coaster but one that doesn’t feel like a forced one. The ups and downs of this book seems natural and not exaggerated or forced for the sake of creating a reaction. One of my favourites so far this year. [NetGalley]


After the Fire by Jane Casey

after the fire

I finished out the month with the 6th Maeve Kerrigan book. I was up until the early hours of the morning reading this as I found it so gripping! A fire blazing through the top floor of a tower block on Maudling Estate, killing several residents but also controversial right-wing MP Geoff Armstrong. Maudling Estate is the last place Armstrong is expected to turn up, so the investigation must be kept a bit quiet. Everyone looks guilty in this story and so you’re kept guessing as the story twists and turns. This is one of my favourites in the series, the crime plot kept me interested and I loved the more personal side of Maeve in this and the mystery to why she’s acting so weirdly. What a way to round out the month!


March Stats

Number of Books Read- 10

Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 10:0

Number of eBooks- 3 (The Forever Court, American Monsters and The Heart’s Invisible Furies)

Number of Books Borrowed from Library- 5 (The Reckoning, The Last Girl, The Stranger You Know, The Kill and After the Fire)

And that was March! I’m happy with what I read, obviously it was Jane Casey heavy and I didn’t plan for that. But I just got so engrossed in the world of Maeve Kerrigan. My only regret is that I didn’t get any non-fiction read.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Dry Brush Nail Art

I was at a wedding last month and decided to not just paint my nails for the event but to do some ~*nail art*~. It’s been a while since I’ve just done my nails, let alone tried some nail art. It’s something I’ve loved in the past but I’ve found it hard to be inspired recently. I decided to try dry brush nail art for the first time in colours that complimented my dress which had flowers of soft pink and peach with some pops of brighter pink and dark green leaves.

black floral dress from Wallis

I bought the dress in Wallis last year, it’s so pretty! They have a lot of similiar things in this year too, they are really liking their floral prints.


Dry brush Nails using Catirce Hollywood's Fabulous 40ties The Nude Scene, NYC Lincoln Square Lavender, Maybelline Color Show in Peach Bloom and Vivid Rose and Catrice Emerald Bay nail art

Polishes used

Catrice LE Hollywood’s Fabulous 40ties in The Nude Scene

NYC in Lincoln Square Lavender

Maybelline Color Show in Peach Bloom

Maybelline Color Show in Vivid Rose

Catrice in Emerald Bay

I used two coats of Catrice The Nude Scene, a beautiful nude pink (limited edition, I’ll be so upset when it runs out!) as te base colour. For the dry brush technique, you dip your brush in your secondary colour, brush off most the polish onto a piece of scrap paper and then brush the almost dry brush onto your nails. Repeat with other colours! Now you can just use the brush from the nail polish to do this and it probably would be easier to do that. I used a fan brush so my colour pay off wasn’t that intense. In fact I think this might be a way to do marble nails. As it is my nails reminded me of the hallway walls my dad did in the 90s, I think he dabbed the paint on over the base coat! I would like to do this again with a black base, it make it more like the dress I wore but I like the one above. It was pretty subtle because the colours used were similiar to the base colour.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Pink Power Rangers Nail Art

When the Power Rangers first came out, it was instant love. I don’t know why but as a 7 year old I lived for it. I used to get out of bed at 7am to watch it before school. I used to pretend with my cousin we were the Power Rangers and jumped and kicked around the room while acting out scenes. I got banned from watching it for a while because I used to high kick my brother too much!

So with the new movie out today I thought I’d do some nail art. I’m excited and nervous about the movie, I’m not sure if I want to go see it in case it ruins my precious childhood memories! I went through phases of wanting to be the Pink Power Ranger and wanting to be the Yellow Power Ranger. I decided on pink for the nail art though.

Pink Power Ranger Nail Art using 17 Ultimate Shine in Miami and Barry M Nail Art Pen in White

Pink Power Ranger Nail Art using 17 Ultimate Shine in Miami and Barry M Nail Art Pen in White

Polishes Used

Pink- 17 Ultimate Shine in Miami

White- Barry M Nail Art Pen in White

Black- Barry M Hi-Shine Gelly in Black Forest

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Lush Haul!

I used to be a massive Lush fan, one of the biggest fans. Though that was mainly when I was in university and there was actually a Lush close to me. I still do enjoy going to Lush though, I maybe not use it as much as I used to but it’s still fun get stuff from there. When I was going to a wedding that was near Lush, I was really excited and made it a priority to go the day after the wedding and picked up some bits and bobs!

Lush Cosmetics Floral Bag

First off, how pretty is this bag?! I don’t know when it was introduced, if it’s just for this spring or if they’ve had different bags for different seasons for a while. The past few times I’ve bought stuff I haven’t got a bag. I love this bag, I don’t want to throw it away! While in Lush I browsed all the new products, there’s a few new things for Easter and for Mother’s Day. I spent a good half an hour or so in there debating what to get, I wanted to get a few things but didn’t want to go absolutely crazy. In the end I settled for four things.

Lush Cosmetics Brazened Honey Face Mask, The Experimenter Bath Bomb, Floating Island Bath Melt, Scrubee Body Butter

Clockwise from top left

Brazened Honey Face Mask is one of the face masks I use most often. It has kaolin clay to help cleanse the skin and tons of other ingredients to help get my skin back on track. I often use it when I feel my skin needs a pick me up.

The Experimenter Bath Bomb is a five colour bath bomb with lustre and popping candy and is scented with vanilla, vetivert and tonka bean. I’ve seen videos of this on Instagram and it’s so beautiful and bright.

Floating Island Bath Melt is popped in the bath and melts to leave your skin feeling nice and soft. This has cocoa butter and shead butter and is scented with sandalwood oil, lemon oil and almond oil.

Scrubee Body Butter has cocoa butter, shea butter and honey to help soften and moisturise your skin but also ground coconut shell and ground almonds to help exfoliate. His stripes become more pronounced as you use him which I’m really looking forward to seeing!

All these products are new to me except Brazened Honey (well, I might have used Floating Island before but only if it came in a gift as I don’t remember ever buying it). As you can tell I like sweet smells, Scrubee just smells so sweet and delicious! I had debated over getting The Experimenter or a bubble bar. I do like bath bombs but part of me thinks it’s so frivolous for something that’s a one off use compared to a bubble bar that would last you a few gos (yeah, I know I can cut a bath bomb in half but it’s tough work!).

Have you used any of these products? Or do you have a different favourite from Lush? Let me know in the comments below!

Friday, March 17, 2017

St.Patrick’s Day Nails 2017

Happy St.Patrick’s Day everyone! I bought this glitter nail polish about 11 months ago when shopping with a friend and she thought I’d completely forget about it once Paddy’s Day rolled on by. Luckily I remembered!

St.Patrick's Day green nails Catrice Hugo Moss nail polish with Claire's Accessories Sham-Rock My Heart Paddy's Day

St.Patrick's Day green nails Catrice Hugo Moss nail polish with Claire's Accessories Sham-Rock My Heart Paddy's Day

St.Patrick's Day green nails Catrice Hugo Moss nail polish with Claire's Accessories Sham-Rock My Heart Paddy's Day

Green Polish- Catrice in Hugo Moss

Glitter Top Coat- Claire’s Accessories Nail Polish in Sham-Rock My Heart

The glitter top coat is lots of fun, it’s packed with gold flakies, green hex pieces and two different coloured green shamrocks. It was very awkward though to get the shamrocks, it took a lot of fishing to get them on the brush. I do like it though, next year I think I’ll try putting it over white!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

February 2017 Wrap Up

A brief looksie at what I got up to last month. It was a good enough month, a saw a lot of friends looking back and generally enjoyed myself!


Enjoyed- Cocktails! I’m one of my friend’s bridesmaids and I met up with her and the rest of the bridesmaids one weekend. We had a great time trying on our dresses, trialling make up and hair and then going out for nibbles and cocktails. I’m a sucker for cocktails, I love trying new ones. Like this one, which was very creamy and served in a milk bottle!

Relaxed- The following day we went to the spa! We were booked into a mud treatment and then the thermal suites. There was some slight hiccoughs in the day, mainly the fact the water went in the hotel half way through our mud treatment! However everything got sorted and we enjoyed lunch after. It was my 2nd time at a spa, the first time being the Lush Spa back in 2011.

Went- Bowling with a group of friends, the first time in years. I really enjoyed it! I wasn’t that great but I want to go again as it was such fun.


Socialised- Outside of the above, I spent a few evenings with my other half and our friends watching rugby when the 6 Nations started. And also one evening my fiance went to see some rugby live and after I went to dinner with him and his friends.

Cinema- To see the Lego Batman Movie. I liked it, I laughed a lot but I did enjoy The Lego Movie more. It was fun though. I wish I had gone to the cinema more, it being Oscar season, but the cinema closest to me took Hidden Figures out of screening the week I wanted to go (I swear it was only there 2 weeks!

lego batman

Ate- Pancakes. Well, only on the last day of February as it was Pancake Day. My fiance made crepes which were lovely and at some stage I also had these cinnamon swirl pancakes which I posted a few years ago.

Watched- Riverdale. I went to a friend’s house one Friday planning on watching something but when that didn’t work out we scrolled through Netflix and came across Riverdale and decided to give it a shot. The characters are based off the Archie comics and the series starts with the investigation into a murder. Everyone has something to hide and Riverdale is not as idyllic as it seems. I’m still a few episodes behind but really enjoying it so far.


Listened- To RuPaul’s new song Rock It (To the Moon), it as a real Daft Punk vibe and I’m sure I’ll be listening to more RuPaul leading up to the end of March when Drag Race ruturns for Season 9 (Yes, I said ruturns instead of returns, deal with it!)

flamingo mug

Bought- This glorious mug!! I bought it on last day of Febrary so my final purchase for the month. I almost didn’t get it as it was a bit pricey for me but it’s beautiful and I’m glad I did!

Read- All the books I read are in my February Reads post which you can check out here.
And that’s February! And I’m half way through March now, probably should have posted this a bit earlier but better late than never. How was your February? Let me know below!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Book Recommendations for International Women’s Day #IWD2017

Hello! So today is International Women’s Day and I thought I’d share some book recommendations of inspiring books and authors. I’ve read loads of books that I could talk about but I’m picking a few that have stood out to me.


We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We Should All Be Feminists

I read this last June, you can check out my post here. This is based off Chimamanda’s TEDx talk and there’s several reasons I’m chosing this. It’s short, it’s more an essay than a book and it took me no time to read it. It’s too short to hit everything and that’s fine, it’s a good place to start if you want to know more about feminism (especially why ‘feminism’ and not ‘humanism’ or something similar to that). Chimamanda writes eloquently and sharply and I spent most the time reading this nodding along. It’s shortness means it’s really accessible too for teenagers. Which isn’t to say that teenagers don’t read or aren’t big readers, but sometimes a term like ‘feminism’ can be very daunting or seem boring and serious and the length of this book means that it’s easy for all ages to give it a try.


Asking For It by Louise O’Neill

asking for it louise o neill

Speaking of teenagers, this YA book by Louise O’Neill is such an important book which I read last March. Set in a small town in Ireland, 18 year old Emma goes out drinking one weekend and wakes up the next day outside her house with no recollection about how she got there. It’s then revealed online through videos and pictures that she’s been raped. O’Neill handles the aftermath of this ordeal by showing us how rape culture is rife in our community, the title of the book just shows how easily people dismiss rape and sexual assault. If you’ve ever heard things like ‘well dressed like that she’s just asking for attention’, ‘she sleeps around, she’s such a slut’ or ‘look how much she was drinking, she has no respect for herself, of course that happened’ then that’s part of rape culture. We see all these things in play in the novel, along with how the victim is often blamed and is often thought of as a liar until proven right. Thinking about this book makes me angry about the injustices in the world! And how we should all be more supportive and less judgemental of women overall.


I Call Myself a Feminist edited by Victoria Pepe

i call myself a feminist

There are 25 essays in the book, with various accounts of feminism from women under thirty. As with any collection of stories, there’s going to be things that don’t interest you or you disagree with but I still think a collection of stories is a great introduction to the idea of feminism and intersectionality. As a straight white cis-woman, my experiences with feminism is going to be a lot different to other women. There’s a lot of privileges available to me and it’s something I’m aware of and want to educate myself on more. Reading this made me more aware of feminism when it crosses with things like sexuality, race, gender or a mixture of different things. I was aware of these issues individually but reading this book made me more aware of when these things cross over with each other and to be more open to how other people identify with feminism. This also crops up in Kameron Hurley’s The Geek Feminist Revolution where Hurley speaks about what it’s like to be a woman within geek culture and writing speculative fiction.


Animal: The Autobiography of a Female Body by Sara Pascoe

Animal Sara Pascoe

On the subject of intersectionality, Sara addresses the issue of this straight off in her book and continues to say it throughout the book. But she doesn’t set out to be ‘the last word in a conversation’. This book approaches so many different aspects of being a woman: physiological, evolultionary, social. It was interesting to hear things like why our bodies have developed the way they have over the years or how our hormones effect us. We get to hear personal anecdotes from Sarah’s life including when she had an abortion. This is such a big issue Ireland at the moment with the Repeal the 8th movement and something that is still seen as a big taboo to talk about. The books covers a lot of serious issues but done with a humouress touch, I laughed out loud several times while reading this. I have a full review here if you want to read more about this book.


How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran


So I know most lists like this would probably feature Moran’s How to be a Woman and I toyed with adding that but decided on this fiction book instead. HTBAW is non-fiction and we get Moran’s memoirs and experiences with feminism in that and I enjoyed it but didn’t love it. In How to Build a Girl we get a lot of Moran’s early life as it’s a semi-biographical book, so I felt like their was repetition having read How to Build a Woman. I picked this mainly because it’s a YA novel, one with a chubby, slightly awkward and weird protaganist and because the book had a bit of a bite. I liked that this book wasn’t afraid to be frank about things like poverty, masturbation and UTIs w ithout shame or taboo. I’d recommend this to teens who are trying to work out who they are. This book covers reinventing yourself and how it’s ok to try new things to find out who you want to be.


Eat Sweat Play by Anna Kessel

eat sweat play

This book. THIS BOOK! I only read it in January but it’s still on my mind now. Women and sport aren’t really seen as a big part of society. Sure, women and fitness are but not sport. And even women at the top of their game come under fire. Serena Williams comes to mind, I often see something about her online like her appearance on or off court which is insane considering she’s one of the greatest athletes in the world and there’s not a chance there would be articles on how Andy Murray’s court outfit was distracting. This book highlights things sports and pregnancy, periods and the big taboo that still is, sexism in the industry for competitors but also fans and why girls so often love sports when younger but how to diminishes as we get into secondary school. It’s so well researched, empowering and really accessible to read.


If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

If I Was Your Girl

Another book I read in January (and also another YA book! They’re just so accessible and relatable). Women and girls come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. I’ve mentioned a lot of things during this post that apply or could apply to a lot of women like periods and pregnancy but I think it’s worth pointing out that this doesn’t apply to all women. Trans awareness and visability is something that’s so important right now, espcially since there’s big controversies in USA around trans people and bathrooms. If I was Your Girl is not only the story of a trans teenager but is written by a trans woman. We get to see a lot of different issues that a trans woman deals with, I’m sure Russo drew on her own experiences when writing this novel. It’s important to educate ourselves on the different ways people identify as a woman, to embrace these differences and support each other. This novel is a good place to start if you have no previous knowledge or experience with transgender women and it’s something I want to read more about actually.

I could go on and on about books here. There are so many fantastic female authors and illustrators, as well characters in novels and non-fiction books on strong women in all sorts of walks of life. I read mainly women and it’s not a conscious choice for me, I just find I gravitate more towards women. So much can be taken away from a day like International Women’s Day. There’s a lot to be angry about. There’s a lot to be proud about. The positive and the negative emotions are all valid so I’m not going to say ‘concentrate on the positive’. I do however hope that the overwhelming message should be support. Too often women can tear down other women and I just think we should all try to help one another, be kinder to ourselves and to others.

If you have any thoughts on these books or any suggestions for something you love, please leave a comment below and let me know! If I’ve read it, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it. And if I haven’t, I’m always looking forward to new recommendations!

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