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What I Got For Bookmas


My main group of friends meet every Christmas to exchange presents, a tradition we’ve kept going for as long as I can remember.  Some years, these gift giving celebrations have been elaborate, with takeaways, bags and bags filled with gifts, and snack-filled three day sleepovers.

This year we managed to find two days together, wedged in between work shifts and family commitments.  Since we are all bookworms, we thought it might be fun to try a Secret Santa Bookmas, where we would draw someone’s name at random and buy them a book/books up to the value of £10.

Unwrapping our presents was really fun!  It was great to see what everyone had chosen to buy, and the eclectic mix of books really showed how different our tastes were.

Here’s what I received:

A London Year: 365 Days of City Life in Diaries, Journals and Letters

This book looks absolutely fascinating!  It contains diary entries from as far back as the Tudor period, hundreds of years of London life.

The Keeper of Lost Things

I think I’ve loved almost every book my friend has ever recommended to me, so I’m really excited about this one.  From what I’ve seen on Goodreads, it looks like a contemporary fantasy similar to The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, a quirky story that really resonated with me.  I can’t wait to read it.

Of Witchcraft and Whimsy

This is a really sweet little non-fiction book about modern day witchcraft for beginners.  It is a topic that has a special meaning between my friend and I, so it was a really thoughtful gift.

I hope you’re all having a wonderful Christmas, and I’ll see you in the New Year!


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December 25, 2017

New Year’s Resolutions

On the ninth day of Bookmas…

Happy New Year everyone!

I had ten new year’s resolutions for 2015, which I decided halfway through the year was way too many to juggle.  Even though I still achieved many of my goals – I got a 2.1 in my degree, I took a FutureLearn course, I read 50 books – I feel like I was trying to focus on too much at once.

As a result, I’m going to pick five this year – half the resolutions, but double the focus on them (I hope).  I also think that although using the new year to change can be good, it is important to keep in mind that change can happen anytime.  There is a quote I love that I think sums this up really well:

You are under no obligation to be the same person you were five minutes ago.

Why wait til the new year to start afresh, when you can start right now?  Therefore, my new years resolutions are mostly a continuation of on-going ones, with a few exceptions:

  1. Reach 10,000 followers in total for the website, Tumblr, Instagram and Twitter combined (yes you heard right, this is a pretty spectacular total, I’ll admit, but I’m an ambitious person!)
  2. Be fit and healthy (and complete a 5K charity run)
  3. Finish writing a novel (as in, finished finished, not just the completed draft I have at present – either of the two novels currently in progress will do fine)
  4. Go to Japan (just booked my flights!)
  5. Start Serious Saving (this deserves capital letters as it will be a state of mind)

I feel that this year is also the year of Important Life Choices (more important things worthy of capitals).  I figure they will just happen, as they tend to do, so I won’t dwell on them too much now.

I’m also going to continue a mantra that I have been pushing for the past year, which has proved successful! I saw it summed up perfectly on a postcard recently: ‘Dream it. Believe it. Achieve it.’ Basically, don’t just talk about it, do it.

What are your new years resolutions?  Do you agree that change can happen anytime, or does having an official date in the calender make goals more easy to kickstart?


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January 2, 2016

First Lines Friday: 1st January

On the eighth day of Bookmas…

first lines fridays

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words.  Judge a book by its opening lines, and not by its cover!  I’ve gone for a festive book this week, in line with the ongoing Bookmas celebrations.  I wonder if those of you who follow my blog frequently will have an inkling as to what it might be…

The rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (or your current read) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines to capture the reader’s attention
  • Finally… reveal the book!

With a heavy heart I placed the sign in the display window.
All books 50% off.
If things didn’t pick up soon, it would read Closing down sale.  The thought alone was enough to make me shiver.

Read on to find out which book this extract is from…



The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

The Little Bookshop on the Seine

Goodreads | Amazon


Bookshop owner Sarah Smith has been offered the opportunity to exchange bookshops with her new Parisian friend for 6 months! And saying yes is a no-brainer – after all, what kind of a romantic would turn down a trip to Paris… for Christmas?

Even if it does mean leaving the irresistible Ridge Warner behind, Sarah’s sure she’s in for the holiday of a lifetime – complete with all the books she can read!

Imagining days surrounded by books, munching on croissants, sipping café au laits and watching the snow fall on the Champs-Élysées Sarah boards the plane.

But will her dream of a Parisian Happily-Ever-After come true? Or will Sarah realise that the dream of a Christmas fairytale in the city of love isn’t quite as rosy in reality…

Sound familiar?  The Little Bookshop on the Seine was the Words & Geeks Book Club choice for December – we were thrilled to grab this Q&A with Rebecca Raisin.

Also, if you want to try First Lines Fridays yourself, copy and paste the rules above and tag me/comment below, so I can take a look!

Happy new year and as always, happy reading!


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January 1, 2016

Audiobook Challenge Wrap-Up

On the sixth day of Bookmas…

The 2015 Audiobook Challenge is over!  This is one challenge I will definitely be taking up again in 2016; it has helped me to engage once more with audiobooks.  I am in awe over my final audiobook total for this year, as I only started the challenge in May.  I really thought I wouldn’t listen to more than 5/6 audiobooks (making me a Weekend Warrior, though only just), especially as I didn’t listen to anything on the bus or train.  In fact, I wondered if it was even possible to listen at any time other than in bed for ten minutes before sleep.

As it is, I’m feeling quite smug about how innovative I have been with my listening habits.  It has been a year full of D.I.Y in my house, and a perfect time to play some audiobooks to fill the hours of painting.  As much of the painting was done with my Mum, it was fun to listen to and giggle along to the same story, and to update each other on what we had missed if one of us left the room.  I also found that listening to audiobooks was a good way of passing the time on the treadmill or exercise bike, as my phone doesn’t have enough storage for music, but Overdrive let me listen to as much as I wanted.

So here we are, my final list of audiobooks for 2015 (not all of them have links as some seem to be really hard to get hold of!):

1. Coraline (written by Neil Gaiman, narrated by Dawn French)Coraline audiobook

The Book Depository (sadly, my version narrated by Dawn French isn’t available on The Book Depository, but this version is narrated by the author) | Audible

2. The Bonesetter’s Daughter (written by Amy Tan, narrated by Amy Tan and Joan Chen)


3. Big Girl Panties (written by Stephanie Evanovich, narrated by Katie Schorr)

The Book Depository | Audible

I really didn’t know what to expect when I downloaded this one, but it ended up being really entertaining.  I’m not convinced that the message of the story is particularly a positive one, but a good (and at times saucy) story all the same.

4. The Good House (written by Ann Leary, narrated by Caitlin Thorburn)

The Book Depository | Audible

5. The Night Circus (written by Erin Morgenstern, narrated by Jim Dale)

The Book Depository | Audible

I ranted about how much I love The Night Circus back in August’s update, and my opinion hasn’t changed much since then!

6. Slummy Mummy (written by Fiona Neill, narrated by Katherine Kellgren)

The Book Depository

I wouldn’t consider this my usual cup of tea, and I don’t think I even would have glanced at the book if it hadn’t been for the audiobook catching my eye.  Katherine Kellgren as narrator was perfect for Lucy the protagonist, and portrayed her dry wit very well.

7. Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict (written by Laurie Viera Rigler, narrated by Liza Ross)

The Book DepositoryAudible

I figure the author must have done a lot of research to write this one, as she goes to so much effort to bring history to life; I felt I was actually there, mingling with the Georgian gentry alongside Jane/Courtney.  Minus points for James’ unconvincing accent.

8. The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight (written by Jenny Valentine, narrated by Joe Van Moyland)

The Book DepositoryAudible

Final level for 2015 Audiobook Challenge: Weeekend Warrior (5-10)

More information about the challenge can be found at The Book Nympho.

Did anyone else do this challenge this year?  I’d love to know what levels everyone managed to achieve!


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December 30, 2015