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Christmas

A Bookish Christmas Haul

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas yesterday.  We’re not quite ready to return to normality yet in my house, and are still enjoying PJs, board games, family time and feasts.  It’s been nice to really unwind from work, giving me some time to enjoy some of the new books I was kindly gifted for Christmas:

Body Positive Power

Body Positive Power by Megan Jayne Crabbe

I find Megan hugely inspirational – her Instagram is a happy place of confidence and colour, and I can’t wait to see what she has to say in her book all about body confidence.

Username: Evie

Username: Evie by Joe Sugg

I read this graphic novel a while ago, and I’m thrilled to finally own a copy!  I actually reviewed this book last year if you want to see my thoughts on it (spoiler: I rated it 5/5).

100 Nights of Hero

One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg

This is the chunkiest graphic novel on my shelf to date!  I adore Isabel Greenberg’s work, and this is an excellent follow-up to the brilliant The Encyclopedia of Early Earth – really quite a unique piece of art.  You can view her many, many amazing projects on her website: http://www.isabelnecessary.com


Which new books did you get for Christmas?

Emma

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December 26, 2017
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What I Got For Bookmas

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!

Emma

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December 25, 2017
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Christmas Traditions

Christmas

These last few years have seen major changes in my household, and one thing that I’m sure of is that very soon Christmas will be changing, with old traditions making way for new ones.  That’s sad in a way, but exciting too – who knows what great ideas will be introduced into the mix.  I thought I’d honour all of our little family traditions by sharing them here, as for some of them it could be their last Christmas.

A Nightmare Before Christmas

I don’t mean that we all have bad dreams on the night before Christmas.  Instead, every Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember, we’ve sat down as a family and watched Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas.  The animation is stunning, the songs and story are so unique, and best of all – it always gets us in the festive spirit!

Pillowcase stockings

I don’t know the origins of this tradition for my family, but we’ve always used pillowcases instead of traditional stockings.  Filling one with smaller presents was always something my parents did for us as kids, but I remember one Christmas my sister and I prepared a small pillowcase stocking for my Mum as a nice surprise.  I’m getting too old for a stocking now, but I love keeping this tradition alive for my younger sister.

A new addition to the tree

This is a fairly new tradition that I actually introduced only a couple of years ago.  Now, every year we buy a Christmas tree decoration that means something special to the family – something that reflects the year that has passed, or something from a personal adventure.  One year I brought hand-sewn Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth decorations back from a trip to the Jane Austen Centre in Bath – personal favourites of mine!

Roast lamb with jam

Of all the Christmases I can remember, I think maybe one included turkey.  We usually have lamb for our Christmas dinner, with strawberry jam (as well as all the usual tasty trimmings).  Anyone I’ve told this to before has been really confused, but I’ve been having it for so many years that it doesn’t seem odd to me (or my taste buds) at all – it’s not all that different from cranberry sauce with turkey!

Write on the tree topper

My Mum started this tradition when she was a younger woman living with my Dad.  Every year she writes a line or two on the back of a wooden tree topper about the key events of the past twelve months, including births, deaths, engagements, holidays, new jobs – that sort of thing.  When I move out next year, I’m actually going to buy a tree topper to write on for myself, to commemorate a new phase in my life.

Tree presents

We really like to split up the opening of presents – a few in the pillowcase stockings, some under the tree, and then at the very end of the evening we each open a present that has been hiding in the tree.  This has turned into a Secret Santa event in recent years, with everyone quietly sneaking their recipient’s gift into the tree over the few days leading up to Christmas.


There we have it!  It’s funny that when I actually sit down and compile a list like this, I realise just how many traditions this family has!  I know that some of them I will introduce one day to my future children, but I’m also excited about growing new traditions when I move out.

What Christmas traditions do you have?

Emma

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December 21, 2017
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Book Review: The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

The Little Bookshop on the Seine

Title: The Little Bookshop on the Seine

Author: Rebecca Raisin

Genre: Fiction, Chick Lit, Christmas, Contemporary, Romance, Cultural (France)

First Published: October 2015

‘It was easier to hide behind the cover of my books, and I found happiness there.’

INFO | Goodreads 

BUY | Amazon


_Summary

Small town bookshop owner Sarah Smith is asked by her heartbroken Parisian friend to do a bookshop exchange. With her boyfriend caught up in his job as a reporter, Sarah decides to step out of her comfort zone and move to Paris in search of adventure.

_review

Not usually one for chick lits, I was encouraged by fellow book club members Jess (The Teacup Library) and Emily (The Geek Undergraduate) to consider this book for our Christmas read.  I am pleased to say that I have been truly converted by the experience, and have so many good things to say about this book.

Firstly, let’s talk characters.  Sarah is our narrator and is exactly my kind of protagonist. She is shy and bookish, with a romantic view of the world.  Her beautiful descriptions of Paris read like something out of a travel guide, and will trigger wanderlust in everyone who reads them.  Rebecca Raisin writes with great knowledge and passion about the city and culture, and it is easy to be transported to the busy little bookshop on the Seine.  Much to my delight, Sarah’s transition to the new shop is not easy – the challenges she faces with finances and staff are very real, and I love to see characters problem-solve.  For Sarah, getting things in line at the bookshop were a major part of her character development, and certainly made things more exciting!

Ridge (Sarah’s partner) isn’t my cup of tea, but I can appreciate what Sarah sees in him – he shows a great deal of affection towards her, and seems genuinely guilty for not being around more. I like that there is a lot of mystery surrounding his work and schedule, and this fuels Sarah’s and the reader’s fear that he is being led astray during his long stints away from home. I was quick to believe that he could be unfaithful, but this became less likely as I read on, as I trusted in Sarah’s judgement of him.  Even so, I was unsure which direction their relationship would take – with her new found confidence, Sarah must choose whether to let the love of her life go, or to learn to live with his hectic lifestyle.  This builds up to a nice little twist at the end which I wasn’t expecting.

I was led to assume – probably from other books I have read – that things would fall apart with Ridge and she would get swept up by a certain sexy Parisian writer. It just wasn’t about that at all, and I can only applaud author Rebecca Raisin for producing a strong character in a strong and healthy relationship.  The characters show that communication is key, and the moral of the story is that by being honest with each other, Sarah and Ridge are able to talk openly about their feelings.  This was so refreshing – how many books have I read where couples just don’t talk to each other like normal people?

‘I had to remember my life wasn’t a romance novel, no matter how much I wanted it to be.’

This book is about love and romance but even more so it is about friendship and independence. It was a huge deal for me that Sarah gained confidence in herself and gave time to form friendships and focus on business in the bookshop.  I found the bookshop staff to all be unique with distinctive personalities and backgrounds.  I developed a soft spot for TJ, and was pleased that Sarah was able to make more than one male friend who had no interest in pursuing something romantic with her.

My only criticism is that I felt the ending was slightly rushed.  I loved how loose ends were tied up, but after the whole novel had been so steadily paced, it did feel that suddenly a lot of events happened at once.  I’m probably just nitpicking now!

I’m glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone like Sarah and picked up a chick lit this Christmas.  I’ve discovered a wonderful book and a brand new author I’ll be reading more of in the future!

Star Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)


Thank you for joining us for this month’s book club!  If you are interested in Rebecca Raisin’s work, she was kind enough to participate in a Q&A earlier in the month, available to read here.

Happy reading!

Emma

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December 31, 2015
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Five Book Ideas For Your Friends This Christmas

I’ve made a list of five books that would make truly smashing presents for bookworms this Christmas.

1.) Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Illustrated Edition)Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Perfect for… Fans of Harry Potter, of course!  Also for any young family members who aren’t ready to tackle the original version just yet.  The illustrations are beautiful; this would certainly be a book to treasure.  A gallery of Jim Kay’s other artwork can be found here, to give a taste of the style found in the book.

Goodreads | The Book Depository | Amazon

2.) The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy

Perfect for… Self-professed geeks!  This little guide has advice on comic conventions, cosplay and fanfic, with lots of adorable illustrations throughout.  The book is written by Sam Maggs, who was named Awesome Geek Feminist of the Year; her website and blog can be found here.  There is even a book trailer, which I personally think is amazing:

Goodreads | The Book Depository | Amazon

3.) Spectacles26122044

Perfect for… Bake Off fans and comedy lovers. Sue Perkins is one half of popular British comedy duo Mel and Sue, and this autobiography follows her through her childhood, early days in comedy and experiences in television.  I described this book recently in One Sentence Wednesdays: ‘I’ve been belly laughing since page 1!’

Goodreads | The Book Depository | Amazon

4.) Suicide Squad vol. 113227276

Perfect for… Those friends of yours that can’t stop sharing Suicide Squad trailers on Facebook (or is that just me?).  DC fans will love this comic; the story binds together some of our favourite Gotham characters!  The book received mixed reviews on Goodreads (many fans of the series are disappointed with the reboot); however, as a newbie to the series, I loved the comic and gave it a five-star rating.

Goodreads | The Book Depository | Amazon

5.) Me, Earl and the Dying Girl12700353

Perfect for… People who found The Fault In Our Stars just too soppy. This book takes its own very unique approach to terminal illness in young people; it is tongue-in-cheek – with classic lines like ‘the most beautiful thing about you is that you are not a sock puppet’ – but it is honest, and tears are still likely to be shed.  This book was read in October for the Words & Geeks Book Club, and it did not disappoint!  Review available here.

Goodreads | The Book Depository | Amazon


Which books are on your Christmas list this year?  Will you be gifting any of the above to your friends?

Emma

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December 8, 2015
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20 Ideas for Bookmas

Bookmas is coming!  I love hosting events on the site, so what better thing to do than combine my favourite festive holiday with twelve days of bookish posts.

I did promise a little while ago that I would at some point offer up some ideas for posts over the Bookmas period.  So here we have it, I’ve come up with twenty ideas, covering Christmas and New Year, with days and days of potential features in between!

  1. Christmas book haul
  2. Favourite Christmas book you read as a child
  3. First Lines Fridays (weekly book feature hosted by Wandering Words)
  4. A book review of your favourite read of December
  5. Christmas book tags (there’s plenty of them about)
  6. Join the Words & Geeks Book Club for our December book: The Little Bookshop on the Seine and post about your reading progress
  7. Teaser Tuesdays (weekly book feature hosted by A Daily Rhythm)
  8. Top Ten Tuesday (weekly book feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)
  9. Favourite book blogs of 2015
  10. A yearly wrap-up of all your 2015 activity – blogish and otherwise
  11. Top 5 or 10 book recommendations of books you’ve read in 2015
  12. One Sentence Wednesdays (weekly book feature hosted by Books and Messy Buns)
  13. 5 things about book blogging you have learnt this year
  14. Christmas present ideas for book lovers
  15. New years resolutions for 2016
  16. Top book quotes from 2015
  17. Your 2016 TBR
  18. A festive writing prompt
  19. Conclusions to 2015 book challenges – did you reach your goals?
  20. 5 books you’ll be buying with money received at Christmas

If you can think of more, share your ideas below!  Hopefully there will be enough here to inspire posts for all twelve days of Bookmas.

Emma

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November 28, 2015
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