Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Book Review: When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman

Hey everyone! I recently finished When God Was a Rabbit and I really enjoyed it. It was a pretty unusual read so I thought you guys would like to know my thoughts about it. Here we go!


Cover and description from Goodreads

This is a book about a brother and a sister. It's a book about secrets and starting over, friendship and family, triumph and tragedy, and everything in between. More than anything, it's a book about love in all its forms.

In a remarkably honest and confident voice, Sarah Winman has written the story of a memorable young heroine, Elly, and her loss of innocence- a magical portrait of growing up and the pull and power of family ties. From Essex and Cornwall to the streets of New York, from 1968 to the events of 9/11, When God Was a Rabbit follows the evolving bond of love and secrets between Elly and her brother Joe, and her increasing concern for an unusual best friend, Jenny Penny, who has secrets of her own. With its wit and humor, engaging characters whose eccentricities are adroitly and sometimes darkly drawn, and its themes of memory and identity, When God Was a Rabbit is a love letter to true friendship and fraternal love.

What's the deal?

When God Was a Rabbit is a complex, thought-provoking book about friendship and family, and especially the relationship between Elly and her elder brother Joe. The book begins in 1968 at Elly's birth. Almost immediately, Joe is seen as a protector and comforter, the most important and constant thing in Elly's life. We then follow the siblings through the years - Elly gets a rabbit, whom Joe names God, she makes a new friend (Jenny Penny), she learns a shocking secret about Joe that must not be told. But through thick and thin Elly and Joe stick together. Even other friendships, illicit relationships and scandalous secrets don't get between them. The book also follows them both through adolescence in a tranquil, idyllic, house right next to the sea, and into adulthood, when Elly is cooped up in a tiny flat and Joe has fled to New York to escape himself. In spirit at least, Elly manages to escape with him. Life continues to throw them curve-balls however, and one of the most terrible tragedies of the modern world threatens their bond, happiness, and even existence.

How does it work?

When God Was a Rabbit is written in first person narrative - the narrator is the main protagonist, Elly. At times, the narrative can be very disjointed, but it's fast paced and interesting throughout. There's a pretty heady mix of angst, joy and passion from beginning to end, as well as mystery and suspense. Although Elly (and Joe) are the main characters, the supporting characters all have their own problems and joys too, most notably Aunt Nancy, Jenny Penny, Charlie, Arthur and Ginger. The entire book is from Elly's point of view, but manages to do a pretty good job of telling the other characters' stories too.

Completely Loved:
  • This book has such an interesting concept. I don't think I've read anything that travels to such depths of philosophy and mind without being too heavy or academic. It was funny, heart warming and interesting all the way through.
  • The themes running through this book were beautifully interwoven. As well as the obvious relationship/family/friendship thing going on, there was amazing thoughts of religion and belonging, loss and sacrifice, hope and joy threading through each chapter and scene in a way that is obvious and yet not unbearably so.
Not so much:
  • I felt like some of the themes running through the book were not tied up neatly. A lot was left to speculation, some of it felt too "fantasy" to belong in the real world setting of the book, and in some parts (and I don't know about you but) I just wished things had been explained, or at least tied up a little more thoroughly.
  • Also, in some parts, what was actually happening was quite unclear. This sort of fits in with the style of narration and all that, so didn't feel completely amiss, but at some points I had to go back a few pages, reread some passages and then go "oh right, that's what happened there". 

"I divide my life into two parts. Not really a before and after, more as if they are bookends, holding together flaccid years of empty musings, years of the late adolescence or the twentysomething whose coat of adulthood simply does not fit" - Elly, at the first part of the book.

"My feet felt the earth as fragile as eggshells"

"I stared at her, both attracted and repulsed by the suddenness of her violence, by the calm now sweeping across her face" - Elly, on Jenny Penny.

"It was an exaggerated energy born of the dangerous, an energy that could unexpectedly turn play into war"

"It is the source of art, of beauty, of love, and proffers the ultimate goodness to mankind. That to me is God. That to me is life"

Final Thoughts

I give When God Was a Rabbit 3.5 out of 5. It was a haunting, complex novel that resonates and stays with you long after you finish it. It was, all at once, easy to read and yet full of philosophical meaning. I would definitely recommend this to young adults, teenagers trying to find their way, or anyone who wants their faith in the world to be reaffirmed.

Have you read When God Was a Rabbit? If so, leave a comment telling me if you enjoyed it or not, and why. Maybe this book isn't for everyone, but I definitely think you should give it a chance! I'm sorry I've got a little behind schedule this week, and so my next My Mad Fat Diary re-watch post will be up a little later than planned (probably Friday). See you then!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

My Mad Fat Diary Rewatch Project: S1 Ep1

Hey everyone! So, I watched the first few episodes of My Mad Fat Diary when it first came out last year, but I got behind on the episodes and then the season ended and I just never caught up. However, now season 2 has started I thought that, since I did actually enjoy what I watched of season 1, I would start the whole thing again so I can watch season 2 (which a few friends have DEMANDED I watch so I can discuss it with them). I'm one of those people who just has to watch every episode of a series in order from the beginning and I thought it would be fun to do a feature post here of each episode. This will be a regular feature (once a week) and I will describe and summarise each episode along with my musings and general thoughts. This means that, unlike most of my reviews, there will be SPOILERS! In case you were wondering, I'm watching these episodes on 4od (online) and the site advises that those aged 18+ only watch it; however, be aware that the DVD is cert 15. My Mad Fat Diary is a true (albeit maybe somewhat exaggerated for the sake of the TV show) story based on the memoirs of Rae Earl - which, incidentally, I also really want to read. So let's begin!

Season 1, Episode 1

In the opening episode, Rae is discharged from psychiatric hospital. Back in the real world, all she wants is to be a normal teenager, but when you're secretly mad it's not that simple.

The episode starts with Rae meeting Kester, her new therapist/counsellor person. Kester encourages Rae to keep a diary, and asked her how her week had been. We then flashback to (presumably) the start of the week, which is when most of the episode takes place.

It's the day Rae is due for release from psychiatric hospital and she's hiding in the toilets comforting her best friend and fellow patient Tix. After assuring Tix that she'll visit often, Rae leaves the hospital and stands outside the front doors where her journey forward into the future is hampered somewhat by a "freak-out" (as Rae likes to say). After barricading herself in a phone box, receiving the wise advice "count to 10" from Tix and waiting 40 minutes for her lift, Rae is finally on her way home with her mum, who is on day W of the Alphabet Diet (but she can eat Blue Ribbons because, as Rae so helpfully points out, they have wafer in). On the way home, Rae spots Chloe, an old friend, on the back of a hot guy's motorbike. Wowzers. Mum told Chloe that Rae was in France for a while (instead of, you know, in the psych. hospital), and so Chloe invites Rae to the pub with the gang. Rae says yes. Because this will go well.

When they finally get home, Mum opens the boot of the car and lo and behold out pops Karim, her illegal immigrant lover. Yeah. Rae stresses the difference between snacking and binging (while looking at the glowing food cupboard), and then goes to her room, which she calls the "scene of the crime". This, and the suspicious stain on the carpet that someone has tried desperately to bleach out, suggests that Rae was in psych. hospital for self harm or a suicide attempt.

Rae and Chloe then go to the pub and meet up with the gang to drink (most probably underage). All seems to be going well so far, and Rae is in love (lust?) with Archie who, as well as being cute, can sing AND play guitar. We all like a guy who's good with his hands after all. Afterwards at the chippie, Rae discovers the rest of the gang which consists of Chloe, Izzy, Chop, Finn (whoa...) and Archie (as I say, lust at first sight for Rae). A food fight ensues and they all get kicked out. You know, typical cool kid stuff (yeah, me neither). The atmosphere is dampened slightly for viewers when Rae reaches out for the camera to take a photo and has to quickly zip her jacket sleeve up to cover her scars. More evidence for self harm?

Back home, Rae plays the old "if this crumpled ball of paper goes in that bin over there, Archie will have sex with me" game. She misses. Repeatedly. Then she has a VERY erotic dream of Archie and her (complete with condom - good girl). The noise turns out to be Mum and her lover, which is a bit of a downer. When confronting Mum about it, Rae gives us a countdown of the 3 worst things she's ever said to her Mum. Number 1 is calling Mum a screwup and blaming her for all Rae's mental health problems, which is way harsh.

Rae gains membership of the gang with her awesome music taste (despite initial apprehension from Finn) and gets invited to Chloe's pool party and in her panic drinks a pint in one go. Not a good idea. Later, while swimwear shopping, Chloe sets the smoke alarms in the shop off (smoking) and the shop gets evacuated. Rae must stand outside, on a busy street, in her bra and with just a blow up crocodile to preserve her modesty. OMG. Mortifying. There is a difference between snacking and binging. Unfortunately, this experience led Rae to binge. Big time. And run back to the psych. hospital toilet in tears.

She pours her heart out to Tix before realising that Tix isn't in her usual cubical. When Tix comes in, she shows Rae no sympathy when Rae says she wants to go back to the hospital. Good. I think Tix's berating is just what Rae needed. She returns home and decides that she won't swim at the pool party, but will take a ton of her mum's booze over so no one will notice (why do teenagers on TV always think this?). She tries to sneak out of her bedroom window (why do they always do this too?) and falls on flowerpots, cutting her arm and back. In the end, she needn't have bothered sneaking out because her mum patched her up and gave her more booze anyway.

When she gets to the party, Archie makes a big deal out of his "backne" and makes a deal with Rae that he'll go swimming if she does. I strongly suspect that there wasn't actually anything wrong with his back (or if there was, he wasn't self conscious about it) but he just said it for Rae's benefit and I love him for that. Chloe calls Rae boring for not joining in and getting involved in the fun so Rae DOES get involved and ends up stuck in the pool slide. Awkward...

It fades to black and goes back to the present, and Rae's session with Kester. Rae is not saying much so Kester complains about his life instead (kinda nontraditional but hey ho) which gets Rae to relax and feel a bit better. Kester then throws the artwork from the walls out of the widow because Rae doesn't like it, and says he'll just blame Rae if anyone asks. I feel like Kester is the kind of therapist that, if you saw him in action, you would NEVER allow to counsel people, but his method really does work.

Flashback to slide and Rae is stuck and panicking. Everyone can see the scars on her legs. Everyone - all the people she so desperately wants to impress and fit in with. However, she manages to laugh it off (good for her!) and Chop frees her from the slide. Everyone is laughing in the pool, then the sauna (seriously, how rich is Chloe?), then the pool again except for Chloe who finds Rae's psych. hospital bracelet. Uh oh.

Random Observations:

Finn is so hot in that "grrr I'm sexy and mysterious" way. So hot!
I can't decide so far if Chloe is a slut or just an attention seeker, a snob or an actually nice person. Hmm...
Also, did anyone else notice that Kester has kinda sticky-out ears? Just me?

Best line:

"Everyone in here is holding onto their lives by their fingertips, Rae, and you've been given the chance to start again and you don't want it?" - Tix, when she's telling Rae off for trying to go back to the psych. hospital.

So that concludes the first episode! This post ended up being a lot longer than I thought it would be, but hopefully not too long for you guys. I'll post the same for the second episode next week. My next post will probably be a book review so see you then!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Film Review: The Book Thief

Hey everyone! Recently I went to see The Book Thief at the cinema for my birthday. I have the book and have read it, like, 4 times but it was a while ago so, while I remembered the main events, I can't remember the book in detail. This is good (for me) because it means I can watch the film as a film, not compare it ruthlessly to the book. This post is a review of the film, and will NOT mention the book in length. However, watching the film has really made me want to read the book again, so look out for a review of the book, AND possibly a comparison post in the future. But, back to the film!

This is the UK film poster, and I saw it on the 28th February (it came out on the 26th in England.)

What's going on?

The Book Thief is narrated by Death, and follows a young girl named Liesel Meminger who is sent to live with Rosa and Hans Hubermann alone after her brother dies as they are traveling across the country. Liesel makes friends with Rudy, a young boy who lives next door to the Hubermanns. Liesel starts to settle into life with the Hubermanns,; however, more chaos arrives in the form of Max, a young Jew who escaped the Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) with a set of false documents and not a lot more and seeks refuge with Hans Hubermann, who knew Max's father. Max hides in the Hubermanns basement for a while as Germany becomes more and more unstable and dangerous. Men go off to fight and return from the front-line but, as the Third Reich gets stronger and the War nears its end, ultimately no one can completely escape the horrors of war or the devastation of the bombs.

So how was it?

I don't know whether I'm just a complete, emotional sap when it comes to, well anything really, but the tears were pouring pretty much every second from when Liesel's brother died - and that was the very first thing to happen! But it wasn't just me. There were plenty of times when the rest of the audience was in tears too. I thought the film was actually pretty good. There was a nice balance between the lighthearted, "child" moments that Liesel and Rudy share, and the adult themes that neither of them quite understand but both know are bad.

One thing I wasn't so impressed by was Death as a narrator/commentator. I understand it must be very hard to use Death exactly as it is in the book - an observer, narrating and commenting on events in an ironic sort of manner - but in the film Death seemed to just be a simple narrator to take the audience into each new setting or event. Also, although the film was emotional enough (did I mention I was severely dehydrated because of the amount of tears shed?) it lacked the depth of the book. The whole film was, not childish, but certainly not descriptive and I can't help but feel that it didn't do important events in history (such as the Kristallnacht) justice.

Final thoughts

The Book Thief was a good film, one I very much enjoyed. Although I was slightly disappointed by the lack of depth in it, I still felt attached enough to the characters and plot to be completely distraught at several parts. Also, the acting was so impressive, especially Sophie Nelisse (Liesel), and I found I could really connect with the characters. Every actor/actress made their character seem so real, and they all had great screen chemistry which made watching them a joy to watch. I definitely want to see this film again, and am already looking forward to the DVD! I would give The Book Thief 3.7 out of 5, and have already recommended it to all of my friends.

I hope you enjoyed this review! If you've seen The Book Thief, please comment and tell me what you thought. Is it as good as the book? What did you think of the casting? See you again soon!

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

February Wrap Up and March Goals

Hey everyone. As promised, this post is a February wrap up and March goals type thing - basically all the books I've read in the month of February and the books I plan on reading in March. This will be a monthly feature, I think, to help me keep up with myself. So, let's crack on!

February Wrap Up

  • The first book I read in February was Gypsy Wedding Dreams by Thelma Madine. I quite enjoyed this book, and it only took a few days to read in those little boring moments of the day. I did a review of this, which you can find here.
  • The second book was Flour Babies by Anne Fine. This was a shortish one that I never actually did a review on. I've read it a few times before and, although it's far from a favourite of mine, I read it just to pass a lunchtime at college. It was okay, but I would only read it if I was needed something quick to fill some time, and I wouldn't necessarily recommend it eagerly to people.
  • The third book of February was Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd. As you might remember from my review of this one (which can be found here), I really enjoyed this book. It was pretty fast paced, and so quick to get through, but you didn't feel like you were rushing it. I would definitely recommend this one, so pick it up and read if you ever see it around. I'd never heard of it before I spotted it in the library and borrowed it for one of my reading challenges, but I'm so glad I picked it up.
  • The final book I read in February is Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce. Although I put my review for this (here) up in March, I finished it on the last day of February. I really did enjoy this book; it put an interesting spin on classic themes, and I'd like to read the rest of Pearce's fairytale retelling series. I would also highly recommend this one.

March Goals

My goal for March is really just to finish all the books I'm currently reading before I start anymore. I'm halfway through several and I think I need to finish them (or at least most of them) before I try to start any others. I did a post on my ongoing reads in February here and, although I've finished one of them by now, I've also added two to the list. I know, I know. I'm more than 3/4 way through three of them though, so look out for reviews of those soon.

Reading Challenges

My reading challenge sign up post is here. The goals I set myself are: Explorer Level (6-10 books) for the Nonfiction Challenge; 15 books for the Fur & Fangs Challenge; and Shamrock level (4 books) for the Ireland Challenge.
So far, I've read 1 book for the Nonfiction Challenge (here), 1 book for the Ireland Challenge (here) and 1 book for the Fur & Fangs Challenge (here). Pretty good going, I think, for 2 months into the year. 

So that's my wrap up and goals for this month. Hope you all had a good February - if you do a February Wrap Up and March Goals post too then put a comment on this post and I'll check it out. I think my next post will be a review of The Book Thief film (which I saw for my birthday), and I also have some more book reviews and another regular feature project that I'm really excited about. See you soon!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Book Review: Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Hey everyone! I just finished Sisters Red and thought I'd do a review - I loved this book! I read this book for the 2014 Fur and Fangs Challenge hosted by Novel Heartbeat (also check out my challenge sign up post here). You can find the cover and Goodreads description on my Library Haul post, so I'll just jump straight in with the review. Enjoy!

What's the deal?

Sisters Red is about 2 sisters (Scarlett, the oldest, and Rosie, the youngest) who were victims of a terrible attack by a vicious Fenris (werewolf). Although Scarlett fought the Fenris off to save herself and her sister, she was left with terrible scars and an appetite for revenge. Rosie, forever indebted to Scarlett, helps her sister hunt down other Fenris to save young girls from suffering the same (or worse) fate. They also hunt with Silas (cute boy and lethal with an axe), the son of a woodsman who is estranged from his family. Although they live (reasonably happily) in a small town, the three travel to Atlanta to suss out why the Fenris packs are joining forces, and what they're looking for. This is where the action goes down (in more ways than one).

How does it work?

The book is told in first person narrative, and is split between Rosie and Scarlett's perspectives. The exception to this is the prologue and epilogue, which are both told in the third person. The main section of the book happens in a very short period of time, and because of this the action seems more urgent, the atmosphere tense. The story is quite fast paced (in that a lot happens in short bursts), but it also has enough passages about mundane everyday stuff (like shopping and taking classes) to make it more realistic, in the sense that you can imagine this type of thing happening in the city you live in. And of course, fighting werewolves isn't the only action (but if you want to know more, you'll have to read the book).

The tone of the book is quite, well, there's a lot of angst, put it that way. There's palpable tension, first between Silas and Rosie, then between Silas and Rosie AND Scarlett, and then there's less tension and more action. There's quite a few twists and turns too. I guessed a few things at the beginning of the book, then it turned out I was wrong as new info was uncovered, THEN even more happened and it turned out nothing was as you thought at all. I tell you what! I was welling up towards the end as well and then ANOTHER twist happened. You never knew what was going down with this one (in a good way though). The prologue and epilogue were good as well, with the prologue setting the scene and helping you to understand the characters motivations, and the epilogue providing what I thought was a very bittersweet ending. It was also interesting to see both sisters points of view, as it showed just how much they differed, but also how similar they were. Two halves of the same heart and all that (seriously, read it).

Completely Loved:
  • Werewolves. The Fenris in this book are different to the "normal" variety found in most werewolf books. They kind of seem like a cross between werewolves and shape-shifters (evil monsters who can turn any time of day or night). Pearce's wolves are edgy and dangerous, and seem more thrilling than traditional ones. It's a new and exciting concept.
  • Silas. Who doesn't love a bit of eye candy who can hold his own in a fight against supernatural creatures? I imagine him to be the mysterious, smouldering, sexy type. And the boy can wield an axe too...
  • The whole plot of this book was fun and interesting, with the darker bits and uplifting bits balancing each other out. I was totally gripped from start to finish.
  • I also liked the concept of the cover. I thought how all the bits melt into each other was a really cool idea.
Not so much:
  • Silas and Scarlett are hunting partners. Best Friends. I loved that relationship, which makes a few pages (and one particular part of the backstory which is revealed there) about 3/4 of the way through not so good for me. I'd hoped Silas WOULDN'T be the sort of guy to jump from his crush to the "next-best-thing" type scenario.
  • In the same area of the book, Rosie seems to become whiny and clingy again. She has some great character development throughout the course of the book and I get why she's upset in this particular part, but she's spent 3/4 of the book trying to prove that she's strong, confident and independent and, for me, her character was sort of undermined in those few chapters.


"I am confident, I am capable, and I will not wait to be rescued by a woodsman or a hunter" - Rosie. I like this quote because I think it's here that I as a reader realised that Rosie is just as strong as Scarlett, and she's not just the little sister anymore.

"My sister has the heart of an artist with a hatchet and an eye patch. And I, we both now know, have a heart that is undeniably, irreparably different" - Rosie.

"I follow, always, because it's the only time when I'm certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we are one person broken in two" - Rosie.

Final Thoughts

I give Sisters Red 4 out of 5. It was an enjoyable and well paced read, and kept me hooked throughout. There was a brilliant mix of action and romance that meant I was never bored waiting for something to happen. I very much enjoyed the rather unique spin on the "tried-and-tested" themes of werewolves and fairytales, and I now really want to read Pearce's other books.

Thanks for reading guys and I hope you enjoyed it! Next post will be a February wrap up/March goals type thing. See you next time!

Comfy Travelling Clothes

Comfy Travelling Clothes

Denim shirt
$33 - bonprix.co.uk

Capri pants

Converse shoes
$97 - welikefashion.com

Rochas leather handbag
$1,155 - harveynichols.com

Sunday, 23 February 2014


Hey guys! I thought I'd do something a bit different for this post, so I decided to do the TMI (Too Much Info) Tag. Hope you enjoy!

1: What are you wearing? 

  •  I'm not doing anything today so I'm in my comfy jeans and Little Mix tour T-Shirt. And bed-socks...

2: Ever been in love? 

  • I'm a firm believer that if you're in love you know it, and you can't deny it, no matter how much you might want to. So going by that logic, no I've never been in love.

3: Ever had a terrible breakup? 

  • All breakups are going to be bad to some extent, but I'm lucky that (so far) I haven't had any terrible ones.

4: How tall are you? 

  • Technically, probably about 5' 4", but I tend to say I'm 5' 5" (shhh, don't tell!)

5: How much do you weigh? 

  • I'd prefer not to answer this, but I'll say that I think I weigh a bit too much and so I'm try to lose a few pounds.

6: Any tattoos? 

  • Not yet, but there are a few tattoos I'll get sometime in the future!

7: Any piercings? 

  • I have my ears pierced twice (once in the normal spot on the lobes, and then again above the first holes). The only other thing I'd ever get pierced is my belly button - if I ever get toned enough to make it look good!

8: OTP? 

  • I have so many it's absolutely unreal! I think my current all time OTPs are Hugustus (Hazel/Augustus), Wolfstar (Sirius/Remus, either romance or friendship), Janto (Captain Jack Harkness/Ianto) and Scorbus (Scorpius/Albus Severus).

9: Favourite show? 

  • Primeval, Torchwood, Doctor Who, Sherlock, The Big Bang Theory, Friends, Being Human...there's so many I can't even list them all...

10: Favourite bands? 

  • One Direction, Union J (my guilty pleasure is boy-bands), Taylor Swift, Blink 182, McFly, Busted, Westlife and Martina McBride to name but a few.

11: Something you miss? .

  • My best friend when I don't see her for a while. And reading and writing when I don't have enough time.

12: Favourite song?

  • I like Concrete Angel by Martina McBride, Beautiful Life by Union J and Adam's Song by Blink 182.

13: How old are you? 

  • I'm 17, but 18 next Saturday!

14: Zodiac sign? 

  • I'm a Pisces. 

15: Quality you look for in a partner? 

  • I like people who are honest, funny, who won't judge me for fangirling sometimes. Just a nice, genuine guy. Of course, cute doesn't hurt either!

16: Favourite Quote? 

  • I love the quote "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live". To me, it's a reminder that life is what you make it, and if you want something you must go out and get it.

17: Favourite actor? 

  • Emma Watson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Emma Roberts, Isla Fisher, Jennifer Laurence, Logan Lerman, Ian Somerhalder and Anna Kendrick are my top ones.

18: Favourite color? 

  • Purple and gold.

19: Loud music or soft? 

  • Depends on my mood I guess. I usually have my music turned up loud though, no matter what kind it is.

20: Where do you go when you're sad? 

  • I sit in my room and either watch some of my favourite shows or films, or I read, or I write. It doesn't matter where I am, it's doing one of my favourite things that calms me down and makes me happy.

21: How long does it take you to shower? 

  • Probably about 30-40 minutes.

22: How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? 

  • Including all the time I spend in the bathroom brushing my teeth and all that, and doing my hair and makeup, probably about 45 minutes usually. I take more time if I'm going out somewhere and want to make more of an effort.

23: Ever been in a physical fight? 

  • No, and I'm hoping I never have to be. I don't really like confrontation of any kind, but I think I'd be useless in a fight.

24: Turn on?

  • A really nice personality, and someone who understands why I'm passionate about certain things.

25: Turn off? 

  • People who are arrogant or self-centered.

26: The reason I started a blog? 

  • I wanted to try something new, and thought this would be a good thing to do. Also, I spend a lot of my life fangirling about things so I was excited about meeting others who felt the same!

27: Fears? 

  • I can get quite claustrophobic at times, but I think the only real fear I have is of letting people down, and not being who I want to be in the future.

28: Last thing that made you cry? 

  • Probably a book or something like that. I'm incredibly sentimental, so I do cry at most things like that.

29: Last time you said you loved someone? 

  • Probably my best friend or a member of my family yesterday.

30: Meaning behind your blog name?

  • Feathered Quills and Heartbreak Feels came about because I love how those old fashioned writing quills look. And the feels part? Well, I'm sure you've all been there.

31: Last book you read? 

  • The last book I finished was Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd.

32: The book you're currently reading?

  • I'm like halfway through so many at the moment! I'm almost finished with Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce and The Fault in our Stars by John Green. A list of the others I'm currently reading can be found here.

33: Last show you watched? 

  • I'm watching How I Met Your Mother right now!

34: Last person you talked to? 

  • My cousins and aunt, who just stopped by to wish me a Happy Birthday.

35: The relationship between you and the person you last texted? 

  • One of my best friends.
36: Favourite food?
  • I love cake (I find baking therapeutic), pasta and chocolate. Basically, the stuff you're not really supposed to eat!

37: Place you want to visit?

  • I really want to go to New York and stay at The Library Hotel. I want to do a road trip through every state in the USA. I basically want to go everywhere, far too many places to list.

38: Last place you were? 

  • Like, on holiday? I went to Gran Canaria last year, which was really nice.

39: Do you have a crush?

  • Yes I do. (Wait, it doesn't have to be a real person, right?)

40: Last time you kissed someone? 

  • Romantically, a long time ago (too long). Family-wise, my aunt when she came over today.

41: Last time you were insulted? 

  • Erm, I don't actually remember. That's good, right?

42: Favourite flavour of sweet? 

  • I don't really eat sweets, but I like vanilla and orange flavoured things I guess.

43: What instruments do you play?? 

  • I used to play the Violin. I want to learn to play Piano and Acoustic Guitar when I go to university this year.

44: Favourite piece of jewellery?

  • I have a necklace that was custom made and has my favourite quote on it. I love it so much.

45: Last sport you played? 

  • I don't really play sport. But I like dancing.

46: Last song you sang? 

  • I sang along to some Westlife songs on my iPod (in the safety of my room, of course) this morning.

47: Favourite chat up line?

  • If a guy ever came up to me and used one of those chat up lines based on one of my fandoms, I wouldn't even have to think about going out with him.

48: Have you ever used it?

  • I've never attempted to chat someone up (yet!)

49: Last time you hung out with anyone? 

  • A few days ago I went out for a meal with friends.

50: Who should answer these questions next?

  • All of you amazing readers! Do a blog post like this and link me or something and I'll come read! Have fun doing it and I'll see you guys next time.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

February's Ongoing Books

Hey guys! Sorry, there was a REALLY big gap between this post and the last one, but I've been busy with revision and college and all the boring real world stuff and much as I would like to spend all day on the internet, it's just not possible. Boo. But anyway, I thought maybe it would be a good idea to do a post about the books I currently have on the go. Now, there is quite a lot (8 I believe) so bear with me.

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

11870085 Cover and description from Goodreads
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

I have this book on Kindle, and I'm about halfway through. I realise I was a little late on the bandwagon, but I am enjoying this story so much. In fact, I don't think a book has ever made me cry so soon into it on the first reading (and I'm a huge emotional wreck, guys). It's taking me so long to finish it because I was to savor it, not rush through it, and so I only read it when I have the time and concentration to dedicate to it. I almost don't want this book to end, and I'm not quite sure what I'll do when it does.

 Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

6357708 Cover and description from Goodreads
Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris--the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.
Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls' bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett's only friend--but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they've worked for?

This is a library book that I took out for one of my challenges this year (the Fur and Fangs challenge, read my sign up here ). It's about two sisters who hunt werewolves, and I've only just started it but so far it seems pretty good. I'm hoping to finish this within the next few days because it seems quite a fast paced, quick, easy read.

The Terrace by Maria Duffy

15783306 Cover and description from Goodreads
Nestled in the heart of Dublin city, St Enda's Terrace is like any other close-knit community: warm, colourful, looks after its own.
But behind closed doors lie secrets . . .
In Number Eight he wants a baby, she doesn't. The guy a few doors down just wants to find love. Across the street a single mum struggles to cope. While the people next door might appear to have it all, their mortgage holder knows different.
When the street syndicate wins the National Lottery, it seems that things are looking up. Enter a New York production company on a mission to document a 'quintessential' Dublin community - just as it becomes clear that the winning ticket is nowhere to be found.
Facades begin to crumble in the scramble to uncover the missing ticket and, as the gloves come off for the once unremarkable residents of St Enda's, it's game on with everything to play for.

This book is also for a challenge (the Ireland challenge, on the same sign up sheet as above) and I borrowed this from my gran. I'd never heard of it before but from the few chapters I've read, it seems to be quite fun. This one is on the backburner for a little while though, while I finish my library books first.

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

1278752  Cover and description from Goodreads
Summer 1924

On the eve of a glittering society party, by the lake of a grand English country house, a young poet takes his life. The only witnesses, sisters Hannah and Emmeline Hartford, will never speak to each other again.

Winter 1999

Grace Bradley, ninety-eight, one-time housemaid of Riverton Manor, is visited by a young director making a film about the poet's suicide. Ghosts awaken and old memories - long consigned to the dark reaches of Grace's mind - begin to sneak back through the cracks. A shocking secret threatens to emerge, something history has forgotten but Grace never could.

Set as the war-shattered Edwardian summer surrenders to the decadent twenties, The House at Riverton is a thrilling mystery and a compelling love story.

I've been reading this one for quite a while now as, despite really loving it, I find I can only read a little at a time most of the time. I seem to alternate between not wanting the book to end (and therefore not reading any), and being desperate to know what happens (and so reading 100s of pages in a day). However, this one too is on the backburner because of those pesky library deadlines.

Eyewitness Travel Guide to London

No other guidebook series can boast as many beautiful photographs and illustrations as DK's Eyewitness series. Packed with color photographs and maps, this bestselling series covers a wide range of global destinations. With listings of great hotels, restaurants, and shops, as well as historical information, travelers will find it easy to plan an exciting itinerary using these beautiful guidebooks. A special feature of DK's travel guides is the stunning three-dimensional views and cutaway models of significant landmarks. These guides also include easy-to-follow sections on making sense of foreign currency, transportation, and communication systems. Balancing an elegant format with comprehensive information, DK's Eyewitness guidebooks are both practical resources and great souvenirs of your trip.

Description from Goodreads

This book fits nicely into my Nonfiction challenge (on the same sign up page as the other two) but I'm also reading it because my best friend and I are thinking about going to London this summer. We've been before a couple of times, but only for a few days and we've only really visited the shopping parts. I thought reading this might give me some good ideas about what else we could do. I did borrow this from said friend so I should really try to finish it this week.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

6514 Cover and description from Goodreads
Sylvia Plath's shocking, realistic, and intensely emotional novel of a woman falling into the grips of insanity. 

I took this out of my college library because, being an aspiring Psychotherapist, anything that deals with the mind or mental states interests me a lot. I'm halfway through this so hopefully I'll finish it this week so I can give it back when I go back to college.

Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel

 227603 Cover and description from Goodreads
A harrowing story of breakdowns, suicide attempts, drug therapy, and an eventual journey back to living, this poignant and often hilarious book gives voice to the high incidence of depression among America's youth. A collective cry for help from a generation who have come of age entrenched in the culture of divorce, economic instability, and AIDS, here is the intensely personal story of a young girl full of promise, whose mood swings have risen and fallen like the lines of a sad ballad.

This is also from my college library, and I took it out because, again, it deals with mental issues and was compared to The Bell Jar, which I am enjoying so far. This is also going to count for my Nonfiction challenge, as it's a memoir. I'm hoping to finish this one this week as well, as when I pick it up I can't seem to be able to put it down!

When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman

8874743 Cover and description from Goodreads

This is a book about a brother and a sister. It's a book about secrets and starting over, friendship and family, triumph and tragedy, and everything in between. More than anything, it's a book about love in all its forms.

In a remarkably honest and confident voice, Sarah Winman has written the story of a memorable young heroine, Elly, and her loss of innocence- a magical portrait of growing up and the pull and power of family ties. From Essex and Cornwall to the streets of New York, from 1968 to the events of 9/11, When God Was a Rabbit follows the evolving bond of love and secrets between Elly and her brother Joe, and her increasing concern for an unusual best friend, Jenny Penny, who has secrets of her own. With its wit and humor, engaging characters whose eccentricities are adroitly and sometimes darkly drawn, and its themes of memory and identity, When God Was a Rabbit is a love letter to true friendship and fraternal love.

This is the final book I'm reading right now, and it's also from my college library. I've heard a lot about this one over the years, so when I saw it I thought I'd give it a go. I read the little prologue thing at the start and thought it sounded really intriguing and now, a few chapters in, it's just as good as I thought, maybe even better. This one is officially my bedtime reading material right now.

I know this seems like a lot of books to have on the go at once, but most are so vastly different from each other that the plots all keep straight in my head. I'm pretty confident I can finish quite a few of them in my halfterm break this week. 

Hopefully, my next post will come quicker than this one did, as I'm off college for a week so I have a little more spare time. In the meantime though, why don't you guys comment below what you're currently reading? Are you enjoying it? Or are you just thankful you're almost at the end? 

Evening Outfit Inspired by Frozen's Elsa

Read a Good Book on a Cold Day

Read a Good Book on a Cold Day

Etnies footwear

Adelta bubble furniture
$5,840 - madeindesign.co.uk

Gold lamp
$240 - alexanderandpearl.co.uk

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Book Review: Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd

Hey guys. So, my next book review is of a book called Bog Child, and I read this for the Ireland Reading Challenge, hosted by http://booksnyc.blogspot.co.uk/ (read my challenge sign up page here). Bog Child is written by an Irish author, set in Ireland and features the charming Irish characters, most notably Fergus and his family, and Cora, Fergus' friend-turned-crush-turned-girlfriend type thing. The book cover and Goodreads description of Bog Child can be found on my Library Haul post so I'm just going to jump straight into the review.

Whats the deal?

Bog Child is primarily about a boy called Fergus, who is hoping to pass his exams so that he can get out of Ireland and escape the troubles to become a doctor instead. Fergus finds the body of a girl in the bog up in the mountains near his home, and the book follows what happens from then on. But it's not just the bog child that affects Fergus. His brother, who is a political prisoner, goes on hunger strike, Fergus makes friends with a Welsh soldier (who he's not actually supposed to be friends with) and Fergus is asked to do something he would rather not do by a man with connections to his imprisoned brother. Poor Fergus. There is a bright side though! Cora, a girl who comes up from Dublin with her archeologist mother to look at the bog child, seems to send Fergus' heart a flutter. And of course, we have the delightful Mel, the bog child, the curse, the abomination (but shhh! No spoilers).

How does it work?

The book is mostly centered around Fergus, the protagonist, and what is happening in his life. HOWEVER, in Fergus' dreams, we flashback to Mel (the bog child) and her time. Mel tells us all about her life and what is happening there (and then), which draws parallels between the Iron Age (Mel) and 1960s Ireland (Fergus). The flashbacks lead up to what happened to Mel that left her in a bog to be discovered hundreds of years later. It was an interesting setup, flitting between Mel, and the different parts of Fergus' life - hanging out with Cora and discussing Mel, visiting his brother, talking to Uncle Tally, making friends with Owain.

The book isn't fast paced, but neither is it so slow it gets boring. The scene is set pretty much from the start and, as the story progresses, you are able to picture more and more of the landscape and events, good and bad. You pretty much get a feel for what's happening from a few chapters in, and there's an event that happens somewhere around the middle that ties in with the task that Fergus has been set (see how much I'm trying to keep all spoilers away?) that makes you think "I know exactly what's happening here". No. You don't. You don't know anything. In fact, about 3 chapters before the end, everything you know is flipped upside down. Let me just say this - the bad guy isn't necessarily the bad guy, nor is the good guy necessarily the good guy. Cryptic? Read the book and you'll see what I mean.

Completely Loved:
  • The topic of the book. Although I'm not overly interested in politics, the theme winds through the book in such a way that I couldn't help but be interested. Seriously guys. I finished this book and thought "right, I think I'm gonna find another book and learn more about the Irish troubles". It's the kind of book that feeds you enough information about a topic to make you interested, without shoving it down your throat. And I loved that.
  • Owain. Oh my Lord, Owain! He was so sweet, and amazing, and adorable and OH OWAIN! But seriously. This is a character who is supposed to be a "bad guy" (he's one of the British soldiers who everyone in Ireland hates just for being there) but actually he is, as Fergus finds out, human just like all the rest of them. Owain had a choice to make back home (he's from the Welsh Valleys) and he made the choice to run free from home. Ultimately, he's no freer than the rest of them. But he was funny and uplifting even in serious situations and I get the feeling that, if circumstances were just slightly different, he and Fergus would have been ever greater friends than they got to be.
  • The Flashbacks. These were, I think, incredibly well done. The parallels between Mel's time and Fergus' own beautifully enhanced the story because they were clearly drawn and yet subtly interwoven all at the same time. I loved it.
Not so much:
  • The cover of the book didn't interest me, and the blurb didn't pull me in at all. Maybe it's just because I don't usually read books like that but, I don't know, it just didn't make the book seem interesting enough. In fact, if I wasn't participating in the challenge (and panicking over whether I'd find any Irish books) I probably wouldn't have picked it up which is a shame because I really enjoyed it. As for the story itself, I can't think of anything I disliked enough to put in here. That's pretty good, right?

I found a few quotes that I liked enough to share.

'We suffer more from the sins of omission than the sins of commission' ~ Felicity. I think this is a pretty nice way of saying you regret the things you don't do far more than you will ever regret the things you do actually do.

'Death is not a reaper, like they say, nor even a friend. It is dark, fierce water, an inundation' ~ Mel, in a flashback.

'The studying, the books, exams, arguments, theories. The jokes and pints, laughter, kisses and songs. Life was like running, ninety percent sweat and toil, ten percent joy' ~narrator, at the end. I think this part and the death part (see quote above) kind of look nice together; work hard and play hard in life so that death may not be so scary and dark.

'The summer of the bog child was over' ~ narrator. Although this line is simple, the way it is slotted in at the end of the book, makes you feel like it's the end of an era (which it kind of is), not just for Fergus and Cora, Owain and Mel and Joey and Tally and all the rest, but for the reader too.

Final thoughts

I would give this 4/4.5 out of 5. It was an enjoyable read, very funny and entertaining, but also serious as well, and I think Dowd got the balance perfect between the two. It was warm yet heartbreaking, and I grew to love the characters so much that the end was completely bittersweet. Completely. I would definitely recommend this to anyone, not just those who are interested in Irish history. Because I think that's part of the beauty of this book; it takes a topic that some might say is interesting and some might say isn't, and handles it in a way that makes it accessable to all, regardless of your level of knowledge or interest in history or politics.

I hope you enjoyed my review, and I hope I encouraged some of you to read this! If you have read it (or are going to) please comment your thoughts below. Hopefully, I'll post quite soon (within the next few days), workload permitting, so I'll see you then!