Books, Books, Books | A Little Haul & Currently Reading

What do you do when you’re having a bad day and have time to kill? Head to Waterstones, of course!

Today didn’t quite go as I had planned. What started off as a bad day just continued to get worse, until the point where the only thing I could think of to cheer myself up was to head to Waterstones for a good old browse. Bookshops are my happy place, and two and a half hours later, having thoroughly examined the shelves and enjoyed a delicious hot chocolate in the cafe, I emerged with a small bag of book purchases and in a better mood than the one that had led me to my favourite shop’s door in the first place. I know they say that money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy you books when you’re in need of a little cheering up, and that’s almost the same thing!

These first two I found while browsing the many books in the current ‘Buy One Get One Half Price’ offer, which always has such a good selection of both books that I am aware of and want to read and ones that are completely new to me, too. The Ship by Antonia Honeywell  has been on my wishlist since its initial release last year, so when I spotted this beautiful newly published paperback addition I was quick to grab myself a copy. This dystopian/post-apocalyptic novel has been so imaginatively described as ‘The Hunger Games meets the London riots on board Noah’s Ark’, and who can resist a premise like that?!

The other novel I picked up from the offer table was A Very Special Year by Thomas Montasser, which might just have the most beautiful cover I’ve seen in a long time. A best-seller in Germany, the book promises to be a charming little read about bookshops, a love for literature and the power of stories and imagination. I, as I’m sure all readers do, adore books about books, and I cannot wait to delve in.

Children’s books are my weakness, particularly beautifully illustrated children’s books, and so of course I couldn’t resist picking up a few titles from one of my favourite illustrators and current Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell. I am a great admirer of his work (and his Instagram feed!) and have had a number of his books on my wishlist for a long time, particularly his Ottoline series. In a rare display of self-restraint I purchased just the first in the series, Ottoline and the Yellow Cat, and having had a quick flick through the pages I am certain that I am going to adore it. The illustrations are, of course, wonderful, and I’m sure that I’m going to have great fun following Ottoline and her adventures!

Finally, I spotted a copy of Chris Riddell’s Doodle a Day and couldn’t resist adding that to my pile, too. The book provides something new to draw, colour in or create for every day of the year, and is lavishly peppered with Chris’ own doodles and drawings. I’m certainly not the most artistic of people (adult colouring books are just about my limit!), but I thought that it would be fun to challenge myself, and I have a feeling that this will be a lovely distraction when the stress of my upcoming dissertations gets all too much. I’m just a little confused as to where to begin – from the beginning with 1st January’s activity, or just hop in at the beginning of June? Oh, what a tough decision… 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Currently Reading

I just wanted to throw in a little mention to my current read, which I am completely loving. When it was first announced that J. K. Rowling, under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith, I was slightly reluctant to pick it up. At the time crime books really weren’t my thing, and having heard mixed reviews about The Casual Vacancy, her first foray into fiction following the beloved Harry Potter series, I wasn’t in a great rush to give her crime series a go. My boyfriend picked up a copy anyway, and over the course of the past year or so the following books in Rowling’s Cormoran Strike series have made their way onto our bookshelves. After stumbling across a few rave reviews on BookTube last week, I decided that it might just be time to set my worries aside and give The Cuckoo’s Calling  a proper chance, and oh my, am I glad that I did.

I’m just under halfway through and so far, so good. I love the characters, Rowling’s writing is flawless and the mystery at the heart of the novel is keeping me completely and utterly hooked. I can’t believe I put this book off for so long, and I’m hoping to marathon the series over the coming weeks in order to make up for the fact that I was shamefully late jumping on this bandwagon!

For who could ever learn to love a beast?

I don’t think I can put into words just how excited I am for this live-action remake of Disney’s classic Beauty and the Beast, one of my absolute favourite films both growing up and to this day. I love how they have used the original score, and while the teaser trailer shows us barely anything of Belle and the Beast’s tale, it looks utterly magical to me. 2017 cannot come quickly enough!

Books I’m Taking on Holiday!

I’m the worst packer in existence. It takes me weeks to prepare and organise my packing for a trip, partly due to my perfectionist tendencies and my anxiety when it comes to travelling, but mostly because I am extremely indecisive. You see, it doesn’t matter so much with clothes, but where books are concerned? That’s a completely different state of affairs.

I’m a mood reader; setting ‘To Be Read’ lists of any kind makes me panic a little, and consequently decide that, actually, I don’t want to read any of those books. Packing for a holiday and deciding what books to tuck away in your suitcase is essentially creating a TBR for your trip, and I can’t cope with that. I worry that, should I be in the mood for a certain genre or even a specific book, I won’t have thought to pack it in advance, and then what would I do?! (Yes, I realise I can be a bit of a drama queen where books are concerned.)

My solution is thus; to limit the amount of space taken up in my case, I have selected three physical books for my holiday, and I’ll also be bringing my loaded Kindle. My boyfriend is forever telling me that I just need to take my Kindle, but let’s be honest, that’s never going to happen!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A Bone to Pick (Aurora Teagarden #2) by Charlaine Harris
I’m currently reading the first book in this series of cosy mysteries and very much enjoying it, so I thought that I might as well bring along the second on my trip so that I can continue on with Aurora Teagarden’s adventures. Plus, it’s only short (just under 200 pages), so it’s not taking up too much space or adding to my weight limit.

Royal Wedding (The Princess Diaries #11) by Meg Cabot
Given my recent Princess Diaries reading binge, this was obviously going to come with me! I really can’t contain my excitement to catch up with Mia & co. again, and in all honesty I just want to read it now. I think I’ll be taking this on the plane with me, as if anything’s going to keep me occupied during a seven hour flight and who knows how many hours at the airport, this is it.

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge 
I have been meaning to read this 2015 Costa Award winning Young Adult novel for many months now, as it sounds like something that I would absolutely love. It’s had so much buzz in the publishing industry as of late, and when I recently noticed BookTuber Holly Dunn had also read and loved it (you can watch her review here), it was quickly bumped to the top of my reading list. Also, not only does it sound fantastic, but the cover is so beautiful!

Have you read any of these books? Do you overpack when going on holiday, too? 

Reasons to love The Princess Diaries

Lately, I’ve been re-reading The Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot, one of my absolute favourites when I was younger but for some reason have never since returned to. It all began when I realised (yes, I’m a little late to the party, I know) that last year, Meg Cabot released a new adult addition to the series, Royal Wedding, which is basically a dream come true. I was so very tempted to just run out, buy a copy and start reading it right away after hearing the news, but in the end I decided that, for a bit of light relief and all the nostalgia, I would re-read the original Young Adult series first.

I don’t mean to exaggerate or anything, but it’s basically the best decision I’ve ever made. Mia is hilarious, Grandmere is really rather mean, Lilly and Tina and Boris are pretty much #squadgoals, and don’t even get me started on Michael Moscovitz… swoon. 

Read More

Blair Drummond Safari Park | Photo Diary

Lions, and tigers, and bears! Oh, my!

Yesterday, on a rather windy and cold midweek morning, my boyfriend and I headed off for a day of fun at Blair Drummond Safari Park. Despite it being just a short drive away from the city centre, for some reason we had never visited, and yesterday seemed like as good a day as any for a day out. I have only ever been to one safari park before, and so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Blair Drummond, but there was so much to see and do and overall we had a really lovely day.

Even though it wasn’t the warmest of days, I think we picked a really good time to visit. The park wasn’t particularly busy, which meant that we had no difficulty seeing the animals, and there was plenty of space to get a good seat or view during the ‘Meet the Keeper’ talks. We attended two talks, the sea lions and the tigers, and both were fantastic; not only was it great to see a little more of the animals, the keepers also took the opportunity to discuss the importance of conservation and what can be done to help protect the animals in the wild. It really gave me a lot to think about, and I appreciated the importance that the park put on education, conservation and protection. You can read a little more about Blair Drummond’s Link to the Wild conservation initiatives here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Read More