Tag Archives: Books

Choosing to spend my birthday on my own

I love my birthday, but this year after a Christmas I didn’t really enjoy because I felt so much pressure to be someone I’m not and constrained by family commitments, I decided to spend it on my own.

There is a big different between being alone and deciding to spend time on your own. I treated this like I was taking myself out on a date. It was special and I enjoyed every minute of it. I didn’t feel lonely at all. I felt free-spirited and alive. I came home with a sense of knowing who I am and having had a good day and ready to put my feet up.

This wasn’t the plan originally, but something fell through that would have enabled me to be somewhere else and be with a friend. So instead of trying to arrange something last minute, I decided to do exactly what I wanted to do with no compromising for others. It felt like it took me ages to decide what to do, but it was really only a couple of days and I kept it simple, focusing on two three things I enjoy doing – visiting bookshops, having coffee or tea, and wandering around.

I took myself to London!

I wanted to wander so I got the tube to Covent Garden with the aim of ending up at a couple of bookshops I wanted to visit. Although Christmas is over they still had the sleigh and reindeer and it was a welcome sight as I wandered around in the sunshine.

I meandered around the back streets exploring shops and people watching as I made my way to Forbidden Planet. I had heard good things about the book floor and I was not disappointed. I could have spent a fortune in there on signed copies, but I didn’t. I added to my reading list and will be going back in the future when my favourite authors visit.

I then wandered on to Foyles and spent a lovely amount of time exploring the shelves of a large bookstore. I miss these types of shops and wish there was one closer. It felt so nice to pick up random books and explore titles I wouldn’t otherwise have seen. It felt peaceful to be there.

I bought myself two books. A coffee one because I want to learn more about brewing and one because it’s set in Toyko and I am super excited about going there in October.

I then wandered into Soho and found an amazing Japanese restaurant called Eat Tokyo and enjoyed some green tea and sushi. It was super busy, but the joys of Japanese restaurants is that they often have bar and I was not alone in sitting solo enjoying some lunch.

All the colourful sushi!

I then spent the afternoon wandering the theatre district alone Shaftsbury Avenue and observing the hustle and bustle of London. I wandered through Piccadilly Circus, up Regent’s Street and along Oxford Street, mainly because I knew the way and could wander without thinking. As it got darker I decided to head home, but I knew I wanted to make one last stop – Baker Street!

I took a longer tube journey back to the train station just to make this stop.  I went to 221B Baker Street and found Mr Holmes himself outside the tube station. It was a lovely stop to make as I headed home.

I love passing this tube station, but have not had reason to get off before. It was great to see the Sherlock Holmes silhouette in closer proximity and realise it is made up from lots of mini silhouettes. That made me smile as I headed home, back to the furballs waitng for me to feed them.

Recent Reads – November 2015 Edition

I read most of this month’s books int he last week of the month! For some reason I got stuck in the middle of the month and it took having a few days off to be able to get really stuck into a book to get me back into the flow of reading.

First up was the latest Robert Galbraith book called a Career of Evil. I really enjoyed this book and it kept me gripped throughout. I also like how the characters have developed through the three books so far, but can see there is so much more to uncover about them we don’t know yet. The story was good and I didn’t guess the ending until close to the reveal, which was great. I’m glad my friend caved and bought the hardcover version as I was waiting for the paperback, so this meant I could read it much earlier than planned.

Next up in the month was Mindy Kaling’s first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? I wanted to like this more than I did. I wonder if I should have bought this as an audiobook, rather than a paperback. I have previously enjoyed non fiction books read by their authors and have found them extra funny as you get the exact tone they intended to use. I found the parts about her childhood great, but I think as I was not a fan of the Office and did not grow up with American late night comedy shows I missed some of the context of the second half of the book. I have loved some of her essay’s I have read in magazines, so I am going to try her second book, but as an audio book.

The last book of the month was A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas. I loved the Throne of Glass series and so thought I would give this a go. It took me a few chapters to get into it, but once the main characters met I found it much more interesting. I felt I was learning about the world they are living in and it was fascinating. I love the details of the world and the history of the Fae as it draws me in and makes me feel like I am there as well. This has the same easy reading of the other series, but is a different enough world to avoid too many comparisons, but that could just be me not drawing them. Overall I loved this book so much so I stayed up until 2am to finish it on a work night, which hasn’t happened in forever! I can’t wait for the second book to come out next year.

I’m working my way through my to-read pile of new paperbacks I bought in the last couple of months and am loving it. I realised how much I love buying, reading and finding places for them on my bookshelf. I’m going to make sure I budget in books into my 2016 as they are something I fully enjoy and cherish seeing everyday.

Recent Reads – October

I’ve taken to the idea of doing one summary post to look at what I’ve been reading rather than take up lots of posts by doing individual ones, so that is what I’m going to do. I’ve got my reading mojo back and feel like I am devouring books over the last couple of weeks, well at least compared to what I had been like.

Speaking in Bones


This was an audiobook and I struggled to get into it, but once I started listening regularly I was fine. I love this series and it’s nice to see the character development and relationship development as I read through. I liked this story it was interesting and kept me hooked. I also didn’t guess the ending, which I like, as sometimes its too easy to do so with crime books. I didn’t like the narrator though, so think I’ll stick to reading the next one myself.

The Assassins Blade


I have really enjoyed Sarah Maas’s books so far and it made sense to read the prequel book to understand the main character better. I also have the 4th book ready on my bookshelf, but feel I want to re-read the others first. I enjoyed this book and it gave me insight into where the character came from and how she ended up where we first meet he in Throne of Glass. I wouldn’t necessarily start with this book as I don’t think it matters if you’ve read a few of the main series first. Overall though I enjoyed it and it was face based and kept me glued to the pages.

Close Encounters of the Furred Kind


I’ve been waiting for this book for a while and it did not disappoint. I love reading about The Bear and his family. It makes me look at my cats and their character traits and imagine what they are thinking. I also hold conversations with them on a daily basis and it is nice to know other people do to. I also like that this breaks the ‘crazy-cat lady’ stereotype as this is about a guy and his four cats. yes he does have a girlfriend, but really it’s about Tom. If you like cats or like well written descriptions of places these books are great.

I also have re-read the first three Harry Potter books this last month. I needed something familiar and comforting while I was interviewing and wait to hear on my new job. These were exactly what I needed and stimulated my recent reading frenzy. So that six books in the last month!

I’ve currently got three books on the go:

  • Currently reading – Mindy Kaling’s Is everybody hanging out with me?
  • Currently listening to as bed time –  Death Masks by Jim Butcher
  • Currently listening to at work – The Rosie Effect

I also have a to-read shelf containing:

  • Court of Thorns and Roses
  • Percy Jackson’s Guide to the Greek Myths
  • Queen of Shadows
  • The Girl on the Train (borrowed from my friend Stacey)
  • Career of Evil (borrowing from my friend Ingrid)
  • Books 4 to 7 of Harry Potter to re-read too!

I love reading and books at the moment. I can’t wait to get to each and every single one of these books. It’s so nice to delve into different worlds and become the characters on the pages. For me it is an escape, but also time spent learning and growing and experiencing things I won’t get from my own life.



Recent Reads – September

I seem to be rubbish at book posts recently, but then again I seem to be rubbish at reading much as well! I thought rather than try to do a whole post on each book I’ll do a brief summary on the last few I’ve read to keep you up to date on my Goodreads challenge (which I am way behind on!).


I just finished the 5th book in the Tory Brennen series. I admit I struggled through this one. I kept putting it down for too long and then losing interest and having to recap to start reading again. I love the Kathy Reich style of writing, but found the story is just getting a bit too out there for me. I’m also not sure where this is heading as the ending has been left open for another story, but I’m not convinced it needs it. I definitely rushed reading this in order to get it back in time to avoid overdue fees at the library and that could have influenced my enjoyment.

The Trust about the Harry Quebert Affair

harry quebert

This was the last bookclub book I read and I really enjoyed it. I got really engrossed and found it easy to read, while thrilling at the same time. I didn’t guess the ending, which I tend to do with crime books most of the time. My bookclub had mixed reactions, but I like it and would recommend it as an easy, but longish read.

The Blood of Olympusblood of olympus This was the 5th book in the Heroes of Olympus series. I struggled through this one as well – what is it with me and the 5th books of series? I do love the Percy Jackson universe, but found that as there were many more characters in the series it was not as readable as the previous ones. I am also not a fan of chapters dedicated to specific characters, but I also wouldn’t know a better way to do it. I just don’t like having to wait to find out what happens to different people and the constantly changing narrator interrupts the flow for me. I did enjoy the series and the overarching storyline though so overall it was a good read.

Adventures in Books… The Hunt

“She will hunt down the men who took her family. She will have blood. Rose is the one that got away. She was the prey in a human trophy hunt organised by an elite and secret organisation for bored super-rich clients seeking a unique thrill. She paid a terrible price – when she escaped The Trail murdered her family. Every moment since she has been planning her revenge. Watching, waiting …And now her day has come.

Chris returns from his morning run to find his wife and children missing and a stranger in his kitchen. He’s told to run. If he’s caught and killed, his family go free. If he escapes, they die. Rose is the only one who can help him, but Rose only has her sights on one conclusion. For her, Chris is bait. But The Trail have not forgotten the woman who tried to outwit them. The Trail want Rose. The hunters want Chris’s corpse. Rose wants revenge, and Christ just wants his family back.

The hunt is on…”

TIM J LEBBON is a New York Times-bestselling writer with over thirty novels published to date, as well as dozens of novellas and hundreds of short stories.  Recent releases include The Silence, Coldbrook, Into the Void: Dawn of the Jedi (Star Wars), Reaper’s Legacy, and Alien: Out of the Shadows.  He has won four British Fantasy Awards, a Bram Stoker Award, and a Scribe Award, and been shortlisted for World Fantasy and Shirley Jackson awards.  A movie of his story Pay the Ghost, starring Nicolas Cage, will be released soon, and other projects in development include My Haunted House, Playtime, and Exorcising Angels.

He has had around 20 novellas published and hundreds of short stories, steadily building a dedicated following among the horror & dark fiction community.  A movie of his short story PAY THE GHOST was filmed last year in Toronto, starring Nicolas Cage and Sarah Wayne Callies, directed by Uli Edel. He is also working on two TV series ideas, as well as a new original screenplay. 

He has won 4 British Fantasy Awards (3 for Best Novella, one for Best Novel), a Bram Stoker Award and a Scribe Award.  He has also been shortlisted for the British Fantasy Award multiple times, the World Fantasy Award, and the Shirley Jackson Award.

To be honest and upfront this book was sent to me free of charge in return for a review. I find it extremely difficult to pass up the opportunity for a free book in the genres of fantasy and crime. I also find it opens my bookshelf up to new authors, which is good as I have a tendency to stay with my favourites, so it’s nice to mix it up.

I also loved the marketing campaign for this. In the run up to the receiving the book I received a letter and then a parcel with supplies in, such as energy bars and blister protection. It made it really fun and exciting to be part of this blog tour. I still only had the summary above so it was still a mystery as to what it was all about, but it added to the suspense.  Then the book arrived and it had been personalised with my name on. They were some nice touches from the marketing team for the book and a great way to build momentum for the release.

IMG_2136 IMG_2137

This was book was fast paced and nail-biting. Once I started reading I found it hard to put down as every time I would say ‘just one more chapter’ I would get to the end of that chapter and be left with a mini cliff-hanger and then want to read on! I think I read this bursts in three bursts and only stopped as I had to go somewhere else. I started reading before bed, but found it a little too violent for that for me personally.

The story was based on an interesting concept – using people as prey for sport. We see it all too often in the news about people going hunting animals, but this takes it to another level. It made me think about the type of people who do this with animals and I could then believe that there would be people out there who would do this to people. It is quite a scary concept if you start thinking about it too much!

The main characters were Chris and Rose. I liked Chris, but I’m still not sure if I liked Rose. I suppose it was easier to relate to Chris and his position, rather than Rose who had lived through something so awful.  I wonder if I would have felt more connected to her if we had started with her story, rather than it is drip fed to us through the book, but that is just my thought. I would like to hear her story in more detail though, maybe as a prequel.

Overall this was a good quick read that kept me engaged. I would recommend this to friends this time of year for holidays, especially if you are flying anywhere as this will keep you  gripped for those boring airports journeys.

I wonder if this is going to be a series as the ending was left open a little to take it forward and globally…

This post is the first in a blog tour for the publication of this book today! So do make sure you head over to these other blogs to check out their reviews too.

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