Posted in About Me, Uncategorized

“I live in two worlds. One is a world of books.”

If you read this blog or follow me anywhere online, you will undoubtedly be aware of my love of the screen. If it wasn’t obvious from that little tagline up there that identifies me as a Film Studies student or the fact that every title on this blog post is a reference to a show or movie, my having worked on YouTube for a short while last year is probably a good indication of my sordid love affair with all things video. Something that I have never fully acknowledged online, however, is my relationship with books. Books books books.

Growing up, I wasn’t big on the whole ‘film’ thing. Going to the cinema was expensive and, with only five channels on our televisions, I wasn’t spoiled with endless shows to binge on. Of course, I played outside occasionally, as all children do (or did way back when), but, if you wanted to find me when I was a child, you wouldn’t be wrong for assuming that I’d be sat in a corner somewhere with my head inside a book.

From Puppy Patrol to Jess the Border Collie, Sheltie the Shetland Pony and The Baby-Sitters Club, I loved them all. As I grew up, my tastes changed to savour the wonderful wizarding world of Harry Potter, Jacqueline Wilson and the fabulously hilarious Georgia Nicolson. I fell head over heels in love with Patch Cipriano and Edward Cullen (don’t judge me). At sixteen, I was transported back to the 1920s to stare at the green light from across the dock.

Books have always been the constant in my life.

When I was seventeen, I stopped reading for a while when I began studying English Literature because I didn’t feel free to read any more. I found myself constantly analysing everything and it, quite frankly, stressed me out. As soon as I dropped the course, I rediscovered my love of literature. I delve into more ‘grown up’ worlds now. I bake with Sophie and sob with Lou.

Working in London last summer gave me the perfect opportunity to read the books I had been wanting to splash out on for years. Nothing makes a commute on the steamy, cramped tube more pleasurable than a good book.

The Rory Gilmore inside of me is screaming at me to talk about books. My inner Haley James Scott is crying out to hear about my love of literature. So, here it is, everybody: my first book blog.

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I was fortunate to have a job while at university. Though it wasn’t much, I worked for the uni itself, touring prospective students around campus and, generally, bigging it up. Since I was technically on the university staff, I also got the bonus they send out each year: a Compliments card (aka a Visa gift card that works in specific shops, one of which is Waterstones). This year, I went book-crazy with my gift card and since I’m really trying to get into this blog shenanigan, I have decided to review them. But, first! What did I buy?

I’m going to have to do this in two posts because I’ve got an awful lot, but here is my first haul… Keep an eye out for reviews!

Three Amazing Things About You – Jill Mansell

Already I’m cheating. Technically, I bought this at a charity shop but it was too much of a bargain not to include! £1! Can you believe it? I’ve been a huge Jill Mansell fan for a couple of years now but never got around to picking up her new book last year so finding it in Age UK was a great surprise. I can’t wait to read it. I’ve only heard good things!

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Hallie has a secret: she’s in love. He’s perfect for her in every way, but he’s seriously out of bounds. And Hallie doesn’t have long to live. Time is running out.

Flo has a dilemma – she likes Zander, but his scary sister really doesn’t approve.

Tasha has a problem. Her new boyfriend is the adventurous type. And she’s afraid one of his adventures will go badly wrong.

As Three Amazing Things begins, Hallie’s about to be given new lungs. But whose?

The Danish Girl – David Ebershoff

I hadn’t heard of this book before the film trailer started appearing everywhere but, when I looked into it, I was instantly intrigued. I love a true story but when it’s about something so relevant in today’s society, I am immediately drawn in. A bit of a “I have to read the book first” snob, I bought The Danish Girl without a second thought. I am so desperate to see the movie! And not just because of Eddie Redmayne. Honest.

It starts with a question, a simple favour asked by a wife of her husband while both are painting in their studio, setting off a transformation neither can anticipate. Uniting fact and fiction into an original romantic vision, The Danish Girl eloquently portrays the unique intimacy that defines every marriage and the remarkable story of Lili Elbe, a pioneer in transgender history, and the woman torn between loyalty to her marriage and her own ambitions and desires.

The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton

This book appears to be a period drama and, typically, that’s not my ‘scene’ but I had heard far too many positive reviews to not pick up The Miniaturist when Waterstones had one of their famous ‘Buy One Get One Half Price’ sales.

On an autumn day in 1686, eighteen-year-old Nella Oortman arrives at a grand house in Amsterdam to begin her new life as the wife of wealthy merchant Johannes Brandt. Though curiously distant, he presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. It is to be furnished by an elusive miniaturist, whose tiny creations ring eerily true.

As Nella uncovers the secrets of her new household she realizes the escalating dangers they face. The miniaturist seems to hold their fate in her hands – but does she plan to save or destroy them?

The Drowning of Arthur Braxton – Caroline Smailes

I have been desperate to read this book for far too long now and could never find it. I had started to give up hope when even the Waterstones stores in London didn’t have it until, one day, alas, it appeared before me. I had to have it. Recommended by Carrie Hope Fletcher, I have only heard good things about this book and knowing that it is currently being made into what looks like an incredible movie, directed by Luke Cutforth, only intrigues me more. I cannot wait to start reading this book, but, I fear I may not be able to put it down…

Arthur Braxton runs away from school.

He hides out in an abandoned building, an old Edwardian bathhouse.

He discovers a naked woman swimming in the pool.

From this point on, nothing will ever be the same.

Our Song – Dani Atkins

Okay, okay, I’m a sucker for a romance but I do like a twist. I’ve actually already read this one so expect a review soon. I won’t give much away but it’s not the tale you think it is…

David has lived life to the full. He fell in love with Ally at university.

Ally walked away from David at the Snowflake Ball nine years ago and tried to forget. She is now married to Joe.
Charlotte fell in love with David at first sight. She has never forgotten Ally and suspects David feels the same.

Joe fixed Ally’s broken heart and built a family with her.

Four lives, interwoven in many more ways than they know.

Over the course of one night, everything will change.

Elizabeth Is Missing – Emma Healey

I had a lovely discussion with the sales assistant who sold me this book. She has read and loved it and I agreed that Emma Healey’s debut novel sounds absolutely amazing. The cover alone is dotted with quotes from incredible authors such as Emma Donoghue and Jojo Moyes but, what stands out to me most of all is that the main character suffers from Alzheimer’s, a disease that is very close to my heart. I am in awe of this book already.

Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn’t remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is unrecognizable – or her daughter Helen seems a total stranger.

But there’s one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it.

Because somewhere in Maud’s damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about.

Everyone, except Maud…

I hope today’s blog has been of some interest to you and I really hope that you are looking forward to reading my reviews as much as I am looking forward to writing them.

Have you read any of these books? Tell me what you thought about them in the comments; no spoilers please!

Also, huge props to you if you’ve read all of this. My longest post yet!
Until next time, my friends…

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