Monday 31 March 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 31/03/2014: Back to work!

I've been extra productive today and got a lot done, which I'm very proud of! Firstly, I put up my 'March Wrap-Up Post', which is doubling as my wrap-up for the 'Real Books' challenge I'm in. Secondly, I read a little more of 'Tithe', and managed to get some Coursework done too! Other than that, I spent this morning writing and scheduling my 'Planned Reads For April' post, which I'm looking forward to seeing go up tomorrow morning. I'm so excited about these reads guys, I can't wait to share them with you!

I spent my afternoon at work, which went fairly quickly I suppose, before going into Uni for an hour or so to meet a friend and arrange our meet-up for getting stuff done tomorrow. I haven't seen her since the stress that was Show Week so it was nice to catch up! Other than that, today was a pretty laid back day actually. I bought another read for the Kindle, free of course, which was 'Winter Solstice Winter' by E.J. Squires. I need to curb the Kindle downloading a bit, I've got plenty to keep me going! Oh, also, 'Angelfall' by Susan Ee arrived today, which means I'm all caught up with parcels that should be arriving (other than Giveaway wins). Hooray!

I also saw an extra challenge that I'm keen to take part in. I've seen a few other sign up entries on Bloglovin' and it looks like a great challenge! It's a 'Bookish Bingo' Challenge, hosted by Great Imaginations. I plan to look into it a little more over the next couple of days, and sign up to it for a bit of fun, as it runs over April, May and June! Check out the links to have a look! Tomorrow's plan also includes Top Ten Tuesday (of course) and getting more work done!

March Wrap-Up Post.

So this wrap-up post and the planned reads post are going to be done in the correct order this time! This is doubling as my '2014 "Real" Book Challenge Monthly Wrap-Up, hence the button above! I wasn't quite as successful this month as I'd hoped I would be with the book reading, I've been so busy with Uni stuff that I just haven't had the time until right at the end of the month to get through many books at all. Having had a look at my planned reads however, I've actually read 4/6 books I definitely wanted to (and I'm in the process of reading the 5th, 'Tithe') and 1/3 of the optional books! So, I don't think I did too badly after all! Phew!

  1. 'Wolves'; Simon Ings: My first Goodreads 'First Reads' Giveaway win and a pretty good book. I felt the end was pretty rushed, and having been described as a Dystopian novel, the Dystopian element was missing from most of the book. That being said, I didn't hate it. 2.5/5 stars.
  2. 'The Hotel Fakir'; Adam Smolka: My second Goodreads 'First Reads' Giveaway win. I thought this book was okay. It needed a lot of work, it was a bit too niche in terms of the Tango expertise required to read it, and the Government conspiracy plot concept became lost in all the dancing. 1/5 stars.
  3. 'The Snow Child'; Eowyn Ivey: I loved this book, so much! Ivey is so talented, the setting, characters and concept were just wonderful. It was a very enchanting take on a sad and fairly popular Russian folktale. This is definitely now one of my favourite books. 5/5 stars.
  4. 'Daughter Of Smoke & Bone'; Laini Taylor: Another great read, I knew I had to read it after I noticed how popular it was with other reviewers. I was not disappointed, Taylor is a very creative writer, and her fantastic imagination really shone through. I want to see more of Karou and Akiva though! 4.5/5 stars.
  5. 'Chasing Sky'; Joss Stirling: I stumbled upon this one by accident and was excited to get into it because I hadn't seen anyone else review it before! It was a fantastic read, Stirling has a great grip on how to write a strong heroine, and I fell in love with the romance between her and Zed. This is Paranormal Romance done right! The dialogue between characters at times felt a little strange however. 3/5 stars.
  6. 'The Telling Error'; Sophie Hannah: Another Goodreads 'First Reads' Giveaway win! I had mixed thoughts on this one, I really liked the writing flow and it kept me guessing the whole way through, with lots of twists and turns. The problem was, I didn't like any of the characters and so didn't feel attached to the characters whose lives could be ruined by a false accusation. Also, too many loose ends weren't tied up. 2/5 stars.
Six books in total, this is becoming a habit! Hopefully next month will be better! My planned reads for April will be up tomorrow, I look forward to sharing them with you. There's some exciting ones on the list!

Sunday 30 March 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 30/03/2014: Mother's Day!

I had a really lovely, family-oriented day today folks! It was really nice! There's a lot to talk about today so prepare yourselves. The clocks went forward an hour, and so I lost an hour's sleep! I wasn't too upset though, despite being tired because I woke up in an inexplicably good mood (this is what Marvel films do to me). For Mother's Day, we got Mum a gift voucher for a clothes store and some puzzle books (she's Sudoku mad). I was then left for the rest of the morning to have a bath and be productive, which I was. I finally finished 'The Telling Error'. I'm really not sure why it took me so long to read, it wasn't a particularly long book.

I posted my Weekly Wishlist, which took quite a while to compile today, and my review for the previously mentioned book! I also have made a pretty good start on 'Tithe' by Holly Black, my next chosen read so I'm quite a happy bunny on the reading front at the moment. Now here comes the long bit. I went a bit Kindle barmy this morning and found an absolute ton of books (most of them free) to download, and have done:
  • 'Evanescent' by Gabriella Lepore
  • 'Silence' ('Silence' Series, Book 1) by Natasha Preston
  • 'Covert' by Natasha Preston
  • 'Twenty-Eight And A Half Wishes' ('Rose Gardner Mystery' Series, Book 1) by Denise Grover Swank
  • 'A Field Of Red' by Greg Enslen
  • 'Ravenstone' ('The Ravenstone Chronicles' Series, Book 1) by Louise Franklin
  • 'Dark Promise' ('Between Worlds' Series, Book 1) by Julia Crane & Talia Jager
  • 'Descension' ('Mystic' Series, Book 1) by B.C.Burgess
  • 'Return To The Aegean' ('The Aegean Mystery' Series, Book 1) by E.J.Russell & Iain Chaffey
  • 'Ill Wind' (Valkyrie Series, Book 1) by Karen Perkins
  • 'Shadow And Bone' ('The Grisha' Series, Book 1) by Leigh Bardugo
As well as these, I also downloaded a set of Prequel stories to 'The Grimm Diaries' series (Volumes 1-6) by Cameron Jace, Jami Hampson & Danielle Littig. Whew! That's a lot of books. I only paid £0.99 to buy 'Shadow And Bone', because that is a ridiculously good offer that I just couldn't refuse!

I also went out on a little shopping trip with the family today, and my naughty sister persuaded me to come and look at the books with her. She knew I wouldn't be able to resist and I entirely blame on her on my subsequent purchases:
  • 'The Shock Of The Fall' by Nathan Filer
  • 'Life After Life' by Kate Atkinson
As much as I love paperback books, this needs to stop. Seriously I have an addiction! So all in all, a good book turnout today! I took some time to help Bev, my sister, with her Photography coursework as well which was a lot of fun! I spent the rest of the evening eating a lovely curry with the family, drafting my Wrap-Up post for this month in preparation for tomorrow, and watching a few videos while reading. Oh and desperately hunting down the 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' soundtrack, which I can't find to listen to anywhere. I'm devastated!

I told you this would be a long one! Tomorrow I will probably be going to Uni to do some work (even though it's Easter Break, I still have a lot to do for Multimedia) and I have an actual Work Shift too!

Book Review (ARC): The Telling Error; Sophie Hannah

Wow, finally I am through this book! I have no real idea why it took me so long, it wasn't an overly long read. And yet for some reason it just took me ages. It was a Goodreads 'First Reads' win, and there are no challenges that I'm entering this one for so here goes.

SOURCE: Goodreads Giveaway
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: The Telling Error
AUTHOR: Sophie Hannah
SERIES: Spilling CID (#9)
PUBLISHER: Hodder & Stoughton
PAGES: 363
GENRE: Crime, Mystery, Thriller

RATING: 2/5 Stars

Stuck in a traffic jam, Nicki Clements sees a face she hoped never to see again. It's definitely him, the same police  officer, stopping each car on Elmhirst Road. Keen to avoid him, Nicki does a U-Turn and makes a panicky escape.

Or so she thinks. The next day, Nicki is pulled in for questioning in connection with the murder of Damon Blundy, controversial newspaper columnist and resident of Elmhirst Road.

Nicki can't answer any of the questions detectives fire at her. She has no idea why the killer used a knife in a way that involved no spilling of blood, or why 'HE IS NO LESS DEAD' was painted across Blundy's study. And she can't explain why she avoided Elmhirst Road that day without revealing the secret that could ruin her life.

Because although Nicki is not guilty of murder, she is far from innocent...

What I Liked:
  • Sophie Hannah knows this genre very well. 'The Telling Error' is a thrilling murder mystery, with plenty of suspects, plot twists galore and it grips you from beginning to end. I have always been a bit of a fan of Whodunits, and I felt that same excitement at the prospect of solving the murder before the police did that I expected to feel.
  • The use of social media within the story. I really liked reading the Tweets, Email conversations and various articles that were thrown into this book at random intervals. In particular, Damon Blundy's columns were not only insightful and fun to read, but absolutely hilarious. I don't often laugh out loud at books, but his brash sense of humour as a character (albeit a dead one) just had me laughing so much!
What I Disliked:
  • I did not like the characters. At all. In particular, Nicki Clements (who is meant to be our sympathetic heroine who is wrongly caught up in this mess) was possibly one of the most frustrating characters that I've read about in a long time. Seriously, I found her whiney, annoying and rude, not to mention her brash and stupid decisions were enough to make anyone want to tear their hair out. Part of me wanted her to go down despite being innocent! The Detective also annoyed me, and I wish Hanna had made him a little more likeable, rather than an impatient and arrogant grump who expects everything and gives nothing back. The rest of the characters I suppose were not really written to be liked, but still, it would have been nice to enjoy reading about someone!
  • A lot of loose ends were not tied up. Those relating to the murder were, yes. But Hannah introduced sub-plots into the story, which she then left hanging. What about Gibbs and Sellers, and their blatant lie about breaking up? What actually happened to Nicki after the whole incident? And what about Nicki's sister-in-law's shocking discoveries about Nicki's past? All of these things were just left as if Hannah had completely forgotten she'd even written them in! Now this book, as it turns out, is part of an ongoing series so there could be some argument for an overhanging plot. But I severely doubt that her other books would revisit Nicki's story again, so I guess we'll never know.
  • The murderer. In the end, when all was revealed, I just felt a bit disappointed. It would have been near impossible for me to guess the identity of the murderer I think anyway (which I always love to try and do), but secondly, the motive wasn't completely explained. Also, the murderer was completely and totally barmy suddenly and it all felt like a bit of a forced change. Maybe it was me not being very observant, but that's the way I felt.
  • The book wasn't broken up very well. I kept having to stop for various reasons but found myself having to do so mid-chapter. This really is a minor niggle and is probably more to do with my own personal preferences. Nevertheless it is something that I disliked.
Overall Conclusion:
Sophie Hannah does have exceptional writing talent. The words flow easily on the page and I was hooked on the fast-paced story itself. But I didn't love this book by a long stretch. I felt constantly frustrated at the main 'heroine', and disappointed with the Murderer's identity and motive. As well as this, the lack of tying up all loose ends left me with more questions than answers. Therefore, although I liked it, I can't really say I felt much more than that.

Weekly Wishlist #6

So despite the fact that I'm literally about to finish my book and really should get it read and reviewed today, I need to do this as well. If I don't, I know I'll forget! So here is my sixth Weekly Wishlist!

1) 'Journey To Agartha' DVD. I have a bit of a thing about animated films. This particular one has been on my list for a while, and I have gone to buy it a lot, then put it off. It looks very good and comes highly reviewed! What could be better than the prospect of beautiful Japanese animation and an enchanting story-line involving magical lands and mythical creatures? This isn't a Studio Ghibli one either, so I thought it made a nice change!

2) 'Shadow And Bone'; Leigh Bardugo. I don't think there are many bloggers or readers that haven't heard of this book. I've literally seen it everywhere! But I'm hoping it isn't just me that hasn't read it yet, I'm pretty sure it's not! It comes so well reviewed and with such an intriguing story-line that it was a bit of a no-brainer as to whether I would include it on this list or not! In fact, while writing this list, I just found out it is only £0.99 for a Kindle copy!

3) 'Graceling'; Kristin Kashore. I heard of this book a long time ago, never read about it, and without Goodreads to organise my reading life, promptly forgot about it. Recently however, it appeared on my recommended reads and my yearning to own it instantly came back! I want this book! 

4) 'LEGO: Marvel Superheroes' Game. I am massively in a Marvel mood after yesterday's trip to watch Captain America: The Winter Soldier'. I've actually played some of this game before, with Mat. It was a lot of fun and I would consider it to be one of the better (if not the best) LEGO game out there currently! Of course I am wishing for it so I can play it again!

5) 'Heroes' Box Set. My sister and I used to watch this series a lot and really enjoyed it. For some reason we stopped, not because we weren't enjoying it, in fact I don't remember why! But I would love to re-watch and get back into the whole series, it really was very good! I'm a bit of a superpower/superhero geek as well so perfect for me!

So I've done six of these wish lists now, doesn't time fly? I really don't feel like I've been blogging all that long but it's been about three months now! Wow! Now, back to reading.

Saturday 29 March 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 29/03/2014: 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'

So briefly, my day was mostly spent reading and Internet browsing. What can I say? I'm a slob. I had to go collect a parcel this morning which ended up being the two DVDs I ordered ('Thor: The Dark World' and 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire') and two of the three books I've been waiting for! 'Midwinterblood' by Marcus Sedgewick and 'Fearless' by Tim Lott are now in my possession! Hooray! I am very much looking forward to getting into them (if I ever get through 'The Telling Error', why is this book taking me so long?) Mat came round mid-afternoon and we spent a nice afternoon playing some Pokémon and chilling out, before heading off to the cinema to see the latest Captain America movie!

Wow, wow, wow! What a film! I loved it so, so much. The plot was great, the humour was actually hilarious and I loved some of the characters, old and new. Scarlet Johansson, Cobie Smulders and Samuel L Jackson were great in this movie, they took a bit of a back seat in the Avengers but really came into their own here! I wish Hawkeye had been in it, they really need to do more with his character. Chris Evans was wonderful to watch and I think this is his best portrayal of Steve Rogers/Captain America yet! Next, the villian. The Winter Soldier. He was a great twist in the story, I loved his development and for me, he was easily the best Marvel has produced after Loki (who will always be the villian for me, Hiddleston is just marvelous). But I cannot wait for more! Anthony Mackie was great as Sam Wilson/Falcon and I really hope we get to see more of him. Though 'The Avengers', 'Thor: The Dark World' and 'Iron Man 3' are still, I think, my top 3 Marvel movies, this came pretty close to knocking one off the pedestal, so well done for that!

Another day of pretty much nothing tomorrow, I must finish this book and post the review, as well as another Weekly wishlist, so that will take a lot of time. Also, it's Mother's Day here in the UK tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to a relaxing day with the family!

Friday 28 March 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 28/03/2014: More book shopping!

I ended up going to Town today, as Mother's day is coming up and I needed to get a few bits and bobs. This took up most of my morning (other than a few chores and a bit of computer browsing) and while I was there, I inevitably ended up wondering into a bookshop. I told myself it was because I wanted to find a present for my Mum, and while I did manage to (her birthday is coming up too), we all know that there was some selfish reasons creeping in there as well. Man, books are so hard to resist! I bought a couple:
  • 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry' by Rachel Joyce.
  • 'Green Rider' by Kristen Britain.
The first, Joyce's book, has been on my TBR list for a long time. And as I bought it in an offer with the book for my Mum, I figured it would be a little treat for myself. Then I saw the Fantasy section. Now I have missed books set in different Kingdoms entirely, I haven't read one in a while when they used to be my favourite kind! I was going through my Goodreads reviews of some Tamora Pierce books and I felt this pang of longing for a made up world far away. This is my answer to that need.

As well as this, I found another few Kindle reads which I have downloaded and are ready to read when I get round to them, which I'm very excited about!
  • 'Entangled' (The 'Spellbound Trilogy' Series, Book 1) by Nikki Jefford.
  • 'UnEnchanted: An Unfortunate Fairy Tale' by Chanda Hahn.
  • 'Moon Child' & 'By Blood' (Companion Novels) by Tracy E. Banghart
The first two I found while doing a bit more sorting of my TBR list, and having a browse of the Kindle Store. They were free and rated highly, so I saw no harm in giving them a try! Banghart's two companion novels cost £0.99 in all and came to my attention when a newsletter from her website arrived in my inbox this morning. It's a limited time offer to get both books for under £1, while individually they still cost £2.05 each, so get it while you can! I can't wait to finally get stuck into some of her work!

I spent the afternoon/evening at Mat's and we played some Playstation. As well as that, I got a bit more reading done and I'm actually almost halfway through 'The Telling Error'. If I'm good, I might have a review up later tomorrow for it, which I'm really hoping happens! I have so many thoughts on this novel! Oh and to top off a good day, I won another book from Goodreads! Two days in a row, that's amazing! Today's win was 'The Birds That Never Flew' by Margot McCuaig. Exciting stuff!

This post ended up being longer than I thought! Tomorrow I'm collecting a parcel from the Sorting Office (could be a book or DVDs, either way I can't wait to have them) and going to the cinema in the evening with Mat to see 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier'. I'm very excited about this film and can't wait to share my thoughts!

Thursday 27 March 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 27/03/2014: Goodreads sort out!

I've had a bit of a lazy day today if I'm being honest. I didn't really have all that much to do other than a few chores around the house. Excitedly though, I won another Goodreads 'First Reads' giveaway! Today's win is an exciting one, 'Good Kings, Bad Kings' by Susan Nussbaum. It looks very good and I can't wait for it to arrive! 

I'm afraid I've been very bad with my reading today, though I will do some tonight before bed. I spent a lot of my day working on blog stuff, including today's 'Life Of A Blogger' post, for which the topic was 'Favourite Animals'. I really am enjoying this meme and look forward to next week's interesting choice, 'Handwriting'. As well as that, I caught up with my Bloglovin' Feed a little and managed to re-organise and tidy up my Goodreads account a bit. It's becoming a bit of a mess.

Other than that, today has been pretty uneventful. I have a couple of bits and bobs to do tomorrow before seeing Mat, including a trip up town and hopefully making a lot more headway with this book! I also have a couple of posts to plan, so lots to do!

Life Of A Blogger: 'Favourite Animals'

I've been really looking forward to writing on this topic for some strange reason. Perhaps it is because I'm a bit of an animal fanatic, I absolutely love them! I feel that this list could get quite long, so I am going to limit myself to five animals!

To start off with, I really love cats. I've never been able to have pets really because my Dad is allergic to a lot of fur, and it's something that has made me really sad over the years. A lot of people are either Dog lovers or Cat lovers, but I've found myself really liking both! Of the two though, I think cats might just tip the scale because my Nan used to have a lovely one named Smudge and I literally adored her. Since then, cats have always had a special place in my heart. Especially kittens! I've always had a soft spot for Siberian Cats and Kittens in particular!

Continuing along the cat theme, I am a huge fan of big cats too! Particularly Tigers! Whenever I visit the zoo, I'm always most excited about going to see them, I just think they are such beautiful creatures.

Next on the list, Turtles. Man I love these so much, the baby ones are adorable and the older ones always look so intelligent and wise. Also, Crush will always be my favourite character in 'Finding Nemo'!

We're almost there! Next on the list are Pandas! They are so flipping cute! I have never actually seen a real one before like I have for my other picks, I would love to go to Edinburgh Zoo and actually get to!

Now last but certainly not least, this one is my most favourite of the lot! Anyone who knows me could tell you that the animal that I adore most of all (and yes I'm a bit obsessed with) are foxes! I love them so much, I think they are gorgeous. I've seen a fair few in my life, as they roam around the estate that I live on. This particular picture that I've decided to include is one that I took of a Fox that lives in my neighborhood. It was really tame which surprised me, and yes that is my glove you can see there. I have been called crazy for letting a Fox get that close to me when it could easily have gone for my fingers, but hey ho, you only live once and this was like a dream come true for me!

And I've reached my five animal limit, though of course there are many more I could mention being a bit of an animal freak! I can't wait to read what everyone else has posted on this subject, next week's topic will be 'Handwriting' which will be a bit of an interesting one!

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 26/03/2014: A Kindle Haul!

Well, what a day I've had! Firstly, I actually had a good lay in for the first time in what seems like forever, which was nice. I definitely needed it. I had work this afternoon but other than that, not an awful lot to do. At first I thought I'd get a lot of reading done, but even though I did read a bit, I ended up being a very busy bee with my Planned Reads instead.

I went through every single one of my 'To Read' books that I have on Goodreads and looked them up on Amazon to see how much they would be on the Kindle. Why? Because there is no way I am ever going to have that much space or money to buy each one as a paperback or hardback, as lovely as that would be. This started because (I forgot to tell you) on Monday I found out (having mentioned it on my Weekly Wishlist post) that 'Under Fishbone Clouds' by Sam Meekings was only £0.99 on the Kindle! That's an absolute bargain, and one I couldn't ignore. It made me wonder how many other bargains I was missing out on.

As it turns out, rather a lot. I went through, deciding only to take note of the £3.00 or under books (as a starting point). There were over 150 of them! I can't believe that I have never thought of this before! Perhaps it is because I much prefer the feel of an actual book in my hands, rather than the Kindle, but I feel there are too many pros that override this minor irritation. So without further ado, here are today's buys:
  • 'Bang' by Steven Allinson.
  • 'Forbidden Mind' ('The Forbidden Trilogy' Series, Book 1)  by Karpov Kinrade.
  • 'Perfected Sinfulness' by Michael Gilbert.
  • 'Alone', 'Untouched' and 'Soulless' ('The Girl In The Box' Books 1-3) by Robert J Crane.
  • 'An Uncommon Vocabulary' by Jim Boyd.
  • 'This Shadow Follows Me' by Joseph McGinnis.
  • 'Forsaken' ('Daughters Of The Sea' Series, Book 1) by Kristen Day.
At this point you might be wondering how much I spent. Well, not including the original Sam Meekings buy, it's a big fat nothing! All of these books were free! How amazing is that? All of these look like really good reads and I can't wait to get started. But as well as this, I read a post on Facebook by Sarah Dalton, a Dystopian Author whose books I very much want to read, and she revealed that she had banded together with some authors and they had released a collection of six Dystopian books called 'Shattered Worlds'! Naturally I looked and how much was the entire collection? £0.49! Of course I bought it! Here's a quick look at the titles included:
  • 'The Blemished' ('The Blemished' Series, Book 1) by Sarah Dalton
  • 'Kahayatle' ('Apocalypsis' Series, Book 1) by Elle Casey
  • 'Outside' ('Outside' Series, Book 1) by Shalini Boland
  • 'The Torturer's Daughter' ('The Internal Defense' Series, Book 1) by Zoe Cannon
  • 'Night Of The Purple Moon' ('The Toucan Trilogy' Series, Book 1) by Scott Cramer
  • 'The Breeders' ('The Breeders' Series, Book 1)
What an awesome sounding bunch! And as an added bonus, Zoe Cannon's 'The Torturer's Daughter' was already on my TBR list, so that's two of my reads ticked off in one go. For the ridiculously low amount of money the series cost, it's well worth at least checking it out! Anyone who loves Dystopian fiction, this is a dream come true!

Okay, excited rant over. I really should get some sleep, tomorrow I'll be sorting out some blog stuff, doing a bit of reading, etc. and I might get round to buying a couple more Kindle reads, I was very surprised at some of the low prices. If you're one of those people who has an ever-growing TBR list, this might be a method well worth spending an afternoon on. You'll be surprised at the results!

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 25/03/2014: Racing through my planned reads!

Well, what a lovely few days I've had in London! I woke up this morning still buzzing about last night's trip to see 'Les Misérables' and unable to get any of the songs out of my head. Mat had a couple of lectures to go to today so I was left mostly to my own devices, relaxing. My first port of call was to post my 'Top Ten Tuesday' for this week. I literally love this meme, it's so fun reading other people's lists and seeing how they compare. It makes me feel a lot more like I'm part of a big blogging community. I'm home now, I travelled back this evening after enjoying a delicious curry with Mat. He's off visiting a friend for a couple of days so I'll have to wait till Friday before seeing him again!

As well as this I managed to finish 'Chasing Sky'. I really liked this book, which you'll read in my review so please check that out if you're interested. I've started on 'The Telling Error' by Sophie Hannah, which was a Goodreads 'First Reads' giveaway win (I figured that I really need to get round to reading and reviewing these, seeing as I was lucky enough to win them). It is an unedited proof and not actually released until April 2014. I'm not very far in at all but I'm really loving it so far, the beginning draws you into the action instantly! I haven't read many books of this genre so I'll be intrigued to see how that effects my review of it when I'm done. As many of you have probably seen, next on the list will be 'Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale' which I'm ridiculously happy to be reading. I hope to get both of these books finished by the end of March so I can sneak it in as an extra challenge entry, but it doesn't matter too much if I don't!

Tomorrow is back to reality for me a little bit I'm afraid! I have work in the afternoon, so my reprieve from travelling to Canterbury hasn't been a long one! This doesn't matter though, it's a little shift and I still have the surrounding day to relax or get some things done if I want to!

Book Review: Finding Sky; Joss Stirling

I knew that if I put my mind to it, I could get this book finished. And look, I did! I seem to really be racing through these books over the past few days, I hope I can keep this pace up! Okay, so Finding Sky is going to be an entry for a couple of challenges. Firstly, one of my 2014 Key Words was 'Sky' so I'll be entering for that! Secondly, it also qualifies as an Urban Fantasy, and so this will mark my second entry into the 'Jumble Your Genres' challenge this month. Buttons below the review!

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Finding Sky
AUTHOR: Joss Stirling
SERIES: Benedicts (#1)
PUBLISHER: Oxford University Press
PAGES: 320
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Middle Grade

RATING: 3/5 Stars

When English girl, Sky, catches a glimpse of bad boy Zed in her new American high school, she can't get him out of her head. He talks to her with his thoughts. He reads her mind. He is the boy she will love forever. Shadows stalk her past but a new evil threatens her future. Sky must face the dark even if it means losing her heart.

What I Liked:
  • I really liked the heroine, Sky. That says a lot actually because the trend for me tends to be that I either find the heroine way too sappy or the author tries so hard for them not to be that way that they end up heartless. I found that Stirling struck a pretty good balance with Sky and it made me happy reading about her knowing that she was strong and independent, but did actually have a heart too.
  • The supporting characters were great too! I loved reading about them, and they actually did bash down a lot of the stereotypes you find when reading books set in American high schools. It was nice to see the lead actually fit into the school pretty successfully, without spending the first half of the book being a total loner with no friends to talk to. It meant that the book could focus on other important issues.
  • I was really gripped by most of this book. Literally, as it built, I really didn't want to put it down. There's a lot of action to keep you on the edge of your seat, and a few twists and turns that keep you wanting more when you think you've reached a safe zone. In fact, now it's finished I'm pretty disappointed that there's no more to read and I'm looking forward to reading the next in the series!
What I Disliked:
  • Okay, so I've been singing this book's praises but there were some niggles. When I started reading it, it was on a lower rating for a fair few chapters. The beginning of the book just didn't grip me very much. I couldn't help but feel a little bored to start with, though I can't quite pinpoint why. The subsequent action afterwards was just too good not to rate a bit higher however. I was so gripped after the slow start that I wish that it had been like that all the way through.
  • Zed and Sky's relationship seemed a little off to me at points. Now don't get me wrong, I thought the pairing was great actually! Especially Sky's part in it. I did find however that Zed's transformation from the local bad boy to the ever-adoring boyfriend happened a bit fast. Literally, blink and you'd miss it! I understand that he'd realised that Sky was his Destiny but still, the anger that he had built up inside him went far too quickly for me. Sky's 'falling in love' pace was spot on though and as a character, I did really like Zed!
  • The dialogue between characters. This is very minor but at times I would read and think: 'Would anyone actually say that?'. It only happened rarely, but it was just enough for me to notice it. It felt a little forced at times, and didn't follow the natural way I expected the conversation would go. Like I said though, it only happened a couple of times and didn't ruin the book in any way.
Overall Conclusion:
So I've mentioned a few things that would make you think I hadn't enjoyed this story. But I really did like it a lot! Despite the slow start, Stirling really picked up the pace and I think it has an edge over similar books of it's genre in a number of ways! The heroine is believable, the romance is lovely to read (despite a bit of rush on our male lead's part) and the plot-line is well thought out and totally gripping. I've read books in the past with a similar concept to this one, so the idea isn't totally original. But I liked the way that Stirling handled it a lot better than other books I've read of the same genre. I can't wait to read the second book in the series, and hopefully those loose ends will be ironed out nicely.

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Things On My Bookish Bucket List'

Well it's that time of the week again, Top Ten Tuesday! I love this meme and taking part in it every week, and this topic is a little bit different to previous ones! Rather than picking ten books I have to pick ten things I want to do relating to books!

1. Meet my favourite authors who have inspired me.
I think this is a pretty obvious one that a lot of people will put on their list. I have read the works of so many authors, whose books I love and admire and have inspired me to want to become an author myself. Authors ranging from J.K.Rowling or Marcus Zusak to Tamora Pierce and Patrick Rothfuss. There are so many that I would love to meet that I can't name them all, and no doubt as years go on many more will be added. All I can say is the chance to meet them and tell them how much their work has made me happy would be awesome!

2. Write a book.
This has been a dream of mine for a long time, but thinking it impossible and knowing very little about how to do it, I started pursuing other things that I enjoyed. Now I'm back to this little dream that has been sitting quietly at the back of my mind, waiting for me to rediscover it. And it's stronger than ever! 

3. Have that book published.
Perhaps it's a bit of a cop out having these two separated, but just writing a book and managing to get it published and successful are two very different things. I get so much pleasure from reading that I would love to be the writer giving other people happiness for once. Wouldn't it be nice to have my own work being reviewed and blogged about and loved by people too? Fingers crossed!

4. Be involved in a Blog Tour.
I confess I don't know much about the world of Blog Tours and ARCs. I don't completely understand how to get involved in them or what they even are, but I see them everywhere. Why haven't I looked into it yet? Because I sense they need a lot of commitment and while at Uni, I'm simply too busy. I finish my Final year very soon though, and so when that time comes I will have a lot more time on my hands to try and get involved a bit more. I can't wait!

5. Complete all my challenges.
So I have a fair few of these challenges and memes on the go, and I am desperate to complete them all! So far I've been doing so (by the skin of my teeth) and I can't wait to continue. It would also be great to get involved in more but I'll do more of that when I have more time on my hands. 

6. Keep at this blog.
This blog has literally kept me sane over these last few months, particularly during the last couple of weeks when I've been stressed. I love blogging, the community, the challenges, the reading, the reviews, everything! And I want to keep going and watch the blog grow! I think I need to make a serious attempt at learning HTML and sorting out little design bits and bobs, as well as start a proper schedule. But hey! I've come this far!

7. Read the books that I already should have read.
Some of you may have read about my frankly embarrassing 'Top Ten Popular Authors I Haven't Read Yet'. Yeah. There's plenty more where they came from. But I will read them and plenty more, this I pledge!

8. Have a Library.
When I finally get round to settling down and moving into a house, I would desperately want enough room for some semblance of a Library because I just know the amount of books I'll have will only grow. I mean I would love a huge garden and my own cinema too but the library is top of the list!

9. Read my whole TBR list!
I have a list of books that I want to read, series that I want to finish and I plan to finish them all. The problem with this one is that my TBR list is ever growing! It doesn't stop anywhere. For every book I finish, ten more are added. There is only one solution and it leads me nicely onto my last pick of the list...

10. Never stop reading.
That's right. I went through a long period of my life where I didn't read anything and I really don't want to go back there. Ever. Again. So from now onwards, I'm not going to stop reading!

There we are, my Top Ten things on my Bookish Bucket List. I can't wait to read everyone else's!

Monday 24 March 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 24/03/2014: 'Les Misérables'

So I only just got back from watching 'Les Misérables' at the Theatre and I am literally in awe. The singing was amazing, the set ridiculously cool and elaborate and the show itself was just wonderful. I went with Mat and his Mum, and I've been really excited about it because it is a show I thought I would never get to see! Firstly, Carrie Hope Fletcher as Éponine was just perfect! Her renditions of 'A Little Fall Of Rain' and 'On My Own' were beautifully song and I may have shed a tear or two. The two characters I had worried about most however were the Thénardiers. I have only ever seen these characters played in the movie, by Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter, who I thought were hilarious! I was a bit terrified that the stage version wouldn't be funny enough, but I needn't have worried! Cameron Blakely and Wendy Ferguson had me in stitches and I think that in many ways, they stole the show.

Other than that, today has been pretty uneventful for me. I spent most of it chilling out with Mat,  my cold is a lot better now which I'm happy about. I also managed to get so much reading done and if all goes well, I'll have a review up for 'Finding Sky' up tomorrow as I'm pretty close to finishing! Also, I will be doing my Top Ten Tuesday so I'll have a pretty blog heavy day tomorrow! 

Sunday 23 March 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 23/03/2014: In London!

I am so proud of the tremendous amount of blog stuff that I got done today! I managed to finish 'Daughter Of Smoke And Bone' by Laini Taylor and get a review for it up this morning, which I really didn't think I'd do! I thought it would take me until at least tomorrow to finish it, but I guess I'm a faster reader than I thought I was! As soon as I'd finished the review, I then posted my Weekly Wishlist and so I'm starting to feel like blog stuff is getting a little more back on track. My next read that I have just started is 'Finding Sky' by Joss Stirling, which I included in my last Top Ten Tuesday post. I'm really excited about this one, and following that, I'll be reading 'The Telling Error' by Sophie Hannah for a Goodreads 'First Reads' review.

That really made up most of my day. I'm still recovering from this cold but I'm feeling a lot better than I did yesterday! I did do a bit of sneaky Amazon shopping actually, as there were some books I've had my eye on that were pretty cheap and I finally got round to ordering them. I don't know when I'll actually get to read them but here are today's buys:
  • 'Midwinterblood' by Marcus Sedgewick
  • 'Fearless' by Tim Lott
  • 'Angelfall' by Susan Ee
As well as these exciting reads, I did finally get round to buying 'Thor: The Dark World' DVD and 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' DVD. Both are great films and just had to be bought. I couldn't wait any longer.

Mat came round after he finished work at six, and we headed off to the station to get to London. Currently I'm sat in his room, watching 'Dynamo: Magician Impossible' and of course writing this post. Tomorrow he has to go to a Tutorial and a Lecture so I'll be taking the opportunity to get some reading done, and maybe watching 'Wreck It Ralph'. Then of course, the moment I've been waiting for, watching Les Misérables! I'm so ridiculously excited about this show, I don't think I can quite put into words how much I'm looking forward to it. For now though, time to relax.

Weekly Wishlist #5

I'm having a busy day today with all this blogging! It's that time of the week again, time for my Weekly Wishlist!

1) The 'Field Rose' Foldaway Holiday Bag from Cath Kidston. I have noticed today, while packing for my stay in London, that I desperately need a new Travel Bag. I go and stay away from home fairly regularly and have had a spotty black one that has served me well for a long time, but the straps are wearing a bit thin. I have admired Cath Kidston bags for a long time, I have a bit of a thing for Floral Designs and this one is beautiful! For this reason, it goes on today's list!

2) 'A Perfect Contradiction', Paloma Faith. I really enjoy listening to Paloma Faith, she has a very sultry voice and has written a lot of good songs over the few years that I've been listening to her music. Her newest album, 'A Perfect Contradiction' is out tomorrow and I would really love to get my hands on it! Hopefully it will be as good as her other music, which I enjoy very much.

3) 'The Book Of Crows'; Sam Meekings. I saw this book in Waterstones while I was having a browse a while back, and was immediately intrigued. It looks like a very good read, and having looked into his other books, I would also like to get my hands on 'Under Fishbone Clouds', and even his book of poems, 'The Bestiary'. All have been highly reviewed and I look forward to hopefully being able to read one at some point.

4) 'Some Kind Of Fairytale'; Graham Joyce. This book just looks awesome! Having read the synopsis, it looks exactly like the kind of story that I would enjoy reading and I'm a little bit desperate for this one!  Also, some of his other books like 'The Limits Of Enchantment: A Novel', 'The Year Of The Ladybird' and 'The Silent Land' look equally as intriguing! Honestly, there are too many books in this world that I want to read, and just not enough time for me to do so!

5) 'Starting Point', Hayao Miyazaki. Anyone who has been paying attention to previous Wishlists of mine will quickly realise I'm a bit of a Studio Ghibli fan. I think that these animated movies are amazing, well up there with Disney and Dreamworks in my eyes! Hayao Miyazaki is the man behind a fair few of them, and a bit of an idol of mine. This book is a bit of a glimpse into his own take on the process of making some of these classic films, and it has a sequel: 'Turning Point'

And that concludes this week's picks! I hope you enjoy reading these lists as much as I enjoy writing them, it really is a lot of fun.

Book Review: Daughter Of Smoke And Bone; Laini Taylor

Wow, I am on fire with getting through these books now that I have time on my hands! This book has been a joy to read and I am sharing my thoughts now, while they're still fresh in my mind. I will be using this book as an entry for the 'Jumble Your Genres' challenge, as the genre this month is 'Urban Fantasy' and this book definitely fits into that category. The button, as always, is at the bottom of this review.

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Daughter Of Smoke & Bone
AUTHOR: Laini Taylor
SERIES: Daughter Of Smoke & Bone (#1)
PUBLISHER: Hodder & Stoughton
PAGES: 418
GENRE: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.

What I Liked:
  • Laini Taylor has injected a lot of personality into every character that is in this book. I think I pretty much fell in love with them all, and they all had such a great dynamic with each other. I mean the conversations between Karou and Zuzana were just hilarious and they didn't even make up the main premise of the story. Really, there was some awesome characterisation stuff in this one!
  • The concept of 'Elsewhere'. Karou's other life, her 'family' are just fantastic. The amount of thought that went into their creation was clear and I loved the world-building images we get, in particular, of Brimstone's shop and how his line of business works. Taylor has obviously really thought about exactly how she wants her other world to look, sound and feel and it was just wonderful to read.
  • The romance was very heated. I like it when romantic leads have chemistry, and in particular, Karou and Avika seemed on equal terms, rather than one giving chase while the other plays hard to get. It was nice to read about them both being a bit unsure but both feeling an undeniable attraction.
What I Disliked:
  • Towards the end of the book, Taylor jumps about a bit. This is entirely necessary, as it is the 'big reveal' that I had been waiting for, and yet because it jumped around time so much, I found my interest waning ever so slightly and the desire to just finish the book increasing. I don't think the ending was bad, it just felt a bit disorganised and confusing for me.
  • Despite liking the chemistry between Karou and Akiva, I wanted a bit more of the romance stuff. I felt like they fell for each other just a bit too easily, I mean one minute they're fighting, the next they're having tea together! The big reveal at the end does go someway towards explaining this however. I think the next book will be better as it can focus a lot more on the present day story-line, and there might be a bit more development between the growing relationship between them. Fingers crossed!
Overall Conclusion:
I really enjoyed this book and it is easy to see why it has become so popular! The ideas behind the fantasy world are very original and I really embraced the whole concept, the characters and enjoyed the plot too. I was a little thrown at the end with the jumping about, and I felt that the relationship between Karou and Akiva may have been ever so slightly under-developed at this point (though definitely enjoyable to read). This series has a lot of good stuff and the potential to be awesome. I thoroughly look forward to the next book!

Saturday 22 March 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 22/03/2014: Under the weather.

Well I had my first day off in what seems like forever today, and I spent most of it feeling a bit sorry for myself. I have a stinking cold! I knew it was coming yesterday, but a small part of me had hoped it was just really bad hay-fever. Alas, my suspicions were correct. Still, in terms of blog stuff, I managed to be pretty productive! I finished reading Eowyn Ivey's 'The Snow Child'! At long last! Honestly, it is one of the best books I have ever read (and that says a lot) and I posted the review of it earlier, so feel free to check that out!

I also made pretty good headway with 'Daughter Of Smoke & Bone'. Things are really starting to get interesting and I can't wait to get through this one too and post my thoughts! Most of my day was taken up with reading and reviewing, plus a little bit of sorting out my planned reads so that I don't fall far behind again, like I have this month. I have some exciting planned reads lined up, so I'm looking forward to those!

Mat came round mid afternoon and he looked after me a bit, which was nice. I have missed him an awful lot this week because of how much stress I've been under, so it's good that the weekend is finally here and I get to spend more time with him. Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow, because I'm off up to London to stay at his in the evening! This is in preparation for going to see 'Les Misérables' at the Queen's Theatre on Monday! I am so damned excited about this show, I have longed to see it for a very long time. I think a day of rest is in order tomorrow beforehand.

Book Review: The Snow Child; Eowyn Ivey

It actually really makes me sad how long it has been since I have written one of these. March has been a very busy month, but it goes to show that I can get things done when I have the time. Yesterday evening I was about halfway through the book, so I've read about 200 pages in a few hours. It was my aim to get this book finished and review uploaded ASAP, now that I actually have time on my hands. I'm entering this review for the 2014 Monthly Motif challenge, as this month's is 'Fairy Tales or Fairy Creatures', the button will be at the bottom of this page. I've been really looking forward to reviewing this one, so here we go!

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: The Snow Child
AUTHOR: Eowyn Ivey
PUBLISHER: Headline Review
PAGES: 423
GENRE: Fairy Tale Retelling, Magical Realism, Fantasy, Historical Fiction

RATING: 5/5 Stars

Alaska, the 1920s. Jack and Mabel have staked everything on a fresh start in a remote homestead, but the wilderness is a stark place, and Mabel is haunted by the baby she lost many years before. When a little girl appears mysteriously on their land, each is filled with wonder, but also foreboding - is she what she seems, and can they find room in their hearts for her?

What I Liked:
  • The writing. Eowyn Ivey is absolutely flawless in her delivery of this emotional and gripping story. Everything about it, the language, the style, is executed so well that I was totally sucked in every time I opened this book. In fact I couldn't wait until the next moment that I could re-open and enjoy it once more. Each chapter is short, but I find that I like a book that is broken up well, it makes it easier to read.
  • The setting. Ivey's writing style allows her to fully immerse us in the world of her story. The wilderness of Alaska is beautifully described and I swear I could see every tree, every snowflake and every animal track that was described to me. 
  • The story-line. Wow, just wow. This plot is just beautiful. For those that know the fairy tale (which I did) you actually have a sense of what will happen at the end of the story. I won't reveal the ending, but this story is tragic and heart-wrenching to say the least. And yet you continually want more, I loved the detailed insight that Ivey gave into the lives, and yet the story runs over a number of years. She just got it perfect in my eyes.
  • The characters. Once again, I'm amazed and taken aback by how emotionally connected I felt to the plight of Jack and Mabel. I have read books before where I have liked characters but while reading this book it just felt like these two characters had something more than in previous books I had read. I sympathized with them, laughed alongside them, cried for them and enjoyed their tender affection for each other so much that watching it grow, having been buried for so long, was a joy to read. The other characters in the book? Wonderfully written also. The Bensons just made me smile every time they popped up, and Faina was every bit the captivating, fairy-like child I expected her to be. Wonderful!
What I Disliked:
  • At this point, as you can imagine, I'm struggling to think of things about this book that I disliked. I think in all the reviews I've written so far, this has been the hardest to think of one for, which is a huge nod to Ivey's skill. Perhaps, if anything, the ending was a little abrupt. The obvious and heavily foreshadowed ending may have felt a little too rushed for me but that is probably because I was desperately hoping (while crying my eyes out) that it wasn't happening and something was going to come along and make the happy ending I was after.
Overall Conclusion:
This book is just a phenomenal read and has become a firm favourite of mine. I would certainly read it again and again, and I would recommend it to everyone because it is just beautiful. I challenge anyone to find me a better retelling of this Russian Fairy-tale than the one I have just read. Also, the original tale is included in the book, at the end! I thought that was a nice touch. Well done Eowyn Ivey, you made me cry and I loved it. She is releasing, it seems, another book named 'Shadows On the Wolverine' in 2015, and that is definitely going on my 'Books I am looking forward to being released' list, I only wish there was another of her works that I could read while I wait!

Friday 21 March 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 21/03/2014: Coursework submitted, Easter break begins!

Finally! My actual time off that I have been dreaming about all week has arrived. I cannot express how happy I am right now to see this moment. To not have to, at least for a little bit, worry too much about stressful shows I have to do things for or coursework that needs to be submitted! I managed to meet my coursework deadline today (just) and I'm pretty happy with what ended up being submitted so now it's just a waiting game!

After finishing my coursework, which actually took up most of my day, I went to pick Mat up from the station. We spent the evening at his, playing this new game called 2048 which he has me absolutely addicted to. Seriously look it up (unless you actually want to live your life, in which case avoid it at all costs)! We also played a bit of Pokemon (I bet you expected that) and Simpsons: Tapped Out which is another one that I thoroughly recommend if that's what floats your boat. Unfortunately I didn't get to enjoy my time at Mat's quite as much as I wanted to. Why? Because I am coming down with a cold. I'm hoping I'm just run down and it will be gone tomorrow, but I'll have to see on that front.

Speaking of tomorrow: if I'm up to it (i.e. not dying) we're going to see 'A Long Way Down' at the cinema! Hoorah! I have been looking forward to this film's release ever since I saw the trailer. I would also be really interested to read the book at some point. It looks really funny, in a dark kind of way and they are always good to watch in my eyes. I'll see if it lives up to expectations!

Thursday 20 March 2014

Daily Shenanigans, 20/03/2014: Phew!

Oh my goodness, tonight went so well! I woke up at quarter to six this morning, so that I could drive in for eight. While driving, I listened to Jeff Wayne's 'War Of The Worlds' (a musical adaption for those that don't know, I adore it) and it calmed me down a bit. I have been worrying all week about this assignment and as it turns out, I had nothing to worry about after all. The lighting design for the show I'm being marked on was exactly how I imagined it would be, and I worked painstakingly throughout my 14 hour (yes, really) day to get i perfect. The show went really well and my Tutor seemed quite impressed so I'll have to wait and see!

I still have some work to do tomorrow on my Multimedia Portfolio, but then that's it for a little while! Thank goodness too because I  think the stress was sure to make me implode sooner or later. I am very tired this evening so  I'll make this post quite short again. If I get my coursework done well, I'll be able to be more productive blog-wise and have more to talk about tomorrow! Wish me luck!

Before I go, I'll just say: 35 followers on Bloglovin'? 18 on Google +? Wow! Thanks guys!

Life Of A Blogger: 'Travel'

Well I haven't really done much travelling over the course of my life in all honesty! Certainly, I know that I have only left the UK three or four times in my life, as when going on holiday, our family mostly traveled to other areas of England and stayed at Holiday Parks. These were always huge fun, but I wish that I had been able to see a bit more of the world as I grew up.

I've been to France once on a day out with my parents, sister, Aunt and Uncle! I was quite young and I don't really remember it all that well, but I do remember the journey there on the Eurostar, which was all very new and exciting at the time! We only went to a Shopping Centre I think, not to see any sights unfortunately but I remember it was still heaps of fun! 

I also went to Belgium, a few years later, on a school trip! This travel experience I can remember a bit better. We went to visit the trenches and graveyards, as we were learning about the Battle of the Somme at the time. But afterwards we were allowed to go and do some shopping and I bought a lot of Belgium chocolate. That was a really fun, interesting day and I learned a lot! I do enjoy History so it would be quite fun to return one day.

In terms of actual Holidays, my first and only Family Holiday was with my whole family on my Mother's side for my Grandparent's Wedding anniversary. We went to Malta! It was such a beautiful country, the people were really friendly and it was really nice being able to spend so much time with people that I don't get to see an awful lot. We went to Valletta (the Capital) on one of the days and even went to a 'Festa' at some point which I really enjoyed! I still recall those memories back with a lot of fondness. On a random side note, the lemonade that the Hotel served was delicious, the best lemonade I have ever tasted. I can't find the photos for the trip at the moment so I'll put a nice photo of Malta up instead!
My second Holiday out of the country was actually only last year, in Corfu with my boyfriend. I can honestly say it was one of the best experiences of my life and I'm so glad that we went! For those that don't know, Corfu is an Island just off the coast of Greece, meaning that Mythological figures were found just about everywhere. It was very romantic and we made the most of our week long trip! We toured the Island on a bus, went on two boat trips (one of which actually took us to Mainland Greece), relaxed at the beach and did plenty of browsing at the local markets! There was a beautiful shop near to the Hotel that we stayed at (it was a really nice Hotel by the way) that sold all sorts of beautiful, handmade statues! I fell in love with one of Artemis (the Greek Goddess of Hunting) immediately and the day before we returned home I bought it! It's on my window sill and just looking at it makes me remember just how amazing this holiday was. These photos are mine!
My last travel experience that I will mention isn't actually technically out of the UK, but it does involve travelling so in my eyes still comes under this category. It was last Summer again that I, and a couple of close mates, went to visit my friend who goes to Uni in Cardiff. I'd never been there before and was really surprised about how different it is to England! It was a wonderful place though and we had so much fun! We shopped, went bowling, visited 'The Doctor Who Experience' (which can I just say was awesome and well worth a visit), went to the Fairground and visited Cardiff Castle. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and thought it well worth a mention here!
While I'm on the subject of travel, I may as well talk about some places I would really love to go if I could. 

Firstly, America. Mat and I talked about actually going there for half a year and touring it, which would have been amazing! A bit expensive though, so alas, it looks to only be a dream. In particular, I would love to go to New York and watch some Broadway Shows, and Florida to visit Disneyland and Universal Studios! Call me a child but I never actually got to go to Disneyland like a lot of children did and so that will always be a dream of mine! 

Secondly, Japan. From early teens I have always loved the country. The culture, the beautiful scenery, everything about Japan looks so serene and beautiful! And Tokyo looks like such an awesome place to be as well! I will always want to visit their, even if only once in my life, just to see what it's like!

And that about sums up my travel experiences and aspirations! Though I haven't done an awful lot of travelling in my life up until now, I hope I'll get to do more in the future! Next week's topic will be 'Favourite Animals'!