About Me

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19 years old from the UK, I have always loved a good book and a cup of tea, and am often asked to recommend books I have loved, thus created this blog in order to share my thoughts with whoever is interested. Please share recommendations if you wish!

Thursday, 1 October 2015

The Miniaturist- Jessie Burton

A short review this week as being back at university has hit me hard! But I really wanted to mention The Miniaturist. This is a really interesting story- unique and full of brilliant twists. I would describe this book as a mystery and it lived well up to expectations.

The story focuses around Nella who moves to Amsterdam to marry a wealthy merchant. It follows their life and the life of those that live in thier house. Its a gripping story and the characters are brilliantly written. I loved the character of Cornelia who really developed through the story, and thought each character was vital and crafted expertly for the book.

The writing style was easy to follow and hid the twists of the story perfectly- not too much but also not too little. Each 'revelation' was revealed at the perfect time and really elivated and gripped the plot. I have to say my only complaint is I was left a little frustrated as I still had questions at the end of the book and I feel, although tied up well, it wasn't perfect.

I really enjoyed this book and its a lovely read. I would recommend to anyone who wants a gripping, interesting and different novel to read.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Calves in the Mud Room- Jerome O Brown

This is the first novella (or short book) that I have ever read and I have to say that I'm a huge convert. I've always been interested in the idea of novellas- due to their ease and quickness- but I have just never really come across one that I've wanted to read.

When the email about Calves in the Mud Room came into my inbox I was incredibly interested as my family are big farmers and I've grown up with being told funny stories and tales about farm life, and I thought this would be a lovely little thing to read. I was not wrong. Although this is a short story it is incredibly thoughtful, interesting and funny as well as touching and full of meaning. I couldn't put it down and really connected with the main character Wade. This really is a 'coming of age story' with another level.

The book is really well written and incredibly descriptive and paced wonderfully. I love the authors style which is really well fitted to the story itself and compliments Wade's narrative voice brilliantly. I personally feel its a very honest and realistic view of farming life and the struggles and complications that can be incurred. It was incrediblt moving and real and I really enjoyed that.

If you're looking for a short story to read this is a lovely one. Not appropriate for under age readers but a really great well written and interesting story.

Note: This book was sent to me to review. This is no way alters or affects my opinion of the book and I only review books sent to me that I genuinely would have considered
purchasing for myself.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

The Book Lover Quiz!

Today I thought I would do something a little different, and found some bookish questions to answer!

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?
I love a hardback however I’ll have to go with paperback as that is what I tend to buy

Amazon or brick and mortar?
Brick and mortar! Book shops are one of favourite places on earth and I think its really important we support them.

Locally owned bookshop or big name chain store?
Locally owned if I can, but I don’t mind the big chains

Bookmark or dog-ear?
Bookmark! I can’t bear to ruin books.

Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random?
Random, I am far too messy

Keep, throw away, or sell?
Keep, although I do try and donate books to my local oxfam book shop as often as I can

Keep dust jacket or toss it?

Read with dust jacket or remove it?
I tend to read with or I would lose it

Short story or novel?

Collection (short stories by same author) or anthology (short stories by different authors)?
Hmmm probably anthology as I like comparing different styles and techniques

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?
chapter breaks, but don’t be surprised if you find me still awake at 4am trying to get to the end

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?
Dark stormy night!

Buy or borrow?
Buy but I love to lend

New or used?
Either to be honest, but I love buying used books as it feels like they have a new life

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse?
All three! But recommendations from my mum, nana and sister are sure winners!

Tidy ending or cliffhanger?
I get very frustrated with cliffhangers but I still love them!

Morning, afternoon or nighttime reading?
I tend to not have a lot of time in the morning but I can happily while away an afternoon or evening submerged in a book

Single volume or series?
Again, either!

Favorite series?
The magicians guild trilogy by Trudi Canavan

Favorite books read last year?
Probably We Were liars by E.Lockhart

Favorite books of all time?
I couldn’t say!

Thank you to the guys over at good reads for providing the questions which you can find here, http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1162432-questions-for-book-lovers

Monday, 7 September 2015

Born survivors- Wendy Holden

This book was not what I was expecting at all. I was expecting a fiction book, based on real events, but a story none the less- something woven and, although probably accurate, a depiction of events rather than a written account. This is not what I got- but oh was it so much better.

This book follows the stories of three very real expectant mothers during the holocaust. The stories are laid out in an interview/account style with recollections and memories from the three ladies as of the time of writing. I can’t stress enough that this book is in no way a ‘story’ per say but is an accurate historical account. As you can imagine it is wholly gripping. This incredibly unique telling of the lives of these three ladies is remarkable and allows you to view the suffering of the victims of this monsterous point in history in a way, I personally, have never seen before.

I was extremely moved whilst reading this book- by 50 pages in I was crying. Due to the style of this book you are so connected to the ‘characters’ that it is impossible not to sit in heartbreak for the suffering these ladies endured. What really gripped me were the tiny stories interwoven into each ladies main story- I don’t want to go into too much detail because you really need to read it for yourself to truly appreciate these memories. These ‘untold’ miracles and accounts truly blew me away and I was left speechless at the courage and risk others took in the face of such fear and oppression.

Everyone should read this book. It is so important that the holocaust is never forgotten, to stop anything like this every happening again and to draw attention to atrocities that are currently happening in the world now. Literature such as this book is vital for coming close to understanding what truly went on during this horrifying time- it is especially important for the younger generation, 15/16+ to learn about what happened. A fantastic book.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Interrailing through Europe: My guides and how I used them

So as very few of you will know this summer I spent a few days short of a month travelling on trains through Europe with my sister. This was an INCREDIBLE experience and I hope it explains my absence! I just want to clear up firstly- Interrailing is the same exact thing as Eurail(ing?) except you buy an 'interrailing' ticket if you live within the EU rather than a 'Eurail' ticket.

We flew from the UK to Paris before travelling on to Barcelona, then Nice, Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome, Vienna (where we did a trip out to Salzburg), Munich and finally Amsterdam. We did two night trains (where you sleep overnight on the train) as well as regular trains. It was such a brilliant experience and I'm so glad we went- I shall try to stay clear of all the 'cliche' rubbish in this post but it truly was unforgettable and one of the best months of my entire life.

Books took up a big part of my trip- not just books I read along the way but also guides! Obviously it was unrealistic to think I could take lots of individual city or country book guides, especially due to lack of space when you are living out of a back pack for a month, and I know I could have downloaded lots of ebook versions but, for me, a physical all inclusive guide book was what I wanted. I was generously given a guide called 'Europe by Eurail' written by LaVerne Ferguson-Kosinski (2015- 39th edition) by my parents. This book was incredible.

It includes up to date timetables, ticket prices for thousands of attractions as well as buses/metro tickets and discount city cards. it also offers brilliant recommendations for things to do, especially if you are short of time which for us was incredibly useful. It was this book that suggested the trip to Salzburg where we did one of my top three things in the whole trip- having lunch in a huge beautiful fortress overlooking the whole of Salzburg and the mountains. I will never forget that experience.

This guide, which we nick named 'the book', became what we really relied upon- from working out how to get from the airport to our hostel to figuring out how to budget for the trip. I wanted to talk about it in a whole post because honestly I would say this book (or a similar book-but this one is amazing) is vital when planning and travelling a trip like this. The suggestions allowed us to see some unbelievable places that we never even would have thought to go see- from attractions, hidden gems, places to eat and even places to stay.

As well as the guide book we took a pocket phrase book. For us this was really important as I can speak (some) Spanish and my sister can speak German but that was it, and it was great to be able to at least attempt to order food/converse a bit. The guide we took was fine- they are all pretty similar and ours had big sections for menus and ordering drinks and food which was helpful. I would say a phrasebook is really important and we used ours A LOT.

If anyone has any questions, or is interested in hearing more about the trip (not really sure how interested people are!) then feel free to leave a comment, send me an email at lizzyisreading@hotmail.com or tweet me @lizzyisreading

Sunday, 23 August 2015

We are all completely beside ourselves- Karen Joy Fowler

Firstly let me just apologies for the lack of posts on here; I have been travelling around Europe for a month but much more on that in the future. Stay tuned.

The first thing to mention about this book was the incredible writing style; the author has an incredible grip over the writing. The lead character, Rosemary, talks directly to the reader which is something I love in a book and really allows the author to hold the attention of the reader really really well. That being said, this style has some restrictions- for example it would have been really interesting to hear more thoughts from Rosemary's father in this story. Although this does'nt bother me too much as it fits with the theme and story line of the story that Rosemary can only explain her own feelings.

The twist in this story is brilliant- especially for soemone who is interested in the themse (I can't really go into too much detail because it gives the whole thing away) like I am. I can say, however, that this twist comes and precisly at the right time and in a way that was so simply and beautifully revealed. I was worried from the start that this book would be really hard to grasp and a bit confusing but this really wasn't aa problem- it was straight forward and flowed really well.

The detail in this story is simply stunning- there is a section (and if you read the book this will make much more sense) about 'will you take my pack' and I can't stress enough how much this part touched me. I know that doesn't explain it at all  but trust me- its fantastic. This brings me on to the themese themselves in the book; the issues raised are incredibly interesting and not widely talked about in mainstream media, be it books, films, tv ect.

This is a wonderful book and a terrific read. Defintily give it a try, it raises some really interesting thoughts and some powerful questions.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Lumaworld- Rachel E.Kelly

Lumaworld is the third instalment of the Colorworld series written by Rachel Kelly. Please find reviews of the first book, Colorworld and the second book, Teleworld, below.

The story that runs through this series is totally unique; from the first book I fell in love with it. I have to say this isn't my favourite book in the series but I still really enjoyed it, and find the the whole plot compelling and fascinating to follow. With this particular book I did however, unfortunately, struggle a little with the middle portion of the story- I felt it was a little slow and got a tiny bit lost. That being said it's 100% worth sticking it through and vital detail is included in this section.

Something I do struggle a little with in these stories is following them completely without difficulty. You have to keep your whits about you as you are reading them as it can be easy to get lost, especially in this instalment, but that definitely shouldn't put readers off. I personally feel that spreading out the action slightly may have made it easier to follow.

I adore the characters in this series; Gabe being a particular favourite. The characterisation and development in Lumaworld is lovely- which really elevates and influences the emotional sections of the story, of which this book has many. Some sections of the story were written so beautifully I was really moved (a rare thing for me) and the way the characters have been written really adds to the emotion and depth of the story. As I mentioned in the previous review of Teleworld, I really wanted to see development of other characters in Lumaworld, in particular Ezra. I was not left disappointed. The story was greatly elevated and made much more interesting by us learning much more about a number of other characters, including Ezra and Robert.

Again this instalment was packed with twists and turns and unexpected surprises. I did feel that a couple were a little too out of nowhere but that's just my personal opinion. I love how Kelly has managed to maintain the air of mystery and surprise through out the series-mainly through the extensive development of the colorworld-world. I am totally hooked on the series, its truly unique and interesting and I love that I've finally found a sci-fi esq series to read which really brings me out of my comfort zone!

Colorworld review
Teleworld review

Note: This book was sent to me to review. This is no way alters or affects my opinion of the book and I only review books sent to me that I genuinely would have considered
purchasing for myself.