Wildest Hunger – Laura Laakso

Hi Loves,

Happy Saturday! I hope you’re having a lovely Saturday. Today I want to share with you a book that I was kindly gifted from @LouiseWalters12 and @LLaaksoWriter for the blog tour for Wildest Hunger (#WildestHungerBlogTour). Those of you who have followed me for sometime will know that I will never say no to a book so I am grateful for being a part of this. I hope you all enjoy this book as much as I did.

What’s it all about?

I was attracted to this book immediately because of it’s lovely cover. The blurb on the back was enticing and contained all the elements I love in a work of fiction. Worlds that are familiar but strange. Settings we know and love that have a twist as if they are distorted and warped.

This book is part of a series, which I didn’t realise when I first read it but as with all well written novels you can pick up the threads quickly and the characters come to life in your imagination despite the obvious missing background that would be there if you read them in order.

We follow the movements of an investigator, Yannia. She is living in Old London, away from the rest of her people. Yannia, you see is not human. Humanlike, yes but she is wild.

“Jamie recoils, but I keep following him. ‘I may look human, but I’m not. Nor is anyone who carries the WildFolk blood.’”

There is magic in this world and the non humans can use it, sense it, manipulate it. Yannia is called to consulate for the police when a young boy is abducted. As a member of the Wild Folk, Yannia quickly comes to realise that the perpetrator is one of her own. A Wild Folk like her. This one however has broken the oldest and most important law of the Wild Folk, they have started to kill and feed on humans.

“Of all the laws and traditions that govern our existence, one stands above all others; it is forbidden to consume the flesh of humankind.”

This leads her back into contact with her family, who are far away in a Wild Folk conclave. Yannia is very conflicted about this renewed contact as she left the conclave to get away from her overweening father and his plans to marry her off. In doing so, she has created resentment and ripples of rebellion throughout the Wild Folk community. Could this killing be in some way linked to her own rebellion?

“Most of the conclave has convened around the fires, and the nearer I get, the more hesitant my steps become. I feel unwelcome, though no-one has so much as glanced my way. These are my people, my kind, and yet I am not certain I am theirs. The old mould has been broken, and I have left the pieces behind.”

With the help of her partner, a magical Bird Shaman who works alongside her, Yannia begins to trace the movements of the killer. It soon becomes clear that they have travelled a long way and killed repeatedly. Yannia is forced to enlist the help of Dearon, her father’s heir to the leadership of their Wild Folk conclave. His lack of respect for the human police and her partner quickly causes friction – as does his utter failure to understand that he cannot simply meet out Wild Folk justice, this case must be dealt with by the police.

“Dearon’s nostrils flare as he identifies Jamie as human, and his expression changes to disinterest. I supress a surge of irritation. In Dearon’s world, humans are an inconvenience to be tolerated and avoided as much as possible.”

Final Thoughts

The plot twists and turns with all sorts of unexpected revelations. The complex relationship between the different characters and their ‘races’ in the story creates some delicious tension as things move to a climax.

The novel is a clever blend of the familiar and the magical.  Mobile phones and cars juxtapose portals and bodily transformations. I really enjoyed getting to know the rules and mores of this familiar/strange world. The characters are well written and you quickly become invested in the story.

I think the most telling thing about my reaction to this book is that I immediately went looking for the earlier books in the series – that says everything really. I have found a new author to follow and I’m looking forward to the journey.

Thank you again to @LouiseWalters12 and @LLaaksoWriter for letting me be a part of this. Do check out the other stops on the tour. I’ll see you next time.

Big Love xxx

Reading Round-Up: October

Hi loves!

Happy Sunday! I hope you’re all well rested and enjoying the weekend.

Whilst the rain is lashing down my windows, I thought now would be a good time to share with you all my round-up for October. October was a great month for reading which I’m really pleased with. I’m also surprised because even though I had half term, I was in London so only read one book! Anyway, there were some great books last month and some potential Christmas presents if you’re needing ideas! I do have to admit something though, I didn’t manage to get my book read for the book bingo but that’s ok!

So, I managed to read a thrilling 13 books in October. To be honest, I’m really chuffed! I’m desperately trying to get down my to be read pile and not buy anymore so I’m pleased with the progress I’m making, albeit quite slowly! Let’s check out the shelves.

I’ve already blogged and reviewed a couple of these: The Journey and Beyond the Wand. I absolutely loved both of those books and highly recommend them. However, I’ve picked a top three that lies outside those two.

  1. The Bullet That Missed – Richard Osman. The third book in the series and this was just as witty, thrilling and well developed as the others. Featuring our favourite Thursday Murder Club and another mystery that needs solving.
  2. Platform Seven – Louise Doughty. I received this in my halloween subscription box and it really didn’t disappoint. It’s just as gritty as Apple Tree Yard and I found myself falling into the depths of the murky world of murder. (Do not read if you’re planning on travelling around via train – I read this in London when I was hopping on and off tubes and I became super paranoid.)
  3. All About Evie – Matson Taylor. This book really was a breath of fresh air. It was utterly delightful and charming and I absolutely loved the character of Evie. A feel good read for those times when you really want one!

And there we have it! 13 fabulous books including one I’ve got for the tiny human in my life: Five Penguins. I must admit, it’s got beautiful illustrations and is perfect for the little ones. Who doesn’t love penguins as well?!

All in all, October was a brilliant reading month and I’m really excited about seeing what November brings on the reading front. It’s getting a bit exciting now with all the books being advertised for Christmas. I just need to resist temptation and get my pile down a bit more…

See you next time where I promise I’ll catch up the book I should have read for October and share with you some of the wonderful experiences of London.

Big love all! Xx

Beyond The Wand – Tom Felton

Hi Loves!

I hope you’re all well. I’m back from an incredible few days in London with my family. We have had an action packed time with adventures I’m sure I’ll share with you as time goes by. Just know I carried you all with me with the power of phones and internet! Big statement alert: this is my favourite book of 2022 so far. There, I said it. And that’s coming from a Gryffindor girl! As soon as it was announced that Tom Felton had written a book, I desperately wanted to get my hands on a copy. This book is everything and more and I am proud to say that I read this in just a few hours. I had to share my review with you all. For those of you who are not into Harry Potter, don’t worry. This book is an exemplary example of non-fiction. Let’s do this!

What’s it all about?

The novel starts with a foreword by Emma Watson. What we learn from foreword is the beauty of their friendship and how they are soulmates and will be in each other’s lives forever. It made me reflect upon my own friendships and having that specific connection with someone is truly remarkable. From here, Felton takes us through his childhood in chronological order, with each chapter being linked to the magical world of Harry Potter. It starts off quite humbly, with Felton showing us just how difficult it is to juggle a normal life with being a huge film star on one of the biggest franchises the world has ever seen. In his ever reflective narrative, Felton explains about an incident at HMV and an adult DVD. The incident itself isn’t that dramatic but it’s the fear that comes with it; the disappointment from his Mum and the fear of Warner Bros finding out and taking away his acting career. There’s a fine line between having a laugh with friends and being reckless.

“While the young Tom Felton was no Draco Malfoy, he was no saint either. Maybe that’s what got me the part in the first place.”

We learn about his family, the influence of his brothers and how his early auditions and acting experiences weren’t amazing. However, none of this stopped him and he got a part in The Borrowers. This led to his first film premier where it was all unknown really. His family went with him in another example of lovely family unity. Little Tom Felton had no idea what his future held and if it wasn’t for his mother, he wouldn’t have attended some of the auditions that he did. The next film was Anna and the King and this took Felton to the lights of Los Angeles for an audition, where he was successful, which led to filming in Malaysia. More new experiences for a young Felton who appreciated all the lessons that these experiences provided. From here, the calling of Harry Potter wasn’t far away. Yet, it wasn’t to be as expected. Felton made a bit of a fool of himself quite early on. But, this led him to a different part; one that he could never have imagined.

“Would Draco have gone home to mug up, Hermoine-like, on Harry Potter books? I think not. Would he have blagged his way through a question about which character he was most excited to see on screen? Possibly.”

We are taken through the filming and what life was like for a young Felton and his appreciation of his fellow actors. There’s anecdotes about working with Daniel Radcliffe, Alan Rickman, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Maggie Smith and Zoe Wanamaker, just to name a few. Likewise with Emma Watson, Felton shares his views with the world about her. Their relationship is pure, innocent and utterly compelling. The support they share for each other and the unquestionable loyalty they have for each other means that the two will be connected for life. I also think his appreciation of Daniel Radcliffe is also reflective and kind. It’s always lovely as a reader to see that the friendships on screen are mirrored in real life. We are also aware that some of the cast have since passed away. I too appreciated the acknowledgement of these and of Felton who, now as an adult, appreciates those interactions even more.

“We grew closer and the more I saw and understood what he life was like, the more empathy I had for her. I became very defensive of her, whenever she needed defending. I began to see her not as a little girl, nor as a public-property celebrity, but as a young woman who was doing her very best to negotiate a life where ordinary social situations and interactions were practically impossible.”

For me personally, the part of the novel that made me feel a whole range of emotions was when we saw an older Felton struggling with the reality of life post Harry Potter. Say goodbye to being anonymous and having a sense of real life outside of the public eye. This in itself sounds easier said than done and I found the honesty of Felton humbling. I am not afraid to say that I shed a tear or two! His family felt the need to stage an intervention based on Felton’s alcohol consumption. The end of the book is all about Felton’s struggles with his mental health and his addictive behaviours. He found himself in rehab – something that has a stigma and a label attached to. Like the rest of the novel, it’s unapologetically honest. I was relieved to see by the end of the novel that whilst mental health can still be an issue, Felton is now in a better place, cementing himself as a hero for his generation for being so open and honest.

“I realised that before I had been existing a state of absolute numbness. It wasn’t that I was ready to jump off a bridge; it was that jumping off a bridge and winning the lottery seemed like equivalent outcomes. I had no interest in anything, good or bad.”

Final Thoughts

I cannot deny how much I love this book. I didn’t want to put it down, I’ve recommended it to my friends and also some of my students at school. I think that Felton is a role model for young people and his honesty and reflection throughout this is commendable. As a massive Potterhead, I know I was always going to read this book but I didn’t appreciate how much I come to value this book. The issues around mental health are so key and prominent – I could relate to many things – and that is absolutely acceptable because life happens and things impact our state of wellbeing and equilibrium. People, young and old, Harry Potter fan or not, read this book. It might just change your life. It has mine.

Big Love xxxx

Book Bingo Reading Challenge 2022! The Journey – James Norbury

Hi Loves!

I hope you’re all well and enjoying the run up to the spooky season! It’s time to play catch up and share with you the book I read for my Book Bingo Reading Challenge for this year. For September, I picked ‘Read a tale of overcoming a challenge‘. I wasn’t sure where to go with this but you may remember from my post way back in November 2021, I posted a review of the Big Panda and Tiny Dragon story written and illustrated by James Norbury. You can remind yourself of that post here. I found that story to be a refreshing tale of hope that I desperately needed. Therefore, I could barely contain myself when I saw that there was a second book out! It’s just as delightful and wholesome as the first and fits perfectly with the reading challenge. I really hope you love it just as much as I do.

What’s it all about?

Featuring the wonderfully created Big Panda and Tiny Dragon, this book is all about the journey they are faced with and how they manage to overcome the obstacles along the way. I feel like I’m at a crossroads in my life so this felt like a case of perfect timing really. This book gave me the moment in my life to stop and reflect, just like the panda and the dragon too.

It starts at the temple they call home but it’s worn and needs some work. How it looks doesn’t matter to them because they have each other: friendship and companionship. As wonderful as this is, Tiny Dragon feels like something is missing.

“This place is incredible, Big Panda. The trees, the mountains, the birds and the animals, they are all so magical; we are so lucky – so why do I feel like something is missing? Why do I feel incomplete?”

After identifying the feeling of incompleteness, the friends prepare to embark on a journey together in order to find happiness. They head towards the rocky trail and follow it out of the mountains and down to the river. They have each other and so they have everything they need. Big Panda reassures Tiny Dragon repeatedly – the lesson is for Tiny Dragon to learn. It’s not easy; there are huge challenges along the way and at points it feels like they will never make it. 

At the darkest point, the weather is relentless and progress is slow. Tiny Dragon also loses his beloved tea set and is naturally distressed. Yet, Big Panda is this strong, wise force that is still there with him, every step of the way despite being exhausted and sad himself. 

“Nothing is under our control, little one…not really. I just trust in life to take us where we need to be.”

The two friends continue their journey, refusing to give up hope or lose faith. Each step they take means that they are closer to their new home, their new futures. It’s terrifying but they can only ever go forwards. Silence falls upon the pair as they trudge onwards. But finally, they manage to see the light and see what potential the future has for them. 

Tiny Dragon is so upset that he needs time to himself. He manages to finally see the beauty in the world and realises exactly what his purpose is. He asks the big question, ‘What is the purpose of the universe?’ and is desperate to work out exactly what it means for him and his dear friend, Big Panda. Their journey finally comes to a close. They find a new, blissful and perfect home for themselves. Tiny Dragon is still sad about having to move, the loss of his beloved tea set and leaving all that he knows behind. But, he has learnt to see the beauty of the world in front of him. He also knows what impact it has on his character too. 

“I feel a bit like this cup… I’ve been through a tough time and I feel like I’ve been damaged. But these little cracks are what let the light shine through.”

Final Thoughts

I love this book so much. It reads like a hug that we all so desperately need. I loved the honesty too. How many times have we found ourselves stuck or feeling overwhelmed? How many times have we sat and thought, ‘I just can’t do this’? I know I have and the wisdom from Big Panda for Tiny Dragon resonates with me. It’s the perfect book in so many ways. It fits beautifully with my choice for this month because the two characters need to overcome the challenge of feeling so lost, mentally and physically. This book is the perfect medicine for that. Just to add, the illustrations are beautiful too. I wish I was that talented. And so, there’s another box ticked off on my Book Bingo Reading Challenge. Just three more to go to complete this year! Amazing! 

Big Love xxx

Reading Round-Up: August and September

Hey Loves!

Well, it appears that I’ve dropped a bit of a clanger… I didn’t seem to do my round-up for August! So today, I’m going to share with you the books I read in August and September so we are all back up to date. I cannot believe I’ve done that! I guess life gets in the way sometimes but still I’m super disappointed in myself really. I hope you can all forgive me and hopefully this acts as some form of redemption…

Anyway, let’s start with August. Like the end of July, I spent the majority of August on holiday which was excellent. I had a fabulous time but looking back now, it feels like such a long time ago. In August I managed to read a total of 16 books which I am really pleased with. There were some excellent ones here too. I’m surer you’ve got to them already but I’m still really excited to share them with you. Let’s check out the shelves!

Picking a top three from this lovely bunch is going to be really difficult. I enjoyed the majority of them so much to be honest! I’ll give it my best shot though.

  1. The Paper Palace – Miranda Cowley-Heller. For me, this had real Crawdad’s vibes and I utterly ate it up. I couldn’t put this book down. I loved the characters and the story and found it to be my favourite book of the summer.
  2. The Family Upstairs – Lisa Jewell. I think I said before that I am relatively new to Lisa Jewell but I really enjoyed this one and cannot wait to progress onto the next one in the series. Long term followers know that I absolutely love a psychological thriller and this was just that. Edge of the seat kind of stuff really!
  3. Takeaway – Angela Hui. I blogged about this book because I absolutely loved it and I’ve decided that this is my favourite non-fiction book of the year so far. It talked about Chinese culture, that food is the language of love and the importance of family. It was an excellent read and one I couldn’t recommend highly enough.

Now onto September. September was a much slower month for me. I was back at work, with the relentlessness of the daily grind and reading went out of the window. Then I was completely thrown by the death of a Queen and finally I got poorly. How the mighty have fallen! Upon reflection, I always tend to read more when it’s holiday time. It’s a shame that during the most stressful times, the one love I have, seems to vanish… Does anyone else have the same issue?

Anyway, in September I managed to read 8 books. This was a real surprise because there was about two weeks where I didn’t pick up a book. Regardless, again there were some good choices here and writers that I know I enjoy so that helps also. Let’s check out the shelves!

It’s a little easier this time to pick my top three because there’s less to choose from and there’s a couple I wasn’t too keen on. I read them but they aren’t books I’d rave about, if that makes sense? I did blog about The Sun, The Sea & The Stars previously, so I’ll leave that out.

  1. The Man Who Died Twice – Richard Osman. I was a little late to the party with this one but they are excellent books. I love the characters, I love the group and I love the mystery. All completely relatable and remarkable. 
  2. How Do You Like Me Now? – Holly Bourne. Wow! I’d never heard of Holly Bourne but I absolutely love her writing style. I felt like it was hearing my own thoughts but being voiced much more eloquently. 
  3. Four Aunties and a Wedding – Jesse Sutanto. I got the first book, Dial A For Aunties, in a book subscription box and then I saw that the next one was out. I find the writing style really funny and this book was a easy read. I also love the fact that the characters were larger than life and completely out there. 

The round-up has been really strange for me. I feel like I’ve messed up but I do enjoy looking back and seeing what I’ve read. Bring on October with autumn leaves, scarves and hopefully more books. My aim is to read the book choice for September as soon as possible and get blogging about it. It’s time to prioritise my blog and I again!

Until next time my dears.

Big Love xxxx

The Sun, The Sea & The Stars – Iulia Bochis

Hello Loves!

I haven’t posted anything because what can I say? Isn’t it all just very overwhelming at the moment? School has started and that is overwhelming – lots of changes and on a much larger scale, the death of Queen Elizabeth II has completely thrown me and brought up my own experiences of grief. I am deeply moved daily by the scenes surrounding the death of her. I guess it isn’t a shock but the sense of loss is overwhelming. With work and life I took myself off to a place that brings me great joy and comfort: the book shop. I’m back in a stage of buying many (I am on a ban…so far so good) and not being able to read them. Whilst aimlessly walking and not staring too hard in case I get tempted, I did spot something that felt like a sign from the book gods. That sign was The Sun, The Sea & The Stars – Ancient Wisdom as a Healing Journey. Firstly, it’s a beautifully illustrated book and I knew it would be a manageable and healing read.

What’s it all about?
Small but mighty is the best way to describe this book. It opens with a personal message from the author and illustrator Iulia Bochis where it is revealed that this book was born out of the feeling that everyone is different yet we share so many thoughts and feelings the same. We all face moments in our life that cause us to stop, think and reflect whilst we are navigating our journey through life. It was just the antidote that I needed at this period in time.

Starting in Autumn, we see a season of great change. Bochis wants us to remember that there is beauty in every season and as we are approaching Autumn, it’s perfectly apt now. Whilst the seasons are changing around us, our natural world is also changing and adapting around us too. We need to remember to be at one with the natural world – we help to shape it of course.

“The trees look vulnerable, shedding their past lives.”

We have to remember that time doesn’t stand still. Therefore, we have to keep moving because we can’t stop time. It is only when we continue that we are able to see what actually happens next. Autumn leads us into Winter when our surroundings are naturally darker. Yet, it is within the darkness that the stars and the moon shine brighter for us all to see. The world rests in Winter and time moves us towards Spring – the time of new beginnings and bloom. We have the opportunity to start again. We bloom too.

“Being still does not mean don’t move, it means move in peace.”

The book ends with Summer. Everything is different again, including ourselves. The summer is naturally a happier time for people purely because we see light and for me, this book was like summer because it provided me with more light for our current times. It’s become part of my journey and by sharing it with you, I hope that it is becomes part of your journey too.

Final Thoughts
This book gave me the opportunity to stop and pause just to reflect and recover. When everything is overwhelming, it is really easy to run away or bury our heads. I do both of these things. Yet, it is just delaying the inevitable. It is much better to take time and explore the world around us. There is beauty wherever we look, we just need to remember to look. It is really easy to glance and let it all pass us by. This book gave me the opportunity to remember that. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and like it is all a bit much at the moment, take half an hour and read this book. It’s one I am certain I will be dipping in and out of/

“What feels like the end is often the beginning.”

Until next time my loves, thinking of you all. This post dedicated to her majesty the Queen.

Big Love xxx

Book Bingo Reading Challenge 2022! Takeaway – Angela Hui

Morning Loves!

I’m back in the UK after a glorious holiday. I had such a wonderful time and feel more refreshed and recovered which is lovely. I hope you’ve all had a lovely August and have managed to have some form of a break. It’s needed for all of us! Hello September as well! I cannot believe how that has crept up on us!

Today I want to share with you my book topic and choice for my Book Bingo Reading Challenge! For August I opted for Non-Fiction which I do love. I go through a cycle of reading it, loving it, going back to fiction, remembering I’ve not read any non-fiction so then pick one and then the cycle continues. I wish I could understand why that happens but that’s a discussion for another day. I decided to read Takeaway by Angela Hui. Oh my days, I love this book so much. Let’s crack on with it!

What’s it all about?

I picked this book because like many families, mine has a long tradition with popping to the Chinese take away. In fact, it’s something I still do today both with my family and friends – pop to the Chinese takeaway, usually on a Friday or Saturday night. But what about the people behind the food? This book is honest, humble and wonderfully written. It’s a fine piece of non-fiction.

This novel explores, through Angela Hui’s voice, the story of her parents and how they came to be in Wales and their day to day lives of running the takeaway during the 1990s. We see just how different the family were and how they naturally stood out amongst the habitants of the Welsh valleys. Lucky Star was their home and business for thirty years. The rhythm of that life was comforting and joyous. But, it wasn’t always easy.

“The telephone rang constantly and a stream of people would pop in to pick up orders in hot foil containers stacked in white plastic bags. It was a juxtaposition of us being treated like immigrants, but also being keepers of something instinctively British.”

Each chapter focuses around a specific aspect of life within the takeaway: the weekend service, language barriers, summer holiday and competitions, just to name a few. However, there are a couple of anecdotes that really stuck with me. Hui talks openly about the racism she and her family experienced and how isolating that is. It’s an uncomfortable but essential read because I bet it still happens today. The reactions of her parents are contrasting; calmness and defiance from her mother, rage and anger from her father.

“We’ve always held our tongues and erred on the side of caution when confronted by racism. In reality, we’re just cooking to survive. Trying to get through a night’s service smoothly is just basic survival.”

I found myself feeling like I knew both Hui’s mother and father. There’s obvious conflict with the father but that is explored openly. They’re so different yet they work together to provide food for the local area. Hui’s opportunity to do deliveries means that (finally) she can get out of the takeaway and see new places. We can take for granted the childhood experienced Hui wouldn’t have been like yours or mine. Life was the takeaway. Every revolved around that kitchen; serving the community and then having a meal together. The impact on Hui’s own romantic relationships meant that this was strained too throughout her young adult years.

“I’m ashamed that I never gave him a chance to understand my situation by explaining things to him. How the takeaway had a hold on me.”

Time goes by, Hui ages and the little girl is now off to university. Even that is still tied to the takeaway, working weekends to help. But, as things most often do, it’s time for the takeaway to close its doors. The changing climate, the local competition and the stress on the family resulting in her mother’s poor health meant that it was time to finish serving. Their story has come to an end.

“We had some good times, right?” I say to no one in particular. Mum is holding back tears. Dad looks to the ground and pats me on the back. “Well, since Tom’s here I’ll get started on my ribs…”

Final Thoughts

I love this book. There, I said it. I found it honest, upsetting, humbling, overwhelming, moving and utterly remarkable. It’s made me really think about my own local takeaway and their own stories. What brought them here? The food of my Friday nights, what does it mean to them? Etc. The truth in this book hurts. Times change, people change, poor attitudes towards others different from us are still being displayed. Yet, at the heart of it all is a family wanting a better life and wanting to be part of a community. To sum it up perfectly:

“In these fear-filled times, I hope this book will serve as a refuge of nourishment, a fortune cookie of joy and an education to what goes on behind closed doors in the nation’s favourite takeaway.”

I urge you all to go buy and read this book. If you’re interested in cooking, at the end of each chapter is a recipe so the reader is able to try out some of these signature dishes at home. I’ve got my eye on a beautiful belly pork dish! This added touch is something I’ve really enjoyed reading too. It’s another way of bringing Chinese cuisine into our own homes.

Speak soon loves! (I’ll be back at school by the time I post again! Wish me luck…)

Big Love xxx

Telephone Box Libraries / Book Exchange pt 3

Hello Loves!

I hope you’re all well. I’m back in the UK now with a special post all about one of my favourite things: telephone box book libraries! I think the one I’m sharing with you today is my favourite so far! This one is in Snitterfield, near Stratford upon Avon.

What makes this one so special, I hear you say. Well, there’s books everywhere! But they’re organised and there’s a really good range too. So far, so wonderful. However, the keepers of this phone box have also added two plastic tubs for people to share seeds. I love this! I found some dahlia seeds (one of my absolutely favourite flowers) and planted them with my dad. I think it’s genuinely so lovely of people to share extra seeds that they’ve got left over.

I left a few books for people to hopefully read and enjoy but I’m super excited to show you how beautiful these dahlias are. Fast forward a few weeks and ta-da! Aren’t they just gorgeous? So whoever was kind enough to leave the seeds there, thank you. The colours bring a smile to my day, seriously! I always find it amazing that a little seed can flourish into such beautiful flowers.

These flowers are so lovely and the weather is divine. It’s made coming back to the UK a bit more bearable. The littlest things really can make the most difference. I hope these flowers bring you a little joy too.

See you next time for my book choice for August – spoiler – it’s amazing!

Big Love all xxxx

Discussion: What do people read on holiday?

Hi loves!

So, I’ve been surrounded by this gorgeous view for a month now and I’m honestly so grateful for that. It’s beautiful, idyllic and a paradise. Yet, I have more pressing matters at the forefront of my mind… books. Whenever I see a book leave a beach bag, I’m looking to see a) what it is and b) if they are enjoying it. I have that genuine fear of missing out on a good read.

This has led me to think about why people read the type of books they do on holiday. How do they make their choices? What leads them to pick those specific titles?

Well, this has been going round in my head for a few days now and has now turned into a little sun lounger activity of mine… First of all, it’s really pleasing to see just how many people, on the loungers have been adorned with towels, start reading. There’s books everywhere! Always a paperback, never a hardback and only one Kindle. I can totally relate to this; I only packed paperbacks, had my Kindle in hand luggage but didn’t actually use it. In fact, it’s still in flight mode. Hmmm.

The hotel had a bookcase in reception which was very pleasing! I had a little look here and it followed the same pattern: paperbacks, no hardbacks at all. However, there were some larger paperbacks. These were all Grisham. I saw a lot of Grisham on the loungers along with James Patterson. These were the top two authors by a long way. (Embarrassingly, I didn’t read any of Grisham or Patterson!)

In terms of books that I saw multiple people read, this was terribly interesting! They were Tyson’s Fury’s Between the Mask and Ant Middleton’s First Man In. Non-fiction! I didn’t expect to see that… In fact, the Tyson Fury book was my mum’s and she felt chuffed that others had taken it from the hotel bookshelf.

Repeat ‘take outs’ gave me another train of thought. I read (and thoroughly adored) The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller. When I saw that someone else had picked this off the shelf, I felt exactly like my mum did, like I made a good choice. It made me feel validated and like my recommendations could be trusted. Isn’t that silly? I feel silly writing it…

Overwhelmingly, the main genre I saw was crime and thriller. I totally understand that! It’s my favourite after all. But for summer? Where were all the romance novels? The chic lit?

I read one, Lizzie & Dante by Mary Bly which was stunningly beautiful and had me sobbing on my lounger. But this was the only one I saw. Where are the other people sobbing at a good love story? I did spot that this book was moving further back on the hotel bookcase too. But why is that? I always thought summer was about the soppy love novels that were only bearable because of that very reason – the fact that it is summer. There’s something about the smell of suncream that makes me think this… When you know, you know…

Also, there was a distinct lack of female authors too. I helpfully added to that with my own pile. Writers like Liza Jewell, Jenny Han, Jane Corey and Michele Campbell vacationed with me and are all there waiting to be discovered by the next reader.

So, why do we read the things we do on holiday? What is a typical ‘beach read’ and are they changing? What have you spotted? For me, it was all my paperbacks that didn’t fit on the bookcase. How do you pick yours though?

Until next time, when I’m back in the UK!

Big Love xxx

Summer 2022 – Cyprus

Hello Loves!

Isn’t summer a wonderful time of year? The days are lighter for longer, people are happier, you can eat outside and you get to feel the warmth of the sunshine on your skin. For me, it’s a time when I can really focus on reading and getting down my to be read list!

Whilst I’m away, I’ve only got my phone to blog on but I wanted to share with you a few photos from a costal walk I took in Protaras, Cyprus. I hope you enjoy them. 🌞 I’ll try and get some reviews up but bare with me!

The last two are my favourite because it made me think of my lovely blogging friends – we may be in different places but really we’re never truly far apart. ♥️

Until next time loves! Keep cool in the heat.

Big Love xxx