REVIEWS: Which came first, the book or the TV show? Reviewing Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

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dsc_01931Its very rare that I watch a film or TV adaptation before the book. I often end up missing out on seeing things at the cinema, or watching shows when they’re on because I haven’t had a chance to read the books first. It’s why I still haven’t seen Room, and why I raced through the A Song of Ice and Fire series (because I was not missing that, the night is dark and full of spoilers after all). The book is a reader’s chance to experience the author’s vision in its truest form, and I like to get to grips with that vision before being confronted by a more condensed interpretation. Continue reading “REVIEWS: Which came first, the book or the TV show? Reviewing Bitten by Kelley Armstrong”

Desert Island Discs blog tag

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Thank you to BookBum for not only tagging me in the Desert Island Discs blog tag but creating it as well! I don’t talk about music much on my blog but it is always in the background, whether I’m writing posts or reading. So it’s nice to get a chance to share some of the music I love with you all!

Here’s how it works…

  • Link back to BookBum’s original post! (Remember to do this via pingback)
  • Thank the person(s) who tagged you… show some love!
  • Come up with your answers
  • Then tag others to keep the tag going!

Premise of Desert Island Discs…

You are cast away onto a remote island:

  • You can bring 5 albums, what are they?
  • You can bring ONE book (not including The Bible (or other appropriate religious texts) or The Complete Works of Shakespeare, as they are already provided and NO SERIES), what ONE book is it?
  • You can have one luxury item (it has to be inanimate and can’t help you escape the island), what is it?

My answers:

The five albums I would take:

An Awesome Wave by Alt-J Image result

This album is the soundtrack to most of my long train journeys. I like to listen to it while staring wistfully at the countryside. I actually bought the album for my sister in the dark days when I didn’t actually like the band, and then I downloaded it on my iPod a few years ago and couldn’t believe I hadn’t listened to it more.

Favourite song: Bloodflood

 

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Because 14-year-old me would never forgive me if I didn’t. I was such a huge P!ATD mega fan back in the day, and although I don’t listen to this album as often anymore I still can’t stop myself from singin along.

 

Favourite song: Time To Dance

 

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I had a music teacher who once said my iPod was the most depressing thing he’d ever come across. I took that as a compliment even though I don’t think it was intended that way. Anyway Morrisey’s vocals and the lyrics have always made me want to sing along. It was The Perks of Being a Wallflower that made me listen to The Smiths in the first place, for which I am eternally grateful to Charlie.

Favourite song: There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

 

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I don’t think this band get half as much love as they deserve. There first album Howl was flawless as is Bang. Sadly I lost my digital copy of Howl and it’s no longer on iTunes, but I still have Bang. Sean’s vocals are perfect.

Favourite song: Voodooized

 

 

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I don’t feel like I’ve put together a particularly upbeat collection of music, which I probably should have thought about considering these would be the only albums I’d have access to, but I couldn’t skip out on White Lies. I wasn’t a huge fan of Ritual but To Lose My Life and Big TV are albums I’ve listened to compulsively. Another great band with distinctive vocals.

Favourite song: EST


 

The one book I would take:

The Perks of Being a WallflowerThe Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky

Sorry, sorry, everyone must be sick to death of me bring up this book again and again BUT it is such an important book to me. I don’t tend to re-read but I’ve re-read Perks hundreds of times, and it always hits me with emotion like it’s the first time. I don’t think I’ll ever find a fictional character who I care about quite like Charlie.


 

The one luxury item I would take:

My sketchbooks and pencils. I haven’t done any drawing in forever, not since I graduated from my Fine Art degree. So, if I had to spend some time alone on a desert island, I’d definitely like to brush up on my skills. I’m so rusty now!

MISC: An Evening with Stephanie Garber

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A couple of weeks ago I saw that Stephanie Garber was coming to Waterstones in Liverpool to talk about her amazingly successful debut novel, Caraval. Unfortunately it clashed with my university course, which meant I wouldn’t be able to go. The world was conspiring against me. Then, last week the group decided to have a Reading Week (I know, it’s an MA so everyone is alarmingly chill about the whole degree thing), and alas I was able to go. The only problem was, I hadn’t read the book and I didn’t have a copy.

I splashed out on the hardcopy on Amazon. It’s potentially the prettiest book I own, and I know that means nothing if a book isn’t good, but the publishers have just gone an extra mile with this book. You already feel yourself being pulled into a world of magic before you open the page.

Anyway, I booked my ticket and I was going solo. For me, that’s a big thing. There are a lot of times I haven’t done things I wanted to do because it meant doing them alone, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity.

I was a little worried that I hadn’t read the book. I felt like people would instantly know before I got there and shun me, which is ridiculous. The book community in general are always super welcoming, and no one seemed to sense my unworthiness.

It was a really great talk. I didn’t feel excluded for not having read the book. James Rice, the author of Alice and they Fly, hosted the evening, and asked a lot of questions about the process of writing and how Caraval was written, rather than the intricacies of the plot. As an aspiring writer, it was comforting to hear that because a novel is a debut, it doesn’t mean it’s the first one a writer has finished. Caraval was Stephane Garber’s sixth novel and while it must have been frustrating to have five books go unpublished she perceviered. In the end, she said she was glad that the other novels hadn’t be picked up because they were gearing her up towards Caraval. In those books she learnt a lot about world-building and character development, not from the things that went well, but from the mistakes.

Meeting her at the end of the evening was a treat. She was so warm, and even though I blurted out that I hadn’t actually read the book, she was excited for me to read it and happy that I’d come out. I’m looking forward to more book events soon!

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BOOKISH BITES: Snowflake Shortbread

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Christmas is just four days away. Is anyone else getting really excited for it? I’ve eaten so many mince pies and Christmas tree chocolates in the last few weeks. I’ve drunk every mulled beverage you can think of. Carols and Christmas songs have become the soundtrack to my life. I have gone Christmas crazy. I haven’t watched any Christmas films though, which seems a bit ridiculous. I’ll need to remedy that soon! To spread the Christmas cheer I decided to make some wintery shortbread. If you read the blog you’ll know I make shortbread more often than I should. I followed a simple shortbread recipe but I snuck in cinnamon, lots of cinnamon. I even went the extra mile and decorated my snowflakes, admittedly messily, with white chocolate.

They are the perfect accompaniment to mulled wine but also a great festive nibble to eat when snuggled up with Jane Eyre.

BOOKISH BITES: Macarons & Maclairs

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It’s been a while since I shared any tasty treats, but I can’t pass up the opportunity to swoon over these amazing delights. I came across the Little Macaron Shop in Waterloo on my lunch break one drizzily afternoon and I’ve been back there three times, subsequently emptying their display cases. Everytime you visit their freshly-baked pastries are completely different but one of my favourite things is the maclair. I don’t think I’m exaggerting when I say they are the best things you will ever eat. The maclair has the delicate shoehorn pastry and cream of an ecalir but instead of a chocolate ganache it has a macaron topping. The ones above were madagascan vanilla. There were fights in my house over them. Fingers were very nearly lost.

You can also stay in and have a coffee if you can’t quite part with the maclairs straight away. It’s warm, friendly and there are no judgements made when you walk out with two boxes full of pastries with no intentions of sharing them.

READING LISTS: The TBR Pile

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My To Be Read pile has spiralled out of control. Over the past few months its evolved into a tower. You could probably use it to build the foundations of a small house.There’s something infinitely exciting about buying a new book and the eperiences you’ll have reading it. Since starting the blog I’ve definitely become more addicted to that feeling, and even though I try to curb my spending by using the glorious, glorious library sometimes I slip up (a lot). So, my aim for the final two months of the year is to make my way through this pile and make it smaller. If I can get it into single figures I will be immensely happy.

I should probably start with the short story collections first- Multitudes by Lucy Caldwell, We Don’t Know What We’re Doing by Thomas Morris and Spoiled Brats by Simon Rich- because I haven’t read any short stories in a while and they really do help to spur on my own short story collection. But I might have to sneak Jane Eyre in somewhere because I’ve been saving it as a winter read.

Does anyone else have a mountainous TBR pile?

BOOKISH FINDS: The Waiting Game

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I think we all know the drill by now: I enforced a strict no book buying rule on myself because its become an addiction and then argued to myself that it didn’t really count if they were from a charity shop because they were a bargain. In my defence, I probably wouldn’t have even gone into the shop if my friend hadn’t been late to lunch. So this one’s entirely on her (thank you for being late, thank you, thank you).

It turns out waiting for a friend can lead you to surprising discoveries. Here’s what I picked up: Continue reading “BOOKISH FINDS: The Waiting Game”