A Good Day for Post

It isn’t the first time I have shared my love of post on my blog…last August I wrote about how much I loved receiving exciting parcels and letters in the post and on Friday I was unexpectedly inundated with it!

The first letter that I opened, while probably the least exciting for you to read about, was the most exciting one for me!

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I have been offered a place on the MA course that I applied for! I am so excited! I was starting to worry because I hadn’t heard anything for a while but since this has come through the door I have felt much better! All I have to do now is to get a good reference and a 2.1…no pressure then!

The next thing that dropped through my door will probably seem much more exciting: Continue reading


Woo I’ve Won A Prize!

I had a lovely surprise this week when I found out that I had won a book in a competition organised by madcowbeads.com! I always buy all things jewellery related from madcowbeads because their range of items and their prices are always amazing! I often joke that at their prices, they are giving their products away, but this week, they really are!

I received an email from madcowbeads saying that they were holding a competition where you had to ’round up’ five cows on their website. This involved searching through all of their pages of products and finding the five escapee cows (they really couldn’t make it any easier!) and add them to your basket, then, for the small price of £1.25 (the cost of second class postage) you are guaranteed a prize worth at least the amount you have paid!

I was really happy to see my name up on the Facebook page as the winner of one of the top 65 prizes! And what was really exciting was the fact that I had won a book!

I didn’t know what to expect but today (Wednesday 25th July) I received this in the post:

My lovely prize!

I was really impressed with my book, as it numerous beautiful projects to try, and all of them are based on ten mythical characters. The pieces are really unusual and unique and I can’t wait to give them a try! They are unlike any other jewellery I have seen in books before!

This is my favourite piece, which is a necklace based on Titania, Queen of the Fairies.

Pretty, pretty necklace!

I am completely blown away with my amazing prize, especially as I only paid so little for a book that is usually £12.99! I am really eager to get started on some of the stunning projects and I definitely know that I will be returning to madcowbeads for my supplies!

Thank you madcowbeads!

‘Enduring Love’ by Ian McEwan – A Love Story Like No Other

Author: Ian McEwan

Genre: Fiction

First Published: 1997

Pages: 231


After witnessing a freak hot air balloon accident, Joe Rose never imagined his life would become haunted by another witness who becomes obsessed with him. 

Joe Rose was enjoying a picnic with his long-term girlfriend Clarissa when the disaster happened. Racing to help a man wrestling with a hot air balloon with his terrified grandson inside, Joe cannot guess of the fatal catastrophe soon to follow. But the death of an innocent man is only the beginning. When Joe watched the death of John Logan, he never imagined that the man standing next to him, Jed Parry, was about to ruin his orderly life forever.

The evening after the accident Parry phones Joe and proclaims his love for him. Thinking nothing of it, Joe hangs up and pushes the call to the back of his mind. Parry, however, becomes more and more determined and begins constantly phoning, writing to and stalking Joe. Joe finds himself becoming more and more unnerved by Parry’s bizarre and obsessive behaviour, but with the police and even his girlfriend unable to believe him, even the reader begins to doubt the truth in Joe’s tale. Just as you begin to doubt Joe’s sanity, a close call between life and death hints that Parry’s love may just turn deadly. Fearing for his life, Joe invests in some protection of an illegal nature, but shortly after, he discovers that his life is not the one that hangs in the balance.

McEwan has a fantastic ability to build pace, which he flaunts in the very first chapter in the novel. He controls time effortlessly, making it speed up or slow down seamlessly, which hints at what might be coming. Deviations between random thoughts, observations and drifts of everyday conversation ensure you that something dangerous is lurking just out of sight, and really draws you in to the story. As you start to doubt Joe’s sanity you become convinced that you have already figured out McEwan’s ending, which then twists suddenly and unexpectedly, making the story even more gripping. McEwan’s way with words really compels you to read on due to the sheer beauty of the phrases and observations. A love story that almost brushes with tragedy, this novel is unlike any other. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone out there who wants to try something new.

Favourite quote: ‘This was the moment, this was the pinprick on the time map: I was stretching out my hand, and as the cool neck and the black foil touched my palm, we heard a man’s shout.’

Rating: 8/10

Reading List: Next 10 Books to Read

Here are the next ten books that I am planning to read (the order is subject to change.) I have written a brief summary under each of the titles, however, this was just the information I pulled from the blurb. Full length reviews will follow when I have read them

1.‘Enduring Love’ by Ian McEwan (1997)

After a bizarre and fatal hot air balloon accident, Joe Rose never expected his mundane life to take such an unexpected twist.

2. ‘Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman’ by Haruki Murakami (2006 – in English translation)

A collection of short stories about everything from animated cows and a criminal monkey to a romantic exile in Greece and a chance reunion in Italy.

3. ‘The Omen’ by David Seltzer (1976)

A man exchanges his stillborn son for a new-born orphan. But as the years go on, Robert Thorn begins to unravel the horrible truth about the child that he has raised.

4. ‘Déjà Dead’ by Kathy Reichs (1997)

See Dr Temperance Brennan, Direct of Forensic Anthropology solve her first murder. The series that inspired the television series ‘Bones’. 

5. ‘Carrie’ by Stephen King (1974)

A young girl in New England is not quite what she seems. A demonic force lies behind an innocent face.

6. ‘Room’ by Emma Donoghue (2010)

‘Jack is five. He lives in a single, locked room with his Ma.’ Witness the world through Jack’s eyes, a child who was born as a result of abduction and rape. His whole world exists in the only room he has ever known.

7. ‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)

Visit the world of Nick Carraway and the mansions that lined Long Island, America in the 1920s and the mystery that surrounds him.

8. ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (2001)

Ten-year-old Daniel chooses a book from the ‘Cemetery of Forgotten Books’ in 1945, but as he grows up, people begin looking for him. It becomes a race to discover the truth.

9. ‘The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Holmes’ by Loren D Estleman (2010)

Conan Doyle’s infamous detective solves Robert Louis Stevenson’s fictional tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 

10. Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin (2005)

A sixteen year old girl dies when she is hit by a car. She finds herself is ‘Elsewhere’, where ‘life’ continues as usual, but the inhabitants get younger.

If you enjoyed this please read my article on the London Olympics: http://bit.ly/IaTK1X

‘The Small Hand’ by Susan Hill

Yesterday, I read the one of the newest books from Susan Hill, the author of ‘The Woman in Black.’ ‘The Small Hand’ was released in 2010 and, because of the gripping story line (and a two and a half hour wait at the walk-in centre) I read it in one day. The story is about an antique book dealer who, after stumbling across an abandoned house, feels a ghostly hand placed in his. This hand, however, is not as friendly as he first thinks.

The book is a fantastic read; from the minute I picked it up I couldn’t put it down! You, along with the protagonist, are constantly trying to piece together the mystery surrounding the small hand and what it is trying to achieve, and why. Numerous questions are raised that cannot be answered until the final chapter, which at once leaves the reader feeling surprised but horrified at the deadly outcome.

After reading ‘The Woman in Black,’ I feel that ‘The Small Hand’ is a much more gripping tale, which works as a more fluent story due to the simplicity of the tale. As you are approaching the last few chapters the pieces begin to drop into place and the ending offers more closure than ‘The Woman in Black.’ When comparing the two books I feel strangely drawn to ‘The Small Hand’ over the other, as I feel it offers the complete ‘ghost story’ experience when everything is revealed and resolved at the end, which I felt that ‘The Woman in Black’ lacked.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading both of these books by Susan Hill and I would strongly recommend them to anyone who enjoys ghost or horror stories. I look forward to reading more of her books in the future!

If you enjoyed this please read my article on the London Olympics: http://bit.ly/IaTK1X

Readitswapit – A Book Swapping Site Experience

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a website called Readitswapit. It was recommended in a book on money saving tips as a place where you can swap books with other members, so the only cost involved is the postage. One the surface it seems like a good idea, especially for book clubs, as many people post the most current popular fiction up there. I thought I would give the website a go and see if it is worth it.

Initially, the swaps that I took part in worked out well as I traded some books that I had bought in my early teens for some newer books that I would like to read. As the books that I was posting were very light, the postage only cost around ninety pence, making it a worthwhile investment. However, when posting books any longer than two hundred pages, the postage cost can shoot up to over two pounds – making the cost of the book more than the average price of its charity shop equivalent.

The cost of posting books wasn’t the only problem that I encountered with the scheme as, before you can even start swapping, you need a large selection of books on there for your fellow swappers to choose from. It is useless requesting a swap with anyone if you have any less than twenty books listed as you will simple get a reply saying that they ‘didn’t want to read any of your books right now.’ Similarly, people often request to swap with you offering only a few titles that you are not at all interested in. The other problem that I have encountered is books not arriving. The website claims no responsibility for ‘lost’ books, so all you can do is email the swapper who will insist they have posted your book which never turns up. Admittedly I would imagine that this situation is rare and the people on the site do swap honestly, however, it is a risk that you take.

Ultimately the website does seem a good idea but it does have its flaws. I have had some positive experiences on the website, especially when swapping old books in exchange for ones that I need for Uni, which has proved and investment. However, with postage costs ever-increasing it is unlikely that much money will be saved; your time would be better spent rummaging around charity shops to find that one book that you are looking for. The other thing the website lacks, like any online store is the real experience of being in a bookshop, whether it is new or second hand. In my opinion, nothing can beat the ‘real’ bookshop experience – everything down to its smell.

So, if there is that odd book that you have looked everywhere for, or if you want to save a bit of money as part of your book club the website can prove very useful. It is also a good idea if, like me, you have hundreds of books that you will never read and no space for new ones. But, if you have a lot of books that you want to swap, you are probably much better off arranging an evening with your book club or book lover friends where you all take along your unwanted books and swap them between you, it will prove more cost effective and you are also more likely to find someone who is willing to swap with you!

If you enjoyed this please read my article on the London Olympics: http://bit.ly/IaTK1X

‘Witch Child’ by Celia Rees

The other day I happened to come across a copy of ‘Witch Child’ by Celia Rees; a book that I always wanted to read in my early teens but I never got round to it. It was quite a welcome change to read a slightly easier going teen book after the stack of Victorian novels I have read for Uni this year! I had finished the book in a few days and I was reminded of the joy of reading a book that doesn’t require analysing and pulling apart as I read it!

The story is set in 1659, a time of political unrest and of course, the savage witch-hunts. It is told in the form of a journal by a young girl called Mary, who, after her Grandmother’s hanging, discovers that she is a witch. In an attempt to hide her identity and reach safety from persecution she flees to the New World of America. However, overseas life isn’t as any of the travellers expected it, and Mary’s identity cannot be lost so easily.

I was incredibly impressed with this book; it was one that I literally couldn’t put down. I’m glad I finally read it after all these years and it is a book that can appeal to adults and teens alike. At first I was unsure of what to make of the ending as it was left pretty unresolved; however, after considering it, I feel that is the most successful ending Rees could have produced. As we know, there is only one other ending a witch could have expected…

Happy reading!

If you enjoyed this please read my article on the London Olympics: http://bit.ly/IaTK1X