Winter Wonderland 2015

Friday

If you haven't been to Winter Wonderland then you are definitely missing out. Open daily from 10am - 10pm, Winter Wonderland boasts thrilling rides, German Markets, pop up bars, great food, and Santa Land, not to forget the Ice Skating Rink, the big wheel, and Ice Kingdom, where you guessed it, everything is made from ice!


I love that everything has been decorated with fairy lights as it really brings a great atmospheric feel to the entire park, especially, when you are greeted by this spectacular view opening up infront of you! 
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Twenty-four hours in Amsterdam!

Wednesday

A few weeks ago I took a spontaneous trip to Amsterdam to visit one of my best friends, Cat! She is studying at UvA, and has been on at me for months to come and visit her - and to be honest, I was kind of putting it off, as I am not really a fan of flying, but I am so glad that I did. 

I've only ever been to Amsterdam once before, and that was a school trip when I was thirteen. We visited a lot of the museums, and a tourist hot-spots, so this time I was more interested in seeing the other fascinating places that Amsterdam has to offer. I was, and still am so in love with how pretty Amsterdam is, that I pretty much spent the entire time I was there walking around in awe. 
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The Opposite of Loneliness - Marina Keegan || Review

Friday

A few months ago a friend of mine read an essay online called, The Opposite of Loneliness. He said it was deeply moving and made him think about his own life; he also told me to read it and I told him I would...  but as usual I completely forgot about it. It wasn't until the #SassyBooks book club announced that their September read was a book of the same name that I remembered it and decided to look it up. No surprise that they were one in the same!

Marina Keegan is described as an American author that passed away five days after graduating from college in 2012, but she is more than that. The Opposite of Loneliness is a collection of her short stories and personal essays, all of which were chosen by Anne Fadiman (her college professor and friend) after Marina's death.  She is remembered as the talented writer that died after her graduation, but for me that doesn't do her justice. She wasn't just a writer, she was a story-teller, she had, and still has, the capability to draw people into a world and make them feel, she has the power to delve into the mind of a complete stranger and make it feel like you are the only person in the world that matters. She is not her death, she is her words, her beautiful descriptions, her understanding of the human soul, and so much more. 

What is it about
The book is a collection of short stories and essays, all of which explore human emotion; from the old woman that strips off to read to a blind man, to Marina's personal essay on having Celiac disease, each piece leaves you feeling - feeling what? Well, that's up to the individual reader, but for me, the more I read on, the more I wanted to escape my life and become a better human.

Within the short amount of space that we are given to learn about her characters, their lives and their stories, we end up learning more about ourselves through their very creation. What would we do in that situation? How would we react to this? and most importantly, how will our present effect our future?

In the short story, Reading Aloud is the line 'aging is harder for beautiful people' and a first I thought nothing of it, but I came back to it and I kept coming back to it. She was right. In those six words, in a singular short story, she has opened up an entire world of debate, understanding and discovery. Whether she knew it or not, Marina was a genius.

Should you read it?
Do I even need to answer this? Haha! Yes. Yes, you should. If you get a spare moment read her essay, The Opposite of Loneliness, and then try and not want to read more.

You can buy the book on Amazon, and all other places where books are sold!

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Book-tober - A Haul!

Wednesday

Why can't I just have all of the books?
As I have been slightly busy this month, I am going to talk about the books that I have bought over the past few weeks. You may remember me saying back in August that I will not be buying any more books until I have read all the books I have on my shelf, well, that didn't happen. The harder I try to not buy any, the more I end up buying when I eventually give in.

So, what have I got my hands on this month? 

I celebrated my birthday way back at the beginning of October, which as usual means 'National give Kirstie a book day' AKA my favourite day of the year. When it comes to birthdays/Christmas, I send my mum my Amazon book wishlist (as I wouldn't say that we are a fan of the same books,) and she buys me a few of them, along with some other bookish themed gifts that she finds on her travels. This year she bought me

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Apologies for our unscheduled intermission

Thursday

So here's the thing. I started university again a few weeks ago and have found little to no time to do extra curricular fun things such as blogging and reading - this makes me really sad. However, that being said I am having so much fun doing my Masters Degree that I am not sure if I actually care about missing out of fun things. Don't get me wrong, I love blogging, but reading about literary theories and critiquing other people's work gives me a certain joy that you just don't get from blogging. I feel like my opinions towards these people's writing is making a difference, and that makes me happy, so yay. There are some negatives though - I don't know these people. Part of the reason why I loved my undergrad so much, was the fact that I loved the people in my classes, I didn;t know them, but I loved them, that one guy and his super loud and annoying laugh, the girl that scrunched up in her chair every lesson, the group of people that would wander in 10 minutes late - they all made that course and my university experience unique, and now they're gone. They have gone off to other universities, into jobs, into life, and I am sat here wishing I could trade all of these new people for my old people. I miss them.

I hate change, but change is supposed to do you good, right? Supposed to being the key statement in that statement.

Where was I? Oh yes. I am hoping to resume regular blogging next week, but I may keep it to one post a week until I can completely figure out my timetable.

Hope you're having a good autumn, and please recommend me some new books to read. My two-hour bus journey home is driving me crazy.

Peace, love and sausage rolls

Kirstie

PS. Who else is going to YA Shot at the end of the month?




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FXCK THIS JOURNAL || Review & Competition

Wednesday

I have been (not-so) patiently waiting for Dale Shaws FXCK THIS JOURNAL for quite some time, and once again with thanks to lovely people at Headline, I received a copy before its release, and one lucky reader could be taking home a copy too! All you have to do is read through this post and then follow the instructions below.

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Nymphs - Sari Luhtanen and Miikko Oikkonen || Review

Monday

Thanks to the good people at Headline books I received a copy of Nymphs, before release, in order to review and share with you guys. I was super excited about this as the novel sounded like it would be amazing, and the concept behind it seemed even more so.

It arrived on a Friday, usually the busiest day of my week, so I had to wait until the Sunday before I started reading, but once I did, I was instantly intrigued about the fate of our young protagonist - Didi.

What started off as a Finnish TV series (starring Finnish people that I have never heard of),  based on greek mythology and set in Helsinki, Nymphs has become an international phenomenon and has now been adapted into a book series. The UK picked up the translation rights soon after it's initial release in August 2013 and will be released in January 2016

What is it about?
Didi's boyfriend dies, whilst she is having sex with him. She later on discovers that she has been lied to her entire life and that she isn't as human as she once thought. She's a Nymph, and in order to survive she has to leave her life behind. Didi must now learn what it means to be a Nymph, and do what is asked of her on the next full moon, or she could find herself in grave danger.

"The Night of reckoning is coming and the choice is hers. Reject her fate. Or accept her destiny and embrace her power..."

My Thoughts
I don't want to say that I dislike this book because there is so much about it that I do like, but it definitely isn't what I expected. It is quite obvious that it has been adapted from a TV show, as the chapters are slightly jarring and jump-cutty, but once you get past that, it is actually a very interesting read. I am now intrigued and want to watch the TV show, as I feel that the novel closely follows the plot/ is a scene by scene play of the show, and this would help to create a sense of location as although the reader is told that it is set in Helsinki, (Finland), nothing else has been used to help establish this - no culture, food, items of geographic interest - it could be almost anywhere.

Although the story was very much gripping, I had a personal issue with the language that was used. This may be due to a bad translation, but for me some of the sentences did not flow as well as I would have liked them to, and there possibly could have been better English equivalents to some of the original text.

Think of extreme softcore True Blood - The Nymphs are magical creatures, they are different, and with the difference comes intolerance.  The existence of the Nymphs isn't as well known as the vampires in True Blood, but out of those who do, hate groups have formed, and they will stop at nothing to defeat them.

Should you read it?
I can imagine that this would make a great read for fans of the show, but as someone who has not watched it I couldn't help but feel a little lost. If you have watched the TV show then I would definitely recommend it to you, but if you haven't, I strongly advise watching that first to gain some sort of context.

For fans of, The Originals, The Vampire Diaries, and House of Night


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Bank Holiday Adventures in Paris

Sunday


I know it's a little late, but I couldn't not share these photos with you guys! I went to Paris for August bank holiday with one of my oldest (and bestest) friends on the planet, and we decided to see how many sights we could see in one day. Yup. One Day. 

We took the coach from London Victoria on Saturday morning, and finally arrived in Paris later that day. We checked into the hotel, ate our weight in food and then watched Law and Order: SVU in French. It was great. We woke up on Sunday, packed our bags and then we were off. We went to the Moulin Rouge, Arc du Triomphe, Notre Dame, The Eiffel Tower, Gare du Nord (to reminisce our school French lessons), and got a little bit lost looking for the love lock bridge. 

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Yes Please - Amy Poehler || REVIEW

Thursday


I fucking love this book. I don't usually swear on the blog, what with me trying to be semi-professional and all that, but I feel that fucking is the only suitable adjective that can be used to describe, Yes Please.

I downloaded the audiobook earlier this week, thanks to a free audible trial, and started listening straight away. If it isn't known to you, I am very old fashioned when it comes to literature; if it's not in book form, then I don't wanna know. I don't do kindles, and until earlier this week I avoided audio books - I much prefer holding the book and reading the words for myself. 

I always thought audiobooks shouldn't be considered as 'reading', simply because you are not actually reading, but I made an exception for Yes Please. I had already heard so many great things about it, all of which are more than true, (it's laugh out loud in the middle of a crowded bus funny, and it makes you think, like,  REALLY think) but what sold it for me for was the fact that, Amy Poehler was the one who was reading it! 

When a world famous comedian writes a book, you know it's going to be funny. When a world famous comedian reads their book to you, you know it's going to be even funnier. And that's what Amy Poehler did. I can't imagine having the same reaction to so many parts if Amy hadn't been throwing her voice or making sound effects or adding her own opinions. I urge you all to read the book, but I am encouraging you all to start an audible free trial, download the book, and listen to it. Listen in the car, on the bus, in the shower, or whilst you're supposed to be doing something else.

What is is about?
Well, It's a memoir. And in this memoir, Amy Poehler talks about her life, her career, her ability to time travel, and how all of this relates to who she is.  Yes, I said time travel, and no I am not lying.

She tells us stories from her past, the history of the UCB, how she got into comedy and what it is really like working on Saturday Night Live, all from her private audio-booth at the bottom of Mount Rushmore.  There are readings from her friends and family, sound clips from Parks and Rec, and a whole lot of laughing from start to finish.

Should you read it?
No. Don't read it. You would be stupid if you read it. LISTEN TO IT.  Curl up under a blanket with a hot chocolate and listen to the soothing sound of Amy reading you her novel! If you're still undecided, you can sign up for a free thirty-day audible trial and download Yes Please (or any other book) for free!!

For fans of: Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, SNL, Bossy Pants, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?



I am thinking of adding a few more audiobooks to my collection, is there any that you would recommend?

PS. Shout out to my cracked iPhone screen!


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National Suicide Prevention Week 2015 - How can we make a difference?

Tuesday


I didn't choose to come into this world, but I can choose how I spend my time in it. I have the power to do what I want and be exactly who I want to be.  I am the master if my own destiny.

I started to write this post, then I deleted it. I started to write it again, then deleted that one. I then wrote this, this collection of paragraphs combining an abundance of thoughts and feelings, mixed with emotional torment, the importance of why we should never give up on ourselves, and why we should be more inclined to share the positives.

As you are reading this, I think it is already obvious that I didn't delete it, but I thought about it. I even went as far as not posting it, but then I took a moment, in fact, I took several moments, a bath, a Cheesestring, and three episodes of Friends before finally - five days later - deciding to post it.

I was thinking about how when I was fifteen, even though it was only eight years ago, mental health was still a very taboo subject to talk about. The only experience I had ever had been people going into all the gory details on Tumblr, and when I say gory I am using it for lack of a better word, but the images, in-depth posts and depressing quotes were not what I should have been reading. When you are a teenager, your hormones are all over the place, you are trying to figure yourself out, you are trying to figure other people out, and you don't always have the relevant life skills/experience to deal with these things in a rational ways - all of which can be made worse if you are struggling with depression, anxiety, (and/or any other mental difficulties) which can quite often lead to suicidal feelings.

I didn't want to see these negative things, but when so many people are sharing their thoughts and feelings with the rest of the world, thoughts and feelings that you share, it is kind of hard to not look. You can share all these things online, with strangers that understand you and no one knows who you really are, you will forever be nomnomnombutteredtoast.tumblr.com. (not my URL anymore, just FYI)  You can release your soul through your fingertips, setting free your most intimate feelings and know that they are no longer tied to you - It's a comfort.

HOWEVER! I'm going to mention fifteen-year-old Kirstie again and say that when she was scrolling through Tumblr for every twenty negative posts, she would have been absolutely lucky to have found one positive post! I'm not saying that positive posts weren't out there, but people were a lot quicker to share the negatives than they were anything else.  This brings me to my original point of what made me decided to post this; I wanted to talk about the importance of sharing with others, especially with the younger generations.  The once fifteen-year-olds that were posting about their troubles online, that didn't know what their futures looked like are now older, a little bit wiser, and know what it is like to be a scared and not knowing what to do with their emotions.

We were the first generation that had so much internet freedom. We were the first to break away from drawing patterns on paint and fall into chat rooms, We were the first to have broadband, we were the first to experience widespread social media, so it only makes sense that we were the first to complain about our lives on the internet! We had no internet safety when trawling through chat rooms, there was no safeguarding and images were scarcely blocked, it was a free for all.  We could not learn from previous generations because they never experienced the internet as we did, but the next generation can learn from us! We were exposed to these dangers, we were the guinea pigs, and although we didn't know it then our experiences have helped to shape what the internet has become.

As veteran members of this widespread community, I think it is vital that we share our experiences with the world. As I said before, fifteen-year-old Kirstie was exposed to a lot of negativity, which in turn affected her mentally and is highly likely to have played a part in who she is today; but as veterans we are aware of this greater knowledge, and whilst it doesn't make us superior it does make us responsible. We should learn from our past selves, we should  be more inclined to share the positive side of life and talk about how we got through those tough times in our lives. We should be more vigilant, more self-aware, and more cautious of how the words we write can affect people. We should be sharing that hope is real, and rescue is possible.

I am basing this on our generation helping the younger generation, but it doesn't have to be that way, and it doesn't have to be with the internet either. Anyone can talk to anyone, using any means of communication! It's not about how we communicate, but the importance that we do - the only way we can help ourselves is by helping others, and changing the negative stigmas attached to mental health.

Everyone is entitled to feel how they feel, and no one should be put down for sharing their emotions, but it is important to remember that not everyone knows what it is like to have a mental illness or to feel suicidal. But the more we share, the more others will understand, and the more others understand, (the) more can be done to help those that struggle.

Feeling suicidal doesn't just go away, but speaking out can make a difference.

If you are feeling suicidal, or know anyone that is and want to talk, please call the samaritans 24/7 on 0845 790 9090



Kirstie xoxo 
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Bloggers Favourite Book (Part 4)

Thursday


As we are almost coming to the end of #Bloggersfavouritebook, I thought the penultimate post should be from one of my favourite Internet peoplez, Codie!  I can't remember following her, and I feel TERRIBLE for saying this, but I do not follow her blog either (SAD FACE) (I really should though because I ended up scrolling through it for ages just now and got distracted from writing this, by reading some great posts, and watching her boyfriend do her makeup on youtube!) (To be fair, I am really bad at keeping up to date with blogs as I spend a lot of time on buses, and the small screen on my phone hurts my eyes) but I stalk her on twitter, and we both LOVELOVELOVE I'll Give You The Sun, so if that isn't a reason for someone to be one your favourite Internet peoplez, then I don't know what is.  (PLUS, she's Codiekinz, and I'm Kirstiekins, so basically we are both awesome.)

ANYWAY! Let's pick her brain and find out about her reading habits, and the books she loves!

Who are you/what is your URL? (Tell the world who you are! A little self-promo never hurt anyone.)
I am Codie! I blog over at www.codiekinz.co.uk and talk to a camera on www.youtube.com/codiekinzzz. I enjoy wine, superheroes, and being barefoot.

Do you have any weird/strange reading habits?
I don’t think it’s weird, but everyone seems to find it odd that I can read in the car or on a bus/train. Apparently that makes most people feel sick. I couldn’t imagine not reading in the car - it’s my main reading place!

Favourite genres?
I am a huge fan of young adult fiction - It seems more ‘mature’ than a lot of the chick-lit I used to read!

What was the last book you read, and would you recommend it?
I just finished Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff (amazing surname!). It was... ‘meh’. It was okay, but it dragged a lot and wasn’t particularly original or groundbreaking. Also, there seemed to be a whole load of loopholes.

List your three favourite books, of ALL time:(I cannot do favourite books of all time. I am useless. Instead, I’m gonna have to do my favourite books at the moment)

1 I’ll give you the sun - Jandy Nelson

2 Forward Slash - Mark Edwards (the only horror/thriller/crime book I’ve read)

3 Paper Airplanes - Dawn O’Porter


Thinking of the first book you mentioned, why is it your favourite?
Ugh. Dude. I cannot even. It is so clever and beautifully written and heart-wrenching and unlike anything I’ve ever read. I just... ugh. So many feels.

What would you say to anyone that was thinking of reading it?
Stop thinking about it and just do it!

If you could be any character, from any novel, who would it be, and why?
Probably either Lola, Isla or Anna from the Stephanie Perkins books. I just really enjoy their stories and they seem like pretty cool characters.

Who is your least favourite character from any novel, and why?
Cliched but Umbridge from Harry Potter makes my blood boil. I cannot stand the woman.


What is your least favourite novel, and why?
Recently I’ve not enjoyed ‘My heart and other Black Holes’. It was very predictable and unrealistic and I hate the whole ‘if you’re feeling suicidal you just need a boyfriend/girlfriend to “fix” you’ thing. Blergh.

If you could change the ending of any novel, what would it be? And what would you have happen instead?
I think I’d want to change the ending of Harry Potter. Don’t get me wrong, I love the series. I have a tattoo of the deathly hallows! And I'm fine with it having a happy ending where (spoiler alert) Harry lives & Voldy dies BUT just the fact that everyone ends up happy together, perfectly, with their perfect jobs and stupidly named children just bugs me a bit.

And finally, the real juicy gossip that everyone wants to know: Snog, Mary, Avoid!

Edgar Allen Poe, Sylvia Plath, J.K Rowling?


Snog Sylvia (I think she’d be very passionate), Marry JK and Avoid Poe (soz bro)


Cthulhu, Gandalf, Doctor Frankenstein?
Snog Dr F, Marry Gandalf and Avoid Cthulhu.


Douglas Adams, Stephen King, Ali Smith?
Difficult. I’d Snog King just to say I had. Marry Ali Smith & Avoid Douglas Adams.

_____

Aww, poor Cthulhu everyone keeps avoiding him!

Thank you so much for taking part, Codie! As I am sure you are aware, you have a great taste in literature, and I have added a few of the books you mentioned to my wishlist.

If you want to pick Codie's brain some more, you can find her over at www.codiekinz.co.uk, or I'm sure if you leave a comment below she will get back to you!

ALSO. SRLSY GUYZ. GO READ I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN. IT'S FULL OF FEELINGS AND AWESOME, AND I FINISHED IT WEEKS AGO, AND I'M STILL THINKING ABOUT IT.

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MY PAPERBLANKS JOURNALS

Friday


I was recently asked by the wonderful people at Paperblanks, to share my journals, and talk about my love of them on their blog: Endpaper.  I am not ashamed to admit that when it comes to notebooks, not only do insist on a good quality of paper, but I like them to look pretty too, and with Paperblanks I get both. The only other notebooks I use are the cheap WHSmith ones, which I use for uni, and even then I get the premium quality ones - god I must sound like a snob.

If you are interested in knowing more about my love affair with Paperblanks, then you can head on over to their site, and see what it is exactly I use them for, and how much I rely on them to help me with my daily activities. (CLICK HERE)


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Bloggers Favourite Book (Part 3)

Thursday



If you've been following the Bloggers Favourite Book series then you'll know that over the past few weeks we've heard from Becky and Somdyuti, two lovely ladies that have a wonderful taste in literature! 

This week we have the incredible Leah, whose answers have given me some great new additions to my 'want to read' list.  She is also the second person to mention, Anna and the French Kiss, so I think that it may worth googling and reading up about! 

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A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini (Review)

Wednesday



Five years ago I read The Kite Runner (also by Hosseini) whilst studying for my English Literature A Level, and I loved it. I loved it so much that when I saw A Thousand Splendid Suns in Waterstones, I bought it and vowed I would read it after I had finished whatever novel I was reading at the time - as you can probably guess, that did not happen. I didn't read it until almost three years later (last week) and I am kicking myself for not reading it sooner. I loved it so much that I have been recommending it to everyone, including my mum; she never usually pays attention when I am gushing about books, but for some reason she listened this time and she loved it too. Go mum!

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REVIEW || I'll Give You the Sun - Jandy Nelson

I'll Give You the Sun has been finding its way on and off my wishlist for the past few months. After reading the blurb, I was absolutely certain that I wouldn't like it, but everyone that I spoke to had me thinking otherwise - gushing review after gushing review, I was curious to see what the fuss was about; and now I know.

I was hooked before I started reading the first chapter.

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#BloggersFavouriteBooks (part 2)

Monday



Last week had the wonderful, Becky, from BeckyBedbug telling us all about her favourite books. She was an absolute delight, and I can't help but want to hunt her down and hug her, due to her taste in literature!  This week, I am welcoming the adorable Somdyuti, and asking her those awful questions, that everyone hates to be asked!  

SRSLY. How adorable!? :D 
Who are you/what is your URL? (Tell the world who you are! A little self-promo never hurt anyone.)
 Hi! I’m Somdyuti Datta Ray from Kolkata, India. I’m 19. I’m doing my Bachelor’s degree in Communicative English and I’ll be graduating next Spring.

I blog at onetinywish.blogspot.in about books, travel and other random things about my life.

Do you have any weird/strange reading habits?
I have an urge to read 10x more right before my exams. All I want to do is read books than actually prep for my exams LOL.

Favourite genres?
Fantasy.  Also, Dystopian. I might have an obsession with Fantasy books. But I enjoy anything YA actually. I can imagine myself still reading YA when I’m 80 years old maybe haha!

What was the last book you read, and would you recommend it?
Last book I read was Legend by Marie Lu. It is the first book in the Legend trilogy. It’s a YA dystopian set in Los Angeles, 2130 A.D. Its kind of a suspense thriller.

I heard such great things about the trilogy, so of course I had to pick it up. And ohmygosh it’s amazing. It’s really intense and fast-paced and badass. I’m reading the second book right now, Prodigy. I definitely recommend it.



List your three favourite books, of ALL time:
1. Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
2. Percy Jackson & the Olympians (series) + Heroes of Olympus (series) by Rick Riordan
3. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

It’s so hard to pick any 3 picks but I think if I’m abandoned in an island, then these are definitely the books you’ll find me reading.

Thinking of the first book you mentioned, why is it your favourite?
I can possibly list about a million reasons why Harry Potter is my favourite but I’m gonna keep it short now. Well, I grew up reading Harry Potter. I was maybe 8 or 9 when I first started reading it. So in a way I could relate to the characters a lot, being almost same age and all. But mostly because, Harry Potter is basically my childhood. I grew up obsessing and fantasising about the characters and the stories. It’s life! And it helped me get through middle school seeing that I was often bullied. I honestly can’t imagine being the person I am today if not for Harry Potter. It taught me so much about life and being myself and valuing friendship and you know, fighting for things we love. Harry Potter is a way of life.

What would you say to anyone that was thinking of reading it?
I try not to judge people who haven’t read Harry Potter yet haha (seriously, though, what are you doing?). But I believe, Harry Potter is something everyone should read at least once in their life. It’s so beautiful and fascinating and just magical.



If you could be any character, from any novel, who would it be, and why?
Hmmmph…. *thinks hard* I would really love to be Celaena Sardothien from the Throne of Glass (series) by Sarah J. Maas. This series is undoubtedly on my list of Top 3 Fantasy books EVER. And Celaena is such a badass character. She’s an assassin and a few more things which I won’t say because they’re spoilers. But anyway, I absolutely love her character.

She’s confident, fearless, brave but also sassy. She knows what she wants and she’s so sure of herself (most of the time). She’s not afraid to fight for the people she loves. She’s amazing. I love her! I want to be her, including the assassin part.

Who is your least favourite character from any novel, and why?
I’ve come across a lot of nasty characters but I think Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter (series) is the meanest of all. She’s so unbelievably annoying and evil, like all the way to her core. God, I hate that woman!

What is your least favourite novel, and why?
I recently read Girl Online by Zoe Sugg a.k.a Zoella and ohmygod that book annoyed the daylight out of me. It’s so cliché and unoriginal and the writing style is absolutely sloppy. The characters are too monotonous and overdone. I’m forever losing my cool because of that book. I wrote a review of that book on my blog where I ranted in details. You can read it here.

If you could change the ending of any novel, what would it be? And what would you have happen instead?
There’s one book I can think of actually – Blood of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus #5) by Rick Riordan. I absolutely love Percy Jackson but the ending of Blood of Olympus and most importantly the whole series was very disappointing. It made me so mad because this is coming from Rick Riordan, and I love his books.



If I were to change the ending – not gonna give away any spoilers – I’d add some more action-y stuff in the final battle. Like write it in more details and put Percy, Annabeth, Hazel and Frank in the spotlight. They were completely overshadowed in the last few chapters (what the heck!). So I’ll include them in the battle scenes being all badass. And I’ll make the deaths more interesting.

And finally, the real juicy gossip that everyone wants to know: Snog, Marry, Avoid!

1. Edgar Allen Poe, Sylvia Plath, J.K Rowling? 

Marry – J.K. Rowling
Avoid – Edgar Allen Poe and Sylvia Path (no snogging!)

2. Cthulhu, Gandalf, Doctor Frankenstein?

Marry – Gandalf
Avoid – Cthulhu and Doctor Frankenstein (seriously? Bad combo, again!)

3. Douglas Adams, Stephen King, Ali Smith? 

Marry – Stephen King

Avoid – Douglas Adams and Ali Smith (too old for snogging!)


And there we have it! Thank you Somdyuti for sharing your opinions, it's been great getting to know you, and about your favourite books! If you have any questions, you can find her on twitter, and over on her blog, http://onetinywish.blogspot.in/


I'm so glad that I found someone else who doesn't like, Girl Online. I'm still confused as to why they want tp publish a second one!

If you would like to take part in a future #Bloggersfavouritebook post, send me an email at Kirstiekinsblogs@gmail.com!



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Current 'To Be Read' List:

Friday

I mentioned before, that I am one of those people that buys books quicker than I can read them, but it wasn't until this afternoon that I came to realise how much of a problem this is. Just in my bedroom I have 147 books - not including textbooks - and I have read 49 of them. FORTY - NINE. I hate to think what that total number would be if I were to include the books on the bookshelf in my office. Because of this, I have decided to organize my reading habits, and hopefully allow myself to read as many of the unread ones before I have book-buying withdrawal symptoms, and find myself drooling all over the windows of Waterstones Uxbridge. Haha!

My organization plan is simple. I choose five books, stacking them neatly beside my bed, and then I do not buy another book until I finished those five. Once I have read all five books, I can then add a further five books, and keep doing so until I have read the 98 books that I am yet to read, although by that point, I will have another nineteen books to go, and after those, it'll be three - that's if I done the maths right, I have never been one for maths. 

My current TBR list is compromised of some books I bought recently, plus a few resident shelf sitters. 

I am currently reading, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, which I bought about four or five years ago, after reading The Kite Runner for my English Literature A Level. So Far it is pretty good, and judging by Khaled Hosseini's previous work, I already know that it is going to get better. 

Next is Phillip Pullmans, Nothern Lights, a book that I only bought recently but have been ordered to read at least seven times in the past year. It has never interested be before, but I figure it's worth a try if everyone has said so many great things about it!

Third on the list is, About a Boy, another book that has never really interested me before, but I have been asked to read it as part of Kingston Universities Big Read, where the uni are giving this book to all of its students for free, in order to get them reading, and to give everyone something in common. I'm a big fan of books, especially free ones, so no complaints here! 

The fourth is, How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran. I swore I would never read this book as the author shares a last name with someone who I used to know (who turned into a massive penis face), but after accidentally reading the first page in Poundland a few months ago, I pushed my vendetta to one side and decided to give it a go. 

And finally there is:  The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy. This is my favourite book in the entire universe,  and I reread it at least once a year. What I love most, is that my edition is the trilogy in four parts, meaning that I can read one of the stories, then read a few other books, and then come back to it a month or two later and read another one of the short stories. Plus, even though the movie was terrible, every time I read Marvin I can't help but think of Alan Rickman and LOL a little. 

So there we have it, my current TBR list. I'm looking forward to making my way through these and then scouring my Amazon Book Wishlist to choose my reward. I'd love to know if you have any recommendations! 


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August Book Haul

Thursday




Not so long ago you may remember me stating that I was making myself a TBR list and was only allowing myself fo buy a new book after every time I had finished reading five of them. Well, that didn't work. Maybe it was the pressure of not knowing when I would next be able to buy something new, or maybe it was because I got a little bit down, and instead of buying copious amounts of takeaways I decided to buy copious amounts of books.

How many? 
Well, I bought eight, I won six and was sent two to review. I shouldn't have bought any, I, however, have acquired sixteen. SIXTEEN. I am seriously running out of space to put all my books now guys - I am scared that if I put one more book on my shelf they are all going to fall on me whilst I am asleep. Maybe I can convince my parents to move out so I can use their room as a library.

What did I buy?
- The Communist Manifesto (part of Penguin's Little Black Classic collection) Karl Marx & Friedrich Engles 
- The Yellow Wallpaper (also part of Penguin's Little Black Classic collection) Charlotte Perkins Gilman 
I have been collecting these 80p classics since February this year, and I am still nowhere near having the full collection. I bought these two this time as The Yellow Wall-Paper is a personal favourite, and as a human and ex-sociology student I am kind of obligated to have a small soft spot for Marx and Engles. 

- Shaking Hands with Death / Terry Pratchett 
If I am being completely honest, this was an impulse buy. I loved the original speech, and when I saw this sitting by the till in Waterstones I didn't have to think twice about buying it. Plus it's really teeny and cute.

- Paper Towns / John Green
Pretty much bought this so I could see what all the fuss was about. Plus it's hard to judge a novel without knowing anything about it.

- The Opposite of Loneliness / Marina Keegan 
My friend, Daniel read this a while ago and has been trying to get me to read it ever since. It is also this month's #Sassybooks read, so I can hardly not buy the book I will probably be panic reading three days before I write my review of it. It does sound really interesting, so hopefully I won't be leaving it till the end of the month.

-Foxfire / Carol Joyce Oates 
After YEARS of this book being on my wishlist I have finally bought it, and I love it already. Yes, there will be a review. 

- The Picture of Dorian Gray / Oscar Wilde
I read an excerpt of a novel when I was around thirteen or fourteen and thought it was brilliant, only I could never remember the name of it, or what it was really about. Last Friday I was pottering around a book shop in Brick Lane when this caught my eye, and after reading a few pages I realised that this was the book I had been searching for almost ten years.  

- The Sky is Everywhere / Jandy Nelson
I fell in love with I'll Give You the Sun, so decided through a process of 'this book is amazing, to her others must be amazing too' to read Nelsons other novel, The Sky is Everywhere. I love her writing style, how she creates characters, sets scenes, and engages with the reader, so I honestly can't wait to read!


What did I win?
Thanks to the wonderful people at Hotkey moving offices, I got the chance to get my hands on some of their undistributed proof copies - which I think look absolutely amazing! The covers are so simple and give nothing away about the novel, so it really is impossible to judge it by its cover. 
I received: 

- Friday Brown / Vikki Wakefield
- Paper Aeroplanes / Dawn O' Porter
- The Ghost Bride / Yangsze Choo
- As Red as Blood / Salla Simukka 
- Jumble Cat / Archie Kimpton
- Being a Bot / James Dawson 

I love receiving book-mail so when the postman knocked on my door with a big parcel full of books, I couldn't shoo him away fast enough - I just wanted to get inside and tear it open! Although, I will say that the fact they are numbered is messing with my brain, as I now really feel that I need all the other numbers to make my shelf look tidy and organised.  



What was I sent?
Headline books sent me over two books to review which have been late going up, as I have had to take a few days away from existing and recharge. I have been incredibly stressed and sad over the past three weeks, what with my cat dying, being ill, and having quite possibly a twelve-hour panic fuelled anxiety moment on the way back from Paris.  

They sent me:

The Iron Ghost / Jen Williams
Nymphs / Sari Luhtanen & Mikko Oikkonen 

Both of which seem really cool and I can't wait to share my views with you guys! 



---

I now have even more books to try and make my way through. I mean it this time, no more book buying until I have read a good proportion of my current TBR list! 

Do you have any recommendations? What was the last book you bought? Please say I am not the only one who buys books faster than I can read them! 


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The Shining - Stephen King

Friday


How do you review a novel that has already been classified as one of the greatest horror novels of all time? No matter what I say, the opinions of previous reviewers are going to prevail. But pretend for a second that The Shining wasn't written by possibly the greatest horror writer this side of 1950 and isn't nearly forty years old. What if it was a brand new novel published this year, written exactly how we know it to be, by a new up and coming author? Say for instance it was Jayne Doe's debut novel, would it still be as widely recognised as what we know it to be today? Probably not.  Not because Jayne Doe is a terrible writer, but because it'll be thirty-eight years behind the times, will have a lot more competition, and because let's face it, well recognised women horror writers are few and far between.

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#BloggersFavouriteBooks

Wednesday


Over the next few weeks, I am going to be asking a few bloggers all about their favourite books! I always find it really hard to answer this question myself as my answers are always changing depending on my mood, or the genre that I am into at that specific moment. My favourite book of all time will always be, Enid Blyton's Folk of the Faraway Tree series. My mum would read them to me when I was really small, but then as I got older and learnt to read, I would stay up all night reading them to myself. BUT, if you were to ask me what is my current favourite book, I would be stumped. Nothing I have read recently has stuck with me long enough for me label it with the prestigious title of being my favourite book. Because of this, I decided to put a few of my fellow bloggers on the spot, and asking them the very questions I hate the most. 

As I had such an overwhelming response to the project, I decided to break it down into a series of posts, meaning that each week you can check back and see what each of my victims said in response to the nitty gritty questions revolving literature.


First up we have: *Drum roll please* The lovely, Becky!


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Can Social Media Help You Write a Novel?

Monday



In a world full of distractions, it is easy to get a little sidetracked from our end goal. But can we use these distractions to help us reach our end goals that little bit quicker? Well there is only way to really find out!

I like to call myself a writer, and there are lots of tools out there that are aimed at helping writers: Scrivener, Storyist, #AmWriting, #AmEditing, Nanowrimo. However, I decided to take a bash as using unconventional methods and dived deeper into the world of social media, and found myself on Pinterest. Yes you read that right, Pinterest. 

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Two years!

Friday


Today marks my two year blog anniversary.  Two years since I sat down, and decided that I wanted to write to the world, to you guys. It hasn't always been easy - at first I didn't really have a direction, I just wrote about what I thought I should write about: fashion, beauty, red carpets, but none of that was me. I was lost in the void of wanting to write, but not really having anything to write about.  Then one day, I decided to share my thoughts on a book, and I got so much joy out of sharing my opinions with the world that I started to do it a lot more, and now here we are, two years later!

I've gotten to know some fantastic people through blogging, and I want to thank each and every one of you, whether you follow me or not. The blogging community is a growing force, and even though it's pretty easy to get lost in the chats, you always end up making one new friend.

I hope that in the future I can get over my nerves/fear, kick anxiety in the ass, and actually come to a bloggers meet up so I can see your lovely faces in person, but until then you'll just have to put up with my random selfies on snapchat, instagram, and of course here, Kirstiekinsblogs!

Although I am Kirstiekins, this blog isn't mine anymore. It's ours. Everything I write is shared with you, and I am so happy that you all get to be a part of my share of the internet pizza.

Missed my first ever post? Well, haha you can read it HERE - be warned, it's a bit of a cringe fest!



As a cheeky bit of promo, you can help me celebrate me by following me on Bloglovin, as I would love to get to two hundred subscribers by the end of the year! ;)

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I'm writing again.

Thursday


I'm a writer. Or I at least pretend to be anyway.

Don't expect to search for me online and have a Goodreads author page come up, a string of novels on Amazon, or articles on Huffington Post, because you wont find anything. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. But that doesn't mean I am not writer, it just means I am an unpublished writer. You could take this to mean that I am a bad writer, and that no one will publish my work, but in all honesty I am terrified of the thought of actually publishing my writing. 

I had a chapter of a novel that I am working on included in an anthology, but I took me until ten minutes before the deadline to gain the confidence and hit send on the email. Although I was accepted, I stopped writing shortly after, due to the amount of uni work that I had, and even then I found that hard to do. If felt as if something in my brain had stopped working, as though a bunch of wires had been ripped out, or the drawer where I keep my writing abilities had welded itself shut. This went on for months. The more I tried to write, the more I hated myself. How could I call myself a writer if I couldn't write. Was it writers block? I don't know. I think it was more of a me block. I got stuck inside my head, and then my head got suck inside of me - wow, that didn't mean to sound as dirty as it come across. Get your head out of the gutter ;) 

Anyway. 

For months I would plan projects, even attempt to write them, but nothing would happen. My sentences wouldn't make sense, my plot wouldn't fit, and my characters were telling me to fuck off and do one. They didn't like me either. But here is the funny part. Not funny haha, actually it might be, or it might be a sign of madness. I went shopping last week, and I saw this girl/woman* and I was convinced that it was one of the characters in my novel. It was so weird, because I have been writing her to be this evil, heart crushing (literally) person, but here she was in the supermarket with some other woman, talking about bread. "I like the thick one, I can really get my teeth into it," to which her friend replied: "Oh, I bet you do!" And then they laughed and walked away.  I stood there thinking, why are you shopping, you're supposed to be causing havoc and trying to destroy the lives of everyone you ever met, and then this led me to thinking more of her character, and primarily who she is. Causing havoc is what she does, but not who she is. It was at that point where I felt the office drawer ping open and have all these files spew all over the places, the wires had been replaces and whatever had stopped working, started again. I abandoned the rest of my shopping list, went home, and I have been writing ever since. 

In those nine months I could have finished it twice over and be well into the editing stage right now, but that isn't how it works. I am glad that my brain forced me to take some time away from it, because looking at my old drafts now, I can see where I may have made a few bad decisions, and did what I wanted to do, rather than what the characters wanted to do. 

I find it hard to blog, and write fiction at the same time, which is a shame because I love doing them both so much, but it's not a bad thing, because I now have two writing spaces I can flick back and forth between. That being said, whilst I have my writing mojo back, I will be prioritising that, but I still will be posting as often as I can. A few weeks ago, I sent out somewhat of a questionnaire to bunch of other bloggers, all about their favourite books, which I have formed together into some pretty cool posts, and will be starting to post next week, so there is that to look forward too!  I am also going to start trying to keep to a schedule, and posting at least one book review on a certain day every week, which is yet to be decided.  I may also start sharing some of my writing/updates on my novel writing, if you guys don't mind. 

This post has ended up being a lot longer that what I hoped for it to be. 

So Until next time. 

Kirstie 
xoxo 



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Outline - Rachel Cusk

Monday

I wanted to like this book, I really did.

After reading, and hearing so much praise of, Outline, (which was shortlisted for The Baileys Prize, and written by a woman that works at my university) I went to my local Waterstones, picked up the book, and began to read it whilst lounging in my garden, that very same afternoon.
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REVIEW || Through the Woods - Emily Carroll

Friday


Voted Graphic Novel of the Month by the Observer and on the New York Bestseller List for two weeks back in August 2014, Through the Woods is a compromised of five 'mysterious and chilling' stories, based on classic fairytales. Each story, combined with its remarkable illustrations, creates an eerie feeling, that can only be described as inspiring. Though some of the tales use a minimalistic approach to narrative, her syntax remains delightfully harrowing - but this could be due to her artistic abilities, and the way she has chosen to lay out each page; with most of the other graphic novels I have read emphasis has been drawn to the images, but Carroll has taken it a step further and has treated the words as if they are also images. No, not images. Art.
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GraduSLAAYtion?

Tuesday

I am the kind of person who shouldn't attend big meaningful events. Even though I dread them, a part of me gets a little bit excited - there's the build up, the prep, the actual day, and then there is the day after. The day after is the worst. During the build up, your emotions are allowed to flourish and be all over the place, you don't have to define them and organise them into a little box, but afterwards, when the reason for your excitement has been and gone, when you've had your three seconds of fame, when you're left with all these feelings that don't want to go away, what are you supposed to do with them? You can't just make them go away! So instead you sit there, still with the latent excitement of the day itself, in awe of the fact that you did something meaningful and worthwhile, pondering the events that happened, and the things that you wish did/didn't happen, wondering if you will ever escape this weird daunting feeling that has made a home within your brain. I love organising things, it makes me happy when everything has it's own little place, or a specific order, messy things hurt my brain. So I am sure you can imagine what it is like when the thing that you want to organise most, is pretty much the most impossible of them all: the thoughts in your own head.  You can't make a list, colour code, colour coordinate, alphabetise, numeratise (numerical didn't really work in the sentence), nor can you just put them in a box, label it 'I'll sort you out later' and then shove it under the bed. You have to carry this unorganised mess of thoughts and feelings around, until they sort themselves out. Sometimes it may take a few hours, other times it could take weeks! Weeks of these thoughts, getting tangled up within new thoughts and old thoughts alike; all the feelings spewing out of their designated brain compartments and mixing together like a dodgy science experiment! And then the panic sets in!

I didn't set out for this post to turn down the alley of, Death, Doom, and Destruction, but that's the thing about writing: when you start, when you really start, you don't stop, you don't think, it just happens. I think that's how you know you're a writer, when words just fall out of you, through your fingers, into the pen and onto the page. Obviously not 24/7, if that were the case, maybe I would have finished my darn novel by now.

I wanted to write about my graduation, and how that three years ago I was nervously waiting my A level results, not knowing what the future had in-store for me, but I think I will save that for another time. I am glad that I graduated, and I am proud of myself for all the hard work I put myself through, especially as I have had teachers all the way through school that didn't believe in me. None of them thought I would make it to university, and the fact that I graduated with pretty much the highest grade possible makes me want to photocopy it and post it to them, just so I can say that I have proved them wrong - but I am supposed to be an adult now, so maybe I wont do that.

Now I guess I need to find a job. Anyone hiring?





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