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Summer Reading Inspiration

I was thinking about what books I would read if I didn't have my hefty summer reading list, this summer and created a little list of my top summer reads!

1. Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan

This is such a cute book, and it has recipies related to sweets throughout it. What more could you want? Except from the actual sweets.

Synopsis: 'Were you a sherbet lemon or chocolate lime fan? Penny chews or hard boiled sweeties (you do get more for your money that way)? The jangle of your pocket money . . . the rustle of the pink and green striped paper bag . . . Rosie Hopkins thinks leaving her busy London life, and her boyfriend Gerard, to sort out her elderly Aunt Lilian's sweetshop in a small country village is going to be dull. Boy, is she wrong. Lilian Hopkins has spent her life running Lipton's sweetshop, through wartime and family feuds. As she struggles with the idea that it might finally be time to settle up, she also wrestles with the secret history hidden behind the jars of beautifully coloured sweets.'

2. This is a Love Story by Jessica Thompson

Another sweet book, easy read. You could put this book down and come back and continue as you were.

Synopsis: 'This is a love story. Boy meets girl and girl falls for boy - that much is true. But when Sienna meets Nick it's not the way it happens in love stories. It's because of a squirrel on water skis... She sees Nick's dangerous brown eyes and thinks,
Who will be there to catch Sienna when she falls? She is so fragile. She has so many secrets, and he is not that serious. Funny and sad, this is the story of two people destined never to come together in the great love affair they crave more than anything else.'
3. One Perfect Summer by Paige Toon

This book is spread out over a fair chunk of time, so if you can get past the gaps in time, you'll love it.

Synopsis: 'A Dorset summer, a chance meeting, and Joe and Alice, both 18, fall into step as if they have known each other forever. But their idyll is shattered as quickly as it began. Joe leaves without warning; Alice heads off to Cambridge University and slowly picks up the pieces of her broken heart. Years later, when she catches the attention of gorgeous, gifted, rich boy LukasAlice is carried along by his charm and swept up in his ambitious plans for a future together. Until news of Joe reaches her once more, but he's out of reach in a way that Alice could never have imagined. Life has moved on, the divide between them is now so great. Surely it is far too late to relive those perfect summer days of long ago?'

4. The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella

Sophie Kinsella can't do me wrong, I find her books so easy and relaxing to read. Nothing TOO bad happens, and it's just a nice and easy escape.

Synopsis: 'Samantha is a high-powered lawyer in London. She works all hours, has no home life, and cares only about getting a partnership.She thrives on the pressure and adrenalin. Until one day... she makes a mistake. A mistake so huge, it'll wreck her career. She walks right out of the office, gets on the first train she sees, and finds herself in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she is mistaken for the interviewee housekeeper and finds herself being offered the job. They have no idea they've hired a Cambridge-educated lawyer with an IQ of 158 - Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. Disaster ensues. It's chaos as Samantha battles with the washing machine...the ironing board...and attempts to cook a cordon bleu dinner. But gradually, she falls in love with her new life in a wholly unexpected way. Will her employers ever discover the truth? Will Samantha's old life ever catch up with her? And if it does...will she want it back?'

5. The Great Escape by Fiona Gibson

I read this book a few years ago, and it takes on the roles of the different people in their own couples. They females of the relationships all head off on a road trip together and it brings them all back to reality and allows them to sort out their problems. All very sweet and cute, happy weddings, etc.

Synopsis: Hannah’s getting married… and has serious pre-wedding jitters. She adores Ryan but can’t figure out how to fit into his grown-up, family-sized life. There’s that fridge, for starters. That, too, is family-sized, with a gadget on the front that spits ice in her face. More alarming still are Ryan’s children, Daisy, 10 and Josh, 13, who clearly don’t relish the prospect of Hannah, a free-spirited greetings card illustrator, becoming their step-mum. So she fires off invitations to a hen weekend – just the ticket to get her into the marrying mood. Trouble is… New mum Sadie is leaving her twin babies for the very first time with their terrified dad… Lou is unaware that her long-term man Spike is desperate to bundle her onto that Glasgow-bound train so he can hot-foot it round to see his secret fling Miranda… And, unbeknown to the girls, Johnny, their sexy upstairs neighbour from their art college days, is still frequenting those haunts, desperately in need of a little magic to happen.

- K.B

currently listening to: podcasts

Podcasts are becoming ever popular, and I've jumped on the bandwagon and I'm not coming off anytime soon!
I'm not sure what podcast I initially listened to, but I've created a small collection of dedicated subscriptions. Mostly comedy/lifestyle and a few for over 18s (or just be cautious of explicit language). 

In no particular order, my current favourite podcasts... *drum roll*

1. Jules and Sarah The Podcast: Oh my goodness, this is one of my favourite podcasts to listen to! Jules and Sarah (follow her on Instagram here, her stories are brilliant) are hilarious. As individuals and as a duo. Pure giggles and nattering. One of my favourites to have on as 'extra noise' and to giggle along with while working away. A lot of food talk, parents, general anecdotes, and cheese. I recommend going back to the beginning and listening to some of the early ones, especially the one where they got drunk while recording a podcast... a hoot. At the time of writing this post, they have 105 podcasts for your ears to enjoy.

2. At Home With...: This appeals to my nosey personality. Two blogging beauties, The Anna Edit and Lily Pebbles, explore the homes of beauty/fashion ladies of the moment. They haven't released very many, but they're are brilliant so far. I especially loved the one with Kate La Vie (perhaps one of my favourite online influencers of the moment); discussing her gorgeous interior design, kittens and her success in the 'blogging world'.

3. Ctrl Alt Delete: I don't listen to Emma Gannon's podcasts quite as thoroughly as some of the others, I tend to listen to the ones that a) I know the guest, b) other people I know have spoken about the episode. There are over 80 episodes live right now, for you to listen to. Emma talks to people of the moment, influencers, internet stars, etc, to discuss their experience of 'growing up online'. My favourites are; Sali Hughes, Victoria Magrath, Grace Victory, Scarlett Curtis, Estee Lalonde, Olivia Purvis, Sarah Powell, Zoella, and Dawn O'Porter.

4. My Dad Wrote A Porno: What it says on the tin. I don't want to say too much, I think the name says it all. But it's the funniest thing to listen while completing mundane tasks. Walk the dog, listen to this, you will walk along crying with laughter. Well, I did anyway. Currently, they're onto recording Season Three, so lots for you to listen to. Also, I recommend this for people over the consenting age, it is of a sexual nature (all in the name really).

5. Filler Podcast: This might've been the first podcast I ever listened to. Hosted by Harry Hitchens and Matt Shore, they sit down over a coffee with some of the biggest creatives. It's so interesting. They're brilliant hosts, digging for the answers and also discussing themselves with the guests. They've currently fully recorded two series, and I have no idea if any more are on their way. One of my favourites was with Rosa Parks, the Editor of Cereal Magazine (without a doubt in my top 3 favourite magazines).

- K.B

Embroidery #1

Let's take a break from all of the book talk, shall we?

To confirm how I'm an 80-year-old in a 21-year-old body, I'm doing a post about embroidery!

Recently I had to patch up a couple of holes in a pair of jeans. I then got a little carried away and proceeded to create a step hem around the ankle. While on a roll, I thought it would be a great idea to do a little bit of free hand embroidery. Which, if I say so myself, looks wonderful!

Next is the pressure of what to embroid onto your garments. I wanted to do something clever, passive aggressive, and funny (to me, I have an awful sense of humour). I wanted a short word, something easy to write in cursive, and that wouldn't take me hours.

'Hi' and 'Bye'. On my bum. Hopefully, this will allow me to continue living a lonely and peaceful life.  

I've recently come into the possession of a denim jacket, so I'm thinking I might do a post on customising a denim jacket with the use of patches, pins and freehand embroidery! 

- K.B

(early) June Book Haul

Perhaps a little early in the month to do a collection of new books, but I'm hoping this will stop me from buying anymore... for a few weeks. I had set out to create my Summer TBR list and not buy any more books, but then I started reading books quickly and wanted to buy more books as a result! -- also an excuse to take photos of the beautiful peonies. *insert heart eye emoji*

Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern - The first book I bought and the only book I paid full price for.I brought this after reading Megan's review (here) and seeing it in Tesco the next day. 

Synopsis: "In the southwest of Ireland, rugged mountains meet bright blue lakes and thick forests. Deep in the woods, a young woman lives alone, forever secluded from the world, her life a well-kept secret. She possesses an extraordinary talent, the likes of which no-one has seen before: a gift that will earn her the nickname Lyrebird. When Solomon stumbles into Laura’s solitary existence, her life is turned on its head. Pulled from her peaceful landscape to the cacophony of Dublin, she is confronted by a world desperate to understand her. But while Solomon knows the world will embrace Laura, will it free her to spread her wings – or will it trap her in a gilded cage? Like all wild birds, she needs to fly free… Lyrebird is a thoughtful, deeply moving love story; a story of the wild heart in us all and the quiet that lies underneath the world’s noise."

Catching Fire & Mockingjay - Straight after reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (review here), I ordered Catching Fire and Mockingjay from Amazon. I bought these from a secondhand bookseller on Amazon though, and got the two (including p&p) for less than £5!

Catching Fire Synopsis: "After winning the brutal Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen returns to her district, hoping for a peaceful future. But Katniss starts to hear rumours of a deadly rebellion against the Capitol. A rebellion that she and Peeta have helped to create. As Katniss and Peeta are forced to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. Unless Katniss and Peeta can convince the world that they are still lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying. The terrifying sequel to The Hunger Games."

Mockingjay Synopsis: ""My name is Katniss Everdeen. Why am I not dead? I should be dead." Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Though she's long been a part of the revolution, Katniss hasn't known it. Now it seems that everyone has had a hand in the carefully laid plans but her. The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay - no matter what the cost."

*All of the books from this point on are from charity shops, hence the varied selection and lack of reasoning for buying them.*

According to YES by Dawn French - I've never read anything by Dawn French. I believe we own a copy of her autobiography, though I've never felt a desire to pick it up. I have no idea what this book is about. And even though I've seen it around, I've never heard anyone talk about it! 

Synopsis: "The Foreign Land of the Very Wealthy - otherwise known as Manhattan's Upper East Side - has its own rigid code of behaviour. It's a code strictly adhered to by the Wilder-Bingham family. Emotional displays - unacceptable. Unruly behaviour - definitely not welcome. Fun - no thanks. This is Glenn Wilder-Bingham's kingdom. A beautifully displayed impeccably edited fortress of restraint. So when Rosie Kitto, an eccentric thirty-eight-year-old primary school teacher from England, bounces into their lives with a secret sorrow and a heart as big as the city, nobody realises that she hasn't read the rule book. For the Wilder-Bingham family, whose lives begin to unravel thread by thread, the consequences are explosive. Because after a lifetime of saying no, what happens when everyone decides to start saying . . . yes?"

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella - This was a rebuy. I've read this book multiple times in the past, and all of the books that run alongside the Shopaholic series. But I lost my copy of the first book a few years ago and was waiting to see it in a charity store to rebuy.

Synopsis: "She has a great flat, a fabulous wardrobe full of the season's must-haves, and a job telling other people how to manage their money. She spends her leisure time ... shopping. Retail therapy is the answer to all her problems. She knows she should stop, but she can't. She tries Cutting Back, she tries Making More Money. But neither seems to work. The letters from the bank are getting harder to ignore. Can Becky ever escape from this dreamworld, find true love, and regain the use of her credit card? The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic... the perfect pick-me-up for when it's all hanging in the (bank) balance."

The Fault in our Stars by John Green - Don't hate me but I've already watched the film. I watched it a couple of years ago. I haven't watched it again so I'm hoping I'll be able to imagine the characters and scenes with my own imagination now. I did like the film, but I haven't been in a rush to rewatch it. I think I watched it because part of the story is set in Amsterdam and I was getting ready to go to Amsterdam and it felt like a good choice. 

Synopsis: "I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once." Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten. Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love."

Life of Pi by Yann Martel - I haven't seen the film or read the book yet. All I know is that it involves a boy, a tiger, and a boat?

Synopsis: "One boy, one boat, one tiger . . . After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen-year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan -- and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary and best-loved works of fiction in recent years."

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg - I've never had a desire to read a 'Youtuber' book. And I had never planned on buying one - full price. Naturally, there was a lot of hype around this book when it first came out and the speculation of a ghost writer. Seeing it for a mere £1, I've decided to give it ago. Plus I'm partial to a YA novel. 

Synopsis: "I have this dream that, secretly, all teenage girls feel exactly like me. And maybe one day, when we realize that we all feel the same, we can all stop pretending we're something we're not... But until that day, I'm going to keep it real on this blog and keep it unreal in real life. Penny has a secret.  Under the alias Girl Online, Penny blogs her hidden feelings about friendship, boys, high school drama, her crazy family, and the panic attacks that have begun to take over her life. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets Noah, a gorgeous, guitar-strumming American. Suddenly Penny is falling in love - and capturing every moment of it on her blog. But Noah has a secret, too, one that threatens to ruin Penny's cover - and her closest friendship - forever."

Emma by Jane Austen - I'm partial to 'classic' literature. I fell out of love with it during my a-levels and some terrible interesting lecturers. I'm slowly getting back into them. But I just couldn't resist this simple hardback version of Emma.

Synopsis: "Jane Austen teased readers with the idea of a 'heroine whom no one but myself will much like', but Emma is irresistible. 'Handsome, clever, and rich', Emma is also an 'imaginist', 'on fire with speculation and foresight'. She sees the signs of romance all around her but thinks she will never be married. Her matchmaking maps out relationships that Jane Austen ironically tweaks into a clearer perspective. Judgment and imagination are matched in games the reader too can enjoy, and the end is a triumph of understanding."

See How They Lie by Sue Wallman - I keep seeing this book in stores and I almost brought it one time in Tesco. I don't know much about it. I believe it's a YA/Thriller though. I haven't reader a thriller in a while, so I'm hoping it will be a good one. It's fairly short, so it shouldn't take long to read.

Synopsis: "Mae feels lucky to have grown up at Hummingbird Creek, an elite wellness retreat where rich teens with psychological problems can get the help they need from her father, a prominent psychiatrist. The Creek has world-class cuisine, a state-of-the-art sports centre and the latest spa treatments. Every aspect of daily life is monitored for optimal health, and there are strict rules for everyone. When Mae is caught breaking the rules, the response is severe. She starts to question everything about her highly controlled life. And at the Creek, asking questions can be dangerous."

oh comely - This isn't a book. But magazines and the printing industry can be so damn beautiful. oh comely always gets it right. I believe they come out every 2 months, I'm subscribed so they just appear in the letterbox every so often. Beautiful imagery, interesting topics, and wonderful words, what more do you need from a magazine?

Synopsis/About oh comely: " stories / film / music / fashion / mischief / ideas - oh comely is a curious, honest and playful independent magazine. It's a place to meet strangers, hear their stories and look at life differently - where our readers are out writers and our models, too. Each issue we pick a theme and see where it takes us. We try something old, something new and something that scares us a bit. Then we present our findings in a beautiful, artbook style, putting new writing, photography and illustrations talent at the heart of it. We believe good things come in threes. We began as a bedroom project of three pals at university and we're now produced by a small publishing house started by another set of three friends. You can find us all over the world in small newsagents, indie mag shops, and cafes. Or hop over to our shop, where you can get hold of the latest editions, 'surprise me!' packages and never-miss-an-issue subscriptions. We are bi-monthly, made in London."

- K.B

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

Start Date: 11-June-17
End Date: 11-June-17

Synopsis: Every day the same. Until Today. Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She's even started to feel like she knows the people who line in one of the houses. Their life - as she sees it - is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy. And then she sees something shocking, and in one moment everything changes. Now Rachel has a chance to become part of their lives she's only watched from afar. Now they'll see: she's much more than just the girl on the train...

Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars

Review: After holding onto this book for over a year, I've finally read it!
I knew very little about, except what it said on the back cover and seeing the smallest glimpse of a trailer for the film. I just knew there was a girl, who rode the train every day and made up lives for the people she could see from her train route.
I read this book in a day. I wanted to like it. But when I got to the last part and worked everything out, I loved it! It's one of those stories where you get a load of random information and then suddenly the whole story makes sense. Brilliant. The part that normally lets me down, in other novels, is the ending. But this one felt right, it ended and I didn't feel the need to know anything else about the characters or what happened in the book. I heard about this book around the same time as Gone Girl. I really enjoyed Gone Girl, but the ending let me down, so I was worried that The Girl On The Train would do the same.

Buy the book here.
Find me on Goodreads here.
- K.B

30 Day Instagram Book Challenge

I'm really enjoying working on my Instagram (here) and creating 'themed' posts, so what better way to waste my time than to work on an Instagram Challenge. It's not anyone specifics, I just took a mixture of others and created one that felt appropriate to me. Here is my attempt...

1. A book about a road trip
2. A book you loved as a child
3. A book with a summer romance
4. A book that's under 200 pages
5. A YA fiction book
6. A thriller
7. A book with a yellow cover
8. A collection of short stories
9. A book that takes place on an island
10.A funny memoir
11. A book from a high school summer reading list
12. A book about star-crossed lovers
13. A book you brought at the airport/train station
14. A book about best friends
15. A used book
16. A book with the ocean on the cover
17. A romantic comedy
18. A book in the front window of a bookstore
19. A book that takes place in Europe
20 A book you bought without reading the back
21. A book with the word beach in the title
22. A book recommended by a friend
23. A book set in Italy
24. A book that takes place somewhere warm
25. A book that made you cry
26. A book that takes place somewhere you hope to go
27. A book adapted into a movie
28. A book that has a wedding in it
29. A book you've been meaning to finish
30. A book of poetry

Follow me on Instagram (here) to keep up to date with my little challenge!
- K.B

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, 100 Tales of Extraordinary Women by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavollo

A truly wonderful book.

I read the tales that stood out to me straight away, and then went back through and picked through the tales that I didn't know about after. You could read it in a day, or, as intended, read a story a night for 100 nights.

Synopsis: What if the princess didn't marry Prince Charming but instead went on to be an astronaut? What if the jealous step sisters were supportive and kind? And what if the queen was the one really in charge of the kingdom? Illustrated by sixty female artists from every corner of the globe, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls introduces us to one hundred remarkable women and their extraordinary lives, from Ada Lovelace to Malala, Amelia Earhart to Michelle Obama. Empowering, moving and inspirational, these are true fairy tales for heroines who definitely don't need rescuing.

Goodreads Rating: Definitely 5/5 Stars

Review: I had heard about this book, but I had never seen it in bookstores or remembered to look into it more. Until I saw it in my local Tesco. Instantly I knew I wanted it. Although this is 'technically' a children's book, I believe that a grown adult can enjoy the tales of the extraordinary women in this book. The illustrations are beautiful and all created by female illustrators. If you have a friend with young children, children yourself, or just want to find out more, in a snapshot, about 100 wonderful women who have lived on this planet, then you'll want to have this book! Suitable for girls & BOYS, we all know about Henry VIII, Julius Caesar, Picasso, what about some of the females who have shaped our Earth?

Normally, I don't include images from within the books I read (mainly because they're just pages of words in Times New Roman), but this book is too beautiful not to share some of my favourites!

Buy the book here.

- K.B