Top Ten Tuesday: Ten things I’m thankful for as a book blogger

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Heeeeeellllo readers, it’s time for a Thanksgiving styled post – which as a British person doesn’t quite work but it’s Tuesday and that means it’s time for a Top Ten Tuesday post (run by the brilliant The Broke and the Bookish) so I’m going with it. The topic today is a free topic as long as it related to thanksgiving and being happy for the things that we have and I wanted to focus on something blogging related so with little delay – ten things I’m thankful for as a bookish bloggers.

1. It has opened my eyes to books I would never have considered before

In the past two of so years I have read books that  I would never have known about or bothered to ever pick up. Whether that’s the classics binge I’m currently going through or the YA books I fell in love with over the last six months,  without the bookish bloggging community and creating this blog I would never have read so many fantastic books.

2. Every day I am told about never fantastic books

This relates to the first but before my blog I never really had a TBR – I kinda just read willy nilly and read as and when I pleased. Now I’ve got a list that I can’t stop spiralling out of control and rather than being terrifed of it, I’m just bloody embracing it. Never before has my adoration of reading been so strong and that wouldn’t have happed without all of this.

3. Being taught to be proud of what I’m reading

Yearrrrrs ago we were on holiday, as a family, in the Lake District and at the cottage we were staying at they had a number of old and worn books – one being ‘Ps I love you by Ceclia Ahern.’ Mumma B told me it was trash but I read it and I thought it was perfection.

I struggled a lot with my reading likes/dislikes and since the blog I’ve learnt to embrace them – so what if some days all I want is an utterly trashy chick-lit, or I want to read a children’s book and look at all the gorgeous pictures. Blogging has allowed me not only to experience new genres and books but also be proud of what are a little like guilty pleasures.

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4. The community.

I joined the bookish blogosphere to write really and I found that actually I’ve met some truly wonderful people who make me smile on a daily basis and share with me all of their wonderful bloggish bits. When I joined I was warned a little that blogging would be lonely but two years  or so later I feel more comforted than ever and hopefully I’ve been there for many of you to. My NY resolution is to participate more and comment more but I will – I promise you gorgeous readers.

5. Absolutely awesome authors

I still can’t believe how many utterly wonderful, talented, thoughtful and compassionate authors I have met over the last two years – whether through email, commenting on the blog or twitter I have read so many fantastic books and currently it’s so sad I’ve got too many to read because the list just keeps growing.

Thank you for writing all the fantastic books and letting have a nosy read inside.

6. It made me re-realise my love of reading again

Throughout university my love of reading plummeted – studying Philosophy/Media the number books, essays, magazines, studies, theories I was reading on a daily basis reading for pleasure became a bore rather something I enjoyed. I stopped reading for almost the entirety of my third year and  then when I graduated and started to take pride in the blog again my love of reading just blew up. I now review three books a week and dread to think how much of my time I spend reading. The blog really made me revalue the importance of reading in my life.

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7. Opportunites

I say this often but the blog was really started just for somewhere to write about books – over the last six months to a year I’ve really started to push the blog to be more than that. Working with Penguin, shortlisting for Arachne Press, working with Invaluable and giving away tickets for the Stylist Live Event and meeting Caitlin Moran I’m only hoping to do more with MLBB over the next year – we’ll see.

8. Discussions

I think one of the best things about blogging is the discussions it creates – whether it’s about negative reviews or whether you did or didn’t like 50 shades it’s been such an eye opening  experience to participate in so many bookish discussions. I’ve never felt so passionate about some of my reader beliefs and many  have changed over the past two years but it’s the talk and chance to agree/disagree that I’ve liked so much.

9. Self-published authors

This links to a lot of my points but getting to work with so many self-publishes authors and help to bring their book to market has been really fun and really eye-opening. Many of the books that have really hit home for me and have made me think have been from self-published books. Unfortunately I still think they get a bad name and I hope at least a little I’ve helped to change that – one book at a time.

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10. It’s given me my ‘thing.’

Although I’ve alway been someone who strives to experience everything I’ve never had a thing – I’ve never had something I am truly proud of, but I do now. I cannot imagine not writing here and I can’t imaging not having this as my space to air all my thoughts and that makes me feel utterly wonderful. I love writing, I love sitting down and just reviewing/adding images/ replying to comments it’s perfection. Gah I’m an utter blog addict.

Tried to not get too sappy there but I am so thankful to all your wonderful likers/commenters/emailiers/authors/readers. You’re all so goddamn fantastic – have a wonderful thanksgiving!

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Gerald’s Party by Robert Coover

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Hellllo readers, another day another review; today’s book is a really interesting novel that I picked up when at my local library. Libraries are brilliant for us who hoard books (book bloggers I’m looking at you.) Quite often I read books and although I enjoy them, I’m not truly happy with them and I don’t feel the need to necessarily keep the books. The memories of reading the novel are enough and this was one of those books. I can’t decide whether I *liked* this book yet, but it was certainly an experience as such. My review of Gerald’s Party by Robert Coover

Robert Coover’s wicked and surreally comic novel takes place at a chilling, ribald, and absolutely fascinating party. Amid the drunken guests, a woman turns up murdered on the living room floor. Around the corpse, one of several the evening produces, Gerald’s party goes on — a chatter of voices, names, faces, overheard gags, rounds of storytelling, and a mounting curve of desire. What Coover has in store for his guests (besides an evening gone mad) is part murder mystery, part British parlor drama, and part sly and dazzling meditation on time, theater, and love.

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Gah I think I might have gone classic crazy; I’ve gone from detesting them to utterly adoring them in a matter of months. Little Women, and Ulysses are both on the cards although we’ll have to see how they go. In terms of today’s book the narrative follows the almost hallucinogenic nightmare of confusion and turmoil of the rather simply named Gerald’s Party. The book follows the absurd affair as we follow Gerald and his unnamed wife as they entertain dozens of different character. There’s Vic, Dickie, Kitty, Iris, Lloyd, Patrick, Allison and her husbands and numerous others but you would need a checklist to keep an eye on all of them.

Additionally as the blurb suggests there is the body, curled up on the floor amongst the partiers that belongs to the actress named Ros. With a gushing hole in the centre of her chest the mayhem is stirred and her jealous husband Rodger gets a little frantic. With the Police called; (Fred and Bob) and their homicide detective (Nigel Pardew) a rather odd character who immediately demands the watches of all those that have entered (later deducing that the murder happened half an hour before they arrived.) It sounds pretty normal but the writing style is anything but. Dialogues over-lap, characters movements do too. We’re in the garden, bare feet against the grass, then suddenly in the kitchen seeing Gerald’s wife cooking more and more food for the stacked table, then with his son Mark and his mother and law. It all overlaps haphazardly and confusingly. Characters melt into one.

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The thing is that ‘Gerald’s Party,’ is noticeably about time, quite obviously shown in the removal of the watches. The party seems to stretch for hours whilst the guests waver in and out of drunkenness. They’re also piles of sexual activity. Each of the couples appears to have at least one other sexual partner at said party and at one point we see Gerald wiping the bottom of a woman who has to put it nicely ‘lost control of her bounds.’ The sexual energy during this is scene is both baffling and amusing. It is riotous read that ploughs through taking the reader whether they want to or not.

I must admit I think I will one day when older I will maybe try this novel again. The effect of the writing for me becomes a little too excessive. The repetition at the beginning is exciting and intriguing but it quickly wears off. The startling acts of the characters becomes too over the top and audacious. For me it is a very evocative and fascinating book that was a bit to jolty to really carry it off and although the idea of time being non-existent at the start was exciting two hundred of so pages in I was starting to lose my stamina. I found that the book felt like a jigsaw puzzle I had to put back together again but had no chance of doing so.

Overall I will probably look at this review in a few years and feel silly but right now this book was really difficult for me to read. I found it really interesting to read and I would definitely recommend but it is honestly nothing like I have ever read before.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught life 101

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*Sighs* this might be my favourite Top Ten Tuesday post so far. The actually topic is Ten books that would be on your syllabus X 101. Examples include YA, fantasy, classic literature, feminist literature, you get the idea. I’ve picked ‘life 101’ and I mean it, not in a literal way, but more of the way in which books teach you something. These books include teaching you how to pick yourself up, get over heart-break, family strains. These are the books that have given me something back.

1)       The Last Lecture by Randy Pauch

This book, honest to the word, has helped in ways that I could have never expected it to. It talks of life in such an honest, wonderfully light and subtle way, but it talks of death, love and family too. The fact that author is dying as we read along makes it feel all the more destructive but it has a calming presence. It talks of never wasting time, living every day the way we want to and to take control. I haven’t really looked back since finishing this book.

2)       Skin by Adrienne Maria Vrettos

I’ve never reviewed this book for mylittlebookblog, but I think I might soon. The book follows the main character as he comes to terms with his sister’s death from anorexia. It highlights the struggle of family life, the tough decisions we have to make, and the loss of people close to us. It’s a tale that I always dip into now and again and it’s written in a wonderfully lyrical style. My and sister and I rarely got on a couple of years back but now we’re a solid pair of besties. She’s one in a million.

3)       ‘Giovanni’s Lover by James Baldwin

When I first started this book I didn’t think I would finish it let alone make its way onto this list, but this book taught me that there are some things, we cannot take back. I went through a lot of time not caring how I made other people feel because I barely cared about myself, at all. This book taught me that our decisions, our words, our actions towards others can be detrimental to people that we love. I know it seems trivial but I needed this to speak to me and tell me I needed to stop being an ass.

4)       Eat, pray, love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Maybe a controversial choice, but this book helped to change the perception that I needed to plan out, almost exactly, how my life was going to pan out. I panicked about too many different elements in my life; relationships, career, where I was going to live etc. The mother bought this and told me to read it, get some perspective and calm the hell down. This was the starting blocks to letting go a little more and trusting me more.

5)       Remember to breathe by Simon Pont

I have written about this book many, many a time but reading this really helped to break through my wailing and make me think that the collapse of my relationship was merely a blip in the road. I’ve met someone who is miles better for me, and just gets me and this book helped to smooth over all the feelings that were raging at the time.

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6)       Factotum by Charles Bukowski

Another maybe, odd choice? I’ve always worried a lot about where I’m going to be, in terms of career and this book made me think. I know that what I’m doing right isn’t right for me, it’s not challenging me but the main character in this book is all over the place. He’s changing jobs every second, turning up late, drunk, forgetting things falling asleep. Although quite obviously isn’t the way to do it, the way that you can change your life and do something else, even something polar opposite,  made me positive that I’m never stuck. I can always go a different way.

7)       The Fault in our stars by John Green

This also wasn’t going to make the list but I thought, fuck it. It’s a book about adoration, love, belief and pain. But it’s a tale that teaches us that pain and hurt exist, but to live in the present, in the moment you might say if you’re feeling all gushy. This book is worth a bloody read.

8)       The Chocolate Run by Dorothy Koomson

I know this appears in all my lists but I couldn’t help myself once again. As I’ve come to terms with my anxiety many things I thought were ‘control-freak,’ tendencies were in fact my anxiety. I’ve struggled with losing friends in the past, holding on despite deceit, awkward silences and their brush-off manner. This book taught me it is okay to lose people, not because you want to but because it’s better, often for both of you.

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9) Pearshaped by Stella Newman 

Another tale about relationships but taken from the other side this book looks at the problems of unhealthy, manipulating and downright awful relationships. We are allowed to say when something is not up and stand up for ourselves. This books says that, loud and clear.

10)       Finally, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol

I picked this because, some of the quotes features are so profound and special. I often like to ask people if they would like to be friends with Alice or be Alice, because her sudden change in perception is mind-blowingly beautiful. There are so many twisted bits of knowledge woven in and we see Alice grow as a person. It’s a classic book that means a lot to me and many readers and I’m glad it’s made the list.

I wrote a lot more here than I thought I would surprisingly but I thought this was a list where you really needed to explain why they made the list. This isn’t an extensive list (obviously) and when I read Wild, which I will do, I might have to include that as a bonus book because I think it might just change my outlook on everything but we’ll see. Another day another book.

I do love it when people comment and ask me and the choices, the reasons, and just hearing what you would add so if you have anything pop in down in the comments below. Lots of love and hugs, lizzy. X

BOUT OF BOOKS 2K15

 Bout of Books 14

I thought it was time to finally declare that I, Lizzy at MLBB will this year be participating in the Bout of Books read-a-thon. I’ve wanted to do one of these for a while but I’m always a little late to the party. Not this timeee; if you want to join me in this bookish mission step forward and sign up on the Bout of Books blog!

annnnd for those that don’t know what Bout of Books is… here you go:

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 17th and runs through Sunday, August 23rd in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 14 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I’m not quite sure how many books I will get completed but it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Progress:

Monday

Books Read: 0

Pages Read: 105

Total Read: 105

Minutes Read: Lots of little bits so I’m not too sure.

Notes: I participated in the Fictional World Travel Challenge and I’m currently reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott which I am really enjoying.

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Tuesday

Books Read: 0

Pages Read: 67

Total Read: 172

Minutes Read: I forgot to time this as before 

Notes: Ended up going for a raucous night out with the lovely people I call my friends up in SOT so I failed a little on the reading count. If I finish Little Women and get more stuck into 1Q84 I’ll be a happy bunny.

Progress:

Wednesday

Books Read: 0

Pages Read: 145

Total Read: 317

Minutes Read: Couple of hours

Notes: Feeling much better about the challenge as of today although still have lots to get read. I’m reallly enjoying little women but I understand totally why I struggled so much with it as a younger reader. An evening in with T I didn’t get quite as much done as I wanted but hopefully Thursday we get a bit more done!

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Progress:

Thursday

Books Read: 0

Pages Read: 655 (325)

Total Read: 642

Minutes Read: A few hours 

Notes: I still haven’t finished a book because I switched and instead read The Death of Danny Daggers by author Haydn Wilks (@haydnwilks.) I’m really enjoying Little Women but it is a bit full on and I fancied something a bit lighter in terms of the language used. However, because TDODD it’s an ARC and a PDF copy the writing seems to be super big so although I did read 655 pages, I’m not sure this is a fair showing of how many pages so I’ve divided it by two. Which brings my total so far to 655 #holla.

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Progress:

Friday

Books Read: 2

Pages Read: 330

Total Read: 972

Minutes Read: A few hours 

Notes: Today I finished reading The Death of Danny Daggers by author I Haydn Wilks (@haydnwilks.) I’m really just got into it, got my head down and polished it off. Brilliant book with some superb writing, characters and a really gritty feel. I also finished Little Women, I think I was in such a daze reading it that I didn’t realise I had only one chapter to go, so on the way home to Milton Keynes I finished it off. Pretty perfect.

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Progress:

Saturday

Books Read: 2

Pages Read: 170

Total Read: 1142

Minutes Read: An hour or so

Notes: Apologies for the lack of updates over the weekend. I was at home for the weekend celebrating my sisters birthday and I just didn’t have a minute to get this updated. I didn’t have a lot of time for reading but I started reading ‘What Milo Saw’ by Virginia Macgregor. It’s beautiful so far.

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Progress:

Sunday

Books Read: 3

Pages Read: 249 

Total Read: 1391

Minutes Read: Just over two hours

Notes: After a busy weekend, T and I travelled home for a good rest and although I was so very tired I just about managed to polish off the last of What Milo Saw, and I was so close to tears. I need to write the review up today before I forget how beautiful it all was but yes, three books, read lots more than I thought and I’m tempted to write a close up piece to this challenge. Maybe, we’ll see.

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A thank you from mylittlebookblog

So, it’s Sunday and the end of this celebration of mylittlebookbookblog. I’m going to keep it short because I’ve waffled enough this week.

I’ve learnt a lot blogging and I’ve learn a lot about myself in doing so and to be honest with you, I think that this blog has ultimately saved me from a number of cripplingly scary moments. My life right now is a little in limbo and it’s terrifying. I’m not sure what I want to do let alone where I want to be and in the last ten months I’ve seen the worst of myself and the panic that comes from graduating and feeling a little lost. But this blog has brought out the best of me. 

I have felt so wonderfully supported and this blog has been a life saver and I just wanted to really say thank you. From my mushy emotional and slightly whimsical heart. Because you are the best people that I could have ever wished for. All the authors, the bloggers, the tweeters, the likers the commenters and the emailers (these are not words) but all of you. Thank you. Thank you so much and here’s to another year of this pretty goddamn wonderful tiny space of the internet that I have found I’m able to call home.

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The Bookshelf Tag

So today I’m sick, sick, sick. I’ve just managed to pull my hacking body out of bed and into the living room and I found this bookshelf tag post on a lovely blog called The Book Coop I’ve been following for a little while and thought it was an adorable post to fill out for you. I’m going to split the answers between my two book shelves. Most of you know that after attending university in Stoke-on-Trent I stayed around, got an internship and have been here the past almost four years now. Many of my books are back in Silvy however the number in my rented room is growing higher each day so I’ll try and work it for both. If you fancy tagging yourself and writing your own book shelf post a comment below or tweet me @littlebookblog1

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1. Describe your bookshelf (or wherever it is you keep your books-it doesn’t actually have to be a shelf!) and where you got it from.

So at home I have eight shelves, stacked on top of each other. The shelves are heaving but I’ve run out of space for any more and they’re starting to get piled on top of each other on the shelves. Book storage is a constantly battle.

In my rented room in Newcastle under Lyme space is even more limited but the solution is rather adorable. Six months ago I was at a market and bought an adorable vintage leather suitcase. It’s now stuffed full of review copies of books, a couple I’ve given in and bought and my library copies.

2. Do you have any special or different way of organizing your books?

Nope, haphazard is the best way to describe my book organisation although trilogies or sets of books I try(ish) to keep together.

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3. What’s the thickest (most amount of pages) book on your shelf?

I guess it would have to be a throw up between Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix that’s a pretty hefty number in terms of pages, or I recently got given (to borrow) by a friend three books all sandwiched into one paperback by Murakami. I haven’t picked it up to read yet but I remember thinking it was pretty daunting.

4. What’s the thinnest (least amount of pages) book on your shelf?

I think some of my Roald Dahl classics are quite thin in terms of pages. I know I have quite an old copy of Charlie’s Marvellous Medicine that has a really beautiful cover and doesn’t have that many pages. It’s still a wonderful read!

5. What’s the smallest (height and width wise) book on your shelf?

I have a pocked sized copy of Alice and Wonderland through the looking glass which I have never read, it’s a really lovely book and it’s so goddamn cute I think I’m going to have to go find it and read it.

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6. What’s the biggest (height and width wise) book on your shelf?

It’s going to have to be one of my non-fiction books; I have book full of photographs of animals in the wild and it’s a giant weight of a book. My non fiction shelf is right at the bottom of the line of shelves because I’m terrified it’s going to fall of the wall; mainly because it’s stacked full of books like this one. I can’t remember the name of it but it’s a photography style book.

7. Is there a book from a friend on your shelf?

Being a book blogger lots of my books come from friends, but a really thoughtful book given to me for my 21st Birthday was If No One Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor. It’s a very stylish and lyrical book that I loved and it means a great deal that it was given to me with such understanding of my bookish favourites.

 8. Most expensive book?

I honestly have no idea; in terms of me buying books I tend to get them from Amazon or I buy sporadically from Waterstones or independent book stores. Saying that for Christmas last year I received a non-fiction book on all things Titanic and it’s a whopper of a book, I think it may have cost around £25.00 so I’m going to go with that.

 9. The last book you read on your shelf?

Oh, that would be If No One Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor, but I’ve already spoken about that one so I’ll go for Breakfast at Tiffanies by Truman Capote. It’s not actually mine but one I borrowed from the library but it’s sat in my little suitcase after being read a week or so ago; actually is that due back now? *groans*

10. Of all the books on your shelf, which was the first you read?

So many books have come and gone from my book shelves but I think it would have to be Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets. It came about in 2002 and I would have been ten then. I know that there are obviously books that came before that but maybe the first I read myself, that’s still on the shelf, would be this one.

11. Do you have more than one copy of a book?

Intriguing, I think I must do but for the life of me I cannot remember. I went through a stage of thinking I should rebuy copies of books because mine get so bent and creased but then it only means that they are loved. Thinking about it I’m not sure there are any more, I think I passed them onto friends?

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12. Do you have the complete series of any book series?

Yes, three I believe. Quite obviously the Harry Potter series, I think I have all of the Lord of the Rings books and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.

13. What’s the newest addition to your shelf?

I try not to buy too many books because I already have so many to read, but I think it would have to be ‘How to be a woman, by Caitin Moran.’

14. What book has been on your shelf FOREVER?

I have so many books that lots of them have been there forever, I think it would have to be Eva Ibbotson’s Monster Mission. It’s cramped on a shelf right at the end nearest to the window and it’s becoming a little blanched in the sunlight.

15. What’s the most recently published book on your shelf?

I think it would have to be Elizabeth is Missing by
Emma Healey published June 2014.

16. The oldest book on your shelf (as in, the actual copy is old)?

I think I have an old and withered copy of What Katie Did which on researching was published in 1872. I’m 100% sure my copy is not that old however it’s looking a little tired and I assume it’s the eldest.

17. A book you won?

I’m not sure I’ve ever won a book; that’s a little sad.

18. A book you’d hate to let out of your sight (aka a book you never let someone borrow)?

An interesting one because I do like to lend out my books and let other people read and discover them for themselves. I think one that I would always like to keep near me is On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah. I bought it at a book fair for around fifty pence but it is one of my favourite romance style books; it’s a wonderful little book and it’s one I would hate to not be able to get my paws on when I needed a little pick me up.

19. Most beat up book?

My copy of The Chocolate Run by Dorothy Koomson; I’ve read it so many times including in the bath which it’s been dropped in a number of times and it’s looking a little wearied. However its wear and tear only goes to show how much I love it as a novel.

20. Most pristine book?

Most of the books give to me by my darling parents or by friends. I do have a copy however of Any Human Heart by William Boyd that I loved so much whilst reading that I made sure to have bookmarks at any given point as in to stop me from folding the pages over. It is still a very neat and tidy book.

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21. A book from your childhood?

As a child I loved the stories of Little Mollie Mandy. I think my parents still have nightmares about the inane stories told however I thought they were wonderful and the tales are still propped up waiting to be told.

22. A book that’s not actually your book?

I have a number of books on my shelves that aren’t mine because I’m always squirreling them away with me but at the moment in my book suitcase I have a copy of The Good Plain Cook by Bethan Roberts which is actually my sisters that I am yet to read. I think it was on a Monday morning when I needed something to read on the train home but ultimately feel asleep and therefore I never got round to; I will give it back Char I promise!

23.  A book with a special/different cover (e.g. leather bound, soft fuzzy cover etc.)?

Not that I know of?

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24. A book that is your favorite color?

Although I love pink, I think a mix of duck egg and turquoise blue is my ultimate favourite colour and the book Elsewhere has a wonderfully blue sea on it which is almost the perfect colour so I’m going to go with that.

25. Book that’s been on your shelf the longest that you STILL haven’t read?

The Philip Pullman His Dark Materials books; I wrote a post about this over a year ago now (nope they’re still not read!)

26. Any signed books?

As a book blogger every so often authors sign the fronts of the books with a little message to me which is rather darling. I think Diary of an intuitive by Vera Gibson was almost definitely signed and that has an utterly beautiful cover also.

So a rather long post on my bookshelf from yours truly. If you do write your own please let me know, would love to hear your answers.

Two Year Anniversary of mylittlebookblog!

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Afternoon readers, a little news from my little book blog. On the 29th of April 2015 I will be celebrating the two year official anniversary of mylittlebookblog.com. I can not believe how much this blog has given me in terms of confidence in my writing and reviewing, the sheer number of authors, readers, publishers and book bloggers I have met who have been such a joy to get to know and the number of books I’ve read and been introduced to. I will be celebrating the two years blogging between the dates of the 29th of April and the 3rd of May and would love as many of you to get involved as possible. Whether that’s a guest post, helping me with a give-away in terms of prizes or just sharing my blog posts on the day. If you would like to get in touch please comment or email me at mylittlebookblog2014@gmail.com

Thank you

x