Happy Monday everyone.

It’s been a long but brilliant week. I had a bit of a mind clearer on Saturday which I think I’ll write a post about soon. For now though, here’s what has made my week commencing Feb 20.

Coffee Eclairs

During the working week we had a coffee minute with the other teams in our building. We only moved to our new office block recently and haven’t had a chance to meet everyone. A couple of minutes to introduce ourselves and say hello was lavely. Oh, and they had the most incredible coffee cream eclairs. (Amazing to photograph too.)

Week Commencing Feb 20: Coffee Eclairs

Pokemon Go (Gen 2)

I am a biggggg Pokemon Go fan (still.) It’s been months since I deliberately went out but recently. We’ll I’m a bit re-obsessed. Favourites include Phanpy, Girafarig and Sudowoodo. Any other players in and around Greenwich hit a gal up? We could grab coffee and search for Tyranitar.

Week Commencing Feb 20: Pokemon Go Girafarig

Greenwich Open Days

Many will know I work for the University of Greenwich. I had the chance to take over the Universities Snapchat for a couple of hours during the open day and laved it. It makes me want to maybe try Instagram stories. Here’s a favourite photograph I took during the day.

Week Commencing Feb 20: Living Wall at Greenwich

Wordbrain

Favourite new app of the moment. Wordbrain is a word puzzle which asks you to find hidden words. You have a grid of letters and a number of words to find, but you have to do it in the right order. Oh, and find the correct words. It can seem impossible but it’s a fantastic mind mess. I’m currently only ranked as rat brain but I’m working through the puzzles one by one. I’ll get to the Unicorn brain eventually. One to definitely download.

Back to the gym

I’ve been slacking on the gym. It’s only been a few weeks but I’ve just not been going. But, the lighter mornings and evenings have really helped. I’ve felt stronger, more determined and mentally prepared to take on the weight-loss plateau I’ve been in.

Week Commencing Feb 20: Gym Time

T

I wanted to make a special shout-out to T this week. He’s been a super-star this. Coming to rescue me at the supermarket (bulk buying is tough when you’re a tiny human.) Bringing me coffee during my stint at the open day, and making me cry laugh whilst watching The Client List. Love you boo.

There’s my week commencing. How was yours?

 

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Helllllo readers, hope you’re well! It’s Saturday and I’ve been going through a pile of Amazon and Goodreads reviews so hopefullllly they’re all on their now. Quick question for other book bloggers – do you put your reviews on Amazon.com and/or Amazon.co.uk. I’ve always put mine on the British version of the site but just wondered whether I should be putting them on both? Comment below and help meeee. Enough of that, time for another review! ENJOY!

Camille Chandler is a tabloid journalist whose career is right on track–until her boss sees a curious ad in the L.A. Trades.

Wanted: Single actress for an extended gig abroad.

France’s mega-rich playboy Julian de Laurent is up to something and Camille’s boss expects her to find out what. Who knew the eccentric gazillionaire was looking to hire a temporary wife?

When Camille refuses to accept Julian’s proposal–and secretly write a juicy tell-all about the de Laurent family–she’s fired and left financially destitute, forcing her to entertain Julian’s proposal for real.

But what’ll happen at the end of the contract period, after Camille has spent six months as the wife of a man she learns is capable of stealing her heart?

Is it bad I’m excited to review this book because it’s a little bad? Ah well – the book follows the life of the wealthy Julian who decides that we wants to hire a wife (yes, hire a wife) for five years; FIVE YEARS, so that he won’t be forced to marry the woman that has been chosen for him by him  by his wealthy family; Right. Camille, our female protagonist who works for a gossip magazine is on a mission to find out what Julian is up to (him being a wealthy play-boy/celebrity type character) and she pretends to be an actress to meet him and discuss his proposal – 5 million dollars to pretend to be his wife? Will she accept.

So, the plot seems just a little ridiculous to start off but I started off feeling positive; maybe a brilliant writing style and well written characters could pull it back. But immediately it gets a little messy. Camille turns down the offer from the magazine – as in to marry Julian and spy on him but a page later she calls Julian and says she will marry him but off her own back. There definitely could have been a really interesting plot-twist there; we get to see it from both points of view. Camille working for the magazine and slowly falling for Julian but no.

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Unfortunately and a little expected Camille and Julian fall for one another incredibly quickly. Camille is a very soft character and she immediately struggles with her feelings for Julian; the author tries to work with Camille and make her struggle with her emotions but she’s pretty happy just to be looked after by the quite obnoxious Julian. Why do authors think that all billionaires are horrible people – ALWAYS. So Julian is your stereotypical arrogant grumpy, character who can’t really give Camille the time of day but is also massively attracted to her *SHOCK.*

There’s also a weird part where Madeline (the woman Julian was supposed to marry) starts meddling in everything; turning up in his bed, and being a general nightmare. Despite the fact, Julian has on-purposely married someone else, who he doesn’t know and spent 5 million dollars to do that, Camille BELIEVES Madeline. I’m sorry waht.  Additionally back to the minor wobbles; our main character Julian sends out the advertisement at the beginning. He’s a famous and wealthy celebrity – if, say, Tom Hardy was going to advertise for this (hubba hubba) would he put his name on the ad. Nope, NOpe, NOPE. But, if he doesn’t put his name on the ad; how did the editor know it was an ad for Julian! THE MIND BOGGLES.

So, there’s quite a few wobbles here; there are first a lot of very confusing reasons for the characters to do the things they’re doing – Madeline, the advert, Camille saying no to the magazine but yes to Julian a man she doesn’t know – a story that was already very unbelievable becomes even more so. The end of the story is also a bit of a blur; a lot of drama is thrown in right at the end and it just seems a bit sudden and to try and pull the book together. What does happen could have been added much earlier on and created a much more interesting and cohesive story. Overall a frustrating book that was funny to read for all the wrong reasons. 

Linnnnks

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Heeeeelllllo readers; IT’S FRIDAY AND THAT MEANS BOOKISH POST *eeee.* Although I’ve been reading more, I know that I can be the worst for picking reading over other hobbies. (definitely maybe counting Netflix as a hobby?)  If you also want to make reading a more integral part of your day I’ve put together seven ways to cultivate a lifetime reading habit, cause I’m that kinda gal.

Always carry a book

So, the first tip on the list is to alwaaaaays carry a book. You never know when you might have a spare moment. Maybe your train is delayed, maybe a friend is late to coffee – not only does the book stop you looking super awkward, but it also means you might read something pretty awesome.

 

Create a book log

Book log? Book diary? I basically mean, when you’ve read a book, write when you started and finished, a few thoughts and a rating out of ten. Even though I blog about books ALLLLL the time I forget the great books I’ve read – so keep a log to remind yourself of all the awesome books you’ve read which will encourage you to read more of them.

Set aside time

Often when I don’t schedule in some time I will go to the easiest thing – ie slouch on the sofa and pop on the television and then just sit for hours. If I schedule in some time like in the morning (ie planning an early night,) or when I’m taking a bath it makes me a lot more likely actually get reading done. A little bit of planning goes a long way.

Find your reading spot

So we’ve scheduled in some time but now we need to find the perfect spot. I have three, in bed with my jammies on, in the bath or on trains. Now I know the trains isn’t something you’d just do for reading but finding a reading spot helps make it more enjoyable annnd encourage more reading!

 

Try a different type of reading

So we’ve found the best spot, we’ve started scheduling in time now try different such as AUDIO BOOKS. Audio books are a great way of getting more books into your life; on the commute, whilst shopping, walking, exercising – all are possible with the beauty of audio books and all very easy to get to and download in any genre you prefer!

Turn off the phone/television/computer

One of the ways I’ve reaaaaaaly encouraged my reading was through making sure I take time to turn off my phone and computer and give myself some time away from screen. So many of us use computers and phones for our jobs and then go home back on our computers and our phones. I spend my life looking at a screen – STEP AWAY, and cultivate a NEW HABIT.

 

Discuss reading

May seem like an odd one, but definitely talking about reading not only encourages you more but opens up new book types for reading and new genres. Since me and T started talking more about reading we’ve both read more books that we never would have read before. Use twitter, talk to friends, join a book club! The bookworm possibilities are ENNNNNNDLESS.

So, I’ve warbled on long enough – the idea I think is to make reading into a habit and make it an every day thing rather than a once in a blue moon thing! If you have anything to add or any tips for creating a reading let me know in the comments or tweet @littlebookblog1!

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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

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Hellllllllllllllo readers and happy Thursday, *eee* tis nearly the weekend. I’m currently working on a little bit of an update on my little book blog, the new theme is wonderful but I would love to hear your thoughts as to ways I can better the blog and make it more enjoyable. Whether it’s more social media, or more links, more pictures I would love to hear your thoughts. Today I have a rather short novella that I read over some mushroom soup on my lunch break. It was a lovely short read, and one that I’m interested to see what happens next.

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“Jess had been intensely occupied with wiping Olivia’s face. He couldn’t tell if she was breathing or not and was too afraid to check for a pulse. The idea of losing her when he had only just found her was beyond consideration. Resting his forehead against hers, he began speaking softly to her, ‘Please don’t leave me. Please hang on. There’s so much to tell you.'”

A powerful derailment on the Madrid Metro throws the lives of three people together and changes them forever as they are forced to see life from a different perspective: Olivia Polansky the American poet, Jess Wilkinson the Londoner on holiday and Maritza Caballero de Lezcano a Panamanian widow on a mission to rectify the wrongdoing of another. Madrid Metro is a story of hope, faith, endurance and love despite injustice, tragedy and disappointment.

So, as the blurb suggests, this rather short novella, follows the lives of three strangers that are thrown together when a terrible train derailment occurs. The three, Olivia, Jess and Maritza are suddenly acquainted with each other and find that they are far from strangers and that their lives interlink in ways that they would not have believed possible. The book follows them as Jess and Maritza continue to visit Olivia who is in a coma in hospital. Both have links to Olivia, Jess’s stemming from a paragraph she once wrote in a book for him (Olivia is a writer) and Maritza has connections through her husband who once took everything from Olivia. The book follows the three as they come to terms with not only what has happened to them but also these new relationships which are beginning to grow between the three.

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In terms of writing style the descriptions are very evocative; the author really puts time into building the description, not only of the landscape but also of the characters; Olivia is a wispy waif like character but she is prone to outbursts despite her slight build. Jess is a sweet-heart, gentle with an emotional side his persistence to see Olivia wake up is tender and wonderful. I must admit that the feelings that brew between the two of them did seem a little overwhelming and a little pushed as to make the story but I think in the next book if this is explored more deeply then it will feel more authentic. Maritza is a wonderful character, stubborn and brutal her encounter with Jess (there is quite a violent exchange of words on the train between herself and Olivia) she begins to break down everything she has known of her life.

Technically the writing is strong as seen in this description of Jess,

‘He had a copious amount of unruly golden brown curls that his fingers got lost in whenever he tried to smooth them. His eyes were as blue as the Caribbean Sea on a sunny day. They were full of feeling and were crowned by two eyebrows like marquees that spoke a myriad of emotions all on their own as they arched and dipped,’

and the writing is technically strong grammar and punctuation wise.

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My only slight complaint was how short it was; I thought the author managed to pack in a lot of plot and descriptions but it felt a little too short. If it wasn’t a novella I feel we would have learnt so much more and although it’s sometimes nice to read something so quick, it felt like the book didn’t give me enough. I know there are going to be additional books which I will definitely look into reading, but for me I would rather have had two sandwiched together than two terribly short books.

Overall this is a short entertaining read with a real start to becoming a great book. For me it was too short to really think yes this is brilliant because it didn’t quite give me enough and yet double the pages it would still be a short book but just pack more of a punch in terms of content. A sweet read but too short for my liking.

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