Top Ten Tuesday: What’s in my bag – book blogger dream edition


Helllloooo readers, it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday and today’s is a free week so we’re allowed to pick our own bookish topic! Over Christmas I was tempted over and over again to buy alllll of the bookish things but I stopped myself because 1) Christmas, 2) Money. However I thought this post would be the perfect time to collate all the bookish bits I want that would fit in my dreamy book blogger bag. I know it’s a little odd for a topic but imma going to go with it. Additionally I will link where I found all of these bits so you can go buy them yourselves!

Canvas And Leather Foldover Backpack by EAZO


Firstly I kinda need a bag to carry around all my lovely bookish-bits. This bag is utterly gorgeous and would have plenty of room for laptop/book/purse/make-up/spare socks etc. I can see me popping this on with skinny jeans, flannel grey blazer, white silk shirt, converse and a bright yellow scarf. Gorg.

Organic Cotton Tablet Case by EKA

Turquoise iPad Case

Knowing me the bag would be fulllllll of bits-and-bobs so to save a little space I’ve gone for a Kindle case in this beautiful sassy light blue. I have a number of these for my Iphone 5c which I bought from Etsy and not only are they are super soft, but they’re brilliant for protecting from screen scratching – perfect.

Classic Paperback Notebooks by PAPERPAPER

Classic Paperback Notebooks

*eeeee* what could be better than this bookish Penguin style notebook. This would be perfect in my bookish bag and perfect for all my bookish post ideas!

Personalised Words Leather Bookmark by JANE DE BONO PRINTED ACCESSORIES

Personalised Words Leather Bookmark

I am the worst at keeping an eye on all of my bookmarks but I think if I had one as lovely as this I would definitely look after it. ‘Ethically produced from off-cuts of leather, leftover from our seasonal collections and hand stamped in lowercase jaunty font.’ It just speaks to my bookish-heart.

Ampersand Rose Gold Necklace by LITERARY EMPORIUM

Ampersand Rose Gold Necklace

I know this should probably be around my neck but knowing me it would be in the bottom of my bag because I’m a nightmare so it’s going in the bag. I bought a necklace with a stack of books as the pendent a year of so ago and they broke off so quickly *wails.* Looking back may have been a bit too bulky but this is beautiful. Simple, classy and perfect for Lizzo.

Raw Chocolate Bar With Peanut Butter by NANTWEN

Raw Chocolate Bar With Peanut Butter

If you’re anything like me you need to have a snack in your bag and I am lusting over this yummy looking little bar. They also do one with fig that is also on my wish list for snacking.

Bookworm Photographic Phone Case by CASSIA BECK PHOTOGRAPHY

Bookworm Photographic Phone Case

I lave me this phone case – and even though I have a pink 5c so I’m a little against covering its salmon pink wonderfulness – I may make an exception for this little beauty. Totally bookish and so dainty – I’m sold.

Alice In Wonderland Handkerchief Set by CHÁ COM LETRAS

Alice In Wonderland Handkerchief Set

Another product I wouldn’t normally carry in my bag but I just couldn’t resist these adorable handkerchiefs. Styled on Alice and Wonderland I can see me cleaning my phone or sunglasses on these beauties, but mostly having them just to stare at *eee.*


Splash Print Leather Purse

THIS PURSE!  There’s something about the inky splashes that just feels so bookish. I can imagine keeping my library card, and spare pennies for library fines in here and maybe a spare bookmark or two.

Set Of Five Pencils With Purpose by NEWTON AND THE APPLE

Set Of Five Pencils With Purpose

Finishing it off with five beautiful pencils – I’ve seen a number of different sets all over the internet but there’s something about the wording and the white colour of pencil that screams Lizzo – *adds to basket.*

Right, so there we go, ten wonderful things in my bookish-dreamy-bag. All of these I found on Not On The High Street (where all the images are from,) and I think all of them are currently available for you too get your mitts on, unless I get there first! What would you add? What dreamy book items are on your WANT list? Let me know in the comments or tweet me @littlebookblog1!

The Highway by C.J. Box

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Helllllo readers, it’s time for another book review. I’m sorry for the lack of Christmas tales but I don’t tend to buy/get requests/have time around this time of year. It’s one of the wobbles with scheduling posts in the future and it’s something I want to get better at – but having to shut my review requests inbox I’ve been battling through the books and festive tales have just been disregarded this year *sobs.* I must just say before we start this is the second in the Cody Hoyt series by C.J Box and I haven’t read the first because I’m silly and didn’t realise! Without delay le review.

It was Danielle and Gracie’s secret. A teenage adventure. A 1,000 mile drive along the spine of the Rocky Mountains to visit Danielle’s boyfriend in Montana. Their parents were never to know. But now the girls have simply vanished.

The only person who knows they’re missing is Danielle’s boyfriend. He persuades his father – a disgraced, suspended cop – to search for them. But he too simply disappears.

Now it’s up to rookie cop, war widow and single mother Cassie Dewell to find them. Her investigation will introduce her to FBI’s Highway Serial Killer Task Force, compel her to confront a spate of roadside sexual mutilations and murders, and lure her towards a darkness greater than anything she could ever have imagined.


As the blurb states the book follows two sister Gracie and Danielle Sullivan who set out from their mother’s home in Denver to celebrate Thanksgiving with their father. However Danielle has a secret; they’re going to visit her old boyfriend Justin but neither her sister nor Justin know until they’re on the road. Justin’s father Cody Hoyt is an  ex-law enforcement officer fired for planting evidence and once he learns from Justin that the two girls have gone off the grid after failing to arrive, he goes out to search for them despite being fired for planting evidence in a previous murder trial. Cody aware that many young women have been vanishing in the region enlists Cassie to help him find the girls and the man he believes to be the kidnapper. Can they find the girls in time?

I’m going to try really hard to not give away any spoilers and yet still let you know how brilliant this book is. In terms of the writing the characters are wonderfully deep and full of character profiling. They spring from the page with realistic dialogue and believable actions.  The build up of the characters Danielle and Gracie is skillfully done and seeing one play the hero or survivor and one more of a victim was a good contrast. The author also really plays with the different personalities of Cassie and Cody. We see Cassie come into her own as the good cop who though having to deal with the stresses of being a female officer in terms of sexism and the like – although not from Cody, grows strongly in confidence.

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The action with the girls is continually intermixed with the life of a long-distance trucker who calls himself the Lizard King. Here we get insights into the life on the road and the traffic laws and the continuing hierarchy of the different truckers at the gas stations and the rules they live by. The writing has lots of different sub-plots that are intermixed well and flow well together. The descriptions are heady and the swapping between the girls, the Lizard king and the detectives story lines works well despite there being a lot to keep an eye out for.

I guess the only negative I can really come up with was there is definitely an unsavory tone to the book as a whole. The use of the truckers and girls they pick up and what happens next is disturbing and dark. There were quite a few horrific moments and this book definitely stayed with me and made an impact. For me, it’s a work of fiction and it’s important to remember that but there definitely was a very dark side to this book that surprised me a little. The only other complaint was some bits were overly repeated as if we couldn’t keep an eye on the plot twists which over time became tedious.

Overall though I thought this was a well crafted and created book. I thought the storyline was quite original (for me.) I know numerous readers would disagree with that looking at Goodreads and Amazon but I am yet to encounter a book that looks at this type of thriller plot. It also seems that those have read the first book in the series were a little angry. For me, reading the second only it didn’t affect me as much. Overall I solid although a little bit of a terrifying read.


Author Goodreads



The Christmas Bake Off Kindle Edition by Abby Clements

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Helllllo readers, I’m not usually one for Christmas stories but as I’ve been getting into the Christmas spirit a little earlier especially with all the Christmas markets I’ve been visiting I thought a festive read would be fitting. This year I’ll have (hopefully) done Birmingham twice and also Manchester and both I am sure will be wonderful. It’s a shame this year I’m not going with my parents but the weekends just haven’t added up but I thought today I would read and review for you a super short but super sweet Christmas story. Enjoy!

With Christmas just around the corner, the residents of Skipley village are gearing up for the annual bake off, and tensions are high. Winning means a lot to everyone involved – talented cake-shop owner Katie dreams of baking stardom, Rachel wants to prove she’s more than a stay-at-home mum, and John hopes his culinary skills will impress the woman he loves.

But when the judges discover that some cakes have been tampered with, the villagers’ loyalties are called into question – whose ambition would stretch to sabotage, and why? The Christmas Bake Off is an exclusive short story from Abby Clements, author of Meet Me Under the Mistletoe. This ebook edition also includes bonus recipes for cinnamon cookies and vanilla and almond biscuits.


As the blurb suggests the book follows a baking competition in a lovely little English village. Among the competitors are Katie who wants to make herself known more professionally in the baking world and Rachel who desperately wants to prove she’s more than ‘just a home baker.’ Baking a gingerbread house desperate to impress the judges – there’s a problem. Sabotage? Who will be the winner? Who has tried to stop the competition winning? All will be revealed in this ‘christmassy’ baking read.

Did I enjoy this festive tale? Yes, don’t get me wrong it is incredibly short – you could plow through this on a lunch-break or a longer bus journey but it does pack a festive punch. The characters although lacking in-depth come across strongly and have lovingly created personalities. Although the plot does use the sabotage of the cakes to bring drama it is all very light-hearted and sweet. The bake-off, rural village was played up to make this a really sweet read and I did feel incredibly festive reading it.

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I did think that there could have been deeper insights into the characters. The book is very, very (very) short and a couple of extra chapters that could have introduced a sub-plot would have helped to fill out the book a little more. The recipe at the back is a welcome addition and I cannot wait to give them a try and bake some Christmas goodies but the book didn’t quite deliver for me in terms of enjoyment. There is a smidgen of romance between two of the bakers which could have been developed but wasn’t quite enough for me to really invest myself in.

Overall this is the perfect lunch-break read when you just need a minute away from the computer, or curled up on the sofa with a hot-chocolate after a long day at work. It’s a sweet read, with a sweet ending. I found myself wanting more from this due to its short length, but for a couple of pennies on Amazon it’s definitely worth a read.




How to build a girl by Caitlin Moran

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Hellllllo readers, hope you’re well on this slightly wintery Thursday December morning. It’s getting so goddamn close to Christmas and I am definitely not ready for it quite yet. I still have too many gifts to order, posts to write, and winter boots to buy (mine have holes in and I keep getting wet toes.) Enough of my quibbling onto the review and it’s a really interesting one.

What do you do in your teenage years when you realise what your parents taught you wasn’t enough? You must go out and find books and poetry and pop songs and bad heroes – and build yourself.

It’s 1990. Johanna Morrigan, 14, has shamed herself so badly on local TV that she decides that there’s no point in being Johanna anymore and invents herself as Dolly Wilde – fast-talking, hard-drinking Gothic hero and full-time Lady Sex Adventurer! She will save her poverty-stricken Bohemian family by becoming a writer – like Jo in Little Women, or the Brontes – but without the dying young bit.

By 16, she’s smoking cigarettes, getting drunk and working for a music paper. She’s writing pornographic letters to rock-stars, having all the kinds of sex with all the kinds of men, and eviscerating bands in reviews of 600 words or less.

But what happens when Johanna realises she’s built Dolly with a fatal flaw? Is a box full of records, a wall full of posters and a head full of paperbacks, enough to build a girl after all?

Imagine The Bell Jar written by Rizzo from Grease, with a soundtrack by My Bloody Valentine and Happy Mondays. As beautiful as it is funny, How To Build a Girl is a brilliant coming-of-age novel in DMs and ripped tights, that captures perfectly the terror and joy of trying to discover exactly who it is you are going to be.

This is the second book I’ve read from this brilliant, wholly funny author and  I really enjoyed this book which is supposedly not based on her life *hmmmm.* The book follows Johanna Morrigan brought up in a council estate in Wolverhampton who decidedly wants to be a music journalist. Leaving school and Wolverhampton behind she travels to London to find her dream job. During this time we see Johanna deciding to go through a life makeover changing her entire identity into the crazy, party loving, wild child Dolly Wilde. Dabbling in drugs, alcohol, sex, and bands (lots of bands) we watch as Johanna/Dolly struggles to find who she really is.

Did I enjoy this book? Overall it has to be an outstanding yes. It’s hands down, laugh out loud funny and reading this travelling on the train to London I did get a few funny looks. There are a number of quite explicit sex scenes and this mixed with her upbringing in Wolverhampton which looks at the desperation of her father to make it big in the music world, her potentially gay brother and the mischief of her younger siblings it’s a lot of fun.

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My only wobble is this is so much like How to be a Woman I had to stop a few times and make sure I hadn’t accidentally picked up the same book and was reading it again. Apparently Moran struggled writing this book and I think it may be due to how much of a similarity it was to her previous which I thought was really brilliant. This feels a little like a re-hash to get another book out, a little like Charles Bukowski. For me I still adored it; the writing is strong, written with humour, sarcasm and conviction. It draws you in and makes you feel part of the story and as with How to be a woman I was very much involved in the book despite the similarities.

Would I recommend this book – yes I would. I got a lot of excitement reading this and adored the writing. It would be nice to see Moran write about something a little different but this was still a wonderful book. Also as an addition I also had the chance to see Caitlin Moran live at the Stylist Live event and she was hilarious – she’s just such an inspiration to me and I had the chance to get my book signed by her personally which is so special – I was so nervous but Mumma B pushed me and I’m pretty glad I did. (note -I reminded T I had met and her hugged maybe 89 times the first time I saw him after.) A really good read, maybe not as original as hoped but still a great gem of a read.

Texts From Dog: The Dog Delusion by October Jones

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Morning readers, before we start the review I guess a little bit of an explanation as to the book choice. I’ve followed texts from dog on tumblr for a little while and it popped up on my wordpress feed so I decided to buy a copy; don’t ask what was going through my mind – I think probably a glass too much of wine but it arrived I had a lovely time rifling through it and thought I would tell you all why; don’t judge.

My dog sends me texts. Yeah. It’s weird.

When October Jones figured out he could send text messages to himself on his mobile phone, he naturally decided that the best use of this discovery was to send passive-aggressive messages to himself under the guise of his bulldog. And so the exasperating, slightly delusional, and utterly endearing Dog and his alter-ego BatDog were born.

Dog is back – the Bark Knight has risen. Unfortunately for weary owner October Jones (but luckily for us), that means there is a brand new selection of the funniest, most bizarre texts from his insane canine companion. There is also the welcome return of Batdog and CatCat (half cat, half cat), and a new ‘friend’ in Benedict, the creepiest pug in the world.


As the blurb suggests the book is the sharing of texts between author October Jones and his pet bulldog (alter-ego Batdog.) The texts range from keeping the neighborhood safe from the vicious enemy who might also be known as the Postman, and his arch-enemy CatCat. The texts are often sarcastic, tongue in cheek and tend to rely on Batdog causing trouble and his poor owner having to clean up the mess created.

What can I say, I am very easily amused and this book really captured the life of a companionship with a rather loveable although slightly volatile Batdog. We get to delve into the lives of the dogs being left alone to wreck/break/ruin household appliances, attack the neighborhood and general dog behaviors. There are around two hundred texts or so and many connect with other texts so it does feel like a story between the two rather than being written aimlessly.


It’s a quick read and one that you flick through and then pass on for another to enjoy its charm. I think this would make a perfect secret santa present or something for wrapping up and popping in a stocking. It has the feel-good factor although not child safe – I will say that. The language although amusing and adds to the charm of the book sure isn’t clean

 There were a few scattered illustrations throughout, and we get a number of images of BATDOG which was a nice addition to the pages. This is the second book and it was nice to see a lot of original text as after looking at Amazon and Goodreads it seems that the first has a lot of repeated from social media. I really enjoyed reading this and will definitely be buying numerous copies and sending them to a number of friends I think will really find it amusing. It’s a little silly, often hilarious and it’s fun – what more could you ask for?





Other Plans: The State We’re In by Neal Doran

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Hellllllo readers, hope you’re well, I’m currently having a bit of a reading attack. I’ve read so much over the last couple of weeks that I’ve got 10000000 million things to write about. Not that it’s a bad thing. I’ve recently been feeling really positive about the blog. I’ve spent the past ten months really working on the blog and I finally feel almost happy with it so feeling kinda good. Today’s review comes from my much loved Kindle; enjoy.

Life can be good. But sometimes it’s not quite what you had in mind…

Peter & Jen are working hard to keep up a rundown North London cinema, but making a living on a diet of old Woody Allen movies and movie themed pastries is trickier even than it sounds.

Peter’s brother, Salvador, has wanted a career in medicine since he was a boy, but the red-haired — and usually red-faced — junior doctor may not be the best match for the frontline practice of the local sexual health clinic. And it certainly doesn’t seem the best place for him to find a girlfriend.

Jen’s cousin Kate’s architecture career isn’t on the up as fast as she’d like, either. Getting over her ex is taking longer than she hoped too, and the fondness for high stakes poker he left her with is proving an expensive therapy.

Jason, a wannabe rock star and has-to-be plumber, is Peter’s best friend from a childhood when they were both briefly TV stars, on a zeitgeist-defining teen drama. While it’s a time Peter would rather forget, Jason sees his past as the passport to his future, and the much-needed money a possible reunion offers could be the temptation needed to make his best pal think again.

As reality gets in the way, and dreams get further out of reach, the friends try to figure what to do when life doesn’t work out exactly as it does in the movies.

Other Plans is a new comedy drama eBook box set from Neal Doran in six(ish) quick-read

I’m going to spend anytime really talking about the contents of the book because it’s all there in that rather long blurb. As you can see this is what I tend to call a combination-story book. It flits around detailing the stories of a number of different contrasting characters, relationships and lifestyles. Each is dealing with their own wobbles, problems and the like. In terms of characters the two that really hit it off for me as a reader were Peter and Jen who are struggling to bring their cinema into popular demand but are desperate to keep it’s old fashioned charm. Their story was told wonderfully and gave us little ups and down and dips as we learn more about their alternate tastes.

The writing style is a little bland, it doesn’t really tell a tale in terms of depth but has more of a contemporary writing style. It is very sparse in descriptions and is based more on the actual events that are happening. The problem with this is that there are so many characters that we struggle to really connect with many of them. I thought there was a real story to be told with Salvador and his struggle to deal with his embarrassment as a sexual health doctor but we’re told so small snippets that we barely get to learn about him before we’re whizzing off.

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It’s a shame because the author knows how to get humour into his writing and really play with the reader in terms of quality of writing despite it’s lapse description but it just lacks something to really make the reader connect. The blurb states there will be six books and my brain just says why? I’ve read one and I’ve got such a small snippet into the characters lives I’m very unlikely to read the next but if we had fewer characters and we focused more on one or two interweaving plot lines I feel this review would be very different.

Overall I enjoyed reading this book; I wanted something quick and a little easy read and that’s what I was given. Unfortunately I wanted so much more; as a reader I want to feel invested in what I’m reading and here I just didn’t. I really want to read more from this author maybe just not more from this series unfortunately.





7 tips for protecting your Kindle: A Guest Post from Case Happy.

If you are considering making the transition from hardback books to digital books you have a fun journey ahead of you.  The Kindle provides lots of fun and is not too overwhelming to get your head around although it may feel a little different to regular paperback books.  As you take the time to navigate around your new device you will soon pick up lots of tricks and tips.

To help you we have come up with seven tips for protecting your Kindle including shopping for Kindle cases, ways to protect your device and how to minimise battery usage.  I asked Case Happy a Kindle cases provider for tips and they were happy to discuss in a little more detail.


New Kindle owners are often not aware that an active wireless connection can drain your battery.  The majority of the time you only need to access the internet for a few minutes to download or purchase a Kindle book so turn the Wi-Fi off and only turn it on when you need it.


One of the biggest benefits of owning a Kindle is the ability to take it with you everywhere.  Protect your Kindle from falls and accidental knocks with a Kindle case from Case Happy.  Shopping for Kindle cases can be a lot of fun as you will quickly notice there is plenty of choice on the market.  There really is something for everyone.

Did you know Kindle cases are effective at gripping surface space?  Many have additional features such as an automatic on/off feature when you close and open the cover

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It can be very easy to buy every book on the Kindle store.  Unfortunately you only have so much time to read so many books.  Be wiser with your choices and sample books before you commit to purchasing.  If you like the sample then purchase the books you are most drawn in by.


If you find at bedtime when the lighting is not as bright your eyes struggling to adjust, give your eyes a rest and adjust the font size.



Not only is it important to protect the exterior of your device with Kindle cases you need to put the relevant controls in place to secure the interior.  A password will protect any information you have on your Kindle.  Putting sufficient security in place will also reduce the chance of people looking at your content without permission to do so.

If you have children, consider putting the child lock on too.


Your Kindle gives you almost the same features as you would expect from you hardback.  You can look up certain words with the built in dictionary or write notes on the side of pages.  You can even highlight sections and bookmark.  Don’t be overwhelmed by all these extra features, you will soon get the hand of them.

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A large proportion of the Kindle is made of an LCD screen and it can be very easy to damage this.  We cannot stress how important Kindle cases are; they look good but they will also provide sufficient protection from falls.  It can be very easy for your Kindle to fall from the side of your bed so protect it with Kindle cases.

There you have a couple of handy tips for looking after your Kindle. As always thank you to Case Happy for such a lovely little article, hope all you bookish readers enjoyed! Also, if you’re looking to invest in a new case – Case Happy have a really brilliant selection for you to take a browse through!

101 things in 1001 days: Read ten classic novels

101 things in 1001 daysClassic books; from Tolstoy to Fitzgerald, Bronte to Lee we’ve all at some point come into contact with a classic from the cannon of books that are recognised as the cream of the crop. I have avoided them as like the plague for the majority of my book blogging life as it were. I refused to read classic books at school with Enduring Love being a particular sticking point. Why? They just weren’t really me, and pulling apart the commas, certain word use and the like, as well as being asked to read the book a number of times, by the end of the semester the book was ruined.

However, when I started writing my 101 things in 1001 day list I decided it was time to start reading the classics again and give the cannon another chance. I picked books that interested me; historical fiction based and picked authors that I had already read books from such as Orwell, Fitzgerald (although that didn’t work so well) and also books at school that I hadn’t got the chance to read. I asked friends and family what they would suggest and I created a list of sorts, with extras being added along the way.

My final list included
1) Down and Out in Paris and in London by George Orwell
2) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
3) Girl 20 by Kingsley Amis
4) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
5) Factotum by Charles Bukowski
6) Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
7) Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
8) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
9) Animal Farm by George Orwell
10) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
And, because I’m a little bit dopy
11) Gerald’s Party by Robert Coover

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On this list there are some utter stunning books, that I have had the pleasure of reading over the past few months and each has taught or shown me something about reading. Coover, Amis, and Plath all showed me how the writing of classic books can differ so greatly and yet still be incredible reads. Orwell showed me that all of his books are so different in content and yet they can be linked so quickly through the sheer in-depth nature of the meaning interwoven into every single word. Capote gave me one of my favourite books and brought Holly Golightly to life in a way I didn’t expect possible.

Harper Lee and John Steinbeck showed me that not all books taught in education are painful and that I need to go back and look at the books I so quickly dismissed. Reading Alcott finally allowed to me get through a childhood reading block and James Baldwin’s book almost reduced me to tears. Finally Bukowski and Coover showed me that even classics can be incredibly exciting in terms of the style and that I have read nothing like them in any of the contemporary novels I’ve come across so far.

I guess you could say in the last few months I’ve taken my hat and eaten it. I had it all wrong about the classics, but then, when you’re forced to read books it’s unlikely to make it more enjoyable. Being able to choose my own books; Wuthering Heights, (which I have read) and Dickens are unlikely to bring rave reviews but give me grit from Orwell and Bukowski and I’m a happy bunny.

One way to really show my new found love of classic fiction is recently for a Top Ten Tuesday post I was allowed to pick my own topic and, you guessed it, I decided to pick my next ten classics. I have learnt so much through this 101 thing to do and I have created a love of classic fiction which you will definitely be seeing more of as MLBB continues. *eeee*