Posted in Book reviews, Lifestyle

Where She Went

While I was away, I got another book fully read and am so proud of myself for getting through two books this month! I read If I Stay back before the film appeared in the cinema back in 2014. One day I was walking through Waterstones with a friend when I spotted the sequel lying on a desk. A phone call home, and a few months later, there Where She Went was sitting on my bookshelf waiting for me. So it’s actually quite ridiculous that we’re now in 2017 and I’m finally done reading it.

 

Written by Gayle Forman, Where She Went follows Adam over the course of 48 hours as he struggles to cope with certain aspects of his past when he suddenly bumps into an old friend and has the opportunity to talk about the history between them and more.

So, as I mentioned before, it is a sequel, so look away now if you haven’t read If I Stay or seen the film. And if you haven’t, then I strongly recommend that you go do that now because both book and film had me sobbing throughout. Shall we look at the blurb of Where She Went?

It’s been three years since Mia walked out of Adam’s life. And three years he’s spent wondering why.

When their paths cross again in New York City, Adam and Mia are brought are brought back together for one life-changing night.

Adam finally has the opportunity to ask Mia the questions that have been haunting him. But will a few hours in this magical city be enough to lay their past to rest, for good – or can you really have a second chance at first love?

 

I personally loved reading this book. There are frequent flashbacks even before Adam meets Mia again, but they’re clear that they’re flashbacks. I loved the way it was written, and some of the chapters started with the lyrics to the songs Adam has written for his band, Shooting Star. This kept me interested and I loved the fact that the author had taken the time to think out the lines that Adam has apparently written during his heartbreak. What made this even more real was the playlist of songs she suggests to go alongside Adam and Mia’s journey through New York. I’ve never seen an author do this before but the idea of it was great, and if I’d known it was there then I would’ve definitely listened to it throughout the book.

 

One complaint of mine about the story, and complaint is probably too strong a word, is that the ending is a little too idealistic for me. You know those books where you get an ending you want or expect, but you know in real life it wouldn’t go that way? That’s how I felt when I finished reading it. But I still loved it. And for this reason, and this reason alone, I would have to give Where She Went 4 out of 5.

 

I don’t think you would need to read If I Stay before reading Where She Went, as the background is explained in the latter, however I would honestly recommend it as both of these books are incredibly well written and super easy to lose yourself in.

 

Let me know if you’ve read either of them, or if you’re going to! Or even let me know if you’ve got a book recommendation for me! I’m loving getting back into read and writing these reviews for you all.

 

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Posted in Book reviews

The Twelfth Day of July

Another book review! Did I mention that I’m on GoodReads by the way? Always looking for a friend – lifewithktkinnes as per usual.
As the title of this post suggests I was reading The Twelfth Day Of July by Joan Lingard. Mary actually recommended this to me and I’m glad she did.

Sadie is Protestant, Kevin is Catholic – and on the tense streets of Belfast their lives collide. It starts with a dare – kids fooling around – but soon becomes something dangerous. Getting to know Sadie Jackson will change Kevin’s life forever. But will the world change around them too?

The first page of this book had me laughing. It’s awful to say it but I can think back to people at school who must’ve been taught the exact same things: the good man’s King Billy and the bad man’s the Pope. Then again, I also know people who had it drilled into them the opposite way around. From this point of view, I was looking forward to reading the representations of each side of the invisible barricade that still lingers around some parts of Northern Ireland.
This was such an easy book to read, to the point I was half way through it in just an hour of reading. And I loved every minute of it! It wasn’t at all biased one way or another, the characters were easy to like, and the names were easy to pronounce when reading. Another pet hate of mine is the use of Gaelic names that I then need to google the pronunciation of, and it’s actually quite a common thing in books that try to show the difference between the Catholic and Protestant characters. So yes, major brownie points for that!
At one stage in the book, I did have to stop and think. I could imagine the location perfectly – Sadie’s street across the main road from Kevin’s, close enough to the city centre that she could walk in and out again relatively quickly, but also close enough that their Orange March was to the “field” at Finaghy. Anyone who knows Belfast, I was picturing them being just around Tate’s Avenue or The Falls. Then all of a sudden they were living close enough to Belfast Lough that they could hear a ship’s siren during the night? That did throw me a little! It wasn’t helped when, a few chapters later, its suggested that Kevin and his friends walk to the zoo. To be honest, I’d need a map of Belfast in front of me to figure all this out! But anyway, that’s not important in a book review sorry!

 

The story was nice and simple. Sadie’s from a Protestant background, Kevin from a Catholic one. They aren’t allowed to mix, mainly due to the tension between the two communities. Kevin decides to do something stupid (which is how the two meet) and so Sadie retaliates, and this is basically how to story progresses; tit for tat, them trying to get one up on each other, however as their messing around increases, so do the repercussions of each action, until an unexpected ending!

 

 

I simply adored reading this book and honestly didn’t want to stop reading it. I’m already looking for the next one in the series! Definitely go check it out if you can!

 

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Posted in Book reviews

The Mirror by Deborah A Stansil

Today’s post is a book review – guess who actually got reading this month??
Back in the middle of January, I contacted Debbie when I saw her asking for bloggers to review her new book and I’m actually so happy I did! She said yes, and here we are on the day of it’s publication – you should definitely give it a read!

The Mirror was a great read. The story kept me engaged, it wasn’t your usual plot, and I just didn’t want to put it down once I got into it! Now, when I say it wasn’t your usual plot – is anyone else tired of the same stories being written over and over, with some small plot changes, but always the same general idea? Well this was just perfect to break up the monotony of books at the minute! But before I go into why you should read this book, shall we take a look at the blurb?

When Amy’s daughter Lilly spots an old mirror in a local antiques stores, she can’t resist buying it for her. But with the mirror comes more than Amy bargained for. When Lilly starts talking about her “friend in the mirror”, Amy writes it off as an imaginary friend.

But Lilly’s imaginary friend is hard to ignore, and it’s not long until Amy finds herself embroiled in a battle; a battle to save her daughter, and a battle to save her secrets. Can a mirror really reflect the past? How else can Lilly know so much?

Now I’ll be quite honest, it’s been years since I last read a book like this. However, I was intrigued by the blurb, and felt I just had to read this book! In fact, there was something about the mystery of it that reminded me of a book I had read in school and so I was really excited when I sat down to start it.

 

Honestly? It took me a couple of chapters to feel drawn in to the story. But by the end of Chapter 3 I was enthralled. The tension and unease in Amy, the protagonist, is extremely well written, to the point that you’re feeling all her emotions with her. This was particularly well done in chapter 10, but I won’t ruin the storyline for you!

 

If you love a good mystery type thriller that keeps you turning the page for more, this is the book for you – and even better, it’s being released today!

 

Overall, I would give this a strong 4 out of 5. As mentioned previously above, the first couple of chapters were scene-setting, and therefore somewhat slow, but once the main plot got underway I really couldn’t stop reading, so much so I read it all in the one night!

 

 

Thank you so much, Debbie, for allowing me to read your work prior to it being released, and I wish you all the best with what has been a brilliant read. I’ll certainly be on the lookout for more of your books!

 

 

 

Book Title: The Mirror

Author: Deborah A. Stansil

ISBN: 978-1-78808-634-9
Author details:


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Disclaimer: All views in this post are 100% my own, and are therefore my honest thoughts as I read through the book. I was sent this book for free to read and review, with the intention of spreading Deborah’s work to a wider audience. 
Posted in Blogmas, Book reviews, Christmas, Life

My Reads of 2016

Well, as the year comes to an end (and before I start to consider my New Years Resolutions) I thought I’d share with you the list of books I’ve read this year, all in the one place with their review where appropriate.

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
  • The Freedom Writers’ Diary (review found here)
  • Carol by Patricia Highsmith (review found here)
  • Room by Emma Donoghue (review found here)
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (review found here)
  • The Housewife Assassin’s Vacation to Die For by Josie Brown
  • The Housewife Assassin’s Recipes for Disaster by Josie Brown
  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
  • The Dog Who Dared To Dream by Sun-Mi Hwang (review coming in the new year)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (Original Screenplay) by J. K. Rowling

Now I’ve to try and plan my books for the new year. Did you read anything you would recommend? Or did you read any of those books above – if so, what did you think of them?
I can’t wait to see what books 2017 will bring into my life!

 
Ktkinnes xx

Posted in Book reviews, Lifestyle

22 Books to Read Before I’m 22

Hello again! I’m trying to get back to blogging and, to do so, I wanted to post something I would enjoy writing. I will try to get back to the blogging challenge, I promise I will try. But for now, here are the 22 books I hope to read before my 22nd birthday – only 354 days to go!

 

  1. Les Miserables by
  2. The Thirty-Nine Steps by Richard Hannay
  3. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
  4. According to Yes – Dawn French
  5. The Colour Purple
  6. The Great Gatsby
  7. Life After Life – Kate Atkinson
  8. The Danish Girl
  9. The Casual Vacancy
  10. Before I Go To Sleep
  11. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  12. A Brief History of Time
  13. Jane Eyre
  14. The Book Thief
  15. Animal Farm
  16. Peter Pan
  17. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
  18. Bridge to Teribithia
  19. Angela’s Ashes
  20. Poirot’s Last Case
  21. Me Before You
  22. The Well of Loneliness

 

What would you out on your list?

 

Ktkinnes xx

Posted in 30 Days of Gratitude Challenge, Book reviews

Day 9 -My Books

Firstly, before I go any further…

Happy birthday to me, Happy birthday to me! Happy birthday dear Katie, Happy Birthday to me!

Sorry, just had to get that out of my system! And now, I bring you What books have had a great influence on you and why?

 

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This is another one of my favourite topics. And The Mountains Echoed made me fall in love with everyone in it and I still couldn’t tell you why. Another favourite was definitely The 5 People You Meet In Heaven, followed closely by Elsewhere. Both gave me a new way to think of death and I couldn’t recommend them more.

 

This year, I read The Freedom Writers’ Diary and I fell in love with it – here’s the review The Freedom Writers Diary! It inspired me to keep going through every struggle and reach my highest potential. You need to read it now. No, seriously, go and buy it or order it from your local library. Go!

 

Ktkinnes xxx

Posted in Lifestyle

Sister’s 18th Birthday

Rachel, if you are reading this, stop reading now! 

Otherwise you’ll ruin your surprise!

 

 

This September (2016) my younger sister turns 18 and I have never felt so old. Anyone who’s been reading this blog for a while knows of my love-hate relationship with Rachel but they also know I’d do anything for her. And now she’s turning 18, a legal adult. What on earth does that make me?!

 

A person’s 18th birthday is one they will remember for years to come. It’s special and so needs to be celebrated in such a way. My 18th birthday didn’t go the way I expected it to however it was one I will remember for a long long time, even if only for the wonderful cake Rachel baked me!

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Rachel with me on my 18th and the delicious cake she baked!

So, as I will be back in Glasgow for university (hopefully) on the day of her birthday and therefore won’t be baking her a cake, I have decided to go to town on her birthday present this year.

 

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I wanted to do an ’18 for 18′ themed present, i.e. 18 presents for her 18th; mainly 17 smaller presents and 1 main present. Now, Rachel used to be really easy to buy for. Even as children, I set myself a budget and tried to buy her as many things as possible that I knew she would like. This year, for some reason, it was more difficult. Finally, I settled on her 18 presents:

  1. A scrapbook of pictures and memories, something she can look back on for years to come.
  2. A book – Adulting: How To Become A Grown-up In 168 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown.A lot of people recommended ‘Oh! The Places You’ll Go’ by Dr Seuss but I wasn’t too sure whether or not this would be a good idea.
  3. A C.D. – I’m going to make her a C.D. of 18 songs that mean either something to the 2 of us or to her. This way, she can put it on her phone or something and listen to it. Unfortunately, the car we borrow from our mum is that old there is still a cassette tape slot in place of a C.D. player, otherwise she could’ve put it in the car.
  4. A smuggle your booze umbrella. Pretty self-explainitory, every teenager loves alcohol and so this way she can take some with her pretty much anywhere!
  5. Alcohol – to go with the above. I’m thinking of getting her bacardi as I know she drinks it but should I buy her something different?
  6. Sweets. I saw recently a retro jar of sweets that I can customise the label on and so I’ll get them for her.
  7. Portable charger. Having been stuck walking home alone in the early hours of the morning through Glasgow city centre with no charge on my phone, I know how important these can be. Hopefully she’ll never have to experience a 2 hour walk home at negative 4 degrees Celcius in only a t-shirt!
  8. Soap and Glory Birthday Washes gift set. This holds a travel size shower gel and body lotion – perfect for present number 18! As she likes it and doesn’t use anything else, hopefully she’ll appreciate it.
  9. Pyjamas – a set to again go with present 18. Something cute and comfortable, that she’ll wear frequently.
  10. Earrings. Every 18 year old gets jewellery and, as it’s something I always buy her anyway, I want to get her a nice set of earrings that she’ll always have to remind her of her 18th birthday.
  11. Compulsory ’18th’ wine glass. While she doesn’t really drink wine, this is something I’ve always planned on buying her.
  12. A bikini – again, all will make sense with present 18. Also, everyone likes having a new bikini for the next holiday.
  13. A birthday survival kit in a tin. You can get these online and they look really cool! When it arrives I’ll post a picture of it.
  14. 18 pairs of either pants or socks. Something light and jokey for the lead up to the final presents.
  15. A passport wallet. I always envied anyone who had a passport wallet and so I’m going to buy one for Rachel.
  16. A holiday document wallet. This will have to match the passport wallet as usually the two are given together. It holds your boarding passes, extra money for at the airport, travel insurance etc. I recently got one because as a single traveller it’s always useful to have somewhere safe to keep everything together.
  17. A leather hand luggage bag. Now this is something she actually asked for and believe me it was difficult to trace. Well, not difficult to trace but they’re flipping expensive! So to find one that wasn’t over the top in price but still real leather and looking lovely. I found one on ebay for £35 and it looks great! I’ll post pictures of it with the final collection of presents.

 

My final present to Rachel will be tucked inside her birthday card, which she’ll of course be made to open last (Mum and Dad will be given that instruction). I have booked for the 2 of us to go on holiday to Lanzarote for 3 nights in March when she’s off school for half term. It’s an all inclusive weekend in the sun for the 2 of us to relax and enjoy ourselves. I’ll be flying back here to Northern Ireland for a night before we fly to Lanzarote for 3 nights and then back to school and lectures the next day. Do you think she’ll like it?

 

 

Let me know what you think, would you appreciate this sort of present?

 

Ktkinnes xx