July is here and wow, the weather has been amazing. I am keeping everything crossed that it lasts. As June is now finished, I wanted to look at some of my favourite things from last month.
My favourite book from last month was Secrets and Seashells at Rainbow Bay by Ali McNamara. I am a huge fan of Ali’s novels so it was no real surprise that I adored this novel.
Her writing style is so effortless and she creates wonderful characters. The plot for this book was great; a woman inherits a castle and meets a handsome stranger. Also, this cover is just so beautiful.
Here’s the blurb for the novel.
Amelia is a single mother, doing her very best to look after her young son, Charlie – but money is tight and times are tough. When she first hears that she is the last descendent of the Chesterford family and that she has inherited a Real-Life Castle by the sea, Amelia can’t quite believe her ears. But it’s true!
She soon finds that owning a castle isn’t quite the ticket to sorting out her money problems that she’d first hoped: she can’t sell, because the terms of the ancient bequest state that any Chesterford who inherits the castle, must live there and work towards the upkeep and maintenance of the family home. So ever-practical Amelia decides to uproot her little family and move to this magnificent castle by the sea.
Living in a castle on the beautiful Northumberland coast is fun at first, but organising the day-to-day running is a lot more complicated than Amelia first imagined. Luckily she has help from the small band of eccentric and unconventional staff that are already employed there – and a mysterious unseen hand that often gives her a push in the right direction just when she needs it most. It’s only when she meets Tom, a furniture restorer who comes to the castle to help repair some antique furniture, that Amelia realises she might get the fairy-tale ending that she and Charlie truly deserve…
There are so many great TV shows being released right now. The one I enjoyed most in June was definitely Black Mirror. I do think that Charlie Brooker is a genius. It’s sad he’s not doing his end of year show but if it’s because he has been writing Black Mirror, that is fine with me.by
Goodbye May and hello June.
I know I say this every month but it is hard to believe that we are almost to the longest day of the year when it doesn’t seem long ago we were celebrating new year.
I will admit, I am a Christmas girl but I am loving these longer summer evenings although does anyone feel they seem to have ages in the evening, get into something and then look up and it’s nearly midnight? Just me?
As it’s still the first week of June, I reckon I have just enough time to squeeze in a May favourites.
There were many things I loved in May. It was a little hard to pick a handful but, yep, I managed it. Haha.
The book I loved in May was Tick Tock by Mel Sherratt. I have already done a review of this book and if you want to read it along with an extract, click here.
It was great to be back with DS Grace Allendale and each book in this series just keeps getting better and better.
Grace and her team are investigating the murder of a young girl. The killer is out there and it all suddenly becomes very personal for Grace.
Tick Tock was full of suspense. I wanted to know what was going on but at the same time, I didn’t want it to end. It’s brilliant. An honourable mention to The Last Time I Saw You by Liv Constantine which came a close second.
My favourite TV show in May was …. Line of Duty.
I was really late to this show having only finished watching the previous series days before the new one began. My husband and I were just gripped and it is so incredibly addictive. We saw the ‘are you still watching Line of Duty?’ a few times on Netflix which may as well say ‘are you still up watching this? Go to bed you idiot.’
This show is thrilling, brilliant and utterly frustrating. My favourite character is Ted Hastings. Go find those bent coppers, Ted.by
Christmas is only a few days away. I can’t hardly believe it. This time of year is probably my favourite.
I love being able to snuggle up in warm pyjamas and slippers. The Christmas Tree, twinkle lights. I love it all. I even love the repeated Christmas music.
One of my traditions is watching Christmas themed movies (not that I need much of an excuse.) With it being the festive season, it got me thinking about which films I can’t have Christmas without. The danger with a question like this is that I could have gone on forever so, because I don’t like making things easy for myself, I have limited it to five. So, in no particular order, here are my favourites.
Staring Bill Murray and Karen Allen, this is my favourite adaptation of the Christmas Carol. It’s a film that has been part of my Christmas for a long time and it never gets old. At the beginning, Frank Cross is so easy to hate. He is horrible to everyone around him and oblivious to the needs of others.
There are some aspects to the story that have been adjusted or added to this film which keeps it fresh.
There are some laugh out loud moments, some heart-breaking moments (Norman,) and by the end, I’m always humming along with the cast when they sing ‘Put A Little Love in Your Heart.’
For me, it’s one of the perfect Christmas films.
The Holiday (2006).
This film focuses on two women who need to get out of their comfort zone and decide to swap lives over Christmas.
Awwwww, I adore this film. The four main cast members are just fantastic in this festive film about two women who are looking to escape their every day life and prove that going somewhere else for a while can be the best thing you ever do.
I have completely fallen in love with both houses for a start and would be hard pushed to be able to pick one if I was told that I could live in either Rosehill cottage or Amanda’s house.
Jude and Jack make lovely heroes. It’s funny, this is my favourite role of Jack Black’s and it’s not the kind of role he usually takes. I wish there was more Miles and Iris in this movie.
Plus, it came out a year before I got married to the day so it will always be a little bit special.
This stars Martin Freeman and is such a sweet film. I am always impressed that it was mostly improvised and some of the kids are hilarious. There is something very original about this film. I will always cry at the end no matter how many times I see it. I can’t help it.
This movie brings back memories of when I was an angel in my school nativity ( I know, strange casting decision right. Haha.)
This film above all makes me feel festive and can put me in the best of moods.by
I don’t think I will ever end my love affair with beautiful book covers. They are the thing that will attract me to a book. If it’s a pretty cover, I will sometimes stop reading and just look at it for a while (anyone else do that? Just me… ok.)
I have been thinking again about my favourite book covers. I did a post about this back in 2015 (want to see them, click here,) and I thought it was about time I thought about five more favourites.
It was hard picking just five. I think I have managed to narrow it down.
My first favourite is the 10th Anniversary edition of Looking For Alaska by John Green (HarperCollins Children’s Books, January 2015.) The original cover (which is black with a white daisy) is lovely but this cover is so beautiful.
Gold, the cover is gold. I brought a copy of this edition just because I loved the cover. I already had a paperback copy.
Miles’s life is one big non event until he meets Alaska Young. Alaska draws Miles into her reckless world and steels his heart in the process. His life will never be the same again.
My next favourite is Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven (Penguin, October 2016.) This cover is simple but yet so pretty. Sometimes less is more and this was one of my favourites from last year.
Everyone thinks they know Libby – the girl once dubbed ‘America’s Fattest Teen.’ No one has looked past the weight to see who she really is.
She’s been trying to deal with the grief of loosing her mother.
Now she is ready for school. For new friends. For a new life.
My third favourite is The Little Teashop of Lost and Found by Trisha Ashley (which is due to be released by Bantam Press in March.)
This cover is absolutely stunning and I can’t wait to be able to add it to my book shelf. I absolutely adore it. The illustrations are just lovely and has such wonderful detail.
Alice was discovered on the Yorkshire Moors above Haworth as a baby.
Adopted but then later rejected by a horrible step-mother, Alice struggles to find a place where she belongs. Only baking brings her a sense of comfort.
When Alice does return to Haworth, she returns to baking. She makes friends but there are a couple of last twist and turns in her story.by
I know we are nearly halfway through January but I wanted to share some of my December favourites before we got too far into this month. I have not done a favourites post in a while so I thought I was a little overdue. Plus, I love reading these sorts of posts so I want to share some of my favourites from last month.
My first favourite from last month was this stunning version of Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol and other Christmas writings from the Penguin Clothbound Classics. I do have a paperback version of this book but there was something that drew me to this copy. The cover is so beautiful. It looks very nice on the bookshelf. I couldn’t resist treating myself to a copy prior to Christmas.
I adore A Christmas Carol and this puts me in such a Christmas like mood whenever I look at it. I can’t wait to read it at the end of the year.
My next favourite is a DVD of possibly my favourite Disney movie as well as one of my favourite films of all time. It’s the big sleeve edition of Beauty and The Beast. This is something else I may have treated myself to just before Christmas. It was one of those impulse buys. I knew that if I didn’t buy it, I would never see it again.
I, like many other fans of Beauty and The Beast were slightly disappointed that we were not going to be getting the 25th Anniversary special edition here in the UK. I believe this version to be the next best thing (I am so looking forward to seeing the live action version in March.)
This version includes the blue ray as well as the DVD version and there are four beautiful postcards of some of the characters in the movie. I love this and don’t regret buying it for an instant.by
Stationery, stationery, stationery. Beautiful stationery. I’ve gone a little mad over the last few weeks. I am all about finding things that are going to make my life a little easier or just buying stationery because it is so pretty. I have to make sure I use them though. My pile of new notebooks gets bigger by the week and yet I can’t stop buying stuff.
Uni-ball ‘Air’ Pen.
My first favourite stationery item that I’ve got is this pen from Uni-ball. It’s the Air pen and it writes like a fountain pen. I was in the supermarket and was just, cough, browsing the stationary section when i can across these pens.
I do love writing with fountain pens. I always have done ever since I was a kid. This was why these pens caught my eye.
I really like these pens. They are not as fine as my fountain pen (I think it would be impossible for a rollerball to be) but it is the next best thing if you want something to have handy to write notes with but don’t want to bother with a proper fountain pen.
This brings me onto the Blue Sky Day Designer.
My pen is resting on the Day Designer from Blue Sky. I am a big hoarder of diaries. I find it hard to find one that fits the exact thing I am looking for in a diary. I like to keep up with everything that is going on (and I need a lot of help in that department as I will think I will remember what I am doing and then I will forget something,) but I also like enough notes pages for ideas and lists.
I saw this diary pop up in a YouTube video and managed to get one via Ebay.
What I love about this diary is that there a section for appointments but there is also a section for to do’s (heaven.) There are also plenty of blank pages for notes at the back as well as a monthly glance page which is handy for blogging.
Where this was brought from America it does have the American holidays instead of the British ones but that is not a big deal. There is also not a lot of space where the weekends are listed but it’s my ongoing battle with diaries and working weekends.
The blue is beautiful. It is also small enough to fit in my bag. Overall it’s all I need in a diary.by
I have many books that I loved growing up. The Mallory Towers series for example was the first series I remember reading. My sister used to sit and read it with me. However, nothing has stuck with me quite as much as The Sweet Valley High series.
Originally created by Francine Pascal, this series made up the majority of my reading for a long time.
I discovered one of these books in the library at school. I think it was the one called Too Good To Be True. I can’t remember how old I was but from that moment I was hooked.
There was nothing I liked better than to come home from school and disappear into the world of Sweet Valley for a while.
Jessica and Elizabeth were like the cool friends I didn’t have (I was quite shy at school and definitely not a cool kid although everyone seemed a lot cooler than me. The perils of senior school.)
There was something just so exciting about these stories that I couldn’t get enough of them. I devoured as many as I could find from the school or local library.
You can imagine my excitement when I also discovered the TV series. Looking at that now, it was all so poorly acted but I still couldn’t resist watching it. If you know of it, is the theme tune stuck in your head yet?by
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. I am not against Valentine’s Day although I am usually so disorganised, I end up joining the people who go to the shop to collect something last-minute. For me, it’s a perfect excuse to avoid all the overcrowded restaurants and to curl up with a book instead (especially as this year, my husband is at work.) It was hard to pick but I wanted to share five of my favourite love themed books that I think are perfect to be reading over this weekend, especially on the 14th itself.
Which books would be in your list? Let me know in the comments section.
P.S I Love You by Cecelia Ahern.
Holly has a guardian angel; her husband Gerry who has recently died of a brain tumour. Letters from him mysteriously appear giving her advice and teaching her how to move on. This book is such a beautiful love story for me and is perfect for February. This is the book where I fell in love with Holly and Gerry and with Cecelia’s novels. There is just something magical about this story which is why it is in my top five favourite love stories and will remain there for a long time.
Everyone needs a guardian angel…
Some people wait their whole lives to find their soul mates. But not Holly and Gerry.
Childhood sweethearts, they could finish each other’s sentences and even when they fought, they laughed. No one could imagine Holly and Gerry without each other.
Until the unthinkable happens. Gerry’s death devastates Holly. But as her 30th birthday looms, Gerry comes back to her. He’s left her a bundle of notes, one for each of the months after his death, gently guiding Holly into her new life without him, each note signed ‘PS, I Love You’.
As the notes are gradually opened, the man who knows Holly better than anyone sets out to teach her that life goes on. With some help from her friends, and her noisy and loving family, Holly finds herself laughing, crying, singing, dancing – and being braver than ever before.
Life is for living, she realises – but it always helps if there’s an angel watching over you.
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks.by
Composition Book from Knock Knock.
I love the stationary from Knock Knock. They are the company that usually do all of the cute sticky to do pads with little funny sayings on them. This book was kindly sent to me from the guys over at Chronicle Books. This is part of a little series. As well as the purple one which is the important topics notebook, they do a pink one titled the funny one and a blue one too titled, hyper organised so you can pick the one that suits your personality the best. I’ve always loved the look of the composition books that I used to see on TV shows like Degrassi Junior High and films like Struck by Lightening and now I have one (almost.)
Santa’s Little Melter Candle.
I light a lot of candles. If I am at home, you can usually find a candle lit in the room I’ve decided to hang out in. This is the Santa’s Little Helper candle from Bomb Cosmetics. I originally got one of these last year for my birthday. I fell so in love with the scent that I had to buy another one. It’s such a lovely, sweet scent and reminds me of all the sweetie goodness of Christmas (it has a little cinnamon in it I think.) Along with this one, I am also loving the Berry Trifle candle from Yankie Candle. So many lovely candles, so little time to burn them.by
I have to admit, I am a sucker for quotes especially inspiring ones. I have many pinned up around my computer and I write a few in my notebook if I find one I particularly like. For me, they are important especially if I am having one of those days where writers block is rampant. They just give me that little bit of a positive push to keep going and write through any block I may have in my head. I have picked out five of my favourites.
I am not sure of the origin of this quote but it is so true. I have not done a lot of writing lately and the one thing that makes you a better writer is practise. You can’t edit nothing after all. You need something on the page and I think this quote hits the nail on the head.
‘A word, after a word, after a word is power.’
I have seen this quote by Margaret Atwood many times and I love it. I am not sure why but to me, it is very very true. One word leads to another and then another and then another and before you know it, you have a first draft. The Handmaid’s Tale is also one of my favourite books so what better than to take inspiration with a quote like this.
‘Where’s the fun without a bit of risk?’by
Which fictional character would you like to meet and which fictional character is your favourite is a question I ask authors a lot and it got me thinking about my own favourites. I wanted to share some of my favourite characters. I have many and so it was hard to pick a few.
Ron Weasley (Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling.)
I could not have a character favourites list without Ron being mentioned. He is my favourite Harry Potter character. He is so well written. His lines and humour are brilliant and is made all the better by Rupert Grint’s facial expressions. Harry is the main character but he is so much stronger when he is with his friends. Ron is very loyal. I can relate to him. He’s not always very confident. He’s the youngest son (I am the youngest in my family) and he does sometimes struggle with faith in himself.
Ralph (Ralph’s Party by Lisa Jewell.)
Ralph’s Party is in my top five favourite books (I have mentioned it recently.) Ralph is one of my favourite heroes. He is very shy, unassuming and lives in Smith’s (his best friend) shadow a little bit.
I really warmed to him as a character when I was reading the book and he is such a contrast to the more confident and slightly cocky Smith. He seems a lovely, gentle man. He’s uncomplicated.
Ebenezer Scrooge (A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.)by
If you’re a frequent visitor to Novel Kicks then you will know that I have a thing for book covers. It is bordering on obsession if I am honest. It was a little hard to pick but here are a few of my favourite book covers…
That Part was True by Deborah Mckinlay.
I think this is one of my favourite covers ever. I read this at the beginning of the year and loved it. Eve writes to Jackson to praise a scene from one of his books and they discover a mutual love of cookery and food. They are soon exchanging letters.
The plot was great. It’s a gentle kind of book. I completely adored this cover. The blue cover and the decoration is so beautiful I almost didn’t want to read it because I didn’t want to ruin the cover.
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen.
This particular cover was re-released as part of Penguin’s hardback clothbound classics series and was designed by Coralie Pickford-Smith.
The story of Pride and Prejudice is so well known. Lizzie and Darcy’s story will always be one of my favourites. There has also been so many editions of this book but I think that this cover is one of my favourites. It’s so pretty.by
I will 90% always prefer books to any movie made that is based upon them. For example, although the movie was great, I will prefer Where Rainbows End to Love, Rosie (same with P.S I Love You for that matter.) My Sister’s Keeper is another example. I preferred the book and definitely preferred the novel’s ending to the movie adaptation. It is always tricky when it’s a book you love so much. You have such an idea of what the scenery looks like, the appearance of the characters; a solid picture is formed and it’s hard to shift.
However, there are exceptions – Bridget Jones’ Diary, I’m talking to you. I adore the film as much as the book. The second movie not so much but it was always going to fall short because of its lack of the Colin Firth interview scene which couldn’t be done for obvious reasons. I did think the adaptation of The Fault in Our Stars was quite faithful to its source material. I will read things though and I will wonder what the scenes would look like if they were to be adapted into movies or I will think that what I am reading would make a great film.
Here are seven novels I’d like to see adapted (seven because I couldn’t pick just five)…
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion.
I adored this book and Don Tillman is one of my favourite fictional characters. Rumours are that this has already been put into pre-production/development and this makes me very excited. There are some humorous and very touching moments in this book and I think it will translate well to film (especially if Simsion has anything to do with the script.)
The basic premise is that having never had a second date, Don Tillman devises the Wife Project – a scientific experiment to find the perfect wife for him. Then in walks Rosie, the girl that doesn’t fit into any of his criteria.
According to IMDb, Jennifer Lawrence has been cast as Rosie. In my opinion, Jennifer has proven that she can do serious and quirky (she was great in The Silver Linings Playbook.) I am eagerly anticipating this adaptation.
The Tiny Wife by Andrew Kaufman is another book I’d love to see turn into a movie.
I loved this book. The plot is so interesting and I took away a great message from it and so I think it would make a great film. A robber walks into a bank but instead of taking money, he steals an item of sentimental value from each of the people in the bank. After the robbery, strange things start happening to these people. It’s a book about appreciating what you have before it is too late.
The plot is a great premise and I’d be interested to see where they would go with the film. There is such an atmosphere to this book. The only thing about this book if it were to be adapted is that it’s only about eighty pages long so there would be a bit of script padding which isn’t always good.
Another book I’d like to see adapted is Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard.by
Drawing inspiration from one of the most glittering periods in artistic history, The Shiraz collection from Paperblanks is a glimpse into the elegance of the 16th century Ottoman Empire.
The original cover artwork from which this dish hails was commissioned by one of the Princes of Shiraz, decorated with rows of golden lockets and overlaid with filigree. This royal Persian design provides the ideal place to house your history.
If you’ve been visiting my blog for a while then you will know my obsession with notebooks. I am a writer, I need notebooks. You never know when you’re going to need one…. right?
I’ve been sent this lovely Shiraz notebook from Paperblanks and this made me very excited. I’ve always been a fan of these notebooks. The particular one I’ve been sent is A6 in size and is lined.
The cover is stunning and what I love about these notebooks in particular is that the covers are also very good quality. I also like the fact that there is also a black elastic band to hold the book together which means it’s not got damaged whilst I’ve been using it. I tend to carry the kitchen sink around with me and so notebooks can get damaged in my bag.by
I am obsessed with stationary. I used to work in one of the big office stores so you can imagine how much of my monthly wage I actually ended up keeping hold of. You can never have too many pens, notebooks, pencils and colouring pencils. I don’t care how old I get, I will always love this time of year as its an excuse to browse all the new stationary. Why should it only be the kids and teenagers going back to school having all the fun in buying stationary? Exactly!
I wanted to share some of the stationary that um, cough, fell into my basket or more accurately, made a flying leap. I love things that help keep me organised (I need all the help I can get,) and seriously, I have so many pens but that still hasn’t stopped me buying more so my haul is a mixture of various things. Where I can, I have put a link to things in case you want to check it out (I have not been paid to feature any of these products – they are things I have brought and just wanted to share.)
Firstly, it’s The Weekly Times from Fox & Star. £11.95 + postage and packing.
I’ve previously mentioned this on social media. I saw this in a haul I watched on You Tube and absolutely loved the look of it. There are fifty sheets in total and what I love about it is that it includes Saturday and Sunday too. A couple of desk planners I have brought in the past only cover Monday to Friday and for what I want to use it for, which is blog planning, this is ideal. It’s also not dated so it’s flexible in where in the year I decide to use it. I love the fact that it has a protective plastic cover and it’s so smart in appearance. I adore this desk planner and it is going to become a permanent item in my stationary pile.
The second item in my haul are these Harry Potter themed notebooks from The Literary Emporium (£4 each.)
If you’ve not guessed by previous posts, I love Harry Potter and get excited when I find Harry Potter themed things. I adore these three notebooks from The Literary Emporium. They are A5 in size and have 80 recycled pages so they are perfect for slipping into my handbag. I have been using the ‘Advanced Spells’ book for my to-do lists and it’s great for that too. The quality of the paper is lovely and the covers are quite sturdy (mine has survived a few trips in my bag which is a little like Mary Poppins’ carpet bag.) You can buy just one book at £4 or all three for £10. Bargain I reckon and a must for Potter fans who also love to write.by