Thursday, 31 July 2014

July: Monthly Roundup // This Month's Hearts

Helloo. Today is the last day of July so I'm here for my customary monthly roundup, little recap of my month and sharing of the best book I've read. 



Monthly roundup

Art Tuesday: Blood, Sweat, Tears and Victoriana -- I shared a still life I'd done.

September - May: A Bookish Tour (Part 3) -- in which I reviewed The Pumpkin Eater by Penelope Mortimer, The Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry (YOU SHOULD READ IT), Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (you should read it too) and Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff.

Beautiful People -- I participated in this brilliant writing meme, answering questions about my MC Corrie. 

Mid-July Reads -- I reviewed the (strangely enough, exclusively green) books I'd read in the first half of July: Franny and Zooey by JD Salinger, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, The New Policeman by Kate Thompson, Wild Swans by Jung Chang, Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery and '... And Then He Ate My Boy Entrancers' by Louise Rennison.

The Sunshine Award -- thanks to Amy for this award!

Harry Potter by the Numbers -- an HP-themed link-up hosted by The Book Chewers!

Art Tuesday: Scrapbook Love -- a peek inside my scrapbook.

Mid-Year Book Recap -- linking up with Chami and Ely from A Book So Fathomless for a little review of my general reading year so far and a lot of freaking out/fangirling over books I've read/want to read.

Theme of Sacrifice in Harry Potter -- I guest posted for The Book Chewers! :D :D


This Month's Hearts

General life

~ WELL I GOT A PUPPY. She's really annoying and she bites me a lot, but I LOVE HER.

Photo: Puppy has learnt to climb up stairs, but not to climb down them ...
This is lil Tig. She's learnt to climb up stairs but not down them.
~ Went to Portugal! Yay for the sun. 

~ Bought a ridiculous amount of secondhand books (try fifteen)!! :D Book Haul post coming on Monday.

~ I also won a giveaway - I won the Small Blue Thing trilogy by SC Ransom. I do love winning things.

~  Bought some pretty clothes and shoes ^_^

~ I FINALLY WATCHED TANGLED AFTER SEVERAL YEARS OF WAITING.

[source]
*cue dramatic sobbing*
Tangled was, I thought, a great film and it had my shipping-self GOING CRAZY. 

~ I actually drew some people. I have long shunned portraiture ... but I drew some people this month. More on them at another point. 

~ Like I said in the Monthly Roundup, I did a guest post for The Book Chewers! It was great fun to write and very interesting for me. You know that I love Harry Potter. See the post here

Music

~ I was watching a film recently with a brilliant montage at the beginning set to She's So Lovely by Scouting for Girls ...



... and I was like "whoa I'd forgotten how much I love this song!" ...

.... and then all of a sudden I was listening to their first album and becoming obsessed!! 

This is my favourite song off the album (apart from She's So Lovely). I love it so much!!! It makes me both happy and sad.

~ I've also gotten very into a band called Hermitage Green, which I found via Marian's blog - she shared them in answer to a question I'd tagged her for! Which makes me happy!

This is the song she shared. Great song.

Love love love this. I'm all for the sad songs, aren't I??

Writing

I have written some stuff, which is exciting. Whoohoo, cake for all, etc. etc.

Posts I've loved

~ Hawwa @ It Was Lovely Reading You discussed judging a book by its cover.

~ Cait and Mime @ The Notebook Sisters answered some bookish questions (and made amusing remarks about cucumbers).

~ Ruby @ Feed Me Books Now discussed character deaths - both painful and necessary.

~ Sophie @ A Day Dreamer's World talked about plotting v pantsing

~ Delvalina @ Falling in love with Jesus shared an adorable story.

~ Marian @ Ivory Clouds shared her favourite places in the world.

~ Nicola @ Nicola's Notebook did a room tour.

~ Ashley @ [insert title here] gave a lot of character insight - I seriously want to read her novel!

~ Amy @ The Blog Hermit gave us a lil tour of London.

~ book haul posts - there've been plenty of these, my favourites being this onethis one and this one. Click on one of those links ... who knows where it will take you! 

~ summer reading lists - again there've been lots of these. I enjoyed this one and this one (because I love hearing about what people are planning to read! Question: what are you planning to read soon?).

~ I also discovered blogs A Splash of InkThe Thousand LivesGingerly Pale and The Daily Prophecy. Yay for finding new blogs!

Best Book of the Month

This is definitely the cruellest part of this feature. I have read nine and a half books this month .... how to pick just one??? However I think the prize has to go to:

This book was beautifully written, with very touching plot and characters. I couldn't stop reading, even though I (vaguely, having not read this since age of eight or so) knew what would happen next. It was the most loveable book I've read in a long time, and that's why it had to take the top spot.
However, an honourable mention must be made for both Wild Swans by Jung Chang and A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin, which tie for a very close second.
Wild Swans was a profoundly affecting, incredibly interesting and frankly world-altering book for me - it's a book I think absolutely everyone should read. Full review here.
A Game of Thrones was just an amazing epic fantasy novel - its scope was stunning and it completely drew me in, so that I was unable to stop reading! Full review coming next week.
Well, it looks like that's all from me. After a very exciting wedding tomorrow, I'm going on camp on Saturday and then straight from camp to an island in the north for two weeks' holiday. I won't be reading or commenting on your lovely blogs, but I will be scheduling some posts for you so I guess I won't disappear completely. I hope you all have a great rest of the summer ... and tell me: what was the best book you read in July??

Emily x 

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Mid-Year Book Recap

Today I'm linking up with Chami and Ely from A Book So Fathomless for their




It's a little review of what I've read since the start of the year (because July is halfway through the year, geddit?) You know me. Any excuse to talk about BOOKS!

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2014. 
Well this is a cruel question. ~rolls up sleeves~

You know I can't pick just one. HERE WE GO.

The Library of Unrequited Love
Such a sad, gorgeous novella. Completely unexpected, and brilliant. Review here
11128517
I love Jane Austen. A lot. Review here


Reading these was a long time coming - I finally did, and they were brilliant. Love, love, love. 


301348
A compelling and beautiful novel. Review here


Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
Terrifying, eye-opening biography and autobiography telling the story of three generations of women living in twentieth century China. The most profoundly affecting book I've read this year. Review here.  


Well, I got it down to five (five, that is, when you count The Hobbit and LotR as one book .... cheating ... yes ... but still ... ) ... be proud of me! This is not including, though, my rereads of the unerringly brilliant Harry Potter and Anne of Green Gables, and some Georgia Nicolson.

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2014.
I've read very few sequels this year ... I'm soon to read The Dream Thieves but I'm yet to own it!! So, what sequels have I read?
~ Several Georgia Nicolson novels - numbers 4, 5, and 6. They are brilliant. I love them.
~ Allegiant. I liked it.
~ Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams. Mad, funny, unexpectedly upsetting.
~ I read The Lord of the Rings .... which I guess is the sequel to The Hobbit??
~ And I reread all the Harry Potters in January .... does that count??
I guess I'll have to go with LotR - whilst I love Harry Potter and Georgia Nicolson (like, a LOT), I feel like they don't really count ...

3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to.

ZERO HOUR. EMILY WANTS ZERO HOUR.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

I CANNOT EVEN DESCRIBE HOW MUCH I AM WAITING FOR THIS BOOK. SEPTEMBER, EVERYONE. SEPTEMBER.

5. Biggest disappointment.
I'd have to say Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff. It's not that I didn't enjoy it. It's just - How I Live Now is so INDESCRIBABLY AMAZING, I had really high expectations for this book and they were not met.

6. Biggest surprise.
Good surprise: Adam Bede by George Eliot. I was not expecting this book to be so beautiful.
Bad surprise: The Pumpkin Eater by Penelope Mortimer. I was not expecting this book to be so disturbing!

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)
George Eliot! Not a debut (she died over 130 years ago), but new to me since I read the aforementioned Adam Bede.

8. Newest fictional crush.
GILBERT BLYTHE. Asdfasdfkljfd is all I have to say.

9. Newest favourite character.
Um. Now that you ask that, I can't think of any. Obviously I love Anne from Anne of Green Gables, which I read recently - but since that was a reread, it doesn't count. Before that, maybe Miss Willie from The Miracle of Miss Willie by Alma J Yates

10. Book that made you cry. 
Can't answer this one - as I discussed in this post, I do not cry at books.

11. Book that made you happy.
Anne of Green Gables :')

12. Favourite book to film adaptation you saw this year. 
Um. I've not seen Divergent. I've not seen The Fault in our Stars. What have I seen?? ... ~promptly forgets all films ever made~

Nope, I can't think of anything.

13. Favourite review you've written this year.
I have no idea ... what reviews have you guys liked??

14. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year (or received)
I think I'll have to cheat and say two for this one. 

Bought secondhand for £2. (YES! THE CHARITY SHOP SNAFFLER STRIKES AGAIN.)
Never heard of this book before. But it's pretty. So.
Also bought this one secondhand. Pretty, yes? Yes.

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
Oh, so many ...
We've talked about this already. EMILY WANTS ZERO HOUR.
What. Are. Words.
Why do I not own this yet?? D:
WHY. Have I not read this yet. It's OK. I have it. Soon, SOON.


<3


I need to read this ... I mean I do actually need to, for school - but I want to as well!
I've been told this book is amazing. I own it after buying it secondhand. And it has a dragon on the cover. Therefore: I must read it.
After the extreme levels of obsession projected by Amy, Treskie and Bella Delallo? I want to read these books a lot. A LOT.
Aaand that is it from me. If you participate in this link-up, do let me know. Thanks to Chami and Ely for organising it!

Emily x

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Art Tuesday: Scrapbook Love


Hi everyone. I've taken a quick break from puppy-minding and snuck into the Wifi zone of my house (yes, really. Only part of my house has Wifi. Thick wall problems ... ) Tig (the puppy) is v. adorable:


 (but she does enjoy biting people).

Cute but painful.

Anyway. Time for Art Tuesday - we've not had one of these in a while, have we? Last summer I started a scrapbook - I posted about it for the first time here, though I don't know if many of you saw it (no one commented - which I am still not over) - and today I'm posting a few more pictures from it.

Clockwise from top left: card from my friend Chloe; birthday card from friend Leonie; "end-of-term certificate" made by my friend Catriona (basically my friends and I occasionally behave very weirdly on a Friday lunchtime and do a sort of strange club called Civilised Friday with lots of rules and gestures and if you saw us you'd think we were very strange indeed); birthday card from friend Agnes.

Clockwise from top left: Olly Murs ticket and confetti; picture from magazine; birthday card from my mum.
My Olly Murs ticket from last April <3
And some bits of the confetti that fell from the ceiling during the last song!

Clockwise from top left: birthday card from my friend Catriona; momentoes from my trip to Madrid; picture cut from magazine; further momentoes from Madrid trip.

Remember, I posted about my trip to Madrid last May? Here are the ticket stubs from the aeroplane there and back, and a ticket from a tour of a bull ring we did.

Clockwise from top left: birthday card from my friend Chloe; drawing done for me by Catriona; birthday card from my friend Niamh.
^Accurate summary of my life.
Drawing done by Catriona. I am, in the words of a friend of mine, "not vertically excellent", and my friends like to constantly remind us all of this fact. They have nicknamed me 'The Small' and like to make remarks such as "where's Emily? I can't see her, she's so small!" Anyway, this is a drawing Catriona did for me during Spanish once. Thanks, Cat -_-

Clockwise from top left: little good-luck-with-exams card from my Latin teacher (ie the sweetest woman ever); cut out from a Christmas card from my friend Joanna; birthday card from my sister; cut out from my first ever bottle of proper perfume.
My friend Joanna is Tolkien-mad. She has learnt Dwarvish and is learning Elvish.
"Depp down I really am this superficial!" I love this picture :')

Clockwise from top left: medallion I wore for a charity presentation; lil paper dress; cut out from magazine; dried flowers; cut out from newspaper; cut out from magazine; patterned papers; cut out from magazine.
The medallion from the charity presentation, with the neck string cunningly cut and tied into a bow. The Twisty Headed Man Company is a Glasgow-based arts charity that my friends and I made a presentation about for a competition last year. We got to the final but didn't manage to win the £3000; however, it's still an important memory for me.
Gorgeous, yes? Yes.
Drawing done by Judith Kerr (author of The Tiger Who Came to Tea, the Mog books and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit) when she was an art student. I love this.
Hope you enjoyed this post. Do you have a scrapbook? What do you put in it? Would you like to see more of mine? 

Emily x

Saturday, 19 July 2014

"Dolores, are you quite sure you wouldn't like a cough drop?"

Hi everyone! 

SO TODAY I GOT A PUPPY.  

Her name is Tig. She is a yellow labrador-retriever cross. She is currently asleep in between my feet.

This is her.



....

....

....

~FAINTS FROM CUTENESS~

....

*ahem*

So aside from the brand new yellow ball of adorableness in my life, today I am going to be talking about ...

HARRY POTTER! That is to say: my favourite subject. Over at The Book Chewers it is Harry Potter month (possibly because his, and JK Rowling's, birthday is on 31st of July), and I am participating in their link-up, Harry Potter by the Numbers. Click here for the original post - you can still enter!

I  would also like to inform you that I have done a guest post for The Book Chewers on the theme of sacrifice in the HP books. I was told it would be up today - but since I was told this by someone who (I'm fairly sure) lives in America, it might not be until a lot later my time. Still, hop over to TBC to see if you can see it! I tend not to do extensive posts into one book like that here on this blog, but as a guest poster ...

I can give my obsession free rein.

Anyway. On with the link-up!

1. How many times have you read the Harry Potter series?
3. More than I've read any other book. I thought this was quite a lot ... until I saw some of the other answers to this question! O.o


2. How many times have you cried while reading certain parts?

Never, actually. Films make me bawl ...

[source]
Romeo and Juliet - I sobbed in English class.
(Because young Leonardo diCaprio come on)
[source]
Les Mis - I wept in the cinema.
[source]
Bride to Teribithia - I cry. A lot.
But I never cry at books - well, almost never. The Year the Gypsies Came by Linzi Glass made me sob, but that's the only book I ever cried properly at. However, I did get a bit lump-in-the-throat-y at Dumbledore's death the first time I read them. The last time I read them (last Christmas), the closest I came to tears was, weirdly enough, when Sirius invites Harry to come and live with him as they're leaving the Shrieking Shack with Snape in the Prisoner of Azkaban.

3. How old were you when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out?
I was 7. I didn't start reading them until the age of ten, so fortunately there were no agonising year-long waits!

4. How many times have you seen the movies?
Once each. We don't own them. But we borrowed them all from a friend once.

5. How old were you when you started reading the series?
I was ten. The perfect age, I think!

6. How many stars have you or would you rate each book on Goodreads?
5 for them all!!!

7. How many Harry Potter related costumes have you worn for Halloween or any other occasion?
I went as Hermione for a 'dress up as your favourite character' thing at school once.


Bonus question: How many times have you wished you could stupefy someone for saying, "I don't like Harry Potter"? 

Many, many, many times.
When people haven't read them and say they don't like them:
[source]
When people were reading them and gave up partway through:

[source]
When people don't like them based on the films:

[source]
(Not that I'm an angry or militant person or anything.)

Anyway. I hope you take part in this link-up, and also read my guest post! :D

Emily x

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Sunshine: in awards if not in weather.

Hellooo, followers mine. It may be pouring with rain outside (and when I say "it may be", I mean it is), but there is sunshine on my blog today! I've not had an award in a long time, but today I'd like to thank Amy from The Blog Hermit for nominating me for The Sunshine Award!


[source]
OK, let's get down to business to defeat the Huns! 

Like most awards, there are some questions to ask and answer, and some people to nominate.

Amy's Questions

1. Which is the best season? ~cough~ fall ~cough~
AMY YOU'RE NOT AMERICAN IT'S CALLED AUTUMN-- I mean, *ahem* the best season you ask? I don't know, I love all the seasons when they're happening .... or, more accurately, when they're not happening.

Me in spring: ugh why can't it just be summer already?!
Me in summer: ugh the pollen I have so much hayfever I wish it was winter!!
Me in autumn: ugh the days are getting short again I wish it was spring!!
Me in winter: ugh it's freezing and dark I wish it was summer!!

Haha not really, I do love all the seasons .... maybe summer is my favourite. Maybe. I don't know.

2. What's your opinion on the band Kodaline?
I've never listened to them ... one of my friends is obsessed with them though!

Her:
[original source] - edited by me

Me:


[source]
3. Chocolate cake or vanilla sponge?
BOTH. If I'm out, I would always order plain sponge because chocolate cake in cafes is so often a disappointment ... ~shakes head sadly~

4. Acoustic guitar or electric?
Acoustic all the way home.


Can we just take a moment ...

5. Have you seen The Fault In Our Stars or read the book? What's your opinion on them?
I have not seen it (though I would like to) but I have read the book. I really really enjoyed it; I thought it was beautifully written and pretty adorable. I mean, there was a tiny part of my brain saying "does this deserve all the hype?" but actually I think it's a great book. It has some gorgeous line. Read my review here

6. If you could change to be any nationality, eg Japanese, what would you be?
Irish.

7. Ever heard of Swedish hiphop? (hint, it's zazzy)
I have never heard of Swedish hiphop ... isn't Avichi Swedish though? Not hiphop. But still.

8. Matching or odd socks?
MATCHING MATCHING MATCHING. I have a fear of odd socks. WHY WOULD YOU TEAR A SOCK FROM ITS BROTHER??


[source]

9. Out of the following, which is the superior hair colour - blonde, brunette, black or ginger?
BRUNETTE! YEAH FOR BRUNETTES! No not really, I think my (brunette) hair is pretty boring. Ginger is the superior colour.


Oookay, now for the NOMINEES!

Amy @ The Blog Hermit (right back at you)
Ashley @ [insert title here]
Marian @ Ivory Clouds
July @ I Solemnly Swear I Am Up to No Good
Seana @ The Totally Insane Writer
Lydia @ Planet Lydia
Aylee @ Recovering Potter Addict
Ivy Miranda @ Revealed in Time

Some of the old crowd and some new people (new to me, that is) .... check them out!

And the questions:

1. Favourite book series?
2. If you could say one thing to a large group of people, what would it be?
3. What topic do your thoughts keep on coming back all the time?
4. Share with us 2 great songs you've recently discovered and love.
5. What is one food that you've never actually eaten more than a tiny bit of yet are convinced you hate? Or are you not that irrational?
6. If you could have dinner with three authors (living or dead), all at the same time, who would you pick?
7. What's the last a) book, b) song, c) TV show and d) film that have made you cry?
8. One book you loved until it had a terrible ending.
9. What gives you comfort?

Thanks again for the award, Amy! And I hope that where you all are, it's sunnier than here in Glasgow .....

Emily x