42 down and 10 to go!

Greetings you lovely lot, how are things? As the month of October is almost over (how in the hell did that happen by the way?!?!) it’s time for a bit of a reading recap and I’m delighted to say that I’ve now read 42 books towards my reading challenge for 2013, so that means just another ten to go – whoopee to me. I’m actually ridiculously impressed with myself, especially after a few months of rubbish reading habits, so just ten more to read in the 10 weeks before the end of the year – not much pressure then! This month I managed to read four brilliant books and I refound my reading rhythm, hooray to that. About bloody time I say! My reads this month have been a mix of ones I’ve been meaning to read for ages and ages, old favourite and an impulse buy. I think this variety, and the variety of different genres that the books fall into, really helped me find my reading rhythm and meant that I enjoyed each and every book as often when things get a bit samey it can seem a bit stale and not work. At least for me anyway!
October reads
The Little Coffee Shop in Kabul – this was an impulse buy and I really enjoyed it. It was great to visit a country and to read about a situation I’d never pondered: How do the people living in these war-torn places survive and go about everyday life? It was interesting learning a lot about the customs and traditions of Afghanistan too. It really was fascinating, although the book could have done with not ending so perfectly and all perfectly tied up as it seemed a bit too forced.

Treasure Island – I’m ashamed I’ve not read this book before, I mean it’s a classic after all. Whilst I did enjoy it I don’t think it’s a recommended read or a repeat book for me. It’s just not my sort of thing! But at least I’ve now read it and don’t feel like I’m as badly read anymore!

When God Was a Rabbit – My friend lent me this book ages ago and somehow I’ve never gotten round to reading it. I had such high expectations after all I’ve heard about it and I’m so pleased that it definitely lived up to these expectations, it really was absolutely brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The fact I finished in in two days is proof enough of that! It was absolutely beautifully written and such a wonderful insight into one persons life. I loved the way it showed one woman’s important relationships and it felt so realistic and not forced or too fictional. Simply wonderful

Catching Fire – I haven’t read this book for a couple of years so with the film out soon I needed to reread it and I’m so glad I did as I’d forgotten pretty much the entire plot! I remembered the key points: the old victors have to head back into the Hunger Games, but basically everything else had spilled out of my head. What a total numpty I am. Now that I’ve remembered what happened I’m flabbergasted I didn’t remember sooner as it’s such so brilliant isn’t it!? I’m now super excited for the film to arrive,. why is it not out this weekend?

What about you, what lovely books have you been reading recently and recommendations for me to add to the ever-growing pile?


Augusts reads – five brilliant books

A good book is very magical

The wisest of woods from the queen of writing – J. K. Rowling. (source)

Before I sat down to write this post I thought I’d read barely anything in August, hence why this post is arriving a week into September. As really what’s the point of updating you on my reading challenge when I haven’t got anything to update on? However, I then realised the point of this blog and in particular this challenge was to up date you on my reading habits on a monthly basis, it was a way of being held accountable for my reading. If I want to start a challenge – then surely I have to finish it. So I got over myself and got writing, only to realise I’d been wrong. I actually had a good reading month! After all five books is really quite a good amount for just one month. Although really if I think about it I’ve not read anything for most of the month, as the first three books were read in just one week. Thank goodness Wales happened as since then I’ve been finding it really hard to get into any book I pick up. I’m hoping that with my upcoming week in Portugal things will improve after all I’ll have lots of time and not a lot else to focus on (apart from food!), here’s hoping that plan works anyway! So what did I think about the five books that I did read, well…

  1. First up was the work manuscript, which I obviously can’t tell you about as it’s not out till next year, but it was honestly such a brilliant read! It’s the third book in a brilliant series, and I’m so pleased that this book doesn’t disappoint, it’s really very good.
  2. Book number two was Heroes of Olympus: Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan. I’ve mentioned in the past how much I enjoy these books and this still stands. It was really good to learn more about the characters and see how the story is developing. I can’t wait to read book three as I think it’s going to be brilliant when the two groups of characters start working together – I think we’re in for some trials and tribulations, and of course humour. Oh I love these books.
  3. Harlan Coben is one of my favourite crime writers, and Six Years is another excellent book. It really does keep you guessing until the end and he creates a really interesting character who is faced with some really interesting situations and decisions. I can’t even fathom how you would react when finding out some of the things he does. I highly recommend it!
  4. The Enemy by Charlie Higson – This book was truly amazing, I loved it! It’s a books with such brilliant writing and a great story, coupled with hideously gory parts (so gory that I almost felt sick!). It’s also a wonderfully interesting concept, which has you second guessing what you would do in a similar situation – I still don’t know. I also couldn’t help but loving all the characters. My final thought on this book is how it reminds me so much with Lord of the Flies, in the way that it gives children responsibility and questions how they would react.
  5. Last weekend I finished Private Down Under, which is by James Patterson. I’m a big fan of the Private series and you’ll be pleased to know that this book is just as good as the rest of the books in the series. The best thing about this book – apart from the fast pace, interesting characters and intriguing cases – is that it’s reminded me how much I want to go back to Sydney. I love that city so much and it’s great to read about areas that I know, even if only a little.

So that’s what I’ve been reading – what about you, what did you read in August and what did you think about each book? I’d love to know!

One month, four epic books.

So whilst I’ve only read four books over the last month they have all been amazing reads and I highly recommend them. First up was Meg Rosoff’s exceptional How I Live Now. Wow, what a book. It’s so beautifully written with intriguing characters and a compelling story. Because it’s so wonderful to read it’s easy to look past a questionable relationship between the main character Daisy and her cousin.I also love that you don’t really have any idea about what year the book is set in and that it doesn’t really matter. This book most definitely lived up to my super high expectations!

Paper Towns is only the second John Green book I’ve read. I know a lot of people love John Green’s novels, but I’m not quite at their levels of obsession yet. At least I wasn’t until reading this brilliantly executed book. It’s a brilliant story about friendship, love, the lengths you go to for friends and about the greatest gift you can give someone is to let them go. It’s also a brilliant road trip story and mystery novel all in one. I honestly can’t explain how much I truly adore this book.

The end of this month has been all about James Patterson’s thrillers. These books are most definitely my guilty pleasure. They are so easy to read and possess brilliant twists and turns. With Private Berlin and I, Michael Bennett, James Patterson is most definitely on top form. The ending of I, Michael Bennett is one of the most unexpected endings out of all of his books, especially considering there are no gruesome deaths! What about you, what have you been reading in July?

Three Plays. Three Reviews.

So as I mentioned here I went to three plays in just one week, yes three. Even I can appreciate that this is slightly excessive. I mean honestly I spent more time in a theatre than I spent awake in my flat. That’s just obscene. In my defence it certainly wasn’t planned like that – it just happened. We booked tickets for The Cripple of Inishmann about six months ago as soon as tickets were available because it starred Daniel Radcliffe – it would have been rude not to. That was on Wednesday night. Then we wanted to take our Dad to see The Hot House with Simon Russel Beale and John Simm for Father’s Day as he’s a massive fan of SRB and the only free night that we could get tickets for was the Monday (as we left it soooo late, oops – must plan better). The final theatre trip was on the Friday to see The Ladykillers and this was very last-minute (tickets were only confirmed on Friday morning) and these were free through work – one of the few and far between perks of my job! So yes a pretty fantastic week of theatre! Below are my mini reviews on each – you definitely have to see every single one of them as they are all absolutely fantastic. All very different but all awesome.

The Hot House – The staging of this play was awesome – they’d split it in to two, and would darken half of it when it wasn’t in use (with the actors still on there). The play itself was random to say the least, but beautifully acted and actually heart-breaking and too realistic at times. As per usual Simon Russell Beale was on fire and the rest of the cast were a revelation too. Well worth a watch.

The Cripple of Inishmann – it was really refreshing to see a play that I couldn’t guess the ending of or one where I didn’t know what was coming next. This unexpectedness was made better by the hilariousness of the play and the absolutely amazing performances by everyone. Daniel Radcliffe was absolutely out-of-this-world and amazing. You actually believed he was an Irish cripple, he was that good. The rest of the cast was just as good and there were some brilliant moments with eggs!

The Ladykillers – The best thing about this was the set, which was completely amazing and contained all sorts of extras that you weren’t aware were there until they used them. The cast was absolutely brilliant and really made the farce aspect of this play work without it being too silly. As for the little old lady in this play she was sensational. She was on stage pretty much the entire time and was just unbelievably good.

I have to say going to the theatre is one if my favourite things about London. I’m so lucky to be near such lovely stuff. Have you seen anything particularly good lately? Any recommendations?

Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid

So before I start my review of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid let’s make a pact to ignore the fact that I’m only on movie three of twenty five. Clearly I was having a moment of silly when the idea to watch 25 new films in 2013 popped into my head. So thanks for not dwelling on this severe error and let’s get down to the business of reviewing this film.

This promises to be one of the quickest review I’ve ever done, as I really did not enjoy this film. I tried to watch it on Saturday night and just did not get into it. I found it really boring, had no idea what was going on and just found that I couldn’t enjoy it. So I gave up after half an hour. Really bad of me I know, I totally should have persevered but I just couldn’t face it. I knew I’d sit through the whole thing bored out of my mind, so it seemed far more logical to watch something else – The Fall. For me this was a classic case of me assuming a film would be absolutely brilliant as I’d heard so many good things, when actually I’d built it up to much in my head and it couldn’t come close to meeting those expectations. Oops, but on the plus side I’ve ticked another film off my list – yeah to me!


March book reading failure

Well March was a dreadful month for me in the reading department as I completed just one book – what a failure. I’m not sure what was wrong with me I just couldn’t concentrate on a single book for most of the month. It was all I could do last month to catch up on blogs, I just had no concentration whatsoever! So what was the one book that I got through? Well it was Giovanna Fletcher’s Billy and Me which was ace. It was super easy to get in to (what i needed) and was just enjoyable and easy to read. Not only was it an easy read it was also so good, it was a basic story: girl meets boy, they fall in love, problems occur and then there’s a happy ending. Yet it wasn’t as predictable as you’d imagine, also it was well written with likeable characters and unexpected twists and turns. I’d highly recommend it – it makes the perfect summer or holiday read.

I did attempt another book in March – The German Boy – but I just couldn’t get into it so I decided to give up on it. Not something I’m usually a fan of doing, but I gave it a fair try and I just couldn’t focus or seem to care about it once I was 50 pages in so I guess it just wasn’t for me!

So after a dismal attempt at the 2013 book challenge in March I’m ridiculously far behind in my reading challenge. Oopsy. Fingers crossed April is a better month for my concentration and reading abilities, as I definitely can’t afford another rubbish reading month if I hope to complete my challenge of reading 52 book in one year.

Fun time lately

This week has been a fantastic week, it has flown by and it’s been absolutely loads of fun! It started with me having great intentions of snacking on healthy things rather than the usual collection of chocolatey goods. With this idea in mind I took all sorts of healthy snacks with me to work on Monday including  grapes, a banana and Graze boxes, sadly I failed to ignore the pull of the chocolate and I still have one Graze box on my desk, oops! Oh well, maybe this coming week then? On Monday night I watched Shrek with work friends and I still can’t decide what I thought about it. I have mixed feelings about it – I fear it was perhaps a bit too pantomimey, although I did enjoy the song at the end and all the nursery rhyme characters! The penny sweets from Hope and Greenwood were a revelation though – you can’t beat fried eggs and pink mushrooms can you!?

The Big Egg Hunt Launched on Tuesday and I headed to Covent Garden to see all the lovely eggs, this National Rail egg is my favourite one I think. Aren’t the colours wonderful and the papercut of the London skyline is just lovely and delicate, so not what I expected from the National Rail at all, but well done them! Tuesday night was full of pancakes, we made a tower of about 15 and had lots of scrumptious toppings, I have to say mini marshmallows on a pancake is certainly a revelation. I will definitely be a lot more pancakes with that topping in the future! I also got a bit carried away with Vine when I was making pancakes, it was sooooo much fun. Feel free to follow me on Vine if you’ve started to use it, I’m Fi Evans on there.

On Friday I headed to Peppa Pig World for a work meeting and it was such an amazing place! I wish I was a 4-year-old all over again so I could have felt the excitement that kids do when visiting it. It’s truly so much fun. We had a tour of the park and even got to go on the Dinosaur Ride – AMAZING!!! On Friday night there was a Disney Marathon with friends, where we watched Cinderella, Mulan and Beauty and the Beast and ate Disney inspired food. We had Ursula mac ‘n’ cheese parcels, Ratatouille inspired quiche, pesto pastries, princess cupcakes, princess popcorn and Minnie Mouse Cupcakes. The food was totally delicious and the films as wonderful as I remember. I do feel sad for our neighbours though as there was some interesting noises when we were singing – and I use the term singing in the loosest sense!

Saturday was a totally relaxed day with a little bit of pootling round the shops (I returned with no shopping bags though, hooray!), a trip to the cinema to watch Beautiful Creatures and a lot of slobbing on the sofa – perfect! Sunday in comparison was full on! It started with a 9am run along the river from The National to Southwark Bridge, then all the way to Westminster and then back to The National Theatre. It was 3.75 miles in total, in just over 40 minutes, so I think this bodes well for next weeks 10k. It was lovely to be out in London so early and see the city at it’s best, it really is so beautiful! Plus I also saw the Dalek Invasion on Westminster Bridge – very random! After an early morning run it was back to the flat for Lau and I as where we cooked our first ever roast dinner for a friend. It was a little bit stressful at times getting everything cooked at once, but it was definitely a huge success. It was simply delicious, the chicken was perfectly cooked and really moist and the potatoes were wonderfully crispy – I’m so impressed with myself. Thanks are due to the BBC Good Food site though as we did have to turn to this recipe and this one too to get it all done! The lovely roast was followed by a classic film, Three Men and a Little Lady, which I haven’t watched for years and absolutely adore. It’s just so brilliant, I think I’ve watched it about 150 times in my life, yet it still gets me at all the same points – Ted Danson’s vicar reveal, the liver mousse, the ingenious rap, playing hide-and-seek game with the butler and of course the cringe-making Fiona Shaw when she’s coming on to the wonderful Tom Selleck. Gosh I love that film. The Perfect Sunday was rounded off by snoozes on the sofa, finishing Insurgent, blogging and TV watching – win!

Bookity Books

So I’m a whole month in to my 2013 Reading Challenge and things are going fairly well. So well in fact that I’ve upped my reading challenge goal from 40 to 52 – yep that’s one book a week – fingers crossed I can keep up my current pace and make it! I’ve read four books so far and below are my very mini reviews of each. And now back to my current read, The Kane Chronicles: The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan, which I’m loving!

Bloodlines: The Indigo Spell, Richelle Mead
I was lucky enough to get a sneaky peek at this book over Christmas – one of the joys of working in publishing! And it was absolutely brilliant! It’s the best book in the Bloodlines series so far and you learn A LOT of stuff. Plus, and perhaps most importantly, the relationship between Sydney and Adrian really develops. I found myself squealing/getting angry with both characters a number of times due to their actions. I can hardly wait for book 4 in the series as this one ended with lots of questions!

Temptation Island, Victoria Fox
At the start of the year I was really after a book that wouldn’t require thought or effort to read. You know the sort of book that is easy to get into and keep up with. And this book was just that and bonus it was really, really good!  The story was entwined and switched between characters, all of who were super rich, gorgeous and talent, which is always fun to read during a dark and dismal January! The story was good and kept you guessing until the very end of the books. My only qualm is that I never really felt empathy with the characters, that’s probably due to the aforementioned perfect lifes they seemed to lead.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, Jonas Jonasson
This is a great book and probably one of the few books that has the synopsis as it’s title! I was recommended this book by a friend who said I wouldn’t be able to put it down. And she was right. I was thoroughly gripped, it was such good fun. The story was well written, with brilliant characters and an elephant – no seriously there was! Plus it was great to see some massive huge world-changing events from one man’s perspective. So fascinating!

The Butterfly Summer, Anne-Marie Conway
I finished this book at the end of last week and I can’t say I was a fan. While I did race through it, it definitely felt like I was only reading to finish it rather than because I wanted to know what happened. Which isn’t really ideal! I struggled to really like any of the characters and I felt the book was quite obvious with where it was going. Also it didn’t help that there was an odd supernatural element to this book, but as ridiculous as in Audrey Niffenegger’s The Fearful Symmetry, but none the less not ideal!



I watched the second movie from my 25 classic films I MUST watch list at the weekend and I absolutely loved it! I think Casablanca is now on my top ten favourite films of all time list, it was so brilliant and 100% lived up to my super-high expectations! I’m so pleased about this as I wanted to love this film and was worried I wouldn’t after the catastrophe that was Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I think it helped that the characters were flawed but likeable and that it was a genuinely interesting plot; yes you could guess certain things would happen but that certainly didn’t spoil it. And there was still enough of a plot that you couldn’t work out yourself, thanks to all the double-crossing and lies. Plus it was a genuinely funny film.


  • The quotes that I didn’t know I knew! Obviously I knew ‘Here’s looking at you, kid‘ was from Casablanca. But I hadn’t realised that ‘Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine‘ and ‘We’ll always have Paris‘ were from Casablanca and I love that I now know this!
  • Sam, how brilliant was Sam?! He was such a nice guy and a brilliant friend to Rick but most importantly his voice was wonderful. When he was singing ‘As Time Goes By’ it was one of my favourite moments of the entire film. Also, how did I not know this song was from Casablanca – mind blown!
  • Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman were amazing! Having never seen either of them in a film before I was expecting them to be brilliant but I can’t believe how good they actually were. Also their chemistry was amazing, what an excellent pairing they are.
  • Victor Laszlo, Elsa’s husband was a great character. I loved how even though you wanted Elsa and Rick to end up together as they truly loved each other, you still rooted for and liked Victor, which isn’t usually the case in these sorts of films.
  • Captain Louis Renault is another brilliant character. I love his role throughout the story and how, in a way, he ends up saving the day!
  • Dislikes:

  • I only really have one bug-bear with this film and that’s the overuse of the music from ‘As Time Goes By’. Literally this tune is used the entire way through and to be honest it gets a bit repetitive. I think it would have been better to create another tune to use throughout, as I’ve been humming the song repeatedly ever since and during the film it was rather distracting!
  • Favourite Bit:
    I absolutely loved the ending, it was absolutely perfect. It was wonderful to see what two people will do for someone who they love that much. Both Rick and Elsa knew that they were sacrificing something for someone they loved, and putting someone else’s happiness above their own and that’s a phenomenal thing. What a beautiful way to end a thoroughly wonderful film.

    Gone Girl

    I bought this book as I’d heard good things about it from a couple of different people and was intrigued. Once I’d seen the cover, which I just love for its simplicity and beautiful finishes, I knew I had to own it! Thankfully it didn’t disappoint, this is the first book I’ve read in a while that I’ve absolutely devoured and LOVED! It’s superb and I can’t recommend it enough.

    Although weirdly for a book I loved so much, it took me a while to get into it. but having perserved for 100 pages or so I seemed to turn a corner and was gripped by the story. Without giving too much away this book is about how well you really know your partner and follows the story of Nick and what happens when his wife goes missing. Told from a number of different people’s perspectives the book keeps twisting and turning until the very last page and won’t leave you disappointed. Even after I’d finished the book I was still thinking about the characters and what had happened. Wondering if I’d have done the same or if there was any other way you could or would act in the same circumstances. To be honest I’m still not sure you could do anything other than what the author decided on.

    Interestingly enough the characters in the book aren’t that likeable yet I still enjoyed the book, not something that usually happens. I think this is down to Gillian Flynn’s unbelievable skill in creating characters that you come to care about and empathise with even if they are all incredibly flawed.

    This is a riveting read and one of the best crime and thriller books I’ve read in a while. A definite must read!

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