What I Ate Today #5

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Continuing on from my last What I Ate Today post, we are still catching up with the photos that I have lying around from last year.

It looks like another day at home for this week. Next week though – well, in two weeks – next two-week, we venture out into the big wide world and eat some food. Stay-tuned or something.

The introductions might also improve when the photos are more current too, but who knows.

On to the food!

Pre-cycling snack

Which I forgot to photograph. And by snack, I mean a big glass of orange juice.

Breakfast time

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Another smoothie.

At least I change the flavours up when I know I will be sharing it with people. This week, I have had four banana smoothies and that’s it. I hope the next WIAT does not have a smoothie in it…

As always, a recipe to accompany such terrible photos.

Banana And Blueberry Smoothie

  • 5 large bananas
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries
  • 750ml water

You know what to do. 

Lunch time

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Oh I love leftover. They make my life so easy.

We had this golden rice concoction for dinner the previous night and since we have yet to master portion sizes, we had plenty of leftovers for us both to have it for lunch the next day.

I whipped this all up in rice cooker as well, and have made it many times since then. It is a delicious easy dinner and might even pass for good vegan food.

Golden Rice And Veggies

Ingredients:

  • Basmati Rice (about 3 cups)
  • Some saffron
  • Some turmeric
  • Some mushrooms, diced
  • A cup of frozen peas
  • One red pepper, diced
  • One onion, diced

I then popped it all in the rice cooker with 5 and a half cups of water and let it do its thing. We did pre-cook the peppers, onion, peas and mushrooms this time, but all the other times we have made this, we have just let the rice cooker do all the hard work.

Dinner time

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So I saw this on Instagram, you know, one of those fancy recipe-video thingies where they have all the details in the video. I thought it looked pretty tasty and I needed some more wife-points so I whipped this up as a surprise dinner for the Mr.

Since I could not re-find the video – of course, I did not bother to like/bookmark or do anything useful to facilitate re-finding – I just made everything up and hoped for the best.

The gist was, put the pastry down, make a pizza-esque topping and roll it. It was actually quite nice.

Since then, I have tried to make this a few times and it now appears to be suffering from The Curse of Too Much Filling.

Since this is a day of “recipes” here is another one.

Puff Pastry Veggie Roll

Ingredients:

  • Readymade puff pastry
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Aubergine, sliced
  • Spring onions, sliced
  • Red peppers, sliced
  • Mushrooms, sliced

I have no idea about quantities, just enough to fill the pastry but not enough that it is impossible to roll and you shove your fingers through the pastry which causes the entire thing to collapse and you have to patch the holes up with the leftover pastry from the sides.

Roll that baby up and pop into the over. I opted for 200℃ for 30 minutes. It ended up like you can see.

Serve with an incredibly boring salad because no one really cares about that.

And that’s another day in the life of my stomach. Anything you fancy from this lot? Cooked anything good lately? 

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Wonderful Wednesday #19

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Did I miss last week?

Goes off to check. 

Apparently so. I like to take the odd week off here and there. All the time, apparently.

I have a to-do list as long as my arm to get done before a certain furry friend comes home on Friday, this blog post being one of those to-dos, along with sorting the paper recycling out, rearranging the house and deciding on the final place for the crate and making a couple of doggy DIYs!

Let’s get to this!

The Big Reveal

Easily the highlight of the last two weeks! The big reveal of which furry friend we’ll be bringing home this Friday! THIS FRIDAY! Time has flown by, but we are feeling prepared and oh so excited.

Whilst we wait, why not have a guess at which of these gorgeous girls will be coming home with us: left, centre or right. Or to use their unofficial puppy names “Pink, Yellow or Purple”.

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Following on from the big reveal, the next highlight was the big garden centre visit with all the puppies, the puppy-parents-to-be, Mummy and Daddy and, of course, our supervising breeder.

Kris and I travelled to Maastricht for an afternoon of pottering about the garden centre whilst the puppies introduced themselves to the big wide world of flower pots, fake grass and riding in trolleys. It was amazing. It was impossible not to smile as our girl jumped about excitedly at all the different things and then went into full toddler-mode once she was too tired but too stubborn to admit it was nap time.

Once we’d all stopped for a cuppa at the cafe though, she soon found herself a comfortable spot under the table and was dead to the world.

Oh puppies. How I love thee.

What we did not love though was trekking the two hours home on trains and busses with 20kg of dog food though. I do not recommend running for a train with a 20kg weight, not one bit. That was defintely not wonderful.

Coming next week: Wonderful Wednesday The Doggy Edition. With plenty of photos (I kid you not, I have already amassed around 150 photos from the first eight weeks of her life!) and all the necessary introductions. Probably not all interesting for those who are not dog-people.

Afternoon walks

Kris had last Thursday off work so we decided to make the most of it and head to the supermarket when it wasn’t busy and then get out for an afternoon walk into town. A little cold and a little overcast, but it was nice to pick up my camera again and get out in the fresh air. Bonus wonderful-ness to finding a slice of town that we haven’t been to before.

It also appears that Spring might even be in the air, I spotted some shoots coming up on our walk and the Sun even came out this week.

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Street Art

We don’t have much in the way of a Street Art Game in our town, but sometimes you come across some interesting bits. Like a giant whale. Or multicoloured zebra crossings.

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Santa Clarita Diet

I saw this mentioned a couple of times in lasts weeks Wonderful Wednesdays so I watched the trailer, showed it to the husband and then we ended up watching four episodes in a row.

It’s not bad.

It definitely makes a change from all the other TV we watch that takes itself far too seriously. What with Supernatural and the constant battle of who is in more danger than who and who can die this season and then there’s The Flash where the entire premise of the show is: it’s Barry’s fault and he needs to run faster.

So yeah, I’m down for some light-hearted TV time over dinner.

Mo Money, Mo Food

And a desperate attempt to introduce the usual food talk with something witty.

Foodie mentions this week go to:

Everything British. Last weekend we went to the British Store and bought ourselves three of almost everything. I know have a healthy supply of Bourbon biscuits, Bisto gravy granules, crumpets, Rich Tea, custard powder, vanilla extract and vinegar. As well as Linda McCartney sausage rolls, curly fries and some Hovis best of both bread. It’s a good time to be British in my kitchen.

PB2 Powder. I’m a big peanut butter fan and it was only a matter of time before I ordered some peanut butter powder just to give it a try. Turns out, it’s pretty good. So far I have enjoyed it in smoothies and on my Wheetabix, for a subtle peanut-y flavour. Two for two with the PB2 original and PB2 chocolate. Next step: trying out the official instructions for actually making peanut butter from the powder. Come back next week to find out how that goes.

BBQ Sauce. BBQ sauce on pizza, BBQ sauce in my burgers, BBQ sauce nowhere else because I can’t think of any other ideas.

More tofu scramble. Specifically this recipe. It was delicious.

Pancakes. Pancakes for dinner, like the 27-year-old adult I am. Does anyone know when the official pancake-eating-day is? I just assumed since lemon juice and pancake mix are in the seasonal aisle that it must be time to eat my weight in pancakes whatever the day.

Mo money, mo potatoes. I thought about being more specific but everything potato related has been great lately. Wedges? Great. Baked? Great. Mashed? Great. The mashed potatoes even turned into a damn good Shepard’s pie-thing that I whipped together for Kris’ birthday.

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The Little Things

Like being able to access the toilet in the hallway now that I have sorted out all the paper recycling. Or the new recycling scheme we have for “soft plastics” which basically means I can now recycling items made of plastic instead of only plastic bottles. Then there are Skype chats with Mum and the Bro, the Beauty and the Beast trailer, new books and the expensive orange juice just for a change. Don’t forget working out that you are not being charged double for your boiler service and it was just a mistake on their part and that glorious time after 1am when Sir Shouts A Lot the neighbour finally shuts up.

All wonderful things.

And that’s all the wonderful for today. Don’t be shy, share some wonderfulness this way! 

Don’t forget to check out all the other Wonderful Wednesday-ers starting with the inspiration Sally, and then the rest of us raggedy bunch:  Kate, Helen, Jo, Cat, Michelle, EmmaSamLauraPetaSarah, JasminEleanor, Mimmi, Isabelle, Martina, Lynsey & another Sarah!

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January Reads

JanReads

After a great reading month in December I am happy to report that January did not disappoint either, even if a few of my comments might suggest otherwise. January was a solid, three-stars, just-good month for books, with a meh, OK and a really, quite good book thrown in for good measure.

This was also the month of short stories, I really enjoyed tucking into something short and sweet when I had a bit of time here and there throughout the month. They are my jam at the moment, especially with the new Audible Channels feature on the Audible app, which came out just before the end of the month.

I like to go for a short story after I have finished a regular book, whilst I am still trying to decide what to read next.

Is it worth mentioning the short stories that I read? I don’t know. I will think about it whilst I put the rest of this post together.

I should probably tell you that there is far too much text in this post, so I fully recommend picking and choosing what you read – using those handy-dandy book covers to help you navigate! – so you still have enough energy at the end to tell me all about what you have been reading lately!

To the books!

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig

Click here to see book synopsis

You are about to read the true story of Father Christmas.
It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible.
If you are one of those people who believe that some things are impossible, you should put this book down right away. It is most certainly not for you.
Because this book is FULL of impossible things.

Are you still reading?

Good.

Then let us begin . . .

A Boy Called Christmas is a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow, and an eleven-year-old boy called Nikolas, who isn’t afraid to believe in magic.

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Since A Christmas Carol did not really enthral me last month, and this just happened to be 99p in the 12 Days of Audible Christmas sale, I thought I would give it a listen. I figured two Christmas themed books would be quite enough festive spirit. That and I really enjoyed The Humans by Matt Haig so I had high expectations of enjoying this book.

Which I did, it was very much a “passed the time just fine” kind of book. I enjoyed the style and tone of the book more than the story itself, since Christmas is not really my thing (except when it only costs me 99p apparently, or is free, in the case of A Christmas Carol). 

It was a fun lighthearted read and that was good enough for me. Oh and Blitzen, he was the highlight of the whole story.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay

Click here to see book synopsis

In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret…

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

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I must say, I do like a Beauty and The Beast retelling. I think I have a soft spot for stories about people who should hate each other falling in love, or seeing behind the mask and all that corny-romantic stuff. I just like it. It’s always good fun.

This book was really great. It was fast-paced so the book went by in no time. I enjoyed the two main characters, and I could have happily have enjoyed the book for another 100 pages. If it had been longer I think the love between the Isra and Gem would have felt a little more genuine or realistic. It wasn’t instant, but it would have been nice to spend more time on it.

My only complaint: I did not like the ending, the end end rather than the actual climatic ending. The very last part just felt too typical, too meh. It did not quite match the impression of Isra and Gem that I had in my head so that was a little disappointing.

Still, really good. Would recommend.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★  ☆ 

 

Trigger Warning: Short Stories and Fictional Disturbances by Neil Gaiman

Click here to see book synopsis

Trigger Warning explores the masks we all wear and the people we are beneath them to reveal our vulnerabilities and our truest selves. Here is a rich cornucopia of horror and ghosts stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry that explore the realm of experience and emotion. In “Adventure Story”–a thematic companion to The Ocean at the End of the Lane–Gaiman ponders death and the way people take their stories with them when they die. His social media experience “A Calendar of Tales” are short takes inspired by replies to fan tweets about the months of the year–stories of pirates and the March winds, an igloo made of books, and a Mother’s Day card that portends disturbances in the universe. Gaiman offers his own ingenious spin on Sherlock Holmes in his award-nominated mystery tale “The Case of Death and Honey”. And “Click-Clack the Rattlebag” explains the creaks and clatter we hear when we’re all alone in the darkness.

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I really enjoyed The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman so when I saw this short story collection at the library, I figured I would give it a read. I have good feelings that Neil Gaiman is going to be an author I will enjoy time and time again.

Now having read it, I’m not too sure how to talk about it. I enjoyed most of the stories, some where just OK, there were none that I did not enjoy. There was also quite a bit of variety in the length, the style and some were also in prose which was pretty interesting.

I don’t know, I guess not enough of them really packed a punch to make me think “yeah, I really enjoyed this”.

Better luck next time!

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Dark Matter by Black Crouch

Click here to see book synopsis

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

27833670I finished this book on the same day as Show Us Your Books last month and it seems that many people loved it. So many, that I began to ask myself whether I really did love it and I had just forgotten. I don’t think I did though.

I didn’t dislike it, but I did not love it either. It was solidly-average. Just good. I enjoyed the concept, I enjoyed how the plot played out, I enjoyed that I saw the twist or reveal before it happened and the ending was just fine. I just wasn’t all that invested in Jason as a character. I enjoyed where he went and what he did, but I didn’t care much for him in the end.

Not too shabby, but not my favourite.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Click here to see book synopsis

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

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This was easily my most anticipated read of the month and probably the one I had the highest expectations for too. It did not quite live up to them, but I still had a good time reading this and I am excited to carry on with the series.

I have to say though, Celaena as a character, she was a little weird. I cannot say that I really “got her”. Sure, I liked Celaena as the Assassin, but Calaena’s girlish alter ego, that was a little strange. She grew on me by the end and I feel like a six book series leaves plenty of room for characters to grow on me even more.

I feel like this book, although not great on its own, will set things up nicely for a really exciting series. Or at least I hope it will.

Rating :: ★ ★  ☆ ☆  
 
 
 
 
 

 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7) by J. K. Rowling

Click here to see book synopsis

It’s no longer safe for Harry at Hogwarts, so he and his best friends, Ron and Hermione, are on the run. Professor Dumbledore has given them clues about what they need to do to defeat the dark wizard, Lord Voldemort, once and for all, but it’s up to them to figure out what these hints and suggestions really mean.

Their cross-country odyssey has them searching desperately for the answers, while evading capture or death at every turn. At the same time, their friendship, fortitude, and sense of right and wrong are tested in ways they never could have imagined.

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Ah Harry, I am so so glad you are now over with and I can donate you to the library. Or sell you, if I can be bothered with the hassle of that.

The first half of this book is just tedious, with the occasional good bit here and there. The second half, when shizz starts to go down, that is where the story is at. That was when I started to enjoy myself again and I was actually happy to have slogged through the last two books to get here.

Then there was the prologue, and that was just urgh.

So yeah, a plain old, I didn’t mind this read.

Rating :: ★ ★  ☆ ☆  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

After Alice by Gregory Maguire

Click here to see book synopsis

When Alice toppled down the rabbit-hole 150 years ago, she found a Wonderland as rife with inconsistent rules and abrasive egos as the world she left behind. But what of that world? How did 1860s Oxford react to Alice’s disappearance?

Ada, a friend of Alice’s mentioned briefly in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is off to visit her friend, but arrives a moment too late — and tumbles down the rabbit hole herself.

Ada brings to Wonderland her own imperfect apprehension of cause and effect as she embarks on an odyssey to find Alice and see her safely home from this surreal world below the world. If Euridyce can ever be returned to the arms of Orpheus, or Lazarus can be raised from the tomb, perhaps Alice can be returned to life. Either way, everything that happens next is After Alice.

24331115Oh so pompous.

The beginning was just boring. I almost DNF-ed it because I didn’t care for anything or anyone and the narrator was making my ears cry. Then Ada eventually fell down the rabbit hole and things got marginally more interesting. I stayed for Ada’s chapters on her adventures in Wonderland (which were meh at best) and then I increased the audiobook speed some more for all the other perspectives that I did not care about.

I even hoovered through one of those chapters and did not feel the least bit regretful about that.

Could have been great. Wasn’t.

Rating :: ★ ★ ☆ ☆  
 
 
 
 
 

 

The Sin Eater’s Daughter (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #1) by Melinda Salisbury

Click here to see book synopsis

Sixteen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, no one speaks to her. No one even looks at her. Because Twylla isn’t a member of the court. She’s the executioner.As the goddess-embodied, Twylla kills with a single touch. So each week, she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love her. Who could care for a girl with murder in her veins? Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to her touch, avoids her.But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose playful smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the goddess. Yet a treasonous romance is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies-a plan that requires an unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?

21936988I listened to this alongside reading Throne of Glass, and there may have been a few moments where I confused the two together. Oops. Not for any particular reason, and it wasn’t as if I couldn’t tell them apart, I just had my plots in a twist.

This book was such a let down. A girl who can kill people with her touch: that sounds cool. A girl who spends the entire book doing nothing (well, unless we count singing and praying) is not cool. I kid you not, absolutely nothing happens in this book, and when it does, it definitely will not be involving Twylla.

This was the book that prompted me to created a “series-lost-interest” shelf on Goodreads so I would not be tempted to pick up the next book if I saw it going cheap under the false hope of “but the next book might be better”.

Rating :: ★  ☆ ☆ ☆ 

 
 
 
 
 

The Burning Page (The Invisible Library #3) by Genevieve Cogman

Click here to see book synopsis

Librarian spy Irene has professional standards to maintain. Standards that absolutely do not include making hasty, unplanned escapes through a burning besieged building. But when the gateway back to your headquarters dramatically malfunctions, one must improvise. And after fleeing a version of Revolutionary France astride a dragon (also known as her assistant, Kai), Irene soon discovers she’s not the only one affected. Gates back to the Library are malfunctioning across a multitude of worlds, creating general havoc. She and Kai are tasked with a mission to St Petersburg’s Winter Palace, to retrieve a book which will help restore order.

However, such plans rarely survive first contact with the enemy – particularly when the enemy is the traitor Alberich. A nightmare figure bent on the Library’s destruction, Alberich gives Irene a tainted ‘join me or die’ job offer. Meanwhile, Irene’s old friend Vale has been damaged by exposure to Chaotic forces and she has no idea how to save him. When another figure from her past appears, begging for help, Irene has to take a good hard look at her priorities. And of course try to save the Library from absolute annihilation. Saving herself would be a bonus.

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I spend a reasonable portion of each book in this series wondering why I am bothering to read it, and yet I still continue to read them.

I don’t particularly care for the characters. Irene: she just makes terrible decisions all the time and is not particularly interesting. Kai: he’s OK, but he is also kind of boring. Vale: OK, I sort of like him, but he also appears to change his personality from book to book, so it is a bit hit and miss as to whether I like the current version of him. For this book however, he was OK.

I dislike the forced romantic interest that seems to just float about and yet go nowhere between Irene and Kai. It just makes no sense whatsoever and doesn’t have a shred of purpose. Sometimes I don’t like the writing because it’s too jumpy.

That said, this book was definitely better, in fact, this book was probably the best of the series so far, and I did have enough fun to make me consider reading the fourth book at some point.

That’s the problem, I have fun so I keep reading them for that, because the idea is good, the world and the overall plot is good, and I just want to enjoy that bit of it.

Rating :: ★ ★  ☆ ☆

The Death Cure (The Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner

Click here to see book synopsis

It’s the end of the line.

WICKED has taken everything from Thomas: his life, his memories, and now his only friends—the Gladers. But it’s finally over. The trials are complete, after one final test.

Will anyone survive?

What WICKED doesn’t know is that Thomas remembers far more than they think. And it’s enough to prove that he can’t believe a word of what they say.

The truth will be terrifying.

Thomas beat the Maze. He survived the Scorch. He’ll risk anything to save his friends. But the truth might be what ends it all.

The time for lies is over.

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Continuing on the theme of books that were just a little meh.

Everything about this series is unmemorable. The plot, the characters, even the titles of the books half the time. It’s hard to get behind these kids and their troubles when I am having a hard time remembering who is who and why I should like them. I almost wish they were unlikable, at least that might have helped to tell them apart.

I could have skipped this whole book and just read the last five or so chapters, just to see how it all ended. Even then, it was a very mediocre ending with a few people dying, but I am not exactly sure who that was.

A very meh end to a progressively meh series which kind of sucks because I really enjoyed The Maze Runner. This was just disappointing. On the up side, Thomas did not sleep (or pass out) half as much in this book compared to the second one.

I would still like to finish this series though, so at some point in the future I will give the prequel The Fever Code a read.

Rating :: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ 

 
 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne, John Tiffany and J. K. Rowling

Click here to see book synopsis

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

29058155I had no plan to read this this month, but then I decided to do a little book swap with a friend so it got bumped to the top of my reading pile.

Ironically, compared to some of the original books in the series, I quite liked this. I had fun, I ignored all the strange plot holes and just enjoyed it for what it was: a quick and fun read for one very cold day spent on the sofa.

Not being a hardcore Harry Potter fan probably helped with my enjoyment too.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Click here to see book synopsis

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows that the man she serves is bent on evil.

Keeping up the deadly charade becomes increasingly difficult when Celaena realizes she is not the only one seeking justice. As she tries to untangle the mysteries buried deep within the glass castle, her closest relationships suffer. It seems no one is above questioning her allegiances—not the Crown Prince Dorian; not Chaol, the Captain of the Guard; not even her best friend, Nehemia, a foreign princess with a rebel heart.

Then one terrible night, the secrets they have all been keeping lead to an unspeakable tragedy. As Celaena’s world shatters, she will be forced to give up the very thing most precious to her and decide once and for all where her true loyalties lie… and whom she is ultimately willing to fight for.

17167166I broke my (imposed for some strange reason) rule of only reading one book from a series in a month to read this one. I’m not sure why I have this rule, probably to make sure my monthly reads have variety to them, or something like that.

Since this book was so much fun though, I am prepared to let that rule slide.

I enjoyed the first book, but this was much better and so much more exciting. So exciting, that it may have kept me up until gone 2am one night, despite being long-time member of the Enjoys Falling Asleep in Books Club. 

If I tried to describe this book, compared to the first one, I would say that it was meatier than the first book. The characters, the plot, both were more complex, had more going on and kept me interested so much more.

I am looking forward to getting stuck into the third book.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

 
 
 

Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1) by Susan Dennard

Click here to see book synopsis

In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.

Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.

Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.

In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

21414439My first impressions of this book was interesting magic and a whole bunch of characters that were going to bring me some reading joy. I definitely went into this book with high hopes. By the end, I was just disappointed.

I wanted to like the characters more, I really did, but meh, I did not. By the end, I was slightly more invested in Iseult and the Bloodwitch (whose name I have now forgotten), but that was about it.

I could be tempted into picking up the second book sometime in the future, just to see if the story improves but maybe not.

Rating :: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Click here to see book synopsis

You do the same thing every day.

You know exactly where you’re going.

You’re not alone.

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .

26233572Oooh, this one was good. I liked it.

I only pick up thrillers (and other books of that nature) when I really fancy something different and I am glad I decided to go for this one.

It was good. OK, it was never going to be book-of-the-month, but as far as thrillers go, I would happily say I liked it and would like to read another Clare Mackintosh book.

The only part which I would have some kind of gripe with would be the motivations behind Zoe being the target. It just didn’t seem realistic, or believable. It was too extreme a reaction when you compared it to the motivations, if that makes sense at all.

Overall, I enjoyed myself and feel like tucking into a few more thrillers now.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ 
 
 
 
 
 


Short Stories

I decided to add a little short story section, for my own reference more than anything, since some of the stories do not exist on Goodreads so I would like to have somewhere to put my thoughts, even if it is just my very relaxed star rating.

Feel free to just ignore this section.

Thomas’s First Memory of the Flare (The Maze Runner #2.5) by James Dashner

A short and sweet look into how The Flare affects people. I liked it. It was nice to have a little read of this after I finished the second book, just to get me back in the mood to read the final book.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ 

Lyra’s Oxford (His Dark Materials #3.5) by Philip Pullman

I really enjoyed the His Dark Materials series, so in my quest to finish up some series this year, I found this short story on Audible and gave it a listen whilst I washed up and prepared dinner. I really enjoyed how The Amber Spyglass ended, so it was nice to get a little more from after that. Short and fun, just what I like. It was all very Lyra. 

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

The King of Rats (The Sin Eater’s Daughter #0.5) Melinda Salisbury

After not really enjoying The Sin Eater’s Daughter this was surprisingly good.

Rating ::★ ★ ★ ☆  

The Assassin and The Princess (Throne of Glass #1.1) by Sarah J. Maas

Usually I leave the short stories until I have finished a series, but I was stuck waiting around one evening so I decided to read this and The Princess and The Captain. It was a good idea, since I was still umm-ing and ahh-ing over Celaena and how much I enjoyed her as a character, this little story definitely helped her grow on me some more.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ 

The Assassin and The Captain (Throne of Glass #1.2) by Sarah J. Maas

Likewise, it was nice to have a little scene with Calaena and Chaol. It is definitely a good short story when it entices you into starting the next book in the series right away.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★  

The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone (Sherlock Holmes) by Arthur Conan Doyle

And then I fell into a hole of listening to some of short stories on Audible, starting with this Sherlock Holmes one. I read the complete collection of Sherlock Holmes back in 2015 but I could not resist dipping my toe back into them again.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★  

Hero: A Simon Serrailler Short Story by Susan Hill

Another “oooh, a free short story!”. Nothing special, I did not really care for it and I need to learn not to get over enthusiastic and listen to everything possible. It probably would have been better if I was already interested in the series that it belongs too. Lesson learnt: pick and choose your short stories with care, less willy-nilly listening.

Rating :: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ 

Misery by Anton Chekhov

Short, sweet and packed an emotional punch.

Rating :: ★ ★ ★  


Currently Reading

Is there space for a currently reading section? Just about.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

I have decided to re-read this from now until the end of time. Or however long it takes me to get through this beast of a collection. It’s going to be good. At a story here and there, I might have it finished by the end of the year.

The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson

My current thoughts: I’m a little disappointed, I expected so much more from this book. But, there are a 100 pages to go, so who knows, maybe it will redeem itself.

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas

Another book I am just about to finish. A bit slow, a bit frustrating but I am really enjoying the end.

And that is everything. That is a tonne of text. Apologies again. Here’s hoping February is just as great. Feel free to share any and all book thoughts below! This is my favourite time for comments and chit-chat so don’t be shy!

Linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books.

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