The Awakening + The Struggle (Vampire Diaries #1+2) by

The Awakening & The Struggle (The Vampire Diaries, #1-2)

Title: The Awakening + The Struggle
Author: L.J.Smith
Series: Vampire Diaries #1+2
Publication: 1st January 2007

My Thoughts (2)


The Awakening: Elena Gilbert is used to getting what she wants and she wants mysterious new boy, Stefan. But Stefan is hiding a deadly secret – a secret that will change Elena’s life for ever …

The Struggle: Elena is torn between her boyfriend, Stefan, and his brother, Damon. But these brothers hide dark secrets and a tragic past that threatens them all. Damon wants to lead Elena astray – and he’d rather kill Stefan than let him possess her …

My Thoughts

I dragged myself through this book so I could tick off the challenge, from Around the Year In 52 Books Challenge, of reading one of the 100 best YA books. Imagine my frustration when I realised I got confused and it’s actually Vampire Academy that’s on the list, not this. On the bright side, at least this isn’t in the top 100 best YA Books because it’s truly awful.

The first book was originally written in 1999, so years before Twilight. However, it was hard not to draw connects between the two as it’s incredibly similar. They both had annoying and whiny main characters, stupid instalove and frustrating writing. This obviously reflects worse on Twilight than this book. I can’t say I was overly impressed with either of the books but at least Twilight was slightly better writing and marginally better characters.

The main character, Elena, is blonde, skinny and self claimed queen of the school. She prides herself on getting any boy she wants, so when a dark, handsome boy walks past her, completely blanking her, she instantly dumps her boyfriend and won’t rest until this stranger is hers. Rolling your eyes yet? It get worse. She is just a horrible person, she is manipulative, obssessive and egocentric.

Of course this dark, brooding stranger is a vampire and is staying away from her because she looks exactly like the love of his life from his past. He spends half of the first book ignoring her and when they finally do talk BANG they’re together and “in love”. God knows why, maybe because they’re both as dry as each other?

Then there’s Stefan’s brother, Damon. He’s the consistant “bad guy” who sexy and mysterious. Guess what, he want Elena too. Funny that. Turns out he was in love with the girl that Elena looks like too.

Guess I should have learnt from the TV series. Wasn’t overly impressed with that either.

My Thoughts (1)



Sunday Smiles

sunday smiles

My Sunday Smiles

What’s made you smile this week?

Sunday Smiles is a weekly meme created by me at Tumbling into Wonderland Books. It runs every Sunday. Want to find out more or join in the fun? Check out the details here.

How to be Champion: My Autobiography by Sarah Millican

How to be Champion: My Autobiography

Title: How to be Champion: My Autobiography
Author: Sarah Millican
Series: N/A
Publication: 5th October 2017 by Trapeze
Genre: Humor, Autobiography, Popular culture.

My Thoughts (2)


Part autobiography, part self help, part confession, part celebration of being a common-or-garden woman, part collection of synonyms for nunny, Sarah Millican’s debut book delves into her super normal life with daft stories, funny tales and proper advice on how to get past life’s blips – like being good at school but not good at friends, the excitement of IBS and how to blossom post divorce.

If you’ve ever worn glasses at the age of six, worn an off-the-shoulder gown with no confidence, been contacted by an old school bully, lived in your childhood bedroom in your thirties, been gloriously dumped in a Frankie and Benny’s, cried so much you felt great, been for a romantic walk with a dog, worn leggings two days in a row even though they smelt of wee from a distance, then this is Your Book. If you haven’t done those things but wish you had, This Is Your Book. If you just want to laugh on a train/sofa/toilet or under your desk at work, This Is Your Book.

My Thoughts

There’s no GCSE in fingering.

If you’ve seen Sarah Millican’s stand up, you’ll know her as being rude, crude and naughty. She like cakes and cats.

This book is very raw and honest. She tells us about what she knows the public perceives as her flaws, physical and mental health, falling in love, rise in comedy and everything else in between. There are some wonderful photos and anecdotes. At the end of each book are some ‘self help’ tips which reflect on what she’s said in the chapter.

As she’s a comedian, I expected it to make me laugh. I was not disappointed, I laughed. A lot. Sometimes just chuckles or snorting but also cackling, loudly.

A joy to read.

My Thoughts (1)



Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #1)

Title: Red Sister
Author: Mark Lawrence
Series: Book of the Ancestors #1
Publication: 4th April 2017 by Ace
Genre: Fantasy

My Thoughts (2)


I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

My Thoughts

IT IS IMPORTANT, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. For Sister Thorn of the Sweet Mercy Convent, Lano Tacsis brought two hundred men.

This book had one of the best opening I’ve read, well, ever.

The first chapter begins with “No child truly believes they will be hanged.” Is that not fabulous? Obviously, not for the child.

I’ve not read a Mark Lawrence book before but I have been meaning to. I certainly wasn’t disappointed. It has everything you want: death, violence and humor.

The book centers around Nona, an orphaned child sold for the potential power in her blood. Due to a series of events she ends up almost being hanged for murder until she is brought to Sweet Mercy’s Convent for Young Girls. At this convent they work through the classes, these train them in the four paths for the novices to take once they become nuns.

  • Bride of the AncestorHoly Sister – Honors the Ancestors and keeps the faith.
  • Martial SisterRed Sister – Warriors skilled in armed and unarmed combat.
  • Sister of DiscretionGrey Sister – Masters of stealth and potions with shadow work.
  • Mystic SisterHoly Witch – Walks the Path and manipulates threads.

The reason I gave four stars rather than five was because the beginning and the end of the book were amazing. It was the middle that was an issue for me. It was so long that when I came back to the book I found it hard to recall everything that had happened, especially because there were so many characters too. I will probably re-read this again before reading book two.

My Thoughts (1)


October 2017 Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap Up (1)

The first half term is down and we’re now on that looong countdown to the Christmas holidays. I love being in autumn because it’s a great excuse to pull out all my big, baggy jumpers and my blankets and they start to bring out all the yummy christmas drinks. October was a great month for me! I got back into reading – being ill helped that, positives to everything guys! – I went on holiday and I got a promotion. Woo!

Books Read in October

Wolf by Wolf

Wolf by Wolf  (Wolf by Wolf #1) by Ryan Graudin


Saga (Saga Vol.1) by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples


Fables: Legends in Exhile (Fables Vol.1) by Bill Willingham

Parsnips, buttered

Parsnips, Buttered: How to win at modern life, one email at a time by Joe Lycett

How to be champion.png

How to be Champion by Sarah Millican

Red Sister.png

Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

Vampire Diaries.png

The Awakening + The Struggle (Vampire Diaries #1 + 2) by L.J.Smith

Blog Posts

sunday smiles

Sunday Smiles – Reading and payday treats

Sunday Smiles – Book buying out of control

Sunday Smiles – Book buying really out of control + children’s insights to the world

Sunday Smiles – Half Term – Scotland


I haven’t been doing these recently. The topics just haven’t grabbed my attention or I’ve looked at it too late. Hopefully November will be different. 🙂

Tumbling into Wonderland Books


Books I Bought In August.


Blood for Blood (Wolf by Wolf #2) by Ryan Graudin

The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Wolf by Wolf: Blood for Blood: Book 2 by [Graudin, Ryan]The Lion Inside by [Bright, Rachel]Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)


How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Freinds? by Jake Tolen and Mark Teague

Big Little Elephant by Valeri Gorbachev

How to be Champion by Sarah Millican

The Witcher (Graphic Novel) by

Saga (Saga Vol. 1) by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Parsnips, Buttered : How to win at modern life one email at a time by Joe Lycett

Open Very Carefully by Nick Bromley

Zog and the Flying Doctors by Julia Donaldson

The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman

Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime by Val McDermid

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Hufflepuff paperback edition by J.K.Rowling

The Witcher Volume 1 by [Tobin, Paul]Saga Vol. 1 by [Vaughan, Brian]


Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Currently Reading

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Image result for murder on the orient express book

Looking Forward To In November…

  • My Birthday! We’ve booked to see Book of Mormon which I am very excited about! I’ve been wanting to go and see it for absolutely ages!
  • We’re going to see my favourite band – Rise Against.
  • An eye test. I know this might be a bit unusual but I’ve been getting stinking headaches for a while, so I’m praying that maybe the opticians will be able to fix it. Please?

How was your October?

Sunday Smiles

sunday smiles

My Sunday Smiles


It’s been half term! Woo! I did absolutely no work this week, which has been absolute bliss but I’m definitely regretting it today. 5 hours later and I’m just about done!

We booked to go away to Edinburgh for a few days, which was very lovely – you can see everything I did here. Highlights were definitely cocktails and food at the Boozy Cow, seeing baby koalas, squirrel monkeys and pandas at the zoo, and the cannon going off at the castle.


What’s made you smile this week?

Sunday Smiles is a weekly meme created by me at Tumbling into Wonderland Books. It runs every Sunday. Want to find out more or join in the fun? Check out the details here.


We’ve figured out that October is a really good time to go on holiday – it’s not too cold, not too expensive, there are less people around, and things are still open! We would love to do the Edinburgh Fringe but it’s always really expensive so the city would have to do!
We spent three days in Edinburgh. We didn’t manage to do everything but, depending on what you want to do, you probably wouldn’t want to spend more than 5 days.

As you’ve probably gathered from my previous posts, I spend a lot of time walking around the cities rather than getting public transport, Edinburgh was no different. The only time we used public transport was to get to the zoo (£1.60 for a single) and the tram from the airport (you can buy a return at the machines). It was super easy which is always a plus.

Edinburgh Castle

Right at the top of the hill, this is pretty hard to miss. It’s really easy to get tickets on the day, we didn’t have to wait for that long. We didn’t get an audio guide, instead we followed a free tour guide, who was brilliant and wore some funky tartan trousers, so we instantly liked him.

There were some really cool things here! The exhibition leading to the Crown Jewels was really good, lots of it was 3D. It told the story of the jewels and the monarchs before you finally saw them. The hall next to it was designed by boat makers, so the roof is made just out of wood and is structured just like a boat. It also has the oldest building in Edinburgh, a chapel, which is still used for weddings today – there was one on while we were there!

The best bit is definitely the firing of the gun at 1pm. You need to get there early to get a good sport – people start lining up from about 12.30.

As it is so high, it is quite windy and some parts are a bit steep, so wear good shoes and wrap up warm. There’s also a whisky shop to help warm you up. You’re treated to some lovely views of Edinburgh though!

Edinburgh Zoo

This was quite possibly my favourite thing of the whole trip! We just had a simply smashing day!

I would strongly recommend booking tickets online in advance as there is a massive queue if you don’t, and you have to book separate (free) tickets to see the pandas, these go really quickly if you haven’t booked in advance.

We were a little disappointed quite a few of the exhibits were closed for refurbishment and the top part of the zoo was closed off (tigers and lions) due to mating season. This was quite disappointing as I love tigers and red pandas. However, there were lots of other things that made up for this!

Edinburgh is the only place in the UK to have pandas and koala’s – and they have a baby koala! We were really lucky to see both! Unsurprisingly, these are both really busy, so we popped back later in the day to see the koalas and were treated to seeing the baby koala (a joey) out!

The other highlights of the day were seeing the penguin parade, where the penguins (by choice) do a walk around the green, and a baby squirrel monkey putting their face up against the glass to look at my camera. It was freaking adorable.

J.K.Rowling Links

J.K.Rowling lives in Edinburgh, and wrote much of Harry Potter there, so there are lots of nods to her all around the city. Our first stop was The Elephant House which is where she wrote a lot of the books. It has a bit on it’s logo saying it’s the birth place of Harry Potter, they have something on their shirts and there’s a frame on the wall inside with a few images and new clippings of her. Other than that, they haven’t gone HP mad, which is lovely to see. The toilets were something of a shock. Fans have write messages EVERYWHERE. Literally. On the frames, mirror, walls, door, hand drier… everywhere. It’s pretty incredible.

Just around the corner is the Greyfriars Kirkyard. In there, you can find the grave of Thomas Riddell and William McGonagall. If you look through the gates, you can see what is now a private school which use to be a school for orphaned children, and is thought to be the inspiration for Hogwarts.

The road along is Victoria Street, which is through to be the inspration for Diagon Alley, with it’s tall and brightly coloured shops. There is an incredible HP shop which reminded me a lot of House of Mina Lima.

Because she won the Edinburgh Award, where her hand prints and name can be found in the City Chambers under the bridge. I don’t think many people knew they were there because we got a lot of odd looks for going there.

We didn’t manage to get to Spoon Cafe, which is another location that she wrote lots of the books. We did have a look around the Writer’s Museum but were disappointed to find that the book had left!


Other things we did…

Greyfriars Bobby – A statue of a little terrier which became famous for spring 14 years guarding the grave of it’s owner until he died. His statue is outside the graveyard, and he has his own grave inside which people place flowers on daily. And someone also placed a stick.

Carlton Hill – Included in the city’s UNESCO World Heritage Site, up here you can find the National Monument and Dugald Stewart Monument. There are beautiful views of the city and Arthur’s Seat.

Scott Monument – Right by Waverly Station, in the centre of the city, this is really hard to miss. It’s the biggest monument for an author in Europe – Sir Walter Scott, author of The Bride of Lammermoor and Ivanhoe.  He also conducted the search that found the hidden Crown Jewles. We didn’t, but you can climb up it to the top.

Museum of Childhood – We heard really good things about this. Unfortunately it was closed for refurbishment!

Holyrood Palace – The official Royal residence in Scotland.  We couldn’t be bothered to go in, but it was pretty to look at.

Writer’s Museum – A huge collection of books, personal items and portraits of Robert Burns (Auld Lang Syne), Robert Louis Stevenson (Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Treasure Island) and Sir Walter Scott.

Hume Statue – A statue of the philosopher David Hume, with a shiny toe from people rubbing it for good luck or to absorb his knowledge.



We went to so many amazing cafes in Edinburgh! I swear I’ve put on at least a stone over the three days!

Deacon’s House Cafe –  Deacon Brodie was a cabinet maker and Edinburgh city Councillor who had a secret life as a burglar. He inspired the novel The Stange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. This cute and hidden away cafe was a must see. Plus, they sold roiboos tea, I was very happy.

Saint Giles Cafe and Bar – They did amazing rosmary buns. Yum.

Mrs Macintyre’s Coffee House – this was absolutely tiny but beautiful. There was lovely artwork all over the place and people were talking photos from outside. The hot chocolate was delicious.

Boozy Cow – Oh my goodness. This place was amazing. It does meat and drink. The burger was incredible, the chilli cheese fries were delicious and the drink scrummy. Plus it was playing more rock than Hard Rock Cafe, and playing Captain America.

If we were to go again I would love to go up Arthur’s Seat.

Have you been, or like to go, to Edinburgh?

What did you do / would you like to do?

See my other travels, including Paris, Barcelona and Rome, here.

Parsnips, Buttered: How to win at modern life one email at a time by Joe Lycett

Title: Parsnips, Buttered: How to win at modern life one email at a time
Author: Joe Lycett
Series: N/A
Publication: 7th September 2017 by Hodder Paperbacks
Genre: Humour, Popular culture.

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A book in the middle of your TBR list.

My Thoughts (2)

Dear Reader,

Life is hard. We are a bombarded generation: Facebook, billboards, Twitter, Instagram, taxes, newspapers, watches monitoring our sleep, apps that read our pulse, terrorism. There’s such an onslaught to the senses these days it’s a marvel any of us manage to get out of bed. I love bed.

While we are overwhelmed and confused by the miasmic cloud of information, there are those that seek to take advantage: there are parking fines, hate Tweets, Nigerian email scams and Christmas newsletters from old school friends about their ugly kids. And just as we’re getting round to doing something about it, we’re distracted again.

I, Joe Lycett, comedian, wordsmith, and professional complainer, am here to help. During my short life of doing largely nothing I’ve discovered solutions to many of life’s problems, which I impart to you, dear Reader. Containing a centurion of complaint letters to unsuspecting celebrities, companies and anyone brave enough to clog up my phone, as well as illustrations, one-liners , jokes and life hacks, this little gem offers you a collection of tips and advice* for all manner of modern woe. By the time you have finished reading this book you will have learnt how to:

– Reverse a parking fine 
– Manipulate the tabloid press 
– Navigate social media 
– Respond to hate mail 
– Out-weird internet trolls 
– Contest a so-called ripe avocado 
– Send the perfect Christmas newsletter 
– Defeat ISIS 
– Take down multi-national companies 

Joe Lycett x

* If you are looking for guidance with taxes, quitting smoking, moving house, love, divorce, education, healthcare or anything actually important may I recommend speaking to friends or family members and not consulting a book by a comedian who eats halloumi at least twice a day.

My Thoughts

Oh my! What a treat this book is.

If you haven’t heard of Joe Lycett, turn on a panel show – you’ll probably see him. If not, here’s a link of him doing some comedy which ties in with this book.

Joe loves writing complaints. So much so, that he has created different aliases to write complaints from. He’s managed to get out of parking fines with solid evidence that as parked on the moon, wind up mangers with pictures of a missing cat (it’s a fox), helped Waitrose improve their pork and Brambley apple sausage roles, and provided the world with some truly inspirational quotes.

Sometimes the self-service is no quicker than the normal checkout.

Follow your own path.

Don’t cry when it rains. The weather is weeping for us all.

Life is for the living. If you’re not living you’re dead.

I particularly enjoyed his selfies with celebrities, especially these ones (which I nabbed from Joe’s Twitter):

I also really enjoyed the little images at the end of each chapter. Some made me cackle.

Image result for joe lycett drawings

If you want a laugh, buy it! You won’t be disappointed.

My Thoughts (1)


Graphic Novels Reviews: Saga and Fables

Saga, Vol. 1 (Saga, #1)

Title: Saga
Author: Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Series: Saga Vol. 1
Publication: 23rd October 2012 by Image Comics
Genre: Graphic novel, Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A book recommended by one of your favourite authors.


The whole story centers around the question:

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As it turns out, two soldiers, from opposite sides from a never ending war, who look like this:

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This is the first graphic novel I’ve ever read but I completely loved it! The novel has amazing art and a really complex story. Plus it’s really funny. I found myself instantly in love with the two main characters – Alana and Marko – who clearly love each other and their baby daughter. They bicker. They support each other. And they’re sarky as hell.

I must admit, I was a bit worried when I was flicking through it in the shop and saw this: photo IMG_4179_zpsemqzyevd.jpg

and it has some strange things like these sex workers:

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But it was gripping and I just couldn’t put it down. To summarise, read it:

 photo IMG_4182_zpshpjd5hgd.jpg


Fables, Volume 1: Legends in Exile (Fables, #1)Title: Fables :Legends in Exile
Author: Bill
Series: Fables Vol. 1
Publication: 25th April 2003
Genre: Graphic novel, Fantasy.

This book has an incredible premises; it is clearly where Once Upon A Time got some of it’s ideas. A savage creature conquers the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, forcing all the inhabitants into exile. Disguised among the “mundys” they are hiding in modern day New York. Vol. 1 focuses on finding out who has murdered Snow White’s sister, Rose Red.

The characters were what made this book for me. I loved the twist on some of the classics, such as: Prince Charming is a womanizer

and Rose Red is a party girl:

However, the story for me was a bit predictable and I felt a bit disappointed with the ending. The world that has been built up means that the rest of the series could be really interesting as it is such an interesting premises, but as a stand alone it wasn’t as amazing as I felt it could be.


Have you read these? What did you think?

Are there any other series that you think are worth reading?

Sunday Smiles

sunday smiles

My Sunday Smiles

You know how last week I said I had been naughty and bought a stupid amount of books? Well, I maaaay have done it again. I’m not even sorry. It was 3 for £10, how can you say no?

I bought Open Very Carefully and Zog and the Flying Doctors for my class. I was also an idiot and went to buy The Lion Inside but accidentally clicked kindle, so now it’s no use to anyone 😦 I also bough Parsnips, Buttered : How to win at modern life one email at a time, The Light Between Oceans, Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime and The Hufflepuff Edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Although I’ve bought a stupid amount of books I’ve actually done some reading this week! How Do Dinosaurs Play With Their Friends was not my best purchase, but that’ll teach me for not reading the children’s book before I buy it. I completed Parsnips, Buttered : How to win at modern life one email at a time by Joe Lycett, which was so so funny. I also read Saga and Fables (reviews on Thursday).

Saga Vol. 1 by [Vaughan, Brian]Fables, Volume 1: Legends in Exile (Fables, #1)

A child also made me stifle laughter when they randomly asked “Do you know what boozy means?” When I asked them if they did, they replied with “It means when you’re really really cozy.” How adorable is that?!

My friend’s child also seriously thinks babies are conceived by the man weeing on the bed and the lady sitting in the wee. I really hope they haven’t gone around telling their friends that!

What’s made you smile this week?

Sunday Smiles is a weekly meme created by me at Tumbling into Wonderland Books. It runs every Sunday. Want to find out more or join in the fun? Check out the details here.