October 2017 wrapup!

This was a pretty chilled month compared to the crazy rest of the year. I learnt a lot and listened to a lot of music – and read some good books!

I read 9 books in October.

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The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) – 2 // 5 stars

Animal Farm (George Orwell) – 4 // 5 stars

The Hobbit (JRR Tolkien) – 5 // 5 stars

Alexander Altmann A10567 (Suzy Zail) – 3 // 5 stars

Pretty Girls Don’t Eat (Winnie Salamon) – 3 // 5

The Fellowship of the Ring (JRR Tolkien) – 5 // 5

Winnie-The-Pooh (A.A. Milne) – 5 // 5

Women of the Word (Jen Wilkin) – 5 // 5

Side By Side (Edward T Welch) – 4 // 5


img_0581Also how is it nearly halfway through November already – I need to get my schedule together, because it is currently nonexistent.

What did you read in October?

Love,

Emmi xx

 

 

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The Hobbit Movies and Where They Went Wrong

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I used to make excuses for the Hobbit movies. I used to say, “If you ignore the book, they’re actually quite decent.” Before that, I used to say “There were things that could have been done better, but they were actually okay.” Heck, leaving the theatre after seeing the third movie, I remember being in tears because poor, poor Tauriel! And poor, poor Legolas!

Now, however, I merely say “Poor, poor book. You were sadly mistreated and mostly ignored. I do apologise.” Now, after my most recent reread of The Hobbit earlier this month, I appreciate even more the brilliance of the book and the lack of coherence in the movies.

But the question is – why are they such bad films? Here are three reasons why I think that the movies messed up.

Number 1 – Lack of Bilbo

When I reread The Hobbit earlier this month, the thing that struck me immediately was the fact that the entire book is from Bilbo Baggins’ perspective. Nothing happens from anyone else’s point of view. For some reason I had forgotten this; yet it is crucial to the book itself.

This is where the Hobbit movies immediately went wrong. All three movies ricochet between point of view to point of view. This not only makes them feel rather disjointed; it also changes the very feel of the movies.

Tolkien knew what he was doing when he wrote the book purely from Bilbo’s perspective. The book was intended to be a children’s tale, and it was written from the point of view of a character who perhaps never fully comprehends the danger that he is in. This ensures that the reader never fully comprehends the danger. Thus, you have a battle in a children’s book that is only really scary when you understand the entire background, something that a child might not.

However, when the point of view was given to characters who understood the danger that they were in, and all the circumstances surrounding it, the atmosphere becomes a lot darker. The movies made the mistake of creating unnecessary side quests, which both distracted from the very title of the franchise – The Hobbit – and made the films more like blockbusters, than a tale which could be enjoyed by children and adults alike.

If The Hobbit films had kept the point of view primarily to Bilbo and eliminated all the randomly-added side quests, then they would have kept a little more of the magic and brilliance of the book itself.

(This is also why I think that the first movie was the best – it focused a lot on Bilbo and less on other random adventures of Gandalf and Thorin!)

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Number 2 – reliance on CGI

The Hobbit movies experimented with a lot of cgi which weren’t present in the Lord of the Rings films. The reason why the Hobbit films look and feel so different to The Lord of the Rings (although they were made by the same director) was because of their heavy reliance on CGI.

The Hobbit movies used CGI every scene, and it’s very obvious that it’s CGI. In fact, it’s so obvious that the intentionally awe-inspiring moment of a barrel crushing orcs is instead mildly funny and very very sad!

The Lord of the Rings movies felt like Middle Earth (at least in my opinion 🙂 ). They were raw and gritty, and the lack of CGI made the films feel genuine and real. The Hobbit movies felt so different because the set wasn’t the hills of New Zealand – it was the middle of a green painted warehouse.

Number 3 – what was the script doing??

Peter Jackson himself said that he wasn’t happy with the finished product of The Hobbit. And I think that it’s so easy to blame the script – but I’m going to do it anyway.

The script just wasn’t very good. There were unnecessary parts that should have been cut out, and there were parts not present that should have been. It was just too long, and thin, and stretched – “Like butter spread over too much bread.” 😉

With all this said, there was a huge push from the company to make three movies out of it. It wasn’t primarily Peter Jackson’s fault that the movies turned out to be money-making blockbusters, which really didn’t feel like Middle Earth at all. It’s really sad that such brilliance got turned into such sadness with no plot – but it’s the way of the world, I suppose!


img_0581I kind of feel bad for wasting a post on movies which I really don’t like, but at the same time, I had some thoughts that I wanted to get off my brain! 🙂

Do you agree/disagree? Tell me down below!

Keep smiling,

Emmi 🙂

The Hunger Games – why I didn’t like it??

The_Hunger_GamesThe Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. First read 1 October 2017.    2 // 5 stars.

Hi, it’s me, your controversial friend here to talk about her controversial opinion. Here’s why I didn’t like the Hunger Games. Let’s get started!

(obviously this is all just my opinion etc etc, if you disagree feel free to chat with me in the comments!)

I went into the book with the knowledge that I was very behind. I read it about a month ago, and The Hunger Games was really realLY big five years ago. Every bookworm who called themselves a bookworm had read this book, and I was rather behind! So I figured I might as well give it a try.

what it’s about

If you have no clue what the Hunger Games is about, it’s a story about some teenagers thrown into a giant arena and told to kill each other until there’s one left. There’s a love triangle, a grumpy main character, and a fairly predictable plot.

some thoughts

The first impression I had of this book was that I was surprised how popular it was. I personally didn’t enjoy it! Although I can see what the book was trying to do, I think it missed too many opportunities to put Katniss through difficult moral decisions to be called a Really Great Book™.

There’s a fair amount of info-dropping in the book. While this is necessary to a certain extent in fantasy and dystopian books, there is a right and wrong way to do it. Showing the reader information through dialogue and through action sequences is great! Giving the reader information by having the first person pov character think it, paragraphs and and paragraphs of it, is not so great!

So much of this book was made up of pages and pages of information that I had to take in to understand the plot. It just made me, as a reader, really tired?? And a little bored as well??

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Another thing that I struggled with was the writing. I really didn’t like it. It felt forced, and there were so many places where I was internally fixing the grammar, or switching a sentence around, that it really became a distraction. (It also just proved to me how cool being an Editor would be. Hire me please!)

However, the main issue that I had with this book was the author’s decision to avoid putting Katniss in any difficult scenarios at all. Every time that there was an option to put her in a difficult situation – i.e. deciding whether or not to kill someone, or whether to kill someone or die herself – she was mercifully saved.

My point here is that this book could have been such a good psychological thriller! There could have been mysterious twists and turns. Katniss could have chosen to turn the other cheek and died for what she believed in. Peeta could have not been a jerk (I’m sorry – I really didn’t like him XD).

I just think that the author missed opportunities to make this book a really great one!


Although there was a ton of things that I didn’t like about this book, there were a few things that I did appreciate!

  • I really liked Rue?? I think she was well developed and really cool!
  • The world building was decent! Although half of it was from info-dropping, I could really visualise the world that Katniss was running around in.

img_0581Those were my thoughts on The Hunger Games! Honestly, the best part of this experience was debating with my friends about whether or not it’s a decent book.

What are your thoughts?

Keep smiling,

emmi 🙂

my favourite films

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Today I thought I’d do something a little different. I have loved films my whole life, but I’ve only recently begun to appreciate what makes a film a great one. Here are a few of my absolute favourites – all six!!

Lala Land

I left the movie theatre in a trance, and ten minutes later was crying my eyes out. The editing, the acting, the music – everything about this movie was spot on! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop appreciating this movie.

I’ve watched it 5 and a half times now, and I’m so so ready for the next one!

The Sound of Music

Another musical?? Yep! I love musicals, and especially when they’re done right. The Sound of Music was my childhood. It was the movie I’d watch whenever I was sick, curled up on the couch with my blankie and a cup of tea, watching Julie Andrews (Queen!) singing to the hills with a big smile on my face.

Now that I’m a bit older and know more of the history of the setting and time, this film just impacts me greatly. I can’t get through Edelweiss without tearing up, and the last twenty minutes or so always make my heart break. This is a film that I’d recommend to anyone. Anyone, and everyone.

Rogue One

(Careful Emmi, your nerdiness is showing 😉 )

But it’s true! I’ve loved Star Wars for years, but I think Rogue One is an excellent film in its own right. It’s got a female main character who isn’t made of cardboard, a decent and realistic romance, and a simply brilliant end sequence. If you haven’t seen this movie, I would recommend it highly.

If it wasn’t absolute blasphemy, I would even go so far as to say that I prefer it to Episode IV, arguably the best of the franchise. I’m treading on thin ice here, but I just really love Rogue One, okay!!

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Cinderella (the 2015 live action)

I am flipping IN LOVE with this movie. The animated Cinderella was the first movie I owned, and having grown up on it, I can firmly say that the 2015 live action Cinderella is simply perfect in every way.

The story of Cinderella impacted me heavily as a child, and the remake fixed all the little niggles that I had with the story itself as I grew older. The theme of forgiveness that runs through the film was something that was entirely unexpected from a stereotypical Hollywood film.

I remember walking out of the movie theatre with my friends. They were all saying that the movie was okay, but not brilliant – and there I stood, struggling to hold back tears as Lily James’ haunting “I forgive you” danced around in my head! There’s just something so good and pure about this movie – and it never ceases to make my heart inexplicably joyous.

The Truman Show

The Truman Show – the one where the guy is unknowingly part of a reality tv show – is definitely one of my favourites. This was the first film I remember seeing that was made to make you think. I am haunted by this film, and I have nothing negative to say about it. Its representation of important themes, like free will and consumerism, were very relevant at the time and are even more so today.

One thing that I really love about this film is its nod to Plato’s The Republic. As Truman climbs the stairs, away from a life of deception, he decides to take the final step to a possession of free will. And nothing is ever quite the same when he returns, just like Plato pointed out in The Republic, and Peter Weir echoes in The Truman Show.

I seriously cannot recommend this film enough!!

Lord of the Rings

These movies are riddled with flaws (Tom Bombadil?? Aragorn’s character?? The sword?? The scouring of the Shire?? Saruman’s death??) BUT they introduced me to the books, okay!! The books are my favourite books of all time!! And if it wasn’t for me watching the movies, which are really quite impressive, I never would have opened up the books that my sister had been pesting me to read.

I certainly owe these movies a lot! And they do have their redeeming qualities – the soundtrack! The acting! The special effects! The amazing relationships between the characters! The fact that extended editions exist!

I’ll probably do a whole post on why I can appreciate the Lord of the Rings movies, but for now, it definitely deserves a spot on my list!


img_0581Those were all of my favourite films! I have heaps more which I love … The Princess Bride, ET, Shrek … but my top six are ones which have made me see the world a little differently.

What are your favourite movies?

Keep smiling!

emmi 🙂

These Broken Stars

ehhThese Broken Stars, by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. First read 21 August 2017.    5 // 5 stars.

I absolutely loved this book, in every way possible! There are so many things I loved about it that I don’t quite know where to begin.

This is definitely a book that I am planning on buying, and rereading again and again!

the story

This book is a YA sci-fi, which is perhaps my favourite genre combination ever. A space ship is crashing, and the heir to the ship crash lands with an obscure soldier. Two people who hate each other are alone on an abandoned planet, which might not be so abandoned after all. There’s lots of sass and desolation and creepiness? And yet the whole thing is really well written?? I love!!

Things I loved:

  • The characters! They were very well developed, and the opposite of stereotypes. There’s always more than meets the eye with them, and I loved how they were slowly developed throughout the book.
  • The humour! This book was incredibly funny, but in such a subtle way that I wouldn’t put it down as a ‘funny book’. Instead it was a book that was serious and dealt with big themes, but was still funny?? I love.
  • The writing! I am a huge fan of the writing style used in this book, and it was done really well! First person point of view is hard to keep consistent when the pov changes, but it was handled very well in this book.
  • It was creepy?? It was incredibly creepy! The book was set in an abandoned planet. One of the key themes was the sense of being alone. I really loved how the idea  of loneliness was spread throughout the book; I felt really alone while I was reading it.
  • The pace. While a little slow at times, the book somehow managed to keep me entertained the whole way through. You’d think this was quite a dull book, because looking back, all they did was walk through the wilderness? And yet so much actually happened, because the dialogue was brilliant! I was never bored at all.

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I have rarely read books that manage to scare me. Maybe it’s just because I avoid the Horror genre, but even so, books just don’t scare me. But there was something about the way that this book described being alone – and in the way that odd things kept happening – and how the characters related to that – that was just really creepy.

I’m someone who enjoys feeling scared occasionally, as it gives me something to think on when I’m scared in real life. It’s a “if this character made it through without freaking out, then you can too” sort of scenario. Loneliness has a way of consuming me, and so I really found that this book spoke into my thoughts and described exactly what it was that I was scared of.

You know when you finish a book and your soul just hurts? Something in you aches, because it was just so good. This book touched a heartstring of mine, and I am intending to buy it just so I can read it all over again!


img_0581This book was well written, greatly exceeded my expectations, the characters are sassy humans with great development, and this remains one of the few books that has managed to actually scare me.

Have you read this book?

Keep smiling,

emmi 🙂

Beautiful Books 2017!

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As a celebration for finally coming up with an idea for NaNoWriMo, I decided to link up with the wonderful Cait and Sky to take part in their blogging meme, Beautiful Books!

I’ll jump right in:


What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
I have had the basic idea of a spy novel floating around in the back of my head for a while! When I sat down to come up with ideas for Nanowrimo, I looked through the notes in my phone (where I often jot down obscure plot bunnies) and rediscovered a brain wave about a contemporary and fantasy mashup  from 2015. I simply combined that with the spy idea, and now I have a mess of an idea in my head!

Describe what your novel is about!
It’s about an unmotivated girl with self esteem issues, a small boy with too much motivation, and a dysfunctional family with many problems that they don’t want to fix. There are dragons, houses that fall down, and an unorganised spy agency. All in all, it’s a story about looking for your life purpose – only to discover that it changes all the damn time.

What is your book’s aesthetic?
I’m still working on the pinterest board, but here’s what I’ve got at the moment:

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It’s sort of black-and-white, and yet maybe quite impacting when you look closer?? Also do I overthink everything?? The answer is yes.

Introduce us to each of your characters!
There’s Lillian! She’s a Hufflepuff with a love for dancing and smiling at strangers, and  she has a hatred for donkeys and her thin lips. She wants to save the world, but doesn’t know how. She longs for a purpose.

There’s Caster! He’s a Slytherin with lots of motivation to do stuff, but rather lacking in the means to carry out his plans. He loves chocolate and dragons, and has a bad habit of accidentally hating people. His life is outside of his control.

There’s The-Person-Without-A-Name! He’s the absentminded head of the spy agency, and he’s very good at his job. He loves folk music and getting tattoos. He doesn’t have a name because I can’t find a decent name for him okay.

There’s the family! The father is firm and a little kind, but very distant. The mother is outwardly sweet, has undiagnosed anxiety, and is very manipulative. The brother is very extroverted and a little bit compulsive.

(I’m honestly considering calling the mother “The Mother” the whole book so I don’t have to find a name for her, help)

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How do you prepare to write?
There’s always a lot of planning involved! I like to have a very good idea of where my story is going before I start writing. I also like to do a good amount of world building – I want to have a good idea of the place and time in my head before I start writing.

What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
This book is set in a land called “Samaa”, which is a place I came up with my sister long ago when I was a small child. I haven’t written a full story set in it yet, and I’m really looking forward to developing the place and exploring the culture! I want to add in several things which I hadn’t come up with before about the land of Samaa, and I’m super excited to do so!

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

  • It’s outwardly cheerful, inwardly broken.
  • There are tall wooden houses and winding streets with broken cobblestones.
  • Dragons.

What’s your character’s goal, and who/what stands in the way?
Lillian has two main goals throughout the story. Her internal goal is to find a life purpose. In the way stand her family, her own insecurities, and peer pressure to just live-and-let-live. Her external goal is help Caster, which is halted by the slave trade, donkeys, and Caster himself!

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
By the end, Lillian has realised what purposes are, and how to save Caster – from himself. She has (subconsciously) stopped listening to her friends and family as much, and realises that finding your purpose is a lifetime thing.

What are your book’s themes? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?
The themes include, but are not limited to: purposes, growing up, abuse and neglect, freedom, and hufflepuff/slytherin friendship (if that’s a theme!).
I’m not planning to have any readers of this story, but if anyone actually reads it, I’d love them to know the fact that motivation is a finicky thing.


img_0581Thanks so much for Cait and Sky for creating this blogging meme! It was so much fun to do, and actually really helped me to get my scattered thoughts in order. I’m really pumped for Nanowrimo now!

Are you taking part in Nanowrimo?

Emmi 🙂

September 2017 wrapup

I read 2 books this month!

I was almost not going to write this wrapup, because (a) September went by very fast and I did both a lot and nothing, and (b) I read barely anything compared to what I normally read! But I figured that I might as well do a little post on it 🙂


reread: Chronicles of Avonlea (LM Montgomery) – 4 // 5

This Savage Song (Victoria Schwab) – 4 // 5

Ummmm… that’s it??

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about the books

I am in love with anything that LM Montgomery produced – everything she wrote is filled with pure™ characters and a wonderful understanding of human nature. So of course I loved my reread of Chronicles of Avonlea, a book which really made me want to reread the Anne of Green Gables series again!

This Savage Song was a book I wasn’t expecting to enjoy that much – but dear me I loved it. I love the characters so flipping much, and I’m so excited to really dig into the second one!

In hindsight, I am a little disappointed that I didn’t read more – but at the time, my brain was in a state of “I don’t care”. I was so reckless in September! I don’t know what it was exactly, but my brain wanted to do so many crazy things that I barely had the energy to read. It was very weird, but it’s stopped now – I think! I hope!


in other news

I am currently working my way through week 2 of grade 11, and seriously wishing it was the holidays already. However, in September were the holidays, and they were great! I did lots of things that made me happy (and also made my brain very reckless, but that’s fine, it’s fine, we’re all fine).

During the holidays, I acted in a short film, did archery and kayaking, became obsessed with Brooklyn 99, and caught up with wonderful friends!


highlights

  • sleeping over with a dear friend! xx
  • being in a short film! Soooo much fun, and such a great experience 🙂
  • doing archery, and getting two bullseyes in a row! (and then failing, but ssshhh it’s fine)
  • Going on a train! To see a good friend! And getting lost in the bush!
  • catch ups and birthday parties and lots of laughter x

img_0581I hope your month was great! It was only ten days ago, but I found it really hard to remember what I did. My memory is trash and I’m only 16, help.

How was your month?

Keep smiling,

Emmi xx

one year!

Well, it’s been a year!

A crazy, wonderful year of this blog. I’ve learned heaps, changed a lot, and am ready as anything to return with a new resolve – to keep writing about words and words in books!

I’ll be back tomorrow with my September wrapup!

Until then, have a wonderful day or night!

– Emmi xx

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August 2017 wrapup

Okay. So I’ve realised that the majority of my wrapups begin with: “this was a different/strange/weird month for me.” And all the months are, because this life is different and strange and weird! So if I had a great reading month it would be a weird month, essentially.

So this month I had an… umm… a great month in all senses but reading, ehe.

I read nine books this month.

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A Study in Scarlet & The Sign of Four (Arthur Conan Doyle) – 4 // 5

Hiroshima (John Hersey) – 5 // 5

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle) – 4 // 5

Slice (Steven Herrick) – 1 // 5

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle) – 4 // 5

These Broken Stars (Amie Kaufman) – 5 // 5

Spindle (E.K. Johnston) – 2 // 5

The Diabolic (S.J. Kincaid) – 3 // 5

Allegedly (Tiffany D. Jackson) – 5 // 5

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about the books

I’m reading through my big heavy book of Sherlock Holmes stories! I also read a few books from the library, which I definitely have mixed feelings about. One of them was absolutely fabulous (These Broken Stars), and the others were a bit mehhh.

I also realised how much I love Amie Kaufman. I’ve read three books of hers now, and I think … I think I’m in love with her writing and sassy characters … I just can’t get enough!

social media

I joined twitter! Check me out here!

Also I really need to take bookstagram pictures ehe ehe ahhh.

in other news

This month was very busy and lowkey weird. I saw six one act plays, competed in four eisteddfods, and was sick for a week over my birthday.

The fact that I was sick for a week took a chunk out of my reading schedule. It was over my birthday too, and not being able to leave the house on your sixteenth birthday lowkey sucks. But it was okay in the end, because I was so surprised by my lovely friends who gave me food and best wishes and much much love! So in the end I felt very blessed.

I also finished up my university unit! So I’m just focusing on year 11 now, which is both great and a pain. Next year I’ll start a tafe course on the side, though, which should be good.

highlights

There were lots of happy things this month! (being sick on my birthday isn’t one of them though ehe)

  • feeling so blessed by friends!! Like what?? They like me?? And buy me food?? What??
  • An adventure to the shops with a dear fren xx
  • my birthday aha (because BOOKS)
  • A friend’s birthday! Which was so much fun and created many memories which I will treasure.
  • Seeing many plays and performing a little and getting immersed in theatre again!
  • Going to the op-shop and actually finding nice clothes?? That I will wear?? I love
  • Just feeling generally looked after and loved by friends xx

img_0581Soooo that was my month! A bit different, and bit strange, just like all of my months.

What was your month like?

Keep smiling!

Emmi 🙂

Birthday Haul!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo recently it was my birthday, and I acquired some books from friends and family. I’m so so happy about all of them, and I know I’ll read them all with joy!

Also, as my birthday has come and gone, my book buying ban is no longer in existence!! I kinda failed three times, but that’s okay. I’ll still try and show restraint in what I buy though.

The first book I was given was this wonderful edition of Sherlock Holmes from a lovely friend! It’s got all the stories in there, all of which I grew up with and love. I’m rereading them now, and I have so so so much nostalgia attached to them – help!!

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The second book I was given was the hardback of Throne of Glass, by Sarah J Maas. I’ve read it before, but I enjoyed it, and my little paperback version is puny in comparison to this gorgeous hardback! It was a complete surprise to be given this, but I’m really really glad I was 🙂

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy family knows how much I love Illuminae and Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, and so they kindly gave the books to me! I am so thankful because these are perhaps my favourite YA novels e v e r. They’re just so good! I’m making myself wait at least a month before I reread them (as I read them two months ago) but I am so so excited to do so! Eeeep I love these books.

A friend gave me a Dymocks voucher, and so when I went to the shops the other day I just popped into the bookshop to see what I could find. I came out with this book, Allegedly, which I have heard very very good things about – and this book, The Pearl Thief,  which I have also heard very very good things about. I’m very excited to read both of them!

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Those are all the books I was given/bought for my birthday – and I’m very happy and thankful for all of them!


img_0581I try not to buy books too often, just because I’m trying to save that money ehe. But I do love getting new books, particularly ones that I haven’t read before!

Have you bought any new books recently?

Keep smiling!

Emm 🙂