Spindled

16949eff4a5622764701dd0c6a5423d2.jpgSpindled, by E.K. Johnston. First read 22 August 2017. ย  ย 2.7 // 5 stars.

Okay. So. This book is one that really do have mixed feelings over. On the one hand, it has technical problems and cardboard characters, but on the other, it’s decently written and the world building was really great?? So I really don’t know about this book.

the story

The book is a twist on The Sleeping Beauty, set in this wonderful fantasy world that reminds me a lot of The Arabian Nights. The characters have to go and find the princess to try and break the curse that racks their nation, but they accidentally kidnap her instead. (as you do.) There’s lots of walking, staff fighting, and winding thread.

okay. so.

Reading does require some sort of effort on the part of the reader. I, however, often miss things that might be glaringly obvious to someone else. For example:

I went through over half the book thinking that the main character was a very mature twelve year old. Until he kissed someone who was eighteen. So ummmm yeah??? Definitely not twelve, Em, well done. (I still don’t know exactly how old he is though??? Hopefully eighteen or older though ehehe)

I also went through the entire book not realising that this book is actually a sequel to the first book, A Thousand Nights. That said, it didn’t really matter because apparently Spindle takes place a thousand years after A Thousand Nights. It worked well as a stand alone, I thought.


things I liked:

  • world building!! I thought it was reasonably well done – there was a bit of info dropping, but it didn’t feel dry and boring. It could have been done better, perhaps within dialogue, but as it was it worked.
  • Writing style!! I am not generally a fan of first person, but this book handled it well (although I still think it would have been better in third person). It used a large vocabulary and had great sentence structure!
  • The fairytale atmosphere! The book felt mysterious and thick with culture.
  • I loved the idea?? I love reimagined fairytales, and the idea of changing up Sleeping Beauty is one that I can get behind.
  • Also I love the cover. This shouldn’t have anything to do with anything, but ssshhhh.

So I loved the book up until the half way point, when it occurred to me that barely any character development had happened?? And these people barely had characters anyway??

And from there, I started to get rather bored.

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things I didn’t like:

  • There was no character development. Watching characters grow and change is one of my favourite parts about reading – but it was nowhere to be found in this book.
  • Also, the characters had cardboard personalities. They did have some small traits, but when you’re writing in first person it’s so important to flesh those out and make them really obvious. And they really weren’t.
  • There was no proper climax?? The climax itself was so drawn out that by the time it got there, there just wasn’t any tension anymore.
  • Not a lot actually happened. There was more walking and details about how they slept than actual action.
  • They didn’t have motivation for leaving to see the princess in the first place?? Like his mother told the main character, whose-name-I-have-forgotten, and his friends to go and seek the princess. But it’s never properly explained whyyyy they had to go, and then the mother isn’t mentioned again.
  • (Also I couldn’t work out whether or not the mother was meant to be abusive – but I don’t know, because she disappeared after sending them off on their quest and was barely mentioned again.)
  • Basically it got rather dull at times.

img_0581So basically this book bored me, and I could find no personalities within the characters, but the world building was great!!

Have you read this book? What do you think?

Keep smiling,

Emm ๐Ÿ™‚

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July 2017 wrapup

It’s been a very strange month for me, to say the least. However, I somehow made time for some reading!

I read 13 books this month.

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Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver) – 3 // 5

Quidditch Through the Ages (JK Rowling) – 4 // 5

Illuminae (Amie Kaufman) ย – 5 // 5ย Review here!

Gemina (Amie Kaufman) – 5 // 5ย Review here!

Shackled (Tom Leveen) – 2 // 5

The Fault in our Stars (John Green) – 4 // 5

We are All Made of Molecules (Susin Nielsen) – 3 // 5

We all Looked Up (Tommy Wallach) – 4 // 5

Fly Away Peter (David Malouf) – 3 // 5

The War of the Worlds (HG Wells) – 4 // 5

Smith of Wootton Major (JRR Tolkien) – 5 // 5

Hard Times (Charles Dickens) – 4 // 5

Farmer Giles of Ham (JRR Tolkien) – 5 // 5

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about the books

I read a mixture of classics, Tolkien, and YA this month! Overall I was quite happy with the books I read.

My favourite books were undoubtedly the Tolkien ones, as well as the Illuminae series, which I am a little in love with!! I also greatly enjoyed Hard Times by Dickens. There were a few disappointments amongst the YA that I read, including Shackled, which sounds a lot worse than it is.

For the first time all year I didn’t reread anything, which was wonderful! It was so great to read so many new books. That said, this upcoming month I’m planning on doing a little more rereading, so stay tuned ๐Ÿ™‚

on the blog

I actually blogged a lot this month! The reason for this was that my Main Goalโ„ข of this term was to actually have some sort of blogging schedule ๐Ÿ™‚


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instagram

I RETURNED AND I ACTUALLY TOOK PICTURES WOW WHAT IS THIS

Who knows how long I’ll stick around for! I just need picture inspiration, because my brain is dry with creativity.


in other news

I’ve been writing again!! Yes, it is a fanfiction, but I’m so excited for it!! I’ve loved every second of writing this story, something that hasn’t happened before. It’s a story where I get to write about badass girls and death and memories and use all the ‘John Green style’ that I can muster. I’m having so so much fun writing it!

My mother was away overseas for 3+ weeks this month, which was really hard. It’s mainly because of this that I’m surprised I managed to read 13 books, because when I wasn’t doing schoolwork I was trying to keep the house/doggos under control.


highlights

I really struggled to find highlights this month. Not because there weren’t any, but rather because I honestly have no idea what happened. July was a blur that I can barely recall.

a list of happy things:

  • theological debates, seeing old frens, and making new ones at a dear human’s party xx
  • camping with good friends on a wonderful, freezing weekend – cooking, putting up tents, going on walks, and getting to know them infinitely better!
  • playing mafia around a campfire with the gang.
  • getting to put into practice the things I learned at a youth camp last month ๐Ÿ™‚
  • actually surviving while my mother was away (very unexpected) and….
  • having her come back xx

img_0581All in all, I had a blurry, interesting, different month. It saddens me that I barely remember anything from it – I clearly need to do more journalling!

What about you? How was your month?

Keep smiling,

Emmi ๐Ÿ™‚

August 2017 TBR

Here is my TBR for August, a month that is shaping up to look rather busy!

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Heidi, by Johanna Spyri.

(I’ve been meaning to read it for ages and ages!)

These Broken Stars, by Amie Kaufman.

(I ordered it from the library, because I may be meeting her in September!! Eeeep!)

An Agatha Christie book.

(because I should probably make a dent in my unread books)

The Simarillion, by JRR Tolkien.

(This is the month!)


img_0581That’s all I’m really aiming to read this month. Hopefully I’ll be able to read a lot more, but I really really really want to read The Simarillion. After chatting to my sister about Tolkien mythology, I realised that my knowledge was small and I need it to grow!

What are you planning on reading this month?

Keep smiling,

Em ๐Ÿ™‚

what I read – my favourite genres!

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I will be the first to admit that I am a little picky with the books I like to read. This is a quality that I have always had – from admitting that I didn’t like Beast Quest at eight, to being fourteen and admitting to my friend that I greatly disliked the Divergent series.

But what sort of books do I like reading?

The good sort.

This basically includes books that are well written. Books that contain good messages. Books that are wholesome and good for my soul. This collection includes, but is not limited to:

  • The Little Bookroom, by Eleanor Farjeon.
  • Anne of Green Gables series, by LM Montgomery.
  • The What Katy Did series, by Susan Coolidge.
  • Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne.
  • The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

These books make me smile, and giggle, and are full of innocence and love and general wholesome-ness.

Historical Fiction.

I’ve always, always loved this genre! A really well written historical fiction novel allows me to disappear into my favourite times in history, when I don’t have to bother about nuclear bombs and crooked politicians. My favourites include:

  • Pendragon’s Heir, by Suzannah Rowntree.
  • The Matilda series, by Jackie French.
  • Honestly anything by Jackie French, to be honest.
  • Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys.
  • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne.

I feel like Historical Fiction also lets us learn about our past and broadens our perspective of the world. It gives us a bigger picture of our past, and makes it come to life!

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The classics.

Ahhh here we are, back to my old love! I grew up on this genre and adore old books in all their forms. If they are written in the nineteenth century or earlier, then they automatically have a place in my heart โค A compact list of my favourites:

  • Sherlock Holmes series, by Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, ย by Howard Pyle.
  • Le Morte D’arthur, by Malory Thomas.
  • The Consolation of Philosophy, by Boethius.
  • Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen.

Sometimes old books show so much more of a perspective on the world than any new book can, you know??? ahhh I love classics very very much.

Fantasy.

Fantasy is something that I’ve only really gotten into over the last few years, but I feel like my love for it is growing and growing and growing and pretty soon it’ll overtake my life. I love how created worlds show us so much about our own world! A few of my favourites:

  • Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien. (of course!)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia, by CS Lewis.
  • The Illuminae Files, by Amie Kaufman.
  • The Raven Cycle, by Maggie Stiefvater.
  • Harry Potter, by JK Rowling.

Creating fantasy worlds is one of the most enjoyable things to do, and I love reading about worlds that other people have created!

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YA books.

I have to admit that I am very picky with the YA books that I like – but I have come across a few that are absolutely gorgeous! These are the sort of books that get inside your head and sort of nestle there, changing your perception on the world.

Here are some of my favourites:

  • The Bone Sparrow, by Zana Fraillon.
  • Words in Deep Blue, by Cath Crowley.
  • Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell.
  • The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey.

The well written young adult book is actually incredibly powerful. I would claim that they can be more powerful and impacting (on my life at least) then some great classics, because of their accessibility and how relatable they are.


Of course all this is just my opinion, and a lot of it simply comes down to personal taste! I love fantasy, classics, and the well written YA. Others will love romance, contemporary, and mystery. In genres, at least, it all comes down to taste and what you like!

img_0581It was so so tricky to narrow down the list – I didn’t get to mention my love for mystery, suspense, apocalyptic books, and the occasional science fiction. But it sums up my taste at the moment pretty well, I think!

What sorts of books do you like reading?

Keep smiling, Em ๐Ÿ™‚

Gemina

29236299Gemina, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. 1st read 6 July 2017. ย  ย 5 // 5 stars.

My not-very-coherent thoughts after reading this book: AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH WHERE’S THE THIRD ONE I NEED IT WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT COMES OUT NEXT YEAR???

So basically, I really love this book!

 

the story

This book follows on from the first book, with lots of new characters. It’s set in space six hundred years in the future, and takes place on a jump station – a space station that allows ships to jump through wormholes. It contains exciting action, hilarious one-liners, unpredictability, and brand new characters with a whole new level of sass!

Just like the first book, this one is set out in data logs, messages, diagrams, and pictures, rather than usual text. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s so fun to read!


what I liked:

  • This books avoided the sequel blues, and it did so spectacularly! I don’t think I’ve ever read a sequel that is just as exciting – if not more so – as the first book.
  • I loved the characters! The book itself focused around brand new people who weren’t in the first book (although old characters are still included!). I feel like this was how it avoided the sequel blues – by focusing on a new plot and characters, rather than just further developing old characters.
  • The plot! It was so exciting and intricate and, though confusing at times, it was always extremely well thought out and put together!
  • It’s hilarious! It really is though! Even though overall it’s quite a serious book, there are so many funny moments.
  • The writing! I just love the format and the way that the series is put together. I think it’s really clever and it changed the way that I thought writing had to be.
  • The ending! Without spoiling anything, the ending was really fantastic! I didn’t see it coming, I (nearly) cried, and my heart stopped several times because it was just so hard to look away.

what I didn’t like so much

  • As with the last book, there is a bit of profanity. It is all blacked out, however, and it didn’t bug me as much as the last book did.

To summup, then, I love love love this book! It incorporated so much that I loved from the first book, and yet so many new characters/content/world building that it somehow (cleverly) avoided the sequel blues.

Highly highly recommend, just like the first one!

img_0581There are so many feels in this book – ahhhh. At it’s core, it’s a book about humans – human suffering and human experiences, just set in the future. AHHH I love this book so much!

Have you read this book?

Keep smiling,

Em ๐Ÿ™‚

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry_Potter_and_the_Goblet_of_FireHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by JK Rowling. 3rd reread 5-8 June 2017.

Continuing on my ‘In which I reviewย Harry Potter – aka basically an excuse for me to rave about how much I love it‘ review series, I’m up to the fourth book, the one where everything starts to get serious! I love this book – it’s so long, and there are so many unexpected twists and turns! It’s also the one where you really start to see the dark side of the wizarding world.

the story

Harry gets excited about a secret event that’s happening at Hogwarts. He can’t stop thinking about Quidditch, and a certain girl in his class. But lots of dark stuff is happening too, behind the scenes – and poor Harry needs a hug. Hermione and Ron are very supportive friends as Harry deals with growing up.

what I like

  • The whole book. Seriously.
  • It’s at a point in the series where Harry starts having crushes, and as such is really angsty. I love how we see this whole separate side of him, and how realistic it is written. He really is just a teenager caught up in a whole big war.
  • Hermione is amazing – ahhh dear me I love this human. She persuades Harry to see what an idiot he’s being, and she’s also just incredibly supportive and imperfect and just a great character.
  • It’s funny! The whole series is pretty funny, but I feel like Harry starts to become really sassy in this one – sometimes it’s just too much to handle, seriously.
  • The way JK Rowling writes irritating characters is honestly amazing. Rita Skeeter, the very successful journalist, is the sort of person that you throw the book at the wall for. Very very well written.
  • The plot! It all fits together beautifully, and the twists and turns at the end are unpredictable and very exciting.

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Honestly the only nag I have with this book is that the ending is a little anticlimactic. I KNOW I KNOW BUT all this stuff happens, and then more stuff happens?? I just prefer a little less info-dumping and cleaner, tighter endings. But it’s not a huge issue of mine, more just a minor nag.

In this book, the theme of power really begins to emerge, setting itself up for the rest of the series. The play of power inbetween the hands of the major characters – with Harry sitting in the middle – is something that I found very interesting this reread. How much control does Harry really have? In truth, very very little.

All in all, this is definitely a book that I love with a deep passion. I’ve only read it three times (compared to 5+ with the other books) and perhaps because of that, there was so much that I didn’t remember this read through. So many little tidbits – like how awful Rita is, how awesome Hermione is, and what a good friend Ron is.


img_0581This is just a really really good book. It’s long, and a bit of a marathon to get through, but it is completely worth it! I lost myself in this book in a way that I rarely do in other worlds. Ahhhh I just love it very greatly.

Have you read this book??

Love, Emm ๐Ÿ™‚

elizabeth bennet cosplay

Here’s something that I do that barely anyone knows about – I cosplay!

Cosplay is when you dress up as fictional characters. It’s something that I haven’t fully embraced yet, but it’s definitely something that I can see myself obsessing over in the near future.

One of the cosplays I have put together is of a younger Elizabeth Bennet, from Pride and Prejudice.

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Both the dress and the gloves were lent to me by a lovely lady from our church. The hat I already owned.

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I like to pair this costume with some cheap white stockings, and my old boots. (as well as a puppy!)

Add an old fan and a smile, and the costume is complete!

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img_0581Ahhhh I love cosplaying. I’ve only been to one con and I didn’t end up cosplaying at it (whoops) but I’m definitely planning on doing so this year! It’s only in November, so I’ve still got plenty of time to work up the energy (and courage) ๐Ÿ™‚

Have you ever cosplayed? What as?

Keep smiling,

Em ๐Ÿ™‚

beautiful people

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Today I’m doing something a leetle different – I’m joining in on the Beautiful People meme, created by the highly talented Skyย andย Cait!ย It’s a series of ten questions designed to help you know your character a little differently, only this month it’s all about the writer.


  1. How do you decide which project to work on?
    It’s pretty much a question of the which plot bunny takes my fancy. I’ll write a scene, or a whole chapter, and if I like it and ideas hit, I’ll keep going! This method also means that I have a heap of barely started stories, but ehhhh it works for me.
  2. How long does it usually take you to finish a project?
    Waaaaayyyyyy too long, or insanely fast. I wrote my first story in just over a month. The second isn’t finished yet, and has so far taken me 18 months. So basically as long as I have time, and energy, and ideas!
  3. Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?
    Other than opening my laptop, and putting some music on, not really!
  4. What time of day do you write best?
    As a busy busy year eleven student who is also studying university, I write whenever possible. A smidgeon of time after lunch? Perfect. Five o’clock in the morning? Perfect! The only time I barely write is late at night; I find that my brain stops functioning after around nine ๐Ÿ™‚
  5. Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?
    I have only been writing consistently for about eighteen months, so it is hard to say what my style is. I’m definitely still discovering my style, and how I write. At the moment I’m writing a story very much in the style of Markus Zusak, with a twinge of John Green, and maybe a sprinkle of John Boyne.

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  6. Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?
    I started writing when I was eight, but I only really started writing consistently when I was fourteen. The reason for this – fanfiction! I read a really good fic and was instantly hooked, and was inspired to start writing my own work (and fic!). I keep writing because I want to improve my style, and because I learn so much about myself while doing so. Also, I just love it! There’s something so satisfying about putting characters through pain, and bringing them through in the end ๐Ÿ˜‰
  7. Whatโ€™s the hardest thing youโ€™ve written?
    I wrote a story exactly a year ago – a fantasy with prophecies and death and suffering and lots of fun stuff like that. It was immensely difficult to write, and in the end I decided to leave it until I’m a little older, and know more about humans. It’s definitely a story that I want to keep writing, and I’m so excited about it, but it’s just so darn hard to write!
  8. Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you donโ€™t feel ready yet?
    See the previous question ๐Ÿ˜‰ Also, I do have a fantasy spy series in my head, based on worlds I made up as a small leetle one. I’m so excited for the both of these!
  9. What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?
    I only made two firm writing goals this year. One of them was to finish a story which I maaaay have now abandoned (whoops!). The other was to continue writing no matter what happens in my life. I’ve kinda failed this one, but over the last month I’ve picked up my stories again and it’s been such a blessing ๐Ÿ™‚
  10. Describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif!
    “I don’t know” or, alternatively, “I-have-no-idea-what-I’m-doing Please Help!”

img_0581You should definitely go check out the creator’s of this meme, because the both of them are fabulous!

What are you writing at the moment?

Love, Emmeline ๐Ÿ™‚

Illuminae

23395680Illuminae, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. 1st read 5-6 July 2017. ย  ย 5 // 5 stars.

*flails aimlessly* THISBOOKTHISBOOKTHISBOOK!! It’s very very good!!

This is a book that I didn’t know I needed before I found it, read it, and loved it! I just can’t stop thinking about it, the characters, and the wonderful world in which its set. Will I ever stop flailing about this book? Probably not mate.

the story

This book is all about humans set in space, seven/six hundred years in the future. And no surprises, they haven’t changed – they’re still blowing each other up and causing hurt and pain. Two humans in particular are caught in the middle of a crazy war, and try not to die as they escape their burning planet on refugee transport ships.ย There’s lots of fighting, computers, sassy one-liners, and wonderful pacing!

The book itself is formatted unlike a normal book; it’s set out in data logs, messages, wikipedia-like pages, reports, almost Shaun Tan style artwork, and so on. It’s an interesting layout, but it really works!


Things I liked:

  • The format! It’s so so so cool the way it’s laid out, almost like a comic but not, almost like a normal book but not. Art abounds the pages and my artist’s heart was happy!!
  • The characters! Ahhh they are so well developed and all are different and so so so relatable. They are really just normal people caught up in a great big space war, and perhaps because they are so relatable it is very easy to see yourself in that same situation.
  • It’s so funny! The characters don’t know how to handle situations, so they hide their feelings with humour, sarcasm, and bad jokes. This book is basically the definition of my sense of humour.
  • The world! It’s so well developed and I saw it clearly as I frantically turned the pages, trying to find out what happens next.
  • Did I mention it’s a page turner? Because it is. It’s just such an exciting plot and you just want to see what happens next! While this doesn’t necessarily always count as a good thing in books – some of my least favourite books are page-turners, for sure – in this one, it serves well to entice the reader to continue being enthralled by the book.

There was one main problem with this book, which I feel like I should probably mention…

What I didn’t like so much:

  • ummmmm
  • There was quite a lot of swearing/profanity. All the swearing was blacked out, but unfortunately my imagination was quite capable of supplying the censored words. I guess it just shows that no book can possibly be perfect if us humans are the ones who wrote it! However, I zoomed through the book and so it didn’t really bug me that much at the time.
  • That’s about it??? I just really loved this book!!

I can’t remember the last time that I’ve connected to characters to this extent! I just couldn’t stop reading, and when I stopped, I couldn’t stop thinking about them. Ahhh it’s just a very very good book and I love it!

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was its lack of aliens. A lot of space adventures are filled with aliens and halfbreeds and resulting prejudices, and I thought it was quite interesting that this book avoided that popular trope!

All in all, this is a wonderful book set in space that’s, at a basic level, all about humans. Themes about human pain, human suffering, and the human condition are all included in this one! As I said, I’m not normally a fan of sci-fi or books set in space at all, but my love for this book is right up there with my love for Star Wars. And that’s pretty high.


img_0581I also added this to my favourites shelf, sooooooo yeah it’s a new favourite ๐Ÿ™‚ Highly recommend to any discerning reader who can handle a bit of violence (not too much though)!!

Have you read this book? Any thoughts?

Keep smiling!

Emmeline ๐Ÿ™‚

June 2017 Wrapup

This has been an insanely busy month, but I somehow found time for a Harry Potter reread, as well as a little library visit!

I read 10 books this month!

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Some Boys (Patty Blount) – 3 // 5

reread: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (JK Rowling) – 5 // 5ย review here!

reread: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (JK Rowling) – 5 // 5ย review here!

reread: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (JK Rowling) – 5 // 5ย review here!

reread: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (JK Rowling) – 5 // 5

reread: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (JK Rowling) – 5 // 5

reread: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (JK Rowling) – 5 // 5

reread: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (JK Rowling) – 5 // 5

Infinite Sky (C.J. Flood) – 3 // 5

Mary Poppins Comes Back (P.L. Travers) – 3 // 5

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about the books …

I reread the Harry Potter series, which was definitely a highlight of this month! My love for it only grew and it’s amazing how much you pick up the fourth time round. Such as that Hagrid knits?? Why did I not know this?? It’s the best!

I also read two other YA books which were oookkkaaayyy … both were a little morally problematic in some areas, and were a little frustrating, but I enjoyed the experience of reading both.


in other news …

It is now the second week of my holidays, which are flying by. I am incredibly tired and am staying up too late. I am hoping for this next term not to be a train wreck, though to be quite honest, my hopes are not very high.

This last term was a busy one, filled with good things and bad things. The next term is looking up to be the same. I’ll see how it goes, taking it one day at a time!

Also – I LEFT INSTAGRAM. I’ll probably come back one day soonish, but it won’t be anytime soon, sadly. Too much is going on and I just can’t cope with it and bookstagram.


June highlights

I love finding highlights, because I thought that I didn’t do that much this month – but I actually really did!

  • my sister’s birthday – cake, smiles, and giggles
  • my friend’s birthday – cake, movies, love and laughter xx
  • spending a week away at a camp and growing in my love for Christ and my friends!
  • my teacher getting engaged – eeeeeep I ship it
  • buying books at bookfest and completing the HP collection yessssss
  • having a bonfire with friends and laughing until I cried (multiple times ๐Ÿ™‚ )

img_0581So here’s me casually hoping that next term won’t be awful, that I’ll continue to learn to trust in God during the good times and the bad times, and that my family and I won’t starve and die when my mother leaves us for 3+ weeks this month!

Here’s to July!

Keep smiling,

Emmeline ๐Ÿ™‚