My Hogwarts House || Harry Potter

I am coming out.

IamaHufflepuff. And proud.

Now most people won’t believe me but I am! My favourite colour is yellow, I like to think of myself as kind, humble and loyal. Badgers are cute – and they don’t carry TB to cows! – and I wouldn’t mind being a Hufflepuff.

I always thought I was a Ravenclaw but every test, and I mean every test, has written me as a Hufflepuff. At first I was in Hogwarts House denial but nope. Not anymore.

People think that Hufflepuff is a weak house – that the only good wizard we’ve ever produced is Cedric Diggory – may I remind you he was hot (and not only in the movie!)

Hufflepuff also produced Nymphadora Tonks! Come on! Best Witch ever! Not to mention the least amount of Dark Wizards – we’re cool, good-looking and amazing human beings! And people still make fun of us!

According to the writings of J.K. Rowling the common room is by the Kitchen – house-elves are very good cooks don’t you know, and only too willing to give you free food – it’s comfortable and yellow! Yellow is happy!

We stick with our friends – a lot of Hufflepuff’s stayed to Battle at the Battle of Hogwarts – and we’re incredibly friendly.

I don’t see the issue with being a Hufflepuff. Some people say they’re weak – and that is due to the sly description of the house by Draco Malfoy:
But this a Slytherin’s description. Hufflepuff is so much more and I am a proud Hufflepuff!

Yes I know I sound like some ridiculous Harry Potter fangirl. I love it! J

Happy Reading!

P.S. My Patronus is all wrong: a Bassett Hound! OMG! It’s a cat or a baby goat! 

10 Excuses To Buy More Books!

For us readers we rarely need to make excuses to buy books, we simply want to buy them! So we do. But for our loved ones they need a bit more convincing as to why we spend so much money on books we possibly won’t read

So here are Ten Excuses for buying books!

1.    As a Writer it is research

At University it was the first thing my Creative Writing tutor taught us: to write you must read.

2.    There are empty spaces on my shelves!

Okayso this rarely happens. But when you buy that second bookshelf, to accommodate the first, there are going to be holes which need to be filled! As soon as possible!

3.    The Hype!

Nobody I know, post-movie, read The Fault in Our Stars because they wanted to read about young teenagers in love with cancer. I read it because my sister loved it – my sister hadn’t read a book since the Beano was the weekly published comic in the supermarket!

4.    Oryou have to know why there is so much hate for it!

The most recent book for this would be, of course, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Now I was dedicated reader – I got it at midnight and finished it at 2:30am. Butthose that are reading it now are reading it to see whether or not they’ll hate it!

5.    I’m supporting the industry I work in!
I work in publishing recruitment, but it’s still publishing! I read the books in order to keep my co-workers and myself in work!

6.    You can read a book as many times as you like!

It costs about as much as a buying a cinema ticket or a discount theatre ticket! But you read it over and over again!

7.    Reading is incredibly good for you!

Reading makes you more intelligent!

8.    People collect weirder things!

Go on eBay and you will find a lot weirder things than books! Farts in jars, rocks with supposed magical powers, limited edition plates you will never eat off!

9.    Books can cheer you up!

At the end of a bad day, the beginning of an early morning or after a terrible break up a book can be an escape!

10. Because they’re so pretty!
They look great on Instagram, Pinterest, my bookshelf, my blog! They’re so pretty!

So there we have it! 10 excuses to buy more books! J

Happy Reading!

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler || Book Review

Author: Anne Tyler is an acclaimed author of many books, including A Spool of Blue Thread & An Amateur Marriage, and a winner of a Pulitzer prize.

Rating: **


I was so looking forward to reading this book but it was such a disappointment.

I read a chapter a day on the train to work – that is like scheduling when you’re wearing your retainer! If I like a book I will continue to read it until I need to put it away – I used to read and walk across the street! – But I just couldn’t get into Vinegar Girl.

Anne Tyler is known for her work – A Spool of Blue Thread was on the Man Booker Prize last year – yet her re-tellings clearly aren’t as good. Hogarth are publishing a Shakespeare re-telling every 6 months for the next however-many-years and Vinegar Girl is a re-telling of the Taming of the Shrew. Yet for a story so simple – a woman not looking for a relationship who is tricked into a relationship - *FEMINIST KLAXON* she made it simpler.

A scientist’s assistant needs a visa so the scientist gets his depressing daughter to marry him. The end. **ULTIMATE FEMINIST KLAXON**

That is really it. It was such a shame.

The characters weren’t likable and the writing was fairly weak, especially for Anne Tyler! I gave it 2 rather than 1 star as I did finish it and it wasn’t without the occasional funny one-liner, but where a funny moment can make the chapter, these one liners were more like the stutters of a dying engine.

I will try and read another Anne Tyler book, someday, but I don’t know whether or not to continue with the Hogarth Shakespeare series? I haven’t heard great things but the selection of authors is amazing: Margaret Atwood, Tracey Chevalier & Gillian Flynn. I will see where the mood takes me in a while. But for now

Happy Reading!

My Autumn Wishlist || Books

I don’t know about anyone else but autumn is my favourite season. It’s a cosy-hot-chocolatey-back-to-school kind of season and I love it! Although I’m not going back to anything this year!

I am, currently, in a bit of a reading slump, but I fancy getting some new books hence this wish list!

I’ve been perusing the office bookshelf (and by bookshelf I mean windowsill) on which my colleagues put the books they’ve read recently and think others would enjoy. I’ve also been on Amazon and The Book People updating my many lists on there and I think I have a good idea of some books I want to purchase in the near future!

So without further ado:
by Pat Barker
I never finished Regeneration by Pat Barker, which is odd and a shame as it is a WW1 fictional account of Sigmund Freud and Wilfred Owen, as well as a few other characters, time in Craiglockhart during the War. Noonday is set in WW2 and is about a young woman Elinor (the name is always going to keep me interested) driving an ambulance during the blitz. It’s historical, has an interesting plot and characterI think Im going to like it.

ThreeSisters, Three Queens
by Philippa Gregory
I always have to read at least one book by Philippa Gregory a year and I like feel this may be the one for this year. It is about Katherine of Aragorn and Henry VIII’s two sisters Margaret and Mary. Yes, he had sisters! I like how Philippa Gregory takes the females of the Tudor age and gives them a voice – she is not always historically accurate (actually, not a lot) but she does have a very captivating writing style.

Through the Woods
by Emily Carroll
I have to get this book this year! I’ve been saying I would for the last two years. It is a horror graphic novel and one that everyone raved about a couple of years ago and one I think I would enjoy, particularly around Halloween.

Bad Feminist
by Roxanne Gay
My feminist phase continues! I’ve been meaning to read this book for ages but it appears that no library stocks it! So I’m going to have to buy it. It is a collection of essays regarding feminism and it was quite popular about a year ago. Roxanne Gay has just got a contract to write some short stories as well so I’m quite interested to see what her general writing is like.

Big Magic: Creative Beyond Living
by Elizabeth Gilbert
Now I’m either going to enjoy/agree with this book or absolutely detest it. I can’t see there being any middle ground. A lot of people have been reading this to give them justification in being creative. You can be creative without needing permission, just saying. But I’ve seen a lot of people say that this book inspired them to write/paint/sing even though they have never studied Creative Writing/English Lit/Art or sung before. Which is also fine – but I do have a Creative Writing degree, and I know it made my writing so much better and I have been publishedso Im worried that this book might be a big slap in the face for making the choices I havewhich also intrigues me. Its like listening to gossip: you can’t help but be intrigued but you have a sneaking suspicion it is not going to end well!

by Ali Smith
It is the first in a four-part seasonal themed series and I although I don’t know what it is about and in the past I have struggled with Ali Smith’s books – it’s my favourite season! So I want to read a book entitled ‘Autumn’.

Where Am I Now?
by Mara Wilson
Mara Wilson was the child actress behind the beloved character of Matilda and Nattie in Mrs Doubtfire. I remember has as one of my roles models of childhood and to this day that hasn’t changed. She went from little child star to clinically depressed young woman entering obscurity to get away from Hollywood and the hell that she endured. This is her account of life from that said obscurity and I can’t wait to read it.

Almost Famous Woman
by Megan Mayhew Bergman
This is a collection of stories based on women to the side of history. Bergman has taken women no one has heard of but who are more famous than ‘normal people’ by association and given them stories, or enlarged their stories. The characters include Lord Byron's illegitimate daughter Allegra, Oscar Wilde’s niece Dolly and James Joyce’s daughter Lucia. It’s a feminist, historical fiction collection of short stories. Why have I not read this earlier! 

I think that is enough to be thinking of spending my money on! For now at least J

Let me know if there are any books you think I should be reading over the next few weeks!

Anything to get out of this slump!

Happy Reading!

August Wrap Up

Wow I haven’t posted in a while. With work, illness and going to New York City I was absolutely knackered and didn’t have a chance to sit down and write anything!

But hopefully that is changing, we shall see.

It’s always good to have a break though, and surprisingly I read a lot last month! This is good as now I don’t have an excuse not to blog.

Today I am going to write about all of the books I read last month!

Everyday Sexism
by Laura Bates
So the first book I read in August was all about feminism, surprise surprise. I am coming out of this phase now but this was a really insightful book into the everyday sexism women face. Most of this stuff has happened to me – the wolf-whistling, the groping, the inappropriate comments and the ‘it’s just a joke’ forgive—all endings. It’s good to see someone standing out and shouting that this is not right! The one discrepancy I had with Girl Up, Bates’ most recent book, was that it wasn’t angry enough. This one is! Very good read, if a little dry in places.

Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
The End of the Third Age (Book 6)
by J.R.R. Tolkien
I FINALLY FINISHED IT!  It only took me 8 months! I started this series in the 2nd year of university and because I have, or rather my brother has, the 6 book set I was picking them up irregularly and I got distracted at Christmas and just didn’t get around to finishing this book. I was determined to complete the series and now I have and actually this book is one of my favourites. I’m one of the people who, unfortunately, cannot envisage the world of Middle Earth as Tolkien does as I am too engrossed in the movie version to see much else. But I did enjoy the series, but will undoubtedly never read it again! (Too long!)

by Dan Vyleta
I will not waste much time on this book as I have already written a review. It is probably the biggest disappointment of the year, so far, for me. All of the promises and summaries I heard were lies and the writing and storyline made little sense. I gave it a 2 star review previously (having not quite reached the end) but now I retract that and give it 1. It really is not worth it and I am sorry to have wasted time on it. *sigh*

The Vagenda
by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett & Holly Baxter
Another one of my feminist reads this year! I picked this up from the library and devoured it over my train journeys to work! I found it really funny, easy-to-read and insightful if at times drifting from its original points. This book focuses on the representation of women in magazines and the messages that are sent to women through these glossy-pages. It will make you never want to pick up your monthly Glamour or Cosmopolitan ever again!

Men Explain Things To Me
by Rebecca Solnit
Another disappointing read. I thought that this tiny, beautiful book was going to be an academic look into the patriarchy and effects on women. Instead it was an essay complaining about one grievance with a man and then several more uninteresting essays, for which most of them I can’t even remember the topic. It was an interesting concept that she put forward, the idea that men explain things to women – and I have experienced this – but it was more like a complaint than an actual argument.

The Bell Jar
by Sylvia Plath
I had such an urge to read this modern classic and I don’t know why. I went into this novel not knowing a thing about it, beyond the fact that the story revolved around a woman having a mental breakdown. With Plath as the author it was pretty much a-given. It was very good though. I haven’t read anything like it, which is possibly why it is a unique 1960s classic. It is Plath’s only novel and she did an expert job in handling the mental fragility of a young woman’s mind. At times I got frustrated with the protagonist as it feels like she goes mad for no reason at all but then when you look at the little things, her upbringing and the disappointment she faces you begin to realise how delicate the mind really is.

by Colin Toíbín
I think it was a combination of seeing the movie and knowing I was going to New York City that made me want to read Brooklyn so badly. I completed this the night before I went to the city and it was a lovely little story. I think the movie did a better job of the ending than the book, as the book kind of leaves you hanging and never re-introduces some pivotal characters to the plot after the character has to leave them mid-way through. But the book itself is easy to read and the writing is very soothing. The Irish strain and the gentle protagonist were the highlights for me.

There we have it. It was a fairly even month with some good reads, no amazing ones but you can’t have them every month of the year. I think the best book I read this month was probably The Bell Jar.

I’m currently reading Dorothy Must Die: Stories Vol. 2 and then I hope to read Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler! I would like another reading month as good as this one that’s for sure!

Let me know what you’re reading or what you have read in the last few weeks!

Happy Reading!