England Update #1

So I guess you guys are curious about the shenanigans I’m getting up to, right?

England so far in a nutshell:

– Cold (right now it’s -1 outside…nice and toasty in here though)

– Adorably quaint. All the houses have that classic Old-English feel and everyone knows each other and everything looks old-fashioned in the best way possible.

– Frosty. No snow yet but I’ve slipped a few billion times on the icy footpaths.

The shenanigans:

We haven’t got up to anything TOO exciting yet, but it’s been excellent all the same. We went to the supermarket Tesco the other day, and IT. IS. MASSIVE. It’s two stories (or this one was) and it has about a million aisles.

We also went to the markets in St Ives.

Aaaaand here at my auntie and uncle’s house, we’ve had some delicious food and family company.

And a frosty/muddy/cold walk with a beautiful chocolate labrador, Benson.

You guys probably don’t care, do you?

Let’s go to the pictures.

THE PICTURES.

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1) The fireplace where I’m staying. It’s lovely.

2) Some old-timey telephone booths

3) A Christmas Pudding jumper I saw. Didn’t buy it, though.

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1) SO close to finding Sherlock

2) Old house

3) LOOK. FROST. And my shoes.

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1) More frost!

2) The bridge at St Ives

So it’s been quite excellent so far.

I haven’t been to any bookshops but they are ON THE HORIZON.

And I’ll have more updates in probably a week or so. I’m going to be honest – it’s actually kind of nice to be away from the internet for a while (I mean, I miss it terribly, but I now have time to do other excellent things like, you know, leave the house!).

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Top Ten 2015 Resolutions

00dc8-toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week there’s a different Top Ten list. It’s a great way to find and connect with other awesome bloggers.

I’m a big fan of setting goals.

I like lists and organisation and knowing where I’m going. So this is going to be a mix of different goals, writing and blogging and reading.

Reading

1) Read 100 books.

Who needs school when you’ve got books? I’ve read more than 150 books this year, so hopefully I can get to 100 next year.

2) Read 20 books by Australian authors.

That includes New Zealand authors, by the way. Like we’ve kind of adopted Rachael Craw.

We’ve even got our own army going on.

3) Read at least 10 books of my own choosing.

Because I don’t want blogging to become a chore, and reading books that I choose will be a good way to deal with this.

Writing

4) Revise and start querying my YA contemporary novel, The Daisy List

Yeah, so this is terrifying. HOWEVER, since I am in England right now (not the Emily writing this blog post…she’s still in good old Oz) I’m hoping I can soak in all the Englishness and get The Daisy List ready. Because, you know, it’s set in England.

5) Participate in NaNoWriMo

I’ve done it for three years in a row now and I WILL NOT BREAK MY STREAK.

6) Stop writing new drafts and start revising the old ones, goddammit

Except I have a feeling this may be the result:

Still. I am determined.

Blogging

7) Stick to five blog posts a week

It may be more sometimes, it may be less sometimes (and you will know, because I’ll be panicking about school on Twitter, probably). But hopefully five will turn out to be a good number.

8) Look at some options for going self-hosted.

BECAUSE I REALLY WANT TO DO IT. But it won’t be until the end of 2015, maybe when my HSC is over…

9) Visit more people’s blogs.

I feel so bad sometimes, because the same names pop up in the comments and I never visit your blogs, and YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. You’re awesome. I will try harder. Love you guys 5ever.

10) At least TRY and keep my review files updated.

*SOBS* At least I’m trying, Regina, gosh!

But…yeah, it probably won’t happen. I don’t even get around to posting my reviews on Goodreads, let alone updating all the reviews on my blog. *guilty face* Maybe 2015 will be a better year?

Anyway, those are my goals for 2015. What are yours?

The Christmas Carol Tag!

So technically Christmas is over for another year. But Present Emily (Emily of Christmas Eve Eve, aka the 23rd of December) is still awaiting it.

Plus, we want to keep the Christmas magic going as long as possible, right?

Anyway, Jess @ My Reading Dress tagged me in the Christmas carol tag, so let’s get right to it!

1. “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” – Name a villainous character you can’t help but love to hate.

Fave.

Villain.

Ever.

2. “All I Want for Christmas Is You” – What book do you most want to find under your Christmas tree this year?

all the brigt places

Wellllll since Christmas is over, let’s go with one I WANTED to find under the Christmas tree but didn’t (I’m just assuming…this is Emily from the past, remember?).

But anyway, I need this book in my life.

 

 

3. “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer” – Name your favorite character that had to overcome a major obstacle. Why are they your favourite?

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’m going to say Lyra and Will from His Dark Materials.

Just. That ending. My poor babies. *sobs forever*

4. “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” – Which character do you think is at the top of Santa’s “Nice” List and which is at the top of his “Naughty” List?

Nice list:

cressCutest character ever.

 

 

 

 

Naughty list:

mara dyer 3Mara should definitely be on the naughty list. My God, that girl is psycho.

 

 

 

 

5. “Frosty the Snowman” – What book just melts your heart?

anna and the french kiss lola and the boy next door isla and the happily ever after

ALL OF THEM. JUST. ALL OF THEM.

6. “Feliz Navidad” – Your favorite book that takes place in a country other than your own?north child

They ALL do. We need more Strayan books.

But I’ll go with this lovely book.

 

 

 

 

7. “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – What book do you read to get you into the Christmas spirit?

when santa fell to earthI used to read this one a lot – it’s by the same author as Inkheart (hasn’t she got a cool name??).

I haven’t read it for a while but it never fails to get me in a Christmassy mood.

 

 

 

 

8. “Sleigh Ride” – What character would you most want to spend the holiday with?

cinnamon girl

 

 

 

Definitely Alba and her crew. It seems like they have such a lot of fun at their get-togethers!

 

 

 

9. “Baby It’s Cold Outside” – Which book do you hate so much you’d sacrifice it to the fire to stay warm?

allegiant

Nuff said.

10. “Do You Hear What I Hear?” – What book would you recommend to everyone?

aristotle and dante the intern for blog falling into place

This year? These delicious things. What a surprise – they’re all contemporary.

I’m not going to tag anyone because Christmas is over, but if you’re already nostalgic for the magical Christmassy time, go ahead – I tag YOU!

How was everyone’s Christmas?

 

My True Love Gave To Me: 12 adorable stories

my true love gave to me 2

Author: lots

Genre: lots

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

Source: I bought it! 🙂

Blurb:

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.

It’s Christmas Eve, and Santa’s coming tonight. Woot. I didn’t even have to put this book on my wishlist, because I gave in and…ah, bought it for myself. Oops.

Anyway. I’ll do a mini-review on each of the stories.

Midnights – Rainbow Rowell

This story was so cute. I absolutely loved it. It’s told in a non-linear format, jumping back and forth between years – initially that confused me but it works really well.

 

4/5

The Lady and the Fox – Kelly Link

Did not understand this one at all. I mean, I DID, but I just didn’t take much of it in. Still not sure entirely what happened. It’s about some mystery dude and an adopted family kinda. I don’t even know.

2/5

Angels in the Snow – Matt de la Pena

Another one I loved. Now I need to seek out some more Matt de la Pena. Our main character (lol, so memorable I’ve forgotten his name) is poor and slowly starving in the apartment he’s minding for someone, until a girl comes to use his shower.

Also, diversity FTW.

4.5/5

Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me – Jenny Han

So this one’s about a human elf girl in the North Pole, where everyone else is an…elf elf.

Didn’t make much of an impression on me.

3/5

It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown – Stephanie Perkins

It was kind of insta-love-y, BUT I DON’T EVEN CARE. This was the most adorable story ever, and I mean…it’s Stephanie Perkins. Of course it was going to be. The way these two argued with each other was so cute, and I loved that it didn’t focus completely on Christmas but on Yule.

5/5

Your Temporary Santa – David Levithan

It was a bit meh. I think I’ve come to the conclusion that the brilliance of Just One Day by David Levithan was a one-off, and I don’t like the rest of his stuff. It’s about this guy pretending to be Santa for his boyfriend’s sister. Kind of cute, I guess.

3/5

Krampuslauf – Holly Black

So this one was really…really weird. And I didn’t connect with the main character at all. Some speculative elements but it was kind of a mess, honestly.

2/5

What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? – Gayle Forman

Another cute couple, yay! The banter between Sophie and Russell is hilarious, and there’s some really genuine messages in here about fitting in and being different…I really liked it.

4/5

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus – Myra McEntire

Another one that wasn’t my thing. It was a romance between this delinquent boy and the pastor’s daughter – like that episode of The Simpsons with Bart and what’s-her-face. But yeah. Not really for me.

3/5

Welcome to Christmas, CA – Kiersten White

This one has FOOD, people!! And the food is like, magic or something. I don’t even know. BUT THIS STORY WAS MY ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE. I can’t even explain why, but I loved it. It had the Christmassy feel, and the romance, and the magic, and it was just awesome.

5/5

Star of Bethlehem – Ally Carter

Almost forgot about this one. So this girl swaps her plane ticket with this Icelandic exchange student and goes to live with some family. It was kinda cute but really cheesy and predictable.

3/5

The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

It’s official. I don’t think I like Laini Taylor’s writing style. I KNOW, I KNOW. Crazy. But Daughter of Smoke and Bone didn’t do anything for me, and neither did this story. Maybe it was just too weird for me?

3/5

Overall it appears I liked the contemporary stories the best…doesn’t surprise me. Have you read this one? What’s your favourite story?? I WANT TO KNOW.

Rating: 4/5 Wonderkitties

PUPPYPUPPYPUPPYPUPPY

 

Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing (aHEM)

00dc8-toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week there’s a different Top Ten list. It’s a great way to find and connect with other awesome bloggers.

It’s Christmas Eve Eve so it might be a BIT late for Santa to be seeing this…but maybe for next year?

Okay, so there are probably nine million books I wouldn’t mind Santa bringing me, but here are ten of the ones I’m BURSTING to read. I’ll leave out the 2015 releases otherwise this list will be a mile long.

solitaire hp box setin the shadows

Solitaire by Alice Oseman

I’ve heard so much about this book and its awesome pop culture references – plus, the author is so young! Colour me intrigued.

Harry Potter Bloomsbury Edition Box Set (THE HARDBACK ONE)

In fact I think I might beg for this one for my 18th…not sure I’m willing to wait six months, though.

In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim de Bartolo

I just read My True Love Gave To me and LOVED Kiersten White’s story – plus, this book has illustrations. PICTURES, PEOPLE. I love pictures.

everything leads to you all four stars what i thought was true she is not invisible

Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour

I STILL haven’t managed to get myself a copy of this one, even though I really really really really want to read it. Maybe when I’m in England…?

All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

Because this is middle grade and it’s about cooking and it just sounds ADORABLE.

not a drop to drink the bad beginning ash

Not a Drop to Drink by Mindi McGinnis

Because 1) the awesome title, 2) the awesome cover and 3) well, do I really need a third reason?

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

I read these a longggg time ago, but I’d like to read them again because they’re excellent. And also own them. Because they’re excellent.

Ash by Malinda Lo

In my research of diverse YA books (for a school project), Malinda Lo is like THE advocate. Plus I love retellings. So I really want to read this.

Which books are you hoping Santa will bring you?

While I’m In England

pommyland

If you didn’t know I was going to England, clearly you haven’t been following my blog closely enough.

But anyway, I’m going to England!! The snow on my blog is preparing me for it.

I hope it will snow. I haven’t seen snow since I was seven, and even then it melted within a day.

I’m just hoping it won’t constantly rain. That would make me sad.

ANYWAY. I’m not abandoning you completely.

I’ve scheduled some posts and we’ll have wi-fi so I can still internet (I’ll just be back-to-front, is all). We’re also going to FRANCE for a few days.

Don’t worry, I’ll be taking lots of photos.

I guess you’re all wondering which books I’m taking with me.

CAM00610 CAM00611So we’ve got Dune, An Abundance of Katherines, Veronica Mars, Since You’ve Been Gone, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, Let it Snow, The Left Hand of Darkness, Messenger of Fear, Sweet Damage, The Prince, Side Effects May Vary and Magonia.

My sister and I are SHARING the load. I’ve already read Since You’ve Been Gone so she can bring that. We’re also rereading An Abundance of Katherines and Let it Snow (because we couldn’t agree on any new books). Plus there are some school ones – The Prince (which you can’t really see) as well as The Left Hand of Darkness and Dune.

Overall, there are 12 books. Which…is hopefully enough (and I dare say I’ll be buying some while I’m there as well.

However, not everyone is as excited for us to go to England.

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This is him being extremely unimpressed. I guess he thinks that if he sits in my luggage, I can’t pack, and therefore I can’t leave him. Poor Angus. AND I WILL MISS HIM. I’ll be away from my darling for a whole month. He’s such a sook, too.

Oh well, I’m sure we’ll live.

The countdown as of today?

Four days. FOUR DAYS, PEOPLE. Have I got any Poms reading this post? Because I’ll be on your soil soon. Isn’t that great?

We’ll also be doing the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London.

And I know a lot of you are Potterheads, so never fear, ALL the photos will be taken (I do realise this won’t suffice, but what can I say? My suitcase is already full of books…and cats, apparently).

So if I’m not around the interwebs as much, that’s why.

Also I’ll probably be freezing my arse off. Going from 40 degrees to almost zero is going to be…an interesting experience.

Anyway, I’ll keep you updated! Have a fantastic Christmas, everybody!

 

A Pre-Christmas Book Haul And School Holidays

Okay, fine, it’s not actually Christmas yet.

BUT IT’S GETTING CLOSE.

School is over for the year. It feels like it’s both gone super-quick and super-slow. I have SO MUCH homework over the holidays, but I’m also going to be chilling out. Literally, because I’m going to England (have you heard it enough yet?).

And I have some final few books that I’ve received recently to show you.

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Crash by Sean Williams – this is thanks to Kristy @ Book Nerd Reviews, as well as Allen and Unwin. I own the first book – now just to squeeze in time to read them!

Delirium by Lauren Oliver – my wonderful Secret Santa got this for me for Christmas! See, this is why I have awesome friends – they get me books.

The Elite by Kiera Cass – A friend of my sister’s gifted this to us (I mean, she’s going to claim it but I thought I’d put it in here anyway). I really liked the first book so it’ll be interesting.

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – I actually put this in last week…but anyway, it’s from my Secret Santa from the Aussie YA Readers and Bloggers group.

Rethinking Normal by Katie Rain Hill – this one’s thanks to Simon and Schuster. Hopefully I get a chance to read it before I leave for England!

Some Assembly Required by Arin Andrews – ditto with this one. They both look really interesting and I can’t wait to dive in.

A School Christmas

We also had a little celebration at school for Christmas. We even decorated a tree.

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Shut up, it’s beautiful.

ALSO, Cait from Paper Fury got me a Christmas card. And it exploded. Everywhere.

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But it’s beautiful and I love it. I LOVE IT.

Books Read Since Last Week

my true love gave to me 2 mara dyer 3

I KNOW, only two books! But to be fair, there was a LOT of last-minute school stuff I had to do. Plus a presentation night that went for about twenty hours. Not fun.

My True Love Gave to Me was adorable and I loved it. Some stories were better than others, but overall, a very fun read – and such a beautiful book!

The Retribution of Mara Dyer…I….I don’t know what to think. I loved it, but the ending was kind of disappointing. But you can read all about that when I get around to reviewing it.

Currently Reading

shadow and boneeee

I shall let you know what I think…

But so far I’m really enjoying it! Plus Alina is such a pretty name…

Reading Next

hansel and gretel sleeper

Because I can’t take these with me to England, and they’ll be short reads, and they look DELICIOUSLY CREEPY.

Gif of the week

You should all give yourselves self-fives for what has hopefully been an excellent year – I know mine has.

Posts on the blog

Monday: Gabrielle Tozer and I interviewed each other for the blog tour of her new book Faking It

Tuesday: the top ten Aussie releases of 2014

Wednesday: my writing wishlist – the things I’d like to write one of these days

Thursday: mini-reviews of Atlantia by Ally Condie and Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire

Friday: the heroine tag! Lots of excellent and not-so-excellent leading YA ladies

Saturday: I flailed about Faking It by Gabrielle Tozer

Look at me, posting every day of the week. Nice job, Emily. You deserve that self-five.

Anyway, I’ll be posting a couple of days before Christmas to let you know what you can expect while I’m over in Pommyland. There’ll be lots of photos when I get back, promise.

But just in case I disappear, I hope you all have a fantastic holiday period, whatever you celebrate or don’t celebrate, and make sure you all eat lots of food, yeah? Good.

I’ll see you all soon!