Wednesday, 27 January 2016

My Favourite Places to Read...

Hello, readers! I hope that this merry Wednesday finds you happy and well. Today I thought I would write a bit of a different post, about my favourite places to read! Of course, as I am a thoroughly lazy person there is nothing better than lying in bed all day and reading (but obviously, don't tell my mum that), but there are also a multitude of places where I like to pick up my favourite book, and spend a relaxing hour or two reading the day away :)

So, without further ado, let's get to it!

1. By my window.

On some days it takes me a good while to properly wake up, so reading first thing in the morning is a must for me. It allows me to wake up slowly and have a nice chilled out morning. In my bedroom at university the light is quite good in the morning, and although the view is horrible I have a friendly potted plant named Steve perched on my windowsill to make the view a little bit better.

2. On the sofa in front of the fire.

After lunch or in the evenings there is nothing nicer than curling up on the sofa in front of a roaring fire with a good book. In Cornwall when it is cold and raining outside I love to sit on the sofa in front of the fire and finish my current read. Bliss.

3. On the bus/tube/train.

A lot of my friends can't read while travelling as it makes them sick, and I thank my lucky stars everyday that this is not an impediment that affects me. I always have a massive TBR of books I need to read to review or for my university studies, so I have to always try and fit in as much reading as possible during my day. Therefore, reading while on the go means I keep myself entertained and I am tackling that towering TBR pile!

4. In a coffee shop.

As I have said a million and one times before, I LOVE COFFEE. Therefore, what better place to read than in a coffee shop, with a steaming mug of goodness sitting by my side, putting the world to rights? It is well known that I work/read better in slightly noisy places (weird, I know) so therefore a coffee shop environment with a constant hum of chatter works perfectly for me.

5. On the beach.

I know a lot of people consider themselves to be beach readers, but I take this to the extreme. I.e, in the bitter cold of winter. But there is seriously nothing better than reading a book on the beach, with the perfect view of the sea in front of you, towering cliff faces, and the smell of sea salt in your nostrils. Reading my favourite book on the beach is probably my idea of heaven.

I hope you've enjoyed this blog post- it's a little bit different to the stuff I normally post! I'd love to hear the places where you normally read- let me know down below in the comments or on my social media :)

Huffington Post-


Until next time :)

Monday, 18 January 2016

HAY LEVELS | My Top Picks for English Literature Students!

Hi readers! Today, as it's a Monday and therefore a day a lot of you will go back to school after a nice relaxing weekend, I thought I would write a post all about Hay Levels: stimulating, snappy videos from inspirational and professional people- giving you insight into topics you may be studying for your A-Levels. Hay Levels cover every subject you may be studying, from History to Economics. As an ex A-Level English Literature student, I thought I would post my five top picks from that category!

I hope this helps with a lot of your revision :)

Jane Eyre- John Mullan 

Mullan discusses how the voice of the rebellious Jane Eyre makes Bronte's novel one of the most hypnotic ever written.

Poetry- Simon Armitage

The award winning poet, playwright and novelist Simon Armitage discusses how you should study poetry.

1984- Colm Toibin

The celebrated Irish novelist, playwright, journalist, academic and poet Colm Toibin discusses the origins and themes of Orwell's 1984.

Frankenstein- John Mullan

Mullan discusses how Mary Shelley’s genius was to express the hopes and deepest fears of the Enlightenment.

The Great Gatsby- Sarah Churchwell 

Churchwell explores three crucial points from Fitzgerald’s novel that the film adaptations get wrong.

And those, Ladies and Gentlemen, were my top picks! But there are SO many more Hay Levels videos out there, way too many to fit onto a blog post. So please do go and check out the Hay Levels website and YouTube channel.

Check out the website here:

Check out the YouTube channel here:

Check out my previous blog post about Hay Levels here:

Until next time :)

Thursday, 14 January 2016

'Noah's Wife' by Lindsay Starck (*****)

Hello readers :) I hope that with January nearly behind us you are all now in the swing of things and that the New Year has started off well for you! I have just about got to grips with the fact that I am now starting my second semester of university, and that I actually need to do some course reading now...

But let's just forget about the course reading for a minute *urrggghhhh* and look back to December, to what I was reading over the Christmas holidays! Today I'm going to review the absolutely brilliant Noah's Wife by the talented Lindsay Starck- a book that was perfect to read with the wind howling outside and the rain pounding against my bedroom window. As soon as I saw this title in Turnaround UK's catalogue I knew it was a book I simply had to have, and as soon as it arrived in the post for me I was even more excited to read it. It's quite a large paperback (which I LOVE) and the pages were slightly distressed on the edges, which created a beautiful effect. Also, can I mention just how absolutely gorgeous the front cover is?! Luckily for me, the beauty of the book itself was perfectly mirrored with the beauty of what was inside :)

I was kindly sent Noah's Wife by Turnaround UK in exchange for an honest review :)

Intrigued? Read the blurb to find out more...

Noah’s Wife is a story of a community battered by a relentless downpour from the heavens, a gray and wet little town teeming with eccentric characters who have learned to endure the extraordinary circumstances of the rain with astonishing human fortitude and willfulness.

When Noah’s wife arrives with her minister husband to this small coastal town, she is driven by her desire to help revive the congregation. However, she is thwarted by the resistance of her eccentric new neighbors and her failure to realize that her husband is battling his own internal crisis.

As Noah and his wife strive to bring the townspeople to the church—and keep the strains on their marriage at bay—the rain intensifies, impeding their efforts. Soon the river waters rise, flooding the streets of the town and driving scores of wild animals out of the once-renowned zoo. And so, Noah, his wife, and the townspeople must confront the savage forces of nature and attempt to reinforce the fragile ties that bind them to each other before their world is washed away.

Full of whimsy and gentle ironic humor, Noah’s Wife is a wise and poignant novel that draws upon the motifs of the biblical flood story to explore the true meaning of community, to examine the remarkable strength of the human spirit, and to ask whether hope can exist even where faith has been lost.

Noah's Wife is a loose retelling of the Biblical story of Noah's Ark in the Old Testament, and I've never read a retelling of a Biblical story before, so this intrigued me. The book follows the troubled, eccentric lives of individual members of a community who live in a tiny town where it rains. Relentlessly. It is a story about human character, strength and fortitude, hope and the absence of it. It is also a tale of human relationships, commitment, and faith. Is it sometimes okay to accept defeat? When do we give up with each other? Who do we have a responsibility towards? Is there anyone 'up there', and if so, does He listen? All of these questions, plus many more, are explored in the novel, through the quirky, eccentric voices of the various characters.

The thing I adored about Noah's Wife, right from the first page, was Starck's writing. It was beautiful, intricate, delicate and fitted the novel perfectly. The detailed and carefully crafted characterisation, along with the beautiful writing, made the novel the success that it unquestionably is. The descriptions of the tiny town and small-town life were faultless and I could clearly imagine everything in my head, which really worked for a story that depicts the impossible, or the hard to believe. However, the beautiful descriptions ensured that I was never lost, and could be as fully engrossed in the story as possible.

Another strength of Noah's Wife for me was definitely the characters. In the Acknowledgements Starck points out that the novel started out as an array of character sketches, and you can clearly decipher this from the detail that clearly went into creating all the characters. They were all funny, witty, ironic and eccentric, and even the characters you were meant to hate, I loved. Their interaction with each other was a delight to read and the dialogue was simply amazing. I really cared about what was going to happen to all the characters, and by the last chapter I felt genuinely fearful for the outcome, for these characters whom I had learned more and more about throughout the novel. As each chapter focuses on a different character, I got to know each character really well, and see the hidden depths that the characters couldn't see about each other. This definitely allowed me to be more invested in the book.

The book was also the perfect length, to go into enough detail about the plot line and characters, and I never once was bored. The ending (which I'm not going to spoil, obviously) was, in a word, perfect. I'm so glad Starck ended it the way she did. 

Overall, I think it's pretty clear that I adored Noah's Wife. It is such an incredible debut novel, with such a mystical and intriguing atmosphere and characters you will have a hard time leaving behind. I really hope that Lindsay Starck writes more books, as I will be the first to run to the bookshop to pick one up!

Check out Lindsay Starck here:

Buy Noah's Wife here:

Until next time :)

Sunday, 10 January 2016

COLOURING CORNER | 'Colour Me Mindful: Enchanted Creatures' by Anastasia Catris (*****)

Hello, readers! In my opinion, there is nothing better than curling up with a colouring book and a cup of tea on a cold January evening! And this blog post will be all about Anastasia Catris' amazing colouring book series, Colour Me Mindful. And especially my favourite book so far in the series, 'Enchanted Creatures'! 

I was kindly sent Colour Me Mindful: Enchanted Creatures by Orion in exchange for an honest review :)

Intrigued? Here's the blurb...

A mindful art therapy colouring book for adults, filled with beautiful enchanted creatures.
Not just for kids anymore, colouring delivers a deeply satisfying experience that is almost meditative and colouring books are growing in popularity as anti-stress aids for adults.

Complete with intricately detailed and beautiful line-art, this book depicts a breathtaking array of enchanted creatures.

Your mind will focus as you fill the pages with colour, becoming calm and reducing stress. This is mindful, simple therapy for adults that can be carried out every day.

With stunning illustrations to colour in and admire, this book provides a creative outlet and a deeply soothing mindful experience for those in need of a little artistic stress-busting.

I LOVE this series so much, and don't have enough good words to say about it. All of the drawings are so interesting and detailed and intricately created, but at the same time there is the perfect mix of simple shapes to colour in, and more complex time-consuming designs. It depends on my mood or my reason for colouring to decide which kind of drawing I'm going to colour. 

I especially love this edition of Colour Me Mindful because the drawings are so imaginative and this really allows you to go crazy and as creative as possible with these designs. I felt free to use any colour I wanted, and mix it up a bit between colouring pencils and fine liners. 

I really recommend this edition of Colour Me Mindful, and all of the others of course! This one will especially appeal to those who love fantasy and fantastical creatures, like mermaids, dragons, unicorns and many more. Check out some of my examples here, but to see all of the drawings, pop into your local bookshop and pick up a copy- you won't regret it!

Check out my last post about Colour Me Mindful here:

Check out Anastasia Catris here:

Buy Colour Me Mindful here:£14-97/dp/1407250167/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1452445211&sr=1-7&keywords=colour+me+mindful
Until next time :)

Thursday, 7 January 2016

'This Raging Light' by Estelle Laure (****)

Hello readers! Unfortunately, with the Christmas and New Year celebrations behind us, it is the time to go back to early mornings, late nights and long days at school or work. However, on the bright side, I’ve got a book review for you of a fantastic story that will transport you back to lazy summer days on the beach, or cosy winter evenings reading in front of the fire. The book I'm going to review for you today, This Raging Light, is one of those books that are definitely timeless, and can be enjoyed in any season.

I was kindly sent This Raging Light by Orchard Books in exchange for an honest review.

Intrigued? Read the blurb to find out more…

Can the best thing happen at the worst time?

Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she's about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend's brother. With blazing longing that builds to a fever pitch, Estelle Laure's soulful debut will keep readers hooked and hoping until the very last page.

The proof copy of This Raging Light is absolutely gorgeous, and the first thing that struck me upon seeing the cover was the amount of praise the book had already received, as these were plastered all over the front cover. This being said, I had high, high expectations starting the first chapter.

And I was not disappointed. Upon starting the first page, I was automatically reminded of books that are among my favourites: all of Sarah Dessen’s books and Emily Murdoch’s If You Find Me. This Raging Light is a book about family, love, community and loyalty. In their small, friendly community, something very dark occurs between Lucille Bennet’s mother and father, so shocking that Lucille’s father is taken away to an institution and her mother leaves Lucille and her younger sister Wren to fend for themselves. Lucille, for the first time in her life, is left with a house to clean, bills to pay and a hungry young girl to feed. This all seems too much to bear, however on hand are Lucille’s best friend Eden, her new job at a crazy restaurant, and the boy who she’s desperately in love with… The only thing is, Lucille has a terrible fall-out with her best friend, and the boy just happens to be Digby, Eden’s twin brother. This Raging Light is a story that takes the reader on a remarkable and heartwarming journey, following Lucille as she grows into a person who finally learns to believe and trust in herself.

The tone of Lucille’s narration was perfect and I could easily empathise with her, and want to read the rest of the story to see what would happen next. She was such a relatable character and I warmed to her automatically: she was brave, strong, but most of all realistic. The only character I loved more than Lucille was Wren, and their sisterly relationship and bond was beautiful to read. Again, I was reminded of the relationship between Carey and Jenessa in If You Find Me.

The book was perfectly paced and- although I never wanted the story to end- the ending was perfect in its own way. That being said, I really want to find out what happens next! This is definitely the kind of novel that you can read in one sitting. This Raging Light has the faultless mix of action, romance and tension. The relationship between Lucille and all of the other characters were delightfully complex and well-explored, in fact, every element of this novel was obviously carefully crafted to achieve what the book certainly turned out to be: a stunning YA novel. 

If you love Sarah Dessen, Emily Murdoch or Rainbow Rowell, this is definitely the book for you. I would highly recommend that you run to your nearest bookshop to pick this gem up: it’s 100% worth it!

Buy This Raging Light here:

Check out Estelle Laure here:

Until next time :)

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

My #2016ClassicsChallenge TBR!

Hello, readers! This is a very belated blog post (I was supposed to publish this a couple of days ago... whoops) but one I have been very excited about writing! Basically, I made a very hasty and impromptu decision to partake in the 2016 Classics Challenge! I have never  taken part in a reading challenge before, but I saw that a lot of my blogger friends were joining in so I thought, why not?! Besides, I love reading classics but I still have loads on my bookshelf that I haven't picked up yet, so I thought I would enjoy taking part.

The 2016 Classics Challenge is hosted by the wonderful Stacey from The Pretty Books- go check her out, she's awesome!

The aim is simple- to read one classic every month for a whole year! That's 12 books in total *ooer*. But I'm pretty sure I can do it. I will also be updating you on this blog, Delightful Book Reviews, and on my YouTube channel where I will be vlogging my experience :)

I have made a TBR especially for this challenge- I don't have all the books to hand right now as they are either in Manchester or Cornwall (my two other homes other than London!) However, I will be showing you all the books I will be reading at some point or other.

#2016ClassicsChallenge TBR

Northanger Abbey- Jane Austen

Stancliffe's Hotel- Charlotte Brontë

The Night Is Darkening Round Me- Emily Brontë

Anthem For Doomed Youth- Wilfred Owen

Why I Write- George Orwell

To The Lighthouse- Virginia Woolf

Poetics- Aristotle

Cranford- Elizabeth Gaskell

The Mill on the Floss- George Eliot

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall- Anne Brontë

The Awakening- Kate Chopin

L'Assommoir- Émile Zola

I'm really excited to read these- as they are all books I have been wanting to read for a while! Wish me luck that I can successfully complete this challenge *battlecry*

Are you participating in the #2016ClassicsChallenge? Leave links in the comments for me so I can check out your TBR!

Until next time :)

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

'The Human Script' by Johnny Rich (****)

Hello readers, and Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful festive period with LOADS OF FOOD AND READING because, to be honest, what else should people do at Christmas. Oh, spend time with loved ones. I made sure to look up from my books once or twice this week to nod nicely at them, don't you all worry.

But now to the nitty gritty, a new year full of reading loads of great books and reviewing them on this blog! The first book I'm going to kick things off with is a book I was given a while ago by the fantastic Red Button Publishing, who contacted me asking if I would like to review their brand new title The Human Script. As soon as I read their pitch in the email, I knew it was a book I simply had to have. A book about science, philosophy, literature and everything in between; a story told in 23 chromosomes. A book that asks the pivotal and fundamental questions about life, and questions why we ask the questions in the first place.

I was sent a copy of The Human Script by Red Button Publishing in exchange for an honest review :)

Intrigued? Here's the blurb...

London in the spring of 2000: Chris Putnam, a young scientist working on the Human Genome Project, is grieving for the end of his first relationship and for the loss of his deeply religious and estranged father. Then Chris falls in love and his twin brother goes missing. Events take Chris on a journey from the hallowed halls of scientific research via decadent art-scene parties and London’s Theatreland to the cold loneliness of a psychiatric hospital and ultimately to a desperate decision. What Chris discovers about himself and his world forces him to address his own nature, his own beliefs and his own reality.

The Human Script is a cryptic parable, in which popular science, philosophy, literary theory and religion intertwine in a poignant and tragic love story that asks the question: what is it to be human?

As soon as I had a copy of The Human Script in my hands, I knew it was a book that would challenge me. After reading I can safely say that I haven't read another book like it in my life. The Human Script is a novel that is so strongly self-aware that it keeps the reader on tenterhooks for the entirety of the story. It is a distinctly modern novel that cuts through all conventions of literature. The protagonist, Chris Putnam, leads the reader through the maze of his mind that is never quite sure, or comfortable with its surroundings. While reading, I almost felt that I was one with Chris (please excuse the sickening cliché) and that I was learning about his world and the people in it at the same time he was. To say that Chris is a likeable character is a serious understatement and a trivial perception of the novel. I feel that it was never Rich's aim to encourage you to 'like' Chris, or even empathise with him, but understand him and to ask the same questions about your own life that Chris continually asks about his own. 

The narration of this book was simply fantastic and from the very first chapter I was thrown in at the deep end, at the start of a seemingly normal morning for Chris, not unlike any morning for the millions of people all waking up and beginning their day in different places all over the world. However, it didn't take me long to realise that this book, in its content, narration, characters or ideas was anything but 'normal'. The switching to different types of narration gave me endless insight into what was happening in the story, and the character development of all the different figures that featured in Chris' life. This gave a distinctive 'closeness' to all of the characters in the book, even those who never actually featured as speaking figures in the story, for example Chris' feather Eugene. 

Because of Chris' continuous and ever-spiralling questioning about himself and the world around him, I never felt at ease and this just made the book work for me. In a mere 320 pages, Rich managed to tackle the questions that face all of us at some point or other in our lives: nature/nurture, religion, celebrity, philosophy, literature, ideas, science, cause and effect and most importantly: what is it that makes us who we are? In the final chapter of the book I was as manic and feeble-minded as Chris; I no longer had any idea about what was fictional and what was real. The paragraphs where Chris berates 'The Author' was a fantastically used device and really drove home the feeling of unease and separation from the 'reality' of the action in the novel.

The only reason why this review isn't 5* is that, simply, I wanted this book to be longer. Way longer. Countless ideas were explored, but I wanted Rich to go deeper. I wanted to be given the chance to question Chris and the other characters more.

Altogether, I loved The Human Script, and I am so so glad that I requested it. It is a book that has inspired me to continue with my own writing, push the boundaries of conventional storytelling, and to never stop asking the important questions. 

Check out Johnny Rich's guest post on Delightful Book Reviews:

Buy The Human Script here:

Check out Johnny Rich here:

Until next time :)

Friday, 1 January 2016

THE DBR AWARDS | My Year In Books

Hello, readers! I thought that since it's a brand new year and 2016 is set to be the best yet, I would start a new feature as a way to bring in the new year! I've been so, so lucky this year to have read so many amazing books that I will remember forever, and I thought I could celebrate this by writing a blog post about my top books I've read in 2015. 

Hence, the DBR awards!

It was EXTREMELY hard to whittle 64 books down into 10 top favourites (as I have loved nearly all of the books I read this year!), especially with the many amazing book projects and awards I have blogged about this year, such as the YA Book Prize and World Book Night. However, I finally managed it, and here are the 2015 DBR Awards winners! I have linked my review (if I wrote one) below, so you can check out my thoughts :) If I didn't write a review, then I will link the Goodreads page so you can check out the book. 

Best Historical Fiction

Wolf By Wolf- Ryan Graudin

The Game-Changer

Only Ever Yours- Louise O' Neill

Best Adult Fiction

The Underwriting- Michelle Miller

Best Non-Fiction

This Book Is Gay- James Dawson


We Were Liars- E. Lockhart

Best 'Classic' Novel

Perks of Being a Wallflower- Stephen Chbosky

The Important Book

Read Me Like A Book- Liz Kessler

Best Poetry Collection

Small Hands- Mona Arshi

Best Short Story Collection

Emerald City- Jennifer Egan

Funniest Book

Lobsters- Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

Let me know if you've read any of the books above let me know!

Congratulations to all of the authors whose books have won, and thank you for all the wonderful books you write (and please, PLEASE continue to write more PLEASEEEEE)

And another huge thank you to all the bloggers who continue to spread the word about the amazing books that these wonderful authors write :)

Until next time :)