Monthly Wrap Up: September 2017

september

Me in September

September was mostly taken up with me getting ready to move in with my boyfriend. There was a lot of organising, donating, and packing to do. I’ve gotten rid of tonnes of clothes that are now too big for me, and I think I must have donated at least sixty books that I have read and know I’m never going to read again. It was incredibly sad to see my library slowly start to disappear, but at the same time I now have space for more books as I’ve only kept favourites and books that actually mean something to me. I don’t know why I was hanging on to books that I didn’t love, or books that I only rated two stars.

I moved house at the weekend, and as of right now the flat is a bit messy. We’re slowly putting everything together, and I’ve got the whole week off work so I can start making it look a bit more homely.

A group of friends and I went to Thorpe Park (an amusement park in the south of England) earlier in the month. We managed to get quite lucky with the weather, as it only started to rain just as we were about to leave. I had a really good day, although I’ve realised that the food at Thorpe Park is really disappointing, and next time I go I’m going to take a picnic and store it in a locker until lunchtime. Because we went during the week, the queues weren’t too long. The longest we waited for a ride was 45 minutes for the Derren Brown Ghost Train, which really wasn’t worth the wait. We pretty much walked straight on to everything else.

We also went to Whipsnade Zoo, which is absolutely massive. Whipsnade is, in my opinion, so much better than London Zoo because it’s bigger, and you have the chance to get a lot closer to the animals. I didn’t get to see the baby hippo called Hodor, which I was really excited about, but it was a great day nonetheless.

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Book Club: The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman

Book Club: The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol GoodmanThe Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman
Genre: Mystery
Release Date: 2nd January 2002
Publisher: Ballantine
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Twenty years ago, Jane Hudson left the Heart Lake School for Girls in the Adirondacks after a terrible tragedy. Now she has returned to the placid, isolated shores of the lakeside school as a Latin teacher, recently separated and hoping to make a fresh start with her young daughter. But ominous messages from the past dredge up forgotten memories that will become a living nightmare.

Since freshman year, Jane and her two roommates, Lucy Toller and Deirdre Hall, were inseparable–studying the classics, performing school girl rituals on the lake, and sneaking out after curfew to meet Lucy’s charismatic brother Matt. However, the last winter before graduation, everything changed. For in that sheltered, ice-encrusted wonderland, three lives were taken, all victims of senseless suicide. Only Jane was left to carry the burden of a mystery that has stayed hidden for more than two decades in the dark depths of Heart Lake.

Now pages from Jane’s missing journal, written during that tragic time, have reappeared, revealing shocking, long-buried secrets. And suddenly, young, troubled girls are beginning to die again . . . as piece by piece the shattering truth slowly floats to the surface.

Some friends and I have started a monthly book club, and while discussing things with them, I came up with the brilliant idea of incorporating the book club into my blog. One of my friends, Gemma, is also a blogger, so we’ll be doing a joint post each month in which we share our separate thoughts on the book and talk about how the book went down with the book club as a whole.

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Seven Years of Blogging

As of today, I have been blogging for seven years. Seven. Years. I know it’s a cliché at this point, but when I first started this blog back in 2010 (in May… except I stopped after one post and didn’t pick it up again until September) I didn’t think I’d make it this far. Fortunately, I quickly discovered that book blogging is a hobby that I really freakin’ love. I love collecting my thoughts on books in one place, I love the book blogging community, I love getting excited about future releases, and I love looking back on old posts and feeling nostalgic.

i literally love you

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Wanderlust Wednesday: Somerset 2017

wanderlust wednesday Day 1

somerset8I wanted to get to Longleat around lunchtime, so we set off from Buckinghamshire on Friday morning. The drive was going really well, despite my nerves, until we got diverted as we got closer to Stonehenge. The Ministry of Defense was doing some sort of training thing, so I ended up having to drive through various housing estates to get around the road blocks. It worked out quite well though because I got to drive through some really nice country roads where you could see miles and miles of countryside in all directions.

Once we got to Longleat, we started off with the hedge maze, which is the largest of its kind in the UK. Apparently it takes people 42 minutes, on average, to reach the centre. Seeing this, Quill decided to time us and we ended up completing the maze in 6 minutes. We’re so good. After bragging and gloating a little bit, we went off to see the small animals and the insects. Highlights include watching a butterly hatch out of its cocoon, and Quill trying to get me to hold a tarantula called Amber. I obviously bailed on that.

Next was the boat trip, during which we got to see the lone gorilla on his island, a couple of hippos, and some very greedy sea lions.

Then, after walking around the gardens and spending a while in the bat cave, we finally got onto the safari! I was a little nervous about driving around all of the animals, but obviously they are used to the traffic and they weren’t bothered at all. I actually loved being surrounded by camels, and having a deer almost stick its head in the car.

The lions were one of the highlights of the tour, as there were some pretty young ones in there that were quite playful. We saw a zookeeper try to stop two of them from escaping through the gates. We only caught glimpses of the cheetahs, tigers, and wolves, which was a shame. They were all resting as we were driving through!

After that, it was time to drive to Wedmore, where we were staying. We drove through Wells to get there and saw a tiny amount of the town, and after winding through various tiny villages and hamlets, we reached the cottage.

somerset1

Magnolia Cottage is a barn conversion, and it’s the most relaxing place to stay. The bedroom, kitchen, and living room are all in one, and then there’s a separate bathroom. The cottage is on a farm, which means it’s really peaceful, and we were pretty much left alone.

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A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena

A Stranger in the House by Shari LapenaA Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 15th August 2017
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

Karen and Tom Krupp are happy—they’ve got a lovely home in upstate New York, they’re practically newlyweds, and they have no kids to interrupt their comfortable life together. But one day, Tom returns home to find Karen has vanished—her car’s gone and it seems she left in a rush. She even left her purse—complete with phone and ID—behind.

There's a knock on the door—the police are there to take Tom to the hospital where his wife has been admitted. She had a car accident, and lost control as she sped through the worst part of town.

The accident has left Karen with a concussion and a few scrapes. Still, she’s mostly okay—except that she can’t remember what she was doing or where she was when she crashed. The cops think her memory loss is highly convenient, and they suspect she was up to no good. 

Karen returns home with Tom, determined to heal and move on with her life. Then she realizes something’s been moved. Something’s not quite right. Someone’s been in her house. And the police won't stop asking questions.

Because in this house, everyone’s a stranger. Everyone has something they’d rather keep hidden. Something they might even kill to keep quiet.

I couldn’t wait to pick this one up because I liked Lapena’s debut, The Couple Next Door, so much and I was totally ready for another thriller. I bought it as soon as it came out, which is the first time that’s happened in a good while. For some reason, I find Lapena’s writing style to be quite captivating.

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