Autumn/Winter Bucket List 2017

Although the sun blazing overhead might make you think otherwise, my favourite time of year is here. I love Autumn/Winter, and all that it brings. I’m a little late with this, but here is my bucket list of things I want to do this season to fully make the most of the cold weather (when it finally arrives) –

– Plant lots of new things in the front & back yard
– Try a new exercise class
– Participate in a readathon
– Learn how to make a great curry from scratch
– Rewatch the Alien movies
– Go away for the weekend to celebrate Sebastian’s birthday
– Make pumpkin soup
– Buy a nice new winter coat
– Make popcorn on the stove
– Make an Autumn/Winter playlist to listen to while driving

Book Review: Fearless by Fiona Higgins

Book: Fearless by Fiona Higgins – paperback edition, 392 pages.

Synopsis: Six strangers from across the world converge on the tropical island of Bali to attend a course designed to help them face their fears. Their backgrounds are as diverse as their fears – which range from flying, public speaking and heights, through to intimacy, failure and death…

Friendships and even romance blossoms as the participants are put through a series of challenges which are unusual, confronting and sometimes hilarious. A week of fun in the sun suddenly tranforms into something far more serious, however, when the unthinkable happens – a tragic disaster that puts the group in deadly danger that will test the individual courage of every member…

My thoughts: I made a rookie mistake, because the thing that drew me into this book was the cover. Of course, we all know by now that we should never judge a book by its cover but this one is absolutely beautiful and I couldn’t resist it. Unfortunately (of course), the book did not live up to the cover, and to be honest I didn’t like it at all. I bought this ages ago, and had intended to pick it up quite a few times but then my partner surprised me with tickets to Bali for Valentine’s day and I didn’t think reading a book about a “horrific event” happening there was such a good idea until after we had returned safely. The author has a very different vision of the Bali that I am used to, so although I was absolutely in the mood to be transported back to that setting it felt quite disjointed the reality of the place for me.

The first half of this book was spent introducing a group of characters that I couldn’t possibly have cared less about. I found them all incredibly grating and poorly developed. I think the story would have played out better and had more depth to it if it had revolved around one central character instead of scattered between the group. There was also an extremely weak love story tangled up in the plot that made me roll my eyes on more than one occasion. Also, the author making a character who admits to thoughts of paedophelia something of a martyr in the book did not sit well with me at all.

There wasn’t a lot of build up to the “event” which meant that it didn’t really feel particularly shocking to me when it happened. I feel like the reason for the attack, and the aftermath should have been fleshed out a lot more to make the story feel more balanced. All in all I found this book incredibly disappointing, and I don’t recommend picking it up.

Rating: 2/10

Planner Update: April 2017

The term ‘planner peace’ is thrown around a little bit in the planning community, and although it sounds extremely cheesy I now feel like I completely understand what it means. This is because I have found planner peace. It has taken me around 5 planners to work this out, but I am there and I am happy about it. Planner peace for me is in the form of a 12 month Plum Paper planner, with a month-at-a-glance section with a handful of lined note pages behind. I use the month-at-a-glance section of the planner to organise my life and keep track of everything I have going on, and I use the note pages for various to do lists and other brain dumps that I need to get down on paper and out of my mind. I have come to understand that this is all I need to feel properly organised, without spending too much time faffing about in my planner. I’ve done the week-at-a-glance thing, I’ve done the stickers thing, but now I know what I need and what I like and I feel more organised than ever.

Book Review: Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

Book: Ragdoll by Daniel Cole – kindle edition, 384 pages.

(Advanced Readers Copy)

Synopsis: A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together like a puppet, nicknamed by the press as the ‘ragdoll’.

Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Helen Baxter.

The ‘Ragdoll Killer’ taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them.

With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

My thoughts: Now, you’ll have to bear with me because it’s been a little while since I finished this book, and my memories of it are not as clear as I’d usually want them to be when writing a review. My reviews have fallen behind a little bit, but I’m now trying to catch up.

I remember really liking a few things about this book, but in particular the main character Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes. I felt like he was a really strong protagonist, and a character I could see a series being built around. Having said that, I found some of the detective’s actions clumsy, which was frustrating for me because I feel like crime thrillers often rely heavily on the backbone of the central characters and the reader’s belief in their ability to do their job. I also felt like some of the supporting characters needed more development, but there were a couple of others that stuck out and felt fully formed to me.

The pacing of the book was well done, and I think the idea of the killer setting a countdown to the next victim was a great way to keep the reader turning the page. The killer was not as interesting as I’d hoped, with the build up being what it was. But it was still an enjoyable enough read. All in all I found this to be a decent crime thriller, and would be good to pick up if you’re in the mood for something of this genre set in London.

Rating: 6/10

TBR Book Challenge 2017 (Update #1)

I mentioned earlier in the year that I wanted to make an effort to tackle my seemingly endless TBR book pile. I always feel like a setting challenge or making something into a project makes things a bit more fun when you’re restricting yourself in some way, so I decided to set myself some goals (and rewards). Here’s how I’ve done so far this year…

Total TBR books completed so far: 4

Books read: Masked Innocence by Alessandra Torre (kindle), Shift by Em Bailey, The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, and Fearless by Fiona Higgins

Nostalgic books purchased: Sweet Valley University #21 – ‘For The Love Of Ryan’, and Sweet Valley High #106 – ‘Beware The Wolfman’

I’m currently reading It by Stephen King, which may take me forever to finish. But it’ll be another one off the TBR list, so that’s something to look forward to…