Monday, 30 September 2013

A poem about love...

So today, on mine and John's wedding day, I thought I'd share a poem about love. This isn't just any poem written about love though, my new husband wrote it! I can't think of anything more perfect to be posting today.

What is this 'love' that we'd all give our lives for
We'd kill and we'd die for
We hope and we strive for
What is this feeling that strengthens like armour
I've never felt safer, I've never felt calmer
Love is my reason for waking from slumber
It strikes like the lightning, it rumbles like thunder
Before I had felt love I once used to wonder
Just what it would feel like
To live my life under
The knowledge that someone had chosen to love me
Who wants to be with me
Someone who could give me
A purpose for being, someone to come home to
I never imagined just what love could do

And then there was you

You came like a bolt of electric, the feelings were hectic
In good ways, they made me feel sick
Contentment and longing
and needing and wanting
The fire of desire and then something
Too strong to describe
Like the blood in my veins turned aflame
At the sound of your voice, at the sound of your name
Whenever you touched me
Whenever you looked at me
Whole world just shook to me
Everything's different
You are my only, the one I was born for
And when you are not there
It's painful how lonely it feels
What I feel, it can only be real
I couldn't imagine it, cannot explain it
And if I could bottle it, surely I wouldn't
The bottle would shatter, the pieces would clatter
The ringing would echo
Below and above
Oh look at this fool who thought he could catch love

Love captured me and it helped me to see
That with you I'm more than I thought I could be
Love is the feeling that says 'I will spend
all of my life with you, until the end'

Love is a word and it's also a feeling. A word to describe what with words is indescribable.

Love has to be felt to be known...and it is different, varied and can only be understood by those who share it.  There is no greater gift we can give to each other.  

Friday, 27 September 2013

I'm away to get married!

The past year has flown by and it's time to get married! When we booked our Florida holiday and then the wedding, it seemed like the time to go would never come but the past few weeks have gone so fast and time to sort everything out seemed to disappear. But now, John and I probably getting ready to board out flight just as this is posted and we're on our way to Orlando for two weeks of sun, a beautiful wedding, Disney, Harry Potter and lots of shopping. 

While I'm away, I have some wedding celebrating type posts for you all and a couple of guest posts from some fab bloggers. Here's what you can look forward to over the next week:

Monday 30th: A poem about love written by my wonderful new husband
Tuesday 1st: Top romantic destinations
Wednesday 2nd: Guest post by Jess (
Thursday 3rd: Guest post by Raimy (
Saturday 5th: My top romances in films
Sunday 6th: Guest post by Emma (

Please stop by and show these posts some love! Can't wait to update you all when we get back with probably a million photos.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Blog Tour: Interview with Paula Brackston

Today I am very pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston. I love a good story about witches and I couldn't wait to interview Paula about her reading and writing habits. 

    Please describe The Winter Witch in 5 words.
Wild places make wild people.

What made you want to be an author?
I've always written, and began to see that other occupations were simply getting in the way of what I really wanted to be doing.

How have your life experiences affected the way that you write?
They must have, though it's not always easy to see how and where experiences surface in one's writing. Certainly growing up in Wales has informed the way I depict the landscape in The Winter Witch. Beyond that I think that living in a place of wildness and peace allows me to be how I need to be in order to write. That sounds a bit artsy, so I'll temper it with telling you that I spend a great deal of my time on the school run, cooking meals, helping with homework, worming the cats, walking the dog, and all manner of everyday stuff. However, when I am actually writing I enter a state that is meditative and dream-like. And in that state I can recall events in my life with clarity. Often it is not the experiences themselves that are useful, rather the emotions or responses that they brought about.

Do you read books similar to those that you write, or a different genre altogether?
Both. I am always interested to see what else is out there that could be seen as similar to my own stuff. That said, I am constantly hungry for something challenging, innovative, or just darn exciting, so I'll read whatever promises one of those things. I love adventures - travel through difficult places, ships in storms, gold prospecting, that sort of thing. Probably because I am a complete wimp and would never undertake such things in my real life.

For you, what components make up a good book?
Something that moves me. I have to be disturbed, shaken up, generally unsettled by a story, so that when I'm reading it I cry or laugh or get angry or afraid, and when I'm not reading about it I'm thinking about it, playing scenes over in my mind. For any of that to happen I have to be fascinated by the characters. I don't have to like them, just find them riveting. If I don't feel a pang when I finish the book I am disappointed. The poignant suffering of the end of a brief almost-love affair should always follow the end of a good story.

If you could be any character from any book for just one day, who would you be and why?
I think I'd enjoy being Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair. It would be wonderful to have her clarity of thinking, her cleverness, her self-confidence, her glamour, and her ability to enjoy herself regardless of what anyone else thinks.

Some authors do certain things while they write, like listen to music. Do you need to do anything similar?
I can write anywhere through any noise, commotion or distraction except that provided by my children. And I must have tea, of course.

Were any of the characters in The Winter Witch, or their traits, inspired by people you know?
I'm sure I draw on everyone I've ever met for material, but that's not to say they will appear, whole and recognisable, in my stories. It might be the mannerism one has with his hands, or the phrase another repeats too often under stress, or the habit another has of answering a question with a question before then answering his own question. Little things tend to transfer well, I think. In the main, however, my characters seem to come to me from some far off place. They start whispering in my ear, or I catch glimpses of them flitting through a doorway or darting behind a tree. By the time I can clearly see and hear them they are pretty much fully formed. I just add the trimmings.

What is your favourite book of all time and why?
This is a dreadfully difficult question, and I confess my answer to it changes depending on when I am asked/my mood/the time of year... I am a huge fan of David Mitchell, so Cloud Atlas has to be always near the top of the list. Such imagination, coupled with such superb prose. Sigh. But I'm also a Thomas Hardy fan, and frequently return to his stories and characters so that they are old friends now. I do like clever stuff, and funny stuff, so the book I have reread most often over the years, and the one of which I always keep several copies, is Voltaire's Candide.

Do you have a favourite book that you've read this year?

Ooh, there have been some really good ones! I'm going to pick Karen Maitland's The Falcons of Fire and Ice. Karen writes with such grace and power, I am always utterly caught up in her stories and whisked off to far away and long ago. I strongly recommend them.

Thank you so much Paula for such a wonderful interview. The Winter Witch is out tomorrow, published by Constable & Robinson. 

Be sure to check out the other posts on the blog tour, which you can find information about below.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Diary of a Crush: Sealed with a Kiss by Sarra Manning

About the book
Diary of a Crush: Sealed with a Kiss is the third and final book in the Diary of a Crush trilogy by Sarra Manning. Although originally a story in J17 magazine, the book was published recently by Atom on

Plot Synopsis
Edie and Dylan are finally a couple – properly without all the fighting, breaking up and kissing in-between. Edie is having a gap year after acing her A Levels and the dream of road tripping across America with Dylan is becoming a reality. Being stuck together in a car together for a whole summer will be the ultimate test for their relationship though. If they can make it through one crazy road trip, maybe they can make it through just about anything.

What I thought
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love Sarra Manning. There hasn’t been a book of hers yet that I haven’t completely loved and this book is no exception.

It has been a bit of a bumpy ride up until this point for Edie and Dylan. They’ve broken up and fought more times than I can remember and they’ve also done enough kissing to equal that amount too. The thing is, even though Edie and Dylan have had a very rough time of it, I have been hoping for the best for them since the very beginning. Sometimes I don’t think they should be together but for the most part, they’re just too perfect for each other for me not to hope.

In this final instalment of the trilogy, Edie and Dylan are finally a couple that aren’t fighting and they’re all loved up and happy. Now that Edie has a gap year ahead of her, she can start saving up for the road trip of a lifetime across America with Dylan. But, that’s nearly a whole year away at the beginning of the book and in the meantime there is work to do, band rehearsals to attend and a whole load of other crazy goings on. Sealed with a Kiss has a great plot and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

In the lead up to the road trip, Edie and Dylan show just how far they have come as a couple. Although much more sweet and loved up then before, the chemistry is still crystal clear to see. The first pages with them together made me remember just how much I loved seeing these characters together and I was so thankful to see them have a pretty smooth ride for a while in this book. However, Sarra Manning does what she does best too here – she throws in some exciting twists and turns to make Edie and Dylan question everything they have.

Something I have loved about the other two books is Edie’s relationship with her girlfriends. She’s such a fun and quirky character and comes with a whole host of others just as crazy as she is. In Sealed with a Kiss, we get to see more of some of the quieter characters which was nice. There are a lot of loud personalities in this book so it was great to have something a bit different this time around. There are also a couple of new boy characters introduced but they weren’t as good as some previous characters for me.

Strangely, Diary of a Crush (as a trilogy) doesn’t really have an ending. However, I didn’t mind this at all which I was a bit surprised about. Certain things are wrapped up nicely and in this third book, there is a nice end to the plot. But, nothing is especially clear about the ending for Edie and Dylan. The reason why I liked it is because it gives the reader chance to imagine the ending for themselves. Did they live happily ever after or did they break up once Edie went off to university. Even with things being left open, there was still a nice sense of closure as a reader.

Sealed with a Kiss was a great end to the trilogy for me and I can’t recommend this series enough

Monday, 2 September 2013

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

About the book
The Distance Between Us is a contemporary young adult novel by Kasie West. It was published by Harper Teen on 22nd July and the book is 320 pages long.

Plot Synopsis
Caymen and her mother live above the doll shop that they own. Since she can remember, it has always been just the two of them as her father was never around. Caymen’s mother, Susan, was disowned by her own parents so there were never any grandparents around either. But, Caymen and Susan have been getting on just fine on their own… or so Caymen thought.

Susan has always had strong opinions on the wealthy which unfortunately passed down to Caymen. So, when Xander walks into the doll shop one day and ‘beckons’ Caymen, she thinks she knows exactly who he is and what he’s like. When the gorgeous boy keeps turning up every day with hot chocolate in hand, Caymen dares to dream that this one might just be different but will he prove her wrong and her mother right?

What I thought
After Michelle at said she liked this book so much, I knew I had to have it. I’m a sucker for a contemporary book and haven’t really read that many recently so I was looking forward to something I was pretty sure I would love.

Protagonist Caymen expresses her feelings about the wealthy from the very beginning of the book. She also states that her father was from a wealthy family who abandoned her and her mother after paying them off. Obviously, she has issues because of this event and so I couldn’t really blame her for her preconceptions. Caymen could be bitter but she isn’t. She makes the most of what she has, even if she hates living above and working in her mother’s doll shop. Dolls are bloody creepy so no wonder Caymen doesn’t enjoy her job. As a character, I absolutely loved Caymen. She was funny and sweet although snarky and sarcastic at the same time. She gave as good as she could get and was so fun to read about.

Then comes Xander aka Alex or Alexander. To begin with I had a bit of a problem with him because of his name. Now, Alexander is a normal name but I hate names being shortened. My fiancĂ© and I have had a big thing over this particular name as an option for our own children because I would refuse to have it shortened to anything. So, because Alexander has two alternatives, this really bugged me. Name aside, I did like him. He comes from a world so completely different to Caymen’s and the banter between the two was fantastic. Caymen has ideas about Xander from the very start whereas he doesn’t judge her at all. He is from a very well off and successful family but he isn’t what Caymen expects him to be at all.

What I really enjoyed about this book was the relationship building between Caymen and Xander. There isn’t any of this instantly falling in love stuff that we get in a lot of young adult books. Instead, the two form a friendship and build from there slowly. At the same time, West gives us a really fun plot about finding yourself and trying new things. Neither Caymen or Xander know what they want to do with their lives and a large part of the book is spent trying to figure that out together. As the characters spend quite a bit of time together, we get to know each of them individually and together which was a great thing. Throughout the book, we get to realise that even though their families have different incomes, Caymen and Xander really aren’t that different in the end.

So, not only is the plot great and the main characters fantastic, but there are other awesome things about this book too. The Distance Between Us is really funny. Caymen has this dry sense of humour which had me laughing out loud at times. Add her sarcasm into that and she’s a definite winner. There are also some great twists in the plot which were quite exciting and they also broke up the romance between Caymen and Xander. Secondary characters were also great and all (especially Caymen’s mum) brought something different to this book.

Overall, I loved this book. Kasie West’s writing is addictive, as is her plot. She writes great characters who are easy to relate to and also who I liked very much. I can’t wait to read more from this author.