Monday, 5 December 2016

The Twelve Dates of Christmas

Author: Lisa Dickenson
Publisher: Sphere
Publishing date: 2015
Pages: 339


Thirty years old Claudia finds herself stuck in a relatinship without any romantic spark left, and she therefore decides to go on a fancy date with her boyfriend. But when everything turns into a disaster, Claudia suddenly ends up alone during the most beautiful time of the year. At least she has her friends that are determined to cheer her bestie up. And then all of a sudden, Claudia's December starts filling up with surprisingly many dates and new experiences...

The Twelve Dates of Christmas was already a third Christmassy chick-lit novel I have read this year and it was probably my favourite, for I really grew fond of each character in the story, and I was genuinely eager to find out how was the story going to turn. Also, I accidentaly fell in love with one of the main characters. Nick loves Charles Dickens and he does read A Christmas Carol every year just as I do. I am telling you, guys, I was immediately sold just because of this fact. I mean, how awesome is that? You don't usually meet someone who is at the same note with you so easily, right? And it doesn't matter that Nick's fictional. I love him anyway...

The whole story takes place in London. And it was really nice for me to come back there during the Christmas and visit all of the places again, at least throughout the experiences of the main characters. The first date of Nick and Claudia is happening in Starbucks at Holborn, which had been the place where I used to go every day for a caramel latté when I had lived there. And I actually bought this book in Oxfam at Holborn. Isn't it really cool? So yeah, this book was somehow even more special to me because it allowed me to relive some of my own memories from living in London, which I was really gratefull for...

Overall it's just a really sweet, funny and hopelessly romantic book, full of Christmas festivities, that will help you tune into the Christmassy waves and enjoy this part of the year even more. Lisa Dickenson's writing style is very enjoyable and fast-paced. And her story is really surprising at some parts, so it will definitely keep you interested and excited from the beginning to the very last page. I do have absolutely nothing to complain about...

Ratings: 5/5

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Author: J. K. Rowling
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publishing date: 2014
Pages: 360


Do you remember my last year's confession about reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone for the first time? Well, I have finally made it to a second book in the series. I don't know why it took me a whole year to pick it up, for I really loved the first one. But you know how it is - so many books and so little time. Anyways, I am so glad I read it. It was great to be back in Hogwarts all over again, meet all those beloved characters again and become acquainted with the new ones as well - like Gilderoy Lockhart who was such an amusing blockhead. 

Since this has been my second year spent in the wizarding world, I have also started to make teams with the characters. It wasn't something that I would do consciously, it just somehow happened. And even though I still love Harry Potter, I grew fond of Ron Wesley, too. He seems totally different than in the movie. Don't get me wrong, I think Rupert Grint acts him amazingly but still, Ron in the book strucks me less cowardly. He has a great heart. He stands for his family and friends. He doesn't try to please everyone just to make them like him more. And he's insanely funny. He's simply being himself all the time. And I absolutely adore him.

"It was as though they had been plunged into a fabulous dream.
This, thought Harry, was surely the only way to travel — past swirls and turrets of snowy cloud, in a car full of hot, bright sunlight, with a fat pack of toffees in the glove compartment..."

A couple of days ago, I have seen a video about J. K. Rowling, in which she visits her old flat where she had been writing the first Harry Potter's book in a little dark corner with an uncomfortable chair and old computer ten years ago. She talks about her passion for writing and her belief in the story she had been working on, even though she hadn't known, by that time, how big a thing it was going to be. And then she comes to her old bedroom where her younger self had been sleeping, and she suddenly beholds published Harry Potter series in a little bookshelf of the people who occupies her former flat now. And she bursts into tears, for she realizes what she has really done since then. 

It was so touching to see her journey from the beginning to where she is now. And also immensely inspiring. She proves that you can really do anything in your life as long as you believe in it and work hard for it. And she writes about that in her books, too. Which is what I like about them the best. It can never be too late to read Harry Potter series. I know there are more people like me who haven't read it yet, and they are probably afraid that they just missed it. But it's not true. You don't have to be a child to be able to love them. J. K. Rowling had written a timeless story that is always inviting everybody. And whatever you're old, you'll find that there's always a lesson for you to learn...

Ratings: 5/5

Friday, 2 December 2016

#FridayReads

Happy Friday to everyone!
I feel far better this week than the last one. Today I woke up to a beautiful sunny, though windy day, and my usually dark room was at least for one hour filled with a natural light which I loved, for I could see all of my books sitting patiently in the shelves, showing their beautiful spines. And that always inspires me a lot. Then Mr. Postman showed up at our door and delivered a book that I have ordered last week and have been awaiting it eagerly. It was a beautifully bound little copy of A Jane Austen Christmas by Carlo deVito. So my reading material for the weekend has been immediately settled. I am definitely going to write a review on it once I'll read it, so if you're interested what's it about, stay tuned. Also, let me know, what are you reading currently. Wish you a lovely weekend...

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Christmas Around the House

I have started to celebrate Christmas at the begining of November already; and I persuaded my parents to decorate our Christmas tree on the first Sunday of Advent, so we would have more time to enjoy the fairy lights a little bit longer. This year's Christmas is somehow even more important to me than it is usually. I just can't get enough of the festivities, and I am enjoying everything that comes with it. I have spent too much time searching for new decorations in the shops, and so far I added a few rather beautiful Christmas bulbs to our collection (my favourite is the one that looks like an apple which you can see in a picture down below). I am also slowly getting to my rutine of baking, starting with my all time favourite gingerbread cookies. And in the meantime, I am reading Christmassy books full of romance and heartwarming feelings as well as watching some of my beloved movies such as The Holiday, Love Actually, While You Were Sleeping, You've Got Mail and Serendipity. In this post I am going to show you bits and pieces from our home as decorated for Christmas. Hope you'll like it...

Friday, 25 November 2016

#FridayReads

Hello everybody!
So after a long time I am here again to show you what I am currently reading. I am sorry I don't post #FridayReads more often but I am not always so lucky to start a new book just for the weekend. But this week it happened. So the book I am going to read is Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews. Well, I have actually started it on Monday but I still haven't had a chance to get properly into the story. I am only on the page 68, while my copy is a bined up edition that contains the first two books in the series, which means that I still have about 800 pages ahead of me. It's crazy, isn't it? But I am actually very excited for it. Because the story is far beyond thrilling. It definitely keeps me gripped. And it also freaks me out sometimes. So if you're looking for some unpredictable page-turner, I would absolutely recommend this one to you, if you haven't read it already...

Flowers in the Attic actually resembles my current mood, for it's so gloomy outside that my mind is getting gloomier, too. Even our house seems like a cold castle haunted by shadows, for I woke up today and it was dark as if it was night already. It's hard to find some inspiration without light. Not to mention that it's almost impossible to take pictures. But I guess it's nature's way to make us have some hibernation until Christmas. So I am trying to just read and be happy in a present moment. Sorry if the blog itself is a little bit subdued, though. I will try to keep up whenever possible. Till then have a lovely time, and don't forget to tell me what are you reading at the moment...

Monday, 21 November 2016

"In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you."

I have spent a lot of time these past weeks browsing through bookshops in my city and I have found many books to buy. Lately I have also been reading more than usually, for I've been looking for some leak from reality. I love this period of the year, at the same time, though, I have a tendency to get depressed more when it's so gloomy outside. And books are the best cure I can think of. So in this post I am going to show you books that I happened to add to my ever-growing bookshelves recently. Have fun and let me know what books are currently accompanying you...

  • The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan - I've actually mentioned this book in my Christmas TBR and I've already read it and loved it. I am going to post a review on it soon so stay tuned.
  • Let It Snow by John Green, Mauren Johnson and Laureen Myracle - Now, I've been meaning to buy this book for ages and it never happened because I usually came around it like during the summer or so, which I think is quite a strange time to buy a Christmassy book. But this year I've had a chance to finally grab it from a local bookshop so I did. You know that my "relationship" with John Green's books is a bit uneasy so I thought that this book might be a good last chance. If his Christmassy story won't get me then I'm really not sure if anything written by him will...
  • The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey - This book I've also mentioned in my Christmas TBR but I have yet to read it. I love love love the story. And I was so glad when I found this edition in a bookshop, for I wanted it for ever but it was sold out until recently when they published it again because of the new book by the author. So obviously, when I came about it I had to buy both of them. Even though I actually own The Snow Child in the hardback with the very same front cover but I prefer to read a paperback so that's why...
  • To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey - So this is the new book by the author author of The Snow Child. I've been waiting for Eowyn to write another story since I have finished her first book three years ago, and I can't belive that I finally have it in my hands. It's like the best Christmas gift itself. I don't know much about it. I didn't read an anotation, for I really want to be surprised. But I am pretty sure it'll be as beautiful as The Snow Child...
  • Coming Home for Christmas by Julia Williams - I bought this book quite impulsively. I'm not sure what's it about. But I love  Christmassy chick-lit books so why not. Hopefully I can devour it during the Holiday...
  • Here's Looking at You by Mhairi McFarlane - I'm looking forward to read this one, for I've read It's Not Me It's You by this author and I really enjoyed it. It was beautifully written and downright hilarious. I would actually comper it to Bridget Jone's Diaries. It's the same kind of humor. So if you're fan of Bridget, I think you might like books by Mhairi McFarlane as well...
  • Talking About Jane Austen in Baghdad by Bee Rowlatt & May Witwit - You surely know I can read anything related to Jane Austen. And this book is actually a true story which I think is very interesting. It's written in letters between an Iraqi May who's teaching English in Baghdad and a Londoner Bee who works in BBC World Service. Their e-mail conversation starts as an interview but soone enough the topic turns from politics to Jane Austen and the two women become friends...
  • Before I Met You by Lisa Jewell - This is another spontaneous pick. I don't know much about the plot, only that it takes place in London. And even though I am still far away from missing London, I like to visit this city in books so I decided to give this book a try...
  • See Me by Nicholas Sparks - I wanted to read this book since it came out last year but I was avoiding this UK cover, for it's so cheesy and I like the US one much more. But I just haven't had a chance to buy the one I prefer. So I ended up buying British version anyway because I just couldn't wait any longer. As if! I mean, it's the content what counts, right?
  • His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman - This book was kindly sent to me by Everyman's Library. It's a beautiful bind up edition of all three books in the series. And it's also a book from my Christmas TBR so keep an eye on an upcoming review...
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (illustrated edition) by J. K. Rowling - I am a huge fan Jim Kay who illustrated this edition of Harry Potter. I bought the first book last November in London and I had to buy this new one as well. It's really huge and heavy but beautiful, full enchanting pictures. It's simply a-must-have for every HP fan...

Saturday, 19 November 2016

The Importance of Being a Blogger

I love being a blogger, being a part of community that creates something and inspires other people. And when I look back at what I have done since I have started to write Bookish Friendship, I am proud of myself. Well, at least most of the time. Because there certainly are times when I struggle to see the point in all of this. Sometimes I am not able to see the beauty in anything. I know this feeling very well from the time when I was drawing and painting; and sadly, I don't have the strength to withstand it any better when it comes to writing and photographing. But I guess it's just an aspect of every creating process. And I know it's really hard, when you can't find an inspiration or initiative, but I think that the best thing to do is keep going even so; to stick to it even if it pains sometimes. You can believe me that there were times when I have considered abandoning this blog, but there were even more times when I was glad I haven't done that. I don't usually admit it, for I want this blog to be an optimistic and inspirational place without too much complaining and negativism. On the other hand, though, I thought it could be nice to confide in you and let you know that behind this blog is just a girl who doesn't even know how to cope sometimes. So if you ever feel the same, be sure that you're really not alone. And be sure that the hard part will pass over eventually, and the good feeling will return again...

Let me know in the comment section down below what you think about this kind of depression and how do you fight it when it appears...?


Friday, 18 November 2016

A Christmas Tail

Author: Cressida McLaughlin
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publishing date: 2015
Pages: 449


A Christmas Tail is a book that contains four parts of a series previously published as Primrose Terrace. It follows Cat who loves dogs. She moved to a beautiful house on Primrose Terrace street in Fairhaven to live there with her friend Polly and her brother Joe. She's there only four months when her love for dogs causes that she looses her job in a nursery. But Cat decides don't give up and starts her own buissness as a dogwalker. This book tells a story about Cat finding her place in a life surrounded by her friends and her beloved pooches while loads of adventures are happening. And if everything goes right, she might also find a love of her life...

I bought this book around this time last year, and I was planning to read it before Christmas but then I hadn't found time for it until now. And I am so glad I have finally read it, for it was such a heartwarming story that I was just in a need for. Regardless to the name of this book, it actually wasn't just about Christmas time because it showed the whole year on the Primrose Terrace from spring to winter. I really didn't mind, though, for it gave me time to find out even more about all of the characters. And I really adored the whole story. Cat was very reliable character and I genuinely grew fond of her. She was kind of amorphous and hence really funny, but she was also generous and noble-minded, and I found her rather bonny and sweet.

What I liked the best about A Christmas Tail were the dogs. They were so beautifully captured by the author. Thanks to her affectionate descriptions, I could imagined them in my head really colourfully and veritable. They were as important aspect of the story as the characters themselves. So I would really recommend this book to all of you who love dogs as much as Cat does. I am sure you'll find it captivating and infinitely lovely. It's a percfect comfort read for gloomy afternoons spent in a warm chair with a cup of tea...

Ratings: 5/5

Monday, 14 November 2016

Two Sweet Page-turners by Kasie West

Even though it's getting colder outside every second now, I am here with two mini reviews on romantic stories by Kasie West. They're happening during the summer, but I think it can never be late for a good romance, so I decided to share them with you regardless of the weather...

Title: The Fill-In Boyfriend
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publishing date: 2015
Pages: 352

This book tells a story about Gia who is just about to go in for a ball and introduce her boyfriend Bradley to her friends. But because she's a bit too excited about that and practically can't talk about anything else, Bradley decides to break up with her right in the parking lot. Gia is obviously freaking out because one of her girlfriends is waiting just for the right moment of making Gia look like a liar who made her boyfriend up. She simply can't show up there without him. And that's why she asks a total stranger to play her boyfriend and go in there with her. It's just for that one night, so what could possibly go wrong...?

"We rarely find a depth by looking inside of ourselves for it.
Depth is found in what we can learn from the people and things around us."

This book was just so much fun. I started to read it in a café one afternoon when I was waiting for my mom to pick me up. And I couldn't put it down until I finished it late in the night. It was just a perfect blend of romance, friendship and family drama, and I was enjoying every single page. If you're a fan of Sarah Dessen and are looking for some poignant Young Adult books to read, Kasie West is just for you. Her books are so adorable and sweet that it's impossible not to love them. I especially like how the main characters make each other a better person. It's not like they are perfect and flawless, they usually have yet to figure out what they want and what they expect from life. And the other person, who they fall in love with, usually help them to find that out. And I love that. I mean, that's how the healthy relationship should look like, right?

Ratings: 5/5

Title: The Distance Between Us
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing date: 2013
Pages: 312

This book follows Caymen who works every day after school in her mother's shop that sells porcelain dolls. Consequently, she doesn't have that much time left for her own life. Most of the time Caymen doesn't mind, though, she concentrates on studying rich people, who are spending money on the dolls, and soon enough comes to a conclusion that she doesn't like them. But that is before a handsome guy called Xander comes in to collect her grandmother's doll. Caymen tries to avoid him but it only seems like an inevitable thing to fall in love with him when he starts to show her that being rich isn't a character flaw. But what if Caymen finds out that money takes by far bigger part in their relationship than she would ever imagine?

"Sometimes it's the little things
that bring that special someone back to us in some small way."

This book was the first one I've read by Kasie West. I download it to my phone from Amazon because I was curious. But I wasn't expecting much from it. That's probably why it was forgotten in my Kindle folder for many months until I got stuck in a bus on my way home for at least hour and a half without anything to read, for I finished my book during the lunch break. So I pulled out my mobile and decided to give this one a try. And I was immediatelly blown away by the story. It was beautifully written and so gripping that I put Kasie West to my mental list of my favourite authors straight away. Her books are perfect for those readers who need an instant help from a reading slump or who are just too depressed by their own lives to be able to read. That's actually how I had been when I picked this book up, and it helped me to get out of it. Plus it fills your tummy with hundreds of butterflies, and who wouldn't want that...?

Ratings: 5/5

Thursday, 10 November 2016

December Reads and Christmas Wishes

Every year is the same. Even before December comes to us, I am already anthusiastic for Christmas. I've written so many times about it on this blog since I've started it almost four years ago. And every year I write some more. I think that even if I would stop writing this blog, I would always be back in December to celebrate Christmas here, at the least. It's almost like another tradition to me. And I just don't want to give up on that. I know we're not even in the middle of November, but around this time of the year I usually have my head full of Christmas already, and I am just in a mood for Christmassy reads. And today I am here to share with you the books I am going to read as well as those I wish for Christmas...


My Christmas TBR List:
  • White Boots by Noel Streatfeild - Of course I had to pick up a book by Noel as a first one, for Christmas is in the author's name. But also because I loved her Ballet Shoes and I'd like to read more from her...
  • The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey - Now, you probably have an idea about me loving this book entirely. I even painted the cover of it and put it just above the bed in my room (seen here). But it has been a really long time since I have read it, so I decided to read it again this year. And I just can't wait to let Eowyn Ivey enchanted me all over again with her beautifully portrayed winter landscapes and more...
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - Reading of this book every Christmas has become a tradition of mine about three years ago, and I am always looking forward to dive into that story again. I really grew fond of Scrooge, and it makes my heart leap up with joy every time I see him change. I think A Christmas Carol has a very important message in it which I just like to remind myself of every year...
  • The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan - Oh, I am very excited for this book. I have read Dash and Lily's Book of Dares a couple of Christmases ago, and I loved it so much. When I found out that there is a sequel that just came out this year, I simply couldn't resist to buy it straight away. There is something rather sweet about the stories Rachel and David write together, especially the Christmasy ones...
  • His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman - I've started this book recently, and I'd really like to finish it during the Christmas, for I think it just fits perfectly to this time of the year. I love it so far and am looking forward to see how the story progresses...
  • The Snow Queen and Other Winter Tales - I have bought this book last year when I moved to London in November and I have read the first story about The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen which I liked dearly, and this year I'd like to read some more stories. I am planning to check out The History of Nutcracker by Alexandre Dumas and Heart of Ice...

Monday, 7 November 2016

HEARTLESS

Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Macmillan Proof Copy
Publishing date: 9th February 2017
Pages: 452


Who wouldn't know the furious and dreaded Queen of Hearts form Alice's Adventures in Wonderland? But did you know that before she became a queen, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love? Catherine lives in Hearts and is standing before the biggest decision of her life. Just as her parents wished, she caught an eye of the king himself, but her heart was stolen from a court joker named Jest. She doesn't see her future as her parents do. Her only wish is to open a bakery with her maid Mary Ann and live a simple life happily ever after. But what if her fate is already predestined?

"Three luscious lemon tarts glistened up at Catherine. She reached her towel-wrapped hands into the oven, ignoring the heat that enveloped her arms and pressed against her cheeks, and lifted the tray from the hearth. The tarts' sunshine filling quivered, as if glad to be freed from the stone chamber." Ach, could you even imagine more beautiful a start of a story? I was enchanted by the very first sentence, and I can tell you that Marissa Meyer won me over right from the beginning. I've never read anything from her before. I know, it's a shame. But I've already put the Lunar Chronicles onto my wish list, and I am hoping to get it soon. Because I really adored her writing style in this book, and I can't wait to read more from her.


"She stole glimpses of him again and again,
like gathering unsatisfying crumbs in hopes they could re-formed into a cake."

Heartless was like nothing I've ever read. The story is so beautifully imagined and portrayed, overflowing with fantasy. And the plot is so quirky and thrilling and oh, so romantic. I just couldn't put it down. I was very surprised to find Chatherine as a rather nice person, and I grew fond of her right away. Not just because she loves baking just as I do, but because she is simply very likeable and credible character. And I wished so badly for her to be able to find her own way, for I thought she really deserved it. Thus the fact I knew throughout the whole time that she had to become the Queen of Hearts, which meant that she couldn't be with Jest, was breaking my heart. But still, I couldn't stop thinking: "What if...?"

The story is happening in a Wonderland that we all know so very well from a book by Lewis Carrol. You can as well encounter with every character of his in this book, like the Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit or Caterpillar, and of course the nightmarish Jaberwock, too. But even though it's a re-telling, I would say that Marissa Meyer has created like a whole new story behind it. It's almost like the story revived, and everything can happen in it. Who would think that in the Wonderland itself could be any room left for even more of an imagination? But Marissa Meyer found it and used it to tell her adorable story behind a story. And I absolutely loved it.

Ratings: 5/5 

A picture of the Mad Hatter and the Queen of Hearts that I captured when I was wandering through Camden Town in London.