Music, Vinyl diaries

Vinyl Diaries: Brand New Eyes – Paramore

May 11, 2016

Paramore Brand New Eyes on VinylParamore Brand New Eyes vinyl

Brand New Eyes is an album I always underrate, until I listen to it and then I wonder how on earth it’s not my favourite Paramore album.

I think that this was pretty much the only CD I had in my car for the first 6 months after it came out, and I just listened to it over and over again. Perhaps I listened to it to death and that’s why I tend to underrate it. I’m my own worst enemy sometimes.

Paramore Brand New Eyes Vinyl side aParamore Brand New Eyes lyric sheet Paramore Brand New Eyes vinyl lyric sheet

My favourite memory of this album was when Paramore played Birmingham with You Me At Six as support. I think it was one of the first gigs Tom and I went to together, and it was such a good show. I believe that tour was the first time Paramore played arenas in the UK and I couldn’t help but feel a little proud of them, after seeing them tour Riot! in a much smaller venue a couple of years earlier.

Listen to

To be honest, I could list every song on the album under here and it took a fair bit of deliberation to narrow it down to just four songs. (Luckily for you, you can listen to the entire album either on Spotify or YouTube.)

Tell me about an album you underrate, until you listen to it.


Sometimes all the ‘how to get out of a reading slump’ tips don’t work, and that’s ok

May 6, 2016

Four books on the go

I’ve been stuck in a bit of a reading rut for most of 2016 so far. That’s not to say I haven’t read some great books though, but I’ve struggled to find time to really get into books.

At the time of writing this, I have four books on the go:

  • Allegiant Collector’s Edition – Veronica Roth: I’ve been reading this since it came out in October, and I’m pretty sure I’ve not finished it yet because of the ending.
  • Glass Sword – Victoria Aveyard: I’m over half way through this and really enjoying it, but meh, the reading rut.
  • Carry On – Rainbow Rowell: if anyone can bring me out of a reading rut, it’s Rainbow Rowell, so I started this in the hope it would pull me out.
  • Wild Swans – Jessica Spotswood

There are thousands and thousands of blog posts floating about sharing tips on how to get out of a reading rut. But sometimes, all the tips in the world don’t work and you just need to give it time.

I keep scrolling through Instagram (shameless plug, you can find me here @eatreadglam) and getting all excited about people’s enthusiasm for something they’ve just read, or something they’re about to read, and wishing I felt the same. That said, I am having a hard time not buying A Court of Mist and Fury right now BECAUSE IT LOOKS SO BEAUTIFUL AND SURELY BEAUTIFUL BOOKS WILL PULL ME OUTTA THIS FUNK. RIGHT?

WRONG. The reason I’m stuck in a reading rut is because I’ve got so much going on with university and my job. I have never been one of those people who can steal five minutes with a book here and there. I’m one of those people who gets fully invested and sucked in and will not be moved from the sofa for at least an hour, and finding a spare hour feels increasingly hard at the moment.

There’s no point forcing it because I know I won’t enjoy what I’m reading if I do that, and my second year is almost at an end, so I’ll have time to read over the summer.

Sometimes, you have to ignore all the tips and just wait; just wait until you get that time when the house is quiet, there’s nothing gnawing at the back of your mind reminding you to do something, and you can relax and fall into someone else’s head.


Share The Love

Share The Love – April 2016 Edition

May 4, 2016

Share the love April

Well, we’re here again; at long last, Game of Thrones is back on TV! And, yeah, it’s the start of a new month yet again.

BLOG – Life With A View

I discovered Jeannie’s blog after seeing one of her blog posts about things to do in Reykjavik, and since then I’ve been excitedly reading each update she shares about things to do and see in Iceland, and what it’s like for an American expat living hthere.





April’s playlist was allll over the place. I’d got some Twin Atlantic, HalfNoise, Of Monsters and Men, the two new tracks of PVRIS’ deluxe edition of White Noise, and two throwback tunes from Avril Lavigne’s Under My Skin – just to name a few.



I binge-watched series two of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and THAT ENDING! I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT HOW IT ENDED!

Game of Thrones is back on TV, so that’s always good. And Tom and I have finally started watching Orange Is The New Black – I don’t know why it’s taken us this long, because it’s so good.



April wasn’t a great reading month at all, but I did enjoy doing a buddy read of The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead with Llinos from The Lilac Linnet.



I snuck in another trip to Nando’s, so for the second month in a row I’m going to rave about their veggie wrap. It’s bliss.



What did you enjoy in April? Feel free to leave links.






Right In My Backyard

May 3, 2016

Dylan looking at a pondBlue and white striped sky

A striped sky hung overhead; blue and white lines repeating themselves, dragging my attention away from the quacking ducks landing on the pond, and the distant sound of cheers from the football ground.

Winter sun bathed my face and the dogs shuffled their feet, eager to dip their paws in the edge of the pond but unsure of the Canadian Goose that kept eyeing them up.

This pond and these paths have been here for over 20 years, the remains of an old brickyard, well hidden from the road. So well concealed that I didn’t even know this place existed until three years ago; it is a couple of minutes walk from my house and I didn’t even know it was here.


I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but it’s weird how we can live our lives so in a little bubble that we don’t even know about places right in our neighbourhood.

I’ve spent my whole life in the West Midlands, and I think it’s about time that I started to really explore it.


Fantasy, Richelle Mead, Young Adult

The Glittering Court buddy read with The Lilac Linnet | A winding road of cunning, pretty dresses & romance to freedom

April 28, 2016

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead, a review

My love for the Vampire Academy series rapidly sealed Richelle Mead as an autobuy author for me, and when I heard that The Glittering Court was a mixture of fantasy and boarding school antics, I was all over that pre-order book.

As soon as we heard about The Glittering Court, Llinos from the Lilac Linnet and I decided to do a buddy read, so this post will be a mix of my review and some review questions that both Llinos and I will be answering in our respective blog posts. If you want to read Llinos’ post, you can find it here.

We’re introduced to Adelaide (though, not her real name at the start of the book), a countess struggling to come to terms with the loss of her family’s wealth and trying to find a wealthy suitor who isn’t boring and creepy.

Spying an opportunity, she runs away to join The Glittering Court in the hope of finding a better life, and being able to marry for love rather than business. Of course, being a book an all, it isn’t that simple and she ends up forging her way down a winding road full of cunning, stunning dresses, treachery and romance to try and get freedom for herself and the one she loves.

If the synopsis sounds a little exhausting and all over the place, that’s because it’s exactly what the book is like. Heck, I needed a rest after reading this book. The Glittering Court is definitely more like an adventure novel than a romance novel in that respect, and I love it. Who loves exciting fantasy adventure romance novels? Kel loves orange soda! Wait, that’s something else.

Richelle Mead has done an absolutely cracking job of the world building. Here’s a list of some of the few places we spend time in:

  • The fancy (but not too fancy) home of a countess.
  • A ship on a rough ocean.
  • Cape Triumph; a new city, supposedly full of savages and scary men.
  • A very fancy house in Cape Triumph, full of maids turned ladies eager to be exactly what a rich man is looking for.
  • A shack at the foothill of mountains in the wilderness.

And all of them are so well written that you can feel the wind on your face as you gaze up at mountains, and the hustle and bustle of a port.

The character development is just as thorough also. Adelaide undergoes a lot of transformation throughout the book and even though none of us have been in her position, it’s hard not to relate to her.

  • Who doesn’t want to be free to make their own choices?
  • Who doesn’t want to find someone who is interested in them for more than their looks?

Most of the secondary characters are pretty well developed too. Some of them you fall head over heels in love with, and some of them are creepy and make your skin crawl – nice and diverse, that. I feel that perhaps we could have got to know some of the other girls who are part of The Glittering Court a little more – for example, one girl is quickly painted as a bit malicious and nasty, but I don’t think we ever really see her full potential and I think she could have caused us a lot of stress if we had. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

I mentioned above that the plot is more like an adventure novel; the pace is pretty full-on, there are no dull moments, and it’s full of so many twists and turns. On top of that, the romance is just as exciting – hello, sexual tension.

From looking at Goodreads reviews, I’ve seen some comparisons to The Selection, and I can definitely see where they’re coming from; a group of girls in a house competing to be exactly what men want, and a main character who doesn’t really want to play ball. Also, pretty dresses. That’s kind of where the comparisons to The Selection series end to me.

I know it probably sounds like they’re similar, but when I was reading it I didn’t think about The Selection at all, so it’s not like it’s a rehash of it. For starters, The Glittering Court is a bit darker, more detailed, and pretty much completely different.

I’m not going to say much more because I don’t want to spoil it, so let’s move onto the buddy read questions.


Who would you recommend The Glittering Court to?
Anyone who loves adventure novels, main characters who refuse to give up, and the idea of a mash-up of fancy dresses and frontier life.
Who is your favourite character?
My favourite character has to be our main character, Adelaide, because of her refusal to give up and her determination to get the freedom she wants. Whether it’s freedom from an arranged marriage, or the freedom to love the person she wants, she would rather go down in flames than have someone else tell her what to do with her life.
What are your thoughts on the world building and religious aspects of the novel?
The world building was rich and so detailed, without it feeling really heavy handed, which I think takes some serious skill. The same goes for the religious aspects, and it was interesting to read about how people of other religions thought of each other and their practices – I guess a lot of their prejudice and thoughts are relevant in modern line.
What annoyed you about the book?
Hmmm, this one actually took a lot of thinking about because I didn’t really have any qualms. I think that if there was anything that was a teeny bit annoying, it would be the lack of development of the other girls in The Glittering Court. It is a pretty detailed book as it is, but I think that getting to know some more of the girls, aside from passing mention of their name, would have been nice.
What do you think of the novel’s portrayal of women?
The Glittering Court is obviously influenced by Elizabethan times and I think the portrayal of women is definitely in line with what was expected of women, and how they were treated at the time. Women were property to be sold for the highest bidder to further their families wealth; they didn’t get things like freedom or choices.
Are you excited about the rest of the series?
I cannot wait to read the rest of the series, for reasons I will not mention because SPOILERS!
Favourite quote
This was the easiest question, because as soon as I read this line I was like “YES!”. It’s the sweetest and smushiest line I’ve read in a book in a while, and it just feels so me all over. In fact, my expression was kinda like this:
Big Bang Theory Sheldon dominos
 I will take your hand and lie with you in the groves, under the light of the moon. I will build a life with you upon this green earth. I will walk by your side for so long as the sun continues to rise. The Glittering Court.
SEE WHAT I MEAN?! It’s just so…so, so…I don’t even know.
The Lilac Linnet review of The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
Don’t forget, you can read Llinos’ review of The Glittering Court by clicking on the image above.
The Glittering Court review rating - loved it
The Glittering Court Book Cover The Glittering Court
The Glittering Court
Richelle Mead
Romance, young adult, fantasy,

Big and sweeping, spanning from the refined palaces of Osfrid to the gold dust and untamed forests of Adoria, The Glittering Court tells the story of Adelaide, an Osfridian countess who poses as her servant to escape an arranged marriage and start a new life in Adoria, the New World. But to do that, she must join the Glittering Court.

Both a school and a business venture, the Glittering Court is designed to transform impoverished girls into upper-class ladies who appear destined for powerful and wealthy marriages in the New World. Adelaide naturally excels in her training, and even makes a few friends: the fiery former laundress Tamsin and the beautiful Sirminican refugee Mira. She manages to keep her true identity hidden from all but one: the intriguing Cedric Thorn, son of the wealthy proprietor of the Glittering Court.

When Adelaide discovers that Cedric is hiding a dangerous secret of his own, together they hatch a scheme to make the best of Adelaide’s deception. Complications soon arise—first as they cross the treacherous seas from Osfrid to Adoria, and then when Adelaide catches the attention of a powerful governor.

But no complication will prove quite as daunting as the potent attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. An attraction that, if acted on, would scandalize the Glittering Court and make them both outcasts in wild, vastly uncharted lands…

Photography, UK

Boscobel House & a royally approved book nook

April 26, 2016

Boscobel House Boscobel House Boscobel House lodge

If you live in the Midlands, it is pretty much mandatory that you will go on a school trip to Boscobel House.

The hiding place of King Charles II after the Battle of Worcester in 1651, Boscobel House was a safe place for Catholics during a time of religious persecution. I remember learning about that at school and being horrified that people were killed because of their beliefs – and what’s even worse is that hundreds of years later, the world hasn’t learned a thing. 

Boscobel House loft Boscobel House, Royal Oak Tree

After spending a night in an oak tree (the tree above is not the actual oak tree, it’s a descendant), Charles II hid in a priest hole in the beautiful lodge, before making his escape to France.

Boscobel House stables

I remember visiting Boscobel House with school as a kid and imagining what it must have been like to live there; and that’s something that hasn’t changed now. I tend to fall into the trap of thinking it must have been really romantic, but the reality of a working farm in the 1600s was probably most things but romantic. That said, I can’t help but feel that the house must have looked just as beautiful back then.

Can you imagine wandering around the garden and getting to look back on this stunning house? It looks so idyllic – I can’t believe that it wouldn’t have seemed the same way 400 years ago.

Me wearing a silly at at Boscobel HouseBoscobel House dairy kitchenBoscobel House kitchenBoscobel House bookshelf

And the inside was just as perfect. Just look at that bookshelf – you know I’m a sucker for a good bookshelf. Remember how I felt about the library in Drottningholm Palace?

Boscobel House book nook

But perhaps best of all, Boscobel House is home to a dreamworthy book nook. And it’s that ideal a book nook, that even Charles II allegedly spent a few hours reading here. A ROYALLY APPROVED BOOK NOOK!

Can you imagine how nice it must have been on a warm summers day, to sit there and look back towards the house while turning the pages of your book. And in the winter, you’d drag a few blankets up there, a cup of cocoa and wait for snow to coat the garden. Ugh, isn’t that a bookworm’s idea of heaven on earth?

British history is so cool. I’m so lucky to live in a part of the country that has a wealth of buildings and places with interesting stories and roles played in the history of this country. That said, you don’t have to look too far in the UK to find interesting historical things.

Boscobel House, Cockerel Boscobel House lambs

If you’re near the Midlands, I definitely recommend a trip to Boscobel House; rock up, go on a tour and explore the house, have a picnic, wander down to White Ladies Priory, see some sheep (and run away from a cocky looking cockerel…), and explore the lush, green countryside.

Books, Books Posts That Aren't Reviews

5 types of friends who want to borrow your books

April 22, 2016

5 types of people who want to borrow your books

For bookworms, there are few things more exciting than recommending books to your friends. BUT lending to friends comes with perils because there five types of people who want to borrow your books.

The hogger

This pesky friend will get all excited when you talk to them about a book you love and will declare that they want to read it right away. You will immediately hesitate, squint your eyes at them, and your brain will ask you if you can trust this person with your beloved. Their enthusiasm will convince you that they’ll read it quickly and give it back to you within a couple of weeks, so you’ll tentatively hand over your book.

A week later, you’ll ask how they’re getting on with it and they’ll say something like, “I haven’t got around to reading it yet, but I’m going to make a start this weekend.”

At this point, your brain will go “I told you so” in a singsong voice and you’ll tell it to shut up.

The weeks go by and the same answer keeps coming. Every time you go around their house, you’ll see it sat on the shelf, collecting dust and not looking like it’s next to be read.

Eventually, after a year passes, you’ll go to their house and rescue it. Maybe you’ll say something, or maybe you’ll say nothing and see how long it takes them to notice, while wondering if it’s illegal to steal something back that is yours. Can you steal your own belongings? I know you can get caught cheating for ‘plagiarizing yourself’, so maybe taking your own things back is stealing.

And the evil voice in your brain will get a slight kick out of the thought of them finally realising it’s missing and stressing out – your brain will call that payback for hogging.

I actually did this once when my friend borrowed The Fault In Our Stars. After a year, I’d had enough and rescued it.


The spinebender

You know the one; you’re probably letting out a low growl now just thinking about this.

I like my books to look pristine, even when they’ve been read, and that means not cracking the spine wide open. It’s entirely possible to comfortably read a book without cracking the spine. But the spinebender doesn’t even consider the damage to your bookbabies and will open the book wide open. Maybe they’ll even flatten it out. The horror.


The dogearer

I am not the kind of person who somehow manages to prevent anything in my bag from becoming bent or crinkled (I do have friends like that, and I’m 100% sure they’re superhuman) – until it comes to books; I treat books like they are precious, delicate pottery. This friend, though, will show your books no such courtesy.

Your book will return to you looking like someone played football with it; the cover will be creased and pages will be wrinkled.

They’ll say something like, “I only put it in my bag to read at school.” And your brain will go, “And you were attacked by a pack of hungry trolls at school were you?”


The snacker

We all love a good snack (or three) while we’re reading, but YOU DON’T EAT SNACKS OVER BOOKS!

This friend will return your book with little presents left buried deep between the pages. Just no.


The soulmate

This person seems to be a rarity, and they follow exactly the same rules as you when reading books. They will return your book in the same condition they received them; there’ll be no snacking or dog-eared pages, and you’ll both fangirl or fanboy over it together.  Make a vow to never fall out with this person.

Is there anything you’d add to this list? Tell bookworm horror stories about times you leant books to friends.