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Recent Reading

Kindle

I read a lot of books; ever since learning to read at a very young age I’ve always found a lot of pleasure in a good book. These days due to my commute involving around 40 minutes on trains I tend to read on the way to and from work, or more recently, in the park at lunchtime. It’s such a good way to escape from the stresses of the day.

A few Christmases ago my lovely husband gave me a Kindle e-book reader and to be honest, it has changed my reading habits quite a lot. Where in the past I would make do with picking up random books in charity shops for 20p each and the odd bestseller in WH Smith’s, generally Kindle books are a bit cheaper than bookstore books, and sometimes not a whole lot more than 20p – plus obviously so much easier to carry in your handbag! Plus it means I can find a new book on the go, wherever I am. The ability to sync between your physical Kindle and the iOS and Android apps is an absolute revelation – I love being able to swap between devices depending on battery life, screen size and so on.

That being said, I still love the sensation of reading a real book. The weight of it in your hand, the presence on your bookshelf. E-books will never rival that in my opinion, no matter how practical they may be!

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been reading recently, in no particular order:

 

Divergent by Veronica Roth
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The Divergent Trilogy: Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I absolutely loved these books. Yes, they are technically written for teenagers. Yes, you could just go watch the film (which I haven’t seen, by the way) – but the books are epic. Much better than the oft-compared Hunger Games trilogy and nothing at all like Twilight in my opinion. This is the story of Beatrice (“Tris”) Prior, who lives in a dystopian society where the population has been divided into factions based on their natural personality traits. There’s drama, action, intrigue… and a bit of a love story of course – but Tris is smart, capable, brave and isn’t defined by who she loves, but by her love itself. Excellent reading.

 

All The Pretty Girls by JT Ellison
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The Taylor Jackson Series – 7 books (yes, 7!):  by J.T. Ellison

The books in this series are, in order: All The Pretty Girls; 14; Judas Kiss; The Cold Room; The Immortals; So Close the Hand of Death; and Where All The Dead Lie. I’m not sure how to even begin to tell you how highly I rate these books and their author. To be honest, I tend to mostly read crime books, and these are some of the best I’ve read in a long time. The series focuses on Taylor Jackson, a Lieutenant in Nashville Homicide, and her boyfriend John Baldwin, a profiler with the FBI. It is best to read them in order as there is quite a bit of back-story – particularly the final few as one of the storylines comes to a head. There’s a secondary series focusing on one of the other characters (Samantha Owens, the medical examiner), which I’m looking forward to starting soon.

 

A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin
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A Dance With Dragons, book 5 from the Song of Ice and Fire series (‘Game of Thrones’) by George R. R. Martin

Despite the Game of Thrones TV series currently working its way steadily through the Song of Ice and Fire series, I decided to start reading them. I’ve now finished all 5 volumes (sometimes split into 7 or 8 seperate books) and can’t wait for the next one… unfortunately I will have to, as it’s not due for release for another year! George R. R. Martin is an unbelievable storyteller; the setting and personalities are so well described that its not really surprising that the books lend themselves to the screen so well. In fact the TV series does follow the storylines relatively closely, but the books enrich the world of Westeros even more than the TV series ever could. Plus there’s the added bonus (in the real-life book versions, at least) of the Appendix at the back, with family trees and such should you get your Tyrion mixed up with your Theon! I won’t spoil it for you – but I will say that some of your most loved characters have some great storylines coming up!

 

Have you read any of these books? Which will you be adding to your reading list?

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The last few weeks…

I’ve been MIA again, taking a little break from the blog to catch up on life a little. Before my last post I was heavily involved in my ‘Secret Project’ – if anything ever comes of it I’ll tell you guys what it was – for over a week and after hours on the computer the last thing I wanted was to be, well, on the computer. So, where have I been?

On the day after my last post, on the 10th, I went with a friend to catch up over When Mac Met Cheese in Paddington – more on that in a post soon – and the day after that I went out for some work drinks in the evening. Note to self: Keep your phone on you so you don’t suddenly realise the time and have to run to Charing Cross for the last train home. Second note to self: Eat dinner.

The rest of the weekend was nice and relaxed – definitely what I needed after the stresses of recent weeks. Hubby went out on Saturday night so I had the flat to myself… much needed girl time! My sister being over from Spain, I drove over to my parents’ for one my dad’s infamous Sunday lunches and also went with them over to Foal Farm Animal Rescue in nearby Biggin Hill. This wasn’t one of their Sunday Sale Days but the shops were all open for a good rummage. I found this beautiful carafe for £3 and 6 of these cocktail glasses for another £3! I also picked up some lovely soft purple fabric that I’ll do something with at some point (promise..)

Carafe and Cocktail Glasses | Fifty1degreesnorth.wordpress.com

A few days later I popped down to Windsor to meet a potential new client for work. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to stop and take in the sights but we did take the long walk back to the station and happened to pass the castle while they were getting ready for the changing of the guard. I would have loved to stand in the gorgeous weather and see it, but the office beckoned (sob). I’ve vowed to take a trip down one weekend so I can actually enjoy it! From what I saw, it’s a beautiful town and definitely worth the short journey from London.

Finally, it was the bank holiday weekend, and time to head over to Oxford for the weekend to see my girls from uni. We all lived together in Leeds in our third year and are now spread around a little bit (London, Oxford, Leeds and Australia!) so meet up when we can. Obviously the girl in Australia couldn’t make it and sadly another had some news which meant she had to stay in Leeds but the other 4 of us met up on the Saturday at Kat’s house in Witney. Witney is a stunning town heading west from Oxford towards the Cotswolds. On first look it seems like a quiet market town, but having seen it on a Saturday night that’s not quite true! We started with Pimm’s on Church Green while waiting for the last girl to arrive and later had a lovely Thai takeaway before heading into Oxford for a night on the town. Raoul’s was our first port of call for cocktails where I had a lovely Wrong Island Spiced Tea (well, a few of them) before heading to a club to dance the night away. The least said about the bus journey home the better!

Witney Church Green | Fifty1degreesnorth

On the Sunday we woke up late and were treated to bacon and egg sarnies by our hostess before heading to nearby Burford, on the edge of the Cotswolds, to wander the shops. I happily picked up some Oxford Sauce (think brown sauce that has a few spices in it), before settling down in The Lamb Inn for some much needed refreshments and a spot of late lunch in the cosy bar area. Yet again too busy eating to take photos (naughty blogger!) but the food was very impressive – perhaps unsurprising as the restaurant has 2 AA rosettes!

Burford | Fifty1degreesnorth.wordpress.com

Sweet Shop Burford | Fifty1degreesnorth.wordpress.com

Flowers in Burford | Fifty1degreesnorth.wordpress.com

Tea at Lamb Inn | Fifty1degreesnorth.wordpress.com

Coffee at Lamb Inn | Fifty1degreesnorth

After some squash lessons from one of the girls who is a mean squash player we retired to the flat to eat some canneloni and then to the pub for a few last drinks, before heading back to London on Monday on the Oxford Tube. All in all, a lovely weekend with good friends.

Most of this week’s evenings have been spent watching Homeland with the hubby (it’s now on Netflix – fantastic!) and dragging myself out for a run on Thursday night. I’ve still not managed to get into a routine with keeping fit, and I’ll write more on that soon.

 

That brings us up to date! I’ll be working on posting more regularly in the next few weeks, I promise. What have you been up to while I’ve been away?

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