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Books, Coffee & Anything Crafty "Emma" (UK)

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A Beautiful Dark (Beautiful Dark Trilogy 1)
A Beautiful Dark (Beautiful Dark Trilogy 1)
by Jocelyn Davies
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Dark, 24 Nov. 2011
I didn't really know what to make of this story. I liked it, it kept me gripped enough that I whizzed through the book but...I think my issue with it were Asher and Devin and Skye's barely there strength to just say, 'I have a mind of my own, now do one.' I found the two males need to have Skye do as she's told really, really frustrating to read. In fact it's probably frustrating me more thinking back on it now because I'm reading another book where the male is doing the same thing, only worse! Anyway...

In saying that, it was well written and I loved the back story that leads up to Asher and Devin being in her life. Skye was a good protagonist, if somewhat weak whenever she was in close proximity to the boys, but at least the thought process is there of how she wishes she wasn't like that and fights it more and more.

I don't want to say too much about it as I'll give too much away about the story. You should go read it, enjoy it and then be like, 'What kind of ending was that?!' then race to check the release date for the next one!

I highly recommend this to anyone who loves a story about Angels and some unique ideas of what they are, and to anyone who doesn't mind a bit of damsel-in-distress moments.

Haunting Violet
Haunting Violet
by Alyxandra Harvey
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting Violet, 13 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Haunting Violet (Paperback)
I love a good historical fiction and this one definitely didn't disappoint. It was a very different style for Harvey, but it had to be with it being set in a different time and country, and she did it so well. If you'd given me this book and My Love Lies Bleeding with no author name on it, I'd never have known it was the same person.

You meet Violet when she's first taken to a seance that her mother will be holding and realise quite quickly why Violet wouldn't believe in ghosts. Then fast forward a couple of years and Violet's on her way to a major seance with her mother, which is about the time she now starts to see ghosts. She tries to ignore them, but there's one in particular that wants her attention.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story worked, Violet was a good, strong character and I adored her interactions with Colin. It was nice to read a story where the most scandalous thing was a stolen kiss, which was a big no-no for the time. It was all so innocent and respectful. I should've been born in those times.

I highly recommend this to anyone who likes ghost stories and historical fiction.

Ballet Shoes (Designer 75th ed)
Ballet Shoes (Designer 75th ed)
by Noel Streatfeild
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ballet Shoes, 13 Oct. 2011
I'd read the story a long time ago. It's a good, old story about 3 orphans who stick together through tough times but have very different dreams about what they want to be when they grow up. I wish I had found Noel Streatfeild when I was a child. It would've been a firm favourite with the Secret Garden.

I already had a copy, that was quite nice and reprinted when the BBC produced the adaptation for it, but I collect anniversary books and this one is beautiful.

This is for Ballet Shoes 75th birthday. It's a paperback, with a matching slipcase that is quite thick and fantastic for protecting the book. The cover and case are the same print of Ballet Dancer drawings in different positions. I believe it was designed by Cath Kidston.

This would be perfect for many occasions- birthdays, christenings or christmas. Or if you're like me and collect books, then this is definitely worth the buy. Also, if you have any little girls that love dancing or good stories, I highly recommend Ballet Shoes in general.

Fury (Fury Trilogy)
Fury (Fury Trilogy)
by Elizabeth Miles
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £6.94

4.0 out of 5 stars Fury, 13 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Fury (Fury Trilogy) (Hardcover)
For some reason I didn't know what to expect from the book, and probably because I went in to it with no expectations I ended up loving it. The writing had a pace that was just right. It didn't rush through the story but it didn't drag on either. You got to know the characters and the storyline at a steady pace.

I wasn't a fan of anyone in this, but I think that's the point. These people are making mistakes that are sometimes unforgivable, except for JD, and I loved the way the Furies were showing up every so often. The way they were written just made the experience so creepy. There was even a couple of shocks that came into the book that I didn't see coming, but really, with the Furies around, anything is possible.

My only gripe with this book, and it's a personal thing more than anything, was the way the characters were for their age. Some of their actions came across as more university student than high school student. Maybe that's how today's teens are in America, probably here in the UK too, but I just felt some of the thought process and actions were those of an adult. That's just me, I never appear to be happy with the way characters behave for their age.

I highly recommend this to anyone who wants a bit of a scary story with a hint of Greek mythology thrown in. This very much reminded me of my Point Horror reading days- oh how I miss Point Horror!

The Near Witch
The Near Witch
by Victoria Schwab
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars The Near Witch, 9 Oct. 2011
This review is from: The Near Witch (Hardcover)
For some reason I had it in my head that this book was a contemporary paranormal book, so it threw me a bit when I started it to find it's historical, but I feel that made the book so much better. I love historical fiction anyway, but it's nice to read something that doesn't have all the mod-cons and teenagers worrying over shallow things.

This story was beautifully crafted, like every sentence was thought about before Schwab put it down. The creepiness was just the right amount and you could almost imagine the Near Witch story being real with it being told to children through the generations within the town.

The characters were like you could really imagine them existing at the time. They were really well-rounded with such different personalities and flaws. I loved the protagonist, Lexi- she was so strong and never gave in to anyone, even when it meant she would be in serious trouble. I wasn't sure about the strange boy, I didn't warm to him, but even he was fantastically created.

I highly recommend this to anyone who loves a good storytelling, just like they used to be told.

Lola and the Boy Next Door
Lola and the Boy Next Door
by Stephanie Perkins
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Lola and the Boy Next Door, 8 Oct. 2011
This is probably the first book in a long time that I couldn't wait for. Literally. I had it on pre-order for 6 months and when it arrived, I pushed everything else to one side and read it in about 3 hours. It definitely didn't disappoint!

I loved that Lola wasn't an Anna clone and Cricket wasn't a St. Clair clone. These very different characters and I loved them just as much with their own stories and chemistry. Though I must admit, I love Anna and St. Clair's chemistry more, but that still doesn't take away from this amazing story.

I also loved that this had some very real subject matters that people deal with every day and it wasn't all fairytale stories. They were handled really well without bringing the lightness of the book down. Not a gift many authors can get away with (Marian Keyes is the only other author off the top of my head that I can think of doing that.)

Stephanie Perkins has a writing gift. Her writing is effortless to read and has you racing through to know what happens to the characters. You feel like they're real and can relate to them all in some way. It's not often that I read a book and within the hour I'm halfway through (I'm not the fastest of readers, I just make a lot of time for books.)

I highly recommend this to anyone who loves a good contemporary romance- no matter what age you are!

Totes Isotoner Women's Butterfly Embroidered Secret Slide
Totes Isotoner Women's Butterfly Embroidered Secret Slide

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the price, 26 Sept. 2011
I work from home, so most of my day is spent in slippers. Usually the foam is flat within a day or two of wear and they're no longer keeping my feet warm.

Whilst the foam did flatten on these, there is still cushion there to keep the slippers cosy. The extra foam for the arches and the heels is a godsend. Also the material used is like a soft towel cotton and it's fantastic at keeping my feet warm.

These are definitely worth the price and I recommend them to anyone who lives in their slippers like me.

How to be an Explorer of the World
How to be an Explorer of the World
by Keri Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.74

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remember when, as a child, everything was interesting..., 26 Sept. 2011
Keri Smith is the master of encouraging you to see things you usually wouldn't see in life. Just flicking through this book I wanted to race out and start doing everything she tells me to do in it.

There are 59 exploration ideas/activities from creating a survey and documenting peoples answers to experimenting with different items as a writing utensil. It takes you out of your box and makes you think like a child again, when creativity had no boundaries.

You're highly encouraged to write/draw/paint in the book and glue things you've collected in to it. I love this idea, but I have such a bad notebook obsession that I couldn't help but open up a new one for my 'explorations'. For me, that means I can keep coming back to some of the ideas and do them again, but some people might prefer to just throw caution to the wind and get stuck in gluing everything you find into the pages of the book. Whatever floats your boat.

I highly recommend this to anyone who is ready to be a child again and start exploring the things in the world we'd forgotten to look closely at.

Insanity: The Ultimate Cardio Workout and Fitness DVD Programme.
Insanity: The Ultimate Cardio Workout and Fitness DVD Programme.
Offered by Beachbody
Price: £105.95

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the half-hearted!, 26 Sept. 2011
This workout is one of the best I've ever done. The results are instant, but that all banks on you putting your all into the workout.

It's flipped exercise on it's head. Instead of doing some light exercise with a burst of tough exercise every few minutes, you do 2-3 minutes of hard, in your face, exercise then take a 30 second break. You can still stop and take a quick breath in those 2-3 minutes, but when you get back into, it's got to be your all, even if you're tired. As Sean keeps saying through the workout 'You have to dig deeper!'

The workouts are for 6 days of the week, and one day for rest, for about 40 minutes. That's a nothing time to fit into your day. You don't need any equipment, just your body. You start with a fitness test, which you count how many of certain exercises you can do in a minute. You do this fitness test every 2 weeks. There's a plan to follow to show you which exercise regime to do that day. You follow one plan for 30 days, then you go to the more intense ones for the next 30 day plan.

I got mine from their website, which came with a measurement chart, a book on the recommend diet (high protein), and a calendar to keep track.

It is hard, nothing comes close to how hard these workouts are, but after a couple of weeks, I already noticed my fitness level increase. I used to get slightly out of breath walking up my stairs and now I barely notice them. The inches are dropping off and my body fat percentage is lower than I've ever seen it.

I will warn you, it's hard on the joints and the feet, so make sure you wear a good pair of cushioned trainers to take the impact and that they support your arch. I had knee surgery last year and some of the exercises are not an option for me, so I take the time to keep doing an exercise to do something else so that I don't stop. So if like me you've had knee surgery that's still not 100% or you have bad joints, see your doctor first and see what they recommend for the exercises that just aren't an option.

Finish This Book
Finish This Book
by Keri Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.09

46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finish This Book, 21 Sept. 2011
This review is from: Finish This Book (Paperback)
If you're creative, or want to feel like a child again, then this book/creative journal is for you.

With this book, you become a detective and it encourages you to observe the world in a different way. Take it all in rather than look past it. You have to start from the beginning, and don't skip ahead, and sit down with your favourite pens and beverage, then start detecting. You observe, document, draw, create and most importantly, have fun with it.

There are codes to be broken and created, people to watch and suspicion looking items to figure out.

So go, be a detective and unlock your inner child with some creativity!

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