Life with two Smalls and a fistful of daydreams

Wonder Cover

I have heard so many rave reviews of this book. I have overheard people talking about it, the internet went mad over it, Liberty told me it was awesome – the list goes on.

Compared to The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, I can’t imagine so many people can be wrong so I really want to get my hands on a copy and find out what all the fuss is about.

I must confess to not being a massive fan of the cover for the simple reason that I spent quite a long time thinking the book was called ‘Wonder Eye’ or possible ‘Wonder, I’ because the positioning of the writing gave me the impression that I was supposed to ‘read’ the rest of the face. Turns out I was just thinking about it too hard.


You can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.

My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August Pullman wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things. He eats ice cream. He plays on his Xbox. He feels ordinary – inside.

But Auggie is far from ordinary. Ordinary kids don’t make other ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids don’t get stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life, in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

Narrated by Auggie and the people around him whose lives he touches forever, WONDER is a funny, frank, astonishingly moving debut to read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page.


What books are you lusting after this week?

I am not the girliest girl in the world but even so, I still succumb to shoe lust on occasion. Annoyingly, I have stupidly shaped feet that can’t decide what size they are and are very wide so loads of gorgeous shoes either simply won’t fit on my feet or else crush/rub me to death if I try to wear them. I have fat calves, too, if my inability to wear most tall boots I try on is anything to judge by (including wellies…) It is all horribly frustrating. Doesn’t stop me window shopping though. (Click the images for links to the product pages.) image1xlI have a bit of a thing for chunky shoes and I am a little bit in love with these. I love that they are both super-shiny and have the pattern at the back, I love that the soles are platformed so that even though they are heeled you won’t feel like you are walking on tiptoe all day. I want these pretty bad. newbootsI love these. Gorgeous leather, able to be casual or smart, work with pretty much anything, sensible sole and heel. In fact, I love them so much I may have bought them on Monday… they were in the Winter sale and everything. Sometimes window shopping just isn’t enough ;) 26105416_A_pSomewhere between a brogue and a trainer, I really like the colour of these and the fact that you could dress them up or down depending on what you were doing. I love that they are subtly girly with the little touch of pink – very pretty. 11821614There had to be Doc Marten’s on here somewhere. They’re just so cool, I have permanent lust for them. I really like the design on these one but I’m not really fussy to be honest – the boots themselves are cool whatever the flavour! image1xlThese are just so pretty – somehow delicate without having a stupid thin heel (I don’t get on so well with those…) and they look comfy enough to wear for a whole night without any worries. Nike-Air-Zoom-Elite-7-Womens-Running-Shoe-654444_501_A_PREMI seem to be developing a taste for stupidly bright trainers. The latest pair I bought were leopard print and my plain black pair have shockingly bright red laces in them…

cbaS‘The Sword Of Truth’

I discovered this series through a friend at college and my boyfriend of the time and I were soon as addicted to them as our friend was. It wasn’t unusual to find us in our group’s corner of the common room all with our noses in different novels from the same series (the rest of the time we were either playing cards or Scrabble, because we were cool like that…)

They are not small novels. Every volume of Terry Goodkind’s Sword Of Truth series is an epic fantasy brick. Especially the hardcover versions, of which I have a couple – I bought the last few in the main series when they came out because I couldn’t wait for the paperbacks!

A world of magic, darkness and chaos, Sword of Truth follows the adventures of Richard and Kahlan as they try to discover themselves, each other, the workings of their world and desperately try to stop evil from overcoming all things.

They are not the happiest books in the world – I mean, there are happy bits and there are the themes of friendship, hope and love running throughout but there is lots of fighting, several wars, poverty, deceit, politics, theft, torture (fairly sure somebody gets skinned alive at one point – they’re not gentle stories) and bucketfuls of pain. Despite this, they have something compulsive about them and they are one of my favourite series ever.

They have magic and mystery, swords, bows and arrows, liquid fire, love, friendship, weddings, parties, laugh out loud moments, pure horror – all the things I love in books rolled into one.

They look deep into human nature and investigate our flaws and all the things that redeem us. Richard discovers the ‘Wizard’s Rules’ as the books progress and I think it is these phrases that I have kept from the books, along with the odd other quote that stuck in my head.

A few examples of these are:

‘There is magic in sincere forgiveness. Magic to heal. In forgiveness you grant, and more so in the forgiveness you receive.’

‘Life is the future, not the past.’


‘Passion rules reason.’

‘There have always been those who hate, and there always will be.’

‘Pity for the guilty is treason to the innocent.’

‘Only those you trust can betray you.’


And the one I repeat to myself the most often:

‘Your life is yours alone, rise up and live it.’

The series is not an easy read and, with them all being so huge, you do have to commit yourself to reading them somewhat – it’s a long old journey and it made me cry and laugh multiple times. I remember feeling utterly exhausted at the end of a few of the books from the sheer emotional rollercoaster I had been on whilst reading them.

I know a lot of people who think they are terrible books but they seem to have a bit of a Marmite effect on people – you either love them and can’t get enough, or you think they are twaddle and a waste of tree. I don’t like Marmite, but I do like this series.

New year, new book in the House of Blog Book Club. This time it’s a new release – from the 1st of January, in fact, and one I was looking forward to reading – thanks for choosing it as this month’s read, Fran! :)

The Life I Left Behind by Colette McBeth

Illustrated by: N/A

Series: N/A

Published: Headline, 1st January 2015

Edition: Hardback

Print Length: 384 pages

Narrated By: N/A

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Crime, Contemporary

Where Did I Get It? I have kindly received a copy for review from the publisher via The Life I Left Behind is available on

Blurb: I’m the only one who knows the secrets her friends have hidden, the mistakes the police have made.

I’m the only one who can warn her she’s still in danger.

I know exactly who attacked her.

He’s the same man who killed me.

Opening Line(s):

October 1987

The first thing that strikes him is the cold. When he comes in from the garden he’s always greeted by a hot blast at the door, like running into a band of warm cotton wool. Except today there’s no cotton wool.

My Review:
I thought I was done with books that involved a narrator who was recently deceased watching over the people they left behind. It was fun in The Lovely Bones but it has been done and done again and the last one I tried (The Dead Wife’s Handbook) just bored and annoyed me to the point where I put it down, so when I picked up The Life I Left Behind and realised it had an element of that in it, I was dubious. Thankfully, The Life I Left Behind did it very well and I was neither bored, nor irritated.

The story is told from a couple of narrative perspectives, and only one of those involves a dead person, which means you are constantly seeing different sides of the situation, drip feeding you clues but never revealing so much that you work it out (or at least, I didn’t until quite close to the big reveal).

Melody physically survived a vicious attack but mentally closed herself off from life afterwards believing that everything she believed in couldn’t be trusted after someone she considered a friend almost killed her. If she could be so horribly wrong about that, how could she trust herself with anything else? Then Eve is murdered in the same way and dumped in exactly the same place and suddenly everything is wrong again.

It doesn’t feel right that the same man would do it over again.

The Life I Left Behind kept me on my toes and I raced through it once I got started. I didn’t want to stop – I loved how human the characters were, I could relate to them and desperately wanted there to be a happy ending for Melody and at least justice for Eve.

A real page turner, filled with little details that built up the world around the characters beautifully, I enjoyed The Life I Left Behind immensely although I will confess to having to read the ending twice. I’m just not sure if what I thought happened, happened, or if I’m misreading it or reading too much into it. I don’t want to leave spoilers and I can’t really explain myself without doing that. I’ll just have to wait for a friend to read it so I can talk about it with them without spoiling anything!

My Rating: 5/5*


19Arthur’s packed lunch all ready for Pre-School. I got two packs of those teeny tiny cupcakes in the Tesco shop last week as they are just perfect for squeezing into lunch boxes. They’re super cute, too, unlike that Freddo face next to it which is a bit on the grouchy side…

 20Tonight I joined Liberty, QWERTY Mum and our friend Danielle at a charity pub quiz. We didn’t come last, there were very tasty cupcakes, I won a book on the raffle, we laughed LOADS and a fab final total was raised by the end of the night. It was good fun.

21Greggs cakes. Because sometimes they are just too pretty to resist. And because I have cake on the brain thanks to this week’s prompt ;)

22This is the most important cake in my life. I didn’t know I was pregnant until quite late on, before then I just thought I was eating too much cake at uni (I was eating a fair bit of cake). But then it wriggled and, you know, cake doesn’t wriggle. Tori still gets called ‘Cake’, ‘ToriCake’ and ‘Cakey’ on occasion.

23Arthur had a restless night and was super hot and bothered this morning. He did make me laugh though, when he took his medicine and then informed me afterwards that it was cake flavoured. Perfect for my photo prompt ;)

24Cadbury’s Fudge cakes – they were on offer. I couldn’t resist.

25Doughnuts are cakes – right?

Smiler's Fair Cover

The picture doesn’t do the cover of this justice – the moon is shining gold, glinting off the feathers of the soaring bird (which I think is a vulture, rather than the eagle I assumed at first glance). I love that the clouds almost look like waves swirling and crashing into the moon and that the stars and wisps of cloud behind it almost give the impression that you are moving very fast.

It is an intriguing cover and the blurb just drags you in further. Gods and promises and the mysterious Smiler’s Fair – I am itching to get lost in this book – it sounds like everything I love to read all in one. I just hope it lives up to all my excitement!


Yron the moon god died, but now he’s reborn in the false king’s son. His human father wanted to kill him, but his mother sacrificed her life to save him. He’ll return one day to claim his birthright. He’ll change your life.

He’ll change everything.

Smiler’s Fair: the great moving carnival where any pleasure can be had, if you’re willing to pay the price. They say all paths cross at Smiler’s Fair. They say it’ll change your life. For five people, Smiler’s Fair will change everything.

In a land where unimaginable horror lurks in the shadows, where the very sun and moon are at war, five people – Nethmi, the orphaned daughter of a murdered nobleman, who in desperation commits an act that will haunt her forever. Dae Hyo, the skilled warrior, who discovers that a lifetime of bravery cannot make up for a single mistake. Eric, who follows his heart only to find that love exacts a terrible price. Marvan, the master swordsman, who takes more pleasure from killing than he should. And Krish, the humble goatherd, with a destiny he hardly understands and can never accept – will discover just how much Smiler’s Fair changes everything.



What books are you lusting after this week?


Tame A Wild Human by Kari Gregg

Illustrated by: N/A

Series: N/A

Published: Riptide Publishing, 19th January 2014

Edition: Kindle

Print Length: 80 pages

Narrated By: N/A

Genre: Erotica, Fantasy, Paranormal, Shapeshifter Fiction, Contemporary, LGBTQIA

Where Did I Get It? Review copy received from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Blurb: Drugged, bound, and left as bait on the cusp of the lunar cycle, Wyatt Redding is faced with a terrifying set of no-win scenarios. Best case: he survives the coming days as a werewolf pack’s plaything and returns to the city as a second-class citizen with the mark—and protection—of the pack. Worst case: the wolves sate their lusts with Wyatt’s body, then send him home without their protection, condemning him to live out the rest of his short life as a slave to the worst of humanity’s scorn and abuse.

Wyatt’s only chance is to swallow every ounce of pride, bury his fear, and meekly comply with every wicked desire and carnal demand the wolf pack makes of him. He expects three days of sex and humiliation. What he doesn’t expect is to start enjoying it. Or to grow attached to his captor and pack Alpha, Cole.

As the lunar cycle ends, Wyatt begins to realize that the only thing to fear more than being sent home without the pack’s protection is being sent home at all.

Opening Line:

Sweat trickled down Wyatt’s temples and pasted the thin cotton of his oxford to his shoulders and spine.

My Review: I don’t really know where to start with this one. Judging by the cover came back to bite me on the bum in this case – I didn’t even read the blurb just saw the wolf and asked for a copy.

The cover is better than the contents.

For a start, the blurb is almost as long as the book and gives you all of the backstory you are going to get. There is little to no world-building, almost no character building at all and Wyatt’s character is, quite frankly, a bit pathetic. He doesn’t really have any redeeming features unless you can count being a successful businessman of some variety, his claims that everything is against his will are so pathetic that I didn’t really believe him after about ten pages. He wasn’t submissive so much as willing which I don’t think was how it was supposed to read.

I got the impression that this was meant to be a risque fantasy of dubious consent on all levels with the fear level creating most of the ‘appeal’ but sadly Wyatt’s patheticness meant that the lack of consent lost its edge very quickly and the wolves weren’t particularly scary. So much so that the author had to regularly remind us readers that every full moon all the humans battoned down the hatches for three days in fear because if we hadn’t had that reminder we probably would have forgotten they were even wolves.

They did torture some other bloke at one point but even that was a bit ‘I’m putting this here so you remember that these people are dangerous and mostly animal‘ and didn’t add anything to the story. Not there was anything to the story other than ‘lots of sex’, if I’m honest.

There were a couple of things that bugged me – Firstly, there didn’t seem to be any girl wolves. From what I could tell they were all blokes and they were all gay which isn’t really a great survival model if you ask me.

Secondly, somewhere near the start a wolf retracted his claws after using them. Really? A wolf retracted its claws? They aren’t cats and I’m not an idiot. Get your wolf facts right if you’re going to make it a characteristic of 95% of your cast.

I have given Tame A Wild Human two stars because the writing itself wasn’t awful and because the author was at least capable of writing sex without using ridiculous euphemisms for everything. There were no epic rainbow orgasms or stirring love cauldrons to be found, which is always a good thing if you ask me.

My Rating: 2/5*




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