Book Review: The First Christmas Without You by Michelle Betham


What it’s about:

A story of love and hope at Christmas, The First Christmas Without You is an emotional and poignant novella. A truly magical Lapland fairytale…

Jessie Collins has always wanted to visit Lapland. But this Christmas, more than any other, it’s the place she feels she really needs to be as she tries to come to terms with a future she really needs to start living.

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Movie Review: Frozen (2013)

frozen-poster-smallWhat it’s about: Fearless optimist Anna teams up with Kristoff in an epic journey, encountering Everest-like conditions, and a hilarious snowman named Olaf in a race to find Anna’s sister Elsa, whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom in eternal winter.

Genre: Adventure, Comedy

Rating: 12

Director: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

Starring: Kristen Bell, Josh Gad, Idina Menzel


Review: You all know I’m a huge Disney fan and I’m really surprised I didn’t see this film sooner but never mind, I’ve seen it now and it was incredible. Frozen is about two sisters, Anna and Elsa who drift apart due to Queen Elsa being possessed with powers that have turned the entire kingdom into Arctic conditions. Anna teams up with Kristoff, his reindeer Sven and a hilarious snowman called Olaf who seems familiar in an attempt to find Elsa and help save the kingdom from destruction.

I absolutely loved the idea of the story and the ultimate love aspect being between two sisters – not a romantic love. Which really does make a change and I think the change of pace definitely noticed in the reaction to this film. That’s not to say there isn’t any romance in it, there is, but it’s not over-done and it’s extremely cute. The characters in this film felt to me a little different to other Disney films and I really liked it. Anna was fantastic and for once, a somewhat real representation of what a girl is like! She’s not perfect, she’s ditzy and clumsy and that’s what made her so likeable. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much at a Disney film before but I can honestly say, I thought Frozen was hilarious. All the characters put together in the situation, their different personalities and back grounds really did make for an amusing film – especially Olaf, the snowman. One of the best Disney characters, ever!

I do have something to pick at though and that was Elsa. I didn’t like her character much which was a shame because she was pretty and elegant (I can say that about an animation, right?) I also wasn’t too fond of Idina Menzel as the voice of Elsa. Let It Go has proven to be an extremely popular Disney song and I can completely understand why – I found myself singing along to it when it came on – but I felt it was just screeched. I don’t like Idina’s voice at all. Elsa just sounded like she was shouting the entire thing which ruined it a bit for me. However, that’s only one small little thing amongst a pretty incredible film so it didn’t make me enjoy the film any less – just that one song. Overall, Disney really have upped their game and Frozen is hands down one of the best films they’ve produced.

Books That Made Me… Cry

The first post in my ‘Books That Made Me…’ feature is by the lovely Laura from She Loves To Read. The emotion that was given to her was ‘Cry’ and here are the books she has chosen…

Books That Made Me… Cry

I’m naturally a big crier. I cry at a lot of things – TV shows, films, proposal videos on YouTube…

For some bizarre reason I hardly cry at books. Strange, huh?

However, it does make those books I do cry at even more special. Now, unfortunately I can’t be very unique here and give you a list of obscure novels because I mainly read mainstream contemporary fiction but what I can give you is a list of books that made me cry my little eyes out!

Cover-to-Fault-In-Our-Stars-the-fault-in-our-stars-34488682-1523-2339The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Yes, of course this book had to be in here. If you didn’t cry at The Fault In Our Stars then you have no heart and, more importantly, if you haven’t read this book yet then I don’t know what you are doing with your life.

The Fault In Our Stars is a brutally honest, moving and downright beautiful portrayal of love that just happens to be set against a backdrop of cancer. This book isn’t just about ‘cancer kids’. It’s a story about love – about loving someone despite their flaws, and loving someone with a realisation it won’t be forever. It’s also about strength, bravery, overcoming odds and friendship. In all honesty, it is the most perfect YA novel of the decade.

8153Bthf0AL._SL1500_The Dead Wife’s Handbook by Hannah Beckerman

Unlike a lot of other books, this book didn’t make me cry until the very end. When I realised how striking the message of the book was, the tears started to flow and I couldn’t stop. I don’t want to spoil any of these books but this quote is one that still makes me well up now:

“I’ve learnt that love isn’t about our place at the centre of it, but about finding the generosity to allow those we care about to discover happiness wherever they so choose, with whomever they so desire , even if – for whatever reason – that isn’t with us.”

The Dead Wife’s Handbook is a lyrical novel about one woman and her thoughts after she’s passed away. As she witnesses the world go on without her, we are privy to her private thoughts and go on a journey with her, learning how to grant those we love the permission to carry on living without us. It is truly remarkable and will not let you turn the last page without a tear in your eye.

6780522The Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson

By far the most heart-breaking book I’ve ever read. Out of all of these books, it is without a doubt my favourite. Dorothy Koomson has such a way with words that even the most harrowing story can also be one that you want to read over and over again. The Ice Cream Girls tells the story of Serena and Poppy and one summer that changed everything. Groomed by the same man, they form an enduring bond that keeps them linked forever and as they grow up and try to move on, they find they are inextricably pulled back to the one summer that changed their lives forever.

Books that make me cry don’t have to be sad though; I’ve read books that have made me cry tears of happiness too…

20877628You’re The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher

This book made me weep. Actually weep with happiness. It was a beautifully told story and was one that needed a killer ending and oh my goodness did it have one of those! This novel is a really intriguing story about a group of three friends – two boys and one girl – and their seemingly platonic friendship but, as they grow up and become adults, each one finds that they might have feelings for another and soon it becomes a triangle full of emotions.

This is only Giovanna’s second novel but it read like an accomplished writer’s fifth or sixth novel; it felt so mature and expertly written that I still can’t believe Gi has only just started writing. This book will definitely make you cry little tears of happiness at the end and leaves you feeling satisfied.

the-rosie-projectThe Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

I can’t go a single week without declaring my love for this book. I adore it. I love it. I worship it…almost. Don Tilman is my hero – he is a science geek and wants to find a suitable woman to marry but Don, being Don, is sick of dating unsuitable women so designs a questionnaire which is designed to weed out all the women that just won’t be right for him. Then he meets Rosie who doesn’t meet a single criterion for his Wife Project but soon, Don realises that love and choosing your partner aren’t really that scientific at all.

I cried with laughter and with happiness throughout the duration of this book and felt bereft when the last page was turned. I had the hugest book hangover and had no idea how to pass the time afterwards, so desperate to have remained in Don’s world. I almost shed a few tears of delight earlier this year when I heard a squeal called The Rosie Effect was on the way. Hoorah!

So, there we go, just a small insight into the kind of books that make me cry! Thank you for having me Jenny, what books make you cry?

Thank you so much to Laura for taking part in this feature! I loved her choices of books. You can find Laura and her blog on the following links: Twitter | Facebook | Blog

Did any of the above books make your list? Let us know!

Book Review: The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman

17999107What it’s about:

The name of your first-born. The face of your lover. Your age. Your address..

What would happen if your memory of these began to fade?

Is it possible to rebuild your life? Raise a family? Fall in love again?

When Claire starts to write her Memory Book, she already knows that this scrapbook of mementoes will soon be all her daughters and husband have of her. But how can she hold on to the past when her future is slipping through her fingers…?

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My Weekend Away in Snowdonia, Wales

I don’t usually steer off course this much and do travel posts but I thought it might make a nice change from talking about books 24/7! In March my boyfriend Conor and I went away to Wales for a long weekend, neither of us had been before and we stayed in a beautiful little cottage in the middle of the mountains in Snowdonia. We visited a few different places and I took tons of photos which I’d love to share with you all. After a extremely long 5 hour drive, a couple of stops and a few wrong turns we finally made it to our cottage and I was stunned by the view right outside our front door.

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