23 September 2014

Florida By Numbers

16 hours collectively spent on a plane.

1.5 hours waiting in a queue to get through customs at Orlando airport.

5 times that I almost burst into tears of happiness because I was in Disney World.

10 - the number of minutes between us arriving in Magic Kingdom and me buying a pair of Minnie Mouse ears.

7.00 - the time we got in a taxi for our first visit to Universal. Got to make the most of those early admission passes (thank you Virgin Holidays!)

2 visits to IHOP.

0 - the amount of garlic and herb dipping sauce that comes with a Dominos pizza in America. Heartbreaking.

1 - the number of days before I got sunburn.

3 attempts to finally catch the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disney. The first two times, it got rained off!

40 dollars approximately spent in total at Honeydukes. I just love Fizzing Whizbees!

9 postcards sent home.

5 rides on the Dragon Challenge rollercoaster at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. My favourite ride of the holiday, I think!

2 servings of frozen butterbeer each (yummy!)

30 minutes spent with the dolphins at Discovery Cove.

35 minutes - the longest time we queued for any ride at any park.

565 photos taken - and that's not counting the ones from Paul's camera!

And countless happy memories made. Best holiday ever!


12 September 2014

The Cuckoo's Calling

on Goodreads here | on Amazon UK here

The blurb: When a troubled model falls to her death from a Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts and calls in private detective Cormoran Strike to investigate. Strike is a war veteran - wounded both physically and psychologically - and his private life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model's world, the darker things become and the closer he gets to terrible danger...

Rating: 5/5 stars

Crime isn't a genre I've read much of before, but this book has definitely convinced me to try some more, starting with the sequel! I loved it. It's common knowledge now that Robert Galbraith is actually JK Rowling, but that hasn't affected my opinion like I thought it might. I honestly couldn't find anything to dislike about it.

I really liked the characters and the way they were introduced; they were all really well developed and especially the two main characters, Cormoran Strike and his secretary Robin, are really likeable. Another good thing is that while there are quite a lot of characters, there aren't so many that you can get lost with who's who. The mystery itself is so intriguing, I was hooked right from the beginning when the scene surrounding Lula Landry's death is set and I hadn't solved the mystery at the end when all was revealed! It was fascinating to read the investigation from Cormoran's point of view and see how he made sense of things. It kept me guessing the whole way through, I'd considered quite a few of the characters as a potential murderer by the end and I still hadn't got it right! I don't know how Ms. Rowling comes up with this stuff, but she's obviously a very clever lady and a brilliant storyteller.

The pace of the writing is maybe a bit slow at first, but I think that's only because it's necessary for the reader to find out all the details surrounding Lula's death along with Strike for the first time and get to know the characters. It definitely picks up around the middle when more clues and leads start to appear and it's hinted that he may be starting to piece together what happened. I had to keep reading to find out what he knew, and what happened to Lula!

Overall, a really great, entertaining page-turner. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who is already a fan of crime novels, but equally I think it's a good place to start if you're new to the genre too.

Have you read it? Let me know what you thought!


5 September 2014

Alphabet Writing Challenge: E is for Ellie

Readers, Ellie... Ellie, readers.

This is Ellie and although he is not a human, he's my oldest friend. I've had him since I was born which makes him the grand old age of 23. I think that's quite an achievement for a soft toy! There weren't many places that Ellie didn't accompany me to in my childhood. He hasn't come out of it completely unscathed though; he's been darned to within an inch of his life, and shrunk in the washing machine. His ears don't stand up any more, and his trunk is a bit bendy. But he's my favourite, and he's very well loved.

I think everyone, even the most grown up of adults, needs some home comfort from time to time, and Ellie is still my go to companion when I'm feeling sad, or lonely, or angry. Here he is, keeping me company while I was writing my dissertation. Ever so faithful. I hope I never get too old to have him around, and I will never ever shove him under the bed and forget about him.

Do you have a favourite toy from your childhood that's still with you?
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