Thursday, 16 August 2012

Review: Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

'Amy Curry’s year sucks. And it’s not getting any better. Her mother has decided to move, so somehow Amy has to get their car from California to the East Coast. There’s just one problem: since her father’s death Amy hasn’t been able to get behind the wheel of a car. Enter Roger, the son of a family friend, who turns out to be funny, nice… and unexpectedly cute. 
But Roger’s plans involve a more ‘scenic’ route than just driving from A to B, so suddenly Amy finds herself on the road trip of a lifetime. And, as she grows closer to Roger, Amy starts to realize that sometimes you have to get lost to find your way home…’
My mum recommended this book to me after reading it on holiday, saying that although it was very light reading, she really loved it. I have to say that I agree! The characters of Amy and Roger are really likeable, as are all the weird and wonderful people they meet along their journey. The book is laid out in a fun scrapbook style, with doodles, receipts and photographs for every chapter. There are also playlists to show you what they listened to on the road trip, so you can discover some new music while you're reading! 
The story is quite a bit heavier than it looks from the cover, as it focuses on Amy struggling to cope with the guilt and grief after her father's death three months before, and her twin brother is in rehab for his drug addiction. It's a tearjerker in parts, and there are a lot of flashbacks to Amy's life leading up to, and after, the accident. But the story that unfolds in the present is really fun and uplifting, as we see Amy and Roger's friendship grow, and desperately hope that there will be a fairytale ending. Their relationship is not only adorable with all their inside jokes and habits, but also very realistic, because both characters have their flaws and problems. 
Some parts of the story were very easy to predict, and I found myself picking up on the hints of what would happen very quickly, but I don't really think this spoiled the story at all. I felt that the ending wasn't quite satisfactory, because I was desperate to find out all the extra bits that we don't get told, but this was such a good story that I read it in just a couple of hours. Despite being a Young Adult novel, I think this is a book that anybody with a sense of adventure and a love of travel would enjoy reading. I especially liked it because I've been to a few of the places mentioned in the story - I had the exact same all-you-can-eat breakfast in Yosemite! 
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour gets 5 stars, because I've given up trying to be picky about how many stars I award things, and I really loved it! 

A long awaited update on my EXCITING life.

It's been ages since I've posted anything! I've been very busy - too busy to even read a book, which explains the lack of book reviews. (But I did finish one last night, so expect a review of that very soon!)

Every day this week I have been working with children at a Stagecoach summer school, where they do fun activities based around singing, dancing and acting, as a way of improving their skills and confidence, and of course giving them something to do during the summer holidays so they don't end up bouncing off the walls! The children range from 3 to 7 years old, which is quite a difficult age group to work with, but it's been good fun despite the hard work. Tomorrow morning they will be performing the play they've been practising ("Happy Hat Land") to their parents and relatives, and hopefully *fingers crossed* it will go smoothly!

I'm still anxiously awaiting my next lot of CVs to proofread, as it's been three weeks since I last had any. The reason is that there were staffing issues in Mumbai so it's taking a while for everything to get sorted out. But I'm impatient and I need to give my brain a workout!

My parents got back from Greece yesterday, so it's a full house again. I've been playing 'Pioneer Trail' on my friend Emma's recommendation and I'm afraid to say I'm hooked...which is why it's doubly urgent that I find something more productive to do with my life!

My social life is still at an all-time high, which is fantastic! We've been going out for drinks, meals, clubbing, and tomorrow we're having a girly night in with films and tasty food. I feel like having all these friends appear out of nowhere has made me more confident, and I'm really happy despite still not having a job because I've got all these other things in my life to distract me. I'm off to Rome in three weeks as well, which is excitingly close!

So there we go. Despite the sarcasm in the title, I think my life actually has been fairly exciting lately :)

Friday, 3 August 2012

Folksy Friday - Shells

I've picked 'shells' for this week's Folksy Friday theme. I can't really explain why, it just popped into my head out of nowhere and seemed like as good a theme as any! So, here are my top Folksy picks with a natural and nautical style :)
Sea Shells Lino Print by Esme Dodsworth Design

Starfish & Shells Card by SueParCards

Sea Shell Frame with Vintage Postcard by Wonderfully Made

Shell Earrings by Lucy Campbell
Shell Pendant by Alexander Kerrison
Spindle Shell Driftwood Mirror by Driftwood Treasures

Gold Shell & Sea Glass Necklace by SeaGlassSparkles

Beach Hut Cushion by Suzie & Me

Driftwood Boat Wall Hanging by Driftwood Boat Builders
Beach Heart Hooks by offtheshorecreations

Internship & Free Candy - What a Morning!

Well that was quick, I found out today that I have been accepted for the internship, which is great! Because I'm going to Rome for a week in September, they decided to split it into two halves so somebody else will be doing the first few weeks, and I will pick up from them once I get back from my holiday. This works out really well as it means my time there will run a lot more smoothly. Now I have to sort out a bunch of things like buying some proper grown-up clothes to wear, etc ... I'm actually really nervous!

I've also signed up to write some product descriptions for CyberCandy, which is a British website that sells foods from America and other countries, and they also have a few shops (but sadly none near me). They will be sending me some free samples of candy, soda and even a lip balm, and I have to write descriptions for each of them to appear on the website. This is a nice little bit of copy writing experience, as well as a chance to get this blog linked on their site... and of course free candy!! And from the sound of it, if your descriptions are good enough then you get a chance to do more of them.

Tonight I am going to Wetherspoons with a bunch of people (I'm not actually sure who will be turning up!) so that will be good, I still can't quite believe how much of a social life I've suddenly developed out of nowhere, but hey, it's all good :)

Thursday, 2 August 2012


My interview at FusionPeople wasn't nearly as scary as I had expected. They were very friendly and seemed genuinely interested in what I could bring to the team, having just completed a creative writing degree. They said it would be great to have a creative writer on board, as a lot of tasks they are given involve copy writing and making presentations and flyers look pretty (another of my skills!)
There are a few other candidates for the role, but I like to think I have a really good chance of being picked. Fingers crossed!
In other news, my brother is now home, I did a workout routine for the first time in months yesterday and now I can barely walk (perhaps this is a sign that I should be doing more of those!) and I've got a little job the week after next, helping out at a summer school for young children. I volunteered in an infant school while I was at university and had a great time, and I still sometimes pop into the school my Mum teaches at to help them take the children out on school trips and things. So I think this job will be right up my street :)
My life seems to be picking up the pace, even if it has just moved from 'snail' to 'tortoise'!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Review: A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

A Long Way Down is the story of four very different people who all meet at the top of a building on New Years Eve whilst planning to commit suicide.
First there is Martin, a TV presenter who has recently spent time in jail and been hounded by the tabloids after the scandal of 'accidentally' sleeping with a fifteen-year-old girl. His career is in ruins and his wife and children have left him. His suicide attempt is interrupted by Maureen, a middle-aged mother and full time carer to her severely disabled son, who has been in a vegetative state since his birth nineteen years ago. Then there is Jess, an out-of-control eighteen year old who decided on the spur of the moment to commit suicide after being ignored by her ex boyfriend. As Martin and Maureen are sitting on Jess to prevent her from jumping, along comes JJ, an American pizza delivery man who has recently split from his band and his girlfriend.
Despite its morbid premise, this story is filled with dark humour and is surprisingly uplifting, in the way that these four different people come to develop a dysfunctional yet caring relationship. Each chapter is told from the point of view of each of the four characters, and through this we get to know them intimately, and  despite all of them being very flawed and not entirely likeable, we end up rooting for them and hoping that they all end up getting what they want.
I am a huge fan of Nick Hornby's novels, and this one is no exception. He manages to capture every little awkward detail about the way people interact, which makes his characters very vivid and relatable, and there are loads of little bits that make you go 'Oh! I do that too!' A Long Way Down is filled with ridiculously funny yet somehow totally plausible moments, such as them lying to the tabloid reporter that they saw an angel who looked like Matt Damon, and then getting into an argument about why Martin didn't ask it to appear on his talk show.
I've read that there might be a film of this being made soon, and I hope it is, because this book seems like it would translate very well into a film and (hopefully) wouldn't lose too much of its detail. I always have a soft spot for the film version of About a Boy so I have high hopes for this film!

Anyway, I give this book a 4/5, mainly because I feel like I'm a bit too generous with my book reviews and I have to avoid giving everything I read a 5, because otherwise there's not much point in even having a scale!