BOY21 by Matthew Quick - review

You have a calming presence, Finley"  

Title: BOY21
Author: Matthew Quick

Publisher: Headline
Source: Giveaway prize
Available: Now
Buy it: Here


Finley is focused 100% on basketball - he's even dumped his best friend and girlfriend Erin for the season, so that he doesn't get distracted. Finley also doesn't talk much, and has a complicated and painful past. So when Coach shows up at his house, and asks Finley to help new kid Russ fit in at school, he doesn't know how he can help. But it's Coach, and you always do what your coach asks.


It took me a while to want to read this book. Books centered around sport are not something I would typically reach for, but I was interested in reading more from Matthew Quick after loving Silver Linings Playbook. Once I began reading, I found so much more than a basketball try-out novel. BOY21 is endearing, highly readable and presents some very deep issues in it's short length.

I instantly loved Russ, who is struggling terribly with grief while hiding his secret; that he is a brilliant basketball player. I loved Finley for his terrible innocence, and his silence. I loved Erin for her hopelessness. These characters are all doing that they can to work their way out of their town, and hide from their own truths. Each of them are sacrificing something for each other. Argh, it's just too cute!

Once again, Matthew Quick explores mental health, and the fragility of grief. I found this to be sensitively done and actually created some of the most beautiful scenes of honesty in this book. Basically, read it!


I read this book in a day and loved every second. BOY21 is a bittersweet novel of friendship and understanding, of words unspoken and of love. Very highly recommended.


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Weekly Reflection #52

My week last week had a lot going on, after a few quiet ones before. Here's what I go up to!

1. I got quite creative with my letters this week. This one will be shipping out in the next couple of days, and I have a couple of ideas for new ways of presenting letters for future!

2. I went to London with work to visit a few things currently happening in the Capital. I went to a marketing seminar...

3. ... The Digital Revolution exhibit at the Barbican (which was nerdy fun!) ...

4. ... and a musical! Obviously, I couldn't take photos of the show itself, but I loved the theatre bar decor!

5. While in London, I took the opportunity to visit a friend who will be getting married this week for an impromptu hen do. (She told everyone she was getting married last week, so everything was a bit spontaneous in response haha)

6. When I got home, I arrived to a lot of lovely mail, including my Kawaii Box! I am really loving these monthly packages of cute :D

7. One letter in particular cheered me up no end. I love the ladies I write to.

8. I rounded off the weekend with a cinema trip to see Before I Go To Sleep. I have read the book and couldn't wait to see it on screen. It was very good, with the obvious caveat of "the book is better"!

9. Lastly, I have a really intensive work week coming up, so I planned ahead on Sunday night to keep me on track with everything. I love using Project Life cards in my planner!

Did you all have good weekends?

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Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson - review

I wasn't sick. I was strong."  

Title: Wintergirls
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Purchased from Kindle Store
Available: Now
Buy it: Here


Lia receives 33 missed calls on the night her best friend Cassie dies alone in a motel room. The quest to find out why, and what happened, brings Lia up against past struggles and anxieties, an uncomfortable relationship with food, and an even bigger uncomfortableness in her sense of self and belonging.


I might just save myself a long review and bow down before the throne of Laurie Halse Anderson right now. If you are after a dark, emotionally fraught and - at times - terrifying picture of a young girls capacity for self destruction, you may find no better. To say I loved this book would be misleading, it is not a happy ride. However, it is by far a 5-star read, and one that is an important read for many young people (and adults alike!)

Wintergirls is a novel that talks about eating disorders in a very unflinching fashion. It is a deeply unsettling journey through Lia's unwell state of mind. Laurie Halse Anderson doesn't hide the details of the illness from the reader and never apologises for it. There are scenes that are disturbing, upsetting and heartbreaking. Wintergirls is no glorification of the size 0, and it has very honest representations of the lengths those with eating disorders will go to in their search for perfection, and their need to be strong, exploring not only the physical effects, but the psychological triggers, too.

Deep subject matter paired with engaging and original writing makes Wintergirls a book that I hope, if read, would encourage those needing it to seek help, not further suffering.


Wintergirls is a book I have been trying to track down to read for a long while. It's not on any shelves in my local bookshops. Eventually I gave in to the digital copy and after reading it, I feel like I want to launch a personal campaign to get it back on real, actual shelves. This book needs to be available.

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Weekly Reflection #51

This week has been quite creative! We also seem to be having a second hit of Summer, which is always nice :D

1. One of my best friends is hopping on a plane to Vegas to get married next week, so I have been working on creating an artistic gift! I don't think it's going to be ready in time, but hopefully not too long after the big day!

2. I found this freaky/awesome pen in Evolution when I was looking for gift ideas. It's not only me that ends up buying little bits for themselves when buying for other people too, is it?!

3. I received my first letter from a new pen pal this week too. I always love the first letters, getting to know the other person. (I like all the rest, too!)

4. I ordered some diary deco stickers from Riky and Nina to go into my new Kikki K planner. I love these things! My favourites are the little korean bunnies :D

5. I made my own sushi at the weekend in a moment of genius/madness. Thank goodness I wasn't very hungry because it took forever, but it was fun!

6. I sent out the giveaway prize from my Bookish Blogger post competition.

7. While browsing the local market I found this gorgeous craft chest. Look at the colours! I instantly knew it had to be mine... and my poor boyfriend had to carry it all the way home haha.

8. I started some new notebooks. These are some pretty notebooks I bought a while ago from Superfumi. They go so nicely with my planner I thought it was time they got used :)

9. And lastly, I made the most of the weather and walked to work to soak in some vitamin D. Bristol looks so pretty in the sunshine.

Did you have good weekends? What did you do?

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The One with Nerissa

Hello! Today I'd like to welcome Nerissa to Mab is Mab! Nerissa blogs at Rireading Book Reviews and you can find her on Twitter @RiReading

Here are Nerissa's picks for "The One"!

The One you always recommend:

Harry Potter. Surprisingly, there are people who have not read it. If there are people who want to start reading YA, or just start reading great books. I will always ask if they have read the Harry Potter series. If they haven't, this is one of the books that I will always recommend.

The One that was a gift:

The Rainbow Magic Books 1 - 7. I first received those books when I was 7 from my mum. Even though I don't read them anymore, they still mean a lot to me because they are the first books that I can remember my mum gifting to me!

The One that got away:

The Infernal Devices. I love the Mortal Instruments series but I just never got to reading TID. I am hoping to remedy this as soon as possible but it seems that I will have to wait until the end of the year for the chance to read it!

The One that makes you cry:

Sing me to Sleep by Angela Morrison.

Not many people really know of this beautifully tragic story but it's one that always makes me cry no matter how many times I read it. It's a really sad but satisfying book that will not fail to bring tears to your eyes.

The One that still haunts you:

I haven't read many Horror books or books that haunt me yet so I guess NIL.

The One you always go back to:

The Mortal Instruments. The TMI series will always be my top favorite series of all time. I love it so much! From the characters, to the plot, to the writing. I just can't stop loving it!

Thanks Nerissa! I just bought the first book in the Mortal Instruments series and am feeling like I really need to get round to reading it quickly now! 

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Weekly Reflection #50

Woo! It's the half-century mark for the Weekly Reflection! - which also means I've been sharing my photo life with you for almost a year. How time flies! I wish I could say my phtoographs have gotten better in that time, but honestly, I think they've gotten worse. I need to sort that out! Here's what I've been up to:

1. Another 1-year anniversary passed this week - we have been one year in our current house! I love it, and I wish we weren't just renting it. We celebrated by finally putting up my beloved Mucha prints.

2. We also bought a few house treats! Some new brightly coloured cushions and this wonderful mint writing/laptop desk.

3. I simply can't go shopping without returning with more washi these days, it seems!

4. Book post! These lovelies from Hot Key Books look fab :D

5. I also caught up on my happy mail. These shipped out all over the world last week!

6. My latest Kikki K order arrived! I have reviewed my new Time Planner on the blog already. I love it!

7. And of course, I had to accessorize it accordingly ;)

8. I made my first attempt at DIY dividers with this gold mirror card. It made my eyes go really funny so I added an acetate dashboard in a lilac leaf pattern and now I adore it. If I do say so myself haha!

9. And lastly, I took stock of my TBR pile and made a reading plan. Review coming soon!

What have you been up to?!

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Beautiful Books - August 2014 edit

Every month, I will be rounding up some of my favourite book cover art from the month's new releases. As a designer during out-of-blog-hours, I love cover reveals and Q&A's with the artists! It's a bit of a dream job of mine to one day become a book cover designer, so I'm considering this good source for inspiration too ;)

Here are my favourites from August 2014


Not just an amazing story, Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas has a great abstract cover, telling of the fireworks to come ;)

Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre wins the prize for the best typography this month - I love a handwritten script! As for the textures and colours, it reminds me a lot of my Myspace profile when I was a tortured teen!

This book cover for The Islands At The End Of The World by Austin Aslan would definitely call my attention in the bookshop. Love the overlapping font and the bright green. It reminds me a lot of the first series of His Dark Materials covers.

This dark and delicious cover for The Girl From The Well by Rin Chupeco is really atmospheric, but graphic at the same time. I like the mix of silhouette and realistic sky. Not to mention the water-y pallette.

I usually throw in a wild-card as my last book of the month, but August was just too good! This gorgeous cover for A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall reminds me of intricate paper cuttings. It also feels very romantic.

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New Kikki K Lilac Time Planner

I got an exciting delivery this week; the new Kikki K time planner! There has been a lot of discussion about the lilac collection so I thought I would post a mini review.

First Impressions

The planner is so beautiful. The colour scheme is gorgeous - lilac leather with gold foil diamonds. The leather itself felt very soft and the size was good. (I ordered the Large which is A5 Filofax equivalent).
The elastic closure is something I'm going to have to get used to. I can't help but think it doesn't loop on far enough in, and feel that if the planner gets too full it might slip off. Time will tell I guess!


The pockets on the inside covers are many and spacious. Enough to hold a good selection of stickers, sticky notes and even a small notepad (which I had purchased from Kikki K previously). I found that the zipper of the vertical pocket had slightly marked the first divider, though, although that could have been from the shipping. I'll be replacing these anyway.

The inserts are good. I personally think they are better designed than Filofax, and probably about the same thickness (no felt tips on this paper!) I like the monthly and weekly views, and the expenses section. The to-do lists are perforated so that you can tear them out which I thought was a nice touch. I probably won't use the birthdays and shops/restaurants sections and will replace with something else.

The rings

The hot topic of Kikki K planners, it seems! I have to admit, that the negative reports had me opening my planner almost *expecting* a fault, but I was lucky enough to find all the rings closed properly. They are wobbly on the base, and that is because they are studded into the leather on small central studs (which you might be able to see from the picture). This makes the whole planner feel a bit loose and not as sturdy as a Filofax planner. Again, time will tell the effects. The opening and closing of the rings is fine, if a bit of a knack on the wobbly central spine!


I really like the Kikki K Time Planner. I wouldn't say it's going to last me years, like I would expect from a Filofax, but then, the price wasn't that of a same sized Filofax, so I guess it evens out. It looks pretty on my shelf and the colour makes me happy every time I use it. The pen I added into the order also helps me stay positive! Overall, a worthy addition to my Kikki/Filo family!

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Blog Hop; Why I write

I was recently tagged by Claire for this Blog Hop, and as it focuses a bit on writing, I thought I would take part!

The hop itself was started by Katy of Folly and Bloom.


I started Mab is Mab when I left college and started to work, because I was still reading a lot of books and still really wanted to talk about them! Apart from my mum, I didn't have any friends who loved books as much as me, so I put my thoughts online to see what came of it.

Now, I write because I still absolutely love it.


I have a couple of projects I'm cooking up in the background of the blog; one of them is that I'm working on opening an online shop of designed goodies that should appeal to the book lover and the stationery addict alike. Unfortunately my self-motivation flags a bit when work has been particularly busy, so feel free to give gentle nudges on that ;)

I'm also a Project Life and #PostCircle convert, and I'm working on making sure I spend a bit less time in front of the computer - a bit of a new life choice! -  Scrap-booking and joining pen pal groups has been such a rewarding step away from the screen :)

I also have the inevitable pile of "To Be Read" books leering at me from the bookshelf. So I'm really working hard to get through them!


I call Mab is Mab a book blog, and it is, but if there is another genre that defines "Really likes to talk a lot and fangirl over cute things, and usually has a natural bookish/writer-ly theme" then Mab is Mab is that!

I post a review a week, because reviews are important to me as a reader, but I also like to make things fun and light-hearted. No-one wants to be all critique-y all the time! That's why I introduced the Weekly Reflection photo diary series and love having random posts such as the literary-based Cat-pocalypse!


I thank the internet for scheduling tools and file syncing. I work a full day in an office so I usually keep paper notes of blog post ideas I have in notebooks, and then will sit down after dinner (usually while my partner plays FIFA) and write up as many as I can! I then steal as many minutes as I can during lunch breaks at work to refine reviews before posting them. (They're always better the second time round, right?!)

Thanks for tagging me Claire! I'm now tagging Kelly, who writes about a mixture of books, life and baking, and Sophie at Reviewed The Book who has brilliant reviews, author interviews and features!

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The One with Sipech

Hello! Today I'd like to welcome Simon (Sipech) to Mab is Mab! Sipech blogs at The Alethiophile and is on Twitter @TheAlethiophile

Here are Sipech's picks for "The One"!

The One you always recommend:

Well, you've already taken The Shadow of the Wind, which I agree is excellent (if a little predictable). So instead I shall opt for Love in the Time of Cholera. The late Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a fantastic writer. Though I have only read English translations of his work, the imagery he conjures up with small turns of phrase are beautiful and the structure of this, in my view, his finest work, is a work to rival the majesty of a cathedral.

The One that was a gift:

This has to be a non fiction offering and I hereby nominate Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman by Richard Feynman and Ralph Leighton. It got me hooked on Feynman as a popular writer, having already read his lectures on physics for my degree. A great collection of anecdotes given to me by an ex-girlfriend, it's wonderful to just dip into from time to time.

The One that got away:

The Book Thief. It's been on my 'to read' list for a while but I just haven't got round to it yet.

The One that makes you cry:

It has to be a Thomas Hardy novel. But which one? It might be easy to pick Tess, in particular the moment she finds her letter to Angel unread. But I would have go for The Mayor of Casterbridge. As a story of the impact of one silly mistake in one's youth, it gets a little close to the bone.

The One that still haunts you:

Back to the non fiction and a book that should haunt anyone who reads it, Elie Wiesel's Night is an eyewitness account of the Holocaust. The extent of evil that mankind can inflict on itself when it dehumanises 'the other' is shocking, even now.

The One you always go back to:

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Douglas Adams manages to give what is the finest example of silly self-deprecating British humour. Easy to read and utterly delightful, I revisit it about one every 5 years.

Thanks Sipech! It's really interesting to see some non-fiction in here, and some great picks. I've had Surely You're Joking, My Feynman on my shelf for a long while and have never dipped in - I think the time has come to give it a go! 

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