Book Reviews





The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Review(ish)

Hi everyone! I'm back from a small break in London, and I have two books to add to the "read" pile. The first book is a little something by Stephen Chbosky that you might just have heard of ;)

I'm not going to "review" The Perks of Being a Wallflower, per say. I feel that now a film has been released and the world and it's mother has been introduced and made aware of it, it would be a bit futile. I am, however, going to discuss it. Perks... if anything else, is a book to be discussed.

This is not the first time I have read Perks of Being a Wallflower. I was first given it in year 8 and I read it, and then I moved on to the next on my list. I forgot about it. Having now re-read the book, I'm not sure what was going on in my head at that point in time, because I'm not sure how anyone can just "move on" after reading this book! It raises too many questions and issues!

For anyone who has yet to read this book, it covers the themes of bereavement, suicide, domestic violence, friendship, drug use, sexuality, child abuse and depression. There are also indirect themes of trust, intelligence, and learning difficulties. (I want to say something else, but feel my own interpretation of an indirect theme could cause offense to some, as I don't know enough about it to claim it with any confidence. Some may know what I'm babbling about!).

Charlie is the youngest child of his family, writing to an unknown adult in his diary. He is starting a new year at school after his best (and only) friend has taken his own life during the Summer. At the beginning of the book, Charlie is presented to the reader as a boy capable of very deep, intelligent thoughts, but he struggles to articulate them. One of the best parts of this book, for me, was seeing how this changed as a teacher gave Charlie extra reading assignments. Run-on sentences decreased, vocabulary diversified and Charlie's expressionism evolved. It was very clever and I really enjoyed it.

Lonely and eternally analytical of situations, Charlie reaches out to befriend a group of older "misfits" at his school, who bring him into their circles and "expose him to all this great stuff". Very soon, Charlie experiences love (in many forms), acceptance, escapism and the emotional power of music. But what is he escaping? Why is he always so "sad"?

It is on this point that my only complaint with the book exists: The use of "sad". Charlie is nothing but "sad". Never "lonely", never "morose", never "nostaligic", "whistful", "wanting". It seemed out of sync to me that while all other points of Charlie's expression were developing, he was only ever a three letter word. Of course, this was probably a conscious choice by the author, considering the ending's reveal, but all the same it seemed a little unbelievable in an otherwise fully believable character study.

And so to the end... it is here that I have to question myself at year 8. I'm not sure how I could have read this and then forgotten about it so easily. In all honesty, I didn't like it. It is an end horrific in nature, and leaves you with a bitter aftertaste for a book you hoped so much had a happy ending. I think we all knew Charlie was naive to the point of ignorant (Micheal's poem, for instance, was one of the most uncomfortable things I have read in a long time) but to know he was so... manipulated. That his trust, given too freely, was so abused... Well, I struggled to feel "right" for a day or so, because I was quite upset. I was actually quite angry! The book made me realise that I, myself, am probably too trusting of people who don't have my best interests at heart. That's not something I want to learn through my reading, all told!

So let's have a quick round up - The Perks of Being a Wallflower is an amazingly well written piece of YA fiction with some weighty themes. I would love to know your own reactions to the ending. I am also wondering how the film deals with it... I might have to rent it soon :) But for now, I'm going to make a cup of tea because I'm getting worked up again. I didn't like this ending, but it was an end that was coming from the first page. It was laid out in the first few paragraphs. I just didn't see it - and isn't that the point?

Book Playlist - #LoveAThon post

So, while I'm in London and on UK time, I'm doing my best to keep up with at least some of the great #LoveAThon schedule Alexa and Katelyn have put together! Previously, I featured an interview with Christina from Allodoxophobia and now, I am sharing a book playlist!

I knew I probably wouldn't be able to fit in all of the challenges suggested by the event, so I've chosen one that seemed the most fun haha - I might squeeze another one in later if I'm not too late! I hope you enjoy the little collection below :)

Book Playlist for The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

Meet Will, he's just a poor boy, from a poor family... he just killed a man... Then he left his mama and wasn't back this time tomorrow ;)

[Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen] (Actually scary how much this song fits, if you've read it! Wonder if Pullman's a Queen fan...)

Discovering Cittegazze:

[Ghost Town - The Specials]

Meeting Lyra:

[Trouble - Pink]

Fighting for the Knife:

[Bandages - Hot Hot Heat]


[Vanishing - A Perfect Circle]

Here's Serafina, she's just about to kill a man...

[Dont Speak - No Doubt]

OMG WHERE'S LYRA?! Well, as we find out in The Amber Spyglass, she's dreaming of the dead...

[Blinding - Florence and the Machine]

#LoveAThon interview with Christina from Allodoxophobia

Meet fellow book blogger, Christina! We have interviewed each other for the Book Blogger #LoveAThon hosted by Alexa and Kathryn.

Christina blogs about books at Allodoxophobia: The Fear of Opinions. She lives outside Washington DC, works in education in the daytime and aspires to be an writer 24/7. Christina spends her free time chasing after her 2 year old daughter and dreaming about moving to somewhere more exotic and exciting.

Do you have a favourite book? What is it and why is it your favourite?

I have a lot of favorites.  I think my all time favorite though would have to be Are You There, God?  It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume.  I reread this at least once a year.  It is such an honest portrayal of what it feels like to be scared and unsure of yourself growing up.  The "seven minutes in heaven" scene gives me such flashbacks!

If you could be anyone from a book you have read, who would you be and why?

This is a toss up between MacKayla Lane from the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning and Emily Starr from the Emily Series by L.M. Montgomery.  Two completely different characters who have dealt with some pretty serious tragedies in their lives, but I love them both.  I love Mac because she kicks serious ass and completely evolves through her experiences (and she has Barrons which is a bonus!).  I love Emily because she reminds me of myself.  She's observant and sensitive and she's a writer through and through.  I also love that her trilogy has one of the most romantic endings ever.  I reread the last 50 pages or so of book 3 all the time and just swoon.

Do you have a favourite book-quote?

My favorite quite from a writer actually comes from poetry.  "I am not what you supposed, but far different." - Walt Whitman.  It reminds me that we're not always what we appear to be on the surface and one should be conscious of that when dealing with others.

Do you have a "guilty pleasure" read?

Lately, my guilty pleasures have been romance novels.  I never read them until about a year ago.  I'll take a good bodice ripper, but I've also enjoyed the new contemporary romances that seem to be coming out a lot, and even the New Adult novels everyone is buzzing about.  Basically if there's a hot guy in it, I'm willing to give it a shot.

Finish this sentence: "I read because..."

...I have to.  I've been a reader since I was very small.  My parents instilled this in me.  I read every night before I go to sleep - I literally can't fall asleep if I don't.  It's my "me-time" and my escape.

If you were to recommend one book to my readers, what would it be and why?

My favorite read from 2012 was The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay. It was heart-breakingly beautiful.

Favorite place to read?

My bed, covers pulled up to my neck, music playing, candles lit.

Non-reading hobbies/activities?

I love to write, that's been the big one recently.  I enjoy traveling, eating cupcakes, checking out celebrity chef restaurants and hanging out with my family.

Favorite food/drink while reading?

Tea, definitely.  Sometimes popcorn or other munchables.

Printed book or e-reader?
For convenience, I read ebooks on my phone.  I read at the gym a lot, while riding the stationary bike, so my phone makes that easier.  I do love the feel of turning real pages though and I always buy a hard copy of books I want to keep in my personal library.

Thanks Christina! Don't forget to take a read of Allodoxophobia and give it a follow!

Feature and Follow Friday: books we give to others

This Friday Feature and Follow blog hop, is hosted by ParaJunkie and Alison Can Read. Click here to find out how to take part and find new reads! I hope you find the activities as fun to read as I do :)

Today's challenge:

Q: We always talk about books that WE want. Let's turn it on its head. What books have you given other people lately? 

The last book I bought for someone was Bike Snob: Systematically and Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling for my boyfriend - it's written by a NY blogger and is quite funny, if you cycle a lot! He loves all things cycling and I thought it would be a perfect gift.

Apart from that... I bought my mum a couple of Jodi Piccoult novels because we like to talk about them with a coffee when we meet up. 

I also loaned my Carlos Ruiz Zafon books to my aunt and my Brian Froud Goblins book to a work colleague! - I love to share books! 


Royal Mail go "Austen"

To celebrate the 200 year anniversary of Pride and Prejudice, the Royal Mail have released a series of beautiful stamps depicting Jane Austen's novels.

If I get any of these, I'm not sure I'll actually be able to part with them, no matter how good the letter (Wentworth/Darcy, here's looking at you!)

What do you think of them?

I adore the Emma and the Northanger Abbey illustrations!


The Seance - review

Well, I think there should possibly be a National Holiday declared in celebration of me finishing this book: I thought the day would never come! My course is now complete, so luckily my reading won't be shelved for a word count and references ever again - WOOHOO!

The Seance may have taken me three weeks to complete, but what I found was an enjoyable, if flawed, novel of Victorian mystery.

Set in the 1800's, the book is told in three viewpoints; Constance, Eleanor (Nell) and John Montague. Each of them giving their own insight into the overarching narrative of the novel, the "Mystery of Wraxford Hall". The hall is a place of alchemy, scientific experiment and unexplained disappearances, and, most lately in it's history, murder. Surrounded by myth and legend, and secluded from civilization by a thick forest, nobody quite knows what happened to any of it's inhabitants...

Constance starts the novel. She is a lonely girl coping with her mother's severe bereavement at the death of her baby - Constance's sister, Alma. To help her mother cope, Constance encourages her to visit a spirit medium so that she can make peace with Alma's death. During the sessions, Constance pretends (or does she?) to channel Alma's voice, comforting her mother temporarily. However, having "heard" Alma, Constance's mother falls further into a depression and eventually takes her own life, leaving Constance to live with her Uncle, an artist. It is here, many years later, that Constance is approached my a Mr John Montague, who informs her she has inherited Wraxford Hall from distant relatives she never knew she had...

John Montague, a solicitor, is the second narrative of the novel. He recounts his own past experience at Wraxford Hall to Constance as a warning to her. He wants her to sell the property without ever seeing it, and live well from the proceeds. His story is full of hauntings, first hand experiences of previous owners' disappearances and, most unsettling, death at the Hall. Through John Montague we are introduced to Magnus, the heir of Wraxford Hall. Magnus is a mesmerizer, fighting to have his mesmerism practice recognised by medical science. He asks for John Montague's word: to enter Wraxford Hall in a legal capacity if anything "unusual" should happen during a forecast thunderstorm. When a servant of the house appears in John Montague's office speaking of a disappearance, John Montague holds true to his promise...

The third narrative is that of Nell, a clairvoyant terrified of her own visions and desperate to be rid of them. She seeks Magnus' help for treatment to rid herself of her "visitations" and eventually ends up marrying him. Years later, in Constance's narrative, she is wanted for the murder of her husband and her baby daughter, Clara...

Phew, that was a lot to get down! I have to say that the story of The Seance was intriguing and the characters were very believable. I was swept along for the ride and really felt the looming gothic presence of Wraxford Hall from some wonderful descriptive pieces. However, there was quite a drawback to the book for me.

The whole novel felt very fractured. In Constance's first narrative I was welcomed into a story that was deeply ingrained in death, loneliness and the measures bereavement will push you to. It was an interesting chapter of false seances preying on the grief of others, and the blind hope of those unable to cope with loss. However, by John Montague's narrative, everything had changed, it was now a story of hearsay... of alchemy, science, mind control and unfounded accusations. By Nell's narrative, we had been transported into an almost Jane-Austen-like tale of a down-trodden heroine looking for love. I never knew quite where I was with this book!

Perhaps it was my own disrupted reading of this book that added to the above, but I do feel that there was no theme strong enough to carry this novel into any specific genre. Perhaps "thriller/mystery" would do, but I found the ending to be too predictable to recommend it to thriller fans! Especially as the rest of the book was quite gothic-ghost-story-esque.

So all in all, I enjoyed reading The Seance, and will probably look to read more by John Harwood, but I did feel the book struggled to hold my attention at some points, due to wandering themes. The characters however, were well constructed, and I loved getting to know them :)

7/10 - Interesting start and great characters,  but lost it's way for a predictable conclusion.


Follow Friday - Letters to a character

My friend Orisi B has just started doing these Friday Feature and Follow blog hop, and it looked interesting! So I'm joining in - I hope you find the activities as good a read as I do! It's is hosted by ParaJunkie and Alison Can Read.

 ACTIVITY:  Write a letter to your favorite character. Rant, rave or gush…just pretend like they are real and you just want to let them know a “few things”. – Activity courtesy of author, Kelly Walker.

I chose David Martin from The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon!

Dear David,

Your story intrigued me, enraptured me and, ultimately, confused me to the very core!
How did you end up in prison with Fermin?
What was the deal with Cristina?
and...The Devil?!  

Honestly, though your story thrilled me I am left not knowing what to believe; what to think?!

Do you suffer a split personality?
I thought I had this figured out until your "alter ego" appeared with a child Christina.
Was that real?

I am so full of questions. 
Is The Angel's Game the book I read or the book you wrote?

Maybe with more reads the truth may dawn on me.
Until then, I only wish you could reply...

Until the Barcelona Quartet is completed by it's final installment, I guess the reality is that I may never know.

Goodbye David, I look forward to meeting you again.

Mab x


An Interview with a Valentine

Dear Readers, 

Romance is not, and never will be my genre of choice. Therefore I might be slightly hopeless at a Valentine's Day post. The popular alternative is an anti-Valentine's post, but who wants to lessen the beauty of love? Instead, I thought I would introduce you to my very own "Valentine", Sheff, and get him to share some bookish views from the male mind. Enjoy!

Mab x

Sheff in a cafe in Bath - He  came with me to the Jane Austen Museum. He's all right this one!

Hi! Welcome to Mab is Mab. Would you like to introduce yourself to the readers?

Hi, I'm Sheff.  I'm a User Experience Consultant also interested in psychology - particularly how it can be applied to improving wellbeing. I like flapjacks and tea, and I'm a bit of a martial arts nerd. I play more FIFA than my girlfriend thinks is healthy.

(Mab: FIFA is the enemy)

Nice to have you here! Do you have a favourite book?

I have quite a few favourites so cant really just say one, so I will pick ones on a couple of different topics:
Fiction - I really enjoyed the Mistborn Trilogy. The epic-ness and how they brought an element of science to fantasy
Fact - The Happiness Hypothesis. A mix of philosophy and psychology that introduces loads of really interesting concepts that can be applied to real life. I cant rave enough about this book. And a special mention has to go to Seagalogy: A Study of the Ass-kicking Films of Steven Seagal - If I was going write a book this would have been it!

If you could be anyone from a book you have read, who would you be and why?

Hmmm tough one I will have to come back to this. I cant really think of anyone.

(Mab: cop out!)

Have you ever read a romance novel? What do you think of it?

Ro-mance? What is this?!... Joking aside, no I don't think I have... Wait, I once read a book called Dream Traders (years and years ago), it had an element of Romance to it I think (and lots of Opium).

Sounds, intriguing... Finish this sentence: "I read because..."

I want to learn. (and sometimes because I want a bit of escapism)

Why did you name my Kindle "Bindle"?!

Bindle sounds like Kindle...! A Bindle is a bag on a stick.

Erm, ok. You've joked about writing you "memoirs" before - who would play you in a film version?

Anyone but Sean Bean!!!

If you were to recommend one book to my readers, what would it be and why?

I recommended it earlier - The Happiness Hypothesis . Go read it now!

And finally: What's it like to have a girlfriend who has her head stuck in a book half the time?

(Mab: Oh ha ha)

Thanks Sheff!

You can read more about Sheff's explorations in the fields of UX and Psychology at his website:
Also, give him a follow on Twitter. I can't promise he'll share as many tea photos and cynical observations as myself, but he sure does share a lot of helpful knowledge!

Enjoy Valentine's day everyone!

Time Travel Paradox

Let's talk time travel...

This past weekend had a bit of a theme in my house. We watched Looper, Time Crimes (aka Los Cronocrimenes) and (no laughing in the back) an episode of Star Trek Voyager in which the ship was fractured into different parts of it's own past timeline.

They all featured time travel, and the ONLY ONE that made timely sense (to me anyway) was Star Trek.

Time travel has always been quite a mind bending thing to read, watch and understand... Science fiction by it's very nature is varying and complex but time travel carries with it a web of confusion unparalleled by anything else. If you do it simply, it's quite straight forward: person with non-murderous intent (and therefore no likelihood of killing an ancestor) time travels back so far back that they do not exist yet, and so never encounters their past self. Timelines never cross, and adventures ensue. When films/books try to be clever, however - and why not? I'm all for pushing boundaries and mind-f***s -  they often fall into the Time Travel Paradox. And this is where both Looper and Time Crimes ended up.

"What is the Time Travel Paradox?!" you ask? Here's the definition from the fount-of-all-untrustworthy-knowledge, Wikipedia. But I can vouch for this definition's truth ;)
Temporal paradox (also known as time paradox and time travel paradox) is a theoretical paradoxical situation that happens because of time travel. A time traveler goes to the past, and does something that would prevent him from time travel in the first place. If he does not go back in time, he does not do anything that would prevent his traveling to the past, so time travel would be possible for him. However, if he goes back in time and does something that would prevent the time travel, he will not go back in time. Thus each possibility seems to imply its own negation - a type of logical paradox.
Ok, that in itself is a bit of a maze for your brain so let me try and paraphrase...

Time Paradox is when a person time travels back in time and interferes with their own time line in a way that means they will not end up time travelling. Meaning, if they had never travelled back in time, they would probably end up going back in time...

Geddit? No, probably not. I was only introduced to the principal myself this weekend, so I'm probably not coherent in time-speak. If only Stephen Hawking could have guest written this post!

Anyway, we don't need that exact definition, because Time Crimes had kind of a reverse going on. The time traveler ONLY TIME TRAVELED IN THE FIRST PLACE because their TIME TRAVELED SELF made them do it.

Now, surely, at some point in this time loop of affecting selves, there was an instance in which there was no time travelled self to cause the time traveler to time travel?!

Oh god, my head hurts...

Looper, on the other hand, affected a FUTURE self, after past and present come face to face. ***SPOILER*** Past-self shoots himself, so that future-self doesn't exist. So, did any of the last hour and a half of film ever actually exist?!

ARGH! Brain melt...

The point of this post is that beyond Star Trek, that featured a convenient if contrived memory loss clause, I have not had the joy of encountering any time travel stories that seem to have expertly dodged the paradox. If you have watched either of these films recently, and would like proof that time travel CAN work in stories, like I do, I want to be able to help.

So here's the call: Have you read/watched/heard of any stories that dodge the paradox? Can they even exist?!

(As for the Looper and Time Crimes... In all other respects, they were OK films if you look beyond the paradoxes, though I far preferred the lower budget Spanish film over Looper. Bruce Willis just bugs me.)


Love beyond "romance"

love  /ləv/Noun - An intense feeling of deep affection.   

ro·mance  /rōˈmans/Noun - A feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.

You don't need reminding of the proximity of Valentines day - it's everywhere you turn; inescapable in it's determination to have you a) feel bad if you're single or b) feel guilty if you don't spend money you don't have on your partner. Oh, what fun!

It's also well documented that I cannot abide romance-y romance novels. So when I say I want to share with you a post about love, you should be fairly warned of the place this is coming from. This will probably sum it up: I found Hannibal to be quite romantic.

So, with all you lovely readers fairly warned...

I have collected a list of my favorite quotes, of, and about, love. They come from books I have personally read, which means the majority are not quotes from the genre of Romance. Because sometimes, you find love in the darkest of places. I wanted to highlight that although I read books that may seem troubling to some, they are not devoid of emotions, feeling and humanity. Love gets everywhere! ...
“Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living. You said I killed you--haunt me then. The murdered do haunt their murderers. I believe--I know that ghosts have wandered the earth. Be with me always--take any form--drive me mad. Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! It is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!”
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

“Dr. Fell, do you believe a man could become so obsessed with a woman, from a single encounter?
Could he daily feel a stab of hunger for her and find nourishment in the very sight of her? I think so. But would she see through the bars of his plight and ache for him?” 
Hannibal by Thomas Harris
“There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights.”
Dracula by Bram Stoker 

 “That is the crowning evil, that we can even go so far as to love each other, you and I. And who else would show us a particle of love, a particle of compassion or mercy? Who else, knowing us as we know each other, could do anything but destroy us? Yet we can love each other.”
Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice

There is, however, one exception to my hate-all-romance persuasion. The Bridges of Madison County is one of the finest novels I have read. This quote is my favourite:

“So here I am walking around with another person inside of me. Though I think I put it better the day we parted when I said there is a third person we have created from the two of us. And I am stalked now by that other entity.”
The Bridges of Madison County, by Robert James Waller

What are your favourite literary love quotes? Will you be sending any cryptic quotes to your Valentines?!


Books and Fables, Not Dolls

A short post today, but a personal snippet I thought I would share, because what my dad said made me love him more than ever.

I have great memories from when I was young, of sitting on my parents' bed watching and singing along to the elephant's parade in The Jungle Book. I was very lucky; my dad sometimes came home after long days at work with little gifts for me. I know other friends with similar families often got small gifts too, but where they received dolls and sweets, my dad bought me books and Disney videos.

I just recently asked him why he only ever bought me Disney films. His reply was this:

"They were mostly about morals. They were educational and safe at a time when you were becoming inquisitive. I also liked that they were something we could watch together and talk about."

I also asked him about the books, and he said:

"I'd only ever seen you use your toys as an audience to read to".

Thanks Dad :) xx


Ten most annoying characters

Last week there was a "Top Ten Tuesday" tag to share the ten most annoying characters you have read. I thought this was an interesting theme, but didn't have time to take part as I had my head stuck in marketing literature (boo!) desperately trying to scrape myself a grade worth achieving for my final assignment!

Now, however, I find myself with five minutes and in a bit of a Monday Morning Grump. So what better to do than have a bit of a rant about annoying characters?!

Here they are:

1. Uncle Will (The Radleys by Matt Haig) - It wasn;t so much his character in the book, but his presence in it that annoyed me. It was like the author got bored of the straight-laced Stepford Wives community he'd created and transplanted in some True Blood for kicks. Not only that, but Will lived his immortality chasing one tiny moment from ten years ago, with his brother's wife. And not in a heart-achingly woeful, gothic way. Give it up, grow up and move on.

2. Elspeth Noblin (Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffeneger) - Unlikely as it is for me to dislike a ghost, Elspeth got very annoying with her invasion of privacy on her niece's lives. It was like a soppy creepiness... lingering in desk drawers and willing them to find blankets, or for them to experience love with much older men. It was weird...

3. Alexander (The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simmons) - The most annoying thing about Alexander was his refusal to do anything about Dimitri; the weakest, most un-threatening "threat" I have ever encountered in a book. Dimitri's menace over the Alexander was real, and his constant invasion on his life very evident BUT he just didn't seem like anything Alexander couldn't have handled?! Dimitri knew incriminating things, but he was no immovable object to Alexander's unstoppable force - especially when "self preservation" was his key character trait and motivation in life! Grrr!

4. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins) - Mostly in Mockingjay, I have to say. Katniss just lost all her fight, all her grit. I was 100% behind her in The Hunger Games and Catching Fire... and as soon as I started Mockingjay, I felt I was reading the life of somebody different. She had to be mothered, coerced, directed and instructed. The Girl in the Fire was no more. And let's not mention her decisions in the final chapter shall we...?!

5. Hagrid (Harry Potter Series by J K Rowling) - It might be an unpopular choice, but I find myself skipping a fair few Hagrid chapters on my Harry Potter re-reads, especially the Aragog and Grawp chapters... Hagrid is one of those characters that just "does things" to bring an element into a narrative. He seems more of a plot development fall-back than an actual character. Yes, he's endearing and the loveable hazard to the story, but it also seems as though Rowling had a few moments where she went "right, how do I get this into the book? Oh I know, Hagrid can buy it/ win it/ fall over it/ accidentally mention it..." He's a character that became more than he needed to be. Does he actually have a purpose?!

6. Captain Wentworth (Persuasion by Jane Austen) - It took him waaaay too long to see what was right in front of him, and because I felt so much for Anne, her pain was my own. I wanted to march up to that guy and go "Oi! Mr Sailor Man! Put down that fussy young thing who's far too young for you, anyway, and look at the one woman you didn't fight for the first time round". *Sigh*... I hate romance.

7. Jacob (Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer) - Let's face it, Bella was too vacuous to be any kind of annoying. I just outright didn't like her. Jacob on the other hand had a bit of culture, history and development going on, and for that I hoped he would see Bella for what she was. However, he subscribed to the tribe of what I can only assume was desperation, and fawned over her for the two books I managed to endure. Good work Jacob, welcome to Annoying.

8. Pantalaimon (His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman) - Am I the only one who thought Pantalaimon's sensibilities were the least likely thing to ever come out of Lyra's soul? He was a wary, cautious, worrier with erratic moments of brutal abandon. Lyra was an affectionate but feral risk taker. These two are one?! I honestly think that The Northern Lights would have been a much wilder ride if it wasn't for Pan and his voice of reason. Thank goodness for Will when he shows up and brings a bit of unpredictability back! (I have unashamed fan-love for Will. Fan-love I tell you!)

9. Merthin (World Without End by Ken Follet) - This one thing: "Oh, I'll just go to Florence while the woman I love and have known since childhood is giving up every freedom she's ever known in order to save her own life after being wrongly accused of being a witch, and I did F-all to help her". Nice one, Merth! Not to mention you married someone else and had a kid while you were there... and DESPITE all this, I still frickin' liked you. Yeah, mostly I'm annoyed by you because I liked you.

10. Sophie Klein (Pear Shaped by Stella Newman) - Embodied every annoyance I have with pithy "chick-lit": Unfounded body issues, non-existant self-worth, jealousy, materialism, idealism, sexsolveseverything, food guilt, shallowness, reliance, uppity... I'll stop now.

There you have it :) Do you agree or disagree with any of my choices? What characters do you find annoying?


Mab is Mab GIVEAWAY!

Hello everyone!

Recently my blog passed a happy milestone in its existence, and so to celebrate I thought I would hold a little giveaway! My blog is not a big numbers machine, but that doesn't matter to me. I write about what I read because I love to write and I love to read - simple as that! The fact that plenty of you stop by to see what I say is lovely and I wanted to say a big thank you to all my readers.

So, I went shopping ;) I hope you like the prizes on offer, and I hope these book- and writing-themed goodies bring some bookish cheer to the lucky winner! Good luck everyone :)

Here are the details, read all about it!:

The Prizes

You could win:

How To Enter

Follow Mab is Mab via Google Friend Connect in the right hand coloumn, and leave a comment on this post. Simple!

(it would be nice if you could tweet about your entry and share news of the giveaway amongst your friends too, but it's not a requirement!)

Terms and Conditions

All required criteria must be completed as described above to have a valid entry.

There can only be one winner.

Unfortunately due to shipping costs, this giveaway is available to UK residents only.

Entry cut-off is 23:59 on February 28th 2013.

The winner will be selected at random using

The winner will be announced on March 1st 2013, via the blog and on Facebook and Twitter. They will then be contacted for delivery details.

If the winner's choice of book is unavailable, another choice will be offered.

Prizes will be shipped within two weeks of delivery details and book choice being provided.