What I have learnt from “The Farm” by Tom Rob Smith

Tom Rob Smith presents this crime story – “the Farm” which is written more like a novel that a conventional thriller. One half of the book is a conversation between a mother and a son and the other is a truth finding mission – but will the truth be more or less disturbing than the mothers accusations? I’ll let you read it yourself to find out.

4 things I have learnt from reading “The Farm”:

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1/ Mittens aren’t a good idea when breaking and entering – although I still like these ones from Monki.

2/ What white honey is. (Photo source)

3/ That an Elk is a very big animal.

4/ That a leather satchel is always desirable, especially this one from thisisground.

I’m also very happy when a crime story involves trolls or any kind. I suggest picking this one up for a read. “The Farm” by Tom Rob Smith is out in paperback format in February.

Monochrome Sale Swag

While I’m not planning to spend much this month that won’t stop me from pursuing he sales for you. Here is a pretty monochrome mix for anyone who want to invest in some sale shopping this January.

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Coat, Leather trousers and eye shadow palette from Topshop

Green stone ring and Beauty jumper from Farfetch

Boots from Urban Outfitters 

Bag from Zara

Spend your Christmas money wisely folks!

A Christmas message from us…

In the past year we have been thankful for many things… our health, our jobs, genuine friends, good coffee, new opportunities & challenges and so many more blessings… too many to mention here.

Wherever you are, whoever you are with, be thankful for what you have and what you have been given but also, remember others who face difficult challenges this Christmas. The families who have tragically lost loved-ones in Glasgow this week spring to mind immediately but, there are many more we could mention.

Merry Christmas and Best wishes for the holiday season and for 2015.

What I read in 2014 – Books

Reading was a big luxury for me this year. Escaping into a book has always been relaxing but this year more than ever I have found myself says things like “Once I finish my essay I can start that new novel” and “Tonight I will work twice as hard so that I can spend all tomorrow reading”.

I tried to be a big reader this year. By that I mean I tried to be diverse and give different books a go. I also enjoyed our Ballymena bookclub which came up with some unexpected choices and the Beautiful Mess bookclub which is online here. Take a look at all the books I read here.

However, with greater choice comes greater disappointment, and I definitely felt that some big titles this year were a big letdown. “Thrive” by Arianna Huffington wasn’t the thrilling biography that I wanted it to be (my fault), Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean at the Bottom of the Lane” left me cold and I couldn’t wait to get finished with “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp (I know – I am the only one who didn’t fall in love with this book – What’s wrong with me!!)

On the other hand I started books and literally couldn’t put them down. Here are my favourite books of 2014;

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1/ “Stuff Matters” by Mark Miodownik – Wow, so this year I loved this non-fiction, pop science title – who would have guessed that? This book talks about all the materials which are around us everyday, concrete, glass, stainless steel, etc. I know it doesn’t sound thrilling but I really enjoyed it, think a biography of materials rather than textbook and if you don’t fancy reading it look out for the accompanying TV series which was shown on BBC 4 earlier this year or watch here.

2/ “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt – It was great, and not at all what I expected. A linear novel with no jumping around or flitting between character, “The Goldfinch” was an example of good old fashioned storytelling. The only downside is that it is long, maybe a little longer than it needs to be, but it is worth getting right to the end.

3/ “The Letter for the King” by Tonke Dragt. I picked this up after hearing about the publisher “Puskin Press” who basically sit around all day reading novels in french, swedish, chinese and a myriad of other languages looking for books that are crying out to be translated into english. This is a children’s book (10 upwards) first published in 1962 in the Netherlands and follows a young squire who has put his knighthood on the line to help a stranger in need. Why did I love it? Because there are no dragons, magic spells, rings, little people, wizards or any silly nonsense distracting from the noble adventure. I read this after having struggled through a few disappointing reads and it got me back on track.

Here are some notable runners up;

  • Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – Sci-fi classic.
  • Night Film by Marisha Pess – Twisted thriller.
  • Popular by Maya Van Wagenen – Super cute teenage biography.
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed – Gritty emotional and physical journey.
  • God Knows your Name by Catherine Campbell – Encouraging and thought provoking.
  • Running like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley – Made me start running like a girl
  • We are all Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler – I had no idea what the twist was before we were told.
  • Enough by Helen Roseveare – Thoughts from a missionary on how Christ is enough.