Monday 22 December 2014

The Christmas Tag.

I've been tagged by my lovely friend Courtney over at Cupcakes & Cateyes to do The Christmas Tag and as Christmas is absolutely my favourite time of year I am totally up to answering some questions about it. Let's do it!

1. Do you stay in your PJ's or dress up for Christmas?
PJ's all the way. If you think I'm putting a bra on on Christmas day then you are very much mistaken, my friend.

2. Do you open your presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Christmas morning.

3. What's your favourite Christmas meal or treat?
Gingerbread lattes. They count, right?

 4. What's your favourite holiday movie (or specials)?
I love Christmas movies (the cheesier the better) but I might have to go for the Gavin and Stacey Christmas special. I'll watch it any time of year and never get sick of it. In fact I think I've already seen it about three times in 2014.

5. Have you ever made a snowman?
A couple of very little ones. We don't get much snow around here and when we do it's usually in January or February, never at Christmas.

6. Show us an embarrassing Christmas card photo!
Is this a thing people actually do? I've never known anyone actually do one of these things. I'm pretty sure this is something that only exists in American TV shows and films.

7. What holiday tradition are you looking forward to most this year?
We don't really have any traditions that I can think of? Does watching the Doctor Who Christmas special while we eat dinner count?

8. Is your Christmas tree real or fake?
Fake. We've never had a real one. I don't totally see the point in them to be honest when you could just get a nice fake tree and reuse it year after year.

9. Be honest: do you like giving or receiving gifts better?
Both! Obviously I love receiving gifts but I also really like choosing the perfect presents and wrapping them up nicely. IDK I just love Christmas.

10. What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?
Probably Germany. From what I've seen and been told it sounds like Christmas is amazing over there.

11. Does your family have a special holiday recipe you like to help make?
Not really. I'm making a yule log this year and I've done that before but mum and dad usually take care of all the Christmas and Boxing Day cooking and we don't really have any special Christmas recipes or anything.

12. Most memorable holiday moment?
I honestly can't think of one. My Christmases are super fun, I promise! I'm just completely blanking.

13. What made you realise the truth about Santa?
I don't really know. There wasn't like an event or anything. I think I just figured it out gradually.

14. Favourite Christmas songs?
Let's just say White Christmas, Fairytale of New York, Merry Xmas Everybody, 'Zat You Santa Claus, and Stop the Cavalry. And we'll leave it there or else we'll be here all day. I'm very passionate about Christmas music.

15. Do you make New Year's resolutions? Do you stick to them?
I don't really make New Year's resolutions precisely because I know I won't stick to them.

16. What makes the holidays special for you?
I don't know! There's lovely food and Christmas music and decorations everywhere and Christmas markets and everyone's running around trying to find the perfect presents for their friends and family and it's just nice? I don't know, the whole thing is just still magical to me.

I'm not going to tag anyone specifically but if you want to answer these questions then go for it and let me know so that I can see your answers!

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Tuesday 16 December 2014

stasialikesbooks | Book review: Vivian Versus the Apocalypse by Katie Coyle.

Vivian Apple never believed in the Church of America - unlike her fanatical parents. And as for the so-called impending 'Rapture', she knew she'd believe that when she saw it. But then Vivian wakes one day to a New World, and all that's left of her parents are two empty spaces. The Believers have been taken, it seems. And for those left behind, the world is a desolate and eerie place. All Vivian has now are her memories and her volatile friend Harp.

Faced with society on the brink of collapse, Vivian and Harp embark on a journey across America, in search of any family they have left, and determined to expose the truth about the Rapture. Three thousand miles through floods, fog and heat waves, Harp and Vivian and a boy with the bluest eyes and the kindest heart are driving on to their future.

But will this be a coming-of-age road trip with no return?

The premise of Vivian Versus the Apocalypse had me from the start. How many times over the past few years has the apocalypse been predicted in America? And every time we all take it the same way that Vivian and her friend Harp do at the start of the novel, like it's all a big joke that'll never happen. But in Vivian Versus the Apocalypse it actually does happen. Maybe.

I think this is the first book I've ever read that can be classified as both contemporary and post-apocalyptic and in my opinion the combination worked fantastically. Coyle makes it so easy to imagine this possibly post-apocalyptic America as her descriptions of the country post-rapture mix easily with scenes that are far more familiar to modern-day.

Another great strength of this novel is its main character, Vivian Apple. It's so refreshing to see a teenaged heroine thrown into a situation like this and to react like a real teenager. Vivian does not immediately leap into her role as heroine. She is reluctant and scared, just like most teenagers probably would be in her situation. Watching Vivian gradually discover her own strength and bravery is definitely part of what makes this novel so great. And don't even get me started on how much I love her best friend, Harp.

The sequel to this book, Vivian Versus America, is out already and I can't wait to get my hands on it and find out what happens next (especially after that heart stopping twist at the end of the first book!) If you're into contemporary, post-apocalyptic, or just really interesting YA with badass female heroines, then I highly recommend Vivian Versus the Apocalypse.

4/5 stars.

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