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These books are all ones I finished last year so here's hoping I manage to remember the plots. I didn't really have the drive to read over the Christmas/New Year holidays so I've got a lot of catching up to do. I didn't reach my Goodreads goal so this year I'm going to attempt it (I also made the goal lower so hopefully that helps).


But Then I Came Back by Estelle Laure*
I hadn't read the previous book but they're kind of stand-alone stories so it didn't really matter that much. The story follows Eden who has an accident and wakes up from a coma after a month. She had her life all planned out and after the accident found it hard to go back to her old life and her plans didn't fit anymore. She becomes lost in her new reality and it's even harder with her family & friends expecting her to be the same. She finds comfort in Joe, whose friend Jasmine is in a coma and who Eden has a connection too. She & Joe share an understanding that helps her feel less alone.

I enjoyed the story, the connection between Eden & Jasmine was interesting as was the Eden herself. Trying to go back to her former self but just getting lost.

3 stars



These Dividing Walls by Fran Cooper*
I love any books to do with France/Paris so I was really looking forward to this one. The plot is centred around an apartment building and intertwines the stories of the people that live there. They've each got their own separate storylines alongside the main theme of the Paris of today, dealing with the aftermath of terror attacks. I love the concept of showing the separate lives of the people contained in one building, isolated until the realities of the outside world come through.

The residents are a wide variety of people whose stories are heartbreaking but also endearing.

3.5 stars



Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau*
This is another fantasy novel which I'm always a fan of. The story is set in the fictional kingdom of Eden where twins Carys & Andreus are forced to compete against each other for the crown after their older brother and father are killed. The murders are suspicious and Carys especially is determined to find out the truth. The twins have always been close but the trial as well as those invested in who gets the crown drive a wedge between the two of them.

There are a lot of secrets in this book, none of which are revealed. It's safe to say I'm really looking forward to the sequel where hopefully there will be some answers.

4 stars

Have you read any of these books?

Ashley xx
*Review copes from Hachette NZ & Harper Collins NZ

Review | But Then I Came Back, These Dividing Walls & Dividing Eden

Friday, 19 January 2018


These books are all ones I finished last year so here's hoping I manage to remember the plots. I didn't really have the drive to read over the Christmas/New Year holidays so I've got a lot of catching up to do. I didn't reach my Goodreads goal so this year I'm going to attempt it (I also made the goal lower so hopefully that helps).


But Then I Came Back by Estelle Laure*
I hadn't read the previous book but they're kind of stand-alone stories so it didn't really matter that much. The story follows Eden who has an accident and wakes up from a coma after a month. She had her life all planned out and after the accident found it hard to go back to her old life and her plans didn't fit anymore. She becomes lost in her new reality and it's even harder with her family & friends expecting her to be the same. She finds comfort in Joe, whose friend Jasmine is in a coma and who Eden has a connection too. She & Joe share an understanding that helps her feel less alone.

I enjoyed the story, the connection between Eden & Jasmine was interesting as was the Eden herself. Trying to go back to her former self but just getting lost.

3 stars



These Dividing Walls by Fran Cooper*
I love any books to do with France/Paris so I was really looking forward to this one. The plot is centred around an apartment building and intertwines the stories of the people that live there. They've each got their own separate storylines alongside the main theme of the Paris of today, dealing with the aftermath of terror attacks. I love the concept of showing the separate lives of the people contained in one building, isolated until the realities of the outside world come through.

The residents are a wide variety of people whose stories are heartbreaking but also endearing.

3.5 stars



Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau*
This is another fantasy novel which I'm always a fan of. The story is set in the fictional kingdom of Eden where twins Carys & Andreus are forced to compete against each other for the crown after their older brother and father are killed. The murders are suspicious and Carys especially is determined to find out the truth. The twins have always been close but the trial as well as those invested in who gets the crown drive a wedge between the two of them.

There are a lot of secrets in this book, none of which are revealed. It's safe to say I'm really looking forward to the sequel where hopefully there will be some answers.

4 stars

Have you read any of these books?

Ashley xx
*Review copes from Hachette NZ & Harper Collins NZ

I often feel that the content I create is overly superficial. Comparison comes into play when I see other amazing bloggers write about topics which other people can relate to and feel like they are not alone. That comparison then feeds into my anxiety which is just not good at all. Ever.

I've dealt with anxiety ever since I can remember. I've always been a worrier, even as a child, and as I've gotten older it started to affect the things most important to me. I thought it would be helpful (to me at least) to do these mental health updates so I can actually see where I am at and in like six months or something I'll do another one and see what has changed. Granted I could just write this in a diary but by putting it here makes me more motivated to do it.

So, I've been medication for around six months maybe. I'm not entirely sure. Since I started taking it I have noticed a change in my anxiety which has been very welcomed. My 'superficial' layer of anxiety is gone but I still have the same hang-ups which just stop me in my tracks.

These include phone anxiety; when I have to make appointments/talk to anyone I don't know. Whenever I see a number come up on my screen I panic and quickly google it. However, it is harder for me to call back so answering it the first time is better for me. I'm completely fine with friends and family though, I don't even think about it.

I have decided to go back to uni this year. It's the most logical step for me but I have as yet told my parents. When I graduated two years ago they expected me to get a job which I have tried to do but have not been successful. I don't think they like the thought of adding to the student loan but I know I can't move forward to the job I want without it. The degree itself triggered my anxiety by the fact I will have to go down to Wellington for classes. The part the panics me the most is getting to and from the airport, like do I get the bus or uber/zoomy/taxi or whatever. I get anxious over the unknown, I was the same with buses but I've kind of gotten over it. I still have to plan in advance and make sure what bus and know exactly where the stop is.

Another thing is telling people stuff, like my parents about uni. I'm not the most natural talker, I'd much rather write. I find it hard to open my mouth and share what I'm feeling, it makes it hard to be open with people and have close relationships which are something I want. If I share I'm more open to attack so I keep everything closely guarded. I'm still fearful of other people's opinions popping my bubble of a decision. One of the things I dislike about myself is how easily my thoughts are swayed by someone else. By keeping things in nothing can be affected.

I want 2018 to be the year I finally start moving forward.

Ashley xx

My Mental Health Update, January 2018

Tuesday, 16 January 2018


I often feel that the content I create is overly superficial. Comparison comes into play when I see other amazing bloggers write about topics which other people can relate to and feel like they are not alone. That comparison then feeds into my anxiety which is just not good at all. Ever.

I've dealt with anxiety ever since I can remember. I've always been a worrier, even as a child, and as I've gotten older it started to affect the things most important to me. I thought it would be helpful (to me at least) to do these mental health updates so I can actually see where I am at and in like six months or something I'll do another one and see what has changed. Granted I could just write this in a diary but by putting it here makes me more motivated to do it.

So, I've been medication for around six months maybe. I'm not entirely sure. Since I started taking it I have noticed a change in my anxiety which has been very welcomed. My 'superficial' layer of anxiety is gone but I still have the same hang-ups which just stop me in my tracks.

These include phone anxiety; when I have to make appointments/talk to anyone I don't know. Whenever I see a number come up on my screen I panic and quickly google it. However, it is harder for me to call back so answering it the first time is better for me. I'm completely fine with friends and family though, I don't even think about it.

I have decided to go back to uni this year. It's the most logical step for me but I have as yet told my parents. When I graduated two years ago they expected me to get a job which I have tried to do but have not been successful. I don't think they like the thought of adding to the student loan but I know I can't move forward to the job I want without it. The degree itself triggered my anxiety by the fact I will have to go down to Wellington for classes. The part the panics me the most is getting to and from the airport, like do I get the bus or uber/zoomy/taxi or whatever. I get anxious over the unknown, I was the same with buses but I've kind of gotten over it. I still have to plan in advance and make sure what bus and know exactly where the stop is.

Another thing is telling people stuff, like my parents about uni. I'm not the most natural talker, I'd much rather write. I find it hard to open my mouth and share what I'm feeling, it makes it hard to be open with people and have close relationships which are something I want. If I share I'm more open to attack so I keep everything closely guarded. I'm still fearful of other people's opinions popping my bubble of a decision. One of the things I dislike about myself is how easily my thoughts are swayed by someone else. By keeping things in nothing can be affected.

I want 2018 to be the year I finally start moving forward.

Ashley xx

At the start of every new year, I come up with goals that I know I will not keep up with. That sends me down a spiral of just repeating everything and not moving forward to where I want to be. Instead, I'm substituting the word 'goals' for 'intentions'. To me, it just sounds more meaningful and is something not to aim for but to work on every day.

I'm pretty much coming up with these as I'm writing so I have yet to put them into effect.



  • I intend to be more physically active, whether big or small

  • I intend to utilise my creativity, whether big or small

  • I intend to swap the negative thoughts with positive ones, whether big or small

  • In intend to do the things I want to that trigger my self-doubt & anxiety, whether big or small

  • And finally, I intend to be kinder to myself. To stop internally criticising if I fail

What are your intentions for 2018?

Ashley xx

2018 Intentions

Tuesday, 9 January 2018


At the start of every new year, I come up with goals that I know I will not keep up with. That sends me down a spiral of just repeating everything and not moving forward to where I want to be. Instead, I'm substituting the word 'goals' for 'intentions'. To me, it just sounds more meaningful and is something not to aim for but to work on every day.

I'm pretty much coming up with these as I'm writing so I have yet to put them into effect.



  • I intend to be more physically active, whether big or small

  • I intend to utilise my creativity, whether big or small

  • I intend to swap the negative thoughts with positive ones, whether big or small

  • In intend to do the things I want to that trigger my self-doubt & anxiety, whether big or small

  • And finally, I intend to be kinder to myself. To stop internally criticising if I fail

What are your intentions for 2018?

Ashley xx

I've seen a couple of these posts floating around and since I more or less keep Goodreads updated I have a good record of all the books I've read throughout the year. Five seems the universal good number so I went with that. There's a good mixture of books; a couple of fantasy, some historical fiction as well as a little dash of something French.



Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor*
For lovers of the fantasy genre, this is all you could ask for. The reader is first introduced to Lazlo, an orphaned librarian who has always dreamed of traveling to the mysterious city of Weep. An opportunity arises and he travels there to help the people of the city. As well as Lazlo we meet Sarai, part of the problem that needs solving. Through Sarai's gift, the two build a relationship and Lazlo shows her a world outside her prison. The writing is very descriptive and you build a picture of Weep in your mind.

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth*
I actually did a video review of this book so this is the first time I'm writing about it. This is also set in a fictional world and follows the characters Cyra & Akos who are from different races of people living on the same planet. In this universe is a powerful force called the 'current' which gives people abilities. Cyra's abilities cause her and others pain and it is taken advantage of by her tyrant brother. Like with Strange the Dreamer the two develop a relationship and try to escape the situation they live in.



The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel*
I had no preconception before I started the book which was a good thing as everything was unexpected. The story follows Lane and goes between the time periods of when she was 15 and eleven years later and is set around her grandparent's house. Two mysteries are woven into the story; what happened to Lane's cousin Allegra as well as the mystery surrounding the women of the Roanoke family. They either run away or die. The mystery is complex & intriguing and kept me guessing to the very end.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn*
I'm pretty sure this is inspired by a true story, during WW1 women were enlisted as spies and managed to gain intel from the Germans and then relay back to the British. The story is told from Eve's point of view, she is a timid secretary who is scouted by the army due to her language skills in French & German. She reports to Lilli who is the 'queen of spies' and who Eve greatly admires. The book goes between Eve's story in WW1 to Charlie's in WW2 who enlists the help of Eve to find her cousin. As the story progresses both Charlie and the reader learn what Eve went through. I greatly enjoyed reading about the side of the war which isn't widely known, especially on brave women outwitting men.


The Little Breton Bistro by Nina George*
Anything to do with France automatically gets me excited and I absolutely enjoyed this gem of a story. Marianne is 60 years old when she decides to end her life in Paris after being in an unhappy marriage for many years. Fate intervenes and she is saved and comes across a beautifully painted tile which compels her to travel to a small town in Brittany. Marianne starts over and rediscovers how joyful life is. We also meet some of the locals whose lives are also changed by this stranger. It's a lovely story and shows that you can change the course of your life at any stage.

What were your favourite books of 2017?

Ashley xx
*Review copies from Hachette NZ & Harper Collins NZ 

Best Books of 2017

Thursday, 4 January 2018


I've seen a couple of these posts floating around and since I more or less keep Goodreads updated I have a good record of all the books I've read throughout the year. Five seems the universal good number so I went with that. There's a good mixture of books; a couple of fantasy, some historical fiction as well as a little dash of something French.



Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor*
For lovers of the fantasy genre, this is all you could ask for. The reader is first introduced to Lazlo, an orphaned librarian who has always dreamed of traveling to the mysterious city of Weep. An opportunity arises and he travels there to help the people of the city. As well as Lazlo we meet Sarai, part of the problem that needs solving. Through Sarai's gift, the two build a relationship and Lazlo shows her a world outside her prison. The writing is very descriptive and you build a picture of Weep in your mind.

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth*
I actually did a video review of this book so this is the first time I'm writing about it. This is also set in a fictional world and follows the characters Cyra & Akos who are from different races of people living on the same planet. In this universe is a powerful force called the 'current' which gives people abilities. Cyra's abilities cause her and others pain and it is taken advantage of by her tyrant brother. Like with Strange the Dreamer the two develop a relationship and try to escape the situation they live in.



The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel*
I had no preconception before I started the book which was a good thing as everything was unexpected. The story follows Lane and goes between the time periods of when she was 15 and eleven years later and is set around her grandparent's house. Two mysteries are woven into the story; what happened to Lane's cousin Allegra as well as the mystery surrounding the women of the Roanoke family. They either run away or die. The mystery is complex & intriguing and kept me guessing to the very end.

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn*
I'm pretty sure this is inspired by a true story, during WW1 women were enlisted as spies and managed to gain intel from the Germans and then relay back to the British. The story is told from Eve's point of view, she is a timid secretary who is scouted by the army due to her language skills in French & German. She reports to Lilli who is the 'queen of spies' and who Eve greatly admires. The book goes between Eve's story in WW1 to Charlie's in WW2 who enlists the help of Eve to find her cousin. As the story progresses both Charlie and the reader learn what Eve went through. I greatly enjoyed reading about the side of the war which isn't widely known, especially on brave women outwitting men.


The Little Breton Bistro by Nina George*
Anything to do with France automatically gets me excited and I absolutely enjoyed this gem of a story. Marianne is 60 years old when she decides to end her life in Paris after being in an unhappy marriage for many years. Fate intervenes and she is saved and comes across a beautifully painted tile which compels her to travel to a small town in Brittany. Marianne starts over and rediscovers how joyful life is. We also meet some of the locals whose lives are also changed by this stranger. It's a lovely story and shows that you can change the course of your life at any stage.

What were your favourite books of 2017?

Ashley xx
*Review copies from Hachette NZ & Harper Collins NZ 

This has kind of turned into an unintentional tradition. It's cool to look back on the last couple of years to see what I hope for in the new year. It's pretty much the same and don't expect 2018 to be any different. 

2017 for me was a year for small victories I guess you could say. I've yet to get a paying job yet again but I started a new volunteering position at the Auckland Council Archives which I enjoy immensely. I'm still volunteering at my local museum & I took the plunge & applied to do a museum degree at Massey. I got in & I'm just waiting for my courses to be approved. 2018 is already looking brighter as I have a goal & I just find studying (while stressful) enjoyable. 

Another big thing for me was that I went to the doctor to start sorting out my anxiety. I'm not really a talking person, I find it hard to open my mouth and say what's bothering me so this was a major thing. I'm currently on medication & it has helped immensely. My 'superficial' anxiety has decreased and my brain is slowing starting to get used to functioning without the panicky fear about small everyday things. 

For 2018 the goal as always is to stop overanalysing things, to create problems in my head and then psyche myself out. Another thing that causes issues with me is the problem of comparison. I always stress about not being 'normal' or doing things 'right'. If I have enough friends, like to socialise, career, relationships etc. It's not good. Social media doesn't really help so I deleted Snapchat which I didn't really use anyway and also went through and unfollowed accounts on Twitter & Instagram. I toyed with the idea of getting rid of Facebook but I have the blog Facebook page. Although it is the weakest of my social media accounts so maybe I'll just get rid. Not sure yet.

Blog-wise I've had this idea of doing series of posts on passion/motivation in which I 'interview' fellow bloggers. I have no questions as of yet so that's a job for the new year. Of course, the long-term goal is to grow the blog in terms of readers as well as getting opportunities to work with amazing brands.

2018 I feel will be the year I finally start moving towards my long-term goals.

Happy New Year everyone!

Ashley xx

New Year 2018

Sunday, 31 December 2017


This has kind of turned into an unintentional tradition. It's cool to look back on the last couple of years to see what I hope for in the new year. It's pretty much the same and don't expect 2018 to be any different. 

2017 for me was a year for small victories I guess you could say. I've yet to get a paying job yet again but I started a new volunteering position at the Auckland Council Archives which I enjoy immensely. I'm still volunteering at my local museum & I took the plunge & applied to do a museum degree at Massey. I got in & I'm just waiting for my courses to be approved. 2018 is already looking brighter as I have a goal & I just find studying (while stressful) enjoyable. 

Another big thing for me was that I went to the doctor to start sorting out my anxiety. I'm not really a talking person, I find it hard to open my mouth and say what's bothering me so this was a major thing. I'm currently on medication & it has helped immensely. My 'superficial' anxiety has decreased and my brain is slowing starting to get used to functioning without the panicky fear about small everyday things. 

For 2018 the goal as always is to stop overanalysing things, to create problems in my head and then psyche myself out. Another thing that causes issues with me is the problem of comparison. I always stress about not being 'normal' or doing things 'right'. If I have enough friends, like to socialise, career, relationships etc. It's not good. Social media doesn't really help so I deleted Snapchat which I didn't really use anyway and also went through and unfollowed accounts on Twitter & Instagram. I toyed with the idea of getting rid of Facebook but I have the blog Facebook page. Although it is the weakest of my social media accounts so maybe I'll just get rid. Not sure yet.

Blog-wise I've had this idea of doing series of posts on passion/motivation in which I 'interview' fellow bloggers. I have no questions as of yet so that's a job for the new year. Of course, the long-term goal is to grow the blog in terms of readers as well as getting opportunities to work with amazing brands.

2018 I feel will be the year I finally start moving towards my long-term goals.

Happy New Year everyone!

Ashley xx

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to do a quick post to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I hope everyone is just taking it easy and eating way too much food.

I think this will be the last post for 2017 which is crazy to think about. It's become a bit of a tradition that I write a kind of retrospective/a hopeful look to 2018 on New Year's day so look out for that.

Merry Christmas & a happy New Year

Ashley xx

Merry Christmas!!!

Monday, 25 December 2017


Hello everyone!

I just wanted to do a quick post to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. I hope everyone is just taking it easy and eating way too much food.

I think this will be the last post for 2017 which is crazy to think about. It's become a bit of a tradition that I write a kind of retrospective/a hopeful look to 2018 on New Year's day so look out for that.

Merry Christmas & a happy New Year

Ashley xx

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