The Liebster Award

The Liebster Award

Liebster-blog

I’ve been tagged by the wonderful AudrasBookBabbling for this award. Thank you very much! I love the spontaneity of the questions, and there’s nothing quite like being brutally honest about yourself over the internet.

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Rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  • Answer the nominator’s 11 questions.
  • Come up with your own set of 11 questions.
  • Nominate up to 11 other bloggers.

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Questions I was given:

What is your favorite blog other than yours?

I adore thesuspenseisthrilling me, a funny and knowledgable blog.

What inspired you to blog?

I have a condition called Trigeminal Neuralgia, during winter it is hard for me to get outside, I was inside by myself a lot, reading many many books and drinking many many cups of tea. In the end I found a review of a book on WordPress from an external site and thought it would be a great platform to meet other, likeminded people like myself, especially when being stuck inside. I genuinely can’t remember the name of the blog as I was a bit of a WordPress virgin at the time, otherwise I would link back. Since then, I’ve found plenty of awesome blogs on here that inspire me everyday.

What is the smallest book you’ve read?

This is a tough one! I honestly don’t know, recently, the smallest book I’ve read is The Five People You Meet In Heaven which I read after my partner’s father died a few weeks ago.

Who is one person you look up to?

I look up to my older brother a lot – not just because he is much taller than me – but he is so hard working, kind and just an all round really good person. He deserves the world but makes do with what little he might have instead.

What is your favorite T.V. show?

I have multiple! Grimm, iZombie is hilarious and I can’t wait for Season 4 to be fully released onto Netflix, also Once Upon A Time is amazing.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

I’m more of an introvert than an extrovert, I think. I definitely prefer relaxing nights in to socialising.

What is your favorite food?

I’m a mood eater as well as a mood reader, so at the moment my current mood loves peri salted chips.

What is your favorite form of social media?

I prefer Facebook to socialise with friends, I prefer Instagram when I’m feeling creative, and Twitter when I’m feeling political/cynical/witty

What is one thing you are afraid of?

Insects. Any insects. Spiders. Bees. Mosquitos. Flies. The last time I saw an insect which freaked me out was when a moth flew into my face and I accidentally reacted with a jerk of my hand and threw orange juice over it and myself.

Who is one person you would NOT want to meet?

Donald Trump. He sounds like such a sexist asshole.

What is the worst thing you’ve ever eaten?

Probably quorn bacon. I tried the vegetarian lifestyle before I fell ill and I really enjoyed it, there’s so many good meals and quorn steaks taste amazing. But quorn bacon just tastes like a chargrilled rubber.

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I hope you enjoy my answers, I’ve been as honest as possible as far as memory allows, anyway. I’d like to tag quite a few blogs who inspire me.

Tagged:

There are many more blogs that have inspired me but I really hope you will accept this award on my behalf – even if you’ve been awarded it so many times before.

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The Questions I’ll be giving you:

  • Who is your favourite book villain?
  • What inspired you to start blogging?
  • If you could invite anybody to dinner, who would it be?
  • What are you currently reading?
  • What is the one thing you wish people knew about you?
  • How did you pick your blog’s name?
  • What is the single quality you most appreciate in other people?
  • What do you love most about blogging?
  • What is your spirit animal?
  • What are three things you cannot live without?
  • What does your perfect day look like?

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Thank you for reading

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xx

City of Ashes / The Mortal Instruments Series / By Cassandra Clare / Mini Review

City of Ashes / The Mortal Instruments Series / By Cassandra Clare / Mini Review

 

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Name: City of Ashes

Author: Cassandra Clare

Pages: 415

Publisher: Walker Books

Overall Rating: 3.25/5

Synopsis: Haunted by her past, Clary is dragged deeper into New York City’s terrifying underworld of demons and Shadowhunters – but can she control her feelings for a boy who can never be hers?

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“Only mundanes say they sorry when what they mean is, ‘I share your grief,'”

City of Ashes is the second book in the Mortal Instruments series. You can find a small review of the first one here.

Clary is still overwhelmed with the changes in her life, which includes finding out she’s a Shadowhunter. So when different kinds of Downworlders are found slaughtered and drained of blood, naturally, the Shadowhunters investigate. Although Clary and Jace are still battling with their feelings for each other – somehow throwing Simon into the middle of that – they are bound by the knowledge that if Valentine completes his evil masterminded plan, the world as they know it will be reduced to ashes.

I actually enjoyed this book more than the first one, thankfully, as I found the first book of this series pretty lacking in any truly hardcore fantastical action. The author establishes the world of Downworlders further in this book which was enjoyable to read and the tone of the book is a lot more serious, rather than a lot of plot fodder.

Clary is your typical teenage angst paranormal heroine, pining over a boy she can never be with, whilst learning to battle demons. She comes into her own more in this book and actually begins to expand on her skills that were lacking in the first book yet consistently implied of. I am actually pretty excited – also slightly apprehensive – of how the author develops her further.

Although the book is still very Jace orientated. There is progress within all of the characters – the protagonists and the supporters – which is congenial to read. Jace and Simon become more amusing, Isabelle’s frozen and fierce personality is slightly melted, and Alec is beginning to accept himself. Their individual journeys are intriguing.

Even though Clary is your classic unreliable narrator, the story is believable in the sense that it is told through a teenagers perspective. It is extremely emotional and tense, which rings true for any and all suffering teenagers, and a lot of battles in this book are internal, as well as external. My first-YA-books-in-a-while experience is progressing nicely. I sincerely hope the rest of the series continues to improve.

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Thank you for reading.

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xx

 

Misplaced Monday!

Misplaced Monday!

Credit given to Merv for starting this, although I have stolen it from Cosy Pages, both blogs are wonderful and you should really check them out if you haven’t already.

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Misplaced Monday is essentially for books that you have read but have not had a chance to review, whether that was because you read it before your blog or for any other reason. This post is perfect for newer bloggers like myself to review books that you would love to share an opinion on but don’t want to re-read again for a fresh perspective.

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So today, this is what I decided to review;

7937843Room by Emma Donoghue

Rating: 5/5

A quick synopsis; Jack lives with Ma – the only person he knows is real – in a soundproofed shed that measures 11×11. He is five years old and his friends, other than Ma, of course, are Wardrobe, Plant and Meltedy Spoon. Then, one day, Ma tells Jack that she used to live ‘Outside’, and that she was taken by ‘Old Nick’ who brings them their groceries. Ma tells Jack that she really wants to go back to her old life, and needs his help to do so.

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Right off the bat, I can tell you that I have never read a novel dictated by a five year old before. But it’s an experience I’m unlikely to forget. I seriously applaud Emma Donoghue for combining real, complex circumstances that occur in this very world interminably and juxtaposing that with the innocence only a five year old child could have.

Emma Donoghue writes the narrative in a very clever manner; Jack, although a very one dimensional character due to his age, has an almost wondrous outlook on life inside the shed with Ma. Donoghue displays this by mixing the use of proper nouns for the objects inside the shed, rather than using the common nouns. This is a simple and effective way of directing the narrative of a child.

Colloquial language is difficult to get right in a novel, but fruitful if you can nail it, which in my opinion, Emma Donoghue does. She uses the semantics in the novel to give Jack and Ma realistic personalities, making the story all the more disturbing and daunting.

I found the first part of the book extremely compelling, and genuinely couldn’t put it down. However, the second part of the story, which I won’t spoil for readers, is a little lacking. The depth of human emotion seems to disappear here, and if you have watched the film, or watch it in the future, then I’m certain you will see for yourself what I mean, namely because the film is awful. At least in the first part of the story, there was a purpose, a goal to fulfil, but the second part seems to have means but no end. It wasn’t a necessarily bad ending, but I felt it wasn’t an ending the story deserved.

This book has mixed reviews, and I honestly understand why. But, for me, I enjoyed it immensely and would recommend it to anyone who loves to read survival in captivity stories. I will always prefer to read books by an author that tries to reach for the heights  and falls, than an author that played it safe.

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Do you have any books that you plan on re-reading? I would love to know if you do.

Thank you for reading. I hope this post inspires you to write about books that spur nostalgia in you, and if that is the case, please link back to me so I can read them!

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xx

City of Bones / The Mortal Instruments Series / By Cassandra Clare / Mini Revi

City of Bones / The Mortal Instruments Series / By Cassandra Clare / Mini Revi

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Name: City of Bones

Author: Cassandra Clare

Pages: 510 (excluding bonus content)

Publisher: Walker Books

Overall Rating: 3/5

Synopsis: Clary Fray is seeing things: vampires in Brooklyn and werewolves in Manhattan. Irresistibly drawn to the Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, Clary encounters the dark side of New York City – and the dangers of forbidden love.

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“All the stories are true.”

So, I thought that I would do a mini book review of the individual books of this series, because I plan to do a ma-hoo-sive one on the series as a whole, which will include the Netflix adaptation.

Clary’s story begins when she starts seeing things, a vampire here or there, sometimes werewolves, and even things that aren’t in the more popular fairytales; greater demons, and foul smelling things called the Forsaken. The person to unlock the mystery behind these sightings is Jace; who, coincidentally, is a Shadowhunter. When Jace realises Clary is one of them, he takes her under his wing and helps her on the dangerous mission of saving her mum, whilst stopping Valentine getting his hands on the Mortal Cup.

I’ve seen a couple of episodes of the Netflix series, which is what encouraged me to buy the books in the first place – I say me, I mean I guilt tripped my Mum into getting them when I was meeting her for coffee – anyway, tangents aside, I’ve only seen around two or three episodes of Shadowhunters; not enough to know what the plot twists would have been, but enough to be intrigued by the story.

Also, this is my first YA book in a very long time, so I may be a little cynical about it, although I’ll try not to! However, I was a little disappointed, to be honest with you, it was basically a book about Jace through Clary’s perspective. Clary doesn’t come into her own in this book at all, which is what I was looking for, especially towards the end of the novel. And the more I read, the more I was sick of hearing about Jace’s achievements. He was the only character that the author made particularly memorable, which is annoying as Clary’s supporting characters like Simon, Isabelle and Magnus Bane, seemed much more interesting to me.

Although, I do appreciate that the author is setting the foundation levels of the Shadowhunter world, mainly using Jace as her foundation of knowledge for Clary, but I sincerely hope that moving forward with the story, other characters will step up.

On the other hand, I admit that Jace’s humour is probably my favourite aspect of the novel, the author characterises him as sharp-witted, and reflects that in his humour, not only in his personality and actions. To conclude, the humour can stay, but The Jace Show has gots to go.

I look forward to the next book, regardless of how underwhelming I found Clary, her supporting characters are wonderful; and I feel that I have a lot more depths of Isabelle and Alec to explore. I applaud Cassandra Clare on her creativity.

P.S. I know I said mini review, but once I started I couldn’t stop. So, thank you for reading a medium-length review of City of Bones.aaa6ff7322cb7f66930bbc39fffd3ad8-dbc3bl2

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xx

Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama / A Review

Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama / A Review

51n4YgY50NL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_Firstly, if you plan on reading this book, set aside plenty of time for it, it took me so long to battle through it. At a huge 635 pages, this novel isn’t for the faint hearted.

This novel is an insightful reflection of Japanese culture, with an in depth description of the police system and how authority works in Japan. It is a window into the terse relationship their police have with their press, and vice versa. No side is left untold.

Our main character is Mikamo, who is a member of the police force. Although he spends fifteen years, or so, as a detective, he is transferred to become Press Director of Media Relations in the Administrative Affairs department, who have a tense relationship with the Criminal Investigations department.

His daughter has run away from home, he is haunted by a kidnapping – code named Six Four – that took place fourteen years ago, and he is determined to uncover the police organisations secrets.

Sounds exciting, right? Don’t hold your breath. The synopsis alludes to an anomaly that Mikamo discovers in the case of the kidnapping, which to me, was slightly misleading to how the storyline actually enacted. I excepted investigative work, and got journalism at best. I am a veteran of detective novels, and was really looking forward to sinking my teeth into this enormous entity, however the narrative was so much more different than those I had experienced before. In fact, I was surprised at how unconventional this detective novel was written to the ordinary crime fiction I’ve come to know and love. Not that the reading experience was unpleasant, only that I went into it with such a firm idea in my head that I spent a lot of the novel waiting for what I expected to happen.

The storyline was a bit complexing to me at first as I came to grips with how the Japanese system worked. I will admit that I learned a hell of a lot about Japan, which is great as I’ve been looking to broaden my horizons. But unfortunately, it made it that much harder to get into an already gruelling storyline.

The narrative is tense from the beginning, with peaks scattered through the pages, and pretty much no equilibrium to speak of. The story is so well written and detailed that it made the experience that much more realistic. And my blood pressure felt consistently raised a touch.

The main character, Mimako, was a hard character to like, or relate to, the only emotional reaction I had to him was of sympathy. I found him sexist and bullish, which, I imagine is an authentic reflection of the police force in Japan, unfortunately. Although I didn’t like the protagonist of this novel, I was still pretty invested in his story.

The pace is slow, but the writing is compelling. The need to discover other peoples secrets is just part of our human nature; we find it almost physically impossible to mind our own business, even if you say otherwise, the author uses this to their advantage and keeps the readers guessing with each chapter (and there are many of them).

I persevered with this novel because the synopsis had stated there was a twist that no reader could predict, and although the author delivers on that, there is no closure to speak of, with any of the impactful events that occur during the progression of the story. However, I do believe that this book is part of a series, although it’s only this novel that has been translated into English. Which might imply why the readers have no true closure on any of the main subject matters in the story.

If you read this, I recommend you don’t go into it with your usual crime fiction head on, instead, be open minded, and interested in the Japanese culture, there are secrets and twists that will keep the reader entertained even if you are ashamedly uncultured like myself. Although this is not my cup of tea, I did enjoy learning about Japan, and Hideo Yokoyama; consider my horizons broadened.

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Overall Rating: 3/5

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Thank you for reading x.

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Get To Know Me Tag

Get To Know Me Tag

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Hey everyone, so I decided to do the Get To Know Me Tag – although I haven’t actually been tagged – due to being a new blogger, and feeling the need to introduce myself a little bit more. If you really can’t be bothered with reading this, then I do have a mini About Me section if you fancied something shorter.

I found the Get To Know Me tag on Danielle’s blog, which is great, by the way.

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Okay, let’s do this;

BOOKS

Can you stop reading at any time, or does it have to be a certain page or chapter?

  • I’m usually too busy to read chapter to chapter, although that’s what I definitely prefer. It kinda grates me having to stop reading in the middle of a chapter.

Do you eat or drink anything whilst reading?

  • I’m such a snacker! I eat pretty much any snacky foods whilst reading – biscuits, chocolate, popcorn, you name it. I usually drink strawberry flavoured water.

Can you read listening to music or watching tv?

  • Definitely. I grew up in a really loud household so I get a bit uncomfortable if I don’t have background noise.

One book at a time or several at once?

  • I’m completely monogamous! Several at once just blur together for me.

Reading at home or everywhere?

  • At home. Work is too busy and if I’m out, my friends/partner would think me super rude if I just whacked a book out in the middle of the table and started ignoring them. That’s experience talking, by the way.

Reading out loud or in your head?

  • Mainly in my head unless a sentence isn’t sinking in then I will say it out loud until it registers. Yep, like some demented nerd.

Do you read ahead or skip pages?

  • I am completely guilty of accidentally on purpose looking over the next page, I’m a really quick reader and find skimming a book easy, which reflects my impatient personality. I know; I’m a savage.

Breaking the spine or keeping it new?

  • Keeping it new for sure.

Do you write books or just read them?

  • Mostly read, I have written, but I’ve never finished anything, and I always tend to lose confidence in my work and delete everything.

Five favorite books:

  • Harry Potter (the entire series) 
  • The Fault In Our Stars
  • Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine 
  • Remember Me 

The last book that you read?

  • I am currently reading Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama.

ABOUT ME

Name: Kayleigh.

Name meaning: According to Google, it means ‘pure’.

Named after anyone: Nope.

Hair color: Dark brown.

Hair length: To my underboob.

Eye color: Dark brown.

Birthday: February 7th.

Height: 5’4″

Place of birth: Newport, South Wales, UK

Star sign: Aquarius

Best feature: Personality.

Piercings: Used to be 7, now I don’t have any.

Tattoos: None.

Right or lefty: Right.

Pets: Me and my partner have a 3 year old ginger Shih Tzu, named Asher. He’s gorgeous.

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Siblings: Three brothers.

Kids: Nope.

Married: Not yet.

Hobbies: Reading, Netflixing, shopping online for things I can’t afford, walking the dog.

FAVORITES

Movie: Anything Disney, including Marvel.

Song: Iron Sky by Paolo Nutini

Tv shows: Once Upon A Time, Big Bang Theory, IT Crowd, Grimm, Friends.

Youtubers: I have to admit I don’t really know any Youtubers to be a fan of – any recommendations would be welcome!

Food: Spicy chicken.

Drinks: Strawberry water (non-alcoholic), any sweet cider or wine.

Restaurants: Loungers.

Shops: Waterstones, Wilkinsons, Dunelm, anywhere that sells homeware, or books, really.

Animals: ALL ANIMALS.

Perfume: I’m not massive on perfume.

Colors: Pastels.

Music: Almost anything I can really sing to.

DO YOU:

Believe in love at first sight?

  • Yes

Believe in ghosts?

  • Yes

Believe in aliens?

  • Yes

Believe in soulmates?

  • Yes

Believe in heaven and hell?

  • Yes

Believe in yourself?

  • Sometimes.

WHAT:

If you won the lottery, what would you buy?

  • I would invest in a few properties to set myself up for life. And I would help out my family. And donate some to the RSPCA.

Your favorite/worst subject in high school?

  • Probably Maths. The universal language of numbers is a complete mystery to me.

Something you wish you were talented at?

  • Art – being able to draw would be a dream.

First thing you notice about people?

  • Probably their expression, and their clothes.

On top of your bucket list?

  • Own my own home.

Your biggest accomplishment?

  • Being promoted to management at 19. Being the best in my class at Nursing College before I had to leave.

Something you look for in a partner?

  • Loyalty, generosity, humour.

Something you dislike?

  • Arrogance.

Favorite fairytale?

  • Beauty and the Beast (generic answer, I know).

RANDOM FINAL QUESTIONS

Season?

  • Summer

Furthest you’ve ever been from home?

  • Spain.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where?

  • Australia.

Sweet or savory?

  • Both, one after the other.

Last time you cried?

  • A week ago.

If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself?

  • Yes because I always feel an affinity with outsiders. They are my people.

Scary movie or happy ending?

  • Both!

How would you describe your fashion sense?

  • Girly. Lots of pink. Lots of floral.

Are you competitive?

  • Scarily so. Not even just with games – with EVERYTHING.

Describe yourself in a single sentence.

  • I make terrible jokes.

Who is your role model?

  • My mother in law. She’s amazing.

If you could give your younger self advice, what would it be?

  • Prepare yourself – it gets worse.

 

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If you managed to get this far, then serious kudos! I would love to know a bit more about the people who read my posts, please feel free to use this and tag me so I can see your answers or comment so I can get to know you!

Thank you for reading,

Kayleigh x.

The Five People You Meet In Heaven; An Observation Rather Than A Review

The Five People You Meet In Heaven; An Observation Rather Than A Review

*Contains spoilers

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“Each affects the other, and the other affects the next, and the world is full of stories, but the stories are all one.”

Apologies for the radio silence, to put it bluntly, my partner’s Dad died on Monday, so he has been my absolute priority, rather than reading. However, I did have a cheeky two hour read of The Five People You Meet In Heaven, which is an old favourite of mine. I find it oddly comforting, the whole idea that one day, we will all be able to make sense of our lives.

Because, let’s be honest, sometimes, none of our lives make sense, and on the odd occasion, we can and we do make sense of events and situations, but more often than not I find that we forget about why it didn’t make sense in the first place, and just accept it how it is so we can move on to other events and situations in our lives that may need to be made sense of. Does that make sense?

But truly, if anybody who reads this has lost a loved one – and the probability is high – or loses a loved one in the future, I hope that you can read this post and experience almost the same solace that consumed me whilst reading The Five People You Meet In Heaven.

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The protagonist in this book is Eddie. We are introduced to Eddie as an old man, about to die. He dies trying to save a little girl from a horrific accident at the fair where he works as Head of Maintenance. There is no real gore in this novel, only simple explanations.

The five people he meets in Heaven are lives that have entwined with his own, sometimes without him even knowing. The way we affect others has always been something that the human species takes for granted; we have great power in our languages and actions. And here, in Eddie’s Heaven, Eddie finds out just how much impact he has had on the lives that have been webbed with his own.

There are five lessons to be learnt in Heaven – hence the five people – that help Eddie understand why his life was the way it was on Earth. I like to think that the lessons would be different for each individual, pertaining to the events that shape our lives the way they are. My partner’s Dad lived life mainly as a military man, who then succumbed to the numbing depths of alcohol. I like to think that his lessons will finally help him find the peace that evaded him on Earth. aaa6ff7322cb7f66930bbc39fffd3ad8-dbc3bl2Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 17.25.20

Eddie’s first lesson is one that he finds it hard to wrap his head around. I was easily persuaded by the notion myself, but I like to think of myself as open minded. Eddie learns that all lives are connected. Imagine a spiderweb, and where the pieces of silk joins, that signifies somebody’s life which is then connected to another life, and another, and another. Until ultimately, everybody’s lives are interweaved, and you cannot break a piece of web off without disturbing the others. This is Eddie’s first lesson.

His second lesson is one of sacrifice. Eddie learns that sacrifice is essential, to ensure that somebody else receives good in the world. This includes dying. In this day and age, more of us are being bought up to believe that sacrifice is something bad; because we lose something precious. In Eddie’s Heaven, he learns that it’s actually something to aspire to. If the purpose of our lives is to do good in the world, then sacrifice is necessary.

Eddie’s third lesson is forgiveness. Eddie learns that even when he, or somebody he loves, has been wronged, it is important to forgive that person, and to choose aspects like loyalty and love over hate. Of course, I take that with a pinch of salt as I am very good at holding grudges. But I do believe that hate damages ourselves more than it damages our target.

His fourth lesson is the importance of love. And how, no matter the distance, whether the distance is one as great as life and death, the power of love can be everlasting. This, to me, is a little bit cliche. I believe we need love to be happy, but not necessarily the love of a spouse. Although this lesson can be applied to all manners of relationships.

Eddie’s final lesson was my favourite. He learnt that somebody will die for the same reason that somebody will live; a purpose. If this week has taught me anything, it’s that fate always has a reason. Whether your life’s purpose is to show somebody else that their life has a purpose, then so be it. Now, this may not seem fair to you at first. But personally, if I was told that today, I had to die in order to let the person who could cure cancer live, then I would lie on the floor and wait impatiently for the Grim Reaper’s scythe. I wouldn’t consider it a sacrifice, I would consider it a purpose. And no matter how small, or how worthless, and hard, your life may seem, everybody has a purpose. aaa6ff7322cb7f66930bbc39fffd3ad8-dbc3bl2

I’m not actually a religious person. I’m agnostic, if anything. I don’t think God created the world in seven days, because there is a certain magic to life that makes me think, that can’t be all there is to it. There are things that even science and religion can’t explain. And I don’t know what happens when we die, only the dead know, but I do find comfort in the idea of finally understanding what my life was worth during my time on Earth.