The Mud and Stars Book Blog

thoughts from a girl who spends her days in other worlds…

February Haul and the New York Adventure

on March 3, 2016

Happy World Book Day everyone! Hope you’ve all had a good one.

I’m a few days late with this February wrap up, but I’m really excited to share with you all of the awesome books I’ve acquired this month, and also some of the photos I took in New York (because NEW YORK! ❤️)

A colleague from my office gave up ‘buying books’ for Lent this month… I (very half-heartedly) considered doing the same thing (for about a second), but then… I accidentally went out and bought 10 books… and accumulated 24 free ones… FAIL.

My February was pretty damn fantastic because as you probably gathered, I went to New York this month, aka my first ever trip outside of Europe. NYC was AMAZING and lived up to every single one of the expectations I’ve held since I was a tiny child obsessed with Friends (I know it’s filmed in LA, shuddup) and The Princess Diaries. Is fangirling over a place a thing? No? I’m gonna make it one right now…




Our hotel was in Times Square, and our room was on the 46th floor!


Times Square is the craziest place – I have never seen so much advertising in my entire life! And you can’t walk five feet without somebody trying to sell you comedy club tickets (yeah, we ended up buying them, because ‘Jeffrey’ was hilarious and we’re too British to say ‘no’!)

We did lots of awesome stuff in New York, including Central Park (where we hung out with Penguins at the Zoo… a la Mia Thermopolis after finding out she’s a Princess):


(We also met the vainest Sea Lion – he was legit posing for the paparazzi for 20+ mins.)


Spent too much money in Macy’s (a la Becky Bloomwood in Shopaholic Abroad):


Saw the Statue of Liberty through a seriously grimy window on the Staten Island Ferry (this blurry number is the least smeary):


Hunted down the New York Public Library (because… books, yay!)


Went to Ground Zero and the 9/11 memorial museum, which was an extremely emotional experience:


(Some people were actually taking SELFIES at Ground Zero though… I have no words for how weird and offensive I find that.)

Saw two fabulous Broadway shows – Wicked and Something Rotten:


(where apparently the theatre didn’t trust me with my wine so served it to me in a sippy cup 😋)

Ate a whole lot of these:


Like, seriously, I’ve been back in the UK two weeks now, and I’m pretty sure my body is still 99% pancake (the other 1 percent, FYI, is waffle).

Saw some interesting things including THIS important breakfast meeting:


(Fun fact: one of those Minions photobombed us and conned us out of 5 dollars for his presence in said photo.)

THESE little fellas who appeared in Times Square one day and were gone the next…


(I still don’t know WHY…)

THIS sparkly McDonalds:


(No, really, the letters light up and then SPARKLE like the freaking Eiffel Tower at night! I’M NOT KIDDING!)

And also THIS in the bookshop at JFK airport. But what and why and how is this a thing?! I sincerely hope it’s meant to be ironic:


(That’s not part of my book haul, in case you were worrying…)

So, you’re probably wondering which books actually ARE in my haul… Here’s what I added to my shelves this fine month:

***To have and to hold***

The Forgetting Time – Sharon Guskin


I picked this up at the airport and finished it on the flight to New York! This is a debut novel about a woman whose son has memories from a past life (and keeps asking for his ‘other mummy’ every night before he goes to sleep), and a doctor with aphasia who is trying to finish his research on reincarnation before he loses the ability to understand language altogether. The idea of reincarnation fascinates me, and I found this story so interesting, plus the cover is amazing (there are little holes for the windows and doors of the house, and the light is actually coming from a sheet of yellow paper behind!)

Our Endless Numbered Days – Claire Fuller


Another one I picked up at the airport, although I haven’t had time to read it yet. This novel – about a girl whose father convinces her the world has ended and they’re the only two people left on earth – has been on my radar for a while, and I’m really excited to read it!

Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote


I picked up a gorgeous copy of this book at the New York Public Library gift shop. Because, y’know… I HAD to buy something there ❤️

More Than This – Patrick Ness


I lucked out this month and managed to get my hands on this book for free – my lovely friend Kat was having a bookshelf spring-clean and very generously gave this one away to moi.

Collection of Very Short Introductions (plus the writings of Gandhi)


I wangled another 23 free books this month when my boss moved offices and decided he wanted to get rid of virtually all of his books #theperksofworkinginpublishing! In case you’re wondering, the purple creature reclining next to my new mini desk library is Oscar, my desk octopus (knitted by the same lovely Kat as previously mentioned).

***Digital love***

How Hard Can Love be? – Holly Bourne


I ADORED this book. Reviewed here.

14 – Peter Clines

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00012]

I discovered this book whilst browsing Goodreads – I have no idea what it’s going to be like BUT it has been compared to LOST! It’s not set on a creepy, mysterious island or anything, so I’m guessing it’s more of a vibe/atmosphere similarity, but I HAVE to read this, because I need something in my life that makes me feel the way LOST did.

Under the Skin – Michel Faber


My friend recommended this book to me with these words: “It’s weird. And creepy. I think you’d like it.” She knows me well…

Beautiful Burn (The Maddox Brothers Series Book 4) – Jamie McGuire


I’ll readily admit that all of Jamie McGuire’s books are basically just the same story, different brother, but they are my (not so) guilty pleasure, and I’m not sorry!

Until Friday Night – Abbi Glines

abbi glines

Romance is my go-to genre when I’m tired, and although this one was emotional (and made me cry in places) it wasn’t too heavy, and the love story was adorable, so it was the perfect thing for me to read whilst recovering from my jet lag. And now I need all of Abbi Glines’ books in my life, thank you please.

No Longer Safe – A. J. Waines

no longer safe pic

An awesome psychological thriller with SO MANY TWISTS. My reaction upon finishing this book was literally: WOAH! WAIT! WHAT?!!!!

Review coming soon.

Bright Side – Kim Holden


OMG, this book… THIS BOOK! Just for a second, think about the most emotional reaction you’ve ever had in response to a book (I’m talking the ugliest of ugly-crying!) Multiply that by approximately INFINITY, and you will understand what I went through whilst reading this book. Review (and by review, I mean open weeping in a typed format) coming soon.

So, that’s a wrap for February! Have you read any of these books? Have you had an emotional reaction to a book which rivals my melodramatic breakdown over Bright Side? And have you ever been conned out of 5 dollars by a Minion? I’d love to hear from you.





31 responses to “February Haul and the New York Adventure

  1. Ahh wow NY looks so awesome!!!! (And I know exactly what you mean about Friends!!) haha the vain sea lion sounds hilarious!!

    • mudandstars says:

      It was amazing! I really want to go back – we crammed so much stuff into 4 days, but there’s still more I wanted to see. Haha yeah, I think Friends is what made me want to go to New York in the first place. I always used to dream of having an apartment there, before I realised that apartments the size of Monica’s are totally unrealistic for people earning Monica’s (and definitely my) salary 😛 The sea lion was hilarious, he was SUCH a show off! He kept turning around and posing like ‘THIS is my good side! Make sure you get by good side!’

  2. Ishita says:

    Oh yaayy! Looks like u had a fab time.. NY has been on my bucket list since ages…And coming to your book haul, I think I am gonna love No longer safe..

    • mudandstars says:

      I did! 😀 You should definitely go – it was an amazing experience! And if you like psychological thrillers, you’ll love No Longer Safe. There were so many twists – I had my theories, but I was completely wrong, and I was genuinely shocked by the ending haha! Hope you enjoy the book if you decide to pick it up 🙂

  3. sublimereads says:

    That empire state picture is beautiful! I’m glad you had a great time 😀

  4. I’m happy for you! It sounds like you had an amazing time. Thanks for sharung your pics and experiences with us.

    I hadn’t known the premise for Our Endless Numbered Days and now I’m interested.

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank you! 😀 I really did – I’d love to go back sometime, as there were lots of things we didn’t have time to see that I’d love to go back and do 🙂 Have you ever been to New York? And I’m glad you’re thinking about Our Endless Numbered Days – I think the premise sounds so intriguing, although the reviews on Goodreads are pretty mixed. To me, it looks like an amazing read though 🙂

  5. This is amazing. I love those photos. What an experience. Thank you so much for sharing xx

    • mudandstars says:

      Aww thank you! 🙂 It was an amazing experience, I really want to go back sometime, there’s so much to do it’s just impossible to fit it all into 4 days! I’m glad you liked the photos, I stupidly forgot to put my memory card in my camera when I packed it, so I had to take all my photos on my phone, so some of them are a bit blurry, but I think some of them came out okay in the end 😀 xx

      • They really did! I’m terrified of flying so I probably won’t get there! Your pictures have really made me feel happy 🙂

      • mudandstars says:

        Aww I’m glad you enjoyed them 🙂 Ohh no that’s a shame – I’m not scared of flying as such, but I do hate it! The flight to New York wasn’t fun, there was really bad turbulence and I almost threw up. 😦 But the almost throwing up part may have had more to do with how much food I’d eaten haha, the airline we went with continuously fed us, it was amazing!

  6. I love your pictures, it makes me all nostalgic, now, haha, I can’t wait to go back there ❤ And the Central Park Zoo is so much fun, I loved going there, too! 🙂
    I CAN'T wait for you to read More than this, that book is AWESOME! 😀

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank you! 🙂 Aww haha, are you planning another trip there anytime soon? I feel the same way, I NEED to go back there ❤ such an amazing place for a holiday.

      • Oh, I wish … Maybe someday, but it’s not in my priorities, other new places to see first 😀

      • mudandstars says:

        This is true, I definitely want to see more of the world first! Which places are on your priority list?

      • Oh there are TOO MUCH, haha. I’d say, Canada, West Coast of the USA, Scotland, Denmark,…but there are so many places I want to visit! What about you? 😀

      • mudandstars says:

        Awesome – I’d love to visit Canada too! I’ve been to Scotland, but only to a beach about 5 minutes across the border from England haha – my surname Strachan actually comes from a little village in Scotland, but I’ve never properly been 😦 There are so many places I’d like to see, the main ones being Iceland, India and Japan. I’d also love to go back to the US – I really want to visit places like Maine and New Hampshire in the autumn. ❤

      • Ohh, that’s so great, I hope you’ll get back there someday. I really want to go to Scotland because of the gorgeous landscapes, and the Loch Ness, too, haha :p
        Oh, great choices, I hope you’ll go there someday! And Maine and New Hamphire must be SO pretty in the fall ❤

    • mudandstars says:

      Just realised I only saw the first part of your message! The Zoo was indeed awesome, I loved the snow monkeys (sadly my camera died so I couldn’t take any pictures of them!) I’m glad you loved More Than This – I’m thinking I might make that my next read ❤ Have you read any other Patrick Ness books?

  7. Looks like you had a great time. I too wish to visit NY! And Beautiful pictures!

    • mudandstars says:

      Aww thank you so much! 🙂 I did have an awesome time! You should definitely visit – it’s such an amazing place for a holiday because there’s so much going on there! It’s now one of my favourite cities in the world ❤

  8. What an awesome adventure in NY! It looks like you had loads of fun. LOL’d at the Trump coloring book. I haven’t read any of those books yet, but happy reading!

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank you – yeah it was an amazing trip! 😀 It’s one of my favourite cities I’ve visited. Haha yeah I LOL’d too when I saw it in the shop… the worrying thing is that I don’t think it was actually supposed to be ironic – how scary is that?!

  9. Annelise Lestrange says:

    I loved your NY pics! *–*

    • mudandstars says:

      Thank youuu! 🙂 I was a bit gutted I couldn’t use my camera because I left the memory card at home (OOPS!) so I had to take them all on my phone, but I think most of them came out okay in the end 😀

      • Annelise Lestrange says:

        They are lovely! I would have never guessed they were phone pics! 😱 Well done, dear! 💜💜

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