Blog

Posted in Blog, Monthly Reviews

September Faves

I’ve loved September!! Here are my top choices from this month:

My top 5 favourite things:

  1. New Clothes
  • This was never anything I was really bothered about, but it seems to be that since I got a steady flow of money in the bank, I love going out and buying new clothes. Recently, I bought a new jacket and an autumn coat and they are so lovely! It is true what they say, that even a good outfit can make a bad day so much better.

 

  1. Boots
  • I’m not really one for shoes either, unless they are boots. I am pretty much obsessed with when it starts to get even a little bit cold, going out and hunting down my next pair of beautiful boots. I love using New Look too for my search.

 

  1. Fairyloot!
  • After forever dreaming about it, I finally signed up for Fairyloot and will be receiving my first order in October. I really hope it is as wonderful as I expect it to be! As someone who needs help discovering new books, and would love to add to my collection of fandom related items (she says, typing whilst wearing a Wonder Woman t-shirt); I imagine it is perfect for me.

 

  1. Orange Hot Chocolate
  • I forgot how much I love this flavour of chocolate, and rediscovered how good it was when I bought a few sachets of Options hot chocolate. It’s getting to that time of year now, when I can cuddle up with a book and mug of my favourite Orange hot chocolate.

 

  1. Café W
  • I will hopefully be writing a little blog post about this café soon, because it is my favourite place in Lincoln to go grab a drink and something to eat. Something about it is so lovely and quiet, and I managed to go on my own for the first time this month, and sat there and read my book.

 

My top 5 favourite achievements/ events from September

  1. Krystle’s Hen Do
  • I recently travelled down to Portsmouth so I could spend the weekend celebrating her upcoming wedding and have a girly time. We went to zizzis one night before then heading to PlayZone – which was an immense amount of fun. The next day we took the train to Brighton where we had afternoon tea and stayed out shopping and drinking. It was lovely to spend some time with family down there, and have the time to do something different with Krystle.

 

  1. Fair
  • Me, Eleni and Caitlin had a fun night out at the September fair too. I even managed to drag Caitlin on to some different rides, but got my punishment when I left with a horrible headache from the Waltzers and was covered in bruises the next day!

 

  1. Logan’s First Birthday
  • I have no idea where the time has gone, but my little baby cousin turned 1 this month! He really is the most adorable baby, and I loved being able to buy him a present and then help him unwrap it. I’m gutted that he is all the way down in Portsmouth, but hope that I will be able to visit a lot.

 

  1. Imagine Dragon and Dua Lipa Concert
  • Eleni managed to buy herself and me tickets to go and see Imagine Dragons touring next year! I am over the moon, and honestly cannot wait for a night that I know is going to be truly amazing. And then later on, Dua announced her tour! So me and Caitlin are going off to see her too!

 

  1. Independence
  • This one is a little bit different, but I wanted to mention how my confidence and independence has gradually been increasing. I’ve been feeling a lot more confident going into town on my own now, even managed to just treat myself to lunch. As well as that, I got the coach back from my Auntie’s which was a 7 hour journey and I actually felt okay doing that on my own. It may have taken a while but I think I’ve finally got my confidence back to where it was this time last year.

I have been so looking forward to this month – I love October anyway because of Halloween, and the weather getting colder, but this month I’ve been given even more reasons to. Firstly, I’ve got open days for University this month, so it’ll be exciting to go on them. Then I’m going to Paris with Eleni, which I am immensely looking forward to. And my Auntie is finally going to get married and I’m one of her bridesmaids!

Advertisements
Posted in Book Review

The Last Woman Standing, by Thelma Adams

Book: The Last Woman Standing

Author: Thelma Adams

Year: 2016IMG_2751[273]

Synopsis: Two decades after the Civil War, Josephine Marcus, the teenage daughter of Jewish immigrants, is lured west with the promise of marriage to Johnny Behan, one of Arizona’s famous lawmen. She leaves her San Francisco home to join Behan in Tombstone, Arizona, a magnet for miners (and outlaws) attracted by the silver boom. Though united by the glint of metal, Tombstone is plagued by divided loyalties: between Confederates and Unionists, Lincoln Republicans and Democrats.

But when the silver-tongued Behan proves unreliable, it is legendary frontiersman Wyatt Earp who emerges as Josephine’s match. As the couple’s romance sparks, Behan’s jealousy ignites a rivalry destined for the history books…

At once an epic account of an improbable romance and a retelling of an iconic American tale, The Last Woman Standingrecalls the famed gunfight at the O.K. Corral through the eyes of a spunky heroine who sought her happy ending in a lawless outpost—with a fierce will and an unflagging spirit. (GoodReads)

Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It was a nice mixture of history and fiction blended together; which altogether was achieved brilliantly by the author. The first person narrative was done so well, I have no idea how hard that must have been to create at first. It’s one thing to imagine yourself in the position of a character you’ve created, but something completely different to recreate an historical figure. It was really admirable to read it and hear the easy confidence through the voice.

Straight away I loved the character, I loved her spunk and strength and cheeky charisma. It’s probably not a surprise that I have a thing for strong and confident women. But what I really admired was that we got to see her backstory, when she was young and naïve and had to learn the hard way about the realities of life. More specifically, the heartbreak of a man who repeatedly told her that he wanted to marry her before falling back on his promises, time and time again.

The historical aspect really made me want to know more about the characters, and fuelled my curiosity (or perhaps, nosiness) about past and histories of others in time. Reading a more realistic account of the Wild West did wonders for my imagination, it’s always been a place in time steeped with romantic idealism and this more brutal account was interesting to read. I did take everything I read in the story with a little pinch of salt, because how much of that was true, you couldn’t really tell.

The only thing I really had a problem with, was the fact that she was labelled a heroine. I guess it depends on what the term means to people, but for me she didn’t specifically do anything that would require her to be a heroine. In fact it was the opposite really, she appeared to be a normal young girl trying to become familiar with her beauty and sexuality.

For what it was, a small nod to history from a female’s POV, it was written supremely well and had an enjoyable narrative to it, that meant I finished it pretty quickly.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Posted in Book Review

Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenegger

Spoilers ahead – but don’t worry, after this review you won’t want to read it.

This read was such a colossal disappointment and waste of my time. Brutal, but true. I am one of those people who will stick with a book they have started, even if they’re not sure about it, because I cannot stand to leave a book half read. And yet, there was this little voice in the back of my head telling me to abandon this story, and choose one of the ones on my ever growing tbr pile. Despite this, I stuck with it, telling myself that surely it would get better. Spoiler, it did not.

Let’s get the little good bit out of the way, shall we. I liked the overall dark humorous link to the saying: “Be careful what you wish for, it might come true.” At the end of the day, most of the characters here got what they wished for – but not in a typical fashion and not the way they expected it to happen, or even wanted it to. That’s all I can really say in terms of good points.

I just did not get this book. I quite simply was confused all the way throughout, did not understand the point of writing this book and could not make out if there was any deeper meaning to the story that I was missing. It was so slow paced that I was practically yawning at the end of each page. This was not helped by the fact that there was no climax in sight, no seemingly well thought story plan but just a jumble of words slowly produced on paper. The lack of suspense meant that I had no reaction to any part of the story, apart from wanting it to end as soon as.

All of the characters were horrible. They were all depicted as selfish, pathetic, immoral versions of humans. I am not saying that I like sickly sweet, all perfect protagonists. But I felt a bit lost without someone to root for or even connect with slightly.

Most crucially for me, the story did not make any sense. The pivotal point of the book is when Valentina decides that the only way she can escape her overbearing twin sister, Julia, is to kill herself and then be resurrected. For me, I do not get how anyone can get to that illogical idea. That destroyed the one tiny bit of hope I had left for the book. Maybe there was supposed to be a deeper meaning, but I did not find it, so if there was, it was well hidden by the author.

It is the worst feeling when you put all hope and faith into an author after reading a previous masterpiece and expect to be amazed once again. But this has left no mark in comparison to The Time Traveller’s Wife, and really is not worth the read.

Posted in Book Review

Go Set A Watchman, by Harper Lee

[Spoilers ahead]

There was a mixture of apprehension and excitement when I first picked this book up. I still hold the first book close to my heart, it being one of the first classics I had read, and equally being the first time I had been asked to question anything racially. Ultimately, something that would be hard to top.

This book felt considerably shorter, and took a lot longer to get to the real nitty gritty stuff. It felt like the first half of the novel was just discovering Scout’s feminine, older voice while she ponders over marriage and returning to her childhood home. While it was refreshing to learn that she had gone to New York and grown up retaining her ‘woke’ status, it was so frustrating that I was bored and confused at first.

When it did get into it, it felt like I was punished for ever thinking that it was boring. It was such a powerful shock, that I still don’t know how I feel about it. It was such a strange experience to suddenly see Atticus taken from his pedestal, and labelled a racist. He was always seen as one of the greatest literature characters, that everyone recognised and everyone that read HTKAM instantly loved. Our pain is on a similar wavelength to Scout’s who has her world ripped out from underneath her, and no longer knows where her moral compass lies or how her hometown could appear so different from her childhood. The book attempts to present the effects of the civil rights movement in explaining the change of Atticus’s position but both the reader and Scout, cannot get past the initial confusion and disorientation. I know that I’m still reeling from it now.

The overall storyline is simple, Scout returns from New York to visit her family (minus Jem – there were tears) and finds that it has considerably changed. While she continues to go on dates with Henry and muse over marriage, she soon learns that the paradigm between black and whites has shifted – and her father isn’t on the side she once thought. Surprisingly, and heart-wrenchingly, he is in support of remaining segregation. Once a role model for her, he is now a source of pain and anger.

It is clear to see why she was advised not to publish this book first, it reads more like a first draft or a proposal and it is hard to imagine it having the same effect if it had been published before HTKAM. I was not as impressed with this book, as I felt that it did not deliver the same passionate punch. Perhaps it did present a more relatable look on to how the civil rights movement was witnessed by bigots when the NAACP arrived, but following HTKAM it lost that effect and I suppose I never really fully understood why he had to be torn down.

These were my first thoughts and musings over this novel, and when they’ve settled down I may write some more.

Posted in Book Review

The Bloody Chamber, and Other Stories, by Angela Carter

I thought these stories were so clever! Being a feminist means that I had high hopes for this story because it was all about making the fairytales, for women. About the girls finally taking control of stories that brought them down.

I loved the irony of the characterization about the young, naive girls that appear silly and materialistic; but were actually clever and by the end, completely took their own. The men were described as mysterious, showing Carter’s views that men are hard to understand.

Attempting to discover which fairytale the stories were about, was a lot of fun too. I love fairytales, so it was an enjoyable read for me. Got a bit samey, samey after a while, because the characters were all similar. But, I would totally recommend this book.

[I got major throwback feelings to high school after writing this old book review, and I have reminded myself how great this is to read! I really might be picking this up again soon!]

Posted in Book Review

Caraval, by Stephanie Garber

I’ve been meaning to write this book review for ages! I haven’t felt this way about a book in such a long time. It called out to my soul and just felt so magical and really sucked me in. In fact, I even wrote in my diary about it: “I’m reading this book called Caraval, and I am in love with it! I can’t remember the last time I felt so passionate about a book. Something about it just makes me want to read it non stop, and believe in all of the love and magic”

I really enjoyed the characters in the story, and travelling through the story with Scarlett was one of my favourite parts. She was just a lot more relatable than any of the other protagonists I’ve been with before. Most of the decisions she made, I could see myself making had I been in her situation. Her thought process was also very realistic and just made her characterisation that much stronger. I loved Julian too, and their chemistry together is one of the best I’ve ever read. I’m a sucker for the ‘they hate each other but soon grow to love each other’ type of relationships, I think they’re full of passion and a hell of a lot of romantic tension.

The story itself was so creative and imaginative that I really could not put the book down. I love being able to properly follow along with the protagonist, only finding out twists as she does and reacting to bombshells alongside her. It creates a more secure relationship between the reader and Scarlett. The twists were both a mixture of surprising and maybe a few that I had suspicions of, but overall it adds to the mystery and magic of the story.

I cannot stop thinking about it, it was such an emotional rollercoaster! I just want to throw copies of it to everyone because everyone needs to read it! And it’s the prettiest copy of a book that I own, which is a massive bonus. I am so glad that I bought it on a whim, just because other people on Instagram had!

I can’t think of any other words to explain how much this book meant to me. I guess it just reminded me of how much I love reading, and what it feels like to fall head over heels for a book.