Saturday, 15 April 2017

Thirteen Reasons Why review (...part two)

So last night I finished Thirteen Reasons Why. It has taken me about a week. You can find the first here. I was incredibly grateful for Chelsey being here whilst I watched it.
part of my review  At this point I'll post a spoiler alert. Like if you haven't got beyond episode six of this series, do not carry on reading. I will ruin it for you and you will hate me.

The tone became so much more sinister as I continued to watch from episode six. We went from sexism to sexual assault. To brutal, horrifying scenes of rape that made me cringe. To violence, and we watch as Bryce beats Clay to a pulp for asking the right questions. The second half of this series was even more painful to watch than the first.

There were so so many controversial scenes in these last seven episodes. Like why does Justin practically let Bryce rape his girlfriend? Justin lets that b****rd into the room, knowing that Jessica is drunk and vulnerable. Okay, so bro-culture?! Justin made it sound as though he had given Jessica to him, briefly, as a thank you for all that Bryce had done for him. For all the shoes he had bought him to play basketball in. No amount of shoes, or free lodgings, in the world could make me sell a loved one out in such a way. Then to deny it to Jessica? The transition in Jessica's character was astounding and she was played amazingly well. From the minute she is told that she has been raped, she starts to wear baggier clothing. to wear short skirts less and less. And she pushes Justin as far away from her as he can get. I would have liked to know what happened to Jessica.

I began to like, and have so much sympathy for Hannah Baker. I cried for her. I wanted the end to be different. I wanted her to not die. I also found that I had a favourite character; Tony. Tony was intent on carrying out this final act of distributing the tapes, for Hannah. It is Tony that aids Clay through processing his own tape. Tony is probably the only good person left alive in this series.

Did I hate anybody? Bryce. Who thinks that every girl in school is asking to be raped. Courtney. Ashamed to be gay. It was so easy to hate Courtney when female characters such as Sherri were facing up to their crimes. Sherri reports herself to the police, and faces a sentence! While Courtney conspires against a dead Hannah Baker in order to prevent her two homosexual parents from finding out that she might be, wait for it... gay! Good god. Courtney Crimson is one of most ridiculously disgusting characters I have ever come across. I also reserved a special spot for Mr Porter, the school counsellor who ignored the signs.

Mr Porter is the last person that Hannah Baker confides in and attempts to ask for help. Hannah opens the last episode, and her final tape with the statement that she has decided 'to give life one last try'. And even though I knew she had 'failed', as she put it, because we are listening to these tapes, I began to hope.

Instead, Mr Porter questions her about whether or not she asked her rapist to stop, or told him no. Then he states: 'maybe you consented and then changed your mind'. A young girl is sat at his desk, after being raped. And this is where I began to understand why these teens are so close knit. Why they insist on dealing with things on their own. Because either the adults don't understand, or don't want to understand. Before asking for the name of her attacker, Mr Porter questions whether or not Hannah has been around alcohol or drugs at the party. Okay, why is this relevant?! If a young woman is telling you that she has been raped, then you should be doing your best to help her. Not questioning the credibility of her statement. The victims are never 'asking for it' and to imply otherwise is damaging and a disgusting attitude to have. The victims are never to blame.

Both rapes that occur, those of Hannah and Jessica, are significant with regard to their cinematography in that they both prevent the male gaze. We see the true effects of Hannah's rape in extreme close ups of her clenched fist, that slowly releases itself as something dies inside her eyes. We see her face in a close up, with her eyes wide open as if they are taped that way. She is stuck, and does not move an inch. I am disgusted to think that the words 'no' or 'stop' are the only way a woman can express a refusal to have sex. She must verbalise these thoughts otherwise she has given consent. I'd say the fact that she tried to run away, and literally lay there motionless pretty strongly implies a lack of consent. Wouldn't you?!

Jessica's rape is shown from Hannah's point of view, and then from Jessica's point of view. The opportunity to see this as sexy has been removed and the brutality of rape shines through. I guess a lot of people are questioning whether the graphic nature of these scenes is really necessary. Jay Asher has admitted that they are quite graphic, and a little severe. But he does believe that this is necessary, because the very discussion of rape makes us uncomfortable. This, among many other reasons, is why victims are hesitant to come forward following an attack. I couldn't agree more. Maybe it is about time society stopped being so squeamish.

Thirteen Reasons why also handles the subject of self harm, very well I think. Skye, when talking to Clay, states that the rest of the teenagers handle their lives and get on with it, instead of killing themselves. Clay grabs her hand, and reveals her bloodied and scarred wrist. He declares that self harm is not coping. This made me smile a little bit. Thank god, finally somebody said it! Like rape, we are funny about issues of mental health. There is a hell of a lot of stigma still floating around, so to have this very clearly on camera was refreshing.

Episode Thirteen was an interesting one, for want of a better word. Ill warn you that it is graphic. Really graphic, and comes with a warning before the episode. I thought I'd cry. At first I covered my face with my hands, only to peak through my fingers. Not because I wanted to see Hannah's demise. But because I felt like I owed it to her, after all that I had seen. I felt as though, in a weird way, I needed to see it. As soon as she made that first cut, my body seized up. I drew my legs a little bit closer to my chest and everything locked. It was a pretty strange feeling at the time. I didn't know whether I wanted to cry, throw up or laugh awkwardly. Why would I want to laugh? Because I felt so uncomfortable, as if I was entreating on a private moment. I don't know what it was. But I know my entire body went through an experience whilst seeing Hannah Baker commit suicide. And I know that I never want to relive it. I will never rewatch this series, though I will reread the book after this.

My eyes only started to fill up when Mrs Baker finds her. She kids herself that her baby girl is still alive and it broke me. A literal blood bath.

I questioned in my first review, whether or not these kids were to blame. I think some of them are, yes. But not all. People like Sherri, who were just worried about saving their own skin. She did not mean to hurt Hannah. But Courtney Crimson, who even after Hannah's death is still willing to sell the girl out and blame her for her own suicide? She isn't even mature enough to accept that she might have been in the wrong somewhere along the line. Of course I blame characters like Bryce. I felt sympathy for characters like Clay.

But you have to question where they're skewered ideas come from. They are growing up in a world where women are 'asking for it' and slut shaming is very very difficult to avoid. I read this article from The Huffington Post today, and it discusses the effects of slut shaming. To call a woman a 'slut', a 'whore', or whatever, is to make her a target for sexual assault. Tanenbaum states that 'slut shaming is really just a catchy way to signify old-fashioned sexism'. It's wrong and one list declaring that Hannah Baker has the 'best ass' in her class ends up making several male characters thinking she is fair game. It ruins her high school experience and results in something very severe. I'm not suggesting that slut shaming drives people to suicide every day. But I am stating that it is a very dangerous concept. It just warrants some thought, I think.

There were so many unanswered questions at the end of the episode. But I find myself comfortable with these questions. I do not want them answering, and I feel I have seen enough. Though I can't help but wonder about the people that are stating, on social media, how much the show has touched them and had an impact on their opinions. I wonder how many of these people have said self harm is attention seeking. I wonder how many of them are the people I shared my break with a couple of weeks ago.

Thirteen Reasons Why is brutally honest and captures our wilful ignorance on camera, for once.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Thirteen Reasons Why... (I'm only on episode six but I'm going to review anyway)

'You can't stop the future.
You can't rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker--his classmate and crush--who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah's pain, and as he follows Hannah's recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever'. (Taken from

So I read Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher many many years ago. One of my oldest friends lent it to me when I was about thirteen or fourteen, and it was quite possibly the first YA books I ever read. At the time, I would have been self harming (okay, I said it. Bye bye readers! Oh, and hello to the people I had to sit with the other day at work whilst they deemed self harm attention seeking. This is for you guys). So this would have been of a comfort to me, and something I would have liked to think that I understood properly. Boy, was I wrong! Watching this again, six or seven years later is simultaneously the best and worst decision I could have made with regard to my viewing habits. I know so much more about the world now, and this has really affected by viewing experience of the series.

Thirteen Reasons Why is packed full of so many controversial topics. Sexism, the perils of social media, suicide, self harm, homosexuality, and teenagers in general. I think they get a bad rep in this novel/series. But on the other hand it is about time we got to see something hard hitting. We can't keep sticking with the idea that they're not all bad. Technically, I am still a teenager. But the teens presented by Jay Asher resemble more of a high school cult. All of the adults are presented as over emotional, protective and yet half assed outsiders. It is quite terrifying and made me a little uncomfortable. These teenagers are of the opinion that they can handle things alone, and refuse to consult an adult on issues of rape, sexual assault, and bullying.

I find Hannah Baker quite terrifying and always have done. I fear her and I am not entirely sure why, because I feel an immense about of sympathy, for her, simultaneously. She is subjected to a whole variety of rumours and labels including 'slut', 'whore', 'lesbian', 'crazy' and 'best ass' in the sophomore class. When Hannah Baker explains to Clay why she is upset about being put up against her best friend on the list for best ass, he presumes she is ungrateful. That she doesn't understand how much of an honour it is when there is some pretty stiff competition. I was outraged by this, as you can expect. Hannah Baker points out that teenage girls are much less likely to make a list like this about teenage boys., But what she neglects to point out is that the reason for this, is because the same teenage girls are too busy objectifying other teenage girls along with the teenage boys. Nobody gives a shit which teenage boy has the best ass. These labels are only applicable to young girls,apparently. This is so disgusting. Even Hannah's friends are of the opinion it is okay to fuel these labels, because she already has them. She is consistently betrayed in the worst ways. Slut shaming is not okay, ever and neither is subjecting anybody to this kind of objectification.

I wonder what other viewers think about the questions I have. Are these kids really to blame for Hannah Baker's suicide? Or are they simply just acting in the way that has been demonstrated to them. These teenagers can only at in the way that has been prescribed to them. They conform to expectations. God only knows what their role models were like. And is Hannah Baker really a reliable source, is she a liar? Nobody really knows but I do consider her to have some credibility. Perhaps that's because of her circumstances, because she killed herself. Maybe I believe she is more genuine because of this. Because I don't believe that people kill themselves over lies.

I think my problem with this novel/series is that I feel a great distance with regard to the characters. It's a distance, though, that I think I have put there myself rather than Jay Asher deciding I needed to remain at a distance from these characters. I don't find any of them endearing. I feel sympathy for each and everyone one of them. Especially Hannah and her parents, and clay. I wondered if their flawed nature is what makes them so appealing. What I mean to say is that I don't root for any of these characters. Not even Clay. Maybe this will change as I reach the end of the series.

The events of Thirteen Reasons Why originally took place in one night. However, I enjoy that it takes place over a time period. It is impossibly unreasonable to expect somebody to play tapes that are as traumatic as these in one night.

There are quite a few trigger warnings online for this series, and apparently it's not difficult to see why. Chelsey has been sending me updates, as she's much further ahead than me, identifying where the triggering bits may be. (Thank you so much Chels!) I had to sit back and really consider if I find this show triggering. Erm I think there might be a difference between finding something uncomfortable and finding it triggering. I think it makes me feel uncomfortable and very sad, but not to such a severe degree. Though I can see why other people would consider it triggering. I am somehow dreading her suicide scene.

So I found this little message on facebook. I really appreciated that such an important thing was being shared online. But it broke my heart a little bit, all the same. How many people have to die before we understand this, truly? Before we comprehend how serious words are, and how much power is behind them. It should not need spelling out that you could seriously hurt somebody. How many more people (including fictional characters) have to die, and be subjected to such carelessness.

I still hate the label 'crazy'. And slag and slut.

I'm trying not to preach. I'm just asking for you to remember to be kind, always. Words have a bigger impact than you think.

Night night guys.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Paradise Lost...

Okay, first of all I wanted to start with an acknowledgement. A friend asked me to put this here, last week and as I haven't been blogging much this week, I thought I'd post it now.  I laughed so much at her inventive cover of Paradise Lost. Eve has never looked better, and she even has underwear on when you lift up her dress. Eve is one interesting character, and I am reading a whole book about her representations at the moment. The artist that reinvented this cover is completely crazy and drives me nuts during lectures most weeks. But I did appreciate this, a lot.

Anyway, this week has been a good week, guys. I finished my forum post on Paradise Lost in time. But it was excessively over the top with regard to my word count. If my lecturers read this, I am sorry I wrote so much! I have two more to do by tomorrow. This is exciting.

I have more good news! I had my interview at work yesterday, for a managers position. It went very well and I am now a trainee manager. I am very excited.

Okay, so this is only going to be a short one due to the fact that I am currently in between lectures. But I'm currently reading three books at once; I am still reading Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I am half way through and I am in love. It is beautifully magic and definetly embodies characteristics of Pan's Labyrinth. Karou is so candid, to the best of her ability. We are just as much in the dark as she is. I cannot wait to finish reading this book and continue you with the rest of the series.

I am also reading Fowles' The French Lieutenant's Woman for my class on the realist novel. Fowles literally breaks the fourth wall and it made me physically uncomfortable! But I am enjoying this book immensely! I will try my best to remember to post a review afterwards. I'd just like to finish a book first.

And finally I am reading Paradise Lost for my Shakespeare and the renaissance class. Interesting book, but I am not planning on reading the whole thing. Satan is very endearing, and that's something I never thought I would type.

What are you all reading this week?

A Summer Bucket List

So Chelsey and I were awake until like half past three last night and decided to write a bucket list for the summer! This might motivate us to actually get through our assignments. God I have so much to do.

I have so many books that I want to read over the summer, too. How about a list;

1. I really want to finish my reading of Jane Austen's books, which means that I have Mansfield Park and Persuasion to read, at last.
2. Sarah J Maas' A Court of Rings and Ruin comes out on the second of May, and yet the threat of impending deadlines will prevent me from actually reading this book. So technically, this book will be a summer read.
3. The new Matt Haig book. I loved what I have read of Reasons to Stay Alive and the summary for his new book sounds absolutely amazing.
4. Finishing Sylvia Plath's journals is an absolute must! I've been putting them on my appallingly long to be read list for months now. I cannot wait to finish them, but they require my full concentration. I don't get much time for reading these days.

Summer is going to be crazy, in the best kind of way. I'm just looking forward to a break and some sun!

(Wondering what we meant by 'learn a movie script? Well Chels happens to know the entire script to Shrek 2. Horse noises and everything. It's a impressive skill!)

On a side note; I am currently sat in my lecture on very little sleep. We are exhausted and as it is the last class before the Easter holidays, hardly anybody has shown up. This makes me sad. But back to Paradise Lost.

Hope you're all having a great week and if you have any suggestions of things we can add to the list, please feel free!

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Sleeping with anxiety...

So it is quarter to two in the morning at the moment. I've been home from work for less than an hour and I am not tired. The very opposite actually and I will sit here for hours. I keep seeing snapchats of all of the people that are out drinking, and a small part of me wishes I was them. But the majority is glad I am in bed after such a long shift.

Why am I here? I came to ramble, I guess. I am sure you're all sick of hearing about my lack of sleep at the moment. But I came to wonder about other people; if they stay up late into the early hours and wonder if they should be doing something productive. I wonder if sitting up at night makes other people as anxious as it does me. I know that I think far too much in the early hours. It is like I suddenly remember everything that is wrong with my life as soon as the clock strikes one. But there are so so many things that I get done in the night that helps me to sleep eventually, and get through it.

Now I read a couple of sleep based internet links to prepare for this post about twenty minutes away. One, in particular, stated that to reduce anxiety and stress so that you can sleep better, you must sleep better. Apparently sleep improves your brain functions! No way. Seriously? I wonder if these people hear themselves at all. A lot of websites on the internet suggest lists of things to do when you can't sleep, to help you relax. This is all well and good but sometimes it means that you're doing things you would normally enjoy with the aim of going to sleep. It takes the fun out of them, I think. I remember even as little as a year ago, it was very very rare that I saw these sorts of hours on the clock. But sleep always always seems to be miles away these days.

But I wanted to share with you the list of things to do at night, just because you're awake. I am in no way suggesting that you should do any of these things instead of sleeping, I'm just suggesting things to do to fill the gap. So here we go with my top five:

1. Read. Being a bookworm, I try to keep my hours in bed for getting through whatever book I am reading at that time. Simply because I don't get time anywhere else. Currently I am reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone and it is what is keeping me up at night. It is captivating and I can't wait to finish it so I can continue the series.
2. University work. Simply because I am awake and it is there. Sometimes this involves research, reading, or essay writing. This probably sounds crazy but so is getting so little sleep guys! Tonight I have entertained myself with Paradise Lost.
3. Make lists! I try to be organised so there is nothing wrong with a good list. These lists don't have to be important lists or plan assignments or the future or anything. But Bucket Lists are always fun.
4.  Clean up. I've done this more than once in the middle of the night but the less said about that, the better. I find that mess seems to irritate me more when I am tired.
5. Writing in some form or another. Sometimes I blog late at night, sometimes I use my five year journal that my friend Chels gave me for Christmas. Sometimes I am finishing a letter to Katie, and add to that before sleeping (I am posting it this week, Kate!). Writing is like telling somebody about my day, rather than sitting on it.

This evening I have also played Snake several times on my phone, browsed through GoodReads and faffed around with Paradise Lost for a little while. All whilst watching repeats of Gilmore Girls. Maybe I am doing my Thursday nights wrong for nearly twenty, but at least I am comfortable I guess.

Here's to all the souls that are awake at 3am on a Friday morning. You are not weird because you cannot sleep. You are simply awake.

I am returning to Paradise Lost. Night night folks!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

March Fairy Loot unboxing!

Afternoon guys! My FairyLoot box finally arrived this morning and it's the anniversary edition! Fairy Loot have officially been running for a year. This is only my fourth box but I am so so happy with every single box I receive. The box, instead of being its usual black, was purple this month and oh my god it is beautiful. Even the text inside the box was purple. It feels like forever since the February box was delivered, but this month we were waiting on the book to actually be released. The wait only made me more excited!

This months theme was Myths and Monsters and I had made a prediction on the book; I was correct! The box wasn't inspired by any specific YA novels, but they did suggest it for anyone who liked magic, fantasy, unicorns, Phoenixs and dragons, etc. This is most definitely a box intended me. I couldn't miss out on the anniversary edition either!

Once again there are purple curls all over the floor and I got things out in a hurry. The first item I got out was a set of fairylights! They're in the shape of unicorns and rainbows and are absolutely beautiful! They're battery powered which is brilliant, because I already have a set of electric ones wrapped around my bed. These, I plan on attaching to my book case somehow when I move house. I now have three sets of fairylights but these were so so different and interesting. They feature in quite a few pictures I've taken of the box today.

The next item was inspired by another mythical creature. It was a candle by a company called Geeky Clean and it was called Nephilm. It smells really sweet and I loved it. I'm now building up a collection of unused bookish candles, and against I am saving these for the new flat! Alongside the candle was a small pocket mirror, with a mermaid on (I know the picture of this is awful, but I was relying on my phone camera, I am sorry!)!

I came across another myth inspired item; a set of book marks! First of all I absolutely love this style of bookmark! There was a little dragon and a phoenix. This was easily one of my favourite items in this months box. I almost don't want to use them as I have a habit of carrying paperbacks around in my very full tote bags, even though I don't have time to read them that day.

My absolute favourite item? The scarf! It is grey and is patterned with dragon scales, and has the words 'Fairy Loot printed at the bottom! I've included it in the photos of the box as a whole, It is so light and absolutely beautiful. I think it looks like mermaid scales. But whether it be dragon scales, or mermaid scales it sure is gorgeous.

Okay, this months book was a little predictable but I am still absolutely thrilled. Fairy Loot provided me with a copy of Laini Taylor's Strange The Dreamer. Having just started her other series, beginning with A Daughter of Smoke and Bone I am very excited. I am twenty percent into A Daughter of Smoke and Bone and it is captivating. I am struggling to put it down at the moment! Strange The Dreamer will be the one I read after this, and I cannot wait. Expect full reviews of both books, guys! Oh and this editon of Strange The Dreamer is limited edition in the UK; with the edges of the pages being sprayed blue. It really is beautiful.

It has been a long day and I have just got home from a second trip to the cinema to see Beauty and the Beast. I have so much to do but really need to catch up on sleep so I can stop complaining about it here! Sorry guys!

Oh! On a side note; I now have a twitter! I have no idea what I'm doing with it yet but I'm sure I will sort it out soon. Feel free to head over there and follow me! I attempted to be funny and sound clever at the same time. Turns out I am neither, and am still clueless with regard to Twitter. Tips are welcome!

I'm working on a post about self love/care at the moment, too. So you can look forward to that in the next few days. For now, I am returning to my forum post assignment before bed.

Good night guys, have a good week!

Monday, 27 March 2017

This started off as a sleep-deprived rant...

Oh my god this weekend has been tough. It's now one minute past midnight on Monday morning. I have had eight hours sleep in two days, and still can't sleep.

What have I done over the weekend? I've spent hours absorbed in Hardy's Jude the Obscure (and still didn't finish it). My thoughts? I like Hardy's style but bloody hell is he miserable. This is why I'm very much an Austen girl. I can accept that both of them have a subtlety about them, but I like Austen's humour. I'll admit it, I like a happy ending. I don't mind misery, but ultimately I like all the ends tying up.

I read a blog on the perils of YA romances this week, additionally. She talked about the same-ness of the male protagonists. I've been thinking this for a while but felt I would be doing a disservice to my favourite genre. I have a fondness for YA literature due to its diverse range of topics, and the relatability. I feel issues are viewed from multiple points of view and sympathies for minor characters are available. But Melissa observes the unrealistic nature of their plots; 'The main character has never in her life been to a party and the first guy she meets is this extremely attractive bad boy who loves reading and listens to indie music?  I’m more likely to meet Jesus at that party than such a guy'.

And it is true of most YA novels these days. I expressed, to a close friend last week, a need to branch out with regard to literature. I need a new genre to obsess over for a little while. I spend the large part of my years waiting for new releases in the YA genre. This sameness is not true of the whole genre, however. I remain truly loyal to Jennifer Niven, Sarah J Maas, Samantha Shannon and many others. But I am slowly realising that I prefer YA fantasy novels for the moment, and my Fairy Loot subscription is aiding me in this appreciation.

On a side note, I thought I'd let you know that Fairy Loot will be dispatched today and arrive in the next few days. So you can expect an unboxing coming soon!

I also read this article which views Beauty and the Beast as a tale of caution against 'smart homes'. Characters are compared to the Amazon Echo's functions; deciding that Lumiere, Cogsworth and Mrs Potts are much superior to Alexa. Apparently the surveillance of the magic mirror is a little creepy, too. This was, very much, an interesting read. It was more than just a gushy post about the film (I am guilty of conforming to the gushing!) and I appreciated that.

This weekend I also finished The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon. It is the third book in her series 'The Bone Season' and I've been waiting a while for it. Now that I have finished I will commence my wait for the fourth book. The Bone Season is beautifully complex and frightening. Paige Mahoney is one of my all time favourite protagonists ever. She is nineteen years old (as am I, at the moment) and is now Underqueen! I finished book two, The Mine Order', fist pumping the air in the name of her victory. Then I sat worrying about the next book after that cliff hanger. I wasn't ready, emotionally, for everything that happened in this book. All the ends that I hoped would begin to tie themselves up, that didn't. This is a book of Paige Mahoney getting screwed over consistently and I just want to hug her all the way through. I loved the new characters that we got to meet, and I wept for the existing characters that we lost. But I was so happy to see the return of characters like Warden, Nick and Eliza alongside Paige. I almost cannot bear to wait for book four, which I have learnt is book four of seven.

Well despite no sleep, I have clearly spent my weekend reading a variety of different things. I hope you all had a lovely couple of days!

See you all soon.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Beauty and the Beast; a review

I am sorry to the few readers that I do have, for my week long absence. It has been a week of sleep deprivation, of tears, panic attacks and downright stress. It has been a lonely week and I have been trying to make time to write here all week, but unfortunately deadlines have gotten in the way. I handed the last one for a few weeks in yesterday morning at half past eight. I am not particularly happy with said essays but I've come to the conclusion that, due to my crippling insecurities, I will never be one hundred percent happy with any assignment that I hand in. If I ever see a copy of The Great Gatsby again, it will be too soon, my friends.

Anyway, last night I treated myself to leaving the house. I went to the cinema for the first time in what feels like forever with a couple of friends. We went to watch Beauty and the Beast. I have so so much to say and most of it will be gushing. I apologise in advance. If you don't want any spoilers then look away now. If you'd rather read a summary by Dan Stevens, then here you are;

 'Novel-loving Belle (Emma Watson) lives a peaceful life with her father (Kevin Kline), but it seems as if she’s destined for spinsterhood. Until, that is, a chain of events leads her to a mysterious and decrepit castle, occupied by a furry brute with anger issues (Dan Stevens)'.

Okay, so I want to start by addressing a request that was made of the film a few weeks ago; it was asked that the homosexual moments be removed for Malaysian release I have never thought this to be a reasonable request, but after seeing it I realised that this would be virtually impossible. There were homosexual moments between Gaston and Le Fou littered throughout the film and they were far from cringe worthy. They were hardly worth banning. Though I read this morning that these requests had been dropped and I'm so glad. Having grown up watching Beauty and the Beast more than any other film, ever, I felt that Le Fou's character was always lacking something. He has always had a devoted sense of loyalty to Gaston, and yet no motive. However, the possibility that he may be in love with the Captain and that is why he participates in the condemnation of 'crazy old Maurice'. There was a real sense of character development in this version. My favourite moment with Le Fou appears towards the end of the film. The villagers are attacking the castle, and he seems to switch sides after a conversation with Mrs Potts. She informs him that he deserves much better than the way he is treated by Gaston.

These new and exciting back stories and motives are absolutely amazing. For example, we discover the reason why Gaston is so quick to go after the beast; he craves another war like experience in order to add meaning to his now empty life. Le Fou is able to calm him down with the mention of the tragedies of war and thoughts of lonely widows help particularly well in this case, apparently.

Even Belle and Maurice had a back story, and the story of Belle's mother is finally revealed to us. I loved finding out more about their little family. It made the characters seem so much more human and realistic. The same occurs with the Beast. And not only did the Beast have a past, but he has much more of a character in this remake. He is a book worm and rather than relying upon Belle to civilise him, and teach him to read he states that he had an 'expensive education'. The story became much more about two book worms falling in love and I loved this so much more than her educating him. I loved Dan Stevens in Downton Abbey so seeing him in a remake of my favourite childhood film was magical. Additionally, Empire points out that the Beast resembles Pan's Labyrinth's faun. I absolutely love this film! Belle questions whether or not every object in the castle was once a person; picking up a hairbrush. This was refreshing! She seemed more clever, and even more emotionally invested in her literature.

The songs from my childhood were still included and if it was appropriate to break into song in the middle of the cinema, I would have done. The beautiful thing about the songs was the additions to them. There were the occasional words that had been altered, and in some cases there were brand new songs. I think that I went into the cinema with a mind ready to make comparisons between my child hood favourite, and this highly anticipated remake. It is entirely possible to draw comparisons. But eventually, you have to appreciate the, for having merits of their own and begin to disassociate one from the other. These new songs and alterations enabled me to do this; to keep one separate from the other. My favourite song will always be Belle. But the CGI involved in Be Our Guest made it even more of a close second than ever. It was enchanting. However, I will express extreme disappointment at the removal of my favourite line from the song 'Gaston'; 'Nobody persecutes harmless crack pots like Gaston'.

Belle's refusal of Gaston reminded me of Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. Belle informs him that they cannot make each other happy. To me, I heard Elizabeth's refusal of Mr Collins as she informs him that she is quite sure she is the last women that could make him happy. However, one thing I did not enjoy was the fact that Gaston attempted to compliment Belle's carrying of a book in order to gain her favour. Gaston doesn't appreciate her intelligence at all.

I am still puzzled by the role of the enchantress. She appears again at the end of the film. Yet she is silence. Hmm.

Anyway, I absolutely loved this film if that wasn't already clear. It was what I had been waiting for and more. I'm so excited for it to be out on DVD. The characterisation, the mise en scene, and the music was all perfect. They cast the perfect Belle. I one hundred percent recommend this! Especially in 3D!

I am however bitter that I lost at a game of bowling before the film.

I hope you've all had wonderful days. I now have Milton's Paradise Lost to contend with, whilst listening to a wonderful blend of both Beauty and the Beast soundtracks. Milton was made much more entertaining this morning; my lecturer's showed up with fig leaves, apples, and a scythe. I was thoroughly amused and confused this morning. It made getting up early on a Wednesday morning so much more worth it!

One last thing; Soph and Dan asked me for a shout out in todays post. Thank you for the entertainment guys, but for gods sake talk quieter.

Enjoy the rest of your week guys!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Dear younger me,

Okay, so I've been away for a few days again. I haven't had more than twelve hours sleep over three days so I've been trying to stay awake and do some uni work. But tonight I want to introduce to you my friend, Lauren. Lauren and I decided to do a collaborative blog post and after much deliberation of topics, we decided to write a joint letter to our younger selves. This is going to be interesting. It was insightful and we had a lot of fun writing and discussing the important things that have led us to this point in our lives.

Dear younger Lauren and Steph,

I've decided that there are some things that I would like to tell you, things that you really need to know. The bad news? The rough patch is going to last for a quite a while. The good news? You come out a stronger person (cliché, I know). I am going to work under the pretence that there is a parallel universe in which you exist on the timeline of my life. I know you are not there, because you're here and a part of me. But if I think about it too much I'll never be able to write this post.

1. First of all you are goddamn beautiful. You really need to hear this from yourself. I know that this is technically cheating, because I'm the one with hindsight between the two of us, so you need to pull your weight too and start practising some self-love. By the way, beautiful doesn't always mean physical appearance. You look great just as you are, but are also so much more than that.

2. Secondly, have confidence in your opinions. Don't get me wrong here, you will receive the usual commentrary; 'bloody socialist commie leftist snowflake femininazi'. I don't expect you to grow a thick skin because, after all, you really are a wonderfully sensitive snowflake, however, don't let it silence you. You won't feel very confident in politics but you know how you feel on individual topics and that's okay. Keep learning.

3. You need to know that it is okay to say no. Okay listen, I know that your life generally revolves around being a people-pleaser (and to tell you the truth, it still does) but that doesn't mean you have to say 'yes' to things you don't want to do. This goes for social events, do-you-want-to-go-out-with-mes, hugging, personal favours, sexual favours, loaning money, completing work for others and giving free art work.

4. Stick up for yourself. You know that phrase; 'treat others how you want to be treated?'. Don't forget how you want to be treated. I'm sorry to say that there will come a time when you are treated badly, and I want you to remember that you can walk away.

5. You are not 'too sensitive'. You are sensitive. You cry at almost everything happy or sad.


I think of my younger self as this fragile little thing. I remember that she had a dodgy hair cut, ridiculously bad make up but so so much love and potential. I remember that she just ached to be better. I wish she had known what I know now. But if you think about it too much, you realise that if she had not gone through all of these experiences, we wouldn't be the people that we are today. There are so so many things that I wish I could tell a younger me now. Especially in times of distress. I worry about this younger me that l imagine to live in a strange parallel universe. This is a strange thought and so easy to over think.

1. Normal is a cycle on a washing machine. I know that it feels like you are beyond loving. But you are not broken and you will never be broken. You are not normal and you never will be. But embrace and celebrate this. You are weird and wonderful. So embrace your unpopular opinions; be a feminist, and a socialist, be left wing. None of these things are bad. Don't you dare lose your 'muchness'.

2. You need to know that you are stronger and braver than you think (Yes, I think that's a quote from Winnie the Pooh). But this is so important. I promise you that there will be a day when you will not need to carve marks into your skin just so that you can breathe. Doing this does not make you broken, or damaged. You do not need to be ashamed. You will come out on the other side and you will be stronger.

3. Be careful who you give your heart to. There is a reason that the boy has a bad reputation. Heed the warnings. You will not be different to him and you cannot fix him. He may break your precious kittle heart. But giving your heart away applies to friends too. You give love far too easily. Don't forget that self-love is a valuable lesson.

4. Write more, please. And read, and learn. Don't stop doing any of things. Your character and growth depends on them. You have so many beautiful things to say and books are good friends.

5. Finally, I know that you feel lonely sometimes. But the friends that you need are years away, and I am not going to tell you when. But I promise that they will be special and worth the wait. You can do this on your own for the time being. I need you to try not to hurt yourself any more than you need to. I promise that there are plenty of people out there that will do that for you.

I wonder how younger me would react to actually reading this list. I wonder if anything would change. I cannot tell you guys enough how much I enjoyed writing this post, even though parts of it were difficult to write! It has changed my outlook on so many things and there is nobody else I would have rather have written this post with than Lauren. I've found myself appreciating even some of the negative experiences. Huge amounts of credit to my one of my closest friends Lauren. You can find her blog here and she is wonderful.

I hope you have a wonderful week guys.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

International Women's Day...

Good afternoon guys.

I'm going to start by saying how much of  good morning I had today! I was actually on time for my bus for once! And my lecture on The Duchess of Malfi was so engaging. I have a fondness for the revenge tragedy. I love it.

Okay, so today is International Women's Day and I've heard a variety of different things today.In the lift I heard a group of girls express disappointment with the day. She felt that our inferiority was being singled out because we were women. I've also read articles today that question the lack of an international day for men. If you're going to make sweeping statements like that and claim that today is a prime example of sexism, then you should really do your research first. International Men's day falls on the 19th of November, every year.  The Telegraph, quoting the World Economic Forum, pointed out that the pay gap that sees 'men earn more than women won't close until 2186' and to top it off, women are worse off than men with regard to both education and health quality. Why are some of us still okay, and accepting, of this?

So when I hear days like this responded to, by women, with mocking and jokes and the word 'femi-nazi', I do take offence. I totally respect that everybody is entitled to their own opinion and hey, feminism isn't for everybody. But believe it or not there are women out there who do want equal rights for both genders. It is not about superiority. I am tired of being made to feel like being a feminist, and wanting to be on an equal footing, is wrong and something outrageous. Feminist is not a dirty word. You are not going to catch anything if you say it. I want that ridiculous pay gap closed, and the glass ceiling shattered. I'm not wrong for that.

On a more positive note, I wanted to pay tribute to the many inspirational women within my life. There are so many women that have shaped and altered my life, both real and fictional. All of my friends and family have had a huge impact upon me. My favourite author, Jennifer Niven, who always makes time to listen to me.  Emma Watson, who is the UN Women Goodwill ambassador. She is truly admirable. Virginia Woolf with her essay collections. Elizabeth Bennet, Lottie from Holly Bourne's What's a Girl Gotta Do. I could sit here all day. These women are brave and unafraid and are inspirations to me.

There's a huge amount to be said for the men that also supported International Women's Day today too, instead of questioning when their day was.

The ranting and gushing is over. Have a lovely Thursday guys!

All the love x

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

From Breasts to Homophobes...

I have been so inactive over the past week and I don't know how people can go weeks at a time without writing, cause I the itch after a couple of days. But I remarked the other day that I could probably carry all the stuff I bring to university in the bags under my eyes this week. (I am sorry if I've said this to you at one point this week!) Seriously, I've had so little sleep over the past seven days. I cannot wait to go home after this class (36 minutes and counting) and nap.

Anyway, first some more social injustice;

So I'll confess that Beauty and the Beast is my childhood favourite and I am super excited to see the live action version that is being released this month. I plan to go to the cinema more than once to see it. Amongst headlines and articles debating the sins of Emma Watson's breasts, I see that this adaptation is going to feature a gay 'moment'. Josh Gad's character Le Fou is homosexual. This is not why I am excited about the film. I'm pleased by it, but this will not affect my opinion of the film. What I don't understand is why this is so outrageous that it may not be screened in locations around the world. Okay, we see films featuring heterosexual relationships all the time! This, my friends, is just a moment! I fail to see what's so awful about it. There really is a blurry line with regard to what is socially acceptable these days. A feminist showing her breasts is wrong, and god forbid that anybody include homosexuality in the film industry.

I found this on The Guardian;

'History’s first overtly gay Disney character, it turns out, is LeFou, unctuous manservant to preening, hyper-macho villain Gaston – an underling who, in Condon’s words, “on one day wants to be Gaston and on another day wants to kiss Gaston”'.

If you've seen the animated Disney version of Beauty and the Beast, you'll remember the song that Le Fou sings in order to motivate Gaston, after Belle has rejected him. Le Fou sings about Gaston's superiority in all areas (no one is as slick as Gaston, or as quick as Gaston, and no one's neck is as incredibly thick as Gaston's). I'd say that this admiration and obsession has only been amplified by Condon. The basis for it already existed within the nineties. But just in case what you were wondering what the live action version of this song sounds like... here's a link.

Also, I don't know about you guys but this just reminded me of Nick Carraway's obsession with Mr Gatsby. I wonder if we have a problem with this because it is being featured in the Disney franchise? It is now a part of something that we refer to as family cinema. But is a gay moment in a family film all we have to worry about? It's laughable. I'd say there is a lot more to fear than what the media are dubbing gay propaganda. Is this a mark of change? I very much doubt it, and the character is minor and humorous. Perhaps it's a start.

Anyway, as others have pointed out, the film is being rejected and criticised on the basis of homosexuality. But what about the fact that a young woman is falling in love with a animal-like beast?!

Anyway, I hope you all have a lovely Tuesday. See you soon!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Breasts; the downfall of feminism?

Okay, I have had a lot to say this week and have a super long and super scribbled list of blog posts that need doing. But this, got to me.

This week Emma Watson did this shoot with Vanity Fair, and the reaction was absolutely appalling. These pictures have been declared 'un-feminist' by some, and hypocritical. Julia Hartley-Brewer implied that Emma Watson was wasting her time preaching about wage gaps, and inequality if she was just going to show the world her 'tits'. That she was a hypocrite. So what is the alternative? Why are we suggesting that a woman must remain covered up in order to be taken seriously?! That they should relinquish their femininity to be considered a feminist? As Elle magazine pointed out that being unable to take a woman seriously due to having seen a flash of skin, then it says more about you than it does the woman in question.

Why should this shoot not be considered empowering? I think she's got balls, I would not be able to pose like this. I lack the confidence. So she's shown a little under boob. Are we all so prudish in this brash twenty first century that this makes us uncomfortable?! I prefer to think that it is wonderful that a young woman in a society that is oppressive and shoots her down, is confident enough to bear any part of herself.

James Holt hit back against Harley Brewer, and stated that he didn't realise 'that feminism had a strict dress code' and Watson herself responded that feminism was about liberation and freedom. It is not a stick with which to 'beat women'. I dread to think what critics will say about Watson's anger regarding this. I'm betting that the term 'feminazi' will crop up.

I draw your attention to the sexualised covers of Vanity Fair featuring men:

So it's obvious that these covers are just as revealing, if not more in some cases. Particularly the Spanish edition in the bottom left hand corner. I wonder how much criticism that cover underwent. I wonder if a stark naked woman is more appropriate if she is draped over a men.Why are these sexualised images of men more appropriate than the underside of Emma Watson's breast?

Laura Bates states that whether we like it or not, we 'live in a society where [...] the media is written by men, for men'. On the basis of this, I realise that to have a feminist (a recognised man hater, as far as social media is concerned) featuring in a revealing picture that is not specifically for the purpose of entertaining men would be unsettling and seem rebellious to society. I just cannot work out why. It is, without a doubt, refreshing. Emma Watson makes me very proud of be a woman. Bates points out that 'something big is going to have to shift' for the media to offer women 'more than a place as a commodity or a seat in the audience'. This will something that I will never understand. I hope that women like Watson continue to 'rebel' against this oppression, against these ridiculous attitudes and expectations.
A friend of mine stated that 'you're far too socially conditioned if you think that a woman showing her body is anti-feminist'. I couldn't have put it better myself.

Breasts are not the downfall of feminism. Neither is Emma Watson. Instead of seeing a pair of 'tits' I see a strong, intelligent and talented woman. Women like Julia Harley-Brewer, are the downfalls of feminism. If, as a woman, you are going to respond like this to another woman's body you are giving men license to treat you the same way. I am sure as hell that you're going to have to say something about that.

I'm interested in the reaction to the revelation that Le Fou, from Watson's upcoming film, Beauty and The Beast, is the first openly gay character. It cannot get much worse.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

The candle question

Good evening folks. I just finished my quota of words on my essay for today. I've managed a total of 900 words for today. (I will confess that I wrote most of this essay while I was sat in my last class of monday, I'll admit! I'm sorry to my lecturer if he ever reads this).

Anyway, a friend asked me an interesting question today: If you could make five smells into candles that are unique and mean something to you, what would you choose? I was suffering with writers block and she thought it would be a good way to help me out of it. This is the same friend that sat on the floor with me yesterday morning when I showed up to uni after having four hours sleep, and was exhausted. She sat on the floor with me so that neither of us looked odd. A random act of kindness goes a long way folks.

Anyway, I found that this was quite a hard question and I only got as far as four.

But here goes nothing;

1. New books! There is nothing better than getting a new book. The first thing I do when they arrive in their amazon packaging, is open them a tiny bit and breathe it in. I've probably made myself sound super weird and am going to lose the few readers I have.
2. Old books! Old books have like a dusty smell to them, but I kind of like it. Anyone else?
3. The smell of rain; why? Rain is calming, I think. I like running in the rain too.
4. Toast. I know this one is weird. But I'm going to leave it here and not explain it. It's a smell I'll always associate with good memories.

Yesterday I had been up twenty hours.

Now I'm starting an assignment. Lets see if I can't beat that record.

I plan to reward myself with another post before bed. See you soon guys!

Monday, 27 February 2017

Another busy monday

Happy Monday folks!

This weekend has been crazy, busy and exhausting. I'm probably being overdramatic but long shifts have meant I've not had time to do anything that I had planned over the weekend. I finished the weekend with a ten hour shift and quite literally crawled into bed last night. So, I have come to university early in order to continue working on my essay for the realist novel. Instead, I am blogging. Three days without blogging is awful.

Anyway, one of my Austen books arrived in the post the other day- Being Elizabeth Bennet. Not only is the jacket absolutely adorable, but its just so entertaining! I started going through it straight away and finished the first run through last night. I ended up following the path of Elizabeth for this first attempt. However I did note that the other options and outcomes were really fun. For example, there was the option to slept with Darcy's gardener. Spoiler alert- surprisingly, you don't get to marry Darcy if you do this! I am so glad that this was recommended to me! I'm now just waiting for Lost In Austen to arrive, which from what I can gather, is more or less the same thing but exciting all the same.

I have, however, managed to start thinking about life after university. I was really keen on a masters degree. I still am. But I am also thinking about a gap year. A rather clichéd gap year actually, full of travelling. I've wanted to do a tefl course for a while now. I don't know. I'd settle for more time to read right now.

Why does time pass so quickly at university and yet so slow everywhere else? Seminar time. See you all later, I hope you have a lovely Monday.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

It is so late

Good morning folks. It is twenty to two at the moment and I've been home from work about an hour. Someday all of these late nights and long shifts are going to be worth it. The night time must make me soppier than I realised.

Anyway, I am currently eating miniature brownies and searching for something to watch. I finished my third (maybe forth) watching of Gilmore Girls in less than six months. I have a whole list of things to watch and yet I am stuck. On the bright side I purchased another new book! And it's another Pride and Prejudice retelling! I don't know why I'm putting myself through another one but this one is from the point of view of Mary Bennet and is called The Forgotten Sister by Jennifer Paynter. I'm writing yet another essay on Pride and Prejudice but this time I'm looking at minor characters and Mary was a huge interest to me whilst planning. I hope this book will be better than some I've read in the past couple of months.

Whilst shopping on amazon, I found an Austen CD. If I'm shopping for Austen themed things, can I write it off as some form of market research? Anyway, it is a collection of BBC Radio dramatizations. They're preformed by actors such as David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch. I dare say that will be arriving later on this week- as soon as I get around to ordering it. The cover is pretty too.

I also have King's Cage to get around to. I think this is the final book in Victora Aveyard's The Red Queen series. I hope the end of this series is as good and gripping as its beginning.

This weekend I plan to watch the episode of Piers Morgan's Life Stories with Nigel Farage that I'll miss on friday evening. I can't stand either of them but this twitter promotion made it sound too good to miss. If nothing else it will give me something to rant about. Expect that some time.

As if Nigel Farage and Piers Morgan on the same channel, at the same time, wasn't enough bad news, Wolverhampton has experienced storm Doris today. Nothing has been safe; birds have been blown into my window today, I've heard various people complaining about their bins being knocked over. But by far the biggest tragedy was the death of a young woman caught in Doris' crossfire. She was enjoying a Starbucks with friends when something fell on her. Life really is too short; what a sad, sad loss. My thoughts are with her family.

It's been an interesting day, to say the least.

It is now twenty to three in the morning. I think this is the latest I've been up after work. Perhaps sleep will catch me soon.

Good night guys. Sleep well and have a lovely Friday.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Lost in Austen

Afternoon folks, I hope you're all having a good Wednesday!

I haven broken the spending ban that I put myself on (I have no willpower, that much is clear) and have ordered a couple of new books. Arriving on Friday is Being Elizabeth Bennet: Create Your Own Jane Austen Adventure and sometime next week Lost In Austen will be arriving. I absolutely love adding to my Austen collection. I really need to stop buying books in preparation for moving house, but I figure two more won't hurt right? Shelf space is another story though! I am all for not judging a book by its cover but this is absolutely amazing.

This mornings lecture was really interesting. I will admit that I haven't finished Hamlet; I am almost there but favored finishing Swear on This Life after work last night. I'll finish it in time for next weeks class, I promise. We looked at varying film adaptations of Hamlet and the differences were amazing. I always think it's really clever that they set adaptations in different eras. Some of them are so well executed. We focused on the Kenneth Branagh's version and I really enjoyed it. Since then, I've been sat on the landing at uni.

Well I've been blogging and working on an essay (more blogging than essay) for about three hours now and should probably think about going home. I think I'll dig out a couple of dvds tonight and have a takeaway. I'm on the late shift at work tomorrow so seize the day and all that.

Have a great evening guys. See you tomorrow.

Swear on this life by Renee Carlino

 When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J.Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. As an adjunct writing instructor at UC San Diego with her own stalled literary career and a bumpy long-term relationship, Emiline isn’t thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of a young and gifted writer.

Yet from the very first page, Emiline is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life beyond the long dirt road that winds through their impoverished town in rural Ohio.

That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.

The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction?

(From Goodreads)

So I mentioned that a friend had lent me this book last week. I thought it would have taken me much longer to read but I started it yesterday morning before my long shift at work. Just over twelve hours later I had finished it. I was an emotional wreck by the end of it. It had the tone of a Colleen Hoover novel and I fell in love with her last year. It Ends With Us was very similar to Swear On This Life. It was a brilliant book that was written by a woman, about a book written by a guy about a woman. Work that one out! I don't know how Carlino managed it but Jase seemed to have his own style of writing. The different voices were clear and easy to distinguish.

The balance between the present day, and the past was perfect. The presentation of the fact was particularly interesting; it was written into the book rather than through flashbacks. Reading the past in the form of a novel was so much more entertaining and original. I know that I am an emotional sap  but I felt as though I grew up with Emerson/Emiline. Carlino included all aspects of childhood development, especially from a female point of view. It was even more heartbreaking with the realization that Emiline had no mother to guide her through puberty, and through her experiencing with her first love. Instead, Emiline suffers from issues of abandonment. Her mother has deserted her, and her father appears to have given up on life and on taking care of his daughter and even Jase eventually gives up and vanishes from her story.

Trevor was a character I disliked and didn't get on with, and I found myself more uncomfortable with him than with Emi's father. His development seemed a little half- assed? It was obvious that he was just a filler. Trevor stuck by Emiline, and was there for her even though she hid her past from him. He didn't abandon her. However, I felt that he didn't seek to understand her. He seemed to take her at face value, rather than seeking an emotional connection with her. He definitely wasn't bothered about her writing. It felt like a relationship of convenience and made me uncomfortable. It began to appear as though Emi intended to stay by his side due to a sense of duty. I wanted her relationship with Jase to continue. But why? I should have been angry with his character for having abandoned her.

The past, and Jase's writing, definitely had more depth for me. The present seemed less emotional and I struggled to connect with Jase as a character. He seemed much more superficial outside the realms of his novel, and of their shared past. He seemed cocky and arrogant; irritating. Perhaps Emiline hadn't changed as much as Jase had and that's why I preferred her character in comparison.

However, I didn't enjoy the ending to Jase's novel. I did understand that it does have purpose to it though. It was written for the purpose of making Emiline see what she was missing, to warn her that she faced the possibility of a life full of regret. The ending of Carlino's novel wasn't particularly sharp or exciting, and it did feel a little bit rushed and predictable. But it was a happy ending, and it was nice and I wasn't unsatisfied. Emiline deserved a happy ending.

The element I appreciated the most in this novel was the character development. Not all of the characters were capable of change and of redemption. That her dad had changed, and reformed his character was more than enough for me. I didn't need her mother to have done the same, and neither did Emiline. It was very realistic of Carlino.

Overall, I gave the book four out of five stars. The sentiment that life is too short was really well presented by Carlino. Swear on This Life is easily the best book I've read this year, so far. This will be hard to beat.

My favorite piece of dialogue was:
'Jase: I hope it's everything you want it to be.
Emiline: What? [...]
Jase: The rest of your life.
Emiline: [...] Well, we won't really know until the very end, will we?'

Have a lovely day folks.

Monday, 20 February 2017

'Is Elizabeth a Bennet sister?' and other strange questions

So once again it is a Monday (actually twenty past midnight on Tuesday, but it was Monday afternoon when I started this!), and I've spent my day split between sitting on the landing at university and lectures. Today was a pretty good day, and it's been warm. I have seen the people of Wolverhampton wearing outfits constructed of jumpers, jeans and sandals. It is amazing what a couple degrees increase in temperature does. Even I wore shoes that weren't boots, or heeled.

Today I've planned a couple of essays and I am really pleased with them. But I started my day in bed, eating chocolate and reading a good book. I started The Empress of a Thousand Skies last night, and ended up finishing it this morning. Monday mornings are so very peaceful and relaxing; my only guaranteed morning off all week. As for the book, I rated it 4/5 stars. I found myself enjoying it, but felt as though the twist was very predictable. Everything seemed a bit too predictable. It seemed a bit obvious. Regardless, I'm praying that there is a sequel. There are so many unanswered questions.

Monday featured lectures on the world of Austen, and on The Death of a Salesman. The Austen lecture was awesome; there were lots of critics included and absolutely loads of context. Apart from when somebody asked if Elizabeth was one of the Bennet sisters...

An essay idea hit me whilst I was sat on the landing for my Austen essay, I've never been so excited to start writing an essay. Yes, I am a loser. But I've been so productive today and that needed celebrating.

So after uni I went for a drink at a friends house; a couple of glasses of wine might mean that I sleep better tonight. Sitting around singing along to The Script has made my evening.

I read a strange article on The Independent's website today; the headline was 'Spies are 'plotting' to take down president Trump, says former CIA operative'. Maybe I'm missing something but I thought spies implied secrecy? The article discusses the mistrust between President Trump and the intelligence community but this plotting is said to be going beyond their duty and interfering with American democracy. Additionally, a three hour debate took place today to decide whether or not Trump should be granted a state visit to the UK. On one hand, it is obvious to argue that Trump shouldn't be allowed to visit on the basis that he is a 'bully' and a 'bigot' according to a report on The Guardian. However, other politicians argue that we have allowed other tyrants into the UK on state visits before. Perhaps this should stop now? Perhaps we should stop extending the hand of friendship to bullies? But I can understand why this hand of friendship is so important to us. Trade is important to us, and peace is important. I can't help but wonder if to extend the hand of friendship is to be taken for a fool by Trump. More on this tomorrow, I think. It is an interesting debate.

Good night guys, I promise I will post something more substantial this week. Hell, just wait till I start packing up my room to move house. You'll be getting all kinds of crap then. Packing and unpacking books is my favourite. I always forget what I have and get tempted to reread so much.

I'm really saying goodnight now- happy Tuesday folks! I hope you've had equally an equally happy Monday!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

February Fairyloot

So it is that time of the month again! My fairy loot box arrived yesterday morning at half past eight. It actually woke me up in the middle of a lie in after a late shift at work. The guy could not have banged on the door any harder. Anyway, once I got ahold of the parcel, I tried to leave it on the floor and curl up in bed again. However, excitement got the better of me and I opened it. As usual, I wasn't disappointed and it was totally worth a lack of sleep.

So, the theme for this months box was 'emperors and fugitives' and Fairyloot made use of quite a few YA novels this month. Their list of influences and inspirations included Guardians of the Galaxy, Rebel of the Sands, and Illuminae. I'll just state now that I have seen Guardians of the Galaxy once, and haven't read either of the novels. But in the spirit of adventure I decided to continue with my subscription and let the box be delivered.

I absolutely love opening the box and seeing it packed full of purple paper curls, with everything buried beneath them. The element of surprise with these boxes is wonderful. So, the first item that I unpackaged was a very pink and glittery bath bomb. It was called Celestial Gunpowder! I now have a small collection of bathbombs and I am so excited to use it! Okay, next we had a funko pop keyring resembling dancing Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. The best parts of that film were Chris Pratt, Groot and the soundtrack. I was so happy that they had included him. He'll be going on my keys, if I have any room.

Following this was a coaster that had a quote on, from Illuminae. It says 'she is a catalyst, she is chaos. I can see why he loves her'. It is beautiful and of a really good quality. I'm saving it for when I move house at the end of the month, though. Fairy loot included another quote item in this months box. It was a pouch featuring a quote from Rebel of the Sands, and reads 'the world makes things for each place'. I love the sentiment; the idea that everything is just as it is meant to be. I'm officially putting the novel on my to be read list because of this lovely pouch.

Other items in the February box included a space girl book mark, a signed letter from the author of this months book, and a beautiful double-sided print of Throne of Glass couple Manon and Dorian. My photos show the Manon side, but they're both amazing!

This brings us to my favourite item from this month. Fairy Loot included a full sized candle in a tin, called Kalusian Sunset. It is inspired by this months novel. The candle itself is purple and it smells so pretty. But the tin was my favourite part. It looks like a fantasy/science fiction sunset and I love it! It looks like something out of a fairy tale. Like the bath bombs, I'm growing a collection of bookish candles. I have several A Court of Thorns and Roses candles, and one inspired by Caraval. I can't see myself lighting them but they are pretty all the same. I really need somewhere to put them. I've included a picture of the Kalusian Sunset tin on the left. I apologise for my terrible attempt at photography.

Okay, this brings me to this months Fairy Loot book. We have Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza. Now I have heard nothing about this book, unlike Caraval from last month, I haven't googled it today or searched it on Goodreads and the blurb is really vague. So I know next to nothing about this novel but I'm planning to start this tonight, after finishing Wintersong, and I cannot wait.

I thought I'd include a picture of everything that came in this months box and the pretty cover of this book:

I finished work at half past three this afternoon and I have a to- do list as long as my arm! I have books to read for university and essay plans to do. Despite this, I am actually pretty happy that careers week is over and I have classes at university tomorrow.

I got quite a few recommendations after my request a couple of posts ago. Matt Haig's Reasons to Stay Alive was recommended and I seriously need to get around to finishing it. It is a book that made me feel anxious, all the way through. However, I loved it. Matt Haig has a wonderful style. A friend dropped round a couple of books to my house the other day. These were Forgive me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick and Swear on this Life by Renee Carlino and I am so excited to start them. They both sound great.

Another recommendation was Bridget Christie. Now I googled her, and found her quite interesting and I found this extract from her book A Book for Her on the Guardian's website. She is hilarious, and brilliant. Pay day is next week, and I know I'll end up ordering this book.

I hope you have a lovely week guys and I hope you enjoyed this unboxing!

See you soon!

Saturday, 18 February 2017


Happy Saturday folks! I know it's been a couple of days but the late shifts at work have been killing me. After having a month of early nights, being at work until half past twelve hurts.

When I've not been at work, I have spent the past couple of days reading Pride and Prejudice again with the help of index tabs. Rereading it for an assignment only makes me realise how much I love it. I've bought more than a couple editions of this book this week, and will post pictures as soon as they arrive. I also found that amazon sells the Barnes and Noble cloth bound classics set of the complete works of Jane Austen, and they come in a sleeve! The set is officially at the top of my wishlist, and £65 is definitely a bargain for such a beautiful set of books.

Yesterday I finished Wintersong. It was one of the best things I've read this year but apparently it was based on the film Labrynth (which I will admit that I have not seen!). For me, it felt like a fairy tale. It was sorrowful and full of angst to begin with and though the angst was present throughout, the novel became more seductive and sexualised. The book could have been split in two halves, the tones are so different. The first half of the book feels like a game between our protagonist and the Goblin King. Whilst the second half is much more sexualised, emotional, and there is much more in the way of character development. The protagonist is Liesl and she is the 'ugly', underappreciated sister in possession of a great musical talent. I felt a bond form between Liesl and I. I felt her insecurities, her pain and I fell in love with the Goblin King's character at the same time as she did.

I loved this novel, and I was screaming by the time S. Jae- Jones ended it on a cliff hanger! But I am temporarily pacified with the news of an eventual sequel.

I hope you guys have had a wonderful week and are ready for another one. Why is February going so fast? I know it's a short month but this is ridiculous.

More soon folks!