Thursday, 30 April 2015

April book round up

Phew! Is it just me, or has this month flown by? This whole year in fact. It seems like only yesterday when I was planning for the new year. 

This month has been another manic one, I haven't had a moment to take a breath since I moved into my flat in March. But thankfully things seem to be slowing down to an acceptable pace again. (Still being a very busy bee, but a less frantic one.)

I've only managed to read half of the books on my list this month (due to the aforementioned craziness) but the books that I have read have been stunning! Tampa by Alissa Nutting and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay certainly didn't disappoint. You can read my full reviews, here:

Tampa by Alissa Nutting
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

What have you been reading this month?

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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Review: The Hunger Games Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Warning: may contain spoilers

Katniss Everdeen returns in the explosive Hunger Games finale, Mockingjay. It contains all of the thrills and drama we've come to expect from the series, with a lot of surprises along the way. In fact, my boyfriend kept poking fun at all of the different facial expressions I kept making while engrossed in this book. I'm sure I expressed a wide collection of emotions! 

Picking up from Catching Fire, Katniss learns that her hometown, District 12, has been destroyed by the Capitol. She is thrust into the world of District 13 and the secret rebels who plan to overthrow President Snow and end The Hunger Games forever.

Katniss is chosen as the 'mockingjay', thanks to her iconic badge, the face of the revolution. Mockingjay has a very different feel than the previous two books (which I loved! You can check out the review here and here). The war rages on, and although we see a lot of strength from various characters, we see a more vulnerable Katniss. Some readers were disappointed by this, expecting her to be the strong and fearless girl she was in The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, however, I think Mockingjay brought a more realistic element to the "girl on fire".

When put into context, Katniss had survived two arenas, watched countless people die, saw her friends tortured and saw her hometown burned to the ground. But she still managed to come out of the other side. In doesn't matter if her fire isn't as strong, the fact that she still has some left is remarkable! 

I really enjoyed Mockingjay as it gave you a perspective as to what happened after the games and what the real motives were. There's a real power struggle between President Snow and President Coin of District 13, who Katniss doesn't know if she can trust. This element was a great edition to the series.

The only thing that got slightly tedious was the love triangle between Katniss, Gale and Peeta. And although I loved reading about her complicated and deep history with both boys (I'm team Peeta, in case you were wondering), I felt like shouting "come on, there's more important things to think about! Like the war!"

Overall, a great book and a brilliant end to a great series. I can't wait to see the second instalment of the film in November!

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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

30 day journal challenge

It's no secret that I own a lot of notebooks. I've got piles and piles of pretty books just waiting to be written in. However, like a lot of others, most of my notebooks go untouched (particularly the prettiest ones). I can't stand the idea of 'ruining' a journal with something less than perfect.

I also believe that every notebook should have a theme. My worst nightmare is having absolutely everything in one pad. You can't have creative writing and shopping lists in one book! Unfortunately, this stunts me from actually using them in the way that Paperchase intended. So, I'm going to make a change!

It's been months since I completed NaNoWriMo and I've gradually fallen out of the routine of writing, which isn't good when you're trying to write a book. So to kill two birds with one pen, I've decided to take on a 30 day journal challenge. 

Each day, I'll write down a thought, an opinion or anything else that I fancy, so long as I'm writing everyday for a month. I think this will be a fun way to ease myself back into my writing routine, as well as forcing myself to write in my notebooks! 

If I can give up fizzy drinks for six weeks and write 50,000 words in a month, I think I should be able to do this! 

Have you completed a journal challenge?

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Monday, 13 April 2015

Review: Tampa by Alissa Nutting

Tampa is not for the faint-hearted as I found out when I started reading it last week. It's clear to see why it was coined as the "most controversial book of the summer" in 2013. In Alissa Nutting's debut novel, she tackles the taboo topic of pedophilia from the perspective of beautiful teacher, Celeste Price.

While Tampa was predicted to be the must-have beach book when it was first published, the subject matter unapologetically makes the reader uncomfortable (really uncomfortable!) Graphic sex scenes between a 26 year old woman and a prepubescent schoolboy isn't the easiest of topics to read about, particularly not on your morning commute!

It is clear that Alissa was influenced by Lolita and American Psycho, Celeste is a sociopath with intense desires and opinions. However, we see the world through her eyes, an uncomfortable place for the reader and it forces you to tackle the social statement Alissa Nutting intended head on.

Tampa is based on a the real-life case of Debra Lafave, who Alissa went to school with. Despite her inappropriate relationship with an underage student, Debra was deemed "too pretty" to go to prison, and although was put on three years house arrest, she served no jail time.

The story makes an example of how much physically attractiveness can benefit you, despite your crimes. Celeste uses her beauty to manipulate those around her to get what she wants, and what she wants most of all is the touch of young boys. I dare say that there would have been very different consequences if the genders were reversed and the beauty taken away.

Tampa is beautifully written, and although a disturbing read, the message behind it is demonstrated perfectly. I'll be very sad to take this book back to the library.

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Friday, 10 April 2015

A day at Disney on Ice

Last Friday, I consciously choose to be around a bunch of screaming children (and adults alike) when I went to Disney on Ice!

In an attempt to relive our childhood, my dear friend Hayley and I enthusiastically ran through the gates at the NEC, Birmingham. We'd resisted the urge to don a the princess dress (unfortunately, my full length Snow White costume is still at my Mom's house...) however, we certainly made up for it at the merchandise stands!

We each bought a Chip teacup, which were almost swiped by the adorable girl sitting next to us, and a gold princess necklace each. I went with Ariel and she bought Rapunzel.

The show itself was spectacular. The shortened versions of The Little Mermaid, Tangled, Beauty and the Beast and Frozen each took my breath away. The dancers were so graceful and the stories remained true to the films. There were even some impressive acrobatic movements through into the mix with Ariel suspending herself from the ceiling.

The atmosphere was amazing and singing Let it Go at the top of my lungs along with a huge audience was amazing. I'd definitely recommend catching it if you get chance!

What's your favourite Disney story?

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Monday, 6 April 2015

What I'm reading in April

Now that the dust has settled from moving house, I feel that I can finally get back to reading! It's been a while since I've been able to spend time with my beloved books. We all know that I love a list, and forward planning my reads, so let's get down to what's in store this month!

I received a beautiful package from one of my university friends, who has now written (and published!) a book. Snow in Hell is Sophie's debut novel which explores a gothic world of vampires, necromancers and hooded deceivers. I'm already intrigued! 

Midwinderblood is another fantastical book that I'll be reading. It's based in 2073 where nobody ages and no children are born. And to finish off the surreal and dystopian theme, I'll finally be finishing The Hunger Games trilogy! I've loved the previous books (you can find my reviews here and here) so I'm really looking forward to seeing how the series is tied up in Mockingjay.

Tampa is also on my list and the only book that doesn't fit the theme. It explores the complex and perverse relationship between a young teacher and her students. It's received a lot of rave reviews and was described by Dazed & Confused as "dangerous fiction".

What are you planning to read this month?

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