2017 Reading Challenge Book 22 – Alice

Hi, Hey, Hello!

I’m sure this slight onslaught of book reviews that I try to sprinkle throughout the week, are no surprise by now, but as usual I’m playing catch up with them because I didn’t do one for a month and still average at reading a book a week. Hopefully they will settle into being weekly se will change to being weekly soon-ish.

Until then though here’s another one:

2017 Reading Challenge, Book 22, Alice

2017 Reading Challenge, Book 22, Alice

Confession time, I’ve never actually read Alice in Wonderland nor have I seen the original Disney film. I’ve watched the Tim Burton ones and a couple of other random adaptations, but the originals? Nope. Anyway, I know that I like the general idea of the book and one day I will read the original.

But for now, I have only read this.

This started off promising. It caught my attention from the get go and I was so excited to get involved in this story. It was the perfect balance of dark and twisted and the writing was just so good. And the level of writing didn’t change, but something about it just disappointed me the more I went through the book.

The whole thing just started to feel rushed and what started out as something that I was super excited about ended with a ‘is that it?’ feeling. It just didn’t feel like there was any kind of satisfaction in the end and I didn’t know what to do with it all. And that sucked but it’s just the way it is.

I can’t even pinpoint what it is or where it is that it started to take a downward turn for me, I think it was about halfway through when they were escaping from Chesire’s and it all felt a bit rushed and then it just sort of continued like that. The characterisation of The Rabbit started out kind of promising and I found the build up of his reveal as a character really interesting, up until the point that he was revealed and I discovered that the idea of him was better than the actual him. Which isn’t what you want from the supposed villain of the story. He was way better in theory than in practice and I think that was my overall issue when I closed the book. The pay off just didn’t seem worth it overall.

Alice herself was a great character and I never stopped liking her as a character. Watching her move from some kind of strength to strength throughout the narrative was great. She was beautifully complex and so rich a character that I was glad it was through her eyes that the reader was moving through this story in. Hatcher was also kind of interesting but he also somehow fell a bit flat sometimes mainly because we only saw him through Alice’s eyes. There were elements of him that I wanted to know more about and also there were parts of his characterisation that felt a bit rushed as the overall arc of the story was built up. He felt a bit lost in the story at points and not as strongly characterised as Alice the more the story moved along. It was more frustrating than anything else.

The writing itself was stunning. Henry does an incredible job of world building and creating stunning images and a vivid picture of what is going on. She doesn’t shy away from aspects of her world either and as such it creates a completely twisted and dark world and it’s a perfectly atmospheric read as well. I would definitely read something else by Henry again and I want to read her second book of this series (for lack of a better word) Red Queen (when I don’t have a heap of other books to read first) because I really enjoyed her writing style and there were aspects of this book that stuck with me in a big way, and the first half of this book is fucking incredible.

This is book is heavy, and dark and I would recommend it but only if you know that is your sort of thing. You can tell within the first couple of pages whether it is your sort of thing or not to be honest because it starts as it means to go on and it doesn’t really let up in terms of tone and style at any point.

So yeah, overall this book was a bit of a mixed bag for me. It was almost literally a tale of two halves. The first half was great and then the second half felt kind of rushed and a bit disappointing. But then on the whole the writing kept me interested and hooked and…yeah, it was a bit of a weird one.

3/5 stars

Parentheses count: 2. See you tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

main-sign-off


Find me here:

Twitter  Instagram Bloglovin’

Reading Habits Tag

Hi, Hey, Hello!

So even though I was dedicated to one thing only last month (Spring, which is hilarious because winter seemed to come back with full force) I was obviously still doing some reading and getting inspiration for when I was eventually thrown out of the slightly comforting letter format. And then a couple of weeks ago I came across this over on Orange Owl Diaries and as I am sure you can tell I do a lot of reading, so this tag seemed to be fitting to give it a shot.

READING HABITS

1. Do you have a certain place at home for reading?  

Yeah, my sofa. And on the rare occasion my bed, but most of the books I am reading stay downstairs so that one doesn’t happen very often

2. Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Bookmarks all the way. I have a lot of bookmarks, and I lose a lot of bookmarks as well.

3. Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter?

I tend to try and read the chapter end. If there’s a page break and I know the chapter end isn’t manageable then I stop there, but I do most of my reading on a train and somehow my stations always creep up on me so I am also used to just stopping mid page and picking back up where I left off later.

4. Do you eat or drink while reading?

Yeah sometimes, I’m not super fussy about that stuff though.

5. Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?

I listen to music on the train so yeah that happens, I am quite good at zoning it out and then if I’m home most of the time the TV is on in the background as with most things. I am not good with doing things in total silence.

6. One book at a time or several at once?

Since I have finished uni I tend to only do one book at a time. Back then I was reading as many as 4 at one time per week and it all got a bit chaotic in terms of keeping thoughts and plots in check and all that jazz. But yeah, I’ve gone to one at a time and I’m quite lucky that my average reading time per book is about one week so I get to keep it varied anywhere.

7. Reading at home or everywhere?

Reading everywhere. I always have a book with me (or at least I usually do anyway) so if I don’t want to look at my phone then I just pull my book out and get some reading done.

8. Reading out loud or silently in your head?

In my head.

9. Do you read ahead or skip pages?

I mean not really, but sometimes when I turn a page my eyes immediately skim over to the end of the second page and catch some things that are going to come.

10. Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

I try and keep them new, but it’s fine if they break. I use the term fine very loosely, and I am the only one who gets to break them.

11. Do you write in your books?

I did when I was at uni because it was the easiest way to keep track of my thoughts and quotes that I could use in essays and stuff. But in terms of personal reading no, I don’t.

BONUS QUESTIONS

1. When do you find yourself reading? Morning, afternoon, evening, when you get a chance or all the time?

There is no set time. I mean there kind of is, like my train journey to and from work but then it’s whenever I feel like it.

2. What is your best setting to read in?

I don’t really have one.

3. What do you do first – Read or Watch?  

I try and read it first, but that isn’t set in stone and there are a fair amount of things that I have seen before I’ve read them. I’m not that fussed about it and I do tend to eventually read the book.

4. What form do you prefer? Audiobook, eBook, or physical book?

I am physical books all the way. My Kindle wasn’t really used to read books all that much and I can’t get on board with audiobooks.

5. Do you have a unique habit when you read?

I don’t think so…

6. Do book series have to match?  

Yes they do. I will buy different books in order to make them match. I’ve been known to buy a whole box set of a series just to have matching covers. I’ve got a slight problem and I know I do. I’m trying to get rid of any duplicates that I have acquired as a result of this.

And that’s this tag done. Give it a go if you want, I’d love to read your answers and see what your habits are!

Parentheses count: 2. See you tomorrow!

main-sign-off


Find me here:

Twitter  Instagram Bloglovin’

Summary Saturday

Hi, Hey, Hello!

So things have settled a bit back to normal here on the blog and I am slowly getting back into some kind of routine with it all. I mean I still have a couple of weeks worth of ideas in the bank so we’re gonna see how this goes for a while. It’s been fun to get back into the swing of things.

Anyway, this week on the blog:

The Crop Top

2017 Reading Challenge, Book 21  – City of Glass

Letters to Spring – The Round-Up

Four Months In

2017 Reading Challenge, Book 20 – City of Ashes

April Playlist

And that’s the first week back.

Parentheses count: 0. See you tomorrow!

main-sign-off


Find me here:

Twitter  Instagram Bloglovin’

The Crop Top

Hi, Hey, Hello!

As the title probably indicates things haven’t gone quite back to normal yet in that today I’m gonna carry on rambling about something random as opposed  trying to churn something creative out, because as the time in which this post is coming might suggest I am still annoyingly in some kind of slump and so doing that would be like pulling teeth.

Doing this however, will come slightly more naturally.

I have a slight issue when it comes to buying clothes in that I buy too many of them on impulse and don’t necessarily think about whether or not I will actually wear them or not. Or more accurately, whether I have the confidence to wear them or not.

The item in question is, as you could probably guess, is the crop top. I’ve bought a lot of them over the years as their rise in popularity has increased. I’ve even worn them but I never at any point felt even remotely comfortable wearing them up until recently. I would pull them down even though I knew they weren’t going to get any longer due to their very nature. I would sit with my arms firmly wrapped around my waist just to hide the gap that existed between the hem of the top and the top of whatever I was wearing on the lower half of my body. I would just sort of curl into myself and pretend that I was okay with it but never really being okay with it.

And then at some point over the past few months I stopped caring about all that. I reached another level of being okay with what my body looks like. I’ve hated it for so long and I’ve put it through hell (and still have my moments when I do that) but I’ve had this epiphany over the last few months that I should really stop doing that. My body is stronger than before and it’s looking leaner and I’m not terrified of it and I’m not worried about things as trivial as stomach rolls. I don’t feel weirdly self conscious as I walk around baring a strip of my stomach, I mean yeah I hold my core tight but that’s not out of self consciousness that’s out of trying to have better posture (and yeah, maybe on some level it helps knowing that in the right outfit I looked toned as hell, sue me, I work on this shit).

The Crop Top

The Crop Top

But I don’t buy them anymore just because they look nice and I want to convince myself that I have the confidence to wear them. I buy them (and wear the several that I already have) because I’m excited to wear them. Because I’m not terrified of them. I know on some level that they look good. I know how to wear them to make them look best on me and the best way for them to make feel good wearing them.

I mean I should probably hold off on buying anymore of them because the weather here isn’t that great and so the opportunity to wear them isn’t that frequent, but when the weather is good you can pretty much guarantee that you will find me wearing a crop top, a pair of high waisted jeans and some kind of jacket (for now, although hopefully I can shed the jacket at some point).

The Crop Top

The Crop Top

It seems like a weirdly trivial thing, to just feel confident enough to wear a smaller version of a piece of fabric that I wear every day, but it’s something. It’s a clear change in a part of my mindset and it’s a step in the right direction to making my brain less of a volatile place to reside.

And that can never be a bad thing, right?

Speaking of which, what are some of your clothing fears? Dia & Co is all about embracing those fears and being badass whilst doing so!

Parentheses count: 4. See you tomorrow!

 

main-sign-off


Find me here:

Twitter  Instagram Bloglovin’

2017 Reading Challenge Book 21 – City of Glass

Hi, Hey, Hello!

I keep reading these books, which means I have to keep reviewing them, which means that I just feel like I’m being very negative all the time right now and also makes me seem crazy, because I keep reading books that I’m not really a fan of.

The book that brought me a step closer to halfway was:

2017 Reading Challenge, Book 21, City of Glass

2017 Reading Challenge, Book 21, City of Glass

There was a change of scenery in this book! I am grateful for this. It added a new element to the story that frankly I needed. The incest storyline came to an end! Which again, frankly I needed it to. Valentine was dealt with! Luke became an actual character! Jocelyn woke up! Downworlders and Shadowhunters worked together! There was a new villain introduced! There actually appeared to be some character development for all characters!

I’ve overused exclamation points in that paragraph, but my point is there were things that I liked about this book. The change of scenery helped massively with this, getting to know a new aspect of the Shadowhunter world was great and it also meant that Idris became a more solid thing than just this place that they all talked about wistfully but never actually saw.

The character development in this book was greatly appreciated and surprised me on some level, which shows you just how low my bar is set with this. Luke actually having something to do and becoming an actual character rather than this looming figure who just sort of pottered around and got injured was great. I strongly approved of it. Seeing him settle back into a world that shunned him was actually quite satisfying to see. I will say though, that the whole parabati thing is severely overlooked (in a general sense that is), like surely there is some emotional baggage from the whole fall out of that, but it’s rarely touched upon which is a tad annoying. But anyway, more Luke, that’s fun. I liked that. (I’m not gonna say anything more about Max’s death other than the fact that Max was not a character that was fleshed out enough for me to care about his death and that it’s ridiculous that there had to be that kind of catalyst to get any kind of Lightwoods development…and even then it was minimal come the end of this book.)

Jocelyn being awake also promises some kind of good, mainly because there is a part of me that hopes that maybe now Clary will stop being so selfish (spoiler alert, she kind of doesn’t. I’m reading book four as I write this and by the time it posts I’ll be finished with it). Also it will be interesting to see what her being awake will mean for Clary.

I love me a good villain so it will be interesting to see where Sebastian/Jonathan goes for the second half of the series because for the most part the kind of person he was and what he was capable of was teased towards the latter end of the book. I’m also just gonna choose to believe that Sebastian was ignorant of the fact that Clary was his sister when he kissed her because I just CANNOT deal with yet more incest.

The Downworlders and the Shadowhunters coming together for the greater good was enjoyable. I liked it. There are parts of it that I didn’t like, but for the most part it was good. It’ll be interesting to see how that carries on throughout the second half of the series. I also liked the appearance of the Angel and again I’m interested to see what the repercussions of Clary’s (again super selfish) decision will have on their world and also on Jace (I’m already seeing that in Book 4…I’ll talk about it then). Oh and also Simon, who continues to be a terrible vampire made even worse by the fact that he can walk in the sun and also how his second new found power is going to affect his life in future books.

This book definitely felt like a nice conclusion tom the first half of the series which was nice. I like conclusions. It also left aspects that could be explored in future books without there feeling like there will be too much reach.

Not that the bar was very high, but this was probably my favourite of the books so far.

2/5 stars

Parentheses count: 5. See you tomorrow!

 

 

main-sign-off


Find me here:

Twitter  Instagram Bloglovin’

Letters to Spring – The Round-Up

Hi, Hey, Hello!

The title says it all I guess, April just happened and all of the letters written to Spring are all collected on my Odes to the Seasons page, I like knowing that they are all together in a post of their own because I’m weird like that.

So here they all are:

1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30

Parentheses count: 0. See you tomorrow!

main-sign-off


Find me here:

Twitter  Instagram Bloglovin’

Four Months In

Hi, Hey, Hello!

So I did a little two month update on this…two months ago and I thought it would be a good idea to just keep checking in with the whole intentions thing and well, it’s now been four months since it all started (it’s mental that we are already in May) and so we’re due a check in.

1) Take Better Care of Me Hair – Listen, this is going quite well at the moment. Funnily enough (and can I just say that I always knew this but was stubborn) the key to healthy hair is having it regularly cut…who knew (again I did…but…yeah you guessed it, stubborn). So once all that dead dead hair was gone it was a whole new ball game. Getting moisture back into it is actually possible and my curls actually have a decent curl pattern and they most cooperate with me. And the frizz situation isn’t actually all that bad anymore and yeah it’s still kind of big but it’s manageable. So that one is coming along nicely. I’ll have to have another trim in the next couple of months, but if I keep doing what I’m doing this one has almost mostly taken care of.

2) Take Better Care of My Skin –  I’ve still not really made any changes to this one. I almost did completely have an overhaul of my skin care routine but that seemed a little bit extreme over some breakouts that were most definitely just linked to my cycle. I’m also still trying to nail the whole daily SPF thing because I’ve not quite yet found one yet that has done good things to my skin, they just tend to make my combination skin oily and shiny and that’s not fun. So I’m still having a play around with small changes at the moment and at some point I might deal with the pigmentation issues that have returned, but last time that just sort of faded of it’s own accord. Oh and also, I’m getting better at the spot picking thing in theory. I mean if I don’t have spots then I can’t pick them…when I do though…yeah still a problem.

3) Tone The Hell Up – Easter happened to me and that really fucked with my diet (it also coincide with that part of my cycle so it all really went to hell then), but I’m starting to get it back on track slowly but surely. I’ve cut back again on the sugar and I’m upping my fruit and veg intake, that’s getting easier because now some of my favourite fruits are coming back into season so I can get them back into my life (strawberries I’m looking at you). My exercise routine for the most part is pretty much the same, so yeah this one is just sort of plodding along and doing what it’s gonna do, but I will say that I feel like I am getting stronger and given that I do classes with repeated instructors they have also commented on the fact that I am getting stronger. So it’s moving along nicely enough.

4) Start Saving Properly –  I’ve started transferring a sum of money out of my bank account on pay day into a savings account and then forgetting about it. That’s all I got right now. I have another plan to up this but that will have to come later in the year

5) Get Better Organised – Oh this has totally fallen apart. To be honest with you I actually forgot about it. I’m still chaotically organised it’s currently still working mostly fine for me. Oh that bullet journal of mine has totally fallen apart again, it lasted like a month in total. It’s a habit I need to form and I am terrible at forming habits…and at breaking them.

6) Try And Be More Creative/Just Write More – I could not tell you were I am with this shit man. On the one hand yes, I am being more creative and stuff. But then on the other it is all happening in bursts so it doesn’t necessarily feel like it’s happening. And for the most part I’m only working to those bursts, which I really shouldn’t be doing. I feel like at some point I’m going to have just set a word count for this project that I have (the one that I kept ambiguously banging on about throughout April) and try to hit it everyday. But not be stupid about it because that won’t make it any better. So yeah, I’m a bit confuddled by this. It’s happening, but it’s also not.

And that’s where we are at with this right now. There are habits forming and I guess that’s the point of it all.

Parentheses count: 6. See you tomorrow!

 

main-sign-off


Find me here:

Twitter  Instagram Bloglovin’