31 January 2014

Books of 2013:Part 8

We are finally here!  The grand finale! Books 35-42, all the books I read in 2013!  Over 10,000 pages in all!  I must be crazy, here goes!

The Lovely Bones is the story of a family devastated by a gruesome murder -- a murder recounted by the teenage victim. Upsetting, you say? Remarkably, first-time novelist Alice Sebold takes this difficult material and delivers a compelling and accomplished exploration of a fractured family's need for peace and closure.
The details of the crime are laid out in the first few pages: from her vantage point in heaven, Susie Salmon describes how she was confronted by the murderer one December afternoon on her way home from school. Lured into an underground hiding place, she was raped and killed. But what the reader knows, her family does not. Anxiously, we keep vigil with Susie, aching for her grieving family, desperate for the killer to be found and punished.
Sebold creates a heaven that's calm and comforting, a place whose residents can have whatever they enjoyed when they were alive -- and then some. But Susie isn't ready to release her hold on life just yet, and she intensely watches her family and friends as they struggle to cope with a reality in which she is no longer a part. To her great credit, Sebold has shaped one of the most loving and sympathetic fathers in contemporary literature.

Having been struck by Alice Sebold's 'Lucky' earlier in the year I thought I would try out her other and more well known book 'The Lovely Bones'.  This is a really gripping and interesting novel, I couldn't get it off my mind.  In a world where you want justice for the innocent it really makes you realise how hard that can be to come by, and how one event can effect a family.  Although I think it lacked something that would make this novel great, it played on my mind so much I had to give it 4 stars.
 Being the Life of John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester"Lord Rochester's Monkey" was written between 1931 and 1934 and, because of the reputation of its subject, the notorious Restoration libertine and poet, the book failed to find a publisher. Rochester was the most prominent of rakes. He was also a fine lyrical and satirical poet whose work, in Greene's opinion, has been greatly underestimated, being overshadowed by his life of lechery and drunkenness, wild pranks and practical jokes. At court, Charles II suffered but respected Rochester's coruscating satires, joined in his erotic escapades and rewarded him with distinctions. Yet the last thirteen years of his life were "clouded by the fumes of drink" and literary quarrels. On his deathbed in 1680 - he was only 33 - he called for Dr Burnet and repented. His friend Etheridge wrote of him: "I know he is a devil, but had something of the angel yet undefac'd in him"

John Wilmot, the Second Earl of Rochester is one of my favourite historical figures so I was looking forward to learning more in this book.  I knew it would have aged somewhat since it was written but I really did find this book a let down.  It was strangely written, neither chronologically or by theme, which made it hard to understand and I struggled to read more then a couple of pages at a time before loosing my concentration.  I didn't learn much from it that I didn't already know and the layout of information was baffling.
Thomas Healy was a drunk, a fighter, sometimes a writer, often unemployed, no stranger to the police. His life was going nowhere but downhill. Then one day he bought a pup—a Doberman. He called him Martin. Gradually man and dog became unshakable allies, the closest of comrades, the best of friends. They took long walks together, they vacationed together, they even went to church together. Martin, in more ways than one, saved Thomas Healy’s life. Written with unadulterated candor and profound love, this soulful memoir gets at the heart of the intense bond between people and dogs.

Another library sale find, I've had a few this year!  This book is heart warming but unfortunately it doesn't have much substance beyond that.  Just average.
It's a few years after rebel Tally Youngblood took down the uglies/pretties/specials regime. Without those strict roles and rules, the world is in a complete cultural renaissance. "Tech-heads" flaunt their latest gadgets, "kickers" spread gossip and trends, and "surge monkeys" are hooked on extreme plastic surgery. And it's all monitored on a bazillion different cameras. The world is like a gigantic game of American Idol. Whoever is getting the most buzz gets the most votes. Popularity rules. As if being fifteen doesn't suck enough, Aya Fuse's rank of 451,369 is so low, she's a total nobody. An extra. But Aya doesn't care; she just wants to lie low with her drone, Moggle. And maybe kick a good story for herself. Then Aya meets a clique of girls who pull crazy tricks, yet are deeply secretive of it. Aya wants desperately to kick their story, to show everyone how intensely cool the Sly Girls are. But doing so would propel her out of extra-land and into the world of fame, celebrity...and extreme danger. A world she's not prepared for.

The final book in the Uglies series.  As you have probably seen I haven't enjoyed this series much so I convinced myself to pick this book up knowing if I let it drag on into 2014 I probably would never finish it.  This is a companion novel rather then a follow on and I have to say this is its saviour.  To my surprise I really enjoyed this book, I think it is by far the best in the series.  I thought the Japanese cultural elements really worked and the updated dystopian world, set a few years on from the original trilogy, seemed believable and interesting.  I liked the main character much more and the action was much more exiting and less predictable, very refreshing.
Life is tough and cheerless for Billy Casper, a disillusioned teenager growing up in a small Yorkshire mining town. Violence is commonplace and he is frequently cold and hungry. Yet he is determined to be a survivor and when he finds Kes, a kestrel hawk he discovers a passion in life. 

I first read this book in school but my english teacher at the time skipped all the description as he said it was boring, to be honest he was sort of right, it is the worst part of the book.  However this is totally made up by the rest of the book, the dialogue and relationships between people are bleak but realistic.  Living in the town this was set I can honestly say it hit home with me, theres something about this town I can't fully explain, a legacy, that is woven into this book.  This novel shows that all humans have hope, even in the most unlikely of circumstances.
When he falls ill on his way home from school, fifteen-year-old Michael Berg is rescued by Hanna, a woman twice his age. In time she becomes his lover—then she inexplicably disappears. When Michael next sees her, he is a young law student, and she is on trial for a hideous crime. As he watches her refuse to defend her innocence, Michael gradually realizes that Hanna may be guarding a secret she considers more shameful than murder.

I didn't think I knew anything about this book until I started reading it and then realised I'd seen the film, a little frustrating!  It was interesting and blurred moral grounds in a way that must have happened to some extent to people post world war 2, an interesting thought.  The relationships in this book were very interesting and defiantly worth reading if you haven't already.
The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud tells the haunting story of a young man who narrowly survives a terrible car wreck that kills his little brother. Years later, the brothers’ bond remains so strong that it transcends the normal boundaries separating life and death. Charlie St. Cloud lives in a snug New England fishing village. By day he tends the lawns and monuments of the ancient cemetery where his younger brother, Sam, is buried. Graced with an extraordinary gift after surviving the accident, he can still see, talk, and even play catch with Sam’s spirit. But townsfolk whisper that Charlie has never recovered from his loss.Into his carefully ordered life comes Tess Carroll, a captivating, adventuresome woman training for a solo sailing trip around the globe. Fate steers her boat into a treacherous storm that blows her back to harbor, to a charged encounter with Charlie, and to a surprise more overwhelming than the violent sea itself. Charlie and Tess discover a beautiful and uncommon connection that leads to a race against time and a desperate choice between death and life, between the past and the future, between holding on and letting go.

I felt like this book should have been really cute and magical but it missed the mark somewhere, it ended up just being average.  It was enjoyable but not memorable, which is a shame because it did have potential, I think I just didn't care about the characters enough.  The love story was rather sweet in places but it wasn't heartbreaking in anyway and I thought this is probably what it was aiming for.

28 January 2014

Beauty Haul

Normally I am pretty good with money, as I've just started my new career I'm not on a lot but I still put half my wages into savings, pay my parents board money then I just have enough to live on till the next pay day.  It's not an exciting life but I get by, however this month when my money came through I put half into my savings and then went crazy!  I am paying for it now, a month till payday and I am already my overdraft, it looks like I will be doing very little this month!  However I did get lots of pretty things I have wanted for ages, so no regrets! :)
Illamasqua skin base foundation, £27.00
I have been using Macs Studio Sculpt foundation for years now but I needed something that matched my skin tone better, I'd been back to the mac counter but they had nothing. I was recommended this by someone with a similar skin tone to me (olive but pale aka yellow) we can be had to cater for!  I'm really looking forward to seeing if it lives up to what I've heard.
Barry M wink marker pen eyeliner, £4.59
An old favourite.  This is perfect for me as I am not great with liquid eyeliner and this works just like a pen, it's pretty much fool proof which can come in handy....
Revlon powder blush in haute pink, £7.99
I wanted a new pink toned blush as the one I have been using for years was starting to look too dark and sort of orange toned on me.  I had wanted to get one from Nars as I had heard great things about them but I couldn't find a shop that sold them so I settled for this instead.  It seem's like just the shade I was looking for. 
Benefit fake up, £18.50
Well being a blogger I couldn't really get away from hearing about fake up, this stuff has been on every blog going for months!  It's had great reviews so I stuck it in the back of my mind for when my concealer ran out but as it was Mac's Studio Finish concealer this was never going to happen.  I'd already had it years and hardly made a dip!  However I lost it so now was the perfect time to try something new!
Revlon colourburst matte balm in Shameless, £7.99
This was the only thing I didn't have in mind when I went shopping.  while I was at the illimasqua stand looking at foundation and watching my friend try out some eyebrow stuff I found the most perfect purple lipstick (I stupidly didn't take note of the name but I think it was Kontrol guessing from some pictures I've seen online).  However I didn't want to pay full price for a colour I couldn't wear too often and I don't wear lipstick much anyway so I left it.  However my friend found this later, stuck it on me and I was surprised to find it suited me, so it got added to the bag!
Real Techniques stippling brush, £11.99
I have heard about stipple bruches for a while now and wanted to give them a try and real techniques were a brand I have heard nothing but good things about.  With my current Mac foundation I use sponges so new foundation time seems like a good time to invest!
Real Techniques starter set £21.99
I bought some amazing eyeshadows from Sugarpill Cosmetics in their black Friday sale but I have never been good with eye make up, so I thought some good brushes would help!  I will need some trial and error (I also need to do a review of my Sugarpill shadows too!) but hopefully I can have some funky make up soon!
Then there was lush...

Butterball Bathbomb, £2.50 and Phenix Rising bathbomb £3.25
Who can resist a couple of bath bombs when they go into lush? I know I can't, my friend talked me into getting butterball and I got Phenix Rising because it smells like Disney World (don't ask me why, I have no idea, I can not pin point it at all!)
Cupcake fresh facemask £5.95
Cupcake i tried last year on the recommendation of my friend Amy and I loved it.  I tried out lettuce last time but it didn't work for me so I am back on with this one.
Emotional Brilliance in Fantasy £14.50
I have seen these around in lush for a while but never tried them out, however my friend tested this on me in the store and I loved it.  I had been sent a tester from Sugarpill of a similar colour shadow that I wanted but couldn't justify.  Not only was this cheaper but it is easter to apply for what I want to use it for (essentially an eyeliner) but I think I need to play around and test out the different ways you can use it.  I was surprised at how bright the colours are considering its all natural, I was given an eyeliner, eyeshadow and mascara applicator so it must be pretty versatile! 
Vanillary solid perfume £6.50 and Karma solid perfume £5.00
I saw on a blog somewhere a while ago that someone had tried these solid perfumes and loved them.  I did have perfume on my list but nothing specific and I was at a bit of a loss ( I feel like by 25 I should have a signature sent or something).  When I smelt vanillary I fell in love and when I saw the price I fell in love with it even more!  So with that in mind I got the karma, which reminds me of nice clean baths haha.  At the end of the day even after all the shopping I could still smell this on me which never happens with normal perfumes so I had to say I was impressed.
Wearing Illimasqua foundation, fake up concealer, Sugarpill eyeshadows, Benifit they're real mascara, revlon powder blush, revlon colourburst matte balm, natural collection translucent powder and fantasy eyeliner.

I went out the day after I bought these and tried some of these products for the first time.  It's not the greatest picture ever but it will give you some idea of the results for now.  (Bare in mind this was taken in a toilet after a couple of vodkas, classy I know)

So there you have it, I am happy but poor.  Have you got or tried any of these?  I would love to know your thoughts.  Also let me know if there are any of these you would like me to review as I will try and do some soon

Kariss xx

22 January 2014

Museum Selfie Day!

Now I LOVE museums, in fact I have given myself a life goal of trying to visit everyone in the UK.  Trust me that is going to take a while!  Anyway since I started this blog I have been trying to post my experiences of them and I have a few up on here (and lots more that I haven't written yet!) .  It has become a tradition in these places for me to try and take a picture of myself in a ridiculous hat!  It's amazing how many museums have hats for you to try on! (I think there supposed to be for children but shhhh) So without further adieu, here are some of my museum selfies!

First up my home town of Barnsley's new museum opened last year so I went to check it out, it was a lot of fun and I keep popping in now and then to see the new stuff they have going on, (I am really excited about their women against pit closures exhibition happening in spring so expect a post about that).  It's really made a huge improvement for the town and I also managed 3 pictures of me looking ridiculous so a winner all round.  You can check out my post about it here.

Then it was onto the Ripon museums with my mum and sister for more fun with hats!  You can check that post out here.

Next up for stupid faces, me and my friend visited the Museum of Lincolnshire Life that I somehow had never been to, despite having lived in lincoln for 7 years! Lots of silliness, check out my post on it here.

I went to the Household Cavalry Museum a couple of months ago with my boyfriend and we took this picture, exspect me to do a post on this in the near future.

Not quite a selfie but here is a picture of me and my sister at the stonemasons hall that we went on a tour of recently, another post I need to write soon!

Lastly here is a really unflattering selfie of me on top of St Pauls cathedral, another blog post I am yet to write!

I didn't take any pictures of myself but I did go to the Natural History Museum so if you want to catch that post (along with some other cool stuff I did in London) you can check that out here. I hope you enjoyed this, hopefully by museum selfie day next year I will have more to add, now I better go as it seems I have lots of catching up to do!


21 January 2014

Books of 2013: Part 7

We are getting there!  This is the penultimate 2013 book blog post, I sure read a lot of books! So here we go.

The Hunting of the Snark is Lewis Carroll’s epic nonsense poem, first published in 1876. Though Carroll’s peculiar wit and imagination are evident here, this work, unlike his earlier Alice books, is a much darker tale. Here, ten characters whose names begin with the letter B disappear, go mad, and find themselves struggling to navigate an impossible path through a nonsensical world. Throughout the poem there is a prevailing atmosphere of disorder and chaos, heightened by Carroll’s descriptions of grotesque creatures such as the Bandersnatch and the Jubjub bird and his characteristic use of invented words—such as uffish, beamish, and frumious.
The meaning of the poem, and of the Snark itself, has been the subject of much debate, but nevertheless it remains a fun and lively read thanks to its combination of strangeness and whimsy. This new facsimile edition of the 1876 original is richly bound in red cloth with gold embossing and features reproductions of the original illustrations by Henry Holiday. This edition of the The Hunting of the Snark will be a treasured gift and collector’s item for fanciful readers of all ages.

I am a big fan of Alice in Wonderland and yet I hadn't really read any of Lewis Carrol's other works, so when I spied this unique edition of 'The Huntington and the Snark' at the British Library I had to buy it.  Its a nonsense poem in the true meaning of the phrase.  Its fun, crazy, very imaginative, perfect for children and the original illustrations are great, defiantly worth a read.

Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him as he tries to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination, but an answer. In heaven, five people explain your life to you. Some you knew, others may have been strangers. One by one, from childhood to soldier to old age, Eddie's five people revisit their connections to him on earth, illuminating the mysteries of his "meaningless" life, and revealing the haunting secret behind the eternal question: "Why was I here?

I had heard lots about this book from various people over the years but didn't totally know what it was about.  The title gives some ideas obviously but I wasn't really sure on the situation, I think in my head I expected it to be a 'If you could invite 5 people to dinner' kind of thing.  However it was so much better then that.  I saw this well read copy of it in a charity shop and this just seemed to add to the charm.  I know this made a lot of people cry, I didn't have this reaction but I did find it lovely, sweet and stirred that need for nostalgia we all crave.

Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life.Now Tony is in middle age. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove. 

Another charity shop find that I had been eyeing for a while without really knowing anything about it.  Honestly I don't think its an easy book to explain to people, the writing style was unusual but its hard to pin-point why.  The book seemed a little like it was trying to be overly intelligent which sort of got in the way of actually making you connect with the character, but possibly your not supposed to.  This book is famed for its 'twist' but i really didn't find it that surprising, maybe I am just jaded.  It was interesting but but it didn't engage me emotionally, I think I was expecting too much.

Set amid the austere beauty of the North Carolina coast, The Notebook begins with the story of Noah Calhoun, a rural Southerner recently returned form the Second World War. Noah is restoring a plantation home to its former glory, and he is haunted by images of the beautiful girl he met fourteen years earlier, a girl he loved like no other. Unable to find her, yet unwilling to forget the summer they spent together, Noah is content to live with only memories...until she unexpectedly returns to his town to see him once again.Like a puzzle within a puzzle, the story of Noah and Allie is just the beginning. As it unfolds, their tale miraculously becomes something different, with much higher stakes. The result is a deeply moving portrait of love itself, the tender moments and the fundamental changes that affect us all. It is a story of miracles and emotions that will stay with you forever.

OK, I know I have stated this before but I really dislike romance novels, however I figured that Nicolas Sparks is such a well renowned writer that there must be something good in it and as it was in a charity shop I wasn't spending much money on the risk, so why not.  However I should have stuck with my instincts, this book would have been disappointing if it was actually expecting anything at all.  The plus side is that it is a majorly easy read and it doesn't take much thought so you can wizz through it.  However the writing is really awful.  Its not that the book is that bad but the writing is just...appalling.  For a start its painfully repetitive, the same descriptions and phrases are repeated every couple of pages 'His eyes are like pools'' yeah yeah we get it for the 50th time.  However the 'sex' scene is one of the funniest things I have ever read, it wasn't supposed to be however.

"Dear Claire, I had a stressful weekend. It would be nice to come home and not be made to feel guilty. I hope school was interesting. There's some of the chicken (which was very good, by the way) left over. See you for breakfast. I want to talk to you about something. Mom"
Beautifully told through notes left on their kitchen fridge, this is an intimate portrait of the relationship between a hard-working mother and her teenage daughter.
Stunningly sad but ultimately uplifting, it is about being a 'good mother' or a 'good daughter', and is a reminder of how much can be said in so few words, if only we made the time to say them.

This is another library find that I really liked the promise of, a whole book written in notes.  However it was hugely disappointing, it was dull and because it was so short it had no depth whatsoever, or as I wrote on my goodreads "all the depth of a teaspoon".  Despite being about such a tragic subject I felt nothing but mild irritation towards the characters. 

16 January 2014

Christmas Haul 2013

Christmas and the new year has come and gone, and I am just about recovered.  As I mentioned before I've had a very busy Christmas this year and after I'd opened my gifts and had some family time I was soon whisking myself up north to Cumbria to visit my boyfriends' family before traveling back to my boyfriends in Hertford, having a quick stop off in London before finally heading back home to Yorkshire.  This all meant I didn't really get a chance to really look at all the loverly things people got my for Christmas.  So I thought now I am back I'd take photo's of some of the things I got and share them with you so I can really appreciate how lucky I have been and remember it in later years.

Food and Drink

First off, edibles!  Surprisingly I only got a little bit of chocolate this year.....O.K that's a lie, I had tons its just that this is all I have left!  I took a lot of it to my boyfriends with me in an attempt to get rid of most of it before the new year starts (other people do this too right?) and heres what I have left.  Honestly I got so much this year!  I also got some alcohol this year, no longer the bottles of vodka that I used to get but wine, so I must be growing up right?  The black bottle is a cocktail drink that looks and sounds amazing and I can't wait to try it (looks like the perfect partner for whitby goth weekend to be honest).  I did get a little vodka, but this was personalised fizzy pink vodka with gold flakes, so it's defiantly sophisticated! (o.k maybe not...but apparently fizzy vodka does get you drunk very fast, I will have to perform a controller experiment at some point...)


Of course I got a lot of books!  This is pretty much all I put on my christmas list this year, so I was happy that I most of my lust!  As well as the novels I'd asked for I also got this beautiful copy of the complete Sherlock Holmes from my boyfriend (I know I've mentioned this before but I collect these editions and I will blog about them in the future, there so pretty!) and also some really cute hardback classics from my sister.  I'm not going to go into them too much as no doubt I will be doing a review of them at some point.  If you have read any of these I would love to know your thoughts.

I also got this amazing pop-up edition of Alice in Wonderland I have been eying up for a while.  Its so detailed with lots of little pull outs that I feel totally legitimate having this as an adult, no children are allowed near this book!  It is honestly stunning!

Bath and Beauty

I was lucky enough to get 2 lots of lush stuff this year, one bath bomb from my friend and another from my secret santa.  I also got a Cath Kidston travel bag, travel set and mirror from my boyfriends family which is great because I love Cath Kidston and I'm always traveling somewhere.  I also got this sweet smelling beautiology bath set, animal nail polish and amazing hello kitty make up box.  I currently have no make up table so this is perfect for finally getting my make up off the floor!

I also got this amazing Ted Baker bath set from my parents, perfect for when I need to relax and a nail stamping set and disney nail files from my boyfriends parents.  I've never seen a set like this before but it looks pretty strait forward so I am looking forward to testing it out soon!

FInally my dad also bought me some vouchers for our local beauticians that I will no doubt be spending on a massage after a stressful day at work!


The R2D2 dress I picked and my mum bought me for christmas, I'm looking forward to wearing this in the summer with some trainers when I've lost a bit of weight.  You have got to let your inner geek shine through!  I also got this stunning hearts and roses dress, I had this open in my bowser for so long that I finally put it on my christmas list and I am so glad i did.  Its really well made and looks great on, its 50s and subtly nautical, everything I love.  I also got this super comfortable Cheshire Cat onsie from my sister.  As you have probably guessed I love anything alice and this is so warm and fluffy too.

The accessories I received were also great.  Amazing sparkle socks (i love frilly socks), a long necklace from a friend and a rockabilly style broach, polka dot tights, hello kitty ear muffs and slippers.  All of which is super cute and very me!

Everything Else

I have such eclectic tastes that I got a crazy range of gifts.  I have to say I am very lucky and I really appreciate everything I received!  I got everything from a jigsaw roll ( I have a secret love for jigsaws) my little pony teddies, alice decorations, super hero stuff, a Starbucks gift card, tickets to see 2 of my favourite bands live (Funeral for a Friend and Faderhead), brave on DVD (my favourite disney princess!), Back to the Future lego and star wars risk.  I can't wait to play!

I had a great Christmas this year, and not just in the obvious way but I saw everyone I love and it was one of the best christmases I've had as an adult.  How was your christmas? Did we get any of the same gifts?  I would love to know

Kariss xx

6 January 2014

Books of 2013: Part 6

Short listed for the Richard & Judy Book Club 2007. An uplifting story set in Los Angeles about one man's effort to bring himself back to life. Richard is a modern day everyman; a middle-aged divorcee trading stocks out of his home. He has done such a good job getting his life under control that he needs no one. His life has slowed almost to a standstill, until two incidents conspire to hurl him back into the world. One day he wakes up with a knotty cramp in his back, which rapidly develops into an all-consuming pain. At the same time a wide sinkhole appears outside his living room window, threatening the foundations of his house. A vivid novel about compassion and transformation, "This Book Will Save Your Life" reveals what can happen if you are willing to open up to the world around you.

This book is the autonomy of 'meh'.  I read it, it was vaguely enjoyable, and that was it.  I felt nothing for any of the characters and didn't think about it afterwards.  It just happened and now its over. Its not a bad book but there isn't really much point to it, don't go out of your way to pick this up.

Now in paperback, the New York Times bestseller that takes readers on a riotous journey through the mind of one of America's premier comics George Carlin's legendary irreverence and iconoclasm are on full display in When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? as he vainly scours the American landscape for signs of intelligence in his third national bestseller. Ranging from his absurdist side (Message from a Cockroach; TV News: The Death of Humpty Dumpty; Tips for Serial Killers) to his unerring ear for American speech (Politician Talk; Societal Clichs; Euphemisms: 13 sections) to his unsparing views on America and its values (War, God, Stuff Like That; Zero Tolerance; Tired of the Handi-crap), Carlin delivers everything that his fans expect, and then adds a few surprises. Carlin on the battle of the sexes: Here's all you have to know about men and women: Women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.

I listened to this as part of the booktubeathon which I failed spectacularly.  This was for the audio book challenge.  I don't normally like audiobooks, and the only one I've listened to since I was a child was The Fault in our Stars and that was after I'd read the book so I already knew the story.  I was worried that I wouldn't be able to take it in properly in audio form as I wouldn't be able to focus enough, and this proved to be true.  I love George Carlin to death, I think he was a genius and I've seen most of his stand up so I thought this would be a good choice for the challenge, unfortunately this wasn't the case.  The bits I remembered were really good and typical to his style, some of it was taken directly from his stand up, but audio books just don't work for me.  I've decided not to rate this book because I couldn't take it in properly in this format so it doesn't seem fair.

Horror hides behind an attractive face in The Picture of Dorian Gray,Oscar Wilde's tale of a notorious Victorian libertine and his life of evil excesses. Though Dorian's hedonistic indulgences leave no blemish on his ageless features, the painted portrait imbued with his soul proves a living catalogue of corruption, revealing in its every new line and lesion the manifold sins he has committed. Desperate to hide the physical evidence of his unregenerate spirit, Dorian will stop at nothing--not even murder--to keep his picture's existence a secret.

Another one from my beautiful Barnes and Nobel leather bound collection.  On the whole I really enjoyed this book, I've read a couple of reviews that says they appreciate it more then enjoyed it and I can see where there coming from.  Its amazingly well written, descriptive and has a great story line, but there was one chapter that I hated.  Not only did I not like this chapter but it seemed to add nothing to the story, it really dragged the book down for me.  As always Wilde's dialogue is impeccable and the thing I always enjoy the most, famous quotes galore!  oh that wit!

Jarvis Cocker is widely regarded as one of the most original and memorable lyricists and performers of the last three decades. Here, for the first time, is a selection of sixty-six lyrics, presented with commentary and an introduction by the man himself.
In this volume, readers (and Pulp fans) will find such classic Jarvis lyrics as ‘Common People’, ‘Disco 2000’, ‘Babies’, ‘This is Hardcore’ and ‘Do You Remember the First Time?’. The selection, assembled by the author, reveals a sensibility that is unmistakeably Jarvis: a sometimes visceral, sometimes everyday take on love, relationships and the things we do to each other when the lights get low.
Mother, Brother, Lover takes the reader on a thirty-year tour into the life, art and preoccupations of one of the great British artists of the late-twentieth century. Shocking, sharp, clever and funny, it is a beautiful collection of lyrics and commentary.

If you have been following this blog for a while you will know that I love song lyrics.  There are always some song or another that will stick with you at a time in your life when you need it, and Jarvis Cocker is the king of relatable lyrics.  I've loved pulp for years and was luckily enough to see them live this year so as soon as I saw this book I had to buy it and read it immediately.  I was a little disappointed with it however, there were plenty of songs I loved in it but I wanted more of an insight into what they were about, what inspired them etc but the explanations were minimal unfortunately.  

In a memoir hailed for its searing candor and wit, Alice Sebold reveals how her life was utterly transformed when, as an eighteen-year-old college freshman, she was brutally raped and beaten in a park near campus. What propels this chronicle of her recovery is Sebold's indomitable spirit -- as she struggles for understanding; as her dazed family and friends sometimes bungle their effords to provide comfort and support; and as, ultimately, she triumphs, managing through grit and coincidence to help secure her attacker's arrest and conviction. In a narrative in turns disturbing, thrilling, and inspiring, Alice Sebold illuminates the experience of trauma victim even as she imparts wisdom profoundly won: "You save yourself or you remain unsaved.

Another of my library sale finds.  This is a powerful memoir set around a horrific event.  I don't really know what to say other then go out and buy it.  Its not for the weakhearted due to the subject matter but it manages to be hopeful despite the awful things that happened to her.  Its hard to believe that this is a real person and not a character at times, its a very emotional book, I defiantly recommend it.

5 January 2014

Selfies of 2013

Time for a bit of narcissism!  I've not been feeling great about myself lately, in fact I am currently feeling pretty dam awful.  Post christmas has left me a lot heavier, my skin is bad, my hairs a state and looking through these photos I can tell I've aged this year.  With that in mind, I've seen this 'selfies of 2013' tag floating around on tumblr and a few other places and I thought maybe this would make me feel a little better and remind me of some of the stuff I've done this year.  So without further adieu, on to my face!

So just a little run down left to right:

1. At the start of this year, when I was still living alone in Hull, filming a youtube video, a project that quickly failed
2. After moving back to my parents, in an attempt to reconnect with people, before heading on a night out to the Wendyhouse
3.I got all dressed up then ended up just sitting at home playing monopoly with my family
4.Dressed up in a last minute Tonks costume for my sisters 17th Birthday in February
5. When I moved back home I was without a job for most of the year and I didn't really know anyone, as a result I attempted to regress.  This is a pic from one of the many monday student nights I attended, in the toilets no less, keeping it classy!
6. A year highlight, meeting matt from Funeral For a Friend after a gig, something I'd dreamt about since I was about 14
7. Another student night, I also tried to dress the same as i did when I was 17
8. After months of playing I made my hair the perfect colour pink!
9. Attending my first silent disco with an old friend I hadn't seen in ten years
10. Minnie Mouse for my friends birthday
11. All dressed up for resistanz festival in April
12.  I spent most of the year attending theatre interview after theatre interview, heres one of my suits
13. Drunk before going to see The Specials
14. At Slam Dunk South with my friend, we had a great day, and it ended with me and my boyfriend becoming 'official' and having a very important heart to heart confessional at 5.30 am with no sleep!
15. On my way to a gig, all I remember was it was stupidly hot and the weird goth girl on the bus on the middle of summer was getting some strange looks!
16. Before one of the few football matches I attended this year
17. At my friends birthday, trying on an Ariel wig, still considering dying my hair this colour
18. Meeting an old friend, complete with beanie and fake lip piercing, turning me back to the emo teen I once was!
19.Trying on some elf ears
20. I couldn't afford a Halloween costume so I nocked together this wednesday adams look
21. Me and my boyfriend in London
22. Ready for a night out in Soho with my sis
23. Before my first ever christmas party at my new job after a huge career change
24.Before my last night out of the year in sheffield, super goth hight boot apparel in front of the tree (my dad insisted)
25. My make up on the above night complete with freaky eyebrows, I am aware I look like an alien...

So there you are, I tag anyone who might need a little post holiday season pick me up!


3 January 2014

Books 2013: Part 5

Hello, remember me?  Its been a while!  I've been ill on and off for months and when I finally got a chance to relax over Christmas I decided to lock the laptop away.  A whole 2 weeks away from the internet!  I spent part of Christmas with my family, part with my boyfriend's family, and part just with my boyfriend.  It was great and really refreshing, but now I have so much to catch up on!  We are past the half way mark with my books of 2013!  So lets get on with books 21-25!
Sloppy Seconds: The Tucker Max Leftovers by Max Tucker

Tucker Max’s books—I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell, Assholes Finish First, and Hilarity Ensues—are a uniquely engaging trilogy composed of his best, craziest stories. They’ve sold millions of copies to fans all over the world. Their success has meant his success.

As a thank you to those who have loved the stories and supported him for so long, Tucker has gone back through his massive archive of material one last time, culled out what you might call the “best of the rest,” and arranged it here, in Sloppy Seconds, like a book version of Deleted Scenes.

Unlike most deleted scenes, however, these don’t suck. So enjoy.

In my third year of university, when I was trying to avoid essays or cleaning *cough* all the time *cough*  I used to go to my housemate Dave's room and bug him while he worked.  At some point he started reading me aspects of Tucker Max's first book I hope they serve beer in hell and I thought it was hilarious!  Soon my little visits mostly consisted of me laying on his bed, picking up the book and reading a couple of chapters, until soon i'd finished the whole book.  I was happy because I thought they were funny, Dave was happy because I was actually leaving him to do his work.

I had assumed this book was a one off because of its anecdotal nature, however I found out this year he had another 3 and this one was available free as an ebook.  Now I don't have any form of ereader so I just downloaded the PDF and got stuck in.  Now I have to admit that reading this 4 years later I did feel differently and now that my views have changed I struggled with this book morally.  For those who don't know, Max Tucker is famous for getting drunk and sleeping with women.  That's it.  He gets himself in some ridiculous situations and writes the story up and turns them into books.  The problem is that he completely takes advantages of these women, they are normally always waisted and they have all there embarrassment written up and published.  Although this didn't seem to concern me so much when I was younger but reading it now made me feel less then great.  On top of that the stories are generally less interesting, and because of the successes of his first book he is getting laid more then ever from women who are drunk and willing to do anything extreme for him to get into the book, it looses a bit of the charm it once had (if you could ever call it that).  You will not like Max Tucker, but your not supposed to, he is an out and out dooshbag and proud of it.  Will that stop you enjoying his book?  Probably not, you will laugh, but it might not feel great about it.

Tally thought they were a rumor, but now she's one of them. A Special. A superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid. 
But maybe being perfectly programmed with strength and focus isn't better than anything she's ever known. Tally still has memories of something else. 
But it's easy for her to tune that out--until she's offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she's programmed to complete. Either way, Tally's world will never be the same.

It speaks volumes that I have to read the blurb of this book to remind myself what happened, I think I mentioned this with the last 2 books but this series has all just melded together in my mind.  I found this a little more interesting then the others and a little less cheesy, but the cliché factor is still there.  I wish I could flesh out this review more but honestly, I've forgotten most of this book, and the series.

At fifteen, Georg comes upon a letter written to him by his dying father, to be read when he comes of age. Their two voices make a fascinating dialogue as Georg comes to know the father he can barely remember, then is challenged by him to answer some profound questions. The central mystery of The Orange Girl is the story of an elusive young woman for whom Georg’s father searches in Oslo and Seville—and whom Georg finally realizes is his mother. This is a thought-provoking fairy-tale romance imbued with a sense of awe and wonder. Jostein Gaarder is the author of Sophie's World, a huge bestseller in over 40 countries.

This book took my completely by surprise, I picked it up in a sale at my local library for 20p simply because it was by the same person who wrote Sophies' World ( a book I've had on my shelf at least a year and not got round to reading) and decided to give it a go, and I'm so glad I did.  Its really hard to sum this book up but it really is magical in the mundane, its essentially just someone telling a story about two people but its so well done that it makes you just feel intrigued and happy.  Its a hidden romance novel, and I hate romance so that just proves how good this book is.  I feel like this book should be much more well read then it is and I am really underselling it because it's so hard to explain what makes this book so amazing but theres just something there.  I urge you to pick it up if you ever have the chance.

'Panic?' said Rincewind hopefully. He always held that panic was the best means of survival.

When the very fabric of time and space are about to be put through the wringer - in this instance by the imminent arrival of a very large and determinedly oncoming meteorite - circumstances require a very particular type of hero. Sadly what the situation does not need is a singularly inept wizard, still recovering from the trauma of falling off the edge of the world. Equally it does not need one well-meaning tourist and his luggage which has a mind of its own. Which is a shame because that's all there is...

The first post I ever wrote on this blog was a review if this book, so I'll link it here and won't say too much because if you want a full review, it's there.  What I will say is, this book saved the discworld series for me, if I'd only picked up the first book I might have been tempted to not continue, however I LOVE so many of the characters in this book and it's genuinly funny I have the third book on my shelf ready to go so I need to get stuck in at some point

This doesn't have a blurb but its a collection of plays.  Being an ex-drama student, I love a good play.  I've had this collection since university and I've dipped into it a lot so I figured it's about time I finished it off.  I find plays are good to read if you want to get back into the swing of reading as because of the dialogue you can wizz through them quite fast.  I am a fan of Ravenhill's plays so I knew I'd like this, however what I will say is this isn't for the faint of heart.  Personally I love dark, series, issue based theatre so it's great for me, however do not read if you are easily offended
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