Monday, June 22, 2015

May Reads

Better late than never

May Reads

Scott Pilgrim Vs. the Universe by Bryan Lee O’Malley

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Instalment 5 out of 6 in the Scott Pilgrim series. As per usual, Scott is fighting one of Ramona’s Evil Exes. I was all set to read book 6 after this, only to discover my library doesn’t have a copy! Grrr. I then ordered it into my local Irish library when I was home last month and while I had ordered it in enough time for it to arrive, turns out the driver was ill that week and there was no deliveries. I will finish this soon though!

 

 

 

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan

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I kept seeing this on Goodreads last year and it even won the Goodreads Choice Awards in for Non-Fiction last year and I was always intrigued. So when I nabbed a copy at work I set about reading it straightaway. The story of the book itself is sad, as Keegan died in a car crash shortly after graduating at the young age of 22. The book is a mixture of short stories as well as essays, most of which deal with the idea of uncertainty and just embracing life, that everything will just be OK. I think I preferred the essays over the short stories but I did enjoy those too. It’s interesting to read the thoughts of someone on the brink of graduation and the uncertainty you feel then. I know I did when I was finishing university and I still feel like that now actually, with this upcoming move.

 

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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THE book of the year so far (though Mr Grey might be challenging that at the moment and Go Set a Watchman has yet to come out). The number one question I get asked at work is ‘Is this out in paperback yet?’ (No, not until January). So I had to pick this up to see what the hype is. It centres around Rachel, an alcoholic who’s life has fallen down around her and the only thing that comforts her is her commute in and out of London each day. The train stops at a certain junction and from her, Rachel sees a couple in a house and has built up a story around this man and woman (who she calls Jess and Jason). One day Rachel sees something that doesn’t fit in with her story and she gets off the train to investigate. However, being an alcoholic, her memory of this is patchy and with her ex-husband and his new wife and baby in the same neighbour, it spells a lot of trouble for Rachel, as she struggles to find out the truth about ‘Jess and Jason’ as well as come to terms with her crappy life. I did enjoy the book, it’s a quick read and not too predictable. A bit frustrating at times and I know a few people who have struggled with not liking the main character but I found myself rooting for her a bit. If you liked Gone Girl you’ll enjoy this, I enjoyed it more than Gone Girl actually.

 

Always the Bridesmaid by Lindsey Kelk

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I enjoy Kelk’s I Heart series so when she was doing an in store signing I decided to pick up a signed copy. Maddie’s life has turned upside down. Her best friend Lauren has just announced she’s getting married, just as her other best friend Sarah announces she’s getting divorced. Maddie’s ex has just had a child and on top of that, her boss is a psychopath. Maddie is struggling to help Lauren plan her wedding (who is taking advantage of Maddie being an events organizer) while also trying to cheer Sarah up. I did find this a bit predictable; best friends falling out being a wedding due to bridezilla affect but making up just before it, the main character being stuck in a love triangle where one of them turns out to be a bastard and main character succeeding finally in the workplace. I was frustrated at times with Maddie for not sticking up for herself. But overall I still enjoyed it and this would be the perfect light hearted read for the beach.

 

Darkmouth by Shane Hegarty

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I picked this up as it was the children’s book of the month last month and another bookseller said she enjoyed it. It centres around Finn, who’s family comes from a long line of Legend Hunters (monster hunters to you and me). It’s Finn’s turn to train to become as good as his legendary father but Finn is a little bit useless and would much rather be a vet. In this book we see Finn get into scrapes with all sorts of Legends, along with his new (and only friend) Emmie. I loved all the drawings in the book, it added so much to the story and the Legends. You really find yourself rooting for Finn and I’ve given this to my 12 year old brother, who hopefully will enjoy it too. I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment!

 

Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum

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I had read a bit of hype around Hausfrau so I decided to request it on NetGalley. It’s the story of Anna, an American living in Switzerland with her Swiss husband Bruno and their Swiss children, living next door to her Swiss mother-in-law. Everything to Anna still seems strange and alien to her, despite living her for years. So she decides to start taking German classes, where she has an affair with another one of the students. This is not Anna’s first affair, which she finds herself falling into due to her emotionally detached husband. Throughout the novel there are parts where Anna is talking to a therapist but I hated these parts, mainly because she was lying and they seemed to slow down the story for me. Essbaum does a good job of adding some tension to the story, there is always this vibe that Bruno is quite threatening but overall I was dissatisfied with this book, especially since I guessed the ending. I would like to read some of Essbaum’s poetry actually as she does have a nice turn of phrase at times.

 

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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Sloane and Emily are the best of friends, with Sloane being the more outgoing one who encourages Emily to break out of her shell. But right before the beginning of what should be an epic summer, Sloane just disappears, leaving only a list of 13 things Emily should do this summer. At first Emily is confused and thinks summer is ruined. However she strikes up an unlikely friendship with Frank Porter, who decides to help her tick off some of this list. Slowly Emily starts to be more adventurous while learning not to live in Sloane’s shadow. I enjoyed this YA novel, I enjoyed seeing Emily grow more as a person as she learned to make new friends and find out who she is without her best friend at her hip. It had an air of Sarah Dessen’s Last Chance (Or Keeping the Moon as I know it as) about it, which was one of my favourite books as a teenager. A very summery read!

 

When to Rob a Bank by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

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This is a collection of blog posts from the Freakonomics blog. I didn’t know Levitt and Dubner were even bringing out a book this year until I saw it at work! If you’re looking for another Freaknomics or Superfreaknomics, then this is not it. This is good however if you are not a reader of the blog (like myself) and want someone to dip in and out of. The posts are short, so you can just read a post or just a chapter at a time. I did find it interesting but I do crave something like Freaknomics, something that goes more in depth on subjects. It’s been too long!

 

 

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell

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I love watching Jen Campbell’s YouTube videos and seeing as I am now a bookseller myself, I decided to pick this up. It’s a very short read but I found it very funny. I’ve heard some similar things while working, I once found a post-it note on a table that said ‘Do not buy this as I licked it’! This week, thanks to the new Grey book, I heard a husband tell his wife ‘well now that you have you wank bank material in writing, you should be happy’ *shudder* If you’ve ever worked in retail, any kind of retail, you’ll appreciate this!

 

 

May Stats

Number of books read- 9
Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 6:3
Male to Female authors- 3:6
Number of eBooks- 3 (The Girl on the Train, Hausfrau, Since You’ve Been Gone)
Number of books borrowed from library- 2 (Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe, Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops)

Reading Challenge Completed

Funny Book- Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

A mystery or thriller- The Girl on the Train

A book based on its cover- The Opposite of Loneliness (as it was the cover that attracted me in the first place)

While I started the Fem-Tellectual challenge in May, I didn’t finish it until a good few days into June so I’ll add it there instead. I feel like a picked up the pace in terms of the number of books I read though this is because I read quite a bit when I was home for a week.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Life Update

So it's been almost a month since I last posted, right in the middle of Blog Every Day in May. Truth be told, I just wasn't feeling it. I really enjoyed it last year and started off this year enjoying it but as it went on I felt like I was forcing myself to go through with it, which meant the quality wasn't what I wanted it to be and it took all the fun out of it.

Though mainly I've been distracted. My boyfriend started working back home in Ireland in March, as part of a 12 week temporary move. Except now it's turned into a 12 month relocation and we have to move. Which is proving very tough and stressful because his company changed their relocation policy at the beginning of the year and are providing us with no relocation support. This is the second time I've been left to deal with the house while my boyfriend has already relocated but he should be back for a week soon enough to help me deal with packing and cleaning. It's proving even harder this time around because I have no car here in Manchester, meaning I can't get boxes and do things like drop stuff off at charity shops and the likes. There are number of other stressful things happening too (including my laptop screen breaking, though luckily I can use it with an external screen) and I just can not wait for June and all the stress to be over!

On top of this, I am heartbroken to be leaving the job I started in February. I love working in a bookshop and I love the people I work it. I look forward to going into work and enjoy what I do so much. I just hope I can find a job that I love as much once I move back home. I'm lucky that I can spend the rest of July in Manchester living with a cousin so I can spend as much time at work as I can. And I am heartbroken to be leaving behind some great friends I've made too. And Manchester, which I have grown to love.

I guess it's not all doom and gloom. As easy as it is for me to concentrate on the negative (glass half empty person that I am), there are some good things. Like being able to stay the extra month in Manchester til the end of July. And the fact that I'll be close enough to home once I move back. Which suits me really well, seeing as I'm a big home bird! This being a temporary move, who knows where we'll be in 12 months time. maybe even back in Manchester! I'm not a huge fan of not knowing but as it is, there's not much I can do about it except try and accept it and relax.

Now, if anyone is a fan of packing things up, you're more than welcome to come and help me!! I'll make you a lovely cake.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pokeball Cookies #BEDM

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We recently had a manga event at work, which had a Pokemon theme. To mark the occasion I decided to make some pokeball cookies! Now, I had made some before years ago for a friend when I was in university. But I couldn’t remember how I did it or where I got the inspiration from. I just remember it took forever to make the icing black. So this time round, when I decided I was going to do this, I had plain vanilla sugar cookies in mind, with red, white and black royal icing (thinking I’d make the black icing chocolate to get it as dark as possible before adding black food dye). However, then I came across this video from Nerdy Nummies, which made the cookie dough and split it in half and coloured one half red. Then the dough was chilled, cut in half and the two different halves glued together with egg wash. It was soooo much simpler to do it this way (mine was a bit of a disaster as it didn’t glue properly and kept coming apart when I cut but luckily once the cookie is cut off the cylinder, a cookie cutter is used to make it perfectly round). In the end I used a premade black icing from Lakeland for minimum stress and used mini marshmallows as the white dots in the centre. They were a hit on the night and tasty yummy, if I do say so myself!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Model’s Own Magpie Green #BEDM

I bought 5 polishes when Model’s Own had a half price sale at the end of January. This is one of the polishes I bought. I had wanted it when it first came out but held off getting any. I did like the purple one too but alas I limited myself during this sale.

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Wishlist #BEDM

I always love a good wishlist post every now and again. Though this time around I was a bit stuck. My no-limit wishlist is a holiday, a car, a new laptop and new phone, in that order. I haven’t been on holiday for ages, we are currently without a car, my 5 year old laptop is on its last legs and my second hand 5 year old iPhone is just a bit sad. But they’re all manageable really. Oh and I want someone to clean my entire house!

I have put together a smaller wishlist, of bits and pieces I’d like. Of course, there’s some nail polish in there. There always is! I posted these in my Confessions of a Nail Polish Addict post the other day but here they are again.

Nail polish wants

Clockwise from top left: Butter London Bit Faker, Candy Lacquer Licorice Allsorts, Hare Polish Flight of the Flamingo, Revlon Whimsical

My bag is a really cheap Primark satchel which I love but the handle is beginning to break and I haven’t had it all that long either, a few months. I need to get another Vendula London bag. I had one for years and it lasted me well. I like the look of this one.

vendula

Umbrella messenger bag by Vendula London

I want a bath. A nice, long, hot bath. Not having a bath in my flat really makes me crave a bath! I have lots of lovely products I could use but Lush recently opened a new flagship store on Oxford St in London and there’s over 200 products you can only buy there. Including The Comforter Shower Gel. I LOVE The Comforter Bubble Bar and can’t wait to get my hands on this.

comforter shower gel

Working in a bookshop, I want ALL the books I see. There’s so many of them, especially in the cookbook section that catch my eye. I’ve wanted Tequila Mockingbird for ages now, I might have already posted it in a previous wishlist. I think I’ll treat myself next payday!

tequilla mockingbird

That’s it! Pretty short wishlist for me and shockingly no flamingos! Though I still want all the flamingo things. I’ll always want all the flamingo things.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Darkness Into Light 2015 #BEDM

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So last year for BEDM I did a post for Darkness Into Light 2014. In case you don’t know what Darkness Into Light (DIL) is, it’s a 5km walk that starts at 4am in the dark and by the time you finish, the sun is rising and it’s beginning to get light. The walk is in aid of Pieta House, who raise awareness about self-harm and suicide and provide services for those that need it.

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Last year I did the walk in London with my brother and this year, my fourth year walking it, I was joined again by my brother and my boyfriend. We did the walk in Manchester ,starting at the Irish World Heritage Centre. It was the first time the walk had many international locations besides London and Sydney (which happened for the first time last year). The Irish communities in England, Scotland, USA, Canada and Australia came together to do the walk and raise awareness.  Overall, this is the seventh Darkness Into Light Walk and there’s no sign of it stopping!

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At the beginning of the walk with my boyfriend

As I’ve said before, mental health awareness is so important. There needs to be more acceptance so people can feel like they can talk. If you had something physically wrong with you, say a sore foot, there’s only so much suffering you’d endure before getting it checked out. The same should apply to mental health, don’t feel embarrassed and carry that dark cloud with you for longer than needed. There’s always someone you can talk to. Parent, sibling, partner, friend, family member, teacher, doctor. Don’t suffer alone in silence.

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Finish line!

If someone comes to you with problems, then please just listen. Sometimes people need someone to just listen to lighten their load. Don’t dismiss them and tell them ‘Get over it’ or ‘Just lighten up’. If you don’t think you can fully help them, then direct them to services such as Pieta House. You can donate to Pieta House here.

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Banner of Hope; Breakfast!

Friday, May 8, 2015

China Glaze Electric Nights in Point Me To the Party #BEDM

I originally saw this polish in JessFace90s video showing all the China Glaze Electric Nights collection. This one stood out to me, a matte glitter neon topper! Perfect for summer (and perfect for my matte glitter topper obsession).

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I put Point Me to the Party over Models Own Hypergel in White Light. I LOVE this look, I’m a big fan of looks over white for summer and this neon polish is amazing for it.

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