Sassy Books: Am I Normal Yet?

Tuesday, 27 October 2015
Hello everyone! Hope you all had a good reading month. Back for this month's Sassy Books post! If you don't know: Sassy Books is a book club I run every month with the lovely Charlotte where we pick a book and invite you all to read it alongside us. This month's book was Am I Normal Yet by Holly Bourne which is a YA novel about obsessive compulsive disorder. The main character is a teenage girl and the book is all about her trying to get back into 'normal' life whilst dealing with her illness. 

All Evie wants is to be normal. And now that she's almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the-girl-who-went-nuts, there's only one thing left to tick off her list... But relationships can mess with anyone's head - something Evie's new friends Amber and Lottie know only too well. The trouble is, if Evie won't tell them her secrets, how can they stop her making a huge mistake?

First off, this book covers quite a serious topic. OCD is still treated as a bit of a joke in today's society and people will often make jokes about people who are neat being OCD. The reality of OCD is that it is actually crippling and can affect people in so many ways. This book shows not only how OCD effects Evie but also her whole family. So this book does a great job of raising awareness for OCD but also makes you think about the way that we, as a society, treat it as an illness. There were times that I found it to be a bit difficult to read but it's important.

The story is pretty well paced and there were very few parts that I found to be slow. I read it quite quickly because of the chatty writing style but didn't find it to be one of those books that I couldn't put down. As much as I hate to admit it, at times I found the main character to be a little bit annoying. I think it's really hard for people to write teenage characters well. Not that the characters in this book were bad but at times could be very whiney and full of teenage angst. I know that doesn't sound all that positive but on the whole I still really enjoyed the book. I read a lot of YA fiction and love it but I just get the feeling that if you aren't keen on YA in the first place you probably won't enjoy this so that's something to consider. However,  I am definitely going to be checking out some more of Holly Bourne's books. She has another book called The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting but I also believe that Am I Normal Yet is the start of a series so I will definitely be picking up the next one for a read too! Overall I gave it 3/5 stars as even though I enjoyed the book there were elements I didn't enjoy. 

Posts by other bloggers participating in #SassyBooks: Colours and Carousels, Momentarily Dreaming, Shifting Tales, Life In Ginger, Shy Strange Manic, Conflakegirl's Musings.

But what about next month? As ever we are really keen to get as many people involved in the book club as possible each month. If you want to participate all you need to do is read the book and publish a review before/on the last Tuesday of the month. For November this will be the 24th of November. If you don't have a blog but want to participate anyway you can join in by tweeting about the book using the hashtag #sassybooks. For November we are going to be reading The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth(Amazon link here). This is a book about a girl who is sent to a camp that aims to 'cure' her from being gay by her family. It's an interesting idea for a book and I've heard many great things about it so I'm expecting it to be a good one!

Hope you can all join in!

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JellyBear Glasgow

Sunday, 25 October 2015

I love dessert. And it's a well known fact that even when you're full you can eat dessert because it goes into a totally different stomach right? So when meeting up with my bestest blogging chums in Glasgow there was one place in particular I wanted to visit. I'd first heard of JellyBear when Charlotte blogged about it. It's a dessert parlour in the Merchant City area of Glasgow and it looked divine. The sort of place that will most definitely induce a sugar rush. Perfect. When we arrived we ogled the menu for a good few minutes before ordering and heading upstairs to sit and wait on our desserts. They have a ton of actual tables but we headed straight for the bean bags with a tartan picnic blanket in the middle. It was the perfect place to sit back, relax and have a good old gossip. The decor in JellyBear was lovely. They had so many awesome/funny quotes up on the wall and the whole place had such a lovely vibe.

'But Hayley, what did you get to eat?' You cry.

When I was planning the trip to JellyBear I was almost certain that I was going to be getting ones of their sundaes. But I had a last minute change of heart and went for the cookie dough. Charlotte told me it was amazing and I cannot disagree. There are a ton of optional extras from ice cream flavours to toppings. So in the end I had the chocolate chip cookie dough with honeycomb ice cream and fudge. As you can see it looked amazing. It also smelt amazing and tasted even better. One of the best desserts I've had in a long, long time. I don't think it took me very long to put away either.

Charlotte ordered the cookie crumble sundae which comes with cookies, oreos, ice cream and more. It looked absolutely mouth watering and is probably what I'll order the next time I go. I've already decided I'm going back for more! Lis had a waffle with raspberry ripple ice cream and marshmallows. I'm a big fan of the waffles at Frankie and Benny's but I have a hunch these would be even better. Again, I'll have to return to try them for myself. Suddenly I seem very motivated to take a lot of trips to Glasgow! Morag is actually vegan but as they do a sorbet sundae too there was an option for her. It contained lots of different sorbets and fresh fruit as well. It was by far the most colourful dish out of the lot and I bet it was really refreshing. I absolutely love sorbet and most of the time choose it over ice cream so I can imagine this is also delicious.

If you've made it this far through the blog post without drooling then well done. I am drooling writing this. The next time I'm in Glasgow I'll definitely be heading back. In fact, I've came home to Edinburgh with photos and stories that are making all my Edinburgh friends want to go too. Maybe I'll take them...

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Switch to Witch

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Hello everyone! Can you believe that it's already been 5 months since exam season? A few of you will remember that I wrote a blog post with Witch Skincare about keeping your skin stress free for exam season. It's weird to think about how exams seemed like such a big deal at the time but 5 months on they're over and done with and we're all back at uni and we're back to worrying about the next lot. It's the 5th week of the semester. I guess it depends which uni you go to but at Edinburgh our semesters are 11 weeks long. So this time next week I'll be halfway through the semester. It feels like I went back yesterday. It is terrifying how quickly university goes. 

The lovely people at Witch Skincare have sent me another amazing parcel with lots of goodies to inspire me to switch it up this autumn as part of their #switchtowitch campaign. I usually switch up my skincare when the colder weather comes in anyway but I'm excited to get round to challenging myself to do other things as well!

So what was in my box?
  • Challenge Cards: 5 cards with 5 different challenges on them. Each one has an inspirational quote on one side an the challenge on the other. You'll find out what the challenges are later in the post. 
  • Hair chalks. 6 different colours of hair chalks. Perfect for adding a bold colour to your hair without the commitment.
  • The Little Book of Mindfulness. This little pocket sized books contains lots of challenges to yourself for tackling stress and slowing things down.
  • Some Witch Skincare goodies. I was very kindly given five full size Witch products and some little samples to give out to my friends. I received the gentle exfoliating face wash, the pore minimising gel wash, the cleansing lotion, the blackhead clearing gel and some of the face wipes. 
  • An ASOS voucher. A little voucher to treat myself to something new from ASOS.
So I had plenty to try out. But how where the challenges and how have I gotten on with them?
  • Switch Up Your Skincare. As the winter comes in the temperature change can often wreak havoc on your skin. I definitely find that mine changes and the products I've been using all summer don't seem as effective. Some of the products I was using already were from Witch but I've had the chance to try out some new ones. So far I'm really impressed with the blackhead clearing gel. You rub it into dry skin and then rinse off. You can actually feel the dead skin cells coming off. Gross? Yes. But also kinda cool. 
  • Switch Up Your Mornings. Using The Little Book of Mindfulness I've been taking some time out of my day to destress. I've always found that adding some relaxation/yoga into my day makes me feel much better and actually makes me much more productive. This book contains short exercises to clear your mind and focus. Some of them feel a bit silly but there are some that I've really enjoyed and will hopefully keep up with as the semester gets busier. 
  • Switch Up Your Blog. Witch challenged me to do a post I wouldn't usually do. They gave a list of ideas and I've decided I'm going to do a Q&A post. I'll be asking for questions on Twitter too but if you have any questions then leave me one in the comments!
  • Switch Up Your Hairstyle. With the addition of the chalks in my box I was challenged to switch up my hair. I haven't actually used these yet but I am planning on cracking out for Halloween. I've actually been considering changing my hair for quite a while now. I feel in the mood for a change but I'm not actually quite sure what I want to do but I'm thinking about adding some layers or a fringe. What do you think?
  • Switch Up Your Outfit. With my ASOS voucher I've bought a new skirt and a new belt. So now I'm patiently waiting on my parcel. I also did quite a bit of shopping in Glasgow on Sunday so expect some OOTDs soon!
So that's how I'm switching it up this autumn! If you'd like to try some Witch products you can tweet a one line review of any Witch product with the hashtag #switchtowitch to be in with a chance to win the whole range!

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell

Meeting Bloggers In Person

Sunday, 18 October 2015
It's been almost four years since I started this blog. And since then a lot of things have happened that I never would have expected. Blogging has created a multitude of opportunities and I will always be grateful that 15 year old Hayley decided to sit down and start writing a blog. But one of my favourite things about blogging without a doubt is the wonderful people that it's brought into my life. I met my first bloggers in person almost a year into blogging. I arranged to meet Morag and Louise in Glasgow and we went for dinner together at Wagamama. In fact, I even blogged about it and you can read it here. It's really nostalgic for me to read that post back as it feels like it was so long ago(2012?!) but it was where it all began really. But it was the start of some amazing blogging friendships. I still see Morag on a fairly regular basis and even though Louise has moved to England she's still part of a Facebook group chat I have with Morag and Charlotte. They're always on hand for a chat whether it be about blogging or something completely unrelated.

A few months later I was invited to my first blogging event which I attended with the lovely Charlotte from Colours and Carousels. We had chatted a lot online and got on so well that I was really excited to meet her. The event was at the Zen Salon in Edinburgh so Charlotte got the train to Edinburgh via my hometown and we met on the train. Then we had a nice afternoon wandering around Edinburgh(and even filmed an OOTD because this was during my short YouTube experiment) and went for dinner before going to the event. Again you can read a post about the event here. The salon is very close to Edinburgh's main university campus so I walk past it quite often. I always have a little smile to myself when thinking about it. Back then I was so nervous to be going to this event because I would be meeting bloggers I didn't really know for the first time. Nowadays when I go to events I don't even flinch at the idea of that. There's almost always at least one blogger I've met before and if not I feel totally at ease with speaking to new people now. We are all connected by our love of writing and as blogging is still viewed as quite an obscure hobby I think it brings us all closer together.

It's one of those things that if you aren't used to the idea of it then meeting strangers off the internet seems bit weird. But the thing is, whenever I've met bloggers for the first time they never feel like strangers. I keep my blog very open and I write here like I would speak to my friends. So I guess it just makes sense that when I meet people who read my blog, they feel like friends as well. If you get the opportunity to I can't recommend attending some sort of meet up enough. And if opportunity doesn't knock? Build a door. Organise something yourself. It doesn't need to be a big scale meet up, maybe just drinks or dinner. At the moment there seems to be a mass onslaught of massive meet ups with tons of bloggers and amazing goodie bags. Which are nice but something small scale can also be great. The chance to really chat with people who share the love of blogging is amazing!

Have you ever met up with other bloggers before? How did it go?

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Molton Brown Blogger Event

Tuesday, 13 October 2015
This post was supposed to go up on Sunday in line with my blogging every second day schedule.  But this has been a bit of a weird week. Some kinda bad/awkward things and some realllly good things. But nothing I'll be sharing on my blog at the moment unfortunately. So yes, I've been busy so didn't quite get round to writing this post. Didn't have a free weeknight last week at all and this week is looking to be the same. So if I'm a bit absent then sorry but I'll be back soon! 

I had a very busy day on Wednesday but luckily I got to attend a blogging event at the Molton Brown store on George Street. I've used their products before as my mum is actually a big fan so I was really looking forward to getting the chance to learn more about the products and the company. I also went along with one of my newer blogging chums, Leda from Little Girl Bigger World, and it was so lovely to get to meet her in person for the first time. We're both in the same year at the University of Edinburgh and it was so nice to have a chat with someone who knows what it's like to manage a blog and uni! And we also got to see lots of other lovely bloggers. I feel like I've reached the point where I no longer get nervous about going to blogging events in Edinburgh as I know there will be a few familiar faces!

Molton Brown are a luxury bath and body brand that sell a wide range of products. Their products are are cruelty free and the brand itself is Leaping Bunny approved. I don't use any products tested on animals so the Leaping Bunny is something I find really handy to look for when shopping around. When we arrived at the event we were given an introductory talk about all of their new products. They also have their Christmas gift sets on sale at the moment. A lot of them save a lot of money than if you were to buy the products individually. And they have lots of amazing bauble shower gels. My mum would love something like that!

At the event I had a proper mooch around the store to try and work out what my favourite scent was. I really liked the Gingerlily and the Pink Pepperpod scents. Both of these are lovely but quite musky scents. Definitely unique which is what draws me in to a perfume/scent. Luckily there was a little shower gel in the Pink Pepperpod scent in our goodie bags alongside a male scent equivalent. I was also given a voucher so that I can return to get an arm and hand massage at the store! A big thank you to the event organisers and the staff at the store!

Have you ever tried Molton Brown products? What did you think?

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Netflix Choices #2

Friday, 9 October 2015
Hello everyone. A few months ago I wrote a post about what I've recommend watching on Netflix and I meant to make it a more regular thing I just never really got around to it. But now that it's getting into autumn again and everyone is spending more time indoors I thought it would be pretty apt to write another one. So I'm sharing 4 shows/movies that I've really enjoyed and think that most people would enjoy too. I find that with Netflix I seem to go through phases where I either can't find anything I want to watch at all or love everything that I do watch. Thankfully I'm going through a 'love everything' phase. Good for me, maybe not good for my productivity levels!

Homeland - This is an American TV drama about a CIA agent. She's told by a terrorist facing execution in Baghdad that an American prisoner of war has been turned and will plan an attack on the US. Months pass and nothing comes of it until Nicholas Brodie is found in Iraq eight years after he went missing. He is treated like a hero when he returns to the US but Carrie is not convinced and sets out to convince everyone about who he really is. This one is so addictive. There are three seasons and I've finished them all. Season four is starting in October and will be shown on Channel 4. I'm very excited for it!

For fans of: crime and spy shows/movies.

Chef - This is quite an apt movie for a blogger to talk about as it's about a chef who has a bit of a meltdown after a food blogger is really harsh about the meal he made. He's been working in this restaurant for a while and the boss never lets him cook his own food. The blogger incident pushes him a bit too far and he decided he's going to go it solo. So he buys a food truck and goes across America with his son and his best friend. I really like watching cooking shows on TV anyway(what will we do without GBBO?!) so to be able to watch a whole comedy movie about cooking was a treat. I enjoyed this way more than I thought I would and I would really recommend it. 

For fans of: funny, light hearted movies. I would also say that if you like cooking programmes you'd also enjoy this. 

Suits - I've not got much interest in law if I'm honest. It was never something that I was very interested in studying at uni or anything. Obviously laws are good and I appreciate that there are lots of great lawyers out there but it's not something I really think about. Until I started watching Suits. It's so addictive. There are two main characters, Harvey and Mike, who are working at a law firm. Harvey is 'the best closer in the New York' and is very arrogant. A sort of 'women want to date him and men want to be him' character. He works in a fancy law firm and hires Mike. Except Mike doesn't actually have a law degree. He has a photographic memory and was smashing law school before he got excluded for selling test answers online. It's all about the antics they get up to trying do their work and keep the secret. I really love the relationships between the characters on this show and I often find myself smiling/giggling alongside them as cheesy as it sounds. 

For fans of: Comedy dramas that still have lots of tense moments. A good level of character involvement. 

The Help - With my gran recovering from her operation we watched a lot of movies/shows together as for a while she was pretty much housebound. This is one that we all sat and watched together and everyone in my family loved it. My gran is a bit fan of the book this is based on but when I tried to read it I couldn't get into it so I was unsure about whether I'd like the movie or not. The story is about two black woman who work as 'the help' in white houses in the Southern USA. They are approached by a journalist who wants them to tell their own stories. They know that this is very dangerous but decide to do it anyway to take a stand against racist and segregation. It was really touching and really makes you think. It's weird that I consider this to be a historical movie but it all happened within my gran's life time. 

For fans of - historical, family movies or book to movie adaptations. 

Let me know if you've seen any of these or if there's anything that you'd really recommend that I've missed out!

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Planner Peek

Wednesday, 7 October 2015
Hello everyone. A while ago I wrote a blog post about the planner/academic diary that I bought from Busy B and I thought it was about time that I got around to showing you guys how I use it! To be honest I've not been blown away by the quality as the little elastic that holds the pen to the side fell out after like a week but it's what I've got for just now! I really like having the left side of the diary for planning uni/personal plans and the right side for planning all my blog posts and stuff. Even though I've found that I'm actually using up the majority of the space on the left hand side. Maybe at the start of 2016 I'll buy a bigger diary for the year if I continue to fill up so much space. Anyway...

One of my favourite bloggers, Skye from Even Artichokes Hearts, used to write weekly blog posts where she'd share a photo of her Filofax from that week. I used to find them really interesting and miss them now that she no longer does them. I don't think that I really have enough to say to write a post like that every week but I'd quite like to give you guys a little peek at my planner every few weeks so that you can see what I've been up to. Normally I write fixed things in at the start of the week and then just fill everything else in like new plans or to do lists as I go. I've also been using a lot of stickers from Etsy to decorate my weekly spreads and I've been trying to stick to a colour scheme for each week(although you'll see quite soon that I've failed). I'll mention where the stickers from each week are from!

This was the last week of the summer before Fresher's week began so as I'm sure you can imagine that it was a bit hectic. It was a big rush to get everything that I said I'd do all summer done. Last minute as per usual. It was quite a good week for my blog as I was still sharing my blog posts about my travels in Geneva which I really enjoyed writing(even if they weren't as popular as I would have liked them to be). And instead of working in the pharmacy I worked that weekend over at my old uni halls helping people move in. I did 6 hours each day and they paid me very well for it and we got Domino's pizza for lunch. All in all a good deal although it was very weird to be back. Especially meeting the people who moved into my old flat! All of the colourful stickers here are from StickerSunshine and the blog, nails, email and shopping trolley stickers are from EllenBeeMakes.

So this was Fresher's week which as you can see was again a very busy week for me. I was trying to do as many social things in Edinburgh as I could whilst travelling back and forth to my job in Livingston as I hadn't gone back to my weekend hours yet. I spent a lot of money on train tickets this week, I don't even want to think about it! It also meant that I did stupid things like stay out at a flat party until one am and then get the 7:56 train to Livingston the next morning. Thankfully not hungover, just very, very tired. This was also the week that I decided to switch back to blogging every second day and not daily. The reality of it is that when I'm at uni I'd much rather spend my time seeing my friends than working on my blog, as much as I do love blogging. This is working out much better for me and will probably keep it this way for the rest of the semester. The decorative stickers are again from StickerSunshine and the rest from EllenBeeMakes.

This was the first week back at uni. The first week of a semester is always slightly quieter as our labs and tutorials don't start until week two of the semester. So this week I still had some spare time to do a lot of social stuff which was nice. I also went to a lecture hosted by the languages society about the controversy surrounding the gaelic language within Scotland and the criticism it receives. I was very interesting. I've been trying to teach myself gaelic for a while now but there's a real lack of resources out there on the internet so I've not gotten much further than the basic hello how are you my name is kind of stuff. All the stickers here are from EllenBeeMakes. I love the sprinkles I think they're really cute! 

This is where my planning organisation took a little dip. I'd written those posts in before I had really started using weekly colour schemes and I hated the way it looked. So I decided to not waste lots of stickers on this week and to just leave it kind of plain. This was a really busy week so me, I didn't actually end up having any free week nights and then was home for Friday night. I came back into Edinburgh on Saturday to meet the lovely Beth from Alphabeth for dinner. We went to the Bella Italia on North Bridge and I had some lasagna which was delicious. Then we went to Scoopz for some ice cream. Beth is such a great girl and it was so nice to see her again if only for a few hours. I'm sure it won't be long before I see her again!

So that's how I've been keeping myself organised lately, or at least trying to! I hope you guys enjoyed this post as I've enjoyed writing it. I might make this a sort of monthly thing if people seem to enjoy it!

Do you use a planner? If so how do you organise your layout? 

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell

The Art Of Crochet

Monday, 5 October 2015
As I'm sure you all know by now, I love to crochet. It's an unusual hobby for an eighteen year old student but I love it. There's something very comforting about it that I just find really addictive. Plus knowing that you've made something from scratch that someone really enjoys is a great feeling. Like kinda warm and squishy on the inside. Like I made a blanket for a woman I used to work with and I know that she uses it all the time and that just makes me so happy. If anyone is considering taking it up I would definitely recommend it. I'm going to be talking today about The Art of Crochet* which is a new crocheting magazine that's been started recently. I've so far read the first three issues and I'm really impressed. The magazines are so bright and colourful and have really nice, clear instructions.

There are some really great looking patterns in the magazines. Every week it shows you how to make a new square for a blanket but there are also some patterns for other things. The kitty pocket jumper pattern looks great! I have the perfect wool for it in my collection so I'm itching to start it. I've never attempted anything like a jumper before as I've always considered them to be really hard/time consuming but this one looks quite easy and is super cute. Plus when you consider the size of the jumper to the size of a full sized blanket there's actually not much difference and I've made a ton of blankets before! I will let you guys all know how I get on but the best way to keep up with what I'm making is by following me on Instagram here.

But if you don't know how to crochet then don't worry. The first few magazines cover a lot of techniques. Personally I didn't find the first copy helpful as it contained mostly 'how to's for stitches that I already knew but as a beginner these would be really helpful. If you're an experienced crocheter I would maybe give the first magazine a miss and skip straight onto the second. But if you're a beginner then I would definitely recommend getting the first copy as this would contain all the tips and tricks you need to get started. The second copy came with a big folder which is so handy. All the magazines are hole punched so you can keep everything together. And the third copy also contains some dividers so you can separate everything into categories like 'stitch directory', 'for you' and 'to gift' etc. 

If you'd like to know more about the magazine then check out their website or Facebook page. At the moment they're doing an offer where if you subscribe you get 6 free gifts which I think is a great offer!

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Edinburgh, No Filter Required

Saturday, 3 October 2015
I've been back living in Edinburgh for three weeks now and it feels great. Every day I get to wake up in a city that I love. It's weird to think about how many people have Edinburgh on their travel bucket lists but I get to live here and sometime even take that for granted. It's a beautiful city from the old to the new and there's so much to see and do. I've lived here for a year now but there are still so many things that I haven't seen or done yet. Which is why I think so many tourists flock to Edinburgh every year. There's always something to do(and most things are free) and Edinburgh offers a great connection to the rest of Scotland via bus or train. London City Airport are currently running a competition where they're inviting everyone to share their favourite #nofilter photos of the city. They've already done this for a few other European cities and the photos so far have been stunning. The competition is being judged by the blogger behind Travelling Savage, a Scotland specific travel blog, and I can't wait to see all the beautiful photos of my lovely city!

It's made me think about the way that we edit our photos. I can't even remember the last time that I uploaded a photo to my Instagram account without editing it/adding a filter. Why? To be honest I don't really know! But sometimes it's nice to just take some photos of something beautiful and for that to be enough. No need to edit, filter or change the world around us. Just be content with what we have. Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities in the world. And Edinburgh needs no filter. It's just beautiful! So here are a few of my favourite photos that I've taken of Edinburgh and a few tips for taking photos without filters.
  1. Use the different times of the day to create interesting lighting for you. The first photo here was taken at dusk and the lighting creates a really interesting photo. I love it so much!
  2. Sun rises and sunsets also make for beautiful photos. This week we had a particularly gorgeous pink sunset and I saw photos of it everywhere but it was amazing. Sunsets create really dramatic colours that definitely don't need a filter to look breathtaking.
  3. Take photos of things you wouldn't normally. Everyone always talks about how the Scottish Parliament building is the ugliest building in Edinburgh but I photographed it for this blog post and personally I think it looks great! Who would have thought?

I hope you all agree that Edinburgh is stunning! Have you ever been? If so what did you think of our beautiful city? Also this is my 1000th blog post. How wonderful/terrifying is that? 

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell

September Reading Wrap Up

Thursday, 1 October 2015
Hello everyone! Time again for my monthly reading wrap up. This month I've actually read quite a bit which I'm really proud of. Although I actually finished four of these books in the last week or two of the month. I think when it comes to reading I either get really into it or really struggle to keep focused. I enjoyed the majority of the books that I read this month which is a nice bonus too! I've got quite a few exciting books lined up on my Kindle for October too so hopefully that will also be a good reading month for me too! But without dallying on for too long lets get back to the books!

Crow Mountain by Lucy Inglis* - This is a YA novel about a girl who is ravelling to Montana with her mother who is conducting research for her job. They stay on a local ranch where she starts to fall for the ranch owner's son, Cal. They take a trip one day but are almost killed in a freak accident. But at the same time she's reading a diary of a young girl in the 1880s and the story seems to be running in parallel with a similar accident etc. It's about how the current story intertwines with the old one. I enjoyed this but like most YA novels it did include quite a bit of 'insta-love' which is quite hard to trudge through as a reader! I gave this one 2/5 stars because it was enjoyable enough but it wasn't a great book and I wouldn't read it again.

Red Bones by Anne Cleeves - Red Bones is a murder mystery novel set on the Shetland Islands off the north coast of Scotland. My grandad lent me this book and I really enjoyed reading it. An old woman is shot in what appears to be an accident but days later another death occurs on the island which is very weird. The detective in charge thinks that both deaths must be malicious and starts to look into it to find the killer. I love a good mystery novel so I really enjoyed reading this. I thought the characters were all really interesting but realistic and I also thought that the plot was really good and well thought out. I gave this one 5/5 stars as I really enjoyed it. It's actually in the middle of a series but hopefully I'll get round to reading the other ones soon.

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan - This was last month's Sassy Books read and it seems to have gone down quite well. Marina had just graduated from Yale and was looking into a career in writing when she was killed in a car accident. This book is a collection of her fiction short stories and non fiction essays. Like all collections of work some were better than others but overall I really enjoyed most of them. I've written a full post about the book so if you want to read that and the other reviews then click here. I gave this book 4/5 stars as I enjoyed the majority of it but there were a few stories in it that I didn't really enjoy. Read my Sassy Books post here.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher - You may remember that I wrote about this book in my books I want to reread post. And it was the first one I got round to rereading. This is about a girl in high school who kills herself. But before she does she records 13 tapes explaining the 13 reasons why she killed herself. And all the reasons are people and the story is told by one of the character's who receives the tapes. This book deals with some pretty heavy topics and it was the first book I ever remember reading that dealt with teen suicide and rape. So not necessarily an 'easy read' but still an important one none the less. I really enjoyed this the first time around and felt the same whilst rereading it. The story is fast paced and I found that I couldn't put it down. 5/5 stars.

MAUS by Art Spiegelman - Another reread for me! I first borrowed this out of my high school library but couldn't help but purchase it when I saw that is was discounted online. It's a graphic novel depicting the author's father's story of the holocaust. His dad was Jewish and Polish and managed to avoid the camps for a few years but eventually ended up in Auschwitz. Both his mother and father survived and this is their story. All the Jewish characters are portrayed as mice and the Germans as cats. This is an absolutely beautiful book and I really recommend it. 5/5 stars.

What was the best book you read this month?

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