Thursday, 31 December 2015

6 goals for 2016


I've never been one to make new year resolutions but this year I've changed my mind. It may not be 'new year, new me' but more along the lines of 'new year, slightly changed/better version of me.' My mindset has changed quite a bit the past year and I've realised that I'm constantly evolving and growing as a person - it's hard to make sudden and drastic changes and maintain them, but it's more effective to make smaller and more gradual changes. So I'll try.
  1. Go vegan for one month - I rarely eat dairy products, but I'm going to cut out products with added animal products (like chocolate, ice cream etc.) It's mostly junk food so this doubles up as getting back into eating healthily. 
  2. Create more - I want to blog more, and I'm going to write a post every week about whatever topic I'm feeling at that moment. I want to create everything and anything. I want to take more photos and photograph everything that feels right. 
  3. Make a new friend - I'm kind of a hermit and having more friends is always a good thing. 
  4. Don't give up on things just because they're hard - I'll try this one but I definitely have to allow room for slip ups. I want to be a positive shining star and not let the small thing get me down, and I guess that starts with trying. 
  5. Dye my hair - I've been talking about dip dying my hair red for years, but this year I'm going to do it. I'm just going to do it, going to do it for sure. 
  6. Try to kick that procrastination habit - I've got to try right!? I'm going to make more time for reading and playing video games and generally doing all the fun things without feeling guilty. 
(bonus words from 2015 to remember in 2016)
it's okay to be scared sometimes, and brave sometimes, and fail sometimes, and it's not possible to lose every time
unconventionality is your thing, embrace it
it's okay not to know everything, making mistakes is okay
don't give up on things just because it's easier
take as many damn photos as you want
you're doing well
you don't have to justify yourself to anyone
smooth seas don't make good sailors

Have you made any new years resolutions? 

What are you determined to do in 2016!? (you can do it, I believe in you)

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Saviour Songs // November 2015

So I've decided to name my playlist posts 'Saviour Songs' because the struggle with university is real and these are the songs that make my month a little less stressful. I love these songs and they've been there for me through tumultuous university times (so much work!!!!) I hope you find something you like and please enjoy!



Thursday, 5 November 2015

October In Review

October has been a strange month. I can hardly recall what happened and where I've been. I'm assuming it went something along the lines of, eat, sleep, university, & repeat. The usual. Prepare yourself for a hazy attempt at recalling what's I've been doing over the last few weeks.


Reading 

Required reading has most definitely put me off reading for fun this month. Picking up a book that that isn't related to my university modules feels almost wrong. I can never relax and enjoy my book when I know I could be using my reading time to get some scholarly articles read. Student problems I guess. I did manage to read Mary, and The Wrongs of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft and did enjoy the feminist themes, despite the somewhat clunky writing style.

Music 

I've been listening to a lot of Fightstar recently. They released their first album in over 5 years this month and it's pretty damn amazing! My favourite tracks are 'Sink with the Snakes,' 'Murder All Over,' and 'Sharp Tongue' I  managed to see them live in London which was pretty amazing, I don't know quite how to describe it, but I always find it an almost sublime and very inspirational experience to see my favourite bands live.


                     
           low quality, high value. commemorative selfie I took before leaving
Fightstar 



Watched

Both The Walking Dead and American Horror Story returned this month! October is always a good month for TV! I've also been watching the odd episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (aka my favourite tv show ever) which is always a good throwback! I'm half inspired to buy a stylish pleather trench coat and channel my inner Buffy, that, or buy all the velvet clothes I can find to channel my inner vampire. Or maybe both...

Created 

I crazily managed to get some blogs posts written towards the end of October. I recommended some spooky halloween reads and posted a playlist of my saviour songs for the month!

For a while I've wanted to become a more creative person or at least make time to be creative, Last month I started a journal and it's been a lot of fun to keep it. I write about my day or how I'm feeling and maybe do some doodling or collaging. I'm not sure where it's going but I do feel more creative and I'm challenging myself to make more creative entries every week! It's also a fun and reflective way to document my life in the midsts of hazy university stress.   


November means Christmas and festivities are near but also university deadlines! I'm going to remain optimistic and look forward to the satisfaction that comes from completing work and being able to relax for Christmas!

How was everyone's October? 
Please share your fun November plans, I need to know there are still people having fun out there! 


Saturday, 31 October 2015

October Playlist

Facing an autumn consumed by university reading and a seemingly unprecedented amount of procrastination, I've been listening to a lot of music recently. Partially to save my soul from the stress of third year university reading and partially because I love music more than ever, I've complied a list of the saviour songs I've had on repeat this month. From my favourite releases of the month (Fightstar) to some Halloween inspired songs (This is Halloween//Graveyard Whistling) give it a listen and maybe you'll find something to keep your ears entertained this autumn!
    



Hope everyone has a great Halloween!
 What have you guys been listening to lately? I'm always open to music recommendations! 

Thursday, 29 October 2015

SPOOKY READS


As a fan of all things horror, you'd assume Halloween would my favourite seasonal event, but to be honest I've never really gotten into it. Despite my love for all things creepy, one day (or one month) just never seems enough to me, I prefer my spooks all year round. However I do enjoy the general appreciation of all things creepy and that witchy and vampy clothes and make up are socially acceptable for at least one month! Here are some of my favourite horror related books for anyone who wants to get into the Halloween spirit!

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Night Film is super creepy. The book follows a reporter and his investigation into the death of a reclusive film maker's daughter. Creeps ensue. It's very addicting and more of a thriller than a horror, but it has some very sinister moments and managed to creep me out both at night and during the day! 

Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice 

Interview with the Vampire is probably my favourite book series about vampires (sorry Twilight!) It's got super interesting characters with rich and unique histories and all the characters wear a whole lot of velvet, and let's be honest velvet is the best! I love reading the books from this series during the colder months and hope to get round to book three this autumn/winter! 

The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead by Max Brooks

From the author of World War Z, The Zombie Survival guide is exactly what it says it is - a guide to surviving the zombie apocalypse. It's literally full of tips on how to deal with zombies, including which tools and strategies are best suited to your situation. A must read if you want to survive the zombie apocalypse and gets some tips for your emergency zombie apocalypse plan! 

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

The Girl with All the Gifts is a twist on the classic zombie tale, featuring intelligent zombies and a whole lot of emotional turmoil. It's not all horror and gore, the characters are so human and the balance of action/character is perfect. Definitely read if you want a zombie book that stands out from all the others! 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein is a classic choice for Halloween and whilst it's not the spookiest of books, it's definitely unsettling. It's quite deep and brings up a lot of questions about mortality. Frankenstein is one of my all time favourite books and has shaped both the horror and science fiction genres in many ways so it's definitely a must read! 


What spooky or creepy books are you guys reading for Halloween? Leave some recommendations! 

(ps I found the cute clip art from my photo on this website! definitely check it out if you're looking for some basic clip art that is free to use!)

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Title: This Song Will Save Your Life
Author: Leila Sales 
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication Date: October 2013
Genre: Contemporary//Young Adult
Rating: ★★★★★
Summary: 
All her life, Elise Dembowski has been an outsider. Starting a new school, she dreams of fitting in at last – but when her best attempts at popularity fail, she almost gives up. Then she stumbles upon a secret warehouse party. There, at night, Elise can be a different person, making real friends, falling in love for the first time, and finding her true passion – DJ’ing.
But when her real and secret lives collide, she has to make a decision once and for all: just who is the real Elise?

Trigger warning - This novel also deals with some topics such as depression, suicide (attempt and thoughts) and low self-esteem issues.

In a nutshell: This was so good it gave me a book hangover.  Character development, a book with music in its spine, friendship, identity, and self-acceptance

I deserve to be here, No one can take my dance space away from me, I don’t care if anyone thinks I look stupid.

Elise stumbles upon an underground disco, named Start, which changes her life and throws her into learning curve. Elise is a character who grows. She grows throughout the novel as a character and she grows on the reader. In other words, the character development in this novel is strong. At the beginning of the novel, Elise is in a bad place- she’s bullied,  socially excluded, and  after her attempt to become popular fails, she becomes quite depressed - I felt a lot of sympathy for her. 

Often, when someone is in a bad place, they can become bitter and consequently seem a bit stuck up and annoying.  Elise comes across as a little annoying but she learns and evolves throughout the novel.  It’s quite understandable that she has become a little bitter, as no matter what she does she doesn’t get to where she wants to be. She’s obsessed with popularity and it’s quite understandable, considering her lack of friends and the relentless bullying she experiences; however her obsession with popularity is more of a desire for friends rather than popularity, as Elise later realises. Elise learns to accept herself, become more accepting of others and finds her passion for DJ’ing.  Ultimately, over the course of the novel she learns, evolves and grows as a character, a friend and a human being. She undergoes a journey of self-discovery and it’s beautiful to read. 

Identity, friendship and acceptance are overarching themes in this novel, which I really enjoyed and think a lot of people can relate to. Sales drives home a really uplifting messages about what it means to be yourself and self-acceptance- that how others label you, and who you are, are two very different things. Elise’s night life of DJ’ing and the new friendships she forms contrasts with the misery of her school life and she gradually has to come to terms with her self and accept that she is not defined by the labels others assign to her. 

One character who perfectly encapsulated this was Vicky. Vicky who made up the rule, ‘I deserve to be here, No one can take my dance space away from me, I don’t care if anyone thinks I look stupid,’ and sees herself as a rockstar despite her career as a musician not quite reaching that level yet. Vicky is a character unashamedly herself and such a positive influence in Elise’s life. Believing in yourself and your abilities is another positive statement Sales explores and a sentiment that is important for young people (and everyone else) to hear.

Sales also explores friendship and what it means to be a friend. Elise gradually learns that you don’t have to have everything single thing in common with someone to be friends, you just have to have something; whether that something is attending secret warehouse parties or just being unpopular and average together.  Elise makes real connections and friendships which are so heart-warming and exciting to read about.  Another definite stand out point of this novel was the romance. The romantic elements were very realistic, complex and a bit messy. For a young adult novel, I really appreciated this quite refreshing take on romantic relationships and their complexities.

Music is a really big part of this novel and I cannot express how much I loved this. If you’re a huge music fan this is definitely a novel to read.  There’s even a suggested listening list at the end of the novel.  Music is really appreciated throughout and it binds the story.   Start, and music bring people together for different reasons. Whether like Elise, they use music to escape their miserable life, or like Vicky, they feel truly themselves on the dance floor, everyone in this novel is brought together, in some way or another by music. Elise finds her passion for DJ’ing and even her Dad is a part time musician who works in a record store.  Music is everything, and music does save and transform Elise’s life.  

Sales writing is very simple but manages to convey a lot of emotion and the voice of Elise distinctively. For a novel that deals with some very heavy and serious topics, the simplicity of the writing and Elise’s voice allows these topics to be explored in an approachable and engaging way. 

Overall, the overarching message that I took from this novel – that you are not defined by the labels others assign you is such an important one and one that I think Sales expresses wonderfully. Elise is a character who grows and evolves this novel and delivers some great messages about hope, identity and friendship. This novel made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and left me with a book hangover. If you want a contemporary young adult novel with some uplifting sentiments and musical inclination, definitely pick this up! 

And finally, I will leave you with this quote:
‘You think it's so easy to change yourself. You think it's so easy, but it's not. True, things don't stay the same forever: couches are replaced, boys leave, you discover a song, your body becomes forever scarred. And with each of these moments you change and change again, your true self spinning, shifting positions-- but always at last it returns to you, like a dancer on the floor. Because throughout it all, you are still, always, you: beautiful and bruised, known and unknowable. And isn't that - just you – enough’ 

Monday, 6 July 2015

Review: Rat Queens Vol 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth by Kurtis J. Weibe

  
Title: Rat Queens Vol 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'rygoth
Author: Kurtis J. Wiebe.
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: 6th May 2015
Genre: Comics/Fantasy
Rating: ★★★★

Summary: 


This booze-soaked second volume of RAT QUEENS reveals a growing menace within the very walls of Palisade. And while Dee may have run from her past, the bloated, blood-feasting sky god N’rygoth never really lets his children stray too far.







Wow, what a follow up! Rat Queens Volume 2, collects issues 6-10 and picks up light-heartedly after the celebratory party thrown in issue 5. Following a blast from the past and the disappearance another character, the Rat Queens undertake another epic adventure full of sass, action, mushrooms, and the almost end of the world!   

So much more is revealed about the characters in this volume. The inclusion of flashbacks and back stories give us a glimpse at Hannah, Violet, and Dee’s lives before joining the Rat Queens. The characters are even more developed and distinct which makes them all the more enjoyable to read about. Despite seeming a little disjointed and confusing at first, the flashbacks are cleverly woven into the story and add more depth and intrigue to the characters. Dee however, is still shrouded with some mystery, although the exploration of her faith (or lack of) was done well in this volume.

Violet’s back story was particularly interesting. One detail I loved was Violet adding a dash of eye liner after suiting up in her armour. We find out more about Violet’s family and her relationship with them. It is both very amusing and captured in a way that is very reflective of real and genuine family relationships anddynamics. Another aspect I really appreciated was Violet’s appropriate slaying whilst dealing with inappropriate comments from creepy old men (slay, violet, slay!)

Plot wise, the story is quite formulaic and typical of questing style plots. However, multiple character’s personal histories and interests are entwined with the main plot and villain’s scheme, in an interesting way. The formulaic nature of the plot does not detract from the overall enjoyment of this volume, as the Rat Queens retain their sassy sense of humour and distinctive personalities. It does not take long to re-familiarise yourself with the characters and they really are the force which makes this series so entertaining to read. Additionally, the continuing ‘Gary’ jokes never fail to amuse.

The art style has changed slightly with the switching of the illustrator, but it still retains a similar style. The lines and especially the noses are a lot sharper and pointier than before but overall, it is a small change and does not detract from the enjoyment of the story. 

I really enjoyed this volume. The characters are diverse, complex and all round awesome which really makes reading Rat Queens so enjoyable. Rat Queens combines complex female characters with a brilliant sense of friendship and humour in an action packed fantasy world. This second volume definitely lives up to expectations.  


Sunday, 5 July 2015

Most Anticipated Video Games!


I caught the E3 fever.

As well as being a huge book nerd, I'm also a huge video game nerd. I first got into video games at around eight or nine, my Dad bought a PlayStation 2 and that's pretty much where my gaming journey started. My favourite games are story based ones, as they allow you to become an active participant in the story and I think that's pretty amazing. In general I find that there is not a lot of diversity in video games, especially in mainstream video games. This year however a lot of the big developers are (finally) releasing more female led games which is amazing and exciting! Here are some of the games I'm most anticipating! 

THIS GAME SOUNDS AMAZING. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, where nature has taken over, few tribes of humans are left, and the world is dominated by robot animals. Robot animals. Robot Dinosaurs. The concept for the game is supposed to explore the 'juxtaposition between the danger and beauty of the world' and the 'concept of humanity not being "at the top of the life list" which sounds like it will make an really awesome game. The protagonist is female and seems awesome. I am so excited and this is definitely the game I am looking forward to most. Just watch the trailer and prepare to be amazed. 

I love the Walking Dead TV show, and I love the Telltale game series, although I have yet to read the comic books (definitely need to get on that!) I've played the first two games and they were absolutely amazing. They're heart wrenching and are really interactive as the decisions you make in the game will impact the outcome of the story! It's so much fun to play and is graphically reminiscent of comic book art. Michonne is undoubtedly one of my favourite characters in the TV series, so I am super excited to have a mini series dedicated to her! I can tell it's going to be amazing! 

Where do I start with Lara Croft? She raids tombs and ventures across the globe in search of ancient artefacts. I first played Lara Croft as a child, on my PlayStation 2 and I loved it so much. I haven't played all the games in Tomb Raider franchise but I've played enough to know that I love Lara Croft. I was super excited to play the 2013 reboot, which follows Lara as a young archaeologist and the experience which made her the illusive Tomb Raider. Rise of the Tomb Raider follows on from this and I am super excited! Also, the graphics have come so far with this series, see this image for reference.

Uncharted is one of my favourite series. I actually played Uncharted 3 first (out of order) because it came in a playstation bundle, and accidentally fell in love with the series. Since then I've played the first and second games in the series and loved them all. The series follows adventurer Nathan Drake and his travels across the globe to track down ancient and powerful artefacts (kind of like a male Lara Croft.) There are usually some twists and turns and these games are always super fun to play. On top of that, the characters are funny and the relationship between Nathan and his mentor Sully is great. This is going to be the last game in the series and that makes me really sad because this series is just so much fun. 

Hellblade

This game sounds awesome. The protagonist looks amazing and the game follows her into hell as she battles the manifestations of her mind. The game is based on a Celtic myth and sounds really interesting and unique! I found this game through The Mary Sue, which linked a really cool video about the development of the character and how they created a female character, despite people's claims that female led games don't sell well. YES. (take note Ubisoft) 

Despite Ubisoft's stupid comments on how women are apparently hard to animate. I still love the Assassins Creed series.They seem to have made some improvements with Syndicate though, as the story follows a brother and sister and both are the playable, but I'm sure that the story is more focused on the brother (don't even get me started on the placement in the photo.) The Victorian London setting and the focus on the criminal underworld are some redeeming features though, especially as I've been reading a lot of Charles Dickens (who makes an appearance in the game!!!!)
I have to admit, I never played a Fallout game before. I've heard so many rave reviews about Fallout though, and I think this may be the one I get into! Fallout takes place in a post apocalypse world, destroyed by nuclear forces. Fallout is an open world game but the storyline follows the playable character, who after locking their self and their family into a capsule before the nuclear disaster, wakes up 200 years later as the only survivor. I'm sure I can play this without having played the previous games, as the story is separate to the previous games. 


The E3 announcement for this game really solidified my excitement for this game. The creative developer looked so nervous, but you could tell he was really passionate and really cares about what the game. It's my favourite thing when you can see someone is really passionate about something, it makes me want to feel passionate about it too. He even brought the real life Yarny to the conference and explained how he came up with the idea for the game. This game looks so beautiful and chill, it seems like exactly the game to play when you really need to unwind and relax. 

Everybody's Gone to the Rapture


This game looks really beautiful, despite the ominous title. I'm not entirely sure what it's about (haha) but I know it's a first person game, set in an abandoned or empty English Village. The whole English Village element is really intriguing because I haven't played many games set in England, let alone in English villages. Graphically, this game looks amazing and seems to really capture the English Countryside! 

Notable mention: Mirror's Edge Catalyst - This is the second game in the series and I have yet to play the first one. It's an open world game, set in a futuristic city which main protagonist parkours around. Also the protagonist has been praised for being realistic and a woman of colour. Double win!


Do you guys play video games? Are you excited about any of these games? If not, which games are you excited for!? Leave your thoughts below!

Friday, 3 July 2015

Review - What Happened To Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Title: What Happened To Goodbye
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Puffin Books
Publication Date: 1st June 2011
Genre: Contemporary/ Young Adult
Rating: ★★★★

Summary: 
Mclean never lets herself get too attached.
After the scandal of her mother's affair, Mclean and her dad chose life on the road. 
But since losing her family and home, Mclean has lost herself too; she's been Eliza, then Lizbet, then Beth - changing her name as often as she changes towns.


Goodreads//Book Depository

All those clean, fresh starts had made me forget what it was like, until now, to be messy and honest and out of control’

In a nutshell: A dash of romance, family issues, and coming to terms with yourself and your past all bundled together in an adorable book.  

As a young teen, the only books I read were by Sarah Dessen. This was the first Sarah Dessen book I’ve read for years and the familiarity of Dessen's writing style made me all nostalgic! The book follows Mclean who moves from town to town with her father, inventing a new identity in each one, following the messy divorce of her parents. She has to come to terms with her past and be real with herself as well as with her new found pals.

I’ve always found Sarah Dessen’s writing style to be easy to read and enticing, the kind that you start reading and before you know it, hours have passed.  This was certainly the case with this book; I found the storyline to be quite realistic, some scenes were a little exaggerated but overall, it tackles some realistic problems such as the impact of Mclean’s parents’ divorce, which seems a relatable topic for many people. Mclean’s relationship with her parents is also a large part of this book, which is refreshing to see.

The main characters in many of Dessen’s books are usually quite passive and almost plain, in attempt to let the reader identify with the character more easily. I once watched a panel of Dessen and, from what I gathered, this is what she implied. This was largely the case for Mclean. Many of the secondary characters had distinct and specific quirks and facets to their personalities, which were slightly lacking in Mclean. However, Mclean is not a completely passive character. she does stand up to her slightly (might be an understatement) overbearing and mother and is very independent.

My favourite character in this book was undoubtedly Deb. I loved Deb’s character so much. She really encapsulated the idea that appearances can be deceiving, and is such a lovable character. In fact, I might even go as far as saying that Deb is my favourite thing about this book. She’s a really misunderstood and multifaceted character, who is unashamedly herself and genuine. I wanted more of Deb in the book!  

Dessen lightly touches on issues of acceptance and identity in a casual and palatable manner; it’s not too deep but it’s refreshing and positive nonetheless. I found this quite a character driven book. What Happened to Goodbye documents Mclean coming to terms with her identity, past, and the connections she makes in Lakeview. The restaurant setting was also really fun to read and felt like a throwback to Keeping the Moon (which I loved btw.) The romance elements in this book were quite low key but still cute and adorable and Dave is a really different and interesting character. 

One thing I found a bit bothersome in this book was the stereotyping of people with tattoos and piercings as delinquents. I think that generally, there are a lot of stereotypes surrounding tattoos and body modifications and they are very often portrayed in a very negative light. Bit of a personal issue, but as a huge fan of tattoos, it bothered me to see these negative stereotypes included, albeit not that often. But still, it bothered me.

Overall, What Happened to Goodbye was an enjoyable read and hit me with a wave of nostalgia. It’s a solid Dessen book and deals with family issues, coming to terms with your identity and past whilst bundling in a cute romance and friendships. I loved the familiarity of Dessen’s writing and Dessen manages to weave different elements of young people’s lives into Mclean’s story.  


Thursday, 2 July 2015

June Wrap Up!



Hi guys. This month I read some books, wasted a lot of time on the internet, saw a band, and spent a lot of time looking after tortoises. I kind of want to name my wrap ups something other than 'wrap ups' but I'm struggling to think of something cute and unique. Anyway, here are the highlights of my month!

Books 


Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens 3/5
Despite all the musicals and adaptations I was quite unfamiliar with the story of Oliver, before starting this book. I had assumed the story was about an orphan child who joins a sort of street urchin gang and boy, was I wrong. The story is so much darker than I was anticipating. Dickens pits the evils of the criminal underworld in contrast to the innocence goodness of Oliver. Ironically, the story seemed focused on all the characters surrounding Oliver, rather than Oliver himself; in fact Oliver was a boring character. There was quite an anti-Semitic vibe going on with all the references to 'The Jew.' It was quite bothersome, despite Dickens rebuttal of such claims.

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen 4/5
As a young teen, the only books I read were by Sarah Dessen. In light of her latest release, Saint Anything, I pondered over reading my few unread Dessen books. Before I knew it, I'd bought and read What Happened to Goodbye. The story follows Mclean who moves from town to town with her father, inventing a new identity in each one, following the messy divorce of her parents. She has to come to terms with her past and be real with herself as well as her new found pals. The familiarity of Dessen's writing style made me all nostalgic and I really enjoyed reading this! There is a good dash of romance, family issues, and coming to terms with yourself and your past all bundled together in this adorable book.

Rat Queens Volume 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N'Rygoth by Kurtis J. Wiebe  4/5
I read the first volume a couple of months ago and this second volume is such a great follow up! There's more sass, more sorcery, more rat queens slaying and being awesome! The characters in this series are my favourite thing and are really what makes reading Rat Queens so enjoyable - they are all diverse, complex and awesome. The illustrator changed and so the art style is a little different, but it's still retains a similar style and doesn't detract from the reading experience. This series combines complex female characters with a brilliant sense of friendship and an action packed fantasy world, and definitely impresses!

Music



I've been a huge fan of Young Guns for years, and I finally got to see them live this month!! They released their new album, Ones and Zeros this month and it's pretty much all I've been listening to. #onrepeat  Go check them out, my favourites are Speaking in Tongues, Daylight, Rising Up and Lullaby.


Everything Else

I'm an avid Buffy fan, and spent most of my childhood obsessed, like really obsessed. I collected action figures, trading cards, mugs, magazines, flannels even (everything pretty much) This obsession has slowed down a bit in recent years, but it's still smouldering away deep inside. Hence, the poster. When my sister told me she was getting one, I knew, I had to get one too. It's the same poster that Buffy and Willow have on the door of their college dormitory. Like I said, obsessed. Also I love chocolate and pretty things, so this is double perfection.

The poster in all it's glory!

That's all I've got for today! 

How has your June been? 
Read any of these books? Listened to Young Guns? Are you a Buffy fan too!? Leave your thoughts below!! 

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Review - Rat Queens Vol 1: Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J. Weibe


Title: Rat Queens Vol 1: Sass and Sorcery

Author: Kurtis J. Wiebe, Illustrated by Roc Upchurch.

Publisher: Image Comics

Publication Date: 8th April 2014

Genre: Comics/Fantasy

Rating: ★★★★

Summary: 
Who are the Rat Queens? 

A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they're in the business of killing all god's creatures for profit. 

It's also a darkly comedic sass-and-sorcery series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack! 




In a nutshell: Three dimensional female mercenaries kicking butt, sass galore, goblins, assassins, a fantasy, RPG style quest ensues. 

Rat Queens takes place in a RPG style, medieval fantasy setting, following the eponymous Rat Queens, an all-female group of mercenaries and the shenanigans and mayhem that ensue as they pay back their debts to the city and  get pulled into investigating recent assassinations.  This first volume collects issues 1-5 and works well as an introduction to the characters and world setting but also incorporates a humorous and fast paced plot.

The rat queens include: Hannah, the rockabilly elf mage (and probably the sassiest of the Rat Queens) Betty, the hippy smidgen thief, Dee, the atheistic human cleric and, Violet the Hipster dwarven Fighter. The characters are my favourite thing about this series for the following reasons:


  • First up, the main cast of characters are all female.
  • Second, the characters are very diverse; there is body diversity and the characters are of different races, sexualities, and beliefs.
  • Thirdly, they each have distinctive personalities and styles, the dialogue and interaction between characters really allows for a definite sense of their personalities and of their friendship. Yay for female friendships!
  • And finally, they kick butt and defy traditional gender stereotypes.


There is also a glimpse of character’s back stories which are likely to be explored in later issues but the inclusion of which adds dimension of the characters. Whilst the character development is not the most extensive, in my opinion, the distinctive personalities make up for this shortcoming.

It’s also refreshing to see women portrayed as heroes, regardless of their physical strength. There is a definite sense of diversity in their power and physical strength, for instance, Hannah relies more on her magic, whilst Violet relies more on her physical strength, but they are all portrayed as valuable assets to the team and heroes equally. To round up my feminist appraisal, Rat Queens really does a good job at presenting complex female characters that break the mould.

Plot wise, Rat Queens is fast paced with two main plot lines, one involving goblins and the other involving assassins! It's action packed and combines a good mixture of action, mystery and humour.  In fact, humour and sass is abundant in Rat Queens. It’s very sassy, as hinted at by ‘Sass and Sorcery’ and did indeed make me laugh out loud, multiple times! *gasp* The humour is also quite crude at times, which although is not my preferred style of humour, I found it worked well. It wasn't too overbearing and worked well in combination with the sass; it fits quite well with the adventuring and questing types.  

The fantasy style setting, combined with the questing was quite reminiscent of RPG video games, something which I really enjoyed. There’s not a lot of reference of the world which was a little disappointing as I wanted to know more about the Rat Queens world than I was given. However, I would recommend Rat Queens to those who may not read a lot of fantasy as whilst the plot is driven by fantasy elements, the characters are really diverse and distinctive!  

The artwork is really fitting of the fantasy setting and the colouring of pages was really pretty and appropriate to the mood of the story. Depicting sass through facial expressions was one of my favourite elements of the art style (so much sass.) 

Overall, I would very much enjoyed Rat Queens and I'm really excited to read and the next volume! If you’re looking for a comic series with a great cast of diverse and complex female characters, abundant with sass and goblin slaying action, Rat Queens is a must read!  My only real complaint is that I want more!

JUST A HEADS UP, this series does include a bit of violence, some gore, crude language, and references to drugs and alcohol; maybe give this a miss if that’s not something you enjoy in your fiction. 





Thursday, 1 January 2015

Favourite Books I Read in 2014!


Hello friends! 2014 is officially over, in the past, 'last year' so what better way to remember 2014 than sharing my favourite books I read in 2014. I couldn't order these in terms of favourites so I've just ordered them according to the date I read them. Overall, I'd say I've had quite a good reading year, I read some really amazing books and enjoyed most of those I read! Yay! Here are my favourites:

The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #2) by Anne Rice
This follows on from The Interview with The Vampire, and focuses on the past and present of Lestat. This book made Lestat one of my favourite literary characters, my favourite vampire and my favourite anti hero. It was really interesting to read about Lestat from his own perspective, rather than through the words of Louis and I especially enjoyed reading about his journey through human life into the vampire world! So good!

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
This book follows a young woman, living on an island just off the coast of Canada, who finds a diary belonging to Japanese girl, washed up upon the shore. I loved both characters, they were very different, but both very realistic and well written. The narrative of this book was also another stand out point and was interestingly unique, as it switches from excerpts of the diary to the young woman's interpretations and reactions to the diary.

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R Carey
The Girl with All the Gifts is not just another tale of survival in a post-apocalyptic, zombie wasteland. The characters are unexpectedly detailed, with distinct voices, flaws and back-stories which combined with a twist on the classic zombie - this book is a winner.

Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin
A Game of Thrones, the fantasy series everybody is reading, watching, talking, or tweeting about. I'm guilty of watching the first two seasons prior to reading this book, but it still managed to blow my mind. I'm a huge fan of the multiple narratives and all the characters are so well written, interesting and different. The differences in the characters really makes the book engaging, as so many different sections of Westeros can be explored.

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas
I also read the first two books in the Throne of Glass series this year, but Heir of Fire is such a step up and sets up a whole new plot for the rest of the series. The character building, compared to the previous books is outstanding and the fantasy elements of this book are very much on point, especially the in-depth exploration Fae and magic, all very exciting!

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Before beginning this book, I had a feeling I would like it, the premise sounded interesting and I was not disappointed. It follows Margaret Hale, as she moves from the idyllic countryside in the south of England, to the Industrial North and encompasses a lot of social commentary on class and the problems with industrial capitalism - things I love reading about!

Animal Farm by George Orwell
And finally, I read Animal Farm in one day and I loved it. It's a short read at 93 pages but it's a pretty amazing metaphor about power, corruption and revolution.

Notable Mentions:
- The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer 
- Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
- Vicious by V.E Schwab 

2015 onwards!
I've set myself a reading goal of 35 books this year! I just missed out on my 30 books for 2014 but I am ever determined to read even more this year and make more time for reading. I'm optimistic I can reach this goal and maybe even surpass it!? (we'll see)

Thanks for reading and happy 2015! I hope everyone reads lots of good books and has a lovely year!