Saturday, 24 January 2015

The Perfume Collector - Kathleen Tessaro

I can honestly say that I was extremely pleasantly surprised by this book! I randomly chose it from my big box of books and I have to admit, I went in with slightly low expectations. I didn't think it was going to be bad, I just thought it was going to be slightly average. However, it was actually really enjoyable! The narrative follows two women, Eva who is living in the late 1920's and Grace who is living in the mid-1950's. In the 50's narrative, Eva has died and an inheritance to Grace, who has never even heard of her. Cue Grace travelling from London to Paris and embarking upon a mission to discover more about Eva's life. 

Whilst learning more about Eva's life Grace also learns about perfume, including three that were inspired by Eva. I found all of the focus on perfume really interesting and I like the way that Eva's story became intertwined with and told through her perfume. I found myself really wishing I could smell the perfumes and see what they were like! The shop sounded absolutely amazing and if it was real it would be such a cool place to visit.

I do have a very brief reaction page for this book:

I just really thoroughly enjoyed this book! I did guess a couple of the plot reveals, but then I think you're supposed to. Regardless, that didn't ruin my enjoyment of the book. It was just utterly lovely!

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao - Junot Díaz

This is the second of my kindle Christmas book haul that I have read! It also happens to be the second Junot Diaz that I've read, and my favourite of the two. I made a book soundtrack for this over here but be warned, it is a little melancholy! There were just great swathes of Oscar's story where he was so intensely lonely so I think that got reflected in the playlist a bit. He just so desperately wants to love and he idolises perfectly normal girls into these almost otherworldly beings which is only ever going to end badly. The line from America just really resonated with me whilst reading this: "I'm empty and aching and I don't know why". Oscar's story is really only one of the threads in this book but it's the one that has stuck with me since I finished this.  

So, here were my ongoing thoughts as I read this:

This is one of those books that I'm really glad I've read because I feel like I've learnt a whole bunch of history that I didn't previously know anything about. I also really liked all of the references that ran throughout; LOTR is referenced a lot but so is a whole bunch of other stuff that I like. It was just a really well written book to be honest and the narration was really engaging. 

This is a bit of a rubbish review because I don't feel like I have a lot to contribute!

The Book of Secrets - Leah Smith

I feel like all I ever do on this blog is review Leah's books, but that's mostly just because they are super great so you really should all go check them out. There will be many spoilers in this post so if you haven't read this yet then you might want to consider doing so before proceeding. If you are a fan of stuff like Harry Potter and Charlie Bone etc then this will definitely be something you enjoy.

I really enjoyed this book! It feels like it's been ages since I read this sort of genre so that was really fun. I really liked the world that was presented in this. There were just loads of interesting ideas throughout, from the goblin's skin changing colour in response to someone's mood, to the fire wolves, to the whole conflict with the Ice Monks. I know this was originally supposed to be the first in a series and I can definitely see how there are enough threads that could be explored in sequels. 

Orion and Alfie were absolutely adorable. There were definitely a couple of moments that made me grin and chuckle to myself as they both started to realise they liked each other (he thinks he might be having a heart attack BLESS YOU ALFIE). It also felt very age appropriate. Sometimes when I'm reading books of this sort of style I forget that the characters are young teenagers because everything gets blown up into epic proportions, whereas these two were so obviously teenagers crushing on each other. I just found it refreshing that when Astra asked Orion if she was in love with Alfie she replied with "I'm thirteen!" That being said, I do totally ship them. I mean Alfie apologising for being her destiny was so freaking adorable I could not handle it. YOU TWO ARE PRECIOUS OKAY.

I really liked the core cast of characters. If it's not obvious from my notes I was so not okay with the possibility of Nick dying so I'm very happy he didn't! I loved the twins and their banter and I was not emotionally ready to have another Fred and George type situation (never over it). I initially wanted to wrap Felix up in a blanket because he was so scared of everything but he really developed as the book went on and grew into his potential. Incindiere (I might have spelt this wrong soz) was really cool and I'm still not over the idea of a pack of fire wolves all sitting about barbecuing vegetables on each other. I also think there is really interesting potential in her future in regards to seeking revenge against the Ice Monks. Amy was definitely the most capable of the group, they were very lucky to have her! I'd be interested to see what comes of her whole new found lost princess-ness. I actually think she would be a really capable person to be put in charge of the universe! Even thought that's not what she wants. Orion could be a bit bratty sometimes but I mean, that does sort of come with being raised as a princess. But for someone who has just lost their father and been thrust into a position of huge responsibility, she really was trying her best. I just really liked the whole group and the way they developed as the book went on.

I thought this was a great book really! I feel like we've only just scratched the surface of the world and there is so much more that could be explored. How are they going to stop the Ice Monks? Who is rightful owner of the book, Amy or Orion? How does the book even work? I feel like the characters have only just started to develop and that they have so much potential to keep growing.

(Also, if you're reading this Leah - I keep talking about this like there are going to be sequels and stuff but that's just because it all captured my imagination. I don't want to be one of those douchey people that makes demands on writers like "you have to write more of this thing" because like, you owe me nothing, write for yourself etc. All I'm saying is that if you ever decided that you did want to write more of these and a sequel ended up coming into existence then if you could give me a heads up please that would be suuuuuuuuper awesome cos I would love to read that.)

My True Love Gave To Me Review

Let's all pretend that I'm posting this much earlier in the month and that Christmas is still a recent memory and we're all still feeling festive. Yes it would probably have been a good idea if I'd bought this book whilst the world was still festive, but I didn't so here we are. If anyone is grumbling then let me distract you with how freaking adorable the book is and then you will swiftly understand exactly why I had to own it, lack of festive season be damned:

See how lovely it is! Plus the edge of all the pages are pink. IT'S SO PRETTY I HAD TO HAVE IT. Aside from how stupendously pretty it is, it's got stories from a bunch of authors that I've been wanting to read for ages so I thought this would be quite a good way of introducing myself to them! There are definitely a couple that I really want to go out and buy more of now, namely David Leviathan and Stephanie Perkins. Both of theirs were really good. I'm going to include my reaction pages below but as I currently have no idea where the scanner is I've had to resort to photographing them so I'm not sure how well that's going to work. Let's give it a go! I can always replace them with scans later.

So yeah, those were my thoughts! This was a really enjoyable read. There were lots of really adorable moments and I enjoyed seeing all the different approaches to the topic. We all are very aware of the fact that I love Rainbow Rowell's books so starting with her was a good way to get me to like this collection straight away. The Lady and the Fox wasn't bad but I wish there had been a bit more to it. I know it's probably supposed to be a bit mysterious but I found myself wanting a bit more of an explanation. I didn't not enjoy Krampuslauf but it was super weird! Probably the story that I was least fussed about was Star of Bethlehem because in comparison to the others I just feel like it fell short a little bit. It's A Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown, Your Temporary Santa, and What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth were definitely my top three though.

Overall this was a really good collection of short stories. I feel like I've discovered a couple of really great writers to explore as well which is always good!

The Kiss of Death - Marcus Sedgwick

You guys, I have SO MANY book reviews for you! Except most of them involve book reaction pages and I am yet to discover where the scanner was packed. So I'm going to investigate whether photographing the pages works or not, the essential point being that I may or may not be about to upload a flurry of reviews. However, the reaction pages for this one were a bit rubbish and I wanted to make sure I uploaded something today so here we are!

The Kiss of Death is the sequel to My Swordhand Is Singing, which I read many many years ago and absolutely loved. If I'm honest, I don't remember a lot about it by now. I know there were vampires and I really liked the final scene but that's about it. Also, I'm pretty sure I leant it to someone who I'm no longer in contact with so it's probably lost forever which is a shame! But anyway, it's all about vampires and a cool sword and probably a bunch of other stuff which I don't remember right now. I bought The Kiss of Death ages ago (back when I still remembered what happened in the first book) and just never got around to reading it, but I'm really trying to work my way through the giant box of books I have to read so I thought I would give it a go!

And to be honest, it was a perfectly decent book really. It's just a slightly gothic YA story about vampires in Venice! I'm really glad it took me so long to read this because it means that I actually know all of the places that they're talking about. I visited Venice this time last year and I really liked it! Sometimes I forget how much I actually liked the place because the circumstances surrounding the holiday weren't great but actually it's really beautiful and interesting. So whenever they mentioned certain specific places I knew exactly where they were talking about, which I liked. It was almost like the city was a secondary character in the novel. 

If I'm honest, this review is a bit rubbish because I don't really have a lot to say about this book. I thought it was perfectly fine. Assuming that past!Sophie's opinion on My Swordhand Is Singing was correct and it is brilliant, then this wasn't as good. There wasn't anything wrong with it, but there also weren't any stand out moments. If you're a fan of Marcus Sedgwick and haven't already read this then I would definitely say it's worth reading, but I don't think it was a particularly necessary sequel.


This weekend I found myself heading back to Reading to celebrate the birthday of one of my university friends and I had an absolutely lovely time! I haven’t seen the girls in what feels like forever so it was just wonderful to have a big catch up.

It also helped me to gain a bit of perspective. There’s become a bit of a common theme on this blog where I freak out a bit over the fact that I have no idea what I’m doing and how I feel like I’m generally unqualified to be an adult. But as I was updating everyone on what the last few months have contained my friend commented something along the lines of “it sounds like it’s all coming together for you”. And weirdly I guess it kind of is?

I think I find it too easy to get caught up in the whole “I have no idea what I’m doing how do you adult” side of things and I haven’t really taken a step back and assessed where I’m actually at. When I look at it objectively, it actually has all come together a bit.

I have a job. In fact, I don’t just have any old job; I have a job that I actually enjoy. True the pay isn’t brilliant but really it’s quite a pleasant surprise to actually have a vague source of income. I’m learning a bunch of new stuff but I also feel like I’m actually knowledgeable and an asset to the company. I know things that are relevant and useful and the things I’m doing are actually having a positive impact and everything. I get to listen to music while I work, the people I work with are actually nice, and it’s only a 20 minute bus ride from my house. Somehow, I’ve actually managed to fulfil the task I set to myself a few months ago: to wait it out and find a job that I actually like.

I have also moved house. This is something that has been in the works for about two years by now so to have that actually done is a pretty big achievement. And the house is actually really lovely. Yes the first week was a bit rubbish and cold and I was a bit sad but by now it’s all looking much better! We have vaguely unpacked so that you can actually move about the place and we’re inching ever closer to having all of our amenities sorted out (oh internet, the day you arrive will be beautiful indeed!). Our area seems nice and I feel pretty safe walking about the place at night so I mean what more can you ask for really!

I had a really sociable Christmas and will be back to actually organising things with people just as soon as I’ve figured out all of my bus options (oh the joys of being reliant on public transport!) so I’m ticking the box called “spend time with lovely people”. Lack of internet does mean that I am speeding through books at the moment which is also great.

Essentially, I’m beginning to think I might be actually getting my shit together a little bit. There’s a chance that I’m actually on the path to being the interesting, fulfilled person that I know I have the potential to be. Which is pretty freaking awesome really!

I spent all of last week as a bundle of insecurity; I was pretty much convinced that I am a nuisance to everyone and generally questioning my worth. So I feel like I have gained some much needed perspective! Note to self – you are never as shit as you think you are.

Also I bought a tiny squishy toy ice cream in Reading and take pictures of it having random adventures so like, I also have that going for me.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

One Day - David Nicholls

This isn't going to be my greatest book review ever because I didn't make very good notes whilst reading this, but I did really enjoy it! So here follows some vague thoughts. Beware, here be spoilers.

I saw the film of this a while ago and didn't remember much about it other than the fact that Anne Hathaway is in it. This meant that rather than reading her as Northern I mostly just had Anne Hathaway saying all of Em's lines. I really liked Em though, she won me over straight away with her long rambly letters to Dex. I think that being someone who has only recently graduated and is trying to figure out what to do with their life made me like Em quite quickly as she was going through a lot of that uncertainty. I absolutely forgot that she died and it was so sudden that it completely took me by surprise. I didn't actually cry (for once) which may have something to do with the fact that there were loads of removal people running around the house at the time so my head wasn't totally in the book at the time.

With Dex I had the same experience that all the characters that loved him also did, where there's a whole period where you're like "I know that at your core you are nice but right now you're being a bit of a dick", which I guess is the point! I like Emma and Dex though. I like the way they fall into their relationship and the way they banter when they're good. I felt like there was a fundamental realism to the book, especially with their relationship. Emma and Dex didn't have a moment where it suddenly all came together and they lived happily ever after. It was difficult and there were lots of moments where it was pretty shit and they fell out and even when they got together finally it still wasn't all smooth sailing. And then it was suddenly over. On the one hand I'm super sad about this, that they couldn't have figured it all out earlier and used their words and communicated how they felt to each other more and maybe had more time together. But then on the other hand, I like that they were always just in each other's lives (apart from those years when they weren't but shush you know what I mean). At their very core they were friends and got on really well and also loved each other romantically as well. I liked this moment: "You're gorgeous, you old hag, and if I could give you just one gift ever for the rest of your life it would be this. Confidence. It would be the gift of confidence. Either that or a scented candle". I think both of these are fine gift ideas!

I liked how this was written and there were loads of moments that made me laugh, like "I will be carrying a white rose and my copy of Howard's End and when I see you I will throw it at your head". Plus on the other end of the spectrum there were moments like this: "sometimes it seems that she can chart her life by what she worries about at 3am".

Also I didn't really like Ian.

So these are my thoughts on One Day! It was a really easy read and I liked it a lot. I also read My True Love Gave To Me this week but that review is going to have to wait until I have internet and a scanner again because I made some slightly pretty reaction pages for it. If you've read this do tell me your thoughts and I can read them next week when I am once again stealing my father's wifi!

Things I Have Learnt Recently

It's been a week since I last posted and in that time I have moved house, read three books, unpacked 5000000000 boxes (maybe a slight exaggeration), visited the largest Tesco I have ever seen, and been very very cold. I won't lie, it feels like a lot more than a week has passed.

Here are some things that I have learnt in this time:

  • A cold Sophie is a grumpy Sophie. Seriously guys, living without heating in the middle of January is not fun. Last night I slept in my pj's, onesie, AND dressing gown plus three blankets. IT'S COLD. There's also a definite link between me being cold and me lacking self-worth.
  • I am far too reliant on the internet. FAAAAR too reliant. I've used up all the internet on my phone and we haven't got internet set up at the house yet. I will confess this last week hasn't been a great once for my self-confidence levels. I've always lived near my friends so moving away from them all and not having definite internet access has meant I've been feeling quite lonely and have been struggling to find my worth a bit. I'm still trying to work out a way to communicate to people that I feel a bit rubbish and need a bit of positive affirmation without it just coming across that I'm moaning and fishing for compliments. But I'm hoping that as I unpack and settle into the new house all of this insecurity will float away a bit!
  • There's a chance that I am secretly Nick Miller because not only do I pull a good turtle face, I also hate doors. I have met a lot of new doors recently and I don't understand how ANY OF THEM WORK.
  • There's a greater likelihood that I am actually Jessica Day. I got overwhelmingly excited the craft section in the gigantic Tesco.
  • My dad is eternally proving how fantastic he is. Most recently by letting me come over and have hot showers and wash my hair/clothes and steal his wifi. I told him that he is an angel, but a rocktacular one with black wings of course, to which he replied "you mean a bat". Yes I suppose I do. And if Ozzy ever tries to bite his head off he'll have to deal with me first. It's the least I can do in return!
  • I'm way too used to living somewhere where people can't see me through the windows. Not sure the new neighbours enjoy seeing me dance around whilst miming intensely along to cheesy 80's rock but it's something they're going to have to get used to.
  • I might have a scented candle addiction. The light in my room doesn't work so I have to buy all of the amazing air wick glowy candles. How else am I supposed to see?
All in all it's been an interesting week! It's simultaneously flown by and also lasted an eternity. Hopefully internet will be sorted soon, otherwise I shall probably pop up again on Monday when I'm at dad's again! Until then, hope everyone is well and good!

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Between Two Thorns - Emma Newman

As mentioned in my previous post, I love buying people presents. However, being slightly skint at Christmas meant that I had to set myself a £10 limit on everyone's presents, which meant I mostly ended up going for a book + chocolate orange combo. So of course, I had to choose the MOST ABSOLUTELY PERFECT BOOK OF ALL BOOKS EVER. I didn't mention in my previous post but I get really really overenthusiastic about recommending stuff to people and then as soon as I've done so I suddenly get incredibly insecure abut whether or not they'll like it. Which is odd because I've never judged someone harshly on a recommendation they've given me, even if I didn't like it I never viewed it as a bad reflection on them (unless you know, it was truly awful and horrific), but there you go. The concluding point of all of this is that I bought my mum this book for her Christmas because I thought she'd like it, and she actually loved it which made me super happy! She was very insistent that I read it soon so we could talk about it, so I did!

I remember spotting this book in Waterstones last year and thinking it looked interesting, but I bought it for mum because it's set in Bath which is near where we live and one of my mum's favourite places. I actually really love when books are set around places I know well, I get a little glow being like "I have been to this place they are describing!" I also really really love stories about fairies. This is definitely something carried over from my childhood. I spent hours running round the garden trying to find fairies, although these were the innocent flower fairy type ones. Then I started reading more books that explore the whole trickster untrustworthy fae type thing which I find really really interesting! For example, stuff like Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and, my absolute favourite, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making by Catherynne M Valente. I might love fairytale inspired books EVEN MORE than I love books that riff off of Greek mythology, which is saying something!

Now, onto my reactions:

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I'm definitely going to buy the rest of the series because I'm really interested to see where it's going to go next. In a way it's a very familiar story; you have a magical society that's very Victorian, plus a protagonist who wants to escape and carve out a different life for themselves etc. But there were a lot of things about this that made it stand out a bit.

My favourite thing by far about this book is Cathy herself. I absolutely adore her! Fact is, if I was in her situation I would also want to run away from an oppressive Victorian society and go study at uni and watch sci fi shows and generally enjoy all the benefits of electricity and hot water and the like. Plus it's a tiny detail but I love how much she swears. I just think it's way more realistic! I don't dislike William but I also don't love him either. I'm interested to see how he develops in further books; he has the potential to grow into a really likeable character or he could turn into an utter prick. We shall see!

Another detail I really liked was that of the Arbiters. They are essentially the equivalent of the police force, except in order to be an Arbiter you have to have your soul disconnected from your body. When they want to file reports and suchlike, they use statues as vessels for their souls and communicate through them, which sort of means you have moments where the person is interacting with themselves, but it's like two completely different people arguing over things. It's really interesting and I'm intrigued to see what happens to the character of Max.

This book definitely reminded me of a lot of things, but it also had enough of its own original ideas that it didn't feel old. There are so many different elements that I'm really interested to see develop so I need to get my hands on Any Other Name soon!

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Languages of Love

This originally started life as the intro to my review of Between Two Thorns but then I got waaaaay too carried away and decided to make it a separate thing instead. 

I love buying people presents. For some reason I'm really good at remembering random, inconsequential details about people that aren't really that important yet my brain stores them away for no apparent reason. As a result I have great big spider webs of my friend's and family's likes and dislikes stored away in my head just waiting for their moment to be useful. It's seriously ridiculous the type of random information I retain about people and it's hardly ever helpful! 

I took the languages of love test a while ago (because I am an absolute sucker for personality test things I LOVE THEM) and my main way of expressing love and affection is gift giving. Everyone always interprets this as a sort of "buy me presents" mentality and like, yeah, if you wanna buy me gifts I will accept them with open arms because I am poor and quite frankly who doesn't love presents? But for me, it's more about the thought behind the thing. 

One of my absolute favourite things in the world is when people randomly message you being like "I saw this thing the other day and it made me think of you!" or "I found this and I thought of you because you like this other thing". It makes me grin like a fool I tell you! One time my friend bought me a dairylea dunkers jumbo tubes thing as part of my birthday present because he remembered me saying how much I love them and to this day I get a massive smile on my face when I think about that. Sad but true. 

In day to day life my head is constantly making connections between the things I'm seeing and the little spider webs I have stored away and most of the time this isn't very useful. Then birthdays happen. Suddenly, all of this random and otherwise useless information I have accumulated becomes relevant! Money no object my favourite way of giving people presents is to buy a box and then fill it with a whole bunch of stuff that I know they like. Two of my uni friends have birthdays quite close together so I gave them a joint "surviving university with me" box which included:

  • A pot of glitter each for nights out
  • A bottle of bubbles each as stress relief
  • A headband with ears on each (I used to write all of my essays wearing my cat ear headband, initially because it was the only way of keeping my hair out of my face and then later because it just became tradition)
  • A bottle of diet coke each because it's their favourite
  • An item of jewellery each as a main present
  • And I also made them each a playlist with all of their favourite songs on it
Since taking the languages of love test I realised that this is why I like buying people presents so much, because it feels like a way of affirming that I care about them. It's very silly but just doing something little like randomly giving someone a packet of their favourite sweets or something is just my way of being like "hey I know you like this thing so here is this thing for you because you're awesome and should have the things you like". My second highest result is words of affirmation so I also try and actually use my words to more clearly tell people how fab they are but it's still the same basic principle. 

This all started because I gave my mum a book I thought she'd like for her Christmas present and she really loved it which made me super happy (of course it did, she gave me words of affirmation so I felt appreciated. Do you hate me for going over board with this whole languages of love thing yet?). I like the way that I express affection but it's been really helpful to recognise the fact that not everyone expresses it in the same way. It can be really easy (for me at least) to over think things and get insecure about whether or not people do value you. The likelihood is, they care about you just as much as you do them, they just use a different means to express it. Last year me and the girls I live with all took the quiz at the same time and then had a massive chat about the ways in which we express affection and it was actually a really good thing to do because it meant we could show each other how much we valued each other in ways that would definitely be picked up on.

I feel like this has been another one of those posts where I have just completely rambled! Maybe I shouldn't be taking a random internet quiz thing so seriously, but I just find it really interesting! Let me know if you've taken the quiz, what your results are, any other thoughts you have on it to be honest!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Celebrating Old Selfies

The other day I posted this where I reviewed old selfies, which mostly just involved me being baffled and embarrassed really. But along the way, when I was searching for horribly cringey selfies to share I also found a whole bunch of quite nice pictures as well, so I thought I would share those as well! I'm going to fess up now, not all of these are technically selfies but sod it, I do what I want.

WE'RE OFF TO SUCH A BETTER START ALREADY. I can feel the embarrassment from the last post start to fade away. Granted I still haven't managed to grasp the idea of framing (why so much wall?) but at least the majority of my face is in it! Here we have an example of a picture taken during my gothy/emo phase that does not make me want to hide my face in my hands! Hoorah! I'm pretty sure this was the day that I got my hair cut like this and honestly I really like the fringe/eyeliner combo. I'm so proud of cute baby goth Sophie learning to take halfway decent selfies. *wipes away tear of pride*

The first of the not-technically-selfies! But hey, I think this picture is adorable and anyone who disagrees obviously needs their eyes tested. This is gothy-emo Sophie in her natural habitat. Dressed all in black, eyes outlined in eye liner, hanging out on Castle Green with all of the cool older kids, and what does she do? She decides to blow bubbles. Of course she does! Cause that's totally how you impress the alternative kids in the year above you. (Although to be fair, if I was in a group of people now and one of them started blowing bubbles that person would be my immediate BFF so maybe I was just a genius ahead of my time?)

There's going to be a recurring theme throughout this post of black and white pictures of me with my fringe. I won't lie to you guys, I miss that fringe every day! The only reason I got rid of it is because I developed a stupid cowlick that meant that a bit of it stuck up all the time, thus ruining the overall fringe effect. I will never forgive my hair for turning against me in such a way! Every now and then I'm tempted to have the fringe cut in again and hope that it's gone away, but then I see pictures of the awkward growing the fringe out stage and decide that I don't need it that desperately after all. But back to the picture at hand, I just think this is super cute! I don't think I ever truly appreciated how freaking adorable I was at this age. I also love my hair in this. A sure fire way to get me to love you forever is to offer to curl my hair for me because I loooooove having curls but am too rubbish to make them happen for myself. I think it's just a case of wanting what you can't have because my hair is stubbornly straight and very thick so doesn't take kindly to attempts to curl it, so whenever it is curled I just spend the whole time feeling very over excited until it eventually unravels back to being straight again. But enough about my hair preferences!

Here we have the return of not-technically-a-selfie pictures! But let's be honest, this is a super great picture. I'm DAISY CHAINING in a FIELD. Could I be any more precious? Did any of you guys go through that phase where you got given a digital camera and suddenly became an amateur photographer? My friend and I spent many a day frolicking about the local area taking macro shots of various foliage and being convinced we would be professional photographers when we grew up. In fact, the girl who took this is doing vaguely photographic things I believe, so that's cool! Plus I genuinely really like this picture. It's nice.

Speaking of frolicking around the local area and pretending to be photographers, et voila! This photo makes me look like I'm just really casual and cool whereas in actual fact I was like "WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO BECKY I DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW TO POSE FOR PICTURES" and the residual awkwardness was caught on camera. 

I wish I could say this is the final picture of me with daisies but there's one more still to come. What can I say, I spent a lot of time in fields during my adolescence. Oldland Common isn't exactly a hub of social activity but it does have a whole bunch of different fields for all the different social groups to hang out in. In fact, this field was claimed by the alternative kids in the year above me and as such demanded capitalisation when given its title of "The Field". Oddly vague, yet everyone knew exactly which one it was. Strange. I remember this day really vividly though, and it was really lovely, and I just look super happy in this picture so I like it! Plus I thought I would introduce a slight colour palette change, can't be all black and white here. Got to spice things up a little.

Oh look, how quickly we return to our dazzling hughes of black and white. I thought I should probably throw an actual selfie in here for good measure and I look quite nice here! What more is there to say really?

Oh look! The selfie that started it all! Now there is a fair amount of potential for piss take with this selfie but I am a sop and I love it. A good 50% of my loving this picture is mostly just because I can see all of my books in the background and I'm overly emotionally attached to them so that makes me happy. Fun fact: those books under my desk were actually needed to hold the sodding thing up because I accidentally snapped the side when I was rearranging my room one day. I do stuff like this annoyingly frequently. As I write this post I've just realised that I'm wearing the dress that is in this picture! Rather than meaning that I'm the same size as when I was 15 I think it mostly just means that this dress has lost a LOT of its elasticity in the wash and I should probably throw it away someday soon. Mostly I just think I look cute okay?! I'm doing that thing where it's like "oh I just put this camera on self timer and now I don't know what to do with my body but fortunately I seem to have been caught in vaguely aesthetically pleasing position!" 

Actual final daisy picture I promise! Can we all take a moment to admire the transition of the daisy though? I seem to have gone slightly abstract in this one. I did actually debate including this one in the other post because let's be honest, there's a lot of potential for piss take here. But I decided against it because I just like it! I actually remember taking this; I'd put the camera on timer and was going to just face it and smile but my friend caught me doing so and made a joke about it so the camera caught my slightly embarrassed "I've been caught trying to take an arty selfie" moment. 

I love this selfie SO FREAKING MUCH OKAY. There's no random cutting off half my face! Not only do I still have my fringe but I also have adorable ringlet curls! I'm happy and smiling! IT'S IN COLOUR! LOOK HOW FAR MY SELFIE TAKING ABILITY HAS COME! I just honestly think this is a lovely picture of me. That is all.

Sudden time jump! Very astute readers will notice that we have completely skipped the awkward growing-my-hair-out phrase and have moved swiftly on to the wow-I-have-super-long-hair-now phase instead! I feel like this is a nice picture of me right up until the moment where I stare at it too long and then I end up unsure but I think that's just the pictorial version of when you look at a word too long and suddenly question whether it's real or not. (For example, think about the word eighth. Eighth. EIGHTH. How is that a real way of spelling something? The mind boggles.)

Final selfie of the post! This was taken two years ago and I feel like if I include anything more recent then this can no longer be a post about old selfies and just becomes too many pictures of my face. I just love this picture. It was my second Christmas at uni and I'd just got back from an end of term meal with my friends and let my hair out of the french plait it had been in and snapped a quick pic before going downstairs to chill out with everyone again, and I just think it looks really nice! Most of the pictures of myself that I really like are ones where I'm just really happy. I like those moments where I've obviously been having a really nice time and just paused to take a picture and then carried on. They make me smile. 

So that is celebrating old selfies! I would say that the reason there are way more selfies in this post is because I love myself loads yadda yadda, but actually it's because I'm still trying to hunt down the rest of my awful selfies. I know they're out there somewhere. Their images are burned into my retina. I will find them. And I will share them. I cannot rest until this mission is complete! Okay so maybe that's slightly melodramatic but supposing they haven't actually been lost forever then I will definitely share them so we can all laugh at me again together. Yaaaaay!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

The Devil In Amber - Mark Gatiss

And now we have the first book of 2015! Although that is lying a little bit because technically I started reading this last week, but I finished it today and that's what counts! I've decided to set myself a reading challenge on Goodreads this year so this is the first book that counts towards that. I counted the number of books I'd marked as read in 2014 and I got 50-something, so I thought I would aim for 70 for this year. I read loads of books last year that I didn't put on Goodreads because it was all theory and course books and stuff, so I think 70 is probably a reasonable number. In all honesty, I have no idea! I'm just going to give it a shot and see!

As the book to start off this year, The Devil in Amber was cracking! It's the second Lucifer Box book and was just generally a lot of fun to read. I didn't make a very detailed note of my thoughts but here they are nonetheless:

Essentially, I just really enjoyed this. There were a whole bunch of moments that caused me to cackle out loud and it was just a great time from start to finish! I don't feel like I have an awful lot to say about it but that's mostly because it was just a fun read. Maybe I should have waited until I wasn't hungover and sleepy to try and write these but what can you do. These are the choices I have made. 

The Invisible Library - Genevieve Cogman

First book review of the new year! Hooray! I hope everyone had a lovely New Year's Eve last night! My friend's family runs the local drama group and every year they throw a New Year's Eve party so I spent the final night of 2014 having drinks with a whole bunch of lovely people, trying to befriend a cat, desperately avoiding karaoke, and generally getting very soppy and telling my friends how much I love them all. The usual really! However, before all of that I was sat in my front room reading as fast as possible in order to get to the end of this book before going out because I was determined to finish it in 2014. As mentioned in this post I got this in the sale and my brief read of the blurb had me very excited. These were my reactions as I read it:

So those were my initial reactions! I think I got a little over excited about this book based off of the blurb and I did thoroughly enjoy it, but I didn't love it. Maybe I shouldn't have had random high expectations! I will definitely keep my eyes peeled for any potential sequels though. (Also, I'm only now registering what a icky phrase that is. Peeled eyes. Ew.)

I liked all of the characters, especially Irene. A lot of weird things happened in this book and I think her snarkiness made it more believable. If she hadn't questioned what was happening I think I would have liked it less because I would have been like "why is no one questioning the existence of cyborg alligators? What is wrong with you people?" and it might have ventured into being weird for the sake of weird territory. Not that I mind weird for the sake of it; it's just her sarcastic comments and acknowledgement of how bizarre everything was made me happier to just go with it all more. I don't know if I'm explaining it well! I've not had a lot of sleep okay, let's just bear with me today.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable read though and a good end to my 2014 reading!