Friday, 31 January 2020

The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz by Jeremy Dronfield

Hello Readers,

After reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz and When I Fall,I Shall Rise I ended up reading a lot of historical fact/fiction medleys. Just a warning this book has some dark moments and was hard to read at some points that being said these horrific events happened and skimming over the words isn’t going to make that fact go away.

People who know me in real life have even asked me why I read so many Holocaust survivor memoirs and I think it's because I believe everyone has to know some of the stories in a less fluffy version of what’s taught in school. Yes, books like this one are difficult to read but we need to learn from people’s experiences so history does not repeat itself. This book reminds us of the dangers of what can happen when you dehumanise a human group and anything goes and that the words ‘we shall not forget’ should never become an empty phrase.

One thing that does scare me when I read Holocaust survivor memoirs and even historical documentaries is how easy mob mentality turned against a type of people and what happened. How many people turned a blind eye to the suffering because if they didn’t, they would have been killed or taken to a camp. How anyone could have the mindset to think to treat fellow human beings in such an atrocious way is right still blows my mind. Also, how anyone could survive these camps is unbelievable when you peek behind the curtain (Further education than school fluff). With that said now to the review.

This book is an incredible true story of strength, sacrifice and courage. This true story is about the Kleinmann family, mostly focusing on what happened to the father Gustav and eldest son Fritz. Jeremy takes us on their horrific journey, from the betrayal by their ‘good’ neighbours, to systematic demonisation, dispossession and ‘transportation’.   Gustav and Fritz were seized by the Nazis and thrown into various Concentration Camps before finally ending up in Auschwitz with only the love and support of each other as comfort. At times it seemed that the strength of one was the only thing that kept the other going and it was beautifully written and portrayed.

This book was both heart-breaking and difficult to grasp. Jeremy is doesn’t turn a blind eye to the selfish instinct for survival that, is a part of the camp narratives which if you’ve read tattooist, you’re not that surprised about it but it’s still a slap to the face. There will be times when you want to be angry but this is history and it happened getting mad can’t change anything and it is also basic human nature to survive in any way possible hello Stockholm syndrome. Also, let's be honest you would do anything to make you’re suffering a little less for a little extra food or cloth. 

This book is both tear-jerking and inspiring I cannot gauge the cruelty that can be brought out in humans and I cannot stop being amazed at the bravery and persistence of those who survive. It isn’t all doom and gloom there is comradeship, friendship in some surprising places and has some good luck thrown in.

 I spent the majority of this book in absolute horror (despite other books I have read) of the way that people were treated. However, the love between Father and Son with their unconquerable spirit and refusal to give up despite horrific punishments was awe-inspiring. Even the reunions are treated simply, without fuss and without ever forgetting the appalling weight of suffering behind them. This book is an unashamedly emotive and a deeply moving story. I will never forget this courageous family and all of the other families all over the world that suffered during the holocaust.

L x

Friday, 24 January 2020

The Extinction Trials: Rebel by S.M. Wilson

Hello Readers,

Today I have the third book in The Extinction Trials trilogy for you. Here are the reviews of The Extinction Trials (Book One) and The Extinction Trials: Exile (Book Two). All the books in this series have such a beautiful cover and the third fits in lovely with its predecessors. Also, spoiler warning!
I am just going to say I have really enjoyed watching Storm, Lincoln and the gang setting up on Piloria over this trilogy and I think it has the potential to become a larger series but that might just be me being greedy.

If you’ve seen my reviews of the first two books you know how much I loved Piloria and wanted to stay there in a little hut/cave and play with dinosaurs and adored the wonderful bright scenery compared to Earthasia. I found the tropical setting once again magical and the idea of dinosaurs and humans inhabiting the same space both terrifying and thrilling.

Instead of a mission to Piloria and back this time they are sending ships from Earthasia to colonise the dinosaur continent which sets up an entirely different set of challenges for our beloved characters. Returning to the island was great because again it brought in some of those same practices where humans run things down and destroy what they don’t know or understand. There’s still conflict, which is well done and the political atmosphere is still tense.  It was nice to see Storm and the other survivors of the trial know what to kill yet be the strongest advocates for cohabitation. Storm in particular really seems to be coming into her own as she has had to step into more of a leadership and mediator role.

From start to finish, the story is engaging and full of emotion Wilson does dystopian so well. The opening chapters grab you and tell you to run the chaos is fascinating and the tension is palpable it is a great piece of writing and it is executed beautifully. There is sadness and anger, mixed with happiness and hope and just pure intensity the entire way through. I ended up feeling for the characters and rooting for them and enjoying their complex character and relationship development. I had no idea how this book was going to end it could have gone in any direction and I love how there is no indication which way it's going to go.

 Honestly, everything about this book series is great, from the beautiful cover to the characters, to the intense main story. Overall, this book series is just incredible, exciting and the perfect for people who want to try something different.

L x

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Battle beyond the Dolestars by Chris McCrudden

Hello Readers,
Thank you, Jamie for sending me a copy of Battle beyond the Dolestars by Chris McCrudden for free in exchange for an honest review.

So, I will be honest I LOVE Red Dwarf so this series is right up my street. This is the second book in series and not one to let old habits die OBVIOUSLY I have read the second one first. Credit to Chris’s writing despite joining the story here I felt perfectly comfortable and there wasn’t a section I was unsure about. Chris has included enough backstory to not feel lost.

I loved the Red Dwarf books and this is in the same comedy stream. Chris has a slightly different humour but good heavens, the puns flow like a mighty river. I’m sorry, not sorry I love a really bad pun. Despite all the puns and humour, there are also some interweaving of subtle, and less subtle references to the total shambles that is our current political climate and the plastic problem that is plaguing the oceans.

It's wacky and more than a little weird but as soon as I got into the mindset of a world where sentient machines have taken over I didn't want to leave.  There is no Terminator-style human-robot instead lamps, photocopiers, and a particularly evil smartphone lead the machine charge. There are genuinely funny moments and the pacing is frenetic and relentless. The bad guys are boo-worthy, the good guys are courageous and funny.

This is a fascinating premise and the machines aren’t quite as you may have imagined them as mentioned above. There are ever parlours where machines can go, in private, to have their buttons caressed by humans and we’ll leave that there!

One of my favourite concepts Chris has is on Earth, there’s a gap between the virtual and the physical world where passage into the Internet is possible making it tourist destination. The Internet cats are absolutely hilarious.

This is a great story not only is it mad and quirky it’s a fun read that will lighten your mood and make you smile. The first book has been added to my ever-growing TBR pile and I can’t wait to see what Chris comes up with next.

L x

Thursday, 9 January 2020

The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva

Hello Readers,
Thank you, Lana for sending me a copy of your book The Existence of Amy for free in exchange for an honest review.

Today I have another wonderful book by the lovely Lana Grace Riva, this book is about five times longer than her first book (Happier Thinking). I was so excited when Lana emailed me asking if I would take a look at her second book.
Honestly with in the first couple of pages, I could identify with Amy and I was ready to fight her corner and if I’m honest her story struck a chord (Hello to all my fellow anxiety warriors). Amy is so easy to relate too and the situation she has found herself in. Amy can remember a happier time in her life and is wishing for the happier times to come back (We’ve all been there Hun). It was so easy to get emotionally attached to Amy or at least feel empathy and it honestly felt like she was a friend. I found myself glued to this story as I wanted to discover more about her and how she balances her OCD and depression with her normal life. 

All Amy wants is to feel is “normal”. Her brain has complete control over her, it’s almost like she can’t think independently of her daily struggles with her Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and depression which leads to anxiety. There were times where Amy was having a conversation with her brain and it is a little heart-breaking and realistic.

Lana does an excellent job getting Amy’s voice across. You honestly feel everything that Amy goes through on a daily basis. I also liked the raw way Amy talked about her experience of living with OCD and depression. I found that to be very realistic and the concepts of the two different illnesses were honestly presented.

Without spoilers, Amy sinks to her lowest point. However, despite her feeling alone and blocking out the world (Again some of us have been there). Amy doesn’t realise she has good friends, colleagues and a whole army of people there to support and help her.

The entire story is from Amy’s point of view and thanks to Lana's writing I really felt like I was transported into Amy’s head. This is the kind of book that you can enjoy in one sitting it was such a wonderful and easy read. I think the representation is really good and I can easily recommend  this book it if you are looking for a mental health book. On a slightly selfish note I kind of wish that it was a bit longer as I wanted to spend a little more time with Amy.

L x 

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Small changes can make a difference

Hello Readers,
Today's post is about the little changes I am making this year to be more environmentally friendly. I remember seeing a quote a couple of months ago and now obviously I can’t find it and this might be a little off but you get the point (I think).

The world doesn’t need a few people making a huge difference it needs a lot of people making a small difference

Which got me thinking that in the New Year I am going to try to make small changes and hopefully pick up some better habits. I have compiled a list of my changes and one is a product I was GIFTED.

Menstrual Cup
I must admit that when I saw people starting to be more open about menstrual cups I was sceptical. I know they aren’t a new thing but it is a small and easy change that can be made. Now, this is going to get personal feel free to skip to Finlay Beeswax Wraps. I finally caved and got a cup at the beginning of October and regret not doing it soon. I’m not going to lie there is that moment once is boiled and your face to face with it in the bathroom like okay so this thing is going in and it is going to be comfy okay then!?! Honestly, you can’t feel it and is so much easy than pads or tampons at least for me.

Finlay Beeswax Wraps (AD, Gifted)
I was kindly sent this to review and my god have they been a godsend. Nothing is too much for these wraps from sealing food to marinate in glass bowls to pack up sandwiches. Also, sorry but clingfilm is a pain in the ass that stupid I’m going to stick to myself and be impossible. Once you warm the wrap up in your hands the wraps will =moulds to most things and easily seals and stays closed. I also love the design is cute who doesn’t love cartoon bees.   
  
Thermal Cups
Most of us have a thermal cup now the trick is remembering to take it with you. A couple of places are now taking a little of the price of your drink in return for taking in a reusable cup. Okay so not complete eco-friendly to make but there are even a couple being made out of recycled material or more recyclable materials. I think the fact that more of us are choosing to use reusable cups shows an effort to reduce our negative impact on the planet.

Straws
Okay, this one is slightly frowned upon the straws I am reusing are plastic. The straws I take out are hard plastic ones that I got with a cocktail making set and my Nightmare Before Christmas tumbler. So still plastic but reused and washed after each use. So far these have done great and I am looking into getting a metal replacement at a later date when these are unusable. 

Stop Being Lazy
The older I have got I have gotten a little lazy. Yes, I run but I have gotten into the bad habit of driving to the corner shop that’s less than a 20-minute walk away. Like its pure laziness, there’s no excuse so this is getting cut out, I think I am worse in winter.

REMEMBERING MY BAGS!!!
Okay, this one sounds worse than what it is. The carrier bag charge came into law on the 5th October 2015 so this one isn’t new at all. However, I still don’t grab my bags when I go clothes shopping. The weekly shop I am fully covered all there and ready to go in the trolly. There is just a little black spot when I go into town for clothes or silly thing, but not when I buy books. So, this one I am going to boss this year or at least attempt to. 

What changes are you making this year?

L x

Monday, 6 January 2020

Diary of a Confused Feminist by Kate Weston


Hello Readers,
Thank you, NetGalley and Hodder Children's Books for the chance to read Diary of a Confused Feminist by Kate Weston on eBook for free in exchange for an honest review
Publication Date: 06 February

Here we go, guys, the first book review of the year; I hope you have all had a wonderful start to 2020. As the publication day is a month away, I am going to try to keep this spoiler-free for everyone. There is a tiny little one right at the bottom.


Synopsis
Kat wants to do GOOD FEMINISM, although she's not always sure what that means. She also wants to be a writer, get together with Hot Josh (is this a feminist ambition?), win at her coursework and not make a TOTAL EMBARRASSMENT of herself at all times.

But the path to true feminism is filled with mortifying incidents and when everything at school starts to get a bit too much, Kat knows she's lost her way, and the only way forward is to ask for help . . .

Review
From the start, I love that the book makes a point of saying that feminism means different things to different people and that worrying about being a 'good' feminist is not productive at all. Feminism is the main focus but it deals with more here. I know this book is called Diary of a Confused Feminist buuuut there are three brilliant points without even mentioning the brilliant feminist messages in this story. It is laugh out loud funny (I actually SNORTED), I loved the way friendship was presented in this story and It portrays mental health in a very realistic way and Kat's internal monologue is so relatable.

The confusion that Kat feels about wanting to be a feminist but wanting to look nice for a boy also felt very real and Hun, I get it! Kat worries because other women have made sacrifices for her to be able to go to school, so if she can't go, she's making a mockery of their efforts. Even as I’m writing this there are still countries where it is near impossible for girls to get an education. Kat, you are not alone I have felt this more than once in my life especially when it comes to voting, I have thrown the book at a couple of people through the years who are women and don’t vote. In my opinion, the suffragettes didn’t get force-fed and imprisoned for you to be a whiny and choosing not to vote because you can be arsed to educate yourself. And that ladies and gentlemen is why I am called a grumpy feminist.

I loved the relationships in this book, especially Kat’s friendship with Matt and her relationship with her family. I loved her dad, especially his understanding and support. Kat, Millie and Sam are a brilliant and hilarious trio who felt like real teenagers and I wish I'd had an ounce of their conviction and outspokenness at that age. Also, I enjoyed their chat names and would leave the Nerdherd to be part of their group (Sorry Zoey Redbird)

Stop here if you don't want to see the tiny SPOILER!!!! 
 L x 


Also, slight spoiler so I am putting this right down here at the bottom the direct approach to therapy is refreshing and wonderfully done and This book has one of the most accurate representations of anxiety I've read recently

Friday, 3 January 2020

Book to Screen Adaptions 2020


Hello Readers,

Today I thought we would look at some book to screen adaptions that are coming out in 2020. On Tuesday I posted books I can't wait for in 2020 feel free to have a look. All dates are for UK releases and can change. I am using poster images I have found through google I do not own any rights and am using the image purely for future review purposes (Fair use under the copyright act sections 29 and 30 under use for a review).

Emma

Release Date: 14th February 2020
Based On: Emma by Jane Austen
Director:  Autumn de Wilde
Cast:  Anya Taylor-Joy, Bill Nighy and Miranda Hart
Synopsis: 
Following the antics of a young woman, Emma Woodhouse, who lives in Regency-era England and occupies herself with matchmaking - in sometimes misguided, often meddlesome fashion- in the lives of her friends and family.
Thoughts: I love a good Jane Austen tale but you sold me on Bill Nighy and Miranda Hart!

The Invisible Man

Release Date:  21st February 2020
Based On:  The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells
Director:  Leigh Whannell
Cast:  Elisabeth Moss, Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Aldis Hodge
Synopsis:
The Invisible Man is an American science fiction psychological horror film and is a loose modern adaptation of both the novel of the same name by H. G. Wells and a remake of the 1933 film adaptation of the same name
Thoughts: FINALLY!! We have another universal dark universe film after all that hype for The Mummy (2017) and relaunch for a two-year break (Not mad or impatient at all). Elisabeth Moss stole our hearts in The Handmaids Tale, if you’ve not seen the trailer you need to.

The woman in the window

Release Date: 15th May 2020
Based On: The Woman in the Window; by A. J. Finn
Director:  Joe Wright
Cast:  Amy Adams, Gary Oldman and Julianne Moore
Synopsis: 
Agoraphobic Dr. Anna Fox witnesses something she shouldn't while keeping tabs on the Russell family, the seemingly picture-perfect clan that lives across the way.
Thoughts: despite Dan Mallory aka A. J. Finn lies I can’t wait to see this book adapted

Death on the Nile

Release Date:  9th October 2020
Based On: Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
Director:  Kenneth Branagh
Cast: Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot and Armie Hammer
Synopsis: Detective Hercule Poirot investigates the murder of a young heiress aboard a cruise ship on the Nile River.
Thoughts: I loved Murder on the Orient Express and after a quick look at the cast list I saw Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders and now I am beyond sold.

The Witches

Release Date:  9th October 2020
Based On:  The Witches by Roald Dahl
Director:  Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Anne Hathaway, Stanley Tucci and Octavia Spencer
Synopsis: "The Witches" follows a 7-year-old boy who has a run in with real-life witches.
Thoughts: I know she technically my mother but Anjelica Huston scare the spooks out of me in the orginal film I think it’s still that childhood fear. Let’s see how the remake with Anne goes.
Side note: Talking to Mother Goose while typing up this post –
MG: She’s not old enough and too nice
LR (Me): fair but maybe they’re going to play on it
MG: Go on…
LR: Well I think I saw Addams Family first so I already didn’t trust Anjelica and you read me the book, so it might be interesting to see if they play her nicer and then surprise High Witch
MG: Okay I’ll reserve my judgment

Dune

Release Date:  18th December 2020
Based On: Dune by Frank Herbert
Director:  Denis Villeneuve
Cast:  Oscar Isaac, Zendaya and Jason Momoa
Synopsis: Paul Atreides leads nomadic tribes in a battle to control the desert planet Arrakis.
Thoughts: This is one of Mother Gooses favourite films and I can’t wait to see it with her.
Side note:
MG: I want them to do it justice it’s a special film to me (I’m just going to butt in here when I told her she wasn’t too happy and went on a rant about characters I don’t know. She did the same with Star Trek into Darkness when she realised Benedict Cumberbatch was Khan and wasn’t blonde and no fake tan and some other things but then liked the film)

Honourable Mention
Chaos Walking

Release Date:  2020
Based On: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (Book 1 of the Chaos Walking trilogy)
Director: Doug Liman
Cast: Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley and Nick Jonas
Synopsis: Todd Hewitt has been raised to believe that a viral germ has killed all women and unleashed Noise, the special ability to read people’s and animals’ minds through a stream of images, words and sounds. After discovering a patch of silence, free of Noise, Todd is forced to flee his town. Alone, he must face a planet erupting in war—that is, until he meets Viola, the source of the silence.
Thoughts: Anyone who has followed me for a while knows this was on my list for last year, I have everything crossed we will get to see it this year.


Let me know if I have missed your favourite
L x



Thursday, 2 January 2020

Hulu Review (AD + GIFTED)


 Hello Readers,
Today I have an ad and product review for you. I was kindly sent three of Hulu’s products for free in exchange for an honest review. I was sent an apothecary jar candle, heart wax melts and Rejuvenating Pink Himalayan Bath Salts. I also did an unboxing on Instagram TV.

Hulu candles, snapbars and melts are made from Soy wax and are hand-poured in Yorkshire using 100% soy wax. This means that the wax Hulu uses is sustainable and a cruelty-free way to fragrance your room. Also, Hulu’s soy candles, melts and snapbars contain no animal products and the fragrances contain both natural and synthetic ingredients. All ingredients are from trustworthy suppliers who are proud to be cruelty-free.

Hulu’s products are posted in recyclable containers and even the bubble wrap is biodegradable so double bonus.

Tobacco & Oak lidded apothecary jar 12cl fragranced soy wax candle.

This candle partnered wonderfully with the book I’m currently reading Dracul by J.D Barker. This candle has a warm scent that is enhanced further by leather, spice and musk.  This lovely fragrance is masculine and the scent will help transport anyone to older timer or library. It’s a masculine scent but remains pleasant unlike some scents I’ve tried in the past and it now has pride of place in my favourite masculine scents with Black Pomegranate.

Occasionally a scented candle can smell good until it is lit, then they disappointingly don’t smell at all. Not Hulu so far, the candle is burning evenly and the scent is still just as lovely and strong.

Unicorn Magic Melts x12 100g

I am so in love with these wax melts if you saw my Instagram TV video you know, I love that Hulu has made a strong fragrance that isn’t overpowering and remains fresh and uplifting. The fragrance is one of my favourite wax melts I’ve smelled in a while. This complex fragrance features pear, sweet notes, cotton candy, vanilla and cherry.

Rejuvenating Pink Himalayan Bath Salts 300g

I have used Pink Himalayan Bath Salts before in baths, but this is the prettiest one I’ve used as the salt is a little larger than ones I’ve used before and when added to the water they look like gemstones in the water.

Himalayan Salts are known for their health-giving benefits and contain lots of natural minerals. My skin is quite sensitive but Pink Himalayan Bath Salts helps make my skin feel softer. I also crushed up a little and added it to my body wash to make a body scrub as I had run out and it worked out rather nicely.

I will honestly be keeping an eye on Hulu’s social media to see any new products. If like me you love to support small businesses, you may be interested in taking a look at the Hulu store.

L x