Thursday, 28 May 2020

Let’s talk about… Body Image

Hello Readers,

Obvious trigger warning on this post. What brought around the idea for this post was the recent pictures of Adele and the medias reaction to it and some other things I’ve recently seen in the press as well as some conversations I have had the joy of being part of (sarcasm). This also goes both ways which I think people forget I have seen articles about fat-shaming male celebrities calling it a “Dad bod” doesn’t make it okay! And that was about Jason Momoa freaking AQUAMAN are you really going to go there!

Even now over a month after Adele posted the picture you can’t google her name without being bombarded with weight loss theories and headlines. I think these figures are right but my point will still stand but Adele has won nine Brit Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, fifteen Grammy’s, eighteen Billboard Music Awards, five American Music Awards, and two Ivor Novello Awards for Songwriter of the Year. None of that is now classed as important as it is all is about her weight loss, all them accomplishment no longer mentioned. I’m sure at some point it used to say award-winning singer at least on the first page. Out of the 16 pages, this google search gave me I did not find a single page without a reference to her weight loss, I have honestly just googled Adele nothing too specific. 

How have we become this unhealthily obsessed with weight is worrying especially for young people, imagine a younger sibling or even a family member googling Adele and coming across all this bubble of negative positivity. You might ask what I mean by that statement and I mean this is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and should be seen as much. Some of this “helpful” tips can be dangerous and people have become seriously ill or even died from taking diet pills (there are cases in the UK from this year) or following a “Specific diet” that have been falsely endorsed by celebrities.

I am honestly just as uncomfortable with the term ‘Dad bod’ and anyone who tries to fat shame Jason can go sit in a room with “It’s a small world” on repeat for the next 10 years. In the UK 25 per cent of people diagnosed with an eating disorder are male. There is still so much taboo about men and mental health. I did a post about it last year called “Manning Up” imagine how much harder it is for man to admit he has an eating disorder.

We really need to stop this notion of you are only valued for how much you weigh and how you look and don’t say it not that much of an issue because if it wasn’t “Catfishing” wouldn’t be as big as an issue at it is. And yes, you can fight me on that statement. I am also around 80% sure I could look online at any gossip magazine and be hit with at least one of the following a new celebrity diet, a diet to follow or a celebrity being called out for weight loss or gain.

I spent years learning to love myself after being torn down for how I look from my forehead to my weight and even now almost 10 years later one of the comments will come hit me like a steam train. Before anyone tries to high horse me this isn’t about shaming people for losing or gaining weight it is the notion of you are only valued for how much you weigh and how you look. I think we really need to sit and take a long hard think about our standards of beauty and there have been movements of empowerment about weight the last couple of years but they tend to burn bright and fade away. We need to stop letting them fade away. It is not your duty to tear someone down, anyone can tear someone down, building someone up that's the hard bit! Be the change and build up. 

Also, anyone fat-shaming in lock-down go fuck yourself and go live in your bubble of toxicity and don’t bother anyone else. Final rant stop fat-shaming new mums and been like it took XXX amount of weeks for her to make her debut on the red carpet or getting followed for the exclusive first photo looking like she hasn't had a baby, 1 its RUDE, 2 she's just created life and 3 being a new mum is hard enough back off!

This was my 3am thought hope you like the post and enjoy the rest of your day.

L x

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Monday, 25 May 2020

Blog tour: Death Bringer by Kelly-Marie Pollock

Hello Readers,

Thank you again Melanie at Frasers Fun House for allowing me to join you on anther fun blog tour and for sending me an ebook of Death Bringer by Kelly-Marie Pollock. Here is my review of book one Cherry Nova

 *Little disclaimer I have reformatted this post since Saturday and it wont fix sorry for any issues* 

Title: Death Bringer
Series: The Chronicles of Nova Morgan (Book two)
Release date:  May 16, 2020
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fantasy, Fiction, Gothic
Pages: 341

Cover Image:

 Synopsis:

Nova may have won the fight for her freedom, but she's far from won the war. Join Nova, Ruth and Chaplin as they leave the grim streets of Victorian London behind and immerse themselves in the magical living realm of Hindra. Their mission appears to be clear; infiltrate the Councils headquarters, freeing the captive, Detective Maximus Steele and overthrowing The Righteous Ones in one fell swoop, but as they're about to realise, all is not what it seems. Time is of the essence and time is running out. From streetworker to rebellion leader, does Nova have what it takes to unchain Hindra or is she simply a pawn in someone else's game?

 Talk about Grabbing your hand and telling you to run. Goodreads link. 

Author Bio:

Kelly-Marie lives in Dorset with her Husband Mitchell, four young children and menagerie of pets. She’d dreamt of being an Author from a very young age and her late Auntie Julie pushed her to follow her dreams. Kelly-Marie is a stay at home Mother, full time career and active Parenting and Mental Health Blogger

Miniature Review

I read Cherry Nova (Book One) and this one back to back so I managed to immerse myself in a world that I never knew existed with ease thanks to the descriptive writing by Kelly-Marie. Overall I was impressed with the plot and character development of this book there is no second book syndrome to be found here. 

I am going to try really hard to keep this spoiler-free but Without giving away any spoilers, I have to say the twists kept drawing me further into the story and I couldn’t put it down.

Detective Max Steele is missing, but Nova knows what really happened. Having successfully raised an army (not a spoiler in the synopsis) It's time to put aside pettiness and for unlikely forces to work together. Not only do new realms appear, but you also get answers for past storylines. Nova knows the odds are already heavily stacked against her despite her army. The main characters continue to show growth and maturity which can be hard to portray with vampires. Despite being complete fiction and hundreds of years old, they still need room to grow, sorry not sorry! I will die on this mountain!

With time against them, Nova has to make instinctive choices about who to trust to accomplish their goal of saving Max. As with Cherry Nova despite the fast pace of this book it still gives you a bit of time to breath. As always things aren’t as easy nor as simple in the world of books and life Nova is promised something, she never thought possible. Overall, I highly recommend Death Bringer. Lauren note because you know how much I love to read book series, not in order you must read this series in the right order I don’t think it’s going to make much sense otherwise sorry. I can't wait to read the final book of the trilogy. 

L x

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Sunday, 24 May 2020

Cherry Nova by by Kelly-Marie Pollock (GIFTED BOOK, REVIEW)

Hello Readers,

Tomorrow I am on the blog tour for the lovely Frasers Funhouse but before that, I have a review of the first book in the series. Thank you again for a free ebook copy of Cherry Nova by Kelly-Marie Pollock in exchange for an honest review.

Okay, guys, I did it I read a book series in order! I know I’m just as shocked as you are. Before we get into this review let’s have a little flashback to teenage me, I am old enough to have read Twilight before the movies and before it was cool and became the IT thing. It was also around the same time I started The House of Night books so I know my vampire books and have read a couple of BAD books.

Huge shout out to Kelly-Marie for straying away from the cliché and create a vampire fiction novel that is decent while using several tropes to her advantage such as amnesia, revenge, lost love and the good old good vs. evil oh come on it’s a guilty pleasure as you know it. What also makes this book stand out amongst its peers is that Kelly-Marie has used her own personal mental health experiences to shape Nova’s behaviour and it is done realistically and beautifully done.

The beginning of this story is full of suspense and action-packed but as we get into the first few chapters it begins to slow down a little bit. Don’t worry it’s a false sense of security before your Thrust into the dark underworld of Victorian London with Nova bouncing between places not knowing who to trust.

Nova is a very interesting character and from the beginning, from when we meet her you can just tell she's going to be a good main character because she is relatable.  Throughout the book, Nova goes through a variety of challenges, changes and emotions and they are all written with an element of personal emotion. We follow Nova from a scared, lonely ‘street rat’, through her confusion and subsequent anger to a glimmer of the kick-ass female protagonist we know she is going to also check back tomorrow see my review of book two and it’s a blogtour.  Nova is a strong-willed character and a is definitely becoming a leader, after her memory returns, so does her determination. You're going to love book two.

Despite all the action in this book, the story-line is wrapped up at the end, giving us closure with enough left over to lead us into book two, Death Bringer.

L x

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Thursday, 21 May 2020

My favourite Retellings

Hello Readers,

Today I thought I would share with you my favourite retellings as you know I’m a fan sorry, not sorry. For this post, I will be including a synopsis and a link to my review. The final three are books I have on my to be read (TBR) pile and the synopsis a reason why they are on my TBR.  

I think we love a retelling because it’s like meeting an old friend and something is comforting about picking up a book and already being semi-familiar with the story and world. Also, if like me you’re a sucker for a retelling you just have to know what the twist is this time we already know the bare bones of the story but are ready to be surprised by new elements and a fantastical setting. whether it’s setting the story in a different time or showing the origin story of a villain instead who maybe isn’t so evil after all (cough, Wicked). I love trying to find the Easter eggs and the cameos of characters and themes from the original. 

 

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by KierstenWhite (Frankenstein by Mary Shelley) 

Elizabeth hasn't had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her "caregiver," and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything--except a friend. Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable--and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable. But her new life comes at a price. As the year's pass, Elizabeth's survival depends on managing Victor's dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness. 

 

Geekerella by Ashely Poston (Cinderella Folk tale)

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all the feels, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first. Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

 

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (Beauty and The Beast by Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve)

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope. Nothing has ever been easy for Harper but when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she's instead somehow sucked into Rhen's cursed world. A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn't know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what's at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

 

Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Dracula by Bram Stoker)

Gothic, intoxicating, feminist, darkly provoking and deeply romantic. On the eve of her divining, the day she'll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community. Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn't understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts. They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate...

 

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning (The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen) 

Everyone knows what happens in the end. A mermaid, a prince, a true love’s kiss. But before that young siren’s tale, there were three friends. One feared, one royal, and one already dead. Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch. A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after. But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain. 

 

On my to be read pile

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Cinderella Folk tale)

Cinder was gifted to me by my cousin and I still haven’t got round to reading it but it honestly sounds like something I would enjoy. The first book in the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer! See where the futuristic YA fairytale saga all began, with the tale of a teenage cyborg who must fight for Earth's survival against villains from outer space. Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth's fate hinges on one girl. Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She's a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she suddenly finds herself at the centre of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past to protect her world's future. With high-stakes action and a smart, resourceful heroine, Cinder is a Cinderella retelling that is at once classic and strikingly original. 

 

Dorothy must Die by Danielle Paige (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum)

This has been on my tbr for ages I really do need to bump it up the tbh. I love Wicked so what's not to like about this one. But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know? Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little bluebirds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still a yellow brick road—but even that's crumbling. What happened, Dorothy? They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe. My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas. I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. I've been trained to fight.

 

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (Cinderella Folk tale)

I really need to read the book as I loved the film with Anne Hathaway. At birth, Ella is inadvertently cursed by an imprudent young fairy named Lucinda, who bestows on her the "gift" of obedience. Anything anyone tells her to do, Ella must obey. Another girl might have been cowed by this affliction, but not feisty Ella: "Instead of making me docile, Lucinda's curse made a rebel of me. Or perhaps I was that way naturally." When her beloved mother dies, leaving her in the care of a mostly absent and avaricious father, and later, a loathsome stepmother and two treacherous stepsisters, Ella's life and well-being seem to be in grave peril. But her intelligence and saucy nature keep her in good stead as she sets out on a quest for freedom and self-discovery as she tries to track down Lucinda to undo the curse, fending off ogres, befriending elves, and falling in love with a prince along the way. Yes, there is a pumpkin coach, a glass slipper, and a happily ever after, but this is the most remarkable, delightful, and profound version of Cinderella you'll ever read.

L x

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Monday, 18 May 2020

Blog Tour: Singapore Killer (Ash Carter Book 5) by Murray Bailey (Gifted, Beta Reader, Review)

Hello Readers,

I would like to say huge thank you to Murray for allowing me to be a Beta reader and for also gifting me a copy of Singapore Killer in return for an honest review. Being a beta read in no way affect my ability to give an unbiased review.

I beta read this back in November as I am lucky to be one of Murray's Beta readers, I am so excited to be able to share this review with you now but it’s going to be spoiler-free! Also here’s a link to the first book in the series if you want to go down that rabbit hole.


So first off, I might be a little bias I love a good cult and I love a good serial killer and this book deliver both in a fast-paced action-filled book. As you will see by my review, I have a slightly unhealthy knowledge of serial killers so sorry in advance.

This book goes straight into the action like seriously first page you are in the middle as Ash is called in to investigate a helicopter crash. As always, the investigation isn’t as it seems and is interconnected with numerous murders by a serial killer who has given himself the moniker Black Jack. Ash finds himself deep in the jungle as his quest for the truth slowly unfolds. This leads Ash to find and then going undercover at commune composed of ex-soldiers called Shangri-La. As with many “Normal” communes in the jungle secrets and lies are soon exposed. I really enjoyed this part of the story as mentioned I’m possibly biased but it adds a very nice build-up and you can also feel the tension and uneasiness in the compound grow.

Murray has once again created a delightful cast of characters that the reader either likes or dislikes for all the right reasons including the ‘bad guys’. I say ‘bad guys’ I guessed five possible Black Jacks. Special mention for Ash’s ‘receptionist’ Madame Chau she was just fabulous and I adore her but she kinda scares me like that crazy aunt everyone has. Her and Ash’s working relationship was wonderful to read and explore I hope to see more of it. Also, just to add to all this fun and games Ash is trying to make a living and is forced to take small jobs, like looking for a dog for a bored housewife.

Let’s talk about the other main man, I love Black Jack and his wholesomeness as a character he’s remarkably believable with reflections on Jeffery Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Jack the Ripper with a need for his ego to be stroked like Zodiac and Smiley Face Killers. He is magnificently bad and he’s a good bad guy there’s honestly no redeeming or nice qualities in him. The only titbit you’ll get is I really liked the occasional chapters from his viewpoint.

This is my favourite Ash Cater book yet (Sorry Murray) as this book twists and turns and the body count rises as the hunt for Black Jack reaches its climax. You can’t help but encourage Ash along and warning you are going to feel everything he does. Another well-written book by Murray with strong characters and luxurious descriptions. I can't wait for Singapore Fire.

 That ending!!

There is only one question left, Who is Black Jack?

L x

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Monday, 11 May 2020

Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes (Gifted Book, Review)

Hello Readers,

Today I have a book review for you remember what they are? (too soon to joke). I slightly lost my spark writing reviews but I seem to be back on it.

I would like to say a huge thank you Nazia and Orbit Books for sending me a physical copy of Chilling effect by Valerie Valdes for free in exchange for an honest review.

Before we get too far into this review I would just like to shout out the diversity in this book. Eva our protagonist is Hispanic, Pink is black, and obviously, there are a ton of aliens. There is also a brilliant representation of numerous nonbinary characters (*cough, cough* not just aliens).

For me, personal Valerie struck the perfect balance between adventure and humour in her debut space opera. Which is a hard area to launch a book into let’s be honest with the likes of Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy ruling the genre.  You will be treated to a fun, fast-paced adventure featuring psychic cats!!!!!!! And cats! And did I mention the psychic cats! Okay fine here’s some other fun stuff… far-flung planets, fascinating aliens and shadowy crime syndicates. 

So back to our protagonist Captain Eva Innocente she’s a fun heroine. Well-meaning, edgy, and competent at her job. I love how genuine her voice is with Spanish sayings sprinkled throughout, is wonderfully authentic and yes it means you might need to translate something but don’t be lazy its great representation. Eva is the Captain of the Sirena Negra, a small cargo ship used to run shipping jobs for clients. The book sets up a cast of complex, realistic figures who each have intriguing personalities and backgrounds, but it might just be me being a selfish reader but I wanted to know more about them and their past. That being said I honestly loved the solid friendships between the captain and her loyal crew.

Eva has been stiffed on her last job. Thinking that her day can't get any worse she answers a mysterious call on her private comlink, she finds out that an interstellar crime organization known as The Fridge has kidnapped her sister Mari. The Fridge is demanding a ridiculous ransom for Mari’s release and of course, Eva doesn’t have that of kind of money just chilling, so she’s forced to make a deal with The Fridge. She takes on a series of terrible jobs all without alerting her crewmates.  Eva has to make up crazy excuses for visiting far-flung parts of the galaxy, all while still taking care of their day job as a transport ship. Of course, everything goes wrong but does so in surprising ways and that's all part of the fun in this book. But it almost is like poor Eva is cursed, there's trouble at every turn. There are also times when you just want to shake Eva for the choices she makes, but she's reactive and dealing with things as they come, and sometimes you just got to roll with it.

 

L x
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Friday, 1 May 2020

It's Okay

Hello Readers,

It’s okay to be struggling in the current climate. it’s okay not to feel right and most of all its okay to feel powerless. I know we can’t do much about feeling powerless but we can try to take things we can control into our power. Little things as doing the washing up or dusting or picking what to have for tea. It’s okay also feel angry and let down by people who are flaunting the rules. It's okay if you feel your inner demons (or whatever you call them) are starting to come out.

It’s also okay to tell people to fuck off who are like I’ve written the next Divergent series or if they’ve Marie Kondo’d the whole house. If you’ve got out of bed this morning, I am proud of you. If you have changed into your day PJs I am proud of you. If you have brushed your teeth and showered, I am proud of you. Please don’t compare yourself to others I’ve got you and I’m proud.

Also, social distancing doesn’t mean social distancing online. I have a stupid amount of games of words with friends going on and Boggle (I’m much better at words just saying). I have also taken this opportunity to look back and share old photos, you know the ones I'm talking about the ones that you cant share on social media because of their not social media-ready or just outright bad funny. Not only have I been looking at friends photos I also found a load of photos I have taken of my friend's children that we had all forgotten about which was cute to compare now and thens.

Important bit
14 women and 2 children have died in the UK since lockdown started
Refuge 0808 2000 247
Men's Advice Line 0808 801 0327
NSPCC 08088005000
Childline 0800 1111

Links to posts I’ve done during Covid-19
What I’m watching on Netflix ( and Tiger King)


L x
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