Roald Dahl Mugs!

Roald Dahl Mugs!

Hello everyone!

I’m just writing a little update as I’ve already finished the second book of my Reading Challenge which I announced yesterday! I didn’t expect to read it so quick! My review of it will be up on Friday. Meanwhile I’d thought I’d tell you about something rather exciting…

Sainsbury’s are now selling Roald Dahl mugs! 

I feel that these mugs deserve a PSA as they are so lovely and perfect for every book lover! I have seen that they currently have a BFG themed one:

BFG - Roald Dahl Mug Blog Post

This is a pint-sized mug! It’s a beautiful mug with original illustrations. Wonderful!

They are also selling a Matilda themed one:

Matilda - Roald Dahl Mug Post

This mug stole my heart the second I saw it! I mentioned this to my boyfriend and he surprised me with it a couple days later along with some beautiful new stationary that Sainsbury’s have released! (I may do a separate blog post on all the wonderful stationary they have – perfect for planning and making notes for blog posts!)

Another reason why these are the best (if you’re not yet already convinced you need one!) a percentage of the payment goes to Roald Dahl’s charity which I think is a beautiful thing to be able to do when just buying a new mug!

So if you’re in the UK (let me know if they have anything like this in the US) make sure to head over to Sainsbury’s and check these amazing mugs out! Maybe buy one for a book-loving friend 😉 

Chat to me in the comments about your favourite mugs to use when reading! Are you a tea and book or coffee and book type of person? Let me know!

love, bella x 


(featured image from bookdepository.com)

(mug pictures from sainsburys.com)

 

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Announcing the Second Book of My Reading Challenge 2019!

Announcing the Second Book of My Reading Challenge 2019!

Hello everyone! Are you feeling the Monday morning slog? I indeed am! Cramps are persistently trying to drag me back to my warm bed with every twist and pull in my uterus!😫 TMI!

Anyway…! The time has come to introduce the second book I will be reading for my Reading Challenge 2019!

The book will be …

Release by Patrick Ness.

I’ve read a few Patrick Ness books and he is one of my all-time favourite authors. Notably, his book ‘More Than This’ and the ‘Chaos Walking’ Trilogy being some of my favourite books. Therefore, I’m incredibly excited to read this Ness novel.

First Impressions

My first impressions of this book are that it’s most likely going to be right up my street. Mostly because of my prior love for the author but also because of the beautiful cover! The cover is incredibly clever with the twists and turns of the river outlining the features of two faces which appear before your eyes on the bank, either side of the stream. This kind of cover is exactly the type of thing I expect from a Ness book. Clever, mysterious and intriguing.

Expectations

The blurb states:

“It’s Saturday, it’s summer and, although he doesn’t know it yet, everything in Adam Thorn’s life is going to fall apart. Relationships will change, he’ll change, but maybe, just maybe, he’ll find freedom in the release.

Time is running out though, because way across town a ghost has risen from the lake. Searching, yearning, she leaves a trail of destruction in her wake…”

For the blurb, it’s very vague. Which I mean isn’t a bad thing! You don’t want it all to be given away! Although it does seem a bit cliche. I hate to use the word cliche when referring to Ness because he’s usually such the opposite however I can’t help but get the impression from the blurb that this book is a bit of a boring romance book. Therefore, my exceptions are a little low because of this. I hope it proves me wrong!

When I finish this book I will update with a blog post including a full review! As for what’s going on in my life at the minute is nothing too exciting to be honest! I may do a ‘Life Update’ in a separate blog post because I don’t want my blog posts to be too long but also to split apart all the book posts and it’s something to post while I’m reading the book.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve read this book and what I should expect! Also, recommend me some books for my Reading Challenge 2019!

Thank you for reading,

love, bella x

Reading Challenge Review – ‘Sleeping Beauties’

Reading Challenge Review – ‘Sleeping Beauties’

Starting off my Reading Challenge 2019 with a bang is ‘Sleeping Beauties’ penned by a Papa King/Baby King collaboration. Of course I’m talking about Stephen King and his son Owen King. I thought it was really special to read a book created by two great authors who happen to be father and son. But as well, I mean it’s pretty special to write a book with your dad when your dad is Stephen King!


First things first, I’ve noticed that people have mixed reviews of this book. As soon as I finished it I went on my Goodreads account to check out what people thought of it. I was surprised to find such a conflicting array of opinions on this book.

I’m all for everyone being entitled to their own opinion I mean isn’t that why most people blog? To share their opinion, which also happens to be exactly what I am doing in this post. However, it was the reasoning’s behind those opinions that I wholly disagreed with. On average the reviews that said they didn’t like the book were because of these three reasons:

  • There were too many characters in the book.
  • The book was too long.
  • The ending wasn’t satisfying enough.

In my view none of these things were ‘bad things’. Therefore I wrote a review on Goodreads to express how I felt about it. I will link my Goodreads account at the bottom of this post if you wish to go read it yourself however I am going to be using the structure of that review here as well, to show why I think the points above aren’t negatives and as to why I personally loved this book.

So, first off, yes there are lots of characters. The two King’s use their beautiful skills of writing deep-rooted characters to it’s max. The book even comes with a list of all the characters in the front. Their names, ages and their relation to other characters. So, yes, there’s no denying that there are a lot of characters within this book. I however do not see this as a negative. The abundance of characters are all written exceptionally and only add to the complex,compelling nature of the book. 

I don’t see eye-to-eye with someone who thinks a book is ‘too complicated’ if it has more than 4 main characters. Many people in the reviews stated they ‘gave up’ reading the book because of too many characters being introduced. I could fully understand this if the amount and grounds of the characters themselves were unnecessary, however every character in this book was completely necessary to tell the story.  If you are someone who gives up reading a book because an author, or in this case authors, has introduced more than 5 well-written, well-rehearsed and much-needed characters into their book then you are missing out. This book would not and could not have been better if it only had 2 leading characters with semi-shallow character history/development. Yes, for this book you have to put a little effort into getting to know the characters but once you do the beauty of this book takes you under its (moth-like) wings.

Secondly, yes this book is a little long. I mean again I struggle to agree with people who think this. I say the longer the better. The longer the book is the longer I get to stay in the beautiful world that has been created. However, I do understand there’s a limit and it’s different for everyone. Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Miserables’ springs to mind, coming in at a huge 1,400 page count! The thing with length is that it has to be necessary similarly to the amount of characters, I feel like this King feature fills that criteria. This is because as much as this novel is about the plot it’s also about the characters within it. Their growth and struggles. Once you appreciate all the characters in all their glory, you really start to appreciate the length. People don’t change in a turn of a page. Or 50 pages. Sometimes it takes 700+ pages to fully develop such deep rooted characters. The length of this book coupled with the array of characters adds up to hard work. Yes! Hard work to read a book! Hard work to remember who’s who and keep looking back at the list of characters helpfully stored at the front of the book! But is this hard work worth it? Undoubtedly and profusely yes.

I don’t know who wrote the majority of this book whether it be King Jr or King Sr, but I thank them for their effort in being able to clearly draw such characters and put aside so much space and time for them to grow and develop.

Finally, yes the ending may not satisfy you completely. Sometimes you have those books that finish off by tying themselves in a nice bow and folding in on themselves connecting all those little plot holes in your lap. Then sometimes you get those books where they leave you standing beside a gaping hole looking into all the possible ways the story could have ended but didn’t, a hole of frustration but bemusement that leaves you wanting more. I enjoy both equally. I enjoy completely knowing what happened and I also enjoy not knowing, leaving room for interpretation as you dream up ‘what happened next?’ As for the ending of ‘Sleeping Beauties’, I can accept the absence of a non concluding ‘fairytale’ ending. I fully and wholly appreciate this book for what it is. A complicated flurry of people. People who are good, bad and downright crap. How those people become other people, hurt other people and help other people.

I think to hate on this book for having too many (amazing) characters, being too long (where it takes time to develop the characters and fully express the story to do it justice) and it’s ending not being satisfying (I mean c’mon it’s Stephen King, he is quite literally the king of leaving you staring into gaping holes searching for answers) is unfair. To do so is minimising the issues embedded in society that this book raises. Issues of gender inequality, drug addiction and abuse. Sometimes these issues are ugly and sometimes they’re exhausting and hard to get through but the other side is always worth it. They happen to you and me alike and I think we are worthy of a voice in this book even if our back stories are cluttered and unnecessary, even if our tales are too long and become complex for people outside our struggle to understand and even if the endings of our tales aren’t satisfying because sometimes they just aren’t, because that’s human.

If you are reading this book, please get to know the characters. Give it a chance. I think you will appreciate what you come out with.


I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was absolutely enthralled from start to finish. If you enjoy the type of books where you miss the characters and can’t help wondering what they’re up to as soon as you finish reading then I highly recommend this double serving of King.

My rating for ‘Sleeping Beauties’ co-written by Stephen King and Owen King is 5 hearts out of 5 hearts! ♥♥♥♥♥

This book has provided a great start for my 2019 Reading Challenge and I can’t wait to move on to my next book! I will be uploading a blog post on Monday revealing the next book I will be reading along with my initial thoughts and expectations. Also, a little bit about what I’m getting up to.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this first book review, sorry if it’s a little long but I felt extra passionate about this book and felt that it had earned my praise! Feel free to tell me your thoughts on the book in the comments and also give me some recommendations for what books to read for my Reading Challenge 2019!

Thank you for reading,

love, bella x

Reading Challenge Review – ‘Release’ *spoiler free*

Reading Challenge Review – ‘Release’ *spoiler free*

My second book for my Reading Challenge 2019 was ‘Release’ by the father of all things weird and wonderful Patrick Ness. I am a self-confessed Ness superfan. I have loved all of his books that I have read so I was very excited to get started on this one.

I read this book in one day over the course of a few hours which I think is suitable as the book itself is set in only one day. When I realised this I was a bit shocked! One day? A book set in just one day? However, it was extremely refreshing and I enjoyed the fact of it being set on just one day. A Saturday to be exact.

The main premise of the book is that there are two separate stories within it, one about the MC Adam a seventeen year old struggling with several coming-of-age related issues. The other is about a girl, a Queen and a Faun. These stories alternate all the way throughout the book. Each chapter about the MC Adam runs through the things on his itinerary that day.

I’m going to outline some points that I liked about the book and some I didn’t like as much or thought that the book could do without.


What I Liked

 

  • The fact that the book was set over one day so consequently the short length. (I’m not going to lie after reading ‘Sleeping Beauties’ by Stephen/Owen King, I was grateful for the short length! Read my review of this here.) 
  • The vast and relatable themes explored throughout the novel.

This is one of the things I really liked about this book. Ness uses one day, a busy day no less, but just one day to showcase a lot of themes and struggles that are present within young people’s life’s such as love, heartbreak, and friendship. However, what I think sets this book apart from other coming-of-age novels is that it also explores modern day issues that teenagers in today’s society may encounter such as LGBTQ+ themes, gay sex, religion, acceptance/lack of and sexual assault, specifically in the workplace. Ness goes to places with this book that no book I’ve read before has done. Such as the in-depth descriptions of not only heterosexual encounters but homosexual ones too. This is the only book I’ve read so far that describes a homosexual encounter in a way that doesn’t make it over-sexualised. It’s nice to see this representation and I think it’s incredibly important.

The themes are also explored in a way that makes them incredibly relatable (embarrassingly so!). Specifically the relationship between Adam and Enzo. I could personally relate to Adam’s situation and this is where Ness’s knack for character writing and relationship building really shines.

  • The use of character development and the realistic relationships between the characters.

One thing I always love about Ness’s books are the depth and feel to his characters. He manages to build so much history and future into a snapshot of a characters lives through how they act and interact with others. This really shines through in ‘Release’. The relationship between MC Adam and his best friend, is one of simplistic beauty. It’s natural and represents two characters who are ‘fully bloomed’ which in only 200 pages or so that’s very hard to do. It’s a beautiful relationship to witness and really adds a shine to this book.

  • The way the two stories intertwined.

I can’t say much about this without spoilers but the way they intertwine is okay. The tie is a little loose and maybe a little bit weak however I think it was a nice touch if nothing else.

What I Didn’t Like

 

  • The lack of, in my opinion, a more solid tie between the two stories.

As much as I liked the way the stories intertwined, I wasn’t crazy about it. It makes the other story feel a bit unnecessary.

  • The presence of the Faun.
  • The lack of explanation about the ‘Queen’

As confused as I was about the other story with the girl and the Queen, I tried to give it a chance. However, the further I got into it the harder it was it was to keep up. Firstly, I didn’t and still don’t have any idea who the ‘Queen’ was supposed to be. Because of this I felt that the impact of the story lacked as I didn’t have the right understanding of it. Also, don’t even get me started on the Faun. If you’ve read this book please enlighten me into your interpretation of the Faun as I was completely lost. Again, I didn’t understand the presence of it therefore I couldn’t feel the impact. I don’t blame Ness’s writing skills as the story was entertaining to read I just didn’t get it’s purpose or what he was going for.

  • Just the whole other story about the girl really.

Yeah, basically. I much preferred the story about Adam and his relationships and struggles much much more. I don’t think the book needed the other story at all.


 In conclusion this book wasn’t at all terrible. It had it’s good points and it had it’s bad points. It just happened to be it’s bad bits were based entirely around one of the two stories which, in my opinion, didn’t need to be there. I would have happily read a full 500+ page novel about Adam and what he got up to, alas that was not meant to be!

My rating for ‘Release’ by Patrick Ness is 3 hearts out of 5 hearts! ♥♥♥

If you’ve read this book let me know what you thought? And what was your interpretation of the ‘Queen’ and the Faun Let me know!

love, bella x

My Reading Challenge 2019!

My Reading Challenge 2019!

Hello all!

A lot has changed since I last made a post so I’m going to save you all a long droning catch-up, keep it short and re-introduce myself.

Hello! I’m Bella. I’m 19, currently taking a gap year before I start University to study Music (Vocals) in September. Nice to meet you all!

There, now that’s out of the way, I’ve decided I’m going to set myself a little reading challenge this year. I used to read religiously, vicariously living my life through the worlds weaved by many talented authors. I stopped reading as much as I used to and it made me a little bit sad! I want to read much, much more and so have consequently set myself a challenge for it.

My challenge is to read 30 books in 2019. I know this may not seem like a lot but I think it’s a good start! Who knows, I may complete my goal by summer then I may up the ante. However, until that point I’m good with 30.

I’ve started up my blog again because I want to post a little review after each book. What I thought, what I liked, what I didn’t. One thing that’s frustrating about reading and finishing a book is after you want to talk to everyone about it. Or at least someone! Therefore I heavily welcome people to discuss in the comments what you thought of the book and we can confer conspiracies and conclusions.

I’m also going to post when I start a new book with a bit of a ‘weekly blog’/’currently I’m’ blog so that you can all get to know me a bit more as I am now! Mature and sensible I can assure…;) Hopefully this can also inspire a little ‘read with me’ vibe as you will know when and what book I’m currently reading!

To begin my reading challenge I have just finished ‘Sleeping Beauties’ by Stephen King/Owen King. A double King feature! I will be posting a lil review of this after this introductory blog post.

I hope you all enjoy coming along with me on my 2019 Reading Challenge and some of you decide to take up your own! Let me know your goals and your books!

love, bella x

(image from popsugar)

Accepting my sexuality

Accepting my sexuality

Ever since I can remember I recall finding both boys and girls attractive. I didn’t think anything of it when I was at the age of about 11, I thought it was normal and didn’t see any need for labels or whatever. I was 11!

However, as I’ve got older I’ve realised that not everyone feels the same about both sexes which baffles me as I’ve always thought it was something everyone experienced. Also, as I got older the world around me took over and what I once thought was so normal I was now feeling like there was something wrong with me. The media wasn’t portraying any happy ‘coming-out’ stories just ones where the child had been disowned, thrown out or even as extreme as committed suicide. On that matter, the media also wasn’t portraying any same-sex couples.

Thus came in a real fear of being myself. Thinking back I don’t know why I was so scared. Perhaps it was fears of being judged, not being accepted or fears of just being different. I didn’t want to put myself in a position where I could end up being alone as I feared for my friendships. Would they stay the same? Would they treat me differently? Now, I know I was silly to think my friends would react in that way, they love me for me no matter what, as all real friends should. Yet sadly, there are ‘friends’ out there that may react in negative ways and I had read stories about it and subsequently tried to act like I was ‘normal’.

First off, there is no normal. Normal is a word that has been made up to try and force people into socially acceptable categories. If I could go back, I wish I had this realisation sooner. That, just because I happened to be interested in both sexes doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with me or that I’m abnormal. I’ll tell you what’s normal, our capacity to love. It’s human nature. Whether that be loving a person of a different sex or the same sex or non-binary, all of it is love regardless.

I’ll admit I did feel ashamed of the feelings I felt. It pains me to say that now as I could not be prouder of who I am and wish to raise my Bi flag with fucking pride. Yet, when I wasn’t so comfortable with it I would try to shun the feelings away and act as if they weren’t important and that someday they would just go away. Alas, they did not. But I am so thankful they didn’t.

I see now that it’s who I’m meant to be and that I wouldn’t be complete without those feelings. I now wear my sexuality like a badge of honour. I am honoured to be who I am. I am lucky to have such understanding friends and family who supported me. I am proud to be me. I am proud to be bi.

My journey with antidepressants so far

My journey with antidepressants so far

After 3 years of therapy I was finally given the chance to start a course of antidepressants. My doctor was hesitant at first as I am under 18 and the side effects of SSRI’s on young people can be worse than on adults, so I understood her reluctance. However, I felt that the positives would greatly outweigh the negatives so I kept fighting to get them and finally I was given what I so badly needed.

I have been on Fluoxetine, also known as Prozac for about 5 weeks. The doctors say it can take up to 6-8 weeks for the effects to truly take hold but some people can feel a difference as soon as 3 weeks. I started feeling different at around the month mark. I noticed that I felt happier to be on my own and didn’t feel like I was going to be weighed down by the overpowering thoughts inside my head. Before, I struggled to spend time alone as being alone with my thoughts was too much to handle yet now I enjoy having time to myself and can usually control any bad thoughts that try to intervene with my happiness.

Another positive side effect I have felt which was apparent in my ‘morning thoughts’ blog post is that I can feel content. Before I started the course, I would always be on edge or uncomfortable. The mix of my depression and anxiety leads to a very nervous, fidgety person who wants to stay inside to avoid contact but then again doesn’t wish to be alone. Now I find that I can not be doing anything and be happy about it. I don’t feel like I have to be doing something all the time, I can relax and find peace in my own company.

Many other positive side effects have been seen and I feel that there are definitely more to come. The positives with medication are not easy to pinpoint or explain. It is just an overall feeling of okay-ness, if that makes any sense. Almost like my depression was a fog that surrounded me so that I was unable to see past it, yet now it has thinned and has been replaced by a cover of just okay-ness. Nothing seems too bad and sometimes nothing seems too good either but I suppose that’s just the way it is with mood stabilisers. I have no idea if this explanation is making any sense but it’s such a complex process that it’s difficult to find the words that describe just what is happening as I go through this change.

As well as good side effects I have experienced some negative side effects. When I first started taking it probably about after 2 weeks, I experienced the side effect of strange dreams. This is exactly what it says on the tin! Dreams tend to be quite odd but this is another level of weird. The dreams are very vivid and realistic. They also seem to last quite a long time, as if I have lived a whole week of experiences in one nights sleep. They are often so life-like that I have trouble distinguishing them from actual real-life experiences. I have found myself having to ask people if something actually happened or not as it is just too hard to work out. This is not all that bad of a side effect I suppose, it can just be very strange and often scary if I can not work out if something actually happened or not.

The medication I’m on is called a mood stabiliser and is supposed to stop you from having really low feelings followed by manic episodes. I have found that it is doing this effectively because overall my mood has been quite stable and neutral, in other words I haven’t had any days where I’ve been so bad I struggle to get out of bed or days where I’m over-excited by anything and everything just to crash hard later. However, I have found that if I do get upset by something I tend to have mini emotional roller coaster in the space of like half an hour. I can be upset then go up and down about five times before I can calm down. After this has happened I am so exhausted from having so many emotions going on it’s ridiculous. However I don’t know if this is a result of the medication being to low and that the dosage needs to be upped or if it is just an expected side effect but this is something I will mention when I go for my follow-up at the doctors.

Probably one of the more serious negative side effects I’ve experienced is along the lines of depersonalisation. I hadn’t heard much about depersonalisation still I started getting these feelings and googled them and I am still not quite sure that this is what it is but apparently it is a side effect of Fluoxetine. Just to make it clear I am not self-diagnosing just making an observation and linking it to something to make it easier for any readers to understand. It’s almost a feeling of being drunk and not really being present in the situation. Movements around me seem to be going either too fast or slow. Sometimes it’s almost like there is a bubble around my head, noises sound different like the bubble is blocking them out. Like being underwater. There is also a weird filter on everything and bright lights seem way too bright and busy. It’s very difficult to explain and I’m not sure if I’m doing a good job of it but I don’t know how to make it any clearer which is very frustrating. When it happens it doesn’t last very long, usually half an hour to an hour. So it’s not affecting me too seriously but it can be very uncomfortable while I’m experiencing it.

Overall, even though it doesn’t seem it in this post, the positive benefits are definitely outweighing the negative. The positives are plenty but they are difficult to describe, it’s just an overall change in my mood. Which I know doesn’t seem like a lot but it honestly means the absolute world to me that I can even have a slither of happiness and to be hopeful about my future is something I never thought I’d see. I’m excited to see the effects when I’ve been on them a bit longer and will probably do an update on this blog post in a few months. Yet for now I stay hopeful and actually, unbelievably, a bit happy.

Thank you for reading, if you have any similar experiences or any at all let me know in the comments! x