Thursday, 16 November 2017

Recent Reads #7: the strongest voices.

Whoa, another Recent Reads within a month? Madness. As I said in the last post, I'm on a roll with reading at present, and coincidentally a lot of excellent books have been coming my way lately.

The books mentioned in this post are just a few of the ones I had sent to me recently, and I ran them through my usual 'test' of sorts (read the first couple dozen pages, wait to be hooked in by the story or the characters, or hopefully both), and while loads have been good, these few stories were told through the best voices. 


(Photo taken outside Camilla's Books, Eastbourne, by a very handsome bookworm.)

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Leaving on a jet plane...I think.

I’ve ruined a lot of things, for a lot of people, in the past few years. I’ve broken hearts by recommending devastating (‘in a good way’) books, I once hinted a little too heavily about the twist in a particular film, I told a few close friends the shocking secrets behind Starbucks’ coffee gleaning process…I’ve even done that glass-shattering ‘spoiler alert’ thing a few times when I’ve pointed out to others a person’s distinct quirks (e.g. ‘he talks with his hands’, ‘they say ‘totally’ a lot’).

However, I’d say the biggest and worst thing I’ve ruined, multiple times in recent years, has been my family’s holidays.

 (Photo: Erin Veness)

Friday, 3 November 2017

33.

Hi, my name's Grace. I also answer to Gracie.

'Sass' and 'savage' are two of my favourite words at the moment, nobody makes me laugh as much as I do, that pot of mango chia seed mix topped with coconut shavings you can get at EAT is my latest bizarrely specific foodie obsession, someday I want to live in a totally different European city, I've fancied Reggie Yates since his days on DIGGIT, I actually love travelling by train, I eat eggs almost every day and they're the only thing stopping me from being 'full vegan', I really appreciate a good pun, my new little convertible laptop is my baby and his name is Kirk, I passionately believe that American dramas and sitcoms should only be permitted to run for max 5 series, I'm having plastic surgery next year, I've realised I look better and feel sexier with this extra chub on my hips, crunchy peanut butter is the best kind, I used to do these posts once a month, then whenever I remembered to, now whenever I feel like it.  Today I am lecturing First Year Creative Writing students about blogging and in 8 days I'm flying away to the other side of the world, all by myself, for 8 weeks - it's actually happening, at last - and my 2018 is already looking pretty f*cking amazing. 

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Those I've lost.

I have lost a lot of things in my life.

I'm always losing jewellery because I fiddle with my rings in anxious absent moments (or when I'm focusing extra hard) and when I'm running late for something, I drop my mismatched earrings in pockets to put in later.

I've lost bigger things, too. Bits of my lower bowels, my appendix, most of the strength in my immune system and just my general sense of optimism about my general health. I tap wood now when someone asks me if I'm alright, and I only ever say 'everything seems fine', or 'all good...for now' before rapping the table my coffee sits on, making the black surface ripple and little spoon clatter against the plate.

(Photo: Erin Veness)

Monday, 23 October 2017

Recent Reads #6: Something a bit different.

I've had a whole lot of book mail in the last few weeks, guys. I've also gone a bit nuts spending in bookshops, after months of being so good and abstaining...oops.
And despite my reading schedule, which is still on the Harry Potter re-read (I'm up to 'Goblet of Fire' and the feels are intense), I've managed to deviate slightly and get some others in there recently...


'Undercover Princess', the first in 'The Rosewood Chronicles' series, is the kind of book I loved and yearned for as a teen – and yet I am also totally content now, reading it as an young adult. The writing style is so beautifully descriptive, and the characters are precious. Also, kind of irrelevant but I love Connie Glynn, aka Noodlerella's Instagram insane amounts.

2 girls are put together in a dorm room at the prestigious Rosewood Hall school; one is a princess yearning for an ordinary life, one is quite ordinary but dreams of being a princess. They soon swap identities, and that turns out to be a recipe for disaster...

Published 2nd November, with Penguin.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Strange bruise & sad feels. (unedited)

I don't know why I was so nervous to book the appointment. It definitely wasn't because I was booking using my GP surgery's new online service for the first time; I was actually stupidly excited to not have to communicate with the ever-chirpy but worringly nasal-sounding receptionists over the phone. Having said that, I managed to book 5 appointments instead of the 1...
They asked me to add a reason for the General Appointment. It was 'required'. I hesitantly typed 'strange bruise & sad feels'.

(Photo: Erin Veness)

Friday, 20 October 2017

No Virgin / No Shame, Anne Cassidy.

Oh hey, welcome to my stop on the blog tour for 'No Shame', the latest novel from Anne Cassidy published with Hot Key books! 

So, as you all know, I was recently galavanting around Europe (okay, just popping in and out of two particular cities) and so I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear (/read) that I did a lot of...reading!
Plane journeys are perfect for tackling the TBR pile, let me tell you. I kept on track with my current reading schedule (the bewitching re-read) and had the whole flight home from Berlin to dive into – and devour – this truly unique book. 


'No Shame' is the story of Stacey Woods (who we readers may have met in Anne's book 'No Virgin') and her fight for justice after being raped 9 months ago. This fight involves facing her attacker, and his family, in court before a judge and a jury. It's her word against his, and sadly that's not a good situation for a young woman to be in.

The story twists and turns, but the dark themes are constant and undeniable. The tension and hurt is intense. At times while reading, I found myself wobbling considerably and desperately turning the pages, hoping hard for Stacey.

I was so delighted to procure a fantastic piece from Anne Cassidy, about the importance of moral ambiguity in teenage and young adult fiction. 
Read on...


Sunday, 15 October 2017

'A Woman of No Importance', 11/10/2017: A Review.

On Wednesday 11th October, I went to see 'A Woman of No Importance' at the Vaudeville, performed by Classic Spring, a new theatre company founded by Dominic Dromgoole (former Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre) who also directed this production. 




The show is the first in the company's Oscar Wilde season, revolving around his four great Victorian plays which shocked and redefined British theatre, and still resonate and refresh today.

 (Photo: classicspring.co.uk)  

"An earnest young American woman, a louche English lord, and an innocent young chap join a house party of fin de siècle fools and grotesques. Nearby a woman lives, cradling a long buried secret. Wilde’s marriage of glittering wit and Ibsenite drama create a vivid new theatrical voice."
(source: From the Box Office.) 
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