Monday, 27 July 2015

Favourite books of 2015 so far...

Seeing as it's over half way through the year I thought I would do a round up of my favourite books that I've read in 2015. These are all books I've given either 4 or 5 stars for on Goodreads (I've had so many 3 star books this year...) 

The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer
A very touching story of Matthew and his experiences living with schizophrenia, and also coming to terms with the death of his younger brother as a child. This is at times very sad- but a beautiful read, written in an honest and warm conversational tone with lots of humour too. Full review here.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova
I'm still yet to see the film adaption of Still Alice, a book about fifty something college professor Alice who finds out she has early onset Alzheimer's disease. As you can tell I enjoy reading books about mental illness and this one was written with such warmth and optimism whilst also giving a detailed portrayal that gave me a whole new insight into an illness that I previously didn't know much about. A hugely interesting and emotional read. Full review here.

The First Bad Man by Miranda July
The brilliantly strange story of Cheryl a forty something neurotic whose life gets thrown into chaos when her bosses daughter comes to stay with her. Miranda July has a beautiful way with words and manages to weave a dark, funny, and heart warming story of loneliness, wanting to be loved and motherhood. Full review here.

The Farm by Tom Rob Smith
A dark multi layered psychological crime thriller mostly set in rural Sweden. Daniel gets a phone call out of the blue from his father telling him his Mum is ill and is in a mental hospital, and that he should believe nothing she says. Soon after he gets a call from his Mum telling him that his father is lying, she's not mad and has uncovered a crime. Daniel and the reader then have to decide who is telling the truth, and whether a whole town is trying to uncover a string of dark crimes. A brilliant fast paced, suspense filled read! Full review here.

The Three by Sarah Lotz
Written in documentary style this charts the strange incidents occurring after Black Thursday; a day that four planes crash around the globe with only three children surviving. Full of twists and suspense I found this at times a little terrifying! Brilliantly written, and a clever look at the power of fear with an ending I had no idea was coming. Full review here.

Day Four by Sarah Lotz
A somewhat sequel to The Three, this time set aboard a cruise ship that becomes stranded and chaos ensues. More traditional horror than the first book, but with plenty of interesting characters and plot twists this kept me on the edge of my seat. Full review here.

What are your favourite books of 2015 so far?

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Obsessions: Donuts...

Ever since I was a kid I've loved collecting things. Over the years I've collected all sorts of stuff from pin badges, vinyl records, Quentin Tarantino merch, Hello Kitty stuff, Funko Pops (you might have noticed that one!) and veering on the more random side anything to do with donuts!

I'm not sure what it is exactly that I'm drawn to about donuts (I'm not even a big fan of eating them...) but they are just so cute! So here are some of the donut related things I've accumulated. Do you collect anything strange?

[Donut pin badge, Hello Kitty donut deco tape, Happy Snacks donut plush, Hello Kitty donut key chain from Tesco, donut Notes, donut purse from New Look, Drop Dead donut ring, Fanbao donut plush, donut trinket box, Di Depux donut necklace.]

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Current beauty favourites...

It's been so long since I have written any beauty posts on my blog, and to be honest I haven't really been wearing much make up of late. That was until a few weeks ago when I raided my stash and decided to put a full face on. I instantly felt a little better! It's surprising how much such little things can lift your mood.

So these are the products I've been loving lately...

Tony Moly Goddess Aura BB Cream: This BB cream works magic on my skin leaving it looking clear and even and glow-y!
Etude House Lock N Summer Cushion Blusher in Hey Yo! Pink: Great for a soft and Summery pink blush of colour this blends easily and lasts really well. 
Holika Holika Strawberry Pore Cover: a great all over base that smoothes the skin and makes my BB cream last easily all day.
Holika Holika Naked Face Concealer: I love this concealer! Great for my dark dark under eye circles it blends nicely without caking.
Tony Moly Circle Lens Mascara: This makes my lashes huge! It also separates them nicely too.
Mac Select Sheer Pressed Powder: just a great all round powder.
Holika Holika Pro:Beauty Tint Tok in Mango: a long lasting, moisturising and vibrant lip tint.
Revlon Lip Butter in Wild Watermelon: When I want a more vibrant lip colour this is what I reach for. I love the shade and am a sucker for the lip butters! 

[You may have noticed the pictures lately are worse than usual due to my camera dying a sad and painful death- I dropped it! At the moment I am having to use my phone for pictures but will hopefully have a new camera soon. Yay!]

Monday, 20 July 2015

Book review: The First Bad Man by Miranda July...

I was first introduced to Miranda July last Summer when I read her short story collection No One Belongs Here More Than You (which also happened to be my first book review on this blog), and it got swiftly added to my favourite books list. The First Bad Man is July's first novel, and following on from her short story collection is full of strange and eccentric characters.

I don't want to give too much away, as I think this is the kind of book that you need to go into knowing little about the story. The book follows middle aged and neurotic Cheryl, who lives on her own and has a strict system for everything. She is secretly obsessed with Philip a board member at her work who has a dark secret of his own. Then her bosses ask if their twenty one year old daughter can stay with her and Cheryl's world gets turned upside down. 

If you've read any of July's writing before then you know she has no line when it comes to weirdness... this book is certainly strange and if you are easily offended you may find certain parts of this an uncomfortable read. Underneath the quirkiness though there is a hopeful story of love and a message than underneath it all we are all the same. Sure at first some of the characters are completely unrelateable, but the more you get to know them them more sympathetic they become. 

July has a skill in creating vulnerable, honest and lonely characters longing for love and she does so perfectly here. Her writing style is beautiful, and although it isn't quite as lyrical as her short story collection it is a pleasure to read. Her discriptions of unrequited love, loneliness, gender fluidity, motherhood, and hiding our true feelings from the world were perfect. This book is also full of dark humour that makes the the stranger stuff not quite so strange.

I gave The First Bad Man four stars, and I'm sure this book will find a place on my favourite books of 2015. If you like books that are very human, but also not afraid to go to weird places then read this immediately!    

"If you were wise enough to know that this life would consist mostly of letting go of things you wanted, then why not get good at the letting go, rather than the trying to have?"

Find more book reviews here.
My Goodreads.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Japanese snack: Glico Cream Caramel Macchiato...

In Japan every Summer Glico release a new limited edition flavour of their much loved snack Cream Collon. I've never tried Collon before (and I can't stop thinking of colon every time I see it...) but as soon as I saw the flavour Caramel Macchiato on Oyatsu Cafe as a coffee fiend I couldn't resist.

They arrived in a cute little box that is perfect for sharing (...or not mwahaha) and the snacks themselves are small tubes of sweet and crispy wafer with a caramel macchiato flavoured cream filling. As soon as you open the box the beautiful smell hits you- it's like I was in a coffee shop, seriously it's amazing! The snacks taste absolutely delicious and just like your sipping a caramel latte. So yummy! In fact these would make a perfect coffee accompaniment, or Oyatsu Cafe recommend putting them in the fridge for an hour and enjoying them chilled. Mine didn't last that long!

You can buy a pack here* for just £1.91
(*Affiliate link)

Friday, 17 July 2015

Recently watched...

I wanted to watch this purely for Melissa McCarthy who's films I always enjoy. Rather than a straight up comedy like I expected this was a full on spy action film mixed with comedy. It was a fun film, and McCarthy was great but surprisingly Jason Statham stole the show- he was hilarious in this. I'm not usually a fan of his, but he really needs to move to comedy. 

What We Do In The Shadows
This is a film from last year that I've been counting down the dvd release for so I can finally see it! A documentary style comedy about a gang of vampires in New Zealand who house share and are inadvertently given a lesson in modern life after they sire a young hipster and have to teach him their vampire ways. Brilliantly funny, and co-written and directed by one half of Flight of the Conchords.  

Terminator Genisys
The fifth film in the franchise, I'm pleased to say this is better than the last two! There was plenty of action and it was an entertaining watch, but it mainly just made me want to go and watch the first two films which are a million times better. Still there was a fun twist, and although the story didn't completely add up they were sure to leave it so they could come back and make sequel after sequel. I'm waiting for the one where Skynet send a terminator back to kill Sarah Conner's caveman ancestors... 

The Skeleton Twins
I'm a big fan of Kristen Wiig so have been looking forward to watching this one. It's a bittersweet drama about twins who after 10 years reconnect after one of them tries to commit suicide. The acting was great and it was a sweet (and at times very sad) film. If you're expecting a comedy you'll be disappointed but Hader and Wiig really excel here in serious roles.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Book review: Normal by Graeme Cameron...

He lives on your street, in a nice house with a tidy garden. He shops at your local supermarket.. He drives beside you, waving to let you in the lane ahead of him.

He also has an elaborate cage in a secret basement. The food he's shopping for is to feed a young woman he's holding there against her will- one in a string of many, unaware of the fate that awaits her.

This is how it's been for a long time. It's normal... and it works. Perfectly. But this time it's different.

Normal is Graeme Cameron's debut novel, told from the perspective of a serial killer and promising to be darkly humorous and twisted I couldn't resist. Unfortunately it just didn't live up to my expectations. For a book told from the perspective of a serial killer who keeps girls locked in a cage in the basement the book was too... nice! I felt like there was just too much emphasis on making him seem normal, It felt like I was reading a book about a killer written by Nick Hornby. It was a light easy read, but it just wasn't anywhere near dark enough. 

Without trying to be too negative there where a few interesting characters (which where stronger than the main character) and the ending felt fitting. Erm... struggling to find more positives...

The main character's name is never revealed, in fact very little is revealed about him. I get that the writer was trying to make a point that he's a normal guy hiding in plan sight, but it didn't do the story any favours. We get no insight into why he does what he does- for a book that's written from a serial killers perspective I feel that's a huge missed opportunity! 

Overall I found Normal a disappointment, if you are looking for a decent dark thriller I would say look elsewhere!

You can find my other book reviews here.
Find me on Goodreads.