Sunday, 12 March 2017

Book Review: Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? by Max Brallier

Anyone who knows me, knows that Zombies are kind of my thing. I find them fascinating. In The Walking Dead, it's been said that the zombies outnumber the survivors 5000:1 so by that logic there would only be 13,000 people left alive in the UK. The answer to the question- Can You Survive the Zombie Apocalypse? For me, is no. But I wanted to explore every option...


Hours of bone-crunching zombie action with 100 paths and 50 endings to choose from. Inside these pages lies unspeakable horror. Bloodsplattering, brain-impaling, flesh-devouring horror. You’ve probably read your fair share of zombie stories. 

But this time it’s different. No longer can you sit idle as a bunch of fools make all the wrong moves. All hell is about to break loose—and YOU have a say in humanity’s survival.

In Max Bralliers Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book, you're a 25 year old male in Manhattan. And it's time for you to take control. Much like the Walking Dead video game, every decision has consequences down the storyline. But it's more obvious than the game, where every little thing might come back to bite you. The decisions can be a little ham-fisted with their obviousness of good/ bad/ silly. 

There was definitely a lot of enjoyment to get out of this book though. I liked a lot of the secondary characters that were introduced- from the Hells Angels to the childhood sweetheart. It really did vary wildly depending on what path you took, but there was probably 4-5 main branches of the story that then had their own offshoots.

I would've liked a little more fear- the writing didn't really hit that note for me, and a little more of that long-run survivalist side to zombies that World War Z by Max Brooks does so well. But hey!  Overall, this was a fun read! 

But a tricky one. If you're like me and want to know how every storyline ends then I recommend you arm yourself with some sticky notes and a method of keeping track. For that reason, I'm not sure I'll be looking out for more of this style of book. At least not until I read one of those infuriating books where every choice the main character makes is so obviously wrong and I need to take back some control! As the book says; "no longer do you get to sit back and watch as a bunch of fools make all the wrong moves."


To stay alive you need to think. One mistake, you're history. And not the good history- not the kind that ends up in a middle school textbook- the bad kind, the forgotten kind.

Have you read a Choose-your-own-Adventure book?

Friday, 3 March 2017

My Spring TBR!

It feels strange to be writing this while there's snow on the ground but hey! I didn't do a post-Christmas Winter TBR because January is a busy yearly-wrap-up time on the blog, then February was just wow busy. In fact, it was my first month in over three years that I have no books for a Books I Read in monthly wrap-up! Although I did start a lot of books in February.



So, to jump-start my March reading and my Spring TBR...



These are the books I started in February! With the exception of The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien which I took a break from while listening to Catch-22 by Joseph Heller on audiobook in January. I need to jump back into that.

Another series I'm continuing is the Call the Midwife series, with the second book; Shadows of the Workhouse by Jennifer Worth. I read the first book last September and really enjoyed it but I had no plans to continue so soon. However, the new season of the show is out and I really wanted to delve into the books again. As you can see, I'm about half-way through and should finish it up easily.

My reading goals for 2017 included challenging myself and to stop putting books off. So when I saw that sales of 1984 by George Orwell had skyrocketed after Trumps presidency, I wanted to see why. Reading this in London? With all the CCTV cameras? Spooky. I already had the book but I've since bought the audiobook which I prefer for classics to finish.

My favourite book last year was If You Go Away by Adele Parks so I was super excited to get my hands on her new book, The Stranger in my Home* and meet her and have her sign my book. And I'm really liking her writing style in contemporary.

I also met Alison Weir in February and she blessed me with a proof copy of Anne Boeyln: A King's Obsession* which you might remember from my most anticipated releases post, or the first book being one of my favourite books from last year. I've been carrying this around like it's my baby since I got it but it's slow reading. I still prefer Queen Katherine though!



Onto the books I haven't yet started! While I was at the book event where I met Adele Parks and Alison Weir, I was introduced to Nikola Scott. Her debut novel, My Mother's Shadow* is coming out this year and if it's half as good as she is nice- it'll be an amazing book. Nikola is one of the loveliest people I've ever met and I can't wait to read her book.

While I was there I also snagged a copy of The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams*. I missed out on her last trilogy so I'm looking forward to jumping on at the first book with her new one; The Winnowing Flame trilogy. It's also been a long time since I sat down with a hunking great fantasy book and lost myself so I'm hopeful.



After reading A Young Doctor's Notebook in January, I mentioned to my parents that I really enjoyed it and ended up getting The Master & Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov for my birthday! I'm all about reading more challenging books this year and after loving his short stories, I think I'm really going to like his novel.

Another translation is A Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. I was looking for German classics because I'm currently learning German and was feeling quite classic-y at the time, when I came across a book I already owned! I got this in a bundle back in March 2014, so it might be time to finally read it.

And lastly, Small Island by Andrea Levy. When I'm feeling bored/ blue/ procrastinate-y, I re-organise my books and I was looking through my stand-alone when I came across Small Island and thought, yeah. I want to read this soon! It's won award after award and deals with post-WWII racial issues, which isn't a subject I know much about.

Phew! Wish me luck! What do you want to read this Spring?

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Beauty Review: Yoga Bomb Bath Bomb by Lush!

Yoga and hot baths are some of the most common things I hear recommended as cures for stress. So why not kill two birds with one stone and follow up some yoga with a bath and the Lush Yoga Bomb bath bomb? That was my logic anyway! I tried this on a day where stress was probably radiating of me like cartoon radiation and it worked like a dream.

Yoga Bomb Bath Bomb by Lush Cosmetics


Yoga Bomb is a Oxford Street exclusive, which is how I got mine, but it is currently available online!

Yoga Bomb Bath Bomb by Lush


The outside of this is a very plain orange but don't let that fool you! Inside is purple, along with a good amount of golden shimmer that mixes with your water to make a burnt orange bath. Plus, the shimmer didn't stick to me.
The scent to me was a mix of orange and this scented talcum powder my family had in the bathroom when I was little. I know that's not a hugely helpful explanation of the smell but it made the experience weirdly nostalgic for me. I like when a product scent can be a throwback like that sometimes.
Either way, it was a fun bath bomb to watch fizz. The different colours and shimmer mixed nicely to make a calming bath water. The scent could've lasted longer. But, just like real yoga, I left feeling a little bit looser and more relaxed.

Want to try this out for yourself? It's online for £4.25 here!

Have you ever tried the Yoga Bomb bath bomb?

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Books I Read in January!

About half a month ago, we said goodbye to the first month of the year! And with it, the first month of my first numbered reading challenge. I actually ended on schedule which I'm really happy with because that quickly went caput with how busy February has been. Plus, I read a good mix of books. I even took up the challenge of one of my reading goals and stopped delaying when it came to reading Catch-22! So what did I read?



We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I actually got this for Christmas and forgot to pop it in my Under My Christmas Tree post because I had already moved it to my read-pile. It was actually my first book of the year, as early-morning-1st-of-January-Imogen started to panic about reading 80 books. It was short, to the point, and I read it aloud in a Skype call to a group of friends who were playing video games and not really paying attention. Except this managed to grab their attention because it was making some very powerful points.
The one thing that stopped this being a five-star read for me came with the line; "Women can have babies, men cannot." That's a really quick way to exclude trans-women and infertile women from your feminism. Obviously nobody can go into a huge amount of detail in a 48-page essay but that definition of women is just a little too exclusionary for me. I haven't got around to her full 30 minute talk but I'm hoping for more detail.
-A man who would be intimidated by me is exactly the kind of man I would have no interest in.


A Young Doctor's Notebook by Mikhail Bulgakov
I've wanted to read this since I watched the TV show with Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm. I don't read many translations or books from the 19-20th centuries. I also don't think I've read any Russian literature. And I definitely haven't read anything about the way people were treated medically in Russia in this era- although I have been listening to a really great podcast called Sawbones about medical history which gave me a vague idea- so this was completely new. I was a little nervous going in but I needn't have been.
This reads unbelievably modern for something from 1925. I was expecting to have to ask Siri about a lot of words, especially medical jargon, but either the translation worked this out or Mikhail Bulgakov knew his future audience. Either way, amazing. I loved it. I was completely taken out of myself and thrown into the Russian countryside, the cold weather, the small hospital with all the patients and this poor, inexperienced doctor.
I'd say, and this is a rare occasion, try the show first. I think you'll appreciate the source material more, and probably the show. The way they take the short stories, and the separate piece; 'Morphine' and work them together is really great. Plus, Jon Hamm and Daniel Radcliffe.
"There's great experience to be gained in the countryside," I thought, falling asleep, "Only I have to read, read a lot... read..."


Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Full review coming soon!


Shakespeare's Trollop by Charlaine Harris
I struggled with this one. As you might be able to tell from the title, the murder victim is the towns 'trollop'- or, y'know, woman who isn't ashamed to have lots of sex. On one hand, I can completely see where Charlaine Harris was going with it. The evolution of Lily's character in the series has been ongoing and this fit in that arc. She's a rape victim and the only way she has addressed this is to get very strong, take martial arts and she believes it's a woman's responsibility to protect herself. And I completely understand slut-shaming exists in the world, more-so in 2000 when this was published. But I didn't want Lily to do it. I want her to be better. Even if she half changes her mind at the end, she still finds the moral of this half-change 'beyond her'.
Judging it just as a book on it's own, it's just not as good as the rest of the series. Which is strange, because what leads is...


Shakespeare's Counselor by Charlaine Harris
I feel like this book is the foremost of Charlaine Harris's books. I've now finished every complete series that she's written and this is right up there as one of my favourites! Lily starts to get help for her problems which is an incredibly healthy message after the last book. Her support group addresses victim-blaming and lots of positive stuff, all the while their counsellor is being stalked and people around her die.
I shut the book feeling like Lily was going to be okay, and I understood her better. I might not agree with her about rehabilitation not working for criminals, and I think women have a right to feel safe even though it's a modern idea, but as a writer, Charlaine Harris made me understand and care for the character. And wrote a good mystery at the same time. I didn't expect the ending. I'm off to dig out the Sookie Stackhouse novel that Lily features in and re-read her small part.
"No matter how much sympathy I have for you, it won't heal you faster or slower. You're not a victim of cosmic proportions. There are millions of us. That doesn't make your personal struggle less."


2017 Reading Challenge: 6/80 (graphic novel review coming soon)

What did you read this month?

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