Friday, 31 October 2014

Fiction Friday: Too Spooky Reads!

Happy Halloween! Today I've got a list of some too spooky (or too spoopy) reads that I'll be picking from to read tonight and tomorrow as part of my Halloween Read-A-Thon! Halloween is a great night to get some scary reading done and there is still time to join the #hallowreadathon if you want to join me and a few others in reading and scaring our socks off! But on with the list!



So the books I'm debating between this halloween are; Carrie by Stephen King. I haven't read this book in a couple years but I remember loving it when I was a teen. It was the first Stephen King I owned and started my love of his writing and my collection of his work. It's a creepy tale of why you should never pour pigs blood on someone at prom. Just don't do it.

How to Survive a Sharknado and Other Unnatural Disasters by Andrew Shaffer. This came in my October Loot Crate and I'm dying to start it. It has everything you could possibly want to survive; Sharknados, a Beeclipse, Swamp Volcanos, Bigfoot, you name it. I'm a big fan of the Worst Case Scenarios books so this is right up my alley. It's a pretty short book too so I don't think it'll take too long to read.

A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris. I loved the first book in this series and gave it five stars, so while it may not be spooky, I think it still belongs on the list as it is a murder mystery type book and when it a better time to lose yourself in one of those then halloween?

Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand by Carrie Vaughn. This series has had a lot of attention from me this month and rightly so. Werewolves? Check. Vampires? Check. Action? Check. Drama? Check. I've been loving these books and I'm so ready to jump into this, the fifth book in the series. I really recommend these books if you're looking for a good urban werewolf story and look out for my reviews of the third and fourth book coming soon in my monthly wrap-up. Maybe this will join them!

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks. Yes, I'm talking about this book again and again and again on my blog but it is one of my firm favourites and deserves a spot on this list. In the format of interviews with survivors, the narrator takes us through the zombie war with chills and paranoia along the way. I don't think I've read this book once without feeling the urge to move to somewhere remote and learn how to wield a machete. Love it.

I am Legend by Richard Matheson. Another favourite if the battered spine didn't show that. I have a vivid memory of buying this book in Manchester Waterstone's and reading it in a shoe shop while my mum bought shoes, I was hooked from the first page and it deserves all the credit it gets as the origin of the modern zombie. And yes I've talked about it before on the blog and even bought a copy to give away.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling. We all need a little magic, right? I think my most frequent costume when I was a kid was a witch so it only seemed right that ol' Harry made it on the list. I'm currently reading this with a friend of mine who has never read Harry Potter before and she's taking part in the Read-A-Thon so we're going to blast through some of this tonight.

What are your favourite spooky reads?

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*This post contains Amazon affiliate links which means if you buy anything from the links, I get a few pennies at no extra cost to you. Pretty neat, huh?

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Halloween Read-A-Thon!

Halloween is a bit of a boring holiday for me, I'm not much of a party person and since I've passed the age where trick-or-treating is cute, I tend to spend my night in watching bad horror movies and pausing to pass out candy. However! This year I thought I'd host a little Halloween Read-A-Thon or my #hallowreadathon as I'm calling it! Basically from Friday (Halloween) to Saturday (All Saints Day) I'm going to be reading. A lot. And I'd love it if you joined me.



All you have to do is read! And I'll be posting some fun questions and chats on my twitter with the hashtag #hallowreadathon. If you want to join then just show up with a book, and if you leave your twitter name in the comments I'll be sure to follow you so I can see your updates!

Will you be joining?

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Book Review: Endgame: The Calling by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton

I was excited about Endgame, I was. I was excited because Chloe Dykstra instagrammed it and I've admired her since pre-heroes of Cosplay so when I saw an opportunity to get an early copy, I jumped at it. Unfortunately, this is not going to be a positive review.



I'm going to start by talking about the book, just the words on the page. It was.. alright. My review is basically a shrug. It wasn't an original idea; 12 teens have to find keys and kill each other in the process? Yeah. Okay. Aliens? Gods? An interesting idea but the Battle Royale/ Hunger Games set up just seemed too familiar.
The writing was basic, I think with my sticky note system there was four sentences/ paragraphs where I thought- oh that is nice writing. And that's really low for me, I prepared many sticky notes for this book and was sorely disappointed at the result. And considering that the book was written from about 14 different perspectives, I expected to get more than one style. Not everyone thinks alike but it would seem like it if aliens came down and picked this book to read first.
And the characters? So unlikable. It's rare that I can't find one character to latch onto and be like this one, I like this one. Two were bearable. But I just didn't understand the rest of them or why they were doing what they were doing.
Of course, the cliffhanger ending. But is it going to make me pick up the next book? No. Much like Divergent, I'm just going to google it.

So let's get on to the two things about this book that had to do with the book but not the words on the page.
Firstly, James Frey. James Frey is a man who lied in his autobiography and is still getting published and I presume, a large amount of money for his trouble. I think this article says it better than I could.
Secondly, the gimmick of it all. $2,000,000 or £1,229,202 worth of gold to be split between the three books, put in glass cases in Vegas. There to be opened live on YouTube by three people who figure out the clues, designed by three MIT PhDs in the books and find the key. I'm just reminded of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the fact that it is worldwide just makes me think that it will be won by the person with the most financial backing. But that is conjecture. Basically I just think $2 million is a lot to sink into these three books.

I really wanted to like this book but I couldn't. In short, want some entertainment called Endgame? Watch the genius TV show. Still want to read it? You can buy it here.

What do you think of Endgame?


*This book was sent to me for review. It has not changed my opinion. This post contains Amazon affiliate links which means if you buy anything from the links, I get a few pennies at no extra cost to you. Pretty neat, huh?

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Loot Crate: October 2014: Fear!

Of all the Loot Crate's that I have bought this year, this was the one I was most excited for and probably the one I was most pleased with! October's theme was Fear and although I'm not one for horror movies, I am a huge fan of The Walking Dead and zombies so this crate was perfect for me!

A very full box!



I'll start with The Walking Dead things since they were what I was immediately drawn to and the reason I didn't cancel my box last month. It came with this adorable/heartbreaking artwork of Merle and Daryl from back in season 3 which made me exclaim "Oh no!" when I saw it. I love it. I'm going to frame it :')
And it came with a Loot Crate Exclusive #132 of The Walking Dead comic. I tend to read The Walking Dead comics in the hardcover form but I have a few important issues here and there and this can join them!



I'll admit, when I first saw this Dead Rising 3 weapon I was a little confused why it was loose but it turns out that it's a pen! As a Creative Writing student, I do a hell of a lot of writing so I think this is going to get quite a bit of use. I must remember not to take it to the bank though!
And one of my favourite things in this box was the book; How to Survive a Sharknado. I've flicked through it and you can expect a review soon because I love books like this. Admittedly the ones I have are more relevant to everyday life but you never know when Mothman is going to invade your town!



As a lazy halloweener, these temporary tattoos just sorted out my costume for this year. I'm thinking werewolf victim! I can't wait to have a bit of a play around with these and some fake blood. I'm sure I'll be instagraming my attempts at this too!
There was a lot of chat on twitter about Loot Crate doing tshirts again, at least in this box and it didn't disappoint. I'm not a huge skull wearing person but this Super 7 shirt has cats on it and I love cats! 



And of course it came with the monthly magazine- 3D cover and all this month, and a badge. I don't play the game Smite, and the digital bonus is a Jack the Reaper skin so I'll be passing this on to a friend but the Toxic Waste sweet? Keeping that all to myself. I loved them as a kid. I would get in challenges with my friends over who could keep it in their mouth the longest and eventually learned how to win. I also got an Official Member card which is apparently for showing you're a looter at cons for free swag. Unfortunately I don't think they come to UK cons but it's going in my purse next to my local comic book store loyalty card anyway.

So, pretty neat box! Unfortunately as I mentioned in my last My Geek Box unboxing, I am unsubscribing from these monthly boxes as they're quite a drain on my bank account so unless next months theme is 'Everything Imogen Wants Ever', Loot Crate and I are taking a break *sobs*. Want to sign up? You can do so here!

What do you think of this months Loot Crate? Will you be subscribing?

Friday, 17 October 2014

Fiction Friday: The Georgia Nicolson Series by Louise Rennison: Review and Giveaway!

Now I've done separate reviews of these books but I thought I'd do one big overview since they're split up into many blog posts and my opinion on if you should start this series at all since 10 books can be quite an investment of time and money if you're a completionist like me! I reviewed the first book here, the second and third here, the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth here, and the ninth and tenth here!



Louise Rennison has said; "I wrote the book to make myself laugh. I always wrote what I remembered making me laugh when I was that age. I didn't attempt to teach. I didn't attempt to do anything except I wanted Georgia to be a decent person. I wanted her to be someone who is a bit stupid and self-obsessed and difficult and funny and rude, and a bit jealous and all those other things. But I wanted her to have a good heart." 

And I think that is what she has done! They're not Moby Dick but they're funny, genuine books that remind me a lot of my school years too. As horrifying as those years were; I had to wear a uniform, I went to an all-girls school and while I may not have had to wear a beret, the introduction of the compulsory blazer in my tenth year was more highly debated than anything in debate club.

Do I think people should read them? Yeah, if you want a bit of nostalgia- especially if you were a teenage girl at some point- then these books are just what you need. They're a guaranteed laugh.

So if you fancy them I have a giveaway! Of all ten! If you read my book haul then you know I bought these to re-read, then a couple days later while clearing out my storage unit- I found my old copies so. I have all ten to giveaway today to one lucky UK reader, just fill out the rafflecopter below!




a Rafflecopter giveaway
Did you read the Georgia Nicolson books when you were young?

Friday, 10 October 2014

What's on Anne Plichota's Bookcase?

Today I have another author post for you! And I'm pretty excited to get a sneaky look at what is on Anne Pilchota's bookcase, as she is half of the duo that is writing the Oksa Pollock series. A series about a eleven year old girl with strange magical powers who discovers that there is a lot she is yet to learn, and it's not all maths from her horrible teacher. I'm currently reading the first book and I'm finding it quite fun so far!



So I now pass you over to Anne Plichota!



On my bedside table are the books I am currently reading and those waiting to be read, my favourites at the moment being Rachel Cusk (for the razor-sharp wit and language), Sue Townsend (for her eccentricity) and Gillian Flynn (for her sense of suspense).




On my shelves are my literary heroes, models, examples, teachers… Goolrick, Cheever, Larry Brown, Sharpe, Hiaasan, Palahniuk, Iain Levison… Some make me die laughing, others move me to tears, but all are part of my universe. I love photo books as well, especially the work of Martin Parr for its stupefying normality, and photos of industrial, urban ruins with their sense of pride, decadence and volatility.


My reading habits? I don’t go a day without reading a few pages, and if I do, I feel like something’s missing. My favourite times to read: at lunchtime, at the end of the afternoon, sometimes in the bath, and especially before going to sleep. And never forget: a book in the handbag is indispensable when waiting at the doctor’s or for a late bus, even if it means being disappointed when it arrives or your turn comes…
















Thank you Anne for writing this and adding to my ever growing Amazon wish list of books. It's been a long time since I read a Sue Townsend novel but they just got bumped up my TBR!

What's on your bookcase? Have you read the Oksa Pollock books?


Thursday, 9 October 2014

Review: Essence All About.. Palettes!

When I was at the Essence Event in Manchester they had a wide variety of products for us to have a look at but these palettes really caught my eye for a couple of reasons. They're small, they're durable with a very strong clasp and thick plastic, and they have beautiful colours. I had high expectations, but did they stand up to that?

Essence All About Candies and All About Nude eyeshadow palettes


Here I have 'All About Candies' and 'All About Nude' to review!

Essence All About Candies and All About Nude eyeshadow palettes


Each come with 6 colours that weigh in at 8.5g together and claim to be 'long lasting' with a 'silky and smooth texture'. These palettes actually stand up pretty amazingly on both claims. I took them on my holiday and forgot a primer and they lasted a good few hours without creasing even in the heat. The texture is silky and smooth without being crumbly and I've dropped them a fair few times with no breaking.
But how about some specifics too? Starting with All About Candies...

Essence All About Candies swatches


What surprised me about these candy pastel colours is how much I liked them on the lid, they were just so much easier to work with than dark colours since I'm so pale, it's been a bit of a revolution of me. The pink and the lavender are a little disappointing colour-wise as you can see, but make pretty nice highlights. The yellow and peach make b-e-a-utiful lid colours and the blue and green both make nice colourful looks without it being too in your face.
I think this is a great palette for anyone and everyone but if you're a super pale girl like me that sometimes struggles with colour in the daytime you need this!

Swatches of the All About Nude eyeshadow palette


The nude palette has a neat and compact range of nude colours, at six you can make a couple different looks and it makes the whole thing more compact without scrimping on quantity of eyeshadow. I was actually surprised at how versatile this palette was but I think it's down to the dark brown and the deep purple, they make very different eye looks and with a matte shade in there and an option of two colours for highlight- I think every nude fan would enjoy this.

I honestly think these palettes are on their way to being HG products and- dare I say it in October- would make good little stocking stuffers too. They also have All About Sunrise, Paradise and Chocolates that I might have to pick up too... You can buy Essence products at Wilko's up and down the country, and to find your nearest counter just click here!

What do you think of these palettes?

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*I received these at the Manchester Essence launch but I'm not obligated to talk about them and it has not changed my opinion.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

5 Things I Do on a Rainy Afternoon!

Back in August I wrote a post for Beauty Bits 'n' Blogs about 5 things I do every day and really enjoyed writing it, so I thought I would write another one and maybe turn it into a series! Today, 5 things I do on a rainy afternoon.



1. Get in my comfy sweatpants.
If I have nowhere to go, you can bet I'm in sweatpants but on the rainy afternoons where it's chilly and you just want to curl up in bed- I break out the super sweatpants. The two sizes too big, huge pockets, four inches too long sweatpants. You've just got to be comfy on these days, who needs real pants anyway?

2. Sit under my skylight.
I put my sofa right under my skylight for this very reason. The rain just sounds nice and calming against the window and I can look up and see nothing but cloudy sky which is strangely reassuring. All without getting rained on!



3. Light a couple candles.
I ration my Bath & Body Works Leaves candle since they're so hard to get but on afternoons like this I just have to break it out. I've been trying these new Heart & Home candles* from IWOOT and the French Vanilla one is the perfect way to add sweetness to the spice.

Oksa Pollock: The Last Hope if you were curious


4. Curl up with a good book.
Rainy afternoons were invented for reading, everything else like TV and Music can drown out the sound of rain but reading is perfect. I lose hours at a time in a brand new world if I have the right book. Extra points if it's raining in the book, which it probably is if the book is based in the UK.

5. Tidy. 
To break up the long hours of sitting down reading, I like to get up and whack on an episode of Welcome to Night Vale in the background while I tidy up. Clutter and the Autumn just don't go together, and whacking a couple things on Ebay will prepare your Paypal account for Christmas!

What do you do on rainy afternoons?

*I was sent the candles to try. IWOOT is an affiliate link.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Review: Orly Glosser Super High-Shine Topcoat!

A review for you today of the Glosser Super High-Shine Topcoat by Orly* that I've had for about a year now and never reviewed even though I use it quite frequently! I don't have much experience with Orly, they're not hugely available in the UK but they seem to be more popular in Boots these days and I hope they start releasing their holiday colours over here soon because they have some gorgeous Christmas colours.




Orly claims that Glosser will give 'lasting protection and super-slick shine' as a topcoat.



Before I get into it I have to mention to bottle because the lid has a grip handle which is amazing, it's really easy to open and helps with shaky hands application. More companies need to use it, it's genius.

Now this is a very thin formulation, which is both a blessing and a curse. It's great because since it's thin, it doesn't need long to dry. But if you don't get enough on the brush you end up with brush strokes on your freshly painted nails and the colour of you nail varnish stuck to the brush. Not fun.
The shine and gloss claim I don't really see that much, it's shiny but so is pretty much every topcoat. And I don't think it makes my nail polish last a huge amount longer either but it's alright. I'm ambivalent to it. I think it's just an average product with a good bottle so I'm not sure if I'm going to repurchase this even though it lasts an age, I just prefer something with some sort of drying quality.

Want to buy it? It's £9.95 for 18ml here! Or from my favourite eBayer it's £4.35 here!

Have you tried this top coat? Tell me your topcoat recommendations!

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*I received this at the Manchester Summer Meet, I am not obligated to talk about it and it has not changed my opinion.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Fiction Friday: Books I Read in September!

After a pretty slow August of only three books, things picked up in September as you can see! It helped that I went on holiday where my internet was lacking and that I decided on some really good books this month. I also found myself reading some not good books this month which have been 'paused' but I was thinking about doing a pot about them- thoughts?



Real Murders by Charlaine Harris
I don't think in this entire year that I've read a book so quickly. Admittedly it's a short book at 202 pages but I devoured it. I love the main character; a simple librarian called Roe with a quirky interest in murder. I love the plot; a murder mystery with a recreated murder from the past. And I love that there was just the right amount of detail, Harris and her editor knows when to put in that extra detail but leave out the unnecessary which made this such a quick read but not one that felt like it was missing anything at all! Once I finish some new releases, I'm heading straight back into this series.


The Crimson Ribbon by Katherine Clements*
You can read my full review here! This was a great book and really got me interested in historical fiction, a genre I have avoided up until now.


'Stop in the Name of Pants!' by Louise Rennison
This was one of the Books I want to Read before 2014 Ends and is the 9th of the 10 books series about Georgia Nicoleson. I was actually amazed at the depth this book went to, for the past 8 books it's been all jokes and laughs but this one actually had me feel a bit weepy! Maybe I'm just a big softy,  but this one got to me and if you've read them- I'm sure you'll know why.


'Are these my Basoomas I see before Me?' by Louise Rennison
This was another one of the Books I want to Read before 2014 Ends and the final of the series! A good final book and I'm happy that I finally know how it ended. And I've got that great fuzzy feeling of finishing a series, does you get this?
I'll be doing a round-up post and giveaway soon so keep an eye out for that.


Splintered Light by Cate Sampson*
The first think I loved about this book was the fact that one of the main characters, Leah, is an absolute treasure. In fact you may remember the author talking about her and young women who fight on my blog. But not only is she great, so is the development of the other two main characters who are male. The story is elaborate but not confusing, based in the UK and this is definitely a YA book I would recommend for both genders and really anyone. A great read.


A Shore Thing by Nicole 'Snooki' Polizzi
I said in my Top 5 Summer Fictional Essentials post that I wanted to read this book and I did! And I loved it as much as the first time. If you don't like Jersey Shore, Snooki & Jwoww or just general chick lit then don't read it. Don't read it just to spite the fact that someone you have chosen to dislike wrote a book either. You're wasting your time. Go read what you want to read, whatever that is, and enjoy that. Fill your life with things you like and you'll be a happier person. Want to read a book by Snooki? Feel no shame.
I'm a Snooki defender but I'm also a book blogger and this book was good. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the female empowerment, the take-no-shit attitudes and the fact that both main characters learnt something about themselves.
Also- congratulations to Snooki on her new baby Giovanna, the same name as the main character!


Y: The Last Man: Volume 6: Girl on Girl by Brian K Vaughan, Pia Guerra, Goran Sudžuka and José Marzán Jr.
Volume 6 is a book that dips down a little for me from my usual five star rating of this series just because it was all set on a boat and there were pirates and it should have been really interesting and it was- but not enough. It's still a four star book and this is still a cracking series but this has a slightly weaker story arc for me.


Y: The Last Man: Volume 7: Paper Dolls by Brian K Vaughan, Pia Guerra, Goran Sudžuka and José Marzán Jr. 
But no fear, because it bounces back in this book to the point where I wish I could give it six stars. Drama, a backstory that I adore, a good story arc and tying up of a few loose ends while still making you want to dive right into the next one. I can't say more without revealing spoilers but I will say again, like the broken record I am, that this series is definitely a good 'un.

So those were the books I read in September! What did you read this month?

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*I was sent these books as part of their blog tours.
**This post contains Amazon affiliate links which means if you buy anything from the links, I get a few pennies at no extra cost to you. Pretty neat, huh?

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Finished Products of September!

Second day of October, second post of October! I love this month already, that and I'm feeling very halloween-y this year. Anyway I started my Finished Products series again in July and am glad to actually have some empties because I didn't in August!



Sephora Aqua de Rio Handwash.
I bought this back in May and hauled it here! This is really good soap, which is quite an odd thing to write but it lasted for absolutely ages and smelled b-e-a-utiful. It's a shame it was Limited Edition.
Repurchase? I wish!

Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm, 100ml - £36.
I liked this, it worked well with my dry skin and I found the way it turned into a milk made it easier to remove than my normal oil cleansing. However, it didn't work as well and I'm back to pure oils now. I might try looking for a cheaper alternative for those lazy days when I don't want to faff around with a flannel.
Repurchase? Too rich for me.

Berlin i+m Shampoo.
This was actually a hotel freebie but damn is it a good one. Vegan, no silicones, artificial ingredients or preservatives and smelling like lemons, I wish I knew where I could buy this in the UK because I'd be all over it.
Repurchase? Trip to Germany anyone?

Dr Bonner's Magic Soap in Unscented, 16oz - £10.88.
Oh the ol' Dr Bonner's. Is anyone not using this to wash their makeup brushes at this point? It just works so well at dissolving the makeup and dirt, washing the brushes to a point where they look brand new all while not drying the bristles out. Amazing. Even if the philosophical writing on the bottle is a bit much.
Repurchase? Sure! But I think I'll go for a scented one.

Lush's Sonic Death Monkey Shower Gel, Not available right now.
Chocolate-y lime shower gel? Perfection. The smell is so good I just want to eat it and it foams up nicely with a little bit so doesn't dry my skin. It's one of my favourites from Lush but is unfortunately discontinued. And yessssss to that name. I'm a big High Fidelity fan.
Repurchase? Yes! Hopefully it'll come up on the Kitchen soon.

Have you tried any of these? What did you finish this month?

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Review: O'Right Golden Rose Colour Care Conditioner!

Hello October! How is it October already? I don't even know, but lets start the month right with a review!
O'Right is a brand I wasn't aware of until I was sent the O'Right Golden Rose Colour Care Conditioner* to review but after a good read of their website I was head over heels for their ethics. In fact, when I am finished (nearly there) with this bottle of conditioner, I can plant it, the bottle will decompose and the seed of a tree in the bottom will begin to grow. And that's just really cool!



But enough about the bottle. This conditioner claims to hydrate and add shine, preserve hair colour and give it a radiance boost. Personally I haven't coloured my hair but I am worried about it's condition as I plan to chop it all off and donate it to the Little Princess Trust soon. I want it to be the best it can be!



So does it work? In a nutshell, yes. It's a thin consistency and is a little tricky to work with at first but if you squeeze all the water you can from your hair before applying then it is easy enough and the smell is a non-offensive floral/fresh scent. After using it for a couple of months now my hair feels sleeker and both looks and feels better when my hair is dry. Breakage is less and thankfully the sleekness means I'm not yanking out hair with my hairbrush. My hair is now all the way down to my lower back and this conditioner helps it feel its best.

It is pretty pricey at £18.95 for a 400ml bottle but for a Vegan product with the added bonus of a tree, it's a nice treat that you can find here!

What do you think of the O'Right brand? Do you have any conditioner recommendations for me?

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*This was a PR sample but it hasn't changed my opinion. 

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