TOP TEN TUESDAY: 10 literary Halloween costumes

Helllllllo readers, it’s Tuesday again, and it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday and it’s a Halloweeen Free Topic! *eeee* I adore Halloween although it wasn’t something that was really a big deal for me until I went to university. I remember going to Wilkinsons with the girls in my block and seeking out the cheapest dresses; then taking them back to the flat and chopping the sleeves off, making them way too short and customising them with blood and the like. Gah those were the days; this year I’m much more likely to be snuggled up by the television with a bowl of candy waiting for tiny trick or treaters to appear. Bless. For my topic I’m going to do my top ten literary Halloween characters to dress up as. Enjoy!

Bernadette, from Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Maybe not the most easily recognisable of bookish characters but if someone does recognise you might make a new bookish friend! To make this costume add some very large bug-eyes shades, wrap a scarf around you head and wear a fisherman’s vest. Add a map or two, act as offish as you can towards Seattle and you’re there.

Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web

This links a little more with the more stereotypical Halloween characters but Charlotte is a wonderful character to go trick or treating as. A suitably black costume – (skirt, vest, cardi) and then using grey glitter glue/pen cover the skirt with silver webs. Add webs drawn around the eyes using kohl pencil and you’re there. Carry around a plush pink pig for bonus points.

Hester Prynne, from The Scarlet Letter

This addition is for those that have left their costume making time a little to the last minute and are stressing a little. Pop into your local charity shop and find a loose dress something as old fashioned – think colonial.  They find some red material and cut out a giant red A and attack it to your chest. Da-da.

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(Had to include that gif sorrry)

Miss Havisham, from Great Expectations

I’m still not sure why I haven’t done this one yet but all it really needs is a used wedding dress – once again think charity shops, and second hand stores. Cut rips into it, rub a little dirt in and pile your messy hair all over your head. Wear a forlorn expression for the entirety of the night and yell about Compeyson as much as you like. Stunning.

Lady Macbeth from Macbeth

Another one that I’ve thought of doing but this is pretty simple. Find a long flowy black lace dress, and pop your hair up into a knotted bun – add a crown if you and stain your hands with fake blood. Wander around aimlessly scrubbing at your hands proclaiming Out Damned Spot. Easy peasy.

 

The Fish from Dr. Seuss’s One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

This one works best as a group costume which is always pretty awesome. Find simple t-shirts and tutu’s easily found on le internet in the colours yellow, green, red and blue. Either write or cut out and sew on the letters to spell out the names and you’re good to go. 

Lisbeth Salander from Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series

One for those that had a bit of a goth/emo/punk era during their lives. Leather jacket, ripped, jeans, dark hair and lots of eyeliner and you’re pretty much good to go.

Princess Elizabeth from Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko’s The Paper Bag Princess

Another super simple outfit: all you need is a paper bag to cut arm holes out of, a crown and a cuddly dragon!

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Fred and George Weasley

The last two I’ve given into the pressure of needing some HP based characters. For Fred and George, red hair sprayed hair, black jeans, white shirt, black jumpers and tie and then anything that will substitute as a wand really and you’re there.

 The Golden Snitch

Finally, maybe my favourite of all the costumes the golden snitch. Wear a golden sparkly dress and find some golden material which you can cut into snitch style wings and attack to your arms. Could also attach a wrap around the middle that states I open at the close if you’re really going for it.

There you go, ten bookish literary inspired Halloween costumes. Were they any you would add? Are you a Halloween lover or loather? Let me know in the comments!

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The Post Office by Charles Bukowski

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Good morning readers, another ‘classic’ book for you today. I wasn’t planning to read this, but due to moving house I’ve had to move libraries. So taking all my beloved books back including F (a novel) which I haven’t yet finished, me and T wandered to the new library in Hanley and we both forgot it was a Sunday. So, I had to borrow one off T. It turns out that this and Factotum are rather similar. However, if you’re yet to read Bukowski then this might persuade you to get hold of a copy.

Henry Chinaski is a lowlife loser with a hand-to-mouth existence. His menial post office day job supports a life of beer, one-night stands and racetracks. Lurid, uncompromising and hilarious, Post Office is a landmark in American literature, and over 1 million copies have been sold worldwide. This book is the story of Henry Chinaski’s world. Its deep and compelling individuality is a refreshing change from conventional literary works.

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I first want to comment on Bukowski’s acknowledgements at the front of the book; ‘this is presented as a work of fiction and dedicated to nobody.’ This basically sums up the entirety of Bukowski’s work. It’s brutal, honest, raw and unmaterialistic. The book follows Henry Chinaski who works in the Post Office. The character who is Bukowski’s alter ego in many of the book is an alcoholic who strives to stay alive and stay drunk. Following both his personal and ‘professional’ life we see Bukowski treat women as like they are only for sex, work paying Bukowski to do as little as possible and us readers are treated with as much contempt as the characters in the rest of the tale.

What sets this apart and what makes it so much like Factotum is that it tells the tale of a man who is in touch with the most basic of urges. Sex, money, friendship, horse racing, and getting pissed is the crux of the book whilst Chinaski comes across as a man who knows the world and is cleverer than most but his inability to compromise with society as a whole means he will never move forward in his life. He refuses to buy into social morality, and instead is a man who barely survives.

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The prose is easy to read and flows along. It is sarcastic and cynical but there is something loveable there despite Chinaski’s apparent want to alienate the reader at every turn. *Trigger.*

 There was a part  that was a little distressing; Henry rapes a woman and yet Bukowski by the end of the short scene made it sound as if she enjoyed it. It felt a little stressful and unneeded but you get the feeling Bukowski writes whatever he wants whichever want he wants. Chinaski as a character is not a nice man and many of the things he says and does are disgusting and repugnant. But there is something truly fascinating about the life that he leads.

In terms of its seeming similarity to Factotum, it revolves around the same ideology of sex, alcohol, racing, and working as little and as badly as possible. It is both cynical, written in the same style and a number of scenes turn up in both books. Once again this could be Bukowski just playing with being an author but it felt a bit repetitive. T was about to buy Factotum but I’m not sure it’s worth reading both. For me anyway.

There is a lot of beauty in this book, but it is a cynical type of beauty. I enjoyed it as much as I did Factotum but I don’t feel I learnt anything from it. An author definitely worth a read, but maybe not a second.

Linnnnnnks

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Shards: a short story anthology by C.J Cummings

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Hellllllo readers I have a really interesting book of short stories to share with you today. It’s very rare that I would be sent a collection of books that make an anthology but I’m really excited to have received this and have it to review for you today. In terms of my review schedule I am about month ahead now in terms of what needs posting but I will get them all read and up for you soon. Without delay: THE REVIEW.

Like a box of lost and found, Shards is a dive into fiction and all its wonderful edges. Tales of life and of death; war and poetry; monsters with fangs and creatures with claws; the weird and the woeful; the realism and the obscure. It is a journey into the back of a brain, deep in the tunnels of imagination, where the most unusual and brilliant and terrible ideas are born.

An anthology of twenty brand-new works of short-fiction: Science-fiction, Weird, Abstract, Fantasy, Dystopian, Contemporary, Horror, War & More. A love-letter to the written word.

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Gah some of these stories are real stunners. The anthology is total mix of different stories and contexts. The first few are very subtle stories There are subject matters than appear once or twice, especially the writing of intense emotion. ‘A busy doorway’ is a beautiful tale of two people who are saying goodbye at an airport the emotion that the author manages to get into the tale and the use of words to give the characters description despite it being a very short tale is skilfully done. The ending was very endearing and difficult to read but it just summed it all up without tying it up in a really finished bow. Delightful. ‘Just Right,’ was another romantic tale that just fell into the readers hands; the author has a definite way of writing to really tell a tale with the characters without needing long descriptions or lots of backstory. It’s a very sweet tale and one I really enjoyed. The two characters continually meet at different coincidental opportunities and although maybe a little twee I thought it was beautiful.

Some of the stories also take on a darker turn especially ‘Soil in the eye,’ is a very dark tale, it tells of a person being buried alive but the emotion driven into the story makes you feel as if you’re there with quaking in the box, feeling the oxygen slowly slip away. More subtle stories including ‘Facing the right’ and ‘The Light’ tend to be more soft stories revolving around the telling of the tale rather than telling a story. Due to them being so short they do have an abstract feel but for me I thought it just added to the authors ability to weave such delicate stories. This is shown most in the tale ‘The Still Bridge,’ it’s so atmospheric and different to the earlier tales I thought it was beautifully done.

My favourite of the tales I think was ‘The Aching Vengeance’ one of the stories towards the start of the anthology. The tale shows an old cowboy who has been searching for his daughter for many many years and after wandering into a bar it all starts to get a bit messy. The story shows Cumming’s ability to string together a powerful tale in only a couple of pages and the story really stayed with me. It’s a very dark tale but one I thought was really intriguing.

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There were a couple of stories that did fall short, ‘Sunday Night Movie Massacre,’ felt a little rushed and didn’t fully explore enough into the monster to make me believe in such a tale, and the story before ‘The Town Built on tragedy’ didn’t give enough to end the tale and make a lot of sense to the reader. I think it was a really interesting start but there wasn’t quite enough to make me feel that, oh wow feeling. There are a few near misses but most of spot on.

Overall this is a really brilliant complation of different tales with different contexts, characters and stories. Some of the stories I felt had too much content to be tied up too quickly and lacked a little more information but I thought the experimentation with style and genre was really exciting. I’ve just seen the author has another book and I might just have to give that a good. If you like short stories or want to read some really superb ones, this is a compilation for you.

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Top Ten Tuesdays: Ten classic books I want to read next

Heellllooo readers, it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday post brought to you by the wonderful ‘The Broke and the bookish,’ and it’s a free week which means that you can pick whatever book related topic your heart desires. As I have recently(-ish) finished my ten classic books challenge for my 101 things in 1001 days list I thought, why not list down the next ten classics I intend to read because there are quite a few I’ve discovered whilst browsing the library shelves/Amazon/Waterstones. If you have any to add comment below I will have to take a look at your suggestions. Without delay number one is….

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Lord of the Flies (1954) by William Golding

Every man and his dog have read this book, apart from me, because I’m always so far behind.

The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) by Oscar Wilde

This was planned as my last classic book for my 101 things in 1001 days challenge but I ended up reading Little Women, a book that has been on the list for years and years. I still plan to get this read though, eventually.

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Anne of Green Gables (1908) by L.M. Montgomery

As a younger reader my mum really encouraged some classic books but being a stubborn reader I ignored them. Recently I found this on my bookshelf, and athough I’m maybe a little too old for it, I’m going to get it read I think. Sorry Mumma.

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A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1943) by Betty Smith

I only fully came across this book recently, but being split into five books, each telling a different period in the character’s lives it could span a reading experience I’ve yet to try. Something that will be new to my classic reading so far.

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The Colour Purple (1982) by Alice Walker

I’m always intrigued with books that look at American social culture and the position of African-American women in the southern states of America. This one I’ve heard should be on allllll TBR’s.

Cover shows a drawing of a man, who appears to be made of newspaper and is engulfed in flames, standing on top of some books. His right arm is down and holding what appears to be a paper fireman's hat while his left arm is wiping sweat from the brow of his bowed head. Beside the title and author's name in large text, there is a small caption in the upper left-hand corner that reads, "Wonderful stories by the author of The Golden Apples of the Sun".

Farenheit 451 (1953) by Ray Bradbury

I think this book is on every single ‘book list’ I’ve seen recently such as ‘100 Books you must read during your lifetime,’ or ‘Books you haven’t read yet but must before you’re thirty.’ Those kind of lists make me feel guilty and also add to my never ending TBR pile *whines.*

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Ulysses (1922) by James Joyce

I just want to attempt this, at least once.

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Slaughterhouse-five (1969) by Kurt Vonnegut

Gah, this book just seems perfect for me as a reader. A satrical novel about World War II told through the life of a chaplian’s assistant, Billy Pilgrim. Really brilliant for a historical fiction adorer, and another I feel I should have read by now.

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The Catcher in the Rye (1951) by J.D Salinger

One that I missed out reading during school I feel like this is one of those books I should have probably read, or at least should be getting round to reading. Maybe this Autumn I’ll finally get it finished. Hopefully at least.

and finally

One Hundred Years of Solitute (1967) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

T just finished this and thought it was pretty wonderful, I had a nosy on Amazon and so many readers agree I think this one just had to make this list.

(Bonus book Anna Karenina (1878) by Leo Tolstoy)

There you have it ten (eleven) classic books I still need to get read. What would you add? Which really aren’t worth sticking at the top of my TBR pile? Let me know in le comments you lovely readers.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

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Helllllo readers, I have a really exciting book review today because it just so happens to be my last classic book, completing the ten classic books challenge. I have had an odd relationship with classic books. Being forced to read them during my A levels I have always spited them and avoided them. However, I decided it was time to try a number of books and after including it in my 101 things challenge I haven’t looked back. I will be writing a follow up post about the challenge and I won’t be stopping reading and reviewing classic books, but for now, onto the review.

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Little Women is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), which was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. Alcott wrote the books rapidly over several months at the request of her publisher. The novel follows the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March—detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood, and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters.

When I first read this book (numerous times) at the age of nine or ten I really struggled. It is only now that I really think I can appreciate and understand the different characters and the language used. The book follows four sisters; Meg the mature one that longs for a more luxurious life. Jo the adventurous, slightly boyish one who wants to prove her worth, Beth the darling but fragile sister and Amy who is a little vain, but adores art. The book follows the sisters as they struggle through a number of hardships; with their father away at war, and money tight the girls must find ways to care for one another whilst learning certain lessons from their dear mother in 1860’s New England.

Yes the writing and language is very noticeably dated and times a little heavy but it is the characters that make this book so memorable. Alcott has a chatty way of writing, both graceful and twee it sings a tale of the beautiful but sometimes strained relationship between the four sisters. All are portrayed honestly, with their both their strengths and weaknesses; Meg a gentle character who lacks a little self-belief, Jo who struggles to contain her temper, Beth’s who is a very sweet but weaker character and Amy who worries about her ‘un-Grecian nose.’ All of this and the difficulties of poverty are woven in amongst the love and lessons taught by the girls wonderful mother. The men involved in the tale play secondary character roles, mainly there to show the strengths and weaknesses of the sisters but are written with thought and care.

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The characters are well developed as the book continues and the setting is well described throughout such as the beautiful little garden. My only real wobble would be the moral lessons that seem to be almost injected into every single chapter. It is a little cloying and tiring but in the end also enjoyable. I think in the time the book was written it would be a lot more popular, here in the 21st Century it is dated but it makes for a more educated and intriguing writing style. I wanted to read classics to explore a different way of writing and this style has definitely been more telling of the time in which is was written and published.

Re-reading the book now I definitely think that I was too young to read it, the wordiness and the ideas portrayed are difficult to understand at a younger age (for me anyway) but I adored the warmth, honesty and beautiful little telling. I’ve read a number of reviews of this book which have definitely prompted me to read in the series of books the author wrote but I can’t decide whether it will ruin the first if the second doesn’t follow the same writing style and beautiful character description. However, I really enjoyed this tale, despite my feminist notions and my bubbling fury at some of the themes. I can’t quite believe I’ve finished my classic book challenge but I’m so proud of myself getting it all finished so quickly. Now, what classic shall I read next?

The Death of Danny Daggers by Haydn Wilks

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Hi readers, another day another review. This book was read for the #boutofbooks readathon. A week challenge to read as many books as possible and blog/tweet/comment as the week went on. There were also challenges such as collecting and photographing different books from multiple countries, playing M.A.S.H, if you haven’t played it, you should; and also pairing bookish characters with one another. It was a really interesting week and I really liked the laid back feel. You didn’t feel pressured to read so many pages as having a full time job it was difficult at times but it’s something I do want to do again soon. I adored this book and I think you might too.

Cardiff. The last few days of summer.

 Danny Daggers is about to die. He just doesn’t realise it yet.

A Leeds University student with a very popular YouTube channel, Danny Daggers is taking his alcohol-downing stunts on tour.

He’s about to find out that not everyone’s a fan.

Ji Eun is a Korean student doing work experience at the South Wales Post.

Rory Gallagher is the alcoholic veteran journo who’s mentoring her.

Carnage in Cardiff might be just what they need to begin and revive their respective careers.

Tom and Joseph work at one of Cardiff’s many call centres.

Tom is fed up of working boring jobs and living for the weekend.

Joseph is just happy to have a job.

Then there’s the Amstell brothers.

Simon’s just escaped from prison. And he happens to be the father of Joseph’s girlfriend’s son.

And his brothers happen to be psychopaths.

These stories collide and intersect over a frantic few days of heavy drinking, drugs and ultraviolence, set against a backdrop of dystopian modern Britain.

This book just sang to me from the blurb I thought yes this will definitely be up my street. The book follows the death of Danny Daggers as he staggers through Cardiff half drunk, half stoned. We meet a plethora of different characters; Ji Eun an intern at a local paper and her mentor Rory Gallagher a drunken journalist who’s intriguing take on life was a brilliant comedic tale to watch play out. Tom and Joseph who work at call centres, trying to make a life for themselves and the terrifying Amstel brothers. As more and more characters are woven in (Jodie, Danny, Frank and co) the lives of all the characters start to interweave; at the same parties, pubs, gigs whilst the author holds back just how Danny Dagger, internet star finally comes to a grizzly end.

That’s the boring bit out the way onto the good stuff. The writing is brilliant, it has a Cardiff tone and the links to the city and the lifestyle/language/landscape were spot on. You can tell the author has really gone to town here, making sure everything is just spot on. The characters are well written and extensive; even the smaller roles such as the Amstel brothers are really worked to make sure they have characteristics. It’s really well done and although you’re unlikely to like almost any of them (Ji Eun and Rory excluded) for me it works because you become invested in their lives and the stories being woven about them. The writing is fresh and loaded with expletives, and words such as mun and butt which you do get used to after a while. This author has really dabbled in making you feel like you’re wandering through Cardiff and as a reader I really appreciate that.

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The language is at times overly done, for me I like that, but I can see that some might find it over heavy on the description. Sometimes it feels a little like you’re wading through toffee but that’s how I like it. Dystopia? Maybe not quite the right word, it doesn’t quite sit with the books I read that feel like a dystopia but I understand the feeling of the tales being unbelievable and the shock factor is done with skill. The ending for me lacked a little clarity, I would have liked to have seen Ji Eun’s and Rory’s stories tied up a bit more because she was one of the only characters I liked. Additionally I thought the last few chapters were a bit rushed; we build so extensively towards the ending and it falls a bit flat. There are more loose ends than I would like but with so many characters maybe I’m asking too much. There are a couple of spelling and grammatical errors but they can be easily tightened up.

However I bloody loved this novel, it held me in a way that only certain novels do. There was book about year ago that I read called Remember to Breathe by Simon Pont (I mention this book all the time) and I haven’t found anything like it since. THIS IS IT, MY NEW BOOK TO IMPLORE TO GO GET A COPY NOW MUN. It’s dark, foreboding and chilling, it has angst, terrifying characters and real life stories told in a way that transports you to the gritty ketamine fuelled streets of Cardiff. Go and read it, unless you hate swearing (maybe) but go, add to your TBR’s and let me know if you found it as brilliant as I did.

Linnnnnks

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The Vintage Cinema Club by Jane Linfoot

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Today’s book is one where you look at the front cover and you think; I NEED TO READ THAT, LIKE NOW PLEASE. I know we’re taught, now don’t judge a book by its cover and us book bloggers are supposed to be utter advocates of that but some days you think, yes. That author is giving that book the best chance of grabbing hold of readers and pulling them in, because it looks utterly beautiful and I must admit the writing inside, well, I won’t get ahead of myself but you might well love it.

Meet The Vintage Cinema Club….

Izzy is a wow at making unwanted things pretty, but with three brothers and her shabby chic furniture business to run she doesn’t have time to date. Could a fabulous French proposal change her mind?

Single mum Luce’s vintage bridal dresses are exquisite, but there’s no way she’s ever going to wear one or walk down the aisle for that matter. She’s a strictly no romance, one night kind of woman – or so she thinks…

Dida seems to have it all – a chocolate and banana cake recipe to die for, lovely kids (most of the time!) and a great lifestyle. But what good is a fabulous home, when your marriage has more cracks than a pavlova and your husband is having it off with half of Lithuania?

Three retro fabulous friends, in love with all things vintage, run their dream business from the faded grandeur of a rescued cinema. When that dream comes under threat, they’ll do whatever it takes to save it.

The book as the blurb suggests follows the lives of three wonderful women who are blighted by the selfishness of one husband, who decides to put their beautiful vintage cinema up for sale. Instead of letting go of the building that has helped them each live their dream job, Dida, Luce and Izzy dig their heels in, determined not to let their building be swept from under their feet. GIRL POWER eh? The book switches perspective between the three as we learn more about each of their lives, their loves and their part in the Vintage Cinema Club. Throw in hot-mess Xander, an unfaithful husband and one of the girl’s who’s still not quite sure what she wants it’s going to be an exciting read.

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I thought what was truly special about this book was the relationship spun between the three women; each has their own personality traits and are built up to show this. Izzy is ultimately stubborn and a little quick to judge and finds it easy to push her emotions under a rug and pretend they were never there. She’s strong willed but also adorable. I thought her relationship with Xander was exciting to read about and he was your perfect steamy, gorgeous kind of character. At the start their relationship confused me; were they right for each other? But as the story mounts I enjoyed seeing their power struggle. I really felt for Dida throughout; her desperation to sort out her friends lives but not really take a look at her own was a little heart-breaking but wonderfully written. Finally Luce; I couldn’t quite pin her down. Claiming to be utterly fine but creating the perfect dresses for perfect weddings it didn’t quite fit, but you’ll have to read the book to find out how all the stories end.

I think the writing however was what really sold this book to me; the characters were brought to life but it was the cinema itself that really pulled me into the book. I would have loved to have a wander around the vintage trinkets, bridal dresses, and the pretty painted furniture. I adore little vintage stores and I was taken right inside the front door. I thought that the communication between the characters also really helped to spice up the descriptions; texts, emails, rotas and plans of actions it made it all the more real and helped to envelop me in the story as a whole. I thought the distinction between the cosy relationship of the friends and the steamy relationship between Izzy and Xander meant I was galloping through the pages which was brilliant.

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Not a wobble for me but Izzy does take centre stage which I was a little surprised about from the blurb just because it looked from the outlook that the other girls would be delved into as much. However I think it works because although they take a bit of a back step, their stories help to strengthen Izzy’s and get you more involved in the plot.

Overall this book honestly had everything I could need as a reader; there was the relationship brewing between Izzy and Xander, and the look at their emotional and slightly traumatic pasts. The chemistry that was rolling off the pages was steamy and exciting *squeals.* Friendship, vintage, romance, excitement, trauma and suspense what more could you want. This author packs a punch and I cannot wait to read more from her.

Americosis by Haydn Wilks

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Good Morning, hope you’re all feeling fine and dandy. Another review from mylittlebookblog, they just keep on coming don’t they? As always a quick shout out; if you’re waiting for reviews to make it onto Amazon and Goodreads I am the worst for remembering to do it, please don’t hate me. I’m thinking of using the hour of the GBBO (that show really is television gold) to get a bulk of reviews onto both. Maybe with some cake and wine? For now a review of a book that I really enjoyed reading but I’m not quite sure why; with no delay, onto Americosis by Haydn Wilks.

A naked man arrives in New Mexico claiming to have traveled through time.

He says that he’s America’s savior.

A bizarre sexually-transmitted infection in New York takes control of people’s bodies and burns 

them out in an incessant drive to infect others.

And a Presidential candidate is conversing with angels.

His aides think he’s crazy.

The electorate might not agree with them.

It could all be madness. It might be the apocalypse.

Americosis.

An epic genre-bending mash-up of sci-fi, horror, thriller & dark comedy.

Might need a second for that blurb to sink in because I can bloody promise you, I did. This book is so odd, confusing, and bizarre and frankly, a bit nuts, but I couldn’t stop myself reading it for one minute. I read this in my lunchbreak at work and just couldn’t stop until it was finished (mainly because I was terrified I would forget all that had happened and have to start all over again.) As the blurb states, the book follows a number of different story lines; the savior who happens to turn up a little nude and with a rather momentous member, the relationship between a therapist and her husband who appears to have killed a rather young girl in a McDonalds toilet, Hank the Christian who teaches children about the importance of God, and a President who swears he is conversing with angels.

It’s a novella and it packs a punch; although it follows a lot of different story lines they are clearly written although at this point do not connect in any single way. It rather introduces the story much like the first couple of chapters of a full length book rather than a novella which felt a little odd. I thought the idea of the STI was a bit puzzling; does it cause all the characters to become a bit sex-crazed because one scene definitely seemed to show that, because if it is this book just got even odder. The characters are distinct which is important in a book that jumps around so much and the reader has to basically start and keep reading until they hit the very last line and then take a breath.

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In terms of cons there are a couple of errors that I thought could have been made more grown-up. At times there is an over-use of the word ‘was’ (Robert was sat on the bed) which would have sounded better if the word had been removed. I know this is picky but it comes over a bit childish. I also found the second person narrative a bit grating. I remember trying to write a book in this POV when I was in secondary school and I got told off a lot and it was really tough to do as well. The final wobble was because the tale is so short the characters appear to come over very quickly which can mean they seem unlikeable and at the moment at least they are very one dimensional and Hank (Mr Sweary) was just unpalatable.

 But, and it’s a big but, I loved this little tale. It was odd, crazy, a bit nuts, weird, it didn’t make a huge amount of sense at the time but I want to read more! Who is the Savior and where has he come from? What is wrong with the President is he really conversing with angels (this plot is a bit mad) I liked the action, I liked the intrigue and if I’m honest I think I should have hated this but I didn’t, and I cannot wait to read more damn it.

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Another book to check off my list! Published in July 2015 :3

101 things in 1001 days: Read ten classic novels

101 things in 1001 daysClassic books; from Tolstoy to Fitzgerald, Bronte to Lee we’ve all at some point come into contact with a classic from the cannon of books that are recognised as the cream of the crop. I have avoided them as like the plague for the majority of my book blogging life as it were. I refused to read classic books at school with Enduring Love being a particular sticking point. Why? They just weren’t really me, and pulling apart the commas, certain word use and the like, as well as being asked to read the book a number of times, by the end of the semester the book was ruined.

However, when I started writing my 101 things in 1001 day list I decided it was time to start reading the classics again and give the cannon another chance. I picked books that interested me; historical fiction based and picked authors that I had already read books from such as Orwell, Fitzgerald (although that didn’t work so well) and also books at school that I hadn’t got the chance to read. I asked friends and family what they would suggest and I created a list of sorts, with extras being added along the way.

My final list included
1) Down and Out in Paris and in London by George Orwell
2) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
3) Girl 20 by Kingsley Amis
4) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
5) Factotum by Charles Bukowski
6) Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
7) Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
8) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
9) Animal Farm by George Orwell
10) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
And, because I’m a little bit dopy
11) Gerald’s Party by Robert Coover

the-bell-jar2 Book review of, Of mice and men factotum1  Breakfast-at-Tiffanys-Truman-Capote-711x1024

On this list there are some utter stunning books, that I have had the pleasure of reading over the past few months and each has taught or shown me something about reading. Coover, Amis, and Plath all showed me how the writing of classic books can differ so greatly and yet still be incredible reads. Orwell showed me that all of his books are so different in content and yet they can be linked so quickly through the sheer in-depth nature of the meaning interwoven into every single word. Capote gave me one of my favourite books and brought Holly Golightly to life in a way I didn’t expect possible.

Harper Lee and John Steinbeck showed me that not all books taught in education are painful and that I need to go back and look at the books I so quickly dismissed. Reading Alcott finally allowed to me get through a childhood reading block and James Baldwin’s book almost reduced me to tears. Finally Bukowski and Coover showed me that even classics can be incredibly exciting in terms of the style and that I have read nothing like them in any of the contemporary novels I’ve come across so far.

I guess you could say in the last few months I’ve taken my hat and eaten it. I had it all wrong about the classics, but then, when you’re forced to read books it’s unlikely to make it more enjoyable. Being able to choose my own books; Wuthering Heights, (which I have read) and Dickens are unlikely to bring rave reviews but give me grit from Orwell and Bukowski and I’m a happy bunny.

One way to really show my new found love of classic fiction is recently for a Top Ten Tuesday post I was allowed to pick my own topic and, you guessed it, I decided to pick my next ten classics. I have learnt so much through this 101 thing to do and I have created a love of classic fiction which you will definitely be seeing more of as MLBB continues. *eeee*