You might have guessed I’m a big reader.

Give me a rainy day, and I’ll read till I’m blue in the face. Or until I’ve read all of the words. As many words as my tiny brain can take in. But, I don’t just read fiction. I read A LOT of articles. I’ve always read Narratively, but recently I discovered Medium.

Read Medium, get smarter

Welcome to Medium, a place where everyone has a story to share and the best ones are delivered right to you.

^ Best description. Better than I could come up with. (I tried to re-write it, I couldn’t.)

Every day thousands of people turn to Medium to publish their ideas and perspectives. They might be personal essays, they might talk about tech. They might be 21 minutes long they might be 3. It’s a new type of news, that comes straight from the people living and making it. And it’s bloody beautiful. Here are 5 articles you need to read. (Because they’re brilliant.)

Medium Articles

‘It’s Because You’re Fat’ — And Other Lies My Doctors Told Me

This article really struck a chord with me. I’ve struggled in the past with PCOS. Too many times I’ve been told to lose weight. It will solve all ills. Needless to say at the time of my PCOS diagnosis I had lost 20lbs and was at a healthy BMI. (Shrugs – explain that.) Martina’s story has made me think about people that have more destructive illnesses that could be gravely misdiagnosed because of prejudice towards weight. It’s not cool and needs to stop.

Cooking with Sarah

This series is fantastic. It’s all about sharing the joy of cooking with your partner. Both Sarah and her partner Aaron have profiles and they have created a very special slice of the Internet in the process. Sarah tends to write the recipe, Aaron tells you the reasons behind it. It’s a two step story and it’s wonderfully done. The posts end up being a mixture of learning to live in the midst of being a couple and some really  bladdy good recipes. I’ve signed up for updates from both. (You should too.)

This is what I want for losing weight

I’ve recently lost 24lbs and counting for the second/third time. (Yes I am a yoyo dieter.) This article talks about rewarding yourself for hitting certain weight-loss goals. Not in food treats (step away from that treat day.) But, in tangible things. A lipstick maybe? A trip away. It’s a positive post about self-love and coping with your body.

I wanted to see how far I could push myself creatively. So I redesigned Instagram.

FOR MY GEEKY GALS. I love Instagram. It’s a recent love and I’m currently trying to post once a day. But I have discovered SOME faults. Kim went a step further and decided to redesign Instagram and I like what she suggested. One of the things I love about Medium is how it encourages us to think more about what we could do. How could we push ourselves to develop our skills. After reading this post I saw that 3 people had taken inspiration from Kim and had written/designed their own improvements to Instagram. Medium creates an ever-moving discussion.

6 non-intuitive lessons I learned from living on Airbnb for 365 days

Finally a bit of fun (and something I now really want to do.) Chenyu lived in AirBnb’s for a year. I’ve done one in my lifetime (SO FAR,) and do definitely want to learn more. I love how this article is constructed. Plus, it’s seriously increased my travel bug. Ergh I wanna go now.

Do you use Medium? If not here’s 5 to get you started! (And if you know any good articles, link a gal up.) 

Medium Articles

Medium Articles

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Hellllllllo readers; I have stepped away from the fantasy books and have discovered some wonderful books this week which you will see reviews of soooon. I’ve been getting back into going to the library and getting books read. I think some variety is needed so I’m trying to read lots of different styled books so there’s something for everyone. I’m other news, I am looking for a new job *cheers.* I’ve been meaning to look properly for a while but I’m ready to move to a new city and find myself a new path I guess but will keep you updated. For now a selection of short stories to get your teeth into.

Life is seldom easy for a teenager, and when that teen has to grow up in Washington, DC, life can be hell. In It Ain’t Easy, a collection of short stories by Kesia Alexandra, the reader is shown what life is like in that part of the city that’s not monuments and government buildings—from the gritty streets of some of the poorest parts of the city to the privileged halls of its prestigious private schools.

I do adore a short-story if done well; emphasis on the “if done well.” I think that it seems simple to write a short story but recently I’ve found if I’m reading short stories or a novella, they are too short and therefore fail to capture the reader wholly. Thankfully that didn’t happen here; this author writes with a skilful insight into the five stories of five girls that each delve into the gritty Washington scene. We meet, a single mother caught up in cheating the tax system, a mother to be with a less than savoury partner and a scholarship student attending a private school but drawn to a shady person in her path amongst others.

The writing is raw and real; I often complain about slang used in books but here it just about words. The language, I assume used in Washington helps to cement the stories to a certain place. Lines like ‘I check my watch. “We don’t want to be late.” “Girl, it don’t start till two. Stop bein’ pressed.” She grabs my arm and pulls me into the shop.’ There are a couple of glitches in the grammar and a number of spelling wobbles but it shows a writer with potential and promise. If she were to turn any of these stories into something longer, I would definitely grab a copy. My only real wobble is I would have liked a little more character development. Although the stories are short I think there was more time to really build the profiles and make the reader fall for the character.

The Wacky Bookish(2)

The stories are often raw and blunt offering a real and honest looking into the lives of those in the city. The writing is strong and steady and it has an evocative feel to it. If anyone has read NW by Zadie Smith it has the same feel although I think this writing could be strengthened with deeper and stronger descriptions. It gets about half there and then falters, I think overall more could be added. The speech is coarse and dotted with swear words which helps to make the text feel all the more real. It’s not added for the benefit of adding swear words but instead it adds to the text which I liked.

Overall this is a book with real merits; it tells a number of tales with determination and tenacity. It doesn’t hold back on the tales. My only critique would be a lacking in character profiling and more heady description but the writing style is solid. A quick read and an author I would really like to see more from.

Links

Amazon

Good morning readers, and happy Valentines day to you all. I’m having a wonderfully lazy morning watching films in bed with Lola and writing you this lovely review. I was tempted to review something romantic to fit the theme of today but instead decided to bring you something a little more real. Instead I’m bringing you something gritty, honest, shocking and a sophisticated read. Perfect for a lazy Saturday morning.

Kieran Ledley is the world’s most expensive football player, he is also one half of glamour couple “Kier-rissa,” and his step-brother is about to be released from prison. Freddie Abani is the MP for Woundham, who was touted as London’s potential first black Mayor – until the summer riots. Rupal Advani is a former policewoman and is now a marijuana addict. Gemma and her struggling filmmaker husband Pete Newman, are trying to save their marriage. Vivian Moses is a therapist, and they all have her in common.

So the premise is overall simplistic, the book tackles the different stories of a group of people including the World’s most expensive and sought after footballer and a former police officer who is finding it difficult to move on and is turning to drugs to relieve the stress. It also features a couple who’s relationship is in its last lease of life and an MP who is seeking to become London’s first black mayor however is struggling to come to terms with his father leaving him when he was younger. It’s a diverse bunch but they all have one thing in common and that is Vivian’s couch. A therapist who is also dealing with her own internal struggles.

What I really liked about this is that it gets straight into the actions, it doesn’t wait or hold back at all. We are immediately thrown in and have to quickly adjust to the pace of this well thought through story. We are introduced to the characters one by one by their sessions with Vivian, each dated differently as to add different time zones and to allow us to get to know the characters and their back stories. It’s very much a documentary style book allowing us to have an almost crude insight into the lives of the people who find themselves spilling their secrets to Vivian. By mixing the lives of both ordinary people and celebrities, it allows for an extensive look how different choices, good and bad lead to our current situations in life.

In terms of characters each is laden with many different characteristics; Vivian is strong on the outside but we learn that she is also dealing with her own demons due to addiction and a terrible relationship with her now ex-husband. Gemma and Pete are contrasting in almost every way possible, she is possessive and jealous whilst he appears to have lost the will to live causing immense friction. Kieran is struggling with his life in the limelight and being pulled in every direction whilst trying to hide from the increasing media attention. I could go on, each is well presented and thought through to make the interweaving stories as real as possible.

I think the main reason I enjoyed this book so much was because although ultimately a fiction book it really felt like each of the stories could be on going right now. It felt like a glimpse into a secret world and I felt I could relate many of the stories told to events happening in the harsh modern world that we currently live in. Another thing to note is that I really liked the cover, it is simple and yet striking, it really gives an insight into what the book is going to cover which was lovely. The theme of diversity was really strong throughout but handled incredibly well to help bring the city to life.

This is not a happy story, but instead a real reflection of modern day life, and I loved it for that.

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Good evening lovely, lovely readers! Sorry there are been less reviews up recently, I have been struggling (as always) to find enough time to write, read, work and socialise but here is another review for you to get your teeth into. Apologies that it has taken so much time to get up but I have been busy scheduling reviews and somehow this one got missed out! Organising my inbox is on my list of things to do! Additionally any comments anyone has or any questions about my thoughts on the book pop them in the comments box below as I am going out now to stuff my face and my tummy with wine and cheese fondue whilst watching the breakfast club. I am incredibly classy I promise. Hope you enjoy this darling review.

Set during the brink of the Civil War, this beautifully written novel traces James Turner, a charming, impulsive writer and lecturer; Charlotte, his down-to-earth bride; and Cabot, an idealistic Harvard-educated abolitionist as they are drawn together in a social experiment deep in the Missouri Ozarks. Inspired by utopian dreams of building a new society, Turner is given a tract of land to found the community of Daybreak: but not everyone involved in the project is a willing partner, and being the leader of a remote farming community isn’t the life Turner envisioned. Charlotte, confronted with the hardships of rural life, must mature quickly to deal with the challenges of building the community while facing her husband’s betrayals and her growing attraction to Cabot. In turn, Cabot struggles to reconcile his need to leave Daybreak and join the fight against slavery with his desire to stay near the woman he loves. As the war draws ever closer, the utopians try to remain neutral and friendly to all but soon find neutrality is not an option. Ultimately, each member of Daybreak must take a stand–both in their political and personal lives.

The book follows James Turner, notably a lecturer, who has written a utopian novel named Daybreak. It inspires a man from Missouri to donate land into the idea of creating a real life version of the book that Turner had written. Charlotte, a lovely but waif-like character immediately joins Turner hopeful to escape her sad home as well, with the two being joined by Adam Cabot who has links to the abolishment of the slave trade. The story hangs on the characterisation of these three characters as they work together and sometimes against each other in the hope of living the perfect Utopian life.

So anyone that has read my blog for a while or knows me personally will know that I am an absolute sucker for historical fiction in almost any shape or form. I love that it comes in so many shapes and sizes and even when two books explore and write about the same era they come out entirely differently! I think the genre is so versatile and although sometimes difficult to pull off, when done well it is truly wonderful. This book caught my eye because the cover is stunning and when I read the blurb and thought ‘I really don’t know a huge amount about this time in history,’ I was set for a brilliant read; and it honestly was. Learning about the utopian movement was a real learning curve for me and I liked how the writer contrasted the looming Civil War and the idea of a perfectly working society. I also really liked the time span it took on; it is not always known when reading a book how many days, weeks, years the plot contains but by setting it between 1857 and 1862 it allowed for a real in-depth plot line and allowed the author to really play around with the feelings and events of the characters.

The characters are all very well built up and the author really plays with the, creating diverse and interchangeable relationships that allowed the story to grow and increase pace. I really liked the romance that is stitched between the day to day running of the community and I thought it allowed each of the characters to get their time to shine. I found James a little cloying and thought that Charlotte came across a lot stronger as a character but their contrasting characteristics helped to give the story body. I found it compelling and a good contrast to the strong historical and political themes that were running through the main plot line. The secondary characters are given body which helps the book feel very real and you find yourself getting more immersed in the story line; look out especially for George Webb’s son and Sam Hildebrand who crop up throughout the story. I liked that the writing style wasn’t too over descriptive but instead suited the plot line much better than a flowery descriptive style would have.

Overall I really liked this historical fiction simply for its different and interesting plot line. As I have become a more involved reviewer I have found that books with originality are harder to come by. Notably this is why I read very little romantic fiction because you end up reading the same re-hashed story a number of times over. This book is like nothing I have read before and for that I implore you to purchase a copy and give it a read. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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