Sunday, 8 September 2019

Bookish Looks #1: Cath from Fangirl

For those of you who missed my earlier post on Second Hand September, I’m using this month to put together some looks inspired by my favourite book characters using clothes I’ve bought from charity shops. Mostly it’s to encourage second hand buying because fast fashion is ruining our environment, but it’s also because I just really love clothes and books. 

The first bookish look I wanted to try is Cath from one of my all-time favourite books, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Cath is one of those characters that I connect with on a spiritual level. We'd be here all day if I tried to write a list of all the reasons why I love her. From her anxiety to her love of Simon Snow, I can relate to her in so many ways. With her cardigan and jeans combo, she also has an adorable sense of fashion!

This post wouldn’t be right if I didn’t try to recreate the iconic illustration of Cath from the book cover. Queen of colour combination, Book Cover Cath teams her yellow knit with some pink jeans on the original edition of Fangirl. I put together my own version of the outfit with some of the clothes I had in my own closet.

The yellow cardigan is a fave of mine which I picked up because of my love for knitwear and Hufflepuff yellow, which is very Cath of me anyway. Here's a breakdown of the outfit:
  • Cardigan - £1.75 from my nearest Red Cross shop. Best £1.75 I've ever spent. You'll probably see this cardigan several times.
  • Jeans - £2 from a local charity shop that was opened in order to help support the community after the explosion of a building destroyed several local businesses. 
  • Shirt - £1 from Age UK. Fair warning, my nearest and favourite charity shop is the Age UK that's a twenty minute walk from my house. It has wonderful staff and sells most clothes for under £3. That place is literally my SAVIOUR when it comes to clothes, so prepare to see me hype it up a lot. 
  • Converse - £5 from a Preloved Kilo sale.
Just in case you haven't come across Preloved Kilo before, let me give you a little intro. It's a traveling vintage sale in the UK that charges £15 per kilo on clothes. There's no minimum spend, so you can get a light item for as little as 75p! They have Converse and Vans for £5 a pair, which is how I got mine. I absolutely love going to these sales when they're in my nearest city. There are quite a few companies that run pay-by-weight sales now, so I'd highly recommend doing a search to see if there are any upcoming ones in your area.

My next outfit makes use of my favourite yellow cardigan again, and is similar to the type of outfit I'd picture Cath wearing in my head. Yes, I am holding my copy of Carry On because we all know Cath would too.

  • Striped shirt - £1 from Age UK. The Cath in my head pairs basic but cute shirts with jeans. I hope she likes stripes as much as I do 🤔
  • Shoes - £2 from Age UK. They're Rocketdog and have pretty jewels on them. I love them. 
  • Jeans - Preloved Kilo.
  • Tote - I didn't even buy this, it was given to me by my university. But hey, saving the planet by reducing plastic bags is just a good as sustainable fashion. 

I had to include these jeans specifically because....they're Levi's.......... 😏 Speaking of Levi, my third and final outfit is partly inspired by him! Let's say Cath stole one of his adorable plaid shirts, shall we?

  • Jeans - I can't remember how much they were because I got them from a charity shop literal YEARS AGO. But they're still going strong and remain some of my faves.
  • Plaid Shirt - this is actually a hand-me-down from my Mum. Always a good idea to save your parents' clothes from going to a landfill and giving them a new lease of life. 
  • Shirt - my only clothing exception to the second hand rule, but I had to include it because WATFORD. This was kindly sent to me by MyKindaBook for being one of the bloggers in their Rainbow Rowell fanclub. I've gotten so much wear out of this shirt over the years - it's one of my absolute faves!

I found it fairly easy to dress the way I picture Cath by selecting some of my own favourite clothes. Maybe taste in fashion is another thing to add to my list of Things I Have in Common with Cath Avery. Now all I need to add is Levi.

Bonus Bookish Bargain

Considering I'm a person who, for purely selfish reasons, wants every edition of Fangirl ever, I was lucky to find the fanart edition in Oxfam for £1.99! This is why I love charity shops. I don't have to justify buying multiple copies of the same book if I can find them second hand. Right????

My paperback version of Carry On also came from Oxfam. Yes, okay, I want every edition ever of Carry On as well.

So, there you have it, my first Bookish Look! I hope you enjoyed me frantically ripping my wardrobe apart in order to find the perfect clothes combination for Cath. I can only hope I've done her justice. Now I just need to invest in more cardigans.

Have a character you'd like to see me create some outfits for? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, 5 September 2019

BLOG TOUR: Review of That Asian Kid by Savita Kalhan

Hello, fellow bookworms! Today I'm excited to be taking part in Savita Kalhan's blog tour for her latest novel, That Asian Kid.

Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Troika
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 29th August 2019
Buy The Book: Book Depository

Despite his hard work and brains, Jeevan, is doing badly in his GCSE English literature class. His teacher, Mrs Greaves, dislikes him intensely and Jeevan is convinced that he is the victim of racial prejudice. Can he stand up for what's right? When he comes upon her in the woods outisde school in a compromising situation with another teacher, Jeevan can't help but film the scene on his phone. With this secret new ammunition at his fingertips - dare he upload it to social media?

That Asian Kid follows Jeevan in his journey to prove that he’s being unfairly treated by one of his teachers at school. In the run up to his GCSEs, one particular teacher is purposefully marking him down, and he has a sinking feeling that it’s because of his skin colour. When Jeevan finally captures video evidence to prove his theory, he ends up in a battle with himself over whether or not he should post the footage.
With the help of the people around him, Jeevan attempts to figure out the best way to solve his problem at school. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone, but the treatment he’s facing is part of a much wider problem. If he doesn’t speak up, who will?

Jeevan is exactly the type of character I love - someone who’s faced with a decision that tests his morals. Not only is the story pushing him to think about what’s right or wrong, it also challenges us readers to question what we’d do in that situation. When you’re handed a weapon to bring someone down, is it better to get revenge immediately, or wait and see if you can get justice instead? I love the questions that this book throws at us through Jeevan’s situation. He is an incredibly smart, and kind-hearted character, but he’s also still a young boy who’s facing a situation that he shouldn’t have to, pushing him to possibly make bad decisions.

The teacher in question, Mrs Greaves, is a painful reminder that people like her are sadly still employed in places that give them power over others. The way she treats Jeevan is purely down to her own prejudice, and it’s scary to think about kids who might actually have to go through situations like this in reality, who are too afraid to speak up because they don’t have any proof.

This book wouldn’t be the story that it is without Jeevan’s friends. They make him question his choices throughout, providing insight that he’s too upset and angry to see in the moment. Each one of them gave us a new perspective.

  • Makes you think. Not everything is as simple as it looks. To others, Mrs Greaves’ treatment of Jeevan appears to just be a teacher disciplining a pupil who plays up in her class. But through Jeevan’s eyes, we see the level of manipulation she goes to in order for things to work out her way. 
  • Jeevan’s family. I adored them and the way they treated the situation once they found out the truth. It’s rewarding to see Jeevan learn to open up to them more towards the end, understanding that he needs their support to get through this correctly. 
  • The humour. Despite the seriousness of this story, it still manages to pack plenty of funny moments.
Racism happens around us, whether we are able to see it or not. I hope this story opens eyes to the fact that stuff like this isn’t always obvious, it happens between the lines and we need to start reading it. Jeevan’s journey is certainly an unforgettable one.

Royal Rating:

Huge thank you to Savita for inviting me to be a part of this wonderful tour. Please check out the other bloggers joining in!

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Bookish Bargains: Second Hand September

If you happen to follow me on Twitter, then you might already know how much of an absolute sucker I am for charity shops. There’s nothing I love more than digging around for hidden treasures and brilliant bargains. My relationship with charity shops (or thrift stores, depending on where you are!) is an enemies-to-lovers slow burn with a happy ending. They started out as an embarrassing place my parents would drag me to as a child, where I’d pray no-one from school would see me because who wanted to be the kid whose clothes were second hand, right? If only I could go back and tell 14yo me that charity shops were some of the only affordable places for my parents to shop and to stop thinking so much about what other people thought.

It wasn’t until I was at university that I truly came to appreciate them myself. Now I was the one with no money, and I had a brand new baby blog. So, I started searching the bookshelves in charity shops to feed my book hungry self, and I never really stopped. As much as I’d love to be able to support all of my local bookshops by purchasing every book I want to read, I’m a broke twenty-something who simply can’t. Libraries and charity shops are my saviours, and almost half of the books on my shelves are second hand.

even my bookcases are from charity shops! they're mismatched, slightly battered, and i had to paint one of them white myself, but i love them very much.

After I graduated and my anxiety got super bad, I ended up volunteering at my local Oxfam store to get some experience and build my confidence. Naturally, I chose this specific store because of the huge selection of books they had on offer, but I ended up falling in love with the clothes just as much. Our store is an Oxfam Original, which means we’re lucky enough to receive a delivery of vintage clothes each week that I get to work with. I can’t even tell you how many glittering vintage gowns I’ve fallen in love with over the years!

my beloved vintage dress rail at Oxfam

Being someone who is consistently broke (yay, life!), I could never afford any of the new clothes that I wanted, so I turned to second hand. I could buy a whole outfit for the price of one brand new, high street item. Pretty soon, I realised how much better second hand was for not only my finances, but the environment too. I quit buying fast, high street fashion for myself a long time ago.

one of my favourite charity shop finds, my vintage Minne Mouse jacket!

Throughout next month, Oxfam is running a campaign called Second Hand September, encouraging people to quit buying new clothes for 30 days. Since I already buy my clothes from charity shops, I thought I’d do something a little different for the campaign, something that links my two favourite things together: clothes and BOOKS.

just a few of my fave charity shop book finds over the years. the copy of 'the art of being normal' was donated to oxfam only a couple of weeks after it was released!

With the pre-loved clothes I’ve bought over the years, I’m going to attempt to create looks inspired by some of my favourite book characters! I’m doing this purely because I love nothing more than an excuse to put outfits together, but if it encourages even one person to go check out their local second hand shops, then I’ll be extra happy. I’ll also be including some of the books I’ve bought from my fave charity shops in my posts, because who doesn’t love looking at books?

Please be sure to keep an eye here and on my Twitter account over the coming weeks to see some of my creations. Also, feel free to suggest some characters for me to try out in the comments!


Monday, 15 July 2019

Bookish Birthday Haul

Ah, the ageing process. Not something I actively enjoy celebrating, but it can't be avoided. What makes it just that tiny bit easier is the only thing I ever ask for when my birthday rolls around: bookish gifts! This year, I was gifted some absolutely gorgeous book-related things, so I figured I'd do a mini haul. (Basically, I'm writing up absolutely anything I can for the blog this month because I'm taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo and don't have much time to read, hence the lack of reviews. Oops.) Here are the lovely things I got for my birthday last month!

First up is the absolutely gorgeous book of Your Name that I got from my wonderful bestie Rachel from Rachel's Really Random Reviews. When I tell you I nearly CRIED. It might be one of my favourite presents ever. In case you don't follow my Twitter and have managed to avoid me repeatedly talking about Your Name, I adore the anime. It's one of my favourite films because it's just so damn clever. I'm beyond excited to relive the story on the page! 

The second book to enter my new life as a 27yo is this ridiculously pretty edition of Fangirl from my gorgeous friend Jasmine! Fangirl is one of my all time favourite books and I already own two different versions of it, but I've always wanted to get my hands on the pink hardback because LOOK AT IT. Jasmine is an absolute darling for bringing this edition into my life. A Fangirl reread is on the horizon!

In news that will surprise absolutely no one, the rest of my bookish gifts were Harry Potter related. I'm a simple person to please. Throw anything Harry Potter at me and I'll be forever happy. My first HP goodie is a hardback edition of Chamber of Secrets that I actually persuaded Rachel to pick up for me at the charity shop she volunteers in. Let me explain: the copies of Harry Potter that I have are the same battered copies I've had since I started reading them as child. I only have hardbacks from Order of the Phoenix onwards, so I've been trying to rebuy them in hardback via charity shops. My old edition of CoS is quite literally falling apart (pages have fallen out, it's very tragic). She also got me some socks because I live for socks.

Thanking the Primark Gods (and my parents) for this cute pot with the Hogwarts crest! The succulent is fake because I have enough real ones to take care of. Really, I don't have any space left on my windowsill. Showing my Hufflepuff pride, I also got this cute pin!

Another gift from Jasmine is this absolutely gorgeous Hogwarts notebook. There's nothing I love more than a fresh notebook, especially ones this pretty. Look at the gold edges. I'm in LOVE.

My last two presents are sleep related. For those of you who don't know, I was diagnosed with insomnia last year and my quality of sleep is generally terrible, to say the least. I actively seek out anything to make nighttime a little easier on my poor self. Here's to hoping the nightshirt and Hedwig help me get some sleep!

I'm so in love with the bookish gifts I received this year! They certainly help the ageing process feel a little less daunting. I have plenty of book and blog related goals for the next year of my life. I just hope I can tick a few of them off my list.

What bookish gifts are on your wishlist?

Friday, 12 July 2019

REVIEW: The Paper & Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie

Pages: 355
Format: eGalley
Publisher: Hachette Children's
Release Date: 13th June 2019
Genre: Contemporary
Source: NetGalley
TW: bullying, panic attacks
Buy The Book: Book Depository 
Tabby Brown is tired of trying to fit in. She doesn't want to go to parties - in fact, she would much rather snuggle up on the sofa with her favourite book.

It's like she hasn't found her people ...

Then Tabby joins a club that promises to celebrate books. What could go wrong? EVERYTHING - especially when making new friends brings out an AWKWARD BUZZING feeling all over her body.

But Olivia, Cassie, Henry and Ed have something that makes Tabby come back. Maybe it's the Austen-themed fancy-dress parties, or Ed's fluffy cat Mrs Simpkins, or could it be Henry himself ...

Can Tabby let her weird out AND live THE BEST BOOKISH LIFE POSSIBLE?

Before I start, I just want to say that I did actually devour this story through NetGalley in the run up to its release, but I’ve only just been able to sit down and write my review because of how hectic life got. I could really do with my own book club that goes on exciting adventures at the moment! But please know that I flew through this story very quickly because I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN.

We join Tabby as she starts a new chapter in her life, moving to a different town to be with her grandma. Whilst she’s trying to start afresh, the girl who bullied her at her old school continues to find ways to torment her. Being the book lover that she is, one of the first things Tabby does in town is head to the library. It's there that she comes across the advert for a book club. Hoping to get her grandma off her case about finding something to do over the summer, Tabby decides to give it a try.

Tabby is the perfect lead for a YA story. She's exactly the type of character that teen readers will be able to relate to, and she's experiencing things that countless people her age will have to deal with or may be faced with in the future. In a time when we can never really shut ourselves off from the online world, it's so important for authors to explore how bullies can target victims through social media. It also helps to show them that there is always a way forward, even when it feels hopeless.

Though she's having a hard time, Tabby gets to meet such wonderful characters through the book club that eventually becomes The Paper & Hearts Society. What I love most about these characters is how different they are, and yet they still manage to form a perfect team. Their readings tastes are also different, but it doesn’t matter in the slightest because they still love sharing stories and bonding through their love of words.

  • BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS! I could quite literally scream for hours on end about how much I love the concept of this story being based around a book club. It gives us so much fantastic and relatable content. But the absolute best part is that thanks to the characters all being major bookworms, and the fact that Lucy Powrie is of course a book blogging Queen, we get SO MANY MENTIONS OF BOOKS!!! The YA recommendations that are effortlessly slipped in here are truly iconic. I’m going to be hunting a few of them down in my local library, that’s for sure. 
  • PERFECTLY YA. I’ve said this before many times, but it’s so important that a YA book is actually YA. As someone who is now closer to 30 than I am 20 (hahahahahahahaha *cries*), I believe anyone should be able to read whatever books they want, no matter the target age range. But it’s so important that YA still remains aimed at the actual target audience. This is a book that teenagers will definitely be able to find parts of themselves in. Whilst I’m still able to enjoy it, I’m so grateful that this book wasn’t written with me in mind.
  • THE BEST BOOKISH ROADTRIP. This has to be one of my favourite roadtrips I’ve read in a story, simply because it’s any book lover’s dream. The gang visit so many places of note when it comes to literature. I may be extra jealous of the visit to Shakespeare’s house because I did actually have to opportunity to visit it when I was in high school but couldn’t afford the fee at the time. DAMN YOU, BILLY. 
  • Also throwing this out there: MAIN CHARACTER WITH GLASSES!!! As someone who has been in glasses since the age of three and will be for the rest of my life, I always seek out characters with glasses, especially ladies. There are always more male leads with glasses than there are female…
Genuinely, I could write out a list of 100 things I loved about this book, but we’d be here all day. The only tiny issue I had was that I rooted for the side pairing more than the main pairing, but I know that the sequel follows them a little more, so I am ridiculously excited. These characters are all super adorable and I cannot wait to see what they get up to next. Bring on the next bookish adventure!

Royal Rating:

Thursday, 6 June 2019

REVIEW: Alex in Wonderland by Simon James Green

Pages: 387
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: Humour, Contemporary
Release Date: 6th June 2019
Source: Gifted copy by publisher
Buy The Book: Book Depository

In the town of Newsands, painfully shy Alex is abandoned by his two best friends for the summer. But he unexpectedly lands a part-time job at Wonderland, a run-down amusement arcade on the seafront, where he gets to know the other teen misfits who work there. Alex starts to come out of his shell, and even starts to develop feelings for co-worker Ben... who, as Alex's bad luck would have it, has a girlfriend.

Then as debtors close in on Wonderland and mysterious, threatening notes start to appear, Alex and his new friends take it on themselves to save their declining employer. But, like everything in Wonderland, nothing is quite what it seems...

Alex needs a job for the summer and accidentally lands himself working at Wonderland, the local arcade that’s been a part of Newsands for as long as he can remember. Making unexpected friends and falling for a boy who may or may not have a girlfriend, Alex starts his path to accepting his awkwardness and finding a place to belong. As a huge fan of Simon’s Noah series, I was hugely excited to delve into this book and I had good reason to be. Alex in Wonderland is easily one of my favourites from this year so far.

Words really can’t describe how much love I have in my heart for Alex Button. I’m always a sucker for an awkward character, so I was almost guaranteed to love him from the start. Despite being ridiculously unlucky, he’s the sweetest person in the world. The situations he finds himself in had me crying with laughter.

The characters that Alex meets at Wonderland are brilliant. They each have their own stand-out personality that shines through. Something I always love in YA books is when the main character discovers a group of very different people and somehow, they become like a family. That’s exactly what I was given in this book. Alex is at a point in his life when he needs new people and it’s an absolute joy to watch him find that. CAN I PLEASE WORK AT WONDERLAND AND HAVE FRIENDS LIKE BEN AND EFIA?

  • HILARIOUS MOMENTS. There’s just so many of them. Simon James Green has never once failed to make me laugh out loud in his books. Yet I still haven’t learned to stop reading them on public transport…
  • FRIENDSHIPS TO ENVY. Do you know what I’d give to be a part of the Wonderland team? They’re all so fun and bursting with energy. Even the characters we didn’t get to know as much were just as fascinating as our main trio.  
  • CUTE ROMANCE. Alex and Ben are THE SWEETEST. They are the actual definition of a cute summer romance. Though we mainly follow Alex, it was a joy to see Ben learn to open up over the course of the story as well.
  • PERFECT SETTING. Wonderland sounds exactly like the sort of place you’d find me wandering into at my local waterfront. I cannot resist a penny pusher machine. I’m also a complete sucker for a run-down local business that’s been there for longer than the characters have been alive. My favourite kind of book setting.
  • A MYSTERY? Something not-so-pleasant is happening at Wonderland and I was suspicious of almost every character at one point or another whilst trying to figure out who was behind it.

Not only is this book adorable and guaranteed to make you smile, it’s also the perfect read for Pride Month! Whilst there's a cute mix of romance and humour, Alex is a super relatable character and I just know plenty of people will be able to see a little bit of themselves in him. Between the lines, there's a story about finding your people and embracing your quirks. If you try too hard to fit in, it's never going to happen. No matter who you are or what wild situations you find yourself in, there's always people who will appreciate you for who you are. I’m grateful for the plenty of laughs that this book gave me. If you’re in need of a fun read for summer, then please give this one a try!

Royal Rating:
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