Friday, 4 October 2019

Ten Halloween Reads That Aren't Actually That Scary

IT'S SPOOPY SEASON. My favourite time of year is finally upon us, and I can't wait to settle down with some good books. Not sure what to read in the run up to Halloween? Want an autumnal book but not a massive Horror fan? I've got you covered! Since I don't actually read too much Horror myself (it's one of those genres that I do appreciate but don't naturally gravitate towards), I thought I'd compile a list of books that I find perfect for the Halloween season without being too scary.

10. Uprooted by Naomi Novik

This book is a twisted fairytale that's perfect for this time of year, especially given the fact that the majority of the plot revolves around, well, trees. And don't we all love thinking about trees with their pretty orange leaves in October? It's also the right amount of dark to leave you just a lil creeped out.

9. Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

The first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy is one of the best reads to inject some adventure into the cold nights of autumn. I'm planning to reread it this month if I get the chance, in preparation for the BBC adaptation later this year. I'm so ready to see a decent version of this onscreen.

8. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Hands up if this story ruined you emotionally! 🙋 If you haven't read it yet, then you better prepare your heart for an emotional ruining. Though it revolves around a monster showing up, the scariest part of this story is the real horrors we have to face in life, like dealing with the suffering of those we love most in the world.

7. The Mediator by Meg Cabot

You might have heard me mention a few times that this series was my absolute favourite when I was a teenager, and it still has a special place in my heart to this very day. Suze sending spirits to the afterlife makes for a perfect plot as we approach Halloween. Who doesn't love a good ghost story?

6. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo 

This is my gentle reminder that if you haven't picked up this book yet, PLEASE DO. The aesthetics of this book alone scream Halloween. With the cast just being announced for the Netflix adaptation, there's never been a better time to jump into the Grishaverse.

5. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

To be fair, any of Cassie's books are fitting for this time of year, but The Infernal Devices remains superior. This trilogy is packed with everything. It also has Magnus Bane, so what more could you want? I'm always here for anything steampunk, and the clockwork army is creepy as hell.

4. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater 

Hello to one of my favourite series' of all time. I'm hoping to reread them before Call Down the Hawk is upon us! If you've never read The Raven Cycle before, this series is full of spoopy things to enjoy and an amazing group of characters to fall in love with. These books never fail to be magical and exciting.

3. Howl's Moving Castle

I couldn't complete this list without including one of my magical favourites that I recently reread to get myself in the Halloween mood. This book is wild in the best possible way, and despite everything going on in the plot, it's also hilarious. Like many people, I discovered it through the Studio Ghibli movie of the same name, but now I adore the book just as much. (Probably more, at this point. Book Howl is everything).

2. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Arguably my favourite book of all time? I'm terrible at choosing favourites but this one is waaaaay up there. I never even have the words to fully describe to someone how much I love Carry On. I usually just revert to screaming at them to read it. In Caps Lock for dramatic effect. I've lived and breathed this story since it was released, and I reread it every October. The best part about rereading it this year was that I got to start the sequel immediately after. (I still can't believe we're being blessed with more content after all these years, what a time to be alive). If you haven't been dragged in already, then now would be the perfect time to give it a try.

1. Harry Potter by J.K.Rowling 

I'm very predictable, I know, but if you can't use Halloween as an excuse to get cosy and reread Harry Potter then WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE. It's like a warm blanket and a nice cup of tea with a side order of dark magic. Not to mention, there's Halloween at Hogwarts, which is enough to make anyone jealous and cursing the fact that they never got their Hogwarts letter. If you're stuck for what to read in October, you can always count on the Golden Trio.


Any Manga fans in the house? I'm currently reading Seraph of the End and it's a PERFECT Halloween read. There's vampires and apocolyptic viruses, and someone, somewhere, is probably losing an arm. But it's WONDERFUL and the characters are great.

These are just some of my personal favourites to read at this time of year, but there's so many books out there that give off strong Spoopy Season vibes without actually being all-out terrifying. I love anything with ghosts or supernatural creatures in it to give it that creepy edge.

What are some of your favourite books to read at Halloween? Let me know in the comments?

Monday, 30 September 2019

Bookish Looks #3: Lara Jean from To All The Boys I've Loved Before

It's the last post in my Bookish Looks series for Second Hand September! This time around I'm attempting to recreate looks inspired by actual style icon, Lara Jean Covey from To All The Boys I've Loved Before. This idea was given to me by my lovely friend Jasmine, and I'm so grateful she suggested it because both on the page and on the screen, Lara Jean has some of the CUTEST outfits ever.

This is a trilogy that I absolutely adore, so I was happy to see it take on a new life in the film adaptation that dropped on Netflix. THE AESTHETICS IN THIS MOVIE 😍 I was excited to attempt some Lara Jean outfits because my own wardrobe is filled with similar pieces. As always, they're all bought from charity shops!

I'm a huge fan of cute blouses, especially patterned ones. Half of my wardrobe is Stripes or Polka Dots. This £1 one from Age UK is a particular favourite of mine that I think suits the Lara Jean Aesthetic. I didn't have an orange blouse to match the cover, but I'm so in love with this sky blue colour. The skirt is my trusty £2 Cancer Research skirt which you may or may not have seen in my previous post. 

My next look attempted to recreate an iconic outfit from the film adaptation. This is something I'd wear on a regular basis anyway, so it wasn't too much of a challenge!

  • Top - £1 from a local community charity shop. This place sells all of their clothes for £1 so it's one of my absolute favourite places to find gems like this one. It's a jumper but it's still thin enough to where if it's warm, and can be layered to keep cosy in the winter. 
  • Skirt - £1 from Age UK. I love a good maroon skirt, especially corduroy ones like this.  

  • Necklace - 50p from a car boot sale. I don't wear necklaces very often but this one owns my heart. 
  • Converse - £5 from Preloved Kilo
  • Backpack - Abandoned by my sister, taken in and given a new life by me. It's thriving under my care. 
My next outfit is another movie-inspired look. Again, this is something I'd be likely to wear myself, so it was easy enough to put together. Stripes and skirts are my Go-To looks.

  • Shirt - £1 from Age UK. It's quite hilarious how many variations of striped shirts I have in my wardrobe. I'm constantly being reminded by family members that I don't need any more stripes 🙄
  • Skirt - £2 from Age UK. Nothing beats a basic denim skirt.

To wrap things up, here are my boots! Similar to the ones that make Jen give Lara Jean a military salute, they're my favourite chunky boots that I wear EVERYWHERE. They're falling apart at this point but I love them. I picked them up for £3 at Cancer Research and they've been with me for about four years now. They're my trusty Concert-Going boots because the heels give me a much needed boost when it comes to actually seeing things in a standing pit with how short I am. I know a lot of people tend to shy away from buying shoes in charity shops but some of my longest-lasting shoes are secondhand.

the shorts that i'm wearing here were £1 from Salvation Army
So, that's it! I had a lot of fun piling clothes together in honour of Lara Jean. She remains one of the best dressed contemporary characters ever.

I've loved putting together these outfits for Second Hand September, and I hope you've enjoyed reading them. Rooting through charity shops can find you some great pieces. If you'd like to see me do more of these posts in the future, potentially as a monthly feature, then please let me know in the comments!

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Bookish Looks #2: Cammie from Gallagher Girls

It's time for the second post in my Bookish Looks series for Second Hand September! This time around, I'm going back to school with my Gallagher Girls favourite, Cammie Morgan.

The Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter ruled the later half of my teen years. A school for SPIES? Sign me right up. I loved it because it was so different to everything I was reading at that time, considering I was in the middle of my Dystopia-binge. It had a contemporary feel to it, but was still action packed and had an amazing friendship group at it's core. Main character, Cammie, was always my fave. So it's her look I've tried to recreate!

Given the fact that this series is set in a school, the majority of the clothing is, well, school uniform. I had fun digging through my wardrobe for things that could potentially be worn to class. Though I did shake with fear at the sight of my old school tie. High school would have been a lot more fun if I'd have been training to be a spy, that's for sure.

I don't have a blue tartan skirt anywhere so I couldn't recreate the iconic Gallagher Academy uniform perfectly, but I did my own twist on things with some of the uniform-style secondhand pieces I own. Let's break down the look!

  • Blouse - £2 from my local Age UK. It's a vintage Laura Ashley from the 80s. I'm a sucker for any old Laura Ashley pieces so I was excited to find this one for such a small price! It could easily fit into a professional outfit but can be teamed with anything for all occasions. 

a closer look at the collar detail on my fave blouse

  • Skirt - £2 from Cancer Research. My trusty black skirt. I've had it for a few years but I usually wear it with coloured tights. 
  • Shoes - £1 from Age UK. These shoes! Are wonderful! And they were only £1!!!! 😍 They have a little heel so they give me some much needed height (I'm barely 5ft) but they don't hurt my feet like other heels.

My next outfit had me digging out my old school tie for an authentic uniform look. This tie has been hidden at the back of the wardrobe since I left high school behind. I don't even know why I still have it, but at least it came in handy for this!

  • Pinafore - this was bought from a charity shop literal years ago so I don't remember how much it cost! It's covered in bobbly bits now but it still works as an extra layer over a cute blouse. 
  • Shirt - £1 from Age UK. It's St Michael's so it's another vintage piece, but it's plain enough to pass as a school blouse! 
  • Hat - this was from my local YMCA store but I can't remember how much it was! They don't usually charge over £5 for any of their clothes or accessories though. I was just happy to find a hat that actually fits my head because the usual One Size Fits All definitely does not fit all.

For my final look, I wanted to try Cammie outside of her uniform. Being a spy in training, she has to blend into the background to avoid suspicion, so I went for a typical autumn outfit of jumper and jeans.

  • Jeans - £3.99 from Claire House. Since Cammie ruins her favourite pair of jeans whilst out on a mission, I thought I'd use my favourite jeans for this outfit! They're originally Pull & Bear, and with them being high-waist, I love how they look when teamed with shirts and jumpers. 
  • Jumper - £1 from Salvation Army. There's nothing I love more than a good jumper, and the colours on this one are perfect for the season.
  • Belt - £1 from my local animal charity shop. Helping animals whilst getting cute accessories. What's not to love? 🐶

I had lots of fun trying to channel my inner spy school student! Even if I did have to face my old school accessories. The memories that tie brings up need to stay at the back of the wardrobe. Before you go, here's a picture of my when I was in my extremely boring, non-spy high school.

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

Monday, 16 September 2019

REVIEW: The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

36544848. sy475 Pages: 513
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Historical
Release Date: September 4th 2018
TW: Abuse
Buy the Book: Book Depository

A young bisexual British lord embarks on an unforgettable Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend/secret crush. An 18th-century romantic adventure for the modern age written by This Monstrous Thing author Mackenzi LeeSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets the 1700s.

Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

So Monty vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, dazzling, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is an irresistible romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.

*WARNING* Considering this book has been out for a while now, I’m going to be including spoilers in this review! 

Monty and his best friend Percy are on a tour, taking some time to experience the world. For Monty, it’s his last-ditch attempt to prove that he’s more than simply a troublemaker, and for Percy, it’s his final bit of freedom before going to school in Holland. At least, as far as Monty believes.

I will admit that despite loving the characters, I found things a tiny bit slow to start with. But then everything changes after the journey to Marseille. The book just takes a sharp turn into something completely exciting and fast-paced. Despite wanting to read this because of the praise I’d seen online, I managed to hide myself away from knowing too much about the plot, so I was surprised by everything. I don’t know what I was expecting from this book, but a chase to reach the heart of a half-dead-half-alive woman was not it. There was a bit of everything in here, and I completely loved it. 

*banging pots and pans* I LOVE HENRY MONTAGUE!!!! He’s exactly the type of character who draws me in without fail. Someone who’s morals are a little questionable sometimes, and who is actually way more complex beyond the surface. There’s so much more to him than what he allows those around him to see.

Then there’s Percy, the complete opposite of Monty, a pure cinnamon roll whom I would die for in an instant. I loved everything about his personal journey in this book, especially his attitude towards his epilepsy. He reminds us of how many times people try to make someone else’s illness about themselves. His family didn’t necessarily want him cured for him to be better, they wanted him cured to make it easier to live ‘normally’ in society, considering how people who suffered with epilepsy were treated.

Don’t get me started on how much I love Felicity. An icon, truly. I know there is a sequel that follows her journey and, oh boy, do I plan on getting my hands on it soon. She is my DAUGHTER. 

  • MUTUAL PINING? DO YOU GUYS UNDERTSAND HOW MUCH I LOVE MUTUAL PINING????? IT GETS ME EVERY SINGLE TIME. Monty and Percy had me wanting to bash their heads together throughout this WHOLE GODDAMNED BOOK. And I loved every second of it. 
  • COOL TWISTS. One minute you’re touring Europe and the next, you’re being hunted because you’ve accidentally stolen the key to curing all illness. 
  • PIRATES. No explanation necessary. 
  • Felicity hiding her medical science books inside the covers of romance stories in order to learn because it’s the 18th century and we ladies aren’t allowed the Knowledge
This book offers a bit of everything you could ask for and these characters are some of the best I’ve read in a while. The three of them work so well together, and Monty’s relationship with Percy is developed beautifully. I’m glad I was finally able to pick this one up after wanting to read it for so long! 

Royal Rating:

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!

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