Friday, 27 March 2020

I've Redecorated!


I’ve been a book blogger for over nine years now (I’m a fossil, I know) and I’ve always designed my own look. When I first started blogging, there was no way I could afford to purchase a personalised design, so I felt like I’d never fit in with all the pretty and stylish blogs I loved. But it did mean that I had to take on the challenge myself. Over the years, I’ve had many ups and downs when it comes to design, but I’ve learned so much about graphics and coding, and none of that would have been possible if I’d have been in a position to save and buy a design. Hey, being utterly broke has at least one perk for me.

one of my first logos - graphic design is my passion

Why am I changing my design AGAIN, you ask? I love my old design. It’s the look I’ve created that I’m most proud of since I started. I literally spent months in front of my laptop, learning things I had zero knowledge in, just to make it perfect for me. But the problem was, I couldn’t design a functioning mobile site. That’s the one area of coding that I haven’t been able to figure out yet. Considering people tend to view everything on mobile these days, there was no way I could continue blogging without having something that is readable on a phone screen.

my old layout on mobile was a NIGHTMARE

Instead of creating my own look from scratch, I needed to actually use a pre-made template this time, just so I had a more readable mobile site. Nine years down the line, I still can’t afford to buy a sleek look for my blog. There’s also the fact that I’m a Blogspot blogger in a majority WordPress world to contend with, so finding one for my platform was difficult. Eventually, I came across a free template that I was able to tweak around to suit me. It has a pretty basic look on mobile, but at least it’s easy to navigate, unlike some. *glares at previous blog design*

So, as much as it’s pained me to say goodbye to the design I loved, the one that’s served me well for three years, I know I’ve made the right choice in switching. The desktop version is more minimal than I’m used to, but you guys can finally read my posts from your phone without having to do a lot of zooming, and a lot of squinting.

Here’s to many happy years with this design! (Until I get bored in six months and want to redecorate…)  

Monday, 23 March 2020

REVIEW: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Pages: 421
Format: Paperback
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: May 14th 2019
Genre: New Adult
Buy The Book: Book Depository

What happens when America's First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There's only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston's Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn't always diplomatic.
You know when you have a list of Things You Love in a Book, and then a story comes along and ticks all of those boxes? Red, White & Royal Blue is one of those books for me. It’s everything I’ve been crying out for. Rivals to Lovers with important and uplifting messages whilst dealing with political affairs, all carried along by exciting characters and funny situations? CHECK. I don’t even know if I can properly put into words how much I love this book.


Set in an alternative version of events, where the President is NOT DONALD TRUMP THANK GOD a single mother of two biracial children, this book joins Alex on his journey through his mother’s re-election campaign. After an altercation with a Prince of England, he’s forced to fake a friendship between the two of them to keep the media off their backs. 

Now is the perfect time to reiterate some very important information to you all: I CANNOT RESIST ANY SORT OF FAKE-RELATIONSHIP PLOT EVER. It’s one of my absolute favourite troupes. It really can’t be beaten. With that in mind, it was pretty damn certain I was going to love this book before I even opened it.

These characters. I will offer them my heart. Alex and Henry are such contrasting personalities that it made their journey to becoming friends, and beyond, even more satisfying to consume. Alex discovering more about himself and realising he was bisexual was such an important part of the story. Sexuality is never black and white. There will always be people who don’t realise how they define themselves until later in their lives.

Now let me cry about how much I love Henry for a bit. HE’S ADORABLE AND INSTANTLY BECAME ONE OF MY NEW FAVOURITE CHARACTERS. Despite both being in the public eye, Henry leads such a different life to Alex, with the expectations that come with being a royal. I can’t even describe how much I adored his true personality being slowly revealed as Alex got to know him outside of what he shows the world.


When it comes to the Whitehouse Trio, and Henry’s best friend and sister, I loved them all equally. The merging of the two friendship groups is such a heart-warming aspect of the story because they are all people of around the same age, dealing with a similar way of life, and they share a bond through those experiences.

  • DIVERSITY. The range of characters within these pages is BEAUTIFUL. The discussions they have are open and thought provoking.
  • POLITICS. There’s never been a more important time to include politics in fiction. American politics is something I’m always trying to gain more knowledge in because I feel like I don’t know as much as I should, so the situations that arose in this story taught me a thing or two.
  • HUMOUR. God, the amount of scenes that had me laughing out loud. The groupchats and emails between characters were a perfect way to get quick, hilarious interactions.
  • BONDS. The genuine connection between the friends and family is enough to warm hearts and remind us of what’s truly important.  

The final few chapters had me crying happy tears and I have nothing but praise to give this book. I wish I could offer something more than my heart-eyed babbling, but it’s easily going to be one of my favourite reads from the year. If you haven’t given this one a try yet, it might just be the feel good pick me up you need right now.  

NOTE: This is New Adult as opposed to Young Adult so there are scenes that go more into detail when it comes to sexual content!

Royal Rating:
 

Monday, 16 March 2020

5 Feel-Good Series to Start Whilst Social Distancing

Coronavirus. Covid-19. Pure Evil. Whatever you want to call it, it's been a huge part of our lives since the start of the year. You don't need me to discuss how dangerous it can be and how much we need to distance ourselves from others because you've heard it repeatedly from the news and social media. Hopefully, we're all doing the best we can with the circumstances we're in. For a lot of us, that means staying at home as much as possible.

Even for those of us who can't be at home due to work and other responsibilities, this virus is causing a lot of worry and stress. In times like this, it's a good idea to distance ourselves from constantly checking social media for statistics that only cause us to feel even more anxious.


I thought I'd compile a list of some feel-good series to start reading to distract us from Eternal Doom. In the age of eBooks, we're able to download stories from shops and libraries in an instant, which is perfect for staying indoors. You might even have some of these books already sitting on your shelves, gathering dust because you haven't gotten around to them yet...

Noah Can't Even by Simon James Green


I know, I know, I waffle on about this series all the time, but it truly is one of my favourite feel-good reads. It follows Noah dealing with the fall out of kissing his best friend at a party. These characters find themselves in some wild situations which will make you laugh out loud, so it's the perfect book to put a smile on your face.


To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han


It's impossible to hide from this trilogy since the gorgeous film adaptation dropped on Netflix. I picked up the first book at a time when I'd grown tired of YA contemporary, but it quickly became one of my faves. It's no secret that I'm not a fan of love triangles anymore (I'VE JUST READ TOO MANY, OKAY?), but the romance in these books had me rooting for my favourites.

You can purchase the trilogy together on Kindle

Confessions of Georgia Nicholson by Louise Rennison


One of the older series on this list, but still an absolute gem. These books got me through my high school years and hold plenty of happy memories for me. It's the first series I remember excitedly reading with friends (who weren't big readers outside of these books). Though this series started over twenty years ago, the humour in these books is still as funny as ever, so if you've never given them a read before, it's the perfect time to try. If you've read the series before, there's never been a better time to plan a reread.

The first book is currently £1.99 on Kindle

Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan


Okay, so I know these books aren't exactly feel-good all the time because you can't have a Middle Grade/YA fantasy series without a little teen trauma, but these books feel like a cosy blanket on a cold day. The world is so full of wonderful characters with contrasting personalities, and they're always on an exciting adventure. If you haven't gotten around to this series yet, it's time to jump in.


Super Awkward Series by Beth Garrod


Some more awkward teen girl books now because nothing gives us a giggle like high school characters who make an accidental fool of themselves. These books are adorable and light-hearted throughout, with the friendships of the characters being one of the best aspects of the story. There's plenty of fun scenes to be found within this series.


BONUS: Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu


If you don't feel like picking up a book right now but still want to consume a cute story, how about trying my fave webcomic? This comic follows Eric Bittle, teen YouTuber and baker extraordinaire, as he joins his University hockey team. It's adorable and always puts me in a good mood. 

 
You can read the comic for free on the Check, Please! website

Hopefully this list got you interested in a potential new read! I know it's difficult to remain positive, but hang in there, be safe, and stay mindful of others.

 

Share what books you're currently reading in the comments!

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