Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Let me tell you what I wish I'd known...

...when I was young and dreamed of glory, you have no control, who lives, who dies, who tells your story?

One day, I will stop with the Hamilton references. But not this day.

(Yeah, I slipped a Lord of the Rings reference in there too, I have a problem.)

But seriously. There's so much I wish I had known when I was younger. Like what A-levels to take, (oh man, if I could go back in time, I would change EVERYTHING) what university would really be like, why I should appreciate my clear skin and fast metabolism before it all turned to shit (oh, do I miss those days). I wish I had a better idea of what I wanted to do when I was younger. I chose my A-levels purely based on what I thought would look good when applying for unis, and I so wish I hadn't! I took History, English Literature and Government & Politics at A2, and Philosophy and Psychology at AS. If I had the knowledge I have now, I'd scrap all that, only keep Gov&Pol, take Maths and Physics at A2 instead, and do Drama at AS. Seriously, these qualifications determine where you go in life, so choose wisely (thought they've changed the A2, AS system recently, haven't they? Ugh, I'm so old now, I have no idea how it all works). Same with university. Pick a subject you actually like! And do more than just study. I wasted so many opportunities at university. Why on earth didn't I join more societies? There was so much to do! And so much of it was FREE! I mean, I'll never say that I DON'T love sitting in my room watching Netflix, but I could have done both. One of the main things I wish I had done is join the theatre/drama society. I was always absolutely rubbish at acting (that B in Drama GCSE perpetually dragging me down) but I did really enjoy it, and I was always too afraid to do anything drama-y at uni. Now thinking back though, surely someone would have let me be villager #2? Or background crowd member #7? Will I ever know? No.

We even had a food appreciation society. All they did was go to different places, eat the food, and judge it. The whole society was based on EATING FOOD. Could anything be more perfect?

Now that I'm working, I look back on all my days of freedom and all the time I wasted doing nothing and reminisce...ahh, youth. I miss being young and carefree and having the time to do whatever I wanted. These days, I alternate between spending my days reading, watching Netflix (and Amazon Prime, yay for Amazon finally fixing my account issue) and being in denial about my future and what I'm going to do with my life. Everything's fine. Nothing to worry about. It will all work itself out. There is no war in Ba Sing Se.

If you're starting out at uni, I have five main pieces advice that I wish someone had told me: 1) JOIN SOCIETIES, 2) actually try to make friends, they aren't going to fall into your lap no matter what anyone says, 3) for the love of God, budget! Do not end up living off noodles for a month because you spent all your money on something you'll never use, 4) if after a while, you still really don't like your course, see if it's possible switch, don't just suffer in silence, 5) apply for student loans way in advance, because something WILL go wrong. Most unreliable system ever.

While I'll always wish I had been better informed back then, I guess part of being an adult is learning to accept your mistakes. I can now look back at my A-level days and almost not cringe! Progress!

Monday, 5 September 2016

It's been 84 years...

Ahem. I am not gone. Honestly. I know I dropped off the grid for two months, but I blame work again. We have been so busy recently, and everyone has decided to leave/go on holiday at the same time! I'm currently covering for two people right now, and with Southern being the way it is (AKA the WORST TRAIN SERVICE EVER), I have been getting home at nearly 8pm several days a week. Seriously, I witnessed the "commuter hell" demonstration at Victoria station - and commuting really is hell with this shoddy service (my trains get cancelled at least twice a week, and don't get me started on the delays).

That being said, I am 12 books ahead of my Goodreads reading goal (I know right!) and I have even managed to leave the house on occasion to go do things (saw Star Trek Beyond which I was not impressed with - I just didn't believe the villain, what was motivating him really - it wasn't convincing) and Suicide Squad (it was not good, but it really wasn't that bad either! Margot Robbie clearly the highlight of the film). AND, the most shocking news, I spur of the moment decided to have my hair cut and I now have a full fringe (or bangs, if that's what you call it - though that is such a weird name).

Still obsessed with Hamilton (and I'm even going to see In the Heights this month - excitement!) and very excited for a few upcoming books (Empire of Storms, obviously, which is out TOMORROW, then Trouble Makes a Comeback by Stephanie Tromly which is my most anticipated book of the year, The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud, out next week, and Goldenhand by Garth Nix, because HOW long have we waited for a new Old Kingdom novel?!. I feel so old...).

My cousin also got his GCSE results back and got the exact same grades as me (different grades in certain subjects, but overall the same outcome). Clearly he is following in my footsteps. His next step is to have an existential crisis. Or, according to my brother, "adopt a fatalistic view of the world". Haha, you're so funny. I'm not fatalistic at all. I am full of positivity. I mean, okay, yes, death is inevitable, and really, there is no point to anything, and we should all just resign ourselves to a meaningless existence - oh.

And can we please talk about Bake Off? Last week's biscuit episode - the tension with those gingerbread structures. There's always one that collapses. Always. You can't use caramel to glue things together, people! It's too runny, unless you create the thickest concoction ever, in which case, it will take a hundred years to dry! Royal icing, go with royal icing. (I don't know why I'm saying this, I couldn't bake this stuff to save my life.)

Anyway, I digress. I will try to post more often. I have a review that will go up soon, and there are more things to come. A lot of it might consist of complaining about my train journey, or wondering why Amazon can't just fix my account issue so I can finally get Amazon Prime, or talking about Roger the Golden Bear who sits at my desk at work, so you know, if that's the type of riveting content that interests you, you're in for a treat.

Hope you're having a great week!

(Roger the Golden Bear is kind of cute though.)

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Blog Tour: Review of The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye

Hi everyone! I'm the first stop on the blog tour for The Crown's Game, a new fantasy novel by Evelyn Skye about two enchanters who must fight in a duel to determine whose magic is strongest. The winner becomes the Imperial Enchanter - the loser dies. If that sounds like your thing, I hope you enjoy my review! (And if it doesn't, read my review anyway because you might change your mind. And look at how beautiful the cover is. LOOK.)


The Crown's Game (The Crown's Game #1) by Evelyn Skye
Publisher: Balzer +Bray
Released: May 17th 2016
My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love... or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear... the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.
The Crown’s Game was an enjoyable read and while I had a few issues with it, I think it won me over by the end, and I’m looking forward to picking up book two when it’s released!

Vika was an enchanter, and had trained her whole life to become the Tsar’s Imperial Enchanter. Enchanters were rare, and it never even occurred to her, or her father, that she might not be the only one. She was raised with the confidence and the knowledge that she WOULD be the Imperial Enchanter - not that she would have to compete for the position. Even upon finding out there was another enchanter, Vika still wasn’t too concerned - until she realised the loser of the Crown’s Game would be killed. Everyone expected Vika and the other enchanter to fight seriously, to attempt to kill each other to win, to do whatever it took. And Vika was conflicted - she made half-hearted attempts to kill Nikolai, and he made half-hearted attempts to kill her, but really, I’m not convinced they tried too hard, even before they really knew each other. The way they showed off their magic was unexpected too, but I actually quite liked the artistic nature of it. And while I thought she was a bit impetuous at times, I liked Vika too. She was trying to deal with the situation the best she could.

Nikolai, the other enchanter, was aware that he would be competing in the Crown’s Game. Unlike Vika, he knew he was not the only enchanter, and it gave him somewhat of an advantage at the start. He thought he could do what he was taught by his mentor, the cold and ruthless Galina, and get rid of the other enchanter early on - but when it really came down to it, he faltered. And once he got to know Vika, he was increasingly panicked at how things would turn out, because he knew he would no longer be able to kill this girl. I did like Nikolai, but I feel the romance between him and Vika was a bit rushed, especially since Vika didn’t even know he knew who she was and what she looked like until later on in the book. I also think the ending was a bit dramatic, considering the two hadn’t known each other long at all, and I wasn’t convinced by it. But, the last few pages tdid have me interested, so I am intrigued to find out what happens next.

Pasha, the prince, was best friends with Nikolai, but knew nothing about this magic. I didn’t know what to think of Pasha. He seemed decent but then suddenly changed very quickly towards the end of the book, and while I know he was extremely upset by what had happened, it seemed a bit unbelievable that he changed so drastically. I also think he became too obsessed with Vika too quickly - but, that being said, he was an interesting character and I would like to know what becomes of him in the next book.

Plot-wise, I found the pacing pretty good, and while the world-building was a bit patchy, I was impressed by the fact that I liked both POVs, which is unusual for me (I am not usually a huge fan of dual POVs). I also liked the mystery aspects that unravelled towards the end of the book and am looking forward to finding out more about Nikolai and Vika’s histories in the sequel!

Overall, The Crown’s Game was a quick and engrossing read, and while I didn’t absolutely love it, it was definitely worth reading, and I’d recommend it if you like Russian settings and fantasy.


The Crown's Game is Evelyn Skye's debut novel. Find her via the links below:

Thanks so much to Alice at Harper360 UK for letting me take part in the blog tour! Don't forget to visit the next stop tomorrow at Avid Bibliophile!

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

My Little Box May 2016 Review

Soooo, I haven't done one of these for a while. I blame work. I blame all things on work (seriously though, to the bloggers who work full time and consistently post on your blogs, how do you do it?!). Anyway, I have now been subscribed to MLB for a year! So here's a review of this month's box, which has an Italian theme, the My Little Dolce Vita Box.

Love the design of this month's box! That outfit is fab, I would definitely wear that maxi skirt! I like the background scenery too and how it ties in with the Italian theme. I really like the yellow border on the sides of the box as well, it makes it feel a lot more summery!

(I apologise for my horrifically dry skin and terribly chipped nail polish.)

My thoughts on each individual product:

My Little Beauty Bain de Soleil - so this is an illuminating moisturiser for legs which is supposed to build up a gradual tan. I haven't had time to test the tanning effects yet, but for a moisturiser, it's pretty good, and has a nice citrus-y smell. I have really super pale legs at the moment so I will keep using this and see how it goes!

Baija Croisière Céladon Body Oil - I have never used a scented body oil like this before, but the little description card essentially makes it out to be a perfume. The fragrance is green tea and jasmine and is very pleasant! It's not a strong smell, very subtle, and I can't imagine it would last very long, but if you only want a hint of fragrance, that is slightly fruity and floral, then I think this would be perfect.

Courrèges La Fille de L'Air - this is another fragrance, and is a bit stronger than the body oil. It also has a slightly floral scent, but there's something a bit more musky about it too - it's not my favourite, to be honest, it has a slight grandma-ish smell (you know what I mean, right?) but I might still give it a chance and wear it for a whole day to see how it fares.

My Little Box Turban - this is really pretty, but I am so lazy with my hair that I don't think I'd ever wear it. I think it's a great thing to include in the box though - but I'll probably just pass mine on to someone who will make more use out of it.

My Little Box Ring - I adore this ring! It's so cute and it matches a pair of earrings I already have, so I'm really happy with it. I think it will go with a lot of outfits too, and the design is one that you could wear in summer or winter! Very pleases with this product, and I love the tiny little ring box it comes in too!

That's my review of this month's box! What did you think? Did you prefer any other beauty boxes over this one for May?