19 July 2018

My Theatrical Experiences

When I was in high school, I really wanted to study drama for my GCSEs. Only not enough other people wanted to, so they couldn't fill a class and the option was removed and I did a double in Business Studies, which was 100% common sense and 0% creativity. And I just shelved any hopes of being involved in acting in any way after that until I was in my twenties.

After reading Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt, I'm sharing some of my favourite theatrical experiences for the blog tour. This book is honestly SO lovely and so passionate that it has me smiling just writing the title, and I'd recommend it to everyone.

My Favourite Theatre Experiences

It wasn't until I was in my twenties that I first went to the theatre, but I absolutely love it and try to go as often as I can afford now. I usually go with my bestie if we can get cheap tickets or if it's RSC, and I go to the ballet with my mum.

The First Time

My first time in the theatre was when the RSC toured the UK and came to Newcastle Theatre Royal, I was lucky enough to get some £5 tickets for The Taming of the Shrew and BOOM I was in love. We had amazing seats in the grand circle, felt 100% out of place in our nicest jeans and tops, and had an excellent time. It was laugh-out-loud funny and brought my favourite Shakespeare play to life.

Theatre Royal, Newcastle

The Weirdest Time

Earlier this year I managed to nab some cheap tickets for Cirque Berserk at the Tyne Theatre & Opera House and oh man. If you can get to see it as they tour the UK then do! I was absolutely blown away by the strength and skill, the whole audience was completely engaged, and there were moments that I couldn't watch because I was on the edge of my seat (looking at you, knife throwing). It was the most exhilarating theatre experience of my life.

Cirque Berserk

The Most Anticipated Time

I finally got to see Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre in London this year. A weekend in London with my bestie, lots of power-walking, and seeing Actual Magic on stage through opera glasses from way up high at the very back of gods. And wow. I still can't believe that I saw it. I am so in love with it and want so badly to go again, although maybe not in the restricted view seats. The atmosphere was electric.

Opera glasses at Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Palace Theatre

The Next Time

Next up for me is Northern Ballet's Three Musketeers in October this year with my mum and RSC's Romeo and Juliet in February next year with my bestie, both at Newcastle Theatre Royal. As usual, I'll be taking my trusty theatre bag along with me, this Book Spine Clutch from Karina's Bags which I  had custom made four years ago.

Book spine clutch bag by Karina's Bags

What's your favourite theatre experience?

Theatrical by Maggie HarcourtAdd to Goodreads
Hope dreams of working backstage in a theatre, and she’s determined to make it without the help of her famous costume designer mum. So when she lands an internship on a major production, she tells no one.

But with a stroppy Hollywood star and his hot young understudy upstaging Hope’s focus, she’s soon struggling to keep her cool… and her secret.

Gorgeously fresh, funny and commercial YA romance from the author of Unconventional, and The Last Summer of Us.

18 July 2018

Blog Tour: The Land Girl by Allie Burns

For the first time in a very long time, I read a book in a single day. I could not put The Land Girl by Allie Burns down, I was so invested in Emily's story. It's a beautiful story, and I absolutely recommend it.

The Land Girl by Allie BurnsAdd to Goodreads
War changes everything...

Emily has always lived a life of privilege. That is until the drums of World War One came beating.

Her family may be dramatically affected but it also offers her the freedom that she craves. Away from the tight control of her mother she grabs every opportunity that the war is giving to women like her, including love.

Working as a land girl Emily finds a new lease of life but when the war is over, and life returns to normal, she has to learn what to give up and what she must fight for.

Source: Blog Tour

5 Words: Family, responsibility, love, grief, belief.

This book was honestly such a delight to read. It was so easy to get lost in the rich setting and get caught up in Emily's life, and I adored it.

I loved Emily's passion and conviction. Right from the start she knew what she wanted, and she battled her way towards it. The family dynamics in The Land Girl are fantastic - from the family that Emily if born into to the family she makes for herself with her friends.

I did find the plot a little bit predictable, but in a good way. I felt comfortable knowing roughly where it'd go, if not how, and it still managed to throw up some surprises.

I felt that there were three very distinct parts of this book, although they are not labelled as such, revolving around Emily's development. She changes so much between the beginning and end of the book that she could almost be a different person. And it's excellent.

The Land Girl was a beautiful story, and one I will definitely reread. I enjoyed it so much that I went out and bought the author's other book The Lido Girls.

17 July 2018

Top Ten Tuesday #127

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

Top Ten Tuesday
This week is Top Ten 
Favorite Novellas/Short Stories
When it's nearing the end of the year, I love to cram novellas and short stories to hit my Goodreads Challenge target.
  • The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn't by Gail Carriger
  • Yumi by Renee Ahdieh
  • Darkness Rises by Lily Blake
  • A Reaper of Stone by Mark Gelineau and Joe King
  • All Wrapped Up by Holly Smale
  • Dangerous Games by Teri Terry
  • Locked by Parker Witter (Rebecca Serle)
  • A Rare Book of Cunning Device by Ben Aaronovitch
  • The Haunting by Lily Blake
  • Lambs Can Always Become Lions by Charlotte Anne Hamilton

    What will you be reading this summer?

    11 July 2018

    Floored Blog Tour: Sahsa's Primark Haul

    I'm so delighted to be taking part in the Floored blog tour, and even more delighted that I get to focus on Sasha, who was easily my absolute favourite character in Floored. All of the characters are pretty easy to like (except Hugo) but Sasha hit close to my heart and home.

    Floored is a collaborative novel written by Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson, and Eleanor Wood.

    I wanted to do something a bit different for Sasha, and I'm going to start by sharing Sasha's first line from Floored.

    I wake up with a jolt when one of the packages slides off the pile on my lap and into the footwell.

    What and Why

    Sasha is skint. She's had a pretty hard load in life. So when everyone chips together and gets her a £40 Primark voucher she's a bit chuffed and decides to have a bit of a splurge and get a new outfit and maybe a treat or two for herself too.
    White Grin And Bear It Cotton T-Shirt, Primark Haul
    Image Credit: Primark
    White Grin And Bear It Cotton T-Shirt, £2.50
    Primark slogan tees are excellent, aren't they? Versatile, super cheap, often funny as well as stylish. works with anything, basically.

    Blush Raincoat, Primark Haul
    Image Credit: Primark
    Blush Raincoat, £9.00
    Pretty and neutral and actually really handy. Being a blush colour it can go with pretty much any outfit. It's shower resistant and folds up into its own pocket so you can keep it in your bag.

    Super High-Waisted Skinny Jean, Primark Haul
    Image Credit: Primark
    Super High-Waisted Skinny Jean, £9.00
    Can't go wrong with a pair of high-waisted skinnies. Wardrobe staple that can be adapted for any situation.

    Monochrome Sneakers, Primark Haul
    Image Credit: Primark
    Monochrome Sneakers, £6.00
    Having a spare pair of shoes is always handy when you're skint, as you never know when you're going to wear out the sole of your current pair.

    Polka Dot Canvas Backpack, Primark Haul
    Image Credit: Primark
    Polka Dot Canvas Backpack, £8.00
    I mean it's polka dot so..? Can't beat a backpack for practicality, whether it's for the weekly shop, or just stuffing your stuff in for hanging out with friends. Or instead of using a carrier bag for your road trip snacks.

    Harry Potter Hufflepuff Notebook, Primark Haul
    Image Credit: Primark
    Harry Potter Hufflepuff Notebook, £3.00
    Sasha is a Hufflepuff, OK? She's the most lovely person, and even the other characters comment on just how selfless and nice she is. She gets this as a small treat to herself and because #HousePride.

    Beautiful Eau De Parfum, Primark Haul
    Image Credit: Primark
    Beautiful Eau De Parfum, £2.00
    Sasha gets this so she has something pretty to smell, something to lift her mood and remind her of good times, and to help keep her calm.

    Total £39.50

    Check out the other stops on our
    Collaborative Floored Blog Tour!

    Floored by Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood - Blog Tour

    Check soon for a review of Floored.

    What would be top of your Primark haul?

    09 July 2018

    The NetGalley Book Tag

    I saw this tag on Writing With Wolves and I couldn't resist it! It looks pretty fun and interesting, and I get most of my review copies from NetGalley. I have to admit that I am relieved that I don't have to actually disclose my NetGalley Feedback Ratio as it's pretty bad. I just can't help myself!

    NetGalley Member Professional Reader - The NetGalley Book Tag

    Auto-Approved: Who is one author whose books you automatically want to read, regardless of what they are about?
    There are a few! Teri Terry, Juno Dawson, Chris Russell, Eleanor Wood, Rachel Hawkins, Leigh Bardugo, Julie C Dao to name a few.

    Request: What makes you want to request a book on NetGalley?
    The cover, hype, a random why not? moment... I honestly have no self control on NetGalley and freely click away requests. It's led to some awesome reads, some less awesome reads, some new favourites and some things I'd rather have never read oops.

    Feedback Ratio: Do you review every book you read? If not, how do you decide what books to review?
    I try to at least write a few words on them, if it's a DNF I put why it wasn't for me, and if I didn't enjoy a book I try to find what other people might like about it. I always review on Goodreads but I'm more selective for my blog.

    Badges: If you could create one badge to display on your blog, what would it be for?
    Probably something like EPIC REVIEWER because I have sent feedback on over 600 titles and I'd like some validation of my efforts please.

    Wish For It: What’s one book you’re absolutely dying to read?
    Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C Dao. I am checking NetGalley daily at this point, because I absolutely loved the first book.

    2018 NetGalley Challenge: What was the last book that you received as an ARC that you reviewed? If you’ve never received an ARC, what’s the last book you reviewed?
    The last one I reviewed on my blog was The Foyles Bookshop Girls by Elaine Roberts, and on Goodreads it was A Miracle For The Baby Doctor by Meredith Webber.

    Although I try to review every book I read, not all of those reviews make it on to my blog. And sometimes it takes a while for reviews to make it to my blog.

    I am tagging:
    Dystopia Fantasy Reads
    Pretty Purple Polka Dots

    Do you get review copies from NetGalley?

    06 July 2018

    Five Things I Love About Book Blogging

    Sometimes blogging can be hard, especially book blogging. It's easy to undervalue yourself, to feel like you're screaming into the void. But despite that, I love it. I'm part of a community of book lovers, and I have met some of the nicest people ever. And, I'm lucky enough to occasionally get sent amazing books by awesome PRs. I've been feeling a bit down about everything recently, so it's time to take a look at why I really love book blogging.

    A pile of books

    1. Sharing the Love
      I get to share my love of books all of the time. I get to review them, rant and rave about them, recommend them. I can be inspired and do weird stuff like photo edits or blending tea or making playlists.
    2. Twitter Friends and Twitter Chats
      When I'm not reading books and blogs, or when I'm supposed to be reading books and blogs, I spend a lot of time on Twitter. I love joining SundayYA chat and ending the week on a high. I love being able to shout into the void and find my people, find someone who's read the same book so I can rant or rave, get endless recommendations.
    3. Reading Blogs
      I follow almost 500 blogs on Bloglovin and I try to read a few every day. I'm currently challenging myself to clear my feed once a day and it's so much fun. Reading everyone else's posts is so inspiring too. I've found new tags, been inspired to clear out my wishlist, and added to my TBR. I've even sorted my dog into her Hogwarts House.
    4. Hidden Gems
      I love it when someone posts about a book I've never heard of, or something that's been out for a while that I can easily pick up from the library. A self-published gem that went under the radar. Or something totally out of my comfort zone that I end up falling in love with.
    5. Branching Out
      Being a book blogger has helped build my confidence online - I'm no longer afraid of rejection (and there is so much rejection), I'm part of a larger community in general, and I've even worked with my first brand (eek!). This means I'm comfortable starting to introduce other little things to my blog, expanding my niche. I've talked about tea, candles, my local area, TV Shows, and I have plans to talk about even more.
    Book pages as a design feature

    What do you love most about book blogging?

    05 July 2018

    Mid-Year Freakout Blog Tag

    I was tagged by Manon from Cafe Manon to do the Mid-Year Freakout Blog Tag.

    So now it's time to actually freak out because it's JULY ALREADY WHAT??

    Let's go!

    The Extinction Trials by SM Wilson

    1. The best book you’ve read this year?
    Start with the hardest? Eek! Probably Clean by Juno Dawson. It was honestly absolutely glorious to read.

    2. The best sequel you’ve read this year?
    The Extinction Trials: Exile by SM Wilson was just incredible. It's absolutely how a second book should be, and if anything I loved Storm even more. I was in my element reading it!

    3. New releases you haven’t read yet but want to.
    Why yes I did get an ARC of The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green in a book subscription box. So naturally I haven't picked it up yet. I guess I'm a bit scared?

    4. Most anticipated releases for the second half of the year.
    I am absolutely desperate to get my hands on Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C Dao. When I read Forest of a Thousand Lanterns I fell in love with Xifeng, and I still have so long to wait! It's almost unbearable.

    5. Biggest disappointment.
    Probably To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo. The story itself was pretty good, but the writing style was not my cup of tea and I just didn't enjoy it. It's still a book I'd recommend though.

    6. Biggest surprise.
    I was really surprised by Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh because I thought the first book was maybe 2.5-3 stars, and I wan't even sure if I'd read the second one. But I did, and wow. It blew me away.

    7. Favourite new to you, or debut, author.
    SM Wilson - I have already read The Extinction Trials and its sequel TWICE this year, and I'm gearing up to jump in again. I just love the world created, the dinosaurs, the danger, the intrigue. I love it all.

    8. Newest fictional crush.
    Charlie from Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde is definitely my newest fictional crush! I loved her narrative, her character, her motivations. Everything. She's just amazing.

    9. Newest favourite character.
    Rin from The Poppy War by RF Kuang. I read this book back in April and I still haven't managed to review it as it is such a difficult/amazing/scary book. But Rin was absolutely the standout character for me.

    10. Book that made you cry?
    When I read Skylarks by Karen Gregory I was a mess of tears. It just hit so close to home, right in the feels.

    Skylarks by Karen Gregory

    11. Book that made you happy?
    Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt makes me smile just thinking about it! It is an absolute joy, full of love and passion. And a beautiful story to boot!

    12. Favourite book to film adaption?
    I don't think I've seen any this year oops. I am quite excited for The Darkest Minds to come out later this year, as I recently read the first book.

    ​13. Favourite post you have done this year?
    I had so much fun with this post, blending my own tea for Children of Blood and Bone. I got to be creative in a whole new way, and it was very fun too.

    14. Most beautiful book you have bought this year?
    Spark by Alice Broadway has the most gorgeous shiny cover! Being a magpie, I bought it immediately.

    15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
    All of them? Ha, I have far too many to list, but I recently chopped my To Be Read list down to around 300 so I'm getting closer.

    I'm tagging:

    What a fun tag :) It was nice to look back, this year has actually been incredible for book blogging. Have you done this tag? Leave a link below and I'm come visit :)