One Year On: #MakeChesterProud


I can't believe it. I'm genuinely in denial that it has been a year since Chester Bennington passed. It has been a year since I sprang from the exact same position I'm currently in and stared at the stream of tweets coming in of song lyrics, words of shock, memories, and prayers. 

At first, it didn't click; at first, it was just a stray lyric from Shadow of the Day:
The Shadow of the Day will embrace the world in grey 
and the sun will set for you.
And then it stopped being an abstract thing, as I just stared at that infamous TMZ article. Stared. I laughed, convinced that it was still a hoax. Nan being Nan, had BBC news on and I wouldn't let her turn it off. I watched hoping that it was just the murder rumour blown out of proportion, then it began to circulate on the banner, followed promptly by a brief confirmation from Mike.

I didn't do anything at first. I just stared at what felt like a blank screen - it took me 14 hours before I broke down and cried. I had lost my idol, the musician I have followed since my memories followed a coherent recollection. The frontman from the band I had begged my mum to take me to see at the age of 10, the frontman who spoke to the teen angst of a generation and will do long into the future. 

Now, I hope that it won't just be his lyrics that hold his legacy. I hope that Talinda's persistence at change, for WE ARE THE CHANGE, will help to see a change in the way we perceive mental illness and addiction. Give people the organizations that are so needed for people to reach out for help. 

I wanted to write this post to mark the date. To remember the vow I had made to myself that week, that I am sure so many people have made. To fight for our own version of happiness, to make choices and be kind and Make Chester Proud.

I'm going to share a poem. I'm not here to state I'm the world greatest poet, but I wanted to share something from my attempt to figure out emotions and memories. That's what I like poems and the process of writing them to do. 


One More Light

I hear you, tone rasping
over seats lifting and low guttering growls
I see you, thick hands grabbing
at your belt, hips dig into metal bars
your hand out-stretched
an audience, their age,
                                        height,
                                                    eye colour
concealed in strobe lighting
you reach for them, to hold their hands
across a vision of blurred ethnicities
If a moment is all we are
We're quicker, quicker to pass
on the small things that keep us
afloat.

For more information on the 320 project and for information on help and ways to get help, click here.

REVIEW| Floored

Floored
Sara Barnard; Holly Bourne; Tanya Byrne; Non Pratt; Melinda Salisbury; Lisa Williamson; Eleanor Wood
⭐⭐


UK Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
UK Release Date: July 12th, 2018

** I was sent a proof via the publisher for an honest review**


Synopsis

When they got in the lift, they were strangers (though didn't that guy used to be on TV?): Sasha, who is desperately trying to deliver a parcel; Hugo, who knows he's the best-looking guy in the lift and is eyeing up Velvet, who knows what that look means when you hear her name and it doesn't match the way she looks, or the way she talks; Dawson, who was on TV, but isn't as good-looking as he was a few years ago and is desperately hoping no one recognizes him; Kaitlyn, who's losing her sight but won't admit it, and who used to have a poster of Dawson on her bedroom wall, and Joe, who shouldn't be here at all, but who wants to be here the most.

And one more person, who will bring them together again on the same day every year.

Review

Once upon a time, a blogger was casually strolling through her Twitter feed and saw the announcement - well it was the picture of the seven authors all together in a lift, much like the six teens whose paths cross when they all get stuck in a lift.

I don't know how they did it but this book was seamless in how events unfold and keeping the actions of characters accurate, and remaining true to who's perspective I was in. I think that the seven authors team really helped in creating dynamic characters that stood out on the page. Every single one of these characters had relatable characteristics and were grounded in believable and relatable backgrounds, even if they were politician son's or washed up child stars. They were still people, just flawed, like me. I'm still trying to put a character to an author. My only guess is maybe Melinda Salisbury wrote Dawson? (I'm probably completely wrong.)



Really enjoyed the time frame that this story was told in. Floored is told in the time expanse of when they first meet in the lift and what happens every year for six years when they decide to meet up for the anniversary. This format opens up a fast-paced window into these characters lives and somehow learn everything that makes them in a very short amount of time. 

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Top 5 Wednesday| Anti-TBR

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly blog group that come together to discuss that weeks topic. The idea was first curated by the wonderful Lainey at GingerReadLainey and is now run by Samantha over on ThoughtsonTomes. 

If you wish to participate, either on your Blog or Booktube channel then, please, join the group on Goodreads for all the relevant topics.

I'm sure most of us keep an up-to-date list of books we're really looking forward to getting to. Sometimes those books we hear some pretty shitty things about or just lose interest. This week we're sharing those books that we've crossed of our lists and hold no interest in anymore.

1. Carve the Mark
Veronica Roth

This one should really speak for itself. Mostly everyone has heard the controversy around this book. If you haven't just look it up on Goodreads and read some reviews. I was really excited about this book, like really excited - but, DAMN.

2. Passenger
Alexandra Bracken


I hard quite lukewarm things about this duology. I've heard instalove being
tossed around, that its rather boring and I'm not too fond of time travel so I thought I'd pass.

3. Zenith
Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

This book has been so polarizing. Some love it and some said it was pure trash. I read the first few chapters and just knew it wasn't for me. 
4. The Young Elites
Marie Lu

I did read Marie Lu's other trilogy - Legend - and found it a bit underwhelming. I found the writing to be quite average and just wasn't wow'd by any part of the story. 

5. Tower of Dawn
Sarah J. Maas

This one is still sitting on the fence. I won a Waterstones exclusive edition from the wonderful Jenn @ Jenniely Its got to the point where I've been reading these books since I was fourteen, so I may as well read this one and KoA and see how it ends. I've put so much into these books! But are they really worth the approx 1400 between them?

REVIEW| The Charmed Life of Alex Moore

The Charmed Life of Alex Moore
Molly Flatt


Add to Goodreads

UK Publisher: PanMacmillan
UK Release Date: May 3rd, 2018

Synopsis: 

There are success stories – and there are true stories

How would you feel if everything in your life suddenly started to go . . . right? Six months ago, Alex Moore was stuck in a dead-end job, feeling her potential quietly slip away. Then, seemingly overnight, she launched her dream start-up and became one of London's fastest rising tech stars. At thirty-one, her life has just begun. But Alex’s transformation isn’t easy for those around her. Her friends are struggling to accept her rapid success, her parents worry she’s burning out and her fiancé is getting cold feet.

Then weird things start to happen. Muggings, stalkers – even a wild claim that she murdered a stranger. But when Alex visits the Orkney Islands to recharge, weird turns into WTF. Because there she discovers the world’s oldest secret – and it’s a secret that Alex’s stratospheric rise has royally messed up.


Review:

I want to label this book as literary fiction (I know, I HATE that label) with a taster of contemporary fantasy and magical realism.  I had no prior knowledge about this book until it turned up in the mail room with a press release attached.

I thoroughly enjoyed the emotional journey that Alex Moore goes on. This journey of self-discovery was what kept me going when the plot began to lose me. But the thing is, I can't quite put a finger on what it was about the plot that didn't quite enrapture me, it was lacking something. It had the weird, quirky element that usually I would find myself writing at my desk at uni and loving - so WHY AM I NOT IN LOVE WITH IT?!

Something else I didn't gel with was the ending, at all. It could have had 300 words cut from the ending and I would have left me more satisfied that slightly open-ended (is that a spoiler?) paragraph that felt like it came out from nowhere. It just left me frustrated!

I believe that this could have received a higher rating if the synopsis had made mention to the fantastical elements, and I had that level of expectation there. I think 3 stars accurately represents the emotional journey I went on, whilst this remains a solid debut.

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BLOG TOUR| Floored


Today's blog post is a little different if this is the first post you've seen, or you have missed a day see the links for Lily, Aoife, and Emma.

When I got an email asking if I would like to participate in a collaborative blog tour for Floored, I was a little hesitant. Let's just say I have one too many bad experiences of group projects that I like to avoid them at all costs. Only this has been the most wonderful experiences I've had. Its been an honor to work with these six bloggers and see what we came up with creatively.

My prompt was Hugo's from his opening chapter:
God, the North is ghastly.
Instead of using Hugo, I had the idea of Richard-James Briath. I'm not one for talking about my writing so I'll leave you to read and if you would like to comment, please do, but don't be mean!

RJ Braith

          God, the North is ghastly, thought Richard-James as he witnessed the changing landscape.

 Soon, too soon, were the flat-roofed houses of Chelsea and Kensington gone from his view and 


replaced by the mile stretches of fields, all of which Richard-James fooled himself into thinking he's 


like to retire to before the smell of horse manure entered into the carriage. Of course, what RJ


thought of the 'North' was the Southerner approach - anything that was remotely above the border of 


Birmingham.


          The woman across from him began to talk to herself, often making punctuated remarks that she


wasn't being valued as a member of the team; RJ couldn't help it he told her to shut up. She stopped 


for a whole three minutes before continuing that if she was a valued member of her team, her boss 


would have let her sleep in and get the later train to the conference. 


          Richard-James removed his kindle from a hidden pocket inside his suit jacket and 


entered into the realm of: How to Talk to Anyone - a Guide for the Tech Generation, and settled into


his first-class, window seat on the 0607 Virgin West Coast Train to Blackpool.

          He felt it buzzing in his breast pocket, thankful that he had turned off sound 


notifications as it vibrated once, twice, a third time before he removed it and looked at the text 


messaged.


          Angie

          06:32 | You forgot the company pass

          06:33 | and the schedule pack


          06:33 | i'll call the hotel


          06:47 | pls tell me you at least some id?!


          He decided that he would rather not respond, to just continue his planned budget seaside 


holiday and keep to the complicated facade of the tech conference.   


          Angie

          06:58 | RJ?

          Richard-James

          06:59 | I didn't forget anything I didn't mean to 😂

          Angie

          07:01 | what is that meant to mean? 

          07:04 | RICHARD-JAMES!


          07:06 | RJ, this is an important opportunity for the growth of the company


          07:07 | DON'T screw this up. I'll know if you don't turn up


         Richard-James

         07:07 | I won't.

          He put his phone back into his left pocket and went back to reading trying to not snap at the


woman again as she continued muttering about work - only RJ was never one to hold back his 

tongue, its how he got his reputation as the no-nonsense businessman that most people try avoiding.

          "Listen," he leaned over to address the woman who was sat two tables ahead. "Can you just, I 


don't know? Shut up?"

          "Excuse me?"


          "You heard me - be quiet. I've already asked you once and you're not the only working person


 on this train. You're tired? Take a nap!"

          At 0937 the train pulls into Blackpool North station. At 0937 the train is running twenty 

minutes late as RJ closes the case on his Kindle, 8% from finishing his Tech Generation 

guide and tucks it back into the inside pocket of his navy suit jacket. And that was it, he was ready to 

depart onto platform 1. Richard-James didn't bring much with him, nor has he ever had since the 

incident in year 7 when he had been drop-kicked by the school bully Peter Franklin. His bag had 

been weighed down by his P.E kit, his pencil case full with a 32-pack of Staedtler colouring pencils, 

science textbook and a paperback copy of Holes by Louis Sachar that day. Most kids would have 

dropped the bag and legged it, but RJ took pride in the belongings he had been trusted to borrow and 

have.

          For once in his life, Richard-James exits the station and  hasn't got a clue what direction he is

 meant to be heading in. And the Uber app isn't very either.

          "Manchester? Manchester!" exclaims RJ. "How else am I meant to hail a cab?" 

          RJ really didn't like the North.

         "You ring up." A man's voice answered and hands over a card for Premier Taxis.

         "Thanks, mate."

          The man did a sort of hand bob in thanks before heading out of the station and onto the street.

RJ called the number.

          "Hello, Premier Taxis," a woman greeted RJ on the other side of the phone.

          "Hi, yes, could I book a cab please?"

          "Yes, where from?"

          RJ looked around trying to find the road location of the station, giving up he gave just the 

station name, "Blackpool North?"

          "And where you headed?"

          "Foxes Hotel."

          "We haven't got anything for fifteen minutes, that okay?"

          "It'll have to."

          "Sorry, Sir?"

          Yes." 

          "That's all booked for you know."

          Less than a minute of hanging up the phone, RJ received a text with a booking reference 

number. 
          
          Richard-James should know better than looking at your watch every half-second only makes 

time go slower than just entertaining himself - that's what iPhones were invented for. When the cab

turned up, a blue Ford Focus, he sat in the back and told the bloke where he was going. The 

cabbie tried to make conversation and soon stopped after realizing there is no hope in talking to a 

Londoner. 

          Foxes Hotel was not quite falling to pieces but could have done with a little lick of paint to 

patch up the paling pink and a small readjustment to the sign that seemed to be not quite straight. He

went in and found the desk straight away.

          "Good morning!" Greeted a woman on the desk.

          "I have a room booked for the weekend." Her badge read that her name was Emily.

          "You're a bit early, check-ins aren't for another hour." RJ remained silent, hoping that his 

silence might be enough to make her squirm. It worked. "Name?"

          "Braith. Richard-James Braith."

          "Richard-James? Usually, it's the surnames that are double-barrelled?" Her remark was posed 

more as a question, RJ wasn't going to give up answers that easily. Wasn't his fault his mother could 

decide what quintessential British name she liked more. Emily didn't push and handed over a key, 

"Room 6."

          "Thank you, Emily. Before I forget, who do I need to talk to about the conference?"

          "Try Elvin over there," she pointed to a boy at a set of double doors. "He'll register you and get

you ticked off the list."

          "Cheers."

          Key collected, Richard-James now had the bother of trying to get ahold of another conference 

schedule and his pack. He turned and walked towards the boy, Elvin, that Emily had pointed to.

         "You here for the conference?"

          "I am."

          "Have you got your company pass?"

          "Well, you see," began RJ.

          "No worries. Name?"

          "Braith. Richard-James Braith." Elvin looked down a paper list and marked a tick next to what

RJ assumed was his name.

          "Got any ID on you?"

          Richard-James reached into another one of his pockets and took out a wallet and presented 

Elvin with a driving license and his office ID.

          "The first panel will be on at twelve, sir," said Elvin. "Please feel free to drop your...


valuables... up to your room and come down before the convention starts."

          "Convention? Thought it was a conference."


          "Convention? Conference? Their pretty much synonyms." 

          "Easy to discern, one is full of scrawny geeks and the other full of - "


          "People like you?"

          "Exactly." His face contorts into what Richard-James thought was an attempt at his own 'I 

know more than you think and I'm laughing at you' face he often used during meetings back in the 

office.
- End -          

Floored
Sara Barnard; Holly Bourne; Tanya Byrne; Non Pratt; Melinda Salisbury; Lisa Williamson; Eleanor Wood

Add to Goodreads

UK Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
UK Release Date: July 12th, 2018

Synopsis:

When they got in the lift, they were strangers (though didn't that guy used to be on TV?): Sasha, who is desperately trying to deliver a parcel; Hugo, who knows he's the best-looking guy in the lift and is eyeing up Velvet, who knows what that look means when you hear her name and it doesn't match the way she looks, or the way she talks; Dawson, who was on TV, but isn't as good-looking as he was a few years ago and is desperately hoping no one recognizes him; Kaitlyn, who's losing her sight but won't admit it, and who used to have a poster of Dawson on her bedroom wall, and Joe, who shouldn't be here at all, but who wants to be here the most.

And one more person, who will bring them together again on the same day every year.

About Floored: 
Floored is a one-of-a-kind collaborative novel written by seven of the UK's (ok the WORLD'S) finest Young Adult authors: Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood. 

Told from the perspective of each character and a mysterious narrator, Floored is about all the ups and downs of life. After they go through a traumatic experience together, the lives of six strangers become intricately intertwined, and they decide to meet once a year to commemorate the day they met. Each character, each chapter, each story told – the writing of Floored was a truly collaborative process right from the start. From picking a distinct and interesting character and deciding on the book’s larger narrative arc, to figuring out who was going to fall in and out of love over the course of the book. 

Floored is a novel of consequences, six stories seamlessly woven together by seven hugely talented authors. With so many different imaginations at work brilliant and unexpected things could – and would – happen.



Top 5 Wednesday| Penguin, Listen Up

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly blog group that come together to discuss that weeks topic. The idea was first curated by the wonderful Lainey at GingerReadLainey and is now run by Samantha over on ThoughtsonTomes. 

If you wish to participate, either on your Blog or Booktube channel then, please, join the group on Goodreads for all the relevant topics.

This week we are compiling a list of books that we think will be future "classics" and stand against the test of time.


1. Harry Potter 
J.K. Rowling

Let's get rid of the obvious out of the way. This book broke records, created an army of fans and still remains as one of the biggest franchises of our time - of course, this is going to be a children's classic.

2. Assassin's Apprentice
Robin Hobb

I haven't heard anyone talk anything negative about Robin Hobb's books. Being the first book in a trilogy and of an overarching series, I think this will be a fantasy classic.

3. The Hate U Give
Angie Thomas

This book is remarkable, with great character dynamics and a message that impacts and hits home - no matter of race. It tells a story that NEEDS to be told, over and over again until someone gets it and things begin to change.


4. The Hunger Games
Susanne Collins

This is in the same vein as the Harry Potter series. I think these books hit a hard note during their reign of YA dystopia. I still have a fond memory of these books and think that many more readers will fall for them and be horrified by them.

5. His Dark Materials
Philip Pullman

I think these are closely considered a modern children's classic, but if not I think that these will be. 

REVIEW| The Truth about Alice

The Truth About Alice
Jennifer Mathieu


Add to Goodreads

UK Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
UK Release Date: March 8th, 2018

**I received an electronic copy via Netgalley for a honest  review**

Synopsis:

Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party.
But did you know Alice was sexting Brandon when he crashed his car?
It's true. Ask ANYBODY.


Rumour has it that Alice Franklin is a slut. It's written all over the 'slut stall' in the girls' bathroom at Healy High for everyone to see. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumours start to spiral out of control.

In this remarkable novel, four Healy High students - the party girl, the car accident survivor, the ex best friend and the boy next door - tell all they know. 

But exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there's only one person to ask: Alice herself.


Review

I read Moxie last year, around Christmas time, and really enjoyed the story of a young woman finding her moxie and starting a feminist uprising in her school. Of course when this popped up on Netgalley to request, I instantly hit the request button and crossed my fingers.

The Truth About Alice takes on a lot, from the stereotypes we push in the high school narrative and the toxicity of putting those people in boxes to slut shaming and the undefeatable rumour mill. 

Not one single character is likable - or, at least I found them to be so. They were manipulative of the situation, hypocritical and above all? They were deeply selfish. BUT THEY ARE TEENAGERS! That's how they should be! You can't tell me that at one point you weren't a little bit selfish. Although I found myself constantly grappling for someone to be Alice's sympathetic ear, I also couldn't help but feeling the sheer horror of the slut shaming. 

 Apart from the characters, I found the rest of the plot uninteresting. And ended up speed reading through half the book, as the plot continued to fell rather singular. 

Overall, I would say this is an interesting concept with the gulls to try and call out the ways in which slut shaming occurs in high schools/secondary schools. However, it didn't quite meet the expectation of perhaps Moxie, and was left feeling rather 'meh'.

BOOK TAG| Mid-Year Freakout Tag 2018

I love seeing this tag, this time of year. As per, I wasn't tagged nor will I tag anyone specifically. But, if you read this - think yourself tagged.

1. Best book you've read so far in 2018?
I Was Born for This
Alice Oseman
REVIEW

2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2018?


This one is a tie between:

The Bitter Twins
Jen Williams
Add to Goodreads
REVIEW
Royal Assassin
Robin Hobb
























3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to?
Circe
Madeline Miller
Spinning Silver
Naomi Novik






The Hazel Wood
Melissa Albert
State of Sorrow
Melinda Salisbury






































4. Most anticipated release for the second half of 2018?
Vengeful
V.E.Schwab
Muse of Nightmares
Laini Taylor






















5. Biggest disappointed?
A Court of Frost and Starlight
Sarah J. Maas

6. Biggest surprise?

The Charmed Life of Alex Moore
Molly Flatt

7. Favourite new author?
I haven't read too many new-to-me authors, I think Sylvain Neuvel is a possibility?

Sleeping Giants
Slyvain Neuvel

8. Newest fictional crush?
I really haven't read many crush worthy characters. Going to have to change that.

9. Newest favourite character?

Maika Halfwolf from Monstress
Marjorie Liu; Sana Takeda

10. A book that made you cry:
I don't think a single book has made me cry yet?!

11. A book that made you happy:
I Was Born for This
Alice Oseman
REVIEW
Friendship Fails of Emma Nash
Chloe Seager























12. Favourite book to movie adaptation?

13. Favourite review you've written this year?

The Bitter Twins - link here.

14. Favourite beautiful book of you bought so far?

I'm going to split this into book sent to me by publishers and books I've bought, just so I can show off as many of the beautiful pieces of artwork that the designers come up with.

Sent via publisher:
Spinning Silver
Naomi Novik
The Book of Hidden Things
Francesco Dimitri


















The Bitter Twins
Jen Williams

Spare and Found Parts
Sarah Marie Griffin

























Books I've bought:
The Song of Achilles
Madeline Miller
Vicious
V.E. Schwab






















15. What books do you need to read before the end of the year?

Gilded Cage
Vic James
Shadowplay
Laura Lam


The Fifth Season
N.K. Jemisin
Twelve Kings
Bradley Beaulieu


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