Monday, 25 August 2014

Books | Black Box by Cassia Leo

Black Box is about Mikki, a young troubled teenager who is hoping to fly to LA to end her life. That isn't a spoiler, we find out within the first chapter or so. Whilst at the airport discovering her flight has been delayed, she meets rich Harvard boy Crush. The book alternates between Crush and Mikki's point of view and whilst I thought this would be a problem for me, we were introduced to it very slightly and the different points of view became natural to the story line after a while. Without telling you too much about the story, I will tell you that this book is a romance, with some dark parts about the character's past that were very difficult to read. 
If you are particularly sensitive to themes involving rape, abuse, drugs or suicide, you probably shouldn't read this book.

I feel as though I should start this review by saying how much I adored this book. I was gripped and read it in two sittings and even though I finished it over 4 hours ago, it's still on my mind. As with most of the books I've been reading lately, I try to go into them without knowing anything about the story line or the characters, as it's so much easier to appreciate the book that way, so that is what I did with this book and whilst I was surprised by the parts that I wasn't expecting, I was also glad that I didn't know it was coming. 

Throughout the book we learn about Mikki's demons and it helps to show her character development throughout. I was pleased with the way Mikki changed throughout the course of the book and I liked that I slowly saw her walls being taken down. In some ways, I did feel I could relate to her character, as earlier in my life, I did spend quite a bit of time thinking about suicide and wanting to hide away from the world, although thankfully that's where the similarities stop. Whilst Mikki's past is one of the larger themes within this book, we also learn about some of Crush's demons as well, which was interesting because whilst they were a huge part of the story - his character never let it overshadow him helping Mikki overcome her fears and she was always the main focus for him. 

I only had one slight problem with this book and that's the Twitter aspect of it, and how they previously met via Twitter. I felt it was unnecessary to the story and seemed unrealistic, despite 'fate' playing a large role in the story as well. With the huge chance encounter being a main point in the story, I felt that this aspect was over the top and felt too forced. Thankfully, this only took up a tiny part of the book and the rest of the story was wonderful to read. 

As a final note - I'd like to mention the "playlist" at the back of this book. I discovered so many beautiful songs that fit so well with this book through the playlist and would highly recommend checking them out after you read this book. 

I would definitely recommend reading this book (if you are not sensitive to the subjects mentioned before) as it is a great slow-paced character-driven read that I will be rereading in the future. If you've read this book, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it as I haven't read many reviews yet.

My rating: 4 out of 5

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Lifestyle | Busy Summer Months!

This last month and the month ahead will undoubtedly be the busiest months of my life thus far. With the busiest work schedule and uni deadlines, I've hardly had time to myself or to enjoy my 22nd birthday. As I've been distant from blogging lately, I wanted to do a quick little post to summarize the last few months in pictures. 

Photos: from top left to bottom right: 
1. The last photo taken with my dark hair - I've been dying it dark for about ten years and finally decided to go natural for a while. 
2. A walk along a Yorkshire lake on a Summers day. 
3. My first ever visit to EAT. (obsessed) and our first meal in London. I got a bacon, chicken and avocado sub, berry juice and granola with yogurt. 
4. Back to my natural ginger hair and pale skin. 
5. Steak birthday dinner at Angus Steakhouse in Picadilly Circus. Steak was barely warm, service was rushed and impersonal and overall experience was unsatisfying. Do not go here! 
6. Cute carousel bar by the London Eye, beach bar.
7. Virgin mojitos - the perfect drink on a hot London day!
8. Snog bright pink bus/shop - you could sit at the top and eat your FroYo!
9. "Freak show" by the London Eye - not sure what the area's called, same place as no. 6. 
10. Covent garden classical music performance. 
11. Pretty building as we were walking through London. 
12. Birthday champagne at my mothers house. 
13. Smoked salmon cream cheese bagel and nachos in Covent Garden. 
14. The Book People delivery/haul! 
15. Reds BBQ in Leeds - the best pulled pork you will ever eat. 
16. Late night drives in my batman PJs. 
17. Date night - been loving my hair like this lately!
18. The nicest candle I've ever smelt - Pink Lemonade Pound Cake by Bath and body works
19. Simple plait for a busy day at work!

What have you been upto lately? Have you enjoyed your Summer?

Summer Giveaway Winners

Firstly, I'd like to apologise to everyone who entered my Summer giveaway as the post got deleted and I've been too busy to write a new post stating the winners. As the original post is no longer there, I've reposted the widget below announcing the winner. I have emailed the winner and as per the rules, if he/she doesn't reply within 7 days, a new winner will be chosen and emailed. 

Thank you again to everyone who entered and I hope you enjoy reading my blog. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Books | July Haul

August has arrived, very quickly and without much warning I must add, and that can only mean one thing: it's time to let you guys know all of the books I've added to my shelves throughout the month of July. 
I've recently discovered The Book People, which is a UK website that stocks a limited number of books, at very cheap prices. My favourite part about the site is the deals they offer and the "collections" they sell. The majority of the books in this haul are from this website and I've just placed another order with them, so expect to be hearing about The Book People a lot on this blog! 

The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness was on sale for £5 (usually £6.99 on the site and around £23 from other booksellers) so I had to grab it while I could. I've never read anything by Patrick Ness but know a few people who love him so I'm excited to read this Sci-Fi Dystopian series. Next, I got a collection of 3 books about Vampires for £3, that's just £1 each! These books aren't part of a series or even by the same author, they're just grouped together and sold at a really great price. I hadn't heard anything about Blue Bloods, The Summoning or Marked before, but they looked like fun, quick reads so I grabbed them too. 

The Bellwether Rivals, Kiss Me First, No! I Don't Need Reading Glasses, Under The Same Stars and Shadow of Night were all part of a '5 Hardbacks for £12' offer (that's £2.40 each!), so I chose these ones and can't wait to read them! I also chose the 5th Wave as everyone loves this book and I haven't yet read it. I wanted to read it before the film comes out and it was only £3 for the hardback so I picked it up. The last three books I got from The Book People this month was The Hunger Games as I've never read the series. I prefer the other covers, but for only £4.99 for all three, I can't complain.

Fahrenheit 451 and Sabriel were books I picked up from my parents house when I was helping to pack up my brothers books. I've heard great things about both but haven't read either. Fahrenheit 451 was my fathers and as you can see, is a very old copy. I can't wait to read it. I ordered Uglies and The Savages from Amazon for different reasons. I have already read Uglies as an ebook but recently bought Pretties to carry on with the series. I'm one of those people who can't have half a series on their bookshelf, so I bought the paperback copy of Uglies so I will eventually have the complete series. The last few books I won through Goodreads First Reads competitions (if you think you will never win, try it anyway, because I've won quite a few through this!), including American Savage, which is the second book in a series, hence why I bought The Savages on Amazon to read before I read the second one. The Planner, Because You Are Mine and Sentenced to Silence were all won this month through Goodreads First Reads and I'm so grateful and excited to read them! 

So those are the books I picked up throughout the month of July and will hopefully be reading very soon. Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Beauty | Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde Mascara

If, like me, you live in England, you will know how unbearably hot it has been this past month. There hasn't been a day where I've felt comfortable wearing a full face of make-up as it was just too hot and being a typical Brit, I can't handle anything above 20 degrees C. So, for that very reason, I've been looking pretty bare faced all month, focusing on not passing out in the heat, rather than on what I look like. I've been wearing the Simple illuminating moisturizer as a base (as it has SPF also), Bourjois Java Rice Powder to stop shine, Carmex lip balm and a simple slick of eyeliner followed by Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde Mascara*. Whilst the idea of wearing this little make-up does frighten me slightly, it is necessary and very practical in this weather. 

The Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde Mascara has been my absolute favourite mascara lately, but only for my top lashes. It makes them appear longer and fuller, as well as separated, without looking like spiders legs (we've all been there, girls). I've been using two carefully applied coats in the day and if I want a more dramatic look for the evening, a couple more coats does the trick perfectly. For the purpose of this review, I have applied it to my bottom lashes also, although I prefer not to use it on these as it can make them look longer than I want them to. I like my bottom lashes to be exaggerated but not stand out too much, which this mascara does tend to do. One problem I do tend to have with mascaras is that they can be tricky to get off but that isn't the case with this one. I use an eye make-up remover on my eyes before cleansing my face and this mascara comes off exactly when I need it to, without sticking to my lashes or pulling them out. 

When I run out of this mascara, I will definitely be picking up some more as I love the lengthening effect it has on my lashes. Have you tried this mascara before? What is your favourite Bourjois mascara?

Bourjois Volume 1 Second Mascara - Isme £10.