Review: Hidden Figures

Welcome back to another review!

I’ve finally managed to finish Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly today and thought I might as well get my review up whilst the story is still fresh in my mind.

I have to say that although I really enjoyed the story and the background surrounding the actual events taking place, I did find that sometimes the style of writing was quite difficult to get through at points. Maybe because I’m more of a fiction-kind of reader? Also, there wasn’t a lot of dialogue in this book so if that’s something you find quite interesting then I’d suggest this book for you to read but if you struggle with that, maybe try and see if they do an audiobook of it? But I still thoroughly enjoyed it and learning about the women who were in the behind-the-scenes of NACA/NASA.

The transition between the different stories of some women were a little muddled at times but I took it at face-value and continued to read on. The book is so insightful and really makes you appreciate the efforts and the hardships that African-American’s went through during the years after the abolishment of slavery (and even before it!), even something as simple as going to the bathroom and eating lunch in a cafeteria is something that was not normal back then.

I feel like it is an amazing book which is definitely worth the hype it gets and I can’t wait to watch the film now after finishing the book. It’s something I would highly recommend to anyone who likes this sort of book or someone who would like to gain a bit more knowledge on the subject. It’s an insightful piece of literature and I’m glad I read it.

4/5 stars.

 

Happy reading!

~A.

Sunday Funday: Update!

Hello all! 

This is only going to be a quick update on how I’m doing with my 2017 Book Challenge, my monthly challenge, and my yearly challenge as well. Boy have I set myself a lot of challenges this year!

So let’s start! At the moment I’m reading Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly and as I said in my previous blog post, I went through a seriously bad bout of procrastination and just all round hectic schedule so I didn’t have as much time as I wanted to to read the book. Meaning I have fallen behind on my monthly reading list, which also means that I’ll probably have to shorten my list for next month down to possibly 4 books a month instead of 5 just to see how I get on.

I am currently on page 161 and I’m just about to start chapter 16 at the moment. I have to admit I am finding it quite difficult to read as it’s in a different style than I am used to but so far, I am really enjoying it. It’s eye-opening for sure!

My goal for this book is to finish this tonight or by tomorrow so I can at least read one more book for this month before March is officially over. And the next book I’m hoping to read is either Heartless by Marissa Meyer or The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon. Still haven’t watched Beauty and the Beast yet so I don’t want to spoil myself by reading that first!

I apologise if this is not as interesting as my usual blog posts but I just want to keep you updated! And if you have any questions, or if you want to chat about this particular book, then leave me a comment down below!

As usual, happy reading!

~A.

My Reading Spot & Top Tips to Read More!

Hello everyone! It’s been a very busy Saturday for me, how is everyone else’s weekends going? Let me know in the comments.

Because it’s been so busy, I thought today’s blog could be quite chill and simple (and also because I have to write my next assignment for Uni, so I’m procrastinating). So I’m going to show you my reading spot, where I read all of my books, and give you a few top tips that I’ve been (*cough* trying *cough*) to follow in order to read more books this year. I’ve set myself a goal of reading at least 30 books by the end of this year, along with my 2017 Book Challenge. Which is possible because I have more than 30 books that I need to read, but also impossible, because like I said above… I procrastinate. A lot.

Without further ado, let’s get into! These three pictures below are my reading spots in my room, which is where I tend to read more as everywhere else in my house is super busy and loud majority of the time.

The first picture is of the tail end of my bed, usually I just take two comfortable pillows (one of them I got from Florida last year on holiday from a Disney store and I love it, it’s so apt!) and stick them at the other end of my bed. I don’t really know why but I find this much more comfortable. The top right picture is of the other side to my bed and the rest of my room (I only live in a box room), P.S. can you tell I like blue? And also, underneath my blue blanket is where all my books are currently being stored until my shelving is put up. The third picture is just of my reading spot along with the book I’m currently reading which is Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly.

Now, I don’t know whether or not I’ll managed to finish my aim of reading 5 books a month due to a hectic schedule and procrastinating (two things that should never go hand in hand) so I’ve been trying to come up with some tips that could potentially help myself, and whoever is reading this, to read more books. And I really should follow these if I’m going to read my goal of 30 books this year.

 

  • Read what you enjoy

This first tip is quite obvious but I think a lot of people kind of just forget about it. Reading whatever genre interests you is a great way of being able to read more as you are invested in the story and can sometimes finish the book quicker.

  • If you aren’t enjoying a book, stop reading it

If you’re reading a book and you’re not enjoying it all that much, even though it is in a genre that you love, it’s not a bad thing to stop reading it altogether. You could always come back to it if you have time later on. But this allows you more time to read more books and find something that interests you more. If you’re not enjoying the book, it could become something that you HAVE to do, almost like a chore, when reading should be a leisure hobby.

  • Set a goal and a deadline

This one seems a little too organised and makes it into a chore as well but not if you set it out beforehand and know when you want to finish the book and how many books you want to read. Otherwise it kind of just gets pushed to the back of your mind and by the time your ‘deadline’ rolls around, you may still not have finished reading it. I know I’ve been doing this with Hidden Figures so I’ve set myself a goal that by Sunday/Monday I will have finished this book.

  • Make a list of what you are going to read in advance

This is extremely helpful at finding out your reading pace as well. If you set yourself a too high limit, you can always bring it down the next month or ramp it up if you find yourself speeding through the books. It also helps because then you know the thickness of your books which also helps with setting a deadline etc.

  • If you have any spare time, use it!

This may also be an obvious one as well but if you do have spare time in the morning or on your lunch break at work/school. Or if you have free time on the weekends, pick up a book and read! Especially because I’m more tempted to go on my phone during my breaks at work but now that I’ve started taking my book, I read a couple of pages maybe even a chapter sometimes without even realising it.

  • If loud noises distract you, find a calm and quiet place to read.

This is mainly why I read in my room. Sure there are noises going on outside my room that I can still minutely hear but my room is the quietest in the house and making use of that is really helping me to read more. I find that silence helps me to delve into whatever world I’m reading about clearly and so I’m reading and before I realise, I’ve read maybe 5 or 6 chapters in one go.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s blog and I hope you find the tips useful! I’d love to know if you have any tips I could use to help read more books this year and I’d love to know if you have a special reading place that you use when you read? Let me know in the comments!

Happy reading!

~A.

Letters to My…

Hello and welcome back to another blog post! This one’s going to be a bit different and slightly book-related today.

So at the end of December, a friend of mine from work and I went to Amsterdam for 5 days/4 nights to celebrate the New Year! We did want to go to Dublin in Ireland but it worked a lot more expensive than going to Amsterdam and plus it was a very last minute decision. We decided late September/early October that we wanted to go away for the New Year and looked up Dublin and then Amsterdam. Then we found a cheap hostel to stay in and booked it then and there. I have, honestly, NEVER booked a holiday only a couple of months in advance. Ever. And it was definitely not without it’s stresses but Amsterdam is without a doubt an amazing place to go. I want to go back during Summer/early Autumn just to experience it without the cold temperature.

Although I could have done without the sea legs for two days after we got back!

Anyway, whilst we were there we went into a cute little independent shop that sold nic nac’s and I saw this book (pictured above) on one of the tables towards the front of the shop. There was a bunch of different types of these books;

Letters to My Future Self

Letters to My Friend

Letters to My Dad

Letters to My Mum 

etc…

But I found the one to my future self really interesting and I liked the whole ‘time-capsule’ kind of feel except with letters instead. So each page has a piece of paper folded up in an ‘envelope’ style where you can write what you want (with little prompts along the top to help you along a little);

I thought it was an amazing idea, especially to see how my life would turn out to be in the future (or even how my hand-writing may have changed!). There’s a lot of prompts to help as well like: ‘These are my roots…’, ‘Where I want to go…’, ‘All the things I’d like to try someday…’, ‘This is what I live for…’, ‘It was an extraordinary day…’, ‘I promise to myself…’, ‘There’s no place like home…’, ‘A pep talk for the future me…’, etc…

But it also comes with little stickers as well to seal the envelopes, you can date what date it was written and what date you would like to open it in the future. I assume most of mine or going to be maybe 5 or more years later. Just to really get a feel on how much my life has changed since now.

P1020558.JPG

It was created by the artist Lea Redmond, who has a creative workshop called Leafcutter Designs, in case any of you wanted to check her out. It’s also part of the ‘Letters to My…’ range so there’s bound to be one that you think you could use as a present or for yourself! And it only cost me €15.95 which is about £10, or $14, if you convert it. So not bad really!

I thought I would share this amazing idea with you all in case any of you are interested or looking for a personalised/touching gift for someone close to you! Or in case you quite fancy the idea of writing to yourself in the future! I know I certainly can’t wait to get started on this!

See you all on Thursday (hopefully!) and hope you enjoyed this blog post! Let me know what you think in the comments, I love to read them!

Happy reading!

~A.

Sunday Funday and New Purchases!

Hello all!

I’m back, finally, and managed to shift this bug that I’ve had for the last week that has left me practically bed-ridden! But I’m back and full of ‘umph’ to get this blog back up and running again.

So today’s blog is going to be a little update on where I’m up to in regards to my 2017 Book Challenge and some new books that I’ve recently purchased.

As some of you will already know, I finished reading ‘Dear Amy’ by Hellen Callaghan, I put up a blog post about it a couple of days ago, and moved onto ‘Hidden Figures’ by Margot Lee Shetterly and am currently still in the midst of reading that. I haven’t managed to get a lot of reading done this week mainly due to the sickness bug but I want to rectify that because I still have 3 books left for this month and only 2 weeks left to read them! My reading gear needs to shift into overdrive if I want to get this month’s reading list done!

But, without further ado, let’s get into my new purchases from this weekend. It’s a long one again because I have no self-control when it comes to books. I know, it’s a serious problem, but one that I’ll think about another day!

 

  1. War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

I didn’t actually end up getting this book from a normal book shop, which is strange given that that’s practically where I live, but we were walking around Toys R Us in the next city over from us for my nephew’s Christening presents and I thought I’d have a browse through the book section (even though it’s only kids books) and lo and behold, I came across this one. Now I remember reading this in either Year 7 or Year 8 of High School and I absolutely loved it! I used to love reading Michael Morpugo books and I remember reading another one of his books, ‘Born To Run’ about a dog. So I knew I just had to buy this one. Plus it was cheaper than what I would have paid in a bookstore so it’s a win-win!

Summary:

‘I saw the grey soldiers ahead of us raise their rifles and heard the death rattle of a machine gun…’

A powerful story of the truest of friendships in the worst of wars from the award-winning former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo.

Price I Paid: £3.99
Retail Price: £6.99

 

2. Mini Classics: The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

I was really excited when I saw these as well because we walking through yet another toy shop and I, again, was drawn towards the kids book section. These weren’t obvious at first, I was actually quite disappointed because there weren’t at lot of books to choose from in general as most of it was just nursery rhymes and books to help with reading for very younger children. Then I saw these and immediately picked them up! I’m a sucker for old stories and then I flipped through them, they are so beautifully illustrated as well (by Easter Garcia Cortés). I can’t wait to read through these books as they were part of my childhood as well. Plus, again, I saw how much it should have cost me and how much it actually cost me and it definitely was well worth it the buy!

Summary of The Jungle Book:

When the boy Mowgli is found by a wolf pack he embarks on a series of thrilling adventures with his friends and protectors Baloo the bear and Bagheera the panther. 

Summary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass:

When Alice sees a white rabbit take a watch out of its waistcoat pocket she decides to follow it, and a sequence of most unusual events is set in motion.

Summary of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz:

After a cyclone carries Dorothy far from home on the grey Kansas prairies, she is stranded in the magical and mysterious land of Oz. Here she encounters adventures and surprising characters, including the Wizard of Oz himself, as she searches for a way back home.

Summary of The Wind in the Willows:

When Mole leaves his little underground home he meets up with a water-loving Rat. Together they mess about it boats, get lost in the Wild Wood, and join Toad and Badger in the battle to take back Toad Hall.

Price I Paid: £4.99
Retail Price: £40.00

 

3. As Old As Time: A Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell

These next 3 books were bought in a bookstore this time round and I had just had to pick these up! The first is As Old As Time by Liz Braswell because the premise and the book cover really intrigued me the most. It’s a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast (who doesn’t love re-tellings!) but it’s from the perspective of what if it was Belle’s mother who cursed the Beast. That just sounds mysterious and it makes me wonder how on Earth this is going to play out! I just had to pick this one up! And just in time as well as Beauty and the Beast was just released in the cinema as well!

What I really like about this is that it is the third book of a series where Liz Braswell takes fairytales and twists them into something else. I think the other two are Aladdin and Sleeping Beauty so I’ll have to invest in those two as well and look into whether she’ll be writing anymore in the future!

Summary:

Can the enchanted rose reveal hidden truths? Could it be that Belle’s mother was the one who cursed the Beast all those years ago?

Experience the third title in a thrilling series that puts a twist in much-loved tales, exploring what would happen if key turning points did not work out as planned.

When Belle touches the enchanted rose hidden away in the Beast’s castle, memories flood her mind – memories of a mother she thought she would never see again.

And, stranger still, it seems her mother was actually the beautiful enchantress who cursed the castle and all its inhabitants.

Shocked and confused, Belle and the Beast will have to unravel the dark mystery about their families that is 21 years in the making.

Price: £7.99

 

4. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

So, so, so excited for this book! I saw it a while ago, read the blurb and the first page and knew I had to buy it but I was saving up to go to Amsterdam with my friend at the time so I couldn’t. Boo! But I was just browsing through the shelves after picking up the book above and immediately saw the green cover out the corner of my eye! I picked it up almost straight away with no second thought! It’s such an intriguing story and I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where the main character is a fanfiction writer or a twin story for that matter either so really excited to read this!

Summary:

Cath and Wren are identical twins and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She would rather bury herself in the fanfiction she writes where there’s romance far more intense than anything she’s experience in real life.

Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realising that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible…

Price: £7.99

 

5. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

This book was a bit of a guilty pleasure kind of buy because I was watching ‘Hailey in Bookland’ on YouTube again and I saw her mention this book in a couple of her videos (go check her out if you haven’t already!). I saw the cover and picked it up, knowing it’s not usually my cup of tea, and thought I’d give it a go! The synopsis and first page seem interesting enough but only time will tell I guess. Not as excited to read this but I suppose my mind will change once I start reading.

Summary:

Before the scandal, Andie had important plans. And zero of them involved walking an insane amount of dogs, being in the same house as her dad or hanging out with Clark. Now there’s a whole summer stretching out in front of Andie without a plan. And Andie always sticks to the plan.

But here’s the thing – if everything’s always mapped out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?

Price: £7.99

 

I hope you enjoyed my long blog post again and enjoyed reading through the new purchases I have bought! Let me know if any have piqued your interests or if you’ve already read them! I love to read your comments!

As always, happy reading!

~A.

Review: Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan

Hello! Bonjour! Guten Tag!

Welcome back to another blog post and this one is going to be a review of the book I finished reading on Saturday night – ‘Dear Amy’ by Helen Callaghan. I’m sorry I didn’t post this on Monday like I stated before on the other blog post and if you’ve seen my Twitter, you’ll know I currently have a viral infection that has kept me pretty much bed-ridden for the last two days but it’s up now! And I hope you enjoy!

I bought this book a while back and then recently signed up for GoodReads to keep a list of all the books I’ve read and want to read. It’s handy in that sense so it helps with my goal of at least 30 books to read this year. So far, I’ve read two! But anyway, that’s beside the point, I read the reviews of the book and a lot of people were saying it was quite slow and dragged a bit. Even my colleague at work (because I take the books with me to read on my breaks) said she’d read it and that it was very good but it was slow to start with.

I went into reading it with an open-mind because I don’t tend to let people’s judgement’s cloud mine when reading. I like to form my own opinion. I didn’t really think it was that slow to begin with, I feel like all the plot lines were very relevant to the story (even more so towards the end) but the only thing I did notice was the narrative style. It switched quite a bit between different timelines which felt a bit jumpy and a bit disorganised, that being said, I did manage to keep up with the storyline. Another thing I noticed was the use of language, it felt quite repetitive and sort of listing-ish in that, she was just listing what was happening followed by a huge bout of description with long, hauty words. It’s not a simple read, mind you.

Overall though, I did really enjoy the storyline! And totally did not see that ending coming at all (I won’t give any spoilers in case anyone did want to read it!) but when you think back to all the points/little Easter eggs hidden in there, you can kind of see that it was leading to the point all along but you never even realised. Maybe that’s just me and other people could guess what was going to happen. But I just thought it was very well thought out and very mysterious/suspenseful. 

I thoroughly did enjoy this book and gave it a 4/5 stars on GoodReads and would definitely recommend it to someone who enjoys mystery/thrillers. It definitely kept me gripped that I didn’t realise I’ve read 4 or 5 chapters until I stopped.

Hope you enjoyed my review! Let me know what you think it the comments below if you’ve already read it! Or if it’s on your ‘To Read’ list!

Happy reading!

~A.

Sunday Funday!

Welcome back to another edition of Sunday Funday!

So I’ve managed to finish reading ‘Dear Amy’ by Helen Callaghan by today so I can finally cross that off my list! Yay! And I can move onto my next challenge of the year which will be *drumroll*…

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly for challenge number 8; ‘A book that became a film’ and this book has 265 pages so I should hopefully finish that by either Wednesday/Thursday this week and get onto the next book to be read! And I’m also really excited, because if you haven’t seen on my Instagram, we visited some family today for my nephew’s Christening (I was a Godparent, it was very nerve-wrecking!) and my Grandma brought along a HUGE bag full of second-hand James Patterson novels and he is definitely one of my favourite authors so I was super excited! It’s just been a very good day indeed!

My review for ‘Dear Amy’ should be out tomorrow so be on the lookout for that as well as I don’t want to spoil anything on here about it.

 

Updated 2017 Book Challenge List;

  1. A book you read in school.
  2. A book from your childhood.
  3. A book published over 100 years ago.
  4. A book published in the last year.
  5. A non-fiction book.
  6. A book written by a female author.
  7. A book written by a male author.
  8. A book that became a film.
  9. A book published in the 20th Century.
  10. A book set in your hometown/region/country.
  11. A book with someone else’s name in the title.
  12. A book with a character with my first name.Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan
  13. A book with a number in the title.
  14. A book somebody else has recommended to you.
  15. A book with over 500 pages.
  16. A book you can finish in a day.
  17. A book that has previously been banned.
  18. A book with a one-word title.
  19. A book translated from another language.
  20. A book that will improve a specific area in your life.
  21. A book set somewhere you’ll be visiting this year.
  22. An award-winning book.
  23. A book on the New York Bestseller’s List.
  24. A book published in your birth year.
  25. A book where the main character is part of the LGBT community.
  26. A book where a character has a physical illness.
  27. A book where a character has a mental illness.
  28. A playDoctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

 

I hope you enjoyed this blog post for today and let me know any suggestions you may have for future challenges in the comments below.

As always, happy reading!

~A.