Saturday, 24 December 2016

Blogmas Day 24 // Feminist Lit // Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein

It's the last day of Blogmas! I would like to say that I consider this endeavour to be quite successful. I had a tiny slip up when I forgot about Day 22 but I'll still have 24 blog posts by the end of this and I'm rather pleased. Hopefully this will encourage me to keep up with blogging in the new year, especially as it's one of my targets to upload at least three posts every month in 2017. I hope you've enjoyed reading my Blogmas posts everyday this month and I will see you in January!

For today's FemLit upload I'll be reviewing/discussing Peggery Orenstein's Girls & Sex. I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway and picked it up quite quickly after receiving it. Essentially, in this book Orenstein interviews American girls about their experience with sex and has compiled it into this volume where she discusses the problems or issues that the girls came up with regularly. I think this book was really interesting and I definitely feel like it was worth the read, I believe I gave it 3 or 4 stars.

The main problem I had with this book was that although titled Girls & Sex, it only focused on American girls. Indeed, Orenstein included a range of white, black, latino, straight, gay, bi girls within the book, but they were all American. I was hoping for a more global approach to the topic. However, I understand that to cover the whole globe in one book is a lot of work and would've probably resulted in a much larger book that may have been a bit denser to read.

Other than that slight issue, I thought this book was well executed. Most of it was made from anecdotes from the girls and it was interesting to hear them explore their sexual experiences and decipher whether their experiences were sexist or non-consensual. One of my favourite sections was the chapter focused on aural sex and the standard that a blow job is nothing compared to going down on a girl. Many of the girls said that the blow job is the new third base which surprised me, slightly, and I think that if this was compared to other countries we could see how far this idea has spread. I found this interesting, particularly as we see interacting with women's genitals to be much more intimate than a man's. I'm not too sure what to make of that.

Some of it was quite hard to read as this book does contain issues such as rape and other forms of sexual harassment. Although difficult to read, this was still important and Orenstein initiated a great discussion on what needs to be done about the rape issue - whether it's alcohol consumption of both parties or solely to do with social standards and behaviour.

I think this book was important and quite a good information base for what really happens with university sex. Another good element is that Orenstein is quite neutral throughout this book. She lays the facts out and rarely gives a strong opinion regarding the facts. Sometimes this infuriated me because after hearing a terrible story you'd want her to rant it out, but this book has self-control and I think it made it much more cohesive than being biased with opinion. It made the book a lot more factual than opinionated which probably gives it more weight if you want to use it academically.

Definitely would recommend. Please check it out.

Happy reading,
Amelia x

Friday, 23 December 2016

Blogmas Day 23 // Cosy Reads

For today's actual post I thought I'd recommend you some nice cosy books to read as in the northern hemisphere it's rather chilly and whenever it's cold I like to snuggle up with some tea and a good book. I have four books you may want to pick up in this colder weather, hope you enjoy!

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
This is probably considered a modern classic by now, and I know that it is extremely popular, which is one of the reasons this book is so warm.You really get that sense of being part of the book community which always makes me feel warm inside because books. I also think that Northern Lights has a really wonderful atmosphere and Pullman's writing is so wonderful to follow. We only stay in Oxford for a short amount of time, but that environment of a well to-do university adds to that warmth because of the musk of it all. Whilst Lyra's travelling we also get a whole range of great characters who also feel quite homely.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Although reading about a competition that involves mass murder isn't typically considered to be all that cosy, THG does have some cosy qualities. I always associate this book to my friends and getting together with them for sleepovers and cinema trips. This book played such an important role in helping to define my reading style that it brings this sense of home and it's always good to go back to your roots when it comes to books. I haven't reread this series in a while, so I think I may have to pick them up again and then have a good old movie marathon. Nothing beats the feeling of friendship these books bring.

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

Anne Shirley is one of the most exuberant protagonists you'll ever find in a book and she is the perfect person to curl up with on a wintery evening. The setting of Prince Edward Island also adds that extra sense of everyone really loving each other, and it truly feels like a close-knit community where everyone gets along. Anne's adventures are fun, bright and funny which makes them perfect for when you need to bring a little more colour into your life and need a little warming up. The friendship between Anne and Diana is so perfect and will remind you of your own childhood, probably and the fun you used to have.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

There is something so pure and warm about Rowell's books that I think each of them is a hug in a book. From emergency dance parties to reading aloud, Fangirl is the epitome of a cosy read - especially when it takes place in the autumn when everything is so fantastic in shades of brown. It's really a time when the world is in change and new things begin. Like school, but we won't dwell on the negatives. Cath truly does embody so many elements of the typical fangirl and even if you can't relate to her character 100% you'll still see part of yourself in her, I'm sure. If you've been through university I'm sure this will hold more nostalgia for you than it did for me, but either way, you'll love it.

There you have it! Four cosy reads to get you through the cold weather and into spring! I hope you decide to pick some of them up and I can't wait to hear what you think of them.

Happy reading,
Amelia x

Blogmas Day 22 (or Day 23 part 1) // Favourite Taylor Award Show Outfits

Oh, dear. It seems we've had a bit of a mishap. I was doing so well! And then I forgot to pre-write some more posts and I was busy for all of yesterday and then too tired to write a post. Terrible, terrible. I know, I've let the side down. But, here I am again, making up for it with two blog posts in one day! What! Without further ado, here's my top 5 award show outfits Taylor Swift has worn over the years.

2015 Grammys
2015 BRITS
2014 ACM Awards

2012 BBC Radio 1 Choice Awards
2013 CMA Awards

I hope you liked the five outfits I picked out, hopefully all the years are correct! If you have any favourite outfits Taylor has worn to award shows, I'd love to hear about them in the comments!
Happy reading,
Amelia x

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Blogmas Day 21 // T5W - Fictional items to give as gifts!

It's the last T5W of Blogmas! I've really loved taking part in T5W when I can and I hope that if I can keep to my schedule then I'll keep posting them on the weekly. As always, T5W is hosted by Sam at ThoughtsOnTomes and you can find the Goodreads group very easily. Without further ado, let's get into it!

5. Mockingjay Pin from The Hunger Games
This pin is a symbol of hope against fear and represents fighting for what you believe in. I'd give this to anyone I thought needed a little more activism in their lives or is already fighting for a good cause.

4. Alethiometer from His Dark Materials
I think this would be a great gift to give to anyone who is feeling a little unsure of themselves or needs an extra boost. Also great for anyone who is confused and needs help in understanding what's going on. This would be great to get out at parties as well.

3. Flying sneakers from Percy Jackson
If there's anyone sporty in your life I think this would make a great gift. Not only will it be a great pair of shoes for them to go out running in, but it also gives them the chance to fly! I would probably only give these to someone with decent coordination, though - could be messy otherwise.

2. Dragon egg from A Song of Ice and Fire
I would only give a dragon egg to someone I completely trust, but even if they don't have Blood of the Dragon and can't hatch it, it will be a beautiful piece of home decor. I'm sure an unhatched dragon egg could really lighten up a room and the person you're giving it to will get asked loads of interesting questions.

1. A wand from Harry Potter
I am fully aware that the wand chooses you and you don't get to pick it. But, wouldn't it be so wonderful to give someone you really care about a wand? You could pick which elements to build it from and make sure it fits them perfectly. It could be kind of like the wizard equivalent of a personalised mug. Kinda?

There's my top 5 for this week! If you've done it yourself, leave a link in the comments for me to check it out!

Happy reading,
Amelia x

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Blogmas Day 20 // Christmas Baking

Orginally, this was going to be a really cute post with pictures of all the different Christmassy things I'd cooked recently. However, there's a slight problem with that as I haven't baked anything this month. Oh well.

Instead I thought I would tell you the top three Christmas goods to bake and hopefully I'll get round to baking some soon!

Is it even Christmas if you aren't baking gingerbread? This one is a classic staple during the holiday season and I can't wait to see all the different houses that are going to be constructed! I think that this treat is perfect to share with friends and family because not only do you bake it together, but you also get to decorate and build together. If that isn't teamwork, I don't know what is! The spices are so warm and toasty whilst still being sweet enough to keep you coming back for more. Now, I'm getting peckish for gingerbread, might have to go bake some now...

Chai Tea Cookies
Ever since Taylor Swift posted the recipe she used for Chai tea cookies, I have been baking them. We especially bought a box of vanilla Chai tea just to be used in these cookies and I have to say, they don't disappoint! They don't taste overly strongly of tea, but have that nice spiced quality that is almost similar to the gingerbread I was talking about earlier. Tay also paired her cookies with eggnog icing which I, of course, decided I would try as well. The first batch I made went without icing and tasted fine, but the icing really does add a little extra sweetness. The tea flavour itself isn't overly sweet so the sugar in the icing helps to balance it out. These are probably my favourite Christmas cookie.

Cheesy Trees
You might not know it, but cheesy scones cut into the shape of Christmas trees or over festive shapes are delicious. You can always add extra things like pepperoni or ham or peppers to add a little more flavour or substance. Personally, I think the original cheese is the best. They're best served warm and gooey, straight from the oven and into your eager mouth. When they're cooked to a gorgeous golden brown, it doesn't matter that they aren't a traditionally Christmas flavoured treat, and they look great with a spread of food in the evening of Christmas day.

Honestly, writing this is making me so hungry and I really have that baking buzz. Hopefully, I'll be able to bake something soon! Have a lovely day everyone.

Happy reading,
Amelia x

Monday, 19 December 2016

Blogmas Day 19 // Currently Reading

I wasn't too sure what to post for today, so I thought I'd go back to basics and give you an update on what I'm currently reading at the moment.

The only book I'm reading at the moment for recreational reasons is Lena Dunham's Not That Kind of Girl. I know there's been some controversy surrounding this book and although I don't agree with everything Lena says, I am actually enjoying it. I'm reading it on Kindle which is a bit of a pain because she's included quite a few footnotes which you have to keep clicking on and that kind of disrupts the reading flow a little.

I think I'm about a third of the way through and I've just started the second section about body. Lena's got a really great voice when it comes to this book and it does feel like a casual conversation between the pair of you. However, in the body section she included around a week's worth of food diaries to showcase her attitude to dieting etc. and it just felt completely unnecessary. Quite honestly, I got a little bored and skipped past the last four days. I didn't really care whether she'd eaten a quarter of a peach at 11pm or not. Other than that though, I do like it and I'm looking forward to continuing.

Whilst I'm not currently reading any novels cover to cover, I am dipping in and out of textbooks. The little poetry guide I have for my English Lit course is really handy and has been helping me to add to my notes. We haven't written a practice poetry question yet, so I'm relying quite heavily on my notes so that I know these poems well enough to discuss one in the mock.

I am planning on picking up Wild Swans  by Jung Chang soon. I borrowed it from my history teacher with the intention of reading it over the Christmas holidays to give me some more inside knowledge for when we come back. It is a little chunky, but I've heard that Chang has an easy writing style so hopefully I can fly through most of it!

That's my reading plans for the next week, I think. Tell me about your reading plans below!

Happy reading,
Amelia x

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Blogmas Day 18 // Notebook Flick Through

I'm sure you're all aware of the sudden hype for bullet journals, and although I'm not entirely convinced by them I do have a notebook that I like to organise via lists and symbols. I started this maybe summer last year and I've continued using it ever since. It's a great place to put down information for movies I want to watch, books I liked and songs I want to hear on repeat. Today, I thought I'd share a few of my favourite pages with you!

First things first, let's have a look at the cover. I found this little green paper notebook in Asda in 2015 and I was drawn to the practicality of its size and lack of a serious spine. It's held together by two staples. It has broken and I've had to fix it up with some tape, but it still does the job and I like how it looks.

One of the first set of pages in my notebook is a list of movies that I want to see. Most of them are old classics or have a certain actor who I want to see all of their work. I don't put new releases on there, really, otherwise the list would be endless! I think I might make a new updated list when I've watched a few more!

I'm sure some of you will remember the failure that was my Book Bucket List for the year. Well, when I first came up with it I wrote it out all pretty-like in my notebook. It's just a shame that hardly any of those boxes are ticked...oops.

The next of my favourite pages is the challenges for the Summer BTAT hosted by Ariel Bissett. I think this layout worked out pretty well for the challenges and it was pretty easy to just tick each book off once I'd finished it. I'm really looking forward to the Holiday BTAT and I think I might post a TBR on here at some point.

So far there's been books and movies, the only thing missing is TV! It's always so fun to watch TV shows, but as I don't have Netflix it's sometimes a little bit difficult to watch the shows that everyone is talking about. I decided to make a list of all the shows I watch and want to watch so that I have one Master List of TV to refer to. It does make things a little easier when deciding what to watch!

Unfortunately, it can't all be fun and games and I do have homework lists in here for the holidays. When you're doing AS levels you tend to get quite a bit of work to do over the holidays. Half term was pretty hectic in terms of reading, but for Christmas we have mocks in January so it's going to be revise! revise! revise! from right now.

Finally, the most topical page at the moment, is my plans for Blogmas! I've planned out each and every day so that the different types of posts are evenly distributed throughout the month. It was so much fun to plan! There were post it notes with ideas, scattered around my desk as I tried to formulate them into an order until I collected them all together in this one list in my notebook.

That's my notebook, for you! I hope you enjoyed having a sneak peek into my journalling style and I'm hoping to improve on it as the years continue. Do you have a journal/notebook?

Happy reading,
Amelia x

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Blogmas Day 17 // Feminist Lit // TBR

Hello and good morning/afternoon/evening! By the time you'll be reading this I'll have seen Rogue One! But, as I'm pre-writing, you'll have to wait to hear what I thought of it. I really hope I like it!

I wanted to continue with the theme of feminist lit but instead of telling you about a book I've read, I thought it would be interesting to discuss some books that I'd like to read. Unfortunately my FemLit shelf is looking a little empty as I don't really own that many feminist books as this was a reasonably new awakening for me, but I hope that in 2017 onward I'll be picking up more FemLit - whether that's from the shop or library waits to be seen!

Currently, there are two books on my shelf that I want to get to in terms of FemLit. The first of those is Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own which is all about women needing their own space to be able to work efficiently. I haven't read any Woolf yet, but I'm trying to find a time when I can sit down and read it in one sitting. I've heard from a couple of people that it's best to do that.

The other book currently sitting on my shelf is No Surrender by Constance Maud. This is the only book from the Persephone bookshop that I own (although I'd love to collect more) and its end papers are decorated in Suffragette colours. I have a feeling that this one might take me a little while to get through and I'm unsure whether it will be to my liking. But hey, I've got to give it a go!

So those are the books that I currently own and want to read, but now it's time to have a little look at the books I'm looking at either purchasing or borrowing in the relatively new future.

The first of these is Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates. There's a copy of this in the school library (which I'm so impressed with considering it's an all boys school) and I would like to take it out. The first time I heard about this book was years ago when someone mentioned the project online, it's been on my radar ever since and I can't believe I haven't read it yet! I'm pretty sure this will be an eye-opening read and remind me of why I'm a feminist and that the little things do matter.

The other book I'd like to look at reading is I Call Myself A Feminist which is a collection of 25 essays from different women. Hopefully, the women who wrote these essays come from a range of backgrounds and I'll get a really well-rounded sense of the issues. If it isn't as diverse as I'd like, then I'll make sure that this will be a key thing that I'll look out for in future reading of FemLit.

I hope you've enjoyed this little look into my feminist TBR and who knows, maybe you'll see a review for one of them soon enough! If you have any recommendations or have read any of the books yourself, I'd really enjoy hearing your views and opinions in the comments below.

Happy reading,
Amelia x

Friday, 16 December 2016

Blogmas Day 16 // Revision Techniques >>> Mind Maps!

One of my personal favourite revision materials is the classic mind map. This year my English teachers seem to be a little obsessed with them, so I am getting a little sick of them but they still remain a firm favourite.

The main reason mind maps are so useful is that it's very easy to go back to them and extend ideas by adding more arrows. This means you get to create a large communion of ideas that are fully developed and will lend to a really great answer to your essay questions. Not only can you extend your ideas, but you can also link the different branches. I know that a lot of the assessment objectives include linking ideas so I think this is an extra helpful addition to your revision materials!

The other great thing about mind maps is that it's very easy to break information down into separate branches whilst still being able to view the topic as a whole. This way you don't have to be concerned as to whether you've lost different sheets with different sections on as you have it all in one place. Honestly, mind maps help me to stay organised and they have many different uses.

Finally, the best thing about mind maps is that you get to use colour! My favourite thing about revision is using coloured pens and highlighters to make everything look pretty and stand out. It's always a good idea to make a key so you can group together causes, effects, key terms and interesting facts. This is great for when you start to prepare essay examples and need to plan out answers. You just have to pick out the relevant information for your question!

I'd always recommend using a mind map when you have a more substantial topic or are analysing quotes. I know that I've been using them a lot for English lit (not just due to my teachers!) and I really found it helpful to break down each chapter of The Great Gatsby and look at the key quotes and analyse them in depth. During the holidays I'm going to make some for RS as well to help me out with revision for that also!

Do you use mind maps? What are your top tips for using mind maps?

Happy reading,
Amelia x

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Blogmas Day 15 // What makes a good secret Santa

It may a little bit late if you haven't bought your secret Santa a gift yet but I thought I would have a little discussion today about what makes the best type of secret Santa. In my opinion there are three types of gift you can get your secret Santa that really stand out for me so I'm going to run you through each of those!

Gift Idea #1 : Be silly :P
If you're doing a SS with a group of friends or just your work crowd buying a silly present is always a great idea. There are great options available including: novelty golf balls, light up hats, funny glasses and the list continues! This type of gift is perfect when you don't know the person well enough to get them something personal but want your gift to be remembered when you talk about them all at work or school. Another reason getting a silly gift for your SS is great is that it will help to cheer them up when the Christmas season hits them hard and they realise they haven't written any cards or wrapped any presents yet! Everyone needs a good laugh now and then.

Gift Idea #2 : Be thoughtful
You know that moment you pull a name out of the hat and realise that it's someone you actually care about? Yeah, me too - it really helps when you have to buy a gift for them! If you're lucky enough to get someone good for your SS then it should be even easier for you to get them a good gift. When you know them really well, I'd always recommend going down the more thoughtful or personal route with gifts. Maybe make them a scrapbook. bake them something or put together a box so that you can have a movie night in with them come new year. Once you know their interests, your options are limitless and it'll make it so much easier to buy!

Gift Idea #3 : Be generic
If I'm completely honest, I don't often engage in a secret Santa and not expect to get some sort of soap or shower gel out of it. How else do you think I stay clean? Buy it myself? The generic gift for any female would be a gift from the Body Shop or another brand that sells cutely packaged wash stuff. There's no shame with going generic, it works for a reason. If you're shopping for a male then I think Lynx is often quite popular and if not, there's always socks. You can never go wrong with socks.

I hope this quick and easy little guide has helped you out in your last minute gift buying. I'd love to hear any suggestions you may have!

Happy reading,
Amelia x

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Blogmas Day 14 // T5W - Series that get worse by book

A very merry Christmas to you on this grand old day in December! For this week's T5W I'll be sharing the series I think that get worse as they progress. There's a little problem, nothing major except that I don't have five series to talk about. I only have four. I guess this just means that I read a lot of great books and haven't been too disappointed yet! Shall we begin?

4. Divergent by Veronica Roth
When I first read this series I actually really enjoyed both Divergent and Insurgent which isn't always the popular view. Many people hate on Insurgent for having second book slump but I remember really liking the story as I was reading it. Good things don't always last, however, and I found Allegiant to be a bit of a let down. There was nothing wrong with the events that took place, but I felt that the characters reacted poorly and it made the last section of the book drag. Also, that dodgy dual PoV was not enjoyable to read.

3. The Maze Runner by James Dashner
I wasn't a fan of this series from the get go and I have to say it was hard to put up with the characters for the whole trilogy. To be honest, I think I only persevered because I thought it may get better at the end. It didn't. The ending was boring and way too convenient considering all the trials and tribulations the characters had gone through. I just wasn't happy. It may have been a while since I read them, but I'm pretty sure there was an unnecessary love triangle thrown in there as well. Why do that?

2. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
It feels silly to have a list of series that get worse without mentioning the disaster that was Go Set A Watchman. TKAM was an absolutely beautiful novel and is my favourite stand-alone of all time. Why was there a need to publish the sequel that so many publishers turned down? It wasn't published for a reason, and I get a little upset when I think about it. Atticus Finch was a hero in TKAM but in GSAW we see that he's no better than the rest of the town. It broke my heart. I have to say that Lee's morals come through wonderfully in both books despite this.

1. The Cousins' War by Philippa Gregory
I didn't read this series in publication order so my opinion of it getting worse by book is a reflection on the order I read them in and I'm sure I may have had a different opinion if I'd read them in the publication order. I started with The Kingmaker's Daughter which is my favourite of the three I've read so far and finished with The Red Queen having read The White Queen between them. The problem with this series is that you are essentially being told the same story three times from each woman's perspective. I think this was an interesting view to take but due to their strong opinions of each other it's difficult to like the other women when reading their books.

There's my top 4 Wednesday (I feel like I'm breaking all the rules) and I'm looking forward to next week's topic which will be a lot of fun to write! Hope you have a lovely day

Happy reading,
Amelia x

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Blogmas Day 13 // My favourite Taylor Swift music videos

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that one of my favourite ladies in the spotlight is none other than Taylor Swift. I admit that she isn't perfect and that some of the things she does is problematic (including being a white feminist) but for the majority of the time the things she does fills me with joy. So, on this very special day that is her 27th birthday, I thought I would bring you my favourite music videos from each of her five albums. Hope you enjoy!

Taylor Swift (eponymous) - Teardrops on My Guitar
Even before I was a fan of hers, this was one of my favourite music videos. The school setting works perfectly in telling the story of young love and I think they really used it to their advantage. I believe this was only her second music video and you can tell it was in the early days of her career from how beautifully curly her hair is. It looks adorable! Finally, the sea foam dress that is everything in this music video. Honestly, I think that may still be one of my favourite things that she's ever worn.

Fearless - White Horse
Not only is this a very emotional song, but it's also a tragically beautiful video. I really love how everything in this video is quite grey as if it's constantly raining and I like that idea of pathetic fallacy. This is probably one of Taylor's most raw music videos and I think it's so well done and I love it. The flashbacks to when the couple were together are adorable. One complaint though, is that in a behind-the-scenes clip Taylor said that she was the "other woman" in the relationship and I'm not too sure that it came across very clearly when watching it.

Speak Now - Mean
This video is iconic in so many ways. First of all, the banjo is probably my favourite instrument that Taylor plays and I love that we get to see it so prominently in this video. Next is the three young actors and how you get to see them go from being bullied to being successful. It's really rather inspiring. My final favourite part of this video is the transformation from run-down country girl to  flapper singing on Broadway. This video has an amazing aesthetic and I really love how each element in it is all woven together so well.

Red - Begin Again
To me, Begin Again kind of marks the beginning of the 1989 era and I love the peaceful nature of it, but the thing that makes me adore this song so much is the music video that accompanies it. The Parisian vibe that this one gives off is so cool and atmospheric that I don't think you can help but to feel sucked into this little love story. Also, how can you not love the rooftop scenes? The fact that Taylor is wearing such a beautiful lilac dress and dancing around on the roofs of Paris is enough to make anyone jealous. Seriously, get yourself a job that allows you to dance on rooftops.

1989 - Wildest Dreams
The whole 1989 album had such wonderful and completely different videos that it was quite hard to pick a favourite, but I have to say that my all time favourite has got to be Wildest Dreams. The setting of a 1950s film set is so hopelessly romantic and the whole idea of Hollywood in the Golden Era just has this wonderful quality to it. I really do think that the story of the video fits very well with the song and I really enjoy all the videos Taylor made with Joseph Kahn for this album. One last thing, the fact that this video helps protect animals as well is also pretty swell.

There you have it, my favourite video from each of the five studio albums. Wishing a happy 27th birthday to the one and only Taylor Swift.

Have a lovely day and happy reading!
Amelia x

Monday, 12 December 2016

Blogmas Day 12 // Grisha Trilogy Fan Cast

When I read the Grisha trilogy in the summer I thought it would be super fun to do a fan cast for it. I never usually do things like this and it was quite unusual for me, actually. Usually the way I imagine the characters, they look nothing like any celebrities or famous people so I don't often have enough people to cast as the characters. But for today I do! Here it is!

Rooney Mara as Alina

Scott Eastwood as Mal

Colin Morgan as The Darkling

Jamie Chung as Tamar

Elijah Wood as Nikolai

Viola Davis as Bagrah

Anthony Mackie as Botkin

Freddie Highmore as David

Bella Thorne as Genya

Damian Lewis as Harshaw

Woody Harrelson as the king

Anne-Marie Duff as the queen

Saoirse Ronan as Nadia

Rowan Atkinson as the Apparat

Kerry Washington as Zoya

So there's my fancast! I hope you liked it and don't forget to tell me who you think should play these characters in the comments!

Happy reading,
Amelia x

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Blogmas Day 11 // Why I buy eBooks

Ever since buying my kindle last year, I've constantly been buying eBooks to fill up the virtual shelves. However, as they're essentially just a glorified PDF, I try to make sure to spend no more than £2 per book. If they're more expensive I tend to just buy the physical edition instead. Enough of that though, I'm here to tell you about why I buy eBooks - not the process behind it!

One of the first reasons I buy eBooks is that it encourages me to use the library. This may seem slightly unusual, but I often end up buying the first book of a series on Kindle and then borrowing the sequels from the library. After all, I don't want to just own the second and third books in series if I can't display the first. This has meant that I've been using the library more which is always a good thing, and I don't have to spend as much on books! Honestly, after finding out about the online reservation system they have, my life changed completely. Really, I'm buying eBooks to help support the libraries and to save a little bit of money.

The next reason I buy eBooks is because I'm trying to become less materialistic. When it comes to books, I often have a serious idea of whether I'm going to get a physical paperback or just the eBook. But, the daily deals that Amazon have on their eBooks means that I start favouring saving money over a pretty cover and spine. Obviously, I'm never going to stop buying physical books and I love having full shelves, but I also like being practical and making the best decision for the prices at the time.

Probably the last reason I buy eBooks is practicality. When you go on holiday for two weeks and only have enough room in your bag for three paperbacks, you tend to be in a bit of a pickle. So why not buy some eBooks so you can read them anywhere, anytime? I worked my way through about 5 books whilst in Spain this summer, and I'm so happy I didn't have to lug them all around with me! I often find myself bringing my Kindle when I stay places overnight or am just going away for the weekend. It's so much more practical and you don't have to worry about bending the pages or creasing the cover.

All in all, I have to say that I'm quite converted to buying eBooks and I really love reading them. I know that I'll never give up physical books completely (how could I?) but I definitely want to be able to read in the most places possible. eBooks give me the opportunity to do that. Who knows, maybe next year I'll be raving about audiobooks! I have to say, I'm still not quite sold on them just yet.

I'll leave you and love you,
Happy reading,
Amelia x

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Blogmas Day 10 // Feminist Lit // The Spinster Club

The very first feminist book I ever willingly read was Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne. It changed my life. Seriously. I don't think I'd be the feminist I am today or have the beliefs I do if it hadn't been for this wonderful trilogy.

Originally, this was going to be a review, but really all I want to do is gush about this series so that's what I'm going to do.

My favourite thing about this trilogy is the way it connected me to other people. I first heard about Normal when I went to friend's house to meet one of her other friends. Our mutual friend had been planning for us to meet as we all discussed feminism and how to destroy the patriarchy and she thought it would be wonderful for us to meet. We had a lovely evening filled with cookies, discussion and movies. As I left, my new friend thrust Am I Normal Yet? into my hands and told me I needed to read it. I did and loved it. Weeks after giving it back, I'd bought my own copy and went to listen to Holly Bourne speak at a little event in London. It was wonderful and I got my book signed and I couldn't wait for the sequel.

Am I Normal Yet? follows Evie who is recovering from OCD as she starts sixth form and makes new friends in Lottie and Amber. Together they form a Spinster Club where they meet up and discuss feminism. It's a wonderful book and each of the sequels follows a different girl. In How Hard Can Love Be? we see Amber travel to America and deal with her family problems. The final book in the trilogy, What's a Girl Gotta Do? follows Lottie's #vagilante project where she has to call out every instance of sexism that she sees. There's also a novella called ...And a Happy New Year? which I haven't read yet, but I'm absolutely desperate to! Well, I'm also scared as I'm so not ready to say goodbye to these girls yet.

These books are so easily accessible to young people and the bright covers will surely draw you in. In fact, I think this might be a great place to start if you want to find out about feminism and get involved with fighting for equality. I believe What's A Girl Gotta Do? has also been nominated for the Carnegie medal and I'm really hoping it'll be shortlisted and more people will be encouraged to read this fantastic series!

I don't know what you're still doing here, go read this awesome trilogy right now! If you've already read these books, let me know in the comments what you thought of them so we can have a little discussion!

Happy reading,
Amelia x

Friday, 9 December 2016

Blogmas Day 9 // Reading Journal Guide

As much as I love cataloguing books on Goodreads, I also like having a physical record of my reading progress throughout the year. For 2017 I decided to create my very own reading journal using an old exercise book I'd never used. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out, and I have a feeling that I'll be adding even more pages and ideas to it as the year progresses. But, I thought I'd share what I currently have with you so far! Feel free to use any of the ideas I have in my journal, but I'd super appreciate it that if you do share images of it around that you credit me. Shall we have a look then?

The most important (I'm joking) part of the journal is the cover. I made a little panel to write 2017 Reading Journal in and then I doodled all over the cover to give it a what-I-call AMAZING design. Again, joking. I really like the hand doodled covers that are quite fashionable at the moment so I decided to do my own. It's not quite as neat as I'd like it, but I think it looks quite cute and it's too late to do something different now!

I thought the easiest way to keep track of the books I have to read in the journal (along with the list which I showcased in a previous post) so I copied up my TBR list to the front couple pages. I made sure to leave room for all the other books I'm sure to purchase throughout the year! This is one of my favourite parts of the journal, mainly because it's the only bit that I was able to fully fill out at the moment, but also because it just gets me so excited for all the books I have to read!

Just as I've done this year, I created another Book Bucket List. But for 2017 I've been a little less ambitious. These are the books that I really must pick up in 2017. Some of them are the same as my T5W with good reason! I also want to take part in the classics challenge where you read a classic every month of the year. I've been saving some of mine up to ensure that I can complete it in 2017! Some of the books I have lined up include: No Surrender, Alice in Wonderland, 1984 and Mrs Dalloway. I really would like to read some more classics next year.

I don't participate in many read-a-thons but I thought I should dedicate a few pages to them so I can write out challenges, TBRs and dates when I do. Like, I'll definitely be participating in BookTubeAThon again!

The next section is all about book events, I'd really like to go to YALC again in 2017 and I'm hoping to hit up some other excellent signings and things in the new year. This will be a great place to write them all down and remember all the great things that happened!

As a booklover I always buy too many books and I thought it would be interesting to keep track of the books I buy and how much I'm actually spending on them. I haven't done this in previous years so I'll be interested to get 2017 as a base year and see whether I think I'm spending an acceptable amount or not!

Finally, I like to keep track of a few stats and facts about what I'm reading so I thought a simple monthly stats page would be really practical for keeping track of all the different things that might be interesting.

How are you going to keep track of your reading in 2017? What do you think about keeping a reading journal?

Happy reading,
Amelia x