Illumicrate Unboxing – June 2018

Illumicrate 2018 unboxing

It’s time for another illumicrate unboxing! I absolutely love getting these boxes by monthly, it’s like a little present for myself and it’s not my ONLY subscription box going! So this is the June 2018 box. As always this is an unboxing so there are going to be spoilers! If you don’t want to be spoilt then pop back when you’ve seen the box yourself!

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Light Years – Kass Morgan 

Our first book this month is set in space with some forbidden love and a space boarding school. Now, this isn’t something I would pick up for myself, but I’m going to give it a flick through and give it a try, you never know! The full blurb of this is here.

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A Thousand Perfect Notes –  C.G. Drews

Now, this is much more my kind of book. Again we have another book focused on love. This time following a guy who is forced to play the piano by his violent mother, who is within touching distance of love. I’m really interested in this because of the author C.G Drews – also known as PaperFury online. I’m really looking forward to reading this one.

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Box designed by Alice Oseman (Exclusive) 

So Alice Oseman isn’t just a fantastic writer, she’s also an artist? Is there anything the amazing lady can’t do! This little lunchbox (that’s what I’m going to use it for) is adorable and I am in love with the design.

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Black Panther Inspired Book Sleeve (Exclusive)

Ok, time for a confession…I haven’t watched Black Panther. I know, I know I’m so late to the party. That said I like this, I’ve really wanted a book sleeve because I like my books being pristine. So I’m just going to have to watch it so that I can use this!

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Camp Half-Blood Pin (Exclusive), I Was Born For This Pin and Elements Page Markers (Exclusive) 

So, it seems to be a month for ‘things Chloe has never experienced’ Percy Jackson isn’t something I’ve read, it was around when I was younger but I never picked it up. That said it is a wonderfully made Pin and I love the detail. Next up a badge to promote Alice Oseman’s latest book I Was Born For This which is currently on my TBR pile and I’m really looking forward to. And then on to the Elements page markers

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How Do You Like Me Now Sample and Grey Sister Bookmark

Next up some paper goodies, a sample of Holly Bourne’s new adult novel which I actually received an early release of so I can think of someone who might like this snippet. We also had a dagger-shaped bookmark to celebrate the release of Grey Sister, a follow up to Red Sister which was a novel we received last year.

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Bookish Postcards

We also had our bookish postcards, as seen. I really likes the From Twinkle, With Love postcard, it is such a sweet quote and is making me more interested in picking up the novel when it’s released.

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Infernal Devices Cards (Exclusive) – designed by @anotherstudio_

Well, you’ve guessed it, I haven’t read the Infernal Devices series! I have no idea what’s going on this month I feel like I’m so behind with my YA reading! That said I really like these cards, they are beautifully designed and I like the artwork style.

Illumicrate 2018 unboxing

Overall

Well, this was a packed box indeed! Another box full of great quality items. Every two months when this box arrives I’m so pleased because it is always worth the money, which is important because I’ve ordered so many boxes that turned out to be tat. I will say I would have loved to have seen something Pride month related in this box with all the amazing YA out there but that’s just me!

Is there anything that has caught your eye? Or maybe you got our own Illumicrate box! Let me know in the comments below.

What I Read in May!

Another reading month been and gone! This month I managed to read a total of 8 books, which isn’t bad but is slightly less than I’ve read in previous months. Still, two a week is great and I had some cracking 5 star reads! So why not just jump right in and see what I’ve been reading this month!

I started the month by finishing an audiobook or Unbroken by Martine Wright. Martine lost both her legs in the 7/7 bombings, despite thing she went on to be one of the London 2012 Paralympians. This was such a tough but worthwhile read that got 5 stars from me and there will be a full review soon! Following this, I got my hands on the new ACOTAR novella by Sarah J Maas and it was just a nice warm story to bridge the gap towards the original trilogy and new books coming up, which I am SO excited for, this also got 5 stars a strong start.

Next up I continued my Saga journey with volume 3, so far this is my least favourite volume but it still got 4 stars because I could see why but read on for my volume 4 thoughts. I then read Orphan Monster Spy a historical fiction novel and I absolutely LOVED it. It’s about a teenage Jewish girl infiltrating a Nazi boarding school, standard. This also got a 5 star rating from me!

Next up was Light Filters In by Caroline Kaufman which I was kindly sent by the publisher. I hadn’t come across Kaufman before and liked the idea of the collection and what it had done and it was a good first collection, but not entirely to my taste so I gave it 3 stars. Next up Saga volume 4 and I loved it, it’s taken the series in a different direction that I didn’t see coming. I can’t wait to get to volume 5!

Next up I finally finished the final few chapters of With The End in Mind which is just so emotional, hence me finally reading the last few chapters this month. I loved it and gave it 5 stars, you can see what all the fuss is about here. And last but not least I got my hands on the stunning new novel by Louise O’Neill, The Surface Breaks. This is a feminist retelling of the Little Mermaid and I think I’m going to give it 4 stars because the ending was so great, there will be a full review to come!

What did you read in May? Have you read any of the books I have? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

Book Review: Everywoman – Jess Phillips

Everywoman Jess Phillips

 

A lot of people scoff at the thought of going into politics. Even more so if you’re from a less wealthy background because it’s not what someone ‘like us’ does is it? Be prepared to completely change your mind and want to start a revolution of diversity and equality and it’s all thanks to Jess Phillips.

I picked this up after watching an interview with Jess online, I finally saw someone who I could identify with who works in our government. This book is much more than politics, this is about women, empowerment and just giving things a go! Previously, Jess worked for Women’s Aid, an incredibly important charity supporting women who need help most. Some of the stories were harrowing but show the fire behind Jess’s speeches in parliament, such as those about domestic violence.

From Mum guilt to just about getting through university Jess talks about anything and everything. That said, she also touches on some heartbreaking topics. There were many moments in this book that touched me but it was the parts talking about Jo Cox that really got me. Jo Cox was an MP in the UK, a rising star in the Labour Party, Jo was murdered for doing her job and being a compassionate human. Jess was a friend of Jo’s and I can’t imagine how hard it was going through such a horrific loss.

Not only is Jess a kick-ass MP for Labour, she’s a friend, a proud Feminist, a Mum, a Wife and, by the sounds of this book, the kind of person I’d want to have as a friend. This book fell into my hands when I needed it most. I was feeling like I was struggling as a woman, I was feeling a little beaten down by the world. Then I realised I can do this because there is so much to do! It really gave me the pick me up I needed.

I’ve recommended this to almost every one of my friends because it’s the kind of book that can and will start a revolution. Of course, I gave this 5 stars, I could not stop listening to the audiobook at every opportunity I had. I’m pretty sure I’ll not only be buying this as a gift for a few people but I’ll also be listening again very soon!

What Mean Girls Taught Me

What Mean Girls Taught Me

Recently I saw one of the songs that will be in the Mean Girls musical which, should it ever come to London, I will be going to. You see Mean Girls was a huge part of growing up for me. Before Netflix (gasp) I would go to Car Boot sales and buy any and all movies that were deemed as ‘chick flicks’ and it all started off with Cady Heron.

I was in Portsmouth with my parents at the tender age of 11 when I saw this film, the cover looked cool. My Dad gave me the money, having no idea what it was about, and said to go pay. I was half terrified that they wouldn’t sell it to me because I was 11 and it was a 12. Ah, sweet, sweet innocence. But what did I learn from it…

The ‘freaks’ are the coolest people you will ever meet

I can speak as someone who used to hang out with the music/art/nerds. A lot of the time the creative people are the most welcoming and accepting, that’s what I’ve found. Just like Damien and Janice.

Stereotypes don’t have to be a thing.

Cady wasn’t one stereotype or the other. She could rock a short dress but also had a brilliant brain. She wasn’t above petty school politics, she fell right into them just like all of us did; if you say you didn’t you’re lying. People in this film made mistakes.

Changing yourself to fit in is never a good idea

Do I need to explain this one…

Don’t believe rumours

Ok, ok, we know that Coach Karr is an exception to this. The film made me realise people gossip and rumours go around. You can’t stop that. The teenage years are full of this shit so it’s best to try and ignore it. Fun fact waiting to go into my General Studies (read luck of the draw) exam I was informed that someone had been told I was pregnant with twins…news to me.

Everyone has their own shit going on

Do I think Regina George was evil? No, probably not. From Caddy’s worries that she was a ‘homeschooled jungle freak’, Janice’s tough girl attitude masking her being rejected, to Gretchen wanting to stab Ceaser. Every person in that film has their own issues, just like in real life.

I still quote Mean Girls on a regular basis even if it has been years since I’ve sat down and watched the film myself. There is just something in that film that I think anyone who has been a teenager just gets. That being a teenager isn’t sunshine and rainbows, people are shitty and school is shitty too. Oh and teenage girls can be awful to each other, truly awful.

What did Mean Girls Teach you? Let me know in the comments below and you go Glen Coco!

 

Self-Care Slip!

Ok guys, I have to make a confession. I haven’t been looking after myself. I’m not talking about a slip for a few days or a week, I’m talking about months. There’s a reason I’m telling you this because no matter how much I want everyone to take care of themselves and the fact I’ve been making sure my friends are but not doing it for myself.

It’s been a thing for a while and I’ve tried to have an ‘I’m fine, everything’s fine I don’t care’ kind of attitude, but that’s not entirely truthful. I slipped into a cloud of Anxiety, Depression and a bit of neglect. I stopped going to the gym, I worked every single hour I could on some kind of project I was involved in and my eating habits weren’t great either. The problem is I’m too stubborn to have let anyone help until I wanted them to.

So, what am I going to do about it?

I need to get back on track and I need to have a plan to do, so here it goes.

I’m going back to the gym 

I put it off, partly because I was waiting to see a specialist but also because I didn’t have the motivation. I didn’t want to go and work out because I didn’t see the point in working on my own body. But! I’ve got plans with my sister and my best friend to slowly get back into it.

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Where possible I’m not taking work home with me 

I’m the worst for this. I don’t stop thinking about work, ideas, concerns etc and I know it’s not good for me. It’s not possible every day to leave work at work but I have to think about myself and realise that I’m a person outside my job. That I need to spend time relaxing or doing things I enjoy because stressing 24/7 about small things won’t make me any better at what I do.

I need to think more about what I’m eating in a healthy way 

Sooo, yep my eating habits haven’t been great. I haven’t been planning it’s been a grab and go when I have a chance situation. Which just screams not healthy. In the past, I’ve forgotten to eat until really late and that’s just a bad idea.

I need to actually sleep 

I push myself to stay awake even when I’m super tired because I want to get things done. Even though I know I’ll feel worse for it in a few days. See I told you I was stubborn. So I’m trying to set time for myself and sleep and also have one weekend day where I have nothing planned and no alarms set where possible!

Have you got any tips or things that you need to work on yourself? I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

 

Book Review: How To Stop Time – Matt Haig

How to Stop Time - Matt Haig

When you look at Tom all you would see is a 40 something History teacher but he’s a little odd, that’s because Tom is actually 400 years old. Living for centuries can take it’s toll and lately Tom is finding it more and more difficult each day. With pressure from the secret society, created to protect people like him and increasingly falling into the past can Tom hold it together or will this push him to the edge?

This is the first novel I’ve read from Matt Haig and I’m kicking myself for waiting so long! I picked it up on offer and thought it looked interesting, a good choice. The character of Tom was fantastic and incredibly well thought out. Like the rest of us he is flawed, he’s made mistakes. We learn about times of Witch trials, adventures with Shakespeare, Fitzgerald and more. Each is woven into the novel seamlessly, I didn’t feel like I was jumping from century to century.

The idea of a secret society, of people being around us and not knowing was addictive. I couldn’t stop, I needed to reach the end and find out what was going to happen to Tom. There needed to be the element of danger I feel to really make the story stand out so the combination of the society and a certain beautiful French teacher was added perfectly.

I gave this 4.5 stars, a fantastic read that really drew me in. It’s hard to combine different time periods but Haig did it so well. The only reason I didn’t give this the full five stars is that I felt the ending as a little rushed for me. I can’t really say more than that as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone! That said, there would be a fantastic opportunity to have a sequel which I would love!

You can get your own copy of How to Stop Time here with my Amazon link!

10 to read in 2018!

Good news guys, we’re over half way through January. I don’t know if it’s just me but this month feels like it’s lasting forever! So, to banish some of the dreary days I thought about books I’ve been looking forward to reading this year!

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Bad Girls With Perfect Faces – Lyn Weingarten

I absolutely LOVED Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls some of the twists completely threw me off. When I heard that Lyn Weingarten was releasing another novel I jumped on it! You can read my review of Suicide Notes, here.

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The Curses – Laure Eve

Last year I read The Graces. This witchy, mystery YA series makes me SO EXCITED. Of course, I’ve pre-ordered the next in the series and after the end of the last novel, I can’t wait to see what this one holds.

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How Do You Like Me Now – Holly Bourne

I absolutely love Holly Bourne, The Spinster Club series was amazing so when I heard that Holly was writing an adult novel I requested it straight away. It’s also tipped to be a film already. This is going to be good.

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The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One – Amanda Lovelace

Poetry book The Princess Saves Herself in This One was great, I didn’t know that it was going to be a part of a series. The series is called Women are some kind of magic, this is going to be a great instalment and some exciting poetry!

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The Wicked + The Divine: Imperial Phase Part 2 – Kieron Gillen

Wicked + The Divine!!!!!! I love this series, it’s brilliant and strange and I get so excited about every new volume. The last one took a new turn and I can’t wait to see where it goes.

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The Red Clocks – Leni Zumas

Abortion is illegal again, IVF is banned and women’s bodies are under strict rule. This looks incredible, sign me up.

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Sleeping Beauties – Stephen and Owen King

Confession time, I have never read a Stephen King novel! It’s one of my reading goals for the year to get through at least one and see what I think and this one was the first to seem interesting to me!

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A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Maas

I have heard so much about this series and never picked it up. In the past year, I’ve tried to read a little more Fantasy. When I found it on offer I thought I might as well pick it up and give it a go.

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Some Kind of Wonderful – Giovanna Fletcher

I picked up a signed copy of Gi’s book last year and I haven’t gotten around to it. I read her non-fiction book Happy Mum, Happy Baby last year and loved it, so thought it was about time I read some of her fiction.

 

These are the 5 on my list, are any on yours? If not what are your top 5 to read this year? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

Feminist Friday with… Hazel

For my first guest post of 2018 I have Hazel from SayIDoOnABudget.com, I used to work with Hazel and would often have chats about blogging and Feminism, so it only made sense that she would guest post for me!

Are terms of endearment from strangers socially acceptable?

If you’re female – Have you ever been called any of the below terms by a male you don’t know very well or don’t know at all?

The answer is more than likely YES. How does being called these terms make you feel?

I get called these terms every single day in my job, usually (but is not limited to being), by men who are older than me. I do not like people I don’t know calling me doll, sweetheart, love or anything else similar. When I have expressed my dislike of these terms being used by people I am not familiar with to those I know, they dismiss by dismay by saying they’re “just terms of endearment” and that the person is “just being polite”.

Why I don’t want to politely accept ‘terms of endearment’ from strangers.

Saying they are just terms of endearment or someone is just being polite doesn’t make the use of these terms by strangers okay. In fact, it actually makes it worse.

Bit too far for you now? I thought you might think that, so please let me explain and you may change your mind.

What is a term of endearment anyway?

Looking at these terms from the viewpoint of the study of the English Language

The Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of ‘endearment’ is “a word or phrase expressing love or affection”.

If a stranger started talking to you by saying “Hello, I love you” you’d be quite within your right to think this person was being overly familiar and probably rather odd. So, going off the premise that a stranger cannot love us or feel affection for us, why, if a term of endearment is a term we use for people we love or feel affection for, do we feel it ok for a stranger to refer to us using them? When in fact it is overly familiar and rather odd, just as much as someone you don’t know saying they love you is.

Terms of endearment can be sexist and used in ways closer to abuse than love. This idea is not a new one, but rather one that hasn’t yet seeped into the consciousness of a large enough part of society for their use to be as abhorrent as the term ‘boy’ can be. If you’re not aware of the historical use of the term ‘boy’, especially when used by someone who is caucasian towards a black adult male then you may want to read up more on this, as me discussing this would be a whole other post!

We are still fighting for the equality of sexes today; even in the developed world we still have a long way to go. People standing up against overly familiar and sexist terms being used towards women will help in our fight to be universally viewed as equal; because the language we use is closely linked to our thoughts and feelings. Between Friends and relatives, these terms are perfectly fine, but they don’t belong in the workplace.

One of our most powerful tools in our arsenal as humans is our spoken language. One of the things we take the most meaning and understanding from is words. So let’s use them right and demand that others do not use words that diminish, or belittle women. Let’s demand that words/phrases used to push a feeling of inferiority onto women are made as shameful to use racial slurs are.

Don’t just take it from me, how about reading this article from David Shariatmadari on The Guardian about how the meaning and use of words can be changed over time, or this article by Kathryn Westcott on the BBC regarding the sexist undertones some words can carry and when it is or isn’t appropriate to use them .

What are your thoughts and feelings on these terms being used? Are there times when they are acceptable? When do you find someone referring to you in these ways as unacceptable? Have your opinions been changed slightly now?

 

Thank you so much, Hazel, for your thoughts! Remember I’m always looking for more opinions in guest posts for Feminist Fridays! Get in contact today chloefmetzger@gmail.com.

Self Doubt and Creativity

I love Sylvia Plath, back when I was at university, not knowing who I was or what I was doing (although that’s still ongoing). There is something about Plath that spoke to me in so many different ways, but there is something she knew well. The fight between self-doubt and creativity.

I’ve always found myself to be a creative person, writing stories and poems since I was small, singing, acting, dancing. When you’re young, for many there is no such thing as self-doubt, you dream and you do, that’s it. It’s only as you get older that a voice pipes up in your mind, not of hope, but of doubt.

For the past few years, I’ve had my heart set on writing a book, my laptop currently full of ideas and different starts. I have poems and song scrawled in notebooks at mine and my parents. I can’t help but have these ideas come into my head and keep going. That said, they remain unfinished and I know why. That little monster of self-doubt creeps in eventually and makes me want to get rid of it all!

With all this in mind, I want to get rid of my fear. I want to break free of my self-doubt and internal criticism. So, I’ve started just writing and not reading over it as soon as I finish. I’ve also been listening occasionally to the audiobook of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear.

How do you help yourself when it comes to self-doubt and creative fear? Let me know in the comments below.

My Health Mission

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Hello, hello, hello!

It feels like ages since I’ve written a post about health and how I’ve been getting on. Now I’ll be honest, my whole gym fitness has been awful for the past few months, truly, truly awful. I’ve neglected it and just didn’t have the energy, which I now know had a reason and after some medication, I have a lot more energy and can actually focus on getting back into it.

What’s spurred this on? I hear you ask well I had a checkup and wanted to know what I should be aiming for in terms of weight loss. I’ve known that my weight has gone up and down a lot since I broke my spine, but didn’t know what I should be aiming for. She confirmed what I knew, I was overweight.

My doctor was lovely, she knows that I struggle with exercise because of my spine and told me that under no circumstances I was to stress and beat myself up. That is was going to take me a little longer and I had to take it easy with my exercise, but that I would get there.

So I’m on a mission, not to punish my body but to try to help it and lose the weight in a way that doesn’t make me feel rubbish. I know I can do it, it just might take a little more time and a little bit of restraint.