Pride Pledge

My Pride Pledge 2018

Hello, my lovely, lovely readers!

Now, I’m a big supporter of Pride as you know and recently I wrote my Pride Flag Book Tag and as much as I enjoyed it I realised something. While I was scanning my shelves and my Goodreads I was disappointed in the lack of novels that featured an open LGBTQ protagonist. There were some with those who hadn’t come out or side characters but that was it.

I completely understand and enjoy reading coming out novels but I wanted to read a few novels where it’s not the main point of the story. Where a character simply is LGBT and that’s not a huge thing.  So, this year I pledge to read more LGBT books, fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels.

I’ve read a lot of non-fiction about Trans women, a few of the most popular novels with an LGBT main character such as Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, etc but I’m not stopping there!

So, I’m trying to change that, I’ve ordered All Out and I’ll Give You the Sun. I have a long list of recommendations such as

  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  • The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Autoboyography by Kristina Lauren
  • Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
  • Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera
  • Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
  • The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding
  • We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
  • Bingo Lover by Tee Franklin
  • Chord by Chelsea M Cameron
  • Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt
  • Nevada by Imogen Binnie

While this is a decent sized list I, of course, want all of your recommendations as to what I should read! Have you got any favourites that aren’t on this list? Please do let me know in the comments below, add me on Goodreads  or follow me on Twitter. I’d love to hear from you!

 

Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury

“To the stars who listen—and the dreams that are answered.”

Note: This will include spoilers of the first novel in the series, A Court of Thorns and Roses, you can read my review here. If you haven’t read the first in the series and then pop back!

When we left Feyre at the end of A Court of Thorns and Roses, she had defeated Amarantha, endured torture, died and been brought back to life as High Fae with a human heart. She left with Tamlin for their life together in the Spring Court. Ah, the happy ending. Or is it? Feyre’s promise to Rhysand hasn’t been forgotten and it might just come back to haunt her.

Wow, wow, wow. I thought I loved ACOTAR but then Mist and Fury came along. This was an incredible novel and I couldn’t put it down. This was so rich in character development and didn’t go at all where I thought it would. The whole novel is full of incredible twists and turns. I was actually reading along with a friend and we were constantly messaging each other when one or the other caught up.

This goes further than the typical ‘they all lived happily ever after’. Don’t forget Feyre had to kill to free the Fae people and that would scar anyone. Combine that with trying to cope with her new life, her ties to Rhysand and her new role within the Spring Court and it’s so interesting to see her process that.

I gave this 5 stars and jump to future me, it’s my favourite in the entire series. It’s got so much detail, world building and I’m struggling to put into words how much I love it without any spoilers. Sarah J Mass is an incredible writer and captures your imagination in such a brilliant way.

Have you read any of the ACOTAR series? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

Pride Flag Book Tag!

It’s June which means it’s Pride month, I obviously wasn’t going to miss a chance to post about Pride! One of my closest friends is part of the LGBTQ community, I wrote an open letter about them coming out here. So I celebrate pride and I celebrate hard for all the wonderful people I know! So this tag that I watched on Books with Chloe seemed perfect (original creator Common Spence)! As always if you want to do this tag go ahead and make sure you let me know! So here we go!

1. Red (Life) – A book with a spirited protagonist totally proud of who they are. Someone who gives you LIFE

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I went slightly off here by choosing a non-fiction book. I also realised I need to read a lot more novels with LGBTQ protagonists. I adore Melanie Murphey and her book talks openly about her life as a Bisexual woman (and even has merch with the bisexual flag). She is confident, sure of herself and takes no prisoners. You can read my review here and catch her channel here.

2. Orange (Healing) – A book that made you, as the reader, find a deeper meaning or catharsis in your own life

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This is one of my favourite books of all time. I read it at 17 and I think it was one of the first books I read with the protagonist having a lesbian experience. This novel sparked a love for looking at the treatment of women, which went on to take over my degree once I got to university. I started looking at myself and the world around me. It made me re-evaluate a lot  in terms of myself too just before I went to university.

3. Yellow (Sunshine) – A book that fills you with so much joy it could brighten even your darkest day

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This might seem like an odd choice for some but the friendship in this was amazing, the resolution makes my heart happy and just the journey that they go on together. One of my best friends is gay, a lot of people used to think we were a couple or he ‘wanted something’ but it was, and still is, one of the closest friendships I have. This book reminded me of that and challenged what people ‘should’ want and be doing with their lives.

 

4. Green (Nature) – A book that is set out of this world — a reality different to our own

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Dreadnought is set in a world where superheroes are known and part of everyday life. Dani is struggling and feels, deep down, that she is a girl. When superhero Dreadnought dies, Dani is given her wish of a female body, but she also takes the cape and becomes Dreadnought. I loved this novel. Review here.

5. Blue (Peace) – A book where one of the characters finds peace with a difficult truth

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This novel follows Amanda, the new girl at school. Her plan is to blend in, that is until she meets Grant her feelings for him could ruin everything. At her previous school Amanda was Andrew. This is an own voices novel where Amanda needs to find herself and where she belongs in the world.

6. Purple (Spirit) – A book that deals with LGBT+ themes and religion

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Love is Love is a collection to benefit the victims of the Pulse shooting. This is a stretch for this part of the tag but there are elements within this talking about religion but from the writers themselves about how love is love, despite what any religion says.

 

 

 

The Pros and Cons of Long Distance!

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that my boyfriend and I have to make long distance work. He’s a Sound Engineer which means he can be away anything from two nights to two months, well, that’s the longest run so far.

If you’d have asked if a few years ago if I thought long distance could work for me I would have said no, but life changes and shit happens. I’m super proud of what he’s achieving but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. So, I thought why not let you know what think the pros and cons of long distance are.

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Pro: You really appreciate the time you have together

I am in such a good mood when Ali is home. I’ll hang out with him all weekend, sometimes we’ll get breakfast together, other times we’ll just do our own thing but like that the other one is in the house.

Con: You can end up having to go to a lot of events alone 

It’s only been a year since Ali started working as a full-time Sound Engineer but there have been a lot of birthdays, events and things that I’ve gone to alone or am planning to go to alone. I can be a little sad, particularly when there’s a lot of couples around.

Pro: You’re made to be independent and have your own interests 

I’m very independent and that’s something that’s been enhanced with Ali’s job. I’ll quite happily spend time alone, I can find things to do, go out and see friends. On the boring side, I  cook, clean, sort out my car etc.

Con: It can get pretty lonely at times 

On the flip side, it can get pretty lonely at times. The house can get really quiet, the bed can feel too big. I go visit my Mum and have a cuppa with her quite a bit when Ali’s away, message people etc. I might be introverted but I also need a bit of company sometimes!

Pro: You always have something to talk about each day 

When he’s travelling there’s always interesting things going on, stories from the tour bus etc so we always have things to talk about. On my end I have stuff to tell him too, although they’re normally not as exciting as his.

Con: There’s not always a lot of time to talk! 

There can be so little time to talk, I might be in meetings all day, he might have a double show day. Or if something really exciting happens (like when I got taken on permanently at work) I have to wait to tell him.

Pro:  Getting the bed to yourself 

Spreading out with no one stealing the covers, I’m not mad about it.

Con: Distinct lack of cuddles 

Although cuddles are lovely and I miss them a lot.

Pro: You realise what really matters  

I think it’s changed our relationship a lot. There’s no point in me getting angry because he’s away on my birthday. He doesn’t get irritated when I don’t spend every second of time with him when he’s home. We don’t need fancy meals or an Instagram worthy couple shot because it is such small stuff to worry about.

Con: Big life decisions can be difficult 

People ask me about kids a lot, and I get a lot of weird sympathy which makes no sense at all to me. I wouldn’t want Ali to change a job he loves for kids, I wouldn’t change mine so to make that decision I’d need a big support network. It’s not something we’re thinking about for a long while but it is just a part of how long distance works.

 

What are your pros and cons for long distance? Let me know in the comments below!

Life Update: Kidney Stones

I wasn’t planning on a post today, I haven’t actually been able to concentrate on much today because I was told yesterday that I have Kidney Stones. Yep, that’s now a thing. I’d never really thought about them, I don’t think most people will until they have them and then they give you absolute hell.

I’m now towards the end of my third day of pain and it’s hard to describe. When it first started happening at work on Thursday I told my colleague I thought I was going to die. In the past 3 days I’ve had numerous calls with my GP, two misdiagnosis’s, tests and a hospital visit and not a lot of sleep through it all. It’s pretty rough.

So, why am I writing about this? I don’t know how long this will take to get sorted. Hopefully, it can be dealt with quickly and without any procedures or surgery but it’s a waiting game. If you’re a regular reader you have nothing to fear, scheduled blogs will carry on, I might just be a little quieter on Twitter.

That’s where I’m at and I wanted to keep my lovely readers updated so you know I haven’t disappeared!

Love,

Chloe

I Won’t Be Silent – A Poem

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For a while there,

I lost my voice.

I let someone else’s laugh muffle by shouts

for rebellion.

 

But I am a woman,

hear me roar.

I’ve got no time for heels,

or a cat call.

 

Because I broke free,

from the good girl mentality

and now, here I stand

Just as good as any man.

 

I won’t be silent.

I won’t be contained.

Because I am a woman.

I don’t need to be saved.

Book Review – Dear Martin

Dear Martin

Justyce is a straight-A student headed to one of the top universities in the world, he’s smart, kind and a good guy. That doesn’t stop him being racially profiled by a police officer and put in handcuffs for no reason. Trying to make sense of it all he starts writing letters to Martin Luther King Jr and his personal project is born.

I’d heard about this on Booktube a little bit but I honestly think that it deserves more attention. This is a novel that gets to your heart. This looks at a situation of not quite feeling like you fit. Justyce is from what is regarded as a rough neighbourhood but on a scholarship to an incredibly prestigious school. He is caught between the two and it is important to look at how he copes and at how racism exists and breeds in a privileged setting.

One of a string of novels to come from the injustice in the USA change is happening. It is a change we need to happen. I’m not nieve enough to think that the UK doesn’t have problems with race, a lot needs to change here, but what is happening in the US is on another level to anything I’ve ever seen. So many needless deaths and violence because of someone’s skin colour. It makes your heart and your head hurt.

The reason that this got 4 stars is because there were elements I found a little problematic for me. Some of the language that the boys use about women was a little extreme but this might be how she chose to present the characters. I also felt like the ending was quite sudden. This is a relatively short novel and I would have loved for it to have had more towards the end.

Overall, I thought it was an engaging and important novel. Nic Stone is definitely one to watch and I’m looking forward to seeing what she does next.

Have you read Dear Martin? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Does Positivity Work With Pain Management

Does Positivity Work in Pain Management?

Hello, my lovely readers!

Today I want to talk about managing pain. It will come as no surprise to my regular readers I think about this more than most people after an accident a few years ago. I live with chronic pain and most people don’t know when they meet me it can be pretty surprising because I’m very positive as a person. And that’s central to today’s post, does positivity work?

I’ve met with a lot of doctors and multiple times I’ve been told ‘your positive attitude will pull you through pain’. A few years ago I would have scoffed and I definitely think this doesn’t apply to every situation. When I first broke my back positivity wasn’t happening, I was in agony and when I wasn’t I was asleep. Then it came to recovery and my attitude did play a big part.

In Recovery 

This was probably the hardest time to be positive. There were a lot of things up in the air at this time, I was obviously in a lot of pain and having to navigate what was going on. That said trying to keep some positivity was important, particularly in physiotherapy because that shit can get tough! I kept focused on getting better and other positive things and it definitely helped.

In Diagnosis 

Diagnosis was weird, I was happy to have an answer, horrified about what it meant for me and wanting to look at what I could do next. It was a mix of emotions. No matter what I had this determination not to give up, I had to still live my life. I got told time and time again the determination and all the positivity I could muster would get me where I wanted to be.

In Life

Ah life, it does like to give you a kick when you don’t need it. Life is hard, people try and say it’s not but let’s be real. So, staying positive in life when your body hurts all over? I take it one day at a time. That’s honestly it. The only future things I try to focus on are things I’m looking forward to, I try and write down one thing a month and when I’m in a lot of pain have the mentality that this will pass and once it does I’m a bit closer to the thing I’m looking forward to.

 

So, yes I do think positivity plays a huge part BUT having time to be upset, to struggle and to be furious is a big part of recovery. Do I have days where I’m pissed off or I cry because things changed? Of course, I do. Sometimes I have weeks where I feel this way. THIS IS NORMAL! That said, I do feel that, if and when you can be trying to be positive is important.

How do you stay positive? Let me know in the comments below!

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.

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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.

Book Review: Bookshop Girl – Chloe Coles

Bookshop Girl - Chloe Coles

Sixteen-year-old Paige Turner loves her job working in her local bookshop, the only good thing about the small town she lives in. That is until she is told her beloved bookshop is going to be closed down to make way for a bigger shopping complex, but Paige decides she’s going to fight to save the shop she loves so much.

I was lucky enough to be granted an ARC copy of this via NetGalley and this is a book I’ve heard a lot about. I thought the subject matter was great. A teen who has a cause and does something about it? Count me in and about bookshops which are one of my happy places. So I could get behind this novel.

I really enjoyed the fact that Paige had other interests rather than just books too. She’s an artist, she’s thinking about uni and the wider world, something I could relate to. There was also a really strong feminist message too, did I think it entirely went with the book, no, but I appreciated it being there.

There were points where I felt the novel was trying too hard to be young and cool. There were a lot of OMG and LOL’s which I kind of cringed at. Maybe that’s just because I wasn’t like that as a teenager but, yeah, I felt like it needed to calm down and just be rather than trying to be overly teenager.

One of my other gripes was the love interest, I felt like it was quite predictable and the twist at the end I saw coming from quite early in the novel. That and I don’t think it added to the plot or character development, he could have been cut out and I would not have been bothered at all.

Overall I gave this a 3.5 stars, I did really enjoy this and will definitely be picking up the second novel, but felt it was a little young for me. I fully appreciate that I am not 16 but some of the language used seemed a little young for me, hence it not quite hitting 5 stars. This is an easy summer read and I would recommend it!