A More Personal Post…

Now in about 3 months, you can expect to see the whole ‘new year new me’ kind of posts, but I thought I’d change things up and post one now. More of a new Uni year, new me.

I know it’s already halfway through October, but I’ve spent a lot of September kind of working on myself mentally in relation to university. Last year was hard for me as I was struggling with friendships and mental issues that kind of smushed into one big mess as I struggle to talk about my feelings. But this year, I’m actively trying to push myself to remind myself that dips in my mental health don’t define me as a person as long as I try and work through when I can. I don’t need people to affirm who I am as a person and I don’t need to feel that I’m alone all the time. Keep on reading if you want to see a more open post about mental health, and steps to create a routine focusing on myself.

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Review: ‘STAGS’ by M A Bennett

This book is a story following a young teenager, Greer, while she went to the boarding school STAGS. It showed the loneliness of school when one finds it hard to make friends, and just how much effect ‘popular’ kids can have in a school.

Nine students.

Three bloodsports.

One deadly weekend.

It is the autumn term and Greer MacDonald is struggling to settle into the sixth form at the exclusive St. Aidan the Great boarding school, known to its privileged pupils as S.T.A.G.S. Just when she despairs of making friends Greer receives a mysterious invitation with three words embossed upon on it: Huntin’ shootin’ Fishin’.

When Greer learns that the invitation is to spend the half term weekend at the country manor of Henry de Warlencourt, the most popular and wealthy boy at S.T.A.G.S., she is as surprised as she is flattered. But when Greer joins the other chosen few at the ancient and sprawling Longcross Hall, she realises that Henry’s parents are not at home; the only adults present are a cohort of eerily compliant servants.

The students are at the mercy of their capricious host, and, over the next three days, as the three bloodsports – hunting, shooting and fishing – become increasingly dark and twisted, Greer comes to the horrifying realisation that those being hunted are not wild game, but the very misfits Henry has brought with him from school…

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Review: ‘Are You Sleeping?’ by Kathleen Barber

Okay, I know I say a lot that books grip me so that I can’t put it down, but after reading one chapter of this book I was hooked for more. I started to read more of it one night as I wanted to try and get back into the habit of reading a chapter or two before bed (say around 11pm)… fast forward until half 1 in the morning when I had to force myself to sleep. I grabbed it as soon as I woke up again, and finished it that day.

This is a story of a podcast that shines a new light on a murder case, that could undo the new life made by the daughter of the victim.

The only thing more dangerous than a lie…is the truth.

Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family’s reputation and with good reason. After her father’s murder thirteen years prior, her mother ran away to join a cult and her twin sister Lanie, once Josie’s closest friend and confidant, betrayed her in an unimaginable way. Now, Josie has finally put down roots in New York, settling into domestic life with her partner Caleb, and that’s where she intends to stay. The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every detail of her past—starting with her last name.

When investigative reporter Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with a mega-hit podcast that reopens the long-closed case of Josie’s father’s murder, Josie’s world begins to unravel. Meanwhile, the unexpected death of Josie’s long-absent mother forces her to return to her Midwestern hometown where she must confront the demons from her past—and the lies on which she has staked her future.

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Review: ‘Strange Magic’ by Syd Moore

I decided to read this book as it reminded me of the author who wrote ‘The Essex Serpent’ and as I live near the area, I thought I might as well check it out.

This book is a fictional telling about the witches that used to live in Essex, England, and follows two people who need to urgently track down the remains of Ursula Cadence, a famous witch from

Rosie Strange doesn’t believe in ghosts or witches or magic. No, not at all. It’s no surprise therefore when she inherits the ramshackle Essex Witch Museum, her first thought is to take the money and run.

Still, the museum exerts a curious pull over Rosie. There’s the eccentric academic who bustles in to demand she help in a hunt for old bones, those of the notorious Ursula Cadence, a witch long since put to death. And there’s curator Sam Stone, a man about whom Rosie can’t decide if he’s tiresomely annoying or extremely captivating. It all adds up to looking like her plans to sell the museum might need to be delayed, just for a while.

Finding herself and Sam embroiled in a most peculiar centuries-old mystery, Rosie is quickly expelled from her comfort zone, where to her horror, the secrets of the past come with their own real, and all too present, danger as a strange magic threatens to envelope them all

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Review: ‘Local Girl Gone Missing’ by Claire Douglas

I haven’t read many mystery books, but I really wanted to get into them more, so when I saw this book I was interested from the start when I read the description.

The old Victorian pier was once a thing of beauty. It’s also where twenty-one-year-old Sophie Collier vanished eighteen years ago.

Francesca has spent the last twenty years haunted by the disappearance of her best friend. But when she receives a phone call from Sophie’s brother saying that a body has been found, she knows she can’t keep hiding from what happened. With her own secrets to keep, Francesca doesn’t relish the idea of digging up the past or returning to Oldcliffe. But it is time to go back to where she grew up, and it looks like she isn’t the only one there hiding truths.

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Review: ‘Flame in the Mist’ by Renee Ahdieh

I recieved this book in the May Fairyloot box ‘Warriors and Legends’ and this book definitely lived up to the theme. It was a loose retelling of Mulan, and it really paralleled Mulan’s greatness and the whole idea of a woman is just as good as a man.

 (There are spoilers in this review but I hope I’ve made them clear enough and easy to skip over. The rest of the review will make sense if you skip over the section about the spoilers. I’ve written the spoiler in this font so that it would be easier to miss and skim over so that it doesn’t affect the plot!).

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

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‘Letters to my Fanny’ by Cherry Healey Review

If you want to start getting into self-love books, and just feminist loving books in general, I really would recommend this as a beginners book. I hadn’t read many full on feminist books before, I only tried to read fantasy books hoping they had a badass feminist storyline towards it, but naturally, most of them have the typical storyline trope which isn’t exactly what I have in mind.

This book is a love letter, to my body. In fact it’s several letters – to every part from my brain to my belly. I spent most of my life hating my body. I forced it to survive on a diet of ham; I squeezed it into asphyxiating support pants; I accidentally cut my delicate area whilst trimming my lady garden.

But now I’ve realised that it deserves some well overdue TLC. This book is the story of how I’ve come to understand some vital life lessons and started to love being a woman. I hope you enjoy it. Except you, Mum and Dad. You should stop reading now. It’s for the best. I promise

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