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Book Review | The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

*** Thank you Penguin Random House approving me to review this title on Netgalley as an eARC. This does not affect my opinions in any way.***

This was such an interesting book that gripped me from the beginning when I was least expecting.

I received this book for review as an e-ARC on Netgalley and I let it sit on my kindle for a while. I don’t know why I did this to myself. Then, I got invited to the book launch party (thank you Clare and Penguin for the invitation!) and I wanted to at least have started the book by the time I went to the party. So I started it, and I read a quarter of it in one sitting – I was forced to stop by, ugh, adult responsibilities.

We follow Flora, a 17-year-old teenager with Anterograde Amnesia, which is a type of Amnesia where the person cannot create any new memories. To deal with this, Flora has a notebook to tell her who she is that she reads when she gets confused and she writes any short term ‘memories’ on her hands and arms so that she can keep referring back to them.

She lives with her parents and has one friend – Paige. They’ve been best friends since they were four and Flora can remember Paige even though she does not actually recognise her in her teenage form.

The book itself is written in a very fast pace where facts are just stated over and over again because that’s how Flora’s mind works.

One night, Flora kisses a boy and the next morning she gallery-1473414254-florabankscoverreveal123remembers. I know how that sounds, I had the same thought when I first found out about this books “Oh another YA novel where the boy is going to ‘cure’ the girl”. But NO! I don’t want to spoil anything but the romance (if you can even call it that) in this book is extremely refreshing.

Unfortunately for Flora at the time, this boy that she kissed – Drake, has gone to study and live in Svalbard, Norway. She finds herself following in love with him, or more with the idea of him and of having a memory, and she sets off to find to Svalbard in what seems like an impossible journey for her.

I want to see how I can exist by myself. I want to be allowed to live inside my memory.

As cheesy as this sounds, this turns out to be a journey where she discovers who she really is, what’s happening to her and who are the people she can really trust.

The One Memory of flora Banks is not only an amazingly gripping story but it also has diversity elements that I really enjoyed seeing, such as dealing with mental health, disability and including one LGBT character.

My rating – 8/10

UK release date: 12th January 2017

I will also be hosting a giving on Twitter, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

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2017 Goals

I am looking forward to 2017 (yes, we are a week in and this post is a little bit late… sorry!) I think we can all agree that 2016 was a pretty bad year all around and I am living in hope that 2017 will be better. But also, I am feeling inspired. I want to do more things that I love and I want to feel good about myself.

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Thinking of that, I have decided not to be very strict with my goals this year. I don’t want to end the year and just feel bad about not achieving things.

Regarding my reading life, I have decided not to set a number of books I want to read. Not yet anyway. Not yet anyway. I want to see if not setting a number helps me to read more. Who knows, it’s worth a try right? However I have two main reading goals:

(I am open to book suggestions!)

I have also set some personal goals:

  • Dedicate more of my time to photography
  • Do some work experience in the publishing industry. At the moment I am very unsure of what I want to do in the future. I love books and I want to see if working in publishing could be a good fit for me
  • Find my place in the blogging world and settle my relationship with this blog
  • Travel
  • Be healthy and active

Have you set any goals for the New Year?

Favourite books of 2016

This post is a little bit late, sorry! The books included are books I read in 2016, not necessarily books that came out in 2016. I hope you enjoy my little list and I would love to know about your favourite books of the year!

I ended up reading only 30 books this year. This was slightly disappointing given that my goal in the beginning of the year was 50 books. But oh well, that didn’t work out and I’m happy with the books I did read.

But because of the small number I decided to only pick a top 5, and here they are:

  1. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  2. Caraval by Stephanie Garber (coming out at the end of the month and you can read my review here!)
  3. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  4. Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin
  5. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
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2016 Non-bookish (beauty) Favourites

This whole year I’ve been toying with the idea of blogging more about my personal life, beauty, fashion and lifestyle as well as books.

I’m still sort of toying with it but I decided to just go ahead and post this as an experiment if you will. I hope you guys like it.

As well as being into books, I love love love make up and everything beauty and fashion. The whole thing really! So these are 5 products (ok, one of them is an accessory) that I’ve been using and loving this year.

1. bareMinerals Matte Foundation

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I have quite problematic skin. It’s oily and acne prone but it’s also very sensitive. In the past I’ve user MAC Studio Fix Fluid but I’ve always found that it blocks my pores a little bit and causes spots. I decided to give bareMinerals a go after hearing wonderful things about it. I tried both the Original and the Matte one and let me tell you, the Original is not meant to be used by an oily girl like me. It looks absolutely horrible on my skin after about 20 minutes. But the Matte one is perfect! It is a bit pricey and there’s not a lot of product but it’s make my skin better so it’s definitely worth it in my opinion.

£26.50 – bareminerals.co.uk

2. I Heart Makeup Blushing Hearts Peachy Pink Kiss

I only found out about Make Up Revolution and how amazing it is this year and now I am obsessed! The products are such bargains and just so beautiful. This blush is now a favourite of mine and I grab for it on a daily basis. Because it’s a baked blush it also adds a little bit of highlighting which is always a plus in my book!

£4.99 – superdrug.com

3. Models Own Sculpt & Glow Highlighting Powder

Who hasn’t been obsesses with highlighters this year right? I just want to GLOW! I found this one during the Models Own Black Friday sale and let the very nice sales woman convince me to get it and wow! I love it. They also have a gorgeous golden shade for darker skin tones.

£8.99 – modelsownit.com

4. Daniel Wellington Watch – Classy 34mm Mawes

This one is technically an accessory but I had to include it! I’ve wanted a Daniel Wellington for a while and my lovely boyfriend got me this one for our anniversary. Aaah!!!

£139 – danielwellington.com

5. Umberto Giannini Pick Me Up Moisturising Nutrient Spray

I have really long hair and it gets really tangled at times. It’s a struggle to brush it after I wash it but this spray makes it that much easier and my hair feels moisturised and soft afterwards. I’ve tried a couple of different leave-in sprays but this is one is my favourite by far.

£7 – boots.com

I will be posting by bookish favourites very soon as well, so keep an eye peeled for that!

 

#DiversityBingo2017

So it’s almost the end of the year again (where did 2016 go???! Also, what a shitty year right?) and I recently came across this reading “challenge” on Twitter that was created by these wonderful people: @novelparadise, @headinherbooks, @thesebooklions, @thebooksbuzz, @rhaegardied, @ohbrekker, @aimalfarooq, @bookwormwanders and @theauslibrary

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The goal is pretty self explanatory – read one book for each square and cover all the squares within the course of the year. Now, this involves reading at least 36 books. Which is not realistic to me at the moment since I’m struggling to complete my 2016 Goodreads goal of 35 books. 35!!!

I plan to use this as a more of a guide to read more diversely in 2017 and if I end up filling all the squares, then great! I am open to recommendations for any books that fill these squares and I will of course be blogging my progress throughout 2017.

On Twitter, the hashtag #DiversityBingo2017 is being used and you can find loads of useful information and book recommendations on it!

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber | Book Review

*** Thank you Hodder & Stoughton approving me to review this tittle on Netgalley as an eARC. This dos not affect my opinions in any way.***

Oh wow. This book might have been the best thing I’ve read all year. I loved it. It is a magical and wonderful read full of surprises.

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber tells the story of two sisters who escape their horrible father when they enter the world of the legendary game of Caraval.

We are following our main character Scarlett and both her and her sister Tella have never left the small island where they live in with their dad. He is a horrible and abusive man and the sisters can’t wait to get away from him but, obviously, he doesn’t make it easy.

Scarlett is soon to be married to a Count in a marriage that her father has arranged for her. She sees this as the opportunity she and her sister have been waiting for. But before she gets married, her sister and a mysterious sailor (hi there Julian I love you) who has just arrived on the island ‘kidnap’ her to take her to Caraval where Scarlett has always dreamt of going and experiencing its magic.

Remember, it’s only a game.

Caraval is a once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show and was described to Scarlett by her grandmother as the ‘closest thing you will ever come to magic’. No one knows what actually happens in there and the only thing you are told as you are going in is to “remember, it’s only a game”.

In my opinion, the less you know about this book before you go into it, the better. Even now after I’ve read it, I am having trouble finding the words to say what this book is about and make justice to how amazing it is.

As a character, I found Scarlett quite annoying, especially in the beginning of the book. However, the reasons why she was being annoying were understandable and rational and she grew on me the more I read.

This is a debut novel but it definitely did not feel like one when I was reading it. I cannot find words to describe how much I loved it.

My rating – 10/10

Release date in the UK: 31 Jan 2017

Pre-order it here.

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Asking For It by Louise O’Neill | Book Review

To me, Louise O’Neill is the face of feminism in UKYA. I have seen her speaking at panels many times. I follow her on social media. I love her. But I had not yet read her books.

25255576Asking For It is Louise’s second book and it tells Emma’s story. And what an important and infuriating story it is.

Emma is eighteen and beautiful and she knows it. She is confident, she likes that she attracts male attention, she likes being the most beautiful girl she knows, and she likes people telling her that. If she’s not sounding like a very likeable person to you, you are right, she’s not. She’s not even a terribly good person. But the thing is, one night Emma goes to a party and is gang raped by a group of boys in the local football team. And even though she is the person we do not particularly like, she did not deserve it. She was not asking for it. And that is the point Louise is making.

It made me so angry to be reading this. To be reading people’s reactions to what happened to Emma. People doubting her, people saying that ‘really, what did she expect dressing and acting the way she does while looking the way she looks’. And you know that this isn’t just Emma’s story; this happens to so many women all over the world and some people, unfortunately even most people, still don’t see them as the victims.

It is so easy for people to dismiss rape culture. To say there is no such thing. That we are just exaggerating. I wouldn’t say that this was an enjoyable book to read simply because it’s so horrible, saying that I ‘enjoyed it’ doesn’t feel right. But it is good and well written and it starts a very important conversation that we all need to have.

My rating – 9/10