Life Update

So much has changed in my life over the past three weeks and finally I have stated feeling good in myself. With all of the changes I though that I would write a quick post!

Update One

I finally got a new job.

You know those things you do that you hate. You hate so much you have severe anxiety before doing it. Your stress levels are ridiculously high. You cry all the time. You snap at people and take it out on them. Yeah, this was me. This was me for approximately four month when the job I enjoyed turned to utter shit. I won’t go into the details of it. I genuinely think that the company I used to work for treated me and so many other people like shit and I couldn’t take it anymore. Everyone was miserable. The atmosphere was suffocating and no matter how many people said ‘things are going to change’ or ‘things will get better’ enough was enough. I finally got out. I applied for anything and everything for so long to get out as I was desperate. Finally, a great opportunity presented itself and I was offered a fab new job closer to home.

For the past four weeks I have been in training and learning the job. There is no stress. No anxiety on a Sunday afternoon when I realise Monday is literally around the corner. It’s amazing! It’s refreshing.

Update Two

I joined Slimming World.

Over the past 4 years I have piled on the weight. This has not helped my anxiety. I hated going out on nights out with my friends because I felt like the odd one out. I would make excuses not to go out wherever possible which has sadly dented my friendship circles.

I hated having my photos taken. I have untagged myself in so many photos over the past few years because I wanted to pretend they weren’t there.

Even my family were making comments. They brought my wedding into it. I was told ‘you’re not going to be able to wear the style dress you’ve dreamt of if you don’t lose weight’, or ‘Lucy you need to get healthy again, you’re going to be unconformable through your entire wedding if you don’t like having your photo taking’.

Now, I understand that people may think ‘WOW your family sound awful!’ What works for me might not work for you. My family know how my brain works. They know that I need a tough, harsh talking to. I need the truth. If people start tiptoeing around everything I won’t take any notice and I can guarantee we wouldn’t get anywhere. I’m proud of them for being honest about things and what they said was the truth.

I’m super proud of myself for finally doing something for me. I woke up one Saturday morning and decided that things needed to change. I was unfit, unhappy and uncomfortable in my own skin. I felt like complete shit knowing what I used to be like. So, I got up, got ready and joined my local Slimming World group. Two weeks later, I feel confident, healthy, happier and more determined than ever to make the changes to my life I need to. I mean 11.5lb pounds off  in two weeks to me is mind boggling. Something is working.

I am the sort of person who strives off of support from others. Doing it alone can be super hard for me and I know there are so many other people out there who are the same as me. Due to this, I have decide to log my journey and help others. Even if it is just one person I’ve done what I intended to do.

You can find my journey on Instagram: lucymayyy_sw

Even if you just want food ideas I intend to log everything. Follow me!

 

Update Three

I am in the worlds worst reading slump. My daily reading time has been cut significantly as I no longer have a 45 minute commute to work. I literally walk fir 40 minutes or catch a train and walk for 15 minutes. I may be able to do a lot of things but walking in public and reading at the same time is not one of them. No matter how amazing that would be. Maybe this would be the perfect time to try audiobooks?

Any recommendations for audiobook beginners would be amazing.

 

Lucy xx

 

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Why is there so much negativity about reading Romance?

I recently read an article about how romance books have such a bad reputation. It’s not the most recent article I will admit but I still feel like there is so much stigma with the romance genre. People seem to believe that it is some lower, nonintellectual genre and I’m not going to lie it pisses me off.

So, I’m going to rant!

The article I read (which is one of many with the same views) touched on how people who read romance are seen as less intelligent than those who read other genres. Now, at this point of the article my blood was boiling. How can you judge someones intelligence by their choice of book or genre? I do love a good romance and I can tell you right now I worked as hard as everyone else who does not read romance and I’ve got my three degrees from University to prove it. I can assure you that I graduated with the same grades as those who don’t read the romance genre. I can also guarantee that I am not the only person to do this either! In today’s society where equality and acceptance is such an important part of life why are people being made to feel less due to the choice of genre they read? 

There are a lot of individuals out their who think that romance depicts unrealistic views of relationships and life. I’m not going to deny this. It happens and it happens a lot. However, if we were to attach these theories to the fantasy genre for example, doesn’t this genre also portray an unrealistic view of life too? Who in real life is going to get kidnapped by a cursed fairy or go to war with the rulers of the county because of their new magical abilities. Fictional literature isn’t always supposed to be a representation of real life! That is what non-fiction is for. Fiction is supposed to depict unrealistic views of life regardless of the genre.

I have found that it is not just a persons intelligence that is picked on either. A person who reads romance must be obsessed with sex or BDSM or controlling alpha-males. (Honestly, this list could continue but I think three examples is enough and you get the idea). Once again I am going to apply this to another genre. Does this mean that people who read thrillers about criminals are obsessed with criminals and criminal behaviour? I didn’t think so! Just because people like romance doesn’t make them sex addicts just like people who read books about criminals aren’t criminals themselves. If people who read thrillers aren’t judged like this though, why should people who read romance be scrutinised?

Romance has a target audience just like all literature does and not everyone is going to enjoy it. I understand that. It’s the judgemental opinions that really wind me up. Romance is going to have its target audience just like all other genres. Yes! Men are less likely to pick up a romance book just like an adult is less likely to pick up a children’s book. But if they do pick up a book that falls into a different category or genre that isn’t necessarily for them, they should not be given hassle for doing so. Surely, as a reader you should appreciate and respect that people are reading regardless of the topic. As big as the reading community is there are so many people out there who don’t read and won’t even consider giving it a try. Why would they bother when they see news articles on genres being slated? As an English teacher I have faced so many battles when trying to get students to read. It is so hard to do. If someone finally picks up a book and enjoys it enough to continue right until the end and then wants to read another book only to be criticised due to there genre choices it is very disheartening. 

Just like in young adult fiction a woman can be strong and independent. They can have hopes and dreams and they can fight for what they want. Just like in horror the female character can overcome their demons. Just like in children’s literature the main protagonist can go on adventures and learn life lessons. The only difference is in romance people fall in love along the way!

I just think that people should stop judging others for their reading choices. Just because you might not enjoy the genre a stranger across from you is reading  doesn’t mean you can berate them for it.  If you hear someone say they love romance or they’ve just read an amazing romance book you could ask them about it with no judgement. You never know it might surprise you.

For now. My rant is over.

Lucy xx

The Bronze Horseman – Paullina Simons

Image result for the bronze horsemanBook: The Bronze Horseman
Author:
 Paulinna Simons
Genre:
Historical Romance
Release Date:  2000
Pages: 637

My Rating: 5 stars

Goodreads

The golden skies, the translucent twilight, the white nights, all hold the promise of youth, of love, of eternal renewal. The war has not yet touched this city of fallen grandeur, or the lives of two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha Metanova, who share a single room in a cramped apartment with their brother and parents. Their world is turned upside down when Hitler’s armies attack Russia and begin their unstoppable blitz to Leningrad.

Yet there is light in the darkness. Tatiana meets Alexander, a brave young officer in the Red Army. Strong and self-confident, yet guarding a mysterious and troubled past, he is drawn to Tatiana—and she to him. Starvation, desperation, and fear soon grip their city during the terrible winter of the merciless German siege. Tatiana and Alexander’s impossible love threatens to tear the Metanova family apart and expose the dangerous secret Alexander so carefully protects—a secret as devastating as the war itself—as the lovers are swept up in the brutal tides that will change the world and their lives forever.

My Thoughts

It is a rare occurrence for me to award a book a 5 star review. And to have two in one month I’m beginning to wonder if something is wrong? Maybe it is just that things are finally looking up and my book selection process has improved drastically!

I know that there are plenty of issues with this book and I know that there are so many people out there who hate this book due to the story and its characters. I’ve read so many negative reviews online and I was seriously in two minds about picking it up but I am so glad that I did. I genuinely think that this might be one my favourite books. Judge me all you want. Honestly, I don’t care. This story has stolen my heart and left me in the worst reading slump ever. (I am probably being over dramatic and I may need to work on this. In the meantime recommendations for my next read are welcome at this time. I need help!)

Getting back on track and discussing the issues with this book a little more. I’ve already said that there are issues, I won’t deny it. Take Tatiana’s attitude and behaviour for example. Throughout the beginning of the book she is extremely irritating. But if I can get over this I’m sure you can too. Especially when you consider she is a 17 year old girl. Who wasn’t an annoying person when they were 17. Everyone goes through that period in their life where they think they know everything. You walk around thinking you’re so grown up. It isn’t until later in life when reality hits and you realise what a little shit you actually were.  I can relate and I’m pretty sure most of you can too.

When you combine the romance, the history and all the events that each character goes though in this story it’s going to stick with you for a while. It is a heat-wrenching tale that I love so much. I can’t put into words the emotions I felt while reading it. I’m pretty sure my fiancée took the flack for it when I went into one of my moods. You know the one right? That huff that you get into when your current read starts pissing you off or even worse when it makes you cry. It is like a roller-coaster that just never stops. The worst of it was when I finally thought that it could only get better I crashed straight back down to rock bottom all over again. 

I really cannot believe that I had not heard of this book before now. I stumbled upon it while watching Youtube videos. Someone was doing a bookshelf tour (I’m not ashamed to say that I spend a lot of my time watching these videos when I have nothing else to do). I saw the book and thought ‘Oh that’s a nice cover. I want it in my life. I might give that book a go.’ Low and behold I ordered myself a copy.

Yes! I just admitted to buying a book due to it’s cover. How beautiful is this cover though? It is a total shame that this is not the cover that turned up.

The Bronze Horseman (The Bronze Horseman, #1)

I studied the Second World War in school during my GCSE’s but we did not focus on the Germany and Russia aspect of it so I learnt some new things while reading this book. The imagery that Simons creates is amazing. You can feel what the characters are feeling all the way through the story. The hunger. The cold. The loneliness. The heart-ache. Every little thing that Tatiana and Alexander feel, you feel right along with them.

As a side note which probably has no relevance to you I would just like to mention that the historical aspect of the story also prompted discussions between my Dad and I about history.  My Dad and I have always been interested in different historical topics and eras. I like classic history, the old history (this will be the incorrect term for it – but it works). My Dad has always enjoyed learning about modern history.  So to be able to ask questions and have conversations about topics he is interested in it’s been good. Of course I left out that The Bronze Horseman is primarily a romance book but he was happy to chat away and teach me new things about war around Europe in the early 1940s.

I read (or maybe watched) an interview with Paullina Simons about this book and how she was going to leave it as a standalone novel. Well lets all thank our lucky stars for her husband who persuaded her otherwise. My book buying ban was well and truly forgotten once again after completing this book. As soon as I had put this book down I went in search for the next two instalments of the trilogy. I cannot wait to get tucked into the second book when it arrives.

This book has rekindled my love for historical romance novels and surprisingly it has started me off with a new little obsession. I have not read many books set during this era but I think my Step Mum would be proud of my new interest as they were her favourite. If anyone has any recommendations within this genre I will be happy to take them.

I highly recommend this book. Please do pick it up and give it a chance if you haven’t already. It is so good!

 

Lucy xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kiss Quotient

Image result for the kiss quotient

Book: The Kiss Quotient
Author:
 Helen Hoang
Genre:
Romance
Release Date:  30 May 2018
Pages: 314

My Rating: 5 stars

Goodreads

A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases — a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn’t help that Stella has Asperger’s and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice — with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan — from foreplay to more-than-missionary position…

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he’s making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic…

My Thoughts

Before picking this book up I had heard nothing but goods things about it. Whether this was online via twitter and Booktube or down in the salon where I get my nails done. Quite a few people have read, loved and recommended this book. To be honest I had no intention of reading this book but I have to admit I am so glad that I did. I was pleasantly surprised by the story and I definitely enjoyed in more than I anticipated.

I loved the story and the characters from the very beginning which can be rare thing for me as I to tend to look for the faults in both of these areas. Helen Hoang should be really proud of the diverse story and characters she introduced to the world. Yes, I am aware that other people may find faults in the book but due to the pure enjoyment I got when reading it I am willing to overlook them.

To start with I don’t think I was expecting the story to be quite as smutty as it was. I don’t know why this was a shock to me. Maybe this was due to the cartoony style book cover that is all over the internet and the fact that I avoided all detailed conversations regarding the synopsis. I just don’t think I was expecting it to be as sexy as it was. I can assure you though, this is not a bad thing!

Both Michael and Stella are lovable characters from the very beginning. They both have their own things going on and Hoang does an excellent job in telling you what is going on in both of their minds alternatively throughout the entire book. This keeps you in the loop with both the characters thoughts and feelings so you’re not left behind at any point.

Hoang’s representation of diversity is very well done from Stella’s Asperger’s to Michael’s Vietnamese and Swedish descent. For someone like me who doesn’t know much both living with Asperger’s or the Vietnamese culture I found it really interesting to read. It was embedded within the story very well and I did learn a few things along the way.

I was hooked to this story from the get go. The first sentence made me smile and I had a feeling I was going to enjoy this book as soon as I had stated it.  The Kiss Quotient is charming, funny, emotional and super hot.  I seriously cannot recommend it enough.

Yes! I know it has been out for a while as it’s been stuck on my TBR shelf for so long and I seriously had no intention to pick it anytime soon but this is my first 5 star read of 2019.

Lucy xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Wednesday

Top 5 Wednesday

It’s Top 5 Wednesday time.

This weeks topic is:

Top 5 Book Covers

 

Once again this is an awesome Top 5 Wednesday topic.

Now, when it gets to book covers the simpler the better. I hate it when they are over complicated and there is too much cramped into a small space.

Every so often an amazing cover will catch my eye and it usually deserve a spot on my wall instead of on a bookshelf but it is a rarity.

I just have a preference for simple, eye catching book covers with a little bit of colour.

There are way too many covers out there to choose from and the 5 that I have chosen are not in any specific order.

So here are 5 of my favourite covers from my ever-growing list:

 

Colleen Hoover – Confess

Image result for confess

I love this book cover. I was scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest one afternoon and this book randomly popped up.  I bought it straight. It’s so pretty! I think it was around the time the TV show aired in the US.

 

Neil Gaiman – Norse Mythology 

Image result for norse mythology neilImage result for norse mythology neil

I am obsessed with history and mythology and I heard about this book and wanted to read it. When I saw the book cover I got even more excited because I love it. This book was published with both a black and a white cover and although I like both the black cover is my favourite. It just really stood out to me.

I went to Budapest over the summer and due to a layover in Amsterdam and the 2 short flights in both directions I wanted something I could pick up and put back down easily without interruption. This is why short stories are great when travelling.

I intended to buy this at the airport before taking off to Amsterdam. Sadly, when I arrived they had sold out of the black cover. I looked around for a while to see if there was anything else I wanted to read but I couldn’t find anything, so I ended up buying the white one. I can’t lie I have no regrets it’s still beautiful.

 

Deborah Harkness – A Discovery of Witches 

 Image result for a discovery of witches book cover

There are several covers for this book but just look at this one. It made it onto my favourite list straight away. It’s simple, effective and beautiful. It depicts important elements of the story brilliantly. The photography and the splash of colour just grab your attention straight away and I don’t have much to say other than I really do love it.

 

Naomi Novik – Uprooted

Image result for uprooted book cover

Look how beautiful this cover is. One again it is simple with a splash of colour. You should be able to see the trend in my favourite book covers at this point. It’s a wonderful tale with a pretty cover that suits the story completely.

 

Erin Morgenstern – The Night Circus

Image result for the night circus

I saw The Night Circus cover a long time after the hype of the book died down. I was in a charity shop browsing the shelves and this one just stood out. I know that there are so many different covers for this book and I honestly love them all. The one pictured above is the one on my bookshelf.

This is a story that I went into blind. I bought the book due to the book cover. I remember telling my friend that I had bought it and she started raving about the story. She had really enjoyed it and I’m so glad that I picked it up.

 

 

I literally can’t pick just one favourite book cover. Can you? What is your favourite cover?

 

 

Lucy
xx

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Review – A Discovery of Witches

 

Image result for a discovery of witches book coverBook: A Discovery of Witches
Author:
 Deborah Harkness
Genre:
Historical Fantasy
Release Date:  8 February 2011
Pages: 688

My Rating:  5 Stars 

Goodreads

Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Review 

A Discovery of Witches is the first book in the All Souls Trilogy. A fantasy series that has everything you would want from a fantasy novel that focus’ on vampires, witches and daemons.  This topic is nothing new. We’ve all read books within this genre before, it is just really hard to find a book that has been done well. I mean don’t get me started on Twilight and The Vampire Diaries.

I read many reviews on this book before deciding to pick it up and it’s clear to see that has divided the people. I find myself getting upset from the opinions of those who did not enjoy it as much as I did. Yes, I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion I just love it so much and it’s upsetting knowing others do not.

The story follows Diana Bishop, a reluctant witch who is descended from one of the most prestigious witch families leading back to the Salem witch trails and her forbidden relationship with a vampire Matthew Clairmont. From the very beginning I was enthralled in the story. Don’t get me wrong, their relationship is not everything this story ha to offer but it is an essential part of time.

It is a slow-paced story so it you’re expecting a fast-paced romance then you’re not going to get it. Usually if a book is slow-paced I find that I get bored easily which tends to disrupt my reading pattern and I’ll stop reading the book altogether. However, the pace of the book suits the story really well. I honestly think that if the book went at a quicker pace it would have a completely different feel to it. Although it is a slow-paced book I can assure you it is an easy read and you will devour the pages quickly. At this point I will mention that the book is just under 700 pages long, so it is on the lengthy side but due to the writing style you will consume it.  It took me just under a week to read it in between work and the everyday jobs that needed completing.

The characters are depicted brilliantly. Diana is so likeable. You watch her develop and grow throughout the book and it makes the story even more enjoyable. I genuinely think that Matthew is book boyfriend material. He is full of tales that need to be shared. I propose a book that solely focus’ on his past. That would be amazing. Furthermore, there are so many interesting characters introduced throughout the story. With long books characters can be introduced and forgotten about easily but all of the characters created for this book bring something to the story, even if it is brief appearance from time to time. You love all the characters you’re supposed to love, and you hate the characters you’re expected to hate.

I’m a complete history nut and Harkness entwines history throughout the story extremely well. Her expertise is demonstrated throughout the novel. After completing the first book and finally having a plot to the series I’m excited to see what the second book has in store. (I’m still all for a Matthew Clairmont spin off!)

I’m not going to lie there are cheesy moments scattered within the book but that is the same with the majority of novels. In my opinion these moments did not disrupt the story in any way. The story continued and my love for the characters and the story grew.

I have heard a few people refer to the book as an adult version of Twilight. I am not a fan of the twilight series, so I withhold my opinion on this concept. However, I feel that if it was to be compared to something it would completely diminish the story. Honestly, it doesn’t need to be compared to anything else.

It has been a long time since I enjoyed a book as much as I have this one. I loved everything about it. It’s so rare that I give out 5 star reviews and it was one of the easiest 5 star reviews I have ever given.  From the first chapter I was hooked on this tale of romance, magic and other worldly creatures. I cannot wait to start the second instalment of the series.

I am super excited to start watching the adaptation of A Discovery of Witches that has recently started on Sky One. Now I have finished the book I’m able to watch it without anything being ruined. I’m so thankful for my Sky box right now.

Have you ever read A Discovery of Witches? What are your opinions?
If you haven’t – why? Go and pick it up!

Lucy
xx

20 Facts about Me!

 

  1. My name is Lucy
  2. I am 26 years old
  3. I was born in Sheffield and moved to the North-East for university when I was 18 years old.
  4. I have a pet cat called Thea. I love her. She hates me. A normal evil cat and owner relationship right there.
  5. I have graduated university 3 times with the following qualifications:
    – BA Honours degrees in English Language and Literature
    – Masters in English Studies
    – PGCE teacher training
  6. Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’urbervilles is my favourite book.
  7. I have a sister called Lily. She is two years younger than me and lives near Manchester.
  8. I don’t drink enough water (although I am on a mad mission to change this).
  9. I love chicken nuggets with Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce!
  10. My favourite City in the world is New York.
  11. I am allergic to the Sun. Something about the UV and heat combined. It has taken approximately 6 different doctors to confirm this with me.
  12. Sunflowers are my favourite flowers.
  13. Friends is my all time favourite TV show. I can quote them all and it still makes me laugh.
  14. I have been with my Boyfriend for 4 and a half years and we own a house together.
  15. My favourite colour is grey.
  16. I threw a tantrum at my Christening when I was a toddler after I saw my sister get water poured over her head. I didn’t want anyone wetting my head so I broke down.  At the age of 3 this is my first memory and I remember my Auntie giving me mint sweets to shut up.
  17. Greece is one of my favourite countries to visit. The culture, the food, the history…I could go on. I just love it all.
  18. I cry at everything. EVERYTHING. From books to tv documentaries. I cried at the new Jumanji last night.
  19. A perfect night in for me is an hour long bubble bath with candles, an alcoholic drink and a good book.
  20. Camping in the summer is one of my favourite things to do. Nothing better than a night by a campfire with friends, booze and BBQ food.

 

 

In hindsight I thought this would be fun to write. It was to an extent. It just made me  realised just how boring my life is but there are 20 facts about me.

 

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Lucy xx