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Goodreads Reading Challenge Progress

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Do you know what sucks? Chronic illness sucks, it is the thief of joy, the barrier to progression, and the jester that mocks you when you make plans. I have lists and lists of things I want to do from the small- organise my bathroom cupboards- to the large- Tokyo Disney- and chronic illness always has a way of coming between me and my goals. The thing my chronic illness stops me from doing most though is THIS! Blogging seems so simple to those who don't do it but it takes so much energy from those of us who have little. 
So, I've sat down in front of this laptop a number of times over the last few months with the intention of writing something, anything, and then haven't. Sitting at my desk hurts my back, sitting on the couch hurts my legs, brain fog steals the words on their journey from my brain to my clicky little fingers-and inevitably I give up and just go back to reading or watching TV. But today I am easing myself back in with something easy-it's just a list it shouldn't be too taxing, right? Let's hope not!



I am way behind (see above about chronic illness being the thief of joy) on my reading challenge this year BUT I am exactly halfway through which is an achievement in itself so let's have a look at the 25 books I've read so far in 2021:

  1. Influence by Sara Shepard (3*)
  2. Secrets of the Starcrossed-Once and Future Queen book 1 by Clara O'Connor (4*)
  3. The Curse of the Celts- Once and Future Queen book 2 by Clara O'Connor (4*)
  4. Legend of the Lakes- Once and Future Queen book 3 by Clara O'Connor (4*)
  5. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (5*)
  6. Little Scratch by Rebecca Watson (4*)
  7. The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed (4*)
  8. The End of Men by Christina Sweeney Baird (4*)
  9. A Vow so Bold and Deadly-Cursebreakers book 3 by Brigid Kemmerer (4*)
  10. Mirrorland by Carole Johnstone (4*)
  11. The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna (4*)
  12. When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins (5*)
  13. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by Voldemort (no rating-reread)
  14. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by Voldemort (no rating-reread)
  15. Good Girls Die First by Kathryn Foxfield (4*)
  16. The Guest List by Lucy Foley (4*)
  17. Perimenopause Power by Maisie Hill (3*)
  18. The Mother Fault by Kate Mildenhall (2*)
  19. All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O'Donoghue (5*)
  20. House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland (5*)
  21. The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker by Lauren James (4*)
  22. Dog Rose Dirt by Jen Williams (5*)
  23. Found- House of Night Other World book 4 by P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast (3*)
  24. As Good as Dead- A Good Girl's Guide to Murder book 3 by Holly Jackson (4*)
  25. Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer (5*)
There is was a 26th book but I did not finish it because the world is depressing enough without having my escapism be riddled with baby loss, spousal abuse, rape, and xenophobia, among other things.

My Favourite Book of the Year (so far)

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland

Spooky, mind-bending, terrifying magical realism. Beautifully written, torn from the mind of someone a little twisted (this is the highest compliment), and just thoroughly engaging. 5 stars would 100% recommend. 

My Least Favourite Book of the Year (so far)

The Mother Fault by Kate Mildenhall

I'm just going to share here what I wrote in my review on NetGalley.

I just don't get this book. At first, I was like "Yes! Dystopian world- so close to reality-sign me right up" but then nothing really happens!
The Department are shady but also so secondary to the story you can be forgiven for forgetting all about them for a large chunk of the story. Characters who are apparently so pivotal are left by the wayside with no follow-up. The big reveal happens over a page and a half and then we go back to nothing.  There is no conclusion to the story which makes it feel like the whole book is just a prequel, but there is nothing to suggest that it's the first in a series.

The writing is lovely, flashbacks are a nice touch, the honest examples of motherhood are welcome but that's it there is no cohesion between these good things and the actual story as a whole-it's just meh! 

I put The Mother Fault down at 96% and it took me another 3 days to pick it up again to finish. 

Now enough waffling on from me it's back to my books! I'm currently reading The Search Party by Simon Lelic (which if you look at the list above is surprising for the sole reason that it is written by a man!! I know I shock even myself sometimes). 

Hope you're all having a wonderful day, and if you are reading I hope it's a good one! 

Much Love
AJ 

The One Where It's All Our Fault...Apparently

Friday, May 28, 2021


For the last wee while I've been seeing this post be shared over and over again on Facebook and last night I just snapped and what follows came flying out of me as a 3am Facebook post-then I realised it was a bit long for a status update so you can have it here instead. This isn't even the first time I've written a post in response to a meme, maybe I need to relax haha. You can read the first one
here

It’s hilarious, all these school kids preaching to us oldies that we fucked up the planet! Back in the 60s and 70s not a plastic bottle to be seen it was all glass that were reused, pop bottles taken back to the shop. No plastic bags, loose food was brown paper bags, all sweets were bought in 1/4lb put in a paper bag. Mothers used shopping trolleys to carry heavy stuff or used a linen bag. You walked to school from 5 years old to 16 years old not jumping into mummy’s 4x4. No McDonald’s or Burger King plastic toys, no polystyrene food boxes for you to litter the streets with, we had to use newspapers to wrap out hot food in. Our milk was delivered at 5am 6 days a week by a milkman who drove and electric vehicle! And glass bottles were returned and washed out and reused. Same with the pop man. Holidays were in a caravan not an aeroplane to far off destinations. So I think these youngsters need to take a look in a recycled mirror and think “was it my wasteful generation who are fucking up the planet”?



Gimme strength folks! We didn’t invent this shit? The generation that this post is having a go at grew up whilst all this new stuff was being invented and trotted out as “the next big thing”! We were fucking children when the pop bottle man stopped coming, we were kids when the tattie mannie disappeared, we were fucking kids, not corporate faceless megalomaniacs hellbent on leaching all the nutrients from the earth and turning it into fucking plastic bags that seem to mutate and split and grow when they come into contact with each other (seriously I clear out our bag corner weekly and then I look back and there’s fucking more of the bastard things EVEN THOUGH I DO ALL MY SHOPPING WITH CANVAS!

Now, don't get me wrong here the generation before us is always gonna get blamed for something. When I was growing up we blamed our parent's generation for blowing a bajillion holes in the ozone layer (seriously you did not NEED that much hairspray to look that bad)!

My niece’s generation blames my ilk for the prevalence of side parts, skinny jeans, and the overbearing naffness of the live laugh love aesthetic-whilst the media blame us for deforestation, human rights violations (because apparently, all we eat is avocado and somehow that funds human trafficking), killing the mortgage market (because we spent all our money on avocados), killing the diamond industry (oh dear, how sad, nevermind) and a load of other old shite 🤷🏼‍♀️.
And I’m sure my parents' generation probably blame their parents' generation for some other shit-but dickheads like John here are gonna come and blame an entire generation of people for killing his way of life when they were children when the transition happened. GTFOH!

Or maybe this rant is all an elaborate ruse and a whole legion of 9-10 year olds stood up one day and collectively told their parents “well actually mummy/daddy I think we should switch to plastic for everything, and don’t be ghastly I demand a cheap holiday to Tenerife instead of Skegness this year (for what it’s worth my favourite childhood memories are from the Norfolk broads-I can go to the Caribbean for the same price now-and that opens up a whole other story about shit British summers, global warming, overpricing etc) fuck off the greengrocer let’s go to the big Tesco you can drive to and don’t have to speak to other people at”!

Don’t blame people for shit they had no control over! Lay the blame at the door of big businesses who are actually the problem-they produce the most pollution, they create the most landfill, they pump the most chemicals into the atmosphere and then they slap “biodegradable/eco-friendly” on their packaging, clap themselves on the back and then blame you for not doing enough! But if you just can't help yourself and you must, must lay the blame on a generation different to your own, may I recommend not using the generation that is actively trying to bring back all those things you miss so much?

Milk deliveries? Yep we brought that back. Canvas/Linen bags? Yup us again. Recycling, paper bags, zero waste refill stores, banning single-use plastics, staycations, charity shop clothing, reduce-reuse-recycle...all being brought back and championed by the generation being so scathingly attacked in the previous post. 

Oh and don't even get me started on the irony of the original post where it laments an imaginarily wasteful generation and then uses their recycled mirror as some sort of thinly veiled insult! 

Anyway thanks for allowing me the rant, now I'm off to clean out and recycle some old candle jars to store my bamboo cotton buds, and reusable wipes- oh yeah, we brought the flannel back too! 

Much Love
Aj 






August Reading Roundup

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

Did I tell you all I've joined Bookstagram?? I don't know why it took me so long, I mean come on I've loved books my whole life. My earliest memories are of picking out books in little shops, in little villages whilst we holidayed in England. I found no greater joy than in spending my pocket money on the latest Children's Classic at our local Bookworld (whatever happened to Bookworld??). To this day my favourite deliveries are the ones that contain openings to other worlds. I am on first name terms with our local librarians (I miss them dearly and can't wait for my local to reopen after Lockdown)- and I have a favourite Waterstones in the country-It's in Inverness if you fancy a visit. So yeah all this is to say that I adore books, so I started an Instagram page all about the ones I'm reading, the one's I'm looking forward to, and sadly sometimes the one's I just didn't enjoy. I think it's important to share the good with the bad because one person's favourite book might be the next person's DNF (did not finish) because we all like different things. So yeah, alongside my Bookstagram, and my Goodreads profile I wanted to do a monthly round-up on here of the books I've read that month. Some of the books featured will be Advanced Reader Copies but I will put their publication date next to them so you know how long you have to wait. 

So without further ado let's have a look at what I read in August! 



My Daily Skincare Routine

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Whilst chatting with a pal the other day it became apparent that so many of us still don't know exactly what we should be doing when it comes to taking care of our skin. I'm firmly in my 30s and will admit that after years of hating my dry, flaky, ultra-sensitive skin I've finally started taking proper care of it! Gone are the face wipes, and light swipes of micellar water, and in are the serums, oils, and weird gadgets. No longer am I out until all hours of the night, necking vodkas and then wondering why my skin is so dull and lifeless, instead, its copious amounts of water throughout the day, and an AM/PM skincare routine full of steps.

The same pal I was chatting to was equally as clueless as I used to be so I said I'd write this post for her to help her get to grips with a whole new world of skincare. I was originally going to do a full skincare routine post but honesty with AM, PM, and once weekly routines it was just going to be way too much for one post, so instead I'll do an AM/PM one and then a weekly "deep clean" one which I'll link here once it's done!