Friday, 25 May 2018

Recent Reading Wrap-Up #1


I am powering through so many books at the moment and I love it. The thing with my new job is that I *have* to read, but I can read anything I want. Like what?! That is honestly just the dream. So, below are my small reviews of the books I have demolished in the past two weeks. I have given spoiler warnings before each book (and please be kind as these are my first mini reviews I’ve written in a while and I forgot how hard they are to write!) So grab a cup of tea/coffee/whatever takes your fancy and have a scroll.

A Torch Against the Night, Sabaa Tahir 

Contains spoilers to An Ember in the Ashes, but not a Torch Against the Night. If you’re a fan of YA fantasy and Sarah J Mass or Victoria Aveyard’s book I’d definitely recommend this series. Go read the first novel then come back to this review!

I absolutely loved A Torch Against the Night. I’ve had these books on my bookshelf for two years and finally got around to starting the series in April. After not being entirely won over by the world in An Ember in the Ashes, I loved A Torch Against the Nightand the world Sabaa Tahir continues to build. In a journey to save Laia’s brother from Kauf prison, Elias and Laia meet lots of different characters and obstacles on the way, reuniting with old friends and finding new ones, all whilst having the trail of Martial Soldiers (and Elias’ former best friend, Helene Aquila) eager to catch them. Having the three points of view (Elia, Laia and Helene) made the story very well rounded and it flowed well. As I’m not the greatest fan of fantasy I still struggled with certain magical and otherworldliness elements of it but I learnt to get used to it – The Waiting Place was such an interesting concept. Both Elias and Laia are compelling characters in their own right, but as a pair, they are one of my favourites. Tahir doesn’t shy away from ensuring her characters have flaws and I really appreciated how those flaws impacted the characters.  This was a gripping page-turner with some twists and turns that I did not see coming. I didn’t want this book to be over, and am so glad I only have a few more months until the next one is released!

Clean, Juno Dawson

This review does not contain any spoilers, but TW of addiction and drugs (in the novel.)

This book took me by surprise, and I loved it. I’ve never actually read any of Juno Dawson’s books, but I’ve heard her speak many times at YALC and this book was just as amazing as her panels are. She takes on such a huge topic of addiction, but does it so well. There are so many great pop culture references that situate the novel in contemporary life - from youtubers to Gigi Hadid – this book feels real. But even more than these random references the topic of addiction, a subject rarely tackled in YA fiction, was tackled so well. The ups and downs were shown through all different types of addictions – drugs, sex, food, alcohol –through, what I thought, a realistic view. I loved the filthy rich element of the character’s lives – I’ve heard this novel been described as a mix between Gossip Girl and Girl, Interrupted. Read this book, it’s a fun, easy read, but also an important read, it’s definitely on my list of favourite YA contemporary novels

King’s Cage, Victoria Aveyard

Contains spoilers to all books in the Red Queen series (except War Storm) – honestly, just go and read Red Queen right now if you love any fantasy/dystopian YA series.

I unashamedly LOVED Red Queen (the first in this series) when I read it about three years ago. I loved the world, the characters, the twist and turns (that big one took me by surprise completely.) I still liked Glass Swordand King’s Cage, but perhaps not so much. As with a lot of series, the second and third books become a lot more political, and King’s Cage in particular was a bit too political for me. I understand that the book is about more than just Mare, Cal and Maven, but it’s the relationships between those three that interest me the most and make me continue reading, and I continued reading (in a haste – I read this hefty book in three days) in search for moments between Mare/Cal/Maven. I did love getting Evangeline’s POV (and hope there is more in War Storm) and although I did not find Cameron’s POV exciting, it was necessary to understand the plot. The end shocked me, but not a huge amount, I would love if we were able to read Cal’s POV as I just want to know what’s going on in his head! I’ll definitely be reading War Stormsoon, but mostly because I still love the first book so much that I’m intrigued to see how it all ends. I would love Mare and Cal to end up together, but I actually think it would be more of a statement if Mare ends up alone, and happy to be all on her own and not to rely on anyone – we shall see!

Hope you enjoyed reading the first of my ‘what I’ve been reading posts.’ I loved writing this post so am planning on posting these updates and reviews every two weeks. I shall also be putting these reviews on my Goodreads so be sure to check out my page for some sneak peeks. If you pick any of these books up let me know what you thought of them either in the comments or tweet me! 

Have a lovely weekend, 
Christina xox





SHARE:

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Here's another 'I'm back' post for you, but no seriously, I'm back for good now

Photo taken by the beaut Charlotte (at Roof East, Stratford) 

Remember me? It’s been (once again) a while since I’ve written here but, I’m definitely back. Throughout my last year of uni I had moments of motivation to come back to the blogging world, but they would disappear after one day due to so much going on. So, now I’ve finished with university back in the blogging world for more than just one post. 

It’s weird, I’ve had this blog for seven years now! I started it in 2011 (please don’t go back and read my first crappy posts) and a small part of me didn’t want to come back to it as I thought - what have I achieved with my blog in seven years? -  But then I realised that I would often lose myself reading posts from four years ago and found myself wishing I had kept up with this documenting of life. I couldn’t, and didn’t want to blog at uni if I’m honest. I wasn’t inspired, all my creative energy was zapped out of me by reading books I didn’t necessarily want to read and planning essays that I had little joy in writing. Not that I didn’t enjoy my course, I did, but academics is just not my passion (that’s a whole other blog post.) Now I’ve had a week and a half since I’ve handed in my dissertation, all my passion for books and writing has come flooding back. 

I’m moving back home to my parent’s house permanently in a couple of weeks, I’ve got a part-time job at Waterstones which is exactly what I wanted. I’m getting a foot into the book industry and five days of work into it, I’m absolutely loving it. I want to take full advantage of this by building up my online portfolio; I want to document what I’m reading, discuss my time at university and share some photography. I just want to read, write and take photos and share it with the world through this little website. 

So yes, my blog may not have achieved that much in the blogging world over the past seven years, but my blog is my way of documenting my life and expressing myself. I love taking photos, hence why I love Instagram so much, but I love writing about life and my blog is the way to do that. I’m planning on posting every Friday with fortnightly book updates and other fashion and lifestyle posts, so if you have any other blog posts you’d like to see please let me know! 

Whilst you’re here, why not go follow my other social media channels – I updated my Goodreads last night, my Instagram is my favourite thing and I’m slowly starting to tweet more! 

Talk soon, 
Christina xox
SHARE:

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

The Barbican Observatory

On Sunday, Madeleine and I wanted a 'free and fun' afternoon as A) The January blues had taken full effect and B) I think we are both feeling the need to do London things as we will both be leaving the city summer. So we went to the Barbican Conservatory after I had spotted an article on my university's magazine, Cub, and it was perfect. This free conservatory opens up for four hours to the public most Sundays and it was wonderful, we walked around for just over an hour, I had my camera with you so I took full advantage of the beauty and snapped away. I really wanted to share my photo's on here as I'm not going to lie in saying I'm rather proud of some of them! So grab a cup of coffee and enjoy scrolling.




  I do have an outfit post coming up of the outfit I wore to the conservatory with some trousers that I am in love with. But in the mean time, don't forget to follow my Instagram where I post photo's everyday documenting my final year of uni! Hope you are having a good week, Christina xox





SHARE:

Friday, 5 January 2018

My Thoughts on 2018



Happy New Year!

This post is probably a little late but today is my official day off university work. I handed in my last essay yesterday so in celebration I am having a lazy morning in bed and going shopping this afternoon! 
So, because I struggle to not do anything productive in a day I come to you with a blog post talking about the start of 2018 and what I would like to achieve this year. As with many people, I don't like setting out resolutions. I don't like having that pressure, having that sinking feeling that I didn't complete what I wanted to and feel like a failure. So I'm just going to call them my *thoughts* for the year. What I envision and what I hope to accomplish:

Finish my degree with a 2:1 and feel proud of it!

This is my absolute main focus for the first Half of this year I have 126 days left of my degree, 126 days until I hand in my dissertation. Wow, that's a scary thought, but also actually really a welcoming thought. These next few months are going to be tough and are just going to be head-in-the-sand studying to get to that finish line. I will be so unbelievably happy to have finished. To not have anything to read anything, or do essays or feel tied down to finishing a book quickly. I want to do my best so I can be proud of what I accomplish. 

Having a more positive outlook overall

I think a lot of people would describe me as a positive person. And I think I used to be, and I can still seem on the outside. However in the latter part of 2017 I feel like I slowly lost that part of me, I started becoming negative and would worry constantly about things I know can't change. I need to get my positive thinking self back, I need to start weeding out the bad thoughts and ensuring I wake up the day with at least one positive thing to look forward to.

Being more kind

I don't think anyone would necessarily call me unkind, but I don't think kind is specifically a word that people would use to describe me. I want to care more about people, I want to be there for them, and for them to know I am there for them. I would like to be more forward thinking about what I say, and how this can affect people, or how I can help.


So those are the three things I'm going to try and focus on in 2018. I don't want to put pressure on myself but I just want to being positive and kind throughout life. In my head this forthcoming year is split into two halves - uni and after uni. After university my immediate plan is to look for an easy job back at home and save up some money to go travelling this time next year. I want a gap year, I want a break from everything and I want to travel more! So that is my motivation to get through the next five months (which hopefully I will actually end up enjoying!)

Hope your first week of 2018 has been grand, don't forget to check out my Instagram for new posts everyday! Christina xox


SHARE:

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Books I've read in 2017



For the past few years I have attempted to keep track of what books I've read. I start January with a list and slowly add to it throughout the first month, but once February hits, it completely goes out the window, and this year was no exception. However the other night, I thought I would attempt to get a list together. So I looked on Amazon at my past orders, looked at my university website at my past modules, and tried to remember the books I read over summer because of YALC and the list was created (however not in order).  I'm pretty sure I have missed off a few I read over summer but overall I read at least read 52 books, and I'm really quite proud of that number if I'm honest! So here it is, all the novels I read in 2017: 

  1. Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens
  2. Baumgartner’s Bombay, Anita Desai
  3. How Hard Can Love Be? Holly Bourne
  4.  Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, Sherman Alexie
  5. Burnt Shadows, Kamila Shamsie
  6. The Inheritance of Loss, Kiran Desai
  7. What Maisie Knew, Henry James
  8.  The Once and Future King, T.H.White (Not all chapter but most)
  9. A Court of Wings and Ruin, Sarah J. Mas
  10.  Lord of Shadows, Cassandra Clare
  11. Idylls of the King, Alfred Lord Tennyson
  12. The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
  13. Tales from a Shadowhunter academy, Cassandra Clare
  14. Wing Jones, Katherine Webber
  15. Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery
  16.  Once and For All, Sarah Dessen
  17. Always and Forever: Lara Jean, Jenny Han
  18. The Upside of Unrequited, Becky Albertalli
  19. A Quiet Kind of Thunder, Sara Barnard
  20. The Truth about Forever, Sarah Dessen [re-read]
  21. This Lullaby, Sarah Dessen [re-read]
  22. The Names They Gave Us, Emery Lord
  23. Geekerella, Ashley Poston
  24. This Raging Light: But Then I Came Back, Estelle Laure
  25.  Malory Towers, Enid Blyton
  26. Peter and Wendy, J.M. Barrie
  27. City of Spades, Colin MacInnes
  28. Girl in pieces, Kathleen Glasgow
  29. This Raging Light, Estella Laure
  30. Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Becky Albertalli
  31.  Love & Gelato, Jenna Evans Welch
  32.  The Dark Days Club, Alison Goodman
  33. Mansfield park, Jane Austen
  34.  Lock and Key, Sarah Dessen [re-read]
  35.   Under the Net, Iris Murdoch
  36.  The L-Shaped Room, Lynne Reid Banks
  37. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Alan Sillitoe 
  38.  Disreputable History of Franke Landau Banks, E. Lockhart [re-read]
  39. Am I Normal Yet?, Holly Bourne
  40. Girlhood, Cat Clarke
  41. It Only Happens in the Movies, Holly Bourne
  42. Moxie, Jennifer Mathieu
  43.  The Exact Opposite of Okay, Laura Stevens
  44. Everless, Sarah Holland
  45. One of us is Lying, Karen McManus
  46. Freshers, Lucy Ivison and Tom Ellen
  47. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, Lauren James
  48. The Truth and Lies of Ella Black, Emily Barr
  49. The Hazel Wood, Melissa Albert
  50.   Juniper Lemon’s, The Happiness Index, Julie Israel
  51. The End of the Affair, Graham Greene
  52.  The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins

As you can tell, with my course and my own personal taste, I read quite a range of novels! I had thought I would pick my few favourites, but I honestly am struggling to pick out just a few, so I have put my favourite eleven books in bold, although I would recommend most of these books to anyone! 

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas, surrounded by friends, family and lots of food. I had a lovely few days break, however it's already back to essay writing for me as I've got 6,000 words due in next Thursday! But it makes it so much better being surrounded by home comforts and all my family. I'll hopefully write my year round-up, or 2018 hopes soon. Christina xox


SHARE:

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Nearing the end of another chapter






I remember that feeling in the last year of school that you knew it was the last chapter of that part of your life, and I felt so nostalgic and confused. Because on one hand, I was so excited for the next chapter, but also,  I didn't want to leave my school, dance school and living at home and say goodbye to the things that made me feel most comfortable.

And a friend reminded me of that feeling today, and I realised, I'm having it all over again in my third and final year of University. I think that's why I felt the need to document my life over on Instagram by taking a photo every day - to acknowledge to myself and the world, that this part of my life will be over at some point soon, and I'm not quite ready for that yet.

Now this term has not been nice at all. It's included many breakdowns, much stress and a lot of feeling down, I'm not going to lie to you. Third year is F****** hard (I'm sorry about the profanity but it's how I honestly feel.) A part of me just wants to be done with uni, and already be on the other side of the world, meeting new people which I will (fingers crossed) be next year!
 Quite a large part of me also is just so over never being finished with work, always having another novel I need to read and always having something I should be working on. However another part of me is sad (who knew one person could hold all these different feelings!) I had my last seminar with my favourite tutor today and whenever I think of the fact I won't actually be learning new things next year it does make me grateful of life right now. Because I do like my course, however much stress its giving me at the moment, I do really like it. I love reading novels, I love learning about history linking with novels and I love my dissertation topic. So although I am so ready to say goodbye to essays, there is a part of me that isn't ready to say goodbye to studying texts. Then there is uni life - my job at the student union bar and my cheerleading club - things I am no way ready to say goodbye to and the thought that they will go on next year without me is very disheartening at the moment.

Life's weird basically, I have so many contrasting feelings about Uni at the moment. Who knows what life will be like this time next year but right now I just need to get through the next week - write one essay and get a good start on my two other ones, then finally Christmas will be here!



SHARE:

Monday, 13 November 2017

Snapshots from Home






Sometimes all you need to do is curl up with a blanket, watch a Disney film on your mum's sofa and zone out from the world for a bit.

Last week I wrote about how I was struggling with motivation etc, but the thing that got me through was the idea of a weekend in the countryside at home, I thought it was all that I needed - and it was. It's now Monday morning and I'm almost feeling back up to scratch. So, I thought I'd share some snapshots from my weekend at home.

This weekend was a break from everything. A break from the rush of London, a break from the library and a break from work. I struggled to fully relax but when, on Saturday afternoon I could have gone and read a book for my course or snuggled up on the sofa and watch Frozen - I watched Frozen. I worried I was wasting the day, but also, I just wanted to sing-a-long to Let It Go if I'm honest, so I did.  I didn't do much at home - the main events were going to a local pub for food, going on a country walk and heading to Primark to get my fancy dress costume for this week - but that was lovely. I could catch up with Madeleine, see the new kitchen we got done over the summer and get catch up with everything!

So now I'm going into the second half of the uni term, I've got five weeks of uni ahead of me and a heck load of work but it's okay. I'm excited for cheer at the moment, we got our team name and we are doing All-Girl Level 3, a level that QMA have never entered before - so that's a new challenge that I'm excited to be a part of. Plus, I'm looking forward to getting back to work, I had the week of with it being reading week but I've got a shift this evening and I'm actually kind of looking forward to it! So, life is okay, sorry for my slight breakdown last week (and the worry it caused my Dad) but I've got my positive pants on for this week and I'm taking it one day at a time!

Also I have be loving some new albums this week so thought I'd share with you:

Kelsey Bellerini's new album, Unapologetically, is beautiful! My favourites are 'In Between', 'Legends' and 'Music.' If you are a fan of old school country Taylor Swift I would definitely recommend her! The other album I am loving is Niall Horan's, Flicker album. My favourites are 'Seeing Blind', 'On My Own' and 'Too Much To Ask.' Such a lovely chilled album with some great lyrics!  

Don't forget to follow my Instagram to keep up with my photo-a-day challenge!








SHARE:

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Keep Pushing Forwards



The past few days have been fairly shit if I'm honest. My brother came to London yesterday which was lovely, and I've had some laughs with flatmates but other than that, I feel fairly crap right now. And sorry about the swearing, but I write how I speak and that's the best way I can describe it at this moment.

This week is reading week, meaning I have a week off lectures/ seminars plus my student's union bar where I work is closed, so I have a little bit of a break. However, it being third year, I had an assignment due in today and another logbook thing I am already behind on that I want to work on, plus, you guessed it, reading! So actually, it hasn't been a break yet. On Friday I had the opinion that the next four/five days were going to be very boring, but also very productive. In a sense they were - I got my essay in, and although I don't think it is the best piece of work ever, I think I had some good ideas and hopefully that came across. However, this afternoon I sat down to do my logbook and my motivation honestly just flew straight out the window. I briefly planned my ideas but I could not make myself write down one single word, even with the novel to hand. And now I feel a horrid sense of guilt that I haven't accomplished what I'm supposed to do today and I shouldn't enjoy my evening with friends that I have planned. This guilt isn't healthy, I know that, and my work won't stop my evening with friends tonight but I feel bad and I don't quite know how to explain it. The past few days I've not been feeling 100% either if I'm honest, I just feel a bit groggy with a headache and stomach ache. I don't know. But this is where I try to turn it all around and make myself feel motivated and happy again.

I just watched Lucy Moon's 'When You're not making progress'  video and one little thing that stuck out to me was her motivating words of the fact that you just have to 'keep pushing forwards.' That yeah, you may hit a brick wall in your studies or work but you have to take a breath and eventually break down that wall. Whether it's in half an hour or by tomorrow I cannot not do this work. It has to be done sometime soon if I want a degree and if I want my degree to reflect what I am capable of doing. And once this degree is done I can escape to Australia and forget all my worries (although need to save up that money first, another thing to worry about...!) 

Third year is hard. Reading week is hard. But I really need to see the positive side of things, I'm not a negative person and I really hate it when I am so I need to flip my switch and get my positive pants back on. I am going home on Thursday which can't come soon enough, I can't wait to relax on the sofa with my mum, catch up with my dad and giggle with Madeleine, a break is very much needed! 

Hopefully next time we'll speak to you I'll be more positive! Christina xox 
SHARE:

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Hello, I'm back (well for now at least)










Since my final year of university started I've felt the need to document everything. Deep down in my gut I know this is the last year of going to Queen Mary's. The last year of living in this little random bubble where there is a grave-yard in the middle of campus and 'Red Beer' is a normal phrase thats just a part of everyday life. I felt this need so much so that I set myself a challenge - to take and post a photo on Instagram everyday of third year (this started a week or so into the year, but still!) and I am loving it. I can already look back and see what I've done this month and already relate the photos to feelings I had at that time. So I thought I'd share some with you. But sometimes photos aren't enough.

I do not do a photography degree, I do an English degree. Where everything I study is to do with words and stories. So, over the past few weeks I found myself looking back at my blog. The last time I posted here was a year ago. Where I wrote about how busy I was and how much I was loving life. Although I was loving life then, I was struggling as well - and thats a part of university life that isn't talked about very much.

I want to come back to this blog. I want to write my thoughts, anecdotes and random ramblings down. However, I don't want to feel pressure to post, to write beautiful amazing things, to take incredible photo's or to get this many page views. I'm writing for myself. I'm writing because this year has already been full of ups and downs and why not write about this for the internet to see. But also for me to look back on. I love looking back on my old posts from sixth form and even earlier - I remember specific moments when photos were taken or how I was feeling when I wrote a post. And I crave that now. I crave writing about my life. I crave oversharing everything on this random corner of the internet that not many people will see. 


So, I write this after an ish-productive morning in the library (however I am supposed to be reading an essay at this moment...) Who knows how much I'll post, but for now, Stylestorey is back. (even though I cringe at that name now!)

If you do want to check out my Instagram find it here!
SHARE:
© StyleStorey

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services - Click here for information.

Blogger Template Created by pipdig