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Review: See How They Lie by Sue Wallman

As much as I enjoyed this book, I was equally let down. I expected so much more and forgot that it is technically a YA novel. I read a review saying it was a thriller novel and I agree, but I also disagree. The thriller elements aren't strong, they're good, but there could be more power behind them. 

Synopsis: 
There's no way out. Mae's grown up at Hummingbird Creek, an elite wellness retreat where teens get the help they need from Mae's psychiatrist father. The Creek monitors every aspect of residents' daily life for optimal health and well-being, and everyone must follow strict rules. But after Mae is caught breaking the rules, she starts to question everything about how she lives. And at the Creek, asking questions can be dangerous. 
It's a relatively short book. I chose to read this because I wanted something short and quick to read, to get me back into my reading flow. 

The story follows a young girl, Mae, and how her life at Hummingbird Creek begins to crumble away and holes are starting to appear in all she's ever known. Following her friendship with Drew, disappear. Death at the Creek. And how some of her bonds are as close to a family as she has ever been. 

Do you have any thriller novels to follow on from See How They Lie? I'm not after anything terrifying, but I'm interested in reading more now. 
- K.B 

Bullet Journal: September Set Up

New Month. New Bujo set up.

It's a new month, I'm starting my final year at uni, and I'm starting my first EVER Leuchtturm 1917 bujo. The excitement is very real. I ordered on Prime so I didn't have to watch the tracking app for days on end, waiting for my new journal. 
I went for the Leuchtturm 1917 Medium Squared Hardcover Notebook in Anthracite - Grey - (here). 

My Tools:
20cm Ruler from WHSmith (here)
Zebra Z-Grip Medium Black Ballpoint Pen (here)
Mustard/Yellow Mildliner (here)
Pilot V5 HI-TECPOINT 0.5 Black Pen (here)
Staedtler HB Pencil (here)
Tipp-Ex Mini Shake'n Squeeze White Correction Pen (here)
WHSmith Rubber (here)

Month on Two-Pages 
I find this spread SO useful. I have done the list format before, where you write the days down the side of the page, but I find the grid method much easier to visualise my month via. 

Habit Tracker | Outfits 
Habit Tracker; some of the habits I write are unnecessary but it feels good to have something ticked off early in the day. I'm yet to add more to this list, but I struggled to think of any that would be helpful for September - any ideas?
Outfits; I'm trying to wear more of my clothes. So every day I write a short log of what I wore and at the end of the month, I can see what I haven't worn from my wardrobe.

Blog | Instagram 
Blog; purely so I can see my plans for this month and next months blog posts. I was originally going to go down to one post per week - when I went back to uni. But I might go down to one post a week in October instead. 
Instagram; The calendar is so that I can mark off the days I upload. And then below I have a check-list for INSERT NAME's Instagram challenge that she does at the start of every month.

Budget Spread on Two-Pages 
Budget; I try these every few months. Struggle to remember what I've bought and give-up. But I'm going to *try* again!

Week on Two-Pages
This is my basic weekly layout. I've only shown one week because I do the same layout every week. I prefer a week over two pages because it gives me enough room to write my daily to-do lists. On the side panel, I write any work shifts, appointments, etc. 

For each month I have a colour throughout, for September I chose a mustard yellow - leading me into the wonderful season of Autumn!

I'm thinking about doing a similar post with my university related pages in my bullet journal in October, I don't go back to uni until the end of September - seems a little premature to write them yet! Let me know if you would be interested in that, or if you have any ideas for useful University related spreads.

- kayleighbkl

Review: Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland

Honestly, I only bought this book because it was £5 in Tesco. 

I enjoy Sophie Kinsella's books and it has a review by her, so I knew I would enjoy it. 

It's a difficult book to write a review about without any spoilers, so I might include some but I'll alert you to them. 

Synopsis:
Meet Robin Wilde! You'll make a friend for life and she'll take you on a journey you'll never forget... 'Does anyone else out there feel like me?' Robin Wilde is an awesome single mum. She's great at her job. Her best friend Lacey and bonkers Auntie Kath love her and her little Lyla to the moon and back. From the outside, everything looks just fine. But Robin has a secret. Behind the mask she carefully applies every day, things sometimes feel... grey. And lonely, She struggles to fit in with the school-mum crew. Online dating is despair-inducing, and how can she give her little girl the very best when, honestly, some days it's hard to find a clean pair of knickers. After 4 years (and two months and 24 days) of single-mum-dom, Robin realises it's time to get out there and Change. Her. Life! A little courage and creativity go a long way, and exciting new opportunities are soon on the horizon - maybe a man, maybe the chance of a lifetime... Will Robin seize the possibilities she creates for herself? And what surprises does her life have in store if she does?
This is an easy book to read. I put it down for two weeks, came back, and carried on from where I left off. To me, it's classic women's literature. 

-- Spoilers ahead... --
The first half of the book was a bit boring and the book is very jumpy because it's spread out over a year. Also, I didn't like Theo to start with. So I didn't get caught up in his story line, and I feel as though that part was boring for me too. BUT, once she got to New York and came back, I loved it! Especially because it ends with her being empowered and it sounds as though Pentland could really take this novel somewhere. SUPER SPOILER: I'm really hoping Louise doesn't get Robin and Edward to fall in love, it'll make it too predictable. 

I know that Louise Pentland is a Youtuber and online 'star', have you got any books by Youtubers/Bloggers that you think I should read? I'm into non-fiction at the moment, but equally happy to read more fiction too! 

- K.B

Stationary/Back to School Wishlist

This is as close to a 'back to school' post I'm ever going to get. I don't *need* anything for going back to uni at the end of September, but it's deeply ingrained that I buy new stationary for a 'fresh start' in September. The only thing I'm intending on buying is a new bujo, which I'll go onto include in this post, but there are many things that I consider buying that I'm not in the direct market for. This is also HEAVILY inspired by other stationary videos/posts at the moment!

I am a fan of the bullet journal. Mine last between 3-4 months, and I use to write down EVERYTHING. The Leuchtturm is the common, go-to, notebook of choice. Although I have considered trying a Moleskine notebook instead. This semester I'm going for a squared A5 Hardcover, I love using the squared pages for tracking habits, etc, A5 is my go-to size for notebooks (unless told otherwise or for writing long lecture notes), and I use the hardback because I'm not always in a situation where I can rest my notepad on a hard surface. 

Leuchtturm 1917 Pen Loop

Continuing on from my bullet journal, is a pen loop. Purely for practical reasons and it is matching the colour bujo I want to buy. I'm going for the 'anthracite' this semester, essentially grey. I haven't bought one of these pen loops before, but in the reviews some comments say it's quite small for the average pen. But after researching YouTube, I've seen people fit a normal Zebra Z-Grip Med pen (here). 

I've been lusting over these for months. I have recently bought the Stabilo Pastel Highlighters (here), but I think there is still a hole in my life for the mildliners. If you have no idea what they are, look at any fancy, well-planned, bullet journal video - they all use them. The reason I prefer pastel highlighters/pens is because they don't distract my eye away from the text. Bright, bold, neon highlights stop me from being able to read the text, my eye is drawn to them the whole time.

Fjällräven Kånken Adult Laptop Backpack

I'm so desperate for a Kanken backpack, but they're so expensive and I cannot justify buying a new one right now. I've been researching them and trying to find a reason not to buy one. I'm after the Blue Ridge Laptop one, so a) I can bring my laptop with me, b) I like the blue colour (so sue me). If you have one, let me know if they're worth the money and what colour/style you went for!


- kayleighbkl


Review: Doing It! By Hannah Witton

Synopsis:
Sexting. Virginity. Consent. The Big O... Let's face it, doing it can be tricky. I don't know anyone (including myself) who has sex all figured out. So I've written a book full of honest, hilarious (and sometimes awkward) anecdotes, confessions and revelations. And because none of us have all the answers, I've invited some friends to talk about their sexuality, too. We talk about doing it safely. Doing it joyfully. Doing it when you're ready. Not doing it. Basically, doing it the way you want, when you want. So. Let's do this...

I have done a brief review of this book (here). But I'm going to, attempt, give a more in-depth and deeper review of it now and try not to repeat what I said previously.

Firstly, I think this book could be for all ages. Whether or not you're having sex, it discusses many other subjects. 

If you're looking to read more about everything that surrounds the topic of sex, this would be a good place to start. 

Chapters:

  1. Healthy Relationships
  2. Virginity
  3. Four Generations of Witton Family Sex Ed
  4. LGBTQ+
  5. Consent
  6. Masturbation
  7. Porn
  8. Bodies & Body Image
  9. Sexual Pleasure
  10. Contraception
  11. STIs
  12. Sexting
  13. Sex Shaming
  14. Conclusion
The book is just over 300 pages, so it doesn't go into great detail about everything. But it has the basics and gives you many points to go off and research on if you wish. 

A key chapter is Healthy Relationships. This is important for ALL relationships; friends, family, love, work, everything. One of my favourite parts of this chapter was tearing apart how toxic rom-com relationships are, and how if Wormtail (Harry Potter reference) would be creepy doing it than anybody doing it is toxic! 

I would love to think that in 20 years time being a virgin won't be such a taboo, and vice-versa (this could lead onto a long ramble about how you're bad for having sex, and bad for not... but I'll stop.). Witton discusses how there isn't anything that changes about you having sex and not having sex. And there isn't a way of telling unless the person tells you they're having sex. 

Witton includes essays written by others around the world of Sex, which add another take on the subjects that she is already talking about. It, also, allows the reader to read a person's first-hand experience in that field. 

You don't have to read this book, but I recommend you do.

- K.B

What I Read in August 2017

I'm FINALLY back reading again, just in time for me to go back to university and start my dissertation. Brilliant. I haven't read lots this month, but I've read more than last month - and that's all that matters!

Doing It! by Hannah Witton
I spoke about this a few weeks ago in another post and went into more detail. But in essence, it's a brief book about sex, relationships and everything associated with those fields.

Synopsis:
Sexting. Virginity. Consent. The Big O ... Let's face it, doing it can be tricksy. I don't know anyone (including myself) who has sex all figured out. So I've written a book full of honest, hilarious (and sometimes awkward) anecdotes, confessions and revelations. And because none of us have all the answers, I've invited some friends and fellow YouTubers to talk about their sexuality, too.
We talk about doing it safely. Doing it joyfully. Doing it when you're ready. Not doing it. Basically, doing it the way you want, when you want. So. Let's do this ...

Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland
I bought this book back in July and kept putting off reading it! (I have got a review of this book in a couple of weeks - keep your eyes peeled for that one.) I really enjoyed it overall though.

Synopsis:
"You'll never forget the day you meet Robin Wilde!
Robin Wilde is an awesome single mum. She's great at her job. Her best friend Lacey and bonkers Auntie Kath love her and little Lyla Blue to the moon and back. From the outside, everything looks just fine. But behind the mask she carefully applies every day, things sometimes feel . . . grey. And lonely. After 4 years (and 2 months and 24 days!) of single-mum-dom, it's time for Robin Wilde to Change. Her. Life! A little courage, creativity and help from the wonderful women around her go a long way. And Robin is about to embark on quite an adventure . . ."

See How They Lie by Sue Wallman
Again, there is a full-length review coming of this book in September. So not to give any spoilers or make my post a waste of time. This is a teen thriller about a girl who grows up in a psychiatric hospital, owned by her Father, where she lives a 'healthy lifestyle' with daily exercise and meal plans. But everything she knows to be true is a lie.

Synopsis:
"Mae feels lucky to have grown up at Hummingbird Creek, an elite wellness retreat where rich teens with psychological problems can get the help they need from her father, a prominent psychiatrist. The Creek has world-class cuisine, a state-of-the-art sports centre and the latest spa treatments. Every aspect of daily life is monitored for optimal health, and there are strict rules for everyone. When Mae is caught breaking the rules, the response is severe. She starts to question everything about her highly controlled life. And at the Creek, asking questions can be dangerous"

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan
TECHNICALLY, I haven't finished reading this book. But it felt a bit small only including three books in this list. I am over half way through though. It's a nice, cosy and slightly predictable book about Anna who has an accident at work ends up in hospital/recovery and reunites with an old teacher, Claire. Anna loses her job as part of the accident settlement, so Claire finds her job in Paris with her old lover.

Synopsis:
"As dawn breaks over the Pont Neuf, and the cobbled alleyways of Paris come to life, Anna Trent is already awake and at work; mixing and stirring the finest, smoothest, richest chocolate; made entirely by hand, it is sold to the grandes dames of Paris.
It's a huge shift from the chocolate factory she worked in at home in the north of England. But when an accident changed everything, Anna was thrown back in touch with her French teacher, Claire, who offered her the chance of a lifetime - to work in Paris with her former sweetheart, Thierry, a master chocolatier.
With old wounds about to be uncovered and healed, Anna is set to discover more about real chocolate - and herself - than she ever dreamed."

Well, that is everything I have read in August! Now that I'm going back to uni this month, the posts are going to go down to once a week - on a Sunday. Mostly because I'm not going to have as much time to read for fun and also, I'm worried about not having enough time to write two posts a week.

- K.B

College reading list

Although I used to LOVE reading and studying literature, I fell out of love with reading. That was because of situations and lecturer's, which shows how fragile students are to the way their lecturers/teachers teach. Fast forward 3/4years and I'm enjoying reading again. Hurrah. 

I'm slowly making my way through books I read in 'high school' (secondary) and college (sixth form) and thought it would be nice to make a collection, while I still remember, of the books I read while in education. I do still read books in university, but they're on the boring side and are textbooks that way me down to and fro from the library.

GCSE Literature:
Blood Brother by Willy Russell
A play about two brothers. Separated at birth. And mixed up in superstition. They meet again when they're older and make a pact to be 'blood brothers'. The play follows their life and death together. 

Lord of the Flies by William Golding
A group of private school boys end up alone on a deserted island. It follows the story of them creating leaders, wars, and fighting to survive. A book that explores the survival of mankind and our animalistic instincts. 

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Two brothers are working their way through the great depression in the America, following their time together on one plantation. 

Mid-Summer Nights Dream by William Shakespeare
A play about four interconnecting plots that are all connected by the celebration of a wedding. It's set in a wood land, the realm of Fairyland, under the moon light. 

Poetry was a selection chosen by the examination board from a large selection of authors.

Books I've read of the syllabus after my GCSEs:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brönte
Following the life of Jane Eyre, from living with her Aunt & Cousins, going onto school, learning to be a teacher, falling in love, running away, and coming back again. 

Animal Farm by George Orwell
A novella that, Orwell says, discusses the lead up to the Russain Revolution in 1917. A revolution of a farm, from being run by a man and taken over by the animals. How a revolution can take place for the better and the worse. 

AS/A2 Literature:
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Following Tess' life from poverty, finding ancestors who might be wealthy, motherhood, love, and showing the juxtaposition of female & male rights during the 1800s. 

The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald 
A story that revolves around the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his obsession and love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan. 

King Lear by William Shakespeare
Following King Lear's descent into madness after he splits up his kingdom to two of his three daughters, based upon their flattery to him. After the kingdom is split a tragic sequence of consequences happen, creating a civil war in his kingdom. 

Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx
Two young men, Ennis and Jack, are hired to look after sheep for the summer. They form an intense emotional and sexual attachment, but part ways at the end of the summer. Over the following twenty years, their separate lives play out with marriage, children, jobs and reunite throughout for remote camping trips. 

Kindertransport by Diane Samuels
A play about the kindertransport that got children to safety in Germany at the start of WW2. Examining the life, during and after world war II and afterward, of the Kindertransport children. It is based on many real kindertransport stories.

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles 
While Oedipus is young, his parents receive a prophecy, that he will become King, kill his father, and marry his mother. The King orders for Oedipus to killed, but he is instead given to a shepherd who returns the child to his King. The King takes Oedipus in, looking after him as if he is his own. The play then follows Oedipus' life and fulfilling the prophecy that his father had tried to prevent. 

The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde
Dorian Gray is the subject of an oil painting by Basil Hallward, a painter who is impressed and infatuated by Dorian's beauty. Through Basil, Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, and is soon obsessed by the aristocrat's hedonistic worldview, 'that beauty and sensual fulfillment are the only things worth pursuing in life'. Newly understanding that his beauty will fade. Dorian has a desire to sell his soul, to ensure that the painting will age and fade, instead of himself. The wish is granted. Dorian goes onto live a free and varied life, while his portrait ages and records every sin.

Poetry I studied was by Sheenagh Pugh, Robert Frost, and Carol Ann Duffy.

I've attempted to write my own synopsizes about the books without giving too much away about the stories. I recommend that you go online and read what is written about these books for more accurate and articulate synopsizes. 
- K.B