That Bookish Monday

Hello to all of you on this lovely Monday evening.

I thought I would do a weekly update for you all with my chosen book of the week and any updates in regard to upcoming posts/book reviews.

So, I’ve not long got back from holidaying in Tenerife, and if you follow my instagram you’ll see some scenic bookish pics. Whilst lounging by the pool drinking cocktails, I binge read Sarah J Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy and it was an epic series! I am currently working on a review of the trilogy, so keep an eye out for my review if you have been interested in reading this series.

After finishing the trilogy, I have found it super difficult to move on because of how engrossed I was into the world of Prythian.

But I have finally decided on my next read…

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

SYNOPSIS:

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

********

It sounds so dreamyyyy….

But the reason I have chosen this book is because so many people have recommended it to me before. I wanted to stick with the fantasy genre I thought this would be a great book to move on to. Have you read this book? If so, please pop in the comments your thoughts (but with no spoilers please!)

GOALS FOR THE WEEK:

Each week I’ll be setting myself 3 lifestyle, or book related goals – feel free to join in and share in the comments what 3 goals you will set yourself.

I’ve made sure that all of my goals are small but achievable. I’ve tried not to pick goals that are too overwhelming and not out of reach. Keep that in mind when setting your own goals because you’ll only feel more accomplished at the end of the week.

Here goes…

1) To wake up 15 mins earlier and read in bed instead of scroll through FB to start my day.

I don’t know if anyone else feels this way, but starting your day off scrolling through FB isn’t very productive and doesn’t make me want to get out of bed. But I had this debate on instagram about morning routine and I thought that perhaps not staring at a screen but taking my time to wake up in the morning with a gentle read might be beneficial?? Or perhaps you already do this, if so, please share your thoughts in the comments!!

2) Post a book review.

I’m working on my book review for the ACOTAR trilogy, and I am hoping to complete this and post it for you all to read this week. I am slowly getting used to blogging and I really enjoyed writing my first ever book review on The Corset by Laura Purcell.

3) To play piano for 15 mins a day.

If you have read my About Me post, I discussed my passion for playing the piano during school/sixth form. During university, I slowly lost that passion and now I feel incredibly guilty when I see a piano and I can just about remember how to play half of a song. So I am hoping by just playing for 15 mins a day won’t be too much pressure and will help me to ease my way back into practicing regularly.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

The Corset – Laura Purcell

“But instead I shared the fate of all girls who are poor of pocket: I was tied to my work, like a needle tethered by thread.” 

The Corset – Laura Purcell

After reading The Corset by Laura Purcell, I had to write a review about it because of how amazing it is, but don’t worry, I won’t be giving away any spoilers!

Purcell’s novel, The Corset, is an intricately woven, Victorian Gothic tale about Ruth, a poor seamstress with supernatural sewing skills. Ruth is imprisoned at 16 years old as a suspected murderess. Whilst incarcerated, she becomes the subject of Dorothea’s phrenological study.

Dorothea is an upper class, well educated woman, and throughout the novel she applies (what is now classified as pseudoscience) phrenology to Ruth. Dorothea’s goal throughout the novel was to prove that reformation through religion whilst incarcerated could change the shape of the skull because, theoretically, their soul would have changed and adapted to this new way of thinking.

“Phrenology is the only answer to the behavioural patterns of these women…It is all there, mapped out on the cranium.”

The Corset – Laura Purcell

What I found most interesting about their relationship is that Dorothea and Ruth’s relationship begins on the grounds of ‘science’ (albeit pseudoscience) and study; not a device that would usually be the foundations of a relationship built on friendship and trust, take Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, for example. However, Purcell uses it as a device to allow Ruth to subjectify Dorothea – to a certain degree – in order for Dorothea to listen to Ruth’s raw retelling of her own horrific hardships in life.

Ruth’s confessions are all-consuming for both the reader and the listener, Dorothea. I loved how blunt and matter-of-fact the sentences were because it built an incredible suspense! I thought this kind of writing technique may have a negative emotional impact, but it worked really well to build Ruth’s character and portray how much guilt she feels. Ruth asks the reader/listener questions throughout the novel, and this direct approach definitely has an impact on Dorothea’s character as she begins to question her own morals and sense of self.

“But look at your face, miss. You’ve never hated one of your fellow creatures, have you?”

The Corset – Laura Purcell

I’m always very apprehensive of a novel that swaps and changes character every chapter. Am I the only one that doesn’t like multiple narrators in a story?

But the two female narrators, although they have vastly different upbringings and social status, surprisingly worked well together.

It was almost kind of funny how contrasting the chapters were. Ruth’s are always so intense because of how descriptive everything is – even the gruesome parts (yes, you’re in for a few shocks).

Whereas, Dorothea’s chapters deal with simple matters that are very appropriate for a Victorian woman, for example, planning her birthday party and doing all of her correspondence. Her troubles in life are trying to avoid an arranged marriage, and hiding a secret relationship with a police officer from her father. But it all seems so trivial when you think of Ruth in a prison cell, awaiting her fate.

If you’ve never read anything Neo-Victorian before, The Corset would definitely be the best place to start.

However, if you’ve read anything by Sarah Waters, you will definitely love this book.

So far, I’ve recommended this book to everyone on my bookstagram; I’ve given my own copy to someone else to read; I’ve bought another copy as a gift for my auntie, and I’m now recommending it to all of you!

Leave me a comment below if you have already read the book because I would love to know your thoughts. If you haven’t read it and I’ve managed to persuade you to grab a copy, I must have some serious supernatural writing powers….

Xoxo

Once Upon a Time…

was a student – for 18 years in fact. And the day came when I completed my last ever university exam, and I felt relief.

I would say something cliche, like “I had so many plans for the future”, and that I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Well, if you knew what you wanted to do in life after uni or otherwise – that’s fab, good for you – but I hadn’t got a scooby; a clue…and all the other words you can think of for NO FRICKIN’ IDEA.

I started university as a musician (I still am), but I was studying Popular Music Performance and after a few weeks on the course, I knew I didn’t fit in.

But this was difficult for me.

Music was all I ever knew. I poured my heart and soul into it; all my spare time was filled with singing, playing piano, practicing, exams…etc. So to make the life changing decision to change course was shocking, even for me. I might have even said that it was a really hard decision to make, but surprisingly, it wasn’t. It was the easiest choice I ever made. I realised I wanted a book in my hand to read; criticise; analyse, and discuss.

I mean, I shall always be a musician – that’s my hobby, but I knew that it was time for me to choose a different path. 

I had a rocky first year, not quite sure what I was doing and my grades were all over the place, but nevertheless, I persisted. I went to all my lecturers for feedback and guidance so I could go start second year with a BANG. Which surprisingly, I did. 

No one said that I wasn’t confident enough like they drilled into me at school. No one told me I wasn’t capable of getting my English Literature degree despite being late onto the course and not having a clue on how to write an essay. But just like learning how to ride a bike, I learned how to write. I learned how to convince people that my argument was right (or that they should at least hear me out). 

The reason why I’m sharing this with you is because education/university and the journey it took me on was all I knew. I’m still struggling with a life that is without lectures or deadlines, without essays and seminars. It sounds silly, I know, but learning was my hobby. I didn’t realise just how much it meant to me until I moved back home from university.

I miss doing an all-nighter in the library because I only worked well at night with no distractions. I miss all the rants with family, friends and lecturers when I had a writer’s block and needed inspiration.

I even wrote this blog post at 10:30pm because my brain is still wired to my university body clock…a year later. You know, the first time I ever wrote a book review for this blog and my bookstagram, I wrote a full blown 1,500 word essay on language, structure (and also chucked in a few theorists for fun).

Just writing this really cheesy ‘About Me’ section, and preparing book reviews and posts for this blog has been a learning curve. To be able to write in a completely informal style has been scary; there’s so much freedom in it which I didn’t know existed! 

I am excited to be sharing this all with you and I am hoping this blog will be a platform for all of you to share your opinions, start a conversation and be as nerdy as I – please don’t hold back!

Speak soon xoxo