Dracula, Bram Stoker

Flat Lay: Dracula, by Bram Stoker (Red Leather-bound classic by Barnes & Nobles)

October has always been my favourite month, and while there are many Halloween movies I love to revisit each year, I wanted to turn my attention to some darker books. Initially, I had set my sights on Frankenstein but after many failed attempts, I tossed it across the room and reached for Dracula. As you can see, it’s a pretty chunky book which made it a little daunting at first; however, as soon as I started the first page I was sucked into the story and within a few days I had entirely finished.

Dracula by Bram Stoker is a classic with many having read, watched adaptions or know of the story in some form of way. Going into this book I was nervous about its’ length and language used. Classic books often hold the reputation of having long, difficult language throughout; being hard for the reader to decipher. However, the language used was simple and straightforward, making it a super easy read. The story is told through a series of journal entries, letters and news articles, from a handful of the characters within the story. At first, I worried whether I’d be able to keep up with whose perspective I was reading when, though it was a lot easier than I thought and I whizzed through the book. 
This was a really enjoyable read, especially for this time of year. Reading the story through multiple perspectives, corresponding letters and articles added another dimension to the tale, which made it all the more gripping. Another thing I loved was that even though it is told in an alternative way, it doesn’t scrimp on describing the vividly eerie environments and surroundings throughout. 
This made for a great Autumn read -in fact, I’m probably going to find it hard finding my next Autumn/Halloween read after enjoying Dracula so much. 
Any recommendations for Halloween reads? Leave a comment below

Cheerio for now! 
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Book Review: The Night Circus

Ribbons, Ravens, and Rêveurs 
The Night Circus Book - accompanied by a red Rêveurs scarf and a black and white cup and saucer

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern has quickly become my favourite book. I remember constantly seeing it recommended on blogs and in magazines but never troubling myself to search it on Amazon. It wasn’t until a few years back I picked it up as an impulse buy at my local bookstore. It was right at the checkout and feeling drawn to the cover I quickly purchased it before having time to give it a second thought. It sat on my bookshelf ever since til last fall, when I devoured it on a rainy day. 

There is very little detail of the story I can give without giving away spoilers so let’s just say the story is a game played by Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair which takes place at the night circus. It involves magnificent feats, vivid characters, and the most beautiful story ever wrote (in my opinion). The way it’s written is truly magnificent, not only telling you the story of the circus but also threads of outsiders’ stories who baffle you, to begin with, only to fall into place as you read on. The threads carefully curated by Morgenstern slowly weave together and make the book even more enchanting. I also love how the reader can experience certain elements and feats from within the circus through sections of the books; which just adds to the overall enjoyment and lures the reader in, as though they could brush shoulders with the characters themselves. 

It’s the type of book you can read over and over, with its enticing magic affecting you more and more with every read. The type of book you never want to finish, as you will have to leave this wonderful escape Morgenstern has created and come crashing back to reality. 

Have you ever read The Night Circus? What did you think? Comment below. 
Cheerio for now! 

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Book Review: Skin Cleanse

The Simple, All-natural Program for Clear, Calm, Happy Skin 
Skin Cleanse book - the simple, All-natural program for clear, calm, happy skin

Just like many of the books I read, Skin Cleanse by Adina Grigore had been lurking on my Amazon Wishlist for months before I received it for my birthday. Having already started the process of going all-natural with my toiletries and skincare for little over 6 months, I was seeking guidance in a big way and so this book couldn’t have fallen into my hands at a better time. 

Skin Cleanse - a map of your skin illustration

Adina talks her reader through every aspect of adopting the simple, all-natural body care routine in an easy, jargon-free way. When reading you honestly feel as though she’s sitting telling you this over a coffee. Through the 8 chapters, she educates you on not only how to identify problematic products, but also how to weed them out of your routine and find another little gem to slip in its place (-usually something you already have in your kitchen, I might add). She teaches you how and the importance of keeping food and product journals to notice triggers for your skin and body. The book also contains so many vital lessons and tips on how to read and decipher ingredient labels to identify those little nitty-gritty buggers you really don’t want going onto your skin, and then being absorbed by your body. Another aspect I really didn’t anticipate to read in the book was how your ancestry, environment and how your great-grandmother lived, can affect your own lifestyle and body (truly fascinating and educating chapter). 

Skin Cleanse book - Chapter 7 be your own apothecary

Adina also has created and provided her reader with a whole chapter based around becoming your own apothecary and making your own effective, and all-natural, products right out of your kitchen cupboards. I mean the power to clear, healthy skin is right at your fingertips and once you read Adina’s insights on how to do so you’ll never look back, trust me! 

Skin Cleanse Book - so much in common, head to toe illustration

Overall this book has been an amazing read and became my best friend/bible/guru all in one. I love the entire approach of this book and the way it’s been written. The easy-to-read affect but also the important message that your body absorbs everything you put on it; so it’s important to pay attention to those ingredients and how your body reacts. 

Have you ever read Skin Cleanse? 
No -you need to get it | Yes, what did you think? 
Cheerio for now! 
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Book Review: The Crossroads of Should and Must

Find and follow your passion 

The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna had been on my Amazon wishlist for quite some time before I received it last Christmas. After months of hearing and reading such amazing reviews of the book I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and so, as you could imagine, I was over the moon when I unwrapped it. I devoured it in the next three days, whilst staying at my grandparents for the holiday. I just couldn’t put it down, it was even better than I’d imagined.

Wrote in the first person by Elle Luna herself, she takes us through her own experience of wanting to pursue art and finding her own dream space to make it happen. She tells of the differences between ‘Should’ and ‘Must’, why these are different to one another and how to figure out which you are living to in your own life. ‘Should’ revolve’s around, well around things people feel they should be doing; ie. going to university or college to get qualifications. On the other hand, the things you feel compelled and drawn to are the ‘Musts’ in your life. ‘Must’ is the thing that is so rooted in your being that if you didn’t fulfil it, you would feel a little lost or out of sync with yourself. For me, this space is a big part of my ‘Must’. I feel the need to write. Whether it’s an account of a day out, thoughts on an issue or even just passing on the love of a book -I feel the constant need to write and produce something (even if that means no one is watching or listening on the other end).

If you believe that you have something special inside of you, and you feel it’s about time you gave it a shot, honour that calling in some way – today. If you feel a knot in your stomach because you can see the enormous distance between your dreams and your daily reality, do one thing to tighten your grip on what you want – today. If you’ve been peering down the road to must but can’t quite make the choice, dig a little deeper and find out what’s stopping you – today. Because there is a recurring choice in life and it occurs at the intersection of two roads. We arrive at this place again and again. 

Elle uses not only her own experiences within the book but also others stories of their own crossroads and how they made those steps towards their own ‘Musts’. She uses quote, tips, illustrations, pictures and even activities throughout to help the reader come to the conclusion of their own ‘should & must’ and where to go from there. One of my favourite activities was the obituary one -sounds a little ominous, but bear with me- where she says to write what you want your obituary to say, how do you want to be remembered and what you did with your life. She then gets you to write your obituary following how your life is now, what are you doing and what it will inevitably say if you were to follow your ‘should’. The difference is often startling and a real eye-opener when you compare and contrast.

From my own experience and the profound effect the book has had on me, I feel confident in my recommendation of this book to everyone -I quite literally want to talk about the book to everyone I see, much to their disappointment of my choice of conversation. The book as a whole has reiterated my passions and what I want to be doing with my life, regardless of what I ‘should’ be doing and what is expected from me, from general society. It’s encouraged me to follow my heart and give it my all.

Favourite quote:

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who come alive -Howard Thurman, philosopher 

Have you read this book -what did you think? (let me know below) 
Cheerio for now!
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Book Review: Grace

Grace: A Memoir, by Grace Coddington 

I’m not entirely sure where to start with this book. I have been waiting so long to read this and now that I finally have I’m not sure what book to go onto next. For me, this book was an easy read full of both Grace’s wit and humour, as well as a full dose of truth and honesty about her life. She recites everything from her childhood to her modelling career, her transition to creative director as well as her transition through relationships giving us a look through not only her love life but also her family life. She also lets us in behind the scenes of her relationships with colleagues, and friendships with famous faces. The book is also full of Grace’s neat and quirky sketches, along with photographs from her modelling days, personal life and photo shoots from her creative direction. 
I have to admit, I’m not a hardcore fashion follower so I was a little nervous at how much I would relate to this memoir. As I made my way through, I was surprised at how many names I recognised. From models to designers, photographers to editors; I impressed myself with my knowledge of the fashion world. 
This book made for an easy-breezy read; wrote as though you were sitting with a cuppa listening to Grace, herself. I’d recommend to anyone, especially those who love memoirs or anything within the realm of the fashion or creative art world. 
Ever read Grace: a memoir? What did you think? 
Cheerio for now!

Book Review: The perks of being a wallflower

The perks of being a wallflower, Stephen Chbosky 

This was another book that a cracked open within the final weeks of assignment work -procrastination in full affect! I began it during a cram session, with leftover pizza, coca-cola and red bull on hand; not the best or most nutritional study snacks but it was a ‘you gotta do, what you gotta do’ situation. 

I have wanted to have a flip through this book for quite some time, but it has always struck me as maybe a ‘cult’ book, that others have clammed together and hyped about more than what it’s actually worth. It took me awhile to get into but once I had I realised it is actually pretty great book and actually resonates so much with me and my introverted thoughts. 

The book is based around a collections of letters wrote to someone only known as ‘friend’ from charlie, an introspective freshman, who likes to read books and is intelligent beyond his years. The book follows Charlie through coming-of-age passages such as making friends, exploring sexuality, dealing with a first crush, trying drugs and family tensions; as well as his desirable chase for feeling infinite with his best friends Sam and Patrick. Charlie’s letters let us into his daily thoughts and feelings, which lead us through his days as though we were there with him; within his head. 

Although I was slightly on the fence through a lot of the book itself, I really enjoyed the way the book was presented through the letters and the inner monologue of Charlie’s thoughts. It was something I have never really experienced from a book before. I would recommend for most, though I am sure not all would enjoy this type of read. 

Favourite Quote: “So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them” 

Have you ever read The perks of being a wallflower? 
Cheerio for now! 

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Book Review: The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde. 
I have been wanting to read this book for many years, but over time obstacles, and life in general, have got in the way. The Picture of Dorian Gray has always been lurking on my ‘to read’ list and I have always been oddly drawn to quotes by Oscar Wilde so last year I finally bit the bullet and plonked that book at the top of my reading list. That top place is sort of a sacred spot on my list and serves as a huge billboard for my friends and relatives to gage how badly I want a book depending on its status (ranking) on my list; which is usually drafted and then handwritten until it’s just right. I know, I know -I sound sad; but whats a girl to do when she’s bedridden and has nothing better to do with her days but dream about the books she wants to read. 
I received this book for christmas, and cracked it open over the holidays whilst on my break from uni. I was definitely drawn to the story within the first few chapters but between pacing myself for christmas and family events I didn’t manage to complete it before returning to my uni work. Over the past few weeks, of reading, note-taking and general work and preparation for my final assignments, I have found myself relentlessly finding any and every possible distraction to try and avoid doing those important tasks. This led me back to my half-read book and I once again returned to the gothic novel, though this time I was accompanied by a large mug of tea and a few pieces of cantuccini. 
The Picture of Dorian Gray starts at Basil Hallward’s studio where he is to stand and have a portrait painted by the artist himself. While there he encounters Lord Henry Wotton, whom he becomes increasingly fascinated with and befriends in an instance. Dorian, an eighteen year old young fellow at the time, is convinced by Lord Henry that his most valued possessions are his beauty and youth. Later, having seen his portrait and heard both Basil and Lord Henry marvel at his youth and beauty, he’s prevailed by his emotions and wishes that the portrait would age with time rather then himself. After, he continues with his days and enjoys the company and cynical words of Lord Henry, without thinking of the portrait -til one night, he notices its appearance has changed and he realises that the words he exclaimed in Basil’s studio had came true and the true nature of him and his soul was being displayed on the portrait rather than himself. 
The book is noted as a modern classic of literature, as well as the only novel wrote by Oscar Wilde acting as a showcase for his writing talents. The story itself is fascinating, with long-standing morals of society and slightly comical moments throughout. Wilde’s storytelling talents are mesmerising, complete with beautiful, almost poetic, imagery and complex yet innovative characters; all including personal traits of the author himself. 
Favourite Quote: “But the picture? What was he to say of that? It held the secret to his life, and told his story. It taught him to love his own beauty. Would it teach him to loathe his own soul? Would he ever look at it again?”
What Classic’s have always caught your eye? 
Cheerio for now!

Book Review: The Five People You Meet In Heaven

The five people you meet in heaven, Mitch Albom.
I remember Joanne Harris once saying “some books you read. Some books you enjoy. But some books just swallow you up heart and soul.” This book relates to those words so well and was exactly what it did to me. I remember it being on my suggested list on Amazon and reading such great reviews, but at that time there was other books I was absolutely craving to get my hands on, so I didn’t purchase it. A few months after that I got a sample chapter off the iBooks app and was gripped to it, though still, there were other books. It weren’t until our trip to Whitstable with my pops that I finally decided to get it. I’d finally decided on four books and was heading for the cashier when I noticed it. Without thinking I grabbed it, and swapped it with one of my books I was already holding. Having now read it, I am so glad I saw it and had that sudden impulse. By the following night I had devoured it, cover to cover.
Albom tells the tale of Eddie the maintenance guy at ruby pier, and how he dies and of course, the five people he meets in heaven. Throughout the book he meets the five people, and his story unravels as he understands how and why his life played out the way that it had. How even though he may have felt he never truly did something or made something of his life, and that he may have felt unimportant a lot of the time, he played a vital role in so many people’s lives without ever truly knowing it.
Not just how it’s wrote, but the story itself, ideas and themes Mitch Albom brings up are thought-provoking yet mesmerisingly beautiful. This book has had a truly profound effect on myself, and after reading it, I can imagine many others also. I would recommend it to anyone, and can’t wait to delve into his other works.
Whenever I read a book I always have a pencil on hand to underline any quotes and sentences I particularly like, or to jot some things down in the margin. I also fold the bottom corner of that page too.
Favourite quote: “There are five people you meet in heaven,” the Blue Man suddenly said. “Each of us was in your life for a reason. You may not have known the reason at the time, and that is what heaven is for. For understanding your life on Earth.” 
This originally was going to be a collection of reviews from books I’d recently read, but I do have a tendency to over write so I had to rethink things.

Any recommendations? 

Stay tuned for more reviews,
Cheerio for now! 
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a trip to the bookshop

Just after i submitted my first TMA back in November, I decided to take some time away from the books to recharge. I was feeling drained but slightly anxious too, at the thought of getting my results -I thought writing it was bad enough, waiting for the result is ten times worse! With that in mind on the following Sunday we all piled into the car and headed for the coast, to Whitstable. We even managed to drag grandfather along with us, which is a miracle within itself.
It was a chilly day, with the coastal breeze making it that extra bit nippy. Whitstable is a quaint historic town, the road pathed with old stone and tiny shops and businesses lodged here and there down pokey alley ways. It’s a beautiful place at any time of the year, but not the most ideal place for a wheelchair user. Because of that we have to park as close as possible to the shops we want to have a look in. Of course the only shop I’m likely to want to go in is the bookshop, which I dragged everyone into.
You know when a dog sees their owner and they get all excited, wag their tail like crazy and jump about -that’s what I’m like when I see a bookshop; although as a chronically ill person the jumping around is more spiritual than physical. Whenever I go into the store I head straight for the Classics and start the excruciating process of picking and deciding which books I want, need and which I’ll eventually buy. It’s a tediously long process much to my families delight, but I eventually narrowed it down to four books -which I must point out is a record for me! By this point my family just agreed to get the books for me and get me out of there before I took up permanent residency. The adrenaline of being able to go in the book shop got a little too much, so I crashed in the car as the rest of the cronies dodged in and out of the rest of the shops.
Our day ended with a nice cruise and guided tour down memory lane from my grandpops -which I must admit was more like being in a jeep on a rally drive; fast drivers and leather seats are not a good mix! We ended up finishing our day with a nice roast -unfortunately I was too exhausted to even get through half of mine- and then headed home, where I flopped into bed, just like every other day. Why break the habit of a lifetime huh?

**i just realised how long this is getting so I shall save my reviews of my bookshop haul for another day.
Cheerio for now!
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A Book Day!

Today’s world book day. It’s the day that all bookworms rejoice in celebrating the magical world of books, in which we reside. The day we can’t wait to come around in hope of recruiting a friend or family member into our world of words. 

I feel like this isn’t a national or international holiday that is typically celebrated throughout the blogosphere as often as other holidays and so i’d thought i’d hop on in and get the World Book Day posts rolling in by mentioning a few of my favourite books. I typically can read most books but of course, i do have a few select favs; which have caught me hook, line and sinker!
So these books are my favourite childhood favourites. i read these when i was about nine or ten, and have loved them ever since. The series overall tells the unfortunate events that unfold after the parents of the Baudelaire orphans perish in a house fire. The series follows them being passed through the hands of various guardians and distant relatives, all of which they’ve never met or heard of; whilst also being shadowed by a character named Count Olaf, who is after their family fortune. 
Personally i have always loved the dark, ominous tone that the writing and storytelling has -because what nine year old doesn’t love a dark tale of the misfortunes of others; i swear i was a totally normal kid! Overall i think the slightly bizarre and eccentric characters captured me most, as well as of course wanting to find out what eventually happened to the Baudelaire orphans.
Plus the whole ‘Lemony Snicket’ persona of the author going on and the cryptic dedications to Beatrice -I mean i still have no idea who this actually is (or based on) and it actually really bothers me. There are so many contributing factors that draw me to these books -but ultimately, i just love it!

I’m currently half way through Lemony Snicket’s new series of ‘all the wrong questions’. Which unfortunately i have had to pause and push to the side in light of upcoming assignments *wipes away glistening tear*. 
Cards on the table; I’m kinda obsessed with Alice in Wonderland. I think we can all agree that Lewis Carroll had a pretty vivid imagination to dream up these particular stories -or he was high- and it’s an absolute delight to get lost in them. Plus his poems and short limericks are a treat, and of course have very important morals. My favourite character would probably have to be thE blue caterpillar. 
I could quite happily get lost in Wonderland any day of the week!

I was never really drawn to gothic novels growing up. Sure i likes the tone of Lemony Snicket, but books such as phantom of the opera were classed as classics and to be honest classics always seemed so daunting to me. I always associated them with big long words i couldn’t pronounce out loud, let alone actually know what they meant. Until last year, on a miserable cold and wet day, i ducked into a bookshop and bought this book on impulse. So many people had recommended i read it, but i was hesitant until that day. 
Two days later i’d devoured it and had a serious case of DBES (dried and burning eye syndrome) which took some time to fully heal which was unfortunate. On the upside, I absolutely loved the book. For me a great book isn’t just about the story, its about everything else that comes with it; the vibe and theme, the ways its written, the characters… i could go on forever. But i guess the main thing i’m trying to say is that everything matters -if you were watching a kiss scene in a romance film you wouldn’t expect a heavy metal song in the background to set the mood. Phantom of the opera was this for me. It had everything going on, in all the right places and has quickly become one of my ultimate favourites.

Kelly Cutrone? The boss lady from The Hills? yeah, thats the one. 
You know that saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’? Whenever I hear this phrase, both this book & Kelly Cutrone are among the first to come to mind. I say this because everyone i have recommended the book to, who has also seen the hills, is surprised at who Kelly Cutrone, the woman herself, actually is. I have to admit, even I was too. 
I’m not going to start rambling on about this book because, well because if i start won’t stop. I could actually write a book devoted to Kelly Cutrone as thanks for sharing he advice on life, love and business. This book was one of my recommended buys on amazon, and after years of shunning it away i finally bought it on a rainy day. Reflecting back it’s probably the best book I’ve ever bought for my soul, and ultimately gave me a little bit of hope to pull me out of what felt like a never-ending dark phase in my life. Kelly Cutrone lets us in on both her personal and professional life, the highs and the lows. In my eyes it’s a great read and a must for any girls (or guys) bookshelf!

What are your favourite books? 
Cheerio for now!