Inside Birchbox | August

8/17/2019

I enjoy my monthly Birchbox subscription. Beauty boxes tend to have an 'eh' reputation in the Blogosphere but I think that's partly down to the many sponsored posts/videos we were bombarded with during the early days of bloggers beginning to get paid. I finally took the plunge in trying out Birchbox when I started to get into skincare but didn't really know what brands to try. Since then, I have kept up with my subscription as I found myself actually using and loving a good portion of the products that I receive. At the off chance that you've been debating whether or not to sign up for yourself, I thought it may be interesting to do an insiders look into a box every now and again. Without further ado, this is what was in August's box.







Brand: LIVING PROOF
Product: Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Treatment 
Full-size details: 118ml, $28 
Sample size received: 30ml
Comb a pea sized amount through damp hair and in return receive volume, colour protection, softness, UV rays blockage, and protection from heat damage! This is a multi use product at it's finest and I'm looking forward to seeing how my hair takes it. The size is rather generous so I foresee it lasting me over a month, especially as I wouldn't choose to use something like this after every shower.

Brand: LIPSTICK QUEEN
Product: Dating Game Lipstick - Bad Boy
Full-sized details: $24
Sample size received: Full sized.
I've received many full-sized makeup products in Birchbox, which is always a perk. This lipstick is great and the price alone pays for the monthly box. However, I find the colour choice peculiar. I would've preferred a more versatile shade. 

Brand: COOLA
Product: Dawn Patrol Classic Primer SPF 30
Full-sized details: 30ml, $42
Sample size received: 5ml
Near enough every month includes a primer or moisturiser, which is (sadly) my favourite part. Each one tends to be 30ml and lasts me exactly a month - it's almost witchcraft. Coola is a regular brand that gets included. With it's added SPF, I can't complain. 




Brand: ILLAMASQUA 
Product: Gel Sculpt - Silhouette
Full-sized details: 8g, $32
Sample size received: 4g
This is the risk product of the box, at least in my opinion. Not many of us contour, and the shade of something like this is of course a personal choice. The formula is soft and blends rather easily, however I'm not sure how often I'd reach for this.

Brand: JULIETTE HAS A GUN
Product: Vanilla Vibes Eau de Parfum
Full-sized details: 100ml, $135
Sample size received: Standard sample perfume spray.
Perfume samples are always hit or miss with recipients, as many put them in a drawer and proceed to forget about their existence. I personally love them as I haven't yet found my "signature scent". If I were more wealthy, this would undoubtedly be it. 

Brand: LISE WATIER
Product: Waterproof Eyeliner - Acajou
Full-sized details: $24
Sample size received: Travel sized
A similar situation as with the contour stick, this is a risk product. However, I think an eye-liner is far more simple to introduce to your daily makeup routine.


Have you tried Birchbox or another beauty box? Let me know! 


I Ticked The Wrong Box | Why Therapy Didn't Help Me

8/10/2019


Sitting in the waiting room, my entire body was a pit of dread. My knee wouldn't stop bobbing, it annoyed me. I wanted to fidget but didn't want to bring attention to myself. It felt like a Sunday night when I was still in school, the pit of my stomach had flipped in on itself. The threat of vomit caused my throat to contract.

I was struggling. I needed help. And this stranger was going to ask how I was doing. I'd been referred by a pain clinic to this particular therapist. They wanted me to open up about the constant pain my body was putting me through, they didn't realise that the true pain had taken up residency inside my mind. I'd rehearsed what I was going to say. She might ask, 'So how are you doing?' and I was going to respond with 'Not very well, to be honest. I've been struggling a lot lately and I think I need help.' I'd said it back to my reflection multiple times, I didn't want to stammer. I wanted to finally help myself. 

She called my name, I felt the floor get swiped from beneath me. I heard my own heartbeat during the walk from the waiting room to the office. Everything was too loud. Had life always had a ticking sound? I couldn't remember. I saw dots. I found myself sitting down on an uncomfortable chair, her sitting down facing me. I noticed her earrings. Droplets with a green gem. Pretty.

"So before we get started, I want you to fill in this form. It's just some questions for me to get a sense of where you're at." she said.

Looking down at the paperwork she gave me, it asked some simple questions such as my name, age, how many hours I tend to sleep at night. But the further I got down the page, I was faced with questions such as:

Do you feel unhappy?
☐ Never
☐ Sometimes
☐ Often
☐ Always

Do you have suicidal thoughts? 
☐ Never
☐ Sometimes
☐ Often
☐ Always

I swallowed what felt like a brick, glancing up at the stranger as she filled in paperwork of her own. If I ticked those dreaded Always boxes, I'd feel like I was lying. It was too easy. What if she didn't take me seriously? It's only a stupid box. She hadn't really smiled yet, I couldn't even remember her name. My own words weren't going to be my answer, this ought to be easier, but the thought of her reading over this form and assuming whatever she was going to assume without me getting to explain.. the thought was torturous. I ticked the Sometimes boxes. 

She thanked me, took away the form, read it over, and put it down with a smile. We started talking. She asked me how I was feeling overall. I was honest.

"I've been struggling lately, for the past year or so. It seems to keep getting harder - both the pain and my mood. I've been down a lot, and I don't really know how to get help for it."

I felt a little lighter, I'd done it. Her brows furrowed, looking down at the form I had filled it.

"Well, you aren't depressed." she declared, easy, as though it were obvious. "So, I don't see what the problem is."

I stuttered, after all that prep, I stuttered. "I didn't want to seem stupid on the form. I didn't know how to answer."

"You aren't depressed." she repeated, talking as though I was dumb. 

I should've argued my case,  but does one have to argue the reasons why they're happy? It was confusing. So instead of the words I've since spoken a million times in my head, I came back with a pathetic "Oh, okay.".

We then spoke about other things that attribute to life. In regard to the physical pain, she said I had a healthy mentality toward it. Which was ironic. We discussed food, I said I'd always had an unhealthy relationship with it, she dismissed it as I was a healthy weight. I felt unheard. Like I was suddenly a pot of clay and she was moulding me to what I ought to be.


I've since gotten a little better about dealing with the haziness that was my life back then. But I still have really bad days, and at this point in my life, I no longer know whether it's a normal way to live. I had years after that therapy session (I didn't return) of what I refer to as 'loud brain days', and though it wasn't necessarily her duty to take me at my word, I can't help but wonder what would've happened if I'd ticked the right box. Or even better, if she'd of listened to me. I'm still obsessed with food, a fact I'm too ashamed to outright admit. (Why does typing out your darkest secrets not feel so scary?) Could she of referred me to someone who may of helped with that? Or is it okay? 

It's okay to save yourself. I have, a dozen of times. But the problem with it is that you only ever have yourself as a reference. I don't know what's a healthy amount of depression, or obsession, or self hatred. I've only ever been me, and I can easily imagine others going through a similar situation and not speaking up. So maybe it's normal, maybe I'm just overthinking it. Are humans all just suffering and sucking it up? I'm like a one person support group at this point, and I'm not very helpful.

If you're heading towards your first therapy session, don't be scared. Just because it didn't work out for me doesn't mean it won't for you. It's like a blind date, you may meet your personal jackpot. For me, personally, I've had two different therapists in my life. One was lovely and wanted to help, I just wasn't ready. And when I was ready, I didn't have the right therapist. It's the way of life.



July Book Wrap-Up


July was a wild reading month. I took part in The Reading Rush readathon which saw me reading 8 books in 7 days, which my Goodreads Reading Challenge was extremely thankful for. I desperately need to get in a better habit of reading in the quiet moments, I've just been too easily distracted by Pocket Camp and Super Smash Bros. Here's hoping for a better routine in August!



The Opposite Of Loneliness: Essays And Stories 
by Marina Keegan 
“We're so young. We're so young. We're twenty-two years old. We have so much time. There's this sentiment I sometimes sense, creeping in our collective conscious as we lie alone after a party, or pack up our books when we give in and go out - that it is somehow too late. That others are somehow ahead. More accomplished, more specialised. More on the path to somehow saving the world, somehow creating or inventing or improving. That it's too late now to BEGIN a beginning and we must settle for continuance, for commencement.” 
This is a collection of work published posthumously after Marina Keegan sadly passed away in a car accident at twenty-two. It's a very sad backstory as to how this book came into being a reality, especially as you read her words and they radiate a joy for life. Marina seemed like a pleasant girl who undoubtedly had a future in writing. But as with any review, I'm going to look past all of this and give a review solely as a reader. I enjoyed most of this book, as with any collection there are always hits and misses. I enjoyed the non-fiction work more than her short stories, partly due to the constant "at least I'm skinnier than this other female I don't like" lines that just baffled me. Not one of the protagonists were likeable, I felt that they fell into the stereotypical bitchiness that I hope we have since surpassed when writing young women. But I imagine this was the classic case of immature writing, and something her writing would've grown out of. She had promise and should've been able to write more.

Rating: (feeling uncomfortable rating this so gonna pass)


Where The Crawdad's Sing
by Delia Owens
“She knew the years of isolation had altered her behaviour until she was different from others, but it wasn't her fault she'd been alone. Most of what she knew, she'd learned from the wild. Nature had nurtured, tutored, and protected her when no one else would.” 
The Marsh Girl is spoken about throughout the town of Barkley Cove. Living alone in the shack at her swap since the age of 10, Kya has become somewhat of a urban legend. Only boating to the town when in need of supplies, people don't understand her. She's lonely but doesn't know how to blend in with other people, instead choosing to fill her days by collecting feathers, insects, and anything related to her swap. When Tate, a fisherman's boy, takes an interest in her and says he'll help her learn to read, their relationship takes on a life of it's own.  This has been described as a survivalist story but instead I found it to be an almost coming-of-age story about a girl finding her worth. The first 100 or so pages dragged beyond belief but the last half more than made up for it.

Rating: ★★★★


Sweetbitter
by Stephanie Danler 
“I wanted to say, My life is full. I chose this life because it's a constant assault of color and taste and light and it's raw and ugly and fast and it's mine. And you'll never understand. Until you live it, you don't know.”
Moving to New York from a place that feels like nowhere to live, twenty-two-year-old Tess lands a job at a renowned Union Square restaurant and begins to navigate the chaotic and punishing life of a waiter. Her appetite awakens for food, wine, drugs and sex But she also finds herself drawn into a dark, alluring love triangle. Pretentious writing, hopeless characters, and a story that lacks in every way possible, this was an utter 'meh' book. The only thing preventing this from being a 1 star read is the rare but notable paragraphs that actually read as beautiful (and not pompous).

Rating: ★★


Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom: A Short Story
by Sylvia Plath
"But what is the ninth kingdom?" she asks a kind-seeming lady in her carriage. "It is the kingdom of the frozen will," comes the reply. "There is no going back."
A girl is put on a fatal train journey by her parents, only being told that she's heading to the Ninth Kingdom. Written by Plath in 1952, and then having sat in her archives for years, this brand new story is as compelling as it is dark. If you've read any of her work, then you'll already know what this reading experience is going to be like. Beautifully written but an utter mind-fuck, in a good way. It is incredibly short for a book though, so unless you collect Sylvia Plath's work, I'd suggest borrowing a copy from your library - it may not be worth the hefty newly released book price.

Rating: ★★★★


A Very Large Expanse of Sea
by Tahereh Mafi
“If the decision you’ve made has brought you closer to humanity, then you’ve done the right thing.”
It's been a year after 9/11 and Muslim teenager Shirin is still experiencing the aftermath of it. People treat her poorly - yelling at her to go back to her own country, calling her names for wearing her hijab, attacking her physically. Her solution to this is to hide within herself. After moving to a new school, she is met with the same treatment except for one boy. Can he help her come out of her shell? That makes this sound like any other YA cliche contemporary, and it kind of is. The topic of racism and cultural educating in this book I loved, they were both done perfectly and I really liked Shirin as a main character. She was strong, naive in the way that most people are at the age of sixteen, and someone I would actually befriend. But Ocean, her love interest, is an utter cliche. I felt as though he had no depth, and I think this story would've been much more empowering if it was built around a friendship. We don't always need romance in our books!

Rating: ★★★


Educated
by Tara Westover

The well-loved non-fiction memoir about a girl who was raised by survivalists and her journey to educating herself. I'd been so excited to give this a read, heck, it was included in my 5 Star Book Predictions post. But something was amiss for me during the reading process. I just didn't find myself transfixed by her story, which I feel was the essence of the book for most people. It had everything I needed, but fell rather short. I still rated it 4 stars as it truly is a marvellous story of self survival and Tara Westover is an incredibly inspiring women. It's definitely worth a read, maybe this was just a case of a wrong book at the wrong time. Perhaps Where The Crawdad's Sing gave me a burnout for this type of story.

Rating: ★★★★



The remainder of the month was spent reading for the readathon. So if you fancy, go ahead and give my The Reading Rush Wrap-Up 2019 post a click to have a nosy at the other eight books I read. 

All in all, not a bad month but it could of been better. What was the last book that disappointed you? Let me know! Let's have a book gossip. 

My Fictional Childhood Heroines.

8/07/2019


Family shapes us. Early childhood friendships define how we will later interact with strangers. Relationships help us know how to find the line between love and companionship. But which is it that actually aids in us becoming whoever the hell we're meant to be? For me, partly, it was my childhood heroines. My mother was sick throughout a good chunk of my childhood, and because of that, I spent majority of my evenings and free days cuddled up on the couch watching TV with her. It was my happy place, and I'm never not thankful for growing up in that environment.  I had crushes on fictional women years before I even noticed guy characters, I wanted to become them. I wanted to befriend them. And I'm pretty darn proud of that. It set my morals straight. Here are the fictional women who stood stand in the shadow of who I have become today.


Buffy Anne Summers, BTVS
My biggest of inspirations, and not just because we share a middle name. (But pretty cool bonus, right?), let me introduce the woman in the top spot... Buffy Anne Summers. This protagonist of Joss Whedon's cult classic played a bigger role in my childhood than anyone. She taught me how to not place my happiness in the hands of anyone. She taught me that you have to be the prince to your princess, that sometimes you can save yourself. That you often need to just go through the motions of life to reach the destination where you belong. That sometimes all you need is one act of insane bravery to be okay. That you can be both kickass and appreciate a pretty dress. The girl who saved the world a lot, also saved my belief of a better future when I was a little girl.


Tara Maclay, BTVS
Buffy the Vampire Slayer defined too much of my childhood to not have two characters on this list. It was and still is my most rewatched TV show. Buffy herself made me want to be a better person, she gave me strength when I needed it. But Tara, she gave me hope that I'd still be okay if I stayed myself. As a young girl I was painfully shy. I would psych myself out of the most basic of daily tasks if it involved anyone else. I would rehearse conversations before I had them. I would sometimes find myself sitting on the stairs of my Grandparents house working myself up to go downstairs because there was someone other than them there. Nowadays it's more common to have anxiety, whereas back then it was just a thing you ought to 'get over' with age. Tara was the very first adult I ever saw who was quite obviously shy and awkward in social situations. I found that miraculous. And it made me feel less alone.



The Charmed Ones, Charmed
In the style of Buffy, we have another TV show that is the literal definition of #GIRLPOWER. I'm telling you, my mum set me up right for the modern day world. I adored the Charmed Ones, but what I find interesting about my relationship with the show is that as I aged, I grew attached to the different sisters. When I was young, as in, 7 or 8, I adored Paige. I found her goofy mannerisms and almost childish behaviours relatable. In season 4, she is continuously trying to do the right thing, and I often identified with that. She somehow always messed up as she wasn't yet sure how to navigate this new life. Welcome to hormones, past Anne. Then as I grew into my early teens, I saw myself in season 2-3 Phoebe. I found her view of herself inspiring and the fact that she randomly decided to go back to college gave me hope that my future would be in my own hands. Now as a 20-something adult, Piper and Prue speak more to me. I think all of this just proves that Charmed is good for any age.


Sandy Olsson, Grease
Whether fashion, her ability to still be herself despite the cattiness of some fellow students, or the love of a bad guy.. I aspired to be Sandy Olsson. I remember my mum sitting me down in front of Grease when I was 6 or 7, and I was instantly mesmerised by the flippy skirts, collars and birdlike voice of the one and only Olivia Newton John. She was a real life Belle from Beauty and the Beast, books and all. As an adult, I can now see how problematic the story of Grease was, but that doesn't lessen my love for the musical classic.



Belle, Beauty and The Beast
Speaking of Belle.. she had to have her own place on this list. Beauty and The Beast was one of the only animated movies that I watched on repeat. Like any girl that's shy, a little insecure, and liked to read.. Belle was my favourite princess-non-princess. I adored her maid outfit and craved the library in the castle. Her independence was just a bonus.


Gabriella Montez, High School Musical
If you were a teen in the early 2000s and enjoyed math, Gabriella was the girl to be. When I first watched HSM, I was just about to start at a new school and was already crippled with the new girl jitters. This fictional character unknowingly helped me with that. Starting off shy, in HSM you watch as Gabriella slowly comes out of her shell, living the life that all us shy girls longed for. I identified with her, and admired her confidence when it came to being herself.


Evelyn O'Connell, The Mummy
A sassy librarian who willingly goes off to save the world from a Mummy? Yes, god, yes. Evelyn was who I wanted to be in so many ways. First, her wardrobe satisfied my nerdy self. Neck scarves will always be in. Second, she never compromised her own integrity or values throughout the first movie (let's not talk about the second.). She stuck to her guns, won a battle with her intelligence, and lured a man without changing who she was at heart. She carried books instead of weapons. Her character is basically what every side female ought to be when put in a movie with a strong willed 'heroic' action man.



Which fictional female helped you when you were younger?


Is the Litter Genie Worth It? | That Cat Life

8/04/2019


As a wedding gift, a family friend gave me and my husband a gift card to Bed Bath & Beyond. Knowing that one day we would use it toward something special (and necessary), we set it aside. Cut to a year later and we spent it on a litter genie. Okay, kidding, kind of. We got a handheld vaccum but it happened to be on sale so we had a couple gift card bucks spare. Now, we could've gotten something practical like wooden spoons so we could retire out half melted plastic ones, but who needs that kind of common sense in life? 

Having recent issues with our own litter system, we took the plunge and got the Litter Genie Plus. At a shocking $14.99 (expensive for a piece of plastic that you literally put cat poop in), we crossed our fingers and hoped for a miracle. Here's our review.


What's Included?
  • Litter Genie
  • Scoop
  • Scoop Holder
  • x1 Convenience Odor Control Refill  (Bags made boozy, basically)

The method to this madness goes as follows: Scoop your kitties "treasure", lift the black flap and drop it in, pull the black bar handle to deposit into the lower half of the genie, and voila. You're done. To empty, lift the upper half open (by merely lifting it up), slide the bag through a cutter that it is already attached to, tie and throw away. Pretty darn easy. This was a major upside as we half expected it to be overly complicated.



We have two young cats, Lea and Dresden, and one of our main concerns going into this "investment" was whether it'd be suitable for two cats. We didn't want to have to change it every few days, as that seemed tedious. Since trailing for over a month I can happily report that for us personally it needs changing once a week. So if you're blessed with one singular cat who doesn't happen to chase it's sibling around the house at 4am, this ought to only need changing every fortnight or so. Not too bad.

The next question I would personally want answered would be the so-called 'odor control'. Though cats are great pets as you needn't walk them so they can go potty, they can leave a rather unpleasant smell. It's to be expected, after all, their version of a flush is us. The Litter Genie is odor free. It helps lock in the smell surprisingly well. If you want further insurance, perhaps let it air out for an hour after each bag change. It can't hurt and could add to the lasting ability, speaking of...


This isn't something that is going to last for a lifetime, but if treated well, it can very well last you for years. The system is foolproof. However, it is down to two tiny screws to keep this entire potty together. You open by lifting the top half of the genie back, but if you accidentally forget that and lift the entire thing by simply picking it up via the handle or upper half, I'm pretty darn sure it could just break in two. Plastic snaps way too easy, so it doesn't seem overly sturdy. 

The other quim would be the bags, otherwise known as the Litter Genie Ultimate Cat Litter Odor Control Refill, 14 Foot. These are a waste of plastic, no doubt about that. And for a mere two refills, it equals the price of the potty. The upside of this is that you don't necessarily need the bags for the system to have the same effect. Your only loss would be the snazzy bag cutter and perhaps the ability to throw away the bag without getting icky. I can't yet comment on how long each refill lasts, as we're still in the process of using up our free one. But still, if you'd be interested in the refills, it's definitely something to consider.


All in all, I think this is worth the price tag if you're either struggling with your current litter system or are limited with space and would prefer something sleek and less icky than your current litter trash. My only question would be the durability but that is something that can only be answered with time. I'm happy we got this, and I would 100% recommend a friend to buy it. Is it a necessary with a cat? No absolutely not. Does it make life easier? Undoubtedly. 

Have you tried either the litter potty or the diaper potty? Let me know your thoughts! Have any further questions? Don't hesitate to ask! Drop me a question here, on Twitter, or on Instagram




The Reading Rush Wrap-Up

7/31/2019


The Reading Rush is over! I managed to read 8 books in 6 days, which is rather odd as it was meant to be 7 books in 7 days, but.. yeah, welcome to my brain. Though I'm still too awkward and self conscious to join in with the photo challenges and Twitter sprints, I did have a lot of fun challenging myself to read more than I normally would. The badges on The Reading Rush site being a major bonus!


The Great Alone
by Kristin Hannah
Prompt: Read A Book In The Same Spot
Page Count: 435

Thirteen-year-old Leni Allbright's life gets turned upside down when her father, recently returned from the Vietnam War, announces that they're packing up and moving to Alaska. It is there our story starts. We follow Leni and her parents as they become self efficient and learn how to navigate this new world of living off the land, wolves, and black Winters. I was pretty darn sure this was going to be a 5 star read (check out my 5 Star Book Predictions blog post for the proof) so I chose to kick off the readathon with it. I'm so very disappointed. This wasn't necessarily a bad book, but it definitely warrants a standard 3 star rating. The overall story had promise but I feel as though it ought to of ended at least 5 plot-twists before the end. It. Just. Kept. Going.


The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Prompt: Book You Meant To Read Last Year
Page Count: 182

When Nick moves into the house opposite the notorious Jay Gatsby, he quickly becomes fascinated with the lavish parties that take place each night. From the beautiful people to the endless supply of alcohol. Before long he finds himself taking part in the shenanigans of the great Gatsby, but at what price? I hadn't read this classic prior to this readathon, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I loved it. Daisy was by far my favourite character, and though written rather densely, the overall story kept my attention. I wanted more of the world.


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrow 
Prompt: Title With 5 Or More Words
Page Count: 290

The year is 1946 and Juliet Ashton, a 30-something British journalist, is emerging from the war with a desire to write about anything else. After receiving a letter from a resident of Guernsey who has obtained a copy of a book that once belonged to her, she begins to correspond with a multitude of people who live on the island. From there we learn what it was like to live on the Nazi occupied island for 5 long years. Written in letter format, this is undoubtedly a marmite book. The story interested me, as I hadn't heard of Guernsey's side of the war. But the first half of this novel dragged beyond belief. The characters were all a little too familiar and I felt that some letters were just not needed. The last half, however, put a constant smile on my face. The writing became witty, which may be down to Annie Barrow taking over after her aunt became too unwell to finish the novel alone. All in all, I enjoyed it but you have to have patience. I'm looking forward to watching the movie adaption!


The Perks Of Being A Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky
Prompt: Read and Watch a Book To Movie Adaption 
Page Count: 213

When Charlie begins high school, he's riddled with fear. After the death of his Aunt Helen, otherwise known as his best friend, his life has been on a dark path. He's unseen. A coming-of-age story filled with troubles, passion, and self discovery. This is my favourite book of all time. I've read it multiple times, and it has not yet faltered in touching my heart. I was a wallflower, probably still am. Though  Charlie's situation is not something I can relate to, I do think that if an introvert, we will all find a piece of ourselves in him. This was the first book that made me feel not so alone, and that is priceless.


The Travelling Cat Chronicles
by Hiro Arikawa
Prompt: Debut Novel
Page Count: 224

This a beautiful story of man and cat as they travel across Japan to visit people from the man's past. I went into this book expecting a few laughs (it's mostly written from the cat's POV) and heartbreak. I got both, but I also got a 5 star read that I would recommend to near enough anyone. This isn't a fictional travel memoir, which the synopsis made it seem. It's a book with heart and though I think you'd get more from this book by being a cat lover, it is also filled to the brim with wonderfully written characters who each hold up on their own.


84, Charing Cross Road
by Helene Hanff
Prompt: Purple On The Cover
Page Count: 114 

A collection of correspondence in the wake of the war between a New York woman and a used book store worker in London. My husband read this sometime last year and has since urged me to give it a whirl, and I'm really glad I did. This is a blimp of a book, but it truly packs some wit that I did not expect. I find it difficult to go into an in depth review of anything non-fiction, so I'm going to make this snappy. If you enjoy discussions on books, WW11 tidbits, or books of letters, then I would wholeheartedly recommend this. It's dry but isn't that the best kind of wit?


Station Eleven
by Emily St. John Mandel 
Prompt: Debut Author
Page Count: 378

In the aftermath of a flu that wiped out most of the world, a group of survivors travel around America putting on Shakespeare plays. But when a few of them go missing, they begin to expect that they aren't as alone after all. I messed up royally on this one, I accidentally got my titles confused and initially read this for 'Debut Novel' not realising that I intended it as a back up for 'Book I Meant To Read Last Year'. Regretfully, it didn't work for any other prompt so I had to make-do and admit defeat in reading this for nought. Alas, it was a fairly good read though didn't quite live up to the hype I've seen around it. It had a good mix of characters, but I often wished to stay with the 'before' characters more than the survivors.


Chi's Sweet Home: Volume 1
by Kanata-Konami
Prompt: Read a Book From a Non-Human Perspective
Page Count: 168

Thank fudge for manga's. After my mishap written above, I was in full blown panic. So I grabbed the shortest thing I could possibly pick up that was on my TBR. Enter in: Chi. Again, this as a suggestion of my husband's as he's big into anything that resembles Japanese entertainment and cats. I however, was reluctant. Bar my Buffy the Vampire Slayer graphic novels, I hadn't really read anything in this  field of books. But, ya know, cats. This was an adorable read that made me want to continue with the series. Each scene reminded me of one of my cats, so I was that annoying person saying "That's Bruno!", "That's Lea!", That's Dresden!" repeatedly.


So there we have it. Now onto the N.E.W.T.s! If you have no idea what this is, click HERE to watch all about this Harry Potter readathon. I may write up a TBR, but it seems rather unlikely. I'll instead post it on my Bookstagram at @BranchingPages

What book would you urge me to pick up next? Let me know!

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