*Being Lolita by Alisson Wood | Book Review


 Being Lolita is an eye-opening memoir about a young girl who was groomed by her professor into thinking that their relationship was healthy. Being seventeen and "falling in love for the first time", Alisson Wood was oblivious to the rose-tinted bubble that the professor created for her to see their relationship through - her the Lolita to his Humbert. 

From the title alone you know that this book heavily mirrors the events of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, but I never expected this memoir to read as brutal as the criticized novel. When Alisson wrote about their "sex life" I had a lump in my throat throughout. I said it in my NetGalley review, but I'll say it again, I'm in awe at what the author managed to write this much of her heart into a book. It must've been so difficult for her to open up so fully on page, especially when he's still out there. 

The other thing that impressed me about this book was that though it was a memoir, it never really delved into her childhood or the 'after the professor' part of her life. She mentions where her career led, and how she came to terms with her view of the relationship and she really delved into her own personal relationship with the book Lolita, yet you never really got to know her away from the relationship. Some may not like that, but I think it really helped hammer home the message I think the author was trying to convey to her readers. This is a book for other people who have gone through something similar to her, it doesn't sugarcoat anything yet you can understand how she got involved in something that many may just brush off with a '17 is old enough to know better' mentality which is so incredibly dangerous and leads to people being too uncomfortable to come forward. You never know who will be sucked into a world of abuse. 

Though not necessarily a part of the book, I found it very interesting that as a teen Alisson would read a lot of Sylvia Plath. yet the professor wanted her to be a Lolita. For me personally that aspect of the story really brought attention to the fact that so many men want women to be the submissive to their Humbert, instead of having our own strong voice like Plath. The Night/Day of the two women felt like an unintentional message. I don't know, maybe it hit me in a strange way, but I couldn't stop thinking about it. 

All in all, I couldn't not give this book a 5 star rating. The writing was simple, but enjoyable and easy to read. The author's voice was strong throughout the book, and I think she did an excellent job at writing about such a dark time in her life. If you enjoy memoirs pick this one up. 

*This finished copy was kindly gifted to me through the publisher for an honest review. Thank you to both them and Net Galley! 

Help a child, wear a mask. | Zuriah Tiger Cub, FigbarxTeepublic



Masks save lives, a donation can help a child.

I'm writing a bit of a different post today, but if I don't use my platform for sharing things that truly matter, what's the point in having it? A friend of my husband's Figbar is an incredible artist, you can buy his artwork through Teerepublic. He made a limited design 'Zuriah Tiger Club', which you can buy as a t-shirt, sticker, mug, poster, hoodie, and a mask. (Wear your masks, people!) All proceeds of the design goes towards paying off the medical bills of my husband's other friend's three-year-old daughter Zuriah who is currently going through chemotherapy treatments. If you've been on the hunt for a sassy mask, or want to simply put your money towards something important - here's your chance! 

If you have even a slight interest in all of this, check out these links and, please, share this blog post or the various social media posts I'm doing about this. 

You want to see everything? Click on any of the links above and scroll down!

If you don't have any interest in buying something but want to donate, then please, please go to their GoFundMe page.

Out Of Love by Hazel Hayes || Book Review [spoiler-free]


Do you ever pick up a book already knowing that you're going to fall head over heels for it? That was my experience with Out Of Love by Hazel Hayes. I've followed the author for many years on Youtube and social media, her TOTM monthly series inspired me to step outside of my comfort zone when it came to both work and romance. It was the first domino in a huge line-up that eventually led me to marriage and literally moving to a different country. Yeah, you can say she was a vital asset in shaping my life into what it now is. Bit much for a stranger? Indeed. But incredible. The power of the Internet, people.

Anyway, when I first heard that she was writing a book I was enthusiastic. Hazel is a woman who has so much to say, and I'm always going to be listening. Out Of Love is a story of a break-up told in reverse. The opening page is their final goodbye, the last? How they met. It's a beautiful look at the deterioration of a break-up, and how easy it is to lose ourselves in someone else's shadow. If you've ever felt like you're at a crossroads in a relationship, this book will feel like a comfort blanket to your heart. Saying that, I feel like the strongest theme of this entire book is the wonder of being a female. 

The female protagonist is surrounded by wonderful women throughout this entire novel. Her own mentality is frazzled, but throughout even that she keeps her wits about her. She leans on her mother, her best friend, a female stranger.. and they unintentionally help guide her back to herself.

You may think that I'm just gushing about this novel because of the author, but I'm not. I knew I was going to love the writing, but I didn't expect the story to have such an impact on my mind. It led me to question my own sexuality, the power of an intimate female friendship that I've always craved in my life, and most importantly, it made me question what I wanted my 20's to look like. It made me ache for my family in ways that I've never really delved into before. I felt stupid for my ache for home, like I shouldn't need that when I have a marriage. But you're never too old to need home, and Hazel really shone a light on that. 

All in all, I absolutely adored this book. I've read some mixed reviews from people who found the characters unlikable, and I get that, but isn't that just humans? We can be utter twats, I loved that Hazel didn't put a glossy blanket over that, both of the main characters screwed up. That is usually how a break-up happens. You stop communicating, you forget to care, and then.. boom. 

The writing is beautiful, the characters are perfectly flawed, and you can read Hazel's heart through the words. You won't read another fictional book with this amount of soul put in, I can guarantee that.

Recent Reads : Net Galley Edition #1


I recently joined the dark side of the book world : Net Galley! If you're unaware, Net Galley is a website where content creators can sign up to get advanced reading copies of books. They very recently started doing audiobooks, which really peaked my interest as I don't own a Kindle so ebooks can be a faff to read. After signing up, you can browsing the titles and requesting things! If you get accepted, you can immediately start reading (or listening) and review. Net Galley is one hell of a rabbit hole, before thinking it through I had requested dozens of ARC's not thinking I would receive any. Low and behold, a few days later I had a daunting 'virtual' shelf. I was debating whether or not to include the books I read from there on my usual Recent Reads posts, but I know not everybody is interested in reading about books that haven't yet been released. So, let's start another book series. Here are all the ARC's I've recently read.

Dear Girl
by Aija Mayrock
This poetry collection packs such a severe punch. Touching and memorable, Aija Mayrock successfully manages to write about such an array of struggles we women face in so few poems. As with every collection of writing, there will be some sections that resonate more with certain readers. I definitely felt that. Yet, rather than making it fall short for me in a rating sense, it made me want to give it a reread to educate myself on the problems that women who aren't in my position face. This is a collective look at a gender that is often pitted against one another, and yet somehow wraps itself up in a 'we should all be in this together' bow. Beautifully done.

Format: Audiobook
Release Date: April 7th, 2020 (no idea why this was still on NetGalley, but okay.)
Goodreads: Dear Girl

Everything Here Is Under Control
by Emily Adrian 
Amanda is a first-time mum and she's struggling. Feeling like she has no support from her boyfriend, she gets into the car one night and turns up on the doorstep of her estranged friend Carrie. As teens, the two women were inseparable. But after Carrie had a child while in school, the relationship between her and Amanda fizzled into the awkwardness that is now an unspoken thing between them.

I enjoyed this book, I did, but I felt like the main selling point and focus of the story is the almost brutal way that Emily Adrian wrote about having a newborn. As someone who has no children, I don't feel comfortable recommending it for that aspect as I have no way of knowing whether it was well done or not. I don't feel like I've ever read about motherhood in such a raw sense before, but again, I'm not able to guarantee that this is what it's like.

What I liked about this book was the writing. It flowed beautifully and I think the author did a great job at intertwining scenes from the past and present day without it ever feeling clunky. The cover is also beautiful. My main issue with it was that I never fully bought Carrie and Amanda as close, and I think that's partly why this book was just 'okay' for me. Even when we read about them as teenagers, I grew frustrated at the lack of chemistry. There's also a 'twist' near the end of the book that I felt was unnecessary. It seemed like a very convenient way of explaining why the two lost touch. To summarize, this book was just okay. It was a decent enough reading experience, but I will very likely forget I even read this come 2021. I would read more by the author as I had no problems with the writing, pacing, and overall feel of the book. The story just lacked for me because of the characters.

Format: Audiobook
Release Date: July 28th, 2020

Night Swim
by Megan Goldin 
This was a whirlwind of a thriller. Firstly, I'd argue that this was much more of a suspenseful courtroom novel rather than what we've come to know as a traditional 'thriller'. It had some mystery elements but was by no means something that keeps you on the edge of your seat. But it was very entertaining and kept my brain turning. 

Rachel, a true crime podcast host is trying to switch things up for the new season of her show, so she ventures off to a small town to cover a controversial rape case that is underway. But after she gets to the town, she begins to receive peculiar letters from a girl named Hannah who is hoping that Rachel will help her unravel the death of her sister. The case itself was eerily similar to the Brock Turner case that Chanel Miller wrote about in her memoir 'Know My Name'. That left this book feeling a little.. icky. I think the author was heavily influenced by the true story, yet I can't find a similar comment by the author saying anything about this. Maybe it was just one very odd coincidence. I don't know.

Overall, I liked this book but wouldn't read it again. The audiobook was great though, I really liked the narrator. 

Format: Audiobook
Release Date: August 4th, 2020
Goodreads: The Night Swim

Coffee Days Whiskey Nights
by Cyrus Parker
This was a truly astonishing collection of modern poetry. 

I'm not non-binary, but I have struggled with mental and physical health from a young age, so the soul shattering bluntness of the first half of this book was both a blessing and yet hard to read. I felt like the author was writing my darkest thoughts. And yet I turned the last page of this with a smile on my crying face. Why? Because the author managed to seamlessly turn this collection into a spark of hope. It was truly beautiful. 

I'd also like to quickly give a shoutout to the amazing color play between the 'good' poems and the 'bad' ones. It created an atmosphere for the words, especially as I read this as an ebook.

Again, incredible. Read this.

Format: ebook
Release Date: September 8th, 2020

by Sarah Anderson
Well, this was bloody adorable! (Heh.. heh.. pun intended) I wasn't overly familiar to this artist prior to being urged to read it by my husband. I'm a huge vampire fan, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a lifestyle, and this graphic novel was the perfect amount of cheesy nostalgia with modern jokes.

Firstly, the artwork was incredibly cute. I had to fight the urge to screenshot so many funny sections to send to people. It had the perfect amount of cutesy while still staying in the almost gothic-like feel.

I wasn't expecting the script to be as humorous as the drawings, but here we are. I laughed a lot, especially as the writer really took advantage of every dog-like pun possible. Jimmy and Elise were perfect together, and this is now a ship I will go down on.

Format: ebook
Release Date: September 1st, 2020
Goodreads: Fangs

little scratch
by Rebecca Watson
This has to be one of the most original formats I've ever read for a book. Told through a stream of consciousness, this is a collection of all the thoughts the protagonist has throughout a single day in her life. 

I didn't really know what this going to read like when I first started it as the cluttered pages of multiple thoughts at once confused me. Yet the more I read, the easier to become to follow.

This was an incredibly immersive book, so it's really hard to accurately review, so stick with me. Firstly, I adored the main character. She was blunt yet quiet, which is something I very much relate to. At times her thoughts were almost suffocating as her anxiety kept rearing it's ugly head, and when she'd be continuously reminded of her recent sexual assault it felt like all the air was sucked out of your body. Once you get a flow going while reading this, you almost forget that her thoughts aren't your own. Which is an incredible feat by the author.

All in all, this book won't be for everyone. But if you connect with the story, it will be a very memorable read. Give it a shot. 

Format: Ebook
Release Date: 11th August, 2020
Goodreads: little scratch

Are you on NetGalley? What is something that you've recently been approved for? Let me know! 

Ways I Use Rosehip Oil | Natural Beauty


A year or so ago my husband bought me a bottle of pure rosehip oil after me going on and on about it for months. I'd read many positive things about the natural product in skincare routines, and given my sensitive skin I was quite curious. I think I've now gotten familiar enough with the product to confidently give some recommendations on how to use it. Without further ado, let's go..

Using rosehip oil as a facial oil offers such incredible results. Within a week or two of adding it to my nighttime skin regime I could both see and feel results. My skin was noticeably softer to the touch, the uneven colouring on my t-zone area became less noticeable, and my skin just looked plumper. It felt hydrated which isn't an easy feat for me in the Winter months. I never felt like the oil made my skin feel or look greasy once it absorbed. I think I first saw Alexandria Morgan use it in it's purest form in her skin routine.

As a treat every now and again (in other words, when I'm not feeling lazy) I add a few splashes to a handful of my usual body lotion and let my skin drink it up with more enthusiasm than normal. I can't rate this enough. I use unscented body lotion so it does leave a semi rosy smell, but my inner Grandma loves that. If I have a dry spot that needs more TLC, I'll rub the oil in by it's lonesome and I usually get instant results. It's rather magical.

In a similar fashion, when my skin is feeling a tad dehydrated I will add a splash to my bath. This is easily a great way of getting all the rosehip absorbed into my skin. Oils, bubble bath, and maybe some Epsom salts is a recipe for the ultimate relaxing bath.

Ever found yourself  panic rushing in the morning as you realise you need a leg shave? I find the oil perfect for the dreaded dry shave. I drop a few hefty splashes on my skin, rub it slightly in, shave, and then wipe away with a dry flannel. With this method I haven't found my skin breaking out in ingrowing hairs, or developing a horrid shavers rash. Instead the legs feel moisturised, smooth, and ready for the world.

My most recent discovery has been the joy massaging a few drops of rosehip oil into my scalp an hour or so before a shower. After washing it out, I shampoo my hair as normal. It leaves the roots of my hair bouncy and incredibly soft. I was worried it would create a greasy feel like coconut oil. But nope. It's great, especially if you're like me and tend to overuse the dry shampoo. 

All in all, I think the $10-$15 price tag for this 500ml bottle is definitely worth it. I use it so much and I've still barely gone through 1/4 of the bottle, despite having it for over a year.

What natural beauty product do you stand by?

Recent Reads #2


It's been 3ish weeks since my first Recent Reads, so it's about time that I do another. I the time between these two posts I did partake in The Reading Rush, so I have a whole other blog post discussing the books I read for that (The Reading Rush Wrap-Up 2020), therefore I won't include them on here. Let's get into the books!

Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy, #6)
by Richelle Mead
As mentioned in my first Recent Reads I had been rereading the Vampire Academy series over the past month or so. This was the final book and, boy, I didn't remember squat. I really thought I had a good gauge on how this book series ended but now I'm wondering whether I was just vividly remembering the many fanfictions I read about these wonderful characters. All in all, I'd give the series a 3 out of 5 star rating. I loved books two to four. The first, fifth, and sixth were a little mediocre. I still vouch for this series for anyone that enjoys a good YA paranormal romance with good female representation.

Bringing Down The Duke
by Evie Dunmore
Annabelle is one of the first women to study at Oxford University through a scholarship, under the condition that she involves herself in the rising women's suffrage movement. Through this she meets the Duke of Montgomery. You can guess what happens next. This book is a wonderful mix of historical and contemporary. It's everything you could want from a smutty rom-com with a historical backdrop. It's silly, wonderful, and smart. I lived for the banter between Annabelle and Sebastian. I would wholeheartedly recommend the audiobook of this, the obnoxious accents seemed to extenuated the overall atmosphere of the book. This is an incredible debut and I can't wait to read the other books in this series that are yet to be released. 

The Leisure Seeker
by Michael Zadoorian 
The Robinas have shared a wonderful life for more than sixty years. Now in their eighties, Ella suffers from cancer and John has Alzheimer's. Yearning for one last adventure, the pair take off in their beloved RB 'The Leisure Seeker' for one last adventure to Disneyland. This book leaves me feeling torn. While I really enjoyed the writing and it made me tear up so many times, I can't help but feel like it could've been more. It felt a little too 'slice of life', I wanted to know more of their marriage before the illnesses. It lacked the 'A Man Called Ove' feel, I guess.

by Roxane Gay
This was my first proper book by Roxane Gay (I previously started Bad Feminist but have not yet finished), and wow, this incredible woman has a way of writing with such bluntness that I, as a writer, can only aspire to be. Just as the title says, this is a memoir told through the authors body. Raped at a young age, Roxane found solace and comfort in making her body bigger, stronger. In her early twenties she used her body as an excuse to be hurt by others, which eventually led to bulimia. Weight is always a complicated thing to write about and I can't begin to fathom the bravery that it took for the author to write about such a thing for the length of a novel. However, I found some sections to be a tad repetitive which was definitely a stylistic choice for the writing, but yeah, it sometimes made the book read more like a series of blog posts. I would definitely recommend the audiobook if you're planning on picking this up. 

Convenience Store Woman
by Sayaka Murata 
Keiko has worked at the same convenience store for eighteen years. After all her time there, she feels like her and the store are one of the same. Growing tired of the questions that are being constantly put upon her (when are you getting married? Why do you still work there?) she decides to take action.

This was such a quirky little novel with a very memorable protagonist. Keiko was a wonderful main character, I loved being inside her mind. She gave me huge 'Eleanor Oliphant' vibes (but on acid). I didn't expect to laugh as much as I did, the humor was very deadpan but as a Brit I loved it. The only reason it's not getting a better rating is that as much as I loved the first half, the rest of the book was a huge letdown and I didn't find it very necessary. I would've happily stayed with Keiko inside of the convenience store if it meant that we didn't meet the man that came into her life. God, I hated him. And his presence in the story really turned this book into something that it didn't need to be. It ended up feeling rather unfeminist and icky. I'm definitely interested in reading more from the author, this ending just fell very flat for me.

The Five People You Meet In Heaven
by Mitch Albom
What if at the end of your life, you don't see a white light? What if instead you meet five people from your past who have had an impact on your life? This is such a short book that I don't want to give a proper summery as I think you'd benefit from going into this blind, like I did. This is one of those books that's always on 'books you have to read before you die' lists, and with good reason. This is a heartfelt look at life, it makes you question what direction you're taking, and in try Mitch Albom style, it's devastatingly sad at parts. I liked this book, but it didn't pack as much of a punch like I wanted. It's still worth a read, I just think my expectations were a little too high.

Writes & Lovers
by Lily King
Casey Peabody is a thirty-one year old aspiring writer who is struggling with the sudden death of her mother. Her day job as a waitress at a popular restaurant is mainly her social distancing interactioning, while all her free time is devoted to writing her book. This was a truly beautiful story about loss, love, anxiety, and writing. The protagonist felt raw, intimate, unlikable at times, and yet.. so real. This was what I've hoped so many novels of this genre would be. The plot got a tad convenient near the end, but it didn't bother me. The thing I mainly appreciated about Casey's story was that it had the means to be a coming-of-age story, but she's in her thirties. I feel like we don't really get this kind of story for that age-group in literature. But we should. It's realistic, and will undoubtedly help certain people feel not alone and isn't that the main reason we read? I need to read more by this author. 

What book are you most looking forward to reading this month?

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