Making Cocktails For The Sanderson Sisters


Let's ask the age old question, What would the Sanderson sisters order at a bar? 

In 2019 I did a post on some Halloween Cocktails which was really fun, so this year I thought I'd do something similar but with more of a theme! Hocus Pocus is the ultimate witchy family movie so let's make it adulted. I have a drink for each sister (one being a mocktail and one that's easily made alcohol free for those of us who drive), so let's get into the recipes. 

Mary Sanderson - CranMary Bliss

Personally, I think Mary Sanderson would order a mocktail unless she was making an exception for a frozen Pina Colada. So I was aiming for something sweet but Autumnal. Thus the CranMary! 


  • 4oz Strawberry flavored Seltzer 
  • 2oz Cranberry Juice
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Rosemary Twig 
Pour your wet ingredients over ice, shake well, and pur into a tall glass. Add a sprig of rosemary to give it a stir and a Fall-like herby taste. I know the herb element seems odd, but it truly adds to the drink. 

Sarah Sanderson - Lavender Mojito 

Sarah is romantic while being sharp, so I think this is the perfect drink to match her style. Though I'm calling this a mojito, it's really adaptable dependent on your taste. I used gin for this one, but white rum or vodka works great too. Same goes for the seltzer, I personally favor tonic water, but I know that's not to everyone's taste so I'm going to veto that for the point of this recipe. 

  • Club Soda
  • 2oz gin (or white rum)
  • 4 springs of Mint
  • 1/2 oz simple Syrup
  • Lavender Bitters (to taste)

Muddle some mint with a few dashes of the lavender bitters before adding the soda, gin, and simple syrup. Pour into a stemless wine glass, add plenty of ice, and enjoy! 

Winifred Sanderson - Nutty Brandy

This is the most basic of these cocktails but it definitely screams Winnie. The sweet mixed with the woodiness of the brandy makes for the most well rounded spirit forward cocktail. I imagine she'd like something strong with a feminine twist. 

  • 3oz Brandy
  • 3oz Disaronno 
  • Glazier cherries (and a splash of juice)

 Mix together the two liquors, add a splash of the cherry juice from the jar, load up your drink of cherries. Add a single ice cube and enjoy! 

I hope you found something in this post that intrigues you or inspires you!
Which Sanderson sister do you favor? 

Books I've Recently Loved!

Well, hello there strangers. I've been rather MIA the past few months as my mental health took a spiral downward. But I'm back! In an attempt to talk about something cheery, I thought it would be fun to discuss some of the 5 star books I've recently read. We have romance, a short story collection, and some modern fiction. Let's get into it..

Malibu Rising
Taylor Jenkins Reid

Four siblings. A party. A fire. Dramaramarama, Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit are throwing their yearly party to mark the end of Summer. It's a lavish affair that everyone wants to attend. But this year will be different, everything is about to go wrong. From failing marriages, estranged parents, sibling rivalries, and flames. 

The synopsis is vague, but I think it needs to be to add to the reading experience. It's no surprise that I devoured this book in one sitting and gave it a radiant 5 stars. For me, TJR's books have been consistently good.  I adored Nina as a character, she was definitely my favourite. I appreciated how gradual her story was told, making us (as the readers) work to understand her. Her ability to write a large cast of characters while still managing to keep them all feeling individual is remarkable. The reviews for Malibu Rising have been varied, and I think that is partly down to the pacing. Though we mainly read from the day of the party, we do get flashbacks of the past to build up the story. I personally enjoyed the 'all over the place' feel as it added to the build-up of the fire that we know is coming. All in all, TJR doesn't miss and this is a huge contender for my favorite book of 2021. 

People We Meet On Vacation
Emily Henry 

Poppy and Alex used to be the perfect definition of friendship goals. Since their days at university they'd taken a yearly vacation together, scrimping and saving throughout the year to make it happen. Memories were built, career's blossomed, and friendship remained. But nowadays they barely speak. Poppy is struggling with her life, she feels aimless and decides that the only thing that could possibly restore her zest for life and travel would be to recreate those vacation days with Alex. But when he agrees and everything starts to go wrong for the duo, they are forced to face the vacation that broke them apart.

This was such a fun read. I read Beach Read by Emily Henry a few months ago and loved that too. She has a knack for writing romance that are build around a more serious topic without losing the fun of banter. Poppy and Alex were a great dynamic, they were the epitome of the sunshine&grumpy trope which I adore. There were a few steamy scenes and a slow burn that made the pay off more than worth it. If you enjoy The Brown Sisters series or Sally Throne's books, give this a shot. 

Honey Girl
Morgan Rodgers 

Grace Porter is a 28-years-old woman, a PHD student, and just drunkenly got married to a girl she doesn't know in Vegas. Can they make it work? And is Grace's time at her unfulfilling job nearing an end?

The character growth in this book is flawlessly done. I adored Grace as a character, she was messy while still showing a vulnerability that kept her feeling real. I really enjoyed how Grace's career was the main drive for her story. Her love for science translated well off the page and I even learned a few things! There is a podcast element to this story that worked great if reading this as an audiobook. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this! It was an authentic look at a 20-something woman struggling to find her footing in life. Also.. how gorgeous is this cover?

Amina Cain

Too cautious to pursue her passion of art, Vitória instead works as a cleaner at an art museum. When she meets a man who can offer her more, her entire world gets turned upside down. But the artist soon learns that having it all can quite easily feel like having nothing. 

Though the main plot of this 2020 release is centered around a marriage, at heart Indelicacy follows in the footsteps of Convenience Store Woman opening a discussion of loneliness, feminism, and dreams. I adored this mere blimp of a novel (it's 112 pages) way more than I thought possible. The writing flowed like poetry while maintaining a grit that the story needed. Though at times dislikeable, Vitória had a complexity to her that kept me invested in her story. If you enjoyed books such as My Year of Rest and Relaxation and The Bell Jar, pick this up. Definitely one of the best books I've read in 2021. 

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue
V. E. Schwab

Though marketed as a love story between a forgotten girl and the devil, the complexity of this novel is impossible to be summed up in a mere sentence. In 1714 Addie Larue made a deal with the devil to escape the life she was being forced into. She lives until she wishes to give up her soul, but on the condition that everyone she meets forgets her within minutes of being apart. Lonely, unable to lay down roots, and craving intimacy with another human, Addie goes through her day-to-day life as a ghost. That is until one day a miracle occurs: someone remembers her. 

Firstly, this truly isn't a love story between Addie and Luc (the devil), so I felt a little conned about that. However, have you ever read a book that gave off such a haunting atmosphere? That's how I feel about Addie Larue. This is my first Schwab book, and I was honestly blown away by the writing. It was flowery, but in just the right sense. I grew to love Addie as a character, and felt the loneliness that riddled her. Some negative reviews I've seen are mainly about the length, which yes, this was a tome of a book. But when a book has to rely on you bounding with such a small character list, I think it needs the slow burn. If you're easily bored or go into this expecting a fast-paced fantasy, it'll disappoint you. It gave me We Have Always Lived In The Castle vibes, but in a romantic setting. I can't stop thinking about this book. 

How to Pronounce Knife
Souvankham Thammavongsa

2021 has been the year of me discovering my love for short story collections, but boy, are they hard to summarize. In this debut collection, there are themes of immigration, sexuality, youth, love, family and that's just to name a few. I have yet to read another collection that captured my heart the way this one did. I could very easily give each story a 4 or 5 star rating (there was only one that I felt meh about). The thing that I found remarkable was how Souvankham Thammavongsa managed to keep each individual character unique. Nothing bled together in this collection. Beyond that, the writing was exquisite. It's hard to believe that this was a debut. I look forward to seeing what the author does in the future. 

What books have you been recently given 5 stars to? Lemme know in the comments! 

Keep reading,

Survive The Night by Riley Sager || Book Review


If you would've asked me this time last year to name some of my favourite thriller authors, I would've had Riley Sager on that list. Now? Heck no. Have you ever read a book that's so bad it makes you debate whether you want to give up on an author all together? Survive The Night did that to me. 

Side-note: The brunt of this review will be spoiler free, but I am including a paragraph at the very end to discuss the ending. It will have a spoiler warning beforehand. Enjoy!

After her best friend gets murdered by the Campus Killer (yup, that's what they call them), Charlie decides that she's had enough with school and wants to go home to live with her Grandma. Needing a ride, she agrees to accompany Josh Baxter, a man she's never met before. But during their roadtrip, Charlie starts to suspect Josh of not being who he says he is. Is she stuck in a car with a possible murderer? 

 I have so many problems with this book, but where to start? 

Let's start with the protagonist. Charlie's entire character was the epitome of the 'not like other girls' trope. She was insufferable, cliché, and a complete dumbass. I could feel my brain cells die from reading her POV. Charlie has a problem with seeing movies inside her head (?? I know.), making it hard for her to know whether what she sees is reality or not. I get that Riley Sager was going for the unreliable narrator trope, but this seems like the stupidest way of doing it. It didn't add anything to the story besides making it hard for us, the readers, to grasp what was going on. 

Being a film student, Charlie likes to flaunt her knowledge of movies, such as Hitchcock, Star Wars, Jaws. You know, the movies basically everyone with a TV are aware of. If you say "You're gonna need a bigger boat" she'll instantly know what movie it's from! Eye-roll. It made Charlie seem even stupider, which was no easy feat given her entire personality. Based on the premise of the book, I assumed that her movie knowledge would end up coming into play with the cat/mouse dynamic of Josh and Charlie. But that didn't even remotely happen, which is such a wasted opportunity. 

My other main issue with the novel, was the writing itself. It was just... bad. It felt like a first draft that badly needed editing. Some paragraphs had a word repeated dozens of times. It had a major case of telling rather than showing. Huge info dumps of things we really didn't need to know. Extremely poor dialogue. The plot twists didn't make sense. And it had the one thing you absolutely can't look past when it comes to thrillers.. plot holes. Huge ones. Just about everything in this book was unrealistic. 

If this book was instead a parody, I could maybe get on board. But this was actually meant to be taken seriously..? I'm flabbergasted how someone wrote this, let alone how it got published. I've read better Twilight FanFiction (not trashing on FanFiction, I read way too much of it). It's actually quite sad, as I think Survive The Night had the protentional to be great. Good idea, absolutely terrible execution. 

!!!! S P O I L E R   W A R N I N G !!!!

So, the heck was with that ending? If you have no interest in reading this novel but want to know the plot twist, I've got you. So.. Josh actually isn't the Campus Killer (shocker, I know) but he has been hired by the mother of Charlie's dead friend to basically kidnap Charlie and take her to the diner where the woman works. The woman blames Charlie for the death of her daughter as Charlie left her at a bar the night she was murdered. Charlie, not yet knowing this, stabs Josh and runs to the diner for help but naturally gets drugged, taken to the home of the woman, and beat up. Meanwhile, Charlie's boyfriend from college is trailing Charlie as he thinks she's in danger from Josh. Plot twist! Charlie's boyfriend is actually the Campus Killer. It ends with Charlie and her boyfriend (well, I guess ex-boyfriend by that point) driving off a bridge into water and Charlie drowns him. Extra plot twist! Charlie sells the movie rights to her experience and ends up married to Josh. Yup, the guy who essentially kidnapped her. How romantic.

Need I actually say anything about this? It's dumb. So dumb. I saw the twist of Charlie's boyfriend being the Campus Killer in roughly the first 20 pages. But I talked myself out of it because surely it wouldn't be that obvious/stupid, right? Wrong. I don't know what I hated more, the entire plot twist or the fact that Charlie wasn't murdered by her boyfriend when they first met because he could tell "SHE WASN'T LIKE OTHER GIRLS'. Face-palm. Why Riley Sager, why?

TBR | April 2021


I didn't do one of these for March as I was participating in the Tis the Damn Readathon and didn't want to be tied down by a set TBR. April, however, I'm hoping to plan within an inch of her life. I've been in a mighty reading slump lately and I need to snap myself out of it. It it sensible to jump on the #30BooksIn30Days bandwagon that Stephloves4 is doing on Twitter? Or should I just go with the flow? Let's find out together! These are all the books I'm hoping to get to in April. 

The Sisters Chase 
Sarah Healy 

The hardscrabble Chase women—Mary, Hannah, and their mother Diane—have been eking out a living running a tiny seaside motel that has been in the family for generations, inviting trouble into their lives for just as long. But when Diane dies in a car accident, Mary discovers the motel is worth less than the back taxes they owe. With few options, Mary’s finely tuned instincts for survival kick in. As the sisters begin a cross-country journey in search of a better life, she will stop at nothing to protect Hannah. But Mary wants to protect herself, too, for the secrets she promised she would never tell—but now may be forced to reveal—hold the weight of unbearable loss.

I don't know what it is about this book that draws me in, but it has something. I feel like it could be in the same vain as Firefly Lane or Where the Crawdad's Sing. I'm expecting a hard-hitting contemporary with a mystery twist that'll keep me turning the pages. 

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous 
Ocean Vuong

This is a letter from a son to a mother who cannot read. Written when the speaker, Little Dog, is in his late twenties, the letter unearths a family's history that began before he was born — a history whose epicenter is rooted in Vietnam — and serves as a doorway into parts of his life his mother has never known, all of it leading to an unforgettable revelation.

Do I know what this book is about? Absolutely not. I'm just hoping to jump onto the hype train, as this seems to get an abundance of love within the book community. The only "bad" reviews I've seen are people commenting on the slow pace that seems to go nowhere. But the lyrical writing is really what captivates the reader, and I'm a how for anything with flowery writing.  

Julie and Julia
Julie Powell 

Julie Powell is 30-years-old, living in a rundown apartment in Queens and working at a soul-sucking secretarial job that’s going nowhere. She needs something to break the monotony of her life, and she invents a deranged assignment. She will take her mother's dog-eared copy of Julia Child's 1961 classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and she will cook all 524 recipes. In the span of one year.

This is one of those random picks that I've just had a sudden urge to read, despite it having been on my TBR for literal years. I haven't watched the movie adaption, so I'm going in mostly blind. I'm still on a big non-fiction kick and the idea of reading this in the garden with a glass of iced tea sounds like perfect. 

The Light Between Oceans
M.L. Stedman 

Australia, 1926. After four harrowing years fighting on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns home to take a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day's journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby's cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

My husband loathed this book, so naturally, I want to read it. That's all.

Where The Forest Meets The Stars
Glendy Vanderah

After the loss of her mother and her own battle with breast cancer, Joanna Teale returns to her graduate research on nesting birds in rural Illinois, determined to prove that her recent hardships have not broken her. She throws herself into her work from dusk to dawn, until her solitary routine is disrupted by the appearance of a mysterious child who shows up at her cabin barefoot and covered in bruises.

So apparently I have a theme of children just showing up in books this month? I'm thinking of reading this one for the April Buzzword prompt which is "space words", but it isn't set in stone. I honestly have no idea why this book appeals to me, but I've been drawn to it since it's release. Have you read it? I'd love to hear your thoughts! 

The Wife
Meg Wolitzer

This is the story of the long and stormy marriage between a world-famous novelist, Joe Castleman, and his wife Joan, and the secret they've kept for decades. The novel opens just as Joe is about to receive a prestigious international award, The Helsinki Prize, to honor his career as one of America's preeminent novelists. Joan, who has spent forty years subjugating her own literary talents to fan the flames of his career, finally decides to stop.

I honestly have no explanation as to why I want to read this book, it's just calling to me and I decided it's finally time to pick it up. 

What are you planning on reading in April? What are your tips to get out of a slump? Lemme know!

March Wrap-Up 2020


March has been defined by a huge reading slump for me. I've read a fair few books, and yet I feel so discouraged about all of them. Send me prayers! But really, I am in a big ole' reading slump but a good few books made it onto my TBR this moneth which was partly due to participating in the Tis The Damn Readathon. Let's chat about them. 

Shadow & Bone
Leigh Bardugo 

Alina is a run-of-the-mill poor mapmaker, until her life changes in a literal flash of her eyes. Her inner power blossoms when she least expects it, resulting in her being face-to-face with the Darkling. With the weight of the people on her shoulders, can she make her life work in this high-society while keeping peace between herself and the most powerful man in the land?

Me reading a YA fantasy adventure? Who even am I? This book has been sitting on my shelf for years, I actually almost donated it a few times as I've been out of love with fantasy for a while now. However, the Netflix adaption that is coming out in April pushed me to give it a go and.. wow! I had so much fun reading this. I really liked Alina as a main character, she had great depth and didn't suffer under the "wet blanket" YA protagonist curse. She had a reason for her actions and decisions that went beyond trying to break away from a man. 

Sarah Crossan

Joe hasn't seen his brother Ed in 10 years, not since his brother was accused of manslaughter. Nobody believes he actually committed the crime, but each day is a countdown to his excursion date.

This is a novel told entirely in verse, which is a newly popular format of novel that I enjoy. I find it very poetic and usually fall headfirst into the novel with interest. I got this recommendation from Literary Diversions and, boy, it was a novel. This was a gripping story with some main characters that made me question their decisions. I liked how it wasn't black/white and made me think for myself when it came to my thoughts on the law case and the relationships that wove themselves throughout the book. I'm impressed at how eloquently the author handled such sensitive topics and layered characters. 

Still Alice
Lisa Genova 

Alice is a 50-year-old linguistics professor who has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. While struggling to come to terms with her illness and the abundance of symptoms that come with it, she also has to juggle the emotions of her family.

This has been on my TBR ever since the movie adaption came out. It was one of those books that I kept on my shelves for when a reading slump hit. I really liked this novel, I chose to go the audiobook route which I think definitely helped with the writing as though it wasn't terrible, it wasn't the most well-written book I've read within the contemporary genre. What this book lacks in creative skill,  it definitely makes up with medical knowledge. I learnt a lot about Alzheimer's and though I wanted to tear my hair out from the reactions of Alice's family, I did appreciate the bluntness in which Lisa Genova wrote the family. It was frustrating but realistic. Overall, this is worth a read but I imagine just watching the movie would be equally as rewarding. 

The Rural Diaries: Love, Livestock, and Big Life Lessons Down on Mischief Farm
Hilarie Burton Morgan

This is the memoir of One Tree Hill actress Hilarie Burton who with her husband, Jeffery Dean Morgan, decided to thrown in the LA towel, move to a small town, and buy a farm to renovate. This book talks about Hilarie's marital problems, the love of motherhood, what it means when you adopt alpacas, recipes, and her journey through infertility that led to depression. It is the perfect combination of real life pains and finding joy.

I adored this book so much. In the same vain as From Scratch by Tembi Locke, I really think you'd enjoy this book even if you have no interest or knowledge of the actress. Memoirs are always iffy as it can often feel like a money grab without them adding in any substance, this is the exact opposite. I cried, laughed, and instantly wanted to reread. 

TW: miscarriage, infertility 

Act Your Age, Eve Brown (The Brown Sisters #3)
Talia Hibbert

Eve Brown is the youngest and most chaotic of the Brown sisters. She's always switching career paths and depends on the monthly allowance from her parents to keep her life afloat. But her parents are done. They refuse to give her any more money unless she proves she is capable of keeping a job for a year. This leads her to interviewing for a chef's job at a quaint B&B and hitting the owner with her car. Yup, you read that right.

I adore The Brown Sister trilogy by Talia Hibbert. Each book has the most perfect balance of fun romance and discussions on some more serious topics without it ever feeling like it takes away from the joy of reading. In Act Your Age, Eve Brown it has has some rep for Autism and though I can't speak for the rep itself, I will say that I learned more about the illness. Which, at the end of the day, is what you want from a book that is trying to raise awareness. I adored Eve as a protagonist, I liked how she was more chaotic than her sisters without being belittled. I enjoyed having more interactions with the rest of the Brown family, and yeah, fully recommend if you want a light-hearted read that isn't frivolous. Adore, will buy. 

The Complete Persepolis (Persepolis #1-4)
Marjane Satrapi 

Persepolis is the story of Satrapi's unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming--both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. Told through the format of graphic novel, this is a very original take on a story that we all should know. 

I didn't know what to expect going into this as the notion of a memoir in graphics struck me as odd, but you know, it really did help the tory flow. Satrapi's story was gut wrenching to read. As someone who wasn't all too familiar with the Islamic Revolution (and as someone who is pretty dumb when it comes to dates), this entire reading experience felt like a lesson on that period of history. I learnt so much and it led to me researching more about that time. My only quim with the collection was how I felt like the first quarter or so was very confusing, as we're seeing the war through the eyes of a child who is clueless about it. I felt quite muddled. And there were a few lines that made me 'eek'. Fat shaming was quite prevalent, as was the cold writing of some of the characters. It often felt quite black/white when Satrapi was having any sort of disagreement with.. anyone. It felt like the author couldn't look past her own views, even when she was clearly in the wrong. I dunno. I enjoyed this book for the history aspect, but I feel like the author would've benefited from a different editor. 

 The Refrigerator Monologues
Catherynne M. Valente

This is a tiny collection of short stories written about various women from the superhero universe.

And the biggest surprise of the month goes to... The Refrigerator Monologues! Never having read any superhero graphic novels, nor really keeping up to date with the humongous Marvel/DC movie stuff, I wasn't sure whether this book was for me. But, I really liked it! This is one of the few short story collections that I've enjoyed in it's entirety. There was one story that just baffled my brain in a non-fun way, but all the others held greatness. I was very impressed with how the author managed to write 6 different main females, and have them all be their own people. Not many authors can achieve that, especially when they only have 15-20 pages per character. I enjoyed how this delved into the "why are the female characters there just to create the origin story of a superhero?" and a commentary on how it's always the female love interest that gets kidnapped, or murdered, or takes the brunt of the pain for the hero and then gets dismissed. Yeah, it was very thought provoking and even if this isn't your usual jam, I'd recommend.

The One
John Marrs

If a test was created that could tell you exactly who your soulmate is in life, would you take it? That's the question that humanity is facing after the impossible was made possible by Rebecca Webb discovering that this is easily done with a simple DNA swab. Throughout this book we follow five different relationships that were connected through the test, but things quickly turn dark after a mass murderer is connected to a police officer, a man is matched to another man (despite him always thinking he was straight, and someone is out for revenge. 

This has been sitting on my TBR for a while now but the mixed reviews always put me off giving it a go. However, this was a lot of fun. I don't know whether it was that my expectations were so low going in, or that it helped me get through a reading slump, but I devoured this novel in 2 sittings. The writing wasn't the best, but the fast-paced nature and the too dramatic plot twists made for a very addictive read. I would pick up more by the author, and am looking forward to watching the Netflix adaption.

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
Gabrielle Zevin

A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a baby is abandoned at the bookstore, her unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over.

With this kind of novel, you know what to expect the moment you start reading the synopsis. It's a heart-warming cozy read with a little mystery on the side to keep you engaged. This didn't come close to the likes of A Man Called Ove, but it was still very cute. It got me to cry, which was to be expected. And I grew rather fond of the grouchy old man and the people who wove themselves into his life after his wife died. I'd recommend the audiobook for this.

Milk Fed
Melissa Broder

Rachel is twenty-four, a lapsed Jew who has made calorie restriction her religion. By day, she maintains an illusion of existential control, by way of obsessive food rituals, while working as an underling at a Los Angeles talent management agency. Her mother being the root cause of her problems, her therapist urges Rachel to take a detox from speaking to her family. During the detox she meets Miriam, a plus-sized woman who knows herself in ways that Rachel aches for. Miriam soon becomes Rachel's new obsession.

Having read The Pisces by Melissa Broder, I went into this book knowing to expect some questionable material. And I was very much correct in that assumption. What starts out as a young woman trying to find her place in the world without the dysfunction that her mother brings her, but quickly spins into a romance story with some very odd fantasies and shitty human behavior. Yet, I enjoyed this weird book. Broder's writing is incredibly compelling and I can't help but continue to want to read more by her. She has an ability to make my skin crawl in a way that thrillers/horrors have never done. It's incredibly eerie storytelling. I disliked all the characters, I hated the direction the plot took, and yet I want to give it 4 stars. Madness.

TW: Heavy fat phobia, distorted eating, homophobia. 

The Emperor's Soul (Elantris #1.7)
Brandon Sanderson

Shai has been condemned to death after trying to steal the emperor’s scepter. She is given one opportunity to save herself. Though her skill as a Forger is considered an abomination by her captors, Shai will attempt to create a new soul for the emperor, who is almost dead.

This is a short story I picked up during Becca's 24-hour BookoplAthon. I enjoyed the reading experience, but I wouldn't say it's a favourite Sanderson. I found some sections a little too info dumpy which hurt my brain, and the entire story felt too rushed. I wanted more of the side characters, and though I liked the character of Shai she felt quite flat which made it difficult for me to root for her. 

Black Girl Unlimited
Echo Brown

Echo Brown is a wizard from the East Side, where apartments are small and parents suffer addictions to the white rocks. Yet each day is touched by magic. Each day, Echo travels between two worlds, leaving her brothers, her friends, and a piece of herself behind on the East Side. There are dangers to leaving behind the place that made you. Echo soon realizes there is pain flowing through everyone around her, and a black veil of depression threatens to undo everything she’s worked for.

Echo Brown has become a auto-read author for me just from this book. Her writing has such a eloquence to it that it felt almost raw to read. So many times I had to put this book down for me to catch a breath as it felt like a weight was pressing onto my chest. The story never really strayed from the magical realism side or fantastical realism, but yet it was grounded within our reality. The sexual assault scenes were some of the hardest I've had to read, and I want to really make it clear that if that's something triggering for you, be sure to do your research before picking this up. 

TW: racism, sexual assault, drug addiction, poverty, depression

Alice Oseman

Tori Spring is a teenage blogger who is struggling with her mental health. After a tragic incident involving her brother changed her entire life, her friends have dwindled and Tori can't seem to find it in herself to care about their petty high school problems. But when Michael Holden shows up, and a group called Solitaire start terrorizing the school, Tori's life begins to once again unravel.

This is one of those books that I wish I had read when I was younger. Solitaire was on the younger side of YA, with characters who read much younger than their actual years. I liked the friendships that formed, but never really rooted for anyone to get what they wanted. Tori as a protagonist was pretty bland, and far too reminiscent of other books in this sub genre (All The Bright Places, Midnight Sun, Looking For Alaska, Leah on the Offbeat, Love & Other Carnivorous Plants, Everything, Everything). The "plot twist" was predictable, and the entire plot had too many loop holes that bothered me. Meh.

Love Sick
Cory Martin

Corry was 28-years-old when she got diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. This is a memoir of her learning to come to terms with the news, and her processing whether she is worthy of love when sick.

I'm so torn. I enjoyed the writing of this book, Cory is a writer herself so it makes sense that she exceled in that element. It made me laugh, and it read like an enjoyable episode of TV. However, I really don't think she came across well. If this was fiction I would mark it as "unlikeable characters", but.. it's biographical... so, awkward. When I finished, I assumed this was written in the early 2000's as it has the 'Sex and the City' white woman being 'woe is me' theme. And I get it, I myself am chronically ill and it is very scary. But I hate that the author never even tried to educate on the subject. It was a constant stream of her getting pity from people in her life, and her commentary on how she feels unlovable. I wanted more depth. This read like a long-winded Cosmo column that is fun while reading, but then you instantly feel blegh afterward. 

So, yeah. That's March done! What did you read? Any there any books here that sit on your TBR shelf? Let me know! 

A letter to the Booktube community / I joined Booktube!


Well, this is a blog post that I never thought I'd make. Is it the lockdown bleakness, sudden courage, or gin? We'll never know! I've been watching Booktube for years now, I first discovered the bookish side of the Interest through various YA readers like, and it was a breath of fresh air. 

As a teen, I sometimes purposely triggered myself into self hatred with the channels I subscribed to. Whether they were eating centered ones, or even the OG British vloggers (hell, I remember commenting on Zoella's first video and partaking in the live shows her and Louise used to do.). At the time, I was incredibly lonely. I didn't have a group of friends outside of the Internet and suddenly there were these people who I could watch everyday who just filmed themselves living. It should of fueled my desire for life, but it had the opposite effect. Which is terribly depressing, but true. I ached to have people in my real life who understood me the way that these friendship groups seemed to. Looking back as an adult, I get that it's so easy to fake this perfect happy life. 

As I got older, my Youtube subscription box expanded to the likes of EssieButton, Hazel Hayes, SimplyNailogical, etc. Women who owned their lives and catered to an older audience. This really helped me have some self reflection, and heck, Hazel Hayes 'Time Of The Month' series led me to volunteering, to skyping my online friends, to putting myself out there. It was remarkable. Then one day I fell down a Booktube rabbit hole and haven't really left. 

I adore the book community online, whether Booktube, Bookstagram, or Book Twitter. It's filled with people who don't shy away from discussing mental health, dislikes, life, happiness, sadness. I personally think it's easier to be honest about where you are spiritually when you can then divert into a different topic without it seeming unnatural. Books are beautiful things, and being able to connect to people from all around the world through the shared experience of reading? Indescribable. 

The longer I watched Booktube, the more curated my own tastes became. I discovered my love of literary fiction. I shy'd away from YA, but know that if I want something of that genre someone online will be there to give me a recommendation. I discovered that classics aren't always so daunting, and it's okay when you hate them (hello, Lord of the Flies). It helped me feel more comfortable in my own shoes. Me and my husband have bonded over the love of books, and it really helped to give us something to do together when we were initially apart. Words are beautiful, and books are a collection of that beauty. 

The act of recording was a TRAIL. I still don't know how to edit, so I'm currently going through the process of teaching myself. (Spoiler: It isn't going well) My first video is now live and the camera is shaky a few times which made me want to scrap the video all together, but ya know, sometimes you just have to post the mishaps and hope that it'll only get better from there.

So, if you feel like watching me be awkward for 13 minutes, or are simply interested in what I'm talking about, I will link my video below. 


If that doesn't tickle your fancy, I urge you to fall down a Booktube rabbit hole of other Booktubers and find someone you relate to. I hope that I remain comfortable with the idea of putting myself in video form out into the World Wide Web, but even if I don't, I will still have a great love for this bookish community of worms. 

Wish me luck! 

The Rural Diaries by Hilarie Burton Morgan | Non-Fiction Book Review


Hilarie Burton Morgan may be best known for her role as Peyton Sawyer in OTH, but after finishing her memoir she is now known to me as That Woman I Really Want To Befriend. This book has been on my TBR since the moment it got released but as with all books written by celebrities, I was dubious and asking myself: 

1) Is it ghost written? 

2) If it's not, can they even write?

3) Is this just a money grab?

I was an idiot. This memoir was incredibly inspiring, and vividly descriptive. I could smell the dandelions she plucked, would hear the sounds of coyotes, and felt bone-deep exhaustion with her. Burton's writing has such depth to it that I felt everything. The joys, the pains, and the lows. I've read fiction books by award winning authors that didn't come near to the experience of reading The Rural Diaries. There is a beauty woven into Burton's writing that transforms this memoir into a book that I instantly wanted to reread. 

Deciding to pack up their LA lifestyle and move somewhere more remote, Hilarie Burton Morgan and Jeffery Dean Morgan went against the norm for Hollywood couples and chose to live their married life away from the chaos that fame can bring. In this book, we follow their love story that came from a blind date that changed both their lives and resulted in them deciding to have a baby within months of meeting. Spending 50% of their time living in a tiny cabin in a remote town was enough for a few years, but they eventually decided to take the plunge and move there indefinitely. Buying a beat-up old farmhouse and learning the ways of farm life was the adventure they had both always wanted. Growing their own food, finding family in the locals, and watching their son grow up in a house where ducklings live in the bath felt like a distant dream until they made it their reality. 

I wasn't expecting The Rural Diaries to discuss heavy topics such as miscarriages, depression, and marital problems. I'm awed at how honest Burton continued to be throughout the 350 pages. This never felt like a money grab, there was hardly any discussion on her career, or "behind the scenes" gossip. It never strayed from being a book about, well, love - romantic love, family love, and finding things that'll make you love life.

In this, Burton mainly takes us through her adulthood, which I really liked. I'm always iffy on the childhood sections of memoirs as it's usually the most uninteresting part (Unless we're talking about Educated by Tara Westover in which, yeah, that'll keep you turning the pages). Burton wove her childhood stories throughout the sections about her marriage, becoming a mother, and farm life which made for a lovely reading experience as it felt more like reminiscing especially as by that point, we were already familiar with the people she spoke about. This entire book read more like showing rather than telling, which is no easy feat when it comes to non-fiction. I already knew from Burton's Instagram that her heart was as bright as freshly blossomed sunflowers, but I didn't know just how inspiring she was as a person. At multiple points throughout this book I had to take a second to just sit there and appreciate that there are still people like this in the world. 

In conclusion, I would recommend this book to you even if you're unfamiliar with the actresses work as she proved beyond a shadow of doubt that she is much more than the characters she portrays on screen. This is a wholesome novel about a couple deciding to live more remotely and learning all the tips and tricks to farm life, growing your own food, taking care of non-household pets, and most importantly, how to work together. You will learn, you will cry, you will smile. And I guarantee you'll turn the last face with a spark of joy in your heart. And you will most definitely debate whether to start gardening.

gifted | Lounging with Femme Luxe Uk


 Since Lockdown I've been on the hunt for some affordable loungewear that doesn't make me feel like a literal blob. As someone with chronic pain, my main goals when buying new clothing (especially for around the house) is that they're soft and fit certain issues I have during bad pain days. When Femme Luxe contacted me and offered to send me a few pieces to test out and review, I jumped on it. I've seen this company featured so many times on Instagram and wanted to see whether they are as good as people make out. Some of the items I picked out did go out of stock, so this is just a little taster of what the company has to offer. Here's my review/mini haul. 

Firstly, I automatically ventured to the Loungewear section as that was my main goal. They had some great sets for very affordable prices. I chose their Navy Loungewear Tracksuit Set. First off, this is incredibly soft. It has a brushed cotton feel which is like satin to someone with sensitive skin. This set is cute but I have a slight issue with how sheer it is. I literally couldn't take a photo standing up as you would've seen what I had for dinner. Good for around the house, but not great if you live with anyone other than your significant partner. One thing I do like about the jumper is how versatile it can be. Here's just one idea of how else you could wear it. 

My only issue with some of their loungewear sets is the lack of sizing. They only go up to a L/XL which is marketed as a UK 12/14. I'm usually a 8/10 and the M is a little tight. I hope they eventually expand their sizing in that regard. (Some of their items are in regular sizing, but still only go up to a UK 14.) 

Secondly, I went a little scandalous with this Black Lace Bodysuit that is mutually risky while still very easily making for a comfortable wear. The site's range of Bodysuits and Going Out Tops is impressive, especially as most of them can very easily be worn as loungewear. My back has a lot of issues when it comes to painful skin, so anything backless while still giving my chest support is a winner in my book. I really like the fit of this (I purchased a M), and the inner lace is actually lined with a less itchy material which is pleasant. Would I wear this outside? Perhaps, with the right under tank and a cute jacket. It would also make for a great layering piece when wearing a wrap dress that dips low. For me, I'm mainly going to use it on sensitive skin days with some cute shorts and maybe a sports bra if I'm feeling especially fancy. Of course this is a piece that only a few people would be drawn to, but yeah. It's cute and makes me feel like I'm putting effort in while still being comfy.

Overall, I'm not entirely sold on this company as the quality is a little lacking - mainly with the Navy Loungewear Set. I wanted a little more substance, as though I like the Lace Bodysuit, I don't think it would last very long and I'm making an effort to buy more sustainably. Saying that, as only half of what I chose came through it could very well be a case of the lack of products I got to try. I'm very interested in their more casual day-to-day items such as cardigans or plain sweaters as I feel like they have the protentional to excel when it comes to more simplistic pieces.

The shipping for my items - keeping in mind that they're a UK site and I'm in California - was impressively speedy. The packaging was baby pink and adorable, which yes, not really a factor in ordering but still cute! Thank you to Femme Luxe for allowing me to try out some of their products. Have you bought from this company? What was your experience? 

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