REVIEW: Bad Girls With Perfect Faces, Lynn Weingarten

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

When Sasha’s best friend Xavier gets back together with his cheating ex, Ivy, Sasha knows she needs to protect him. So she poses as a guy online to lure Ivy away. But Sasha’s plan goes sickeningly wrong. And she soon learns to be careful of who you pretend to be because you might be surprised by who you become…

24 in 48 Readathon (January 2018) - Progress Report

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Come on, Cass, you can do this.

My 24 in 48 Readathon TBR - January 2018

Friday, 26 January 2018

When I was first starting out with blogging (I say that as though it was three years ago as opposed to three months), I decided to throw myself into the rather delirious environment of Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon. I may have been slightly overambitious, believe me, I can see that now. So when squibblesreads posted her announcement video for the 24 in 48 Readathon, I was like, hey, maybe that one won't actually kill me.
Instead of the normal readathon in which everyone tries to read as many books as possible in the space of twenty-four hours, the 24 in 48 Readathon allows you to space those twenty-four hours over two days; whereby giving you time to sleep, and eat, and socialise with other human beings. If this sounds like something you would love to join in, the readathon runs all throughout this weekend and you can find loads more information (and sign up!) over on the 24 in 48 Readathon website.
But, anyway, on to my (let's be honest) rather ambitious TBR!

REVIEW: Aphra Behn: A Secret Life, Janet Todd

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

‘All women together ought to let flowers fall upon the tomb of Aphra Behn; for it was she who earned them the right to speak their minds,’ said Virginia Woolf. 
Yet that tomb, in Westminster Abbey, records one of the few uncontested facts about this Restoration playwright, poet of the erotic and bisexual, political propagandist, novelist and spy: the date of her death, 16 April 1689. For the rest secrecy and duplicity are almost the key to her life; she loved codes, making and breaking them, and writing her life becomes a decoding of a passionate but playful woman. In this revised biography, Janet Todd draws on documents she has rediscovered in the Dutch archives, and on Behn’s own writings, to tell a story of court, diplomatic and sexual intrigue, and of the rise from humble origins of the first woman to earn her living as a professional writer. Aphra Behn’s first notable employment was as a Royal spy in Holland. It was not until she was in her thirties that she published the first of the nineteen plays and other works which established her fame (though not riches) among her ‘good, sweet, honey-candied readers’. Many of her works were openly erotic, indeed as frank as anything by her friends Wycherley and Rochester. Some also offered an inside view of court and political intrigues, and Todd reveals the historical scandals and legal cases behind some of Behn’s most famous ‘fictions’.

REVIEW: Brooklyn, Colm Tóibín

Monday, 22 January 2018

Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the years following World War Two. Though skilled at bookkeeping, she cannot find a job in the miserable Irish economy. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America--to live and work in a Brooklyn neighborhood "just like Ireland"--she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind. Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, a blond Italian from a big family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. He takes Eilis to Coney Island and Ebbets Field, and home to dinner in the two-room apartment he shares with his brothers and parents. He talks of having children who are Dodgers fans. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love with Tony, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.

REVIEW: Makeup Revolution Life on the Dancefloor "Guest List" Eyeshadow Palette

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Can I just say that I am blown away by all of the Makeup Revolution releases right now? I mean, holy hell, they have always been good but it seems as though they have lately managed to step their quality up a notch. If that is even possible...

REVIEW: The Sacrifice Box, Martin Stewart

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Sep, Arkle, Mack, Lamb and Hadley: five friends thrown together one hot, sultry summer. When they discover an ancient stone box hidden in the forest, they decide to each make a sacrifice: something special to them, committed to the box for ever. And they make a pact: they will never return to the box at night; they'll never visit it alone; and they'll never take back their offerings.
Four years later, the gang have drifted apart. Then a series of strange and terrifying events take place, and Sep and his friends understand that one of them has broken the pact.
As their sacrifices haunt them with increased violence and hunger, they realise that they are not the first children to have found the box in their town's history. And ultimately, the box may want the greatest sacrifice of all: one of them

REVIEW: Three Things About Elsie, Joanna Cannon

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

There are three things you should know about Elsie. The first thing is that she’s my best friend. The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better. And the third thing… might take a little bit more explaining. 84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly a man who died sixty years ago?

Who knew that a story set in a nursing home could be so exciting? The mystery and the intrigue of the novel led to Three Things About Elsie being extremely unputdownable and, in fact, it took me only three sittings to read all of the book's nearly-five hundred pages. All of the characters are wonderfully, heartbreakingly real and the settings that they inhabit feel tangible - the description of the nursing home’s trip to the seaside town of Whitby was an absolute delight, and evoked the many childhood memories that I have of family holidays spent on the coast of the North Sea.
I think that is really where the Three Things About Elsie excels - it is evocative. It stirs up long-forgotten memories and thoughts and feelings of the reader, that are parallel in the book’s focus on things now buried. The main character, Florence, particularly struggles with memory and it is quite easy, no matter the reader’s age, to see yourself reflected in her strive for clarity and the security of the familiar.
Joanna Cannon has crafted Florence and all of the characters, in a way that makes them feel so human that it practically seeps from each page. I can imagine passing them on the street, or overhearing them on a bus. I can see my grandma in them, sure, but I can also see myself in them. And, that is what so great about it - it’s relatable, it’s applicable, it’s empathetic; it proves that, in our very nature as human beings, we’re not all that different from one another.
Additionally, this book really focuses on the connections, the ones big and small, that link us to other people and the affect that everybody leaves on other people’s lives and the world as a whole. It has numerous passages that I have highlighted on my Kindle that are able to describe love and memory and the passage of time, far more eloquently than I can even dream of achieving. And, somehow, I have yet to pick up The Trouble With Goats and Sheep (Joanna Cannon’s acclaimed debut from a few year ago) but now that I have discovered the craft and the skill that went into Three Things About Elsie, it is now at the top of my to-be-read pile.
All in all, a five-star read and, a perfect book to be one of my first in 2018. Let’s hope that all of rest of the year's books manage to live up to its high precedent. Somehow I doubt it..

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Head on over to for this book, as well as all of the others featured in my reviews, complete with the added bonuses of free worldwide shipping and bringing a little joy to my life.

#2017RoundUp: 5 Beauty Game-Changers

Sunday, 14 January 2018

You may not know this, but I have a make-up obsession. I mean, I probably just have a shopping obsession but, when it comes to books and make-up, I experience the same passion when consuming them. I am just a twenty-first century girl: I want to be incredibly erudite, and I want to look amazing whilst doing it. In 2018, my goal for this blog is to begin to incorporate more beauty content into my posts - sure, books are great and everything, but sometimes I just want to rave about a new lipstick. Do you feel me?
So here's me kicking it off. Here are the top five beauty products that I discovered in 2017 and that completely took my breath away.

REVIEW: The Gender Games, Juno Dawson

Friday, 12 January 2018

'It's a boy!' or 'It's a girl!' are the first words almost all of us hear when we enter the world. Before our names, before we have likes and dislikes - before we, or anyone else, has any idea who we are. And two years ago, as Juno Dawson went to tell her mother she was (and actually, always had been) a woman, she started to realise just how wrong we've been getting it.
Gender isn't just screwing over trans people, it's messing with everyone. From little girls who think they can't be doctors to teenagers who come to expect street harassment. From exclusionist feminists to 'alt-right' young men. From men who can't cry to the women who think they shouldn't. As her body gets in line with her mind, Juno tells not only her own story, but the story of everyone who is shaped by society's expectations of gender - and what we can do about it.

REVIEW: Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women's lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.

REVIEW: Wise Before Their Time, Ann Richardson & Dietmar Bolle

Monday, 8 January 2018

They are young and they have a life-threatening disease… 
The year is 1991. Diagnoses of HIV are rising and there is no cure in sight. Coming from all corners of the world, forty-one young men and women talk about living with HIV and AIDS. 
They must cope with the enormous stigma, blame and guilt associated with the disease. And there are challenges in telling their parents and partners, trying to keep healthy and looking for work – all while facing an inevitably shortened future. 
Yet they remain committed to celebrating the joys of life as much as they can. The book is testimony to the resilience of the human spirit. 
First published in 1992, this book tells their unique stories in their own words. 

#2017RoundUp: Best New TV Series

Saturday, 6 January 2018

My name is Cass and I have a television-binging problem. I mean, sure, that sounds rather dramatic but I have worked it out and I probably watch five times more TV than the average person.
Just for reference: the average Brit watches 220 minutes of television a day which, according to my calculator, works out as just over 3.6 hours. Like, hello, what would I do with the rest of my day if I only watched 3.6 hours of television? Go outside? Ew. I mean, come on, 3.6 hours is only 3 episodes of anything that airs on HBO and it is imperative that you fit in an entire season, so that's not going to work.
Tearing my eyes away from the screen was extra difficult in 2017 - it seems like every month a new series premiered that completely blew away all of its predecessors. This year nearly every production company has seemed to step up its game in terms of writing, character-building and truly stellar cast performances; which means that, when it came around to the time of year when I had to write this list, narrowing it down to just five picks was... difficult to say the least.

#2017RoundUp: Worst Books

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Following on from the second part of my #2017RoundUp on Tuesday that gave a rundown of my favourite of the books I read during the year, it makes sense that I should now follow up that post with the worst books. Obviously, this is not a topic which I relish in; for, although my standards are high and my tendency to bitch or grumble is exponentially higher than the average person, I do not enjoy spending hours reading something terrible when it could be spent discovering something marvellous.
I mean, does anyone?
So, these are the top five books that will definitely not be on my re-read or recommendations lists for 2018.

#2017RoundUp: Favourite Books

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Happy 2018, everybody! Here I have what reading all year was all about - the creme de la creme, the highest-rated and most life-changing books of 2017. These books are the reason why I constantly seem to be slogging through pages and pages of barely coherent drivel, as I know that when I find a book like the 5 included on this list, all of that wasted time was worth it.