REVIEW: The Philosopher's Daughters, Alison Booth #BLOGTOUR

Monday, 30 March 2020


London in 1891: Harriet Cameron is a talented young artist whose mother died when she was barely five. She and her beloved sister Sarah were brought up by their father, radical thinker James Cameron. After adventurer Henry Vincent arrives on the scene, the sisters' lives are changed forever. Sarah, the beauty of the family, marries Henry and embarks on a voyage to Australia. Harriet, intensely missing Sarah, must decide whether to help her father with his life's work or devote herself to painting.
When James Cameron dies unexpectedly, Harriet is overwhelmed by grief. Seeking distraction, she follows Sarah to Australia, and afterwards into the Northern Territory outback, where she is alienated by the casual violence and great injustices of outback life.
Her rejuvenation begins with her friendship with an Aboriginal stockman and her growing love for the landscape. But this fragile happiness is soon threatened by murders at a nearby cattle station and by a menacing station hand seeking revenge.

Lockdown Recommendations: Movie Musicals

Sunday, 22 March 2020


I assume that, by now, most of you are starting to catch a slight case of cabin fever. As someone who is chronically-ill, I am well aware that staying in the house all of the time is difficult - even without the stresses of a global pandemic and the government forcing you to do so. 
So, in this time of great uncertainty, I urge you to follow my lead and turn to things that never fail to make you smile: movie musicals. This list is compiled of six ├╝ber-amazing, non-animated (because, of course, that will be a separate list) movies with not a depressing theme in sight (sorry, Moulin Rouge, etc).
Well, apart from Danny being a dick but that's par for the course.

Popular Books I Hate

Saturday, 14 March 2020


These were the worst of times, these were the worst of times.
How are we all? Panicking, screaming, crying, all of the above?
To be honest, I have ticked all of those boxes at some points over the last week and, five days in and no end in sight, things are probably not going to change anytime soon. But, I thought one positive at least could come out of all of this (well, two actually, because I am writing my dissertation on the sociological implications of contagion): getting my old blog schedule back on track.
It might seem pretty trivial right now but, for the time being anyway, I think focussing on the small things is the way to go.
Manageable chunks and all that, right?
So, here we go with my first (and potentially most controversial) blog post of the pandemic.

REVIEW: Coming Up For Air, Sarah Leipciger #BLOGTOUR

Wednesday, 11 March 2020


On the banks of the River Seine in 1899, a heartbroken young woman takes her final breath before plunging into the icy water. Although she does not know it, her decision will set in motion an astonishing chain of events. It will lead to 1950s Norway, where a grieving toymaker is on the cusp of a transformative invention, all the way to present-day Canada, where a journalist battling a terrible disease, drowning in her own lungs, risks everything for one last chance to live.

Women's Prize for Fiction 2020 - Longlist (& Plan of Action!)

Sunday, 8 March 2020


Happy International Women's Day everyone! I know this is coming to you a little late - I had a foray into London (be on the lookout for the return of my once-in-a-blue-moon travel posts!) and, as more days passed, I thought it only apt to wait and schedule this post today instead of any other. So, let's get to backseat-judging...

Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara
Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Dominicana by Angie Cruz
Actress by Anne Enright
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee
The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo
The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel
Girl by Edna O’ Brien
Hamnet by Maggie O’ Farrell
Weather by Jenny Offill
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Of the sixteen, I have only read two: A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes and, of course, Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. But, contrary to popular opinion, I didn't actually... love them. I know, I know - I am sorry! Admittedly, there was not any outright hate going on, but that does not mean that I am not going into the rest of this list without an overriding sense of trepidation.


Interested
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Actress by Anne Enright


How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee
The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel
Hamnet by Maggie O’ Farrell
Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Wow, what a selection! A lot of these seven are heavy-hitters, whilst the others are as-yet unknown gems that I am sure will pack a punch. And, I already know that, like so many other people, I will be doing all that I can to get my hands on them. I just wonder how the long the respective waiting lists are going to be...

Apathetic
Dominicana by Angie Cruz
Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie
The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo
Girl by Edna O’ Brien

Alligning with the overriding feeling that I have about the entirety of this year's list, I have absolutely no opinion one way or the other about these four. Like, none whatsoever. And, who has ever heard of an instance of that happening with me?

Dreading It
Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara
Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
Weather by Jenny Offill
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

Whether or not my feelings derive from the books' covers (I am looking at you, Djinn Patrol), synopses or the very little I have heard about them, something has been stirred up that makes me genuinely not want to read these four. Let us hope that I can fight through it and find some wonder.


Let me know which books you think are the highs and lows of the longlist, and if you are planning to try and cram all sixteen into the next two months like I am. 


REVIEW: Beast, Matt Wesolowski #BLOGTOUR

Friday, 21 February 2020


In the wake of the 'Beast from the East' cold snap that ravaged the UK in 2018, a grisly discovery was made in a ruin on the Northumbrian coast. Twenty-four-year-old vlogger, Elizabeth Barton, had been barricaded inside what locals refer to as 'The Vampire Tower', where she was later found frozen to death. Three young men, part of an alleged 'cult', were convicted of this terrible crime, which they described as a 'prank gone wrong'. However, in the small town of Ergarth, questions have been raised about the nature of Elizabeth Barton's death and whether the three convicted youths were even responsible. Elusive online journalist Scott King speaks to six witnesses – people who knew both the victim and the three killers – to peer beneath the surface of the case. He uncovers whispers of a shocking online craze that held the young of Ergarth in its thrall and drove them to escalate a series of pranks in the name of internet fame. He hears of an abattoir on the edge of town, which held more than simple slaughter behind its walls, the tragic and chilling legend of the ‘Ergarth Vampire'…

REVIEW: A Curious History of Sex, Kate Lister #BLOGTOUR

Thursday, 13 February 2020



The act of sex has not changed since people first worked out what went where, but the ways in which society dictates how sex is culturally understood and performed have varied significantly through the ages. Humans are the only creatures that stigmatise particular sexual practices, and sex remains a deeply divisive issue around the world. Attitudes will change and grow – hopefully for the better – but sex will never be free of stigma or shame unless we acknowledge where it has come from. Drawing upon extensive research from Dr Kate Lister’s Whores of Yore website and written with her distinctive humour and wit, A Curious History of Sex covers topics ranging from twentieth-century testicle thefts to Victorian doctors massaging the pelvises of their female patients, from smutty bread innuendos dating back to AD 79, to the new and controversial sex doll brothels. It is peppered with surprising and informative historical slang and illustrated by eye-opening, toe-curling and hilarious images. In this fascinating book, Lister deftly debunks myths and stereotypes and gives unusual sexual practices an historical framework, as she provides valuable context for issues facing people today, including gender, sexual shame, beauty and language.

REVIEW: The Foundling, Stacey Halls #BLOGTOUR

Tuesday, 11 February 2020


Six years after leaving her illegitimate daughter Clara at London's Foundling Hospital, Bess Bright returns to reclaim the child she has never known. Dreading the worst - that Clara has died in care - the last thing she expects to hear is that her daughter has already been reclaimed - by her. Her life is turned upside down as she tries to find out who has taken her little girl - and why. Less than a mile from Bess' lodgings in the city, in a quiet, gloomy townhouse on the edge of London, a young widow has not left the house in a decade. When her close friend - an ambitious young doctor at the Foundling Hospital - persuades her to hire a nursemaid for her daughter, she is hesitant to welcome someone new into her home and her life. But her past is threatening to catch up with her and tear her carefully constructed world apart.

REVIEW: Three Women, Lisa Taddeo

Tuesday, 14 January 2020


All Lina ever wanted was to be desired. How did she end up in a marriage with two children and a husband who wouldn't touch her? All Maggie wanted was to be understood. How did she end up in a relationship with her teacher and then in court, a hated pariah in her small town? All Sloane wanted was to be admired. How did she end up a sexual object of men, including her husband, who liked to watch her have sex with other men and women? Consequences are handed out to some but not to others. 

Current Beauty Wishlist

Sunday, 12 January 2020


Like many people, my Beauty Bay wishlist is getting a little out of control. Hyped-up beauty releases, old cult favourites, things that I do not really understand but that come in pretty packaging: they are all there. Sitting and waiting and pleading with me to buy them.
It is a daily struggle to not scroll through it and put more than a few items into my shopping basket and so, to combat that urge, I thought I would share those items with you. Because, compiling a blog post is a great way of sublimation, right? 

REVIEW: Wilder Girls, Rory Powers

Friday, 10 January 2020


It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put in quarantine. The Tox turned the students strange and savage, the teachers died off one by one. Cut off from the mainland, the girls don’t dare wander past the school’s fence where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure as the Tox takes; their bodies becoming sick and foreign, things bursting out of them, bits missing. But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her best friend, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie in the wilderness past the fence. As she digs deeper, she learns disturbing truths about her school and what else is living on Raxter Island. And that the cure might not be a cure at all . . .

#2019RoundUp: Best Books

Tuesday, 7 January 2020


And the award goes to...