Monday, 30 November 2015

bookclub #7

This past couple of months has been a good one for reading! I always see a dip in the number of books I read when I go back to work after the summer break - the early morning and busy days render me pretty useless by 9pm. This year, however, I've made a conscious effort to make time to properly wind down before going to sleep; going to bed a little earlier so I can get a good few chapters in. And it's paid off! This is the seventh book I've read since going back to work after the summer break. It also happens to be book number seven of the Blogger Bookclub series.

#7: Techbitch by Jo Piazza and Lucy Sykes 

I feel a little embarrassed to be reading a book with such a naff title... let alone to admitting it on the internet! Techbitch follows Imogen Tate, magazine editor extraordinaire, and her return to the fast-paced world of fashion after time out following treatment for breast cancer. When arriving back in the offices of Glossy magazine she finds life as she knows it is no more. Glossy magazine is now and her former assistant Eve has taken control of the reins. Techbitch tells a story of technology replacing human potential, the bitchy world of fashion, and ageism in its worst form. 

You want me to be entirely honest? I hated this book at first. It is full of contemporary references - to the point that it felt like this was a game of 'how many references to popular culture can we cram into each chapter'. I found this completely cringe-worthy and embarrassing to read. In fact, my boyfriend read this over my shoulder one evening and stated "what the f**k are you reading?!". In addition to this, it is (at least in places) very poorly written, making it at times hard to follow.

That said, I persevered and did find it easy to read. I warmed to Imogen's character and really despised Eve - the characterisation was good in that sense. The blatant ageism and disregard for Imogen really enraged me! It was fairly predictable, but an easy, fairly amusing read none-the-less. I haven't really read something quite so chick-lit-y for a long time, so this was a change for me. If you've read and enjoyed The Devil Wears Prada (or other reads by Weisberger, I quite liked Chasing Harry Winston many years ago!) then this might be the book for you. 

Don't forget to check out Lorna, Leanne and Charli's thoughts.


Saturday, 21 November 2015

SE Asia: why there?

In case you missed it, last week I shared the exciting news that in February my boyfriend and I are going travelling for six months! Yup, six months of exploring SE Asia and all it has to offer. Excited is a bit of an understatement I guess - we're counting down the days already.

Last time I briefly explained the reasoning for our trip. Essentially, it's a case of if not now, when? 

This trip has been a long time coming; we decided on Christmas Eve 2014 and have spent all of 2015 saving, planning... and building excitement! So I guess this post is about how we've gone about organising our trip and the things we still have left to decide on. I'm hoping others who have travelled the countries we're planning on visiting will be able to pass on some hints and tips - as well as maybe giving others that nudge to consider a big trip. 

Both Rich (boyfriend) and I have visited Asia before. We went to Malaysia together two summers ago and packed KL, the Perhentian islands (my second time), Penang and Langkawi into a two week trip. Previously I spent a month in Malaysia and Indonesia with Kat, again visiting the Perhentian islands (heaven on earth), KL, Bali and the Gili Islands. Rich has also visited various Thai islands with his friends - so we feel we've had a good taste of what Asia has to offer already. 

You may be thinking - why are you going back? Spread your wings! And we thought exactly the same. We initially planned on spending the six months in South America, but after looking into it some more we realised our hearts lie in Asia. All our travels have done so far is whet our appetite - we want to see more! So this time we will be skipping most of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Thai party islands and instead seeing more of what Asia has up it's sleeve. 

We've decided on the following as definites:
Philippines - likely splitting our time between Palawan and Boracay
Malaysia - returning to Penang as we loved it before and didn't get to see enough
Thailand - Krabi, Phi Phi and then moving up to Chaing Mai and Pai
Myanmar/Burma - Yangon and Inle lake
Vietnam - Hanoi and all the way down the coast to Ho Chi Minh
Cambodia - Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville

All we've done so far? Booked our flight out there and a return, coming back in August. We're flying to the Philippines to start and coming back from Bangkok. The rest we will be (largely) figuring out when we're there! 

I'd love to hear from anyone who has visited SE Asia and any of the places we're planning on seeing - or any others we've missed out and must see! Any feedback would be gratefully received.


Monday, 16 November 2015

bookworm #42

Back in early 2013 I read Gone Girl, and completely loved it's messed up, entirely gripping plot. The film also didn't disappoint - in my eyes at least. So when I heard they were making another of Flynn's novels into a film, and subsequently seeing the trailer on social media I knew it would top my 'to read' pile. 

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.

Dark Places tells the story of Libby Day, whose mother and two sisters were killed when she was a child; she managed to escape. Her brother Ben was charged with their murder, partly due to Libby's testimony, and is serving a life sentence in prison. Fast forward twenty-five years and Libby is down and out, skint and pretty miserable. She is approached by someone who says he can get her money - if she helps The Kill Club investigate the murders and potentially reveal Ben's innocence. Reluctant at first, Libby soon finds information that challenges everything she thought she once knew. Her world unravels and she is sucked into a mystery she would have preferred to keep buried. 

I really enjoyed this book! It was gripping from the off, with sub-plots and twists at every corner. It was quite a long read - a bit like Gone Girl it could probably have done with fewer pages, but that said it didn't feel onerous.

I'd love to see how the film compares but it doesn't look like it was released in the UK... if anyone has any info on this I'd love to know where I can find it!

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