I received The Schooldays of Jesus by J M Coetzee as an e-book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The book was on the Man Booker Prize Long List, which was my first fascination to read it. My next interest was the cover (yes, I know you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover). I assumed this would be more about dance, a bit like Ballet Shoes* by Noel Streatfeild which I loved. But I was, unfortunately, wrong. 

This is the second in a series following David, a small child and his guardians Simon and Ines. Whilst I was reading there were some points which referenced their past, but wasn’t clear about the intricacies. I didn’t realise at the time that this was because of a previous book. I had assumed it was a mystery which would show itself further in the book. Strangely, I had the wrong assumption.

The continued use of “to him, Simon”, “so he, Simon”, and “he, Simon” grated on my nerves within the first few chapters. Unfortunately, this never got easier to read. It seemed to me that the author wasn’t sure whether to use Simon or He and so used both unnecessarily.

Although it was easy to follow, the plot was… tedious. There were many repetitive thoughts from Simon, mundane questions from David and no true answers. The headstrong boy, David seemed too unrealistic to relate to. Simon too consistantly bland. Ines too distant to care for. Is the book meant to link to the bible? To Jesus’s childhood? Coetzee has made the messiah and his earthbound family boring and unlikable.

I kept turning the page to find out what the key message was supposed to be as surely this book was meant to have a deep underlying message? Yet, nothing appeared from the end. Was Schooldays of Jesus meant to not have a clear message? The same way Simon never understands ‘calling down the numbers’? Is Coetzee giving himself an open for his next book?

This book doesn’t do justice to Coetzee’s apparent brilliant mind and insightful writing. Although, maybe his work is for people who enjoy reading philosophical and allegory books. This person is, of course, not me.

If you would like to read ‘Schooldays of Jesus’ then you can purchase from Amazon*

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I received Revenger by Alastair Reynolds as an e-book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was completely and utterly entranced by Revenger. After reading multiple books which were kinda ‘eh’ I was thrown out of my reading habit because I was bored. Revenger manged to reel me straight back in with it’s original plot, interesting characters and worlds of intrigue.

Fura Ness is a fascinating character, with a ‘Wow I really want to know more about them’ vibe. As we travel through the book Fura changes gradually into a hardened space veteran with the desire for revenge. Often this would create a character which is irritating and unlikable yet Reynolds manages to pull off Fura as still being a lovable character.

The book was fast paced and action packed – a key factor for my instant love for it. As someone who barely reads sci-fi this was delightfully enchanting with the focus less on futuristic gadgets and more on action, emotions and mystery. Although it was a push to what I thought I would want to read Revenger managed to overcome my own biases and recent book bad luck to become a book I want to purchase so I can read it again. I can’t wait for the next book which the ending seemed to promise!

Buy from Amazon for £9!

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With a slow start to the new term binge re-watching Gossip Girl for the 100th time was much needed. I realised that although Serena wasn’t a particularly good role model, there were many things you can learn from her mistakes.

  1. Don”t run from your mistakes. One of the main factors of Serena is that she immediately runs from her problems. Sleeps with Nate, runs to boarding school. Throws Jenny a party and trashes the apartment, runs to Spain. This happens multiple times throughout the series, and every time it doesn’t work out for her. Owning up to your mistakes and taking on the consequences are an important part of life. Being able to handle yourself in poor situations is vital.
  2. Always see the good in people. Serena always saw the best in people, especially those she loved. She saw the good in Blair even though everyone else saw a bitch, she saw the good in Dan even when he turned out to be Gossip Girl. Actually take this lesson with a pinch of salt, don’t marry your stalker…
  3. Stay away from toxic people. Serena was terrified when Georgina Sparks showed up but still gave her another chance. Here’s another problem with seeing the ‘good’ in people. Even though all of her other friends could see that Georgina was awful, Serena still put herself in another stupid situation. This proves that sometimes, a friendship isn’t worth it as the other person is not good for you.
  4. On the other hand… true friendship is forever. Blair and Serena fell out nearly every other episode, but when it came down to it they were always there for each other. They showed that you can work through anything if you love one another enough. I only hope my friendships stay that strong.
  5. Always dress your best. Even on her worst days, Serena still managed to look fabulous. She always made sure she dressed to impress, whether it was an edgier casual look or a full on ball gown.
  6. Learn from your mistakes. Serena had a bad habit of repeating her poor decisions. For example, Serena’s teacher went to prison as they were together, but she still started dating her university professor. There’s a big emphasis on thinking about the consequences of your actions here.
  7. You can change to be a better person. Even though there were many obstacles such as Georgina, and trying to get her fathers attention… Serena managed to go from party girl to a better and more level-headed person. She helped her friends, spent more time with family and had more successes in her life when she pulled herself together.

 

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My all time favourite shampoo and conditioner are the Luscious Long Aussie ones! I’ve been getting them for Christmases for the past 3 years because my family know I use them so often. This shampoo is always used, although I’ll often change conditioners depending on my mood/hair knots. I also have the 3 Minute Miracle Deep Treatment which is perfect for when my hair needs an extra boost of moisture. My hair often gets really knotted near my neck. This treatment works wonderfully to loosen the knots for when I need to detangle them.

I also use this Oleo Radiance Oil Elixir to as a treat for my hair every so often. Also, this works when I have knots to loosen the hairs and make them easier to brush out. My mum actually bought this to tame her frizzy hair, but I only use it on days where I stay in or just before I shower. I sometimes have issues with this as if I use too much it doesn’t wash out easy, but it usually works well to brighten up dull hair.

Does anyone else have thin, fine hair and get loads of knots? What do you do to fix it?

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I received Beat the Rain by Nigel Jay Cooper as an e-book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to John Hunt Publishing and Nigel who I also spoke to!

“Louise, grieving the death of her lover Tom, does the only thing she can think of to make the pain go away – she marries his twin brother Adam. But letting go of her past isn’t as easy as she thought. After a seemingly chance encounter with a charming stranger called Jarvis, all of their lives begin to unravel. Beat The Rain is a moving and vulnerable psychological thriller, depicting the reality of a relationship in decline. At times humorous, at times heartbreaking, it explores what it means to live, to love and to lose.”

Beat the Rain

After starting off slow and already deciding I wasn’t enjoying this book Cooper managed to captivate me and pull me back into the story line. Louise and Adam’s lives seem almost predictable at first, after subconsciously filling in the rest of the plot line the shocks and surprises which Cooper writes were a pleasant surprise. The main, and arguably the most shocking part of the book made me put it down for a few minutes just to process what had just happened. Cooper’s writing to lead up to these twists were fantastic and I can’t wait to read another book by him.

The main characters had happily switched their domestic roles, to Adam being the loving stay-at-home parent and Louise being the wage-earner in the household. This dynamic lead to Louise feeling like the odd one out within her family which then leads to meeting Jarvis. Although all 3 of these characters have very likable qualities, Cooper also ensures enough depth to show their flaws as well, and so the connection to them really enabled me to sympathize for them.

I wouldn’t read this if you enjoy happy endings, although I found the ending to be eerily satisfying in relation to the story. This is a definite must read to anyone who enjoys a book to bring out emotions. If you want to get hold of this book then it’s available for purchase from Amazon.

 

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