Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Book Review: Spot the Difference by Juno Dawson

Avery has always suffered at the hands of the bullies, so when she's given a seemingly-miraculous opportunity to join the 'A-list' she grabs at it with both hands. But appearances can be deceiving, and soon Avery's not so sure she likes this new version of herself. And it's only by overcoming her fears that she can learn the true meaning of being comfortable in your own skin.  

I read this book in one day due to the fact there weren't many pages, but it definitely hit home as I have previously been a victim to bullying and have wanted to fit in so badly with the 'A-List' people. 

Avery has suffered from severe acne for quite some time, leading the popular crowd to use her as their next target to bully. When Avery manages to convince her parents to let her try out a miracle cure, suddenly the popular crowd want her in and the cutest guy wants to date her. To Avery this was pretty much a dream come true and she jumped at the chance to join them to get a taste of their lifestyle. However, after spending some time with the mean girls and finding out her boyfriend may never accept her if her acne returned, Avery took a step back from a world she didn't actually belong in and focused on the people in her life that would accept her for who she is, acne or no acne. 

This little story is so powerful as it's not very often these days that writers focus on acne or bullying when creating their characters. Teens will be able to relate to this book and realise that being in the popular crowd is not the be all, end all of school. I think Avery as well can become a great idol for teens who suffer with acne and worry about their peers judgements on their appearance. Being a victim of bullying in school, I understand how desperate you can become to be 'popular', if you're popular people will love you, girls will want to be you, guys will want to date you, so we think anyway. Bullies always have an agenda as to why they're attacking you, mainly it's jealousy, not necessarily of you personally but maybe your friends, your grades, or your family life. Whilst we do think bullies are just nasty people, they're actually insecure little children shouting for help. 

Although I wish there was a little more at the end, explaining how Avery's life turned out in the end, it was a really sweet story that spoke about two extremely important issues and had a realistic story to it, instead of the happy ending that wouldn't have ever happened. Love who you are, be who you are, people will either accept it or not. If they don't, you know to shove them out your life because they don't deserve you!

I will definitely be checking out more of Juno's books as she addresses so many important issues that may help me in life and I think everybody who has never read a Juno book should definitely do so!

About the Author 

Queen of Teen 2014 Juno Dawson is the multi award-winning author of six novels for young adults. In 2016, she authored the best-selling World Book Day title: SPOT THE DIFFERENCE. Her next novel is the beautiful and emotive MARGOT & ME (Jan 2017).

Juno also wrote the bestselling non-fiction guide to life for young LGBT people, THIS BOOK IS GAY. In 2016 a follow-up MIND YOUR HEAD, featured everything a young person needs to know about mental health. 

Juno is a regular contributor to Attitude Magazine, Glamour Magazine and The Guardian and has contributed to news items on BBC Women's Hour, Front Row, ITV News, Channel 5 News, This Morning and Newsnight concerning sexuality, identity, literature and education. 

Juno grew up in West Yorkshire, writing imaginary episodes of Doctor Who. She later turned her talent to journalism, interviewing luminaries such as Steps and Atomic Kitten before writing a weekly serial in a Brighton newspaper. In 2015, Juno announced her intention to undergo gender transition and live as a woman. Juno writes full time and lives in Brighton. In her spare time, she STILL loves Doctor Who and is a keen follower of horror films and connoisseur of pop music. In 2014, Juno became a school role model for the charity STONEWALL. 

Find Her Online

Purchase the book on Amazon UK

- Shelby xxx 

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Blogging Tips: Making the Most of Twitter

Twitter is the most perfect platform for bloggers to share their work on and gain followers, however, getting your work recognised and getting your followers list to sky rocket up takes a lot of hard work and promoting. I'm sort of writing this blog post not only for you guys, but also for myself... I am terrible at promoting myself on social media and this post will definitely be nice to come back to every so often to help me remember that my blog won't be appreciated unless I actually let people know about it! My blog views and followers count are improving each day and whilst that makes me incredibly proud and grateful to all my supporters, I feel like I could do so much more to get my blog out there! Although I'm not a pro at ways to promote yourself on Twitter, I can share a few tips that have helped me previously and can hopefully help you too! 

Tag Retweet Accounts 

There are so many retweet accounts available to bloggers on Twitter and they're incredibly helpful with getting more people to see your posts! Bare in mind though, most of these retweet accounts have thousands of followers and your tweets may not always be chosen for a retweet but don't let that stop you from trying, as when they do choose you, it can make such a good impact on your blog! Here's a few RT accounts for you to follow: @TheGirlGang , @BloggerBees@BloggingGals , @UKBlog_RT and @FemaleBloggerRT

Hashtag, Hashtag, Hashtag!!

It's amazing how one little hashtag can improve your blog views and get you more followers! If you struggle to get the right bloggers to see your blog, hashtags will help you in finding the most appropriate bloggers to talk with and get support from, whilst also doing the same back to them.

Do you write about books? #BookBloggers  
Do you write about food? #FoodBloggers
Love talking about your favourite beauty products? #BeautyBloggers 
Or do you enjoy sharing your favourite pieces of clothing? #FashionBloggers 

Schedule Those Tweets!

We don't always have time to be on Twitter 24/7 due to working, family time or maybe you just want a break from your phone now and again, therefore, it is always necessary to schedule your tweets so you're not completely withdrawing yourself from Twitter and you don't always have to be on your computer or phone anymore to keep yourself relevant! For me, Hootsuite is my go to app and has helped me time and time again for when I've not been able to tweet out my blog posts myself! 

Appreciate and Interact with Other Bloggers!

If you ever come across a blog post that you loved reading, make sure to let the bloggers know about it! Also share the post with your followers as they may love it just as much as you, who knows, maybe it'll even help someone? Also interacting in general with bloggers will help you get recognised, there's nothing worse than only tweeting about your blog posts and looking like a complete robot! Show everybody your beautiful personality and gain some incredible Twitter friends! 

Twitter Chats

Continuing on from tip 4, Twitter chats are a great opportunity to meet new bloggers and share your thoughts and interests with each other. I don't do this a lot as I'm always bloody forgetting to check the timetable as to when these chats go on, but whenever I do take part, I talk to so many incredible ladies, gain more followers, more blog views and I also get to find out about other people's blogs and read their wonderful work! 

If you want to take part in a chat but just don't know when they'll all be going on, a lovely blogger Jodetopia made us this extremely helpful timetable:

There's all the tips I have for you, if you have any more to recommend, I'd love to hear them all! :)

- Shelby xxx

Monday, 3 October 2016

This Is Us - First Impressions

My, my, my, I have well and truly fallen in love with this brand new series! I came across the trailer for this series on the 27th September, 7 days after the pilot episode was released and at first I thought this was actually a movie. To then hear it was a TV show got me super excited and I immediately watched the first episode! 

A group of people with the same birthday, including Rebecca and Jack, a married couple expecting triplets in Pittsburgh, Kevin, a handsome television actor growing bored of his fly bachelor lifestyle, and Kate, his funny and sweet heavyset twin. 

Let's start off with this extraordinary cast... Mandy Moore (Rebecca), the mean girl in 'Princess Diaries' and the girl who broke everybody's hearts in 'A Walk To Remember', Milo Ventimiglia (Jack), every fan of the show 'Heroes' 100% had a crush on him and he's very well known in 'Gilmore Girls'. Sterling K Brown (Randall), bagged himself a glorious place in one of the most talked about series this year; American Crime Story: The People V OJ Simspon. Chrissy Metz (Kate), was what I thought a brand new face in the TV world, however, after doing my research, she has made an appearance in American Horror Story: Freak Show as 'The Fat Lady'. Justin Hartley (Kevin), is a brand new face to me, I've never watched anything hes been in before, however, he has starred as Oliver Queen in 'Smallville' and has previously played Aquaman. 

How does one talk about this hour-long masterpiece without giving out any spoilers? I have no clue, but I'm going to try! When you first watch this show, you will have the idea in your head that it is about three separate families, what you don't know is, the crew behind this shows are MASTERS of creating plot twist, after plot twist, after plot twist. The pilot episode of This Is Us tracks four random individuals on the day they all turn 36 years old. Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), celebrates his birthday in hospital, as his wife Rebecca (Mandy Moore) has gone in to labour with her triplets. Randall (Sterling K Brown) is a well off businessman who is searching for his birth father. Kevin (Justin Hartley) is not feeling the birthday spirit. Lastly, Kate, is a woman struggling with her weight and decides to do something about it. 

Jack and Rebecca are such a beautiful couple and go through a lot of stress and heartbreak throughout this episode as they struggle holding on to all three of their babies. They have previously been told that the babies are positioned in a way in which a baby can become harmed during the labour process and Jack is determined to take all three home, as he has three cribs waiting for their presence. Randall's story is a heart warming one as he becomes reunited with his birth father and although he is furious with the man who left him outside a fire station 36 years ago, he allows him in to his life as time is just too short. Kate and Kevin's story line happens to be connected as they are twins, Kevin's life revolves around Kate, he always wonders how he ever survived without her for those first two minutes of his life and he battles with the lifestyle of an actor, being trapped in a TV show that he knows is complete crap. Kate is a rather heavyset woman who finally realises it's time to get rid of the junk food and hit the gym. Kate's story is really inspiring to those who struggle with weight loss no matter how hard they try, she joins a group therapy session where they talk about their weight and meets a funny and accepting man, Toby, who motivates her but also admires her for the way she is now.

From the second the pilot begins, it's difficult not to wonder if these characters are connected or if they will somehow will be connected in the near future. It's suffice to say that the answer to these questions are revealed at the end and damn, it's a bloody good answer. I, was one of many who took a while to understand what the hell just happened, where others may have guessed it quite early on, heck some of you reading this review might even guess all their connections before even watching it! All I'm going to say though regarding the endings plot twist, if you're going to watch this, keep an extra eye on Jack and Rebecca's story line... Look around at their surroundings, the people they talk too, the actions they make, and you'll soon be as mind blown as I was! This TV show at first will probably seem real cliche and unoriginal, but I beg you to watch until the end because every ending this show has had so far has made me go "WHAT!!?" 

I watch many, many shows and whilst I love how they're completely jam packed with drama, I feel like I really needed this show in my life as it is so incredibly light-hearted and family orientated. It isn't filled with unrealistic moments that probably will never happen to anybody in their entire lives, it shows you a very realistic view of what people go through in their day to day lives... Jack and Kate had to face the thought of losing one or more of their babies, so many people go through this and while it is devastatingly heartbreaking, Jack and Kate turned the situation in to a positive. Kate has issues with her body weight, which again is a really important issue and she turns this in to a positive by finding a man going through exactly what she is, therefore they begin supporting one another. Randall is also another heartbreaking but realistic story when his father decided he wasn't ready to be a father and left him with no real parents. Like I said, this show is very light-hearted but so many people can relate and be inspired to be as strong as these characters. So, I hope you give it a chance and enjoy! :)

- Shelby xxx

Monday, 26 September 2016

Book Review: A Castle of Sand (A Shade of Vampire #3) by Bella Forrest

What Sofia has with Derek feels like a sandcastle; temporary and something that the waves of life and time will soon ruin... Since the return of Gregor Novak, the island has turned several shades darker. His hatred towards Sofia and thirst for fresh blood leads to a brutal war igniting between father and son. Meanwhile, the hunters are gaining formidable strength and resources by the day; they know that the safety of The Shade hangs entirely on it's ability to remain hidden from them. And a sinister secret lies in wait for Sofia within the bowels of an Egyptian desert... a secret that threatens to crush her sandcastle much sooner than she could have expected. 

I'm still trying to comprehend all the events that happened in this book so bare with me... Whilst the first two books were quite simple and more focused on introducing the characters, book three took a COMPLETELY different turn! It was full of so much action, blood, gore, broken hearts and emotions. 

With Derek's father, Gregor Novak returning to take over The Shade, Derek and Sofia have to fight many battles in order to be together. Responsibilities are piled on Derek, with a culling coming up, a brother teaming up with the enemies and Sofia's life in danger more than ever, their relationship begins to cramp up. As Derek and Sofia's love for each other grows more vigorous each day, doubts also begin to grow between them as Sofia is still a mortal, whilst Derek is immortal. 

It's fair to say that Sofia has become such an admirable icon to The Shade and has grown the respect from many human slaves and even vampires. She strives to gain more rights for the humans and is becoming more stubborn and persuasive as the days goes by. She is an incredible leader and can become a great asset to The Shade, if given the opportunity. All is not smooth sailing though as Sofia learns more about her mother and father's fates, both being dreadful to Sofia's eyes and her best friend, Ben is off finding ways to take Derek down. Sofia also finds out a humongous revelation which will most likely be shaped in the next book. Whilst Ben became mistrusting at the end of book two, Ben has matured a lot this time round and is more accepting to Sofia's chosen life style. 

You feel yourself falling more for Derek than ever, he really puts all of his energy in proving to his family, friends and Sofia that he is worthy of her. Everything he does, he does for Sofia. He is willing to sacrifice his own life, in order to keep Sofia breathing, and there's one certain scene where he proves just this, while it is all so heart breaking and painful to read, it is also so admirable and heroic. Derek is a true gentlemen and only shows the side he hopes Sofia never see's when he or the people he loves are being threatened.  

There is so much suspense and shocking moments in this book that left my eyes filling up with tears. We lose people we hate, we lose people we love. While we did get a great handful of answers, there are so many questions still to be asked! More and more characters are being introduced and I can't wait to see their character developments grow with the character's we've already found a loving too. Bella's writing is incredible and pulls you in so fast that I can never put the book down... Seriously, I have to force myself! This is hands down one of my favourite books series I've ever come across and whilst I was like OH MY GOSH at the amount of books this series holds, I am so glad there's so many because I never want this story to end!

- Shelby xxx

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Book Review: A Shade of Blood (A Shade of Vampire #2) by Bella Forrest

When Sofia Claremont was kidnapped to a sunless island, uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet, she believed she'd be forever a captive of it's dark ruler, Derek Novak. Now, after months of surviving an endless night, the morning sun may soon rise again for Sofia. Something has possessed Derek's heart and he offers her a gift no human slave has ever been given in the history of his cursed island: escape. High school, prom and a chance to move on with her life now await her. But will she be able to forget the horrors that steal her sleep away at night? ... Or the feelings that haunt her for that tormented prince of darkness?

A Shade of Blood starts from the where the last one ended... Derek gave Ben and Sofia the opportunity to leave the island and get back to their normal lives. What Derek doesn't know is, allowing Sofia to leave the island for good is only a trigger to set off his own self destruction. With Sofia no longer around, Derek has no good influences in his life and turns back to the vampire who ruins lives. He distracts himself by training the vampires for any possible wars with the hunters, but no one seems to be able to forget the girl who brought out the best of him, leaving him with no choice but to deal with the consequences of letting her go. My heart broke for Derek slightly and I embraced myself for the aftermath that he was about to display to his kingdom. A darkness surfaced around him and the only light in his existence had decided to leave him behind. 

Sofia and Ben go back to adapting to the real world, however, find themselves forever altered by their experiences. Sofia is still loyal as ever to Derek and Ben is determined to bring the Shade down after his tragic time with vampire Claudia was revealed. Ben also finds himself declaring his feelings for Sofia now he knows her heart belongs to another. I enjoyed this side of Ben as in the first book he didn't seem all appealing and had a lot of control over Sofia's choices, we got to explore his character more in depth and he won me over. The majority of book two's story is on Ben and Sofia's relationship, their school lives and finding a way to destroy the demons inside of their heads. When Sofia returns to the Shade due to her admiration towards Derek, which could also be known as Stockholm Syndrome... We learn much more about the history of Derek and the Shade. 

The suspense throughout made my heart ache and my stomach twist up in to knots as many secrets and past memories were revealed creating a sense of foreboding. By the time the jaw dropping plot twists appeared at the end and the introduction to new characters aka the Norvak's enemies, I was desperate for more and found myself on Amazon downloading book 3! This has definitely become one of my favourite series as there's so much revealed in each one and the fact that there are 33 books makes me want to fly through them and learn every single detail of what's to come! 

- Shelby xxx

Friday, 23 September 2016

Scream Queens Season 2 Premiere - First Impressions

The Chanel's are back and more ready than ever to rule the hallways of Dean Munsch' hospital. After serving time in a mental institution for being framed for all the murder's surrounding the Kappa Kappa Tau sorority house, the three Chanel's step back out in to the world finding jobs to earn them enough money, as they're parents cut them off. Lucky for them, Munsch hires them to work for her, medically trained or not.

Let's start from the beginning. I loved the way they introduced the new killer and gave us a slight hint that another baby is going to be most likely a big focus throughout the season. Personally, I thought the guy they put the killer costume on is probably also going to be the one killing them as he was thrown in to that green lake and by the sounds of the lake's backstory, who knows, it could've mutated the poor man and permanently stuck the costume to him. But, we all know Ryan Murphy doesn't let it happen that easily and he definitely wouldn't allow us to know the killer from the very first episode, where's the mystery in that? I'm not one for theories, I don't tend to look in to every single detail of the show and just let the story pan out on it's own. However people are already trying to figure out who this new baby is, are they in the hospital working for Dr. Munsch, are they the killer? It baffles me how people can even find anything to make a theory so early in to the show but... I'm not as smart as some.

(This was the best line in the whole of the first episode)

I can't wait any longer, I'm going to have to beam with pride right now and talk about how proud I am of Taylor Lautner! I've been supporting this babe for 10 YEARS!! And he just makes me prouder and prouder every day. When I read that people won't hire him in Hollywood anymore, I was very nervous that he would struggle in getting any roles but he did it and he is doing SO GOOD!! He's the gorgeous Dr Cassidy Cascade along with Dr Brock Holt (John Stamos) and ironically, their first patient is known as 'Werewolf Girl'... Next they'll be telling us Taylor's a Vampire! There was a little Twilight reference thrown in there as well when he said "I run cold". He has so many little sarcastic comments and I love it, I love his comedic side as he usually only goes for the more serious roles, aah he's just the best and he better not die and Ryan Murphy better hire him for every other season after this!!!

Season 1 of Scream Queens was a little hard to get in to at first, but turned out to be incredible and I had no doubts about Season 2 being just as good, actually it's even better! (Because Taylor's joined the cast duh) In all seriousness though, it's everything I hoped it would be, funny, interesting, epic. Now the killer has made it's first attack, so many more deaths are upon us and everything's going to take a turn for the worst! There's so much to look forward too as this mystery unravels episode after episode and I just can not wait a whole week for them all! Emma Roberts is slaying as usual as Chanel and gosh I never knew how much I need her one liners in my life, they're iconic! 

I'm so looking forward to seeing Hester return as a mental patient in the hospital, the Chanel's reactions are going to be priceless! I wonder if Hester will give a helping hand to the killer hmm... Guess we'll have to see! Oh and Chad's coming back!? I could probably live without his shallowness and the lack of ability to use his own brain but hey, the more the merrier! How could I forget, Colton Haynes is going to be a guest star on the show! (Teen Wolf fans will understand the hype) Seeming as he is a guest star, he's probably going to face the killer but it'll be nice to see him for as long as it lasts! So that's my opinion on the Season 2 premiere of Scream Queens and I'll see you all next time!

- Shelby xxx

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Book Review: A Shade of Vampire (A Shade of Vampire #1) by Bella Forrest

On the evening of Sofia Claremont's seventeenth birthday, she is sucked in to a nightmare from which she cannot wake. A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood. She is kidnaped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine. An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains. Sofia's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince. Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realises that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive one more night. Will she succeed?... Or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?

I've always been a Vampire girl... Although I was more Team Jacob than Team Edward, but damn those Salvatore brothers! How about Theo James as a vampire in the fourth Underworld movie? I freaked when that happened if I'm being quite honest! Vampires are definitely my favourite supernatural creatures so I knew this book series (which is on like its 33rd book, damn) was going to be one to enjoy! I saw it advertised on my Facebook home page and the ad basically said, if you're a fan of Twilight then this is the book for you! I couldn't agree more, it's got the ripping hearts out and stabbing vampires with wooden stakes in it, however, it's main focus is on the romance between Sofia and Derek. Although Vampires are all about the blood and gore, I don't think I could ever get in to any that don't have that little slice of romance on the side too, yanno? I like there to be an even amount of both so it's not too violent and it's not too lovey-dovey. This book evens it out perfectly! 

The book only holds 154 pages, making it short and simple, yet I learnt a lot about The Shade, the Vampires and Sofia... Of course, I have no idea what's about to happen in the upcoming books and soon enough I'll be coming back to this blog post saying "This was a complete lie, I had such little knowledge". Bella gives us such a vivid picture of The Shade and all of a sudden I find myself wanting a fancy penthouse on the tree tops. 

Sofia is such a sweet character who also knows how to stand her ground and help others before herself. She came in to The Shade with little fear and assured the other female hostages as much as she possibly could. She has a way of getting all the men to fall at her feet without even knowing she can, she doesn't see in herself what other people see in her. Beautiful. She has a control over Derek that he can't seem to understand or explain, all he knows is that she is his and he is hers. She risks her own life to escape and save the other hostages, yet she feels home when in The Shade. 

Derek is the Prince of The Shade and has just woken up from a 400 years slumber, where he comes back to a weak island and unexpectedly, Sofia. Derek is a vampire with such a fascinating background. Of course I'm not going to spoil but let's just say, he was very anti-vampires in another century. His brother Lucas is one to definitely look out for, he's not to be trusted. His sister Vivienne, gives me mixed opinions. At first I wasn't too keen on her, but by the end she showed a different side to her that is almost respectful. 

There's so many extraordinary characters in this book, Sofia's best friend Ben becomes a big threat to Derek when Ben finds himself also in The Shade. There was little drama in this book, being as it was just an introduction and I can't wait for things to get heated between everybody! I wanna see some blood being shed, some vamps being burned, the bad ones of course... Most of all, I wanna see how everybody adapts and grows with one another, as Sofia is about to change The Shade in a way we can only hope will be for the better. 

- Shelby xxx


ItsShelbyMariee Template by Ipietoon Cute Blog Design and Bukit Gambang