When I read Great Goddesses by Nikita Gill • a poetry book review.

I should have expected to fall in love.

Book 2 of 53, I only need to read one more book to have done better than last year.

Great Goddesses is a collection of life lessons from myths and monsters told in poetry and prose. I have to admit I was hooked from the first piece of prose ‘1. A mortal interlude’ because Nikita Gill throws out a question that I’ve been asking (myself) forever; ‘What happens to their (Goddesses and God’s) fearsome might when the fervent belief fades?’ I love this question because it applies to all religions and beliefs, everything we believe now will be gone someday (for some things I wish today could be that someday) but at the same time, as we see in this book, these beliefs can be transformed and retold to create more beauty. I think a very important part of this collection is women being retold and truth being put back into their narratives.

My favourite parts of this collection were the ‘,after’; modern imaginings of the Greeks Goddesses and God’s. I cried happy tears reading this book because it filled a little hole in me that always wondered what happens when we stop thinking about people, concepts, and God’s. I like the idea that they can adapt to a modern way of living and thrive in a new world, especially because they have so much to do! The majority of these Goddesses and God’s were responsible for the protection of the natural world or like the woods or the sea, or they were responsible for love, war, hedonism and they face new challenges in these areas because of these new mortals with their throwaway culture.

My favourite two pieces from the ‘,afters’ are ‘Ares, after’ and ‘Aphrodite, after’.

For the ‘Ares, after’ Gill depicts a God of war, who draws his power from war, being drained by all the wars of mortals. For me, and I assume most people, this is a tiredness that we can all empathize with.

For the ‘Aphrodite, after’, to start I want to say the whole story was beautiful, a woman using her talent and skill to create her own redemption. The Goddess of love and beauty creating a dating agency and successfully helping mortals find real love is a refreshing take on Aphrodite who is more often than not depicted as a vain airhead however, the part that stood out to me the most was being in Hestias cottage and meeting women and being in the company of women really for the first time and experiencing that warmth was wonderful to read. There is nothing quite like the company of women and I adored this in the story. It made my heart ache for my friends.

I could call attention to so much more, and I want to, the conversations (like formatted conversations, not just conversations within stories), the poetry, the quotes tie together perfectly to deliver something really special.

The book is also filled with beautiful illustrations that reflect the stories beside them. They remind me of lino prints and they are every bit as special as the writing beside them. (I’ve had a little go at drawing Persephone, a personal favourite Goddess, see image with post).

As this book made me cry happy tears I am going to give it 13/14 hydra heads (yes I’m going to change the numbers every time because everything is made up and there are no rules, Attica).

When I started 2021.

I should have made a list of 53 books.

Last year I read two books. Two. Disgusting. Well, it’s not disgusting but it’s pretty bad for me, me being an English graduate, me being an aspiring author, me being on furlough with lots of time in 2020.

This year, 2021, I plan to read 53 books.

One per week in a loosey goosey manner. If it goes over a week that’s fine, if I do two in one week that’s also fine (and a small miracle).

Why 53 books when there’s only 52 weeks in a year? Well there isn’t is there? This year we have two stupid not full weeks at the beginning and end.

So I read my first book in one night on Saturday 2nd January 2020.

It was Lost Boy by Christina Henry (two first names, shady) a book bought for me Christmas 2019 I believe. It was a great start to the challenge I’ve set myself.

My favourite story/plot/aesthetic/fairytale/concept is Peter Pan, the boy who chooses not to grow up and I LOVE Peter Pan as the villain.

The book is from the perspective of one of the lost boys, Peter’s favourite, and how he slowly becomes disillusioned by this marvelous boy and his carefree life.

Most people will pick up on the significance of this favourite boy (I didn’t, whoosh) and will admire his drive to protect the other lost boys. I was shocked by the descriptions of violence, you’ll find it takes you closer to gruesome fairytales of old (not that I’ve read many of those, maybe this year I’ll make the time), it’s an interesting thing to imagine twelve year olds beating each other until they have broken bones in each others faces. Henry will make you cringe at loose bones and blood, you will be compelled to have a resolve to all relationships among the boys.

And what relationships! The bonds they share are varied in intensity and emotion, love, hate, jealousy. Henry has has fit relationships of idolisation, rivalry, paternal, comradeship and romantic love in a group of (at most) 12 boys. The jealousy is wonderfully done as it is represented in almost all of the characters and it’s not your usual romantic jealousy, it’s the green envy you find amongst friends fighting for attention.

The island layout is depicted in a lovely little map at the front of the book, I always refer to these when they available, I want to know how far our hero’s have to run, I want to know how close they are to danger. Henry describes the scenery wonderfully and pulls you into the location, from the arena to the plains, AND THE SMELLS and passions, yes they fall into the same category there’s no argument here. The pain inflicted by creatures in this book are brought to life by the playing to the sense of smell. Take me to the island.

There’s definitely more to say but that would give too much away.

I would definitely recommend reading this to gain a new perspective on an old classic.

16 out of 20 pan flutes.

When I listened to Pray for the Wicked by Panic! At the disco • an album review

Oh man. Oh boy. Oh lady. Oh gal. Oh they. Oh them.

I’ve only been out of the UK three times, twice to Disney land and once to Germany. Panic! At the disco makes me feel travelled. It makes me feel old and wise and worldly. Lyrically, harmonically, emotionally I feel like I’ve been everywhere and this is only the first time I’ve listened to the full album through.

I am a life long fan. As hopelessly devoted as Sandra Dee. There are so many reasons for this, firstly; change. Every single album produced is so different and gives something new, exciting and different. I’m going to focus on Pray for the wicked in this review and stick to comparing it to post split Panic! To make it easier on myself more than anything.

Let’s start with the track list, my one dissapointment. Only 11? More please thanks. The vibe of the album progresses like a good night out, the excitement and high of preparing, predrinks, and hyping yourself up to leave the house. Moods brought to you by high hopes, hey look Ma, I made it and (f**k A) silver lining. And then you’re out and you’re mixing and it’s noisy and there’s a slight regret and you’re roaring (roaring 20s that is) and maybe you want to go home but the people around you are drunk and having a good time. When you’re in the roaring 20s you are convinced coming out was the best idea you ever made and you are feeling classy as fuck and you’re saying all the right things and making all the right moves because dancings not a crime and you’re on the high of your life (or you think you are but you’re just pumping with adrenaline and you feel great). Anyone who knows me should know that I’m talking about Aberystwyth so as well as taking me everywhere this album takes me home. The peak of being out is one of the drunks, you’re going home after this the mood is dipping into melancholy, you’re tired but euphoric. You know there’s a burger waiting for you in 24hr Spar. Track 8 is like a second wind because your friends all just took shots and a great song just came on and you’re back to dancing. The high lasts a track or two before Old fashioned, my current personal favourite. It feels old Hollywood. Edward Hoppers Nighthawks is brought to mind, it’s beautiful and familiar but completely new for Panic! And it makes me so happy to be alive. I feel it in my bones. Finally, you’ve had your burger, you walked along the sea to get home and watched people stumbled to and fro and you’re sad it over. It began and ended so quickly and you feel so melancholy but it’s the best feeling in the world.

It’s time to start it all over again.

The biggest difference between pftw and early post split albums is the style, vices and virtues felt like a story, death of a bachelor was one man’s journey into adult life (which felt all too real, despite the fact that I’m only 23 and not getting married). Pray for the wicked is a celebration of achievements with the fear of obscurity. A sentiment reflected in a few tracks is the idea that ‘you haven’t seen the best of me’ and I certainly hope not, if it can only get better I’m here for it. There are very few songs that inspire me to change , plenty get me moving (and boy can I move) but I rarely feel the inspiration and flutter of the heart that High hopes gives to me.

I’m slightly more qualified to talk about artwork than music as I have an A-level in art, pretty sure it was a D but which great artists were ever truly appreciated in their time? The album art is simple, heavy used of millennial pink (man knows his audience) the Illuminati style logo watermarked on the pages is a great touch and my favourite of all messages is the dedication to the fans. Brendon Urie has sustained, survived and thrived and grown into a marvelous front man. Unstifled and unashamed.

A lot of people like to complain that they’ve changed, they say the same about Fall out boy, good! Keep changing, yes a fever you can’t sweat out was and is iconic but that’s because it was relevant then Pray for the wicked is modern, stylish and different. The only thing I could ask for is more of it.

Find a more enthusiastic review than this; I dare you.

When I started a blog.

I should have scheduled and planned and organised. Don’t get me wrong at the time I started this I was bursting with ideas and I still am but now I’m working and I’m trying to keep up with a thriving social life (hahaha). I make no promises to myself to keep up with this. I enjoy posting occasionally because it keeps me writing.

Things I stopped this year:

Writing my novel

Watching my weight

Saving money

Things that I have stopped which have worked out positively for me this year:

None of the above.

Things I have done this year that have been successful:

Started attending a Photoshop course

Booked and paid for a holiday like an adult (to Disney land)

Started a new job

Successfully maintained relationships with the friends I love and tolerate 😉

I don’t do new years resolutions because I tell myself I’ll be good every week, I tell no one else so that I am not held accountable. So this week I’ll do it again but not on a Sunday night, the best time to start is now (after I’ve eaten that bar of chocolate I have at home).

Note to self, plan, hold yourself accountable, do better.

When I went to see Shrek the musical • an arts review.

Yes, I did spend money to go see Shrek the musical. Did I regret it? Ehhhh yes and no. I don’t want to say mostly because I had a great time with friends but I attribute that to them not the musical.

The audience age was mixed, families, people in their 20s like my group, and a whole school outing who may have been 14-15 ( I can’t really judge teenage age because I think I look 14 until I don’t get ID’d). I don’t know who enjoyed it most because the youths had the same befuddled expression as me and most of the adults were stoney faced until an inappropriate joke was made.

The songs were interesting. I don’t really know what was going on or if I liked them but you can bet I walked out of the theatre singing ‘let your freak flag fly’. There were songs between Donkey and Shrek that would fuel any fan fiction, loaded with sexual tension, longing, and a rickety bridge. I must express that they were sang well by very talented actors and actresses but they just didn’t contribute to the amazing story that is Shrek. My favourite part of the performance was a tap dance number which involved giant rats. Giant. Tap dancing. Rats. I’m not clued up on the effects of drugs but I’m sure they’re involved here.

The character who stole the show in my opinion was Lord Farquad. This can be attributed to great costumes and comedic timing. The performer was on his knees throughout the whole ordeal and when he swung his tiny legs he had me in stitches. The character extended perfectly into stage performance and was larger than life.

I feel as though I have said both far too much and not enough. I will admit that although I attended this performance in February I am only completing my review in July. Better late than never.

In all I would recommend Shrek the musical as an experience. You might not laugh out loud and you may not sing along but if you go with an open mind you’ll have some fun.

When I tidied my room.

For what feels like the millionth time I tidied my room. I’m not finished because I can’t really ever finish tidying. I could use the standard excuses of always being at work and boyfriend coming over; leaving a trail of destruction but even when he’s not here there just doesn’t seem to be enough space.

I inherited my brother’s room when I was twenty. He was finishing his last year at university and I was back and ready to start work. Up until then I had lived in the box room. The box room got extended by about two foot when I was 18 but before that I had made do with a 6 ft by 8ft space. I filled every nook, cranny, crack, shelf, draw, hook, and hole. My room was fit to burst but somehow it always gave off the wonderful illusion of not being cluttered, that is until you wanted something. It would always be at the back of wherever it was, behind precarious stacks of stuff. It would usually be paint brushes stores away out of sight because I had put that hobby to one side (honestly I have this giant pencil case type thing filled with paint brushes that is in the way until I actually want to paint and then it doesn’t reappear until I’ve spent £20 replacing the brushes). Either way once I’d found the lost treasure and restored my illusion it was tidy again. I can’t do that in a big room. I have nowhere to hide anything!

I have a terrible habit of buying things. That’s it, that is the habit. I buy stuff upon stuff and most of the time it’s completely useless. This weekend I bought a waffle maker and it’s great and I’ve mainly used it for cheese toasties. Most things end up under my bed or in the loft because they are no longer of any use to me but I also can’t part with them.

The most recent escapade that was cleaning my room involved going through my clothes and putting them in a bag to go to the charity shop. Don’t get me wrong this is something I do every time I tidy my room and given that I do a deep clean every three months, I’d say it’s about time to cut out the middle man and open my own charity shop. This time I really went to town. I went through the bag of beautiful dresses that will never fit me again and if they did I’d never have anywhere to wear them. With each one that I pulled out the bag I felt my heart strings pulling tighter; this night I was Jane from Tarzan and that creep kissed my hand but I’d laughed about it with my friends, this was the dress that had been referred to as my hooker dress and I’d worn it with my hooker boots, and this one was from Motel and even though It’s not my favourite it cost £30 and I can’t just give away £30! But I did. I asked my mom to get rid of the big bag of clothes whilst I was at work because I knew I’d just go back through it and pull stuff out. As I sit here now I’m think about a jumper from m&s which had bees all over it but I never wore because it never seemed to iron well but I’m sad that it’s gone.

I want that Pinterest bedroom and I know that the only way to do it is to either be minimalist or boho but I am niether, my future is hoarder. Let me know if you have things you’re attached to and can’t throw away or if you lived in the box room.

Check on me in twenty years and make sure I’m not buried in things.

What have I done

When I read I hate myselfie by Shane Dawson • a book review.

If there’s one thing I love it’s intimate details about people’s personal lives. Who doesn’t? The world is obsessed with reality stars and celebrities off screen and on screen. The obsession with dirty details can ruin a career (unless you are a white male: Trump, Depp, Tyler).

And then there are YouTubers. A new breed of not quite celebrity that put it all out there for you to read, watch, and enjoy.

My first time seeing a Shane Dawson YouTube video was probably 8 years ago at a sleepover aaaaand I wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t my humour, his swishy hair wasn’t right, and 14 year old me was too busy searching for every single interview Panic! At the disco had ever done. Somehow I stuck with it, became a subscriber, and have been watching ever since.

‘I hate myselfie’, Shanes first book is the perfect book for journeys. Figuratively and literally. It is formatted in an essay style that means you can pick it up and put it down time and time again with and experience the satisfaction of a short story.  It is the perfect book to take on a long train trip (you might get hooked and miss your stop if its a short trip and i’d hate for that to happen because, trains man, trains). Shane’s writing has an everyman quality. As an awkward person I felt like I could put myself in situations; either as Shane himself or as someone at the table next to him. He writes what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling but things you probably wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) tell other people.

Be prepared to get very real when it comes to body image and relationships because these are key topics in his book.  The relationships he talks about aren’t just romantic, any OG Shane Dawson fans know that he had a close relationship with his Nan and the chapter Denny’s and Death is particularly heartbreaking.  It’s hard to make death of a loved one funny but you will be laughing through tears.

Me: Do you know that you
are dying?
Grandma: Yes.
Me: Are you scared?
Grandma: Yes.
Me: Is it because you don’t
want to go to hell?

If you laughed you’re joining his Nan in hell.

My personal favourite essay ‘My leg twin’ spoke to my body issues. We’ve all compared ourselves to those around us; ‘i’m not as fat as her’ ‘my ass isn’t as big as his’ ‘I look better than them’ ‘why cant I look like them’, Shane goes straight in for the legs of his romantic interest, the specificity of his fascination with his ‘leg twin’ reveals how honest he is being with his audience. the best part of ‘My leg twin’ is the most relatable quote I’ve ever read that would look pretty good on my gravestone:

‘I just don’t have the willpower to hit up the gym every day for two hours, and the idea of cutting candy out of my diet seems impossible.’


The humour is dark in all the essays; if I could compare it to anything, imagine the swearing of a Quinton Tarantino film mixed with the social issues of Saved by the bell. Be prepared for strong language and a good time.

A beautiful element to the book is the artwork included. Shane decorated each page with fan art relating to the story. Adult books need more pictures. They’re all beautiful, you’re doing it right.

I wrote this eating ice cream and drinking Apple Tango, that’s the closest I can get to Diet root beer and Taco Bell. I’m not a natural at writing reviews because I don’t know how much to give away, I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys reading about real people and seeing them succeed against all odds. If you need inspiration to get up and do the thing then this book is for you.

For ten years of good content I have nothing but love for Shane Dawson.

When I read Uglies by Scott Westerfeld • a book review.

Well firstly I should have finished it before I started writing a review. Maybe if I finish it I’ll start my next review with a review of the ending.

Before I start the review I should probably say despite being an English graduate I’m as slow as a snail when it comes to reading for pleasure and if it wasn’t for Wikipedia and books being made into films I would not have made it through university. I think in all I finished only half the required books on time in my three years and you can bet your ass I will be reviewing them here. Currently, I tell myself I am in the process of reading three different books; Uglies, Allegiant, and Perfume: story of a murder. In reality I’m reading Uglies, I’ve given up on Perfume (despite it being quite good), and I’ve stopped reading Allegiant because it’s the last book in the Divergent series and I’m not ready for that horrible numb feeling that finishing a book gives you and you’re no longer in that world and everything is broken. I am not ready for that kind of numbness in January, I have too much to do. So now that you’ve got the idea and you know your reviewer is a flake you can make your own judgements on whether or not I am a reliable source of information, speaking of which: I’m not. I have no right to judge anybody’s work. This is my humble opinion and I don’t mean any criticism personally, I’m all about keeping it constructive. Anyway, on with the review.

The Uglies is great. The world that Westerfeld creates is great. The premise is great. It’s not my favourite book by any means (that would be The book of Human Skin by Michelle Lovric) but it’s something I’m really enjoying.

Okay I’ve just looked at the book to check who the target audience and it’s a trilogy. I am going to be having words with someone who knows I get attached.

My review is ending here because I’m so far from the ending it’s untrue, two books to be exact.

It’ll come as a surprise but she isn’t always in the write.

Update: I finished it. I would recommend it. I liked the ending, at this point I could read on or leave it. If the books find me freely I would gladly read them.