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Saturday, 30 April 2016

Television | Cancelled Too Soon #2

"Don't cry because it's over.
Smile because it happened."
Dr. Seuss

Welcome to the second instalment of my Cancelled Too Soon series. So many shows we've had to say goodbye to before we were ready. I even have a couple for the third edition already! I don't know how my poor heart handles it. I'm not good at goodbyes but some of the shows in today's post have made it a tad bit easier. So without further ado, here are five more television shows that are gone but will never be forgotten. Well, by me at least.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

My Week In Words | #17 2016

"You don't get older, you get better."
Shirley Bassey

Welcome to the latest in My Week In Words series. I had a great week this week, despite being in quite a bit of pain with that lovely time of month that many females go through. One of the reasons I wasn't very productive in relation to my blog. Apologies for that! Anyway, this post covers from Sunday 17th to Saturday 23rd of April. Enjoy!

Saturday, 23 April 2016

My Week In Words | #16 2016

"For there is no friend like a sister in calm or stormy weather; To cheer one on the tedious way, to fetch one if one goes astray, to lift one if one totters down, to strengthen whilst one stands."
Christina Rossetti

Welcome to the lastest edition of My Week In Words. I'm sorry it's late once again but last weekend we had an impromptu visitor and then I wasn't feeling up to writing. This week we have a birthday, I introduce Eva to another awesome show and we give my parents a surprise! Today's post covers from Sunday 10th to Saturday 16th of April. Enjoy!

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Bloo's Reviews | First and First by Santino Hassell

"Being the person you want to be is nearly impossible once you've finally come to terms with who you really are."
First and First

I received an arc in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 4/5
Author: Santino Hassell
Series: Five Boroughs
Release: 18/04/16
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance

I was recently introduced to Santino Hassell's work when I read his collaboration with Megan Erickson, Strong Signal. Before reading First and First I hadn't read any of his solo works. I knew First and First was the third instalment in the Five Boroughs series but could be read as a standalone so I hoped the fact I hadn't read the previous books wouldn't be a problem. I had read books before that had claimed to work as a standalone but was left feeling a little lost. I hoped First and First would hold up. I was not disappointed.

First and First is the story of Caleb Stone. Caleb hails from the Upper East Side, where wealth and breeding are important above all else. Caleb struggled for many years to meet his parent's expectations and despite finally coming out he still feels beholden to them. Now in his mid thirties he's hit an all time low - being cheated on and dumped, then losing his job - Caleb knows he needs a change. Enter Oliver Buckley. 

"I'm not your Prince Charming. I'm a good fuck, but I'm not special. If that's what you're thinking, you need to get it out of your head now."

Despite being brought up in the same world of wealth as Caleb, Oli is his polar opposite. Carefree, daring, seductive. He knows what he wants and how to get it. His open, confident and independent attitude is everything Caleb wishes he was. After a chance meeting with Oli on New Years Eve and a night he wishes he could remember, Caleb has the opportunity to learn how to embrace parts of himself he's kept suppressed for years. But can Caleb navigate this new world and new self with 'no strings' Oli and keep his heart intact?

"This kind of thing only leads to complications, and complications lead to people wanting things, losing them, and then winding up with broken hearts. Just look at you." 
"The condition isn’t as permanent as it seemed."
I don't have the luxury of knowing what Caleb was like in the other books but I have a feeling he wasn't supposed to be a likeable character. I think one of my favourite things in series is seeing how authors take these characters we've detested before and show us why we shouldn't judge a book by it's cover. Or a character by another character's point of view. In First and First, despite being brought up in a vastly different world to Caleb, I found him to be highly relateable. I think we all have parts of ourselves hidden away, things we'd like to explore... whether we end up actually enjoying them once we do. Most have also felt stuck or have struggled to meet expectations, their own or someone else's.


I also felt I could relate to Oli. While I empathised with Caleb's insecurities when it came to physical intimacy I also felt myself identifying with Oli's fear of emotional intimacy. That's what I look for in a book. Characters I understand. Situations I can relate to. I loved that I could find that in a book set in a world so alien to anything I've ever lived. I mean I've never been to a sex party. 
"...sometimes it helped for me to think in terms of the hundreds of thousands of people living in the five boroughs who felt like me. Anchored to nothing, too afraid to take a chance. Lost and not quite fitting in anywhere - even the places we wanted to be. I felt less alone when I considered all of those other aimless souls. Maybe one day we'd find each other."
Although first person perspective has never been my favourite, Santino Hassell handles it perfectly. I felt like I was living through Caleb. His thoughts, feelings and actions. At no point did I feel like I was reading a bad instruction manual or map. You know the attempts at first person I mean, right? One thing I would have loved though was to see things through Oli's eyes too. I was extremely intrigued by Oli and I would have loved to have a glimpse of his inner monologue. Which is a credit to Santino more than a criticism. 

One thing that left me feeling conflicted about this story was the night Oli and Caleb spent together on New Years and the fact Caleb can't remember most of it. His initial feelings are that he has been violated but he doesn't take long to change his mind and own up to the fact he was a willing participant, inebriated or not. I feel this was a brave move on Santino's part. I understand how it was an important plot device and a catalyst for Caleb and Oli's tryst but I felt it left both characters vulnerable where consent is concerned. I also know this is something that happens a lot and from a storytelling point of view, true to life. I just feel perhaps a trigger warning may be a wise. 


Another warning Santino should give is... this book will leave you with third degree burns. Eh, by that I mean it's extremely hot. I've read a lot of books, not to mention seen things on the internet that cannot be unseen so by now you would think I'd be pretty immune to depictions of sex. And in most cases I am. However, certain parts of this book left me blushing. I enjoyed reading Caleb explore his sexuality and this new world that Oli was introducing him to while maintaining a level of intimacy that it quite easily could have lacked. I applaud Santino for that. 

In short, despite some conflicting feelings at the very beginning of this book I loved Caleb and Oli's story. I didn't want it to end but I was glad they found their happy ever after. Both Caleb and Oli were just the right amount of flawed for me and obviously each other. This is my first time I've received an arc for an honest review and I'm glad it was a book I could really sink my teeth into. There's nothing worse than a book that leaves you feeling uninspired and with no opinions. I really recommend this read and I look forward to going back and reading the first and second instalment of the Five Borough series.

If you're interested in reading First and First you can find it at the links below.



Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Pets 'n' Stuff | Mini Hamster Haul

"I love to think that animals and humans and plants and fishes and trees and stars and the moon are all connected."
Gloria Vanderbilt

Welcome to the latest edition of my Pets 'n' Stuff series. Today I have a mini hamster haul. The haul is mini... not the hamster. Though I guess Rue is kind of teeny too. But I digress, as hamsters spend a lot of their time in their cages I feel like it's not only important they have a big cage, it's important that you change things up every once in a while. I never change her surroundings completely or clean everything at the same time as I want her to have some familiarity so she's not stressed, but I sometimes change enough that it keeps things interesting. I have a box of different bits and bobs to be able to swap out and it's fun to add to that box every now and then. Anyway! On with the haul. All these items were purchased in Pets At Home.


Monday, 11 April 2016

My Week In Words | #15 2016

"Life is the art of drawing without an eraser."
John W. Gardner

Welcome to this week's instalment of My Week In Words. I'm pleasantly surprised that I have this posted as early in the week as I do. I've decided rather than can this series I'm going to make more of an effort to make it more interesting. I just need to learn to manage my time and energy better. This week I did some drawing, crocheting, watched The 100 and did some shopping! It was a good week. This post covers from Sunday 3rd to Saturday 9th of April. Enjoy!

Saturday, 9 April 2016

My Week In Words | #14 2016

"We should not be afraid to go into a new era, to leave the old beyond."
Zack Wamp

Welcome to My Week In Words. Yes, it's late again. I thought I was back in the flow of things but I guess not. Still, at least I got it up before I'm two weeks behind. I'm seriously thinking of discontinuing this series for a while. I'm finding it a little boring to write as I don't feel like I'm doing enough of a variety of things. Maybe I just need to make more of an effort to change things up. Tell me what you think! Would you miss these posts? Anyway, today's instalment covers from Sunday 27th of March to Saturday 2nd of April. I can't believe we're into the forth month already. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Belfast Giants Awards 2016

"I have one piece of advice for those of you who want to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award: Start early!"
Shirley Temple

Gosh this seems like forever ago now. Last year I'm pretty sure I wrote about it the day I got home but this year there was no danger of that happening. Plus I still needed to catch up on an instalment of My Week In Words to keep things in chronological order. And speaking of My Week In Words, I've decided that this will be in place of the 13th edition for 2016 and the reason why will make sense at the end of the post. So on with the awards!

Saturday, 2 April 2016

My Week In Words | #12 2016

"I've always found a cure for the blues is wandering into something unknown, and resting there, before coming back to whatever weight you were carrying."
Diane Sawyer

Welcome to this super belated edition of My Week In Words. I decided to take a little bit of a hiatus. There's no real reason other than I felt like I needed it. Now I'm back with renewed vigour and I love blogging again! This week we say goodbye to hockey games until next season. I can't believe it. Today's post covers from Sunday 13th to Saturday 19th of March. Enjoy!

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