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I swoon over fictional men

Jazz’s super epic vacation reads!

Summer piggy bank with sunglasses on the beach
The oversized shades remind me fondly of myself, as do the blushing cheeks and slightly chubby, cuteness of the piggy. This is literally me as a pig. 

So, vacations aren’t just about gin and tonics and ice cream! Vacation time equals reading time and I have some pretty awesome books and magazines lined up for my week away.

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Jeez, my shades are filthy.

Norse Mythology Neil Gaiman

Night Music John Connolly (the sequel to the incredible Nocturnes)

The Hatching Ezekiel Boone (slightly apprehensive as I’m really scared of spiders)

And of course, what would a vacation be without some magazines? Fortean Times, All About History and National Geographic are going to provide me with some inflight mental enrichment.

What have been some of your best vacation reads? Let me know in the comments below! 

Not been my usual self

‘sup, guys!

Thought I’d give you all a quick update as it’s going to be a bit quiet here on I swoon over fictional men for the next week or so. I’m heading on vacation on Tuesday so there’ll be no reviews or podcasts until next Wednesday at the earliest.

To be honest, this holiday has come at a good time. I’ve been quite open about my struggles with depression and anxiety and this past week has been awful. The thing is, I can’t even pin point exactly why I’m feeling how I do. There’s just so much going on in my head and I’ve been having days where I feel physically sick with anxiety and nights where I’ve gotten into bed and just sobbed myself into unconsciousness. It might sound a bit dramatic, but it’s just how it’s been. I haven’t been feeling usual self. I’m not always the happiest of people, but I don’t usually feel as bad as this.

So I’m hoping that a week away in the sun will help. I’m hoping some warmth, copious amounts of ice cream and some time away from work will get me back to my normal self. I’m so tired of feeling like this. I feel like my mental health is hell bent on ruining everything. I have a happy, positive week or two and then it’s like, bam. I’m punished for daring to believe happiness is within my grasp.

Anyway, I’ll check in every other day or so. I have a post lined up with all my holiday reads. Got some good ‘uns!

 

A Cup of Tea and a Chinwag with Jazz; Episode 7, ‘The Magic of Myths’

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No bloopers today, I’m afraid, guys! But in today’s episode I’m discussing humanity’s fixation with ancient myths and the creatures and characters that play a central role within them. Be sure to stayed tuned for an exclusive: ‘The Myth of Medusa; Abridged’ ;D

Feel free to check out the episode here. Oh and please excuse the slight crackling of my microphone at the beginning!

 

I may be behind on things, but…

…I have a valid excuse. After work yesterday, I spent the afternoon getting a splash of pink added to my hair 😀 For someone who spent about three years with bright red hair (preceded by blue), I’ve gone a long time without touching the dye. I know, I know, this isn’t a cosmetics or hair blog, but check out my new hair anyway (excuse the intense glare, I’d spent about 20 minutes trying to get a semi okay photo of the colour haha)

Gonna catch up on comments etc over the course of this weekend 🙂

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WWW Wednesday – 21st June 2017

Oh I’ve been very bad with keeping up with my WWW Wednesdays. I work shift work so I get very confused with the days (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it so shush!). Anyhow, WWW Wednesday is a weekly (or monthly, if you’re me) meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words. To participate, all you’ve gotta do is answer the three Ws below and post a link to your answers here.

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The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading

 

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I do love it when shirtless men moodily gaze away from the camera. Seriously so excited for this book, though. I adore Gideon ❤

Recently finished reading

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You can check out my review for The Last Werewolf here.

Next on my reading list

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I’ve been saving this for my vacation next week! Super excited to read it.

‘The Last Werewolf’ Glen Duncan

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For two centuries Jacob Marlowe has wandered the world, enslaved by his lunatic appetites and tormented by the memory of his first and most monstrous crime. Now, the last of his kind, he knows he can’t go on. But as Jake counts down to suicide, a violent murder and an extraordinary meeting plunge him straight back into the desperate pursuit of life.

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Okay, so I saw the words ‘werewolf’ and ‘sexy’ and I was like:

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You know me, I do love a bit of the ol’ paranormal romance and thought I’d gotten myself a pretty sweet deal when I bought The Last Werewolf for £1.99 from a local charity shop.

I have very mixed feelings about this book, though, which is the first in the Last Werewolf trilogy. All paranormal romance jokes aside, it was refreshing to read a book in which the werewolf myth hadn’t been romanticized. The extended life of Jacob Marlowe hasn’t been one filled with passion and mystery. Instead, it’s been filled with guts and gore aplenty and he isn’t portrayed as some dark, brooding, torn-up antihero. I was going to say that once a month, he falls victim to his inner beast, but that would be incorrect. Marlowe isn’t a victim. He is very accepting of the fact that he has to do what he does in order to survive, regardless of whether or not his victim is an innocent. His narrative is raw and honest and despite everything, I admire him, as a character, for it. He’s a character that lurks in the murky grey area between the stereotypical ‘good guy’ and ‘bad guy’. He doesn’t necessarily show remorse for the brutal deaths of his victims, yet he donates his money towards worthy causes. He isn’t inherently good nor inherently evil. He’s simply imperfect just like the rest of us.

However, I had a trying time following his narrative. The Last Werewolf is written from a first person perspective and while this is often something that can be employed effectively, I found it somewhat tedious within this book. Marlowe seemed to go on a rather roundabout way of telling the reader something and while it’s always good to be able stretch out a story, I found it was a just a bit too stretched out for my own personal liking. I found that by the time Marlowe actually made his point, I had usually lost interest.

I feel it’s my duty to offer a quick heads up to anyone who’s considering reading The Last Werewolf. It’s quite gory and the descriptions are often somewhat graphic. Approach with caution if you’re a bit squeamish like me!

Overall, The Last Werewolf is a fresh and modern take on the werewolf myth and while it wasn’t my cup of tea, I can definitely understand why it received the endorsements that it did.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Song: The Tragically Hip’s I’m a werewolf, baby 

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This book is available on Amazon in e-reader and paperback format.

The WordPress peeps are aware!

I’ve finally managed to contact WP directly about my spam jail predicament! Fingers crossed it might finally be resolved!

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An Open Letter to my Dad

Today, here in the UK, it’s Father’s Day and while my grandad (who raised me with my nan) quite happily took on the role my father didn’t want, I felt the need to write a poem/open letter to the man who played a part in my creation. He’ll never read it, but writing it was somewhat cathartic.

Dear Dad,

You’ve never wanted me in your life and I’ve never been 100% sure why

When I was fifteen, I began searching for you online

I felt incomplete, like I was only half a person. Who was I?

I found your brother and eventually, you found me

You found me with a text and I finally felt like I could be a real person

In your text, you claimed you wanted to meet me and I

The naive eighteen year old who wanted to see the good in everyone

Believed you. I thought that this admission was the happiest day of my life

If only I could have seen the path you would send me hurtling down

You texted me, on the day of the Royal Wedding actually, 

Saying that you’d changed your mind and that actually, no, you didn’t want to meet me

Me, your only child, the child who had pined after you her whole life

And it was that day that I took my first tentative steps upon a four year path

A long and lonely path paved in self-loathing and self-harm

I would look at my reflection in the mirror, so utterly confused

I would desperately search for whatever it was that was so fucking wrong with me

That even my own father didn’t want to meet me

I couldn’t see anything external, so I figured it was internal

And took up a razor to try and dig the rot out from inside of me

Some years passed and after a trip to A&E to patch me up

I realised that I needed help and after a cocktail of antidepressants

And trips to various counselors, I began to wonder if the problem wasn’t me 

But you?

When I was 22, I bagged the job of a lifetime. I was going to Japan!

Two weeks before I left, your wife added me on Facebook

And informed me that you had both come to the decision that actually

Yes, you did want me in your life. How fucking honoured did I feel?

Well, sarcasm is all well and good now, but again, hope was kindled in my heart

Maybe I wasn’t so bad after all and maybe you would accept me

We met at the local supermarket and you had your wife in tow

She created a scene in the car park, saying how my “body language” showed

That I didn’t want to meet her, but how I actually wanted to meet you

Wow, she’s a bright one your wife, isn’t she?

Regardless, I felt embarrassed, I’d already fucked up

You bought me a watery hot chocolate from the cafe

And when I quietly suggested maybe meeting or chatting once a month

You paused for a moment and said “Hmm I could live with that.”

We met once more before I flew out to Japan, this time in a nicer coffee shop

You talked continuously about yourself and then left

That was the last time I saw you and your last text was a couple of weeks later

I didn’t take up the razor this time, though

I didn’t search my reflection for something that wasn’t there

Sure, I still get the odd moment of doubt surging through my brain

Especially when I meet or talk to new people

If my own dad doesn’t like me, what chance do I have with other people?

But I’ve come to accept that the problem is you and that

I am a whole person with or without you in my life 

You gave me life but your opinion of me doesn’t define me.

Yours sincerely,

Jazz 

 

 

 

 

Bookworm Bullying; why do readers get such a bad name?

 

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Why is that reading is seen as something ‘geeky’ and ‘weird’? I’ve had a couple of incidents at work where I’ve been openly teased for my love of books and the sheer enjoyment I get out of losing myself in a fictional world. We have this points system in the hotel where I work; if you sign a guest up for our rewards club, you receive a certain amount of points, if you’re mentioned by name in a review, again, you receive points. These points have monetary value and can be exchanged for a gift card for any shop of your choosing. I happened to mention that I was thinking of exchanging mine for an Amazon gift card so I could buy some books and I was instantly met with statements like “Eugh, I forgot you’re really weird and read.” and “It makes me so sad that you’d spend money on books.” There are some people who perceive me as something of an oddball for reading and while I don’t, quite frankly, give a shit, I’m still intrigued to know the reasoning behind it. Here are some of my theories:

We live in an ‘instant society’

Everything has an instantaneous nature to it these days. From the fast food restaurants where we can collect our meals in less than five minutes, to Amazon who deliver our orders in less than 24 hours, we can see evidence of our 21st century ‘instant society’ everywhere. In a world as fast paced as ours, most people like things to be quick and convenient and the reading of books certainly isn’t quick nor, to some extent, convenient. Collectively, as a species, humanity loves it stories, be it folklore tales and urban legends or the latest celebrity scandal and nowadays, these stories are accessible in many forms; movies, TV shows, podcasts…the list goes on. People can hear the entirety of a story in anything from twenty minutes to two hours. Perhaps some people just don’t see the point in setting aside time specifically for reading. Why spend two days reading a book when you can watch the movie adaptation in a single afternoon? Are we perceived as lazy for wanting to spend our time leisurely, for wanting to savour the intricate details leading up to a book’s dramatic finale? Do people think we should be squeezing as much as possible into our day-to-day lives, going to the gym post movie watching session as opposed to having a quiet afternoon to ourselves with a good book?

Some people see reading as childish

In its simplest definition, stories are ‘make believe’ and because ‘make believe’ is the product of someone’s imagination, there are those who believe that reading is childish. How wrong this is, though! It’s been proven that readers are way more empathetic that the average person – being able to get into the minds of characters from all walks of life makes us more understanding to the plights of others and, consequently, makes us empathetic. Being an empathetic person is difficult. Watching the news and seeing the atrocities committed on a daily basis is tough. It can leave us feeling helpless, depressed and anxious and this is why our reading is important for us. It gifts us with much-needed escapism and many people don’t understand this. They simply think we while away our time living in a land of ‘make believe’. They don’t understand that reading is something fundamental and crucial to us and isn’t just a superficial, passing fancy.

Jealousy?

Perhaps a strange point, but does jealous play a part in the teasing bookworms are subjected to? Now, when we talk about our favourite books…man, we really talk. Nothing quite induces a 20 minute passion-filled monologue quite like a favourite book or fictional boyfriend does.

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Give me the opportunity and I will quite happily blabber on for two hours about how wonderful Rydstrom is. Look at those sultry, come-to-bed eyes! *swoons*

Is there an element of jealousy at play when people retort to our happy ramblings with a sarcastic, uncalled for remark? Perhaps people are jealous of the fact that we can be fulfilled by things completely and utterly external from day-to-day life?

Upbringing

I both understand and appreciate that not everyone was brought up with books. My love for reading was ignited by the books read to me as bedtime stories when I was a child. Books have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, but this isn’t the case for everyone and I’m not here to pass judgment on any parent who doesn’t read to their child. That’s not my place. My point is more that some people just genuinely don’t get the concept of reading because it’s not something that has played a central role in their life. Perhaps outdoor excursions or music lessons took on this role and that’s fine. Reading isn’t for everyone, but people should be respectful of the fact that others do enjoy it. You don’t understand why I read? That’s fine, I don’t understand why you play football but I don’t make mean spirited comments about it.

An unwillingness to handle the minutiae of books (minutiae is a new word I learnt today, yay, go me!)

I feel this point kind of links in with my first. There are some people who don’t necessarily need or want the finer details behind a story. Newspapers and internet articles are about hard fact (well, allegedly anyway) and nothing more. Books, however, are more padded out. Books don’t just give us a simple statement; they give us the how and the why, things some people aren’t always interested in.

What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

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