Sunday, 7 December 2014

50 Books 2014 - November

Wow this year has just flown by and I have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in 50 books 2014! It has given me a great excuse to lose myself in a book without feeling guilty, after all I am competing in a challenge, even if it is just against myself.

So in the month of November I finished five books bringing my total to 41 which I think is pretty impressive, although it also means I still have to read 9 books in December if I am to succeed...eek!
It will mean reading more than I have done in any other month and December is pretty busy, however I do have a two week holiday and plan to spend it relaxing as much as possible so the challenge is not impossible. I fear that while everyone else is out partying on New years eve I will have my nose stuck in a book :-/

Here are the books I read in November

Evie has tried her hand at many things but they never seem to workout, always competing with her seemingly over-achieving sisters she is dreaming of the perfect life but suddenly everything turns upside down and she finds herself in a bit of a rut. When Evie's beloved aunt Jo passes away and leaves her the beach cafe in Cornwall it could be the chance of a new start that she is longing for or it could just be a whole lot of stress!

The Beach Cafe is a lovely read with a nice feel good factor, the story reads at a good pace and the characters are very like-able, the author sets a very picturesque setting of Cornwall where the story is set.

Evie managed to survive her first summer running the Beach Cafe and is looking forward to the Christmas season approaching. With her new boyfriend just moving in she is determined to make it the most romantic Christmas ever but with the arrival of unexpected guests it may not go to plan!

I sometimes feel sad when I get to the end of a book and I know the characters are gone forever so when I saw that the Beach Cafe had a second helping I just had to download it! The fact that it was a nice Christmas edition made it even better.

Maria is a young woman, newly pregnant and left alone with her in-laws while her husband is sent of to war. The nights are cold and lonely in rural Poland but when Maria comes across a young girl hiding in a barn she is compelled to risk her own life and that of her unborn child to help her.

I don't really remember much about this book because just as I was getting into the story it seemed to finish, great if you like short stories but I think it could have had a bit more to it.

Carla is a top model, she has what seems like the perfect life, expecting her first baby and cashing in on all the magazine opportunities that come with being a famous mum to be. When she wakes in the hospital bed one morning a her baby is missing it turns her life upside down. She vows that she will see her baby again no matter how long she is missing.
At the same time Susanna welcomes her new baby daughter after five agonising miscarriages but she feels that the only way to keep her safe is to keep her very close.

I really enjoyed this story, the characters are very believable and the story is set over many years meaning it doesn't get boring, you are compelled to find out when and if Maria will ever be reunited with her stolen daughter.

Wife and mother of 4 Rachel decides to leave the hassle and playground mafia of the suburbs for a peaceful life in the countryside but are the playground politics in the countryside any different that anywhere else? During the year Rachel becomes best friends and worst enemies with one of the mothers while learning all the juicy gossip about the rest of the village residents.

This book is very comical and I loved the layout of each chapter being a new month but was a bit disappointed with the actual story. The relationship with Rachel and fellow resident Penelope really wound me up and some of the goings on seemed to be a bit far fetched. Also with it being about playground mothers I expected the children to play more of a role in the story but it was very adult based.

For my last month of the 50 books 2014 challenge I have downloaded a few short stories and some nice Christmas reads to get me in the mood but if I don't complete 50 books it's a great excuse to start the challenge again in 2015!

If you are a book lover why not challenge yourself in 2015?

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Shelter Exhibition

Last week my photography class took a trip to the Science Museum to see the Nick Hedges documentary photography exhibition - Make life worth living.
The exhibition was commissioned by Shelter the homeless charity. Photos were taken at some of the poorest areas across the UK including Glasgow, London and Birmingham in the late 1960's and early 1970's

The exhibition itself is set in the Virgin media studio in the Science museum, it seems like a small collection as the size in comparison to the museum itself is tiny but there are actually a hundred photos all together.

The photographs were taken to highlight the poverty, homelessness and poor housing conditions throughout Britain during that era and some are shockingly chilling. While some of the images are hard-hitting there are also some that show happiness and one in particular of a group of children playing outside a run down block of flats just reminded me of my own childhood.

Some of the images also have a story with them while others leave you to work out the story for yourself.

I found the exhibition very touching and wondered how much has actually changed in the last 50 years. My next photography assignment is documentary photography focused on poverty and homelessness so this exhibition has given me a lot to think about.

Shelter are still helping people in housing crisis today and hopefully the exhibition will highlight the struggles that people are having to face everyday.
If you would like to visit the Nick Hedges exhibition it will be on until 18th January 2015 and is open everyday. Entry to the museum and the exhibition is free.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

50 Books 2014 - October

Another month and another few books read! I really hope I manage to complete this challenge because otherwise I will have to do it again next year  (I won't give up until I've done it) and as much as I love to read (I would happily read all day if I could) it is hard to fit it in with everything else.
Sitting in traffic on the bus in the mornings is no good for my time keeping but I must say it is great for my reading time and has helped me to get through 5 books this month, and I am half way through another 2 :)

So this is what I have enjoyed in October...

 Josh receives a text telling him that he has 48 hours to pay £250,000 or die! surely it must be a joke but when people around him start dying it has to be taken seriously. Will his attractive new bodyguard protect him and will he ever find out who it is that is actually blackmailing him?

I wasn't expecting much from this book when I first downloaded it but was actually pleasantly surprised. The plot was good and the descriptions were really well written, considering it is free on the Kindle I would recommend.

This is the story of Martha Connolly and her poverty stricken family, they are living in a run down tenement in Liverpool during the 30s and 40s and it tells of their struggle with hunger and disease during the great depression but also of the the uplifting spirit between the local community.

I found this book to be really long and it took me a few months to read it, going back to it after a few other books each time. I actually started to enjoy it towards the end and think that if I had read it all at once I may have liked it more. Great description of what life was like during that time and I really warmed to some of the characters.

Katie Parker is going to live with a religious family whether she likes it or not, her dad has gone AWOL and her mum is in prison so how is she going to settle with this new life and will she find a way to escape, back to her old ways?

This book was completely different to what I was expecting when I first looked at it, the character Katie is very relatable, although you do find yourself getting mad at her sometimes. With the book coming from a teenagers point of view I think it would be suited to a teen audience but saying that I found it very amusing and would definitely read other books from this author.

Natalie is a twenty something with a great job and living in London, the only thing that is missing in her life is the man of her dreams but will she have to go very far to find him?

This was a nice easy read, great if you like rom-coms although a bit predictable and easy to forget.

Brian is a geeky adolescent of the 80's and is ready to embark on his journey to university, with risk of losing his old drop-out mates and the struggle to find new ones, will an appearance on University challenge aid his life and help him to get the girl of his dreams?

With 'One Day' being one of my favourite books ever I was trying not to expect too much from this book of the same author. The book is so 80's it feels like you are actually in that era with the characters and can really picture the scene. I like how a question appears at the beginning of each chapter and thoroughly enjoyed this book.

I am posting this book review a bit late as I have just had no time to write on my blog with all the coursework I've had to do but thankfully I have still had time to read some more books!

This post is linked up with the 50 books 2014 challenge and at the end of October I have read a total of 36 books! 14 books to read in 2 months? hmmm I wonder if I'm going to make it?

Sunday, 26 October 2014

B&W Photography project

I took this picture at our local Feast market that features a retro fair. I thought the vintage items look quite fitting as a black and white photo.

This post is featured on The Black and White Photography project over at podcast, if you would like to join in just link up your own monochrome image in a blog post!

 photo 4d06e438-4e6a-4f3b-88b2-0c1093350397_zps361ad0e9.jpg

Sunday, 19 October 2014

B&W Photo

I have been finding it really hard to keep up with blogging while juggling family, work and studying so I thought as a photography student the best thing to do is find a linky that I can combine my photos and a simple blog post.

I think some photos need colour to help tell their story but there are certain images that just work as black and white!

I was recently given the prompt 'waiting' by my tutor for a photo to hand in as homework. We were sent outside to practice experimenting with exposure and I took this shot of a woman waiting by the road.

I love how the road looks empty apart from the lady but actually it was a really busy afternoon, I also like the composition of the tree on the opposite side of her. I think the image has more impact in black and white than it would in colour.

This post is linked up with The B&W Photography project over at Podcast.

 photo 4d06e438-4e6a-4f3b-88b2-0c1093350397_zps361ad0e9.jpg