On New Hair and Being Busy

I have sucked at two things this month: Reading and Blogging. The problem with running a book blog is that it gets a little difficult to blog when you havent really had time to read anything. So I thought I would make some time to sit and update you all on things while I enjoy a pasta salad. (Well, somewhat enjoy because it is making me feel rather sick) I think it is important to just chat with you guys sometimes rather than spending all my time throwing books at your heads.

The main reason for not blogging and reading lately is that I have simply been busy. Over the last three weeks I have had a convention to go to, (which takes up a whole weekend, involves preparing cosplays and generally leaves you very exhausted after), an event at work,(I work in digital marketing so you can see why I would be busy when a company plans an event) and I had a concert to attend yesterday. I went to see Green Day live and it was brilliant. ….Even though I had a full grown man dropped on my head at one point and my hearing is a bit messed up today.

Another reason for not blogging or reading is that I just haven’t felt like it. Being so busy is tiring so I just don’t feel like spending my free time reading. What free time I have I spend it fighting the urge to lay face down on the floor and simply not move. I also fear that I have read myself into a reading slump. I dont know about you but sometimes I have brilliant reading highs where I finish multiple books in a week and spend all of my time book shopping, but then I end up crashing into a reading slump. I will get over it. I always do. I haven’t stopped reading entirely but I have mostly been reading graphic novels.

On a vain and completely irrelevant note, I have had another big change lately. I shaved half of my head!

Don’t worry, I didn’t do it myself. I went to a professional stylist who specialises in alternative hair. It is a big deal for me because I never change my hair style. I have worn it loose and long for probably 10 years now. I barely wear it up. People usually try to deter me from cutting my hair so this time I didn’t tell anyone I was getting it done. I just did it. My hair is naturally black and silky so people hate it being cut and since shaving half of it off I have had to listen to a lot of “Oh no all of that lovely dark hair is gone” in various forms. They like the style, just not the idea of my hair being shaved off. Aw well, hair grows back. The important part is that I love it. The short side feels like a puppy when I stroke it.

So how have you been? Tell me something exciting that has happened to you this month. I would love to hear it.

Book Haul: Come Book Shopping with Me (+OOTD, MOTD and Book Porn)

This is a blog idea I have been dwelling on for a while. What if I combined my love of books, fashion, makeup and taking general pretty pictures into one big post? It would be like taking you all with me in a way. So, lets go book shopping.

Every month I go book shopping after I get paid. It is a heavy duty operation with lots of planning. I set a budget, decide on what secondhand bookshops I will be visiting and write out a list of every book I am looking for, usually I print two copies so if anyone comes with me they can help. A lot of work goes into one book shopping trip.

The Haul


I only bought 6 books on this months book hunt. I usually shop in second hand bookshops so I usually get larger book hauls for my budget.

I bought:

Soulless and Heartless by Gail Carriger

This is a steampunk, Victorian paranormal series. It kept popping up on my recommended lists online so I bought the first two books in the series.

The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson

I have been searching for this book for years. My dad has been harassing me to read it, so I am glad to finally own a copy so I can shut him up.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

All I know about this book is that it contains Dracula and people keep telling me it is good, so naturally I snatched it up when I saw it on a shelf.

The Call by Peadar O’Guilin

An Irish horror written by an Irish person about Irish fairies, sign me the hell up! I have seen books with similar ideas written by Americans and they always miss the mark when it comes to Irish folklore. So as a Irish person this book has me excited. Fairies have proper horror potential.

Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis

This is a slight sequel to American Psycho. This was recommended to me by a friend and she has awesome book taste so I am excited to finally own a copy of this.
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Makeup of the Day and Outfit of the Day

My everyday style is usually described as alternative or “goth”. I wear black 90% of the time and listen to goth bands like The Cure and Souixse and the Banshees, so maybe there is something behind what people label me. I dunno. Anyway, lets talk makeup.

It was a hot day on Saturday so I toned down my usual makeup look. Normally I am a fan of dark lips, contouring and lots of eyeshadow, but on a hot day most of that stuff will run down my face, especially if I am walking around a lot. NYX has only became available in Belfast so I am a little addicted at the moment and a lot of my makeup is from there.

The makeup I wear:

NYX eyeshadow in “Raven”.
NYX eyeshadow in “Diamond Dust”
Collection 2000 liquid eyeliner
Max Factor 3-in-1 foundation in the palest shade possible. (I dont try to look pale, this just matches my corpse coloured skin tone)
Collection 2000 pressed powder in “porcelain”
NXY liquid cream matte lipstick in “Rome”.

The clothes:

Since it was a hot day I went for my current favourite dress which is my new plain black maxi dress. Outside of this blog I write about affording alternative clothing on a budget, so since I planned to snap a photo for those posts I wore an outfit I bought almost entirely from Primark.
Black Maxi dress: Primark
Corset Belt: Primark
Black Lace Shawl: Primark
Boots: New Look.

My entire outfit cost almost £20 since I managed to get my boots for FREE a few months ago.

On Saturday I visited two of my favourite secondhand bookshops: Oxfam Books and Keats and Chapman. The latter I have written a few blog posts about on here. I love both of the shops in their own way. Keats and Chapman is beautiful and a perfect place to go if you want to hunt through lots of books for a long time. Oxfam Books is better at organising their books so things are easier to find and they have recently reduced all of their book prices.

I snapped a few pretty pictures for you while I was out so enjoy some book porn.





So, do you like this type of blog post and would like to see more in the future? This might be a book blog but I don’t see why I can’t include the occasional other interest, especially if it is some way book related. Also let me know if you have read any of the book I bought.

The Ultimate Book Tag

I saw this tag floating around the book blogging world and decided that it looked like fun. I won’t be tagging anyone specific in it so feel free to do it yourself if you fancy it.

1. Do you get sick while reading in a car?
No! I read daily on public transport and it has never bothered me. I normally don’t read in regular cars because I am busy pointing out random dogs in passing to my partner. I might be a bit of an annoying passenger.

2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?
I am going to pick my favourite author of all time for this one: Neil Gaiman. His writing style is so fun. It is clever, witty and doesn’t take itself too seriously while also being dark at times.

3. Harry Potter Series or the Twilight Saga? Give 3 points to defend your answer.
Harry Potter. I dont think I could limit my reasons for hating Twilight to 3 points. It is a waste of paper, always has been and always will be.

4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what is in it (besides books)?
Always. I usually carry a book on me at all times, especially for work on weekdays. I also carry: My makeup bag, phone, a note book, my keys, iPod, fountain pens (because I refuse to write with any other type of pen), and wipes and tissues for emergencies.

5. Do you smell your books?
Openly and often. I even wear perfume that smells like an old book.

6. Books with or without little illustrations?
Both. I love proper novels but I am also a HUGE graphic novel fan. Bring on the comics!

7. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?
Anything by Cassandra Clare. Some people will hate me for this but I dont care. She stole all of the ideas for her work and now keeps writing the same thing over and over, probably because she hasn’t found another writer to steal from.

8. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!
Tons of them because I am a bit of an idiot.

When I was in primary school I carried around a very heavy hardback classics collection, Sherlock Holmes and a ghost stories collection at the same time in my bag. I tripped and the weight of my bag made me topple over so I landed face down on the street. …Long story short, one of my front teeth is fake because I carried around too many heavy books.

9. What is the tiniest book on your shelf?
Green Eggs and Ham.

10. What is the thickest book on your shelf?
I have no idea. Probably a non fiction book because I have a lot of encyclopedias.

11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?
I am a published short story writer and journalist. So maybe some day. I think I just need a big enough idea to make a full novel of rather than a short story.

12. When did you get into reading?
I started learning to read when I was 3 years old, and I haven’t stopped since.

13. What is your favourite classic book?
The entire Sherlock Holmes series.

14. In school what was your best subject?
Biology. I liked taking things apart. Also history and English literature.

15. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated, what would you do?
I would put it on “The Borrow Shelf”. It is a shelf in my library where I keep copies of books that I have doubles of or dont care much about. I loan those to people rather than risking lending my pretty copies to people.

16. What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or the Hunger Games?
No idea. This is a dumb question.

17. What is a bad habit you always do while blogging?
Lowkey blogging at work on my breaks, or getting distracted.

18. What is your favorite word?
Hodgepodge. It means a messy mixture of things. It is fun to say.

19. Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb? Or all of the above?
Nerd. I read comics, cosplay, work in technology and love science fiction. So I am definitely a nerd.

20. Vampires or Fairies? Why?
FAIRIES! I am Irish! Never mess with Fairies.

21. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?
Shapeshifters. Angles are a bit boring.

22. Spirits or Werewolves? Why?
Spirits. I love ghost stories. I haven’t read a werewolf story that wasnt some sort of romantic Twi-shite inspired nonsense.

23. Zombies or Vampires? Why?
Vampires. Zombies dont have personalities, but I suppose that is their point.

24. Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?
None of the above.

25. And finally: Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?
Action! I hate romance novels. They are usually unhealthy, boring and very unrealistic. I would rather have explosions.

Book Haul


I haven’t treated myself to books in months so I thought my new pile of books deserved a post to celebrate. Some of these books you will already know about because I have reviewed one or two of them and I have mentioned a few others in other posts.

I never buy books at their full price to encourage people of all budgets to read. So I will state where I found them all so you will know some of the best places to save some money.

Oh and I still haven’t unpacked my library so these books are all laying around my house. My life is a mess.

1. Various Goosebumps Books

Since I started a “Rereading Goosebumps” blog series you already know about these books. I found them all in a secondhand book shop for a grand total of 50p each. I plan on going back in the next few weeks and picking up more. Rereading these books is making me feel 9 years old again.

2. The Fireman by Joe Hill

I have been waiting so long for this book! It came out a few months ago but was poorly timed as I was in the process of buying a house so I couldn’t afford new books. I found this copy in Tesco last week for £3.75. Joe Hill is one of my favourite authors so when I saw it on sale I snatched it off the shelf.

What it is about:

“No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin.

But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.”

3. Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Another book I have been after for a long time but had a poorly timed release date. This book was also impossible to find in any of my local bookshops for some reason. I am not normally one for YA fiction but I loved the Lunar Chronicles series and have been dying for Meyer to release more books. I have heard mixed reviews of this one so I am not quite sure what to expect. I picked up this copy from Easons for £5.

What it is about: 

“Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.”

4. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

This book was one of my Waiting for Wednesday books and on my Bout of Books to-read pile so clearly I really want to read it. I love a good mystery novel and Girl on the Train for me was a pretty decent one of those, so of course I want to read Hawkins next book. I am only 16 pages into it but I hope to get properly stuck in soon. I found my copy in Tesco for £7.

What it is about:

“A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.”

5. Stephen King Collection

The black book at the side is a Stephen King collection. It contains Salem’s Lot, Carrie and The Shining in one handy volume. I am currently trying to reread a lot of King books and had been recommended Salem’s Lot but I didn’t own a copy of it. I think it was the only Stephen King book I didn’t own, so naturally I had to fix that. Stephen King books are generally easy to find so I went to my local secondhand bookshop and picked up this bind up for £2.50.

So what did you think of my first book haul? I will not be doing a lot of them but maybe I will share the occasional bundle of books I pick up. I am prone to raiding secondhand bookshops every few months and leaving with an armful or two.

The Get to Know Me Tag!

I have been really enjoying getting back into book blogging lately, and as much fun as books are it is nice to get to know the person behind the blog a little. I first saw this tag over at Bionic Bookworm’s blog so go give her post a read too.

VITAL STATS

NAME: Bernadette

NICKNAMES: None. Sadly my friends are not very creative. 

BIRTHDAY: The 8th of September.

STAR SIGN: Virgo.

OCCUPATION: Digital Designer. I manage all social media, web design and graphic design for a big car company.

LIVING IN: Belfast, Northern Ireland. I am a city girl, and I live with my partner in a large house that we only bought a few months ago.

APPEARANCE

HAIR COLOUR: Jet black

HAIR LENGTH: Just past shoulder length. It used to be butt length until I chopped it off last year. I am growing it back.

EYE COLOUR: Bright green but sometimes they are pale green.

BEST FEATURE: My eyes. I get a lot of compliments on them because they are quite big.

BRACES: A long time ago. I wore braces for 4 years of secondary school. It was awful.

PIERCINGS: 5 ear piercings. 2 in my right ear and 3 in my left.

TATTOOS: None, but I am getting a half sleeve designed for my 30th birthday next year. I put it off so I could spend tons of money on a custom sleeve.

RIGHT OR LEFT: Left

Have some selfies because why not!

FIRSTS

REAL HOLIDAY: My first holiday outside of Ireland and the UK wasn’t really a holiday. I went to France and Belgium when I was 17 to visit World War 1 battle locations. I learned so much and ate tons of delicious food.

BEST FRIEND: A plastic skeleton named Dead Fred. …Oh you mean real people? My first best friend was called Nicola. We bonded over our love of vampires and being odd.

AWARD: My primary school actually invented their science award specifically for me. We had been learning about bugs that year and I kept bringing spiders into class because I thought it would help. The teacher thought it was brilliant, the students, not so much.

SPORT: Karate. I studied it for 7 years before discovering Jiu Jitsu.

CONCERT: My Chemical Romance. A silly emo band but I never say no to free tickets.

FAVOURITES

TV SHOWS: American Horror Story, Criminal Minds, Penny Dreadful and some anime.

COLOUR: Red

SONGS: Lovecats by The Cure, Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie, Happy House by Siouxsie and the Banshees. Nancy Boy by Placebo and lately I have been addicted to the song Love Will Tear Us Apart by Joy Division. .

RESTAURANT: A place in town called Sticks and Stones. It is an expensive steak restaurant that lets you cook your own steak on rocks. Also AM:PM which is a fine dining Cabaret restaurant, and I eat a lot of Korean BBQ.

SHOPS: My local used bookshop, obviously. It is called Keats and Chapman. For clothes I mostly shop in a place in Belfast called Vintage and Retro. I browse that place regularly to hunt for band shirts and vintage pieces.

BOOKS: Anything by Neil Gaiman or HG Wells are my favourites. Also the Sherlock Holmes series and The Portrait of Dorian Gray.

SHOES: I am a boots kind of girl. If the shoes look like I could kick a man to death while wearing them I will probably like them. Right now my favourite pair of shoes are a pair of pointed toe ankle boots that are covered in buckles.

BOOK GENRES: Horror, thriller, science fiction and fantasy.

CURRENTLY

FEELING: Relaxed – It is Friday night and I am just finished my weekly pampering session.

SINGLE OR TAKEN: Taken. I have been with my partner for almost 5 years.

EATING: Nothing but considering getting up and getting some hummus from the fridge.

THINKING ABOUT: Should I get hummus? Should I put my laptop away and read more of the new Rick Riordan book? Will I ever finish painting my nails? Find out next week on…!

WATCHING: My partner playing Breath of the Wild and giving occasional sarcastic commentary.

WEARING: Alice in Wonderland pajamas that my mum bought me for Christmas. 

DO YOU…..

HAVE KIDS: Nope, but I would like some one day. I am very much a career girl so I would like to have only one kid, two at the most. I already have names picked out. Victor for a boy and Matilda for a girl.

WANT TO TRAVEL: Hell yeah! My partner and I are going to London (again) next year to visit the West End. We also plan on visiting Japan, New York and I want to go back to France and Belgium. I miss them, even though I have been to France 3 times.

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF: Yes I do. I am generally Little Miss Confidence most of the time. I have bad days like everyone else, but generally I believe I can do anything if I put my mind to it. If I have a bad day I just remind myself of everything I accomplished on my own and it makes me feel better.

I am not going to tag anyone in this, but I have one request: Do this tag and share a link to it with me. I would love to get to know some other bloggers on here.

A Guide to Graphic Novels

Nerd culture has taken over the world in the last few years with everyone loving comic book films, Star Wars and 80s pop culture references, but what if you want more than the films? What if the films have unlocked your love of Captain America or Batman and you want more? I have spoken to a few wannabe nerds who want to read comics but they find the idea intimidating and don’t know where to start. Well, I have been reading comics and graphic novels for most of my life. Hell, one of my first words was Batman (no joke). So here is my guide to graphic novels to help you out.

Know your companies


Not knowing your DC from your Marvel is a big rookie mistake. If you dont know what company a particular series belongs to look it up. I will give you a quick run down of the most popular titles:

Marvel: Avengers (and all Avengers characters), X-men, Spider-man, Deadpool, Guardians of the Galaxy, Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and many more…

DC: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Justice League, Suicide Squad, The Flash, Green Arrow, and many more…

There are also other companies that are slightly less popular, like Dark Horse (Hell Boy) and 2000AD (Judge Dredd).

Start off Small


Even the big companies have smaller publications. Some only run for a volume or two. My personal way of introducing myself to a new series is to follow a particular character, for example right now I am obsessed with the Robins from Batman so I am reading all of their separate short series’, such as Red Hood and the Outlaws, and Super Sons. I am reading those shorter series’ before tackling the monster that is Batman and Robin.

Also some of the more famous titles are actually really short reads by comic book standards, such as Sandman, Sin City or The Crow.

Wikipedia is your friend


When you first start out it might seem like every comic fan knows more than you do, but believe it or not, even the biggest comic book nerd hasn’t read every comic. When it comes to comics the internet is your friend. There are reboots, relaunches, teams full of characters and characters constantly coming back from the dead to keep up with. That is a lot of information to juggle, and even the most experienced comic reader still has those moments of “I thought he was dead/evil/in another dimension?” and having to quickly google a character while in the middle of reading something. No one is an expert, and everything is available in a quick internet search. Sometimes those wikipedia pages are just fun to read in general.

Watch Cartoons


Here you are wanting to read graphic novels and I am making you watch tv? Bare with me, it will make sense.

You love the films, but the films are limited in what they can show. They have to pick out the biggest villains, the most interesting story lines and most dramatic character development, and fit it all in 2 hours. When it comes to animated features comic book companies have more freedom. They are show more characters and smaller storylines that are still a lot of fun. This especially applies to DC comics. Marvel has some good animated shows that are mostly aimed at kids, but I would recommend watching the 90s X-men and Spiderman cartoons. DC comics dominates when it comes to animation. The 90s Batman series is dark and true to the comics while also being kid friendly. DC also releases regular animated films that are aimed at adults and they are better than their live action cinema releases. (If you thought the film Suicide Squad was a bit of a miss look up Assault on Arkham) When I watch these films I keep my phone nearby so I can google characters while I watch, just in case it raises any questions or someone I am not familiar with is introduced.

Save Some Cash


Comics do not have to cost a fortune. Don’t get me wrong, it can be a very expensive hobby to get into. There are some cheats though.

Comic book shops sometimes have a free comic book day. You can get your hands on a few new issues during that. There is a set day of the year for it, but I don’t think it applies to every country and shop, so do some research for your local day.

Comic book swap meets. Yeah this is a thing, or at least it is for me locally. My local nerd bar has regular comic book swap meets where comic book fans bring along issues they don’t want and swap them for new ones. You might already need some comics to take part.

Get social. I am a member of a local gaming and general geekdom society at my old university. Occasionally members will move house or have a general clean out and post photos of comics they are looking for new homes for on the society’s Facebook page.

Go online. I normally do not endorse this sort of thing but it is handy for beginners. There are entire websites dedicated to letting you read comics online. If you read manga you will know the sort of sites I am talking about, but if you don’t, simply Google “Read comics online” and you are sure to find a few. These sites are great for testing a series without having to spend money on a comic you might not like. This doesn’t just apply to manga, but also Western comics.


Those are my tips for getting more into the world of comics and graphic novels. I might write a separate post on graphic novel recommendations for beginners because I could be talking about this topic all day. If anyone has any questions feel free to ask. I would be more than happy to help you out.

How to Read on a Budget

Reading and a love of books does not have to cost you a fortune. I know the internet makes it seem like you have to have a massive library to be a book lover or book blogger, but that is just not true. Yes, I made a post a few weeks ago about how I recently bought a house big enough to contain a library, but I know not everyone is that fortunate, and most of my collection comes from secondhand sources. I rarely buy new, full price books and I often donate piles of books to charity every year, but that is not what this blog post is about. Reading on a budget. This is how to find all the books you can read for little to no money.

1. Libraries.

Stating the obvious I know, but did you know that many libraries now-a-days have their own apps? You can borrow ebooks and audiobooks entirely for free without even making time to visit the library itself. It saves both time and money. No worrying about returns either, the books simply disappear from your phone or tablet when your borrow time it up. They add new books regulary and some even take requests.

2. Youtube

You can find books on Youtube? Yes. Many classic novels are so old that copyright no longer applies to them so people regularly upload full audiobooks of them onto Youtube.

3. Secondhand Bookshops

I am stating the obvious again but I have a few tips for browsing secondhand bookshops, which I should probably make a separate post about. Firstly, make friends with the owner/manager/most regular member of staff. I am on first name basis with all of the managers and main members of staff in all of my local secondhand bookshops. It means that I can simply ask them if they have a specific book and sometimes they will even make a note of the title and author I am looking for so they can set the book aside for me if it comes in. Also, if you are looking for a classic novel, look at the beginning of the school summer holidays or in August. The start of the summer holidays is when students get rid of the books they no longer need, and August is when schools have a clean out before the start of the school year so you might end up with identical multiple copies in the shop. September is a horrible time to look for classic novels, so dont get your hopes up during that time of year.

4. Supermarkets

This applies mostly to the UK as I do not know the sort of things international supermarkets sell, but UK ones sell books. Larger Tesco and ASDA stores often have a section of their shop dedicated to books. The books they sell are usually the popular new releases, mostly crime fiction, some YA and lots of contemporary, but you will find the occasional gem in there. The best part is that they are almost always half price. Have a look next time you go grocery shopping, you might just find something.

5. Kindle/Ereader Online Stores

This is similar to the Youtube point. Ereaders like Kindle or Nook that have online shops that allow you to download books for your ereader often have classic novels available for free. This is due to the copyright rules due to them being older novels.


I hope this list of tips helps you find your next big read. If you have any of your own advice leave me a comment to let other readers and I know about it.