Haircare Products I Use and Like

Haircare Products I Use and Like

I'm usually not one to write much about haircare. If you're a longtime reader you will know that by now. I prefer the undone, relaxed hair vibe. I also love a good side braid every now and again and whip out my GHD's on the rare occasion I can be bothered. So y'know that for me to be doing a haircare post to begin with, I have to really like the products. Today I thought I'd share with you the haircare things I've been reaching for on the regular. For the most part they're all pretty cheap and cheerful and I love 'em for that. Oh and just for context, I have thick, semi-coloured hair. From what my hairdresser tells me it's pretty healthy aside from the dryness where it was coloured. Otherwise, I have no major qualms with it. Anyway, the products...

Batiste Dry Shampoo-I'm very late to the Batiste party as every beauty blogger on Earth seems to have raved and discussed this at some point. I'm sure you all know how this works. This product is amazing for giving your hair a bit of a refresh in between washes. Just make sure you massage it in properly if you have dark hair like me because it will stand out. Otherwise you can't really go wrong. I still prefer Bumble and Bumble's Pret A Powder to this but for a budget-friendly alternative it isn't half bad.

Lush Sunny Day Anti Static Hair Detangler*-If I don't use some kind of anti-frizz product on my hair after it's washed, hair that resembles Anne Hathaway's pre-makeover is a very real possibility. This is where Sunny Day comes in and saves the day. In honesty, I wasn't hugely keen on the scent at first but I got over it because this product is fantastic. Seriously, if I use this my hair doesn't take on a mind of its own. It stays reasonably flat and static-free. I'll definitely be repurchasing this once I run out. It's going to be a godsend in Summer.

Ouai Wave Spray-Ouai's wave spray has already made an appearance on the blog so I'll keep things brief. If you want waves and a bit of body without the crunch of a standard sea salt spray, this is for you. It's extremely lightweight and smells divine, being scented with Italian lemon, amber and white musk. I'm definitely going to be checking out the Ouai stand when I'm in reach of a Sephora later in the year.

Via Twirl Ties*-Having thick hair means I really don't like tying it up. Most hair-ties tend to pinch my hair and just end up feeling more uncomfortable than anything. I'm more often likely to pin it back than use a tie. Anyway, these spiral hairbands are a game changer. They don't pinch and don't leave crazy kinks in your hair. In fact, I forget I even have my hair tied up when I'm using these. They're that comfortable. I'm not gonna lie, I am rather fond of the coppery coloured ones in particular. It's the small details right?

-Have you tried any of these haircare products before? What did you think of them. 

*PR Sample

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August Favourites

August Favourites

Another month, another lineup of bits 'n bobs I have loved during August. There's a trio of lip products, a bronzer in Winter, a book and even a movie+more.

I even filmed my favourites for a change, I know, a non-book video. Unexpected, although there is a new book video up as well. Enjoy, and let me know what you've been liking in August.

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Ctrl Alt; Delete by Emma Gannon | The Review

Ctrl Alt; Delete by Emma Gannon | The Review

Book #2 for Sophie's Book Club was a collection of essays by the wonderful lady I have a bit of a blogger girl crush on. Yes there are a few people who fit this bill but today I am referring to the one and only Emma Gannon, author of the blog Girl Lost In The City. As well as running a rather radtastic, inspiring blog, she also has a podcast under the same name as her book and contributes writing to many other places on and offline such as; Teen Vogue, The Sunday Times magazine, The Guardian and many others. She is a boss basically. When I heard she was releasing a book I swiftly pre-ordered it and was so pleased that people voted for it in my book club's polls. So what did I think? Well in one sentence: I loved it. End of review. I jest, keep reading if you want the full details.

Ctrl Alt; Delete is a series of essays about Emma's experiences and learnings growing up online. She was born in the year the Internet came to fruition so she literally grew up alongside the Internet. Every social media platform you can think of; LiveJournal, MySpace, Bebo, you name it, she was on there. As well as her early learnings on discovering the expanse that is the Web, she also details her experiences of relationships and how they are shaped/misconstrued by the Internet, how it has helped her forge a career path, the power of deceptive photography and more. It might only be 258 pages but there is a lot of ground covered here.

A lot of the material in this book stood out to me, especially Emma's writing on blogging. "The reason my blog makes me so happy, when it comes down to it, is the freedom it brings me...I can always mentally escape on my blog even if I can't physically. Diving into my blog often feels like the bit in Mary Poppins where Bert and the kids all jump into the street painting, holding umbrellas in the rain...eating toffee apples and loving life." This idea really resonated with me, the creative control my blog gives me, this corner of the Internet that is all mine, makes me so happy. I don't think non-Internet people will really grasp that idea but it honestly does. The escapism it provides as well is also so satisfying. The recognition as well, which she talks about, no matter how big or small is also amazing. I still get such a buzz when somebody tells me they've read something I wrote and like it, or just that they love my blog. That's probably my inner peacock coming out but us creative folk love praise. 

Emma's writing on the MSN years was also uber relatable too. I cringed as much as I laughed and sympathised with her tales. While MSN certainly had some downsides, I experienced some rather nasty bullying on it through a couple of group chats, I also made some of my closest friends through hour-long MSN conversations. Social media is such a double-edged sword like that isn't it? 

Ctrl Alt; Delete is a book every millennial and Internet loving person needs to read. Even if you're not a big Internet person you still need to read it. Scratch that, everybody needs to read this book. It's so relatable, laugh-out-loud funny and also incredibly inspiring and thought provoking. Emma is such a gifted writer and this book was such a strong debut. I can't wait to see what she does next. I gave this 4/5 stars over on Goodreads for anyone wondering, but I may have to go back and amend my review to make it 5 stars. I loved this book that much.

If you're wondering what the next few months of Sophie's book club are looking like, for September we will be reading The Lonely City by Olivia Laing. This book has been getting some promising reviews, and if this is anything to go by we are in for a treat. October sees two books up for the reading. By no means do you have to read both of them. I just wanted to introduce a book to sit alongside the collections of essays by Mara Wilson, entitled Where am I Now? . The second book for October is Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. It's another book I have only heard positive things about and I am looking forward to reading Kaur's poetry.

-Have you read Ctrl Alt; Delete? What did you think of it?

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The Paper Gang | July Box

The Paper Gang | July Box

To know me is to know I love fine paper goods. I love them about as much as Donna loves fine leather goods. Side note: treat yo'self is a way of life. Anyway, I'd seen the Paper Gang stationery boxes appearing over on Rebecca and Olivia's blogs and had been intrigued. With my birthday coming up in August I decided to treat myself to the July and August boxes from their site. Unfortunately being in New Zealand means I got my box of goodies long after most other people had received theirs but I thought I'd still share them anyway for anyone who has considered subscribing. Read on if you want the 'deets...

Papergang is a monthly stationery subscription service done by the folk who bring us Ohh Deer stationery. You may have spotted Ohh Deer's wares over on ASOS but here in NZ they can also be found at Matchbox Studios and Iko Iko. Each box is designed with an artist and/or theme in mind. I can't remember the theme of Box #5 but there was a bit of everything inside as you can see. August's box has a marble theme so I'm looking forward to that. 

In July's box I received three notebooks, designed by William Branton. These are all unlined so they're great for both writing and drawing, whatever takes your fancy. Being A6 sized means they're super easy to cart around in your handbag and won't take up a ton of space. My favourite of the set is the one with the copper detailing and navy background, two of my favourite things. Also by William Branton we have the clipboard and the printed calendar page to go alongside it. As this came partway through August I haven't utilised the calendar as such but nonetheless it is still beautifully designed. The clipboard has actually come in handy as it's compact and I've used it to stick press releases+information that comes with products/books I am sent for review. 

There was also a puntastic pencil inside this box, designed by Jade Walsh. It says "on point". I know, I know, so punny. I love it. Last but not least there were three blank greeting cards, all pictured above. I think they're all by separate designers-I've already used two of them so I can't check that (whoops). I love the tiger in the headdress but again they're all nicely designed and visually appealing.

Overall I was really impressed by the July box. With the exception of the calendar page, everything inside is something I would use and have been using. I'm looking forward to seeing what marbled delights are inside the August box.

-Have you heard of Paper Gang's subscription service? If not, do you subscribe to any other subscription services?
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New in Beauty: The Treat Yourself Edition

New in Beauty: The Treat Yourself Edition

This post first appeared over on FashioNZ and has been republished with permission.

The beauty launches tend to quieten down over Winter but we’ve still found some new products to tide us over until the Spring and holiday collections come at us.  From the luxe beauty brand that’s made its way to New Zealand, to the eyeliner you need in your life….

Tom Ford Beauty, available from David Jones in Wellington & coming soon to Smith & Caugheys: Tom Ford has finally arrived on our shores with its first counter opening in Wellington at the end of last month. Their signature fragrances are here as well as their highly-sought after lipsticks. There’s something in this line-up for every beauty enthusiast.  We can’t wait for their flagship counter to open at Smith and Caugheys later in the year. *Side note: I received this lipstick as a gift for my birthday. Review to come-I haven't actually used it yet because that iconic TF is too beautiful not to photograph before I smear it all over my lips. 

YSL  Touche Eclat Blur Primer*: YSL’s iconic touché éclat pen has inspired a new primer. Don’t let the gold sparkles throughout scare you. They don’t translate to anything glittery or vampire-esque on the complexion. Instead, this primer smooths and perfects the skin, making it ideal for any base you apply over the top. It also helps to keep your complexion shine-free for longer, making it perfect for combination-oily skin types.

Clinique Pop Matte Lip Color & Primer*: Clinique have jumped on board the matte lipstick train with their latest additions to the Pop Lip collection. There’s a range of hues to choose from here; from your statement reds and pinks, to the more everyday friendly nude. The finish on these is velvety smooth and you can expect a lip colour that is long wearing without flaking away. We love the shade Cute Pop, a brown-based nude with a dusky rose tone to it.

Estee Lauder Blushing Crème for Lips and Cheeks*, exclusive to Farmers: We love multi-use beauty products like this one. They’re so convenient if you’re on the go and don’t want to carry an excessive amount of makeup with you. These blush sticks have a little bit of a sheen to them so they give your cheeks that dewy, healthy glow. On the lips they’re a bit sheerer so you can swipe them on without too much fuss.

Lancome Grandiose Liner*: If liquid eyeliner makes you want to run away, reconsider running until you’ve tried this product. Lancome’s new eyeliner is angled so you can get super close to the lashline and in to the pesky inner-corners without drawing a thick, dramatic line halfway up your eyelid. It’s incredibly easy to use and will make you want to do feline flicks all the time.

*PR Sample. As always, all enthusiastic banter about beauty products shiny, matte and foolproof remain my own.

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5 Books To Read If You're Sad

5 Books To Read If You're Sad

Sadness sucks but we all experience it to some degree from time to time. Whether it's because someone's nasty comment has lingered in your mind a bit too long, or because something just genuinely lame has taken place. When I'm sad I like to find books, films or music that I can take comfort and seek some solace in. It doesn't necessarily have to be thought provoking to the highest degree. In fact, if it doesn't involve too much thinking and I'm in a bad mood then it's usually a winner. Anyway, today I thought I'd share five books I reach for when I'm feeling a bit down in the dumps. They're entertaining or bound to make me smile. If you're having a bad day, I'm sorry, bad days suck. Perhaps one of these reads will brighten your mood...

Yes Please by Amy Poehler-You'll notice a bit of a trend here. Memoirs by comedy-folk are some of my favourite to read. In fact, this whole list could have been easily comprised entirely of them. Amy Poehler's is by far my favourite though. As you'd expect, this is a hilarious, entertaining read. As well as anecdotes about Tina (Fey), SNL and of course, Parks and Rec, she shares some words of wisdom. Her "good for you, not for me" philosophy in particular is one of my favourite takeaways from this book.

Everything Is Going To Be Ok-I actually have Zoella to thank for the discovery of this book and whilst it's not one I frequently revisit, it's the sort of book that would be ideal to give to somebody else. The book that's good to let someone know you're thinking of them, in other words. It's filled with words of wisdom to remind you that just because this one day out of the year sucks, they don't all have to be that way.

Seriously...I'm Kidding by Ellen Degeneres-You can't go wrong with Ellen Degeneres, whether it's her well-stocked YouTube channel, her TV show or one of her books, like this one. Seriously, I'm Kidding came out a little while ago now but it's still just as laugh-out-loud funny as it was when I first read it. If you want something quick to flick through that will make you laugh, get this. It's worth it. I'm sure there's an audiobook version of it as well if that is more your thing.

Choupette by Patrick Mauries-There's something happiness-inducing about cats. That is the ultimate throwaway cat woman statement if ever there was one. Choupette has to be the most pampered cat on the planet but she's also one of the cutest. This book contains pictures of Karl Lagerfeld's feline muse as well as facts about her and even some details about famous cats from throughout history. If you like cats, more so stylish ones then you'll like this.

Advanced Style by Ari Seth Cohen, not pictured-Watch this first if you haven't seen the documentary. Again like the Choupette book, this is just one that will make you smile. The women photographed have such a zest for life and a real enthusiasm for every element of fashion and style. If the pictures of these ladies don't make you smile, I don't know what will.

-What books do you recommend for turning around a bad day?
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DIY Journaling

DIY Journaling

Being a technology-loving person means I value my offline outlets really highly. As great as screen time is, it's important to me to take time away from it all. I've spoken about my journal on the blog before but today I thought I'd talk through the tools you need to make your own visual collages+what I use. Journaling isn't something I do all the time but making this post has reminded me just how much I enjoy it. If you want to know how I put mine together, keep reading...

-A notebook of your choosing. Mine is a Moleskine that I've had for ages, back from when I could still get student discount in the art supply store. Anything sturdy with blank pages will do the trick though.

-Scissors, for cutting out all the images. If you're a bit fancier than I am, you could use a craft knife for this step.  

-Adhesive Dots or a glue stick. I've only discovered these dots this year but they're life changing. Maybe that's a bit of a grand statement but they are the best. 

-Cute tape. I love glitter so these ones appeal to me. I also love a good Washi Tape too. Tape is totally optional btw, it's not an essential to this.

-A pencil if you want to trace around images and play with their placement on your page.

-Coloured pens for writing quotes, random musings and other words you want on paper. 

-Images and pieces to stick in your book! I use a mixture of pictures I print, magazine images, random design elements that I like (clothing tags, tissue paper), Polaroids, printed tape etc etc. 

And here we have it, the finished object! Here's two very quick pages I put together for the purposes of this post. I knew I wanted to incorporate the picture of Tavi from this feature. Side note: It's an awesome interview+discussion with Grace Coddington and Tavi. Go read it. I bought in the illustrated Diptyque candle because the colours complemented the main image. The other elements, the tissue paper and glitter tape were just incorporated randomly. Sometimes there isn't necessarily a strategy or logic to my journalling. The spontaneity and seeing what I end up grouping together is what keeps it exciting, for me at least. The opposite page features an image from Yen which I love on its own but I wanted to keep the focus on the clothes, hence the Ivy Park tag. 

-Do you have a visual journal? If not, how do you unwind offline?

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Miranda May x Charlotte Tilbury

Miranda May x Charlotte Tilbury

A few months ago, veryone's favourite raven haired, makeup maven and all-round beauty goddess Charlotte Tilbury announced she was bringing out a range of celebrity-inspired lipsticks. I made a mental note and filed it away in the "don't forget this launch, Sophie" portion of my mind. Myself and a fellow beauty-loving pal ordered some of the shades from C Tilbs' collection and after much deliberating I decided to get this stunner of a shade. As appealing as Super Cindy was, and still is, I have an unnecessary amount of nude lipsticks. Helena Bonham Carter's shade kinda appealed because I'm such a fan of Helena but then the colour was one I'd not wear very often. So Miranda May made its way into my collection and here's what I think...

Miranda May-This is one of Charlotte's matte lipsticks and is described as "a fresh, pinky-coral inspired by the sunsets of Malibu and Bondi Beach." In other words, it's the perfect shade for mega-babe Miranda Kerr. It's a very wearable coral, compared to others I've tried and doesn't have that blinding neon quality that some coral-hued lipsticks seem to have. It's an uber flattering colour to wear, even when I'm at my near-vampire levels of pale (currently) and I love it.

As for the lipstick itself, wow. Despite being matte it really glides onto the lips. The squared edge actually makes it incredibly easy to apply and get into all the tricky spaces without risking a Miranda Sings look. In fact, the shape of this lipstick is meant to negate the need for a lip brush which is so clever. The colour itself is long-wearing and doesn't seem to fade an awful lot. It also doesn't feel drying or start flaking and looking less than glamorous as the day progresses. Score. 

So all in all my first foray into the Charlotte Tilbury lipstick lineup is a successful one. The only thing I will say is Miranda May isn't as pigmented as I was expecting. Don't get me wrong, it is still pigmented and the lack of crazy boldness isn't necessarily a bad thing. It makes this coral a more daytime-friendly one which I love. Sometimes bold lipsticks take a bit of bravery if y'know what I'm saying? Long story short, if you're after a non-intimidating new coral lippy, this one is for you.

*Have you tried any Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks before? What did you think of them?
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Some Notes On Blogging

Some Notes On Blogging

I'm not about to come out shaking my fists like some misguided troll or Elder of the Internet. While I have been blogging now for what feels like an age, almost half a decade as of December this year, it's not a lifetime. A lot changes here on the Interwebs in such a short space of time and since I've been blogging a lot has changed. For one, I feel like there are a lot more blogs out there now. A lot. Everyone has something to say and speak on and that's fantastic. 

However I have to admit, I'd be lying to you if I didn't say that I've found some of the behind the scenes elements of blogging in the past year tough. Not the picture taking and the writing, although there's some days when the writing isn't as articulate and clear cut as I'd love it to be. No I'm talking more about the general transparency and sometimes lack thereof in the blogging land. It's something I find disheartening and disappointing across the board.  Before we go further, this post is simply for me to showcase my opinions and share where I stand on these issues. Please don't see it as me pointing the finger at anyone, whether it be a blogger, PR or talent agency. That is not what I am trying to do. While there's definitely some goings-on that I disagree with, I'm not going to air them all here. It's not the place. 

So, as with any creative industry, yes I would class blogging as a creative endeavour and industry in its own right now, there is competition. A lot of it is healthy and some, not so much. There are a lot more beauty blogs out there now for instance and sometimes it can feel like everyone posts the same content. It becomes difficult to avoid that in a place like New Zealand where everything blog-wise is done on a much smaller scale. There's bound to be similar press callouts for instance. Sometimes there probably will be discrepancies across blogs, Instagrams and the like. Sometimes it will feel disheartening when you've worked on a post and then somebody else posts something similar. Admittedly that will bother me sometimes because I am sensitive but moreover, because I'm passionate and enthusiastic about what I have created. How do I get around this? I push myself, healthily. I'm always trying to better myself, my written voice and my imagery. What I showcase, what I don't showcase. What I blog and what I don't blog. I do take it all seriously. It's also important to remember that blogging is not something groundbreaking like neuroscience. In the grander scheme of things, it really isn't a major deal if heaven forbid, someone lifts a sentence of your copy. That was a longwinded way of me saying that blogging is my passion and if I find myself getting too overcome with the behind the scenes side of things I do step back. It might not seem that way but I do step back every now and again and I think that is healthy.

As the blogging market is so crowded now, naturally people will ask questions of blogs. Your Average Joe will want to know how it works. People are fascinated by it. We have to remember that making money off writing, videos and online content curation is still relatively new. Yes the Internet's hardly a new phenomenon but the idea of people making a living from their digital creative pursuits is. Forty years ago blogging was a mere speck on the horizon so of course people are curious. Who can blame them? I still genuinely wonder how some people make a living out of the Internet. In New Zealand there are currently no legalities around people disclosing this paid content or any advertorial work they might produce. It's not even a requirement for people to say when they've been gifted a product or been invited to try a service. There's so many opinions and thoughts on this but here is mine; Yes I think we owe it to our audience and the wider blogging community to declare gifted products, whether paid or unpaid. Especially sponsored collaborations.

 Since 2012, I have always asterisked (*) products I have been given. I do this for many reasons. Firstly, I'd hate for people to think I am a walking wallet with an envy-inducing salary. I wish to the latter part of that statement. SecondlyIt establishes honesty, over time at least. I'm sure there'll be the odd person who will think "Sophie features MAC just because she's sent it." No, no, no. Nobody's perfect though so of course in the past when I got too jaded I absolutely may have featured something out of the excitement of it being a perk. Some of my sponsorships I wish I'd put my foot down with as well but again, excitement got the better of me. I regret that now obviously and looking at some of those posts makes me cringe. If I am featuring a product, whether it be a lipstick or a new novel, know that I feature it because I genuinely like it and it sparks some enthusiasm for me. Yes, some products might inevitably be more likely to be instant winners, I haven't found many a MAC lipstick that I did not like. There's also some products I would never have discovered if I wasn't made aware of them. Whether that be by one of you lovely bunch, another blogger, or just a PR taking a chance and sending me something. If it's on here, I love and am excited by it and think you will be too. That won't ever change, regardless of whether or not it comes with a press release and dollar bills attached.

As for sponsorships, again, I have always declared those and always will. Sometimes the way I disclose these may be challenged. I have and will dispute this in the interest of remaining transparent. I value my integrity and that of this blog much too highly for me to dance around the fact that I got a paycheck for a writing opportunity. I am by no means swimming in paid work, in fact you'll notice that I haven't done an ounce of paid work this year for this blog at least. I do the odd bit of freelance which is paid and I am forever grateful for that. There have been times I have turned down sponsorships, paid and unpaid. Just as I turn down the offer of free product which happens far more often than you'd think. I say no more than I say yes. Some people might think that is insane but again, I value integrity and my audience's trust much higher than I do a temporary cash injection. 

So that's where I stand. Whilst I might find blogging disenchanting sometimes and regardless of a couple of niggling feelings I have every now and again, I do still love it and genuinely enjoy it. I still get that indescribable feeling when I hit 'publish' on a post I've spent time and energy crafting, capturing the winning blog photograph, in my eyes at least, straight away, reading other people's blogs and seeing what amazing things they're doing. I just felt like sharing how I feel because having your own soapbox has to have its own perks every now and again, right? I'm kidding. This is a post I've wanted to do for so long and maybe it will resonate with someone else, if so, yay. If not, that's okay too. Differences in opinion and interests are what keep life fresh.

-If you blog, what do you think about the changing landscape? If you're not a blogger, I'd love to know your opinions too. Leave them in the comments below.
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August Reading List

August Reading List

August is here and with that we have what I am dubbing the fantastic literary four. I guess they could also be called the famous four because all of these books have a bit of an awareness around them. There's a memoir (my fave), two books I've been wanting to read for ages and the book that's reawakened my inner child. Here's what I intend to read this month...

Ctrl Alt; Delete by Emma Gannon-This one's one of my most-anticipated reads of the year and so far it is not disappointing. It is also book #2 for my book club so I'll do a full review of it later in the month. Emma was born in 1989 and thus she grew up alongside the Internet and all its various blessings/curses; MSN, Bebo, internet dating and the rest. There's going to be something you can relate to in here and perhaps wince+cringe at in a 'yep, I did that too' kind of way. Seriously from the ages of about 12-16 I should not have been allowed an Internet connection. Anyway, if you're reading along with us this month you are in for a treat. This is well worth picking up.

So Sad Today by Melissa Broder-So Sad Today's a book I've only heard positive things about and I'm sure it won't disappoint. It's a series of personal essays which sound very poignant and thought-provoking. I mean, we all feel a little sad sometimes, so maybe it'll be a book we can seek solace in. I am just speculating, that prediction may be wildly off. Such is the nature of entering a book in a state of blissful unawareness. 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child* by JK Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne-Not pictured as when I took these pictures it was still locked up in bookshop back-rooms across the world. While this isn't a Harry Potter book per se, it is the script book for the current West End play. There's not a lot known about this one yet, and its plot so I don't want to speculate about it too much but it opens nineteen years after the conclusion of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows. No doubt a lot will have changed, I'm just excited to be getting the chance to find out what exactly that is and experience JK Rowling's world again.

Love Rosie by Cecilia Ahern-In a rare occurrence, for me at least, I watched the movie of this before I read the book. Therefore I have no idea if they're vastly different or not. Don't tell me please. I loved the movie though and all the twists and turns the story of Rosie and Alex takes, no matter how frustrating. I can't wait to read this one. It's what I'm going to reach for once I power through Harry Potter & the Cursed Child.

-What are you reading this month?

*Review Copy
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