Tuesday, 14 August 2018

31 books in 31 days challenge | Tips, tricks and conclusion



Hello, beautiful people!

As you might have seen in my wrap-up of last month, in July, I decided to challenge myself to read 31 books in 31 days. Why would you do that to yourself? you will ask. Well, because I was on holidays, wanted to read as many books as possible to lower my daunting Goodreads TBR (I'm not talking about unread books I own, though), and wanted to enjoy the free time I had to read, before working full time and then starting university again in September. 

And... I did it!


I didn't put the list with my entire wrap-up in this blog post, as it was already pretty long, but if you're curious about what I read, I talked about it in my July wrap-up.

I had previously done such a challenge in June 2015 (which was the time I started this blog, oh my, how does time fly), but I wasn't that much connected to the book community, then, so I decided to do it again, now that I was, and it was so much fun. I'm so surprised by the amount of people who cheered me up, congratulated me, or even said that I had motivated them to do such a challenge in turn. So to anyone who messaged me about it or have been following this adventure, thank YOU. Anyhow, I thought that today, I would talk a little more about how I won this challenge and my tips, for those interested.

Before I start this blog post, Resh did a 30 books in 30 days challenge earlier this year and talked about her experience in this amazing blog post.



HOW TO SURVIVE THIS CHALLENGE

On which books to pick up...

Reading 31 books in 31 days is about focusing on quantity (but don't lose quality over this), which means that reading shorter books is the best course of action. Obviously, you won't want to pick a book that is a thousand page long (Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, I promise that I'll read you soon!), it wouldn't be productive in regards to this challenge. When the month started, I made a list of the smallest novels I had on my Goodreads TBR, of novellas and comics I had been wanting to read for so long, so I could make them a priority. I didn't get to them all, but I had a large choice of options and it always helped me to have ideas when I didn't know what to pick up. However, it doesn't mean I only read short books during the month, but I'll talk more about that later on.

Side note: I only mentioned novellas and comics, because there were some I wanted to read, but graphic novels, mangas, plays, collections of short stories and so on are equally as great for such a challenge.

Besides, trying to read a large quantity of books means that it's better to pick books you're confident you're going to adore, it might not be the time to get out of your comfort zone and experiment, for if it doesn't work out for you... You might end up in a reading slump. I'm not saying that reading outside of your comfort won't work, just be careful with that... On the other hand, it's true that you might also be disappointed by books in your comfort zone. But we're just trying not to fall into a reading slump here! 

On a similar note, do not hesitate abandoning books you don't feel like reading - in the end - early on, you don't want to drag a book behind you for weeks now, don't you? I DNF-ed one book during my challenge, because I read 20% of it, then put it aside for days, before realising I didn't want to read it anymore. Of course, you might end up reading books you won't like that much during the challenge and finishing them, I did that too (well, we're still trying to read loads of books), but if you're not feeling it in the first few pages, don't force yourself. 



While I'm at it, try to pick books that you can read quickly, I'm not talking about their length here, but how difficult they can be to read, depending on the writing style. I didn't pick that many classics during the month, while I adore them, because I know that classics will take me longer to read. 

On managing your reading time...

Before I get into this portion of the post, I'll actually confess that... I didn't read every single day of July nor did I finish one book every day. Still, I managed to read 31 books, because I managed my reading time well enough.

The first tip is always the same one every single reader will give you to read more: have a book with you everywhere. You'll never know when you'll have five minutes to read, or even more. What about if you have to wait for someone who is late? For an appointment? Anything else? In the meantime, you can always manage to read a bit. At the end of one week, you'll see how many pages you'll have gotten through.

What helped me the most during this challenge was balancing shorter books with longer ones; that's why I didn't necessarily finish a book per day nor read every day in July. When you're reading shorter books, such as comics, short stories, novellas, mangas or anything else, it can take you less than an hour to two hours, depending on their length. There are days where I only read comics or novellas, increasing my book count for the challenge. 



However, I didn't want to stop myself from reading longer books... So I read them anyway! It could take me three days to finish one, but it didn't really matter, because I was always ahead or knew I would catch up, when I would read shorter books. Balancing books of different length is perfect for this type of challenge, because you don't always have time to read one book in one day, or don't have a lot of time you can dedicate to reading, period. I barely read when I'm with my family, but I caught up while I was on holidays with my best friend (as we're both readers, reading by the beach was amazing) or on my own.  

If you have the opportunity to do so, participating in a 24 hour readathon might be a great idea. My friend Morgane hosted/is hosting one every month this summer (the next one is on August 25th), so it was perfect for my challenge in July. It might be even better to participate in such a thing with a friend (I've done three of them with my best friend), so you can motivate each other to keep on reading (coffee also helps, though). I managed to read four novels in one day, which is also why I didn't have to read every day.


Final tip, don't forget to breathe. It's okay to do other things on top of reading. Easy for me to say, when I was on holidays in July, but we all have our lives and many things we enjoy on top of reading. It's true that this hobby can become a priority during such a challenge, but as I said, I didn't spend every single day reading: I went out with friends, did family activities, went to the movies, walked outside. Other activities also helped me not to get "tired" of reading, not to fall into a reading slump because I had read so much. With a little bit of organization, you can do this!

Of course, there are other tips and I don't pretend to be right with everything, but those really helped me in July!


CONCLUSION FROM MY CHALLENGE

I started writing this conclusion part several times, but didn't really know how. The main thing I realised while doing this challenge was that I am not the same person at all than the Lucie who made the same challenge in 2015. While doing that challenge, I wanted to remember that and it wasn't just about books, it was about moving forward. 

This reading challenge was for the most part positive, because it made me clean my TBR (both my Goodreads shelves and my physical one, as I only have two books in it at the moment) and realise how much my reading tastes had changed, yet again, this year. Last year, I said as a joke that my favourite genres might become historical fiction, classics and mystery, as they were my favourites when I was younger, and I wasn't far from the truth! The genre - for novels - that I read the most, during this challenge, was historical fiction. Well, it was followed by fantasy, which has been my favourite genre for so long, but looking at my ratings, I saw that I mainly had been disappointed, considering I didn't even rate one fantasy novel four stars or more. I've started to take a step back from it lately and while I can still enjoy it immensely, I'm so picky these days that I'm scared to reach for any. I'm also quite proud of the fact that I'm finally reading more 20th century classics and non-fiction, which I has been so much fun. In a way, this challenge confirmed the type of books I enjoy. Let's hope I'll continue on that path!


On the other hand, I know that I probably won't do such a challenge again, which might be a weird conclusion, no matter how true it is. I know I can read tons of books, you just have to look at my Goodreads challenges from previous years to know that, so reading 31 books in 31 days was just confirmation that I could still do it. I haven't set up a real Goodreads goal this year (it's at one book, just to be able to track everything), I hardly ever look at it, to be completely honest, because it doesn't really interest me (there, I've said it, please don't hate me). While I think that, I still did this challenge, no one ever said I was the most logical person, anyway.

In my reading life, I am way more interested in challenging myself to read from certain genres more, to get out of my comfort zone at times, which is why I'd rather participate in challenges such as the #classicsathon this month, #Victober in October, or even #NonFictionNovember in (you've guessed it) November. Don't get me wrong, reading books in my comfort zone is great, but I don't want to become tired of said comfort zone; that's why I like mixing everything up. I still did that with that challenge, but not that much, because it wasn't the goals. Besides, reading 31 books in 31 days could almost have become a chore and now that I did it, I realise how much not reading for days can be freeing, in a way. Still, reading IS amazing! I'm just not into that type of challenges anymore. 


Have you ever participated in such a challenge? 
Do you like to challenge yourself when it comes to reading?


Lots of love,
Lucie

Friday, 10 August 2018

Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley | Book review

Hello, beautiful people!

When I saw that I could request Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley on Netgalley, I didn't hesitate one second, as it was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, considering how much I adore her other works. Of course, I was over the moon to get approved and to discover another era, another mystery and another love story. Bellewether was released this Tuesday, so today, I thought I would share my review of it with you!

Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley

Published: August 7th 2018 by Sourcebooks Landmark
Genres: historical fiction, romance
Number of pages: 512

Summary: "The house, when I first saw it, seemed intent on guarding what it knew; but we all learned, by the end of it, that secrets aren't such easy things to keep."

It's late summer, war is raging, and families are torn apart by divided loyalties and deadly secrets. In this complex and dangerous time, a young French Canadian lieutenant is captured and billeted with a Long Island family, an unwilling and unwelcome guest. As he begins to pitch in with the never-ending household tasks and farm chores, Jean-Philippe de Sabran finds himself drawn to the daughter of the house. Slowly, Lydia Wilde comes to lean on Jean-Philippe, true soldier and gentleman, until their lives become inextricably intertwined. Legend has it that the forbidden love between Jean-Philippe and Lydia ended tragically, but centuries later, the clues they left behind slowly unveil the true story.
Part history, part romance, and all kinds of magic, Susanna Kearsley's latest masterpiece will draw you in and never let you go, even long after you've closed the last page.

MY THOUGHTS

Disclaimer : I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. The quotes I used might have changed in the final copy.
"You'll find most people, when you get to know them, are not what you were afraid they'd be. They're only people."

Susanna Kearsley's novels are in part known for their dual historical perspectives: they usually follow a character in our own time, trying to understand what happened to historical figures, with a touch of supernatural. This time around, our protagonist was Charley, who had just been appointed as a curator to the Wilde House Museum and discovered the legend of Lydia and her French soldier, which made her curious to understand what really happened, to potentially include it into the museography of the museum.

I truly enjoyed reading about Charley, especially because I knew how accurately Kearsley described what it meant to be a curator, talked about their daily duties and the opposition they could encounter by an administration board or local historical societies. Susanna Kearsley actually used to be a museum curator – so she's trained in history and that's why she's amazing with historical details! – and I felt like it showed, so it made me really happy, considering all the knowledge I have of that world. Charley's narrative also was quite interesting, because it was about reconnecting with your family, as well as grief, which was splendidly done. Bellewether also had references to some of Kearsley's previous novels, I didn't catch those she mentioned in her author's note, but she mentioned Sebastian from The Firebird, I wasn't quite sure until I double checked, but it made me so proud to recognise that as a fan of her works!


Moreover, while all of Kearsley's novels (that I have read, at least?) are set in Europe, this one was set in America and I was so curious, because I don't know that much about the Seven Years War from an American perspective. Once again, Kearsley astonished me with the accuracy of her research, how she wrote about some historical figures, how I time-traveled and was walking alongside Lydia and Jean-Philippe. As I'm French, I also was fascinated to learn about French people in America at that time, whether it was the Acadians or the Canadians, for we don't learn about them that much at school. Bellewether also was, in part, about slavery; the author wrote about people who owned slaves and people who were against it, about running away and staying, about how we, in our modern societies, could hide from that past.

"Lara told her, "That's true. You know, back when I went to school we never learned about us having slaves in the north. It was all just the Underground Railroad and Lincoln, and how we were good and the south was so bad, and then I read this article on slavery in Brroklyn and it said at one time New York had more slaves than any city except Charleston. And it blew my mind. I mean," she said, "it shouldn't have. I should have known of course we had slaves, too. The history was all right there, if I'd just looked for it." "You liked the 'nice' story better." Malaika was matter-of-fact. "Most folks do. It makes them feel good." (p. 125)


Bellewether confronted racism several times, when it talked about slavery, of course, but also about Native Americans. In the 18th century narrative, it approached the topic with a dual perspective from two soldiers, one talking about how they were 'savages' (that character was truly awfull), the second one trying to show him how wrong he was and how those societies that called themselves 'civilised' could be prejudiced and in the wrong. It also approached that topic in the contemporary narrative, as an important character was Native American. It also talked about respectful terminology, I don't know how accurate it was and it felt a bit forced at first, but then it got better.

The plot of this novel was really enjoyable, even though I had to confess that I struggled a bit to get into it and thought the second half was so much better than the first one. The first half of the novel was about setting the mystery and the characters, whereas the second half was about getting all the answers and it became gripping. I adored the atmosphere created around the Wilde House, with the supernatural element (a ghost this time), it was almost a bit scary considering the legend, which was so much fun in a way. I also have the feeling that the ending was a little bit abrupt: I did have the closure I wanted, but it all happened so fast, like the author realised that she had to finish her book. I truly hope this was resolved in the final copy, because it was a tad frustrating.


"She'd fought those feelings all the could, while standing in that doorway. She had told heself the trembling was from fear, and nothing else. But it had been an unconvincing explanation, and her heart had not believed it.Hearts were stubborn things, and often inconvenient." (p. 280)


Now, about the romance. There is always a point in Susanna Kearsley's novels when the romance takes a big step on the plot and unfortunately, they usually are my least favourite part of the novel, because there are one in the contemporary era, one in the historical one, it kind of feels too much. I quite liked the one involving Charley, in the 21th century, even though a certain scene didn't feel natural. However, I wasn't that convinced about Lydia and Jean-Philippe. I agree that they liked each other, I do. I agree that Kearsley can write romance scenes that make me smile, I do. But how am I supposed to believe that two characters are in love and want to spend the rest of their lives together when they didn't really speak the same language and had known each other only for a few months? I can understand attraction in this situation, but I thought that the love bit was a little too much. I know I'm not big on romance most of the time, but still.

Overall, Bellewether was a good historical novel, although it wasn't my favourite of Kearsley's works. While I adored the mystery, the setting and Charley's storyline, I had a suspension of disbelief problem with the romance between Lydia and Jean-Philippe. Still, if you're interested to read a historical novel set during the Seven Years War in America, you should give it a go! Otherwise, you should still try some of Susanna Kearsley's other works, such as The Winter Sea (my personal favourite), The Shadowy Horses or The Firebird (also that's the chronological order if you want to get all the references).






Thank you for reading,

Lots of love,
Lucie

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Books set near the sea | Recommendations



Hello, beautiful people!


As we now are in August, it feels like everyone is talking about summer holidays in the northern hemisphere. Summer holidays always make me long to be near the sea, and with that comes a need to read books set there. Now, I don't like the heat at all and I'm way more into the windy beaches of the north of France (and hopefully those of Cornwall, someday), but to each their own. Because of that, I thought it would be the perfect time to recommend you books set near the sea, to feel like you're on holidays. I picked up five books from different genres set there, so hopefully you'll be able to find one you might enjoy!

Can you imagine this? You feel the wind in your hair... It smells like the sea... You hear the waves crashing on the sand... Your feet are in the sand... You have the perfect book in your hands...


 ... Yes? 

Okay, now let's go.




The Loving Spirit by Daphne du Maurier

Genres: modern classics, historical fiction, romance


Why should you read it during the holidays? The Loving Spirit, Daphne du Maurier's debut, is a family saga set in the 20th century. It first follows Janet Coombe, who yearns to sail, to travel, to have adventures, to know freedom, but constrained by times, she marries a boat builder and settles down to raise a family. Janet's loving spirit is passed on to her son and his descendants. I adore the way du Maurier depicts human nature and knowing that it was her debut novel, I can't help, but be impressed by her writing, this one is quite unfairly underrated. In this novel, the sea is as much a character as the human ones, as the members of the family are fascinated by it and wants to sail. I actually felt like I was in Cornwall, the sea wind in my hair for the whole time. For that, it's such a perfect summer read!


The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Genres: young adult, paranormal

Why should you read it during the holidays? The Wicked Deep is actually set during the summer, in a town near the sea where three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town. Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under. I loved reading this one, because it is set in our world and feels like supposedly perfect, but going horribly wrong, to the point that no one dares going to the water anymore and I love the paranormal twist to it. 



How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

Genres: young adult, contemporary

Why should you read it during the holidays? This one is the only contemporary novel on the list, because I don't read those that often, but I really enjoyed How to Make a Wish recently, which is a contemporary set in the summer in a tiny cape (there is a lighthouse!). It follows Grace, a girl who is emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother and has never lived more than three months in the same place. She then meets Eva, a grief-stricken and lonely girl, who pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. It was such an honest contemporary, tackling down important issues, with an amazing f/f romance and great representation (Grace describing what bisexual meant to her was so accurate), and it has such a summery setting. There is no reason not to read it during the summer!


Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Genres: fiction, mystery, crime


Why should you read it during the holidays? I do believe that there is one of Agatha Christie's novels perfect for every occasion, and when it comes to summer holidays, the first one that comes to my mind is Death on the Nile, one of the first Agatha Christie I have ever read. This particular one is set on a cruise on the Nile, which sounds full of tranquillity and of rest, an idyllic holiday. But as always, everything goes wrong, because one of the passengers is murdered. The fact that it is set in Egypt makes you travel there, next to Hercule Poirot, and it definitely feels like a holiday (gone wrong once again though, ahem, this is a trend). Considering how short and gripping Christie novels are, they're perfect to binge-read on the beach!



The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Genres: historical fiction, epistolary novel

Why should you read it during the holidays? This one is set in Guernsey - one of the Channel Islands - which makes it a perfect summer read, because it is literally set on an island, meaning that there is the sea all around it. This historical novel is set after World War II and follows Juliet Ashton, a writer, who is looking for the subject of her next book. She receives the letter of a man who has found her name written in a book by Charles Lamb. Through their correspondnce, Juliet gets to know the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which was created as an excuse during the German occupation of the island. Captivated by the members' stories and their love for books, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever. I have actually just finished reread it and it is such a gem: while I read it in April, I couldn't stop thinking about it (even though I watched the movie in June), and rereading it felt like home. Honestly, any book lover might enjoy it because of the way it talks about books, but it's wonderful in so many way. I made my best friend and my mom read it and they both loved it!


Which books make you feel like you're on holidays? 
Do you have any books set near the sea to recommend?



Lots of love,
Lucie

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Reading wrap-up + Favourites | July 2018


Hello, beautiful people!


I don't know about you, but July flew by for me. It was my month of holidays, as I was done with uni for the year and am only working in August. At the beginning of the month, I decided to challenge myself to read 31 books in 31 days, as I had time because I was on holidays, but also because I don't know how much time I'll have to read when uni starts again (I always say that, though). On top of that, I went to the beach many times, binge-watched The Clone Wars and spent time with my loved ones. Overall, July was a very happy month.

W H A T  I  R E A D

As I was saying, I challenged myself to read 31 books in 31 days in July (aka one per day) and I did it! Now, while I'm a fast reader, I don't normally read that much, I had done something similar three years ago and I wanted to know if I could still do it. As my reading wrap-up is pretty long, I broke it down between novels, novellas, comics/graphic novels and non-fiction books and put pictures of the books I recommend the most at the end of this section, to try keep it a bit more interesting (I'm really sorry considering the length, but there are pictures in the second part of the post *hides)!


Here are all the books that I read:


Novels:
  • Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon, 2.5/5 stars
  • The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw, 3.75/5 stars
  • Frenchman's Creek by Daphne du Maurier 5/5 stars
  • L'Œuvre by Emile Zola, 3.5/5 stars
  • To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo, 3.5/5 stars
  • A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews, 4/5 stars
  • Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson, 4/5 stars
  • The Lake House by Kate Morton, 4/5 stars
  • Dreamer's Pool by Juliet Marillier, 3.5/5 stars
  • Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie, 2.5/5 stars
  • The Visit of the Royal Physician by Per Olov Enquist, 4.5/5 stars
  • The Surface Breaks by Louise O'Neill, 3/5 stars
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, 4/5 stars
  • Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley, 3.5/5 stars
  • The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell, 4/5 stars
  • La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman, 2/5 stars

Novellas:
  • Son of the Dawn by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan, 3/5 stars
  • Cast Long Shadows by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan, 4.5/5 stars 
  • Every Exquisite Thing by Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson, 5/5 stars
  • Learn about Loss by Cassandra Clare and Kelly Link, 3.5/5 stars

Comics/Graphic Novels:
  • The Unstoppable Wasp, vol. 1: Unstoppable!, 3.5/5 stars
  • The Unstoppable Wasp, vol. 2: Agent of G.I.R.L., 4.5/5 stars
  • Spider-Gwen, vol. 0: Most Wanted?, 3/5 stars
  • Spider-Gwen, vol. 1: Greater Power, 3.5/5 stars
  • Spider-Gwen, vol. 2: Weapon of Choice, 3.5/5 stars
  • Spider-Gwen, vol. 3: Long-Distance, 3/5 stars
  • Spider-Gwen, vol. 4: Predators, 4/5 stars
  • Spider-Gwen, vol. 5: Gwenom, 4/5 stars
  • Spider-Gwen, vol. 6, 3/5 stars

Non-fiction:
  • Saint-Exupéry: l'archange et l'écrivain by Nathalie des Vallières (for work)
  • The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking, 4/5 stars

Phew, it was quite a long list to make this time around. I will *try* to write a blog post all about this challenge, so I could explain the whole experience to you. Anyhow, out of all of them, here are the books I think are absolutely amazing and that you should read (I didn't include the novellas but they were fantastic):


As you can see, I'm really into historical fiction these days 
and I'm quite obsessed with Denmark, so.


F A V O U R I T E  B L O G  P O S T S

Lucy @ Queen of Contemporary (you might also know her as lucythereader on YouTube) introduced her debut novel, The Paper & Hearts Society, which will be published in June 2019 (I am beyond happy for her and excited to read it).
Cait @ Paper Fury wonders if there has been a rise in 4.5 stars ratings.
Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books talked about how to gain followers and interactions on your blog.
Ashleigh @ A Frolic Through Fiction picked her holiday TBR by reading the first chapter of each books, I'm quite interested in the books she picked up and it's such a good idea!
Aimee @ Aimee, Always talked about her blogging schedule.




F A V O U R I T E S

EVENT // Football World Cup

From mid-June to mid-July was held the 2018 FIFA World Cup, an international football tournament contested by the men's national teams of the member associations of FIFA once every four years, which took place in Russia. Not many people know this about me, but watching football was actually a big part of my childhood, because I watched it with my dad from time to time, my brother used to play football, my dad took us to many games, my brother and I. I remember eating too much French fries, being all caught up in the excitement when our team scored. Of course, I also follow our national team games, so this one was no exception. I watched many games with my family, my boyfriend and my best friend, and it was so much fun! Moreover, France won, the atmosphere was so unique everywhere and it made me so proud to be French and to see how united we could be. I also developed a crush on Hugo Lloris, our team captain, but we'll not mention that. AHEM.



PLACE // Le Touquet-Paris-Plage

Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, a town set near the sea in the north of France, is my second childhood home. My grandparents and most of my mom's family live there, we also are lucky enough to have a small flat there, which means that we always go on holidays over there, as it's only about an hour from where we normally live. It is such a lovely town, that really comes alive during the summer, I have so many memories there. I'm definitely a sea kind of girl and I'm never happier than when I'm there. I love smelling the sea in the air, to have the wind messing with my hair, to walk near the sea for hours on end. I went there for an entire week with my best friend, also a few days with my boyfriend, and I couldn't have asked for better holidays. I usually forget about all life problems and responsibilities when I'm there, I truly needed it.

DRINK // Tourtel Twist


Because of the heat, my parents started buying a fruit-flavoured non-alcoholic beer and we've been obsessed with it, we tried out every taste. I also converted my best friend to it and we couldn't do without our Tourtel Twist when we were at the beach. It was the perfect drink for when we were watching football games and it so makes me feel on holidays. 

FOOD // Reese's

I also got quite obsessed with Reese's during my week of holidays with Caroline, as she made me try them, it became one of our main reasons to go to the supermarket (let's not mention reason #1, which is the fact that they had pictures of the French football team), as we don't have them everywhere in France. If you don't know it, it's a chocolate sweet with peanut better and I could eat those all day (I shouldn't though).




TV SHOW // The Clone Wars

In July, I decided to binge-watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars that I had started in March, so I could move on to Star Wars: Rebels in August, to be ready for Star Wars: Resistance in the Fall (being a Star Wars fan is great, between the movies, the animated series and the books, there is always something to get through). Like with the previous seasons I watched, I adored this animated series so much, Ahsoka Tano and Obi-Wan Kenobi are still my favourite characters in it. I also had a soft spot for Asajj Ventress, though. Moreover, the show was celebrating its ten years and it was quite a big thing at Comic-Con, then they announced... That it would be coming back for more episodes! I was the happiest about that, because it had been cancelled and they never really had the closure they wanted. Oh, and it makes me want to rewatch the prequel trilogy, even though it's not really my favourite?!

MOVIE // Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

Before Ant-Man and the Wasp was released, I got around to rewatching the first Ant-Man movie and I had forgotten how much I loved it and how fun it was! It actually made me want to read more of the comics, especially those around the Wasp, which is why I read The Unstoppable Wasp (it was so adorable) this month. Then came out Ant-Man and the Wasp, which definitely lived up to the first one and I adored how Hope had a more important role in this one! The storyline was so interesting and I loved the antagonist they introduced in it, because said antagonist was so human. I also have a soft spot for the father/daughter dynamic between Scott and Cassie. 

MOVIE // Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)


Last, but certainly not least, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again came out in July. As I've been typing this article, I was listening to the soundtrack for the millionth time. I definitely fell in love with this movie, I cannot wait to rewatch it again and again. I loved learning about Donna's story, I laughed really hard (especially when it was about Harry), cried as well, and was overwhelmed the entire time. The cast did such an amazing job and it was so nice to see them all together again (I'm also talking about the press tour, because mY HEART). It's no secret that I love Lily James and she was amazing in this movie, I started crying when she sang the first time, and fangirled a lot... You know how I am. I also need all of Donna's wardrobe. That is all.



L O O K I N G  A H E A D

The month of August is going to be so interesting: I'll be at my summer job full time, working on a private archival fonds and I'm quite looking forward to that. August is also a month filled with birthdays and anniversaries, as it has my best friend's and my boyfriend's birthdays, as well as our anniversary with my boyfriend. I'm also quite excited to go to the movies in August, because Christopher Robin, BlacKkKlansman, Mary Shelley and The Darkest Minds will be released in France! There are also several books coming out, such as The Rebel Waves, Dance of Thieves, City of Ghosts and the Toil & Trouble anthology! August, I am ready for you.

How did July treat you? Any new favourite things?

Lots of love,
Lucie

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Mr Selfridge | Currently Watching


Hello, beautiful people!


Yesterday, I finished a period drama that I have been loving for the past year, Mr Selfridge. I've come to realise that I really wanted to talk more about period dramas or TV shows in general on here and I've said that several times, but I haven't done so that much. So, I decided to start to fix that, which is why I wanted to talk about this show specifically today!

To be completely honest,  I started Mr Selfridge because it was set more or less in the same time period that Downton Abbey, which is my favourite period drama. I did put it on the back burner for a little why because I was actually rewatching Downton Abbey last summer, but the more I watched it, the more I adored it.

WHAT IS MR SELFRIDGE ABOUT?

Mr Selfridge is a TV show made of four seasons (each of ten episodes) that tells the story of Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of the Selfridges department store, starting in 1908, when the store was open. Each season follows a different time period and the fourth and final one finishes twenty years later. It follows Harry Selfridge's story, as well as his family and his employees.

To get a better idea of what to expect, here's the trailer of the first season:



MY THOUGHTS ON THE SHOW

As I've said, one of the reasons I started this TV show was because it was set more or less in the same time period than Downton Abbey, as it runs from 1908 to 1928. Not only that, but as the show followed the insides of a store, it follows the Selfridges, the family of the infamous owner, as well as the employees, which is a little reminiscent of the upstairs/downstairs dynamics in Downton Abbey. Throughout the whole show, I've loved learning about the store, how revolutionary it was at times, about the way it was handled, the employees treated, about the different departments and how they grew. Of course, I imagine that a lot of it is fictional, but I found that a show set around a specific place, a store that was in the middle of London, was really interesting.

The Selfridge family in season 3

One of the perks of having a TV show set on twenty years was the possibility to make its characters grow, to introduce new characters and to give importance to characters that were younger at the beginning of the show. Even if a character I loved was leaving the show, I would always end up adoring another one that didn't use to be there/that I didn't use to love, which always kept me invested in the different storylines. For example, the Selfridge children used to be mentioned here and there, because they were quite young, but they became such a huge part of the show, especially in seasons three and four. They were some of my favourite characters, because they were the new generation and brought some perspective their father didn't necessarily have, they also were so different from one another, yet I loved them all. 


Agnes, Kitty and Dorice, who worked in the fashion department, in season 1

Seeing the development of characters that were there for the course of the four seasons was so interesting and it made me look up to them, because I could see how much they had achieved in twenty years and how much their career meant to them, the best example of that being Kitty, whom I didn't like very much at first. As the show has such a big cast of characters, it also helps you to be invested in some storylines more than others, especially if there are characters that you don't like that much, as you'll always have the others (let's face it, Harry was quite irritating and that's part of his character, but still).

Moreover, I found that this period drama tackled down so many important subjects, whether it was self-made fortunes, drinking, racism, sexual assault, PTSD and many others. I particularly loved the way it portrayed women, talking about how married women, then mothers were supposed to leave their jobs at the time, but also showing women putting their careers first, not letting anyone bullying them into being wives and mothers, as well as women who did both. I thought it did a great job at showing all the possibilities, never saying that one possibility was better than another.

An example of costumes in Mr SelfridgeAlso look!!
 Daisy Ridley guest starred in that episode and I screamed when I saw her, I had no idea.

This period drama was also so visually pleasing to watch. As it was set in Selfridges, it focused a lot on exhibiting the products of the store in the best way, for fashion or grand-themed displays. The costumes were absolutely stunning, whether it was those from the beginning of the century or those from the Roaring Twenties, that's something I always love about period dramas. Seeing the window displays was always such a delight as well, because Harry Selfridge always wanted to do spectacular things, so his customers would remember that, he was quite the showman and the show showed that in the best way. It also guest-starred several historical figures and it was so much fun to see them from time to time, take for example Elizabeth Arden, Anna Pavlova or even A.A. Milne.

Overall, I would definitely recommend you this period drama, whether you have seen many of them or not, it's so easy to get invested in the different storylines and to pick it back up after not watching it for a while, as there are time jumps for each season. My favourite season was the third one for sure, I have to admit that I have a soft spot for the Roaring Twenties and I loved Violette Selfridge so much, but I loved every single episode of it! I'm in such a mood for period dramas right now, so I'll make sure to watch more before the summer ends.


Do you watch period dramas? If so, which ones are your favourites? 
Have you watched this one?


Lots of love,
Lucie