Blogtober Day 23: A Day In My Life

Blogtober Day 23

Day One: Spooky TBR    /   Day Two: October Releases    /   Day Three: Bookish Autumn Bucket List    /   Day Four: Perfect Cosy Reading Nook    /   Day Five: Top 5 Disney Villains    /   Day Six: Strong Woman Horror Trope    /   Day Seven: Reading Snacks    /   Day Eight: 5 Autumn Reads    /   Day Nine: Vampires and Werewolves    /   Day Ten: Spooky TBR Update    /   Day Eleven: Witches    /   Day Twelve: Books I Should Have Read    /   Day Thirteen: Review – Under My Hat Anthology    /   Day Sixteen: This Time Last Year    /   Day Seventeen: Reading Drinks    /   Day Nineteen: Paranormal Romance    /   Day Twenty-One: Which Villain Would You Be?

Challenge List – Anniek’s Library 

For this, I’m going to take a weekday, because my weekends tend to be pretty different from one another, depending on whether I’m home or at my BFs, if I need to run errands, what needs to be done etc.

So a typical weekday, for me, then.

I get up around 7:10, have a shower, get ready for work. Sit in front of the TV and watch the news while having a cold coffee straight from the fridge. I then walk to work, playing Wizard’s Unite. For my day-job, I work as an administor, so it’s mostly processing work, auditing it, and filing.

After work, I sometimes go to Tesco with the BF then walk home, get a bus home or up the town centre, or, when I’m lucky, get a lift home from one of the wonderful women I work with. At home, until 6PM, I’ll watch YouTube videos with the BF, before he heads off to catch the train back home.

Some people might be aware I have recently started beta-reading through the website Fiverr. If I have a job on, this is when I’ll get on with it. For longer jobs, it’s mostly all I do in the evening, though I take a couple of breaks here and there, checking social media or playing games on my phone.

If the work is a little shorter, I have more time, then I do what me and my BF refer to as ‘Ellie Things’. If I have no work, I write amongst other things, instead. Ellie Things are a mixture – a bit of time spent on games, such as Sims or Planet Coaster or Jurassic Park Evolution. Games where my brain can shut off and I can listen to podcasts while being entertained and letting my mind fester in whatever story I’m working on.

Browse a few different websites, read an article or two, maybe work on a blog post, then either read a bit of a magazine or graphic novel, research or make notes from books about writing, maybe some colouring instead. Making sure at some point, I read some of whatever book I have to review next, either for this blog or for Dead Head ReviewsThen it’s some time spent on beta-reading or writing my own work.

It’s these parts that make my day – being able to do what I want to do, and if I’m not at my BF’s, it’s what I do mostly on weekends too. Ideally, I’ll be in my pjs at my laptop, maybe with a latte from Greggs – a situation the BF calls ‘An Ellie in her natural habitat.” He knows me very well.

So yeah, that’s pretty much it. Not very interesting, but a quick insight into my day!

Blogtober Day 21: Which Villain Would You Be?

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Day One: Spooky TBR    /   Day Two: October Releases    /   Day Three: Bookish Autumn Bucket List    /   Day Four: Perfect Cosy Reading Nook    /   Day Five: Top 5 Disney Villains    /   Day Six: Strong Woman Horror Trope    /   Day Seven: Reading Snacks    /   Day Eight: 5 Autumn Reads    /   Day Nine: Vampires and Werewolves    /   Day Ten: Spooky TBR Update    /   Day Eleven: Witches    /   Day Twelve: Books I Should Have Read    /   Day Thirteen: Review – Under My Hat Anthology    /   Day Sixteen: This Time Last Year    /   Day Seventeen: Reading Drinks    /   Day Nineteen: Paranormal Romance

Challenge List – Anniek’s Library 

This one required a fair bit of thinking, on both my part and my boyfriend’s. It’s really hard to find a villain ‘I would be’. I think we all want to be particular villains, whether it’s because they look awesome or they have amazing powers, but when it comes down to it, they’re villains for a reason, right? They do bad things, and the beauty of a good villain comes from teasing out their motivations.

Do they think they’re doing good, or are they just looking for money or power or revenge? One of my favourite villains-turned-heroes is Hook, in Once Upon a Time, a man who starts out desiring nothing more than revenge, before he realises there’s so much more to life than that. Then there’s Poison Ivy, who loves nature and despises those who hate it. But you also have those villains who do not need to be sympathised with, who even with tragic backstories still do unspeakable things. Voldemort. Joker. People who infect those around them and encourage them to do evil in their name.

But then there are those villains who you discover are…not actually villains at all. The ones who are set up to be the bad guy, and you realise just need the equivalent of a Snickers to soothe their soul.

As I was pondering this, I thought back to a very particular villain, one who, throughout the film, is talked about in hushed tones, revered and frightening and someone you really don’t want to mess with. And I thought about how this character had something taken from her, how it turned her into a rageful, destructive being who is unable to listen to anyone who tries to help, until someone finally manages to break through to her.

Essentially, I thought of a character who could, really, represent some of my darkest days, as well as my brightest, a character who reminds me of what I came through, and how much I have changed, and yet how depression can still lurk around the corner – but I have people to help me, and I have those who aren’t afraid to reach through the fire and tell me, “I know who are you.” I just have to remind myself that sometimes, that isn’t me, and it’s okay to admit that.

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Blogtober Day 17: Reading Drinks

Blogtober Day 17

Day One: Spooky TBR    /   Day Two: October Releases    /   Day Three: Bookish Autumn Bucket List    /   Day Four: Perfect Cosy Reading Nook    /   Day Five: Top 5 Disney Villains    /   Day Six: Strong Woman Horror Trope    /   Day Seven: Reading Snacks    /   Day Eight: 5 Autumn Reads    /   Day Nine: Vampires and Werewolves    /   Day Ten: Spooky TBR Update    /   Day Eleven: Witches    /   Day Twelve: Books I Should Have Read    /   Day Thirteen: Review – Under My Hat Anthology    /   Day Sixteen: This Time Last Year

Challenge List – Anniek’s Library 

There’s nothing like setting down with a good book and a favourite beverage. Personally, I love writing when I have a coffee (preferably latte) or glass of Jack Daniels and coke at my side. For reading, it’s not too dissimilar, though I very rarely read with a drink – my main reading time is at work on lunch, or before bed.

But when I go away – for example, visiting my brother in Margate – I love to sit with a coffee and read, as usually it’s one of the few times I’m disconnected from the need to write or work or whatever it is I usually do when I’m in front of my laptop.

And there’s a particular reason coffee and book shops go well together. There’s something lovely about curling up with a hot drink and sinking into a good book. For me, it would have to be a flavoured coffee (I do love Beanies) or latte with some sort of syrup.

If I had the time, the evenings now and then would probably consist of me curling up with a book and glass of wine, or sinking into a hot bath with both of those things. So yeah, my preferred reading drinks would be coffee/latte or a glass of fruity/rose wine.

Are there any particular drinks you like to read with?

 

Blogtober Day 16: This Time Last Year

Blogtober Day 16

Day One: Spooky TBR    /   Day Two: October Releases    /   Day Three: Bookish Autumn Bucket List    /   Day Four: Perfect Cosy Reading Nook    /   Day Five: Top 5 Disney Villains    /   Day Six: Strong Woman Horror Trope    /   Day Seven: Reading Snacks    /   Day Eight: 5 Autumn Reads    /   Day Nine: Vampires and Werewolves    /   Day Ten: Spooky TBR Update    /   Day Eleven: Witches    /   Day Twelve: Books I Should Have Read    /   Day Thirteen: Review – Under My Hat Anthology

Challenge List – Anniek’s Library 

As mentioned in a previous post, I’m going to be more selective with what Blogtober prompts I use for the last few days left of this month, mainly as I was struggling with some of them and I’m already behind, and at least this way I can do posts I enjoy, rather than forcing myself to spend ages stuck on one.

So! Books I was reading this time last year.

I often read graphic novels at my desk, between doing other things, so when I have some, quite often I’m reading them as well as a sort of ‘main’ book, so I actually have two books I was reading around this time last year.

The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening & The Struggle- L.J. Smith

Date Finished: October 14th, 2018

vampire diariesA long time ago, I was in a Very Bad Place. Couldn’t sleep, and when I did, I faced nightmares. So I’d often stay up late, watching TV after my dad had gone to bed, and one day I decided to check out a series I’d been hesitant about until then. I didn’t realise it was a spin-off, but I quickly got absorbed into watching The Originals, and when I caught up, I devoured The Vampire Diaries, catching up with both right before their final seasons. So once they were all over, and I needed some sort of Vampire Diaries fix while waiting for Legacies, I picked up this book. And you know what? It was all right! (In the totally British way ‘all right’ way, imagine it with a certain inflection that indicates it’s somewhere around ‘good’) The writing isn’t amazing, and it kind of doesn’t hold up that well, but the characters were fun and tension ran throughout, and it was nice to lose myself in that world again.

It’s hard to say if you’d enjoy this book if you like the show. Certain elements are completely different, but it’s fun to read and see what the showrunners lifted, and the sort of things they decided (for the better) were best left out. The show remains true to the novel in the best way, while improving on a lot of it, for sure.

Damon is still absolutely drop dead gorgeous in it though.

Game of Thrones: The Graphic Novel, Volume Two

got graphic novelI’m a big fan of graphic novel adaptations. Actually, I’m just a big fan of graphic novels in general, but when a book is transformed into one, it feels like it adds a whole new layer to the text. And it’s great to see an artist’s view on the characters and settings. One thing I really like about the GOT ones in particular are the fact they can put in so much more than the show could. Everything feels that more accurate to the book – character ages, the size of the Iron Throne, appearances, etc. It works really well, and it’s an absolute pleasure to read. The writers and artists have done an excellent job.

(I would also recommend The Dark Tower graphic novels. They are bloody brilliant.)

I’m kind of surprised no one’s done a Harry Potter one, as it’s a story that could work really well in this format.

Anyway, if you like the TV show and/or the books, I really do suggest picking this up. Overall, it’s a nice addition for any fan’s collection.

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A Change Of Tack For Blogtober

If you’ve been following my blogtober posts, you might have come to the same conclusion as I have. There’s no way I’m going to catch up at this point. I was hoping to get a few new posts out this week, but honestly, I’ve been so swamped with other stuff, stressed about various things, blogging sunk to the bottom of my priority list, especially with how much I was struggling with the next few posts.

Blogging for me is to get my words out there, hopefully entertain a few people, and enjoy it. At this point, I don’t want it to be stressful, there’s enough going on with that already.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to skip a few days, here and there, and post with the prompts I find interesting or where I feel I have something to say. If, doing this, I do catch up, I’ll stick to the remaining prompts as closely as I can, or at least come up with alternatives.

So yeah, that’s what’s happening. And hopefully, as we enter the last few days of Spooky Season, you enjoy my last few posts.

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Blogtober Day Thirteen: Review – Under My Hat Anthology

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Day One: Spooky TBR    /   Day Two: October Releases    /   Day Three: Bookish Autumn Bucket List    /   Day Four: Perfect Cosy Reading Nook    /   Day Five: Top 5 Disney Villains    /   Day Six: Strong Woman Horror Trope    /   Day Seven: Reading Snacks    /   Day Eight: 5 Autumn Reads    /   Day Nine: Vampires and Werewolves    /   Day Ten: Spooky TBR Update    /   Day Eleven: Witches    /   Day Twelve: Books I Should Have Read

Challenge List – Anniek’s Library 

Under My Hat is an anthology, featuring some of the best known voices in fantasy fiction. The stories are all based off the idea of witches, some with the traditional ideas we know but with a slight twist, others with more varied, unrecognisable characters, and each one a delight to read.

There are elements of fantasy and horror in here, but most lean away from horror, focusing on other aspects of witchcraft. The first (Stray Magic) is a really sweet, endearing story about a dog separated from her master. There’s a story about a young woman who has recently joined a wiccan coven, and is searching for her belief. A tale about a cursed girl takes an interesting twist when her dead grandmother is bought back to life to protect her. And a young man in a forest comes across a woman who seems to be half cat, half human.

The anthology is well written, really well put together, and none of the stories blur into the other. Each has its own voice, and its own unique charm, carrying you from one tale to the next and making the book as a whole quite difficult to put down.

Overall, this is a really strong, interesting collection of stories, one that’s perfect for spooky season, and one that takes what could be seen as a stock character, and adds layers upon layers to it, without making the witches completely unrecognisable.

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Blogtober Day Twelve: Books I Should Have Read

Blogtober Day 12

Day One: Spooky TBR    /   Day Two: October Releases    /   Day Three: Bookish Autumn Bucket List    /   Day Four: Perfect Cosy Reading Nook    /   Day Five: Top 5 Disney Villains    /   Day Six: Strong Woman Horror Trope    /   Day Seven: Reading Snacks    /   Day Eight: 5 Autumn Reads    /   Day Nine: Vampires and Werewolves    /   Day Ten: Spooky TBR Update    /   Blogtober Day Eleven: Witches

Challenge List – Anniek’s Library 

I don’t tend to set myself goals for reading specific books in a certain year or month, but I do admit I have a problem with picking up books, putting them on my TBR and letting them slowly get covered by others. My TBR is a literal stack, which means the older books tend to get lost. They’re still visible, I just can’t get to them without difficultly or risking the whole thing coming down.

For this list, I checked some of the books I purchased last year on Amazon, and came across three I haven’t yet read. I could have used my TBR, but honestly, unless I’m picking out a book, looking at it kind of induces slight panic.

So, three books I purchased and should have read last year.

The Girl and the Grove – Eric Smith

the girl and the grove.jpgI picked this up because a long time ago, I started following Eric Smith on Twitter. For those aren’t aware, he’s an agent and now also a writer, who always seems really supportive of his writers. I really think I’ll like this one, let’s hope I can get to it some time before 2030!

Empty Cradles – Margaret Humphreys

empty cradles.jpgI can’t remember how I heard of this book, but I knew instantly it was one I had to read. I try to read a variety of nonfiction, and the stories of children shipped across the British empire is one that really intrigues me. But it’s quite a big book, and one that deals with a fairly emotional topic, so every time I’ve gone to pick it up, I’ve sort of hesitated. I think I need to be in the right frame of mind to tackle this one.

Mondays Are Red – Nicola Morgan

mondays are redThis is one I picked up, because it sounded intriguing, put on my TBR, and watched as other books appeared on top of it – funny how that happens, isn’t it? It’s not got great reviews on Goodreads, but I still want to read it. I just need to clear the books from on top of it, first.

So there we go, three books I should have read last year. Let’s hope they don’t appear on the same list this time next year. Are there any books you’ve put off reading? Or have you read any of these and think I should definitely check them out urgently?

 

 

 

Blogtober Day Ten: Spooky TBR Update

Blogtober Day Ten

Day One: Spooky TBR    /   Day Two: October Releases    /   Day Three: Bookish Autumn Bucket List    /   Day Four: Perfect Cosy Reading Nook    /   Day Five: Top 5 Disney Villains    /   Day Six: Strong Woman Horror Trope    /   Day Seven: Reading Snacks    /   Day Eight: 5 Autumn Reads    /   Day Nine: Vampires and Werewolves

Challenge List – Anniek’s Library 

Another one I’ve amended slightly – day ten on the list is Reading Challenge update, but I don’t tend to do reading challenges, so I thought I could take a look and see how things are going with the books I mentioned in my first Blogtober post.

The first book mentioned in the post was Under My Hat, an anthology featuring some of under my hatthe leading names in fantasy, all based around witches. I am currently just a few short pages away from finishing it. And it’s really, really good. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading this one, and there are definitely some authors I’ll be checking out more from in the future.

The other book I was reading at the start of October was Laurel Hightower’s fantastic, eerie Whispers in the Dark. I finished that, and you can find my review (as well as an interview with the author) on Dead Head Reviews. You can also see more of my thoughts on thewhispers book, especially in relation to the trope of the strong female, in the Day Six post.

The other books I mentioned wanting to read were –

The Sea Was A Fair Master – Calvin Demmer

Danse Macabre – Stephen King

World Of Horror Anthology

Dear Laura – Gemma Amor

And, oops, I’ve not actually got to any of them yet! After Whispers, I ended up reading The Tunnelers by Geoff Gander and A Parallel Abyss by Kat Wicks (links included to reviews on Dead Head). I’m currently in the midst of In the Scrape, by James Newman and Mark Steensland. It really is a fantastic book, and it’s completely and utterly sucked me in!

With Dear Laura specifically, it’s just a nice, slim book, I’m tempted to save it for my upcoming Disney trip, as it’ll fit in nicely to my bag, so I might not actually get to that one until November. But we’ll see.

I kind of veered away from my Spooky TBR, but I’ve still read a lot this month! If you’re participating in a reading challenge for October, how are you getting along? Or have you made a dent in your own spooky TBRs?

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Blogtober Day Seven: Reading Snacks

Blogtober_ Day Seven

Day One: Spooky TBR    /   Day Two: October Releases    /   Day Three: Bookish Autumn Bucket List    /   Day Four: Perfect Cosy Reading Nook    /   Day Five: Top 5 Disney Villains    /   Day Six: Strong Woman Horror Trope

Challenge List – Anniek’s Library 

I don’t tend to really snack when reading, probably because I usually read when I’m in bed, or in work while I’m eating lunch. I also don’t really snack at home. I snack at work, and it’s usually just a packet of crisps or some chocolate, and I snack at lot at the BF’s when I’m playing video games, but not usually outside of that. But I can think of what sort of snacks I’d enjoy if I was settling in and planning on reading for a good few hours.

For reading, I think a hot drink is best, especially on a cold, crisp night. Hot chocolate, or perhaps my favourite – a flavoured latte. (Not even kidding, Greggs do an amazing caramel latte and McDonalds do a good toffee one – I prefer them over Costa and Starbucks!)

Some biscuits as well of course – I love chocolate covered biscuits, but some custard creams would also go nicely, just make sure you don’t get any crumbs on the pages!

And chocolate. My favourite chocolate is Galaxy, though honestly I love trying different kinds, as long as they don’t have nuts in! I also often tend to go through phases with different chocolates. My recent one was Dark Milk, which tastes amazing.

Cake! Of course. Cake is always good, whether it’s a simple Victoria Sponge, or a trifle cake which one of my colleagues makes (any cake she makes is just really, really good). Can’t beat a good slice of cake or a delicious cupcake.

Now, excuse me while I go raid the kitchen for some biscuits!

Do you snack while reading? What  are your favourite snacks?

Blogtober Day 5: Top 5 Disney Villains

Blogtober Day 5.pngDay One: Spooky TBR

Day Two: October Releases

Day Three: Bookish Autumn Bucket List

Day Four: Cosy Reading Nook

Anniek’s Library: Challenge List

Anyone who has spent any time following me on Twitter probably knows by now that I love Disney. Disney films bring a lot of comfort to me, I was lucky enough to spend my fifth birthday in Walt Disney World, and I’ll be spending my 30th at Disneyland Paris, because I am, indeed, a very lucky woman. And, let’s face it, Disney villains are freaking awesome, otherwise we wouldn’t have had a whole spin off dedicated to Maleficent.

But how to sort them into a top 5? It feels like there are so many different directions this could go. Top most stylish? Top 5 best songs? Top deserve-their-own-live-action-film?

I’ve pondered this, and I’ve come to a conclusion.

This list will be my top 5 most frightening villains – from an adult’s perspective. The darkest villains. Sure, Maleficent can turn into a dragon, and the Evil Queen is terrifying when she transforms into an old hag, but have you ever stopped to think about the villains who are actually abusive? Or sing about, well, rape?

Top 5 Terrifying Disney Villains

1. Lotso

lotso
Ain’t he just an adorable, fluffy bear of evil

Lotso, the pink cuddly bear from Toy Story 3, is evil. He twists the minds of those around him, convinces them they’re unwanted, unloved, and only he can give their lives purpose. And he tries to destroy anyone who tries to escape, or who doesn’t fall in line. Lotso is a cult leader; one intent on clinging to power, anyway he can.

2. Lady Tremaine

lady tremaine
Can we have a nice step-mother for once, please, Disney?

Ahh, Lady Tremaine, the widow with two daughters who remarries and then, after the death of her second husband, enforces a strict life of servitude on Cinderella. I’ve seen the argument that Tremaine is a grieving widow, but plenty of people grieve without inflicting child abuse on those under their care. And that’s not to mention the way she treats her daughters – yep, they don’t get out lightly either. She forces them to dress a certain way, to act a certain way, all with the aim of finding a rich husband. She uses her daughters, step- and bio, just to try and better her own life, rather than ensuring her daughters are able to live full, happy lives. She’s selfish and abusive, and if Cinderella was set now, social workers would be knocking down their door before the Fairy Godmother could say bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.

3. Judge Claude Frollo

judge claude frollo
Who is the monster and who is the man?

Frollo is a villain who, as I get older, gets worse and worse. There’s so much more to him than I thought as a kid, because quite frankly, so much of his character went straight over my head. For starters, he’s a religious fanatic – he doesn’t follow Christ’s teachings, but uses God and Christianity as a shield for his own actions, positioning himself as a champion of good and using religion as an excuse to enact his own evil, cruel policies. He threatens people. He’s the reason Quasimodo’s mother dies in the first place, as he chases her down and onto the steps of the cathedral (though seriously, where was the archdeacon when she was banging on the doors asking to be let in?) and he almost DROWNS A DAMN BABY. He convinces Quasimodo he cares for him, keeps him locked up and warns him against going outside. Like Mother Gothel, Frollo’s power over our hero is only there because the hero loves them back, because Quasimodo and Rapunzel love the people who claim to be their parents. And on top of that, HE FULL ON WANTS TO RAPE ESMERALDA. Hellfire is one of the most underrated, terrifying Disney songs, where Frollo basically states that if he cannot have her, no one can. Manipulative and abusive, Frollo feels sometimes way too realistic, with the kind of attitude, belief and power that combined, make him a very dangerous man indeed.

4. Hans

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Hans is the guy who posts on AITA; “I convinced a girl I loved her after knowing her for 5 minutes so I can take over her kingdom, but I was left with no choice…AITA? I really don’t think I am. Her and her sister should just give me the kingdom I can rule it better”

Seriously, this guy. He targets the sisters, and only goes for Anna because he can instantly see how vulnerable she is, how easy it would be to win her over. He manipulates her, and right at the crucial moment, breaks her poor heart (and probably half the audience’s, too!). And yes, there are fantastic parallels between Hans in Frozen and Littlefinger in Game of Thrones, and not just because THAT moment feels so eerily similar. But Hans is the kind of guy who lures you with his looks, who acts like a nice guy while he’s drip feeding abuse into your ear. Let’s face it, if he and Anna HAD married, it wouldn’t take long before her self-esteem was at all time low and she had no one to turn to but him. He’s more than willing to kill Elsa, not because he thinks she poses a threat, but simply because he wants the kingdom all for himself. What an arsehole.

5. Zira

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‘My Lullaby’ is a massively underrated Disney song.

Okay, here me out.

Zira is the antagonist for the sequel to Lion King, aka the big bad of Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride. She’s a devoted follower of Scar, and as such, sets up her son, Kovu, raising him with the goal of Kovu killing Simba, then taking the pride for himself. Though of course he’d be little more than a puppet king, with Zira as the main power. Zira makes the list because not only is she hellbent on revenge, she is more than willing to use her children to achieve her goal. In some respects, she does care for them – she is honestly upset when one dies – but like Lady Tremaine, there are elements of abuse in the way she treats them, and she is happy to manipulate them in order to achieve her goals. Again, she doesn’t want to see Kovu as alpha male so he can have a better life, she wants it so she can have the power.

And ‘My Lullaby’ is an absolutely awesome song, and a brilliant follow up to Scar’s ‘Be Prepared’.

So there we have it, 5 Disney villains. What are your thoughts? Are there any particular Disney villains you love to hate, or ones you think are downright evil?