‘Paper has that drawback: it’s made to remember all of our errors, whether it’s writing on it, as I do now, or folding and unfolding it, as I did then.’
Like the image above, where the origami figures are present but not at the forefront, this unusual pastime underpins the main themes of Ramifications. It helps to characterise events and allows the reader to conjure clear visual images of each analogy as they unfold.
What a magnificent read. Another brilliant book published by Charco Press. This is a raw, deeply personal and intense retrospective account written from the perspective of an adult retelling his childhood in an attempt to make sense of his mother’s disappearance in 1994.
Through a ‘matter of fact’ narration style, the author provides an extremely valuable and touching novel, one which will stay with me for a long time.
Written twenty years on from her disappearance, the narrator searches his past to find out more about what happened when his mother was believed to have fled to join the Zapatista uprising in Mexico when he was just 10 years old.
Through his deeply personal analysis of the past, he discovers more about his life than he would ever have anticipated. The narrator, now an adult, sees once unquestioned memories as more significant and less innocent than before. A shock discovery meant that this book continued to pick up pace even in the last few chapters.
This books is a brilliant read. It explores important and interesting themes such as sociopolitical context, innocence (and loss of innocence), love, cruelty, the long lasting detrimental impact childhood events have on a person throughout their lives and the ways in which this manifests through patterns of behaviour and outlook.
It comes as no surprise to learn that Daniel Saldaña París is an award winning author. This book is masterfully written. Ramifications is clear, easy to pick up and very hard to put down.
I highly recommend you order this book! Order now!
I started this book whilst on my first sunny holiday in a long time. We went to Kos, Greece and I was so excited to lounge around on the lush beach with a good book.
This one certainly did not disappoint!
I must admit, I was getting easily distracted whilst reading the first 100 pages or so. It was very descriptive and didn’t feel like much was happening. The fact that I was in a new setting with so much to look at probably contributed to my short attention span, though.
After 100 pages, it felt as though the scene was set, the characters were developed and the plot really did begin to get more gripping. From then, I struggled to put it down!
So.. what is this book about? For me, the title was so intriguing as it did not offer much in terms of plot, nor did the blurb. In fact, without having read such brilliant reviews of this book, I may not have ever picked it up! The power of Bookstagram!!
This book is breathtaking. Owens’ descriptive language is something I’ve not indulged in for a long time. Her vivid imagery allows the reader to conjure beautiful images and means that reading this book becomes an experience.
Kya is not just an outcast in her local town, but she is isolated, ostracised and treated terribly. Living alone in the Marsh, she is branded ‘The Marsh Girl.’ From an early age, she is abandoned by those who mean the most to her. Owens’ perfectly articulates how this hardens a person, even a child. Kya grows up beyond her years, learning how to fend for herself, because this is the only option she has.
Through her isolation, Kya forms some bonds, but her fear of abandonment means that she struggles to build relationships in the conventional way. As a child, she learns to love another and this grows as she enters her teenage years. Then, as she becomes a young woman, she finds love again. This time, it is more complicated. She is wronged and the innocence of their love is smashed to pieces.
When a well respected and loved member of the community dies under suspicious circumstances, the townspeople quickly turn to accuse one person – The Marsh Girl.
This is a book about love, loss, fear, strength, family, independence, sexuality and prejudice. It is about pursuing your passion and staying true to yourself. It is a powerful read, one which made me sob after I read the final pages.
Where The Crawdads Sing absolutely lives up to the hype. I strongly recommend you read it for yourself. However, I know that I’m pretty late to the party with this one – if you’ve already read it, would you read it again? I certainly would!
What a masterpiece. This book is bloody brilliant!
Feeney’s writing is raw, real, hilarious and heart-wrenching – all at once! Her style is heavily influenced by Ulysses which is both unusual but also a major factor contributing to the charm of this book. It is easy to acknowledge how the paragraphing throughout this book contributes to the overall experience. And that’s right, reading this book is an experience!
Upon reading the first few chapters, I expected it to follow the journey of Sinaed after she received tragic news. However, this simply was not the case. Elaine’s poetic writing and fluid descriptions meant that each time I picked up As You Were, I was transported to a totally different place. This place was cruel, pinned against a hospital backdrop and was so realistic. Because of this, it was easy to relate to the characters and truly experience their retellings, their hurt, regrets and anguish.
The book provides valuable insights into the lives of residents on Sinead’s ward. There is so much more than meets the eye in the backstory from each of these individuals. Not only this, but these expertly developed characters become intertwined on the ward in the most peculiar way. Deep secrets are shared, unlikely friendships are formed and a vivid picture of the past is created. At the same time, the truly tragic situation of Sinead is looming and as a reader, this means you are always on the edge of your seat!
Not only is ‘As You Were’ a brilliant book in terms of content, but Feeney’s work is located within a cruel and unforgiving sociopolitical Irish context. Her work demonstrates the harsh reality of the politicisation of the individual and how lives of citizens can be contained under an oppressive system. Her work explores these norms and expectations in a sensitive yet powerful way.
This book explores so many topical, controversial and interesting elements that it takes time to read. In order to feel the full impact of this incredible narrative, you must give yourself space to digest everything the book has to offer.
Because of its intricacy, 100 different people could read this book and take from it 100 different things.
This is a story about love (and the lengths people go for love), loss, compassion, sexuality and conflicting societal expectations. It is an excellent piece of literature which explores how moments in a person’s life can be bookmarked by their environment… such as the presence of a Magpie which at first may seem insignificant or unimportant.
If you’re reading this review, I urge you to grab yourself a copy of this incredible book. Just trust me, please! Thank you so much to Elaine Feeney for gifting me this copy – I can’t wait to recommend it to everyone I know!
A man could learn all he needed to know just by watching nature at work … Everything, if you could learn to hear and see what nature had to tell and show.”
This is unlike any book that I have ever read before and I am fast becoming one of Selva Almada’s biggest fans! Published by Charco Press, I highly recommend Almada’s debut title “The Wind That Lays Waste” … read more to find out why!
In this book, four juxtaposing characters wind up together as a result of particular circumstances – was this simply chance or part of God’s plan? The four characters are; Reverend Pearson who is on an Evangelising tour with his resistant daughter Leni who meet atheist mechanic, Gringo Brauer and his assistant, a boy called Tapioca.
Whilst on his tour with Leni, the Reverend’s car breaks down leaving their fate in the hands of Gringo and Tapioca who endeavour to fix the car at their nearby Garage. The interactions between the four characters are initially mysterious, but later, secrets are shared and overall, these communications are merely the calm before the storm – both physically and symbolically.
Although to some readers it may seem that nothing much happens between the characters against the rural Argentinian backdrop, this is simply not the case. Almada explores the power of religion, belief and innocence, alongside the strength of family and impact of resistance. The true treasure of this book can be found between the lines, under the guise of what the characters say and the experiences they share. In this book the combination of a staunch believer through the Reverend paralleled with atheist Gringo allows for interesting interactions. Tensions ebb and flow throughout the book, leaving the reader gripped, but this conflict of interest eventually leads to ‘the inevitable storm.’
Based over the course of one day, the characters are effortlessly developed by Almada who makes use of multiple points of view in her narration. The perspective changes – often paragraph by paragraph – and the effect of this is expertly captured by translator, Chris Andrews. In this book, a whole chapter is dedicated to the sense of smell from the perspective of a dog. This may sound unusual, but the depth of description relayed in these few pages is vivid and captivating for the reader.
Almada is a poetic writer and, having discussed her work with Carolina from Charco Press, we spoke of how her words transport you to another place entirely. I managed to finish this book over the course of two days, only putting it down to work – I could have easily eaten up the whole story in one sitting. However, this is more than a story and should be properly digested by the reader. The book is sensual, unpredictable and captures some important themes which should be reflected upon once read.
What is death but the same dark, empty nothing, regardless of the hand that deals it?
Having read and reviewed an Advanced Reading Copy of Selva Almada’s upcoming ‘Dead Girls‘ I simply could not wait to read more of her work. This book – her debut – did not disappoint! Her writing is fluid, poetic and clear. Her messages are symbolic and expertly depicted through the characters she so well develops.
I highly recommend this book – let me know if you order it; I’d love to hear what you think!
Embarrassingly, we’ve never made pizza from scratch so this was a new challenge for us. We absolutely love Dough Re-Me’s social media pages! When the package came, we were so excited to get going and make these Pizzas!
At first glance, the package arrived in a nicely branded pizza box. Upon opening, all of the ingredients were packaged neatly and in an organised way – I really liked this! They included everything that you would need to create a pizza just like the one on the picture!
Generally, we work well in the kitchen together and making these pizzas was no exception. It was so fun to see all of the ingredients that would be going into our tea, presented in their own containers.
The instructions are clear and easy to follow, meaning you just can’t go wrong!
It was so fun to make the pizzas from scratch together and I can guarantee this is something that can be enjoyed by people of all ages! First, we rolled out the dough, then placed it in a hot pan. Next we added the tomato sauce and both types of cheese, followed by salt and pepper, a few basil leaves and a dash of oil. We then placed the pizzas under the grill for a few minutes before plating up and tucking in!
Although the process of making the pizzas was fun, it is also really straight forward. It was great to taste a classic Margarita after preparing it all in our own kitchen! What’s even better is that the hardest part of gathering and prepping the ingredients was already done for you by the team at Dough Re-Me! Admittedly, we probably could have done a better job with our pizza presentation and can’t wait to re-order to try again, but this did not take away from the taste or overall experience!
We eat large meals and we are lovers of food in a big way … So, we were curious to see whether these pizzas would fill us up. We were so surprised to find that we were absolutely stuffed after finishing our tea! That just goes to show the great quality of the ingredients used by Dough Re-Me.
I would definitely order from Dough Re-Me again – a big thanks to Ben for introducing me to what they offer and for sending us this amazing treat! This is a food company that I really recommend! The team are helpful, easy to communicate with and provide amazing quality ingredients to create your own pizzas!
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I am so excited about working with Charco Press by reviewing some of their brilliant titles. Very kindly, they have provided me with an Advanced Reading Copy of Dead Girls by Selva Almada. At first sight, I was so pleased with how clear and effective the front cover aesthetic was. The contrasting pink and green paired with a crisp white background works so well. The paper quality is brilliant which made the reading experience even more amazing.
Read more to hear my review and why I highly recommend this book!
Selva Almada delves deep into the growing problem of Femicide – the murder of women simply for being women. The fact that a red line appears under the word ‘Femicide’ when I type it, as though it is an unrecognised entity, epitomises the fact that so much more needs to be done in order to shine a light on this huge societal problem. Almada does so by focussing specifically on the case of three women, the youngest having been 15 when she was ‘raped, strangled and dumped in a wasteland.’
Dead Girls is set against the backdrop of Argentina as the country was transitioning towards democracy, symbolising freedom. This is heavily juxtaposed by a society consisting of repressed women and the unfortunate case of Andrea Danne, María Luisa Quevedo and Sarita Mundín.
Almada has expertly depicted the struggle of these women, highlighting their personal situations and the factors which led to their brutal murders, cases which were neglected by police authorities. She touches on important themes in great depth – corruption, spirituality, power, class, community and the power of media – all of which allow the reader to really understand the sociopolitical context within which the book is based.
This is an emotional and heavy read, yet Almada’s writing is fluid, concise and addictive! She covers experiences so far removed from my daily life, yet Almada evokes empathy as she expertly shares the pain of these women. Her dedication to these cases and the extensive research she has undertaken is evident between the pages and should not go unnoticed. Not only is she an incredible writer, but Selva Almada is a force to be reckoned with, an inspirational woman with great purpose.
Whilst the themes included in this book are brutal, and in some cases hard to read, her writing is intertwined with beautiful imagery which allows the reader to conjure wonderfully vivid pictures. The anecdote she shares about her experience with a spiritual medium who told her of ‘the bone gatherer’ was particularly impressive, yet heartbreaking.
Hard hitting. Gripping. Meaningful. Powerful. Moving. The list goes on. This book shines a light on Femicide and whilst this problem is rife in Argentina, it is also present in the UK as a motive for male violence. I can not thank Selva Almada enough for sharing the utterly tragic experience of these women, women who’s voices were stolen at the hands of men. This is book that I believe everyone should read it. Give it to your daughters, sons, neighbours and colleagues. It is an insightful read, one which is hard hitting and incredibly powerful.
This book made me weep, but I’m glad that it did. It moved me more than any book I have read for a long time. I suggest you get the release date in your diary!
Over this year’s Women In Translation Month, my aim is to read in line with this theme. Although I have some gripping crime thrillers waiting on my shelf, it is so important that we exercise our minds and create depth in our knowledge of the world. Since my blog has gained more traction than I expected, my aim for the second half of this year is to shed light for my wonderful followers on important books.
I have recently stumbled across Charco Press and my goodness, I am glad that I did. On researching this unique publishers, I am absolutely astounded by the brilliant work Carolina and the team do. (This will be one from a series of posts I will publish about Charco!)
Charco, meaning ‘Puddle’ in Spanish, has the ultimate aim of shedding light and giving a voice to Latin American authors whose work has not been translated to English… yet. Charco translates and publishes these books, bringing a whole new depth to the reading materials available to us.
I do not speak a second language and this is a major source of embarrassment for me for the sole reason that I am unable to really appreciate global writers in their own languages. Charco has gone such a far way since its establishment in 2017 in widening the horizons for English readers.
Charco Press gives us all the opportunity to read important and meaningful books from Latin American authors, allowing us to grow as global citizens and more well-rounded readers.
Upon browsing their website, you will find not only a brilliant selection of books (which I’ll come back to later) but also the aesthetic is simply beautiful.
The classic and totally unique front page illustrations are unlike any book I’ve read before. It is clear that the team at Charco care about their image and these illustrations have really helped to build their wonderful brand, reflecting their individuality as a publisher.
Not only do the books look great but the quality is brilliant, too. I am a sucker for a pretty book. But a pretty book with excellent pages and context with meaning … well!
Now, let’s get back to what Charco is and why they are so special. Charco shines a light on literature that is overlooked in the UK simply because it has not been published in English. Charco selects from a wide range of incredible Latin American authors and gives them a voice, enabling us to enjoy their works! Charco carries a variety of books on a wide array of topical issues, meaning there’s something for everyone on their online bookstore.
I have recently received an advanced reading copy of ‘Dead Girls’ by Selva Almada and Almada’s earlier book, ‘The Wind That Lays Waste.’ Almada is
considered one of the most powerful voices of contemporary Argentinian and Latin American literature and one of the most influential feminist intellectuals of the region.
Charco Press is not only a brilliant publishers, but an important one too. These are books that we need to read to help us on our journey as global citizens. I urge you to check out their website and get yourself some books!
I can’t wait to get stuck into these books and share my reviews with you!
To find out more about Charco Press, their ethics, translators and authors click here!
Let me know if you’re going to try Charco after reading this post, or if you have read some of their titles already and have some recommendations! Either way, I’d love to hear from you!
I’ve walked by this cute little place quite a few times and have always wanted to pop in! I finally managed to grab a coffee and what a little treat it was!
Here’s my review of A Taste of Honey, Didsbury.
We dropped by before we took on a long drive a few weeks ago. Since it was early, I opted for a Latte and a cute little vegan doughnut covered with white chocolate, pistachios and edible dried flower petals. Tom also got a Latte and decided to have the Egg and Bacon on bread.
Whilst waiting for our order we stepped inside to have a look at the produce around the cafe. Although small, they have made good use of the walls to display a variety of different jars – peanut butters, sesame butters, honey and sauces. They also stock bread and have a fridge with an array of cool drinks.
The cafe has a really lovely feel and it is evident that they support other local businesses – always so good to see! The team have amazing attention to detail and there are plenty of things to look at!
The produce used to make the food they serve is from local suppliers and growers. Their menu is fresh and so varied that it was difficult to decide! Keep up to date with their stock by following their Facebook page – A Taste of Honey.
On thing that I really appreciate is their Book Swap section. This is such a cute idea and it looked amazing in their cafe. I’d have loved to join in but I was only carrying a book I was half way through – I’ll definitely drop one next time!
Although we just popped in to A Taste of Honey for a coffee and treat to fuel us for the long drive to Ingleton, we had a lovely experience. The team were really friendly and welcoming. The cafe has a great rustic feel and fits right into the vibe of Burton Road (which is full of cool independents!). I can’t wait to visit and take part in their book swap!
Thanks for a great coffee – we’ll definitely be back and I recommend this cute little place to anyone in the Manchester area!
I finally joined the hype and read this book after it was gifted to me by a wonderful ‘Bookstagrammer’ called @Charlotte_reads! I simply could not wait to get stuck in since people are always recommending it to me! With a copy of my own, I was ready to see what all the fuss was about.
Eleanor is a twenty-something year old with a dark past and her role as the protagonist of this book is expertly written. Her secret has proved to have quite a detrimental impact on the way she communicates with others and finds herself without many friends or usual life experiences for someone her age. Her character is complicated and the relationships she does have are interesting to explore. Honeyman writes from the first person perspective of Eleanor and the internal monologue is the perfect blend of heartbreaking and amusing throughout. I really recommend this book!
My first impression of this book was that it was just so readable! Honeyman’s writing is really addictive and, with this being her debut novel, I’m really excited to see what is to come next from her!
When reflecting the first half of the book, it does not seem like much actually happens. We get to know Eleanor well and her character becomes really well developed. She is so unpredictable and some of the things she says and thinks are absolutely hilarious. On a deeper level, it is apparent throughout that her struggles in social situations stem from her damaging past – the details of which are not revealed until much later. This leaves the reader guessing which is both gripping but also somewhat frustrating! It also meant that I finished the second half of the book in just one day!
Honeyman explores some important themes through Eleanor’s character but such topics are not as widely discussed as they could have been, in my opinion. Nonetheless, introducing them to the narrative is a good first step to starting a conversation.
So, let’s talk about Eleanor’s relationships.
Throughout the book her character comes into contact with various others, and she responds in such an unpredictable way to each. This plays into just how readable the book is, since you never know what Eleanor is going to say next. Her relationship with her ‘Mummy’ remains a mystery throughout and their weekly catch ups are heartbreaking and shocking for various reasons. Eleanor makes some new acquaintances throughout the book and, without giving too much away, her reaction to others is just brilliant.
As the book progresses, Eleanor finds herself experiencing some of the usual antics of a woman her age. Her commentary on such trivial things – such as department store shopping – is comical and her questioning of why we do the things we do are somewhat relatable.
I loved Eleanor’s character and I feel she was really well formed by Honeyman. The plot, although lacking in part, is deeply moving and incites reflection on how we treat others since we do not always know what happens behind closed doors.
All in all, this book is one that I enjoyed reading. I would not say it lives up to the hype entirely, but I do feel that it’s one of those books where the full impact of reading it can be felt only once it is finished (I hope you can related to that). I’m excited to see what comes next from Honeyman – I really like her writing style and found this book especially addictive.
So you’re here because you want my tips on how to get perfectly clear skin. Well, I’ve got some news for you – flawless skin simply does not exist. I’m sorry! But I do think, since you’ve clicked on this heading, that you should stick around and listen to my message.
No, there’s no such thing as perfectly clear skin or the routine to make your spots, redness or pores disappear. But you knew that already, right? Nonetheless, we as women are bombarded day in, day out, with advertisements on how to achieve perfection. Brands claim to have the next best product for flawless skin, honing in on this major source of insecurity for us. They know what they’re doing!
I’m here to tell you that you are perfect. I don’t mean that in a cliche or cringeworthy way. But, since you’ve clicked on this post, you might be thinking ‘my skin isn’t perfect and I want to learn how to make it perfect.’ My job is to remind you that your skin is here to stay, so learn to love it!
It’s the biggest organ of our bodies – woah! Yes, it’s important to look after yourself and yes, looking good feels good. But what constitutes beauty? Why is it that society has told us what to view as beautiful and we are all trying to follow suit? Are we all really this much like sheep? Surely not. A blemish, a red mark or a scar – this is what makes you who you are. Our imperfections separate us from others. Learn how to love them!
I’m speaking from experience, here. During my teenage years, I was blessed with some of the worst acne! It was painful, itchy and to me, it was disgusting. My acne flared up as I was reaching some pivotal times. I was 14, finding myself and experiencing changes all the time. I woke up each morning and despised the face that met me in the mirror.
This is so scary for me to post but I’m doing it so that you can feel empowered by my experience. I don’t want you to feel alone and I hope that you gain something from me sharing my story!
Here’s the thing. I knew I was a good person. I knew that I had ambition and I was sure that great things were heading my way. I worked hard at school and as a result reaped the rewards. However, I almost always had this nagging voice in my head telling me I wasn’t quite good enough because of the way I looked.
No matter what products I tried, no matter how much Tea Tree I smothered over my face, the stubborn things just wouldn’t move! In general, I just avoided looking at myself in the mirror. At school this worked just fine. I was somehow able to (almost) forget about them!
However, one day, I was met with a harsh reminder. I was chatting with a few people in my class and one of the boys was really analysing my face. Soon, he blurted out for all to hear … ‘Ew, you’ve got a massive yellow spot on your face.’ Delightful. I was mortified. He was 14 and should have known better.
A few months later, as my sadness deepened and the spots weren’t seizing, my Mum took me to the Dermatologists who prescribed ‘Roaccutane.’ This was one of the most aggressive courses of tablets I have ever been on. I was made to have constant blood tests to see if my liver was still functioning correctly. It was so strong that it meant I struggled to walk up the stairs without running out of breath. But, I endured it simply because I couldn’t bare the spots any longer!
I was on these tablets for about a year. Yes, they cleared my skin. Yes, it felt good. What felt even better was rejecting that boy, who was previously so eager to point out my yellow spots, when he asked me out about 2 years later.
Now, as an adult, my acne has gone but I still look at my skin and want to make improvements. I have large pores (somedays larger than others), some of the spots left scars and sometimes I show redness, too. I have been conditioned to believe that clear, flawless skin is something to aim for. This is an unrealistic aim that most of us share. We have been indoctrinated to think that anything other than perfection – ie, no impurities – is inadequate and lowers our self worth.
If you’re reading this and can totally relate, I need you to do something for me. Next time you are facing yourself in the mirror, look into your own eyes. Look really deep. Acknowledge their beautiful colour and the wealth of wisdom they hold. Tell yourself you are beautiful. Remind yourself of your worth. This may sound ridiculous but trust me, if you can instil this into your mind, you can tackle anything. Be your authentic self and rock it! Spots? No bother! This woman is ready to take on the world and make her mark – not pop pimples!
It’s a hard pill to swallow, but you’ll get there! You have nothing to prove to anyone. Love yourself and others will follow suit. If they don’t, you need to ask yourself why you want them in your life in the first place!
Imperfections don’t make your worth diminish and certainly don’t mean you aren’t valued. In fact, let’s stop calling them imperfections?! What is perfect? Airbrushed models? Let’s start acknowledging the firms who refuse to airbrush their models, showcasing all the wonderful normalities women tell themselves are abnormal. Cellulite. Spots. Redness. Scars. Flab. Pores. Urgh, the list goes on.
Brands like H&M who champion body positivity by showcasing their beautiful models as they are in real life and This Girl Can who encourages women to exercise however this may look, are brilliant examples of companies we should applaud. They each have an admirable ethos and support and empower women through their advertising campaigns.
I need you to feel the weight that lifts when you decided to care less about your appearance – or be less consumed by thoughts of how you look – and focus more on your personal goals. What do you want to achieve in your life? What makes you proud of yourself? What makes you happy?
Soon, you’ll grow in confidence and find yourself more aware of who you are, rather than what you look like!