Sunday, 23 February 2020

Atypical Season 1 || TV Review

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At the moment, when flicking through Netflix, I find myself drawn to the light-hearted sitcoms and comedy series. I binge watched nine series of How I Met Your Mother last year and my January of 2020 was racing through two seasons of Sex Education. When life is heavy, or busy, or stressful, I don't want to jump into a complex, hard-to-follow and emotionally harrowing thriller or drama- I want the fuzzy comedies that will make my heart warm and give me all the feels.
Atypical 100% achieved this.
I was so pleasantly impressed with this show. It had humour, it had heart and it had a certain charm that makes it so easy to fall into and binge. While the storyline itself revolves around Sam, a teenager on the autistic spectrum trying to navigate love and dating, it also delves deep into the lives and relationships of those around him. I found myself instantly invested with all the characters and their growth throughout the series.
I'd definitely recommend Atypical for people who want a heart-warming and funny watch but also like a bit of drama and 'gasp' moments and reveals.
Obviously, the show explores a lot into the sensitive subject of autism and how it can affect an individual as well as the lives of their family, but I thought this show handled the topic really well and I found it eye-opening and insightful.

spoilers ahead | spoilers ahead | spoilers ahead | spoilers ahead | spoilers ahead | spoilers ahead

This show had me feeling all the feels. I was gasping, laughing out loud and feeling a lot of love for all the characters (...minus Elsa). They're such a diverse and interesting group of people and it was easy to get invested in their lives and all the trials and tribulations they go through.
My favourite plot thread of the entire series had to be Sam's relationship with his dad, Doug. From the beginning, it's clear that Doug doesn't feel that much of a connection with Sam. They don't share any common interests and Sam's dad feels like all his efforts to bridge that gap between them in the past have been thrown back in his face. So, throughout this season, it was so heart-warming to see Sam start to confide in his dad and to see Doug grow more comfortable around talking to Sam. They grew a lovely bond and Sam has developed the ability to trust and rely on his dad which was a pleasure to watch. Their relationship growth and development was definitely the best part of this show. It filled me with warmth and I had a huge smile during every interaction of theirs.
My second favourite element of this series was Casey. From the moment she punched that popular girl in school... I fell in love. She's just a great female character. She has ambition, she has fight, she has motivation and she has complex emotions! The way she engages with people, interacts and expresses her feelings is so interesting and nuanced.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Forever Fictional's Fourth Birthday!!!

Another year has passed and Forever Fictional is now four years old- my baby blog is getting well through it's toddler years!
Like always, I wanted to look back over the year and mention my favourite moments and posts! It's also a nice time to thank everyone who follows, likes and comments on my blog. I appreciate everyone's support and love so much and I'm super grateful for the bookish friends I've met online.

Favourite Posts: (linked)

Favourite TV Females
I wrote this post at the very beginning of the year and I still love it. It details my four favourite females in TV shows and... my choices have not changed in the slightest. I'm all about feminism and female empowerment so this post was really cool and fun for me to write.

Escapril 2019
I participated in 'escapril' last year- an instagram challenge where you write and post a poem every single day based on a prompt. I created an instagram account specifically for this because I'd never had one before and I really loved doing this. Sure, some of my poems were downright crappy but it's good practice of sharing your work.

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Top 10 Books of the Decade!!!

As well as my favourite books of 2019, I also wanted to list my top ten books of the decade! These aren't necessarily my favourites because they're amazing books but because they mean a lot to me for different reasons and I have memories and experiences attached to them.

1. Jacqueline Wilson Books
I read Jacqueline Wilson books at the beginning of this decade when I was about nine years old and they were the first real kind of books I read and really enjoyed. Particularly, Hetty Feather was one of my favourite books and My Sister Jodie is the first book that ever made me cry. While I haven't read these books since the very beginning of the 2010s, I hold a lot of fondness for them as they were a stepping stone to my love of reading.

2. Judy Blume Books
Similar to Jacqueline Wilson, I read Judy Blume books at the beginning of the decade, probably when I was around ten. My favourites were Are You There God, It's Me Margaret and Forever. I particularly remember reading Forever and feeling so oddly grown up because it had the barest of sex scenes in it and I'd never read anything like it before. Ten-year-old me felt so mature. These books were the bridge between kids books and YA for me which will always hold a significance to me.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Favourite Books of 2019

It's that time of year again! 2019 is over and I get to list out my favourite reads of the year! Like always, the following books may not necessarily have been released in 2019, but have just been books that I read for the first time this year.
Let's start with some honourable mentions that didn't quite make the cut...


If There's No Tomorrow- Jennifer L. Armentrout 
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It kind of pains me to have a JLA book in the honourable mentions because hers are usually all my faves (as evident in the three of her books in my faves this year) but this one just fell a tiny bit short. Obviously, I loved it (it would be sacrilegious not to) but it wasn't as all-consuming as her other books are. I loved the story and characters but, just from the nature of the story, it was a bit of a downer. It dealt with some difficult subjects and, while that's amazing to read, it dampens the obsessive love for the story sometimes.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea- Tahereh Mafi
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This book would totally be in my list of favourites if it wasn't for that ending! The end of this book disappointed me and it let the book down a little. I think this story is so amazing and would make a perfect movie but... the ending just dulled the love for me.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

The Rise of Bookstagram

Lately, I've really struggled keeping up with my blog and there are many factors contributing to this. Firstly, I'm super busy. I've just started a full-time apprenticeship which is a lot of hours and a lot of work, meaning that I don't have as much free time to blog like I used to.

Secondly, I'm prioritising my writing. As you may or may not know, I'm an aspiring writer and I've just started a brand new project that needs a lot of time and work. I've just started the first draft and I've set myself a lot of deadlines and targets when it comes to this manuscript. This just means that, when I do have spare time to write/blog, I choose to write. All this meaning that my blog has been very unloved, lately.

And then there's been my venture into Bookstagram. I've always been a little behind on social media platforms so only just got Instagram this year but... I'm loving it. It's so much fun creating bookish images and interacting with so many more book lovers.

In terms of time, it can take me a couple of hours to write, edit and proof-read a blog post. But, with Bookstagram, it takes me a couple of hours to shoot, edit and caption images for an entire month. So, with the same amount of time, I can have content posted every day for a month, compared to a single post a month. It just means that I can still be creative and interact with other book lovers but much more frequently.

Now, this isn't to say I'll stop blogging, because I won't. I love the community and sharing my opinions of books. But.... posts may not be as frequent as they once were ( I don't even know how I was posting three times a week at one point).

One of my new years resolutions for next year is to step up on blogging again so, while I can't promise consistent content, I can promise that I'm going to try my hardest.

Thanks for reading! What are some of your 2020 resolutions?
Stay amazing!

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Comeback!! (Hopefully...)

I'm fully aware that I've been AWOL for the last couple of months- the last time I posted was early September!! It's safe to say that I've fallen spectacularly behind but I really want to get back to blogging!

There's been a few reasons why I haven't had time to blog as much:

1. I left college this year and now I've started an apprenticeship which means I have so much less free time to actually do anything!

2. A lot of my creative time has gone towards my Bookstagram account! I've actually written a full post on the pros and cons of Bookstagram and why it's taken up more of my time so stay tuned for that!

3. My other creative time has been spent outlining! Recently, I've decided to push aside the writing project I've spent the last two years (for various reasons) and start a new novel. I also have a full post explaining this development so stay tuned for that too!

Monday, 2 September 2019

August Wrap Up 2019

August was a pretty good month in terms of reading which is good because, as I've got Netflix now, my reading productivity is going to go down hill significantly...


Three Dark Crowns- Kendare Blake (July's Book of the Month)
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I started reading this is in July and finally finished it in August because it took me a lot longer than I thought it would. Unfortunately, this book just wasn't my cup of tea. I think the premise is really cool and promising but I found this book very slow to slug through and the characters very difficult to like. The ending had some redeeming qualities but, for me, not enough to have me continue this series.
Three Dark Crowns Review
Three Dark Crowns Book of the Month Discussion

Without Merit- Colleen Hoover
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I can always count on Colleen Hoover to both break my heart and make it soar. I can't fault this novel. Colleen Hoover creates this beautiful blend of romance and painful realism. This story covers topics like depression, suicide, sexuality and mental health in such a sophisticated and respectful way.
Without Merit Book Review

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Spider-Man: Far From Home MOVIE TALK

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I'm really not a harsh marker when it comes to movies- even less so, when they're Marvel movies. So, naturally, I absolutely loved this film and wouldn't hesitate to give it five stars.
Far From Home was exactly the movie we needed after the sob-fest that was Endgame. It was fun, vibrant, meaningful and had a nice amount of emotion as well. I laughed a lot, I was in awe a lot and, yes, I'm very proud of myself because I only cried once!
I will also say that the post credit scenes are so incredibly astounding and important! Sometimes, the post credit scenes are funny but don't serve much purpose to the overall plot but the ones in Far From Home... they created such brutal cliffhangers and set up so much for the future of the MCU!
Endgame Movie Review

"Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown."

The way Whitney Houston's 'I Will Always Love You' played behind the Marvel logo was beautiful and it kind of set the tone for the rest of the movie- funny, light and making fun of itself. It led onto a little school tribute of Tony, Cap and the others and I just loved it. It was the best way to start the film- it wasn't too heavy or emotional but gave us a nice memory of those who had fallen. After the extreme emotional turmoil of Endgame, this on-the-nose school announcement was the perfect way to start the new phase of the MCU.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Without Merit- Colleen Hoover BOOK TALK

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I can always count on Colleen Hoover to both break my heart and make it soar. I can't fault this novel. Colleen Hoover creates this beautiful blend of romance and painful realism. This story covers topics like depression, suicide, sexuality and mental health in such a sophisticated and respectful way.
While the romance is the basic plot of Colleen Hoover books, there's such layered inclusion of different relationships and personal struggles which I absolutely love- it makes the plot more complex and realistic. (And it never fails to get me personally invested in these characters).

'You need to fall in love with yourself first.'

Colleen Hoover has this brilliant ability to grip readers from the very beginning. When I started this book, I was a little hesitant to begin with because I thought I had a very extreme case of insta-love on my hands here... and then, twelve pages in, there was the first plot twist. Only twelve pages in! Who does that?
I literally had to put the book down and cringe when we found out Sagan thought Merit was her twin sister because.... oh, the second hand embarrassment! It's safe to say, from this point on, I was totally gripped.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Three Dark Crowns || Book of the Month

Honestly, I'm actually sad this is my second post about this book because I hated it and don't even want to think about if for too long- I just want to forget it like a bad dream.
Buuuuuuut, it was mine and Kaitlin's Book of the Month for July so we're giving it a little love! From now on, we're going to try this new little post every month where we ask each other questions about the book!
The following questions are those asked by Kaitlin and answered by me. If you want to see what I asked her and her responses, I'll link it right here for you to check out! And, if you haven't read my full review yet, I'll link that here as well for you to see.
On with the questions!
(This post may contain spoilers!)
Follow my Bookstagram for more pictures like this!

Which of the Queen's powers would you like?

Despite Katherine being my favourite, I think I'd have to go with Mirabella's power- it's just the coolest. What can a naturalist do? Grow a rose? Yeah, I won't have much use for that. The only good thing about being a naturalist would be to have a familiar. And a poisoner? If this is hypothetically in our world, I've never been poisoned and can't imagine a situation where I would. And even if it was in their world... I'd still want the fire power because, if I had to defend myself, it'd be a lot faster if I can control fire and the weather.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Three Dark Crowns- Kendare Blake BOOK TALK

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I hate that I didn't like this book! I've seen so much hype and so much praise and I just don't understand where it's coming from!
There were a few main reasons I didn't like this book: the characters weren't likeable, all of the supposed 'powerful' Queens were passive as heck and the story was really slow. The blurb says that the book is about a fight to death between three sisters who want to become Queen? Yeah, that's not what this book is about. It basically follows the weeks before this battle, where everyone just sits around and talks. Fun.
I can't see me continuing with this series, unfortunately, as I just don't care about the characters and don't want to waste any more of my life waiting around this story to get interesting.

'I want revenge. And then I want my crown.'

I think my main issue with this book was that there was a lot of 'telling' and not 'showing.' Let me explain. As a writer, the number one rule is to 'show not tell' in your writing. For example, instead of  simply stating that a character is scared, show that they're scared. Instead of "Character X was scared", write "Character X gasped, arms trembling as she struggled to control her erratic heart." It's not a great example, but you get what I mean. Now, this issue isn't always evident in the prose but the characters and relationships. It's alright for an author to say a character is strong but if we never see that character do anything strong, it's hard to believe. And that's all this book was.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

July Wrap Up 2019

This month was brilliantly productive when it comes to reading and TV (which you can see from my bullet journal spread for this month)! At the beginning of the month, I was a little behind on my Goodreads challenge (which has never actually happened before), so I was eager to catch up.
But now... I'm super behind on reviews. I've really been struggling to keep up with blogging lately so, hopefully, I can get my ass in gear, and catch up on some reviews next month!

The QB Bad Boy and Me- Tay Marley (ARC)
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I was sent this ARC through Netgalley and it pleasantly surprised me! I love a good romance and this one had a nice progression from 'friends' to 'more.' I liked the characters and how they challenged gender norms and double standards. Overall, I think the story was a little too long and dragged towards the end but, on the other hand, this created a nice slow burn that I really enjoyed.

Monday, 15 July 2019

Big Little Lies Season 1 TV TALK

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This show floored me. I don't know what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn't that. Sure, I knew there was a lot of hype surrounding it and an A-list string of actors starring but... I, honestly, did think it'd be that good. By the finale, I was screaming and swearing at the TV screen in all my glory. It doesn't get any better than that.
What I think really sets this show apart is that it's not just a simple 'whodunnit'- we don't even know who the victim is, let alone the murderer! And it just adds another layer of intrigue and mystery because you don't know who to suspect as the murderer or who to sympathise with as the victim. You can't make any reasonable guesses on who's guilty because, for all you know, they could've been the one killed. And it's just so amazing.
This show deals with so many serious topics and it doesn't hesitate to delve into the emotional traumas of such events. The characters are intricate and flawed, the show leaning on the extremely capable shoulders of three strong women, and the relationships captivating. The directing was flawless and the story told in such a genius, mind-boggling way.
Trigger warning: the show involves heavy topics such as rape and domestic abuse. 

I don't know where to start, I really don't. There were so many characters and so much happened and all of it gave me the feels. I'm gonna try to split things up as simply as I can.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

June Wrap Up 2019

I didn't read all that much in June and I definitely binge watched a lot of TV instead. But, hopefully, since my exams are now over and I can salvage back some brain energy, I won't need the easy entertainment of TV as much.

Till Death- Jennifer L. Armentrout (Re-read)
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When I have no idea what to read, I go back to Jennifer L. Armentrout. It's as simple as that. This is a romantic thriller and I loved it just as much as the first time I read it. JLA always manages to write effortlessly compelling books with lots of twists and insanely lovable characters and Till Death is no different. This book is actually an adult book when the majority of JLA's collection is YA which means this story is a little more gruesome and explicit but, regardless, I love it.

Collide- Nicole Sobon (ARC)
This was an arc sent to me via Netgalley and... it was awful. I can't even sugarcoat it. It was as if the author had written an entire novel but then, at the last minute, decided they actually wanted the story to be a series, so randomly split the novel into sections. Nothing happened! There was no conflict, resolution, ending.... it was basically just an introduction to characters before it finished. Suffice it to say, I was very very disappointed.

Friday, 5 July 2019

May/ June Haul 2019

As I lost track of blogging last month and haven't actually bought that much recently (pat on the back for me), I'm combining my May and June book purchases.

Vox- Christina Dalcher
This feels like ages ago now but I bought this book in the beginning of May and read it straight away because it was awesome. It's an amazing but terrifying premise where women are only allowed to speak a certain number of words a day otherwise they get shocked. I read this book back in May and it was absolutely amazing.
Vox Review

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Growing Up...

It's been a while since I've written a proper discussion post so here we are... existential crises and personal anecdotes just the way you like em ;)
And the topic is... growing up (which you probably already guessed from the title)
I turned 18 in January and I've had a startling realisation that's kind of sad to think about. Yes, I'm talking about the existential crisis of growing up.... but I'm relating it to books!
I've loved books from a very young age and have naturally always read books with older protagonists (generally 16 or 18). And when I was, like, 10, these characters seemed so much older and cooler than me and I aspired to be like them- they were my role models. And now... I'm realising that I'm the same age or even older than all the characters I used to look up to... which makes me feel relatively boring and unremarkable, to be honest (if you haven't slayed a dragon or fought demons before the age of 18, what are you even doing with your life?).

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

May Wrap Up 2019

I'm back from hiatus!!
This is a bit late because it's mid-June and I'm only getting back to blogging but, the good news is that all my exams are over now so I'll have so much more time to blog! I've been a little AWOL over the last couple of months because I've been doing more revision than I've ever done in my life but I'm officially back and super ready for the summer! (Let's ignore that I have to work loads and desperately get back into working on my manuscript...)
Sidenote: I've also been trying to get into Bookstagram (@chloe_a_harris) so I've added some of those pictures in this wrap up as well :)

Vox- Christina Dalcher
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I read this as soon as I bought the book and... I loved it. The premise is so fascinating and so many topics explored appealed to me. It had me laughing, crying and, mainly, cursing at the book because some of the realities in this world were unbearably infuriating. I don't actually think any other book has made me as angry as this one but in the best way possible.
Vox Book Review

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Dear Evan Hansen BOOK TAG

I can't believe it's taken me so long to do this tag! I've loved this musical for years now and it's only just occurred to me to find a book tag about it... better late than never, I suppose.
I found this tag on Book Amino so I'll link that here if you're interested!

Anybody Have a Map?- a book/series with great parental figures
The Titan series- Jennifer L. Armentrout 
Honestly, I'm just saying this because Apollo is one of my favourite characters ever and he also happens to be a great dad. Sure, he makes a lot of mistakes, but his heart's always in the right place and, how he likes to say, he always takes care of his own.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Vox- Christina Dalcher BOOK TALK

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Foreword: Vox is about an extreme government taking over America and limiting women to speaking only 100 words a day. Women wear counters on their wrists and get shocked if they go over 100 words. Not to mention, they also lose their jobs, financial control, passports and are forced into the submissive and domestic role of the household. So, in the interest of this book, I've limited the following review to 100 words just to show how little it really is. And, of course, no spoilers. 

Vox infuriated me in the best way possible. The premise was terrifying and shocking. I had to endlessly curse at the many unbelievably misogynistic characters and the scariest thing is people like this actually exist!
But other characters were super empowering- their strength was admirable. I'm a massive feminist so this book incorporated everything I love. Girl power soars and I was living for it!
I was originally going to rate Vox five stars but the ending felt a bit rushed, manic and sloppy which forced me to drop a star. Regardless, it's a stunning read everyone should pick up!

[100 word limit reached]

Monday, 6 May 2019

May Releases and TBR 2019

Again, But Better- Christine Riccio
Aurora Rising- Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Kingsbane- Claire Legrand
Finale- Stephanie Garber

The Sun is Also a Star

Vox- Christina Dalcher
I just recently bought this book and I'm so excited to get stuck into it. The premise is that a new, extreme government has taken over America and women are no longer allowed to say any more than 100 words a day. They are forced to wear word counters on their wrist that will shock them if they say any more. Women also lose access to their bank accounts (now controlled by husbands or fathers), lose their jobs and are forced into the domestic role within the family. Naturally, this premise infuriates me but I'm so excited to see the implications of such an extreme view and to see how (hopefully) it's overcome.