As you may be able to tell my blog as changed since I last posted. I’ve decided to reinvent Student Life and Beyond as Eden Emily Blogs. I feel this creates something more personal and allows me to talk about so much more than being a student.
As you may know from my previous posts, I will be graduating in the summer and will therefore not be a student anymore. Though I want to document the rest of my student experience, I want to be able to use this blog to talk about many other lifestyle elements.
Of course, I will continue talking about student life and how I am navigating it, giving you all my top tips. That’s where this blog began and is something I want to keep at the heart.
I also want to post more book reviews. Before I mainly focused on fiction but I have realised there is a whole world of non-fiction out there. I have really enjoyed learning new things and just gaining a wider perspective on society through reading. I’ve also been watching more documentaries for the same reason. I feel they inspire me and make me want to consume more which I can then share with you.
This brings me on to another thing I’d like to share. I’m on a mission to be more sustainable. A lot of the documentaries I have been viewing have made me change my outlook on life and pushed me to want to be more sustainable. I know I won’t be perfect but I want to share the journey.
I also want to just share other thoughts on life, write posts about what I’m up to, what I’m enjoying and how life is in general. I feel this rebrand will help me step out of the student bubble and into a wider world.
As you may be able to see I have two new tabs on my home page! Lifestyle is everything related to my life that I don’t feel comes under the Uni Life category and New Things is everything I do that is something new to me. I’ve decided as the lockdown restrictions ease, I want to try doing new things, maybe push myself out of my comfort zone and this is the perfect place to document them.
What’s it about? Eight friends go on their annual Christmas break to an isolated lodge in Scotland. Other than an Icelandic couple and two workers they’re the only people for miles. As the weather gets worse they realise there is no way for them to leave or the outside world to get to them making it ever more troubling when a body is found. It doesn’t look like an accident, so what happened?
What did I think? I really enjoyed this book, it was told through the eyes of the three women in the party and the two workers. It’s very secretive, we want to find out who is the murderer and who was murdered. Though there were parts which were predictable, I felt I was still hooked as there were parts I couldn’t quite work out. Though it did take a while to set up the story and get into it once you get past the first few chapters you won’t be able to stop. I felt the character all worked really well, they all had distinct personalities with their own secrets. These all greatly added to the story as there was suspicion surrounding everyone.
Would I recommend? I would, I feel it’s just such a good murder mystery and slightly different as we don’t actually know who the victim is for the majority of the book. I’ll definitely be reading another of Lucy Foley’s some time soon.
The next book I’ll review: Vox by Christina Dalcher
What it’s about- it follows the life of Lucy who has moved to university in London from Sunderland. She struggles to fit in to the new environment, working long shifts to make ends meet. She leaves for Ireland to find who she really is.
What I thought – while it was written in a poetic way, which I liked, the story was very difficult to keep up with. There were times when it seemed to flow beautifully but then it would suddenly jump to something else, maybe a different time, which just didn’t work for me. It made it hard to know where the story was going and there were some passages that just completely confused me. I personally liked the writing style it made the passages flow and rather than being written in chapters it was written in short passages as though it was a group of poems that linked together.
Would I recommend – I feel it is a book for people with a specific taste. If you love poetry this could perfect for you as I feel it’s the sort of book you need to really read into to understand what is happening.
What is it about? Written as an oral history it tells the story of the fictional story of Daisy Jones and the Six. It follows the band from how they formed to their reasons for splitting. It incorporates all the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll of the 70s music industry.
What did I think? At first I was sceptical of the writing style of this book as it is written in a script like fashion. As I kept reading however, I loved the interview style it meant all the characters perspectives were heard and you could see how they recounted the same events differently. I also felt it made it seem so much more real. The characters were crafted beautifully and even though they all had their issues and annoying moments, I wanted them to have a happy ending. The ending in my eyes was perfect, yes it was bitter sweet but it just worked so well. It dealt well with the issues the characters faced and really pained a picture of the 1970s rock n’ roll scene.
Would I recommend? Definitely, it was a lovely story and it left me with a good sense of fulfilment.
What is it about? The story follows two people from very opposite worlds. Marianne is from a privileged background but has a difficult home life and is quite the outcast at school. On the other hand, Connell thrives socially at school and is very close with his mother who works for Marianne’s mother. Things change completely when they go off to university.
What did I think? I did really enjoy this story however after hearing so much about it the expectations were extremely high and it didn’t quite meet them. I found it difficult to get used to the voice used, there was a lack of punctuation which I didn’t immediately take to. I enjoyed the relationship between Connell and Marianne, it was interesting to see how they were such different people but their lives intersected so much and seemed to go together so well. It was nice to see how they grew through the book, both together and separately; Rooney deals with such subjects as eating disorders, abusive relationships and depression. The way she dealt with mental illness in them both was important especially with Connell as so often male issues in this context are ignored. As the title suggests they were just two normal people going through life, it was quite refreshing to just see them with no added gimmicks. So much of what they went through would be relatable to different people in different ways and I just really liked that about the book.
Would I recommend? yes I would. However, I recommend going into the book with an open mind. So many people hyped it up that I feel like no matter what it would never have lived up to the expectations I had. It was enjoyable but there are other books less well known that were just as good if not better.
What will I be reviewing next? Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given
What is it about? John Coffey is a black man is in prison for the murder of two young girls. Head guard, Paul Edgecomb, recalls his time working on death row and how he met John and discovered he has an incredible secret.
What did I think? I loved this book, it was such a captivating story and really messes with your viewpoint of the men who have committed such serious crimes. King’s characters were all completely different people and the characterisations really stuck with you. You knew who you were meant to be rooting for and this wasn’t alway the guards over the prisoners. Interestingly, he portrays some of the inmates as men rather than the inhumane monsters you’d expect them to be, he makes you forget the awful things they’ve done to a point you almost feel sympathy to these men in their last moments. There were also those who were just the stereotype of what you’d expect from a murder and I really felt the comparison was a great aspect of the novel. There was also one guard, Percy, who was just an awful human being, this was an interesting choice as at times he was acting worse than some of the inmates. The fact that the story was being written by Paul when he was in an old people’s nursing home allows for the comparison, that there will always be the same types of people in the world no matter what point of life you are at. One of the aspects that stood out to me was that he would speak in great detail about seemingly random things which would later be important to the story. It made you question where things would go. As the book went on, it only got more exciting and the supernatural nature I enjoyed because everything else was just so normal. The fact that the story focused around death row and the inmates being executed through the electric chair also bring up the conversation of how ethical it was. At times Paul would question whether it made him a murderer the fact that he was behind the deaths of the men who walked the green mile.
Would I recommend? Yes, it was an amazing story. Even if you aren’t into supernatural stories you should still give this a go as the story surrounding it was really touching. It made me question things which I always love when a book does this.
What will I be reviewing next? Normal People by Salley Rooney.
What is the book about? forty two year-old Caroline believed her husband is having an affair and so ends up having a one night stand with a much younger man, Aiden. After this, he becomes obsessed, stalks her and becomes infatuated with her and her family. But is everything as it seems? Can we believe everything Aiden or Caroline says?
What did I think? The voice confused me so much at first, in fact I probably wouldn’t have realised that I was reading it wrong had someone not mentioned it in the book club I was reading with. It is written so that some chapters are from the point of view of Aiden while some are from Caroline’s. This means they often recount the same events but have a different outlook on what actually happens which I didn’t realise at first and was thinking I thought that happened or when was there time for that to happen. Once I understood, it was much easier to read. The novel was gripping and I really did want to keep reading to find out what had happened and who was lying. The characters were however, all unlikable so I wasn’t rooting for anyone in particular. I wanted to know what happened but I didn’t really have a preference as I often do with these types of books. I feel the main reason I read on was because I was hooked on finding out the conclusion.
Would I recommend? If you’re looking for a thriller there are many that I did prefer to this one. Personally, this one wasn’t a favourite but I got through it.
What is it about? Chase Andrews is found dead. The mysterious marsh girl, Kya is the number one suspect, the book jumps between the story of Kya’s upbringing and the aftermath of Chase’s death. Did Kya kill him? Was it someone else? Was it an accident?
What did I think? Had I not been reading this as part of a buddy read over on Instagram, I would most likely have given up. I was not hooked, in fact it felt like a chore to read. It just felt dense and required a huge amount of concentration to understand what was happening. I had been told you really need to read the first part as context to enjoy the second part and so I persevered. I was right to do so as the second part was like a completely different book, it became a beautiful story, one which I finished with a sense of enjoyment. I became attached to the character of Kya and wanted to watch her develop. I couldn’t give this book more than three stars because it took so long for me to get into and I almost stopped reading altogether which is a shame as I loved the second part so much.
Would I recommend? It is a difficult one because in the end it was such a beautiful story. I think if you are willing to persevere through the backstory go fro it, if not I’d give this one a miss.
What will I be reviewing next? Heroes by Stephen Fry
What is it about? Queenie is a 25-year-old, Jamaican British woman navigating life in London. She is going through a break-up with the man she thought was the one while working at a Newspaper where she is surrounded by white middle-class peers. She attempts to deal with her problems sometimes in good ways but also by going down unhealthy paths and learning as she goes.
What did I think? It is such a beautiful book, it made me laugh, it made me cry. The character of Queenie is a relatable character in many ways and educational in others. It teaches the reader about the struggles faced by black women everyday which is important so that we can recognise and challenge such injustices. I found Queenie and her friends to be far from perfect, but this is what makes them likable characters, had they all had perfect lives it wouldn’t have been such an empowering story. Also, it makes them more real, no one is perfect, and it is refreshing to see such growth in these people. The difficult friendships and relationships they have, show real life and not an idealised version. It dealt with important issues such as; anxiety, therapy, body image, abuse, family issues and difficult relationships in, what I thought, was a mature and understanding way. It gave the reader the support that if they too were suffering or had suffered through these things they were not alone and that things can get better with work. Queenie is a book that will stick with me for a long time and I feel it is a book everyone should read especially young women attempting to navigate adult life and who might feel like it isn’t going as planned.
Would I recommend? Yes, I think this is an absolute must read. It is one of the best books I’ve read in a while and I know I said that about His & Hers but the reasoning for it was so different. It’s a book that may make you feel less alone in your worries, it’s a book I will keep and most likely read again in a few years. It teaches the importance of forgiveness, knowing when to let go and doing what’s best for yourself.
What am I reviewing next? Where the Crawdads sing by Delia Owens
What is it about? Anna Andrews finally got her dream job as a newsreader, but this is suddenly taken away from her when a colleague returns from maternity leave. She is given the job to cover a murder case in Blackdown village; a case that her ex-husband DCI Jack Harper is investigating. Soon enough they both become suspects. ‘Someone is lying, and some secrets are worth killing to keep.’
What did I think? This is one of the best books I have read in a while, I was absolutely gripped, and I will not lie when I say I couldn’t put it down. Any time I wasn’t reading it I felt pulled to read more. Though I admit I worked it out, there were so many twists and turns that made me completely doubt my theory. I just had to know who the murderer was and why they were doing it. All the characters had stories that could link them to the murders and there was suspicion surrounding them all meaning you could never be a hundred percent sure about who the murderer really was. I especially liked the use of the murderer’s voice, though the novel flips between him and her (Jack and Anna), the reader is given some chapters from the murderer’s perspective but doesn’t tell us which character is speaking. These chapters give the murderers thoughts and they often have clues that could link to just about any of the characters adding to the frustration of not knowing who did it. I think these were a very welcome addition as not only did they break up Anna and Jack’s thoughts, giving a perspective that their chapters didn’t, they would help to create cliff-hangers throughout the novel. The book was incredibly dark, more so than I expected, as the story goes on things are revealed about those who are being murdered paint them in an evil light. I feel the author wanted to create a sense that the killer really did have reason behind the killings, as their shocking secrets are revealed. The things they did though, effected so many people that it’s impossible to tell which of them is looking for revenge. In having all the stories intertwine so perfectly, Feeney was able to create a story that kept me guessing even when I thought I had worked it out. I did this book as a buddy read with a group on Instagram which was exciting as I got to hear other people’s thoughts and those who had read a bit further would hint that exciting things were to come.
Would I recommend? 100%. If you’re into detective thrillers this is definitely a book for you. It had me completely on the hook and I literally couldn’t put it down.
What book review is coming up next? Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams.