25 December, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I just want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas & a prosperous new year :)

Anyone else rock a Christmas jumper today? Here's a few quick snaps of my OOTD :)

Nothing says Christmas like a pair of disco pants & some Christmas pudding socks!

Me & my Ma in matching Christmas jumpers

Merry Christmas!

 MYSTRINGALING X

17 December, 2012

Monday Review: Garnier Pure Active Fruit Energy Face Wash

This Monday's review is a beaut: Garnier's delicious Fruit Energy face wash, 200ml for around £4.

Mon Review Garnier FWash

What Garnier say: Pure Active Fruit Energy wash is a foaming wash that helps target imperfections, leaving skin looking revitalised & reduces the appearance of visible pores. The foaming wash, with salicylic acid, eliminates impurities, purifies and tightens pores to help protect against the appearance of imperfections. Enriched with extracts of grapefruit, pomegranate and with vitamin C derivative selected for their purifying qualities. The invigorating fresh fragrance washes over your face with a fruity burst.

Results... 
This face wash is perfect for mornings, its soft fruity smell leaves your face feeling fresh & extremely clean & goes a long way to help wake you up, especially on these dark winter mornings! The pump action also means that it's quick & easy to use, no faffing about with squeezy bottles.

Overall rating...
I'd give this face wash 
I love it & will definitely be repurchasing :)

Have you tried this face wash or any of Garnier's other skincare products? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below, I'd love to hear what you think.


MYSTRINGALING X

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14 December, 2012

O Tannenbaum!

Everywhere is so beautiful & Christmassy at the moment & it's about that time that you turn your own home into a Winter Wonderland (well you put up the tree at least!) Below are a few tree-inspiration pics from the home of the Christmas tree, Germany.

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Have you put up your Christmas tree yet? What kind of decorations have you gone for, traditional or contemporary? 
Let me know in the comments below!

MYSTRINGALING X

12 December, 2012

If there's one book you must read... Week #34

Book #34 -- The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore



This week's book is chosen by my Ma :)

What she had to say about this book: "It's a really interesting concept, the coat linking the past & the present. Dunmore uses a lot of evocative language which really helps draw you into the plot. The conclusion was also interesting, definitely worth giving a go."

Amazon blurb: 'In the winter of 1952, Isabel Carey moves to the East Riding of Yorkshire with her husband Philip, a GP. With Philip spending long hours on call, Isabel finds herself isolated and lonely as she strives to adjust to the realities of married life. Woken by intense cold one night, she discovers an old RAF greatcoat hidden in the back of a cupboard. Sleeping under it for warmth, she starts to dream. And not long afterwards, while her husband is out, she is startled by a knock at her window. Outside is a young RAF pilot, waiting to come in. His name is Alec, and his powerful presence both disturbs and excites her. Her initial alarm soon fades, and they begin an intense affair. But nothing has prepared her for the truth about Alec's life, nor the impact it will have on hers...'

Have you read this book or any of Helen Dunmore's other novels? What did you think?

If you have any suggestions for next week's 'must read' book let me know in the comments below or via twitter :)

Happy reading!

MYSTRINGALING X

11 December, 2012

London, Les Mis & an insight into death & art

The last week has been insane so here's a quick catch up about what I've been doing & to let you all know I'll be back to blogging regularly from today :)

On Wednesday I went down to London to stay with some friends. The afternoon that I got there we visited Highgate Cemetery & saw the graves of George Elliot & Karl Marx. It was a beautiful place with some of the most original & different gravestones I've ever seen, plus the weather was beautiful.

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After having a mooch around the cemetery we went to Liberty's for afternoon tea with my italian friend who was in London for a few days. It was delish!

Whilst we were there we found out that that evening was the world premiere of Les Misérables :O :O :D we arrived just as it was beginning & managed to sneak right to the front of the barriers. Cue ridiculous excitement as the likes of Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen walked right up to us. My photos were absolutely awful -- excitement & good photos aren't a winning combo. HOWEVER, I did get a cheeky snap of Michael Ball, what a babe :D I'm soo excited to see the film, I saw the musical in the West End during the Summer & it was incredible, if you've not seen it, go! + if you're under 25 you can apply for tickets for just £25 -- winning!

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The following day we visited the Death: A Self-portrait exhibition at the Wellcome Collection. It may sound morbid but it was fascinating, it explored the human preoccupation with death & how that's expressed in culture & art. If you're in London & get the chance to see it, do! It's free too, wheeey!

So that's it, a quick round up of what I've been up to over the last few days. What have you been up to? Did you see the photos in the press of the Les Mis premiere? Or have you seen the Death exhibition at the Wellcome Collection? Let me know!

Loves,

MYSTRINGALING

10 December, 2012

Monday Review: MUA Brush on Concealer Pen

I've been away from the blogosphere for a week but it's time again for a Monday review, this week is a slightly disappointing one (well, it wouldn't do to give everything 5/5 would it?) -- MUA's Brush on Concealer Pen in 'Radiance', £2.

Mon Review MUA concealer

What MUA say: You might have seen some more expensive versions of these in the beauty world but the joy of MUA is that we’re just *so* good at creating versions that are just as good but a tiny fraction of the price! (You can thank us later.) Brush on the concealer across any imperfections and blend gently with your finger to create a gorgeous, flawless face!

Results: 'we're just so good at creating [cheap] versions', really? Ohh MUA why did you have to set yourself up like that? As I said before, I found this so disappointing :( I was expecting a highlighter/concealer pen (think a cheaper version of Yves Saint Laurent's Touche Éclat) but instead it came out as a sticky, slightly orange, cheap formula. I don't tend to use concealer but I fancied a highlighter for under my eyes, this just didn't deliver. Bad times!

Overall rating...
I'd give this concealer ☆ out of 5, even then perhaps that's a bit generous.
Ladies & gents, don't waste your £2! 

Have you tried this concealer? What did you think? After looking at the MUA review page I can see that I'm not the only one who was disappointed by this product, maybe you feel different? Let me know in the comments below :)

Also, are there any products that you would like to see reviewed? Any requests please let me know!

MYSTRINGALING X

03 December, 2012

Monday Review: Boots Cucumber Face Scrub

Good exfoliators are so hard to find, especially ones that don't break the bank, so say hello to my little friend: Boots Essentials Cucumber Facial Scrub, £1.50 (50ml).


What Boots say: Enriched with soothing cucumber and vitamins, this gentle scrub works to revive and brighten skin by lightly polishing away dry patched and dead skin cells.

Results...
I really like this face scrub; it smells good & has enough oomph in it that you feel like you've really cleaned your face. I hate it when exfoliators are a bit pathetic, I want to be able to feel that my skin is getting a good scrub (not sandpaper territory but..!) 

Overall rating...
I'd give this face scrub 
For the price it's amazing + it's a brilliant size for travelling.

Have you tried this or any of Boots other Essentials Cucumber products? What did you think? I'd love to know in the comments below.

MYSTRINGALING X

02 December, 2012

Munich Photo Diary: Part #2 -- Salzburg

I realise that the title for this post might be a bit confusing BUT whilst I was in Munich we went to Austria for the day, to Salzburg :) It was a such a beautiful city, I hope these photos do it justice.

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MYSTRINGALING X






30 November, 2012

Munich Photo Diary: Part #1

Those of you who follow me on twitter will know that I spent my birthday this week in Germany. Here's a few photos from my first day there...


And my highlight, bumping into Kirstie Allsopp!


MYSTRINGALING X

26 November, 2012

Monday Review: Rimmel Match Perfection Foundation

It's that time again & this week's Monday Review is a cracker: Rimmel's Match Perfection foundation.


What Rimmel say: Introducing a whole new Match Perfection, a makeup match like you’ve never seen before. Traceless coverage with Advanced Smart-Tone Technology reveals a perfectly flawless you, no matter what the light.  From the bathroom, to work, to the pub, your natural colour never changes. Completely conceals imperfections with no foundation line, no makeup mask. Enhanced with Sapphire Radiance for an illuminating glow that never falls flat. Natural, flawless coverage with a fresh finish. Lasts all day.

Results...
Whilst I have no idea how you bottle 'Sapphire Radiance', it works! I was so impressed with this foundation. I've used Rimmel's Wake Me Up foundation before & thought the coverage & colour were both quite good, however, within a few hours it was sliding off my face: not so good! This foundation's completely different, it's light & leaves your skin with a really subtle glow & perfect coverage; it doesn't settle into my pores & there definitely isn't an awful tidemark around your chin. I'd even go as far as to say this is on a par with NARS Sheer Glow foundation (& I love that stuff!) An absolute snip at £6.99; stock up now!

Overall rating...
I would give this foundation 
I absolutely love this stuff, for the price & the quality I might never go back to higher-end foundations (a big statement but I've been so impressed - can you tell? :))
It comes in 11 different shades, I wear shade 100 Ivory which is a pale but very natural slightly yellow-toned shade. I originally bought this foundation to wear in the week, so that I wouldn't get through my NARS too quickly, but I have started wearing it everyday; I love the colour, the finish, the easy application, & its staying power, I wore it for 16 hours & it still looked good. If you're looking for a brilliant everyday/work foundation, this is the perfect product.

Have you tried Rimmel's Match Perfection foundation? What did you think? 


MYSTRINGALING X

23 November, 2012

Christmas: Choosing Christmas Cards

Woaaah there's a lot of Cs in that title! But back to the task at hand: Christmas cards. Here are my selection of the nicest cards available for Christmas 2012...

All cards from Paperchase (many of which are 3 for 2), except for the pack of 4 in the middle (deer & candy canes) which are from Cath Kidston.

I also have to mention the lovely Imogen Smith who recently won the RSPCA's Christmas card competition. I love Imogen's illustrations (scroll down & on the righthand side you'll see a little bird drawn by her) & think her winnings designs for these cards are beautiful.

Imogen's winning designs, image taken from http://missimogensmith.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/i-won-rspca-christmas-card-competition.html#comment-form

Have you bought your Christmas cards yet? I love sending & receiving them but after having to pay 50p for a 2nd class stamp the other day (am I the only who is shocked by how much that measly stamp cost?!) I think this year I'll have to be a bit more stringent with how many I send (many of these designs would also make lovely e-cards, non?) :)

MYSTRINGALING X

22 November, 2012

L'Occitane Shopping Evening Birmingham

 You may have seen a few weeks ago an advert in the Sunday Times Style magazine for an 'after hours' shopping event at L'Occitane shops around the country; on Tuesday me & my Ma went to the one in Birmingham. We were greeted with a glass of Champagne & the prospect of trying out every product in the store (HELLO!) Like a fool I forgot to take my camera *face palm*, however, the shop itself was no different from a normal day (I did see Victoria post some lovely photos of a L'Occitane shop the other day so if you've never been to one, have a wee look here.)

So, down to business, what I purchased...

This giftset was half price when you spent £35 or more; it contains: a L'Occitane make-up bag, Dry Skin Hand Cream (15ml), Precious Cream (3ml), Precious Eye Balm (5ml), Essential Water (30ml), Bonne Mère Soap (100g), Verbena Shower Gel (50ml), Pivoine Shower Gel (75ml), & Lavande Foaming Bath (100ml)

I absolutely love L'Occitane's fragrances & this was one that I'd not seen before. The vintage looking bottles immediately drew me to this gift set & the smell is delicious, L'Occitane describe it as: 'evok[ing] a fairyland of blossoms woken up, as if from under a spell, to perfume the Provençal winter with bewitching aromas. Formulated with natural floral extracts, this charming fragrance opens with sparkling red fruit notes followed by a soft trail of peony and rose.' 
This gift set came in a beautiful box & included: Fleurs Merveilleuses Eau de Toilette (75ml), Fleurs Merveilleuses Perfumed Soap (50g), Fleurs Merveilleuses Hand Cream (30ml), & Fleurs Merveilleuses Shower Gel (250ml).

Whilst we were there I had a skin consultation with one of the L'Occitane ladies. I was told that my skin was very dry (I blame the cold weather!) She, therefore, recommended I use the Angelica fluid which would re-hydrate my skin but also control shine throughout the day: winner! I also picked up a little shea butter pot. This is a really concentrated dose of shea butter, perfect for dry lips & skin during winter.

Finally, is the goody bag we received as we left (apparently worth £40+). This included: Lavande Body Lotion (75ml), Pivoine Shower Gel (75ml), Cherry Blossom Bath & Showel Gel (75ml), Bonne Mère Soap (100g), Angelic Hydration Cream (15ml), Almond Shower Oil (35ml), Dry Skin Hand Cream (15ml), Rose Velvet Hand Cream (10ml), & 1.5ml samples of the Angelica Hydration Cream, Protective Lotion & Eye Roll-On.

It's crazy how much stuff we were given but it was such a lovely evening. All the staff were really welcoming & were on hand to recommend products & help you test them (I had two hand treatments using some of the products we were given as goodies). For me, L'Occitane is the perfect place to pick up Christmas presents, there's something for everyone in your family & it won't break the bank either :)

Do you use any of L'Occitane's products? What are your thoughts? If you're interested in purchasing any of these goodies visit uk.loccitane.com.

MYSTRINGALING X

21 November, 2012

If there's one book you must read... Week #33

Book #33 -- Me Before You by Jojo Moyes


Chosen by the lovely, Lucie.

What Lucie says about this book: 'Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You completely changed my perception of what Chick Lit is and my own attitude towards it. I gingerly accepted the book on loan from a friend, 5 months after completing my literature degree and only having been able to finish 2 books in the meantime. As soon as I started reading, however, I knew I would finish this one. It wasn’t really the storyline (it’s been done a hundred times in slightly different forms and in various mediums) but Moyes’ powers of observation and ability to realistically capture the spectrum of human emotion in trying circumstances deserves applause. Both in terms of everyday life and when faced with extreme stress, I found the book’s main character, Louise, endowed with speech and trains of thought I have seldom found so relatable in other literature. Although the book deals with a topical and highly controversial subject, the ending unfortunately saw all the loose ends tied up a little too conveniently in my opinion. Having said that, books do have to end somewhere and it caters for its audience and genre (see, still a little skeptical). All in all it was a very enjoyable and easy read and I’ve just started on her next one The Girl You Left Behind (don’t judge a book by its title!)'

Amazon blurb: 'Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.'

What are your thoughts on 'Chick Lit'? Personally, I shared Lucie's pre-conceived ideas about the genre but have also been pleasantly surprised (OK, Jackie Collins isn't perhaps your classic Chick Lit per se, but she does know how to write a good book!) Have you read anything by Jojo Moyes? What did you think?

If there's a brilliant book that you love, let me know why you think it's such a 'must read' & you could be recommending next week's book :)

Happy reading!

MYSTRINGALING X

19 November, 2012

Monday Review: MUA lipsticks

Hello beauty lovers! This Monday's review is of two lipstick shades by MUA: shade 16 'Nectar' & shade 15 'Juicy' both £1 each for 3.8g.


What MUA say: Girls, there is nothing better than lipstick. Apart from maybe lipstick that costs just £1! Ok definitely lipstick that costs just £1. Don't say we're not good to you. Our amazing lipsticks come in 16 shades from red to pink and nude and are packed full of pigmentation. With just one swipe you'll have fantastic colour pay off resulting in gorgeous lips! Why not pick a shade you've not tried before and get a new look? It is just £1 after all...did we already mention that?

Results...
I was previously sent an MUA lipstick (shade 5) by Danielle @ misssunshinesparkle.blogspot.co.uk in the beauty swap we did back in September, see my post about that here. I was really impressed with the quality of MUA's lipsticks so I thought I'd try a couple of other shades. I chose these two because I love nude/neutral toned lipsticks for the daytime & shade 15 'Juicy' was absolutely perfect! It gives my lips just enough colour without being too much for the daytime, I love it! Shade 16 'Nectar' wasn't so exciting but that's just my personal preference; I found the coral-y tone of shade 16 too bright for my skin tone - it just didn't suit me at all! Having said that, I was very impressed with the quality of both lipsticks - really creamy & soft - & would definitely try other shades, number 16 just wasn't for me.

Overall rating...
I would give MUA's lipsticks 
For £1 you really can't go wrong with these bad boys. I absolutely love shade 15 & will definitely buy it again. I found that if I'd not used lip balm before applying the lipsticks they could be a little bit drying but only a tiny bit, I've also had the same problem previously with MACs lipsticks. 

Have you tried MUA's super bargain-ous £1 lipsticks? Which shades did you try & what did you think of them?


MYSTRINGALING X

** After writing this post, & looking at the MUA lipstick shade chart, I wondered why I'd ordered shade 16 in the first place (it didn't look like something I'd order - at all!) When I looked at my dispatch note I realised that I didn't order it, I'd been sent the colour by mistake (I'd actually ordered shade 14 'Bare', much more my cup of tea!) I contacted MUA about this & within 48hrs I had the correct lipstick at no extra cost. 
Thumbs up :) **

16 November, 2012

Most Wanted: Jewel Prints

Ohhh the lovelies at ASOS have outdone themselves with these stunners: jewel prints how I love you...

Top row: trousers, £30 // blazer, £55 // trousers, £24.50 (sale) // bomber jacket, £59.50 (sale) // sequin dress, £53 (sale) // sheer blouse, £35
Bottom row: leather t-shirt, £100 // jewelled bra top, £55 // blazer, £40 // trousers, £40 // dress, £220

I can't get enough of these gorgeous colours & prints at the moment, they're the perfect way to perk up your winter wardrobe & the ultimate go-to for your Christmas party look.

What are your thoughts? Will you be working jewel prints this winter?

MYSTRINGALING X

15 November, 2012

Tumblr-ing

Tumblr's been something that I've always been a bit wary of, I think if you're going to have a blog you should fill it with original content, after all who wants to read the same things over & over + isn't it a bit lazy always re-blogging other people's stuff? However, I've recently come across a few people's tumblr pages that have been solely photographs, pictures & (shock horror) the odd bit of their own written content; this is where my original dislike of tumblr has changed. I'm constantly finding beautiful images online but have nowhere to post them (blogspot image-heavy posts can be a bit hard going, non?) So I've given in & made myself an account - mystringaling.tumblr.com (for images & links to new posts on here).


What are your thoughts on tumblr, am I the only one who originally took a disliking to it? Do any of you have an account? Let me know in the comments below :)

MYSTRINGALING X

14 November, 2012

If there's one book you must read... Week #32

Book #32 -- The Road by Cormac McCarthy



Chosen by me :)

Why I think you need to read this book: I've owned this book for a few years, a cast-off of my Dad's that I began to read when it first came into my possession, however, after about 100 pages I just didn't feel like I was into it enough to finish it & so it's sat for the last few years half read on my bookshelf. Then four months ago I joined a book club & saw that October's book would be The Road. I won't lie, I wasn't thrilled about picking this book back up because when I'd first tried to read it I never felt compelled to keeping going with it. This time though I thought I'd persevere, if for no other reason than to be able to say I'd read it, and for those of you who have seen a copy of the book you'll know that this wasn't such a hard task - many of the pages having little more than 100 words on them. I realise that so far I've not exactly sold this book to you, but hang in there, it gets better. I restarted the novel & found that, if nothing else, I could get through it quickly due to the sparse word count on almost every page. Rightly or wrongly this encouraged me to keep going & in no time at all I'd sped past the point where I'd previously given up. As I read more I became engrossed in the desperate & eternally bleak story of 'the man' & 'the boy', who for reasons unbeknown to the reader are left in a post-apocalyptic world, heading South because, well, where else will they go? "The Road" is dangerous, littered with the charred corpses of people less fortunate than themselves - although depending on your outlook, the more you learn about this new world, the more you may feel they were the lucky ones, escaping through death. By the end of this 300-odd page novel I was totally captivated by the plight of these two males, 'the good guys' who never stop 'carrying the fire', waking up every morning & persevering because their lives, and each other, are all they have left. I was so emotionally involved with the two protagonists that when I finished the book I felt lost, it provoked such strong thoughts in me that since I've had bizarre dreams that I know can be directly attributed to this book. It's horrific but yet so beautiful & shows the true strength of human resolve and the love of a father for his young son. Utterly incredible.

The novel's blurb*: 'Cormac McCarthy’s tenth novel, The Road, is his most harrowing yet deeply personal work. Some unnamed catastrophe has scourged the world to a burnt-out cinder, inhabited by the last remnants of mankind and a very few surviving dogs and fungi. The sky is perpetually shrouded by dust and toxic particulates; the seasons are merely varied intensities of cold and dampness. Bands of cannibals roam the roads and inhabit what few dwellings remain intact in the woods. Through this nightmarish residue of America a haggard father and his young son attempt to flee the oncoming Appalachian winter and head towards the southern coast along carefully chosen back roads. Mummified corpses are their only benign companions, sitting in doorways and automobiles, variously impaled or displayed on pikes and tables and in cake bells, or they rise in frozen poses of horror and agony out of congealed asphalt. The boy and his father hope to avoid the marauders, reach a milder climate, and perhaps locate some remnants of civilization still worthy of that name. They possess only what they can scavenge to eat, and the rags they wear and the heat of their own bodies are all the shelter they have. A pistol with only a few bullets is their only defense besides flight. They seek the most rudimentary sort of salvation. However, in The Road, such redemption as might be permitted by their circumstances depends on the boy’s ability to sustain his own instincts for compassion and empathy in opposition to his father’s insistence upon their mutual self-interest and survival at all physical and moral costs.'
* taken from McCarthy's website: http://www.cormacmccarthy.com/works/the-road/

Like most good books, The Road was also made into a film. I watched the film after reading the book & (un)surprisingly the film isn't as good as the novel. It paints the lonely and dangerous grey world brilliantly, but it doesn't show the young boy's development & growing maturity throughout the narrative, it also misses out a few pivotal incidents which, although pretty gruesome, are needed to enhance the novel's rich tapestry of events & progressions.

I know this won't be to everyone's tastes but if you do want to read something thought provoking and, I believe, ultimately hopeful then please try The Road.

Have you read this book, or anything else by Cormac McCarthy? I suggested another of his novels, All the Pretty Horses here. Let me know what you think :)

MYSTRINGALING X

Buy The Road from Amazon.

12 November, 2012

Monday Review: Collection Mosaic Bronzer

This week's product is Collection's Mosaic Shimmering Glow Powder in shade '6 Mosaic Glow' (15g for £2.99)


What Collection say about this product: Bronzed mosaic powder to create a natural sunkissed glow. Contains vitamin E. 

Results...
I absolutely loved this bronzer! Despite looking quite dark & orangey in the colour swatch on my arm, when I applied it to my face (over my foundation) it really did leave me with a soft sun-kissed glow. The colour is extremely buildable; I started with a very gentle swipe, with my blusher brush, over the palette which gave me just enough for a subtle glow - perfect if you're pale - I then repeated this step twice to build the colour. The end result is a beautiful, subtle glow; there is some shimmer in this product but not so much that your face is shiny or sparkly.

Overall rating...
I'd give this bronzer ☆ 
It's a perfect colour for my skin tone (fairly pale). The palette is also nice & big so you can really work the  colour into your brush. The price is another factor that makes me love this product: only £2.99!
A definite 'must have' for everyone's make-up bag :)

Have you tried this bronzer? What did you think?

MYSTRINGALING X

09 November, 2012

Sunshine through colour #OOTD

Haaai lovelies :) here's a quick outfit post from the other day. I decided to wear some really bright colours to brighten up a pretty grey day. I hope you like it :)




Pink jumper: Topshop // Lime green dress (worn as a top): Primark (sale) // Skirt: Topshop (sale) // Chelsea boots: Dorothy Perkins

This is actually a fairly thrifty outfit; the skirt was £6.30 in the Topshop sale & the lime green dress that I'm wearing as a top was reduced to £3 in Primarni -- bargain-tastic! Have any of you discovered any good bargains recently?

MYSTRINGALING X

07 November, 2012

If there's one book you must read... Week #31

Book #31 'the controversial one' -- Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James


It's been a long time coming, I ask people regularly if there's a book they'd recommend to others & the Fifty Shades trilogy often comes up. Not wanting to be a literature snob (there's something out there for everyone) I decided to ask people who'd actually read the novels to give an honest opinion about them. It's very easy to slag off something without ever having read it so here are the thoughts of three people who've actually read the books...

01. 'I love it! Poor grammar etc, but I liked the love & the story. '

02. 'I was interested in the psychology of the two characters in the first installment, towards the end I found it quite tedious though, as there wasn't much character development.'

03. 'I read all three books in just over a week, then read them again slower as at first I couldn't put them down. They get a lot of bad reviews, however, I think it depends on what sort of person you are, Some people slate stuff just to sound cool. I loved them, They aren't the greatest of books but they do what books are meant to do; escapism from real life. There are lots of cliff hangers, a bit of sex, but it's mainly about two people trying to figure out first love and how it works. I enjoyed it and it got me back into reading! It kind of reminded me of my first love. All the stupid stuff you do etc! Obviously it isn't for everybody, but it wouldn't be the biggest selling book if it wasn't a little bit good.'

Amazon blurb: 'Fifty Shades of Grey -- When literature student Anastasia Steele interviews successful entrepreneur Christian Grey, she finds him very attractive and deeply intimidating. Unworldly and innocent, Ana is shocked to find she wants this man, and excited when she realises that Christian wants her too. As they embark on a passionate love affair, Ana discovers more about her own desires, as well as the dark secrets Christian keeps hidden away from public view.
Fifty Shades Darker -- Daunted by the dark secrets of the tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Ana Steele has broken off their relationship. But when Christian proposes a new arrangement, she cannot resist. Soon she is learning more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Grey than she ever thought possible.
Fifty Shades Freed -- Anastasia Steele always knew that loving Christian Grey would not be easy, and being together poses challenges neither of them had anticipated. But, finally together, they have love, passion, intimacy, wealth, and a world of infinite possibilities. Then just when it seems that they really do have it all, tragedy and fate combine to make Ana's worst nightmares come true...'

In the interest of being objective, I decided to also include a review I saw on Amazon by 'Hector Gussett' because, well, it made me LOL & I think it's good to hear a man's opinion. What 'Hector' says...

'Eyebrows were raised when I said I was reading this because apparently, "it's a girls book". Thirty-six years after the passage of the Equalities Act, I laugh in the face of such wanton sexism!
But sure enough, it took to around page 80 before I was introduced to the sleek lines of Christian's Audi SUV and the handling capabilities of his Bell helicopter. Plus by the time I'd got to page 500, nobody had been blown up by terrorists. More is the pity.
Forget all of that though. What I like in a book is a bit of escapism, but it's not an escape if where you end up isn't real. And this isn't. For a start, nobody is short of a few quid and everybody is beautiful and thin. Hey Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore...
But forget all of that too.
Picture a young innocent (who is "a total babe", of course), saving herself for Mr Right. Within days of meeting rich Mr Grey(so gorgeous it just takes your breath away, apparently), she finds herself back at his place (more a sort of skyscraper really). Let's have a tour of his digs. Living room - nice and tasteful, balcony - great views, kitchen - all immaculate marble. And, then, there's the red room. You know, the one with the caribiners on the roof, the restraining cuffs on the wall, the chains on the bed posts and the assortment of whips and riding crops scattered about the floor. Remember, we're not dealing with reality here so the real possibility that you've just delivered yourself into the hands of the Seattle Strangler doesn't come into it. Of course, you decide to stay. And you tell yourself that while you are just a little bit unsure, you are staying because what you really want is to get to know him and his issues better. And anyway, isn't he gorgeous?
So, just like Ana, once she's been taken backwards, forwards, trussed up and with a pair of steel balls, I found I didn't have any strength left. And I'm told there are three in the series?!? Unless I get a guarantee that early on in Book 2, Jose grows a pair, buys himself a M95 sniper rifle and turns the wall behind Christian 50 shades of grey brains, I don't think so. I'll give it 1 [out of 5 stars] because of all the titillating bits, but only because I am assured that nobody was injured in the research.
Meantime, ladies, if you ever find yourself alone with a bloke who doesn't like being touched and who wants to put cable ties around your wrists while applying a gag, don't ask yourself what the beautiful Anastasia would have done in these circumstances, JUST RUN!'

I've seen exerts of the novels & wasn't gripped, not at all to be honest. The basic plot just doesn't appeal to me, I think it seems fairly cliché ridden & predictable, but that's just my opinion, I know some people find a slightly predictable plot appealing as there's no nasty shocks. Whatever your opinion, it cannot be denied that the Fifty Shades trilogy has been phenomenally popular, sparking a wave of copycat style novels. The one huge positive I do think these books have, is that they will (perhaps) encourage people, who wouldn't usually read, to pick up a book. OK, Fifty Shades might not be making it into the Canon anytime soon, and it may not be the best written piece of fiction, but anything that encourages people to read more can only be a good thing in my book.

What do you think, have you read any of the Fifty Shades books? Whether you have or not, what's your opinion on the trilogy? I'd love to hear what you have to say :)


MYSTRINGALING X

Buy the trilogy from Amazon

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