The Curly Curse

They tell you ‘eat your crusts up, they’ll give you curly hair’
Well I never did eat mine so this affliction isn’t fair.

It’s down to ‘dodgy’ follicles or genes or voodoo magic
Gene Wilder in his Wonka days, my curly curse is tragic.

Sometimes I can dupe myself that I’m Carrie from Sex and The City
Except fatter with no dress sense, oh the shame! It’s a terrible pity.

I attack it with my GHD’s until I’m at the end of my tether
it’ll still kink up like Shirley Temple in mildly inclement weather.

I dream of sleek and glossy hair, I can pin up all arty-farty
Instead my little hairclip screams ‘child at a birthday party’.

‘You’re so lucky to have the choice!’, people often delcare.
You wouldn’t consider yourself so ‘lucky’ with Leo Sayer hair…

‘Beautiful, bouncy, shiny curls’? Don’t believe the hype,
The only Curly Wurly I enjoy is the Cadbury’s chocolate type.

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A Reading Wrap Up #2


Here I am again to bore you with my latest reading wrap up.  I’ve decided to review books I’ve read in groups of between 3 and 5, unless something really grabs me and I do a standalone review of it.  Check out my last wrap up here.

Lets crack on with the last 4 books I read, all very different….

Girlvert – Oriana Small


I ordered this one after watching the genre of ‘Porn Memoir’ reviewed on YouTube.  This particular book was offered up as revealing the more hardcore, seedier, darker side of the porn industry and I thought, if you’re going to read about porn Mand you might as well start at the hardcore end of the spectrum, go in at the deep end as it were (If you’ll excuse the pun).  So, this book is written by porn star Oriana Small a.k.a Ashley Blue.  It spans the entirety of her and her boyfriend Tyler’s porn careers and the various scrapes and situations she’s got herself into over the years.  She definitely doesn’t pull any punches or shy away from the detail, and I mean the proper grim, gory detail that had me thinking ‘really?? do things like this actually go on?!’  I was a little unsure on starting this whether I would just feel sad for a girl who had been forced into a world of porn against her will, but the reality was that she willingly entered into the profession and way of life and openly admits at the start of the book that she enjoyed rough experimental sex and wasn’t afraid to push her boundaries.  That’s not to say that she doesn’t find herself in situations beyond her control along the way.  Places she shouldn’t be doing things she doesn’t want to do.  However, the majority of the time she is off her face (technical term) on drugs of all kinds and is powerless to stop what is happening to her.  Scary stuff.

At points this book is sad, eye opening, shocking, even humourous.  It prompted a few debates in my office let me tell you!, especially when I recounted a story involving Ashley, 7 men and a metal spoon…..I’ll leave that one there.

‘Tyler and I had the same philosophy: a hedonistic approach to life.  Just like any young girl does with her first love, I planned to be with Tyler forever.  “Whatever”, we said to one another.  “Its just porn. So what? Lets try anything.  Let’s be open-minded and not limit ourselves to what might be out there.  We might enjoy it….”   This is just a small sampling of the rationale Tyler and I rolled through in order to put our minds at ease for trying porn.’


The Sudden Departure of The Frasers – Louise Candlish


This one had been on my TBR shelf for a good while and I grabbed it as a bit of a palate cleanser from all that porn.  This book tells the story of two couples who have both occupied the same house on a very upmarket street in a very affluent area at different times.  The story starts with the Davenports moving into the house and not quite believing their luck at having got it for such a knock down price, due in part to the fact that the previous couple, The Frasers, moved out very suddenly and under mysterious circumstances.  The narrative flits backwards and forwards in time between the two couples over a period of 18 months or so.  Christy Davenport finds herself unemployed and getting more and more drawn into finding out just exactly why the Frasers left so quickly, what makes their neighbours so cagey and standoffish? and why nobody is willing to talk about the enigmatic, beautiful Amber Fraser and her husband Jeremy, why they left and where they could possibly be now, given that they’ve disappeared without a trace.

I expected this book to reveal its ‘mystery’ early on, now I’m no Columbo but I can quite often guess a twist before it’s revealed but this book kept me guessing right up until the end and to be honest I enjoyed being taken on a wild goose chase.  Trying to figure out what on earth had happened, I almost didn’t want to find out and have the bubble of anticipation burst.  This book did not disappoint, I loved it.

She on the other hand, was reduced to what was starting to tip alarmingly close to being a nosy neighbour.  Just as well she hadn’t confessed that the first thing she’d done when dusting down her laptop was not to job-search but to google The Frasers.  She wanted to find out who they were and where they were now; she wanted to see if they still existed….


Hidden Bodies – Caroline Kepnes


This is the sequel to ‘You’ which I read a couple of years ago I think.  I really enjoyed the first book which tells the story of a man called Joe who works in a bookshop and becomes obsessed with a customer called Guinevere Beck.  This stalkerish obsession ultimately ends in murder (multiple).  Joe is a high functioning psychopath who infiltrates ‘normal’ peoples lives and flys under the radar.  Hidden Bodies picks up where ‘You’ left off as Joe has evaded the law for his crimes.  He now has a girlfriend called Amy, who is everything Beck wasn’t. He is equally as obsessed with her until she betrays him and disappears.  This then turns his obsession very dark and he’s off on a search to find her to make her pay like Beck did.  Things happen in this book that are so far outside the realms of possibility I nearly eyerolled myself back in time. I just couldn’t get along with this sequel and really wished I’d just stopped at ‘You’.  I wouldn’t recommend this at all. Quite disappointing.
The Other Mrs Walker – Mary Paulson-Ellis


I came across this one by accident on Amazon whilst searching for something else and man I’m so glad I did.  This book, (aside from having a beautiful vintage dress on the cover) is everything I love about a good story.  A split narrative, switching between two time periods, a mystery, family secrets and investigating things on microfiche in a library!….I’ve ALWAYS wanted to investigate something on microfiche *sighs*.

This follows the story of Margaret Penny, running away from her life in London having done something she isn’t proud of.  She returns to live with her Mother in Edinburgh, jobless, relationshipless and a little lost.  She takes a job at an agency that deals with people with no families who have died, in the hope that they can identify who they are and trace some relatives.  Margaret is tasked with trying to trace the relatives of one Mrs Walker, no first name.  All she has to go on are:

An Orange

A Brazil Nut

An Emerald dress

A photograph

and six orange pips sucked dry.

In unravelling the mystery the story travels back in time to the Walker family and the various dark secrets they’ve kept along the way.  Death, neglect, madness, institutions, loneliness and poverty.

This book had me gripped and as with The Sudden Departure Of The Frasers I didn’t guess the twist until the last 4 or 5 pages.  Its written beautifully and I particularly loved the chapters set back in time.  I love a good family mystery.  Read it.

She dies like this – with her shoes on and nylons wrinkling at the knee.  The glass she was holding fell to the floor, the last of its contents trickling out with the last of her breath.  The liquid glinted in the moonlight, winking a last goodnight before seeping away too – down through the fibres of the carpet, down through the rough and dusty floorboards, down to the ceiling of the flat below.  It evaporated as it went, leaving nothing but a stain.  And that smell. Whisky.  The water of life.  But not for her. Not any more……

In the drawer she left a Brazil nut with the Ten Commandments etched into it’s shell.  On a mantelpiece a ridge of dust where once a photograph had stood.  In a wardrobe she left an emerald dress, sequins scattered along the hem.  On a blue plate an orange, full of holes now like her bones and her brain…

So that’s my most recently read books.  I hope you fancy at least one of them.  Let me know if you’ve read any of them, I’d love to know what you think.

 

 

See you soon kids!

 

 

Mand xx

Her(o)

If ‘Chub Rub’ made her thighs ignite she could be a Superhero
She pondered as she ate a croissant, one morning in Café Nero

She’d probably have a name like “Flame” (If not already taken)
She wondered as she walloped down her sausage, eggs and bacon

A really cool costume she’d probably have, the design of which won’t matter
As long as it’s something roomy and loose cut on the bias to flatter

No scaling tall buildings with the greatest of ease, she’s not cut out for these things
She could probably leap off a (fairly) high wall, with her cape and her bingo wings

When it comes to powers, perhaps she’ll read minds or shoot laser beams from her eyes
Of course she might just make cake disappear and grate cheese on her orange peel thighs.

She’s heard all the best one’s have awesome strength and maybe cute rocket boost boots
well she can lift an 8kg weight and pull dandelions up from their roots

Superheroes are brave, strong and bold (or so she’s heard it said)
Of course she’s already all of these things (and can turn the occasional head)

This Hero lark sounds like awful hard work, and she’s not one for causing a stir..
Lumps, bumps, wrinkles and all…she’s quite content to be ‘Her’

A Reading Wrap Up #1


I was planning on doing a monthly ‘wrap up’ of all the books I’ve read.  That’s what all the best Booktubers do.  (I am not a booktuber…..yet).  However, tying myself down to definite blog posts messes with my head (delicate little flower that I am!) and gets in the way of my ‘lying down stuffing chocolate buttons in my big fat gob’ time so I plan to just do the odd Reading Wrap Up every now and again. I’ll be doing ‘Haul’ posts too (see I know allll the lingo), which will basically be showing you the books I’ve bought, begged or borrowed.

That ok with you?

So, lets crack on with the books I read in February.  A real mixed bag of 5 Star stuff and some utter rot.

Strap in……

The Crimson Petal And The White – Michel Faber

I started this at the end of January and finished it in February.  Its a chunky one but I zipped through it because it was so chuffin good.  So good that I did a standalone review blog post here.  I won’t blether on about it anymore here.  If you like rip roaring historical romps with a dark twist then go check out the review….or just dive in and read the actual book.  You won’t regret it. Promise.

Kiss Me First – Lottie Moggach

This one had been on my TBR shelf for a good while.  I picked it up after The Crimson Petal because I fancied something contemporary, I’d been stuck in history for too long my friends.  This is a story about Leila, a virtual recluse who, after the death of her mother, spends too much time in an online world.  She is approached by the moderator of a philosophical debate type forum to help a woman to disappear and commit suicide without hurting her family.  The plan is that Tess (the woman who wants to die) will go off somewhere secret and do the deed as it were, and Leila will continue her online life (via emails and Facebook etc), gradually decreasing the contact with friends and family in the hope that they will accept that ‘Tess’ has given up on them.  I really enjoyed this one, it felt frighteningly possible and well within the realms of possibility.  I think I need to see if Lottie Moggach has written anything else.  Well worth a read.

Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier


This year I want to read more of the classics.  I have never read Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights (although there’s a vague school memory of this one…..but that could just be the Kate Bush song……’Heeeeathcliffe! It’s Me, Oh Cathy, I’ve come home now!’ you know the one).  I’d heard great things about Rebecca and Daphne Du Maurier as an author.  Jamaica Inn and My Cousin Rachel I’d heard of but Rebecca seems to be the iconic Daphers novel everyone raves about.  Well…….I blinkin loved it! Set in the 1930’s (I think) it tells the story of our nameless protagonist, a lady’s companion who meets  enigmatic widower Maxim De Winter (fabulous name!).  She marries him and returns to his estate of Manderley.  She lives forever in the shadow of Maxim’s now deceased wife Rebecca.  The staff in the house all loved her, in particular the awful Mrs Danvers, who is quite possibly the best ‘baddy’ in any historical novel I’ve read so far.  If it were panto we’d be booing her.  I loved the way she was described as:

‘tall and gaunt, dressed in deep black, whose prominent cheek-bones and great, hollow eyes gave her a skulls face, parchment white, set on a skeletons frame’…..

Oooh sends shivers down your spine.

The story centres around the effect the infamous ‘Rebecca’ has on the marriage and what actually happened to her?……Its beautifully written in such great detail and draws you in right from the get go.  About two thirds of the way in there was a moment when I was reading it on the bus when my jaw dropped.  A moment I wasn’t expecting.  This book is the kind of story that lingers with you long after you’ve read it.  I’ll definitely be reading more of Daphne’s stuff in the future.

The Man Who Loved Children – Christina Stead


Oh man…….what can I say about this book?…..I desperately wanted to love it because I fell in love with the cover instantly.  It’s probably the most beautiful front cover of any book I’ve ever read. However………

This is probably the most boring, odd, cringeworthy book I’ve ever had the misfortune to read.  Add to this the fact that it’s soooooo looooooong! reading it was like purgatory.  People were telling me to ditch it, life’s too short for boring books.  But I NEVER give up on a book and this one became my nemesis, like an albatross around my neck.

I’m hard pressed to tell you what it’s about to be honest.  This I do know, the mother and father characters (Sam and Henny) were the vilest creatures I’ve ever come across.  They have 6 children between them, 5 of which are from their marriage, and one, the oldest at 11 Louie, from Sam’s first marriage.

The story as far as I can gather is about the awful relationship between Sam and Henny, they communicate with each other through the children and notes that they leave for each other.  They both appear to despise poor Louie and treat her terribly.  Sam likes to think he is the perfect father, he talks in his own made up ‘baby ‘ language to them which when reading it made me want to hurl…check it out:

“Bring up your tea, Loo-loo girl: I’m sick , hot head, nedache (headache), dot pagans in my stumjack (got pains in my stomach): want my little fambly around me this morning.  We’ll have a corroboree afterwards when I get better.  Mother will make the porridge”….

Is that not the most cheesily awful sentence you’ve ever read?…..there’s loads more of that throughout the book.  Sometimes this book was engaging, other times it was literally just a jumble of nonsensical words thrown on a page.  Lots of times I didn’t know if it was New York or New Year…baffling!

This book is described as a ‘neglected classic’….it should have stayed neglected in my opinion.  I was so let down. BUT it has made me want to buy a print of the Norman Rockwell image on the cover.  That’s all I can credit it for.

Accidents Of Marriage – Randy Susan Meyers

This was a quick easy read.  It tells the story of Ben and Maddy and their 3 children.  Ben has anger issues which one day boil over and end up causing a road traffic accident which puts Maddy in a coma.

We follow the story through Ben’s eyes, Maddy’s eyes and their oldest daughter Emma’s eyes.  After Maddy emerges from her coma we see the effect Ben’s temper has on her recovery, their marriage and their children.  Not an easy subject matter but I enjoyed it. A good read.

So those are my February books.  Two massive beasts, one amazing, one diabolically rubbish, two contemporary, three historical.

I wonder what March will bring…….

Porn, that’s what…..watch this space.


 

Mand

 

xx