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A little bit about the page…

Hi there!

My name is Meg and I’m an English graduate from Coventry University, specialising in literature. The main reason that I have created this blog is to share my love of reading and to give you an insight into some of my favourite (and not so favourite) books. I will cover numerous genres, although my favourites genre to read for pleasure would be crime fiction!

As well as writing book reviews I will also be writing about my other interests (I’m very new to this so I haven’t quite decided what to write about yet!) and things that inspire me. I’ll be sharing some of my favourite recipes that I hope you will try at home!

I hope that you enjoy reading my blog as much as I have enjoyed writing it, please contact me regarding any requests or suggestions on book titles to review.

Happy reading!

Meg x

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet

I studied Hamlet at University but have always had a love for Shakespeare since being very young and taking trips to Stratford Upon Avon with my grandparents as a child. I think Shakespeare scares a lot of people as the language can be complicated so readers are easy to give up and read something a little more understandable.

I think that once you spend a little more time understanding and reading Shakespeare, it becomes so much more easy to understand and some of the stories and poetry involved in his work is really impressive and admirable. A lot of written versions of his plays actually have modern day translations of certain words that allow the reader to really grasp what they are reading, these are super helpful!

Hamlet is a play that focuses upon the title character after the murder of his father. The ghost of Hamlet’s father visits him and demands that he avenge his murder by killing the new king, Hamlets uncle. Hamlet goes (or pretends to go) mad and plots his revenge. Whilst this is occurring, a love interest interprets Hamlets behaviour as strange and the entire plot ends in death, remorse and tragedy. Shakespeare’s tragedy’s all include a really high level of drama which makes them really interesting and page turning! Shakespeare’s tragedy’s are always exiting and full of lots of different plots (see my dissertation post for a bit more information!).

If you don’t feel up to reading a Shakespearean play just yet, there are so many different movie adaptations that really capture the plays well! The ‘Hamlet’ movie staring Mel Gibson is a really good example of a movie that translates the play really well into film. Other movies that are adaptations of Shakespeare plays include Romeo and Juliet and 10 things I Hate about You (loosely based on The Taming of the Shrew).

I’m hoping to write a bit more about different Shakespeare plays to try to promote the work of the playwright as I think it’s super overlooked! A good starting point would definitely be his tragedy’s as they are full of twists, turns and suspense and have all the drama!

Happy reading!

Meg x

Review of ‘Shades of Secrets: Behind the Wall’ by Harris Kloe

This is a review that was requested by the author via my site, I’m always more than happy to read books from new and upcoming authors and offer any help I can in the form of feedback or reviews!

This is a short suspense story that is available on Amazon from the 6th of June 2021.

I did enjoy reading this, it was a really well written story that was full of suspense from the very start. I think it’s clever how the author managed to cram a full plot into such a short space. The ‘true crime’ feel of the text is something that I think a lot of people would enjoy! It definitely gave me ‘Cecil Hotel’ vibes!

The format of the story, it being so short, is something I haven’t really come across before. I think this type of text would be really useful for people who perhaps don’t have much time for reading, it only took me around 20 minutes to finish the book properly. This being said, and this is nothing against the story itself, I think I prefer the more classic novel layout with a longer and more complicated plot. However, I think that the author could easily translate this story (or one similar) into a novel so this is definitely something I’d be interested in reading in the future!

I’d like to say a huge thank you to the authors who have been kind enough to read my blog and contact me regarding reviews. I am very appreciative of the support and praise of my blog posts and hope that I can generate some form of readership from my reviews in return!

Happy reading!

Meg x

Review on ‘the Scarlet letter’ by Nathaniel Hawthorne

I read this novel a few years ago as a friend had recommended it and I loved it that much I decided to write my A Level English coursework around it. It’s a classic novel that is definitely a part of my ‘must read’ list! It’s a romance novel with an historical twist as it is set in Puritan times, exploring elements of religion and the impact of this on beliefs within societies.

The main character, Hester Prynne is introduced through her punishment of public humiliation after an act of adultery that has resulted in the birth of a child by an unknown father. This, obviously, severely angers those in the town in which she lived, especially other women who appear to be jealous of how Hester remains calm and dignified throughout her punishment.

Hesters husbands, returning from overseas, becomes enraged at this discovery and vows to seek revenge against the man who has fathered the child. Hester keeps her secret and refuses to tell anyone who the father is. The novel follows her and her daughter’s lives as they become outcasts of the town and are branded as troublesome women. As the story progresses, it follows the theme of guilt and consciousness as the father of the child reveals himself.

The way in which Hawthorne explores how the actions of men and women have had effects upon both, more negatively upon women within society is really interesting when the context of the book is taken into consideration. Hester is the one that is shunned and she remains dignified throughout whereas her husband, Chillingworth, is the one who acts base and ungentlemanly.

An old fashioned Eastenders type story, this novel is full of drama and twists and turns but still has all the aspects of a classic piece of literature. I’d really recommend reading this, it’s an amazing piece of literature that is thought provoking and is full of symbolism.

Happy reading!

Meg x

Trip to Rome (2017)

Rome has got to be one of the best cities that I’ve visited and I’d love to go back there one day! We went in the September and it was really warm and sunny, we did tonnes of sight seeing and walking but still didn’t manage to see everything to city has to offer!

My second favourite subject at school, behind English, was History, so all of course, I was completely in my element as Rome is a city that is rich with History. We visited many of the main sites including; the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, The Vatican, the Capuchin Crypt, the Piazza Navona, Pantheon, the Torre Argentina cat Sanctuary, and the Forum. It’s such a beautiful city and it’s really amazing how old some of the buildings are, especially once you do a little bit of research about their significance!

Of course, everyone loves Italian food and the pasta and pizza over there was absolutely beautiful! I also tried some Italian Gelato and it was the best ice cream I’ve ever had (I’d go back just for more gelato!). I’ve always enjoyed cooking Italian food and chose Italy as the country to base my technical exam on in GCSE food technology, so trying real Italian food was something I’ve always wanted to do and it definitely didn’t disappoint!

I’m definitely planning on going back here…here’s some photos of the trip!

Recipe for Singapore noodles

Ingredients (feeds two)

  • Two nests of dried noodles
  • Vegetable oil
  • One onion
  • One pepper
  • Two spring onions
  • One small carrot
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • One tbsp of curry powder
  • two eggs
  • A splash of light soy sauce
  • Sugar

Method

  • Cook the noodles according to the packet (usually by boiling) and leave to one side.
  • Chop all of the vegetables into strips, ready for frying.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onions until soft.
  • Add the pepper, spring onions, garlic, and curry powder and fry. If you feel like it’s too dry and sticking to the pan, add a splash of water.
  • Push the vegetables to one side and add the eggs, mixing on the clear side of the pan until scrambled.
  • Mix the egg into the vegetables
  • Add the soy sauce and sugar to the mix, followed by the cooked noodles and stir fry until all mixed together.
  • You can add a little more water if you need a bit more sauce.
  • You can add chilli to this if you’d like it spicier or even bulk it up with shredded chicken or strips of stir fry steak!
  • Serve and enjoy.

Review of ‘Cold Wallet’ by Rosy Fenwicke

This is a direct submission via my Reedsy Discovery reviewer page. I love reading books from new and upcoming authors, being able to offer a little bit of support and feedback to authors is something that I’m always really pleased to do! I’ve discovered so many amazing books that I probably wouldn’t have come across before I began reviewing!

This book follows the story of the recently widowed Jess, who is attempting to grasp the new role that she has been given as owner of her deceased husbands company. With very little knowledge surrounding the area of cryptocurrency, Jess is forced to seek the help of Henry, her husbands best friend. Henry is publicly distrusting of Jess and is a ruthless and misogynistic figure, who Jess herself dislikes. After secrets about her past get released to the press and Jess begins to become disturbed by Henry’s behaviour, she realised that her only means of saving her life and reputation may exist in the ‘Cold Wallet’, an encrypted file that she can’t access or even knows the passwords for.

The way in which the author portrays the ruthless, masculine dominated world of cryptocurrency is fascinating and is one of the ways in which the author allows her reader to really root for the female protagonist. The realistic nature of the plot, both in terms of the modern world in which it is set and the types of characters that are portrayed, is something that I really enjoyed. I picked up on several feminist readings, which I always admire in literature. There are many ways in which the author forces the reader to decipher Henry’s motives, moving back and forth between different possible outcomes. 

I enjoyed reading this book, it was action packed from the start and I really connected with the main character. I’d recommended this book to anyone who is interested in business and the area of cryptocurrency, any feminist readers and, of course, lovers of the thriller genre.

Recipe for the viral Tik Tok pasta

If you use Tik Tok you’ll have definitely seen this pasta on so many peoples pages! It’s a really easy recipe and you can add/alter it in so many different ways but here is the base of it! I’ll add a little note at the end with ideas to pimp your pasta up!

Ingredients

  • Rigatoni pasta (I never measure pasta, I just guess)
  • A block of feta cheese
  • Two packets of cherry tomatoes
  • Three cloves of garlic
  • Salt/pepper to season
  • A glug of olive oil
  • Dried oregano (or mixed Italian herbs)

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200degrees
  • Place your block of feta into an oven proof tin and cover with the cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil, add the garlic (whole or diced) and season with salt and pepper and your choice of herbs.
  • Bake the feta and tomatoes in the oven for around 40 minutes to an hour until the tomatoes are soft.
  • Boil the pasta in salted water until cooked, around 5-10 minutes .
  • Mix the feta and tomatoes all together until a creamy sauce is made.
  • Add the pasta to the sauce and serve!

You could add cooked chicken and peppers to this for a more substantial meal.

Another great idea for this would be to use a block of soft garlic cheese (such as Boursin) if you’re not a huge fan of feta cheese.

Review of ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn

This is the second Gillian Flynn novel that I’ve read, and again, I absolutely loved it. Gillian Flynn is definitely the queen of plot twists! I love her style of writing, the ways in which she uses a non-linear timeline really make you want to read more, she can really draw her readers in. It’s a book that I’ve always wanted to read, I studied a part of the text in one of my modules at University which made me really intrigued to hear the whole story.

‘Gone Girl’ is a story about a missing woman, Amy Dunne and her husband’s, Nick, attempts to figure out what has happened to her. Throughout the book we hear both from Nick and Amy, the voice of Amy is presented through diary entries in comparison to Nick who is placed in the present, during the disappearance of his wife. By giving opinions of husband and wife, the author really psychoanalyses the marriage of the protagonists, which, in turn, means that the reader is able to do the same. This is what makes the book really interesting, did Nick have anything to do with Amy’s disappearance?

I’d actually seen the film before reading the book which I think spoiled my experience a little bit as I knew how it was going to end. However, I remember first watching the film and being shocked by the ending, which is a testament to the plot of the novel itself. I always think texts like this don’t translate well into films, similarly to The Girl On The Train, so I’d definitely recommend reading this even if you’ve seen the film! Gillian Flynn has written a number of books and they’re definitely on my list for future reads.

If you love a mystery novel with a twist then I’d definitely recommend the work of Gillian Flynn. This thriller novel, with its use of psychoanalysis, will probably always be popular amongst readers as it’s a type of book that always has been popular, and is definitely my favourite genre!

Happy reading!

Meg x

Recipe for Bakewell tarts

Ingredients

  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g butter + 120g butter for filling
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 90g cherry jam
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 12 glacé cherries

Method

  • Dice 100g of butter and add to a bowl with 200g of plain flour.
  • Rub together with the tips of your fingers until the mixture forms a breadcrumb like texture.
  • Add a table spoon of water at a time to the flour and butter mixture until a firm dough is formed (around 3tbsp).
  • Knead the dough and wrap in clingfilm, chill in the fridge until needed.
  • preheat the oven to 180degrees
  • Lightly grease a muffin tin with butter and roll out your pastry into a thin sheet, cut out enough circles of pastry to fill the tin, making sure they slightly come up over the top.
  • Push the pastry down into the tin and chill in the fridge for 15/20 minutes
  • Cut out circles of baking paper and scrunch them up, before unscrunching and placing on top of each pastry case. Fill with baking beads (or rice) and blind bake for 10 minutes.
  • After the 10 minutes, remove the baking paper and bake for a further 10 minutes until golden brown.
  • Beat together 120g of butter with the sugar until creamed together, the mixture should be light and fluffy.
  • Add the egg and 1tbsp of flour to the butter and sugar mixture and whisk until fully combined.
  • Fold in the ground almonds.
  • Add a layer of cherry jam to the bottom of each pastry case and add the almond mixture on top.
  • Bake the tarts in the oven for 20 minutes until the mixture has set and is golden brown.
  • Leave the tarts to cool completely
  • Mix the icing sugar with a small amount of water until a thick icing is formed.
  • Once the tarts have cooled, spoon the icing on top and add a glacé cherry to each one.

Review of ‘The Thursday Murder Club’ by Richard Osman

This was actually a Christmas present that my Dad had bought for my Mum, I read this straight after my Mum as she’d said how good it was! A murder mystery set in a retirement village, this novel is as witty and comical as it is mysterious and page turning! If you know of the author, Richard Osman from Pointless, you may be able to see his personality in his writing, that’s something that I picked up on and that I enjoyed.

The novel follows a group of four pensioners, who are all a part of an extra curricular club, The Thursday Murder Club. They meet every Thursday to discuss, and solve, cold cases that they have access to due to a previous member being a part of the Police. The club are overwhelmingly excited when they fall upon the chance to solve a murder that has just happened, that is linked to the retirement village that they live in. Each member has a unique personality and are each loveable as characters.

The fact that this novel portrays pensioners solving crimes is funny in itself and the characters have their own whims and ways of acting that make each of them comical, likeable but also taken seriously. The leader of the group, Elizabeth, in particular, is a character that has been really well formed and is by no means a push over. The partnership of the Police and the Thursday Murder Club is one that allows each party to bounce off the other and added, for me, a sense of admiration of the capabilities of the main characters. You can really imagine them as older people, in their mannerisms and sometimes lack of technical abilities, the main character certainly reminds me of my own Nan.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes a crime novel and enjoys a bit of comedy. It’s an easy and light hearted read that I really enjoyed and would read again!

Happy reading!

Meg x