Books I Read in March and April!

It has been, unsurprisingly, a weird time over the past couple months. What with the pandemic and all, and my reading has been all over the place as a result. I’m not one of those people who have been devouring books as an escape, although I’m very jealous of them. Instead, I’ve been struggling to actually sit down and read without being incredibly aware of the fact that I’m reading and it being a struggle. So these are the books that I haven’t just thrown back onto my to-be-read pile within ten pages!

Pile of the books reviewed in post

Sweet and Deadly by Charlaine Harris
This is my favourites author debut and I didn’t love it. Charlaine Harris is my go-to. But it took her a couple go’s before she got the voice that I love so much now. It definitely makes me think I should give some other authors another try if I didn’t like their debut…

Atlas Alone by Emma Newman*
This was what I wanted from Ready Player One by Ernest Cline; immersive video games, post-nuclear apocalypse, real life consequences. It’s great! I read Planetfall last year and Atlas Alone really solidified how Emma Newman is one of those writers, like Charlaine Harris, where I seem to match with them. I just love their writing style so much that I will follow them anywhere.
I did have some weird feelings about the representation of asexuality in this one though. But I’m not asexual and that isn’t my place, so I went searching around and found some own-voices reviews. Please check them out for further detail; Sarah didn’t like the rep (spoilers in this one), Mairi did like the rep (spoiler-free).
“It’s the sense of total mental absorption that I love, the fading of my own noisy mind into the background with only the work filling the space.”

Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes*
This is the first space opera style novel that I’ve enjoyed! I really want to like the sub-genre. I’ve tried many a different book in attempt but I’ve never found one that has done it for me. But space cats? I had to. So when I was sent this, it took me a couple of weeks to build the courage to pick it up. I’m going to do a full review on it and I am so looking forward to the sequel!  
“Favours are delicious,” Pink said. “I ask myself, ‘Dr. Jones, what do you want to eat for lunch?’ and favours are the first thing-“

Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salib
This is required reading for my last essay of my term at uni and I can’t say that I enjoyed reading it. However, it’s pretty interesting to read about. The author specifically chose to work with the stereotypes that both the West and the East have of Arab-Africans. So its the perfect book for an essay based on subverting readers expectations. It’s just a little unfortunate that it didn’t subvert my expectations that I wouldn’t have fun reading it. Post-modernist texts are not my favourite.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
Stress has been making it hard for me to focus and enjoy reading, as weird as that may seem in a wrap-up of seven books. But it has, at times, felt like a bit of a chore. So I listened to the audiobook of The Bell Jar on a weird hunch and yeah, Plath describes the exact feeling. I loved this completely. And want to re-read it and do a full review on how much it meant for me in these weird times.
“The letters grew barbs and rams’ horns. I watched them separate, each from the other, and jiggle up and down in a silly way.”

The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler*
I have a full review of this one coming soon! 

Lady Susan by Jane Austen
This may be a controversial opinion, because when I asked the question: what Jane Austen should I start with? Nobody said Lady Susan. But over the past couple years I’ve read Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey in one month, and Persuasion. So I feel pretty confident in saying- Lady Susan is a good starter Austen.
It’s an epistolary novel, so told in letters. And it’s about a truly awful society woman who is trying to get her daughter, and herself, married again. At less than 100 pages you get a real glimpse into Austen’s style without the pressure of staring down 500 pages of prose.
-for the pleasure of learning that the danger is over, is perhaps dearly purchased by all that you have previously suffered.”

What books have you been reading lately? What do you think of my new blog design? (please bear with me as I get my footing)

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Five Years of Imogen’s Typewriter. 

This blog is now half a decade old. That’s wild to me. I can’t believe it’s been so long since I sat down and typed in my little domain into Blogger. And four-hundred and twenty-three posts later, here we are. If my blog was a child, it would be going to school by now in a tiny little uniform!

The past year has been a strange one in regards to blogging, I know a lot of people feel lost on occasion and I’ve been struggling to fit in blogging with my degree work as that ramps up year-by-year. I love blogging though and I’ve written some posts I’m really proud of this year.

I’ve written full book reviews on Catch-22 by Joseph HellerAnne Boleyn: A King’s Obsession by Alison WeirOblivion by Jennifer L. ArmentroutThe Haunting of Mount Cod by Nicky StrattonThe Ninth Rain by Jen Williams and Christmas with the East End Angels by Rosie Hendry. And mini reviews in my wrap-up posts!

I’ve been fostering kittens and cats throughout the year and started blogging about my experiences with The Kittens of Wildfell Hall and Slug & Hedgehog. These posts have been so much fun to write and I’m really hoping to catch up in my sixth year of blogging, since I’m adopting out my 20th cat today!

I’ll be taking part in Bookending Winter this December so make sure to keep a lookout for that! I’m hosting from the 4th to the 7th and you can read all about it and the prompts here and here. There’s even a Twitter. So I’m starting my sixth year of blogging on a good note.

Don’t forget to check out my little blog birthday giveaway on Twitter! And thank you for reading!
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Under my Christmas Tree!

Another Christmas has been and gone! I really like seeing what people got for Christmas, mainly because I’m nosey, and I like writing this post every year. It’s my way of looking at everything together and feeling ever so lucky. And I get to look back at what I got last year, the year before that, the year before that and the year before that. It’s wild to see how tastes change and stay the same year after year.

Plus, I’ll bet there are other people like me that just love reading these types of posts. Welcome!

Anyone who knows me, knows I do love a good mug. And this year I was treated to two; the My Favourite Murder podcast Toxic Masculinity Ruins the Party Again mug that I wished for. And one that my parents picked up on a trip to Copenhagen! It’s a Royal Copenhagen design that has silicone to protect your hands from hot contents. Perfect for a chilly January cup of tea.

On the subject of podcasts; how brilliant is the Vermilion Minotaur pin from Hello from the Magic Tavern? I’ve really loved pins this year and I’m glad to represent the best tavern in Foon with this!

As I get older I find myself more and more excited about good skincare. So you can imagine my celebratory dance at finding the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate in my stocking. It’s a thinner oil then I’m used to and I love how quickly my skin absorbs the goodness.

The Konjac Sponge is so weird but so cool. It’s solid when it’s dry but after a couple seconds under the tap, it starts to soften up until you have this handful of sponge that is ever so slightly gooey feeling without the goo. I’m into it, and I can’t wait to see the effect on my skin.

Since I only bought a few books in 2017 because of my self-imposed book buying ban (mini-haul here), I was really excited to get some fresh new books in my stocking. Books like the first Miss Marple novel; The Murder at the Vicarage by Agatha ChristieWomen & Power by Mary BeardI Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora EphronTravels with my Sketchbook by Chris RiddellThe Faber Book of ChristmasIt Devours! by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor and the gorgeous Folio Society edition of Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome! Gosh, there’s nothing better than a beautiful pile of books.

The entertainment continues with my new box-set of Golden Girls (in German because there’s no UK full box-set). I couldn’t be more excited to get to know Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia. And hello future foster cat/ Sims names!

The first expansion to Exploding Kittens; Imploding Kittens is going to make the game all the more fun. If you’re looking for a quick card game for a few people, you can’t beat it. This expansion also comes with a human-sized cone of shame too which is just brilliant.

Santa definitely had a theme this year! The royal cat socks are just fantastic, I’m wearing them right now and they’re keeping my feet cosy as well as making me smile every time I look down. The ‘Cat Lady’ and cat mug patches are going to be sewn onto a boring jacket I have to snazz it up.

And the big man also treated my foster cats too. The heated pet bed is currently under my desk with two very happy cats napping, and the Snuggle Kitty is going to come in handy next time I have orphan kittens!

And, of course, chocolate! The Lindt Santa had an unfortunate squash but tasted good anyway. Probably better because I didn’t have to deal with the guilt of a chocolate-y beheading.

What did you get for Christmas? Link me if you wrote a post like this!
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Hello 2018!

A fresh new year, a fresh new diary and a fresh new blog post! 2018 has arrived and I just managed to slump over that finish line when it came to 2017. I didn’t think it could get much worse than 2016 but boy, 2017 sure showed me. It was a year of personal loss, bad health and just trying to keep my head above water. But we got through it, eh?



Things I wanted to do in 2017
Find a balance.
I tried, my gosh, I tried. And you know what? I felt kind of good in January. But it all slid away as the months past by, migraines became a weekly thing and I started my second year of university. It meant that I actually had great difficulty keeping up. I even had my first month since I started this blog where I didn’t read a single book. But balance is difficult and maybe trying to find it in a single year isn’t the most obtainable goal.
Replace.
I wanted to see out with the old and invest in the new when it came to 2017 and I think I did that! I paid up for a new mattress, unhauled a few books (you can see these here and here) and after many many years, replaced the carpet in my study with beautiful wooden flooring that’s ready for some new kitten fosters!
Blog less.

Well, I did blog less. In fact, I wrote 42 blog posts in the whole of 2017 which is less than half what I’ve been writing in the past. It felt strange to do it deliberately, even though I needed to prioritise my university work, and it felt even stranger when I realised it wasn’t deliberate anymore. I’m hoping in 2018, I’ll find a happier middle ground. 
Tick off the practical.

I did some pretty practical things in 2017; I got a student loan, I updated my computer, I finished my first year of university. But I didn’t do a lot of other things so I’ll give this a B+.

Things I want to do in 2018:
Keep trying for balance.
I see a lot of people talking about their word that represents their aim for 2018, and mine is definitely Balance. I can’t keep running myself into the ground and have to recover over and over again. The scale has to stop tipping at some point.
Foster more kittens.
In 2017, I fostered kittens for the first time and I’d like to do a lot more of it in 2018. I now volunteer for both Cats Protection and the animal sanctuary that I adopted my first cats from which is a nice full circle. Kitten season starts in Spring and I’m ready to do my part.
Go to Texas. 
I met one of my best friends online 7 years ago and still haven’t met her! Admittedly, she lives in Texas and I live in England so it’s not the easiest trip but I’d like to make it this year. 
Write more.
While I did write some pretty great essays in 2017, I felt my creative mojo take a backseat. I haven’t written anything resembling fiction in a long time, and I feel like my blog posts suffered as well. So in 2018, I’d like to write more, about anything. Just write.


What are your goals for 2018?
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My Christmas List!

I normally pop up my Christmas list on December 1st but since I was in Mexico, there’s been a little delay! I really enjoy looking back at my old lists (2013, 2014, 2015 & 2016) and I love reading other peoples. It’s so interesting to see the different things that different people want, and get ideas from them for what I’m going to get my friends and family.

I’m a big podcast person and some of my favourites have some really great merchandise. Like the My Favourite Murder ‘Toxic Masculinity Ruins the Party Again’ mug, an ‘All Hail the Glow Cloud’ pin from my favourite episode of Welcome to Night Vale, and a Vermilion Minotaur pin from Hello from the Magic Tavern. You can never have enough mugs or pins, right?

I tend to ask for a DVD box-set of Christmas of something that’s older because they’re generally not on Netflix and are super expensive to buy digitally, so over the years I’ve received absolute gems like FrasierMonk and Home Improvement. This year I have my eye on Golden Girls. A true classic!

I’ve never put books on my Christmas list while I’ve been book blogging because it would make for a very long list, but I was looking for a hardcover copy of Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome over Summer and found that The Folio Society has a truly beautiful copy. And I’m a sucker for having nice copies of my favourites.

This year is the year that I’ve started fostering kittens and while the charity I volunteer for is great at providing everything you need, I keep a list of things I think will make the kittens as comfortable as possible at a pretty traumatic time. Things like a Snuggle Kitty, a heating pad, various scratching toys, and plastic toys that keep them entertained while being easy to sanitize between litters. I also really want some new kittens to foster over the season to banish those holiday blues by feeling helpful so if Santa could hook me up, I’d love that.

What’s on your Christmas list this year?
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Four Years of Imogen’s Typewriter.

I’m a little late on this because I’m currently in Mexico, but it was my blogs birthday a couple of days ago. 368 days have passed since I typed out Three Years of Imogen’s Typewriter, 733 days since I wrote Two Years of Imogen’s Typewriter, 1098 days since A Year of Imogen’s Typewriter, and a whole 1463 days since I sat down and typed out my first post. Wild!

The past year has actually been a quiet year on the blog, as I’ve been writing about half the amount of posts that I usually write in a year. I’ve been busy and feeling a little lost. Though on the other hand, I’m prouder of the posts I’m actually hitting publish on. By putting less pressure to hit 2-3 posts a week, I’ve found myself able to really concentrate on good content like I predicted in my 2017 goals. Although I’d like to be able to hit a better balance in my fifth year.

I’ve been writing more in-depth reviews this year like; The White Road by Sarah LotzYesterday by Felicia YapThe Child by Fiona Barton, and so many half-drafts that I’m going to be finishing as soon as possible.

I’ve been replacing books I’m not going to read again like these and these with books I desperately wanted to buy- in fact, by following my 10 out, 1 in rule, I’ve only bought two books this year which has been a major change and helped me save for my current trip in Mexico!

I also started my second year of university which has been a big leap especially with the level of books I’m studying, I’ve suffered some big personal losses, I’ve been fostering kittens, I’ve been to France, CorfuNorway and now Mexico. And through it all, I’ve been blogging.

So thank you for reading and I’ll see you in my next nostalgia-free post! 
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Under My Christmas Tree!

It’s been over a month since Christmas but considering I just finished packing up my decorations this morning, I figured it wasn’t totally too late to show what was under my tree this year. I really like writing these posts because I like the memories that are associated and looking back at the years that have come before. There’s like a secondary rush of gratitude which is nice as well.

Usual disclaimer; just showing some of the cool stuff I was lucky enough to get. Not bragging in any way. 

While I was in Germany, I mentioned in passing to my mum how my art teacher at school had told me not to draw. It wasn’t my area. I spent a lot of time with my hands covered in clay while she taught me and I loved it. But I always kind of wished I had drawn, at least a little. Especially after seeing Chris Riddell in Summer. Somehow Santa found out and I now have some fancy drawing pencils, pens and a sketch book!

And since it wouldn’t be Christmas without something Liberty print in my stocking; the cutest pin-cushion mouse that ever existed, thread scissors and a tape measure. Santa really wants me to be crafty in 2017.

Books! Glorious Books! Gladly added to my shelves are The Ladybird Book of the Zombie Apocalypse, F*ck You, 2016 (a gift from my best friend because seriously- f*ck 2016!), Lost Cat by Caroline Paul, The Indisputable Existence of Santa Claus, Cats by Jane Brown, Please Take Me Home: The Story of the Rescue Cat by Clare Campbell and a b-e-a-uuuutiful illustrated copy of Watership Down by Richard Adams

I totally spoiled myself when I picked up my mums phone to play a game of Tetris and found a text from my brother telling her he was buying me Pokémon for Christmas. My bad! I just need to finish Alpha Sapphire and I’ll be right into this one, Lauren’s review has me super excited.

I asked for the Home Improvement DVDs. I loved that show when I was a kid and you just can’t find a good version of it online. I really want to just dive in but- self control prevails. I’m saving it for my week off in summer, not that it has stopped me doing the Tim Allen Grunt whenever I catch sight of my snazzy new boxset.

And chocolate, of course! My new Lindt mug is a welcome addition to my collection and the chocolate Santas were a welcome addition to my stomach. Chocolate coins are a classic. And my dad knew I was really upset about the new Toblerone so he got his friend at the newsagents to hook him up with a box of ten of the old versions. 2017- possibly the year my heart explodes? We’ll see!

What did you get for Christmas? Can you even remember?
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30 Before 30: Three Years On!

It’s my birthday! And that means it’s time for me to watch 11 hours of the extended edition of The Lord of the Rings, have a look at my 30 Before 30 list and do an update. I updated it when I turned 21, then again when I turned 22, and now I’m 23! *gulp*! That’s not early-twenties anymore, that’s just twenties. Next year I’ll be 24 and that’s mid-twenties. To distract me from this revelation, on with the list…

Some of the photos on my Instagram over the year!



1. Complete Pokémon.
Pokémon Yellow was re-released on 3DS for the 20th anniversary but I haven’t got it yet. Honestly, haven’t been playing that many video games. I need to get on this in 2017 since it’s probably one of the easiest to complete on this list. I may buy it for myself as a birthday present!
2. Write a Novel.
Do 10 beginnings count as one? I need to work on finishing projects this year.
3. Earn at least a 2:1 in my degree.
Working on it!
4. Do a 365 photo a day challenge.
I’ve mentioned every year, this is one for later in my life when my life is more interesting.
5. Copy the ‘Three Men in a Boat’ trip.
Not yet! Although at least with my procrastination, there’s less risk of being exploded by a WWII bomb!
6. Take a plane on my own.
7. Start a Podcast.
Remember how 2016 was awful? This idea got delayed because of that. It’s hard to do a podcast when all your hosts are having a hard time in their personal lives. Fingers crossed for 2017!
8. Learn to drive.
I think I just decided what I’m going to do with my birthday money. Time to take that test.
9. Write a will.
10. Own The Walking Dead #1.
I might just buy a reprint and be done with this.
11. Host Christmas.
12. See my brother get married.  
13. Go to Vegas with my oldest friend.
14. Make a quilt.
I have a few patterns ready, I just need some fabric and time now.
15. Own a Hyundai Ix35.
16. Own a collection of mugs that all have meaning.
I’m counting this as done although I’m still collecting. I have an amazing collection at the moment that are all lovely and mean so much to me. 
17. Get back into Archery.
Something I love about these updates is that this list can grow as I do, and I no longer wanted to ‘start a small business’. But something that I’ve wanted to do for years, and clearly need an extra push for, is getting back into archery. So it was time for this to change.
18. Review 200 books. 
I recently finished reading my 200th book, so I’ll have finished this goal when I write up my reviews for my January reads. I can’t quite believe it. I thought this was going to take me all ten years if I’m honest. And all the reviews so far are here!
19. Road trip the UK.
20. Go to SDCC.
21. Grow a bonsai tree and keep it alive.
Last year I had just bought two little saplings that were still alive but not growing. One did end up dying, but the other is finally growing and looking more alive! You can see him in the background of some of my blog pictures here and here. This is in progress!
22. Travel Europe on a train.
23. Cosplay.
24. Go to all the places Ashley wants to bring me to.
25. Learn to crochet and make something.
I learnt to crochet so long ago! I did start a project in 2016 though, a nest-bed for my cat, but I haven’t finished it quite yet.
26. Keep bees.
27. Cut my hair and donate it to the Little Princess Trust. 
I did this last year, and I’m thinking of doing it again in 2017 because my hair has grown long again. It’s such a worthy cause and I’m not exactly doing anything with my cut-off hair!
28. Learn German.
I had a weird 30 credits that I needed to take to complete first year because of changing universities and one dealing in 40 credit modules and the other in 60. I saw a German class and knew I needed to take it. It’s been amazing, super helpful and I feel like I’m finally getting my head around the language! Enough that I’m hoping to read a book in German this year
29. Visit the German Christmas Markets. 
I visited Köln/ Cologne in December 2015, that you can see here! It was such an amazing experience that I actually went to München/ Munich in December 2016, that I posted about here! German Christmas Markets really are magical.
30. Act.
I didn’t put this on last years list because I thought it would come across kind of silly, but I’ve actually been going to acting classes since April. My confidence has built up, at least enough to put it on this list publicly. We’ll see!

Four out of thirty- but with six on the way of being done. I’m feeling a lot better about this list then I was last year. Progress is fun.

Do you have a 30 Before 30 list? What’s on it?

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My Christmas List!

This morning, I woke up with my Christmassy powers returned. Then I remembered that for the first time in three years, I hadn’t written my Christmas list post in advance. It’s not that I forgot, just that I have literally no idea what to add. This that definitely been a theme in past years. In 2013 there were 14 things on my list. In 2014, there were 10 on the list. Last year, we were down to 5. And now…

I’m torn between Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon. On one hand, Pokémon Sun has a feline legendary. On the other, Pokémon Moon follows the trend of me having the blue toned games, and I’m not a fan of the actual sun. But kitty. I can’t decide on which but I do know I want to add this game to my collection.

Is it one of my Christmas lists without a pair of Snooki Slippers? I can only find this pair on US Amazon but I just love the blue leopard print. I just love Snooki really!

And is it Christmas without a boxset? As a kid I remember my older cousin getting Friends DVDs every year and now I just love growing my 90’s TV collection. This year it’s between Home Improvement and Golden Girls! I only want one because both might be too much TV- even for me. So if you have a preference, please tell me.

And that’s it really! My current method of dealing with my hoarding tendencies is to just not bring in more things so yeah. Keeping it low-key.

What’s on your Christmas list?
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Three Years of Imogen’s Typewriter.

It’s my blogs birthday once again! I say it every year, but I can’t believe a whole year has gone by since I wrote Two Years of Imogen’s Typewriter, two years have gone by since A Year of Imogen’s Typewriter, and three years have gone by since this little blog began! It always surprises me, but the great thing about having a blog is easily looking back at your year.

I’ve learnt a lot from book blogging over the years, much more than these 5 things, and I’m so glad to still be here doing what I love. I went to YALC this year and it just solidified how much reading, and readers, mean to me. Big books or small books, we all have something amazing in common no matter what. And we got to read together when the #Hallowreadathon happened again.

This year I read some great books: If You Go Away by Adele Parks, Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen by Alison Weir, Tenacity by J.S. LawGreen River Killer: A True Detective Story by Jeff Jensen and Jonathan Case, and more!

I started writing seasonal TBRs to narrow down the books I wanted to read. With these I wasn’t reading only more books, but audiobooks entered my life again this year. And I finally figured out a way to talk about my favourite podcasts, even if I’ve only written one post so far.

And as a little bonus, on my third year blogging I thought I’d giveaway the trilogy that started it all. Just go here to enter!

Thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting. Thank you for sticking around.
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