I promised myself that in 2021, I’d get back into reading. Doing an 4 year English Literature course can really mess with your reading habits because all you can do when you read books is analyse EVERY SINGLE DETAIL WITHOUT LETTING YOURSELF JUST ENJOY THE NARRATIVE.
So I’ve decided to dedicate some time each week and finally get through my Goodreads list. I’ve always wanted to read more travel books which includes fiction set in different parts of the globe, that-whole-narrative-about -finding-yourself-on-a-trip and just any books about stepping out of your comfort zone and thrusting yourself in another culture. So I’ve set up a little series on my blog where I’ll be reading travel books and reviewing them.
The Lonely Hearts Travel Club by Katy Collins
I was going through the books on my iPhone and this one popped out at me because it was about travelling and it was also free which is always a bonus. I didn’t have any expectations so just went into this blind.
The book is about Georgia. a woman who is jilted just before her wedding from cheater ex Alex. In turmoil, she decides to go travelling to build herself back up. Feeling lost, she books herself onto a tour in Thailand and its safe to say that her holiday gives her a whole new perspective on life. Bitchy girls, a cheating con man and a drunk nipple piercing, Georgia’s trip goes awry at points and her insecurities kick in. Yes the whole novel really plays into the narrative of finding yourself through solo travel. It’s funny, charming and really explores how rewarding solo travel is when you’re at a crossroads in your life.
It really resonated with me because the first time I went solo travelling, I felt lost. Things in my personal life were crumbling and so deciding to study abroad in Australia for a year and then embark on my first solo trip which was, life changing. Georgia comes across mild mannered at the start of the novel but she does have a daring nature which really comes out during her trip. I was definitely taking leaps and bounds to increase my confidence and doing things to bring out my inner extrovert.
Georgia eventually makes it to this fictional resort called “The Blue Butterfly” which sounds like a magical place. I could just imagine the gold beaches, waterfalls and Pad Thai. Katy’s descriptions of the beauty of Thailand really made me wistful for a place I’d never visited. The rustic hut with ocean coloured rugs, the gentle waterfalls and mouth watering delicacies. I’ll definitely be visiting Thailand whenever I can after reading this book. It seems like its the perfect mix of raving and nature which is great for taking things at your own pace – I can’t wait to party at The Full Moon Rave and then nurse my hangover on the beach the day after x
I’ve been super busy so I apologise for the late post but here’s my second part of the ‘Best of 2020’ series collaborating with the lovely Karalee. See my beauty picks here.
The Last of Us 1+2
If you haven’t played this amazing video games series, then you’re missing out. The graphics are amazing and what could be more cathartic then taking out your lockdown frustrations on some zombies and villains? In post- apocalyptic America Joel and Ellie fight off cannibalistic creatures in their quest to smuggle Ellie to safety. This isn’t just an ordinary zombie killing game though, expect to have your heartstrings tugged as secrets come to life. The second instalment is just as gripping as the first and gives us the plot through two main protagonists. You won’t be able to put it down.
If you’re a Marvel fanatic, then you’ll love this game. Spiderman has always been my favourite super- hero! You get to play against all the old villains such as the Kingpin, Rhino, the Shocker etc. The graphics are visual perfection. I recommend playing this game to let off some steam because there’s nothing like KO’ing some bad guys to cheer yourself up
Any Super Mario Game
I don’t care if I’m over ten, these are the Holy Grail of gaming. Yes, you have a man but would he ever fight literal dragons in hundreds of castles to save your ass? If you didn’t play these games you definitely didn’t have a childhood because there’s nothing better than some good old platform gaming.
The Sims 4
Shockingly, I’d only played The Sims via a free version on Facebook before. To say the graphics were terrible was an understatement. I upgraded by downloading the Oracle version and spending hours building my perfect family. It was also super cathartic as I could cause drama between couples and the downloadable mods were a gamechanger. It was easy to make my characters drug addicts and have chaotic messy personalities.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons
I have been playing ACNH since March, and it is still one of my favorite games to play. In ACNH, you move to a deserted island where you can decorate your house and the island, DIY and customize furniture and clothing, visit friend’s islands as well as mystery islands, fish, plant, catch bugs and sea creatures, find fossils, and complete quests. I love all the new updates and events that have been added, and I am looking forward to the next update. Also, my daughter has her own home on my island, and we have been playing together, which has been fun. ACNH is a great casual game to play.
Life is Strange 2:
Life is Strange is one of my favorite game series, and like the previous games Life is Strange and Life is Strange: Before the Storm, this game is episodic in that there are 5 episodes to play through. In LiS2, you play as Sean Diaz who runs away from home with his brother Daniel after a tragic incident, and throughout the episodes, you make decisions that impact the brothers and the ultimate ending of the game. I finished playing all episodes of the game, and I loved it, but I do think the previous two games were a bit better. With that said, LiS2 is worth playing. Before you play LiS2, I do recommend playing The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit. This game is a free short game where you play as a 9-year-old boy and his super-hero alter-ego, Captain Spirit, and it ties into LiS2.
During the summer, I replayed and ranked Every Nancy Drew PC Game by Her Interactive, and there are a lot of great games. In the games, you play as amateur detective Nancy Drew, and you solve different cases including investigating a ghostly horse in The Secret of Shadow Ranch and investigating a fashion designer in Danger by Design. The games are fun, and I loved playing them.
In Planet Coaster, you build and manage your own theme park. There are different modes to play including Career mode that provides you with pre-established parks and you complete challenges in that park. My favorite mode is Sandbox because you can create the theme park of your dreams with no limitations on money. I recommend playing Planet Coaster if you enjoy tycoon games.
The Sims 4:
I have been playing The Sims since the original game, but I have never played with mods or custom content until 2020. I have made a list of My Favorite Sims 4 Mods and Custom Content, and they really do make the game more fun. I especially love the Slice of Life mod because it adds realism including more emotions, skincare, and sicknesses to the game. As far as expansion packs, I recently bought Snowy Escape, and I love the Japanese-inspired setting and all the new items. If you play The Sims, I recommend playing with mods and custom content and checking out the latest expansion pack!
I’m a massive bookworm and have the ability to devour book after book easily…but this year I didn’t read as much as I normally do. Being in a pandemic really does affect your concentration eh? However I’ve set myself a reading challenge this year on Goodreads! So here are Karalee’s choices instead:
Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwauba: This book is a fictional account of a girl who was kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram in Nigeria and is forced to follow her captors’ radical beliefs. The book was emotional, and I did not know about Boko Haram before reading this book. Also, from the girl’s account, it seems like Boko Haram existed in a different time period, but in 2014 Boko Haram kidnapped 276 girls in Chibok and the terrorist group is still presently active. The book also includes an afterword by Viviana Mazza who is a journalist and documented the real stories of women and girls who were kidnapped by and rescued from Boko Haram. Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree is not a light read, but it is eye-opening to the atrocities going on in the world.
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson: Brown Girl Dreaming is the third book I read by Woodson, and it is about her own childhood in South Carolina and New York. Brown Girl Dreaming is an insightful read because Woodson shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s after the Jim Crow laws were overruled, but racial issues remained.
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds: Long Way Down is a short read about a boy deciding whether or not to murder the man who killed his brother in a gang related shooting. Long Way Down was a good read because it is a reminder to think the next time you consider someone a thug and to show empathy instead because you do not know their circumstances.
The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen: I reviewed The Rest of the Story on my blog, and it is about Emma Saylor whose dad remarries and leaves for the honeymoon so she spends the summer with her mother’s family who she has not seen since she was a little girl. Throughout the summer, Emma’s identity feels divided between her father’s and her mother’s families. The Rest of the Story was a nice summer read that focused on family and identity, butI did find the plot slow at times.