Friday, 23 June 2017

Abstract Art [Nails Extravaganza]

Good morning everyone!

I'm kind of in one of those moods where I am feeling tired for absolutely no reason and everything is tiring. Even writing a blog post makes me feel pretty exhausted, so I'm just going to keep this one short and sweet? 

Nails extravaganza is a meme here on Olivia's Catastrophe where I share my nail art designs. 

This nail art design was done kind of on a whim where I decided I just wanted some colour on my nails and to keep it simple. Even though I played around with duel colours, this one wasn't too difficult. I did some squiggly black lines on it as well - I'm not quite sure what it's meant to be now that it's finished, but my sister said, "Ooh, it looks like abstract nail art." So that's what I'm calling it! Abstract nail art!

Even though in reality, I find abstract art pretty hard to understand >.> Even though I'm usually a fan of art, that type of art still evades me. 

Olivia's Question: What do you think of abstract art? Do you "get" it?

Olivia-Savannah x

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Fireworks [Book Review]

Hello there!

Title: Fireworks
Author: Angela Carter
Publisher: Quartet Books
Published Date: 1974
Rating: 4 stars


Synopsis: In the short fiction of Angela Carter, the landmarks of reality disappear and give way to a landscape of riotous and uncensored sensibility. The city of Tokyo turns into a mirrored chamber reflecting the impossible longings of an exiled Englishwoman abandoned by her Japanese lover. An itinerant puppet show becomes a theatre of murderous lust. A walk through the forest ends in a nightmarish encounter with a gun-toting nymph and her hermaphrodite ‘aunt’. Not simply a book of tales, Fireworks is a headlong plunge into an alternate universe, the unique creation of one of the most fertile, dark, irreverent, and baroquely beautiful imaginations in contemporary fiction.


Review: This is a short story collection recommended to me by my older sister. I decided to read it without quite knowing what I was getting into, and I quite enjoyed the short stories here. Angela Carter is an author new to me, but she certainly does know how to vividly paint pictures in the reader’s mind and bring across subtle messages with her words.

All of Angela Carter’s stories were so beautifully written. I can’t say it any better than my sister did when she described it to me – the author uses very purple writing. Occasionally, I must admit, it made it a little difficult to understand some of the stories or what I was supposed to be thinking about when reading them. However, in some stories it perfectly worked with the voice and the message to make a mini masterpiece in itself. I don’t think her writing will cater to everyone’s taste, but if you generally enjoy classics then I am sure it can be something for you.

I also really liked that all of the stories were set in Tokyo. If you know me, you know I am someone who is big on culture and having stories set in different countries than the usual Britain or USA that I always seem to be reading about, makes me incredibly happy. Some of the stories were also set in alternate worlds that weren’t exactly Tokyo as well. But I was happy.

Of course, with every collection, there were some stories I liked more than others. I’m going to discuss some of my favourites here in this review.

A Souvenir of Japan: I really liked this story because of the message behind it. I found it to be about the difference between appearances vs reality, and you can think of this best when it comes to first impressions, which almost never really add up to who you really are. This message was described through a romance in the short story, and I really liked how it was done.

The Executioner’s Beautiful Daughter: This one I understood to be about humanity and what that word itself entails. Right about the same time as reading this collection I was also reading The Summer That Melted Everything byTiffany McDaniel, and I was so intrigued in this topic. It was interesting to see how Carter handled that.

The Lovers of Lady Purple: Now this was a story I had a mix of emotions about. It said something about language and communication, both in verbal terms and those of the body. It said something about seductiveness. It said something about your own creation occasionally growing bigger than you and how it can overwhelm you if you are not careful. The ending was twisted and I'm still not sure what to quite make of it yet. But this one definitely held my interesting.

Penetrating to the Heart of the Forest: Again, this one seemed to be dealing with humanity. How it is best when at one with nature. I also got quite a few Adam and Eve like vibes from this story, and yet it was twisted away from that too. Almost like a sinister version of a retelling.

Elegy for a Freelance: As the last of these stories this one was almost a bittersweet ending to a collection I didn’t want to leave. It was also the most interesting of them all. It dealt with murder, death and idolization of someone close to you. Love can be blinding and Carter played on that common saying.

All in all, these short stories were a quick read, but left me thinking about them between reading story to story. I especially loved the meanings of the novel and Carter manages to add sinister or dark twists to almost all of them. Definitely thought provoking and worthwhile reading.


Gif Summary: 


Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: What do you think defines the word humanity?

Olivia-Savannah x

Monday, 19 June 2017

You Are What You Read [Discussion Post]

Good morning, everyone!

If you haven’t noticed from my latest wrap up posts, I’ve been reading a lot of new adult lately. I always end up reading all of it on my kindle – because that way people can’t read the titles, and they can’t see the cover, and so unless they follow my blog they won’t really know what I’m reading… it’s not to say I’m ashamed. I’ll always read whatever I want and that’s just that. But I’m more curious about what other people will think of my reading tastes.

I get enough judgment from some people when I let them know how much I love Twilight. I’ll always defend the books and even the movies, despite them not being the best. Yet, sometimes when I am discussing those books or films I get a lot of negativity, or a lot of disbelief, or people even say, “Well, we can’t trust your judgment on books in general if those are the kind you like.” And when I heard that, it got me thinking… what does what you enjoy reading say about you?

When people say they enjoy romance, a lot of people believe that they are a romantic person because of it. In most cases, I’ll have to confess they are right. Or when someone says they enjoy fantasy, you assume it’s because they have a vivid imagination. Horror infers to someone finding humor in the horror, or being tough enough to take it. And enjoying classics? Many people see that as having elegance, taste or being generally smart enough to understand those books.

But what if someone (like me) enjoys reading m/m new adult romances? I’m not male myself, I don’t define myself as anything within the LGBTQ+ community… so what does that really say about me? Am I just another romantic, because it is still a romance, and I just like some intensity? Or what of me enjoying a BDSM novel. I sincerely doubt BDSM is my kind of thing, but I can still get some enjoyment out of reading it. Hmm…

Take a second to think about it, before moving on to the next part of my post: what do you think me enjoying m/m romances and BDSM say about me or my reading preferences?

This discussion post is really mostly centered around me and my tastes. But when I come to think of it, even the statements I made about the general genres and what it could allude to when it comes to someone else’s personalities, is mostly based on assumption. Generally, from my understanding, when it comes to assumptions people can be very very wrong. So even though what you read may say something about you and your personality, there are so many elements to a genre, that it is impossible to generalize and determine what it is for someone without them telling you.

The best thing to do when you’re curious as to why someone likes a genre or a particular book? Just ask them! No assumptions are necessary.

I know why I like m/m romances, and it may be for a different reason than some would assume. There’s no nonsense, no petty drama (because there’s no females involved), and no exaggerated tropes like I’ve been seeing in YA lately. I feel like I’m mostly enjoying the genre because it contradicts YA so much. I know I liked the one BDSM book (can’t say I like the genre when I’ve only read the one) because I liked the two characters a lot – I doubt the BDSM element meant that much to me, actually. I was also pretty curious, so there’s that.

I wonder if those reasons were what you determined or not.

Main conclusion: the world would be a better place if we didn’t assume things, despite that being hard to do.

Olivia’s Question: What’s an assumption you often make about people without realising you’re doing it?

Olivia-Savannah x 

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban [Book Review]


Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban 
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Scholastic Paperbacks
Published Date: 1999

Rating: 3 Stars

Synopsis: For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort.

Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter's defeat of You-Know-Who was Black's downfall as well. And the Azkban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, "He's at Hogwarts...he's at Hogwarts."

Harry Potter isn't safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst.


Review: I have to say, I wasn’t expecting too much from this book seeing as my opinions of the previous two books haven’t been too amazing. You can read my review of book one and book two. But I did like this one a bit more than the other two, but only by a small margin. It was still pretty slow paced, but it did have me want to keep reading by the time I reached the middle.

What I was so happy about was that this book FINALLY had the Sirius Black in it that everyone is always talking about. The whole story sort of revolves around that plot line. The only sad thing about it was that it was sort of predictable… [SPOILER, HIGHLIGHT TO READ IT] As soon as everyone started to go on about how terrible Sirius Black was and painting it to be almost as terrible as what Voldemort had done, I immediately predicted that he wouldn’t actually be guilty of everything he was accused of. Especially when they went on to say that he kept his head in Azkaban. It couldn’t have been more obvious. [SPOILER END] Because it was predictable it did take away some of the enjoyment to the story itself as well.

The Harry Potter keychain is from Inspire Fandom.

What also bothered me, besides the slow beginning was the fact that at the climax Harry Potter faints again. I do understand why – there is always a good reason – but I wish he would stop doing it. He fainted at this climax, at the previous books where he is also meeting villains head on. Maybe there is a valid reason but I am fed up of his fainting >.>

What I did like was the character that bothered me a lot – Hermoine – is finally no longer annoying. I don’t think she annoyed me because she was a know it all, but generally I have been watching the movies as I have been reading. So I will admit that I think my annoyance at Emma Watson’s acting had bled into Hermoine’s character somewhat as well. But here she isn’t annoying at all. And we get the same characters we know pretty well, Ron, Harry and Hagrid. No one has changed much.

The Harry Potter keychain is from Inspire Fandom.

There is the new character, Professor Lupin. He was interesting because he had an aura of mystery around him when he came. I liked his character well enough, but it wasn’t anything special.

As always, this is such a creative world and Rowling never ceases to amaze me with what a wondrous imagination she has. I do wish we were able to see some more of the other houses than just Gryffindor because I would like to explore the school she has set up some more. But I guess not :/

The Harry Potter keychain is from Inspire Fandom.

Not sure about reading book four, but I have a Harry Potter crazy friend who is pressuring me to try all of these (with a promise that in the next book it is more geared towards young adult than children) so I probably will xD


Gif Summary:


Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: Are you someone with a crazily busy schedule or a more relaxed one with breathing space?

Olivia-Savannah x

Thursday, 15 June 2017

My Healer [Yogi Dragoness]

Hello lovelies ^.^

Yoga has taught me a lot of things, and one of them is how important back flexibility is. Many people believe that the key to getting strong looking abs is all about crunches, Russian twists and lots of jumping exercises. Although that does amount to a lot, you need back flexibility as well, especially when it comes to your lower back. When you train your lower back it supports your abs too. Having said that, I'm not a huge fan of back flexibility poses, especially those which you practice while lying on your stomach and pressing your pubic bone towards the floor (example: bow pose). I find it so difficult, and I find it hard to breathe sometimes. Therefore, I make myself do them over and over again. The more I do a pose I dislike, I discover, the better I get at it, and the faster I start to appreciate it. 

Combined with back flexibility, shoulder flexibility is essential to a lot of yoga poses. Personally, I have one shoulder which is a lot stronger and a lot more flexible than the other. I'm not entirely sure, but I am pretty much pinning it to be the issue I had in primary school where I fell out of a bunk bed (Haven't slept on the upper level of a bunk bed without barriers since), where I pulled a muscle in my neck. I healed fine, but as a young child I didn't understand the importance in doing the follow up recovery exercises my physiotherapist gave me. I told my parents I had done them, because they were difficult, hard work, and hurt a little bit. 

I completely regret that, because that shoulder has not been the same since. 
However, yoga has really helped with that. Although I have to be increasingly patient with my left shoulder and make sure not to overdue it, in time it has become a lot more flexible. I realise my shoulder is a lot less stiff during the days when I don't even do yoga, and hurts me a lot less. I really think it is helping. 

Aside from that, after a few days (two is enough, actually) of not doing yoga, I start to feel restless. Despite despising the exercises themselves, I love the free feeling and ease my body has after working on my back and shoulder flexibility. Which is how I came to love the wheel pose. 

It was a lot of slow progress at first.I found it hard to get into the wheel. My shoulders weren't flexible at that point yet at all, and I didn't realise using your thighs was important when holding the pose. I had limited back flexibility, and when in wheel pose, at first it is incredibly hard to breathe. You're also stretching your throat, which is why. I would get into the pose, and in one second I would let myself back down again. I even stopped practising the wheel when it came up in my vinyasa poses, and I usually listen to my instructor all the time. That's how far the dislike went.

But then I got determined. What was the wheel pose to get me to pause my practice? I started doing it again. I listened carefully to my instructor to know what needed tensing, and what movements my body should be making. Eventually, I realised I could hold it for more than a single second. Gradually, breathing became easier, and you get stronger. Now I love this pose, because it shows a lot of achievement for me. 
I'm finally proud to be able to say that I am very satisfied with the way my wheel pose looks. Granted, it does take quite the warm up before I get into it in any practice.

Olivia's Question: Do you have an injury or physical issue which has bothered you for a long time, without getting any better?

Olivia-Savannah x

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Internet Famous [Book Review & Giveaway!]

Hello everyone!

Title: Internet Famous
Author: Danika Stone
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Published Date: 6th June 2017
Rating: 3 Stars

*Thanks to The Fantastic Flying Book Club for the review copy*


Synopsis: High school senior and internet sensation Madison Nakama seems to have it all: a happy family, good grades, and a massive online following for her pop-culture blog. But when her mother suddenly abandons the family, Madi finds herself struggling to keep up with all of her commitments.

Fandom to the rescue! As her online fans band together to help, an online/offline flirtation sparks with Laurent, a French exchange student. Their internet romance—played out in the comments section of her MadLibs blog—attracts the attention of an internet troll who threatens the separation of Madi’s real and online personas. With her carefully constructed life unraveling, Madi must uncover the hacker’s identity before he can do any more damage, or risk losing the people she loves the most… Laurent included.


Review: Once again, I’m left with very mixed feelings on this book that I have read. On one hand, I enjoyed it. I loved the idea of this being about a blogger, the online world, and a nice romance with it too. It did mention family issues, and mental health illnesses as well. And while I did enjoy all the themes and the way I flew through this book, I still felt like it was missing some depth that I was searching for.

I have to say, I wanted to read this book because I was so happy about finally having a positive light portrayed on the online world. Madi is a blogger – just like a lot of us book bloggers – except she rewatches movies and blogs about her opinion of them. Her blog is also pretty famous, which is something a lot (but not every blogger) dreams about. I loved when we got to see her blog comments come through, and her posts. Madi was so connected to the online world, and I just loved that positive light being given about the online community.

Of course, being a member of the online community means you will come across trolls and mean people who have nothing better to do with their time than just… be a nuisance. This novel stems into that, and the topic of cyberbullying. Even though the novel does a very good job of dealing with that plot line and theme, I still felt like more could have happened. We do get to see how it affects Madi and how it ruins what her blog is for her – but I still expected the ending to be a little more… dramatic?

I also really liked how we got to have the romance stemming from something that started online. I know a lot of people find this to be a bit controversial and a bit of a wary topic to discuss. But we have to face the reality of it: more and more couples and friendships begin online and that is perfectly alright. You need to be aware of the possible outcomes though, especially the bad ones, and take as many consequences against them as possible. I also really liked Laurent as a love interest, and his French accent and ways kind of made me think of Annaand the French Kiss. But, y’know, lacking a lot of the things that some people can’t stand in that novel.

Danika Stone’s writing style was easy to jump right into. She rights in the easygoing voice which represents a teenager perfectly, and there was no doubt that I felt Madi’s personality flooding me as I read through the book. In fact, I think I sat down and read for about four hours until I was done. It was simply such a breeze to read!

However, there were some aspects of the book I wanted a bit more on. There is a bit of a mention about this being a dysfunctional family. Sarah, Madi’s younger sister, has a mental illness and we see that she needs to stick to rigid schedules and have stability to be able to cope. With their mother leaving to study and research in Oxford, it turns things upside down for Sarah. Madi also has to help out a lot with her younger sister and helping her keep to that schedule. I could relate to her on that side of things because I usually help my younger sister, who has a physical disability a lot around the house. I really identified with Madi’s love she had for her sister, but then frustration as sometimes she didn’t want to help, and she wanted to think about herself for a moment and what she needed. It’s not being selfish… it’s more so frustration. It doesn’t mean she loves Sarah any less.

And while the novel did deal with that and discuss it a bit, I felt myself wanting it to be more fleshed out. I felt like the dynamics between the two sisters should’ve been more central to the novel, especially as it became relevant for the conclusion of the novel. I liked that the mental illness wasn’t the center of the whole book. Although included, it doesn’t always have to be. This isn’t Sarah’s story. On the other hand, I think it needed just a bit more focus than it received.

Also, it may be because I’m in the throes of reading new adult novel after new adult novel back to back (it’s Santino Hassell’s fault), I found the story to be a little bit juvenile at times? At least when it came to some issues with the romance. Side note: That could be because of my reading preference at the moment, and not an actual reflection on the novel itself. In that case, I would recommend you head over to Goodreads to check out more reviews and here what others have tosay.

It was great to read this first novel by Danika Stone, and I would be curious to read more of her books in the future and see how I like them.


Gif Summary:


Giveaway: Enter to win a paperback copy of Internet Famous! Open to US, Canada and UK only.


Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: What do you think of the online world?

Olivia-Savannah x

Sunday, 11 June 2017

The Horse and His Boy [Book Review]

Hello there!

Title: The Horse and His Boy (The Chronicles of Narnia #3)
Author: C.S. Lewis
Publisher: Geoffrey Bles
Published Date: 1954
Rating: 3 Stars


Synopsis: The Horse and his Boy is a stirring and dramatic fantasy story that finds a young boy named Shasta on the run from his homeland with the talking horse, Bree. When the pair discover a deadly plot by the Calormen people to conquer the land of Narnia, the race is on to warn the inhabitants of the impending danger and to rescue them all from certain death.


Review: I was eager to read this one after having enjoyed the previous book a lot. For some reason I haven’t posted those reviews yet but have decided to post this one. I know, I don’t understand my reasoning either. But oh well.

This story surprised me. It wasn’t even set in Narnia, and featured an entirely different set of characters, which wasn’t what I was expecting after having read and loved The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Different to all the action in the first book, this one was more of a slow adventure. The pace was slow and steady. Sometimes a little too much on the slow side for my liking, but it was all bearable.

The difference in characters surprised me. I believed we were going to be following the main four for the whole series, but apparently not! Shasta was the main character in this story, and I found him to be okay. I couldn’t love him or hate him. It wasn’t that he was unlikeable or anything – he just wasn’t the best person either. Most of all, which made him seem very human, and I believe that is exactly what C.S. Lewis was aiming to get at.

What intrigued me a lot about this book was the horse to boy relationship. As is in the world of Narnia, the animals can speak and have their own minds. The action of riding a horse changed, because of this. Shasta had to ask permission to ride Bree, and treat Bree right. It would epic if all animals could be like that. I bet mistreatment would disappear as well. It was also interesting to see the human personality traits that Lewis gave the horses, such as pride and nervousness. It was entertaining, but then I also felt a little weird realising how much I was relating to a talking horse.

I was also surprised by the amount of slavery in the novel. A lot of people seem to be slaves to others. I was more so surprised because of how much of it was included, and that it is a children’s novel. I’m not exactly sure why I was so unprepared for it, but there it was nonetheless. It doesn’t get into a moral debate about it, but it’s just present in the novel as numerous people have a slave status.

There was an appearance of the main four, and plenty of mention of Narnia for all that I am complaining about it being absent. We get to see Lucy, Edmund and Susan all grown up and ruling their kingdom, which was shocking to see. It was so different, and yet also intriguing to see the characters I had come to love through the eyes of someone else. It put a new perspective on their position in the world Lewis has created.

The descriptions of the food were glorious. I was practically drooling while reading about them. The landscape description was impressive too.

Lastly, like with the previous book, we have the character who represents God returning again in this short little novel. In this scenario, He is presented in a different way, and brought a new perspective on the way in which God fit into Shasta’s story. Even as a Christian, there was one element to something which was a metaphor to religion that I didn’t agree with. However, just like before, you could read this one without looking at the Christian literature meaning behind it. Otherwise, it’s just another Narnia story. You get to choose what you’re looking for in the story.

It’ll definitely be on to the next one for me.


Gif Summary:


Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: Do you like when series follow various characters, all in the same world?

Olivia-Savannah x