Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan | Review

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief Audiobook cover

Spoiler free 

Description from Goodreads: Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school… again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’ master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’ stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.’

After hearing a few book tubers raving about The Percy Jackson series I decided it was time to give it a go and intended to listen to it at the gym but I can’t say I got on with audiobooks very well. (More on that in another post maybe) 

Personally I found the start of the book a little slow but I think part of that I can attribute to getting used to an audiobook. As the book went on though I found it got even more exciting and gripping. 

Towards the end of the book I was well and truly hooked and was counting down the time until I could get in the car and finish it off. 

The storyline was exciting and it actually taught me things! When I was at school I loved learning about Greek mythology but we didn’t do much of it so I actually learnt a fair bit from this book. 

The characters were all really well built, Percy and Annabeth especially. The God’s characters were all very interesting, I think my favourite was Hades after his rant about being too busy. 

Perhaps the thing I loved most about this book was Riordan’s writing, it was flawless. Though I knew there were more books in the series I found myself worrying how Percy, Annabeth and Grover would get out of situations alive. If you can make me concerned about characters when I know they survive, you’re a darn good writer. 

The world building was wonderful, I especially enjoyed the description of Olympus, I felt like I was there and I wish it was real so I could go and see it. 

This book is clearly aimed at people much younger than me but as an adult I was still able to thoroughly enjoy it. As C. S. Lewis said ‘A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.’, ain’t that the truth. 

As it was a kids book I expected it might be a bit predictable but I didn’t find it to be predictable at all, it really kept me guessing right until the end. 

The excitement and anticipation I felt while reading this book was the same kind of excitement I don’t really think I’ve felt since I read the Harry Potter books. 

While we’re on the subject of Mr Potter, Annabeth and Grover reminded me of Hermoine and Ron respectively. Not that it’s a bad thing of course. 

As I always say I like a book in a series to stand up on its own and this one does. It wouldn’t need any tweaking to be a standalone book, it’s perfect. 

I’m well and truly hooked by the Percy Jackson series and I can’t wait to get started on the second book, Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters. 

In short: A gripping fantasy adventure for children and adults. 

5 out of 5

Have you read any books from the Percy Jackson series? 

Prodigy – Marie Lu | Review

Source: Goodreads

If you haven’t read Legend, stop reading NOW unless you want to ruin it. 

Description from Goodreads: Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots – a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?’

Towards the end of last year I read Legend and loved it so much I had to pick up Prodigy on my next trip to the library. 

Prodigy picks up about a week after Legend left off with Day and June being forced to turn to the Patriots for help. 
I found the beginning of Prodigy to be a little bit slow and didn’t feel as hooked by it as I did by Legend. Once the story got going though I couldn’t put it down and read most of it in a night. 
Unlike Legend, Prodigy felt a bit more political and about talking in comparison to the action in Prodigy. That’s not to say it’s void of action, not at all, but the pivotal points seemed to be more about talking or characters figuring things out. 
As with Legend the world building is wonderful in Prodigy. Marie Lu is truly a ‘legend’ at world building, you feel like you’re actually there. 
We see a lot of character growth for both Day and June but I still have an issue with them being 15 or 16. Mentally they seem a lot older and I don’t think the story would have lost anything by them being 19 or 20. 
If you remember my Legend review you’ll know that I said sometimes Day and June’s characters were indistinguishable and they were still pretty similar but I only found myself returning to the start of the chapter to see who’s POV I was reading once, so there was improvement there. 
In my Legend review I also hoped we’d find out why the country was in the state it was and we do! 
We learn a lot about what happened and the history behind the country which makes me feel a lot happier now because Legend was lacking reasons for the Elector and the Government’s actions but now it makes sense. 
The ending! Oh the ending, the feels! I’m not going to say any more than that because it’ll spoil it.
As always, I like books in a series to stand up on there own and I think this one does. Of course it would take some tweaking to stand up on it’s own but the storyline is strong enough that it would.  
Overall I really enjoyed Prodigy, it was a solid follow up to Legend that’s left me wanting to pick up Champion to find out how the trilogy ends.
In short: A brilliant must-read sequel.
4.5 out of 5

Have you read Prodigy? What did you think?


How to: switching from WordPress to Blogger.

I’ve recently made the switch from WordPress to Blogger and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of a few blog posts, so I’m going to share those with you and walk you through what I did. 

Why did I move?
A few people have asked me so I thought it would be easier to explain it on here.

I felt restricted by the templates on WordPress and you couldn’t seem to customise anything without paying whereas you can do pretty much anything on Blogger, especially if you know HTML.

I was also annoyed that you only get a certain amount of storage for free on WordPress, whereas you get an unlimited amount for free on Blogger.

To stop my storage filling up I was uploading images to Flickr and copying the URL to my WordPress blog, which is okay but if Flickr decide to clamp down on everyone’s storage again I would lose most of the images on my blog.

I’m not saying that WordPress is awful or that it’s the wrong platform to use, it just isn’t the right platform for me.

If you follow me on WordPress, follow me on Bloglovin’ instead or bookmark this website and keep checking back.

Moving my blog to Blogger
The first stage is to export your blog from WordPress, don’t worry you can move your comments across as well.

I’m not entirely sure that every single one of my comments have moved across but most of them seem to have.

To take me through this first stage I followed WordPress to Blogger: Making the Move on Rachel is Elsewhere.

To make it completely clear, before you can import your blog to Blogger you need to create a new blog on Blogger and then go to ‘Settings’ and ‘Import’.

Importing my blog took about five minutes, if that, and it was ready to use right away.

Blog design
I use the Simple theme and I did a bit of fiddling with the width of posts, the right hand sidebar,  uploaded a header and added some widgets to the sidebar.

Annoyingly I then had to go through about 400 posts and change the size of the images on it because they were a tiny bit too big and were invading the sidebar.

Buying my domain name
I’d been thinking about buying my own domain for a few weeks and now seemed like the right time to do it.

I bought my domain (that’s from GoDaddy. It cost me £23 for the domain for two years and a private registration. Private registration isn’t necessary but as WHOIS lists things like your address, I didn’t want that on the internet and felt it was worth the extra money.

The price of your domain will vary depending on whether you’re .com, etc and often prices vary between domain registrar.

Connecting my domain name  to Blogger
This was the part I found the hardest, I had no idea what to do but thankfully I discovered a blog post called How to setup your Blogger blog with GoDaddy.

It walked me through the whole thing and took me all of five minutes to do. I though it might take a few hours for domain to start working but it worked instantly.

Asking Bloglovin’ to change my URL
The only real concern I had about my new domain was whether I could change my URL as I didn’t want my followers to be confused about why they could no longer see my posts.

Bloglovin’s help pages tell you to post a blog post on your blog telling people that your URL has changed and then get in touch with their support team to ask them to change it.

I emailed them at about midnight and by the time I woke up at 7am my URL had been changed and I hadn’t lost any followers.

It was a lot easier than I thought it would be to move from WordPress to Blogger and it only really took a few hours. I think I started moving it across at about 8PM and it looked as it does now by midnight, most of my time was spent resizing images.

If you’re thinking of making the move don’t be put off because it looks confusing, if you have any questions about it drop me a tweet or an email.


nspa Full Body Shampoo & Conditioner | Review

nspa full body shampoo and conditioner

nspa full body shampoo and conditioner

I was given nspa’s full body shampoo and conditioner in a gift set for Christmas and was excited to give it a go after hearing such good things about them. 
On the bottle it says it’s for fine and lifeless hair which is perfect for my hair.
The first couple of times I used it I was disappointed, it didn’t lather much and my hair couldn’t last it’s usual five days between washes. I read the back of the bottle to try and figure out why and saw that Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) was missing from the ingredients list.

Sodium Laureth Sulfate is a detergent found in most products that lather and it’s absence explained why this shampoo and conditioner was different.

nspa twitter message

I reached out to nspa to confirm this and they told me that their Full Body shampoo and conditioner is SLS free, though it does contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Be careful and  check ingredients list because not all of their shampoos and conditioners are Sodium Laureth Sulfate free.

Since it’s Sodium Laureth Sulfate free, these products take some getting used to. Whatever you do, don’t give up on it after one or two washes.

I found that after three washes my hair had got used to it and had returned to lasting four or five days between washes again and was looking a little shinier. Don’t use more product either in the hope of getting better lather, it seems to make your hair feel greasier.

The shampoo and conditioner has a very slight floral smell and I really like how plain and clean the bottles look.

In short: An affordable Sodium Laureth Sulfate and cruelty free shampoo and conditioner.

Do nspa test on animals? No. On their website they say ‘NSPA is against animal testing. None of our products or raw materials have been tested on animals.’

Would I buy this again? Yes

Have you tried nspa’s Full Body shampoo and conditioner, if so let me know what you thought.


LUSH Gorilla Perfume – Imogen Rose | Review

LUSH Gorilla Perfume Imogen Rose Solid Perfume

LUSH Imogen Rose Solid Perfume

I love rose scents so when I saw Imogen Rose on the LUSH website I knew I had to give it a go and decided to try the solid perfume. 

It comes in a stick and has the consistency of a chapstick and it’s no different to using normal perfume other than you just rub it on instead of spray.

You have to push up the stick of perfume by gently pushing on the bottom of the stick, to get it down though you have to push the perfume back into the stick.

The main notes are: rose oil, rose absolute, basil, bergamot, vetivert, ambrette seed, tonka, orris. (Taken from the LUSH website)

Rose scents can be hard to get right but for me Imogen Rose is perfect. To my nose there are two main scents; rose and baby powder, I didn’t expect that I’d like the baby powder scent as much as I did but I find it quite relaxing.

It lasts on my skin all day long and I can still smell it by the end of the day.  and it seems to smell slightly different each time I use it, which hopefully means I’ll never get used to it and stop smelling it

A couple of people have asked me whether this leaves your skin greasy or leaves a colour on your skin: I haven’t found that my skin feels greasy at all and it might leave a very pale pink colour but if you rub it in it soon disappears.

I’m not sure how long these sticks will last but I’ve read a review on A Life of Geekery where she said she’d been using them for about six months, so £10 for six months of perfume is something I can’t complain about.

In short: A beautiful rose and baby powdered scent that lasts on your skin all day.

Are these tested on animals? No, LUSH say on their website that they do not test ingredient or products on animals and do not purchase from companies who do any animal testing.

Are they vegan? Yes!

Would I repurchase? Absolutely, I think this could become my signature scent!

Have you tried any of LUSH’s solid perfumes? 


LUSH Buche De Noel | Review

100g tub of Buche De Noel cleanser

On Boxing Day I decided to give LUSH a go from the comfort of my sofa and ordered a few items, one of which was their Buche de Noel cleanser.

This is a seasonal product however after looking at a few reviews it seems it’s been released in the run up to Christmas for the past three years, so I thought I’d review it in case they sell it again this year.

Buche de Noel has a really nice foody, fruity smell. I’m useless at scents so I can’t tell you exactly what it smells of, but it’s delicious. An added bonus of it being made up of things like fruit is that if you accidentally get it in your mouth (and I have), it doesn’t taste all that bad.

It’s got all kinds of lovely ingredients in it, here’s the list from their website: ‘Ground Almonds, Kaolin, Glycerine, Fresh Satsumas/Mandarin, Dried Cranberries, Cocoa Butter, Almond Essential Oil, Vetivert Oil, Cedarwood Oil, *Linalool, *Cinnamal, Perfume, Nori Seaweed, May Contain Candy Pine Tree.’

It took me a while to get used to using this as you have to mix it with water to create a paste. When I finally got used to it I enjoyed it, especially in the morning as it gives me a little while longer to wake up.

I have combination skin and I’ve found this keeps my skin feeling matte, soft and generally lovely looking, it also gets rid of any makeup I may have missed so I know my face will be squeaky clean.

The life of this product is four months according to the sticker on my tub and I think that should be enough time to get through a 100g tub.

In short: Buche de Noel is a delicious cleanser that leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth. I’d highly recommend this product when the festive season rolls around again.

Is this product tested on animals? No, LUSH do not test on animals or buy from companies that test any product on animals, you can read their policy here. Buche de Noel is also suitable for vegans.

Would I repurchase? Absolutely.

Have you tried Buche de Noel? Do you know of a similar cleanser LUSH sell all year round, if so tell me! 


And We Stay – Jenny Hubbard | Review*

Source: Goodreads

Title: And We Stay

Author: Jenny Hubbard

Release date: January 28th 2014

Description: When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend Emily Beam, then takes his own life. In the wake of the tragedy, an angry and guilt-ridden Emily is shipped off to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she encounters a ghostly presence who shares her name. The spirit of Emily Dickinson and two quirky girls offer helping hands, but it is up to Emily to heal her own damaged self.

After reading the description I had a lot of hope for And We Stay, which is told in a mixture of verse and prose and deals with pretty dark and serious issues, mainly suicide. 

And We Stay follows the story of Emily Beam who is sent to a boarding school following the suicide of her boyfriend and we follow her as she tries to come to terms with what happens and tries to make sense of it all.

The book contains a lot of flashbacks which tell the story of the events leading up to Paul’s suicide. Some flashbacks are written in verse and some in poetry. The flashbacks in the verse got confusing at points as they happened without warning and I found myself rereading things to figure out where I was. In the poetry however, they worked really well.

Emily is an enthusiastic poet and she uses poetry to try and come to terms with what’s happened and we’re treated to one of her poems at the end of each chapter as well as a few within the chapter.

At the beginning of the book I found them to be a bit clunky but towards the end her poems seemed to improve. Telling part of Emily’s story through poetry helps you understand her pain and devastation in a way that I don’t think verse could have done justice.

The boarding school Emily attends is near poet Emily Dickinson’s house and she begins to try and draw comparisons between herself and Dickinson and wonders how she would deal with things.

Things get a bit strange and confusing when she visits Dickinson’s house and things seem to get a bit paranormal. I didn’t know what to make of that because I didn’t really understand what was happening.

For me it’s crucial to really feel the characters pain and I don’t felt I connected with her all too well. I found myself thinking ‘well that must be a horrible thing to experience’ but I didn’t feel her pain, I do wonder whether part of that is due to the book being written in third person and I’m so used to reading first person though.

That being said, the storyline is one that will stick with me because of how tragic it is.

In short: And We Stay is a haunting read told in verse and poetry which will stick with you.

3 out of 5 

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* – I was given a free electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review. Thanks to Random House Children’s.