Inspire Magazine Online - UK Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle Blog: book review, how to love, katie cotugno, how to love by katie cotugno
As soon as this book arrived on my doorstep, I couldn’t wait to start reading. The bright, bold cover immediately intrigued me, and I’ve always been a sucker for love stories. How to Love is the debut novel by Katie Cotugno, and it tells the story of Serena and Sawyer and an event that sets their story three years apart ; there’s before, and there’s after. Each chapter alternates between before and after and follows Serena as she tries to come to terms with everything that has happened between herself and Sawyer both before and after his return.
The blurb reads –
This is a love story. But it’s not what you think. This is not a first kiss, or a first date. This is not love at first site. This is a boy and a girl falling in messy, unpredictable, thrilling love. This is the complicated route to happiness that follows. This is real. This is life. This is HOW TO LOVE.

And there’s also a smaller blurb inside that reads –
* BEFORE 
Reena has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember. He’s never noticed her until one day…he does. But then he disappears, leaving a devastated – and pregnant – Reena behind.

*AFTER
Three years later and there’s a new love in Reena’s life; her daughter Hannah. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again. After everything that’s happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer again?

This book was gripping from start to finish and the whole time I found myself desperate to read on and discover what exactly had happened between the before and after. Although it was kind of fairly obvious, the story was mysterious enough to keep me gripped and wondering exactly how it all went down. I knew what had happened to a certain extent, but I didn’t know everything, which was quite cool. It kept me interested and unable to put the book down!
I really loved how each chapter alternated between before and after too. This was a really fresh approach to the way the story was written and not something I’d seen before. I thought I’d get confused, but Katie Cotugno wrote it well enough that it wasn’t at all confusing and it just added to the mysteriousness of the story.
 “Don’t blow you off?” It comes out louder than I mean it to, and I hate myself for letting him know that I still think about him, that I carry him around in my skin. – Serena 
The storyline was very refreshing too – in a nutshell, one of the main story lines is that the main character ends up falling pregnant at a young age and has to face up to not just all the responsibilities that come with this, but she also has to face up to giving up her life long dream of travelling. Again, this was quite refreshing, because it’s not often we read about this type of situation from a young mum’s point of view. Having children young is a very sensitive subject over in the UK, especially when it comes to things like benefits and being single mums and stuff. A lot of the time, young mums are judged over here, so it was interesting to see this issue broached from a different point of view. Serena didn’t intentionally get knocked up, and Sawyer didn’t intentionally miss the first three years of their daughter’s life, but even though we see that they are genuinely really good people, we also see the negatives of their situation like the fact that Serena can no longer go travelling. This was new to me and although Katie Cotugno lives in America where I’m sure it’s a lot different over there and young mum’s are less judged, unknowingly she broached that subject in a really refreshing and interesting way.
I also enjoyed how despite being teenagers, Serena and Sawyer had to deal with their own fair share of serious issues. The press release I received with this book stated that this was a ‘stunning debut for fans of John Green’ and although I personally didn’t get the big deal about John Green’s books, I liked this comparison. John Green is known to write and create young characters that are reflective of what teenagers are like in real life ; smart, creative and bright. His stories tell of tragedies that young people have to overcome, which is a big difference when you compare this to other stories about young people that only feature more lighthearted story lines like falling in love, disagreements with friends, high school struggles etc. I liked that Katie Cotugno also used young characters that were much more realistic and captivating.
 “No, you never paid one speck of attention!” Sawyer’s voice rises. “You were so worried about making sure I never knew you felt one way or the other about me so that you wouldn’t have to be embarassed or vunerable or whatever-” He stops and gets up off the glider. Turns around to look me in the eye. “Well, guess what, Reena? I never knew you felt one way or the other about me.” He shrugs a little, elagant shoulders just barely moving. It’s the saddest thing I’ve ever seen him do. “So I guess you won.” 
The characters of Serena and Sawyer were great; Sawyer was intriguing and very much reminded me of that bad boy at school that is so dark and mysterious. He was romantic when he wanted to be as well, and I thought his character was kind of really love able. He didn’t stand out as anything particularly special, he just seemed like an average teenage guy, but a genuinely really good guy deep down. I liked that. Serena was a really good reflection of what any girl goes through that age – she was ambitious and determined, but she also found it tough to open up to people and liked to keep herself quite guarded when it came to it. This was quite realistic too. I felt Serena and Sawyer’s relationship was quite adorable – it really reminded me of that first love, those butterflies you get and how utterly consumed you feel in regards to your first crush. Katie Cotugno really grabbed the intense feeling of falling in love for the first time and she managed to capture the innocence of it all too – except, it wasn’t entirely innocent and they felt guilty as well.
Overall, I really loved this story. It was deeper than I expected, and it was really stimulating to read about such tragic and bittersweet situations being taken on and involving such young characters. There were definitely parts that left me feeling really emotional too, and some parts of the story were just full on heartbreaking and sad. But at the same time, written into the story were also glimpses of hope, innocent romance and thrilling love.
 It feels like we’re circling something here, like maybe we both know where this is headed. Like maybe we sort of always have – Serena 
I’m not quite sure I understand the title, but my take on it would be that it’s kind of an ironic take on how the book is a guide on how to love; not traditionally, but realistically and how love isn’t really like it is in fairy tales. I think in some ways it represents how to experience real love in an unpredictable, fucked up and messy way.
I’d recommended this story to everyone, but I feel it would be great for high school students; perhaps as a book for them to read in English class because I thought it was really eye-opening.
Inspire Magazine Online - UK Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle Blog: book review, how to love, katie cotugno, how to love by katie cotugno
You can pre order Katie Cotugno’s How to Love on Amazon.
The book will be released on 3rd October.

P.S Check out the Book Reviews tag for more book reviews! Also, please do visit Hanging On Every Word – another blog I’m part of. It’s a collaborative book review blog between myself and some other bloggers and there are some great reviews on there! Please do check it out!

*Please note, this post contains a PR sample, although all views are entirely my own and 100% honest.

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Cloverfield is the best monster movie of our generation, if not, of all time, okay?! And if you don’t believe me, just read on…
So yesterday evening was kind of the perfect Friday night. Sure, at first when I got in from a long day at work I did fancy going out for a couple of drinks but then I found a 50% off code for Domino’s pizza and felt pretty lazy, so in the end the food won. I also discovered that Cloverfield was showing on TV.

Cloverfield is my favourite film of all time (although I have many other favourites too of course) and this post is to tell you why. If you haven’t watched it yet, I hope this convinces you to. It’s well worth watching, at least just once!

So when I first went to see Cloverfield, I was pretty intrigued because J. J. Abrams had been so hush hush about the advertisement for it all, in fact I barely even knew it was a monster movie and hadn’t really been planning to see it at first so I knew less than anyone but of course I ended up pleasantly surprised. I saw it with my ex at the time and I remember leaving the cinema really late at night and walking through town deserted and the movie had been so believable in a way that it felt really eerie and like a monster could come stomping through the town at any minute.

Inspire Magazine Online - UK Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle Blog: Cloverfield, J.J. Abrams, movie, monster movie

So why is it so awesome?


 It’s not JUST a movie 
If you don’t know what Cloverfield is, it’s basically about this huge ass monster that causes havoc and destroys New York, whereas the film in particular focuses on one small group of friends attempt to survive. But what’s great about this film is that you can simply take it as it is – you can watch it on a big TV screen with surround sound and just enjoy it as a really awesome action packed monster movie. Or, you could look further into it, and discover all about this intricate but fascinating back story that J. J. Abrams has created. I think that’s one of my favourite features about this film; it’s not just a film. You can watch it and then take more and more from the movie; you could read up about different theories on the internet or you can scan the film for all the different ‘hints’ about the monster and it’s back story. For example, the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shot at the very end where you can see something fall into the sea in the background – was this the monster? Or was this a satellite from the company the main character is going to work for? There’s this whole other world and back story to the film, which is so great because it keeps us all entertained whilst we wait for the sequel that J. J. Abrams has been promising us for years 😉

 The style of cinematography is amazing 

Okay so first of all, the hand held camera affect (better known as the ‘Shaky Camera’ cinematographic technique) does make some people apprehensive because I know it can be wobbly and make you feel sick, but I personally love this rarely used filming style. It’s been used in a couple of films before such as The Blair Witch Project, but if you can see past the fact that it may cause motion sickness if you’re prone to that, it’s actually an extremely smart affect. The shaky camera affect works perfectly with the idea of found footage, which is essentially what Cloverfield is, but it works in such a way that it draws you in like other films don’t. It’s much more personal and rather then feeling like you’re just sat at home watching a film, you feel like you’re there right in the action, perhaps it’s even you holding the camera. In a way, you become part of the film and the story.

This also makes the build up amazing. You don’t actually see the monster in full until the very end, and all the way through you just see small glimpses of it, such as it’s foot or leg or whatever as it moves between buildings in the distance, or it’s tail when you’re too close up to see it’s whole body fully. It really keeps you on the edge of your seat.

 It’s a realistic and accurate representation of what would actually  happen if a monster came and stomped all over NYC 
It’s filled with panic, screaming and, without wanting to spoil anything, a lot of death. But what I’m actually referring to here is the use of technology in the film. I mean, the whole thing is filmed on a video camera which was originally used to film a going away party.

 Rob Hawkins: Still filming? 
 Hud: Yeah, people are gonna want to know… how it all went down. 
 Rob Hawkins: Well, you can just tell them how it all went down, Hud. 
 Hud: No, that wouldn’t work. People need to see this, you know? It’s gonna be important. People are going to watch this. 

That quote is kind of spot on. So if you’re caught in the middle of all this havoc, you’re not exactly going to try and find your video camera and the first thing on your mind isn’t going to be ‘I want to film this’. But with a video camera (or mobile phone!) handy, of course everyone’s going to start filming it all.
Much like the director, one of my favourite moments is also when they’re all on the bridge and Hud is filming it all and he kind of pans around to see another guy filming it all on his mobile phone. For a split second, the camera lens is pointed at this guy’s phone which is pointed right back at him, and it’s just a really surreal but awesome moment where they’re two completely different people but for that split second, their worlds just crossover. I really love that. There could be this whole other story going on that we don’t know about – that could be the basis for a sequel – maybe that guy is just trying to survive like everyone else, maybe he’s trying to get closer to the action, maybe he’s trying to save someone too – we don’t know, but it’s still a really awesome moment.
 It has a bit of everything 
In basis, it is a monster movie, but it’s also sci fi/thriller – and it even has a bit of comedy and romance thrown in. I mean c’mon, how romantic is it that Rob risks his life to go back and save the girl he’s in love with, even though he doesn’t even know if she’s still alive or not? That’s beyond romantic to me, and it also got me thinking. If that were happening to you and you had to try and survive with someone – who would it be? Someone that genuinely cares for you? Someone you just fancy? If it’s the end of the world, you’re going to want to go for a lot more than just looks!
 Finally, the monster is just bad-ass 
I’m not sure what makes it stand out among other monsters, it’s just one of the best monsters I’ve ever seen without a doubt. It’s unconventional and different, and it’s actually really quite scary. Plus, the monster literally rips off the head off of the Statue Of Liberty and covers it in scratch and bite marks. Too. Awesome.

Image found via Google
So there we have it, five reasons (but certainly not ALL the reasons) to why Cloverfield is such an awesome monster movie and that everyone should watch it at least once. Although, a word of advice, it’s best watched on a big TV screen with surround sound if you have it – this is NOT the type of movie that should be watched for the first time streamed online on a small laptop screen. Nope. You have to go all out for this movie, trust me…
What do you think? Have you seen Cloverfield? Is there another movie that you think beats Cloverfield for the best monster movie? Feel free to let me know with a comment, I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂
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Welcome to another one off/rare ‘Sunday
catch up’ post, all about my life at present. It’s a Sunday evening and
I’ve had a nice relaxing day with my family. It’s cold outside but the
heating is on and it feels just like winter.
I’ve had a lovely few days and lots of luck this week. I bagged myself a
new job and finally got my tax return. I got a lot more back then I
actually expected, but in all honesty, I can’t tell you how relieved I
am to have found another job. It’s nothing partiuclarly exciting – it’s
telecomunications and will involve me calling up people and conducting
surveys – but it’s evening work and means that I can keep my job at Next
for the menatime. This is kind of ideal for me because I’m not
contracted for many hours at Next but some weeks I get offered tons of
overtime. I feel like for the first time in ages I can actually relax
and stop worrying about my current money situartion. Not only can I
start driving lessons again now, but I can also start being wise and
saving some money too. And of course with the added bonus of my tax
rebate, I’m looking forward to treating myself just a little.
The best part of this week (excluding my news obviously) was going out for Mamaw’s birthday yesterday. It’s her birthday on Tuesday, but me and my sister took her out in Hitchin yesterday as a birthday treat. First of all, we went to this lovely cafe called Just Desserts, which, as the name suggests, only serves desserts. It’s a really sweet idea and is actually hugely popular. I had a hot chocolate and ‘The Banoffee’ (last picture) which was so delicious. We then visited Pebble Sanctuary to get our nails done – we paid for Mum to have a pedicure and manicure, whilst we got just a manicure ourselves. It had really beautiful deco and there was so much choice in turns of nail colours – I opted for a simple French manicure, a classic favourite of mine which I simply cannot do myself, despite how many times I try. It was so lovely and in an area of Hitchin that we’d never actually visited before – it was a higher end part of Hitchin filled with loads of boutique bars and restaurants and really quriky shops. The ladies at Pebble were lovely too and we all left feeling really relaxed. Mum really enjoyed herself and it was lovely to spend some time just the three of us having a girly day.
Afterwards, me and my parents attended a wedding after party (or whatever they’re called) since my mum made a beautiful cake for the bride. To be honest, it had been a really long day as I’d been up since 6am for the Next sale and had had very little sleep the night before, but I figured that I’d pop along for some free food and a few drinks courtesy of my dad. We only planned to stay for an hour but ended up having a great time, especially in the photo booth! And also, how amazing was the cake my mum made?!

Today I’ve just had a lazy Sunday reading really, enjoying my day off before starting my new job tomorrow. I’m actually in Next in the morning too, so working two jobs means it’s going to be a long day, hence why I’m trying to enjoy my time off whilst I can!
So it’s been a nice (albeit cold!) and lucky week so I thought I’d do a catch up post since I’ll be working a lot from now on and won’t have time for much of a social life! I know I have a lot of local followers (mostly on Twitter to be fair), so if you are local, I would definitely recommend a visit to Just Desserts or Pebbles. 

I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend – leave me a comment with your plans as I’d love to know what everyone else has been up to 🙂

 

P.S Feel free to follow me on Instagram @Louise_Joy_ for more photos of what I get up to throughout the week!

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It’s not quite the weekend JUST yet, but we’re getting there. It’s almost the end of the week, yet somehow Friday seems so far away. If this week is just dragging for you, here’s my own list of awesome things that have kept me amused this week. Basically, this is my post dedicated to things that I think rock this week!
 

I’ll admit, it’s been a while since I’ve listened to good old Panic! At The Disco, but after watching this video and hearing this song, I can’t think why. It’s deep, it’s catchy and Brendon Urie is looking proper fit innit. Plus the video is pretty amazing and fits in perfectly with the undertones of the song.
I don’t like cooking, but after discovering this show one night a few weeks ago (okay, so Mamaw recommended me to it), I’ve definnitely been getting more in touch with my housewife side. Bitchin Kitchin is my new favourite thing ever. It’s quirky, it’s edgy and the host, Nadia G, is just plain awesome. I want every single one of her oufits. It’s a cooking show mixed with humour, and it’s perfect for if you’re a beginniner.

So you all know that me and my friends are choosing to embark on a week long road trip around the country in November, which I’ll be blogging about nearer the time. As well as having people guest blogging for me whilst I’m away, I’m actually really excited about what this means for the blog. It’s given me tons of ideas for content for you guys such as how we planned it all, a mini guide to each city, outfit posts and even exclusive interviews with the bands that we’ll be seeing whilst on the tour. And for once, one of my crazy plans is actually going ahead. We’ve already booked 3/5 of the hotels that we’ll be staying in for the trip, but one of the hotels we’ve not yet booked is for the Liverpool date because we’re holding out to see if it’s worth going all out for that one date and staying in the Signature Living hotel. Since we’re budgeting for the whole trip and my birthday is the month after, we’re considering just going all out and booking one of the party rooms. So for the past week I’ve done nothing but gaze longinly at the Signature Living hotel website, trying to work out which rooms/party apartments are affordable in our budget. Which is basically all of them. Some rooms offer hot tubs, jacuzzi baths and the general suround sound party system and are just pimped out and themed. The most expensive room offers it’s own bar and dancefloor as well as a photobooth room. Needless to say, I’m already dreaming of bringing the band back and going all out and just partying in one of these awesome rooms…

…And I think that’s just about it in regards to what I’ve been diggin’ this week! If Friday is just too far away, cheer yourself up by listening to some of the awesome music I’ve suggested, or dream about partying in ‘The Vault’ (which trust me, isn’t as expensive as you’d think!)

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Inspire Magazine Online - UK Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle Blog: wednesday wishlit, dougie poynter, st kidd, the maine, forever halloween, benefit, little distractions, the zombie whisperer, jesse peterson
Just another simple blog post today; some items I’ve really been lusting after lately but thus been unable to afford thanks to saving for the MAINBERLIN ROAD TRIP in November. More info to follow.
1) The Black Spot T-Shirt // £32.00 // Saint Kidd
I’ve wanted something from Dougie Poynter’s clothing range for a long time now and not just because he’s without a doubt my favourite British band boy. His clothing range has the blends fashionable and edgy perfectly without being too over the top either way. 
Buy it here!
2) Heart Knuckle Ring // £2.60 // Little Distractions
I adore this beautiful and simple ring, and I really love that it sits on your knuckle as opposed to where jewellery usually sits. Being a self confessed accessories addict myself, I’ve wanted a knuckle ring for a long time, just to mix my jewellery up a little. This deliciously romantic ring is the answer.
3. Rockateur // £23.50 // Benefit
Ahh, the effortlessly chic Benefit – who can honestly say that they dislike Benefit cosmetics? The packaging is always cute and quirky, their products are high quality and the brand simply is not scared of being bold and feminine, which I love. True, £23.50 is probably a bit pricey for a blusher but look how pretty it is! And with the upcoming winter months, we’re all going to need as much help as we can get when it comes to bringing some colour to our pale, pale faces in the cold weather.
4. The Zombie Whisperer // £3.04 // written by Jesse Peterson
So I’m not so big on this cover which is a stark contrast to the funky eye-catching designs for the rest of the books in the series, and I did feel like the previous book was a suitable way to wish zombie slayers David & Sarah well on their journey, but I was still excited to discover a fourth book had been written. Married with Zombies was a favourite book trilogy of mine because it was so different and funny, and I’m eager to discover what happens next and how the whole storyline ties up.

5. Watercolour Crop Top // £15.79 // The Maine/8123

Oh I do love me some Maine merch. I spotted this and immediately thought how perfectly this would brighten up my otherwise mostly bland wardrobe which is 85% black in colour. I’ve complained many times in the past how much I hate band merch and how 8123 brings out some surprisingly stylish things, so as always I was pleasantly surprised with their latest batch of new stock. I figured this top would look nice in the summer or when working out, so I’m hoping to purchase this soon.

What do you think of my Wednesday Wishlist? What do you have your eye on at the moment? Let me know with a comment!

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