Female Beauty

I have a notebook obsession – seriously, it’s a bit of an issue that I try to handle every single day. I even tried to get rid of a few old ones the other day, and as I was flicking through  the pages of one of my numerous ‘ideas’ notebooks, I came across a small passage that I wrote. It was a first-person rant by a female character who was fed up of being called arrogant for thinking she was beautiful. When writing it, I think I must have been maybe fourteen and most definitely insecure about my appearance, so of course I wrote about characters who were confident, strong, and took absolutely no shit from anyone.

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Anyway, it got me to thinking – a rare activity for me – about why I, along with so many other girls, are so insecure. Yes, the easy answer is media and body-shaming and blah blah blah, but I think it’s more than just telling girls that they need to be skinny or it’s beautiful to have flawless skin and long flowing locks like some sort of Disney princess. I think you could go far enough to say that we’re not telling girls just about what beauty is, but that they can’t be beautiful. Or at least, they themselves can’t think that.

I’m not making much sense? Right, let me take you to a classic example of a pop song by a boy band beloved by most young girls. Heard of that horridly catchy and irritating What Makes you Beautiful by One Direction? Now, not to hurt too many feelings, I’m sure the boys of 1D did not intend to fit into the stereotype of putting down girls nationwide, but they certainly do with that number. Yes it might sound cheerful and seem sweet about a boy telling a girl she’s beautiful, but let me remind you of the killer line ‘You don’t know you’re beautiful, that’s what makes you beautiful’.

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I know, I know, they seem very cute, but STOP THAT RIGHT NOW. Are you seriously kidding me with this line? Let me elaborate what they’re saying here several times:

  • You don’t know you’re beautiful, that’s what makes you beautiful
  • What makes you beautiful, is that you don’t know it
  • I like the fact you think you’re ugly, it makes you more attractive
  • You have no self-confidence, which I like
  • I like to be superior and for you to feel inferior

Ok, maybe the last one is going a bit too far, but I’m standing by my point. We are telling girls that it’s better for them to have no self-confidence. It’s not good to think that you’re pretty or beautiful because that’s too close to arrogance which isn’t at all attractive. Far better for a boy/man to find a girl who thinks she’s worthless so he can be the one to reassure her, or not. We go back to the ageless stereotype of thinking girls should be meek and quiet who need to be saved by strong men. Stop that right this instant.

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And so we’re back to the classic slut vs stud dichotomy; women who sleep with lots of men are sluts, men who sleep with lots of women are studs – simple! You would think we’d be past this by now but, alas, we are not. And boy bands are partly to blame. Sort of.

Why are girls encouraged, still, that having confidence isn’t great? In an age when we’re trying to get girls thinking that they can be just as good as boys, and telling both boys and girls that they don’t have to fit the stereotype of being strong all the time/quiet and meek all the time, there are still a million and one issues. Beauty is one that we usually think we’ve covered, like there’s some long list and after the numerous attacks on body-shamers and huge long articles about plus-size models and what not, we’ve ticked that box. Hate to be the party-pooper, but we’re a long way from done. Girls are told to be confident in themselves and their abilities, but that doesn’t yet truly extend to being confident about their beauty.

So, let’s please change something. Even if it’s just a song that now says ‘You don’t know you’re beautiful-oh wait, you do know? That’s great news; I find your confidence attractive and I like that we’re on equal footing’, although that’s a little less catchy.

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When it Rains by Lisa De Jong

I can safely say that there are four main ways that make me cry.

1. When I see someone else cry, so do I.

2. When someone I love hurts me or gets hurt.

3. When I laugh a lot, I can’t help crying.

4. Watching a film where a dog dies – such as Hachi, Marley and Me and I am Legend.

Never, and I mean never, have I ever cried whilst reading a book. I thought that I never would, but now that it has happened I felt that it deserved it’s own blog post.

These days when I want to buy a book, I scroll through lists on amazon: recommended for you, bestsellers etc and, as I have a Kindle and some amazon gift cards from Christmas, it’s a great way to pass time – that is, until I run out of money.

Once I have about five books which I think look good based on their blurb, I then read the reviews and if they are pretty good overall, I’ll read the sample. As I was looking, ‘When it Rains’ popped up with 70 reviews – all who gave it 5 stars. With £25 to spend, I thought ‘what the hell’ and bought it, ready for an easy-going, holiday read which would probably be like hundreds of others.

For about half of the book, that was all it was.

Then it got serious.

When It Rains

Blurb

One night changed my life forever.

Beau Bennett has been my best friend since I can remember. He was my first crush before everything came crashing down, and now he wants more, but it’s more than I can give him. Things are different now. I wish I could tell him why, but I can’t.

I haven’t told anyone.

I never knew how much I really needed him until the day he left for college, and I was completely alone.

Then one day, Asher Hunt rides into town with his dark, captivating eyes and cocky grin. He doesn’t care who I used to be, he’s simply breathing life into what’s left. People warn me to stay away from him, but he helps me forget the pain that has held me hostage for so long; something I thought was impossible before he walked into my life.

I’ve been hurt.

I’ve been saved.

And I’ve found hope.

I thought my story was written that night, but now I know it was only a new beginning. Until one secret turns my world upside down…

Again.

It sounds pretty rude, but I feel that I can now predict everything that will happen in your usual, teenage, lovey-dovey book. Either one of the characters in the love couple has been abused by parents, lost a parent, lost both parents, lost a different family member, been raped, been bullied etc etc. They then find someone who they fall in love with – the girl is either painfully shy and sweet and inexperienced or has walls up she thinks no one will break down and the guy is either fun loving guy-next-door, a brother’s best friend, a best friend’s brother or a mysterious guy who’s ‘dangerous’, unfairly handsome and who loves her fiercely. The couple get together, but then something happens like the girl gets pregnant, an ex comes back threatening everyone, one of them has a way too early mid-life crisis, one of them gets cold feet, they find out a family drama etc etc.

When I started ‘When it Rains’, this is exactly what I was expecting and hats off to Lisa De Jong for completely ruining my ‘no crying whilst reading a book’ streak. I won’t say what it is that ‘changed Kate’s life forever’ in the book, though you find out early on, but I can reveal that that isn’t what made me cry. No, it was about halfway through the book when Lisa De Jong went BAM TAKE THAT and I was practically sobbing until the end.

Not cool, Lisa, so not cool. HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO ME?

What was entertaining was the look on my Mum’s face as she sat on the sofa next to me, oblivious to the fact that the world in my book-fantasy was ending. ‘What the hell is wrong with you?’ she asked and, when I told her that the book was sad, she rolled her eyes and muttered, ‘Hormones’.

Well, who knows? But I can assure you that myself and 70 other people were crying, rating this book an easy 5 stars.

So, if you fancy reading it, I can’t recommend it enough.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to curl up into a ball on the floor next to my dog whilst I contemplate my life.

~Eleanor

Trust In Me

I am very excited and lucky to announce that Jennifer L Armentrout is releasing ‘Trust In Me’, a sequel to her fantastic ‘Wait For You’ which I adored. I’ve been a fan of Jennifer’s ever since she released ‘Obsidian’ – the Lux Series has been probably my favourite series of books I’ve read in a long time. ‘Wait For You’ was incredible and to find out about the sequel early to tell all of you is just amazing!

So, cover time:

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Description:

It’s Wait for You as you’ve never seen it. Trust in Me lets you in on Cam’s side of the #1 New York Times Bestselling story.

Cameron Hamilton is used to getting what he wants, especially when it comes to women. But when Avery Morgansten comes crashing into his life – literally – he finally meets the one person who can resist his soulful baby blues. But Cam’s not ready to give up. He can’t get the feisty and intriguing girl out of his head.

Avery has secrets, secrets that keep her from admitting the feelings Cam knows she has for him. Will persistence (and some delicious homemade cookies) help him break down her barriers and gain her trust? Or will he be shut out of Avery’s life, losing his first real shot at the kind of love that lasts forever?

 

 

EEP. So it’s from Cam’s POV and is sure to be another great read – I highly recommend it! There are also several giveaways floating around (unfortunately I can’t add them in this blog as my laptop is throwing a bit of a temper tantrum, so make sure you keep an eye out). To be released October 22nd! 

Thanks for reading as always ~ El

Escaping Reality

OK so it’s no secret that I love books and I thought I’d talk about them some more with the very few people who actually take their time to read this. 

As a proud owner of a Kindle, I spend a lot of time looking up books on Amazon. I was skeptical of Kindles at first, being a lover of that old/new book smell and the feeling of turning each crisp page, but I absolutely adore it. In the long run, I think I -and my parents – have saved a lot of money with it. The most expensive book I’ve bought on my Kindle was at £4.99, but they usually range from 99p – £3 for me. I even have had a few freebies. 

I do miss my days in Waterstones, searching for a summer read, but I have to admit that using Amazon is so much easier even though I do feel a bit lazy. As I want to publish my own books some day, I’ve realised some pretty important ‘musts’ if i want to publish. As you can now self-publish on amazon for kindle, it’s vital you hook anyone browsing. First of all, a nice title goes a long way and also the picture! Today I was looking at some books and, for some, I spent so long trying to figure out what the picture was all about that I grew uninterested. For goodness sake, if you have a romance novel I don’t want a picture of a girl dramatically crying and screaming, looking more as if she’s giving birth then losing the love of her life. 

I admit, I am guilty of spending a lot of time in the romance department with fantasy a close second. At this point, I think I am safe to say that I am an expert in the typical romance books out these days. They either feature a love triangle (usually with one good boy and one bad boy), or they feature someone who is ‘unattainable’ OR it’s about a bad boy who suddenly falls head over heels in love for a quiet, shy good girl who is smart. 

Don’t get me wrong – I like the message that it isn’t just the beautiful, vain people that end up with other beautiful people and the rest of us normal people have a shot, but come on. So what if he’s good looking and is a rock star in a band – I want something a bit more than ‘each look he gave me made me swoon’. If there’s some guy who is known to be a bit of a sleaze and is looking at me, I don’t care how good looking he is – tell him to bugger off already. The whole ‘wounded’ part of the lead guy who is just really understood isn’t always realistic in some situations. I’ve found some authors just throw in a death in the family of the guy just to give him that emotional edge, but it isn’t enough to just have that. Death is such a devastating topic that you can’t just brush over – you have to explore it and actually talk about it instead of just having the female character think ‘Ohmygosh he’s so deep so now I love him’. 

Right, so what was I talking about again? Actually, to be honest, I’m not sure I know exactly where I’m going with this. But ou know how in romance novels everything centres on one guy and you just know that the girl will get him in the end or that he will abandon everything because he loves her? Well why can’t real life be like that? Why can’t you have a spotlight that suddenly shines on the one that you’ll end up with so that you don’t just look past them on your search for the one

On a side note, I’m trying to branch out to some other genres and have read a couple of science fiction books. I have got through a few action and adventure novels as well, but can’t find anything really gripping. If you have any suggestions, I’d love them ^_^

Anyway, thanks again for reading and drop a comment below to let me know your thoughts. ~El