Book Review · Books

100 Speeches That Roused the World by Colin Salter [BOOK REVIEW]

100 Speeches That Roused the World by Colin Salter [BOOK REVIEW]

★★

Boy, oh boy, do I have mixed feelings about 100 Speeches That Roused the World by Colin Salter.

The reason I picked up this book is because I have always been in love with speeches and orators. I believe that the ability to speak in front of an audience is a very powerful skill, and I admire it as such. Many great leaders and many successful people use this skill to make people listen and act in a way they want them to. That is where the true art is, and I really admire this aspect. The fact that you can listen to two or more people tell you the same thing, and only one being able to convince you to do something or believe in something they say is a true gift.

Which takes us to the second reason I picked this book up. To find out more about the people who had this ability in history and made a difference in one way or another. And for the most part, I was pleased. There are speeches of many great (and not so great) leaders out there, speeches of people that made breakthroughs in their fields, people who fought for their rights.

But there was a pattern I noticed in these 100 speeches.

Most of these speeches were either from the UK or USA. And most of them were presidents, prime ministers,royalty or leaders in any other way. And all their speeches were speeches during the wars. Telling their people to fight for their nations.

And I have nothing against those speeches. They were perfect for their time and they did their purpose at the time. What I had a problem with is that there were so many more important times in history when a speech was made and it represented a change. 

What about all the speeches that philosophers have given in ancient Rome and Greece? For Rome, where is Julius Caesar’s speech to the senate? For Greece, how about the movement for freedom of speech? What about the speeches during humanism and renaissance? What about some of the groundbreaking speeches that scientists have given over the years?

I was a bit disappointed with the format of the book as well, as the speeches were mostly short paragraphs, followed by a full page of the author’s notes, mostly quoting the same speech again. It was very helpful to know the background of how the speech made a difference in the world, but when most of those speeches didn’t really make any difference, and I was involved in a history lesson of the most important wars in history, it wasn’t much of a fun read.

To conclude, this book wasn’t what I was looking for, both format and content wise. The 100 Speeches mentioned in this book didn’t do enough justice for me. I believe that title is misleading, but I can also understand that some people can still learn a lot by reading it.

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Book Wrap Up · Books

October TBR – The TBR Raffle – Sister Edition

Hello, lovelies!

Welcome to the October TBR! I hope you are doing well, and are well into the autumn spirit! I am so looking forward to Halloween, even though I am not sure how I will be able to give out treats with Covid still going on. Maybe I’ll have to open up my garden and do a scavenger hunt or something similar. Any ideas?

September was a pretty good month in terms of my reading, even though life got a bit in the way. I still need to catch up on a few book reviews, but keeping a positive mindset, as always!

This month, I have something different planned for you. It wasn’t really planned, it happened naturally, but I think it turned up quite well in the end. My sister came to visit me one weekend, and she always loves my TBR Raffle videos on Instagram. This time, she asked me if she can choose the prompts. So I agreed. And not only did she end up choosing the prompts, but she ended up choosing the books as well. I had to add a few more titles in the end, which I am ue to review in October, but I am confident I can manage to read them all this month.

And with that. let the October TBR raffle commence.

The October TBR Raffle

I am filming my TBRs on my Instagram Stories. Make sure to follow me on Instagram, and check out the “Monthly TBR” highlight at the beginning of each month!

My TBR Raffle game is simple: I have a number of prompts that I put in small papers, into a jar. I draw a prompt, and I fit in a book that matches my prompt. Here is a list of the current prompts I have. Feel free to leave any prompt suggestions in the comments. Once the paper is drawn, I put it back into the jar, so it has an equal chance to get drawn again. I draw a total of 8 prompts, which result in 8 books for the month. If I fail to read a book, it automatically goes into the next month.

*This month, my sister chose my prompts and my books. I had a lot of fun doing this with her, and maybe I’ll let her do it again in the future! 🙂

My October TBR

✨ 1. New Author

My mum had an impact on this choice, as she was in our living room while we were having our fun. And she’s also been trying to get me to read this title for a very long time now. So she chose The Love Letter by Lucinda Riley.

When Sir James Harrison, one the greatest actors of his generation, passes away at the age of ninety-five he leaves behind not just a heartbroken family and a wealth of memorabilia from his long career but also a secret so shocking, so devastating that it could change everything…

Joanna Haslam is an ambitious young journalist, assigned to cover the legendary actor’s funeral. The great and the good of the celebrity world will be there. But Joanna stumbles on something dark beneath the glamour: the mention of a letter Harrison has left behind, the contents of which he was desperate to conceal. As she gets closer to tracking down the source, she realises that there are other very interested parties. And they’ll stop at nothing to reach the letter before she does.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

✨ 2. Lowest Rated

The current lowest rated book on my October TBR is Devil’s Mist by Liam Moiser.  I think the reason for the low ratings has to do with low number of people that read it, so I am excited to dive into this one. It has camping and scary stories, and I think it has the perfect mood for Halloween. 

A camping trip with a friend’s family, with a campfire to sit around and tell scary stories – except Rosie’s dad says this one is true. According to legend, the house across the lake hosts a strange curse, a missing daughter and a threat that anyone who ventures close will meet the same fate. Rosie and Jenny shrug the story off, but as events escalate, it becomes crystal clear that the curse is real and someone else is the next target.

Although they try to deny the truth, a note from an unlikely source confirms their deepest fears. Lies unravel, allies form and the truth about what happens back then threatens to come to light. But one answer remains shrouded, haunting all involved: Will they escape the mist before it comes for them or are they doomed to be lost forever?

Purchase Links:
 Amazon UK

✨ 3. Giveaway

A book that I have won as a Giveaway. My sister chose Beneath the World, a Sea by Chris Beckett. I won this book through ReadersFirst, and it seems like a truly enchanting read. 

South America, 1990. Ben Ronson, a British police officer, arrives in a mysterious forest to investigate a spate of killings of a local species called the Duendes. They are silent, vaguely humanoid creatures – with long limbs and black button eyes – that have a strange psychic effect on people, exposing them to their suppressed thoughts and fears.

The crimes have taken place in a landscape known as the Delta and to reach it Ben has crossed the Zone, a territory which wipes the memories of all who pass through. He remembers nothing of the preceding days; what he did or felt or saw.

Ben is uneasy about what he may have done in the Zone and avoids opening the diaries he kept whilst there, busying himself with the investigation instead. He becomes fascinated by the Duendes, but the closer he gets, the more he begins to unravel. As the Delta starts to take hold of his mind, Ben becomes increasingly haunted by the unopened diaries and the terrible secrets they might hold…
 

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

✨ 4. Sister Pick

My Sister was so happy this also popped up. So she chose one of her favorite books, which I haven’t read yet. It’s After by Anna Todd. After is the first book in the After series. 

Tessa is a good girl with a sweet, reliable boyfriend back home. She’s got direction, ambition, and a mother who’s intent on keeping her that way.

But she’s barely moved into her freshman dorm when she runs into Hardin. With his tousled brown hair, cocky British accent, tattoos, and lip ring, Hardin is cute and different from what she’s used to.

But he’s also rude—to the point of cruelty, even. For all his attitude, Tessa should hate Hardin. And she does—until she finds herself alone with him in his room. Something about his dark mood grabs her, and when they kiss it ignites within her a passion she’s never known before.

He’ll call her beautiful, then insist he isn’t the one for her and disappear again and again. Despite the reckless way he treats her, Tessa is compelled to dig deeper and find the real Hardin beneath all his lies. He pushes her away again and again, yet every time she pushes back, he only pulls her in deeper.

Tessa already has the perfect boyfriend. So why is she trying so hard to overcome her own hurt pride and Hardin’s prejudice about nice girls like her?

Unless…could this be love?

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

✨ 5. Classic

For my classic read, my sister chose Emma by Jane Austen. Emma has been on my TBR for a very long time, and I am really looking forward to finally reading it for the October TBR.

Emma Woodhouse is one of Austen’s most captivating and vivid characters. Beautiful, spoilt, vain and irrepressibly witty, Emma organizes the lives of the inhabitants of her sleepy little village and plays matchmaker with devastating effect.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

✨ 6. Highest Rated

It’s amazing that we have both a Lowest Rated and a Highest Rated prompt in the same month for October TBR. I really love these. My current highest rated book is All About Amy by James J. Caterino. All About Amy has been on my TBR for a while now, and I remember winning it in a giveaway from Goodreads, a very long time ago.

Meet Troy Carter Brown, a man living a life of quiet desperation. One day, a mysterious woman from California shows up on his doorstep claiming to be a walk-in, the transmigrated soul of Amy Ellis, his long lost girlfriend who died in a tragic boating accident nearly twenty years ago. Is she merely playing him in some sort of an elaborate con game, or has the soul of Amy really returned to Troy in the form of this alluring stranger named Julie Saxton. Only in the end, as Troy and Julie end up on the run together fleeing for their lives from local gangsters, will the dramatic truth be revealed.

Purchase Links:
 Amazon UK

✨ 7. Standalone

My sister chose Uprooted by Naomi Novik for the standalone prompt for this October TBR, , because she knows I want to read this book so bad! Thanks sis!

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, ambitious wizard, known only as the Dragon, to keep the wood’s powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman must be handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as being lost to the wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows – everyone knows – that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia – all the things Agnieszka isn’t – and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But no one can predict how or why the Dragon chooses a girl. And when he comes, it is not Kasia he will take with him.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

✨ 8. Sent by Author

Hands Up by Stephen Clark is the book my sister chose. Probably because it is purple. 🙂

Officer Ryan Quinn, a rookie raised in a family of cops, is on the fast track to detective until he shoots an unarmed black male. Now, with his career, reputation and freedom on the line, he embarks on a quest for redemption that forces him to confront his fears and biases and choose between conscience or silence.

Jade Wakefield is an emotionally damaged college student living in one of Philadelphia’s worst neighborhoods. She knows the chances of getting an indictment against the cop who killed her brother are slim. When she learns there’s more to the story than the official police account, Jade is determined, even desperate, to find out what really happened. She plans to get revenge by any means necessary.

Kelly Randolph, who returns to Philadelphia broke and broken after abandoning his family ten years earlier, seeks forgiveness while mourning the death of his son. But after he’s thrust into the spotlight as the face of the protest movement, his disavowed criminal past resurfaces and threatens to derail the family’s pursuit of justice.

Ryan, Jade, and Kelly–three people from different worlds—are on a collision course after the shooting, as their lives interconnect and then spiral into chaos. 

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

✨ 9. Extra

I am participating in a blog tour for Meet Me in London by Georgia Toffolo. My tour stop is on 5th October.

What do you do when your fake engagement starts to feel too real…

Aspiring clothes designer Victoria Scott spends her days working in a bar in Chelsea, and her evenings designing vintage clothes, dreaming of one day opening her own boutique. But these aspirations are under threat from the new department store opening at the end of her road. She needs a Christmas miracle, but one is not forthcoming.

Oliver Russell’s Christmas is not looking very festive right now. His family’s new London department store opening is behind schedule, and on top of that his interfering, if well meaning, mother is pressing him to introduce his girlfriend to her. A girlfriend who does not exist. He needs a diversion. Something to keep his mother from interfering while he focuses on the business.

When Oliver meets Victoria, he offers a proposition: pretend to be his girlfriend at the opening of his store and he will provide an opportunity for Victoria to showcase her designs. But what starts as a business arrangement soon becomes something more tempting, as the fake relationship starts to feel very real. But when secrets in Victoria’s past are exposed will Oliver walk away, or will they both follow their hearts and find what neither knew they were looking for…

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

✨ 10. Extra

I am also participating in a blog tour for Haunted by multiple authors. This book is a collection of spooky short ghostly stories and my tour stop is on 28th October, right in time before Halloween. If there is just one title I can pick to be most excited about – it’s definitely this one!

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

And that’s my October TBR.
Make sure to follow me on Instagram, so you can stay up to date with my current updates during the month.
What are you planning to read this month? Let me know in the comments!

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Book Review · Books

The Princess Plan by Julia London [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

I received The Princess Plan by Julia London from the amazing team at Mills & Boon. This is the first book in the series A Royal Wedding. 

Historical romances are a hit or miss for me, and this one didn’t really hit the mark like I wanted it to. Prince Sebastian of Alucia is on his visit in London, when his personal secretary is murdered. 

And a murder such as this one creates a very big buzz in London’s high society. When a scandal like this occurs, it’s all anyone talks about, including Eliza Trickelbank, who happens to own a gossip gazette. 

When her gazette receives an anonymous tip off about this crime, Prince Sebastian has no choice, but to work with her in order to solve the mystery of his friend’s murder. 

With a trade deal on the line and a pressure to find a noble bride, there is nothing more dangerous than a prince socialising with a commoner. They can’t seem to agree on anything, and find each other frustrating, but the temptation between them becomes harder and harder to be ignored. 

My Thoughts:

I loved the Cinderella vibe around this book, and the trope of prince meets commoner. I also enjoyed the trope of enemies becoming lovers. Even though, in this case, it was more of a forbidden temptation meets annoyance that turns into affection. 

I liked Sebastian as much as I disliked Eliza. Everything that annoyed me about her, he somehow managed to compensate for. She was trying very hard to be independent, but instead, she gave up a vibe that was almost unbearable and very insecure. With Sebastian I loved the dilemma between country vs heart, which I assume many nobles, especially during that time in England felt. I am sure that many of them sacrificed their love just to do right by their country. 

I found the gazette excerpts quite funny at times, and very enlightening. They take you into a whole new world, where you feel as if you’re there, getting ready for a ball, or reading about the latest gossip of the nobles. The writing style matches the time setting perfectly. I think Julia London did an amazing job when it comes to that. Here is an excerpt that really made me giggle: 

“New information suggests that if a lady wishes to enjoy a romp without consequence, trotting a horse briskly the day after the romp should remove said consequence.”

To conclude, I enjoyed The Princess Plan, but it wasn’t a favorite.

The writing was beautiful and I am sure this will be a favorite for people that love historical romances. The only reason I didn’t love it is because of Eliza’s character and the tropes that I have already seen before. 

Purchase Links:
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Book Review · Books

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★★

Nicholas Sparks is my “go-to” author, when it comes to romance. Or when it comes to not-happy-ever-after and I want to cry. It’s a gamble when I pick one of his books, never knowing whether the couple will stay together. But one thing always happens – I do cry. Every single time. Dear John was nothing different. A love story between a US Army Soldier who comes home for a break and a girl he meets in his hometown, who’s there for a volunteering project over the summer. 

Savannah is so different from the other girls, so caring and so generous in everything she does. And when they meet with John, it is love at first sight. They spend an amazing time together, but then 9/11 happens and John feels the responsibility to re-enlist. And this long separation makes Savannah fall in love with someone else.

Dear John is one of those books that always makes me cry, and always leaves me with a pain in my heart, as if I have suffered all the pain. It is very emotional and real to the core. After I finished it this time around, I just wanted to consume all the pain John felt and lessen his burden. There is something about his character that makes me care so much.

“What does it mean to truly love another?”

Dear John covers a lot of important topics that are still relevant, even today.

For example, how re-enlisting in the army is expected, and is considered a duty, rather than a choice. When it seems like it’s a choice, but if you choose “wrongly” it’s frowned upon – I don’t consider that free will. And from experience, leaving the army is probably the biggest labyrinth of administration ever made.

Another topic that I greatly appreciated in Dear John was the subject of autism. John has a very troublesome relationship with her father due to this, and not knowing of his dad’s situation, he reacts in a certain way. And I love how Savannah is there to support him, and bond with his dad as well. I loved his hobby – coin collecting. As a stamp collector, I know how much joy there is in finding something rare, and finally completing a set. I was very sad about the outcome on this particular topic, but it is what it is. 

Savannah – I will never understand why she made the decisions that she did. I know that she made the mistake, and I think every reader knows it. Which is why this book hurts the way it does. It pains me to the core, because I know it is true love, but they are just never meant to be. And that last chapter says everything. 

And John. Dear John.

My heart goes to him, for everything he goes through. His pain is too much to handle, and I will always remember him as the sad hero that was never able to be with his true love. 

“And when her lips met mine, I knew that I could live to be a hundred and visit every country in the world, but nothing would ever compare to that single moment when I first kissed the girl of my dreams and knew that my love would last forever.”

I want to say that I recommend it to you all, but I know it will make you cry. I’m not recommending this because it will make you sad. I am recommending this for the experience. And for all the never-after loves.

Read my review of Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks.

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

The High Moments by Sara-Ella Ozbek [BLOG TOUR]

the high moments sara-ella ozbek blog tour fashion simon  & schuster blog diary of difference

★★★★

I am very excited to be part of the Instagram Tour for The High Moments by Sara-Ella Ozbek. Thank you to Kaleidoscopic Book Tours for this amazing opportunity, and for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

The High Moments is a book about Scarlett.

She’s not perfect and she has a very tricky relationship with her mother. All she wants is to be successful and for people to like her. 

She is one of those people that make goals on New Year’s Eve, and then reflect back one year later, just to realise that nothing has changed. But one day, she does decide it’s time for a change. So she moves to London. She doesn’t have a particular plan, but she does want to be a designer. 

She ends up getting a job at a modeling agency with a very low salary. But the fashion industry is the worst place you can go to, if you are willing to change yourself, just to appeal to others. 

Which is something Scarlett, obviously, does. 

She makes friends that aren’t that real. She hands out with the wrong crowd. And she sleeps with men she shouldn’t. She takes drugs. She consumes alcohol. Way more than she is supposed to. But at least people start to recognise her. They invite her to parties she could only have dreamed of. Surely that can’t be all that bad? Well – it is. 

And she doesn’t really learn from it, until it’s way too late. 

This book was compared to The Devil Wears Prada, and I don’t agree with that comparison. The Devil Wears Prada is a gem, and the first of its kind, so it shouldn’t be a very easy story to compare. Just because this book follows a woman that works in a very fast paced fashion industry it doesn’t mean comparisons should be thrown left right and center. 

Additionally, Scarlett is a very insecure person. And despite her goal in design, she doesn’t show a lot of determination. She seemed to care way more about her parties, than to be good at her job and get promoted in her career. But I think that her immaturity comes with her age, and the story was captured in a time when she still needed to experience everything and grow. Which she does, at the very end of the book, even though it’s a slow start. 

Aside from this, I really enjoyed the book, and it only took me one day to finish it. I was very invested and entertained, and I have only praise for that. The scenes were very realistic and the characters were very real. The plot was predictable, but I expected that. Every time Scarlett would make a bad decision, I knew it would come back to bite her. And I also knew she would learn to grow from all the mistakes she made – which she does. And that pleases me. 

“Everyone always wonders how good people can do terrible things, but bad behaviour is the easiest thing in the world, really. You just don’t think about it.”

If you love fast-paced books, filled with humour and fashion, I promise you will enjoy The High Moments by Sara-Ella Ozbek. It will lift your spirits and make you giggle. And on top of that, it will make you discuss Scarlett’s choices in life with your best friend. What more do you want in a book? 🙂

Purchase Links:
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