My New Headphones: Sudio Klar | GIFTED

AD | THESE HEADPHONES WERE #GIFTED BY SUDIO.

After seeing lots of other Bookstagrammer’s enjoying I was thrilled when Sudio approached me. I’m really happy to have discovered what all the fuss is about.

I chose the Sudio Klar headphones in white and have been using them since the beginning of May.


Sound Quality

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The sound quality of these headphones is unbelievable. With the noise cancelling turned on, it’s so immersive. Everything is crystal clear and the volume has an excellent range.

Comfort

Rating: 4 out of 5.

With over-ear headphones I usually find that my head starts to hurt after an hour or so. That is not the case with the Sudio Klar. The headband and the 2 speakers have memory foam padding that moulds to you and then bounces straight back. It took 7 hours of Zoom calls and continuous wearing for any head aching to occur. These have been perfect for long meetings and catching up with family, as well as listening to podcasts and audio books. I cannot wait to be using them on my morning commute again.

Style

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Sudio aims for a ‘clean, elegant Swedish design’ which I think they nail! I am HERE for all of the Scandinavian minimalism. I adore that these headphones are simple yet they make a statement. I also love how practical this style is. All of the buttons for operation are on the one ear speaker. They are distinguishable by touch which means I can easily control the volume, answer calls, and mute the microphone at the touch of a button whilst still wearing them. I also find it really useful that, although the Klar are wireless and operate through Bluetooth, there is a wired option. The wire comes with the headphones and you simply plug into the jack on the headphones and then into your device should you be caught between charges to continue listening on the go. An adapter is required for the iPhone lightning connection.


Sustainability

Sustainability is something really important to me. Over the last couple of years I have done a lot to reduce my own impact on the planet in my lifestyle choices and I am now shopping much more consciously.

I was therefore really happy to find that Sudio are an environmentally ethical and responsible company. They have a goal to become a carbon neutral organisation taking measured steps towards that. Here is what their website says about this.

From https://www.sudio.com/gb/our-story

Sudio Offers

If you want to get your hands on some Sudio headphones take a look at their website:

www.sudio.com

By using my code BEAUTEAFUL15 at the checkout, you can claim 15% off your purchase making them even more affordable! (Valid until end of June 2020)

What’s more, every order up to 14th June 2020 will receive a reusable tote bag as a free gift!

Sudio has a range of audio products from headphones, to earbuds, and speakers.

HEADPHONES WERE #GIFTED BUT I HAVE NOT BEEN PAID FOR MY REVIEW OR OPINION.

Review: A Very English Murder by Verity Bright

A Very English Murder, by Verity Bright

Format: e-Arc

Published date: 7th April 2020

⭐️ 2 / 5

Thank you to NetGalley who kindly provided this e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I’d like to apologise for this long overdue review. I was sent this e-ARC a while before lockdown began. A busy few weeks at work pre-lockdown and the initial lockdown blues of being unable to concentrate enough to read have prevented me from reading and reviewing this book. I did manage to read this in its publication week and I’m happy to be finally sharing my thoughts.

Plot

Our protagonist, Lady Eleanor, witnesses a murder. Except the body vanishes, and the police seem to have no desire to investigate. So Ellie begins sleuthing around the village to solve the murder herself. On the surface this is my perfect book. This concept is so intriguing and I thought this would be a real brain teaser of a novel. Unfortunately not.

The plot began painfully slowly and didn’t really start getting anywhere until around half way through. Honestly I thought the whole first half of the novel could have been cut and it wouldn’t have impacted the story. There was one small side character introduced in the first few chapters that popped up again later in the novel to be useful in ultimately solving the crime, but otherwise there was nothing remotely useful or entertaining in the first half of the novel. Once the plot finally got a move on, everything was very predictable. I felt like there were a lot of missed opportunities for real red herrings and twists to really get the reader going. Unfortunately, I felt the plot was severely lacking in this area.

There was a lot of effort made to drip feed Eleanor’s backstory into the novel. This was the main thing that kept me interested in the book. All I wanted to know was what happened to Ellie’s parents and more about her global travels. *Spoiler alert* we don’t find out what happened to Ellie’s parents. I can only assume this is planting seeds for later books in the series however the mystery element of this mystery novel was not executed well enough for me to read another book in this series.

Characters

Ellie is a confusing character. She spends the first 20 chapters doing absolutely nothing except despising other characters in the book for not taking her seriously because she’s a woman. Bright uses Ellie’s every line of thought or dialogue to express that the police in the little village Ellie now lives in is backwards as there are no female officers. She constantly provides social commentary that the men around her are underestimating her before she even opens her mouth based on the fact she’s a woman. She even goes as far as to suspect characters of murder based on how they treated her as a woman and not a shred of motive or anything remotely relevant. The first couple of times it’s brought up, fine, that’s setting the scene. But after that? Honestly, Jesus Christ I get it. The novel is set in 1920s England. We know the social position of women in this time. I felt it was irrelevant to the plot or the character development, especially considering no semblance of a plot was taking place. The second the plot began heading somewhere, the ridiculous commentary stopped clearly showing it served no purpose.

So Ellie was set up as being very pro-women’s rights and very forward thinking for her era, so I thought ‘great’! Surely this means Bright is going to use her protagonist to shut down irritating tropes of women in the 1920s right? HAHAHAHA WRONG. Every time an attractive man enters her field of view she suddenly can’t function and goes weak at the knees. It’s all blushing and feeling faint when an attractive man strays too close. Very cliché.

So which is it? Fainting flapper girl and a hopeless romantic, or trailblazing modern roaring 20s woman (who FYI could have romance without the stereotypical weak, woozy, fainting cr*p).

Clifford, the butler, is a pain in the rear. One of his personality quirks is he is very pedantic. Fine, that’s established early on. But sometimes it feels like this gets in the way of meaningful dialogue and it SERVES NO PURPOSE. Honestly so infuriating.

I did however love the rest of the cast of household staff who each had distinct personalities, really contributed to Ellie’s character development and felt like tangible people.

Final Thoughts

Unfortunately this book just left me feeling kind of meh. For the most part it felt like I was reading FanFiction of something, and I’d like to point out I’ve read novel-quality FanFic, but this is more an inexperienced author who hasn’t found a voice. The voice is confused, the third person narrative doesn’t work when Eleanor spends so much time inside her own head and voices dialogue to the dog instead of having the novel written in first person…but maybe that’s just me?

I’m really upset that I didn’t enjoy this book as the blurb sounds like everything I adore in a novel. I really expected so much more from this book…

I’d like to thank NetGalley again for sending this e-Arc to me in exchange for an honest review.


Blurb:

Move over Miss Marple, there’s a new sleuth in town! Meet Eleanor Swift: distinguished adventurer, dog lover, dignified lady… daring detective?

England, 1920Eleanor Swift has spent the last few years travelling the world: taking tea in China, tasting alligators in Peru, escaping bandits in Persia and she has just arrived in England after a chaotic forty-five-day flight from South Africa. Chipstone is about the sleepiest town you could have the misfortune to meet. And to add to these indignities – she’s now a Lady

Lady Eleanor, as she would prefer not to be known, reluctantly returns to her uncle’s home, Henley Hall. Now Lord Henley is gone, she is the owner of the cold and musty manor. What’s a girl to do? Well, befriend the household dog, Gladstone, for a start, and head straight out for a walk in the English countryside, even though a storm is brewing… 

But then, from the edge of a quarry, through the driving rain, Eleanor is shocked to see a man shot and killed in the distance. Before she can climb down to the spot, the villain is gone and the body has vanished. With no victim and the local police convinced she’s stirring up trouble, Eleanor vows to solve this affair by herself. And when her brakes are mysteriously cut, one thing seems sure: someone in this quiet country town has Lady Eleanor Swift in their murderous sights… 

Review: The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon (The Bone Season #2)

Title: The Mime Order

Author: Samantha Shannon

Pages:  528

Published: 27th January 2015

⭐️ 5 / 5

N.B This review is taken from my previous blog Theatre and Movies and Books, Oh My, which was deactivated in 2016.

The Mime Order is the long awaited sequel to Samantha Shannon’s The Bone Season, and my most anticipated read of this year. I have really been looking forward to catching up with the characters and this book did not disappoint. As this is a review of a sequel, it may contain minor spoilers for the first book in the series so proceed with caution.

The Mime Order continues mere seconds after The Bone Season finished, with Paige and the gang speeding away from Sheol I and back to London. This book follows Paige re-adjusting to life in the city with the knowledge of what she learnt in the penal colony. Will she be able to return to her life before she was captured, or will she expose that Scion is a puppet government under the control of the other-worldly Rephaim? The plot of this book is a lot slower than The Bone Season as there is little of the action experienced in the first however I was still completely gripped with the twists and turns and the character development. There is so much world building to enjoy. We learn a lot about the structure to the clairvoyant underworld of London and the Scion regimes in place in the city. I really enjoyed this as it built on the snatches of information we gained in the first novel. I was also able to see that this book sets up where the series is heading and how that is going to happen which makes me excited for the rest of the series.

Continue reading “Review: The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon (The Bone Season #2)”

Review: The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury (Sin Eater’s Daughter #2)

Title: The Sleeping Prince

Author: Melinda Salisbury

Pages: 367

Published: 4th February 2016

⭐️ 5 / 5

Warning: minor spoilers ahead in the form of fangirling over a character pairing

This is the second instalment in Melinda Salisbury’s The Sin Eater’s Daughter series.  This is the first book in a long time that I ran through in one sitting.  After immensely enjoying the first book in the series, I was initially disappointed as this novel seems to drop Twylla from the narrative completely and instead picks up with an unknown character.  All I desperately needed to know was how Twylla was getting on after the events of her story and instead we move to a struggling village in a neighbouring part of the realm and follow Leif’s younger sister Errin.  I was not happy.  However I was far to quick to judge because she became one of my favourite fictional characters to read about in 2017.  She is young, snappy and hungry (name that musical 😉) to survive the changes in the world she sees around her.  After Leif’s departure from their newly broken family home, Errin is forced to give up her trade as an apothecary to care for her sick mother.  She must resort to illegally making remedies, poisons and other lotions and potions to pay for her survival and to ensure the villagers don’t turn on her mother who is looking increasingly like she is possessed by something sinister.  She has grown up in a society firmly rooted in fact and science, which is the polar opposite to what we have seen with Twylla.  However with their world facing the reawakening of the Sleeping Prince, a being of legend, Errin’s people are not able to place as much surety in science as they are used to.  Errin must watch her family life and the society she has always known and loved crumble before her and watch her neighbours take up some of the odd practices of the devout citizens in the part of the world we know through Twylla.  The only constant in Errin’s new life of despair is her strange friendship with the mysterious Silas.  Enter my favourite couple of the series.

Continue reading “Review: The Sleeping Prince by Melinda Salisbury (Sin Eater’s Daughter #2)”

Review: The Graces by Laure Eve

This week’s train read/commute book has really stollen my heart…

In the week of my one year anniversary of moving to London it was so lovely to wrap myself up in a book that reminded me of my roots, even the slightly odd and alternative ones 😉

Title: The Graces

Author: Laure Eve

Pages: 415

Published: 1st September 2016

⭐️ 5 / 5

This is another novel I decided to read after attending Victoria Aveyard’s event at Waterstones Piccadilly (read about it here). Laure Eve was one of the authors that appeared alongside Victoria, and the more she talked about her own book the more I realised just how much it was up my street. I was NOT disappointed!!

The Graces is about a mysterious family from the small town that the protagonist, River, has just moved to. This simple statement immediately presents some intriguing plot points that drive the book; River is not her real name – we never find out what her real name actually is, only that she feels more comfortable and more herself being known as River. As well as her name being mysterious it’s also unclear where the small town she has just moved to actually is, nor do we know why she has moved there until the final thirty pages or so. The town has a lot of Americanisms in the feel of the high school but it also screams of the kind of small town I grew up in. I’m from Devon and the feel of home is dripping from every page, which makes a lot of sense considering Laure grew up in Cornwall. As much as both sides of the border hate to admit we are certainly very similar in our intriguing ways, especially when is concerns our mythology and our varied histories.

Continue reading “Review: The Graces by Laure Eve”

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #1)

Title: Red Queen

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Pages: 383

Published: 12th February 2015

⭐️ 4 / 5

On the surface Red Queen is yet another YA novel set in some idea of our future where the world has been overrun by some kind of awful regime. We know the drill, right? Wrong. This book was a game changer for me in the way I think of ‘revolutionary YA fiction.’ Unlike novels such as The Hunger Games, Red Queen takes on a different view. The protagonist does not lead some kind of peasant uprising – she is thrust into the limelight straight into the key family, who figurehead the corrupt establishment and oppressive regime, and is betrothed to one of the Princes. Mare becomes the face of all the bad the regime stands for and must play out her part in the revolution completely under the radar, with her own kind hating her for her seeming betrayal. I absolutely loved it.

Continue reading “Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (Red Queen #1)”

Review: Ink by Alice Broadway

*CLAXON* I’m back in the swing of a reading schedule and I’ve actually finished a book! I’ve finally clawed my way out of the reading slump that uni caused and I’m ready to jump back to it.

So…

This week my commute book has been Ink by Alice Broadway. I picked this up last week after hearing Alice talk about her book at Victoria Aveyard’s event at Waterstones Piccadilly (which you can read more about here).

Title: Ink

Author: Alice Broadway (DEBUT NOVEL ALERT)

Pages: 366

Published: 2nd February 2017

⭐️ 4 / 5

First of all can we just loOK HOW PRETTYYY

I know we don’t judge books by their covers but come on. This is a thing of beauty right there. Looks glorious on your bookshelf, glorious whilst you’re fighting for elbow space on the tube, it’s just so pretty and that makes me happy.

I really liked this book. It was a lovely easy read that I just lapped up and sped through without even noticing the page numbers whizzing by. The book is set in a world where life is recorded through the ink on your skin and the citizens have strict beliefs as to why this must be the case. We join the protagonist, Leora Flint, in the aftermath of her father’s death, which has left her reeling. Through mourning him and visiting his skin book she discovers that something isn’t quite right, which leaves her questioning her whole life and her beliefs.

Continue reading “Review: Ink by Alice Broadway”