Book Review: My Lovely Wife – Mark Lukach

Book Review My Lovely Wife Mark Lukach

Mark and Giulia have a wonderful life, a strong relationship and a future to look forward to. What they didn’t know was that their lives and relationships were going to be tested by Giulia developing a severe mental illness. This lead to her being hospitalised, suicidal and unable to trust anyone around her. Later, after the birth of their son, Giulia is again hospitalised but how does Mark care for his child and support his wife.

For anyone who has been in the grips of mental illness or knows someone who has been affected this is a challenging read because it is so real. Mark talks about the lack of movement from medical professionals, the lack of beds and the lack of information. I know that for me, personally, this was a tough read because it’s one of the things that scares me most about mental ill health.

That said, what I celebrated most about this book is that Mark does not shy away from how hard it is to cope with a partner with a mental health condition because it’s true. He shares his pain, bewilderment and anger at the situation and his feeling of wanting to run and escape, not because he doesn’t love his wife, but because it’s hard.

This isn’t all doom and gloom, there is a lot of love in this book and most importantly hope. This chronicles finding a new way to love and a new way to move forward in a relationship when the unexpected is thrown at you, which happens more than people would like to admit. They have still found a way to laugh and love, which is important.

I’ve never read a book like this before and while I was nervous going in, I now recommend it to everyone. This is what long-term love is. This is fighting through together and doing what needs to be done for the other person, even if they may not thank you in the moment. I gave this five stars. Not only was it brilliantly written it meant a lot to me to see the other side. I’d love to read more from Mark about his life with Giulia and their future.

I Bought a Lot of Books Last Month…

Hello, hello, hello you lovely lot!

I have a confession, I bought a lot of books last month and I mean a lot. There was a combination of books I bought in store, online and a few from subscription boxes. I’ve been quite good at being restrained recently but this month that went completely out of the window, oops. So here’s a haul for you guys and evidence of my lack of self-control when it comes to books.

Far From the Tree – Robin Benway 

I’ve heard good things about this novel which centres around three adopted siblings and how they all deal with this in their individual lives. Grace has just given up her own baby leading to her to think about her own biological parents. Maya isn’t sure exactly where she fits anymore. While oldest sibling Joaquin isn’t interested in his biological mother after growing up in the foster system. Buy it here.

Witchborn – Nicholas Bowling 

While I was in my local bookshop I was wondering if I could find something including witches while I wait for the next book in The Graces series. Then I saw Witchborn, which has witches, questions of madness and more and I’m so excited. Buy it here.

Your Life in My Hands -Rachel Clarke 

There’s so much we don’t know about what happens in the NHS and what it’s like for our doctors. I found this for £3 so I had no excuse really… Buy it here.

Bygone Badass Broads – Mackenzie Lee 

A collection of women that probably weren’t in the history books, ok there weren’t that many kick-ass women in my history books. Mackenzie Lee wanted to show women we might not have heard of and I’m so there for that! Buy it here.

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2 – Elena Favilli & Francesca Cavallo 

I LOVED the first book about amazing ladies (review here) so of course I went and bought the second one straight away. Spoiler alert, it’s awesome. Buy it here.

Together We Rise – The Organisers of The Women’s March 

Released on the one year anniversary of the Women’s March, this has some impressive contributors and looks at the before, during and what next for the movement. I wrote a whole post on it in a collaboration with Harper360 which you can read here. Buy it here.

The Smoke Thieves – Sally Green 

I got this in my most recent Illumicrate box and they’ve been really upping the fantasy recently. This has four main protagonists living very different lives and are all impacted by the coming war.

Blood and Sand – C.V Wyk 

The second book I received in Illumicrate. I’m not 100% sure because it’s something that I’d pick up myself. It’s about Ancient Rome and rebellion. I’ll give it a go.

The Red Clocks – Leni Zumas 

This has been on my list for a long time so I have high hopes for this a dystopian novel set in a time when IVF and abortions are banned looks at the lives of a group of women. I hope this is good. Buy it here.

A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

I fell in love with Chimamanda’s way of thinking when I watched her Ted Talk. So, when I found this I thought it would be great to pick it up because she’s a brilliant writer. This is only 65 pages, so absolutely tiny but I’m looking forward to what she’s going to say. Buy it here.

 

If you want to see how I get on with these books don’t forget I’m on Goodreads! You can become my Goodreads friend here.

 

Please note, I am an Amazon affiliate.

March-Book-Wrap-Up

I Read 12 Books in March?!

It has been a GOOD reading month, which I think is partly due to the fact I had some time off this month and could curl up with a few more books. It’s also due to the fact I’ve spent a lot of evenings on my own, no one to talk to means you’re not ignoring anyone! Anyway on to my 12 March reads!

Ok so technically This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay was read in February but not in time for my last wrap up. I loved this memoir and think it’s an incredibly important read in modern Britain. I also read Lydie and Limited Edition, both graphic novels. Lydie was sweet but strange about a girl who believes her baby is still alive and the town who humors her. Limited Edition is about a woman in her 30s looking for love, it wasn’t my favourite but it was ok. Also I got an early release of The Astonishing Colour of After by Emily X.R Pan, which wasn’t for me you can see why here.

Next up I finished the incredible Mysogynation by Laura Bates, once again Laura wrote a book that I wanted to shout ‘hell yeah’ at, not an easy task. Following this I read The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven which, no big deal, is currently my favourite read of the year you can read my review here. I also picked up the long awaited Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2, even more kick ass ladies and beautiful illustrations. Then I finally got around to reading The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin after I loved the film but, honestly, I was really let down by the ending.

After seeing Tony Walsh’s reading of This is The Place after the Manchester attack I needed to read his poetry. I picked up Sex & Love & Rock&Roll, it was a breath of fresh air for contemporary poetry. Next up Bygone Badass Broads by Mckenzie Lee a collection of stories about real women you might not know. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t my favourite. Following this I picked up A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggests by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a very short read but an important one I feel. I also finished Nobody Told Me which chronicles Hollie McNish’s life as a mother in poetry and diary entries from finding out she’s pregnant to her child at three.

Finally, I picked up Stacey Dooley’s On the Frontline with Women Who Fight Back which I fell in love with, review to come soon! Another poetry collection as well thanks to Netgalley of Bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward which was an interesting collection. I also FINALLY got around to Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Allbertalli which I didn’t love as much as everyone said I would…sorry! And finally, I finished and fell in love with How To Stop Time by Matt Haig, amazing just amazing.

What have you been reading? Let me know in the comments!

Don’t forget to keep up with what I’m reading you can connect with me on Goodreads!

 

Book Review: The Exact Opposite of Okay

The Exact Opposite of Okay - Laura Steven

Izzy is many things, an Orphan, an aspiring comic and slut extraordinaire, that’s what it says online at least. But can you believe everything you read?

Wow, wow, wow. This is currently a contender for my book of the year and I’ve already been nagging my friends to read it. I initially liked the look of this novel from the blurb and super eye-catching cover. That said, I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. This is a fantastic look at societies views of girls who like sex.

After Izzy enjoys herself at a party she doesn’t think much of it. That is until posts about her being a slut are posted online, then pictures of her having sex, then some of her naked…and then a national scandal involving the son of a senator erupts. Which, as you can imagine isn’t as easy to ignore.

I LOVED our protagonist, Izzy. She was funny and sarcastic but also you could tell she had a good heart. A really good heart. The novel is written in Izzy’s voice and was like you were reading a friend’s blog rather than a fictional character. I felt that there was a great deal of balance between the face that Izzy shows to the world and her own feelings. She just felt real.

There is so much covered by this novel, slut shaming, the double standards between guys and girls as well as what it’s like to grow up with little money. In short, this is a novel that needed to be written. This is something that happens to a lot of girls and through the lens of a small town. You can feel the disgust that Izzy feels as she can see even the adult males mentally undressing her after seeing the images. You feel anger as she is treated terribly by those in authority even though she is a victim.

I gave this 5 stars and have been recommending it to absolutely everyone. We need more novels like this. Izzy isn’t defined as a victim here. She’s upset and angry but she’s still herself. She still has dreams and hopes for the future, she still loves her family (huge shout out to Izzy’s gran who is amazing) and thinks about others. I highly recommend this and can’t wait to see what Laura Steven does next.

What’s Up With Me?

I’ve been a little bit quieter recently on the blog, on my Twitter and in my general life. Now, I don’t feel that I have to explain everything to everyone but it’s been bothering me slightly. I haven’t written about mental health in a while now, partly because I didn’t know what to say, partly because I’ve been mixing with new people and I didn’t want the first thing for them to know about me was my history rather than the person I am now.

So what is up with me? It’s been a really weird month. My Great Nan died at the beginning of the month, so there was also a funeral. I’ve had some hospital appointments and a week off. So it’s been a mixed bag but even with that, something felt off. Something within me felt strange and I just blamed it on things in my life and feeling tired. Standard stuff.

That was until last night, I’d just had enough of feeling crappy and exhausted when there wasn’t anything that I could pinpoint anymore that was making me feel this way. I’ve been going through areas of my life and couldn’t understand what was going on and I was worried. Then something clicked. Something had changed.

About 2 months ago I changed some of my medication and I was told it would be a straight swap, one for the other but it would help with my back pain as well as serving as an antidepressant that I was already on. There was a catch though…nobody told me the dosage would change to be a lot lower and therefore offset the chemical imbalance again. Not fun.

And that’s the thing, I have a chemical imbalance, that’s all this is. It’s just like a Diabetic I can’t help my illness any more than they can. So I spoke to my doctor, we’re trying out some other options and it was a huge weight off of my shoulders to understand. Living with Depression is all about ups and downs.

I’ve been doing this long enough to know when something is up and trying to work around it. I haven’t been crying every day or the typical Hollywood version of depressed but everything just felt a lot heavier and like it was more effort, that’s when I knew something wasn’t right.

So, that’s what’s been up! I’m pretty proud of myself for clocking it and then doing something about it.

 

Have any of you ever experienced this? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: This is Going To Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor – Adam Kay

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“a great doctor must have a huge heart and a distended aorta through which pumps a vast lake of compassion and human kindness.”

Adam Kay once had a different life, after training for years he finally qualified as a Junior Doctor, this is a collection of his own personal diaries, the highs and lows in detail. Adam tells us about the stretch that the NHS is under but also talks about some of the quite humorous instances that he faces when in Gynocology…including some questionable choices by the general public.

I thought about reading this for a while and when I found it on Audible I thought I might as well give it a shot, this was said to be funny as well as showing the life of a Junior Doctor. This book is something else, a real eye-opener that honestly makes me want to campaign alongside NHS staff for more rights for them because they do so much for us.

If you ever think that doctors get a lot of money, kindly read this. Just the sheer number of hours, the training and the situations that they face are astounding. I must stress that through the majority of the book there is no mention of the political, this is very much a funny and thoughtful account of what it is like to be an NHS doctor. Kay talks about the detachment he’s supposed to have but how some patients he can’t help but remember. How the job that he’s passionate about destroys any sense of a social life and the events that lead to him leaving the profession in 2010.

I felt like this was more than a book, it was an insight into the lives of those who don’t get glamorised on screen. Remember, while you’re enjoying your family, someone else is giving up time with theirs. While you’re sick, someone else will take care of you. It’s easy to get frustrated with waiting times and lists but you can really see the pressures that doctors face through Kay’s words.

I felt emotional while reading this but I laughed a lot too. Of course, there are elements which are sombre, but Kay has a way of writing that makes everyday life seem like a comedy sketch with some hardships thrown in. It certainly gets the balance right when it comes to your emotions but know that you will feel them.

Of course, this was a 5-star read. I wasn’t sure initially but once I got in I couldn’t stop. This was absolutely incredible, well thought out and really showed the life of a doctor. My favourite part was a letter at the end to the Health Secretary, the only point I could feel anger and rightly so. This is not a political book, that’s not the purpose but it makes clear what our politicians are choosing to ignore.

 

Did My GCSE Choices Matter?

Recently I was talking to my younger cousin about what he’s taking at school for his GCSE’s. He rattled off, Geography, Resistant Materials, Business Studies…and one more I’ve forgotten, whoops. Anyway, it got me thinking about my own GCSEs, this summer it will have been 7 years since I left school (which makes me feel a little sick because, um, when did I get old?!) and I’ve never been asked for a job what I did at GCSE.

For the record, I didn’t pick the most academic subjects and by that I mean I didn’t pick any academic subjects. My choice GCSEs were Music, Drama, Art and Textiles, see not one on that list they were all creative and looking back on my emotional, misunderstood self, that makes a lot of sense. Also to me as a very creative adult that makes a lot of sense. Anyway, I’m rambling and getting away from the point. So, I’ve been wondering if what you choose at GCSE makes any difference to your life at all. I don’t think it did to mine.

Now, I know some people will be thinking about jobs like Doctors or Vets in which university admissions basically want you to know that’s what you want to do when you come out of the womb (which is total bullshit, but that’s another post entirely). I get that BUT for the majority of jobs what you choose when you’re full of hormones and spots doesn’t make a huge impact on your adult choices, you can retrain later, you can change your mind. Hell, the job I do now didn’t exist when I was making my choices.

 

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The day I picked up my GCSE results

I got good results, I went on to study at college (enough to add an extra course later on) and then got into university but do you know what? I’ve only been asked once to provide a certificate for my grades, I didn’t get to the interview but that’s one time. I’ve never been asked what I studied at GCSE, it’s never had an impact on my future.

So, did it matter? No, I don’t think it did and I don’t think it does for most people. I don’t think we should put pressure on these kids who make a decision at 14 years old about what they like. Introduce me to one person who still agrees and believes everything they did at that age. I’ve changed since that age, I’ve changed since last year!

What did you take for your GCSEs, do you think it impacted your life? Let me know in the comments!

 

Top 10 Books I Read in Winter

Top 10 Books I Read in Winter

It’s not a secret that Winter isn’t my fave, once Christmas is done I’m pretty much over it. BUT I did get through some cracking books in the dark winter months and I thought I’d share with you my personal top 10 from the previous season and hopefully give you some inspiration!

 

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The Exact Opposite of Okay – Laura Steven

A sneak peek of an upcoming review but I LOVED this novel so much. The main character made me laugh so much, I thought she was incredible and what we need more of in YA. This surrounds a young woman and a sex scandal. It’s not been out long but you’re going to want to pick this up.

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This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay

I feel like this should be required reading for anyone who wants to make cuts to the NHS. Adams account had me both laughing and crying because it was a whirlwind. This is incredibly honest and so well written. Amazing.

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Misogynation – Laura Bates 

It’s no secret that I think Laura is an excellent writer and fierce female. This is her latest collection and I absolutely LOVED it. Every time I read one of these I just feel better?

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Only Child – Rhiannon Navin 

This novel will break your heart. I was lucky enough to get an early copy and be a part of the blog tour after talking about how much I loved it! My review is here, this was a stunning debut.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J Maas

This series has been all over the book blogs and Booktube for ages and I finally picked it up…and then it sat on my TBR pile for 2 months. Why didn’t I start this magnificent series earlier! I am in love with Maas’s writing and my review of the first novel here.

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Love, Hate & Other Filters – Samira Ahmed 

This is one of the first books I read in 2018 and I’m so glad I did! This is a novel about growing up, facing racism and following your passion. I absolutely loved it and if it doesn’t win prizes in YA something is wrong with the world. You can read my full review here.

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Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls 2

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know I loved the first Goodnight Stories book (review here) and then there was a second and it was as equally badass as the first. You’re not going to want to miss it.

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Nobody Told Me – Hollie McNish 

I’m not a parent but that didn’t stop me falling in love with Hollie’s collection of diary entries and poetry as a first time Mum. We’re taken from Hollie finding out she’s pregnant (on the way to Glastonbury no less) to her daughter at 3 years old. A wonderful and unique book.

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Brave – Rose McGowan 

 Rose was the first to blow the Weinstein scandal wide open with her accusation of rape. I hate writing that because I 100% believe her. This chronicles Rose’s turbulent life and the movement that she started. She’s one to watch.

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Everything I Know About Love – Dolly Alderton

Dolly tells it how it is, your twenties are confusing and this is a great insight. It certainly made me feel less anxious. You can read my review here.

 

What have your top reads been this Winter and what are you looking forward to in the Spring? Let me know in the comments below!

Why Do You Blog?

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about why people blog after seeing conversations on Twitter about it. There have been some questions about entitlement (which, let’s be honest, there always are) but I think it goes deeper than that. I’ve seen quite new bloggers constantly tweeting and asking about how to make money and get things for free. This really irritated me. Hear me out.

I’ve been writing on this blog for 5 years this summer, I had another one for 2 years before that. I do not make money from my blog. Do I wish I did? Of course, but that’s not the reason that I blog. I blog because I love writing content, connecting with people and just having space on the internet to share my own thoughts and opinions.

This doesn’t mean I haven’t worked with brands or companies. I regularly work with publishers and some small businesses in exchange for gifts. I also know there is a problem with big name brands refusing to pay bloggers for their time, which is ridiculous.

Now as you may know I have a small button on the side of my blog ‘buy me a coffee’, I agonised over putting this in. I didn’t want it to seem that I was demanding this of my readers and I think this is the first time I’ve mentioned it because of that reason.  I thought it would be ok because I’m happy to do it for other bloggers when I have the money to do so.

I’ll put it out there I would love to work with brands, publishers etc and make money from doing this, who wouldn’t? This isn’t a post against that, not at all. I just don’t believe bloggers should go in thinking yep I’m going to write a few bits and make loads of money. You need to love what you do, which most of the blogging community do.

I’m not writing this to rant or blame anyone, it’s just something that hasn’t been sitting well with me recently.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Book Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J Maas

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“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.”

Feyre has to fight for the survival of herself and her family. After killing a Wolf in the woods she can’t believe her luck, they will be able to eat and sell furs, for a little while at least. That is until she is told she has killed a faerie and she must pay. She will either live with the faeries, a kind she despises, or die and leave her family to fend for themselves and almost certainly die.

Wow, wow, wow. This has been on my radar for a while but I didn’t know if Fantasy was my thing but after picking it up I thought I’d try. This was on my list of books to read in 2018, and it was a solid start. Seeing as I started this at the end of January and I’ve now finished the series so far you can guess my feelings towards it.

The world building in this was something else, it’s rare that you feel you can see the story play out in so much detail, but not so much that it bores you. I was rooting for Feyre the whole way through the novel and was constantly in awe of not only her physical strength but her character too.

What wasn’t clear when initially read is that this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but I’ll add this is only to a point. It doesn’t feel Disney-esque, rather you share Fayre’s mix of wonder and suspicion throughout. Who can she trust in this world and will she ever get home? I was absolutely hooked from the first page to the point where I was teased for constantly being stuck between pages.

This wasn’t predictable, wasn’t something I’ve ever read before and I immediately bought and ordered the rest of the series while also, successfully, getting one of my best friends to read and fall in love with it as well. I genuinely care about Feyre and what’s going to happen to her in the next novel. While the novel appears tied up at the end you’ll find yourself constantly thinking of little questions until you give in and read the next book A Court of Mist and Fury.

Of course, I gave this 5 stars! It deserves nothing less in my opinion. This has made me want to read more of the same genre and slightly want to worship Sarah J Maas. I know from reviews some people aren’t in love with this book but I don’t see it. I’d 100% recommend picking this up because it is a wonderfully written novel.

Have you read this, what were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!