Book Review: The Disconnect – Keren David

Could you last six whole weeks without your phone? Six weeks without sharing photos, without group messages, without being kept in the social‑media loop?

An eccentric entrepreneur has challenged Esther’s year group to do just that, and the winners will walk away with £1,000.

For Esther, whose dad and sister live thousands of miles away in New York, the prize might be her only chance to afford flights for a visit…

But can she really stay disconnected long enough to win?
 

Out of the three books I picked up at YALC this year, one of them was kindly gifted to me by Barrington Stoke and you’ll be hearing more about them in another post!

I picked this up because I found the concept fascinating – living without your phone, particularly as a teenager in 2019. I mean, I was a teenager between 2007 & 2013 and even then we were pretty obsessed with our phones (rest in peace my faithful iPhone 3GS) but now it’s a totally different world.

I really liked Esther, she felt incredibly real and so did her family. Often in Young Adult books the families of protagonists aren’t that well written but in this case they were integral to the plot. The fact that she misses her sister and Dad really resonated while reading as a motivator.

The plot tackled a lot of themes in a pretty short book (it was only 224 pages in a larger font, specially created for Dyslexic readers) – missing your family, money, a mention of police corruption, technology, bullying and more but at the same time this didn’t feel forced. They naturally fell into the plot because this is what a teenagers life is like – all these things can be going on at the same time and it was refreshing to read.

Additionally, the task and research behind it made me think a lot about my own relationship with my phone. I spend a lot of time on it, partly because it’s my job but I am trying to do better when it comes to leaving my phone across the room and getting off it in the evening. Could I have gone 6 weeks without my phone as a teenager? Probably not, I probably would have cracked.

I gave this book 3.5 stars, I thought this was a positive book and while I’m not the target audience I did appreciate the novel for what it was. Due to the nature of the book and publishers this is meant to me a shorter read with straightforward themes as they are aimed at teens with Dyslexia.

I’m intrigued to know – do you think that you could have lived without your phone as a teenager? Let me know below. 👇

Why Haven’t I Been Talking About My Mental Health?

It’s been a while since I have written a post about my mental health and how I’m feeling. Now, it used to be something I wrote about a lot and, of course, with my Fibro diagnosis I started talking about that more because it was new and I was finding my feet with it. That said, there were some other reasons too, and I feel like I should share them with you.

Part of me believed that I wasn’t saying anything new, I wasn’t helping anyone. I didn’t want to repeat myself with my struggles but I also didn’t want to pretend I was feeling really positive either. I sat down to write and the words just wouldn’t come. I didn’t know how to talk about it.

I went through a period recently where I didn’t look after myself physically or mentally. I had a lot on and I pushed myself to my absolute limit because I wanted to do good. I wanted to feel like I was kick ass and I could do as much as anyone else. The result was exhaustion, terrible skin and terrible anxiety – the type I haven’t felt in years.

Anxiety is a funny thing – of course everyone has times where they are anxious but I know I’m struggling with my anxiety when either there is no logical reason for my anxiety or I feel out of control. I can spend hours struggling with my own mind about something small I said or did. I analyse all of my relationships and every interaction I’ve had with people recently.

That anxiety also spread to my blog – did anyone read it? Did anyone care? Why was I writing? My brain tortured me and I guess a part of me was too scared to admit it because, what if people agreed? I’ve been writing this blog for over 6 years now.

Thankfully I seem to be getting a little better, my body is slowly adjusting to the changes in the weather (finally) and the fog is lifting. I know that the darker months are tougher but I’m not planning on letting them take away my personal sunshine.

Anyway, thanks so much for reading I really do appreciate each and every view.

Book Review: The Other Mother – Jen Brister

When Jen falls in love with Chloe they have a great life and eventually decide that having a small person was something they wanted to do. As her wife goes through the process of IVF and pregnancy Jen finds herself as ‘The Other Mother’. There’s also the small matter that Chloe became pregnant with twins, it’s a lot for anyone to handle.

I have to say, I’m not a parent to an actual human child, I currently only have fur babies in my life so I can’t be the judge on how realistic this is but I found it to be a book that shares a lot. Jen is completely honest about her experiences, about how tough she found it at times and how boring looking after kids can be.

I found myself laughing so much while reading this book and now I’m desperate to see Jen perform as a comedian. It just feels incredibly real but also she’s not afraid to laugh at herself, her thoughts and her actions. This isn’t a book telling you how to raise a child or being the perfect parent.

Jen is also respectful of the privacy of her children. Her sons are referred to throughout the book as Twin 1 and Twin 2 and while she shares stories about her life with Chloe raising them, we don’t know their names. It’s clear that Jen wants to protect the identity of her boys and who can blame her? This book is about her experience of being ‘The Other Mother’ it’s not a biography of her children. I respect that.

Also, I can highly recommend the audiobook which is how I absorbed it and I really couldn’t stop listening. Although a note to anyone who does get the audiobook, be ready to laugh out loud at various points and look a bit nuts.

I gave this book 5 stars and have been recommending it to a lot of people recently. It’s funny but also gives a real look at what it’s like to be a non-biological parent in 2019.

Travels With Sushi Giveaway!

Who doesn’t love a good giveaway? The lovely people at Midas PR popped me an email about a super interesting book called Travels With Sushi In The Land Of The Mind by Eduard Shyfrin. Take a look at the blurb below to see why I got so excited.

While on holiday, sharing an evening meal with their family in their favourite Japanese restaurant, Aaron and Stella doze off and awaken to find themselves in the mysterious Land of the Mind. A world in turmoil, the Land of the Mind is being pulled apart by warring factions who have it teetering on edge of complete destruction. Chosen by an invisible Supreme Ruler, it is up to Aaron and Stella to bring order back to this world by recovering the ancient Book of Understanding.

Travelling through strange lands, meeting fantastic characters and pursued by the minions of the Black Queen, the forces of evil are closing in, determined to stop the children from restoring peace to this place. Aaron and Stella realise that they are the key to the Book of Understanding’s return and that time is running out. But how can two children manage to defeat all the forces against them?

Sound good? You can win a copy of Travels With Sushi In The Land Of The Mind! Head over to my Twitter here so that you can win, this is a UK only giveaway.

Good luck!

Disclaimer: I was gifted my copy and cake pops from Midas PR to collaborate on this giveaway.

Heading To The Aisle – None Of My Friends Are Bridesmaids?!

Picking your bridesmaids for your wedding is important. These are people closest to you who you want to be in your bridal party. I have been a bridesmaid twice in my life, the first for my aunt when I was a kid and the second when I was a teenager for my uncle. So I’ve thought about who I’d have for mine for a long time. I got engaged and decided that none of my friends were going to be my bridesmaids.

Now, it’s not because I don’t love my friends or that I think they’re up to the task. To put it simply, I didn’t want any politics. I think when picking which friends will be bridesmaids you can alienate people or hurt them. I’m going to be 26 when I get married, that’s 26 years worth of friendships I need to choose from and, I didn’t want to choose.

How could I ever compare my best friend since I was 8 years old who lives in Australia to my bestie who’s kids are my godchildren? Could I really not choose the friend who was there the day we bought my ring over the ones I choose to go drinking with? And then what about the guys in my life? Leaving out some of my ultimate closest friends because they aren’t female? I hated the thought.

So, I made a decision early on. The only people who were going to be my bridesmaids were related to me or Ali with one exception. My sister was always going to be my bridesmaid, no ifs or buts. I’m fortunate that we’re really close too, which is a bonus. I asked my little cousin, she’s 12 years younger than me and I adore her. She’s my little sass queen but also the kindest soul I’ve ever met.

I also decided to ask Ali’s sister because we’re going to be family and I think it’s important that both of our sisters are a part of the day. And my last bridesmaid, but probably one of the most important guests (at least that’s what I’ve told her) is my Goddaughter. She is the only person who isn’t related by blood to us but this little girl means so much to me and this is like a dream for her. She’s already desperate to get her dress and pretty shoes. So damn cute.

And that’s that. Weddings are about the people who are getting married and for me (I don’t think Ali cares all that much who my bridesmaids are) this was a great solution to something that was taking up waaaaay too much brain space. My friends will all be there to celebrate with me, they know how much I adore each and every one of them and I feel more relaxed about not having to choose favourites.

Who did you have or are you planning to have as your bridesmaids? Let me know below!

Book Review: The Flatshare – Beth O’Leary

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy works in a publishing job she loves but it doesn’t pay much, combine that with needing to move out of her ex-boyfriends flat she’ll tak anything, including a slightly unusual agreement. Leon is a hospice nurse who’s in need to money to support his brother and a flat share sounds like a perfect plan.

I need to start by saying that this is one of the cutest books. I’ve been more interested in contemporary romances recently, books I know will have love and humor and The Flatshare ticked both of those boxes. I had seen this all over the internet with great reviews so I picked up the audiobook narrated by one of my favourite theatre actresses and youtubers, Carrie Hope Fletcher. I also now love the voice of Kwaku Fortune!

While a lot of people think this is a fluffy friends to lovers story, there are some excellent and complex themes within the novel and I was so impressed. O’Leary considers toxic relationships, emotional abuse and wrongful imprisonment. She has a talent for weaving in these topics into a novel which ultimately made you feel both happy and more knowledgeable once finishing.

These characters felt very real, I cared about them and what was going on in their lives. There were points where I shouted out loud while reading because I was so invested in what was happening and where the different threads were going to go. For me, the audiobook was absolutely perfect it really added to the experience so I’d really recommend it.

I was wracking my brain while writing this for anything I would change and truly I don’t think I would change it. It’s a perfect mix of humour, romance and topics that make you think. Also I adored some of the side characters too, they really added to the novel and let us get to know Tiffy and Leon a lot better than just their impressions of each other.

It’s really no surprise that I gave this 5 stars. I highly recommend this novel and I can’t wait to see what Beth O’Leary writes next. She’s got a real talent and it can only get better!

My September 2019 Book Haul!

Hello, hello, hello

After YALC back in July you might have thought my book buying/acquisition might have slowed down, you would be wrong. With the combination of my birthday and new releases I picked up a LOT of books in September and I wanted to share them with you all. Get ready it’s going to be a long one.

First up are books I won in a Twitter giveaway that arrived at the beginning on the month. The lovely Sara Barnard gave away all of the books she has written, they’re all signed an dedicated too which is super sweet. So I now have Goodbye Perfect, Fierce Fragile Hearts, Beautiful Broken Things and A Quiet Kind of Thunder. These are all based around friendship which is super exciting and a few I’ve had on my list for a while.

I was also sent Sara’s collaborative book Floored along with other great YA authors. Next up are two buy one get one free buys, Heartstream a YA thriller that I bought alongside this months book club read Once Upon a River I’m not sure what to say about this one it’s kind of an adult mystery?

I also had my copy of The Only Plane In The Sky – The Oral History of 9/11 delivered, this book is full of accounts of 9/11 and I think it’s an important and interesting way to preserve what happened and the changes that the event caused.

I received 4 books for my birthday. The first up A Large Expanse of Sea from my parents which I’ve been meaning to pick up forever. I also received 2 books from my friend Charissa (along with a doughnut because, goals) The Confessions of Frannie Langton an adult mystery and Two Can Keep A Secret which I needed to read after McManus’s debut. I also received Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me, I’ve heard great things about this online so I’m excited!

Ok, I’ll fess up I made two drunken purchases – I actually snuck off from a night out to buy books (maximum nerd points), which were It Never Rains and Life of the Party I just picked these up after reading the blurb, I have no idea if they’re going to be good but I’m hoping so.

My preorder of The Deathless Girls, a novel I’ve been keeping an eye out for about the brides of Dracula, perfect for Autumn. My next few books are from a trip to Foyles with my birthday money, because what else was I going to spend it on? I knew nothing about The Liar’s Daughter it’s about the aftermath of a young woman who grew up in a cult. I find these super interesting.

Can we take a second to appreciate the stunning cover of Ziggy, Stardust & Me a LGBTQ YA novel set in the 70s. I also finally picked up With The Fire On High which I’ve heard nothing but good things about. Also, Monday’s Not Coming is another I’ve heard a lot of good things about on BookTube. I was also given a copy of Archie 1941 for my birthday and I love it – I can’t wait to see others in this series.

P.S, I Love you is one of my favourite books so of course I ordered the sequel Postscript and I am so excited to see what Holly is up to now. I also love the film but for very different reasons. I also received a Waterstones gift card and picked up the graphic novel of Speak which has stunning artwork, even though I haven’t read the original book. I also bought City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab because she’s amazing.

And now I need to find a home for all of them, the floorboards definitely hate me right now!

Have you read any of these? What would you recommend? Let me know below.