Book Review: Internment – Samira Ahmed

In a world reminiscent of Nazi Germany, families are rounded up in the night and put on trains with few belongings and no idea where they are going. This is a world 17 year old Layla finds herself in. Ending up in an Internment Camp for American Muslims, Layla isn’t willing to take this lying down.

With the help of a small group of friends, Layla begins to fight back in any way that she can. But how far can she push before the Director snaps and just how far will he go in his attempts to control the camp.

After reading Samira Ahmed’s first novel, Love Hate & Other Filters I knew I had to preorder her new book and it did not disappoint. This is a hard hitting novel. While the writing is superb it is the reflection of today’s society that really got me while reading this book.

Ahmed has tackled Islamophobia in her previous novel, but this takes it to another level. She has managed to make the possibility of these internment camps seem alarmingly real. What makes this possible is not just her talent, but also the parallels she has drawn from what we are seeing today in modern day America.

I also found the relationships that Layla had to be incredibly important to the novel and gave it a more realistic vibe. The fear of her parents, the hope of the young people and the disbelief they have all felt made the novel come alive. I was also pleased to see her own opinions change from the black and white views she holds at the beginning of the novel slowly evolve.

I would say that my only criticism would be that I felt the book could have been longer, things ended quite quickly and I, personally, would have liked more details. I can’t say what on as obviously that would be a spoiler and I really do recommend you read this for yourselves.

I gave this 4.5 stars, it was incredibly well written and , actually, came across as chilling but in a way that needed to be told. Ahmed has a real talent for looking in the face of things society would rather not talk about in regards to growing up as a Muslim in the modern world.

The Marvel Avengers Book Tag

Seeing as the glory that Endgame has been released, I thought why not have a go at the Marvel Book Tag? I found this over on RiverMoose-Reads and, well, it seemed fitting. FYI I loved Endgame, it’s currently my favourite film of the year and it deserves ALL of the awards.

So, let’s go.

Iron Man – a book that made you laugh out loud:

a-girl-called-shameless-laura-steven

A Girl Called Shameless

I laughed so much and so hard at this book. Izzy O’neil is an amazing protagonist and Steven’s comedy writing is absolutely fantastic. The first book was also hilarious, you can find my review of it here.

Captain America – a book that sends a positive message:

Heartstopper

Be still my beating heart for Heartstopper. This was a graphic novel all about friendship, kindness and a blossoming relationship. It’s my go to for a feel-good read. I have a review all about it here.

Thor – a book with a characters strength you admire: 

Daisy Jones & The Six

Camila has my whole heart. She is a mother and a wife, sure, but she’s an incredibly intelligent and strong women. In all the madness of Daisy Jones & The Six, she is the calm that is needed as well as being SO kick ass.

Black Widow – a book with a kick-ass female protagonist: 

Book Review: Moxie - Jennifer Mathieu
Moxie

Moxie girls fight back. Feminism and fighting back at the patriarchy, Vivian is absolutely incredible. She had the right balance of passion and still being a teenager. Definitely one to pick up if you haven’t already.

Hulk-  a book that made you incredibly angry:

The Cursed Child

Do I even have to explain this one? Closest I’ve ever come to launching a book across a room. In my opinion it was bad fan fiction that completely trashed the books we come to know and love.

Hawkeye – an underrated book you think more people should pay attention to

Orbiting Jupiter - Gary D. Schmidt
Orbiting Jupiter

Before I picked this up at YALC last year, I had heard nothing about it and after reading I think everyone should have picked it up. There is so much packed into such a small book. I absolutely fell in love with it.

{BONUS} Loki – a book with a twist or surprise that tricked you: 

My Sister’s Keeper

I read this when I was around 15 and the end completely threw me off, I did not see it coming. Luckily I also hadn’t seen the film (the film and the book have completely different endings). But, without spoilers it’s hard to explain why I was so shocked and so emotional. Picoult knows about to pack a punch in a twist.

What would you choose for these? I’d love to know in the comments or even in a tag post!

Blogging Struggles

Hellooooooo blogging friends!

Let’s be real here, trying to write a blog regularly can be damn hard work. This isn’t a post to complain with a ‘woe is me’ attitude. But, it is one that’s going to be pretty damn honest.

I’ve honestly felt so unmotivated. While there are pages of ideas for posts I’m kind of deflated. While everyone gets like this and, real talk, it can feel incredibly frustrating to be blogging for years and then see newbie bloggers getting great sponsorships and collabs. There’s no shade in that but it can really make you question yourself and your blog.

So, I thought, why not write a blog about not being able to write a blog. There we go. What an idea! I guess, part of this is me forcing myself to write and publish something no matter how I feel about it and, quite frankly, getting over myself and this writing thing. The only way I’m going to get out of this damned slump is by writing myself out of it.

I’m fully aware this has become a storytime/pep talk for myself/ word vomit situation and you know what? I’m okay with that. I’m okay proving that I’m not a perfect blogger, I’m just doing the best I can with what I’ve got.

Win A Copy Of Kingsbane by Claire Legrand

Who doesn’t love a giveaway? As part of the Kingsbane book tour I have kindly been given the opportunity to give away a copy of Claire Legrand’s latest novel and the second in the Empirium series. Want to check out the first novel, Furyborn? You can find out more about it here.

If you don’t want to know anything about the second novel *spoilers* then don’t read the synopsis below (don’t say I didn’t warn you!) But how do you WIN? Follow this link, like and retweet and there you go! This is open to UK residence and closes this Friday at 8pm. What are you waiting for?

In this sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller Furyborn, two queens, separated by a thousand years, connected by secrets and lies, must continue their fight amid deadly plots and unthinkable betrayals that will test their strength—and their hearts.

Rielle Dardenne has been anointed Sun Queen, but her trials are far from over. The Gate keeping the angels at bay is falling. To repair it, Rielle must collect the seven hidden castings of the saints. Meanwhile, to help her prince and love Audric protect Celdaria, Rielle must spy on the angel Corien—but his promises of freedom and power may prove too tempting to resist.

Centuries later, Eliana Ferracora grapples with her new reality: She is the Sun Queen, humanity’s long-awaited savior. But fear of corruption—fear of becoming another Rielle—keeps Eliana’s power dangerous and unpredictable. Hunted by all, racing against time to save her dying friend Navi, Eliana must decide how to wear a crown she never wanted—by embracing her mother’s power, or rejecting it forever.

Thank you to Midas PR, Clare Legrand and Source Books Fire for this opportunity and collaboration.

When There’s ‘Nothing’ To Be Depressed About

I realise that I haven’t been talking as much about mental health awareness recently. It’s still something I’m passionate about but for the past few months I’ve struggled with my own health, meaning the last thing I wanted to do was write about it. In fact whenever I tried I just couldn’t get the words on the page.

It would be easier if depression only came when something bad happened. That might not sound right but I believe that. You see if depression follows something terrible, people can understand it. When there’s a reason, people are kinder, mostly because they can at least have empathy for someone. They can imagine themselves in your situation.

What about when everything is…good, or even just fine. When life is going swimmingly and there’s no reason for you to be depressed, to feel hopeless. From the outside looking in people would want your life. I’ve found myself there time and time again. Days or even weeks where I feel so low and there’s no reason – and I’m not alone.

These periods of deep sadness, emptiness and loneliness are the descriptions of depression. It’s the difference between feeling sad and having a diagnosable condition. Even with that in mind, some people don’t get it. I think we’ve all been guilty of having the thought of what do they have to be depressed about? Usually talking about a celebrity or successful person.

Here’s the thing, depression doesn’t exclude anyone. It doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank, where you live, who you are – it is an illness. Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain, it’s a deficiency in the body, but so often that is forgotten.

I beat myself up so much when everything is going ‘right’ but I’m in the depths of depression. I know there will be at least one person that is reading this who can agree and maybe we all need to be that little bit kinder to each other. Maybe, we need to let people feel what they need to feel, what their body is making them feel. That’s not to say we can’t help and we can’t try to make ourselves better but knowing our feelings are valid.

What do you think? Let me know below.

My Mental Health – MHW2019

Seeing as it’s Mental Health Week, it only seems right that I talk about myself. For those of you who have read my blog for a long time, you’ll know it’s something I’m pretty open about but that took a while, for the first few months after my depression diagnosis I couldn’t even say the word.

So, what’s my diagnosis?

I have been officially diagnosed with Anxiety with Depression, why is it put that way I have no idea.

How long have I been diagnosed?

I was diagnosed at 19, shortly before I went to study at university.

How does it impact me day to day?

Sometimes it doesn’t impact me at all, those are good days. Other days I’ll feel exhausted, irritable, moody. I can struggle to have any motivation or really doubt myself and my abilities.

What’s my treatment plan?

Currently, I take Citalopram, an antidepressant and have done for the past few years. Also, because I realised I was struggling more than normal I am on a waiting list to have 1-1 therapy to talk things out and try and get myself back in a good place mentally.

How am I doing right now?

I’m doing okay. There are days I feel like I’ve got my shit together and I’m doing so well and other days I struggle to get up from my sofa or to reply to any messages. Every day is different. I know I haven’t had the easiest time with my mental health recently, despite life going well, because of that I’m eager to get some talking therapy and feel much better.

Thank you so much for reading! There are more posts for Mental Health Awareness Week coming up so make sure to check back in!

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day 2019

Today is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day! If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know that I have and live with Fibro. I was in a horse riding accident which caused me to fracture one of my vertebrae and damage 3 others. The trauma of that accident lead me to developing the illness, which is chronic – I will now live with it for the rest of my life.

So, what are some of the symptoms of Fibromyalgia, the NHS describes them as:

“As well as widespread pain, people with fibromyalgia may also have:

  • increased sensitivity to pain
  • extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • muscle stiffness
  • difficulty sleeping
  • problems with mental processes (known as “fibro-fog”), such as problems with memory and concentration
  • headaches
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a digestive condition that causes stomach pain and bloating”

I tick off each and every one of those. It’s a super fun party lifestyle!

I thought I would write a post about how to live with the illness, about how I am thankful I am and the positives I have found. I will do a post like that, in fact, I’m pretty sure I have written posts like that. When I write those posts I’m in a good place and they are truthful, but there are times when, like today, I’m not grateful I’m just tired.

My life completely and utterly changed because of this illness, a ‘normal’ 9-5 meant I couldn’t do anything else other than work. I needed a job to pay the bills, which eventually lead me to freelancing (see, there’s one of those silver linings).

I had to plan rest days, think about how my plans would impact me for days or even weeks after, get a walking stick. The hardest part though? For me it has been the mental struggle adjusting myself to not being able to do absolutely everything for myself. I’ve an incredibly independent person and knowing that, sometimes, I need a little help has been tough.

I don’t think that when I was diagnosed I really processed or dealt with the illness I’d been diagnosed with. It’s something that I’m trying to work though now – I’m getting help with how I feel and the anxiety I have about the future.

While this might not be a super fun or happy read, it is truthful about how I feel at this current moment.