Book Review: Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas – Adam Kay

“With twenty-five tales of intriguing, shocking and incredible Christmas incidents, the British public will finally appreciate the sacrifices made and the challenges faced by the unsung heroes of the NHS.”

As we head back to the hospital wards with Kay we’re thrown back into the chaos and you will laugh so much in a short span of pages. I’ll be honest I wanted more! I absolutely loved this and it was a perfect follow up to This Is Going To Hurt.

I will warn you, and so does Kay, that there is one point in the book that describes a medical procedure that is hard to read. There is a description of a termination which is not pleasant but I did read it and I’m please I did especially in regards to the circumstances that lead to it. This is clearly marked and you can skip it if you wish. It is so important even if it is a tough read.

Aside from that, the rest of the book does have a lot of laughs, a lot of face palming at the stupidity of people and also a whole lot of heart – just was we found in the first book. Once again, Kay has produced a perfect mix of education, humour, kindness and moments that have you wondering just how some people are functioning human beings.

If anything, this is a stark reminder of the work the NHS does, the reason that we need to try our hardest to protect and to only use the right services. Your GP doesn’t need to know about your cold. You can use online services! You only need to call an ambulance in an incredibly serious situation! I know the majority of my readers know this but the point still stands we need to try to help the NHS and those who work in it in any way that we can.

Is it any wonder that I gave this 5 stars? Adam Kay is a fantastic writer and I can’t wait to see what he does next. While this was short it was a perfect read in the run up to Christmas when we are all so busy. I’ve also been recommending it to EVERYONE. Go and pick it up, maybe with some Christmas money? 😉

Blogmas 2019: My Top 5 Posts Of 2019

Blogmas 2019: My Top 5 Posts Of 2019

I always try and look back to see what you guys have enjoyed reading on my blog to give me some ideas about what to write about and make sure I can get you to come back (your likes, comments and views mean the world to me!).

So, I decided to look back and see what I’ve written this year that you guys have enjoyed! I know this year I’ve been connecting with more of the Spoonie community and it shows! So, let’s get cracking.

What It’s Like To Use A Walking Stick In Your 20s

I was a little emotional about this being my top post I’ve written this year because I was nervous about it. I didn’t intend on having a walking stick in my 20s – I don’t think anyone does! I have to thank you guys with my whole, whole heart thank you so much for reading this.

You can read it here.

Life Update – I’m Getting Married!

I’m not surprised at all this is one of my top posts. I’m super excited and can’t wait to keep updating you all with wedding plans, the day itself and if anything changes during married life…

You can read it here.

Book Review: Louis and Louise – Julie Cohen

The only book review to make it into my top 5! Wells deserved though it was a great book.

You can read it here.

Real Talk: How I Felt After Getting Engaged

Getting engaged was the best part of this year, BUT, it was also super overwhelming so I decided to get honest about it.

You can read it here.

10 Things Not To Say To A Chronically Ill Person – And What To Say Instead

A little bit of information goes a long way – especially when it’s got helpful tips or tricks. The spoonie community really enjoyed this one.

You can read it here.

Thanks so much guys! Which ones were your favourites?

Book Review: Postscript – Cecelia Ahern

“It’s been seven years since Holly Kennedy’s husband died – six since she read his final letter, urging Holly to find the courage to forge a new life.

She’s proud of all the ways in which she has grown and evolved. But when a group inspired by Gerry’s letters, calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, approaches Holly asking for help, she finds herself drawn back into a world that she worked so hard to leave behind.”

I have to put it out there, I was nervous when this was announced because I loved P.S I Love You so much when I was a teenager, both the novel and the film for separate reasons and it was in my heart. It turns out I had nothing to worry about

The novel takes place 7 years after Gerry’s final letter and while we catch up with Holly, we also catch up with other characters we got to know in the first novel such as Holly’s family and friends. In particular, I loved catching up with her friends on what their lives and relationships were like.

Holly’s life has moved with the times too, for example, this all happens from a podcast recording, Holly is older and considering her life, her friends lives and approaching the end of her thirties.

What was special though is that we got to see snatches of Gerry and Holly’s lives together that we didn’t get the first time around. Their love story carries on throughout the pages, but it doesn’t feel repetitive, instead, it’s an excellent reminder of why their relationship was so special in the first place.

Ahern has a great talent for writing the complicated emotions and situations real-life can put you in. Holly is doing ok and one thing shakes her to her core and brings everything back. She has to weigh up moving forward and looking back to embrace her life to help others. Nothing is easy or simple and I really appreciated that Holly continued to be full of depth.

As for the P.S I Love You club, what can I say I loved all of them and it completely broke my heart. I managed to hold off crying until just before the end and then I couldn’t stop for the last 50 pages or so. Oof, it was a corker!

It’s no surprise that I gave this novel 5 stars. Any worries I had about the time gap in between the two books were quashed it was an absolutely perfect follow on. If there are any fans of P.S I Love you I would highly recommend this book, to me it was perfect. Absolutely perfect!

I purchased a copy of this novel, but I was also sent a copy for review thank you to Netgalley and the publisher.

Book Review: Heartstream – Tom Pollock

“I just wanted to see you. Before the end. A taut psychological thriller about obsession, fame and betrayal, for fans of Black Mirror. Cat is in love. Always the sensible one, she can’t believe that she’s actually dating, not to mention dating a star. But the fandom can’t know. They would eat her alive. And first at the buffet would definitely be her best friend, Evie.

Amy uses Heartstream, a social media app that allows others to feel your emotions. She broadcasted every moment of her mother’s degenerative illness, and her grief following her death. It’s the realest, rawest reality TV imaginable. But on the day of Amy’s mother’s funeral, Amy finds a strange woman in her kitchen. She’s rigged herself and the house with explosives – and she’s been waiting to talk to Amy for a long time. Who is she? A crazed fan? What does she want? Amy and Cat are about to discover how far true obsession can go.”

Oof, this book! This book. If that blurb doesn’t grab you I don’t know what will. I could not put this book down, I stayed up way too late because I needed to know what was going to happen, I needed to know answers!

Initially I did find it hard to connect with Amy, I found her a little bratty and couldn’t gel with her – this did change throughout the novel as I got to know the character. Cat, on the other hand, I instantly connected to and wanted to know more about her and her life – overall I did prefer Cat as a character.

It took me a long while to understand what the connection between Amy and Cat and it drove me a little crazy, then when it dawned on me I definitely gasped out loud and continued racing through. This also broke me out of a slump I was having and made me interested in thrillers again.

While I did work out a few elements before they happened that was towards the end and I still had some shock moments. Pollock can clearly write a thriller that feels new and I can’t remember the last time I read one of those.

I found it really interesting how the plot centers around technology and emotion. We don’t know where technology and streaming is going to go and while this is a terrifying possibility it’s also fascinating because I think people would subscribe to this and use it in the real world. That said the positives and negatives are both there, which adds a great sense of balance.

I gave this 4 stars, a really strong book and that ending…THAT ENDING. I definitely need to know more and while I doubt there will be a follow up, I would read it within a second – I need to know what happens after! A strong thriller that I would definitely recommend for someone looking for something a little different with a technology twist.

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. 👇

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.

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!