Wednesday 14 December 2022

Maybe Not by Colleen Hoover | Book Review

 [This post contains affiliate links.]

Maybe Not by Colleen Hoover

Star rating: 

Publication date: 22nd December 2015


When Warren has the opportunity to live with a female roommate, he instantly agrees. It could be an exciting change.

Or maybe not.

Especially when that roommate is the cold and seemingly calculating Bridgette. Tensions run high and tempers flare as the two can hardly stand to be in the same room together. But Warren has a theory about Bridgette: anyone who can hate with that much passion should also have the capability to love with that much passion. And he wants to be the one to test this theory.

Will Bridgette find it in herself to warm her heart to Warren and finally learn to love?


Maybe not.


After the massive hype surrounding Colleen Hoover's novels over Instagram and Tiktok, I thought, "Okay, I must give her books a go". I spotted this little novella as an audiobook on Scribd and because it was short, I thought it would be a great first foray into the Hoover-verse. Unfortunately I feel like it fell a bit short.

Our main character Warren lives with his best friends Bennett and Ridge. When Bridgette moves in, Warren is automatically drawn to her and well, I think you know what comes next.

For me, this read a bit too much like a teenage Wattpad book and perhaps this is a personal thing and I'm just too old for that kind of thing now. It was just sex, sex and more sex. I am no prude, I don't mind that but I just want a bit more storyline too to bulk it up a bit. I didn't really care about the characters or care for how it was written.

I will however say that I loved the addition of a deaf character. I actually think this is the first time I've read a book with a deaf character. This hasn't put me off reading Colleen Hoover books in the future. I will definitely pick up some of the other more hyped-up ones!

Tuesday 6 December 2022

'90s Nostalgia by Krista Brea | Book Review

[ad/gifted - I received an audiobook copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

90's Nostalgia: Influential Moments, Music, Movies and More from One of the Greatest Childhood Decades by Krista Brea
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publication date: 15th October 2022

If you grew up in the ’90s, this book is an excellent throwback. The 1990s was a decade of change and growth. This was also a time of significant technological advances, with the internet and cell phones becoming commonplace. But what truly made the 90s special was the culture.

This was the era of grunge, girl power, and hip-hop.♥

From Clueless to The Matrix, there were plenty of iconic films that defined the decade. And who could forget the music? The 90s saw the rise of Nirvana, Spice Girls, and Britney Spears. In many ways, the 90s was a golden age of pop culture. It was a time of fun and exploration, and we continue to love it today.

This book was super fun and felt like a warm hug. I was born in 1992 and always wish I'd been born a tiny bit earlier so I could experience the '90s when I was a little older. I am however very proud of being born in the '90s so I was really excited to go back in time with this book.

This book talks about how amazing the 1990's really was with developments in technology, movies and TV shows that became classics and are still watched today and even fashion trends that have made a comeback.

The TV chapter started and I heard
"Home Improvement" and "everyone had a crush on Jonathan Taylor Thomas." Absolutely YES. He was my first ever crush.

Although this book is fun, reminding us of things that were popular in the '90s, it is also educational and I felt like I learned a lot especially in the gaming consoles chapter about how exciting these were and how they paved the future for gaming.

It has also reminded me of some amazing cartoons that I need to introduce to my own children! If you want to throw it back, this book is for you. I also think it would be really interesting for teenagers of today to read too.

Tuesday 22 November 2022

Anti-Racist Ally: An Introduction to Action and Activism by Sophie Williams | Book Review

 [This post contains affiliate links.]

Anti-Racist Ally: An Introduction to Action and Activism by Sophie Williams

Star rating: 

Publisher: HQ

Publication date: 15th October 2020


Do you want to be an anti-racist ally?

This punchy, pocket-sized guide shows you how, whether you’re using your voice for the first time, or are looking for ways to keep the momentum and make long lasting change.

Sophie Williams’ no-holds-barred posts about racism and Black Lives Matter on @officialmillennialblack have taken the online world by storm. Sharp, simple and insightful, they get to the heart of anti-racist principles and show us all how to truly be better allies.

Now, in her iconic Instagram style, this pocket-sized primer unpacks complex topics into their most important concepts, and provides a crucial starting block for every anti-racist ally.


This is a super important, bite-sized novel in how to become a better ally.

Sophie Williams wrote this book in the wake of many unjust murders of Black people, hoping that people who never considered their role in anti-racism would be prompted to take action in their lives.

I, as a white woman, always make a conscious effort to read books similar to this one because they are there to educate, make us feel uncomfortable and help us understand how we can do better. We need to challenge things that have been taught to us through white supremacy and question things along the way.

It isn't enough to just not be racist, we need to be active anti-racists. This book will help give you the tools to be a part of the change and be confident in being an ally.

Thursday 10 November 2022

A Wedding In Provence by Katie Fforde | Blog Tour Book Review

[ad/gifted - I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

A Wedding in Provence by Katie Fforde
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Penguin 
Publication date: 10th November 2022

Late summer, 1963.

Fresh from London and a recent cookery course, Alexandra has always loved a challenge.

Which is why she now finds herself standing outside an imposing chateau in Provence.

Waiting for her inside is three silent, rather hostile children who are to be her charges for the next month.

They will soon be more friendly, she tells herself. All they need is some fun, good food and an English education.

Far more of a challenge though is their father - an impossibly good looking French count with whom she is rapidly falling in love...

I loved this book!

It is 1963 and twenty year old Londoner Alexandra is in Paris ahead of going to Switzerland where her relatives live in order to attend finishing school. After receiving a job offer in Provence, she becomes a nanny to Félicité, Henri and Stéphie, the children of French count Antoine. She has however lied to Antoine, claiming that she is five years older than she really is.

Unbeknownst to anyone, Alexandra is an heiress due to receive a fortune when she turns 25 or when she gets married, whichever comes first. Her family are trying to get her to marry her cousin Hubert so that the money stays in the family but Alexandra has fallen in love with her boss. He is older, he is rarely there and surely it is not right for them to be together.

I absolutely loved the setting of the chateau in Provence. The addition of David and Jack, Alexandra's acquaintances from London who come to tutor the children, were wonderful. They are such fabulous supporting characters.

I honestly felt like I was there in France due to the descriptions and mentions of food and I had a huge smile on my face by the end. A wonderful read!  

A Wedding in Provence is out now, published by Penguin in paperback, priced £8.99.


A massive thank you to EDPR for having me on the blog tour. You can find information about the other bloggers taking part in the tour in the graphic below.

Wednesday 9 November 2022

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover | Book Review

 [This post contains affiliate links.]

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

Star rating: 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication date: 5th August 2014


When Tate Collins finds airline pilot Miles Archer passed out in front of her apartment door, it is definitely not love at first sight. They wouldn't even go so far as to consider themselves friends. But what they do have is an undeniable mutual attraction.

He doesn't want love and she doesn't have time for a relationship, but their chemistry cannot be ignored. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up, as long as Tate can stick to two rules:

Never ask about the past and don't expect a future.

Tate is determined that she can handle it, but when she realises that she can't, will she be able to say no to her sexy pilot when he lives just next door?


My last foray into a Colleen Hoover book wasn't great (I gave Maybe Not a two star rating) but I said I wasn't put off and would definitely read some of the more hyped books. Ugly Love was definitely better but didn't wow me.

Tate Collins temporarily moves in with her airline pilot brother Corbin. After meeting one of his good friends, Miles Archer, the two have a mutual attraction. Miles however cannot commit. He cannot love anyone due to something that happened to him in his past.

Firstly, I loved the dual timeline. The present told from Tate's point of view was okay but I really enjoyed Miles' from six years previous. I liked hearing the backstory of why Miles is the way he is and what happened between him and Rachel. I will say though that I listened to this on audio and just did not gel with the male narrator - sorry!

I will admit that I felt a bit bored with the back and forth between Tate and Miles. I get it, we all love spice, but it became a bit repetitive for me and I did eye roll a bit.

I enjoyed the character development, of Miles especially, and I know this is a controversial opinion but the ending was a bit too clean cut for me.

Monday 7 November 2022

Heatwave by Victor Jestin | Book Review

[AD/Gifted: I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

Heatwave by Victor Jestin

Star rating: 

Publisher: Scribner UK

Publication date: 28th July 2022


Oscar is dead because I watched him die and did nothing.

Seventeen-year-old Leo is sitting in an empty playground at night, listening to the sound of partying and pop music filtering in from the beach, when he sees another, more popular boy strangle himself with the ropes of the swings. Then, in a panic, Leo drags the other to the beach and buries him.

Over the next 24 hours, Leo wanders around the campsite like a sleepwalker, haunted by guilt and fear, and distracted by his desire for a girl named Luce. Meanwhile, the teenage summer rituals continue all around him—the fighting and flirting, the smell of salt and sunscreen, the tinny announcements from the loudspeaker, and above all, the crushing, relentless heat...


I love translated fiction and this little novella is really interesting. At just 104 pages long, it is easy to read in one go, it still brings all the emotions and is just as powerful as a novel three times its length.

It opens with the line, "Oscar is dead because I watched him die and did nothing." I automatically knew this was going to be a good one. Our main character, 17 year old Leo (Leonard) is on holiday in a campsite in France with his family. After watching Oscar die, he makes some questionable decisions and as we get a feel for him throughout the book, I found him hard to understand. Did he do what he did on purpose?

I loved the summer setting, end of August in France, his thoughts and desires as a teenage boy and exploring his psyche as much as we can in a little over 100 pages. The ending made me want more. What happened next?!

Wednesday 26 October 2022

Songs In Ursa Major by Emma Brodie | Book Review

 [This post contains affiliate links.]

Songs in Ursa Major by Emma Brodie

Star rating: 

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication date: 26th May 2022



Rising singer-songwriters Jane Quinn and Jesse Reid looked untouchable.

Captivating crowds in festival meadows, lighting up turntables, intoxicating fans from coast to coast.

It was a connection that inspired the greatest love songs.

But nothing lasts forever.

Beneath the hits that made them, a dark secret threatened to break them. Now it's time to hear the whole story, finally revealed in Jane's iconic album, Songs in Ursa Major...


Oh my god, this was beautiful! I went in expecting a standard romance novel but it is much more than that.

Jane Quinn, along with her band The Breakers, is called to fill in for star Jesse Reid at Folk Fest, following an accident on Jane's hometown of Bayleen Island. Whilst Jesse recovers, he and Jane strike up a friendship. He invites The Breakers on tour and thus ensues a romance until Jane discovers something about Jesse that she can't tolerate.

Both Jane and Jesse have a lot of trauma and this is a main focus in the book. The topics of mental health and drug use are tackled very well.

I absolutely loved the backdrop of Songs In Ursa Major. The 70s music scene, truth about women in the music industry when it comes to record labels and the emotion and passion in Brodie's words. It is poetic. I felt happy, I felt sad, I felt empathy.

Each character is fully fleshed out, I was immersed in their world. The fast forward to 2022 and how all of their lives turned out surprised me because it wasn't what I expected but I felt fully satisfied.

Friday 21 October 2022

This Is Gonna End In Tears by Liza Klaussmann | Book Review

 [AD/Gifted - I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

This Is Gonna End In Tears by Liza Klaussman

Star rating: 

Publisher: John Murray

Publication date: 7th July 2022


Growing up, it was always the three of them: Miller and Olly and Ash. They stuck together, like they were keeping a secret. They needed each other. As teenagers, they drove to LA, lived in a ramshackle place on the beach in Malibu, set up a record label. They were successful, best friends and Olly and Miller fell in love. Before it fell apart, it was beautiful.

Then Olly stopped looking at Miller the way he used to. Miller spent a night with Ash, which turned into a marriage. And Miller and Ash came back to Wonderland, the tidal island of sugary painted houses they'd run away from. Now Miller's forty and she feels like she's disappearing. She wears her tinted sunglasses so often sometimes she forgets the world isn't green. Ash is having an affair with a helmet-haired tv presenter and Olly's career is over. Olly doesn't want to think about what he was going to owe, what any of them owed, to each other. But after everything that has happened, Wonderland is the only place it makes sense for him to go.

Over a long, hot summer of Chardonnay and Chicken, Olly, Miller and Ash try to work out what it is that exists between them. They're so consumed with their love, losses and longing and the possibility of a redemptive third act, they barely notice what's going on between Miller's son, his best friend and the girl who lives next door.

Some summers are spent yearning for something to happen, others are charged with the terrifying, exhilarating, feeling that everything is going to change. Welcome to Wonderland.


This is a wonderful novel focusing on friendships and relationships.

Olly, Miller and Ash were friends from childhood. Miller and Olly had a relationship before Miller ultimately married Ash and had a son called Nate. There is of course a complex relationship here. The three founded a record company together but life got in the way and caused issues between them.

Now, in the 80s, Miller and Ash haven't spoken to Olly in years, Nate is grown up and about to go off to college and they are all forced together again after Olly's Aunt Tassie is essentially kicked out of her nursing home. At the same time, Ash is having an affair with morning television host Candice.

Olly's former colleague, director Rodrigo Rodrigo comes to film Moby Dick at their hometown of Wonderland and the story follows the townspeople's excitement, Nate's newfound relationship with Olly after he gets him a job on the movie set and Nate's relationships with his friends Cam, Jess and love interest Suki. All the while exploring the past and present between Olly, Miller and Ash.

There is a lot to unpack with this novel and it is a beautiful read. It is the perfect summer book with its music references and it transports you straight to Wonderland in the 80s.

Thursday 20 October 2022

The No-Show by Beth O'Leary | Book Review

[This post contains affiliate links.]

The No-Show by Beth O'Leary
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Quercus
Publication date: 5th April 2022

Three women. Three dates. One missing man...

8.52 a.m. Siobhan is looking forward to her breakfast date with Joseph. She was surprised when he suggested it - she normally sees him late at night in her hotel room. Breakfast on Valentine's Day surely means something ... so where is he?

2.43 p.m. Miranda's hoping that a Valentine's Day lunch with Carter will be the perfect way to celebrate her new job. It's a fresh start and a sign that her life is falling into place: she's been dating Carter for five months now and things are getting serious. But why hasn't he shown up?

6.30 p.m. Joseph Carter agreed to be Jane's fake boyfriend at an engagement party. They've not known each other long but their friendship is fast becoming the brightest part of her new life in Winchester. Joseph promised to save Jane tonight. But he's not here...

Meet Joseph Carter. That is, if you can find him.

I do class myself as a Beth O'Leary fan so I was really excited about the release of The No-Show. O'Leary's debut, The Flatshare, got a five star rating from me but the follow ups, The Switch and The Road Trip were four star. Still loved them, but I didn't think they were just as great as The Flatshare. The No-Show is well up there and I would go as far as to say I liked it more than The Flatshare which I didn't think was possible!

Miranda Rosso, Jane Miller and Siobhan Kelly have all been stood up, on Valentine's Day, by the same man - Joseph Carter. The book follows the three women's points of view. Miranda is a tree surgeon, Jane volunteers at a charity shop after moving away from her hometown due to an incident at her last job and Siobhan is a life coach. Each of these women's lives are fully fleshed out and I loved every single one of them. 

I made it over halfway into this book thinking Joseph Carter was an asshole...and then I didn't. I do not want to give any spoilers away if you choose to read this book off the back of my review, so I will just say that when I got to the crux of the story where everything made sense and was revealed, I had to set my Kindle down and threw my head back to the sky for a breather. I could not believe I didn't see it. Bravo, Beth O'Leary.

I felt all the emotions and cannot rate this highly enough. A wonderful writer and a wonderful novel!

Friday 14 October 2022

Santa Maybe by Mary Jayne Baker | Blog Tour Book Review

[ad/gifted - I received an ebook copy for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

Santa Maybe by Mary Jayne Baker
Star rating:⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Aria
Publication date: 13th October 2022

Toy Store owner Elodie Martin is not one to get into the festive spirit but nothing gets her fired up more than the chance to get one over on her nemesis, Callum Ashley – the frosty, infuriatingly handsome owner of the local department store.

Christmas is the only time she can compete thanks to her grandad Jim, everyone's favourite Santa Claus. But when he has to unexpectedly hang up his red suit, Elodie is at risk of losing the business for good and has no choice but to rely on last-minute replacement out-of-work actor Nick Winter.

Can a sprinkling of Christmas magic warm Callum's heart and help Elodie find her happily-ever-after? Or is it just possible that love is to be found a little bit closer to home?

I am a sucker for a festive romance. There is just something delightful about the setting and this one is super cute!

Elodie Martin currently owns Martin's, the family toy shop where her grandad used to play the best Santa in town when it came to grotto season. They have always had a family rivalry with bigger superstore Ashley's, currently owned by Callum Ashley.

Following Jim's retirement after a stroke, Elodie is hiring a new Santa. Enter - Nick Winter. Nick absolutely lives for Christmas and is the perfect replacement for Jim but also is perfect to make Elodie enjoy Christmas again, a time that she hasn't particularly liked ever since her parents died when she was eight years old.

Elodie is so sure in Nick's abilities to be Santa, that she places a bet with Callum Ashley - her grotto will rake in more profits than his.

Both men are completely different in every way but have one similar thing in common; how much they like Elodie. I absolutely loved the development and relationship between Nick and Elodie. I'll admit, I didn't care too much for Callum but the differences in their lives and misunderstandings kept me reading. 

A cosy festive romance that I would definitely recommend!


A massive thank you to Aria for having me on the blog tour. You can find information about the other bloggers taking part in the tour in the graphics below.

Tuesday 11 October 2022

Permission by Jo Bloom | Book Review

[ad/gifted - I received an ebook copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

Permission by Jo Bloom
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Legend Press
Publication date: 28th July 2022

After more than 20 years of marriage, Fay and Steve are happy enough, though life's become routine and lacks excitement. Fay believes an open relationship could reignite the spark they've lost. But can sex ever just be sex?

Steve eventually agrees to the idea of sleeping with other people, but first they must set some ground rules; no sex with friends, no telling the kids, and a limit on how many times they can see the same person. Can their marriage survive non-monogamy – even if they have permission?

Permission follows the story of Fay and Steve. They have been together for twenty-two years and have a son called Billy who is off at university and a primary school aged daughter, Rose. 

Their friends Katie and Matt have recently split following Katie's five-month long affair with a man named Nathan. This then forces Fay to have a look at her own relationship and although she and Steve are quite a strong couple, she introduces the idea of a open relationship. Steve isn't enthusiastic but goes along with the idea as it is what Fay wants. Fay however gets in a little too deep causing a whole host of familial issues.

I really did enjoy the exploration of marriage and societal norms but the characters did a lot of things that made me want to scream. I just didn't agree with most of their behaviours. I felt really sorry for Steve, but he had a wonderful character arc with regards to his relationship with his mother against his relationship now with Fay.

Friday 7 October 2022

The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid | Book Review

[This post contains affiliate links.]

The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK 
Publication date: 14th October 2021

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the '80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

I am always wary when it comes to books that are hyped up but I could kick myself for not picking this up sooner.

I probably don't need to properly review this as I feel like the only person left in the world who hadn't read it yet but, in case you haven't, here are my thoughts.

Evelyn Hugo is a Hollywood starlet with her golden years being from the 1950s to 1980s. Journalist Monique Grant receives a phone call to her workplace, Vivant magazine, from Evelyn's people, requesting that she write an article about her. Evelyn lured her there under false pretences. Evelyn doesn't want Monique to write an article about her for Vivant, she wants to relay her life story to Monique so that she can write a true biography after Evelyn dies. This could set Monique up to make millions.

Monique agrees but wonders why Evelyn would choose a relatively unknown journalist like her. As Evelyn tells her story, it all becomes clear.

This book is stunning. It is essentially split into sections, each focusing on one of Evelyn's seven husbands and the stories behind them. But who was Evelyn's true love?

It is so interesting to get to know Evelyn as a person, she is very well developed and such a strong character. She knew exactly how to get what she wanted and where she needed to be in Hollywood. I loved the interspersing of news articles in between the telling of Evelyn's story and also snippets of Monique's life too. I felt so many emotions whilst reading this and it is just perfection. I went through the whole book also wondering why Evelyn chose Monique but I did not see the reveal coming. Spectacular.

Tuesday 4 October 2022

Sea Shaken by J.M. Simpson | Blog Tour Book Review

[ad/gifted - I received a eBook copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

Sea Shaken by J.M. Simpson
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publication date: 26th September 2022

Jesse Stevens lies in a coma after being pulled off a cliff by a psychopath who escaped from prison to find her.

He is in hiding, also hurt from the fall, but fuelled with rage. He needs to make sure she’s dead. If she isn’t, he’ll finish the job once and for all.

Military Intelligence Officer, Sam Jones, missing presumed dead, returns from Afghanistan after two years of brutal torture in captivity. Struggling to cope, Sam has no desire to carry on living, or return to family life, with his wife, Sophie, and son, Marcus. Sophie is desperate to help Sam recover and leans heavily on her friend and ex-forces soldier Foxy for support.

Castleby is plagued by a series of unexplained deaths among the elderly and that of a local fisherman. Inspector Steve Miller works closely with the new local GP, Kate Cooper, to try and find an explanation and they eventually uncover the sinister truth.

If you have been a follower of mine for a while, you will know that I reviewed the previous two books in the Castleby series; Sea State and Sea Change. As soon as I heard there was a third installment, I jumped at the chance to read because I am so invested in these characters.

If you haven't read the other two books, a lot is caught up but I would definitely advise reading them first. In Sea Shaken, we are back at Castleby where we left off last time. Jesse is hospitalised and in a coma following an attack by her ex-boyfriend, Sophie's husband Sam has been found after being kidnapped and tortured whilst serving but is in a bad way and, like the other two books, we have the introduction of a new character, GP Kate Cooper. As well as the previous mafia storyline involving Jimmy, we also have some further goings-on that need solved. Elderly residents at a care home seem to be dying suddenly and it doesn't seem to just be due to old age...

I think this is probably my favourite of the three books in the Castleby series. I love how the fleshed out storylines continued on, I felt more of a connection to the characters and the chase was fantastic. The ending too - wow!


A massive thank you to Literally PR for having me on the blog tour. You can find the information about the other bloggers taking part in the tour in the graphic below.
Friday 30 September 2022

I Am Ill With Hope by Gommie | Book Review

[ad/gifted - I received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links.]

I Am Ill With Hope by Gommie
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Salamander Street
Publication date: 28th September 2022

In 2019 poet-artist Gommie began walking the coastline of an England with nothing but a backpack, a tent and an unusually large collection of pens. His aim? Searching for hope during increasingly hard times. 

From losing his way on the Dover Hills to bankruptcy in Rhyl and wild camping in Scarborough, Gommie’s extraordinary journey is still ongoing, and his findings, a deeply moving mixture of texture, illustration, poetry and verbatim conversations, are a gentle homage to the often-overlooked places we inhabit and the frequently forgotten voices we hear.

I don't claim to be massively into poetry but I was intrigued by this one. In 2019, artist and poet Gommie began walking the coastline of England and Wales. On that journey, he spoke to people, wrote his thoughts in poem format and illustrated them based on his surroundings.

Every image inside the book is stunning and I could honestly sit and stare at them all forever. Beautiful.

The poetry is, I want to say, candid. I have my favourites for sure but in my mind, poetry is totally subjective and down to the reader. I found I Am Ill With Hope to be a nice book to flick through. I smiled on occasion, whilst reading others I had to read a couple of times to analyse. 

Thursday 29 September 2022

Until I Met You by Amber Rose Gill | Book Review

[This post contains affiliate links.]

Until I Met You by Amber Rose Gill
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Mills & Boon
Publication date: 7th July 2022

It was meant to be the holiday of a lifetime for Samantha: the launch of her travel blog, her best friend’s wedding and – hopefully – her own marriage proposal. Until she finds herself on her way to Tobago – single.

Disillusioned with his corporate job on Wall Street, Roman is starting afresh in Tobago. He doesn’t need a distraction, especially a free-spirited travel blogger. But something about Samantha intrigues him.

As romance blossoms, Roman and Samantha must learn to risk their hearts. But when secrets are revealed, their new relationship is put in jeopardy. Now Samantha and Roman must decide what they really want. They came to Tobago to find themselves, but could finding each other be what they needed all along?

This is a super cute read that packs a punch. It really surprised me!

Samantha Roberts is newly single and travelling to her best friend Naomi's wedding in Tobago. Samantha is based in London with her and Naomi's group of friends travelling from across the globe.

Whilst in Tobago, Samantha meets, and hits it off with, groom Anthony's friend from his college days, Roman Carver. But will it be smooth sailing for these two?

I absolutely loved the backdrop of Tobago for this story and the diversity of the characters. Each couple is at different stages in their relationship and it was really interesting to read. Not only is it a sweet romance novel but I love how it delves into their friendship group, their struggles and how they communicate together.

Really lovely!

Friday 23 September 2022

I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy | Book Review

[This post contains affiliate links.]

I'm Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
Publication date: 15th September 2022

Jennette McCurdy was six years old when she had her first acting audition. Her mother’s dream was for her only daughter to become a star, and Jennette would do anything to make her mother happy. So she went along with what Mom called “calorie restriction,” eating little and weighing herself five times a day. She endured extensive at-home makeovers while Mom chided, “Your eyelashes are invisible, okay? You think Dakota Fanning doesn’t tint hers?” She was even showered by Mom until age sixteen while sharing her diaries, email, and all her income.

In I’m Glad My Mom Died, Jennette recounts all this in unflinching detail—just as she chronicles what happens when the dream finally comes true. Cast in a new Nickelodeon series called iCarly, she is thrust into fame. Though Mom is ecstatic, emailing fan club moderators and getting on a first-name basis with the paparazzi (“Hi Gale!”), Jennette is riddled with anxiety, shame, and self-loathing, which manifest into eating disorders, addiction, and a series of unhealthy relationships. These issues only get worse when, soon after taking the lead in the iCarly spinoff Sam & Cat alongside Ariana Grande, her mother dies of cancer. Finally, after discovering therapy and quitting acting, Jennette embarks on recovery and decides for the first time in her life what she really wants.

"I'm allowed to hate someone else's dream, even if it's my reality."

Oh my goodness, what a book. I love a memoir but I love them even more when I listen to them in audio format and they are read by the author. I would go as far as to say that this is one of my top reads of the year. I'm Glad My Mom Died is raw, honest, heartbreaking, candid and funny.

I consume a lot of pop culture so although I was aware of Jennette McCurdy, when iCarly and Sam & Cat were on TV, I was past the age of their target audience. I was initially drawn to this book ahead of its release due to its frankly stunning title. I was intrigued, I was curious. I didn't know what to expect. 

Jennette writes brilliantly about her relationship with her mother Debra from the age of six, up to her death when Jennette was 21 years old. She then recalls her life following her mother's death. 

Debra got Jennette into acting as a child but the story is very deep. Jennette quite clearly loved her mother and believed that their relationship was completely normal but only realised after her death that this was not the case. I was completely enthralled and my heart felt like it was breaking as Jennette told the story of attending therapy and unpacking what her childhood was really like. 

She writes honestly about her mother's abuse (something that she now realises that it was), Hollywood, her time at Nickelodeon, her relationships (both romantic and with her family) and her eating disorders. Jennette is effortlessly funny so although there are serious topics, it did make me laugh too.