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.

Tuesday 13 September 2022

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid | Book Review

[This post contains affiliate links.]

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Simon and Schuster 
Publication date: 20th January 2022

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure. On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.
Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness. That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiance, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants while trying to protect the ones she loves. But who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

This is just beautiful.

One True Loves follows the story of Emma Blair. When she was a teenager she worked at her parent's bookstore, Blair Books, and became friends with fellow student Sam but sort of accidentally puts him in the friendzone.

Emma's sister Marie drags her along to a swim team meet to see her boyfriend and Emma lays her eyes on Jesse Learner for the first time. Eventually, Jesse and Emma get together, travel the world and get married. True high school sweethearts. The day before their first wedding anniversary, Jesse goes on a work trip and the helicopter he was travelling in goes missing and Jesse is presumed dead.

Understandably, Emma is distraught as she has lost the only man she has ever loved. After moving back to her hometown to be close to her family, she bumps into Sam. They develop a romantic relationship, even getting engaged. Years after Jesse's disappearance, he calls Emma. He is alive. Emma must now decide who her "one true love" is. Who will she be with? What does true love even mean?

This book was so emotional and Taylor Jenkins Reid really makes you feel. I am now married to the man I have been with since I was 17 so it made me think about what I would do if I was in that situation. I loved the character growth for Emma both romantically and with her sister and parents. A stunning read.

Friday 2 September 2022

The Blame Game by Sandie Jones | Blog Tour 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.]

The Blame Game by Sandie Jones
Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Publisher: Macmillan 
Publication date: 1st September 2022

There are two sides to every story.

He came to me for help with his marriage.

I was alone and afraid. She was there when I needed to talk.

I needed to make him understand that he had to get away.

I knew what I needed to do. I just couldn’t do it on my own. I trusted her.

Now it has gone too far. And I can’t tell anyone what I have done.

Now I have nowhere to turn and I just pray they find me before she does.

The whole way through this book I just kept thinking, "what is going on?" Not in a bad way, but I just couldn't work out who was behind it all - just what I want from a thriller.

Psychotherapist Naomi Chandler moved from Long Island to England after meeting and falling in love with husband Leon. After her father's murder of her mother and her sister Jennifer being taken away, she had nothing to stay for. She now helps other victims of domestic violence.

Two of her main clients, Jacob and Anna are seeing Naomi for different reasons. Jacob is being abused by his wife and Anna and her husband Nick are having troubles following their toddler's death a year previously. Naomi always goes above and beyond for her clients but this time it costs her. Someone is out to ruin her life but who and why?

My head was spinning reading this book. There are so many twists and turns and it kept me on my toes the whole way through. An enjoyable thriller!


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