Book Review: Depression in a Digital Age

Book Review: Depression in a Digital Age

I feel like I haven’t written a book review in a while so to start the year off on the right foot I’ll be reviewing Fiona Thomas’ book, Depression in a Digital Age.

This book has everything you need from Spice Girl references to Fiona’s rambling thoughts that help ground you and make you feel a little less alone.

Depression digital age
Taken from Fiona’s Instagram

I really felt like I was taking a journey with Fiona while reading this. I felt sympathy for her when she went through her mental health breakdown and couldn’t work.

I myself have left countless jobs for mental health related reasons which has led me to a life of freelance work.

I completely emphasized with how she felt so overwhelmed with her workload and there’s a chapter in the book that really spoke to me.

Fiona talks about taking a break from work because it’s making her so stressed. However, she also stresses out when she takes a much needed break, worrying that people will miss her and need her.

I really resonated with this when I took a week’s holiday from freelance work to go to Morocco in November. Although I was so glad to get away I was worrying about money, about whether my clients had sent me thousands of emails, etc. Turns out when I got back and switched my work phone on, I had one email, and it was a promotional one. I felt a little disappointed no one had needed me and I’d wasted precious time on holiday worrying about my workload.

I think a good lesson to take away from Fiona’s book is that you can stress as much as you like but it won’t change the outcome or how quickly you can complete a task. Take a step back, breathe and relax. Everything will get done in the end.

Overall, Fiona’s book taught me it’s okay to let others help you. It’s okay to speak out about your mental health and not everyone wants the same thing.

Depression digital age
Taken from Fiona’s Instagram

While some people are perfectly happy working 9-5 and getting home to get ready for the next day, not everyone feels the same. Sometimes our mental health stops us from doing the mundane tasks. Sometimes it prevents us from working on ourselves.

Not everyone’s journey is the same and that’s what I’ve learnt from Fiona. While our paths may be different, we share one thing in common. We just want to be happy. We want a life full of adventures. We don’t want to be bound by our mental illnesses. And that’s why Fiona’s story is so inspiring; she used her mental illness to help others.

In the book Fiona also talks about feeling like an imposter. That she isn’t qualified to do her job. The thing is, as a child I always thought I would grow up to feel so big and confident, like I could do anything. But I’m still little old anxious me. That won’t go away. We grow up to think adults have their shit together, when really we are all in the same boat, trying to paddle upstream to get to where we want to be.

Have you read Fiona’s book yet? She is currently writing another book all about being freelance which comes out later this year and I can’t wait to read it.

You can follow Fiona on her socials:

Instagram: @fionalikestoblog

Book: Depression in a Digital Age

Twitter: @fionalikes

Book Review: Junk by Melvin Burgess

Book Review: Junk by Melvin Burgess

Hey guys!

I read Melvin Burgess’ book, Junk ages ago and wanted to share my thoughts about the book.

About Junk

Junk is a book about a group of teens who get caught up in all sorts of dodgy dealings, from drugs, to stealing to even prostitution. Two teens run away, Gemma who is loud and confident, and Tar, shy and quiet. They fall in and out of love and we see their lives unravel through the years.

Review

I thought Junk was incredibly clever and well written. It is written in first person and has lots of the characters’ opinions and view points in. It was a book that needed to be written. We see how easy it is to get into drugs, smoking, alcohol and more when Gemma and Tar start to live with two other teens in a squat.

We see Gemma become reckless and full of herself after she leaves her parents. Whereas Tar, beaten up by his dad and abused by his mother, starts to make friends and a life for himself. But that all seems to change when Gemma meets Lily, a quirky girl in her own world. They become instant friends and Gemma decides to live with Lily and her boyfriend Rob. Tar, being the hopeless romantic he is, chases after Gemma and decides to live in the squat with them.

Everything is fine at first. Until they start smoking hash and then get on to Heroin. Their personalities change over the years. They become less caring, depressed and even more irresponsible.

I think it was important for Burgess to put this book out there to one, explain to people what addiction is and how hard it is to come off, and two, how anyone, literally anyone, can get into the same situation Tar and Gemma found themselves in. Like Melvin said, he didn’t want to write the book at all, but he knew he had to.

I thought that the character development in this was phenomenal, even if it wasn’t a good character development. It showed us how peoples personalities can change when on drugs. After all, these kids were impressionable, they were both only 14 when they left their parents.

It’s no wonder Tar got addicted to drugs so easily coming from the family he had. But he should have recieved help before it got to that point. But at the time, he didn’t think he needed help, he just made out as though they were having a bit of fun and could easily come off the drugs if they wanted.

But unfortunately it’s not that easy. Things don’t always go to plan. And that’s what I love about this book; the way Burgess is so honest with the readers. He doesn’t shy away from the topic of drugs, sex or anything. He openly discusses it and I found the book to be an eye opener.

I look forward to reading Melvin’s other books!

Until next time, love, Vee x

Blog Tour: Meet Me In Monaco

Blog Tour: Meet Me In Monaco

I was kindly asked if I would like to be part of the Meet Me In Monaco book blog tour by Harper Collins. I was gifted the historical romance and I’ve been loving it ever since I started reading it!

I’m not very far into the story but what I have read so far has me captivated.

About the Book

MEET ME IN MONACO is a mesmerizing and meticulously researched new novel by New York Times bestselling authors Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb, which transports readers to the glamour of the Côte d’Azur in the 1950s during Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and royal wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco. In this page-turning novel of passion, fate and second chances, a young French perfumer and a British press photographer’s lives are forever changed by their chance encounter with a Hollywood actress who is about to become a princess.

Perfumer Sophie Duval is struggling to keep her beloved family business afloat. Running out of ideas—and money—she’s desperate, but fate intervenes when the Cannes Film Festival brings Grace Kelly into her life. In an attempt to dodge persistent British press photographer, James Henderson – a man who needs a professional win to keep his job – Miss Kelly finds herself in Sophie Duval’s boutique. There, she’s met with discretion and respect, and when Grace discovers Sophie’s extraordinary talents as a perfumer and falls in love with her scents, a bond is forged between the two women, setting into motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years.

Meanwhile, James Henderson cannot forget his brief encounter with Sophie Duval. Despite his guilt at being away from his daughter in London, he takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing with Grace Kelly’s wedding party on the SS Constitution from New York to Monaco. As he sails across the Atlantic, his anticipation and excitement mounts, not for the royal wedding, but for the chance to see Sophie once more. In Monaco, as wedding fever soars and passions and tempers escalate, James and Sophie—like Princess Grace—must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love.

Told from the alternating perspectives of Sophie and James in the 1950s and 1980s, and with enticing news articles reporting on Grace Kelly’s career, marriage – and later, tragic death – interspersed throughout, MEET ME IN MONACO is an evocative, engrossing, and marvelously told story of friendship, love, and tragedy.

About the Authors

HAZEL GAYNOR is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 Romantic Novelists’ Association Historical Romantic Novel of the Year award. Her third novel, The Girl from The Savoy, was an Irish Times and Globe and Mail bestseller, and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. In 2017, she published The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris (co-written with Heather Webb).

Both novels hit bestseller lists, and Last Christmas in Paris won the 2018 Women’s
Fiction Writers Association Star Award. Hazel’s most recent novel, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, hit the Irish Times bestseller list for five consecutive weeks. Hazel was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015. Her work has been translated into ten languages and is published in seventeen countries to date. She lives in Ireland with her husband and two children.

HEATHER WEBB is the international bestselling, award-winning author of Rodin’s Lover, Becoming Josephine, The Phantom’s Apprentice, and Last Christmas in Paris (co-written with Hazel Gaynor), which won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award. Meet Me in Monaco will be followed by a fall 2019 release from Harper Collins in which Heather is one of six contributing, bestselling authors to Ribbons of Scarlet: A Novel of the French Revolution’s Women. Her works have been translated into over a dozen languages worldwide. Heather is also passionate about helping writers find their voices as a professional freelance editor, speaker, and instructor at a local college.

I’m so excited for you all to read it! It’s out now, so go and buy it and let your inner romantic free.

Book Review: Unboxed by Non Pratt

Book Review: Unboxed by Non Pratt

In this week’s post I’ll be reviewing Non Pratt’s short story, Unboxed.

Blurb

Four friends meet up at their old school to open the memory box they stowed there years ago – with five letters inside for four of them, because their friend Millie has died. When they open the box they find a new letter from Millie and discover that she has left them special instructions: permission to open her letter only if they all read aloud the letters they wrote to their older selves, revealing their deepest secrets.

Review

I picked this book up at the library, not knowing if it was for younger readers until I saw the word fuck inside. It’s a super easy YA read, as it says on the back. And it truly is. I’m someone who struggles as I am a slow reader. But I got through this book in a couple of hours. It was such an easy read but also a heartwarming one full of rekindling friendships, bereavement and love.

I don’t read many short stories but I already grew so attached to the characters, especially Dean. I love how the characters are developed so quickly and even one night can change your world forever. Ben is a big softie and even though it’s sad Millie is dead, she brings her friends back together.

I have to say their deepest darkest secrets weren’t really surprising and I was left waiting and wondering when the secrets would spill out, but overall I thought the letters had lovely sentiments to them.

It’s a must read for YA lovers but also if you need a little pick me up read.

Have you read Unboxed? Did you enjoy it? Until next time, love, Vee x

Book Review: Bookshop Girl

Book Review: Bookshop Girl

This week I’ll be reviewing Bookshop Girl by Chloe Coles.

Blurb

Bennett’s Bookshop has always been a haven for sixteen-year-old Paige Turner. It’s a place where she can escape from her sleepy hometown, hang out with her best friend, Holly, and also earn some money.

But, like so many bookshops, Bennett’s has become a ‘casualty of the high street’ – it’s strapped for cash and going to be torn down. Paige is determined to save it but mobilising a small town like Greysworth is no mean feat.

Time is ticking – but that’s not the only problem Paige has. How is she going to fend off the attractions of beautiful fellow artist, Blaine? And, more importantly, will his anarchist ways make or break her bookshop campaign?

Review

I picked this book up on a whim in my local library because of its title. I love anything bookshop so this felt ideal.

I was right to love it! It’s full of books, quirky personalities and friendship. It’s a heartwarming read about the things that matter in life. Paige wants to study art and the only thing keeping her going in the town is Bennetts Bookshop which she adores working at with her bestie Holly.

This book is full of laughs and I loved every second of it. Paige reminded me of me, but so did Holly. They’re both bookworms who are weird but wonderful. I found myself wishing I knew these girls because they would probably be my best friends in real life.

I can’t wait to read the next installment of Paige’s adventures!

Until next time, love, Vee x

My Day At Penguin Random House Jobhack

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hi guys! This week’s blog post is a little different and is about my experience at Penguin Random House Jobhack day.

My Experience

If you don’t know what Penguin’s Jobhack is, it’s a day full of workshops such as editorials, marketing and publicity and people who work in the industry tell everyone a bit about their job and how they got into publishing. It’s a great way to network, meet other people and learn more about how to apply for a job at Penguin.

I applied for the Jobhack in Leicester and had to get up at half five in the morning to get there. Even though I ran a lot of the way and was a tad late because of the trains, they waited for me and got started. First of all, we played human bingo, a game to find out more about each other. As soon as I sat down, everyone said hello and they were all so welcoming.

After human bingo, we had a few people talk to us about their jobs and what they do in a day. My favourite was when Becky Miller, an editor for Penguin, talked about her experience getting into publishing and what she does in a day. She made sure she told us all that there’s no one way to get into publishing and you absolutely do not need a degree. She told us about her usual day and helped us with a workshop in editorial to give us a taste of what it’s like to be in her shoes.

We also had Isabel from Marketing and Publicity who gave us a task of marketing a book which I found really exciting. And after lunch we had a talk on CVs and how we can make our cover letters stand out better (needless to say I applied for a lot of jobs when I got home).

The most fun aspects of the day were meeting new people and asking questions. It was great to meet Rebecca, an audio editorial assistant who told us about her work and set us an audio task. Near the end of the day they gave us time to ask questions and they called this “speed networking” and we all got a chance to ask editors, producers and recruiters, questions about publishing.

Another fun part of the day was when we got to choose books we wanted to take home with us and some people won prizes. We also received a notebook, Penguin tote (yes I got red, I’m very lucky) and a bookmark.

I’m so thankful that I heard about this day and that I went because I met amazing people and I feel more inspired than ever that I’m going to break my way into publishing. Thank you to Penguin for this great day!

If you feel like you’ll never get into publishing, then I think this day is perfect for you. It will help lift your spirits and you get to ask as many questions as you have about the industry. Don’t give up!

Until next time, love, Vee x

Audiobook Month

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hi there guys, Vee here! June is Audiobook Month and to celebrate it, I wanted to write a blog post for you all. I will be talking about ways to celebrate audiobooks, where to buy them and I’ll be asking you your opinion on them.

How to Celebrate Audiobook Month

There are plenty of ways to celebrate Audiobook Month including the obvious: listening to audiobooks. But there are more ways including hosting a “Readathon” with friends or in your own book club. Host an event at your house or at your local library and bring cake and make a day of it. Make sure everyone is interested in the book though!

If you’re looking for more of a relaxed way of celebrating the month, then simply listen to audiobooks on your way to work or in your room – it may be a good way to unwind after a hard day.

You could write a blog post, like me, about how you’re celebrating Audiobook Month and what your favourites are.

You could host a bookish giveaway on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook where the entrants need to tell you their favourite book and share your post in order to enter. This also boosts your social media traffic – or even blog traffic if you decide to host it on your blog.

Audiobooks Vs Physical Books

I’ve seen lots of posts about how audiobooks don’t count towards reading as you’re listening. I think this is why I struggle with them as I always feel like I’m not working towards my reading goal. But ultimately, you are taking the time to listen to them and, as a bonus, it relieves stress. You are reaching your goal because when you finish listening, you have finished that book, regardless of whether you’re listening or reading.

I’m more comfortable with reading books the traditional way and I still struggle with reading on my iPad because I’m so used to the physical thing. But Audiobooks are a blessing in so many ways. They aren’t too time consuming and you can listen while you’re at work or doing chores. Because no one wants to walk into something while they’re reading!

I confess I’ve only listened to a few audiobooks and these are the Series of Unfortunate Events discs which my mum bought me as a child (I still listen to them!). One problem I found as a child (but a blessing to my mum) is that I would always fall asleep and miss a few chapters.

I will always love physical books more than anything but I’m thinking of subscribing to an audiobook app for convenience. This brings me onto my next topic which is…

Audiobook Sites

I’m going to be giving you a brief overview of some audiobook sites that I think you may enjoy perusing!

Scribd

Scribd is a site you pay to read books and audiobooks on and they offer a free 30 day trial for you to see if you like it . You can cancel this trial at any time. You can browse and read a range of books from contemporary to political, audiobooks and magazines.

If you would like to check out their website, just click here. They also have a really beautiful Instagram feed full of bookish photos and quotes if you want to take a look here.

Audiobooks.com

Similar to Scribd, Audiobooks.com allows you to have a 30 day free trial and they give you your first book for free. However, after your trial you’ll be given one book each month for £7.99 but you can buy additional credits if you want to listen to more.

You can download the app on iOS and Android for free. You can listen to books on your laptop, smartphone or tablet. You can cancel your subscription at any point.

Audible

Audible is an Amazon company that has over 200,000 books to choose from. And you get your first book for free, regardless of price.

Audible offers a similar package to Audiobooks.com and gives you a 30 day free trial and after that it’s £7.99 a month. You can cancel this at any time. The app is free to download and the books will be waiting in your library.

Perks include:

  • You get to keep any books even if you cancel your membership
  • You can exchange audiobooks for free
  • Receive 70% off additional audiobooks if you’re an exclusive member
  • Members can get unlimited listening to short audio programs  

Let me know in the comments below your opinion on audiobooks and how you’ll be celebrating Audiobook Month.

Don’t forget to follow my Facebook page and Instagram. Until next time, Vee x

Meeting David Levithan

h1 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 20pt;} h2 {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 18pt;} body {font-family: times new roman; font-size: 15pt;} Hey guys! So a few weeks back I had the privilege of meeting David Levithan at Waterstones Piccadilly for the YA Extravaganza panel event. I was so excited for this because I originally booked to see David at an event where we were going to watch Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and he was going to sign books. But unfortunately Oliver came down with pneumonia so we couldn’t attend, which is why I was so thrilled to get a second chance to meet him!

Oliver and I went along to Waterstones and waited in line to get in. As we sat down there was a sneak peak of David’s Someday, the sequel to Everyday but we aren’t allowed to show anyone so we felt really exclusive. The atmosphere was amazing with so many fangirls and book nerds.

We listened to the panel which had authors Juno Dawson, Alice Oseman, Simon James Green , Lucy Christopher and Katherine Webber. And obviously David. They talked about the writing process, different types of books and the audience had a chance to ask questions about the books and the authors themselves. I realized, after the talk, that I knew some of Juno’s work and I’m really interested to get my hands on Clean, her latest book.

After the talk we all had a chance to meet the authors and purchase books so obviously I had to meet David and I bought his latest release, Sam and Ilsa’s Last Hurrah, which was co written with Rachel Cohn. I walked up to him and my stomach was full of butterflies. I handed him the book and told him he’s my favourite author and his book, Two Boys Kissing was my absolute favourite and he told me it was his too. I asked for a photo and he agreed!

I was so thrilled and the feeling that ran through me was a mixture of pride, amazement and promise. I hope that one day I can be just like him; editing and writing stories from home, flying over the world to give talks and have discussions. I felt at home and what a wonderful feeling it was.

I can’t wait for Someday to come out in October and I feel empowered by these authors to follow my own dreams. I also got to know more authors who’s books I’m interested in reading and who doesn’t love adding more books on to their To Be Read piles?!

Thank you for reading and I’ll see you soon! Love, Vee x