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

Female Creatives Series: Q&A with Author Jessie Allyn

Female Creatives Series: Q&A with Author Jessie Allyn

Recently I came up with an idea to support female creatives and give others some empowerment. The planet, excuse my french, has gone to shit, so I wanted to make some positive posts and asked some people on Twitter whether they’d like to participate. My first interviewee is Jessie, an author and creative.

My first guest in this female creative series of posts is Jessie Allyn, an author and creative. Let’s see what she has to say!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself!

Hi! My name is Jessie Allyn. I am a writer who focuses primarily on fantasy and romance. My goals for the future are to get my first book published by next year and then open classes to teach other writers step-by-step how to write/publish their own books.

2. What do you do for a living?

Writing is not what I do for a living, but what I do for a living allows me to write.

3. What made you decide to do what you do for a living?

When I graduated college, I graduated with a Secondary English Education degree (I was an English teacher). But life has a funny way of not aligning the way you thought it would. I jumped from college to working with a pharmaceutical company, to working with a customer service call center, to working as a tutor for students with learning disabilities, to now managing a retail store. For me, these jobs are just a means to an end. I take on these jobs in order to support myself, my family, and my writing career. Because not everyone can afford to be a full-time writer like they dream to be…at least not in the beginning.

4. What would be your advice for someone looking to go into your profession?

Writing is hard. It’s not something most people can make a living off of. So if you want to be a writer, you need to understand that you write for your love of writing, not because you want to be a famous author one day. People glamorize being a writer, but they don’t know how hard it actually is. They don’t know how long it takes to craft a book, how many times you need to query agent after agent, how many rejection letters you might get, how much money you will spend on marketing, how many unpaid hours you will lose to edits. Writing is not a get rich quick scheme, it’s a labor of love. Every book that is published was fought for. Every writer put themselves out there, in all this stress and chaos, not because they wanted to be famous – but because they had a story to tell. So my advice, to anyone who wants to become a writer, is to write for yourself first and the rest of the world second. In the end, you might be the only person to pick up that book and that needs to be enough for you.

 

Female Creatives Series: Interview: Jessie Allyn

5. What are some of your hobbies or skills that you’d like to improve this year?

I am constantly taking seminars, attending virtual classes, listening to podcasts, and working with other editors/writers in hopes to better my writing craft. So for this year, I am hoping to get to a place where I can confidently create my writing course and launch my classes for other writers out there. My goal is to be able to take someone who has no idea what to write, help them work through their entire writing process and then help them through the entire publication process. There are so many things about writing and publication that you aren’t taught and that information is super hard to find these days. So my goal is to improve my writing craft to the point where I can take all of the knowledge I’ve collected over the years and make it accessible to anyone who needs it.

6. Can you list 3 books that empower you and that you recommend every creative reads?

Julie Kagawa’s “Talon” Series – She has an amazing way of writing from multiple perspectives without breaking the flow of her novel (something I envy to this day).
Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” – This was the book that taught me that not every story needs to end in a happily ever after.
David Clement-Davies’ “The Sight” – This book is probably the book I credit the most for how “alive” my characters feel. I learned from this book that if you make your characters multi-dimensional, it doesn’t matter if they are humans or wolves – people will find ways to relate to them.

7. I always ask this one as it’s fun to wrap up with! If you were stranded on an island, what 3 things would you take with you? And which 2 people?

A knife, a flint striker, and some sort of water purifier. I’d bring my significant other and probably The Rock (I mean, he’d be super helpful on an island and more people would probably search for him than me haha).

If you want to find out more about Jessie and her work, you can visit her website here.
Thank you so much to Jessie for participating! Don’t forget to subscribe for more Q&As, tips, reviews and more!

Book Review: The Man In Forest Hills

Book Review: The Man In Forest Hills

I was recently asked by basketball player and author Alex Owumi, if I wanted to review his audio book, The Man in Forest Hills. Alex has always been a great friend and has helped increase my blogging audience over the past couple of years. I admire him and his journey and wanted to review one of his books!

Book Review: The Man in Forest Hills

The Man in Forest Hills is set around the character Thomas Kent, a detective based in Boston. He wakes up from a coma after being shot to find out his family are gone. He thinks it’s something to do with one of the high profile cases he’s worked on in the past and starts trying to dig into the mystery further…

I don’t want to give away any more spoilers as there’s a lot that goes down in the book!

I really enjoyed actually listening to an audiobook and being able to do other things; it was also a really good book to start off with. It only took me two days to get through although I did have to pay close attention to all the characters!

What I really enjoyed about this book was the suspense. Each chapter ended with a cliffhanger, making you wonder who was behind the murder of Kent’s family. As a reader, you also struggle to determine whether Kent is playing good cop or bad cop by trying to avenge his family’s murder.

If he murders the people who have harmed them, is he then in the wrong? Or is he doing a good deed to make sure they don’t murder again? It’s a very moral oriented story. We have to pick whether we are backing Kent or we want him to go to jail.

As the chapters go on we also see flashbacks to before Kent’s family were murdered; we also see his time in the police academy and how his story has unraveled to leave us where he is now. By giving us this glimpse into Kent’s past, Owumi has let the reader into his world; these flashbacks intrigue us and we find ourselves wanting to know more.

Overall, I felt like the story line was well thought out and I can’t wait to read the rest of Owumi’s books!

You can purchase Alex’s books here.

You can also read Alex’s thoughts and tips on his blog.

Hope you enjoyed this review! Remember, if you have a book you want reviewed, email me at greenv745@gmail.com

Review: Clean by Juno Dawson

Review: Clean by Juno Dawson

Hi guys! So last week I posted a review of Melvin Burgess’ Junk. I read that before Clean because Juno referred to that as her inspiration.

About Clean

Clean is centred around Lexi Volkov, the daughter of a wealthy hotel owner who so happens to be spoilt and can get whatever she wants, when she wants. Which essentially means she can also do drugs with her boyfriend Kurt whenever she wants.

However, Nikolai, Lexi’s brother kidnaps her and takes her to a special clinic on an island where she can do the ten step progam to get clean.

She meets a lot of different people (with money) who are there for other addictions such as anorexia and OCD. Lexi needs to decide whether she wants to recover or waste her life away. Her new found friends may just be the answer she needs…

Review

I’ve been to a few events where Lexi has been said to be very confident and commanding. I thought she would be a total bitch – and she is at the start – but really she has a soft centre to her.

She seems to want to hide all her secrets and blames everyone for her mistakes. She doesn’t realise she has a problem until it’s nearly too late.

What I love about this book is the character development of all the addicts. Juno really can get into the mind of an addict and it’s amazing. At times we just want to tell Lexi to put the coke down and step away. But we see her go through the ups and downs all the way to the end.

I warmed to all the addicts at the centre, even Sasha. Everyone has issues but it’s how you deal with them that counts.

I loved the writing and the characters. And obviously the fact it’s set in London. What more could you want?

Have you read Clean? What did you think?

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

Poetry Review: She Must Be Mad

Poetry Review: She Must Be Mad

Hey guys. In this week’s blog I’ll be reviewing Charly Cox’s poetry debut, She Must Be Mad.

She Must Be Mad is a book about revisiting young love and painful times. There are three sections within the book; She Must Be In Love, She Must Be Mad, She Must Be Fat and She Must Be An Adult.

I have to say, I didn’t relate to a lot of the things Cox describes in the book because I’ve never had drunken night out or anything like that.

The mental health part of the book resonated with me and also some of the weight issues. I still struggle with how I look, I always will, but we learn to accept ourselves as we are.

Cox also describes what being an adult is all about and how it’s not what we expect it to be. She has a lovely writing style and makes the reader welcome in her world. She’s not afraid to tell her story in detail and that’s what I love about people.

Cox tries to make you feel less alone in a world that tells you want to be and how to act. She comforts you with her words of wisdom about when she went through her youth. The part at the end about being an adult actually made me want to cry because this year I turn 20 and I’m petrified. I don’t want to face being an adult and I don’t want to let go of my teens. But knowing others feel the same way I do is reassuring.

If you want a heartfelt read about youth, lust, love and mental illness, then this is the book for you. Until next time, love, Vee x

Book Review: Margot and Me

Book Review: Margot and Me

I read Margot and Me by Juno Dawson earlier in the year and fell in love with Margot and Fliss.

About

Margot and Me is about how Fliss moves up to Wales to be with Fliss’ grandmother while her mum is in remission from cancer. Fliss has to leave all her friends behind, including a potential love interest. She can’t stand the thought of moving away from London to a tiny town in Wales.

But fortunately for Fliss, she finds her grandmother, Margot’s, diary from the time of the war. She unveils secrets she never knew and discovers it’s not that easy to move away from home. But it does have its perks.

From YA prom where I met Juno!

Review

From the start of the book, I didn’t know what it was going to be about at all or who it was aimed at.

I was excited that Fliss and her mum were moving to Wales because I love it there.

The characters were so likeable, especially Margot (not at the start). I loved Fliss’ mum and Fliss’ gay friend Danny who lives at the Chinese his mum and dad run. Her other friend, Bronwyn is also quite sweet, although a tad odd! Dewi was a personal favourite, a big softie. I wish he would have got more time in the book! (Juno, please write a book for Dewi!)

I felt like I could relate to Fliss, apart from her confidence and sassiness. She worries a lot but is also a kind soul. She has her opinion and sticks by it, regardless of what others think. But ultimately, I loved Margot the most. You could see her character develop from the person in the diaries to who she is now, and it’s not surprising she’s so cold hearted when you look at what she’s gone through.

There was so much crammed into this book that I didn’t know which direction it was going to go in.

The writing was beautiful, especially the parts where we’re reading Margot’s diary. It felt so accurate and made the story come alive. It was like reading a story within a story.

I felt like I was actually in Margot’s farm, watching Fliss resist the urge to eat bacon and seeing her sneak into her bedroom to read more of Margot’s diary.

This book is such a heartfelt read but also a heartbreaking one. Be prepared to cry, laugh (a lot, Fliss is such a diva) and smile. If you want a family oriented read full of laughter, ballet, piglets and more, then read this now!

Book Review: #Girlboss

Book Review: #Girlboss

I read #Girlboss earlier in the year because I’ve already watched the Netflix show twice and wanted to know more about Sophia Amoruso.

About #Girlboss

Girlboss was written by Sophia Amoruso after she created Nasty Gal and has turned her business into a multi million dollar company. She shares her top tips on everything from interviewing to talking with investors. There are Girlboss profiles interviewing amazing freelancers and Nasty Gal stylists.

She talks in detail about being different and how not having a business plan worked out. After all, she started on eBay and now look at her. She’s now the CEO and founder of Nasty Gal, and more recently, Girlboss.

sophia.jpg

Review

I’ve wanted to read #Girlboss ever since I watched the TV series. The way Sophia rebelled against “working for the man” inspired me because I don’t want to be a cog in a machine for someone to get rich while I get naff all.

This book spoke to me, and not because I want to create my own eBay business or anything of the sort. I just want to kick ass and be a Girlboss in everything I do, from wearing clothes to working for myself.

Throughout the book, Sophia jumps around from her childhood to now, to the future. It would be confusing if I didn’t watch the show and if her points didn’t make sense in the chapters. But everything spoke to me and her words make me want to believe in myself. It’s so inspiring to think she made a business out of selling vintage clothes on eBay. Just think of what you could do!

girlboss.jpg

I love books like this because they motivate you to get out of bed in the morning and do something with your life instead of sitting around watching Jeremy Kyle all morning. After reading that I feel like I can do anything. Isn’t that the effect you want from books?

If you want to start you own business or just want to know how to be a Girlboss, then I urge you to read this!

12 Bookish Facts

12 Bookish Facts

Hey guys! In this week’s blog I’m going to be talking about bookish facts. If there are any facts that I haven’t listed but you think are interesting, then please comment them below!

Bookish Facts

1. Abibliophobia is the fear of running out of reading material.

2. Dr. Seuss wrote his first book in 1936 on a luxury liner called the Kungholm. As he crossed the Atlantic the sound the engines made annoyed him so much that his wife proposed he use the repetitive rhythm to help him write the book.

3. Goodreads was established in 2007 and in July 2013 it was reported that they had attracted 55 million members.

4. In Kansas City there is a parking lot for the public library designed to look like a huge bookshelf.

5. There are over 8.2 million copies of all three of The Hunger Games books published in the U.S.

6. The Winnie the Pooh books have been translated into 50 other languages including Yiddish and Esperanto.

7. Beatrix Potter wrote The Fairy Caravan in 1926 which was only published in America because Potter thought it was too autobiographical to be brought out in England in her lifetime. The book was released in the UK nine years after her death in 1943.

8. Jacqueline Wilson’s first book for children was called Nobody’s Perfect.

9. When Roald Dahl was at school he was a taste tester for Cadbury. This is probably what inspired him to write Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

10. Books used to be chained to bookshelves in public libraries.

11. Alice in Wonderland used to be banned in China because General Ho Chien believed it was an insult to the human race that animals should be given speech in books.

12. About £2.2 billion in the UK is spent on books a year and a fifth of this is spent on children’s books.

I hope you enjoyed these! Until next time, Vee x

Why Your Job Will Never Make You Happy

Why Your Job Will Never Make You Happy

Did I get you with the clickbaity headline? Good, now I have your attention, let’s dive in.

Now, I’m not saying you’ll never be happy with the career you’ve chosen, the people you work with or some of the tasks you do. But, in my experience, no matter what job you’re in, there’s always bad parts that come with it.

I have waitressed, worked in retail, in marketing, admin, social media and volunteered. When I was in retail, I hated it, I wanted to move and become a waitress. But then the hours were shit so I moved back home and became an apprentice on little to no money. Again, I moved, worked in marketing and had to work with women who didn’t like me. While I was working this marketing job I was looking into becoming self employed because I had wanted to make the leap and become my own boss for a while.

I knew that because of my mental illness and the negative experiences I’ve encountered over the years, that I didn’t want to ever experience it again. So I delved into freelance work and left my job.

Now, freelance is great. You get to work from home, choose your own hours, answer phone calls in your PJs. But the harsh reality is that you may still have to work with people you don’t like. Or you’ll have to attend meetings with pretentious people or work on weekends. Unfortunately, no matter whether you’re self employed or work full time in an office, as a waitress, in retail ect, you’re always going to encounter issues.

I was naive when it came to becoming freelance. I didn’t realise how lonely it would be, the amount of motivation you have to have and the amount I’d have to deal with.

I just want to tell you not to have high expectations for every job because there will always be something to make you upset. It’s unfair, but I’m learning that that’s the way life is. There are hard parts, but the hard parts are outweighed by the good.

The advantages for me are that I get to spend time in the place I feel most comfortable in; I don’t have to ask if I can eat or use the bathroom and I don’t feel like I’m doing something wrong if I finish work early. I get to spend more time with my partner, have more holiday and control my future. And that makes me happy. What makes you happy in your job?