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

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.

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

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower: Book vs Film

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower: Book vs Film

In this weeks blog I’m going to be comparing The Perks Of Being A Wallflower book to the film. Let me know in the comments which you prefer.

I immediately watched the film after I had read the book; this may have been a mistake because all I could think was: this didn’t happen in the book; they’ve missed this out. Although some parts of the book were missing (like his sister being pregnant), you can expect this from films because you can’t fit everything from the book in it.
I thought that Logan Lerman did a fantastic job portraying Charlie and I loved seeing Paul Rudd as Bill (although he’s called Mr. Anderson in the film and Charlie does’t get invited over for tea in the film). I thought they picked a great cast and my favourite has to be Patrick, played by Ezra Miller. If you haven’t seen the film, I suggest you read the book first so that the characters don’t become the actors in your head.
I like to read the book before I see the movie so that I can read the book without it being ruined. Although the film did do the book some justice (after all, it was directed by Chbosky himself) I still preferred the book because there was a lot more detail. If you’ve seen the film before reading the book I think you’d be left with some questions.
One thing that’s different in the film is that Sam and Charlie seem to be together, whereas in the book it’s pretty much left down to “we’ll see what happens” and “we’ll write to each other.” There are a lot of things that bother me about the ending; does Charlie feel better? Does he make new friends? He was starting to be okay again and now it’s all come crashing down. Will I know what happened to him? How did he become depressed? There are so many unanswered questions; but that’s just like life. Everything is a cliffhanger.
If you’ve read the book or seen the film or both, let me know in the comments what your thoughts are and which version you prefer. Until next time, love, Vee x

Book Review: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

Book Review: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

Hey guys! In this weeks blog I’ll be reviewing a classic! This is The Perks Of Being A Wallflower which is also a major feature film.

Blurb

Charlie is a freshman. And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix-tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But Charlie can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

Review

I’ve been wanting to read The Perks Of Being A Wallflower for quite some time now and I really want to see the movie. So I decided to read the book before the movie as I always do.

I really enjoyed this new take on life from Charlie and I love how the writer is so committed to this character that you believe he’s real. Charlie reminds me of Sam from Atypical or Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. He thinks there’s something wrong with him when there’s not; he’s just unique.

Charlie is so determined to make everyone happy that he doesn’t take his own happiness into account; he lets Mary Elizabeth talk for hours because he can’t say no; and he lets Patrick kiss him when he doesn’t want him to. It almost feels like Charlie is a puppet who doesn’t really care about himself as long as others are happy.

This book is so thought provoking and witty and I can’t wait to see the film. I rooted for Charlie and his friends to be happy, to feel infinite. Charlie has his problems that he’s working out with a therapist and he doesn’t understand why he’s being asked all these questions until he figures out why at the end. You start to see why he’s upset all of the time and why he has difficulty socializing.

I thought this book was so well written and Chbosky knows how to read his characters. This book teaches us that there’s nothing wrong with being unique and that we all have stories that make us who we are, or who we choose to be.

This is going to be a must read for readers everywhere; I just know that when I’m much older, this book is going to be used in schools and colleges and be regarded as a classic of our time. We need more books like this that make the reader feel infinite.

I hope you enjoyed this review; don’t forget to subscribe to my blog as it means so much to me! Until next time, love, Vee x

Poetry Review: Sunshine

Poetry Review: Sunshine

Hey guys! In this week’s blog I’m going to be reviewing Melissa Lee-Houghton’s poetry collection, Sunshine, which was shortlisted for the Costa book awards.

Blurb

Sunshine is the new collection from Next Generation Poet Melissa Lee-Houghton. A writer of startling confession, her poems inhabit the lonely hotel rooms, psych wards and deserted lanes of austerity Britain.

Sunshine combines acute social observation with a dark, surreal humour born of first-hand experience. Abuse, addiction and mental health are all subject to Lee-Houghton’s poetic eye. But these are also poems of extravagance, hope and desire, that stake new ground for the romantic lyric in an age of social media and internet porn. In this new book of poems, Melissa Lee-Houghton shines a light on human ecstasy and sadness with blinding precision.

Review

Although Melissa’s style isn’t one of my favourites, I think her portrayal of mental health is accurate and she describes some of our deepest, darkest thoughts as humans. She has a unique writing style and talks about sexual desire, sadness and ecstasy. There is lots of talk about sexual sensations; I think this borders on sexual obsession throughout the book.

Some poems I could feel her strength and in a lot of others I could feel her raw emotion, her sadness, her bitterness. She struggles through life, trying to find the meaning of it. It is heartbreaking and comforting all at once, knowing that others feel the same way that you do; that we aren’t weird or crazy. She talks of addiction and abuse and her time spent in psych wards, trying to make sense of the world we live in.

If you enjoy no filter language, mental health topics and intimate encounters, then this is the collection for you. Full of raw emotion, Melissa has left her heart open, like any good poet does, for the world to see.

I hope you enjoyed this review and I’ll see you next time! Love, Vee x

Poetry Review: In Full Velvet

Poetry Review: In Full Velvet

Hey guys! In this week’s blog I’ll be reviewing Jenny Johnson’s poetry collection In Full Velvet. I hope you enjoy!

 

Blurb

Sinuous and sensual, the poems of In Full Velvet interrogate the nuances of desire, love, gender, ecology, LGBTQ lineage and community, and the tension between a body’s material limits and the forms made possible by the imagination. Characterized by formal poise, vulnerability, and compassion, Johnson’s debut collection is one of resounding generosity and grace.

 

Review

I bought In Full Velvet as an impulse buy and I had never heard of it before. I read a lot of Amanda Lovelace and Rupi Kaur’s work which is much different from Johnson’s writing.

I thought that Johnson’s descriptions of nature were refreshing and I enjoyed reading about the metaphors and the LGBT poems, especially the ones regarding gender identity. Johnson has a unique way of words that grips the reader into her writing, even if you can’t relate. Some of the poems I couldn’t understand but the overall meaning of them is recognizable.

Some of my favourite poems from this collection include Little Apophat and Vigil. If you like poems about nature, LGBT, gender identity and desire, then you’ll love In Full Velvet.

Have you read In Full Velvet? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments. Until next time, love, Vee x

Book Review: Extraordinary Means

Book Review: Extraordinary Means

In this week’s blog post I’m going to be reviewing Robyn Schneider’s book, Extraordinary Means. If you’ve read it, let me know in the comments what your thoughts are and if you agree with my review.

Blurb

When he’s sent to Latham House, a boarding school for sick teens, Lane thinks his life may as well be over.
But when he meets Sadie and her friends – a group of eccentric troublemakers – he realises that maybe getting sick is just the beginning. That illness doesn’t have to define you, and that falling in love is its own cure.
Extraordinary Means is a darkly funny story about true friendships, ill-fated love and the rare miracle of second chances.

Review

I wasn’t sure how I would feel when reading this book as I’ve never read anything about sickness. I was intrigued by the story line and after a while, I started to get into it.
Lane is a sweetheart really and needs to learn to live in the present and not the future. He’s consumed with applying for college and his homework but doesn’t have time to spend with any friends or family. So when he’s forced to abandon his schoolwork due to him having TB, he learns how to interact with his new friends and how to enjoy living in the now.
Sadie is who every girl wants to be – or who they think they are. She’s sassy, cheeky and full of confidence, but behind the lipstick and pretty dresses, she’s scared of her future outside of Latham since she has been there so long. Will she make friends? What if she’s really behind? She acts the menace, smuggling in contraband, swigging vodka out of juice boxes and running away into town for carnivals – she’s everything that Lane isn’t. Which is why they work. She taught Lane to live in the moment and to face your fears, while Lane taught Sadie that she needs to trust in the future and not to worry about it.
I’m not going to lie, this book made me cry. I wasn’t expecting the ending and I was so sad. But it really is a beautiful book all about friendship and learning from your experiences. Some things are just meant to be, we don’t know why or how, but they just are.
I can’t wait to read more of Robyn’s work if it’s as good as this. It really does remind me of John Green, so if you’re a fan of his, then this is another author to keep an eye on. You’t won’t be disappointed with the story line of this book, although you may shed a bucket load of tears over it.
Don’t forget to subscribe if you love book and poetry reviews! Until next time, love, Vee x

Book Review: Attachments

Book Review: Attachments

Hi guys! This week’s blog is a review of Rainbow Rowell’s book, Attachments.

Blurb

It’s 1999 and for the staff of one newspaper office, the internet is still a novelty. By day, two young women, Beth and Jennifer, spend their hours emailing each other, discussing in hilarious detail every aspect of their lives, from love troubles to family dramas. And by night, Lincoln, a shy, lonely IT guy spends his hours reading every exchange.

At first their emails offer a welcome diversion, but as Lincoln unwittingly becomes drawn into their lives, the more he reads, the more he finds himself falling for one of them. By the time Lincoln realizes just how head-over-heels he really is, it’s way too late to introduce himself. What would he say to her? ‘Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mails – and also, I think I love you’.

After a series of close encounters, Lincoln decides it’s time to muster the courage to follow his heart, and find out whether there really is such a thing as love before first-sight.

Review

I was really excited about reading more of Rainbow Rowell’s work because I loved Fangirl and Carry On. I didn’t know what to expect with this book because it’s more of an adult fiction book rather than YA which is what I’m used to. But I actually loved this sweet story.

I think Rowell was clever in her way of writing Lincoln as someone who doesn’t know what they want in life and they feel stuck. It’s not just about him finding the girl of his dreams but it’s about him moving on from Sam, moving out of his mother’s home and finding the job that he wants.

Rowell’s idea for this book is quite unique and set in a time where the internet was just booming. The use of emails in the story was clever and having Lincoln fall for Beth before he even met her was so romantic.

I loved Beth’s personality and I enjoyed listening to Jennifer’s rants. All the characters were so well developed and we slowly see all of these people come together into Lincoln’s story as his friends. Even though what Lincoln did is wrong, it’s understandable under the circumstances and we forgive him because of Rowell’s incredible writing.

The whole way through the book I was rooting for Lincoln to win Beth over and to be the person she needs in her life. But he did the gentlemanly thing and left her be and let her find out what her boyfriend was really like on her own.

Overall, I loved the character development in the story and how the book ended. It was truly a wonderful and unique read and I recommend it to anyone who loves romance and fiction.

Until next time, love Vee x

Book Review: The Tattooist Of Auschwitz

Book Review: The Tattooist Of Auschwitz

In this week’s review I’ll be reviewing The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.

Blurb

In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust.

Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight. And he was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this woman, Gita, did, too.

So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the tattooist of Auschwitz.

Review

I don’t usually read historical romance, but I was compelled to read this since having visited Anne Frank’s House and reading her diary. I want to also visit Auschwitz and reading this made my heart break.

I was apprehensive at first because I was worried about how I would handle hearing about the torture and torment these people went through. But Morris writes beautifully of Lale’s love for Gita and I couldn’t put this book down for a second. Their heartwarming story makes you have faith in humanity. I was constantly praying that they come out alive since I had never heard about Lale’s story and didn’t want to ruin it.

Expecting the worst, I read on to hear about all the tortures the women, men and children went through. From the crematorium to the beatings Lale receives, it is all heartbreaking.

I won’t ruin the end for you. But I will say that Lale and Gita’s story lives on in this book. Morris has done a wonderful job reciting Lale’s story. It kept me on my toes, made me want to cry, pray and be thankful. Everyone will be in tears after reading this.

Hearing about what they went through is excruciating and no one should wish someone so much pain. Their bravery, all of them, is admired and will live on in every heart that reads this beautiful love story.

If you haven’t already, you need to read this now. Until next time, love, Vee x