Book Review: Second Best Friend

Book Review: Second Best Friend

In this week’s post I’ll be reviewing Second Best Friend by Non Pratt!

Blurb

Jade and Becky are best friends, but when Jade’s ex-boyfriend lets on that everyone thinks Becky is the better of the two, Jade finds herself noticing just how often she comes second to her best friend. There’s nothing Jade is better at than Becky. So when Jade is voted in as Party Leader ahead of her school’s General Election only to find herself standing against Becky, Jade sees it as a chance to prove herself. If there’s one thing she can win, it’s this election – even if it means losing her best friend.

Review

The overall theme of the book is about friendship and how that means more to us than anything else. The moral of the story is to not compare yourself to others as we do all the time based on looks, social media etc.

I warmed to some of the characters but it was hard for me to like Becky or even Jade some of the time.

I also didn’t enjoy the ending. Not only was it unrealistic but it made me think Jade isn’t actually sorry for what she’s done. It all seems a bit too good to be true that your friend would forgive you instantly after spouting rumours.

Also, if you’re such good friends, would you not talk about your worries to each other instead of letting a boy get between you?

I think the moral of the story is better suited to younger readers whereas older ones may find this a bit young and far fetched.

If you have read Second Best Friend, what did you think of it?

Until next time, love, Vee x

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

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

Poetry Review: Those Were The Days

Poetry Review: Those Were The Days

In this week’s blog post I’ll be reviewing Ryan Harbold’s debut poetry collection, Those Were The Days.

About

“Those Were The Days” is a poetry collection that is, the entire life I’ve lived and all the crazy from it.It’s all about your youth and all the nights that turned to days. Being drunk and stupid, falling in love and knowing absolutely nothing but thinking you do. It’s nostalgic and all about what life was like when you’re growing up. The confusion. All the teen angst emotions. The best friends that are now strangers and of course all the good memories you forgot about. It’s about time you lived in your car. It’s the girl who left you speechless with butterflies that you don’t know anymore. It’s all the drugs and stress you drowned your head in. It’s just everything you felt under the stars back then.

Review

I enjoyed reading Ryan’s poetry; it’s all about being a teen and how he got by at the worst points in his life.

His writing is smooth and he says exactly what he thinks and I love modern poetry like that.

I think it’s important to know that everyone goes through bad and good in their life, even at 19. Ryan writes about the friends who got him through and the girl he loved. He writes so honestly that I admire his work and the fact he’s able to spill his heart out. We need more poetry collections like this one.

If you’re looking for poetry about love, loss, teen angst, growing up and friendship, then I definitely recommend reading Those Were The Days.

You can follow Ryan on social media and his username is @wordsryan.

You can find his book here.

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

An Evening with Hank Green

An Evening with Hank Green

I went to see Hank Green tonight on the ONLY UK tour he was doing for his new book, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. It was set in the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square and tickets were sold out.

There were some hilarious laughs, one of them being John Green roasted by his brother (John was not there, I know, disappointed😂).

We were told at the start of the evening there was a raffle and only 100 people could have a meet and greet with Hank. I was a lucky winner! I got to take a photo (albeit blurry) and took a stranger’s picture in the process.

There were really deep chats with Holly Bourne who chaired the event about humans, what Hank’s most remarkable thing is and if his book was predicting the future when he started writing it in 2014. It was really interesting.

I haven’t read the book yet but I’m definitely going to after meeting Hank. He’s such a down to earth person, and we got to laugh about Trump, so what could be better!?

I love being surrounded by bookish people and I saw some familiar faces, including ‘the large ginger man’ from Waterstones as he calls himself.

Thank you to Waterstones for setting up such an event! I had an amazing night (apart from running for the train!). 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