My thoughts on that green eyed girl by Julie Owen Moylan

book review

This book was bought for me as a birthday present in June and it jumped way up my tbr list as the other books sat solemnly on my wooden shelves watching as a grabbed this new book to read. 

Luckily I was not disappointed with my choice to read it early. It wouldn’t be one I’d normally pick in a book shop however the book is beautiful and the turquoise pages drew me in. All I knew was what the blurb had told me and it sounded intriguing and something that could either be executed very well or poorly.  

The story is set In two different decades, 1955 and 1975 and as I have previously said I love different Eras and reading about how different it was and also how similar. Below I have included the synopsis from waterstones. 

Although I was rooting for the characters I still found them frustrating. Dovie is a people pleaser and doesn’t want to upset anyone but this causes her more hurt and trouble in the long run. Gillian and Dovie’s lack of communication is what causes a lot of their problems. It was giving me ‘normal people’. The frustrating relationship where they want to be together but they just can’t communicate well enough for it to work. I did like Gillian and Dovie and wanted it to work out for them. In 1975 our main character is Ava winters who is a teenager navigating her own family problems along with trying to be a normal teen experiencing life. I enjoyed reading both decades as they both, I felt, had interesting storylines and I also wanted to see things work out for the characters. I like how the stories become entwined. Too find out how you’ll have to give it a read.

There were some very important and serious themes in this book that helped me to understand the poor treatment people have experienced and the extreme methods used to ‘cure’ them of their quote ‘unnatural activities’ although upsetting I think it’s important to know about the past so we don’t repeat it in the now. The author describes how the women were arrested and treated awfully because of their sexuality and these innocent women went through a lot of pain and trauma and had unhappy lives which is horrible but it was the reality and you see through the book how their whole lives had been affected terribly by this and by the fear of being caught. Although the book doesn’t describe anything too graphically as an emotional person I did find I really felt for them and for anyone at the time having to hide who they were/are.

Another difficult theme was that of feeling unloved from those that should be there unconditionally and also navigating family relationships and problems as a young person. I think ultimately this book is an interesting mystery, dealing with feelings we all feel to some degree or at least can relate to: guilt, shame, the need to impress, desire, feeling alone and feelings of not being good enough. But also positives such as finding good friends that become like family and having dreams to pursue.

I would recommend this book as I was gripped the whole way through and I enjoyed the characters even when they weren’t too likeable and there are little twists throughout. So if you are interested in fiction or trying to figure out the mystery then give this one a go!

I was struggling to get back into reading more and this year I am well behind on my goal. This book has given me a bit of a boost to try different books and get stuck in.

Good to be back at it again- introduction and what I’ve been reading in 2022 so far

book review

I’ll start by saying hi, I am back. And I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted but I am glad to be back and sending out a post and hopefully connecting with people again

2022 for me has been a year of real progress and working on myself. So I have been reading but I haven’t felt in a position to really post anything and I’ve had to not let the guilt get to me.

I started the year mentally, not in the best place but through therapy i have really started to come through and see a happier life so although I’ve not been posting it has been a journey and I’m feeling ready to be back at it again.

I set my goal on goodreads at the start of the year to read 45 books. Last year I read 44 and thought one more will be easaaaay but it’s the 7th month and I’ve read 22 so either a lot of catch up needed or some really quick reads. Any recommendations welcome 🌝

So I thought I would talk about 5 of the best books I’ve read this year so far.

1. The seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid : I LOVED this book it is so well written in terms of character portrayal. The characters feel real and I felt a connection to their stories. It is a story that has real sadness and the reality that people face in not being able to be themselves and feel happy and open about who they are and what makes them truly happy. Great read and has stayed with me since 100% recommend

2. Nothing to see here by Kevin Wilson: I initially picked this book up as it looked interesting with a illustrated cover and the blurb said it was about children that spontaneously combust however they are ok and it’s a normal thing for them. so I thought it sounded like an odd concept to give it a go. I found this book captivating and at points brought me to tears and made me laugh out loud. I am such an empath and it made me want to just make sure the children were safe and looked after and happy and that it would turn out okay for them. A great story which gave me all the feels. Loved it and would read again.

3. Daisy Jones and the six by Taylor Jenkins Reid: this book is 100% one of the best books I have read. I love music. I love the idea of the 70s and the movement of the time and the characters again so well written that it feels real and I wanted to be part of it all. It explores interesting and serious topics but it doesn’t feel too heavy. The story is written as a transcript like an interview with the band and with friends and family and it was lively and fun. I hoped it wouldn’t end. It is also being made into a Netflix programme which I’m super excited for.

4. The no show by Beth O’Leary: at first I wasn’t sure what was happening and if I was going to enjoy the book however I’m not one to give up but it was interesting enough to keep me reading and I am so glad I did. It is funny, it is sweet and some great twists and turns to keep you reading non stop. I was in a bit of a slump and this book helped me get out of it. Again it made me laugh it made me cry it shocked me and I felt it all. Beth o Leary continues to keep me entertained and also fall in love with the characters and their story’s

Maybe in another life by Taylor Jenkins Reid: again Taylor Jenkins Reid has really smashed it for me in my reading list this year. Having read 3 of her books I’ve found the love for the way she writes and makes you believe in the characters. The story splits into two alternate realities where decisions the main character makes paves two very different lives and makes you think differently about all the whatifs we have and how things would have turned out had we just done something different. although things might not be what we expect it doesn’t mean it won’t work out.

I have read some fab books and can’t wait to continue with my journey 🙂 any and all recommendations welcome!

Thank you for reading ☺️

Reading goal 2022

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I only started reading for enjoyment again last year, after years of not really picking up a book. For me this past year of getting into reading again has made me a lot happier, more focused and a lot more reflective. I’ve enjoyed finding a hobby that is relaxing but also uses imagination. I feel inspired and find myself recalling the stories in my head and the enjoyment I got from them. This is why I decided to write about the books I’ve read to recount the experience and also for others to find books to try.

My goal for 2021 was to read 30 books and I ended the year having read 41 which I was so pleased with. The goodreads challenge kept me on track and I enjoyed a variety of books I probably would never have picked up. My new goal for this year is to read more non-fiction. I’ve not been one to want to read anything but fiction as I see reading as a break, I spend my day normally at work and then I have coursework and other things that take up my time, so reading became my hobby but I’ve realised non-fiction doesn’t need to be textbooks or complicated, long winded novels. they too can bring enjoyment, insight and be beneficial for many reasons.

I started this goal by this month reading ‘shy’ by Annie Ridout. First of all this book is eye catching, it has a yellow cover and hot pink words on the front, I know what you’re thinking, ‘you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover’ but we have all done it right? In this case I think not only does the bright cover bring me joy but the comforting words in side brought to me a lot of inner peace that I needed. As a shy person I often feel ashamed and boring, often making me dread social events, even though I enjoy seeing people. I have often felt that shyness is a fault that I need to work on. but ‘shy’ enforces that it is not a fault it does not need to be cured or exorcised from a person and shy people should not always have to adapt themselves for others.

There have been many books and articles written about how to be more extroverted. How to be less shy. How to be more outgoing, I like that this book looks at all these societal ideas and says introverts should not always be the ones having to change themselves and maybe situations should be made with introverts in mind. With the right environment a shy person can thrive and grow in confidence. Shy is not synonymous with weakness or failure.

With shy children it’s so important to go at their pace and to also take them seriously when they do feel ready to try something. Even if we don’t imagine them being able to muster the confidence to do it. They need to be given the opportunity to try. And maybe Succeed. And possibly fail but we can’t say: I don’t think you are ready for this. As thats for them to decide.

Shy

Growing up quiet and rather shy I did often feel like I wasn’t taken seriously or listened to but that has also followed me in my adult life at times, those that give me the time and support I need have seen the real me.

It’s so important that we think about how we can support each other and help each other to thrive in our own way not underestimate someone who is quiet or not listen and help them progress as you feel they aren’t able to. This book is packed with great quotes, tips, research and experiences from professionals from all walks of life. The book discusses the differences between social anxiety, shyness and being an introvert. It is such an interesting read split up into 10 easy sections and whether you read it for yourself or to support your friends, family, your children, your partner or just get a better understanding of how shyness affects people and how it can lead to great success.

My thoughts on: Nothing to see here by Kevin Wilson

book review

A brief Synopsis … doesn’t do the story justice

Lilian attends an elite boarding school as a scholarship student where she befriends the beautiful and wealthy Madison. Despite their differences they form a close friendship and become inseparable. Later during their time at boarding school a scandal forces Lilian out of the school. Madison and Lilian continue to keep in touch writing letters to each other although a reunion is yet to happen. Years later Lilian receives an urgent plea for help from Lilian in the form of their usual letters. Intrigued, Lilian follows up no longer making excuses to not meet.

Jasper, Madison’s husband has twins from a previous marriage and they are now faced with having to care for them full time following devastation. Knowing Lilian will be discreet and keep her secrets Madison knows she’s the only one she can turn to.

You see, children can often have little quirks and they are a big responsibility but the responsibility and need for a lot of care increases ten fold when they can SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST at any given moment. Although they remain unharmed it is not ideal for the senate to have fire children.

The book was published in October 2019 by Ecco press and it wasn’t until 2021 that it caught my attention. I purchased the book and was excited to read it but as with all things for me it took a while to get round to reading it. It is my fourth read of 2022 and I am not disappointed! Not one bit.

I had expectations of the book to a certain extent but I hadn’t thought too much about it, I knew others had enjoyed the book and I knew the general idea of the story but that’s as much as I had processed. I picked the book up and after only a few pages I knew it was going to be an interesting read.

What I liked about this story was how loveable Bessie was. She is ten years old but she understands a lot. Their upbringing had not been easy and it seemed they had to teach themselves a lot of what we all take for granted and Bessie would beat herself up for not knowing things when she had not been given the tools in life to have the chance to learn. She was sweet, honest, funny and wise and she was my favourite character. creating many moments in the book that bought tears to my eyes. I loved The way Lilian interacted with the kids and the way she thought of them. To take on another families children and treat them as your own and love them unconditionally is a strong thing to do and really shows her character. The love in this book was powerful and moving

Even though I actually did not like to be touched, I just let it happen, I allowed it, it was fine

Page 167

Roland and Bessie, the twins, and Lilian really opened up and allowed each other in which was something none of them would have done for anyone before and this bond really made this book memorable. We all want unconditional love and to feel safe and this was captured perfectly throughout the story.

They would always, kind of, belong to me. I had never wanted kids, because I had never wanted a man to give me a kid. The thought of it, gross; the expectation of it. But if a hole in the sky opened up and two weird children fell to earth, smashing into the ground like meteorites, then that was something I could care for. If it gleamed like it was radiating danger, I’d hold it. I would.

Page 168

Although the fire caused the children to be isolated and experience life differently, Bessie confessed she never wanted it to leave she wouldn’t know what to do without it. Roland and Bessie had been treated badly by those who should love them unconditionally and should protect them from harm so when they didn’t have that, they had the fire to protect them. Their innocence and naivety makes you love these children even more and just want to wrap them up and tell them it’s all okay.

I loved this book, I loved Lilian, Roland and Bessie and was invested in their well-being the whole way through routing for them and I think that’s what I want from a book, to connect with the characters and feel for them. the book was comforting, hilarious, bizarre and warming.

I 100% would read this book again and I wouldn’t normally say that so if you take anything from this please give it a try.

What can I say about The last house on needless street by Catriona Ward

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I read the last house on needless street throughout April for my book club and wow was I impressed. This book has so many twists and turns and really grips you as a reader. I loved this book and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good psychological thriller.

Now I can’t say too much about the story without giving anything away so you will have to read it for yourself but I 100% know you won’t be disappointed.

Goodreads summary:

The story keeps you guessing throughout and is told through a number of perspectives, all of which we are unsure we can trust completely but all I can say is, get your hands on a copy and you will not be able to stop reading.

I know some people have found it strange and have given up at the introduction of Olivia but please please please give it a go.

My thoughts on: Before the coffee gets cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

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3 stars ⭐️

The concept of this book really intrigued me about the time travel and the stories of the characters, I had heard mixed reviews about this book however I went into it with an open mind not knowing what the there would be in store for me.

Before the coffee gets cold is a relatively short book with only 192 pages so it’s not a big read. The book is set in a small cafe in Tokyo which has been serving specially brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. This coffee shops offers a unique opportunity for its customers to travel in time. The book is split into sections following 4 customers and their decision to travel in time. What made them want to do it and are they willing to risk it? It lets people face their past and allow them to move forward with their life. Although nothing can be changed, they can learn and find peace. However, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold otherwise they will become a ghost, trapped.

I found this book quite difficult at the beginning to keep track of who everyone was, how they were related to the story and the other characters however once I grasped this part I was able to follow the story and each character’s history much more easily.

I liked the concept of this book however I’m not sure it was executed how I was expecting. It may be that I was expecting more than I thought originally but I feel that although people could travel in time there wasn’t that much that happened during these sections. I was more interested at the present time and understanding what drove these people to want to time travel and what they hoped it would bring them. I liked the present time characters and their story’s as they were better developed and weaved the story together.

The stories were heart warming and I liked the connections between the characters and the idea of a magical cafe that allowed you to go back in time. The time travel was well thought out by the author. I liked that there were set rules and that it was treated as a very important responsibility to pour the coffee that was passed down through generations but I did feel like something was missing. It did make me think and I did feel for the characters for the losses they have experienced and the guilt and regrets they had held onto. I think this book is more focused on these ideas than there actually being a storyline to follow.

I would recommend reading before the coffee gets cold because it is interesting and a great concept which I’m sure will appeal to many. My rating was 3 stars at this time however I might revisit and see if anything changes.

What I thought about: The Split by Laura Kay

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The split by Laura Kay was released on 18th March 2021, I hadn’t seen much about this book but I was intrigued. The front cover says ‘Ally’s relationship is over, and she’s taking the cat…’ and as a cat lover this inevitably drew me in.

The story is not a romance in a traditional sense but it is very funny. Ally’s girlfriend Emily has just split up with her so ally moves back in with her dad in Sheffield from their bot house on London. Ally’s old friend from primary school, Jeremy, is also suffering from heartbreak from a recent breakup with Ben and they both find comfort in each other after their parents suggest they hang out. Jeremy and Ally soon become the best of friends through the ups and downs of heartbreak and single life. Jeremy believes his ex boyfriend Ben might be running the Sheffield half marathon and convinces Ally to run it with him which is hilarious and I identify fully with them and the hatred they have towards running but the determination they have to complete it. After moping around her dads house in her old bedroom for weeks, Ally needs to find a job and the introduction of these new characters through work is a lovely addition to the already fab friendship Ally and Jeremy have.

I love Ally’s dad and feel like he cares so much and is so supportive of Ally and any decision she makes. He is a very heart warming and funny character that you can’t help but love.

Throughout the book I was increasingly frustrated with Ally and her overwhelming need to get Emily back while trying to prove how far she has come and show Emily she is over it. Although the conversations between Ally and Jeremy are funny and they build a great friendship, Ally does annoy me with all the pining and the emails to try and get her ex back but I guess that’s what a breakup can do to a person.

I feel it is a story about friendship, heartbreak and taking risks. There is also cake, a cat and running. I would recommend this book if you are looking for something funny and light. Although I enjoyed it I would only give it 3/5 but this may be due to my own expectations, I just wasn’t too invested in the character of Ally but I did really like Jeremy.

What books have made you laugh out loud?

April Book club pick – The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

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For April we have decided to read the last house on needless street. Released on 18th March 2021, This book has been called a horror thriller and I would normally not read anything described as a horror as I would be sleeping with the light on for weeks so I’m hoping it will be more of a thriller but I am grateful that I am being pushed out of my comfort zone and I’m looking forward to giving it a go.

I use goodreads ALOT to help track my reading, set goals and discover new books and keep a TBR list which is super useful. So I have been on goodreads to find out a little bit about the last house on needless street when we were deciding on our book for the month. Goodreads synopsis is the following:

Goodreads

I love a good thriller with twists and turns that keeps you hooked so I’m really hoping this will be a good one. Stephen King praised this novel saying the the buzz around Cattiona Ward’s new novel is real & well if Stephen King is saying it…

I’m looking forward to this one and can’t wait for my copy to arrive. Let me know your thoughts If you have read this one or if it’s on your tbr.

My thoughts on: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

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The flatshare has been on my tbr list for a while and so many people have been gushing about it and recommending it so I was overly excited when I got my copy in the post 🥳 & I loved every second of reading it.

I don’t have a single bad thing to say about the book, it is a delight!! Such a feel good book with fab characters that you can’t help but love.

The story does explore emotional abuse in relationships and gaslighting but overall it is a very uplifting and positive book about the strength of friendship and how a relationship should be, although there can be ups and downs the characters support each other and respect their choices, decisions and feelings

I loved that you follow the story from two perspectives both Leon and tiffy and they both bought so much to the story. Leon’s story is about family and the bond you have with a sibling and his job working in a hospice and the difference his patients make to his life and the impact he has on them. Tiffy’s explores toxic relationships, female friendships and her job in publishing and the ups and downs.

I would 100% recommend this book if you want something sweet and uplifting and you enjoy romcoms. It is the perfect read and I would definitely read it again. It had a really good storyline with little ongoing themes to follow throughout which kept me interested. This book made me want to be more positive and not take things too seriously.

What I thought about: Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

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I feel a bit like for a while I’ve been carrying ten balls of wool. And one ball fell, so I dropped another to catch it, but still didn’t catch it. Then two more started to unravel, and in trying to save those I lost another one. Do you know what I mean? Sorry.’

This book is another one of those books that I was seeing everywhere. I read so many positive reviews and so much hype that I really wanted to read it as I wasn’t going to miss out, so here I am and I wasn’t disappointed.

Tw: suicide, eating disorder,abuse, sexual harassment, mental health, miscarriage.

When I first started reading Queenie, I wasn’t sure I would love it but once the story began to progress and the characters were formed into more realistic people that I was able to connect with I found it a great story that highlighted so many important themes but I didn’t feel like it was too in your face or a particularly difficult read.

Queenie as a book discusses themes such as race, feminism, friendships, heartbreak, mental health, abuse, family and what it is to try and find your way in life as a young woman. Through all the heartache and ensuing problems Queenie is a strong character who is not afraid to admit she needs help and get the help she needs for her health physically and mentally. Although initially frowned upon by her family.

The road to recovery is not linear. It’s not straight. It’s a bumpy path, with lots of twists and turns. But you’re on the right track.’

I love the friendships Queenie has and her friendship with her cousin Diana, they were supportive and positive relationships and although they all had their flaws they were celebrated and the core group of friends really did care about each other, it’s good to read about women supporting women.

I also liked how the rest of the family interact with each other, while they all have their flaws they ultimately are all there for each other and love and support one another in their own way.

I found myself laughing out loud throughout this book and there were times when I began to tear up. I wouldn’t say it is particularly a hard read but it does tackle some very tough subjects and shows the importance of acknowledging when you or some one needs help and getting the help at the earliest opportunity. I expected Queenie to be a light fun read and although I had fun and enjoyed reading it, there are some serious subject discussed which I loved it even more for.

I would give this book 4.5 stars, I liked the characters, I liked that it explores a range of subject matter that we should be discussing and thinking about. I also feel like the ending was exactly where it should have been and it wasn’t a ‘and everyone lived happily ever after’ it was realistic and true to life.