Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Book review | What I've been reading lately


There’s nothing more comforting than curling up after a sh*t day with a good book in your hands.

One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to read two books a month which isn’t a lot but with a busy schedule can prove quite challenging. Often by the time I’ve finished work, seen my friends, done some blogging, worked out etc etc all I want to do is slam my fat head into my pillow and fall asleep. However, I have been making extra time to turn my phone off and read for at least half an hour before bed.

The rewards have wreaked. I fall asleep easier and therefore get a better night’s sleep. I learn new words which means an extensive vocabulary but most importantly I have alighted my great love for reading. I’ve discovered some cracking books and also one which was, horrendous, and the worst £8.99 I’ve ever spent.



Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – JK Rowling

Admittedly I started reading this on Christmas Day and finished it on News Year Day when I was completely and utterly hungover. Even though my body wanted nothing more than to sleep after my friend kindly dropped me off home I ran upstairs to dive back into the pages of this script. The major Harry Potter fan in me is so ashamed to admit that I didn’t read this the second it was put on the shelves in stores.

I was hesitant to read it because I was worried that 1) reading a script wouldn’t interest me and 2) that this sequel would be sh*t and ruin the magical world I’d grown up adoring. Oh, how I was so wrong. I forgot how much I’d love reading a script (Macbeth is a classic after all).

It follows the tale of Harry, Ron, Hermione and other characters’ children. We go back to Hogwarts and get to see what school is like for them while living in their parent’s famous footsteps. We get to see a whole new side of the three characters we all know and love as they’re now adults in jobs while they struggle with a new challenge – being parents. It’s fascinating to find out what life is like for them, it answers so many questions and we finally get to know these new characters that were introduced in the final chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

I fell in love with the characters, Scorpius being my favourite (Draco Malfoy’s son). Like always Rowling perfected them and all their detail brought them to life.

I’m annoyed at myself for not reading it sooner but I look forward to reading it again one day once my mind starts to forget all the details so I can experience the magic all over again. After all, isn’t that why we all fell in love with Harry Potter?


Me After You – JoJo Moyes

The sequel to ‘Me Before You’ which was a massive hit when it was made into a film and starred Emilia Clarke (from Game of Thrones who plays Daenerys) and the heartthrobs Sam Claflin and Matthew Lewis (who plays Neville in Harry Potter). Therefore, you know it’s a bloody cracking series.

Funnily enough, I saw Me Before You in the cinema while on a date with a guy I really bloody fancied at the time. Which is absolutely humiliating because I cried my eyes out to the point that my mascara was dripping down my face with my tears.

But this series will do that to you. In case you haven’t heard of it or read the first book I’ll quickly summarise it – the main character Louisa Clarke is a small-town girl who becomes a carer for a handsome man called Will Traynor. Will was in an accident and becomes wheelchair-bound. The pair fall in love and the most heart-breaking ending occurs – I won’t spoil it for you!

In ‘After You’ it’s all about how Louisa deals with that. She moves to London and someone turns up on her door who tips her life upside down all over again. New characters are introduced, particularly one called Sam…

The author, Jojo Moyes, is so fantastically talented at capturing your attention that I felt like I was Louisa. I felt her grief, her sadness, happiness and worries. I could understand how she felt… I felt what she felt.

After I finished the last page and read the last word once again, tears were rushing down my cheeks. I instantly googled ‘When is the sequel to After You out?’ I would have ordered it from across the world and paid whatever shipping costs it took. Now that is an author that captures your heart.


Still Me – JoJo Moyes

I couldn’t contain my excitement when I walked into my local Waterstones and saw Still Me in the ‘new in’ section. I didn’t even look at how much it cost I just ran to the counter like an excited kid in a candy store.

As I said, the second I finished After Me I was DYING to read the next segment. I finished it in three nights. I barely slept but I didn’t care.

I was prepared this time and had a box of Kleenex tissues next to my bed and thank God, I did because of course, it made me tear up. By this book, I was so invested in the characters that it hurt even more when something went wrong.

In Still Me Louisa Clarke takes a job opportunity in New York caring for a young woman named Agnes. Unlike Will Traynor, Agnes didn’t need a carer she just needed a friend and that was Clarke’s job. Everything goes tits up and again, it leaves you heartbroken.

However, it’s a funny, heart-warming and tremendous read. It’s a timeless love story and it actually taught me a few life lessons – the whole sequel did. I learnt to love hard, fight for what I want and to just simply live. Say yes to things, explore, travel and make every single second count and as cliché as that sounds the sequel made me see my own reality differently. I’m living, but I’m not really LIVING.

I grabbed my iPad and email Jojo Moyes after I read it to let her know how much I enjoyed it. It meant that much to me.


Strong Looks Better Naked – Khloe Kardashian

Now, before you skip this one and sigh at the thought of a Kardashian book, hear me out.

I picked up Khloe’s book the day after I’d stepped on the scale to discover that I had put on a couple of pounds. I’d quit smoking a month previously and with that, I was eating everything in sight to try and distract me from my addiction.

My weight brings me down daily, even hourly some days. Some days I don’t eat, others I binge. I started to enjoy the feeling of being so hungry that my stomach hurt but that wasn’t healthy mentally or physically. I pulled myself together and while browsing the classic ‘self-help’ section I discovered this gem.

I’m a lover of the Kardashian’s so I was aware of Khloe’s struggles with her weight and had always wondered how she’d got into the shape of her life. She spills all the tea in her book and it so unbelievably inspiring.

Reading it I felt like I was having a personal chat with her and was nodding to her advice. I bought a jump rope and upped the gears on my bike. My thighs are in agony daily. I find myself doing things like stretching before bed (it really does help you relax and sleep more peacefully) and downing water like I’d down wine on a night out.

It’s like having a personal trainer on your bookshelf that you can turn to whenever you like!



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What Nobody Knew – Amelia Hendrey

Now very luckily after I read this book I got to interview the author and ask all the questions I wanted to. Amelia contacted the newspaper that I work for and asked if we would read her book. After she pitched it to me I had a copy in my hands within 24 hours. Another 24 hours later I had read the last page.

I was so engrossed in What Nobody Knew that I didn’t realise I was crying until the tears dripped down the page and made contact with my thumb.

What Nobody Knew is the most harrowing read, written in the first person about Amelia’s past and how her dad abominably beat and raped her. 

I can’t say the cliché ‘you won’t be able to put it down’ because truthfully, I had to put the book down many times. It’s not a book you pick up to enjoy and whisk you away from reality, it’s a true story that has been told so victims going through it know they’re not alone and so we, as the general public, can learn how to spot domestic violence and abuse a mile off.

The first chapter is Amelia at the age of three and the last chapter gives us an insight into her life today, but in between those 257 pages, you learn all about the darkness that was her life. It covers a number of very serious issues including rape, domestic abuse and violence, drug and alcohol abuse, rare diseases, abandonment and death.

The chapters about her as a child were hard to read. I wanted to jump into the page and help her. I wanted to scream at social services, her evil father and those around her who did nothing.

Although as a reader I could not help Amelia, by the time I’d read the last word I knew what to do. I now know the signs. I’m more educated on this issue and would do everything I could to help a child, woman or man who was a victim of these evil acts.

It may be a heavy read but Amelia has been incredibly brave to share her story and raise awareness about something that truly is, a worst nightmare.

I hope it proves to victims that there is a way out, there is justice, and that there are people out there who care and will help you. I for one, am one of those people.



Let me know in the comments what books you would recommend I check out, ones you would like me to review and tell me what you have read recently!



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Written by VavaViolet’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief Sophie Blackman.


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