book review: now that i've found you by ciara geraghty

Last year, I read Paper Swans which was a novel about mental illness and Now That I've Found You by Ciara Geraghty is a novel about the same topic. As it happens, I'm currently reading another novel centred around mental illness (My Heart & Other Black Holes) and I don't think this is a bad thing - all too often, it is stigmatised in society when all that's required is less stereotyping and more understanding. Hopefully, books like these will help.

Anyway, the blurb for Now That I've Found You reads as follows:

"Vinnie is a taxi driver and single dad. Since his wife left home, he's been struggling to cope with his seven-year-old son who has wet the bed every night for over a year, and his teenage daughter who keeps getting into trouble at school.

Ellen is recovering from a trauma of her own. She has been left mentally and physically scarred after a car accident, and is terrified to get behind the wheel of a car again. Every week she is driven to her physio appointment by Vinnie, a man she knows little about, but who is about to change her life forever..."

The first thing that caught my eye about this book was the design and cover - the pink and cream stand out nicely against the dark midnight blue/teal hue and it's just very, very pretty. It is also a longer book than some others I've read recently - at 400 pages, it did seem like a mammoth of a novel.

However, it's one of those books that slowly draw you in and make you want to read more and more of. The chapters are short so it's easy to pick up and put down if you have a busy lifestyle. I did enjoy this book because it is very well written - the characters are likeable and relatable as the events that happen to them could actually happen to any one of us. The fact that each chapter alternated between Ellen and Vinnie meant that information about each of them were drip-fed and the suspense was kept by the short chapters. 

Overall, I give this book 7.5/10 - I definitely enjoyed reading it and none of the chapters read like wasted space as sometimes, a book this long can can have the odd chapter that probably didn't need to be there. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to read something a bit different in that, it isn't your typical love story and it covers a lot of 'stigmatised' issues in a realistic and respectful manner.

staedtler fineliner giveaway winners!

The giveaway ended yesterday morning and the winners have been drawn...

a Rafflecopter giveaway Congratulations! I've already emailed the winners and if I don't hear back from you by next Friday the 6th of February 2015 at 10am, I will draw another winner.

Thank you to everyone who entered :)

book review: the wrong knickers by bryony gordon

I spent most of 2014 reading fiction books and it's always a nice change to read something non-fiction and a bit light-hearted. That's where The Wrong Knickers by Bryony Gordon comes in. Likened to a real life Bridget Jones, Bryony Gordon's book essentially reminisces and reflects on life in her twenties and what it's really like to be young, single and financially stretched (I added that last adjective myself) in London.

Being in my twenties, young and single in London (and quite happily so, might I add), I thought this book would appeal to me. In just over 300 pages, Bryony covers what it's like to rent in London and losing all self-esteem (and dignity) with the aid of non-illicit and illicit substances. 

The book is billed as one that is 'hilarious' and at times, it did get a laugh out of me. I don't think I'm an uptight person - I do have a very dodgy sense of humour (I may laugh at things I shouldn't and I do enjoy jokes that toe the line) and I'm not easily offended but on the whole, I found the book more sad than funny.

Sad, because the more I read, the more it made me realise that we never realise just what we're like until years later. We look back and realise the things we would've done differently but at the time, we see no other way. The book also made me sad in the sense that there is some truth in her words too - the dingy flat that costs an extortionate amount to rent each month even though it's above a kebab shop and doesn't even have a proper bathroom or kitchen; the fact that we'd rather spend money on an expensive handbag than food (at least, this was true for me a few years ago!) and the reality that the idea of a house party is always better than the actual thing.

However, the book is well-written and it really is a 'warts-and-all' kind of book so you really do need to approach it with an open mind. I did enjoy reading it and I finished it in just under a week so that's always a good sign. It's a good book if you want something that is non-fiction and a lot different to anything else you might read for a while! I rated this book at 7/10.