Wednesday, January 10, 2018

British Books Challenge 2018

The British Books Challenge, hosted by Chelley from Tales of Yesterday, is the only reading challenge I take part in every year.  I love reading books by British authors and love to support them by reviewing their books.  I am, of course, signing up for the challenge this year.  If you too would like to join in, check out the Sign Up information.

Here are some of the books I hope to read and review this year on this blog, taken from books already on my TBR pile:

Truly Wildly Deeply by Jenny McLachlan
Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard
Street Song by Sheena Wilkinson
Hope by Rhian Ivory
Shell by Paula Rawsthorne
It Had To Be You by Keris Stainton
After the Fire by Will Hill
Songs About Us by Chris Russell
Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence
The Last Days of Archie Maxwell by Annabel Pitcher
It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne
Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton
Blade and Bone by Catherine Johnson

I also hope to read some non-fiction and poetry this year by British authors. We shall see.

What reading challenges are you joining this year? What books by British authors are you dying to read? Let me know.

Friday, December 29, 2017

A New Start

So... I've been sort of absent from here for awhile.  And it was only today as I booted up my brand new (shiny, exciting!) laptop that I realised that the main reason that I had disappeared from blogging and disappeared from social media is that my old laptop was so broken and unreliable that it made doing the things that I loved doing unhappy experiences.  I've just spent the last 30 minutes responding to emails and generally tidying my Inbox and it's seriously the happiest that I've felt in awhile. I don't know why I'm so bad at realising how things connect, but there you have it.

So now! Even before everyone else gets into their New Year's resolutions and everything I'm going to say that this right here and now is my new start.  Beginning with this gorgeous laptop with its ridiculously large screen and crisp new keyboard is my new start.  Let's do this thing again. 

To be honest, 2017 was a year of really low lows and I'm quite happy to see the back of it.  I'm really hoping that 2018 brings better circumstances.  It will be better partly because I'm working to make it so but here's hoping it's a worldwide bettering, if you know what I mean.  I feel like raising a glass and toasting this occasion.  I won't though. Because that might be slightly weird.  But here I am again, I hope you will like this new development!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

REVIEW: Flesh and Blood by Simon Cheshire

I really enjoyed Flesh and Blood by Simon Cheshire. It had just enough levels of creepiness and unease throughout for me to remain really hooked on the story and wondering what would happen next?

Flesh and Blood reads like a thriller as the main character, Sam, is this teenage boy who moves into a new neighbourhood and is keen to flex his burgeoning journalistic muscles by investigating and writing an article about the dead body that has appeared in the area.  As he begins to ask questions, he begins to piece together this rather odd and ...unsettling series of events that possibly relate back to his next door neighbour. 

Honestly, I really liked this book.  I like Sam and the ways in which he goes after this story, how he writes about his experiences with some measure of hindsight.  I found his new friends to be entertaining, his crush on the prettiest girl in school, Emma, was rather entertaining. 

But ultimately this is a horror story.  And as I was reading this, I feel like the levels of creepiness was rather subtle in the beginning and it just built over time.  Dead bodies, creepy old houses, strange sounds in the night.  But also this feeling of powerlessness as the adults in this story seem a little zombie-fied of no control of their own which leaves poor Sam and his friends fighting against something big and terrible and really rather scary. I loved the medical elements included in the horror and I'm really just pleasantly surprised by how much this story got under my skin. 

If you're looking for a creepy scary read around Halloween I really recommend this book and the entire series of Red Eye titles!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

REVIEW: The Haunting by Alex Bell

The Haunting by Alex Bell has a really interesting concept.  I love the idea of a cursed Cornish inn, the idea that it ties into witches and a witch's curse and that the main character comes back into the story 7 years after being injured in an accident at the inn.  However, The Haunting never quite lived up the chills promised from such an intriguing premise.

The setting of this book is The Waterwitch, a Cornish inn that is made from the salvaged timber of a cursed shipwrecked boat.  Our main character is Emma, she's 17 and is in a wheelchair after an accident at the inn occurs when she's 10.  Her family moved away and she's never been back to The Waterwitch.  That is, until her nan, who owns the inn, falls ill and Emma chooses to spend her half term break visiting her grandmother and reacquainting herself with The Waterwitch and also with her old best friend, Jem, and his younger sister, Shell. Ghosts and hauntings ensue.

I think part of the problem for me with The Haunting is that we have a high level of creep factor already.  We've got this creepy inn, an interesting back story and characters with complicated relationships that should provide plenty of tension.  However, I was a bit let-down with the ways in which Emma and Jem interacted with each other.  In that, they barely interacted with each other, despite having what could have been an intense meeting fraught with guilt on Jem's part in his role in Emma's disability or with longing and nostalgia for what they had as a friendship as children? But they had very little to do with each other throughout the story and it was such a disappointment.  And while my expectations we're set that high for the horror or scary elements to the story, I didn't think it was ever realised for me.  I think perhaps the story and build-up towards a frightening ending were just a little bit too subtle for me.

What I did love about the book is Emma's relationship with her guide dog, Bailey and it's Emma and Bailey that I felt provided the emotional heart to the story. I just wish a little bit more was done with the relationships in the story and also with the elements of the paranormal.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

REVIEW: Crongton Knights by Alex Wheatle

Oh why did it take me so long to read Crongton Knights by Alex Wheatle?! I loved Liccle Bit, the first in this companion trilogy, and was really excited to read more ...and it was only recently that I picked this one up.  It won't be as long until I read the third book, Straight Outta Crongton because I love these boys and their friendship and the ways in which Alex Wheatle brings this neighbour hood to life. 

If you haven't read Liccle Bit, you needn't worry. Crongton Knights brings you up to speed with the events that occurred that are of importance before getting into this story.  This trilogy by Alex Wheatle looks at life in South Crongton on a council estate with gang warfare and rife with crime.  Crongton Knights, which obviously features the other boys, is McKay's story. 

I adored McKay and getting to know him a little bit better in this book.  His mum has died and he's living with his dad who is working all the hours to try to keep the bailiffs away and his older brother, Nesta.  Meanwhile, Bit persuades McKay and Jonah on this heroic (knightly!) crusade into another neighbourhood in order to protect the dignity of Venetia, Bit's crush. While reluctant at the danger of such a mission, everyone does go ahead and, of course, things go badly wrong.  I adore these types of ...heroic journey-type stories.  It really puts pressure on McKay and the others to define who they are as people and what their friendship means to each other.  It was really quite sweet.

I think what I love so much about these books is that it really combines some great things together.  McKay is a wonderful main character, he's very relateable and I love his complicated family life with his dad struggling with former gambling debts and his older brother, prone to getting in trouble but very much looking for McKay so that he doesn't follow him down the wrong path.  I also think McKay's friendship with the other boys is lovely and the setting of Crongton is so well described that I feel like I'm there with McKay as I'm reading.  I'd say my only (slight) criticism is that all of the characters sounded roughly the same, even when it doesn't make much sense that a boy from private school and a refugee from another country both sound like the others who have grown up on the estate. But other than that, I fell in love with this book and these characters and I cannot wait to read the rest in Straight Outta Crongton!

Monday, October 23, 2017

REVIEW: A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland

Oh I adored A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland.  Adored it.  And it was such a surprise of a book too.  You know how when sometimes a certain title or a specific cover design just speaks to you on another level?  That's what it was for me with this book.  I really had no idea what I was getting into when I started reading this book but something about the title and especially that lobster just really appealed to me and it meant I had to read it, just to find out what it meant.  And as I said, it was love.

I remember that I did read the synopsis of the book before I read it but I'm pretty sure I didn't really understand what was going on from the brief blurb.  And that's okay with me, I actually really love the idea of going into a story blind.  But if you're not into the blind-reading thing, then this book is about Esther and her family.  Esther and the Solar family believe that their lives are consumed by One Big Fear and that eventually each family member will die because of their fears.  Esther's brother's fear is the dark, her father's is agoraphobia, her mother is superstitious about bad luck.  Esther isn't sure what her Big Fear is yet but she still lives in fear and carries around a list of her fears that could potentially be The One. 

Then one day, Esther gets pick-pocketed by Jonah Smallwood, someone she used to know in elementary school.  And despite this theft of epic proportions (he stole a fruit roll-up) Esther and Jonah become friends and Jonah ends up helping Esther confront her fears one at a time to show her that life is about more than fear.

I'm finding it difficult to put into words how much I loved this book.  It's very quirky.  Esther and Jonah and everybody who populates this book has their own little quirks and ways of speaking.  Esther is continuously dressing up in outlandish ways, her brother and their entire family are all just so ...different.  But I felt like it just worked within this story. 

There's also a sort of magical realism vibe to the book, some sort of magical quality because of Esther's view of the world of the world, of her family, of the curse and her view of herself.  I loved the ways in which serious topics such as mental illness are discussed in this book and I thought that the story unfolded in a way that was both believable and hit the right tone.  I thought there were some fascinating characters in this book, some really sweet relationships and friendships.  And the Solar family will definitely be a family that I remember for a very long time. 

But it's definitely Esther and Jonah that stole my heart in this book. I feel like reading this book all over again in order to spend more time with them, getting to know them both as they got to know each other.  I really do recommend this book.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

REVIEW: Wishbones by Virginia Macgregor

Wishbones by Virginia Macgregor was a book that I wasn't expecting to be sent for review and that would normally mean that it isn't as high a priority to read as other books in my possession.  But something about this book intrigued me. I liked the idea of it being set in the UK, I'm all for supporting UKYA of course.  I also like the idea of a book exploring elements of mental health and the idea around the story of a very obese woman.  And while I had hoped to really like this book ... I felt that the idea of the book was better than the actuality of the story.  

Feather is our main character in this book.  She really wants two things out of life: for her mother to get better and to win the junior swim championships. The second goal is pretty straightforward, she needs to work hard and concentrate. However it's the first goal that really proves more challenging.  

On New Year's Eve, Feather comes home to find her mother in a diabetic coma.  This is obviously very traumatic for her and her parents.  Feather is determined to do whatever it takes to help her mother become healthier.  She thinks maybe it'll just take a better diet and some exercise to fix things, however, Feather soon realises that her mother's health, like most things in life, are so much more complicated and Feather begins this detective journey in order to unravel her mother's personal history and get to the root causes of her mom's obesity. 

My main problem with Wishbones ended up being two-fold.  The first is that Feather's voice felt very young.  She comes across as being really innocent and naive, much younger than one would imagine she would be respective of her age.  It wasn't that she was young or naive that was the problem, it was that she didn't feel believable for her age.  The second problem was that the author's voice is quite patronising throughout.  It really started to grate on my nerves but wasn't such a persistent problem that it made me quit reading but it did hamper my enjoyment of the story.  Which is a shame, as there was elements of the story that I were really intriguing. 

Friday, October 20, 2017


Recently I was contacted by the lovely Sabrina from Harper Collins about this new initiative, #KindnessMatters The idea of the project is to do something small and kind for someone else.  And this goes along with this lovely book Kindness by Jaime Thurston, the founder of 52 Lives.  I absolutely loved this idea and I love taking part in this, even belatedly.

During September, I wasn't in the very best shape mentally.  You can see mid-September I just stopped blogging and the two are very much linked.  I have a pretty good self-care routine and structure going and I could identify that my priority had to be myself for awhile.  The kindness that was best shared was with myself.  Doing nice things for myself, being kind to myself while I worked on my own mental health issues and everything else gets to take a back burner.

But that was last month.  And I still wanted to bring up this idea and project.  The book that Harper Collins sent over is an absolutely gorgeous little hardback book and it's filled with colourful pages and ideas about how kindness can be shared and spread.  I feel like I'd love to make these acts of kindness a regular thing, taking lots of inspiration from this book.  Today, though, I wanted to talk about one regular kindness that I already do, and it's something very close to my heart.

This is my local supermarket.  In the last year, my local store has increased the drop off point to include double the amount of space for people to donate in their store.  I fear it is because the need for local families to receive food from our local food banks has increased.  Despite living in a very affluent area there is nowhere that is free from struggling families that need a little extra support.

The reason that food banks in particular are an area that I feel very strongly about is because I grew up in a household on the poverty line.  My family needed the extra support food banks provided and those boxes of food saved my life.  Every single week, without fail, I pick up something and add it to my weekly shop in order to donate to my local food bank.  Because I remember what a lifeline it was and because I am no longer in a position where I struggle financially.  I am happy to do my small bit in order to help and support those who are still in that position.

I usually vary the items that I donate, though always taking inspiration from the list of recommended items that are always much in demand: tinned vegetables and meats, cartons of milk and juice.  But I also try to donate non-food items such as toothpaste, deodorant, cleaning supplies, nappies or wet wipes, feminine hygiene products, shampoo.  It's only a few pounds a week that I add to my weekly shop but I feel like it'll mean a lot to some local family.  I do it every week and I feel like if every one who is able to do so also donated more regularly it would make a huge difference in all of our communities.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

REVIEW: The Crash by Lisa Drakeford

The Crash by Lisa Drakeford has an interesting premise.  The unfolding of a car crash that was witnessed by several different people and how that eventually plays out.  In The Crash, we have two teenagers and best friends, Sophie and Tye, who are indoors watching a film when a car comes crashing into the house, with twins Harry and Gemma in the car.  The entire scene is also witnessed by next door neighbour, Issy. 

What was interesting about The Crash is the ways in which the different perspectives add layers to the story as we find out more about each of the characters and their relationships to each other or about what has gone on in their lives beforehand that lead to this rather unfortunate set of circumstances.  The ways in which Sophie and Tye's friendship had been changing subtly before the accident, Gemma's rather dark relationship history, Issy's home life.

I think, having read a previous book by the same author, I went into The Crash thinking I'd unravel the different strands to the story and it will end up being very different to the snap judgements I made at the very beginning. And that is true.  However, I ultimately found The Crash to be just a little bit too dark and a little too heavy on the details of some of the events that occur.  While I wanted to enjoy this book more than I did, I found myself a little uneasy with several of the story lines and that hampered my enjoyment.  I didn't feel it was necessary to provide quite so many details of family violence and abuse amongst one strand to the story, nor did I fully believe in the actions and choices made by some of the characters, namely Harry and Gemma.  While I appreciated the elements of a toxic relationship amongst an impressionable teen I felt like the combination of everything together in this one story was just (for me anyway!) was too heavy. 

There were some more light-hearted moments to The Crash with the burgeoning relationship between Sophie and Harry, but even that is weighed down with Sophie's guilt of beginning a relationship with the person who caused her best friend to be in a coma.  I just wanted there to be ...something else.  It's hard to put my finger on what it is exactly that I wanted to be different. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Life Update

So, phew.  After a very, very long search looking for part-time work in my local area that would roughly fit in around the school run (SUCH a challenge!) I have finally found work.  I'm very excited.  It's my first paid employment in over a decade, so I was very excited/nervous about what going back to work would be like. 

I struggle quite a lot with my self-esteem and I have to constantly remind myself that I'm good at stuff.  Otherwise my anxiety runs away with itself and causes me no end of grief.  So before my first day started I had to stop with the 'oh my god, what if everyone hates me? what if everyone is younger than me? what if I'm crap at this job?' and get going with telling myself, actually I'm very good at meeting new people, I'm friendly and bubbly and the majority of people like me.  Also? I'm a very capable person and because I'm NEW at this job, nobody expects me to be a pro right from the first second.  (But yes, most people are younger than me!)

So with that pep talk in mind, I absolutely rocked my first day.  And all the days since that day.  I still have to give myself encouragement though.  Because Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is my own self-confidence, even in the face of such overwhelmingly positive results.  I'm thrilled to pieces to have my very own job.  This job gives me a specific purpose during the week.  For the last ten years, my job was to Be Awesome In Every Way, and I've managed that.  But this job allows for specificity in that awesomeness ...and comes with a pay cheque.  I find that specific purpose is what I need in my life.  And also for that purpose to include other people and for it to not happen in my own house.  (Extra income also a bonus!)

I've loved Going To Work on work days, I've loved meeting new people at work, having conversations and a life outside of the four walls of my house.  I love my house and my life over the last decade, but it has sometimes felt very restrictive and isolating over these last ten years and I feel like now I'm expanding.  And I couldn't be happier about it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

REVIEW: Truth or Dare by Non Pratt

I found Truth or Dare by Non Pratt to be really quite an intriguing book.  I've read and loved Non Pratt's previous books but still Truth or Dare seemed to be somewhat of a surprise.  Perhaps the element of surprise came with the dual perspective structure of the novel?  We get Claire's version first then flip the book to read Sef's perspective.  I think having this structure to the story made me feel a little bit more on edge towards whatever might be at the climax of the novel.  It worked for me for sure!

At the heart of Truth or Dare seems to be what limits there are when you love someone?  How far is too far?  Claire and Sef as main characters to this story are hugely relate able right from the start.  I really felt for them both and for what they're going through both individually and together. 

Claire has recently been made the centre of attention after a wardrobe malfunction was made public in her school and as a result she shies away from the limelight.  However, she still decides the risk to spend time with Sef and to help him and his brother is worth it.  Sef, meanwhile, is struggling to find a way to raise the money to help care for his recently disabled older brother.  He decides to play to his strengths and to start a YouTube channel.  Together with Claire, they dress up as superheroes and either answer embarrassing truths or do dares that range between silly and more dangerous.

As I already mentioned, the differing perspectives really add to the story.  Claire's view of events varies to Sef's and I found that really added depth to the story.  I loved reading about the many ways that social media play a role in teenagers' lives.  There's the good: finding a way to raise money for a good cause, like a neuro-disability charity; and the not so good: the sharing of a mishap with Claire's bikini that leads of bullying and sexual harassment. As someone who uploads to YouTube myself, I definitely loved that inclusion of this aspect to the story. 

I also just loved Claire and Sef. Just on the pages of this book, Sef oozes sex appeal and charm and I think I fell half in love with him same as Claire. But in Sef's part of the book you can tell that there really is more going on with him and in his life as his family struggles with their new situation and also Sef struggles in coming to terms with his brother's disability. 

I thought Truth or Dare was a lovely book.  A great look at teenage life, friendship, love, social media.  It was a book that kept me gripped all the way through and my eyes were stinging from the tears I shed by the end. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

REVIEW: Sawbones by Catherine Johnson

I absolutely adored Sawbones by Catherine Johnson.  It's historical fiction, which isn't an area of YA that I read extensively within so I can sometimes be a little bit wary of reading so very much outside of my comfort zone.  However, I really enjoyed another historical story by the same author so I thought I'd give Sawbones a chance as well.  And I'm so glad that I did.  When I read this book earlier this year it was definitely my favourite book I'd read all month and it's just one of those stories that I felt myself thinking about long after I'd finished it.  I'm really looking forward to the sequel.

The main story line in Sawbones follows Ezra McAdam, this teenage boy, who is a surgical apprentice in London in 1792. Ezra is a fantastic character.  He really pulled at my heartstrings.  He's a very knowledgeable and capable 16 year old who is set to have a great future ahead of him being the apprentice to a well-respected surgeon.  However, things end up going very badly wrong for him when a failed break-in attempt means that Ezra is caught up in a string of odd events and he is put into the path of Loveday Finch, who is after questions about the sudden death of her father.  What follows is a fast-paced detective story with some crazy twists and turns. 

There were so many elements to this story that I just absolutely adored.  I thought all of the characterisation was really strong: I loved both Ezra and Loveday as well as their fraught friendship.  I thought Ezra's relationship with the surgeon to whom he is apprenticed was very sweet, if at times to Ezra uncertain.   I loved the exploration of different areas of London during this time period, from operating theatres and markets.  But my all-time favourite is every gruesome and horrifying fact thrown in about surgical practices during 1792.  I couldn't tear my eyes away from the pages when the topic of dissections and amputations and just general medical practices of this time and the ways in which knowledge is imparted.  It was all utterly fascinating to me. 

I was so swept up in this story, in these characters and in this snapshot of what life would have been like.  I really cannot wait to read what happens next.  And as I own the sequel already, I won't have to wait! If you haven't already read Sawbones I really do highly recommend it!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

September Wrap-Up

Well, that's it. September is long gone.  This post is well late, but no apologies from me.  It's been an interesting month, September.  I had a lot going on.  The start of secondary school for E, N and I have been changing things about in the house, I got a job for the first time in over a decade.  So something had to give for a bit and that thing was blogging.  I don't regret it though.  I do hope that I'll find my rhythm again soon enough and get back into it because, you know? I quite enjoy blogging.

Here are the books I read during September and a small recap of other blog posts and how well I'm doing in my reading challenges.

Books read in September

1. Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
2. Teaching My Mother To Give Birth by Warsan Shire
3. Let Them Eat Chaos by Kate Tempest
4. The Haunting by Alex Bell
5. Flesh and Blood by Simon Cheshire
6. If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan
7. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
8. A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke
9. This Book Will (Help You) Change the World by Sue Turton
10. Electric Dreams by Philip K. Dick
11. This Book Will (Help You) Change the World by Sue Turton
12. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown
13. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
14. Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
15. Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt
16. Noah Can't Even by Simon James Green
17. The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder
18. Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
19. This Beats Perfect by Rebecca Denton

Total read in September: 19
Total read in 2017: 101

19 books read during the month of September, not bad.  A few LGBT YA books in there (If You Could Be Mine, Georgia Peaches and other Forbidden Fruit and Noah Can't Even), LOTS of UKYA, some horror, plenty of surprises.  It was a really great reading month for me.

But what was my favourite...?

September Book of the month

A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke

There were some strong contenders for my favourite book of the month, but the one I read and ...constantly thought about after I'd finished reading was A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke.  I was mesmerised throughout this book and needed to know what would happen next.

Books reviewed in September

Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga
History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
If You Could See Me Now by Keris Stainton

I ...stopped blogging and (more specifically) writing reviews mid-September. I just couldn't bring myself to do it anymore. And now I'm roughly 27 reviews behind because I kept reading during all that time. Whoops. Maybe one day I'll catch up? 
Other posts in September

Books I Struggle With
A Disney Education
Feminist Literature + TBR
New Additions to my Netgalley Shelf

I had so many plans for blogging during this month too. Oh well.

Booktube videos in September

None, boo.

My progress in reading challenges:

British Books Challenge

Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth by Warsan Shire
Let Them Eat Chaos by Kate Tempest
The Haunting by Alex Bell
Flesh and Blood by Simon Cheshire
The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
A Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa Lueddecke
This Book Will (Help You) Change the World by Sue Turton
Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt
Noah Can't Even by Simon James Green
This Beats Perfect by Rebecca Denton

Total in September: 10
Total in 2017: 43

10 books by British authors read in September. I'd say that's pretty good going. There is some real talent coming out of this country, I'm telling you. I loved so many of these books. 
Read My Own Books 

Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth by Warsan Shire
Let Them Eat Chaos by Kate Tempest
If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

I was killin' it, reading my own books in September. Well done to me. It feels pretty good clearing my TBR shelves, actually. I might just keep up with it. 


This Book Will (Help You) Change the World by Sue Turton

I didn't do AS WELL with my Netgalley reading this month, but you win some, you lose some. What are you going to do?

What have you been reading and loving in September?

Monday, September 11, 2017

REVIEW: If You Could See Me Now by Keris Stainton

I absolutely ADORED If You Could See Me Now by Keris Stainton! It was so fun and funny and sexy and empowering and I absolutely loved every second of it.  I'm no stranger to Keris Stainton's stories (I've read almost all of them!) but this is her adult debut and I was seriously impressed with it.

I did not know very much about the book before I sat down to read it.  All I knew about it, really, was that it was meant to be funny.  So it came as a major shock when the actual plot line of If You Could See Me Now was revealed. Because the plot summary I read (after it happens I went back to read the plot summary!) makes absolutely no mention of The Thing That Happens.  So I won't mention it either. But ...I was very surprised.  It's a bit weird, isn't it?

I loved Izzy as the main character.  She's incredibly relate-able. I felt very much like Izzy in so many aspects of my life.  Izzy is in a relationship with a man who doesn't treat her right, she's lacking in self confidence which means she's unsure if she should go for this promotion at work, she doesn't stand up to (nor does she know how to stand up to) the sexual harassment she faces on a daily basis.  And it makes absolute sense that Izzy should feel absolutely invisible and inconsequential in her own life.

But then things begin to change.  And I loved seeing the transformation of Izzy in this book.   With the help of her best friend and good-looking intern at work, Alex, Izzy is able to break up with her shit boyfriend and dives into this really important pitch at work that could land her that promotion.  Honestly, what I loved about this book more than anything is that there was combination of it being hugely funny at the same time as it being really feminist.

But I also really loved the relationships. I loved the friendship between Izzy and her best friend and the way the two women were totally in support of each other during a time that's stressful for the both of them.  Women friendships are something I'll always cheer about.  I think Izzy and Alex have so much chemistry, their zing was delicious to read.

But in the end, it's Izzy and her relationship and view of herself that was the main sell for me.  She's amazing and she makes me realise we're all amazing and we should all strive for the best in our own lives.