Thursday, 14 December 2017

New Favourite YA Book? Goodbye, Perfect | | Book Review

I do not say this lightly when I say I've found a new favourite YA book. I mean it like I stayed up into the early hours of this morning devouring it. It is SO damn good. The first book by Sara Barnard I've read and I wasn't disappointed. Readers on Twitter have always praised Barnard, and I have to agree. 

She writes young adult fabulously and flawlessly. 

Goodbye Perfect is about best friends, adopted and a bit wild Eden and goody two shoes Bonnie in their final year of high school, they're tackling revision and their GCSE's. It's a stressful time of year, made 10x more stressful when Bonnie runs away with her secret boyfriend. The police are involved, journalists are swarming their town and Eden is desperate to get her best friend back. But is she really her best friend? Aren't they supposed to tell each other everything? No matter how bad it seems? 

When Eden discovers where Bonnie is, she keeps it a secret. It's awfully selfish on Bonnie's part I think, Eden shouldn't have to keep this massive secret, secret, it's unfair and possibly even dangerous.

Remember the famous line from Matilda "Best friends don't tell.". Eden's loyalty to her best friend is seemingly unbreakable. 

Is Bonnie safe? Will she come back? 

Barnard has written an absolutely incredible and honest friendship between these girls, they reminded me of some of the friendships I had in high school. Almost made me nostalgic for what felt like the worst five years of my life. I understood Bonnie and her academic personality, the good-girl, the need for control in all aspects of life. I got that SO hard. I saw my teenage self in Eden too. There's good and bad in everyone, and you can't always stay on one side. 

Eden and Bonnie understand each other like no one else can, or so they think. They balance each other out. Bonnie's steadiness calms Eden's wild nature. It is an extraordinary friendship.

Family is important too. Eden was adopted by the McKinely's when she is 9, alongside her younger sister Daisy. The McKinely's have a biological daughter Valerie, the friendship that blooms between her and Eden is beautiful. Eden's character development through the book is unbelievable. She realises everyone doesn't always see her bad side. Everyone inherently has a bad side to their personality. 

It has been skillfully plotted, the book had my full attention from start to finish. I can't stop thinking about how wonderful it is. It made me feel everything. I laughed, I cried, I wanted to scream and punch walls at their naivety. I love Eden's adoptive parents and their love for gardening and their calm demeanour. I love her boyfriend Connor, like her and Bonnie another unlikely relationship that just works. I grew to love Valerie, just like Eden did. I just love it so much. Barnard captures what it can be like to be a teenager, fighting their wide range of emotions, having a boyfriend for the first time, deciding where their life is going to lead. The characters are diverse and different, Eden isn't academic, she doesn't portray the good-girl trope. She misbehaves and gets detention, she's been in trouble with the police, but she isn't a bad person. Ultimately, that's it, no one is perfect. No matter how hard you try to keep up with a persona, you'll find its faults soon enough. 

After reading Goodbye, Perfect, I need to lie down for a little while before I begin another book. I have been knocked off my feet by this book. I can't wait to get my hands on a physical copy when it's released in Feb, 2018!


Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Christmas at The Little Knitting Box | | Book Review


It's been a while my dearest blog, but beginning my second year of university has been overwhelmingly busy, and exciting, and I have been prioritising settling back into the routine of uni life. I have two essays due that are 99% finished, which for once in my entire life I am well ahead of my assignment game. Who finishes an essay a week before it's due?? This nerd apparently. 

So, here's a book review perfectly fitting in with the season, and maybe if you're not feeling it yet, maybe it's too early for you (No such thing.) then I hope this post may help you find a festive read. 

I love Christmas, it's my favourite season. As soon as November rolls around I'm in full festive mode.  On the 1st of November the Christmas playlist was on. I also love knitting, it's my latest hobby, something I've persisted at and made a few beautiful scarves. So with that, I knew I would love reading Christmas at The Little Knitting Box.

This review is part of a blog tour with a paperback copy of Christmas at the Little Knitting Box and chocolate in a giveaway at the end. UK only.

Set in the most magical city for the festive season New York City, we meet Cleo who runs a knitting store in The West Village. It's her pride and joy, and every knitters dream. I loved Cleo's character, she's business minded and passionate, but like everyone, she has her flaws. She's got a history, one that led her to move from England to New York. She takes a massive risk but discovers NYC is her home and I don't blame her. 

There's just one problem. She receives a letter regarding the future on her store, of all the stores on the street. Cleo has a decision to make, another life-changing decision. But when she meets Dylan Bakersfield, a handsome single dad with two children her life changes. This is not one of those ridiculously romantic stories, not that I have any major dislike for them, they're just not my cup of tea. Dylan's story is complicated, and between Cleo and him they (kind of) work together and sort out their problems.

Not only does Cleo have The Little Knitting Box's future on her mind, she has to consider this man, Dylan, someone she's beginning to like and see a future with, but a man with his own bundle of problems - the ex-wife Prue (Who I couldn't stand at first but as her story unfolded I realised she wasn't the villain) who keeps popping up unexpected and a risky career change.

Cleo desperately wants to make the right decision for everyone involved. 

This story is incredibly festive, there's nothing I want more now than to spend a magical Christmas in NYC and to spend it with my family too. Family is important to Cleo, she's your typical home gal. Helen J Rolfe crafts her characters fantastically, they have complex, thought-out back stories with depth. 

One of my favourite scenes is the Inglenook Falls Christmas Market. Cleo happens to bump into Dylan and his two children and they enjoy an evening of festivities, of hot chocolate, cheese tasting and decoration making. 

It's the perfect mix of Christmas, crafts and a little bit of romance, although rocky at times, the ending is wonderful!


More info!

Christmas at the Little Knitting Box

Christmas is coming and New York is in full swing for the snowy season. But at The Little Knitting Box in the West Village, things are about to change …

The Little Knitting Box has been in Cleo’s family for nearly four decades, and since she arrived fresh off the plane from the Cotswolds four years ago, Cleo has been doing a stellar job of running the store. But instead of an early Christmas card in the mail this year, she gets a letter that tips her world on its axis.

Dylan has had a tumultuous few years. His marriage broke down, his mother passed away and he’s been trying to pick up the pieces as a stay-at-home dad. All he wants this Christmas is to give his kids the home and stability they need. But when he meets Cleo at a party one night, he begins to see it’s not always so easy to move on and pick up the pieces, especially when his ex seems determined to win him back.

When the snow starts to fall in New York City, both Cleo and Dylan realise life is rarely so black and white and both of them have choices to make. Will Dylan follow his heart or his head? And will Cleo ever allow herself to be a part of another family when her own fell apart at the seams?

Full of snow, love and the true meaning of Christmas, this novel will have you hooked until the final page.

You can purchase the book here - Amazon UK and Amazon.com

Contact Helen on her website, on Facebook and Twitter. 

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Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Bring Back The Letter

Handwriting is a curious thing. We're born humans with two arms, two legs, and such. We're made of the same ingredients - an egg cell, a sperm cell. Yet, we're all so vastly different. No one is quite alike. Twins can be identical in appearance but end up acquiring different tastes and likes. The ways we're nurtured, and our experiences and methods of learning affect our personalities and actions. 

Handwriting is curious to me because everyone's is different. So many styles of writing exist. You're not conscious of picking a writing style, it just flows. As a child when you're learning how to write letters and form words and sentences, how you write is how you write. We all learn how to write in the same ways yet the way you write is distinctive from anyone else. Children begin to learn to write in cursive, then when their writing develops it bounds off into another personal style. Some children stick with cursive. 

Handwriting has character, its own personality. 

It widely differs in size. I would say my own handwriting is on the larger side. My sister on the other hand, as I watch her write out revision notes, her writing is tiny. Her one page of writing would be 3-4 pages for me. 

It differs in style. People have various ways of writing letters. I write my 'A''s different to most other people, they often get mistaken for the number two. My sister does her 'Z's in such a peculiar way I can't understand the movement of a pen to make it.

Do you dot your 'i's? Do you cross your 'T's?  

Remember in school, when you were like 12 and every girl used to dot their 'i's with a heart?

The pressure placed on the pen creates a different style. Thicker, deeper, angrier letters. Whilst little pressure on the pen could denote a sensitive type. 

Whether you write pointed or rounded letters. Whether your writing is slanted. 

Can you tell I've studied the English Language deeply? I did it at A-Level. My interest in the English Language has stemmed from years of reading book after book and writing stories. 

It is fascinating to see how other people write, how their personality shines through. 

I like to look at handwritten letters. Wishing for writing letters to be a popular correspondence again. With the arrival of technology and social media, connecting with people has changed, we communicate via keyboard, instead of the traditional pen and paper. 

Being a writer, I like knowing how other writer's write. Their methods and tips etc. 



J.K Rowling's handwritten writing plans.


Sylvia Plath's draft of famous poem Ariel. 


Lewis Carroll's handwritten manuscript.