Books That Found Me

Have you ever felt like you were meant to read certain books at a particular point in your life? Like you found these books at just the right time to make an impact? Or do you even feel like sometimes, certain books find you?

For me, I’ve always been under the belief that certain things happen sometimes for a reason. I’m not sure if I believe in fate, or the powers of the universe or whatever, but sometimes things are too much of a coincidence to simply be left up to chance. Like how I could have picked up literally any other book at that time in my life, but for one reason or another, these particular titles jumped out at me, begging to be read. And I’ve been forever changed because of that.

So buckle in, because I’m going to get personal with you about five of the books that have changed my life. They all came to me in a time I really needed them, and for that reason, they’ll forever have a special place in my heart.

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The Women in the Walls – book review

women-in-the-walls

Lucy Acosta’s mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They’re inseparable—a family.  

When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she’s ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother’s voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin’s sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.Read More »

Girl in Pieces – book review

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Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you. 

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge. 

A deeply moving portrait of a teenage girl on the verge of losing herself and the journey she must take to survive in her own skin, Kathleen Glasgow’s debut is heartbreakingly real and unflinchingly honest. It’s a story you won’t be able to look away from.Read More »

Life With a Sprinkle of Glitter – book review

Life With A Sprinke of Glitter

Life With a Sprinkle of Glitter is a gorgeous book, written by Louise Pentland.

Imagine you are in one of those glorious vintage shops where every surface is laden with little treasures. Old cameras, pendants, books and trinket boxes. This book is like that. Each chapter is one of those gem encrusted tins that you can open, peep inside and enjoy. You can either wander the shop methodically and look at each item in order, or you can dance around with wild abandon, opening and closing whatever you like, whenever you like.

Divided into four sections: Glitz, Create, Need to Knows and All About Love, this book contains all of Louise’s little tops and tricks, stories and advice. In this book, Louise will show you how to find joy and enrichment in your life – just by adding a Sprinkle of Glitter.

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Life With a Sprinkle of Glitter is a gorgeous book. I mean, just look at that cover! I can assure you that the inside of this book is just a lovely. To be honest, I’m not sure what everyone expects from a review about a non-fiction book. I reviewed Connor Franta’s A Work in Progress, and so this is the second non-fiction book I will have reviewed on here. It’s probably the second non-fiction book I’ve ever read, if I’m being completely honest! Although I think I can safely say that I really enjoy reading non-fiction books, especially ones like this one.

Let me start off by saying just how lovely all the pages in this book are to look at. I enjoyed seeing what pictures were used on each page and I loved how each text-box was perfectly placed with intriguing sub-headings and interesting content. But I’ll move onto content later. For now, I was to discuss how pretty this book is. There are doodles and cut-out pictures and perfectly-themed background pictures. Honestly, this book is stunning to look at. This book is very aesthetically pleasing.

The one thing that I would have liked to have seen in this book is more pictures taken by Louise. I was surprised to flick to the end of the book and find that quite a lot of the pictures were provided by or taken by Louise. I think what I would have liked to have seen, though, was more pictures of her doing some of the things she was mentioning. For example, in the shopping section of this book, I would have loved seeing a picture of Louise at a shopping centre with all of her purchases in bags. Or for the cooking section, I would have liked to have seen a picture of her baking something. Just simple things like that. They didn’t have to be staged photos or anything, I just feel like it would have made this book a bit more Louise-like. However, this book is gorgeous nonetheless, so I shouldn’t complain.

One of my favourite things with this book was all the inspirational and positive messages it contained. This is quite an uplifting book and it made me feel really positive about myself. There are quotes about being who you are and trying your best and how everyone is beautiful in their own unique ways. These little quotes at the end of each little section basically wrapped up her thoughts on the topic being discussed in pretty quote form.

Even though some of the chapters in this book discussed things that I haven’t done yet, such as buying a house or having kids, I still found the information very useful and I soaked it all up. I think that one of the best things about this book is that you can pick it up from any chapter and read it without an order. I read this book from start to finish by chronological page number because I didn’t want to miss anything, but I could have easily jumped from place to place and enjoyed it just as much. My favourite part of this book was by far her dating stories. They’re hilarious! I found myself laughing out loud at each of the weird things that happened and the cringe-worthy moments in the stories and I loved them so much because they were just so Louise.

It’s definitely clear that Louise wrote this book with a lot of love and passion and that so much thought went into this book. I treasured every word and took in everything that Louise wrote because she has a lot of wisdom wrapped in the anecdotes and quotes in this book. I also really liked how the writing sounded exactly like Louise would talk, if you know what I mean. It was like having Louise to my very self at that moment and I could hear her voice in my mind. I really enjoyed that.

So do you have to watch Louise’s SprinkleofGlitter to really like this book? Absolutely not, though I recommend checking her videos out! While I’ve seen a few of Louise’s videos, you don’t have to know her or anything about her in order to get anything from this book. Just by reading this book, you’ll learn lots of things about her life and her bubbly attitude. One of the things I love about her is that she’s so happy and positive, and that definitely shows in the words she wrote. She explained at the beginning of the book that her life hasn’t always been easy and like everyone, she’s had problems in her life, but she chose happiness and she urges everyone to do the same. Her messages are truly inspirational. So whether you already love Louise, you would like to read a positive book, or even if you just want to laugh at her cringe-worthy date stories, I definitely recommend picking up Life With a Sprinkle of Glitter!

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!

Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You – book review

Me Being Me is Exactly as Insane as You Being You

Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You is an interesting book, written by Todd Hasak-Lowy.

This heartfelt novel told entirely in the lists tell the story of a boy’s impulsive road trip after receiving the shock of his lifetime. Darren hasn’t has an easy year. His parents got divorced, his older brother Nate left for collage, he feels like he’s only one without a girlfriend, and then one Thursday morning Darren’s dad shows up at his house at 6am with a glazed chocolate doughnut and a revelation that turns Darren’s world upside down.

In the middle of a freak out, Darren ditches school to go and visit Nate. But barely twenty-four hours at Nate’s place makes everything even more confusing. Darren is trying to figure out why none of his family members are who they used to be and on top of that, he’s now obsessed with a strangely amazing girl who showed up out of nowhere by then totally disappeared. Sometimes, as Darren is about to find out, life becomes a little bit messy.

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I was expecting amazing things from this book but I felt as though I didn’t quite get what I had hoped for. I initially loved the idea of this book being told entirely in the form of lists, but I soon discovered that it wasn’t effective. Maybe it was just the way this book was written and perhaps it would work with another book, but I didn’t feel connected to the characters and I felt as though this book just lacked a general plot. There was nothing that really compelled me to keep reading this book and I felt as though I could have put it down at any moment. It was interesting enough while I was reading it and it didn’t put me to sleep or anything, I just felt as though it lacked interest and it would have really benefited from positioning the reader to feel for the characters. I wanted to love this book, but instead I just felt a little let down by it.

There was one thing that I did like about this book. Even though this book was told entirely in the form of lists, which may be hard to comprehend if you haven’t read this book, it also managed to have dialogue and paragraphs and it vaguely symbolised the classic idea of a novel. It was interesting to see how the author managed to have an actual plot in the novel, even though it was a little hazy at times. Though I did manage to follow what was going on for the most part. However, I did feel as though a lot of the things in this book was very unnecessary. This book was over 600 pages because of how many lists it had, but most of it was blank space and unnecessary words. For example, sometimes the narrator just lists words he said or when he swore throughout a conversation. A lot of these things didn’t add anything to the story and this novel would have felt crisper and more succinct if these parts were taken out. Sure, a couple of these parts could still be included for entertainment purposes or to give the reader a laugh, but the amount of times I skimmed over pages simply because they were uninteresting was more than it should have been.

Darren wasn’t a very relatable or fascinating character to follow for the entire novel. He reminded me of practically every other young adolescent male in YA fiction. He described himself as ‘average’ and sometimes this can work to the characters advantage, for example, if something really interesting happens to them and makes them go from just ‘average’ to extraordinary. Take Harry from Harry Potter, for example. He started off as just an ‘average’ boy and described himself as ‘just Harry’, but he ended up being ‘the Chosen One’. If something like this happened to Darren, this book would have been 110% more interesting than it actually was. I think I actually liked Darren more at the beginning of the novel compared to at the end.

And now there’s something else I had a big problem in this book. It relates to Darren. If you’re thinking of reading this book, don’t read this paragraph because it contains a spoiler, but I just have to rant right now. So if you don’t want to be spoiled, avert your eyes to the below paragraph now please! Okay cool, so now that it should just be me with all of you who have read this book, or if you’re not planning on reading this book and you want to know why I’m so frustrated, welcome to my rant! So basically, the whole novel revolved around the idea of Darren’s dad being gay. Cool. Interesting, right? I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t care less what sexual orientation characters have. It honestly doesn’t affect me in any way. I’m not saying that I don’t care that people are gay or bisexual or queer or transgender or anything else, I just feel as though having a whole novel revolve around this book kind of throws this book back a few decades, back to when it was a big deal. Nowadays, I don’t know about you, but people are becoming a lot more accepting and this isn’t a big issue like Darren is pointing it out to be. Sure, it might be surprising if your dad told you he was gay after around 16 years, but it wouldn’t have to be mentioned on every single page or have a whole novel revolve around it. Let me just bring my personal experiences into this. I have friends who are gay and I have friends who are bi. To me, it’s not a big deal. It’s not even a deal. When I’m talking to my friends and talking about people we have crushes on or boyfriends/girlfriends, I never assume that a friend will have a preference for a male or female partner. When one of my good friends came out last year, I didn’t even react to that. I think the extent of my reaction was ‘oh cool’. To me, the fact that people should still feel the need to ‘come out’ shows that we still have a long way to go in terms of acceptance and this book definitely pointed that out. The fact that Darren was so affected by knowing his dad was gay was somewhat frustrating. I wanted to hit him and tell him that it didn’t even matter. I understood that it mattered to him, but that’s not enough to base a whole novel on. I normally love novels with LGBTQ+ characters because they show diversity and it’s just a little different from the usual boy/girl romance, but this book didn’t make me fall in love with it like I had hoped to. So the whole point of this rant is that I just don’t like Darren. Okay, end of rant. *exhales*

The romance in this book felt very fake and unconvincing. I liked Zoey, the initial love interest and I liked how she became a major part of this book, but I didn’t like how Darren so quickly became infatuated by this other girl. For a long time, I didn’t even know if Zoey was relevant in the story anymore. Basically it was just Darren talking about what he and this other girl were doing, and I even found that unrealistic. Maybe I don’t have much of a sex life, but the fact that Darren would meet some girl and then be having sex with her what seemed like five seconds later seemed strange to me. I’m not opposed to sex in novels if it’s done well and is used for a purpose, but I really didn’t understand the majority of this novel. For the most part though, I was impressed with the writing, but these parts of the book were not included in my previous remark. Another thing that I hated about this book was the fact that Darren’s brother was always talking about how Darren should ‘use’ girls basically just for sex. I found Darren’s brother unlikable and frustrating to read about.

Overall, I felt as though this was an interesting idea for a novel, but I just didn’t enjoy it like I had hoped. I wish I had felt connected to the characters and I expected something a lot more original from the plot. If this book wasn’t written in the form of lists, it would have been utterly unmemorable. Because of that, I would have to give Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You by Todd Hasak-Lowy a score of 5 out of 10. If you’ve read this book, what did you think? I’d love to know your thoughts!

Thank you to Simon & Schuster Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!