#bookreview: The Invisible Crowd by @ellenwiles

Pick up The Invisible Crowd (if you haven’t done so already!), it’ll open your eyes about immigration and get you thinking about contemporary issues that we all face daily.

About the Book

Format: Hardback
Publisher: HQ Stories
Published: 2nd November 2017
Pages: 432 Pages
Genres: Immigration, Legal, Contemporary.

The Blurb

2nd March 1975

In Asmara, Eritrea, Yonas Kelati is born into a world of turmoil. At the same time, on the same day, Jude Munroe takes her first breath in London, England.

Thirty Years Later

Blacklisted in his war-ravaged country, Yonas has no option but to flee his home. After a terrible journey, he arrives on a bleak English coast.

By a twist of fate, Yonas’ asylum case lands on Jude’s desk. Opening the file, she finds a patchwork of witness statements from those who met Yonas along his journey: a lifetime the same length of hers, reduced to a few scraps of paper.

Soon, Jude will stand up in court and tell Yonas’ story. How she tells it will change his life forever.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depoistry

The Review

The Invisible Crowd is the work of Human rights lawyer Ellen Wiles. The idea was based on her own personal experiences with an Eritrean asylum seeker and their case.

“I felt furious about the chasm of language between asylum seekers’ experiences and the ways in which they were being written about. On the one hand, the legal documents I had were dry and factual. On the other hand, all the tabloid headlines painted asylum seekers as swarms of liars and scroungers. Both felt so far from the truth. I looked around for novels about asylum seekers, but at the time there were very few. So I decided I had to try to write one.”

Yonas is an asylum seeker and Jude is his lawyer. They both share the same birthday but come from two different worlds. Each chapter is told through the eyes of someone who has a connection to Yonas and obviously, Yonas’s own feelings too. It’s interesting to read about how many people were touched by Yonas in some way or another. Whether this is through trying to help him, or just a simple conversation on the daily commute. Times like this should encourage other’s to stop and talk to people, rather than ignoring those they think are “different”.

The Invisible Crowd opened my eyes in so many ways. I’m quite an empathetic person, so when I see the headlines in newspapers about people trying to get to the UK for a better life, I do feel incredibly humble for what I have. However, to the extent of which they try and get here, is another story. You just don’t know the struggles they face at home, imagine living in a wartorn place where you and your family don’t feel safe.

Ellen turns her experiences into a harrowing story that puts things in perspective. You’re usually unaware of an asylum seeker’s backstory and their journey and tend to distance yourself, well, The Invisible Crowd won’t let you. Aslym seekers and refugees are human too.

For more backstory on the ideas behind The Invislbe Crowd, visit Indie Thinking’s Q and A with author Ellen here.

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#bookreview: A Puppy Called Hugo by Fiona Harrison (@Fionajourno)

So, I’m back with another #bookreview about cute little puppies and pugs. Join Percy and Hugo on their happy (and sad) adventure.

You may have noticed that it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. Well, let’s just say I’ve had trouble with my eyes and they’ve been all crusty and disgusting! I’m still not 100% better. However, I can sit at my laptop and write, so that’s one positive, right?

I’d also like to let everyone know that I’m participating in NaNoWriMo, are you? Let me know in the comments below! Anyway, onto the review:

About the Book

A Puppy Called Hugo Front CoverFormat: E-book (Kindle)
Publisher: HQ Stories
Published: 19th October 2017
Pages: 384 Pages
Genres: Contemporary, Animals

The Blurb
Following hot on the paws from the bestselling A Pug Like Percy, the nation’s favourite pug is back! And this time, Percy has puppies…
Percy the pug has found a loving home with Gail, Simon and their daughter Jenny. But now it’s time for Percy’s new puppies to fly the dog bed, and become a companion to someone in need – which turns out to be closer to home than the family first think…

On a visit to Gail’s parents, Percy begins to suspect that all is not well with Eric, Gail’s father. And when he suffers a nasty fall and is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Percy knows just who to send to the rescue – adorable pup Hugo.

Can Hugo help Eric through the tough times, and grow into the kind of Pug to make Percy proud?

Purchase the book: Amazon UK / Book Depository

The Review

Percy and his four-legged friends are back for the next instalment into their fluffy lives.

Here’s the backstory: Percy is a cute little pug left abandoned at a Dog’s Shelter by his previous owner. In steps Gail, a caring individual that falls for Percy straight away. In a previous instalment, A Pug Like Percy, tells us all about Percy and Gail’s relationship and their bond. However, A Puppy called Hugo is a story about Percy’s new puppy son, Hugo.

The story is narrated by Percy the dog. I will admit that you often found yourself thinking Percy is a human, until he barks or chases after a ball. It’s a refreshing change from the norm, which I believe is a good thing in a saturated market.

Hugo is a cheeky little chap and often causes problems for his parents – they are getting frustrated. However, they love him dearly. Everyone is more concerned about Gail’s family as they’re having to cope with Alzheimer’s Disease. I can’t imagine what it’s like to care for someone you love and they don’t remember who you are. Also, the person suffering, oh, it’s just heartbreaking. Sometimes it’s the little things that help, and Percy and Hugo aid the diagnosis and provide some much-needed care and affection for the family.

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#bookreview: Pocketful of Crows by Joanne Harris (@Joannechocolat)

About the book

Pocketful of Crows coverFormat: Hardback
Publisher: Gollancz
Published:19th October 2017
Pages: 256 Pages

The Blurb
I am as brown as brown can be,
And my eyes as black as sloe;
I am as brisk as brisk can be,
And wild as forest doe.
(The Child Ballads, 295)

So begins a beautiful tale of love, loss and revenge. Following the seasons, A Pocketful of Crows balances youth and age, wisdom and passion and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless wild girl.

Only love could draw her into the world of named, tamed things. And it seems only revenge will be powerful enough to let her escape.

Based on the poem The Child Ballads, the Pocketful of Crows is a magical tale of love and revenge.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depoistry

The Review

An unnamed young girl living alone in the forest randomly falls in love with a Lord’s son called William. Their passionate relationship is soon short-lived due to his betrayal. Naturally, the girl is upset and wants to seek revenge.

They are two very different worlds which collide to produce a beautiful piece of writing. The girl is travelling folk and William is royal blooded. I’m a sucker for this type of relationship, cheesy, but loveable. However, William and the girl’s love is sincere.

The Pocketful of Crows is beautiful. A welcomed genre that I haven’t devoured in a long time. More mythical than fantasy, but still a great piece of imaginary fiction. Focusing on each season, Joanne brilliantly describes nature and immerses you in the girl’s world. You could picture it perfectly. Part of me wanted to go outside and just lay in the autumn leaves.

One of my favourite things about the girl was her ability to transform into different animals. She flies with birds, scurries as little creatures and hunts as a fox. When reading, I often felt that I was the girl living her life and feeling her emotions.

You can read an extract from the book here.

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#bookreview: Coming Home to the Comfort Food Café by @debbiemjohnson

About the book

Format: Paperback
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Published: 19th October 2017
Pages: 400 Pages
Series: Comfort Food Cafe #3
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary, Romance

The Blurb
Welcome to the cosy Comfort Food Café, where there’s kindness in every cup of hot chocolate and the menu is sprinkled with love and happiness…

When Zoe’s best friend Kate dies of breast cancer, her whole world is turned upside down. Within hours, she goes from being the wacky neighbour who can barely keep a houseplant alive to a whole new world of responsibility when she realises she’s guardian to Kate’s 16-year-old daughter, Martha.

Moving to the little village of Budbury in the West Country, Zoe hopes the fresh Dorset sea breeze and the gentle pace of life will help them heal.

Luckily for them both, the friendly community at the Comfort Food Cafe provide listening ears, sage advice, shoulders to cry on, and some truly excellent carrot cake. And when Martha’s enigmatic, absent father suddenly turns up, confusing not only Martha but Zoe too, the love and support of their new-found friends is the best present they could ask for.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book Depoistry

The Review

Coming Home to the Comfort Food Café is the third instalment of the series with Cherie and the gang returning to shower their friends and family with love and fun. You don’t necessarily need to have read the first books, but if you fancy learning more, read: Summer at the Comfort Food Cafe and Christmas at the Comfort Food Cafe.

Zoe’s best friend Kate sadly dies from breast cancer and one of Kate’s last wishes was for Zoe to look after her daughter, Martha. There’s no question that Zoe would be honoured to support Martha, but Martha is a rebellious teenager who is grieving the loss of their parent. Due to Martha’s rebellious ways, Zoe decides that they are going to move to Dorset, away from the city life and start afresh.

Well, what can I say? Coming Home to the Comfort Food Café was delicious and inviting! The story takes you on a journey to Budbury in Dorset where you learn all about the Comfort Food Café and Budbury’s close-knit community. You’ll recognise some familiar faces in Laura, Lizzie and Cherie, plus you’ll learn more about Zoe, Martha and Cal – the new additions to the Comfort Food series.

Although I have placed Coming Home to the Comfort Food Cafe on the romance shelf, I wouldn’t suggest in any way that it’s your typical love story – actually, it’s far from it. The story is about grief, fresh starts and feeling accepted for who you are. I enjoyed Debbie’s writing whereby she takes a sad situation and compliments it with delicate love and belonging. I admired Zoe for all that she did because she experienced a troubled childhood and is now having to look after another troubled teenager in Martha.

I’m excited to learn that book four is on its way: Sunshine at the Comfort Food Café is due for release on March 8th, 2018.

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#bookreview: The Treatment by C.L Taylor (@callytaylor)

About the book

Format: Paperback
Publisher: HQ Stories
Published: 19th October 2017
Pages: 384 Pages
Genres: YA, Contemporary; Thriller.

The Blurb

All sixteen-year-old Drew Finch wants is to be left alone. She’s not interested in spending time with her mum and stepdad and when her disruptive fifteen-year-old brother Mason is expelled from school for the third time and sent to a residential reform academy she’s almost relieved.

Everything changes when she’s followed home from school by the mysterious Dr Cobey, who claims to have a message from Mason. There is something sinister about the ‘treatment’ he is undergoing. The school is changing people.

Determined to help her brother, Drew must infiltrate the Academy and unearth its deepest, darkest secrets. Before it’s too late.

Purchase the book: Amazon UK | Book depository


You’re probably familiar with C.L Taylor’s The Missing, The Lie and The Accident. But, Taylor has set upon the Young Adult world with her new novel The Treatment.

Set in a Residential Reform Academy, sixteen-year-old Drew Finch needs to save herself and her brother. Her brother Mason is classed as an unruly teenager, but sending him away from home won’t help, surely? Drew needs to investigate the RRA and get her brother out – she’s not convinced it’s as innocent as people suggest. The academy is shrouded in secrecy and its residents know nothing of its treatments. In fact, neither do we, until Drew is subjected to how they are ‘reformed’. Let’s just say it doesn’t involve talking things through!

Prior to her admission, she researches the academy, but finds no evidence of its wrongdoings, or ‘bad nature’.  She finds a lone SnapChat user (YA reference) that warns her about what can happen; they meet, Drew gets worried and is admitted into the RRA.

Given that Drew was admitted to the academy for being troublesome only once, she put herself through a lot for the sake of her brother. I understand she cared for him deeply, but believing the words of one woman who she barely knows seems strange. She’s a kick-ass character that takes no crap and makes unlikely friends in other residents that help her out.

The Treatment was incredibly fast-paced and action-packed, with points of apprehension that left you asking: why/what/who?! The YA nature pops out in the form of your ‘typical’ teenage lifestyle. Drew has a high school bully, she’s insecure and is a young girl unsure of her feelings. I say typical quite loosely because I’m sure not every teenage experience the above. As much as I am a YA advocate, some adults may think the nature of Drew and her friends is a little childish, but that’s all preference really.

After reading C.L. Taylor’s YA offering, I should probably put some of her other novels in my basket, too! I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.

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Be kind to yourself | #WorldMentalHealthDay

As I’m sure you’re all aware, Tuesday 10th October was #WorldMentalHealthDay – a day to unite the world and raise awareness of all mental health issues.

World Mental Health Day

It’s no secret that I suffer from anxiety and depression (as do a lot of people), so the day was something I wanted to get behind and promote. From experience, a number of people who simply don’t understand is shocking. I’ve had many suggest it’s not ‘real’ and that it’s because of my temperament. But, what they don’t seem to grasp is that anyone who suffers can’t control how they feel and more importantly, they don’t want to feel this way.

So, what has this got to do with a book blog?

Well, the reason I decided to post this blog today was that it got me thinking about how people feel when they blog. Although the majority of feelings are always positive, there are times where it all becomes a little too much!

Recently, I’ve noticed bloggers posting about their struggles with trying to keep the right balance – whether this is through work and blogging or blogging for work. The majority of people always seem to feel bad about not posting and the negative connotations surrounding it.

Where does the pressure and negative feelings come from?

Well, most of the time the pressure comes from the individual themselves and that’s all because they care!

I will admit that I often feel anxiety about my blog because let’s face it, I need to post more, but I struggle to find the time. However, the only person that puts unnecessary pressure on me for not posting is: me.

My fear is that if I don’t post frequently, I’ll lose the engagement and/or publishers won’t send me books anymore. It has happened before where I’ve taken some absence and people who I spoke to (and formed a relationship with!) stopped talking and publishers didn’t email anymore. It’s not a nice feeling when you’ve put so much time and effort into something for it to just dwindle away so easily.

But, do you know what?

F**k it! Blogging should be fun and that’s the main reason I started: to have fun! It is, and always will be, a hobby and I shouldn’t feel pressured or stressed about it. So what if people stop talking? They weren’t worth it if this is how you get treated. If publishers don’t send any books? Don’t panic, there are bookshops out there! Buy ones to read instead. Personally, I never started this blog to receive free books and that’s one thing I need to remember.

So, here’s my advice to you:

There’s no point in stressing over something you can’t change. Move on and grow stronger.

Please don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourselves. You’ve got a lot more other things to worry about! Your blog isn’t going anywhere and you can get back to it when you’re feeling in the right frame of mind.

We’re all human and things don’t always go right and that’s fine – you can do it!

Patrick from Spongebob

Have you ever felt pressure when blogging?

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