Book Reviews

5 STAR REVIEW – Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

I knew this would be a difficult book before going in due to the subject matter and personal experience. It’s a topic that is very rarely addressed in real-life, let alone in novels, so I found this to be a very important book. One that every teenager needs to read, because domestic violence is not necessarily physical, and more awareness needs to be made regarding what’s okay and not okay in a relationship.

We follow Grace and at the start she is full of ambition, reaching for the stars (i.e. New York) to follow her dream to become a famous, successful directer. She loves musicals and Pepsi Freezes (don’t know what they are, but after reading this I want to find out if they exist and what they taste like) and is enjoying life with her friends and drama club. Enter Gavin, who is your typical charismatic, charming, music loving boy. Basically, any teen girls kryptonite, or blue eyed snake.

We see how he worms his way into Graces life. even from the beginning she had no control, it felt like she was under his spell and he was ready to take advantage, which immediately gave me alarm bells. Straight away I saw him as a manipulative narcissist, but Grace was crazy about him, and love is blind from these subtle signs. He wanted Grace and Grace just needed to sit back and watch it happen. The further we go, the more aggressive, controlling, and dangerous Gavin becomes, and it honestly was scary about how far he was going to go. I started getting really scared for Grace, and it was seriously affecting her mental health. Even though I never went through anything as serious as Grace did, but there are still similarities that I was able to relate to. Making excuses for their behaviour, blaming yourself when they got angry, having such a low self-esteem you start worrying that you can’t leave because ‘no-one else can anyone love me’, using ‘I love him’ as an excuse for sticking around and hoping that you can somehow fix everything if you stayed.

I really empathised with Grace. Her family life was terrible, with her mother suffering from OCD and forcing Grace to clean an already clean spot, doing ridiculous chores, and dealing with an equally abusive step-father. It was clever to include this in the novel, as Grace’s need for love and acceptance from Gavin can be linked to her poor home life. At the beginning, Gavin seemed like a break from them, an escape and a chance to feel happy again. This frame of mind is possibility how people get trapped into abusive relationships. The bad relationship at home is considered ‘normal’, and Grace started to realise this further in the novel, she could she herself in her mother, and what could be her life if she doesn’t get out soon.

I loved how Grace had such a positive relationship with her two best friends Nat and Lys. I loved their characters and story arcs. Nat is a sweet, innocent Catholic girl, and Lys is a scene-kid lesbian and they are all such incredible, supportive friends to each other. They help Grace as much as they can, whilst also helping her see the light without being impatient or pushy. They were always there for her which is such a good thing to see. Friends sticking together. It showed how important friends can be in this situation as they can really see how moods change and red flags show.

The story is told in the second person, and Grace is talking to Gavin (i.e. ‘you’) which I thought was a very good way to tell the story. We see Grace’s inner monolgue throughout the entire relationship and how in retrospect she feels she could’ve left after the first red flags, because hindsight is an amazing thing, right? You feel all the emotions that she goes through and how many times to changes her mind and give Gavin ‘one more chance’ and your rooting for her to finally do it. It is so incredibly brave to stop with the excuses and stop with the ‘compromises’ and cut all ties. At the end, we start to see the Grace we see at the beginning. Excited for life, loving her times with her friends. Although the affects of Gavin are still there, haunting. She still worried about whether he’s going to follow her, or find her, and that’s something that might stick for the rest of her life.

The slight critique I had was that it seemed strange how Summer was no longer present in the novel after a few chapters in, and I really thought her perspective and past would’ve really helped Grace. I also would’ve loved to see a bit more of the aftermath, maybe seeing Grace at College and starting her new life? But I understand why the author left it where she did.

Overall, I think this is such as important read for every young person. But there are trigger warning for abuse, suicide, depression, anxiety. So bare this in mind at all times and don’t feel as if you need to push through them. It’s such a difficult read that not everyone can get through, but still incredibly important.

Find out more about this book, and the author’s other works on Goodreads.
Read-a-thons

Contemporaryathon Round 4 TBR!

Hey guys! Contemporaryathon is back for it’s forth round! The topic for this readathon is really self-explanatory, you just have to read Contemporary books! I love reading contemporary, especially when I’m struggling with what to read next, or need a break from fantasy/science fiction series, or just need some fluffy, light-heartedness in my life!

 

It will be taking place from 11th – 17th February 2019 and has a total of 7 reading challenges, you are more than welcome to double/triple up on challenges! There will also be a live-show hang-out on Chelsea’s channel on 16th February at 6pm PST / 9pm EST (I am in the UK, so it’ll be 2am so unfortunately I won’t be able to join). It is hosted by the same lovely girls; Julie from Pages and Pens, Natasha from myreadingisodd, and Chelsea from Chelseadollingreads, and is introducing a new host Mel from Meltotheany. There are Booktube video challenges to post your TBR (on Chelsea’s announcement), Daily Vlog playlist (on Natasha’s announcement), and your wrap-up video (on Julie’s announcement) There will be photo challenges on their Instagram page as well! See below for all the challenges…

 

~~THE CHALLENGES~~
1. Read the most recent contemporary book you purchased/acquired
2. Read book with blurple (blue or purple lol) on the cover
3. Read a diverse contemporary (keeping in mind that it is Black History Month!)
4. Read a dark/emotional/hard-hitting contemporary
5. Read a contemporary that you meant to read in 2018 but didn’t
6. Read a contemporary in a non-traditional format
7. Read a contemporary with some sort of picture on the spine

 

And here are the books I’m hoping to read to fulfil those challenges!

 

31351689Girl Made of Stars – Ashley Herring Blake

YOUNG ADULT, FICTION, CONTEMPORARY, HARD-HITTING, TRIGGERS, ABUSE, LGBT

Challenges: Hard-Hitting, Non-Traditional Format

Pages: 304

Goodreads

 


 

 

 

35795987Bad Romance – Heather Demetrios

YOUNG ADULT, FICTION, CONTEMPORARY, ROMANCE, TRIGGERS, ABUSE, MENTAL HEALTH

Challenges: Hard-Hitting, Picture on the Spine, Meant to Read in 2018

Pages: 384

Goodreads

 


 

35046013I Believe in a Thing Called Love – Maureen Goo

YOUNG ADULT, FICTION, CONTEMPORARY, ROMANCE, HUMOUR, REALISTIC FICTION, DIVERSITY

Challenges: Diverse, Picture on the Spine, Meant to Read in 2018

Pages: 325

Goodreads

 


 

 

39939417Five Feet Apart – Rachael Lippincott

YOUNG ADULT, FICTION, CONTEMPORARY, ROMANCE, CHRONIC ILLNESS REP, REALISTIC FICTION, DEBUT

Challenges: Blue-Purple on the cover, Most Recent Purchase, Non-Traditional Format

Pages: 288

Goodreads

 


 

 

38224633The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang

ADULT, FICTION, CONTEMPORARY, ROMANCE, DIVERSITY, OWN VOICES, DISABILITY REP

Challenges: Blue-Purple on the cover, Non-traditional Format

Pages: 336

Goodreads

 


 

 

So are any of you also participating in Contemporaryathon? If so, what are you reading? Have you read any of these? And if so, what did you think of them? Any recommendations based on these choices? What are your reading plans for the rest of February? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!!

Abbie xxxx

Read-a-thons

Polarthon TBR!

Sup readers! Today I’m bringing my TBR for the Polarthon. It is a new readathon created and hosted by the beautiful Jade from JadeyRaeReads. Her favourite genre is Polar Fantasy which are basically fantasies within a Northern/wintery setting, so this readathon is to try and read books from that genre! This readathon is taking place from 4th – 10th February and it set up as a create-your-own-adventure map. All you need to do is climb the mountain by completing reading prompts at each stage of the mountain. There are 5 stages, thus 5 reading prompts and only one per prompt. The graphic map can be found here or on the official announcement video!

I decided to choose mostly middle grade books that Jade had recommended, her TBR is also linked here, which I would also suggest checking out as Polar Fantasy can be hard to find. But here is my official TBR!

 

Starting at the bottom of the mountain…

24937342Northern Lights – Philip Pullman

Prompt: Cosy Read

Pages: 397

MIDDLE GRADE; FANTASY; POLAR; MAGIC; SERIES

Goodreads

 


 

 

Heading straight up the mountain…

36653792Sky Song – Abi Elphinstone

Prompt: Blue Cover

Pages: 273

MIDDLE GRADE; FANTASY; POLAR; ADVENTURE; MAGIC

Goodreads

 


 

 

 Heading right…

24485589Hunted – Meagan Spooner

Prompt: Silver Cover

Pages: 374

YOUNG ADULT; FANTASY; RE-TELLINGS; ROMANCE; BEAUTY AND THE BEAST; FAIRY TALES

Goodreads

 


 

 

Heading right again…

32602009A Shiver of Snow and Sky – Lisa Lueddecke

Prompt: Snowy Cover

Pages: 341

YOUNG ADULT; FANTASY; POLAR; MAGIC

Goodreads

 


 

 

Going slightly left to the top…

40210239Frost Fire – Jamie Smith

Prompt: Polar Fantasy

Pages: 288

MIDDLE GRADE; FANTASY; POLAR; ADVENTURE

Goodreads

 


 

So are any of you participating in the Polarthon? If so, what are you planning to read? Have you read any of these, and if so, what did you think of them? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!!

Abbie xxxx

 

TBR's

FEBRUARY TBR [2019]

Hey readers! I hope you’re doing well! I aim to continue February with the same pace as January… I am in such a great reading mood and I honestly want to read all the books! February is a mix of romance/contemporary books (because, Valentine’s Day) and also some wintery, cosy books, because it had been snowing in my town in the UK and I now want to read loads of wintery books… perfect for the Polarthon planned in the beginning! Following from that, I am participating in two readathons this month, again. The Polarthon and Contemporary-athon Round 4, of which I will post my TBR closer to their start dates. I guess it turned into a positive reading experience in January so I want to do it again! Anyways, didn’t mean to ramble on, here are the books I really want to get to in February, listed by priority! I’m also including my classics and non-fiction pick for the month. Enjoy!

 

The Girl in the Tower – Katherine Arden

In An Absent Dream – Seanan McGuire

Vicious – V. E. Schwab

Bad Romance – Heather Demetrios

Hunted – Meagan Spooner

Beartown – Fredrik Backman

Northern Lights – Philip Pullman *re-read*

I Believe in a Thing Called Love – Maureen Goo

Girl Made of Stars – Ashley Herring Blake

  • Classics pick: Emma – Jane Austen
  • Non-Fiction pick: Being Mortal – Atul Gawande

 

So what are you guys planning on reading for February? Are you in a romance mood, or a cosy reading mood? Have you read any of these? And if so, what did you think of them? Any recommendations? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!

 

Abbie xxxx

Wrap-Ups

HUGE January Wrap-Up! [2019]

Well, what a reading month January was for me! I managed to read a staggering 15 books, thanks to Biannual Bibliothon and Buzzword Readathon in the middle of the month where I had a few days off work and was able to just REEEEAAADDD! I also checked off my monthly goals of reading one classic per month and one non-fiction book per month, so starting 2019 off strong! Yay!

 

monthly wrap up

 

 

dumplin’ – julie murphy 18304322

format: Kindle

length: 371 pages

Goodreads

The first book I read this year was unfortunately a stinker. The main character basically rubbed me the wrong way and didn’t like her personality or how she treated other people. In my eyes, this was not the ‘body positivity’ book I was expecting. Instead it felt like a temper tantrum from an overweight person. In particular, I found it quite unhealthy when body types try and push down other body types just so they can feel better about themselves. Willowdean entered the pageant with the objective to humiliate her mother and her career, which felt really immature and unnecessary to me. I guess Willowdean was meant to be unlikeable, but to me she was so bad that it could not be redeemed. I did post a full-page rant review here if your interested.

1.5 stars


 

 

25526296every heart a doorway – seanan mcguire

format: hardback

length: 170 pages

Goodreads

After the first book, I needed to pick myself back up by re-reading a good book. I forgot how much I loved this book! I just click with this story! We follow children at a boarding school, and not just any boarding school, one for kids who have gone through doors to ‘otherworlds’ and have been sent back to reality and are struggling to adapt back. I love how much there is so much packed inside this tiny book, very much like a Mary Poppins bag! I enjoyed the characters and the world building. I just love the potential this series has! So many worlds that can be explored!

4.5 stars!


 

 

25493853the bear and the nightingale – katherine arden

format: hardback

length: 328 pages

Goodreads

Oh blimey. Everything about this I loved! It was so magical, mystical and lyrical. I absolutely adored the gorgeous atmosphere and winter setting, and the characters are beautiful to read about. I really enjoyed following Vasilisa as she grew up, seeing the spirits and also being so headstrong and (not) doing what she believed. Her relationship with her family and the spirits was incredibly developed and I could not get enough of the different spirits and folklore that was incorporated into the story. The story built so beautifully and I did not find it slow at all. I honestly cannot wait for the sequel when it arrives!

5 stars!!


 

 

464164harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban – j.k. rowling

format: paperback/audiobook

length: 317 pages

Goodreads

Check out my Biannual Bibliothon Wrap-Up for my thoughts!

5 stars!!


 

 

37569318empress of all seasons – emiko jean

format: Kindle

length: 389 pages

Goodreads

Check out my Biannual Bibliothon Wrap-Up for my thoughts!

3.5 stars


 

 

43305952fire and heist – sarah beth durst

format: hardback

length: 304 pages

Goodreads

Check out my Biannual Bibliothon Wrap-Up for my thoughts!

3 stars


 

 

36146483every last lie – mary kubica

format: Kindle

length: 384 pages

Goodreads

Check out my Buzzword Readathon Wrap-Up for my thoughts!

2.75 stars


 

 

36385827last time i lied – riley sager

format: Kindle/audiobook

length: 368 pages

Goodreads

Check out my Buzzword Readathon Wrap-Up for my thoughts!

4 stars!


 

 

31931941eliza and her monsters – francesca zappia

format: Kindle

length: 385 pages

Goodreads

Check out my Biannual Bibliothon Wrap-Up for my thoughts!

4.5 stars!


 

 

13455462the alchemist – paulo coelho

format: paperback

length: 177 pages

Goodreads

Check out my Biannual Bibliothon Wrap-Up for my thoughts!

4 stars!


 

 

31450908down among the sticks and bones – seanan mcguire

format: hardback

length: 187 pages

Goodreads

This was another re-read in order to continue the series, and I loved it just as much as the first time! I was always intrigued by Jack and Jill’s backstory and that was precisely what this was. I loved how Seanan McGuires main focus was how each of their childhoods have impacted how they are now. The Moors were so atmospheric and spooky, and again I do not know how she fits so much into a tiny book! The characters they encounter were all very intriguing.

5 stars!!


 

 

36114409the language of kindness – christie watson

format: hardback

length: 322 pages

Goodreads

I wrote a full-page review which will be linked here, but for the sake of the wrap-up, I’ll try and summarise! I absolutely loved this and it’s such an important book regarding the healthcare system in the UK. We follow the author as she starts off training as a nurse and throughout her career in different wards of the hospital. It was incredibly informative but delivered with a sense of empathy and kindness, everything was truly heartfelt and genuine. It showed the true sense of a hospital and how it has grown, in a good way and a bad way. It was heavily emphasised that the healthcare system in the UK is in crisis and staff have to work incredibly long hours for not much pay. I loved this!

5 stars!!


 

 

27366528beneath the sugar sky – seanan mcguire

format: hardback

length: 174 pages

Goodreads

This book sparked my re-read of the series, because I really wanted to catch-up before the next instalment ‘In An Absent Dream’ is released. I really loved this one, just not as much as the other two. We see the land of Confection and also have a lot of the characters from book one re-enter the story which was a great surprise! We see further development in them and see where they end up and it was beautiful. The story was so whimsical and full of nonsense. I thought the world-building was really well done, as well as the contrast between characters from nonsense and others from logic, those interactions were very entertaining!

4 stars!


 

 

9279177the lover’s dictionary – david levithan

format: Kindle

length: 211 pages

Goodreads

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite as unique as this. It is told in dictionary entries from A-Z, and highlighting a brief and personal insight into a relationship. It was beautifully written and truly an innovative way to relay the insecurities, emotional highs and fluctuating lows of a relationship. It is a great piece of poetry and felt so honest and genuine, and a lot of the entries can be relatable to other people’s own relationships. Such a huge fan of everything I have read from this author and I am definitely going to read as much of his work as possible!

4 stars!


 

 

26240663seven ways we lie – riley redgate

format: paperback

length: 343 pages

Goodreads

I wasn’t too sure how to rate this, this had amazing representation and a great cast of characters, but I didn’t find myself massively attached to the plot and I felt disconnected to a lot that was going on. It was amazing reading from seven distinct characters and knowing there are different characters, but also I was able to find myself within each and relate to some of the personal issues the characters were going through. I definitely related to Kat the most, and understood her character more within the second half. My favourite was definitely Matt, and I didn’t really like Claire (definitely not after what she did to Lucas). The massive representation doesn’t automatic make it a great book, but I still enjoyed myself.

3.5 stars


 

 

So there is my very long wrap-up (if you made it this far, you deserve a tasty treat!) which could not have been a better start to the month, I read a lot but also enjoyed a lot.

 

How many books did I read off my official TBR? Let’s see!

TBR books:

The Bear and The Nightingale – Katherine Arden

Vicious – V. E. Schwab

Empress of All Seasons – Emiko Jean

Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling

Eliza and Her Monsters – Francesca Zappia

Dumplin’ – Julie Murphy

The Last Time I Lied – Riley Sagar

Daisy Miller & The Turning of the Shrew – Henry James

The Lie Tree – Frances Hodgsen

= 6/8 TBR books!


 

So what did you guys read in January? Got your 2019 goals off to a good start? Any new favourites? Have you also read any of these and if so, what did you think of them? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!!

Abbie xxxx

 

 

Uncategorized

12 Books To Read in 2019!

I understand this is quite late to be posted now that it’s near the end of January, but I kind decided that I want to tick off the books I complete from this list. I had started drafting this at the start of the year and intended to keep as a draft, but I though ‘why not?’. They are the books I want to prioritise this year because I was planning to read them last year but didn’t get around to them, or they’re books I’ve had for a long time and need to finally get to. I have no excuse for not have already read these, mainly just putting things off or simply didn’t have enough time last year. But if all goes well, all these books (or at least a majority) of these will be crossed off! When I review my reading in the middle of the year, we’ll see how I’ve done etc.

 

380879121/ VICIOUS by V. E. Schwab

Goodreads

Why I’m Prioritising:

  • Want to read all V. E. Schwab’s published works
  • It’s V. E. f***ing Schwab!
  • Deals with power and whether it creates super heroes or villains
  • Fantastic reviews from other’s I trust
  • I’ve bought the exclusive editions of the duology so I have to read it!

Why I’ve Put it Off:

  • Shear laziness
  • Other books getting in the way
  • High expectations from author after loving ADSOM series

 

289541892/ SCYTHE by Neal Shusterman

Goodreads

Why I’m Prioritising:

  • Had it on my TBR for AGES!
  • Set in a world where we have conquered death so we need assigned killers to keep the population under control
  • Fantastic reviews

Why I’ve Put it Off:

  • Forgetting to get to it
  • Other books getting in the way

 

236773413/ WE ARE THE ANTS by Shaun David Hutchinson

Goodreads

Why I’m Prioritising:

  • Fantastic reviews
  • Hard-hitting which deals with important issues
  • Been on TBR for over a year
  • Described as Donnie Darko with LGBT and aliens

Why I’ve Put it Off:

  • Intimidated by the fantastic reviews
  • Predicted 5 star read
  • Been trying to de-hype the book so my expectations aren’t too high

 

157436504/ THE RAVEN BOYS by Maggie Steifvater

Goodreads

Why I’m Prioritising:

  • Popular and well-loved series
  • Got the entire series so able to binge through the entire thing
  • Been on TBR for over a year
  • I’m possibly the only person in history to have not read this series yet

Why I’ve Put it Off:

  • I might not love it as much as everyone else does
  • I take ages getting through series
  • Intimidated by it’s popularity

 

254938535/ THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE by Katherine Arden *update* read: 5/5 stars

Goodreads

Why I’m Prioritising:

  • Fantastic reviews
  • Based on Russian folklore
  • I love atmospheric books
  • Been on TBR for over a year

Why I’ve Put it Off:

  • Intimidated by the fantastic reviews
  • Predicted 5 star read
  • Waiting for the perfect time to pick this up (winter)
  • Been trying to de-hype the book so my expectations aren’t too high

 

358871816/ THE POPPY WAR by R. F. Kuang

Goodreads

Why I’m Prioritising:

  • Fantastic reviews from those I trust
  • Military historical fiction set in China
  • A very dark, grim book
  • Has no romance

Why I’ve Put it Off:

  • Need to be in the right mood for it
  • Predicted 5 star read
  • Over 500 pages
  • Dense fantasy

 

357959877/ BAD ROMANCE by Heather Demetrios

Goodreads

Why I’m Prioritising:

  • Honest and raw book about abusive relationships
  • Protagonist is looking in hindsight at the relationship turning sour
  • Unique premise, haven’t seen many books on abusive relationships
  • Can be relatable to personal experiences

Why I’ve Put it Off:

  • Want to read around February or Summer time
  • Predicted 5 star read
  • Can be relatable to personal experiences

 

306537198/ HUNTED by Meagan Spooner

Goodreads

Why I’m Prioritising:

  • Been on my TBR for a very long time
  • Retelling of Beauty & The Beast, a favourite of mine
  • A standalone fantasy

Why I’ve Put it Off:

  • Polarising views
  • Prone to overlooking the book at times
  • Had on Kindle initially, but now got the Hardcover which means I should get to it quicker

 

339582309/ FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS by Julie C. Dao

Goodreads

Why I’m Prioritising:

  • Been on my TBR for a very long time
  • East Asian reimagining of The Evil Queen
  • Dark book following an antagonist
  • Final book in duology released last year

Why I’ve Put it Off:

  • Polarising views
  • Prone to overlooking the book at times
  • Waiting for the best time to pick it up

 

1916185210/ THE FIFTH SEASON by N. K. Jemisin

Goodreads

Why I’m Prioritising:

  • Been on my TBR for a very long time
  • Fantastic reviews
  • Have the whole trilogy on my shelf
  • Interesting premise; post-apocalyptic mixed with fantasy

Why I’ve Put it Off:

  • Intimidated by reviews
  • Predicted 5 star book
  • Want to be in the right mood to pick it up

 

2974892511/ STRANGE THE DREAMER by Laini Taylor

Goodreads

Why I’m Prioritising:

  • Fantastic reviews
  • Very popular
  • Interesting premise following a librarian searching for a forgotten city
  • Own both special edition books in the duology

Why I’ve Put it Off:

  • Did not enjoy Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  • Intimidated by popularity
  • Over 500 pages, in both books
  • Worried I won’t like it as much as everyone else

 

3518131412/ HEART OF IRON by Ashley Poston

Goodreads

Why I’m Prioritising:

  • Been wanting to read in 2018
  • Described as Anastasia in Space
  • A diverse read
  • Praised from reviewers with similar reading tastes

Why I’ve Put it Off:

  • Polarising views
  • Prone to overlooking the book at times
  • First in a series, second not released yet

 

 

So fingers crossed I get to these books this year at last! I really want to try and reduce the physical books on my TBR this year, and this would be one of the steps to take to do such that! Have any of you read these books? Any you recommend I get to first? I’d love to know!

 

THANKS FOR READING!

 

Abbie xxxx

Book Reviews

5 STAR REVIEW – The Language of Kindness: A Nurse’s Story by Christie Watson

This book takes a look on the National Health Service (NHS) within the UK. This was such an important and powerful story of a Nurse in the NHS. I was laughing and crying as Christie goes through her Nurse training full of enthusiasm, being overwhelmed once qualified, seeing and doing things you can’t properly explain the experience of, and also seeing the strain on the NHS and how it is affecting the well-being of the staff. The layout worked well with Christie’s time in training in Mental Health and looking after sick children, to going through A&E and elderly care and the mortuary. We also see how it is like to be a relative to a dying patient, and how you could be trained to save people’s lives but have to sit back and watch someone you love die.

Not only that, but it was beautifully written. It perfectly shows the good and bad side of the NHS without seeming patronising; it is delivered with passion, empathy, and honesty. I felt a strong mix of emotions all the way through, and it felt like Christie was telling the story to me personally over a hot drink in a cafe. She also explains the shear state of the NHS and how it desperately needs saving, which something that I feel very passionate about. There is a clear philosophical view that the personalities of the staff, and the amount of compassion, empathy and kindness is what makes the NHS special and is what should be at the heart of health care and recovery rates. This is probably something that is slowly being forgotten about, and putting the NHS in jeopardy as the staffing levels and well-being are dangerously low and parts of the NHS is being privatised.

There was only one critique that I found, which is probably just a personal thing but I still think it needs clarification. Not all Elderly Care wards are as bad as they were depicted in the book. I’m not a nurse, but I am a Health Care Assistant on an Elderly Care ward and, even though it is extremely busy and at full capacity the majority of the time with most of the patients requiring hoisting or two people to assist, patients are not neglected. I understand that other Trusts might be below expectations and patients are sometimes treated less than dignified in some hospitals, but it’s definitely not like that in every elderly care ward. It’s just something I wanted to clarify.

In part I listened to the Audiobook, and it was narrated by Christie herself and she delivers her story with such poise and feeling. In the book, with every chapter there is a quote or a phrase, from philosophers, nurses, authors, and poets which further embeds the philosophy that care and kindness is at the heart of successful healthcare. It is compared how nursing has changed from the early days with Florence Nightingale and where it is now, how the profession does not have a concrete set of attributes, as different areas of nursing require different skill-sets and personalities. She shows how sometimes the staff and what they do within NHS hospitals can be overlooked, how small acts of kindness may be considered as meaningless or disregarded when news stories come out about the further crisis of the NHS. Despite the brutal reality of it all, I still came away feeling proud to be working in the NHS.

“Take my hand, hold my hand tightly. Let us fling open the door and find whatever we find, face all the horror and beauty of life, let us really live. Together, our hands will not shake.”

Find out more about this non-fiction book, and the author’s other works on Goodreads.