You By Caroline Kepnes

YOU By Caroline Kepners

Publisher – Simon

If Joe Goldberg was a real person he would be up there with Ted Bundy and Christopher Watts. The type of man some slightly unstable women see and think “ look at him, he is a hottie, he didn’t kill that girl!” – honestly there is a Facebook page where women lust after and defend Chris Watts – it’s fucking nuts guys!

If this was another thriller from a women’s perspective about who her stalker is I probably wouldn’t have read it, I already have a 100 times before (I’m over exaggerating) but because it’s from the stalkers POV I was drawn in straight away.

The awful thing is I ended up hating Beck, I’m just chucking my feminism views out the widow and totally victim blaming because I found Joe charming and funny and that is the problem.

When I imagine a stalker the first thing that come to mind is some creepy dudes in long coats, sunglasses and in my head they always have a goatee or neck beard! We trust good looking people more. It’s the culture we live in. Why are there only attractive people in adds and on TV. Mr John smith of nowhere and nothing isn’t getting paid to sell you skinny tea on instagram. It’s terrifying.

I’m reluctant to say I did enjoyed the TV show more because of Paco, who doesn’t feature in the book. He gave Joe more depth. Like he did have the capacity to care about someone other than his current obsession which kind of changed the entire story, it also made Karen Minty plot line more believable than someone he just met and banged on the train. I mean what luck!

The book paints Joe as a child, he is quick to call Beck a Slut when things don’t go his way. He studies Becks clothing and depending on his mood she is either gods gift or a whore and this is a general mood in a lot of people. How many times have you been called a bitch or slag for not replying to a message from a random guy? Or been verbally abused for not acknowledging a cat call?

The characters are so well written though, especially Benji, I love to hate Benji. Some of the things that come out of his mouth had my eye rolling so much I practically saw my brain.

Personally I think Joe should give up women and start a rehab facility, it’s his calling in life. People would pay him a bunch for that experience!

The books a solid 3 1/2 stars but this could change. I’m going to read Hidden Bodies pretty soon and will be back with an update.

#You #CarolineKepnes #YouBook

Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered – From the Podcast ‘My Favorite Murder’ – Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark.

 

“Fuck politeness, fuck the way we were socialised, fuck the expectation that we always put other peoples needs first. And while we are at it FUCK THE PATRIARCHY” – Georgina Hardstark.

 

I started listening to My Favourite Murder on 2017 and was hooked instantly. Hearing these women get excited about true crime without worshipping serial killers was refreshing. I’ve always been a true crime buff since an early age, like, way before a child should be exposed to this stuff.

So lets start off with a home town (Its like an 1 – 2 hours train ride but it’s the one that sticks in my mind the most) murder:

 

I was 5 years old when 3-year-old James Bulger was murdered by 2 10-year-old boys.

Obviously 5 years old me was too young to understand exactly what happened but what I did understand confused me, I didn’t understand how 2 children could kill and torture child, practically a toddler I just knew it happened

That lead to my early obsession with the news and true crime. It’s not about getting your leg over with Ted Bundy, it’s about understanding the mentality to commit such violent acts against each other.

 

Jumping into the book some chapters are very sincere and heart string breaking. Early in the book Karen goes into detail about her mother’s long battle with Alzheimer’s. Luckily no one in my family has suffered from Alzheimer’s, apart from my great grandad and he passed when I was very young, but I worked in the care industry for 6 years. I would see the hurt and pain this disease causes the family members of anyone suffering. Karen describes it as a shark, a very slow shark coming for you in a pool you are trapped in. Its years of excruciatingly trying to stay afloat while the shark is coming eat you, painfully slow, with the Jaws music playing all the time. Like for years.

 

Karen really does bare her soul in the book and I felt kindred, we both have a shit ton of anxiety, the kind that makes you hate yourself or made others hate you, either way it wins keeping you trapped inside like Cathy Dollanganger, all ‘flowers in the Attic’ like but with less incest, literally no incest.

 

The chapters/ narrative switch between Karen and Georgia, each chapter is titled after one of their famous catch phases while trying to teach some wise, woke, valuable lessons that come across as repetitive and listless.

 

Before I start critiquing, I am going to point out some of the good parts of the book, I don’t want to be a Debbie downer and it a good book but I personally have some issues.

 

Good Points.

 

Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered is an empowering book, it gives great advice on doing just as the title instructs.

I am glad both Karen and Georgia disclosed on their toxic teens and twenties. On the podcast the presenters touch upon their battle with drugs and alcohol but I always wanted to know more, mainly because I am nosey as fuck when it comes to addiction. During my early 20s I was off the rails. So far off the rails I couldn’t even hear the trains anymore.  I hit the trifecta of shitty things happening.

 

  1. I was going through a very hard break up, because when you are young you think you are in love like no one else has ever been in love before which means breaking up smashes you n to a million pieces.
  2. I worked in a super busy bar/nightclub (To my UK readers it was a Yates, home to Stella drinking, football watching cave men). Working in a super busy night club leads to drinking. Lots and lots of drinking. Even when we had days off, we still returned to our employer and participate in ‘day drunk’. We would finish work at 4am and go to a nightclub open till 6am and after that a house party. I drank 24 hours a day.
  3. What do they say?

the best way to get over a man is to get under one’.

 DO NOT FOLLOW THIS ADVICE. It’s a lie created by men to exploit unstable heartache. These boys waiting to pounce on you, while you’re a sloppy drunk crying with streaked foundation and panda eyes, are not the ones for you. They, my friends, are what we usually refer to as fuck boys.

  1. Most importantly DON’T shut all these problems, heart ache, addiction and troubles into a small box and force it way down deep in your subconscious while suffering from a number of undiagnosed and unmedicated mental health issues such as: Bi Polar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Anxiety, Depression and anger issues. It will implode.

 

Thankfully I left the job at the club after 2 years of hard partying every night and suicidal depression every day. I met a guy that I love (and kind of realised I was never actually in love before).  I started seeing a councillor and doctor who diagnosed me and medicated me, and my friends dragged me through it all.

 

The fact they openly shared their stories helps them both seem more human, which I think we forget. They make mistakes like all of us its just that Georgia seems to make more than an average amount.

 

Slightly Bad Points

 

Karen and Georgia need to hire a publicist. Desperately. The fans are begging them.

I haven’t listed to the podcast in a few months because of the shitty attitude they both had about other cultures, classes and races. From the tepee incident to the recent sexual abuse doll glee situation (have a google) and now they are issuing fans with cease and desist letters. I purchased the book hoping they would be addressing these situations but once again they go on unacknowledged.

The chapters are repetitive as neither one bothered to read what the other had wrote until after publication. The format is messy in places and doesn’t appear to have been proofread but the biggest grinds my gears moment is the filler. I didn’t need the ‘How To Be A Latchkey Kid’ entire itinerary run down, there is never a need for a page to give step by step instructions on making toast.?!?!??!

 

The ways to SSDGM are just the same warning we heard every fortnight from the podcast. Its all about knowing Red Flags and Fucking Politeness. Which obviously are good lessons, we all now know not to hitchhike, take drinks from stranger, avoid dark roads and alleyways, never go to a second location and above all else ALWAYS REMOVE THE LINT FROM THE DRYER!

 

If we take out the Yikes, White Privilege and forget about the actual podcast the book is a charming and truthful memoir of two women making a life for themselves and loving it in the process. Its an easy read. For every boring part there is an interesting part.

I do worry about the future of My Favourite Murder though, in one of Georgia’s chapters she talks about Alie Ward and how the stress broke their friendship and carer apart. Georgia speaks about Alie with such bitterness she is more teenage girl than business women, I have lost respect for Georgia as you can probably tell, she is problematic and unapologetic. I hope Karen doesn’t come to the same end as Allie.

 

3/5

Must Try Harder!

The Flatshare By Beth O’Leary. *Spoilers*

The Flatshare

By Beth O’Leary

Publisher: Quercus

Beth O’Leary debut book definitely exceeded the hype!

I’d seen this book around 100 times a day on Instagram and never came across one bad review so I broke my book ban (just one time) when it was on sale in the kindle store.

I’m so happy I did.

I really connected with Tiffy, I loved her style and personality. So as soon as Justin came on the scene I was really let down in her, she didn’t seem like the type of girl I liked a few pages earlier I was kinda ready to give up on the book because I wasn’t in the mood for a book about getting over a toxic relationship but I carried on.

How could I not, I’d never heard of a bed share before. I’ve House shared with people I’ve not know before and one was SUPER creepy so imagine sharing a bed with that person. No thank you.

Both main characters had partners/ ex partners who didn’t deserve them. Both used emotional abusive tactics to have control over Leon and Tiffy.

There are to many people to count around the world who have experienced toxicity in relationships and hopefully some of those people will get to read this book. Some may still carry some kind of blame for what they suffered or need to realise they are suffering now. Fingers crossed it will reach someone who needs it.

Tiffy refers her relationship with Justin as “Beautiful, Crazy Rollercoaster” which is the a classic example of a persons describing their toxic relationship before they realise they are in one.

When I was younger I believed I was in a “passionate relationship” which basically meant we’d fight all the time and then get back together. A relationship doesn’t need to be 24/7 passion, sometimes a relationship is curling up in pjs and watching endless conspiracies theory videos on YouTube.

The lead up to Tiffy and Leon meeting filled me with hope, it’s the wholesomeness the world needs. I’m a real sucker for a post it notes, I introduced my partner to Peep Show (one of the best Tv shows ever) when we first got together and there is a very difference kind of “romantic post it note” featured in an episode so it’s kinda a joke of ours. Ours are less wholesome more crude.

But the post it notes made the run up to the shower scene way more exciting. I think I squealed when it happened. Followed up by Brighton, who knew drowning could be so romantic. The sexual tension was unbearable but I’m so super happy it took so long to get to the dirty deed. Also yet another of example that nothing bonds people like getting pissed together.

At this point i decided if Tiffy and Leon are not together by the end I will burn this book.

The events that follow gave me pure Bridget Jones vibes.

The books narrative is exceptional, the dialogue being script like is perfect for the flow, a super pleasure to read.

I can definitely 1000000% envision The Flatshare on the big screen. Someone get Richard Curtis on the phone!

80% of the characters where likeable and I became invested within a few chapters. As well of loving Tiffy and Leon I really enjoyed the growth in the subplots. Richie’s trial, the book launch, Johnny White and Mo and Gertty. I was so glad we didn’t hear from Kay again I think we had enough Jack Ass ex’s popping up.

Beth O’Leary really put some emotional work in to this book and I think really spoke from experience in some parts of the books.

A genuinely feel good book with meaningful undertones.

Black Wolf By G.D.Abson. **No Spoiler**

NO SPOILER REVIEW

Title: Black Wolf

Author: G.D.Abson

Publisher: Mirror Books

Pages: 329

 

Thank you Mirror Books for gifting me an ARC of Black Wolf by G.D.Abson for an honest review.

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A young woman is found dead on the outskirts of St Petersburg on a freezing January morning She has no injuries, and heavy snowfall has buried all trace of an attacker.

Government security services immediately shut down the case, and Natalya suspects the authorities have something to hide. When the dead woman is revealed to be an Anti-Putin activist, Natalya has to go undercover to expose the truth.

But with her career at stake and her own family is in danger, how far is she prepared to go?

A captivating, paced thriller that plunges right into the beating heart of Putin’s Russia

 

Now I may have done all this the wrong way around, Black Wolf is a sequel in sorts to the bestseller of 2018 called MOTHERLAND, but even though I read Black Wolf before its prequel it didn’t affect the story in any way.

When I first started reviewing books, I couldn’t get enough of the twists and turns of an adult thriller, Hans Kopple being a favourite of mine, but in 2018 I seemed to have landed in the middle of the youthful world of YA. I forgot what reading a book aimed at someone my ages….ish was like. Well Black Wolf put me firmly in my place. There is no secret crush letters or text message emojis in this one, Blck Wolf is rough and cold and enjoyable.

I love a strong and independent female protagonist and Natalya Ivanova is just that, she doesn’t take shit from anyone. And I like that. She takes risk and follows her instincts and no man will tell her what is right or wrong.

When Natalya attends a call regarding a body of a women, left at the side of a freezing road only to be found by a pissing traffic cop, she could never have guessed the young woman is a member of The Decemberists, an Anti-Putin group determined to shake up the government of modern day Russia.

With the up coming election brewing and Russian politics being scrutinised at home and around the world the case is hidden from the media, but Natalya can’t let the murder of a young woman go unsolved.

The book delves into the corruption of Russian politics that seem embellished but sadly as true as the exploitation in any government around the world today.

Black Wolf is not a light-hearted read but it is shocking, nail biting, surprising and gratifying.

5 / 5

IN STORES NOW!

 

 

Meet The Bookstagrammer Who Is Procrastinating By Answering Questions About Her Self.

I wrote a review ages ago, like back in February, to be published this month as part of a book tour. I finished the book then and thought ‘I’ll write the review now so it is fresh in my mind’ and now I cant find it and the book is basically rotted in the back of mind where knowledge goes to die.

So now I have a few options. I could re read the book that I didn’t like, I could just try and remember ad go off my notes or I could answer a bunch of ‘Meet The Bloggers’ questions.

So welcome to my Meet The Blogger Blog!

Here is a super posed for photo of me pretending to look deep in to a book I didn’t like…

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1. Where are you from? I’m from Preston, which is the North West of the UK and I like it.

2. When did you start your blog? I honestly don’t know but I started my Instagram, mainly for book reviews, in April of 2018.

3. Would you rather be an author or a publisher? Probably an author because you can tell your own story and have that lifestyle but then there are the deadlines and pressure so I know I would be better suited as a publisher.

4. Do you prefer standalone’s or a series? Standalone’s always. I have read a few series like The Hunger Games and All The Boys I Loved but I do become bored of characters. Usually the character developments become stretched along with story lines. I think a series really thrives when it belongs in the fantasy genre because you have no limitations of what can be done. 

5. What author is your biggest inspiration? Hard questions, I don’t really have “favourite” authors because I read a hold bunch of different things. I love Lauren Barrett, Laura Steven, Kristin Hannah. I think inspiration wise Kathleen Glasgow, Girl in Pieces had a huge impact on me, it was so honest and pure. She really hit the nail on the head when it comes to self harm, depression and self worth.

6. Cats or Dogs? Sheep

7. Whats your favourite movie? This is harder than ‘Whats your favourite book?’. I always say Perks of Being A Wallflower because its beautiful and perfect and the acting, soundtrack and cast are sooooo good, BUT my actual favourite movie is Clerks or Chasing Amy… anything Kevin Smith just makes me happy.

7.  If you got stuck on a island, which three books would you want to be stuck with? Gone With The Wind ( Because then I will have to read it and not have an excuse of being distracted), The Handmaids Tale because I will never get bored of reading it and a survival guide because I’m not an outside person and left alone I would probably die a few chapters in to any of these books.

8.  Did you always plan your Instagram to be a Bookstagram? Yes. I was constantly posting about books on my personal insta but I don’t think anyone cared lol. I was basically just forcing books down their throats. I am super glad I did because I love the people I have met plus they don’t get bored of my mental health  and bookish posts…… at least the act like they don’t.

9. Whats your dream job? I am honestly 31 and have no idea what I want to do with my life. Ideal world someone will pay me, in more than ARC, to read and write about books.

10. Which authors, dead or alive, would you like to meet? Edger Allen Poe. I’d introduce him to twitter, my chemical romance and emo culture.

11. Favourite Adaption? The Handmaids Tale TV Show is BANGING I love it so much. When I heard it was coming I was so pissed. I just couldn’t be bothered with another book I loved being ripped apart and put back together with the best bits missing but it was awesome and I am currently rebinging.

12. Happy Place, Food, Song? Place – Amsterdam, Food – Most things spicy and song ….. anything Disney, most rock, most new rock, soundtracks, metal, old soul. Honestly my shuffle goes from Hanuka Matata to Slipknot very fast.

13. Perfect Night In? Depends who I am with. Friends wine, card games, karaoke and laughter. Alone – Book, PJs, Rain and a shitty but loved girly flick. Boyfriend – Box set, takeaway, couch and curtains shut.

14. Something no one knows about you? I’m quite open, maybe too open sometimes. I can fit my fist in my mouth…. so there is that.

15. Something you hate? Kardashians! 

16. Something you love? To many things. I have an excellent boyfriend, amazing group of friends and my Brother is he bomb! (The bomb … like I’m a 80’s teen in California)

17. My self care routineMusic, I will lock myself away and play really camp soundtracks at full blast, put on a face mask like it fix the world and keep away from the news.

18. Go to genre? It used to be thrillers but the last few years I have been reading a lot of YA. I love anything which stands up the rights of women and what we have to go though. I have been trying to read more books published by authors who are not white, male and straight.

19. Best book from this year? It’s May and up to now my favourite book has probably been A Girl Named Shameless by Laura Steven – Check it out!

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20. Dog ear or book mark? DOG EAR? WHAT KIND OF A MONSTER DOG EARS THEIR BOOKS! Bookmarks all the way!

A Girl Called Shameless By Laura Steven. My Hero!

Published by Electric Monkey

“My heart filled with pride and joy. The experience  and support most women will give to each other is beautiful”

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If you read my last post you will know how impressed I was reading The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven. Like a lot of YA over the past few years it respects its readers, it handles subjects that are experienced by young people in one way or another. Women are taking over Ya and they have something important to say. Togeather we can achieve phenomenal things. So it is no surprise that when I finished the sequel A Girl Called Shameless I was inspired.

Young people are speaking up for their beliefs, they are changing laws, they are organising protests and becoming super heroes. Izzy is nothing short of heroic.

We pick up a few months after THAT website. Things have died down, the whispers still happen but at least her birthday suit isn’t viral anymore. After accidentally outing her best friend to the world, Ajita and Izzys relationship is mended and better than ever. Added to the mix is new friend Meg who reached out to Izzy when the world had turned against her. Speaking of relationships Carson and Izzy are the pinnacle of young love, there are complications in the relationship and it is handle unlike anything I have read before, but I don’t want to spoil that for you.

Suddenly whispers start again, the pointing and laughing but this time not at Izzy.

When Hazels sex tape is released on twitter it all starts again. This time Izzy witnessed this horror from the outside and decided she isn’t going to stand for another girls life being destroyed by revenge porn. That’s when Bitches Bitches Back bite hard. Unlike the UK, in some states in the US revenge porn is not illegal. After much research and rallying the threesome manage to secure a meeting with councilman Vaughan.  Izzy, Ajita and Meg are met by an assistant of Vaughan, after providing all the facts, figures and supporting evidence and petitioning for revenge porn to become an offence. After showing little to no attention to all the information laid out in front of him, the assistant quickly makes excuses and tells the girls he will attempt to pass the information to the Vaughn.

That was the spark that ignited the fire that Izzy and company are about to unleash on the world.

Izzy, Ajita, Meg, Hazel and a growing number of supporters take on the world to protect anyone experiencing the same situation.

A Girl Called Shameless is the perfect sequel, it was needed for closure not just for the reader but the characters also. The book handles so many different and difficult subject matter such as race, class, religion, disability, sexual assault and sexuality. I felt so proud of feminists everywhere, contributing no matter how big or how small to making a difference in the world and shouting loud for what they believe in.

 

A Girl Called Shameless is a solid 5/5

 

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

The Exact Opposite of Okay

By Laura Steven

Published by Electric Monkey

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I recently went to a panel with Laura Steven at UCLAN book festival. She was so passionate about shame and positive female characters in modern literature so I picked up The Exact Opposite of Okay straight away.

I laughed within the first few pages where I learned the new and glorious word of Vagenda.

Within chapter one I felt a connection with the main character, Izzy, she is the queen of self depicting jokes and I’m a nearby villager.

Izzy is intelligent, funny, articulate and passionate.

I read YA (when I was actually a YA) and I gave up on it very quickly. Like many 90s movies the books I picked up fixated on the same things. The girl spoke in made up words (FETCH ISN’T HAPPENING) and always seemed to have the same plot. Boys, babysitting or prom. But now I’ve become quite the fan of the genre. Now these main characters are feisty, smart and usually fighting for something they believe in. Izzy O’neil embraces all these characteristics.

The plot focuses on revenge porn and delves in to the harm in can do.

Proven within The Opposite of Okay. Izzy is confident, she embraces her hornyness and is not shy in acting on it. So while at a party Izzy ‘scores’ ( I use this word because if this happened to a guy it would be high fives all over) with two guys (different times). The first conquest is Vaughn (the son of let say the BNP leader in the UK or Donald Wotsit Dump) and then Carson.

A few days later a website pops up. “Www.Izzyoneilworldclasswhore” vengeful, dark little webpage exposing Izzy in all her glory even her “foof”. There’s a photo of her grinding away on Vaughn and a bunch of naked selfies to and from each other. The backlash is viral and Izzy tries to handle it with her head held high but you can only have so many people see your birthday suit with out your permission. Vaughn unfortunately has the opposite experience. No website for him, no whispers and accusing looks. It’s not news worthy another guy sent a dick pic and probably won’t be the last.

There are other subjects handled so perfectly and truthfully.

Hidden sexuality, unrequited love, judgement and shame.

I’ve never read a female teenage character who is so calm, collective and empowered to change the world.

The book really is a 5/5 and deserves more. It’s a mystery as well as essential young adult and just so hilarious so don’t read it on the train you’ll get a few funny looks. I’m just about to read the sequel “A Girl Called Shameless” and I am so excited to read more about the characters progression and what more could happen to Izzy.