How to Stop Time by Matt Haig.

GUYS THIS IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT BOOK REVIEW.

HOW TO STOPE TIME

I am old. That is the first thing to tell you. The thing you are least likely to believe. If you saw me you would probably think I was about forty, but you would be very wrong.

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret.

He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen a lot, and now craves an ordinary life. Always changing his identity to stay alive, Tom has the perfect cover – working as a history teacher at a London comprehensive. Here he can teach the kids about wars and witch hunts as if he’d never witnessed them first-hand. He can try and tame the past that is fast catching up with him.

The only thing Tom mustn’t do is fall in love. (Goodreads)

Continue reading “How to Stop Time by Matt Haig.”

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Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera.

Another day, another book review. Today’s review is of Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera.

juliet takes a breath

Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff. 

Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle? 

With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.  (Goodreads)

Continue reading “Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera.”

Stay With Me by Ayòbámi Adébáyò.

Today’s book review is of  Stay with Me, a debut novel by Ayòbámi Adébáyò which was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.

stay with me

Yejide and Akin have been married since they met and fell in love at university. Though many expected Akin to take several wives, he and Yejide have always agreed: polygamy is not for them. But four years into their marriage–after consulting fertility doctors and healers, trying strange teas and unlikely cures–Yejide is still not pregnant. She assumes she still has time–until her family arrives on her doorstep with a young woman they introduce as Akin’s second wife. Furious, shocked, and livid with jealousy, Yejide knows the only way to save her marriage is to get pregnant, which, finally, she does, but at a cost far greater than she could have dared to imagine. An electrifying novel of enormous emotional power, Stay With Measks how much we can sacrifice for the sake of  family. (Goodreads)

Continue reading “Stay With Me by Ayòbámi Adébáyò.”

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom.

‘All endings are also beginnings. We just don’t know it at the time…’

On his eighty-third birthday, Eddie, a lonely war veteran, dies in a tragic accident trying to save a little girl from a falling cart. With his final breath, he feels two small hands in his – and then nothing. He awakens in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a lush Garden of Eden but a place where earthly life is explained to you by five people who were in it. These people may have been loved ones or distant strangers. Yet each of them changed your path forever. (Goodreads).

I enjoyed this book as the plot was extremely interesting to me. Afterlife is something that *almost* everyone is at least slightly intrigued about. The unknown is interesting and scary, and so I was intrigued by the idea of reliving your life through five people present in it. Through this concept we see moments and insights into Eddie’s history and the impact that his actions have had on other people throughout his life (some of which he does not know of until death). The figures he meets vary in the length of time present in his life or the impact they had on him, which I again found interesting. Every meeting seemingly has a moral to their part of the story, which I also enjoyed. It reaffirmed the idea that there is something to be learned from all experiences. It really made me consider my actions through life and who I would want to see or what stories those people could tell of my life.

I read this book the week after losing my grandfather, and in an odd way it comforted me. I can’t explain how, but I felt like I needed this read at this time.

“Holding anger is a poison…It eats you from inside…We think that by hating someone we hurt them…But hatred is a curved blade…and the harm we do to others…we also do to ourselves.” 

The plot was both heartwarming in points, sad in others, and at times quite dark. I enjoyed the writing, and found myself writing down several quotes because they impacted me. I found the writing poetic and poignant at points, while not constant throughout.

“Parents rarely let go of their children, so children let go of them. They move on. They move away. The moments that used to define them – a mother’s approval, a father’s nod – are covered by moments of their own accomplishments. It is not until much later, as the skin sags and the heart weakens, that children understand; their stories, and all their accomplishments, sit atop the stories of their mothers and fathers, stones upon stones, beneath the waters of their lives.” 

I do not have a lot to say about this book, but I feel that it is definitely worth a read if you are interested in different perspectives or views regarding afterlife or what lies beyond death and what our lives mean to those around us and the consequences of our actions. I definitely feel that my perception of this book was altered by the circumstances under which I read it, however I would still recommend it to anyone!

 

My favourite rereads.

Life gets busy and things get stressful, and in those times I find it really hard to focus on reading new books and my enthusiasm tends to dip. At this time – while I still want to read – I find it really hard to immerse myself into new stories. To remedy this I love to reread some old favourites. Today I thought I’d share some of those favourites, and also include some books I haven’t reread in a while but that I am eager to reach for.

1/ To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

to kill a mockingbirdI have said this several times on this blog, but To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most important books I have ever read and I absolutely adore it. I find it charming in its childhood innocence, and I find the story captivating and it touches my heart in a poignant way. I have reread this several times, and – as I associate it with a time in my life that was really difficult – it is the book I turn to when I need a bit an escape from my troubles.

 

 

2/ I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou has been a role model of mine since I picked up Caged Bird in 2015. I recently reread it and was reminded of how much I adore Maya Angelou and I was maya angelouimmersed into her life in a way I can’t describe. Maya’s life and how she tells her story lead to me reading all of her autobiographies, and I would like to reread them all at some point. If you would like to know more about my love for Maya Angelou, I wrote an entire blog post about her that you can check out.

 

 

 

3/ Harry Potter

I think this is an extremely obvious one. Similar to a lot of readers, Harry Potter was integral to my life and has continued to be central to my reading ever since I first read the books. Most recently, I have been following the illustrated editions of the books (illustrated by Jim Kay)

harry p
Follow me on Instagram at @amytalksbooks if you’d like to see a constant stream of books and hot beverages.

as they are released and have been rereading them this way, which has been a vibrant and new way to enjoy the magic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Above are some of my favourite rereads, and now I thought I’d share a few that I want to get to soon.

1/ Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

I adored this book when I first read it in the winter of 2013. I became sorely engrossed in the gothic, mysterious and swoon worthy story and I am looking forward to buying myself a stunning edition of this book (I read a copy from the library) and curling up by the fire on a cold, winter’s night and revisiting Jane at Thornfield.

2/ Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

This book comes to mind whenever I don’t feel like myself or am struggling mentally and emotionally. Right now I feel I could really benefit from this book, and I am definitely picking it up as soon as I can. If you’d like to know my thoughts on this book, I have a blog post which you can read.

3/ Imperium by Robert Harris

This book is the first in a trilogy following the Roman politician and orator, Cicero. I adored this trilogy and devoured it last year. I would love to revisit it and pick up more of the references and history than I did upon the first read. If you would like to see my full thoughts (spoiler free) on this series, click here.


I hope you guys enjoyed this post. Until next time!

Why I love my Kindle.

PHYSICAL BOOK LOVERS, CALM DOWN. STAY CALM. DON’T GET MAD. HEAR ME OUT.

I was gifted a Kindle Keyboard, one of the earliest models in 2012 for my birthday, and later upgraded to a Kindle Paperwhite. Since then, my reading has been revolutionsed and my Kindle has really changed me as a reader in many ways; some big and some small. Here’s why:

1/ Space saver

When I got my 1st Kindle for my birthday, I was quickly running out of space on my tiny bookcase for all of the volumes I wanted and already had. I shared bookcases with my other family members as I couldn’t fit one into my room. There were always piles of books everywhere, and in the back of my mind I would always consider where I was going to fit any new books I bought.

It is undeniable that a Kindle is useful for this purpose, as one tiny device can have thousands of worlds and stories stored within. Instead of buying an entire series in hardback, I could read them on my Kindle.

This was also extremely useful when I would go away on holidays. I went to Tenerife for 2 weeks last year and read several books while I was away, and if I had taken physical books in my suitcase, I would have definitely exceeded my suitcases limit and would have had to ditch half of my clothes! Instead, I had a slim, small and light Kindle Paperwhite in my carry on which left me with my entire library at my fingertips while I was away.

2/ Curbing the book buying

When I walk into Waterstones to buy a book, I can never pick just one and I usually emerge with a £50 dent in my bank account and an armful of new books, while neglecting what I already have. However, I find that when I go to search the Kindle Store for my latest read, I normally spend less and buy less books, as I am (fairly) sure that those books will be there when I come back. I usually buy maybe one book at a time, saving me money!

3/ Samples

Amazon let you read a small sample of a book before purchasing it. And yes, while I will concede that you can do this in a bookshop also, I much prefer reading a sample of a book on my Kindle rather than awkwardly flicking through a few pages while sales assistants watch me, secretly praying I don’t damage the spine or put it back in the wrong place once I’m done. Samples mean I can read a chapter or two of a book before deciding if I like it, and this has saved me from wasting money many a time on books that I didn’t end up liking. First impressions count, people!

4/ Reading in bed

I don’t know about you, but I am NOTORIOUS for falling asleep with a book cradled in my arms and all of my bedroom lights on. I can’t help it. I always say I won’t do it but it is truly an inevitable reader problem. However, my Kindle Paperwhite means that I can read in the dark, as the light comes from the screen (without hurting or annoying my eyes), and the Kindle will shut off eventually if a page has not been turned. This means that I can turn off my lights, read in the dark and if I fall asleep, I’m not burning through electricity. On a side note, my Kindle would have been a blessing when I was younger as I wouldn’t have been caught staying up ridiculously late to read books. Ah, fond memories.

5/ Discovery

I have to admit that while I love to support authors and bookshops by buying physical copies of books, Amazon and the Kindle Store has led me to countless reads that I would not have found otherwise. While I rely on book blogs, Goodreads, Youtube reviews and books that appeal to me when I find them in bookshops, Amazon has helped me narrow down the genres and categories of books I like to read, presents me with books that relate to ones I have enjoyed previously, and shows me the bestsellers in the categories I enjoy. Because of this I am constantly finding titles I wouldn’t have know about otherwise, meaning I am reading widely and finding unexpected, hidden gems amongst the hundreds of thousands of books available on the Kindle.

MA KINDLE


I hope that you guys enjoyed this post, and for those of you who are anti Kindle I hope I have helped you see the positives. I absolutely love my Kindle, however I will concede that there is NOTHING better (I repeat, NOTHING) than turning the pages of a real book.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

Book review time! Are you ready?!

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be. (Goodreads)

aristotle and dante

Guys…I loved this book.

This book is such an endearing depiction of the struggles that teenagers go through when discovering who they are. This book is written from Aristotle’s perspective; an angry and sad teenage boy who is trying hard to process his feelings about himself, his family, Dante, and ultimately his life.

I loved this book for so many reasons, mainly the friendship between Dante and Aristotle. At the beginning of the book they seem like polar opposites but as the book goes on Aristotle becomes more and more aware of their similarities. Their relationship is so honest and raw and meaningful and is undoubtedly complex.  That being said, I really enjoyed the depiction of all the relationships in this book, particularly the familial relationships. In a lot of young adult fiction, there are some common tropes which usually appear; such as single parent families, problematic relationships between parents or parent and child etc. However, in these book both Aristotle and Dante have fairly positive relationships with their families, and where there are problems they continue to develop over the course of the story.

I really enjoyed the themes in this book and I found it to be such a beautifully written examination of identity. Aristotle and Dante both struggle in many aspects with identity; regarding family, sexuality, nationality and more. In particular I enjoyed the ongoing discussion between Aristotle and Dante of being a Mexican teen living in America and about ‘feeling like a true Mexican’ and such. I loved the exploration of sexuality and of puberty that the boys go; the experimentation and the discussion on things like masturbation. It all felt very honest and realistic to the teenage condition and how uncertain teenagers are when changes are happening in their lives.

I found this book so engrossing and different from a lot of young adult fiction that I have read in the past. I felt it was extremely descriptive and analytical and that the story managed to cover a lot of different events and plot points without feeling too fast paced. In short, I bloody loved it!

If you are a lover of contemporary fiction, books about coming of age or ‘finding yourself’, family, friendship and sexuality, then this book is for you. I really would recommend it to you, whether you read young adult or not!