Posted in Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Odd Girl Out, an Autistic woman in a neurotypical world – Laura James

Book: Odd Girl Out, an Autistic woman in a neurotypical world.

Author: Laura James

Format Reviewed: Audio book, borrowed from my Library’s app, read by Louiza Patikas.

Book Description: (copied from Amazon)

What do you do when you wake up in your mid-forties and realize you’ve been living a lie your whole life? Do you tell? Or do you keep it to yourself?

Laura James found out that she was autistic as an adult, after she had forged a career for herself, married twice and raised four children. This book tracks the year of Laura’s life after she receives a definitive diagnosis from her doctor, as she learns that ‘different’ doesn’t need to mean ‘less’ and how there is a place for all of us, and it’s never too late to find it.

Laura draws on her professional and personal experiences and reflects on her life in the light of her diagnosis, which for her explains some of her differences; why, as a child, she felt happier spinning in circles than standing still and why she has always found it difficult to work in places with a lot of ambient noise.

Although this is a personal story, the book has a wider focus too, exploring reasons for the lower rate of diagnosed autism in women and a wide range of topics including eating disorders and autism, marriage and motherhood.

About The Author: (taken from Amazon)

Laura James is an author and journalist and the owner of a communications agency. Her writing has appeared in many national and international newspapers and magazines. When not frantically fighting deadlines, she can generally be found hiding under a duvet with a stack of good books and lots of chocolate. She is the mother of four adult children and lives with her husband their dogs and cat in North Norfolk. Since her autism diagnosis she has campaigned for autism awareness and acceptance and written Odd Girl Out, a powerful memoir about dealing with a diagnosis of autism in womanhood.

My Thoughts:

Without a doubt I knew I’d relate to this book, but I wasn’t expecting just how much I’d relate to it. Autism in women is massively undiagnosed, as most of the traits used in being diagnosed relate to males. Laura James talking about her own experiences and me being able to relate to them myself has been a big confidence boost for me. I’ve come away from this book not feeling socially outcast, just the knowing that so many others can relate is a huge relief.

Rated 5/5

Posted in Book Reviews

Love Frankie – Book Review

Book: Love Frankie

Author: Jacqueline Wilson

Publisher: Penguin

Release Date: 17/09/2020

Pages: 432

Recommend reading age: 10-17 years

ISBN-13: 978-0857535894

Format Reviewed: Paperback

About the book

Frankie is nearly fourteen and teenage life certainly comes with its ups and downs. Her mum is seriously ill with MS and Frankie can feel herself growing up quickly, no thanks to Sally and her gang of bullies at school.

When Sally turns out to be not-so-mean after all, they strike up a friendship and are suddenly spending all of their time together.

But Frankie starts to wonder whether these feelings she has for Sally are stronger than her other friendships. Might she really be in love?

Frankie doesn’t want Sally to just be her friend. She wants her to be her girlfriend. But does Sally feel the same?

About the author

Jacqueline Wilson wrote her first novel when she was nine years old, and she has been writing ever since. She is now one of Britain’s bestselling and most beloved children’s authors. She has written over 100 books and is the creator of characters such as Tracy Beaker and Hetty Feather. More than forty million copies of her books have been sold.

As well as winning many awards for her books, including the Children’s Book of the Year, Jacqueline is a former Children’s Laureate, and in 2008 she was appointed a Dame.

Jacqueline is also a great reader, and has amassed over 20,000 books, along with her famous collection of silver rings.

Find out more about Jacqueline and her books at www.jacquelinewilson.co.uk

My Review

It’s been a while since I’ve read a Jacqueline Wilson book, but as soon as I heard that she’d written one with a lesbian protagonist I was immediately over excited, and the book didn’t disappoint me. JW has a knack for writing about tough topics and issues in a realistic was but still being able to keep it appropriate to the age group she’s writing for.

Frankie is 14, she lives with her mum and her two sisters. Her mum is a teacher and also suffers with MS, the family struggle with moment as in true JW style Frankie is from a single parent household. Frankie goes to school with a girl named Sally, who isn’t very kind to her, but the two soon find themselves becoming friends and an “enemies to lovers” relationship quickly forms. Things get a little more complicated as Frankie’s best friend Sam, catches feelings for her. (Yet she’s not into boys) and her mums health begins to take a sharp decline. On top of it all some conflicts arise when the others at school find out about Frankie and Sally’s relationship.

Rated 4\5

Posted in Book Reviews

A Different Sort of Normal – Abigail Balfe

Disclaimer: The book format in which I am reviewing this, was purchased by myself, with my own money. I was NOT given a copy of The book for this review, and this review is not sponsored. I receive no benefits from the links provided in this review, they are used to cite any sourced information, and to where I purchased it.  As with all of my reviews my thoughts and opinions are all my own.

Book Overview

Book synopsis is taken from the Waterstones website. Waterstones link

The beautiful true story of one girl’s journey growing up autistic – and the challenges she faced in the ‘normal’ world. I’m not like the other children in my class… and that’s an actual scientific FACT. Hi! My name is Abigail, and I’m autistic. But I didn’t know I was autistic until I was an adult-sort-of-person*. This is my true story of growing up in the confusing ‘normal’ world, all the while missing some Very Important Information about myself. There’ll be scary moments involving toilets and crowded trains, heart-warming tales of cats and pianos, and funny memories including my dad and a mysterious tub of ice cream. Along the way you’ll also find some Very Crucial Information about autism. If you’ve ever felt different, out of place, like you don’t fit in… this book is for you. * I’ve never really felt like an actual-adult-person, as you’ll soon discover in this book… Told through the author’s remarkable words, and just as remarkable illustrations, this is the book for those who’ve never felt quite right in the ‘normal’ world. Very important, very funny and very informative – this is the book the world needs right now.

Book Release:

July 2021

Format Reviewed:

Audiobook through Amazon Audible Link here

About The Author:

Biography was taken from Penguin books, image from Abigail’s TwitterLink here Link her

Abigail Balfe (Author, Illustrator) Abigail is a Brighton-based writer, illustrator and creative producer. Original storytelling has always been at the heart of Abigail’s career and she has spent a decade leading social media campaigns for some of the biggest TV & entertainment clients in the world. Abigail also used to perform stand-up comedy and won several tiny trophies for her onstage humour; which involved life-size illustrations, ridiculous songs and rambling stories about her family.

My Review:

A different sort of normal was a fantastic read for me to start 2022 with. I’m neurodivergent, although I don’t have Autism, I do have ADHD. If you are familiar with ADHD, you may or may not know that a lot of ADHD symptoms overlap with autism. – and there aren’t very many books out there with ADHD characters. I’m writing one, maybe one day the world will get to read it if I’m lucky enough. So naturally, books surrounding Autism are the closest I can get, and so far I have to say, this is the best one I’ve read. I Instantly felt a connection with Abigail, her brain ticks like mine, and it’s fantastic!  I’m not within the age demographic of which this book was written (I’m 32.) But I’d recommend it for ND adults too. Lots of the experiences that Abigail discusses with growing up I can strongly relate to, and I wish little me who struggled growing up, had this book to read. I instantly felt like someone else understands me without having to say anything. – even with my phobia of public toilets, and having to use them at school! Abigail is a fresh voice for ND children and adults, as she says, there are thousands of others like us, so we can’t be that strange. Thank you for helping me and lots of others to feel proud of our neurodiverse brains, and helping us being able to see that the positives outweigh the negatives.

Rating:

5 Stars

Posted in Book Reviews

The Pronoun Book

Disclaimer: I received an eBook copy of this book to review.

Release Date: October 2021

The Pronoun Book, is a brightly coloured and informative book aimed for children. Although if you are an adult that finds pronouns confusing, you may also find this book helpful.

The illustrations are what grabbed my attention to this book first. The are incredibly diverse, featuring people of all sizes, shapes, races and nationalities.

It starts off with the basics, explaining Male and Female pronouns, and then goes on further using terms such cis, non-binary and transgenger.

The Pronoun Book, is written in an easy way for children (and adults) to understand, and at the end of the book even includes letter templates for parents to use when discussing Pronouns with family/friends and for their child’s school.

As someone that works with children and is very familiar with children’s books, I can highly recommend!

5*

If you are in the U.K and would like to purchase a copy on this book. Please consider purchasing from QUEERLIT.CO.UK I am not affiliated with them. – I just love them.

Posted in Book Reviews

The Strangeworlds Travel Agency

This blog post was originally going to be a video, now that I’ve decided to join BookTube. However I’ve been full of cold this week, and super busy. I’m actually typing this out on the bus.

I’ll tell you this.

If you don’t read this book, share it with your offspring and others, you are truly missing out on something VERY magical.

Flick Hudson is twelve years old. She is the eldest sibling, and we very quickly notice that she isn’t 100% happy at home. – Although her parents treat her well physically, you do get the sense that perhaps all of her emotional needs aren’t being met. I won’t say anymore, I’m keeping this review spoiler free.

Flick’s family move to a village, that village is where Flick meets Jonathan Mercator and is introduced to The Strangeworlds Travel Agency and the ability to travel to New world through suitcases.

But of course! There is trouble brewing, things aren’t going well and it’s down to Flick to help fix things! This book is 100% the most enjoyable magical adventure that I have been on in a while. When Stephen King said that books are portable magic, this is EXACTLY what he meant.

Rated 5*

Posted in Book Reviews

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman – spoiler free

Wow! Where do I start with this gem of a read.

I’m sure most people are familiar with the movie adaption of this book. I first watched it as a teen, not long after I’d discovered Paganism and witchcraft actually. It was years before I realised it was based on a book, and then some before I’d finally got around to reading it.

The book is VERY different to the movie, and better in so many ways. It contains so much that isn’t in the film, and the ages of Sally’s daughter are older too. There are a few aspects of the book that I prefer in the film and vise versa, I must stress that unlike the film, this book isn’t suitable for a teen audience.

A huge chunk of the story that happens early on in the movie, doesn’t happen until a bit later in the book, and the aunts aren’t around as much as in the film adaption, which having seen the film first was a little disappointing as they are such great characters.

I’m trying to leave this review spoiler-free, so I’ll leave it there.

Rated 4/5 stars.

Posted in Book Reviews

Nick and Charlie by Alice Oseman

I was already Familiar with Nick and Charlie, from reading and falling in love with the first Heartstopper graphic novel. Having been away from the book community for a while now, I wasn’t actually aware this book existed until I saw it on the shelves in Waterstones. Being a novella, it’s a fairly short book, which took my fancy as I’ve been looking for something short and sweet to get me out of reading slump over Christmas.

Nick and Charlie are getting prepared for university and both have anxieties about how their relationship is work long distance, and after some friends of theirs having the same problem break up, things are made worse.

Nick and Charlie is one of those short and sweet books that you can read in a day and will tug on your heartstrings. It isn’t the best of books but certainly is worth a read.

Rated 4 stars.

Posted in Book Reviews, Sewing Books

Love at first stitch – Tilly Walnes (Tilly and The Buttons)

You Don’t have to spend a ton of money

Tilly Walnes, Love At First Stitch


Like many others, lock down has got me picking up my sewing machine again. I have decided now I want most of my wardrobe handmade by me, by the end of the year, so I’m taking it fairly seriously. I follow a lot of sewing channels on YouTube and have done for a few years now, so the brand Tilly and The Buttons isn’t new to me, in fact I’d been wanting to get this book for about a year now.

Love At First Stitch – Tilly Walnes, published by Quadrille in 2014

Because it’s been a while since I’ve done any sewing, I picked this book up to ease myself in as even the hardest patterns in the book are very suitable for beginner level. For those completely new to the workings of a sewing machine there is even a chapter on setting it up and threading it.

The book starts with a very simple pattern of making scarf and then moves on to pyjama bottoms, skirts and dresses. The patterns for all these are tucked in a slot at the back of the book and are in sizes 6-20.

Starting easy with the Brigitte Scarf
Moving on to the Margot Pyjamas

Sewing books can be really expensive, but this one is so worth the money. I bought my copy from the Tilly and The Buttons website because it was out of stock on Amazon, and I’m so glad I did because Tilly has signed it too.

My first make from this book is going to be the Delphine Skirt from chapter three.

I can’t wait to get started!

I’ll leave the link to Tilly and The Buttons here as I think they are amazing!

https://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/