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

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 Writing

I cried watching the Harry Potter reunion, and here’s why…

Post originally written on 1/1/22

Small disclaimer:

I refuse to get myself involved in the current situation and online discussions surrounding J.K Rowling. I have my own opinions, of course, I do. – I am human after all. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I include and support everyone that is also part of the community. If this blog post isn’t for you, you don’t need to read it, you can simply click off and read something else. If you do choose to stay, I refuse to discuss or allow any comments that mention the current situation.  No matter who you are, or who you identify as you are seen and welcome at Bewitching Reads. Hate and discrimination against either party are not welcome here.

Photo taken by me, for Instagram

I was very much a child who loved books. I have a photo of me at seven years old, laying on my bed, and next to the bed is an open copy of The Railway Children. I remember it so well because it was part of a collection of hardback classics that I was given as a gift from my dad one Easter. A seven-year-old, reading classics? That to me never seemed out of the ordinary, I was a child that liked books. I’m neurodivergent, so I suppose it is fair to say that books very quickly became my “special interest.”

At school, I was a bit of a strange child. – and that is putting it very politely, and is a story for another time! I devoured Enid Blyton books, my favourites being The Naughtiest Girl, The Enchanted wood series, and The Magic Wishing Chair. I was also very fond of The Hollow Tree House, which hasn’t been in print since the nineties so I’m glad I still have my original copy of the book.

Seven years old, book on the side table of a VERY 90’s bedroom

Growing up we didn’t have a lot of money, despite this, however, books were never something that I had restricted access to. I am aware that this isn’t the case for a lot of children from poorer backgrounds, I was very fortunate in this sense.

My love of books kept growing, so did my love of writing. I started off writing about dogs that went shopping to the corner shop, before long I was writing Enid Blyton school adventure type stories and filling notebooks with them.

In 1998, when I was nine years old, my mum bought me a book, Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone, from there, it all began. A few weeks later my teacher started reading us the story at the end of the day too, I remember vividly, it would get to 3:15 pm and none of us wanted to go home until he had finished the chapter. The tables in our classes were renamed after the Hogwarts houses. – funnily enough, I was on the Hufflepuff table then, and I’m a Hufflepuff! Back then I didn’t know that though. Then The Chamber of Secrets was released. My interest in Harry Potter continued. Secondary school was really where my love of Harry Potter became noticeable.

Harry Potter wasn’t “cool” when I was at school. This was before the movies, my first year of secondary school was awful, to say the least. I was horrifically bullied for my interest in Harry Potter, and the fact that I was neurodiverse and undiagnosed only added to the bullying. Hogwarts was my escape. The Prisoner of Azkaban was already out by the time I’d secondary school, and lots of Harry Potter merchandise was starting to appear in shops. I had the backpack, the pencil case, the bedding, including curtains, and even the audio cassettes. Yes, you read that correctly. I’m old enough to have listened to the audiobooks on a Sony Walkman! – and I did, daily, on the way to school. I even fell asleep each night listening to them! – I’m 32 now, and I still listen to Harry Potter before I go to sleep. Harry Potter was becoming my escape from the bullies and my struggles in school. My mental health was declining rapidly because of school, and without it, I don’t think I’d have managed at all.

Harry Potter pyjamas, because I roll that way.

***The next paragraph discusses self-harm, please skip that paragraph if you are sensitive to that topic.***

I started self-harming when I was 12 years old. I was at school when it happened, too. I spent a lot of my lunchtimes hiding in empty classrooms, because it was just me on my own, and I rarely got caught. It had been a really bad morning. The classroom that I used to like to hide in was in the English block, and what had been the tipping point, were the taunts I received on my way there. Bullies will find the weirdest things to bully someone about. Anyway, I went into the classroom, stamped on a plastic pencil sharpener to get the blade out, and I won’t go into the detail of the rest.

Teachers didn’t believe me when it came to the bullying I received, I struggled with lessons, I struggled with the mainstream school environment. It was loud, and the older kids were tall and hairy, it scared me, but Harry Potter was there for me. Hogwarts kept me safe, and the fictional characters within the books I’m ashamed to admit were my only friends until I was sixteen.

“Harry Potter was there for children who felt like they didn’t belong.” Is a quote from the recent reunion special, and what sparked the idea for this post. As soon as I heard that I burst into tears, and didn’t stop crying for most of the day. I felt that I really did.

Even as an adult, struggle with a lot of anxiety. Most of my anxiety is social anxiety. I’m not going to sit here and say “It’s the childhood trauma.” That would be quite silly. Year’s have passed and although a few things have followed me, I’ve dealt with all that. The truth is however, adults can be mean too.

The real kicks came after my ADHD diagnosis. This was the mid-2000’s, and my school SENDCO said to my mum girls don’t get ADHD.” There were only two teachers in my secondary school that treated me like I was a person. My PE teacher, I hated PE, more so the changing rooms, than the actual activity itself. She was a lovely teacher, I didn’t know at the time, but she’s gay. Our paths crossed a few years ago, as I work in education, and she is still a teacher. Back then LGBT wasn’t allowed to be discussed in schools. Since I’ve come out, I’ve wondered if she saw the signs about me. The second teacher that treated me like an actual person, was one of my English teachers. Instead of raising eyebrows at my Harry Potter obsession spoke to me about it. She asked me questions about books, she was interested, she didn’t just want to tell me off like the others. She was new to the school that school year, I was in year 9 now, and during a lesson, I was finding it hard to focus. This was before fidget toys, I was swinging on my chair and clicking a pen repeatedly. Instead of telling me off she walked over to me, knelt down by my table and said “Go outside, walk around the building 10 times and then come back in.”

I was gobsmacked. So gobsmacked I said, “What if don’t come back?” I had a reputation for leaving school and going home. The school called it truancy, I called it protecting my mental health. No one should be spat on, followed into the toilets and cornered by six girls, or chased home once off the school bus, while being pelted with stones. Her answer to me was “You will come back, but you best take your things in case you decide not to.” I did go back. Unfortunately, she wasn’t my teacher for very long. I then went to a referral unit and got an EHCP. I was only supposed to be at the unit for three months. I ended up staying just over 2 years. It was decided that I was finally settled, calm and making good progress, that it would do more damage than good to reintegrate me into school.

With every up and down I’ve had in my life, Harry Potter has always been there. Happy? Harry Potter, Sad? Harry Potter. In need of a confidence boost? Harry Potter.

I know there are going to people that read this and think, What the fuck is she on? But I also know there are going to be many that feel the same.

Hogwarts made me feel like I belonged somewhere. Even as an adult J.K. Rowling’s words stick me, always.

“Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”


Posted in Uncategorized

October 2021 – Book Club Box

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. If you have been following me for the last couple of years, you’ll know already how much I love Book Box Club.

This Month’s box was all about mermaids! – and it didn’t disappoint.

First up we have our book! Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen

Simidele is one of the Mami Wata, mermaids duty-bound to collect the souls of those who die at sea and bless their journeys back home to the Supreme Creator.

But when a living boy is thrown overboard a slave ship, Simi saves his life, going against an ancient decree and bringing terrible danger to the mami wata.

Now Simi must journey to the Supreme Creator to make amends – a journey of vengeful gods, treacherous lands and legendary creatures. If she fails, she risks not just the fate of all Mami Wata, but also the world as she knows it.

Up next!

A lovely hot drinks cup with a mermaid design, accompanied by some mermaid socks, with boobies *childish giggle*. A wooden mermaid pin. – which has already found itself on my pencil case! A mermaid tail pen (again, now lives in my pencil case) AND a bath fizzer, have yet tried the bath fizzer, I’m waiting for the end of the work week.

Absolutely loved October’s box! Can’t wait for November’s!

Sign up to Book Box Club using my link and get 5% off your purchase CLICK HERE