The Wrong Girl – Zoë Foster-Blake Review

wrong girl

Wrong Girl by Zoë Foster-Blake is your average enjoyable rom-com chick-lit book for those who aren’t looking too hard to find purpose in a very, very fictional story.

I’m by no means a book snob. Sometimes I want to read the way I watch TV: without having to think too hard.

What I mean by this, is that sometimes I enjoy watching the Kardashians or The Vanderpump rules show – not because the people are likeable or that the story or characters are incredibly thrilling, but because it serves it’s cheap purpose: entertainment.

wrong girl

Chick-lit books are all similar in storyline and purpose and The Wrong Girl was really no different.

Girl is self-deprecating. Girl has model-looking girlfriends and is considered the odd one out in a circle full of otherwise carbon copies. Girl is quirky, clumsy but apparently also adorable in her awkwardness that is supposed to be the one thing that sets her apart.

Hot, strapping, beautiful species of male turns up and crazily enough has the personality and perfect amount of mature communication skills to boot.

Man sees the beauty in girl and takes on her annoying emotional self-loathe and turns saves the day and turns her in to some strong, independent (lols) take-no-shit woman that because of the way her man builds her up, manages to overcome subplot; this could be kicking away the dead weight friends that make her feel so bad about herself, give up drugs, shopping or other “cute” addiction or even a career advancement.

I pretty much summed up The Wrong Girl in this summary which happens to be the same formula for most chick-lit books. This is written in a characteristically Australian way which sometimes made me cringe and other times made me feel like I was proud of Foster-Blake. It was a cute story that I struggled for a short while to get in to which may have not been due to the writing, but perhaps more to do with personal circumstance.

I liked the characters in The Wrong Girl but couldn’t help but to wonder why her best friend (from the first few chapters) was just long-forgotten after the plot began to unfold. Did the author forget him? Given that they were supposed to be friends for 10 or so years, I was surprised by how quickly the MC gave him the heave-ho. Seemed odd.

This Wrong Girl has been transformed to an Australian TV show that was vastly different to the novel. Given that most books far outweigh the TV/Movie adaptation, I was pretty happy with the TV show. I have to admit I liked it better than the book; perhaps the beautiful hunk that is Jack was played by a stunning indigenous man which doesn’t happen to often on Australian TV.

Overall, I enjoyed the light-hearted book. It wasn’t my favourite read of 2016, but I wouldn’t turn my nose up at another book by Zoë Foster-Blake in the future.

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Under Rose Tainted Skies – Louise Gornall

Under Rose-Tainted SkiesUnder Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Under Rose Tainted Skies is a unfiltered look at a life consumed by the rigours of mental health issues.

Norah has OCD and agoraphobia. This book chronicles her daily struggles and turmoils of dealing with invisible medical issues.

This book resonated with me for two main reasons:

This is not an overly-dramatic, tragedy-on-top-of-tragedy style novel.

Mental health issues aren’t always caused by a specific trauma or event that you can connect right back to the first time you encounter anxiety (not saying it doesn’t, but its not even nearly always the case). I hate to read books where 62 thousand awful things have happened to the main character that has led them to the point where they’re dealing with issues only when the author can be bothered delving in to them.

In Under Rose Tainted Skies, Norah’s initial mental health issues were not brought on by some kind of tragedy. Even during the small positive moments that run through her subconscious, she is ruled by her illnesses. They never fleet far from the story and are written so acutely and finely that I found myself crying within the first few pages. I have never read myself so accurately before.

“I stand at the top of the stairs, close my eyes and try to make my mind go blank.

Don’t go back. Don’t go back. You don’t need to go back.”

and then,

I march back to my room, push the book in to its rightful position and then hate myself.”

I have written, in great detail, what my brain goes through on a very, very tough day — but maybe the passage written above is probably jus the tl;dr version.

It is very hard to find some kind of ‘entertainment’ medium that I find relatable to what I’m going through so when I come across it, I take hold and clutch it close to my chest and treasure it. Maybe it’s the whole misery-loves-company thing or maybe its the relief of finally being understood — either way, Under Rose Tainted Skies hits that chord with perfect precision. Louise Gornall is genius.

And, I’m not talking like, one of those flimsy Apple Fake Geniuses either…

the other main reason I loved Under Rose Tainted Skies so much;

Norah, the character of this book is not saved by a boy/man. 

I read one book about agoraphobia and anxiety recently (I won’t mention titles, you can read it and work it out if you like) and I wrote what I felt like, was a very kind review when I actually wanted to convey sheer irritation.

Boys cannot solve our fucking world of mental health illness. If anything, they generally bumble for the right thing to say and end up making it worse – much less, teenage boys. In the other book I read a boy came along and pretty much resolved the main character’s entire worldly issues including the deeper issue (the mother) as a subplot.

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The boy that comes in to Norah’s life doesn’t serve as her saviour. He serves as her friend; someone to speak to, someone to inspire her to take very tiny baby steps toward recovery. Luke is awkward, Luke says a couple of stupid things and he even does a couple of stupid things — but at least it’s realistic and Norah doesn’t suddenly seem to shed her OCD or agoraphobia the second she sets her sights on him.

Even touching hands with Luke for the first time proves to be traumatic and true to someone who suffers all of the issues that encumber Norah.

Impressively, Luke isn’t a means to an end of Norah’s mental health issues, he is helpful in terms of showing her that she is still worthy of being loved and proves to her that not everybody is going to label her or judge her for what she is going through.

I think what I loved the best about this story is that perhaps recovery is possible for some; but usually not for everyone and this story holds true to that. Norah does not magically get better. There is no skipping to the future to see her running outdoors with Luke to fly a kite or some shit, but the reader is left with a tiny grain of hope that the main character is taking all the positive steps forward to get along with life and cope with her illnesses the very best that she can.

This is what we all hope to be able to do when we feel debilitated by our very, very bad days — to just be able to cope.

Under Rose Tainted Skies is going to get a five out of five for me. Louise Gornall is my new hero.

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Amy Schumer – Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo

Amy Schumer – I wasn’t even sure how I felt about her before I read this book. In truth, my most instant thought association was her appearance on Lena Dunham’s stupid podcast or whatever it is. In that podcast, Lena Dunham talked shit out of her asshole again and made offensive, self-serving comment about an NFL player that didn’t make googly eyes at her and went on to ascribe her own feelings of sexism upon him – when he, an innocent party, had no idea that he’d even done anything wrong.

Anyway, that aside, I felt like Amy Schumer has been a little hypocritical in the past.

That being said, haven’t we all? We’re human, we’ve all got our short-falls, and Amy Schumer is not an exception; so if something she has said in present, conflicts with something she said off-the-cuff a zillion years ago, is it really fair to judge her solely upon that?

No.

So I bought the book from my trusty, fun friends over at K-Mart (Goodness me, I love Kmart). I decided to give it a go.

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I was not sorry. 

Amy Schumer opens the book stating that if one is to look for advice, they will not find it stuck inside the pages of her book.

I felt like she was selling herself short dramatically; especially when I read things like this;

“There are a lot of firsts like this in life, little flashpoints here and there when you’re unknowingly becoming a woman. And it’s not the cliched shit, like when you have your first kiss or drive your first care. You become a woman for the first time when you stand up for yourself when they get your order wrong at dinner, or when you realise your parents are full of shit.

You become a woman the first time you get fitted for a bra and realise you’ve been wearing a very wrong size your whole fucking life. You become a woman the first time you fart in front of a boyfriend. The first time a heart breaks. The first time you break someone else’s heart.

Throughout this book, Amy made me both laugh and cry. She talked about her childhood, her lessons in trust, her relationship issues – coming from abuse and breaking the pattern of behaviours that can be too hard to shake.

Amy shared excerpts from her diary with footnotes (and one or two that, I am not shitting you, I laughed so hard I could breathe and had to call my best friend and share it with her so that she could hear me laugh so hard that I couldn’t breathe) which show that she too, had a dramatic teenage and young-adult life just the same as any other girl reading the book.

Her self-deprecating humour really appeals to me because I’m pretty sure that’s exactly how I joke about life too. Her funny-yet-tragically sad chapters about her father’s batter with MS made me cry and also laugh.

Over-all, I feel like on paper she’s incredibly witty, smart and just like me, she is an introvert and basically that makes me like her.

In all seriousness, I judged unfairly. I loved this book and I read it very quickly.

And after this book I watched some stand up, she is brutal — but hilarious. I have a newfound respect for her. I might even go to see her stand up over Christmas! Who knows!

September Book Haul & Wizard of Oz Creeper

september

Oh, September, I promised I wouldn’t buy anymore books while you were visiting…

But oh well, I lied.

September

Really though, I have no reason to purchase anymore books for as at least the month of October and November … unless they’re at a bargain price…

I’m not the kind of person who reads to a schedule. A lot of book bloggers have their month mapped out in terms of what they plan on reading — but that’s not me, I’m not the ordered and organised type. My blog schedule is a mess, I don’t stick to my own plans, my social media is always in shambles — quite frankly, I’m surprised I can put my pants on the right way round in the morning.

And yet, somehow I manage to.

For that, I think we can all be thankful.

For the past few months I’ve been actively reading two books at a time – ask me a year ago and this would have been unheard of! Mixing characters and plots, sounds so… dirty. And yet, there is a method to my madness.

I use an e-Reader (Kindle, actually) when I read in bed at night so as not to keep company awake (my dog hates it when I leave the lamp on, she can’t sleep) and my vision in dim-light becomes even more impaired (and really, have you ever tried to wear your glasses laying down? Its actually not even an option, ridiculous!) and in the harsh light of day (hisssss!), I read my hardcopy book so as not to annoy anyone or destroy my vision.

I’ll tell you what, though, I bought “When The Moon Is Low” by Nadia Hashimi despite the fact that I’ve already read it (it is a beautiful story regarding Afghani refugees)… but all of these books here cost me well under $100.

So, fact about me; I am a really big fan of anything Wizard of Oz related. I mean, I liked the movie as a kid, but as an adult I’ve really appreciated the simplicity of it. We recently watched it and my boyfriend made fun of how ‘stupid’ it was and I had to point out that 1939 was a much different time – the Wizard of Oz was considered incredible for its time as was Judy Garland. I pointed out that he’s been ruined by movies full of blood, guts, sex and debauchery. Aside from that, I also love any other sub-stories that have been spun from the Wizard of Oz alternate universe.

Wicked by Gregory Maguire is my #1 favourite book. It was one of the first books that allowed me to understand that awful feeling of book grief that many people complain about.

So… imagine how I felt today when I had a quick browse through a local bargain bookshop and saw these three books for FIVE DOLLARS EACH.

september

september

While I said that I don’t read to a monthly / September schedule or a pre-determined TBR list, I will probably read these three books next (maybe with something in between each, I am a glutton for everything that I love, I need to learn to pace myself).

I really, really hope that these will be wonderful books. I have read mixed reviews over at Goodreads, but those reviewers also tried to tell me that Irvine Welsh’s, Sex Lives of Siamese Twins was bad and that John Green’s Looking for Alaska was ah-may-zah-hing, so heh, I know not to trust most of them.

So I’ve read three books already this September and right now I’m in the middle of reading the Amy Schumer biography, Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo. On paper she’s witty, intelligent and interesting – but I find her sometimes to be quite hypocritical in terms of her feminist views and practical approaches to certain issues. However, thankfully that’s not currently distracting from the book. On the kindle, I am reading The Time Travellers Wife finally after it has been recommended to me for years.

While I was on my bargain book shop, I also picked up this coffee table book for my Mum. She loves these comics and she doesn’t use the internet as much as she used to, so I figured a hardcopy version might give her a laugh or two.

September

After all that, I suppose more than posting about my book haul for September, I really probably just wanted to talk about how much I love Wizard of Oz alternate universe-based books/media.

Fun fact: I went through a stage where I was so obsessed with the Wicked Soundtrack, I made my fantasy Broadway actor cast for it in my head every day as I drove to work and of course I’d be the leading role of Elphaba and would choose the beautiful Fiyero to be played by the one and only Rent / Law & Order / The Flash broadway sensation, Jesse L Martin, and we’d sing the entire soundtrack together over and over and over — and ultimately fall in love on set and fly away on a broomstick together… and I’d stay home raising our children while he went back to the Central City precinct to help catch more Meta Humans with The Flash (yes, reality and Oz universe collided, made love and then took a giant dump here, I honestly don’t make a lot of sense of the fantasy either…).

September

Jesse L Martin

What I am basically saying, is that I sang the soundtrack to an audience of no one on a daily basis as I readied myself for work, drove to work, drove home from work and ultimately cried tears of, my life is so very, very small.

jkjkjkjk.

Sort of.

So yeah, there’s my September book haul that got kind of weird toward the end.

#sorrynotsorry.

What you got on the cards for September, baby?

September

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall-Kelly [REVIEW]

lilac girls

I read a really important book this week: Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly and I recommend it to anyone who has the will to learn about history and to become engulfed by some purely wonderful reading.

Three girls from three different lifestyles from three different countries cross paths during the rigours of World War II.

From Goodreads:

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten

Review:

I could not put this book down – I read 350 pages of it in one Sunday afternoon sitting (it did help that I have been sick and almost bed-ridden). I am a sucker for a good historical fiction any day of the week, but Martha Hall Kelly smashed this one right out of the park.

This book was written beautifully and from the perspective of all three women throughout important and poignant stages of their lives. As I read this book, I began to realise, without knowing too much, that this story was built on true events and actual people. I began to read some, research some and so on … I was so excited to realise that socialite, Caroline Ferriday was a real person!

I felt so connected to each character and so entranced by each of their stories and felt the heart break of both Caroline and especially Kasia. I had to keep turning the pages to see what would happen next, as well as cross referencing the actual historical version of events.

Martha Hall Kelly wrote the horrors of what the Nazi’s had subjected the Lilac Girls to, how the healthy young body’s were defiled and violated. She added colour and tone to facts and events that took place at Ravensbrück concentration camp as well as the Neuremberg Trials where Herta Oberheuser met her fate for the crimes that she had committed against humanity.

The portrayal of Caroline Ferriday was beautiful and easily imaginable. At first her chapters felt a bit dry, but as her plight began to unravel, I fell in love with her heart – the way she used her social standing for her cause and her unrelenting loyalty to those who were in need. I learned the most about Caroline Ferriday while researching for myself and saw that who she really was, is very accurate to how the author of Lilac Girls portrayed her.

lilac girls

The real Caroline Ferriday with the real Lilac Girls

I feel like this book was so cleverly put together and have an immense respect for the commitment and research that Martha Hall Kelly put in to make this book as beautiful and as brilliant as it is. Not only did I become engrossed in the story, but I also learned things about World War II that I didn’t know without it feeling like an overwhelming block of wordy information.

Over all, this has got to be one of the best books I have ever read. I was so grateful to receive an advanced readers copy from the legends over at Penguin Random House Australia – probably my most favourite book that I’ve received since beginning this blog. I don’t generally give books 5 stars, but I’ve been incredibly lucky to have read what have been two consecutive five star books.

I am going to recommend this book to everyone starting right here! Thank you Martha Hall Kelly for bringing the story of Caroline Ferriday and the Lilac Girls to light — another important story of devastation, bravery and heroism from the past that really needs to have more of a spotlight.

Sexism Everyday – written by the Good Girl

I am not a trail-blazing feminist the way I felt like I was in my early/mid twenties, but I still like to call out sexism as it is when I see it or when I am the subject of it– in that case it is especially hard to ignore. This post is going to be about the daily sexism I have encountered in the past few months.

Sometimes I go to sleep early — around 8-9pm if I’m tired enough. As a result I can be up as early as 5:30, but usually at least just after 6am. I like to work out before I go to work because I find it helps my moods and my anxiety for the day. Last week, I woke up at 5:40am, ate breakfast and put my work out clothes on to go do forty on the treadmill and then my circuit work out. Sometimes after a work out, I am absolutely ravenous. On this particular day, I spent a further 30 minutes making my lunch for the day and faffing about on the internet before work. I realised when it was too late that I needed to eat something before work.

I got to work and found that I had a packet of potato chips sitting on my desk from the day before that I had bought and forgotten to eat. With no other food options, I opened the bag and began to eat them. I know, I know — a lady of my age and my size (14), I could probably have stood to go without, or at least eat something that would allow me to be more of a proper lady.

sexism

I opened the door to someone and was met with a funny look from an older gentleman. He said, “are you eating chips?” (gasp, shock horror!)

Cheerfully, I said, “Yep! Want one?” offered. He declined. He said, “It’s a bit early, don’t you think?” (It was after 9am).

Still cheerful, I said, “I’ve been up for almost 5 hours now! I’m starving!”

Then, I got a lecture on how unhealthy it was to be eating potato chips at ‘this time of morning’ (or at all) and that I should try a piece of fruit.

Fuck off. Firstly, I’m sure he wouldn’t have commented on my dietary condition if I was a guy. Also, if I chose to eat chips at 9:30 or fucking 8pm, it would still be unhealthy. If I had a fucking piece of fruit handy, I still probably would have unapologetically enjoyed the salty snack.

sexism

And all that aside? How about you just mind your fucking business, mate?

I usually find that men who are roughly the same age as my father don’t understand just how smarmy and patronising their comments and remarks can be.

I try not to be too hard on people, sometimes they may not even realise how or why what they’ve said can be taken the wrong way, but if no one ever tells them, then how can they correct their behaviour?

One that I hear almost often – in every job I’ve ever worked and also outside of any job I’ve ever worked; “good girl”.

How arrogant, how patronising — how fucking insulting. I am not a dog. I am not your pet (I’ve been called pet, it burns me right fucking up!) do not praise me as if I am one. I am also not a girl, I am almost 33 years old. All you need to do is say thank you, that will be enough. No pet names, no back-handed insults. Oh, and no I don’t want to call you fucking Adonis (yes, that was something that happened on another occasion) at all — ever.

sexism

I opened a door for someone the other day while the woman struggled to leave the shop where I was coming in from and once she was out, she said, “good girl!” — and honestly I wanted to let the door slam on her. I understand the intention is not cruel or patronising and in fact, its probably just gratitude, but it feels condescending and when it comes from a man, it feels like sexism at it’s finest.

In another situation outside of work, a man I knew continually referred to my friend as “the bitch”, based on a stupid misunderstanding on both their parts — both had spoken politely to one another since the occasion and it was only behind her back that he continued to call her a ‘bitch’ until I finally spoke up. What makes a person think that it is actually okay to continually refer to a person in an insulting way after a situation had been resolved?

Next time someone calls me a “good girl”, it’s going to go down like this;

“Good girl!”
“Yes, I am a good girl, may I have a treat?”
“Huh? A treat?”
“You said I was a good girl like I’m a fucking obedient animal, now where is my fucking treat!”

Because honestly, if I hear it one more time I’m going to lose my shit.

sexism

My Secret Life Inside Scientology – Jenna Miscavige Hill

Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing EscapeBeyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

 

 

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR THIS IS JUICY AS SHIT.

scientology

…. Actually not really. See what I did there? I totally excited you for a moment and you thought you were going to read something that would shatter everything you know and thought about scientology right here in this review right?

Wrong.

And that’s kind of how I felt about this book. Got me all excited to read things that I didn’t already know about scientology and how exposing this would be– and don’t get me wrong, there were things that I read in this book that made me furious and confused and frustrated — but never shocked.

I feel a little bit bad saying negative things about someone’s biography because you’re basically bitching about their experience. What you’re saying is, “your life experience is boring, make it more interesting!” so I’m not going to do that. This book is not boring by any means, but given the title, I think I expected to be shocked.

The thing is, what we as a collective community already know about Scientology is this;
L Ron Hubbard is a fraud.
Scientology is a giant pyramid scheme whereby the people at the top are the only ones seeing the money.
Celebrities buy in to Scientology because they have entirely way too much money and didn’t spend enough time at school discerning shit from clay.
Tom Cruise is an idiot.
L Ron Hubbard reckons that some Xenu from the planet he made up in one of his books is going to come back and help them all out.
They don’t believe in psychiatry (I know this because Tom Cruise said so, lol).

The rest of it seems far less ridiculous in comparison.

Jenna Miscavige is the neice of Dave Miscavige who had the job of taking over when L Ron Hubbard died. This book is the account of her moving with her family to become a part of the secretive “Sea Org”. Jenna and her brother were split from their parents from a young age and were forced to do manual labor as part of their contribution to the sea org and in most ways become responsible for themselves.

Children were give adult jobs and responsibilities and no real compassion was afforded to them from the higher up members.

This was probably the most alarming part of the book for me — children forced to grow up like little robots without all the things that children require to become well-adjusted adults. Given that Jenna and I are the same age, I was especially angry and frustrated reading how atypical her upbringing was from mine.

The clear and most evident thing from this book is how the church of scientology play divide and conquer among people who are not complying to their every whim and rule. The self esteems of those who didn’t follow the rules were entirely eroded until they had no choice but to ‘recognise’ the error of their own ways.

Given that I have grown up from my late teens and in to my adulthood as a mostly practicing Christian, I find it strange that this church is so secretive. If something is so wonderful and so good, why are the members so unwilling to speak loudly and proudly about the church? I don’t necessarily like get-in-your-face-preaching Christians, but I am not ashamed of my faith nor have I ever been unopen to critisism where it is due.

Jenna Miscavige was an incredibly strong-minded individual who had to be such in order to endure and accept the treatment that she was given within the church. She was equally lucky to meet someone within the confines of the divisive walls of the church who was able to see it for the fraud that it was.

I admired her will and her ability to stand up to those in charge in times of turmoil and solitude.

If you are looking for explosive stories, this probably isn’t the book for it, but if you are looking to read about whole the secretive sea org functions and are interested in learning about the church, then it’s a good read.

I liked it, but I felt at times it was a little tedious — as I said though, this is someone’s experience and it’s not really my right to critique that.

And lastly, can we revisit that scientologists think psychiatry and medicine is not a real thing? And that they know better? That they know that more than what we do when it comes to mental health? (And by we, I mean scientists who dedicate decades to their work on helping those live with mental health illness?)

scientology

Also, Tom Cruise is a dick.

Dane Cobain on Indie Authors & Why it’s a tough gig

indie

Hi, folks!

My name’s Dane Cobain, and I’m an indie author, poet and musician from the UK. I’m here today to talk about indie authors, money, and how the two of them rarely come together. The truth is, it’s almost (almost, but not quite!) impossible for an indie author to make any money from their work, and I think that’s a shame.

And the problem isn’t really down to the readers – after all, there are a lot of keen readers out there who are buying, sharing and supporting the work of indie authors. The problem is with the process itself – you see, it’s not easy to release a book. You might think that the hard work ends after you’ve spent a couple of years planning and writing the damn thing, but that’s not true at all.

For a book to be ready to go to market, you need to work with a professional editor to make sure that your manuscript is perfectly polished, and you also need to find a good cover designer to make the book stand out. Both of these require a cash investment, unless you’re lucky and you’re able to cut a deal with someone. But you can’t cut corners and edit your own work – even if you’re an editor yourself. You need that level of objectivity, and you need to get a second pair of eyes to look at it.

Cover designs also cost a little extra because you need to cover the usage rights for the images. And then once that’s done, you have to think about the cost of ISBNs etc., as well as some of the other little bits and bobs that are associated with publishing costs.

And then there are marketing costs – for example, if you send your books out to bloggers, you need to cover the basic cost of the book and then the postage, which all adds up. If you run competitions then you need to worry about the prizes. Even paying for web hosting and a domain name can add up, over time.

Oh, you make a little money back, of course. You earn a percentage back from each sale, and you can sell physical copies at events for a profit. I’d estimate that I make somewhere in the region of £30-50 per month in profit from royalties and sales, but I spend around £50-75 on sales and marketing.

And it’s not just me, either – I’m friends with literally dozens (if not hundreds!) of authors, and I only know one or two who are able to support themselves through their writing alone. Even then, they’re supplementing the income that they make from book sales with freelance writing work and other consultancy services.

The fact is, unless you already have a huge social media following – YouTubers, I’m looking at you – then you’re always going to struggle to sell enough books to make a living from it. And unfortunately, new publishers are starting to focus on marketing potential rather than on the ability of the author when they sign new people to the books (no pun intended).

It’s capitalism in action, and it’s just the way that the world works, but it does make it more difficult for indie authors. As for myself, I work from 9-5:30 at a marketing agency, and work from 6:30 until midnight most evenings, as well as 14-16 hours a day at the weekend, if I’ve got nothing planned.

It’s hard work being an author, and it’s often financially unrewarding. But we don’t write for the money. We write because we’re compelled to write. That’s just how it is.

But it’s okay, because you can do your bit – buy a book from an indie author. The royalties will almost give them enough money to buy half a pint of beer, and you’ll get a book out of it, too!

You can check out Dane’s social media and website by clicking on the following links:

Dane Cobain – Website
@DaneCobain
Facebook Page

 

Book Tag –

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You know you’ve made it in the blogging world when someone thinks to tag you in one of their posts! .. Okay, maybe I haven’t made it and maybe no one sends me as many ARCs as the next blogger nor do I get lots of stuff for free, but I do love a cute little tag from one of my beautiful blogging counterparts.

So, Lys from over at The Mad Reader has tagged me in her post and so here I go… completing this tag using only Chelsea Handler gifs to convey my feelings.

 

Pick a book that started off bitter but got better

The Girls by Emma Cline. I read a lot of snarky and bad reviews about this book but I was determined to give it a go. It was slow to start. It was unnecessarily flowery and some of the metaphors really just made me want to punch myself in the groin.

But overall, as the book progressed and the plot unraveled and the character’s developed, I enjoyed it more and more and was able to look past the flowery descriptiveness.

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Pick a book that made you smile beyond compare

Funny that I chose Chelsea Handler gifs to convey this post because all of her books make me laugh and smile. It’s rare that I laugh out loud at a book– but her books are absolutely hilarious. Some chapters I have had to screen shot and pass on to friends so that they too, can share in the hilarity. Chelsea is dry-humoured and funny, that is probably the best thing about her. So, for this one, I choose her second book, Chelsea, Chelsea Bang Bang – Chelsea Handler 

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Pick a book set in a foreign country

One of my favourite ever books — Girl At War by Sara Novic. This book is set in the Yugoslavia during the 1990s war between Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Croatia. It was a beautifully written book that describes this area of the world for exactly what it was before the war and what has taken so long to build back. For me, its slightly personal given my Croatian heritage.

I recommend this book to anyone and everyone!

 

Pick a book in which a mysterious or shady character was first introduced

The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins by Irvine Welsh.

Hilarious, fucked-up, twisted, psychopathic, brilliant. From the beginning of this book, Lucy Brennan the MC is a total sociopath and she only unravels quickly as the plot begins to develop. As with most Irvine Welsh books, the plot is crazy but its so incredibly good! And FYI, the book has absolutely nothing to do with the sex lives of siamese twins (everyone always raises an eyebrow at me when I mention this book).

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Pick a book that was grainy and the plot barely developed

Ugh. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. This book took me an entire year to read. It was so slow, so shit, so not what all the Goodreads reviews promised me. I understand that this is an incredible controversial view to have — but it was just such a misrepresentation of fans in general.

Close second to this was My Favourite Manson Girl — I turned the pages and kept waiting for the exciting, amazing and spectacularly unique story to unravel and then I got to the last page and was like, oh? that’s it? right. And then I went back to Goodreads (on both accounts) to see that maybe I’d read the reviews wrong or got the books confused — but no, apparently these two books are front runners of YA.

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Pick a character(s) that was full of life and made you smile

As much as she was really irritating in some essences of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes — I would have to say that Louisa Clark was full of life and made me smile especially in the sequel, After You. She could sometimes be over the top and embarrassing, but she had a beautiful heart and a lot of things that could have really kept her kicking a rock about and I always look for that kind of positivity and warmth in people in my own real life.

 

Pick a book that had some juicy secrets

I really can’t think of a book where a character or plot held a secret… Maybe I’ll give an honorable mention to Attachments by Rainbow Rowell — I disliked this book but mostly I think I dislike anything this author has to offer (no offence, its just that her books seem so vapid and simplified for me) but in terms of secrets, this book was full of them, mostly some creeper dude going through two people’s emails and reading everything about them like a peeping tom staring through a window every night — but just like, the technology version of invading someone’s privacy to that degree (and then the MC falls in love with him and is okay with all of this!?)

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Pick a book that had a vast, big universe / setting

Wicked by Gregory Maguire.

I love this book, I love this book, I love this book! The alternate universe of this book is spectacular and descriptive unlike the unnecessary way that The Girls was written — I have such a brilliant imagery of the universe of where this story takes place! There is nothing snarky to say about this book imo. It was perfect.

 

Pick a book in which a character was portrayed as a hunk

Pretty much any novel where a male is involved, they’re a hunk. Its a bit boring. What about the guy who’s maybe not iron man, but who is kind, generous and loyal AF?! Honestly, its unrealistic for the school dork to be good at listening, good at being a supportive boyfriend and be incredibly hot — not to mention smart enough to be a Dr or a computer hacker.

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Pass on the tag

I tag Sophie, Hollie and Jenny

After You – Jojo Moyes (Book Review)

Jojo moyes

I couldn’t figure out how on earth Jojo Moyes could possibly follow the story of Louisa Clark and the tragic romance with Will Traynor. I thought that it would be one of those attempts at squeezing as much out of a done-and-dusted story as possible, trying to continue the ride on the success of Me Before You

Yep, now I’m just being a bitch.

Jojo Moyes

But honestly, I couldn’t see how this was going to work.

But you know what? I was pleasantly surprised. I actually had to go back and re-rate Me Before You, because upon reflection, I realised how clever the novel truly was and despite a few of Louisa’s annoying quirks, I actually thought it was a beautifully written, emotive novel.

So Jojo Moyes brings us back to Louisa Clark around a year after everything that transpired with Will. She is struggling with her grief and is just going through the motions of life. She feels as though she hasn’t quite kept up with her promise to Will. She’s traveled, she’s lived abroad and been to all the tourist attractions that were on her list, but still feels a void.

“I loved a man who had opened up a world to me but hadn’t loved me enough to stay in it.” 

She ends back in England, living in London and living a mundane life.

After a chance encounter, Louisa meets Sam, the attending paramedic who has just lost his wife and is surprised by a visitor who she could have never expected on her doorstep.

This book is a book about dealing with grief more than much else and for this reason I found it to be incredibly emotional and even at times upsetting, as certain elements seemed to hit me, personally.

“I think people get bored of grief,” said Natasha. “It’s like you’re allowed some unspoken allotted time — six months, maybe — and then they get faintly irritated that you’re not ‘better’. It’s like you’re being self-indulgent hanging on to your unhappiness” 

Jojo Moyes

Honestly? I think Jojo Moyes is a genius with this one. It is so succinct.

I think this is my favourite quote from the book. It is so accurate in life. People give up on you if you can’t shake your sadness within the quota of time that they have privately allotted for you. They stop asking, they take a step back and they are so afraid of being polluted by your grief that they disappear from your life until you have recovered.

Louisa was far less annoying in this novel and her parents weren’t as bad, but her Mum is still a basket-case. There was also an impressive character development of Camilla Traynor that I was pleased to see as she was painted as an evil, sterile bitch in Me Before You.

I read 78% of this book in bed last night because I couldn’t put it down. I would probably venture to say that I liked it more than Me Before You! Crazy, right?

There was only one quote that made me laugh/cringe;

“I wanted to resist him, but I couldn’t. I was giddy, diverted, sleepless. I got cystitis and didn’t care”

Jojo Moyes

Ummm… I was sure she was referring to the fact that she had so much sex that she developed cystitis. Let me tell you something, as a chronic cystitis/UTI sufferer, anyone who develops an infection to a degree of cystitis is definitely going to care. That shit is no joke and if you are too careless with it, you’ll end up with a nasty kidney infection like that of what I am actually trying to get through.

Very odd sentence, indeed!

Besides that, I feel like Jojo Moyes did a truly fantastic job with this novel conveying the stages of grief and how there’s no true coffee-cup, over-night solution or recovery.