You Too? Blog Tour + Book Review

You Too bannerThis is my stop during the blog tour for You Too? by Janet Gurtler. This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 6 till 24 January. See the tour schedule here.

You Too?

Edited by Janet Gurtler.

Genre: Non-fiction.

Age category: Young Adult, New Adult

Release Date: January 7, 2020

You Too

Blurb: A timely and heartfelt collection of essays inspired by the #MeToo movement, edited by acclaimed young adult and middle-grade author Janet Gurtler. Featuring Beth Revis, Mackenzi Lee, Ellen Hopkins, Saundra Mitchell, Jennifer Brown, Cheryl Rainfield and many more.When #MeToo went viral, Janet Gurtler was among the millions of people who began to reflect on her past experiences. Things she had reluctantly accepted—male classmates groping her at recess, harassment at work—came back to her in startling clarity. She needed teens to know what she had not: that no young person should be subject to sexual assault, or made to feel unsafe, less than or degraded.You Too? was born out of that need. By turns thoughtful and explosive, these personal stories encompass a wide range of experiences and will resonate with every reader who has wondered, “Why is this happening to me?” or secretly felt that their own mistreatment or abuse is somehow their fault—it’s not. Candid and empowering, You Too? is written for teens, but also an essential resource for the adults in their lives—an urgent, compassionate call to listen and create change.

You can find You Too? on Goodreads.

You can buy You Too? here:- Amazon ebookAmazon hardcopyBarnes & NobleKoboIndieboundIndigo.


My thought on the book

“But we need to keep talking about the hard stuff. And we need to listen. We need to hear from survivors. We need to work toward making this world a place where other people will be able to say with confidence “NOT ME”. It never happened to me.”

This book is important – so, so important. It highlights issues you don’t want to think about, including – sexual assault, abuse, and harassment. Although, this book is aimed at teenagers, I think adults can also learn a lot from this book. It doesn’t brush anything under the carpet – in fact it bravely fought for attention, letting everyone know that this isn’t ok. It covers the challenges we face in today’s (and in past) societies. It shows how harassment and ‘harmless fun’ is anything but and needs to be shouted about from the rooftops, to let everyone know that it shouldn’t be happening. I think this book will make people who’ve experienced these issues feel heard and less alone. And just because someone may not be physically harmed, it can still live with them for a long time. I also think it will make teens aware that their actions have consequences, and can still damage someone for many years after the original event.

It was painful, but also empowering and inspiring. Everyone who contributed to this book is amazing and brave. The raw honesty in which they told their stories was something I cannot describe.

The beauty of sharing, of people coming together to share their experiences – their raw, personal and painful experiences were inspiring, and I think it will help people who’ve been through these things.

Although aimed at teens, I would recommend this to everyone who has the chance to read it. I have never read a book like it and I hope that it will be read for many years to come.


About the author

Janet Gurtler is a Rita finalist whose young adult books have been chosen for the JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION and as BEST BOOKS FOR TEENS from the Canadian Children’s Book Center. Janet lives in Calgary Alberta, Canada with her husband, son, a chubby black Chihuahua named Bruce and a Golden Retriever named Betty White.

You can find and contact Janet Gurtler here:- WebsiteFacebookTwitterInstagramGoodreadsAmazon

ARC Book Review | Little White Lies by Philippa East.

little white lies

little white lies book cover

Title – Little White Lies.

Author – Philippa East.

Expected date published – 4th February 2020.

Publisher – HQ.

Series status – Standalone.

Add to Goodreads. 


Synopsis

She only looked away for a second…

Anne White only looked away for a second, but that’s all it took to lose sight of her young daughter.

But seven years later, Abigail is found.

And as Anne struggles to connect with her teenage daughter, she begins to question how much Abigail remembers about the day she disappeared…


My thought on the book

*Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book*

An intense web of secrets, a mysterious lie hanging over them. Little White Lies was a riveting read showing how complex trauma is, and how it destroys not only the victim but also their families.

The two different perspectives worked well and the voices were distinct. I found Jess naive and somewhat childlike and I felt sorry for her. I didn’t connect well with Anne but only because I knew she was hiding something and I couldn’t trust her.

It was intriguing to see what could happen when a missing child is returned after so many years. How it can tear families apart and change not only the kidnapped child but also the ones closest to them.

I quickly realised that all was not as it seemed and some of the characters were hiding things. Anne’s reaction to her daughter coming home was somewhat strange and angered me at points. I couldn’t understand why she reacted the way she did, however, it all becomes clear at the end.

Overall, this book was riveting, exciting and kept me engaged. I had so many questions and I couldn’t stop reading because I needed to know the whole truth. A great debut novel and I’m so excited for the author’s future books!


Have you read Little White Lies? If so, what did you think?

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2019 Goal Wrap Up and New Goals For 2020

goals 2020

I love setting goals and looking back on them at the end of the year. Whenever I set goals I keep them small, or if they’re bigger ones I break them down into manageable chunks. The last thing you need is to set goals that overwhelm you and you don’t end up achieving them. In today’s post, I’m going to be looking back at my 2019 goals to see if I achieved them, and also set some new ones for 2020.


2019 Goal Update.

My Ambitious Goals For 2019 (Writing, Books and More)

This didn’t exactly go to plan. I started off well but it went downhill pretty fast. I did give a rating to every book I read so that’s at least something. I will be trying this one again because I really do want to make the effort.

My Ambitious Goals For 2019 (Writing, Books and More)

Again, I didn’t achieve this. Due to personal reasons, I took a very long break from blogging. I’m still planning on going self-hosted, I’m just not sure when.

My Ambitious Goals For 2019 (Writing, Books and More)

I achieved this! I am currently at 52 and I’ll definitely be adding more to that total before the year is out.

My Ambitious Goals For 2019 (Writing, Books and More)

I have been trying so hard to engage with more writers on Twitter and I think I’ve done pretty well overall. I’m a massive introvert and I have anxiety so it’s really hard for me to engage consistently. Sometimes I can’t face even opening my notifications, however, overall, I think I’ve done okay with this one.

My Ambitious Goals For 2019 (Writing, Books and More)

I achieved this! I haven’t started editing yet as I want to let it sit for a while before I go back to it. I made the mistake of not outlining it very well (pantsing doesn’t work well for me), so I need to have a long think about what direction I want the story to go in.

My Ambitious Goals For 2019 (Writing, Books and More)

I’ve actually nearly finished this draft which I’m so proud of. I’m hoping to get it done by the end of the year. Fingers crossed!

My Ambitious Goals For 2019 (Writing, Books and More)

I’ll admit, I did not write one short story this year, in fact, I didn’t even try. For some reason, short stories intimidate me. I’m so used to writing longer novels so I find them challenging. Hopefully, in the new year, I can get past that and get writing some.

My Ambitious Goals For 2019 (Writing, Books and More)

Nope, didn’t achieve this one either, unless you count the Goodreads challenge which I did achieve.


Overall, there are many goals I didn’t achieve. However, the most important one was to finish the first draft of The Mariah Kingdom (this is actually the first draft I’ve ever completed). And to also have nearly completed Project Enigma too is a huge achievement for me. I spent so long letting my perfectionism and fear of failure stop me from finishing projects, so to have gotten past that in my writing is massive for me.


2020 goals.

bullet journal

  • Read 60 books.
  • Start editing Project Enigma.
  • Begin the first draft of The Brentbrook Girls (YA Mystery Thriller).
  • Put together my first poetry collection.
  • Submit more poems to literacy journals/magazines etc.
  • Blog consistently.
  • Review every book I read.

What are your goals for 2020?

2020 goals Pinterest

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10 Ideas On How To Give Back This Christmas

10 Ideas On How To Give Back This Christmas

In the midst of all the celebrations and stresses, it can be easy to forget about the wider community. If you’re wanting to help out, it can be hard to know what you can do, so today’s post is focused on giving you some ideas. Not all of these things cost money, as I know not everyone is in a financial position where that’s possible. Some are cheap or free ideas you can give back to the community.


Donate to a cause close to your heart.

10 Ideas On How To Give Back This Christmas | Charleigh Writes

Is there a cause near to your heart? Perhaps you have personal experience of mental illness or a loved one who suffers/suffered from cancer. Donating a small (or larger amount) is an easy way to give back. Most donations can be done online and you can give as little or as much as you want.


Volunteer in a soup kitchen.

soup kitchen

Are there any churches or community centres near you that are hosting Christmas dinner? If you have time, volunteering is a way to give back that doesn’t cost any money. So many people use these resources over the festive period and I’m sure they’d be grateful to see a friendly face on what might be a very lonely day for them.


Give out care packages to the homeless.

homeless

Plenty of places organise giving out packs to the homeless. If you don’t have the time to go out yourself, you can also donate items (such as toiletries, blankets etc). For more information, you can visit this site here. 


Donate to a food bank.

10 Ideas On How To Give Back This Christmas | Charleigh Writes

One thing we try to do every year is clear out our cupboards and donate any food we don’t want to a food bank. In the past, I’ve had to use one and I will be forever grateful for the work they do. If you have the funds there are also often food bank donation points in supermarkets.


Donate presents to children.

tree presents

Often, donation stories popping up in the run-up to Christmas. I know our town did one this year where they collected together toys and gifts for children in need. They the donated them so they at least have something to open on Christmas morning. For more information, The Salvation Army is a great place to start.


Keep the smaller, cheaper gifts from Santa.

santa workshop

This is something so simple but can have a huge impact. Instead of having the more expensive gifts from Santa have him bring a smaller, cheaper gift instead. Hopefully, it could be your child that might make another less fortunate child feel less alone.


Buy charity Christmas cards.

christmas cards with polar bear and northern lights with gold tinsel

Every year when I buy a pack of Christmas cards I try to buy a pack where some of the profits go to charity. It’s a small way to give back and something you’ll probably do anyway.


Shop with small businesses.

happy pills, little jar of courage with hanging decorations 'you matter' and 'hope'

This is another easy way to give back. I always try to buy my stocking fillers from sellers on Etsy. Also, if there are any independent shops where you live it’s worth looking in them too. The items are normally good quality and you’d be supporting a small business.


Thank the emergency services.

police car

Whilst people are enjoying their Christmas Day, many people who work in emergency services will be keeping us safe and healthy this Christmas. Just a simple thank you is a free way to give back. You can also drop in cards or chocolate if you want to go that extra step.


Visit a lonely neighbour.

Elderly man's hands resting on a walking stick

So many people will be spending Christmas alone and just popping in on someone can make all the difference. If you’d like more ideas on how to help someone who’s lonely you can check out my post here.


What other ways could someone give back this Christmas?

pintrest

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20 Post-Apocalyptic Prompts to Inspire You Next Novel

post apocalyptic prompts

I’m back today with more writing prompts! This time I’m giving you some post-apocalyptic prompts. If you would like to check out my other writing prompt posts I will leave the links down below –


apocalypse

1. The electric goes out and everyone’s disappeared.

2. Write a story from the perspective of a zombie.

3. You were born the year the apocalypse happens. Tell your story.

4. You need food so you break into an abandoned supermarket. That’s when you hear the music box start playing and you realise you aren’t alone.

5. You’re the leader of the baddest, most ruthless gang in the wasteland. Write about what happens when someone threatens your leadership.

apocalypse

6. A character uses the apocalypse to forge a new identity and start a new life. Why?

7. The unthinkable happens and now you’re stuck in your dad’s bunker.

8. Multiple volcanoes erupt at the same time, destroying much of the world. You only survive because you were playing up in the mountains with your friends. What happens next?

9. Your family have been ready for months. Except when the bombs finally arrive you’re trapped inside the bunker and your dad is nowhere to be found.

10. You thought you were alone in this new world until you meet up with an escaped convict.

apocalypse

11. A strange howling is heard across the world then everything erupts into chaos.

12. The oceans rise and the world is flooded. How do you survive?

13. You’ve always hated Friday the 13th. That’s why you weren’t surprised when the apocalypse happened on that very day.

14. You’ve spent the last 2 years in your bunker and now it’s time to resurface. Write about what you find.

15. The only reason you survived the apocalypse is because you agreed to go into a special bunker to be experimented on. Now, a group of you have decided to break out. Write about what happens.

apocalypse

16. You are searching for supplies when you find a 10-year-old girl huddled in a supermarket. You decide to take her with you.

17. How you would you celebrate Christmas in the wasteland?

18. You agreed to be cryogenically frozen whilst the apocalypse took place. What everyone thought would happen, turned out to be wrong. Everything is so much worse.

19. A riot breaks out in your bunker and the only way to get away from it is to leave the safety of the underground, but you don’t know what’s out there.

20. A spat of dangerous weather breaks out all over the world. Hundreds of thousands of people die. You are left to take care of your 2 small siblings. What happens?


Let me know if you use any of these prompts, I’d love to see what you come up with. 

post apocalyptic prompts

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Book Review | Lock Me In By Kate Simants.

book review | lock me in by Kate simants | Charleigh writes

the 5 books I enjoyed most this year | Charleigh writes

Title – Lock Me In.

Author – Kate Simants.

Date published – 3rd October 2019.

Publisher – Killer Reads.

Series status – Standalone.

Add to Goodreads. 


Synopsis

A debut psychological thriller from a major new talent

Whatever you do, don’t open the door…

By day, Ellie Power has a normal life. She has a stable home, a loving boyfriend, a future.

But at night, she suffers from a sleep disorder. She becomes angry, unpredictable, violent. Her mother locks her in her bedroom every night, to keep them both safe.

Then one morning, Ellie wakes up, horrified to find the lock on her bedroom door smashed from the inside. She is covered in injuries, unable to remember anything about the night before.

And her boyfriend Matt is nowhere to be found…


My thought on the book

5 star book review

I am in awe of how good this book actually was. The premise of this book intrigued me and I found myself gripped from the very first chapter. Interesting, thought-provoking, and full of twists and turns that kept me guessing until the end.

I loved that we got to have some insight into Ellie’s therapy sessions, how it allowed us to work through her issues and to think about what might have caused her problems. The author did a fantastic job of trickling information throughout the book, rather than telling us everything at the beginning. The two POV’s were interesting. I liked reading from the investigator’s POV as well as from Ellie’s. It added a whole new dimension to the story.

Overall, this is one of my favourite books I’ve read this year. I couldn’t put it down, the storyline was unique and I was excited to find out what would happen next. I recommend this book to everyone, absolutely brilliant!


How you read Lock Me In? If so, what did you think?

lock me in Pinterest graphic

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The 5 Books I Enjoyed Most This Year

the 5 books I enjoyed most this year | Charleigh writes

I can’t believe it’s that time of the year again where I share my favourite reads. I’ve had a great reading year for the most part. I’ve been in a slump for about a month which sucks, but I’m still on track to complete my Goodreads challenge! I have read some great books this year and some not so great. In today’s post, I’ve picked out the 5 I’ve enjoyed the most!


You/poet by Rayna Hutchinson and Samuel Blake.

the 5 books I've enjoyed most this year | Charleigh writes

Title – You/poet.

Author(s) – Rayna Hutchinson and Samuel Blake.

Date published – 4th September 2018.

Publisher – Adams Media.

Add to Goodreads. 

Synopsis

Offering a variety of advice for tapping into your creative voice, sharing your work online, and honing your writing skills, You/Poet shows you how to express yourself creatively through the art of poetry.

You may think that writing poetry requires a specific set of skills. You may have read books on writing poetry that were stuffy and full of strict rules and regulations. But You/Poetproves that all you need to be a poet is the desire to share your inner thoughts and emotions with the world. Let HerHeartPoetry—an online poetry community, Instagram, digital zine, and poetry press—take you on a journey of self-discovery and surprise, and show you how to embrace the world of writing poetry with arms wide open.

Writing poetry is an act of bravery. It’s just you, your thoughts and feelings, and the words you choose to express them. You/Poet can help you do just that. With encouragement and advice on poetry writing basics, how to identify your unique creative voice, and prompts and exercises to help you channel your thoughts and emotions through writing, this all-in-one guide will help you share your talent with the world.

This year I’ve really been working hard to improve my writing skills. One of the areas I wanted to focus on was my poetry. This book is one of the best books I’ve ever read on writing poetry. It offers up advice on voice and the basics of poetry. However, my favourite part was the prompt section. It’s divided into single-word prompts, word jumble prompts, image prompts, micropoetry prompts and thematic prompts. It’s well worth a read if you’re looking for inspiration or wanting to improve your poetry skills. 


Lock Me In by Kate Simants.

the 5 books I enjoyed most this year | Charleigh writes

Title – Lock Me In.

Author – Kate Simants.

Date published – 3rd October 2019.

Publisher – Killer Reads.

Add to Goodreads. 

Synopsis

A debut psychological thriller from a major new talent

Whatever you do, don’t open the door…

By day, Ellie Power has a normal life. She has a stable home, a loving boyfriend, a future.

But at night, she suffers from a sleep disorder. She becomes angry, unpredictable, violent. Her mother locks her in her bedroom every night, to keep them both safe.

Then one morning, Ellie wakes up, horrified to find the lock on her bedroom door smashed from the inside. She is covered in injuries, unable to remember anything about the night before.

And her boyfriend Matt is nowhere to be found…

I didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. I’ve really been loving psychological thrillers recently, so I requested this on Netgalley and was pleasantly surprised. Look out for a review coming soon!


Aphrodite Made Me Do It by Trista Mateer.

Aphrodite made me do it

Title – Aphrodite Made Me Do It.

Author – Trista Mateer.

Date published – 1st October 2019.

Publisher – Central Avenue Publishing.

Add to Goodreads. 

SynopsisBestselling and award-winning author Trista Mateer takes an imaginative approach to self-care in this new poetry and prose collection, Aphrodite Made Me Do It. In this empowering retelling, she uses the mythology of the goddess to weave a common thread through the past and present. By the end of this book, Aphrodite makes you believe in the possibility of your own healing.

This is one of my favourite poetry collections I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It touches on subjects such as mental illness, LGBTQ+, forgiveness, and love. It’s such a beautiful read and I highly recommend it. 


The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.

knife of never letting go

Title – The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking Trilogy Book 1).

Author – Patrick Ness.

Date published – 22nd July 2014.

Publisher – Candlewick Press.

Add to Goodreads. 

SynopsisTodd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn’t she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd’s gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.

Another book I didn’t expect to like as much as I did. I am in love with Patrick Ness’s writing and I am so excited to read his other books. This was such a unique and exciting read. 


Finale by Stephanie Garber.

finale

Title – Finale (Caraval Trilogy Book 3).

Author – Stephanie Garber.

Date published – 7th May 2019.

Publisher – Flatiron Books.

Add to Goodreads. 

SynopsisA love worth fighting for. A dream worth dying for. An ending worth waiting for.

It’s been two months since the Fates were freed from a deck of cards, two months since Legend claimed the throne for his own, and two months since Tella discovered the boy she fell in love with doesn’t really exist.

With lives, empires, and hearts hanging in the balance, Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend or a former enemy. After uncovering a secret that upends her life, Scarlett will need to do the impossible. And Legend has a choice to make that will forever change and define him.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun. There are no spectators this time—only those who will win, and those who will lose everything.

Welcome, welcome to Finale. All games must come to an end…

Although I am beyond sad this series has come to an end, I absolutely loved the final book and thought it was a fitting ending. Caraval has become one of my all-time favourite series and I’m so excited to see what the author writes next. 


What were your favourite books this year? 

the 5 books I enjoyed most this year | Charleigh writes

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