I've been on the "bookternet" for a while - youtube, mostly, as well as this blog, insta and twitter. Anyone who's spent any amount of time doing this as more than just a hobby and actively engaging in the community knows this can be an incredibly toxic place. I don't think there's anywhere online that isn't, to be fair, but I think more needs to be done in acknowledging how these spaces can affect your mental health.
I haven't posted on my youtube channel in months and I've been doing my best to distance from twitter. I've felt a LOT better for it.. But I do miss the positive aspects - the community, the friendships, the fun book announcements and recommendations. But I also miss having a sense of ME.
This is where things get a bit deeper, I suppose. Most of you will know that I am autistic and was only diagnosed two years ago at 22 years old. I have spent the majority of my life masking - adapting to how the world wants me to behave and suffering for it. At the height of my masking and my formative years, I found booktube and became a bookseller. I also wasn't ostracised for the things I liked - in fact, there were people out there "weirder" than me because they owned more and read more books. I found a place I could be. Books became my entire personality.
The thing is... I am more than just books. And it's taken me a long time to realise that. The problem is, I have to face the fact that I don't really know what these other parts of me are. I found I was still very much masking on the bookternet. I felt like I had to continue being this full on book person and that there wasn't space for me to be me. When I started being more outspoken on autism and ableism generally, people weren't engaging unless it was pertaining to the book community and I realised I don't want my community to be limited to one aspect of me. I've spent too many years of my life focusing on specific things to appeal to whoever I'm around. No more.
emmanovella is my space. I'm not limiting it to books just to fit in to the book community. I'm just here, dabbling in a. multitude of things to figure myself out. If only occasionally doing book reviews or rec lists means I'm not in the book community then fine.
asdfghjkl how does she do it?!
Every time I pick up a new book by Estelle Maskame I think "she'll never top this" but she does! It's no secret I'm not a big lover of contemporary romance but I will devour (or, when I know there's a sequel to wait for, I'll savour) a Maskame book any day.
Set in Los Angeles and Nashville over a long, hot summer, Becoming Mila is the first book in an irresistibly addictive and exhilarating new trilogy from Estelle Maskame, shimmering with love, friendship, family frictions – and lots of romance.
Sixteen-year-old Mila lives in LA with her mom and A-list actor dad, whose fame constantly thrusts their lives into the media spotlight. But when Mila's antics around town make waves ahead of her dad's next big movie, something needs to be done. So Mila is dispatched 2,000 miles away to Nashville, Tennessee, where she can cool off for the summer with her aunt and grandfather. The perfect solution – right?
Mila's not so sure. She's dreading the idea of a summer away from her friends, not to mention being shipped to the other side of the country. Apprehensive and out-of-sorts when she arrives, it doesn't take long for her to get off on the wrong foot with the mayor’s son, Blake. In spectacular style.
But Blake's no stranger to Mila's issues. He knows exactly what life's like with a parent in the public eye – the pressures and politics, dramas and dynamics ... Perhaps Mila and Blake have far more in common than either of them care to admit.
IT'S OUT. IT'S OUT. IT'S OUT... JUST NOT IN THE UK BUT IT'S FINE BECAUSE AT LEAST SOME OTHER READERS ARE GOING TO EXPERIENCE THIS WORLD AND THIS STORY AND AS YOU CAN TELL I HAVE NO CHILL AND NEED YOU ALL TO GO BUY THIS BOOK NOW IF YOU CAN PLEASE
Ballet and Boarding School... set in Paris?! SIGN ME UP! This book is PERFECT for fans of Tiny Pretty Things but it definitely holds it's own. There might be a comparison in the setting but A.K Small's book definitely stands out. You can tell it's written from the author's own experience and I felt the sensitive topics - eating disorders mostly - were dealt with more sensitively, though still intense and raw, than other books that include those.
I never felt like those we followed did anything out of character and I could believe any rash decisions made. Overall, I really enjoyed this and would love to read more from this author!
During the week, Charlotte from Wonderfully Bookish invited me to be part of her informal chat with Akemi Dawn Bowman - author of Starfish, Summer Bird Blue, Harley in the Sky (my faveeeee) - and discuss writing, publishing, Animal Crossing and her new book The Infinity Courts!
I had a lot of fun and it was great to just sit and chat for a bit and take my mind off of how DESPERATE I am for the sequel to The Infinity Courts! You can watch the video above and make sure to check out Charlotte's channel while you're there!
If you're interested in reading The Infinity Courts, it's out on April 6th but I'm hosting a giveaway!
I used a lot of exclamation marks there... not even sorry.
Maggie has witnessed impossible things. But no one believes her, and now her family has taken her away to spend the winter upstate in a remote, freezing farmhouse.
Bored and angry, Maggie and her younger sister Kate start to play tricks: rapping on the floorboards above their parents’ bedroom, cracking their toes under the table, and telling tales about noises in the night. Then the house starts to make sounds of its own. Neither Maggie nor Kate can explain it, but it seems as though someone – or something – is trying to speak to them . . .
Inspired by the incredible true tale of the Fox Sisters, the girls who made their fortune in nineteenth-century America by speaking to ghosts.
I love the supernatural and paranormal. I'm equal parts fascinated and scared by it. The story of the Fox Sisters always intrigued me and when I heard about this fictionalised version of their lives I had to read it and I was pleasantly surprised by it.
The writing itself was enjoyable and I was impressed by the author's ability to weave a plot into a preexisting true story. It would have been easy to just scrap all knowledge of the sister's and make it up entirely and I appreciate that Catherine did not do this. It was a perfect blend of the Fox sisters' truth and making things happen to create an enjoyable novel.
My only complaint is I wanted this book to be spookier - more horror than just slightly paranormal mystery. But overall it was a very enjoyable book and I'm very grateful I got my hands on a copy!
Ever felt anxious or alone? Like you don't belong anywhere? Like you're almost... invisible? Find your kindred spirits at The Sad Ghost Club.
This is the story of one of those days - a day so bad you can barely get out of bed, when it's a struggle to leave the house, and when you do, you wish you hadn't. But even the worst of days can surprise you. When one sad ghost, lost and alone at a crowded party, spies another sad ghost across the room, they decide to leave together. What happens next changes everything. Because that night they start the The Sad Ghost Club - a secret society for the anxious and alone, a club for people who think they don't belong.
For fans of Heartstopper and Jennifer Niven, and for anyone who's ever felt invisible. You are not alone. Shhh. Pass it on.
The Sad Ghost Club by Lize Meddings was my first 5 star read of 2021!
This is a beautiful, monochromatic graphic novel that spans just one day. Our main character is anxious, depressed and just generally struggling. They don't feel "normal". They overthink and can't understand how everyone else just goes and lives life. They get invited to a party - which causes even more overthinking and anxiety - but decide to go and there they stumble upon someone just like them. They leave the party to go for a walk and talk. They open up about their struggles and this is truly just a hug in book form.
The tagline is "find your kindred spirits" and I felt like I'd found mine. I completely understood the way they felt and I just wanted to wrap them up and tell them it's okay. The only complaint I could find is there's not enough of this book. I want multiple volumes. I want to see The Sad Ghost Club in action. The synopsis lead my to believe we'd see this secret society happen but the book is purely just about that club forming and that's fine, I just really want to see more. Maybe it's because I just connected so much and felt seen. I don't want it to be over.
This isn't something I usually do but if I were to pick a song to go with this book it would be "You Are Not Alone" from Dear Evan Hansen, because that's what it taught me. We're not alone. We just have to find our people.
This was my stop on The Sad Ghost Club Blog Tour! Make sure to check out the previous stops and the final post tomorrow and grab a copy of the book for yourself and a friend if you can!
The Portobello Bookshop (This is my local independent bookstore but you can find many more, near you here!)