‘White Eye of the Needle’ by Chris Campbell

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“He sweeps his brush, coarse as a wave, heavy as rain. This too will age.”

eeek we’re so happy to be on another blog tour! thank u so much @isabellekenyonpoetry and @bychriscampbell for gifting us this wonderful book 💗💗 #gifted

First off, the cover of this poetry collection is absolutely STUNNING. the blue and yellow together is just *chefs kiss*. The collection is centred around love, life and lockdown and it reminds us of how important human connection is and really ignited the need to be grateful for a world we often take for granted. The beauty of ordinary life is highlighted throughout the collection, which only makes the poetry feel more raw and honest. It’s an interesting and intimate feeling to read poems which are so close to home. The poem, careful what you touch, talks of the moments in the pandemic that almost don’t feel real anymore – the lack of toilet paper in supermarkets, the massive panic queues. All of which we experienced. The poem, virtual coo ponders on our speaker, meeting a baby for the first time over whatsapp. The poem, I’m sure everyone can relate too, tells of finding connections through a time where disconnection feels too common. But, a whatsapp call will be enough, for now.

Chris brings his words to life through the use of imagery, which only makes them more evocative. The poems, a snapshot of time, turn immortal as they rest upon the page. The illustrations that accompany the poems are so beautiful, focusing on animals, nature and intimacy. They each flow so nicely with the poem besides, intertwining together to paint a full and vibrant picture.

The poetry book is so so so beautiful and captures the themes so vibrantly. We’re so honoured to be on the blog tour of such a wonderful poetry book. It’s definitely one to go back to whenever a sense of disconnection occurs. The poems leave a warm feeling in your heart because it reminds you, you’re not alone and love and connections are everywhere. Sometimes we just need a little nudge. We’re thrilled to have been able to add this beautiful poetry book to our collection.

Erin & Tay x

‘Moxie’ by Jennifer Mathieu

Rating: 5 out of 5.

TW: attempted rape, sexual harassment

“YOUR SILENCE WILL NOT PROTECT YOU.”

‘Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her high school teachers who think the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment and gross comments from guys during class. Viv’s mum was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates Moxie, a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates when other girls respond & begin to spread the message that MOXIE girls fight back!’

Moxie. Girl Power. Feminism. Rock and Roll. And a tiny sprinkle of romance. Moxie is book that every young girl should be encourage to read. Scrap that, everyone should read it. One that inspires whilst also telling the brutal, harsh realities of misogyny and sexual harassment that young girls are victim to in a place where they should feel safe… school. Moxie tells the story of female protagonist, Vivian Carter, who begins to notice how the females in school are treated poorly whilst the male football team are held on pedestals and allowed to do whatever they want. There is an issue of morality where the teachers, the supposed ‘authoritative figures’, overlook sexual harassment and instead focus on punishing the girls for wearing a tank top because it can ‘distract the boys from their education.’

@booksbyerinandtay on Instagram

Vivian wants things to change. So inspired by her Mums Riot Grrrl past, she creates ‘Moxie’, a zine that she puts in the girls bathroom, encouraging girls to speak and know that they aren’t alone. Entwined in this important book is also empowerment, friendships and also a tiny bit of romance. Although, I didn’t expect a romantic storyline, I am glad that Vivian met Seth, because ultimately Seth reminded her that not all boys are the same, and I think this is important to be heard. Mathieu’s writing style was binge-able and easy to read, a YA style with an important message.

Moxie is a great book, but it’s ALSO a great film. I have to be honest, I got half way through the book and Taylor & I couldn’t resist watching it on Netflix party. And yes, the film is bloody brilliant, we both loved it. And I would rate it 5 stars and watch it over and over again. Although there are a few differences in the book and film, I feel like the film did the book immense justice whilst including more diversity and one thing I felt was worth pointing out was that in the book the Principal is male… in the film, they made her female, which highlights that women can be sexist too.

I felt nervous posting this review because it’s highlighting such a sensitive and serious issue. So ultimately, I want to finish on an important quote that I read, please let me know the initial source of this so I can quote them…

“Whatever we wear, wherever we go, yes means yes. No means no.”

‘Regretting You’ by Colleen Hoover

Rating: 5 out of 5.

‘Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike. With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident.’

Wow wow WOW. I never expected to love this as much as I loved my first Coho book ‘Confess,’ but low and behold, Regretting You has just topped the charts. I am utterly, inexplicably obsessed with this book. I can’t quite find the right words to explain this to you without giving too much away because there are a range of twists and turns along the way, which from the slightest hint, it could give away. And that’s no fun!

@booksbyerinandtay on Instagram

The first chapter takes place with a young Morgan, allowing us to gather background info on her pregnancy & the relationships that will later surround her, particularly with Chris (husband), Jenny (sister) and Jonah (Chris’s best friend & Jenny’s Fiancée). This is followed by the intertwining stories of now present Morgan and her 16 y/o Clara, with each chapter swapping between the two of them narrating in first person. When beloved father and husband Chris, the glue that holds them together, is involved in a tragedy, both women’s lives are turned upside down. The accident uncovers harsh truths that contradicts everything Morgan has ever known, as she then must battle with acceptance, a ‘forbidden’ love, and hiding these new, harsh realities from her daughter. Morgan can only find solace in the one person she always loved but could never have.

Clara blames herself for the accident. As she continues to take her guilt out on her mum, the cracks in their relationship begin to worsen. The only one who understands her is Miller Adams, the ‘bad boy’ that her Dad warned her about. But Miller Adams is far from bad. He’s kind, selfless and, oh wait, he has a girlfriend. Too bad, Clara!

I have to say, if you love romance, drama and a novel that will make you laugh, smile and bawl your eyes out, then this one HAS to be for you. Colleen Hoover, I salute you. Regretting You is an easy read for you to binge with a cup of tea and a load of choccy biscuits.

‘The Colour of Hope’ by Jen Feroze

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“The garden smells of old rain and hyacinths.
Tomorrow I will paint my lips the colour of cherries.
So ripe they could burst.”

This book was very kindly gifted to us. And we’re so grateful, because it was the most beautiful book.

Jen Feroze’s debut collection of poetry, The Colour Of Hope was produced during the first lockdown of 2020 in the UK. At a time where finding beauty and hope felt so out of reach and difficult, Jen collects three things that guarantee an individual’s recipients happiness and interweaves them in a poem, so beautifully rooted that it’s breath-taking. Jen Feroze weaves together themes of nature, family, freedom and hope so seamlessly that we couldn’t stop from turning the pages. We both devoured it in one sitting on a Sunday afternoon, which in itself felt cathartic.

At a time of uncertainty and longing, it’s hard to stay hopeful when the world feels too heavy to carry but reading these poems, we are able to visualise and encounter what people are excited about when we begin to experience normality again. Which in turns, fills us with hope for the future. The poems are so evocative and full of warmth, with Jen creating an immortal slice of people’s happiness during a time where finding happiness is hard. The poems are so uplifting that you can’t help but smile whilst reading each poem. Jen’s writing style is beautiful and accessible all at once. I (taylor) am an avid poetry reader, and Erin isn’t as much, but we both loved the book all the same because we are all going to be able to connect to it in some shape or form. It is full of enticing imagery and metaphors that are stunningly crafted. This book was an embodiment of a hug, and I didn’t realise how much we needed something like this until we read it. I didn’t want it to end, I wanted the poems to go on and on because there is something so special about seeing happiness through the lens of other people. It was like we were seeing happiness for the first time again.

I cannot express how much everyone needs to read this poetry collection. It was so beautiful and exactly what everyone could use in this climate. It’s so uplifting and really grounds you, showing that you can find happiness in everyday things- a late night snack, listening to Fleetwood mac, baking and dancing. We both loved it so much. My brain is already itching to re-read it.

Thank you again to @the_colourofhope and @isabellekenyonpoetry for this gorgeous collection ❤️

‘Luster’ by Raven Leilani

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

3.6 but for the sake of Good Reads, we’ll give it 4 stars…

Synopsis: Edie is just trying to survive. She’s messing up in her dead-end admin job in her all-white office, is sleeping with all the wrong men, and has failed at the only thing that meant anything to her, painting. No one seems to care that she doesn’t really know what she’s doing with her life beyond looking for her next hook-up. And then she meets Eric, a white, middle-aged archivist with a suburban family, including a wife who has sort-of-agreed to an open marriage and an adopted black daughter who doesn’t have a single person in her life who can show her how to do her hair. Edie finds herself falling head-first into Eric’s home and family.

I buddy read this with @normalreaders and at first I was loving it. I read it over a span of like two days?? I couldn’t put it down. The plot completely intrigued me, I’d never read anything quite like it. I was absolutely hooked by Leilani’s writing style, I remember saying to Charly that her writing style was violent and fast-paced, which worked so well with the plot of the book. I had such high hopes for this book, mainly from the response it was getting on booksta. The first half was so strong and I was anticipating a shocking twist at the end (Boy Parts style) but I was so disappointed. The ending felt so safe and I can’t help thinking it could’ve really done something. It felt like it was all tied up quickly, so I was left with questions at the end because it felt like there were still loose ends which left me rattled. Like what happened with Eric?? The daughter??? I actually can’t. I need ANSWERS.

All in all, I enjoyed the book, it was an exceptional debut, but the ending majorly let it down (sorry if you loved it). I loved the dysfunction aspect that was featured throughout the novel (which is why I was probably expecting a jaw-dropping ending), it captured the essence of navigating adult-hood so candidly that it was at some points, brutal.

I’m still angry at the ending but I’d probably still recommend it because I loved the style of Leilani’s writing.

‘Insatiable’ by Daisy Buchanan

Review by @booksbyerinandtay

Rating: 4 out of 5.

“Stuck in a dead-end job, broken-hearted, broke and estranged from her best friend; Violet’s life is nothing like she thought it would be. She wants more – better friends, better sex, a better job – and she wants it now. So, when Lottie – who looks like the woman Violet wants to be when she grows up – offers Violet the chance to join her exciting start-up, she bites. Only it soon becomes clear that Lottie and her husband Simon are not only inviting Violet into their company, they are also inviting her into their lives.”

Our account has become the epitome of popular booksta books. If a book is doing the rounds on bookstagram, best believe we’ll be picking them up straight away. I (taylor) was completely drawn in by the beautiful cover. She’s stunning. I’m obsessed. When I told Erin I brought it, she followed suit. And we both are big fans. Insatiable was such an enjoyable read, we both read the book within a few days and it was very hard to put down. It’s saucy, enticing and a very easy read.

We are introduced to Violet, who is drawn in by Lottie after meeting her at a work event. Violet is mesmerised by Lottie, because she is everything Lottie aspires to be- she seems like she has her life together, while Violet feels like her life is falling apart. When Lottie introduces Violet to her husband, they give Violet an offer that she can’t refuse. Things begin to deepen between them and Violet is quickly plunged into a sexual relationship with them both, and soon after introduced to their friends who like to host raunchy parties (if you know what we mean). Falling head first, Violet doesn’t consider her actions and what may come from cracks beginning to show in a world she considers to be unflawed.

As the truth begins to come out and Lottie and Simon begin to shapeshift, Sasha, one of their friends tries to advise Violet to get out because it won’t end well. But, Violet is undecided and confused, and as she is trying to mend broken relationships and unravel what she thinks she wants her future to look like, she is fighting a battle between her heart and her head.

We both devoured this book. The writing was sharp and witty, an embodiment of contemporary novels which we all love so much. The writing was addictively funny and the characters were so real, as a debut, Daisy really shows off her skills. The book, although very sexy, also discusses incredibly important topics, such as consent, sexual assault, disorded eating and a need for belonging. All in all, we don’t really have anything bad to say. We both predicted the ending fairly quickly, which we weren’t disappointed with. I think Bunchanan creates characters, both likeable and dislikable so vividly that from the get-go, we really liked Violet, and by the end, had characters who we really didn’t (Lottie, Simon, Mark, Max, we’re looking at you).

We’d highly recommend this book. It has so many layers to dissect, and yet, still remains such an enjoyable and easy read. Definitely pick this one up if you haven’t already.

Cheers to a new year & a new blog!

Hi, Erin and Taylor here and welcome to our new blog. We thought before diving into the deep end that we would do a little introduction blog post for you to learn a little more about us and what we’re here to do. You may have come from our Instagram page @booksbyerinandtay (and if not, little self promo there!) We decided that 2021 was the year for a new blog, especially considering we are all at home and our eyes are constantly locked at our screens. To find out more about us individually, head over to our ‘About Us’ page, but for now, let’s have a little chat… I hope you have your tea ready!

What can you expect from this page?

  • All things book related
    • Reviews
    • Monthly Favourites
    • Recommendations
    • Discussions
  • Lifestyle
    • Fashion
    • Music
    • Girl talk
    • Talking Taboos
  • Mental Health
    • and finally, if you know us, you will know that we are mental health advocates and passionate about spreading awareness.

This blog is going to be an open space for all topics, not limited to one. Although we love books and will probably post about them the most, we also want to leave an open space for different conversations (I’m sure there will be times when we need to rant!)

So on that note, welcome and thank you for joining us on this new journey.

Love,

Erin & Taylor

xx