Finding Henry Applebee by Celia Reynolds

Finding Henry Applebee is only 99p on Kindle at the moment! Set in past Blackpool, historical romance – an emotional read.

Poetic Insights

Waterstones


Foyles for books

The story of Henry Applebee is primarily narrated by the man himself, although characters Ariel and Travis do take parts in being protagonists. The timeline of the story switches between past and present. I was unsure of this book at first, until I got the gist of which path the story was going to take. Not that it is predictable. There is a huge build up, you have to wait for it though. I liked the setting of the train station in the present and loved being in Blackpool for the past. This is a story of lost love and once you discover how Henry met this woman and lost her because of his insecurities (and mobile phones hadn’t been invented) it did make my eyes mist over.

Unfortunately, the story lost its way in its conclusion. I felt like the author was trying to repeat…

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shy girl, quiet girl

25 years anxious. I probably came out of the womb anxious. Where does that come from? You learn to be anxious, don’t you? You worry and worries become anxiety if something isn’t explained to you or you are unable to articulate worries so someone can help you navigate the thing safely.

I think my mum was very nervous about letting us children out to play and my parents are both not overly social. There were not many people that came into the family bubble. I don’t think things were explained to me. I think that’s the thing with anxiety. Anxiety is like an extra special app on your phone. It is difficult to explain it, when you think what is going on in your mind is normal. I knew there were kids in my class who could do bits that I couldn’t. They oozed confidence. I was aware I was quiet and shy and I was aware this was a problem because on all my school reports teachers remarked ‘she needs to talk more in class!’ I did think being shy was a disease. I hated it. I wondered how I could get rid of it. This shyness I needed to accept as part of my character, and I needed help with my anxiety, which was a separate component. I do think that’s how I become depressed as a teenager, because I had no close friendships or relationships. I was a solitary person. Who was smart but confused by so much. And so much could have easily been fast-tracked into being ‘normalised’ if I had someone to talk to about it.

When I was a kid, I had some worries. The dentist and toothache, films coming to an end, nits, having no friends, being first in the queue to go to assembly in school because I didn’t want to lead the line, kids being sick in class and I didn’t want to be the next to catch it and vomit in class, party games and not wanting a turn because I didn’t want the focus to be on me – ditto with my own birthday and blowing out candles on the cake, asking permission to go to the toilet in class, getting a non-speaking part in the Christmas play. Bloody hell, I must have been a bag of nerves!

I wrote a poem on this and it is posted on my Patreon, so if you would like to read more of my writing click here

Photo by Elina Krima on Pexels.com

Book Review. Re-Reading Bad Girls by Jacqueline Wilson.

What else do you do at 3 o’ clock in the morning, when you can’t sleep?

Read childhood favourites, oc.

It is no exaggeration to say I read Jacqueline Wilson over and over again when I was a child.

I don’t think Bad Girls was one of my favourites, but close.

I remembered everything in this book. In typical Wilson style, the subjects that are in the story are so relatable to a young girl. Bullying, wanting to be friends with someone who is older and cooler, being embarrassed by your parents, being your own person and wanting to make your own choices. For a book that is only a hundred and seventy something pages long, Bad Girls is hefty. Tanya is a character I probably understand a lot more now as an adult and the concerns Mandy’s parents have in Mandy being friends with the ‘bad girl’ neighbour Tanya. I think Tanya’s character is not just a cliché of a stereotype of a child in the care system. I like the felt tip pen theme in the chapters too and that it is a bonding factor in Mandy and Tanya’s friendship. I think Jacqueline Wilson’s writing is very smart, as well as appealing. I am so keen to re-read more of her books now.

Shy, mild Mandy has been bullied at school for as long as she can remember. That’s why she is delighted when cheeky, daring, full-of-fun Tanya picks her as a friend.

Mum isn’t happy – she thinks Tanya’s a BAD GIRL and a bad influence on her daughter. But Mandy loves spending time with her brilliant new friend, and is sure Tanya can only get her out of trouble, not into it . . . or could she?

Contains affiliate links. Doesn’t cost you anything, helps me out if you click on ‘em. Thank you.

Book Review. Queer Intentions by Amelia Abraham.

I did not know what to expect from this book. I borrowed it from the e-library and the blurb didn’t load because the WI-FI was being silly, but I chose to borrow it anyway because a journey from LGBTQ+ culture sounded good to me. The personal experience comes from the author’s relationship breakup and exploring marriage, and what that can signify for LGBTQ+ people. Then we went from that to Pride parades, voguing, and trans rep in mainstream media. The book spoke about LGBTQ+ rights, appropriation and tokenism. The author travelled to New York, Serbia and Turkey to hear the stories of LGBTQ+ people.

I learnt a lot from this book. There were a few things I was not aware of, or only knew vaguely about, and this book made me look them up after reading about them. There were points made in Queer Intentions which opened my eyes.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Queer Intentions.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Combining intrepid journalism with her own personal experience, in Queer Intentions, Amelia Abraham searches for the answers to these urgent challenges, as well as the broader question of what it means to be queer right now. With curiosity, good humour and disarming openness, Amelia takes the reader on a thought-provoking and entertaining journey. Join her as she cries at the first same-sex marriage in Britain, loses herself in the world’s biggest drag convention in L.A., marches at Pride parades across Europe, visits both a transgender model agency and the Anti-Violence Project in New York to understand the extremes of trans life today, parties in the clubs of Turkey’s underground LGBTQ+ scene, and meets a genderless family in progressive Stockholm.

Contains affiliate links. Doesn’t cost you anything, helps me out if you click on ‘em. Thank you.

Poem. Solitary.

solitary


walk out –

walk around town –

hood up &head bowed –

feeling so low today –

the canal is temptation –

stick to the towpaths –

everything has remained the same –

even after rain –

the paths are slick – wet – sludge

and the gate metal – slips – against my palm –

the branches of the trees – droop – lower – and glisten –

will the changes happen – take place –

a habit more than anything –

following the paths that i am so familiar with –

finding trees older than i –

creatures more wild than i –

the ghostly shapes of playground apparatus –

shrouded in an evening fog beginning to gather –

assurances of earth and nature –

i need before returning

to locked doors, enforced silence and conformity.

Photo by Sid Ali on Pexels.com

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This poem was written when I was 17/18 years old and edited now as a 25 year old. I wrote many poems then that were similar to this. I did not have a focus at that age. School and depression had left me vulnerable. I wandered and used the toilets in supermarkets and ate in McDonalds and wrote poetry. I was suicidal. It felt as if the pressure of school had left me and not having the routine of school also left me – at a loose end. I was still isolated too, but not being in school and having gotten used to it, that didn’t bother me too much. I was self-sufficient.  I eventually joined college and got into a romantic relationship that I shouldn’t have, because it was toxic. The relationship smashed the barriers of protection I had built around myself. There will be more poems on that.