Book Review: The Things We Learn When We’re Dead – Charlie Laidlaw

The things we learn COVER FINAL

Lorna Love is a promising Law student who’s life was brought to a halt in a road accident on the day of the London tube bombing. Heaven isn’t what she expected and the afterlife gives her a choice. But what will she choose?

I just finished reading this book and I cannot even begin to describe the emotions that are going through me right now. The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is my first author collaboration and I am so excited to be writing this review. The book isn’t what I am used to. Going through my past reviews you should know by now that I mostly read Historical Fiction so reading a book from another genre felt refreshingly different. A cross between science fiction and fantasy, the book is an amazing read and each page will keep you hooked onto the next.

The story begins with the untimely death of Lorna Love, our main character and takes place between flashbacks of her life on Earth and the afterlife. We see various moments in Lorna’s life as she grows up. We see her go through good memories and bad, and at the same time we get a peek into heaven and her life after once she’s dead. It is a story on friendship, on love and on life as a whole.

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is a modern retelling of The Wizard of Oz. Lorna, just like Dorothy, finds herself in a new world faced with a choice. Should she choose Eternity? Or a second chance at life? A second chance to mend broken relationships and a second chance to look back and live life in a better manner.

What I really loved about the book is that it shows us how one person’s life, how the choices one person makes can impact everybody around them and makes you stop and think about your own. The book is an emotional roller coaster, one minute I was laughing at the absurdities of the afterlife and the next I was on the brink of tears when tragedy took place in the real life.

All in all, it is a brilliant thought provoking book that I completely enjoyed. Would I recommend reading this? Of course!! In fact, it will be available FREE to download on BookBub between the 13th and 27th of June so mark your calendars.

About the Author

Charlie Laidlaw is a Scottish author. His other works include “The Herbal Detective” and has a third novel due for publication.

 

 

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Traditional Books vs Ebooks?

As all of you should know by now, I LOVE to read!! The whole point of me starting my first blog all those years ago was to show the world my love for reading. My favourite time in school was where I could spend my time in the library, just so I could go through the shelves and pick something to read. And trust me when I say I go wild in a bookstore, so many books, so many options to choose from and read but such a little time *sigh*. I have been a traditional book reader all my life and I could never imagine myself otherwise.

But with my love for reading comes a few problems as well, not only is it an expensive habit but I have started to run out of shelf space back home. There are literally books everywhere! There are books on the table, on top of cupboards, inside wardrobes and even on the floor in a few rooms. And as much as I would love to buy some more and increase my TBR, my house is saturated of shelving space. This necessity has made me turn to ebooks. Now, Ebooks are something of a technological marvel. With today’s tech you can have a huge novel on your phone or tablet with you at all times! Why carry a book with you when you can have it in your pocket instead? I’ve started to love reading digitally so much that I have finally talked myself into saving for a kindle by the end of this year.

So this got me thinking. What would be better? Reading a traditional book has it’s own charm whereas an ebook is convenient. After comparing the two I came up with the following points, both in favour and against traditional books and ebooks.

Traditional books, the pros are endless and this will always be my favourite. There is something about going book shopping in a bookstore, smelling the sweet fragrance of ink as you pick up a book from the shelf, holding it in your arms and gently flipping through the crisp pages of a brand new book. I don’t know what it is, but it gives me a strange sense of satisfaction. Anybody else?

Traditional Books make you “look smart”. Ever looked at someone looking into a tablet/smartphone and went “Wow! Don’t they look smart with that phone in their hands?” No, you haven’t. Nobody has, because this is something that I’m sure most of us do on a daily basis. But when you walk by someone reading a book, when you see someone holding a bunch of books, your mind immediately tells you that this is a smart person. Also, the thicker the book, the smarter you look and more curious reactions you will get from people.

Traditional books make beautiful backgrounds. You can decorate your house with them and show off your reading habit with pride! Books make a house look cosy and welcoming. Have an empty spot on a table? Fill it up with books and it won’t look so plain anymore. Bookshelves give a dull room a splash of colour and can brighten the darkest spot.

Traditional Books can be used in many other useful ways. Loose paper? Use a book as a paperweight. Need to prop something higher? Put it on a pile of books! Want to watch something on your phone but don’t want to keep holding it? Lean it on a book and sit back.

I guess the only three cons of a traditional book that I have are one, they are expensive! Any bookworm on a budget will know what I mean when I say books are expensive. All the more if it’s a first edition or hardback. Two, it takes up a lot of room in storage. Proper care and storage is needed if you want to preserve the books you have. Being natural, they are perishable and the slightest dampness and mould can destroy even the toughest of books. Lastly, books are made from paper, which is derived from trees. With the way we are going now, we need those trees to preserve the environment more than we need those books. This can be solved with recycling but still it is a problem.

Coming to ebooks, there are many good things about this platform and with how technology is getting more and more included in our daily lives, I’m pretty sure there will come a day when everything will go digital and there won’t be any traditional books left! Depending on the size of the ebook and the storage of your device you can have hundreds of books at your fingertips. Not only does this solve the issue of running out of storage space but it gives you a lot of material anytime you want it.

Comparatively, Ebooks are cheaper to buy. Most online sites will sell the ebooks at a far lesser price than they would for the traditional book.

Ebooks can be read anywhere and at anytime. You don’t have to bother about there being less lighting or room to carry a book in your bag. It’s very convenient to read a book on the go when it’s in an ebook format.

Of course, you cannot decorate a room with an ebook, or use it as a prop and that does take away the usefulness a bit for me. Once the battery dies of your device you will need to put a halt to your reading until it is fully charged up again, but this does depend on the kind of device you use and is not really a fault of the ebook format so it can be excused. And unless you are used to reading from a digital device, reading for long hours at a stretch can lead to headaches and eye strain which can be avoided with regular breaks. Most Ebook readers are pretty much budget friendly these days but with basic features, if you want a good one then it may fall expensive, but then again, it is a one time investment. (As I write this section of my blog I realise that most of the cons are regarding the device and not the actual format of the book so I shall leave it here.)

At this point im pretty much undecided over which I prefer over the other. Have you tried other formats of reading? Let me know and maybe I could do a part two of this blog and continue the debate. Till then carry on reading and spread the habit!

Book Review: How to be a BAWSE – Lilly Singh

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A guide to conquering life. Success and happiness require real effort, dedication and determination. In Lilly’s world there are no escalators, only stairs. Get ready to climb”

I have been a fan of Superwoman aka Lilly Singh for the past four or five years now. I was introduced to her videos through a friend and have been hooked ever since. When she said that she was writing a book I knew I had to get a copy for myself and kept watching her vlogs for regular updates. She is such an inspiration to me and to many around the world.

Coming to the book, just like her videos on YouTube it is funny and inspiring. Written in first person you tend to read it in Lilly’s voice. There are 50 chapters, each around three or four pages long and these cover various things that we all feel in life. The most recurring theme in the book is to be confident in yourself and love yourself no matter what. It is written in such a way that you can pick up the book and read any chapter, whichever you need to read the most at the moment and if needed, you may catch yourself re-reading chapters again and again.

How to be a BAWSE is blunt and straightforward. You hear what needs to be heard and Lilly hasn’t sugar-coated anything. Which is needed when it comes to a self help guide to life. She has covered topics ranging from relationships to workplace situations, personal goals and everything in between!

The book is colorful and the font is big enough for you to read without tiring your eyes. I would not recommend for the reader to rush through the book or to binge read. It is a self help book so it needs to be read in a self paced manner in order for you to make the most of it. If you have been a fan of her and are following her on Youtube then get this book!! Even if you aren’t a fan and haven’t heard of her I’d still recommend this book. It is for everybody and is an enjoyable read.

About the Author

Lilly Singh is an award-winning Canadian YouTuber. Better known as “Superwoman”, she has over two billion views and 13 million subscribers. Her videos range from comedy to inspirational. In 2017, she was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for her work in children’s rights.