Aimee from Summer Reads & Moonlight Dreams takes the Inside Out Challenge
It's Wednesday, which means that it's time for another Inside Out challenge. This one is something special, I promise you.
Aimee has become one of my close friends. She's a fellow #NorthernBookBlogger, has a lovely blog, Summer Reads & Moonlight Dreams and over on Twitter she is one of the most supportive, lovely people, always ready to give her friends a boost and make them smile. She's also a very emotive reader, and when I was first designing this challenge, I knew she'd do something wonderful for it.
She did. She poured her heart into these responses and apparently it turned her brain to mush! So please have a read, and let me know what you think, in the comments and on Twitter.
First, please introduce yourself, including any blog addresses or twitter handles you like.
Hi guys, I’m Aimee. I am a Gryffindor, a lover of hot chocolate
and just an ultimate loser. I obsess over pretty skies, books, and
nature’s magic whilst trying not to get too over-excited about the things I’m
very passionate about. Plus, I occasionally do the odd supportive thing on
Twitter where I just shout about all the good things that other people are
doing. So if you guys are interested in any form of that random nonsense, then
you can check me out at the links below:
For the record, these are the WORST selection of questions I’ve ever had to endure because I can’t simply choose just ONE book for each emotion. Also, apologies if my responses seem awkward or very weird
afraid that sums me up in a nutshell anyways.
Editor's note: I don't normally edit the responses I get back, but I'm not going to let Aimee describe herself as a loser on my blog, nuh-uh, that ain't happening. Sorry, not sorry.
Can you tell me about a book you have read that made you feel joy?
After much deliberation with myself over what brings me joy and which books achieve this; I have settled for Sealed With A Kiss by Rachael Lucas. The reason I have opted for this book is because it helped me to find my escapism when I needed it most. For me, joy is often found in the smallest of things and any book that transports me right into the very depths of its world achieves this; which is exactly what Rachael’s debut does.
Sealed With A Kiss follows Kate on her journey to Auchenmor (based on the Isle of Skye in Scotland) as she wants to escape her ultra-bossy mother and failed relationship in order to start afresh. During her time on Auchenmor, Kate makes friends and rebuilds her life whilst finding herself in the process. This message about self-value and finding yourself again really resonated with me when I first read this book back in the 2014 May sunshine, as I wasn’t in a particularly great mental health place. Sealed With A Kiss is just such a heart-warming delight of a book which makes me fall in love with Auchenmor time and time again. It is definitely a perfect read for any time of the year, but more importantly it will always be a light in the dark for me.
What about a book that filled you with sadness?
I argued with myself so much over the answer for this, that I literally had to settle on the book that makes me cry the most (always a bonus when the film adaptation makes you bawl your eyes out every time too). Sorry guys if you follow me on Twitter and can guess this in an instant, but I was incredibly torn. The book that breaks my poor heart time and time again whilst making me completely ugly cry is……
P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern. Okay, okay, okay. Please don’t get mad at me. I am fully aware of the whole “romance often creates this ideology of what it is like to be in a relationship without it being realistic,” but oh my days. This book just tears me apart. I can’t help it.
P.S. I Love You is the story of Holly and Gerry, a married couple in Dublin who are very much in love despite their occasional fights. Gerry is taken from Holly quite early on into their life together because of a brain tumour, and this tears Holly to shreds. Despite Holly withdrawing from her family and friends, Gerry had planned for letters and packages to be delivered to Holly in order to help her find a new hope in life and get through her grief. My heart is breaking again as I type this and I am struggling to hold back the tears because it is just so damn beautiful and heart wrenching. Oh man, the sadness is real. Someone give me a box of tissues, a tub of chocolate ice cream and allow me a good three hours or so to have my heart broken by watching the film all over again (except maybe hold off on the chocolate ice cream until April, yeah?).
Editor's note: Aimee is giving up chocolate for the whole of March to raise money for British Heart Foundation, hence her frequent references to not being allowed chocolate! You can support her here.
Have you read a book that made you feel angry?
Yes!! I mean, have you not heard about my almost throwing a book across the room in anger episodes? Because believe me, there have been a few books that have almost ended up across the room. Almost. These books have included Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and even Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone, but more on that later. For me, the books that usually tend to make me angry are ones that tackle difficult social issues and really challenge those ideas. A book that does exactly this, and really gets me riled up about different issues is; The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Who’d have thought it?
The Perks of Being a Wallflower revolves around Charlie, an introverted teenager, through his freshman year of High School. Through Charlie and his writing, we gain an insight into his emotional state and the psychological damage caused by his past. His writing reflects on the flashbacks and derealisation phases that he goes through in the lead up to coming to terms with the abuse that he endured. The Perks of Being a Wallflower explores themes of incest, abusive relationships, drugs, PTSD, LGBTQ+ and mental health in a way that raises questions and encourages the reader to dig a little deeper into Charlie’s story. The reason that this book makes me so angry is because in a lot of ways I can relate to Charlie. The lack of friends, the longing to belong, the guilt that eats at you for something that is out of your control and the struggle to accept the negatives in your past. Everything just builds up and in one way or another, you’re going to explode and end up going off the rails in some way. For me, it was a complete mental breakdown which is what Charlie experienced too. I feel like having something that you relate to and really opens your eyes to issues like this, can make you angry about stuff that has gone on in your own life. However, the strongest message I gained from this is that there is a way of moving forward when you have the right support and the right sort of relationships. Creating those support networks takes a lot of strength and courage; and even if the first step you take is a tiny one, it is still a step in the right direction of helping to control that anger and other inner turmoil.
Has a book ever disgusted you?
In all honesty, I thought that this would be the question that I struggled with most. But truth be told, it was one of the ones where I could actually select a variety of books. From some of the more brutal, darker and gorier books (hello Edgar Allen Poe, stories based on Jack the Ripper, The Girl With All The Gifts) to the books that just simply made me want to repulse from society altogether (thanks Raymond Chandler, Charles Dickens, Patrick Gayle); I actually had a pretty good selection for this. I mean, I could have gone for the easier option of going for books that just didn’t even fit my morals such as Fifty Shades of Grey, but I somehow don’t think that this is what the question is about. So instead, I have opted for a more recent read that really, really captured my attention and got me thinking about the importance of these issues. The book that I have opted for is…
The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven. Sorry, not sorry. For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you will already know that I truly believe that this book NEEDS to be read by everyone possible. I am not sorry for that at all. This book is legitimately so, so, so important and really does need to be shouted about from the roof tops.
The Exact Opposite of Okay is about an eighteen year girl, called Izzy, who finds herself in the middle of a massive slut-shaming scandal. This scandal not only violates her and brings the attention back to things like the He For She and Me Too movements which are occurring RIGHT NOW, but it also allows the reader to explore other issues without it seeming like a lecture. For me, The Exact Opposite of Okay disgusted me because it is so very relevant and explores issues that are getting talked about more. It disgusted me because I know what it’s like to be blackmailed and targeted in regards to some of the issues that Laura explores within The Exact Opposite of Okay. I’m not saying that we should NOT be making our voices heard and finding ways to be active about doing so because that is exactly what we should be doing. I am saying that this IS a very important book that, at face value seems like a very humorous and light-hearted read, when in reality it tackles some very serious issues. Even at the launch for The Exact Opposite of Okay, Laura said herself that she’s disgusted at the fact that she “wrote this two years ago, but it is very much relevant now”. I just hope it empowers even more young adults and teenagers to make their stance and be listened to. It is a book that will be definitely making its way into the hands of everyone I know, especially my younger sisters.
Can you tell me about a book that made you afraid?
Now this is very tough because I am very rarely unsettled by a book. It’s not often I get afraid by something that happens in a book. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still get afraid about things (they’re usually irrational and not very important though) but I’m not normally that scared by something that I need someone to hide behind. Okay, so social situations are different. I meant in terms of horrors, thrillers and books. So because I don’t really have any fears, I’m putting a spin on this question and interpreting it as “a book that makes me emotionally afraid for the characters”. This is only ever achieved when I am 100% invested in the characters, the world building, the plot and the issues that occur. Trust me, you do not want to cross me when I’m this invested and this lost within a book because I pay no attention whatsoever. Just ask my mam. However, there is one book that had me so emotionally invested in it, that it made me very afraid that my heart was going to be shattered into a million pieces right there and then. That book was Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone. Seriously, this ever so beautiful and captivating MG novel is the book that made me so afraid for my feelings I almost threw my proof copy across the room. Told you, there’d be more on that.
Sky Song is about a young girl, called Eska, who is trapped in a music box because of an evil Ice Queen, who wishes to harness Eska’s voice in order to make her own powers stronger. Alongside Flint, a young inventor who still believes in the magic of the world, they embark on an adventure in order to find a way to save Erkenwald and help the Sky Gods to dance across the skies once more. Oh my days!! I LOVE everything about this book. Abi has created a world which enables you to get completely lost within it and embrace the magic of adventures. Now everyone who knows me, is fully aware of how much I adore Abi and how much I am inspired by her. However, Sky Song had me fearing for my emotions and my heart so much, I could barely cope. I got so caught up in the whirlwind of Eska, Flint and Blu’s adventures that I swear my heart stopped at a certain point in their story. I’m not gonna say which part, because of spoilers, but it made me so scared. I’ve just had a massive icy chill down my spine, and my eyes have welled up at remembering the exact moment that happened. My emotions are a mess right now. I have never been so fearful and so engrossed by a book this much in a long time, and I love that. I’m still ever so grateful that Abi did not completely smash my heart into smithereens at that point though. I really could not have coped.
And finally, can you tell me a little bit about a book that you know inside out?
My instinct is telling me to go with Harry Potter on this one. But I’m not gonna. I am not going to give into the temptation of falling into the cliché trap of saying Harry Potter for every question that requires me to think of a book which I love and know so dearly. Even though Hogwarts is my home and it has gotten me through an awful lot of my life, I’m going to stray away from home and explore a different avenue. I could actually give a handful of answers for this; for example, I could go on a journey back to my childhood and choose books such as Chicken Licken and The Gingerbread Man. But, I am going to go back to the one story that I have loved for as long as I can remember. It is a story which I’ve had the pleasure of exploring through the pages of a book, sailing through the skies during the adaptation on screen and even interpreting the finer details through dance and drama on stage. For me, the one book I know inside out because of all of these elements is Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie.
Peter Pan is the story of a young boy who never grows up. Being the leader of the Lost Boys is no easy feat, especially when he is dealing with Captain Hook and his gang of unruly pirates. With a fiery tempered fairy, called Tinkerbell, as his sidekick, Peter Pan dabbles in straying away from Neverland in order to find himself a girl to mother the Lost Boys. As I have been a part of theatre productions of Peter Pan, I’ve been able to explore the story in ways that most people don’t. Being a Lost Boy was an absolute highlight of my life, just saying. Peter Pan is a story that has been interpreted and explored in many ways, but it will always have a special place in my heart. Just be sure to follow the second star to the right and head on straight until morning for a world full of endless possibilities.
Thank you, Liam for asking me to participate. It was certainly a massive challenge and now my brain has turned to mush. I’m going to go and try and recover now, even though all I need is a hot chocolate and some cake (do not allow this to happen please).
Thanks Aimee! None of that was awkward or very weird! Thanks so much for playing.