Created in 2014, Carpe Diem Emmie is a Midlands based Lifestyle, Theatre and Travel blog. Ran by Emmie, a 28 year old woman based in rural Leicestershire.

In the day Emmie works in a primary school where she is passionate about inclusion and mental health. In the evening she escapes to the cultural world.

Wondering What To Read Next?

January 2020 in Books.

I read and read and read with an intensity I’d never really known before. I mean, I’d always considered myself to be a person who liked books. But there’s a difference between liking books and needing them. I needed books. They weren’t a luxury good during that time in my life. They were a Class A addictive substance…
There is this idea that you either read to escape or you read to find yourself. I don’t really see the difference. We find ourselves through the process of escaping. It is not where we are, but where we want to go, and all that. “Is there no way out of the mind?” Sylvia Plath famously asked. I had been interested in this question (what it meant, what the answers might be) ever since I had come across it as a teenager in a book of quotations. If there is a way out, a way that isn’t death itself, then the exit route is through words. But rather than leave the mind entirely, words help us leave a mind, and give us the building blocks to build another one, similar but better, nearby to the old one but with firmer foundations, and very often a better view.
Reasons to Stay Alive, Matt Haig 

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February is finally here! This post is like 9 days late so please forgive me. January aka the longest month ever is over and I had a cracking month with reading. I dived straight into my reading goals for the year, I want to read 50 again but I'd also like to read more. This year I'm hoping to read the books that have been on my shelf for the longest time and I want to make use of a TBR jar to choose what I read next. January saw me reading 4 books from the local library, I love heading into my library instead of spending ££ on books I don't have room for.

I don't usually write up a monthly reading blog post - I did some back in 2017 but I hope that this year I will begin doing it again as it really motivates me to share my thoughts on what I've read. 

Overall, I want 2020 to be a year where I enjoy a book by its quality, not by the quantity of how many I can squeeze in. I mean it's hard not to draw up a comparison to those who share huge stacks of their monthly reads over the gram but I want to enjoy reading for what it is, a fabulous escapism. I have managed to read one book a week in January so here's my January reading wrap-up for you! 

I Dare You by Sam Carrington
I Dare You is a fantastic physiological thriller to kick off the year! This story is set in the rural village of Mapledown across two timelines, 1989 and 2019, we follow events as they unfolded thirty years ago when a ten-year-old girl disappeared. The main character is Anna, she hasn't stepped foot in that village for years and is still haunted by the disappearance of her friend, Joni. Anna is back to visit her mother and things begin to take a sinister turn and Joni's convicted kidnapper, Bill Crawley has been released from prison. 

This book contains everything you need for a good thriller, the pace picks up perfectly. The use of the different perspectives is really vital to the unfolding of this story, although the book itself is quite lengthy. Personally, the middle of the book was quite hard going. With that in mind, I definitely want to read another Sam Carrington book this year. 

Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris
Following on from The Tattooist of Auschwitz (which I read last year and loved!), the author tells us the true story of a woman who survives the horrors of Auschwitz but finds herself locked away again. Cilka Klein is 18 years old when Auschwitz-Birkenau is liberated by Soviet soldiers. Sadly Cilka becomes one of the many women who is sentenced to a labor camp on charges of having helped the Nazis - with no consideration of the circumstances that Cilka and women like her found themselves in as they struggled to survive. 

Cilka's story is honestly as heartbreaking and harrowing as that of Lale in The Tattooist of Auschwitz. I was just as gripped and moved by Cilka's Journey, it puts you at the most horrific history of our time. This novel is a complete standalone novel and Morris demonstrates an incredible amount of research to tell this amazing story. Cilka is one woman's story that shows testament to the generosity, courage and determination she had to survive. There were times where I couldn't stop crying over the horrors that were unfolding on paper. Although the pages are full of sadness and terror, there's triumphant here too and it's definitely a story you have to read. 

Vox by Christina Dalcher
Vox was definitely my least favourite book of the month. Drawing similarities to The Handmaid's Tale, Vox is set in an America where half of the population has been silenced. It's a harrowing story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter. The American government have decreed that women are no longer allowed to speak more than 100 words daily but Dr Jean McClellan is in denial, this can't happen here. Not in America and not to her! 

Individually I found the pace of the story slow, it's dark and well written, something usually I would have probably loved but Vox wasn't that. The conclusion was flat considering the entire context and pace provided by the rest of the book. The main character, Jean is really interesting though and her strength throughout the book was really inspiring. I can see why people enjoyed this book but it wasn't my personal preference and something I wouldn't reread. 

It's Not Ok To Feel Blue and other lies by Scarlett Curtis
Hands down my favourite read of the month (and most certainly the biggest!). This book contains over 70  powerful, funny, and moving stories from people who share their experiences of mental health. Statistics show that one in four of us will experience a mental health issue and it's a book that should live on your bookshelf for sure! 

I was engrossed and eager to begin this book from the moment I picked it up. It's chunky but it's important. Imagine discovering a book that shouts out how it feels to suffer from mental health, a book that shows those with mental health that we're not alone, a book that shows celebrities suffer and are human too, a book that shows different people from all walks of life have mental health problems too, a book that sometimes feels it's telling your own story, a book that really pulls at your heartstring..it's this book. Scarlett Curtis has done a fantastic job in pulling together all of these inserts and everyone is so different, I have kept some quotes in my phone to share because they're so good.

If there's a book about mental health you want to read it's this one. I loved every moment.

The Stranger Upstairs by Melaine Raabe
Written by popular thriller author Melaine Raabe, The Stranger Upstairs is set to guarantee the reader to keep guessing until the very last page. The core concept in this book is around the disappearance of Sarah's husband and in his place comes an imposter who knows everything about her marriage to husband Phillip. He even says he is Sarah's husband.  

This book was "ok" but in relation to other thiller type books I have read, it just wasn't anything special. The twist was good and well situated in the story but the place was slow and difficult to get into. This book threw me off my reading stride so I was glad to get to the end when I did, the book did explore how people can change so much that they become unrecognisable to their loved ones in a great way but I wanted more after reading the blurb that I didn't receive. 

What did you read in January?


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