What I Read In January 2020!

A new reading year and a new Goodreads challenge. I was so, so excited to set my goal this year, it hasn’t changed – it’s still 100 books, but what will they be? Will I find a new favourite? Will I read more or less. THE EXCITEMENT GUYS.

In January I got on it. I decided that every evening I wanted to switch off my laptop and read, not just spend my whole evening watching YouTube or scrolling endlessly through my Instagram. That means I got a lot of reading done! Here’s what I read in January…

My first book of the year was one I started at the end of December after seeing everyone say what a great book it was and it held up. The Only Plane In The Sky by Garrett M. Graff was incredible, moving and, of course, heartbreaking. Hearing what happened from the people who were there was something I’ll never forget. A 5 star read.

Next up, I needed something a little lighter with more humor which is why I picked up a copy of How To Have Feminist Sex by Flo Perry. A graphic guide with a lot of laughs as well as making you contemplate how women are viewed in terms of image, desire and sexual preference. A 4 star read for me.

I received an ARC of The Recovery of Rose Gold on NetGalley and it seemed like such an interesting premise. While I did read it very quickly I felt pretty let down by it because of the hype I’ve seen. The ending just wasn’t for me. A 3 star read for me.

I’ve been looking at getting Sunday’s Child for ages as a woman looks at her Grandfather’s past as a child in Hitler Youth. I really wanted to learn from this and for it to be a great read but it was a bit flat for me – 3 stars.

I got an ARC of Strangely Wrapped Gift via NetGalley. It’s a poetry collection where the author considers her life with OCD. I don’t like being negative but this one just wasn’t for me and I couldn’t gel with the style of writing 3 stars.

Jasmine Warga’s previous book My Heart And Other Black Holes was a really strong read so when I found a copy of Here We Are Now going cheap I picked it up. I’m kicking myself for letting it sit on my shelves for as long as it did. A girl meets her rock star Dad for the first time and embarks on getting to know him and the family she didn’t know. A 4 star read and now I’m trying to find more of her books.

I got A Good Time To Be A Girl on Audible. I didn’t know anything about Helena Morrisey but I’m always willing to hear about awesome women who want to change the system. This memoir wasn’t exactly that, instead it looked at Helena’s career and life and while it was interesting I didn’t really gain much from it, 3.5 stars.

I’ve seen We Are Okay on BookTube a lot and was intrigued I mentioned it to a friend and because she’s great she remembered and got it for me for Christmas. I absolutely adore this book and definitely need to read more Nina LaCour in the future. 4 stars from me.

I’ve been saying I wanted to read a Stephen King book for ages and Carrie appealed to me, as did this epic cover. I can see from this book why people love Stephen King so much and I’ll definitely be reading more. Carrie was fantastic and I could not stop thinking about it 4 stars from me.

So, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse was the Waterstone’s book of the year and I was intrigued, mostly because of the gorgeous illustrations. Old school illustrations, a heart-warming story and also one you can pick up for a little boost. 4 stars from me.

After a trip to Limited Edition Comix I found a copy of Violent Love Volume 1 and oh this series is great, I’ll be picking up volume 2 soon because the ending was absolutely brilliant and I didn’t see it coming. A 4 star read for me.

I picked up a copy of Sleeper and Spindle with my staff discount over Christmas because the cover was so beautiful. The art was stunning and from that respect it couldn’t be better but I just felt a bit let down by the story. It was pretty odd and I genuinely thought from the cover it was LGBT so that was a little disappointing. A 3 star read for me.

So, I thought I loved Heartstopper volume 1 & 2, then I read volume 3 and oh my word. This is the sweetest series! Charlie and Nick are adorable and this volume does get a little more serious…so pleased we have more to look forward to!

I’m keeping track of my reading all over the place at the moment so make sure to follow me on Instagram, Twitter or become a friend on Goodreads to keep up!

What did you read in January? Let me know your favourites!

Everything I Read in 2019

Everything I Read In 2019!

Well, what a reading year it’s been! I smashed my goal of 100 books (although at times I wondered if I would!). I’ve read some absolutely incredible books, found some new favourite authors and had my heart broken by words more than once this year.

So, here’s all the books I read in 2019…

January

Becoming – Michelle Obama

You Are A Badass At Making Money – Jen Sincero

Everything I Never Told You – Celest Ng

Unnatural Vol 1, – Mirka Andolfo

Saga Vol 8 – Brian K Vaughan

Notes To Self – Emilie Pine

Born Lippy: How To Do Female – Jo Brand

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing – Hank Green

Pop Star Jihadi – Nick Tyrone

February

Soho – Richard Scott

Hard Pushed: A Midwife’s Story – Leah Hazard

Some Girls Survive On Sourcery Alone – Thiahera Nurse

Royals (Prince Charming) – Rachel Hawkins

Snotgirl Volume 2 – Bryan Lee O’Malley

What Would The Spice Girls Do? – Lauren Bravo

Standing Female Nude – Carol Ann Duffy

Heartstopper Volume 1 – Alice Oseman

Camouflage: The Hidden Lives of Autistic Women – Sarah Bargiela

Far From The Tree – Robin Benway

If My Body Could Speak – Blythe Baird

A Story About Cancer With a Happy Ending – India Desjardins

Saga Volume 9 – Brian K Vaughan

March

You Do You – Sarah Knight

The Burning – Laura Bates

Eye Level: Poems – Jenny Xie

Five Feet Apart – Rachael Lippincott , Mikki Daughtry (Contributor), Tobias Iaconis (Contributor)

Ctrl, Alt, Delete: How I Grew Up Online – Emma Gannon

Mind On Fire: A Memoir of Madness and Recover – Arnold Thomas Fanning

My Solo Exchange Diary Vol 2 – Kabi Nagata

Voices of Powerful Women – Zoë Sallis

Internment – Samira Ahmed

That’s Not What Happened – Kody Keplinger

April

Your Heart Is The Sea – Nikita Gill

Daisy Jones & The Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Mermaid’s Voice Returns In This One – Amanda Lovelace

I Found My Tribe – Ruth Fitzmaurice

Evidence Of The Affair – Taylor Jenkins Reid

Blossoms in Autumn – Zidrou

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

A Girl Called Shameless – Laura Steven

May

Questions I Am Asked About The Holocaust – Hédi Fried

The Cut Out Girl – Bart van Es

White Rose – Kip Wilson

Love Looks Pretty On You – Lang Leav

How Not To Lose It: Mental Health – Ana Williamson

The Paper and Hearts Society – Lucie Powrie

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row – by Anthony Ray Hinton (Introduction), Lara Love Hardin

June

Saved as Draft by N.D. Chan

Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling

This Is The Journey by Alison Malee

Everything’s Trash But It’s Ok by Phoebe Robinson

The Hormone Diaries – The Bloody Truth About Our Periods – Hannah Witton

Red, White and Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

The Hidden Power of F*cking Up – The Try Guys

July

Heartstopper Volume 2 – Alice Oseman

[Dis] Connected edited – Michelle Halket

Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want To Come – Jessica Pan

Look Closer – Stewart Lewis

 The Power – Naomi Alderman

Calm the F**k Down – Sarah Knight

Misfit – Charli Howard

There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé – Morgan Parker

Vicious – V.E. Schwab

August

Eat, Drink, Run – How I Got Fit Without Going Too Mad by Bryony Gordon

The Disconnect – Keren David

Birthday – Meredith Russo

The Truth About Alice is – Jennifer Mathieu

American Royals – Katherine McGee 

The Stolen Ones – Vanessa Curtis

Can Everyone Please Calm Down? A Guide to 21st Century Sexuality – Mae Martin 

Aphrodite Made Me Do It – Trista Mateer

The Good Immigrant edited – Nikesh Shukla

The Flat Share – Beth O’Leary

September

Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed – Jack The Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

The Other Mother – Jen Brister

Sex, Power, Money – Sara Pascoe

Archie 1941 – Mark Wade

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Artwork – Emily Carroll

Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me – Mariko Tamaki & Rosemary Valero-O’Connell

October

Postscript by Cecelia Ahern

It’s Not Ok To Feel Blue And Other Lies by Scarlett Curtis

Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield

The Liar’s Daughter by Megan Cooley Peterson

Over The Top by Jonathan Van Ness

Freedom by Jaycee Dugard

Truth To Power by Jess Phillips

 Twas The Night Shift Before Christmas by Adam Kay

Heartstream by Tom Pollock

Dear Girls – Ali Wong

November

Full Disclosure – Camryn Garrett

Our Super Canadian Adventure – Sarah Graley and Stef Purenins

A Winter’s Promise – Christelle Dabos

City of Ghosts – Victoria Schwab

They Called Us Enemy – George Takei

No One Is Too Small To Make A Difference – Greta Thunberg

December

The Perfect Dress – Louisa Leaman

Tunnel of Bones – Victoria Schwab

Break The Fall – Jennifer Iacopelli

Love Her Wild – Atticus

Journey to The Rise of Skywalker: Allegiance – Ethan Sacks

The Truth About Magic – Atticus

Which books did you read in 2019 and what are you hoping to read in 2020? Let me know in the comments below!

Please note: A number of these book I was gifted or sent for review. This does not impact the rating or review they have been given.

Blogmas 2019: My Top 5 Posts Of 2019

Blogmas 2019: My Top 5 Posts Of 2019

I always try and look back to see what you guys have enjoyed reading on my blog to give me some ideas about what to write about and make sure I can get you to come back (your likes, comments and views mean the world to me!).

So, I decided to look back and see what I’ve written this year that you guys have enjoyed! I know this year I’ve been connecting with more of the Spoonie community and it shows! So, let’s get cracking.

What It’s Like To Use A Walking Stick In Your 20s

I was a little emotional about this being my top post I’ve written this year because I was nervous about it. I didn’t intend on having a walking stick in my 20s – I don’t think anyone does! I have to thank you guys with my whole, whole heart thank you so much for reading this.

You can read it here.

Life Update – I’m Getting Married!

I’m not surprised at all this is one of my top posts. I’m super excited and can’t wait to keep updating you all with wedding plans, the day itself and if anything changes during married life…

You can read it here.

Book Review: Louis and Louise – Julie Cohen

The only book review to make it into my top 5! Wells deserved though it was a great book.

You can read it here.

Real Talk: How I Felt After Getting Engaged

Getting engaged was the best part of this year, BUT, it was also super overwhelming so I decided to get honest about it.

You can read it here.

10 Things Not To Say To A Chronically Ill Person – And What To Say Instead

A little bit of information goes a long way – especially when it’s got helpful tips or tricks. The spoonie community really enjoyed this one.

You can read it here.

Thanks so much guys! Which ones were your favourites?

Blogmas 2019 - Ranking Cadbury Heroes

Blogmas 2019: Ranking Cadbury Heroes Chocolates

We’ve made it, the last installment of ranking Christmas chocolates. It’s been long, it’s been opinionated but here we are. Now it’s Cadbury’s turn to be under the microscope.

Are you ready? Let’s do it.

9. Fudge

Ok, I confess I find these super bland and pretty tasteless compared to some of the other varieties of fudge in other boxes around Christmas. Always left as a last resort.

8. Dairy Milk Caramel

I’m not a fan of caramel and in these it’s too sickly sweet for my liking. and there’s never a good chocolate to caramel ratio. I’m very passionate about this.

7. Eclair

Similar to the toffee penny in Quality Street, this one can take a tooth out if you’re not careful, even though they are pretty yummy. It just takes a while to get through them.

6. Double Decker

They’re not the best but they’re definitely not the worst. I much prefer the bigger version of these but beggars can’t be choosers.

5. Wispa

Pretty standard but also pretty good also works super well if you dip it in hot chocolate – thank me later. 😉

4. Twirl

All hail the Twirl, one of my favourite Cadbury bars in tiny format – what’s there not to love?

3. Crunchie

The addition of the Crunchie was a bloody brilliant idea and they are so tasty, which is why they are secure in the spot of number 3 and not to be moved.

2. Classic Dairy Milk

You can’t beat a classic bit of Dairy Milk can you? It’s a staple of British chocolate and I don’t think you can go wrong with it.

1. Creme Egg Twisted

A little bite of Creme Egg at Christmas? Yes please. One of the best decisions the people at Cadbury made. I stand by it.

Where would you rank the Heroes? Let me know below! 👇

Blogmas 2019: Ranking Quality Street Chocolates

Blogmas 2019: Ranking Quality Street Chocolates

And here we are! Back with another round of ranking the Christmas chocolates. This time we’re looking at an old classic – Quality Street. Are you ready?

11. Purple One

Yep, I know people won’t agree but I don’t get the hype. It’s not that special in my opinion. It’s okay…just okay.

10. Toffee Penny 

Ok hear me out, yes they are a classic but they can also pull your teeth out if you’re not careful.

9. Coconut Eclair

Personally, I really like Coconut but these are also just ok – pretty bland, also left over at the end of Christmas (which is when I swoop in to my families box because I’m not just going to let them go to waste).

8. Caramel Swirl 

For caramel it’s pretty good, a mix of chocolate and caramel and I’m super picky about the ratio. I know it’s weird, let’s move on.

7. Toffee Finger

Less likely to pull a tooth out and also pretty delicious.

6. Vanilla Fudge

I think that out of all of the tins that include some kind of fudge Quality Street get it right, it tastes like a cloud,

5. Milk Chocolate Block

Standard but a solid choice (get it…solid! Ok I’ll stop). You know what you’re getting with this and it doesn’t disappoint.

4. Orange Creme

The recipe has definitely changed over the years but it’s a classic, it’s festive and comes in just behind its great other half.

3. Strawberry Dream

The Strawberry Dream was my favourite for years but because of a recipe change it’s slipped a few places. I still love it and I will still try and get to them before my sister has the chance.

2. Orange Crunch

Something a little bit different, I love the mix of orange and chocolate and the little crunchy bits make a nice change to everything being smooth all of the time.

1. Green Triangle 

So I adore these chocolates and they need to bring back making the giant ones that they did a few years ago because oh my goodness they are so, so good. Yummmmm.

Bonus (not ranked) Chocolate Caramel Brownie

This is limited edition so I’m not really sure I can add this into the overall ranking.

What order would you put the Quality Street tin in? Let me know below. 👇

Blogmas 2019: Getting to 1,000 Subscribers!

This wasn’t a planned post from Blogmas but it’s one that I’m pretty chuffed to write! In the last few days I reached 1,000 subscribers to my little corner of the internet!! Yippie!!

Way back when I started University in 2013 I didn’t think of this blog as being something I’d still be doing 6 years later and with over 1,000 people getting my posts to their email. It’s been a really nice end to the year blogging wise, particularly as I haven’t been able to put as much into my blog in 2019 as I wanted to but you guys have still kept reading!

Thank you so much to each and every one of you 1,000 people because it really does mean so much to me to have your support. Whether you’ve been here since my daily posting at university to 2-3 posts a week now you’re awesome and I can’t wait to keep sharing with you the next part of my life and ideas!

This was a pretty great gift!

The Boujee Book Tag

Blogmas 2019 – The Boujee Book Tag

‘Tis the season for more book tags tra la la la la la la la laaaaaaaa. I know I’ve done a lot of Christmassy Book Tags over Blogmas but I’ve seen so many good ones, so why not?

This tag was created by abookolive. Go and give her some love!

1. What is your average monthly budget for books?

Hahahahahaha. Oh, you’re serious? I don’t set myself a budget some times I’ll buy 1, sometimes 3 or if I got to a bookish event like YALC I might get 20 or so…

2. What’s the most you’ve ever spent in a bookstore?

Probably £50 or so? BUT I do get discount in a book shop this Christmas…so we’ll see. At YALC though which isn’t technically a book shop but a lot of stalls I saved and then spent about £150. Eeek!

3. Are you willing to pay full price for a brand new release, or will you wait until you have a coupon or there’s a sale?

I will completely pay full price for a new release! Although I am guilty of a buy one get one free…

4. Would you rather buy one new book or several less expensive used copies?

It depends on the condition of the books to be honest. If they’re in good condition yes but if they’re stained and battered probably not…

5. What do you think is a reasonable price for a new hardback book? A paperback? An eBook?

Hmmm it depends on the book really. I think £15 for a hardback is reasonable, £7.99 for a paperback and about £3 for an ebook.

6. Is a signed book worth more to you? How about a first edition?

Yes, 100%. I love having signed books that the author has touched themselves. And I absolutely LOVE going to signings!

7. What is your most valuable book (sentimental or actual value)?

Hmmm, probably my first edition delux of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Fun fact, we found it at a car boot sale for 50p because people didn’t know what they were selling…

8. Will you pay more for a cover or edition you like better?

Yep.

9. What physical characteristics does a good quality book have?

Nice cover, good quality pages, not mass market or a film poster cover *shudder*.

10. If you won the lottery, what bookish things would you do with the money?

Ok so I have this dream of renting a huge car or even a limo and taking it up to Waterstones Piccadilly and Foyles in Tottenham Court Road after hours to shop to my hearts content. Then have my own library in a new house. Also track down a first edition copy of The Bell Jar.

BONUS: Give us an image (actual or mental) of your dream home library!

Ok so first of all huge, thick carpets and electric heating (open fires are great but fire near books?!) wall to wall shelves, comfy sofas and a small tea tray stacked with snacks and tea at all time.

Want to have a go? Then I tag you – make sure you post your link below!