February Book Haul 2019

My February Book Haul

Well, after buying no books in the month of January February was a little different. It’s time for my February book haul and buckle up because there is a LOT. It’s worth noting that I’m only hauling physical books…let’s not even get into the e-ARCS.

The Gifted Books

First up, the books I have sent by lovely people who encourage my bookish ways. I’ve received Eye Level by Jenny Xie as I’ll be working on the International Dylan Thomas Prize and this is a contender. I have also been sent two books that are on the longlist for the 2019 Wellcome Book Prize. Educated by Tara Westover is one I’ve heard about constantly and while I haven’t heard about Mind On Fire by Arnold Thomas Fanning I always want to read more mental health memoirs. And I also was sent Am I Ugly? by Michelle Elman a memoir I’m looking forward to getting into.

The Sale Books

Sooo, Waterstones had a sale. I got all of these books for £1 each! They’re not damaged and I don’t quite know why they went into sale but I’m excited. I picked up three YA novels and one general fiction.

In YA we have Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between by Jennifer E. Smith, Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga and Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve. I’ve enjoyed books by Eve and Warga before and have no idea about Smith so we’ll see. And we also have Look At Me by Sarah Duguid which involves finding a family member who was never known about! Dun, dun, duuuuun.

The YA Books

I might have gone on a little Amazon spending spree in YA. I keep hearing about Five Feet Apart by Racheael Lippincott with Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Laconis so I picked it up and so far, so good. It’s giving me The Fault In Our Stars vibes – one of my favourite books.

I also picked up A Danger To Herself And Others by Alyssa Sheimmel, I loved her previous novel Faceless so as soon as I saw this I needed to pick it up. Also, while I’ve never read or watched DUFF, I’ve bought That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger. The blurb looked really interesting and I’ve heard nothing but good things about Keplinger so why not pick it up?

Other Books

I also picked up two poetry collections Feminine Gospels and Standing Female Nude by Carol Ann Duffy. I do love some poetry and I couldn’t resist when I went to Waterstones Picadilly, I could have stayed there for so long. I was also lucky enough to be given a copy of Fairytale by my friends Nan because she is so adorable.

So, that was a MONTH and I’m super glad I’ve got a new bookcase to put them all onto! Did you buy many books in February? Let me know below!

Book Review: I Am, I Am, I Am – Maggie O’Farrell

Maggie O’Farrell has had quite a life, forget a cat having nine lives, this tell the story of Maggie’s 17 brushes with death, some are remarkable, some are sad and some will send a chill down your spine. This is about everyday life, survival and appreciating the life you have.

This is a stunning memoir that I wish I could shout about from the rooftops. I listened to this as an audiobook rather than reading and I actually thought it was a great way to engage with the book, it almost made it seem more real.

Spanning decades, every chapter another tale of luck and resilience. In fact, the book itself is for Maggie’s daughter who lives with a condition that is incredibly dangerous to the point she must always be one step ahead.

I’ll admit what initially drew me to this book was the title. ‘I am, I am, I am’ is a quote from one of my favourite novels, The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – linking to the idea of your heartbeat reminding you that you are alive and centring you. I liked the link, while the book doesn’t mention this, I’m hoping I’m not going out on a limb here!

Death is something that most of us don’t talk about, it’s a taboo topic in society. Of course, death is sad for those left behind, however, it is a natural part of life. While this can, at times, be an incredibly tough read some of the situations that Maggie has been in are truly horrible but it gives comfort she has survived.

This will remind you of the fragility of life, but also the beauty of it. These are not stories of bitterness or anger, instead, they are about living despite hardships. In fact, it made me reevaluate part of my life too and my own hardships.

I gave this 4.5 stars, this is an absolutely brilliant read. It really does draw you in and I genuinely cared about Maggie and wanted to know more about her and her family. If you’d like a memoir that holds your attention but also makes you think hard then this is for you.

Have you read this book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

What I Read In January 2019!

It’s time for the first reading wrap up of 2019, yippie! January is not a great month so I try to read as much as possible to escape the horrible outside, boo.

This month I managed to read 9 books; 4 physical books, 2 graphic novels, 2 audiobooks and 1 kindle read. Not bad, not bad at all. So, let’s get into what I thought.

Becoming Michelle Obama

Becoming – Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama just seems like a wonderful human and as soon as I heard this was being released it was on my wishlist.

Originally, I tried the audiobook but just felt it didn’t work for me so I switched to a physical copy. This is a really inspiring story and although the beginning was a little slow I still enjoyed it and gave it 5 stars.

You Are A Badass At Making Money

You Are A Badass At Making Money – Jen Sincero

There are few books you can claim changed the way you think, this is one of them. After a friend sent me this to listen to I was obsessed with it. Sincero talks about money, how we view money as a society and how to get past those mental blocks.

I appreciate it’s not for everyone but I loved this and gave it 4 stars.

Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng is one of those authors I kept hearing about, so seeing this for £3 I thought I might as well pick it up.

This is great if you like family based drama and mystery. Lydia, the perfect girl of the family is found dead in a possible suicide. We see how this impacts the family and try and find out what really happened.

This was okay, a decent plot but not something that got me super invested in the characters and I did feel the ending was a little lax. I gave it 3 stars.

Unnatural Vol 1

Unnatural, Vol 1 Awakening – Mirka Andolfo

A new graphic novel with themes of segregation, the idea of the ‘perfect family’, oh and they’re all animals. This also gets pretty steamy, but I don’t want to ruin it for anyone! 4 stars.

Saga Vol 8

Saga Volume 8 – Fiona Staples and Brian K Vaughan

It’s number 8 in the series so I can hardly say anything at all but this broke my heart at times, I’ve heard the next in the series will crush me. 5 stars.

Notes to Self Emilie Pine

Notes To Self – Emiline Pine

A full review to come but this is a thought-provoking and altogether wonderful collection of essays. With difficult topics and brutal honesty, I’m a big fan of Emiline Pine now. 5 Stars

Born Lippy How To Do Female

Born Lippy – How To Do Female – Jo Brand

A fun insight into womanhood thanks to none other than Jo Brand. This is dry, witty and at times made me laugh out loud while listening. I would definitely recommend the audiobook for an extra kick. 4 stars.

An Absolute Remarkable Thing

An Absolutely Remarkable Think – Hank Green

I’ve been waiting to read this for so long, so of course, I was super excited to get it for Christmas. Buuuuut, it fell a little short for me, I really struggled with the protagonist for the majority of the book.

Not a bad debut and I probably will pick up the next book in the series just to see where it goes but right now this got a 3.5 from me.

Pop Star Jihadi

Pop Star Jihadi – Nick Tyrone

I received this book from Midas PR after being asked if I would be interested in reading. This is an incredibly well written and intelligent piece of fiction.

How would we react to a teen superstar blowing themselves up at their own concert, killing nearly 100 fans. Who would we believe? Would mob mentality take over? 4.5 stars.

WBP 10th anniversary blog tour

Happy 10th Anniversary To The Wellcome Book Prize!

Last year I was thrilled to be a part of the Wellcome Book Prize Blog Tour, reviewing We Need To Talk About Death by Kathryn Mannix and so, when I was asked to take part in the 10th Anniversary I happily obliged.

For my post, I will be focusing on the shortlist from 2010, and what a year it was! Shall we get stuck in?

WINNER! The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot

After dying from Cancer in 1951, Henrietta Lacks was not a notable woman, however, she would change history. Her Cancer cells, taken without permission, would be used by scientists and make millions. Read more here.

Angel of Death -The Story of Smallpox – Gareth Williams

Exactly what it says on the tin, this is a history of the disease smallpox, once a deadly disease it has now been wiped out. Gareth Williams tells us how in this book.

Teach Us to Sit Still -A sceptic’s search for health and healing – Tim Parks

A look at our own perceptions on how we view illness and what our own perceptions mean when we are ill. Inspired by Tim Parks own illness and what helped him recover instead of traditional medicine.

So Much For That – Lionel Shriver

A novel about love, life and how sometimes it’s not fair. After selling his business for $1 million it’s time for the Knacker’s to enjoy their lives. That is until Glynis receives a cancer diagnosis.

Medic -John Nichols and Tony Rennell

A look at this history of the army medic from Dunkirk to Afghanistan, with stories from both men and women who helped to save lives on the front line.

Grace Williams Says It Loud – Emma Henderson

And finally, the novel that I received for this post looks at the institutionalisation of people with mental and physical disabilities.

While this does make not of the horrific conditions and the way patients were treated, it also shows how friendships and relationships can blossom, even in the worst of places. Truly a novel that will make you think and based on the author’s experiences of having a sibling in such a place.

Which of these would you pick up? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: Louis and Louise

Book Review: Louis & Louise – Julie Cohen

One life, two realities. 

Born on the same day, to the same family and named after the same ancestor Louis & Louise are the same person. However, cries of ‘it’s a boy’, or ‘it’s a girl’ change everything. Seen through the eyes of  ‘Lou’ in both realities this is Julie Cohen’s most impressive novel yet. 

Wow, wow, wow. I’ve been a fan of Julie Cohen’s since reading Dear Thing a few years ago, but this was something else. I’m not sure what I expected going into this and it was truly flawless. Seeing life and how different it could be simply due to gender was so interesting. 

It’s worth pointing out that it can take a little bit of time to get used to the differences in Louis and Louise’s life and who’s who. For the first few chapters I had to really concentrate on what was going on to make sure I was following the right timeline within the novel. 

This novel will make you think about what the characters are going through and, more importantly, why these lives are so different simply because of gender. That’s one of the best parts of the novel for me – it’s taking a wider question and slipping it into a story you can get lost in. 

It’s not a surprise that I gave this 5 stars. This is a novel that has enormous heart but I think this is going to break boundaries. A huge thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for an advance copy. 

2019 Book Releases

5 2019 Book Releases I Can’t Wait To Read

A New Year means a whole load of new releases to come. Yep, that is something I get super excited about it so I thought why not share it with all of you? Without further ado here are the 5 2019  Book Releases I Can’t Wait To Read. 

The Curses - Laure Eve

The Curses – Laure Eve 

I absolutely loved The Graces and couldn’t WAIT to read the second in the series. This was meant to come out last year but got pushed to this year. I can’t wait to find out what happens next after the first books ending. 

Two Can Keep A Secret – Karen M. McManus 

In 2017 I read McManus’s One Of Us Is Lying and devoured it in one day. So, when I heard about another novel from her, of course, I wanted it! Secrets, lies and death, what more could you want? 

Internment – Samira Ahmed 

My first read of 2018 was Samira Ahmed’s debut novel Love, Hate and Other Filters and I absolutely LOVED it. Internment considers an America where Muslims are put into internment camps. Not only am I excited to read this, I can’t wait for it to do some good in the world. 

The Hormone Diaries – Hannah Witton 

I think Hannah Witton is a brilliant Youtuber. I’ve been watching her for a few years now and was really interested in her Hormone Diary videos. These were Hannah’s experiences on coming off the pill and her experiences of contraception, all the videos are here.

Her first book was absolutely fantastic and I’ve already pre-ordered this one. I cannot wait! 

A Court Of Thorns and Roses #4 – Sarah J Maas

While I’m writing this there is no title, no cover, no synopsis, just the fact that this is the next book in one of my favourite series. Really, there isn’t much I can say but I’m still super excited. If you haven’t read A Court of Thorns and Roses you can check out my first review

I’m fully aware that all of these are YA, but, they are what I’m most looking forward to. I’d love to hear some recommendations below from all of you. What are you looking forward to? 

Christmas Book Haul

My Christmas Book Haul!

Hello, hello, hello! It might be a little later than planned but I wanted to share with you my Christmas book haul! This year my Mumma went all out and got me the books on my list, my sister got me one I was after for ages and then I might have purchased some with Christmas money…

Sea Witch
Sea Witch – Sarah Henning

I’m a big lover of The Little Mermaid and there have been a few more novels creeping out so when I heard about Sea Witch I needed it. I’m intrigued to read this take on the backstory of the Sea Witch.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing – Hank Green

I held off buying this so I could add it to my Christmas list and I have heard nothing but good things about this! As Hank Green’s debut I have my fingers crossed I will love it!

Snot Girl vol 1
Snotgirl – Bryan Lee O’Malley & Leslie Hung

I didn’t expect to get this, I read the first two issues while I was at uni and then didn’t get a chance to carry on. My friend Sarah surprised me with this for Christmas and I loved it. I’ve already finished it and can’t wait to pick up the next volume.

(Don’t) Call Me Crazy – Edited by Kelly Jensen

I’ve wanted this for such a long time! I’m always interested in seeing different experiences on mental health and there are some amazing writers in here Emery Lord, Meredith Russo, and Victoria Schwab to name a few.

#MurderTrending – Gretchen McNeil

This one is a little out there but it sounds really interesting. The premise is using an app so that criminals get a taste of their own medicine. However, Dee isn’t going down for a crime she didn’t commit.

Anne Boleyn A King’s Obsession – Alison Weir

For the longest time I loved reading books about the Tudors and after seeing Six last year it sparked my interest again. My lovely Lucy got me this, remembering that Anne Boleyn is my favourite!

Books I Bought
The Curses – Laure Eve

It’s finally here! I have a copy! Although I’m worried that might be because a certain bookshop put them out too early… Either way I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens next in the Graces world.

Paper Avalanche
Paper Avalanche – Lisa Williamson

I’ve loved Lisa Williamson’s previous two books and read them super quickly so when I found out there would be a third I was on it. Again I think this was released a little earlier than it should have been but I’m not sure.

I don’t know too much going into this one as the blurb is a little more ambiguous than previous novels but I have faith after loving the previous two books!

Becoming
Becoming – Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama is one of the most incredible people. I wanted to hear her story as soon as I could. Originally I got the audiobook, however, at 19 hours long I was impatient. I ordered the book and it’s just as good as I hoped it would be so far.

101 Essays To Change The Way You Think – Brianna Wiest

I really want to read more books like this about positive thinking and all that. This looked like a really good collection to dip in and out of when I need some inspiration.

Now I have no idea where to start! So many books, so little time. Did you get any books for Christmas? I’d love to hear in the comments below!