My 7 Top Tips To Read More

My 7 Top Tips To Read More

I have had a lot of messages recently about how much I read and how on earth do I read so much. Partially, it’s because I’ve been posting my reading updates on Instagram (don’t forget to follow me here) with everything I finish and so far, so good for 2020!

So I thought why not pop it in a blog and share with you guys how I get through an average of 100 books per year.

Read short books to get you in the swing of things

There is no point in starting War and Peace if you’re not a regular reader of you’ve been in a bit of a slump. Shorter books are a great way to get into a story and feel a sense of accomplishment that you’ve finished a book!

Read what you enjoy!

Love romance books? Go for it. Think YA is incredible? I agree? Or maybe you want to read about farms in the 1800s? You do you. There can be a lot of snobbery over what people read but, honestly, it’s no one else’s business if you enjoy it.

Join a Book Club

I took a chance, joined a book club and met some of my closest friends as well as being introduced to some of my new favourite books like A Winter’s Promise.

Book clubs are great to encourage you and introduce you to books that you might not have tried otherwise. Also the good ones also have sweet treats, just saying.

Absorb books in the best way for you

Hardback, paperback, ebook, audiobook – they’re all ways of enjoying a book. Some people enjoy listening and get more from it.

Take a book with you wherever you go

This is where the Kindle app is great because you’ve always got a book on you as long as you have your phone and you can get books for as little as 99p!

Or just put a read in your bag so if you get delayed/ are waiting for something/ have a quiet lunch break and are in the mood to read.

Set time aside to read

Whenever works for you but if you really want to read make time for it. For me, it’s normally in the evenings so I can get away from screens and chill out.

I also used to use any time I was on a train or bus because the only other thing I could do was sit on my phone. I’d probably read a lot more if I didn’t have my phone…

Goal orientated? Set that goal!

If goals work for you – set one. Even if it’s 1 book for the whole year or , if you’re completely mad like me, 100 books. I love having a goal and tracking them on Goodreads and it really motivates me to keep reading when I’m in a slump.

Book Review: Over The Top – Jonathan Van Ness

Who gave Jonathan Van Ness permission to be the radiant human he is today? No one, honey. The truth is, it hasn’t always been gorgeous for this beacon of positivity and joy.

Before he stole our hearts as the grooming and self-care expert on Netflix’s hit show Queer Eye, Jonathan was growing up in a small Midwestern town that didn’t understand why he was so…over the top. 

Whew! This book! If you read my ‘Top Books of 2019’ post then you will know that Jonathan was on that list and my favourite non-fiction book of the entire year. So, you can bet this is going to be a glowing review.

I didn’t know that much about Jonathan apart from the few episodes of Queer Eye that I watched where I absolutely adored him. Who was this guy with fabulous hair and who I wanted to have as a friend? Then I started seeing him on interviews everywhere and the stories he told to presenters made it so that I needed to know more, so I got the audiobook.

The only way to listen to this book is with Jonathan narrating it and it was absolute perfection, I couldn’t have asked for more. Looking at Jonathan’s roller coaster life makes the book so fast that I found myself wanting more, even though we get his whole life story. From a child who was different to a young adult struggling with himself and addiction and the long journey to become the fun loving guy we see on TV.

What I appreciated most about this book is that Jonathan is incredibly real. He has a positive attitude but is completely honest about his darker times, that he wasn’t a person we’d want to know at times. About the fact that his issues are something he has to work through every day as well as living with a HIV positive diagnosis.

You probably will have seen Jonathan campaigning for HIV awareness and for support for the community so that they can get the right treatment no matter what. I learnt so much about HIV from what Jonathan had written and looked into it further so I could understand and that’s going to have a legacy of its own.

I think you’d probably guess that this was a 5 star read for me, I absolutely adored this book and Jonathan because it was so raw and honest without being all doom and gloom. That said, the appropriate attention is given to the seriousness of certain topics. I loved it and I’ve been recommending it to EVERYONE. What are you waiting for honey? Go add it to that to read list!

What I Read In December 2019

What I Read In December 2019

December was a funny old month, I thought I hadn’t read anything and then all of a sudden I browse my Goodreads and realise I’ve actually done pretty well in a super busy month.

So here’s what I read in December!

The Perfect Dress – Louisa Leaman

This was a sweet but intriguing read. I haven’t read a book about weddings for a long time but as I’m starting to try and find my own it seemed fitting that I would read this novel and I’m so glad I did. Romance, history, intrigue I absolutely adored this book! A solid 4.5 stars from me

I was sent this by the publisher in exchange for an honest review which is coming soon!

Tunnel of Bones – Victoria Schwab

The second in the Cassidy Blake series and another that I had to keep reading at every spare moment I had thanks to my Secret Santa (thanks Izzy!). Even more creepy than the first and made me just want to read more, the 3rd novel in the series comes out this year and I am SO here for it!

Break The Fall – Jennifer Iacopelli

You guys are going to want to read this when it’s released because it’s bloody incredible. This is focused on an abuse scandal in the USA gymnastics team (similar to what we have unfortunately seen recently). A stunning debut with incredible chronic pain representation. 5 star read without a doubt.

Love Her Wild – Atticus

I’ve been intrigued by this collection of poetry for a while, partly because it’s a hardback poetry collection and partly because it has beautiful images. It’s very short and some wouldn’t consider it poetry but I thought it was beautiful. 4 stars from me.

Journey to The Rise of Skywalker: Allegiance – Ethan Sacks

This was ok, but that was about it for me. I understand they couldn’t give much away before the films release but I just didn’t care much for it so it only got a 3 star rating from me.

The Truth About Magic – Atticus

The third collection of Atticus’s work, although I thought it was the second. I wouldn’t say this was hugely different to the first but I still found it very enjoyable and a great book to dip into. 4 stars.

Drawing Europe Together – Various

I got this from my friend Charissa for Christmas and it was a lovely, although slightly sad read. Beautiful illustrations and wonderful ideas. 4 stars.

This is How You Lose the Time War – Amal El – Mohtar & Max Gladstone

I’m going to put it out there that most of the time while reading this I had no idea what was going on through a lot of the book but I adored it. Beautifully written and full of a strange kind of love but so, so wonderful. If you don’t mind me confused while appreciating great writing then I’d definitely read this one. 4 stars from me.

Did you get much reading done in December? Let me know what your favourites were!

My Top 10 Books of 2019!

My Top 10 Books of 2019!

It’s that time of year where I have to look at all the books I read this year and whittle it down to my favourites – something I both love and hate.

Ok so, there might be some stretches here like two books counting as one if they’re in the same series…totally works! Anyway in no particular order here are my 10 favourites of the year.

Daisy Jones & The Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid

So, I found a new favourite author this year Taylor Jenkins Reid! Daisy Jones was absolutely fantastic and felt so real I just wanted to fall into the world and listen to the music mentioned.

She’s an incredible writer and I look forward to reading more of her earlier work this year and anything new that she releases! Review here.

Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

This book. THIS BOOK. I loved it, most of the world loved it and for a real good reason. This is what the world needed it’s funny, it’s sexy and it’s got real heart to it. I want to read it again and again and again. Review here.

Also Casey McQuiston has another book coming out in 2020 and I am SO here for it, although currently I haven’t been able to preorder it yet.

Over The Top – Jonathan Van Ness

My favourite non-fiction book of the year and I highly recommend the audiobook because hearing Jonathan talk about his life is complete and utter perfection.

I was really surprised by how in depth Jonathan went and I can’t wait to watch even more Queer Eye in the new year because it makes me so happy.

City of Ghosts and Tunnel of Bones – Victoria Schwab

This is one where I *might* have snuck in two and I’m not even sorry. My new favourite series by the one and only Victoria Schwab who is not only absolutely lovely but an incredible author and new favourite.

This series may be called middle grade but it’s creepy as hell and I absolutely loved it. Number three comes out in 2020 so yep I’m getting it. Also I got number two from my secret santa!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

Another Taylor Jenkins Reid book and it was amazing, plus I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner. This one was another that I listened to and I could not stop, when I was working, when I was chilling in the evening I had to hear the end.

An incredible read, such an amazing book. Review here.

Break The Fall – Jennifer Iacopelli

So this hasn’t come out yet but I was lucky enough to get a proof copy and this book is going to blow up in 2020. It’s absolutely an incredible novel rooted in the team USA gymnastics scandal and abuse that occured.

More so, this was absolutely incredible in terms of how it described living with chronic pain after and accident, I reached out to Jennifer to congratulate her on such an accurate representation and she’s also a lovely person!

Review to come soon!

Postscript – Cecelia Ahern

So I love, love, loved P.S I Love You both the book and the film for different reasons so of course I was going to read the second novel and wow, just wow. It took my straight back and made me cry like a baby.

Full review here.

A Winter’s Promise – Christelle Dabos

This book and the start of a new series to me is entirely my friend Maddie’s fault and I love her for it although the wait is going to drive me mad. This novel is translated from french and it’s a fantasy novel I absolutely love.

Travelling through mirrors, an arranged marriage, mystery, death, magic and courts. Love, love, LOVE.

Heartstopper Volumes 1 & 2

Another two books that are being stuck in together but, of course, Heartstopper was going to be in here! Alice Oseman is not only a brilliant writer but also a great artist. Both of these books make me so, so happy and I’m sure they will make you happy too.

Review here and here.

a-girl-called-shameless-laura-steven

A Girl Called Shameless – Laura Steven

The follow up to one of my favourite YA novels, The Exact Opposite of Okay and Laura Steven killed it again with a hilarious and excellent continuation, I really hope that we get more about Izzy and her life!

What were your favourites in 2019? Let me know below!

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.

Book Review: Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas – Adam Kay

“With twenty-five tales of intriguing, shocking and incredible Christmas incidents, the British public will finally appreciate the sacrifices made and the challenges faced by the unsung heroes of the NHS.”

As we head back to the hospital wards with Kay we’re thrown back into the chaos and you will laugh so much in a short span of pages. I’ll be honest I wanted more! I absolutely loved this and it was a perfect follow up to This Is Going To Hurt.

I will warn you, and so does Kay, that there is one point in the book that describes a medical procedure that is hard to read. There is a description of a termination which is not pleasant but I did read it and I’m please I did especially in regards to the circumstances that lead to it. This is clearly marked and you can skip it if you wish. It is so important even if it is a tough read.

Aside from that, the rest of the book does have a lot of laughs, a lot of face palming at the stupidity of people and also a whole lot of heart – just was we found in the first book. Once again, Kay has produced a perfect mix of education, humour, kindness and moments that have you wondering just how some people are functioning human beings.

If anything, this is a stark reminder of the work the NHS does, the reason that we need to try our hardest to protect and to only use the right services. Your GP doesn’t need to know about your cold. You can use online services! You only need to call an ambulance in an incredibly serious situation! I know the majority of my readers know this but the point still stands we need to try to help the NHS and those who work in it in any way that we can.

Is it any wonder that I gave this 5 stars? Adam Kay is a fantastic writer and I can’t wait to see what he does next. While this was short it was a perfect read in the run up to Christmas when we are all so busy. I’ve also been recommending it to EVERYONE. Go and pick it up, maybe with some Christmas money? 😉

Blogmas: My 5 Favourite Audiobooks of 2019

I have listened to so many incredible books this year and choosing 5 was incredibly hard, but I managed it. Because of the way I’m working I don’t think I’m going to get through another audiobook in 2019 so I’m calling it here. But what made the list?

Over The Top – Jonathan Van Ness

Ok honey, make way for THE Jonathan released a book and it was fabulous. Now, I haven’t watched all of Queer Eye but what I’ve watched I’ve loved. Then I saw Jonathan talking about his life, his HIV diagnosis and life I had to get hold of this book and the audiobook was perfect. Jonathan reads it and I could not have loved it more.

It’s Not Ok To Feel Blue (And Other Lies) – Edited by Scarlett Curtis

At first I was trying to read my copy but decided to switch to the audiobook and it was a brilliant choice. A large number of contributors read their own pieces and it makes it easier to digest. As you can imagine, there are some heavy topics in here, but importants ones.

The Flat Share – Beth O’Leary

I don’t usually listen to fiction but seeing as Carrie Hope Fletcher narrated it, I wanted to give it a go. I’m SO glad I did I absolutely loved it, a really heartwarming story and it might even end up as one of my favourite books of the year…

The Five: The Untold Lives Of The Women Killed By Jack The Ripper – Hallie Rubenhold

I heard about this on booktube and was interested and then it came up as a £2.99 deal (if you like audiobooks I’d definitely sign up to them I’ve got some crackers on there). This changes the narrative and instead of focusing on the killer, this looks at the women themselves their lives and families and dispels the myth that they were all prostitutes.

The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

This book, the cast, the story. I could not stop listening to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – so much so my fiancé found me listening to it in the evenings as well as all day while working. It’s an incredible novel and I am kicking myself for getting to it so late!

What audiobooks should I check out in 2020? Let me know below!