The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2021

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2021

It’s that time of year again, we’re already half way through the year and I have to admit it hasn’t been my *best* reading year especially after starting 2021 recovering from covid! That said, there have been some great reads, so let’s take a look at where I am so far!

My goal: 50 books

My Harsh Reality: As of writing I’ve read 42 books. However! My original goal was 100 at the start of the year but Goodreads kept telling me how ‘behind’ I was so I decided to change it to 50 and I’ll review the goal once I hit it. I can see myself reading about 75 books this year if I’m still not 100%.

Let’s get cracking.

Best Book of the Year- So Far

The novel just managed to sneak in as I wrote this post and oh wow I loved it. This novel takes us back to Victorian London but also takes place in the present day. We follow two women and one girl as big changes take place in their lives and they’re all seamlessly interwoven. There’s murder and revenge but also a lot of heart and understanding. It’s pretty brilliant.

Best Sequel Read in 2021

No other sequel I’ve read has lived up to it – this was an excellent follow up to the ACOTAR series, one of my favourites. This is now competing for my favourite book of the series in general because while Nesta isn’t always likeable she is real. She feels a deep level of pain, anger and lashes out. The fact that she isn’t perfect makes the novel even more powerful and I can’t wait to see what comes next. It’s a brilliantly written book.

Newest Release I Haven’t Read Yet, But I Want To

While One Last Stop is actually out as I write this, my copy has been held up so I’m eagerly waiting for it to arrive. I absolutely loved Red, White and Royal Blue and can’t wait to read another book by the author. Also this one has time travel? I’m down.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

Can I pick 2 here? Mostly because they’re both the final book in series’s that I’ve loved.

First up Gods and Monsters by Shelby Mahurin and after the cliffhanger in book 2 I need to know what’s happening to Lou and Reid, also even though it came out last year I’m still not over what happened in Blood and Honey. It’s out next month, the 27th July 2021 and I have everything crossed my copy comes on time because I cannot handle spoilers.

Next is the final book in the A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder series which I took way too long to pick up. I loved the first, was hooked on the second and I’m intrigued to see what the third holds especially as this time it’s a threat against Pip herself. It’s released on the 5th August on the UK.

Biggest Disappointment

This was hard because I don’t think there’s anything I was really looking forward to that disappointed me, I guess it would have to be Dearly by Margaret Atwood. I’d just heard so many good things and I just didn’t connect with it at all.

Biggest Surprise 

I can’t remember how I came across The Impending Blindness of Billie Scott but it looked interesting. This is Zoe Thorgood’s debut and that fact was a huge surprise. This is an excellent book with a stunning art style and it’s made me incredibly excited to see Zoe’s career develop, also her Instagram is great.

Favourite New Author

I’m currently really into Tillie Walden books and I’m slowly picking them all up – I really love the art style and the stories find a way to pull at my heart strings, no matter what their length. I’m really hoping to find a few more of her books when I’m next in London and am let loose in Forbidden Planet.

Most Beautiful Book I’ve Bought This Year

This picture doesn’t do it justice, the colours, the design, there’s foiling. It is *chef’s kiss* also I really loved this book, it’s perfect for any lover of books. Also, Cathy Rentzenbrink is really, really lovely.

Books To be Read By The End of The Year

I have a huge TBR in my house and there’s so many that I need to get to which includes (but isn’t limited to):

The Wolf Den – Elodie Harper

Circe – Madeline Miller

The Missing of Clair De Line – Christelle Dabos

Malibu Rising – Taylor Jenkins Reid

Lycanthropy and other Chronic Illnesses – Kristen O’Neal

What are you looking forward to this year? Let me know below!

Book Tour – Rapids by Anna Bowles

Yan Harris is VERY EXCITED.

Well, of course she is. It’s summer, she’s got over her depression and she’s in London for a week with her BFF Chelsea. After seventeen years in a sleepy village where everybody just knows them as The Chinese One and The Brainy One… life is calling.

It’s a pretty cool prospect… if Chel can stop worrying about online discourse in the Nordhelm TV fandom long enough to enjoy it. Chelsea’s worried about Yan, too, to Yan’s annoyance.

Barely sleeping, barely eating, getting increasingly gobby, having an – ahem – close encounter in a toilet, giving a Tory MP a good kick in the shins, and running around kind of literally screaming…. well, it’s all just good summer fun, isn’t it?

Isn’t it?

In the desperate battle of Yan vs. bipolar disorder, does the poor disease really stand a chance?

I was asked by Zuntold if I would like to be a part of the book tour for Rapids a little while ago and jumped at the chance. While I myself do not have Bipolar Disorder, I’ve had my own struggled with mental illness and it’s important to me to educate myself, even if that is through fiction! It’s worth pointing out I finished this in 24 hours – I needed to know what was happening to Yan and Chelsea and get to the end, this is a novel that will grip you and take you on a wild ride.

Two teenagers exploring London for the first time while also looking at universities was always going to have humour in it, even if you don’t expect one of them to kick a Tory MP in the shins – although I’m sure plenty of us who have had their mental health services cut to ribbons have thought about it in the last few years. I was in love with the friendship between Yan and Chels, they’re very different but they work. I also liked the fact that as characters they could stand on their own two feet and not be completely dependent on each other – I’d quite like to read a book about Chels actually!

Fandoms and online interaction play a big part of this story and while I can see why it was included and it did add to the plot, it wasn’t really for me – but I think that’s just because I’m not really into fan fiction so it didn’t grab me in a way it would others. That said, I think including the online world, the worry about doxxing, people arguing about ‘what’s appropriate’ did make the novel more realistic, teenagers are online and it should be shown more in books!

What Bowles does well is mixing humour while also helping us to understand mania and what Bipolar can look like. This is a funny book and it takes a good writer to mix humour with a delicate subject. There were times where I laughed out loud, but others where I wanted to reach through the book and hug Yan, tell her it’s all going to be ok.

It’s important to note that this novel is own voices, the author herself lives with bipolar disorder, meaning that the reader is engaging with someones own perspective of what it is like to live with it. I think this comes across in the writing because when she’s manic Yan is Yan. You can understand how she thinks and feels when in this state and even though she may not be a likeable character at times – it further reinforces that mania is a medical issue. It’s obvious that Yan cares for her best friend and her family but in the grips of mental illness she acts in a way that she cannot help without treatment.

This is definitely a book to pick up, it will make you laugh but will also make you think and I do believe that, for some, it may help them feel less alone.

Thank you to the publisher and author for inviting me to take part in this book tour and don’t forget to check out some of the other lovely bloggers below!

Book Review: A Court of Silver Flames – Sarah J. Maas

It’s no surprise to anyone who follows me on social media or has been subscribed to this blog for a few years that I absolutely love the A Court of Thorns and Roses series and raced through them when I came across them a few years ago. As soon as I saw A Court of Silver Flames (ACOSF) was ready I preordered it and was in countdown. Then there was a delay and guys it was driving me mad to try and avoid spoilers for a few days. I was also *kinda* nervous about how long it was after I didn’t really enjoy Crescent City.

I shouldn’t have worried. This book may have been a chonker but it was worth it and I could not put it down. Any spare moment I had I was reading, if I wasn’t reading I was thinking about it, if I wasn’t thinking about it I was talking to friends about it. Enough of my rambling, let’s get on with the review (no spoilers for the book, but there will be spoilers if you haven’t finished the original trilogy).

ACOSF takes a different approach. Instead of following Feyre, we are following her sister Nesta. Taken from the human world, turned into High Fae and watching her father murdered in front of her is a lot for anyone. Nesta’s answer isn’t to weep, it’s to react in fury – shutting out those around her with drinking and dancing and nobody’s going to stop her. Until they do. Feyre and Rhysand have had enough. Nesta is plucked from her life and moved away to give her space and time to heal – you can image she is absolutely furious. One of the other perspectives is from Cassian as he works to try and help Nesta, even when it’s constantly thrown back into his face.

You will probably have seen online there is a lot of sex in this book. A lot. Jokes have been going around this is pretty much the whole plot and it’s definitely not. While Maas certainly knows how to write a scene that will make you need a cold shower after, it’s done in a way that works for the characters and the novel.

In fact, this is a book that is about trauma, PTSD, self hate and what it can take to heal – including the ugly parts of healing, those that many of us don’t want to talk about. You can tell when reading that there is an understanding that Maas has about the level of darkness Nesta faces. This is something that Maas has alluded to since, reflecting on some of her own experiences.

What I enjoyed most about this book is that we get to understand both Nesta and Cassian, who they really are themselves rather than just in relation to the inner circle. We learn about how and why they came to be who they are on a much deeper level.

There was only one point that I didn’t like, I can’t say what it was because but it involved Feyre and Rhysand, it’s not their story but I found their part of the plot to be a bit weak until right at the end – but it’s minor compared to the rest of the book.

I don’t think it will surprise anyone that I gave this 5 stars. It also got me out of a hell of a reading slump too – a 750 page book, who’d have thought it. If you enjoyed the original trilogy you need to pick this up – you won’t regret it.

What I Read In February 2021

What I Read In February 2021

We’re already into the third month of the year and as I write this my Goodreads goal is a book behind schedule apparently I really wish they would remove this feature and the one that emails you right after you’ve logged a book saying what next? ANYWAY

I did not finish a book until the 14th of February…the middle of the month. I know, I was shocked too. I just couldn’t pick up a book long enough to get interested, you can find out why in my recent life update. That said, when I did get my reading mojo back I found some crackers in new releases, including my new favourite book in a series.

Someone I know was getting rid of a stack of books so of course I couldn’t help myself. One of them, Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu, was one that I had been waiting to pick up for a while because everyone said it’s absolutely adorable. I picked it up on Valentines Day and it didn’t disappoint. Cute, witches, werewolves and very inclusive. I really hope there will be another volume at some point.

Another of my New Years Waterstones sale buys was Dearly by Margaret Atwood. I’d heard a lot about it and thought it was about time to ease myself into Atwood. The book was ok, perhaps not my favourite kind of poetry. While there were some pieces I enjoyed, I’m not really into nature poems and there’s a fair few in here.

One of my favourites Nikita Gill released this sneaky collection she wrote during 2020. Where Hope Comes From really is a small book of hope, of courage and reflection. I highly recommend this collection, a short but powerful read.

In any interview I’ve seen of the new First Lady of the United States she has seemed lovely. When Where Light Enters: Building a Family, Discovering Myself came up as an audiobook recommendation I thought I’d give it a shot. Dr Biden is an incredible woman, an educator and stands in her own right, not just as someone’s wife. Chronicling her life I was seriously impressed by her and I look forward to seeing what she does as First Lady.

Reading A Shot at Normal while in the middle of the UK’s vaccine rollout and the pandemic. This is a great look at what happens when a child who has not been vaccinated grows up and decides that they don’t agree with their parents. For Juniper it comes after tragedy but it really made me think about whether it was fair that children had to wait until 18 to ask for their vaccinations. I thought it was really well done!

The big one, probably my most anticipated read of the year and over 700 pages, the next in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. This time from Nesta and Cassian’s perspectives and oh wow was I impressed. There were some parts I wasn’t crazy about but as I whole I thought this was brilliant. You’ve probably seen a great deal about the sexy scenes (oh my were they) but it is more than that. This is a complex novel about trauma, healing and friendship. My favourite book of the month, hands down.

I really enjoyed Phil’s first novel, The Gravity of Us, so I pre-ordered As Far As You’ll Take Me as soon as I could, I also received an arc. This is about finding your place in the world, even if that means moving to the other side of it. A quick and lovely read about working out who you are.

My 2021 Pre-Orders Part One

Back in January I sat down and went through anything I’d preordered and moved a lot of them over to my Waterstones account, partly to support the high street and partly to add to my points (which I am saving to spend in store once they’re back open). There’s a few sequels, a few debuts and some favourite authors with new releases I am EXCITED.

These pre-orders only go up to the summer (one in July and one in August) so I’m sure there are more that I haven’t even found out about yet – nobody tell my future husband. I’m really excited, particularly as three of these I actually received this week and I’ve finished two of them and I’m just under half way through the third.

A Court of Silver Flames – Sarah J Maas 

16th Feb 2021

ACOTAR was one of the series that made me really get into fantasy so I had this preordered. While I ended up getting this 2 days late (it was painful), I can confirm it was worth it. At the time of writing I’m almost half way through and I adore this book. I love that we’ve moved on to Nesta and Cassian’s perspective. That’s all I will say.

A Shot at Normal – Marisa Reichardt 

16th February 2021

This got me out of a reading slump and I read it in less that 24 hours, any break I had my head was in this book. Raised to hippie parents Juniper’s life is different from the home made deodorant she’s not sure works, her home school life and the fact her parents are anti-vaxxers. I think this takes on new meaning right now with the vaccine roll out, it shows the consequences of what can happen without vaccines. I loved it.

Where Hope Comes From: Healing poetry for the heart, mind and soul – Nikita Gill 

18th February 2021

I only knew this would be released because it popped up on the Waterstones website because I picked up books from her before (The Girl and The Goddess was one of my favourite reads of 2020). This is a short collection reflecting on lockdown, isolation and ultimately hope. It’s a beautiful read and I was right to be excited about it.

Honey Girl – Morgan Rogers 

23rd February 2021

In Honey Girl we have an overachiever who’s always done things by the book, until she gets drunk in Vegas and marries a women she barely knows. She also starts questioning why she’s so unhappy after finishing her PhD and what more she wants from life. Sign me up.

The World Between Us – Sarah Ann Juckes 

4th March 2021

Books about chronic illness are getting more attention recently which I’m really grateful for because when I first got sick there weren’t many books about people who were chronically ill, there was nothing for me to relate to. The World Between Us is about connection online and I can’t wait.

Bridge of Souls – Victoria Schwab 

4th March 2021

Everyone who reads my blog knows I’m a big Schwab fan and I love this series. I can’t wait to see what Cassidy gets up to this time. Also don’t knock them for being marketed as middle grade, the last book creeped the crap out of me!

As Far As You’ll Take Me – Phil Stamper 

4th March 2021

I really loved Phil’s debut The Gravity of Us so of course I pre-ordered his next novel which he’s said is about travel and found family. I know it’s already out in the US (jealous) and I’m really looking forward to reading about Marty finding his place where he can be accepted for who he is.

Lycanthropy and Other Chronic Illnesses – Kristen O’Neal 

27th April 2021

Another book with chronic illness rep, this time with a college (university) age protagonist who has to change her life due to developing a health condition. Is it any wonder why this speaks to me? I’m really looking forward to reading it and the author seems lovely too!

Bookishly Ever After – Lucy Powrie 

13th May 2021

I adore this series and Lucy is a wonderful person, I’m excited to read from Ed’s perspective but I’m also so sad to say goodbye to this group of people. This one has Ed working in a bookshop which I am SO excited about!

Slug – Hollie McNish 

13th May 2021

Another gem found on the Waterstones website (it’s both a wonderful and dangerous thing for me to check regularly). I really enjoyed two of Hollie’s collection, her first called Plum and Nobody Told Me which centres around being a Mum. I’m really looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

Heartstopper Volume 4 – Alice Oseman

13th May 2021

The Heartstopper books are like a warm cup of tea or a nice hug, I absolutely adore them. There are only 2 more volumes to go, I’m tempted to do a reread of the whole series before picking up Volume 4.

Hani and Ishu’s Guide to Fake Dating – Adiba Jaigirdar 

25th May 2021

I picked up The Henna Wars last year and found it really refreshing and an excellent debut. This time Adiba Jaigirdar is taking on the fake dating trope and I’m really intrigued to see her take on it, I’ve requested it on NetGalley and I’ve ordered a physical copy keep your fingers crossed for me.

Malibu Rising – Taylor Jenkins Reid

27th May 2021

Both The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones and The Six were two of my favourites and they just transported me to another world. I did apply for an advance copy but was turned down (boo), so I’m patiently waiting like the rest of you!

One Last Stop – Casey McQuiston 

1st June 2021

We all remember how much I loved Red,White and Royal Blue right? How much everyone loved RWRB. I can’t wait for Casey’s next novel that has time travelling romance in it. I’m excited to see what this

Not My Problem – Ciara Smyth 

3rd June 2021

I absolutely loved Ciara’s first novel The Falling In Love Montage (review to come on Thursday) so I wanted to read more of her work, which is why I have added it to my pre-order cart. Also, Ciara seems to create complex characters that are also believable. I can’t wait.

Afterlove – Tanya Byrne 

27th July 2021

Lesbian romance mixed with the afterlife? I’m down.

Gods and Monsters – Shelby Mahurin

3rd August 2021

If you follow me on any kind of social media platform you’ll know that last year I fell in love with the Serpent and Dove series and the ending to book 2 was a huge cliff hanger. While it’s sad the series is ending, I really need to know what happens in the end. I have so many questions.

As Good As Dead – Holly Jackson

5th August 2021

I absolutely love Holly Jackson’s series, A Good Girls Guide to Murder was good, Good Girl, Bad Blood was even better so I have high hopes for As Good As Dead and I think this one is the last in the series? So, I’m looking forward to seeing what Pippa is up to after that ending!

What are you looking forward to this year? Let me know in the comments below!

The Falling In Love Monage - Ciara Smyth

Book Review: The Falling In Love Montage – Ciara Smyth

What’s the point in love if, one day you might not even remember it? Saoirse’s not looking for love and doesn’t believe in happy endings – not after her Mum’s early onset dementia lead her to be put on a home. She’s put rules in place, but meeting Ruby who proposes one summer, no strings attached might just break them all.

After a rough Christmas and New Year I really wanted to read something that had at least some romance, since I picked up The Falling In Love Montage I’ve seen nothing but good reviews so it seemed like the perfect choice. I wasn’t wrong and nor were all of the people who recommended it online. This is a spectacular debut, one that tackles romance, dementia, family and working out who you are and where you want to go.

I felt that Saoirse and Ruby were incredibly easy to fall in love with. I was rooting for them as they began to fall for each other. More importantly though they are believable, they both have flaws, they both have their own problems and seem like normal 17 year olds. I think it’s easy to forget (particularly as someone who has almost 10 years on them) just how hard being a teenager is without the extra issues that Saoirse and Ruby face.

I’ll admit, during my teens I was obsessed with romcoms. I had DVDs upon DVDS of romcoms I’d pick up at car boot sales at weekend and watch over and over again – Bridget Jones was my favourite if you’re wondering. The fact that Ruby loves them and wants to share them with Saoirse was absolutely adorable. I also can’t help but think this would make one of the best films if it was done right.

The reason this book is more than simply a fun romance is because it deals with a very real issue and that is Saoirse’s mother’s early onset dementia and her fears that she will also inherit it. I’ll admit I don’t know much about dementia, particularly early onset and found the book really interesting in its approach. I really felt for Saoirse in her anger, frustration and confusion. That she wants to hide it, especially from Ruby so that she can try and have some normality.

Family is also crucial to this novel and I found the relationship between Saoirse and her Dad incredibly well handled and the question of when or if you should move on if a loved one needs care. The decision has a thousand shades of grey in between and it’s explored in a very sensitive way throughout the novel.

I thought the ending to this novel was perfect, of course, I’m not going to let you in on it and ruin the book but it felt like it was the ending that both of the characters deserved, that we as the reader deserved. It was incredibly well done and I was impressed because this is a debut novel!

It’s no surprise that I gave this 5 stars, it was a unique and truly lovely novel. The fact that this is a debut novel is really exciting, I’m looking forward to seeing what Ciara does next and I don’t have long to wait as she has a new book out this year!

Blog Tour: The Sad Ghost Club - Lize Meddings

Blog Tour: The Sad Ghost Club – Lize Meddings

Ever felt anxious or alone? Like you don’t belong anywhere? Like you’re almost… invisible?

Find your kindred spirits at The Sad Ghost Club.

When BookMark asked if I’d like to be part of their blog tour for The Sad Ghost Club, I jumped at the chance. I requested to read an early copy of the book because I liked the art style and thought the idea sounded sweet. The team at Bkmrk got in touch asking for my address, I mentioned it would be a great distraction as at the time I was in isolation with Covid. Not only was Becci kind enough to send me The Sad Ghost Club, she also sent across a few other books that I was so looking forward to. That kindness meant the world. Anyway, I digress.

For anyone who has felt depression or anxiety, who’s felt like they’re going through the motions because they don’t feel entirely present, you’ll be seen within the pages of this book. While reading I could feel myself nodding, remembering times where everything has felt so urgent and terrifying, while I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything about it.

The first half of this book will make you feel less alone, less weird, because I know for certain that in my toughest times with my mental health I felt not only lonely but also like there was something wrong with me. The experience being put on a page does wonders.

The second half of the book will do something even better, it’ll give you hope – something I think we’re all in need of right now. The good news, and something that you’re reminded of while reading is that there are others like you and, actually, people who understand can make really good company. We all have our stories, quirks and oddities – we’d be really boring if we didn’t, but it’s what makes us work.

I highly recommend this book. It’s a shorter read and, for me, it was something I could pick up and go through without having to think too much, which is great when you have a foggy brain. If you want to find out more you can also see the other stops on the blog tour below!

Thank you to the publishers and author for my copy in exchange for this post.

10 Poetry Collections And Novels In Verse To Try If You Liked Amanda Gorman’s Performance

Yesterday while watching President Biden’s inauguration I, like many others, was completely blown away by Amanda Gorman reciting her poem The Hill We Climb (as a side note her coat was amazing and I want to find one just like it).

Poetry is something a lot of people say they struggle with. I’ve loved poetry for a long time and even had a piece published myself (#humblebrag) – I think Amanda may have just woken thousands of people up to the fact poetry doesn’t have to be old and boring. It can be new, fun and exciting. It can give hope.

Because of this I wanted to share some of my favourites to get you started including both novels in verse and poetry collections because you may like one more than the other.

Novels in verse

Novels In Verse

Gut Feelings – C.G Moore

Explored chronic illness through poetry that packs a punch and a new release .

Clap When You Land – Elizabeth Acevedo

One of my favourites of 2020, full review here.

The Black Flamingo – Dean Atta

Growing up, coming out and becoming fabulous in drag, full review here.

Moonrise – Sarah Crossan

Will make you ugly cry, family and the US justice system.

The Girl And The Goddess – Nikita Gill

Another of my 2020 favourites, mythology, womanhood and growing up.

Poetry Collections

Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur

One you’ve probably heard of. A good one to get you started with shorter poetry.

Nobody told me: Poetry and Parenthood – Holly McNish

I don’t have kids but I felt this one to my core, it also made me laugh, review here.

Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately – Alicia Cook

Combining two of my favourite things, music and poetry in one collection.

Grief Is A Thing With Feathers – Max Porter

Deals with grief and bringing up a family alone, not the cheeriest but still good stuff.

I’ll leave you with the stunning poem and the reminder she has a collection out in September 2021!

What I Read In December 2020

What I Read In December 2020

December was a funny month between moving house, the flip-flopping over Christmas tiers, having covid while attempting Blogmas it was a fun time and I wasn’t sure how much reading I’d actually get done but between Christmas and New Year while I couldn’t really do much I found some excellent books.

I’ve been chatting to Yousra on Twitter for a while and was lucky enough to be sent a copy of her debut novel, Hijab and Red Lipstick, about a young woman who moves from London to the golf and how it changes her life. This is loosely based on Yousra’s own experiences and I learnt a lot while reading. I also absolutely adored Sara and really felt for her throughout the book.

A short poetry collection, Bloom very much falls into the category of Instagram poetry and the layout is beautiful. Some of these poems really spoke to me while others were a little more difficult to connect with. If you’re looking for a short collection I’d recommend it.

I finally went back to where it all began for Alice Oseman with Solitaire, I much prefer these covers when I was originally released I didn’t pick it up because it looked like it was to do with gaming – which it’s not. It was lovely to see where Alice started and I adored this book and can see why it was so popular.

I also read Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall which has been buzzing around on BookTube for a while so I preordered it. It’s an interesting read covering what it’s like to be in a secret relationship, but also to grieve when you can only do so privately. I found it to be ok but felt there could have been more too it.

Next up were two poetry/ verse collections. Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh is a novel in verse about a young women as she goes to college and learns about who she is, this was ok but to me it just seemed lacking, particularly in the second half of the book. I picked up Halsey’s first poetry collection I Would Leave Me If I Could because I love her lyrics and music. I think because she is a lyricist these didn’t work as well on paper as poems, not for me but I’m still a huge fan of her music.

Woman World by Aminder Dhaliwal was also a gift, it had an interesting concept and a shorter read, if you’re looking for something kick with a feminist edge then this would be a good read for you.

I ordered The Silent Stars Go By by Sally Nicholls in the Waterstones sale after seeing it in the shop (don’t you miss browsing in bookshops?!). I’ll admit I was drawn in by the beautiful cover but the plot, set just after WW1 and the Spanish Influenza, and is about a young woman who found herself pregnant while her soldier boyfriend was presumed dead. After giving the baby to her mother he is revealed to be alive and will be home for Christmas, wanting to know why his sweetheart didn’t return his letters upon learning he’s alive. I adored this book, it’s short but so well written and easy to imagine.

I got a copy of The Ravens by Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige in my December Illumicrate box. I hadn’t heard of it be before but witches, sororities a cool over – I was in. This was excellent, it made me remember why I love books about witches and magic so much. It also worked really well within a modern setting and I’m really looking forward to the second in the duology, which will hopefully be released in 2022.

Did you get much read in December? Let me know in the comments below!

Top 10 Books of 2020

Top 10 Books Of 2020

What’s better for the first post of 2021 than books? One of the saving graces of 2020 was the books I fell into. At final count I read 125 books a range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, graphic novels, audiobooks. Trying to choose from all of those books which were my favourites was not easy.

Let’s get cracking and see which books I was hopelessly in love with last year.

The Girl and the Goddess – Nikita Gill

This is kind of a poetry collection but also a novel in verse that also incorporates Hindu mythology. It was absolutely stunning and you watch the life of a young girl from before she’s born up until she’s a young woman. There are some content warnings for this too, so make sure if you have any sensitivities to look them up. I couldn’t put this down and I know a lot of people felt the same.

The Midnight Library – Matt Haig

This book has been everywhere and for good reason. From Dolly Parton tweeting about it to BookTube exploding and it is so, so deserved. This is a novel about life, death and the choices you make in life. Every now and again, there are books that come into your life at exactly the right time. Like many people I struggled with my mental health during lockdown and had too much time in my own head.

Matt Haig is an incredible author, I’ve read 3 books of his previously and loved them all. It’s the way in which he understands and see’s the world. I finished the novel and felt like I was going to be ok, like things were going to be ok eventually.

There are also trigger warnings for this novel, after all, the main character is someone who is suicidal.

The Invisible Life Of Addi LaRue – V.E. Schwab

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Victoria Schwab as an author and as a human being. Addie is a book that has been spoken about for a long time, long before I knew about her. It’s also quite possibly the best book she’s ever written. I adore Addie, so much so that I am getting an Addie LaRue tattoo in January.

It’s so brilliantly written and clever. The fact that we see Addie’s growth from a young woman who makes a desperate bargain with a god, to a woman who has lived over 300 years and experienced more than we can even imagine. Also can we talk about Henry – lovely, lovely Henry who I cared about deeply. I also want to get a cat and call it Book. You can read my review here.

The Only Plane In The Sky, The Oral History Of 9/11 – Garrett M. Graff

This is a detailed history of 9/11 from people all over the country, those with the President, those who were in the towers themselves, family members, people who watched along, pilots who were instructed to shoot down any other suspected threats. It’s an important read and something I think should be used to teach later generations.

Dear NHS 100 Stories To Say Thank You – Edited by Adam Kay

If we ever needed a year to show the importance of the NHS it’s this one. Edited by This Is Going To Hurt author Adam Kay, this is a collection by many well known names that raised money for our wonderful National Health Service. I loved it so much I bought a second copy straight away and gave it to my Nanna.

Serpent & Dove – Shelby Mahurin

So, I got this for Christmas last year and it sat on my book case. I had a piece of magic sat on my shelves and I’m so glad I got to it this year – and that I read it after the second book was released because I could move straight on to it once I finished. What happens when a secret Witch and a Witch-Hunter get forced to marry? I love this book and the ending I did not expect at all. Chef’s kiss.

Hold Still – Nina LaCour

It was really hard to pick which Nina LaCour book to make my pick for the year – I’ve read 3 of her novels this year and enjoyed all of them. Hold Still hit differently though, it’s about the grief of losing a best friend to suicide and trying to find yourself afterwards. Beautifully written and it will stay with you for a long time after reading.

Clap When You Land – Elizabeth Acevedo

I’m so glad I tried Elizabeth Acevedo again! I was one of the (very few) people who struggled with The Poet X, but I picked up With The Fire On High and loved it, so I had to get Clap When You Land and was lucky enough to get an arc.

Novels in verse are hidden gems and I thought this was spectacularly written. Both girls perspectives were a great read and, if anything, I want to know what happens next!

Good Girl, Bad Blood – Holly Jackson

This is another book where I wish I hadn’t waited so long to pick it up! I read both A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and Good Girl, Bad Blood in the summer and I can’t wait to read the third book in the series in 2021.

I had to choose between the two but this got the top spot because I found the idea so fascinating. I can’t say much about the plot and why I loved it so much – that’s one of the only things about mysteries and thrillers you can’t say anything! I’ll have a review out next year!

Heartstopper, Volume 3 – Alice Oseman

I’ve read 1 graphic novel, 2 novellas and 1 novel by Alive Oseman this year – Nick and Charlie were in all of them so it only seemed right that they fit into my top 10. Volume 3 see’s Nick and Charlie go to Paris with their school. As well as exploring the city, this is where things also get a little more serious. You can read my review here and volume 4 comes out in 2021!

What were some of your favourite reads in 2020? Let me know in the comments below!