My Top 10 Books of 2017!

We’ve finally got to the end of the year! Well, it has been a long one but I’ve had plenty of books to get me through it, hitting my goal of 100 books today, but what about the top 10?

I have to say it hasn’t been my greatest year in terms of 5-star reads BUT there have been some absolute crackers, which means it has been hard to narrow it down…are your favourites in my top 10?

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Turtles All The Way Down – John Green 

I got into John Greens books when The Fault in Our Stars came out but then read them very quickly. I didn’t think we’d get a new novel so of course, I started this the second I got my hands on it. John Green is incredible and you could definitely tell this was written from the perspective of someone who has struggled with mental illness. Review here.

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The Sun and All Her Flowers – Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur came back with another cracking collection and I’ve really got into my poetry this year. This was another beautiful collection, exploring the evolving stages of relationships as well as a tribute, I felt, to her mother. Review here.

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Making Faces – Amy Harmon

This was an ARC that I received and I absolutely loved it. This broke my heart but gave me hope. Set in the aftermath of 9/11 it looks at the impact on young people, as well as looking at the idea of popularity and beauty. Review here.

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How Not To Be a Boy – Robert Webb

This surprised me, of course, I’d watched Robert Webb growing up on the TV but not thought much about him. It was only after I heard an interview I picked this up. A really interesting look at depression, gender and growing up. Review here.

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It Only Happens In The Movies – Holly Bourne

Holly Bourne came back after her wildly successful Spinster Club series and made me fall in love all over again. In true Bourne style, we have a kick-ass protagonist that decides love isn’t like the movies especially after her parents marriage crumbles as well as her own relationship. Review to come but you can find out more here.

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Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls – Elena Favilli

This was amazing, with beautiful illustration and tales about women that I’ve never heard of as well as women who I definitely have. This is for children but I think you’ll fall in love with it.  Review here.

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My Lovely Wife – Mark Lukach

It’s refreshing to read about mental illness from the perspective of family members. Mark Lukah marries the love of his life after meeting at eighteen. What neither of them knew at the time was that their later marriage would be tested to the limit as Giulia is hospitalised for severe mental illness. I loved this so much, especially as it is so honest and looks at relapse, the struggles and stresses of dealing with hospitals. So, so good. Review to come, but you can find out more here.

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My Shitty Twenties – Emily Morris

The title was enough to make me pick up this book. When Emily unexpectedly falls pregnant as a student the father responds by telling her to enjoy her ‘shitty twenties’, I know what a charmer. This goes through Emily’s journey as a young Mum and is full of honesty but also has a sense of humour. Review here.

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Nina Is Not Okay – Shappi Khorsandi

You might have seen Shappi on I’m A Celebrity but did you know she was a brilliant author? For me, this put Young Adult Fiction on another level. It’s not a light read but it is so worth it and it’s the first time I’ve seen a young person depecited as actually having a drinking problem. Review to come, more information here.

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The Diary of Anne Frank

Reading this as an adult made it more remarkable and more heartbreaking. Anne would have had such potential, she had such an incredible talent as you can see in her writing from such a young age. Review to come, more info here.

Note: I have not included anything that will be released in 2018! These will be included in my 2018 wrap up!

 

Amsterdam 2015 – Laughs, Beauty and Best Friends

Hello to all my lovely followers! I’m back from Amsterdam and I’ve finally gotten enough sleep to write coherent sentences! After spending the past few days in Amsterdam I can say that not only have I had a nice break but I’ve made some incredible memories with two of my best friends Daniela and Amy. This post will have a lot of pictures and a LOT of laughs because everything just seemed to happen to us!

After setting off on Sunday night we were all excited and got our back seat on the coach, driving through the night everything seemed to be going smoothly that was until we got onto the ferry. For well after midnight it was packed with people and the only space we could find was next to a man with quite an odd smell, combine that with a very rocky ship I wasn’t feeling all too well but before too long we could get back on to the coach where I thought I’d get a few hours sleep….not so much. I finally got to a point where I was starting to doze off when I could hear shouting through my headphones and someone threatening to ‘punch someone in the nose’. While most people were a bit nervous about this I was more irritated than anything, I mean come on it was nearly 5am in France, calm yourselves! A lovely man with some seriously impressive ink managed to try and calm things down and alert the driver, who had to pull up in the middle of nowhere to call the doctor and the police. We were stuck like that for an hour and a half while two people were taken off of the coach and sorted out, delaying our arrival.

Eventually we arrived to a drizzly Amsterdam and got the tram into the city centre where we saw our first sights of the city, although I have to admit after not having slept I didn’t take much in apart from the fact someone on the coach had smeared my new bag with chewing gum. Nice. We asked for directions to our hotel and were told it was simple to find but apparently not. We must have looked a sight the three off us half awake wandering around the streets of Amsterdam with our luggage looking incresingly confused. We found it eventually but had another 2 hours until we could get into our room so we did what any other group of girls in their twenties would do…we went into the Sex Museum. Well it was certainly interesting and some of the pictures on the walls were more than a little terrifying…my innocence has forever been destroyed. 11930889_10154225071528206_8684867348378646063_o

One of our first sights of Amsterdam, although taken when it wasn’t raining! 

We wandered around taking in the city and trying to get an idea of where everything is before finally being able to take a nap (after the girls had decorated the room in balloons and banners for my birthday because they’re adorable) in the room before hitting the town in the evening. The thing you have to know about Amsterdam is there are very different parts and two main tourist areas…we unknowingly booked our hotel on the partying and red light district side rather than the cute Vondelpark side, oops. I’ve never seen anything like the red light district and if I’m honest I felt more than a little bit uncomfortable. The men didn’t only look at the women in the windows but girls like us too who were simply in jeans and jumpers. That said there was a little shock to my system as apparently geek glasses are now sexy with most of the women in shop windows wearing glasses that looked a lot like my glasses I wear to help me see, I hoped no one would get any ideas!  11930969_10154221642183206_4169589696280979323_o

It may have been a cloudy day but you couldn’t help but see Amsterdam’s beauty 

We had a pretty early night with plans for a fully packed day the next morning. We had to be up and out of the room by 8am if we wanted a chance at getting in the Anne Frank house without queueing for two hours. I’ve wanted to visit the house since I was really young and so I was more than a little bit excited to visit and standing in the slightly chilly morning air and desperately trying to connect to wifi in the queue was a small price to pay.

We got in after waiting for around an hour and a half and I’ve seen nothing like it. I’d imagined Anne and the world she paints with her diary countless times but nothing could have prepared me for it, the rooms were so small. Everyone was silent as they walked through and just tried to take it in. There were so many moments when I just felt my heart fall, seeing Anne’s pictures on the wall, the bookcase that concealed them and most of all her diary. Seeing the diary made me want to just sit and look at it for hours. I think the most heartbreaking part was watching the videos of Otto that played every now and again. His pain at what he had lost just went straight to my heart.  I couldn’t walk past the central station after that without remembering how he waited there for his daughters who never came home.

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After we purchased our tickets for the Van Gogh museum the next day before I headed back to the hotel to rest for a little bit because my back wasn’t feeling especially great. The girls knew that I was struggling a little bit and while I took a nap they walked around and bought me back a bar of chocolate. Later in the evening, Amy had a headache so Dani and I went out so she could have a sleep and we’d text her a bit later on to meet up. Well we did text her but all didn’t go as much to plan as we’d thought. Our safe in the room had gone weird and so Dani and I rushed back to the room where the staff were absolutely useless, luckily our passports weren’t left in there! Eventually we all did go out for a wander around and to buy some souvenirs.

The final day was definitely the best. The sun finally came out and the girls had booked me a surprise for my birthday we were going on a cruise of the city! Although what we didn’t know until just before is that the cruise we had been sold was a lovers cruise! So we had a bit of a lie in before walking down to get our boat. The only seats were near an old german couple, the man was hilarious talking to us about anything to do with London, telling us they lived in a town of lesbians which was good but crazy and then drawing little cartoons of us to keep…oh and telling me I had beautiful teeth, like a rabbit. We couldn’t stop laughing and it wasn’t until we got off the boat that we realised that he thought we were lesbians on the lovers cruise!

The rest of the day was spent going to the Van Gogh museum which was a dream as he is one of my all time favourite artists. I felt so emotional seeing his paintings, reading his letters and reading about his battles with mental health. He was a truly incredible man. I went a little nuts in the gift shop and was mesmerised by all the artwork on display. After we wandered to Vondel Park and was almost killed by cyclists and relaxed in the sunshine before heading to the incredible Hard Rock cafe for happy hour and dinner and we were even given a free drink for my birthday!

Even the trip back was great despite being on a coach for 12 hours, we made some wonderful friends on the way back who I hope to stay in touch with. Amsterdam was incredible and I have two amazing friends who I got to share it with who spoilt me rotten. It’s something I’m going to remember forever and I think Amsterdam is always going to have a special place in my heart.

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