Book Review: Dear Girls - Ali Wong

Book Review: Dear Girls – Ali Wong

‘Ali Wong’s heartfelt and hilarious letters to her daughters (the two she put to work while they were still in utero), covering everything they need to know in life, like the unpleasant details of dating, how to be a working mom in a male-dominated profession, and how she trapped their dad.’

After watching Ali Wong’s two Netflix specials and her recent interviews I can say that I am a fan (so much so I am gutted I can’t afford tickets to her London show in June!). So when I heard she’d released a book for her daughters – and the rest of us I knew I needed to read about life and the world according to Ali.

This is absolutely hilarious, and would you expect any less? When picking it up I knew I had to listen to the audiobook that Ali herself narrates because it felt like a 3rd Netflix special and I am so here for that! I had to stifle quite a few laughs while listening because her signature humor is there!

There is a mix of truly hilarious stories that she makes clear her daughters aren’t to read until they’re MUCH older and really heartfelt pieces. I was particularly touched by her vulnerability about her miscarriage and how she felt. I really hope after reading more women can feel able to open up.

It’s clear from this book that Ali Wong is much more than a stand up comedian, she’s an absolute boss. You can see that’s she’s worked hard, stood up to misogyny and is balancing being one of the funniest comedians and a good Mum at the same time. Also, the chapter by her Husband is adorable, absolutely bloody adorable.

This was a solid 4.5 starts for me. Incredibly funny, well written and I think Ali’s daughters will really love reading this as they get older. Also, as I said before, if you get a chance listen to the audiobook because it really is a treat.

Book Review: It’s Not Ok To Feel Blue And Other Lies – Edited By Scarlett Curtis

It’s OK if everything might feel a bit overwhelming.
It’s OK to talk about it.
It’s OK to not want to talk about it.
It’s OK to find it funny.
It’s OK to be human.”

Back with another book of tackling taboos Scarlett Curtis is talking about mental health and she has even more people coming to write this time.

I pre-ordered this as soon as I found out about it because I absolutely adored the first book Scarlett put together Feminists Don’t Wear Pink And Other Lies , it was a real eye opener and one of my favourites about Feminism. And while this collection is bigger, I can understand why – the topic is something that impacts everyone whether it’s you or someone close to you.

With names such as Emilia Clarke, Adam Kay, Matt Haig, Bryony Gordon, Emma Thompson and Naomi Campbell lending their personal stories and essays to the collection it was going to be interesting. We see these people on the TV, online, out in the world doing great things but knowing that even those who are great have struggled or continue to make people feel less alone.

This is definitely one to pick up and read as much as you can because there are some really heavy subjects in here, obviously, and I definitely think that you need to consider how you’re feeling before you read it. That said, there really is something for everyone in here, no matter what you’ve been through or felt.

About half way through the book I found myself struggling to differentiate between the stories so I switched to the audiobook and found it so much better. A mix of voice actors and those who could read their own stories were recorded. Personally, that made it for me and, stangely, made it more real.

I gave this 4.5 stars. This is the kind of book that we need more of in the world so we know that people are not alone and keep the conversation around mental health going. I think this will be impactful, partly because Scarlett has managed to get well known names that people look up to.

2020 Releases I'm Looking Forward To Part 1

2020 Releases I’m Looking Forward To Part 1

There are set to be some absolute bangers this year in books. While most of these are YA, I am going to try and expand my reading (which is why this is part 1) BUT most of these I’ve been looking forward to for a long time and are part of a series I’ve been reading.

All of these dates are what’s currently listed on Goodreads and may change!

House of Earth and Blood – Sarah J Maas

I absolutely adored A Court of Thorns and Roses and so I’m really excited for this series. There are demons, fallen angels and despite the fact it’s going to be over 800 pages (eek). I’m super excited for this one.

Released: 3rd March

The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue – V.E Schwab

There’s no cover for this yet but it’s a new V.E Schwab so of course I’m super hyped! She’s been talking about this online for a while and in her own words it’s about ‘A French girl makes a deal with the devil, ends up cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. Until 300 years later, when she meets a boy who remembers her name.’

I’m so, so in.

Released: 6th October

Loveless – Alice Oseman

I think Alice Oseman is not only an excellent writer but seems like a pretty great human being. Loveless is a really important book to her with Ace representation and I’m really excited to read it.

Released: 9th July

The Gravity of Us – Phil Stamper

So, I met Phil while we were both studying at Kingston and both up for awards a few years ago and he’s such a lovely guy. There’s a lot of hype about The Gravity Of Us and for good reason, there’s space, there’s social media and a first romance between two guys. So excited.

Released: 4th February (out now!)

Heartstopper Volume 3 – Alice Oseman

I’ve talked about Heartstopper a lot in the past year, it’s one of my favourites and just makes my heart so happy. I’m so excited for volume 3 to see what Nick and Charlie are up to. Roll on February!

Released: 6th February (out now!)

Bridge of Souls (Cassidy Blake #3) – Victoria Schwab

I started this series in 2019 and both books made it into my favourites of 2019. If you haven’t heard about it Cassidy can see ghosts, her best friend Jacob is a ghost and her parents travel around the world making documentaries (although they can’t see them) they also have an adorable cat called Grim. Have I sold it to you yet?

Released: 1st September

Clap When You Land – Elizabeth Acevedo

Two girls who both adore their father are devastated when he dies in a plane crash which soon turns to shock when they learn about each other. I’ve heard a lot about this on American BookTube so I’m looking forward to getting hold of a copy.

Released: 14th May

The Love Hypothesis – Laura Steven

Laura Steven is one of my favourite YA authors and she’s got a pretty great Instagram too. The Love Hypothesis is about a girl who is all about the academics and an over-achiever (guilty) who can’t quite work out love. She also happens to be in love with her best friend. We’re in for a hell of a ride.

Released: 5th March

What else should I be looking out for? Let me know below!

Blogmas 2019 Bookish Naughty List Tag

Blogmas 2019: Bookish Naughty List Tag

I found this over on Jenniely’s blog (post here) I’m counting this list for this year only not as a lifelong reader. It’s time for the Bookish Naughty List Tag!

Received an ARC and not reviewed it  

I’m yet to find a book blogger/vlogger who isn’t guilty of this – I need to be much more selective in the new year.

Have less than 60% feedback rating on Netgalley

Guilty as charged.

Rated a book on goodreads and promised a full review was to come on your blog (and never did)

Haha, yes of course.

Folded down the page of a book

Probably at some point this year on an old book.

Accidentally spilled on a book

No! I’d be so mad at myself.

DNF a book this year

Yes and I’m so glad I did! I’m totally on board with DNFing books.

Bought a book purely because it was pretty with no intention of reading it

No! I always intend to read them.

Read whilst you were meant to be doing something else (like homework)

Oh totally! Physical books all the time and also audiobooks are a great way to do this because people think you’re just listening to music.

Skim read a book

Yep, although normally it’s either for book club or I end up not finishing a book I have to skim.

Completely missed your Goodreads goal

Smashed it.

Borrowed a book and not returned it

Not this year! But I have in the past and I still feel guilty about it.

Broke a book buying ban

Pfft is this even a question? Of course I have! October was my most recent one, oops.

Started a review, left it for ages then forgot what the book was about

Yep, there’s definitely drafts in this blog that I would have to go back and look up the plot again or have a skim read of the finer points.

Wrote in a book you were reading

Nope, the only time I’ve done this is back when I was annotating while studying. I don’t like writing in books, I didn’t like it then and I don’t like it now.

Finished a book and not added it to your Goodreads

Nope! Not guilty I always add what I’ve read to Goodreads – I want to see that challenge completed!

I tag anyone who’s needing a bit of blogmas inspiration!

Book Review: The Flatshare – Beth O’Leary

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy works in a publishing job she loves but it doesn’t pay much, combine that with needing to move out of her ex-boyfriends flat she’ll tak anything, including a slightly unusual agreement. Leon is a hospice nurse who’s in need to money to support his brother and a flat share sounds like a perfect plan.

I need to start by saying that this is one of the cutest books. I’ve been more interested in contemporary romances recently, books I know will have love and humor and The Flatshare ticked both of those boxes. I had seen this all over the internet with great reviews so I picked up the audiobook narrated by one of my favourite theatre actresses and youtubers, Carrie Hope Fletcher. I also now love the voice of Kwaku Fortune!

While a lot of people think this is a fluffy friends to lovers story, there are some excellent and complex themes within the novel and I was so impressed. O’Leary considers toxic relationships, emotional abuse and wrongful imprisonment. She has a talent for weaving in these topics into a novel which ultimately made you feel both happy and more knowledgeable once finishing.

These characters felt very real, I cared about them and what was going on in their lives. There were points where I shouted out loud while reading because I was so invested in what was happening and where the different threads were going to go. For me, the audiobook was absolutely perfect it really added to the experience so I’d really recommend it.

I was wracking my brain while writing this for anything I would change and truly I don’t think I would change it. It’s a perfect mix of humour, romance and topics that make you think. Also I adored some of the side characters too, they really added to the novel and let us get to know Tiffy and Leon a lot better than just their impressions of each other.

It’s really no surprise that I gave this 5 stars. I highly recommend this novel and I can’t wait to see what Beth O’Leary writes next. She’s got a real talent and it can only get better!

Book Review: Eat, Drink, Run How I Got Fit Without Going Too Mad – Bryony Gordon

Bryony Gordon was not a runner. A loafer, a dawdler, a drinker, a smoker, yes. A runner, no. In April 2017, less than a year after she had weighed herself at over 16 stone but stepped off the scales and started training anyway, Bryony Gordon ran all 26 and 3/4 miles of the London Marathon.

If you’re friends with me on Goodreads you’ll know that I’ve adored every book I have read by Bryony Gordon – she’s funny, intelligent and just gets it. Although, this is the one I took longest to pick up. It was about running, something I can’t stand at all – would I really enjoy it? Read on friend, but I think you’ll work out pretty early on what the answer is.

One of the things I like most about Bryony is that she doesn’t take herself too seriously. She knows how to laugh at herself and it’s a relief, you feel like you can laugh along too. Calling Prince Harry Hazza? Classic Bryony. Signing up the London Marathon without knowing how long it was? I laughed a lot while reading this and I think most people will.

This is more than a story of just running a marathon, it’s about battling your mental health, finding comfort in others and not giving up. Bryony started something called Mental Health Mates (more about it here) where a bunch of ‘mad’ people could have a get together and walk which is a bloody brilliant idea.

Again, Bryony covers another section of her life and health with unflinching honesty. She talks about the toll that writing Mad Girl had on her mental health and how walking and running gave her a little bit of sanity. Also, if you’re a fan of her other books, there are plenty of Harry’s brilliant reactions to Bryony’s shenanigans too.

If you’re worried this will be a prechy and self righteous book about the power of exercise, don’t be. Yes, Bryony found a love for running but she doesn’t try and force it on the reader at all, she simply writes about the joy and the many challenges she faced.

I found this to be funny, relatable and because of that I gave it 5 stars. Another excellent and honest book by Bryony – she truly is a wonderful human and I can’t wait to see what she gets up to next. Also, I listened to this as an audiobook and can highly recommend!

Unpopular Opinions Book Tag 2019 Edition

Unpopular Opinions Book Tag 2019 Edition

A while ago I did the Unpopular Opinions Tag and you guys seem to have really enjoyed it so how about a round 2? Brace yourselves guys, this might just get ugly. I’m kidding but I might just hit you in the feels.

What is a popular book or series that you didn’t like?

My Sister the Serial Killer – I listened to the audiobook and was bored. I’d heard so many good things about it but I just couldn’t get on with the plot or narration. But it’s up for a load of awards so other people seem to like it.

What is a popular book or series that everyone else seems to hate but you love?

I’ve gone back a little bit here (I couldn’t find anything recent that would fit this) – there is so much hate online for Looking For Alaska by John Green. Now, it has been a long time since I read it but I really, really enjoyed the book.

I think it was the second book by John Green I ever read and I thought it was well written and can’t remember having any issues with it.

What is a love triangle in a book or series where the main character ended up with the person you did not want them to end up with?

I actually can’t think of any, I guess the closest I can think of is Katniss and Peeta in The Hunger Games. Peeta was so pure and kind and I just don’t see it working with the two of them. Sorry not sorry.

What is a popular book genre that you hardly reach for?

Horror isn’t something I choose to read, I think if it had a really interesting plot I might try it but I just can’t seem to get into it! That and I have a really vivid imagination for that kind of stuff and will probably have the worst nightmares.

What is a popular or beloved character that you do not like?

There is a lot of love for Draco Malfoy in the Potter fandom and personally I don’t get it. He was a brat and a bully throughout the series and ultimately he was a coward. Nope, no love for Draco although a LOT of love for Tom Felton because he’s amazing.

Who is a popular author that you can’t seem to get into?

Rainbow Rowell. I tried to read Fangirl and I just really struggled to care and none of the other books interest me.

What is a popular book trope that you are tired of seeing?

Quiet girl who has been a nobody catches the eye of the most popular guy in school, romance ensues *swoon*. Nope, nope, nope. It gets so boring.

What is a popular book or series that you have no interest in reading?

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, I tried Fangirl and found it really boring and when I tried to read it it just seemed like a Harry Potter rip off – oops!

What is a movie or TV show adaption of a book or series that you like more than the book/s?

Only because of the length but Game of Thrones. The first book took me so long to get through and there were so many names and so much going on. I might change my mind when I pick them up again.

Did you agree with any of my unpopular opinions? Or do you have any of your own? Let me know in the comments below!