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.

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!

My Top 10 Highlights of 2018

My Top 10 Highlights of 2018

We made it to the end of 2018 – wooooooo! It’s been a weird year of up and downs, but I’ve learnt a lot from it. I wanted to share with you just 10 of my highlights from 2018, it was hard to whittle them down! If you’re looking for my bookish favourites of the year you can find those here.

paramore - couple - 10 years - relationship - growing up

Paramore

We kicked off the New Year with another trip to see Paramore, our 4th time together. As you can see Ali still doesn’t want to smile for pictures. Despite how it looks we had a great time!

Becoming A Published Poet

Finding out I was being published and then recieving the final product! I’m a published writer!!! I wonder what I can publish in 2019…

London Book Fair 2018

Visiting the London Book Fair

I was invited to attend the London Book Fair as a blogger with my Mum. It was something I wanted to do for a while and it was an interesting day, even if I did feel a little like a deer in headlights.

Hammies

One became…three. I said no more and then Ali and I went to Pets at Home and we saw our little guys BB & Artoo. I’m now a hamster Mum x3 and I absolutely love my little buddies. They really keep me company when Ali’s away.

YALC

I got to go to YALC! A whole day of being around book people, buying books and it was magical. I also got a pretty impressive book haul, which I’m still making my way through. Hopefully I can finish tme all before next year!

Going freelance & starting my business!

I’d been toying with the idea of going freelance for a few months but thought it was something I would never be able to do, until I had to! I’m now living life as a freelancer and absolutely LOVING it!

Six The Musical

Musicals!

I saw not one but two new musicals this year which I didn’t realise how much I missed! When I was younger I was a total musical nut, I even wanted to be a musical theatre actress when I grew up (more on that in another blog).

I loved Heathers enough to see it twice and I’d happily see Six again when it moves back to London. I’m looking forward to getting more shows in 2019!

10 year anniversary

We made it to 10 years! I’ve been lucky enough to spend the past decade with this wonderful human. He’s pretty great.

Disneyland!

I got to go to Disneyland!!! DISNEYLAND. I loved it so much I wrote not one but two blogs. You can read the first one here and the second here.

I Read 115 Books!

After setting my Goodreads goal at 50 so that I didn’t feel any pressure, I managed to double it and then added some! I read some really amazing books (and some not so amazing books).

There are more things and people that I haven’t had a chance to add but here’s to hoping I have an even better 2019!

My Top 12 of 2018

My 12 Top Books of 2018!

I have been dithering over this post for SO long. I head over 100 books this year and trying to decide which ones came out on top was really hard. 

It is because of that there have been many drafts of this post, at one point it had over 30 books in it…yep. I’ve managed to whittle it down to 12, I mean there are 12 months in the year… 

A Court Of Thorns And Roses
A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas 

In 2018 I found one of my favourite new series’s. I’d heard all about this online and I fell in love and devoured the series as well as getting 2 of my closest friends hooked. 

This was initially a Beauty and the Beat retelling but becomes so much more. I couldn’t put these down and I can’t wait for the next in the series. My review for the first book is here

The Exact Opposite of Okay - Laura Steven
The Exact Opposite Of Okay – Laura Steven

Laura Steven’s debut was incredible. The protagonist, Izzy, is an aspiring comic and screenwriter whose life is turned upside down after a picture of her with a politicians son goes viral. 

This was not only a really funny read, but it also had a heart to it. What was unique to this novel is that the protagonist takes hold of what those are saying about her and keeps herself going with a ‘screw you’ attitude – without being robotic. Oh, and it has a kick-ass Feminist vibe. I wrote all about my love for this book here

Vox
Vox – Christina Dalcher 

I made it my mission to a get copy of this at YALC this year. A dystopian future America where women are limited to 100 words a day and confined to their homes. Until one of them is needed.

This was pretty dark and incredibly relevant to what’s happening to women’s voices and something we cannot ignore. I wrote a review after I stayed up way too late finishing it. 

This Is Going To Hurt
This Is Going To Hurt – Adam Kay 

A non-fiction book I think that everyone should read, in particular those making decisions about the NHS. Adam Kay was a Doctor in Gynaecology, taking us through the highs and the many lows this was a huge eye opener. 

I laughed while reading this, but I was also in tears at other moments. All I wanted to do when I finished was thank each and every one of my doctors. An incredible book that deserves all the praise it is getting. Review here

Orbiting Jupiter - Gary D. Schmidt
Orbiting Jupiter – Gary D. Schmidt 

When I bought this at YALC I had no idea I would be so emotionally invested in the story. A family take in a teenager who has been in a juvenile facility and is a teenage father, told through the perspective of a young boy who becomes his foster brother. 

The ending truly shocked me and it was incredibly well written as well as being quite short. You’ll love it, I want to read it again but I don’t think I’m ready for the emotions. Here’s my review.

Notes on a Nervous Planet - Matt Haig
Notes On A Nervous Planet – Matt Haig

Matt Haig’s first book was brilliant, and then he released the follow-up. Matt has a way of speaking to you through whatever is going on in your life.

Feeling anxious? Ill at ease with the state of the world or what’s going on around you? This is the book for you. More info here.  

New Erotica For Feminists
New Erotica For Feminists 

Three words. Satire. Feminism. Humour. 

That’s all you need to know to fall in love with this collection. I laughed so hard but also felt really empowered after reading – all my thoughts are here.

Feminists Don't Wear Pink
Feminists Don’t Wear Pink And Other Lies

This is an amazing collection from women across all backgrounds about not just Feminism, but also what it means to be a woman. 

Not only was this a joy, it was also easy to read and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone. You can read my review over here

Girl Made of Stars
Girl Made Of Stars – Ashley Herring Blake 

Something within this book spoke to my heart. Following the unimaginable pain of being caught between a best friend and brother – she has accused him of rape. She wouldn’t lie, but how could he do that? 

It took a true talent to write this book. Also, plus points for a bisexual protagonist where their sexuality isn’t the plot. My full review is here

Only Child - Rhiannon Navin
Only Child – Rhiannon Navin

I could not stop thinking about this novel after I read it. Set during and after a school shooting we see the world through the eyes of six-year-old Zach after he survives, but his older brother doesn’t. 

This will break your heart but it’s such an important read. I couldn’t believe this was a debut novel it is so well written and I think Rhiannon Navin is one to watch. I was also part of the book tour.  

Love, Hate And Other Filters
Love, Hate & Other Filters – Samira Ahmed

The first book I finished in 2018 made it to my top 12. This was an incredible debut that spoke out in defiance of hate and Islamophobia. 

I also fell in love with the protagonist Maya and her coming to terms with her own identity. This is also an own voices novel. I wrote a review about why I love it so much here

Moonrise
Moonrise – Sarah Crossan

Well, did this break my heart? Yes it did. I’d read one of Sarah Crossan’s novels before and couldn’t get on with it but the premise of this was too incredible not to try. I’m so glad I did. 

Written in poetry and telling the story of a family facing the execution of a loved one, it not only made me tear up but also want to give it to everyone I know.

There we have it, my top 12 of the year! Did any of your favourites make the list? Let me know in the comments below! 

What I Thought of Dumplin'

What I Thought Of Dumplin’

Dumplin' Film Poster

When the novel of Dumplin’ came out a few years ago there was a lot of hype but I never read it. I knew nothing about beauty pageants and they didn’t interest me so I left it at that…fast forward to 2018. After seeing a lot about the Netflix film and seeing the trailer I was intrigued. So, what did I think? 

When watching I actually got quite emotional which I didn’t expect. This isn’t a story about weight, of course Willowdean is fat but that’s not all there is to her. Ultimately, this is a story about family and love. I absolutely adored it.

I loved the fact that the pageant girls weren’t portrayed as being bitches in the film. I’m not sure if this is true of the book, but it was so refreshing not to have a whole book about girls hating each other for how they look. There wasn’t the cattiness and nastiness that we’ve seen time and time again.

I would have liked to have known more about the side characters, although I’m told there is a second book called Puddin’ which explores some of the other characters and um, yes please Netflix!

If you’re looking for a feel good film that isn’t about Christmas this is perfect. I recommended it to one of my best friends and she’s also fallen in love with it. I’m hoping we can both read the book too.

What did you think of Dumplin? I’d love to know in the comments below!