What I Read In January 2020!

A new reading year and a new Goodreads challenge. I was so, so excited to set my goal this year, it hasn’t changed – it’s still 100 books, but what will they be? Will I find a new favourite? Will I read more or less. THE EXCITEMENT GUYS.

In January I got on it. I decided that every evening I wanted to switch off my laptop and read, not just spend my whole evening watching YouTube or scrolling endlessly through my Instagram. That means I got a lot of reading done! Here’s what I read in January…

My first book of the year was one I started at the end of December after seeing everyone say what a great book it was and it held up. The Only Plane In The Sky by Garrett M. Graff was incredible, moving and, of course, heartbreaking. Hearing what happened from the people who were there was something I’ll never forget. A 5 star read.

Next up, I needed something a little lighter with more humor which is why I picked up a copy of How To Have Feminist Sex by Flo Perry. A graphic guide with a lot of laughs as well as making you contemplate how women are viewed in terms of image, desire and sexual preference. A 4 star read for me.

I received an ARC of The Recovery of Rose Gold on NetGalley and it seemed like such an interesting premise. While I did read it very quickly I felt pretty let down by it because of the hype I’ve seen. The ending just wasn’t for me. A 3 star read for me.

I’ve been looking at getting Sunday’s Child for ages as a woman looks at her Grandfather’s past as a child in Hitler Youth. I really wanted to learn from this and for it to be a great read but it was a bit flat for me – 3 stars.

I got an ARC of Strangely Wrapped Gift via NetGalley. It’s a poetry collection where the author considers her life with OCD. I don’t like being negative but this one just wasn’t for me and I couldn’t gel with the style of writing 3 stars.

Jasmine Warga’s previous book My Heart And Other Black Holes was a really strong read so when I found a copy of Here We Are Now going cheap I picked it up. I’m kicking myself for letting it sit on my shelves for as long as it did. A girl meets her rock star Dad for the first time and embarks on getting to know him and the family she didn’t know. A 4 star read and now I’m trying to find more of her books.

I got A Good Time To Be A Girl on Audible. I didn’t know anything about Helena Morrisey but I’m always willing to hear about awesome women who want to change the system. This memoir wasn’t exactly that, instead it looked at Helena’s career and life and while it was interesting I didn’t really gain much from it, 3.5 stars.

I’ve seen We Are Okay on BookTube a lot and was intrigued I mentioned it to a friend and because she’s great she remembered and got it for me for Christmas. I absolutely adore this book and definitely need to read more Nina LaCour in the future. 4 stars from me.

I’ve been saying I wanted to read a Stephen King book for ages and Carrie appealed to me, as did this epic cover. I can see from this book why people love Stephen King so much and I’ll definitely be reading more. Carrie was fantastic and I could not stop thinking about it 4 stars from me.

So, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse was the Waterstone’s book of the year and I was intrigued, mostly because of the gorgeous illustrations. Old school illustrations, a heart-warming story and also one you can pick up for a little boost. 4 stars from me.

After a trip to Limited Edition Comix I found a copy of Violent Love Volume 1 and oh this series is great, I’ll be picking up volume 2 soon because the ending was absolutely brilliant and I didn’t see it coming. A 4 star read for me.

I picked up a copy of Sleeper and Spindle with my staff discount over Christmas because the cover was so beautiful. The art was stunning and from that respect it couldn’t be better but I just felt a bit let down by the story. It was pretty odd and I genuinely thought from the cover it was LGBT so that was a little disappointing. A 3 star read for me.

So, I thought I loved Heartstopper volume 1 & 2, then I read volume 3 and oh my word. This is the sweetest series! Charlie and Nick are adorable and this volume does get a little more serious…so pleased we have more to look forward to!

I’m keeping track of my reading all over the place at the moment so make sure to follow me on Instagram, Twitter or become a friend on Goodreads to keep up!

What did you read in January? Let me know your favourites!

February Book Haul 2019

My February Book Haul

Well, after buying no books in the month of January February was a little different. It’s time for my February book haul and buckle up because there is a LOT. It’s worth noting that I’m only hauling physical books…let’s not even get into the e-ARCS.

The Gifted Books

First up, the books I have sent by lovely people who encourage my bookish ways. I’ve received Eye Level by Jenny Xie as I’ll be working on the International Dylan Thomas Prize and this is a contender. I have also been sent two books that are on the longlist for the 2019 Wellcome Book Prize. Educated by Tara Westover is one I’ve heard about constantly and while I haven’t heard about Mind On Fire by Arnold Thomas Fanning I always want to read more mental health memoirs. And I also was sent Am I Ugly? by Michelle Elman a memoir I’m looking forward to getting into.

The Sale Books

Sooo, Waterstones had a sale. I got all of these books for £1 each! They’re not damaged and I don’t quite know why they went into sale but I’m excited. I picked up three YA novels and one general fiction.

In YA we have Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between by Jennifer E. Smith, Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga and Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve. I’ve enjoyed books by Eve and Warga before and have no idea about Smith so we’ll see. And we also have Look At Me by Sarah Duguid which involves finding a family member who was never known about! Dun, dun, duuuuun.

The YA Books

I might have gone on a little Amazon spending spree in YA. I keep hearing about Five Feet Apart by Racheael Lippincott with Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Laconis so I picked it up and so far, so good. It’s giving me The Fault In Our Stars vibes – one of my favourite books.

I also picked up A Danger To Herself And Others by Alyssa Sheimmel, I loved her previous novel Faceless so as soon as I saw this I needed to pick it up. Also, while I’ve never read or watched DUFF, I’ve bought That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger. The blurb looked really interesting and I’ve heard nothing but good things about Keplinger so why not pick it up?

Other Books

I also picked up two poetry collections Feminine Gospels and Standing Female Nude by Carol Ann Duffy. I do love some poetry and I couldn’t resist when I went to Waterstones Picadilly, I could have stayed there for so long. I was also lucky enough to be given a copy of Fairytale by my friends Nan because she is so adorable.

So, that was a MONTH and I’m super glad I’ve got a new bookcase to put them all onto! Did you buy many books in February? Let me know below!

Book Review:My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga

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“Depression is like a heaviness that you can’t ever escape. It crushes down on you, making even the smallest things like tying your shoes or chewing on toast seem like a twenty-mile hike uphill. Depression is a part of you; it’s in your bones and your blood.”

Because it’s Mental Health Awareness week I wanted to carry on the theme on my blog by writing a review of a book about what it’s like to live with depression. I’ve read a lot of these but there was something about Warga’s novel that really got to me, so much so I’ve recommended it to a lot of friends of mine.

Aysel isn’t a typical teenage girl, nor does she have a normal past. After her father committed a truly violent act that send shockwaves through her town she pulled away, her mother can barely look at her without being reminded of her father, the town stares and so Aysel finds comfort in the only thing can can, physics, but soon even that isn’t enough. She soon decides that this is where it all ends but she can’t do it alone. After searching for someone who won’t flake on a suicide pact she finds Roman, whose perfect life isn’t all it seems.

What I liked about this book is that suicide is not romanticised at all. Both characters really are at a point where they can’t see a way out of the misery of their situations and they don’t instantly like each other either. The thing with depression is when you meet someone else who is living through it there is a sense of understanding and that really comes through between the characters. They have nothing in common apart from their depression and that they want to die. It sounds incredibly sad, and it is, but there is also something incredible in the way they progress as friends.

I also found the situations that Warga put the characters in really interesting. Aysel’s father has committed a terrible crime and when we hear about such events in real life we instantly think of the victim and their family (and rightly so), but this made me wonder about the children of criminals. How the actions of their parents influences their lives. It’s not something I’ve encountered in YA literature before and I’d definitely love to read more on it.

This would be perfect for fans of John Green, those who liked All the Bright Places (I liked this more) and It’s Kind of a Funny Story it is a sad book but I think it’s a really important one in understanding why people want to commit suicide as I mentioned yesterday.

I gave this book four stars ****. This is an incredibly well written YA novel and deals with some incredibly tough issues in an amazing way. Warga has a true talent for YA literature and I can’t wait to read and review her next novel which according to Goodreads will be released next year!

Review by Chloe Metzger