Book Review: Over The Top – Jonathan Van Ness

Who gave Jonathan Van Ness permission to be the radiant human he is today? No one, honey. The truth is, it hasn’t always been gorgeous for this beacon of positivity and joy.

Before he stole our hearts as the grooming and self-care expert on Netflix’s hit show Queer Eye, Jonathan was growing up in a small Midwestern town that didn’t understand why he was so…over the top. 

Whew! This book! If you read my ‘Top Books of 2019’ post then you will know that Jonathan was on that list and my favourite non-fiction book of the entire year. So, you can bet this is going to be a glowing review.

I didn’t know that much about Jonathan apart from the few episodes of Queer Eye that I watched where I absolutely adored him. Who was this guy with fabulous hair and who I wanted to have as a friend? Then I started seeing him on interviews everywhere and the stories he told to presenters made it so that I needed to know more, so I got the audiobook.

The only way to listen to this book is with Jonathan narrating it and it was absolute perfection, I couldn’t have asked for more. Looking at Jonathan’s roller coaster life makes the book so fast that I found myself wanting more, even though we get his whole life story. From a child who was different to a young adult struggling with himself and addiction and the long journey to become the fun loving guy we see on TV.

What I appreciated most about this book is that Jonathan is incredibly real. He has a positive attitude but is completely honest about his darker times, that he wasn’t a person we’d want to know at times. About the fact that his issues are something he has to work through every day as well as living with a HIV positive diagnosis.

You probably will have seen Jonathan campaigning for HIV awareness and for support for the community so that they can get the right treatment no matter what. I learnt so much about HIV from what Jonathan had written and looked into it further so I could understand and that’s going to have a legacy of its own.

I think you’d probably guess that this was a 5 star read for me, I absolutely adored this book and Jonathan because it was so raw and honest without being all doom and gloom. That said, the appropriate attention is given to the seriousness of certain topics. I loved it and I’ve been recommending it to EVERYONE. What are you waiting for honey? Go add it to that to read list!

My Top 10 Books of 2019!

My Top 10 Books of 2019!

It’s that time of year where I have to look at all the books I read this year and whittle it down to my favourites – something I both love and hate.

Ok so, there might be some stretches here like two books counting as one if they’re in the same series…totally works! Anyway in no particular order here are my 10 favourites of the year.

Daisy Jones & The Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid

So, I found a new favourite author this year Taylor Jenkins Reid! Daisy Jones was absolutely fantastic and felt so real I just wanted to fall into the world and listen to the music mentioned.

She’s an incredible writer and I look forward to reading more of her earlier work this year and anything new that she releases! Review here.

Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

This book. THIS BOOK. I loved it, most of the world loved it and for a real good reason. This is what the world needed it’s funny, it’s sexy and it’s got real heart to it. I want to read it again and again and again. Review here.

Also Casey McQuiston has another book coming out in 2020 and I am SO here for it, although currently I haven’t been able to preorder it yet.

Over The Top – Jonathan Van Ness

My favourite non-fiction book of the year and I highly recommend the audiobook because hearing Jonathan talk about his life is complete and utter perfection.

I was really surprised by how in depth Jonathan went and I can’t wait to watch even more Queer Eye in the new year because it makes me so happy.

City of Ghosts and Tunnel of Bones – Victoria Schwab

This is one where I *might* have snuck in two and I’m not even sorry. My new favourite series by the one and only Victoria Schwab who is not only absolutely lovely but an incredible author and new favourite.

This series may be called middle grade but it’s creepy as hell and I absolutely loved it. Number three comes out in 2020 so yep I’m getting it. Also I got number two from my secret santa!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

Another Taylor Jenkins Reid book and it was amazing, plus I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner. This one was another that I listened to and I could not stop, when I was working, when I was chilling in the evening I had to hear the end.

An incredible read, such an amazing book. Review here.

Break The Fall – Jennifer Iacopelli

So this hasn’t come out yet but I was lucky enough to get a proof copy and this book is going to blow up in 2020. It’s absolutely an incredible novel rooted in the team USA gymnastics scandal and abuse that occured.

More so, this was absolutely incredible in terms of how it described living with chronic pain after and accident, I reached out to Jennifer to congratulate her on such an accurate representation and she’s also a lovely person!

Review to come soon!

Postscript – Cecelia Ahern

So I love, love, loved P.S I Love You both the book and the film for different reasons so of course I was going to read the second novel and wow, just wow. It took my straight back and made me cry like a baby.

Full review here.

A Winter’s Promise – Christelle Dabos

This book and the start of a new series to me is entirely my friend Maddie’s fault and I love her for it although the wait is going to drive me mad. This novel is translated from french and it’s a fantasy novel I absolutely love.

Travelling through mirrors, an arranged marriage, mystery, death, magic and courts. Love, love, LOVE.

Heartstopper Volumes 1 & 2

Another two books that are being stuck in together but, of course, Heartstopper was going to be in here! Alice Oseman is not only a brilliant writer but also a great artist. Both of these books make me so, so happy and I’m sure they will make you happy too.

Review here and here.

a-girl-called-shameless-laura-steven

A Girl Called Shameless – Laura Steven

The follow up to one of my favourite YA novels, The Exact Opposite of Okay and Laura Steven killed it again with a hilarious and excellent continuation, I really hope that we get more about Izzy and her life!

What were your favourites in 2019? Let me know below!

Blogmas: My 5 Favourite Audiobooks of 2019

I have listened to so many incredible books this year and choosing 5 was incredibly hard, but I managed it. Because of the way I’m working I don’t think I’m going to get through another audiobook in 2019 so I’m calling it here. But what made the list?

Over The Top – Jonathan Van Ness

Ok honey, make way for THE Jonathan released a book and it was fabulous. Now, I haven’t watched all of Queer Eye but what I’ve watched I’ve loved. Then I saw Jonathan talking about his life, his HIV diagnosis and life I had to get hold of this book and the audiobook was perfect. Jonathan reads it and I could not have loved it more.

It’s Not Ok To Feel Blue (And Other Lies) – Edited by Scarlett Curtis

At first I was trying to read my copy but decided to switch to the audiobook and it was a brilliant choice. A large number of contributors read their own pieces and it makes it easier to digest. As you can imagine, there are some heavy topics in here, but importants ones.

The Flat Share – Beth O’Leary

I don’t usually listen to fiction but seeing as Carrie Hope Fletcher narrated it, I wanted to give it a go. I’m SO glad I did I absolutely loved it, a really heartwarming story and it might even end up as one of my favourite books of the year…

The Five: The Untold Lives Of The Women Killed By Jack The Ripper – Hallie Rubenhold

I heard about this on booktube and was interested and then it came up as a £2.99 deal (if you like audiobooks I’d definitely sign up to them I’ve got some crackers on there). This changes the narrative and instead of focusing on the killer, this looks at the women themselves their lives and families and dispels the myth that they were all prostitutes.

The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

This book, the cast, the story. I could not stop listening to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – so much so my fiancé found me listening to it in the evenings as well as all day while working. It’s an incredible novel and I am kicking myself for getting to it so late!

What audiobooks should I check out in 2020? Let me know below!

What I Read In October 2019!

So it might be a little late but I had a fantastic reading month in October with a lot of 4 and 5 star reads! I’m not going to spend too long rambling, instead, let’s get to the books.

So, P.S I Love You was one of my favourite books and up there with my favourite films too so I preordered the follow up as soon as I found out about it. When it came I was so nervous to read it – would it live up to the story I loved? It did Postscript is beautiful and I fell right back into Hollie’s world. A 5 star read for me.

It’s Not Ok To Feel Blue And Other Lies was also a preordered book after I loved Scarlett Curtis’s Feminists Don’t Wear Pink. This a collection of essays about mental health from some people you’ll know such as Matt Haid, Emilia Clarke, Adam Kay and Scarlett herself. It was a brilliant collection and while it is quite hard hitting it’s an important read. A 4.5 star read.

For my book club read we picked up Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield and I really enjoyed it. It’s a little different in the way it’s told and has mystery elements, ghostly elements and more. It was a great read that I wouldn’t have picked up otherwise – a fantastic advertisement for book clubs everywhere! A solid 4 star read.

The Liar’s Daughter by Megan Cooley Peterson was one I picked up for myself about a girl who is rescued from a cult and what life is like for her once she leaves the only place she knows. I read this so quickly and I only wish it was longer! Another 4 star read.

I’ve watched a little Queer Eye and loved Jonathan so after seeing interviews of him promoting his book I decided to purchase the audiobook of Over The Top and it was perfect. This is fantastically funny but also deeply heartfelt and I learned so much through listening. A 5 star read and I’ve been recommending it to everyone!

I also listened to Freedom by Jaycee Dugard about her experiences after she was released from her horrific ordeal being kidnapped and forced to live with her captor and give birth to her daughters – fathered by him. An emotional 4 star book.

Next up two more non-fiction reads. I listened to MP Jess Phillips’ newest book Truth To Power and it was absolutely brilliant and just what I needed when we’re heading towards a General Election. A 5 star read for troubling times.

I also picked up Twas The Nightshift Before Christmas from the wonderful Adam Kay author of This Is Going To Hurt. This is a short read but an incredibly important one. It made me appreciate the NHS even more because of the pressure that they face, even more so in the winter. A must read that I’ve persuaded book club to pick up – 5 stars!

Heartstream is the thriller I didn’t know I needed. Tom Pollock is an excellent storyteller and I tweeted him almost immediately after finishing asking for more! I gave this 4.5 stars.

And last but definitely not least was Dear Girls by Ali Wong. I think Ali is hilarious and I loved both of her Netflix specials so when I heard she was writing a book I was down! Again, I listened to the audiobook for this one and I’m glad I did. This is all about Ali’s life and the lessons she wants to teach her daughters (although it is definitely for a mature audience) there was also a really sweet addition by her husband at the end. This was a 4.5 star read for me.

What did you read in October? Let me know in the comments below. 👇