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 Read in July & August 2018

What I Read in July and August

I have a confession to make! You might have noticed that I didn’t post a what I read post in July. Honestly, I forgot and then I felt like it was too late AND I only read 5 books in July. I completely lost my mojo, which is mostly due to having a lot of other things on my mind and recovering from my stay in hospital. BUT, it came back in August thanks to my YALC haul so let me share with you some of the awesome (and not so awesome) books I’ve read.

July

How To Be A Grown Up – Daisy Buchanan

A light-hearted book on growing up. This was a nice book to read, it had some useful insights but didn’t particularly stand out to me – I gave it 3.5 stars.

Plum – Hollie McNish

My regular readers will know I loved Hollie’s collection on motherhood so I wanted to pick up another collection. Plum is about growing up with added poems Hollie wrote as a child and teenager. Another 5 star read.

Notes On A Nervous Planet – Matt Haig

I love Matt Haig’s writing. This is such a relatable book, whether or not you’ve struggled with mental illness, it’s one to read. Short and easy to read chapters that will really make you think and give you a little pick me up. 5 stars review here.

Saga Vol. 5 – Brian K Vaughn

It’s so hard to write about these because if you write about ANYTHING after the first one then you post spoilers. Still loving it, still solid. 5 stars

Moonrise – Sarah Crossan

I loved this novel, even if it made my heart hurt. This looks at the brother of a death row prisoner. It is entirely written in verse which actually works really well, so much so I want to try her other novel One again. 5 stars and will make you very emotional. You’ve been warned.

August

Orbiting Jupiter – Gary D. Schmidt

If you need a good cry read this novel. Short, sweet and heartbreaking all at the same time. It’s a novel about second chances and a young teen who just wants to see his daughter. 5 stars, review here.

She Must Be Mad – Charly Cox

Poetry about being a woman, mental illness and body image. I enjoyed Charly’s first collection and think there will be more to come, one to watch. 4 stars.

Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee – Mary D Thompson

I read a few darker novels in August, starting with this one. Two girls are abducted and only one comes back, what happened? This was a thriller and a half! I gave this 4 stars and there will be a full review coming soon!

This Is Where It Ends – Marieke Nijkamp

On to another dark book, this time centring around a school shooting. Told from multiple points of view this was a novel full of suspense and intrigue. 4 stars.

Are We All Lemmings & Snowflakes – Holly Bourne

I used to love Holly Bourne but her adult novel left a lot to be desired and her newest made me frustrated. The novel follows teenager Olive who does not want to know her mental health diagnosis. After a crisis, she is sent to a remote therapy retreat which has the best treatment possible (no waiting list, just ‘luck’). Some parts of it were lovely and there were some good ideas it just didn’t feel realistic to me. 3 stars.

Vox – Christina Dalcher

This is one of the hottest novels of the year and for good reason. This novel is set in the future of the states, women can only speak 100 words a day, they cannot work, they cannot travel. While I felt like it was a slow start and there were a few plot holes I did really enjoy it and I keep recommending it! 4 stars.

Please Don’t Grab My P*ssy – Julia Young

This is a short, fun but powerful book. Poetry, satire and awesome illustrations. Some of them were a little bit of a stretch but I enjoyed it all the same. 5 stars.

The Choice – Dr Edith Eger

A memoir of a phenomenal woman. From teenage Auschwitz survivor to an internationally acclaimed psychologist working with those who suffer from PTSD and trauma. An interesting read and one filled with kindness and positivity. 4.5 stars.

 

What have you read in the past few months? I’d love to know! Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Notes On A Nervous Planet – Matt Haig

Notes on a Nervous Planet - Matt Haig

In a world where we have constant access to social media, instant news and 24-hour access, the world can feel a little too fast. Now, I love social media, it’s one of my passions but even I need to step away sometimes. Matt Haig captures that in this book, that we as humans need to have that distance. We need to go on walks, to have someone step in sometimes and go hey, this is the real world. Well, I know I do!

I absolutely adored Matt’s previous book on mental health Reasons To Stay Alive. It talks about his own experiences of depression, as he stood at the age of 24 at the edge of a cliff, contemplating killing himself. But, how does someone get from that point? With great difficulty, but Matt has a beautiful way of writing about it. So, of course, I pre-ordered this the second I found out about it.

While I was reading this I was struggling with panic attacks, things weren’t going as planned, I’d lost my job and this is the book I needed. When I told people this book changed my life I meant it. This is broken down into short chapters, with lists, ideas and this format makes it so readable. I wasn’t sure at first but when the whole books is about breaking things down, slowing down and taking your time, it makes perfect sense.

The best thing is that Notes on a Nervous Planet doesn’t tell you to just stop using technology, sit in a field and meditate. Let’s be honest, it’s not easy to do that an avoiding the world around us isn’t possible, nor is it healthy. I was refreshing to read because it made me realise I wasn’t alone in feeling anxious about the speed of the world around us.

If you’ve ever felt like you’re struggling, if you’ve wondered if you’re alone in this then you need to read this book. Even if you haven’t I recommend reading this for a beautiful look at the world around us. This is an inspiring, thought-provoking and beautiful read.