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! 

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2018!

I hate to alarm you guys but, we’re halfway through the year… It’s fine, it’s cool, I’m not freaking out, you’re freaking out. That also means it’s time for the Mid-Year Book Freak Out and I am so ready! I’ve watched and read these tags for years and finally wanted to have a go myself.

The best book you’ve read so far in 2018:

Only Child - Rhiannon Navin

This is so, so hard… probably Only Child by Rhiannon Navin, her debut was incredible. Absolutely incredible. It is a pretty tough novel about a school shooting seen through the eyes of a child who loses his brother. A novel about family and grief, through the innocent eyes of a little boy.  The writing is incredible, the story heartbreaking and it’s a book that stays with you. I can’t wait to see what Rhiannon does next. My full review is here.

Your favourite sequel of the year:

17927395

This was an AMAZING follow up to A Court of Thorns and Roses . There was excellent character development, the plot was brilliant and I wish I could say more but I don’t want to ruin the series. I just didn’t see the twists and turns coming and I loved it so much.

A new release that you haven’t read but really want to:

Tyler Johnson Was Here

Tyler Johnson Was Here has been all over Booktube and I hadn’t seen it anywhere in my local bookshops and then I went to Foyles and there it was. Not only is this a really important novel about race the cover is beautiful. I really, really hope this lives up to the hype. Full blurb here.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:

The Curses - Laure Eve

I loved The Graces last year and the publication date for the second novel keeps changing so I’m really hoping we do get this in 2017, even though it says the scheduled release is currently the 6th September 2018 according to Amazon. I need this book in my hands after the end of The Graces. Need, need, need.

Your biggest disappointment:

Clean Juno Dawson

I try not to be negative but I really hated this novel. I made me so angry and irritated as someone who has and does live with a mental health condition. This was just very privileged and I don’t think it did the recovery process justice. Reading about a rich girl who gets whisked to a rehab that gives you Calvin Klein pjs just didn’t appeal to me when most people wouldn’t have that opportunity. Obviously, these are just my feelings.

Biggest surprise of the year:

Saga Vol 1 - Brian K Vaughan

Saga was something I meant to get around to, but I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did. It was absolutely amazing and I’ve been making my way through all 8 volumes ready for volume 9 to come out in October.

Favourite new-to-you or debut author:

The Exact Opposite of Okay - Laura Steven

I definitely fangirled when Laura Steven replied to me on Twitter. I tried to get all of my friends to read this as soon as I finished. This is the kind of YA voice that we need! This looks at sexism and double standards but also manages to make you laugh the whole way through? You can read my full review here and then get on and buy it people!

Your fictional crush:

Rhysand – the ACOTAR series. Do I really need to say more?

New favourite character:

16096824

Feyre – A Court of Thorns and Roses

I think Feyre is an absolutely amazing character. I read all three of the ACOTAR books in a month and I just found her to be a great protagonist. She’s not perfect, she has her own mental battles to fight. I think she’s ace and I wish I could go into more detail as to why but I don’t want to ruin the series.

A book that made you cry:

With The End in Mind - Katheryn Mannix

With the End in Mind: Death, Dying and Wisdom in an Age of Denial by Kathryn Mannix

A book about death making me cry? Not exactly a shock. I read this for the Wellcome book prize and it was beautifully written. The kindness, compassion and intelligence of this book is nothing I’ve ever seen before and it will definitely get you talking.

A book that made you happy:

A Court of Frost and Starlight - Sarah J Maas

This book just felt like coming home. This is the novella to accompany the ACOTAR series which, I know, I’ve gone on about a lot in this blog. This is a short read with all the feels. I can’t wait for the next novel in the series!

Your favorite book-to-movie adaptation that you’ve seen this year:

I haven’t seen any book to movie adaptions this year! None that I can remember anyway…

Favorite book post you’ve done this year:

Hmmm, tough one. I actually think it’s the unpopular opinions book tag! It was good to get a few things off my chest!

The most beautiful book you’ve bought/received this year:

The Surface Breaks - Louise O'Neill

The Surface Breaks – Louise O’Neil

Just look at this cover, isn’t it so, so beautiful! Even without the dust jacket, it was beautiful.

What are some books you need to read by the end of the year?

I wrote a post about the books I wanted to read in 2018 and there are only two on there I need to read to meet my goal. I’d also like to get around to the following 2018 releases:

(Don’t) Call Me Crazy – Anthology

Notes on a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig 

How to Be Famous – Caitlin Moran 

Just wanting to point out that, obviously, I didn’t come up with this tag, it has been floating around forever! If you do this tag yourself, I’d love to see your answers so link me below!

 

Only Child Blog Tour

Blog Tour: Only Child – Rhiannon Navin

36445985

‘We went to school that Tuesday like normal.
Not all of us came home . . .’

I was honoured to be asked to be a part of this blog tour for Rhiannon Navin’s debut novel. I had read and loved it before I was asked to take part. Before I start this review I want to be mindful of the past few weeks events in Florida, this review may be distressing as it also relates to gun violence against children.

Six-year-old Zach is having a normal day at school, that is until a gunman enters his school. Hiding with the rest of his class and teacher, Zach listens to the ‘pop’ in the school, something that he won’t forget. Thankfully, Zach and his classmates survive and after finally being reunited with his distraught mother he thinks everything is ok, that’s until Zach’s parents ask him where his older brother Andy is but he’s not coming home.

This novel is a whirlwind of emotion and is written incredibly well. Told solely from the perspective of Zach, making it even more heartbreaking, the innocence of a child makes all the difference. Seeing not only the horror of the day itself but the impact this has on a child and on a family in the aftermath, I don’t even know how to begin to describe the emotion. This isn’t an easy read, but it is an important one.

I’ve read novels before focusing on the subject of a school shooting, they’ve made me feel deeply sad but this was different. The simplicity of the way Zach tries to process what has happened and how his family changes. I also found it interesting that Navin showed raw emotion and didn’t hold back. She showed a mother who needed justice no matter what, a father coping with his youngest child and a little boy confused by the feelings he’s experiencing. Can he be happy and sad at the same time?

In times like these, I think this is a vital read, it may be fictional but this could quite easily be a reality for a child or young person at school. For this, I applaud Navin for her portrayal. There are no dark details in this, it is simply the force of emotion that moves you alongside Zach. I, of course, gave this five stars. I cannot recommend the novel enough to everyone. A heartbreaking, poignant read.

Thank you to the publisher, author and Netgalley for this early release.

monthly favourites lifestyle blogger

January Favourites!

Well, we’ve finally got to the end of January! A long and pretty gloomy month as far as the outside goes! For the majority of us, it’s also meant that there hasn’t been a lot of spare cash, so it’s been a pretty tight month too, with little to spend so this is definitely going to be a shorter favourites post than usual.

 

Books

It’s been an amazing month for books, so much so I wrote a roundup for the month, but there are three that I have to mention. The first hasn’t been released yet, but you’re going to want to add it to your TBR. Only Child by Rhiannon Navin is a tough read that focuses on the aftermath of a school shooting from a child’s perspective. Next up is A Court of Thorns and Roses, something that I have finally given into and fallen in love with, I can’t wait to keep reading the series, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Finally, Love, Hate & Other Filters is a stunning debut and will be on top 10 lists this year, I have no doubt, read my review here.

 

Couple Paramore 2010, 2013, 2014, 2018

Music

My biggest music highlight was going to see Paramore for the 4th time! Every time I see them I feel like I reach another big point in my life. The best part was seeing it with Ali. I wrote about it here.

e15a6df72d9975ef_stdis_thm_16.9_1920x1080

Watching 

I started watching back in November I think? I am definitely hooked though. I’m not a hardcore Trekky but the series is absolutely incredible and I’m really excited to see where it goes next.

 

IMG_7836.JPG

Fashion

With money being tight this month there wasn’t much to go on fashion or beauty BUT there was one. I picked this up in New Look for under £5! I absolutely love the fact it compliments my figure after a bit of weight loss too!

Top 5 Blogs 

Life Update: I’m Being Published! 

I’ve Been Hiding My Face! 

How’s 2018 Going So Far

Harry Potter Haul: Updated

My Goals For 2018

 

What were some of your favourites, anything I should check out in February? Or maybe one of mine has inspired you! Let me know in the comments below!