how much I read in a week

2023, books


I consider myself a slow-to-medium reader and although it feels like the entire of BookTok reads a million books a day, I’m 90% sure that not everyone reads that fast so I thought I’d show you what a relatively average reading week looks like for me!

On Monday I read 40 pages of ‘Things We Never Got Over’ by Lucy Score – I was aiming for 50 pages a night but I was really sleepy so I reached the end of a chapter and couldn’t keep my eyes open so that’s as far as I got. I’d had a busy day visiting a friend and doing three hours of driving with my partner and then playing video games in the evening so I was ready for sleep!

Then on Tuesday I had a medical appointment that I was nervous about (so I didn’t sleep that well in the end anyway), but it was a half hour drive to get to the health centre so that leant itself nicely to finishing off the audiobook of ‘The Golden Enclaves’ by Naomi Novik, the last book in the Scholomance trilogy. I’m not entirely sure how I finished 114 minutes in two thirty minute drives with a detour to Tesco but without that detour, I wouldn’t have finished the book! Thinking about it now I have absolutely no idea what I did that afternoon but I must have gone to bed relatively early because I managed to read 84 pages of ‘Things We Never Got Over’! At this point it was really picking up and I only put it down because I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

On Wednesday I had a gloriously chilled day where I even managed to read a little in bed before I started my day, clocking in an early 27 pages of ‘Things We Never Got Over’. Then I started to try and do something productive with my day but I couldn’t stop thinking about Knox, Naomi and Waylay so I read another 46 pages in the afternoon before my husband got home from work and then I warned him before we went to bed that there was a chance I would accidentally stay up late until I finished the first in the Knockemout series… and I did – 138 pages I felt a physical pain in my chest because wow what a whirlwind. I absolutely adored it (though the second epilogue was a bit stereotypical) and to actually calm down I had to start our book club pick for June ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ by Mark Manson to calm me down and it only took 14 pages (totalling at 225 pages for the day, which is insane).

On Thursday morning, I managed another 26 pages of ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck’ (which I think may already be changing my life) and then I managed a more productive afternoon with some work and actually cooking dinner and such. Then I got sucked into watching Gilmore Girls until late but I managed to start the Lucy Score sequel ‘Things We Hide From The Light’. Not to sound like a broken record, I was shattered so I only managed 16 pages.

I’m not sure how, but on Friday morning I slept until approximately 11.30am and I’m not convinced I ever woke up. By the time I dragged myself out of bed, put real clothes on and got myself some lunch I still hadn’t woken my brain up so I sat on the sofa and somehow turned on Gilmore Girls and then I never moved… but by the time I did drag myself upstairs to bed, I sat in what I call ‘The Library’ (more accurately known as the spare room with all my bookshelves) to read 36 pages of ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ then getting into PJs and cosying into bed to read 56 pages of ‘Things We Hide From The Light’ which I already have a lot of opinions on, but I’ll save that for another post.

So in total, I read 483 pages and listened to 114 minutes.

But even then, I wouldn’t say that’s my average because I don’t normally read two physical books at a time, I don’t tend to read as much as quickly as I did with ‘Things We Never Got Over’ but it’s a book I rated 5 stars that really sucked me in. Sometimes I don’t have any driving time to listen to audiobooks, sometimes I have some long drives or I listen whilst I’m designing my monthly bullet journal pages but that only happens (surprisingly) once a month. There are so many contributing factors that, I suppose, mean there is no such thing as average!

Regardless, here’s my insight into how much I read in a week as someone who only tends to read in bed in the evenings but doesn’t work a solid hours 9-5 office job. Don’t know if this was insightful or useful to anyone, but I enjoyed tracking it! I’ve decided I’m going to start making ‘how much I read in a week’ videos a regular thing on my tiktok so if you did enjoy this post, do head on over!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

three mini bookish blog posts

2023, books, review


Today I’d planned to write a my May reading wrap up, but I’ve only finished one more book since I got back from my holiday and I did a full review of everything I read while I was away last week… I thought that might be a bit dull.

I had a couple of ideas for what to write about this week but none of them were quite right to be a full post so here are three mini bookish blog posts!

Simultaneously eye-reading and ear-reading

On a spontaneously trip into town with my husband (he wanted a new XBox controller, I convinced him to buy me breakfast and let me look in The Works and Waterstones) I picked up a copy of the final book in the Scholomance series, ‘The Golden Enclaves’ by Naomi Novik. The entire reason I read this series was because I saw this book in the half price hardback sale in Waterstones in January and it’s still in the new hardback section five months later, after I finished listening to book 1 and reading book 2.

But I’d already listened to more than half of book 3 by the time I bought it, which begs the question – why did I buy it?

Well, one – it’s absolutely stunning, I mean look at it.

And two – I don’t know if it is because I was listening whilst doing a lot of travelling, but I’ve found it particularly hard to focus on and engage with so I wanted to try reading it with my eyes whilst listening to it with my ears (why does that sound like a children’s nursery rhyme?).

It turns out, double reading (as I have just this moment decided to call it) is an incredible relaxing, immersive experience. So much so that I could actually listen at more than 1x speed (don’t judge my tiny little brain pls)! I’ve spent the rest of this week trying to get ahead on all my tasks so I can sit and finish this off before the end of the month.

checking in on my 23 books for 2023

When I wrote this blog post about the books I want to read this year, it was absolutely for the sake of having something to post – it has a nice ring to it, I could make a nice graphic and make a tiktok video out of it. But because I (mostly) choose what I’m reading by picking bits of paper out of my tbr jar, the likelihood that I’ll pick these 23 out of the 320+ that are in there is slim to none… but here’s a check in anyway!

Though, defying those slim odds, I have read 3 of the 23 and I’m about to start a 4th tonight! ‘Good Omens’ by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaimon and ‘The Atlas Six’ by Olivie Blake have both come out of the tbr jar and I defied the jar in taking ‘God’s Behaving Badly’ on holiday with me. I also picked ‘Things We Never Got Over’ out of the jar pre-honeymoon but I didn’t quite get to it so I’m starting that this evening and I’m excited for some contemporary romance after some quite intense YA fantasy.

I’ve just had the idea that maybe next year I’ll do an Alphabet tbr for 2024, but god knows how many books will be in my jar by then! I’ve managed to read 32 books so far this year, which is the most I’ve ever read in this amount of time and almost as much as I read in the entirety of 2022 so who knows! I have a mental goal in mind of where I want to be by the end of the year but I don’t want to jinx it by sharing it.

These Twisted Bonds – Lexi Ryan review

The one book I’ve finished since we got back from Greece! I really enjoyed the first book in the duology – ‘These Hollow Vows’ – to the extent that I opted for buying the ebook of this sequel than reading one of the dozen other books I had downloaded on my Kindle because I just wanted to know how it was all resolved!

I ended up rating it 3 stars – one less than the first. Whilst the magic system, the world building and the heritage of the faerie world was engaging and well thought out, the characters lost all personality and became stereotypes of from any YA fantasy romance – the ‘Chosen One with all the power who exists to serve as a love interest for two men’, the ‘Evil Queen’, the ‘Betrayed Stubborn Man-Child Who Won’t Let The Girl Who’s Moved On Go’, the ‘Prince who is her true love and just wants what’s best for his people and will sacrifice all joy in his life for it’… you get what I mean.

It had a nice ending and the plot was really good, I just got so fed up of the characters.

So I’ve just realised why I enjoyed writing these mini posts so much – because it feels like an Instagram caption 😂

Which probably suggests my Instagram captions are too long but I love writing them too much to shorten them!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

everything I read on my honeymoon

2023, books, review


I’ve just got back from a lovely two weeks in Kos, Greece with my husband and it was basically everything we wanted – we went on a couple of excursions, there was a Pokemon Go pokestop right outside the hotel for all of our Pokemon Go needs and we spent a lot of time doing nothing in the sunshine.

Before we left I made a particularly ambitious tbr – I took 6 physical books with me (and considering in ‘normal’ life I usually read 1-2 a week it was very optimistic) as well as downloading 12 books on my Kindle and having access to the dozen (plus) titles I’ve used my Audible credits on.

So I definitely wasn’t going to run out of reading material!

My original plan was to alternate reading a physical book with reading a book on my Kindle, but while we were out there I decided to prioritise the physical books because otherwise taking them all the way out there and back without reading them felt very wasteful.

But let’s start at the beginning – I finished the paperback book I was reading (The Last Graduate, the second book in the Scholomance series by Naomi Novik) on the last day of April and on Monday May 1st (love a month that starts on a Monday), I decided rather than start a new physical book I would use my Kindle to finish off the hush, hush series so that if I did finish before I got on the plane, I wouldn’t be carrying around a physical book that I’d already read!

So I managed to finish Crescendo, the second in the series, in the airport hotel the night before – first book of the month finished on the 2nd before we even left the country. But in the aim of finishing the series, my first reads of the holiday were books 3 and 4…

Silence and Finale – Becca Fitzpatrick ⭐️⭐️⭐️ / ⭐️

I find giving plot synopsis’ of sequels a bit awkward because I don’t want to spoil the beginning of the series for anyone who hasn’t read it, but the premise is stereotypical YA fantasy romance with fallen angels, the descendants of fallen angels and humans (called Nephilim) and the ‘complex’ balance of the two races amongst humanity. The general vibe is questionably written fanfiction, very much of the Twi-Hard era of 2009.

I thought Silence was surprisingly clever – exploring the premise of an unreliable narrator and seeing many of the characters from a new perspective, but Finale was awful – the main character had no personality, everything was predictable and stereotypical and I spent so much of the last half of the book rolling my eyes I was so glad when it was over.

Would I recommend the series? If you want quality fantasy literature – no. If you were a Twilight fan when the movies first came out and want to feel nostalgic for questionable writing and ridiculous romance, sure go ahead – it’s easy to read and won’t make you feel any real emotions other than nostalgia, no need to prep the tissues.

Then it was time for the physical books!

It Ends With Us – Colleen Hoover ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Lily and Ryle meet by chance when needing some air in a random rooftop in Boston – finding the freedom of being able to be completely and utterly honest with no consequences, they’re surprisingly attached to each other but don’t expect to meet again.
  • Six months later when Lily has started her life as an entrepreneur and hires Alyssa on a whim, it takes approximately 4 hours for her to realise she’s hired Ryle’s sister and suddenly the proximity makes him harder to resist.
  • But when a chance encounter with an unfinished love from her childhood reappears in Atlas, Lily finds herself looking at her past and seeing some of the ugliest parts mirror into her present.

(I thought three bullet points would be a nice easy way to do a plot summary, did it work?)

For my first ever Colleen Hoover book, I fell in love. I thought Lily was a beautifully authentic narrator, Atlas and Ryle were both incredibly cleverly portrayed and I loved seeing the character development in Lily’s mom. I can’t talk about characters without mentioning my favourites – Alyssa and Marshall. Alyssa being so unapologetically honest was a fantastic representation of what a friend should be – prepared to say what you need to hear even if it’s not what you want and is mature enough to remain level headed in a dispute that could easily resort to picking sides (though I don’t know if her very brief mention of struggling to conceive felt a little like box ticking). I have a big soft spot in my heart for Marshall almost exclusively for the moments that he checked Lily felt safe and made sure she wasn’t alone with anyone she didn’t want to be. The only reason I didn’t give it a full 5 stars is because some of the subject matter is heavy and I won’t rush to reread it for that reason. However…

It Starts With Us – Colleen Hoover ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

(see above for not providing summaries of sequels)

In a note from the author before the story begins, Hoover states that this story is meant to be the lighter of the two and whilst I agree it’s not as heavy as the first book, it’s definitely not an easy, fluffy romance. But that’s actually what I liked about it – I loved the authenticity of the narrative style and the characters remained beautifully raw.

I loved the development into a dual perspective story, I absolutely adored Atlas’s secondary storyline (assuming we’re counting the romance as the primary storyline) and I just love, love, loved reading it. The perfect holiday read – I laughed, I gasped, I grumbled and my heart swelled with joy. Absolutely adored the whole experience and if I didn’t have an unread physical tbr that is 327 books strong, I would reread it right now.

The next book I was actually too embarrassed to read by the pool…

Horrible Histories: Groovy Greeks – Terry Deary

Summary: a children’s history book about ancient Greece.

Context: We named our wedding tables after HH books and used the physical books as centre pieces, so I thought it would be thematic and mildly funny to read each book in a relevant location. So I took Groovy Greeks to Greece.

Now, for a nearly 30 year old history book aimed at middle grade (maybe younger) children, I actually had a nice time. I could barely keep track of all the Greek names but the information within the books wasn’t anything I’d read in any other book on mythology, rather than just being blocks of information it was broken up with comics, doodles and information presented in different ways – such as a story told as if it were a dramatic diary entry.

I feel like rating non-fiction doesn’t make much sense, but if I were to rate it I would have given it 3 stars – middle ground, easy read, I had a nice time, will probably never open the book again, y’know?

God’s Behaving Badly – Marie Phillips ⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • People have forgotten about the God’s of Ancient Greece, but they actually live in a small, grimy town house in London, doing what they need to do to keep the world going whilst no one remembers their names.
  • They’re losing their powers, and whilst Athena tries to communicate why, the other gods just assume they’re getting old and await for a time they might feel up to their full strength again.
  • But Aphrodite is pulling string for her own entertainment – Apollo has opened himself up to be played with and Artemis is determined to fix it before the consequences turn dire.

A Greek God themed book in Greece? Yes, that is the entire reason I took it with us.

I bought this one for my husband as a birthday present somewhere between 1 and 3 years ago (honestly, I can’t remember) but he really enjoyed it and suggested I read it too. Generally I found it enjoyable – the narrative style was easy to read but the characters were a bit emotionally detached so I found it hard to connect and there were some really unsavoury mentions of rape and sexual assault that made me very uncomfortable. I believe it’s written to be a comedy book with a tongue in cheek, sarcastic edge (the kind of thing that the author might say ‘you’re taking it too seriously, you don’t need to get offended’) but it just didn’t sit right with me.

However the last 30% ish where, arguably, most of the plot happens, was actually quite good and I got quite stuck in. Another one I won’t be rushing to reread but don’t regret reading.

Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell

  • Park has curated a bearable high school experience – he’s made himself invisible and he knows how to ride the wave and get by.
  • Eleanor is the new girl – she’s moved back in with her mom, siblings and the step-dad she doesn’t get on with and she can’t help but stand out with her make-do clothes and her bright red curly hair.
  • The only empty spot on the bus on Eleanor’s first day is next to Park.

When I first set up my tbr jar, I counted books like Eleanor and Park as unread because it’s been so long since I read them that I wanted to reread them and see if I still felt the same. I first read this book in 2015 on a trip to Ecuador – I was 18, lonely, undiagnosed autistic and desperate for love, I devoured the story and it has sat in a special place in my heart ever since.

Now I am 26, married to a boy I’ve been with for seven and a half years and I know what love really feels like.

Eleanor and Park is two kids that are obsessed with each other and know nothing about each other.

I don’t know if it’s adult cynicism or if I was really desperate to vicariously feel loved when I was a teenager, but it just felt two kids who were unhealthily obsessed with each other and were so enthralled by the attention they were getting from each other that they completely overlook the fact they don’t know anything about each other.

The best part was Park’s parents – they had a wonderful relationship and although they got frustrated at Park for some oddly specific things, they generally had a wonderful relationship and were really supportive of their son. So an average 3 stars, which is the equivalent of losing a star every four years compared to my first reading eight years ago 😂

These Hollow Vows – Lexi Ryan

  • Abriella does what she needs to do survive and provide the best life she can for her sister – she steals the money for the contract her witchy aunt and all the growing conditions she adds, but somehow Jas still makes her laugh and a neighbouring mage’s apprentice Sebastian to keep an eye on them.
  • But then her aunt sells her sister to the land of Faerie – the land that stole their mother from them and she’d been warn against her entire life. And she’ll do anything to get Jas back.
  • Learning more about the Court of the Sun and the Court of Shadows than she ever thought she would, making alliances she never could have predicted and finding out more about herself than she knew she could, Brie has a lot to learn about the world of faerie before she decides her place in it.

This took the nostalgia of reading fantasy I got from hush, hush and actually wrote a good story. Sure, it was still a little melodramatic but of course it is, it’s YA! They’ve always got big emotions they can’t comprehend and make rash decisions without communicating properly.

But the world building was truly fantastic, the characters were okay and they were actually quite diverse. I had a genuinely lovely time and considering I finished it the day before we went home and I had an abundance of other books on my kindle to read, I still opted to spend money I don’t have on the ebook so I could read it immediately.

And that was 8! There were 12 Kindle books I didn’t get round to and my entire Audible library, but I’m really pleased with the amount I read and we had the loveliest holiday.

So I’m currently reading These Twisted Bonds, I will be reading Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score next and I’m constantly looking for places we could go on our next holiday so I can dedicate that much time to reading again!

Thank you for reading about my reading!

Sophie xx

I finally read a Colleen Hoover book | It Ends With Us/It Starts With Us Review

2023, books, review


Realistically, it’s been about three years since I first properly started to get involved in watching book related content online – BookTok made me impulse buy way more books than I’d been previously buying and bookstagram was a lovely way for me to combine my love of reading with my love of writing and expressing my opinions with words.

All that to say, I’ve been aware of Colleen Hoover’s work for a very long time – I saw ‘It Ends With Us’ everywhere and then I’d see shelves and shelves of her books and wonder how she could possibly write and release so many books so quickly. But I didn’t rush to pick any of them up – I don’t know if it was the unconscious hipster within me that didn’t want to love what everyone else loved (despite adoring many, many booktok famous stories…) or if I genuinely didn’t want to read the books. Now, in writing this, that I’m thinking about it, I think it might be that I think her cover designs are below average and didn’t appeal to me in the slightest (it’s definitely that one).

But when I found myself in possession of my first ever CoHo book after my wedding (instead of a gift registry we asked our guests for a copy of their favourite books and my darling friend from uni couldn’t pick an all time favourite, so picked a 2022 favourite) I decided that our honeymoon was the time to read ‘It Ends With Us’. I picked up the sequel ‘It Starts With Us’ in the Waterstones half price hardback sale in January so I bought that along too!

And I am so grateful that I did.

I’m grateful to my friend to giving me my first CoHo book, I’m grateful to past me who thought it would be a good holiday book and I’m grateful to Waterstones for having a sale that incentivised me to buy the sequel because I am obsessed.

I’d seen controversy around ‘It Ends With Us’ about how it ‘trivialises’ domestic violence so I went into it with an open mind – personally, I don’t understand the controversy. I found the presentation raw and harrowing in a way that I haven’t seen anywhere before. I felt emotionally connected to the characters from the beginning – to Lily’s honest authenticity, to Ryle’s professional dedication, to Alyssa’s somewhat whimsical, carefree approach to life against all odds, and to the flashbacks of the most thoughtful boy who faced so much more than he ever should have to.

It was weighty – covering heavy topics in what I felt to be a very realistic way (though I am privileged to be in a position where I can’t fully understand) and beautifully balancing it with moments that made me laugh out loud, moments of beautiful character development (shoutout to Lily’s mum) and moments of adoring romance.

The pacing was fantastic and every time I started to think I knew where the story was going, it would take a turn I couldn’t predict – I don’t want to spoil anything, but the chapter before the epilogue really took me by surprise.

I gave ‘It Ends With Us’ 4 stars in the end – not because I didn’t very much enjoy it, but because it was very heavy and it’s not one that I will rush to reread; I need to make sure I’m in the right headspace to experience a story like that again.

‘It Starts With Us’ on the other hand was a very easy 5 stars – full marks, it deserves the hype, give it all of the awards.

Picking up right where the first book left off, ‘It Starts With Us’ claims to be a lighter, more romantic book and whilst in part I agree, there were parts that made me feel like an elephant was sitting on my chest.

I can’t explain much of why I loved it so much without spoiling the first book (though at this point, I might be the last person on the planet who hasn’t read it), but the way Hoover approached navigating parenthood with split custody, parents with addiction who control the narrative to paint themselves as the victim and being a young teenage boy in the 2020s was beautiful. It would have been so easy to take the main characters and make everything easy, but that’s not what the world is like – no one can drop everything when they think they’ve found love, we have jobs and responsibilities and bills and we care what people think despite knowing that we shouldn’t.

I loved ‘It Starts With Us’ with my entire heart – it made me laugh (literally, out loud), it made me swoon, it made me angry (my husband can vouch, I was grumbling into my book by the pool) and it felt so real, I feel like I’ve been sitting with the characters in the days since I started reading their stories. They felt so authentic to me.

Each book took me less than 36 hours to read – maybe it’s because I’m on holiday and I’m relaxed and I have no other plans, but I haven’t devoured a story like that in a while. The narrative style felt like reading a letter from a friend and I adored it.

Now, what I need to find out is whether Colleen Hoover’s other books have similar vibes, or if they’re all completely different. I’ve had ‘Verity’ on my want to read shelf for a while because I think it sounds interesting, but I need to know if I need to drop everything else and commit to reading her entire collection.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

my honeymoon tbr!

2023, books


Ever since booking our honeymoon back in January, I’ve been umming and aahing about how many books is a suitable number of books to bring with me (as I had zero plans other than ‘reading in the sunshine’).

So after a lot of deliberation (and finding some fantastic titles on Kindle unlimited) – here’s everything I have the potential to read on holiday (but I will absolutely not get through all of them).

Starting with the physical books I brought – these are my priority because otherwise it will feel like a complete waste using some of my luggage allowance on bringing them:

📚 It Ends With Us – Colleen Hoover
To briefly explain; when we got married, we asked our guests to gift us a copy of their favourite book, so we would have a collection of our favourite people’s favourite books. In an endeavour to read them all, I ‘created’ (thought up) the Roberts’ Book Club where my husband and I take it in turns to choose one book a month. This month was my turn and I thought holiday would be the perfect place to read my first ever CoHo book! I’ve heard very mixed reviews but I’m intrigued enough to want to form my own opinion.

📚 It Starts With Us – Colleen Hoover
So basically when Waterstones had their half price hardbacks sale in January, I got overexcited about no longer being on a book buying ban (which then lead to putting myself back on one) and bought the sequel because it was there, it was pretty and it was half price! It only makes sense to read both of these books together, right?

📚 Horrible Histories: Groovy Greeks – Terry Deary
Yes, I do mean those non-fiction books from when we were kids that had a fantasy CBBC TV show. This one, surprisingly, is also linked to our wedding – my husband and I are massive nerds, so when we were considering what to name our tables at the wedding breakfast, we thought the Horrible Histories books would be fun, very ‘us’, would fit our bookish theme and make cute centre pieces. See:

When thinking about what books to bring on holiday, I was then struck with the idea of reading each of the 20 books in the box set in the relevant location – so Groovy Greeks has come to Kos! I don’t think there’s a better place to learn about it all to be honest.

📚 God’s Behaving Badly – Marie Phillips
Another Greek themed book for our Greek holiday – technically, the little strip of paper with this title on it is currently still in my tbr jar but I thought it would be thematic, so whenever it does come out the jar I can pop it straight in the ‘read’ jar which will also be satisfying. I love a modern retelling of the Greek Gods so I’m really excited about this one.

The next books, I choose out of my tbr jar because I was worried I would run out of books to read. Yes, I am an overpacker.

📚 Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell
I was so excited to pick this reread out of my jar – I first read this book when I was in South America in 2015, so this book is already well travelled! I thoroughly enjoyed it the first time and I’m looking forward to absolutely devouring it again.

But knowing this was a reread, I wanted to pick another title out the jar… which is when I pulled out:

📚 Things We Never Got Over – Lucy Score
But I recently found both this book and the sequel, Things We Hide From The Light, on Kindle Unlimited so I didn’t need to waste the luggage weight on the physical books. So I picked another title out the jar…

📚 These Hollow Vows – Lexi Ryan
And having picked my sixth physical book, I felt content that I had the right number of books. This one I picked up relatively recently from The Works but I’ve seen lots of people talking about it on TikTok so I’m excited to get stuck in.

But alongside the physical books, I also have my Kindle – when we left the UK, I’d just finished reading Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick (the sequel to YA fantasy romance ‘hush, hush’) and I had the third and fourth books, Silence and Finale, lined up to read next. Considering I’m writing this on our third day of our honeymoon and I’ve already finished Silence, I’m planning to get through Finale just as quickly.

The other Kindle books I have downloaded are:

📚 Things We Never Got Over – Lucy Score
📚 Things We Hide From The Light – Lucy Score
📚 Twisted Love – Ana Huang
📚 The Cruel Prince – Holly Black (also on Audible)
📚 Zodiac Academy – Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti
📚 The Serpent and The Wings of Night – Carissa Broadbent
📚 We Were Liars – E. Lockhart
📚 Edinburgh Twilight – Carole Lawrence
📚 The Keeper of Happy Endings – Barbara Davis
📚 Gates of Thread and Stone – Lori M. Lee (also on Audible)
📚 The War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells
📚 The Best Friend Bargain – Crystal Kaswell

I am absolutely not going to get through all of these, but the perks of the kindle is that I have 12 books downloaded and it’s not effected my luggage allowance at all!

But if somehow I need something else to read, I also have Audible – I’m currently listening to The Golden Enclaves, the third and final book in the Scholomance series by Naomi Novik, but I also have some other fantastic titles downloaded and ready to go. Rather than listing them all, here are the ones I’m most likely to choose if I finish The Golden Enclaves.

📚 After I Do – Taylor Jenkins Reid
📚 Wings of Ebony – J. Elle
📚 Circe – Madeline Miller
📚 Legendborn – Tracy Deonn
📚 The Man Who Died Twice and The Bullet That Missed – Richard Osman

So I’m definitely not going to run out of books, that’s for sure!

Our first few days in Greece have been very grey and rainy, but hopefully the storm is going to blow over tonight and I can start lounging by the pool in the pretty new clothes I bought with my book and drinks on tap tomorrow!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

what I read in April ’23

2023, books, review


My consistency with reading is one of the things I’m most proud of this year so far – I’ve been really trying to spend less time on my phone in the evenings so I’ve read more in four months than I’ve ever read before. Then this snowballs into enjoying reading even more and spending even more time doing it!

As I’m writing this, I finished three books this month but I’m close to finishing my current paperback and my current audiobook so it might be on five by the end of the month! It’s been a really varied month featuring my first 2 star rating of the year, so buckle in!

A Deadly Education (The Scholomance #1) – Naomi Novik (audio) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Honestly, I only used a credit on this book because I saw the third in the trilogy in Waterstones and thought it was pretty.

Galadriel (El) is a 17 year old junior at potentially the most dangerous high school in the world – filled with thousands of wizards, only a handful of which will graduate, the students have to navigate being hunted and attacked by the variety of creatures desperate to break into the school whilst navigating a teacher-less education system and working to build the energy they need to cast the magic they’ll use to make it out of graduation alive. Orion Lake has taken it upon himself to be the school superhero – destroying as much of the malificaria as he can and saving hundreds of lives, much to the dismay of the seniors approaching a graduation hall full of the hungriest monsters the school has ever seen. Somehow catching his attention and finding herself in a position of potentially making the alliances she needs to get out of the school alive, El needs to figure out Orion Lake and stop needing to be saved by him, before she let’s the dark magic take over.

The first half was a struggle – I found the protagonist, El, quite irritating and the narrator used such a snotty accent (and her American accent when reading other characters was patchy at best). But as I tuned in to El as a character, realising she wasn’t trying to be a hero but played more of an anti-hero role (as well as going through some more humanising character development), I found myself wanting to listen to the rest of the book in every spare opportunity.

The world building is fantastic, incredibly immersive without taking that narrative stance of ‘assuming the reader already understands and making them play catch up’ attitude that I find difficult to comprehend. The peripheral character’s are really sweet and the last few chapters found that perfect balance of feeling conclusive and like they had an ending, whilst leaving a little trail of a cliffhanger to make you want to read the next book. I was very lucky to find a physical copy of the sequel ‘The Last Graduate’ on a trip to Oxford Waterstones where my husband felt guilty that he was buying three books so bought me the one I really wanted.

The Giver of Stars – JoJo Moyes (paperback) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’m not normally one for historical fiction – give me fantasy, contemporary or dystopian any day – but as someone who loves learning about history, and has an unhealthy obsession with Bridgerton, I know I need to try more!

Set in 1930s America, ‘The Giver of Stars’ started very slowly – perhaps reflecting to mundanity of the life our protagonist has found herself in. Alice has moved from her home in England to a small town in Kentucky with the man she somewhat spontaneously married – trying to figure out her life as a wife in a country she knows nothing about with townspeople that think they already know her, Alice inadvertently signs herself up for the controversial Packhorse Library – taking books to those who wouldn’t otherwise have access to them in the rural mountains around their town. In trying to navigate her role as a wife, facing backlash for her part in in the library and finding friendships where her husband’s father doesn’t approve, Alice grows up fast and learns that the expectations set upon her might not align with the life she wants.

Although it dragged a bit at the beginning, the last 50% of the story was actually quite intense! With several major plot events that kept me hooked, I was squeezing in an extra chapter whenever I could. In the end, it was a beautiful tale of female friendships, the power of literature and the heart of real love that I actually think I will return to reread at some point.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon (paperback) ⭐️⭐️

Oooh do I have opinions on this one!

I read this one because it was my partner’s choice for our wedding library book club (context: for our wedding, we asked our guests to gift us a copy of their favourite book so we have a library of our favourite people’s favourite books, in an endeavour to read them all, we take it in turns to pick one a month and I call it a book club to make it sound more exciting than it is) and I was mildly apprehensive – I read ‘The Curious Incident’ for English at school and I didn’t enjoy it, so reading it again as an adult who is waiting to be diagnosed with autism, I was intrigued to see how my opinion of the book that is famed for it’s autistic protagonist may change as my understanding of ASD has developed.

Well, it turns out I still hated it.

But halfway through I decided to research the author’s relationship with ASD – whether he had it himself or knew someone with it. I found an article from his website where he proudly states that he doesn’t know anything about the disorder and didn’t do any research before writing Christopher how he did, saying ‘imagination always trumps research’ – cue, my blood starting to boil.

I realised at this point that I didn’t like Christopher not because he’s autistic, but because he is a presentation of everything that an ignorant neurotypical person finds inconvenient about their stereotypical perception of autism. Arguably, Christopher is not autistic – Christopher is a neurotypical assumption. How can anyone give themselves the illusion that they can write a first person narrative of a character they clearly intended to be autistic without doing any research?

It got 2 stars because it’s not technically badly written (badly researched, but I save my 1 star rating for very special occasions), but I would like to set it on fire.

Currently reading:

The Last Graduate (The Scholomance #2) – Naomi Novik (paperback) – 60%

Following ‘A Deadly Education’, El has officially made it to her senior year, next step: getting back out into the world alive.

If I write any more of a summary of this one, I will inadvertently spoil the first one so I’ll leave it there for now but I’m actually enjoying ‘The Last Graduate’ even more than ‘A Deadly Education’ – it picks up right where the first one left off, so I’m glad I’m reading them in quick succession otherwise I’d have forgotten so many of the key details and there’s no reminders or recontextualising. I’ve used an audible credit so I can leap straight into the conclusion when I finish this one but so far, I’m thoroughly enjoying it and incredibly intrigued about what the subject of the third instalment could be.

Icebreaker – Hannah Grace (audio) – 69%

Anastasia is a college figure skater hoping to qualify for the Olympics. Nate is a college ice hockey player who has been offered a place on a pro team once he graduates. When a revenge prank goes too far and the teams have to share a rink for the duration of the semester, Anastasia’s neatly detailed planner is derailed and she’s not happy. But Nate wants to make the transition to sharing the rink as smooth as possible, and the fact that he thinks Anastasia is gorgeous is just a bonus.

This is one of the spiciest books I’ve ever read – listening to it in the car makes me wonder how much is too much because if anyone else could hear what I was listening to, I would get some incredibly funny looks!

The main characters are incredibly sweet, the presentation of trauma is incredibly raw and authentic and the smut scenes are something else (interpret that how you will). I’m definitely going to finish this at the weekend as I’ve got a couple of long drives but I have had a fantastic time reading this, despite how inappropriate it’s felt at times 😂

The only other book I have on the go is the sequel to ‘hush, hush’ by Becca Fitzpatrick on my kindle, but what I’ve learnt about myself this month is that I can manage one eye reading book and one ear reading book at a time, so when I finish ‘The Last Graduate’ I’m going to read the rest of the ‘hush, hush’ series and honestly, that sounds like a fantastic way to start my holiday!

I imagine May’s wrap up will be quite a bit longer, as I’m flying off to Greece for two weeks for my honeymoon and I cannot wait to have some time in the sun with a stack of books!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

my weird book quirks

2023, books


Everyone has their own little reading habits – there’s a never ending discussion about dog-earing pages and bending spines – and whether you have a reading goal to read 250 books or you just try to read as much as you can, everyone has their own little quirks so I thought I’d share mine!

I have to read a whole series consecutively

If I start reading a series and I don’t hate it, I have to read the whole thing in one go or I will probably forget what happens or lose momentum. On the one hand, if I grab a series out of my TBR Jar I feel cheated because I only get to put one bit of paper in my ‘read’ jar, but I get to tick off more than one book from my unread list so pros and cons.

I also have a bunch of sequel books that I need to buy prequels for so that makes it more difficult to reduce my unread books too! Which leads to…

I won’t let myself reread books I love while I have unread books on my shelf

I’ve added a few of my favourite titles into my tbr jar so I have a chance to reread them (especially because some of them I’ve not read for probably a decade) but even then I still feel bad about it! Depending on the length of the book, it can take me anywhere from a couple of days to a couple of weeks (maybe months) to finish a book, so it feels silly to use that time on a book I’ve read before when I have so many unread books on my shelves!

Maybe one day I’ll find a better balance, but for now I need to take a chunk out of that tbr jar!

I can’t balance reading physical books and ebooks at the same time

I really thought when I dug out my old kindle and started reading the sequels in the hush, hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick I would read so much more because I’d finally got into the triple platform reading I’ve seen so many people talking about on tiktok, but I just can’t find a balance between ebooks and physical books! For now, I’m separating my reading type by eyes and ears – as soon as someone invents a way for me to sniff stories I might be able to consider reading three at a time!

I track my reading in far too many different places

I use Storygraph, I have an app called Bookshelf for tracking my physical books, I ‘have’ to update my Instagram bio, post a review, add it to my stories and put it in a highlight, I generally make a tiktok about the books I finish, I have a section in my bullet journal, my booktok journal, my wedding library review journal for my book club books and a spreadsheet where I track and record what I’m reading. I know it’s excessive and I know that I could definitely drop some of them, but I don’t want to because they all do slightly different things! I can’t justify it, but I’m not going to stop 😂

I kind of hate bookmarks

Don’t get me wrong, there are some very cute designs and I love the idea of designing my own but I am someone who gets very overwhelmed by choice – I’m a minimalist in that sense – and unless I suddenly develop the brain capacity to read more than one book at a time (unlikely) I will only ever need one bookmark at a time! I have a handy plastic postcard that says ‘I’m not lucky, I’m good’ and I’ve been using it for approximately four years now and I have no intention of changing it out any time soon.

Watch me now develop an obsession for bookmarks!

I feel like I’ve just finished a sort of bookish confessional, but honestly it feels good! I love talking about books and reading and I’m kind of not joking about designing my own bookmarks, so if anyone knows anything about starting an Etsy store or good materials for bookmarks or bookish things, let me know!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

resisting new books when I’m on a spending ban

2023, books


I spent the entirety of 2022 on a book buying ban (then asked all of my wedding guests for a copy of their favourite book, thus receiving approximately 80 new books and a few book vouchers… which we thoroughly enjoyed spending), then when I took myself off the spending ban in 2023 I went a little mad and bought over 30 books in the first couple of months, so I put myself back on the ban until my unread physical books are at a more reasonable number!

(I currently have 332 unread books… I know)

But that doesn’t make the allure of the bookshop any easier to resist – especially with booktok, bookstagram and booktube throwing fantastic recommendations out left, right and centre. But I think I’ve found some pretty decent tactics for scratching the itch of new books without breaking the bank (or my bookshelves!).

This first one doesn’t particularly help with reducing the physical tbr, but using an Audible credit on a new book that you want to read but don’t want to spend money on is a great way to get at least one new story a month without actually spending any money or adding to the physical tbr! Something I’m considering trying is using my credit on an audio copy of a book I already physically own – I haven’t tried reading and listening simultaneously yet, but I have Legendborn by Tracey Deonn both on Audible and physically, so I might give it a go!

My next tactic is if (when) I go to a book shop, to put every book I like the look of on my ‘want to read’ shelf on Storygraph so that I have a list of books I want to read once I reduce my physical tbr/if I have an audible credit. You can do this on Goodreads as well or I’m sure it’s available on other book tracking apps, or you could even just make a list on your phone! Having a record of them makes it feel like you’ve at least taken some action in engaging with the story and even if you don’t get to read it right now (which, realistically you wouldn’t do even if you bought it!) you have a record of it so you won’t forget about it!

And lastly (this ones a bit more niche) – take photos or videos of the books you’re interested in. I made a tiktok video called ‘books I would have bought if I wasn’t on a book buying ban’ and it did surprisingly well (for me). But it also really scratched the itch of wanting new books. It was lovely to have people in the comments telling me which books were worth it (which I then used some audible credits on) and share other people’s enthusiasm.


I kinda lied though, I did buy three… points if you can guess which ones 😂😂 #booktok #tbr #wanttoread #bookbuyingban #reading #waterstones #theworks #fyp

♬ Cute – Aurel Surya Lie

Granted, not everyone makes social media content or wants to take photos or videos of everything, but I really enjoyed making the video. Enough that I made another video when I went to Oxford last week! Though this trip was particularly satisfying because my partner ended up buying three books despite reading way more inconsistently than me (and he offered to buy me one, as he was already buying three so… big win!).

Whenever I go to a book shop I end up spending ages in there just browsing the titles, reading the blurbs of all these fantastic stories and building a list of great books to come back to.

I also have a mental list of a few books I would allow myself to buy – I’m desperately looking for physical copies of the Ace of Shades series by Amanda Foody as I listened to them on Audible and adored them. I’d also like a copy of A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik as even though I’ve only just finished it on Audible, I’m really quite invested!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

First Quarter Reading Stats 2023

2023, books


I’m really not sure if the title of this blog post sounds too formal, when realistically I just wanted to share some of the cool pie charts from my Storygraph account of everything I’ve been reading so far this year. And I love being nosy with this sort of thing on other people’s reading habits, so I might as well share my own!

In the first three months of 2023, I have read 17 books – three of those are from the collection of books we received as part of our wedding gifts, two of them are audiobooks, thirteen were from the backlog of my physical tbr and I also bought 32 new books.

This is why I’m back on a book buying ban – because I cannot be trusted.

I forgot to get screenshots before I finished my first book of April, so these stats are skewed slightly by the 18th book I finished yesterday, but we can overlook that (please).

First thing’s first, I just wanted to share that I am absolutely smashing my reading goal – I’m only three books away from the halfway mark of my goal for the year, which means if I continue reading at this rate I’ll be done by August! And I’ve got a two week holiday to Greece where I plan on doing nothing but reading so maybe even sooner. But I am very cautious of putting too much pressure on myself and if I don’t keep up this momentum, that’s absolutely fine.

I’ve read a whole bunch of different ‘moods’ but adventurous, mysterious and lighthearted appear to be my go to! I think this is due to starting the year finishing the Alex Rider series and then getting back into reading more of the fantasy genre, which tends to have more adventurous plot lines. Lighthearted is definitely my favourite and I consider them almost my palette cleanser books – something easy that I don’t have to think to hard about that I can devour.

Most of the books I read are (what I consider) average length books – below 400 pages is my ideal book for not feeling too intimidating, but honestly page numbers can be confusing because The Atlas Six was over 500 pages, but it’s sequel The Atlas Paradox was only 399 but felt about the same length, which I think was something to do with the paperback vs hardback formatting with the height and width of the books. So in a way, I prefer looking at audiobooks for the length of books because it’s still the same amount of words! (Six is 16h51m and Paradox is 17h35m, so point proven!).

Honestly, I don’t think I need to say anything.

I think YA, Romance and Fantasy being at the top of my genres is pretty accurate (though I would argue that YA isn’t a genre but an audience category – ‘Adult’ and ‘Middle-Grade’ aren’t considered genres!). I’ve read more science fiction than I would have expected for this year, but then that is only four books and so many books cover different genres that it probably muddles in with the others.

I really enjoyed rediscovering the Dystopian genre by reading Ready Player One and I’d like to read more of it in the rest of the year but 1) I honestly don’t know how many dystopian books I have and 2) I choose what I’m reading based on bits of paper in my tbr jar, so I don’t really choose what I read next.

My formats would definitely be more balanced if I still had a two hour daily commute to work, but as I don’t have the opportunity to listen and drive as much as I used to, I take more time to finish audiobooks than most physical books. But I am getting better at finding opportunities at home to listen to audiobooks – I was sorting my wardrobe the other day and it was the perfect time to listen and I really enjoy listening while doing creative relaxing tasks like colouring or cross stitching, but I also just started watching Gilmore Girls and honestly, I’m a little bit obsessed so audiobooks have taken a back seat.

Now, Storygraph doesn’t always get the number of pages right (which is part of the reason I also have my own spreadsheet for data tracking) but I love the way this graph shows books read in relation to pages and minutes listened. Though I definitely listened to audiobooks in both January and February so I’m not sure where this data has gone. It’s still pretty satisfying though.

And last but not least (of the Storygraph data) – my average star ratings. I’ve been pretty lucky to only have 3+ star reads so far this year, but there’s definitely been a couple that have been borderline 2 stars and several that have been reluctant ratings due to having one amazing aspects (characters or world building, etc) and being let down by other aspects. But I do think I’m pretty generous with my ratings so that average ratings of the books I read were probably lower than my ratings.

And from my personal spreadsheet, here’s everything I’ve read so far this year including how many days it took me to read, how I would classify their genres, audience age, format, actual number of pages and ratings. I intend to make my own graphs at the end of the year and I’m unreasonably excited about it.

These are arguably not my best statistics, but this is how many books I had on my physical tbr at the beginning of the year, then a tracker of how many I’ve bought, how many of the backlog I’ve read, total I’ve read (including non-backlog books) and the consequent total of unread books on my physical tbr. The fact that it’s nearly 20 books higher than it was at the beginning of the year is the reason I put myself on a book buying ban.

Recently I’ve been having a real internal debate about whether I actually enjoy reading or if I’m making myself do it because I love the numbers and the statistics. I think it’s both and I think that’s okay? I do really love statistics and I also really love reading and getting lost in stories.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

my favourite activities for mentally refuelling

2023, creativity, lifestyle, mental health


One of the things I’ve been talking about with my therapist this year is thinking about how much of my time I spend doing ‘productive’ things and following a to do list, vs doing things to help myself recharge the mental batteries (shock horror: I need to chill out on pressuring myself to be productive).

I feel like I’ve been constantly adjusting how I make my to do lists since I started my bullet journal in 2017 – there was a point where I’d have 5 ‘major’ tasks and 3 ‘minor’ tasks, a point where I’d let leftover tasks sit on my list all week then reassign them on a Sunday, a point where I used time blocking in an app called tiimo to plan not just what I do but when I do it. But I’ve never found anything consistent because I’ve realised that no one is and I don’t have to be!

At the moment, I have a few tasks that I am to do daily, I have a morning routine and an evening routine that I try to do as many steps as I can but even just one is enough and then a few tasks that I set myself each day to try and do something meaningful with my day, whether it’s working on something for my professional skillset while I’m between jobs or doing practising something for no reason other than I want to (like playing the piano!).

But doing something relaxing for the sake of relaxing is something I really have had to practise at – getting back in touch with my creativity has been a fantastic outlet for me and doing things that let my mind go quiet (and not by drowning it out) is helping me learn so much about what is energy draining and what is replenishing.

So here are my favourite ways to really switch off at the moment, just in case you need some inspiration too.

Cross stitch

I have so many Christmas themed cross stitch kits from Hobbycraft and I had a half finished one on my side table by the sofa since December, so since finishing that and rediscovering how therapeutic I find the repetitive and precise nature of cross stitch has been really lovely (and technically, I’m making a start on some Christmassy gifts!).

Following a pattern and sewing pretty colours into cute pictures is a lovely way to feel creative without feeling too overwhelmed with where to start. But one thing leads to another – these kits always come with my embroidery thread than the design needs, so I really enjoy using up that extra thread to expand the existing design, or using the thread to make a brand new piece further down the line.

I got a kit from the Range that was some very simple flowers and I reckon I only needed 25% of the thread provided, so I used the excess to make a colourful border. Then I started using excess from other kids and now I have a full design that’s completely full of colourful cross stitches. It’s been so much fun to work on and now that it’s (nearly) finished it’s very satisfying too!

Extra bonuses are that I love the way the cloth feels when it’s completely filled with stitches (it’s so soft and I love the texture) and it’s a mostly-mindless activity that I can pair with another thing I find relaxing; listening to audiobooks. It’s like the mindless background TV show but you actually don’t need to look at anything. Bliss!


I don’t think this one is a surprise, considering I’ve almost completely focused my blog to be about books now and I literally just tagged on audiobooks to the cross stitch section!

I was one of those kids who would sneak out of bed at night to read, then I was the teenager that fell out of love with reading because studying English killed any enthusiasm I had for literature and I grew up with the rise of the internet and the birth of YouTubers (plus, I read a lot of fanfiction).

In 2019 I properly dedicated myself to reading and ever since then it’s been a journey towards reading more and more each year. The unread books in my house sits at an unreasonable 331 and The Works always having a 3 for £6 deal is dangerous for that total and my bank account, but I adore that I’ve been able to turn something that was such a pivotal part of my personality as a child back into my adult life.

I love reading. I love posting on Instagram and TikTok about reading. I love talking about books. And one day I might just get round to finishing another one of my own! I’m manifesting ‘published author’ into my future.

Drawing on my iPad

Updating my iPad last year was a spontaneous decision that I probably should have thought about more, but knowing that has made me all the more determined to make it worth it.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a good artist; I have no definitive style, I usually have absolutely no idea where to start and there’s so many skills I’ve seen on TikTok that I have absolutely no idea how to do, but I am enjoying it.

I started by tracing outlines of some of our wedding pictures and making minimal colour block pictures. I practised adding my handwriting to some blog headers and learning about different techniques available in the ProCreate app. I’ve even downloaded some colouring pages that I’m going to outline and colour on the plane to our honeymoon next month.

It’s not something I’m good at, but as a depressed-former-gifted-kid (yes, that stereotype), not doing something perfectly straight away is something I’m really bad at. So not only am I spending some time relaxing and exploring my creativity while learning something new, I’m practising being bad! And hopefully one day I’ll be less bad, then maybe even good.

But at the moment, I’m enjoying the process without thinking too much about the ‘worth’ of what I produce at the end.

This is another one that goes excellently with an audiobook.

Basically, any excuse to spend more time listening to audiobooks!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx