23 books for 2023

2023, books

Hello!

Books and reading appear to be my current hyper-fixation – I loved all the statistics that were being shared at the end of 2022 and managing to read seven books in December has really spurred me on for the beginning of this year.

I’ve already finished three books this year and I’m finally coming to the end of the Alex Rider series – I have just two more books to finish and then I can read something else! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the series but after 13 books I will be very happy to read something else.

Although I am using the system of a tbr jar (all the unread books I own are on strips of paper in a jar – the jar choses what I read next!) there are lots of books that I would love to get round to reading this year. Will I get round to the them if I’m relying on the mystery of titles in a jar to determine my next read? Maybe not! But I thought I’d collate the list anyway!

One – The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas

A contemporary romance I’ve heard loads about on TikTok and, in my experience, I’ve adored every contemporary romance I’ve read because of TikTok so I think this will be a good one for if I end up in a reading slump and I need something that’s easy to read that I can devour.

Two – Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom + Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Already picking more than one book and counting it as one! I’ve heard so many good things about the GrishaVerse and I think it’s one that I will thoroughly enjoy… when I get round to reading it. A lot of the cosplayers I follow on TikTok have done characters from these stories and I’m looking forward to understanding the references, honestly.

Three – The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

TikTok hype and Fantasy? Yeah, I think I’m going to like this one a lot. I’ve also convinced my partner to read this one too and we’ve already bought a very beautiful copy of the sequel The Atlas Paradox. I’m a sucker for pretty books with lots of hype, it seems.

Four – With This Kiss by Carrie Hope Fletcher

I preordered this book in 2021 and I never got round to reading it in 2022 so I really want to read it this year. I am a big fan of Carrie Hope Fletcher in her many endeavours but her books are hit and miss for me. I do like the fantastical realism in her first book On The Other Side so I’m hoping for something like that!

Five – My Mechanical Romance by Alexene Farol Follmuth

An MCR joke in a contemporary romance sounds like a recipe for a book I’ll like very much. I also read somewhere that this author is the same as the writer of The Atlas Six and I kind of love that there are two such different books written by the same person both on my tbr.

Six – Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

I wanted this book entirely because of the elements of the periodic table feature on the sprayed edges of the Waterstones edition and my husband bought it for me as a Christmas present and I don’t really know if I’m going to like the story but I’m excited to find out! Hopefully this year!

Seven – An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

Another YouTuber turned author that I’ve been following for a very long time and now I want to read the book. I’ve heard fantastic things about the mental health representation and although I am starting to grow out of YA a bit, I love a contemporary story and I’m hoping it’ll be a nice easy one that I can get through quickly.

Eight – Loathe to Love You by Ali Hazelwood

I went to buy this on release day because I’m a slut for Ali Hazelwood – The Love Hypothesis and Love On The Brain were two of my favourite reads in 2022 and I’m really excited to read this collection of short stories. I’ve heard mixed things about them but that’s from a YouTuber who tends to be very critical of what she reads so I’m going in open minded.

Nine – Book Lovers by Emily Henry

I loved Beach Read by Emily Henry with the kind of ferocity of someone who is angry with how cute a puppy is. I adored it. I’ve seen lots of positive reviews of further Emily Henry books and with my love for Beach Read in mind, I’m very much looking forward to this one.

Ten – Babel by R. F. Kuang

Everyone on BookTok and bookstagram likes it and it’s pretty. Chunkier than most of the books I tend to read but maybe it’ll make me feel cultured.

Eleven – A Court of Thorn and Roses by Sarah J. Mass

I’ve seen so many opinions on ACOTAR, definitely one that divides people but I do tend to like the books that are really popular. The thing with this is that if I like this then I have to commit to the whole series, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Twelve – Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi

Another series? What do you mean I’m asking too much of myself? Another one I’ve seen on BookTok that I’m hoping I’ll devour as quickly as I devoured The Selection. A nice cheesy romance with some fantasy (I think?)

Thirteen – The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary

I know, I’m three million years behind on this one, but I wasn’t that bothered by the concept and then it was super popular and now there’s a TV show so I now I feel like I need to read it. I read The Switch and enjoyed that as a harmless easy read, so hoping for the same from The Flat Share.

Fourteen – Alice Oseman novels

Solitaire, Loveless, I Was Born For This and Radio Silence. I believe they’re all set in the Heartstopper universe but Alice’s website says I can read them in whatever order I fancy so they’re all about different unconnected characters. I don’t think I’ve taken more than two days to read any Alice Oseman book so far but that’s been four graphic novels and two novellas so much shorter, but I can’t imagine I’ll take much longer to read the novels because I will get obsessed.

Fifteen – Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver

I’ve had the sequel to this book, Spirit Walker, for maybe a decade? Probably even longer. But I got hold of the first in the series in… 2021 and now maybe I’ll actually read them!

Sixteen – God’s Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips

I bought this for my husband’s birthday last year because we both love Greek God stories and then he recommended I read it, which I then added to my list and now we’re here. It’s on the list.

Seventeen – Good Omens by Terry Pratchet and Neil Gaiman

I want to watch the TV show. But I need to read the book first. I don’t think I need to say anything else.

Eighteen – His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman

For our wedding, we had a reading from The Amber Spyglass as part of our ceremony. On our mini-moon, we realised that we should probably have a copy of the book considering the closest thing to a theme we had for our wedding was books. Next step: actually reading it.

Nineteen – Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve

My sibling gifted me this book ages ago and, again, I want to watch the film so I need to read the book first. Apparently the book is better so it’s probably best if I start with that.

Twenty – Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I’ve never read a TJR book and this is an author that has summoned a lot of hype so I should definitely read at least one, right? Daisy Jones and the Six is the one I’ve heard the most good things about and it’s about a band so I’m excited.

Twenty-One – Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score

It’s got a pretty cover and I bought it recently. It hits all the dopamine spots – new and pretty.

Twenty-Two – Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Honestly, I don’t really know what this is about either but I’ve seen lots of hype and it’s got a pretty cover. I’m a basic bitch and I will judge a book by it’s cover.

Twenty-Three – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I’ve ordered the rest of this list alphabetically by author’s surname but I wanted to drop this in at the bottom because Fangirl is my go to answer when someone asks what my favourite book is, so I’d like to reread it this year to see if it stands the test of time. We’ve just booked our honeymoon for two weeks in May so I might take it there with me and read it then.

I’m already having a minor complex about how many books I take on holiday, but worst comes to worst, I will sacrifice clothes. Books are more important than swimwear.

Realistically, I only read 39 books last year so if I make it through the 23(+) on this list based on the random titles I pull from my tbr jar with over 200 books in it, it will be a literal miracle. But if I don’t read them all, that’s also fine – they’re not going anywhere (because I will not throw away books).

Thank you for reading!

Sophie xx

Advertisement

Treasured In: October 2021

2021, Favourites

Hello!

Another month has flown by and somehow I’ve managed to finish one job, be unemployed for one whole week, get a new job, all amongst some of the lowest lows I’ve ever had. Every month, I wonder how the hell it’s gone so quickly, but I’ve done a slightly better job of feeling more present and slowing it all down a little. Maybe I slowed it down whilst I was at my saddest and that wasn’t the most fun, but I’m working on getting to know myself better and figuring out what makes things better and what makes things worse (ironically, both seem to be binge eating…).

But amongst the learning curve, there were lots of little moments of happiness and things I enjoyed so here’s that.

What I bought

There are two things that spring to mind – discounted tickets to the new West End musical Cinderella and the tattoo I got a couple of weeks ago.

One of the best things about the West End (other than the productions themselves) is the lottery for discounted tickets – I entered on the off chance and won the same week, planning a semi-spontaneous trip to London with my fiancé to see Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical with it’s inaugural cast including Carrie Hope Fletcher, who I’ve been a fan of for over a decade at least. The show was so much fun, the songs were really catchy and the set design and staging blew my tiny mind away.

Then I finally got another tattoo after literal years of waiting – just a little something this time to scope out the studio where I live, but this is the logo for All Time Low’s ‘Wake Up Sunshine’ album. All Time Low have been my favourite band since I was about 13 and I adore this logo.

What I ate

My main sweet craving is still for Sainsbury’s Victoria Sponge cupcakes that they barely ever have in stock at my local Sainsburys, but my wonderful fiancé (every time I type it, I mentally pronounce it fee-on-key) treated me to a bar of Tony’s Chocolonely chocolate as a gift at the end of my first day of my new job and I really wanted it to just be average because it’s SO expensive… but it was really nice. It was lovely and I want another one but it’s so expensive.

What I watched

In my week of unemployment (which I didn’t know would only be a week), I wanted to be really productive and do lots of nice craft things and make the most of time off, but the expanse of potential unemployment was really overwhelming and my mental health was trash so I watched a lot (and I mean a lot) of ‘House’ on Amazon Prime. I’m really into medical shows, when my partner is home we watch ‘Grey’s Anatomy’.

But I watched so much ‘House’. So much.

What I watched (on YouTube)

Rhiannon Ashley’s Vlogtober videos are the cosiest.

What I listened to

Because I need the main character energy, okay?

What I made

One – I’ve been working on this cross stitch kit for longer than I really should have. It was only £1 from the Range, but there was so much excess thread and I hate wasting things, so I started sewing a border. I still have loads of thread left but it’s been a nice little mindless project to do while watching TV.

Two – a Halloween costume – I’m not a big Halloween person; I hate horror movies, I’ve never really been trick or treating and I think it’s just American commercialism being adopted by the rest of the world, but I do love fancy dress. So when work suggested an inter-office costume competition, I was all over it.

We’re doing it a little early for when everyone’s in the office so by the time this goes live it won’t be a secret anymore – my office are doing Scooby Doo, but there are six of us… so I offered to make the Mystery Machine:

So two huge cardboard boxes and too much acrylic paint later, I made the Mystery Machine! I had far too much fun making this and I don’t have a damn clue what I’m going to do with it now, but I had so much fun making it and I’m probably too proud of it.

What I read

I’ve finished five books this month (so far! Still a few days left) and it’s been a very mixed bag…

Good Girl, Bad Blood (Holly Jackson) – the sequel to one of my favourite books from 2020, ‘A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder’, I loved reading about Pip’s next investigation with the development of her own podcast, the fallout of the investigation into Andie Bell’s death and the impact her ‘research’ has on everyone around her. Absolutely adored it – 4 stars (but very close to 5).

As Good As Dead (Holly Jackson) – and the last of the trilogy… was a huge let down. Pip had suffered huge trauma and I’m sure that’s the ‘logic’ behind her massive character shift, but she was so different and the really big plot point that defines the book goes against every principle Pip fought for in the first two books. Plus the trauma was really difficult to read about the 100% needed a trigger warning. When I initially reviewed this book on Storygraph I gave it 3 stars, but I’m bumping it down to 2 stars.

Red, White and Royal Blue (Casey McQuiston) – my favourite book of the whole year so far and potentially one of my favourite books of all time – definitely in the top 5! I’ve seen lots of TikToks and Instagram posts about queer literature and RW&RB has been so massively hyped. I listened to it using one of my Audible credits (because it feels like a ‘free’ book) and I’m obsessed. The characters are fantastic, the storyline is adorable and the voice actor was incredible. I went out and bought the physical copy straight away because I know this is a book I want to reread over and over again. 5 out of 5 brilliant, glittering stars.

The Switch (Beth O’Leary) – another 5 star read – again, Beth O’Leary is a massively hyped author and although I haven’t read ‘The Flatshare’ yet, I’ve been obsessed with the concept of ‘The Switch’ since I heard about it last year but I’ve only just got round to reading it and it was everything I hoped it would be. The Londoner living in a village in Yorkshire was hilarious, the Grandma dating in London was fantastic and every character was very sweet, especially Leena’s friends looking after Grandma Eileen in London. It was heartwarming, a nice cosy read, 5/5. Full marks.

Every Other Weekend (Abigail Johnson) – I always have such low expectations of the Audible Plus catalogue, and a book about 15/16 year olds is only just on the line for YA (to me at least), so I wasn’t expecting a lot, but as always I was blown away. It was a lovely insight into a variety of family experiences from the teenage perspective, the complexity of teenage relationships and the importance of communication. Genuinely a lovely listen, a 4 star review from me.

I’m currently listening to ‘In The Time We Lost’ by Carrie Hope Fletcher on Audible and I struggled a bit choosing my next physical book to read – I tried ‘Shadow and Bone’ by Leigh Bardugo but I didn’t have enough brain power for it, then I tried ‘The Book of Two Ways’ by Jodi Picoult and I was a little overwhelmed with Ancient Egyptian history so I’m currently reading ‘Sunrise on the Coast’ by Lilac Mills which I picked mostly because (I hope) it’ll be a nice little easy read and the main character is called Sophie.


Writing these posts always cheers me up! I think I want to write more review-like posts and share positivity about the media I’m enjoying, whether it’s TV, books, a film, a trip or whatever! I like reviewing things and I love these monthly round-ups.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

highlights from my tbr

2021, books

Hello!

Just because of who I am as a person, when I was unpacking my books I wrote them all down in an Excel and begun my own little database and now I have an official tbr list (to be read).

59.5% of the books I own haven’t been read (138/232) – which isn’t too bad? I thought it would be much nearer 70%! Though this doesn’t stop me from buying new books (however hard I try!), it means I’m not short of books to read.

I thought it would be nice to take you through some of the books I’m most excited to read from my book shelf – I’m not going to be reading 138 books by the end of the year, but I’m going to read as much as I can!

So if you like an easy read, a rom com, a fantasy story, a mystery, a YA story of any genre or a little bit of anything really, here are some books I’m excited about reading!

  • All That She Can See – Carry Hope Fletcher

I’ve read several of Carrie’s books and they’re always filled with a fantastical sense of wonder – I acquired this one from a pile of books that was being donated in my childhood home and I don’t really know anything about it, but I imagine it’ll be wonderful.

  • An Absolutely Remarkable Thing – Hank Green

I’ve heard incredible things about this book in regards to capturing the teenage experience growing up with the internet and the impact it has on mental health (as far as I’m aware!), I’m intrigued to find out what Hank’s writing style is like but it has to be good to have such an incredible reaction!

  • Good Girl, Bad Blood – Holly Jackson

I devoured ‘A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder’ last year and I’m so excited about the sequel – I know there’s a third book out now and I can’t wait to dive back into this series. I never thought I’d really be into crime novels but the way the protagonist is written as a teenage girl who cares about school and getting into uni but isn’t a ‘traditional’ nerd made her such a believable narrator to read. And the plot twists were brilliant!

  • Five Feet Apart – Rachael Lippincott

Did I buy this book exclusively because I want to watch the film with Cole Sprouse? Yeah, to be honest. I think he’s cute, so I want to read the book with him in mind and then watch the film to compare. There’s something about a YA medical love story that just gets me!

  • The Switch – Beth O’Leary

I saw a lot of people talking about ‘The Flatshare’ and the concept didn’t grab me tbh (though the hype around the book still convinced me to pick it up!) but The Switch sounds brilliant – a young woman living in a busy city looking to slow down and her nan looking for some adventure swapping houses for a bit? Sounds brilliant, I can’t wait!

  • Gods Behaving Badly – Marie Phillips

If I didn’t mention it enough in writing about ‘Lore’ by Alexandra Bracken on my bookstagram, I love Greek mythology and retellings of it. My sibling sent me a tiktok of someone recommending this book as a kind Friends meets the Gods and I love reading interpretations of the mythology. I think if I only read one genre for the rest of my life it would be interpretations of Greek mythology.

  • Percy Jackson series – Rick Riordan

And along the same lines… I’ve read the first one and seen the films but I never got into them properly when I was in school so when I saw the series for £10 in the Works, I bought it for my partner to give to me for Christmas and I’m yet to read them. But I will get there!

  • The Princess and the Suffragette – Holly Webb

This book I picked up from the children’s section last time I went to my favourite book store High Peak and it just intrigued me. I love when people cleverly bring conversations that many would deem ‘controversial’ to children and make it accessible. Plus it’s incredibly pretty!

The Princess and the Suffragette: Amazon.co.uk: Webb, Holly: Books

And with that, I’m going to have an early night so I can finish my current book and get onto a new one as soon as possible!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx