I really SHOULD have read these books…

2023, books

Hello!

As someone who spent their entire childhood staying up past my bedtime to read and an adult who’s been steadily back in their reading habit for approximately three years, there are many classics, core fantasy series and bookstagram highlights that I haven’t read (yet). So as somewhere between a motivator and a guilt trip for myself, I thought I’d list some of the books that I already own that I really should have read by now.

1984 – George Orwell

My dad gave me a beautiful copy of this book as one of his favourite books and I just find the concept of reading Orwell too intimidating. Honestly, I’m not a big fan of classics – my A Level English Literature classes were mostly just me getting angry at wilty female characters (I’m looking at you, Bryony from Atonement) or getting confused by flamboyant writing that took me three attempts to understand (Jane Eyre… I don’t think I even finished it).

But I have the audiobook downloaded on Audible and maybe one day I’ll bring myself to read it… Any brilliant reviews to entice me are more than welcome.

His Dark Materials – Phillip Pullman

Considering we had a reading from The Amber Spyglass at our wedding, we really should have read this series. I remember watching and loving ‘The Golden Compass’ film when I was a kid, but I think I was confused by the fact that the book had a different name and I got the impression from somewhere that it was a difficult read.

But after the wedding we did buy the most beautiful set of the trilogy so I really should prioritise them! Maybe that’s a series to take on the honeymoon…

The Hobbit / Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkein

Although I have watched and enjoyed all of the film adaptations of these books, I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a hardcore LOTR fan. But then I took myself on a solo cinema date to see the film ‘Tolkein’ about the authors life and it is honestly one of my favourite films and totally inspired me as a writer. So I should really do the man the honour of reading his books, shouldn’t I?

The Flatshare – Beth O’Leary

I’ve seen so many people talking about and reviewing this online that it really should have been more a priority, but the concept even now still doesn’t really strike me. Living with someone, sharing a bed with them but never meeting them? It just sounds ridiculous but I am susceptible to hype and it’s got to be this popular for a reason, right? I have it, I just need to read it!

Daisy Jones & The Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid

I could extend this to any Taylor Jenkins Reid book to be honest. Daisy Jones has been on my ‘want to read’ ever since I saw YouTuber Hannah Witton do a review of it literally years ago. I picked up a copy when my husband and I went away for our anniversary in 2021 (he wasn’t even my husband then ūüėĪ) and I just haven’t got to it yet. The incentive I’ve given myself for this though is that I’m not letting myself watch the show until I’ve read the book and considering Sam Claflin is in the show (and I think Sam Claflin is brilliant), it’s a pretty good incentive.

It Ends With Us – Colleen Hoover

Colleen Hoover is a powerhouse, isn’t she? I swear she’s releasing 3-5 books a year and I can’t comprehend how anyone can write that much that quickly. I’ve never read a single one of her books, mostly because I couldn’t suppress the hipster in me that said ‘well everyone likes her so you have to be different’. That and the fact that none of her books have particularly appealed to me (except Verity, but I haven’t got my hands on a copy yet). But one of my friends gave me a copy at my wedding last year as one of her favourite books from 2022 and I trust this friend’s book opinions so it’ll happen this year! For sure. (Please hold me to that).

The Mortal Instruments series – Cassandra Clare

Considering I was on top of the major fantasy series when I was a teenager – Harry Potter, Percy Jackson (ish), The Hunger Games, Twilight etc – the fact I never made it passed book 1 of the Shadowhunters saga is actually kind of surprising. I picked up a copy of the entire Mortal Instruments series for a tenner on Facebook marketplace well over a year ago now but I just haven’t got to it. That might be another option for the honeymoon – I could probably get through the whole series in two weeks by the pool in a Greek hotel, right?

There are so many more classics I haven’t read that I’m not interested in – even the beauty of the Penguin clothbound classics doesn’t draw me in to reading stories that take more brain power than I have to comprehend. I like easy reading books – a simple writing style with a witty, sarcastic main character who could probably do with believing in themselves a bit more but the self-deprecation is relatable.

Too niche?

I’m all for reading books that bring you joy – I read to relax and trying to understand more complex literature is a lot of work for my little probably-autistic brain, so contemporary romance and light fantasy are my go to, but I should probably try and push myself every now and then.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

February Reading Wrap Up!

2023, books

Hello!

Another month has passed and it’s time to wrap up everything I’ve read this month! It’s been a month of chunkier reads, getting back into audiobooks and making a lot more time for reading (let’s not talk about how much less sleep I’m getting).

I’ve also spent a month consistently making book related videos on TikTok! I’ve been making weekly reading wrap ups, talking about some of my reading habits and just chatting about books! I’ve done a couple of hauls, I’ve made a vlog and I’m really enjoying making creative videos and talking about something I love!

In February I’ve read three paperback books and an audiobook and they were all longer ones for me – the physical books were all over 350 pages and the audiobook was 10 hours exactly so it wasn’t the seven books I read in January but there were some interesting ones and there wasn’t any middle grade so they weren’t as easy as finishing the Alex Rider series as I did at the beginning of the year.

So here’s a brief review of everything I read this month!

One Last Stop – Casey McQuiston

This was a pick from my TBR jar and regardless of the book, it’s always satisfying making progress on my jar! One Last Stop was a bit intimidating – it’s literally a very large book, it’s tall and it’s chunky and it was physically hard to hold, which made me a little resentful of reading it if I’m honest. I didn’t really vibe with many of the characters and even towards the end I was having to remind myself which name corresponded with which character.

But when it came to rating it, I couldn’t help but rate it 4 stars – something about the way my chest ached and the adrenalin I felt at the end of the book just made it a 4 star read. I feel like I need to read it again when I’m in a better headspace to see if I connect to the characters more but even now I feel like I found August really annoying so still a bit confused about One Last Stop, despite the 4 star rating.

The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2) – Helen Hoang

My first audiobook of the year and I’m so glad I’ve come back to The Kiss Quotient series by Helen Hoang. Although each book can be read as a standalone, going through the series and getting the extra references and feeling I know the characters better was such an added bonus. Reading another story with fantastic autism representation that wasn’t a carbon copy of the autism representation in the first book was really insightful.

Kai and Esme were super sweet, I loved the insight into being a Vietnamese woman in the US and everything she achieves over the summer, the progress Kai makes in learning about himself and the epilogue was so cute. I loved every second; the communication was there, the spicy scenes were red hot and the audio narrators were incredible. A full 5 stars with no hesitation.

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

This one was my husband’s choice from the books we were gifted for our wedding and I was enthralled from the off – the concept was so original, the characters were so unique and diverse, and the plot was high paced and engaging from the first page to the last. Considering my favourite genre is contemporary romance, dystopian sci-fi was a bit daunting but it was clever without being elitist and alienating. Definitely added to a mental list of all time favourite books!

Ready Player Two – Ernest Cline

Going straight on to the sequel I was a bit apprehensive – the first book ended so fantastically, it definitely didn’t need a sequel but I was intrigued as to what the sequel could possibly be about.

The first half was honestly dull – protagonist Wade was so pathetic and self-pitying, it took over 50% of the book for a plot to really emerge but even then, I just couldn’t bring myself to root for Wade. There was an interesting new character that didn’t get explored enough and then the epilogue felt so awkward and rushed and big things were reduced to one sentence.

Don’t get me wrong, I still gave it 4 stars because the universe is so well created, the quest for the Seven Shards was just as clever as the original Easter Egg quest, the research and detail that went into finding each shard was amazing and the supporting characters were wonderful, it just wasn’t the 5 star material, especially in comparison to the original.

Currently Reading

As I write this, there’s still four days left of the month so I may be able to squeeze in another finished book but knowing how much I have left in each of the books I’m reading I don’t think I’ll manage that by the end of the month on Tuesday!

I’ve just started reading The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake from my physical tbr and it’s the longest book I’ve read this year at over 550 pages so I don’t think I’ll be able to finish that in four days! I’m still very much in the early stages, not even 10% through and just meeting the initial characters so I’ve not read enough to give an opinion yet but I’m enjoying what I have read!

And I’m nearly 60% through The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang, the third instalment in the Kiss Quotient series with about 4 hours to go. I might be able to squeeze it in, especially with how much I’m enjoying it but I’m not putting the pressure on myself to finish it by the end of the month. It’s another fantastic look at another person with autism who is completely different from the other two autistic characters in the series to far. It’s given such an incredible and emotional insight into a family who don’t ‘believe’ in autism and feel like they know someone better than they know themselves. My heart is breaking for Anna but I love how Quan is so thoughtful and considerate of her and I’m so excited to listen to the rest of this one. Maybe I will finish it by Tuesday!

Between my book instagram and my tiktok I’ve been thinking about books a lot. I’ve read something every single day this year and I’m still really enjoying it, maybe I’ve finally found a niche after eight years of blogging and making content!!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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

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

Treasured In… December

2020, lifestyle

Hello!

With the last month of the year drawing to a close, now might just be the best time to reflect on the things that have brought me joy this month in the hope that perhaps they can bring you joy too!

We all know 2020 has been crap, I don’t need to reel off my personal experiences because it’s been rubbish for everyone in so many different ways. But there has been moments of positivity and joy and though focusing on them doesn’t necessarily make it easier, remembering them can bring little pockets of happiness!

So here’s a few of my favourites from the month!

  • Purchase

Not particularly exciting, but I bought a coffee table on Facebook marketplace and it’s made my living room much more cluttered but given me somewhere comfy to work whilst my desk is in parts in the shed so I have somewhere for the Christmas tree! Only ¬£20, picked it up the same day and it’s been home to lots of crafts, most of my Christmas wrapping and some festive Lego building!

new coffee table with cotton wool snowman whilst we watched ‘The Wheel’ with dinner!

And my second favourite purchase was a boxing day sales one – a bit strange, but I bought a nappy bag… I don’t have a baby, I’m not expecting a baby, I’m just a big fan of¬†pockets. There are so many compartments, so many extra little inside pockets and pouches! I’m sure it would be a wonderful nappy bag, but I’m going to use it as a work bag and I’m¬†so excited about it.

  • Recipe

I’ve not been cooking much this month because I’ve not had the energy to actually prepare food, but I treated myself to a gammon joint for Christmas and cooked it in the slow cooker. I was aiming for a honey roasted ham but I did it on Christmas Day and I forgot how long it had been in for and I think I should have finished it off in the oven, so it didn’t taste very honey roasted at all, but it does taste lovely, it’s not too chewy and it was so easy to just chuck in the slow cooker.

It¬†was the most expensive cut of meat I’ve ever bought (because I’m cheap af and try not to buy meat too often) so I’m not going to be rushing to try it again any time soon, but I would like to try it again and actually pay more attention!

  • Song

There’s one song I’ve literally not stopped listening to but it’s not on Spotify so I’ve made a YouTube playlist and just listened to it on loop about a hundred times. The lyrics are stunning, the melodies are beautiful and it’s perfect for a sing song when I’m home alone.

  • YouTube video

I’ve watched¬†a lot of YouTube this month – I’m sick of having hundreds of videos on my watch later and I don’t want to be watching Vlogmas content in February (and it kind of feels like I have company when my partner’s at work!) so here’s some of my favourites!

It’s my 30th Birthday – KickThePJ

The /W/orst Letter – vlogbrothers (Hank Green)

Among Us with Proximity Chat is Terrifying & Hilarious – KickThePJ

How We Organise Our Joint Finances as a Millennial Couple | More Hannah

It’s Finally Happening!!! RawBeautyKristi x Colourpop Collection Reveal – RawBeautyKristi

  • Books I’ve read

I’ve finally got back into reading! After a three month slump of nothing, I finished¬†The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne last month and I started reading¬†A Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson at the beginning of the month and stayed up to finish it on Christmas day because¬†wow¬†it was incredible.

A full 5/5 for amazing characters (my favourite thing), a suspenseful plot that just kept twisting and the most natural romantic subplot that was so subtle and so not important to the main plot, just beautifully integrated without being focal, it was lovely. I’m trying not to buy more books until I’ve cut down my ‘to be read’ pile, but¬†wow I want to read the sequel ‘Good Girl, Bad Blood’¬†so badly.

But I am resisting! I’m now reading¬†Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion because my friend lent it to me and I don’t want to leave it too long to give it back. I’m not sure whether it’ll be my last book of 2020 or my first book of 2021, but the 30 pages I read the other night were written in a really fun style and I’m enjoying it so far.

  • Something to watch…

With watching so much more YouTube in trying to catch up, I’ve not watched a lot of TV, Film or streaming services. But my partner and I have been watching one particular quiz show with dinner because our friend worked on it and it’s exciting and nice to support what our friends are doing (other than live sport, I just can’t bring myself to watch that) – so we’ve been watching a lot of ‘The Wheel’. It’s a Michael McIntyre hosted socially distanced quiz show that is just really fun (despite how annoying the theme song is). I love a quiz show, I love learning new things and I like how impatient my fianc√© is that he has to google all the answers before they’re revealed.

This year has been bloody weird, so finding favourites isn’t always the easiest, but even if it’s hard to remember, there are always good moments. Whether it’s a book, a quiz show or a good find in the Boxing Day sales, there’s always something good to be found.

This is my last post for this year but I’ll be back on New Year’s Day with my 2021 goals!

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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