Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Recent Book Haul

Hello! So the last time I did a book haul was at the beginning of October so of course there’s been plenty of books gathered since then, especially since Christmas was last month. Here’s a look at all the physical books, ebooks and audiobooks I’ve recently acquired. First up the physical books, 14 in all!

book haul

From the top to bottom

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake. I’ve heard a lot about this and almost bought it when I was in Manchester earlier in the month but I held off in case I couldn’t fit it in my bag as I had already picked up 3 books! It’s a YA book about an island where every generation triplet sisters are born, raised apart in different factions and then must battle each other after they turn 16 for the crown.


A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax. So by the time I got to the airport it turns out I did have enough room for another book and seeing as this was half price at WH Smith that week I decided to pick it up. It is all about mindfulness, that massive big buzz word, but Ruby promises that well informed and funny so hopefully this’ll be good.


The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book so I picked this up while in Manchester. This is a contemporary YA novel about Natasha and Daniel who meet unexpectedly a few hours before Natasha’s family is being deported.


Casting Off by P.I. Paris. I bought this on a whim, a copy for me and a copy for my friend to say thank you for letting me stay with her in Manchester. I bought mainly because of the knitting on the front! As far as I can tell, when a care home is due to put up prices, the residents get together to try and raise some money. Something for when I want something light to read.


Wild Irish Women by Marian Boderick. My aunt bought me this for my birthday, there’s small biographies a few pages long of loads of Irish women over the years and all the interesting and cool things they’ve done. It’s not enough to get an in depth about every woman but it’s enough to spark interest and shine a light on those who may not be well known.


The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir by Lesley Allen. I showed this book in my Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards post as the book I got in the goodie bag. One day Biddy Weir rings a day time television show about their topic at hand: bullying. Biddy has a story to tell. I don’t know much else but I’m intrigued!


Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. The follow up to Illuminae, which I loved when I read it earlier this year. My library is way behind buying follow up books and the likes (and the request a purchase option has disappeared) so I got this as a Christmas present.


The Other Half of Happiness by Ayisha Malik. I loved Sofia Khan is Not Obliged when I read it last year and so I requested this ARC off the publishers Bonnier Zaffre and they kindly sent it to me.


A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. I don’t know a lot about this to be honest, I keep seeing it mentioned on the Rick O Shea book Club though! This was in a box at my local library as free to take and while I had no books at the time to put in, I will next time I’m there to make up for taking it!


Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The other book I took out of the box at the library and another one I don’t know too much about. But I loved Americanah so I’m pretty happy to go into this not knowing a lot.


Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness by Marie Tourell Søderberg. My last book haul post had a book about hygge and this one does too! This time it’s one that I won on Twitter and I have high hopes as it’s written by a Dane.


Holding by Graham Norton. This is another book I mentioned in the Irish Book Awards post as one I was adding to my TBR after seeing Graham win and talk about the book. My Mum got it for Christmas and passed it on to me (my sister also got a copy, good thing I didn’t buy one for myself!). Set in a small fictional town in Cork, secrets start to come to light after the remains of a body are found on a farm.


Solar Bones by Mike McCormack. This was one of the books of the month on the Rick O’Shea Book Club but I didn’t get to read it at the time. Then it won Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards so I decided to pick it up when I was in Manchester (good thing too as it’s gone to reprint several times as it’s so popular!). I don’t know anything about it as I’ve heard it’s best to go into it not knowing!


The Great British Bake Off Colouring Book by Tom Hovey. My brother got me this at Christmas and it’s beautiful! So on GBBO when the show talks about the bake the contestant has planned it shows a beautiful mock up drawing of the plans. This book has several versions of some of the big favourites over the past few years that you can colour in which is pretty cool!

Now onto the e-books, six in all. All on offer on Kindle


Dark Matters by Blake Crouch. A friend loved this so when it was on offer I bought it. It was also on Audible offer around the same time but after talking to my friend she thought it would be a better experience to read it.


Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. Yes, this is THE Shona Rhimes, creator of Grey’s Anatomy (which I must try get back into. Or maybe I should start it again…?) Anyway, as far as I can tell this is just about saying yes more when all you want to do is say no. I doubt it’ll be as weird and wacky as Yes Man by Danny Wallace but I do like the idea of the book.


If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo. This is a story about a trans girl written by a trans woman, which I think is so important. I’d heard good things about it too before buying.


Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne. I don’t know much about this tbh, I know it’s a YA book so I’ve seen good reviews from friends on Goodreads so when it was 99p I decided to buy it and give it a go.


I Heart Christmas by Lindsey Kelk. I’ve already read this but it was free at some stage over Christmas on Kindle so I said I’d get it just in case I decided to read it again.


The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon. Another free book, I don’t know anything about it but I’ve seen that author’s name before and thought I might read it one day when I want something light to read.


Finally I have some audio books, all got on offer from Audible.

audio books

Where Am I Now? by Mara Wilson. I requested this on NetGalley but never got it and my library is super slow about getting this too. So I decided to use a free credit I had to get the audiobook as I figured it would be interesting to listen to Mara Wilson narate it herself.


Scarlett Says by Scarlett Moffatt. This was one of the Daily Deal on Audible and I’ve enjoyed Scarlett on Gogglebox so I said why not?! and decided to purchase it. Hopefully it’ll make me laugh, I think it will considering it’s narrated by Scarlett herself.


Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed. Another Daily Deal, I’ve seen this book around before, a non-fiction book about success. If a Daily Deal looks any bit interesting or something I’d pick up in a shop I get it which is exactly what happened here!


A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This was free on Audible and I had planned to listen to it over Christmas but never got around to it so I’ll save it for 11 months time!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

2017 Most Anticipated Book Releases

I always love sitting down and finding out what books of the year that I’m most looking forward to reading. The list is never complete. More books are announced later in the year, I’ll keep hearing about a book and will want to pick it or I’ll read book 1 in series and can’t wait to get my hands on the next installment. Nonetheless, there’s always books from favourites authors that I’ll want to pick up. I’ve already read and reviewed two books I was going to list on here (Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom). Here are some of the others!


Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

traitor to the throne

Traitor to the Throne is the follow up to Rebel of the Sands which was a super fun YA adventure book where the desert meets a wild western vibe with a dash of magic. The first book was such a unique new world and I definitely loved how this add some excitement to the YA world. 2nd February





The Mystery of the Painted Dragon by Katherine Woodfine

the mystery of the painted dragon

Book 3 in the Sinclair Mysteries series. This is a middle grade detective series set around the glorious Sinclair’s Department store and follows shop girl/detective Sophie and her friends. I love these novels as they remind me of all the Enid Blyton books I read as a child. February 9th





The Good People by Hannah Kent

the good people hannah kent

I LOVED Burial Rites by Hannah Kent when I read it in 2015 and was excited to her she has a new book coming out. This one is set in Ireland in the early 1800s which has really interested me! February 9th






The Summer Seaside Kitchen by Jenny Colgan

the summer seaside kitchen

I always love picking up one of Jenny’s books each year and this one is no different! This one centres around Flora who has to leave London to go back home to the tiny island of Mure. I don’t know much else about it but I just discovered there that Jenny has written a short story about this location for the Galaxy Quick Reads series that comes out a week before so I might read that first before picking up this one. February 9th




Heartless by Marissa Meyer


So I mentioned this book in last year’s anticipated reads and it did come out on Kindle in November but it’s out in physical form this year (don’t know why there was a different date for this, if anyone does let me know). This is a new series from Meyer and it’s about the Queen of Hearts origin story. I loved the fairytale retellings in the Lunar Chronicles series so looking forward to picking this up! February 9th




King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

king's cage

Book 3 in the Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard. I read Red Queen and Glass Sword at the beginning of last year and have been looking forward to picking up King’s Cage since then (as I’m sure many other people have been too!). February 9th





A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

a conjuring of light

The final book in the Darker Shade of Magic series by V.E. Schwab. The first two books were amazing (and the fact that book 2 was excellent in its own right and not just a book to build up the hype for the finale just goes to show how strong this series is). I’m sad it’s the final book actually, I love this world with all the different Londons and the magic. February 21st







Saga Volume 7 by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples

sage volume 7

I’m still enjoying this space opera graphic novel series and this is when the next installment is due out. April 7th







The Other Half of Happiness by Ayisha Malik

the other half of happiness

Sofia Khan is Not Obliged was a favourite of mine last year, it was so funny. And I’m really looking forward to the follow up, Sofia was such a fun character and can’t wait to see more of her. April 6th






Perfect by Cecelia Ahern

perfect cecelia ahern

 Flawed was Cecelia’s first YA book and Perfect sees the return to the dystopian world where if you don’t follow the rules, you get branded. Flawed had a lot of the same tropes from the YA dystopian genre that I’ve seen before but I thought she did it well and I enjoyed it. It reminded me that when the genre is done well it can be a lot of fun. April 6th





A Mask of Shadows by Oscar de Muriel

a mask of shadows

The Frey and McGray series is set in Victorian Scotland and follows the local Detective ‘Nine Nails’ McGray and London blow in Inspector Ian Frey as chalk and cheese partners. de Muriel nailed the first two books, they’ve really been key players (along with Stephen King’s Mr Mercedes series and Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad series) at reigniting the love of mystery and detective stories I loved as a kid. April 6th




The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerney

the blood miracles

The Glorious Heresies was one of my top 5 books that I read last year and I was so excited to see there was a sequel coming up! It was a gritty look at the seedier side of Cork and all these characters that linked together. April 6th






Past Mortems: Life and Death Behind Mortuary Doors by Carla Valentine

past mortems

Valentine is an Anatomical Pathology Technologist and I first came across her when I saw some of her videos on YouTube about death and pathology. I really enjoyed Caitlin Doughty’s Smoke Get In Your Eyes about her memoirs working in a crematory and I’m excited to read another memoir from a death professional. April 20th





New Boy by Tracy Chevalier

new boy tracy chhevalier

New Boy is the next book in the Hogarth Shakespeare series, this one being a retelling of Othello. There’s a few books out already (I’ve read Hag-Seed and Vinegar Girl and attempted Shylock is My Name) and I hope to read this and The Gap of Time to be up to date on the series. May 11th






Hunger by Roxane Gay

hunger roxane gay

This book is Roxane’s memoirs about food, weight, self-image and taking care of yourself. While I haven’t read Bad Feminist yet (I plan to!), I can’t wait to see how Roxane’s take on food and image. June 13th






I Can’t Believe You’ve Just Said That by Danny Wallace

No cover yet for this but I’m looking forward to Danny’s first adult non-fiction book in years. He’s talking about why people are so rude these days and travels the world to interview people who are rude (like critics) and those on the receiving end of rudeness (like bell boys). June 15th


Skin Deep by Liz Nugent

Another book with no cover but this will no doubt be another big book for Liz following her big hit from last year Lying in Wait. July 6th


The Break  by Marian Keyes

So I had just published this post and mentioned how I’d love a new Marian Keyes book when I discovered Marian tweeting about her next book possibly coming out later this year! Talk about magic. The tweet says it’s called The Break and hoping to be published early September.


Throne of Glass Book 6 by Sarah J Maas

Not even a title for this one! And even though I have yet to read Empire of Storms I can’t wait for the final book to come out. I might keep Empire of Storms until closer the release date so I’m not waiting forever to get my hands on it! September 5th


Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh

I had this in my post last year but the publication got pushed back. Hoping it does come out this year. September 7th


One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

The next in the Three Dark Crowns book, which I only just finished last night. And oh boy what an ending!! Looking forward to this a lot now. September 19th


Illuminae Book 3 by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

So I haven’t read Gemina yet but if it’s anything as good as Illuminae I’ll be looking forward to picking this up! October


I Heart Book 7 by Lindsey Kelk

Lindsey announced on a Facebook video that her next book will be the next Angela Clarke book. No date or title but I do enjoy this series!


So those are the books I am aware about. As per usual there’s always author’s I’d love to see books from. J.K. Rowling says she’s writing at the moment so I’m hoping there will finally be another Robert Galbraith book! I’d love another Marian Keyes book (see above!), another book from Becky Chambers in the Wayfarers series would be awesome and I have no idea if Paul Crilley is working on a follow up to Poison City, I’ve been keeping my eyes out for that one as I really enjoyed Poison City. I’ll probably do another post half way through the year when new titles are released and I get dates for some of the ones above. All in all though plenty to keep me going for the year!

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom Book Review

a tragic kind of wonderfulMel Hannigan is 16 years old and is coming to terms with having bipolar disorder. Only her parents, her aunt and a friend of her late grandmother, who lives in the nursing home where Mel works, knows about Mel's condition. Mel is trying to cope with her brother's death, her parents divorcing and Mel and her mother moving to a new town. She spends a lot of time at Silver Sands, the retirement home, where she meets David, a boy she's interested in. Her life can be a bit unpredictable so she tries to compartmentalise her life to help her cope better with everything. When a former friend gets in contact with her, Mel is baffled as to why she's trying to talk to her and afraid of the secrets that might come out and threaten to disrupt Mel's life and mental health.

First off, let's talk about the cover! It's so beautiful! YA books are killing it cover wise these days. The US cover is just as pretty too. I enjoyed Lindstrom's previous book Not If I See You First and so I was really looking forward to this release and in fact I think I enjoyed it more than the previous book. I liked the character of Mel, as well as the other characters in the book. Lindstrom has a way of writing these characters so they feel real and believable and not cliched. I do think there was a lot going on plot wise for Mel to be dealing with (brother's death, parents divorcing, the big issue with the friends, the love story as well as the mental health aspect) and I think one or two of those arcs could have been dropped or trimmed a bit, but what I do like about this book is how the mental health element isn't the BIG problem in the book. It is certainly a central one, don't get me wrong, but I feel like we're reading about a character has all these other issues to deal with and the bipolar disorder doesn't necessarily make everything else harder, these would be issues any teenager would deal with regardless of the mental health diagnosis (just like how in Not If I See You First Parker's blindness is part of the story but it's not the big issue. It's a girl who has problems she's dealing with who just so happens to be blind). What I really liked about this book is how we see Mel managing her condition. Therapy, medication, hospitalisation, keeping track of one's moods and having family and friends for support are all things that crop up, as does the issue of just because one or more of these things work for one person, doesn't mean it will work for the next person, that dealing with mental health issues is personal to the person experiencing them. I thought this was fantastic and something that is well worth pointing out. This book lived up to my expectations and I look forward to Lindstrom's next novel!

I received this e-book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I’m not required to post a review on here and all thoughts are my own

Thursday, January 19, 2017

2016 Reading Resolution Review and 2017 Reading Resolutions

I love January as there’s loads of bookish posts! So far I’ve had my Top Books of 2016, Book Riot Read Harder Reading Challenge 2016 Review, 2016 Reading Stats (lots of graphs and nerdy maths!) as well as my review for the amazing Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. I still have a few more posted planned and this post is to go through my 2016 Reading Resolutions to see how I got on and to put down some new resolutions for this year.

2016 Resolutions Review

1. Do the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge

This I successfully completed! You can read my wrap up post here where I list out all the books I read for the challenge and my overall thoughts on it.

2. Reduce the Amount of Books I Own

This one wasn’t a great success. Partly because I won some books and partly because I read so many NetGalley books.

3. Read 90 Books

This I completed, I read 129 books. But a lot of these were graphic novels and single short stories. Though even discounting those books I still managed to read 90 books, which surprised me as I thought it would be under 90 so I’m pleased with that.

4. Read more Irish Authors

Yes I did this! I did my all Irish March again (well, minus one book this year towards the end of the month), but while in 2014 I read all Irish authors I hadn’t read before, this year I read a mix of new and favourites. And I continued to read more Irish authors during the year, including reading Donal Ryan for the first time when I read the excellent All We Should Know.


So my goals last year were small and realistic enough. And this year they will be similiar.

2017 Reading Resolutions

1. Read 52 Books

So I lowered my goal this year to 52, a book a week. And seeing as I plan to continue reading graphic novels this will be an achievable goal. I lowered it though because I wanted to concentrate more on quality and not quantity. Not that I think I was trying to achieve that last year but I do think the higher goal made me shy away from larger books and books I’d read at a slower rate.

2. Read more non-fiction

Now this is going to be a tricky one in one sense. I already read non-fiction so it’s not much of a challenge but I read less non-fiction last year and I think it’s partly to do with the larger reading goal on Goodreads. I tend to read non-fiction at a slower rate and I think I shied away because it takes me longer to read non-fiction. But I’m not going to force myself to read non-fiction or make it a target I have to meet. I just want to be less hesitant to pick up non-fiction.

3. Lessen the amount of books I own

I need to try pick books off my shelf more often, I have loads that look interesting and need to get excited by them again. Again I’m not going to put a target on it (I want to lower it by X amount or more books out than in) but it’s something I want to be more conscious about it.

4. Read more Irish authors

I’ve seen a lot of people online committing to a British Books Challenge for 2017 and I want to continue supporting local home talent and read Irish authors. I’m going to do an All Irish March again, I think I’ll try and concentrate on new authors for then as well if I can. I have a big list from last year that I didn’t get to try all of so I have plenty of talent and books to try.

5. Book Riot Read Harder 2017 Challenge, Pop Sugar 2017 Challenge and BookTubeAThon

I’ve decided to stick with the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge as my main challenge as I liked the format last year and enjoyed it. I might try and do the Pop Sugar one as well but instead of just one book per prompt I might try and use one boo for 2 or more prompts so I can get through the list faster. I plan on doing BooTubeAThon should it be on again (and I’m sure it will be).

So nothing that do or exciting to be honest but I’m happy with these goals for the year. I want to less pressures to have a high reading count and just enjoy my reading for the year.

Do you have any reading resolutions? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2016 Reading Stats

Hello! The past 2 years I’ve taken a look at my reading habits for the years (here’s 2014 stats and 2015 stats). I like seeing the changes from the year before.

Fiction to Non-Fiction Breakdown

Fiction vs nf

So again I read more books than the year before and read more fiction books. The percentage of non-fiction books I’ve read has gone from 35% in 2014, to 29% in 2015 to 20% in 2016. This is something I was aware of and tried to address by doing Non-Fiction November and will be something I’ll try not to shy away from in 2017.


Physical Books vs E-Books vs Audiobooks

Pysical vs E-Book vs Audio

So there’s some changes again this year when it comes to the way I read books. For physicals books I went from 51% in 2014 to 56% in 2015 down to 49% in 2016. E-books had seen a drop in 2015 (35% from 2014’s 45%) and in 2016 46% of the books I read were in e-book format. And while I read the same amount of audiobooks in 2015 and 2016 (7 in all), the % dropped down to 5%.


Female to Male Authors

female vs male authors

2016 has seen another rise in the amount of female authors I read, even though it’s a very small amount. 60% in 2014, 65% in 2015 and 66% in 2016. It was a bit trickier to measure it this year as I read a lot of books that had more than one author, especially graphic novels. I chose the first or main author credited with the work. It’s not a perfect system, I know, but I don’t think it would have changed things that much doing it another more complicated way.

This year I also saved the Goodreads Stats that the website provided me which was fun!

goodreads 1

goodreads 2

Other fun facts

-My library books (physical and audio for this year, no e-boos) increased this year. 2014 it was 33, last year it was 29 and this year it was a whopping 52!

-My NetGalley books also greatly increased, I read 51 books through NetGalley (2014 it was 14 and 2015 it was 17)

-Out of my own books I read 8 of them, which is pretty bad (I only counted physical books even though I also read e-books and audiobooks that I had purchased.). This was a decrease from 2015’s 17 books and only a slight improvement from 6 books in 2014.

From this I’m going to think about my reading resolutions, I have a few ideas about what I want to concentrate for the upcoming year and I’ll have a post up in next week or so.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi Book Review


Homegoing is a rich debut novel that follows the lives of two half sisters: Effia and Esi. Both their lives change in different ways when they reach the Cape Coastal Castle in Ghana. Effia lives upstairs, the wife of a white English governor who's in the slave trading business. Esi is downstairs, in the dungeon, waiting to go to the American South as a slave. The story follows the descendants of each woman, alternating from one of Effia's descendants to one of Esi's, going down through six more generations. Effia's side of the family stay mainly in Ghana, while Esi's side are in America. Both have their successes and struggles, from such issues as slavery in America, colonisation, drug addiction, sexuality, violence, death, doing what's right for you vs what's expected of you.

I'm just blown away by this book. There's a lot of hype surrounding it but it lives up to this hype. For such a short book (compared to the amount of people's stories we read) Yaa Gyasi packs in so much depth and detail. When it comes to multiple perspectives, sometimes the story or character development can suffer but I never found this the case. If there was ever one person's story or an event I wanted more to know more about, usually I found out more when it came to the next descendant's story.Through the generations there's an importance on telling stories and we get to see moments in history and how they impacted that character's life. We see family traits and fears pass through the generations, sometimes without them knowing that they affected the previous generations. This is especially the case when it comes to the themes of fire and water and I loved seeing how this theme crops up with Effia and Esi and with the final generation. And if the sheer number of characters sounds overwhelming (there's 12 perspectives after all!), I didn't think it was confusing and there's a family tree within in the book to help you keep track. With some many of the issues I mentioned above being bleak, this book isn't the happiest at times and it can be a bit tough (I was describing the book to my fiance and he said 'this doesn't sound cheerful at all!') but the book warmed my heart while reading it and has had me thinking about it days after finishing it. Yaa Gyasi's writing is superb and such a delight. I was interested in each character along the way and looked forward to picking up this book every night. Believe the hype, it's well worth picking up!

I received this e-book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I’m not required to post a review on here and all thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2016 Wrap Up

Hello! So in this post last year I mentioned I wanted to do the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge. In 2015 I did the PopSugar Reading Challenge and only found out about the Book Riot one when 2015 had started. So when the 2016 challenges were both announced, I looked at them both and decided I wanted to try the Book Riot one. I liked that there were less categories (only 24) but some of them did seem to be a step out of my comfort zone which I really liked. Here’s a round up of each book I read for the category in the order I read them in.

book riot 2016 1

Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the past 3 years- Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson

Read a book of historical fiction set before 1900- The Body at the Tower by Y.S. Lee

Read a non-fiction book about science- Forensics by Val McDermid

Read a book about politics (fiction or non-fiction)- Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell

Read a book under 100 pages- The Robber Bridegroom by the Brothers Grimm

Read a book that is by an author from Southeast Asia- Listen, Slowly by Thanhha Lai


book riot 2016 2

Read a book over 500 pages- It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane

Read a non-fiction book about feminism or dealing with feminist themes- I Call Myself a Feminist by Victoria Pepe

Read a middle grade novel- The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth by Katherine Woodfine

Read a collection of essays- Making It Up As I Go Along by Marian Keyes

Read a play- Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel

Read a dystopian novel- Flawed by Cecelia Ahern


Book Riot 2016 3

Read a biography- Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA by Brenda Maddox

Read a book by or about a person who identifies as transgender- The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

Read the first book in a series by a person of colour- Death of a Red Heroine by Qiu Xiaolong

Read a book about religion (fiction or non-fiction)- Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

Read a book that is set in the Middle East- Chicken With Plums by Marjane Satrapi

Read a book that was adapted into a movie and then watch the movie. Debate which is better- Civil War by Mark Millar


book riot 2016 4

Read a book originally published thedecade you were born- Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson

Read a book with a main character that has a mental illness- When We Collided by Emery Lord

Read a horror book- The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Listen to an audiobook that has won an Audie Award- Mandela: An Audio History by Desmond Tutu

Read a book out loud to someone- Danny Wallace and the Centre of the Universe by Danny Wallace

Read a food memoir- Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

So a little review on the challenge itself. The first 18 books (so the first 3 lots of pictures) I read from January to June. I raced through the challenge and then it took me another 6 months to finish the last quarter of it. I don’t know why, those challenges weren’t particularly hard. I’m surprised the very last one I managed was the food memoir one, I have loads of the saved on my TBR I’m interested in reading and yet I could never pick one when it came down to it. I do think the audio challenge and the reading out loud ones were the hardest for me and I probably kept putting them out. I had some bad luck with the audio one in the sense that 3 of the audiobooks I had listened to in 2015 were winners and I would have saved one if I had known this challenge was coming up! As for the reading out loud one, I had originally started reading Good Omens to my boyfriend but we only got 10% through as he kept falling asleep! So I picked this out of the library as it’s very short and figured we’d be able to get through it all.

Overall I really enjoyed this challenge. It had the perfect mix of categories that fit with my general reading habits and interests and categories that made me push myself out of my comfort zone. I’ve chosen to do the Book Riot Challenge again this year (it’s a lot more challenging this year!) and I might do the PopSugar one as well but instead of just one book per category, I’ll use one book to fit two or more.

Did you do any reading challenges last year? Have any planned for this year? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Top Books of 2016

This year I managed to read 129 books. This is partly because I read a lot of graphic novels and shorter texts like short stories and plays. Because of this I’ve decided to split my favourite books into four categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Graphic Novels and YA. I just want to point out that I don’t YA fiction in a different category to my fiction because I think it’s ‘lesser’ or anything. In fact it’s because I wanted to highlight it more as I love reading YA and thought it would be interesting to have it’s own category. The graphic novels are a mix of fiction and graphic memoirs (easier to just say graphic novels overall). Also the books are in no particular order when it comes to favouritism, it was hard enough to pick 5 books for each category, let alone put them in order!

Top 5 Fiction Books 2016

fiction 2016

1. All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan. Ok, I know I just said there’s no particular order but this might be my favourite. It’s hard to call! Ryan just writes so beautifully and poetically and not to the determinent to the plot which was great too. Review

2. The Muse by Jessie Burton. Last year The Miniaturist got an honourable mention. I loved The Muse though, Burton is another effortless writer and with lots of little twists and turns you’ll be guessing all the details down to the end. Review

3. The Trespasser by Tana French. All hail Queen Tana! I met here at the Irish Book Awards and was excited to chat to her for a few minutes. The Trespasser is book 6 in the Dublin Murder Squad and follows tough cookie Antoinette Conway. I love how French gets the tone of each character right and how to book has you on tenterhooks waiting to see how everything plays out. Review

4. The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney. Winner of the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, McInerney shows us several characters on the grittier side of life in Cork, linking together the likes of a big career criminal and his mother, 15 year old drug seller and his abusive alcoholic father, a nosy do gooder, and a drug addicted prostitute. Grim and gritty with a side of humour. Review

5. A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. I loved this book set on a spaceship. There’s some action but in between I loved hearing about the life on board the spaceship and all the different alien species. It was heartwarming and fun and I also enjoyed A Closed and Common Orbit, set in the same world with some of the minor characters from the first book. Review

Honourable mentions to Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent, The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon, Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik, Poison City by Paul Crilley and the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger


Top 5 Non-Fiction Books 2016

2016 nf

1. Grunt by Mary Roach. I adore Mary Roach books and this one we get to hear the science behind the army and war. Review

2. Animal by Sara Pascoe. I read a lot of feminist non-fiction this year and this was probably my favourite. It’s not perfect and lacks intersectionality (something Sara is aware of and addresses) but it made me laugh out loud and got me thinking. Review

3. Forensics by Val McDermid. Fascinating insight to the different fields of study in forensics, without being too heavy and highlights postitives and negetives of each study. Review

4. Mandela: An Audio History by Desmond Tutu. This is short, just over an hour long but packed full of information, interviews and news clips. Almost brought me to tears on the train while listening to it. Review

5. The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell. The author moves to Denmark for a year and spends that time researching what makes the country the happiest place in the world, while trying to navigate the new culture and language. Review


Top YA Books 2016

YA 2016

1. The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson. David has a secret to tell his family: that he’s actually a girl. Leo is new in school and wants to stay hidden. Together they help each other deal with friends, family, bullies and being oneself. Review

2. When We Collided by Emery Lord. Vivi is a whirlwind that arrives in town one summer and instantly falls for Jonah and his family. Jonah and Vivi are polar opposites but he helps her with her bipolar condition and she helps him with his grief of losing his father. Review

3. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Another one set on a spaceship, this follows Kady and Erza, a couple who have just split up the day a big corporation attacks their planet. They end up on different escape ships and this book is a series of documents, interviews, diary entries and IMs as the two try to work out what’s happening in their lives. Review

4. One by Sarah Crossan. Told in free verse form, One is the story of conjoined twins Tippy and Grace who go to school for the first time when they turn 16. Beautiful and unique. Review

5. The Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton. Gritty and determined Amani enters a shooting competition dressed as a boy so she can win money and leave town. I loved the western vibe of this book as well as the magical realism elements. Review


Top Graphic Novels 2016

graphic 2016

1. Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson. 5 kick ass girls at a summer camp who get into all sorts of mysteries and fun. Love the characters and their friendships together. Review

2. Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton. Part historical humour, part modern day observations, this book had me chuckling outloud several times. Review

3. Ms Marvel by G Willow Wilson. Kamala Khan, an ordinary Muslim schoolgirl in New Jersey, suddenly has superpowers and must learn to balance all aspects of her life. Cameo of a well known Marvel character in Volume 2 had me squealing! Review

4. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang. 3 different stories that eventually come together (which I LOVED) and deals with racism and acceptance. Review

5. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Fantastic space opera that is full of violence, bad language and sex. I read the first 5 volumes back to back! Review

Honourable mentions Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan, Jane, the Fox and Me by Fanny Britt, Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol and Blankets by Craig Thompson.


And that’s my 2016 books! If you’ve read any of the books above or have any questions please leave a comment below

Saturday, January 7, 2017

December Reads 2016

Hello and Happy New Year to you! I’m a bit late saying that and with this post but I was away over New Year’s and didn’t want to put up my reading post as there was one book that I was hoping to finish by the end of the year but wasn’t sure if I had the chance (spoiler alert: I finished it). Reading in December wasn’t great, I was sick again and then there was the rush before Christmas. But I did well enough. Onwards to the reads!

December Reads

Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan


This is book three in the series which follows Polly and her life running a bakery in the little Cornish village of Polbearne, along with boyfriend Huckle and puffin Neil. Polly’s best friend Kerensa is married to Huckle’s best friend Rueben, who is a very rich loud man. He asks Polly to cater for his family when they are visiting for Christmas. This puts a lot on Polly’s plate, along with wanting to save puffin sanctuary, trying to keep Kersena’s big secret and worrying about her own relationship. On top of that a big mystery from Polly’s background comes to the foreground. I felt like this book tried to pack too much in, there was enough drama to fit into two books (but I think Colgan plans to finish this series at this book so that’s probably why everything was crammed in). This tends to add to a feeling of anxiety and when you’re reading a Christmas book, you want it to be more feel good than worrying. If it had cut out one or two of the story lines, it would have been a much more enjoyable read. I did like it but I was a bit let down considering how much a preferred the other books in the series. You could probably pick this up as a Christmas read with the other two books but I usually find it’s better to have the whole story. [NetGalley]


Julie and Julia by Julie Powell


I had one more book left for the Book Riot Read Harder challenge and surpringly enough it was the food memoir one. I picked up the audio version of this and listened to it while knitting Christmas presents. Most people are familiar with the story (due to the film) but if you’re not this memoir is from Julie Powell, a government secretary living in Queens who is bored and decides to take on the challenge of cooking all of the recipes from Julia Child’s book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. We follow Julie for a year of her trying to complete all 524 recipes in the book. Fair warning, this doesn’t really centre much around the food. So of course it’s mentioned and it is a big part, but it’s not done in the timeline how she did everything in the actual year. Instead we anecdotes and memories that are told and then the cooking is tied in to this. We don’t hear a lot about how to food was cooked or how learning the skills helped her, which is fine once you know that’s what you’re going in to. It can be a bit repetitive at times and the language can be quite vulgar (it didn’t bother me) but I didn’t find it as bad as a lot of other people did. That said, I won’t be rushing to pick up her other book.


Hygge: A Celebration of Simple Pleasures. Living the Danish Way by Charlotte Abrahams

hygge charlotte abrahams

I showed this book in a haul post and it is a beautiful book! So pretty and feels lovely to hold. Hygge (hoo-gah) is a Danish word and it roughly translates into ‘cosiness’. If you haven’t heard of this concept then you must be living under a rock because it’s all over the place! Hygge is about staying in, with warm blankets, candles, good food, good wine and great company. Denmark is often said to be the happiest place to live and hygge is said to play a big part of this.

This book is a lot more than a simple ‘how to hygge’ book. It’s a mixture of the history of hygge and it’s role in Danish society, a memoir of Charlotte’s life and then how she tried to incorporate more hygge practices in her life. I must admit I found it a bit heavy to read at times. The section of Danish furniture design was a bit too much for me and I was disappointed the food part had no recipes. But I think this book is perfect if you want a big more in depth explantion of the Danes and their lifestyle. And I liked the section at the end ‘How to Hygge: The Soul’ with some tips about making yourself happy (like taking a bath or going for a walk) or embracing the simple things (drink from a nice mug or pick some pretty flowers). If you’re someone who’s heard a lot about hygge but want a more in depth read about history and culture around it, then this book is for you [Requested a copy from publisher, Trapeze Books]


The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

the year of living danishly

So I actually started to listen to this in September and after reading the above Hygge book, I felt compelled to finish it. Helen is an overworked, stressed journalist who moves to rural Jutland after her husband is offered a chance to work for Lego for a year. We discover a lot about Denmark and Danish culture such as their love for rules and traditions, the fact everyone loves to be part of clubs and societies, how important hygge is and other things like work ethic, education, childrearing and taxes. It was an interesting read, I enjoy finding out about other countries and I liked how this tied into Charlotte Abraham’s Hygge book too. With hygge being such a big concept this year, it’s nice to have a memoir like to explain this concept but also oter aspects of Danish life. And I enjoyed listening to it too, it was an easy listen.


Winter by Marissa Meyer

winter marissa meyer

This book 4 in the Lunar Chronicles, the conclusion to the story. Like the other books it centres roughly around a fairytale and the main character in this is Winter, the step daughter to the evil Queen Levana. Winter is beautiful but because she refuses to use her Lunar glamour gift, she suffers from hallucinations. Though Winter isn’t as weak as her stepmother might think. I won’t say much else about this book as it might ruin some other things but I did like it. The Lunar Chronicles has an interesting world, part sci-fi futuristic with cyborgs and living on the Moon, part dystopian. Even though the book came out last year it took me a while to pick it up for some reason, I was actually really interested in finishing the series but wasn’t inspired to pick up this book. Overall though I did like it as an ending to the Lunar Chronicles and look forward to first of all picking up the short story that follows and then trying out Meyer’s new book called Heartless which centres around a young Queen of Hearts.

December Stats

Number of Books Read- 5

Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 2:3

Number of eBooks- 1 (Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery)

Number of Audiobooks- 2 (Julie and Julia and The Year of Living Danishly)

Number of Books Borrowed from Library- 2 (Julie and Julia and Winter)


Book Riot Read Harder Challenge Completed

Read a Food Memoir- Julie and Julia

And that’s 2016! I have several posts to come in the next few weeks including my Book Riot Read Harder Wrap Up, My 2016 Reading Stats, 2016 Resolutions Review and 2017 Resolutions, and 2017 Book Releases to name a few. I’ve started gathering some of the information for my stats post which is great, I love making the graphs and seeing how things measure out compared to other years. For this month however, I was pleased I managed to read some more non-fiction and very happy I managed to finish Winter before 2017! I have some more books I’m in the middle of reading that I’ll carry over but it was good to have that one finished.

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