My 2020 Reading Round Up!

My 2020 reading journey was a ride and a half. With Lockdown coming into play in early 2020 I’d already picked up more books as a means to keep myself busy. What was even better was when my boyfriend, our friends and I decided during lockdown to get a book club going. It really varied up my reading and as we were all really interested in different types of genres it was interesting to read something different!

My reading goal for 2020 was 50 books. I ended up reading 53 books, so I was really happy to have reached my goal and then some! You can find some of the books I read this year below, as well as my top 10 books from the year. Top 10 was not easy to choose thats for sure, but it definitely made me realise every once and a while you should pick up something you’re not used to reading!

My top 10 below! Let me know if you’ve ready any of the books below in the comments and your thoughts as well!

My Top 10 from 2020!

Choosing my top 10 was the hardest thing I’ve had to do this year (so far!), but please enjoy these recommendations in no particular order! I did also throw a few series in here which were amazing but will definitely tell you the best book from the series.

The Wayward Pines Series – Blake Crouch

The most excitable series I’ve read so far, futuristic, thrilling and absolutely terrifying all in one. The best book was without a doubt Wayward #2, the second book in the series. I was gripped from start to finish and didn’t take a minute between books before I was moving onto the next.

The Lunar Chronicles – Marissa Meyer

This entire series was phenomenal from start to finish and the final book was the longest book I read all year. Winter #4 was 827 pages and I finished this book as I came into the new year for 2020. BUT the best book of the series personally for me absolutely had to be Scarlet #2. I thoroughly enjoyed learning abut Scarlet and Wolf, I remember their story, minus Cinders, more than any of the others in the book. Including Levanas story and that was pretty crazy.

A Court of Thorns & Roses Series – Sarah J. Maas

I finished this season quite recently and although I enjoyed all the entire series the best book was without a doubt the first one, A Court of Thorns & Roses #1. The way this book ended and meeting the characters and seeing how they change throughout made me so excited to see how the story was going to progress.

The Secret Race – Tyler Hamilton

This was a recommendation from our lockdown bookclub and not something I would usually read. I know absolutely nothing about the Tour De France, Lance Armstrong or doping. But this book by Ex-Cyclist Tyler Hamilton definitely changed all of that and in a really great way. Tyler Hamilton tells his story of the cycling scene in Tour De France, how the doping happens and where, and what Lance Armstrong is really like. I LOVED this book, totally addicted. Especially as this is a topic I didn’t know much about I found it so so interesting to read and learn about!

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas – Adam Kay

A comedic and eye-opening revelation of what happens in our hospitals and the challenges faced with becoming a doctor. Another recommendation from bookclub too! I read this book in 2 days, it made me chuckle but it also made me cry with loss and heartache. So well written and incredibly well done. Not tasteless and a really insightful.

War Doctor – David Nott

Another recommendation from our glorious bookclub which I never would have thought of reading. Straight away I was sucked in. To be a doctor in a war zone sounds like carnage and I was so upset with a few of the stories and how devastating they were. It was just incredible learning what its like volunteering in a war zone, the risk of being kidnapped, murdered, tortured. But being able to save so many lives who had been involuntarily affected by the wars surrounding them must be SO rewarding.

10 Minutes & 38 Seconds in this Strange World – Elif Shafak

I picked this one up from one of the night manager at work. It was left in the hotel I work in and eventually we can take the books for ourselves if they go unclaimed. So I decided this was mine and it made me want to go to Istanbul and explore. This book also really highlights the essence of true friendship, love and traditions and really made me feel warm inside. Even if the story was based on murdering prostitutes.

The Kiss Quotent – Helen Hoang

The Kiss Quotent is #1 of the series and I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it was from a perspective I had only ever once read before. The Curious incident of the Dog In the Nighttime, the main character has Aspergers. In this story the main female character is Autistic. It was so lovely but also a learning curve to see this love story come together through their difficulties. The second book was also fantastic, I am now patiently waiting for book #3!

The Choice – Dr Edith Eger

I LOVE Holocaust books, I find them so interesting and insightful and I feel this is why I also enjoy Dark Tourism as I take a lot of interesting in learning about something I could not ever imagine having to experience. The Choice is based on Dr Edith Eger, Mengeles Little Dancer, and her experience and memoir of her time in the holocaust. Moving and truly inspiring on EVERY account.

The Flat Share – Beth O’Leary

I laughed and I cried and I wanted this love story SO MUCH. It was so lighthearted and constantly kept you wondering and wishing. I really really loved this book, the storyline and the way it came together. So much so that I recommended it to my boyfriend and even he enjoyed the humour it offered. I thought it was too much of a chick flick book for him but he loved it.

Global Quarantine Diaries – Jessie (Me!).

Hello!

I am Jessie and welcome to my blog and my instalment in the Global Quarantine Diaries! To say I’ve enjoyed this time it would be a solid 50/50 split. I’ve loved being furloughed of work and having time to myself and to get organised but I’ve also been ever so slightly stir crazy with cabin fever. I can’t wait to get back to work, to see my girlfriends and family, going to the gym, my god I MISS THE GYM.

Where in the world are you located?

I am living in England in a small village in-between Cambridge and Milton Keynes.

What are Lockdown regulations like there?

Lockdown regulations here have been implemented and are very strict as it should be to prevent the spreading of the virus.

Stay alert

We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Work from home if you can
  • Limit contact with other people
  • Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • Wash your hands regularly

Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

These are the main rules and regulations that have been implemented during our lockdown. We are now currently in Phase 1 (I think). In honesty I’ve been trying to stay on top of what is what but I’m trying to not keep too much of an eye on it, it isn’t good for my mental health, my family can keep me updated on the important bits of what we can and can’t do which I appreciate a lot.

How are you keeping busy?

I am trying to keep myself busy every day as I find I really lose the will and get cabin fever if I don’t keep myself amused. So What have I been doing?

  1. Reading! – I used to read when I was younger all the time, all day every day when I could. Once I hit sixth form college and university I completely fell off it. I only ever picked up a text book that was relevant to my uni or college work and that was it. It wasn’t until my final year of uni I started reading again thanks to Majelle leaving a load of books here as she couldn’t take them back to Canada. That was it, I was off, I started slowly and now with lockdown I’ve read at least 19 books in the past two months and it has been amazing. Outside of lockdown and in total i’ve read 26 books this year and I absolutely love fantasy fiction. It made me realise just how much I missed reading a GOOD BOOK and there are so many I had been missing out on just because I couldn’t be bothered or found something on Netflix to binge watch instead. I even booted up my 2012 Paperwhite kindle which still works a dream and have been using it religiously. Its also so lovely to pass the time and also really helps with my anxiety.
  2. Working out! – I’ve tried to work out or run as often as possible. Im a bit of gym bunny so when they closed the gyms (which was of course a wise choice in the current states) I was a bit stumped. Running is hard with my achilles pain but its been well worth it for my weight and mental health. I’ve been following the likes of Joe Wicks on YouTube and doing DANCE workouts! I can’t even dance I have 2 left feet but my god am I SWEATING whenever I finish up! I feel it helps me get through the day a bit easier and allows me to eat all the cakes I make. I also enjoy walking, having the dog is helpful as we go on regular dog walks, I love going at sunset as its the best time of the day.
  3. Baking – If anyone knows me they know I despise cooking. But lockdown has helped me realise I love making desserts. I’ve got a speciality Victoria Sponge cake down and we’ve made cupcakes and brownies in tow! Thats another great way to pass the time!
  4. Blogging & Social Media – This time has been really good to take part in blogging collaborations, getting my blog all organised and posts written, just being able to promote my blog and engage with other bloggers has been so beneficial for me. Keeping my socials up to date has also been a positive.
  5. Spending time with the family – Sunday is a games night in this house! Im in lockdown with my boyfriend, my dad and stepmum. And not forgetting, the doggo! We’ve been cooking dinners, going on walks and bike rides and its been fantastic spending all this time together. Thats what I am really cherishing.
  6. I bought a Nintendo Switch! – So I’ve also been seshing Spyro, Animal Crossing, Pokemon, all of my favourite games on my switch! It was so worth the money and a great bit of kit. If anyone has any game recommendations please do let me know in the comments!
  7. Learning French! – Thats right, I’ve decided to teach myself French with Duolingo. I decided on this when we went to Paris and I realised my reading ability of french was actually MUCH better than I had ever imagined. I did French at school for 7 years and didn’t pick it back up in college or uni. I wish I knew another language so why not take the time now to learn a new language? Its great to pass the time and really push and motivate yourself as well! Its something I am really happy I decided to pick up. I’ve even learn how to flirt in french, Voulez-Vouz dancer aves moi?
  8. Zoom Calling! – Honestly nothing has made me feel more grounded than Zoom chatting my friends every Friday night and Saturday night. It gives me life, a good laugh and a chance to catch up with everyone all over the world and in the UK. Also a good chance to drink. We’ve been playing all sorts of drinking games and also doing a book club as well! It’s just so nice to see everyone and breaks up the week massively.
  9. Binge watching Netflix – I put this one last because I haven’t actually done much of this. Yes I have absolutely watched A LOT of tele but no where near as much as I would have imagined. I guess there is only so much you can sit and watch and I was already watching a lot of Netflix after dinner and before bed with my man. We are watching Outer Banks, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Brassic (which is FANTASTIC) and Lil Dicky’s new TV Show DAVE. What are you watching at the moment?

What do you miss doing the most?

Honestly I miss my friends. I miss my girlfriends who are in two different directions and distances from my home, and visiting my friends back up in my Uni city. I miss going to the pub for a pint, never again will I take advantage of a beautiful beer garden I will cherish it in my soul. I also miss the gym, nothing compares I find to the motivation I feel to workout in the gym. Once lockdown has started to ease and I feel more confident in myself I know normality will return at one point.

But you know what I miss the most? Travel.

I CANNOT wait to be on a plane again. Visiting places on my bucket list, touring the UK and Europe and more importantly my potential trip to Australia. I can’t wait to hear the words ‘Cabin Crew for boarding’ and “Can I have your passports please?”. I want to go back to exploring. I miss it so so dearly I feel I’ve lost a limb.

Luckily with the current regulations you can have 6 people socially distancing in your back garden which has been a nice change of pace. We met one friend in the park for the afternoon for a social distancing catch up and we also met two other friends for a social distancing kick about. Making sure to be as safe as possible whilst we do it. I miss normality.

What is the first thing you’re going to do once lockdown is over?

Once lockdown is over I am going to go to my hometown on the East Coast and see my mum, sister and my friends down there. Then next on the agenda is spending time with my 3 best girlfriends that I have here in the UK. I miss those girls more than life and we’ve been trying to tour different UK cities together, most recently (Pre Covid-19) Liverpool. So who knows where we will end up next when we do all see each other.

I know it will be a long while until everything is back to normal but I can’t wait to be back to where we were. Back to work. Back to exploring and travelling. Back to Normality!

Book Review: Winter (The Lunar Chronicles) – Marissa Meyers

WELL, WHAT A BOOK.

*Spoilers Alert*

800+ pages? Challenge accepted, I couldn’t put it down from start to finish it was a fantastic read. Hands down the best book out of the 5. It took me about a week of straight reading to get through this.

“She might be broken. She might be crazy. But she would not be defeated.”

Winter was a character I really enjoyed but really struggled to get my head around. She was quirky, unusual and almost what I would call floaty type of personality. I understand why Scarlet called her crazy so often due to the way she was portrayed.

The brilliance of this book really shows through the storyline because for 800+ pages I did wonder how quickly I would get bored. It never came! The storyline was immersive throughout the whole book, I never knew what was going to happen next and even when the next thing happened, I never expected it! It was constant excitement, the ball just kept on moving and the ending was EXACTLY what I wanted.

Everyone ended up with the right people, the right person ended up being queen, the right people got murdered (A really happy statement that one) and all is well on Luna & Earth now. It was absolutely how I wanted it to end. I know they’re all based on Disney characters and Disney stories and you can really see it throughout, but I wanted the ending to not be something half arsed and they weren’t.

Winters ‘Murder’ was incredibly well done by Jacin Clay, Although I never really grew to his character throughout any of the books.

When Cinder jumped off Levana’s balcony you best believe I thought that was the end of her, thank the lord for the squad saving her or I would have genuinely believed she was dead. I love Iko’s heroism throughout the entire series as well, she is such a prominent go getter non stop she just never fails to make me laugh and never gives in. Definitely my favourite character.

The fight to end all fights was momentous and I really did think they were going to lose, not going to sugar coat that. But they always win in the end of course, but I didn’t expect the scene between Levana and Cinder to go the direction it did. I mean, I knew Levana was going to die in some way but I didn’t think she would surrender the way she did. I am also very happy Aimery died, best death of the book. He deserved it. I have an actual hatred for his character.

I would also love to have a glamour, as twisted as Levana was with hers, I would love to go out looking like shit but to everyone else I look amazing. It is an incredibly clever concept from Marissa Meyer.

It was amazing from start to finish, I’ve given the series to my work colleague so she can read them all as they are just such great books. Just need to read Fairest, the book on Levana and it will aaaaaaall make so much more sense! For now I’ve decided to read something else so that I can give my brain a break, so now I’m reading Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.

Marissa Meyers is a talented writer and I can’t wait to read her other books about Iko And her adventures too!

Solid 5/5