Book Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The Blurb: “The bride ‧ The plus one ‧ The best man ‧ The wedding planner ‧ The bridesmaid ‧ The body 

On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.

But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.

And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?”

Genre: Thriller, Murder Mystery, Fiction

Goodreads Rating: 3.8/5

My Rating: 3/5

THIS REVIEW DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS


I read this book after being recommended by my boyfriend, he said it was good but not fantastic and I have to admit I absolutely agree with him. I found this book quite a reach. For me personally it was all over the place but I enjoyed the way it was written and the journey it took us through. the anticipation for what was to come was within me form the very start.

So the book is based on a small island off of Ireland known for death and the bodies under the ground. Here Jules and Will, both incredibly popular and high profile, decide to get married! The Island is completely uninhabited other than the two who are running the manor where the wedding was going to take place, Aoife and Freddy. Already it introduces mystery and suspicion, it’s written in a way where you’re always questioning whats going to happen? Where is this going? Once everyone is on the island, no one can leave?

I enjoyed the fact that we got multiple perspectives through the book. We got Hannah’s perspective, her husband Charlie is Jules’ (The Brides) best friend, which at the start I felt was unnecessary but the ending revealed why we got this. We also got the POV of Jules, Olivia the bridesmaid, Will the groom, Johnno the best man and Wills oldest friend and Aoife the wedding planner. It was fun going between each character and getting their perspective of the situation especially because there are so many different links to each other. Johnno and the group of Ushers, Charlie and group of Ushers, Olivia and Will, Jules and Charlie. BUT, there were so many different links it was really hard to get to grips with what was what and also really difficult to connect with each character. I could definitely connect with the odd few characters though, like Olivia, Johnno and Hannah.

So the characters I did feel something for, Hannah and Charlie, something happened at the Stag do that we don’t know about and because of that there is already tension between the two. Then we also notice that Hannah lost her sister around this time of the year, Charlie is nasty when he’s drunk and that their marriage has gone stale.

Then we had Johnno, always seen as the bum of the group, not very successful and also closest and oldest friend of Will. He likes to smoke and lies about creating a whisky brand to appear successful. He also feels eternally guilty for what is potentially murdering a boy who him and Will went to school with after a prank with Will went wrong. I really sympathised for him, trying to be something he wasn’t just to impress these boys he used to go school with who think themselves so high and mighty.

TW: Suicide.

I can also feel sympathy for Olivia. She has had her heart destroyed by a man who we later find out is Will. Jules’ husband to be. She’s in an awful personal position. She’s left uni, she’s depressed, she is tormented by the fact that she knows who Will is and what he is like and Jules has absolutely no idea because Olivia can’t tell her and Will won’t let her. So when she opens up to Hannah about her situation but changes the mans name, Olivia and Hannah really resonate with each other because Hannah’s sister killed herself because a man leaked a video of a sexual act online. which is what Olivia had been faced with threat wise from Will, so you can see the relationship for the two blossom because Hannah is protective over Olivia. Later, we learn that Will was also the one who brought Hannah’s sister to her demise. So all of their stories interlink.

There is a huge crescendo at the end where all of their stories interlink and I understand that we needed all the contact to get to this point. But I found it all incredibly far fetched and a real reach. So I’m going to try and sum this up as easily as possible so you can make sense of this journey. Jules (The Bride) and Charlie (Hannah’s husband) Have had sex, but this was years ago but news to Hannah when it’s revealed fractioning their relationship even more. Will used to be with Olivia (The Bridesmaid and Jules’ Sister) and is now blackmailing her to not tell Jules anything about their relationship. Although Jules overhears him threatening her so learns everything. Will is also the one who brought Hannah’s sister to her demise. Johnno is accused of the murder, even though the murderer is the sister of the little boy who was accidentally killed by Will and Johnno in school, Aoife, the wedding planner. And Johnno discovers that his big break into TV and his future was scuppered because Will lied to him.

It’s a lot, right? I just it very all at once. Although I enjoyed the concept of the fact these people who knew so littlest so much about each other were all linked in some way or another.

The only good thing to come from this was the development with Olivia and Jules’ relationship at the end, where it’s revealed who is dead. That for me was a positive note, because their family and sisterly love overcame everything. But It did make me wonder how Jules would have continued to act towards Olivia had what had happened, not happened.

I rated this 3/5 because although the journey to the cresendo was good and it really was emotive for my emotions and feelings, I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone!

Book Review: The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

Blurb: “Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo–until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain. On the way, Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees.

As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all, they must journey to find each other again.”

Genre: Historical Fiction, War Fiction, War Novel, Novel

Goodreads Rating: 4.2/5

My Rating: 5/5

THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS


This book was something special. I’ve never read anything quite as moving as this book before. I had literally added this book to my reading list and then the next day walked into Waterstones and it was there on the stand in front of me (pre Covid-19 lockdown 3 in the UK). So naturally I picked it up and bought it. I read it within 3 days. It was stunning and breathtaking so I’m going to tell you (and show you) why.

First I loved the way this book was written. It goes from the present to the past, Nuri and Afra’s journey travelling from Aleppo to the UK. There is absolutely no small feat about this journey, their motivation is inspiring. We see their time seeking asylum in the UK and between these chapters we learn about their journey to the UK and their struggles with PTSD, but the way this is shown in the book is pretty and nothing I’ve ever seen before. The last word of the present is the first word of the past flashback and is displayed in the middle of the page in a beautiful illustration as you can see below.

The journey itself that they have made is just incredible. From Aleppo to the car journeys through Syria, having to duck down in the back of trucks and lie about where they were going. To the boat crossings in their small dingy, wearing life jackets and the awful waves throwing people overboard. Potentially losing Mohammed overboard causing Nuri to jump in the water after him, Mohammed being a young boy Nuri has taken responsibility for after he was on his own, almost a replacement for Sammi without realising. And when they reach the camps, Mohammed disappears. So Nuri looses the one thing that even slightly brought him comfort as he resembled and was significant with the loss of Sammi. But when Nuri is in the UK, he still sees Mohammed in his dreams and feels Mohammed is trying to tell him something or point him back to the direction of his wife, back in the direction of goodness, although it doesn’t always end well once he wakes up.

The camps sounded horrendous and it made me realise that people are actually dealing with this in real life. It made me glad to hear that they were given shelter, food and clothes after their horrendous boat ride, but what about when these camps are full? There is a lot of talk through the book of ‘The camps are full‘ and ‘they’ve closed the borders’ so their next part of their journey will be a struggle and thats where the illegal smugglers come in. Giving these people their trust and their money to get them to where they need to be. there is a period of time where they are in Italy. They are sleeping in a park where the volunteers for Red Cross brought them too, and left them there. Afra does not feel safe yet they manage to make a friend as safety in numbers. But awful things happen here, and instead of waiting for salvation that never comes from the Red Cross Nuri takes it into his own hands and they pay a smuggler to get them to the UK.

I feel for me this book is eye opening. This is happening in real life. REAL people are going through REAL situations and trauma like this, and we are treating them like animals and not offering asylum when they people have experienced WAR and had everything destroyed. They have no where else to go. And although in the books they are offered food, shelter and clothes, are they offered this in real life? Most likely not. I’ll be posting some links at the bottom of this review if you would like to donate to refugee relief.

I sympathised with pretty much all of the main characters, they have all been displaced and hit with the horrors of war. A horror that I could not even dream of experiencing or knowing what they are going through. So when Afra originally refuses to leave Aleppo amongst all the ruins because it is where their son Sammi is buried after he was killed in a bomb explosion, my heart breaks for them. I feel so upset for them because they had such a beautiful life in Aleppo before, Nuri tending the bees with his best friend Mustafa, so passionate about the bees and learning their motives and harvesting the honey and Afra and their son Sammi dining and relaxing with Mustafas family. Everything was happy and bright and colourful. And it had all been left in ruins. I can feel the desperation through out the book for a better life, when Afra explains she “doesn’t like this place” or when Nuri explains she “lays in bed all day” I just feel deflated for them and all that they are going through. Their motivation to get to the UK is that Mustafa is there and has started a new business with the bees and Nuri is going to help him as soon as he can when he gets to the UK, some sort of normality and what they were used too in Aleppo. That small slice of home.

It is interesting to learn that Afra is blind due to the horrendous things she has seen. She witnessed the bomb kill her child. War destroy her city. Due to this trauma she is blind, but not blind. She is blind and cannot see from trauma, but her sight will come back over time. This was interesting to me as I did not realise this could happen but it very much can when dealing with immense amounts if life changing stress which made me sympathise for her more. But what made me really feel things is when even though she could see, she still coloured in the colouring books Nuri bought her.

They have also come away/apart from each other in a time where they need each other most. All the way through you can see that Nuri loves his wife, but he has moved so far away from her as Afra has from him. They are withdrawn from each other through this trauma although they rely on each other more than ever. So when at the end, after making it to the UK and seeing Mustafa again, they are drawn back to each other with that feeling of hope and happiness to help them it makes me so overwhelmingly happy. They went through so much together so to finally find themselves back in each others arms made me so elated and honestly, I cried.

This book is eye-opening, harrowing, and with so much depth, an absolute testament to the triumph of human spirit and motivation. I voted this book 5/5 and say that you go and get this book now and Ive never felt so passionately about a book in this way. If you would like to donate to refugee relief there are some links below for you.

Book Review: 20 Travel Tales in 200 Words by D. Marino & J. Malley

Blurb: “20 Travel Tales in 200 Words, is a collection of true short stories of misadventure, humour and heart, while travelling the world. The authours have had a number of awkward, challenging and astounding experiences over the years. These tales (all told in exactly 200 words) will (hopefully) make you laugh, smile and see travel through their eyes.

Each tale is accompanied by their unique photography, taken while vacationing in the area featured in the travel tale. You will not find these specific photographs anywhere else.”

Genre: Travel, Travel Biography

Goodreads Rating: 4.83/5

My Rating: 5/5

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS


I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to have been able to access, read and review this book from the authors directly! So a huge thank you to them, of course they appreciate and respect that my review will be totally honest and my views only. So lets get into this!

You can find a copy of the book to purchase here and their website!

https://www.makethemalltripsofalifetime.com/product-page/20-travel-tales-in-200-words-pdf

https://www.makethemalltripsofalifetime.com

And you can find the authors on social media here!

Https://twitter.com/ThemTrips

https://instagram.com/Makethemalltripsofalifetime

https://www.facebook.com/makethemalltripsofalifetime

As an avid traveller and with Covid being pretty prominent at the moment, there isn’t much travel happening. So to be able to read 20 Travel Tales in 200 words was exciting for me because It definitely filled a travel hole that was huge in my heart. I really enjoyed reading each story and I’ll be writing a little bit about my top 8 from the book also further down in the review! I just wanted to cover some basics first!

The book itself is really well written and right from the heart, it feels so personal and I really felt like I could picture the experiences almost like I was there. Also it can’t be easy writing a travel story in only 200 words but the authors have done a really good job in doing so and making it an immersive and enjoyable read.

The photographs that separate the stories are all so beautiful and topical to the stories as well, not only is the photography brilliant but they also do a really good job of painting the picture of the adventure itself. It gives the stories more context and also gives the reader the beautiful imagery that goes with the story and I just thought that was brilliant because the story leaves you to your imagination and then you see the photos and it makes it even better!

So let’s have a look at my favourite 8 stories from the book! (although they were all great).

Rough Seas and Big Fish.

This one made me so excited, minus the sea sickness which I felt so sorry for them but I would totally be the same in that situation! Swimming with Whales sharks is absolutely a bucket list dream of mine, so to see the photos and hear the story was so great and inspiring. I was massively impressed they pushed through the sickness to swim with these magnificent creatures!

Murder House.

This one was plain creepy but I enjoyed that aspect, it was an experience that wasn’t as advertised and was unexpected and that added to my curiosity! Plus its nice to hear a different experience like this! I was left with so many questions, Why was there a for sale sign outside? Were the Anne dolls watching them through the night? Why were they not given the experience they bought or told beforehand it wouldn’t be as expected? and most importantly, WERE they fed the previous guests?? WILD.

The Case of the Missing (Water) Shoe.

This made me laugh out loud but also in a sympathetic way. Especially because this is something I would do. The best part was the ‘How could they not know?’ question, and then the sudden realisation when it was needed that the shoe was theirs! I was sad the rain washed it away, it belongs to the fishes now.

What Happens in the Clouds, Stays in the Clouds.

A zip-line experience is also on the bucket list and in a beautiful tropical place like Costa Rica, what a dream! I was so jealous of such an awesome experience but the zero visibility made me nervous and that nervousness was enhanced by her husband explaining that he had been pushed by the wind out of control but landed safely, biggest PHEW moment of the book! An amazing experience in a beautiful place.

A Hike of Spirituality.

This story was really great, an awesome experience, beautiful hike with the history explained as they went. A really great and spiritual adventure to connect with the history of Mauritius. But, it also really highlights others disregard for places with so much history and that deserve respect. It’s astounding that people were unable to “genuinely appreciate where they were” and that makes me so sad, as well as the authors who expressed their sadness of the situation too which I could fully relate too.

(Not) A Bag in the Water.

I love the ocean so I loved this story but this also hinged on another fear of mine. I am so very happy no one was hurt in the process of saving the planet! Which is always the right thing to do! But then the pain that came afterwards of moving to safety and being pushed back into the ocean made me go ‘Ouch!’, definitely a memorable experience for sure!

It’s Not Moving on, Its Moving Forward.

This was a beautiful and moving story. A trip of healing and relaxing through sorrow and sadness even though it provided no escape as the authors wrote. The tradition of planting a tree really brought a tear to my eye. The last line of this story was something that I felt so so necessary to share with everyone as it was beautifully written;

“You do not move on after the passing of a loved one, you move forward, carrying them with you”

The True Test of Love.

This is my favourite one, absolutely 10000% this is the true test of love. I’ve already explained to my man that when we go travelling this is to be expected and if he can’t handle it get out of the kitchen, wait, Bathroom. Im so happy the trip continued and so did their love! It did make me laugh how Burger King was a no go zone, so the family run Bistro where you wouldn’t expect the toilet troubles, was where the trouble started! But you don’t know until you try!

I gave 20 Travel Tales in 200 Words a 5/5 review because for me it was everything I needed and more through Covid-19, the stories were great fun and inspiring and the photographs were also phenomenal. This book is absolutely worth the read to fill that travel gap!

Book Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Blurb: “Harriet Vanger, a scion of one of Sweden’s wealthiest families disappeared over forty years ago. All these years later, her aged uncle continues to seek the truth. He hires Mikael Blomkvist, a crusading journalist recently trapped by a libel conviction, to investigate. He is aided by the pierced and tattooed punk prodigy Lisbeth Salander. Together they tap into a vein of unfathomable iniquity and astonishing corruption.

An international publishing sensation, Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo combines murder mystery, family saga, love story, and financial intrigue into one satisfyingly complex and entertainingly atmospheric novel.”

Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Crime novel, Nordic noir, Crime Fiction

Page Count: 672

Goodreads Rating: 4.1/5

My Rating: 4/5

THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Trigger Warning: Rape


This is my second attempt at reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo so I went into this book very skeptical and apprehensive. Last time I found my reading capability wasn’t up to standard with the book so to be able to give this another go was interesting and it certainly didn’t disappoint!

So I considered the first part of the book to be incredibly slow. I fully understand and appreciate that for a book of this size, context is very important. But I felt that the amount given made the start of the book really slow for me. Further down the line I realise I appreciated the content given but it definitely tinted the reading experience for me, if it hadn’t been for my first 100 pages rule (where if i’m not enjoying a book and I’m still not enjoying it at the 100th page I won’t continue with the book) I would have absolutely have put it down. But I am so so glad I didn’t!

So straight away after being introduced to the characters I LOVED the contrast of the two main characters, Michael Blomkvist and Elizabeth Salander. For me Michael Blomkvist’s character development throughout the whole book was monumental, I started the book like ‘lord above this man is bland’. Then I realised he has an open relationship with his co-worker and close friend Erika which perked him up a bit, then you realise this man is not afraid to speak his mind, potentially lose his job and stand up to the big boys like he does early on in the book. Towards the end of the book I loved him. The confidence, passion and determination this man holds is commendable and when his relationship with Salander advances I never saw it coming but I was absolutely here for it.

The general mystery of the storyline itself is intense. Michael Blomkvist after going through some legal battles is recruited to work for Henrik Vanger on his estate in Hedestad, Sweden. He’s recruited to write the Vanger daily history. In actual fact he is there to uncover the truth as to where Harriet Vanger disappeared too. The way the mystery is unraveled is one bombshell after the next. I absolutely could not put this book down once it really got into it. The twists and turns, the revelations one after the other I needed to know where she was, if someone had killed her and if so, who? The family had so many secrets. the crescendo for me was when someone was shooting at Blomkvist. At this point you know someone is after him. But It was never who I would expected.

In contrast with Michael is Elizabeth Salander. Right form the start she’s a mystery. I also sympathise for her straight away, not even too far into the book she is raped. But she’s cool, calm and collected and I have a lot of respect for her especially when she takes matters into her own hands. Although she is very shattered and broken person, she is one badass bitch. She’s damn good at what she does and its impressive. This is why when she does start seeing Blomkvist Im shocked but 100% here for it as I said above. I loved the two of them together, they are polar opposites but they balance each other out. The ending did get me though. Salander is aware of his relationship with his co-worker Erika, so to know she was so hurt and wound up got me wanting to pick up the next book!

To back up my point that Salander is a bad ass bitch. When Michael is taken ‘prisoner’ by Henry Vanger in his basement, after realising it was him who was trying to shoot Blomkvist for digging too deep into the family history to find Harriet, Salander realises where he is and comes to his rescue. He’s in a torturous situation in Henry’s basement where we realise that Henry is a disgusting animal who rapes, mutilates and kills women for FUN. After being recruited to do this by his FATHER. SICKENING. But it also influences the investigation into Harriet with Henry being her brother. She was fully aware of what he is capable of. But, a great plot twist as I was not expecting it from him. So naturally my assumption was that Henry killed Harriet. LUCKILY that was not the case.

I was SHOOK when we discovered Harriet was alive. Her involvement in the remainder of the book made my heart warm. She was just running from something awful. I also didn’t expect Henry to kill himself in a car crash after the incident with Blomkvist and Salander in his basement but I guess he thought it was better to die than to go to jail for being an absolutely arsehole of epic proportions, especially because Harriet knew all of his secrets.

And yet once Harriet is discovered it doesn’t end there. Michael, Erika and Elizabeth take on the corporation at the start of the book who Michael tried to tackle before and absolutely decimated them and played them at their own game. If that isn’t a badass team i don’t know what is. Although Salander doesn’t think so so much at the end,

The book itself is really well written, gripping, exciting and I could not put it down. I voted this book 4/5 due to the slow start but thats literally it. It would be a 4.9/5 if it was possible. I also felt like when I was reading, the village of Hedestad reminded me of the small village I visited in Norway, Aurland! Beautiful, small, personal and quaint. Ill post a photograph of Aurland below!

Have you read this book before? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Book Review: One Day by David Nicholls

Blurb: “15th July 1988: Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways.

So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that?

And every year that follows?”

Page Count: 435

Goodreads Rating: 3.80/5

Genre: Romance

My Rating: 4/5

THIS REVIEW DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS


I really enjoyed this book because I was always curious to see if Dexter and Emma ended up together, I really enjoyed how each chapter was the same day of each progressive year as well! But I definitely felt a certain way towards the characters, so let’s get into it.

The way the book is written for me, each chapter the same day of the following year, was really fantastic. I absolutely LOVED the catch up. Learning about what Dexter and Emma had managed to achieve and how their lives had changed year on year. They still lived, developed, moved on, moved out, moved jobs, had other partners, lived different lives but the same? They would still continuously meet each year (until the argument), and because of this I felt like even with their own lives and stories they still lived through each other. Still writing letters, trying to keep something alive that wasn’t exactly there. Thats where my next point comes into play.

One thing I got from this book was wrong time, right place. And then finally, right time, right place. For the two of them at the start, it wasn’t right and you could see that. And admittedly as they got older I firmly believed there would never be a right time (mainly because of my dislike for Dexter). BUT when the time did come and they got together I breathed a sigh of relief because I was like FINALLY. RIGHT TIME, ABOUT TIME. I knew I needed their relationship, I just didn’t realise how much.

One of the things that I really noticed was that I was really thinking about the characters Dexter and Emma. For starters, I didn’t like Dexter through pretty much the entire book. There wasn’t a single moment I sympathised or felt sorry for him, even when the ending happened. Even though he drank and partied himself into oblivion, I still couldn’t sympathise. I just honestly thought he was a knob, even when he and Emma ended up together I always thought she was too good for him. But with that said, I also really couldn’t warm to Emma either. I felt like she was really miserable all the time, as much I enjoyed seeing her progress and develop in her life without Dexter after their argument, she STILL didn’t seem to get any happier in the personal sense! It made me sad as it was almost like her happiness depended on Dexter, a man who wasn’t even bothered about her 85% of the time.

But the biggest twist for me, was the end.

I borrowed this book from a friend and at NO POINT, DID HE WARN ME. So when Emma DIED. I WAS LIKE WAIT. WHAT? It was finally the RIGHT TIME for them to be together. Finally they realised it was meant to be and then BANG. I was gutted, even though I wasn’t Emma’s biggest fan I still didn’t dislike her so much she needed to get hit off her bike and die. I just didn’t expect it and I guess thats what made it so good.

The ending really kind of put everything into perspective for me and I realised this book was actually really unfortunate. Two friends, two lovers, and never the right time. And when it finally is the right time, something this huge and drastic happens. It changes the dynamic completely. And even so, I still, couldn’t sympathise with Dexter. He lost so much, including his mother, throughout the book. And yet he was still unpleasant. Him and Emma could have had so much, so much sooner if he hadn’t been such a wanker. But then if Emma also hadn’t been so elitist and so critical about everything maybe Dexter would’ve felt more inclined sooner to make a move. Their whole relationship just baffled me and I actually felt they were really bad for each other.

The characters I did sympathise for were their partners, Ian who was with Emma, and all of Dexters girlfriends who I can’t possibly name. These partners I firmly believe, especially Ian, were caught in the middle of this whirlwind. I sympathised with Ian the most, he was so lovely and I’m so glad that him and Emma did get together, but It made me sad that she just wasn’t that into their relationship because of DEXTER.

But, none the less with this absolutely crazy rollercoaster of feelings, I really loved this book. I kept me hooked, I just didn’t know what was going to happen next with either characters and I feel like the chapters helped with that curiosity by setting the dates and time in-between. I expected so much and was never disappointed and always shook to the core. Hence why I gave this book 4/5.

I would recommend this book to all my friends and family, in fact I did recommend this to my mum!

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.

Happy New Year – 2021 Goals!

Happy New Year you wonderful lot!

We are back for another year of goals, blogging and adventure in travels and books! I can’t wait to see what this year holds. Although with a weak start with Covid-19 putting me back in Tier 4 restrictions and furloughed from work at least it will give me plenty of time to work on my blog and socials. Speaking of my blog and socials that is where a lot of my goals lie for this year, as well as a personal few of my own, and I’d really like to share these with you all. I believe if I share these goals with you it will help me to manifest and push my goals forward!

So here are my goals for 2021;

Reach my Goodreads reading goal of 50 books! I feel I may be pushing it this year with 50 books especially as last year I had lockdown and furlough to help me along, this year I am only furloughs until March and I hope to get back to normality after that (We can hope). Therefore I feel like I may be pushing myself, but hey isn’t that what goals are about? So here is to reaching 50 books this year, I’ll be reviewing these books as I go as well so stay tuned!

Reach 350 followers and 20 email followers for my blog! A huge goal, but I am hoping this is something that I can reach. So if you’re reading this with your WordPress sight, drop me a follow, lets help each other as I will absolutely return the love and favour.

Reach 2000 followers on my blog Instagram, Wandererandtraveller, so that I can share so much more with you beautiful people! I love Instagram and it is my favorite social media platform. I also love seeing everyone else adventures too especially in a time where we can’t travel as much as we would like.

A language goal now. In lockdown 1, 2020, I decided to start learning French to keep me going and give me something to do. I decided I wanted to really up my french language and started learning on Duolingo. I now have a 300 page French workbook and hope to smash the whole thing out so it will help me learn! As well as listening to Duolingo’s French podcasts as well, although I am not at the intermediate stage so the podcast is a little difficult I am hoping to be able to understand it better.

I also in lockdown 1 started a Digital Media Marketing course with Google Classroom and never completed it. Thats another huge goal for me. To sit down to learn and finish this course. I feel like my brain will turn to mush otherwise! Especially with no work going on at the moment I need to make sure I keep myself mentally stimulated otherwise I might also loose the will and motivation.

More blogging collaborations! I LOVE working with the girls on my Blog Brew Collaboration so it is only right to help make that collaboration even better, but also participate in more! More blogger awards, more blogging collaborations, more guest posts! Sharing is caring and helping each other along the way. The happiest of goals for 2021.

So there are some of my goals for 2021! Some which will take a lot of time and effort and others which I can master along the way. As long as I give myself the time and keep up morale and motivation I should be able to power through!

What are your 2021 goals? Let me know in the comments!