This month has been a difficult one personally. As a result I’ve read far less that I had planned. I’m still on track with my Agatha Christie and Goodreads reading challenges, but that’s about all I can say for this month’s reading.
What I’ve Been Reading
I have managed to read
Murder on the Links (Hercule Poirot #2), Agatha Christie
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, Jenny Han
The Man in the Brown Suit, Agatha Christie
The Secret of Chimneys, Agatha Christie
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Hercule Poirot #3), Agatha Christie
Favourite Read: The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that I really struggled with reading this book as I was reading a library e-book loan on my 6 inch mobile phone screen (my library app is not currently compatible with Kindles…). However I absolutely adored this book. It’s the first 5 Star rating I’ve given in my Agatha Christie #CHRISTIE100 reading challenge.
What I’ve Been Watching
Don’t F**k With Cats. Cheer. Orange is the New Black.
NB. I do not own these images. Image rights belong to Netflix
Don’t F**k With Cats is possibly the most disturbing murder/true crime documentary I have ever watched. It’s the first time I can honestly say that I felt my blood run cold. I don’t get shaken easily with the amount of these that I watch but wow. This really was something else.
I only ended up watching Cheer because it was recommended to me by friends at work. I couldn’t think of anything worse that watching a cheerleading documentary. What would be the point? Well, I was so wrong. Cheerleading is one hell of a sport. Those kids put their bodies and minds under so much pressure and through so much stress. I saw a completely different side to this sport that is usually portrayed as being for high school bimbos. PLEASE watch this show. Oh, and Jerry has my heart, what a guy.
Okay, I know I know. I’m massively late to the party with Orange is the New Black. In my defense, I did watch it when it was first released. I managed 7 episodes of season 1 before I gave up out of senseless boredom. I’m so glad that I’ve given it another chance as I’m now really enjoying it and speeding into season 4.
More Agatha Christie. Hopefully another 5 or 6 in March. I’d also like to attempt to read the rest of the Truly Devious series by Maureen Johnson as I’ve currently only read book #1.
This month I’ve been trying to get back into blogging properly. The last half of 2019 was a bit of a nightmare if I’m honest. I failed an exam, and therefore my degree, so had to re-sit during the summer ahead of my delayed graduation this month. I was busy trying to find a full-time job with no degree classification. I also had my very busy summer job to contend with. With all of this going on I was barely reading, let alone keeping up with my blog or instagram. So far, 2020 has started off pretty well on the reading and blogging front so hopefully the rest of this year will follow suit.
Here’s what I’ve been getting up to in January.
What I’ve Been Reading
I have managed to read
The Northern Lights, Philip Pullman
The Subtle Knife, Philip Pullman
The Amber Spyglass, Philip Pullman
One Of Us Is Lying, Karen M. McManus
One Of Us Is Next, Karen M. McManus
The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Hercule Poirot #1), Agatha Christie
The Secret Adversary (Tommy and Tuppence #1), Agatha Christie
7 books is a really good reading month for me. I’m finally starting to get back to the numbers I was reading before uni broke me! Here are some of my highlights.
Most Pleasant Surprise: The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie
2 brilliant 20 somethings running around London and involving themselves in espionage in the 20s?! YES PLEASE. Tuppence is a total bad ass woman! Perfect book to bring a bit of the roaring 20s into the 2020s! Oh, and a little love story on the side! Now a firm favourite and I cannot wait to read the rest of the Tommy and Tuppence novels.
Most Anticipated: One Of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus
Holy sh*t, the reigning YA Thriller Queen did NOT disappoint with this sequel. I wondered how on earth a sequel would be written but wow, wow, wow. McManus nailed it. We checked in with the Bayview Four whilst meeting new characters and a new game. This was also a OOUIL switcheroo as this time we were playing catch up and trying to work out who was dead rather than who did it, although we were trying to figure out the mysterious puppet master of the truth or dare game… Already my favourite read of 2020 and it will take a fair amount to knock it off top spot.
Christie 100 – My crazy reading challenge
If you haven’t seen my post already, I’ve decided to read all 66 of Agatha Christie’s novels (written under her own name) this year to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Agatha’s first novel The Mysterious Affair at Styles.
Because apparently my life isn’t already busy enough…
This is also my own personal celebration of one of the only successful people to come out of my hometown and my reminder that I can absolutely ace my life like she did.
The Crown, Season 3. You, Season 2. The Good Place, Season 4. Gavin & Stacey, Christmas Special 2019. Grace & Frankie, Season 6.
NB. I do not own these images. Image rights belong to Netflix, NBC, and the BBC respectively.
Season 3 of The Crownwas the most disappointing so far, in my opinion. The only improvement is that Prince Philip hasn’t been painted as a villain in the same way seasons 1 and 2 did. Princess Anne is woefully under-used, which is a shame because her character has some of the best lines in the series. I also feel like there’s lots of important historical events missing that could have been included and far more interesting than the persistent personal speculation the whole series involves itself in.
Writers and producers should be careful with a historical drama like this that concerns living memory because lots of viewers seem to use this programme as a documentary and a gospel of these events. It needs to be made much clearer that this is a dramatisation based on true events where lots of artistic licence has been taken. Otherwise, it’s a slippery slope that will only get steeper as the seasons bring the show more and more up to date.
The next series of Youhit Netflix shortly before the New Year and let’s just say it makes for rather uncomfortable viewing. If you’re thinking of watching this I should point out these trigger warnings:
Violence. Big time.
After a hiatus from the middle of December until the middle of January, season 4 of The Good Placeis finally back! I love this show, it’s so damn wholesome and I really don’t want it to end. Chidi and Eleanor 5eva 😉.
I couldn’t mention my viewing habits this month without shouting about the Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special!!! After nearly a decade we finally caught up with the Barry Island and Billericay crews! I have 2 overwhelming thoughts following Christmas Day (and the 15 or more times I’ve re-watched the episode already 😂):
YOU CANNOT LEAVE IT LIKE THAT
WILL WE EVER FIND OUT WHAT THE SH*TTING F*UCK HAPPENED ON THAT FISHING TRIP?!
January 2020 has seen the return of Grace & Frankie on Netflix! Hit, feel-good comedy about 2 women who are forced into friendship (and living together) after their husbands leave them for each other! I devoured this in an afternoon, as I have done with the release of most of the previous series’. I already cannot wait to watch season 7, although I’m very upset that this will be the last…
In February I’m planning to finally read Jenny Han’s To All TheBoys I’ve Loved Before series, especially with film #2 being released on Netflix on the 12th.
Keep up to date with what I get up to on a daily basis on my Instagram stories @beauteaful.reads
This year has been an odd one. The final weeks of university caused me to have another improptu hiatus from my book blogging/bookstagram life. Summer came and went in a blur of exam re-sit stress. I quit a job I hated. I somehow succeeded in getting a full time job and my feet firmly in the door of my dream career, despite not having a degree classification or a graduation date in the near future.
Yet, despite achieving so much on a personal level in terms of setting myself up for the future, I still feel like I didn’t DO anything. No abroad holidays like I did in 2018. In fact, I barely left London except to visit my family in the South West and a week on the Isle of Wight. I still haven’t written my book or improved my French and Italian like I wanted to. Still can’t play the piano. I feel like all I’ve done is work and study, and some of that I didn’t do very well…
This year has also seen yet another huge reading slump as uni has ruined reading for pleasure for me (don’t panic, it looks like I’m finally on my way out of it though).
So, out with the old, and in with the new. Good riddance 2019. Please let 2020 be the beginning of my roaring 20s decade of dreams and make the decade which will see me turn 30 (EWW NO I’M A 90s BABY AND I REFUSE TO GROW UP) so much better than the decade of my teenage and very early 20s.
What I’ve Been Reading in 2019
I didn’t manage to meet my Goodreads goal of 50 books for this year which I’m really disappointed about…
I re-read lots of things I enjoyed and started 2019 off with one of the biggest books I’ve ever read – Samantha Shannon’s The Priory of the Orange Tree. Nearly 900 pages of dragons and badass women which I read in one crazy caffeine-fuelled 18 hour sitting the night before the book launch. (A book I still haven’t had time to write a review for).
However, here’s some highlights and lowlights of what I did manage to read this year:
(One of my) Favourite Reads: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
I LOVED THIS BOOK. Jackson has written a very strong debut. The plot had so many different threads woven through it and it was seriously impressive. Pip is absolutely my favourite protagonist in a very long time, I wish I had a friend like her. This book made me laugh and cry. I am over the moon to hear that this book is getting a sequel and I can’t wait to see what Pip gets up to next.
Most Pleasant Surprise: The Paper & Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie
Book blogger, YouTuber and creative Lucy Powrie has just released her debut novel into the world. At only 18 years old she has managed to write the book I desperately needed as a 15 year old. TP&HS touches on many themes including not fitting in, divorce, and bullying but has a core of friendship and the love of books. I thought it was very well written and Lucy provides a refreshing new YA voice, standing far apart from the other books born out of YouTube fame. I am very exited to read the rest of this series when the time comes.
Most Anticipated: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
Nearly 35 years after the publication of The Handmaid’s Tale, the most anticipated sequel of the decade (or the last century even) was published. I really, really enjoyed it. It was terrifying and relevant and a real philosophical and literary masterpiece. Do I think it deserved The Booker Prize? No, probably not. I think this was a reparation for The Handmaid’s Tale not winning it when it was nominated back in ’86 (a book that thoroughly does deserve that award IMHO). Either way, this was the best book launch I’ve ever attended and I feel lucky to have been alive, and front and centre, for this monumental moment in literary history.
Biggest Disappointment: Finale by Stephanie Garber
The third and final instalment of the Caraval Series was finally published at the beginning of May. I have been desperate for this release all year! I thought this was an appropriate end to the series however I did find it slightly predictable and the book fell a bit flat for me, as did the entire series. Keep an eye out for my full review coming soon.
My Pick of What I’ve Been Watching in 2019
Jane the Virgin. Murder Mystery. Designated Survivor.
NB. I do not own these images. Image rights belong to Netflix.
The final season of Jane the Virgin was everything I needed and more. The whole series has been beautiful, wholesome, and hilarious. I highly recommend it for some lighthearted dram-edy (and a glorious Telenovela education!).
The new comedy from Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler, Murder Mystery, is absolutely brilliant. This married couple from New York, a hairdresser and a NYPD cop, finally go on their long-awaited European vacation/honeymoon. They end up on a yacht with Luke Evans, David Walliams, Gemma Arterton, and a host of other great acting talent, and become embroiled in a murder investigation. Hilarious fun and a nice quick 1hr 40min watch.
Designated Survivor season three finally streamed on Netflix after inexplicably being cancelled (I MEAN?!!) by ABC at the conclusion of season two. Netflix saved the day and I binged the new season in an afternoon. DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA. This series is a must-see!
At the moment I’m enjoying reading murder mysteries, both classic Agatha Christie and books that fall into the Young Adult Genre. I will be reading more of these in 2020. PLEASE LEAVE RECOMMENDATIONS IN THE COMMENTS – I’m looking for books similar to One of Us is Lying and Two Can Keep a Secret.
I also aim to finish/re-do my Jane Austen Reading Challenge this year which you can keep up to date with on my Instagram Highlights at @beauteaful.reads