Books Read in January


This year began with me telling myself to ‘just survive January’ which might have caused me to read little to no books at all due to all the uni work I have had to do, and the exams to revise for. But I’m predominantly a bus journey reader, and while I’m studying I’ve got two guaranteed slots in my day that I can dedicate entirely to a book.

Here’s my round-up of books I managed to read this month despite the intense nerd-a-thon that has been my life for the past month…

It Starts like This – Shelby Leigh



Kindle Ebook, 95 pages
Published December 16th 2016

My aim this year is to read more independent authors. I began the year with this poetry collection from Shelby Leigh, and discovered a wonderful variety of poems that made me smile more than once while reading. Most of them relate to love, but in the latter half of the book celebrates a love of words, books and reading and how these areas of life can enrich our experiences. I could really tell that the author appreciates and has a love for these areas of life.

Read my full review: It Starts Like This

How Long is Now? – New Scientist



Paperback, 298 pages
Published 2016 by John Murray

This was a book I treated myself to with Christmas money, and my expectations were high. I’m a lover of non-fiction and I like some of the subjects that New Scientist  magazine cover, so I thought this book would be right up my street! To some extent, it was, but there was just something about it that disappointed me. It has some brilliant questions and some very insightful answers, I’m just on the fence in terms of how much I enjoyed it.

Read my full review: How Long is Now? 

Breakdown – Chris McLoughlin



Chapbook, 24 pages
Published July 1st 2016 by Big White Shed

The magazine I write for asked me to interview the author, Chris McLoughlin, about his poetry and his plans for the future. To prepare for the interview I read his book, and it made me cry. I don’t do crying at books. It’s hard to make me cry, but this book got me. It proves that quantity doesn’t mean quality, because this little gem of a chapbook is pure quality and poetic craft. Look out for his name in future because I think he’s going places, and I’m not just saying that because I know him, I mean it.

If you have anxiety, this book may help. You will be able to buy copies of his book through his website once it is up and running: pijaykin

Read my full review: Breakdown

Temporary Storms – McKayla DeBonis



Paperback, 227 pages
Published December 5th by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Some of the short-form poems in this book hit the nail on the head, and I really enjoyed them, but others fell short of craft. For a debut collection, it has promise and it’s worth reading to support the author and help her progress. I marked a few of them out, and they are genuinely poems I enjoyed reading, however for me this book requires a few edits here and there. Nevertheless, it is written with love and a well-meaning heart.

Read my full review: Temporary Storms

Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff



Paperback, 599 pages
Published October 22nd 2015 by Oneworld Publications

Bookstagram made me buy it. This sci-fi young adult novel is told through various documents: emails, instant messages, schematics, surveillance reports etc. and I had such high expectations fuelled by other people who had read it and raved about it on Instagram. In terms of experimenting with the form, full marks! But I didn’t connect with the plot at all. Maybe I’m not that into science fiction? But if you ARE, then you’ll probably love this.

I haven’t started the next book in the series, because I’m still getting over the disappointment of this one.

Read my full review: Illuminae

Our Chemical Hearts – Krystal Sutherland



Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Hot Key Books

I wish I had read this book sooner. And I wish I could read it all over again. The characters are brilliant, the plot is equal parts addictive and pleasurable (in the sense that it offers me, as a reader, everything I could want from a book – especially YA). It’s also written well and keeps you reading. I cannot wait for this author to write more books, because I can see her becoming a favourite based on my experience with this one.

Read my full review: Our Chemical Hearts

Eats, Shoots and Leaves – Lynne Truss



Hardback, 204 pages
Published January 2nd 2003 by Profile Books Ltd

As a writer and training journalist, I need to know punctuation inside out. I need to know where to place commas and apostrophes, and I need to know that the sentences I write are grammatically correct. I have been through ‘phases’ of different styles of writing, and how I put sentences together but I am determined to get it right.

My tutor recommended reading this book, and I can understand why. It is funny, but it is brutal. There are no excuses for not knowing how to use punctuation properly after reading this book, and if you are still in doubt, then consult this book again.

Read my full review: Eats, Shoots & Leaves

Navigating non-fiction & looking for love…

Next month I hope to read even more poetry, and delve into some good-old fiction and maybe even get a couple of magazine reviews out. I’ll also be maintaining my reading of non-fiction books, because they are great way to learn new things and help me in my quest to navigate the world around me through books.

I might even break the habit of a lifetime and read something that resembles romance in aid of Valentines Day…but we shall see.


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