December 2017


So many books, so little time. Does anyone else ever get overwhelmed by how many books there are in the world which I want to read? My to-read list increases far quicker than my read list… This month I read three books, plus re-listened to Matt Haig’s Christmas books but I’m just going to stick with newly read books to review. Here you go:

  • Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood
  • The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club by Alex Bell
  • Black Chalk by Christopher J. Yates

Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

“For once in their lives, they loved themselves.” 


This book is part of a series of Shakespeare’s plays retold. Hag-Seed tells the story of The Tempest. As one who spent most of my childhood confused at Shakespeare, this book really helped me to appreciate his work. I was torn about how many stars I thought it deserved because, to be honest, it was a bit slow. But the further I got through it, the better it was. Margaret Atwood is always impressive.

If you like Shakespeare or The Tempest, then you’d probably enjoy it. Likewise, if you’re an Atwood fan. It’s pushed me to seek out a production of The Tempest playing near me, so it must have been good!

The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club by Alex Bell

“It sounded like a respectable and worthy enough death for an explorer – tumbling from an ice bridge to be impaled upon a mammoth tusk”


This was a really sweet and enjoyable kids book. I was drawn in by the mention of polar bears – my favourite animal – but I stayed for the badass girl character and mish-mash group of young adventurers. I even recommended this book to my boyfriend’s young cousin!

It was deliciously random at times. She had so many different pets, I was loving it. It was typical in any way really, it was imaginative, fresh and really readable. All-in-all, this book is a great example of creative and comforting kid lit.

Black Chalk by Christopher J. Yates

“The true gambler plays for the thrill, the sheer ecstasy of taking part.”


This was the kind of book where it kept me reading because I was waiting and expecting it all to suddenly get good. It wasn’t a bad read at all, but it lacked depth in characters and most importantly, in the climax.

It constantly teased at what could happen and who ends up being the *one* and it’s a case of raising expectations too high so that nothing will ever be good or clever enough. Also, I was expecting much more daring ‘consequences’ seen as it’s claimed to be a thriller – half of the stuff mentioned the characters hugely overreacted to.

Had the characters been more developed and expectations kept low it could have been better. Nevertheless, it kept me reading and I enjoyed it somewhat.

As always, more book reviews are coming in January 2018! In the meantime, keep up to date with where I’m escaping to on my Goodreads profileTwitterInstagram and Facebook Page.

Happy reading. 💕📚

November 2017

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November was my young adult book month. I found The Loneliest Girl in the Universe and They Both Die at the End on bookstagram and I couldn’t resist. There is just something about YA which will always make me feel cosy and safe. Plus, they’re never pretentious, instead they’re always real and relatable, even if they’re dystopian. I also added And Then There Were None to my list. I knew the story because of the BBC adaptation (which was awesome) but this was the first Christie I’ve ever read! Anywho, on with reviews.

  • The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
  • They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

“I’m balanced on the edge of oblivion with only a fragile skin of metal separating me from the void of space.”


I really do have a huge soft spot for YA. This one drew me in because of its sci-fi qualities but also it’s teenage-feelings-and-crap style. The whole concept of this novel felt like a YA version of The Martian – which is a very good thing to be. Essentially, a girl is born on a spaceship heading to a new planet but the other crew and her parents die so she grows up alone.

What I liked most about this novel was the character. Romy, despite being in a situation no one in this world would ever be in right now, felt totally real. I felt her fear, her anxiety, and her determination.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

“I’ve spent years living safely to secure a longer life, and look where that’s gotten me. I’m at the finish line but I never ran the race.” 


I loved this one. Another YA, this time based in future where we’re called up in the early hours of the morning on the day we’re going to die. In this world, there’s an app called the Last Friend where you can meet up with others who are dying today (or people who volunteer to be your friend on the day you die).

Would I want to know? I don’t think so. You can sense the anxiety the boys have when faced with just crossing the road. It essentially turns your final day in a day of fear. Although they turn it around, I doubt I would have the mental strength. The whole thing is rather heartwrenching.

But there was so much to like in this book. I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who likes YA but also anyone who likes to read a book which makes you think. I confess to placing my bookmark in far too often to share a thought on death with my boyfriend.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

“The blessed relief when you know that you’ve done with it all – that you haven’t got to carry the burden any longer. You’ll feel that too someday…”


What can I say which hasn’t already been said about Christie? Particularly this book, probably one of her best or most well-known. What I will say is that she clearly seems to be the master of ‘who-dun-it?’. Even though I knew, I was still questioning myself throughout the novel and trying to work it out. This is why her work is genius, she never leaves you disappointed.

It’s almost in a similar vein to They Both Die at the End. The further into the book, the more the island’s guests realise they’re going to die. How does anyone cope with that situation? We don’t know, but one thing I do know is that we’re programmed to want to survive, so whether you’d ever truly accept it is difficult to say.

This book is a great, easy and enjoyable read – sometimes that’s just the ticket.

Another month gone and three more books on my ‘read’ shelf. Next month will feature Margaret Atwood and kid lit! In the meantime, keep up to date with where I’m escaping to on my Goodreads profileTwitterInstagram and Facebook Page.

Happy reading. 💕📚

October 2017

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October was the month of my 24 hour readathon for charity, so a few of these were read as a part of that. I read others during that time but didn’t finish them so it would be outrageous to allow them in my covetted October book reviews! Here’s what I read this month and what I thought about them:

  • What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • Swing Time by Zadie Smith
  • How to be Champion by Sarah Millican

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

“I do not wish women to have power over men, but over themselves.”


The world came crashing down around me on election night in 2017. I’m not even American but the result zapped most of my faith in people completely away. It was crushing for all those who’ve fought for love, tolerance and the advancement of women.

I was lucky enough to volunteer at one of Clinton’s rallies in New Hampshire in the summer of 2016 while I was in Boston. It was incredible to be a part of the movement behind her and I got quite emotional. So you can imagine how I was when reading her book.

The shining light of this book was her resilience. I’ve lost a crappy little student election before and it was super painful, to go through what she has and still stand strong at the end is utterly awe-inspiring. There are moments of sadness and moments of hope in this book, and if you want a very personal account of the election, then here it is.


The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“It is such a secret place, the land of tears.”


I read this book in one sitting during my attempt at a 24-hour readathon. I needed something to dull my brain a little but that also had a little bit of magic to it. This was just the ticket.

I’m ashamed to say that it’s the first time I’ve read it. It’s a very lovely tale and something I will for sure read to my kids when the day comes. Simply put, there are lines in this like the one quoted above which move me.

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

“Yes, sometimes it’s the strangers that sustain you.”


I also read this during my readathon and I was pleasantly surprised. I bought this because it was in Waterstones’ buy-one-get-one-half-price, an offer I know well, and it was all the rage. I’m always a little skeptical about books which live on their own bookshop table for so long because expectation rockets to levels almost unreachable. But I went in knowing nothing about this book except that people seemed to like it.

And I now belong to that very group. It’s lingered in my mind since, too. One of those books that grows on you even after you’ve stopped reading it. I’ll happily confess that it’s a book worthy of its praise.

I only have one main downside, and that’s that none of the characters are 100% likable. However, saying that, when do people fulfill that criteria in real life?

How to be Champion by Sarah Millican

“There’s no social mobility at school; if you’re a dowdy nerd, you’re a dowdy nerd for five years. But the minute you leave, you can be a funny girl with nine GCSEs and the whole world ahead of her.”


I have to confess that the quote above wasn’t selected for any reason other than it was the only one I could find. I listened to this on audiobook and I forgot to make notes on good quotes I liked!

Overall, this was a good book. I like her no-shame approach to life and all the shit bits, it’s refreshing and empowering. Plus, she’s really frank about her experiences and feelings which is great to hear from a working-class woman comic. There’s a fair amount of amusing stories in the book which put a smile on my face while I was walking to work.

I’m not exactly a diehard Sarah Millican fan, but you don’t have to be to enjoy this autobiography.

Another month, another set of book reviews! Tune in next month for the same again! In the meantime, keep up to date with where I’m escaping to on my Goodreads profile, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook Page.

Happy reading. 💕📚

September 2017

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I’m so behind on my book reviews! This September 2017 post is coming to you from the wonders January 2018. My excuse is that I started my MA in English Literature and Creative Writing in September causing everything to take a back seat. But better late than never:

  • Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • How Not To Be A Boy by Robert Webb

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

“Language itself had lost its solidity; it had become thin, contingent, slippery; a viscid film on which he was sliding around”


It took me a long time to get into this book. I’m talking 100 pages before I was even slightly convinced. But I am glad I stuck it out. The last 100 or so pages were really good, it was just slow at the beginning. To be honest, I was a little disappointed just because I had high expectations but it was worth the read. I still haven’t decided whether I’ll be reading the other two books in the series. They’re not really a series but more all set in the same world/time etc.

Ultimately, the story (once I got into it) was pretty enticing and a very interesting dystopian concept. I’m always persuaded by this genre and Atwood is the Queen.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

I’m quite ashamed to say how long it took me to read this. But, what, a, book. The writing is just phenomenal. It’s an easy and short read too, making it likely I’ll dip in and out of it when I need a bit of comforting.

Sometimes, I’ve gone into classics like this with either skepticism or high expectations but The Great Gatsby proved exactly why it has a place on the shelf of literary masterpieces. All of the characters are knitted with complexity and it’s quite a breath of fresh air. I love books that don’t shy away from deep meaning and this is one not to be missed.

How Not to Be a Boy by Robert Webb

“My brain is hosting one of the first contests in what will be come a regular fixture: feminism vs the patriarchy”

I would consider myself quite the connoisseur of feminist non-fiction books, having been on a diet of them for many years now, but this is the first that has been written by a man. Obviously, this is an autobiography so it’s primary goal is to share the life of the author, but it still complements the plight of women’s equality.

I very much appreciated his candor and lack of defensiveness in the tone of his writing. Even men who consider themselves feminist can get defensive about the patriarchy because our culture has trained them to do just that. But this was a breath of fresh air. A particularly resonant part for me was his experiences related to his sexuality – being a bi man married to a woman.

Both my boyfriend and I listened to this book together on Audible, so I thought I’d add something from his perspective to this review too.

“I thought there were some really important points for every young boy to hear and while the biographical element took over a bit in some places (expected for an autobiography) it still gave me insights lots of various things, especially as a white, straight man. ”

So there you have it, September’s very, very, very, delayed reviews. Worth the wait right? Right?… Anywho, as always, keep up to date with where I’m escaping to on my Goodreads profile, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook Page.

Happy reading. 💕📚

August 2017


Even though there are only two books below, I’ve actually read four books this month. But two of which I have already read many times before, and re-lived in the form of audiobooks read by the brilliant Stephen Fry – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Need I even review these? I don’t think so, they’re golden and I don’t believe there is a need for another review saying so. Instead, I’ll stick to just those two books I read for the first time:

  • The End We Start From by Megan Hunter
  • Things That Are: Encounters with Plants, Stars and Animals by Amy Leach

The End We Start From by Megan Hunter

“How easily we have got used to it all, as though we knew what was coming all along,”


I was drawn to this book by its dystopian genre. I have a soft spot for this style, and as someone who’s very much aware of the impending damage that climate change presents, I have often considered how this would intersect with my desire to have children. Hunter tells the story of a mother and baby’s first year just as the country collapses due to flooding. But the premise did not live up to its promise.

I do love a good metaphor, especially powerful and poetic ones featured in The End We Start From, but there’s a limit. Overuse kills the impact and I felt that this book was ‘flooded’ with metaphors instead of substance. It felt like a diary, but not in a good way. I’m sure this style was obviously intentional, but I felt I was missing some desperately needed context and description. It was a real shame for me to be disappointed in this novel – I was so ready to love it.

I would still be tempted to read more from this author, but I would go in with lower expectations. At least it was an easy read, but not one I’d particularly recommend.

Things That Are: Encounters with Plants, Stars and Animals by Amy Leach

“The bear in the sky is sometimes mistaken for a ladle or a prawn, or the government, while the bear on the ground rarely is.”


I’m ashamed to say how much this book taught me about nature! I keep confidently exerting my new favourite fact about Panda’s and their bamboo addiction. Once you’ve come to terms with the style of writing that Leach uses, you can embrace this book, but it still had its downsides.

Leach goes through nature picking and choosing random features to discuss in this book. What I loved about her style was the use of personification. This stopped the subjects becoming dry and made the book feel much more magical. There’s no doubting her skills at creative nonfiction.

Although considering the topics, I would have liked to see some beautiful complimentary illustrations. Chapters focusing on certain flowers/plants could have been vastly improved by this – I do not like to feel the need to google something. But I also feel it would have added a nice whimsical aspect just to pull everything together.

Like I said, if you can embrace her style, it’s fairly enjoyable even if slightly bizarre. I’m not sure I would actively seek to read more of Leach’s work – it felt like too much effort to plow through her writing.

I begin my Master’s course in English Literature and Creative Writing in September! Hopefully, this will just improve my reviews but while I’m getting used to the workload, my personal reading may take a back seat. In the meantime, keep up to date with where I’m escaping to on my Goodreads profile, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook Page.

Happy reading. 💕📚

July 2017


Welcome to July – the month of Kate’s Harry Potter obsession! Find the three Harry Potter books on Pottermore, but they’re only available in e-book form at the moment. Next month will be more varied – not that I’m ashamed! You’re always allowed to over-dose on Harry Potter…

  • Depression: Vintage Minis by William Styron
  • Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies (Pottermore Presents #1) by J.K. Rowling
  • Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists (Pottermore Presents #2) by J.K. Rowling
  • Hogwarts: An Incompletely and Unreliable Guide (Pottermore Presents #3) by J.K. Rowling

Depression: Vintage Minis by William Styron

“It may require on the part of friends, lovers, family, admirers, an almost religious devotion to persuade the suffers of life’s worth, which is so often in conflict with a sense of their own worthlessness, but such devotion has prevented countless suicides.”


I chose this particular quote out of many different ones which I could pick out of this book because of how well it explains the commitment of my friends and family to helping me. Sometimes, when my brain stops thinking about how much I suck, I consider how hard it must be to watch someone you love suffer from depression and beat themselves up so much on a daily basis. So this feeble little book review is dedicated to them, and most importantly to the love of my life – Sam.

This book is part of a new Penguin series of little extracts about certain topics and is an abridged version of the full book Darkness Visible by William Styron. His words are very powerful and even though it was written decades ago, it still resonates with current societal reactions to depression and mental illness.

I’m very precious about my books – keeping them in pristine condition for as long as I can, but with this little memoir, I felt compelled to get out my pencil and start underlining. Now I can flick through it when I feel alone and find those snippets of writing which remind me that depression is an illness which lots of people suffer and recover from. Because like he notes – “by far the great majority of the people who go through even the severest depression survive it” and plan to follow in their footsteps.

Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies (Pottermore Presents #1) by J.K. Rowling

“To be a hero; sometimes, all it takes is having your heart in the right place.”


I had a bit of a Harry Potter love-affair this month! But what I didn’t know was that these three extra Pottermore books existed! So naturally, I ordered them and finished all three in only a few days.

I L-O-V-E-D everything about McGonagall in this book. She’s one of those characters who I’ve always wanted to know more about and I knew her back story would do her justice. What an inspirational character – quite the fictional role model!

Well worth the read if you love the series – lots of cute extra anecdotes.

Short Stories from Hogwards of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists (Pottermore Presents #2) by J.K. Rowling

“No Muggle Prime Minister has ever set foot in the Ministry of Magic, for reasons most succinctly summed up by ex-Minister Dugald McPhail (term of office 1858 – 1865): ‘their puir wee braines couldnae cope wi’ it.”


Similar to above – a wonderful supplement to the Harry Potter universe. As a politics nerd, I always thought I’d find myself somewhere in the Ministry of Magic if I was a witch, so it was really enjoyable to read about the history of Ministers of Magic. Even better was how J.K. Rowling contradicted the time it took for the muggle world to give women a chance to reach the top offices of power.

Umbridge was always an interesting character so it was interesting to know more, but one of my favourite characters that was left out of the films was Peeves. He gives a splash of colour to the castle, plus in the end, he fights the against the Death Eaters in the Battle of Hogwarts!

Hogwarts: An Incompletely and Unreliable Guide (Pottermore Presents #3) by J.K. Rowling

“The advice to ‘hold on to your dreams’ is all well and good, but there comes a point when holding on to your dreams becomes unhelpful and even unhealthy.”


As a proud Hufflepuff, I was happy to hear about my amazing house and the common room which I would have frequented if only the wizarding world was real. I loved the back story of the Sorting Hat too – especially the idea of a Hatstall, where it takes the hat more than 5 minutes to decide which house to place a student. Originally, I was placed in Gryffindor and I also have Ravenclaw traits so I can’t help but wonder how long it would have taken the Hat to place me!

These three extra Harry Potter stories brought back a wonderful sense of nostalgia for me. Also, I’m just in awe at the power of Rowling’s mind – there’s nothing that she doesn’t know about the world she created and that is quite the extraordinary feet.

Another month, another set of books completed – see you soon for August’s selections! In the meantime, keep up to date with where I’m escaping to on my Goodreads profile, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook Page.

Happy reading. 💕📚

June 2017


Simply enough – I’ve been too depressed and tired to even read lately (which then makes me even more depressed). What I have actually managed to read has taken much longer to get through than normal which is why there’s only one solitary book on June’s list.

  • The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

“Feo grinned, and sniffed the sharpness of the air. ‘It’s the most talkative weather there is,’ she told Tenderfoot.”


This was a very sweet and enjoyable children’s book. As a wannabe writer, I’m making sure to soak up a lot of different age ranges and one of the best books I’ve read lately was a kids book (The Girl of Ink and Stars). But unfortunately, this one didn’t just quite wow me.

I would happily read this to my children but it didn’t translate very well for adult reading. I got a little bored midway through the book which I would purely put down to my age. It had beautiful moments of whimsy which I always love but was lacking substance for an older reader.

My favourite part was the setting. I adore snow which is why I chose the quote above. I just wanted to be whisked away into the snow-covered forest Feo was adventuring through with my own trusty wolves next to me to keep me warm.

I’ll definitely keep it on my shelf for future bedtime stories!

Again, I am delayed but hopefully I can pick it back up, but this time I’m not promising anything just in case! In the meantime, keep up to date with where I’m escaping to on my Goodreads profile, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook Page.

Happy reading. 💕📚

May 2017


I know, I know, I’m ashamed! Life has been quite the rollercoaster at the moment and reading let alone writing book reviews sort of took a back seat. But I’m back now and committed again! So without further ado I present, albeit belated, May’s reads:

  • The Power by Naomi Alderman
  • Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham
  • The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

The Power by Naomi Alderman

“The only wave that changes anything is a tsunami. You have to tear down the houses and destroy that land if you want to be sure no one will forget you.”


What. A. Book. This only didn’t get 5 stars because I’m trying to be stricter on my grading and I thought that it just didn’t make the cut. This book came to my attention because of the Bailey’s Women’s Prize (which it went on to win) but it’s the kind of dystopian novel I would go for anyway, especially with a hint of feminist activism!

Naomi Alderman should be really proud of this work and I would encourage most people to read it. The characters were great, but I think the slight lack of character depth took that 5th star away. Because it’s written through a few different stories, I didn’t feel the same connection with each character as I would have liked. But that way of writing was crucial to the story so I completely understand it.

It’s essentially an over-dramatised vision of what the world would be if the power shifted from men to women and it was a fascinating read. Loved the style, loved the morals, loved the novel.

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham

“Because who wants to fast forward anyway? You might miss some of the good parts.”


Who else wanted to be best friends with Lorelai and Rory Gilmore? It wasn’t until last year that I actually watched Gilmore Girls (I know right) and then it was announced they were doing another few episodes so it was great timing on my part. Anyway, back to the book, so I heard about Lauren Graham’s sort-of-memoir and thought I’d give it a go.

She’s really funny and lovely and it was a pleasant read: easy and enjoyable. But I felt like she might have been holding back a little. It skimmed the life of Lauren Graham, rather than went right into the core. Like I said, enjoyable, but there was just something that makes memoirs like this brilliant and special that was missing. Still worth the read if you’re a fan of the show, but I was a little disappointed.

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

“In an age of rust, she comes up stainless steel”


Very enjoyable novel. I loved the character development in this book, it was spot on! The more I read it, the more my opinions of all the characters were challenged. There’s something very satisfying about fictional characters who make you feel.

I wish that the ‘world’ it was set in could have been elaborated on further, but from what I’ve gathered, we get more of that in the next book – The Boy on the Bridge. I loved the ending too! I won’t spoil it, but I thought it was a really great finish.

Like I’ve said, it was the characters that really hooked me. The evolution of the characters and story was extremely well crafted and its fiction like this that I only hope to replicate when I actually find the time to start my book.

Slightly off topic; I tried to watch the film of this after I finished the book and it was so bad that I turned it off. Boring and completely lacking the depth of the story/characters. So I’d fully recommend the book, not so much the film!

I’m finally back on track! Fingers crossed that I’ll be able to keep it that way from now on! Expect June’s book reviews in a couple of weeks! As always in the meantime keep up to date with where I’m escaping to on my Goodreads profile, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook Page.

Happy reading. 💕📚

April 2017


Sorry about the delay with this month’s reviews! It’s been a busy one so I’ve only got through three books but they were a mixed bag:

  • Doing It! by Hannah Witton
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Everywoman by Jess Phillips

Well, there’s no time like the present…

Doing It by Hannah Witton

“Sorry if you believe in true love, I’m a hopeless romantic too, but I’m also a realist and wear my cynicism like armour.”


The sex education manual. Now, I came to this book as a fellow 20-something trying to make it the world and I am so proud of Hannah Witton. I don’t know her, but well done girl. You did it and you’re empowering so many women and girls; keep it up!

Which is partly why I’m really sad to only give the book 3 stars. When I compare the book with others that I have read on this topic, it just doesn’t meet up. Animal by Sara Pascoe and Girl Up by Laura Bates were just on another level, which unfortunately wasn’t reached by Doing It.

But I really did enjoy the book. I loved the orgasm/masturbation talk; we need more of that so that women can own their own sexual pleasure. I loved the LGBTQ+ section and appreciated her effort to give other people a voice, rather than white-cis-splain issues she can’t experience herself.

It’s definitely worth a read, and I’m so glad we have so many great inspiring women writing so powerfully about these issues. Hannah Witton’s book is adding another well-needed young voice to the collective on women’s rights and sexual liberation.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

“But I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”


I believe this book was oversold to me. I went in with such high expectations that it was bound not to reach them from the get-go.

I was totally and completely sold on the philosophy and morals behind this story. And because of this I really do understand why it’s a classic, but to be honest it didn’t thrill me as a novel. I don’t think enough happened, I wanted to know more about the psychologies of the characters and I felt a little underwhelmed by it all.

It took a lot of effort to plod along with it, which is really disappointing. I’ve given it three stars because I appreciate it as a piece of literature, but not so much as a piece of entertainment. But I suppose that’s not what it was for.

Note to self: never let people get your hopes up on a book in the future.

Everywoman by Jess Phillips

“We’re women and we’re kick-ass. And that’s the truth.”


I loved hearing a first-hand account of a woman in leadership – in particular in Parliament. This book and the experiences of Jess Philips really empowered me to make a difference at a grassroots level. Her story really helps to break down those barriers between the electorate and their representatives, something we desperately need at the moment.

What I realised when I was reading this, is that we’re all results of our upbringing and our experiences. The things that Jess Phillips saw and heard about during her time at Women’s Aid shaped her values and that happens on all sides of the political spectrum. She’s quite the inspiration.

Ultimately, well worth a read but be prepared to have your inner activist burst out.

May is also delayed but I’m on it! I promise! In the meantime, keep up to date with where I’m escaping to on my Goodreads profile, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook Page.

Happy reading. 💕📚

March 2017

It was a non-fiction kind of month for me. I’d been swallowed up by the His Dark Materials trilogy so I think my inner reader was rebelling. Two of this week’s books did not already have a coveted place on my to-read list, but instead caught my eye at the time. Sometimes spontaneity is the only way! Plus, my mental health took a downturn lately so I was drawn to related topics. Anyway, March’s books were:

  • The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
  • A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled by Ruby Wax
  • The Brain: A Story of You by David Eagleman
  • A History of Britain in 21 Women by Jenni Murray

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

“When you choose one way out of many, all the ways you don’t take are snuffed out like candles, as if they’d never existed.”


I was toying with whether to even bother reading the last of this trilogy because The Subtle Knife was pretty damn disappointing. But I like to see things through so I committed and, to be fair on the trilogy, I’m glad I did.

This was my favourite out of the three books. I have my criticisms naturally, but I did enjoy it. It was faster paced than the other two, making it easier to digest. Unlike the others, this one also made me think a bit more. I loved how when Will is using the knife, he has to practice mindfulness. As someone who practices this, it really interested me that in order for him to succeed, he had to accept his emotions about his mother, rather than run away with them or push them away. Will was clearly before his time.

**Spoiler alert**

The ending did disappoint me though. Mainly because it was a bit of an anti-climax, plus I really didn’t want Lyra and Will to fall in love. I really liked their friendship, and I was rooting for a solid opposite sex couple whose connection was purely platonic. But at least Pan’s final shape was perfect.

A Mindfulness Guide to the Frazzled by Ruby Wax

“Let’s make one thing clear: we’re not just addicted to drugs, sex or alcohol, we can also get addicted to our thoughts and feelings of panic, anxiety and despair.”


I learnt so much from this book. I’ve always been keen to learn more about how depression/stress actually affects the biology of the brain – and wow, did it fascinate and scare me. At one point I was like, “well my brain must be so damaged and I’m almost definitely going to die young”. But then she explained neuroplasticity and the positive biological effects that mindfulness can have on your brain. I learnt that my amygdala is a super-charged little shit with too much power. But I also learnt that I can change that.

Simply put, mindfulness is flipping hard. I have in the past and continue to practice it, but I’m still a massive amateur. But the way that Ruby Wax explains the benefits of it in this book was pretty damn convincing. I try to do it in almost every situation I find myself in because I know and have experienced the success of it.

We should be teaching children from the get-go how to train their brain in this way so they’re equipped with the skills when they need it. Everyone should have this skill, mentally ill or not. This book is well worth a read.

The Brain: The Story of You by David Eagleman

“Neurally speaking, who you are depends on where you’ve been. Your brain is a relentless shape-shifter, constantly rewriting its own circuitry”.


I have to confess, this was an audiobook and I did zone out sometimes, but I liked what I paid attention to!

I decided to read this because I was so interested in neuroscience after reading A Mindfulness Guide to the Frazzled. I don’t know why we aren’t told more about the science of the brain and mental illness when someone is diagnosed because, for me, it really helped to appease my guilt at having depression.

I’ve never been a science person. I’ve always leant over to the humanities, plus we so often get told in school that you have to be one or the other, rather than enjoying both. So I disliked learning science, but as an adult, I’m fascinated. The brain is amazing. It pretty unbelievable that it can do what it does constantly, no wonder it has some flaws sometimes.

If I hadn’t already learnt a little about the brain from Ruby Wax’s book before reading this, I think I would have struggled to enjoy it without keeping absolutely focused. But it was pretty accessible for the lay-man like me; so much so, that I think I’ll look for other books about the Brain and science in the near future.

A History of Britain in 21 Women by Jenni Murray

” Britain has been defined by its conflicts, its conquests, its men, and its monarchs. To say that it’s high time that it was defined by its women falls some way short of an understatement.”


How I haven’t heard of this book before, I do not know. This is so up my street! Half of the women featured in this book I’d heard of, the other half I hadn’t, either way, it was wonderful and features one of the most powerful pieces of writing I have ever experienced; Fanny Burney’s re-counting of her mastectomy.

This book needs to be on every little girl’s bookshelf. When I read books like this, I become so obviously aware of the lack of women role models I had as a child. Boys should also learn about these amazing women; just as little girls learn so much about successful men. But it’s not the same; young women need inspiration and idols to look up to and follow. All of these women were badasses who kicked butt. And I loved it.

I would have picked a few different people, but this wasn’t my book, it was Jenni Murray’s. I personally would have added: Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein and child of Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin, Bernadette Devlin, Irish MP at 21 who I studied for my degree and personally inspires me to commit to my beliefs and values, and fictional character Leslie Knope from Park & Rec because if you’ve seen it, you know why and if you haven’t cancel your plans.

But that’s the point really, every girl should have a selection of amazing women who inspire them to reach their potential and they should be able to find them before they’re in their early twenties and go searching. The answer? Put this book on the curriculum.

Apologies for the lateness of this review, you’ll understand why if you read my latest mental health entry. Expect, a bit of sex and dystopia next month. As always, keep up-to-date with my readings on social media! (Links below 👇👇👇👇👇)

Happy reading! 📚☕️