Holiday Reading: ebook vs physical?

I’m going on holiday! Or, more accurately, I’m on holiday! Right now I’m in Italy, on a holiday for my partners birthday, and having a lovely time. It’s actually the last day before we fly home, so hopefully I’ve gotten some good reading in! (don’t worry, this is pre-scheduled) But I of course had to bring some reading material with me, and I’m super curious. How do you pack your reading for a holiday?

We of course have the good old fashioned physical book. Hardbacks and paperbacks. I assume that most people, when they have the option, pack paperbacks? Because they’re smaller?

But I’d love to hear if you pack hardbacks and the reason why! I imagine they’re less likely to get damaged, but then they are a little heavier. It depends on the trade off.

And then you have the various digital options. Primarily ebooks and audiobooks. These are really different styles of reading and can depend on what kind of holiday you’re going on for whether you bring them. Audiobooks can be a great option for resting your eyes on a long flight, if you’re going to be on the beach and don’t have a glare free screen for ebooks, or if you’re going to be reading a lot whilst on transport and get travel sick. If we’re on a bus for a while, I can’t read in buses or cars, so an audiobook is 100% my choice!

Ebooks are a fantastic space saving option. I’m lucky enough to have a Kindle Paperwhite my partner got me for Christmas in 2018 and it is super thin. Like, maybe 0.5mm? (just over 3/16 of an inch for Americans). And yet it can hold hundreds of books. If you aren’t in a situation where you can’t read physically, it’s arguably the best option (as audiobooks take up a lot more Gb space).

I don’t know about the more recent kindles, but mine can’t handle graphic novels or manga, so a tablet or the physical object is better for those books. But they make up less than 5% of my reading so I can do without on holiday.

So what did I pack?

Well, a mix of them all! I had two, quite thin, hardbacks on my tbr for this month (it was a last minute trip so I didn’t plan my tbr with the holiday in mind 😂) and so I’ve actually packed one, shocking I know! I’ve also packed two paperbacks, because I do prefer to read a physical book when I can. As well as stocking up my Kindle with books from my tbr and beyond (just in case, you know how it is) and I’m taking a few audiobooks too, for points when we’re on the bus, and when we’re climbing up Vesuvius (yeah I’m going up again, he wants to see it haha).

Is there anything I’ve not mentioned here that you use for travelling with books? And what is your personal preference for reading on the go? I’m always down for more tips, I’m sure I’ll be travelling again in the future and can use the tips then!

February TBR

I’ve definitely went overboard with my tbr this month!! 12 books in total so I’d better get my butt in gear and start reading!!

If you’d rather watch this in video format you can check out my BookTube video here!

But if you’d rather read about my tbr then lets get into it!

First up are the books I’m reading for the Missy Elliott readathon (see the announcement vid here!)

Double Cross by Malorie Blackman is the 4th book in the Noughts and Crosses series where white people are the minority and we follow a relationship between a Black girl and a white boy. Of course by book 4 the plot has progressed quite a bit but I don’t want to spoil anything. This series is utterly fantastic. This fits for the prompts of reading a backlist book published at least five years ago, and also the prompt for a book set in a high school/published when you were in high school (2008, which for me was my first year of English secondary school), as well as the coming of age prompt and being from multiple POVs. This book almost does it all!!

To fulfil the book recommendation prompt I’m reading Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, this is a short Sci-Fi novella that I’ve heard people tell me I’ll love. Truthfully I don’t know anything else about it, and given that it’s under 100 pages long I think I’ll keep it at that!

For the LGBTQIA+ prompt I’m going to pick up Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. This is a poetic memoir of her life, and given that she herself is somewhere in the LGBTQIA+ bracket I think this will be a great pick.

And finally, a prompt I had been worried about was a Black romance. Because I don’t read romance! But Shay said that this could just be a book that features a relationship, as long as all parties were Black. So for this I’m going to read My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite. Our main characters sister always kills her partners and our main character helps cover it up. But now the sister is dating our main characters ex, and that’s going a bit too far. Super excited for this one!

Now onto my non-readathon tbr:

I want to listen to The Princess Bride book! I finally watched the film at the end of December and I think this will be such a fun read! I’m lucky to be able to listen to audiobooks while I’m at work so I think that’s when I’ll blast it out.

Then I want to read Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, I was lent this by my Mother-in-Law in January and I really want to get to it so we can discuss it! She loved it so I’m hoping I will too.

I also want to read my January Illumicrate books, because if I don’t read them when they come I’ll never keep on top of them! This month is going to have two books, one we know about which is This Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi and the other there have been predictions of, but I won’t put any possible spoilers here.

Lastly before I move onto my buddy reads, I want to read Fatlip by Hannah O’Donnell, otherwise known as Ladette M here on the bookternet! And this links in because 2 of my buddy reads are going to include Hannah!

First up we’re wanting to read a chapter a day of Black Water Sister by Zen Cho together. Hannah was lovely enough to gift me the book for Christmas and I’m super excited to dive in!

Then as part of the Dead Famous Readalong, this month we’ll all be reading Seasons of War by Derek Landy, the next book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series. We won’t be picking this one up until after the live show on the 6th of Feb though (on Hannah’s channel) so I’ve got some time to squeeze the other books in first!

Second to last is that I’ll be continuing my chapter each day of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas with Olivia-Savannah from Olivia’s Catastrophe. I am loving this book so far and am so invested in Dantes and how his life is going to progress! We’re just over 200 pages in at the end of January which is a pretty decent dent!

And then finally, I’m Beta reading a book for the wonderful Pablo Suarez, and I’m currently around 40% of the way through the book. I’d like to finish that up so I can give him my feedback. It’s a fantasy novel with lots of inclusion of medical content (which is so cool cause Pablo is in his final year of Medical school!)

And that’s it! (she says after listing like 12 fucking books) that is my tbr for February. I’m not entirely sure whether I’ve taken on too much here in the shortest month of the year… probably? But we’ll see if I can manage it anyways!

What’s one book you’re hoping to read in February? And have you read any of the books I’m wanting to pick up? What did you think of them?

Reading While Travelling

Can you read in cars?

If you can I hate you hahaha, I can’t read in cars or buses, meaning that for all those long journeys I take I can’t make my way through a good book! I’m lucky in that I can read on trains and planes (and can just about manage on boats although I’ll feel a bit queasy) but I don’t travel by those quite as often.

If you can’t read while travelling have you found any workarounds? Audiobooks etc?

I know this is a weird post to be making right now but the world is starting to open up again and to be quite honest I’ve not read outside of my bedroom in a really really long time. So Idk what I’m doing.

Those of you who’ve had to travel for work etc, please! Tell me how I can keep reading while I travel!

The Girl with all the Gifts – a review

I had seen this book floating around for a few years and really wanted to read it, so when I decided I was going to take a break from the Thursday Next audiobooks (by Jasper Fforde), I elected to get this on audiobook and give it a go. I am so glad that I did because I absolutely loved it! 4 out of 5*!!!

We follow Melanie, a young girl who is strapped to a chair each morning and wheeled into a classroom to learn along with many other children also strapped into chairs. Her favourite teacher is Miss Justineau, and she waits excitedly for every lesson with her, not caring about the other teachers on rotation. I don’t want to say too much more, as this is pretty much all I knew going into it and I absolutely loved finding out everything as and when it happened. Things change massively as this book progresses, Melanie really matures and I loved listening to all the different characters and their points of view, as there are chapters from all the different characters. Learning about this world and what has happened to it is incredibly engrossing and I can’t wait to delve into the second book in the series, which if I’m remembering correctly is not a direct sequel but just set in the same dystopian world.

If this is a book which has piqued your interest I really recommend picking it up, I was engrossed despite reading it over a month span via audiobook and absolutely loved the world. I’m really looking forward to reading The Boy on the Bridge eventually, although I don’t currently know whether I’ll listen to it or read a physical copy.

The Girl in the Blue Coat – a review

Yet another WWII book, nobody who follows me is surprised. But let’s be real I’m not going to stop, so let’s get into my review.

I listened to this book, as an audiobook, thanks to my libraries online app. Although this let me read the book when I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to due to time constraints, I feel like it also distanced me from the characters and what happens to them. This could be Monica Hesse’s writing style, but it seems to happen more frequently to me with audiobooks so I’ll have to read a physical copy of this book in order to find out. This distancing meant that I wasn’t massively impacted by the events as they happen to the characters, however, this doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the book. I gave it 4/5*s! I just didn’t cry at any of the plot twists, which is why it didn’t hit the 5* mark.

We follow Hanneke as she is working within the black market during WWII in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. We see her making deliveries during the day, hiding what she does from her parents at night, and morning her boyfriend Bass in every moment as he was killed on the Dutch front lines. During a standard delivery, one of the women wants help from Hanneke, it turns out that she wants her to try and find a Jewish teenager that she was hiding in a secret room. She has vanished and the woman is incredibly concerned for her safety. Eventually Hanneke is convinced into helping find her, and the web of the Dutch resistance closes in around her and opens her eyes to the horrors of the Nazis.

I really enjoyed watching the various characters develop, come to trust each other and work to help those worse off than them. This is also, unless I am remembering incorrectly, the first WWII book I have read which was set in the Netherlands and followed Dutch characters. It was very interesting to me to see how this country was impacted by the Nazis regime and how the Dutch people resisted in little and large ways.

This is a beautifully written book and personally I think it is a very important topic. Books set in WWII, in all different areas, all have something that can be taken away from them and applied to the modern day. This book tells us that we should help those who are being treated inhumanely, and to use our privilege to help as many people as we can. Don’t let horrendous acts happen under your nose in your own country, and not take action against them. Even if no one else knows that you’re doing it.

I definitely recommend this book and I aim to try out anything else Monica Hesse releases.

10 Steps to Reading More

So many of us struggle to read as much as we’d like. Whether that’s one book a year or 100, it can be intimidating to start a book and procrastination is so often the culprit! So here are 10 tips to make more time to read, and to get some more motivation so that you actually use your free time to get through the books you want to read.

Tip the first

Get. Off. Social Media! Most people don’t really want to sit there for hours and scroll through other people’s lives, but for some reason, we all end up doing it because it’s so easy to do and laziness takes over. I’m definitely guilty of this, to the point where I’ve had to just delete Facebook off my phone completely (although I’ve accidentally swapped it for Twitter… not good). I have also massively culled the people who I follow/am friends with on all accounts. This has had the biggest impact on Instagram, as my feed now has so fewer photos on it and therefore I am on there for a lot less time. This might not work so well for you, I am someone with maybe 20 close friends and 50 more that I want to keep in contact with (and family too) so I deleted people from school who I hadn’t seen in 7 years or more. I wish them all the best, but I just don’t need to know about their latest cooking endeavour. This will hopefully mean you’re on social media for less time each day! You can use this time for whatever you need, but obviously reading is the intention here.

Tip #2

Always have a book with you. Whether that is a physical book, an e-reader, or an e-book app on your mobile phone. The mobile phone app, either a generic one or a kindle app, can be a really helpful one if you’re also utilising the social media reduction tips as you can go to these apps instead when you instinctively reach for social media. Having an e-reader, physical or audiobook with you can be really good for any instance where you end up waiting and/or alone. Waiting at the doctors’ office or walking alone to do the food shop can be a great time to get a physical or audiobook and work some more reading around everyday life.

Three times a charm

As mentioned above, audiobooks can be really helpful to squeeze some more reading time in. They aren’t the quickest way for me to read books, as I can read about 100 pages in an hour (which I’ve been told is fast) and audiobooks run much slower, even with them on double speed, but as I listen to them while shopping or traveling when I can’t have a book out they utilise time which wouldn’t be able to be used for much else. I have mine on a separate iPod, as my phone has pretty much no memory, and I keep this in my coat pocket (welcome to Britain, I almost always need a coat) so that I always have it with me. I get really disappointed when I let it run out of charge without realising as I’ve really got used to listening to a story while I walk and it makes the most menial of necessary tasks much more enjoyable.

Number Four

Another really great time for reading is before bed. Some people claim it’s relaxing, however, I feel that personally depends on the book! It is, however, good for giving your eyes a break from the constant screen use we seem to have nowadays and escaping into another world. For this reason, eBooks aren’t great for this activity although I imagine a paper-like screen may help. This won’t work for some people, my dad, for example, find that books cause him to fall asleep (and he reads action books!) but I would stay up for hours as a child just to finish my book. It all depends on how it’d work for you.

Tip #5

Booktube and the bookish internet can be a godsend in terms of finding new books, however, it can lead to you adding books to your TBR (to be read) which aren’t within a genre that you enjoy or that you only want to read as you’re curious about the hype. This can be great, you can unexpectedly find new favourites this way, but when you’re struggling to read the books you have and you’re losing motivation it can be a good idea to go through your TBR list and remove any books that don’t still spark your interest, or even unhaul any physical books that you know you’re not going to get to unless there is nothing left. You can always re-add these books again at a later date, but having a smaller TBR pile can make it less intimidating and can make you less stressed about working your way through it.

Tip the sixth

Set a Goodreads goal for yourself, sometimes you just need a little accountability to encourage you to pick up that book. In case you’ve never heard of Goodreads, it is a website (with apps for most phones) which is designed for readers. You can add books that you have read, put reviews of them up and organise them into groups, as well as adding books to a “want to read” list in order to keep track of them all. You can also mark books as “currently reading” and then input the page that you’re on in the book. This will then generate the percentage and show you how far through you are. This will automatically be posted to your Goodreads account, where you can add friends or just have the account on private. There is also the ability to set posts to be shared on your social media, Twitter and Facebook being the main two. This can result in interaction with others who are interested in the book online as well as knowing that others can see when you last updated. Knowing that others can see the last time you read can give you that kick up the bum to get one with it!

7 reasons to read

Figure out why you want to read. Is it for education? If so then how much do you want to be more knowledgeable on a subject and which books are best to help? Use this knowledge to narrow down the books you are reading and remind yourself of why you want to know about this subject. Knowing that there is an end goal of learning all the facts could help you to push through and pick up a book when you want to give in and just scroll through social media.

Do you want to read purely for pleasure and the fun of it instead? Why don’t you read more then? Why is it not a priority? Find out what it is that stops you from reading, is it that you don’t want to read the books that you’ve set yourself for the month? You don’t need a rock solid plan for each month, that can take the fun out of reading for some people. Is it that you have other priorities right now such as education, childcare or a demanding job? If this is the case then you either need to look at finding ways to squeeze in reading where you can (audiobooks, treats after success or long work periods) or accept that in this busy period of your life, reading for pleasure isn’t something you can do right now. You don’t need to beat yourself up about it, and you can look forward to being immersed in a good book sometime in the future when you have the time to enjoy it.

Eighth tip

Don’t kick yourself for having a reading slump. It happens, and it can be really hard to get over. The best solution that I’ve found for myself is to not pressure myself to read at all. I might re-organise my shelves, or just go through and clear out my Goodreads TBR to get rid of books I’m not so keen on. The exposure to books might make you pick up a new read, or re-read an old favourite and help you out of that slump. You really just have to give it time, which is really annoying, but maybe if you focus on a different hobby your love of reading will come back to you!


Another tip which may help you to be more excited about your upcoming reads is to have a separate TBR pile for books which you want to get to soon, rather than having all your books clumped together or all your unread books staring at you in a huge group. Seeing this pile of books separate from your other unread and read books in your eye line during the day will make you focus on each book individually and remember why you were so excited to read it in the first place. If they are in the same spot on your bookshelf for years you’ll find yourself not really noticing that they are there, and therefore you won’t feel excited. Moving the ones you will read soon to your bedside table, for example, will refresh them in your mind and hopefully make you feel more clear about whether you want to read them or not.

Last but not least, number ten

The most important point of them all. Don’t compare yourself to others! Accountability might help you as mentioned in #6, however, that doesn’t mean you need to feel like you have to read 30 books in one month. Read at a speed which is comfortable to you and don’t put pressure on yourself to read as much as a friend, family, or anyone you see online. It’s a pleasure activity. Keep it that way and you’re much more likely to carry on consistently! 1 book in a year or 1000, as long as you’ve enjoyed yourself it doesn’t matter.

That is the main point of this post, reading is for pleasure. You may be reading for various different reasons, but you’re doing it because you want to, not for anyone else. Don’t forget that and maybe it’ll remind you of your love of reading and encourage you to read more.