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!

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.


Reading around a life

I can’t be the only one who struggles with this, who was an introvert through circumstance in childhood and now has to learn how to balance reading with a social life. Actually leaving the house, or having people come over and socialising. I’m just not used to it.

My parents weren’t the type that liked to have my friends over and they also needed 2 weeks notice if I was going to a sleepover or the like. We also didn’t live close to any of my school friends, no buses and definitely not in walking distance. So I was alone a lot, hence my obsession with Animal Crossing and reading! Now that I’m an adult, and for now (whilst I’m at uni) I have my own place, I can actually have people over, go out when and where I want. It’s a little confusing in itself and I’ve still not gotten to grips with it over the three years I’ve not lived at home. But adding reading into the mix? Just makes it even harder.

I’ll be moving back into my parents place soon, as I have finished my degree and don’t have anywhere else to live while I hunt for a job, or decide generally what my future might look like. I expect that this will result in more reading time as I’m shut away in my room, passing the hours with the internet and all my books. But I can’t stay like that forever, essentially hermitted. So when I eventually get my own place again I’ll have to find that balance. Who knows where it’ll come from…

I take a book, kindle or iPod for an audiobook everywhere I go to squeeze in reading time. But often people consider it antisocial, even though I only pull out my book when everyone is sat on their phones and not talking. I know I could read on my phone but I hate to buy ecopies of physical books I already own and my phone screen isn’t huge. Most of my friends aren’t readers, we’ve bonded over other pastimes. They don’t understand the want to read and think that you can interrupt just as you would with a Facebook article or a youtube video. They mean well, they just want to chat, but all this extra socialising not only means you brought your book for no reason but it also means you’re too tired to read once you get home.

I love my friends, I really do. If I didn’t I wouldn’t spend so much time with them! But finding a way to incorporate one of my favourite pastimes whilst actually having a social life (which I am still really not used to) is unexpectedly difficult. Genuinely, if any readers have advice please tell me! I guess I’m just an introvert by circumstance and an extrovert in personality.

This has been a bit ramble-y. I’m just typing this out on my phone while I’m visiting York and it’s a lot harder to edit on here! But let me know if you have this issue too, or anything similar. Surely I can’t be alone in this!

Saga, Book 1


I’ll be honest, I only picked up volume 1 of Saga as I had seen so many BookTubers talking about it and I wanted a quick read to help me out of a reading slump, for me graphic novels are a lot quicker reads than traditional books. It turns out that this was such a good decision! I absolutely loved the first volume and quickly read volumes 2 and 3, also really enjoying them.

This graphic novel series is based around the story of a young girl, but starts (and is still, as far as I am up to) before her birth and continues to focus on her parents while she is an infant. It is set in space (hello sci-fi!) and this girl’s parents are from two different species who are war with each other, which evidently creates an issue of them finding a safe place for them to raise their child within a time where war rages through most of the area of the galaxy they are in. Not only do we follow this couple and their plight to find somewhere safe for their baby, but we also see what is happening elsewhere within this war, and the stories start to intertwine as the plot continues on.

The art style melds perfectly with the theme of sci-fi and I personally really like it, it definitely adds another aspect to the story in a brilliant way. I really enjoy this storyline so far and I am one hundred percent going to continue on to all of the other volumes currently published. Definitely looking forward to seeing how this story develops!

Beneath The Surface will get under your skin


This book is so so good! 5/5* from me. Firstly thank you to NetGalley and NineStar for a free ebook of this novel in return for an honest review. I had attempted to read a NineStar published Sci-Fi already this year (again thanks to NetGalley) and disliked it so much that it’s the first book I have ever DNF’d. I was pretty worried coming into this book that I would end up doing the same but Rebecca Langham has written an absolutely engrossing novel.

This isn’t a faced paced Sci-Fi, and that really isn’t an insult! Instead, it is a slow moving, dystopian world, where you gradually learn more about the characters and their backgrounds and start to form certain suspicions about the Outsiders (one of my suspicions was confirmed near the end of the book) who are treated poorly by the humans and forced to live underground and have many limitations placed upon them. The oppression of the Outsiders and the feelings of the humans who are around them is an incredibly interesting plot and reflects attitudes of society today.

As anyone who knows me is aware, I really really don’t like romance in books. The mushiness has always just annoyed me in the past, but I absolutely love how it was written here and the way it plays so naturally into the story and does not feel forced at all. The LGBT romance is written very naturally, unlike some other stories I’ve read where it feels forced and not simply a natural progression of the plot, and is a very sweet relationship.

The only issue I had with this book was that the ending felt a little rushed to me, as everything was wrapped up very quickly. I understood how the author was attempting to make the reader feel, in that everything happened very quickly after certain events and change came about in a small time period, but I don’t think she quite managed to capture it the way she wanted. I wanted more!! All in all, this was an amazing book and I will 100% be reading any sequels to learn more about these characters and the world they live in. The writing in this book is very well done, and without having read up on it I would never have known it was Rebecca Langham’s first novel. Looking forward to seeing more from this author!

Becoming Mrs Smith, a novella to break your heart


The first thing I need to address – this book made me weep. For some reason I am a masochist when it comes to WWII set books, I love them but they love to hurt me. This is 100% a 5 star read!!! This novella knows how to pack a punch!

This book is based around a woman living in South Decota (USA) before and during the second world war, showing her life and how she matures from a young girl into a young woman attempting to keep going in a world which seems to be limping onwards into danger. As the book is a novella, a lot happens in a very short time which makes it hard to explain without giving anything away! Our protagonist Violet leads a life of constant worry when her childhood sweetheart signs up to the war effort and she is left wondering whether she will ever see him again. This book absolutely wrenched my heart out, made me weep and managed to make me have pretty intense feelings about the next book in this series within 2 small paragraphs at the end of the book. Definitely a series I am continuing and will be recommending to all of my friends!

Tanya E Williams offers an excerpt of the book on her website: so definitely head there if this book sounds like your cup of tea. Thank you to Tanya and NetGalley for an eCopy of this book in return for an unbiased review, I have found a new favourite book and a series I will follow!

The confusing story of The War Widow

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This book took me a long while to read, partly due to me putting it down to prioritise other books and partly because I really wasn’t feeling this book for the majority of it. I requested an ARC as I have a (slightly odd) fascination with WWII and the attitudes of the people for around two decades after the fact, which leads to me wanting to read absolutely anything set within this rather large time period.

The premise sounded interesting, a woman struggling to understand the apparent suicide of her ex-husband and the men who have suddenly followed her on her trip from Lancaster to Aberystwyth. Sadly, the execution of this book lets down the plot in my opinion. The first two-thirds of this book is mainly focused on what seems to be a continuous mental breakdown of Kate with small interludes of sanity and romance. Understandably, the book has to be set up, however, it felt like far too long was spent on this section of the book where everybody seems to be confused and nobody understands the series of events.

Eventually, we reach the last third of the book where things start to fall into place and explanations start to be forthcoming. Even within this section Gray attempts to keep the mystery until the very end, poorly, with lots of confusion and badly explained plot developments which don’t become much clearer even after re-reading a couple times. This book really does seem to suffer from the writing not being quite where it should be in order to capture the reader, and I often got bored in the middle of chapters and had to force myself to the end of them (although the last 5-10 chapters were much better).

Although I have said a lot of negatives about this book, one positive I feel I should point out is that Gray really knows how to write characters which the reader will be able to fully flesh out in their minds. I absolutely love Kate, and I enjoyed seeing how the other characters (who were all suspicious at one point or another) start to develop, both on their own and within Kate’s point of view as they learn more about this turn of events.

This isn’t a book I’d read again, as it seems a little jumbled and all over the place. But there is a chance that’s just me so maybe I’ll give it another shot sometime. Thank you to NetGalley for a free eCopy of this book in return for an unbiased review.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, breaking my heart one page at a time


I had been avoiding reading this book for the longest time. I was made to watch the film adaptation when I was in year 8 and despite being a self-professed lover of all literature WWII based and was too scared to bring myself to pick the book up because the movie scarred me too much. But finally, as a 21-year-old, I picked it up! Reading this as an “adult” definitely changed my perspective compared to how I would have reacted if I was younger. One part of this is due to me sadly having been exposed to more violent acts, both by the Nazis in WWII and in general fiction (both written and cinematic) and in real life, but it is also due to me being able to more fully understand what is going to happen and what Bruno is experiencing, even when he doesn’t know himself.

The most unique aspect of this book has to be that it is told through the eyes of a nine-year-old. This viewpoint means that, as an adult, I am very aware of what Bruno does not understand and of how those around him are reacting to the situation they have found themselves in. This really impacts how we experience his move from Berlin to “Out-With” (Auschwitz) and the people in pyjamas he can see from his bedroom window whom he desperately wants to meet. The innocence of the protagonist completely offsets the horrors which are being carried out in the background, which is a very odd position to be in as a reader as you know of the events which Bruno is blind to but are instead engrossed in the tale of Bruno’s life.

This is a book that I think everybody should read at some point in their life, it emphasises that everybody is essentially the same no matter what labels we assign to ourselves and others. The opposite of what the Nazis stood for and a very important message.

Forgiveness *is* Really Strange


This graphic novel is within the same series as “Anxiety is Really Strange”, which I have reviewed previously. Find my review of Anxiety is Really Strange here. One thing I like about both of these books is the art style present. This series doesn’t seem to know what it wants to do, in direct contrast to “Anxiety is Really Strange”, “Forgiveness is Really Strange” seems to have no scientific basis and is incredibly simplistic. This doesn’t work so much for the first half of the book but becomes much better within the second half. Within the first half, forgiveness is explained. This includes explaining pros and cons of forgiving someone who wronged you, and the different effects this can have on the body physically as well as much more. After this, there are real-life examples of people who have suffered great losses or tragedies and have forgiven those who have harmed them for various different reasons. These vary from forgiving for their own mental health to wanting to help those who hurt them as they recognise that there are deeper reasons for their actions. Although I feel this graphic novel could benefit from a little more scientific evidence to back up the points made, it is a nice, simplistic piece which is accessible to everyone and the addition of real-life stories makes the points hit home even more. Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an eCopy of this book in return for an unbiased review.