Wednesday, 15 April 2020

The Most Comforting Reads from my Shelves

Everyone knows what I mean when I use the term 'comforting reads'.

Those books that, when you're in a reading slump (or general life slump, as I'm sure we can all relate to right now), we turn to for familiarity and warm feels.

A lot of you are looking for recommendations right now, and don't want to buy anything before knowing its a safe read. So, I'm going to tell you about five comforting reads that you'll be able to read and escape from reality for a brief moment.

1. The Call of the Weird by Louis Theroux

This. Man. 

Louis Theroux is pretty much one of the most comforting people in the world. Watching his documentaries feels like sitting down with an old friend. This book is full of his stories of his earlier journeys around subcultures in America, meeting people who live differently from wider society.

From people who believe they can be spiritually channeled by aliens to twin children who sing neo-nazi songs, Louis' first book will satisfy your curiosity.

2. Love and Misadventure by Lang Leav

Lang Leav is one of my favourite poets, and this book is both enlightening and heart-breaking. Her words will seep into your soul, and you'll often turn back to the pages where your favourite poems lie.

Seriously, read her stuff. It's slightly longer than Rupi Kaur, each poem being around half a page, but makes far more of an impact (in my opinion).

3. Carol by Patricia Highsmith

If you follow me on Twitter, I don't think I really need to explain this one. My ultimate comfort read, to the point where I can quote half of the book.

Woman works in shop. Second woman comes in and buys something, leaving her gloves on the counter. First woman returns the Second woman's gloves. The women fall in love.

That's all you need to know. It is not all sunshine and rainbows, but no one dies at the end, and it is such a beautiful romance.

This is my original copy (of many) and it has so many post-it notes in it, which means that it is loved.

4. The Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman

Oh my goodness. You probably already have these in your collection, but if you don't... where have you been?

This is the ULTIMATE comfort read for everyone. Two schoolboys develop a crush on each other and the whole series is about them just falling in love. So much love, so much happiness. The pick-me-up we all need.

Alice Oseman is here to make you smile, when you don't think you can anymore.

5. One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton

The idea of a summer holiday feels so far away at the moment, but Keris is here to save the day. Feel like a short break to Italy? Read this book.

Somehow, this novel brings all the warmth and seduction of Italy to the pages, and it is a total comfort read.

Also, go and follow Keris on Twitter, because she's really funny and she talks about Harry Styles all the time. What else do you need?

Monday, 13 April 2020

REVIEW: A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Photo by me @hannahkimmins on Instagram

Title: A Good Girl's Guide to Murder
Author: Holly Jackson
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Release Date: 2nd May 2019
Genre: YA Thriller
Page Count: 448
Original Language: English
Format Read: Paperback
Other books in series: Good Girl, Bad Blood
Movie Adaptation: N/A

Buy here: WaterstonesAmazonThe Book Depository 

The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.
But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the crime, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn't so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth . . . ?


This was the first book I read in 2020, and it was kindly gifted to me for my birthday by my lovely friend Charr on Twitter. It's 448 pages, which is quite long for me, but I enjoyed every single moment of it.

The young adult market is amazing with thrillers lately. They are fast-paced, exciting, and the characters drive them to where they need to go. 

This book was no different. In fact, I would say that Holly Jackson is one of the leading voices of this genre. 

When doing independent research for her Extended Project Qualification, Pippa Fitz-Amobi decides to do a journalism project of the murder of schoolgirl Andie Bell. As she gathers evidence, she begins to become increasingly curious about the truth of the case, and whether Sal Singh was the real killer. When she uncovers a few things she probably shouldn't have, she decides to solve the case.

This is everything you could want in a good thriller - danger, humour, and a few big twists. It is Holly's writing on top of all of this which is the real treat. I have recommended this book to several people, and they have all loved it too!

I will continue to recommend this book, as well as the sequel Good Girl, Bad Blood  which is coming out soon.

Reading a novel about murder should be FUN. And this book is completely, utterly fun.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Five Quick Ways to learn something new Online

At the moment, my brain feels a little bit fried.

With my university being closed, despite the wonderful lecturers doing their absolute best to recreate some form of normality, I do not feel like I am learning as much as I normally would.

Whether you are studying, or have time off work and want to learn something new, the internet has a lot of free and cheap resources to get our brains moving again. Especially with the lockdown, information has been made available to us like never before, and we should be able to take advantage of this!

So, to help you out, I've found 5 online resources which help you learn quickly and effectively: 

1. Susie Dent's Twitter Word of the Day

Susie Dent is an absolute British icon, and her Twitter account is no different. Every day, she treats us all to a new word and a short, tweet-sized explanation of where the word came from.

Follow her and learn something new every day. She'll help improve your vocabulary! 

This could be a great way to teach your kids something new, if you're stuck doing homeschooling. 

2. @paintings.daily on Instagram

This is an absolutely beautiful account which looks aesthetically pleasing on your feed and also teaches you something new every day.

Every day, this account posts photos of classic art and presents a short description as well as telling you who painted it.

I am art-obsessed! I love art galleries, and this is satisfying my need for art during the lockdown.

3. 120 Hour TESOL/TEFL Course Online 

The International Open Academy has lowered the price for the online course for teaching English as a foreign language and now its only £19! 

If you have the money, this would be a great thing to do in any spare time you have. Gaining a qualification will open doors for your future, when our futures can resume. If nothing else, you've learnt something new.

If you wanted to, you could teach English overseas, and have the adventure of a lifetime when we are allowed to travel again.

Full site and information here:

There are also other courses on this website if you want to choose something else.

4. The StudyTube Project

I'm currently studying a Masters at university, and since we have moved to virtual learning, I have really struggled to keep my motivation up. I really like learning independently, but the current situation has made wanting to do any work quite hard.

I recently found this Youtube channel made up of many different people who are interested in their own subjects, and they are uploading study videos to create an online learning environment. This is a brilliant idea, and they talk about everything from English to Archaeology to Gender Studies.

You could even choose a new subject away from your current studies to learn as a hobby!

5. Museum From Home 

This is a Twitter project where people who work in museums all over the world are making small videos explaining something you would find in a museum.

As someone who loves museums and art galleries, this is something I am OBSESSED WITH. I love learning, and having these short bursts really helps you to retain information. Plus, it doesn't take that long!

Just search the #MuseumFromHome hashtag on Twitter, and choose what you want to learn each day. Take notes, or just listen and enjoy the experts talking!

(You can also go on virtual tours of some museums. DREAM. COME. TRUE.)