Welcome To Blogmas! + New Christmas Favourites


Yup, I'm taking the plunge and have decided to participate in Blogmas! Am I crazy given the fact that Blogtober ruined my brain? Very likely. But I'm hoping with enough prep and organization this will be possible (she says, deciding this on November 29th with no drafts ready to post. Gulp.) 2020 has been crazy and I hope that at least one of these posts will bring someone somewhere some joy. Christmas will be different for so many of us this year, which is a hard pill to swallow. I had originally planned to travel home to the UK with my husband over the holidays to spend our first Christmas with my family, but ya know.. Covid happened. I'm saddened by the change and am feeling very homesick, but no way am I travelling during all this craziness. Stay home, stay safe, and don't be stupid. Basically. 
Side-note: I've had to unfollow so many people over social media this year because of their irresponsible behavior during lockdown. Where are peoples brains at? Humanity is mental. 
I'm lucky that both my mother and my Granddad know how to video chat, so it isn't all gloom and doom. So many of us who are away from home are lucky that this pandemic happened during these times with the power of the Internet and free calls through WhatsApp. It makes it just a smidge easier. As I've been living away from home for a few years now, would a post on how to manage being away from your family during the holidays interest you? As I have a few tips that help lift the weight on your heart. Let me know!

For me, Christmas begins the day after Halloween. So naturally our tree and decorations are already up, our snack bags are filled with more chocolate than we could possibly eat, and I've officially finished my Christmas shopping. (Have yet to wrap, but that's a joy filled day made for December 20th) Me and my husband are trying to start new traditions, such as exchanging a festive gift on December 1st and decorating gingerbread houses which is such a joy. New starts are hard, ya know?

Vlogmas is a huge part of my December as I love seeing more content from my favourite creators. This year I'm eagerly anticipating Rhiannon Ashlee, Lauren WadeLoseitlikeLauren, and BookswithEmilyFox's videos. I'm hoping Grackle will bless us with Vlogmas too. Which Youtube channels do you watch religiously in December? I'd love some suggestions!

Music is been my background noise for a few months now, no matter what I'm doing. It's become a type of comfort, I suppose. Spotify Premium is the best. So naturally I've been on a bit of a Christmas music kick since Halloween. My favourites are still the classic Fairytale of New York, the entirety of Lea Michele's Christmas in the City album, and I already know the soundtrack to Dolly Parton's new movie Christmas on the Square will be replayed a bunch.

Speaking of movies, we're blessed with so many new gems this year! Christmas on the Square looks like a really fun spin on the traditional Scrooged plot. Christine Baranski is a joy. On Hulu, Happiest Season was released last week and.... dayum. Dan Levy, Kristin Stewart, and Aubrey Plaza? YES. I've already seen this and am already wanting to rewatch. Queer goodness that has a impeccable cast. (I'm with everyone else on the planet, Kristin Stewart should've got her smooch on with Aubrey Plaza). Jingle Jangle was fun, but not necessarily my jam. Great for a family movie night. And lastly, we're all eagerly waiting for The Prom, right? I'm so excited.

For Blogmas, I have a few posts planned that mainly revolve around books, food, and festive goodness. So if any of those topics interest you, be sure to check back! I would also love to read any Christmas content that you may be writing up, so be sure to share.

So, yeah, welcome to the start of 24 blog posts. Happy Holidays!

Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín | Book Review [spoiler free]


Eilis Lacey is a young woman living in small-town Ireland. Though naturally skilled in bookkeeping, she is struggling to find work in the post-World War II economy. When an Irish priest visits from his new home in Brooklyn, he offers to sponsor Eilis so she can move abroad, work, study, and send money home. Not wanting to part from the life she's always known yet knowing that this is necessary for bettering her life, she accepts his offer and uproots her life. There starts her journey of womanhood, friendship, and love. 

In Brooklyn she is faced with a house of eccentric Irish women, all having moved abroad for work. They're playful, snarky, and religious. But wonderful. She begins work at a clothing boutique that is in the midst of change, having started carrying pantyhose for black women. And of course, she inevitably finds a man who she begins to love. But with the call of home never far from Eilis's heart, can she make Brooklyn her home?

I adored this novel. It had so much heart and I'm in awe at how well the author Colm Tóibín captured the intimate feel of home that ran throughout the story. I, myself, moved from my home in Wales to the States and it was a huge adjustment. I miss home terribly and haven't read such an accurate portrayal of a homesick character before. It tore at my heart. As a protagonist, Eilis starts out as timid - a girl who feels like her life is already mapped out in front of her. She's strong, yes, but almost shy. It was a joy to watch this young woman blossom into a person that her youngster self would've admired. Unlike so many other books I've read, her growth truly felt natural throughout the story and it was lovely how the changes in her were partly down to the people she surrounded herself with. It felt realistic.

What I didn't expect from this book were the little nods to the way the world worked back then. It touched on topics such as feminism, sexuality, marriage, and racism. But yet, it never strayed from the era that it was set in. It's weird as the writing and characters felt modern, and yet the overall feel of the book was old. It was a beautiful mix. 

I didn't have any major issues with the book, I only wish that it had been a tad longer so we could've really delved into each of the side characters. Especially those in Ireland. I could see people having a problem with the ending as it's partly open, but I personally liked that. It kept the story intimate. Side-note: I'd like to quickly mention my amazement at how a middle-aged man managed to write such a realistic young woman as his protagonist. And he truly nailed the mother/daughter dynamic that so many of us have. What a rarity! 

Overall, if you liked Normal People by Sally Rooney or The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, I wholeheartedly recommend you pick up Brooklyn. Now I'm off to watch the movie adaption.

3 Things I'm Currently Thankful For


Happy Thanksgiving! As a Welsh girl who's currently living in the US, this holiday is still new to me. But if you're willing to feed me potatoes, cranberry sauce and stuffing, I'll most definitely be there. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to write up a quick post of 3 things or people who have made me thankful to of lived through the madness that is 2020. This is a very niche post, but I feel like I've been very guilty of feeling a little 'woe is me' lately, especially with not being able to travel home for Christmas. But you know, I'm doing okay. Thankfully no one I personally know has been affected by Covid, my husband hasn't lost his job so we're doing okay in that area, and I still have the love of my family. If you haven't got one or all of these things, I'm so sorry and I'm a virtual person you can come and chat to. I will always listen. 


Books are a portal to another world. I don't know what I would've done without that escapism throughout 2020. Libraries near to me have only recently started opening up again for pick-up and it's been a true joy to be able to put a unrealistic amount of books on hold again and to dive into so many different genres. Libraries have always filled the void of bookstores for me as I've never been rolling in cash so the opportunity to read new releases for free is incredible. I support my local libraries by buying too many cheap books from their book sale sections, but obviously during Covid I haven't been able to. In 2021, I'm hoping to purchase more books for my local library (which you can usually do via their website) and get more involved with community events. If you haven't already joined your local library, find their website and see if you can join online. If you're in the US, you can get Libby and will be immersed in a world of free ebooks and audiobooks. It's awesome!


This absolute gem of a human being has been a close friend of mine for a few years now, but this year I've never been more thankful to have someone on the other side of the phone. This year we started buddy reading and it's brought me such happiness. She also started a Bookstagram which I urge you to follow as it's beautiful and I love her reviews! I would've honestly been lacking in joy if we hadn't of read together throughout 2020 and I really appreciate how she's recommended me so many fun books (except It Ends With Us, I'm still broken). Go give her a follow and all your love.


This is a weird one as it's no secret around these parts that my relationship with social media is broken at best. However, over the past month or so I've really found solace in Twitter. It's been a place filled with support for other creators, bookish content, cats, and just friendship. I want to send a huge thank you into the universe to @petalspawspages, @WhtVictoriaRead, @emahlee13, and @lisagoes007 as they've really transformed my timeline into something joyful.

What are 3 things that you're currently thankful for? 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Keep safe,

Recent Reads #4


Well, it's been a hot minute since I did a Recent Reads post, huh? I fell so behind in doing this series, and then it become extremely daunting so I kept saying "it's future Anne's problem". I'm my own worst enemy. So, expect two wrap-ups this week and then let's all hope that I get better at this in future. Welp.

Distant Shores

by Kristin Hannah (slight spoilers)

Elizabeth and Jackson Shore married young and raised two daughters. But when the girls leave home, Jack and Elizabeth find themselves in a relationship that has lost its spark. In their suddenly quiet house, they both begin to wonder about the roads not taken. When jack gets his dream job that Elizabeth doesn't quite fit into, she instead ventures to the place she's always seen as home and begins to rekindle her artist passions. I love a good Kristin Hannah book (except True Colors, let's never mention that one.) This one was.. okay. I really enjoyed Elizabeth's side of the story and it was beautiful to watch her revert back to the woman she wanted to be. Jack's story however was just uncomfortable. Cheating on Elizabeth with a girl who could be the age of their daughter, acting like a right ass to his friends, drinking too much, and yet still finding the time to be a misogynist pig toward his wife. I couldn't root for them as a couple and yet that's where the story ended. I turned the last page with a horrid taste in my mouth. 

Mexican Gothic

by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, socialite Noemí Taboada heads to a distant house in the Mexican countryside in a bid to save her. But when she arrives her cousin is barely speaking and her family-in-law seem to be hiding a dark secret. This book was the ultimate modern day gothic horror. It read like a classic while still having strong feminist themes. The moment I finished it, I gave it 4 stars. But the more it's sat with me, the lesser excitement I feel towards it. It was.. okay. I've already forgotten names, plot twists, and the overall story which makes me think it'll be an entirely forgettable book for me. A shame, I admit. Don't let this put you off reading it as I'm sure so much of the hype surrounding it is warranted. It just didn't mesh well with me. Was it because I was in the midst of a reading slump when I picked it up? Maybe. Reader problems, ay?


Playing With Fire 

by L. J. Shen

Grace Shaw and West St. Claire are the exact opposite of eachother. She is the strange girl from the food truck with a badly scarred face and he is the mysterious underground fighter who is known as the hottest boy in town. She is invisible to the world. He is the town's beloved bad boy. She is a reject. He is trouble. When West thrusts himself into Grace's quiet life, she scrambles to figure out if he is her happily-ever-after or tragic ending. In the best way possible, this read like one of those really great FanFiction's you used to discover at 11pm and stay up all night reading. It was a whirlwind of a time with so many plot turns that it felt like I was actually on West's motorcycle (because of course he rides a motorcycle). I enjoyed their relationship and found both characters to be believable. The unnecessary conflict that naturally arises in every smutty romance book annoyed me as usual, but I get that the author needed to include it to get the characters where she wanted them. All in all, a solid book that I had a hoot reading. (I buddy read this with my friend Maria, go follow her bookstagram @m.is.reading)

Felix Ever After

by Kacen Callender

Read my full review for Felix Ever After HERE

Survival Lessons 

by Alice Hoffman

I did not know what to expect from this tiny book that is technically a self-help guide. I found it at a 'take a book, leave a book' stand and picked it up solely because I knew the author. This under 100 page book made me cry multiple times. With a mix of advice, memoir pieces, childhood memoires, recipes, and beautiful illustrations, Survival Lessons is a beautiful mixed media book that will reach right into your soul and rip it out. I learned so much about Alice Hoffman as a person from this and I loved the chapters talking about her relationships with both her mother and her grandmother. If you enjoyed Wild by Cheryl Strayed or Year Of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, read this. So very beautiful.

The Selection, The Elite, The One

by Keira Cass

Check out my whole review of the trilogy HERE


by Alice Hoffman

After reading Magic Lessons and Survival Lessons, I was on a streak of giving Alice Hoffman novels 5 stars so I naturally picked up the last Hoffman book on my TBR. Shelby Richmond survived a crash that put her best friend in a coma. That starts a chain of events in her life that leaves her broken. Can she fix her life before she loses everything? The first half of this novel was.. I'm not going to lie.. boring. But the second half really picked up and etched itself onto my heart. This is a story about growth, change, and accepting love. The writing was beautiful. The cover is beautiful. I gave this a 3 star rating but it's definitely worth a read. Like everything that Hoffman writes, this is memorable and truly worth the read. 


by Octavia E. Butler 

A 53-year-old vampire in the body of a 11-year-old (roughly) black girl, wakes up with no memory in a village that has been burnt to the ground. Finding a human who offers her a home, blood, and sex (yuk) she begins a journey of finding out who she actually is. You know when you're 20% through a book and your brain tells you to DNF but you don't and it's a huge regret? This book was just.. weird. I stuck with it because I absolutely adored Kindred by Octavia E. Butler and wanted to read more by her. Not only was the last half of this book so incredibly boring (court room stories in fantasy should be banned) but the sexual relationship between the main characters seemed so problematic to me. At one point he even says that he wanted her from the moment he saw her, but at that time he thought she was a literal child..? Ew. No. It seems so weird. I may write a full review discussing all my problems with this novel, but yes, I gave it 1 star and wouldn't recommend. Even the writing fell short.


by Ali Smith

This is the first book in a seasonal quartet written by the truly wonderful writer Ali Smith. I got this out of my library because Lauren Wade on Booktube so often raves about these novels. The author has been on my 'To Read' list for awhile now but I was always afraid that I'd be too dumb to understand them as they are very much written for the time of publishing. Autumn focuses heavily on Brexit and the way that the UK could so easily change for the worse in regards to how the British treat immigrants. I was surprised at how easily Ali Smith's writing flowed, I read the entire novel in one sitting and often felt emotional. Did I always understand? No. But not in a confusing way, more in a Sylvia Plath way. I found Ali Smith's writing very reminiscent of Plath's (a favourite of mine) and I instantly put myself on hold for Winter, the next in the series. 

DNF: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

by Karen Joy Fowler

Rosemary Cooke's life fell apart when she lost her sister Fern. Now in college she's muted herself from others and her family. When her brother comes back into her life, she hopes to finally get the answers about what happened to her lost sister. I had to DNF this at the 76% mark. It was such a tedious book with absolutely no direction. I tried switching from the audiobook to the physical to see if it held my interest more, but nope. It was just as boring. Rosemary was a bland protagonist and her family were instantly forgettable. Her one "friend" was bitchy in that 'I'm just being my pixie-dream-girl self' way. I ended up skipping ahead to see where the story went and it was just as I had guessed from the beginning. Save yourself the boredom and don't pick this up.

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