A February Book Haul

A February Book Haul

In my opinion there is no better way to spend free time other than diving into a good read. I frequently commute to uni by train and end up finding just the right amount of time in between trains to admire the bookshelves in WHSmith. I try to keep myself controlled and only buy books once I’ve finished my current read, but…it doesn’t always happen like that.

With studying English Literature (+ Philosophy) it is hard to find time to read your own books alongside course texts, I find myself spending an abundance of time reading and analyse my course texts that I lose the time to read my personal book choices. So I’ve decided to allocate time during my commute every day to read some of the books that I’ve bought. Going on the train everyday, I see almost 99.9% of people on their phones or ipads, and its sad that people are so warped into their phones and technologies that they’ve forgotten the beauty of reading. Tbh I used to spend a lot of my train journeys napping while I had the chance, but now I’ve made a conscious effort to bring a book with me and read it on my commute I feel the time goes a lot quicker and it’s a nice release from the course books I’m used to reading during term time.

It takes all my strength to walk by Waterstones or WHSmith or any bookstore, because I know once I enter it, I’ll walk away an hour later with a pile of books. During the trips into WHSmith, I ended up buying some books this month which are on my pile to be read.

Swing Time, Zadie Smith


This is my first ever time reading a Zadie Smith novel, I started Swing Time the other day and I’m already hooked to it. I hope to dive into more of Smith’s novel soon!


“Two brown girls dream of being dancers–but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, about what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.
Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from northwest London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.”

A full book review will be up soon as I have finished it! (Also how beautiful is the cover!)

Turtles All The Way Down, John Green

I’m sure all booklovers have seen the excitement of John Green’s new book, I have just managed to finish it and it is BEAUTIFUL. As are all Greens books, he leaves you speechless and finds words to describe things which you could never begin to. There are specific books you read in your lifetime which represent you, talk to you and resonate with you. This book is definitely one of them for me, there are however a lot of triggers for some in this book so do be careful when reading it if you suffer from anxiety or OCD.

“Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis. Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts. In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.”

(‘Turtles all the way down’ is an expression that suggests a turtle rests on the back of an even larger turtle, which itself is part of a column of increasingly large turtles that continues indefinitely or even infinitely i.e. that it is “turtles all the way down”).

The Party, Robyn Harding

I popped into Tesco one evening to get some breakfast essentials and ended up in the book aisle and struggling to choose two books for a ‘2 for £7’ offer. I ended up picking up The Party after being drawn into the simplicity of the cover.

“It was supposed to be a celebration. How did it all go so wrong?” I literally “ooo’d” when I read the blurb and cover!

“Sweet sixteen. It’s an exciting coming of age, a milestone, and a rite of passage. Jeff and Kim Sanders plan on throwing a party for their daughter, Hannah—a sweet girl with good grades and nice friends. Rather than an extravagant, indulgent affair, they invite four girls over for pizza, cake, movies, and a sleepover. What could possibly go wrong? 

But things do go wrong, horrifically so. After a tragic accident occurs, Jeff and Kim’s flawless life in a wealthy San Francisco suburb suddenly begins to come apart. In the ugly aftermath, friends become enemies, dark secrets are revealed in the Sanders’ marriage, and the truth about their perfect daughter, Hannah, is exposed.

Harkening to Herman Koch’s The Dinner, Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap, and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies, The Party takes us behind the façade of the picture-perfect family, exposing the lies, betrayals, and moral lapses that neighbours don’t see—and the secrets that children and parents keep from themselves and each other”

How to Stop Time, Matt Haig


Alongside The Party, I picked up How to Stop Time. I have seen this book ALL over my Instagram lately and I wasn’t sure whether to pick it up or not. The idea of a character lost in time, is something that is a saturated area from Age of Adeline, The time travellers wife and Benjamin Button type stories. I did however pick it up nevertheless, because I do enjoy these stories and I was hoping to be surprised that there might be a different kind of twist on the typical ‘stuck in time’ story.

“The first rule is that you don’t fall in love, ‘ he said… ‘There are other rules too, but that is the main one. No falling in love. No staying in love. No daydreaming of love. If you stick to this you will just about be okay.'”
A love story across the ages – and for the ages – about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history–performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life. 

So Tom moves back to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher–the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city’s history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.

How to Stop Time is a bighearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness.”

All the money in the world, John Pearson


I picked up this book towards the end of January and was just immediately drawn into the synopsis on the back cover. Not realising that it was connected to a massive family trauma, I told my mum about the book I picked up and she explained to me the connection. The Getty family and all it’s scandals and dramas and I was immediately intrigued. Then when the trailer was released I was even more excited to watch it and read the book. My mama and I will be going this weekend to watch it and I can’t wait!

“Inspired by the fortunes and misfortunes of the Getty family, whose most extraordinary and troubled episode – the kidnap and ransom of grandson Paul Getty – is now a major motion picture, directed by Ridley Scott, from a screenplay written by David Scarpa and starring Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg.

When sixteen-year-old Paul Getty was kidnapped, the news exploded worldwide. But his grandfather, J. Paul Getty, the richest living American, refused to pay the ransom, oblivious to his sufferings. And as the days dragged painfully on, it was Paul’s distraught but determined mother Gail who was left to negotiate with his captors…

In this full biography of the Getty family, John Pearson traces the creation of their phenomenal wealth and the ways in which it has touched and tainted the lives of various generations. Packed with colourful characters, bitter feuds and unexpected turns, it is a riveting insight into the lives of the super-rich.”

Lullaby, Leila Slimani, Sam Taylor (Translator)

I saw this book pop up on my Instagram and was so shocked about the storyline that I knew I had to get it and read it.


“The baby is dead. It only took a few seconds. 

When Myriam, a French-Moroccan lawyer, decides to return to work after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect caretaker for their two young children. They never dreamed they would find Louise: a quiet, polite and devoted woman who sings to their children, cleans the family’s chic apartment in Paris’s upscale tenth arrondissement, stays late without complaint and is able to host enviable birthday parties.

The couple and nanny become more dependent on each other. But as jealousy, resentment and suspicions increase, Myriam and Paul’s idyllic tableau is shattered.”

“Her murderous nanny thriller gripped France, winning its top literary prize and the attention of President Macron.”

I am so excited to read this book and I can’t wait to share my thoughts!

That’s all the books I’ve bought this month, I do think I need to slow down on the book-buying-front a little. So perhaps I’ll make this a series every couple of months, where I share the books I’ve bought and then my reviews. Let me know what you think.

With love, Soph


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  1. April 9, 2018 / 11:50 am

    I REALLY want to read All The Money in the World! I’ve been desperate to watch the film but I’m trying to hold out until I’ve read the book! x

    • stambroiseblog
      April 9, 2018 / 12:02 pm

      Yes same!! I haven’t read it yet, I’m getting round to it (hopefully soon) x