Every year, without fail, I tell myself the same thing: I won’t buy any books in January. It’s not so much I don’t have the money after a Christmas (although it kinda is) but more I’ve had a huge influx of Christmas present books and need to not add anymore books onto my TBR. And every year, without fail, I still end up hauling books in January anyway. Although this time, I tell myself it’s for a good reason.

If you aren’t aware, I’m currently planning a 2 year move to Australia. At the end of this year. And that’s… exciting. And terrifying. Recently, someone suggested to me that I should combine this fear with something I love – books. So instead of being scared and anxious, they recommended I build up a collection of ‘travel books’ with romantic gap years or contemporary coming of ages where people move abroad and find themselves. As a way to… hype myself up? I really like the idea so I’m aiming to build up a collection over the next few months to suddenly binge read in the weeks before I make the move. Reading about other people’s positive experiences and awesome summer romances should really help me, because that’s the way I am. Fiction helps.

As a result, a few of my January haul are books I’ve bought myself to contribute towards this plan, and quite a lot are actually books that were sent to me by various publishers, which is super exciting. I’ve not had any review copies for quite a while, and the fact I’m suddenly getting them again makes me super happy and hopefully proves to myself that my blog is doing well, which is honestly the encouragement I needed.

Without further ado, let’s get into my haul!

I See London, I See France by Sarah Mylnowski.

This book was the first purchase of my travel novel collection and possibly the one I’m most excited for. Hailey from Haileyinbookland absolutely raves about this one and I have loved pretty much every book she’s ever recommended… ever. It’s about a 19 year old girl called Sydney (keeping with my Australian theme, very nice) and the trip she goes on with her childhood best friend Leela. A four and a half week trip. This might not quite be on the same line of my possibly permanent expedition, but it seems like it’s going to have cute romance, hot French boys and an interesting underlying theme of the importance of mental health. Oh, and also we get to see a cheating ex get put in his place. Sign. Me. UP.

Wanderlost by Jen Malone

Another one of Hailey’s favourite travel books, Wanderlost sounds like an adorable summer contemporary that takes us whizzing round Europe on an unplanned, unwanted trip. Our main character Aubree is forced to take her sisters place as a tour guide, leading a group of senior citizines around many different countries. I’m super excited for this one because I really want to try go on a European tour myself before I move to a different continent, so this read should be both interesting and completely entertaining – especially when we get to meet the tour company owner’s son, Sam who brings in a little bit of romance to this summer of finding oneself.

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

I honestly have no excuse for buying this one other than I’ve heard about the author a tonnnnne, especially since deliving a little more into the adult romance books that the community loves. I figure why not try Christina’s YA book first? It’s more my genre, it’s pitched as an adorable queer book and it’s been on my TBR possibly… forever. And I like to tick things off my TBR, even when I hadn’t already owned so… I actually just… expanded my TBR by buying this one.

Loveboat Taipei by Amelie Wen Zhao

This is another book I bought myself, but it technically should have been back on my December haul – I just totally forgot to include it and I feel guilty because I LOVED it and therefore I’m showcasing it here as the amazing book it is. This one is actually an accidentally purchased book for my travel collection and it’s about a young girl who gets sent on a summer programme to Taiwan. She’s expecting a strict, no-nonsense school but instead finds a chaotic system where everyone is encouraged to find themselves. Whilst studying. I really loved this one and will talk more about it in my January Wrap Up so keep an eye out for that!

Now we’ve covered the books I bought myself, it’s time to get into the review copies I was sent! All but the last one are from Harper360YA and I’m SO SO grateful for everything they’ve sent me. Sure, they’ve made my TBR cart considerably heavier but I’m not complaining. They option some of the best books and I will forever love them for agreeing to my crazy requests. I’d also like to thank Titan Books for the final one on my list, as it’s one of my most anticipated releases of this year and I’m so excited to have it in my hands already!

All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban

This may have not been on my radar before I received Harper’s email, but you can sure as hell rest assured that it was an insta-request. I mean, LOOK AT THAT COVER. It’s pitched for fans of One of Us Is Lying and Agatha Christie and I’ve never read either of those authors but it gives me super similar vibes to two of my favourite books of the past two years, People Like Us and Sadie. I figure, if I like this one – maybe I’ll pick up One Of Us Is Lying in the reverse order instead. YOU CAN’T STOP ME.

We Are Totally Normal by Rahul Kanakia

Now I don’t know too much about this one either, other than it’s queer, coming of age, about discovering yourself and exploring your sexuality and it’s a contemporary, all of which are buzz words for me and… Consider. Me. SOLD.

Red Hood by Elena K Arnold

When I first started reviewing books, Damsel by Elena K Arnold was one of the first ever reviews I ever wrote. Back when I didn’t even have a blog, or really any platform, and would upload my thoughts faithfully onto NetGalley and Goodreads and anywhere else I could plant them – hoping to start receiving ARCs from publishers and authors and obviously… it went well. But I’ll always remember Damsel as one of my most negatively written reviews, not because I didn’t enjoy it as such but because there were so many triggers that weren’t pre-warned and therefore I was going around encouraging everyone to not read the book until they’d looked up what was actually written in it. I was worried. But I did like it, and it was devastatingly yet deliciously dark and I’m ready for another fairy tale retelling to dive into.

Parachutes by Kelly Yang

This is another contemporary I was sent for review by Harper360, and it sounds right up my street. It’s about two girls who navigate wealth, power, friendship and trauma after being sent to attend school in the US. I don’t know too much about it other than it’s got a rape trigger warning attached, so I’d be very careful if that’s something that hurts you – but I’m really interested to see Kelly’s narrative and how she handles the situation.

The Stars We Steal by Alexa Donne

This one is due out in Feburary and I’ve actually just started it. I’m about 100 pages in and I can proudly admit that I made a good choice requesting it and adding it to my “TOP 10 ANTICIPATED RELEASES”. I love supporting BookTubers and Alexa is adorable and always approaches everything with honesty and creativity and I can’t wait to consume the rest of this book. It’s a space adventure with rich people match making, rebellion and dwindling resources – something that exactly sums up everything I want in a sci-fi book and let me jUST TELL YOU NOW: THIS BOOK IS HELLA GOOD. (So far). I’ll talk lots more about it in my review but the characters are gorgeous and complex and I love every single one of them.

I’d also like to give an honorary mention to the books I got in this month’s Illumicrate and Fairyloot. Whilst only one of them was something I was wanting to purchase for myself, the others seem super interesting and hopefully I’ll be including them in a wrap up in the next few months. It’s always hit and miss when it comes to the books chosen by crate subscriptions, but I have confidence that I’ll definitely enjoy 2 of the 3 I’ve received as they do really sound like something I’d enjoy.

I’m really excited about the review copies I’ve received this month, as I mentioned, but also the books I bought myself so I know January has been a great start to a whole year of book ‘gathering’. (Buying). Keep your eye out for full reviews of the ARCs sent by publishers!

As always, thank you for reading, let me know if you’ve read any of the books I bought already and what you thought!

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