My Favourite Books of 2019 & My 2020 Book Challenge!

A bookshelf

I think this is the first post I’ve ever written for Alicia Overseas that’s not related to travel or nursing, isn’t that crazy? I’ve decided I definitely want to inject for of my personality into this blog and a huge part of what makes me is reading. I love to read. I’ve had an amazing relationship with books since I was a child and now I’d much rather be curled up with a book on the sofa than watching a movie! Which Dave hates by the way because he’s much more of a movie guy than a book guy! Anyway, I’ve always read despite a few years in high school when reading was apparently ‘uncool’. It’s my ultimate form of escapism so many books that I’ve read have inspired my travels! 

 I love getting stuck into a good dose of fiction and getting sucked into the lives of the characters. My favourites are when you find yourself wondering what happened for the characters next! My favourite author has to be Paige Toon – if you love a good romantic novel then you have to check all of her novels out. Before we moved to Australia I was immersed in all of her books as so many of them are set down under. I must warn you though don’t expect to read one of her books and not come away teary-eyed! 

In this post, I want to share my favourite reads from 2019 and introduce a new challenge I’m setting myself for in 2020! Just click the headings to be taken to the books 🙂

If You Could Go Anywhere by Paige Toon 

Paige’s latest novel is heartwarmingly brilliant. Angie has lived in the Australian desert all her life and when her circumstances drastically change she sets off on an adventure to Italy. It’s packed full of adrenaline, love, family and an unlikely romance. It’ll have you planning your own Italian adventure in no time. Hands down my favourite fiction novel of the year and yes I cried. 

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero 

This year I’ve read a lot more non-fiction books than I usually do. If you’ve been following me for a while then you’ll know that I’ve been on somewhat of a personal journey this year. I’ve been learning how to take responsibility for my own happiness instead of blaming everything around me. 

It’s been a journey that’s involved reading all the self-help books. I must say that out of the ones I’ve dived into this has been the most rewarding. Jen’s writing is bloody brilliant. She’s raw, authentic and just plain hilarious. Her book is easy to read and not particularly academic. – now I don’t mean that as a negative as she’s a highly intelligent lady but what I mean is that her content is easy to read, understand and digest. I like things to be simple and easy and this book is certainly that. 

If you’re looking to make any changes in your life from relationships to career then I highly recommend reading this book –  more than once! 

Twas the Night Before Christmas by Adam Kay 

I’m probably the only healthcare professional in the world who hasn’t read Adam Kay’s debut book ‘This is Going to Hurt’. This international bestseller is at the top of my reading list after I finish my current read. Twas the Night Shift Before Christmas is absolutely hilarious. Adam shares his stories of seven Christmases as a junior doctor working Obs and Gyne and he captures every moment superbly.

As a NICU nurse, I think I loved it so much because it’s so relatable. It’s also. Incredibly sad in parts and draws real attention to how much the front liners (like me) do for our community during the festive period. 

If you’re a healthcare professional or not you have to read this book.  Why not make it one of your reads this December? It’ll also make a perfect gift and I think it’s only 5 pounds in the UK – what a bargain!  

Oh Shit I Almost Killed You by Sonja Schwartzbach

A book of all the things that nursing school didn’t tell you. This book is perfect for any anxious nurses out there. Though it’s aimed at new nurses it’s still extremely helpful and hilarious if you’ve qualified a little longer like me. It is set in the states but the principles can apply no matter what country you trained in. This book would make a wonderful gift for any of your friends or family that are studying to become a nurse –  I wish I had read it sooner! 

All This I Will Give To You by Dolores Redondo 

This gripping fiction novel is completely different to the reads I usually opt for. I actually downloaded this on world book day when kindle were giving away books from different countries for free. This is a tale of a widowed writer who finds out his late husband had a totally secret life that he had no idea about. As he discovers more than he bargained for about his husband he finds himself amongst the most influential families in Spain. He finds himself on a mission to discover who his husband really was and how he really came to die so suddenly. 

Ask Me His Name by Elle Wright 

My favourite real-life book of the year is written by the truly inspirational and remarkable lady Elle Wright. After losing her son Teddy at just two days old Elle tells the story of how she managed to carry on her life after a loss greater than most of us can comprehend. Elle started the blog Feathering The Empty Nest as a way to write about her experience of baby loss and raise the awareness about a subject that’s still rarely talked about in society. 

She tells the story of friends she lost, the family that came together and bond developed online greater than she could’ve ever understood. It’s completely moving how she talks about finding the strength to carry on after Teddy’s death. I follow Elle on Instagram and honestly, she is one of the most inspiring women that I’ve ever come across. I think that I was moved by this book so much due to my role as a NICU nurse it certainly felt extremely close to home. I urge all nurses to read it because I think we can learn a lot from Elle’s wise words. Despite the heartbreaking circumstances, it’s a really lovely book to read with a great deal of humour! 

A Year and A Day by Isabelle Broom

This gorgeous romance novel sparked some much wanderlust in me it’s crazy. This story tells the tale of 5 strangers whose stories are about to intertwine forever. They all get more than they bargained for as they head off on a winter getaway to Prague. It’ll warm your freezing toes this winter and stay with you for a long time. It’s light-hearted and deep with the right dose of each. A  perfect read for a weekend curled up by the fire with plenty of hot chocolate!

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod 

I’m definitely late to this party. But until I started this blog I honestly didn’t have an interest in personal development. I mean my life is great or so I thought. Being away from home and really having to spend time with myself has seriously made me question a far few things. Reading this book was pretty life-changing like so many people say it was for them too. Getting up early was never my strong suit but now I’m on a journey where all aspects of my life are changing having a morning routine is pretty incredible. 

If you’re looking for more balance and a way to change your life so that you can achieve all of your dreams then you have to read this book! 

There you have it. My favourite books in 2019. If you’ve read any of these books then I would love to know your thoughts let me know in the comments below! 

My 2020 Book Challenge! 

Now onto my book challenge. Since we moved to Australia in 2018 I definitely didn’t make as much time for reading as I used too. I was immersed in my travels and travel blog. I often forgot to leave time for those extra things that bring me joy like reading. Although I’ve certainly made time in 2019 mostly in the last six months I want to challenge myself to read more in 2020.

As someone who gets easily distracted and can be a workaholic I’m learning how to inject more and more mindfulness into my life and reading is certainly one of those things where I completely get lost in what I’m reading. So in 2020, I’m challenging myself to read 52 books.  Yep, one book a week and by telling you all I’m holding myself accountable – I’ll add all the books I read into a highlight on Instagram so. Make sure you’re following along over there!

Happy Reading! If you’ve read any of these books then make sure you let me know your thoughts in the comments below! If you enjoyed this book list then don’t forget to share it with your pals 🙂



Alicia is a travel obsessed Registered Nurse who is on a mission to help other unfulfilled nurses reconnect with their purpose, passion and joy for life. Alicia has suffered from countless bouts of burnout in her nursing career and now wants to help other nurses too. Alicia is a huge advocate for travel and travel makes up a huge part of her life and this blog! Join her on her adventures nursing around the world and helping others to live a happier more positive life.

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