Holiday & July TBR 2018

Hi Readers

The first week of July is actually holiday week so I plan on reading a lot of great books for it. So, this months TBR is split into three sections, Holiday TBR, TBR Jar Picks and any other books I’d like to get to this month.

This is way too ambitious but I just want to read ALL THE BOOKS.

First, my Holiday TBR:

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – I finally have this from the library and I couldn’t be more excited to finally get to it.

Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman – The weathers hot, it’s Holiday time. It’s definitely the perfect time to finally read this.

Save the Date by Morgan Matson – Yeah, this hasn’t been getting the best reviews BUT I love Morgan Matson so I need to give this a try at least.

The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill – This is a ‘feminist retelling of The Little Mermaid.’ It’s beautiful and it sounds like the perfect holiday read. 

TBR Jar Picks:

Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith – This is a poetry collection. I don’t usually get along with those but I want to give poetry another try and I’ve heard a lot of praise for this one.

I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing by Maya Angelou – This is a non-fiction that I’ve been meaning to read for years. I’m excited to finally get to it.

Sweet Home by Carys Bray – I haven’t read a lot of short story collections but I’ve heard a lot about this one so I can’t wait to try it.

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter – I’m really excited I picked this one, it looks like a perfect book for Summer time. This is a book set in a country I haven’t read a lot of. 

Other Books I Might Get To:

Vanity Fair by William Thackery

Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney C. Stevens
The Remains of a Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
The Unseen World by Liz Moore
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

And Some Rereads:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

So that is my overly ambitious July TBR. Wish me luck!

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

A Month of Reading: June 2018

Hi Readers

Wow, June went by like a flash. And I ended it feeling like I hadn’t really read anything. Unfortunately, that feeling was right. I basically read nothing and there’s no excuse other than I went to see Taylor’s Reputation tour this month and that kind of consumed my mind.

So, here’s what I did read:

A List of Cages by Robin Roe three stars

My Review: A List of Cages.

 The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman three stars

My Review: Light Between Oceans.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald four stars

My Review: The Great Gatsby.

Harry Potter Audiobooks 1, 2 & 3five stars

I randomly decided to start listening to these audiobooks and I’m so glad I did. It’s the first time I’ve ever listened to them and I’m noticing things I’ve never noticed before and it’s great to experience these books in a new way.

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan 

This was a reread for me. I’m slowly and finally making my way through this series and I want it finished by the end of the summer. However, I didn’t love this one. 

I have a huge tbr for next month but I also plan on taking part in a lot of readathon a which I’m looking forward to.

Thanks for reading

Jess X

Taylor’s Reputation Stadium Tour At Wembley: My Experience!

Hi Readers!

So, it finally happened. June 22nd 2018 I went to Wembley to see Taylor’s Reputation concert. The days leading up it still hadn’t quite sunk in and it really crept up on me and even now I can’t believe it actually happened. That that was something I actually witnessed with my own to eyes. It was a beautiful sight and a magical night, here’s how it went down.

The day of I woke up at 6AM feeling sick with excitement and nervousness. We did it as a coach trip package so we didn’t have to worry about travelling. But it meant we didn’t know what our seats were until the day of. We got our tickets on the coach and I will admit was a little disappointed with where we were sitting to begin with as we were right around the side and almost at the back of the stage. But honestly there was no such thing as a ‘bad view’ and we were so close to the main stage I ended up loving our seats.

On the coach ride which lasted around three hours I listened to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire audiobook. This helped me relax a lot as it’s such a familiar story and I definitely needed that seeing as I was so nervous about the amount of people there was going to be at the stadium.

When we got to the stadium we lined up for an hour for merch. And eventually left the line with nothing which was so disappointing but the lines just weren’t going anywhere. We eventually found our entrance and after a lengthy tour of the stadium (we went the wrong way) where we thankfully found another merch stand and I was able to at least get a programme. 

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The minute it started feeling real was when I saw Taylor’s mum. I spotted her when I noticed a surge of people rushing forward on the ground floor. She walked through a sea of fans beaming and holding hands and hugging people and I burst into overwhelming tears because strangely, that was the moment I realised Taylor was actually here, I was actually here. We were at Wembley with 90,000 other swifties and we were there to dance and have a good time and just for a little while the rest of the world just didn’t matter.

When Taylor came on and I couldn’t even scream I was so overcome with emotion. I was overcome with happiness and love and I couldn’t take it and just started sobbing. Like, ugly crying. And I’ve never been happier to cry. The dancers rushed on, there was smoke and lights and screams and I watched it all through watery eyes.

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I’d calmed down by I Did Something Bad and was able to enjoy the incredible remix like holy clap please can she release a studio version of that?! The whole performance was next level amazing, the choreography, her vocals, the visuals. The stage was literally breathing fire that was so hot I could feel the heat on my face, which was a nice short relief from the cold evening air (I made the poor decision to wear shorts.)

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Then there was gorgeous. I love the cute dance moves and seeing her back up singers front and centre. The best part was of course the Cats line when Meredith and Olivia took over the LED screen. Also, I took a great picture of Taylor during this song and then the next day Taylor shares a HQ photo of literally the exact same moment. How crazy is that?

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Then I kind of lost my shit because she went from Style to Love Story to You Belong With Me and if you can keep calm during that mash-up there’s something wrong with you. I screamed the lyrics and started dancing manically and had the time of my life. During Love Story the band came out and I saw Mike and Amos and she and Mike did their signature move and it was so special to see it with my own two eyes. I remember hugging my Mum while YBWM was playing, it’s such a special song to us as its the song where we found Taylor. I can’t believe that was 10 years ago now.

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And then, she killed off the old Taylor with LWYMMD. I don’t love this song, but the performance was, quite frankly, epic. The inflatable snakes, the screen, the way the crowd screamed the words. And I really love her outfit for this song and the fact that she wears it for the next two songs as well.

I’m really glad she found a way to sing End Game without Future and Ed. I sang King of my Heart at the top of my lungs and I loved the stage for this. I don’t know what it was she was standing on but it was really cool.

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Next was delicate and she made such a beautiful speech about what Reputation means to her. I didn’t have the guts to say 1.2.3 Lets Go Bitch in front of my mum but I did count to three with my hands and hearing the crowd scream it was hilarious and iconic. She got into the beautiful gold cage and flew across the stadium to the first B Stage.

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Next was Shake It Off and when that began the whole stadium just ignited. Everyone stood up, everyone cheered, everyone danced. There were fireworks and confetti and it was such a memorable moment.

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Then she went acoustic and made a speech about song writing and how still, after so many years of doing it, when she writes a song she always goes back to guitar or piano. She sang DWOHT and then the surprise song was So It Goes which is the first time she’s sang it on tour, meaning she played the entire Reputation album and we were the first crowd to hear it!

Then she went through the crowd to the other B stage to sing Blank Space and I’m so glad I got to sing along to that song with her. It’s one of my favourites she’s ever written. Next was Bad Blood and Should’ve Said No and this mashup was epic. I love the fact that she included so many old songs by mashing them with new ones. They all went so well together. The staging was insane as well the whole stage went bright red and there was a guy on a cord doing cool somersaults and tricks and he looked like a cool assassin or something.

Then she sang Don’t Blame Me. The staging was actually quite simple for this song but it allows you to focus on her beautiful heavenly voice. Then after was the song I was most looking forward to seeing perform as I love her piano performances. She did a mash-up of Long Live and New Years day. During this song she stopped to listen to the crowd and got a two minute ovation for like 2 minutes straight. It was a beautiful sound and her smile was glowing.

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Then there was a video visual thing of a poem she’d written called ‘Why She Disappeared’ and it was the most beautiful poem I’ve ever read/listened to. My favourite lines were ‘Blew away along with my fair weathered friends’ and when it said ‘What you do is not enough, what you say is not right, your kindness is fake, your pain is manipulative.’ She really opens up and lays it all out in that poem.

Next was getaway car which was so amazing to hear live. Another one I just screamed the lyrics to. I’m seriously stuck on whether I want this to be the next single or I Did Something Bad. Then she brought out special guest Niall Horan which in sad to say I wasn’t hyped about although I do really like him.

The last two songs started. First was CIWYW which had a lot more choreography than I thought it would. This is also the song where they released the newspaper confetti. Then the finale started with WANEGBT taking me back to the Red Tour back in 2014.

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Then, finally, This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things started. The lights were going crazy the wristbands went berserk and the fireworks absolutely lit up the sky. I was screaming at the top of my lungs and felt literally on top of the world. It was an incredible sensation. The night was sparkling and magical. And I’m so grateful I got to experience that feeling.

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Best night of my life. 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

Book Review: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Published: April 1925

Source: Own

Length: 249 Pages

Genre: Classic

Goodreads Avg. Rating: 3.9

My Rating: four stars

Hi Readers

You know when you want to give a book another chance, so you reread it and suddenly something about this book clicks and you realise what all the hype is about and you understand just why it has become one of the most famous novels ever written. That’s what happened with this book.

Set in the Roaring Twenties, this follows Nick, a Broker who becomes the neighbour of the mysterious Jay Gatsby, who holds parties all of societies elite want to attend, but is hardly ever seen.

Through rumours and gossip he becomes intrigued to learn more about his neighbour and gets the opportunity to when he learns Daisy, his cousin, is an old sweetheart of Gatsby’s and he becomes the tool that reunites them. 

As I said, I’ve read this before and I wasn’t a fan of it initially. I honestly don’t remember why because now I struggle to find anything wrong with this novel. The only reason I knocked off a star was because I found most of the characters to be so dislikable that I didn’t ‘route’ for them but I also feel like Fitzgerald wrote them like that on purpose. 

Set in a time of greed and decadence these characters truly live a life of luxury. I mean, they are filthy rich and it’s so interesting to read about a group of people living the high life in the 20’s. It seems idealistic until you delve in deeper and realise their greed is tearing their lives apart. 

After reading this, I definitely want to read more from F.Scott Fitzgerald. 

Thanks for Reading, 

Jess X

Reputation Book Tag

Hi Readers

The day this is going up is the day I’m off to Wembley to see Taylors Reputation tour and I couldn’t be more excited (and nervous lol.) To honour that,I thought it would only be right to do a Taylor themed post, so here’s the Reputation book tag!

This was created by TulipSwift

1. …Ready For It?— Your favourite first book in a series.

I think I always prefer the first book in a series to all the others (except for HP.) But my favourite is probably Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. Sadly though, this series hasn’t been good since Heir of Fire. 

2. End Game— The biggest endgame you’ve ever rooted for.

Katniss and Peeta from Hunger Games. I feel like they were my first ‘ship’ and my teenage self shipped them hard. 

3. I Did Something Bad— A book you spoiled for someone.

I feel like I’ve never done this. So instead I’ll say a book that’s been spoiled for me and that was The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Ftzgerald. By my teacher who instead of making us read the book decided to just tell us the whole plot with 0 warning. Luckily we didn’t end up doing an exam on it otherwise I would have failed. 

4. Don’t Blame Me— The most unlikely book you were crazy for.

I’m going to say Simon Vs the Homo Sapians Agenda for this because I have read this book twice now and the first time I read it I thought it was just average and forgettable. Gave it a second chance and now I’m as obsessed as everyone else. 

5. Delicate— A book you fell in love with from the first page.

I think Perks of Being A Wallflower is a book I fell in love with immediately and the more I read it the better it becomes.

6. Look What You Made Me Do— A character that rose up from the dead. (like figuratively. Like they came back 2.0)

I’m gonna say Juliette from Shatter Me. Her character development is what makes those books. 

7. So It Goes…— A series that made everything else disappear.

Always Harry Potter. Nothing will transport like Hogwarts. 

8. Gorgeous— A character so gorgeous they make you want to sink and drown and die.

I think Jace from The Mortal Instruments is my kind of gorgeous. Blond hair and blue eyes. Bit like someone else we all know. 

9. Getaway Car— A book or series you abandoned.

OMG there’s so many. I’m very quick to abandon something if I’m not enjoying it. The last book I DNFed was Watership Down. For the second time. That book isn’t for me. 

10. King of My Heart— Your OTP. (One true pair!)

Seeing as I haven’t mentioned them yet, I’ll choose Elizabeth and Mr Darcy. 

11. Dancing With Our Hands Tied— A character you would stick by through an avalanche.

I’m not sure there’s any character that would make me stick around when there’s an avalanche coming towards us but I’m thinking Jon Snow will have a good speech that makes it seem like a good idea. 

12. Dress— Characters you don’t want to be best friends. (wink wink)

Honestly, Kenji from Shatter Me. I love a guy that makes me laugh.

13. This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things— a book you physically ripped or damaged.

I would NEVER.

14. Call It What You Want— A book you finally finished this year.

I haven’t really focused on finishing book yet this year. So, one I definitely want to finish by the end of this year is The Count of Monte Cristo. 

15. New Year’s Day— A book-related memory you will always hold on to.

I will always hold onto the memory of reading Deathly Hallows for the first time. This is quite bad but I pretended I was sick to get the day off school so I could finish it and I cried so hard I could barely read the book. 

Well, that’s the tag. I’m probably dancing with Taylor Swift and a thousand other swifties right now and having the time of my life. Check back next week for pictures!

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

Updated TBR Jar and Completing My 2018 Goals

Hi Readers

So, I’ve come to realise, I’ve done it again. I set myself goals at the beginning of the year and was really excited about them. But we’re half way through the year and still none have been complete or attempted.

So, I have compiled a list of books that will help my complete my goals, I’ve put them in my TBR jar and I’ve worked out I need to choose 4 each month in my monthly TBRs in order to complete them all. Right now, I’m confident I can do that but we’ll see. 

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Here are the books I’ve put in it:

My Must Reads:

Small Island by Andrea Levy
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Housseini
The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell
A Zadie Smith Book
Narrow Road To The Deep North by Richard Flanagan
Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Clare North

Non-Fiction:

The Story of Alice by Robert Douglas Fairhurst
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
I Know Why The Caged Birds Sing by Maya Angelou

Short Story Collections:

Sweet Home by Carys Bray
You Can’t Bring a Good Woman Down by Alice Walker
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
The New Yorker Stories by Ann Beattie

Poetry Collection:

Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith

Books Set Around the World:

In Paris With You by Clementine Beauvais
A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
Midnight Blue by Simone van der Vlught
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeline Thein

Wish me luck. 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

 

 

Predicting 5 Star Reads #3 – Reflecting and More Predictions

Hi Readers

Once again I have more books that I have very high expectations for and hope I can give a 5 star rating to. I’ve also finished read the last list of predictions I made so I thought I might update you and let you know if any of those actually got 5 stars.

First, the five books I’m reflecting on. I’ve done a review for most of them, so just click on the name if you want to know more of my thoughts. Basically, this one wasn’t a success. 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by  Mary Ann Shaffer & Anne Barrows – Unfortunately I was slightly disappointed by this and gave it 3.5 Stars. 

Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon – Another one that got 3.5 Stars but I can’t say I’m disappointed by it. There just wasn’t anything about this book that made me want to give it more. 

A List of Cages by Robin Roe – There was nothing wrong with this book and I loved a lot of it. But there was just something missing. I gave it 3.5 stars.

The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman – This one was very emotionally hitting and I kind of hated it for that reason because it just all felt so hopeless. I gave it 3 stars. 

Circe by Madeline Miller – I DNFed this. I am shocked that I just could not like this. I got to the half way point and realised I was skimming the pages and had 0 interest in this story. I might give it another try sometime because I am sure this is a good book.

So, most of those were very ‘middle of the road’ books which is so disappointing! But hopefully this next round is more successful (fingers crossed!)

More Predictions

The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill – This has been described as a feminist retelling of The Little Mermaid and that just makes it sound like the most exciting book ever written.

Seven Deaths of Evelyn Castle by Stuart Turton – The synopsis of this kind of reminds me of Godsford Park or And Then There Were None. A murder mystery in a stately home. Can’t wait.

Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman – I wanted to wait until the Summer to read this book, it’s Summer, and it’s time to finally see what all the hype is about.

Save the Date by Morgan Matson – I must say I’m a bit hesitant going into this because the premise does sound a bit gimmicky and something I’ve seen done a hundred times. But I’ve always enjoyed Matson’s books so I have hope.

Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro – Basically a butler goes rogue. I’m hoping this has a Downton Abbey feel to it.

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X