A Month of Reading: July ’18

Hi Readers

July was a month where I took part in so many ReadAThons which means I was able to read a good amount of books.

First, TBR Jar Update:

At the start of the month I picked out four books from my TBR. I was able to read two of them. Unfortunately I didn’t get to I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing Maya Angelou and I decided poetry definitely is not for me so I won’t be reading Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith.

Sweet Home by Carys Bray –  one half star

I did a full review of this short story collection, which you can find here: Sweet Home Review. 

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter –  two stars

This book I read as ‘a book set in a country I’ve not read much about’ which is Italy. Although a lot of it is actually set in America which was a fail on my part. This book started off strongly with a nod to 1950’s Hollywood following a beautiful film star who is dying. But then jumps to current day Hollywood and it just didn’t flow and unfortunately it ended so badly I was glad to be done with it.

Soo yeah, first month of the TBR Jar was not very successful unfortunately. I have high hopes for August’s picks though.

Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turtan – three half stars

One of the most unique books I’ve ever read. I highly recommend, here’s my full review: Evelyn Hardcastle Review.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson – five stars

This was a reread and it was actually so much better than I remember it. I think the first time I read this book I focused too much on the mystery but it’s not really about that. This follows Emily whose best friend Sloane disappears one Summer and leaves behind a list of fun and crazy things for Emily to do and it’s great.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling five stars

I listened to the audiobook of this and I am still loving them. Again, I noticed things in this book I’ve never noticed before. Just two more to go!

Bibliothon Wrap Up:

The first readathon I took part in this month was the Bibliothon where I was able to read 3 books. As you can see from the ratings, it wasn’t a very successful week.

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro two stars

I gave this book 2 stars but I definitely don’t think it’s a bad book. I just really don’t think it was for me. I just didn’t find the story of the characters interesting.

The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen two half stars

I’ve done a full review of this which you can find here: William Woolf Review. But basically, I really liked the premise of this book but I wish more was done with it.

Sweet Home by Carys Bray one half star

Again, I’ve done a full review of this which you can find here: Sweet Home Review. 

24 in 48 Readathon Wrap Up

This weekend long readathon also wasn’t too successful. I ended up DNFing 2 books but I did finish 1 book and start another.

Books I DNFed:

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West – I’ve never been so uninterested in a story before.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding – Second time trying to read this book. I just don’t like it. I won’t try again.

Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan three stars

Finally making my way through the last books in this series. I’m not hugely loving them just because his book do kind of feel like the same thing done again and again. But I really want to finish the Heroes of Olympus series.

The Help by Katherine Stockett four half stars

I started this during the readathon but finished it after. This was a second read for me and I loved it just as much as I did last time, if not more. Hilarious but heartbreaking. It’s close to a perfect novel.

Deweys 24 Hour Readathon

Dewey’s did a spontaneous Summer ‘reverse’ readathon where it started at 1am for me. I was so looking forward to this, however, there ended up being a lot of distractions that day. 

I was however able to read 3 books and one of those books was read during the craziest thunderstorm I’ve ever experienced, and it ended up being the perfect book to read during a storm. 

The Mist by Stephen King three half stars

This was the one I read in a storm and I’m still not sure if that was a good idea or not. It’s a sci-fi about the aftermath of a ferocious storm that brings in a Mist. That Mist brings along something deadly.

It’s got a very classic monster book feel to it and I really liked the writing style so I’ll definitely read more by King. However, the ending annoyed me. I get why authors do it and I get it leaves it open, but when an author does that and has no intention of continuing the story, it just feels lazy. That definitely didn’t dampen my enjoyment of it though. 

Five on Treasure Island by Enid Blyton two stars

I read this for nostalgic reasons as I loved the Famous Five books as a kid. It’s not a great book and I can now understand why Blyton gets a lot of criticism. It was very average. 

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han three stars

I read this book a few years ago and I remember not liking it, but I wanted to give the book another go because I already own all of the books. Thankfully, I really liked it this time around. The writing isn’t great at times and it is very cheesy but it’s what I want it to be. It’s a quick read that gives me the Summer vibes. 

Those were all the books I read in July. Next up is the BooktubeAThon so I’ll be doing daily updates on here and then a full wrap up at the end of the week. Then the rest of August is the NEWTs Readathon which so a lot of books are going to be read in August. 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

Summer Deweys 24Hr Readathon TBR

Hi Readers

This readathon doesn’t normally take place during the Summer but they’ve decided to run a ‘special edition’ of it and this time they’ve changed it up a little bit. You still read for 24 Hours and everyone still starts all together at a specific time but that time has now changed.

Usually, the readathon would start at 1PM for me here in the UK on the Saturday and run till 1pm on the Sunday. Now, the readathon starts at 1AM on the Saturday.

This is just so perfect for me. Before I’ve been a complete failure when it comes to Dewey. I start of strong but then it get’s to night time and I nod off, wake up in the morning and have just not been in the mood to continue. I’m hoping the new time means I’ll be able to stay motivated and I can finally have a successful Deweys!

So, my TBR. Seeing as BookTubeAThon starts next week I’m not going to be too ambitious with the amount. But I have some exciting books lined up:

Firstly, I want to start the readathon with The Mist by Stephen King. Horror as a genre doesn’t scare me so much anymore and I’d really like to get into King’s books. Plus, there’s meant to be thunderstorms overnight tonight, which is exciting and I feel like a horror book would be great to read during a thunderstorm. 

This one’s rather random. But I’ve been wanting to reread the first Famous Five book, Five on Treasure Island by Enid Blyton. This is a childhood favourite of mine and I want to see if I’d like it as much now. 

Next, I’d like to read Ask the Passengers by A.S. King. I tried a book of hers before called Reality Boy but DNFed it, but I want to give her another go. 

If I have time I may also read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenze. Maybe. I may not have time to though.

Lastly, I’d like to finish with House of Hades by Rick Riordan. I doubt I’ll finish this during Dewey but I’d like to get a good chunk of it done.

Good luck to anyone also doing Dewey’s!

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

BookTubeAThon TBR 2018

booktubeathon

Ahhhhh!!!!!!!

Hi Readers!

It’s that time of the year again where I must express my excitement with capital letters!

The 2018 BookTubeAThon is just around the corner and I am so ready for it. It’s definitely my favourite readathon out there and it the week where I’m always able to get a lot of reading done. And I have such an exciting pile of books lined up. 

So, I’ve based my TBR on the challenges because I love a good challenge. Here they are:

1, Let a coin toss decide your first read – I decided to pick two books on my ‘owned’ TBR and it was between We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves and My Sisters Keeper. My Sisters Keeper by Jodie Picoult came out on top.

2, Read a book about something you’ve always wanted to do – This is my favourite challenge this year and for it I have chosen A Room with a View by E.M Forster as I have always wanted to go to Italy. 

3, Read and Watch a book to movie adaptation – I’m going to reread Wonder by R.J Palacio for this. It’s been a while since I’ve read it and I still haven’t gotten around to watching the movie and I’ve heard some good things about it. 

4, Read a book with green on the cover – I will read Truly, Madly, Guilty by Lianne Moriarty for this. I read Big Little Lies last year and really enjoyed. I have lower expectations for this one but I’m hoping it’s a quick read. 

5, Read a book whilst wearing a hat – I kind of hate this challenge just because we are currently experiencing a heat wave in the UK and the only hat I own is a bobble hat and it’s just way too warm to wear it. So, if I do attempt this challenge, it will be attempted at night time with Matt Haig’s Notes On A Nervous Planet.

6, Read a book with a beautiful spine – I will be reading my Barnes and Noble edition of  Completed Sherlock Holmes. It certainly does have a gorgeous spine and I’ll be reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle which is a collection of short stories. 

7, Read 7 books – To complete this one I also hope to read The Surface Breaks by Louise O’ Neil. This is pitched as a ‘feminist retelling of The Little Mermaid’ which sounds epic. 

Seeing as for previous BookTubeAThons I have been able to do quite well and have been able to read more than 7 books I’m going to add a couple of extra books to my TBR. 

So, first I have Save the Date by Morgan Matson. I can’t believe I haven’t read this book yet as she is one of my favourite authors and this is her newest release. I’ve heard mixed things so I have slightly lower expectations but I still hope I love it. However, my library still hasn’t got this in, so I may be reading The Uexpected Everything instead. We’ll see. 

I also have Scythe by Neal Schusterman and Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney. I’m definitely overestimating my abilities here but these are only books I’ll get to if I have time. 

Let me know if you’re taking part this year!

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

 

August TBR: NEWTs Readathon

Hi Readers

On the first of August the NEWT’s readathon begins and I couldn’t not take part.

This is a readathon hosted by TheBookRoast and is a continuation of the OWL’s readathon that I took part in back in April. 

I can only ‘sit’ the ‘exams’ that I completed in the OWLs. I completed all of them BUT History of Magic and Astronomy. All of the others I’m attempting to complete which I know if so overly ambitious seeing as there are a lot more challenges this time around.

There are three challenges for every subject and if you want more info just click here and it will take you to all the challenges.

So, here’s what I plan on reading in August:

Subject Task Book
Ancient Ruins A: Book Set In The Past Gentlemens Guide to Vice and Virtue
E: Most Ancient Book On Your Shelf Persuasion (Jane Austen)
O: A Translated Book 1Q84
Arithmancy A: A Book At Least 300 Pages Basically anything. I’ll decide later. 
E: End On An Even Number Everything I Never Told You
O: Not the First In A Series Summer Trilogy by Jenny Han
Astronomy A: Stars On The Cover
E: Sky In The Title
O: Set On A Different Planet
Care Of Magical Creatures A: Animal On The Cover The Unexpected Everything
E: Under 160 Pages Beneath the Sugar Sky
O: Includes Dragons Deathly Hallows (Audiobook)
Charms A: Magic In It Half Blood Prince
E: A Beautiful Cover Swan Song
O: A Book That Will Leave a Mark And the Mountain Echoed
DADA  A: Last Book In A Series Jenny Han
E: A Foiled Book Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
O: Dark In Title Tender Is The Night (night time is dark, right?)
Divination A: Set In The Future Scythe
E: Under 200 Pages You Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down
O: A Mythology Book Percy Jackson (maybe)
Herbology A: A Green Cover The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
E: With Illustrations Amy And Roger
O: Either Light, Air, Sun of Water in Title The Sun is Also a Star
History of Magic A: Fit In At Hogwarts Library
E: At Least 5 Years Old
O: At Least 400 Pages
Muggle Studies A: A Favourite Author Morgan Matson’s Save the Date
E: A Biography Either Durrells or I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
O: A Retelling The Surface Breaks
Potions A: A Colour In The Title Half a Yellow Sun
E: A Male Lead Character Man Called Ove
O: Over 350 Pages East of Eden
Transfiguration A: A Grey Cover For Whom the Bell Tolls
E: A New Author Conversations With Friends
O: A Book Set In A kingdom/has royalty Throne of Glass

I may switch the books around throughout the month but basically, I want to read all of these books in August. Help. 

Anyway, if you’re taking part in the NEWTs this August GOOD LUCK!! 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

Book Review: The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen

91mZiW6608L

Published: July 2018 by Michael Joseph

Source: NetGalley

Genre: Historical Fiction

Length: 328 Pages

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 3.57

My Rating: two half stars

Hi Readers

This is one of those books where the premise ends up being better than the actual book.

This book is about William Woolf who works in the Lost Letters Department of the royal mail. He’s basically a letter detective and it’s his job to get the lost letters to where they’re meant to be.

I enjoyed this book and the writing style was easy to get into and was really enjoyable. However, I feel like so much could’ve been done with this premise. It’s so interesting to read little snippets of peoples lives and how much people open up in their letters. I feel like we just didn’t see enough of that.

The plot ends up mostly focusing on William’s failing marriage. It’s not necessarily a bad thing as it was well written and I did find I cared for these characters, especially after learning more of their history together and what with it following both points of view. It’s just, that side of the plot wasn’t very original and I did feel like I’d seen it done before. 

What I don’t get is when you have (in my opinion) such an original idea as a ‘lost letter detective’ but then focus the book on a failing marriage. It’s such a wasted opportunity. 

That being said, what we did see of the letters I enjoyed and it was a well written novel. 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

 

 

24 in 48 Readathon TBR

Hi Readers!

Tomorrow the 24in48 readathon starts. It’s a two day readathon where you aim to read for 24 hours out of the 48. It’s basically a more chilled version of the 24 hour readathon. Here’s what I plan on reading for it.

Finish Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan – I’ve only just started this book so I’ll probably spend the majority of the first day finishing it.

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West – This has been on my kindle for years and I always forget about it. I want to finally knock it off my TBR.

The Mist – I really want to start getting into Stephen King. I’m not so scared of ‘horror’ novels anymore and I love the premise of this one. Should be interesting.

Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman – If I keep putting this off summers going to pass by and i still will not have read it. It needs to be done!

Let me know if you’re taking part this weekend! 

Thanks for reading,

Jess X

 

 

Book Review: Sweet Home by Carys Bray

26889289

Published: Feburary 2016 by Windmill Books

Length: 178 Pages

Source: Library

Genre: Magical Realism

Goodreads Avg. Rating: 3.94

My Rating: one half star

Hi Readers

This is the first book that I have read from my new and improved TBR jar (blog post for that can be found here.) This book is to help me complete my 2018 goal of reading 5 Short Story collections. This is probably the third SS collection I’ve ever read and I wanted to explore the genre more. 

Unfortunately, I’m not sure SS collections are for me. It’s hard for me to describe this book as there’s no story line and for me the theme was so one dimensional and, if I’m being brutally honest, badly explored.

This book was sold to me as ‘telling the story of joy, heartache, sadness and unwavering love through seventeen different notions of home.’ But for me, there was very little variation on these different households. Maybe it’s because they’re short stories so there’s little opportunity to flesh out these characters and their lives and I’m not used to that style, but the characters just all felt the same. 

Also, a lot of the stories just lost my interest. There just wasn’t a lot of depth to them and nothing about them drew me in. There was probably 5 of the 15 stories that kept my interest.

There was a couple of stand out short stories though. For example I really enjoyed the titular story ‘Sweet Home’. It was definitely the stand-out story and was so good if she fleshed it out into a full length novel of it’s own, I would read it. It was kind of a retelling of Hansel and Gretel about an German woman who moves to a small town and is faced with a lot of prejudice and hostlity from the locals because of where she comes from.

I will continue my quest with short story collections and try and find one I enjoy. It’s very possible this book just wasn’t for me. 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X