I Won NaNoWriMo and Blogmas!

comfort reads writes

Hi Readers

In November I participated in National Novel Writing Month. It was a completely spur of the moment decision and I started the month without even an idea of what I wanted to write. I now have something that resembles the beginnings of a novel, and I am 50,000 words deep into it. 

I won’t lie, I’m shocked that I was able to do that, I’ve really surprised myself. I had a slow start but half way through I just became so determined to win it this year. My best word count for a day was 4,714 words. 

I still have a long way to go before the story is finished. But right now I’m going to take a step back from it to focus on Blogmas and enjoy the festive season. 

Speaking of Blogmas, it’s happening again this year! I must be crazy trying to post on here every day until Christmas but honestly it’s now one of the reasons why I look forward to December. I couldn’t not do it!

It starts tomorrow and ends Christmas Eve. Wish me luck!

Thanks for reading,

Jess X

Top 5 Tuesday – Winter Reads

t5t

Hosted by Bionic Bookworm!

Hi Readers!

It’s about to start getting very cold on this blog. Blogmas is just around the corner and for today’s Top 5 Tuesday we’re going to be talking about Winter reads. Here are 5 books I associate with Winter.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – Winter in Russia? Beautiful. 

Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson – I always like a good thick fantasy read when the weathers cold. 

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar – I also love thick historical fiction. 

Emma by Jane Austen – And a thick classic. 

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – I always get into the mood of rereading this during the Winter. And I think I might just do that this year. 

Let me know if you’ve taken part in this weeks Top 5 Tuesday!

Thanks for reading!

Jess X

Non-Festive End of the Year TBR

TBR

Hi Readers

I’ve been enjoying reading/watching these TBR posts a lot lately so I decided to join in.

Seeing as I have just spent a month of basically no reading thanks to NaNoWriMo I’m keeping this really casual. I’ve just picked a bunch of cosy books I’m sure I’m going to enjoy.

I say non-festive because I do have quite a few Christmas themed books I’d love to read in December, but I will do a separate post for those during blogmas!

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare – I’m not a huge fan of this series but I absolutely have to know how it ends.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman – This is constantly described as heart-warming and that sounds like a perfect read for this time of year. 

War of the Worlds by H.G Wells – I’ve always been curious about this book but now even more so seeing as the BBC have adapted this novel. Plus it’s short and seeing as I read barely anything in November. I want to speed through a few shorties before the months out. 

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – This is a reread, I’ve been wanting to annotate these for a while now.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik – I wrote a fantasy for NaNoWriMo and so I’ve just been craving fantasy. I don’t really want to start a new series yet so a standalone seemed perfect. I’ve heard great things about this one. 

Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin – This is another that just seems so heartwarming. Plus, I love books about books. 

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend – This book has blown up this year and it sounds so cute and cosy. It’s a middle grade about a girl who is blamed for all the local misfortunes. Her luck is changed when she’s whisked away to Nevermoor. 

Tilly and the Book Wanderers – Another book about books. This is about a little girl who lives in a bookshop and discovers the magic of ‘book wandering.’ She meets characters such as Alice (in Wonderland) and Anne (of Green Gables,) and they help her solve the mystery of her mother.

What end of year reading plans do you have?

Thanks for reading

Jess X

 

Down the TBR Hole #10

down the tbr hole

Hello Readers

This series is all about cleaning up those Goodreads shelves so that the only ones remaining are books you 100% want to get to. Here are the next 10!

  1. Mend the Living by Maylis De Kerangal – Keep – This book sounds beautiful and like nothing I’ve read before. 
  2. Release by Patrick Ness – Keep – Patrick Ness’s books are hit and miss for me, but this one sounds like something I’d enjoy. I don’t know when I’ll get to it though. 
  3. The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell – Delete – I feel like enjoying The Durrells, a fictionalisation of Lawrence’s family and there time living in Corfu, isn’t enough of a reason to read this book. 
  4. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green – Delete – I just have zero interest in John Green’s books now. 
  5. David Bowie Is… by Victoria Broackes – Keep – I really enjoy his music but I don’t really know much about David Bowie’s life, and this seems like a good biography. 
  6. A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny – Delete – I didn’t enjoy Still Life, another book by this author, so I won’t be reading anything else by her. 
  7. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion – Keep – I will admit this doesn’t really sound like my type of thing, but some reviewers whose opinions I really trust just loved this book, so I’ll have to give it a go. 
  8. About Alice by Calvin Trillin – Keep – This book just seems so touching. 
  9. The Past by Tessa Hadley – Delete – Nothing about the synopsis for this book excites me.
  10. Between the World and Me by TabyNehisi – Keep – I actually hope to read this book this month. 

Verdict:

Keep: 6 
Delete: 4

Thanks for reading!

Jess X

Book Review: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

51v55L2fxfLPublished: 2016 by Spiegel and Grau

Genre: Non-Fiction

Length: 304 Pages

Goodreads Avg. Rating: 4.44

My Rating: four stars

 

Hi Readers

In this book Trevor Noah recounts his childhood growing up in South Africa as mixed-race during a time when it was illegal for different races to have relationships.

In all honesty, before going into this book, I knew nothing about South Africa, nor Trevor Noah. SA’s history was never taught in my school and I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that is set there. I didn’t realise what a vast history it had and I definitely want to read and learn more about it.

Growing up mixed-race during apartheid in SA is the biggest plot of this novel. Being neither black nor white meant he didn’t really belong with either.  People treated him differently and he had to work harder than others to fit in. He faced different challenges and reaped different benefits.

The history of apartheid and why it wasn’t right and would never have ‘worked’ is so well explained. He made it engaging and interesting with his educational viewpoints and witty remarks. I want this book to be made required reading in schools around the world.

His mother is a big star of this book. I fell in love with the woman. She is head-strong, determined and just utterly brilliant. She worked so hard to get as good a life for him as possible and it made her so inspirational.

The only thing that knocked it down a star for me was the chronology. It was a bit jumpy and all over the place and I’m not a fan of books that do that.

Also, the book stops very abruptly and I feel like it falls short of the mark. It didn’t answer my burning question, how did he get from this to being a big comedy star in America? It felt like a big chunk of his life is missing. Maybe we could get a sequel?

Thanks for reading!

Jess X

Top 5 Tuesday – Books That Drained My Emotions

t5t

Hosted by Bionic Bookworm!

Hi Readers

This weeks topic is books that drained your emotions. I’ve taken this as books that made me feel miserable about hate humanity. Those books are always fun, huh? 

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – For obvious reasons. 

Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys – I hate this book but I love this book. 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – This book just makes you feel all the emotions. 

The Kite Runner by Khaled Housseini – This is a tough read.

Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman – I still don’t know how to feel about the situation in this book. 

Let me know if you’ve taken part in this weeks T5T!

Thanks for reading!

Jess X

 

Book Review: Cordially Invited by Zoe Sugg (Zoella)

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Review up on my blog! Link in bio!

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Hi Readers

This book is branded as being your go to guide to becoming the ‘hostess with the mostess.’ It comes with tips and recipes to spice up every occasion.

Of course, it being written by Zoella, this book is already being slated. You type the book into YouTube and the first thing that comes up is ‘Don’t buy this book’ and ‘Zoella the scammer’s at it again’. I’m here today to try and give you an as unbiased opinion as I possibly can.

I’ll start off by saying I do not think this book is a scam or that Zoe made this purely to ‘get as much money out of her 10 year old viewers as she possibly can’. However, I don’t think this book is all that amazing either.

Let’s start off with the positives. First off, this book is beautiful. It’s got lovely designs, it’s lay out is sleek, the pictures are bright and natural and vast in quantity. It’s all very aesthetically pleasing and I’ll definitely get a few grams out of it.

This book has something for everyone. There are DIY how to’s suitable for children, there are recipes for some of her favourite meals. There’s a lot of people looking at this and thinking it means Zoe doesn’t know who her audience is, but I see it as her trying to include her entire audience in this book. Because as much as people try and throw around fake statistics, Zoe’s audience is not entirely made up of under 15’s.

I’ve heard people critique this book for having too many recipes but I really liked them and I’ve actually written down some before I take the book back to the library. There are recipes for chutneys, deserts and some really nice looking dinners to go with every season. 

Cordially Invited is supposed to be about hosting but that’s not all that’s in here. There’s also a lot of home and lifestyle tips and seasonal activity ideas. Honestly the issues come in when she starts talking about how to host the perfect party. 

There were times when the hosting tips she gave insulted me. (Verging on mean here, but) does Zoe think her audience is full of idiots? There are so many tips that are just common sense, I mean, no one needs a book to tell them to keep the toilet roll stocked up, do they?

Like I said before, I don’t think she’s made this just for the ‘cha ching.’ I do however feel she’s lost touch with reality a little bit. Some of the introductions made me cringe so bad and I was just thinking ‘how does anyone have the time to be thinking about stuff like this?’

Now, for the worst thing about this book. Recycled ideas. A lot of the recipes and how-to crafts is stuff I’ve previously seen on Pinterest or already on her YouTube channel/blog for free. I don’t think she really created anything new with this book. I will say it’s handy to have it all in one place though.

This book really isn’t all bad, I just think it would’ve been better if she hadn’t gone down the route of ‘hosting.’ 

Thanks for reading!

Jess X