A Month of Reading: January ’19

a month of reading

Hi Readers

I’m going to start off by summing up this months reading with two words. Oh dear. 

I could say the reading didn’t go well but, really, it just didn’t happen. There are a lot of factors that come into why but the biggest is honestly I just didn’t know what I wanted to read. 


This month I wanted to read the books I own. Books that have been sitting on my bookshelf for a while. I put 5 books onto my TBR. I read one. 

Other than that I read 2 other books, a library book and a Netgalley ARC. So, overall, three books. For me, that’s a bad reading month. I can’t remember the last time I only read three books in a month. 

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
•Library Book• •Fantasy• •Published 2017• •Adult• •Fantasy World•

I felt the same about this book as I did about her other series Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I can see why the hype is so big, and perhaps it just wasn’t for me, but I didn’t enjoy it. I never felt invested in the characters and honestly just didn’t care. 

It’s a fantasy that’s very hyped and very well loved but, to be completely honest, I’ve completely forgotten what this is about.

The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
•Netgalley ARC• •Historical Fiction• •Published 2019• •Adult• •Britain•

The first book of this year that I really loved. This was a Netgalley ARC and it comes out in May and trust me, if you enjoy Historical Fiction, you’re going to want to add this to your TBR. It’s actually made me want to pick up more of the genre. 

This is set during Victorian England and it’s about art, dreams, love and obsession. It’s beautifully written and very well researched.


Burial Rites by Hannah Kent ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 
•Book I Own• •Historical Fiction• •Published 2015• •Adult• •Iceland• 

This was a good read. It was beautifully written and very atmospheric. Honestly, I just found it a bit boring. 

This is a ‘whydunnit’ based on the last execution that took place in Iceland. A woman is convicted for murder and, as we go on, we learn more about her and the reason why she did what she did. 



I also picked up 5 books that I ended up DNFing. Like I said, I just didn’t know what I wanted to read.

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor – Her books just aren’t for me. I felt like I was forcing myself to read something that I just wasn’t interested in. 

The Things I Could Tell You – This is an anthology written by Muslim women. I started reading this because it’s a pick for the Our Shared Shelf book club but I just couldn’t get through it. This is a weird mix of so many genres and it felt messy. 

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood -This is a weird one because I was enjoying it but I just feel like I don’t have time to read it right now. I’ll give it another go sometime. 

The Long Way to a Small and Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – I’ve officially come to the conclusion I don’t like things set in space. It’s really not my thing. 


Honestly, I’m feeling a little deflated after January but I’d love to turn it around in February. I’ve got a very exciting theme lined up and I’m going to participate in a readathon which will hopefully give me a bit of a boost.

How did your January reading go? 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

Will These Be My Favourite Books of 2019?


Hi Readers

At the end of each year something basically all book bloggers love to do is look back on their year of reading and talk about the best books they read. I’ve done this for the past five years and it’s something I’ll definitely be doing come the end of this year. 

This time around I thought I would do something a little different. In my favourite books of the year post I list my top 10 of the year. In this post I am going to try and predict what those books will be. 

I’m basing this on what I’ve heard people say about the book and how excited I am to read it. I’m hoping to love all of these and, if they meet my expectations, they’ll make my 2019 favourites list. 


The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon – This is my most anticipated release of the year and I have a strong feeling I’m going to love it. 

Brave New World by Aldous Hexley – This is one of the early sci-fi novels that still inspires people today. I reckon this is going to be very thought provoking.

The Unseen World by Liz Moore – Again, this is just one of the most praised books I own. I’m so excited to read this!

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones – Well, if it’s good enough for Oprah.

‘Something’ by Brandon Sanderson – I really want to read more Sanderson this year. I just don’t know what yet.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari – This isn’t something I would typically pick up but I am definitely intrigued.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman – So far everything I’ve read by this author hasn’t wowed me so I probably shouldn’t have too high hopes for this. But I just love books based on mythology so here’s hoping I finally love a book of his. 

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky – This still doesn’t have a release date but everything I’ve read says it’s coming out this year. It sounds very different to Perks but I still have high hopes for it.

The Astonishing Colour of After by X. R. Pan – This is a random one because before this week I had never heard of this book. But after reading a lot of peoples 2018 favourites posts this book came up a lot. 

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco – This could either go two ways. I could love this and it becomes a new favourite book of all time, or I won’t even get half-way through. We shall see.


Thanks for reading!

Jess X

Books On My Shelf That I Want Everyone To Read

reading recommendations

Hi Readers

In 2019 I’m making monthly themes for my TBRs. January’s theme was to read books that I own and I thought it would be a great opportunity to recommend you the books I have read, own and love.

I don’t always buy the books I read as a lot of them come from the library. So when I buy a book and keep it I know it’s because it’s special. 


The Neapolitan Series by Elena Ferrante – This is a beautiful series about friendship and growing up in an impoverished part of Naples, Italy. I actually hope to reread this series this Summer. 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – This book is probably my favourite coming of age. It’s set in 1980’s America and it’s about the importance of music, books, friendship and so, so much more. 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – At this point you’ve either already read this book or it’s on your TBR for this year and that is because this book really is incredible. 

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Bejamine Alire Saenz – I’ve read this book so many times now and every time I reread it I end up loving it a little bit more. The authors currently writing a sequel but it’s still a waiting game for that. 

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – This is a unique novel that basically explores the whole of black history starting with slavery right up to present day America. It’s extraordinary how many years this book covers. 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – Definitely my favourite Bronte novel. Possibly even my favourite classic. I love reading Jane’s journey and each time I read it I notice something new. 


Have you read any of these books? Let me know!

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

24in48 Readathon TBR


Hi Readers

This weekend the 24 in 48 readathon is happening. A chance to make reading your only priority for a whole weekend. The aim is to read for 24 hours within a 48 hour time frame. It’s basically a more chilled version of a 24 hour readathon.

So far this month I’ve read a total of four books. I’m saying that’s a bad number but it is way smaller than what I would usually read. I’d like to use this readathon to hopefully up my total a little bit.

I’m hoping to finish at least two books. The first being The Long Way to A Small and Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. I’m in the middle of this and I hope to finish it pretty quickly tomorrow.

I’d also like to read Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood and, if I have time, I want to try and possibly start A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. 

Are you taking part in 24 in 48? Let me know what you plan on reading!

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

Book Review: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

book review

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Published: 2013 by Brown and Company
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 339
Goodreads Avg. Rating: 4.02
My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Hi Readers

This is a fictional account of a true story. Whilst on holiday Hannah Kent came across the spot of the final execution in Iceland and she was quickly intrigued by it. She found out all she could and learnt that a woman had been found guilty of murder but one question remained unanswered, why?

That’s exactly what this book is. It’s a whydunnit rather than a whodunnit and it kept me hooked from the very beginning. 

In this fictionalisation of the true events the murderess is housed with a farming family until the day of her execution. Who, of course, are horrified and attempt to keep out of her way. Until they learn that, whilst she is a murderer, they do not know the full story. 

“To know what a person has done, and to know who and person is, are very different things.”

This is the first book I have ever read that was set in Iceland, and what a way to be introduced to a beautiful country. The landscape was so vividly written that is was a character in itself. The harsh and unforgiving landscape really adds to the dark atmosphere. 

The reason why I only gave it three stars was because I just feel a bit flat about it. It was definitely a beautifully written story but not a lot really goes on. Also, I found the ‘reason why’ was quite predictable.

I feel like there’s not many people left who haven’t read this, but if you like historical fiction and you haven’t Burial Rites yet I recommend you do. 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X


Top 5 Tuesday – Books That Need to Be a Movie

top 5 tuesday

Note: Hosted by BionicBookworm

Hi Readers

This weeks topic is books we want to be adapted into movies. 2019 is such an exciting year for book adaptations but sadly none of these are happening…yet. I still have my fingers crossed for them.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – I have a feeling this is going to be on a lot of peoples lists and for good reason.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – Because I love a good British comedy that also hits you in the feels. 

Legend by Marie Lu – This could be happening and I really hope it does. Who doesn’t love a movie full of freerunners and rebels?

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi – I’m cheating with this one because I actually think this would make a great TV Show. But it HAS to be adapted somehow.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon – This has so much potential but it’s such a huge project to take on. 

What book do you hope gets turned into a movie? 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X





Book Review: The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

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Published: 2nd May 2019 by Pan Macmillan

Length: 338 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Netgalley

Goodreads Avg. Rating: 4.20

My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐


Hello Readers!

This is the first book review of the year on this blog and what a way to start. Prepare yourself for seeing this book everywhere because I have a feeling this is going to be a popular release come April.

Set in Victorian England, a girl who dreams of art is given an opportunity to become an artists model, earning lessons in return. But to accept this amazing offer she would be forced to leave her sister and risk her reputation. In the shadows watching this story unfold is a troubled man with increasingly dark thoughts.

This is Macneal’s debut novel but everything about this writing was practised and skilled. It’s descriptions are beautifully rich and each character became so vivid in my mind. It transported me to Victorian England and explored parts of it I have never seen before. You can tell she really did her research.

For a while this book feels like a quiet story about Iris,  a girl who dreams to be free. But it slowly takes a dark turn when we are introduced to Silas, a taxidermist who becomes obsessed with Iris. The creepiness of those scenes advance so subtly and his thoughts were so unsettling to read.

This book has a chillingly gothic feel that had me hooked from the get go. When I was forced to put it down I was itching to pick it back up again. I recommend this to anyone looking for a good historical fiction to read on these cold winter days. 

Thanks for reading,

Jess X