The Women’s Prize Shortlist and My Thoughts!

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Hi Readers

The shortlisted books for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019 was announced last night at midnight and this year there’s a great mix of genres. We have some contemporaries, a couple of fantasies and a thriller.

I initially set out to read the entire longlist when it was announced but unfortunately this year I was only able to get to 6 of the 16 books.

On the shortlist I have read half, DNFed two and going to get to one. We’ll start with those I was able to read.

Circe by Madeline Miller – This is one I knew would be on here even though I didn’t necessarily love it myself. As the title suggests this tells the story of greek goddess Circe who only played a minor role in the greek myths.

My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite – A thriller that wasn’t very thrilling but explores a very complex sister relationship.

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker – This is another greek myth retelling and tells the story of achilles through the eyes of his slave Briseis. I haven’t got around to doing a full review of this book yet but I think I probably will because I have some thoughts. Basically, this isn’t entirely what I expected but I didn’t hate it. 

Now onto the ones I haven’t read…

Ordinary People by Diana Evans – Now, I had planned to not read this. It doesn’t really sound like my cup of tea as it’s about marriage and that’s not a subject that I find interesting in books. Which leads onto the next one…

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones –  …which is obviously about marriage. I had tried to read this book before the longlist was announced and I actually DNFed it and planned on never picking it up again. I will give it another try but I’m not opposed to DNFing it again. 

Milkman by Anna Burns – I did give this a try and I actually wasn’t hating it. The way it explores Ireland and the Troubles there I found very unique and interesting. I had to put it down though as I basically felt like I was rushing it. I will have to set aside a week to just focus on this book sometime in May. 

Not long now until 2019 winner will be announced. You have until June 5th to read these 6 books if you’re interested!

If you have read them, what do you think? Was there anything you hoped would make the shortlist that didn’t? I’m very disappointed Normal People isn’t here as it was definitely my favourite of the ones I read. 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

 

2 Book Reviews: Easter Weekend Reading Wrap Up

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My Easter reads

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Hi Readers

Last week I made a list of four books I wanted to read over the Easter Weekend. I was only able to get to three of them and I found a couple of new favourites.

The first book I read was Spring by Ali Smith and this quickly became my favourite Smith book yet. Then I My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodie Meadows and Brodi Ashton which was totally not what I was expecting but I loved it anyway. Finally I started my reread of Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier which I will have to finish next weekend.

My Thoughts on Spring…

This is the third book in Smith’s Seasonal Quartet and follows the same theme as the others in that it’s very current. This book hits on topics and issues that are still in the news headlines and honestly feels like it was written just yesterday.

It tackles so many themes. Migrants and the treatment of them, climate change, brexit, library closures and social media being just a few of them. 

The reason this became a new favourite was because for me, past Ali Smith books have lacked good, strong characters. But I quickly came to love the characters we meet in Spring and also their relationships with each other. 

You don’t need to have read the first two in this quartet to read this one so if you’re looking for the perfect spring read, read Spring. 

I gave this book ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

My Thoughts on My Lady Jane…

Before going into this book I didn’t really know what it was about, only that it was a retelling of the life of Lady Jane Grey (the nine day queen). So I was a little surprised when this book took a fantasy turn. 

In this alternate London some people (Eðians) can shift into animals. Before, they were looked down upon and persecuted. That was until King Henry VIII spontaneously turned into a lion, and we all know he liked changing laws so these Eðians became protected. 

Now his son is on the throne, but ill and dying. Advised that his sisters won’t continue to protect Eðians he marries his cousin Jane off to an Eðian and plans to name her first son the heir to the throne. 

I love this period of history and definitely need to read more books set in it. The added fantasy made this book fun and just a little more exciting but I have a feeling I would’ve loved it anyway. I loved the characters and relationships. It was a lot of fun to read. 

I gave this book ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

How did your Easter weekend reading go?

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

Top 5 Mind Blowing Mystery/Thrillers

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Created by Bionic Bookworm

Hi Readers

When it comes to thrillers they’re really hit or miss with me. Either they blow my mind of bore my brains out. These ones really hit the mark and so if you’re looking for a gasp rendering twisty novel, look no further.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – I feel like everyone must have heard of this book by now thanks to the TV show. I preferred the book although I’m excited to see the story continued. 

Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land – It was a while ago since I read this but whenever I think of this book a chill comes over me. I remember the writing being so creepy and unsettling. I also read this in one sitting. I could not put it down. 

Cormoran Strike Series by Robert Galbraith – If you like British crime TV Shows then you’ll probably like these books. It follows a private detective whose ex military and his partner Robin.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton – This mystery has a bit of sci-fi mixed in to make it one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. 

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng – This is another one that’s definitely due a reread. But it’s great mystery that is also about family and being Chinese American in the 1970’s. 

Let me know if you’ve taken part in this weeks top 5 tuesday!

Thanks for reading,

Jess X

Book Review: As Far As the Stars… a wedding, a missing plane and a road trip

Author: Virginia Macgregor
Published: May 2019 by HQ Young Adult
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 384 Pages
Source: Netgalley
My Rating: ⭐ ⭐

Hi Readers!

In this book we meet Air, who is responsible for her kind of careless older brother, Blake. It’s the eve of their sisters wedding and Blake has gotten onto the wrong plane so Air must now road trip across the country to get him to the wedding on time. 

At the airport Air immediately knows something is wrong. The plane is delayed but nobody can give more information. Air, however, is convinced her brother didn’t get on that plane. With the help of Christopher, a boy she met who was waiting for someone on the same plane, they decide travel back to the wedding together.

It’s very hard to talk about this book without spoiling it so I won’t go too deep in this review. I love emotional, hard hitting contemporaries and that is certainly what it is. These two characters both have loved ones on a missing plane and you really get a sense of their worry and disbelief.

During the road trip they inevitably start bonding and start getting to know each other, and as they get to know each other we get to know them and you do come to care about them. 

But honestly I found this all a little strange. These two characters were not acting like I would expect two people who were worried about loved ones would act and some of the things they did and the decisions they made didn’t sit well with me. I also found Air to be very frustrating sometimes. 

Thanks for reading,

Jess X

Easter Weekend Reads

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Hi Readers!

Easter Weekend starts tomorrow and I couldn’t be more excited. My plans include obsessing over the fact that TS7 is coming, eating lots of chocolate, baking my own hot cross buns (hopefully that works out well) and, of course, reading lots of books.

I actually have four books I would like to read so that’s a book a day and I’m so excited to get to them.

The first I’ll be reading is, fittingly, Spring by Ali Smith. This is the third book in her ‘seasons’ quartet and I’ve seen some great reviews for this one.

I also hoped to get to Every Last Word by Tamara Island Stone but my copy at the library has yet to come in which is a little annoying. Hopefully it comes in on Saturday but if it doesn’t I’ll pick another contemporary.

Next I’d like to read My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows and Brodi Ashton. This book has so many glowing reviews and I love a historical fiction, especially if it’s about the Tudors.

Finally, if I have time, I’d like to start Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. I’ve been meaning to reread this book for a while and it’s been a while since I read a classic.

What are your plans for this weekend? Have a lovely one!

Thanks for reading,

Jess X

3 Mini Book Reviews: Why I Should Just UnHaul Books I’ve DNFed

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Hi Readers

About a week ago I made a decision to read more of the books that I own in the hopes that by 2020 I will have significantly fewer books that have sat on my shelf unread for years. 

Since then my reading choices have been to succeed in that mission (and complete the OWLs Challenges of course) so I have finally knocked off three books that I have owned for about three years. 

These three books in particular were all books I had previously DNFed but for whatever reason I decided to keep them with the intention of giving them another go later. Well, later has happened and I’m happy I’ve done this. I can finally say I’ve read them and I never have to pick them up again. 

The first book was The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I know. Probably one of the most famous/read book of the 21st century. And I gave it 1 Star. Awkward. 

There’s a few reasons for this and one of those reasons isn’t really the books fault. It’s so hyped and so praised that my expectations were very high and so my disappointment was very high. 

Honestly though I don’t think this book would have been for me anyway. The long-winded descriptions made it feel like a tour guide for Paris and I found a lot of the mysterious codes were quite reaching and over-explained. 

The second book I got to was Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey. This book was quite popular in the UK on it’s release and I gave it Two Stars. This is a mystery (sort of) in the point of view of an elderly woman living with dementia. 

I do appreciate what this book did. It really shows you what people living with dementia goes through and what the people around them goes through as well. It was just the mystery element that bored me. For me I found it very obvious and by the end I just thought ‘how did it take us 275 pages to get to this?

The third and final book was one you might find a bit shocking but it is Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, which I gave One Star. 

Again, the hype meant more disappointment but honestly, lack of interest is what made this book a one star read for me. I couldn’t have cared less about the characters or this type of post-apocalypse where half the book is before the apocalypse even happens. I just found it so dull. 

I’m wondering, have you ever ended up liking, or even loving a book that you had previously DNFed? 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

Game of Thrones Book Tag

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Hi Readers

The final season of Game of Thrones is single-digit days away and, being a huge fan of the show, I am so excited (and scared) for it to begin…and end. 

I thought, in honour of it being the final season I should do the Game of Thrones book tag. The questions for this are based on the Game of Thrones houses.

HOUSE LANNISTER: HEAR ME ROAR – Name a book that you originally loved, but upon a re-read realised that it wasn’t so great after all.

Honestly, every John Green book. 

HOUSE STARK: WINTER IS COMING – Name your most anticipated book release 

I’m so excited for Elizabeth Avecedo’s second novel. I only just found out about it but I am hyped!

HOUSE TARGARYEN: FIRE AND BLOOD – Name a book that you felt completely slayed with fantastic characters, plot, pacing, etc.

The last time a book slayed me like this was Normal People by Sally Rooney. Here’s hoping it makes the Womens Prize shortlist! Not long now!

HOUSE BARATHEON: OURS IS THE FURY – Name a book that ended with a cliffhanger ending that genuinely pissed you off.

Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling). 

HOUSE MARTELL: UNBOWED. UNBENT. UNBROKEN. – Name a book, or book series, that’s been on your TBR since the dawn of time.

Too many to list here. One that I hope to get to soon though is The Chaos Walking trilogy. 

HOUSE BOLTON: OUR BLADES ARE SHARP – Name the most graphic or disturbing book that you’ve ever read.

Misery by Stephen King. But, I mean, I expect nothing less from him. 

HOUSE TYRELL: GROWING STRONG – Name a book, or book series, that gets better and better with every re-read.

Harry Potter (all of them) and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. 

So those are all the questions! I won’t tag anyone because I have no clue who watched GoT or not.

Who’s excited for tomorrow (or Monday if you’re in the UK? I may do a ‘favourite theories’ post tomorrow. Right now I’m scared for all of my favourite characters. Who are you hoping makes it to the bitter end?

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X