What I Read In August – NEWTs Readathon Wrap-Up

Hi Readers!

For the past month I have been reading books for the NEWTs readathon. I wasn’t able to read everything I planned because, as usual, I was way too ambitious.

I was, however, able to read 13 books. I would’ve read a lot more, but this month seemed to be the month of DNF’s. 

These are the books and subjects I was able to complete:

Arithmancy – 

A – No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
E – FrankissStein by Jeanette Winterson ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
O – Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson ⭐ ⭐

Astronomy –

A – The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen ⭐ ⭐
E – The Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry ⭐ 

Care of Magical Creatures –

A – Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennet ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
E – Lanny by Max Porter ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
O – Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

Defence Against the Dark Arts

A – The Wall by John Lanchester ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
E- Red White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston ⭐ ⭐
O – Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone by J.K. Rowling ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Muggle Studies

A – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
E – Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Everisto ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

 

 

 

Taylor Swift’s Lover…she’s done it again and I am obsessed.

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Hi Readers, Music Lovers & Swifties

I tend to keep this quiet on my book blog and focus on just books. But there is one thing that I love just as much as reading a good book, and that is Taylor Swift. 

Her music has meant the world to me for the past 11 years. She’s the artist I get up at 5am for to listen to her new music, the only famous person I follow on twitter and the only singer who’s every album I have bought and loved. 

When the Lover era started, I knew it was going to be a total 180 from Reputation. While we were still calling this album TS7 I knew this album would be about love, happiness and her gorgeous Joe. We like Joe. 

From the first track it feels like a fresh start. By the last track you’ve been through the same rollercoaster of emotions that Taylor has been feeling for the past couple of years. She’s remained as open and honest as she always has. 

There’s highs and lows. Songs that will make you dance and songs that will make you cry. Songs to chill with on the beach and songs to dance to in the club. This album also gave unmarried Swifties their wedding song. 

So yeah, this album was a real gift that I have been enjoying non-stop for the past 5 days. I thought I would go through each song. Give a rating out of 10 and share my favourite lyric from that song (if I can choose just one (spoiler alert, I rarely chose just one)). 

Before I do that though. I have just one request. With the release of You Need to Calm Down back in July Taylor started a petition for the equality act. Every signature counts so if you’re for equality, here’s the link: https://www.change.org/p/support-the-equality-act

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I Forgot That You Existed – 9/10

“It isn’t love, it isn’t hate, it’s just indifference.”

Cruel Summer – 9/10

“Devils roll the dice. Angels roll their eyes. What doesn’t kill me makes me want you more.”

“If I bleed, you’ll be the last to know.”

Lover – 10/10

“We could leave the Christmas lights up until January. This is our place, we make the rules.”

“My hearts been borrowed and your’s has been blue. All’s well that ends well to end up with you.”

The Man – 8/10

“I’d be a fearless leader. I’d be an alpha type. When everyone believes ya, whats that like?’

“I’d be just like Leo in Saint-Tropez.”

The Archer – 9/10

“All of my heroes die all alone. Help me hold onto you.”

I Think He Knows – 8/10

“We could follow the sparks. I’ll drive.”

Miss Americanah and the Heartbreak Prince – 9/10

“You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.”

“And I’ll never let you GO! Cause I know this is a FIGHT! That someday we’re gonna WIN!”

Paper Rings – 10/10

“I like shiny things, but I’d marry you with paper rings.”

“Without all of the exes, fights and falls we wouldn’t be standing here so tall.”

Cornelia Street – 10/10

“We were a fresh page on a desk filling in the blanks as we go.”

“I turned around before I hit the tunnel.”

Death by a Thousand Cuts – 9/10

“I look through the windows of this love. Even though we’ve boarded them up.”

“Paper cut stings from our paper thin plans.”

“I gave you too much but it wasn’t enough.”

London Boy – 8/10

“They say home is where the heart is. But God I love the English.”

Soon You’ll Get Better – 10/10

“Desperate people find faith, so now I pray to Jesus too.”

False God – 7/10

“I can’t talk to you when you’re like this. Staring out the window like I’m not your favourite town. I’m New York City.”

You Need to Calm Down – 10/10

“Shade never made anybody less gay!”

“And we see you over there on the internet. Comparing all the girls who are killing it. But we’ve figured you out. We all know now. We all got crowns. You need to calm down.”

Afterglow – 9/10

“Fighting with a true love is like boxing with no gloves. Chemistry till it blows up, till there’s no us.”

ME! – 8/10

“I promise that nobody’s gonna love you like me.”

It’s Nice to Have a Friend – 7/10

“Lost my gloves, you give me one.”

Daylight – 10/10

“I wounded the good and trusted the wicked. Clearing the air I breathed in the smoke.”

“Threw out the coats and daggers because it’s morning now. It’s brighter now.”

“I once believed love was burning red. But it’s golden.”

“Step into the daylight and let it go.”

swirly

Stream it or buy it and enjoy. 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

Book Review: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

book review

Published: May 2019 by Hamish Hamilton
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 464 Pages
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Girl, Woman, Other came to my attention because it was recently longlisted for the manbooker prize. I must say, I hope this goes on to win it. 

This is a series of interconnected short stories, all told from the point of view of women. The stories told explore a diverse range of topics such as sexuality, gender identity, sexual violence, race and much more. 

Each story is told through 12 characters and every single one so prevelant and beautifully told. So many peoples stories will be represented in this book and each is as important as the other. 

I loved how each character was somehow tied to a previous character we’d already met. Whether their lives brush briefly or they’re connected in a significant way. The fact that we would see someone from one persons POV but then actually go into that someones POV and see into their life made for a well rounded book. 

I love a book with women’s lives at the centre and this in particular was a great one. 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

 

 

 

Book Review: Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson

book review

Published: 2019 by Jonathan Cape
Genre: …I’m not sure?
Length: 352 Pages
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Hi Readers

This book was a complete surprise to me. Before the Booker longlist was announced I didn’t even know Winterson had come out with a new book, and before I started it I had no real expectations for it. Now, so far, this is my favourite book on the longlist.

Set in two timelines we follow Mary Shelley, married and writing one of the most famous novels in history. And modern, post-brexit Britain, where prolonging life and creating robots drives the conversations between the characters.

In this, Winterson draws connections between Frankensteins monsters and the creation of AI intelligence. AKA, robots. It brings into question what makes us human, our body, our brain, or our soul? 

I say I’m not sure about what genre this book is, because it’s hard to put this into one catergory. It’s literary fiction, but it’s also history, sci-fi, romance and contemporary. There’s a lot to this novel yet it all fits together so perfectly.  

Frankissstein is  thought-provoking and interesting, whilst also moving and even funny. The minute I finished this book I wanted to pick it up again for a reread, which I will definitely have to do sometime in the near future. 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

Book Review: Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

book review

Published: 2016 by Flatiron Books
Genre: Mystery
Length: 415 Pages
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Hi Readers

Another gripping mystery from the author of Big Little Lies. In this we follow the events of a suburban neighbourhood BBQ. Alternating between before and after, we slowly discover what happened and the impact it has had on the characters lives. 

For the majority of this book, the big question is ‘what happened at this BBQ?’ It keeps you intrigued this way but I will say I found the post-BBQ chapters made this book drag and it lost it’s momentum because I found them so boring.

This book has an amazing cast of characters. All very unique and stand out for their own reasons. I loved getting to know them but again they were much more interesting in the chapters leading up to and the night of the BBQ. 

I was surprised by the wide range of topics this book covers. I admired how it tackled IVF and the struggle of not being able to conceive. It was interesting to read how that process works in Australia.

This book also bravely tackled mental health in young children. How the news and social affects children. It’s not very often I read a book from the point of view of parents and I really loved that dynamic. 

In the end this book didn’t shock me or keep me hooked like Big Little Lies, but was a still a good novel.

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

 

 

Book Review: The Wall by John Lanchester – A Booker Prize Longlistee

book review

Hi Readers

Set in the future, due to climate change and mass migration a wall surrounds the entire border of Britain and is monitered 24/7 by conscripted ‘defenders’. In this we follow a man who is about to start his required two years at the wall. 

It’s not hard to see that the author was largely inspired by our own current events to write this novel. Trumps wall, peoples views on immigration and the lack of action we’re taking to stop climate change are just some. That certainly makes the events in this book more gripping and real. 

It’s slow paced and very descriptive, but does pick up the momentum and is better for it. At a point it’s a real page turner. I really wish that the third part had been expanded on though as the ending was disappointing and rushed. 

This is a typical dystopian. The novel isn’t something that’s overly unique but is certainly well executed. If you’re a big fan of dystopia novels then I would check this one out.

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

Book Review: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

book review

Published: 2013 by Doubleday
Genre: Contemporary
Length: 403 Pages
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Hi Readers

A romantic comedy featuring Asian main characters. In this Rachel is invited by her long-term boyfriend Nic to spend the Summer with him and his family at their home in Singapore. However, when she arrives she is blind sided when she realises that these Asians are crazy rich. 

My feelings for this book are strange. I do like that this book was fun and was exaggerated and completely unrealistic, but in a soap-opera kind of way. It was nice to see a contemporary book with Asian culture in it. 

However, the pacing was so slow. There were times where I just felt like it was going nowhere. 50 pages in and we were still being introduced to new characters and talking about the same things they’d been talking about since page one.

There are a lot of characters, and you have to be alright with hating most of them. They’re all snobbish, money centred and honestly just horrible people. But that’s just part of the fun of it. 

Whilst this wasn’t laugh-out-loud hilarious for me, if you’re looking for a fun Summer read, I would recommend this one. 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X