A Month of Reading: December 2017

Hi Readers

2018 is here! But before we get into the usual start of the year posts like 2017 favourites, goals and reflections. I have to let you know what books I read during the last month of 2017.

I was able to read 9 books during the month of December.

Middlemarch by George Eliot – 49/100 ***

So, my problem with this was that I just found it very boring. It depicts small town life very accurately, and, as it turns out, nothing happens in small towns. I do think I could enjoy this more on a reread where I take my time with it and read other books inbetween. But I don’t know when I’ll get around to doing that.

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith 57/100 ***

This is a coming of age story that is well loved by so many people. But I just didn’t get on with it. I didn’t think it was bad and I can see why it’s so loved, but I never felt invested in the story. I’ve also read so many books this year that have very similar plots that I felt I’d already read it before.

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah – 75/100 ****

I’ve done a full review of this here: Winter Garden Review.

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – 42/100 ***

This is a book I DNFed maybe 2 years ago now. I thought I would never bother picking it up again but for some reason I hung onto it. I got the sudden urge to read it this month and the exact same thing happened. It started off so strong. I couldn’t stop turning the pages. But then the plot just seems to hult and it quickly loses my interest. I did however finish it this time around.

Father Christmas and Me by Matt Haig – 59/100 ***

This is the third in his Christmas series and I do really love them. They have that classic childrens book feel to them and it really puts you in the festive spirit. I just wish I’d had these when I was a kid.

Mr Dickens and His Carol by Samantha Silvia – 85/100 ****

This was so much more than what I expected. I think this may be the best Christmas book I’ve ever read. This is a fictional story following Charles Dickens and how he came to write A Christmas Carol. 

I also reread some of my old favourites this month:

The Princess Bride by William Goldman – 90/100 *****: This was actually my first read of 2017 but I had the urge to read it again. 

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – 73/100 ****: I wanted to reread this before the new BBC adaptation aired on Boxing Day. I think I liked it less this time round

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – 86/100 ****: I can’t let a Christmas go by without read this classic. 

So, those are all of the books I read in December. I hope you’re all having a wonderful New Year!

Thanks for reading,

Jess X

A Month of Reading: October 2017

Hi Readers

This month I reached 100 total books I have read so far this year! I have never read 100 books in one year and the fact that there’s still two months to go is crazy. The amount of readathons I’ve taken part in this month definitely helped with that.

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Exit West by Mohsin Hamid – 60/100 ***

This was shortlisted for the Manbooker and the premise really intrigued me. This is basically sci-fi meets refugee crisis. A young couple meet in a country at war and when mysterious rumours start arising of doors that will take you to a safe country, they start searching for one.

This book explores life as a refugee and while I appreciate it I do feel more could have been done with it.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt – 65/100 ***

A group of students studying the classics, misfits and outsiders, they discover a new way of thinking and living. This book I was so sure I would love, so sure that I put it into my predictions post. I ended up just feeling so meh about it.

It’s not a bad book by any means. It just wasn’t for me. I didn’t relate or even remotely like any of the characters, it lost my interest and I just finished it thinking ‘Why do I care?’

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi – 62/100 ***

I decided to reread this for ReadathonByZoe because I want to reread the whole Shatter Me trilogy before the first in the ‘companion’ trilogy is released next year. I just think this trilogy is fun and I really like the writing. 

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – 53/100 ***

This was the first book I read for Spookathon and after years of trying to get through this I finally did. This follows a little boy who sneaks out of the house while his family is being murdered. He walks towards the graveyard and the ghosts there allow him to stay as it is the only way to keep him safe from the man who murdered his family. 

This book was okay, it just didn’t really amaze me. I just don’t think middle grade books are for me. 

Bird Box by Josh Malerman – 70/100 ****

Another book I read for Spookathon. I loved this. This is set in a world where something is outside. Something so terrifying that when you look at it, it breaks your mind and drives you to kill yourself and those around you. I will be posting a full review of this soon. 

Coraline by Neil Gaiman – 23/100 **

This I read for Deweys and, like Graveyard Book, I just didn’t get much out of this. I watched the movie the other day and I do think it works a lot better as a movie but it just didn’t amaze me.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – 80/100 ****

Wow. This book. I went into this expecting to hate it, thinking I already knew the story of Frankenstein. I was wrong on both accounts. I thoroughly enjoyed this and actually really want to reread this so I can annotate and mark my favourite quotes.

Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land – 76/100 ****

This was my third and final read for Deweys and I loved it. This follows the daughter of a serial killer who has just turned her mum into the police. She starts a new life with a new family and a new name, but her past is still following her. I will post a full review for this soon. 

Poison Study and Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder – 81/100

I’m finally getting through this series and I’m really loving it. I’ve had it on my TBR for about 4 years now and, to be honest, I can’t believe it’s taken me so long. I’m loving this series and, once I’ve finished the third book, will do a trilogy review. 

The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde – 85/100 ****

This book blew my mind. Every single sentence was a work of art, I wanted to tab all of it. I never thought I would be a fan of Oscar Wilde but I now want to read everything he’s ever wrote. 

The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey – 43/100 ***

There’s no doubt this is an interesting perspective on a zombie apocolypse. To read it from a zombie’s POV, who is a child and still has the use of her mind, there was something really unsettling about it. However, I just found it felt like it was going nowhere at times and I wasn’t really invested in it.

DNF’s:

It by Stephen King 
Night Film by Natasha Perrl 

So that’s everything I read during the month of October. Let me know what your favourite book of the month was. 

Thanks for reading,

Jess X

A Month of Reading: September 2017

Hi Readers

September was a really good reading month for me, especially in terms of actually enjoying the books I read. I read 11 books, three of which I gave 4 stars, six 3 stars and a 1 star. 

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf – 71/100 ****

Finally. I have finally read a Virginia Woolf novel, and I really enjoyed it. The writing was beautiful. It’s a small book but it took me awhile to read it as I wanted to take every word in. The writing was stronger than the plot though. 

Tin Man by Sarah Winman 85/100 ****

I read this because I heard people absolutely gushing about it and it made me very intrigued and very excited. Those people were completely right. The end wasn’t as strong as the rest of the book for me but this story immediately captures you and tugs on the heart strings. I can’t wait to read more from Sarah. 

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell – 58/100 ***

I wanted to read this because I realised summer was coming to an end (although it still doesn’t feel like autumn here) and I knew the spooky books were coming soon, so I wanted one last light summery read. This was perfect for that but I can’t say I loved the book. I did enjoy it, I liked the characters and some parts were entertaining, but it’s very placid. 

Underground Railroad by Colson Whiteman – 42/100 ***

Slightly disappointed with this one. I wanted to read this when it came out last year but didn’t and was finally pushed to when it was long listed for the manbooker prize. I didn’t connect with the authors style and the characters just didn’t develop for me. They were just names on a page. 

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee – 83/100 ****

My first reread since reading this in school and unsurprisingly I actually enjoyed it this time around. I was able to appreciate how Lee depicted childhood innocence so wonderfully. It also reaffirmed that I don’t want to read the sequel. I’m scared it will ruin these characters for me. 

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison – 53/100 ***

This for me was completely a ‘setting up’ book. It introduces the complex world and characters and helps you get to know both but other than that nothing happens. I am however very excited for the next book. 

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – 68/100 ***

I’m a little disappointed with this one, but not overly surprised. I noticed that people seemed to have enjoyed her first novel a lot more than I did so I’m not surprised this came up short. The characters felt quite one dimensional to me (with the exception of one or two) and I just feel like I’ve read all of this before. 

Villette by Charlotte Bronte – 46/100 ***

While reading this I realised something. Nothing will ever live up to Jane Eyre. I always go into a Bronte book now and expect it to be a 5 star read and they just aren’t. This just didn’t do anything for me.

Warcross by Marie Lu – 68/100 ***

I really enjoyed this. It was a lot of fun and fast-paced which is something Marie Lu does so well. But I just couldn’t give it 4 stars because some of the characters were so under developed and I couldn’t always keep up with the technology. I’m excited for the next books though.

Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger – 18/100 *

This seems like a really marmite book. You love it or you don’t. And I didn’t. I read it because of Perks but the characters and the writing were just not for me. 

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Let me know what your favourite book of September was!

Thanks for reading,

Jess X

A Month of Reading: August 2017

Hi Readers

So. August happened. I read a good amount of books, but I can’t say many of those books were very good. 

This summer I wanted to find a new favourite. I wanted to fall in love with a book. But honestly most of them were very disappointing. 

This month I read 9 books and 1/2 of three others. Here they are:

Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin – 84/100 ****

I’ve been loving the new season so much that whenever a new episode finished I craved more. So, I’ve decided to slowly read the series, in the hopes that when the next book is finally published I can read it along with everyone else. This one was a reread and I loved it more the second time. 

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia – 35/100 **

This was a random read and while it was quick and cute I kind of wish I hadn’t bothered. I found it all to be very bland and very forgetful.

The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante – 50/100 ***

I’ve now read all of Ferrante’s books and while none of them compare to her Neapolitan series (and after reading these I wonder if anything ever will) I do still love how she’s able to capture life in words. 

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy – 37/100 **

I thought I was enjoying this but when I finished it I kind of looked at it and thought ‘no, I didn’t enjoy one minute with it.’ Bathsheba is one of those characters who had so much promise but then by the end you just wanted to shake her and say ‘I told you so.’

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – 60/100 ***

Such a disappointment (but not the biggest one of this month.) It started off so strongly but then it just kept meandering about things that to me just weren’t as interesting as the mystery. I may do a full book review of this soon.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith – 35/100 **

I liked it until they started becoming boy obsessed. Then, Cassandra lost all her intelligence (and there wasn’t much there to begin with) and lost all my attention (again, wasn’t much there to begin with.) Also, the ending sucked. 

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler – 45/100 ***

I don’t know, I feel like this book doesn’t have a lot going for it. I was expecting more travel. 

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell – 75/100 ****

This was an ARC I got from the publisher so a review will be coming soon. But heads up, you should definitely put this on your anticipated reads list.

Aug

Books I Started But Didn’t Finish:

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel: The most disappointing read ever. I feel like I haven’t been reading the same book as everyone else because I don’t get it. The characters were dull and the plot was dull. I got over 200 pages in and nothing happened (other than the end of the world which we basically skipped over completely.) 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: I had a random urge to read some Jane Austen but I didn’t quite finish it. Maybe I will this month but seeing as I’ve already reread it this year I’m not too worried. 

Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin: I’m only a few chapters in so I’m going to continue reading this in September, for sure. Loving it. 

So that was what I read in the underwhelming month of August. 

Thanks for reading

Jess X

A Month Of Reading: July 2017

Hi Readers

I know what you’re probably thinking, how can I do a month of reading when there’s still over a week left of the month? Well, next week, the last week of the month, is the Booktubeathon (tbr coming soon) which I am going to be doing daily updates and an overall wrap up for.

So basically I’ve split this month into two parts.

I am so grateful that the BookTubeathon is next week because so far this month my reading has not been so good. I’ve DNF’ed three books and read three books, and I haven’t been overly impressed with any of them.

DNF’ed:

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas: I was so looking forward to this but it lost my interest. I did get 300 pages in though and will give it another go sometime. 

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown: Is it me, or is this book very similar to Angels and Demons? 

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy: I know, I shouldn’t have bothered. I only wanted to read this because of The Great Comet of 1812 but I’ve never really cared about reading this book and it turns out the musical is based on literally 20 pages of this book.

Read:

One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus – 37/100 **

I did a full review of this here.

Basically I was really looking forward to this, it’s marketed as a kind of The Breakfast Club retelling murder mystery but in the end it didn’t overly impress me. I will say it’s a fun quick read but I wasn’t a fan of the end. 

Unexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenze – 27/100 **

I don’t think I’ve ever been this disappointed in a book. The plot didn’t really go anywhere. Honestly this book just seems so pointless. 

Assassins Apprentice by Robin Hobb – 56/100 ***

I kind of went into a bit of a reading slump but then I suddenly got the urge to read a fantasy, which is weird because lately I’ve been saying I no longer like fantasy novels. 

I actually enjoyed reading this, I love the main character, who is a bastard of a Prince and starts training as an Assassin to become useful to the royal family. In this novel we see him grow up and he’s such a likeable character for me he’s what made the book. Unfortunately I found a lot of the other characters to be a bit bland. 

Next Few Days:

There’s still a few days before the BookTubeathon actually starts so I do plan on reading a couple of books before then. 

Tenant Of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte: I am currently in the middle of this one and will hopefully finish it in the next couple of days. 

Royal Assassin by Robin Hobb: This is the next in the series and I want to read them all close together so I can do a trilogy review. 

My next post will hopefully be my TBR for the BookTubeathon

Thanks for reading

Jess X

A Month Of Reading: June 2017

Hi Readers

Well. June happened. And somehow I was able to read 11 books (and start a few others). And, tbh, I wasn’t overly impressed by the books I read.

Finished:

Neapolitan Novels (2-4) by Elena Ferrante (overall 5 star series) *****

A summer-y series set in a impoverished neighbourhood Napels, Italy. We follow Elena as she recounts her life along with her relationships and friendships. Perfect for fans of Jane Austen.

These books are the only ones I LOVED this month. Possibly my favourite series of all time (after HP.) I loved everything about these books. I became invested in Elena’s life and the writing and characters just blew me away. 

I have a full review of the series here.

LoTR P2&3 by J.R.R. Tolkien (overall 3 stars) ***

A classic in fantasy. Tell’s the tales of Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves and Men on their journey to destroy the Ring and defeat the Dark Lord. 

I just don’t think these are for me. The problem is I genuinely cannot fault it. It’s so clever and beautifully written and it is the best fantasy novels ever written. I just can’t get into them and always feel like I’m forcing myself to. 

The Good Immigrant by Various Authors 65/100 ***

A non-fiction collection of essays by black, Asian, ethnic minorities living in Britain. 

This was slightly disappointing. This is marketed as a collection of essays written by immigrants however basically none of the writers are actually immigrants, they’re descendants of immigrant’s. Almost all of them were born in the UK. 

However this does have some very interesting stories from BAME living in Britain and the racism and prejudices and various other things they experience because of their race. 

I’ve done a review here.

The Power by Naomi Alberman 67/100 ***

A sci-fi novel that explores a world where women are given a Power against men. 

This one I feel very conflicted over. On one hand I love the concept and the execution was on point. But I just didn’t love it. I have a full review going up this Sunday to explain why.

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier 60/100 ***

When Philips cousin and guardian dies, Philip suspects his cousins new wife, Rachel.

Yep. Another disappointment. I just didn’t find the story as engrossing as Rebecca and the ending was a bit of a let down.

His Dark Materials (Unrated)

In this children’s classic we follow Lyra in a world where everyone has Daemens, children are disappearing, parallel worlds are being travelled and Dust is causing quite a stir. 

Yeah I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this. I tried reading it before and the same thing happened before. I got bored during the second book. However this time I was determined to finish it and I did, but I didn’t properly read it. More like skim read. So I don’t feel I can rate it.

 

Will Finish It Later:

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry – I knew this would be a struggle and it was. I got about 50 pages in. I don’t know if I’ll pick it up to finish it. Maybe one day.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – I fell victim to the power that Broadway has over me. Have you heard of The Great Comet of 1812 musical? Well, if you haven’t you should really go listen to it. And when you do let me know if it makes you feel like War and Peace is a must read, because that’s what happened to me.

I’ve never been interested in War and Peace but this musical made me feel like I HAD to. I’m over that now though so I don’t know when I’ll finish this. 

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown – Ugh. I don’t understand. Why is this so famous and loved? To me, it’s almost exactly the same as the first one. I am only 40 pages through so I might finish it, but I’m not too fussed anymore. 

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas – Another huge classic. This is like a big no no, to read two huge classics at once but I’m going to put War and Peace aside until I’ve finished this one because so far I’m loving it. Like, a lot.

So, that’s what I read in June. I can’t believe it’s July but there is one thing I’m seriously looking forward to this month. BOOKTUBEATHON!

Thanks for reading

Jess X

 

 

Month of Reading: May 2017

Hi Readers

I had an amazing reading month. I actually ended up reading 11 books and I loved quite a few of them.

Public Libraries by Ali Smith: 50/100 ***

This is a short story collection that also has some non-fiction prefaces about people’s experiences with libraries and how we shouldn’t let me die out. It actually inspired me to right ‘this’ post on falling back in love with libraries. Ali Smiths writing never disappoints but not all of the short stories stuck with me.

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas: 41/100 ***

I actually forgot this was coming out this month and when I realised I was so unprepared. I quickly skim read the first two to refresh my memory but then when I started reading this I will admit I got bored. Rhys became very flat in this one and don’t even get me started on the writing. I think I’m done with SJM.

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen: 35/100 **

Probably my least favourite of Austen’s novels. I found it very boring, none of the characters really stood out for me. In fact, the more I read of her the more I realised how repetitive her themes and stories are. 

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera: 64/100 ***

I didn’t like this one as much as History is All You Left Me. I felt the pacing was off and some of the characters were really underdeveloped for me. However I loved the added sci/fi element to the contemporary novel and the overall message.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: 62/100 ***

I hate that I only gave this 3 stars. This is one of those reads where I actually feel bad for not loving it as much as everyone else does.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen: 60/100 ***

I enjoyed this one. Loved the sisterly bond, the romance in this is also one of my favourites of Jane Austens. Definitely in my top 3 of favourite Austen novels. Finishing this meant I’ve now read all of Jane’s books.

Big Little Lies by Liane Morairty: 85/100 ****

I have a review of this which you can find here: Big Little Lies Review. But as you can see from the rating, I really enjoyed it.

The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Thatcher: 80/100 ****

This is the first time I’ve reread it since studying it during my A levels. The show started airing on Sunday in the UK so I had to refresh my memory of it first. This is a dystopian classic about the loss of freedom. Some seriously messed up stuff happens in this book.

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante: 85/100 ****

I was not expecting to love this so much, but I’m obsessed. I’m onto the second book now and I’m going to do a series review once I’ve read them all because the way they read they could be one huge book. 

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare: 39/100 **

I was so excited for this, but I found myself getting bored. I found a lot of things very obvious, I don’t really like the whole forbidden romance anymore. I think YA fantasy just isn’t for me at the moment. 

Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien: 74/100 ****

I’ve decided to give Lord of the Rings another go. I do like this, the writing is beautiful and the story is exciting. It’s just got so many names and places it’s hard to follow and can be so slow to get through. I just need to not rush the reading of this. 

Let me know what your favourite read was this month!

Thanks for reading

Jess X