A Month of Reading: December ’18

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Hi Readers

Happy New Year everyone!

This is a post I almost forgot to do but thankfully I remembered. We’re starting the year off by looking at the books I read in December. 

It ended up not being such a great reading month. I read some great books but not very many. Here’s what I read:

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman – four stars

This book quickly made it onto my favourites of 2018. It’s such a beautiful tale. I wrote a review on it if you want to know more.

Book Review

Christmas At The Palace by Jeevani Charika –  two stars

I was disappointed with this book but mainly because it’s not a Christmas book at all. But if you’re looking for a cute royal romance, I would definitely recommend. 

Book Review

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin –  four stars

A bookshop owner is left an unexpected present that changes his life. A really cute, bookish read. 

Book Review

Christmas Days by Jeanette Winterson – four half stars

One of my new favourite Christmas reads that I will definitely reread next Christmas. This is a collection of short stories and Wintersons own recipes that are special to her.

Book Review 

The Deal of a Lifetime by Fredrik Backman – three half stars

A short story that, again, wasn’t really very Christmassy like the cover suggested. But the writing was good and it did make you feel for the characters in a very short space of time. 

Book Review

The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans – two half stars

I wasn’t a fan of this at all and I probably won’t be reading more by Evans. 

Book Review

What did you read in December? 

Thanks for reading!

Jess X

 

A Month of Reading: October ’18

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Hi Readers

I can’t believe Spooky month is over already. It’s basically Christmas now?!?

But before we start getting festive on this blog, let’s say goodbye to October by looking back at all the books I read. 

Throne of Glass Series 1-7 by Sarah J Maas

I plan on doing a full series review of this once I have finished Kingdom of Ash. Hopefully I can finally start that today!

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket – four stars

I read this because I loved the TV Show a lot. I really enjoyed this but I’ve decided to not continue with the books. Controversial, but I enjoyed the TV Show more. 

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – two stars

This is one of those books that is so hyped up but I just have no interest in. I thought I’d give it a chance and it just isn’t for me. 

Misery by Stephen King – three half stars

This book was creepy and gruesome but I just didn’t love it. That’s how I tend to feel about Stephen King books actually. 

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson – three stars

Full Review Here!

Aaru by David Meredith – two half stars

Full Review Here!

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters – three stars

After The Night Watch I was so excited for more Sarah Waters but I just found this to be so disappointing. It seemed to take forever to get going and the characters were nothing special. 

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch – two half stars

A review of this will be coming soon. But basically, I feel like this is a book you love or you don’t and I just don’t get the hype at all.

So basically everything this month apart from Throne of Glass was a disappointment. I kind of blame this on Kingdom of Ash because it’s all I want to read and I just haven’t been able to get it yet. 

What was your favourite book you read in October? 

Thanks for reading!

Jess X

A Month of Reading: September 2018

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Hello Readers

Seeing as I read 22 books in August I decided to slow down this month, and that I certainly did. I was only able to complete 5 books, however I did also DNF 3. What I did complete though, I loved. Here’s what went down…

Furious Love by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger – two half stars

A biography of Richard Burton’s and Elizabeth Taylor’s love story. This is book I read purely because of Taylor Swift and it just wasn’t for me to be honest. I was very long and repetitive and I wish I had just read their wikipedia pages. 

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – three half stars

A very atmospheric Urban Fantasy set in London. We follow a Londoner whose act of kindness gets him catapulted into a world of magic and adventure. 

Neverwhere Review

The Night Watch by Sarah Waters – four stars

In this book we start post-war and work our way backwards following 4 Londoners as we discover their intertwined story. 

The Night Watch Review

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith – four stars

A new release for this month and one I have been anticipating for a while now. This book is the fourth in J.K. Rowling’s detective series ‘Strike’ and in this one we follow a kind of mystery within a mystery. 

Lethal White Review

What If It’s Us by Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli – three stars

The new collaboration between two YA Contemporary authors that comes out October 9th (October 18th in the UK). This book is a romance between two teen boys in New York and it’s as cute as you can imagine.

Review Coming Soon.

Books I DNF:

Vanity Fair by William Thackery – I tried to read this but I just found it so boring and the ITV series was so good. I may give it another go sometime but only if I want go to sleep and can’t get tired.

And the Mountain Echoed by Khaled Housseini – I actually did a blog post on why I DNFed this one. You can find that here

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Clare North – This has been on my shelf for years now and I feel like there may be a reason for that. I just was not interested in this book at all.

Let me know how your month of reading was!

Thanks for reading,

Jess X

A Month of Reading: August (NEWTs Readathon!)

Hi Readers

August is over, Summer is ending, and the NEWTs have now finished. Get comfy, there’s a lot of books to get through. 

Subject Task Book
Ancient Ruins A: Book Set In The Past East of Eden
E: Most Ancient Book On Your Shelf Always and Forever, Lara Jean
O: A Translated Book
Arithmancy A: A Book At Least 300 Pages Wonder
E: End On An Even Number The Rose and the Dagger
O: Not the First In A Series P.S. I Still Love You
Astronomy A: Stars On The Cover
E: Sky In The Title
O: Set On A Different Planet
Care Of Magical Creatures A: Animal On The Cover
E: Under 160 Pages
O: Includes Dragons
Charms A: Magic In It A History of Magic
E: A Beautiful Cover To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
O: A Book That Will Leave a Mark Conversations With Friends
DADA  A: Last Book In A Series We’ll Always Have Summer
E: A Foiled Book The Wrath and the Dawn
O: Dark In Title Dark Places
Divination A: Set In The Future Scythe
E: Under 200 Pages Milk and Honey
O: A Mythology Book
Herbology A: A Green Cover The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
E: With Illustrations Amy And Roger
O: Either Light, Air, Sun of Water in Title
History of Magic A: Fit In At Hogwarts Library
E: At Least 5 Years Old
O: At Least 400 Pages
Muggle Studies A: A Favourite Author Save the Date
E: A Biography I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
O: A Retelling The Surface Breaks
Potions A: A Colour In The Title The Yellow Wallpaper
E: A Male Lead Character Ari and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
O: Over 350 Pages The Unexpected Everything
Transfiguration A: A Grey Cover
E: A New Author
O: A Book Set In A kingdom/has royalty

Overall Results:

Ancient Runes – E
Arithmancy – O

Charms – O
DADA – O
Divination – E
Herbology – E
Muggle Studies – O
Potions – O

newts

Read During the BookTubeAThon:

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
The Wrath and the Dawn & The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
Save the Date by Morgan Matson
We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han

East of Eden by John Steinbeck – two half stars

I don’t think Steinbeck’s books are for me. I didn’t connect in any way and honestly found it to be very forgettable. 

Always and Forever, Lara Jean – three half stars

This series blew up again thanks to the Netflix movie so I decided it was high time I finish it. It was such a cute ending. I really like how everything turned out.

 

P.S. I Still love You by Jenny Han – two stars

I did read this book when it first came out and was actually the reason I never read the last book. I don’t like this one. I just think it’s so boring and nothing happens and Lara Jean just becomes so annoying. I think this series should’ve been a duology (the first and the last book.)

Harry Potter, A History of Magic – four stars

This is a book that was published as a companion to the British Library Harry Potter exhibition which I never got to go to. This gives a cool insight into the artifacts that they showcase and how they relate to the Harry Potter books. It also includes amazing glimpses at how J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter, including first drafts of scenes we love, deleted scenes and plot planning. This book is amazing. 

To All the Boy’s I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han – four stars

Everybody was talking about it, so I just had to reread it. 

Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney – three stars

I’ve wanted to read this for a while now but I was left slightly disappointed. I loved the writing in this book and I enjoyed reading it. It flowed and was a really quick read. But I found it forgettable and was a bit underwhelming.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn – two stars

I don’t really know why I decided to read this book. I didn’t really like Gone Girl and have never been interested in picking up Flynn again. But, there’s not a lot of books out their with the work ‘Dark’ in the title. Anyway, I ended up not hating this book. It was definitely unsettling. But I felt it dragged and the ending was disappointing. 

Scythe by Neal Schusterman – three half stars

Every so often a YA novel comes out that absolutely everybody raves about which makes me have to read it. This is 2018 seriously hyped book. I see where the hypes coming from, but I wasn’t a swept away as everyone else. I found some parts boring and the characters relationships didn’t feel very well developed to me. The ending was epic though.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Keur – four stars

I just finished this book so I’m still buzzing about it. I’ve seen this around but haven’t really paid attention to it as it’s a poetry collection and I normally don’t like poetry. However, this is also Our Shared Shelf’s book club pick for this month so I thought I would give it a go. 

Holy crap. I’m so glad I did. This book is so beautiful. It’s not all poetry, but it’s all so perfectly written. Every sentence has a purpose and is so quotable. 

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid – four half stars

I’ve done a review of this book here: Evelyn Hugo Review

Amy and Rogers Epic Detour by Morgan Matson – three half stars

This was a reread for me and I actually didn’t like this so much this time. I didn’t really feel the chemistry between Amy and Roger. 

I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing by Maya Angelou – four stars

This is a biography I’ve been meaning to read for years now and I’m so glad I finally did. This book made me feel a lot. Anger, sadness, confusion, love and hope. The courageous way Angelou tells her story is admirable and makes this book a masterpiece. However the ending was very abrupt and at first thought my book was missing some pages.

The Surface Breaks by Louise O’ Neill – three stars

I’ve done a full review of this here: Surface Breaks Review.

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gillman (Not Rated)

This short story wasn’t what I was expecting so I spent a lot of it confused and wondering if I’d downloaded the wrong book so that definitely effected my feelings on it. Once I got over that though I was able to appreciate the brilliance of this story. I’d have to reread it to gather more thoughts on it though. 

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – four half stars

I think this is the forth time I’ve read this book. It just never disappoints and I will continue rereading it until the sequel is released which is ages away and I’m struggling to survive without it.

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson – four stars

Another reread. When I first read this I said that it was probably my least favourite of her novels but now I would actually say this is my second favourite of hers (after Since You’ve Been Gone).

Wow. I was able to read 22 books in August. That’s definitely the most amount of books I have ever read within a month. I think in September I’m going to slow it down and maybe get to some of the longer books on my TBR. 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

 

A Month of Reading: July ’18

Hi Readers

July was a month where I took part in so many ReadAThons which means I was able to read a good amount of books.

First, TBR Jar Update:

At the start of the month I picked out four books from my TBR. I was able to read two of them. Unfortunately I didn’t get to I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing Maya Angelou and I decided poetry definitely is not for me so I won’t be reading Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith.

Sweet Home by Carys Bray –  one half star

I did a full review of this short story collection, which you can find here: Sweet Home Review. 

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter –  two stars

This book I read as ‘a book set in a country I’ve not read much about’ which is Italy. Although a lot of it is actually set in America which was a fail on my part. This book started off strongly with a nod to 1950’s Hollywood following a beautiful film star who is dying. But then jumps to current day Hollywood and it just didn’t flow and unfortunately it ended so badly I was glad to be done with it.

Soo yeah, first month of the TBR Jar was not very successful unfortunately. I have high hopes for August’s picks though.

Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turtan – three half stars

One of the most unique books I’ve ever read. I highly recommend, here’s my full review: Evelyn Hardcastle Review.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson – five stars

This was a reread and it was actually so much better than I remember it. I think the first time I read this book I focused too much on the mystery but it’s not really about that. This follows Emily whose best friend Sloane disappears one Summer and leaves behind a list of fun and crazy things for Emily to do and it’s great.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling five stars

I listened to the audiobook of this and I am still loving them. Again, I noticed things in this book I’ve never noticed before. Just two more to go!

Bibliothon Wrap Up:

The first readathon I took part in this month was the Bibliothon where I was able to read 3 books. As you can see from the ratings, it wasn’t a very successful week.

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro two stars

I gave this book 2 stars but I definitely don’t think it’s a bad book. I just really don’t think it was for me. I just didn’t find the story of the characters interesting.

The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen two half stars

I’ve done a full review of this which you can find here: William Woolf Review. But basically, I really liked the premise of this book but I wish more was done with it.

Sweet Home by Carys Bray one half star

Again, I’ve done a full review of this which you can find here: Sweet Home Review. 

24 in 48 Readathon Wrap Up

This weekend long readathon also wasn’t too successful. I ended up DNFing 2 books but I did finish 1 book and start another.

Books I DNFed:

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West – I’ve never been so uninterested in a story before.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding – Second time trying to read this book. I just don’t like it. I won’t try again.

Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan three stars

Finally making my way through the last books in this series. I’m not hugely loving them just because his book do kind of feel like the same thing done again and again. But I really want to finish the Heroes of Olympus series.

The Help by Katherine Stockett four half stars

I started this during the readathon but finished it after. This was a second read for me and I loved it just as much as I did last time, if not more. Hilarious but heartbreaking. It’s close to a perfect novel.

Deweys 24 Hour Readathon

Dewey’s did a spontaneous Summer ‘reverse’ readathon where it started at 1am for me. I was so looking forward to this, however, there ended up being a lot of distractions that day. 

I was however able to read 3 books and one of those books was read during the craziest thunderstorm I’ve ever experienced, and it ended up being the perfect book to read during a storm. 

The Mist by Stephen King three half stars

This was the one I read in a storm and I’m still not sure if that was a good idea or not. It’s a sci-fi about the aftermath of a ferocious storm that brings in a Mist. That Mist brings along something deadly.

It’s got a very classic monster book feel to it and I really liked the writing style so I’ll definitely read more by King. However, the ending annoyed me. I get why authors do it and I get it leaves it open, but when an author does that and has no intention of continuing the story, it just feels lazy. That definitely didn’t dampen my enjoyment of it though. 

Five on Treasure Island by Enid Blyton two stars

I read this for nostalgic reasons as I loved the Famous Five books as a kid. It’s not a great book and I can now understand why Blyton gets a lot of criticism. It was very average. 

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han three stars

I read this book a few years ago and I remember not liking it, but I wanted to give the book another go because I already own all of the books. Thankfully, I really liked it this time around. The writing isn’t great at times and it is very cheesy but it’s what I want it to be. It’s a quick read that gives me the Summer vibes. 

Those were all the books I read in July. Next up is the BooktubeAThon so I’ll be doing daily updates on here and then a full wrap up at the end of the week. Then the rest of August is the NEWTs Readathon which so a lot of books are going to be read in August. 

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X

A Month of Reading: June 2018

Hi Readers

Wow, June went by like a flash. And I ended it feeling like I hadn’t really read anything. Unfortunately, that feeling was right. I basically read nothing and there’s no excuse other than I went to see Taylor’s Reputation tour this month and that kind of consumed my mind.

So, here’s what I did read:

A List of Cages by Robin Roe three stars

My Review: A List of Cages.

 The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman three stars

My Review: Light Between Oceans.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald four stars

My Review: The Great Gatsby.

Harry Potter Audiobooks 1, 2 & 3five stars

I randomly decided to start listening to these audiobooks and I’m so glad I did. It’s the first time I’ve ever listened to them and I’m noticing things I’ve never noticed before and it’s great to experience these books in a new way.

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan 

This was a reread for me. I’m slowly and finally making my way through this series and I want it finished by the end of the summer. However, I didn’t love this one. 

I have a huge tbr for next month but I also plan on taking part in a lot of readathon a which I’m looking forward to.

Thanks for reading

Jess X

A Month of Reading: May ’18

Hi Readers

This month went by so quickly I barely had time to acknowledge that its May. May. We’re almost half way through the year, how did that even happen?

Unfortunately my reading suffered this month. I did really enjoy reading and I don’t know if that’s my fault or if it was the books. It started off well but then I just didn’t read and DNFed a couple of books.

But here’s what I did read:

The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes – three half stars

I did a full review of this which you can find here: The Sense of An Ending Review. 

The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah –  three half stars

This is a historical fiction about two sisters living in occupied France during the war. It’s beloved by so many people and I can see why they love it so much but it fell short for me. I think that’s just because honestly I’ve never been wowed by a WW2 fiction book and

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli –  four stars

This I did a full review on which you can check out here: Leah on the Offbeat Review.

The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan –  two stars

This was sent to me by the publisher to review but I can’t review this. I could never get invested in the story and ended up skim reading the last half of the book. I just found it so boring. 

The Color Purple by Alice Walker –  three stars

I know, I know. How can I not give this American masterpiece of a book 5 stars. I can’t fault this book, I just never felt invested. I don’t think that’s the books fault to be honest, I was just in a bad reading mood and this fell victim to it.

The Stranger on the Bridge by Jonny Benjamin – Not Rated

I didn’t rate this because I don’t like rating non-fiction books. But I have done a full review of this which you can find here: The Stranger of the Bridge Review.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows – three stars

Ugh, this book. I was so ready to love this book. I want to give it another try but yeah I found this to be a little disappointing. I have a full review of this coming on Monday.

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan – four stars

I just randomly decided it was time to finally get The Heroes of Olympus read. I started by rereading the first and I really enjoyed it, probably more than I did the first time around. I’m really excited to read more Percy Jackson. 

And What I DNFed:

The Three Muskateers by Alexander Dumas
The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

Thanks for reading, 

Jess X