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

 

 

A Month of Reading: April ’18

Note: From today I’m scraping my percentage rating and sticking to just star ratings. 

Hi Readers

The month of April was a month of readathons. I did a month long readathon and there wasn’t really many books I read that wasn’t for it. I’ve done a full wrap up that which you can find here. But here’s a run down of those books I read:

Call the Midwife: A True Story of the East End in the 1950’s by Jennifer Worth – 3 Stars ***
The Giver by Lois Lowry – 4 Stars ****
Every Heart a Doorway & Down Among the Sticks and Stones by Seanan McGuire – 3 Stars ***
Days of Blood and Starlight & Nights of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor – Both 3 Stars ***
Percy Jackson and the Lightning by Rick Riordan – 4 Stars ****
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins – 3 Stars ***
A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf – 3 Stars ***
Stardust by Neil Gaiman – 4 Stars ****

The other books I read were:

When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman – two stars

This book was a little disappointing for me. It felt all over the place and the end just doesn’t tie it up well enough. I would recommend you read her book Tin Man and maybe give this one a miss. 

Simon Vs The Homo Sapians Agenda by Becky Albertalli – four stars

This was a reread. The first time I read this I said it was mediocre and didn’t live up to the hype. I now realize how wrong I was! This book is incredible, I love the characters so much, they’re very relatable. I’m so excited we’re getting more books about them. 

When I Hit You by Meena Kandasamy – three half stars

This was a Women’s Prize book that I reviewed which you can find here. Basically, I have a feeling this could win but if it doesn’t…

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie – two half stars

…then maybe this one could? I didn’t love this one as much as I know a lot of other people do but I can see why this could be the winner. You can read more of my thoughts here.

Thanks for reading,

Jess X

 

 

Month of Reading: March 2018

Hi readers

In the month of March I was able to read 6 books. This one’s slightly more rushed than usual because it’s Good Friday and I forgot to do this the day before.

Anyway here are all the books I read on much and what I thought of them. 

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt: 14/100 *

This is longlisted for the Women’s prize so I’ve done a full review of it here: Review.

Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi: 84/100 ****

The first in a new trilogy continuing the Shatter Me story. I was so excited for this and it really did not let me down. I have a strong feeling these books are going to be even better than the original trilogy. 

Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher: 26/100

I was actually really disappointed with this one. I’ve been so excited to read this series for the longest time but it just fell flat for me. I’m starting to think adult fantasy isn’t for me. 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K.Rowling: 94/100 *****

I just love rereading these books and we had a last (hopefully) flurry of snow earlier in the month and I wanted to use that cosy time stuck indoors to finish this reread.

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward: 37/100 **

As this is a Women’s Prize longlistee I’ve done a full review of this one here: Review.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: 81/100 ****

I did a post of books I wanted to give another go and this was one of them. Boy, am I glad I did. I definitely tried to read this too quickly the first time around because there was a lot of stuff I’d completely missed. It was like reading it for the first time and I loved it. Can’t wait to continue the series. 

I also finally started North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell and I’ll be reading that over Easter Weekend.

I must admit I thought I’d read more but now it’s the Easter holidays so hopefully I can do a bit of catching up. 

Thanks for reading,

Jess X

Month of Reading: February 2018

Hi Readers

This month was a weird reading wise. I just could not work out what I wanted to be reading. Everything on my TBR just didn’t fit what I wanted to read at the moment and when that happens I tend to gravitate towards books I’ve already read. So this turned out to be a month of rereads.

Shades of Magic Trilogy by V.E. Schwab – 69/100 ***

I started out loving this series so I ended up practically binge reading it. But when I finished I felt so meh about it. I loved the world building and characters initially and it’s been a while since I’d felt so invested in the characters lives. But then as the novels continued there was a significant lack of plot and there were times when it felt like the books weren’t progressing at all. 

Anne Frank’s Diary

I haven’t read this since I was 10 and I’ve been meaning to read it again for years. Finally did and it still made me very emotional but I also noticed and understood things I didn’t notice before (or my teacher didn’t let me read before.) 

The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar – 71/100 ****

I got sent this by the publisher and did a full review of this which you can find here: Mermaid and Mrs Hancock Review.

Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

This was the first pick of 2018 for Our Shared Shelf, a feminist reading group on goodreads. However this one, as you can probably tell by the title, focuses more on race. Being white I feel like I shouldn’t criticise this book so I won’t. I will say that my favourite thing about this book is the title. It’s provocative and head turning and very very clever.

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Thus finishing my reread of the Shatter Trilogy. I am now ready for Restore Me which is coming out tomorrow! It wasn’t hard to become invested in these characters again but I did find the book to be quite uneventful for a large portion of this book.

Women and Power by Mary Beard – 80/100 ****

I love this book so freaking much. I’ve done a full review here: Women and Power Review. But basically, I recommend you all read this. 

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

I snowed quite a lot the last week of February, and for me, there’s no better book to read while you’re stuck inside because of the snow than HP.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman – 56/100 ***

This caught my attention when I saw the amount of  5 star reviews it had on Goodreads. The synopsis didn’t really interest me as it’s about a Hockey crazed town and I’ve never been one to care about Hockey (I mean, it’s brutal.) But the reviews intrigued me enough to give it a try. 

I’m glad I did because it definitely was not what I was expecting. However it did turn out to be a story I know all too well and it didn’t really give any fresh perspective on it. 

I do hope I get to more books that aren’t rereads in March. I plan for it to be female/feminist heavy seeing as it is Women’s History Month here in the UK. So, TBR for that coming soon. 

Thanks for reading,

Jess X