Categories
Monthly Book Roundup

Monthly Book Roundup for August

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Hello fellow bookworms! Now, I think we all knew the day would come this year, and that it was ‘too good to be true’ to have so many books on my 2020 read pile… I am in a reading slump, and have been for most of August. I left July behind on such a high and 10 more books under my belt, 11 books ahead of my Goodreads Reading Challenge, and I suddenly crashed and decided I’d rather spend my time binge watching Jane the Virgin on Netflix! Hence the very short round-up post. Nevertheless, the slump is wearing off (I think/hope) and I see light on the horizon (in the shape of Midnight Sun which will be my reward for getting through this slump). Anyway, very underwhelmingly introducing my books of August 2020…

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What books have I read this month?

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary

I loved this book so much! It will be rivalling top spot I think for my favourite book of the year come December. And it’s been a while since I’ve had a new book boyfriend but here we are, Leon Twomey, marry me?

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (audio)

I did enjoy this book, although not as much as I expected too, especially after enjoying Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo so much earlier in the year. However, I think my opinion would change if I read the physical book and fully immersed myself in the story, rather than listening and working at the same time!

Books read towards Children’s Classics Challenge

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

This was a re-read for me, and it is definitely a lot weirder than I remember it being the first time! It will definitely be an interesting one to analyse when I get to it in a future module!

Vicky Angel by Jacqueline Wilson

This was one of my favourite Jacqueline Wilson books as a child and it made me want to re-read loads more. While my tastes have changed and I may not have re-read this for pleasure, it was nice to revisit a old favourite!

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Average Rating: 3.6 stars

Number of total pages read: 629… oh dear

Books read toward 2020 Book Challenge goal: 43/50 books 

Books read toward Children’s Classics Challenge: 13/15 books

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What am I currently reading?

Nought and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

I’m in a major reading slump right now so I’ve been reading this for about 3 weeks! Silly thing is, the story is so good and I really enjoy it when I pick it up, but finding the motivation to read has been a bit of a struggle…

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Books I plan to read in July

Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer

Who’s excited about this? I’m excited about this! I can’t wait to wait to travel back to my childhood and feel the nostalgia wash over me as I read this… that’s how I imagine it anyway, I’m not quite sure it will feel exactly the same as it felt before, but I’m excited all the same.

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

I finally got round to buying the sequel to Vicious, which is another book rivalling the 2020 hotspot for me this year. I can’t wait to get into the sequel and visit the characters again!

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What do you think of the books I’ve read this month? What about the ones I plan on reading? Leave your comments below, and book recommendations are always welcome!

Happy September and Happy Blogging!

Jade 🙂

Categories
Monthly Book Roundup

I read 10 books in a month…?!

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Hello fellow bookworms! July has been a busy month, and a lot of ups and downs in changes to lockdown restrictions here in the UK. Personally, I’m still working from home, still getting ready to go back to studying at the beginning of October, and I finally had my welcome pack and syllabi through; I’m starting to feel even more like a student again, and I’m so excited! We also had The Reading Rush this month, which I managed to take some time off work for, and it definitely contributed to the main bulk of my reading this month! I read 10 books this month, which I think should be marked as a historical even in my personal lifetime so here are the books to mark this momentous occasion

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What books have I read this month?

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott

I’d heard some really good things about this book, both when it came out and when the movie was released, and I saw it on my shelf when I was looking for an easier read that I knew I could get through quickly. I hadn’t read a YA romance in a while, and this is just the sort that I love to read! The story was so lovely, perfectly suited my tastes, and was exactly what I was looking for.

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

I’ve had this book on my shelf forever! The synopsis on the back cover sounded really intriguing but I definitely wasn’t expecting what I got! This book was so weird and quite different to what I thought I was getting into. I found it quite difficult to pick up at times, possibly owing to the fact that I literally had no idea what was going on until very end! I’d be interested to read another one of her books though because I think the writing was really nice and quite poetic.

Sadie by Courtney Summers (audio)

My first book of The Reading Rush! This has been on my radar for a while and I’m definitely glad I’ve now read it/listened to it! I think I’ll try to listen again or maybe read the book as I think my main problem was losing track of the story while doing other things. What I got of the story was good though, and I loved the way the audiobook was done with a full cast!

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Book 2 of The Reading Rush and it was okay… this was my second book by Ness and I have heard it’s not his best, but it was quite quick and easy to read and the characters were likeable enough. Ness definitely tackled some issues which appear a lot in contemporary YA fiction (relationships, mental health, college education) and it was nice to see diverse representation in there as well. The story could have been a little more interesting, althoughI do understand the concept of why it wasn’t more exciting.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I was really surprised at how much I loved this book! Considering it was the book I chose for my least read genre challenge, the fact that I gave it 5 stars just goes to show that I can enjoy classic literature! I read this and listened along to the audiobook at the same time so I was completely immersed in the story and followed the story a lot better I think. A perfect classic romance that I will definitely be revisiting!

Books read towards Children’s Classics Challenge

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Considering I’m not a horse person, I found this book oddly moving and quite emotional. It was interesting to read something from an animal’s perspective and I enjoyed following the horse’s life to the end.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

I vaguely remember watching the Peter Pan Disney films as a child, but not recalling much of the storyline itself. The book was really fun and a bit emotional at the end, and a classic story I think every child should be introduced to, either through book or film.

Five Children and It by E. Nesbit

I loved the concept of this story, and It was an adorable character in my imagination! The main thing I took away from this story was the morals it teaches children, and probably something adults can learn from as well!

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

I vaguely remember the film from when I was younger but I don’t recall ever having read the book, so it was really nice to revisit the story and get a bit more detail about the world of Narnia.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

I was really looking forward to reading this, and I enjoyed the first two-thirds of it maybe, but I’m not one who enjoys battle scenes, and so the last part just went over my head a bit. This is definitely very high fantasy as well, which isn’t a genre I usually read, and haven’t read in a while, so it took some adjustment as I was reading.

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Average Rating: 3.6 stars

Number of total pages read: 2,807

Books read toward 2020 Book Challenge goal: 39/50 books 

Books read toward Children’s Classics Challenge: 10/15 books

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What am I currently reading?

The Flat Share by Beth O’Leary

I’m really enjoying this so far! After The Reading Rush I was getting a bit distracted when I tried to read, I think mainly because I had done so much of it the previous week and I had other things floating around in my head that I needed to do and catch up on. However, this soon got very addictive and it won’t be long before I finish!

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

I remember loving this the first time I read it, so hopefully I’ll enjoy it the second time around too! It’s just as weird as I remember…

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Books I plan to read in July

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

I’ve wanted to read this since it won the Booker Prize last year and I read the first few pages and was really intrigued, but for some reason I chose to pick up something else… but I will definitely be reading it this time, I’ve nothing but great things so I’m super excited!

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

I don’t even want to admit how long ago I added this to my TBR (maybe 10 years ago…) but when Malorie Blackman appeared on my very diverse reading list (finally, people are getting it!) I knew now was the time! I can’t wait, and the chapters look super short so should be a quick read for me.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

I am waiting for this to become available at my library, hopefully soon! Supporting female black authors this month!

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What do you think of the books I’ve read this month? What about the ones I plan on reading? Leave your comments below, and book recommendations are always welcome!

Happy August and Happy Blogging!

Jade 🙂

Categories
Books Reading Rush 2020

The Reading Rush 2020

Hello fellow bookworms! I am so excited to be taking part in this year’s Reading Rush, hosted by Ariel Bissett and Raeleen Lemay. The Reading Rush is a week long read-a-thon which happens every summer, where participants try and read as much as we can. This year, The Reading Rush is happening from July 20th – July 26th. There are official challenges you can build your TBR around, or just go with the flow and try and read as much as possible in the week! More information can be found on the website.

Today, I’m going to be sharing my ‘proposed’ TBR with you all – the books I plan to read during Reading Rush week… whether this goes to plan, we’ll see!

Challenge #1 // Read a book with a cover that matches the colour of your birth stone

My birthstone is peridot, for the month of August, so I’ve chosen Five Children and It by E. Nesbit. The edition I own isn’t completely green, but it’s mostly covered in leaves so I’m counting it! This book is also part of my Children’s Classics Challenge, so two birds with one stone, as the saying goes!

Challenge #2 // Read a book that starts with the word “The”

This was a last minute addition to my TBR, as I originally only had 5 books to tackle. Then I thought ‘what the heck, I’ll add a sixth book’ because I really do want to completely immerse myself in this read-a-thon. Ever since I saw this on my uni reading list I have been excited about reading it, and I’m so glad I’m finally getting around to picking it up!

Challenge #3 // Read a book that inspired a movie you’ve already seen

I see a theme here… another book from my Children’s Classics Challenge. I think I became very aware that I had a lot of reading to do if I was going to stay on track to finish them all by the end of July, so why not just cram them all into the last week!

Challenge #4 // Read the first book you touch

I lined up all my books in this post and the first one I touched was Pride and Prejudice, coming up in Challenge #6…

Challenge #5 // Read a book completely outside of your house

I don’t know how easy this challenge is going to be, as the weather hasn’t been on my side recently… and due to lockdown restrictions this may be tricky for some people, so Ariel and Raeleen have posted ways in which this challenge can be adapted. I’ve been meaning to read more Patrick Ness books since I finished A Monster Calls all those years ago, so I’ve chosen The Rest of Us Still Live Here. This is another book that I’d like to read as part of my preliminary reading for uni, and I’m hoping this is short enough for me to speed through and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the weather to be nice!

Challenge #6 // Read a book in a genre that you’ve always wanted to read more of

I am not a Classics reader. Well, I don’t read Classics as part of my pleasure reading. But since I’ve been reading more classics for uni, I’ve found it a lot less daunting than I thought, and I wanted to try one I’ve been meaning to read forever, but haven’t for fear of not fully understanding it. I’m so excited to read Pride and Prejudice, and I have the audiobook to help me along as well!

Challenge #7 // Read a book that takes place on a different continent than where you live

So I have to work for a lot of the week, although I have been able to take some time off to read, and I thought an audiobook would be a good way to keep up with books while I’m at my desk. I have two options for this, and which one I pick relies on whether my library has the first available! I really want to listen to Daisy Jones and the Six but I currently have the audiobook on hold at my my library and I’m number 2 in line so I’m not certain it will ‘arrive’ on time… If not, I’ll be listening to Sadie by Courtney Summers. A lot of the books I read are set in the US so I thought this would be easy for me, but I all the books I wanted to read were set in the UK which is where I live and therefore off limits…

So that’s it, those are the six books I’m planning on reading next week during The Reading Rush! Let me know in the comments if you’re taking part and what’s on your TBR for the week, I’d love to know what everyone else is reading!

Until next time…

Jade

Categories
Book Tags Books

Mid Year Book Freak Out

time for tags

Hello fellow bookworms! How on earth is it July already?! We’re half way through the year, and I think we can all agree it’s not been the easiest six months for anyone! However, we’ve had the gift of literature to help us through! It’s now the perfect time to reflect on how the reading challenges are going, and generally freak out about the books we have (and haven’t) read. This is always a super fun post to do, because it gives me the chance to look back at all the books I’ve read so far this year and put them up against each other in metaphorical fights to see who will win and be crowned my favourites (or least favourites) in each category. So, here we are, this is what I think about the books I’ve read in 2020 so far…

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Best 2020 Book So Far

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

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Best 2020 Sequel So Far

The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson

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New 2020 Release You Are Yet To Read

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

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Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavour by Hank Green (July 7th)

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Biggest Disappointment of 2020 So Far

Normal People by Sally Rooney

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Biggest Surprise of 2020 So Far

Toffee by Sarah Crossan

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Newest Fictional Crush

Marco from The Night Circus

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Newest Favourite Character

Stevie Bell

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Book That Made Me Cry

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Book That Made Me Happy

This is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay

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Favourite Film/TV Adaptation of 2020 So Far

Virgin River (adapted from the book by Robyn Carr)

(The TV show is so much better than the book in my opinion – I DNF’d the book!)

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Favourite BookMuffin Post of 2019 So Far

The Bookish Bucket List Tag or my Bookworm Survival Kit post series!

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Most Beautiful Book Purchased in 2020 So Far

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

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Book I Need To Read by the End of 2020

A Darker Shade final for Irene

A Darker Shade of Magic (this is the same as last year oops it’s a must this year…)

So that’s a snapshot of 2020: Part One, and I can’t wait to see what Part Two will bring, especially now I’ve been reminded of the books I really should have read by now! I’d love to know what you think of the books I’ve read so far, and any recommendations for the rest of the year is always welcome.

Until next time…

Jade 🙂

Categories
Monthly Book Roundup

Monthly Book Roundup for June

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Hello fellow bookworms! How’s everyone doing? June has been quite a good reading month for me, and for once, I am ahead of my Goodreads Reading Challenge! I’ve been enjoying my audiobooks, starting to really get into my uni reading, and actively diversifying my shelves. I’d like to quickly touch on a few things that have happened in the world this month and reassure my readers of my support. Firstly, I am fully supportive of the Black Lives Matter movement, and I am currently doing what I can to educate myself on anti-racism and supporting black authors. I’d also like to address another issue regarding what J.K. Rowling has been writing online. I have always been and will continue to be supportive of gender transitioning rights, and I do not agree with what Rowling has been tweeting and writing recently. I write a lot about Harry Potter both on here and my Instagram, and I want to make it clear that my love of Harry Potter is not in any way connected to J.K. Rowling. The Potter books are such a bit part of my life and they have helped me in so many different ways that I really can’t imagine my life without them, but I want to assure my readers that I do not support the author’s opinions on trans rights.

Now, onto the books…

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What books have I read this month?

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I had this book on my shelf for a very long time, and after years of staring at it, I finally decided to pick it up, and I’m so glad I did. The Night Circus was just what I needed, it’s the perfect escapism book, filled with magic, love, and deception. Highly recommend if there’s anyone left out there who hasn’t read it yet!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (audio)

This was a reread for me, I decided to listen to the audiobooks to refresh my memory of the series before I read the prequel… needless to say I haven’t yet read to prequel, and I’m not sure I will (I’ve heard a lot of people say it’s a bit boring, I guess the only way to find out would be to read it!)

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (audio)

Reread again! The first two books were just as good as I remember them, and I realise the main appeal of these books for me is the games. The Quarter Quell in this one is my favourite, I think Suzanne Collins is so inventive with her ideas.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (audio)

My rating for this actually went down since the first time I read it. I just found everything a little bit hard to follow, and some parts I found a bit unnecessary. I’m also a Gale fan over Peeta so the ending was not really my cup of tea…

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

I’ve owned this book for a while now, since I had a proof copy from an author event pre-publication, and it was only after everyone had recommended it to me that I decided to read it. I did enjoy it, I found the writing quite easy to read, but I thought it took a while for things to start happening after the first chapter.

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (audio)

I got this audiobook on a whim as it was one a 2 for 1 sale, and I’m glad I did! It was a lot longer than I anticipated from the storyline but it included a lot of literary tropes I enjoy and had some nicely developed characters, as well as tackling issues rarely seen in YA literature.

Books read towards Children’s Classics Challenge

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

I did not enjoy the book. The only reason I didn’t DNF it is because I needed to read it for my uni course, so I stuck it out. I downloaded the audiobook which helped me get through it quicker. It took him too long to get shipwrecked, and the rest of the book was just him shooting animals, growing corn, and making weird pottery to survive. But I made it through, and I hopefully never have to read it again!

I enjoyed this more than Robinson Crusoe, but not by much. The story was a lot more interesting, as more things were happening throughout, but a lot of the satire went over my head, and it seemed a bit disjointed, more like four separate stories.

I’m surprised to say I enjoyed this book. The story was a classic journey of a young boy and his adventure with friends, and has small town vibes which I love in a classic book!

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Average Rating: 3.5 stars

Number of total pages read: 1,776

Books read toward 2020 Book Challenge goal: 29/50 books 

Books read toward Children’s Classics Challenge: 5/15 books

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What am I currently reading?

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott

I tried to read The Green Mile but I red the first 100 pages and just couldn’t get into it. I wanted something a little bit easier to read and quicker to get through, especially next to the classics I’m reading for uni, so I picked this up. I’ve almost finished it as well, oops! I’m enjoying it so far, and can’t wait to see how it ends (although I’ve heard it’s very sad…)

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Another one that will apparently make me cry… I see a theme! Number 6 on my Children’s Classics Challenge, this is one I’m excited to finish.

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Books I plan to read in July

Five Children and It by E. Nesbit

This one is technically up next after Black Beauty, but I might save it for one of Reading Rush books as the majority of the cover matches my birthstone colour…

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

I can’t wait to read this one! I’ve seen the Disney films and know the story but I’ve heard the book is amazing so I’m looking forward to it.

I usually do a slightly longer section here but it’s the Reading Rush read-a-thon at the end of the month and I’m still working out my TBR for that and how much time I will have to read but I’m planning on posting my Reading Rush plans later in the month, so more on that later.

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What do you think of the books I’ve read this month? What about the ones I plan on reading? Leave your comments below, and book recommendations are always welcome!

Happy July and Happy Blogging!

Jade 🙂

Categories
Monthly Book Roundup

Monthly Book Roundup for May

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Hello fellow bookworms! How’s everyone doing? Some lockdown restrictions have already started to be lifted here, albeit slowly, so we’re able to get out and see more people from a distance. However, because I work in London and my job can be done from home, it looks like working from home will be my life for the next few months, which means I still have plenty of reading time! I now have preliminary reading for uni which I’ve got a good head start on, if you want to see what I’m reading, you can have a look here, but I’ll also be doing updates on how I’m getting on in these wrap up posts, so without too much more rambling, this is what I read in the month of May.

 

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What books have I read this month?

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

I loved, loved, LOVED this book! I can’t believe it took me so long to read it, I had it sat on my shelf for years! I will definitely be reading the sequel as soon as I can get my hands on a copy.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

3stars

This book was ok, but there are reasons why I don’t think it lives up to the hype. I still gave it 3 stars, because I did really enjoy the academia settings and character tropes used throughout. If you want to know more on my thoughts, I posted a review which you can read here.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

4.5stars

I really loved this book! At the beginning I wasn’t too sure about it, but the further into the first part, when it became more clear what direction her story was taking, I found it to be incredibly motivational and empowering for women, and looked a lot at racial issues which we know are still present in America and across the world through anecdotes of her experiences. Highly recommend!

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This is the first book in a while that made me properly cry, not just a few tears, but I was full-on sobbing by the end! This book is full of the glitz of Hollywood, as well as the not so glamorous behind the scenes, and fully focuses on the raw emotion you don’t get to see in most celebrities. There is great story running underneath the main plot line which keeps the reader wondering what it’s all really for.

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

4stars

I’ve been so excited to read another book by Laura Purcell, and I thought I’d go back to her first (I think…) I was not disappointed, her writing was just as good as The Corset, and the same historical gothic atmosphere was present in all its glory. It freaked the hell out of me however, it is definitely a lot scarier than her second book! One star lost just because the ending wasn’t as satisfying as The Corset, and while I don’t mind a cliffhanger if I know there are means for me to find out more, but the ending wasn’t resolved and left me quite spooked!

Books read towards Children’s Classics Challenge

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

It took me a while, but I finally got there! Little Women is on my reading list for uni, which meant that I could read it and it counted as studying! I did really enjoy this story, the characters were so well formed, it was full of pieces of writing which really resonated with me, and it made me feel all of the emotions!

… and I did also listen to Pilgrim’s Progress, I tried to read it but not was immensely difficult to keep any kind of attention on it!

Average Rating: 4 stars

Number of total pages read: 2139 (not entirely accurate as Little Women was read over a span of months but I’m counting it!)

Books read toward 2020 Book Challenge goal: 21/50 books 

Books read toward Children’s Classics Challenge: 2/15 books

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What am I currently reading?

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I’m only a few chapters in and I’m already loving the magical element of the story, I’m excited to see how the magic system develops and where the story goes, as I’ve heard really good things!

Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

The third book in my Children’s Classics Challenge, while it’s not a children’s book as such, it’s a classic novel which has influenced a lot of Robinsonade literature.

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Books I plan to read in June

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

I’ve had a proof of this book on my shelf for a good few months now and loads of my friends have loved it, so I thought it was about time I read it! It’s meant to be quite a quick read which will be nice to break up two slightly longer books.

The Green Mile by Stephen King

I said to my mum that I wanted to try reading Stephen King but I didn’t want to read a horror, so she recommended The Green Mile to me, and I’m honestly really excited to read it! I know it’s going to be emotional and I will cry, but at least I’m prepared!

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

The last ‘non children’s’ book on my challenge list before moving on to the Children’s lit!

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

… and the first children’s book! I’ve had Huck Finn on my shelf for ages at a friend’s recommendation but never got to it, being deterred due to it’s classic classification, but if I enjoy this one I might pick up that one as well!

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What do you think of the books I’ve read this month? What about the ones I plan on reading? Leave your comments below, and book recommendations are always welcome!

Happy June and Happy Blogging!

Jade 🙂

Categories
Books

The Children’s Classics Challenge

Hello fellow bookworms! It’s only a few more weeks until June, and with June comes a mid-year wrap up; I can’t believe we’re almost half way through 2020! I hope by the time it comes to write that post I will have read at least 25 books and be half way through my reading goal for the year, who knows… but I’m hoping what I’m about to set out to do will help!

I recently received a preliminary reading list for my MA Children’s Lit course which I start in September, and there were so many books I was completely overwhelmed! Of course, on further inspection it turns out that it was definitely not expected of me to have read every single book on the list, especially not the textbooks (apart from the fact that I would go bankrupt buying them all), but there was a page of books and authors, and it was recommended I try and read a few. They were divided up into categories – Classic Children’s Literature, Children’s Literature Post 1960s, and Picture Books (with a list of illustrators). So I decided the best way to tackle this list was to pick the books I wanted to read, and set myself a goal to read them all by a certain date. I find myself a lot more motivated if I have a goal to work towards, especially if I’m struggling through a book I’m not particularly enjoying, so that’s what I’m going to do, and if you want to join me, you are more than welcome to!

I’ll be reading 15 classic children’s books in 10 weeks!

So by July 31st I will aim to have completed the following TBR:

Children’s Classics I Haven’t Read
  • Pilgrim’s Progress (Bunyan, 1674)
  • Robinson Crusoe (Defoe, 1719)
  • Gulliver’s Travels (Swift, 1726)
  • Little Women (Alcott, 1868)
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Twain, 1875)
  • Black Beauty (Sewell, 1877)
  • Five Children and It (Nesbit, 1902)
  • Peter Pan (Barrie, 1904)
  • Swallows and Amazons (Ransome, 1930)
  • The Hobbit (Tolkien, 1937)
Children’s Classics I’ll Be Re-Reading
  • Alice in Wonderland (Carroll, 1865)
  • Peter Rabbit (Potter, 1902)
  • Winnie the Pooh (Milne, 1926)
  • The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (Lewis, 1950)
  • Matilda (Dahl, 1988)
Some other books I’d love to read

While these 15 books are the main books I am aiming to read, I also have a few already on my shelf which are written by authors appearing on the list which I’d love to try and get to if I can…

  • The Rest of Us Just Live Here (Ness, 2015)
  • Carrie’s War (Bawden, 1973)
  • Noughts and Crosses (Blackman, 2001)
  • Dying to Know You (Chambers, 2012)
  • Flour Babies (Fine, 1992)
  • The Graveyard Book (Gaiman, 2008)
  • Coraline (Gaiman, 2002)
  • (Un)arranged Marriage (Rai, 2001)

I’m also planning on adding a section to my monthly wrap to update you all on how I’m getting on and which books I’ve managed to finish… I’m still planning to continue on through my normal TBR as well, so I’m about to bury myself in literature, and to be honest, I don’t mind one bit!

I know these are children’s books, but a lot of them are still full length novels, and reading them alongside my preliminary textbook reading and my monthly TBR will be a challenge, but it’s a challenge I’m willing to face head on!

I’d love to know if you’ve read any of the books on this list and what you thought of them (and some encouragement in the comments would also be greatly appreciated!)

Take care everyone.

Until next time…

Jade

Categories
Book Reviews

Review of Normal People by Sally Rooney

Hello fellow bookworms! It’s been a while since I’ve written a book review and I keep meaning to review a lot of the books I read and end up leaving it too late. But here we are now, and I have been taking notes as I read to remind myself what to say… I’m trying a slightly new system so my reviews are a bit more structured and brief, only touching on the things I specifically noted to talk about rather than going into loads of detail.

Normal People has been a hit since its release in 2018, and already has a TV series on BBC Three. This story has resonated with so many readers and viewers, and after being recommended to me time and time again, I thought it was about time I read it…

Review of Normal People

About the book

Taken from the back cover…

Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years.

This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person’s life – a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us – blazingly – about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege. Alternating menace with overwhelming tenderness, Sally Rooney’s second novel breathes fiction with new life.

5 Reasons Why I Recommend This Book

1. It’s marketed as Literary Fiction, but I would categorise it more under YA/New Adult

If you went into any bookshop looking for this book, I guarantee you would find it in the Standard Fiction section, or Contemporary Fiction depending on how deeply categorised your local bookstore is! However, while I can understand the writing is more advanced and almost academic compared to what you would find in a standard YA novel, the characters which the book is primarily based around are in their teens and early twenties throughout the entirety of the story, which for me would at least put it under New Adult. I think it’s important to highlight this, as there is a lot of life in this book which readers in the same age bracket as the characters will soak up and learn from.

2. The intelligence of the main characters

I love in books and TV when the characters are smart and work hard to be where they want to be. I found Connell’s character especially motivating, the way he studies hard to get the results he wants, and ends up realising what he wants and going for it, without worrying about gaining approval from others. Educational settings is one of my favourite tropes, particularly in YA fiction, so the parts which touched on Connell and Marianne at college/university was really interesting to me.

3. The subtle details

This book is short, but by no means rushed. After the first few chapters, I was expecting the 260 pages to span from their school days all the way to adulthood (and that may in part be the fault of the genre categorisation) but while the novel is fast paced, Rooney also packs in so many minute details which bring the story to life in ways you don’t realise writing can. There were parts I read and could clearly see what the character was doing. The author records the smallest of movements which you would do in your daily life and wouldn’t think twice about. In that way, the book is highly immersive.

4. The story tackles issues such as mental health, domestic and sexual abuse, and grief

This book should definitely come recommended with some trigger warnings! I wasn’t necessarily shocked to find the author documenting these issues, as they appear quite frequently in current literary fiction, but I don’t think I was prepared for how they would be expressed. As I said above, Rooney goes into quite a lot of detail in her writing which makes it quite raw, and she definitely doesn’t sugar coat anything. This did mean it was hard to read at times (more on this below) but it was also incredibly well communicated and really explores what can happen behind closed doors.

5. The plot was very human

I think this final point encompasses all of the above. This book should not be taken lightly. It does not hold back on anything and it really does make you think about your relationships with family, friends, and other people around you, and what it feels like to be human.

5 Reasons Why It’s Not 5 Stars

1. The strange chronology

I found myself quite often having to skip back and check I hadn’t missed something because the transitions between present and past seemed very sudden and sometimes unnecessary. I thought it was structured in quite a strange way which stunted the flow of reading on occasion.

2. This is more of a character or life study, as opposed to an actual story. There was no driving plot line to keep me motivated to read

My advice to you if you’re going to pick this book up would be: don’t go into it thinking it will be an unputdownable story with loads of plot twists. I found this book to be more driven by the characters that by an actual plot line. It very much examines them and their lives and isn’t necessarily following some highly crafted plot line. As I said above, I would recommend this book for the human aspect of the writing, but this isn’t something that kept me motivated to pick up the book and read it.

3. The events could be quite repetitive

This ties in with the fact that the book is more of a character study. Due to there being no plot as such, and we just following the very ‘normal’ lives of these characters, the things that happen in the book could get quite repetitive. This is mainly in the case of Connell and Marianne’s relationship and the constant back and forth, but there were other small things that happen a bit too frequently which makes you think the characters don’t learn from their mistakes…

4. Aside from the two main characters (and Lorraine, I loved Lorraine!) there was no real character depth, which meant their actions were often unexplained and confusing

Besides Connell, Lorraine was my favourite character. But apart from the two of them and Marianne, I found the rest of the characters lacking in back story and depth to really get to know them enough. I completely understand this book is very much Connell-and-Marianne-centric, but it’s nice to have some backstory as an explanation as to why characters do certain things and act certain ways.

5. It wasn’t necessarily the most enjoyable book to read at times

As I said above, this book tackles some issues that were at times difficult to read. The way Rooney writes and frames the narrative makes everything feel so real and sometimes hard to read, especially if readers have previously experienced any of these issues, no matter how severely. I wouldn’t necessarily say this was something that made me knock off a star, but I thought it should be mentioned in case there are readers who don’t want to read about certain things.

Have you read Normal People? What did you think? I’d love to know if any of our thoughts coincide, feel free to leave a comment below and we can discuss!

Take care everyone.

Until next time…

Jade 🙂

Categories
Book Tags

The Book Blogger Oldie Tag

Hello fellow bookworms! I’ve blogging on and off now since 2015, and while there have been times when it’s been more difficult for me to write posts, I’ve loved writing the reviews, compiling the lists and tackling the tags which have come my way. Holly over at Nut Free Nerd tagged me to do the Book Blogger Oldie tag, originating in the depths of YouTube and making it’s way into the blogosphere, so here we are…

1. How long have you been part of the book blogging community?

When I first counted it was 6 years but it’s only just over 5 years (should I be doing this tag, I feel like a bit of a fraud…!) It feels like a lot longer, I’ve done an entire degree, been in my first publishing job for over a year and a half, and realised my dream of studying literature.

2. What was your biggest misconception before starting a book blog?

To be honest, the beginning of my blogging experience was such a blur. I’d won a prize draw to receive a book in exchange for an honest review, and I wanted to put that review somewhere other than the Waterstones website, so I did! I think the main thing I thought was ‘it will be easy to write the posts and it will be easy to get the followers and people to like and comment’. Needless to say, it wasn’t! Posts take hours to write, edit, and format, audit takes a lot of interaction and getting your blog known to start getting a following.

3. How do you think book blogging has changed since you first started?

When I first started, I thought the whole online book community was just made of bloggers. Then I realised vlogging and bookstagram was a thing and was amazed the community was so big! I don’t know whether it’s just where I spend most of my time now, but I’ve noticed a lot of people using Instagram more than writing full blog posts. I think this is great, especially for people who want aesthetically pleasing photos and slightly less text… it’s definitely good for the visual stimulation we all need.

4. What is your favorite book blogging memory?

Writing my review for Lord of Shadows, it took me about a week to write and ended up being over 3,000 words! I loved the Shadowhunter novels so much and remember completely immersing myself in this review.

5. What are some books that you were introduced to because of book blogging?

Sooooo many! I can’t name them all!

6. What is something that frustrates you about book blogging?

When things don’t align the way I want them to on my posts, or when I decide I want my blog to look a certain way, but there’s not a theme that looks exactly the way I want I WordPress…

7. What is your hope for the future of book blogging?

I hope more people come and join the fun, and we continue to introduce everyone to new (and old) books, discuss our latest reads, support each other, and do what we do best… read!

I’m tagging people I’ve been following since the dawn of time BookMuffin…

  1. A Little Blog of Books
  2. Pages and Tea
  3. Readage: Snapshots from a Reading Life
  4. Book Lovers Blog

Take care everyone.

Until next time…

Jade 🙂

Categories
Monthly Book Roundup

Monthly Book Roundup for April

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Hello fellow bookworms! By the this post publishes I will be in my sixth week of social distancing and working from home, and I must say it has been one of the strangest things I’ve ever experienced. I used to love the idea of being able to work from home but now I don’t think I’d be able to do it long term (I’d probably only manage one or two days a week!) Despite being introverted and highly sensitive, I miss the normalcy of human interaction. I can’t wait for the lockdown to be lifted so I can see my family and friends (and get a Nando’s), but there will be things I will miss, such as lie-ins and all this extra reading time I’ve been blessed with! Speaking of reading, here’s what I’ve read this month…

 

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What books have I read this month?

one of us is next

One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus

4stars

This is the book that got my April off to a really good start in terms of reading! I really enjoy One of Us Is Lying and the sequel was equally as compelling. The author has such a unique way of keeping the reader hooked and wanting more even during parts of the story line which are a little dry. The ending makes me think this may turn into a trilogy…

 

threewomen

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

3stars

I got this book through work, and I had heard so many good things, so I was going into it with quite high expectations, but I was slightly disappointed. I came out of this book wondering how I should feel, because my feelings didn’t match some other’s who had really gotten into this. However, there were some moving stories in here and I really enjoyed the way it was written and the different perspectives.

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Toffee by Sarah Crossan

4.5stars

Wow, this book blew me away! This was my first poetry book and I was not expecting my reaction to be the way it was after this book. I was so entranced by the story and the poetry flowed so well from one page to the next, I was engrossed and inhaled the 400 pages in a day. Highly recommend for anyone who loves poetry or is looking to read more poetry. Very moving.

 

tofbtb

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling (audiobook narrated by many people)

5stars

I really enjoyed this audiobook and the different narrators from the Harry Potter universe made it much more fun with the recognisable voices. I whizzed though it as it’s only 1.5 hours so it’s easy to get through in one sitting, and was perfect to cure end of Potter series blues (as I’ve just finished listening to the audiobooks again!)

 

ill give you the sun

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

4stars

This book has been on my shelf for so long and it’s only since I’ve been working from home and sat next to my bookshelf that I now have books I’ve been meaning to read for ages staring in me in the face… I’d head a few things floating around about this book recently so I decided to pick it up and I’m so glad I did, I really enjoyed the story and the time jumping for the different twins’ perspectives, it was good fun!

Average Rating: 4.1 stars

Number of total pages read: 1504

Books read toward 2020 Book Challenge goal: 15/50 books 

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What am I currently reading?

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Vicious by V.E. Schwab

This book is highly addictive! I don’t want to put it down! It’s sooooo good, I don’t know why t’s taken me so long to get to this (or any V.E. Schwab to be honest)! The short chapters really helps to the keep the fast pace, it’s one of those ‘just one more chapter’ books, and then you realise it’s 2am… I can’t wait to read more!

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Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

I’m really enjoying my read along with the audiobook, I did have to swap the first one I got because it was a cast performance so it wasn’t the full book and kept jumping back and forth between dialogue and descriptive sections, but it was a good recording if I wasn’t reading along with the story. The chapters are quite short and it’s easy to listen to one or two before I go to bed. 

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Books I plan to read in May

shoeh

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I’d heard a lot of good things about Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books and this was the one I was most intrigued by but it took me ages to get a copy. I was lucky enough to get a used copy at a book swap back in March and I got really excited about it again, and then put it on my shelf to inevitably be forgotten about for another few months. Then a friend read Daisy Jones and the Six and recommended it to me, so I thought I’d give this one a try first and move on to Daisy Jones in the next few months!

silentcompanions

The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

I’ve been wanting to read another Purcell book since I ended 2019 with The Corset as my favourite book of the year, and I own all her books now, so I think I’m going to give her first book a go. It sounds so exciting and has such a unique premise so I’m looking forward to reading more of her writing.

 

normalpeople

Normal People by Sally Rooney

This is another book which is constantly recommended to me, and there’s nothing like a TV or film adaptation to encourage me to pick up the book so I can watch it, especially if there’s a lot of hype around it or I have family and friends watching as well. This book is really short so I’m hoping I’ll get through it quite quickly.

 

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An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

When I went through my (forever lasting) John Green phase all those years ago, I bought this book, and I really tried to like it, but I don’t know why I just couldn’t finish it! I DNF’d it but now I’m sat next to my bookshelf I can feel it staring at me and begging me to read the only John Green book I haven’t read yet… 

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Before we go, quick life update: I had some positive news the other week in the shape of an acceptance letter onto my Masters degree in Children’s Literature starting from September! This could not have come at a better time, I was thrilled to be accepted after a lot of hard work on my application and essay, and cannot wait to start, and it’s given me something to look forward to after this is all over!

What do you think of the books I’ve read this month? What about the ones I plan on reading? Leave your comments below, and book recommendations are always welcome!

Happy May and Happy Blogging!

Jade 🙂