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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 🙂

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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 🙂

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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 🙂

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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 🙂

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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 🙂

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Book Tags

The Bookish Bucket List Tag

time for tags

Hello fellow bookworms! I was recently tagged by Holly over at Nut Free Nerd to take part in this very exciting book tag. As soon as I saw the post and the questions my mind started whirring and thinking about the answers I would give, and at point of writing I still haven’t fully answered all the questions so we’ll see how this goes!

The Rules:

1. Link to the creator in your post (Madison’s Inkwell)

2. Link to the person who tagged you

3. Tag as many people you want

4. Have fun!

 

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1. What books or series that intimidates you (because of length, density, subject) would feel like an accomplishment to finish?

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Probably the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I acquired the whole series last year and now I have all the books together it’s just so long! I’d have to be in a real fantasy mood to get through them all, and maybe read some books in between as well!

 

2. What author would you like to coauthor a book with?

I would love to write with John Green, his thought processes and philosophical hints throughout his stories are so interesting and I’d love to get to know his writing methods. Also, Laura Purcell is an incredible writer and does amazing things with words. She wrote my favourite book of 2019 (The Corset) and I’d love to co-author with her!

 

3. If you could interview any author for your blog, who would it be? What’s one question you would ask?

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It would have to be J.K. Rowling, and I can’t pick just one question, I have so many! I’d love to know all the secrets about the Harry Potter universe that haven’t yet been revealed… do you think she’d tell me how the Fantastic Beast films are going to end (besides Dumbledore and Grindelwald’s epic duel)?

 

4. As a writer, what genre is out of your comfort zone that you’d like to conquer someday and write within?

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I’m not a writer really, as much as I’d like to be, but I do have stories that I’d love to write. I think Historical Fiction is definitely out of my comfort zone both in reading and writing, but it would be so rewarding, mainly due to how much I’d learn in the research process.

 

5. What specific edition of a book would you like to own someday? It could be rare, a first edition, an anniversary edition, signed, or one with a cover special to you, etc.

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A signed first edition printing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, because I have over a million pounds to buy one…

 

6. Are there any books or bookish items that you’d like to collect?

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The Penguin Clothbound Classics are gorgeous and would look so nice as a collection, but I don’t read many classics and wouldn’t want them to go to waste (I have one, Alice In Wonderland) but I won’t read it because I don’t want to damage it!) I’d also love to collect the different editions of Harry Potter (this is slowly becoming a Harry Potter themed post…), there are so many nice designs and box sets out there, if I only I had space to put them… (the above are the jacket covers from Nerdy Ink, which are to die for! You just get the jackets, but needless to say we all probably have copies to spare which we can wrap these around – link to buy on picture)

 

7. Name one bookish place you’d like to visit. (Not somewhere you’d like to visit because of a book and not a fictional place within a book. A library, bookstore, etc.)

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There is a bookshop in Buenos Aires called El Ateneo Grand Splendid, and as soon as I laid eyes on it I knew I had to go! This bookshop is housed within a converted theatre, originally constructed in 1919. It still has so many of the original features, plus space for study, and plenty of books! You see more pictures here (highly recommend)

 

8. Name one bookish event you’d like to attend. (A festival, a signing, a book fair, etc.)

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I’ve always loved to go to BookExpo and BookCon in the US, although I think I’d find it quite a stressful experience! But I’ve also never been to a book signing which I’d love to do as well This a complete lie I work for a publishing company I go to signings and author talks all the time and just completely forgot when I wrote the first draft…

 

9. Your WIP is getting published and designing the cover is solely up to you. What does it look like?

I’m hold my first degree in Graphic Design so I’m going to be the pickiest author you’ve ever worked with mwahaha honestly authors can be very fussy when it comes to their covers, but to be fair, it’s their book, the have the right to be! I’m not going to design anything partly because I don’t want to embarrass myself with my underdeveloped design skills (yes, despite my degree) but also I would spend hours designing something and I don’t really have that kind of time, so here are some covers I would love to have as my own…

I want something simple but really effective. I love the line drawings in the first two, and it should have really clever use of typography, with a bit of gold foiling to finish it off and make it look stunning!

 

10. What’s one thing you’d like to accomplish within the bookish world? As a writer, reader, blogger, whatever you want.

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My current goal is to complete my MA in Children’s Literature and hopefully go on to successfully complete a PhD! I’ve always love studying, education and academics, so this would be an ideal path for me. I’d also like to have more books on my Read shelf compared to my TBR shelf on Goodreads but that’s quite a big ask…

 

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I tag…

Holly @ Belle of the Library

Kristin @ Kristin Kraves Books

Isla @ A Whisper of Ink

May @ Forever and Everly

Trista @ Overflowing Bookshelves

… and anyone else, if you see this and wish to partake feel free!

 

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I’ve really enjoyed completing this tag, it’s given me a lot to think about which wouldn’t have otherwise and got me excited about books, bookish collections and bookish places. I’d love to know what your thoughts are on my selections and whether I’ve we’re on the same wavelength with any of them, so please free to leave a comment below!

Take care everyone.

Until next time…

Jade 🙂

Categories
Book Tags

The Stay Home Reading Tag

time for tags

Hello fellow bookworms! While in isolation, I attempted to take part in the Stay Home Reading Rush, run by Ariel Bissett and Raeleen Lemay. This was my first Reading Rush and I took part mainly on Instagram, and I had the best time! It was a lot of fun to do the picture challenges, as well as having an excuse to do a lot of reading. This wasn’t a full length read-a-thon, it ran across four days, Thursday to Sunday, which worked out great for me because I have Friday afternoons off work now and the whole weekend to get stuck in to some books! The Reading Rush have also planned this fun tag post which you can do to celebrate the read-a-thon and let other people know what you’ve been reading and how you’re doing during the four days!

 

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How is your reading going while staying home?

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I am reading so much while at home! I’m missing out on my reading time during my commute and I’m very much making up for it. It is such a great tool for escapism and I seem to be neglecting other things I could be doing to get more reading done…

Where have you been reading at home?

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I did a tidy up during the first few days at home and made myself a book nook where I’m doing a lot of reading, but I’m yet to make it really comfortable (because it has pile of books in it!) so I’ve also been a lot in bed and a little bit outside as well when we had some warm weather over Easter.

Best book you’ve read during isolation?

I’ve read a few really good books since I started my quarantine on March 17th:

  • The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious #3) by Maureen Johnson
  • One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
  • Toffee by Sarah Crossan

What’s your favourite feel good book?

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Harry Potter will always by a feel good book/series for me, or The Book Thief, which I feel is quite relevant at this time, being all about the power of books and reading in times of fear and uncertainty.

Book you wish you could buy or borrow from the library?

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I really want to buy Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare, as it’s the perfect time to read big books now, but it’s hardback and it’s still so expensive!

Author you want to shout out during this time?

Sarah Crossan! I read Toffee in a day, I couldn’t put it down. Her writing is incredibly powerful and there are some really amazing stories running through the poetry. It’s my first YA poetry book and I will definitely be reading more!

What is your Reading Rush TBR?

I didn’t really plan a proper TBR for this read-a-thon, partly because I didn’t think I’d get a lot of time to read, but here’s a few books that I have on my immediate TBR that could fit the prompts:

  • Read a book with a house on the cover – Toffee (read)
  • Read a book in the same room the whole time – I’ll Give You The Sun (currently reading)
  • Read a book set somewhere you wish you could go – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, obviously Hogwarts (currently listening)
  • Read a book that will make you smile – Little Women (currently reading/listening), or any of the above

I don’t think I’ll finish all of these but I feel accomplished knowing I finished just one book over the read-a-thon! I’m really enjoying I’ll Give You The Sun and I love reading along with audiobooks as I find I get through them a lot quicker.

 

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I’ve also completed all four Reading Rush Instagram challenges so I’ve put my photos down below just for fun…

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I hope you’re all taking care of yourself and still managing to get plenty of sunlight. Don’t forget to take time for yourself, especially if you’re living with others and don’t have a lot of privacy. Your mental health is as important as your physical health! I found this cut gif I thought summed up our bookish community quite nicely…

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Keep in touch, and take care everyone.

Until next time…

Jade 🙂

Categories
Bookworm Survival Kit

5 Spotify Playlists For The Days When You Want To Escape During Lockdown

BSK

Hello fellow bookworms! We’re currently in the middle of a, pretty much worldwide, pandemic, with a lot of people having to quarantine themselves and socially distance themselves from others. On top of the anxiety and panic the virus is causing, being stuck inside, potentially alone, is not an ideal situation for a lot of people.

I’ve created a short blog series, Bookworm Survival Kit: 2020 Edition, to help you get through the current situation.

So far on Bookworm Survival Kit, we’ve discussed audiobooks you can listen to while you work (and some books you can read too), small things you can do every day to take care of yourself, and activities you can do from the comfort of your home to fill this massive expanse of time. It’s the last day of bank holiday Easter weekend, I’ve managed to get tons of reading done and a bit of studying and relaxing done as well! So since we’re a household of 4 adults and the house doesn’t necessarily allow us to have our own space. I really struggle to read and study with a lot of noise around me, but some quiet instrumental music in the background really helps me to concentrate; I’ll quite often listen when I’m working too. I’m here today to suggest 5 playlists you can easily access on Spotify which I jump between for a bit of variety, and are guaranteed to help you read and study in a busy household, and transport you and allow you to escape into another world…

5 Spotify Playlists For The Days When You Want To Escape During Lockdown

*click on the playlist cover to navigate to Spotify*

LoFi Hip Hop Music

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This is one of my more recent finds, there’s a more steady beat behind the music with makes it ever so slightly heavier than the others on this playlist, but it’s by no means difficult to listen to. I find it’s a much more active listening experience and the music is more engaging.

Good for: chill time when you’re not concentrating on anything, repetitive work tasks

 

Calming Instrumental Covers

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My sister first recommended this playlist to me, and it turns out to be a fun guessing game. A lot of the songs are well known pop songs in instrumental format, and I find I quite often recognise the song but can’t quite get what the original is called, it’s mildly frustrating!

Good for: Chill out bath time, Friday afternoon work wind-down

 

Chilled Jazz

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This music has a lot of movement to which I really like! As opposed to the gentler playlists on here, the addition of brass instead of just piano gives the music another dimension. It’s really nice to listen to when you want something a bit more upbeat without going full on pop.

Good for: Mid-week motivation, bringing more life to your Spotify instrumental collection

 

Reading Soundtrack

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Both this playlist and Instrumental Study have very calming piano music. It doesn’t put too much strain on the ears and allows you to read and/or study while listening without getting distracted, by the music or by the world around you (especially if you have noise-cancelling headphones!)

Good for: Blocking out, or creating nicer, background noise while reading

 

Instrumental Study

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I tend to alternate between this playlist and the one above when I’m reading or studying. The music is pretty similar on both, but I’d say the music on this one is ever so slightly slower and calmer, to distract you less when studying and aid concentration

Good for: a nicer atmosphere for studying

 

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What playlists do you listen to when you’re concentrating or relaxing? Do you prefer music, audiobooks, or podcasts? Leave a comment below, I’d love to know your thoughts!

Take care everyone.

Until next time…

Jade 🙂

Other posts in the Bookworm Survival Kit series:

5 Audiobooks To Get You Through Your Work From Home Days

5 Tips For Staying Happy (and Healthy!) During Quarantine

5 Things To Do During Your Self Isolation (besides catching up on your TBR)

5 Books To Add To Your Social Distancing TBR

Categories
Bookworm Survival Kit

5 Books To Add To Your Social Distancing TBR

BSK

Hello fellow bookworms! We’re currently in the middle of a, pretty much worldwide, pandemic, with a lot of people having to quarantine themselves and socially distance themselves from others. On top of the anxiety and panic the virus is causing, being stuck inside, potentially alone, is not an ideal situation for a lot of people.

I’ve created a short blog series, Bookworm Survival Kit: 2020 Edition, to help you get through the current situation.

So far on Bookworm Survival Kit, we’ve discussed audiobooks you can listen to while you worksmall things you can do every day to take care of yourself, and activities you can do from the comfort of your home to fill this massive expanse of time. I’m just about to enter my fourth week of home-working and I’ve been getting so much more done than I would usually which is great! I am yet to spend an entire day reading, but it’s definitely on my list of things to do… why not take advantage of having to stay at home?! Don’t forget, you can’t read for a whole day if you don’t start in the morning! I’m here today to suggest 5 books/series to keep your boredom at bay. They come in all sizes, some longer, some shorter, and some to completely transport you to escape the ever-present anxiety and panic…

 

 

5 Books To Get You Through Your Social Distancing Days

The Corset by Laura Purcell

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This was my favourite book of 2019 and I will definitely be reading Purcell’s other two books very soon. They are deliciously addictive and if you’re looking for a book to read in one sitting, this is the one for you, especially if you like crime, mystery, and historical fiction.

 

The Truly Devious series by Maureen Johnson

This trilogy is fantastic! Another set of books you can get through very quickly and are truly addictive! If you like trying to solve a crime, and enjoy a YA school setting with a twist, this is definitely for you. The trilogy recently concluded with The Hand On The Wall so you have all three to binge to your heart’s content.

 

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

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This book is so relevant right now, and I believe everybody should have a copy on their bookshelf. You can read cover to cover or you can dip in and out, and there will be a section of this book for everyone to relate to in these difficult times. It reminds us we are not alone in this and how important it is to take care of your mental health as much as your physical health, and to do whatever you feel is right to keep yourself safe, both in body and mind. My favourite chapter is Note to self.

 

 The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare

If you’re in need of some true escapism, this is a trilogy for you. I recommend reading The Mortal Instruments first, but if you’re looking for a shorter fantasy series, you could probably read these without having read any of Clare’s other Shadowhunter books. This is my favourite series of hers so far, and the characters are the perfect kind for you to fall in love with and then they will undoubtedly destroy your life. Give it a try…

 

 The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

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This book is long enough to keep you occupied for a while, and you’ll probably come out of it with the feeling that you need to read it again just to make full sense of the entire story. The book itself is fabulously written, but it really is a rollercoaster of characters and interwoven story lines, throw in some time travel and you have a very complex book which is perfect for you to devour or chew at in smaller sections if you really find yourself needing to concentrate on what’s going on!

 

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If you’re really struggling to choose a book, you could always use this time to do a Harry Potter re-read…

What books have you managed to read so far whilst in lockdown? Leave a comment below, I’d love to know what you’ve been reading!

Take care everyone.

Until next time…

Jade 🙂

Other posts in the Bookworm Survival Kit series:

5 Audiobooks To Get You Through Your Work From Home Days

5 Tips For Staying Happy (and Healthy!) During Quarantine

5 Things To Do During Your Self Isolation (besides catching up on your TBR)

5 Spotify Playlists For The Days When You Want To Escape During Lockdown