A Month Of Reading: January 2016

Hello Everybody!

This month has been a tough one mental health wise for me, meaning I haven’t really been thinking about reading much. So in the end I only read 5 books… sort of…not really. 

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A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Okay, confession time. I did kind of skim read a lot of this. I just couldn’t get into it and I was surprised to find that it’s actually really similar to the TV show which I’ve already watched. *Bows head in shame.* This book has a lot of points of view and some of them I found quite dull, especially Catelyn Stark’s. I did really enjoy Jon Snow, Tyrion, Arya and Daenery’s chapters but the rest I just rushed through. Overall I gave this book 81% (4 stars) although this is more based on the chapters that I did read and really did enjoy. I would have enjoyed this more if I hadn’t already watched half of the show. 


 

The Art Of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

I’ve done a full review of this which I’ll link here. So I won’t go into too much detail. But lets just say it will definitely be in my top 10 of this year. I gave it 94% (5 stars.)


 

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Again, I have done a full review of this already which I’ll link here. I had actually already started this book and was already on page 100 before I decided to finally finish it this month. Overall I was slightly disappointed and slightly amazed with this book. I have conflicted feelings. I gave it 55% (3 stars.)


 

Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig

I have been on a role this month and have also done a review of this book which I’ll link here. I really needed this book this month and overall I was really impressed. I gave it 97% (5 stars.)


 

1984 by George Orwell

I haven’t actually finished this book yet, I’m only on page 100 and I’ve been reading it for over a week! I’m really enjoying it, I’m just having a hard time concentrating and building up the energy to read it. But I will finish it before reading anything else otherwise I’ll forget half of it because it’s such a detail heavy book. Hopefully I’ll do a book review of this once I have finished because I have a lot to say. 


 

So those are all of the books I have sort of read this month. I don’t think February will be much better but maybe I’ll start feeling better. Let me know what you read January!

Thanks for reading,

Jess xxx

REVIEW: Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig

It’s still only January and already I have read two books that will definitely be in my top 10 of this year, and this is one of them.

IMG_2198Published: March 5th 2015 

Publisher: Canongate Books

Bought: Book Depository

Pages: 272 

GoodReads Average Rating: 4.26

My Rating: 97% (5 Stars)

Synopsis:

“I want life. I want to read it and write it and feel it and live it. I want, for as much of the time as possible in this blink-of-an-eye existence we have, to feel all that can be felt. I hate depression.
I am scared of it. Terrified, in fact. But at the same time, it has made me who I am. And if – for me – it is the price of feeling life, it’s a price always worth paying.”

Reasons to Stay Alive is about making the most of your time on earth. In the western world the suicide rate is highest amongst men under the age of 35. Matt Haig could have added to that statistic when, aged 24, he found himself staring at a cliff-edge about to jump off. This is the story of why he didn’t, how he recovered and learned to live with anxiety and depression. It’s also an upbeat, joyous and very funny exploration of how live better, love better, read better and feel more.


Review:

I feel like I should start this review by saying a thank you to Matt Haig. Not just for writing such a relatable and helpful book, but for overcoming depression. I discovered Matt Haig 8 years ago when I was 10 in my last year of primary school. Every year we would take part in the Nestle Smarties Book Prize (funnily enough it was the last year the award took place.)  I remember the teacher choosing people to go one by one to the box of books, and everyone choosing Shadow Forest to read first. Unfortunately they were all gone by the time I got up there so I had to read Here Lies Arthur until someone had finished their copy.

When I finally got my copy I was so excited and I loved it so much I read it over the weekend just so someone else could have the chance to read it. I have such great memories of reading that book and to think that if Matt hadn’t been strong, or if he didn’t have such a supportive wife, I wouldn’t have those memories. So, Matt, thank you for getting better.

This book is extraordinary, and one reason for that is because it isn’t detail overload. It doesn’t go into the science of mental illness which I find a lot of non-fiction books do. When you have depression you don’t want a science lesson, you just want to know that you are not alone in feeling like this. That is exactly the feeling this book gives you. While reading it, I felt like Matt Haig really understood what I’m going through right now and he made me understand it, he made me understand that I’m not going crazy and that there is so many reasons why I should work to get better rather than just give up. I agree with Joanna Lumley, this book could save lives. I feel like it’s saved mine.

In a word I would describe this book as comforting. Because at no point in this book did it make me feel embarrassed or abnormal for being depressed. It didn’t make me feel pathetic or crazy, just understood. Reading his words felt like reading my own mind, that’s how scary accurate it is. If you look at the picture above you can see lots of sticky tabs on the pages, all of those represent sentences or pages or sometimes entire chapters that really hit home because of how familiar they were.

This book not only gives you an understanding to how depression feels, but it gave me hope. In a particular chapter he lists famous people who have suffered depression. Some of them really shocked me because they are so successful and they seem so happy, and when you have depression you are convinced that will never be you. But seeing these people I’ve seen in my favourite childhood movies or have listened to their music or have read their books, it gave me hope that if I get through this I could actually be happy.

I can’t describe how much this book means to me. All I want is for parents, teenagers, teachers, doctors, nurses, everyone to read this book. Whether you suffer from depression or not. You need to read this book. It could help you help someone one day.

So, my reasons to stay alive? My Mum and Dad, my dogs, the never ending list of books I look forward to reading, Disney movies (no shame,) the upcoming Fantastic Beasts movies, tea, cheesy omelettes and finally, because ‘death is so final, yet life is full of possibilities.’

Thanks for reading,

Jess xxx

January Book Haul

Hello Everybody!

While I was doing booktube I did a book haul almost every month (if I’d bought any books that month) but for some reason I’ve never actually shared with you what I’ve bought on my blog apart from my Christmas book haul. So, because I have acquired quite a few amazing books this month I thought I would share them with you.

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Reasons To Stay Alive ~ Matt Haig

Bought: Book Depository (£4)

I am currently reading this every other night just before I go to bed so hopefully I’ll have a review up before the end of the month. This is a non-fiction memoir about Matt Haigs experience with depression. I have found this book so interesting and since I’ve been a fan of Matt Haigs since I was 10 this book has hit me right in the heart multiple times. 


The Martian ~ Andy Weir

Bought: Tesco 2 for £7

I have been hearing about this book so much in peoples favourite books of 2015. I hadn’t realised how popular this book was until suddenly everyone loved it. So when I saw it in tesco I had to get it. I have actually  read a page of this and am very excited to read the rest once I have finished the book I’m currently reading.


The Art of Being Normal ~ Lisa Williamson

Bought: Tesco 2 for £7

I’ve already read, loved and reviewed this book. And I can already tell this will be in my top 10 of this year. Seriously, this book was amazing. If you want to know why, here is a link to me review.


The Universe Versus Alex Woods ~ Gavin Extence

Bought: The Works (£1)

Honestly, I’ve been hesitant to buy this because I haven’t really heard much about it for a while now. But when I saw it brand new on sale for a pound in the works I kind of couldn’t resist. I remember people saying some great things about it and the synopsis sounds really interesting as it uses funny and heartbreaking to describe it, and what more could you want from a book?


Life of Pi ~ Yann Martel

Bought: Helena Hospice Charity Shop (20p)

I have heard so many mixed things about this book and the movie, but when I saw it in a charity shop for just 20p I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of giving it a try. I want to get to this relatively soon as I’m curious as to what I’ll think of it.


The Goldfinch ~ Donna Tartt

Bought: Age Uk Charity Shop (£1)

I have heard non-stop praise for this book. It is a rather intimidating length but I think this is the year to tackle those large books, seeing as I’ve set 30 books as my goal for the entire year. This book is known for it’s beautiful writing and captivating story, about a boy who is taken in by a wealthy family after his mother dies.


The Catcher in the Rye ~ J.D Salinger

Bought: Amazon (£2.81)

I bought this just before christmas last year after rereading Perks of Being a Wallflower. This is a book I feel like a lot of people read during school but I never did and I’m really interested in reading a classic coming-of-age young adult story.


Twelve Years of Slave ~ Solomon Northup

Bought: Banardos Charity Shop (50p)

The movie to this book was a big deal when it came out and has some amazing actors in it. I haven’t actually watched it yet because I’ve wanted to read the book first, and an interesting thing I found out after buying it is that it’s non-fiction. This has just increased my interest for this book so hopefully it’ll be read soon.


So those are the newest books I have bought. I am genuinely really excited for all of these so I can’t wait to get to them. However, because it is quite a lot of books I am going to stay away from the charity shops for a little while.

Thanks for reading,

Jess xxx

 

2016 Releases I Can’t Wait For

There are so many new releases in 2016, and the best part is, a lot of them are series finales or continuations of series I have already started an loved. Because so many of my favourite authors are coming out with new books this year I haven’t really researched new releases from authors I’ve never heard of. So, with no further ado, here are my most anticipated releases of 2016.

Must Haves:

Might Haves:

So those are the books that I am excited to read that are being released this year. There are so many amazing books being released this year so let me know what your most anticipated book is.

Thanks for reading

Jess xxx

REVIEW ~ Gone Girl (No-spoilers)

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Published: May 24th 2012

Source: Bought, Charity Shop

Pages: 422

Goodreads Avg Rating: 3.99

My Rating: 55% (3 Stars)

 

Synopsis:   On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behaviour. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?                                            

 

Review:

I’m not going to lie to you, it took me a while to finally complete this book. I really struggled with it for ages and that doesn’t normally happen with books that are really popular with others. I normally love hyped up books and speed through them, but I think I must have picked up and then put it down about four times.

I found that the reason I struggled with it so much is that the first half of the book is really slow. Basically the only thing happens is Amy going missing (which we already know,) and while there were a couple of moments where things got more interesting, it wasn’t until the half way point (and if you’ve read the book then you know where I mean) that the book actually started hooking me and I actually started enjoying it.

Another downfall with this book for me is the characters. While they are definitely interesting and unlike anything I have read before, I just hated them so much. They were the most dislikeable characters I have ever read and while I think that was the whole point I didn’t enjoy this aspect. I like to have a character that I want to cheer on and that I pray has a happy ending, but honestly I wouldn’t have minded if they both just died. 

Another thing is, I can’t comprehend the ending and honestly it took me a while to realise what had actually happened. This book was just so mental and yet so clever, with so many twists and turns I did not see coming. Multiple times while reading this book I had to put it down because the drama was too overwhelming and I almost needed a breather from it. Sometimes I would just stare at the page think ‘WTF?’ 

So while through half of this book I was thinking ‘do I even want to carry on reading this?’ I did end up kind of enjoying it. I liked the plot twists, I kind of found the craziness of it enjoying and it did get some emotions out of me. So while at the beginning I thought this would be a one star book, I ended up giving it three. Still a disappointment, especially considering all of the hype, but it was entertaining. 

Thanks for reading,

Jess xxx

 

Weekend Reads #2 ~24in48 readathon!

So this weekend the 24in48 readathon is happening, and I’ve signed myself up as a participant! Basically this readathon is a two day readathon (16th-17th) where you set aside 24 hours of pure reading (so rather than doing a 24 hour readathon is 24 hours, you do it in 48 hours.) This is perfect for me because I always completely fail 24 hour readathons. Normally it gets to 1am and then I fall sleep for 8 hours and forget to read the next morning. So hopefully this one will be perfect because I’ll be able to get lots of reading done and still have time to sleep!

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My Life On The Road by Gloria Steinam – I’ve actually already started this one, and while I haven’t gotten very far right now, I do hope to finish this on the first day. I’m reading this for the new feminist book club Emma Watson has started called Our Shared Shelf and while this is widely outside of my comfort zone, it’s surprisingly good so far.

Poison Study by Maria V Snyder – I have wanted to reread this for such a long time and I think during a readathon is the perfect time. I think this month will be the month I finally finish this trilogy.

Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken – I have already started this and I almost finished it but I just was not liking it. Now I really want to finish this book and at least give the last one a try, especially seeing as they were given to me as a gift. 

Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig – I know, two non-fictions in one tbr! Who have a turned in to? But I have been wanting to read this ever since I first saw it. I really need this book to be good, I’m hoping it’s going to help me sort myself out. This is really small so I reckon it’ll be an evening read.

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin – If I am able to finish all of the other books, I will start reading this book I got for review through netgalley. This sounds so interesting and is basically based on Hitler winning WW2 and this girl who enters a motorcycle race to meet him… so she can kill him. I can’t wait.

I know this is quite an ambitious TBR, and I have no idea if I’ll be able to read this much. But all of these books are quite small and I’ve already started two of them, so hopefully I can get it all done, especially seeing as I have no other plans. 

Thanks for reading

Jess xxx

Bookshelf Tour ~ 2016!

Ever since I started booktubing/blogging my bookshelf has changed so much. It started as three shelves on the wall with just Percy Jackson, Harry Potter and Jaquiline Wilson, then I got a proper brown shelf from argos to hold all my new discoveries thanks to booktube, which soon turned into two, which I then swapped for these beautiful white shelves that I now have today. As it is the start of a new year, I wanted to share with you all of the books I own (apart from the large stack in my wardrobe but lets not get into that, hehe.)

So, with no further ado, here is my bookshelf!

Overview

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Classics

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Peter Pan, The Borrowers, The Hobbit, Narnia 1-3, Heidi, Nancy Drew 1+2, The Railway Children, Children of the new Forest, Pinnochio, Ballet Shoes, Peter Pan in Scarlet, LOTR, Silver Chair (Narnia,) Black Beauty, The Secret Garden, Alice in Wonderland + Through the Looking Glass, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma.
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Catcher in the Rye, Grimms Fairytales, Go Set A Watchman, Wuthering Heights, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Odyssey, Of Mice and Men, Animal Farm, Ghost Stories, Color Purple, Rebecca, Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies, 1984, The Giver, Handmaids Tale, Great Expectations, The Bell Jar.

Harry Potter Corner

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Young Adult Contemporary

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Since You’ve Been Gone, Second Chance Summer, Amy and Rogers Epic Detour, Aristotle and Dante, Me Earl and the Dying Girl, It’s Kind of a Funny Story, If I Stay, Summer Trilogy, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, My Life Next Door, Anna, Lola and Isla, All the Bright Places, I’ll Give You The Sun, Wonder, Will Grayson, TFIOS, Paper Towns, An Abundance of Katherines, Looking for Alaska, Let it Snow, Dash and Lilys Book of Dares, Everyday, Boy Meets Boy, Perks of Being a Wallflower.
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The Art of Being Normal (was reading,) Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls, The Impossible Knife of Memory, Lovely Bones, Stolen, Everything is Illuminated, Severed Heads and Broken Hearts, The Universe Versus Ale Woods, Perfect Chemistry, Truth about Forever, Along for the Ride, Moon and More, Memoir of a Teenage Amnesiac, A Monster Calls, Eleanor and Park, Attachments, Girl Online + On Tour.

Adult Fantasy, Mystery, Historical Fiction and Contemporary

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Furies of Calderon, Game of Thrones 1-3, Night Circus, White Queen, Bone Clocks, First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, Final Empire, Way fo Kings, Warbreaker, Martian, Bone Season, Mime Order, The Queen of the Tearling, Invasion of the Tearling, Horns.
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Murder on the Orient Express, Hollow, And then there were none, Gallows View, Along came a Spider, Curious Incident of the dog in the night time, Elizabeth is Missing, Gone Girl, Before I go to Sleep, Strings of Murder, Angels and Demons, Lost Symbol, Inferno, Casual Vacancy, Cormoran Strike 1-3, Girl on the Train, House of Silk, Sherlock Holmes.
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Small Island, Narrow Road to the Deep North, Snow Child, Bronze Horseman, Winter in Madrid, The Miniaturist, Life of Pi, The Book Thief, Kite Runner, Thousand Splendid Suns, And the Mountains Echoed, Shadow of the Wind, Birdsong, Memoir of a Geisha, The Help.
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Room, Rosie Project, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Time Travelers wife, Notebook, Last Song, My sisters keeper, One Day, Beautiful Disaster, N-W, White Teeth, Descendants, Atonement, Before we Met, Edge of Never, The Gift, Before I die, Shock of the Fall.

Young Adult Dystopian

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More Than This, Darkest Minds Trilogy, 5h wave 1+2, Shatter Me Trilogy, Selection Series, Hunger Games, Young Elites, Legend Trilogy, Divergent Trilogy.
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The Host, Cinder 1+2, Maze Runner Trilogy, Under the Never Sky 1+2, Chaos Walking Trilogy, His Dark Materials 1+2, Noughts and Crosses, Red Queen, Across the Universe, Wither trilogy, Ember in the Ashes.

Young Adult Fantasy

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Court of Thorns and Roses, Throne of Glass series, Poison Study series, Sabriel, Fire, Eon, Falling Kingdoms 1+2, Name of the Wind, Warrier Heir, Wrath of the Dawn, Kiss of Deception 1+2.
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Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Red Pyramid, Book of lost things, Ocean at the end of the Lane, Stardust, Graveyard Book, Heroes of Olympus 1-4, Iron Trial.
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Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices, Onyx, Twilight, Unbecoming of Mara Dyer 1+2, Daughter of smoke and Bone, Vampire Academy.

Non-Fiction and Childrens

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Jacky Daydream, The Duchess, Magical World of Harry Potter, Last Asylum, 12 years of Slave, Bling Ring, Seriously… I’m Kidding, TSwift Biography, Miles To Go, Deep Blue, Roald Dahl, Skellig, TFIOS movie cover, Famous Five, Merlin.

So those are all of the books on my bookshelf. I’m really happy and proud of my collection, but I would not have this many if it wasn’t for the wonderful invention of charity shops. 

Thanks for reading

Jess xxx