Holiday BookTubeathon TBR

Hi Guys

First off I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I can’t believe it’s over already and I also can’t believe this is probably going to be my last blog post of 2016.

This will be just a quick one but I thought I would let you know what I am planning on reading during the booktubeathon. If you don’t know what that is, here’s where you can find all the info: BookTubeAThon Channel

I don’t know how much time I’ll actually have to read, what with the last day being new years eve. But I thought I would give it my best shot and all of the books I’ve picked are generally small.

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Challenges:

  1. Read a genre you discovered/rediscovered
  2. Read a book that’s you favourite colour
  3. Read a book that was gifted to you
  4. Read 3 books

TBR

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie: I am reading this for the first challenge. This year I rediscovered my love for classic children’s books. I loved them when I was a child and peter pan was one of my favourites.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness: This is for the third challenge. My favourite colours are blue and purple and this cover has a little bit of both. I have read this before but I can’t remember what actually happened.

Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops by Jen Cambell: I was gifted this book for Christmas by my parents so I’m going to read it for the third challenge. It super small so I reckon it will be a really short fun read.

The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson: This is a little novella that I found in the library and sounds really cool. So if I finish the first three quickly I’ll go onto this one.

The Martian by Andy Weir: This is only if I somehow find time to finish the others. I do really want to read this by the end of the year so I’ll see how it goes.

Let me know if you’re taking part in this readathon.

Thanks for reading and have a Happy New Year!

Jess X

Blogmas: Childhood Reading

Hi Guys

I have been a reader for as long as I can remember and books have always been a part of my life. I have strong memories of going to the library during school holidays and taking part in reading challenges and bringing home piles of books. So today, I am going to share with you those books that shaped the reader I am today.

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Jacqueline Wilson: I have read and owned basically all of Jaqueline Wilsons books published before 2011. She was a favourite of mine and My Sister Jodie was my first and favourite. I loved that it took place in a boarding school and that the main character was a book lover like myself. Plus, this was probably the first book that ever made me cry. So, thanks for that Jacqueline Wilson, you prepared me for future book reading.

The Diary of a Young Girl: This was a book that was a class read when I was 10 years old. This is a book that I really connected with because I related to Anne (because I also liked to write) and it was hard to read that she never even got the chance to grow up.

Shadow Forest by Matt Haig: Yes, that’s right. The guy who wrote ‘Reasons To Stay Alive’ is a childhood favourite of mine. I read this in my last year of Primary School (I even wrote him a letter) as part of the Smarties Book Awards.

I remember the teacher carried in a big box of books and one by one tables were chosen to go up and pick a book (there were 4 choices.) By the time I got there they were all gone. But when I finally got my hands on it I devoured it and recently purchased it for my own collection. And yes, I am definitely going to reread it soon.

Narnia: This was a class read in m first year of secondary school and I remember falling in love with the Narnia world. The movies are also a big part of my childhood.

Skellig: We started reading this in my first year of secondary school as well, but for some reason we never finished it so I bought it myself and started it all over again but if I’m honest with you, I still don’t know what happens.

Peter Pan: In my primary school we had little bookshelves in each classroom and you had to ask the teacher if you could borrow one and they would keep a log in a little book. I borrowed this when I was 8 and I remember reading this in a pub (no alcohol involved, promise) after a quiz night was cancelled. I still love this story.

Famous Five: I’m not sure when I first got into these, I reckon I was 8 or 9 because that’s when I really got into reading. I loved the adventures this group of friends had and the mysteries they solved. I also remember finding it extremely funny that they drank something called Ginger Beer.

The Secret Garden: Whenever I think this book I always think of my Nan on my Dads side. My Dads family has a serious green finger and I think it was her who first bought me the movie as I was always reading her copy of the book when I was round her house Eventually I bought my own copy of the book and when I read it earlier this year it made me feel so nostalgic.

So, those are the books from my childhood. Did you read a lot in your childhood? If so, what’s your favourite book you remember reading?

Thanks for reading

Jess X

Blogmas: Blog and Booktube Recommendations

Hi Guys

I have a lot of love and appreciation for booktubers and book bloggers. They have elevated my love for reading onto a level I never would have imagined possible when I was 10 and every video I watch or post I read inspires and spurs on that love.

So I thought I would share a few of my favourite people to watch and read. But these certainly aren’t all of them, and I will be doing a lot more of these in the future.

Blogs:

Books and Messey Buns: Rebeca and I have a very similar reading taste but she also reads books that I haven’t heard of, which is kind of everything I look for in a blog.

Read Diverse Books: I’ve been following Nazahet’s twitter for a while now and have only recently started reading his blog, and I’m really glad I did. His goal is to share and promote diverse books, which is definitely something I am guilty of not doing as regularly as I should. If you’re looking for a good diverse read, check out his blog.

BookishUnderDog: Another new find (even though I’ve been bookblogging for two years now I still feel very new to it) but I am very I found Emma’s blog. I love her posts and you should definitely check her blog out.

Booktubers:

WhittyNovels: I have watched Whitney for years now and she has grown into a great youtuber. She does great and honest book reviews, she supports diverse reading and makes a physical effort to promote it. Plus, she’s so relatable. If you’re not watching her already you definitely should.

Jen Cambell: She reads mostly books I A- have never heard of or B- never would’ve thought to pick up. But she makes me want to read everything she reads because she has so much passion for them. And she used to be a bookseller, so she knows the art of persuasion.

Ariel Bissett: This girl is the genius behind the booktubeathon along with all it’s challenges, sponsors, giveaways, and she also makes pretty cool videos. I especially love her bookish discussion videos.

Let me know what your favourite blog/booktube channel is!

Thanks for reading

Jess X

Blogmas: Christmas Song Book Tag

Hi Guys

Today I thought I would do a Christmas themed tag. This was created by Hailey from Hailey in Bookland. So with no further ado, here are my answers.

1. “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch”Name a villainous character you couldn’t help but love.

I will always have a love/hate relationship with Severus Snape from Harry Potter. I don’t think he’s exactly a villain but that does not mean I like him.

2. “All I Want for Christmas is You”Which book do you most hope to see under your Christmas tree?

This year I’ve asked for the Barnes and Noble complete collection of Lewis Carrol publications. It’s beautiful.

3. “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”: Name a character that overcomes major obstacles and learns to believe in themselves.

As I’m writing this I am in the middle of Hero of Ages, the last book in the Final Empire trilogy and it amazes me how far Vin and Elend have come. I can’t really say what or I’d be spoiling the first and second books, so I’ll just say I’m real proud of them.

4. “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”a) Which character do you think would be on the top of the naughty list? b) Which character do you think would be at the top of the nice list?

A) No villain is worse than Voldemort. B) I reckon Spook from The Final Empire would be on top of the nice list. I’m loving his character, especially in Hero of Ages.

5. “Frosty the Snowman”Which book just melts your heart.

This has got to be Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. As I write this it is actually her 184th birthday so that story is at the fore-front of my mind and remembering the March family has certainly put a smile on my face. I love how giving and close they all are.

6. “Feliz Navidad”Choose a book that takes place in a country other than your own.

For this I’ll choose A Thousand Splended Suns by Khaled Housseini. This is set in Afghanistan. You get a feel of the countries traditions and how day to day life became a lot more dangerous once the Taliban gained control.

7. “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”Which holiday themed book do you use to spread the Christmas joy?

I have done a whole blog post on festive reads which you can read here. But I think out of all of them A Boy Called Christmas got me into the Christmas spirit the most.

8. “Sleigh Ride”Which fictional character would you choose to spend the holidays with (doesn’t have to be a love interest!)

Jo from Little Women. I feel like we would get on so well. She loves stories, she doesn’t take life too seriously and she knows her own mind.

9. “Baby it’s Cold Outside”Which book that you didn’t like would you sacrifice to a fire to warm yourself up in the cold?

I would happily burn The Cursed Child (the Harry Potter play) and I would dance around the flames.

10. “Do you hear what I hear”Which book do you think everyone should read?

There are a few books I wish everybody would read. Books that change opinions such as ‘Reasons To Stay Alive,’ ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns,’ ‘The Help,’ ‘Autumn.’But most of all I wish everyone would read The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. It is the ultimate coming of age story.

Thanks for reading

Jess X

Blogmas: Christmas TV 2016

Hi Guys

One of the best things about Christmas is the amazing Christmas specials and movies that are on TV. It’s always a special moment when the Christmas TV mag is released. I love flicking through and seeing whats on and this year has a couple of quite exciting things on, so I thought I’d share what I’m most excited about.

To Walk Invisible – BBC 29th Dec 9PM: I feel like every reader is excited about this. This is a TV movie that shows the lives of the Bronte sisters. I watched a documentary the BBC did earlier this year called ‘Being the Brontes’ which celebrated Charlotte’s 200th birthday and their life was actually quite difficult and it’s so inspirational the work they did in the short lives they had. If you’re a Bronte fan, or even just love period dramas, you should definitely give this a go.

Outnumbered – BBC Boxing Day 10PM : This was a TV show I loved as a pre-teen. It is British gold comedy and so relatable. It follows the lives of two struggling parents with three young kids. It’s been off air for a couple of years now so the young kids aren’t so young anymore. It’ll be interesting to see their characters are all grown up.

Great British Bake Off – BBC Christmas Day 4:45PM and Boxing Day 7PM: This is probably what I am most excited for. I was so sad when I heard the Bake Off was coming to an end as we know it (and no, I’m not excited for the Channel 4 version.) It’s going to be a bitter sweet end but a perfect Christmas day watch. Also, I can’t wait to see Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry in a Christmas jumper.

Call The Midwife – BBC Christmas Day 8pm: Probably won’t actually watch this on Christmas day because no doubt there will be sad and emotional moments, and Christmas day is not a day for crying. But Call the Midwife is one of my favourite tv shows and I’m sure this is going to be fab.

Paul’s Scary Tales – ITV 20th Dec 9PM: Paul O’Grady is someone I grew up with on the TV because my mum loves him. He’s doing a one of special telling the original fairy tale stories in all their gory.

Creatures of the Cold – BBC 29th Dec 8pm: I’m watching this for the penguins.

Michael Mcintyre’s Big Christmas Show BBC 7:25 Christmas Eve: Michael Mcintyre is a family favourite. His jokes are so relatable and his Send To All is hilarious.

What are you excited for on the TV this Christmas?

Thanks for reading

Jess X

 

Blogmas: Christmas Baking! (Ginger Bicuits Recipe)

Hi guys

For me the smell of Christmas is spices and Ginger is my favourite spice (not Gerri Halliwell.) I put it in everything  (basically, kind of) including cake, hot chocolate. But my personal favourite is ginger biscuits.

My Granddad has always made ginger biscuits that beat any shop bought ones. They are chewy and crunchy and ginormous. When I was 12 he gave me the recipe so I could make them in school and ever since it has been my go to recipe.

It is super simple so I thought I would share it on here just in case any of you were looking for anything to bake seeing as it is the time for baking (and eating.)

Ingredients:

  • 350g of Self-Raising Flour
  • 200g of Caster Sugar (I only had granulated but it tasted the exact same)
  • 125g of Butter
  • 75g Golden Syrup
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Tablespoon of Ground Ginger
  • Teaspoon of Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 1 Egg

Equipment:

  • 3-4 Baking Trays
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Weighing Scales
  • Baking Paper (or you can grease the tins with butter)
  • Sieve
  • Spoon

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 160°

2. Grease 3-4 baking trays with butter or you can use baking paper.

3.  Sieve the flour, sugar, salt, ground ginger and bicarbonate of soda into one bowl.

4.  Melt golden syrup and butter together either in a bowl over a pan of water on the stove or in the microwave (make sure to check every 30 seconds if you do it in the microwave.)

5. Beat an egg and add the golden syrup, butter and egg to the dry ingredients (the flour, sugar etc.) Mix it all together until it forms a ball. It may be crumbly at first but just keep mixing till it all comes together. You may have to use your hands.

 

6. Roll the biscuit dough into balls. I chose to do mine slightly smaller than a golf ball but you can choose what size you want your cookies to be, depending on how many you want.

7. Put them on the baking trays (do not flatten them at all). Make sure to leave enough space in between as they will flatten and spread as they bake. This recipe normally makes about 25-30 biscuits so you might have to bake them in two batches.

8. Put them in the oven to bake for about 15 minutes.

8. ENJOY!

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Let me know what your favourite thing to bake this time of year is!

Thanks for reading

Jess x

 

 

 

Blogmas: Authors I Want To Read More Of

Hi Guys

I have a problem. A problem no book lover should have to endure. I don’t have a favourite author. Let me explain. 

I have come to realise I mostly only read one book by an author, and that book is normally the one that has gotten the best reviews.Yes, I admit it, I only read popular books. I might read more if it’s part of a series, but other than that I read the one book and then move on from that author and never return to them, no matter how much I enjoyed that book.

Because of this, I feel like I can’t say I have a favourite author. I would say J.K Rowling but I hated The Casual Vacancy so much I didn’t even finish it. 

So, today I’m going to list some authors I think are potential candidates to becoming my favourite author. I just need to read more of their published works first. 

Emma Donougue ~ I loved Room, but from what I’ve heard it’s actually a lot different to the other books she’s published. It’s almost a anomaly. But honestly I love the sound of her other books. Most of them are historical fiction and there’s even some mystery, and even though they’re a lot less popular I do want to give them a go. 

Matt Haig ~ I remember reading the first book of his Shadow Forest when I was just ten years old. He hasn’t written many fantasy children’s books since then, but I do love the sound of his other works. Not only that, but I love the work he has done with Reasons To Stay Alive, so he’s a very promising candidate.

The Brontes ~ So far I have only read Jane Eyre and I loved it so I definitely want to read all of the Bronte sisters works. 

F. Scott Fitzgerald ~ I will admit I don’t think he’s a contender for my favourite author because I thought The Great Gatsby was.. meh. But I am interested in his other stories. 

Maragaret Atwood ~ Even though it really freaked me out I was impressed by The Handmaids Tale and her name is always popping up. She has so many books published in so many different genres. I’m really excited to read more by her. 

Markus Zusak ~ He hasn’t published that many books so I don’t know how likely it is I’ll ever call him my favourite but The Book Thief was so good and I loved the narrative so I’d like to give him a try. 

Anne Tyler ~ I think she could become a summer favourite. Her books just have that sunny day in the garden with a lemonade feel to them and they all sound really interesting. 

I hope to one day name one of these authors my favourite. But as of right now I’m stuck with saying ‘I don’t have one.’

Who’s your favourite author?

Thanks for reading 

Jess xxx