A Month of Reading: January 2018

Hi Readers

So, the year didn’t get off to the greatest start. So far this year I’ve DNFed four books and given four 2 stars. I have, however, found a new favourite and reread some old favourites. 

This month I took part in 2 readathons, the Biannual Bibliothon and the 24in48 readathon. So I’m going to wrap those up in this post as well. 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

What better way to start a year off than by rereading Harry Potter. This one is one of my favourites. 

Winter In Madrid by C.J. Sansom – 24/100 **

I wanted to read this because I bought it randomly a few years ago and the premise is so intriguing. A soldier turned spy for the British government in WWII? How cool does that sound? Unfortunately this book is anything but intriguing. It barely kept my attention and I’m struggling to remember what even happened in the story. 

Biannual Bibliothon:

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – 94/100 *****

Remember when I told you I’d found a new favourite? This is it. I’ve done a full review of this which you can find here: Eleanor Oliphant Review.

Fantastic Beasts: Illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill 90/100 *****

I’ve never completely loved these Hogwarts Library books. They’re a fun edition to the HP universe (although I could do without the movie) and they are interesting. But this new illustrated edition brought that book to life for me. The artwork is absolutely beautiful. I gave it 5 stars for the illustrations. 

The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale – 35/100 **

I got this one from Netgalley to review. I requested it because it sounded to intriguing but I was disappointed. Here’s my review: The Toymakers Review.

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi 70/100 ****

Slowly making my way through the reread of this series so I’m ready to read the next book when it comes out. I like this series a little less than I remember but I’m still enjoying them. 

24in48 Readathon:

Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte – 65/100 ***

This books started off so strong for me and I don’t have any issues with it. But it does turn into a very generic plot that I’ve read so many times now. 

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – 50/100 ***

This used to be a favourite book. But not anymore. I don’t remember the main character being so annoying and ungrateful. I don’t remember the romance being so frustrating and the love interest being so stupid. It’s weird how much my opinion on this book has changed. 

Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – 34/100 **

Bit of a weird one this one. Basically, I didn’t see what all the fuss is about. I’ve read far better dystopians than this one and yet there’s so much praise for it. 

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon – 32/100 **

I have such strange feelings about this book. I’m a huge fan of Samantha Shannon but I just feel like this is such a filler book. Like, nothing overly significant happens in it. 

DNF’s:

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson: I read about 80 pages of this and just didn’t care about the world of the characters. 

Winter by Ali Smith: I didn’t get this book like I did with autumn, and if I can’t understand a book, I can’t enjoy it.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: I thought Donna Tartt would become a favourite author, but so far it’s not looking good. 

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherin Arden: This is so hyped, but I don’t get it. 

I’m really hoping February is a better month. I have some exciting books lined up. 

Thanks for reading,

Jess X

 

Book Review: The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale

Hi Readers

I found this one on Netgalley and requested it in return of an honest review. It caught my attention, but unfortunately couldn’t keep it.

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Published: February 8th 2018 by Del Rey

Source: Netgalley

Length: 320 Pages

Genre: Magical Realism

My Rating: 35/100 **

 

Cathy is a teenager, she’s just found out she’s pregnant. She looks for an escape after her parents decide she must give the baby up, and finds an advert in the newspaper. A Toy Shop is looking for workers and asks just three questions. Are You Lost? Are You Afraid? Are You A Child At Heart?

I was so excited about this book. It started off so strongly. The setting was magical and the characters were at times intriguing. I loved the writing and I could only describe the first half of the book as beautiful and colourful and imaginative.

But then the second half of the book happened, and the magical setting was ruined by a dull plot.

It suddenly went from the most creative book I’ve read in a while to a generic war plot I wasn’t there for. Suddenly the magic went away, the plot lost my attention and couldn’t gain it back again.

The characters sometimes felt flat to me also. Especially the side ones. They were just there, not really having any purpose.

I also found that time skipped too often towards the end. One minute a child was born the next they were 8 years old, the next they were 27. I found myself thinking, did I miss something? Probably, because like I said, it lost my attention completely.

Such a promising story, that just turned into a story that wasn’t for me.

Thanks for reading,

Jess X

 

Weekend Reads: 24in48 Readathon

Hi Readers

Todays the last day of the Biannual Bibliothon but I’m still in the readathon mood. So I’m going to be taking part in the 24in48 readathon, which starts tomorrow, the 27th.

It runs for 2 days and you basically aim to read for 24 hours in a 48 hour period. Kind of like a more chilled out version of a 24 hour readathon. You can sign up here: 24in48 Readathon

I plan on splitting it in two. So reading 12 hours each day. The first day I want to try and read  multiple shorter novels and then the second day I think I will try and read a longer novel. Although possibly one I won’t finish.

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire: This has such an interesting premise but I have heard mixed things about the actual book. It is however a very short book so I might as well give it a go. 

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – I’ve been wanting to reread this for a while now so I’m very excited to get to it and see if it’s still one of my favourite books. 

Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – I was supposed to read this for the Biannual Bibliothon but I just thought it would be too perfect for this readathon. 

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell – I’ve been meaning to read this for about  a year now. It is going to happen. I may not finish it but I’m at least starting it.

Let me know if you plan on taking part in this readathon.

Thanks for reading,

Jess X

 

 

 

Favourite Films of 2017

Hi Readers

In 2017 I really got into watching movies. I finally watched the original star wars trilogy (although I still don’t get the hype,) braved a couple of horror movies and actually enjoyed a superhero film.

I thought I would share with you my favourite films I saw. I’m not doing it as just movies that were released in 2017 (although there are some) but all of these I watched for the first time in 2017.

1 Beauty and the Beast

I went with my mum to see this for mothers day and ended up going twice. It such a beautiful movie and I loved the new songs. This was my favourite Disney movie growing up so it had a lot to live up to, but it was perfect.

2. Zootopia

I put this off for so long because I thought it would just be another silly kids movie. But omg this movie is so much more than that. It’s funny and entertaining sure but the message is so complex that this movie isn’t just to be enjoyed by a young audience. If you haven’t seen this yet, I highly recommend.

3. Cloverfield

There’s two, the first is a ‘found tape’ sci-fi film. The other, 10 Cloverfield Lane, is about a girl who gets into a car accident and wakes up in an underground bunker with a man who claims he saved her from a chemical attack.

If you want a film that will make you freak out, hyperventilate and shout at the screen in sheer panic, I highly recommend both of these.

4. Paddington 2

This was so unexpectedly good. I’d seen and enjoyed the first one and it’s so rare for a sequel to actually be good. But this movie is as good if not better than the first. I laughed so much while watching it, it’s one of those kids movies that’s for adults as well.

5. Hidden Figures

This movie is so inspirational. I don’t know much about NASA full stop but I loved learning their story. It’s such a feel good film.

6. Kingsman: The Secret Service

This blew up when it first came out but to be honest, I saw the words ‘spy movie’ and thought, nah. This is so much more than a spy movie. It’s clever and hilarious and has Colin Firth in it.

7. Before Trilogy

These movies are so simple yet so beautiful. It basically follows two characters who meet on a train in Vienna. She’s heading home but he convinces her to spend one more day in Vienna with him. They walk around the beautiful city and spend the night talking, it’s perfect.

8. Zombieland

It’s rare I actually enjoy a zombie film because they all tend to be the same. But this was hilarious.

9. The Descent

This movie is insane. And I loved it. It’s about a group of adventurous girls who take a trip to explore some caves in North Carolina, and soon they discover they aren’t alone down their. Honestly this movies bad enough without the creatures that are down there.

10. Wonder Woman

The superhero movie I didn’t hate. It’s so rare. The only ones that don’t make me roll my eyes is Thor, The Incredibles and now Wonder Woman. That No Mans Land scene tho.

11. Big Hero 6

Only watch this movie if you are prepared to be traumatised. Multiple times.

12. The Education

I kind of fell in love with Carey Mulligan this year and this was definitely my favourite film of hers. It’s about a school girl who loses her way when she’s charmed by an older man.

Let me know what your favourite movie of 2017 was. 

Thanks for reading,

Jess X

Book Review: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

So far this year I’ve reread a HP book, gave a book 2 stars and DNFed three others. Then I read this book, and found a new favourite.

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Published: May 18th 2017

Source: Ebook

Length: 299

Genre: Adult Contemporary

Avg. Goodreads Rating: 4.33

My Rating: 91/100 *****

This follows Eleanor, a 30 year old woman who lives a very simple life. She likes her routines and her comfort zone until she makes an unexpected friend who forces her out into a world she just doesn’t understand.

This book was one of the big releases of 2017. It entered the charts and stayed there, it won awards such as the Costa first novel award and WHSmiths Book of the Year. It immediately became a book high on everyone’s raider, and for good reason.

When I first started reading this I thought it would be a light-hearted (possibly cheesy) read, which I was all for. The character herself reminded me a little bit of Bridget Jones but also an 80 year old woman. 

Eleanor is such a fascinating POV to read from. The dialogue is like none other I’ve ever read and her lack of social skills makes for some very comical and awkward moments. In fact, there were times when I was laughing so much my mum had to ask me what it was that was making me laugh so much.

But while this is a very comical novel, as you get to know Eleanor more you start to see that perhaps this book is a lot deeper and that her past is a lot darker

This could have easily been a character driven novel but the plot is just as captivating. A scared face and a complicated relationship with her mother adds intrigue to the story as it slowly uncovers her past. This makes it a real page turner. And a shocker

You may know, so far this year, my reading has not been enjoyable. But this book completely turned that around. This is the first book of the year I didn’t want to stop reading. The first book that made me itch to get back into it. For the first time this year, I enjoyed reading.

This is a book that will make you laugh and make you cry. You won’t want to put it down.

Thanks for reading,

Jess X

Winter Biannual Bibliothon TBR

Hi Readers

So far this year my reading hasn’t been going well. I’ve completed one book, which was a reread, I’ve already DNFed two books, and  don’t know if it’s what I’m reading of if I’m in a reading slump and I just can’t enjoy anything at the moment. 

I’m hoping taking part in a ReadAThon will help me enjoy reading again and I have some exciting books lined up. 

This is a readathon created by a whole bunch of booktubers, you can find all the info for the readathon here: Bibliothon Youtube Channel.

It starts tomorrow, so the 20th of January, and runs until the 26th of January. It comes with a bunch of reading challenges which is what I’ve based my TBR around.

A Book You’ve Never Heard Of:

For this I will pick up The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale. This is a historical fiction magical realism book that I got for review from netgalley. I requested it on a whim and seeing as it hasn’t been released yet, I had never heard of it before.

A Sequel:

I didn’t think I would continue this series but I’m going to pick up the sequel to A Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. 

A Book That Features Mental Illness:

I’m going to be reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine which is a book I just got accepted for on netgalley. I’m so excited to read this book, I’ve heard amazing things.

A Book Mentioned In A TV Show Or Movie:

For this I consulted the Gilmore Girls Reading Challenge. Basically it’s a list of all the books that were mentioned or seen in the TV show Gilmore Girls. On it is a book I’ve wanted to read for ages so I’m going to read Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

A Book Under 200 Pages:

I have a few books I could read for this. I’m making my way through my Sherlock Holmes bind-up and all of the books in there are under 200 pages so I could pick that up.

A Backlist Title:

A backlist title is something published before 2017 which is basically everything on my immediate TBR, so I’ll just pick a random book for this and let you know what it ends up being in my readathon wrap up.

Let me know if you plan on taking part in this.

Thanks for reading,

Jess X

Forgetful Reads

Note: Top 5 Wednesday was created by GingerReadsLainey and is hosted by ThoughtsonTomes on the Goodreads Group.

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Hi Readers

I’m back to doing Top 5 Wednesday. I haven’t done one since November but honestly it’s because the topics weren’t suiting me. But anyway, we’re back!

This weeks topic is forgetful reads and I love this topic because a good book is something that stands the test of time. I’ve read all of these books but don’t remember a thing of their plot.

Percy Jackson: I do enjoy reading these books. I’ve read the whole series maybe 3 times. I have to keep rereading them because the minute I put them down I forget all over again.

Middlemarch by George Elliot: I finished this about a month ago. Don’t remember a thing about it. 

Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johanson: I didn’t particularly enjoy this book but I don’t remember anything about it but the ending. That terrible, terrible ending.

Villette by Charlotte Bronte: I love the Bronte sisters. I do. But this book was so damn dull.

Starcrossed by Josephini Angelina: Honestly, forgot I’d ever even read this book. 

Let me know if you’ve taken part in this weeks T5W!

Thanks for reading,

Jess X