Books Without Romance

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

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Hi Readers

This weeks topic is favourite books without romance. Now, I’m a sucker for romance and will admit if a book doesn’t have it I almost always feel the absence. But in these ones I didn’t.

5. Last Act of Love by Cathy Rentzenbrink: Another one about brotherhood. This is Cathy’s life after her brother is brain-damaged in a car accident.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: I definitely need to reread this but this is about childhood and innocence. No romance from what I remember.

3. The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson: There’s not really romance in this but there are crushes. It’s more about gender and sexuality. 

2. Room by Emma Donoghue: This follows a little boy who was born inside the room his mother is being kept captive.

1.The Outsiders by S.E.Hinton: This is more about brotherhood and friendship.

So those are my favourite books without romances. Let me know if you’ve done this weeks T5W.

Thanks for reading

Jess X

 

Book Review: The Power by Naomi Alberman

Hi Readers

This book was announced last Wednesday as the winner for the Baileys Women’s prize for fiction 2017. So, of course, it sparked my need to read it.

Image result for the power book naomiPublished: October 27th 2016

Publisher: Vikings

Source: Library Book

Length: 324 Pages

Goodreads Avg. Rating: 4.01

My Rating: 67/100 (3 Stars)

Synopsis:

A new power unleashed in teenagers which allows them to create and electric shock. This novel explores how this power would change the world and how the position of men and women would change in society. This book shows what the world would be like as a patriarchal society.

Review:

I went into this only really having a vague idea of what it was about and when I started it I got very excited when I saw the direction it was going and the message it was going to portray. However, I ended up having such mixed feelings about it.

I am not a fan of sci-fi/fantasy and this book is heavy on that. However, because it has a depth that is often lost in fantasy novels as it explores society and gender, I still enjoyed it.

In this novel it’s the men who need to be protected, who can’t go out alone, who are told they are weak and should be ashamed of their gender.

This novel is so fast-paced. We immediately jump into the action and there is no build up (although it’s written so well it doesn’t need it.) However, I never really connected with the characters. At times it felt like we’d started reading in the middle of the story and it’s so plot-driven that the characters felt like plot-devices rather than characters (does that make sense?)

The amount of POV’s we followed however meant that the book could explore multiple experiences of the power including family and friendships, how every women has different amounts of Power and how this effected their how others treated them. We also see how the men are treated by women with the Power from the male characters POV.

Basically, I definitely think this is a book worth reading, but it’s not on my favourites list.

Let me know if you’ve read this book and what you thought of it.

Thanks for reading

Jess X

 

A Month Of Reading: June 2017

Hi Readers

Well. June happened. And somehow I was able to read 11 books (and start a few others). And, tbh, I wasn’t overly impressed by the books I read.

Finished:

Neapolitan Novels (2-4) by Elena Ferrante (overall 5 star series) *****

A summer-y series set in a impoverished neighbourhood Napels, Italy. We follow Elena as she recounts her life along with her relationships and friendships. Perfect for fans of Jane Austen.

These books are the only ones I LOVED this month. Possibly my favourite series of all time (after HP.) I loved everything about these books. I became invested in Elena’s life and the writing and characters just blew me away. 

I have a full review of the series here.

LoTR P2&3 by J.R.R. Tolkien (overall 3 stars) ***

A classic in fantasy. Tell’s the tales of Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves and Men on their journey to destroy the Ring and defeat the Dark Lord. 

I just don’t think these are for me. The problem is I genuinely cannot fault it. It’s so clever and beautifully written and it is the best fantasy novels ever written. I just can’t get into them and always feel like I’m forcing myself to. 

The Good Immigrant by Various Authors 65/100 ***

A non-fiction collection of essays by black, Asian, ethnic minorities living in Britain. 

This was slightly disappointing. This is marketed as a collection of essays written by immigrants however basically none of the writers are actually immigrants, they’re descendants of immigrant’s. Almost all of them were born in the UK. 

However this does have some very interesting stories from BAME living in Britain and the racism and prejudices and various other things they experience because of their race. 

I’ve done a review here.

The Power by Naomi Alberman 67/100 ***

A sci-fi novel that explores a world where women are given a Power against men. 

This one I feel very conflicted over. On one hand I love the concept and the execution was on point. But I just didn’t love it. I have a full review going up this Sunday to explain why.

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier 60/100 ***

When Philips cousin and guardian dies, Philip suspects his cousins new wife, Rachel.

Yep. Another disappointment. I just didn’t find the story as engrossing as Rebecca and the ending was a bit of a let down.

His Dark Materials (Unrated)

In this children’s classic we follow Lyra in a world where everyone has Daemens, children are disappearing, parallel worlds are being travelled and Dust is causing quite a stir. 

Yeah I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this. I tried reading it before and the same thing happened before. I got bored during the second book. However this time I was determined to finish it and I did, but I didn’t properly read it. More like skim read. So I don’t feel I can rate it.

 

Will Finish It Later:

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry – I knew this would be a struggle and it was. I got about 50 pages in. I don’t know if I’ll pick it up to finish it. Maybe one day.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – I fell victim to the power that Broadway has over me. Have you heard of The Great Comet of 1812 musical? Well, if you haven’t you should really go listen to it. And when you do let me know if it makes you feel like War and Peace is a must read, because that’s what happened to me.

I’ve never been interested in War and Peace but this musical made me feel like I HAD to. I’m over that now though so I don’t know when I’ll finish this. 

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown – Ugh. I don’t understand. Why is this so famous and loved? To me, it’s almost exactly the same as the first one. I am only 40 pages through so I might finish it, but I’m not too fussed anymore. 

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas – Another huge classic. This is like a big no no, to read two huge classics at once but I’m going to put War and Peace aside until I’ve finished this one because so far I’m loving it. Like, a lot.

So, that’s what I read in June. I can’t believe it’s July but there is one thing I’m seriously looking forward to this month. BOOKTUBEATHON!

Thanks for reading

Jess X

 

 

Unique Blogger Awards

Hi Readers

I was very kindly nominated by Ally from AllyWritesThings. 

Thanks so much Ally!

The Rules:

  • Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award.
  • Ask them three questions.

Ally’s Questions

What was your favourite childhood book and author?

I absolutely loved Jaqueline Wilson as a child and my favourite book of hers was My Sister Jodie. But a childhood book I still love to this day is The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgsen Burnett.

Who do you admire the most in your life?

Emma Watson is kinda killing it at the moment. Feminism on point, leaving books for people to find, her movies aren’t too shabby either.

If you could live in any fictional world, what would it be?

It’s so obvious but, of course, the Wizarding World.

I Nominate:

Ellen – A Little Book Life

Hayley – HayleyReviews10

Matxi – Matxi Reads Books

Keeley – Novel Bakes

Annalisse – Hopeful Reads

My questions for you:

Did a specific book get you into reading? If so, what is it?

If you wrote a book what genre would it be?

What is your favourite summer read?

Thanks for reading 

Jess X

Ultimate Harry Potter Tag

Hello Readers

Would you believe I have never done a Harry Potter Tag. Well, today is the perfect day to finally remedy that because today is the celebration of Harry Potter’s 20th Anniversary. 

This one was created by Isabeau’s Literary Musings.

Also, tonight to celebrate Harry Potter 20, I’m taking part in Harry Potter Cosy Reading Night. Here’s my blog post if you want more info to take part.

GENERAL

 1. Favourite book?

I love all of them. But, I think Deathly Hallows might be my favourite. Even though it’s so painful to read, it really is the perfect conclusion where everything just comes together. 

2. Least favourite book?

Ugh this is so hard. But I think I have to say Chamber of Secrets. But I still love it. 

3. Favourite movie?

It’s always been Order of the Phoenix although they do miss out a lot of the book. 

4 Least favourite movie?

Okay I have to mention two here. Prisoner of Azkaban always feels like the out of place one for me. Probably because the director took it on such a different direction to the others. But I still love it. 

In terms of book to movie adaptation I would have to ay Half Blood Prince. They spent too much time trying to make funny moments in a time and world that wasn’t very fun. Plus, they ruined Ginny’s character. 

5 Favourite quote?

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.” – Philosophers Stone.

CHARACTERS

6. Favourite Weasley?

Book Ginny. She’s bad-ass and doesn’t put up with Harry’s rages.

7. Favourite female character?

Hermione. She solved the mystery before the professors even when she was petrified. Can’t get more bad-ass than that.

8. Favourite villain?

I suppose Snape. I’m not one of his admirers but he does end up helping Harry win the war. 

9. Favourite male character?

Thinking about it a lot of the male characters are/can be pretty shitty. This is actually quite hard. Mmmm. Can I say Newt Scamander?

10. Favourite professor?

Definitely Mcgonagal. She is bad-ass.

WOULD YOU RATHER

11. A, Wash Snape’s hair, or B, spend a day listening to Lockhart rant about himself.

B. I’d just spend the day making sarcastic remarks back. 🙂

12. A, duel an elated Bellatrix, or B, an angry Molly

Oh, shit. A. I wouldn’t like to hurt Molly. 

13. Travel to Hogwarts via A. Hogwarts Express or B. flying car.

A. seems lot more relaxing. I think Ron and Harry quickly regretted their idea. 

14. A, Kiss Voldemort. Or B, give Umbridge a bubble bath.

I don’t wanna answer this. You’re gonna judge me either way. But, I suppose, B? (It actually pained me to write that.)

15. A, ride a hippogriff, B, ride a firebolt

I don’t like the idea of flying but, A. 

BOOK TO MOVIE ADAPTATION

16. Is there a character which you felt differently about in the movies vs books?

Ginny. They just reduced her to Harry’s love interest in the movie and they didn’t even bother to give her a personality.

17. Is there a movie you preferred instead of the book?

Mhhm. Nope. 

18. Richard Harris or Michael Gambon as Dumbledore?

Lol fuck this question.

19. Your top thing (person or event) which wasn’t included in the movie that annoyed you most.

SPEW. Such an important moment for Hermione’s character and so much meaning behind it. But I also get why it wasn’t in the movie. Also, Teddy. 

20. If you could remake any of the Potter movies, which would it be?

Oh, man. I don’t think I could touch any of them. Maybe the first two and bring to effects up to date. Or the 5th and make it more faithful to the book. 

HOGWARTS

21. Which house was your first gut feeling you’d be a part of?

Hufflepuff. 

22. Which house were you actually sorted into on Pottemore (or another online sorting quiz)?

Hufflepuff. My gut feeling was right.

23. Which class would be your favourite?

I think charms although I love the idea of ancient runes. 

24. Which spell do you think would be most useful to learn?

Accio. I’d never leave my bed. 

25. Which character do you think at Hogwarts you’d instantly become best friends with?

I genuinely think me and Hermione would be friends. I hate seeing people bullied and alone and in the first one I can just imagine her being so lonely.

MISCELLANEOUS

26. If you could own one of the three Hallows, which would it be?

Invisibilty Cloak. I feel like that’s the smartest option and I’d never have to interact with humans ever again. 

27. Is there any aspect of the books you’d want to change? This can be a character, an event, anything.

Sirius. I hate that he died and will never accept it.

28. Favourite marauder?

Sirius. That may just be because of Gary Oldman. 

29. If you could bring one character back to life, which would it be?

I know I said I can’t accept Sirius being dead. But, I hate it so much when Remus and Tonks die after having Teddy. So, them.

30. Hallows or horcruxes?

I mean, I don’t wanna kill anyone to get them and horcruxes kinda mess you up. So, Hallows. 

So that is the Ultimate HP Tag. I won’t tag anyone because I don’t know who hasn’t done this and likes HP.

Happy 20 years of Harry Potter!

Thanks for reading

Jess X

 

 

Harry Potter Cosy Reading Night

Hi Readers

This is so last minute but that’s because somehow I only just found out about it.

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone is 20 years old TOMORROW. To celebrate it Lauren from Lauren and the Books is hosting a Cosy Reading Night from 7-10pm (BST) on the 26th of June to dedicate the evening to reading HP.

Lauren’s Video

I’ve already reread the entire series this year but I can’t not celebrate the 20 Year anniversary. So of course I have to participate. I’m going to be reading The Philosophers Stone.

I’m also going to spend the evenings this week to re-watch all the films because when is it not a good time to watch HP?

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Let me know if you’re taking part. 

Thanks for reading

Jess X

Book Review: Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante

Hi Readers

I went into this series hesitantly but it ended up being one of my favourites of all time and is definitely a series that is going to stick with me for a long time to come.

Note: I had so much to say about this series that this review might be a mess, sorry!

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Published: 2012-2015 by Europa Editions

Source: Charity shop and Library

Length (Pages): 1: 336 2: 471 3: 418 4: 480

Avg Goodreads Rating: 1: 3.88 2: 4.37 3: 4.29 4: 4.39

My Series Rating: Individual 4 Stars. As a whole, 5 Stars.

Synopsis:

Against the backdrop of a Naples that is as seductive as it is perilous, Elena Ferrante tells the story of a sixty-year friendship between Elena and the rebellious Lila. We follow them through growing up in a violent impoverished neighbourhood dreaming of getting out all the way into adulthood as they become mothers.

Review:

The reason I am reviewing this series all together rather than giving each book an individual review is because these books are not individual. They do not stand alone and honestly I would go as far as saying these books could have easily been published together in one huge book.

Individually I gave these books 4 stars, but together this is a 5 star series.

What struck me first is that it’s structured as if the main character is actually writing their biography. These books are her recounting her sometimes poisonous friendship with Lila, starting in childhood until they’re 60 years old.

This immediately made me question whether these books were fiction or whether these events actually happened. Elena Ferrante is a pseudonym (and shares her first name with the main character). At times the way an event or person or emotion is written feels so real it makes me think it is. But if it isn’t, than Elena Ferrante is a remarkable writer.

Seriously though, the writing is brilliant. Ferrante is able to capture emotion in a way I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. I especially loved how she captured childhood in the first book. I feel like a lot of us can forget what it’s like to be a child but Ferrante didn’t. She was able to capture what it’s like to be small and care about such seemingly insignificant things.

The characters were beautifully written. They’re developed, complex and so real. I wouldn’t say I could put anybody into a good or a bad box and as flawed as they were I ended up genuinely caring about what happened to them.

The character that a lot of these books revolve around is Elena’s best friend Lila. For Elena becoming Lila’s friend was a gift and a curse. Lila is intelligent and her and Elena became friends through a shared interest for learning. Lila inspired Elena but also made her envious as she always felt second best. 

As I said this book is written as if it’s an autobiography so it felt like Elena had a lot of influence in how I felt about a character. Elena tends to feel jealous or self-conscious which makes her say some very biased things for/against certain characters which I found so interesting. 

Gender roles also played a big part in these books. The neighbourhood Elena grew up in is very violent and has very ‘old fashioned’ views on gender. Elena (and especially Lila) suffer a lot by the hands of men. It’s interesting to see Elena’s feminism and political opinions develop through the series.

The only time these books lost me was when it was talking about Italian politics. This is partly my own fault for not knowing much about Italy (or politics in general) but I feel like the political side wasn’t explained enough.

There are so many wonderful things about this series. The characters, the way it’s written, the setting, the feminism, the politics, the plots, the friendships, the relationships, the childhood to adulthood, the brutal honesty. I devoured these books and the minute I finished I wanted to start them all over again.

I would say that fans of Jane Austen would love Elena Ferrante as they both write character driven books (but I prefer Ferrante).

If you’re looking for your next summer read, please give these books a try. 

Thanks for reading

Jess X