Recent Reads #1

7/12/2020


Change is coming! Monthly wrap-ups are fun, but when you average a good 10-15 books a month, it can be incredibly overwhelming to write. So I'm switching it up! Instead of the usual wrap-up, I'm going to do a blog post discussing all my recent reads every time I finish 5-7 books (it'll depend on whether I have anything substantial to say about certain books). I don't know how often there'll be a new post as my reading habits can change depending on the month, but I imagine there'll be a new post every 2 weeks. I'm still debating whether or not to do a version of a wrap-up still, but more focused on discussing my favourite reads of the month, anything that disappointed me, and stats. We all love some stats! If that sounds interesting to you, let me know! So without further ado, let's discuss my latest reads!


Spirit Bound
by Richelle Mead
I've been rereading the Vampire Academy series for over a month now, and it's such a blast. I've spoken before about my love for this series, but I was a little hesitant to give it a reread in case it wasn't as enjoyable as I remembered. A lot of Twilight fans have very likely read the first book in this paranormal series during the era of House Of Night, Fallen, Hush, Hush, and The Vampire Diaries. But I doubt that many continued as the series really does take a huge turn for the better. I adore Rose as a protagonist, especially as she was one of the first true kickass heroines 11-year-old Anne read in a YA series. Is it a sometimes silly series without depth? Yeah, but it's fun. Spirit Bound is the fourth installment in the series, and though it's my least favourite, I'm excited to pick up the next and final book. I'm still debating whether I want to read the spin-off series Bloodlines.
★★.5/5


Girl, Woman, Other
by Bernardine Evaristo
This is an interwoven story of twelve voices, each voice being a woman. All of the characters lead vastly different lives, whether that's because of their upbringing or just the era that they lived through. We read about daughters, their mothers, and a different woman all together who's story is somehow woven into the others. What I found particularly striking about this novel was Evaristo's ability to create such an array of unique women, without it ever feeling repetitive. I could clearly differentiate each character. As with any book that is essentially a collection of stories, you enjoy some sections more than others. For that reason I gave Girl, Woman, Other a 4+1/2 star rating. It was beautifully written, and surprisingly quick to go through despite it's hefty length. If it's been even remotely on your radar, I strongly recommend it. 
★★★★/5 


A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers #2)
by Becky Chambers
Picking up right where The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet left off, we follow two characters who have ventured off for an adventure of their own. The synopsis for this is a huge spoiler for the end of book one, so be aware of that if you look this one up! I was excited to pick this up, as I was excited to see what Chambers could do with a more condensed character list. Book one had so many characters - hell, an entire crew - which I did find overwhelming at times. I'm always going magnate more to character driven books, but especially when a novel focuses more on specific characters. I gave TLWTASAP (Bloody hell) a 5 star rating, and yet I much preferred A Closed and Common Orbit. So.. you can pretty much gather how great of a writer Chambers is. This book had such diversity and representation, yet never felt preachy or try-hard. It was a beautiful story that touched my heart. My only quim with it overall was that I felt the ending was rushed. It could've blossomed with an extra 50 pages. 
★★★★★/5 


The Poet X
by Elizabeth Acevedo
Told through verse, this is about a young girl in Harlem who discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Last month I read Clap When You Land and instantly ordered The Poet X from my library. I didn't enjoy Acevedo's's debut quite as much as her new release, but it was still absolutely beautiful writing. Her books seem to be an entire experience that I can't help but fall head over heels for. I'm already planning on reading With The Fire On High soon. 
★★★★★/5 

Pet Sematery
by Stephen King
When the Creeds move into a beautiful old house in rural Maine (of course), it all seems too good to be true: physician father, beautiful wife, charming little daughter, adorable infant son—and now an idyllic home. But the nearby woods hide a blood-chilling truth—more terrifying than death itself—and hideously more powerful. I have a rocky relationship with King's books, but I was hopeful when picking up this known favourite, as so many people have said that it's his one truly creepy book. I get it, okay, the first 1/3 was indeed creepy. But god, did it drag from there. In classic Stephen King style, this could've been 100 pages less and would've definitely gained from it. 
★★/5

I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer
by Michelle McNamara
True Crime is a genre that I've been interested in for about a year now, but never knew where to start when it came to books. This was available via audiobook at my library, so I randomly started it one night. Yeah, I didn't get much sleep that night. This book revolved around the now caught Golden State Killer and a bloggers obsession to find him. Michelle McNamara sadly passed away before this book got published, which only adds to the overall intensity of the book. I'm giving this a 3 star rating, as though I did really enjoy the first half, I got a little bored during the 2012 sections. I felt as though the book could've been a little 'more to the point'. But nevertheless, if you're interested in dipping your toes into this genre, I think this is a great place to start. It definitely spiked my interest. 
★★★/5

What are you currently reading?


5 Star Book Predictions : Part II

7/08/2020

Time for another guessing game! Last year I did a 5 Star Book Predictions post and have since read them all and even wrote all about my eventual ratings in my Prediction Update post. Go me. I figured it was worthwhile to do a part 2. I don't know about you but I have piles of books on my TBR that I have a gut feeling about, I feel like I will give them a whooping 5 star rating but yet I continuously chose to pick up something else. Is it the fear of the book letting me down? Or am I just lazy? Probably both! Like last time, I'm going to categorise each pick. Because I like rules. Let's get onto my second batch of predictions...


The Modern Classic: 
Catcher In The Rye
by J. D. Salinger
A 'banned' classic that has been said to be the The Perks Of Being A Wallflower of it's time. This is a sceptical but honest prediction. My husband loathed this book, like, one of his most hated books of all time, and each review I see seems to be either glowing or bursting with annoyance. I can look past unlikable characters, enjoy a book centred around mental health, and am a sucker for a tale of young adolescence. I really hope I like this. 
Side-note: Since writing this blog post, I've read J.D. Salinger's other novel Franny and Zooey and absolutely hated it. Oh, dear. Hope for me.

The Well-Loved Author:
After I Do
by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I have absolutely no idea what this is about and I'm refusing to look it up as I like going into Taylor Jenkins Reid's book completely blind. I'm sorry. Click HERE to venture to the Goodreads page if you want to know it's synopsis. From the title I'm guessing it's about a marriage..? All I know and all I need to know is that it's written by one of my favourite authors (she's currently tied for my favourite author with Fredrik Backman). This is the last backlist TJR book I have yet to read, so it's high on my TBR.

The Non-Fiction:
The Unabridged Journals Of Sylvia Plath
by Sylvia Plath
This terrifies me. If I put it on this list then I have to read it within the next few months. My husband bought this for me for Christmas as I've been going on and on about how much I want to read it since the literal age of 14. But I'm so scared about whether or not I'm going to like it after I've built it up so highly in my mind. Is this what it's like to be a modern day Star Wars fan? Repeat with me: I will not be daunted by big books, I will not be daunted by big books...

The Recommended:
Bringing Down The Duke
by Evie Dunmore
This book has been making the rounds through Booktube and though it's had varying reviews, I'm already sold. A historical fiction with smutty goodness and a smartass female protagonist? Yes, all the yes. From what I can remember, this is about one of the first females to earn a place in Oxford, only her placement comes with the price of having to sway a notoriously strong-willed Duke into backing the slowly raising female's suffrage movement. In this I'm hoping for envious gowns, witty banter, female friendship, and one brooding Duke. I'm all in.

*The Yet-To-Be-Released:
Out Of Love
by Hazel Hayes
I've seen this marketed as a love story told in reverse, with the backdrop of a bittersweet break-up. Sounds utterly painful, right? Just my thing. Despite this being Hazel's debut novel, I'm already familiar with her writing style and a large chunk of my heart is already built up of love for it. So I'm pretty confident putting Out Of Love on this list. As a bonus, it's already been compared to Normal People by Sally Rooney and One Day by David Nichollas, both of which I loved. Everything is leading to a 5 star rating, and I've already pre-ordered. Something I never do. One might say I'm overly confident.

The Classic:
Anne Of Green Gables
by L. M. Montgomery
Over the years I've read a few version of this children's classic. Some were condensed versions of the entire series and others were entirely rewritten (looking at you, mother) but I don't think I've ever read the first original volume. I got gifted this gorgeous set by my husband last year and I want to make my way through all four books (I only have this and A Little Princess left), so what better time to finally fall into Anne's world? I've yet to read a female orientated children's classic that I haven't given 5 stars, so this will hopefully be a correct prediction.

So, there we have it. Hopefully I'll check in near the end of Summer with my eventual ratings and a whole new batch of predictions. What book on your TBR are you predicting you'll give 5 stars? 


*Since writing this post, I've recieved and read Out Of Love. Spoiler: I gave it 5 stars! Yay! Off to a great start, people!

Top 10 Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist Songs

7/07/2020


Given our current quarantine situation, I've been finding myself watching Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist on a loop. If Jane Levy's face isn't taking up my screen, then I'm usually found listening to the many wonderful covers from the show on Spotify. I adore this soundtrack. Are the covers better than the originals? No - well, I could make a case for Happier but let's get to that later - yet each cover sung by the actors fills your heart. If you haven't been keeping up to date with me online and Youtube didn't bombard you with the first episode of this wonderful original series masked as an ad, then you're life is Zoeyless and I'm sorry. This NBC show is about a tech girl named Zoey, who suddenly gets the ability to hear/view people's inner emotions in the way of songs. They perform their desires, happiness, sadness, or confessions by covering songs by the likes of The Beatles, Whitney Huston, No Doubt, P!nk, and so on.. If you want to watch a show that makes you feel unfairly untalented, this is it. Basically. It stars Jane Levy as our main star, followed by Skylar Austin and Alex Newell as her friends, Peter Gallagher and Mary Steenburgen as Zoey's parents, and Lauren Graham (Lorelai FREAKING Gilmore!) stars so brightly as Zoey's girlboss Joan that she can't not be one of the best things about the show. The cast is diverse, wonderfully talented, and as a group make up a great mix of known actors and people beginning to blossom in their work (such as John Clarence Stewart, Michael Thomas Grant, Kapil Talwalkar, and Stephanie Styles). But what are my most played 10 songs from the entire season? Let's find out together.


10) Got The Music In Me
sung by Jane Levy
The opening song of episode 2 'Zoey's Extraordinary Boss' was our first taste of Jane Levy's singing ability, and dayum, she rocked it. Since seeing this episode this song may or may not of been played repeatedly by me each day to help elevate my mood in these crappy times. The beat, the lyrics, the cheesiness... absolutely perfect. This has also been the only scene thus far to have all of the characters together (spoiler: it's a dream sequence, but.. it counts. Right?)



9) Wrecking Ball
sung by Lauren Graham 
Lauren Graham's character Joan had great growth throughout the show, despite the lack of screen time (I need more Gilmore Joan in my life!). Wrecking Ball was by far her standout solo, despite how little we saw of it on the show. Not only was this when she was vocally strongest (not counting American Pie), but it brought a whole new meaning to the pop classic.



8) I Wanna Dance With Somebody
sung by Stephanie Styles
Autumn was an underdog of a character throughout the first season of this show. I adored both her character and her voice, boy, her voice. This was our first song by her and it is honestly perfection. 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody" is one of the first performances I think of when reminiscing about this series. It conveyed such a sense of loneliness. The vocals, dancing, and Mo's backtrack of utter disbelief makes for the 8th spot on this list. 


7) Perfect
sung by Mary Steenburgen and Peter Gallagher
Mitch and Maggie's last performance together of the season. Who didn't shed a tear? Ed Sheeran's song is the most perfect fit for this dance scene. It was very reminiscent of their earlier relationship. The lyrics were a perfect example of how when in tremendous love the other can change to such an extent but it won't shatter our love for them. I'm unashamed to admit that I cried for a solid 15 minutes. I also think that was Mary Steenburgen's strongest vocal performance. 



6) I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)
sung by Max (Skylar Austin)
Prior to this gem of a song, Skyler Austin's character Max had sung a few suggestive songs to Zoey, but I'd argue that this was the first true love song. I Think I Love You and Sucker were flirty, but this showed just how true Max's feelings are. (am I taking this show quite seriously? yes.) If the Pitch Perfect trilogy taught us anything it's that Skylar Austin sings absolutely everything perfectly.



5) Mad World
sung by John Clarence Stewart
I adore the original of this song so it's no real surprise that this cover showed up on this list. However, for a song from the very first episode of the show, it stuck with me. I feel like this was a glimpse into what the show wanted to be. It broke my heart and I hadn't yet felt so seen in a TV show - let alone a pilot. 



4) How Do I Live
sung by Jane Levy
Episode 8 'Zoey's Extraordinary Glitch' broke my heart into a billion pieces. Jane Levy's overall performance was one of the best I've seen of any actor in a single episode. She portrayed humor, heartbreak, love, and lust all while keeping Zoey's authentic characteristics. The sound of silence in this episode was played beautifully, which you'll know what I mean if you have seen it. The last song of the episode 'How Do I Live' sung by, of course, Jane Levy seemed to come out of nowhere. Having not been entirely familiar with Levy's range, this was such an impact scene and the song was the perfect choice. She sung the entirety of the song with the emotions that flickered across her expression, a no easy feat, and made me sob into my drink.



3) The Great Pretender
sung by Alex Newell 
Mo is quite obviously a tremendous singer, but this was the highlight of his vocal ability to me. It portrayed such an intense sadness that not many actors could even hope to do. The song for the episode was a perfect choice. I think what I love most about it is that it's one of the only songs of the season that's a character singing to themselves. It's beautiful. Mo is beautiful. We all need him as a friend. 


2) Miss American Pie
by the entire cast
This was the final song of the show and boy, did it put the audience through the ringer. Upon first glance, this song seems out of place for such a sad scene but after a look at the lyrics, it really is a devastating song. That last line broke me into a billion pieces and I'm wrecked forever.



1) Happier
sung by John Clarence Stewart and India de Beaufort
This may be a bit of an obscure winner but I stand by it. This song was the most perfect fit of all songs chosen for the first season. It was such an intimate look at what we all assume to be Simon and Jessica's relationship. The dance scene was beautiful, the singing was lovely, and the lyrics broke my heart. This song is 100% going to be at the top of my 'songs of 2020' list on Spotify. 



Since writing this, the show has officially been renewed for a second season. So if you hear a constant high pitch scream, it's me. Have you watched this show? Are you interested in it? Let me know! I need some fellow viewers in my life. Screw Team Edward or Team Jacob, Max and Simon are the new ultimate rivals. 



I Messed Up Book Tag

7/05/2020


We all love a good book tag, eh? I can't remember who I saw do this on Booktube but I really enjoyed the questions and wanted to do it myself! Full credit goes to the creator, and if you'd like to do this, consider yourself tagged! Let's get on with the questions... 

Q U E S T I O N S

1. A character appearance that you misread and imaged differently. 
After watching so many Vampire Academy dreamcast videos on Youtube in my youth (are those still a thing?) I have to go with Dimitri from Vampire Academy. I was entirely imagining Ben Barnes's face on Roman Reigns body. I did really like in the role, but yeah, I was imagining something completely different. The same goes for Beth in Little Women. Probably because of the name, but I was imagining a younger Emily Kinney in the role.



2. A character name that you've been pronouncing wrong. 
Carlisle from Twilight. When I read the entire series I was pronouncing it Carl-is-le, not Carl-ile. Basically, the 's' is silence which teenage me did not imagine. Entire brain explosion when I watched the movies and realized how wrong I was the entire time. 


3. An overused trope that is your guilty pleasure.
A well-done love triangle. I know it's overdone and a little try hard at this point, but there's just something about a classic love triangle that will peak my interest. Especially when you have the goodie-good-guy and the smart mouthed underdog - bonus points if the underdog has a fighting chance and it isn't so clearly the loser throughout the entire book. Think less Jacob Black and more Adrian Ivashkov.

4. A cliché character type that you like better on screen rather than read about.
The epic bitch. Give me Blair Waldorf, Petra Solano, Naomi Clark, and Brooke Davis every day of the week but in book form? No, thanks. I don't know why the bitch character just doesn't work for me in written format, but it doesn't. I think my brain goes too 'worst case scenario' and I instantly want to vanquish the character. That said, if we're just talking book adaptions, I think the actor or actress can play a huge part in whether or not you like the character. Seen as we seem to be on a vague Twilight theme here, let's use Jessica as an example. I think Anna Kendrick being cast to play such a dislikable character made Jessica seem way more likable. Kendrick has a way of delivering such bitchy lines with an underlining of sarcasm that speaks to my soul. 


5. A word/phrase that you learnt because of it's use in a book.
I can't think of an answer for this, so instead I'm going to say the term 'Meet Cute' which I learnt from Booktube. That counts.. right? Since I learnt about it, I've seen it literally everywhere. Always the same, right? 


6. Have you ever not read or completed a required reading book for school?
Nope! I left school when I was 10-years-old to be home schooled which mostly consisted of being my own teacher. Weirdly, I didn't choose to pick up the classics that I ought to of read in school. In my twenties I've been working on rectifying that.


7. Have you ever (or wanted to) skipped a chapter from the point of view of a character that you weren’t interested in?
Yes, very likely. What book? Good question. Nothing comes instantly to mind, but as an overall answer, I'd say romance novels that have a split narrative. I get why it's now a common thing to find in books such as The Kiss Quotient, The Unhoneymooners, and Get A Life, Chloe Brown, as it helps built up both characters. But it seems to be a trait of the genre to have some unnecessary conflict near the end of the book to 'spice things up', I guess? I find it more frustrating when we're switching narratives and both are being completely idiotic or purposely not communicating. I feel as though if we were just reading from the POV of one character, it'd help keep the book interesting as we wouldn't necessarily know what the miscommunication is actually about. I dunno. 


8. Have you ever cancelled social plans to read a book?
Not that I can think of, but me and my husband have most definitely strayed from an original plan for the day to read (usually the adulting type of plan, such as grocery shopping or going outside to feel alive). We've also spent so long reading that we miss dinner, so are "forced" to get Taco Bell at a stupid hour. Having a partner who reads is great, but darn, it can be dangerous. 


There we have. Remember if you're interested in doing this tag, consider yourself tagged! And be sure to send me a link as I'd love to read your answers.



June Book Wrap-Up

7/01/2020


My reading in June has been all over the place. I reread almost all of the Vampire Academy series (which I shan't review here as I've spoken about the YA series enough on my blog), I picked up a diverse range of books after getting a cold dose of reality that I really haven't been reading enough books by black authors this year. I gave so many books 4 or 5 star ratings, and yet.. I've been in a huge reading slump. I feel exhausted by the prospect of picking up a book, yet when I inevitably do I'm devouring hundreds of pages in one sitting. It's some sort of weird mental slump, I guess? Have you ever dealt with this kind of thing? Let me know, especially if you have any advice. 


From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home
by Tembi Lock
Memoirs are always a tricky thing to review as you usually go into them already knowing if you're going to want to listen to someone's life story for hours. But for me From Scratch was a whole new experience. I had never even heard of Tembi Lock prior to this becoming a Reese's Book Club x Hello Sunshine pick. I didn't even know she was an actress when I started the audiobook. I just thought this was a book about the cultural differences between a black woman and an Italian man and the overall effect that had on both their marriage and the joining of their families.This was so much more. As mentioned, I listened to this as an audiobook on Scribd (which I highly recommend) and just didn't want to stop. Firstly, Tembi is a beautiful writer. I smelt the garlic she described, I felt her grief in the pit of my stomach, and my heart ached for her and her daughter. I felt joy when I listened to her describe her marriage, and I felt grief stricken when she wrote about what it was like to lose her husband to cancer. If this has been on your radar at all, I urge you to pick it up. It's already going on my top books of 2020 shortlist. 


The House On Mango Street
by Sandra Cisneros
Prior to moving to America I'd never heard of this modern classic. A crime! I enjoyed this coming-of-age story about a young Latino girl living in Chicago, and the process of her slowly discovering her true self. As this book was written as a series of vignettes, I definitely enjoyed certain sections more than others. It made me think, which I think is something that truly matters when it comes to stories written about race. Overall, I can see why it's a beloved classic.


The Scent Keeper
by Erica Bauermeister 
Emmeline lives on a remote island with her father, a man who collects scents in jars and stores them in his study. But as she gets older, less and less makes sense in her life. I'm going to sound harsh when writing about this one, so be prepared. This book read like a really bad version of Where The Crawdad's Sing. I do not get the hype around it. It felt silly, and incredibly unrealistic. I spent most of this book confused and frustrated. I still gave it 3 stars as the writing was very beautiful, but sadly the story let the entire thing down. I really wouldn't recommend this to anyone.


Year Of Yes
by Shonda Rhimes
I'm a huge fan of Rhimes's TV shows Grey's Anatomy and How To Get Away With Murder, so this book by her has been on my TBR for literal years but I was always reluctant to pick it up as it seemed a little like a self help book, which I've never had much luck with. However, I was an idiot. This book was incredible. It made me laugh so much, which wasn't expected. I finished it with a great ache to befriend Rhimes. I've gained so much respect for her as a human. If you enjoy her work at all, I definitely recommend giving this a read.


Peter Pan
by J. M. Barrie
This is of course the book that inspired the beloved Disney movie. I can't think to say more than... what a hot mess. I do not understand why people love this children's literature classic. Peter was an awful character, and the entire story felt cluttered and without reason. Maybe I would've gained more from this if I'd of picked it up when I was younger..? 


The Black Flamingo
by Dean Atta
This is a coming-of-age story about a young black boy living in the UK, and is primarily his story of finding acceptance and discovering his sexuality. This book was beautiful. Just, beautiful. Written in verse, with such powerful writing, and a YA book? Incredible. I truly believe that this should be required reading for teenagers. It read raw and yet felt pure. I laughed, cried, and didn't want it to end. I'll 110% be checking out the authors poetry collection I Am Nobody's Nigger.


Waiting For Tom Hanks
by Kerry Winfrey
Annie is a twenty-seven year old woman waiting for her Tom Hanks. When she manages to get a job on a movie set, she finally gets her meet cute. But what happens when the guy that ought to be the perfect man for her, falls flat compared to big-shot movie star Drew? This was a really cute rom-com book. It gave exactly what it sold itself as. However, I found the characters all a little too cheesy and predictable. It was overall meh. Not bad, but not very good.


Watch Us Rise
by Renee Watson & Ellen Hagan 
When two teenage girls feel unheard by their respective after-school clubs, they decide to create their own club/blog focusing on the problems facing women. It quickly goes viral which starts a domino effect on the school. This YA contemporary was everything I wanted it to be. The inserts of their blog posts were really entertaining and I had to continuously stop myself from looking up the blog in the hopes that it had become real. I cared for both main characters, which is rare for me, and I liked how many boxes this book managed to tick without ever really preachy. A wonderful example for what happens when a YA does it right. I'll definitely be keeping up with whatever else this author duo writes. 


Out Of Love
by Hazel Hayes
This was my most anticipated book of 2020 and it didn't let me down. Marketed as a love story told in reverse, this is a look at how complicated a breakdown of a relationship can be. I have always loved Hazel Hayes's way with words, but this was next level. You can sometimes tell when an author puts their love and blood into writing a deeply personal novel, fiction or not, and that was the case with this. I haven't read such an authentic contemporary in a long time. 


Clap When You Land
by Elizabeth Acevedo
A plane goes down and there are no survivors. Two young woman lose their fathers on the flight, Camino and Yahaira. The tragedy brings the girls together in a way that neither could expect. This is another novel written in verse, which seems to be a new love of mine. Elizabeth Acevedo is already on her way to being a writer of modern classics. Her novel Poet X is loved hugely in the book community, which is making my fingertips itch with the desire to pick it up soon. I loved Clap When You Land. It touched my heart in a way that I didn't expect, and I instantly made my husband read it. 

Lou In Lockdown
by Jojo Moyes
If you've been reading my blog for a while now, you'll already know that the Me Before You series by Jojo Moyes is my guilty pleasure. I adore these books mainly for the protagonist Louisa Clarke. She's been the most relatable character for me throughout my reading journey, so they hold a place in my heart. This is a short story that Moyes published for free online. I adored it. I laughed multiple times, cried even more, and it gave me a huge desire to reread the series. If you want to give it a read, I'll link to it at the bottom of this blog post! 


Artemis Fowl
by Eoin Colfer
Artemis is an 11-year-old evil genius. He's cold, unashamed of his intelligence, and is willing to do just about anything to get his way. But he may of met his match in the form of Holly Short, a fairy he kidnapped. Silly me thought that it'd be necessary to read this book before watching the movie.. err.. that would've only be beneficial if the movie stuck with the plot of the book and didn't instead transform itself into a hot mess. My husband described the movie as "It's like the writers had a kid on a sugar rush explain the book to them and then still ignored the advice." and I can't agree more. But anyway, this is a review of the book. I liked it, it was okay for a children's book and though I didn't particularly care for any of the characters or the plot, I was reasonably entertained. A little bored, but not overly so. It was just 'okay'.


Americanah
by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but ends up in London. This is one hell of a book. For me, it was very much like the reading experience of A Little Life by Hayna Yanagihara. It was a one hell of a journey. The writing was flawless, I often kept reading just for the writing style and not the story itself. However, I think my main problem with Americanah was the main two characters. They were so unlikable to me, which made it hard to root for them separately and most definitely together. Ifemelu became incredibly self entitled in a bitch way and not necessarily in a feminist way. And Obinze was just insufferable when it came to his love life. I wanted to read the book from literally any other character's POV. I can't in good faith give this novel less than a 4 star rating as, again, the writing and story-telling was flawless. But it's definitely a story that has had a lasting place in my brain. 


So, yeah. Quite a mix of books this month, but some real gems. What was the last 5 star book you read? I'd love to know! 



Mid Year Freak Out Book Tag 2020

6/27/2020


So, 2020 has been a shitshow so far, huh? I can't believe we're already halfway through the year, yet it also feels like it ought to already be 2025 what with all the insanity that is happening in the world. As always, I'm here with the Mid Year Freak Out Tag. My reading has been all over the place so far, I've read the most I ever have in 6 months yet I haven't really found any fiction books that'll make it onto my all-time favorites list. However, non-fiction is thriving in my life. What a weird time. Without further ado, let's get into the questions..


1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2020.
So far, 2020 has been the year of non-fiction for me. I read Know My Name by Chanel Miller in February and nothing has yet to compare to the overall feel of that book. It touched my heart and had a huge impact on my overall life. If you haven't yet heard of it, this is the memoir of the girl who overcame the rape of Brock Turner. But really, it's so much more than that. It's a glimpse at the life of a young woman who's learning to heal herself and more notably, it's an unflinching look at how lost we all feel in our early 20's. Chanel Miller opens up discussions on sexual assault, race, feminism, youth, and the expectations that are put upon young women in life. Man, woman, cat, everyone needs to read this book. 


2. Best sequel you've read so far in 2020.
I'm not a huge series reader, so this is always going to be a tough question for me. However, I have been slowly working my way through A Series Of Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snicket. So far, my favourite in the series was the 6th installment, The Ersatz Elevator. I think it had the perfect amount of character growth, misery, and humor. 


3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to.
I placed my first ever preorder this year, which was Out Of Love by Hazel Hayes. It's currently on it's way to me and I'm so excited to finally get my hands on her debut novel. This is a love story told in reverse and sounds just as heartbreaking as Normal People by Sally Rooney. I can't wait to cry all the tears.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.
I'm probably going to get persecuted at the stake for this, but Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer. I know The Twilight Saga is problematic for a multitude of reasons but it's still a huge part of my childhood and the inner teenage Anne is still squealing at the prospect of a new book set in this universe. So with a shamed head, I choose this book as my most anticipated release. 


5. Biggest disappointment.
Sadly, Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire. I really loved the fourth installment in the Wayward Children series so it got me really psyched for the next book, however, it felt so cluttered and utterly pointless. I adored Jack & Jill from the series, but this book kind of messed up their entire dynamic and felt too try hard. I have a complicated history with the author when it comes to this series, but nevertheless, it was still mighty disappointing. 


6. Biggest surprise.
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell. I loved this book, so much so that I immediately picked up Lolita which this took heavy inspiration from. I don't know what it is about a dark "romantic" contemporary that deals with a student/professor relationship that speaks to me but alas, I couldn't stop listening to this book. Months after and I still think about it daily. Huge surprise, especially as I hadn't heard anything about it prior to starting it on Scribd. 


7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)
Kiley Reid. I listened to Such A Fun Age earlier this year and fell completely in love with both the writing and the story. If you don't know, her debut novel was about a young black nanny who is wrongly accused of kidnapping the white child she's looking after, and the domino affect that has on the life of both her and the child's parents. It is an interesting new take on wealth, race, and the power of a female orientated friendship. 


8. Newest ship.*
Is saying Michelle and Barack Obama cheating? Yeah, it probably is but after my husband @BilliamSWNtw said it, I can't unthink it. I read Becoming in January and though I knew this power couple were going to end up together, I couldn't help but root for their relationship throughout Michelle's memoir. They're adorable. 


9. Newest favourite character.
As mentioned above, this has been the year of non-fiction for me so I don't have an answer for a fictional character. However, if we're going for a real person who I grew very fond of due to their memoir, I'll say Shonda Rhimes. Her book Year Of Yes had been on my TBR for years, but I always put it off as I (wrongly) assumed it was just over hyped. However, I devoured this book and it made me respect Shonda on a whole new level. She's a truly inspiring woman. 


10. Book that made you cry.
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle. I literally got dehydrated by listening to this book in one sitting. I laughed, cried, laughed, and cried some more. I really think this debut book is reminiscent of Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah, which is a book I loved. In Five Years follows two friends and the turns that life gives them, I know the synopsis says that this is a book about a woman who wakes up five years in the future only to see that the life she loves and knows is long gone and instead she's engaged to a guy she doesn't know in a place that she's never been, but it's so much more than that. That description really does the story an injustice. If you want a wonderful story of friendship, loss, and possibility, pick this up. 

11. Book that made you happy.
I didn't want to answer any of these questions with a reread book, but I honestly haven't read anything new that made me happy. So.. I'll have to go with the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, I've been slowly making my way back through the series and have been having a wonderful time. They're funny, silly, nostalgic, and wonderfully entertaining. There's nothing better than rereading something you've already loved. 


12. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year (or received)
I'm answering this with  book I found beautiful both in look and contents. I'd have to go with The Rules Of Magic by Alice Hoffman. Emma from Drinking By My Shelf described this book as written in the style of a mood board and I fully agree. Alice Hoffman's writing is always so beautiful, but this newest edition to her inventory is near magical. The Rules Of Magic is a prequel to the book Practical Magic, the book that inspired the much loved movie starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman. It's the story of the two crazy aunts as teenagers, and how the curse of the family affected them. It's truly beautiful, in every way. Much more of an experience than a book.


13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
Do you have 12 hours for me to list them all? Heh. There are so many books that I hope to read before the end of the year but my top 5 picks are:

Beloved by Toni Morrison
Rebecca by Daphne de Maurier 
Final Girls by Riley Sager 
The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin 
and... 
Bringing Down The Duke by Evie Dunmore 

So there we have it. I can't believe we're already halfway through 2020. This has definitely been a whirlwind of a year. What book are you hoping to read before the end of the year? Let me know in the comments! 

I tag 

*Just like last year, I've changed this question from 'newest fictional crush' to better suit me as I really don't get fictional crushes anymore. But, boy, do I ship fictional characters. 

Latest Instagrams

© Rooting Branches. Design by FCD.