book blog · Bookish News

September Bookish News

September 26th, 2022

Hi Readers,

Some exciting and some sad news this month…

September Book Releases

Rings of Power, based on the works by J.R.R. Tolkien, started streaming on Amazon Prime.

The new Vampire Academy adaptation started streaming on Peacock.

The adaptation of Angie Thomas’s On The Come Up came out on Paramount+

Blonde, based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates, is to be released September 28th.

We got a first look at the Bridgerton prequel, and it looks so good!!

We got a Percy Jackson teaser, and I’m already so happy about it!

A Casting Call has gone out for Candice Carty-William’s Queenie

Heartstopper season 2 is in production!

We lost a legend. Hilary Mantel passed away at the age of 70.

Riley Sager announced his next book, and it sounds creepy…

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

Book Review

Book Review | All In by Billie Jean King

September 23rd, 2022

| Published: August 2021, Knopf Publishing |
| Genre: Non-Fiction Autobiography |
| Themes: Tennis, Activism |
| Length: 496 Pages |
| Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ |

An inspiring and intimate self-portrait of a champion of equality that encompasses her brilliant tennis career, unwavering activism, and an ongoing commitment to fairness and social justice.

Billie Jean King is a superstar of tennis, most famous for her 36 titles and the battle of the sexes match, where she defeated male player Bobby Riggs in straight sets to prove women were real competitors.

I picked this up because I’m a fan of the sport, and wanted to know more about one of the players who had such a huge impact on the game. But this was more than just a book about tennis. Billie Jean King has a very political mind and she has a lot to say about the history she has lived through, seen with her own eyes, and been a part of.

Everyone deserved to be treated like a human being, and you shouldn’t just say it. You need to live it.

It’s also not just the story of her tennis career, but also the history of tennis. It’s no exaggeration to say tennis is what it is today because of what King and her peers did to promote the sport, to lift it, and change it where it needed to be changed.

I normally stay away from books written by non-writers, but I found the writing in this one enjoyable. I did also listen to some of the audiobook thought as I just felt it was slightly long.

I knew next to nothing about King before going into this, but I left it absolutely in love with her, in awe of her, and inspired by her.

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

book blog

October 2022 Book Releases

September 20th, 2022

Hi Readers

Here are some books you can look forward to in October!

Maureen Fry and the Angel Of The North by Rachel Joyce
Releases: October 20th, Doubleday

Ten years ago, Harold Fry set off on his epic journey on foot to save a friend. But the story doesn’t end there.
Now his wife, Maureen, has her own pilgrimage to make.
Full Synopsis Here

Before I Do by Sophie Cousens
Releases: October 11th, G.P. Putnam’s Sons

What would you do if ‘the one that got away’ turned up the night before your wedding?
Full Synopsis Here

Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng
Releases: October 4th, Penguin

Our Missing Hearts is an old story made new, of the ways supposedly civilized communities can ignore the most searing injustice. It’s a story about the power—and limitations—of art to create change, the lessons and legacies we pass on to our children, and how any of us can survive a broken world with our hearts intact. 
Full Synopsis Here

It Starts With Us by Colleen Hoover
Releases: October 18th, Atria Books

The sequel to It Ends With Us
Full Synopsis Here

Someday, Maybe by Onyi Nwabineli
Releases: October 6th, Magpie

Here are three things you should know about my husband:
1. He was the great love of my life despite his penchant for going incommunicado
2. He was, as far as I and everyone else could tell, perfectly happy.
3. On New Year’s Eve, he killed himself
And here is one thing you should know about me:
1. I found him.
Bonus fact: No. I am not okay

Full Synopsis Here

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver
Releases: October18th, Harper

A David Copperfield retelling set in the contemporary American South. ‘Demon Copperhead speaks for a new generation of lost boys, and all those born into beautiful, cursed places they can’t imagine leaving behind.’
Full Synopsis Here

The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy
Releases: October 25th, Knopf

Traversing the American South, from the garrulous bar rooms of New Orleans to an abandoned oil rig off the Florida coast, The Passenger is a breathtaking novel of morality and science, the legacy of sin, and the madness that is human consciousness.

No Plan B by Lee Child & Andrew Child
Releases: October 25th, Delecorte Press

The new Jack Reacher: A man in a gray hoodie and jeans, moving like a shadow, pushes a woman to her death—before swiftly grabbing the dead woman’s purse and strolling away. Jack Reacher, after witnissing this, chases after him.
Full Synopsis Here

The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake
Releases: October 25th, Pan Macmillan

Sequel to The Atlas Six
Full Synopsis Here

Lore of Olympus Vol. 3 by Rachel Smythe
Releases: October 11th, 2022

Witness what the gods do after dark in the third volume of a stylish and contemporary reimagining of one of the best-known stories in Greek mythology, featuring a brand-new, exclusive short story from creator Rachel Smythe.
Full Synopsis Here

Poster Girl by Veronica Roth
Releases: October 18th, William Morrow

A woman desperately searches for a missing girl after the collapse of the oppressive dystopian regime and uncovers the dark secrets about her family and community along the way.
Full Synopsis Here

Warrior Queens and Quiet Revolutions by Kate Mosse
Releases: October 13th, Pan Macmillan

Mosse has brought together female stories unheard until now. Celebrating their achievements that are too often left out of history books.
Full Synopsis Here

Soft Lad by Nick Grimshaw
Releases: October 27th, Hodder & Stoughton

These are Grimmy’s stories of things gone right and wrong across his life and career so far, with all the highs and lows and everything in-between. Nostalgic and heartfelt, it will shine a humorous and captivating lens on the ever-evolving cultural obsessions we live by.
Full Synopsis Here

Madly, Deeply: The Alan Rickman Diaries
Releases: October 4th, Canongate

Throughout his career Rickman kept diaries of his experiences with the intent of publishing. They run from 1993 to 2016, the year he past away, and are forewarded by Emma Thompson.

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

book blog · Book Review

Book Review | Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

September 15th, 2022

| Published: 1994 |
| Genre: Non-Fiction |
| Themes: Writing |
| Length: 237 Pages |
| My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ |

Bird by Bird is Anne Lamott’s guide to writing and life. She’s an accomplished writer and teacher, and shares what she knows and thinks will be useful to any want to be writer.

‘I don’t think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won’t be good enough at it.’

She is generous in sharing the wealth of knowledge she possesses about writing and the book industry. She has written this in a concise but entertaining way, with her personality shining through her words. I found myself laughing and nodding along the whole way through reading this book.

‘Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft.’

This is a must read for any aspiring writer. Not only is it full of helpful advice, it’s also encouraging. It left me feeling a lot more confident that I knew what I was doing, but also with the knowledge that it’s okay if you don’t. As Lamott says herself:

‘You can’t – and, in fact, you’re not supposed to – know exactly what the picture is going to look like until it has finished developing.’

I know that whenever I’m in the middle of writing, at any stage of the process, I will be turning to this book and flicking through I think are most relevent to my current state of mind. Hopefully it has the power of bringing me out of the dark hole of self-doubt.

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

book blog · Bookish News

30 Autumnal Book Recommendations

September 13th, 2022

Hi Readers!

I’m not sure I’ve ever anticipated Autumn like I did this year. We had such a hot Summer, and I think most of Britain has been longing for a bit of rain the entirety of August. It’s not quite sweater weather and ankle boot season, but it’s definitely starting to feel Autumnal, and my reading is reflecting that.

If you yourself are looking for books that would perfectly fit the feel of Autumn, then here are some of my absolute go to’s!

First, one of my favourite genre’s to read this time of year, some gothic classics.

The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins

Walter Scott receives directions from a mysterious women he later discovers escaped from an asylum.
If you like something a little unsettling, with intrigue and plot twists, I would highly recommend this book. It’s Victorian Gothic at it’s finest.

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

The Paris Opera is being terrorised by the Angel of Music.
I’m sure a lot of you will have watched the musical by now, but the book is also worth a read.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Dorian Gray stays youthful and beautiful, his portrait does not…
This book starts off bright and Summery, but the darkness soon consumes Dorian Gray and turns this into a gothic masterpiece.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane finds a job as a governess at Thornfield, the home of Mr Rochester.
It starts off on a cold, rainy day, and it never really warms up. It’s got a creepy manor, mysterious characters, and shocking twists. All the vibes for a perfect Autumn read.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Gothic obsessed Catherine often lets her imagination run away with her, which gets her into all sorts of trouble.
This one is more of a comedic look at the gothic genre. Don’t take it seriously. Austen was just having a bit of fun when she wrote this.

If you want something a little more supernatural, here are some perfect for you:

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue belongs to a family of clairvoyants, and they predict that when she kisses the boy she loves, he will die.
Need I say any more?

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

Lyra sets out to find her best friend Roger after he goes missing.
Now especially is the perfect time to pick up these books if you haven’t already because the final season is soon to air! If you like the sound of witches, animal sidekicks and talking polar bears wearing suits of armour, you should absolutely be reading this series.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

This follows a wandering circus of acrobats, ice gardens, and magicians.
I found this a bit of a slower book, but with the most beautiful writing. It would make the perfect companion once the nights start getting longer.

Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

Tessa Gray arrives in London, only to be abducted when she steps off the boat.
It feels kind of redundent to recommend CC books, but I just had to mention these. Set in Victorian London, these books give me all the Autumnal feels.

Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

If you’re looking for something with a bit more fantasy, then how about one with elves, wizards, and the odd Hobbit?
There is no cosier book than Lord of the Rings. They get dark, yes, but the characters are so easy to love and the settings are so vaste and beautiful.

Or, if you’re particularly looking for something with ghosts, here are a few I’d recommend:

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

The ghost of Yadrial’s classsmate appears and they set out to find his murderer.
This book might have ghosts, but it isn’t spooky. It’s cute and charming, but definitely has those darker Autumnal vibes.

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

A group of strangers stay at Hill House and experience paranormal activity.
This is a bit of a slower ghost story and I didn’t personally find it creepy, but the writing was wonderful.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Maggie inherits a house that is famous for being haunted.
This one succeeded in creeping me out so much I had to sleep with the light on. I recommend not reading this when it’s dark, unless that’s what you’re looking for!

The Woman In Black by Susan Hill

Personally, I did find the movie scarier. But this book has some gorgeous writing and a really traditional ghost story feel to it.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

The ghost of Hamlet’s father appears before him and tells him the truth of his death.
This is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, the characters especially as so well done.

A huge Autumnal trend right now is Dark Academia. I really haven’t read many myself, but here are a few I have which I would recommend.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

A group of college students are burying a body, and then we go back to the moment they all meet in a classical studies class.
This book is so over recommended when it comes to Dark Academia, but I can’t have you thinking I haven’t read it, or wouldn’t recommend it!

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Two university students want to cheat death, and find it unlocks a terrible power within them.
These books brilliantly explore jealousy, the anti-hero, and the corruption of greed and power.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Obsessed scientist Frankentein tries to bring a corpse back to life and creates a monster, or does he?
This is the OG Dark Academia.

I also associate chillier weather with historical fiction. Here’s a few I would recommend for Autumn:

The Manningtree Witches by A.K. Blakemore

Follows the witch trials that occured in Manningtree.
This is a dark story and the whole book feels dark and eerie. It’s very atmospheric.

Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

A plot to steal a woman’s inheritance in Victorian England.
This book feels gritty and dirty. The writing is so immersive it will take you to the streets of Victorian London.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Thomas Cromwell serves as chief minister to Henry VIII as he seeks divorce from Catherine of Aragon.
I know some find this a hard book to get into because of the writing, but when you do you’ll be blown away. If you’re still struggling, I highly recommend the audiobook.

Finally, here are some mysteries to keep you entertained on rainy days.

The Unseen World by Liz Moore

For all her life, it’s just been Ava and her excentric, computer obsessed father.
What will captivate you about this mystery is that it is more about the people involved. It’s got some of the most beautiful, heartbreaking relationships and bond between mother and daughter.

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier

The main protagonist of this novel is never given a name herself. Forever feeling overshadowed and haunted by her new husbands ex wife.
This one is set in a manor house with suspicious characters and unsettling mysteries.

Agatha Christie

I really haven’t read enough Christie. I’ve read a few Poirot and, of course, And Then There Were None. I always get the urge to pick up more this time of year.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Set in a boarding school with a dark past.
I personally wasn’t a huge fan of this, but it’s so Autumnal, I just had to mention it. For me this book would have been perfect if there hadn’t been a romance because the mystery and the setting were top notch.

Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Holmes, Private Detective of 221B Baker Street and his sidekick Dr Watson solve mysteries across Britain.
I count any classic mystery as a ‘cosy mystery’, and what better time to pick up one of those than in Autumn? The TV Show also feels very Autumnal.

Not everyone would associate romance with Autumn but there are definitely some that fit the feel of this season…

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Years ago Anne rejected the man she loves, years later he reappears in her life.
I actually really can’t think of a season Austen isn’t perfect for, but this one features a blustery November trip to the coast, so it definitely has those Autumnal feels.

Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Only Blue knows Simon is gay, until someone reads his emails.
This is autumnal because it’s set around the festive season. There’s even a Halloween party!

Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

After a near death experience Chloe Brown decides to time to live.
This had all the warm fuzziness of a comfort romance, I loved all of the characters, and it’s set in the Autumn months.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath goes to college with anxiety and an obsession with Simon Snow fanfiction.
It’s been a few years but I remember finding this book so cute and cosy.

Book Review

Book Review | The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

September 8th, 2022

| Published: 1868 |
| Genre: Classic |
| Themes: Mystery, Victorian |
| Length: 478 Pages |
| My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ |

The Moonstone, a yellow diamond looted from an Indian temple and believed to bring bad luck to its owner, is bequeathed to Rachel Verinder on her eighteenth birthday. That very night the priceless stone is stolen again and when Sergeant Cuff is brought in to investigate the crime, he soon realizes that no one in Rachel’s household is above suspicion.

A Victorian detective novel full of everything you would want in a mystery. Suspicious characters, romance, plot twists, red herrings, and intrigue. It’s interesting to think this was one of the first detective novels, and that it really layed the groundworks for the many that came after it.

The disappearance of The Moonstone is told in two parts and I absolutely loved the narrator of part one. He was a butler of the family whom the Moonstone ‘belonged’ to and is witness to many of the events. He was such a wonderful personality in himself. He doesn’t really have much impact on the plot but I found him quite funny and charming and I did miss him when we left his perspective in part two.

Part two follows the grander characters of the novel, including the man who brought The Moonstone to the house in the first place. I found this part dragged a little bit and I didn’t like all of the revelations. But the overall ending was very satisfying, albeit it does leave you with some questions unanswered.

This will be a familiar story to any modern reader, but it’s absolutely worth a read for it’s beautiful writing and literary achievements. You will also leave this book wanting to read Robinson Crusoe, just warning you now.

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

book blog

August 2022 Reading Wrap Up

September 5th, 2022

Hi Readers,

August was a slower reading month, but I think it’s clear to see why. Here’s everything I read and got up to in August!

Untitled design (2)

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Untitled design

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman
A Room With A View by E.M. Forster
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
All In by Billie Jean King
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Untitled design (1)

Seventy-Seven by Andy Murray
Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I got the sudden urge to start a rewatch of Merlin, and I’m not going to lie, it’s caused me some problems, because I literally can’t stop thinking about anything else. Thankfully it’s only five seasons long and I’m already on season three so I’ll be finished with it soon and I can move on (to fanfiction…).

Apparently I was feeling nostalgic in August because I also rewatched High School Musical, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I haven’t watched these films in years and, honestly, they’re still so good. I don’t care if they’re for kids, I had a great time.

I finally listened to Hadestown, and I’m so annoyed at myself for not doing to sooner! Believe it or not I thought this was about miners, and I thought that sounded boring so I’ve never had interest in it. Then I really Hadestown meant Hades Town. As in god of the underworld Hades, and this musical is about Hades and Persephone. And it’s incredible. I can’t get enough of Wait For Me!

Also, I just have to mention this of course, Taylor announced an album! Midnights sounds like an amazing concept and everything I have ever needed in life. I’m so excited for it. October can’t come soon enough!

I have writing updates for once!

I started a novel, and then stopped. But for good reasons! I’ve planned this novel for most of July and August and I got 8,000 words in and just realised, I need to do more research!

I also keep thinking how amazing it would be to take part and win NaNoWriMo this year.

I also can’t stop thinking about Merlin, and it is kind of hindering my creativity.

So, it’s on hold until November and then I can give more updates with how it’s going. So far though, I’m kind of liking it…

No knitting updates because it was far too hot to knit. I hope you all had a lovely Summer, but I’m sure most of us are looking forward to a (hopefully) cooler Autumn!

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

book blog

September 2022 TBR

August 31st, 2022

Hi Readers!

I’m so excited that it’s September! This really is the best time of the year. There’s so much to look forward to! But, for now, lets focus on the reading. Here are my plans for September.

Sanditon by Jane Austen (And Another Lady)
I’m not really sure how I feel about reading this. Me and my Nan randomly started talking about Jane Austen at a BBQ in August and she mentioned she had this book where somebody had completed Sanditon, Jane Austens last and unfinished novel. I think it’s worth giving it a go, and I am curious to see where somebody might take it.

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
I really didn’t read enough Rom Con’s this Summer so I definitely want to try and pick up a couple in September. I haven’t read a Beth O’Leary yet so I’m excited to see what I think, and I love the concept of this one…

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
Oh, I’m excited for this one. I have quite high expectations so I hope it meets them! I’d also love to finally watch the Emma Thompson adaptation after. I’ve been putting that off for so long because I want to read the book first, of course.

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens
I’ve been saying for a while now I want to catch up on Dickens Vs Tolstoy, and yes, I would pretty much be starting from the start. But I plan on mostly listening to audiobooks for the earlier Dicken’s works as I’m not particularly that interested in them…

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
This will be a reread, and I’m quite excited to pick this up again. My plan is to annotate heavily this time. I love this book so so much and, despite it’s length, I know I’m going to really enjoy it.

Aspects of a Novel by E.M. Forster
I am planning on taking part in NaNoWriMo in November. I have a really exciting plan for a novel. So I’m going to spend the next couple of months learning as much as I can about writing a novel so I can make it as good as I can.
I also just really love E.M. Forster.

Ithaca by Claire North
I was lucky enough to be sent this by the publisher, and I’m very excited to pick it up. I must admit, did not realise this was the same author as The Fifteen Lives of Harry August. But I love a mythology retelling and one that follows Penelope, Odysseus’s wife, has me so intrigued.

What do you plan on reading in September?

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

book blog · Book Review

Book Review | Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

August 30th, 2022

| Published: August 30th by Hutchinson Heinemann |
| Genre: Contemporary |
| Length: 384 Pages |
| Themes: Sports, Romance |
| My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ |

Carrie Soto is fierce, and her determination to win at any cost has not made her popular. But by the time she retires from tennis, she is the best player the world has ever seen. She has shattered every record and claimed twenty Grand Slam titles. And if you ask Carrie, she is entitled to every one. She sacrificed nearly everything to become the best, with her father, Javier, as her coach. A former champion himself, Javier has trained her since the age of two.

But six years after her retirement, Carrie finds herself sitting in the stands of the 1994 US Open, watching her record be taken from her by a brutal, stunning player named Nicki Chan.

At thirty-seven years old, Carrie makes the monumental decision to come out of retirement and be coached by her father for one last year in an attempt to reclaim her record. Even if the sports media says that they never liked “the Battle-Axe” anyway. Even if her body doesn’t move as fast as it did. And even if it means swallowing her pride to train with a man she once almost opened her heart to: Bowe Huntley. Like her, he has something to prove before he gives up the game forever.

Once again, Reid has excelled when it comes to characterisation. She has a way of creating the most unlikeable characters, who if I only knew a little bit about them (like how we go into this book knowing Carrie slept with Nina’s husband from Malibu Rising) I would just hate them. But Reid is somehow able to flip that and make them seem more human and, by giving us background and history, makes them so much more understandable.

You’re rooting for Carrie, but not just to win that grandslam, but to change as well. You can see her flaws, you can see how, even winning this extra slam, she still isn’t going to be happy. You want her to win the game of life as much as the game of tennis.

Carrie’s main reason for wanting to reenter the sport she’s retired from is because of the rise of Nicki Chan. I thought this was brilliantly done as it heroes what Nicki Chan had done for Asian women in tennis. Celebrating other women’s achievements, rather than feeling threatened by it, is a great message.

I personally found the tennis jargon quite tiring. I am a tennis fan and I watch it avidly throughout the year, mainly to cheer on the Brits and the greats, so I did understand it easily. But there was just too much of it and it got to the point where I felt like I was reading a tennis text book more than a novel.

There is some plot besides the tennis, but it’s quite a stereotypical, tropey kind of plot that felt quite predictable. The Mum died, the Dad’s been ill, the MC has trust issues when it comes to men. I’ve just read it all before, and it was quite boring to be honest with you.

I also found the pacing was off. We get an awful lot of backstory in one go, and the real story doesn’t get going until a good 20/25% of the way through.

Because of her past books I go into Reid’s books with very high expectations, and before she’s always met them. This one just disappointed me a little unfortunately.

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

book blog · Bookish News

August Bookish News | Percy Jackson & Aristotle and Dante film news!

August 27th, 2022

Hi Readers!

August Book Releases

The cast of Percy Jackson celebrated his birthday in style! They were also spotted filming around New York!

Benjamin Alire Saenz has given the Aristotle and Dante adaptation a thumbs up!

He took to twitter to let fans know he has seen a screening of the film, and is pleased with what he saw. This is one of most incredible books I have ever read, and it’s so exciting to see it’s been made into a movie! Better yet, Lin Manuel Miranda worked as a producer on it. And we already know everything he touches turns to gold!

We got a first look at the next ‘Hunger Games’ film, based on the prequel story The Ballad Of Songbirds and Snakes.

Kit Young and other cast members shared the official poster with an October release date for School of Good and Evil, adapted from the books by Soman Chainani.

The two leads for Disney+’s upcoming adaptation of The Spiderwick Chronicles was cast.

The Readings Prize, a book prize for Australian Literature, released this years shortlist.

The Times released a list of the 50 Best Books of the Last One Hundred Years, put together by a panel of writers including Anne Enright and David Mitchell.

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X