I Reread ‘Twilight’ For The First Time In 8 Years…

Hi Readers!

I never would’ve guessed I’d see this day. Honestly I thought I was done with Twilight. I haven’t read the books since I was 14 and it’s just a series I never thought I’d be interested in reading again.

But then 2020 came around and this does seem to be the year of rereads for me. I think the nostalgia of being a teenager with no cares or worries has really got me through these past few months and Twilight was such a pivital moment in my reading journey, I couldn’t just leave it out.

There’s also the fact that Midnight Sun, the book we thought was lost to us forever, is being released in August and while I had/still have zero interest in her gender swap book ‘Life After Death’, I am intrigued by Midnight Sun so I want to finish rereading this series before then..

Anyway, here are my thoughts on my reread of Twilight. Beware, there will be spoilers and lots of sarcasm!

What Is It About?

Bella Swan, who believes she’ll never ‘fit in’ anywhere because of the pale ‘translucency’ of her skin moves to a town called Forks, where literally everyone is pale because it never stops raining there. On the first day at her new school she sits next to a boy who literally wants to murder her and they fall in love. Step aside Shakespeare, THIS is how you write a great love story.

When Did I First Read It?

As I said, I was 14 and just getting into reading. By this point I’d only read Jacqueline Wilson, Harry Potter and Percy Jackson so this was first proper YA novel and I definitely credit it for making me up my reading game. It wasn’t long after reading this that I made my first blog post.

For a little while this was my life. I had a crush on ever male character in here (and so did you don’t deny it), I read a shit ton of fanfiction (some of it better written than the book I’m not realising), and the movies, omg I was obsessed with those movies!

What Do I Think Now?

As you might be able to guess from my tone I think my reading taste/standard has changed quite a lot since I was 14. I knew before going into the reread my opinions would probably be different. I know the relationship is problematic and the rep of Native Americans is not great. If I didn’t have that nostalgic connection to this, I never would’ve made it past the prologue.

The writing is so bad guys. She uses the same adjectives over and over, the structures kind of messy and there are some seriously cringy moments I’d completely forgotten about. It was dry & dull which made the book drag so much.

Bella. Is. The. Worst. And I know it only goes downhill from here. She’s so dramatic and whiny and thinks she’s better than other teenagers because shes read Wuthering Heights and Jane Austen. She’s disrepectful to her Dad and so judgemental to all the people who are just trying to make her feel welcome. Kristen Stewart made her so much more likeable.

It’s weird because I remember a big part of me liking Bella and Edwards relationship was the fact that Bella acted ‘beyond her years’ so she suited Edward perfectly. But now that I’m actually older than Bella is in book one I know that’s not the case at all. She’s such a typical teenager and honestly that makes the whole relationship seem a bit manipulative? She’s just so much more vulnerable and naive than I remember.

While I know the romance is definitely problematic I do feel the connection between him and Bella in that she sees the good in him and knows he’s not a monster despite how much he hates himself and what he is. But I still can’t believe this is the sort of relationship I wanted as a teenager. We literally give so much credit to Edward to have the restraint not to murder her and that’s what I called romance?!

You already see in this first book that Bella is self-sacrificing to a dangerous level and that plays a role throughout all the books and honestly it just makes me want to reach into this, give her a shake and go ‘girl, get a grip.’ She’s just constantly so willing to put herself in danger of being killed for literally no reason. She’s so stupid!

I think the movies made both characters a lot more serious. Edward is sarcastic and Bellas sense of humour is so dark and twisted! The things she said made me raise my eyebrows a couple of times. For example Edward mentions getting lunch and Bella PUTS HER HANDS AROUND HER KNECK AND LOOKS AT HIM WITH FEAR. WTF?

Rereading the book has given me a whole new appreciation for the movies. They really improved on pretty much everything so now I’m dying to rewatch them! There was so many things that fell flat. The whole Vampire reveal is just a chat in the car on the way back from Seattle and Bella basically blacks out during the fight with James so we don’t see even any action there.

This reading experience was kind of what I expected. I enjoyed myself because again nostalgia and it made me feel like a teenager again. But this series really didn’t stand the test of time for me. Nevertheless, I’m excited to start book two!

What do you think of Twilight? Have you read it recently?

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

The Libraries Re-Opened!

Hi Readers!

Today was an exciting day as, for the first time in over three months, my local library was open!

The UK is slowly coming out of lockdown although life does still feel very different. We’re still keeping two metres apart and using hand sanitizer everywhere we go. The libraries are some of the last places to open in my local area, after the shops, pubs & restaurants.

It was so nice to be able to browse the shelves and pick up some books that have been on hold for me since March. It was quite a different experience as the upstairs wasn’t open and it was a one way system in and out. I also had to give my name and a contact number in case they have an outbreak so hopefully the phone won’t be ringing anytime soon!

I wasn’t able to get all of the books I wanted as a couple where non-fiction which are, of course, kept upstairs! I was too shy to ask them if they could look for me so I’ll just have to wait until things are a bit more back to normal.

I was able to get four pretty exciting books I’ve had on reserve for a while now. They are…

How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne
Secret Sisterhood by Emily Midorikawa and Emma Claire Sweeney
Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Weather by Jenny Offill

What are you most excited to see reopening?

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

Book Review | Loveless by Alice Oseman

| Published: July 9th 2020 by HarperCollins |
| Genre: YA Contemporary |
| Length: 448 Pages |
| Themes: Sexuality, Self Discovery |
| Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ |

Hi Readers

This is my second Alice Oseman book and the second one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I will admit, I was a little hesitant going into this as it is a very hyped release, but it’s definitely worthy of the praise!

What Is It About?

Georgia is about to start University but she feels left behind as she’s never had a boyfriend, never had a first kiss and never even had a real crush. As she starts her new adventure she decides to step out of her comfort zone and starts exploring the world of relationships.

What Did I Think?

It’s so refreshing to read a YA contemporary set in the UK, it’s not something I read enough of! I loved that I knew the place this is set and actually understood and related to the school system.

Georgia exploring her sexuality is the core plot to this novel, and the author presents it with honesty and realness. It was interesting to be in the mind of someone questioning and going through that process of discovering who they are.

I don’t see ace sexuality represented enough in books and I really appreciate what this book does. I think there are a lot of people who will read this book and see themselves in Georgia, so I’m really grateful this book exists.

Loveless is definitely a character driven novel. It explores their relationships and identities. Each character stood out on the page and where fun to read about and with them shows there are more types of love than just the romantic kind.

Would I Recommend?

I think everyone should read this. Not only did it help me understand asexuality more, it’s also fun and wholesome with some great friendships.

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

Bookish Releases | July 2020

Hi Readers!

This is the first month where I’m trying to be up to date with book releases and thanks to NetGalley I’ve actually already read five of these. I’ll have book reviews coming out for them closer to their release date.

In terms of book to movie adaptations though, there weren’t very many so I kind of had to reach…

Books

Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron // July 7th // A dark, gay twist on a classic fairytale.

The Damned by Renee Ahdieh // July 7th // Sequel to ‘The Beautiful’. I haven’t read either of these books but Ahdieh has been on my raider since The Wrath & The Dawn so I’ll pick them up sometime.

The Princess Will Save You by Sarah Henning // July 7th // We love a strong female character and tropey fantasy’s, don’t we?

Loveless by Alice Oseman // July 9th // A coming-out story about a girl who starts questioning her sexuality when she starts university.

Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell // July 19th // I’ve only read one of his books before (The Bone Clocks) which I loved and while this one seems totally different it also sounds kind of amazing.

Malorie by Josh Malerman // July 21st // The (long-awaited?) sequel to Bird Box. I’ll admit I was sceptical but I enjoyed it. I’ll have a review of this soon.

Melt My Heart by Bethany Rutter // July 23rd // YA, body positivity and set during a hot Summer.

One To Watch by Kate Stayman-London // July 7th // This sounds like if you’re a fan of The Bachelorette or Love Island (guilty) you’d like this book. It sounds like a lot of fun.

Films & TV Shows

The Kissing Booth 2

This may not be one I’m interested in but it’s based on a book so I thought I should include it. This is a Netflix adaptation which is basically just really cheesy which a lot (and I mean a lot) of people enjoy.

The Umbrella Academy Season 2

This series is I think very losely based on a graphic novel (I don’t know, I haven’t actually read it). I loved season one of this and I am so excited for season 2, although I have no idea what to expect.

Hamilton

Okay so technically not based on a book. Although Lin was inspired to write this after reading the biography of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. You have no idea how excited I was when this was announced and it is perfect in every way.

What are you most excited for?

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

Book Review | Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

| Published: July 7th by Bloomsbury |
| Genre: YA Fantasy |
| Themes: Fairytales, LGBTQIA+ |
| Length: 400 Pages |
| Source: NetGalley Review Copy |
| Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ |

Hi Readers!

Anyone else just love fairytale retellings? Sure the originals are cute and nostalgic but retellings can put some really sinistar/modern twists onto a story generations have enjoyed and this one definitely took that route.

What Is It About?

It’s been 200 years since Cinderella found her Prince and the fairytale is long since over. Girls are now required to attend an annual ball to be picked as a wife. If not chosen, they’re never heard from again. Sophia however would much rather marry her childhood best friend Erin, and when she meets the last living descendant of Cinderella, they vow together they will end the reign of the tyranic king.

What Did I Think?

As I said I love twists on fairytales and this is definitely a dark one. It’s also modern and feminist which I love. Our main character is gay living in a very heterosexual society. It’s kind of like, what if the main character in Ally Condie’s ‘Matched’ was gay?

The idea is good, but unfortunately this book just felt a bit rushed. Like it’s a trilogy happening in a standalone and while some might like that, I felt it needed more drawing out. I wanted more world-building and I wanted to understand the conflict a bit more.

I also just felt the whole story wasn’t original. Like I’d read it all before? It’s definitely refreshing to read a f/f romance with a black main character in a fantasy and I want to see more of that, but the plot let it down for me.

Would I Recommend?

Despite my complaints, I actually would. It’s fun and reads really quickly. I read this on a kindle and was shocked when I saw the physical book was 400 pages. I sped through it in a day and a bit. It’s definitely worth a try.

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

June Wrap Up!

Hi Readers!

June was the month where I decided I really wanted to use NetGalley more and be more caught up on new releases. So a lot of the books I read have either just been published or will be soon. I also did a lot or rereading which is something I’ve been enjoying more lately too.

Books I Read + Reviews

Emma by Jane Austen
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
Persuasion by Jane Austen
The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
How We Fight For Our Lives by Saeed Jones
Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Percy Jackson & the Olympians Series
Melt My Heart by Bethany Rutter
When Life Gives You Mangos by Kereen Getten

Films & TV Shows

Rewatching MCU

This is literally all I’ve been doing this month. Rewatching the Infinity Saga movies pretty much from start to finish. I’m also so close to finish. I only have Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home to go! I haven’t either of these since they came out because they’re far too emotional, but I’m looking forward to watching them again.

Music

The Chicks – March March

This song, which came after the announcement that they’d dropped ‘Dixie’ from their name, is very much about this period that we’re going through. They do not hold back. It’s also just really catchy.

Haim – Women in Music Part III

I have been waiting for this for so long and it did not disappoint! I love their sound, it’s the perfect music to listen to whilst walking along the beach or reading a book in the sun.

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X


Non-Spoiler Book Series Review | Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan

| Published: 2006-2009 by Disney Hyperion Books |
| Genre: Fantasy |
|Themes: Middle Grade, Greek Mythology, Gods & Monsters |
| Length: Around 300 Pages Each |
| My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ |

Hi Readers!

Percy Jackson and the Olympians was one of those series that was a big game changer for me. I read it when I was around 13 years old (probably around when the movie came out) and it definitely played a part in helping me find the blogging world. I was a little scared of going back into it as an adult, but I needn’t have been!

What Is It About?

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he has a short temper and can never focus in school. Not to mention he keeps seeing strange things that no one else seems to notice, such as his middle school maths teacher turning into a monster and trying to murder him.

When his mum finds out she knows there’s only one place where he’ll be safe. Half-Blood Hill. A Summer camp for other boys and girls like him. That is, demigods, the sons and daughters of the gods and goddesses from the Greek myths.

What Did I Think?

I read these books for the first when I was 13 and haven’t read them since, so going into it this time around really did feel like I was reading them for the first time.

This series is just packed full of fun adventures, great friendships and self-less acts of heroism. When you meet Percy you immediately know he’s a protector and a loyal friend and he stays that way consistantly throughout all five novels.

We also have Grover, a faun who tries to be brave but is a loveable, nature loving quivering wreck most of the time. And Annabeth, who is the daughter of Athena. She’s fierce and a great fighter and I just love her love/hate friendship with Percy. We meet them when they’re twelve and see them grow into just the best people.

The stories, the characters and the monsters are all based on the Greek myths and take such clever, modern twists with them. Riordan blended the Greek world with modern America so flawlessly, it made me almost believe Mount Olympus really is on the top floor of the Empire State Building.

These books are never dull. They’re fast paced with so many twists and turns. I also love the fact that they’re funny. I feel like there’s just not enough humour in fantasy books, but this one always has some lighthearted moments that made me laugh out loud so often my mum started giving me weird looks!

My favourite in this series might be The Battle of the Labyrinth, the penultimate book in this series that has both great action and character moments. But honestly I enjoyed all of them and I was so sad when my reread was over.

Would I Recommend?

Absolutely, and not just to kids. Whilst I have read these before it really did feel like I was reading them for the first time as an adult and I loved them. They’re a lot of fun and you definitely shouldn’t miss out on them just because you think you’re too old. You’re never too old for a good story.

Spoilery Thoughts

I was so shocked by how much of the story I had forgotten, but I feel like it’s also understandable because a lot happens in these five small books!

I don’t remember Luke being such a prominant character. I actually thought he died in book one so when he became the main consistant villain, and eventually Kronos, I was like ‘have I actually read these before?

Also, Rachel Elizabeth Dare? WHO? She plays a huge role and I have no memory of her before! But I kind of loved her character just because it made Annabeth show her feelings for Percy a bit more.

I love that Percy was never afraid to stand up to the gods. I feel like it’s been a good few hundred years since they’d been talked to like that and they definitely needed to be knocked down a peg or two.

What did you think of the Percy Jackson series? Are you excited it’s going to be made into a tv show?

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

Books Set During Summertime

Hi Readers!

The UK is currently in a heatwave so it’s safe to say Summer has well and truly arrived. Whilst I love winter, curling under a blanket with a hot drink and cosy book, I do also love bathing in the sun with what I consider to be a ‘Summer read’.

For me a Summer read is contemporary, has to have a romance and is so addictive you can’t put it down, even if it does mean getting a little sun burnt. Here are some books that fit that description perfectly.

Morgan Matsons Books – All of her books are YA Contemporaries that take place during the Summer. They’re light, easy reads full of romance and Summer fun and discovering yourself. I like them all but my favourites are Amy & Rogers Epic Detour and Since You’ve Been Gone.

Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli – A companion novel to Simon Vs the Homo Sapians Agenda, this follows Molly (Abbys cousin) who has never pursued any of her crushes. Her twin sister gets a new girlfriend and becomes a lovesick mess, making Molly feel alone and left behind. I just relate so hard to this book.

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante – Not all of this is set in Summer but because it’s set in Naples, Italy it just gives off those Summer vibes. This series follows a friendship that lasts a lifetime. These characters and this setting is so vivid.

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender – I recently read this and it quickly became a new favourite. Set in the Summer in New York we follow Felix, who’s transgender and hoping to fall in love.

Beach Read by Emily Henry – January is broke and needs to shake off the writers block and complete her next romantic novel by the end of the Summer. Which is kind of hard when her long-term rival is living opposite her.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – Set out like an interview this follows a band as they recount their success, the good and the bad. This book is so juicy and full of hot goss, you won’t be able to put it down.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – One of my all time Summer favourites. This follows two boys Ari and Dante who bond over swimming lessons and become inseperable for the rest of the Summer.

Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan – A Summer camp like no other. Percy Jackson is a half-blood. One of his parents in an Olympian god from the Greek myths. These books are funny and full of adventures and, as I’ve discovered recently, you’re never too old to enjoy them.

What’s your favourite Summer read?

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X



A Favourite Book.

Hi Readers!

I’ve said many times in various posts that Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe is one of my favourite books of all time. I reread it recently and that statement still stands true, but I realised I’ve never done a review of it.

Seeing as I’ve now read it more times than I can count I felt a bit strange just doing a regular review of it, so I’m going to start a series where I make individuel posts for my FAVOURITE books. Starting with this one!

(Includes minor spoilers!)


What Is It About?

Aristotle and Dante are teenage boys who meet one Summer and bond over swimming lessons. Both of them are different to other boys their age and are kind of loners so they take a lot of comfort in each others company. Their friendship and feelings for each other grows, but all Summers must come to an end.

When Did I First Read This Book?

I first read Aristotle and Dante in 2017. I was a teenager like the characters and I think I loved it so much because I related to their sense of not fitting in.

Since then I’ve read it maybe four or five times. At least every Summer as it is one of those books that just reminds me of the Summer time. It’s about friendship, first love, discovering yourself and coming into your own.

Why Is It A Favourite?

Oh my gosh, where do I start?

The characters. They and their relationships are complex and multi-layered. I felt every emotion they felt. Their anger, their fear, their loneliness, their joy and their sadness. Whilst they’re nothing like me, (they’re teenage boys, Mexican American and living in the 1980’s) I’ve rarely understood characters like I do these and I think that shows the skill of the author. I really sympathised with them which made me that much more invested in their stories.

And the great characterisation doesn’t stop with Ari and Dante. One of my pet peeves is YA books that just don’t feature parents and this book has some of the best parental figures I’ve ever read about. They’re not the best because they’re perfect parents but because they felt like real people. They’re flawed and have their own issues, but they have so much love for Ari and I felt that love radiating off the page.

These characters learn and grow throughout the book. They don’t always make the right decisions and some of them could definitely do with seeing a therapist. But you do see them stumble through these mistakes and learn from them which just makes them feel that much more real.

Ari has a lot of anger and not a lot of self-worth. Dante is his opposite, he’s affectionate and a lot more open. They seem like an unlikely pair but you can just feel how much they care about each other. Seeing their bond grow into more was so beautiful.

The writing as well is so poetic but also quite relatable. It really feels like the character talking and there are these moments where he puts a feeling into words in a way I’d never thought about before.

Spoilery Thoughts

This time around reading this book something occured to me that hadn’t before. This doesn’t feel like a teenager talking. It also doesn’t feel present. It almost feels like an adult Ari looking back at this time in his life and working through what he was thinking and feeling in these significant moments.

And, I hate to say this, it also feels like Dante maybe isn’t in his life anymore? This book is getting a sequel and so far we know nothing but a maybe title ‘There Will Be Other Summers’. Now I already feellike this sequel isn’t going to be a happily ever afterromance because where they live is extremely homophobic. But what if we also see their relationship end?

I don’t know if I could handle that. In my head they went to college together, became poets and now live in a lakehouse with no light pollution for miles.

Have you read this book? I’d love to discuss it with you if you have!

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

Books I Want To Read In July

Hi Readers!

Oh boy are my reading plans for July ambitious. It’s a good thing a bunch of readathons are happening so at least I’ll have a chance of finishing them all.

Firstly, the Reading Rush returns later this month which I’ll post a seperate TBR for (probably with books from this list but we’ll have to see what the challenges are).

I’m also going to casually take part in The Perks of Being Noura’s ‘Totally Spies’ readathon. This readathon looks so fun as it’s kind of set up as a game. Plus I was a big Totally Spies fan so I couldn’t not take part in this!

I don’t have specific books for each challenge as I don’t know what challenges I’ll be doing yet. So what I’m going to do is share with you a (long) list of books I want to read soon and I’ll make my way through as many of those as possible.

NetGalley Books

In July I’d really like to focus on catching up on the books on my NetGalley shelf. There are quite a few.

Loveless by Alice Oseman
Sisters by Daisy Johnson
Summer by Ali Smith
Malorie by Josh Malerman
Dear Justyce by Nic Stone
The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed
Eight Detectives by Alex Pavesi

Rereads

As you may have seen I’ve been LOVING rereading books recently. And there are still some I’d like to get to…

The Heroes of Olympus Series by Rick Riordan
The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer? I’m still on the fence of whether I want to put myself through this.
Mansfield Park and Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Others I’d Like To Get To

I want to get through some books I have on my shelf waiting for me, but hopefully my library is opening soon and I can get to a lot more!

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Am I Normal Yet? and How Hard Can Love Be by Holly Bourne
Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell (I’m so excited to finally get to this!)
The Lost Man by Jane Harper
The Muse by Jesse Burton
Eloquent Rage by Brittany Cooper

What do you plan on reading in July?

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X