It looks like libraries will be opening April 12th, so we’ve still got one full month of making do with what I have. Thankfully, I still have some pretty exciting books on my bookshelf I want to read!
Bronte Sisters Books
I’ve recently reread Jane Eyre and now I want to continue and read the other novels the Bronte sisters wrote. I’ve read Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Wuthering Heights before, so they’ll be rereads, but The Professor, Shirley, Agnes Grey and Villette will be first times and I can’t wait to get to them.
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
I read The Bone Clocks I think a couple of years ago now and fell in love with how he wove fantasy into our world with such vibrant characters. I don’t know too much about this, but I am hoping for more of that.
Shadow & Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
I want to reread this trilogy before the Netflix show is released in April. I did read it a few years ago, but I don’t remember too much about it other than I didn’t like the ending. Still, they’re quick reads and I just want to refresh my memory of them.
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
I’m so excited to finally get to this one. I loved Gyasi’s debut novel Homegoing and I’ve heard so much praise for her second book.
Women’s Prize For Fiction Longlist
I’m so excited to be typing those words as it means it’s that time of year again! The women’s prize is my favourite book prize and each year I do my best to read the entire longlist, which consists of 15 books. My predictions post is already up. I’ll also do a reaction to the longlist and let you know what my thoughts/plans are once we know the books.
This year more than ever we all need something to look forward to, and for me that is the Woman’s Prize For Fiction Longlist announcement!
For the past few years I have tried to both predict and read the longlist for this prize and it’s always such an amazing selection of diverse books chosen by a wonderful panel of readers. I’ve been thinking about this list, I kid you not, since January…
Normally I would have liked to have read a lot of these, but I am so behind on new releases because of the libraries being closed so I have only read three of them. But I’ve tried to make educated guesses, I’ve taken other peoples reviews into account and these are the 16 books I think have a good chance of making it.
Luster by Raven Leilani I’ve been seeing this around a lot in the past few weeks. I don’t know how it escaped my noticed last year, but it definitely sounds like something the women’s prize judges could be looking for in a longlisted novel.
Mrs Death Misses Death by Salena Godden Another one I’ve heard from SavidgeReads and, I mean, this follows the wife of Death. Does anymore need to be said? I’ll be reading this soon either way.
The Manningtree Witches by A.K Blakemore I’m currently reading this one, and I just think this is something that really fits the themes of the women’s prize. It’s all about the witch trials that took place in a small town in Essex in the 17th century.
We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan I’ve only just discovered this book, but it sounds phenomenol and, again either way I’ll be reading it. But it does sound like a women’s prize longlistee.
Love After Love by Ingrid Persaud I’ve mostly heard Simon from SavidgeReads talk about this and he has nothing but praise for it.
The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue Donoghue is an author I’ve been meaning to read more of, so I think me wanting her latest book on this years longlist just so it gives me the push to pick it up.
Sisters by Daisy Johnson I actually DNFed this last Summer, but I was distracted and didn’t give it much of a chance. I can’t ignore the praise it’s received, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it on this years longlist.
If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha I so nearly read this one last Summer, and do still hope to. This is one that has so much praise, I’d be surprised if it wasn’t on the longlist.
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke I know the longlist doesn’t always have much fantasy on it, but seeing as this is kind of based on mythology, it may have a chance.
Transcendent Kingdom Yaa Gyasi Gyasi’s second book has garnered a lot of positive reviews. I’m sure it’s on the judges raider, I hope it makes it!
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet This was a huge release in 2020. Everyone and their mother read it! But I also think this is such phenomenol book, if it makes the longlist, it has a real chance of winning the whole thing.
Redhead by the Side of the Road by Anne Tyler I don’t really know anything about this book if I’m honest. But the author has been norminated before so I wanted to at least mention it.
The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel I wasn’t the biggest fan of her dystopia book ‘Station Eleven’ but this one sounds much more up my alley and, I think, sounds like a possible women’s prize longlisted book.
Tennis Lessons by Susannah Dickey I wanted to go for at least one book I haven’t heard that much about, as the judges always seem to pick a book like this out of the bag. I think this is about a woman who feels like an outsider, and it’s Irish lit. I think these are things the judges could like.
Rodham by Curtis Suttenfield Most people I think are assuming this will be on the list. It made waves when it was released, and whilst I haven’t read it myself, it definitely sounds intriguing.
A Net For Small Fishes by Lucy Jago Could this be this years ‘Hamnet’? This is based on a real scandal that ‘rocked James I’s court’ and I just love the sound of that.
We only have another couple of weeks to wait before we find out how far off I am. I’m sure this is way off. The prize always has a few books I hadn’t heard of before and I can’t wait to get introduced to them.
Which book do you hope will make this years longlist and are you excited for this book prize?
I want to love every book I read, but I know how rare it is for me to love a book so much I give it five stars. I like to think I have a good idea of what types of books have the most likeliness of getting a five star rating from me.
In 2020 I gave 21 books five stars, but only 7 of those were first time reads (the rest were rereads of already favourite books). So I’m going to go down the middle and choose 10 books from my List of Books I Want to Read in 2021, plus some 2021 releases I think will get five stars from me!
Bel Canto – Ann Patchett
Last year I read my first book by Ann Patchett and immediately knew she would become an author I would want to read everything by. Bel Canto is her most famous novel and has even been adapted for the big screen, yet its escaped my notice for too long.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot
This story has intrigued me for years, but I still only know the basic facts and I’m excited to learn more about this extraordinary story.
I Wish You All the Best – Mason Deaver
This book looks delightful! I just love YA romance and I know this one got a lot of buzz last year, I just never got around to reading it myself.
Middlegame – Seanan McGuire
This is one I have seen crop up all over the place for a couple of years now and I’ve been meaning to pick it up myself but it just never happened, which is strange considering I am so confident I’m going to love it.
Giovanni’s Room – James Baldwin
I’ve never read anything by James Baldwin, but he’s an author I first heard of last year (I know, where have I been?) and he intrigues me. I have a few of his books on my list I want to read this year, but this is the one I feel like I’m going to love.
The House On the Cerulean Sea – T.J. Klune
This is another 2020 release I didn’t get to, and this is just one of those books that has had so much praise, I feel like there is no way I won’t love this. I haven’t heard one negative review of this and the plot sounds like something I would love.
Transcendant Kingdom – Yaa Gyasi
Her debut novel Homegoing is one of my favourite books of all time and I’m so excited to read more by her. I know this was published last year in some countries but we Brits have had to wait a little bit longer for it’s release. Hopefully it will be worth the wait.
Malibu Rising – Taylor Jenkins Reid
I will always anticipate her new releases now after falling in love with her last two novels. This is another one that is about fame and I believe takes place entirely on one single night of partying.
Survive the Night – Riley Sager
In 2020 Sager became a new favourite author and I can’t wait to read more by him. I know nothing about this book, but I don’t need to. I honestly think his books get better and better with each one he writes and I’m hoping this will be no different.
Kate In Waiting – Becky Albertalli
Another author who’s books I always highly anticipate. This one sounds fun as it’s about two friends who fall for the same person.
What book that you plan on reading in 2021 do you think will get five stars?
| Published: January 2015 | | Genre: Contemporary | | Sub-Genre: LGBT+ | | Length: 353 Pages | | Age: Young Adult | | My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ |
This was my second time reading The Art of Being Normal and unfortunately I didn’t enjoy it quite as much this time around (it went from a five star to a three star read) I still think it’s well worth you giving it a go though.
What Is It About?
David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl.
On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in year eleven is definitely not part of that plan.
When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long…
What Did I Think?
This book features two different perspectives that are both realistic and relatable. The two main characters David and Leo have two completely different lives, growing up in different family dynamics and social environments, and yet that doesn’t change the fact that they were both very likeable. I was rooting for them and I really hoped that things worked out in there favour. I ended up feeling quite protective of them because they were just such amazing and distinguished characters.
The main discussion point of this book is being normal and how there is no such thing as normal. Just because someone is different to you doesn’t mean they deserve to be treated badly. This book sends this message perfectly, it features bullying, loneliness, anxiety and family problems. Something almost all teenagers can relate to.
This book also handles transsexuality in a wonderful way. This book gave me a deeper understanding of struggles someone discovering their gender identity might face. It’s not an Own Voices book, but I feel the author really did their research and created a informative but also entertaining story.
I would recommend this book to everybody, because when a book has you jumping with joy and gasping in shock and shouting in anger, you know it’s got to be a good one.
This is something I started doing a couple of years ago and really look forward to it every year. I love learning what peoples favourite books of the year where, and I love reading some of the books myself to see which bloggers I have a similar reading taste to.
This has been made a little bit more difficult to complete this year as libraries are currently closed in my area due to Covid. But I’ve found a way I can still do it, it will just take me a little longer.
From all the ‘Favourite Books’ posts I’ve read I have chosen 10 books that I will read. But I won’t be reading them all in January.
Five of these books I own so I can read them straight away, no problem. The other five I have reserved from the library and the minute they open (hopefully no later than March, but you never know) I’ll check them out and revisit this later on in the year.
Here are the five books I’ll be reading in January/early February.
I remember attempting to read this, but I ended up not finishing it as it needed returning to the library (although I did mark it as read on goodreads). Luckily, I got it for Christmas, so I can dedicate time to it now. I somewhat remember the beginning but have no idea what happens after the first quarter. Kat says this book is a hit or miss book and I’m hoping it’s a massive hit for me.
I’ve actually put off reading this because I know sci-fi just isn’t a genre I enjoy. But to this day I still hear so much praise for this book, so I think it’s time I give it a go. At least I’ll finally know whether I’m right or not.
This is one I was able to get out of the library before they closed, so when I saw it on Darina’s list, I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to read it. I’ve read one of Burton’s books before, The Miniaturist, and I remember being struck by how beautiful the writing was and I’m hoping this will be just as good.
Naty put this as one of her favourite memoirs of 2020 and it’s one I’ve been wanting to read for a long time. I believe it’s a letter Coates wrote to his son about the racial issues in America and I’m sure this will be incredible.
This is a 2020 release I never got to, which confuses me because Elizabeth Acevedo is one of my favourite authors. I was reminded of it when I saw it on quite a few bloggers ‘favourites of 2020,’ but I first saw it on Liza’s. I know my local library has it on the shelf so the minute they open I’ll go in a grab it.
(I do actually own this one, but I wanted to split it evenly into five books each so I’ll just be waiting to get to this one).
The only reason I haven’t read this book yet is because of it’s length and that needs to end this year! Their review of this makes the book sound so compelling, and makes me even more determined to read it.
After reading it this book made it to Fazila’s favourite books of all time, which makes me want to read it even more. I have read an Elif Shafak book before, but this is the one by her I’ve been particularly excited to read and I’m hoping it’s as magical an experience as Fazila’s was.
The first book of 2021 has set this reading year off to a fantastic start. I don’t know what’s to come, but I already feel like I’ve found a book that will make my top 10 of the year list.
What Is It About?
Think Upstairs, Downstairs, but Pride and Prejudice. This is the classic story we all know, but told from the Longbourn staffs points of view. There’s Mrs Hill, head house keeper who keeps the place running and her frail husband. Polly, the young and less dedicated maid. Sarah, who’s worked at Longbourn most her life, and the newcomer James, who doesn’t start off on the right foot with Sarah.
What Did I Think?
I don’t know about you, but I put a lot of pressure on finding the perfect book to be the first book of the year I read. I normally reread a favourite but this year I decided to read a book that is based on a favourite, Pride and Prejudice.
In Bakers reimagination of the classic romance, while the Bennett sisters find husbands, the servants downstairs are going about their daily tasks whilst finding romance of their own. It’s not a sequel or continuation, but the servants story alongside the arrival of Mr Bingley and Mr Darcey.
It made me look at the characters of Pride and Prejudice in a much less flattering light. Like, you think Elizabeth long walks and disregard to her clothing is charming and quirky? Her servants sure don’t think so! Baker isn’t shy about revealing the truths about society in this period, and that includes going deeper into the ‘trading’ in which Bingley likely got his money. Slavery.
The reason I gave it four and not five stars was because I don’t think the plot is as well structured as Austen’s was. Baker kind of tries to immitate the love triangle we see in Pride and Prejudice with one of the servants and it just doesn’t work as well. Their emotions just don’t show through the page and I felt none of their passion, so it did fall a little flat.
But this gives such an interesting look into the working life of a Georgian servant. It’s incredible the amount of effort it took just to keep these houses running and I feel like I learnt a lot. Baker really did her research and it really makes you sympathise with these previously invisible figures.
I think this is a must read for anyone who likes Historical Fiction. Knowing the plot of Pride and Prejudice isn’t necessary as I think it’s easy to follow whether you know the plot or not.
I really leaned on reading to get me through 2020, and I’m so grateful to have something that is so consistant in my life. I read some seriously incredible ones as well, it was hard to chose just 10. But, it’s tradition that I do, so here are the top 10 books I read in 2020.
Interestingly most of these books were published in 2020, but that wasn’t intentional. I guess I just really enjoyed my new releases this year!
For them to have made this list, these books must be books that tugged on my heartstrings, attached itself to my soul and hasn’t let me go, even now.
10. Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
This is set around Día de Muertos following a trans boy who is trying to prove to his family he’s a brujo, and whilst doing that releases the ghost of another teenage boy who recently died. I was just obsessed with these two characters. Their dynamic and bond stole my heart.
I wasn’t a fan of the sequel, but I can’t let that cloud how much I loved Vicious. I read this almost straight after watching the X-Men series for the first time and this was just what I needed to fill that hole in my life once I’d finished. I just love that this book doesn’t really have a hero. Everyone in it has a pretty messed up agenda which definitely made it a whole lot more interesting.
I’m shocked that a non-fiction book is making my top 10. But I feel I’ve found the type of non-fiction I actually enjoy. Historical and about women. I also really loved Alison Weir’s writing and will definitely be reading more by her.
If someone told me I would one day have a horror book on my top 10 of the year list, I would have laughed in their face. Okay so for some people this probably isn’t super horror like, but this scared me into sleeping with my light on for a brief period. And I loved it.
5. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
I mean, whose ‘Favourites of 2020’ list didn’t this make? And that’s probably only because they didn’t get to reading it. I loved this story. It’s just the type of sci-fi/fantasy I love. Slow, character driven and full of intrigue. I will definitely be rereading it soon.
This is just the type of book I love to read in the warm sun. A tension filled romance with a great cast of characters who have great banter. This follows two authors who are kind of rivals, and I loved the writing aspect involved in it. That’s definitely what upped it from a typical romance to something I will return to.
Another one I’m sure will be on a lot of peoples lists this year. It’s just so good and completely gripped me. Felix is a trans teenage boy who is still exploring his identity whilst being targeted by a anunymous, transphobic bully.
Can you believe that when I first wrote this list, I completely forgot this book exhisted. The second I did remember however I knew what spot it deserved. And that’s because of what this book means to me. I’d recommend this to everyone but TW for mental health.
Even though there won’t be big Halloween parties or get togethers this year, that doesn’t mean we can’t still dress up (and stuff ourselves with candy).
These are some simple costume ideas based on some of our favourite book characters. I really enjoyed trying to find the perfect items for this and I’ve linked to all of them, but these are just easy outfits you can pull together with whatever you have in your wardrobe.
I would also say these aren’t necessarily spooky costumes, but I feel like cosplaying for Halloween has become really popular these past few years. Besides, I feel like 2020 has been scary enough for all of us!
We’re coming to the end of year now and some of my most anticipated releases of 2020 are finally being released. There’s a lot I’m excited for, but a couple I just can’t wait to get my hands on.
I’ll also be talking about a book to movie adaptation I’m really looking forward to.
The Searcher by Tana French// October 6th // I’ve seen Tana French’s books around before but I have yet to pick one up. This one sounds particularly up my alley though as it’s a mystery following a retired detective.
The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton // October 6th // Another mystery thriller I can’t wait to get my hands on. I did also get an early arc of this but the format went weird on my kindle so I wasn’t able to read that version unfortunately. I have it reserved at the library though.
Swamp Thing: Twin Branches by Maggie Stiefvater // October 13th // This is a graphic novel about twins who are complete opposites. Because this is a graphic novel it doesn’t really appeal to me, but I have enjoyed Stiefvater before so I wanted to include this one.
In A Holidaze by Lauren Oliver // October 6th // I’ll be waiting until December to read this, but I’m so excited and already know I’m going to love it. I just love a good Christmas romance.
The Haunting of Bly Manor // Netflix, October 9th //
Based On The Turn Of the Screw by Henry James
Now, I personally won’t be watching this. Not because I don’t think it looks good, but because I am too much of a wimp. But this is one of those few occassions where I truly wish I wasn’t, because I just love this cast.
Rebecca // Neflix, October 26th //
Based On Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
I know some people are feeling trepedatious about this adaptation, but I am so excited for it. I love Lily James and whilst I’m not expecting this to be a completely faithful adaption (Armie Hammer needs to be about 20 years older for starters) I’m still excited.
Death On The Nile // Cinemas, October 16th //
Based On Death On the Nile by Agatha Christie
Armie Hammer fans are being fed this October. This is another one I definitely won’t be seeing as I’m staying away from Cinemas, but when this comes out for home release I will be straight on it. This adaptation of an Agatha Christie classic has a seriously star studded cast!
| Published: September 2020 by Europa Editions | | Genre: Contemporary | | Themes: Italy, Translated Fiction, Coming-Of-Age | | Length: 336 Pages | | ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ |
This is the first book Italian author Elena Ferrante has published since her hugely popular series ‘The Neapolitan Novels’, a quartet which quickly became favourites of mine when I read them two years ago.
What Is It About?
Ferrante takes us back to Naples for another evocative look at Italian life and culture. Different from the Neapolitan series though, this follows a more middle class family who value education.
What Did I Think?
Two years ago I flew through Elena Ferrante’s ‘Neapolitan Novels‘ and had one of the most impactful reading experiences in my life. So to say my expectations for this book were high is putting it lightly.
There are a lot of similarities between the two. It was translated from Italian by Ann Goldstein (who also did the Neapolitan Novels). Together they have a very distinctive style which I really enjoy. This also follows similar themes as Neapolitan, such as coming-of-age, womanhood and social class.
‘Lies, lies. Adults forbid them, and yet they tell so many.’
The Lying Life of Adults
But it follows a very different perspective from the one in Neapolitan. In The Lying Life of Adults we follow Giovanna, who lives in a more upper-class part of Naples and who’s parents are better educated and highly value education.
It’s a coming-of-age but definitely not YA as it follows much more adult themes, some of which I found made uncomfortable reading. There are a lot of inappropriate sexual encounters between older men and young teenagers which obviously wasn’t pleasant to read. It’s a recurring thing in Ferrantes books and I’m not sure how I feel about it.
This also isn’t the first time I’ve been led to believe a main female character of hers is a lesbian. Giovanna’s relationship with her best friend was confusing and definitely crossed the boundary a couple of times. I was slightly disappointed with how it played out.
If you’ve read Ferrante before and like her writing style, I would definitely give this a read. But if Ferrante is new to you, read the Neapolitan Novels first. They are just incomparable.