Predictions For The Women’s Prize For Fiction Longlist 2021

February, 25th, 2021

Hi Readers!

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?

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

10 Five Star TBR Predictions For 2021

February 9th, 2021

Hi Readers!

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?

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

21 New Romance Books For 2021

February 6th, 2021

Hi Readers!

Tis’ the season of romance! Here are some of the hottest romance books being released in 2021!

You Have A Match by Emma Lord

Release Date: January 5th
Young Adult
About: When Abby takes a DNA test she doesn’t expect to find out she has a secret older sister. They meet up at a Summer camp where her crush will also be to uncover the truth about why her parents never mentioned her.

Love Is A Revolution by Renee Watson

Release Date: February 2nd
Young Adult
About: Nala starts liking someone who is involved in activism and to impress him she tells a few lies.

Much Ado About You by Samantha Young

Release Date: February 2nd
Adult
About: After being stood up for a date and passed over for a promotion at work Evie decides to take a holiday to a bookshop in the English countryside and finds herself a farmer.

You’ve Got Mail by Kate G. Smith

Release Date: February 8th
Adult
About: Grace hits a new low on the dating scene when she receives a dumping email meant for someone else.

Perfect On Paper by Sophie Gonzales

Release Date: March 9th
Young Adult
About: Darcy Phillips is a bisexual girl with no love life but gives great dating advice.

Just Like In The Movies by Heidi Rice

Release Date: March 12th
Adult
About: A celebrated film maker leaves part of his lifes work, an independent cinema, to his friend and assistant Ruby and his nephew Luke.

Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibert

Release Date: March 9th
Adult
About: The third in the Brown sisters series.

A Pho Love Story by Loan Le

Release Date: April 7th
Young Adult
About: Two teens from restaurant rival families fall in love.

Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve

Release Date: April 13th
Young Adult
About: Dean Foster knows he’s a trans guy. But everyone still thinks he’s a lesbian, including his girlfriend.

The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent

Release Date: April 15th
Adult
About: Birdy Finch has run away from her life and into her friends Heathers, taking her Summer job in a Scotland luxury hotel.

Kate In Waiting by Becky Albertalli

Release Date: April 20th
Young Adult
About: Kate and Anderson long lasting friendship is in danger when they both get a crush on the same person.

She Drives Me Crazy by Kelly Quindlen

Release Date: April 20th
Young Adult
About: Two high school nemesis fall in love.

Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee

Release Date: May 4th
Adult
About: Trans blogger thinks he knows everything it takes to make a relationship perfect, until he gets in one himself.

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Release Date: June 1st
Adult
About: The ‘Red White and Royal Blue’ authors second book is about a sub-way crush with a hint of time travel.

May the Best Man Win by Z.R. Ellor

Release Date: May 18th
Young Adult
About: A trans boy enters a throw down battle for homecoming King with the boy he dumped last Summer.

The Ghosts We Keep by Mason Deaver

Release Date: June 1st
Young Adult
About: When Liam’s older brother dies, he finds himself spending more time with his brothers best friend Marcus.

The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary

Releas Date: June 1st
Adult
About: Addie and her sister begin an exciting road trip to their friends wedding, when their car is hit by none other than Addie’s ex.

Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson

Release Date: July 1st
Young Adult
About: Two girls escape trip to the big city quickly becomes a disaster.

You And Me On Vacation by Emily Henry

Release Date: July 8th
Adult
About: When Poppy and Alex first met, they hated each other. But that turned to friendship, which turned to them spending one vacation together for the past 10 Summers and now their spending one last vacation together.

Make Up Break Up by Lily Menon

Release Date: July 15th
Adult
About: Two rival app developers clash again, and again, and again.

The Dating Playbook by Farrah Rochon

Release Date: August 17th
Adult
About: Book two in Rochons The Boyfriend Project series. This one features fake dating.

Which of these are you most looking forward to reading?

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

Page To Screen | Every Book To Movie Adaptation Coming In 2021 (that i know of…)

January 28th, 2021

Hi Readers!

2020 ended up being a bit of a dud year for movie releases with most of them getting cancelled or delayed due to cinema’s being closed (thanks Covid). Online streaming ended up being the saving grace for the flm industry and it’s where most of these adaptations will be released this upcoming year…

Films

The White Tiger
Netflix – January 22nd
Book: Aravind Adiga
Starring: Priyanka Chopra and Adarsh Gourav

The Dig
Netflix – January 14th
Book: John Preston
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Lily James and Ralph Fiennes

Fear Street Trilogy
Netflix – ?
Book: Fear Street by R.L. Stine
Starring: Sadie Sink

To All The Boys: Always and Forever
Netflix – February 12th
Book: Jenny Han
Starring: Lana Condor and Noah Centineo

There’s Someone Inside Your House
Netflix – February
Book: Stephenie Perkins
Starring: Sydney Park and Theodore Pellerin

Moxie
Netflix – March 3rd
Book: Jennifer Mathieu
Starring: Josephine Langford and Patrick Schwarzenegger

The Last Letter From Your Lover
Netflix – March 12th
Book: Jojo Moyes
Starring: Shailene Woodley and Joe Alwyn

The Woman In The Window
Netflix – ?
Book: A.J. Finn
Starring: Amy Adams

A Boy Called Christmas
Netflix – November
Book: Matt Haig
Starring: Henry Lawfull, Maggie Smith, Sally Hawkins and Kristen Wiig

Without Remorse
Prime Video – February 25th
Book: Tom Clancy
Starring: Mihael B. Jordon and Lauren London

Cherry
Apple TV – February 26th
Book: Nico Walker
Starring: Tom Holland

French Exit
Theatres – February 12th
Book: Patrick Dewitt
Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer and Lucas Hedges

The Nightingale
Theatres – ?
Book: Kristen Hannah
Starring: Dakota Fanning and Elle Fanning

Two Kisses For Maddy
Theatres – April 30th
Book: Matthew Logelin
Starring: Kevin Hart

Marry Me
Theatres – June 18th
Book: Bobby Crosby
Starring: Owen Wilson and Jennifer Lopez

Dune
Theatres & HBO Max – October 1st
Book: Frank Herbert
Starring: Timothy Chalamet and Zendaya

Infinite
Theatres – May 21st
Book: Reinarnationist Papers by D. Eric Maikranz
Starring: Dylan O’Brien and Mark Wahlberg

Cruella
Disney+ – May 26th
Book: 101 Dalmations by Dodie Smith
Starring: Emma Stone

Deep Water
Theatres – August 13th
Book: Patricia Highsmith
Starring: Ana De Armas and Ben Affleck

The Last Duel
Theatres – October 15th
Book: Eric Jamer
Starring: Jodie Comer, Adam Driver and Matt Damon

The Power of the Dog
Netflix – ?
Book: Thomas Savage
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Thomasin McKenzie and Kristen Dunst

Blonde
Netflix – ?
Book: Joyce Carol Oates
Starring: Ana De Armas and Evan Williams

Chaos Walking
Theatres – March 5th
Book: Patrick Ness
Starring: Tom Holland, Daisy Ridley and Nick Jonas

TV Series

Firefly Lane
Netflix – February 3rd
Book: Kristen Hannah
Starring: Katherine Heigl, Sarah Chalke and Ben Lawson

Shadow and Bone
Netflix – April 23rd
Book: Leigh Bardugo
Starring: Ben Barnes and Jessie Mei Li

The Handmaids Tale (S4)
Hulu – ?
Book: Margaret Atwood
Starring: Elisabeth Moss

Anatamy Of A Scandal
Netflix – ?
Book: Sarah Vaughan
Starring: Rupert Friend, Sienna Miller and Michelle Dockery

Nine Perfect Strangers
Hulu – ?
Book: Liane Moriarty
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Melissa McCarthy and Luke Evans

Conversations With Friends
Hulu – ?
Book: Sally Rooney
(Cast not yet known)

You (Season 3)
Netflix – ?
Book: Caroline Kepnes
Cast: Penn Badgley

More that have been confirmed, but probably won’t come in 2021…

Heartstopper
Netflix
Book: Alice Oseman

Daisy Jones and The Six
Amazon
Book: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Cast: Riley Keough & Sam Claflin

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Freeform
Book: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Percy Jackson And the Olympians
Disney+
Book: Rick Riordan

Bridgerton Season 2
Netflix
Book: The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn

I’m sure there are more, but these are what I could find so far. What are you most excited for?

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

New Book Releases | February 2021

January 25th, 2021

Hi Readers!

For the first time last year I did monthly posts where I talked about all the exciting releases coming out that month. I want to do the same this year, but try and improve it.

This year I’ll talk about more books, list it by genre and try and do the synopsis in one sentance (which I had a lot of fun with but if you want to know more there’s a link to all of their goodreads).

Here are some of the big book releases coming in February!

YA Contemporary

Sanctuary Highway by Ellen Hopkins Margaret K. McElderry
Releases: February 2nd
About: Dystopian confederate America

Love Is A Revolution by Renee Watson Bloomsbury
Releases: February 2nd
About: When love and activism clash

Fat Chance, Charlie Vega by Crystal Maldonando Holiday House
Releases: February 2nd
About: Fat, biracial teen loves herself

As Far As You’ll Take Me by Phil Stamper Bloomsbury
Releases: February 9th
About: Finally he’s out and proud

A Pho Love Story by Loan Le Simon Schuster
Releases: February 9th
About: Rival restaurant romance

Bad Habits by Flynn Meaney Penguin
Releases: February 11th
About: Feminist performs ‘the vagina monologues’ for Catholic Schools

Adult Contemporary

Much Ado About You by Samantha Young Berkley
Releases: February 2nd
About: British bookshop romance

Make Up Break Up by Lily Menon St Martins Griffin
Releases: February 2nd
About: Hate to love office wars

This Close To Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith Grand Central Publishing
Releases: February 2nd
About: Two people healing over coffee

Mystery/Thriller

The Project by Courtney Summers Wednesday Books
Releases: February 2nd
About: Concerned sister exposes a cult?

The Shadow Box by Luanne Rice Thomas & Mercer
Releases: February 1st
About: Woman suspects husband attempted to murder her

The Burning Girls by C.J. Tudor Ballentine Books
Releases: February 9th
About: Quiet English village isn’t so quiet

Historical Fiction

The Four Winds by Kristen Hannah St Martin’s Press
Releases: February 2nd
About: The pursuit of the American Dream during the Great Depression

Yesterday Is History by Kosoko Johnson Sourcebooks Fire
Releases: February 2nd
About: Liver transplant sends boy back in time

Dearest Josephine by Caroline George Thomas Nelson
Releases: February 2nd
About: Woman discovers love letters that are two-hundred years old

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles John Murray
Releases: February 9th
About: Based on the true heroic acts of Paris librarians in WWII

A Net For Small Fishes by Lucy Jago Bloomsbury
Releases: February 11th
About: Based on a true scandal that rocked James I’s court

Fantasy

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna Delacorte
Releases: February 9th
About: Outsider invited to join army of girls like her

A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas Bloomsbury
Releases: February 16th
About: Continuation of the Court of Thorns and Roses series

The Iron Raven by Julie Kagawa Inkyard Press
Releases: February 9th
About: Puck from A Midsummer Nights Dream tells his story

The Desolations of Devils Acre by Ransom Riggs Dutton
Releases: February 23rd
About: Sixth addition to the Miss Peregines series

The Witches Heart by Genevieve Gornichec Ace Books
Releases: February 9th
About: Banished witch falls for legendary trickster Loki

Non-Fiction

Brown Baby by Nickesh Shukla Pan Macmillan
Releases: February 11th
About: A memoir of race, family and home

How To Avoid and Climate Disaster by Bill Gates Allen Lane
Releases: February 16th
About: The title says it all

Four Hundred Souls by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain One World
Releases: February 2nd
About: A community history of African-America 1619-2019

What February release are you most excited to read?

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

Reading Bloggers Favourite Books Of 2020 | TBR

January 21st, 2021

Hi Readers!

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.

The Starless Sea by Erin Morganstern // KBbookreviews

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.

One Hundred Years Of Solitude // ChoiceOfMagic

Cristina makes this book sound so magical and I have had it sitting on my shelf for far too long. I haven’t really given the genre of magical realism a try, and this seems like the place to start.

The Martian by Andy Weir // TheUnchartedWorld

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.

The Muse by Jessie Burton // FacingTheStory

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.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates // NatysBookshelf

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.

Books I’ll have to wait before I get to them…

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo // TheInharmoniousheroine

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.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt // FlowersInTheLibrary

(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.

The Forty Rules Of Love by Elif Shafak // Fazila Reads

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 Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner // MyChestnutReadingTree

I’m really looking forward to reading more books retelling or about the works of Jane Austen this year and this was one that was already on my list, so I was so excited to see Jo enjoyed it so much!

Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe // IHaveThoughtsOnBooks

I remember seeing this on a lot of people’s top books of 2019 and it really made me want to read it, but then it slipped my mind. But not this time! This is a memoir about the Irish Troubles.

What books have you read recently because a book blogger talked about it?

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

Book Review | Bridgerton’s Book’s 2-4 by Julia Quinn

January 20th, 2021

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| Published: 2000, 2001 & 2002 by Avon |
| Genre: Historical Fiction |
| Sub-Genre: Romance |
| Age: Adult |
| Length: 350-390 Pages |
| ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ |

Hi Readers!

After reading the Duke and I back in December I was so ready to watch the TV show along with everyone else. But I ended up delaying that so I could read three more of the books as I’d heard they spoil who ‘Lady Whistledown’ is in the show and I wanted to learn who that was from the books…

What Are They About?

The Bridgerton’s are a famous aristocratic family in Georgian society and each book follows a different Bridgerton sibling on their journey to finding love.

What Did I Think?

I’ve slowly become quite obsessed with these books and it was quite hard to stop reading at book four. But if I continued they way I have, I wouldn’t get to read anything else this month!

Starting with book 2, The Viscount Who Loved Me, I wasn’t that big a fan and this is probably my least favourite in the series so far. It basically followed the exact same formula as book one. I mean, they’re all pretty similar, but this and The Duke and I really had very few differences. One scene is almost word for word the same and I was worried the books would carry on in this manor.

But then I read An Offer From A Gentleman and that is where my obsession began. The third book in the Bridgerton series is a Cinderella retelling, with a masquerade. It had secrets, forbidden romance and all of the sexual tension. It was a fun time reading this book.

Book four, Romancing Mr Bridgerton, again is different but the same. It successfully had me swooning one page in and kept me reading with the mystery of who Lady Whistledown is, which was revealed in this book and means I can finally begin the Netflix adaptation!

The way to approach these books it to just not take them too seriously. I’m not looking for historical accuracy or to have a deeper understanding of 19th century English society. I don’t care that the writing isn’t great or that they’re a little repetitive or that they cover pretty much every trope under the sun. They’re fun and entertaining and I’ll definitely read more probably in the Summer.

Have you read the Bridgerton novels recently? What are your thoughts?

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

Book Review | War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

January 14th, 2021

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| Published: 1867 |
| Genre: Classic |
| Sub-Genre: Historical Fiction |
| Length: 1392 Pages |
| Age: Adult |
| ⭐ ⭐ :star |

Hi Readers!

I began this reading journey just under a year ago. Why did it take so long for me to read? Well, I kept on making excuses about why I wanted to put it down. ‘It’s not the right time’, ‘I’m too busy to invest in this story right now’, etc. But it was really because this book just isn’t for me.

What Is It About?

War and Peace is Leo Tolstoy’s detailed analysis of the Napoleonic Wars. Specifically the invasion of Russia and the events leading up to the burning of Moscow. It follows Russian society and describes how the war effected their lives.

What Did I Think?

It feels so weird sharing my opinion on a book as famous and acclaimed as this one. Especially when I won’t be praising it to the high heavens. But this is my space on the internet and I have to be honest to you, I don’t get it?

I was already familiar with the characters in this as I’ve listened to the musical Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 and that definitely helped me keep track of the vast amount of characters we meet in this novel.

But I also feel like it gave me a false sense of what this book is. Or maybe it was stupid of me to not assume the whole book would be about war. It’s a great source if you’re looking to expand your knowledge on the Napoleonic Wars and war strategy, but that’s just not what I look for in a book.

I enjoyed parts. Namely the sections set around the Russian society and their interactions. But I never felt fully invested. The other parts just felt like Tolstoy’s way of showing off all his knowledge on this period of history.

It has moments of genius, but why this became the acclaimed piece of literature and not Anna Karenina (not that it’s not, but I feel like War and Peace is more so) I don’t know.

At least now I can say I’ve read War and Peace…

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

How I’m Tracking My Reading In 2021

January 12th, 2021

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Hi Readers!

At the end of each year I love looking back and being able to break down what I read that year with charts and statistics. But to get those I have to track what I read. So for the past few years I’ve tried different methods of doing that. This is what I’ll be doing this year…

Goodreads

I’ve always used goodreads because it’s just the easiest way to keep track of what I’ve read. I don’t always review on there but I do like the rating system as it’s just quick and simple. It’s also where I keep track of my TBR.

Book Roast’s Spreadsheet

I’ve been using google spreadsheets to track my reading for four years now and each year they get a little bit more detailed.

Like last year, I’m using The Book Roasts spreadsheet, but the new updated version for 2021 as it just does everything I need it to. I have edited it a little to suit my needs though. For example I have actually edited out the CAWPILE rating system because I just found it took too long coming up with a number for each category when I kind of knew what star rating I wanted to give it anyway.

I use it mainly because it’s a handy tool to get the charts I use for my end of year wrap up and I like having all the numbers in one place. My biggest issue is remembering to fill it out, which is why I use goodreads as well because believe it or not I find it so easy to forget what I’ve read…

If you want to use this particular spreadsheet as well, you can find everything here.

Reading Journal

This is where I keep my opinions and notes for any reviews I want to read. This is probably my favourite way to track my reading because it’s the one I return to the most to remind me what I thought about a particular book I’ve read.

How are you tracking your 2021 reading?

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X

Book Review | Longbourn by Jo Baker

January 11th, 2021

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| Published: 2013 by Vintage |
| Genre: Historical Fiction |
| Sub-Genre: Retelling |
| Length: 447 Pages |
| Age: Adult |
| ⭐ ⭐ :star ⭐ |

Hi Readers!

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.

Thanks For Reading,
Jess X