Quarterly Rewind (June-September Edition 2016)

Yesterday was the official beginning of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, which means it’s now starting to get cold in Scotland, hopefully I’ll be able to wear lots of layers and comfy clothes soon (I love Autumn/Winter clothes, they’re the best!). Anyway, the beginning of a new season means it’s time for another Quarterly Rewind post (I can’t believe this came around so fast!). This post will cover from 21st June-22nd September.

Image from this Summer

IMG_0471This is a picture from the end of August when I went to the Harry Potter Studios with my flatmates Nicola and Rebecca for Nicola’s 19th Birthday. It’s a picture of a full scale model of Hogwarts, which was one of my favourite parts of the tour.

Favourite Quote From A Book You Read This Summer:

“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still” -A Darker Shade of Magic, VE Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic was one of my favourite books that I read this summer and this was my favourite quote from it, it’s now one of the quotes that I have on my wall in my room at Uni.

This Summer in One Word:


Most Popular Review This Summer:

I read 12 books in the period this post covers (yup 12!) and the most popular one I reviewed was The Hidden Oracle, the first book in Rick Riordan’s Trials of Apollo series. This makes me very happy as I love to share the love for Rick Riordan:


Top Two Books I Read This Summer:

This was a really hard one because I read so many books this summer and with some minor exceptions, they were all pretty good. However there were only two books I read this summer that I rated 5 stars, the rest were all between 2.5-4 stars, and as those two stand out above the rest, I’ll choose them:

  1. A Darker Shade of Magic-VE Schwab-Definitely my favourite book that I read this summer, I love the world, the characters, the magic (especially the magic!), everything about this book is just so wonderful (plus I got to meet VE Schwab at YALC and she was awesome!), but I still haven’t forgiven her for the cliffhanger at the end of AGOS.
  2. Magnus Chase and The Sword of Summer-Rick Riordan-I was a bit apprehensive about this book as it’s the first non-Percy Jackson Riordan that I’ve ever read, but it was so much fun and I’m really excited for the sequel which comes out in a couple of weeks.

Two Things I’m Looking Forward To This Autumn

  1. Going To Amsterdam-My sister is currently doing a Masters in Amsterdam and for my mum’s birthday in a few weeks’ time, me, my mum and my dad are going out there to visit her for a weekend. I’m so excited as I’ve never been to Amsterdam before.
  2. SEEING SARAH J MAAS-Yes, the all caps was totally justified! Sarah J Maas is coming to Glasgow on her Empire of Storms tour and me and Nicola (my flatmate) have tickets to go and see her!

Three New Obsessions This Summer:

I’m never very good at thinking of things for this but I’ll have a go:

  1. VE Schwab’s books-I binged both Shades of Magic books this summer and I have Vicious and This Savage Song still to read. I think it’s safe to say that VE Schwab is a new favourite author.
  2. #otspsecretsister-I’m taking part in Round 5 of the #otspsecretsister project and I’ve been having so much fun! I love getting mail and getting to know all of the other lovely people doing the project.
  3. Suburgatory-I watched nearly all of this series over the summer and really enjoyed it, I only have 4 episodes left to watch!

Five Most Popular Blog Posts This Summer:

As usual, my five most popular blog posts from this summer were all Top Ten Tuesday posts!:

  1. Top Ten Tuesday #67-My most popular post of the last few months was this one from July, where I talked about things that books have made me want to learn about or do. This was such a fun post to write, so I’m so glad everyone enjoyed it!


2. Top Ten Tuesday #65-My second most popular post is also from July, this one where I shared facts about me. I’m glad so many people seemed to find finding out about me and my life enjoyable!


3. Top Ten Tuesday #66-This one was about books outside the US, it was a really fun but also  a really hard post to do and it got me to realise that I want to read more widely than just the US/UK, so I’m definitely hoping to try and do that over the next few months/years.

4. Top Ten Tuesday #68-This was my post about books I’d buy if I was given a fully loaded gift card, I wasn’t expecting it to be so popular, but it was fun to decide what I’d buy if I had unlimited money on a gift card.


5. Top Ten Tuesday #70-This one was about my favourite Fantasy settings and I’m glad this made it on here because it was so much fun sharing all of my favourite fantasy settings with you guys.


Five Posts I Enjoyed On Other Blogs This Summer:

Once again, thanks to bookmarking, this part of the post has become a lot easier as I’ve marked all the blog posts I’ve enjoyed over the summer. I’m not actually sure if I marked 5 posts this summer, but we’ll see:

1. Cait @ Paper Fury did a post about giving authors’ work second chances and I really enjoyed it as it’s something I often think about when I’m not sure about reading the second book in a series by an author or if an author is one that everyone likes but I didn’t.

Do You Give Authors’ Works Second Chances?

2. Emily @ Loony Literate did a post about why we don’t need romance in every YA book and this post is basically my soul because I’ve been saying for years that we are overloaded with romance in YA fiction. There are other things teenagers care about than love! I didn’t even have a relationship in all of my teen years (which admittedly only ended last week, but still). Honestly my friends were more important to me when I was the same age as most YA characters and I’d love to see this reflected more in books, so I really enjoyed Emily’s post.

10 Reasons We Don’t Need Romance in Every Single YA Book Ever

3. Jo Hogan @ JoHoganBooks did a really interesting post about boys in YA literature and how the lack of boys in books could be making boys reluctant to read, using her son as an example and I found it a really interesting post as I did a similar discussion post here on my own blog, so it was interesting to see how many of the points I made were touched on by Jo’s son, and I thought this was a well written a thought provoking piece.


4. Leah @ Heart Full of Ink did a great post for Potterhead July about the Hogwarts Houses and whether they create division or unity, both in the books and in real life and I thought it was a really great post and I loved her thoughts on the subject.


5. Cait @ Paper Fury did an amazingly funny post about underappreciated bookworm talents. You should checked it out, I laughed the entire way through reading it:

Under-Appreciated Bookworm Talents

Five Things That Happened This Summer:

1. I went to YALC with my friend Hannah in July, we met loads of authors (including Maggie Stiefvater!), and bought loads of books and just generally had an amazing weekend.

2. I went to Harry Potter Studios with my friends Rebecca and Nicola for Nicola’s birthday and we had the most amazing time! The Harry Potter studio tour is awesome, if you ever get the chance to go, you definitely should.

3. I turned 20! Last Monday was my 20th birthday, I am officially no longer a teenager.

4. I started my second year of University in Stirling. It’s going well so far although I hate my shorthand classes for Journalism, shorthand is hard! Still I love living with my friends, makes a change from last year when I hated my flatmates.

5. I went to Thorpe Park with my friend Ellie, it was a great way to end the summer.

Six Songs I Listened To Way Too Often This Summer:

  1. Hypnotizing-Nashville-This is mostly from the last few days/weeks, this song is great to run to and really fun to sing in the shower.
  2. Hakuna Matata-The Lion King-What can I say? I love The Lion King!
  3. Casino-Nashville-This is one of my favourite songs so I listen to it a lot.
  4. Just Can’t Wait To Be King-The Lion King-I just love this song!
  5. You Can’t Stop The Beat-Glee Cast Version-I listen to this a lot in the gym.
  6. Used-Nashville-Another great running song.

So that’s my Quarterly Rewind for this Summer, what do you guys think? What have you enjoyed most on my blog this Summer? And most importantly what have you guys been up to this Summer? Let me know in the comments!





Top Ten Tuesday #75


Hi all! I had a very busy week with the start of uni last week and it’s not looking to slow down this week as all of the clubs start back up at uni. I get the feeling that this year is going to be a very busy year already! Anyway I’m back with another Top Ten Tuesday from the lovely ladies over at The Broke and The Bookish, this week’s topic is an audio related freebie, so for my topic, I’ve decided to share my favourite songs from one of my favourite TV shows, Nashville (so happy that it got renewed for a new season on CMT!). The show may have a propensity towards the dramatic yes and some of the storylines can be a little out there….but the music has always been incredible. So here are some of my favourite songs from the show (and I recommend you check them out on ITunes/Youtube!) These are as always in no particular order:

  1. Casino-Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio

Get ready for a lot of these two on this list because their voices sound so beautiful together. The tune and lyrics of this song are just so lovely and it’s one of my favourites from the show.

2. Shotgun-Christina Aguilera

I wasn’t a big fan of Christina Aguilera’s arc on this show, I honestly don’t even really get why she was there, but the best thing to come out of it was this song. It’s such a beautiful song and I’m very sad that we can’t get it on ITunes.

3. Black Roses-Clare Bowen

This song…..it’s one of the most beautiful and haunting songs from the show, the lyrics are incredible and Clare Bowen’s voice is lovely.

4. History of My Heart-Jonathan Jackson

This song is gorgeous, even if you’ve never had a relationship (like me), something about this song touches you, the lyrics are lovely and I think it’s probably Jonathan Jackson’s best song from the show.

5. Is That Who I Am-Chris Carmack

This is without a doubt my favourite Chris Carmack song from the show as it’s one of the few where his character is truly vulnerable and the lyrics are just so beautiful.

6. Blind-Aubrey Peeples

I’ve never been the biggest fan of Aubrey Peeples character on the show, but I was so happy in Season 3 when she got to sing more because she has such an incredible voice. The lyrics of this song are amazing, but Aubrey Peeples’ voice is even better.

7. Don’t Put Dirt On My Grave Just Yet-Hayden Panettiere

This is the ultimate angry song, whenever you’re angry or need motivation (like when running, it’s a very good running song), this is the perfect song for it. Plus it’s the perfect song for the character, if anyone asked me to describe Juliette Barnes in a song, it would be this one. And Hayden Panettiere slays!

8. Everything I’ll Ever Need-Jonathan Jackson and Hayden Panettiere

This is just such a cute song and their voices blend so well together.

9. A Life That’s Good-Various Cast Members

This is such a lovely, uplifting song and in the midst of all the drama of Nashville, it’s great to have a song like this!

10. Nothing In This World Will Ever Break My Heart Again-Hayden Panettiere

This is such a beautiful song and Hayden Panettiere performs it so well!

11. I Ain’t Leaving Without Your Love-Chaley Rose, Jonathan Jackson and Sam Palladio

This is such a fun song (great to run to) and the actors voices are so good together!

12. It Ain’t Yours To Throw Away-Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen

Told you these two would be on the list more than once! This is such a lovely song lyrically and again, Sam and Clare’s voices are so lovely together.

13. Believing-Lennon Stella and Charles Esten

This is such a lovely and sweet song and it’s sung so beautifully as well (and fits so nicely with the characters’ storyline at the time).

14. Can’t Help My Heart-Laura Benanti and Will Chase

This is just such a gorgeous song, lyrically it’s one of my favourites from the show because the lyrics are so beautiful and moving, plus it’s sung so well.

15. Change Your Mind-Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen

As with all the songs by this duo, it’s a lovely song, but I listened to this song a lot last year (for reasons) and felt like I could relate to it well.

16. Can’t Say No To You-Chris Carmack and Hayden Panettiere

This is such a catchy tune, not to mention Chris and Hayden’s voices go so well together, I can’t believe this is the only duet the two of them have had so far. The writers need to change this in Season 5!F

17. Disappear-Hayden Panettiere

This song is such a raw, beautiful song, the lyrics are lovely and Hayden Panettiere’s voice is so beautiful.

18. Every Time I Fall In Love-Scarlett Bowen

This song really appeals to the hopeless romantic in me! Plus it’s just such a lovely song!

19. If Your Heart Can Handle It-Aubrey Peeples and Chris Carmack

One of the few good things to come out of the Layla/Will storyline, this song is beautiful!

20. How You Learn To Live Alone-Jonathan Jackson

This song is sad, but at the same time, really beautiful.

21. Fade Into You-Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio

This is a quintessential Scarlett/Gunnar song and it’s so beautiful!

22. Undermine-Hayden Panettiere and Charles Esten

This is a lovely song and their voices are so nice together! This is the only duet the two of them have, I hope they have more in the future.

23. The Rivers Between Us-Connie Britton and Charles Esten

I am not the biggest fan of Connie Britton’s voice, but I do love this song with her and Charles Esten, even more than the classic Reyna/Deacon duet, No One Will Ever Love You.

24. Love Like Mine-Hayden Panettiere

This is just such a fun song and it’s excellent to run to.

25. When The Right One Comes Along-Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio

This another lovely song that appeals to my inner romantic.

26. I Know How To Love You Now-Charles Esten

This is one of my favourite Charles Esten songs from the show because the lyrics are so poignant to the particular moment in Reyna and Deacon’s relationship for the song, plus it’s one of Charles Esten’s own songs (which he co-wrote with Deana Carter) which I think is really cool.

That’s all for this week, I know I went way over ten, but Nashville has so many great songs and I found it really hard to narrow down! Plus with such a large list, I have at least one song from each season. Any other Nashville fans out there? What are your favourite songs from the show? What did you guys choose for your audio related freebie this week? Let me know in the comments! Next week’s topic is Books on My Fall TBR List, but in the meantime, I should have a new Wishlist Wednesday post up tomorrow and my latest Quarterly Rewind later in the week!

Jo Talks Books: Can Reading Be An Addiction? Is That Necessarily A Bad Thing?

Hi everyone! I know it’s taken me a while to get my first September discussion post of the month up, but what can I say, I’ve gone back to Uni and things have been really busy for the past few weeks. We’ll probably be going back to my usual schedule of two posts a month for Jo Talks as I have a feeling already that this is going to be a busy year for me! Anyway, enough of my rambling, on to this week’s topic. It’s kind of random month this month, I don’t have any real theme for my discussion posts this month, I’m just going to talk about things I’ve been thinking about recently. This week, I’m going to be talking about whether or not reading is an addiction and if that’s a bad thing or not as it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot. After all, I’m sure a lot of us would probably say that we’re addicted to books and reading, or call ourselves a bookworm or book dragon or whatever term you prefer, but it all comes down to the same thing, we love reading. But is it an addiction? Well that’s what I’m going to be talking about today.

Addiction is defined (according to Wikipedia anyway, I know, not the most reliable source!), as a medical condition characterised by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences. Well, by this definition, reading could not be an addiction because there are no adverse consequences from reading (aside from to our poor bank accounts), but then again it is a rewarding stimulus! However does an addiction have to be something negative? Can something positive like reading be an addiction? Would we want it to be? Positive addiction is a termed coined by a psychologist named William Glasser who claimed that positive addictions “strengthen us and makes our lives more satisfying”. Reading would definitely fit into this definition of addiction as it strengthens our minds and I think all readers would agree that it makes our lives more satisfying. By definition, a positive definition does not consume your life in the same way as a negative addiction, it is limited to a given time frame and you can stop and start whenever you want.

However I’m not sure if I necessarily agree that there can be such a thing as a positive addiction. I think addiction at it’s heart is something that you do to such an excess that it negatively affects you, though these things in small doses are not necessarily terrible for you. Reading isn’t like this, any amount of reading is good for you and it doesn’t negatively affect you if you do a lot of it (I mean you could read hundreds of books in a year and it’s not going to negatively impact your health and life). However there is something to be said about a negative side to reading as people can escape into books to avoid reality, which is not a bad thing in small doses but if you are using reading as a way of escaping real life and not interacting with people at all then that’s obviously not good. But I think reading is so often seen as a good thing that we don’t acknowledge that like anything, if you do it to an excess where you are neglecting family, friends, rest, food, drink and everything then you clearly have a problem. Don’t get me wrong, reading is a positive thing. It opens our minds to new worlds, new ideas, new vocabulary and it is such a joy in my life, but whilst our love of books is definitely something to be celebrated, describing an addiction to books is probably not a great thing for those who are truly unhealthily addicted to books.

I don’t consider myself a reading addict in the way that reading gets in the way of other things in my life, but at the same time, not reading does make me feel bad, like I haven’t done something I should have (blogging has definitely contributed to this though) and I can’t imagine going a day without doing it. Does this make me an addict? I don’t think so, because reading has never negatively impacted my life to a severe extent, but I definitely do have an obsession with books (kind of stating the obvious here!). I would consider this a positive thing because books have given so much to my life and become such an integral part of my personality, essentially, I feel that what I’ve read has shaped who I am as a person but I can definitely see how an obsession with books could turn into a negative thing.

Does the fact that reading is good for you mean that it’s not an addiction? Well no, because plenty of things that can be good for you can also be an addiction if you do it to an unhealthy extent, drinking, food, exercise etc. In some ways, something that’s good for you can be an even worse addiction than something that’s bad for you, for instance, we all know smoking is bad and addictive, but most of us would probably not think of something like reading as a bad thing. But anything that is pleasurable can be addictive, since addictions are triggered by a pleasurable stimulus. There is also such a thing as bibliomania, which is the hoarding or collecting of books to an unhealthy extent, although this is not a recognised psychological disorder.

So whilst all of us would most likely not consider reading an addiction, because addictions are generally considered unhealthy things and reading is a healthy habit, and in fact if we did consider reading an addiction, then we are happily addicted and proudly display our addiction to the world, even something as wonderful as reading can turn into an addiction if it negatively affects our health and relationships (and I have to admit, this is honestly not something I considered until I started researching for this post and found out that there are people with genuine unhealthy reading addictions that affect their lives!). Like everything that is pleasurable, if you read to such an extent that you neglect other things in your life, then it is an addiction in the same way that drinking or smoking is. I reckon as far as addictions go though, if reading is in addiction, it’s not the worst one you can have and just because you read a lot does not mean you have a negative addiction. There’s a definite difference between being  so addicted to books that it overwhelms your life and you can’t do anything else but read and just plain loving and enjoying books. Plus if loving books is wrong, I don’t want to be right, and I reckon all you fellow bibliophiles out there would agree!

Over to you! Do you think reading is an addiction, either positive or negative? Would you describe yourself as addicted to books? Can being addicted to books and reading be a bad thing or do you think any and all reading is good? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll try to get my next discussion post done either at the weekend this week or during the week next week, but either way, I think it’s likely that I will only do two discussion posts this month! In the meantime though, I will have a new Top Ten Tuesday post for you guys later on today, so look out for that!


Top Ten Tuesday #74


Hi everyone! My 20th birthday was yesterday so this is my first official post as a 20 year old! How cool is that? I had a lovely birthday with my uni friends Rebecca and Nicola and our new flatmate, a lifesize cardboard Ewan McGregor! I got lots of lovely presents and a great package from my #otspsecretsister, so all in all it was a great day. Anyway, that’s off topic, this week’s topic is all time favourite books, otherwise known as my most dreaded topic ever. However being lovely as they are, the kind ladies at the Broke and The Bookish said we could pick just one genre of books to do all time favourites for, so I’ve decided on all time favourite fantasy books (as if that’s any easier)! Please note that this list as always is not in any particular order and is subject to change at any time! Here is the current incarnation of my all time favourite fantasy books though:

  1. Harry Potter Series-JK Rowling

I could not do this list without including my favourite fantasy series of ever, the one that started my lifelong obsession with fantasy, a series and an author that are both very close to my heart, Harry Potter. It’s so hard to describe in words my love for this series, it was such a huge and influential part of my childhood and really shaped who I am as a reader.

2. Percy Jackson & Heroes of Olympus Series-Rick Riordan

I don’t think my love of Percy Jackson is exactly a secret! I just love the mix of the modern world and Greek/Roman mythology, plus it’s just so much fun and so funny to read, I can’t help but smile when I read this series. The characters are wonderful and every story is a new adventure.

3. Skulduggery Pleasant Series-Derek Landy

This series has magic, monsters and a walking, talking, magical skeleton detective, there’s so much to love about this series. Plus it’s set in Ireland which is awesome. And it’s hilarious on top, but not goofy funny, dry, sarcastic wit which is exactly the kind of humour that I love.

4. Throne of Glass Series-Sarah J Maas

I love the sprawling expansive world that Maas has created in this series. Plus the fact that the main character is a badass, self confident, assassin who also loves pretty dresses is great and I love the beautiful friendships that she has created through the series. And her writing is just gorgeous.

5. The Raven Cycle-Maggie Stiefvater

I feel like Sarah J Maas is a good lead in for Maggie Stiefvater because whilst the stories are completely different, I feel like they have very similar feels. This series has so much to love in it, psychics, ley lines, INCREDIBLE friendships, dead welsh kings, magic, it just has such a wonderful feel to it and you really want to be friends with these characters because they are so awesome.

6. A Darker Shade of Magic-VE Schwab

I don’t know if it’s cheating to have a book that I only read this year on an all times favourite list but even if it’s a new favourite, it’s still a favourite and I loved it so much I couldn’t not include it on this list. This book has multiple alternate Londons, magic (lots of magic!), a kickass cross dressing female pirate, awesome villains, it’s all just incredible. The second book in the series is really amazing too but since I gave this one 5 stars, it had to be the one I included on this list.

7. Rebel of The Sands-Alwyn Hamilton

Another new favourite. Everything about this book was amazing, the setting, the characters, the magic, the beautiful slow burn romance, it’s just such a vivid, beautiful story that it has become an instant favourite.

8. Artemis Fowl Series-Eoin Colfer

Who wouldn’t love a series with elves and sprites and fairies and centaurs and dwarves and all kind of other mythological creatures. Plus it’s another Irish set story and I love Ireland as a setting for fantasies, it just works so well. And the main character is a child mastermind criminal genius which is just awesome.

9. Ink and Bone-Rachel Caine

BOOKS! This fantasy is all about books! I love the idea of a world where the Great Library of Alexandria survived although if you read this book, you’ll learn it’s anything but peachy! Plus there is a great variety of nationalities of characters and an older couple LGBTQ+ romance.

10. A Series of Unfortunate Events-Lemony Snicket

Okay, so this isn’t fantasy in the same way that the other books on this list are fantasy but it definitely has fantastical elements and a very fantastical feel to it, and I devoured these books when I was a kid because they were so good! I may be cheating with this one but I don’t care!

That’s all for this week (I am getting good at this whole keeping to just 10 thing, although most of these are series, so there are definitely more than 10 books total here!). What genre of books did you choose this week (if any?). Do you find picking favourite books as hard as I do? Have you read any of the books on my list? Did you enjoy them? Let me know in the comments! Next week’s topic is an audio related freebie so I’m going to share my Top Ten Songs From Nashville (the TV show, not the city!). In the meantime however, I will have a new Wishlist Wednesday post up tomorrow and hopefully a new discussion post later in the week.


Top Ten Tuesday #73


Hey everyone! This is my last Top Ten Tuesday post as a teenager as my 20th birthday is in 6 days! 6 days! (Sorry I’m a little excited can’t you tell). As you’re reading this, I will be on my way to Scotland, heading back to Stirling for my second year of Uni and I’m really excited, for my birthday and for seeing my Uni friends again and moving into my new accommodation. But I’m also really excited about all the TV shows returning this autumn as it means new seasons of all my favourite shows! As you might have guessed, this week we are taking a break from books and talking about TV, with a TV themed freebie. The topic I’ve chosen is Top Ten Shows I’m Looking Forward To Returning. I love TV and these are some of my favourite shows (I have used the US/CAN dates as I have no idea when any of my favourite shows return here because UK TV is so far behind but I digress):

  1. GILMORE GIRLS REVIVAL-Nov.25-Okay as you can tell by the all caps, I am seriously excited about this. Like seriously. I love Gilmore Girls, it’s one of my favourite shows but I was really bummed by the way Season 7 ended, so I’m really happy that the show is being revived on Netflix and it will be given a chance to end properly after all this time!
  2. The Big Bang Theory-Sept.19-I love TBBT and am really excited to see what Season 10 has in store. Fingers crossed that this is the season where Sheldon finally proposes to Amy!
  3. New Girl-Sept.20-I am really looking forward to seeing where this is going after the end of Season 5. Season 5 wasn’t my favourite season, but the end was really good, so I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes next.
  4. How To Get Away With Murder-Sept.22-Season 2 of HTGAWM was seriously explosive so I can’t wait to see wait happens in Season 3 especially after some of the big reveals of the finale.
  5. Once Upon A Time-Sept.25-One of my newest TV show obsessions. Yes I binged the entire 5 seasons in a matter of weeks. No I don’t regret it. Yes I am hugely excited to see what Season 6 has in store.
  6. Heartland-Oct.2-As you can tell by my wordpress username, Heartland is one of my favourite shows and Season 9 was the best season yet, so I can’t wait to see what Season 10 has in store especially after that Season 9 finale.
  7. Jane The Virgin-Oct.17-OMG that Season 2 finale! I need to know what happens. NOW! I NEED TO KNOW! In all seriousness though, I love Jane The Virgin, it’s funny, sweet and perfectly fills the Ugly Betty shaped hole in my life. It’s such a creative, wonderful show and I really love it.
  8. Nashville-Jan.5-I am so happy this is returning! It seemed like it wasn’t going to for a while but luckily CMT saved it, so my favourite country music drama is not dead after all! Yay!
  9. Sherlock-Jan 2017-No exact date as to when this is returning yet but it will be some time in January. All I can say is…..Finally! I have never ever had to wait this long for a show before.
  10. Pretty Little Liars-April 2017-Okay yeah, I know the last episode only just showed this week, but after that ending I need it back. NOW. WHY MUST APRIL BE SO FAR AWAY?????

That’s all for this week, what do you know, I actually did manage to keep it to ten! What TV related topic did you choose for your freebie? Do you watch any of these shows? Are you excited for their returns? What TV shows are you excited to see come back this autumn? Let me know! Next week’s topic is All Time Favourite Books of X Genre, which is a mean topic as I hate having to choose all time favourite books, but since I love Fantasy, I’ll go with all time favourite Fantasy books.

#RockMyTBR August Update

It’s SEPTEMBER! Sorry, I got weirdly excited about that there, but the start of September means that it is 11 days till my birthday! I mean don’t get me wrong, I can’t believe that it’s almost my birthday already, January feels like yesterday, but I’m really excited for my birthday! (Also kind of scared though, I will no longer be a teenager, that’s so weird!). I had a really great month this month, reading wise (and it will probably be my last really great month of reading since I go back to Uni on Monday, so I’ll be back to two books a month most likely). This reading year is going so well, I’m so happy! Here is what I’ve read this month:

magnus chaseThis was my #RockMyTBR read for August (though I accidentally read most of it in July, I have no idea how that happened) and I really loved it! I read this one from 26th July to 3rd August. It was so good to get back into Riordan’s work after a year away (I didn’t read any Riordan in 2015) and it was like saying hi to an old friend who you haven’t seen in a while but still get on with really well. I had a blast reading this book, it’s probably my favourite #RockMyTBR read so far. Here is my review of it:


13 MinutesThis was one of my Netgalley reads of this month and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I read it from 23rd July-4th August. I had never read anything by this author before but I definitely want to read more because despite this mystery-thriller getting off to a slow start, it ended up being a really gripping, intriguing look into modern teenagers and particularly toxic teenage friendships. Here is my review:


the hidden oracleMy second Rick Riordan read of the month. I read this from 4th to the 11th August (yup one week, that’s how much I enjoyed it). I really loved diving back into the Camp Half-Blood world and it was so cool to finally get a book set entirely at Camp Half-Blood and really get to explore the Camp. I also loved Apollo and getting to see some old favourite characters return as well as enjoying some new faces. I cannot wait for the next instalment in this series!

Here is my review:


stealing snowMy second Netgalley read of the month. I read this from 11th to the 18th August. I was really excited about this one but it wasn’t as great as I’d originally thought it was going to be. There were huge pacing issues and the characters and world all fell a bit flat really. I can’t link my review up yet as it’s not going live until 1st October (since the UK release date is the 6th), but I hope you will all check my review out when it does go live!

a gathering of shadowsMy third physical book of the month and my second Schwab book of the summer. I read this from 13th to the 28th August. I couldn’t wait to read this after reading the first book of the series last month and whilst I liked the first one just a little bit more, I thoroughly enjoyed my return to this world and these characters and after that evil ending I am so excited for the third book’s release next year. February cannot come soon enough! Here is my review:


So that’s what I read in August, here’s what I have coming up in September:

For The Love of Grace-Andy Blackman-I was sent a copy of this for review by the publisher, and I just started to read it. I have to admit, I’m struggling with it at the moment. I might take a break and come back to it later.

Small Great Things-Jodi Picoult-My latest Netgalley e-ARC. I was so happy when I got approved to read Jodi Picoult’s latest book on Netgalley! I’m about a quarter of the way through so far and I’m enjoying it (definitely more than the other ARC I’m currently reading). It’s definitely different from anything she’s ever written before. I’m not sure if I’ll finish this in September, but since it’s not released until November, I’m not too worried.

Challenger Deep-Neal Shusterman-My #RockMyTBR book for September. This will be my first Shusterman book outside of the Unwind Dystology and I’m really excited because I’ve heard such good things!

The Cursed Child-JK Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne-Yes I am finally getting around to this! But if you have read my latest discussion post, you will know that I am not going to be reviewing it for the blog. Why you ask? Well go read my post and you’ll find out!

I have one other Netgalley ARC on my shelf so if I finish all of this (unlikely since I am going back to Uni and will be busy with work) then I will work on that too. I was ahead of my Goodreads Challenge goal again so I have updated it to 28 books. I may reduce this or up it again depending on how my reading goes when I get back to Uni! I am definitely planning to keep up my two books a month trend from this year so far though, which I managed when I was at Uni, so I’m hoping to continue it. I think the 5 books I’ve read this month is definitely not going to happen again though!

How did everyone else’s August reading go? Let me know!



Jo Talks Books: On Why I Won’t Be Reviewing The Cursed Child

Hi all! I know I’ve been MIA for the past few weeks but I had a very busy weekend two weeks ago when I went to London for my Harry Potter Studios trip with my friends and this weekend I was busy with work and my family, hence no Jo Talks posts for a few weeks (but I’ve been spoiling you this summer anyway, when I get back to Uni, it will probably be back to the usual schedule of two posts a month). I had planned on doing a different topic this week, but I decided since it was quite similar to my Hype discussion and this has been on my mind recently, so I decided I want to talk about it.

As you all probably know if you read my blog regularly, I am a big Harry Potter fan. Big seems like kind of a puny word to describe the size of my love for Harry Potter but it’s very difficult to describe your love for a series that was essentially your childhood, an author that you have always looked up to and aspired to be and a world that in essence started my continuing obsession with the fantasy genre. But alas, I don’t think a word out there exists to describe how much I love this series, so we’ll stick with big. So naturally, I was very excited when I heard about Cursed Child. Less excited when I realised that the book was just going to be a copy of the script, but still excited. I wish I could see the play, but alas, that’s unlikely. Anyway, that’s besides the point. The point is, I was excited that after so many years, my favourite author was adding another story to my favourite series.

At the same time however, that excitement comes with a lot of nervousness. And so here we are a month later and I still haven’t read Cursed Child. Not because I don’t want to read it, I do, but I’m really nervous after hearing all the mixed reviews. And I think another part of my nervousness to read it came from the fact that I felt like I was expected to review it afterwards (because I review everything I read) and I didn’t want to not like it and then have to review it and say I didn’t like it because that would break my heart just a little bit. Not liking something Harry Potter related is unthinkable to me at this point, so if I didn’t like it and then had to review it, well lets just say that would be a hard review to write. So that’s part of the reason why I’ve decided I don’t want to review it, I don’t want the pressure. I don’t want to feel like I have to like it because it’s Potter (though that pressure is kind of there already) and that I have to give a glowing review of it because I’m a Potter fan. I want to be able to go into Cursed Child and enjoy/not enjoy it without the pressure of having to share my opinion afterwards.

Another reason why I don’t want to review it, is because I feel like there’s absolutely no way for me to be objective at all. Ha ha Jo you say, you’re a book reviewer, reviewing is telling people your opinions, so you’re never objective, book reviewing by definition is a subjective and personal thing. All of this is true, however I’ll explain what I mean when I say I can’t be objective when it comes to Harry Potter. With most books, yes I go in with expectations if they’ve been highly hyped or I’ve loved the authors previous works or it’s part of a series I’ve loved, but most of the time, I am able to judge the book objectively based just on what I read and not on how I have viewed the author’s previous works. However I don’t feel like I can do that with Cursed Child because it’s not just any book (technically it’s a script which is yet another issue-how the hell do you review a script? But I will talk about this more later), it’s a continuation of a series that was a huge part of my childhood. I grew up with Harry Potter, it greatly influenced who I am as a reader and JK Rowling has been such a huge inspiration to me as a writer that I don’t feel like I can separate all of that from my reading experience of Cursed Child, it would likely cloud my opinion and I don’t want to write a glowing review purely due to nostalgia, equally, I don’t want to write a scathing review if I feel like it doesn’t live up to the original series, because the comparison seems unfair. How do you compare something totally new with adult HP characters to the series that you grew up with? You really can’t, it would be unfair to try and I feel like this is inevitably what would happen if I tried to review Cursed Child.

I also feel like the script aspect of it all is making me reluctant to want to review it. I know it shouldn’t because a play has all of the things a novel has, you can talk about characterisation, you can talk about plot, you can talk about themes and all of that stuff but I feel like there are some things, like pacing for instance, that are harder to judge in a script than a novel (though I have to say, aside from Shakespeare, this will be the first script I’ve ever read) and I think it’s a lot easier to visualise a novel than to visualise a play script, I feel like a play is better experienced than read, though unfortunately in this case that will not be possible (given my student funds and the fact that I go to University in Scotland). I’ve found this with Shakespeare in school, I always like the plays better when I see them than when I had to read them for class, though I imagine I will probably enjoy reading Harry Potter more than reading Shakespeare) but still, it doesn’t seem quite right to review something which isn’t in the form it was meant to be received. I imagine a lot of the magic (excuse the pun) has been lost from the stage to the page because you don’t get to see all of the cool effects and stuff like that, so it would feel weird to be reviewing it knowing that I’m not experiencing it fully. If I was going to see the play then it might be different but since I’m probably only going to read the script, it doesn’t feel quite right.

So basically, whilst I have reviewed books by authors I love before (in fact I do it often) and it’s been no problem, this feels different. I can’t think of another series that I’m as close to and has touched my life as much Harry Potter has, I grew up with this series, JK Rowling has been my idol for so long and I don’t think I could forget all of that if I reviewed Cursed Child. Also I’d like to just be able to enjoy reading without having to think about what I’m going to say in my review at the end (don’t get me wrong, I like reviewing but it’s been a long time since I’ve read a book without having to think about how I’m going to review it! This is also going to be a really good time to read a non-review book as I have a long drive back up to uni in Scotland where I can’t exactly make notes in my notebook). I am looking forward to reading Cursed Child without the pressure of having to review it afterwards. Sure I might not get to see the play, but I can read the script and I plan on savouring (and hopefully enjoying) every minute of it.

Over to you! Have you read Cursed Child? Did you enjoy it (no spoilers please!)? Did you review it? Have there ever been any books that you couldn’t review because you were just too close to them or the author or they just made you feel so much you couldn’t write a coherent review? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll try to get my next discussion post done during the week next week as I’m moving in to my new Uni accomodation over the weekend and then it’s my birthday on the 12th, so it will be a busy few days, but if I don’t then I’ll get it done the week after next. In the meantime though, I will have my #RockMyTBR Update for August up tomorrow so stay tuned for that!