Quarterly Rewind (June-September ’21 edition)

Hi everyone! It’s that time again, I swear these seem to come around faster and faster every time I do them, can’t believe that we only have one quarter left of this year. Aside from the weather (which has been awful), this summer has been really great for me! I’ve been at my job at the vaccine centre for about three months now, and it definitely seems as if it’s going to last through the end of the year, so that’s great. I’ve been seeing my friends, I’ve been riding fairly regularly, I’ve got to go back to the theatre which has been amazing, I’ve been back in London, I’m fully vaccinated and unlike last summer where it all felt a bit too good to be true, I’m feeling cautiously optimistic that lockdown is a thing of the past.

Anyway, Wednesday was the Autumn Equinox, the first official day of Autumn (though really, I personally always count the beginning of the month when the seasons change as the start of the new season) and that means it’s time for another Quarterly Rewind, the feature where I wrap up each season on the blog and look forward to the next one. So today I will be wrapping up Summer and looking forward to Autumn. This post will cover 21st June-21st September:

Image from this Summer:

Again I’ve not been taking a lot of pictures this summer, I have been going out more, but I’ve also been working a lot, so there’s not been much to take pictures of! This one is from when we went to see Hairspray last month, I meant to take a picture in the theatre, but I totally forgot, so instead, I took one on the bus home so I at least had something to document my first trip to the theatre post-lockdown!

Favourite Quote From A Book You Read This Summer:

“It’s going somewhere without ever taking a train or ship, an unveiling of new incredible worlds. It’s living a life you weren’t born into and a chance to see everything coloured by someone else’s perspective. It’s learning without having to face the consequences of failures, and how best to succeed….I think that within all of us, there is a void, a gap waiting to be filled by something. For me, that something is books….and all their proffered experiences.” -The Last Bookshop In London, Madeline Martin

A bit of a lengthy one I know, but you kind of need the full quote to get the whole effect. This part of the book is where George (Grace’s romantic interest) explains to her why he loves reading so much, and it just really resonated with me as a reader, because it’s all true for me too.

This Summer In One Word:

Fun!

Most Popular Review of Summer:

I am so behind on my reviews, the last ones I posted were in July and I’ve read a lot more books since then, I’m fully intending on trying to catch up on my days off, but it might take a while! Of the two reviews that I posted in this period, my review of The Unbound was the most popular, which makes sense as my VE Schwab reviews are always quite popular:

Top Two Books I’ve Read This Summer:

I’ve mostly been reading audiobooks this summer, and they’ve been a bit of a mixed bag, but there were two that I definitely enjoyed above the others:

  1. The Alice Network-Kate Quinn

After loving The Rose Code, I moved onto one of Kate Quinn’s backlist books, and I really loved it. Female spies have always been right up my alley and I loved learning about a part of WWI that I’d not really heard of before (and desperately want to read more about Louise De Bettignies now). Eve was fantastic, Charlie really grew on me and the story definitely packed an emotional punch!

2. The Last Bookshop In London-Madeline Martin

Apparently this year has been the year of WWII fiction for me, for some reason I’ve been massively in the mood for it! Slice of life WWII isn’t something you come across much, so it was nice to see a book which focused on everyday peoples’ experiences rather than spies, or pilots or soldiers. It was a really charming story and though obviously there were harsher aspects due to the war setting, it feels like a warm hug. Both of my favourites from this period were narrated by Saskia Maarleveld as well, who has fast become my favourite audiobook narrator!

Two Things I’m Looking Forward To This Autumn:

  1. Holiday with friends

I’m going on a long weekend spa break with my friends at the end of October and I’m so excited for it. We haven’t been on holiday together since before the pandemic, and I’ve never been to a spa before, so I am fully prepared to be pampered into oblivion.

2. Indecent Proposal musical

Apparently this is the year of 80s and 90s film to musical adaptations because we’re going to see yet another one in November, this time at the Southwark Playhouse. I’m super excited to go back there as I had such a great time at The Last Five Years last year, and it will be great to experience the theatre sans pandemic restrictions! I will need to actually watch the film before I go though, as I’ve not seen it.

TV Shows I’m Looking Forward To This Autumn:

Yes, Autumn is here and that means the start of all the great TV!

  1. The Great British Bake-Off

Agh Bake-Off how I’ve missed you. There’s nothing like watching a group of lovely people get incredibly stressed about cake and bread and biscuits to brighten up your Autumn evenings!

2. All Creatures Great and Small Season 2

One of my favourite shows of last year, All Creatures Great and Small is back, and I’m so happy because it’s basically like a warm hug in a TV show. I’m also happy that they’ve moved it to Thursday nights this year because now it doesn’t clash with Bake-Off!

3. Strictly Come Dancing

Strictly is back! That’s how you really know Autumn has started, when Strictly waltzes its way back onto our screens. I’m really excited for this year’s group as judging from the little that we saw in the launch show it seems like all the celebrities are on a fairly even playing field, so it should be pretty exciting.

4. Travels With My Father Season 5

The last series of Jack Whitehall’s travel series with his dad is now on Netflix and I’m looking forward to seeing what they got up to in their last series of adventures!

5. You Season 3

I have to admit, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Season 2, and I don’t remember much aside from the big reveals in the last episode, but the trailer for Season 3 looks really exciting, so I’ll probably still check it out.

Two New Obsessions This Summer:

I couldn’t think of three, so I just kept to two this time!

  1. Modern Love-I found this series on Amazon over the summer, and I love it, the amount of character development they are able to get into each thirty minute episode is amazing and I love that no two episodes are the same. It also had me addicted to looking up where the real people who wrote the essays that the episodes are based on are now!
  2. West End Understudies-Bit of a strange one, but I started following the @WestEndCovers account on Twitter and it’s super fun seeing all of the swings and understudies for West End shows getting well deserved praise and shout outs, some of my favourite theatre experiences have been performances where the understudy has been on, so I love that this account exists.

Five Most Popular Blog Posts This Summer:

We’ve got a mix of reviews and Top Ten Tuesday posts this time which is nice, my Top Ten Tuesday posts always get a lot of love, so it’s nice to see that people actually do see some of my other posts!

  1. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue Review

The resurgence of this review continues as it was my most popular review last time I did one of these roundups as well. I’m happy that my scheme to push VE Schwab books on all of my blog readers is potentially working!

2. Top Ten Tuesday #323

This Top Ten Tuesday was my take on Most Unique Books I’ve Ever Read, and I’m glad this one got a lot of love as it was a fun challenge to try and come up with ten books that I felt had an original concept, or twist or took old tropes and twisted them in a fun way.

3. Unsouled Review

Speaking of, this is the sequel to Unwind, one of the books featured in the post I talked about in No.2, so kind of related to that post! I’m always really surprised when I see this one crop up in this section because it’s a very old review, and it’s a sequel, not a first book in a series, which aren’t usually as popular for me.

4. Top Ten Tuesday #325

This one was my take on books I read in one sitting, which I twisted to be Books I Read In Less Than Two Weeks as that suited my slower reading pace better. It was nice to bond with my fellow slower readers on this one!

5. Top Ten Tuesday #326

This one was Books I’d Want With Me Whilst Stranded On A Desert Island, and though I’d rather be somewhere a bit colder, as I’m not a sun worshipper, I did enjoy thinking about the books that I’d want with me if I was going to be stranded somewhere for an extended period of time. In a surprise to no one, VE Schwab and Rick Riordan featured multiple times.

Four Posts I Enjoyed This Summer:

I’m awful at keeping track of these, but I did manage to find a few:

  1. Dvora Meyers did this great article for Business Insider about men’s gymnastics and why the dance elements that you see in women’s gymnastics aren’t seen in men’s gymnastics (yes, it’s sexism, it’s always sexism).

2. One of my favourite freelance journalists, Rose Stokes, did a really great piece on Britney Spears and the issue of reproductive control, which given the recent passing of the horrific Texas abortion law, is even more pertinent now, as controlling women’s bodies isn’t just restricting access to abortion, it’s also preventing women from getting pregnant if they want to by forcing them to use contraception, the two things are very much linked. Rose’s piece is as always passionate and thoughtful so definitely worth a read if you have a few minutes!

https://graziadaily.co.uk/life/in-the-news/britney-spears-fertility-control-iud/

3. Stephanie Yeboah wrote this really beautiful piece about her worries over infertility and how a fertility test allowed her peace of mind.

4. Olivia Petter did this amazing article for The Times about her experience of being “stealthed” (removing a condom without consent during sex) and how it had helped other women realise that the same thing had happened to them. It was obviously horrible (but not surprising) to see that this was an experience so many women shared, and I think it shows how lacking so much of our sex education was at school: I don’t remember consent ever being talked about, and there certainly wasn’t any mention of stealthing, what it is or that it’s a form of sexual assault. The first I heard of stealthing was when I watched I May Destroy You, and that was only last year!

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/i-saw-the-condom-on-the-floor-and-i-realised-id-been-stealthed-6ssfmrgmf

Five Shows I Enjoyed This Summer:

  1. Lucifer Season 6

I binged Lucifer Season 6 the weekend it came out and what a way to the end the series! I’m so glad they got their final victory lap and were able to say goodbye on their own terms.

2. Sex Education Season 3

Again I binged this last Friday and Saturday, and I swear this show gets better and better with each series! However I will admit to being emotionally destroyed by that ending, and could I demand Season 4 now?

3. Modern Love

I mentioned this in one of the sections above, but I really enjoyed watching this anthology romance series over the summer. It’s really hard to pick favourite stories, but I think mine were: from Season One, the second episode with the app developer Joshua and his missed chance with his first love Emma and from Season Two, the third episode where the two strangers meet on the train on their way home at the beginning of Covid and their chance to meet again is scuppered by the lockdown.

4. Heartland Season 14

It was heart-breaking of course (those who know, know, I won’t spoil for anyone) but I was actually pleasantly surprised by how well they handled the big change this season and being such a long running show, I think it’s allowed them a bit of a refresh and a chance to tell some new stories, which I really enjoyed.

5. Ghosts Season 3

Ghosts remains one of my favourite comedy shows ever, it’s just so much fun and it’s so brilliantly written and acted, and ah just a joy to watch! Long may it continue!

Six Songs I’ve Listened To Way Too Often This Summer

  1. I Know Where I’ve Been-Hairspray

I’ve been listening to this one a lot since I saw Hairspray last month, it’s such a beautiful song and seeing it performed live is just something else (especially because Marisha Wallace is INCREDIBLE).

2. Summer In Ohio-The Last Five Years

I love The Last Five Years soundtrack and this one of the songs that comes up a lot on my shuffle, which is perfectly fine by me as it’s one of my favourite songs in the show.

3. august-Taylor Swift

It’s literally in the title of the song, I think you’re doing August wrong if you don’t listen to august a lot during it right?

4. tolerate it-Taylor Swift

This one’s been coming up on my shuffle quite a bit lately. One of the only downsides to Taylor Swift having released so much music in the past year, is that I’ve not managed to learn all the words to all the songs as quickly as I usually do, but never fear, I plan to rectify that.

5. Goodbye Until Tomorrow/I Could Never Rescue You-The Last Five Years

Another Last Five Years song that comes up on my shuffle a lot.

6. long story short-Taylor Swift

An emerging new favourite from evermore. I always find my favourites change the more I listen to Taylor Swift albums and long story short has been creeping up on subsequent listens.

So there we go, that was my summer! Fairly busy, happily taking advantage of all the things we’re now allowed to do again but a lot colder and wetter than any of us would have liked! Autumn is my favourite season though, so let’s hope it brings good things! What have you enjoyed most on my blog this Summer (or Winter for my Southern hemisphere readers)? What have you been up to? Let me know in the comments!

Quarterly Rewind (March-June ’21 edition)

Hi everyone! I can’t believe it’s almost the end of June, this year seems to be flying by, I swear I blinked and we were halfway through the year. This Spring has definitely been much better than the beginning of the year when we were all in lockdown, I’ve been able to see friends, I’ve been on holiday with my family, I’ve been back at riding, I got my first vaccine dose last week, so all in all things are definitely looking up! Anyway, today is the Summer Solstice, the first official day of Summer, which means it’s time for another Quarterly Rewind, the feature where I wrap up each season on the blog and look forward to the next one. So today I will be wrapping up Spring and looking forward to Summer. This post will cover 20th March-20th June:

Image From Spring:

I’ve not taken a massive amount of pictures this Spring, because even though we’ve been opening up more, I just haven’t been taking all that many pictures! Still I thought this one of a sunset we had whilst I was up in Stirling was a nice one to share.

Favourite Quote From A Book You Read This Spring:

“The funny thing about armor is that it doesn’t just keep other people out. It keeps us in. We build it up around us, not realizing that we’re trapping ourselves.” -The Unbound, Victoria Schwab

I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Unbound, but being a Victoria Schwab book, it still had lots of eminently quotable lines, so I thought I’d share this one as I really liked it.

This Spring in One Word:

Wet! (the weather in the UK has been terrible for most of Spring!).

Most Popular Review of Spring:

I’m super behind in my reviews and I’ve been in a bit of a slump, I’ve only read four books in the period that this Rewind covers and I’ve only reviewed one, I still have a lot of reviews to catch up on! So by default my most popular review of Spring has to be the only book I’ve reviewed and that’s Lore, Alexandra Bracken’s latest release:

Top Two Books I’ve Read This Spring:

Once again, I’ve had a fairly mixed Spring as I’ve been in a reading slump the whole year, but there were two books that I really enjoyed:

  1. Olive, Mabel & Me-Andrew Cotter

Andrew Cotter’s memoir about his two labradors Olive and Mabel was highly entertaining and endlessly funny, so if you love dogs, I highly recommend the audiobook of this one (for the full experience).

2. The Rose Code-Kate Quinn

Once again the narration of this one was brilliant, Saskia Maarleveld really brought this story to life, and it was such a brilliant one, following three female codebreakers at Bletchley Park in WWII. I love historical fiction that focuses on women, particularly female friendships and this one had that in abundance.

Two Things I’m Looking Forward To This Summer:

YES! I FINALLY HAVE THINGS I CAN PUT IN THIS SECTION AGAIN, BECAUSE I ACTUALLY HAVE THINGS COMING UP.

  1. Hairspray

We were meant to go and see Hairspray in London last August, but naturally it was cancelled because of the pandemic. However a year later and Hairspray finally opens today and we have rescheduled tickets to go and see it in August, I think exactly a year from the date that we first had tickets. I’m so excited to see it, not just because we’ve been waiting so long, but also because it will be my first show back in a big West End theatre since lockdown and I CANNOT WAIT. Also I love Hairspray, I saw it on tour back in 2017 and it was so much fun, so I’m super excited to see it again.

2. Back To The Future

Yes, another musical, I’m really making the most of theatre of being back, because I have missed it so much! We have tickets to go see this the week after Hairspray and it sounds really fun, though I do need to actually watch the movie before I go, because believe it or not, I’ve never seen it!

TV Shows I’m Looking Forward To Watching This Summer

Yes, I do still want to keep this section of the post because I’ve had fun talking to you guys about the shows I’m looking forward watching over the past few months, it’s nice to talk about that as well as books because a lot of the time I’m not reading is spent watching TV:

  1. Heartland Season 14-The new series of Heartland comes out on Netflix tomorrow and I’m super excited because we’ve been waiting since it first aired in Canada in January to get it in the UK and it’s one of my favourite shows.
  2. Lupin-The new series of Lupin landed on Netflix a couple of weeks ago, and I’m excited to see how Assane’s adventures turn out in this next part.
  3. The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4-The new series of The Handmaid’s Tale finally arrived in the UK yesterday, the first new series that has aired since I binged watched Series 1-3 over lockdown, so I’m excited to see where June goes next and how the revolution against Gilead unfolds.
  4. Breaking The Boundaries: The Science of Our Planet-I always enjoy David Attenborough’s documentaries, so I’m looking forward to watching his new one.
  5. Riverdale S5 (B)-The rest of Riverdale Season 5 is back in August. Is it terrible? Yes. Is it addictive? Also yes. Will I be watching? Of course.

Three New Obsessions This Spring:

  1. Shadow and Bone (Netflix series)-I loved the Shadow and Bone series on Netflix this April, and I’m so excited that they are coming back for S2 (WE GET NIKOLAI EVERYONE!).
  2. Fearless (Taylor’s Version)-I don’t know if this really counts as a new obsession since I’ve loved Fearless for over a decade and I only downloaded the new “From The Vault” songs but I still really love them and I’m super excited to hear Red (Taylor’s Version) later this year. WE’RE GETTING THE TEN MINUTE VERSION OF ALL TOO WELL PEOPLE.
  3. Swab Dogs Of Instagram-Okay, an Instagram account on here is a little bit of a strange one for me, but some of the volunteers at a COVID-testing site in Melbourne, Australia have been taking photos of the dogs of people who come in for testing and made an Instagram account of it and it’s just one of the best things I’ve found this year, seeing pictures of people’s cute dogs just makes me smile!

Five Most Popular Blog Posts This Spring:

In a surprising turn, almost all of my most popular blog posts of this Spring were old reviews of mine, which is really heartening to see, it often feels like my review posts don’t get much love so it’s nice to see that you guys are reading them!

  1. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue Review

I’m not sure why the sudden resurgence of interest in this review since I posted it in November of last year and my reviews tend to have a fairly short shelf life, but I’m pleased that you guys have kept finding this one as I’m always happy to push VE Schwab books on people.

2. Crooked Kingdom Review

I’m not surprised that there has been a resurgence of interest in my Leigh Bardugo reviews following the Shadow & Bone release on Netflix, though weirdly it hasn’t been in my review of Shadow & Bone but other books in the Grishaverse but then I suppose people have been catching up with other books in the Grishaverse too.

3. Ruin and Rising Review

You guys seem to have jumped straight from Book One to Book Three! Either a lot of people wanted spoilers following Shadow and Bone on Netflix as to what might happen in future seasons, or there were a lot of people finally finishing the trilogy in the run up to the show.

4. Queen of Volts Review

My review of Queen of Volts had a fairly small response when I first published it but it seems to have seen a renewed interest in the past few months, which I’m super happy about if it means that more people have been finding and loving the Shadow Game trilogy.

5. Top Ten Tuesday #311

In a Quarterly Rewind first, this is my only Top Ten Tuesday post featured in my most popular list. This one was my Spring Book Covers post, which was a super fun one to compile, so I’m glad that you guys seemed to enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Four Posts I Enjoyed This Spring:

I’m always terrible at keeping track of these but here are a few that I enjoyed:

  1. Journalist Lynn Enright wrote this really interesting article for The Independent about the risks of blood clots linked to the Pill and why comparisons to the blood clots potentially linked to the Astra-Zeneca vaccine might not be entirely comparing like with like. I found this super interesting because I don’t feel like the risks surrounding the Pill are really talked about enough and this article did a great job putting that into context.

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/astrazeneca-blood-clots-contraceptive-pill-b1834001.html?r=45747#comments-area

2. Jack Rear did an article for The Telegraph on what people wish they had learned in sex ed growing up and I could definitely relate because my sex ed at school definitely left A LOT out. It’s behind a paywall so you’d have to get a free trial to read it, but it’s definitely worth the read.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/family/relationships/wish-known-sex-growing/

3. This is kind of an old one that Diane Anderson-Mishall wrote for The Advocate but I found it after watching It’s A Sin, it’s about a biography of Freddie Mercury which tracked a biography of his life alongside the history of HIV. It was really interesting and definitely worth a read.

https://www.advocate.com/hiv/2016/11/23/freddie-mercurys-life-story-hiv-bisexuality-and-queer-identity

4. This is also kind of an old one that I found after watching a TV show, Marcie Bianco and Merryn Johns wrote this really interesting piece about how old Hollywood would get secret abortions for their female stars in the 30s-50s, whether they wanted them or not.

https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/07/classic-hollywood-abortion

Five Shows I Enjoyed This Spring:

  1. Shadow and Bone

As I mentioned earlier on in this post, I really enjoyed the Netflix adaptation of Shadow and Bone when it came on the platform back in April. Combining it with Six of Crows was definitely a smart move because it managed to take a book I wasn’t actually all that bothered by when I read it and make me really enjoy the adaptation. I’m really looking forward to Season 2, whenever we get that!

2. Lucifer Season 5 Part 2

We finally got the second part of Lucifer Season 5 and it was SO WORTH THE WAIT. I’m still in shock and awe over that ending to be honest and I really cannot wait for the final season to come out, whenever that happens (but also I can because I really don’t want this show to be over).

3. Superstore Season 6

The final season of Superstore arrived in the UK in May, and it was such a lovely end to the series, though I really do wish it had been able to go out on a non-pandemic related series, they did a great job with what they had to work with.

4. Mare of Easttown

Everyone was talking about this show, so I got a trial of NowTV to see what all the fuss was about, and I can definitely see it now. Such a well put together mystery, I really had no idea who the murderer was going to be until about the second to last episode and everyone was brilliant in it, especially Kate Winslet.

5. It’s A Sin

Again following all the hype about it earlier in the year, I finally checked it out in May and WOW. What a beautiful, sad and yet joyous at the same time show.

Six songs I’ve Listened To Way Too Often This Spring:

  1. Mr Perfectly Fine-Taylor Swift

My favourite of the “From The Vault” songs from Fearless, how ridiculous is it that this one didn’t make the original Fearless? SUCH A TUNE.

2. You Belong With Me-Taylor Swift

Yes, I’ve had this one stuck in my head a lot since the release of Fearless (Taylor’s Version) and I’m not sad about it.

3. You Matter To Me-Waitress

One of my favourite songs from the soundtrack, so I listen to it a lot.

4. no body, no crime-Taylor Swift

Hands down my favourite song on evermore.

5. Your Song-Moulin Rouge (original movie soundtrack)

Around the 20th anniversary of the movie coming out, I was listening to the soundtrack quite a lot.

6. That’s When-Taylor Swift

The other Fearless “From The Vault” track that seems to make a lot of appearances on my shuffle.

So there we go, that was my Spring! All in all much better than Winter was, and here’s hoping for an even brighter summer (with more reading hopefully). What have you enjoyed most on my blog this Spring (or Autumn if you’re in the southern hemisphere)? What have you been up to? Let me know in the comments!

Quarterly Rewind (December ’20-March ’21 edition)

Hi everyone! I can’t believe that it’s almost the end of March already, despite having been in lockdown for the entirety of 2021 so far, this year seems to have gone quite quickly (which is only fair considering that 2020 crawled by). This winter has been well…..pretty awful with the third lockdown in the UK, but things look as if they might be turning a corner, with lockdown starting to be eased more in the next few months. Anyway, it was the Spring Equinox on Saturday, which means it’s time for another Quarterly Rewind, the feature where I wrap up each season on the blog and look forward to the next one. So today, naturally I will be wrapping up Winter and looking forward to hopefully better times in Spring. This post will cover 21st December-19th March:

Image from Winter:

Me on Christmas Day 2020, one of the only new photos I have from this period as lockdown is not really conducive to getting lots of good pictures!

Favourite Quote From A Book You Read This Winter:

“Life is cruel, and often without cake.” -The Silvered Serpents, Roshani Chokshi

Okay, I could have gone with any number of gorgeous and lovely quotes from The Silvered Serpents because Roshani Chokshi is a beautiful writer, but laughs have been in short supply in lockdown, so I thought I’d rather share one of the funny ones, because it made me smile, in a year where there has yet to be much to smile about!

This Winter In One Word:

Lockdown 😦

Most Popular Review of The Winter:

I’ve only read four books in the period that this Rewind covers because I’ve been in a bit of a slump, but I have reviewed all of them. The most popular of these was Kingdom of The Wicked, Keri Maniscalco’s newest book, which was fairly hyped, so it tracks that the review would be quite popular:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2021/01/09/kingdom-of-the-wicked-kingdom-of-the-wicked-1-review-e-arc/

Top Two Books I Read This Winter:

I’ve had a fairly mixed Winter as I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump, so I didn’t find any particular favourites, but these were the books I liked the best:

  1. The Silvered Serpents-Roshani Chokshi

The second book in The Gilded Wolves series, it did suffer a little from middle book syndrome and I didn’t love it as much as the first book but the characters are still great and that definitely carried the book in places where it felt like the plot wasn’t as strong as The Gilded Wolves.

2. The Midnight Library-Matt Haig

The narration definitely made this one for me, I loved Carey Mulligan’s narration. It was definitely a fun concept and overall well done, even if it felt a little bloated and slightly preachy in places.

TV/Films I’m Looking Forward To Watching This Spring

I’m still not anticipating being able to do a massive amount this Spring, as we’re still going to be fairly locked down (though I am super excited to be able to see my friends and go riding again) so I’m once again going to share the TV I’m looking forward to watching. I’m so excited for when I’m finally doing enough to fill up the normal Things I’m Excited To Do section of this post!:

  1. Shadow and Bone-Obviously, I am massively excited for the Grisha series to finally hit Netflix, like many other bookworms. The trailer looked so cool and I can’t wait to see the series in full on 23rd April!
  2. The Great Stand Up To Cancer Bakeoff-The Celebrity Bakeoff for Stand Up To Cancer started a couple of weeks ago, and I’m so happy! I love Bake-off and it’s just the slice of joy that we need in lockdown! Plus it’s for a really good cause.
  3. Moxie-Okay this is a film not a TV show, but I really enjoyed the book, and I’m looking forward to watching the film. It’s a very timely film given the discussions going on about sexual harassment in the UK at the moment (I know it’s a US based film, but sexual harassment is an unfortunately relevant topic in all societies).
  4. WandaVision-I know, I know, I’m super behind having not yet seen this, but I’m planning on finally getting around to it soon after seeing how excited everyone has been about it.
  5. It’s A Sin-Again, I know, I’m super behind, but it’s definitely one that’s high on my priority list to get around to when I’ve finished watching The West Wing.
  6. Behind Her Eyes-I’ve heard really good things about this one too, so I’m looking forward to checking it out.

Three New Obsessions This Winter:

I’ve hardly left my house, so I’ve not exactly been able to develop many new obsessions, at least not beyond TV shows:

  1. Superstore-I got through all five seasons of Superstore that were available on Netflix in February, and I really loved it. I can’t wait for the final season to be added, whenever that is.
  2. The West Wing-I started watching The West Wing at the beginning of March, I’m just up to Season 3 now and really enjoying it. Yes I know, I’m super far behind, but I was too young to watch it when it originally aired!
  3. Call My Agent-I’ve been watching this with my Mum, and really enjoyed it, despite knowing fairly little French.

Five Most Popular Blog Posts This Winter:

My most popular blog posts were again largely TTT posts, but surprisingly, my review of Ninth House was actually by far my most popular post this winter, it’s a fairly old one, so I wasn’t expecting so much interest!

  1. Ninth House Review

This is the fourth time that this review has appeared in my most popular posts in a Quarterly Rewind, you guys really seem to like this one, which is very heartening as I often find my reviews struggle to get views compared to my other posts.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/27/ninth-house-alex-stern-1-review/

2. Top Ten Tuesday #298

This was one of my first Top Ten Tuesdays of 2021, where I talked about my Goals For 2021. I always love doing these as it’s fun to set goals for the year ahead, so it’s nice to see you guys enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2021/01/12/top-ten-tuesday-298/

3. Top Ten Tuesday #306

This was my Top Ten Tuesday from last week where I talked about Books That I Was Considering Removing From My Goodreads TBR. Thanks to you guys, my Goodreads TBR shrunk by 9 books, so I would consider that a job well done!

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2021/03/09/top-ten-tuesday-306/

4. Top Ten Tuesday #299

This was my annual list of shame, where I shared the 2020 releases I missed out on and was planning to catch up on this year. I think these kinds of lists are always popular because we all have our own lists of shame!

5. Top Ten Tuesday #300

This one was my New To Me authors list, which is one I always love doing, as I enjoy sharing new to me authors that I’ve found and loved with all of you so I’m glad to see that you guys also enjoyed it.

Four Posts I Enjoyed On Other Blogs This Winter:

I’m never massively good at keeping track of these, but I did manage to find some for you:

  1. Maggie Stiefvater did this really great post about readers’ responsibilities to authors and authors responsibilities to readers. It was a super interesting read and something I hadn’t really thought about.

2. Monica Lewinsky interviewed Roxane Gay on how to write trauma for Vanity Fair and I found it a really insightful and interesting interview.

https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2021/02/roxane-gay-on-how-to-write-about-trauma

3. Asiya Iftikhar wrote this really great post about positive relationships between POC mothers and their LGBTQIA+ daughters.

4. I’m cheating slightly here because this is an article that I contributed to, but it’s a really important article so I wanted to share: I, along with many other of the Indiependent’s female & non-binary contributors wrote about our experiences of sexual harassment and assault following Sarah Everard’s murder.

Five Shows I Enjoyed This Winter:

  1. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Okay, so this was technically a rewatch, but Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and its catchy musical numbers provided just the right amount of serotonin during the early days of the UK’s third lockdown.

2. Death In Paradise Series 10

The latest series of Death In Paradise hit screens in the UK just as we went into our third lockdown, and I definitely needed all the sun soaked vistas of Guadeloupe and the cosy murder mysteries that this show provides in the dark days of January even more than usual this year.

3. Superstore

Again during lockdown 3, comedy was exactly what I needed and I flew through all five seasons available of NBC’s hit comedy when it hit Netflix in the UK last month.

4. This Is Us Series 5

Though the constant stop-start and long breaks between episodes have been mildly annoying (though of course understandable), I have been enjoying the latest series of This Is Us.

5. The West Wing

Like I said, I’ve finally been watching The West Wing this March and I’ve been really enjoying it.

Six Songs I’ve Listened To Way Too Often This Winter:

  1. champagne problems-Taylor Swift

I love champagne problems so much! It’s such a beautiful, heart-breaking song and probably one of my favourites that Taylor has ever written.

2. Without A Believer-Sara Barielles

Weirdly this may be the song from Waitress that I’m most obsessed with, and IT’S NOT ACTUALLY IN THE SHOW, it’s one of the deep cuts from the Lost Songs album!

3. Chandelier-Moulin Rouge Original Broadway Cast Recording

Genuinely like this cover better than the original song!

4. the last great american dynasty-Taylor Swift

One of my favourites from folklore, so naturally it comes up on my shuffle quite often.

5. Moving Too Fast-The Last Five Years

One of my favourite songs from the show so I listen to it quite a lot.

6. The Negative-Waitress

The Waitress cast recording is in constant rotation on my iPod and this is one of the songs that seems to come up the most.

So there we go, that was my Winter! All in all a fairly bleak one, so I seriously hope that Spring is better and that I get more books read! What have you enjoyed most on my blog this Winter (or summer if you’re in the southern hemisphere)? What have you been up to? Let me know in the comments!

Quarterly Rewind (September-December ’20 edition)

Hi everyone! So we’ve almost made it to the end of 2020, and I think I can speak for everyone when I say that I will not be sorry to see the back of it. This autumn has been……well mixed to say the least. I did have some good things happen, I got to go and see an actual show in an actual theatre, I got to do some riding and I did get to see a friend once before everything went to hell again but aside from that, it’s been a pretty bleak Autumn. Anyway, it’s the Winter Solstice today, which means it’s time to wrap up Autumn on the blog and look ahead (I’m not going to say look forward because we all know this Winter is going to suck) to Winter. This post will cover 22nd September-20th December:

Image From The Autumn:

I took this a couple of weeks ago when we had snow on the hills in Stirling, one of very few new photos I have from the past few months, since I’m not really doing much that’s worth taking pictures of these days.

Favourite Quote From A Book You Read This Autumn:

“History is something you look back on, not something you really feel at the time. In the moment, you’re just….living” -The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, VE Schwab

Honestly I could have picked any of a thousand lines from this book because VE Schwab’s writing is so stunning, but this one really resonated with me when I read it, in a way it probably wouldn’t have in any year other than this one. Something about reading this in the midst of a global pandemic….yeah it hit hard.

This Autumn In One Word:

Stressful (and that’s just the past week!)

Most Popular Review of The Autumn:

I’ve read 9 books this Autumn and reviewed 8 of them. I was surprised given the immense hype around it that Addie LaRue wasn’t my most popular review of this Autumn, but it was actually Queen of Volts, the Shadow Game trilogy finale:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/09/24/queen-of-volts-the-shadow-game-3/

Top Two Books I Read This Autumn:

I’ve had a fairly mixed Autumn of books, but there were definitely two that stood out above the rest, so it was actually pretty easy to choose this time:

  1. Men Who Hate Women-Laura Bates

Laura Bates’ most recent book, Men Who Hate Women explores the world of online misogyny. It’s definitely highly disturbing, if not entirely surprising some of the things that these extreme misogynists get up to on the internet, and I definitely learned a lot from reading it.

2. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue-VE Schwab

My most anticipated read of the year definitely did not disappoint, it was beautifully written, incredibly emotional and definitely not a story I’m going to forget in a hurry!

TV I’m Looking Forward To Watching This Winter:

I’ve literally got nothing planned this winter and given that another lockdown is probably looming, that’s a good thing, so once again, I’m going to share the TV that I’m planning on watching over the next few months (I will know this pandemic is over when I’m finally able to share things I’m looking forward to doing for this section again):

  1. The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Part 4-The final episodes of Sabrina arrive on Netflix on New Years Eve and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the Spellmans’ stories are wrapped up.
  2. Death In Paradise Series 10-After this year, I think the sunny escape to Saint Marie in January is pretty much everything I need! I may not be able to travel, but at least I can live vicariously through this show.
  3. This Is Us Series 5-The new series of This Is Us returns after its Christmas break in January and I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens next.
  4. Staged Series 2-The second series of Michael Sheen and David Tennant’s lockdown comedy starts in January, and honestly right now, I could use all the laughs I can get!

Three New Obsessions This Autumn:

I mean it’s kind of difficult to develop new obsessions when you barely leave your house, but I do try!

  1. evermore-I haven’t listened to Taylor Swift’s latest lockdown offering as much as I would have liked yet, but I’ve listened enough to have become decidedly obsessed, specifically with no body no crime, which I often find myself randomly singing.
  2. Carrie Hope Fletcher-I saw an encore performance of her London Coliseum show a few weeks ago, and I absolutely loved it, definitely want to see more things with her in, I hope she does some more streaming stuff soon!
  3. Chocolate Orange Buttons-I recently found a chocolate orange version of Cadbury’s Giant Buttons (though giant is misleading) and I loved them!

Five Most Popular Blog Posts This Autumn:

My two most popular blog posts this time were again reviews, it’s super nice to see a renewed interest in some of my older reviews:

  1. Ninth House Review

There seems to have been a lot of interest in this one over the past year as this is the third time it has appeared in my most popular posts in a Quarterly Rewind.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/27/ninth-house-alex-stern-1-review/

2. Unsouled (Unwind #3) Review

This one is one of my earlier reviews from my first year of blogging, so I’m always surprised when people find it after all this time!

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/unsouled-unwind-quartet-3-review/

3. Top Ten Tuesday #290

One of my Top Ten Tuesdays from last month, this one was where I talked about Book Characters I’d Name A Pet After. It was a super fun one to do, so I’m glad you all seemed to enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

4. Top Ten Tuesday #288

This one was actually a non-bookish Top Ten Tuesday, in which I talked about the hobbies I have outside of reading and book blogging and it was really fun to talk to everyone about the things I love outside of books and to find out more about everyone else as well.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/11/03/top-ten-tuesday-288/

5. Top Ten Tuesday #286

My final most popular post for this Rewind period was this one from October, where I talked about some of the great book recommendations I’ve been given from other people over the years.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/10/20/top-ten-tuesday-286/

Four Posts I Enjoyed On Other Blogs This Autumn:

I haven’t been great at keeping track of these, I have to admit, but I did manage to find a few for you guys:

  1. This is one from last year but I only found it after I finished the book this November, it’s an essay that Christine Lynn Herman wrote about her struggles with anxiety and depression and how it influenced her debut novel.

https://www.powells.com/post/original-essays/into-the-gray

2. Morgan Hartley, a fellow writer for the Indiependent (an online news platform that I write for), wrote this great piece about platonic relationships and how her friends and family have enriched her life.

3. Catherine Renton did this really great article for Vogue about toxic positivity which is something I’ve struggled with over the course of this pandemic because I feel like a lot of this has been going around social media during the pandemic, and especially during the first lockdown, it made it hard for me to really grapple with the more negative emotions I was feeling because everyone was constantly being like “we’re all in this together” and “this too shall pass” and everyone passing around the good vibes was actually making me feel much worse, so this article really resonated with me.

https://www.vogue.co.uk/arts-and-lifestyle/article/toxic-positivity

4. Emily Burack did this great article about the myth of Judeo-Christianity and why it’s not a thing, and I found it really insightful and interesting read.

https://www.heyalma.com/the-myth-of-judeo-christianity-explained/

Five Shows That I Enjoyed This Autumn:

  1. Strictly Come Dancing

I’m so so glad that we got a series of Strictly this year because I can 100% say that my Autumn would have been a heck of a lot bleaker without it. Having this one glorious shred of normality, even if the show itself was a little different was definitely a lifesaver, especially the final over the weekend, the way that they pulled that off and brought a little joy for a couple of hours after the Government’s terrible announcement was amazing.

2. The Great British Bake Off

My other lifesaver show this Autumn, if there was ever a year that needed the glorious comfort watch that is Bakeoff, it was 2020. I nearly cried at the final episode, it was super emotional!

3. The Crown Season 4

I tore through The Crown Season 4 in 3 days when it arrived in November, it was thoroughly addictive drama and though I’m looking forward to seeing the new cast, I’m definitely going to miss the outgoing lot!

4. folklore: the long pond studio sessions

The Taylor Swift surprises have been thick and fast this year and I loved getting to see her perform all the songs from folklore, watching this special definitely gave me a new appreciation for songs on folklore that I hadn’t necessarily listened to as much.

5. Ghosts

I’ve needed all the humour I could get over the past few months, so this BBC sitcom was definitely very welcome! I’m really looking forward to seeing the Christmas special on Wednesday night.

Six Songs I’ve Listened To Way Too Often This Autumn:

  1. A Miracle Would Happen/When You Come Home To Me-The Last Five Years

After seeing The Last Five Years at the Southwark Playhouse in October, I definitely became next level obsessed with the soundtrack (I have the movie one with Jeremy Jordan and Anna Kendrick) and this one is one that’s been coming up a lot on shuffle.

2. august-Taylor Swift

The latest tune from folklore that has been cropping up a lot!

3. no body no crime-Taylor Swift

Okay, granted the new album has only been out for just under two weeks, but I’ve listened to no body no crime more than any other song from evermore in that time.

4. A Summer In Ohio-The Last Five Years

Another of The Last Five Years songs that has been stuck in my head since the seeing the show, Molly Lynch’s performance of this was fantastic.

5. The Room Where It Happens-Hamilton

This one comes up on my shuffle pretty frequently!

6. Nobody Needs To Know-The Last Five Years

Another of the songs from the show that has been stuck in my head since seeing it, Oli Higginson did a fabulous job with this song.

So there we go, that was my Autumn! What have you enjoyed most on my blog this Autumn (or Spring for my Southern Hemisphere followers)? What have you been up to, if anything? Let me know in the comments!

Quarterly Rewind (June-September ’20) edition

Hi everyone! I’ve actually had a reasonably okay summer, sure it wasn’t exactly what I’d thought (missing out on YALC was definitely a big disappointment) but I managed to make the best of it, I was able to see my friends a few times, I had a really nice birthday, I was able to go back to riding and we even got up to Scotland for a few weeks. I’m very worried about the potential new changes to our restrictions though, the idea of not being able to see my friends for another extended period of time is honestly quite terrifying. But anyway, enough with the doom and gloom, it was the Autumn Equinox yesterday, so that means it’s time to wrap up Northern hemisphere Summer (or Summer 2.0 if you will) here on the blog and look forward (as much as I can look forward to anything in the current state of things) to Autumn. This post will cover 20th June-21st September:

Image From This Summer:

For the first time in months I actually have new photos to share! This is me at Kenilworth Castle on my birthday a couple of weeks ago.

Favourite Quote From A Book You Read This Summer:

“Most women suffer thorns for the sake of the flowers, but we who wield power adorn ourselves with flowers to hide the sting of our thorns” -King of Scars, Leigh Bardugo

This kind of reminds me of a very similar quote from Stalking Jack The Ripper about flowers and thorns, but it’s still one that I really like, I think flowers and thorns are a pretty good metaphor for the relationship between women and power and our perceptions of them.

This Summer In One Word:

Decent (I can’t go as far as good, but decent for 2020, is like amazing for any other year!).

Most Popular Review of The Summer:

I read 12 books this summer and reviewed 11 (one was a novella that I didn’t feel I had enough to say about to review). Unsurprisingly given the level of hype surrounding it, the most popular of these was the Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/08/06/the-ballad-of-songbirds-and-snakes-review/

Top Two Books I Read This Summer:

This summer was kind of a mixed bag again, I read some really great books and some not so great ones. There were three that stood out above the rest to me and it was really tricky to choose between them, but in the end I went for these two:

  1. A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder-Holly Jackson

My most recent read, an unexpected delight of a thriller that actually surprised me from beginning to end! I look forward to seeing what happens with Ravi and Pip in the second book, when I get it.

2. Cinderella Is Dead-Kalynn Bayron

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy a Cinderella retelling so much since it’s not usually one of my favourite fairytales, but Kalynn Bayron put a great spin on hers and I ended up really loving it.

TV I’m Looking Forward To Watching This Autumn

Again, I’ve not got a massive amount planned this autumn, and considering that everything I do have planned could go out the window due to the restrictions changing, I’m again going to share the TV I’m planning on watching, since that is literally the only thing I can be certain about at the moment!

  1. Strictly Come Dancing-The fact that Strictly is actually happening at all this year is pretty incredible and I think we could all use an extra dose of sparkle and joy in the months to come, so I’m certainly looking forward to the pick me up that Strictly provides.
  2. The Great British Bake-Off-It started yesterday and really just in time, I could definitely use the comfort that watching people getting stressed over making the perfect cake provides!
  3. The Crown-The fourth series of The Crown arrives in November and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing all of the Charles/Diana drama play out on screen.
  4. Ghosts-The BBC’s wacky sitcom started its second series last night and ghosts from different eras doing ridiculous things is definitely the kind of content I need in these stressful times.
  5. Travels With My Father-The latest of Jack Whitehall’s series travelling around with his dad dropped yesterday and again, it’s just the sort of comforting viewing that I could use right now.

Three New Obsessions This Summer:

  1. folklore-Are we at all surprised that I’m obsessed with Taylor Swift’s new album? If you are, then you can’t have been following me for all that long! betty definitely still holds the top spot, but I definitely find the other songs moving around a lot the more I listen to them.
  2. Mrs America-I really enjoyed watching this drama about the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment over the summer, it was something I didn’t know much about before and I definitely learned a lot (and yes, I looked up the actual history, this history nerd never takes the TV show version of reality at face value!).
  3. Lucifer Season 5, Part 1-My mum and I watched the first half of Lucifer’s season 5 episodes over a few days after they came out in August and all I can say is that I desperately want Part 2 now!

Five Most Popular Blog Posts This Summer:

My top two most popular blog posts this time are both reviews which was a nice surprise, it’s nice to see some of my reviews getting a bit more love!

  1. Crooked Kingdom Review

I posted this one in 2018, so it’s nice to have seen some renewed interest for it in the last few months!

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/11/crooked-kingdom-six-of-crows-2-review/

2. Ninth House Review

Evidently, there are a lot of Leigh Bardugo fans among my followers as this was one of my most popular posts in my last Quarterly Rewind as well!

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/27/ninth-house-alex-stern-1-review/

3. TTT #273

This Top Ten Tuesday was all about Authors That I’d Like To See At Next Year’s YALC and I’m not surprised it was really popular as I know a lot of other book bloggers missed having YALC this year as much as I did, so it was nice to share the love and look forward to (hopefully) YALC next year.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/07/21/top-ten-tuesday-273/

4. TTT #274

I was talking about the Longest Books on My TBR for this Top Ten Tuesday and was very heartened to see in the comments that I am not the only one who is intimidated by very long books! I have read exactly zero of these books since I did that post, so nothing has changed there!

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/07/28/top-ten-tuesday-274/

5. TTT #281

This was my topic from last week, cover topics always do really well for me, I should do them more often really! It was a cover freebie and I talked about my favourite covers of 2020 as this year has blessed us with a lot of really beautiful books.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/09/15/top-ten-tuesday-281/

Four Posts I Enjoyed On Other Blogs This Summer:

  1. CW did an amazing post on The Quiet Pond about reading romance as a demisexual and demiromantic reader which I found really insightful and eye opening.

Reading Romance While Demisexual

2. I’m sure most of you have probably already seen Becky Albertalli’s heartfelt coming out letter on Medium. I have to admit, I’ve actually not read Becky’s books but I’ve seen a lot of the discourse around her in the last few years and it sucks that she felt she had to come out because so many people just assumed she was straight.

View at Medium.com

3. This is a video rather than a blog post and it technically comes under last month’s time period but as I didn’t share it then, I wanted to share it now. Nic Stone did a series of videos talking about race and I found this one with Jodi Picoult particularly informative.

4. I read this article in The Atlantic about how the coronavirus pandemic is changing attitudes towards people who are childfree and as someone who doesn’t want kids, I found it quite an interesting read.

https://amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/614896/

Five Shows That I Enjoyed This Summer:

I did do more this summer but it was mostly pretty casual hangouts with friends, so I thought I’d share the best things I watched once again (I’ll know this pandemic is over when I can once again come up with five exciting things I’ve done to fill this section once more!).

  1. Lucifer Season 5 Part 1

As I mentioned earlier in this post, I really enjoyed Lucifer’s first instalment of Season 5 episodes, the show really has gone from strength to strength since it moved to Netflix (and I loved it before) and I can’t wait to see how the second half of Season 5 turns out!

2. Mrs America

Another one I mentioned earlier in this post, I really enjoyed watching the miniseries Mrs America back in July. The acting’s brilliant, the costumes are great and I learned a lot that I didn’t know before.

3. All Creatures Great and Small

I never saw the original series based on James Herriot’s books, since it came out in the 70’s, but I’ve been really enjoying Channel 5’s remake! My dad used to read James Herriot’s books to me when I was a kid, and this series has been just the comfort I’ve needed recently!

4. Parks and Recreation

On my sister’s recommendation, I ended up watching the whole of Parks and Recreation over August and though I struggled with the initial seasons, I ended up really enjoying it!

5. Hamilton

A highlight of the year has been Hamilton being on Disney+ and it definitely lived up to expectations!

Six Songs I Listened To Way Too Often This Summer:

  1. betty-Taylor Swift

Of course my favourite song from folklore has had a fair few listens at this point! Her ACM performance of the song was also a delightful treat.

2. the last great american dynasty-Taylor Swift

Probably my second most played song from folklore thus far.

3. mad woman-Taylor Swift

I told you I’d been listening to folklore a lot!

4. The Negative-Waitress

The Waitress soundtrack is one of my favourites, so naturally it comes up a lot on my shuffle and this early number from the show is a great one.

5. It Only Takes A Taste-Waitress

This is such a cute duet.

6. Crazy Rolling-Moulin Rouge (Broadway)

I love this mashup more and more every time I listen to it!

So there we go, that was my Northern Hemisphere Summer! What have you enjoyed most on my blog this summer (or winter if you’re in the southern hemisphere)? What have you been up to? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Quarterly Rewind (March-June ’20 edition)

Hi all! So yeah, this Spring has been a bit….well let’s not sugarcoat it, it’s been pretty awful on all fronts and I reckon we can all agree to some extent with that, I don’t think being stuck at home for three months was on anyone’s to-do list for 2020! I have managed to get a lot of reading done but aside from that, the silver linings of lockdown have been few and far between. Anyway, it’s the Summer Solstice today, so that means it’s time for me to wrap up Spring here on the blog and look forward to my Northern Hemisphere Summer, Summer 2.0 if you like. This post will cover 23rd March-19th June:

Image From This Spring:

20200321_192205

Okay so I’m cheating a little here, as I haven’t taken any new pictures whilst I’ve been in lockdown (I mean me sitting on the couch watching TV doesn’t exactly make for a great picture) so I thought I’d share another of my South Africa pictures instead, this one was the sunset over Camps Bay on my last night in Cape Town.

Favourite Quote From A Book You Read This Spring:

“When we revise the horror and sanitise the grotesque, we risk erasing the paths that led us here” -Roshani Chokshi, The Gilded Wolves

This isn’t actually from the book, it’s from Roshani Chokshi’s Author’s Note but I wanted to share it here because it really resonated with me as someone who studied history and also with everything that has been going on with the Black Lives Matter protests in the last few weeks.

This Spring In One Word:

Monotonous (there is really no other word that describes lockdown life as aptly as this).

Most Popular Review of This Spring:

I read 14 books in the period that this Rewind covers, and have reviewed 13 of them. The most popular of these was Spin The Dawn, which I was quite surprised by as I was expecting it to be Call Down The Hawk:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/04/02/spin-the-dawn-the-blood-of-the-stars-1-review/

Top Two Books I Read This Spring:

I’ve read some really great books over the last few months (as well as some not so great ones) and it was tricky to choose between my four favourites, but in the end I went with these two:

  1. The City of Brass-S.A. Chakraborty

I finally read this back in April and I’m so glad that I now understand what people were raving about, the world building and the characters in this book were really great! I’m almost finished with the second book on audio now and I’m hoping to finish off the series next month.

2. The Gilded Wolves-Roshani Chokshi

Definitely one of my new favourites of this year, the gang of The Gilded Wolves has one of my favourite friendship dynamics I’ve read and I’m so looking forward to getting to read more of them when The Silvered Serpents comes out in September.

TV I’m Looking Forward To Watching This Summer:

As with last time, since I probably won’t be doing a massive amount this summer aside from socially distanced meetups with my friends, so I’m going to share the TV I’m looking forward to watching instead (however much is available, I’m slowly running out of things to watch!):

  1. Good Girls Season 3-The third season of Good Girls comes out on Netflix at the end of July, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what Beth, Annie and Ruby get up to in the new series.
  2. Becoming-I know the documentary of Michelle Obama’s book tour has been out for a few weeks but I haven’t got around to watching it yet, so that’s one I definitely want to get around to in the next few weeks.
  3. Hamilton-Okay yes, not technically TV but the release of the original Broadway company of Hamilton’s recorded performance being moved up is possibly one of the highlights of my year, and I’m really looking forward to getting to see it when it’s released (TWO WEEKS).
  4. When They See Us-Continuing my education in anti-racism, I’d like to get through a few more shows and documentaries this month. I just watched 13th, also done by Ava DuVernay today and it was really interesting and informative. There’s a lot I still don’t know and I’d like to rectify that.

Three New Obsessions This Spring:

  1. Elementary-I was pleasantly surprised that I actually enjoyed this US version of Sherlock more than the British series. The mysteries might not be taken straight from the books, but I appreciate that it doesn’t try so hard to be clever and I love Lucy Liu as Watson, and actually think I prefer Jonny Lee Miller’s Sherlock to Benedict Cumberbatch (I KNOW, I KNOW).
  2. I Weigh With Jameela Jamil-Jameela Jamil’s new podcast has been a real bright spot in lockdown, I love the frank honest conversations that she has with her guests and I’ve learned a lot about mental health.
  3. Moulin Rouge Original Broadway Cast Recording-I was a little sceptical about this album at first, but over several listens, I’ve really grown to love it!

Five Most Popular Blog Posts This Spring:

It’s funny, I’ve gone from barely posting at all during the beginning of the year, to posting quite a lot over lockdown because I don’t have much else to do! Still mostly Top Ten Tuesdays for this, which isn’t a surprise, but a couple of older reviews as well, which is nice.

  1. Ninth House Review

It’s nice to see that this one has been seeing a renewed audience as a review that I did towards the end of last year.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/27/ninth-house-alex-stern-1-review/

2. Midnight (Skulduggery Pleasant #11) Review

After dropping off at the beginning of this year, this older review seems to have seen a renewed audience in the last few months, which is lovely to see. Skulduggery Pleasant is one of my favourite series, so it’s good to see this review gain some popularity.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/29/midnight-skulduggery-pleasant-11-review/

3. TTT #264 & TTT #265

I had a tie for this one, two Top Ten Tuesday posts from last month, both ones that I really enjoyed doing! #264 was me talking about Reasons Why I Love VE Schwab’s books, which was a really fun one to do and I hope I’ve helped even more people discover her brilliant work. #265 was sharing my favourite opening lines from my favourite authors’ books which was another super fun one to do.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/19/top-ten-tuesday-264/

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/26/top-ten-tuesday-265/

4. TTT #268

This was this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, which was all about our Summer TBRs, seasonal TBRs are a perennially popular topic (and one of my favourites to do as well)! Fingers crossed that I enjoy all of the books that I put on this list!

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/06/16/top-ten-tuesday-268/

5. TTT #263

This one was about the Last Ten Books I DNF’ed, which I’m surprised was such a popular topic as I didn’t think that was one you guys liked to see from me! I’ll have to talk more about the books that don’t work for me in the future.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/05/12/top-ten-tuesday-263/

Four Posts I Enjoyed On Other Blogs This Spring:

  1. I discovered this great post that Victoria Lee did last year about discovering her identity as bigender through Harry Potter fan communities just after the latest incident of JKR showing how bigoted she is. It definitely made me interested in checking out Victoria Lee’s books at some point:

Harry Potter and the Conspiracy of Queers: Discovering Myself in Fandom and Roleplay

2. Grace Latter did this great post about shielding and her experiences of the lockdown back at the beginning of April, which was really great and quite emotional!

https://www.almostamazinggrace.co.uk/2020/04/isolation.html

3. Rose Stokes wrote this awesome article about pregnancy tests and how we need to change the narrative around them which was really interesting. If you haven’t checked out her stuff then you really should, she’s a journalist who writes a lot about women’s rights (basically everything I’d like to be!)

https://yourdaye.com/vitals/cultural-musings/history-of-pregnancy-test-womens-rights

4. Eleanor Morgan did a brilliant post on Medium about women and the myth that there is any one “right” way to be a woman.

 

 

View at Medium.com

Five Shows That I Enjoyed This Spring:

Since I didn’t really go out all that much in the past three months, I thought instead I’d share some of the best things I’ve watched:

  1. This Is Us-Season 4

The new season of This Is Us came to Amazon Prime earlier this month and I just finished it last week. As usual, it was brilliantly acted, super emotional and I can’t wait to see Season 5, whenever it comes out.

2. Little Fires Everywhere

I also watched the miniseries of Little Fires Everywhere this month, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington are AMAZING and I thought the young cast of teenagers were really great as well (ACTUAL TEENAGERS. Not people my age playing teenagers!).

3. Noughts and Crosses

As I mentioned in my Book Vs Movie post about it, I really enjoyed the BBC’s adaptation of Noughts and Crosses when I watched it back at the end of March. The main actors were both really great, and I seriously hope it gets another series, because there is plenty more story to be mined from Malorie Blackman’s books!

4. Death In Paradise-Series 9

Death In Paradise is a great show for lockdown, easy to watch, relaxing and a lot of fun! The new series was no exception and I thoroughly enjoyed the latest outing for the team from Saint Marie.

5. Elementary

As I mentioned above, I watched Elementary Series 1-5 over the past month or so and I really enjoyed it! Very sad that Amazon Prime doesn’t have the last two series available (since much as I enjoyed it, I’m not paying almost £50 to watch the last two series!).

Six Songs I Listened To Way Too Often This Spring:

  1. Without A Believer-Sara Barielles

I discovered the cut songs album from Waitress and almost instantly became obsessed with this one. I understand why it got cut as I’m not sure where it would have fit in the show, but it is a brilliant song.

2. Bad Idea-Waitress

One of my favourite songs from the Waitress soundtrack so naturally it’s ended up coming up on my playlist more than a few times.

3. Crazy Rolling-Moulin Rouge (Broadway)

One of my favourites of the new mashups introduced for the Broadway show, I never would have thought to put Crazy and Rolling In The Deep together, but it works really well!

4. Shut up and Raise Your Glass-Moulin Rouge (Broadway)

Another of the new songs and again, two I wouldn’t have thought to put together but actually work really well. I really love the small segment of I Wanna Dance With Somebody that they use towards the end as well!

5. Welcome To The Moulin Rogue-Moulin Rouge (Broadway)

I told you I’d been listening to a lot of Moulin Rouge over the last few months and the opening number from the show is just brilliant! I seriously hope the show actually does come to the West End next year as planned after the pandemic, because I really want to see it!

6. I Didn’t Plan It-Waitress

Another one of my favourites that comes up on my IPod Shuffle a lot.

So there we go, that was my Spring! What have you enjoyed most on my blog this Spring (or Autumn, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere)? What have you been up to? What have been the highlights (if that’s the right word) of your lockdown? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Quarterly Rewind (December ’19-March ’20 edition)

Hi all! Sorry that my usual Quarterly Rewind is a little late, the last few days have been a bit of a whirlwind. I’m back from South Africa now, earlier than planned for obvious reasons and I figured since I was coming back only a few days after the start of Spring in the UK, you guys wouldn’t mind that this post is a little late. It’s kind of a weird one for me this time as I’m coming from summer in South Africa, back into spring in the UK! Anyway, as it is now ostensibly Spring (it does not feel it), it’s time for me to wrap up my Southern Hemisphere Summer and look forward to Northern Hemisphere Spring! This post will cover 21st December-22nd March:

(I deliberately left out my most popular review of the summer as I haven’t actually written any this year yet!).

Image From This Summer:

20200222_111721(0)

I have about a million and one pictures from South Africa that I could have used for this, but this one from Vrendenheim Wine Farm in Stellenbosch is one of my favourites.

Favourite Quote From A Book You Read This Summer:

“But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me”

-Circe, Madeline Miller

Circe’s whole story feels weirdly apt for the current world situation we find ourselves in (albeit her isolation is a bit more extreme) and this quote feels quite relevant at the moment too, so I wanted to share it.

This Summer In One Word:

Memorable (for both good and bad reasons. South Africa was amazing, an experience I’ll never forget. The current world situation will be seared into my brain for different reasons).

Top Two Books I Read This Summer:

I’ve had kind of a mixed bag of books so far this year, but there are definitely two that stand out above the rest!

  1. Circe-Madeline Miller

I love Greek mythology and this reimagining of Circe’s story was so beautiful. I loved the way she wound all sorts of different Greek myths into the story and Madeline Miller’s writing was just beautiful. I’d definitely read more from her in the future.

2. Night Spinner-Addie Thorley

I loved Addie Thorley’s take on the Hunchback of Notre Dame, her worldbuilding was really creative, Enebish was a great heroine and I can’t wait to see what she does next with the sequel.

TV I’m Looking Forward To Watching This Spring

Usually I would share the things that I’m looking forward to doing in a given season. However, as I’m going to be staying home for the foreseeable future, I’m going to share the TV that I’m looking forward to watching instead. I have almost three months of TV to catch up on, so it should take me a while:

  1. Call The Midwife Series 9-The latest series of Call The Midwife was on whilst I was over in South Africa, and I’m looking forward to catching up and seeing what the team at Nonnatus House got up to this year.
  2. Noughts and Crosses-Noughts and Crosses is one of my favourite books from my childhood, so I can’t wait to see how the BBC adaptation of this one turned out.
  3. Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season 7-The latest series of Brooklyn Nine Nine arrives on E4 on Thursday, just after Season 6 lands on Netflix, so you better believe I’ll be rewatching that over the weekend, just in time for the new series.
  4. Outlander Season 5-I love Outlander and am looking forward to seeing where the latest series takes Jamie and Claire.
  5. The Good Place Season 4-I left for South Africa with only three episodes left to watch of The Good Place, so naturally I’m dying to see how everything turned out.

Three New Obsessions This Summer:

Naturally, being in Cape Town for almost three months, I got to try a lot of new things and find a few new obsessions!

  1. Open Air Cinema-The weather in the UK is not really up to this kind of thing, but in Cape Town, I got to go a couple of times to the Galileo Open Air Cinema, and watch a movie under the stars!
  2. Sevruga-I’m not really a sushi person but this restaurant in Waterfront did really great seafood and cocktails as well as sushi.
  3. Gelato Mania-This ice cream chain did really amazing gelato and if I’d been in South Africa longer, I definitely would have been a few more times!

Five Most Popular Blog Posts This Summer:

I’m really glad you guys all stuck with me through my reduced posting over the last couple of months. I definitely needed the break, and since I’m probably not going to be leaving my house much in the next few months, expect me to be making up for it in a serious way!

This is probably my most mixed bag of posts ever, so it’s nice to see some of my non TTT posts getting a little love:

  1. Unsouled (Unwind #3) Review

I’m surprised this one still seems to be doing so well, it’s a really old review and it’s not even the first of the series! Still I hope that means more people are discovering the Unwind books, so I have more people to fangirl with.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/unsouled-unwind-quartet-3-review/

2. Book Vs Movie: Between Shades of Gray

My Book Vs Movie comparison feature is still relatively new, I only started it last summer, so seeing one of those posts as one of my most popular for the last three months is really heartening to see. I hope you’ve been enjoying reading these posts as much as I have writing them.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/07/20/book-vs-movie-between-shades-of-gray-ashes-in-the-snow/

3. Ninth House Review

I posted this review back in November of last year, so it’s nice to see it get a bit of a resurgance of popularity.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/27/ninth-house-alex-stern-1-review/

4. TTT #245, TTT #248 & TTT #250

I had three Top Ten Tuesday posts tie for my fourth most popular post over the summer. The first was talking about my anticipated releases for the first half of the year, which is always a fun one for me to do. The second was a cover freebie, I shared the best book covers from my favourite authors, which was super fun take on a cover topic. The final one was talking about my favourite rom-coms which I also loved, as I love films almost as much as I love books.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/07/top-ten-tuesday-245-2/

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/01/28/top-ten-tuesday-247/

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/02/11/top-ten-tuesday-250/

5. TTT #249

The final most popular post of the summer for me was this one where I talked about Books That I Predicted Would Be Five Star Reads. I’ve read two so far and no five star reads yet, but there’s still eight to go!

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/02/04/top-ten-tuesday-249/

(I’ll be skipping my favourite posts from other blogs this time as I just wasn’t blog hopping all that much in South Africa. I’m hoping I’ll have more to share with you next time).

Three Things That Happened This Summer:

  1. I went on Safari for the first time whilst in South Africa, and I loved it! Definitely will have to do it again at some point.
  2. I tried sandboarding-mostly unsuccessfully, but I did have one successful run right at the very end!
  3. I spent three months writing for Cape Chameleon covering a myriad of topics from film reviews to talking about gender based violence in South Africa.

Six Songs I Listened To Way Too Often This Summer:

  1. Juice-Lizzo-The girls I made friends with in Cape Town loved this song, so it came up on Spotify a lot!
  2. Good As Hell-Lizzo-Again, the girls I was with in Cape Town were big fans of Lizzo, so this one came up a lot as well.
  3. I Don’t Care-Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran-This one was really popular on the radio in Cape Town.
  4. Yummy-Justin Bieber-Again it was really popular on the radio, I will be very happy not to have to listen to it anymore!
  5. Colt 45-Afroman-My friends thought it was super hilarious how much I hated this song. Everyone else in SA seemed to love it though, it was a karaoke staple.
  6. Truth Hurts-Lizzo-I was not at all familiar with Lizzo till this trip!

So there we go, that was my Summer! What have you enjoyed most on my blog this Summer, or Winter depending on where you are in the world? What have you been up to? What is everyone planning on watching/doing whilst we’re stuck in lockdown? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Quarterly Rewind (September-December ’19 edition)

Hi everyone! IT’S ALMOST CHRISTMAS, who’s excited???? It’s taken me a bit longer this year to really get into the Christmas spirit, working retail just before Christmas kind of does that to you, but I’m really looking forward to having another nice quiet Christmas with my family. Anyway, for those of you who are new to the blog since I last did one of these, this is a feature I do every few months at the beginning of a new season, to look back on the previous season and look forward to what’s to come. It was originated by Jamie over at The Perpetual Page Turner. Today is the Winter Solstice, which means it is time to wrap up Autumn here on the blog and look forward to what I have to come over the Winter (well it’s actually going to be Summer for me, but we’ll get into that later). This post will cover 23rd September-20th December:

Image from this Autumn:

carcassonne

My friends and I on our Summer in October holiday in Carcassonne.

Favourite Quote From A Book You Read This Autumn:

“Roses have both petals and thorns, my dark flower. You needn’t believe something weak because it appears delicate. Show the world your bravery.” -Stalking Jack The Ripper, Keri Mansicalco

I love it when women show how powerful they can be without shunning all traditional feminine interests, because guess what? Being interested in traditionally feminine things does not make us any less strong.

This Autumn In One Word:

Work (since that’s basically all I did most of this autumn!)

Most Popular Review of This Autumn:

I read 6 books in the period that this rewind covers and reviewed all of them. I actually wasn’t expecting this book to be the most popular one of the last three months, I thought it would be Kingdom of Ash, but I’m glad you all liked it. My most popular review this Autumn was Stalking Jack The Ripper, which I actually really enjoyed:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/02/stalking-jack-the-ripper-stalking-jack-the-ripper-1-review/

Top Two Books I Read This Autumn:

This Autumn hasn’t been great in terms of books I’ve really loved, I’ve read a lot of decent books, but only a couple that I really loved, but that does make this section a lot easier:

  1. Before The Devil Breaks You-Libba Bray

Definitely my favourite book of the autumn! The Diviners series went from strength to strength with this book, and Before The Devil Breaks You was definitely my favourite of the series so far. I can’t wait for King of Crows to come out in February.

2. Stalking Jack The Ripper-Keri Mansicalco

I really enjoyed Mansicalco’s take on the Jack The Ripper murders, Audrey Rose was a great heroine and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of her adventures.

Thing I’m Looking Forward To This Summer:

And yes, I said, Summer, that is not a mistake, because I’m not actually going to be in the UK! I’m going to be in South Africa! From January till April, I’m going to be writing for an online magazine, Cape Chameleon, as part of Projects Abroad’s Journalism Project.

So with that in mind the things I’m looking forward to:

  1. SOUTH AFRICA-I’ve been planning this for so long, and it’s finally almost happening. I can’t believe I only have a few weeks left before I leave, but I’m so excited for this great new adventure.
  2. Christmas-Okay, this will be Winter, because I’m in Scotland for Christmas, but still, I’m super excited!

Three New Obsessions This Autumn:

I’ll be honest, I haven’t really developed a lot of new obsessions over the last three months, because I’ve been so busy with work, but these are the new things I’ve really enjoyed:

  1. Waitress-I went to see Waitress with my parents back in October, absolutely LOVED IT and have been obsessed with the soundtrack ever since.
  2. Doing It!-Hannah Witton’s new podcast is really fun and informative and sex positive and I really enjoy it.
  3. The Marvelous Mrs Maisel Season 3-I really enjoyed the newest instalment of Mrs Maisel when it came out a couple of weeks ago.

Five Most Popular Blog Posts This Autumn:

I actually have more of a mixed bag of posts this autumn, some reviews, some TTTs:

  1. Midnight (Skulduggery Pleasant #11) Review-Once again my most popular review of the season was this review of the 11th Skulduggery Pleasant book, which was a big surprise as I wrote it a while back, and my reviews aren’t usually that popular.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/29/midnight-skulduggery-pleasant-11-review/

2. Unsouled (Unwind #3) Review-This was also my second most popular review of the summer as well, another surprise, this was one of my earliest reviews and more people seem to be finding it now, which is great.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/unsouled-unwind-quartet-3-review/

3. Top Ten Tuesday #234-My third most popular post of the autumn was this Top Ten Tuesday post about non fiction books on my TBR, and I’m glad that you guys seemed to like it, as talking about non-fiction books is a bit of a departure for me.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/22/top-ten-tuesday-234/

4. The Ship of The Dead (Magnus Chase #3) Review and Top Ten Tuesday #240-Two posts tied for my fourth most popular post of the autumn, the first was my review of the final book in the Magnus Chase trilogy, which again surprised me because it’s two years old now. The other one was my Top Ten Tuesday from a few weeks ago, where I talked about my favourite Christmas TV.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/category/the-ship-of-the-dead-magnus-chase-and-the-gods-of-asgard-3/

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/12/03/top-ten-tuesday-240/

5. Top Ten Tuesday #231-My final most popular post of the autumn was this Top Ten Tuesday post in which I talked about Book Titles With Numbers In Them.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/10/01/top-ten-tuesday-231/

Four Posts On Other Blogs I Enjoyed This Autumn:

Okay, I’ll admit, I did not keep a very good track of the posts I read this autumn, nor did I read that many, because I was busy with work, but I’ll give it my best:

  1. Maggie Stiefvater did this amazing post on her Tumblr about her health issues and how they impacted her writing and I thought it was brilliant, beautifully written and I hope really helpful to other writers struggling with their health.

The Years Without Words

2. Jeffrey Davies from Book Riot did this great post about outgrowing YA, which really expressed a lot of the same things that I’ve been feeling recently about my own relationship to YA as I get further into my twenties.

https://bookriot.com/2019/10/20/outgrowng-ya-fiction/amp/

3. Lin Manuel Miranda did an interview for The Times which I really enjoyed, I realise it’s not a blog post, but I wanted to share it anyway, because I thought it was really great.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/lin-manuel-miranda-interview-from-hamilton-to-his-dark-materials-lxnzlsbz8

4. Rose Stokes wrote this awesome long read for The Independent about the decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland and how the same changes need to happen in the rest of the UK (because yes, women can still be prosecuted for this in England, Scotland & Wales). It’s a Premium piece, but you can register for one free article a week and it’s definitely worth the read.

https://www.independent.co.uk/independentpremium/long-reads/northern-ireland-abortion-ban-law-change-womens-rights-same-sex-marriage-a9169551.html

Three Things That Happened This Autumn:

  1. I went on holiday with my friends to Carcassonne, it was so much fun.
  2. I went to a really awesome Journalism event, In Conversation With Deborah Joseph, the editor of Glamour, it was really cool and I learned a lot.
  3. I had Fake Christmas with my friends at my house, and it was so much fun, our Christmas meet ups are always my favourites.

Six Songs I Listened To Way Too Often This Autumn:

  1. You Matter To Me-Waitress-One of my favourite songs from the show, it’s so beautiful and heartfelt.
  2. Bad Idea-Waitress-Another great song from the show, so catchy.
  3. Lover-Taylor Swift-She’s been performing this quite a lot, so I’ve watched a few YouTube videos with it in, and it comes up on my shuffle quite a lot.
  4. She Used To Be Mine-Sara Barielles-My favourite song from Waitress, and I love Sara Barielles singing it.
  5. Mamma Mia-ABBA-Comes up a lot on my running playlist.
  6. I Didn’t Plan It-Waitress-Yup another one from Waitress, I told you I was obsessed!

So there we go, that was my Autumn! What have you enjoyed most on my blog this Autumn? What have you been up to? What are you looking forward to this Winter (or Summer if you’re going to be in the Southern Hemisphere like me)? Let me know in the comments!

Quarterly Rewind (June-September ’19 edition)

Hello everyone! We’ve finally made it to my favourite season of the year, Autumn, or at least meteorologically speaking, for me Autumn starts as soon as it hits September, since that was when we always went back to school and the summer holidays ended! Anyway, for those of you who are knew to this blog since I last did one of these, this is a feature I do every month at the beginning of a new season (well the equinox/solstice anyway), to look back on the previous season, and look forward to what there is to come. It was originated by Jamie over at The Perpetual Page Turner. Today is the Autumn Equinox, which means it’s time to wrap up Summer here on the blog and look forward to what I have to come over the Autumn. This post will cover 21st June-22nd September:

Image from this Summer:

graduation 2

Me at my University graduation, back in June!

Favourite Quote From A Book You Read This Summer:

“How many men would she have to turn to dust before one took her seriously?” -Vengeful, V.E. Schwab

Marcella Riggins has the “I’m done caring about what other people think” energy that I think quite a lot of women can relate to in 2019!

This Summer In One Word:

Change (graduation has a way of doing that!)

Most Popular Review This Summer:

I read 9 books in the period that this Rewind covers and reviewed all of them. For the first time this year, I actually had an out and out winner for my most popular review, rather than a tie. Unsurprisingly, given the hype around this book, my most popular review this summer was Strange The Dreamer, which I didn’t love as much as I was expecting to, unfortunately.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/02/strange-the-dreamer-review/

Top Two Books I Read This Summer:

I’ve had kind of a mixed bag of books this summer, some that I’ve really loved, and some that weren’t so good. There were two that definitely stood out above the rest though, which makes doing this section a lot easier:

  1. Vengeful-V.E. Schwab

Probably my absolute favourite book of the year, not just the summer! I really enjoyed Vicious, but Vengeful was a whole new level of awesome, with all of the brilliant women, the complex and perfectly paced plot and the amazing cast of characters.

2. Bedlam (Skulduggery Pleasant #12)-Derek Landy

I haven’t been wildly keen on the newest phase of Skulduggery Pleasant books thus far, but this was definitely a return to form for the series. It had more humour, more excitement and loads more exciting twists and I can’t wait to see where the next book goes.

Two Things I’m Looking Forward To This Autumn:

  1. Going to France with my friends-I’m going on holiday with my friends in October and I’m really excited, I love going away with my friends and it should be a nice, relaxing trip.
  2. In Conversation With Deborah Joseph-I’m going to an event hosted by my mum’s old school alumni network, with the Editor in Chief of Glamour, which should be really fun and hopefully really helpful for my future career.

Three New Obsessions This Summer:

  1. Lover-Taylor Swift’s new album came out last month, and yes, of course I’m obsessed! I think this is actually my favourite album of hers since Red, it felt like a perfect blend of Country Taylor and Pop Taylor and there are so many great songs on it!
  2. Audiobooks-I got Audible over the summer, and consider me a convert to the audiobook bandwagon! They are so convenient to listen to on the bus, and I’ve managed to read some books that I probably wouldn’t have got around to without Audible.
  3. The Luminaries-If you haven’t been following Susan Dennard’s Twitter Choose Your Own Adventure story, then where have you been? I’ve been on the edge of my seat following it for months, and it’s definitely made me want to pick up one of her books!

Five Most Popular Blog Posts This Summer:

I have a little bit more of mix of these than usual, which is quite nice. Most are still Top Ten Tuesday posts, but I got quite a lot of love for some of my older reviews, which was quite nice, because so often reviews aren’t the most viewed of my posts:

  1. Midnight (Skulduggery Pleasant #11) Review-My most popular post this summer was this review of the eleventh Skulduggery Pleasant book, which was quite a surprise to me as I wrote it almost a year ago!

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/29/midnight-skulduggery-pleasant-11-review/

2. Unsouled (Unwind #3) Review-My second most popular post this summer was this review of the third book in the Unwind series, which again was quite a surprise because it’s quite an old one, but I’m glad if more people are discovering this amazing series through my reviews.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/unsouled-unwind-quartet-3-review/

3. Top Ten Tuesday #221-My third most popular post this summer was this one about settings I’d like to see more of in books, and it was a really fun one to write, so I’m glad that you guys seemed to enjoy it.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/07/23/top-ten-tuesday-221/

4. Top Ten Tuesday #223-My fourth most popular post this summer was this one about Cover Redesigns That I Loved/Hated and I definitely need to do more of these cover themed posts because they always seem to go down really well.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/06/top-ten-tuesday-223/

5. Top Ten Tuesday #224-My fifth most popular post this summer was this one about book characters I’d like to be friends with, which was a really fun one to do as I’ve always enjoyed thinking about what characters from books I would get along with if they were real.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/08/13/top-ten-tuesday-224/

Four posts I Enjoyed On Other Blogs This Summer:

I’ve not been the best at keeping track of these over the summer, just because I’ve been pretty busy and haven’t had too much time to visit other people’s blogs.

  1. Author Heather Demetrios did this article that was buzzing around Twitter on Tuesday night, about how she burst through her advance and then regretted it, and as someone wanting to go into the publishing industry, I really appreciate the transparency and honesty of posts like these.

 

2. Vicky from Vicky Who Reads did this great article about the disconnect between YA writer and teen readers, which is definitely something that needs to be addressed more.

“A lag is happening” : A disconnect between YA writers and the readers the books are written for

3. Christina Orlando did this great post for Tor.com about Lila Bard and her relationship with gender in the Shades of Magic series, which I thought was really great, though Lila doesn’t have the language to describe her gender in the 1820s, it’s clear that she doesn’t fit neatly into the gender binary.

Traveling Between Genders in V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic

4. One of my favourite feminists, Deborah Frances-White, did this awesome article for British Vogue about the small ways that we can tackle gender inequality in our lives.

https://www.vogue.co.uk/article/how-we-can-achieve-gender-equality?utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1561471488

Five Things That Happened This Summer:

  1. I graduated from University, in June, with a 2:1 in History and Journalism.
  2. I got a new job! I’m now working at John Lewis.
  3. I turned 23.
  4. I went to see Wicked with my friends last Monday, and it was just as brilliant as I remembered it being from the last time I saw it, four years ago.
  5. I went to YALC with Hannah again, my fifth year going.

Six Songs I Listened To Way Too Often This Summer:

  1. Miss Americana And The Heartbreak Prince-Taylor Swift-One of my favourites from her new album (tbh, most of these will be from Lover).
  2. Daylight-Taylor Swift-Another one of my favourites from Lover.
  3. The Archer-Taylor Swift-I’ve had this one stuck in my head pretty permanently since I first heard it.
  4. One Short Day-Wicked-I’ve had this one stuck in my head ever since Monday!
  5. Dancing Through Life-Wicked-Another one of my favourites from Wicked (though let’s face it, they are all amazing).
  6. How Far I’ll Go-Moana-Probably one of my favourite Disney songs!

So there we go, that was my summer! What have you enjoyed most on my blog this summer? What have you been up to? What are you looking forward to this Autumn, books or otherwise? Let me know in the comments!

 

View at Medium.com

 

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

View at Medium.com

Quarterly Rewind (March-June ’19 edition)

Hi everyone! It’s summer at last, and I’m hoping this means that we might actually get some nice weather here, since we’ve had A LOT of rain over the past few weeks! Anyway, for those of you who have started following me since I last did one of these, this is a feature that I do every few months at the beginning of a new season, to look back on the previous season and look forward to the one to come. It was originated by Jamie over at The Perpetual Page Turner. Today is the Summer Solstice, which means it’s time to wrap up Spring on the blog and look forward to what I have to come over the summer. This post will cover 20th March-20th June:

Image From This Spring:

This is me, back in April, just before I went to my last ever Uni Sports Ball.

Favourite Quote From A Book You Read This Spring:

“The most magnificent things are worth living for” -Finale, Stephanie Garber

While I didn’t totally love the book, man did it have some killer quotes!

This Spring In One Word:

Final (mostly because I did a lot of final things for Uni).

Most Popular Review This Spring:

I read ten books in the period that this Rewind covers and once again, I had a tie between the most popular reviews this winter, between Uprooted and Catwoman: Soulstealer, which doesn’t surprise me as both are massively popular books:

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/04/12/catwoman-soulstealer/

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/05/17/uprooted-review/

Top Two Books This Spring:

This is really difficult to pick because I had 3 5 star reads this Spring and I loved them all, but for very different reasons. Still, if I have to pick two favourites, these are the two I choose:

  1. Becoming-Michelle Obama-I am not usually a big memoir fan, but I absolutely loved Michelle’s. She writes in such an engaging way and I learned so much that I didn’t know about her before, far beyond just what we saw when she was First Lady.
  2. King of Fools-Amanda Foody-The sequel to Ace of Shades was SO GOOD YOU GUYS. So many exciting plot twists, new characters, even more action and a game changing ending, I need the third book like now!

Two Things I’m Looking Forward To This Summer:

  1. GRADUATION!-Let’s start with the obvious, I’m graduating on Tuesday! Uni has been the last four years of my life and it’s going to be really weird saying goodbye to it, but I’m super excited to celebrate with my friends and family and to pick up the degree that I’ve spent the last four years working towards.
  2. YALC-It will be my fifth year of going to YALC this year, I’m going with Hannah again at the end of July and getting to see lots of favourites like Derek Landy and VE Schwab. YALC is always one of the best weekends of the summer, and I can’t wait to go back again this year.

Three New Obsessions This Spring:

  1. Good Omens-My mum and I binged the entirety of Good Omens over two days a couple of weeks ago, and I really enjoyed it. Having not read the book, I didn’t know what to expect, but I thought it was brilliant and at some point, I definitely had to read the book.
  2. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries-Nicola got obsessed with this show, which meant that in turn she got the rest of us obsessed with this show! I’ll be honest, I didn’t really watch this show for the mysteries, more for the clothes and the infuriatingly brilliant slow burn romance between Phryne and Jack.
  3. The Miss Fisher Philes Podcast-An extension of number 2, Nicola also got me into this podcast, where the two hosts, Mary ahd Chandler talk about each Miss Fisher episode.

Five Most Popular Blog Posts This Spring:

As always, my five most popular blog posts from this Spring were all Top Ten Tuesday posts:

  1. Top Ten Tuesday #215-My most popular post of this Spring was this one from last week, where I talked about LGBTQ+ books in honour of Pride Month, which was a really fun list to write as I’ve wanted to do a recommendation list for Pride for quite a while.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/06/11/top-ten-tuesday-215/

2. Top Ten Tuesday #216-My second most popular post of this Spring was my TTT post from this week, where I talked about my most anticipated releases for the rest of the year, which is always a fun one to do.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/06/18/top-ten-tuesday-216/

3. Top Ten Tuesday #213-This actually tied with number 4 for my third most popular post, but it’s much neater to arrange them in the usual way. This post was about my favourite books I’ve read in the last ten years, which was a really fun and slightly different TTT than I’ve ever done before.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/05/28/top-ten-tuesday-213/

4. Top Ten Tuesday #211-This was also my third most popular post of the Spring, and I’m glad that it got so much attention as it was a list of books dealing with mental health for Mental Health Awareness Week which I think is a really important topic.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/05/14/top-ten-tuesday-211/

5. Top Ten Tuesday #214-My fourth and final most popular post of the Spring was this one, from a couple of weeks ago, which was a mega list of my favourite fantasy books.

https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2019/06/04/top-ten-tuesday-214/

Four Posts I’ve Enjoyed On Other Blogs This Spring:

Honestly, I’ve not been the best at keeping track of these over the past few months, but I’m going to try to come up with four for you guys!:

  1. Emilia Clarke did this amazing essay for The New Yorker about her near death experiences with brain aneurysms and although it’s not technically a blog post, I really wanted to share it, because I thought it was a really powerful story and I am in awe of this woman for surviving what she has, dealing with all of that whilst filming Game of Thrones could not have been easy!

https://www.newyorker.com/culture/personal-history/emilia-clarke-a-battle-for-my-life-brain-aneurysm-surgery-game-of-thrones

2. Cait @ PaperFury did a great post about the experience of having her second novel, The Boy Who Steals Houses published, and I love how candid she is about the difficulties of publishing, I feel like authors now are being a lot more transparent about the harder parts of the process, which as someone wanting to go into the industry, I really appreciate!

https://paperfury.com/having-your-2nd-novel-published/

3. Arub from Arub Unwritten did this great post about reading YA as an adult which really resonated with me, for as much as I love YA, I am getting to a stage in my life where I don’t really relate to it as much as I used to, yet it’s difficult to find books that I want to read with characters my age as they tend to be romances rather than fantasy or historical or basically any of the genres I actually enjoy reading.

https://arubunwritten.wordpress.com/2019/03/19/reading-ya-when-youve-dropped-the-y/

4. My friend Hannah from Books, Life and Other Oddities did a great post about relationships in YA and whether they really set a good example for the teenagers who read them.

https://bookslifeotheroddities.wordpress.com/2019/06/15/are-our-ships-empowering-readers/

Five Things That Happened This Spring:

  1. I finished my degree! I’m graduating with a 2:1 Bachelor of Arts With Honours in History and Journalism studies on Tuesday.
  2. I got a job for the summer, I’m going to be doing the same thing I did last summer, working at an English language summer school, for seven weeks.
  3. I went to the Superstars of Gymnastics with my family, which was a really fun gymnastics exhibition event.
  4. I started querying my book-AGHHHHHHHH! (This has been me for the last two months waiting to hear from agents).
  5. I went to the Edinburgh Dungeons with my friends for two of their birthdays which was a super fun day out.

Six Songs I Listened To Way Too Often This Spring:

  1. The Royal Doulton Music Hall-Mary Poppins Returns-This wasn’t my favourite song on the soundtrack when I watched the film but I have a newfound appreciation for it now.
  2. Hollywood Ending-Anna and The Apocalypse-Honestly, I love the entire soundtrack for this film, but this one is a particular banger.
  3. Look What I Found-A Star Is Born-I don’t really remember this song from the film, but I’ve really enjoyed listening to it since I downloaded the soundtrack.
  4. Nowhere To Go But Up-Mary Poppins Returns-Another Mary Poppins Returns song that I’ve had on repeat for the last few months.
  5. She Used To Be Mine-Sara Bareilles-Honestly this is one of my absolute favourite songs, and the main reason why I want to go see Waitress!
  6. The Room Where It Happens-Hamilton-One of my favourite Hamilton songs!

So there we go, that was my Spring! What have you enjoyed most on my blog this Spring? What have you been up to? What are you looking forward to this Summer, books or anything else? Let me know in the comments!