Thursday, 31 March 2016

March Wrap Up

Vivatramp | How To Organise Your Reading in 2016 (some really great tips included)

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Reread Thoughts | Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult

Note | This is not a review, this is a few jotted thoughts.
I own a fair few Jodi Picoult novels, and of all of them, I don't ever recall rereading Plain Truth despite it being a favourite of her works. When I heard about the Re-Readathon, I knew a Jodi Picoult novel was sure to be on my TBR, and it just made sense to make it one of her books I had yet to reread.
Going in to Plain Truth, I knew that the plot centred on an Amish girl accused of murdering her newborn baby, but I honestly didn't recall much more than that. You see, that's why I reread; I'm not so good on the finer details of plots. Whilst my thoughts were correct, that is the main focus of Plain Truth, there is a lot more going on than just an impending trial - although it is the upcoming trial that keeps you on tenterhooks paging turning. Having said that, it was the trial, well result of the trial, that bumped Plain Truth to a four star read, as opposed to a five, as I felt like there was a lot more that could have been done there regarding the outcome, especially after the build up. The overall ending of Plain Truth was perfectly executed however.
In typical Jodi Picoult fashion, Plain Truth is well researched and there is thorough detail placed in the focal subject - in this case, the Amish. When I first read Plain Truth, I knew very little about the Amish as there aren't any here in the UK, and it is actually this book that spawned an intrigue in the community. I remember spending so much time looking in to things regarding the Amish and watching documentaries too. I'm a very nosy person, and I'm always fascinated and keen to learn more when it comes to people living differently to the way in which I do. Not necessarily just religions, but if someone were to live in a different country, or to parent a different way etc.
As with many other well written realistic fiction novels, you easily put yourself in the place of many of the characters within Plain Truth, and find yourself on quite the rollercoaster ride.
Going in to the Re-Readathon, I knew Jodi Picoult would be a good shout, especially for the first book from my TBR, but I have learnt something from Plain Truth that I've suspected for while - I much prefer Jodi Picoult's earlier work that typically ends up in a courtroom scenario.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Re-Readathon Update Post

The next ten days here on Reading with Jade are going to be taken over with Re-Readathon posts - I know they won't be everyone's cup of tea, and that's why I'm just making it known now.
This post will be my master post of sorts; I'm hoping to update daily here as a way of recording my progress throughout the ten day event. There are a number of challenges that are also attached to the event which you can find here. I'm aiming to take part in the events, with a separate post for the Nostalgia challenge and taking the Instagram challenge to my Twitter (I will also add my picture for each day here when I update). I'm also hoping to share individual posts, as and when I finish a book from my TBR, with a few of my thoughts on the re-read.
Monday 21st
As of 8.00pm, I've read 150 pages of Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult. I'm hoping to get a little more reading done this evening, having managed just a couple of hours so far today, but I'll update tomorrow regarding the number of pages I end the day on - it's not likely to be that much more than 150 though.

I ended Monday having read 212 pages.

See above.

Tuesday 22nd
By 7.00pm I had finished my first book of the re-readathon! I've read 451 pages in total so far, with 239 of those being today. I can't even recall the last time I've read a book in two days straight, much less a book I enjoyed greatly. I'll be sharing a review of sorts on Plain Truth in the next couple of days. I'm hoping to make a start on my next read before the night ends - I'll update on that tomorrow.

I ended up starting the second book in the collection of ghost stories by Susan Hill, however I only read 20ish pages.



Wednesday 23rd
Y'know, I haven't really been feeling reading today - especially not on as grand a scale as the previous two days. If it weren't for the readathon, I would have just left reading anything today at all, but I wanted to do 'something' and so I've jumped back in to my audiobook of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. This book wasn't on my TBR for the event, but it is a re-read I've been working on so am counting towards the event. Prior to my listening today I was at 27% in the audio version. As of 4.30pm, I'm at 43%. I do intend to listen to a bit more today, perhaps whilst puzzling later on tonight, and as with all other days, I will update on that tomorrow.

I didn't actually listen to any of my audiobook whilst puzzling last night - I watched Bates Motel instead.

Thursday 24th
Now that I'm getting further in to the readathon, I'm thinking separate update posts would've been a good idea because this is getting lengthy. Ah well!!
I've diverted from my TBR! I really wanted to stick with what I had picked, and being quite the mood reader I tried to pick variety, but today I tried starting I Capture The Castle, and Room, but I just wasn't in to either of them. I've continued with Susan Hill's ghost stories, but I'm using them as a stop gap between reads, so having finished Dolly within the collection I was looking to start another book. I've returned to Jodi Picoult - I enjoyed my reread of Plain Truth that much! I'm working on Nineteen Minutes, my absolute favourite of her novels, so it'll be interesting to see my thoughts afterwards.


Easter Weekend (Friday - Mon)
I knew I wouldn't be writing daily updates here over the long easter weekend, but I did however expect to do a little more reading than I actually did. I'm not too fussed that I didn't read as much as anticipated because I spent a good deal of time with family, which is indeed more important than reading.
On Friday and Saturday I did very little reading at all. On Sunday I finished the next short story within Susan Hill's collection of ghost stories and today, Monday, I have finished the fourth story within the collection. In total that works out to be a little more than 110 pages.
My aims now, with just a couple of rereading days left, is to complete the collection of ghost stories - there is just one story left which totals at 85 pages, and very much doable. Although my TBR altered a little, and I hoped to read a little more of Jodi Picoult's older work, I'd be happy ending my re-readathon experience with just two books from my TBR complete.

Wednesday 30th
I'm ending the Re-readathon as I expected, having finished two books from my original TBR - Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult and the collection of ghost stories by Susan Hill.


The Re-Readathon is hosted by Bex over at An Armchair By The Sea

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts | 006

One | On Monday evening I just had this urge to reorganise my bookshelves. I don't really know where it came from there and then, but for a while I've been feeling uninspired by my shelves. I don't know about you, but for me, my bookshelves are so much more than a place to house my books. I can't really put it in to words properly, but I do think my shelves have played a part in my lack of enthusiasm when it comes to reading of late. My organisation is still following the same general principle, but I'd say they're more visually pleasing now.
Two | This month with my Audible credit I actually stepped away from the Harry Potter series and purchased the first in the Women's Murder Club series by James Patterson. The series was recommended to me twice when I asked for audiobook recs recently, and I've been wanting to give James Patterson's writing a go for the longest time. So far I'm really enjoying it, and I'll definitely continue with the series.
Three | Other than the above mentioned audiobook, I haven't purchased a book for myself in over a month. That doesn't seem like a long time, but for me, that's pretty good going. I'm currently working on not buying books every month - something that's been a bit of a habit for a while now - as well as make better use of my local library. Currently only the first of those two aims is being worked on because before I start borrowing from the library again I want to make more of a dent in my own unread books.
Four | Although I haven't been purchasing books for my own collection, Alexander's book collection has grown a little. Thomas the Tank Engine is one of his new favourite things and so a number of those books have made their way in to the house. Alexander absolutely loves them - they've been well read already!
Five | This week I've tasked myself with completing The Chronicles of Narnia series. At the start of the week I had read four of the seven books... But I felt like I was lagging with the series as I wasn't reading it as a primary book and sometimes taking a week or so to read a book that is typically less than 200 pages. I'm not the fastest of readers, but that's slow going even for me. By making the series my focus this week I'm hoping for my travels in Narnia to be completed before the week is out.
Six | Whether I'm able to finish the entire Narnia series before the week is finished or not, I'll be starting the coming week with a fresh book. Monday 21st marks the first day of the Re-Readathon and so I'll be delving in to one of the three books I've picked to give a re-read.. As of right now, I'm thinking of starting with Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult, but we'll see how I feel come Monday.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

25 Bookish Facts About Me

I've been seeing this feature of bookish facts going around the book community on YouTube of late and thought it'd be fun to bring it here on Reading With Jade.
One | I have a reading comfort zone, but I do try to read a wide variety of fiction.

Two | My comfort zone consists largely of 'darker' reads - crime, thrillers, ghost stories etc.

Three | I prefer paperbacks over hardbacks.

Four | I really don't like dust jackets. If I'm reading a hardback with a dust jacket, that'll be coming off because I just can't read with them on.

Five | Whilst I don't care one bit if I break the spine of a book, I'm really not keen on writing in books.

Six | My most owned author is Roald Dahl, closely followed by Cecelia Ahern.

Seven | I tend to read in the evening, and probably do most of my reading in the bath... I realise that sounds a tad weird, but I think it's pretty common.

Eight | I do not own any signed editions, nor do I have any desire to. I understand why signed editions are popular and much loved by their owners, but for me, having the signature of said author on the book doesn't increase the value of that book in my mind.

Nine | I'm a big re-reader.

Ten | Following on from that, I only keep books that I see myself re-reading one day.

Eleven | I have a whole shelf of books from my own collection that I'm keeping to share with my son when he is older.

Twelve | As of this year, 2016, I've started getting in to audiobooks.

Thirteen | Although I listen to audiobooks, and own an e-reader, my preferred way to read is with a physical book.

Fourteen | You know what I miss - mobile libraries. Were those a thing where you live? The mobile library was a huge part of my childhood.

Fifteen | Reading with my son is one of my favourite things to do.

Sixteen | I'm one of those people who refuses to pick a favourite author.

Seventeen | If I had to, I could pick a favourite character though - Sherlock Holmes.

Eighteen | My all time favourite series is Harry Potter - hands down. However, I have no interest in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Nineteen | I have a terrible memory, and it is that that first spawned me joining the book blogging community. I love sharing about what I've read, and discovering new to me bloggers and authors, but the reviews are quite important for me when it comes to looking back.

Twenty | Book to movie adaptations always make me a little nervous to watch, especially if I loved the book. As of right now, Still Alice is my favourite book to movie adaptation.

Twenty One | Coincidently, a lot of my favourite films seem to have been adapted from books, but in those cases I've seen the film first before reading the book. I have this notion that I'd like to read all the books they've been adapted from one day, but I don't actually think I will. I really dislike when the movie is better than the book... And being quite a visual person, if I see the film first, there's a high chance that'll be the case.

Twenty Two | I used to be a big library user... I've slowly gotten away from that - for a multitude of reasons - but I'm taking steps to return to my reading roots.

Twenty Three | The atmosphere felt when wandering a bookshop is pretty indescribable.  

Twenty Four | We all read for different reasons - reading for me would be considered 'escapism'. I love to be taken away by books and encounter people and places I perhaps otherwise wouldn't in my day to day life.
Twenty Five | Reading With Jade isn't my first book blog, but it is definitely my last - I feel very settled here with my little bookish community.
Speaking of community, I don't want this post to be just about me. You know I love comments, so be sure to share some bookish facts about you in the comments!!

Sunday, 13 March 2016

1000 Animals

1000 Animals, published by Usborne, is one of those 'the title says it all' books.
Inside this sturdy board book you'll find 20+ pages featuring 1000 individual animals, categorised in a variety of ways ranging from habitat to species and more. Some of the categories you'll find include - Monkeys and apes, Arctic animals, Flying insects, On the farm, All kinds of birds, Spots and stripes, Slithering snakes, Under the sea and so much more!!
Each page features a vast number of animals, all illustrated with the animals name underneath. This isn't a simple book by any means; the animals are detailed and varied with specific names. You won't find an owl, or wolf, or bear, or snake in 1000 Animals; you'll find a snowy owl, an Ethiopian wolf, a sloth bear, a blue coral snake. My son is picking up on so many animals from this book - large and small - and I won't lie, I've even learnt a thing or two!

Children's books with an emphasis on animals often feature the animal in their natural habits, with background locations, however that isn't the case with 1000 Animals - for the most part, the animals are all on a white background. I realise that could sound a little boring, but that definitely isn't the case. I think the lack of background means little distraction, which in turn means more focus on the animals themselves.
I've previously talked about my love of Usborne books, and how I (and toddler) enjoy the way in which they combine fun with education, and 1000 Animals is no different. Although aimed at a slightly older child than my own - my son is 2 and the target age is 4+ - I think this would be a staple book in any child's collection. As of late, toddler is picking up this book at least once a day to flick through and I see it being a book of choice for quite some time to come.
As well as 1000 Animals, Usborne also have a couple of other books in the '1000 picture' range including 1000 Things That Go and 1000 Things To Eat as well a whole of bunch of sticker books too!

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts | 005

One | I've decided to try and learn a language - Welsh. If you didn't already know, I'm a Londoner who has settled down in Wales (South Wales to be specific). English is widely spoken here in Wales, but Welsh is used in a variety of ways. I feel like having a basic grasp of the Welsh language would be a great ability to possess now that Wales is my home. I haven't learnt a language in over 10 years, and I've certainly never self taught myself a language, so we'll see how this goes!
Two | Recently I devised a new system in which to keep check of my book wishlist. I know we all have preferred ways to do things, but when it comes to lists I'm very much a pen and paper kind of person. Previously I had always just noted down books that were of interest to me and that was that. Every now and then I'd refer to the list when buying books but that was about as much use as it got. I felt like it needed a little more purpose. The new system that I've devised means that at a glance I can see all the books on my wishlist, know whether they're available to borrow from my local library, and see as and when I've read a book from the list. Devising the new system was fun, but also beneficial because I decreased the amount of books on my wishlist.
Three | I've been giving my wardrobe a bit of an update lately. I'm very much a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl nowadays, and with a minimal wardrobe things are bound to need an update every now and then. One area that needed some serious attention was my jeans. I purchased a couple of new pairs of jeans from GAP, and I'd forgotten how much I love them!

Four | Adult colouring books are still very much a 'thing' right now, and I'm one of the many who enjoy wiling away some time colouring. I have tasked myself with completing at least one full colouring book this year, because last year I bought quite a few and still have yet to complete one in its entirety. I've finished three new pictures recently and feel like I'm on my way to achieving that goal.

Five | Although we don't own a TV, overall we're big film watchers in the our household. Lately we've been watching Up and Cinderella quite regularly - those are two of my favourite films, and despite having quite a large DVD collection, they also seem to be two films Alexander gravitates towards often. I don't know... I just love sharing favourites with my little one :-) And discovering what he does and doesn't like.

Six | If you're reading this post around the time of it be scheduled (Thursday afternoon), you'll find me and toddler at a new toddler group. Not your average toddler group however. We've finally got a slot in Chatterbox - a play group for children who have delays in speech. I mentioned previously about taking Alexander for a speech therapy assessment, and although he is behind in his speech, she didn't feel like he needed therapy at the time. The only reason we went for the speech therapy assessment was because it was taking quite a while to get a slot in Chatterbox - we approached our health visitor in November and just got the slot in March. That doesn't seem like that long of a time period, but when it's a matter of your child's speech and progress, it kind of is a long time. I understand there are limited resources; the above isn't me moaning, just explaining the route we've gone down. Hopefully the Chatterbox group is going to help out... Alexander is progressing with his speech daily, but is still considered as being very much behind.

Seven | On Saturday we did a trial run of the walk that we'll make each week to Chatterbox, and my gosh it is pretty exhausting! The walk itself isn't too long but it's full of hills which are never fun when pushing a toddler. I'm hoping it'll help me in my pursuit of getting fit. Haha!

Eight | It's kind of shameful to admit, but if you read my last Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts post you'll know I had some reviews I wanted to catch up on after reading but reviewing barely anything in Feb.  Well... I tried to write reviews, and I don't know if it's because so long had passed since the reading process, or if it was because I hadn't written a review in a good couple of weeks, or a combination of both, but the words just didn't flow like they used to. I attempted to write a couple of different reviews and each time I was met with the same issue, so I've just decided not to review those books. I didn't want my thoughts to be forced and not fully focused, so that seemed like the best idea.

I feel like I've been Chatty McChat Chat in today's post.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

The Marvels by Brian Selznick

| Title: The Marvels | Author: Brian Selznick | Publisher: Scholastic |
| Purchase Links: Waterstones | Amazon UK | Amazon US | The Book Depository |

I was first introduced to Brian Selznick's style of storytelling after being given The Invention of Hugo Cabret as a gift a couple of years ago. I loved the way in which the author weaved together word and drawing so seamlessly, and the same can be said for The Marvels.
Opening up The Marvels is an illustrated story; purely illustrated. Set in 1766, the unfolding story spans a vast number of years as we follow the journey of the Marvel family. From a shipwreck to the theatre, we meet five generations of Marvels - a well known acting family. This story in itself is pretty fascinating, and Brian Selznick has done the most amazing job of conveying this story in the form of drawings; there is so much detail to be found on each and every page.
As the story of the Marvel family ends on a cliff hanger, we then move on to part two of The Marvels. The second story, set in the early 1990's, features Joseph, a young boy who has run away from boarding school and is looking to be put up by his estranged uncle for a while. After an abrupt meeting with his Uncle Albert, Joseph is drawn in to a world of mystery and imagination.
The Marvels is a book steeped in creativity, from the formatting to the plot, there is the theme of imagination and storytelling throughout.
The overall plot of the book is light and yet layered at the same time - I think the story itself is very much driven by the characters. They are well developed, in both parts of the book, with main protagonist Joseph really drawing the reader in. Given that The Marvels is a middle grade book, I think Joseph is the kind of character many children could relate to; he feels misunderstood, often not listened to by his parents, is full of curiosity and always up to mischief.
The relationships within this book are diverse and dynamic, making them feel true to life. From brothers Billy and Marcus, to the rocky start between Joseph and his uncle and even the bond that forms between Joseph and neighbour Frankie, they are well written and authentically portrayed.
Although the book may feel a little light in weight (not physically - it's a chunkster!), I think it's made up for it in sentiment and tenderness. I haven't touched upon how the two parts are connected in my review, as that is best to be discovered as you read, but I really like that there is a back story to the story told by Brian Selznick - The Marvels is one of those books that you need to read the 'Afterword' of.
The Marvels isn't just beautiful on the outside - that cover is pretty captivating - but on the inside too.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Re-Readathon #3 Sign Up + Goals

If you're familiar with my blog, you'll know I'm a big fan of re-reading. I love returning to tried and true titles; delving in to the comfort and joy of a well loved book. I know re-reading isn't for everyone, but the number one thing I encounter when mentioning re-reading is 'how can you read the same book multiple times?'. With every re-read of a book, I get a whole new experience out of it. It's like checking in with an old friend that you haven't heard from for a while - a treasured encounter.
Although I love re-reading, I feel like I haven't done much of it in a while. So when I stumbled upon Re-Readathon #3 via a tweet, it couldn't have come at a better time! Hosted by Bex over at An Armchair By The Sea, the event will take place March 21st - 30th, with signs up open now - go join!!
This is my official sign up for the Re-Readathon, and so I thought I'd share a couple of goals here. The event itself isn't very strict or confined, there aren't really many rules as such, all you've got to do is re-read. You don't have to commit to only re-reading for that 10 day period, but to pick up some old favourites here and there.
Personally, I think I'll spend the entire 10 days re-reading.
I've had a little look over my shelves and have picked a couple of titles that I hope to return to during the readathon.
I picked this book up off my shelves not too long ago, and so far have got round to reading just the one story - The Woman in Black. The bind up contains five ghost stories written by Susan Hill, all of which I've read before. I'm revisiting them because last year I switched my individual editions to this bind up, and I can't add an unread book to my regular shelves until it's been read. Also, at the start of February we were experiencing the kind of wind howling, rain falling weather that felt fitting of a ghost story.
I've read this book a couple of times now and each time I fall in love with it a little more. It's kind of a whimsical story, but I think that's what I love about it!
For a long time Jodi Picoult was an auto-buy author of mine, but sometime over the years we lost that connection; I don't know if it was her writing, or my reading. Anyway, I no longer have an entire collection of her works. When decluttering last year, I decided to break up the collection that I did have, and only kept the books that I truly loved and thought I'd re-read (that's kind of the policy I have for my entire book collection now). I haven't re-read Plain Truth since I first read it, I don't believe, and so what better time to revisit the story.
Also, if possible, although unlikely, I'd like to pick up Room by Emma Donoghue too. With the film out now, and a lot of people picking up the book, I kind of want to delve in again. I mean, it's highly unlikely because I think I'm already being ambitious with the above titles, but we shall see.
I've linked all of these book titles to Goodreads in case you're interested in reading a little more about the books themselves.
I'm super excited to be a part of this event! If you're interested in signing up for Re-Readathon #3, you can find all the information here.


Tuesday, 1 March 2016

February Wrap Up

Physical Books
These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf
Animalium (Welcome To The Museum) by Jenny Broom & Katie Scott
The Art of Rise of the Guardians by Ramin Zahed
The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
The Woman in Black by Susan Hill (as part of a ghost story bind up)
The Art of Up by Tim Hauser
A Suspension of Mercy by Patricia Highsmith

My Reading
These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

Toddler's Books
Valentine's Day Books For Toddlers

The Art of Rise of the Guardians by Ramin Zahed
The Art of Up by Tim Hauser
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (audiobook)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (audiobook)

Girl With Her Head In A Book | Top Ten Illustrations To Have Around The Home
Girlxoxo | 3 Favorite Newly Released Books
Buckling Bookshelves | A New Year's Bookshelf Clean-Out + Where To Donate Books (this post inspired me to cull my shelves a little )
West Metro Mommy Reads | How I Became An eBook Reader
Word Revel | Bookstagram 101: Ten Photo Editing Apps
Epic Reads | Everything You Need To Remember (But Forgot) About Red Queen
Paper Fury | Do You Even Like Character Descriptions?
Library Huntress | Will Not Posting Every Day Kill Your Blog?
Twirling Pages | How Do You Define Your Well-Loved Books?
Bookishly Boisterous | Your Own Friend? (a thought provoking non book related post)
Readerbuzz | 100 Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up
Bookishly Boisterous | What 'Us' Made Me Ponder (I love a book that gets you thinking - I have Us on my TBR)
The Quiet People | Does A Bad Ending Spoil A Book For You?
Library Huntress | The Forgotten Books (books published in the '70s, '80s and '90s)
Pop! Goes The Reader | Pop! Goes The Print Shop Is Open For Business (so many cute quotes and prints in this new society6 store)
The Quiet People | How To Read Classic Literature
Girlxoxo | March #BookBlogger Events

In the month of February, Book Blogger Appreciation Week took place, and I participated in the event. There were so many great posts shared during the five day event and it would be a real lengthy post if I shared all my favourites here, but if you'd like to check any of those out then you can visit the prompts on The Estella Society.

Happy March!
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