Wednesday, 28 March 2018

READING WITH MY FOUR YEAR OLD | March


At the very end March, Alexander acquired three new books for his ever growing book collection. 

We do own the original Thomas the Tank Engine book series, however Alexander also really enjoys the modern adaptation - Thomas & Friends: Engine Adventures. The stories themselves draw inspiration from the original series, however the books focus on a specific character from the Island of Sodor. There are some additional books to the series, including seasonal offerings, but the books that focus on the one principal character seem to be most popular, and also what we're currently collecting.

Alexander has three new additions to his Thomas & Friends collection, which now totals at ten books. As pictured above, the new titles are Cranky, Diesel and Toby. The new books have been happily welcomed, with all three of them having been read already.

Related to this post, but not of the book haul itself, I was thinking about how I'm often sharing about Alexander's book collection but have never actually shown it... So here it is...


Side note: I was on an impromptu hiatus during the month of February, however I did share Alexander's picture book haul in the form of a tweet which you can see here.
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Monday, 26 March 2018

READING RECORD | Week 12


Each week I'll be sharing a reading record, kind of like a bookish diary, with some notes of my reading from the week before.

MONDAY 19TH MARCH
Much like last week, I'm beginning my week by finishing off the remaining pages in The Find-Outers series by Enid Blyton; this one being The Mystery of the Secret Room.

I read the first chapter of Silas Marner by George Eliot. With classics, I tend to need some good solid silence to read, and that definitely seems to be the case with this title. Silas Marner is the March book pick for a new online book club I've joined (#CrossingGenresBookClub).

Ending the night having read the first 30 pages (roughly 3 chapters) of The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters. Really enjoying the steady pace I'm making through this Enid Blyton boxset. 

TUESDAY 20TH MARCH
Began my day by picking up where I left off yesterday, and reading 55 pages of The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters.

In the evening I picked up a seasonal anthology (Spring) that I started a couple of weeks back on a day that felt truly spring like... Sadly that feeling didn't last for long when more snow soon followed it. Due to the weather, I hadn't picked this book up since then but today felt like the right time to return and read a few pages. The extract I started with actually spoke of snow making way for spring, so pretty apt really. Whilst reading another extract, I came across this quote that I quite liked...

'The natural world I observe is merciless, but it's a place where I feel happy to belong' - JO SINCLAIR

WEDNESDAY 21ST MARCH
No reading completed today... I did place a rather large online book order though.


THURSDAY 22ND MARCH
Started, and finished, Printer's Devil Court by Susan Hill. Although officially spring now, the day felt much the opposite - a bitter chill in the air & ominous skies - and I just knew I wanted to curl up with a good old ghost story in the evening.

When I feel like this, I tend to return to my tried and true favourite of The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, so I thought I'd switch things up this time and reread another supernatural short story of hers. I have a book that contains five of her ghost stories, and so I got my husband to pick which one I should read based off the titles.

Printer's Devil Court isn't one of my favourite Susan Hill ghost stories, not even top three if I'm being honest, but I enjoyed the reread and overall experience I was in the mood for.

FRIDAY 23RD MARCH
I continued with the fourth book in The Find-Outers series, getting through a good chunk of it.

SATURDAY 24TH MARCH
Finished reading the remainder of The Mystery of the Spiteful Letters.

Today I was off to the library on a solo trip. We regularly visit the library, however those of you who have had the pleasure of a library trip with young child in tow will know that it isn't always easy to look at books yourself. I've picked up a book here & there this year, but today I set aside the time to visit the library on my own - to browse at my own will and come home with a stack of books just for me. I spent over an hour at the library, and left with 6 books in my tote bag. The morning was topped off with getting a donut on the way home - yum!

Once home, I started one of the books I borrowed: The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories; a collection of short stories written by Agatha Christie. I read the first two stories within the book, and look forward to continuing with the others.

Before bed I started the fifth book in the Enid Blyton box set, finishing the first two chapters.

SUNDAY 25TH MARCH
Ending the week having completed The Mystery of the Missing Necklace; the fifth book from The Find-Outers series.

Happy reading!
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Thursday, 22 March 2018

Blog Posts I've Enjoyed Lately (7)


With so much content being shared within the community - bookish and otherwise - it is impossible to keep with everything (even your favourites sometimes!), so with no fixed regularity I'll be compiling a list of links sharing a number of blog posts I've enjoyed lately.

BOOKISH
The Book Report | Books About Honesty (picture books with an emphasis on honesty)
Reading In Winter | [Bookish Discussion] Reality Check: No One Cares! And Other Thoughts On Blogging (such honesty in this post - and something we could all do with hearing)
Bookishly Boisterous | All Apologies... No More (some interesting thoughts on book buying guilt & more)

BOOK REVIEWS
Always With A Book | Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney (really enjoyed this title myself)
The Bookish Libra | Review: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (I've included two reviews of this title... Can you tell I want to read this book?!)

NON-BOOKISH
Girlxoxo | 100 Days of Memory Keeping #The100DaysProject (not just memory keeping, but art in varying forms, the 100 Days Project begins April 3rd if you're interesting in getting involved)

Special mention to Christine from Buckling Bookshelves who also now shares these link love posts, stating inspiration from my series (thank you!) - you can find her most recent compilation here.

Happy perusing!
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Monday, 19 March 2018

READING RECORD | Week 11


Each week I'll be sharing a reading record (yep, missed a few but back with them now), kind of like a bookish diary, with some notes from my reading of the week before.

MONDAY 12TH MARCH
Starting the week by finishing the last 80ish pages of The Mystery of the Burnt Cottage, which is the first book in The Find-Outers series by Enid Blyton. 

I know Enid Blyton is a much loved author from the childhood of many, however to the best of my knowledge I never read Blyton in my youth. I'm not quite sure how that happened... But I've been rectifying that now as adult, having read the first book in The Magic Faraway Tree series (previously), and now beginning this new mystery series.

The series I'm reading of Enid Blyton's isn't her most well known - that title would likely go to The Famous Five or The Secret Seven - however it's the one I thought I would personally enjoy the most. Based on the first book alone, I'm keen to read more of this mystery middle grade series, and what's great is that I have the whole fifteen book boxset. 

TUESDAY 13TH MARCH
Ended the day on page 54 of Secret Lives by Diane Chamberlain, having read 30ish pages of the book throughout the day in two short separate intervals.

WEDNESDAY 14TH MARCH
Alexander and I began the day - after breakfast - with 30 minutes of reading time. We do this every so often, at least once a week, where we sit and read our individual books together. Alexander usually picks an activity type book during this time, with him today looking through a couple of books about animals where you also have to spot a number of things on each page. Knowing that this isn't exactly uninterrupted reading time for me, I typically pick a lighter / easy to read book, today opting for the second book in the Enid Blyton series I started on Monday - The Mystery of the Disappearing Cat. I managed to read 40 pages in total, and whilst this may not be my most productive reading time, I love it as a little bookish bonding time with my son.

Another 100 pages were read of the Enid Blyton title later on in the day.


THURSDAY 15TH MARCH
No reading.

FRIDAY 16TH MARCH
Some morning reading resulted in me finishing The Mystery of the Disappearing Cat by Enid Blyton.

I also read a little more of Secret Lives by Diane Chamberlain in the evening. I am enjoying this title, but finding myself working through it at a very slow pace - the mystery holds me and I'm intrigued to see where the story goes. It is interesting reading an earlier novel of an author whose work you've read more recent releases of.

SATURDAY 17TH MARCH
Today was quite a busy one, and so no reading was completed.

SUNDAY 18TH MARCH
We awoke to a snow strewn landscape today, and I knew I wanted to spend a good portion of my day snuggled under a blanket with a book in hand - the perfect snow day activity. I started the third book in The Find-Outers series: The Mystery of the Secret Room. Although I had hopes of finishing it in the one day, I totalled 154 pages being read; 60ish off of finishing the book.

Happy reading!
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Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon


BLURB
Lux is a single mom struggling to make her way when she discovers an idyllic community in the Sonoma Valley. It seems like a place from another time until she realizes it actually is.

Lux must keep one foot in her world, raising her son as well as she can with the odds stacked against her, but every day she is more strongly drawn in by the sweet simplicity of life in Greengage, and by the irresistible connection she feels with a man born decades before her. Soon she finds herself torn between her ties to the modern world, her adored son and the first place she has ever felt truly at home.

THOUGHTS
I picked this book up from my local library, with the cover picture catching my eye, the blurb drawing me in, and the fact that it stated that readers who loved The Time Traveler's Wife would love this title is what led me to leave the library with this book in tow. The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my all time favourite books (I've lost count how many times I've reread it) and, in this instance, the comparison was definitely valid.
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One of the first things that I noted when delving into Valley of the Moon was the depth to the writing - the detail in the time periods (1906 + 1970's and beyond), the build up of characters, and the emotion injected into the narrative. There is a richness to the writing that I can't quite put in to words.

I think what allowed me to feel a connection with this book, and the character of Lux, was how as a reader we were able to follow her journey and life path. With each turning page, her story evolved and we see her blossom as a person - in part, thanks to her stumbling upon the Greengage community, and in turn, Joseph.
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Lux's story is a really powerful one, with the author tackling some difficult themes, especially those pertaining to parenthood: prejudices faced being a single parent, the hard side to parenting, the intricacies of shifting parent-child relationships and more.
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The relationships that surround the main character, Lux, are not perfect, with dynamics being problematic at times - especially when it comes to parental responsibility and her own relationship with her parents - however the way in which they are depicted is flawless. The relationships, in varying forms, is one of the reasons I loved this book so much.
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Greengage is a community, a very forward thinking community, stuck in time - literally. The community itself was founded by Joseph, and although he is a prominent figure in the progressing plot, I feel like we really got a sense of all the inhabitants within the community - and how events affected them.
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The ending was just perfect, kind of heart breaking, but perfect.
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Typically I'm not one for science fiction books, however the exception to that would be books with the theme of time travel... Not just any time travel books though, ones that specifically deal with relationships (romantic or not) alongside the time travel element. There is just something about that mash up that I really like to read.
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Initially borrowed from the library, I fully intend to get a copy of Valley of the Moon for my own book collection.
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Saturday, 10 March 2018

Back From Hiatus


It has been a while since I posted here on my book blog - well over a month - and whilst initially I didn't intend to take a full on hiatus from my bookish corner, a feeling of disconnect followed by a mini blogging break soon turned into one. 

Something wasn't sitting right with me and Reading with Jade; my inspiration & content slowed, and I felt so unmotivated to be a part of the book community - not only was I not posting, but I wasn't keeping up with blogs and I was seldom reading too. Having been so inspired at the start of the year, with new content ideas and passion, this slump stumped me in many ways... Until I stepped back and assessed that is.

My greatest hobby (books) and all it encompasses for me (including blogging & writing) had come a source of stress and overwhelm, largely induced by myself. This is nothing new in the book community, and definitely nothing new here on my blog. I was determined to bring that joy back however, even if that meant stepping back for a while.

Returning to reading and my book blog, I knew changes needed to be implemented in order to not feel this way again. I've decided to make three main changes going forward with my book blog... 

1. I am no longer accepting books for review from outside sources
2. I won't be (& haven't been) tracking my reading on Goodreads anymore
3. The format of my book reviews will be changing

BOOKS FOR REVIEW
One of the many privileges of being a book blogger is review books - I have always been incredibly grateful when contacted by a publisher, independent author, or approved for a book on Netgalley - however I will no longer be accepting review books of any kind, including taking part in blog tours. Being provided a book for free, whether with a commitment attached or not, leaves me feeling obligated regardless; I can't help that. That in turn adds an element to blogging that I don't want - pressure. For me blogging is fun; coming here and talking books with other like minded readers is something I enjoy, a hobby, and I've come to learn that having books for review takes that away for me personally. I don't want to feel obligated to read something, or review something, or share a blog post - I do those things because I want to.

GOODREADS
I don't know about those of you who track your reading via Goodreads, but I have had so many problems with it for many, many months to the point that I just stopped adding books... I would go on the website and be annoyed because of a formatting issue or some other difficulty with adding books. I know that is such a little thing (a first world problem many would say), but it was also a stress - I like to know what I've been reading for many reasons and tracking via Goodreads was just no longer working for me. I now track my reading with pen & paper and will be continuing with my new 'Reading Record' series.

BOOK REVIEW FORMAT
Talking about books, especially those that I've come away loving, is one of my favourite things about the book community, however writing (coherent) book reviews doesn't seem to come easy to me. I still want to share my thoughts on books, and so from here on out my reviews are going to be more like little notes & snippets as opposed to a paragraphed review all laid out and well formatted. 

I'm aware I could have made these changes without updating and simply just returned implementing them, however I want to keep regular readers in the loop - you take the time to read my words and so I'll continue to share in an honest and open manner. Essentially, my role as a book blogger was causing unnecessary strain and pressure on my (already fragile) mental health, and so I took a step back, returning in a good head space: feeling refreshed and ready to share once more.

I'm happy to be back here in the book community and definitely won't be leaving long term (I've been updating Twitter throughout this hiatus)... I've also really enjoyed sitting down to write this post. I've missed blogging. I've missed my little community - and am ever grateful for your continued support!

Tell me, what have you been up to lately? And, of course, what are you currently reading?
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