Book hangovers

So recently I finished the amazing and brilliant A Court of Wings and Ruin and it has given me a MASSIVE book hangover and it got me thinking – do I love or hate book hangovers?

And the answer is both. I truly love reading a book that has captivated my attention so much that I am wholly invested in the characters and storyline so that when it comes to an end, it’s like losing something beautiful.

But then I alsoΒ hate book hangovers because I can’t think about any other book for ages and the prospect of just picking up another book is incomprehensible! I did it last year (after reading A Court of Mist and Fury, coincidentally) – I picked up another book to read after having reading ACOMAF in two days and then rereading it in one. However that was not the right choice because that book paled in comparison which perhaps didn’t reflect my true feelings on the story because, in my state of book hangover, nothing would be as good as the book I had just read.

So I learnt my lesson. Any book that gives me a hangover, I will reread it again slowly and give myself time to get over it at my own pace. There’s no point forcing yourself to read another book, maybe just to get closer to that goodreads goal, because your heart doesn’t want it! It just wants to cling to the book you just read, be apart of it and not say goodbye to the characters or places just yet.

It’s a bittersweet upon finishing a book you’ve waited months for, and there’s always that struggle of wanting to devour it in one go, but also wanting to make it last because you know the more you read, the closer you are to the end of the story.

So give yourself time. Reread that book again, write down your favourite quotes, chat to people about it. Book hangovers mean you’ve read a truly awesome book that will stay with you for a long time, but they also sit heavy on you for days and whilst your mind is refusing to let go of that story, just let it. Time is the best cure for a book hangover – and maybe another reread πŸ˜‰

What do you do to get over book hangovers?

Jo x

Rereading books and the joy it brings

I just reread The Wrath and the Dawn by RenΓ©e Ahdieh and I loved it! I forgot so much of what happened besides really significant moments or a few scenes I remember here and there, however I totally didn’t remember the writing being this amazing and the story-telling so beautiful! I looked back on my Goodreads and read through my review (the first one I did on Goodreads) and I raved about it! I read the book in just two days when I first read it and it’s taken only a few days to read it a second time.

I love rereading books because it transports you back to that world you fell in love with and the writing you enjoyed so much. You get to meet some of your favourite characters again as well just take some time to read something familiar and comforting, knowing you’ll love it just as much as you did the first time.

Also, you don’t realise just how much you forget when you haven’t read that book in a while! I did a reread of the Throne of Glass series before I read Empire of Storms last August and I had totally forgotten so much; I even forgot some of the characters that popped up later on in the series. Rereading means you can fall into that land of magic and experience it all over again. It will never be the same as when you read something for the first time, but rereading brings its own unique kind of joy that’s an echo of an embrace as the story wraps itself around you and brings you back, ready for you to lose yourself in its words and magic.

I don’t reread enough, I tend to only do it when I am about to read a sequel and I want the story to be fresh in my mind so I’m not left wondering how the last book ended or who the characters are. I definitely need to set aside time every few months to do a reread because it’s amazing to revisit the worlds and characters I love so much.

Are there any books you want to reread?

Jo x

Books and hype

Some books are hypedΒ so much pre-release but also after their release when the reviews come flooding in with 4 or 5 stars but what really disappoints me is when the book doesn’t live up to the hype. Is hype good for books and their promotion or not?

I love hype – I get so excited for the release of a book I’m looking forward to or I can’t wait to receive my book in the post after seeing the hype over it and deciding to give in and order it. But sometimes books are hyped too much that when you come to read it, you’re left feeling dissatisfied and maybe a little bit cheated – where was the book everyone was raving about?

Does the hype sometimes set the book in a different light so that you read it already swayed towards thinking about it in a certain way, or is the book actually just not that good for you? When I finish a book that was hyped about a lot and it wasn’t that good, I don’t know whether it’s because it doesn’t live up to the hype or whether it’s been hyped so much that I had expectations that were hard to meet. So is my review and rating actually what I think or how I’ve been led to feel following the disappoint of the book not living up to the hype?

And how do you feel after finishing a book that had so much hype about it when it wasn’t that good? Disappointed? Annoyed? It certainly must be a good thing for a book to have so much hype about it – more sales, more people recommending/reading it as well as the author getting more and more well known. But the hype can also be bad if people are left feeling like it didn’t meet expectations and so they’re more likely to be a bit tougher with their review.

I’ve certainly read books that I was excited to read after all the hype over it and found myself more irritated for wasting my time over something that wasn’t as great as it was made out to be. So does this mean my reviews are a true reflection over the book or is it circumstantial? Reviews and ratings should be taken seriously, but it must be remembered that if you read a book at a different time, the rating could easily be one star more or less.

And what do you do if you’re not enjoying a book that you bought due to the hype – carry on reading? I tend to always give it a good go and I rarely fail to finish a book, but sometimes I know that I won’t read this book again, or indeed get the sequel, so I try to get through to the end since I bought the book.

Hype is both a good and bad thing, but I think it’s more of a good thing than bad. After all, even though I didn’t enjoy the book, I still bought it and read it didn’t I so it’s always good for sales and getting more people reading it.

Which books have you read that didn’t live up to the hype for you, and would you still recommend them even if you didn’t enjoy them?

The Cursed Child book review/discussion

by Jack Thorne (2016)Β Image result for starImage result for star

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This book review will be a little bit different from my normal reviews because I have very conflicted feelings for this book – ahem, script – and I just don’t know how I feel about this story.

Harry Potter. Seven magnificent books and eight amazing films. Can it get any better? Maybe, maybe not but I am a believer of going out on a high and if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it. Yes we’d all love for certain series to carry on going or wish they had done just one more seriesΒ orΒ one more book.Β HP and the Deathly Hallows was perfect – some characters died yes, but it made it all the more real and in the end Harry defeated Voldemort and all was well.

ALL WAS WELL.

The last two lines of the book were: ‘The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.’

Just saying, those were two beautiful and perfect lines.

The Cursed Child is set 22 years later and after a few quick scenes of Albus getting on the train to Hogwarts, meeting Scorpius and another few snippets of his life in his first few years at Hogwarts, the story settles on Albus in his fourth year at Hogwarts and a rift is growing between him and his father. Harry and Albus don’t get on and the story shows their relationship struggle and Albus get into a considerable amount of trouble, supposedly because of this.

So far, I’m hopeful for the story. I’m thinking it will be interesting to read about the trio grown up because I loved the ‘nineteen years later’ bit at the end of Deathly Hallows where we learnt what became of them, so I was intrigued to see what jobs they had and if we’d see more of Draco, Neville and the other Weasley’s etc.

I was wrong. The entire story is based on just Albus and Scorpius happens to be there, so we see only Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione and Draco with the odd appearance of Professor McGonagall.

Amos Diggory makes a random and unexpected appearance and it’s from here the story takes a very unanticipated direction.

I warn you now that spoilers will be mentioned from here on so don’t read if you don’t want to see them!

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(River Song in this gif perfectly demonstrates how I felt after reading this book.)

The story is essentially Albus wanting to bring back Cedric because he only died as he was in association with Harry and Albus blames Harry for his death (because I’m sure Cedric meant a lot to Albus, having met him only… never).

So off Albus goes to get a timeturner that the Ministry found (bringing them back after they were all destroyed are we?) and we see him take Polyjuice potion to get into the Ministry (because that hasn’t been done before) in order to retrieve the timeturner and him and Scorpius travel in time back to the Triwizard Tournament.

They decide to sabotage the tasks so Cedric will lose and ultimately fall out of the competition so he can survive and Amos can have his son back. You know, I was really taken aback by how much these boys care about Amos having met him only once and how much they desired to bring back his son. It works, and they go back to the future where Ron and Hermione haven’t married and they’ve messed up the future just a little bit.

But that’s not enough, so they go back to mess it up even more and before you know it, there’s a Voldemort Day and Harry lost the Battle of Hogwarts and Albus doesn’t exist and basically they have just totally screwed everything up, and for what? To get Cedric back? Don’t they know that time cannot be tampered with??

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Scorpius is left to clean up Albus’ mess and we see a little appearance from Snape (which, I admit was quite nice) and he helps correct the whole thing and we are back in the present with everything all normal again. Yay!

But then Harry’s scar hurts AGAIN because Scorpius kept the timeturner he said he had lost so he and Albus can destroy it because they ‘don’t trust the Ministry’.

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DESTROY THE BLOODY THING!

Here’s where Delphi comes in because she was sort of random and irrelevant for the first bit of the story – a character invented to just annoy the hell out of everyone because she has nothing to do with anything but oh is apparently Voldemort’s daughter.

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I’m losing the will to live now.

Voldemort and Bellatrix had a daughter (gross) and it’s name is Delphi and all she wants to do is bring back Voldemort.

Oh great, another weird plot twist of a child and father messing things up because that’s what this book lacks.

So she grabs the timeturner and travels back to the day it all started – 31st October 1981 with the aim of stopping Voldemort from killing Harry. Everyone else goes back in time with ANOTHER BLOODY TIMETURNER THAT WASN’T DESTROYED and they solve everything.

Back to the present and everyone is alive who should be. Harry takes Albus to Cedric’s grave because apparently he goes every year because THIS is the death he cares the deepest about – not Lupin, Tonks, Fred or Dobby – all of which he sort of caused by not going to find out Voldemort in the forest sooner (obviously none of them are his fault because it’s the killer whose fault it is, but still he surely has more of a weight in their deaths than Cedric’s???) but Cedric, when all he did was offer to win the cup together having no idea that it was a portkey, is the death that affects him the most.

Cue end of script.

Well thank god that’s over.

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I just can’t.

The story was not good at all. It used so many aspects from the seven books like Polyjuice Potion and timeturners when they could have introduced something new and exciting – the only good thing about it was Scorpius. I liked his sort of innocent character but I found Albus to be an annoying brat that says he doesn’t like all the attention his family gets for simply being ‘Potters’, but then he goes and seeks out adventure and danger for no real reason whereas Harry had all that thrust upon him and he had no choice but to save the world over and over. None of this would have happened if Albus had just not been an idiot.

Albus is just stupid and selfish and wanted some of his father’s limelight and he dragged Scorpius into it simply because he is his friend. Also, why was Scorpius rumoured to be Voldemort’s son? Sorry but what time did Voldemort have to procreate when he was busy planning to destroy the world and kill Harry?

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Which brings me to Harry – the best character suddenly turned horrible. He says he wished Albus wasn’t his son, makes a comment about Professor McGongagall not having any children so she wouldn’t understand how he’s feeling and basically just behaves exactly the opposite to the character we came to know and love. Why change his character?!

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So annoyed.

In the end I decided to give The Cursed Child two stars purely because of the storyline and the weird direction it went in. The more I think about this story the more irritated I get and how it has ruined the Harry Potter universe. Why couldn’t they have done a play just based off the world and had completely fresh characters we didn’t know and have it be all about the magic? Why include this going back in time and messing everything up thing and having Harry say such horrible things to people he loves?

I imagine that the play is truly stunning to watch and yes I would love to go see it, just for the drama of theatre and not for the actual story that seems to have been conjured up from no where. I know there are people out there that probably absolutely loved the story and will take anything Harry Potter related and treasure it, but for me the story ended with ‘all was well’ and no amount of play scripts or even further book releases will change that.

The Cursed Child certainly isn’t a book I’ll cherish, but glare at and keep it well away from my beloved Harry Potter books. It seems to me that all these sudden things going on in the Harry Potter universe: The Cursed Child play, Fantastic Beasts and the release of its script also (just why?) is more money orientated than story-telling.

Having ranted my feelings on it, I will say this – it was great to be immersed in the magic again for the first time, but if they really want to extend the HP universe, then why not focus on the past that can’t change the lovely future we all had imagined up for the trio? The Cursed Child has ruined any sort of ending you as the reader conjured up to satisfy your coming to terms with the end of the series. I just wish they had been more imaginative when they wrote this script and not relied on past ideas to use. Also, I didn’t like how Scorpius’ mother died and it was really glazed over like he didn’t seem upset or anything and Albus didn’t seem to give two shits that his friend’s mother died.

The Cursed Child was not a triumph, nor was it good story-telling. And one last thing – why is there a kid sat in a snitch made out of twigs on the cover? And what is with all the twigs in the script??? Surely I’m the only one wondering what’s with all the twigs.

Let me know what you thought about TCC and whether you agree with anything I’ve said – let’s discuss!!

β€œWhen spares are spared, when time is turned, when unseen children murder their fathers: Then will the Dark Lord return.” – Jack Thorne and crew, The Cursed Child

Because why not add another prophecy? It hasn’t been done before.

β€œthere is never a perfect answer in this messy, emotional world. Perfection is beyond the reach of humankind, beyond” – Jack Thorne and crew, The Cursed Child

That is a good quote though.

 

Uni and reading

It’s that time of year again – school/college/uni is starting and after a wonderful summer of reading and relaxing, you’re suddenly inundated with work and time is something you don’t have. So when do you read? Your monthly TBR of maybe 10 books turns into a wrap-up of 3 and all you can wonder is, where did all the time go?

While I am enjoying being back at uni and seeing my friends again as well as getting away from home for a bit, I’ll admit that the initial excitement has worn off as the routine of writing up lectures and going into uni every day has taken hold. It will be different for everyone; I have some friends that are only in uni for 2 days a week, whereas I’m in everyday 9-5 with odd breaks – it just depends on your degree. But there’s still a hell of a load of work you have to do, so how exactly can you fit in reading when you have to sleep, eat, cook, clean, go to uni, write up your own notes, exercise, socialise and all the ten thousand other things you have on your to-do list?

Everyone says the secret is balance, you need to prioritise the important things like uni and work, then plan around what time you have left for socialising and doing things you enjoy which, in every bookworm’s case, is reading.

So I’m planning on setting aside time everyday to read, and when is the best time for this? At the end of the day when you’ve been to uni and done all your work. This means that giving yourself an hour or two to read every night is a reward for completing all your work and jobs throughout the day, but it can also act as an incentive. You just ended on a cliffhanger last night? Get all your work done as soon as possible and you can find out what happens! It’s a great way of ensuring you do what you need to do and will help keep you motivated when that looming pile of lectures that still need to be written up are looking very unappealing.

I am going into my third year at uni now and all I can say is, keep up to date with your lectures – make sure you do the work FIRST andΒ thenΒ you can carry on reading the rest of your book. But allow yourself days off from your approach of getting work done and then reading, by using the weekends or on other days off to read more or maybe finish those last 100 pages.

Balance. Hard to do, but so important. Don’t do too much of one thing and neglect the other – don’t spend all weekend socialising, letting that pile of work grow larger, but also don’t spend all day working and giving yourself nothing as a reward for getting it done. It’s taken me two years at uni to finally realise that I spend so much time wasted on my phone not achieving anything (bookstagram is a major distraction though) and I probably won’t learn my lesson this year either and get behind with work, but I am going to try and adopt this approach to ensure I cope with uni work and still manage to get uni work done as well.

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Here’s a tip list I’ve come up with for reading at uni:

  • do your work first, THEN read
  • set aside a portion of the day for reading but be flexible if your workload suddenly increases (likewise, if your workload decreases then take the opportunity to read more!)
  • don’t be too ambitious with your monthly TBR – you’ll just feel disheartened if you see all the books you didn’t have time to read
  • spend any opportune moment reading whether it’s in between lectures or on the bus/train home, but at the same time don’t exclude yourself from conversations and spending time with your friends/colleagues
  • see reading as a reward for getting your work done but equally, don’t rush through work in order to get reading
  • don’t compare yourself to others (little life lesson there) – there’s always going to be someone who manages to do all their uni work and can still read 20 books a month, you are you and be happy with what you achieve because what may be small to them, may be big to you and vice versa
  • enjoy reading!

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Let me know how you manage your time with school/uni/work and reading and if you have any tips then let me know in the comments! Good luck to anyone returning or starting college/uni as well πŸ™‚