Reader Problems Book Tag

I saw Katytastic do this tag and it looked fun, so let’s do this!

1. You have 20,000 books on your TBR. How in the world do you decide what to read next?
I ask people what I should read, and they tell me. That or I start reading the first pages of all of the books on my shelves until I get sucked in. I’m constantly making priority lists in my head though for what I want to read next, so this isn’t usually too hard.

2. You’re halfway through a book and you’re just not loving it. Do you quit or are you committed?
I end up putting it “on hold” which means my Currently-Reading list is massive. I hate quitting books, but I’m also too easily distracted to plough through without a break in between. This break can last years.

3. The end of the year is coming and you’re so close, but so far away on your Goodreads reading challenge. Do you try to catch up and how?
Novellas. Short stories. Graphic novels. Also cheating and lowering that Goodreads challenge.

4. The covers of a series you love do. not. match. How do you cope?
I usually don’t own full series on my bookshelves anyway, so this isn’t really a problem.
That being said, if they change the last book cover of the Raven Cycle, I will be upset.

5. Every one and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings?
Goodreads.
Also here is good.

6. You’re reading a book and you are about to start crying in public. How do you deal?
I don’t usually cry while reading books, but if I get super emotional I’ll just put it down for a while and pretend it doesn’t exist while sobbing internally.

7. A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot from the prior novel. Will you re-read the book? Skip the sequel? Try to find a synopsis on Goodreads? Cry in frustration?!?!?!?
Look up the synopsis on Goodreads/Wikipedia. Or power through it and hope.

8. You do not want anyone. ANYONE. borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people nope when they ask?
I actually don’t mind people borrowing my books as long as they treat them well and return them, and I haven’t had any bad experiences yet. So yeah. Next.

9. Reading ADD. You’ve picked up and put down 5 books in the last month. How do you get over your reading slump?
I don’t. I watch youtube videos instead. Or I reread something. Or I read a graphic novel. But mostly the youtube videos thing.

10. There are so many new books coming out that you’re dying to read! How many do you actually buy?
If I want a book really badly, I’ll just buy it. If it’s not that pretty, or not that long, or if I’m not that desperate, I’ll take it out from the library.

11. After you’ve bought the new books you can’t wait to get to, how long do they sit on your shelf before you get to them?
It can be several years. It can be two minutes. Who knows.

So this was fun. I like not having to come up with the questions myself.

Answer this if you want. I won’t tag people because I am lazy.

See you next time!

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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black

12813630I have not read much vampire fiction other than Twilight, so I’m not well-equipped to review this book, but screw that, I’m doing it anyway.

I finished this book a few minutes ago, and I’m still trying to process thought and put my mind back into reality, so I’m finding it hard to see how to describe this book.

Visceral is the first word I think of. Or maybe dark and seductive, though that sounds like I’m describing erotica (which I’m not – teen fiction, people). It was a strangely intense experience. Very rich and languorous and indulgent and impossible to say no to. It begs and begs for you to keep reading and you do, because, much like the characters, you have succumb to this gorgeous, horrific world.

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, this book is damn good.

Summary

I’d rather give you the blurb I read, because it is perfect, and sums up the book better than anything else could.

“Coldtown was dangerous, Tana knew. A glamorous cage. A prison for the damned and anyone who wanted to party with them.”

I think that’s all you really need to know.

Cons

Other than it ending?

Other than me wanting a sequel super badly?

But yeah, I didn’t realise how interested I was in these characters until they disappeared. While it is a very good standalone, and the plot definitely has been concluded, the characters have a lot of potential for growth and I am desperate to read more.

Pros

 The writing

Oh my god that writing.

I am obviously not going to cover all the pros but this has to be said.

Oh my god can Holly Black write.

This is the first book by Holly Black that I’ve read, and I don’t know much about her books other than people like them. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was not this. It was not gorgeous sentences and vivid imagery and me wanting to quote everything.

That should be enough of a reason to read it.

All the Other Usual Stuff

Plot was awesome, characters were awesome, world was awesome, everything was awesome.

Especially liked the treatment of Gavriel and Tana’s relationship because thank god that was refreshing. There was acknowledgement of the difference between love and lust and the characters ended up actually being friends and there was a massive emphasis on the monstrous nature of Gavriel. Yes yes yes to all of it.

Quotes

  •  “Death’s favorites don’t die.”
  • “Clever girl. You play with fire because you want to be burnt.”
  • “We all wind up drawn to what we’re afraid of, drawn to try to find a way to make ourselves safe from a thing by crawling inside of it, by loving it, by becoming it.”
  • “Even from the beginning, that was the problem. People liked pretty things. People even liked pretty things that wanted to kill and eat them.”
  • “She wished it was an unfamiliar feeling, that ache, the urge that made her hit the gas when she ought to hit the brake.”

Overall

Holly Black makes me want to read vampire fiction. She also makes me want to avoid vampire fiction because I’ll constantly be comparing whatever I read to this book.

She also makes me want a sequel very, very badly.

5 shuriken stars.

Antigoddess – Kendare Blake

13246736I absolutely love the Anna Duology (Reasons why: Anna Dressed in Blood, Girl of Nightmaresand that was the only reason I picked up this book.

So I went into this with the intention to fill the Cas-shaped hole in my heart. Percy Jackson meets Kendare Blake’s slick characterisations and awesome humour. I was excited.

Summary

Like Percy Jackson but gruesome and somehow more hilarious. (Review of the first PJO book here)

Yeah, I know, I’m only comparing it to PJO because it’s greek mythology, but we all knew it was inevitable. Percy Jackson is massive. It was going to happen as inevitably as people calling The Hunger Games the next Twilight.

By the way, I love Percy Jackson. This is a compliment, if you guys aren’t sensing that yet.

Cons

Am I supposed to like Aidan?

Because I really don’t like Aidan.

Actually, most of the romances felt very weird. I guess Gods + Mortals isn’t going to be the next paranormal romance craze for me, and I think it’s the mere fact that they are gods, and I found it really difficult to imagine them looking like teenagers when you’re like “But you’re a GOD.”

Anyway, Aidan made my skin crawl. I did not like his romance with Cassandra at all after the revelation. Maybe that was intended. Maybe not. We still have another two books to find out.

And Cas

I MISS CAS SO MUCH.

YOU HAVE NO IDEA.

Well, no, if you’ve read Anna Dressed in Blood you probably do, so all I could think about whilst reading Antigoddess was how much I wanted Cas back.

Pros

We all know that Kendare Blake can WRITE.

I trust her plotting and her character development and her dialogue and her writing style and just everything. Kendare Blake is amazing and we just have to accept that.

Also the references to Anna Dressed in Blood made me smile with glee.

Quotes

  • “For the record I don’t believe in Fate. I believe that the pieces have been placed. The ending hasn’t been written yet.”
  • “The Mustang growled into reverse, aiming straight for the old lady.
    Cassandra would have winced, even if she had been the most evil old woman on the face of the planet. Even if she had been granny-Hitler, she would have winced at the idea of running her down. But the thing standing in the road looked nothing like an old woman anymore.”
  • “This is what men risk so much for; this shiver, this acute heat and desire. This is what they think eternity feels like.”

Overall

4.5 shuriken stars. Perhaps if I hadn’t read Anna I would have given this 5. I am very excited for the direction that this series is heading in, and I will hopefully get to the second book ASAP.

 

2015

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Firefight – Brandon Sanderson (8th January)

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Fairest – Marissa Meyer (27th January)

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The Darkest Part of the Forest – Holly Black (5th February)

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A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Schwab (27th February)

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The Buried Giant – Kazuo Ishiguro (3rd March)

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Half Wild – Sally Green (24th March)

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Challenger Deep – Neal Shusterman (21st April)

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A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J Maas (7th May)

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End of Days – Susan Ee (12th May)

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The Rest of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness (27th August)

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Queen of Shadows – Sarah J Maas (1st September)

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The Last Star – Rick Yancey (8th September)

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The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater (29th September)

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The Sword of Summer – Rick Riordan (6th October)

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The Rose Society – Marie Lu (6th October)

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Winter – Marissa Meyer (10th November)

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Shadows of Self – Brandon Sanderson (19th November)

(P.S. There’s quite a lot of conflicting information about release dates on the internet (probably because the release dates differ between areas of the world) so apologies if they’re incorrect for you.)

(P.P.S Also, this will get updated as the year goes on and covers get revealed/new books appear.)

(P.P.P.S Also keep in mind that this isn’t a comprehensive list, just one of books that we’re looking forward to.)

2014 Wrap-Up

Before we set out in trying to somehow distil this year into five books, I’m going to say:

  • Each author can only appear once
  • It must be a novel (i.e. fiction, one story, mainly words)
  • One book per place

Now, without further ado, here’s my top five.

1. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides – I kept going back and forth between this one and The Virgin Suicides, but in the end, this one won out. All I have to say is READ IT.

2. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler – I didn’t expect the book to tear my heart out, but it did. Multiple times. I love the narrative style, and the concept, and the twist. Oh man, the twist.

3. Vicious by V.E. Schwab – I honestly did not know whether this book was going to live up to the hype or not, but it exceeded expectations, and I want a movie. Or a sequel. Or both.

4. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart – Another one with a lot of hype, and for a good reason. This story combines fairytales and messy, wealthy families and gorgeous prose and it is probably the best young adult fiction I have read this year.

5. The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson – I could not exclude this amazing, spectacular, wonderful ending to a superb fantasy trilogy. I was so blown away by how well everything was wrapped up, and the bravery of the choices made in this series.

Unlike last year, I have quite a few honorary mentions.

In the non-fiction sphere, I fell in love with Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo, and I have not ceased to recommend this book to absolutely everyone.

In the graphic novels category, the winners are Blankets by Craig Thompson and The Arrival by Shaun Tan, which are both well worth your time. There were a lot of strong competitors in this round but I did my best to narrow it down to those two which have gorgeous art styles, really interesting themes, and brilliant choices in telling their stories.

Amongst the short story collections, I chose Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro, which hit me hard in the heart. So hard, in fact, that I have a hard time rereading that collection because it makes me so damn emotional.

Hope you guys all had great reading years, and we will see you in 2015!

Xmas BookTube-A-Thon 2014 Wrap-Up

No one is going to be surprised by how I did on this.

So basically I was a lot busier during the Friday to Sunday period than I thought, and I did about… no… reading…

So that was bad.

I decided to change this thing to the 18th, 22nd, and 23rd of December instead. Because then at least I’d have a chance. Which basically meant I cheated but hey, three days, around the Xmas season, still completed all the challenges – that’s not too bad, right?

So I twisted the rules a little. But that’s okay, we’re all friends here.

So what did I read?

1. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
I can’t remember how much of this I read on Thursday, so I’m going to say 100 pages. It was bloody good, let me tell you. I was on the verge of crying many, many times. I also do not accept that ending. It was great, but I’m pretending it didn’t happen. 5 shuriken stars.

2. The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
I finally completed this trilogy (which I’ve been meaning to do for FOREVER, so it completes one of the goals). I was already a bit of the way through so I read about 600 pages of this. Oh my god, it was amazing. Brandon Sanderson actually managed to wrap up all the loose ends, even ends that I didn’t realise were loose ends. 5 shuriken stars.

3. Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve
After I spent a good deal of time mourning the end of the Mistborn Trilogy, I picked this up, which fulfils my other two goals (read a book given to you and read a book with red and green on the cover, which is probably being a bit too lenient on the weird turquoisey and pinky-reddish colours, but I don’t care, I’m counting it). I think the series has a lot of potential, and I like the world, but there was not enough of anything yet for me really to decide. Either way, I’m intrigued. 4 shuriken stars.

4. The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
I read about 250 pages of this, for no reason other than missing the Mistborn world a hell of a lot. Now that I’ve finished those last 50 or so other pages, I can tell you that it’s (unsurprisingly) 5 shuriken stars.

Page count time!

I read about… 1300 pages! That’s a lot more than I expected actually, so I’m happy with that. Thanks, Brandon Sanderson, for writing massive books.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

SPOILERS AHEAD (I mean I try to be vague but yeah SPOILERS)

When I finished this book (all the way back in July), I knew it was going to be one of my favourite books of the year.

It was that easy to tell.

Summary

Four teenagers meet every year on a beach. One year they try to do something really symbolic but are drunk off their asses and end up doing something really dumb instead.

Cons

That it is not popular enough. I know it is getting a lot of media attention, but more people need to read it. Everyone needs to read it, it is fantastic.

Pros

This book contains many of my favourite things: fairytales, beach holidays, excessively wealthy and corrupt families, foreshadowing, unreliable narrators, ambiguity, and lies.

I have a lot to say about this book but I don’t exactly know what it is yet. It also has been a really long time since I read it, but the book is so jam-packed full of interesting stuff that I want to discuss it with someone, anyone, so I can put my thoughts about it in order. So let’s try.

The Title

It is perfect for many reasons.

First, the use of the pronoun “We”. It cements the idea of these four teenagers being one, inseparable gang. Parts of a whole. As though their fates are tied together. We ride together, we die together kind of thing. We are not complete unless we are together.

“Were” is also perfect. Past tense. Very important.

And lastly, “Liars”, the most important word of all. Which I can barely even process without thinking of all those clever layers in the novel.

Lies & Liars

I don’t even know where to begin, and I’m definitely not going to cover everything, so let’s just keep this quick.

Cadence lies to herself. The kids all lie to each other. Their family is a big messy pile of lies, and their lifestyle itself is all convoluted and distorted by the lies. There are half-truths and brutal metaphors and twisty-turny narrative choices that all lead to this book being a wonderfully constructed thing full of lies and liars.

This subject could be an essay. But we don’t have time for that. Moving on!

In-Betweeny Bits

Did I mention that I love fairytale adaptations?

Those little snippets with Fairytale and Shakespearian influences were like nuggets of gold.

I loved them. Loved loved loved them.

The Writing

Freaking gorgeous.

That is all.

Cons

Yeah, I can’t think of any.

Quotes

  • “Be a little kinder than you have to.”
  • “If you want to live where people are not afraid of mice, you must give up living in palaces.”
  • “We are liars. We are beautiful and privileged. We are cracked and broken.”
  • “He was contemplation and enthusiasm. Ambition and strong coffee. I could have looked at him forever.”
  • “He was a person who couldn’t fake a smile but smiled often.”
  • “I’ll be fine, they tell me. I won’t die. It’ll just hurt a lot.”

Overall

In conclusion, this book is bloody brilliant. 5 shuriken stars.