Temptation

I reach for my phone, I unlock it. I open YouTube, browse for a while. I put my phone down. I read. I pick my phone up again. Scroll through social media feeds. Put it back down. Read some more. I’m resisting temptation.

But every time, my eyes land on your name, they linger just a little bit longer. I resisted yesterday, I’m resisting today, perhaps I will resist tomorrow. But temptation is like a river. Give it enough time and it will turn mountains to sand. And my resolve never was a mountain.

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May 2018 Wrap Up

I thought I hadn’t read many books in May. It feels like I’ve hardly read at all. But looking back, I actually read 7 books. I mean yeah, to be fair some of these I’d started before May and one of them is super short, but still. I’m surprised.


The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy

First book I finished in May and it was hilarious. I’d started reading this book years and years ago, but I didn’t own it until now, so I never finished it. I can honestly say it deserves its popularity. It was thoroughly entertaining, really just my kind of humour. Looking forward to reading the rest of the series. 5/5 stars.

Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence

This has quickly become one of my favourite series. I listened to the audiobook of the first one, Red Sister, in April and loved it and I listened to the audiobook of this one in May and loved it just as much. I absolutely do recommend the audiobooks for this, the narration is amazing. I am so upset that I have to wait until next year for book three cause this series is awesome. It’s about a magic warrior nun school… what more do you need to hear? 5/5 stars

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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This book was sadly a massive disappointment for me. It was mediocre at best, I think it suffered from a bad case of diversity hype, where a book is hyped because it is diverse as opposed to based on its merits as a book. The characters were two dimensional at best, and they were all more or less the same character. I could often not tell who was speaking. I didn’t care about them, in fact they annoyed me, the relationships were rushed and unrealistic. The world was cool, but could have been much better developed and the story was… okay, but unoriginal to a fault. 2/5 stars

The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen

the runaway king

I’ve been re-reading this series and it’s just as much of a delight the second time around. It’s clever, witty, fast paced and all around fun to read. It’s one of the more underrated series I’ve read. 5/5 stars

Harry Potter: The Prequel by J.K. Rowling

I’m not sure this really counts as a book, but for some reason, I’d never read the short story before. I managed to find it online and now I really want her to write that book.       😦 5/5 stars

Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett

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Sadly, this book wasted a lot of potential. It had a cool and original world, it had elemental magic, it had some really interesting characters and the story had the potential to be suspenseful and gripping. Instead… instead it chose to focus on one relationship that was bland, uninteresting, completely lacking in chemistry, cringe-worthy and just all around boring. And I am so mad about it. Cause I wanted to know more about the interesting characters. I wanted them better developed. I wanted this story to be told better cause it had so much potential. I do not give two shakes of a rat’s behind about that stupid love story. SO MAD! 2/5 stars

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch

red seas under red skies

Finally, FINALLY, I have finished this book! It took me like 6 months to finish it. But I’ve been in an adult fantasy mood lately and I finished it at last! It wasn’t as good as the first one, but I still really loved it. 4.5/5 stars

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner – Spoiler Free Book Review

the thiefRating: 2.5/5

Genre: Fantasy, YA

First published: 1996

Author: Megan Whalen Turner

Synopsis: The king’s scholar, the magus, believes he knows the site of an ancient treasure. To attain it for his king, he needs a skillful thief, and he selects Gen from the king’s prison. The magus is interested only in the thief’s abilities.

What Gen is interested in is anyone’s guess. Their journey toward the treasure is both dangerous and difficult, lightened only imperceptibly by the tales they tell of the old gods and goddesses.

Goodreads


This book is as old as I am. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would have liked for one very simple reason: it was kind of boring. This is a tiny book, shy of 300 pages and most of it is just… people riding horses and eating olives. Which is both unnecessary to the plot and boring to read about.

I really enjoyed the characters. Well Gen, the main character at least. He is a conniving, smartass thief. I love those kinds of characters and I really enjoyed him. But unfortunately, there weren’t many other characters present, as mentioned, most of the book is just them travelling and having idle conversations at mealtimes. But I did like the other characters, such as they were.

The world was nice. It’s not a very intricate world, there is no complicated magic system. There is some magic, but it’s not very heavily involved. I would call it a light fantasy world. Still, I liked it, it’s very Mediterranean and there are interesting elements of court politics. I wouldn’t call it fascinating, but it’s a solid world.

The writing was good as well, as long as you don’t take into account that it was mostly just describing roads and meals. You can definitely tell that this is an older book by the style, it’s not your typical YA style of writing, but I don’t find that to be an issue, in fact it’s quite refreshing.

This book’s hamartia is its plot… because it seems to be mostly absent for the first two thirds of it. Everything that happens, happens at the end and while it is interesting and does set up for future books, it doesn’t make up for the 200 pages of nothing that precede it.

All in all… I wish I had more to say about this book, but it doesn’t even give me anything to talk about. It’s just pretty boring. Like I said, it does set up for more interesting sequels, and I do plan to continue with the series, but for this first book… quite disappointed.

Down the TBR Hole #24

It’s been an age since I’ve made one of these posts and my TBR has grown again, though not as much as I’d have thought. This meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story

Stats:

Previous post

Books: #231-240

Last week’s final number: 331 | Current number: 334 | This week’s final number:  329 | Total books removed so far: 100| Total books kept so far: 146 | Books added since I began: 128 | Books read from my TBR: 41


Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling

Honestly, I have very little interest in reading this. I’ve heard reviews of it, I know what happens and it just doesn’t really appeal to me.

Verdict: Goes

False Gods by L. R. Trovillion

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I don’t know. This doesn’t have many reviews and while it’s a horse book and I love horses, there are just so many other books on my TBR, I doubt I’ll get to this.

Verdict: Goes

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

I’ve actually yet to read an Aladdin re-imagining, so I want to read this. And it’s blurbed by Sarah J. Maas.

Verdict: Stays

Traitor to the Throne & Hero at the fall by Alwyn Hamilton

I’m not really sure why I never continued with this series as I really enjoyed the first book, but I am interested in continuing.

Verdict: Stay

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

Ugh… I don’t know. I never think about this book. Maybe one day, but not in the forseable future.

Verdict: Goes

Raven’s Gate by Anthony Horowitz

I don’t really feel drawn to this, to be honest.

Verdict: Goes

Shadow Scale & The Audition by Rachel Hartman

I really need to finish this series. The first book was so cool and it’s only a duology. Plus a short story.

Verdict: Stay

Of Breakable Things by A. Lynden Rolland

This has a cool cover and a cool title and at first glance, even a cool premise. Buuut… ultimately it seems to me like it’s a high-school romance except everyone happens to be a ghost. So… nah.

Verdict: Goes

Best Book Titles Part 2

About a year ago, I made a post about book titles that I love. Today I’m going to share some more titles that I really love.


Turtles All the Way Down

turtles all the way down

I generally like the titles of John Green’s books. Contemporary YA titles tend to have the name of the main characters in them a lot of the time, and I’m not a big fan of that for some reason. But John Green’s titles usually make little sense before reading the book. And those are the kinds of titles that I like best.

For Darkness Shows the Stars

I also like titles that begin with linking words such as “and” & “for”. It makes them sound like incomplete sentences and it gives the impression that you’ll find out the rest of the sentence by reading the book. Again, I’m a fan of titles that gain more meaning as you read the book.

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

I love everything about this title. I love the abundance of adjectives, I love the imagery of a small angry planet, I love the imagery of a tired traveler who’s come a long way just to encounter said small angry planet, I love that it’s long. I love long titles. I don’t know what this book is about. But this title makes me want to read it.

Wink Poppy Midnight

I like this title because I don’t know what to expect from it. Are Wink, Poppy and Midnight 3 characters? Is someone telling Poppy to wink because it’s midnight? Is a wink poppy a type of flower? I don’t know. This title doesn’t offer enough information and it just makes me want to read the book to get that information.

Stalking Jack the Ripper

stalking jack the ripper

I’m not even going to offer an explanation for this one. I just think it’s awesome.

Diversity in media – Discussion

This post is brought to you by Children of Blood and Bone, which is my current read. I’ve talked a little bit about this in my review of The Broken Earth series by N. K. Jemisin (which btw, if you’re looking for diverse or just good fantasy and you’ve not read it, what are you waiting for?), but I want to take the time and discuss it properly.

As I said, I’m currently reading CoBaB and the more I read, the more I come to realise, and I know I’ll probably get stoned for this, that this is one of those books that suffers from diversity hype syndrome. Where a book is hyped to heavens for no other reason than being diverse. Listen, I love seeing diversity in media. But I also like good media. I like good stories, good characters. I don’t see why there needs to be a trade-off and I don’t think a book should be called good just because it is diverse. Diversity does not a good book make. And I am willing to bet a finger that if CoBaB were about a bunch of white people in a medieval European setting, same characters, same story, just not diverse, it would have got a big collective shrug from the book community because it is mediocre at best.

It really bugs me when this happens because it tells publishers and authors “Well, people are going to buy bland, mediocre, unoriginal books as long as they’re diverse.”. And as a reader, that is NOT the culture I want to promote in the book industry. Because we as consumers, are ultimately what shapes the industry. What shapes every industry. I want good diverse books. That’s the culture that I want to promote.

Another thing that really annoys me is when a book is hyper-aware of its diversity and is basically pointing a big red arrow at itself that says in neon colours “DIVERSE!”. Every other page, you’re just reminded about how diverse this book is. You’re reminded that Jimmy has the biggest crush on his army buddy Paul or that Rajesh’s skin is dark brown at least once a page lest you forget for a split second that THIS IS A DIVERSE BOOK. It’s good to write diverse books and you can be proud of having written a diverse book, but the story and the characters should still be the main focus of your book if you are writing a novel. You want to send a message, okay good. Do it through compelling storytelling. Not by stating it on every page.

For example, take Black Panther and CoBaB. Both are trying to convey pretty much the same message about racism and the oppression and horrors that black people have gone through and are still going through. One of them does it well, the other doesn’t. Black Panther has a compelling story, great characters, great action, great setting, great dialogue, compelling villains, it packs a mean emotional punch and it states its message loud and clear. There’s no trade-off. And Black Panther is a 2 hour film. CoBaB is 500 page novel. It has way, way more opportunity to do all those things than Black Panther did. Granted I’ve only read about 250 of them at the moment, but that’s half the book. If the first hour of Black Panther were dull, had zero character development to the point where the characters were interchangeable, had an evil, mustache twirling villain nobody would watch it.

My objective in this post was not to drag CoBaB. It was just an unfortunate victim of circumstance because that’s what I’m reading right now so it most easily lends itself to me for examples. The Hazel Wood. Another example of a book that screams at people about its diversity. Admittedly, it’s not as diverse as CoBaB so it has less opportunity to do so, but it still does it and it’s still annoying. I just really want good diverse books and I really want people to stop calling mediocre books great just because they’re diverse.

I understand that there are people who identify with those characters. Who have gone through things that I, as a while, straight, first-world inhabitant, I’ve not experienced. But my question is why should they have to identify with mediocre, cardboard characters instead of good, well developed ones? Like I said before, it’s us as readers that shape the book industry. So let’s promote a culture of diversity, but not one of mediocrity.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black – Spoiler Free Book Review

cruel princeRating: 5/5

Genre: Fantasy, YA

First released: 2018

Author: Holly Black

Synopsis: Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself. 

Goodreads


This is the first Holly Black book I’ve read and I inhaled it. I have heard a lot of mixed reviews about this and I’ve heard some valid criticisms, but I loved it. I couldn’t put it down. I loved the world, I loved the characters, I loved the relationships, I loved the story.

I love faeries. I love Celtic folklore and anything that’s got faeries in it appeals to me. I feel like a lot of the fae fantasy that I’ve read moves away from the dark, mischevious cruelty of the fae and also from the rules that govern them, such as their inability to lie. And I get why and I enjoy that as well, but it was wonderful and refreshing to get some loyally depicted fae, with their cruelty and dishonest truth-telling. And I loved seeing the faerie realm with revels and strange, magical, surreal things. It was beautiful and it spoke to me.

I’m a fan of court politics/intrigue/espionage type stories. And this was a combination of those things. I constantly wanted to know what would happen next. It’s quite a short book, so it was very fast paced, maybe even a little too fast paced. I would have liked another 50-100 pages and spend more time on some things that went on. By far, I would say the weakest element of this book is the plot and I think a lot of that comes back to its length. But I still really enjoyed it.

I loved the characters. I’ve heard people say Jude was annoying or unrelatable, but I really liked her. She’s flawed and has some deeply seated issues, but then she did witness her parents being murdered by a faerie and was subsequently kidnapped by said faerie so…

I also really liked her sisters and they dynamic between them. I loved Cardan. Cardan is just my type of morally ambiguous character. I loved how he’s not really redeemed… but he’s not really un-redeemed either, if that makes any sense. Their dynamic was very entertaining in all its stages and I am okay with them ending up together in subsequent books, but I’m also okay with them not ending up together and continuing to hate each other. And I enjoyed the rest of the characters as well, they’re unique, they each have their own desires and their own angles and I loved exploring that. It was probably my favourite thing.

Overall, I frickin’ loved this. Can’t wait for the next one.