The Book Lover Tag

Here’s the thing. As much as I hate to admit it, it’s half way through the year. So I’m jumping on the bandwagon and doing a tag and generally rounding up what books I’ve read so far this year- enjoy!

This tag was originally written by whimsywriter, which you can view here, and I took it from Callum’s blog, which you can view here

What book are you currently reading?

I’m just starting The Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan. I’ve settled into a habit of waiting for my best friend to buy the Percy Jackson books and read them, and this one is no exception. This one is the start of a new saga in the same universe, and I like the fact that it is a fresh story with new characters, yet there’s still references to the original series which made it popular in the first place.

What’s the last book you finished?

A Clash of Kings by George R R Martin. I can’t say enough about how good this series is, but IT IS SO GOOD. However I understand if it’s not to everyone’s taste, especially younger readers.

Favourite Book you read this year?

The Martian by Andy Weir. I’ve been really enjoying sci-fi since I started broadening my horizons and this is one of the best I’ve read since Ready Player One. I’ve been meaning to see the film because I’ve heard very good things about it but I never got around to it, but the book is great.

What genre have you read most this year?

Fantasy I guess? That’s all I ever read anyway to be honest. The types of fantasy and the things you can do with that genre are almost limitless as I said in my previous post, so I never get enough of it!

What genre have you read least this year?

I’ve been meaning to read more classics this year but so far I’m doing dismally. It will probably be a good summer task though because I’ll have more time and more train journeys just to read.

How many books have you read this year and what’s your goal?

I’ve read 40 books so far this year, and I plan to read 80, so so far I’m on track! You can find my goodreads on my homepage somewhere.

What’s the last book you bought?

Red Queen, which I very much enjoyed, but I have been given books since like the Game of Thrones boxset etc.

What book are you saving up to buy next?

I have books on my wish-list but there isn’t a particular book that I’m waiting to buy at the moment, as I don’t usually have priorities! I just keep a wishlist on Wordery and then when I have money I’ll pick one at random.

How many books did you check out last library visit?

I haven’t been to the library in a long time. Since moving out and just generally buying my own books so I can keep them, I have neglected my local library, which is not something I’d really encourage. Go to libraries, I mean you can get free books and as a student I thrive off freebies so you’ll know where I’m coming from. Also if you don’t enjoy the book it’s not the end of the world, either.

What’s a book you can’t wait to read?

The rest of the Game of Thrones series. I’m currently king a break to read a The Trials of Apollo because that was lent to me but I will definitely get back into it as soon as possible!

What’s a series you’d recommend to everyone?

If you’re not squeamish, Hannibal. It’s clever, manipulative and exciting, and I loved it. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea though. Most of the series I enjoy are either young adult or really really adult books. I’m one of those people.

Who’s an author you’re hoping writes more?

Rainbow Rowell or Jandy Nelson. They’re both such funny yet emotive authors, and I’ve wholeheartedly loved everything I’ve read by them.

A few books your heart adores?

Ready Player One has a very firm place in my heart, as you all know. I also really, really loved The Night Circus, which has earned a special place in my heart because I was so pleasantly surprised when I read it.

What series’ coming conclusion makes you sad?

I’m not looking forward to the end of Game of Thrones, my obsession is increasing with each passing day, if anyone hadn’t noticed already.

What books are on your wish list?

I’ve recently added Dream House by Marzia Bisognin to my wishlist, which may make a lot of people sigh at me because of the youtube book domination, but the fact that it’s fiction and the plot intrigues me. I’m tempted to write a proper post about this, if that would interest people?

Here’s to the remaining 6 months- 40 books to go!

Is Lord of the Rings the basis of Fantasy? 

I finished Return of the King today. One thing I have to credit J R R Tolkein for is the fact that he makes sure everyone is happy by the end of his books. We know for sure that this is the end, and we know exactly what each main character is doing beyond the final pages.

That’s not what I want to talk about today.

I was texting my best friend and she mentioned in passing how Lord of the Rings could possibly be the foundation of all succeeding fantasy novels, and to an extent I agree. For example, as I’ve now started reading the Game of Thrones series again I’m noticing some similarities between the worlds, and this is a level of high fantasy I cannot comprehend.

The fantasy world is more complex than one might think. There’s low fantasy, which is when elements of fantasy are integrated into the real world (like a Harry Potter sort of thing) and then there’s high fantasy, where a whole new setting is created to support the fantasy elements. J R R Tolkein created what is known as Middle Earth, and although he wasn’t the first fantasy author, his books made the genre explode with popularity thanks to the adult interest in an area originally only explored by children.

The term high fantasy wasn’t coined until the 1970s, and fantasy was not mainstream when The Hobbit was written, let alone Lord of the Rings. What makes this interesting is that although it was the sequels that became the most popular, the interest was in a world that had been established long ago.

It’s very easy and very difficult to create a fantasy world now. You have very few limits and most authors will firmly grasp that opportunity to the point where things seem unrealistic even in the magical world. However there are still only so many tropes, the best ideas may have already been taken and now it’s a well established genre, there’s more competition. This competition now almost separates Lord of the Rings from newer more contemporary novels as it was written so long ago (way before I was born anyway, although that’s not saying much), so it’s easier to view it as the ‘father’ of fantasy.

So is it the basis of fantasy? In a way, yes. If it wasn’t for this series fantasy would still be a genre for children, a region unexplored and not used to its full potential due to the naïvety and innocence of children, however there’s more history to fantasy than beyond Lord of the Rings, and so much has changed since then.

I see Lord of the Rings as a turning point, or a crossroads.

What do you think?

Hamilton Book Tag!

 

Hi! I will be talking about all the books pictured above today! I will try to be as vague as possible but if spoilers slip in I apologise. Going to take a leaf out of Tash’s book (pun not intended) and highlight the section that I probably won’t be able to help but spoil due to the nature of the question, but everywhere else should be okay!

Okay, rambling disclaimer over. Next task: Credits.

Props to Tash herself over at The Bookie Monsters for tagging me in this! Check hers out here. Secondly, you can watch the original tag video here. Now, whilst listening to the masterpiece that is the soundtrack let us crack on!

The Room Where it Happens: A book world that you would put yourself in

We all talk about how we’d love to be a wizard at Hogwarts and all that jazz, but a world I believe is truly underrated is the world of Lorien in I Am Number Four. There’s magic, peace and beauty, and it would be an amazing place to live, especially before the events in the books happen.

The Schuyler Sisters: Underrated female character 

When discussing The Help, everyone seems to talk about Missy, the loudmouth who’s misunderstood, or Skeeter who sacrifices everything to fight for what’s right, but not many people marvel Aibleen. She’s loyal, dedicated yet also incredibly sassy.

My Shot: A Character that goes after what they want and doesn’t let anything stop them

Hannibal has been through A LOT. If you’ve read the whole series including the sort-of prequel Hannibal Rising, you’ll know that there’s a whole story behind him, which also corrupts your morals. He is determined, intelligent and cunning. Also a cannibal, but hey ho.

You’ll Be Back: Sassiest Villain

Sure, it’s debatable where Tyrion stands on the good/evil spectrum in Game of Thrones but you can’t deny that he is sassy as heck. He often relies on humour, self depreciation and knowledge to get through life (as do I. Hahaha) and this includes an unlimited level of sass. It’s hilariously wonderful, and it makes him one of my favourite characters in the series.

Non-Stop: A series you marathoned 

What made this funny, was that a girl I knew in high school was OBSESSED with The Infernal Devices, and I never got around to reading it because the fantasy world made me dubious thanks to the popularity of Twilight. Long Story Short, she bought me the first one for my birthday and I joined the obsession. Oh man, it’s such a good series.

Satisfied: Favourite book with multiple POVs – Game of Thrones

Everyone says that Game of Thrones is a series that’s so hard to read, and to an extent I agree. There’s a lot to take in at once, but if you can get a grip on it it’s incredible. I love it. I will never stop loving it. Maaaaaaaaan.

Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story: A book/series you feel like will be remembered throughout history

You can’t deny how iconic the Harry Potter Series is. I mean, my local bookstore when I was a kid (Ottakars) renamed their stores to Pottakars to celebrate each new book. I miss the Rocking Horse. I also miss reading those books for the first time.

OKAY, THIS IS THE HELLA SPOILER ZONE

Stay Alive: A character you wish was still alive 

Theodore Finch, in All the Bright Places. Oh man, I know the desire to commit suicide doesn’t magically disappear overnight, but I was rooting for him to pull through, I really was. He was so likeable, despite the fact that he thought the world was against him. 

Burn: The most heartbreaking end to a relationship you’ve ever read

Fang. This book killed me when I first read it. It’s the only book that’s ever reduced me to sobbing in my bed at 2am. That’s saying something considering I don’t cry over books or films. Some may say I’m heartless, but my emotions regarding Fang’s departure at the end of this book after rooting for Max and Fang for so long led to my redemption. I do have emotions! Hooray!

The Reynolds Pamphlet: A book with a twist that you didn’t see coming

The Fault in our Stars. Come on, I can’t have been the only one that thought Hazel was going to be the one that died, so the fact that John Green turned it around completely threw me off my guard. I still held it together though, when thousands of other teenagers did not. I still remember watching it in the cinema and going to pee afterwards to find several large groups of girls sobbing by the sinks. 

HELLA SPOILER ZONE IS NO MORE

Helpless: A relationship you were pulling for from the very start

As soon as I knew Carry On was going to be written I was pulling for Simon and Baz. I was itching for any kind of interaction, and Rainbow Rowell toyed with us wholeheartedly. I bet she had a whale of a time. This book is so unique and wonderful, with such an original take on a potentially overused trope of magic.

Ten Duel Commandments: Favourite fight scene

In City of Glass, one of the most poignant moments is when Clarissa unites everyone to fight against Valentine and Sebastian especially after they have been fighting and discriminating each other throughout the series. I guess it just goes to show that anyone can fight for what is right.

Say No To This: Guilty pleasure read

Maximum Ride Forever reminds me of a fan fiction on so many levels, to the point where I was laughing almost out of exasperation. I thought that Nevermore (the previous book) closed everything off really well, but then this book came along and threw everything at us, tossed it around and added several dramatic revelations for good measure. It’s a fun and somewhat emotive read though. It’s great.

What Comes Next: A Series you wish had more books

I am desperate to know what happens to all the characters in Eleanor and Park. I remember Rowell saying at her book signing in Cardiff that she purposely ended it the way she did because she didn’t want it to be a perfect closure, because things just don’t work out that way in real life. I can’t help but wonder what happened after. Don’t we all?

Right Hand Man: Favourite BROTP

What I love about Mikey and Jared in The Rest of Us Just Live Here is the fact that hey are pals no matter what, but Jared is not afraid to tell Mikey to get a grip on life, and vice versa. They are understanding yet not afraid to get real, and their friendship is such a good representation of the consequences of mental illnesses and how it really works. There’s no real romanticism in the real world, just stigma and a gross sense of misunderstanding.

What’d I Miss: A book or series you were late to reading

I was late to The Hobbit bandwagon, almost 80 years late to be exact, when I read it a year or two ago. It’s such a good book, much better than the films.


I’m tagging anyone interested in this, as Hamilton is great, Tags are cool and I need to get back into the blogging zone.

Everything and Nothing

What draws you into a book?

I went to Manchester on Friday to visit a friend in University. I was so close to visiting one of the prettiest libraries ever (according to a random article I was tagged in on Facebook the other day) but when we got there it was closing for the day! We did go to an art gallery though because we’re so cultured and sophisticated, cocktails were drank and of course, we went to a book store.
One of the joys about going to big cities is that the bookshops are generally bigger, and although I generally buy books online these days because it’s cheaper and I’m a lazy teenager, there’s something really satisfying about being surrounded by books.

I was planning on treating myself but there wasn’t anything that stood out to me. The joy of being online is you can just click on links without leaving your chair/floor/bed and I tend to just order what I want and then go back to severe procrastination. When you’re in a store, all books are trying to catch your eye, so what can draw you in?

I’m a sucker for a pretty hardback. Without book jackets preferably, because I always accidentally bash them about or leave them abandoned in a drawer because they just flop about everywhere, but it’s also fun when you have a book jacket and remove it to find a really pretty inside cover. There’s something about holding a hardback, it feels solid and more durable. Not only do they generally look majestic in my hand, but on a bookshelf too.

Another important thing is a blurb. What frustrates me is the fact that most books these days tend to just have reviews on the back, and I’m lucky if there’s a description on the inside of a book jacket. Am I the only one who likes to decide whether I’m going to buy a book based on the actual content and not what some random celebrity or newspaper thinks? I’ll be the judge of whether it’s 5 stars or not, especially if I’m drifting out of my YA/Sci-Fi comfort zone.

Despite that, I am heavily influenced by people. Not just my friends, but commenters on here, people online and of course my family. My friends especially have similar tastes to me so I trust their judgement. Also I’m really indecisive. Don’t make me choose between books because I’ll probably end up buying them all instead. People tell me to get a kindle, and read books on there instead, but it’s really not the same. I appreciate the portability and the fact that classics are free, but books are something special.

When I was in Manchester I was drawn into everything and nothing. Maybe I’m too indecisive, maybe it was because I couldn’t see anything I particularly wanted, or maybe it was because I knew I had books ready to read already so it wasn’t a big priority (although let’s face it, buying books is always a priority).

What attracts you to a book? What makes you want to instantly buy everything?
PS: I wrote several blog posts on the train on the way home, hopefully that’ll help kickstart a more active blog, and I’m totally going to complete the Hamilton Tag tomorrow.

Summer Plans 2016

Summer is upon us. The season where everyone procrastinates outside instead of inside. The season where everyone burns because they’re too cool for sun cream. The season where people marvel over the 3 days of British summer and complain about the rest. This is the season where everyone’s brain switches off, but the reading and adventures switch on.

Thanks to a decision two years ago that I was going to stop being a Summer Hermit, I actually have plans for this summer. However when I’m not visiting University friends or going to the cinema with my brother or attempting to get fit ready for Portugal in September, I’m going to be reading.

Currently I’m reading the Lord of the Rings. I think my original plan was to do the harder reads in the summer when I have more time, but once you get into them they’re not that hard at all. The style of writing is unique and something to get used to, and maybe if you watch the films first the book will be easier (this is the exception to the rule!).

I also placed an order with Wordery for the entire Game of Thrones series which I’m also incredibly excited about. The TV series has diverted from the books now so it’ll be a spoiler free zone for me (although if you start it fresh there will be), and that is another rumoured-to-be “hard read”. Are hard reads really a thing if you enjoy them? I guess it depends if you’re one of those people who feels guilty for abandoning a book half way through like me.

I also want to read more classics this summer. After studying books in school for the past 7 ish years, I took a well deserved break from them. As I’ve probably said before, there’s not much worse than studying a book to death, and many of these victims were the classics. I was given Gone with the Wind for my birthday a few years ago, and maybe I’ll get off my high horse and read Pride and Prejudice. Maybe. I hope my Mother doesn’t read my blog or I’ll never live it down.

I also have my reading challenge to keep up with, as due to exams and other fun soul sucking responsibilities I’ve had to neglect it a little, so I feel like I’m behind schedule. Feel free to add/follow me here.

Of course, like every other bookworm, my wish list for books is ever growing, so I may treat myself this summer (but I am a poor broke student so this may be a little far fetched). The Bees was recommended to me by a user on The Student Room; also on there is Glass Sword, the sequel to Red Queen that I reviewed recently; and Beside Myself, a book released just this year and became popular almost overnight. (By the way if any of you lovely people have read these or just have opinions leave them below because I’m influenced by other people).

I have other non-book plans too, I’m planning on keeping up with my German over the summer since the module at Uni has been cancelled (sobs quietly) and I also started a course in Esperanto just for the giggles. However I’m really flaky when it comes to committing to things like this so don’t hold me to anything.

What are your plans? What books are you reading?

*Resumes reading The Two Towers surrounded by snoring old people on the train*

Room for Thought // Room Review

This is a post I wrote for Wordery, which you can view here: https://wordery.com/blog/room-for-plenty-of-thought-574d4c888955b


This book was one that had been sitting in my wish list for a long time before I bought it. I’ve always liked books that were loosely based on a true story, and this one was no exception.

So here we have the story of 5-year-old Jack and his Ma, who live together in Room, a world which had been all Jack had ever known. What makes this books fascinating is not the fact that it deals with this confinement and the horrors that come with it, but the fact that it also deals with the after effects of this kind of emotional torture.

The way that this book is written helps us to see the story from Jack’s perspective, as everyday items like chairs and lamps are written as proper nouns, like they have feelings and emotions too. We are reminded of how confused we were as children when our parents would answer our questions with explanations that boggled our mind. The Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny aren’t real? Nothing is free? You don’t have to restrict cereal to breakfast time? Incredible. Now try telling your child that everything they’ve constructed in their head is actually a lie and that there’s a whole world out there he’ll never be able to truly fathom.

This story is loosely based on the Fritzl Case that emerged in 2008- a case which blew people’s minds. This story will shock you in a similar way, and will make you feel empathy for something that you will struggle to comprehend. The fact that a story like this is actually based on truth adds a new dimension of horror to this story, a horror that can never be desensitised.

Furthermore, because it is written in this way, it makes me feel strange when I say I enjoyed it. I don’t enjoy thinking about how these kinds of things actually happen in real life. Emotional torture is not something to be taken lightly, and especially when reading about a young child being corrupted in this way. The emotions of a child are so raw and blunt that, combined with Donoghue’s writing ability, it’s not surprising that this story is so poignant and heart-breaking.

Despite the emotional rollercoaster, there are episodes that made me smile. Jack’s innocence and brutal honesty made me laugh, the loyalty and love he has for his mother warmed my heart, even when she “betrays” him by telling him everything she ever told him was a lie to protect him. I also can’t forget the fact that there was a character in the book that shares my slightly obscure first name, with the same spelling. Amazing.

This is a book that parents can relate to, and that mothers can cry over. A book that can make young girls overly cautious, and that can make everyone aware of the horrific crimes people can commit for their own amusement. It is also an incredibly well written book, and a book that makes you think, learn and appreciate what you have.