Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Villains More Interesting Than the Hero

I really had to think about this one.

On principal, I generally like the protagonist more than the antagonist. The antagonist is that way for a reason. Authors often make it easy; the villains are often evil for the sake of being evil.

Some of the villains on this list are more interesting than the hero, the rest I just find interesting in general. Such as, these particular villains have shown a vulnerable side or their reasons for doing what they do are unclear.

So, here are the top five villains I find more interesting than the protagonist:

 

Aku from Samurai Jack

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Aku is one of those villains that are evil for the sake of being evil. He’s an ancient demonic force that destroys everything and everyone against him. Bottom line, he is soulless. But he is sassy. Every time I laughed watching the Samurai Jack cartoon, it was due to something funny Aku said or did. Samurai Jack is the iconic unselfish, brave hero that does the right thing because it is the right thing. Only he does it without so many on-point one-liners.

 

The Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

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I always found the Queen of Hearts more interesting than Alice simply because she was the one chopping people’s heads off. After reading Heartless by Marissa Meyer, though, my interest in this character peaked. I have never read Through the Looking Glass, so I can’t say for sure if Lewis Carroll himself ever gives any background information on the Queen of Hearts. Was she just born crazy? Or was she once a sweet girl named Catherine who only wanted to open a bakery with her best friend and ended up getting her heart broken by virtually everyone she loved?

 

The villain in Everless by Sara Holland

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I almost forgot about the villain in Everless, mostly due to forgetting about the entire book until now. There is a villain in the novel that I think to be more fascinating than the protagonist, Jules, in certain aspects of her personality. However, I can’t give away who the antagonist of the novel really is; it’s a major spoiler. But know this villain is methodical and merciless and she’s hell-bent on taking revenge.

 

Sebastian & Valentine Morgenstern from The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

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I put Sebastian and Valentine on this list because they are, by far, the most interesting villains in the entirety of the Shadowhunter Chronicles. These two honestly believed in what they were doing. They were not evil for the sake of being evil; they were evil because they wanted to serve the greater good. There is also that Valentine didn’t try to force anyone to join his cause. Like in City of Glass, when Jace refused to join him, Valentine did not threaten him or retaliate in any way. He accepted Jace’s decision and freed him. Then, Sebastian showed a vulnerable side in City of Lost Souls, something I would not have expected from someone like him.

 

The Commandant from An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir

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At this point in time, I have not yet read A Reaper at the Gates, but I know from the ending of A Torch Against the Night a major secret was revealed about her past that made me question her motives to what she was doing with the Nightbringer and why she hated her son Elias so much. I love Laia and Elias—still warming up to Helene unfortunately—but I am definitely looking forward to learning more about the Commandant. From my understanding, she is one of the POVs we follow in A Reaper at the Gates, or at least I hope so.

 

What other villains are more interesting than the heroes?

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Get to Know Ya Tag!

I found the Get to Know Ya Tag on Kristin Kraves Books. I saw the opportunity to talk about some books I have not mentioned on my blog for a while now, or maybe some I’ve never mentioned before. Plus, it’s a super fun tag getting to know people.

I don’t know who created it, but if you do know, give them a shout out.

 

Favorite book of all time

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I honestly have no idea how to answer this question. It’s like asking me to choose my favorite child, or more appropriately, since I am childless, my favorite friend. That, and I firmly believe that nobody can have just one favorite book. How is that even possible?

So, I’m going to choose five of my all-time favorite books, which are:

The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

 

Favorite book five years ago

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At first, I was going to say maybe The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong or Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. For the heck of it, I checked on Goodreads for my reading stats in 2013. That was the year I picked up Confessions of a Murder Suspect by James Patterson.

Confessions of a Murder Suspect was the first novel in a young adult mystery/thriller series following Tandoori “Tandy” Angel, the daughter of two extremely wealthy parents who are found dead in their bedroom. The only suspects are Tandy, her twin brother Harry, and her younger brother Hugo, as well as their older brother Matthew. There were a lot of twists and turns as Tandy tries to figure out who killed her parents, even if it means she did it, but the plot twist shook me to my core. I was obsessed with Confessions of a Murder Suspect, as well as its sequel, The Private School Murders, which I also read in 2013.

 

Favorite Duology/Trilogy/Series

Not surprisingly, I have an answer for all three of these.

Duology: It’s a tie between The Wrath and the Dawn duology by Renee Ahdieh and the Passenger duology by Alexandra Bracken. Both of these made me feel everything plus they were fun, exciting reads with characters I adored.

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Trilogy: Easily the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. I found very little fault in these books when I read them. However, since I have not read Lord of Shadows yet and Queen of Air and Darkness is not out until December, I’m wondering if maybe The Dark Artifices will soon take its place as my favorite trilogy. And there are a few other contenders on my TBR that could prove worthy competition.

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Series: Does it count if your favorite series are incomplete? The two series (again, I’m indecisive) that I am certain are my favorites are the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco and the An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir. I just loved everything about these books.

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Last book you read

At the time I am writing this, the last book I read was A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell, a cheesy thriller about two mothers you think are best friends but they both have deep, dark secrets they use to manipulate each other. Unfortunately, it was not that entertaining.

 

Last book of poetry you read

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The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace, which I read and bought as soon as it came out. While I did enjoy it, sadly, I did not love it as much as her debut collection.

 

What book most influenced your life?

Honestly…I can’t say it was just one book, because a lot of books have influenced me in different ways throughout the years. To name a few:

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume is the book that awoke my passion for storytelling and inspired my first “novel” when I was eight years old.

At fifteen, The Darkest Powers trilogy by Kelley Armstrong made me realize my strongest writing niche was in the fantasy and paranormal genres.

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The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace and The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur came to me earlier this year, making me feel empowered when I wasn’t really feeling like it.

 

 

 

 

 

Book that made you ugly cry

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Definitely A List of Cages by Robin Roe made me ugly cry. It takes a lot to make me cry in books in general. With this book, it was a full on sob fest.

 

Book that made you laugh

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All the Rick Riordan books I’ve read so far. That includes the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series plus the first two books in the Heroes of Olympus series, The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune.

 

Character you’d like to be for a day.

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No brainer: Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I get to practice magic and go to Hogwarts, plus share a brain with one of the most badass women in literature.

 

Book so good you dreamt about it

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Hmmm…. I don’t remember my dreams. I remember my nightmares though. One book that was really good but also one I should not have read before bed was The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich. There was a scene with a mirror…and I have one in my bedroom, right across from my bed, so it took me a while to go back to sleep after.

 

Book you DNF’D

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After You by Jojo Moyes, which I tried to read over a year ago. I got about 35 pages in before I had to put it down. I think it bothered me that Me Before You got a sequel when it was perfectly fine as a stand-alone, in my opinion. However, I’ve heard decent things about the third book, Still Me, when Louisa goes to New York City, so I might pick up After You again, eventually.

 

What book are you most excited to read?

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

…To name a few.

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I tag….

Grey (once she’s back from her hiatus! I completely forgot. Sorry Grey!)

Crystal

Shanah

Joe

And anyone else that wants to do this tag!

Books I NEED to Read Before the End of 2018

Notice my word choice in the title?

Admittedly, I am one of those people that are excited to have a large TBR on my bookshelves, imagining all the reading I will be doing. Plus, it’s not like they are going to get up and walk away any time soon.

On the flip side to that, there are some books at home on my TBR for longer than they should have been. Such as, books where I read and enjoyed the previous novel in the series like a year or two ago, then never got around to reading the sequel for whatever reason. That’s the case for the majority of the books on this list.

Those books are:

 

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

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            The companion novel to The Star-Touched Queen, A Crown of Wishes follows Gauri, the younger half-sister of the protagonist in the previous novel, who is a political prisoner to her kingdom’s enemy. With nothing left to lose, she teams up with Vikram, a prince from another rival land, to join the Tournament of Wishes, a deadly competition in which the Lord of Wealth grants the victor any wish they want. Except they will soon learn nothing is more dangerous than what you most desire.

I read The Star-Touched Queen last year, though I enjoyed it more than loved it. However, people have said more positive things about A Crown of Wishes and I do like Roshani Chokshi’s writing style.

 

Windwitch by Susan Dennard

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            Like many of the books on this list, Windwitch is one I am shocked I have not read yet. The first novel in the series, Truthwitch, was in my top favorite books of last year. At this point in time, I still stand by what I said: I liked the characters of Truthwitch more than I like the majority of Sarah J. Maas’s characters in both of her published series. Windwitch refers to Prince Merik, my new book beau, who was disfigured after the events of Truthwitch and now fighting for the oppressed in the royal capital. There is also a bunch of other stuff going on with the characters that, again, make me ask myself why I waited so long to read it.

 

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

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            I have no excuses for this one. I really don’t. I read This Savage Song two years ago when I got it in the Owlcrate Good vs. Evil box July 2016. It was one of my favorite books of that year with its morally gray characters and dark, gritty world filled with monsters. Our Dark Duet is the sequel as well as the final novel in the duology.

Seriously, I need to read this.

 

Now I Rise by Kiersten White

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Now I Rise is the second novel in The Conqueror’s Saga, the first being And I Darken. Again, I read the first novel two years ago and intended to read Now I Rise almost as soon as I bought it. I enjoyed And I Darken, probably a lot more than a lot of other people seemed to. As far as I am concerned, it is an underrated trilogy.

           

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

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            I don’t really have much of an explanation for why I have not read A Court of Wings and Ruin. I have been spoiled for quite a number of big things that happened in this alleged “finale” but I don’t really care. We all know why we actually read any of Sarah J. Maas’s books….

 

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

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            Like I said, not so much an explanation for Tower of Dawn, either. However, I am more hopeful for this one, as the reviews for the Chaol novel have been surprisingly very positive.

 

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

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            When I read Lady Midnight last year, I already owned Lord of Shadows and I wanted to read it immediately. Then, I started hearing words like “major character deaths” and “emotionally draining” and “the last three pages killed me.” With Queen of Air and Darkness coming out in December, maybe it was wise I waited towards the end of 2018 to pick up Lord of Shadows….

 

Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

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            I put Daughter of the Siren Queen on the list because I genuinely liked the first book Daughter of the Pirate King and I want to finish the duology this year. Truthfully, though, it is not a priority as some of the others. I won’t be too hard on myself if I don’t get to read Daughter of the Siren Queen before the end of 2018.

 

Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh

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Smoke in the Sun is the sequel to Flame in the Mist and the final book in the duology. I read Flame in the Mist earlier this year and learned I enjoyed it more than the majority of other people that have read it. While I won’t say I loved it as much as Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath & the Dawn duology, I do like Flame in the Mist for the qualities it does have. So, I am still hopeful for Smoke in the Sun.

 

I also realized recently I have been failing on one of my main reading goals for 2018, which is read more classics. In 2017, I barely read anything older than five years. As an English major, that was embarrassing. So far this year, I’ve read three classics out of ten I aimed for (although I’m debating on whether I want to count the one that turned out to be a horrible reread).

The classics I want to read are:

 

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

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            When most people think of Jane Austen, they think Pride and Prejudice or Emma or Sense and Sensibility. Mansfield Park is one, I think, hardly anyone besides diehard Austen fans really talk about. It follows Fanny Price, who is sent to live with her rich cousins in Mansfield Park. Having grown up in poverty, she is looked down upon by her relatives save for her cousin Edmund. Then, the Crawford siblings Mary and Henry show up, bringing with them London glamour her cousins are drawn to. But only Fanny is suspicious to their true motives.

 

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

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            One of my Women & Gender Studies professors actually recommended I read Northanger Abbey for its satire of the popular Gothic novel of Jane Austen’s time period. He said there was one chapter Jane actually sounds like she is yelling at women to not be so naïve. From my knowledge, it is basically about a young woman in a spooky mansion and it turns the tropes of the era on their heads.

 

The Professor by Charlotte Bronte

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Like Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte is mainly known for her most popular novel, Jane Eyre. In her frequent biographies, it is mentioned that, in boarding school, Charlotte had a crush on her older and married male professor. Obviously, the feelings were not reciprocated. The Professor is inspired by that girlhood crush, told through the eyes of a young male professor at an all-girls’ school and his complicated relationship with some of the women that work there, as well as one with a student.

 

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

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I read Anne Bronte’s other novel, Agnes Grey, in 2016 and, in my opinion, she is the underrated Bronte sister. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is another book on social commentary, this one focusing on marriage and women’s roles in Victorian society. After watching her husband succumb to alcoholism, a woman flees to another town with her young son to escape her husband’s influence and changes her name, hoping to rebuild her life as a painter. Then, she catches the eye of her landlord, putting her secrets at risk of being exposed and, when her husband finds them, losing her son.

 

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

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Oscar Wilde’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray is about a vain young man that makes a wish for his portrait to age while he remains youthful and handsome. The novel takes a harsh look at the decadence of London society and deep moral corruption in that era. Besides having loved Oscar Wilde’s play The Importance of Being Earnest, my expectations are already high for The Picture of Dorian Gray because some of my friends who are not big readers liked this one, too.

 

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

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I’m pretty sure I saw Wishbone the dog do a segment on The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as a child, where Wishbone plays the lawyer friend of Dr. Jekyll that narrates the story. Not to mention the frequent retellings and references within the media. Still, I never read the source material, or anything by Robert Louis Stevenson.

In case you don’t know, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a novella following an ambitious doctor who creates a medicine supposed to rid people of their negative qualities. Only it backfires and at night he becomes his morally corrupt alter ego Mr. Hyde.

 

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

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One of the books I mentioned I wanted to reread, The Age of Innocence was one of my favorite books I read for sophomore year English class in high school. It is set in during the Golden Age of “old” New York City, where a simple rumor could destroy everything. Newland Archer is engaged to May Welland, but he falls head over heels for Countess Ellen Olenska, who has fled her abusive husband and returned home to New York. Except no one really cares about that. Archer is put into a compromising position: fulfill his duty or follow his heart and be ruined by scandal.

 

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

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The Phantom of the Opera is yet another classic novel Wishbone the dog spoiled for me as a little kid, if told in a more kid-friendly version. I’m sure there is more to it than a beautiful young opera singer falling in love with a guy wearing a mask that hangs out in the theater basement. I also read a retelling, RoseBlood by A.G. Howard, earlier this summer and, unfortunately, didn’t like it as much as I wanted to. But since the movie adaption of The Phantom of the Opera became available on Netflix, I am refusing to let myself watch it until I read the original work.

 

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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I read The Scarlet Letter back in high school and it was another of my favorites. Hester Prynne is a woman ahead of her time, facing her sin of adultery in quiet dignity and raising her daughter Pearl on her own while outcast by an entire community. It takes a look at the hypocrisy of religion and gender roles. Plus, I am fully convinced Nathaniel Hawthorne was a feminist because of the opinions he wove into The Scarlet Letter.

 

The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

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The interesting thing about Nathaniel Hawthorne, regarding some of his short stories, what feels like a horror is more like commentary on society. The House of Seven Gables seems to follow the same method. It centers on two families, the Maule and the Pyncheon, and over two centuries of history inside a presumably cursed house haunted by tragedy. That’s all I need to know going into The House of Seven Gables.

 

With five months left in the year, the reading crunch is on!

 

What books do you need to read before the end of 2018?

 

 

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Books I’ve Read Because of YouTube

I’ve been watching YouTube since I think about sixth grade. In high school, I watched mostly beauty guru videos out of fascination (how do girls do that?) and baby name videos, because I struggled to name characters in my stories. I only knew about books like The Hunger Games and Twilight because of other kids at school. Then, I found book reviewers like Katie from Chapter Stackss and the girls from Get Bookish. That changed everything.

When Shanah announced this month’s topics, I knew right away which five books I was going to pick. Thanks to BookTube, I found some of my all-time favorite books that I am not sure I ever would have found on my own.

The top five books I have read because of YouTube are:

 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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The Handmaid’s Tale is actually recommendation from Katie of Chapter Stackss. It is one of her all-time favorite books and the concept intrigued me. I think at that point the only dystopian books I read were The Giver and The Hunger Games, and those were meant for young adults. The Handmaid’s Tale was not heavy with action scenes, but you feel the despair within this world. Religion has taken over the government, women are subjugated, and violence is everywhere. If I had to choose, I think I prefer to live in the world of The Hunger Games to the one in The Handmaid’s Tale.

 

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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I remember reading The Wrath and the Dawn the summer after I graduated from college. I was unemployed and distracted myself by visiting the library almost daily. The Wrath and the Dawn, as well as its sequel The Rose and the Dagger, was everywhere on YouTube by that point. I checked this one out of the library because I was interested in reading it but it was not something I was used to reading. As you can imagine, I read it and loved it.

 

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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If I remember correctly, I wasn’t sure if I would like An Ember in the Ashes either. Much like The Wrath and the Dawn, I heard a lot about it on YouTube so I checked it out of the library just to give it a try. Now, this series is one of my all-time favorites and I find little fault in the books.

 

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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Though I was a newbie to high fantasy at the time and Throne of Glass was only beginning its journey to becoming a social media phenomenon, somehow I was confident that I would love this book. I not only bought Throne of Glass, but also Crown of Midnight and Heir of Fire, all of which had been published by the time I picked up the series. Admittedly, I did not love Throne of Glass, only enjoyed it just enough where I read the rest of the series. And, of course, loved those books.

 

Clockwork Angel/City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

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I read both Clockwork Angel and City of Bones in 2013 or 2014, after some years seeing Cassandra Clare’s name everywhere. Once The Infernal Devices trilogy and The Mortal Instruments series became more popular on YouTube, I watched enough reviews where I felt I would enjoy them if I read them. I did, though I gave Clockwork Angel 5 stars while City of Bones got 4 stars.

 

What was your favorite book you read because of YouTube?

 

Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag 2018

I know it’s June and we are halfway done through 2018 and my TBR at home is getting a little bit out of hand and I am this close to going on a book shopping splurge again with so many new books I want to read but…I really love the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag.

I look forward to doing this tag. I get to reflect on the books I’ve read so far this year and light a fire under my butt to read certain ones before the end of the year. It just makes me excited for the rest of my reading for the year, no matter how good or bad or mediocre the previous six months were.

On to the tag!

 

The best book you’ve read so far in 2018.

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Without a doubt, The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace. Every time I bring this book up, I say it came to me at the right time, which is absolutely true. I love Amanda’s free style poetry. Her voice is strong and unapologetic. The Princess Saves Herself in This One helped me feel empowered during a time I really needed it.

 

The best sequel you’ve read so far in 2018.

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Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco, the second book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series and the first book I read in 2018. I loved it even more than Stalking Jack the Ripper, with the setting in a Romanian castle and all the Vlad the Impaler references. Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell are my Feysand, too.

 

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

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A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir, which I received six days before its release date! It is the third book in one of my all-time favorite series and I’m pretty sure it is going to destroy me.

 

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows, the first book being My Lady Jane. My Plain Jane is a retelling of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte featuring ghost hunting and the occult, as well as I’m sure what is to be amazing, funny storytelling. Given how much I enjoyed My Lady Jane and that I love Jane Eyre, I already know I will love My Plain Jane.

 

Biggest disappointment.

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That would have to be Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I read it earlier this year, too excited to put it off because I thought it would be a thriller type novel in Fitzgerald’s writing style. Only what I did not know prior to picking it up was that it was published after he had gone dormant in the book world for nine years, and it showed. The book still had his social commentary and unlikeable characters, but the writing was dense, leaning towards over-explaining and over-foreshadowing, taking too long to get to the point. Plus, the characters in this novel were just plain boring for unlikeable characters. So, yeah, Tender is the Night really let me down.

 

Biggest surprise.

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When I picked up This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter last month from the library, I went into it with low expectations. It appeared as though the author was trying to mesh too many genres—contemporary, thriller, and magical realism—and I was nervous as to how she could possibly make that all work. Somehow, she figured it out.

 

Favorite new author (debut or new to you)

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Though I own most of her published works, I only started reading Marissa Meyer this year. I read Heartless, her stand-alone young adult retelling about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, this spring and loved it. Reading that got me excited to read her claim to fame, the Lunar Chronicles, one of the most hyped young adult series.

 

Newest fictional crush

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Wallace Wartland from Eliza and Her Monsters from Francesca Zappia, one of the first books I read this year. Though he looks like the stereotypical big, handsome, blue-eyed football player, he is mostly a sweet, shy nerd that I adore.

 

Newest favorite fictional character

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That would have to be Virginia Shreves, from my most recent read, The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler. I related to her so much. It was the first time, in a long time, I truly saw myself, specifically my younger self, in a young adult novel. Virginia is a good person, and she comes into her own by herself. That is something I think we need more of in young adult literature these days.

 

A book that made you cry

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I wouldn’t say this book made me cry full-on tears—other books in previous years have brought on waterfalls—but a book that definitely made me feel emotional, especially in the beginning portion, was The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan. A teenaged girl learns to cope and tries to find answers to family secrets in the wake of her mother’s suicide. This book had its moments where it hit close to home, in certain aspects of the main character’s grieving process and her memories of her mother.

 

A book that made you happy

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Definitely My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows made me happy. The authors took what was a serious, unhappy, and certainly not funny time in history and turned it all on its head, with hilarious storytelling and comedic situations.

 

Favorite book to film adaption you saw this year.

Comic books count right? A movie I watched based on a comic book is Doctor Strange. I personally have not read anything from Marvel or DC, though admittedly I prefer the latter’s movies and superheroes. Doctor Strange was the only Marvel movie I was interested in watching, primarily because it had more of a magic element than the others did. I watched it on Netflix a few months ago and I still think about it—I absolutely adored this film more than I thought I would. And Benedict Cumberbatch…..swoons.

Doctor Strange Marvel GIF

 

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The favorite review you’ve written this year.

If I have to say a favorite review I’ve written this year, it’s a tie between reviews I did for Speak the graphic novel by Laurie Halse Anderson and The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace. Those were more about the reasons why young women should be reading them and I go into some spoiler detail.

 

The most beautiful book you’ve bought or received so far this year.

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Autoboyography by Christina Lauren, one of the books I bought at the very beginning of 2018 for my birthday. The cover catches my eye all the time when I’m looking at my shelves.

 

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas, Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas, Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare, Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, Furyborn by Claire Legrand, Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli…just to name a few. There are a lot more that I want/need to read before the end of 2018. It is a matter of if I will get to them and not beat myself up if I do not.

 

What are the books you want to read before the end of 2018?

 

Books I Want to Read Between May and August of 2018

In March, I went on a book-buying binge that added a lot of books to my physical TBR that made it harder than it already was to pick a book to read. In April, I had too long of a TBR that I barely put a dent in. Now, I’m behind on my Goodreads challenge.

So, I decided to do something different. Instead of doing TBRs during the summer, I am giving myself a list of books to read between May and August. I will still do monthly wrap-ups; I actually like doing those, looking back on the reading I did every month. This way, I am giving myself a deadline for priority books, while still having wiggle room for other books.

If this list works out, I might do one for September through November. By then, I will have started graduate school. Who knows how much free time I will have once I get into the trenches of academia?

Anyway, the books I plan on reading this summer are:

 

Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller

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The perfect summer read in my opinion, The Daughter of the Siren Queen is the sequel to Daughter of the Pirate King and the last book in the duology. It picks up right where the first book left off, with Alossa and her crew in a race against rival pirates for an ancient treasure. There’s a lot more going on than that, particularly since Alossa is half siren, but I won’t get into more details because of spoilers. You better believe I will be reading Daughter of the Siren Queen soon, though.

 

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

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The sequel to The Star-Touched Queen, A Crown of Wishes follows the younger half-sister of the main character in the previous novel, who becomes a political prisoner in a rival kingdom and must compete in a race with a sneaky prince for her freedom. I enjoyed The Star-Touched Queen and people have said the companion novel is even better, so I’m hyped for it.

 

Windwitch by Susan Dennard

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I loved the first book in the series, Truthwitch, and I forced myself to put off Windwitch for two reasons. First, I had other books before that one I wanted to read first (think I read all of them?). Second, I knew the next book in the series, Bloodwitch, would not be out for a while; I would need something to hold me over. But I have put it off for long enough now. I want to get back into the series.

 

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

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Why have I not read this??? I loved This Savage Song. I wanted to read Our Dark Duet when it came out last year yet I never got around to it. (Story of my life.) I’m making it a priority for this summer, though. Hopefully, I haven’t forgotten too much from the first book….

 

Now I Rise by Kiersten White

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Now I Rise is another anticipated sequel of one of my favorite reads of 2016, And I Darken. It is a retelling of Vlad the Impaler if he was a woman and the first book had been so much fun. Plus, the final book in the trilogy, Bright We Burn, is coming out in July. I need to get on this!

 

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

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I have briefly mentioned my love-hate relationship with Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy. These are like guilty pleasure reads for me, as they are for a lot of people. But they are problematic, for a lot of reasons. Still, I plan on finally finishing this trilogy, because I made it this far and I want to see it through…even if I have been spoiled for some things….

 

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

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Unlike Sarah J. Maas’s books, I put off Lord of Shadows not because I had problems with Lady Midnight. In fact, the previous book made me think The Dark Artifices could be my new favorite Shadowhunter Chronicles series after The Infernal Devices. Lord of Shadows fell to the wayside on my TBR because I had no idea when the sequel, Queen of Air and Darkness, was coming out and the book is said to be an emotional roller coaster. I had to prepare for that.

 

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

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I’m actually shocked I have not read Tower of Dawn. I was more excited for this one than A Court of Wings and Ruin…. Mostly because I am still a loyal Chaol Westfall fan girl and Tower of Dawn is supposed to be his redemption arc. The fact that it has been getting great reviews and some even said it is their new favorite book in the series just makes me even more excited to finally read Tower of Dawn.

 

Cinder

Scarlet

Cress

Fairest

Winter

By Marissa Meyer

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After reading Heartless, I know for certain I will like the Lunar Chronicles series. While the books are a series of companion fairy tale retellings, the science fiction aspect has always made me weary. Still, my fascination with this series was strong enough that I never let go of Cinder after owning it for at least two years and getting the remaining books this past Christmas. Now it is time to get on one of the most beloved young adult series.

 

The Kiss of Deception

The Heart of Betrayal

The Beauty of Darkness

By Mary E. Pearson

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The Remnant Chronicles is another young adult series I have wanted to get into for years. The reason I was so interested in this one was because the main character is a princess that runs away on her wedding day and chooses to become a waitress rather than live like royalty. Plus, she’s got two love interests, one was the prince she left at the alter and the other an assassin sent to kill her. The Kiss of Deception received a lot of hype when it came out, but it died down after the last two books. Miraculously, I have never been spoiled for anything that happens in this series. And I want to keep it that way!

 

A Great and Terrible Beauty

Rebel Angels

The Sweet Far Thing

By Libba Bray

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An older series I have wanted to read for a long, long time, the Gemma Doyle trilogy is a young adult historical fantasy series about a teenaged girl who goes to a boarding school with sinister secrets and a magical society. This trilogy has kind of fallen under the radar over the years; no one really talks about it anymore. But it’s time I read the series I am almost positive I will love, simply based on what I know about the series. Even though I have not read anything by Libba Bray before. I’m really taking a chance on Gemma Doyle.

 

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Which one should I read first?

Top 5 Tuesday: Top 5 Books I Predict will be Five Star Reads

I have so many books on my physical TBR that I’m really excited for. I almost made a list of ten books I predict will be five star reads for me, but then I got nervous. I was worried I was setting myself up for disappointment. A lot of the books have hype surrounding them. Of course, hype is not something you can necessarily rely on.

The five I chose to put on this list for several reasons. One is I have read books I loved by these authors before, so I know I will love their new books, too. Another reason is the subject matter interests me and when I think about it, I get excited to read. That is how I determine the five books I predict will be five star reads.

 

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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Despite being the most hyped book everywhere right now, I would read Children of Blood and Bone regardless. It is set in a world based on African mythology; something I don’t read enough of and I want to change that. A strong female lead along with several other companions, including a rogue princess, set out to bring magic back to their world. Plus, there’s an evil king and a morally gray prince. And, from what I heard, they ride leopards. How is that not cool?

 

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

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I am basing my expectations for To Kill a Kingdom on several factors. First, I love mermaids, yet I have not read a lot of mermaid books. Second, it is a retelling of The Little Mermaid, with the mermaid being a siren that kills princes and steals hearts—so, she’s not a nice person. Third, she is changed into a mortal as punishment by her mother and is sent to the human world to claim the heart of a prince. Lastly, that prince is a siren hunter. You cannot comprehend how badly I want to read this book right now….

 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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In regards to The Hate U Give, my five-star expectations are based on hype. It is inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and follows a young girl torn between two worlds and puts her life on the line when she witnesses her childhood best friend shot unarmed by a police officer. The reviews for The Hate U Give have been nothing but positive. I want to read more diversely in my 20s than I did growing up binging trash like Sweet Valley. I’m hoping The Hate U Give will teach me something, too.

 

The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton

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The Price Guide to the Occult is Leslye Walton’s second novel, her first in close to five years since her debut The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender. Though I remember giving that book four stars, her writing style was beautiful and I believe talent improves the more you work at it. So, if she’s been working on The Price Guide to the Occult for that long, her abilities have likely gotten better since then. The story itself also excites me: generations of witches with secrets causing havoc in their small island community over an ancient spellbook. Of course, it is probably a lot cooler than how I just made it sound.

 

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

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How much love has this book gotten since it came out? I bought Lord of Shadows not long after I read Lady Midnight, which I did give five stars. However, I learned with authors like Cassandra Clare and Sarah J. Maas, I need to give myself breaks between reading their books due to possible emotional distress. From what I know about Lord of Shadows, “emotional distress” is the definition of the plot. And I need to make sure I’m mentally prepared for anything that might happen.

 

Have you read any of my five-star predictions? What did you think of them?

Makeup Book Tag

Fun fact about me: I rarely wear makeup. The last time I wore a full face of makeup was my senior formal…two years ago. I’m not even going to count the lipstick I wore at my cousin’s wedding in September. Most of my money goes to books.

Still, I saw the Makeup Book Tag making its rounds on BookTube and I thought it would be fun. And it will take less time because I won’t talk about makeup products….

 

Primer: pick a book that left a lasting impression.

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Easily The Princess Saves Herself in This One, the most influential book I’ve read so far this year. It came to me during a time I really needed such a book.

 

Foundation: pick your favorite first book in a series.

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I know many of you carry a torch for A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, but the previous book, A Court of Thorns and Roses, holds a special place in my heart. I had so much fun reading it, more than I did Throne of Glass. Plus, A Court of Thorns and Roses was a Beauty and the Beast retelling, something I am simply trash for regardless whatever media format its in.

 

Concealer: pick a character you wish you could get rid of.

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That would have to be Lydia from The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. She was so snobby, self-centered, and plainly annoying. She had little empathy for even her own best friends. It wasn’t until tragedy happened that she finally realized what a brat she had been. Even after that, I still did not like her.

 

Powder: pick your favorite last book in a series.

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The second book in The Wrath & the Dawn duology by Renee Ahdieh, The Rose and the Dagger. While it might not have been as action-packed as the first book, it was still a satisfying conclusion, with lots of magic and political intrigue.

 

Eyebrows: a book you think everyone should read.

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A book I think everyone should read is We Believe You by Annie E. Clark, a nonfiction book written by survivors of rape and sexual assault. This book made me uncomfortable, sad, and, sometimes, very, very angry. It contained stories about the writers’ respective attacks (some in graphic detail), the criminal investigations that did not always end in justice, and the aftermath of the trauma in which the survivors rebuild their lives. We Believe You is both empowering and educational.

 

Eyeshadow: pick a book that has your favorite color on the cover.

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My favorite color is purple and the cover for Unearthly by Cynthia Hand is my favorite shade.

 

Eyeliner: pick a dark and mysterious book.

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The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert is the definition of dark and mysterious. I know it has not gotten the best reviews since it came out, but I enjoyed it very much. To me, The Hazel Wood embodies all the elements of a dark fairy tale: lyrical writing, a protagonist that is not always likable, and a terrifying fantastical atmosphere.

 

Mascara: pick a long book.

Either A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas or City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare. Those were the two longest books I read last year.

 

Blush: pick a book that has a cringe-worthy romance.

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Every single romantic relationship of the main character in Woman of God by James Patterson  made me want to puke.

 

Highlighter: pick a book that brightened your day.

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Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia was a joy to read, despite the occasional dark moments. I’m still thinking about it, even after two months.

 

Lipstick: your favorite book kiss.

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Thankfully, I just read Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh. Now that first kiss was something to write home about…well, unless you count the spoilers.

 

I tag anyone else who wants to do it!

Spring Cleaning Book Tag

What is spring? My state has gotten hit with our third snowstorm in two weeks and we are expecting more snow on Wednesday….

I saw the girls from Owlcrate doing the Spring Cleaning Book Tag on their channel last week. Given the current weather conditions of where I live, I thought this tag was ironic. Hopefully, spring won’t keep us waiting for much longer.

On to the tag!

 

The struggle of getting started: a book or series you struggle to begin because of its size?

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That’s easy: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer or The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. The former has four books in the series, plus a novella, and the latter has five books. And none of them appear to be less than 400 pages.

 

Cleaning out the closet: a book or series you want to unhaul.

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This is not the typical kind of question you see in book tags. Nonetheless, the first book I thought of was Teardrop by Lauren Kate. I read this book years ago, back during a time I read multiple books at once and did not always see each one through. I can’t even remember if I liked it or not. I do remember the synopsis though: a girl is ordered by her mother to never cry, which proves to be ten times harder after her mother dies in a freak accident. A boy suddenly enters her life and an ancient love story is revealed. You can guess what might happen from there.

I have wanted to reread Teardrop for the longest time. The story sounds like it could involve mermaids or some sort of underwater world; things I usually enjoy. However, my physical TBR is huge and will only get bigger, plus there are other books I want to reread more than Teardrop. So, there’s a good chance I might unhaul this book someday (whenever I get around to unhauling books at all).

 

Opening windows and letting fresh air in: a book that was refreshing.

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I’m going to go with the book I am currently reading, which is My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. If you know anything about Lady Jane Grey and her nine-day reign as the Queen of England, you know her story was a far cry from happy. So far, My Lady Jane has turned English history on its head and provided a comical twist on what was an otherwise a tense, corrupt era during the Tudor monarchy.

 

Washing out the sheet stains: a book with a scene you wish you could rewrite.

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No spoilers, but a certain scene from Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas. If you read the book, you know what I’m talking about. I mean I understand its relevance to the story, only that does not mean I wanted it to happen.

 

Throwing out unnecessary knickknacks: a book in a series you didn’t think was necessary.

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Blood Promise, the fourth book in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead. The story was totally boring and the series could have done without it, in my opinion. In fact, the whole Vampire Academy series as a whole should have been at least three books shorter than it was. But that’s just me.

 

Polishing doorknobs: a book that had a clean finish.

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Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, in which the protagonist goes through a painful journey but comes out a stronger, better person. The ending of this story is one of the most satisfying I have ever read in a young adult novel.

 

Reaching to dust the fan: a book that tried too hard to relay a certain message.

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All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is one I thought of. While not a bad book as a whole, I understand people’s issues with it regarding the portrayal of mental illness. Finch, who likely has bipolar disorder or something of that nature, befriends Violet, a classmate that lost her sister in a tragic car accident and seems to be contemplating suicide at the beginning of the book. The two eventually develop a romantic relationship, but with Finch growing weaker as Violet becomes stronger.

Come to think of it, now I’m not so sure what kind of message All the Bright Places was trying to deliver at all.

 

The tiring yet satisfying finish of spring cleaning: a book series that was tiring but satisfying to get through.

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Definitely The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, which I have to be honest, is my least favorite series in the Shadowhunters Chronicles thus far. While none of the six books are without their merits, it didn’t really hold up to par with the Infernal Devices trilogy. I was so relieved when I finally finished The Mortal Instruments series last year.

 

As far as I know, no one else on the blogging sphere has done the Spring Cleaning Tag. So, for the first time ever, I’m going to tag people!

 

I tag:

Shanah from Bionic Bookworm

J.W. from Storeys of Storeys

Kristin from Kristin Kraves Books

Crystal from Paper Royalty Blog

Rhea from Bookchanted

And anyone else that wants to do this tag!

The #NotAll Book Tag!

I saw this book tag, the #NotAll Book Tag, on Rebecca Mills blog last week, created by theorangutanlibrarian. The tag came at the perfect time. I was having trouble coming up with a recommendations post or something else to write. But that’s why we have book tags.

On to the tag!

 

#NotAll Cover Changes: A Cover Change You Liked.

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Though I have not read the series yet, I do like the cover changes of The Diviners series by Libba Bray. The original cover of the first novel was pretty, but something about the paperback cover speaks to me. It embodies both genres: mystery and horror. The same with my recent editions, especially the cover of Before the Devil Breaks You. These covers kind of make me want to read the books more.

 

#NotAll Adaptions: An adaption you love more than the book.

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That would have to be Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood. While the book was good, the Netflix miniseries of Alias Grace was done very well. Sarah Gordon, who played Grace Marks, did a great job at bringing a historical figure to life. All the characters, including Grace, had some morally gray tones to them. And it got down to the nitty-gritty of the story, rather than drag on the parts readers don’t care about.

 

#NotAll Tropes: A Trope You’ll Never Tire of Seeing.

Admittedly, I still love the “Chosen One” and the “lost princess” tropes. I know these are overused. But if done well, a trope might not feel so much like a trope and more like a plot.

 

#NotAll Instalove: you instaloved this InstaCouple.

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Etta Spencer and Nicholas Carter from the Passenger duology by Alexandra Bracken. While their relationship might move a little too fast for teenagers, there is definitely an instant connection between them. Normally, I strongly dislike instalove. However, the characters have a great dynamic and the relationship grows throughout the story.

 

#NotAll Love Triangles: An example of a love triangle done well.

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I adore the love triangle between Tessa, Will, and Jem in the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. What I hate about a lot of young adult novels is that authors often make one love interest look like a villain. For example, Sarah J. Maas, butchering characters more for the sake of introducing a “better” love interest (all the Chaol Westfall fangirls know what I’m talking about).

However, in the case of Will and Jem, both boys have equal standing. Though I was personally Team Jem for the longest time, I eventually had to admit Will had his qualities. Tessa loves both boys, and the boys are best friends who love each other. They all love each other so much and none of them want to hurt each other.

 

#NotAll Parents: bookish parents that, you know, parent!

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Molly’s two moms, Patty and Nadine, in The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. They have a healthy communication with their daughters and speak to them in a down-to-earth manner. Patty and Nadine also knew when to lay down the law. One scene that sticks out to me is when Molly’s grandmother goes too far in talking about Molly’s weight problems. Patty actually pulled her mother aside and told her to keep her opinions to herself. My father never did that with his mother when she made comments about my weight. Seeing a parent do something about that in a book struck a cord with me.

 

#NotAll Villains: a villain you love.

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I don’t know why, but Amarantha from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas. I love to hate her I guess. She did horrible, horrible things to everyone in that series—Feyre, Rhys, Tamlin, Lucien—and she ruled with terror for fifty years. But, when you think about it, at her core Amarantha is a scorned woman that cursed innocent people because she couldn’t handle rejection.

 

#NotAll Chosen Ones: a chosen one you can get behind.

Percy Jackson from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. He’s funny and he rolls with whatever happens. He never feels sorry for himself, either. Percy is simply motivated to do the right thing.

 

#NotAll Hyped Books: a book that lived up to the acclaim.

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Most recently, that would have to be Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia. BookTube commonly described it as a “love letter to fandom.” That is exactly what this book was. I related to Eliza; in high school, I was a lot like her. I didn’t have any close friends. I preferred books and the Internet to my peers. I felt my parents didn’t fully understand the things I enjoyed. I loved writing and it took up my life. Some of that has changed now I’m 25, but a lot of the things that are important to Eliza are still important to me.

 

#NotAll Contemporary: a book you’re not keen on from your favorite genre.

My favorite is fantasy. Likely two of the most beloved works of fiction in that genre I have no interest in reading is the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin and the Lord of the Ring trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. The books are just too big and dense. There are so many others that I want to read more than those. I have no interest in the Game of Thrones show (despite my dad’s best efforts) or the Lord of the Ring movies either.

Feel free to convince me, if you want.

 

#NotAll Fantasy: a book you liked from a genre you don’t often read.

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A genre I read the least of as well as one I am rarely interested in is nonfiction. Tuesdays with Morrie is one that comes to mind. I read it for a sociology/WGS course in my senior year of college. Even my friends that aren’t big readers enjoyed that book. The praise surrounding Tuesdays with Morrie is well deserved. Reading about Mitch Albom writing a book about life lessons with his favorite college professor, Morrie, as Morrie lay on his deathbed was worthwhile. Although, my description is not doing it justice. You must read Tuesdays with Morrie for yourself.

 

I tag anyone that wants to do this tag!