I have some very strong feelings and those feelings tend to regard reading. I believe print, in-person, solid books are so much better than online, electronic, on-a-screen books. For multiple reasons.
There’s nothing like the feel of a book in your hand, the crinkle of a page as you turn it, and the smell. Please tell me I’m not alone in sniffing books. New books smell like fresh ink and parchment and old books smell of ancient sawdust.
You don’t have to worry about battery percentage with a print book! You can read until you’re too tired to go on!
There are so many ways to make your physical book your own. You can write in it, highlight it, put special handmade bookmarks in it. When it’s online, it’s just not as personal.
A lot of people say reading before bed is good for you and your sleep. Not if it’s online though because the glow of a screen will just keep you awake for longer than you anticipated!
Plus, the feeling of going into a bookstore surrounded by physical books is one of complete heavenly bliss. You don’t get that kind of happiness from an e-reader.
I know some people prefer e-books because you can get book copies for cheaper, you can carry a whole library with you at once, you can read in the dark, and you can easily access a dictionary. But e-reading is just simply not for me.
We are all different people, so it makes sense that we are different readers. We have different things we enjoy, tropes we like, and habits we do when we are reading. But some people’s likes and habits just happen to be annoying or frustrating to me.
What are some of these book things that I can’t stand? Well…
Stickers on book covers. Especially stickers that can’t be removed and cover up half the synopsis! How am I supposed to know if I want to buy the book if they cover up the synopsis?
Speaking of which, I miss the days when you could usually read a synopsis on the back of the book instead of what the New York Times thought of it. Everyone knows that professional critics have no taste.
Oh, and on the topic of covers, I hate when they change the traditional book cover to the movie poster. No! Let me imagine the book character instead of telling me it’s Shailene Woodley.
Now that I’m on Bookstagram I see a lot of artsy pictures of books that I want to try to implement. But some people take pictures of the book with the cover folded back behind the book, and I swear that physically hurts me.
When someone spoils a book for me! I just want to read for myself. And I remember everything so don’t tell me! I’m looking at you Samantha for spoiling Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for me when we were ten.
Dog-eared pages. Stop ruining a perfectly good book!
When there is a movie adaptation or tv show adaptation that completely changes the plot or the characters. Or, let’s be honest, doesn’t include every single detail from the books. And then people get annoyed at me for telling them that’s not how it happened in the book.
When you let someone borrow a book and they don’t return it! My sister definitely lost a couple of mine I told her to read.
Love triangles in books. I’m so sick of them. It doesn’t further the plot but makes it uninteresting, especially if the main character falls for the wrong one!
Finally, when readers judge readers for how much they read or what they read. Calm down! We all are different readers who have our own paces and preferred genres. Just because someone prefers YA over classics doesn’t make them any less of a reader.
Happy release day for A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas! But if you aren’t an avid Maas reader, you might be looking for what to read next. Look no further!
Here are some popular books and what to read if you liked them.
If you liked…The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet, you might like Anxious People: A Novel by Fredrik Backman.
When a bank robber interrupts an apartment open house and takes the visitors hostage, all hell breaks loose. Among the hostages are an elderly couple with a broken marriage, a selfish, wealthy bank director, a young couple expecting their first child, the 87-year-old real estate agent, and a mysterious man who locked himself in the bathroom. Put these all into the mix and you get tension and dark truths while they wait for rescue.
If you liked…Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, you might like You Should See Me In a Crown by Leah Johnson.
Liz doesn’t believe she’ll ever fit in in her town, because she’s black and she’s poor and everyone around her was only obsessed with prom. Instead of being focused on conformity, Liz sets her eyes on getting into an elite college, playing in a famous orchestra, and becoming a doctor. Until financial aid fails to come through. After that, Liz has only one hope. To win a scholarship by becoming prom queen. And here’s the kicker–the one person that makes Liz forget about the pain of her life is Mack, her competition for prom queen.
If you like…Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, you might like The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See.
Mi-Ja and Young-Sook live on Korean island Jeju. When they are old enough, they begin working as divers with the island’s all-female diving collective. The book follows the journey of these two best friend divers over decades, showing how their opposites (for example one being Japanese in the midst of the Korean War) will test their relationship.
If you like…Circe by Madeline Miller, you might like The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow.
January Scaller lives in a mansion as a ward of Mr. Locke and she feels dreadfully out of place. Until she finds a book that brings January into another world, a world of love and adventure, a world that is becoming so intertwined with her own.
If you liked Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, you might like An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.
Celestial and Roy have the seemingly perfect marriage that embodies the American Dream. But when Roy is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, Celestial finds comfort in her childhood friend, Andre. Five years later, Roy’s sentence is overturned and he tries to come back to the life he left but after all that is happened, how does anyone move forward?
First step is picking five books. Because I’m currently living in England, the majority of my books are at home and I’m limited to about 40. But here’s what I picked:
My current read, Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Loved by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast (part of the House of Night Otherworld series)
Modern Faerie Tales by Holly Black
The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen
Each book is supposed to answer two questions in the tag. Basically, you open to a random page and the first character’s name you see is your answer. (It’s a shame all my Harry Potter and Game of Thrones books are in America). Also, I hope I don’t spoil Percy Jackson or Loved for myself.
Book 1: Percy Jackson
Who will be the first person to die?
Annabeth. Good, I don’t like her so far. I know, I know, she’s beloved by Percy Jackson fans but I’ve never read them before and in the first book she seems so annoying.
2. Who will be the person you trip to get away from the zombies?
Grover. Ah, poor goat boy.
Book 2: The Idiot
3. Who is the first person in your team to turn into a zombie?
Rogohzhin. Makes sense. He is a character that cannot control his passions, be they lust or anger. He is probably so overcome with passion that is the utter fall to his demise.
4. Who is the person that trips YOU to get away from zombies?
Hippolite. What the heck? He’s dying anyway!
Book 3: Loved
5. Who is the idiot of the team?
Ha, this would’ve been funnier to use The Idiot for. Damien. Aw, I like him. He’s, like, the sassy gay friend of the bunch.
6. Who is the “brains” of the team?
Shaunee. Hm, I have trouble seeing this. Shaunee has never had much of a big part with the House of Night Nerd Herd but maybe she’ll surprise us.
Book 4: Modern Faerie Tales by Holly Black
7. Who is the teams medic?
Corny. I guess he did sort of take care of Kaye when she needed it, but I don’t know if I’d trust him enough to be a whole team’s medic.
8. Who is the weapons expert?
Val. Again, this makes sense as she learned how to sword fight from Ravus and also can be skilled with anything resembling a hockey stick.
I recently finished a series called “The Modern Faerie Tales” by Holly Black. It’s a trilogy–Tithe, Valiant, Ironside–with a short story at the end. (The Lament of Lutie-Loo) The premise of the series (or the first book, at least) is that the main character, Kaye, finds out she’s actually a changeling–a pixie–and she’s caught between the battles of the Fae courts. There is supposed to be a tithe where the Unseelie court sacrifices a human. If the tithe isn’t fulfilled, then the free folk don’t have to be tied to a court for seven years. With this motivation, some faeries set Kaye up to be the tithe in her human glamour, promising her they will strip her glamour before the tithe is complete, setting the court into chaos. But, a wrench is thrown into their plans when Kaye starts to fall for one of the knights of the Unseelie court, Roiben.
My initial reaction to this series is that it’s basically A Court of Thorns and Roses before ACOTAR came out. But it’s also not as good as ACOTAR. They both have an enemies-to-lovers trope, both are involved with the Fae, both have a mixing of humans and faeries, both have an evil queen to defeat, etc. But for Modern Fairies Tales, I just couldn’t connect with the characters.
Kaye just isn’t likable. Maybe that’s a sign of good writing–she is different from many characters I’ve read about. But as someone that was a complete goody-two-shoes, I can’t really connect with this chain-smoking high school dropout. I did like Roiben but I didn’t love him the way I love faerie men from other books. There wasn’t enough sexual tension. And everything happened so fast!
Spoilers ahead now. The second book, Valiant, was probably my favorite of the series but I also have a lot of problems with it. For a book about faeries, it really stays too much on the human side, doing drugs in the subway. And honestly, the whole book seemed to be about doing drugs–not something I expect from a fantasy novel.
That said, I love Ravus. Because he is a troll, I have problems picturing him as attractive, and yet I loved him so much. I don’t understand why they barely had Val and Ravus at all in the third book! They were completely nonexistent except in the last scene. What was the point of writing the second book away from the main characters just to forget about the protagonist from there? I know she brought in the side characters from the second book–well, she brought in Luis–but if that was always going to be the case, he should’ve been the main character of the second book. The fact that they were all completely dismissed really irks me.
Some things Holly Black did well with the series though is the variety of characters with the different personalities. I might not have connected personally with them but they were unique. Black certainly has extensive knowledge of the Fae world, with a variety of courts and faerie types that I haven’t even heard of. She does excellent worldbuilding. Though they weren’t my favorite, the first two books still drew me in, but the third book kind of drone on for me. Still, the short story at the end was really good. It was fun to explore a different character’s perspective and see another court–which I think may be the court from The Cruel Prince but I still have to read that.
To finish, I think I’d give the series three stars out of five. I was struggling with how to rate this because there were parts I really did enjoy, but I also didn’t think the series was that great. But for the world-building, the tension between Ravus and Val, and the different characters, Holly Black definitely deserves credit.
Happy February–the month of love!! To celebrate, I thought I’d do a post on common romance tropes and what books portrays them. Keep reading to find a book with your favorite trope.
Enemies to Lovers
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. I haven’t read this yet but I see it recommended on every bookstagram and booktok! When Jude was seven, her parents were murdered and her sisters kidnapped by faeries. Jude wants nothing more than to earn her own place at the fairy court, but in order to do so, she needs to defy the wickedest prince–Prince Cardan.
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout. The main character moves to West Virginia and has an instant attraction to her neighbor until she discovers how annoying he is. But then when a stranger attacks, the neighbor, Damon, is able to freeze time and save her, yet marking her. Turns out, he is an alien with a galaxy of enemies and the only way to stay safe is stay near him.
Best Friends to Lovers
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. Aristotle has a brother in jail. Dante is a know-it-all. When they meet, they have nothing in common. But as they continue to hang out, they build a friendship that changes their lives and teaches them secrets of the universe.
The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen. Emma Saylor doesn’t remember much about her mother, but when she ends up having to spend a summer with her mother’s family, she discovers the secrets of her mother’s past. She also reconnects with her childhood best friend and realize their relationship could be something more.
The Selection by Kiera Cass. This is another book I see recommended all across social media platforms and I must read. Thirty-five girls must participate in the Selection, a competition to win Prince Maxon’s heart. But when America Singer gets chosen to participate in what most people dream of, she is devastated. She has a secret lover a caste below her and she definitely doesn’t want to be a princess. Then, she meets Prince Maxon.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. Before Lara Jean moves on from a crush, she writes a letter detailing her feelings for them and sticks them in a hat box. One day, though, her letters are mysteriously sent as she has to face all the boys she wrote to, including her first kiss–Peter–and her sister’s ex–Josh.
Matched by Ally Condie. This novel gets a lot of hate but I loved it. Cassia lives in a dystopian society where officials decide your entire life–your job, your spouse. Cassia always trusted them. Until it’s her turn to be matched, and she gets matched with two possibilities. How can she choose?
Delirium by Lauren Oliver. Another book that people don’t seem to like but I loved. Lena lives in a future world where love is declared a disease. At eighteen, everyone has to receive a Cure, preventing them from ever feeling love. Lena saw her mom fall ill to the disease and is excited to get the cure for herself. That is, until she meets Alex, a boy from the Wilds. She worried that she might already have that disease.
Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. A spat between the First Son of the United States and the Prince of Wales goes viral. To save face, they stage an Instagram friendship–but this fake friendship may warm their hearts.
The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West. When Gia’s boyfriend dumps her in the parking lot at prom, she convinces a random boy she sees to be her fill-in boyfriend for the night. After, though, she can’t stop thinking about him. How will she turn him into a real boyfriend without exposing her lie?
Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. Nora was never attracted to anyone until she met Patch. Patch drew her in. But after many terrifying encounters, she isn’t sure who to trust or if she should even be attracted to this guy. Who is he? She’s not sure she wants to know the answer.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. The orphan Jane has always been an outcast. Even more so when she arrives at Thornfield to care for Rochester’s ward. Rochester is a brooding, mysterious man who doesn’t seem to like anyone. Yet Jane is drawn to him and fall in love. But what happens when she discovers the dark secrets of Thornfield Hall?
Love and Other Train Wrecks by Leah Konen. Noah is a romantic who is traveling via Amtrak to have one last chance of being with his first love. Ammy who is also on the train doesn’t believe in love. The two seemingly opposites find themselves stuck together when their train crashes in the middle of a snowstorm. They have no other choice but to travel together.
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith. Lucy and Owen meet when they get stuck in a broken elevator together. After they’re rescued, they spend the night together, wandering the streets in the city blackout. But when the power comes back on, they go their separate ways. Lucy moves to Edinburgh and Owen heads west. But their romance just might capture the globe.
Happy reading this month! Hope books don’t set your expectations too high!
I love fantasy. It’s my favorite genre and what I read the most of as well as write the most of. The first modern fantasy that determined what we think of the genre was George Macdonald’s book Phantasies. However, it was J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings that made the genre popular.
Some well-known fantasy books are: Harry Potter, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, The Golden Compass, Inkheart, Eragon, Alice in Wonderland…..I could go on.
All these books are very different but they all have some of the elements of fantasy in common!
Fantasy will have magical or supernatural elements that don’t belong in the real world. Harry Potter is for a world of wizards, A Court of Thornes and Roses is full of Faeries, and Lord of the Rings are full of elves and hobbits.
There are, of course, other common elements. Like the battle between good and evil–Aslan vs. The White Witch in Chronicles of Narnia. Good fae vs bad fae in A Court of Thorns and Roses. White Queen vs Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland.
There’s also typically a quest for power or knowledge. Voldemort wanted as much power as possible as did the White Witch in Narnia. Speaking of quests, most fantasies incorporate an epic journey, the trend made popular from Lord of the Rings.
A lot of fantasies are also a coming-of-age story, featuring young or young-adult main characters. Harry Potter starts at eleven. Some of the Stark children in Game of Thrones are quite young. As are the Pevensies.
The character types in a fantasy are as follows.
The hero: Harry Potter, Feyre Archeron, Bilbo Baggins
The villain: Lord Voldemort, White Witch, Red Queen
The Mentor (typically a wise, elderly figure who trains the hero): Dumbledore, Gandalf, Obi Wan Kenobi
The Sidekick: Ron Weasley, Samwise Gamgee, Ser Bronn of the Blackwater
The Henchman (the villain’s sidekick): Peter Pettigrew, Mr. Smee
The Alternate Hero (occupies space between the hero and sidekick and has own subplot): Aragorn, McGonagall
The Love Interest: Ginny Weasley, Rhysand, Khal Drogo
The Monster (an otherworldly being who wants only to destroy): a basilisk, a dragon, a cyclops
This was just to dip your toes in to the wonderful world of fantasy, but it’s the points that are helping me write my own stories. What’s your favorite fantasy?
As per my last blog entry, I think this is probably Sarah Dessen. I think out of the authors I like, she might have the most books out, or I discovered her at a younger age.
B-Best Sequel Ever:
This is a hard one. Maybe Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. Out of the Hunger Games series, Catching Fire is my favorite film though I like the book Mockingjay best.
Another good contender for best sequel is A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Mass. Goodness I love this series so much I physically miss it.
Valiant by Holly Black. It’s a fantasy book about faeries, second in the series. In some ways, it’s a lot like ACOTAR, but I’m not sure how I feel about it yet.
D-Drink of Choice While Reading:
Any hot beverage, preferably tea or coffee. I love hot drinks.
E-E-reader or Physical Book?
Physical book all the way! You have to be able to either have the musty sawdust smell of old books or the fresh pressed ink smell of new books!
F-Fictional Character You Would Have Dated in High School:
Joke’s on you, I didn’t date anyone in high school. Though there are so many fictional characters I would love to date. Rhys or Cass from A Court of Thorns and Roses, Draco or Neville from Harry Potter, Finick from The Hunger Games, Carswell Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles, etc. etc. etc.
G-Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. I got this book for Christmas a few years ago, having never heard of it. But I’m so glad I read it and the sequel. It’s an amazing take on The Arabian Tales, and full of powerful characters that are women and non-white.
H-Hidden Gem Book:
I think I read mostly popular books–not on purpose, I don’t even know they’re popular until after I read them! A good hidden gem though I think is The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. This is that start of a post-apocalyptic zombie series. It starts with the character, Mary, who lives in a village protected by a chain-link fence and the Guardians. But one day, that fence is breached.
I-Important Moment in Your Reading Life:
Literally yesterday. I just discovered BookTok. Until now, I didn’t understand TikTok. Now I do.
Tithe by Holly Black
K-Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
Hmm, I’m not sure there is any specific type or genre I won’t read. I’ve never read erotica, but I’m willing to give it a chance someday. Definitely won’t ever read Fifty Shades of Gray though because I know it glorifies abuse. And that it’s boring.
L-Longest Book You’ve Read:
I think this is probably Les Miserables by Victor Hugo at 2,783 pages.
M-Major Book Hangover Because:
A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Mass. I still miss it. Goodness.
N-Number of Bookcases you own:
3. I need more though. Right now, I’m just stacking anywhere there is room.
O-One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:
I typically don’t reread because there’s too much to read and so little time! But I have reread The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
P-Preferred Pace to Read:
My bed, the couch, or a recliner. I will read anywhere though.
Q-Quote that Inspires You/Gives You All the Feels from a Book You’ve Read:
“It’s all in the view. That’s what I mean about forever, too. For any one of us our forever could end in an hour, or a hundred years from now. You never know for sure, so you’d better make every second count.” ― Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever
I’m not sure I regret reading anything. Well except maybe The Old Man and the Sea by Hemmingway, but I had to read that for school so…
S-Series You Started and Need to Finish:
I think I’m caught up on all my series! I do need to read The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins, though, if that counts.
T-Three of Your Favorite All-Time Books:
Just three? 😦 Looking for Alaska by John Green. A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Mass. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. (Bonus for Harry Potter?)
U-Unapologetic Fangirl for:
Harry Potter. 100%. I’m a Slytherin and I love it.
V-Very Excited for This Release More Than Others:
I’m excited for whenever George R.R. Martin writes the next Game of Thrones book!!
W-Worst Bookish Habit:
I don’t think any of my habits are bad. A weird one I have is I read every right page out loud. I like pretending to do the accents, but I don’t want my voice to get tired.
X-X Marks the Spot: Start at the Top of Your Shelf and Pick your 27th Book:
Loved by PC Cast and Kristen Cast.
Y-Your Latest Book Purchase:
I found a small store still open a month ago with some books and bought Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier because it was only two pounds.
Z-ZZ-Snatcher Book (Last book that kept you up really late):
The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen. I stayed up until two am trying to finish it.
I have something to admit. I am a huge stan of Sarah Dessen. I read Just Listen when I was twelve and since then dutifully bought and read every single one of her books. In fact, I’m ashamed it took me this long to read The Rest of the Story.
I was so enticed into this book I read it in a day. Like, I stayed up until one am reading to see what happens and then to finish it.
That being said, I still only gave her 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. Why? Well…
For one thing, every Sarah Dessen novel is the same. I kind of like it like that. It’s nice to have something familiar, especially after having tiptoed through Poe’s mind. But every Sarah Dessen novel takes place in the summer or autumn. You have a main character who is a teenage girl with some sort of emotional problem. She meets amazing friends and an intriguing guy who all help her figure out herself. Still, I can’t help but like the pattern and fall in love with every guy love interest. (My favorite Sarah Dessen book is Along for the Ride).
In The Rest of the Story, Emma Saylor needs a last minute place to stay when her dad and his new wife go on a honeymoon. The only people available to have her stay for the summer are her deceased mom’s family. Emma didn’t know much about her mom, other than her mom was an addict who used to live by the lake. Now, Emma, going by Saylor at her Mimi’s, gets to see what living by that lake is like. And she meets all sorts of family members she didn’t know she had as well as people like Roo who show her the side of the story she never knew about her mom’s life, and how she fits into it.
One thing I love about Sarah Dessen’s novels is the relatability of the characters. I, too, was once an awkward teen girl (and sometimes still feel like one, though I’m 24). Like many of her characters, and like Saylor, I had not kissed anyone at 17. I understand these characters and they are likable but not without their won flaws (that emotional problem, remember?)
I also love the little moral lessons and quotes that come with every Dessen book. From this one, I think the quote that summarized the lesson best is: “Of course he’d think I’d want to be apart of this: I was here, too. But all my life I’d felt more like an observer than an active participant. Beside the wheel, not behind. It was safer there, but could be lonely too, or so I was now realizing. Maybe there was a middle ground between living too hard and living at all. Maybe, here, I was finding it.”
Either that, or: “There were lots of ways to love someone, I guessed, both by remembering and forgetting.”
Either way, I’d still highly recommend this book. I just don’t think it’s Dessen’s best work ever! Or maybe that’s just because I don’t like boats 🙂