Books for the Good Times!

Cos the good times never seemed so good!! Which is why I’m sharing some feel-good books to make you smile 😊

Anne of Green Gables– okay, yes, this will also make you cry, but you’ll be smiling through tears by the end!

The How and the Why– an underrated YA contemporary about friendship and family, this book ticks all the boxes and made me so happy.

A Kind of Spark– I’m not going to shut up about this book! It is so good if you’re into MG! I loved the main character’s journey, fighting for the past and for her own future.

Summer Job– I don’t know about you, but I’m still feeling the summery books at this time of the year. And this romance, set in the Scottish Highlands, is perfect for cosy weather.

Beach Read– with a summery feel, this fluffy contemporary made me feel all warm inside. And it’s got the added bonus of writer characters!

House in the Cerulean Sea– this was a very recent read for me that absolutely brought a smile to my face! This quirky fantasy ticked all the boxes!

The Humans– if you’re looking for something else a little *out there* then allow me to suggest Haig’s take on aliens! It is as unusual a concept as he usually writes- with his typical flair and enjoyable characters. Personally this was my favourite of his books (so far)!

The Switch– Beth O’Leary is the queen of feel-good rom coms. This book particularly hits the right notes, by switching things up, giving some attention to a silver romance.

A Man Called Ove– speaking of the elderly, this is an unexpected delight, showing there can be a happy-ever-after even when everything seems to be all over.

Pumpkinheads– three guesses why I’m recommending this book in the autumn 😉 It’s easy to fall for this graphic novel- with its gorgeous illustrations and super sweet story!

The Tea Dragon Society– and of course you can’t get a cuter book than this! Just look at those faces!!

And that’s all for today! Do you agree with any of the books on my list? And which feel-good books do you recommend? Very eager to hear your suggestions! Let me know in the comments!

Books That Ought to Come with a Box of Tissues

Often, when I give out certain books at the library I think “damnnn I should give them tissues with this one”… which is why I thought I’d share some books today that need to come with a serious TEARJERKER WARNING. I’ll be brief to avoid spoilers (and hopefully spare you some of the inevitable pain these books bring up).

Code Name Verity– I recommend sitting back, listening to the audiobook and grabbing the tissues, cos this is gonna be an emotional ride.

The Book Thief– just in case you haven’t heard of this book’s reputation for making people cry, then consider yourself warned.  

Thousand Splendid Suns– are you human? Do you have tear ducts? Then this book about women under the Taliban rule is gonna get you good.

Bright Side– I defy you to get through this book and not sob! I knew this was supposed to be sad, but nothing could’ve prepared me for how attached I’d be by the end.

Second Chance Summer– I’ve never given this book a second read, because the first time it destroyed me.

All the Bright Places– this book about mental health issues is as bright and cheery as a smack in the teeth. Don’t do what I did and read this in public (unless you like having strangers side eye you while you sob).

Sisterhood Everlasting– I can’t even talk about this one, it still gets to me. After three books to get to know the characters, saying goodbye to them like this is pure AGONY.

Noughts and Crosses– this alternate history Romeo and Juliet kills me every time. It’s so good. And so so so devastating.

A Monster Calls– a beautiful book about grief (that will rip your heart out and make you sob).

Song of Achilles– yeah this Iliad retelling will just wallop you in the *feels*. *Oof*.

So, have you read any of these books? Do you agree? And what books do you think need to come with a box of tissues? Let me know in the comments!

Books About Renewal

Super quick post today- I just wanted to give some recommendations 🙂 As we come to the end of spring and move into summer, I thought I’d share a handful of books all about change and starting fresh- enjoy!

Where the Crawdads Sing– a beautiful story about a girl forced to keep picking herself up, brushing herself off and starting over- no matter what life throws at her. This deep character study is one of the best things I’ve read so far this year. It’s an exquisite exploration of overcoming loneliness and hardship. 

Happiest Man on Earth– in a similar vein, this true story is about going through hell and coming out the other side. No matter what the author suffered, he did not let it break him. It is one of the most inspirational and powerful autobiographies I’ve ever read.

Eat Pray Love– another memoir, this an account of rediscovery. It’s a quick read that everyone can find helpful- whether you find solace in eating, praying or loving. 

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine– this is a story of a woman who sets out to find love, yet instead discovers the importance of friendship and rediscovers herself. I loved Eleanor’s journey from beginning to end.

The Flatshare– I needed this book in my life. It is quite simply a lovely read, all about having to find an unconventional living arrangement… only to get way more out of it than anyone bargained for! It shows that life has a way of working out- even when things don’t go to plan 🙂

Beach Read– I love how this story uses writing as a powerful mode to deal with grief and cope with uncomfortable truths. It’s certainly a clever way to explore real character growth.

Words in Deep Blue– I will never miss an opportunity to recommend this heartfelt book. It’s a story of love and loss and finding happiness again. This gorgeous account of grief is a perfect antidote to going through a tough time, because it shows that, no matter what, we can come out the other side.

Anne of Green Gable– most people know the story of Anne, so it hardly needs an introduction. Yet, whether you’re late to the party like I was or just need a nostalgic boost, this uplifting story is perfect if you need a restorative narrative.

The Secret Garden– of course, I’d be remiss not to mention the *ultimate* story of revival. This book shows that things can always begin again.

Secret Countess– and finally, I thought I’d end with a fairy-tale-esque story of renewal. From luxury in pre-Revolutionary Russia to impoverishment, the heroine of this beautiful book must find a way to rise again. And that she does in a truly resplendent and graceful fashion.

And that’s all for now! Did you enjoy the books on this list? Do you have any to add? Let me know in the comments!

Confessions of a Book Addict!

Hello all! After writing with *no disclaimers*, I thought it might be fun to continue in that vein and give you ten bookish confessions… which I may very well regret making 😉 enjoy!

#1 I spend way too much time thinking about the books I ought to be reading (than actually reading). But don’t we all do this? 😉

#2 I find all those #relatable bookish posts on social media far too relatable 😉 I still like to trawl through twitter for them (when I should be doing better things… like reading 😉)

#3 I don’t actually want to talk when my book is open!!! (And I don’t know why this still needs to be pointed out to the rest of the world!)

#4 Yes, I do actually want to spend all my spare money on books, thanks for asking!

#5 I spend way too much time plotting planning to get hold of new books. I think about if I have it in my budget, if it’s available at the library, if it might be better to listen to the audiobook version… basically I overthink everything and turn each book acquisition into a full-blown project!

#6 Sometimes I don’t want to read your favourite book- sorry! I get A LOT of suggestions… and I don’t always find them interesting… so I have to make a quick escape from the conversation…

#7 That said, if I tell you I do want to read something, I’m planning it out already. Just bear in mind some of these convoluted plans can take years to execute 😉 Don’t be surprised when you finally catch me reading your favourite *years* after mentioning it!

#8 And at the same time, if a book crosses my path, I’m always a little intrigued. I’m definitely going to look it up and down, maybe feel it up, get under the dustcover… even if all that frisking ends in rejection anyway. I have no scruples when it comes to my book addiction!

#9 I’m done trying to be objective about books- I’ll settle for honesty. If I can’t see a book’s merit, I’ll say so.

#10 I take inspiration from a lot of things I read… even if they’re bad (maybe even especially if they’re bad, cos it’s often more encouraging than reading the greats 😉)

And that’s all for now! Do you share any of these bookish habits? Or do you have any confessions of your own to make? Let me know in the comments!

The No Disclaimers Book Tag!

Being the kind of person that apologises to a chair if I bump into it, I feel like a post like this presents a bit of challenge. But I am nothing if not determined! I saw this first on Booktube and then on the splendid Strange Storyteller 🙂 So I’ve decided to do it myself… with no disclaimers!

  1. Which trope(s) in books annoys you the most?

The Chosen One (unless it’s flipped on its head), love triangles (especially with cheating), really put off by instalove these days (and any kind of “mating”… eww even using that word makes me feel a bit sick). And I’m sorry to say a lot of these end up in the Throne of Glass series (which explains why I outgrew it):

  1. Which writer(s) do you feel is overrated/overhyped?

Damn, this is hard, because most of the time I can see why other people like things, even if I don’t. Still, I trawled through my goodreads and came up with an answer: Divergent. I don’t get why this was so hyped. Granted, I feel like I added to the interest by reading the whole damned series… but I never thought it was worth the hype. The concept never made a lot of sense to me and I didn’t think there was a good enough reason to make a dystopia around this topic. I couldn’t imagine a society ever taking things to this extreme and wondered at the justification for it (usually there’s some kind of social commentary that underpins a dystopic system). Turns out I was right: it seems like the whole concept was made up on the fly, since (*spoiler alert*) the dystopic city in the story was set within a dystopic world that agreed dividing people up based on 5 traits was a dumb idea. Basically it was a waste of time and wouldn’t recommend it.

  1. What are your least favorite books you’ve read since joining BookTube blogging?

Ah well I blame myself for this one, cos I first saw a book review saying that this wasn’t worth the hype… but I read the Foxhole Court anyway. Either way, I don’t get why this is so popular in blogging and on booktube. Funnily enough, a lot of people that love this series tend to call out other books for being “problematic”… when this is super dodgy?! I don’t get the appeal. 

  1. What is a terrible ending that ruined an otherwise quality book?

Oh gosh I hate the series enders Hand on the Wall (a dull solution to a mystery is a killer), Queen of Ruin (undermined the interesting dystopic concept) and Ashes to Ashes (fails to deliver the promised redemption arc).

  1. Which fictional character(s) do you wish was not killed off?

I have to agree with the Strange Storyteller’s answers- I didn’t like Finnick Odair’s death and I didn’t think most of the later Harry Potter deaths were necessary (as much as I hate to admit it, the deaths of Sirius and Dumbledore work for the story). And there’s always that death in Crooked Kingdom– that totally, totally works- and yet I wish hadn’t happened…

  1. What are some of your bookish pet peeves?

Politics in books (isn’t it bad enough in the real world?), moralising (ugh), pretentiousness (double ugh) and books that are just set up (why waste my time?!).

  1. What are some books you feel should have more recognition?

Great question! Some new(ish) books to whet your palate 😊:

The first is a sizzling collection of poetry, the second is a hotly-paced thriller and the last is a lush contemporary. All of these would make great holiday companions!

  1. What are your thoughts on censorship and banning books?

Hell no! Not acceptable! It’s obviously perfectly fine to choose not to read something or decide you don’t want to support an author, but banning books?! That’s just fascistic.

  1. Who do you tag?

Zezee, Journey into Books, Kat @Life and Other Disasters, Sam @Rivermoose Reads, Meghan, Book Forager, Read Betwixt Words and anyone else that wants to do it!

And that’s all for now- do you agree or disagree with my answers? Should I have put in disclaimers for some of these? 😉 Let me know in the comments!

All the Adaptations I’ve Loved and Hated

Hello all! inspired by the recent Shadow and Bone adaptation, I decided to make a list of TV and movie adaptations I feel strongly about. As you can imagine, this could’ve been an absolutely ginormous list, so I decided to stick to best and worst adaptations (in my opinion of course 😉). So there’s nothing here I feel lukewarm or so-so about. I also didn’t include adaptations where I hated the books to begin with (Divergent, Twilight) or where the book series hasn’t finished yet (GOT). And, obviously, I have to be familiar with the original series.

Let’s get started with my favourites:

The Lord of the Rings– well, obviously. These movies were a massive part of inspiring my lifelong love of reading. And I’m one of those people that prefers the Lord of the Rings movies to the books (sacrilege, I know, but they’re my favourite films of all time).  

Stardust– this movie is *magical*. Again, it’s one where I actually prefer the adaptation to the book, because it’s just so damn good. I will happily rewatch this over and over!

Shadow and Bone– this may be a bold choice, since I saw this really recently (and isn’t a complete series yet). That said, going off of what I’ve seen so far, I think it both captures the best aspects of the Grishaverse and improves upon the source material. I can’t wait to watch more of it!

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before– switching things up, this contemporary perfectly adapts the source material, bringing all the humour, quirky characters and sisterhood to the screen. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve rewatched it *so many times*!

Love Simon– this is another contemporary I love to rewatch. Personally, while I enjoyed the book, the film felt a little slicker and I got more out of it.

Atonement– I’ve made no secret of the fact I don’t love McEwan’s writing style… but I adore this film. It’s an exquisitely shot, beautifully acted historical romance, with a brilliant soundtrack. And even if that wasn’t enough to make me love it- I also love the slightly different ending. It worked so well for me.

Pride and Prejudice– there’s a lot of debate about the best Austen adaptation, but quite simply, this is it for me. I can happily rewatch/reread anything Austen related- yet this is the one I binge annually. It is just classic bliss.

Bleak House– another perfect adaptation from Andrew Davies, this TV series has such strong  Dickensian energy and brilliantly brings the story and characters to life.

And now let’s move onto adaptations I DESPISE- WARNING UNPOPULAR OPINIONS AHEAD!!!!!!

The Hobbit– well I have to start with the most egregious example of an “adaptation”. Because this butchers the source material and brings nothing good to the table. I won’t go on about this too much- as I’ve already discussed it at length– but this adaptation still makes me mad. It doesn’t help that the Hobbit is one of my all-time favourite books- yet I’m still amazed that they managed to mess it up quite this much. Choosing Peter Jackson to adapt this book- when he doesn’t even like the original story- makes no sense (even if he did a great job with LOTR).

Harry Potter– okay, *deep breath* everybody, I know this is an unpopular opinion. I’ve just never enjoyed these movies. I know that a lot of people are very attached to them, but I have remained the kinda disappointed, hipster child that couldn’t get on board with these adaptations. It certainly didn’t help that they left out huge things and changed a lot (though I do like the videos by Dominic Noble exploring all the ways they messed up on that front)- I just never vibed with them. I tried to rewatch them at the beginning of lockdown 1… and gave up after trying the first couple of movies because they weren’t for me. Maybe one day I’ll challenge myself and try again- yet I don’t see myself changing my mind- sorry!

The Golden Compass– there were actually things about the movie that I liked (most specifically, some aspects of Lyra’s portrayal). However, we all know this is nothing like the book, starting with the dumb title change. If you want to see an actually good adaptation (though not perfect) definitely try His Dark Materials… but in both cases I still recommend sticking to the books first and foremost.

The Mortal instruments– I mean, do I even need to get into why? This is just one in a long string of Hollywood badly adapting a YA series (and I’m only picking on it cos it’s the one where I’ve read the whole series and watched the adaptation). They messed up half the story and the way they did Valentine was laughable… and then they blamed fans for not liking it enough for a second movie adaptation.

Shadowhunters– okay, this one might also make people angry… but I don’t like the show either! For very different reasons. I hate the acting and the weird changes and the special effects look really unnatural to me. I gave up on this show very quickly and just watched the Malec scenes (cos they’re what it’s all about anyway). Still, I do think it’s astounding that there are two adaptations of the same story and I hate them both (maybe it doesn’t help that I’ve since gone off the source material too).

Always and Forever Lara Jean– annnd this also did everything I hate in Hollywood adaptations. With this one, I think it’s more of a shame, as I actually enjoyed the way the book series ended. It stripped the story of all its meaning and most of its subtlety. I wasn’t a fan of the second movie, but then I didn’t enjoy the second book. Worst of all, I felt like where the book finally brought the couple back together, this removed any remaining chemistry they had. Not worth watching.

My Sister’s Keeper– bit of a random throwback, yet I can never quite forget how utterly betrayed I felt by this adaptation. Changing the ending ruined everything this story had to say.

And that’s all I’ve got for now! Do you agree or disagree with any of my picks? And what are your favourite book adaptations? Which ones do you hate the most? Let me know in the comments!

Spring Cleaning Book Tag!

Time for me to clean up my blogging act… by doing a tag I wasn’t tagged for 😉 But I found this over on the amazing Zezee’s blog a while back and it looks like a fun substitute for doing any actual spring cleaning my bookshelves 😉 (And if, like me, you’d rather be stacking the shelves this year rather than clearing them out, then I HIGHLY RECOMMEND checking out Zezee’s fantastic blog- it’s packed with fab tags, reviews and hauls that’ll have you rushing out to the bookstores! 😊)

This tag was created by booktuber Jen @ Book Syrup.

THE STRUGGLE OF GETTING STARTED: A BOOK/BOOK SERIES THAT YOU HAVE STRUGGLED TO BEGIN BECAUSE OF ITS SIZE.

Oh easily the Malazan series- I’m just terrified of book series that are so GINORMOUS!

CLEANING OUT THE CLOSET: A BOOK AND/OR BOOK SERIES YOU WANT TO UNHAUL.

Truly Devious– I feel guilty about this cos I don’t usually like to get rid of pretty hardbacks… but I was so disappointed by where this series ended up. As a murder mystery, it didn’t deliver the killer twist I was looking for and so I’m axing it from my shelves.  

OPENING WINDOWS AND LETTING FRESH AIR IN: A BOOK THAT WAS REFRESHING.

Tea Dragon Society– just so cute and the perfect palate cleanser. I enjoyed every second 😊

WASHING OUT SHEET STAINS: A BOOK YOU WISH YOU COULD REWRITE A CERTAIN SCENE IN.

Could I just remove the whole weird sex goddess part from Wise Man’s Fear? And, is it just me, or did all that bragging make you doubt his prowess? Seems like he’s overcompensating for something…

THROWING OUT UNNECESSARY KNICK-KNACKS: A BOOK IN A SERIES THAT YOU DIDN’T FEEL WAS NECESSARY.

Blood and Honey– this wasn’t just middle book syndrome- this was Why The Hell Did This Instalment Exist Syndrome. There was no plan for this to be a trilogy and it should have stuck to that plan. This entire book was filler and it felt like a complete waste of time.

POLISHING THE DOORKNOBS: A BOOK THAT HAD A CLEAN FINISH.

I love a polished ending! One of my *favourites* lately was the one in Where the Crawdads Sing… but I can’t talk about it cos of spoilers! (but seriously do yourself a favour and read it!!)

REACHING TO DUST THE FAN: A BOOK THAT TRIED TOO HARD TO RELAY A CERTAIN MESSAGE.

Ahh I hate moralising books! Gotta go with one of the worst culprits: Inspector Calls. I did a deep-dive investigation to get to the root of its evils a while back- and it was painful. But if you want to be preached to, then this is the play for you!

THE TIRING YET SATISFYING FINISH OF SPRING CLEANING: A BOOK SERIES THAT WAS TIRING YET SATISFYING TO GET THROUGH.

Hmm I don’t tend to read tiring series- yet I can say that there’s a helluva lot of Misery to get through if you try the Blackwing series (I hope someone in the comments has read the book, otherwise that was a waste of a great pun 😉). This series is a surprisingly hard-hitting, emotional read.

LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT SPRING: TAG 4 PEOPLE YOU WANT TO DO THIS TAG.

Kat @Life and Other Disasters, Rivermoose Reads, Journey into Books, Bookstooge and anyone else that wants to do it!

Have you been spring cleaning your books? Any you would like to clear out? Let me know in the comments!

Springing Some Lovely Spring Reads on You!

Hello all! Just a quick post today of some Spring-themed books- enjoy!

Secret Garden- I mean, this list would be incomplete without it, wouldn’t it? It’s the most Spring-y Springtime book that I could have sprung on you!

Anne of Green Gables– another classic I can’t help but associate with Spring! So much of this story resonates with Springtime and the great outdoors.

The Wind in the Willows– children’s books really fit with Spring for me- and who could forget this charming story? Adorable and fun and showing the magic of the natural world (yes there really are talking badgers and moles 😉), this is one to (re)visit at this time of year.

The Hobbit– there are so many reasons Tolkien reminds me of Spring! Of course, Tolkien Reading Day takes place at the end of March. And for me personally, it’s when I first read the series and it became an annual tradition to reread around Easter. Most importantly of all, the book itself is a reminder to get out and go on an adventure… or maybe just go for a really long walk 😉

Iron Fey series– again, I associate this author with Spring. Mostly, it is because her descriptions sing with life and fresh excitement every time. It was very hard for me to choose between her different series for this- yet I decided to go old school because these books have such a strong seasonal pull. And fantasy just works at this (and every) time of year!

Book of Atrix Wolfe– McKillip is so powerful at creating atmosphere. Both books I’ve read I strongly associate with nature and hints of magical change.

Far from the Madding Crowd– nothing makes me think more of fecundity and lush settings than Hardy. I chose this particular book, as I often think of it as the happiest of Hardy’s books and for me that fits more with this time of year (*read happiest of Hardy’s books = still contains tragic elements 😉).  

Chocolat– this very indulgent read begins around Lent and explores human desires and passions- if that doesn’t make you think of Spring, I don’t know what will.

Tea Dragon Society– if you’re still craving something sweet, then this children’s graphic novel will be perfect for you. I read it recently and enjoyed every second. The story is so charming and the illustrations just lovely. It actually whizzes through all the seasons, yet for me there’s something so cosy about this that makes me think most of Spring.

Fire of Joy– something about Spring makes me turn to poetry. I happened to read this collection recently and appreciated the commentary that came with every poem. What also makes this perfect for this time of year is how these are poems designed to be read aloud. Just something about turning these over on your tongue made me feel a sense of renewal.   

Poetry by Keats– ah Romantic poets are perfect for this time of year. They make you want to dip your toes into awe-inspiring nature and new love. By rights, I perhaps should have suggested Blake for renewal or Wordsworth for his natural inspiration, but for me Keats is King!

So, have you read any of these? And which books do you most strongly associate with Spring? Let me know in the comments!

*All the Banana* Predictions and Forecasts! #2

Do you guys remember me doing this post previously? Nah- neither did I. I took *way too long* to get round to reading all my predicted 5* reads- but I’ve finally done it! So, even if this is far less relevant than it was supposed to be, I’m going to update you:

Dark Age– as predicted, this was a massive success! I love this series and this one seriously raised the stakes. I can’t wait for the finale.

Wayward Son– also a success! Very different to the first and somewhat meandering… and yet it worked for me. It moved the plot in an interesting direction- looking forward to seeing what that is!

Ninth House– a fair 4* read. This didn’t have much in common with Bardugo’s other work and it was good to see the author branch out.

Crowfall– obviously a success 😉 This grimdark series was great. Beyond its vivid writing and world building, it had a strong emotional heart.

Night Country– not quite as sensational as Hazel Wood, though I did enjoy reading it. And I still have faith in the author and am looking forward to reading Tales of the Hinterland soon.

Starsight– 4*. While I didn’t fall for this quite as much as the first, this was a solid sequel. The spy subplot is not my favourite direction the story could have taken. I feel like *spoilers for book 1* finding out all of humanity is locked up in a prison, should make you feel small and powerless. And this didn’t do that, so it didn’t quite land for me.

Call Down the Hawk– this one could’ve gone either way. And as always, I did appreciate Stiefvater’s beautiful writing. It just didn’t quite blow me away.

Dispel Illusion– another success. Plus, I don’t need to time travel to tell you I enjoyed the trilogy’s conclusion as well. There can be no illusion that I enjoyed this sci fi series.

The Secret Commonwealth– either this was a very long short story or I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to read this… or both. Regardless it wasn’t five stars.

Small Spaces– I’ve read the first two in this series and gave them both 4 bananas. They were somewhat unsettling but also felt safely MG- definitely glad I picked them up.

And that’s all for my updates! Time to make some new predictions!

I decided this time around to go for books I’ve been planning to read for ages and already own, so hopefully it won’t take as long to get to! (barring any other unforeseen events that stop me reading again). Without further ado, here they are:

And one bonus book that’s not out yet:

Phew! Finally done this post! Hopefully next time I won’t take years to do a follow up 😉 Now want to know- have you read any of these books? Were they five stars for you? What books do you predict being your next five star reads? Let me know in the comments!

What Did I Think of the Longest Books I’ve Ever Read?

I’ve been thinking about endurance a lot lately- which made me (obviously) relate it back to books. There are many reasons a book may be a test of endurance- but today I just want to look at the most common reason: length. Powering through a tome can be a challenge. Sometimes it’s rewarding… and sometimes it’s really, really not. Let’s talk about some of my experiences:

Les Miserables– according to Goodreads this is longer than War and Peace– I don’t know how they figured it out. Either way, this was a fantastic book. There were parts that dragged, as you might expect of a book this long, but overall it was a stonkingly good read.

War and Peace– I challenged myself to read this a few years ago and was actually surprised by how much it blew me away. Highlighting the horrors of warfare, this book is an immersive and complex exploration of humanity.  

Game of Thrones– loads of GRRM Books end up on this list, so I decided to just mention the series. Personally, I think this books have an excellent grasp of character and the plots are completely invigorating… HOWEVER, *controversial opinion time*, I don’t think they justify their length. There is a lot about the writing style that I don’t like and could have been cut down for more brevity.

Atlas Shrugged– oof this is the most painful book on the list. Sorry, not into Rand’s dull propagandistic drivel. This didn’t feel like reading a story at all and was just painful to get through.

Count of Monte Cristo– contrast that with one of my faves- this book is so thoroughly entertaining. Don’t be put off by the length, it’s one of the most exciting books I’ve ever read. And it has interesting things to say about what the thirst for vengeance does to you as well.  

Gone with the Wind– if you enjoy war dramas, there’s a fighting chance you’ll like this book. This didn’t quite do it for me. There were too many things my modern eyes couldn’t ignore and I couldn’t get past. Besides, it didn’t help that I hated the heroine.

Bleak House– there were a couple of Dickens in the running as well, but I decided to go with the one I liked most. Dickens is always good value entertainment and this is no exception. Full of vivid characters and a powerfully descriptive setting, it’s easy to visualise the Dickensian world. For me, this book has some distinct passages and images that have left their mark on me.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell– the only one on this list I DNF’d. Sadly, I didn’t connect with the writing style, so I can say it’s a case of “it’s not you, it’s me”.

Wise Man’s Fear– ach this did not live up to its predecessor. With Name of the Wind, I felt the length was justified with just enough action and elegant prose. Yet here everything I liked was snuffed out and replaced with a smokescreen of pointless subplots. It didn’t feel like the overall narrative advanced at all: Kvothe ended up more or less back where he started, but with a few extra skills (chiefly swordsmanship and apparently being oh-so-fabulous in bed). I’m hoping this was just middle book syndrome and whatever sure-to-be-monstrous-sized tome follows it will justify its length.

Kingdom of Ash– I didn’t end up loving this finale quite as much as I thought I would, though I can’t entirely blame that on the length. To be fair to the book, every scene had a weight to it and felt significant. Unfortunately, plot isn’t the only thing that matters in a big book. In this case, there were simply too many characters and I couldn’t sustain an interest for all of them. Unrelated to length, I also didn’t like the *dramatic* perspective shifts, which I heard Maas say was to frustrate the reader. Frustrate me it did- I kept putting the book down, which meant it took me even longer to get through than it should have.  

As you can see, a bit of a mixed bag! Have you read any of these? Did you love them or loathe them? And what’s the longest book you’ve ever read? Let me know in the comments!