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!

Books I’m a Hypocrite About

Okay, it’s time for me to fess up, sometimes I’m a hypocrite when it comes to books. There are complaints I make OVER AND OVER about things I *hate* in books… and yet sometimes there are exceptions to the rule and please-don’t-hate-me-but-I-actually-let-some-books-and-authors-off-the-hook-I’m-sorry. I was inspired to admit this because I saw two book tubers- Liene’s Library and Merphy Napier– owning up about all the ways they’re hypocrites. I decided to just stick to books that do things I don’t like well, since anyone can do a good thing badly 😉 That’s why these are all books I love but I’m a teensy-tiny-bit of a MASSIVE hypocrite about them:

Grapes of Wrath– I’ll be the first to admit I complain constantly about politics and propaganda in books… but I always let Steinbeck off the hook. Look, if you can write like Steinbeck, you can do whatever you want 😉

Once and Future Witches– okay, it’s not just Steinbeck who can do whatever they want- as far as I’m concerned so can Alix E Harrow. Now her writing is hardly as propagandistic as Steinbeck’s buuut there is a hint of politics in there. And I have to say I’ve let lesser writers off for even the mere mention of politics (doesn’t matter whether I agree with it or not). But damn, she’s just so talented and I love every second of her books!  

His Dark Materials– it’s interesting reading this as an adult, because it pushes post-modernism quite a bit more than I would normally like. Yet, I make excuses because it’s not overly preachy or propagandistic. Plus, I’m completely intoxicated by the world, characters and overarching plot of the series.

The Secret History– normally I hate books with pretentious characters and the theme of almost-but-not-quite fitting in with posh people… and I yet I FRICKIN LOVE THIS. Not only is it done so so well, it also has so much going for it. There’s a murder mystery and an intricately woven plot and some fascinating prose… it’s just a lot better than the average book set in uni.

Infernal Devices Series– there’s lots of things I don’t like here: not least that characters quote poetry at each other and love triangle (yes these are some of my somewhat specific pet peeves). Nonetheless, I like this series best of Clare’s work, because the romance is done so so well. Every move makes sense and I could completely get behind it without compromising my morals. The quoting reams of poetry randomly and pretentiously still irritates me though 😉

Anna and the French Kiss– okay, I have zero justification for this. Anna has the worst kind of cheating love triangle. I don’t even know why I still like this book… but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. I think it helps that the characters at least feel bad for their shitty behaviour? Yeahhh that doesn’t make it much better… Moving on…

How I Live Now– this might be even worse because it has a truly icky plot point. Normally for me the whole cousin thing would be a hard no. Something about this book is so strange and disturbing that I wasn’t quite as thrown by it in context (still weird though).

Carry On– okay by contrast, I’m completely justified for liking this book. Yes, I normally hate Chosen Ones with the burning passion of a Dark Lord… BUT this is a parody darn it! And it works so well! And on the subject of comedies…

My Lady Jane– normally I have a lot criticism of alternate history… yet not in this case. Not only does it play with history in such a fun way (that weirdly makes sense) it also made me laugh… so it’s off the hook for everything. I just have a lot of fun with these author’s books- they can do no wrong!

American Royals– another alternate history/contemporary that’s mostly just soapy drama. A lot of it isn’t entirely logical and I don’t know how much makes sense. I just ate it all up.

Crown of Feathers– I’ve heard some criticism of the info-dumping in this series. And, yes, I see it. Even if it’s in little snippets at the start of each chapter, it’s still often considered a no-no to squeeze world building in that way… And yet I didn’t care for a change? This phoenix-led fantasy was just plain enjoyable and I want to dive into more of the series!

Supernova– yeah the finale for this superhero story left some things open ended for a future instalment- which normally would annoy me… buuuut I’m just excited. I want more!

Daisy Jones and the Six– admittedly this doesn’t have the most substantial plot and it’s pretty character led. That can often be an issue for me with books… though can I say I care here? Nah- I just found it super immersive on audiobook and well worth listening to! SO PEACE OUT!

Okay- glad I got that off my chest! Do you also feel like a bit of a hypocrite about some of the books you love? Which ones? Let me know in the comments!

Books I Read Thanks to Negative Reviews and Ended Up Loving

A couple of months back I talked about *all the positives with negative reviews* and one of the things I mentioned was how they can get you to EVEN MORE read books. And today I’m proving that point with a list of books that I read because of negative reviews. Sometimes you just need more of a kick to get to something you’ve been putting off; sometimes negative reviews point out things you might love! Here’s just some of the times it happened for me:

Hazel Wood– I have to admit, I was first lured into checking this book out because of the cover. Then I heard it was about fairy tales and my interest was piqued. Because it was an unknown author, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to give it a try, especially given some of the mixed reviews that were coming out. HOWEVER, when I actually read the reviews complaining about its slow pace, I stopped worrying, because while that criticism is valid, when I’m in the right mood for it, a leisurely plot is exactly what I need. And some of the other complaints were so invalid… I picked the book up in spite of them! Really glad I did because it’s one of my favourite fantasy reads!

Bear and the Nightingale– I was a little hesitant to start this because of all the hype. HOWEVER, I actually found negative reviews helpful in lowering my expectations. Not only did they make me aware of the slow pace before going into it, one review helpfully said the reason they didn’t like it much was because as an Eastern European they were so familiar with the stories it didn’t feel as cool as people were making out… For me personally this just added points for authenticity!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone– in the days before blogging, I heard good and bad things about this book. Ironically, I didn’t feel like I shared the same taste as some of its and in the end was more curious about what some of critics were saying… who knew I would end up raving about how much I love this book forever?!

An Enchantment of Ravens– the weird thing about this book was that I saw mostly negative reviews for it- and still my curiosity was there. In the end, reviewers arguing that it didn’t measure up to the author’s second book, Sorcery of Thorns, pushed me to read it sooner rather than later, because I figured I wouldn’t want to have that negative comparison in my head (funnily enough, while I love Sorcery of Thorns, I sometimes feel even more enchanted by Enchantment of Ravens– they’re both great books for different reasons!)

Cruel Prince– obviously I’d heard of this book because it was ridiculously hyped. And I’d read some good stuff by the author before, so I was vaguely curious. But what made me desperate to pick it up was actually someone critiquing it who didn’t like YA. Their candour pointing out everything they didn’t like made me realise “hey, this has all the ingredients of YA fantasy that I LOVE”. So, of course, I raced to get a copy and I’m really glad I did! If you need a fun YA series, then this will be right up your street!

Wilder Girls– everyone that’s read reviews for this book will know it’s really hit or miss. Naturally, I heard plenty of the criticisms before giving it a try. AND YET, I was so swayed by the concept, I didn’t care. It turned out the issues people had with it being gory and strange were fair… but the praise made sense too! For me, the good definitely outweighed its flaws! I’m glad I listened to my gut on this one.

Red Rising– okay, this is more of a case of my interest being SUPER HYPED that I didn’t feel I could read it. I was so scared of it not living up to my expectations that I talked myself out of reading it. But eventually I came across a review saying it took too long to get going… weirdly this made me more ready to pick it up! I figured even if I didn’t enjoy it at the start it would get better and my expectations were lowered enough to give it a go. Turns out I had nothing to fear because this was exactly my cup of tea!

Stranger on the Beach– weirdly enough, I heard about this book in a lukewarm review from someone who nearly always gives positive reviews. And even more strangely, when I read the book, I understood why she wasn’t crazy about it… BUT I also saw a lot of cleverness to the writing and I ended up incredibly impressed!

Catcher in the Rye– I heard so so many negative things. I went in assuming that I would be one of the many people that didn’t enjoy this book… but from the second I started reading I was pulled in by the voice. I saw instantly why people didn’t like it- however I also saw the realism and depth that had gone in to creating such a strong sense of character. Holden Caulfield may think I’m a phony for saying this, but

My Lady Jane– I was very worried about this not living up to all the acclaim- especially given how it can be really hard to gauge whether the humour will land. I stopped overthinking it after I saw some negative reviews saying they didn’t find it funny- I figured if I was in the same boat, I wouldn’t be alone. LUCKILY, the joke was on me once I read it, cos I thought it was hilarious. I shouldn’t have been so hesitant.

So, have you read any of these books? What books did you find thanks to negative reviews? Let me know in the comments!

My Most Ambitious Books List I.e. Books About Ambition

Hope I’m not overreaching myself with this one 😉 Title’s pretty self-explanatory- let’s take off and fly into the sun. 

Dr Faustus– yes let’s start with the guy who sold his soul to the devil (seems like a very good place to start… or not 😉).

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue– on the subject of selling souls, Addie Larue comes to mind. This book is so intricate, it makes me think of many different themes, yet at the centre of them all is a girl brimming with ambition. Too bad about that deal though.

Vicious– okay, yes, I’m including two Schwab books on this list- but I can’t help it! No one does books about hubris quite like her! And yet, this is so very different to Addie Larue… because these buckos aren’t always quite as sympathetic (and yet I love them!!)  

Cruel Prince– thinking of more characters with an edge, Jude comes to mind. Her ambition is perhaps a little less vicious, yet still has a bit of a bite.

Red Rising– taking off in a different direction, let’s head into space… where we get a rather ambitious tale of Roman-themed warriors fighting it out Hunger Games style.

School for Good and Evil– okay this is a bit less gory than the last one, don’t be fooled by the title 😉 This MG follows two girls, whisked off to a fairy tale school to be good or evil. And while one of them always dreams of going to this school to be good… the catch is she’s there to be evil. A very fun concept, enjoyably executed.  

Jude the Obscure– someone else desperate for an education was Jude… fair warning, this book is by Thomas Hardy, so it doesn’t quite work out (okay, I feel like I should say a bit more IE WARNING WARNING THINGS GO BADLY WRONG HERE!!)

Macbeth– on the topic of things going badly, Shakespeare’s ambitious Scottish play drops a few unsubtle hints about *why it’s a bad idea to kill a king you have over to stay*. It could get you into a spot of bother 😉

Game of Thrones– oh gosh this is jam-packed with characters trying to kill kings/bastards/boys/anyone with a head still on their shoulders… Suffice to say, if you’re looking for an ruthless read, this fits the bill (oh and given each book is a tome and there’s five out so far, getting into this series is a bit of an undertaking!)

Circe- but if you need something moreambitious, then definitely pick up this *outstanding* retelling. Staying true to the age-old myths and yet putting a new spin on them is quite an achievement in and of itself. However, even more impressive is how it handles the topic of hubris. I won’t spoil anything, except to say this surpassed my every expectation.

Daisy Jones and the Six- back to the real world and a very different kind of kickass female lead, this vibey book beats to its own drum, recording the exploits of a fictional rock band. What’s great about this one is how it explores meeting creative goals!

The Great Gatsby– finally, if you’re needing something *even more* glamorous, then here’s something that sparkles. Full of unfulfilled desires, this book achieves gorgeous prose and captures the exquisite pain of failure. It is a masterpiece.

And that’s all for now! Do you agree or disagree with any of the books on this list? Are there any books you would add? Let me know in the comments!

Underrated Books #3

Oh boy I haven’t done one of these posts since my blog was a baby back in 2015!! Which means this is LONG OVERDUE! I have read *a lot* of underrated books since then, so I’m going to have to share them!

Echo North- I read this recently and you’re going to have to prepare yourself for hearing me talk about it *a lot*! I discovered this beautiful, wintry read courtesy of the lovely Kat @Life and Other Disasters and the wonderful Pages Unbound. I am so so happy I took their advice on this seriously underrated retelling. Elegantly written and with a touch of unique magic, this was a story I needed in my life.

Wolf in the Whale– this may not seem underrated, because I talk about it PLENTY… and yet not enough people seem to pick it up (according to goodreads). And that’s more than a bit of a shame, because this atmospheric read was so memorable. Its frosty images and haunting tale are imprinted in my mind. I have to put in the caveat that it may not be for everyone, thanks to its dark subject matter, yet if you can handle some hard themes, this is a historical fantasy you won’t forget in a hurry.

The Book of Hidden Things– okay, another one that may be a bit out there! BUT, this magical realism story is so so worth reading if you’re looking for something a bit different. Set in Southern Italy this delves into mysteries both past and present. I can’t quite shake the hold this story has over me.

The Furies– a witchy story set in a school may sound familiar- but don’t be fooled. There’s nothing typical about this underappreciated book. Moody and with subtle depths, I think more YA fans should check this out.

Toffee– moving onto something a little softer, but with a bit of a bite, Toffee is perhaps for a younger YA audience. I will admit this is by a popular author, yet not talked about much on the blogosphere. Dealing with hard themes, it was ultimately very sweet.

Boy Who Steals Houses– by contrast, many, many people on the blogosphere may know about this book by C G Drews/otherwise known as Paperfury, but my goal is to spread the love a bit further! This contemporary Goldilocks retelling is a delight (and something I’ve just given my sister to read 😊).

Exquisite– moving on to something a little darker, I cannot recommend this exquisitely written thriller enough. This was good both on a line-by-line level and had a killer plot. With themes centring on writing and obsessive romance, this hit the spot for me.

The Weekend Away– this is perhaps more of your typical pulpy thriller… and I dug it. If you need a quick getaway into a thrilling story, then this is the book for you.

All That Still Matters At All– well known in Hungary, but not so much outside of it, this heart wrenching poetry collection is definitely worth trying if you: enjoy poems, like words, want to feel like you’ve been punched in the gut. Just go for it- and maybe I’ll stop bringing it up every five minutes (I won’t).

Man in the White Sharkskin Suit– there’s so much packed into this memoir- from the story of the 20th Century exodus of Jews from Egypt, an account of family history and a hard-hitting personal journey. This is one of my favourite ever memoirs and more people should try it!

So, have you read any of these? Do you plan to? And what’s the most underappreciated book you can recommend? Let me know in the comments!

Feel Good Reads for Stepping Out of a Funk – *Books with Positive Vibes*

Because if books can’t help, what can? I was looking for lists of books that can really help get you out of a funk and couldn’t find one that quite fit what I was looking for, so naturally decided to write my own. I have tried to look for books in a range of genres and moods- but all of them should be equally life-affirming! Enjoy!

Obviously, Man’s Search for Meaning goes without saying (reread it recently, still brilliant). But if you’re looking for MORE MEANING- then why not try Frankl’s recently translated series of lectures on the subject? Life-affirming and uniquely insightful, I feel like this is the perfect place to turn if you’re searching for wisdom.

Eat Pray Love– I love Elizabeth Gilbert’s non fic- it’s honest, hearty and very inspirational. This globe-trotting memoir is so much more than a simple journey- it’s about rediscovering hope and finding your way into healing.

Furiously Happy– if you need an out-of-the-box non fic about mental health, then this could make you furiously happy! I laughed so much at this book and found it so unusual.

A Man Called Ove– the way I’d describe this book is as an adult version of Up, in book form! This deals with dark subjects, in a moving and ultimately uplifting way. Focusing on friendship and the power of human kindness, this book shines a light on all that is good in the world.

The Flatshare– what I love about this quirky romance is that it doesn’t just focus on finding new love- it’s also fundamentally about overcoming past hurts and heartbreak.

Bookish and the Beast– this fairy tale has always had elements of second chances- and that’s really evident in this retelling. Coupled with an exploration of opening your heart to new possibilities and coming to terms with what has passed, this is my favourite in the Once Upon a Con series so far.

Afterlife of Holly Chase– okay, I swore to myself that I wouldn’t mention this book again until next Christmas rolls around, but I can’t help it! I love this retelling of A Christmas Carol! It perfectly captures the spirit of the original, whilst also giving it new life. Just do yourself a favour and get yourself a copy ready for the next holiday season!! If you don’t, I’ll haunt you!

Clap When You Land– in this moving contemporary YA, Acevedo shows us how hardship can bring us crashing down to earth, and yet also uplift us.

Bright Side– this one may be more of a kicker, so make sure you have tissues handy. It’s a beautiful romance about seeing the bright side in hard situations. Give it ago (when you are emotionally ready to have your heart ripped out).

Words in Deep Blue– I adore the way this book delves into grief- with such heart and deep thoughts. One of the most cathartic books I’ve ever read, it shows that there really is a road to recovery if you seek it.

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society– layered with moving stories, this unforgettable epistolary novel is about people rebuilding their lives after they’ve been shattered by WW2. It demonstrates that there is life and love to be found after disaster.

And that’s all for now! Do you agree with any of the books on this list? And do you have any uplifting recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments!

My Most Anticipated Releases in 2021

YE GODS THERE ARE SO MANY RELEASES THIS YEAR!!! If you’ve been around a while, you’ll know I’m not in the habit of making these kinds of posts (I do occasionally try to keep my expectations in check 😉). But WOW I can’t help getting hyped up for *so many* of the releases this year! (and these are just the ones I/we know about!!)

Klara and the Sun– I mean, a release from one of the best authors on the planet?! Yes please!!

Any Way the Wind Blows- yasss!! Sorry, I’ll try to keep the screaming to a minimum, but YAAASSSS!! All I can do is squeal at the prospect of a new Baz/Simon adventure! Love the title as well- they’re just so on point for this series.

My Contrary Mary– another one I’ve been looking out for ever since it was announced years ago! As you may know, I’m just a teensy bit of a MASSIVE fan of My Lady Jane. Funny alternate history is just my jam and I need more of it in my life.

The Ivies– oh god I’m excited for this one. You may or may not know, I’ve been following Alexa Donne on Youtube for years. And I’ve been following along for the whole journey of this book- from idea to finished product! I’ve just been enthralled by the concept from day one- deadly competitive college admissions- sign me up! (Also, this is an author who knows her YA and her thrillers- so I have high hopes!)

Survive the Night– virtually every Riley Sager book is a winner for me. Absolute auto-buy. (Also happens to be one of the authors I discovered through Alexa Donne’s channel).

Heart Principle– loved the first two in this rom com series– how can I say no to more?!? I’ll be reading this on the principle that my heart needs another dose 😉

The Project– ever since Sadie, I’ve needed to read more Courtney Summers. I’ll just have to make sure my heart is ready.

Rule of Wolves– because, I mean, of course. Love Leigh Bardugo and the first one in this duology. Gonna need a hardback too.

Iron Raven– Julie Kagawa has another book coming out?? And it’s a continuation of the Iron Fey world? From Puck’s perspective? Well thank you universe!

The Chosen and the Beautiful– okay, yes, this is the only author on here that I haven’t read (reason being that as intrigued as I am by *so many* of those, I can’t truly say I have the same expectations for something I’ve no idea if I’ll like) HOWEVER I have never read a Gatsby retelling, I have never realised I needed a Gatsby retelling… I now know my life won’t be complete until I have read this. Also, adore the cover.

Tales From the Hinterland– okay this one’s technically already out- but I just know I’m going to have to read this book, since Hazel Wood is one of my favourite fantasy books.

And that’s all for now- I do have high hopes that a Red Rising book or a Sanderson sequel (or maybe some other exciting release) will be on the cards too… but we’ll have to wait and see!

For now, what’s your most anticipated release of 2021? Let me know in the comments!

Forgettable Books- Books I Can’t Remember… Though I Definitely Read Them (I think)

This has to be one of the most challenging posts I’ve ever written. Not because it’s going to be well thought out or involve any skill whatsoever… but because (for obvious reasons) I don’t remember which books I’ve forgotten! 😉 But I scavenged through my goodreads and found some books that I remember reading… however don’t remember anything about them.

Now, *big disclaimer here*, not all of these are bad books. There’s lots of reasons I might have forgotten them. For starters I like to forget as much as I can about books I plan to reread in a futile attempt to recapture the magic of reading them for the first time. Secondly, it might just have been pre-blogging/a really long time ago (part of the reason I love doing reviews is so that I don’t forget everything about a book!)

Anyway, that out of the way, I’m going to jump into it- starting with the most recent and going back in time:

Starless Sea– I read this book? No, seriously, I did read it, I swear. However, as soon as I finished a sentence/page/the whole darn book, I was left with only fragments of images. My mind became a bit numb to the very verbose style. There isn’t a lot of plot to speak of and I didn’t feel any connection to the (quite surface level) characters. Now, I’m sounding really harsh, but there were reasons I kept going with this story: it’s beautiful in parts and its premise centres on loving stories. It wasn’t my thing, yet I kinda knew there was a chance of that going in (hence it wasn’t on my disappointing books list).

Unwind– this is one that annoys me. Not because I remember something particularly egregious about this book… but because I don’t. What irks me is that I really liked Shusterman’s writing in Scythe and so am curious about his other works. And I’ve heard people I trust swear this one is great. ONLY I GAVE THIS 1* 5 YEARS AGO AND I DON’T KNOW WHY! I’d love to know if I was wrong about this book… yet I’m far too scared to pick it up again because there was probably a reason I didn’t like it. Maybe I should just read a spoilery review.

Slated- I’m including this cos it’s ironic 😉 This is a book about not remembering who you are, from way back in the dystopia craze. What’s really confusing to me is that I apparently didn’t like the first one… but ended up liking the rest of the series? Which is super weird and unusual for me- especially when it comes to YA dystopian series. Let’s be real though, I’m going to have to be content not knowing why cos I doubt I’ll ever pick it up again.

A Gathering Light– by contrast, I remember really like the atmosphere for this one. And not much else. And I have very little to say about it… Except that this is one I constantly see in libraries and have frequently been tempted to read it… only to remember I already have!

Across the Nightingale Floor- this is another one that haunts me. Mostly because I’ve seen people talking about this and been curious to try again with the series (mostly because of the setting). I’ve even put the rest of the series on my TBR in hopes I will get to it one day (I won’t).

Red Necklace– I really like this author… however this is not one of her memorable works. It can’t have been that good, to be honest, since I’m fascinated by this era and would’ve remembered *something* if it was.

Passage to India– okay, this is one I distinctly remember reading. I was in a post-essay writing haze at uni (I’d pulled an all-nighter because I was a masochist/bad student). And I remember being in the tutorial and talking about the book… I cannot for the life of me remember what I said. I don’t know if I kept my copy, so I can neither confirm or deny if I annotated it as well (I swear I remember nothing about this book! It’s like my mind sinks into a memory hole whenever I think of it!) Most bizarrely of all, when I looked up the synopsis I was confused cos I didn’t remember anything it described happening and had inserted false memories into the story. I should probably reread it to get to the bottom of this mystery (but I won’t).

King’s General– by contrast to a lot of the books on this list, I definitely want to reread it (in fact this came to my attention because I thought about how much I want to reread it and had the rather pleasant realisation that I don’t remember much about it). I read this back in my Du Maurier phase and loved it. And while I have the plots of my two favourite Du Mauriers imprinted on my brain, apart from certain aspects of the history and setting, I don’t remember this nearly as well. And I’m so excited to re-experience this one!

Wind Singer– okay, I’m cheating by including this one, since there are parts (particularly to do with the beginning and ending) that I remember very well. However, I don’t remember all the details in between and actually would love to reread this one! (but am also scared it won’t be as good as I remember!)

So, have you read any of these? Did you find them more memorable than I did? And can you recall any books you don’t remember? 😉 Let me know in the comments! (And if you know what I mean, but can’t think of anything on the spot, feel free to come back later or make your own post! 😉)

Books that gave me a hangover

Usually when I finish a good book, it whets the appetite for another. Yet, on rare occasions, I am so intoxicated that I cannot read another one. These are just a few books that *ruined* me for others:

Wuthering Heights– heady and romantic and doomed… the kind of story that you can’t easily shake. It’s one of the first books I can remember giving me a hangover (when I was, I’ll admit, underage 😉). 

Jude the Obscure– after I finished this, I was so dumbstruck, all I could do was stare at the walls. I was completely unable to do anything, let alone read. It’s the kind of book that made me think “damn, never gonna do that again…” Needless to say, I don’t picture myself rereading it!

Sadie– there is no recovering from this any time soon- it delivers an absolute gut-punch of an ending.

High Lord– what started out much like any fantasy ended up breaking me. And I didn’t see it coming.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters– indeed there’s nothing quite like the perfect end to a series- and this dreamy Romeo and Juliet story of Angels and Demons was nothing short of *perfection*.

Winter of the Witch– I looked at my stats and didn’t remember any of the books I read after- they were all in its shadow. An enchanting end to an enchanting series.

Circe– I was so under this Odyssey retelling’s spell, that nothing measured up after. Circe completely captured my soul with its beauty and ingenuity.

Six of Crows– can you imagine what it was like not to have the next one when I finished this?? Such a brilliant series- but I recommend having both on hand at the same time (oh and maybe some tissues).

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue– I couldn’t stop thinking about this after I finished. And now you’re going to have to deal with me talking about this over and over 😉 Not one I’ll be forgetting in a hurry!

Carry On– a Harry Potter parody is not the kind of thing I would’ve expected to give me a terrible book hangover- and yet I loved this so much, after I was done, nothing else would satisfy me than picking it up and starting all over again!  

With the Fire on High– there was something so simply satisfying about this that I just didn’t find anything else as appetising after. Nothing was quite the same. It’s the kind of contemporary YA that just hits the spot.

So have you read any of these? Do you feel the same way? And what books gave you a book hangover? Let me know in the comments!

My Resolutions for 2021

Well, last year was… different. Like so many of us, for reasons outside my control, a lot of my plans for 2020 didn’t quite work out. Needless to say, I didn’t complete my goals. Because of that I’ve decided to shift my perspective for 2021. Instead of using this time of year to get powered up for the next year, I’m actually going to be thinking of how I can give myself a break.

That’s why, before I get into my resolutions, I’m first gonna talk about the goals I’m notsetting myself. I’ve basically removed any tough goals or anything that’s subject to massive changes like a global pandemic. This year I’ve decided to just go with the flow (for the most part) and won’t be putting down things like a challenging books, poetry or plays (though mentioning it is a bit like a placeholder to my future self that I want to start thinking about these things again midway through the year). And any resolutions I do make will be significantly more chill- for instance:

Bookish

Read 10 Non Fic!

Despite the fact that reading 10 non fic, I’m not going to up this number. Given that I’ve clearly exorcised my non fic demons, I was in fact on the verge of taking it down a notch. However, at the last second I decided there were a few non fic I *have to* read for research purposes. So, this number is just gonna stay as a staple!

10 Classics

This is the first year ever where the number of classics I read went down drastically– from 13% (28 books) to just 5% (11 books). I’m not happy about that and want to fix it! This is, to be fair, quite a doable number, so I may have to up this number mid-way through the year.

5 Rereads!

Because if I don’t put it on the list, I won’t do it. Even though I enjoy this challenge the most! (daughter of smoke and bone 2, book thief, hunger games, heart of darkness)

Read 10 books I’ve been promising to read for years

This should be fun, because there are an amazing selection of books I’ve been saying I’ll read *for years*. And because I’ve been thinking about this a while, I did a helpful tag at the end of last year. I’m going to be keeping a vague TBR each month to make. this. happen!

Non-Bookish

3 yoga challenges

Yes, I did more of these last year, but this still feels like a good solid number. Doing 3 would be great!  

And that’s all I have for this year! As you can see, I’m definitely keeping it shorter than normal! I have some hidden goals (that I’m not putting up just yet cos I don’t want to pressure myself too much) which I may add in the middle of the year! I just want to give 2021 a chance to show me its true colours get going before I pin my sails to the mast!

What about you? Do you have any plans for 2021 big or small? Let me know in the comments!