Book Blogger Confessions Tag

 

orangutan tag 2

It has been a while since my last confession… I mean tag 😉 So I figure I should just jump straight to the good bit! Thanks so much to the lovely Sophie for tagging me to do this one! She runs a brilliant book blog with such varied content- from reviews to writing to crafts! Definitely recommend you check her out 🙂

RULES:

  • Answer these questions truthfully.
  • Once you’re done, tag 5 other book bloggers to answer these questions next.

1. Which book, most recently, did you not finish?

otherworld

I actually find it really hard to DNF, so I was proud of myself for giving up on Otherworld. It was a very, very average ripoff of Ready Player One. And I’m not sorry for giving up on it!

2. Which book is your guilty pleasure?

Hmm I don’t know that I ever feel guilty, so I’m going for something that is more pure pleasure…

kiss quotient

3. Which book do you love to hate? 

fifty shades of grey

Hard question, cos I kinda hate hating things most of the time. I’ll admit I do enjoying hating on Fifty Shades of Grey from time to time- there’s just a lot of entertaining stuff out there making fun of it.

4. Which book would you throw into the sea? 

old man and the sea

I’ll admit I trawled through all my lowest rated books on Goodreads, looking for something that sounded appropriate, so I guess I’m giving The Old Man and the Sea a watery death because it sounds punny! I feel a bit mean about this, because it’s not a fate it truly deserves, given it’s actually a good book and the only justification I have is that I don’t click with Hemmingway’s writing style… which isn’t really a justification at all. Ah well- I guess I’ll just have to drown in my own guilt 😉

5. Which book have you read the most?

Easily, the Hobbit.

Hobbit_cover

6. Which book would you hate to receive as a gift? 

I don’t know that there’s anything… beyond Mein Kampf. I think any scenario where you receive this (or anything in this vein) as a gift would be pretty disturbing. Like, the thought process behind this would either be “Happy birthday- I think you’re a Nazi!” or “Happy birthday- from your friendly neighbourhood Nazi!”

mein kampf

(I realise there is probably a perfectly sensible answer to this question and I’ve just gone off the deep end, haven’t I?)

7. Which book could you not live without? 

Well, I’ve already mentioned The Hobbit, so I think I’ll have to go with another of my most formative reads: The Idiot. Not necessarily Dostoevsky’s best, but it’s left a deep impact on me ever since I read it.

idiot

8. Which book made you angriest? 

as i lay dying

I can safely say that As I Lay Dying makes me so hot under the collar that I might spontaneously combust. Now, I’ve been told that I don’t get this book’s brilliance. Apparently, writing 56000 words on why language is insufficient to convey meaning is a stroke of genius and not the pretentious bilge I took it for. Silly me. Granted I do understand that I was supposed to buy into the post-structuralist “everything is meaningless so we might as well all curl up and die” view a long time ago- alas I am too “foolish” to have taken that to heart 😉 I must therefore issue an apology to the intelligentsia powers-that-be who like to pontificate on whether chairs are indeed chairs/whether dogs are dogs/whether language is a useful tool to communicate: I guess I couldn’t have been more wrong. Clearly I am a grunting-cave-dweller for thinking language fulfils its function pretty well. Clearly it is smart to obfuscate meaning in order to make the point that meaning is impossible to find- that’s not a manipulative tactic at all and TOTALLY proves there’s no meaning… in this work at any rate 😉  (Wow- that got more sarky than I intended- see what I mean about this making me sizzle with rage?)

9. Which book made you cry the most?

sadie

Recently, that would be Sadie. I can barely talk about this without getting emotional, so I’m just going to suggest listening to the audiobook version if you can and move on before I tear up…

10. Which book cover do you hate the most?

I don’t know why, but I feel so so bad picking out ugly covers. Still, I have to admit, I’m not crazy about the original City of Bones cover.

City_of_Bones

That’s all for now- I tag: Journey into Books, Hammock of Books, Kristin Kraves, Meltotheany, Literary Latte, CJR Brit and the Book Prescription

And I want to know- do you agree or disagree with any of my answers? And what books makes you sizzle with rage? Let me know in the comments!

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The Kiss Quotient and the Bride Test add up to a marriage made in heaven!

 

booklove orangutan

Well, I have something to confess: I had a bit of summer fling last month and discovered a new favourite romance author. We’d better dive straight into these mini reviews, before I get all hot and flustered about this (now-not-so) secret love affair…

kiss quotient.png

The Kiss Quotient– wowee- this was love at first line! I read this in one sitting and let’s just say I was more than simply satisfied! Not only was this super steamy at times, it also made me unreasonably emotional. Because this was more than a top-notch romance: it delivered time and again on so many other levels. I think it’s the first time I have ever read a romance featuring an autistic lead and that aspect to the story blew me away. Added to this, I really liked how the family aspect and friendships were developed. This enjoyment was multiplied by exciting themes like the fake dating trope and even touched on the pressures of being single. The only reason this wasn’t a full-length review was that I was too absorbed in it and forgot to take notes. Happy to report, this one definitely lives upto the hype!

Rating: 5/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana 

bride test

The Bride Test– obviously once I was done with Kiss Quotient, I bounced to the next available book in this loosely connected companion series. Now, while I didn’t love this quite as much, I can safely say this gets really romantic!! Perhaps more so even than its predecessor. It was emotional. It was heartwarming. And it ended in squeals, lots and lots of squeals. And I LOVE-LOVE-LOVED how these books aren’t just about the romance- they are also about character growth. These are such well-rounded books centred around wonderful characters. As well as this, I have to say that I love how personal these stories are for Hoang- I appreciated reading these in the acknowledgements and it certainly shines through in the writing. All in all, you can’t go wrong with either of these. If you’re into romance like me and you pick these up- well you’re in for a treat!

Rating: 4/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana 

So romance fans- have you read either of these? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

Summer lovin’ – fun (& sometimes super emotional) beachy books to read in the sun!

 

It’s that time of the year again- time for us bookworms to be packing up our books to take on picnics/beaches/park benches. Although I gotta admit that the title is a little misleading- cos I don’t know about you, but I love something with a bit of an emotional edge for summer holidays. Something, like, say…

the boy who steals houses

The Boy Who Steals Houses– I. can’t. even. with this book- such an emotional rollercoaster. Read it. Read this incredible Goldilocks retelling. That’s it. That’s all I have to say- this book steals the words right out of my mouth.

words in deep blue

Words in deep blue– if you don’t mind being a blubbering mess in public, then this is the book for you! Seriously though, I absolutely loved this romance about second chances, loss and books!

sisterhood of the travelling pants

Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants– it’s not all sad- I invite you to read this and be terrifically happy! (and then sad again when you get to the last book)

lucky star

Lucky Star– another emotional read, only this time it’s more of a middle grade/younger YA style book. Cassidy is known for her sweet books, but this one always stood out to me as the one that packs the biggest punch. I loved this when I was younger (and, if I’m honest, I still do)

kiss quotient

The Kiss Quotient– moving onto a more mature romance- I read this recently and have been looking for any excuse to recommend this more!!

far from the madding crowd

Far from the Madding Crowd– there had to be a classic on the list and of course this is one of the most romantic. Now, be warned, this is Hardy- it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. BUT I did pick one of his few books with a happy ending- you’re welcome 😉

my lady jane

My Lady Jane– it’s not all doom and gloom though- if you’re looking for a laugh, this will certainly do the trick. An alternative Tudor England (with magic!) this hilarious book is guaranteed to put a smile on your face 😀

wizard heir

Wizard Heir– of course I had to squeeze some amazing fantasy onto the list- and who better to promote than Cinda Williams Chima? I absolutely love her books and this happens to be my favourite. This one’s more of an urban setting than her high fantasy series and I don’t believe gets the praise it deserves.

song of the lioness

The Lioness Quartet– oh and what a surprise- more fantasy! I did actually take this to the beach once and it was exactly the ticket!

charmed life

Charmed Life– okay, let’s be honest, you all knew I’d start stuffing as many fantasy books as I could onto this list 😉 And this is just the epitome of cute and fun and inventive that I couldn’t resist!

Alright, now that I’ve overloaded my book bag, I have to ask what kind of books do you like to take on summer holiday? Let me know in the comments!

Chill thrills for hot weather!

 

I don’t know about you, but when the summer weather hits, there’s nothing I like more than chilling out with a good book. And what better than a good thriller to keep the shivers running down my spine when it’s hot outside!

ice twins

Ice Twins– of course the clue as to why I picked this is in the title 😉 Evoking the cool atmosphere of wintry Scotland, this book definitely provides a thrill… or two!

gone-girl-PB

Gone Girl– betcha you saw this one coming! Unlike everyone who read this book, cos that was quite the twist! 😉

woman in the window new

The Woman in the Window– on the topic of dark and twisted reads, this book, with its echoes of Hitchcock, will certainly keep you up at night.

big little lies

Big Little Lies– I especially appreciate the slow burn mystery when I’m feeling all lazy from the sun. 

all these beautiful strangers

All These Beautiful Strangers– I do love my summer mysteries and this one deserves some more love 😊

broken things

Broken Things– grim and tragic and utterly brilliant- this mystery will keep you on your toes!

sadie

Sadie– if your version of “chilling” is sobbing your heart out- cos it’s mine! 😉 I especially recommend the audiobook. Speaking of heartbreak…

we were liars

We Were Liars– I mean, I feel a little cruel putting this on here, cos it’s akin to kicking sand in your face and running off- that ending stings. Moving on to the last book of the list… 

the secret history

The Secret History– at the time of writing this list, I’ve just finished this book. And *wow*. I have to talk about this right away, because despite knowing the outcome from the start, it somehow managed to be one of the most riveting reads I’ve experienced in a while. A chilling story of elite students up to no good, this’ll have you breaking out in a cold sweat, even on the hottest of summer nights.

Alrighty then, that’s all for now! What do you think of these? And do you have any recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments!

As Predicted, Good Omens was More Than Just “Good”

Well this was a thoroughly enjoyable read… about the apocalypse. Yup- you read that right. This a comedy about the end of the world. The likes of which only the combined genius of Pratchett and Gaiman could have come up with. Melding their equally sharp wits and sense of humour, they created one of the most entertaining books I’ve read in a long while. And obviously, it’s packed full with lots and lots of laugh out loud moments!

Brilliantly written, chock full of hilarious and colourful characters and with a great story to book- it’s no wonder this became a cult classic. Happily, there’s a great story as well. In an elegant fashion, we move from the beginning of the universe, right up until the point when it’s doomed to end. As you might expect, it’s an incredibly complex story, with a lot of layers, and the absolute worst thing you could do as a reviewer for such an ineffably multifaceted work is lose one’s notes… which is exactly what I’ve gone and done. Either that or I was too distracted by the book to write anything down, cos it’s just that good 😉

So, I’m working on the fly here, which is a little tricky when we’re talking about such EPIC scale things like god, global catastrophes and intriguing philosophies. Because of course this is more than just surface-level entertainment. As I’ve come to expect from these two powerhouses, this is a fascinating approach on the nature of good and evil, the shades of grey in between and whether angels can indeed dance on the head of a pin.

Ultimately, this small book packs a punch and is one I’ll more than happily reread (maybe next time I’ll manage to take notes 😉). Fortunately though, the fun didn’t stop there, because I managed to catch the adaptation on Prime!

Now, you’ve probably heard about the (patently absurd) scandal around this, which spectacularly backfired, so you might have already heard more sane people rising to the show’s defence and raving about how good it is!

Visually stunning and with a lot of great performances- especially from Tenant and Sheen (no surprises there)- this managed to both fully reflect the qualities of the book, whilst not being the exact same thing. There were changes- as expected- but nothing that was detrimental to the original. Some parts were streamlined and there were brilliant additions (I’ll get to in a moment), but most importantly, this captured the spirit of the original.

Speaking of parts not in the book (told you I’d get there), the opening to episode three, which explored Crowley and Aziraphale’s relationship in full was beautifully done. While taking up half the episode’s run time, it was so seamlessly integrated that I almost felt like I must have read it. What I liked best about it, however, was how it felt like a tribute to Pratchett and Gaiman’s friendship- and it felt all the more poignant for that. In fact, the whole backstory of how this show ended up being made makes me pretty emotional.

So, let’s hop skip and a jump to that final showdown before I tear up again! And gosh, it was done well. While a little different to the book, I did love the show’s twist ending and it certainly did its job of keeping me on my toes.

Gotta give these both 5 bananas- meaning ten in total- after all there’s no need to be stingy since they saved us from the end times…

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana 

Have you read or watched this? What do you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – July

monthly mini reviews version 2

So, we’re in July and maybe the heat is baking my brain… but is anyone else baffled by the way the earth continues to orbit round the sun faster and faster every year? Just me? Anyhoo, I hit a bit of a slump this month, so the most exciting part of my journey was rereading Carry On again (which OMG is somehow better than I remembered and if you don’t know why I can happily provide you with reasons to read it!) Sadly though, most of my new reads were a bit meh and I didn’t have a lot of thoughts on them… hence this is gonna be a quick post.

truly madly guilty

Truly Madly Guilty– as a lot of you know, I was blown away by Big Little Lies last year, so I had high expectations for this. Unfortunately, this took a lot longer for me to be truly invested and it was pretty slow going. HOWEVER, once the crazy shenanigans did get going, I couldn’t put it down. I’d say it was definitely saved by the last 30%. This ended up being a solid domestic thriller- if not the best in the world.

Rating: 3½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana

conversations with friend

Conversations with Friends- oh gosh my thoughts on this one are not gonna gain me any friends, since this seems to be universally loved. I did not get on well with this at all. Generally speaking, this is the kind of okay writing I might give 2*, except that I couldn’t think of a single thing I liked about it. Like I said, the writing was fine, if a little lifeless, but what did me in was the lack of quotation marks. Bear in mind, this wasn’t a dystopia or sci fi where odd punctuation might have blended seamlessly with the story, this was just an attempt to elevate lame ass “conversations with friends” to something worthy of the title Literary Fiction (in case it isn’t obvious, I hate the title too). Well, in terms of fulfilling generic conventions, it got the whole pretentious-wanker-writer mc part down. Actually, everyone in this was pretentious, so that didn’t make her stand out. Speaking of which, the main character was a bore. And do you know how I knew this? She frickin tells the reader. Seriously. Don’t tell me your mc is a plank of wood because a) it’s telling not showing and b) you’ve instantly made me disinterested in her. I can’t exactly praise the plot either- too many dysfunctional relationships and nonsensical extra-marital affairs for my liking (none of their choices in this department made sense to me and they seemed devoid of logical, human emotions). One of the worst things though was that this was set in Dublin and yet the whole thing was so colourless it felt like it could’ve been anywhere. What a waste. Sorry, I can’t spare a banana for this one, just giving it a banana peel…

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unexpected everything

The Unexpected Everything– I enjoyed this, though it didn’t have that *sweep me off my feet* feeling that a lot of Matson’s books do. For me, there was quite a bit more potential here than it achieved. I did like the characters, but I wasn’t feeling the romance. Personally, I thought the random side character she was almost with (Topher) would’ve made for a more interesting choice (since it was a book about missed opportunities, getting back together with an ex she’d never given a chance to would’ve been more interesting). And funnily enough, I wasn’t the only one that thought this- I gave the book to my sister the Monkey Baby and she said the exact same thing. To top it off, I felt like the whole meet cute with dog walking was completely random. The family aspect was the emotional heart of the book- as is often the case with Matson- I just felt it was resolved too quickly. The friend drama was an entertaining subplot and thought it was especially realistic that it wasn’t fully resolved- I’m just allergic to texting in books and that bit got on my nerves. Still this book did have redeeming qualities. I always appreciate a good story within a story and the whole aspect with Clark having writer’s block worked really well. And though it might seem like I had a bad time reading this, I did enjoy it for the most part.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana 

devil aspect

Devil Aspect– here’s the thing: I liked the setting, the idea and the twist. Actually, make that LOVED the twist. It was pretty genius- the kind of ending that I never would’ve seen it coming, yet made total sense. And it was well written to boot. Which is why I feel pretty stingy with my banana rating, but, alas for some indefinable reason I just didn’t completely click with it. Unusually, this is the kind of book I wasn’t in love with, but would recommend anyway, because I do think other people will feel sparks flying with this one.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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So have you read any of these? What did you think of them? Or do you plan to pick any of them up? Let me know in the comments!

Favourite Fantasy Worlds I’d Love to go on Holiday To…

 

orangutan list

So, this isn’t the first time I’ve thought of packing it all in and going off to fantasy land- I was feeling the wanderlust last month and went on a jaunt a couple of years ago in January 😉 With that in mind, I’m gonna try my hardest not to repeat too many destinations (and if there are any shockers missing from the list feel free to check out my other posts). Also, these are places I actually want to go- so no Panem or Westeros for me! I’m gonna try and play it safe- starting with…

Faerieland– okay perhaps not the safest first choice. However, I’m often captivated by faerie realms, but few are more intriguing to me than Holly Black’s take in Cruel Prince. I’ll just make sure I take some iron and rowan berries for protection!

Iwagoto– aka the world from Shadow of the Fox. I mean, I really want to go to Japan, but a fantasy version of Japan *with* Kitsune?! YES PLEASE! This mythical creation by Kagawa has set my imagination alight and I’d whizz off tomorrow if I could.  

Discworld– well, obviously 😉 My first stop would be the Unseen University, to say hello to say hello to my bestie and stock up on some books/bananas!

Lyra’s Oxford– let’s be fair: real Oxford is a very pretty city. But I have always wanted to have my own daemon and meet Gyptians and witches and armoured bears… so yeah I need to take a trip here. If only I could get my hands on a Subtle Knife…

The Night Circus– I think when people talk about fantasy worlds, this nearly always comes up. And there’s a good reason for that! The Night Circus is a whole other level of captivating magic- and I think most of us would give an arm and a leg to be able to go!

Ravka– oh Russia would be amazing to go to- but how much more so would Grishaverse Russia be?! Preferably with the Darkling as my guide 😉 (he’d be good for tourism, really sells the place 😉)

Narnia– I have to admit, I have checked many-a cupboard looking for Narnia. Alas- to no avail! One day though, I’m sure I’ll stumble into the land that is always winter and meet a friendly lion who will eventually crown me queen monkey… what? It could happen! (also, I wouldn’t say no to a few Turkish Delights- yum!)

Neverland– speaking of the classics, I’d quite like to pop off to Neverland sometime soon. I rather fancy going somewhere I can never get older (even if I’d probably fit in more with the pirates than the lost boys at this stage 😉)

Wonderland– this one might be more of a risk, what with the crazy queen shouting “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!” Even so, I think it’d be worth it to say hello to the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter. Plus, I could always make a beeline for the mushrooms of course…

Ingo– I haven’t seen nearly enough underwater worlds- and none are done as well as this. It’s the kind of story that has an utterly unique feel and I would love to explore it more for real!

Howl’s moving castle– Wynne Jones always had a magical way with her settings- and none more so than Howl’s Moving Castle. She (literally) brings it to life and I couldn’t think of anything more fun than bouncing round the globe in this awesome travel home.

Alright, I didn’t go to deep into the danger zone there 😉 What do you think of my list? Would you like to go to any of these worlds? Is there anywhere else you’d rather go? Let me know in the comments!