Forgettable Books… Already Forgotten…

The problem with a forgettable books list is I’ve forgotten a lot of the books that I want to put on here. Never fear- goodreads is here! After trawling through some books I read years ago and documented on there, I was able to find at least some books that I don’t remember reading at all.

Wolf Brother– I *wish* I could remember this- I know that I loved it and I have a vague sense of the characters and story- but not enough to continue the series (and I only had one book to go as well!) It’s been driving me nuts that I can’t think of enough of the plot, because I feel like I’d have to reread the rest of the series to finish it and I can’t be bothered to do that.

 

Across the Nightingale Floor– even reading the synopsis, I don’t remember it at all. It sounds very different and like something I’d enjoy- apparently I did as well.

 

 

The Merrybegot– reading the summary I have vague memories of this and apparently I liked it.

 

 

Goddess of Yesterday– I seem to recall once reading a loose YA version of the Iliad that was decent… could this be that book?

 

 

 

Unwind– apparently I hated this, so it can’t be such a bad thing that I can’t remember this- apparently time heals some wounds!

 

 

Odin’s Voice– I do remember parts of this, but I’ve blotted out huge amounts, cos for ages it was my least favourite book. It starts off as an interesting take on slavery, takes some weird turns (I don’t remember what they were thankfully) and then they go into space for no reason. Yeah this book sucked. It’s no wonder I don’t want to remember it.

 

Sepulchre– this was part of the series and I liked the first one and can picture some of the scenes, but I cannot for the life of me think what happened here.

 

 

The Savage Garden– I actually remember two things about this: really overlong, up itself descriptions of the garden and an awkward sex scene. Kind of explains why I thought of it as pretentious and didn’t like it at all.

 

 

The Pledge Series– I can recall that this was really generic and not much else. I know that the girl had powers that made her *super special* and there was *romance*. But yeah, this was the height of the whole dystopian YA phase- I don’t know why I should even be worried that I don’t know what was in it. She saves the world and defeats the baddie. That’s it.

The Testing– one thing I remember from this incredibly mediocre dystopian story is how often we were told the mc was *the smartest smarty pants among all the super smart people!* and how rarely that was actually shown. Other than that it’s a blank slate. I think there was some sort of Hunger Games style contest?

 

See this whole list is why I do reviews! I don’t think I’d have forgotten nearly as much of these books (a lot of which I apparently liked) if I’d just written something down about my impressions! It’s a little frustrating! Then again, some things are better left forgotten…

Do you know any of these books and can you fill in the gaps for me? And do you have any books that you know you’ve read, but can’t remember? Let me know in the comments!

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The Cliché Book Tag

 

Hello all! It’s been a while since I’ve done a tag, so I thought it might be fun to give this one a go. Thank you so much to Kat @Life and Other Disasters for tagging me to do this one! She’s one of my favourite bloggers on here and has such amazing content (if you want to know about cool new books or TV shows, she’s your girl!)- I couldn’t recommend checking her highly enough!

Actions Speak Louder Than Words.

A Book That Wasn’t Or Couldn’t Be Better Than The Movie.

I think we all secretly have books we like better than the movie (but sometimes are too afraid to admit it) I’m gonna go with a nice and safe answer of Stardust (for now…)

The Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side.

A Rags To Riches Or Riches To Rags Story.

Kat’s answer of Gatsby was pretty much perfect, but to be a bit different I decided to go for Count of Monte Cristo– I think that fits pretty well.

The Apple Does Not Fall Far From The Tree.

A Parent Child Relationship That You Love

Well, I’ve got Potter-on-the-brain recently, so there really is only one answer and that’s Mrs Weasley and her children.

You Can’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover.

A Great Book That Needs A Better Cover.

Oh gosh, I don’t know if I’m easily seduced by covers or if cover artists are just doing a good a job, cos I struggled to come up with anything for this (let’s go with the latter) I guess the Tamora Pierce books could do with a modern makeover (I think some of them have tbh)

You Can’t Please Everyone.

A Book You Hate That Everyone Loves.

I *do not* understand why the Foxhole Court is popular, sorry. I didn’t think it was well written- I mean it was chockablock with infodumps in what’s ostensibly a contemporary fic, with some tweaks to our world. And said world building was… bizarre. Plus the characters were oddly abusive to each other and I didn’t like any of them. I just don’t get it.

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger.

What’s A Book That Made You A Better Person For Having Read It.

Well I can’t say that I’ve become a better person for having read a book, but I do hope that Righteous Mind might make a better person than me, well, better than they already are.

Love Is Blind.

A Book With A Disabled Character Or Actual Blind Love.

All the Light We Cannot See is the first book that popped into my mind and I’m sticking with it (even if it’s not my favourite book ever, I do think the writing is wonderful)

Ignorance Is Bliss.

A Book That Is Bad But You Just Don’t Want To Admit It.

Hehe this is a tricky one! I am very picky reader, so I think I’ll usually make more excuses for content than the writing. In that respect, I guess, Anna and the French Kiss is a bit of a guilty pleasure- cos normally the whole cheating aspect would drive me nuts and there’s no real justification for it. So even then, I totally get why people don’t like it.

There Is No Time Like The Present.

What Is Your Favourite Contemporary Book?

Oh man this is hard! Well to make up for that last answer, I’m going to go with Isla and the Happily Ever After by the same author. I much preferred this one anyway and thought it was so sweet!

(again, I was super tempted to steal Kat’s answer, cos Words in Deep Blue is magnificent)

Better Safe Than Sorry.

A Book You Don’t Want To Read In Case It’s Bad.

Gosh this is a harder one than all the rest put together cos I definitely don’t want to imply a book I haven’t read is bad! So don’t take this the wrong way, but I’ve got no desire to read Turtle’s All the Way Down– not because I worry that it’ll be bad, but because I’ve not personally been able to get into John Green’s style. I feel like it’ll probably be in the vein of his other work and while I wouldn’t call his writing bad, I will say it’s not for me.

I tag: Raven, Katie, Mel, Naty, Annie @Book Nerd Travels, Catherine @ This is One for the Books, Angelica @Dreaming of Fiction, Tiny Bookery, Suziey, Kristyn @Bibliophile Empress and Bookmark Your Thoughts

So do you agree or disagree with my answers? Let me know in the comments!

Books That I Think Will Be Future Classics

No doubt whatever I put on this list will be controversial for academics and bookworms alike. So I do want to clear some things up: I’m specifically going for “classics” in the academic sense, not “stand the test of time” books (there is, in my humble opinion, a difference). You’ll probably be able to note the books that I think are simply wonderful, but that don’t fit well enough into that category. This is a combination of books I personally admire and my own experience of the canon, not what I think the most popular books of our time are and I do hope people won’t be offended by what is/isn’t on here. And obviously, this doesn’t mean that I think I’ll be right, because who knows what the future holds? University students might very well end up studying Noddy in 2200 for all I know- at least I won’t be around to see it 😉 Without further ado, here are some books that I reckon *should*/*will be* the classics of the future:

The Book Thief– I hadn’t mentioned this book in ages… and now I’m mentioning it twice in a week- figures 😉 It is an *amazing*, inventive and emotional book. I definitely think this is the sort of book that would be worth delving into a little deeper, whether or not it does end up getting studied in the future- at least in schools surely!

Homegoing– a modern day epic, spanning centuries, it’s a remarkable piece of literature. With so many embedded themes and stunning writing, I’d be amazed if this didn’t end up on a university syllabus in the future.

Memoirs of a Geisha- Again, I’ve mentioned this recently, but I do think it’s a singularly striking story. I think this already has the label of “modern day classic”- but I don’t set much stock in that label. Most of the time it seems like a marketing ploy to be honest. However, when it comes to this book it’s pretty apt.

Never Let Me Go– yep, this also falls into that category of “modern day classic”- yet it’s fully deserving of that moniker. The writing, while unshowy, is very powerful and there’s a lot of fascinating themes about what it is to be human here. I certainly think it’s worth studying in greater depth.

A Thousand Splendid Suns– I know a lot of people would put the Kite Runner ahead of this- and I’ve no doubt that both will end up as future classics. The reason I put this ahead of Hosseini’s other books is quite simply because I love it so much!! Beyond the emotional depth, the writing is seductively beautiful and the story itself speaks to the human experience.

The Shadow of the Wind– I’m trying to not include books in translation, but I can’t help it with this one, because what a gem this book is! In any language, this book speaks to my soul and truly captures the essence of what it is to fall in love with stories. There’s so much here to admire- the characters, the multi-layered story and the wonderful writing. I certainly think there’s grounds for further exploration of its literary merit.

The Northern Lights– this could be hit or miss, because there’s a snob-value that goes into these decisions, and depending on the university, some do not see fantasy like the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings as a classic (they’re wrong, but whatever). Purely going on my own experience at a redbrick, this could be studied…

Neverwhere– again, I can’t say for certain that this will end up as a future classic- but it definitely deserves to be. Unlike a lot of the books on here, this isn’t my favourite by the author (though it’s wonderful), only I think this is the best example of all the symbolism and intrigue that Gaiman has to offer. I do know someone that did their dissertation partly on American Gods, so it’s not totally implausible as well.

There are a couple of other books that I’d like to put on here but I’m a bit more sceptical about whether they’d make it into the canon (even if I think they should). In the meantime, which books do you think will be future classic? Let me know in the comments!

Entering the Creepilicious Hazel Wood

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review- but the squeals of glee you’re about to see is all me*

hazel woodI mentioned last week that I had a few ARC reviews coming and in case you didn’t know, I loved them all. However, even though I gave the other two all the bananas, this book was basically a glorious banana cake of awesome (that’s monkey speak for “I saved the best till last!”). Now, when I first saw this book it was pretty much love at first sight- because just look at that cover!!! And most of the reviews were super positive as well… and then came all the negative reviews. I have to say they dampened my enthusiasm somewhat- and THANK GOODNESS FOR THAT. My expectations being much lower ended up making this all the more rewarding. Then again, nothing about this book is to be expected.

I will admit straightaway that I get why people some people don’t like this– the way the story’s told, the style and the structure are bound to be hit or miss. BUT one thing I’ve learnt over the years is that the most divisive books are usually the most brilliant. They’re the books that, when they work for me, make the biggest impact- and boy did this book work for me.

From the my first tentative steps into the world of this novel, I knew I was in for quite the journey. The writing made me shivery with glee. It’s probably a good thing that this was an ARC because otherwise I’d have clogged up this review with quotes- heck, judging by how highlighted my kindle version is, I’d basically be uploading the entire book. I wrote tons of notes as well, which can all be summarised: wow, this lady can write! I was endlessly impressed with the unsettling tone, the trickery of the luxurious language and the underlying genius of the ideas.

put your hands together.gifOne thing I noticed, quite quickly, was that Hazel Wood is a bit of a genre straddler. I wouldn’t personally classify this as magical realism (though I’ve heard a few people labelling it as such)- to do so would be to miss the large signposts to all the great gothic and fairy tale traditions at every terrific twist and turn. Now, a lot of people know that gothic books and fairy tales are two of my *absolute favourite* genres. Since this book *put those hands together* (so to speak) I couldn’t have been a happier monkey to find how well this worked. It reminded me so much of the finest works in both genres. Rather wonderfully, this tied in with its theme of falling in love with a story. I couldn’t help but be reminded of personal favourites- especially as they were referenced so well. To say this was rooted in literary references would be an understatement. It tunnelled down into the collective psyche of some of the world’s oldest stories.

The basic plot was simple and yet highly effective: it is a story of taking a trip into the woods, losing yourself and then having to discover a way out. I love tramping through Mirkwood-esque settings and uncovering uncanny secrets- and Hazel Wood was remarkably good at capturing that unsettling feeling that more was going on under the surface. Indeed, there were hints at psychological themes lurking. With a steady build up, the narrative crept towards a crescendo where everything began to make sense (and also raised tons of questions 😉 ).

The world of the book felt like a dreamscape and much of the messaging felt like an allegory for mental health and real world trauma. And that right there was another of the reasons I was often jumping up and down saying This. Is. Such. A. Good. Book. Because, much like the grandmother in the story, who is the author of a fairy tale collection, is described as being like a “war reporter”, this narrative brought brutal truths. The harshness of the main character’s life delivered a slice of reality to go with the story’s unreality; the unnerving creations had me wondering what was real in the book at all. Much of the messaging felt like a code for something deeper. Like I said, this was no ordinary book.

A significant way the book achieves a sense of raw realism was through the family relationships. They’re not cookie cutter and they’re not always monstrous- they felt grounded in genuine experience. I appreciated the slow build of connections and the fact that they didn’t always turn out how you might want. But then, this is not a book of wish fulfilment and that aspect worked for me. I also loved the prickly edges to the main character and found myself relating to her– even if she could be practically the embodiment of irritation at times- though I understand why a lot of other readers couldn’t get behind her.

By the end, the storytelling aspect took a meta turn and all the threads came together. I don’t want to spoil anything, yet I don’t know if I could- for Hazel Wood refuses to be pinned down. All I will say is that there are layers of mystery to this book and it will certainly make you think… and then think again. It is most definitely, my kind of book.

Still, I do have a bone to pick with the author: this book was *too* damn good. It was more exciting than I anticipated and I had wayyy too much trouble putting it down. So, thanks for contributing to my insomnia and preventing me from getting work done, because, while I was reading this all I could think was “ach forget it, I need to get back to the Hinterland!” I was simply swept away by the magic of this book and hope you will be too.

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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One supremely satisfied monkey…

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So have you read this? What did you think of it? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

Once was enough… Books I Loved But Probably Won’t Reread

 

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I don’t normally do weekly memes, but I do really enjoy reading them. As a lot of you probably know, Top Ten Tuesday had a fantastic topic this week on “Books I loved, but will never reread” and it really got me thinking does this apply to me? I mean, I’m not a huge rereader anymore (so many books, so little time!) however, I do hoard books that I love in the hope that I will get a chance to reread them someday. Nonetheless, the more I thought about it, the more I realised there are some books which I gave all the bananas to and can’t see myself picking up again. Evidently, it’s not Tuesday, but I thought I’d share my list, because why not?

memoirs of a geisha

Memoirs of a Geisha– I adored this book. Still, this is one of those books that I feel I read at the *exact* right moment and I don’t know that I want to ruin that. Especially since I now know how inaccurate it is- I think I might be better served staying in that world and exploring it from a more authentic angle in the future.

facing the light

Facing the Light– do you ever have a book that you look back on with rose tinted glasses even if you know objectively it’s probably not as good as you remember? That’s what this book is for me. I was captivated by this when I read this as a teen and ended up fixating on the authors work (even though none of her other books ever held the same magic for me again). So yeah, it doesn’t make sense to reread it and risk ruining my memory of it.

poison chris wooding

Poison– my nostalgia is strong for this one. I can remember falling in love with this and being blown away by the story in so much detail. However, that’s in some ways to the book’s detriment, because I can’t bear the idea of not loving it as much the second time round. It’s such an unusual book that I’m even reluctant to mention it sometimes in case other people don’t love this hidden gem as much as I did- so how could I cope if I reread it and didn’t fall under its spell the second time round? Nope, as wonderful as I remember this book being, the experience of reading it is best left safely in the past.

book thief

The Book Thief– I do actually want to reread this- I’ve picked it up many times thinking I might. Yet the thing that always stops me is how much it emotionally *wrecked* me the first time round- I’m not sure I could knowingly do that again. (Who knows though, I might end up feeling like a good cathartic cry someday…)

1984 book

1984– I have actually reread this one, so it’s kind of cheating putting it on here, but the first time I read it I was sufficiently creeped out to say “I’m never reading this again!” Of course, I didn’t keep to that, so who knows? I could totally end up going back on my word again for this one.

jude

Jude the Obscure– speaking of emotional books, I don’t know many other books that are as traumatising as this. I think it’s a masterpiece- and yet I can’t see myself ever being able to reread it.

rape of nanking

Rape of Nanking– okay this is not something I will say I loved per se, but it really fits with the “once was enough” theme. Quite simply, there are few books more harrowing than this and I can’t foresee any situation where I’d want to even think about it too much. This is one of those books that it’s worth reading once in a lifetime- and no more.

and then there were none

And Then There Were None– it doesn’t really seem worth rereading a murder mystery, does it? Well at least not for me, knowing exactly what happens kinda ruins the pleasure of wondering who dunnit. Besides, there’s loads of other Christie books to choose from- I may as well pick one of those.

we were liars

We Were Liars– this has turned up on a few lists and I totally get why. It was beautifully written and incredibly moving- however, knowing all the twists will kinda take a lot of the fun out of rereading it I think. The first time I read it was so impactful- I don’t know that I could ever replicate that feeling.

life of pi.jpg

Life of Pi– this book is so hit or miss for people, so I was nervous about going into it. Luckily for me, it was a massive hit. As much as I don’t like to be swayed by the court of public opinion, I do see its faults and I’m worried I won’t get as much out of it the second time round- particularly because I now know exactly how it ends.

And that’s all from me for today! What do you think of any of these books? Which books do you love but won’t reread? Let me know in the comments!

Submerged in Words in Deep Blue

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review- but the “omgs I loved this” you’re about to see is all me*

words in deep blueOh. My. God. This. Book. Was. So. Good. Really, I’ve been struggling to find the words to review it ever since I read it. From the outset, Words in Deep Blue set off my waterworks and broke my heart over and over again. I spent most of this book crying, because this is such an authentic portrayal of grief. The main character, Rachel, has lost her brother a year earlier and the agony of that falls in waves upon the reader throughout the narrative. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a simple story of loss however- it is a haunting portrayal of all the little heartbreaks that come with being parted from a loved one and at the same time is a life affirming reflection on the impact an individual can have on the world.

crying orangutan

Me, the whole way through this book

Exploring the subject of transmigration with some striking plotting, the book is more than a little profound. Crowley set up the theory subtly from the start and by the end circles back to the idea. It is incredibly well thought out: the subject is reflected in every facet of the book and seeing the full picture at the end gave me tingles. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I could not get over how cleverly the book plays with time, returning to the beginning at the novel’s conclusion in a way that can only be described as a stroke of genius. And WOW- those last few lines summarised how I felt about the whole book.

The writing is, in no uncertain terms, wonderful. I very much enjoyed having the words wash over me. A lot of this took place in a bookshop and not only did the setting allow for some interesting visitors into the story, I also appreciated the connection this created with wider literature. There were some cool interlocking moments to other books and great references. Plus, this added to the already significant message of inter-connectivity.

That, in turn, made the dual perspectives work particularly well here. The overlap between the two narratives blended together beautifully and helped enhance the romantic elements. Of course, the miscommunication between the characters also made me pretty emotional (I did say I spent most of the book crying 😉 ) and I was crazy invested in their relationship. The characters were so brilliantly drawn that I easily connected with each of their voices. Rachel was tremendously empathetic and on the other end of the spectrum Henry provided some much needed laugh out loud comic relief at times. Plus, it wasn’t just about the main characters here- the side characters were equally vivid. I became just as invested in the character arc for Henry’s sister. In fact, it added layers to the trauma of the narrative, even though I knew where it was going all along.

Overall, this was a gorgeous, worthwhile read. I had some idea from Kat’s *fantastic* review (which prompted me to request it) that this was going to be something special… and yet I still couldn’t have predicted how much this would touch me. If you have ever experienced grief, you must read it. If you ever expect to go through something like this, you must read it. So that’s everyone: YOU MUST READ IT.

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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So have you read this? What did you think of it? And do you plan to read it? Let me know in the comments!

To Kill a Kingdom Flooded my Senses

*Received this book off Netgalley in exchange for an honest review- but the  gushing you’re about to see is all me*

to kill a kingdomLike a lot of my ARC reviews at the moment, this is a little overdue- but there’s a good reason for it! Namely, I’m floundering about, struggling to find the words for how good this was. Because how on earth do you fully express your love for books that truly capture your heart?

I knew from the first line that I was falling under its spell. From the opening, I was sucked in to the evocative world under the sea Christo had created. Vividly depicted and with a striking tone, I realised straightaway that this was my kind of book. The writing was a showstopper from the start, making me chuckle darkly all the way through and catch my breath at every gorgeous turn of phrase.

Above all, the characterisation was struck through the powerful voices of the two leads. They gripped me, like sirens, dragging me down into the depths. I adored both of the main characters and soon recognised the brilliance of the dual perspectives. Lira was clever and deadly; Prince Elian, for all his sharp edges, was a sweetheart. Their back and forth banter blew me away and I nearly keeled over from how adorable their budding relationship was.

As a retelling of the Little Mermaid (incidentally one of my faves by my favourite fairy tale writer) I had both high expectations for this and also hoped for little more than a fun romp… this completely blasted those presuppositions out of the water. The plot was so much more twisted and surprising than I ever would have thought. It had a wicked premise, was all the more romantic and the evil sea witch was, well, PURE EVIL. Plus it had more pirates (yay pirates!)

pirate orangutan

One last way this slayed me was with its mesmerising world building. Both above and below the surface, it was detailed and intricately drawn. I don’t normally find asides interesting, but here they were fascinating. All the snippets of information had me hungering for more. I also appreciated the storytelling theme, like the hidden nuggets pointing to the Midas myth and the textured references to the original story. I especially liked the underlying musical theme, which reminded me of the Disney version. Obviously, this was thanks to the very tight, magnificent writing.

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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So have you read this? Did you like it? Do you plan to read it? Let me know in the comments!