Some HAPPY Books to Brighten Up Your Day!

orangutan list

You know me, I love my dark books. But today, I figured it was about time I shared some books with a lighter touch. These are just some of the books that make me happy:

the martian

The Martian– starting with a book based around the catastrophe of being stuck on Mars with a depleting air supply, I absolutely expect you to read that synopsis and think has this monkey gone bananas? Why has she put this on a happy books list? Well, for all the tension in this book, there’s an equal amount of humour, thanks to the hilarious protagonist Mark Watney! I guarantee if you pick this up, you’re in for a bundle of laughs

the hating game

The Hating Game– with a book title like that, you might not expect to see it on a list like this- but this quirky, funny contemporary is practically the definition of a HAPPY book 😀

isla and the happily ever after

Isla and the Happily Ever After– the clue is in the title 😉 I am a sucker for “happily ever afters” and this delivers for sure!

to all the boys

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before– Lara Jean and her family never fail to bring a smile to my face.

simon vs the homosapien agenda

Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda– do I really need to give any introductions for this book at this point? While this deals with some serious issues, Albertalli’s lighthearted touch make Simon a pleasure to read.

carry on

Carry On– I mention this book *a lot* but I can’t help it if this brilliant parodic fantasy fills me with the utmost joy!

going postal

Going Postal– One of my favourite Discworld books- need I say more? Also, it happens to be one of the funniest.

nimona

Nimona– this is a newish one for me- but as another twist on its genre, I thought it fit perfectly. Playing with ideas of supervillains vs superheroes, this graphic novel is a whole lotta fun!

my lady jane

My Lady Jane– I adore this fresh take on alternative history. A completely unexpected ride, this doesn’t just toy with historical accuracy, it laughs in its face and rewrites the history books- in the best possible way!

Emma_Jane_Austen_book_cover

Emma– I mean, it’s Austen- do I need a reason? I also happen to love Mr Knightley the most of all Austen’s male leads (oh and there’s great character development- but pff- we’re talking about what makes me smile)

little women

Little Women– rounding off with possibly an unusual choice, this certainly has its poignant and sad moments- HOWEVER for every bit of sadness this book brings, it also delivers its equal parts of joy. I would have felt remiss not to include it.

So do any of these books bring you joy? And what are your favourite happy books? Let me know in the comments!

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Books Guaranteed to Make you SMILE :D

sun has got his hat on

It’s been a lovely week, all sunny and summer-like (and okay it was overcast today, but whatever, can’t win em all). Anyway, moving on, I thought I’d share some fun books which made me happy, in the hope that they will make you smile too!

carry on

Carry On– I mention this book *a lot* but some books just deserve to get mentioned all the time- and this one just so happened to make me smile from ear to ear! And yes- it’s a satirical take on Harry Potter– that’s why it’s similar.

wonder

Wonder– this is a “happy” in a life affirming kind of way. This is seriously moving, yet will also undoubtedly make you crack a smile for sure!

howl's moving castle

Howl’s Moving Castle– despite not enjoying the sequel as much, I can’t deny how much I adored the original. The characters and world are so vivid! And of course, like many of Diana Wynne Jones’ books, it made me exquisitely happy.

northanger abbey

Northanger Abbey– I can’t have a list about books that made me happy and not include Austen on it. I absolutely adore the romance in this one and it makes for a fabulous subversion of the gothic tropes.

isla and the happily ever after

Isla and the Happily Ever After– I mean the clue is in the title 😉 I kinda had to include it on this list- it’s such a delightful contemporary.

the hating game

The Hating Game– this is another romance that made me stupidly happy. I didn’t expect to love this quite as much as I did, but it had me laughing the whole way through and I couldn’t stop reading this addictive book.

my lady jane

My Lady Jane– I read this really recently and haven’t done the review yet, but I guarantee it will be positive, cos this book was SO GOOD and made me SO HAPPY. Yes, it was totally out there as a historical retelling, but that’s what made it so brilliant.

the martian

The Martian– a story about getting stuck on Mars- how can that make you *smile*? I hear you ask. Well, that’s thanks to the indomitable Mark Watney! His fantastic sense of humour could make even potato farming in space interesting!

blithe spirit

Blithe Spirit– this is another weirdly happy story- it’s a play about a man whose dead wife comes back to haunt him and it is SO FUNNY. Yup, you read that right, a play about being haunted is funny. I recommend the 1945 film as well 😀

going postal

Going Postal– on the topic of eccentric British work, I could hardly neglect to include Pratchett. This is one of my favourites and happens to be one of the funniest- need I say more?

And last but not least…

 

 

We Go to the Gallery– Yes this may look like picture books, but they are in fact adult picture books! Which is totally different, cos, well they’re hilarious! Definitely recommend checking the series out and plus they make a really great gift if you’re ever stuck for something 😉

So have you read any of these? Did they make you smile? And what books have made you smile in the past? Let me know in the comments!

Superlatives Tag

Hello all! Phew, it feels like I’ve not been on in ages, because I’m falling so far behind with comments and bloghopping- all I can do is apologise profusely for that. I’m juggling quite a lot at the moment and at the same time I feel at this point peppering every post with excuses will drive everyone (including me) mad. So just consider me the *most sorry* monkey on the planet. And that’s a nice segue into…

superlatives tag.png

how happy I am to do the Superlatives Tag! Thank you so much Kelly @Another Book in the Wall for tagging me! Now, I’m not exaggerating at all when I say Kelly is absolutely lovely and makes such an interesting wide range of topics- I’m constantly blown away by how awesome her blog is!

#1 Most Likely To Be in the Movies: the Book That Would Make the Best Movie

Red Rising Pierce Browns

Red Rising! Can you imagine how good this would be? Roman culture *in space*- I’m imagining this in my head right now and it’s amazing.

#2 Biggest Drama Queen/King: The Most (Overly) Dramatic Book or Character

thirteen reasons why

Thirteen Reasons Why– *Very* unpopular opinion, let’s not start a row in the comments section about all the various controversial aspects of this book (I’ve made my opinion on it clear years ago and I stand by pretty much all of it) but I’ve been watching thirteen reasons why and it’s reminded me how much I hated the mc. She’s not actually nice to *anyone*- ever. Not to her parents, not to her friends, not to potential bfs. And she takes rather drastic means of revenge, which ends up hurting people who didn’t deserve it and psychologically damaging them (I mean, didn’t Jessica suffered enough?! Why torment Clay when he wasn’t a reason?) Of course, people are free to reach entirely different conclusions, I just really didn’t like her.

#3 Best Dressed: The Book With the Best Cover

hazel wood

Hazel Wood- ahhh- I read it recently (review coming soonish) and I LOVED every second! I can happily say this is gorgeous both inside and out.

#4 Most Creative: The Book With the Most Unique Plot, Characters, & Structure

eleanor oliphant is completely fine

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine- tempted to use We Were Liars like Kelly, but I talk about that a lot anyway. This is so different to anything I’d ever read- in every area! I was thinking I was in for a fluffy contemporary, but I was wrong, in a good way! And there was no way I was expecting that ending. This book certainly kept me on my toes!

#5 Most Popular: The Book With the Most Ratings on Goodreads

Harry_Potter_and_the_Philosopher's_Stone_Book_Cover

Harry Potter- erm pretty sure Harry Potter’s pretty popular and justifiably so 😉

#6 Most likely to succeed: The Book That is Going to be Appreciated For Many Years to Come

homegoing

Homegoing– I actually mentioned this in my mini review– it’s a remarkable book and I’d be surprised if it isn’t a future classic.

#7 Class Clown: The Book That Made You Laugh Out Loud

the light fantastic

The Light Fantastic– really I could have said any of Pratchett’s books, only I read this the most recently (I’m all over the place with Rincewind books) and yeah, as per usual with Discworld books, it made me laugh out loud 😉

#8 Most Improved: The Book That Started Off Slow, But Really Picked Up

magician's guild

The Magician’s Guild­- this started off so s-l-o-w. Grinding through infodumps and non-action, I really wanted to DNF it. But my friend told me to power through because it gets better. And do you know what? To my amazement, it did. In fact, I ended up loving that series. So I guess I’m grateful to my friend for the heads up (I also blame this book for me forcing myself through so many books that *do not* get better).

#9 Cutest Couple: Cutest Couple in a Book

carry on

Carry On– okay, I wanted to be all original, but really, it’s got to be Baz and Simon!

#10 Biggest Heartbreaker: The Book That Broke Your Heart

words in deep blue

Words in Deep Blue– I spent the vast majority of my time reading this in floods of tears. I need to sort out my thoughts and do a review soon, but it’s gonna be hard, cos this book is *emotional*.

And on that note, I tag: Bethan May, Jill Jemmett, Lit Crit Pop, Kat@Life & Other Disasters, Samantha@Modern Witch’s Bookshelf, Sam@Rivermoose Reads, Bookish Owlett, Journey into Books, Angelica, Howlin Books, The Sweaterist and The Readers Bay

So what do you agree or disagree with the *most*? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Perfectly Imperfect Books

Books are like people. They’re temperamental, diverse and it’s the little things that make them special. Sometimes we love them inexplicably, warts and all. So today I decided to dedicate a list to the books that I love ALL THE MORE *because* of their imperfections. Here are my top ten perfectly imperfect books:

idiot1. The Idiot– so years ago when I reviewed this book I talked a little about how this book is technically a failed book about failure. I mean, it doesn’t have a satisfactory conclusion, it swerves off topic on multiple occasions and the plot is a little all over the place. BUT if you asked me which books have had the most impact on me, this would be on that list. Sure, this book may have some pretty random tangents- but man, the philosophy espoused here is endlessly deep. So yes, this book may not be as polished as some of Dostoevsky’s other work, but it’s perfect in its own way.

Emma_Jane_Austen_book_cover2. Emma– okay this one’s cheating a little- cos I think this one’s practically perfect in every way. In fact, I recall a professor of mine describing it as such. And it’s true, because the moral of self-improvement, the biting humour, the character development and the structure of the novel are all perfectly balanced (I could literally go on forever- but if you want more details my review’s here). However, interestingly enough, what makes this so successful as a novel is how imperfect Emma is as a character- and for me that’s what makes it so great.

Hobbit_cover3. The Hobbit– as you all know I *adore* this book. It was my gateway to fantasy and *arghh* it’s just so complex and amazing! BUT it does rightly get some criticism for being episodic. My response to that is this only adds to the story, since every episode moves the plot along, whilst containing its own unique message. The other criticism it gets is “it’s just a children’s book”- to which I say “eff off” or in more adult terms “if you haven’t learnt by now that there’s more to children’s books than meet the eye then you still have a lot of growing up to do” (see I can be mature 😉 ) Incidentally I should have known the movie franchise was doomed when Jackson said that.

ovid erotic poems4. Ovid’s Erotic Poems– OH GAWD I LOVE THESE- okay now I’ve got that out my system… These can be read in multiple ways- read it too literally and you might end up hating Ovid as a person- but if you get the subtext it’s one of the most hilarious books ever written. However, like most books that can be read in multiple directions, it’s easily either going to be one of the best things you ever read or the worst. Plus you may end up concentrating so hard on it that you develop a tension headache 😉

carry on5. Carry On– as a parody of Harry Potter, it obviously has to bear a lot of similarities with the original in order to work, but as is so often the case with satire, the humour is often missed by critics and I’ve seen this labelled “unoriginal” umpteen times. To that I would say, people need to do a better exploration of what satire is– but then getting undue criticism is also kinda a part of the genre too- so it’s a catch 22. Regardless, to me this is top notch stuff, plus it’s got Baz and Simon- nuff said 😉

poison chris wooding6. Poison– no one’s heard of this book, so I can say what I like about it- though *oh my goodness*, everyone’s missing out. This is one of the most impactful, clever books I’ve ever read and it will always be a favourite. But it’s weird- super weird- so I’m always reluctant to recommend it cos there’s a fifty percent chance people’ll love it, and a fifty percent chance they’ll say “what did I just read?”

aeneid7. The Aeneid– alright I’m stumped… I can’t actually think of any imperfections… Seriously… this is a tough cookie. The reason it’s on the list is that it was technically unfinished- but plebs like me will never be able to pick out its flaws, so I doubt it matters unless you’re a serious scholar. I guess I could say that my edition wasn’t perfect though (protip: never translation read of ancient poetry into English that’s been made to rhyme- unfortunately for me my lecturer insisted on it :/ ).

wuthering heights book8. Wuthering Heights– this one *had to* go on the list, because from a purely technical sense, this has some structural flaws, with an odd and maybe even out of place frame around the narrative and some pretty detestable characters BUT it also has some of the finest emotional moments in literature. No book has ever, or will ever, make you feel as wildly passionate as this. And it’s why, although I gave both books 5*, this one edges it out over Jane Eyre for me (which incidentally is a pretty flawless book). And speaking of emotions…

jude9. Jude the Obscure– ah Hardy- if you want to experience true pain, this is where you go. No one does tragedy like Hardy. So what’s its fatal flaw? Well, some people would say the way it deals with mental health… or doesn’t deal with it. You see, as I’ve mentioned before, there are two kinds of mental health in books- the would-be educational kind and the ones that present it as is. Personally my preference is for the latter, because if I want to be educated about mental health, which I frequently do, I go to psychology papers, not literature (not to mention that the “educational” kinds frequently fail). As for this being one of the darkest books in existence so be it. The world is frequently dark, twisted and bleak. Better that than preaching to me “suicide is bad” or “depression isn’t anyone’s fault”- yeah no shit Sherlock.

we were liars10. We Were Liars– first of all *no spoilers* but this book was perfection for me BECAUSE of the style, where ironically a lot of people don’t like this BECAUSE of said style. So I guess that’s the moral of the story here- what makes something perfect for one person may not work for someone else…

 

So what do you think about perfectly imperfect books? Do you have any books that you love in spite of their flaws? Let me know in the comments!

My Top Ten Fantasy Books

I’m very excited about today’s post! A couple of days ago, I mentioned how Red Sister had the power of reminding me about why I had fallen in love with fantasy. And as I was doing the post, I realised I have never done a post about my favourite fantasy books.

Ever since being obsessed with Peter Pan as a child, I have always loved escaping to other worlds in books. And since these are *my* personal favourites, this post is about to get super nostalgic up in here 😉

Hobbit_cover
1. The Hobbit– although I will give an honorary mention to LOTR, this one was always my favourite of Tolkein’s work. More than that, it was my gateway drug for fantasy and the main reason why I love dragons #TeamSmaug

northern lights
2. His Dark Materials– this is another one I remember from childhood and it’s stayed with me over the years as one of the best series I have ever read.

sabriel
3. The Abhorsen Trilogy– ahh I cannot say how much I loved this book- I was obsessed with it in my teens and used to take it out the library over and over to reread it back to back. To my mind it’s the *perfect* dark fantasy and the best story about necromancy I have ever read.

the novice

4. Black Magicians Trilogy– so this is a funny one to include, because I didn’t initially like this series. I felt letdown by the first book and only continued because the last part picked up enough to have me intrigued about where it was going. I was so glad I con tinued though, because by the end of this series I had fallen in love with the characters and became so invested in the series that I was *wrecked* when it was all over. So yeah, definitely top ten material.

demon king

5. Seven Realms Series– I can’t actually think of another series with characters I’ve loved more. This series is nothing totally original, but man, does it get you with the *feels*.

daughter of smoke and bone

6. Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy– this is one of the very rare series I’ve rated 5* across the board- and for good reason! Call me a sucker for a good romance, this series had love interests I was actually routing for the whole way through. Add an incredibly clever storyline and utterly unique world-building and, *bobs your uncle*, you get one of the best series I’ve ever read.

carry on

7. Carry On– I absolutely adored this book. I wrote a post titled “ten reasons to read Carry On”- but to be honest, I could probably think of ten more! Not least because it is such a fun book that for a change doesn’t take itself too seriously. I love how it subtly pokes fun at the genre, whilst also delivering some the most emotional and interesting storylines to date! And speaking of funny books…

anansi boys

8. Anansi Boys– oh man do I love this book!! Yeah, I’m a Gaiman fan- and proud of it! This one is easily my favourite (though I won’t say no to anything he’s written to be honest)

mort nice edition

9. Discworld Series– come on- did anyone not see this coming? And for the record, my favourite to date is Mort.

NeverendingStory1997Edition

10. Neverending Story– this is the most recently read book on this list, but it *easily* made it onto this favourites list. One of the best books I read last year, it is self-aware, smart and very imaginative. Plus, it’s a book about books- and you know how much I adore those!

So I like to think there will be others to add to my list of fantasy favourites one day- and I can already think of some candidates from series I’ve not finished yet… but for now…

that's all folks

(actually can’t believe that I’ve never used that joke before)

How about you? What are your favourite fantasy books? Let me know in the comments!

Ben and Jerry Book Tag

Yay let’s kick off my impromptu tag week with a tag about ice cream- what better way could I start?

Thank you so much to Keira for nominating me for this!

VANILLA CARAMEL FUDGE: PICK A LIGHT, FLUFFY CONTEMPORARYvanillacaramelfudge

isla and the happily ever afterOk a part of me is saying don’t pick Isla and the Happily Ever After… which means, of course I had to pick it. It’s like the best kind of ice cream and I never get bored of it.

Invisible

Invisible

MINT CHOCOLATE COOKIE: A NEW RELEASE THAT YOU WISH EVERYBODY WOULD READmint choc cookie

carry onWell that’s Carry On– cos it’s the best thing since sliced bread.

Invisible

Invisible#

Invisible

CHERRY GARCIA: AN ENDING THAT WAS BITTERSWEETcherry garcia

The_Amber_Spyglass_Book_CoverThe end of The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials trilogy) is the first thing that comes to mind.

Invisible

Invisible#

Invisible

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE: A BOOK CONTAINING YOUR OTP OF OTPSstrawberry cheesecake

Emma_Jane_Austen_book_coverOh gosh- I wanted to pick Carry On for this too! How about Emma instead? I love the relationship between Mr Knightley and Emma!

Invisible

Invisible#

Invisible

MILK AND COOKIES: TWO AUTHORS THAT IF THEY COLLABORATED, THEY WOULD GO PERFECTLY TOGETHERbenandjerrys_milk_cookies1

J K Rowling and Rainbow Rowell- I mean imagine what they could do together! I mean, I guess that’s basically what Carry On is, but still (gosh how many times am I gonna mention that book in one post? As many as is necessary I guess)

BOSTON CREAM PIE: A BOOK THAT HAD YOU TURNING YOUR PAGES LATE INTO THE NIGHTboston cream pie

snow like ashesOk how about a curve ball- it’s not my favourite book by any stretch of the imagination, but I did find Snow Like Ashes very exciting. I couldn’t put it down and I finished it in one night

Invisible

Invisible#

CHOCOLATE THERAPY: A BOOK THAT MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER AFTER A LONG DAY OF LIFEchocolate therapy

secret countessThe Secret Countess– cos it just warms me up from the inside out.

Invisible

Invisible#

Invisible

COFFEE, COFFEE, BUZZBUZZBUZZ!: A BOOK NOT YET RELEASED THAT YOU CAN’T WAIT TO GET YOUR HANDS ONcoffee coffee

a darker shade of magicA Gathering of Shadows of course!!! I know I’ve mentioned this so many times already, but I couldn’t be more excited to read the next instalment in V E Schwab’s trilogy.

Invisible

Invisible#

Okay, that’s it for day 1, I tag:

The Paper Dragon

Nyareads

CreatyveBooks

Mud and Stars

Bookshelves and Paperbacks

Bookshelf Fantasies

Aneta

Zezee

Ayunda

Natalie

Ten Reasons to Read “Carry On”

carry on*Spoiler Free*

Okay, I am totally on board the Rainbow Rowell train now- because how could I not be after reading “Carry On”??!?! I wanted to write a full review, but, as anyone who has read the book will understand, I’m just feeling too jittery (partly because I read it in one sitting and stayed up most of the night to finish it). Honestly, I had heard good things about it before I read it, but I never expected to like it *this much*.

So, just as Simon has a list of reasons at the beginning of the book of why he’s looking forward to going back to school, here’s my list of ten reasons why this book is un-frickin’-believable:

  1. It’s ingenious. At first I thought it was overcomplicated, but as the plot developed and all the little strands started to come together, I realised just how perfect it was.
  2. Because it’s self-aware. It’s not like any other fantasy about another “chosen one”. Rowell is perfectly aware how cliché and overused these tropes are, so she takes that concept and flips it on its head. Some people think it’s derivative (of Harry Potter in particular). But that’s the whole point- it knows exactly where it stands in the genre and takes full advantage of that. I haven’t read Fan Girl, but I can see how it plays into the idea of fanfiction by transforming an already well-known concept. It’s so meta. Rainbow Rowell really knows her craft.
  3. The world-building. At first I thought, being a parody and all, that the world-building might be sub-standard. Boy was I dead wrong. I have to say that the way they do magic in this book is one of my *absolute favourite* magical concepts out there. Because I love words, and in this book, words have power. And onto the subject of words…
  4. The humour and the writing. All the dialogue has a lovely witty edge to it and there are so many laugh out loud moments I wasn’t expecting.
  5. The plot’s all twisty and intriguing. There are so many twist and turns and unbelievable concepts thrown into the mix. There were points when I thought I was on track with what was going on, but there were so many times when it caught me by surprise. And on top of that it’s jam packed with action and excitement. It’s just epic! And so unexpected, but not as unexpected as…
  6. The romance. I won’t say anything more about that here- this is spoiler free after all- just… oh my goodness… the feels!! And speaking of the feels…
  7. Baz!!! I have no words to express my feelings for this character. He is absolutely everything you want in a character- he is both good and bad meshed together- and so dynamic! Speaking of characters…
  8. The other characters are brilliant too. I love how the villains and heroes are so ambiguous. And all of them are so complex and very, very real. I feel like I know them all. And I’ve only read this book once (so far- cos I’m gonna have to go back and reread this- and then I’m gonna have to read it again).
  9. And I love their relationships with each other. Not just the romantic ones, but the friendships too. And finally, the main reason why this book rocks is…
  10. Because it left me both satisfied and wanting more. And you don’t get much better than that when you read. It is the best compliment any book can receive.

So, yeah, in case you haven’t guess, I loved this book. I suppose giving this rating is a bit of a foregone conclusion at this point. Ah well, it deserves it:

Rating 5/5 bananas

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

 

To be honest, I’d like to give Rainbow Rowell a whole crate of bananas after reading this.

Have you read this book? Are you as crazy in love with it as I am? Let me know in the comments below?

(I feel like I might need to start a support group or something)