Books Featuring Kindness – Mental Health Awareness Week

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We’re moving into mental health awareness week and I have to confess it’s a subject that’s been on my mind lately (tbh not something I typically talk about, but let’s just say I was doing ok… and then a global pandemic came along and laughed in my face!). And with the theme this year being kindness, I thought it was a worthy subject to highlight in books. Now is a time, more than ever, that we could do with a little bit more kindness in our lives!

wonder

Wonder– an impactful story that focuses on friendship and kindness. I love how this isn’t just one individual’s struggle for acceptance, it’s about other people learning to be accepting.

stargirl

Stargirl– a story that seems to be about first crushes and friendship, it ends up being so much more.

anne-of-green-gables

Anne of Green Gables– what I love about this is not only how it begins with an act of kindness, but how it continues to assert the importance of kindness across the series and has one of the most good-natured heroines in literature.

the morning gift

The Morning Gift- Eva Ibbotson’s characters are fundamentally kind- some of the kindest I’ve read. So, of course I knew I had to include one of her books. The reason I chose this is not just for the heroine’s unwavering goodness, but because in this case, the love interest’s act of kindness is not just generous, but a lifesaving act.

hitler's canaries

Hitler’s Canaries– similarly, this is a story of lifesaving kindness. Hitler’s Canaries is an inspirational and incredible story of enduring humanity- and it’s based on real events. If you are looking for a positive WW2 story, then this is perfect.

goodnight mister tom

Goodnight Mister Tom– this evacuation story is so moving on multiple levels, not least because it is about finding love and support in an unexpected place.

guernsey literary and potato peel pie society

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society– I have such a deep love for this book, because it shows people coming together and supporting each other in the darkest times. It is about going above and beyond for the sake of humanity- and that is simply wonderful.

eleanor oliphant is completely fine

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine– I thought this was going to be about romance, but it’s a lot more about the redeeming nature of friendship- and it is all the more beautiful for it.

a man called ove

A Man Called Ove– if you told me about Ove, a crotchety and depressed old man, I’d expect I wouldn’t like it. Yet, for its really dark subject matter, it actually ends up being a surprisingly redemptive read, showing how we can save each other from ourselves. In this heartrending tale, we can see what we owe to each other.

christmas carol

Christmas Carol– speaking of redemption, Dicken’s classic is one of the most famous examples. Here is a story about how realising that human connection is more important than profit- and that’s perfect for any time of the year.

five people you meet in heaven

The Five People You Meet in Heaven– surprisingly for its subject matter, I found this a light and life-affirming read, showing the positive impacts we can have on each other’s lives- without even knowing it!

before I fall

Before I Fall– more than just a contemporary, this was an unexpected story for me. It showed how people can have hidden depths, how friendships can be more important than we realise and how (ultimately) it is vital that we do the right thing.

eat pray love

Eat Pray Love– this is more than just a physical journey around the globe and I got a lot more out of it than I expected. Yes, the author is giving and promotes positivity. Yet what I liked the most was how it was just as much about being kind to yourself, as others.

And I’ll end on that note! What did you think of these books? Do you plan to read them? And what are some of your favourite books featuring kindness? Let me know in the comments!

Bloggers who deserve more attention #6

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Hello all! And today’s an exciting day, cos I’m picking up my series of Bloggers Who Deserve More Attention and talking about some TOPNOTCH people from around the blogosphere! Let’s just jump right into it!

Flora’s Musings– not only does Flora have some fab reviews on all different genres, but I adore how she combines the meme Book Blogger Hop with her Friday Finds. It’s just such a great way to do this feature, cos it gives me a chance to find more books and more blogs to follow!

Thoughts of a Reader– Sarah has both excellent recommendations and cool list ideas. Recently, I especially loved her idea of going through her highest rated books and seeing how they compared to her own ratings. Plus, she also joins tons of readathons, so you can follow along with those too!

Metalphantasmreads– Amanda’s riveting reviews often introduce me to books I hadn’t heard of before. Plus, her fresh takes on popular books always get me to look at books I enjoyed from a fresh perspective!

Meeghan Reads– Meeghan is such a delight to talk to, cos she’s so friendly! Plus, really enjoy her lists, fun content and cute aesthetic!

Linda @Pages and Papers– I love Linda’s ideas- they’re so unique- especially her recent social distancing tips from Robinson Crusoe (genius!!!). On top of that, her discussions are brilliant- especially recommend her posts: why you should read sci fi and why the humanities matter.

Bookertalk– Karen’s discussions on blogging, writing and reading are always thought-provoking and worthwhile. I enjoy her interesting thoughts on less well-known books- particularly how she frequently reviews Welsh books. I could go on forever recommending her posts- she has a huge collection!- but (…for now…) I’ll just point you in the direction of 5 things I wish I knew about blogging.

Katie @Never not reading– Katie is one of my favourite people on the blogosphere!! This isn’t the first time I’m mentioning her posts and it certainly won’t be the last! She always comes up with clever original content and lists. Right now, I’m very much looking forward to the outcome for her Harry Potter Superlatives post!!

Camillea Reads– Camillea has such thoughtful posts, I get really wrapped up in them. And I also appreciate how thorough and well-thought out her reviews are! Plus, her aesthetics and photos are really pretty!

This is one for the books– if you’re looking for fair, balanced and well-developed reviews (which of course you are), I highly recommend checking out Katherine @This is One for the Books! She reviews from a variety of genres, including historical, literary fiction and classics.

The Geeky Jock– Em’s blog is a fantastic place to go if you’re looking for excellent reviews and entertaining takes on memes (especially her contributions to Top Ten Tuesday). Also, I loved her fun take on Marie Kondo’s “30 books” rule recently- it was great to see what books she’d choose! (love her good taste! 😉)

The Crooked Pen– straight up, this is amazing content. Rachael’s posts on writing and books are amazingly thought-provoking. Lately, I loved her posts on Why Canon Matters, How Not to Suck at Reviewing, Diary of a Pantser Turned Plotter– and more!! Each one is written with clarity and refreshing honesty. In addition, she also has some intriguing reviews!

Bloggers Who Deserve More Attention #1

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Bloggers Who Deserve More Attention #3

Bloggers Who Deserve More Attention #4

Bloggers Who Deserve More Attention #5

Of course, there are loads more bloggers who deserve *all the attention*- so who do you think I should be looking out for? And do you know any of these bloggers? Will you be checking them out? Let me know in the comments!

Book Characters I’d Love to Spend Isolation With… And Ones I Wouldn’t!

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Lately, I’ve been thinking not just about the books I want to read in lockdown, but who I might want to spend it with… and who I wouldn’t! When it came to the latter, I thought not just about villains, but the kind of characters who would get on my last nerve. Enjoy!

 

Best case scenario…

matilda books

Matilda– I mean, she’d be a really quiet house guest who just wanted to read. Bonus points for the fact she can fly me over some snacks with her mind!

bilbo baggins

Bilbo Baggins– cos he’s nice and chill and could provide plenty of food from his pantry.

night of cake and puppets

Zuzana– she’d make the best friend! Also, we can share our love of cakes. Speaking of…

lara jean covey baking

Lara Jean Covey– not only is she phenomenally sweet, she’s also an amazing baker and seems to have an endless supply of crafts. Oh, and she likes old romance movies. Basically, she’s the best person to be stuck indoors with!

witches greebo

Greebo– yes, he can be grumpy, but at least he doesn’t talk!

royal assassin

Nighteyes– are you sensing a theme? Just not sure I want to be around humans anymore!

mrs tiggy winkle

Mrs Tiggy Winkle– yeah, she’s prickly, but at least she’ll do my laundry!

cinderella cleaning

Cinderella– I’m not saying I’d make her do the cleaning… buuut maybe she could get some of those mice on board? Plus, she seems like a cheerful sort (though maybe she can tone down the singing a bit). On that note…

mark watney

Mark Watney– he’s the kind of person who can perk you up, even in the most dire situations!

magnus bane

Magnus Bane– cos he’s fun and he has magic and I’m in dire need of some entertainment! I’d sell my soul for it in fact! (tbh I was going to pick Satan, but I thought he might fob me off with an apple 😉)

Worst case scenario…

thewitches

The Grand Witch– she’d probably turn me into a mouse and get the other people to squash me.

dolores umbridge

Dolores Umbridge– Dolores company would be punishing at the best of times- but if we’re locked in a house together?! Oh hell no!

ramsay bolton

Ramsey Bolton– for obvious reasons. Actually, there’s a whole bunch of GOT characters that would fit on this list, but he’s the absolute worst.

mrs danvers

Mrs Danvers– not the kind of person I’d want to be cooped up with at the best of times- but under government-imposed quarantine?! I can practically hear her “go on, go outside and contract Covid-19, I know you want to…”

mr rochester

Mr Rochester– I don’t fancy spending quarantine in an attic!

Throne_of_Glass_UK

Celaena Sardothien– don’t get me wrong, I’m not in the anti-Celaena camp and found her entertaining in the books. BUT she’d get on my last nerve in lockdown! Just put away your weapons, stop showing off and sit your ass down!

selection

America Singer– she was basically already in isolation in Selection and we know how she acted: “ohhh who do I pick” *whine whine whine*

eclipse

Edward Cullen/Jacob Black/Bella Swan– all of them together, specifically.

alec d'urberville

Alec D’Urberville– just about the biggest perv on the planet. And on that subject…

wideacre

Beatrice Lacey– she’d probably get a ridiculous attachment to my house and try to kill me so she can take it off me (jokes on her, cos I’m renting!)

Okay this house is getting realllly crowded! I’d better stop! Do you agree or disagree with any of my picks? Who would you like to spend isolation with? Who would you hate?? Let me know in the comments!

Does My Taste Follow the Crowd? Discussing My Top Ten Highest Rated Books I’ve Read (And Beyond) – Inspired by Thoughts of a Reader

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Over on the *terrific* Thoughts of a Reader, I saw this brilliant post comparing her highest rated on Goodreads with her own ratings. It immediately got me thinking about whether my own taste lined up with the highest rated books I’d read. After my discussion on the Goodreads Choice Awards, I figured it could be a fun “does my taste follow the crowd 2.0”. Of course, what I soon discovered was that a lot of the same popular authors/series came up repeatedly, which skewed the results a little and is why I didn’t exactly stop at ten. Let’s get to it:

court of mists and fury

A Court of Mist and Fury– 4.65- I personally gave it 4/5, so I get it, but I also think this comes down to some very loyal fans (Maas *dominates* this list).

heartstopper 2

Heartstopper 2– 4.66- I gave it 4/5- and I definitely understand why this has a high rating. It promises cute and fun and romantic- and it delivers!

march 3

March book 3– 4.64- again, my rating was 4/5 bananas (this is becoming a trend). I found this whole series pretty moving and, given the subject matter, think the rating is deserved.

crooked kingdom

Crooked Kingdom– 4.60- I gave it *all the bananas*- it’s safe to say, I’m fully on board with this one.

kingdom of ash book cover

Kingdom of Ash– 4.60- hmm I have more reservations about this one. I gave it 3 ½bananas 3.5- I was pretty satisfied at the time, but I feel less so over time. Unfortunately, this was the kind of finale that made me fall out of love with the series a little bit.

CLOCKWORKPRINCESSCOVERSPECIAL2-265x400

Clockwork Princess– 4.58- my rating was 3/5, so I guess I’ve got to be one of the few people on the planet who didn’t love the resolution to the love triangle. That said, this is still my favourite of Clare’s series and I get the hype.

The_Wise_Man's_Fear_UK_cover

Wise Man’s Fear– 4.57- oof I’m not feeling this one, I only gave it 2/5 bananas. This sequel just didn’t work for me at all. *Fingers crossed* for the finale though.

queen of shadows

Queen of Shadows– 4.57- I liked this one (my rating was 5/5) though it wasn’t my fave (funnily enough, for all the Maas books on here, that one didn’t make the cut).

harry potter and the half blood prince

Half Blood Prince -4.57 -my rating was 5/5 bananas- which kinda surprises me cos I had some issues (actually it surprises me even more that, by this reckoning, this is seemingly the most popular Harry Potter book? The next highest rated is Goblet of Fire and tbh I get that more… which I guess is just my own bias showing).

heartstopper 1

Heartstopper 1– 4.57- as with the second one, I gave it 4/5 bananas 😊

And because there were so many repeats, I decided to do some honorary mentions for high rated books where I get the hype:

Becoming– 4.55- I gave it 4 and completely get the hype (especially for the audiobook). It was very insightful, though I wanted more from it in some areas (but I get why there were gaps).

Maus– 4.55- totally worth the hype OMG- one of the best memoirs of all time!

House of Hades– 4.55- this might be my favourite Rick Riordan books!

Storm of Swords– 4.54 definitely the best Game of Thrones book- so I get it!

Skyward– 4.54- Sanderson is another popular author on GR and I *totally* get it! All the bananas!! And beyond!

In Order to Live– 4.48- another brilliant memoir!

Winter of the Witch– 4.51- this is one of the most satisfying series enders I’ve ever read! Safe to say, if you liked Bear and the Nightingale, you’ll likely love this.

To conclude, I’d have to say my taste doesn’t deviate much from the crowd. Sure, I may not always rate something as high and perhaps would’ve loved to see more favourites make it on here, but I rarely seem to disagree entirely.

So, if you’ve read these books, do you agree with the high ratings? Do you find your taste generally follows the crowd? Or are you a total rebel? Maybe you don’t even use Goodreads… 😉 Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

(Claustrophobic) Thrillers to Help you Escape!

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I don’t know about you, but I’m lapping all the lists about *distracting books* to read right now- so I thought I’d throw (another) one into the mix! Today, I’m going for some claustrophobic thrillers to help you escape- let’s get stuck in!

the guest list

The Guest List– this was pure escapism and I loved it! A bunch of people (most of whom have beef with each other) stuck on an island together at a wedding- that’s an unmissable event! 😉 And speaking of feeling trapped…

lock every door

Lock Every Door– just about anything by Sager will do! But for some reason, being cooped up, I find my mind drawn to this claustrophobic gothic (maybe it’s a case of schadenfreude- no matter how bad quarantine is- at least it’s not as bad as staying at the Bartholomew!)

death of mrs westaway

Death of Mrs Westaway– if you’re looking for something else with a gothic atmosphere, then look no further! I personally love this for how it takes inspiration from Rebecca, while not being a direct retelling. And it’s got some killer twists and turns to boot!

turn of the screw 2

Turn of the Screw– of course, if you want to go more of the classic route, then this is one of my favourites and the best scary story I’ve ever read (incidentally, Ware’s Turn of the Key is an excellent take on this, it just happens to have a trope for the final twist that I don’t like- but I still recommend it!)

the woman in black

The Woman in Black– likewise, this may be an older read, but it never fails to shock and chill readers to the core!

dark-places-book-cover

Dark Places– and if you can deal with going to a very dark place right now, then this is worth a look. Plus, it’s written by Flynn, so the writing’s top notch!

sometimes I lie

Sometimes I Lie– get tangled up in this for a few hours and I guarantee you’ll be transported to a very different kind of dark place. You’ll go on a journey through the dark recesses of the mind, until you won’t be able to trust your own interpretations. You’ll be stuck in someone else’s brain- and that person is likewise trapped in their own mind. I’m still not sure what to entirely make of it- but I know that it took me out of my own head for a bit and that’s always a good thing!

evelyn hardcastle

Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle- this one will transport you much further you think- into something of a supernatural realm (you’ll see once you get started!). This is a bit of a head spinner, so it’s not going to be for everyone and you’ll have to figure out for yourself what you make of this groundhog day murder mystery- but one’s thing for sure, you won’t be able to think about the real world until you get to the end of it.

the martian

The Martian– for more of an out of this world experience, you can’t go wrong with this surprisingly funny stuck-on-mars story. Now’s the perfect moment to lose yourself in this race against time!

big little lies

Big Little Lies– closer to home, this murder mystery will take you to a (seemingly) quiet seaside town. Utterly absorbing, this was more than a simple thriller to me. I felt like I bonded with the characters and really entered their world.

godfather

The Godfather– I may be one of the few people on the planet who happens to like the book as much as the movies, but there’s a reason for it! It’s a delightfully distracting read and completely took me out of my comfort zone.

nemesis

Nemesis– this YA series combines a whole bunch of different thrills- amnesia, small towns, crime, a great BIG mystery… it’s got it all! If you’re looking for sheer entertainment, this’ll hit the spot!

So, have you read any of these? And what thrillers help you escape? I could definitely do with some recommendations right now! Let me know in the comments!

My Favourite Magic Systems

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Okay it’s time for a little hocus pocus, cos I’m gonna be talking magic systems today. I was very much inspired by Merphy Napier’s video– which I *definitely* recommend, if you’re looking for hard magic systems (and excellent content in general) especially since I lean more towards soft systems. For some reason, the mysterious fantasy of Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones have always appealed to me more (although, for various reasons, those magic systems didn’t quite make the list, soooo that was a quick honorary mention 😉). Also, there will be other notable series missing- either cos I’ve never read or didn’t get into the series enough to see it develop (don’t expect Wheel of Time for instance). Alrighty, *abracadabra* *allakhazam*, without further ado- onto the list!

final-empire

Mistborn– I’m starting off with one of the few hard magic systems on the list. I’ve only read a few of his books, but I can already state that Brandon Sanderson is a master at world building. Allomancy is an ingenious magic system, based around metals, and entirely convinced me of Sanderson’s skill in creating convincing fantasy.

Harry_Potter_and_the_Philosopher's_Stone_Book_Cover

Harry Potter– not the most mature system, yet it still charms me to this day 😉 Whimsical and fun, there’s a reason this made a generation of children want to be witches and wizards!

red sister

Book of the Ancestor Trilogy– this is quite a straightforward system, with four inherited powers, yet it has some cool complexities to it. While it seems simple enough, what makes the magic system in the Book of the Ancestor series appeal to me is because of how characters can inherit one type of power. It especially works for me that Nona gets most of the abilities- yet not all. I won’t spoil anything, but this ends up playing into the chosen one trope in a very clever way.

assassins apprentice

Farseer Trilogy– I very much like the way Hobb layers up different types of powers, constantly expanding the magic and the world. However, I particularly like how it starts with a clear conflict for the main character’s magic, with Fitz inheriting both the socially acceptable Skill and the stigmatised Wit. That conflict works brilliantly within the plot.

name of the wind

The Kingkiller Chronicles– okay yes, this is completely a trend: I like having numerous systems in one book. In this series there’s two types: sympathy and naming. What I especially like in the Kingkiller Chronicles is how one system is hard (sympathy) and the other soft (naming), making them work together in tandem.

magician's guild

Black Magician– I could be putting this on here because I’m fuelled by nostalgia- but I don’t care, it’s my list 😉 As I said, I like layered systems- and this does that achieves that twice over! Firstly, because magicians have many skillsets they can learn. And secondly, because while the main system is a hard one, it also has a contrasting soft power (called Black Magic). I also really love the way this one works because it also pits the hard system (which is less powerful, but easier to control) against the soft one (which is more dangerous, yet also more powerful). I also appreciate how it develops across the course of the series.

diviners

Diviners– I’m a bit spellbound by this series at the moment. The basic concept is quite simple: there are Diviners who have powers that they’ve kept hidden from the rest of the world. What makes it special to me is how each book allows the characters to grow with their powers in each book. The fact that it’s not static makes it all the more exciting to me. While it’s quite simple, I very much appreciate how it pushes against the boundaries and increases its scope with the story. Also, pro tip, for full immersion, try the audiobook- it’s divine 😉

raven boys

The Raven Cycle– there are a few types of magic in this world, yet the one that really appeals to me is dream stealing- which is basically magic ever invented! For that reason, I particularly liked Dream Thieves (and to a lesser extent Call Down the Hawk), since that’s where it features most prevalently. Still it’s worth bringing up the whole series since, as I’ve mentioned, I do like my multiple magic systems 😊

And that’s all I’ve got for now! Do you agree with me about any of these systems? Do you have any you’d add? Let me know in the comments!

Comfort Reads and Lifechanging Stories – My Favourite Books to Reread!

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I’m sure many of you know the pleasures of rereading: the comfort of a familiar book, the turn of a well-thumbed page, the nostalgia-filled nuances that bring back fond memories. As a self-confessed rereader, I like to try and find the time to fit it in (despite all the shiny new titles sitting on my shelf 😉). Oddly enough, for me, I find the spring (a time for new beginnings) a good time to return to my bookish roots. And, with everything going on, it seems like that’s truer than ever- which is why I thought it might be fun to share some of my favourite books to reread. I’m going to keep books I studied to a minimum, with one notable exception, because I want to avoid books I reread out of a sense of obligation (and also cos then this would be a very narrow kind of list). Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Hobbit_cover

The Hobbit– this was my most recent reread and what prompted this post. All I had to do was mention it, spot it on my shelf and I couldn’t resist! Abandoning all my reading plans (hello, mood reader here) I found myself wandering around Middle Earth again and loving every second.

sabriel

Sabriel– by contrast, this is one I haven’t reread in a while, but definitely plan to soon. It’s one of my favourite series from when I was a teen and periodically reread as often as I could- so much so that between me and my friend repeatedly borrowing them, the library rarely had copies available 😉

shades children

Shade’s Children– yes, I’m including more than one book by the same author, because it’s just as deliciously dark and rereadable! A unique dystopia with lovable characters, I can’t say how many times I was pulled back into this story. It doesn’t hurt, either, that it’s a standalone- so fully satisfying on its own!

northern lights

Northern Lights– ahh this series is so good. I’ve reread across the span of my life- from childhood, to my teens, to now. It’s just as good every time. And, unusually, watching the amazing adaptation in December has actually amped up my excitement to do a reread- result!

Harry_Potter_and_the_Philosopher's_Stone_Book_Cover

Harry Potter– I mean, I wouldn’t be a basic millennial if this wasn’t one of my most reread series 😉 But, c’mon, there’s a reason this makes everyone’s reread lists! Funnily enough, when it comes to the boy wizard, I decided a few years back, after rereading Philosopher Stone that my appetite was sated and I wasn’t going to do another reread… Of course, I didn’t keep to that (who could?) and reread and reviewed the whole series a couple of years later. So, now I know, this is always going to be a series I keep going back to.

carry on

Carry On– on the subject of Harry Potter, this parody of the beloved series stole my heart… so much so that when I finished it for the first time, I went right back to the start and read it again! I’ve since discovered it’s one of my go-tos for cosy rereads.

secret countess

The Secret Countess– thinking about comfort reads, you can’t go wrong with an Eva Ibbotson book. And none works better for me than Secret Countess– I periodically pick up this *perfect* love story and am never disappointed.

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Emma– speaking of romance, there had to be at least one Austen on this list (especially given I’ve reread them all). But, as I’ve mentioned before, Emma is my favourite- and consequently the one I’ve reread the most. Not just because it has flawlessly developed character arcs, not just because it has friends to lovers, but because it has the best Austen love interest (you can fight me on that 😉).

dorian gray

Picture of Dorian Gray– as promised I’ve tried to keep books off the list that I’ve studied or done essays on. However, I’m making this the exception because it’s a book I read of my own accord and chose to study. And, regardless of whether I’m studying it or not, it’s still a book I want to reread- which just goes to show how special it is!

man's search for meaning

Man’s Search for Meaning– this is probably the book on this list I’ve reread the fewest times, yet it’s probably the most important and the one I’m sure to return to. No, scratch that- it’s the one I need to reread. Because I need the reminders that life is precious, that meaning comes from the struggle and all the vital lessons this book provides. If ever there was a book that deserves to be reread, it’s this one.

And that’s all for now! Do you like (or dislike) any of these? What books do you most like to reread? Let me know in the comments!

Books I Successfully DNF’d!

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I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I give myself enough credit for DNFing. No matter how much I tell myself that it’s good to DNF, that life’s too short, that I don’t have to finish everything I start, I still feel like it’s a shameful secret that I’ve given up on something. So today, I thought I’d start working on that attitude by *celebrating* some of my successful DNFs! Who knows, maybe in the future I’ll get better at singing about my DNFs across the blogosphere. Okay *deep breaths*, it’s time to confess boast about my DNFs:

happily ever afterHappily Ever After– Let’s start off with the book that inspired this recent spate of posts- a book I embarrassingly proudly DNF’d in March. In fairness to the book, this DNF in part came down to my mood. I thought right now I needed to read contemporaries… but that just isn’t the case (apparently I’m craving something a little bit darker). However, the reason I read 70% of this and quit was more to do with the fact the story felt entirely unnecessary. I fell in love with its predecessor, Cinder and Ella, because it offered a fun Cinderella retelling. This not only lacks the charm of the original, it also feels like filler.

v is for virginV is for Virgin– annnd this one is straight up embarrassing. I DNF’d this shortly after Happily Ever After, not only failing to learn my lesson that I wasn’t in the mood for contemporary, but also going for a book by the same author (in fairness, I have liked her books before, so I imagined it was a blip). As with Happily Ever After, there wasn’t anything particularly wrong with this, I simply wasn’t feeling it.

murmur of beesMurmur of Bees– this is definitely a case of it’s not the book, it’s me. I can see, objectively, that this had beautiful writing and strong characterisation. I just… knew immediately that this wasn’t my sort of story. I struggled through about half of it, before realising I didn’t want to do it anymore.

 

to the lighthouseTo the Lighthouse– putting this on here is more like a promise to myself than anything else. As I’ve mentioned before, I never like stream of consciousness and so have always clashed with Virginia Woolf. This was no exception to that rule. A little part of me really thought when I put this down that it wouldn’t be forever. Yet, as I realised after finally completing Mrs Dalloway last year, that would be a BIG MISTAKE! For my own sake, I should leave well enough alone! So, for goodness sake Future Me, heed this list, stop whatever it is you think you’re doing and don’t pick this up- else you’ll make a liar of us both!

wickedWicked– oh man, this was atrocious. I *hated* the writing style and was bored throughout. I can’t actually remember if I made it to the end or not, but I’m counting it because I definitely remember abandoning it on several occasions (and if I did finish it I must’ve skimmed, because I don’t remember it!)

 

mysteries of udolphoMysteries of Udolpho– I picked this up solely because it’s referenced by other famous works… and it wasn’t anywhere near their league! For a book about mysteries and naughty monks, it was a very dull tome indeed. After trying to read a few very dull pages every few weeks, I realised no amount of cool points for reading the book mentioned in Northanger Abbey would make this worth my time. At least I sort of get the joke about people reading this sensational novel (it feels a bit like making fun of Twilight, maybe…?)

otherworldOtherworld– this was just completely meh. Other books have done this story better (try Ready Player One) and with more interesting characters (that aren’t simply obsessed with the length of their nose). It felt like a celebrity cashing in on a tried and tested story- it’s only a pity that they didn’t do a better job of copying other’s works.

 

And that’s all I’ve got! I told you I’m not that good at DNFing! Do you have any books you’ve proudly DNF’d? If so, why did you give up on them? Let me know in the comments!

Fun, frothy and fantastical reads for when you’re in need of a distraction!

orangutan list

Granted, that title has doubtless got you thinking about *that thing going on outside*. A bit like playing “the game” (we’ve all just lost the game!) Even so, I think we could all do with a break from impending doom life at the moment- which is why I wrote this list of the ultimate distracting reads! No way you can focus on anything other than turning these pages…

crown of feathers

Crown of Feathers– a book about phoenixes, because WE WILL RISE FROM THE ASHES! (or all go down in flames… 😉)

shadow of the fox

Shadow of the Fox– but if you want to throw yourself into even more mythological, why not take a trip to Iwagoto? See if you can spot some tricksy kitsune along the way…

six of crows

Six of Crows– on the note of tricksters, the dregs will look after you if you’re looking to score (and doubtless pick your pocket on the way 😉)

to kill a kingdom

To Kill a Kingdom– if you need something else with a bit of an edge, then I always recommend deep-diving into this Little Mermaid retelling. No doubt this book siren song is calling to you right now 😉

the young elites

Young Elites– of course, talking of dark YA fantasy, I can scarcely neglect this beauty. Sharp and a little different, it has one of my favourite heroines in the genre.

thief

The Thief– on the note of protagonists I love, Gen’s perspective makes this book a real hidden gem. Personally, I do only recommend the first one, but fortunately it works as a standalone, so you can’t go wrong!

vicious

Vicious– ahh this is my *go to* book if you need something you absolutely cannot put down. This supervillains story is guaranteed to keep you on your toes.

renegades

Renegades– take flight into a world of heroes and villains! With great characters and a riveting romance, I was gripped from the start (incidentally I’m going to be taking my own advice with this one, cos I’ve just ordered the third in the series and will be jumping into the action again soon 😉)

Red Rising Pierce Browns

Red Rising– for something a bit gutsier and adult, you could try this take on Romans in space! (which I am recommending for the millionth time because it’s amazing!)

scythe

Scythe– now I don’t know about you, but beyond entertainment, I’m also craving some depth, and this high concept dystopia is cutting edge in that regard. There are ideas here I’ve not seen in YA before- or dare I say- even in adult!

one word kill

One Word Kill– and if you want mind-blowing, mathematically inspired time travel, then I have the series for you. Dramatic and character-driven, you can whizz through this at the speed of light!

And that’s all for now! Do you agree with my choices? And- more than ever I need your advice- what fantastical books would you recommend for distraction? Let me know in the comments

Hyped Books I’ll Never Read – Spring Cleaning My TBR

orangutan list

Usually I’d never say never, but we are in the End Times- JK! JK! This is a promise to myself- life’s too short- let’s see if I can keep to it.

cursed child

Cursed Child– starting with a book that needs no introduction! When this came out, I picked this up in a book shop and I was pretty unimpressed. I then went and spoiled myself for the plot… annnd I’m glad I didn’t try to read it. Apart from graverobbing the original series, it’s just doesn’t sound like a good story to me.

testaments

Testaments– in case you didn’t see my ranty unpopular opinions post on books I don’t like that everyone loves, I’m no fan of Handmaid’s Tale. I’m not opposed to reading more Atwood- she’s an impressive writer- but I’m not giving this series another try- sorry!

go set a watchman

Go Set a Watchman– this was another BIG RELEASE that I was cautious about and then decided to just read a plot synopsis in advance… and it sounds worse than Cursed Child!! I cannot fully express my fury that this book ruined Atticus Finch’s character- but let’s just say it made me go bananas! To Kill a Mockingbird is a personal favourite and I don’t care how this monstrosity came about- I’m not reading it.

normal people

Normal People– this is the toughest one so far, because while I didn’t like Conversations with Friends, I’ve heard that people usually like one and not the other. So, I am tempted to see if I can find out what the fuss is about this author… and yet, something about her writing style just didn’t gel with me last time and I don’t want to risk it.

raven king

The Raven King– I’ll admit, I was weak and read the first Foxhole Court book after I was to avoid it. I’ve not heard from anyone that shares my views on the first one that it gets better- I’ve got to stay strong and not read it (as much as my eye is drawn to it like watching a car crash…)

chain of gold

Chain of Gold– this is less about the specific book and more that I just don’t plan to read any new Cassandra Clare book. It’s nothing personal, I’ve just outgrown her world and stories that always end up being exactly the same (okay, maybe it is a little personal 😉)

lady's guide to petticoats and piracy

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy– as you may know I was pretty disappointed with Gentleman’s Guide, so as much as the title appeals to me, I just don’t see any reason to continue the series. Plus I wasn’t a fan of Felicity’s character in the first one- I doubt I want to read an entire book about her!

infinity son

Infinity Son– when Silvera announced he was publishing a fantasy book, I was intrigued and a little excited. I’ve enjoyed his books and I’m always up for some fun fantasy. Alas- when I read the blurb, I wasn’t enamoured. The premise just doesn’t light my fire and I could see the twists a mile off (something that reviews have since confirmed). I think it might leave me a bit heated, so I’m gonna give it a miss.

And that’s all for now! Do you think I’ve made any big mistakes with this list? Or do you have any books you *absolutely will not* read? Let me know in the comments!