Bookish Fun: Reacting to 1 Star Reviews of Books I Loved

Sometimes we fall in love with a book and sometimes…we really wish we’d spent our time doing something else. And, as we all know, just because you enjoy something that doesn’t necessarily mean other people will, too. Their reasons for this can vary from bizarre and hilarious to problematic to genuinely reasonable. With this in mind, I thought I’d try my hand at a post that quite a lot of other people in the community have done previously – reacting to some really negative reviews of books I loved. After all, sometimes it’s good to challenge your own viewpoint. So, I’ve scoured Amazon and Goodreads to find some short and complete opposite opinions to my own on a couple of my five star reads.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

I loved this book and even named it my favourite read of 2018. Here are a couple of people who were…less enthralled than I was.

While I loved the characters, I’m not going to argue with someone about not feeling the same way. Hate’s a strong emotion. At least they weren’t boring, right? In terms of ‘difficult to believe’, aren’t most of the crazy things that happen in Hollywood hard to believe? Seven husbands alone sounds ridiculous but, then again, Elizabeth Taylor got married EIGHT times. Plus, it’s a guarantee that many famous people in this era had to cover up the fact that they weren’t straight. Yes, the relationship between Evelyn and Celia isn’t perfect or entirely healthy but a large part of that is due to the stress of the circumstances and time. Besides, doesn’t that make it far more interesting from a literary perspective?

Hey, I’m sure plenty of other people wish that, too. Then they would’ve been further up the holds list at your library to read it.

Does every book need to do something profound or entirely new to be considered good or worthwhile? I mean, I love rom-coms largely for their predictable, fluffy formula. Everything has its purpose. As for particularly interesting, well, we disagree. I know plenty of people were divided over the content of the twist but placing it right at the end isn’t an uncommon way to use that device. As for boobs, lesbians, gossip columns, and green dresses, well geez, someone better call the literary police! We can’t have those infesting our books now, can we? Think of the children!


Skyward – Brandon Sanderson

The fact that the number of 1 star reviews for this book doesn’t even constitute 1% of the total on both Goodreads and Amazon gives me such warm fuzzies. But let’s check out that <1%.

Um, I may be missing something here but… how can something be overdramatic and super boring at the same time? But just speaking to the ‘boring and predictable’ part, I’m even more confused because this book has so much action. Literal SPACE BATTLES. Deaths, plot twists, alien attacks! Trust me, you missed a lot in those intervening pages.

“Teenage girl drivel”. *breathes heavily* What? Is it purely because Spensa is a teenage girl? Because if we’re talking stereotypical “teen girl” stuff (with which there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying, liking and/or partaking in), there’s basically nothing here. Spensa is training to become a pilot (a field dominated by men), she has almost no traditionally girly interests, and there’s no romance in the book whatsoever. It’s basically sci-fi Top Gun. Please, explain.

Not one? Really? Not a single, teeny, tiny thing? Even one vaguely amusing line of dialogue? Gosh, that sounds like absolute torture. I mean, I don’t give out 1 or 1.5 star reviews very often but even then I usually have at least something positive I can mention.


Conversations with Friends – Sally Rooney

I’m probably asking for pain and suffering with this one because I know it’s divisive. Funnily enough, that’s what I’m actually expecting the 1 star reviews for CWF to say.

Hm, I guess it depends on your idea of “substance”. If we’re talking about plot, Rooney’s books are generally more about characters so the substance comes from them. However, I realise this is up to personal preference. Also, fair point about the lack of quotation marks. It is confusing before you get used to the flow and structure of Rooney’s writing. But mainly about lesbianism? That’s where you lose me. First, is this supposed to be a statement or a criticism? As far as statements go, it’s kind of wrong. Yes, f/f relationships play an important role in the book but the central character is bisexual and the central romance is between her and a straight man. Colour me confused.

Well, you’ll probably get just as much conversation from it as you would trying to converse with the book but you do you.

Ouch! Okay, yes, the characters aren’t the best people but that’s why I find it interesting. They’re layered and very flawed, and I get why they won’t be for everyone. But, come on, you read a book dealing with US attitudes towards race and this made you angrier? Sounds pretty suss to me. Now, a blurb that claims you can read this as a romantic comedy or feminist text? That can’t be right. *flicks through Goodreads* Oh god. As much as I hate to say this, he’s right. Whoever wrote the blurb for that edition, how do you read this as a romcom?! Romcoms are FLUFFY. I love this book but never in a million years would I call it a romcom. And while there are feminist commentaries in the book and it does involve strong female characters, I don’t know if I would label it a “feminist text” per se. I’m afraid you may have been misled here a bit, buddy. I blame the publisher.


The Poppy War – R F Kuang

I love this series but it’s one I can understand people not liking because of their tastes regarding things like violence. These books get DARK. However, as usual, there are always people who conflate ‘not for me’ with ‘not for everyone’ or just plain terrible. *sigh*

  • I might be wrong but the only similarities I see between TPW & Nevernight are that they’re fantasy and both involve the training academy and mentorship tropes (my faves!). I suppose there are Gods? But these aren’t important in Nevernight until book 3. Oh, and MCs who are orphans with something to prove, perhaps. Hmmmm…
  • Sure, there are some common fantasy tropes so I understand this. But also keep in mind it’s inspired by Chinese history so there are some limits to originality.
  • I sincerely hope the 45% mark was before all the violence otherwise this is worrying on many levels.
  • It’s kind of a chunky book. You can’t start the violence that early or it’ll run out of steam. But also, why are you actively waiting for violence?
  • Why skip pages? Just stop reading.
  • If you’d kept reading, you would have found out.
  • *eyerolls back* Sorry, it’s all I could think to say because I wanted the same number of points.

Firstly, TPW is classified as Adult, not YA. Second, ah yes, I can clearly see the glorification of drug use in: If you continue using drugs to commune with the gods, eventually you will go so insane that we will lock you up in a prison where you will remain trapped in rock but self-aware for the rest of eternity. Yep, gimme some of that. It just sounds so appealing!

Lord, where do I even start? This may not have occurred to you before so brace yourself, but, some women do not want to be mothers. Whoa! Crazy, I know, but true, and calling childbearing ‘the greatest gift a woman has’ is absolute sexist rubbish. Women have so many fantastic qualities. Some become mothers and some don’t. Either way, they’re amazing. There are so many women out there who know that motherhood is not what they want even from a young age and struggle for years to find a doctor who respects their autonomy enough to give them a tubal ligation or hysterectomy, even when they have existing medical conditions. Rin may be young but she knows that she doesn’t ever want to have children. If she’s old enough to prepare to fight in a bloody and brutal war, she’s old enough for us to respect her decision on this. It is in no way a judgment on those women who do want children and what their capabilities are.


If We Were Villains – M. L. Rio

Oh, ho. I’m expecting some very unhappy campers on this book because it’s somewhat polarising. I’m also expecting A LOT of ‘terrible copy of The Secret History‘ comments.

Two seconds in and we have a The Secret History mention. I’m not even going to argue because yep, IWWV is pretty much The Secret History but Shakespearean. I love both so you won’t catch me complaining. As for being pretentious, I’ll give you that as well because you bet it is, but I’m known for liking the occasional pretentious book so… Let’s be real though, The Secret History is pretentious as hell, too. You can’t accuse one without the other.

I had a giggle over the title of this one. Can’t really argue with most of the points made because it’s all subjective and since I loved it I obviously disagree. Yet, I do think one or two of the characters could have been given more attention. To some extent, I find most dark academia to be a bit unrealistic but isn’t that all part of the fun? As for plagiarism, you do realise that plagiarism is trying to pass off the work of someone else as your own without acknowledgment right? Trust me, Rio acknowledges The Bard. Many, many, MANY times. Not to mention the plays themselves.

Don’t worry, I gave it 5 stars and still think I’m too dumb to fully appreciate it.


Okay, this is where I stop because otherwise I’ll never get out of the vicious spiral starting to occur whereby I question all of my reading taste (do I have any?) and whether I’ve somehow missed a million problematic elements of my 5 star reads. I know I poke fun at some of these reviews but everyone is entitled to their own opinion of what they read. We’re not always going to love the same things and that’s great because it allows for a more diverse publishing market.

What was the last book you gave 1 star to? (Mine was Norweigan Wood by Haruki Murakami).

First Lines Friday | 04.03.22 | Deciding My Next Read

This week, we’re trying something different – well, different for me at least! First Lines Friday! Previously hosted by Wandering Words, this weekly feature asks us to judge books by their opening lines rather than their covers. Normally the feature asks you to choose a book, copy out the opener, and then get people to guess which novel it belongs to before finally revealing the answer. However, I’m going to change things up and do three! As I’m currently in between books, I thought it might be fun to choose my next read based on its opening lines. So, let’s get into the 3 options I’ve selected:

OPTION ONE

The two would-be jade thieves sweated in the kitchen of the Twice Lucky restaurant. The windows were open in the dining room, and the onset of evening brought a breeze off the waterfront to cool the diners, but in the kitchen, there were only the two ceiling fans that had been spinning all day to little effect. Summer had barely begun and already the city of Janloon was like a spent lover—sticky and fragrant.

I hear ‘would-be thieves’ and already my brain is excitedly screaming: HEIST! I also like that this opening already gives me a sense of the world I’m soon to read about.

Any idea what the book is? No? Well, here are three clues:

  1. It’s an adult fantasy.
  2. It’s the first in a trilogy.
  3. The author has described it as ‘The Godfather with magic and kung-fu’.

OPTION TWO

When Red wins, she stands alone.

Blood slicks her hair. She breathes out steam in the last night of this dying world.

Well, damn. Isn’t this dramatic as hell? I love it.

Ringing any bells for you? If not, these hints might help you out:

  1. It’s a sci-fi novella
  2. The story involves time travel and a f/f romance
  3. It has two authors.

OPTION THREE

And last but not least…

Anthony Bridgerton had always known he would die young.

Oh, not as a child. Young Anthony had never had cause to ponder his own mortality. His early years had been a young boy’s perfection, right from the very day of his birth.

Anthony, stop being so darn melodramatic. Jeez. I like the fact that this opener seems to support my assessment by pointing out just how perfect his life has been for the most part.

Okay, be honest, do you even need a hint to guess this one? Still, for consistency’s sake…

  1. It’s a sequel.
  2. It’s a historical romance.
  3. The series name is in the quote above minus an ‘s’.

The (Not So) Big Reveal

*Drumroll*

1. JADE CITY – FONDA LEE

The Kaul family is one of two crime syndicates that control the island of Kekon. It’s the only place in the world that produces rare magical jade, which grants those with the right training and heritage superhuman abilities.

The Green Bone clans of honorable jade-wearing warriors once protected the island from foreign invasion–but nowadays, in a bustling post-war metropolis full of fast cars and foreign money, Green Bone families like the Kauls are primarily involved in commerce, construction, and the everyday upkeep of the districts under their protection.

When the simmering tension between the Kauls and their greatest rivals erupts into open violence in the streets, the outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones and the future of Kekon itself.

2. THIS IS HOW YOU LOSE THE TIME WAR – AMAL EL-MOHTAR & MAX GLADSTONE

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It reads: Burn before reading. Thus begins an unlikely correspondence between two rival agents hellbent on securing the best possible future for their warring factions. Now, what began as a taunt, a battlefield boast, grows into something more. Something epic. Something romantic. Something that could change the past and the future.

Except the discovery of their bond would mean death for each of them. There’s still a war going on, after all. And someone has to win that war.

3. THE VISCOUNT WHO LOVED ME (BRIDGERTONS 2#) – JULIA QUINN

This time the gossip columnists have it wrong. London’s most elusive bachelor Anthony Bridgerton hasn’t just decided to marry—he’s even chosen a wife! The only obstacle is his intended’s older sister, Kate Sheffield—the most meddlesome woman ever to grace a London ballroom. The spirited schemer is driving Anthony mad with her determination to stop the betrothal, but when he closes his eyes at night, Kate’s the woman haunting his increasingly erotic dreams…

Contrary to popular belief, Kate is quite sure that reformed rakes do not make the best husbands—and Anthony Bridgerton is the most wicked rogue of them all. Kate’s determined to protect her sister—but she fears her own heart is vulnerable. And when Anthony’s lips touch hers, she’s suddenly afraid she might not be able to resist the reprehensible rake herself…


Did you guess any of the three correctly? Which book do you think I should read next?

Book Tag: The Christmas Songs Tag

It’s December! The month of my favourite holiday, hurrah! And that means it’s time for a Christmas-themed book tag. This festive, Christmas music-themed tag comes from our Top Ten Tuesday guru Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Jana actually does this tag annually and so limits her answers to those books she’s read in the past several months to keep things fresh and interesting. Just in case I also end up wanting to redo it, I thought I might do the same and stick with answering using books I’ve read in 2021 (easier said than done for some prompts, though). Here we go…

“All I Want for Christmas Is You”: Favorite Bookish Couple

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I’ve had quite a few great couples in books this year, which is wonderful, so picking one favourite is a big challenge. To avoid repeating myself in posts a bunch this month (always a problem with December wrap ups), I’m using Emilia & Wrath from the Kingdom of the Wicked series. It’s probably a super problematic pairing but eh, they’re hot together. That sexual tension just sizzles on the page. This romance is why I enjoyed Kingdom of the Cursed as much as I did because the rest of the plot is kind of a mess. I loved the conversations, the flirting, the fights…so good. Plus, the whole witch and demon prince dynamic is right up my alley.


“I’ll Be Home for Christmas”: A Book Where a Character is Away From Home (School, Vacation, Etc.)

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As you can probably tell from the title, the characters in You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry spend most of the book on a variety of different summer holidays. I know this is set in the northern hemisphere but had it been set in the southern where I live, they’d be the Christmas holidays! The book is about two best friends, Poppy & Alex, who take a trip together every year but fell out following the events of their Croatia holiday 2 years ago. After Poppy reaches out, the two agree to head to Palm Springs together, with Poppy determined to get their friendship back on track. But what if they’re meant to be more than friends?


“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”: Your Favorite “Little” Book (Children’s Book, Short Story, Novella, Etc.)

Unfortunately, I haven’t read any novellas, comics, or short stories this year but there are a few I really want to read. I’ve had This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone on my physical TBR pile for a few months now but I keep putting it off. Both volumes 2 & 3 of the Fence comic series by C S Pacat are on my shelf as well, but again, procrastination is my middle name. Also, with the next book in the Skyward series by Brandon Sanderson finally out, I have three novellas to read in connection with it – Sunreach, ReDawn & Evershore. No idea when I’ll get to all of these things but hopefully sooner rather than later.


“Santa Claus is Coming to Town“: What Book(s) Do You Hope Santa Brings You This Year?

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As this question is the subject of a whole separate post for me, I’ll just list one of the books on my Christmas wish list and that’s A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir. I’ve been trying to work my way through re-reading the first three books in the Ember quartet before finally reading the last book. My progress has been pretty slow so far (as usual) but I’m hoping to finish my re-read this month, so it seemed like a good idea to ask Santa for this one. I’m really excited to see how it all ends. Hopefully it’s not too painful but considering Sabaa’s track record, I’m pretty sure I’m being set up for heartbreak.


“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”: Which Book Turned Your Nose Red (Made You Cry)?

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As I’m always pointing out, I’m not a big book crier. However, there are plenty of books that have made me feel…things. Sad, gut-wrenching things. One of the books that hit hard in the feelings this year was Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy. I can’t explain too much about why without giving away major parts of the book but the story deals with themes like sexual assault, abuse, trauma, and humans’ relationship with the environment, which weigh heavily at times. In other words, it’s beautifully written but prepare to hurt.


“The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”: Your Favorite Book/Kind of Book to Read During the Holidays

This is a tough one for me because I don’t really have a specific book that I tend to read around the holidays, nor do I stick to just one genre or type of read either. If I had to say anything, it’d probably be that I read a couple of romances and thrillers in the lead-up to the New Year. They’re good summer picks and perfect for binge-reading to beef up my reading stats for the year, especially if I’m behind on my goal. Even though I’m not behind this year, I know I’ll be reading some over the next few weeks.


“We Three Kings”: Your Favorite Trilogy

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As usual, it’s impossible for me to choose a singular favourite but if we’re talking trilogies, The Poppy War series by R F Kuang is easily one of my faves. Every entry has featured on my top 10 of the year posts and received either 5 or 4.5 stars. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what else is. I don’t normally read military fantasy but I should if they’re as good as these. The characters are fantastic, the world-building and magic are amazing, the pacing is spot-on, and lord, the emotions. THE EMOTIONS. This series crushed my poor heart repeatedly (especially The Burning God which I read back in January). I should probably mention it less because you guys are eventually going to get sick of hearing about it but we’ll just ignore that for now.


“Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow”: A Character You Would Love to be Snowed in With

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Weirdly enough, I’m picking a character from my current read for this – Dr Ryland Grace from Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. I’m only roughly halfway through at the moment but I’m still pretty confident about my choice. Since Ryland spends most of the book on his own, trapped on a spaceship far from Earth, I already know that he’s funny, resourceful, and makes the best of a really crappy situation (basically perfect for being snowed-in with). Plus, he’d probably teach me a bunch of fun science-related facts while we were waiting for the snow to melt. Ooo, we could do experiments! Fun!


“Last Christmas”: A Book that Seriously Let You Down

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I had a couple of options for this prompt, but The Final Girls by Riley Sager it is. I was on a sort of high after enjoying The Last Time I Lied so when I saw the blurb for this and that it involved final girls getting murdered, I was like: sign me up. However, it wasn’t what I was expecting or hoping for. For a thriller, this was just so darn slow, I legit forgot what type of book I was reading. It was almost like the main plot was left to sit in the background until near the end when things finally became interesting only to let me down with the big reveal. *sigh* The characters were also somewhat of a mixed bag, although I did like the whole past & present timelines approach. Good premise, lacking execution.


“White Christmas”: An Upcoming Release You’re Dreaming About

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To avoid having my queen, R F Kuang, dominate this post by using Babel (which I’m so damn excited for), I’m going with Husband Material by Alexis Hall. This is a sequel to Boyfriend Material, which I read back in 2020 and loved. I only recently discovered the existence of this book and now I’m sitting here going: I have to wait until August, like really? WHYYYYY. The first book was so much fun and I laughed a lot, plus I shipped Oliver and Luc hard, so the fact that this follow-up could include them getting married….just gimme already.


Only a few more weeks until Christmas. Is anyone else frantically trying to get as many books read as possible before the end of the year? Or is it just me? I’m always like this in December. The logical part of my brain knows it’s silly but I do it anyway in the hopes of having a few extra books to add to my various wrap-up posts. *Sigh* I’m also currently in struggle town thinking about what presents to get people. I love this time of the year but it can also be a lot. I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying your current reads!

Top 10 Tuesday: Book Titles that are Complete Sentences

It’s Tuesday and I’m running low on post ideas so…you know what that means: it’s time for another Top 10 Tuesday (hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl). This week’s topic is a freebie so I’m using it to do a topic from a few weeks back which revolves around book titles that are complete sentences. This seemed really simple at first but I quickly realised there are a lot of titles out there that seem like sentences but, in truth, aren’t. This is why many of my picks for this post are phrases I can imagine people saying to one other, because that makes it a sentence, right?

Just for fun, I’ve decided to do 5 books I’ve read, 5 books on my TBR and, as a bonus, 5 books I don’t plan on reading but like the titles of. I know these lists are supposed to be a ranking type thing but half the time I’m more like, let’s just list these books that meet the prompt. That’s pretty much what I’m doing today.


Titles I’ve Read

  • And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie
  • Lock Every Door– Riley Sager
  • You Deserve Each Other – Sarah Hogle
  • I’ll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson
  • Life’s too Short – Abby Jimenez

Titles on My TBR

  • Once There Were Wolves – Charlotte McConaghy
  • We Are the Brennans – Tracey Lange
  • Take a Hint, Dani Brown – Talia Hibbert
  • Beautiful World, Where are You? – Sally Rooney
  • My Heart is a Chainsaw – Stephen Graham Jones

Bonus: Titles I Don’t Plan to Read But Like Regardless

  • Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf? – Edward Albee
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson
  • The Rest of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness
  • My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry – Fredrik Backman
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick

What’s your favourite title of a book that reads as a complete sentence?

Bookish Fun: Awesome International Book Covers

While the US and UK may have some lovely book covers, and I thoroughly enjoy comparing them with one another, at times I feel like we overlook some of the amazing international language editions of popular books. In some cases, they’re even nicer than the English editions! Last year I had a look at some international covers of popular YA books and I thought it might be nice to do this again but include Adult reads as well. So, here are some of the interesting covers I’ve found in my online exploration…

(Note: I’ve put either the US/UK cover on the far left for reference).

The 7 (1/2) Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

France, Portugal, Italy & Slovakia

While the US/UK cover for Evelyn Hardcastle has a clear 1920s vibe, in my opinion the international covers are much more interesting! The French version is very mystical with all the stars and the moon, which works considering this isn’t a traditional mystery. I’m not really sure why the manor is sideways on the Portuguese cover but I like the red & white colour scheme. The Italian cover is probably my favourite. It looks like paper tole art with all the layered elements and people peering ominously out from behind the pillars. I’m a big fan of the Slovak design, too, and like that they went down a different route, focusing on the mysterious man in the plague doctor mask.


The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller

Spain, Germany, Turkey & The Netherlands

I know, I feature this book a lot on my blog but I love it so, too bad. I would have used Circe but there aren’t many different covers for it. The Song of Achilles, however, has some super pretty foreign language editions. I am so in love with the Spanish version. Mainly because it’s foiled and shiny. Like, look at that gorgeousness! I adore the border on the German cover and, although you can’t see it from this image, all the beige sections such as the hair are foiled, too. Give me all the shiny books! The Turkish cover is similar to the original US cover in design but with extra detail and a more “classical” colour scheme. It works, though. The Dutch cover is fairly simple but I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that shade of blue against the stark black is beautiful.


Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston

Sweden, Brazil, Russia/China & Japan

Most of the international covers for RW&RB have similar imagery and colours to the original. I’m not super fond of the Swedish cover but at least they tried something different. The Brazilian cover is very much like the original. The only real difference is the illustration style, which I like a lot better! They look so cute and fun. In complete contrast, we have the Russian cover (the Chinese cover uses the same image with a different border). It’s so serious looking and there isn’t much warmth. I would never have guessed it was a romance. With the Japanese cover we bounce back to the original’s vibes. The illustrations are sweet but they look slightly strange sitting in mid-air. Is it just me? At least the original’s figures were leaning on the title.


Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

Poland, Turkey, Croatia & Norway

It turns out that the cover for Strange the Dreamer is pretty much straight up gorgeous all around the world. As you probably expected, lots and lots of moth designs. I generally like all the covers I’ve got listed here but that Turkish cover in bright sunshine yellow with blue accents is stunning. I also quite like the way the Norwegian cover has integrated the text into the moth’s wing. It’s still legible but looks different from the regular.


The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue – V. E. Schwab

France, Hungary, Bulgaria & Russia

For this one, many countries have embraced the US cover with the title in their own language, but there are several international covers which took different routes. The French cover keeps the US colour scheme but also includes a greyscale illustration of Addie. While I prefer the simplicity of the original, I do see a sort of haunting quality to this version. The Hungarian cover is completely different but I really like it. I think the layout is very nicely done and the soft pink/navy colour scheme is striking. The Bulgarian cover is a little odd but still nice. However, it does give me more of a science fiction vibe. Once again, the stars make an appearance, though. The Russian cover is hands down my favourite. I think I might even like it more than the original. It’s so dreamy looking for such a simple design.


Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens

Japan, Greece, China & The Netherlands

The original cover for Where the Crawdads Sing is such a peaceful shot with a soft colour palette so I was interested to see how other countries had repackaged it. As it turns out, a lot of them took a like-minded approach just with different photography, like the Chinese cover. The Japanese cover is similar but I like that they’ve designed it like an oil painting, and the pink-purple colours are lovely. I find it so funny that the Greek cover went completely literal and smacked an actual crawdad on the cover. No mess, no fuss – here is a crustacean! The Dutch cover goes in a different direction to the others with the silhouette. I don’t mind this image but I wish there was slightly more contrast between the green foliage and the blue background.


Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

Iran/Persia, France, Serbia & Israel

Like Addie La Rue, most of the international SoC covers are reworkings of the US/UK cover but I still found a few different ones. The Iranian/Persian cover is 100% my favourite. I’ve noticed that they seem to prefer using realistic-style illustrations in those countries. I love how Kaz is at the front, Inej in the top left corner & the rest of the crows in the back. It’s wonderfully dramatic. The French cover is quite clean and I like the crow image against the off-white background. The figures at the bottom are okay but could be more identifiable. The Serbian cover is another good one – great atmosphere and the decision to use Kaz’s cane as the focus was a solid one. It fits nicely against the original cover. The Hebrew edition isn’t my favourite but it’s not bad. The crow positioning is good and I like that they’ve tried to include some Fjerdan imagery at the bottom. It could be more visually dynamic, though.


The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

Korea, Japan, Georgia & Italy

Okay, I love all of these. Admittedly, cover designers for the The Night Circus had a romantic, fun subject matter and nice colour scheme to work with, so they were bound to come up with some pretty lovely imagery. These all look so mystical, dramatic and intriguing, but I think the Japanese and Georgian covers might be my favourites.


The Midnight Library – Matt Haig

Vietnam, Finland, Bangladesh and Italy

A book cover which features books, what could be more perfect? And these are all lovely in their own ways. The Vietnamese cover is my favourite. I love it so much – it looks magical. The Finnish cover is very tidy but it works. I appreciate the clean lines, plus the layout makes the title stand out. The Bangladeshi cover is kind of abstract but I like how the green and yellow stand out, and all the little images woven into the hair. The Italian cover seems like complete chaos at first but I think the pastels in the colour scheme and the white border pull it back for me.


Normal People – Sally Rooney

Czech Republic, Portugal, Norway & Slovenia

I really like each of these international Normal People covers. I’ve never been enthusiastic about the original US or UK covers so it was nice to explore some alternates. The colouring and layout for the Czech cover is great (love a good orange/blue combo). The only thing that bugs me is the empty eyes on the illustrations. The contrast on the Portugese cover is pretty cool – one dark half, one light, one figure looking forward, the other away. The colour scheme for the Norwegian cover is nice and the boxy layout is very modern and funky. The Slovenian cover is simple, much like the UK cover, and the yellow background reminds me of Conversations with Friends. I love the clean lettering and the illustration is nicely symbolic of the main characters’ bond.


Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel

Germany, Hungary, Indonesia & Sweden

Covers for Station Eleven tend to fall into two categories – pretty/starry landscapes or full blown apocalypse (Google Lithuanian’s Vienuolika stotis and Japan’s ステーション・イレブン for examples). All of the covers above are nice in different ways. Germany has the starry sky and pastel colours, Hungary’s is another example of my fave orange/blue contrast again, Indonesia balances mysterious with ominous, and Sweden’s looks like travel poster art.


The Bone Season – Samantha Shannon

Bulgaria, Vietnam, Poland & China

There aren’t a lot of differently designed covers for The Bone Season but of those I found, there were several pretty nice ones. I really like the Bulgarian cover. It retains the image from the original in the middle but I’m really drawn to the addition of the cards, bones and mist surrounding it in that lovely blue. The Vietnamese cover is quite gothic looking. I find it interesting that they took the UK/US symbol and made it out of actual bones. It all feels very horror-esque. The Polish cover has a similar vibe to the original but with different imagery. I think the sun design is striking, especially against the blue. The Chinese cover isn’t my favourite, but it’s attractive in a sci-fi way.


Did any of these covers catch your eye more than their UK/US equivalent? If so, why? It definitely makes you want to try learning another language, or at least it makes me want to!

What’s your favourite international edition of an English language book?

Bookish Fun: ANOTHER 16 Book, Reading and Author Related Facts

That’s right, it’s time for EVEN MORE bookish, reading and author related facts. But why, you ask. Well, why not? And because you can never have enough fun facts about books and reading! So, let’s continue to expand your (and my) superior trivia knowledge, shall we?

Bookish & Reading Facts

1. there’s a precise word for ‘someone who reads in bed’

That’s right! The term is a ‘Librocubicularist’. Try saying that mouthful three times fast.

Gif.... Hey Andrew, whatcha reading? Guess your character and I are both  librocubicularists?! | Andrew scott, Jim moriarty, Sebastian moran

2. Reading is good for both mental and physical health

Although, I’m sure you were already aware of this. The University of Sussex conducted a study in 2009 that showed reading can reduce stress levels by up to 68%, which is even better than listening to music, taking a walk or having a cup of tea. Apparently it eases muscle tension and lowers your heart rate.

3. The World’s Oldest (Operating) bookstore is located in Lisbon, Portugal.

It’s called the ‘Livraria Bertrand’ and was founded by two French brothers in 1732!! When you buy a book there, the staff will ask if you want a stamp in it stating that you bought it at the world’s oldest bookstore. The books stocked are mostly in Portuguese but they do have a small English language section.

Bonus: Up until 2014, when it closed, the largest bookstore in the world by floor area was the Barnes and Noble flagship store on 5th Avenue in New York City. It covered 54,250 square feet and had 12.87 miles of shelving.

4. The original printing press was built in Germany by a man named Johannes Gutenberg and the first book he printed was The Gutenberg Bible.

It’s one of the rarest books in the world. Back in the 1970s, a copy was sold by a New York book dealer to a German museum for $1.8M. Again, note to self, do not get into rare book collecting.

5. Books actually do have a “smelL” which becomes more potent as they age

Ever wondered about the book smell we love so much? Well, it’s caused by a breakdown of two of the chemical components of paper – lignin and cellulose. The by-products of this process create a mixture of almond, vanilla, floral, and general sweet scents.

Logan Huntzberger Netflix GIF by Gilmore Girls - Find & Share on GIPHY

6. Scientists can use this scent to determine a book’s age

By looking at the breakdown of these compounds, historians are able to use a process called material degradomics to determine the age of a book. Science is cool, guys.

7. The Romance Genre is a Massive Money Maker

Romance as a genre is often disregarded but you might be surprised to know that romance makes up over 1/3 of mass-market paperbacks sold. It’s a billion dollar industry and actually makes more money than several other genres combined. I’ll admit, I contribute to this.

8. Edgar Allan Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue is credited as being the first ever ‘locked-door mystery’

However, if you go back a LONG way, it might actually be Greek historian Herodotus’s account from the 5th century BC of a robber whose headless body was found in a sealed stone chamber with only one guarded exit. Creepy.

9. in 2014, Amazon released a list of the most highlighted e-book passages and 19 of the top 25 were from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

The most popular was the line, “Because sometimes things happen to people and they’re not equipped to deal with them”. People were obviously feeling very bleak at that point in time.

I Can'T Help It That I'M Popular GIF - Mean Girls Gretchen Wieners Lacey  Chabert - Discover & Share GIFs

Author Facts

10. Stieg Larsson got the idea for his The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo lead, Lisbeth Salander, by imagining what Pippi Longstocking would have been like as an adult.

Even the nameplate for one of Lisbeth’s apartments is an allusion to Pippi’s house Villa Villekulla. I’m sorry, but what??

11. Truman Capote was REALLY superstitious.

He wouldn’t start or finish a book on a Friday, allow more than 3 cigarette butts in an ash tray, stay in hotel rooms with unlucky numbers, call phone numbers that added up to unlucky numbers, or fly on a plane with more than two nuns on board. He always needed to write lying down and frequently carried a security blanket with him. However, some of these things might be due to the fact that he suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder.

12. Charles Dickens had a fascination with morgues and dead bodies

He was in the habit of visiting the Paris Morgue, even on holidays like Christmas and New Years. He referred to the morgue as ‘an old acquaintance’. Morbid, but whatever floats your boat I guess?

Season 13 Episode 22 GIF

13. Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series was created because of a challenge of sorts from a member of an online writers’ workshop.

The man claimed Jim couldn’t write a good story based on a lame idea. He disagreed and said he’d do it based on any two lame ideas of the guy’s choosing. They were “Lost Roman Legion”, and “Pokémon”. And what do you know, the average Goodreads rating for book one, The Furies of Calderon, is over 4 stars.

14. Roald Dahl used to write his books in a small shed at the bottom of his garden.

He would sit in an cosy, old armchair with a pencil and a red book (apparently he never learned to type) for around 4 hours every day. That’s some serious dedication.

BONUS – Did you know that originally James and the Giant Peach was going to be about a giant cherry? It was changed because a peach was supposedly ‘prettier, bigger and squishier’. So weird.

15. Toni Morrison began working on her first novel while she was at university but it wasn’t published until she was 39 years old

She went on to win a Pulitzer prize, be awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, and become the first African-American woman to ever win the Nobel Prize in literature . If that isn’t reason to never give up on your dreams, I don’t know what is.

Ron Burgundy Wow GIF

16. Marissa Meyer wrote her The Lunar Chronicles novella, Fairest, in just 9 days!

Originally it was going to be a short promotional story but ended up growing and developing so much beyond this that it was published as its own novella. I mean, I already knew that Meyer drafted the first 3 books in the series as part of different NaNoWriMos but this is crazy impressive!

BONUS: Meyer drew influence for the series from things like Star Wars and Sailor Moon. No wonder it’s so much fun.


How many of these facts did you already know about? Probably more than me, let’s be honest. Still, I hope you picked up one or two new things to use during super boring conversations.

Missed the first two posts full of bookish and author related facts? You can find them here & here.

Top 5 Tuesday: Books with Food on the Cover

This week’s topic for Top 5 Tuesday (created by Shanah at Bionic Book Worm and now hosted by the lovely Meeghan at Meeghan Reads) is books with food on the cover! I was pretty excited for this topic until… I discovered that I’ve read barely any books with food based covers. Cue my disappointment. So, in order to actually have some semblance of a post, I decided to just showcase some awesome looking food covers that I’ve discovered during my travels through the internet.

Fair warning, I’ve read probably only around 5 of the books showcased here. But I’m not going to let that come between me and covers which showcase cake, pie, ice-cream, pizza, dumplings, pastries and any of the other food goodies in the world.

As it turns out, I was having so much fun finding covers with food on them, I thought: why not also include 5 books with food in the title?

And, of course, I couldn’t possibly leave beverages out of the mix. Here are 5 more covers which feature drinks!

Okay, I’m done now. Promise. My growling stomach can’t take any more. Time to go ferret out something to eat in the kitchen.

What are some of the best covers you’ve seen that feature food or drinks?

Battle of the Book Covers: US vs UK (Round 5)

It’s time for another battle of the book covers! I’ve been doing these posts for a while now and, as it turns out, they’re some of the most high traffic ones on my blog. So clearly you all enjoy them. Just to recap, the scoreboard currently reads at US: 24 points, UK: 22 points. It’s surprisingly still a very close race but I have a feeling the US is going to pull further ahead this round.

The Four Winds – Kristin Hannah

Starting off with Kristin Hannah’s latest release. I like both of these covers. This is another match up where you can see that the brief was similar but the designers did something slightly different with it. I love the fresh looking blue background on the UK cover and it contrasts well with the gold wheat/text. However, I find the layout of the US cover cleaner, and the black background makes the wheat stalks stand out even more.

VERDICT: US Cover


Project Hail Mary – Andy Weir

Once again, same design brief, different results. This one is tricky because while I like the Sci-Fi style font used for the text on the US cover, I think the use of the red embers and smoke in the background of the UK cover is more visually striking. Plus, the US cover has a printed sticker and you all know how I feel about THOSE. The UK cover does have a lot of text on it though which makes it somewhat cluttered. If only they could have combined the elements of both, they would have had a perfect cover! In that case, tie it is.

VERDICT: Tie


Ace of Spades – Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Can I just say, these are both absolutely awesome covers! I love how they each take the playing card inspiration and run with it to create something very dynamic. I really like the spade cut out used to break up the text and imagery on the UK cover and the way the figures are facing each other. Yet, I think I’ll have to give it to the US cover on this one – the way the colour scheme is used, the layout, the art, even the title font…it’s all so well done. *Chef’s kiss*

VERDICT: US cover


The Road Trip – Beth O’Leary

Now, this is another tough one because I really wish I could mix elements from both covers together to create a great Franken-cover. On the US cover, I like the script style title and bold blue background but I’m not a fan of the blobby art style, especially when you look closely at the figures. With the UK cover, I like the art a lot more but find the white background super boring. Alright, we’ll give it to the US cover but only by a hair.

VERDICT: US Cover


Recursion – Blake Crouch

Here are two very different but similarly eye-catching covers. I love the vivid electric green on the US cover and the imagery of the infinity symbol, extremely fitting for the story. Overall, it’s a very clean, modern sci-fi cover. The UK cover effectively utilises the orange-blue complementary colour scheme to really make things pop and the layers upon layers of those curved interlocking rooms is quite visually captivating, too. For some reason it gives me The Matrix vibes. Ah, this one is really tricky!! I think I’m going US but barely.

Verdict: US Cover


Conversations with Friends – Sally Rooney

These two covers for Conversations with Friends have super similar vibes. Yellow backgrounds, highly similar fonts. The only real differences are the art and layout. I love how neat the US cover looks without all the extra promotional text e.g. quotes, award wins. Yet, having seen the full face images of the art used, it’s put me off somewhat because they look really odd. I also don’t remember either of the main characters have closely cropped hair? Or am I wrong?. On the UK cover, I’d like to think we have Bobby on the left, looking for a new adventure and Francis on the right, trying to hide herself away.

Verdict: UK Cover


A Discovery of Witches – Deborah Harkness

The UK cover in this comparison is actually a recover and was done to match the first and second books with a midseries change for the third book. While the UK cover is clean, simple and the red looks nice against the black (I enjoy the way the colour gradually shifts over all three covers in the series), it’s also fairly boring. The US cover, on the other hand, is slightly busy for my liking, but I like the midnight blue background and the way they’ve incorporated the alchemical imagery. It definitely looks very old school mystical and magical.

Verdict: US Cover


Anna K – Jenny Lee

I’m not super keen on either of these covers but there’s something about the US cover that feels super lazy to me. It’s just a model floating in blue space. Yes, the title font is nice but I expect more. On the UK cover, the pink and gold background is certainly very striking and works well to make Anna stand out. Although, I do think that the use of the magenta for the title wasn’t the best as it blends a little with the blue of the coat.

VERDICT: UK Cover


Ariadne – Jennifer Saint

Okay, I’m in love with both of these covers. They’re stunning. The layered design of the US cover using the burnt orange against the navy is so nice. The layout is perfectly done as well. HOWEVER, the UK cover has foiling. Shiny, shiny foiling. And, as we all know, I am a massive magpie when it comes to shiny covers. Those leaves are so darn pretty against the blue background. Even the design itself with the tree, ship, snake and border is lovely. Sorry US cover, you’re nice but SHINY!

Verdict: UK Cover


Cinderella is Dead – Kalynn Bayron

My verdict on this one is purely about personal preference regarding the art style. There’s something about the body positioning (especially the neck) and the lighting in the US cover that I find…weird. But I really like the fact that they’ve incorporated an ominous enchanted forest background. The art style on the right looks more real to me, especially those thick bouncy curls, and I like the fact that she’s got a few cuts, tears and bruises – much more badass.

Verdict: UK Cover


Malibu Rising – Taylor Jenkins Reid

I’ve used Taylor Jenkins Reid’s books a few times on these lists. Probably because her books always seem to have different US and UK covers. I’ll be blunt, I’m going with the US cover on this match up. Mostly because that stupid printed sticker on the UK cover is driving me absolutely nuts. Every time I look at the cover, my eyes are drawn there first. Don’t get me wrong, the colours in the sky and ocean are super pretty but I can’t do it. With the US cover, I like the variations in the blue of the ocean and how nicely the text stands out against it.

VERDICT: US Cover


Never Let Me Go – Kazuo Ishiguro

We have two completely different covers for the US and UK editions of Never Let Me Go. While the US version tries to use the facial close up to get across the idea of purity and innocence, the UK cover showcases movement and life, almost like children running around, playing. I’m split about this comparison as they both have nice qualities to them and I wouldn’t mind having either in my bookcase.

VERDICT: Tie


Just as I thought, the UK has taken a hit this time around and the US is pulling ahead more. Let’s check out the updated scoreboard:

Who would have won these match ups in your eyes? Am I on the right track or clearly blind?

Missed any of the previous rounds? You can find them here: ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR.

Bookish Fun: Book Covers with Autumn Vibes

Everyone has a favourite season. Mine, by a long way, is Autumn. I love watching the leaves change colour from green to gorgeous shades of red, orange and yellow, and finally getting to break out my warmer wardrobe again (I own A LOT of sweaters). While all you northern hemisphere people are enjoying the first few weeks of spring, in the southern hemisphere I’m currently throwing my usual ‘Thank god, summer is over party’. With this in mind, I thought I’d do a fun little post to showcase some book covers which really capture those Autumn feelings. Leaves, warm colour schemes, coziness, rustic vibes, all that wonderful goodness. Enjoy!

Did I miss any notable ones? What’s your favourite Autumn feeling book cover?

Battle of the Book Covers: US vs UK (Round 4)

It’s been a while since I last put some US and UK book covers in a battle to the death. Okay, it’s not that dramatic. Still, I think it’s time to put the score board back up and see which region’s covers reign supreme. Just in case you need a catch up, here are rounds 1, 2 and 3. At this point the US is in the lead on 17 points with the UK right behind on 16 points. You guys know the drill by now, US covers on the left and UK on the right. Let’s dive in!

Hamnet – Maggie O’Farrell

While I do like the idea of the renaissance style painting and the text on scripts of parchment on the US cover, I love the elegance of the UK version. The gold, nature based designs around the letter are stunning.

Verdict: UK Cover


The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V. E. Schwab

This was an easy decision, especially considering how much money I forked out to get a copy of the US cover sent to Australia (UGH). I’m not sure what it is about the UK Cover, but I’m just not really a fan. The squiggly lines look a little odd and I wish that the text had been more elegant. The US cover is so simple but the text with the star constellation incorporated is magical.

Verdict: US Cover


The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett

Now this is a tough one. I love the semi-abstract nature of the imagery on both covers. There’s so many organic, flowing lines. I also feel like both covers capture the idea of two sisters being different parts of a whole very well. In the end though, I’m going to go with the UK cover but only just! It’s mostly because I find the colour scheme easier on the eyes than the shades of blue, green, orange and pink blended together on the US version.

Verdict: UK Cover


The Midnight Library – Matt Haig

I’m definitely a fan of the starry sky background on the top half of the UK cover but the rest of it is kind of boring, especially the snooze-worthy title font. The US cover, on the other hand, is an example of a simple cover which still looks engaging. I love all the little images inside the ovals. They remind me of airplane windows. The colour contrast of the yellow and orange with the navy is nice, too.

Verdict: US Cover


Clap When You Land – Elizabeth Acevedo

Another difficult match up, again because the concepts are similar but the styles are different. I love how both covers utilise half the girls’ faces and a clear sense of colour contrast. I think I like the more realistic art style of the UK cover better, however I prefer the colour scheme (the use of green and pink to create harmony and difference is well done) and layout of the US cover.

Verdict: US Cover


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

This is another pairing where the publishers have executed a same-same vision with small differences. It’s a tough choice. I think the title stands out better on the UK cover and I like the way the dress falls at the bottom. I also feel as though the brown wall offers good contrast against the green. However, the US cover screams old Hollywood more and I believe it captures the sexy, glamorous image Evelyn portrayed to the world a lot better. Very Marilyn Monroe.

Verdict: US Cover (By a smidge!)


If I Had Your Face – Frances Cha

My god, that yellow and red overlay on the US cover is gorgeous. I love the way the title text takes up a lot of space and cuts through the colour so cleanly. Yet, the UK cover is really eye-catching, mostly because it’s super weird to look at. You just find yourself staring at it trying to make sense of what’s happening. I’m torn on this one, guys. There’s stuff to like about both. Tie it is then.

Verdict: Tie


If We Were Villains – M. L. Rio

Considering how much I loved this book, I wish I’d bought the US hardback now. The skull, script and dark lighting are making all my dark academia dreams come true. The UK cover (which has since been redesigned) is very simple. I like the ’embossed’ bordering and big dramatic title text, however the dead sparrow image only really makes sense if you’ve read the novel and look kind of odd if you haven’t.

Verdict: US Cover


The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell

There’s something very soothing about the US cover for The Bone Clocks. Maybe it’s the reflected sky or perhaps it’s those beautiful layers of perfect circles, one after the other. Still, I definitely find the UK cover more striking and visually dynamic. The colours, sense of movement, and all the tiny details to pick apart make this one the stronger cover in my opinion.

Verdict: UK Cover


A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder – Holly Jackson

Both the US & UK covers have the same concept here – a messy looking murder board – but they go about it slightly differently. I have to say, I’m more a fan of the US cover and it’s mostly because the title text is better integrated into the image than the splat-on-the-page approach of the UK cover. I also feel like the slightly grayer background feels more ominous looking than the stark white which is what you want for a mystery novel.

Verdict: US Cover


City of Girls – Elizabeth Gilbert

This is another set of covers with somewhat similar concepts, this time with the use of showgirl costume feathers. I appreciate the colour scheme and bold, theater style text on the US cover, but there’s something about the image of the showgirl peering over the top of the text in the UK version that I really like.

Verdict: UK Cover


My Dark Vanessa – Kate Elizabeth Russell

I have to say, I don’t really like the US cover for My Dark Vanessa. I appreciate the incorporation of the butterfly as a reference to Vladimir Nabokov who wrote Lolita (which is referred to many times in this book), but the image doesn’t do much for me. The UK cover, however, features one of my favourite colour combos on covers – orange and blue, a complementary pairing. I also love the bold, blocky title text woven into the hair strands. So clean looking.

Verdict: UK Cover


Okay, better stop before I get too carried away (which is easy to do when you’re looking at a bunch of cool book covers). Time to check the score board!

US Covers: 24 Points

UK Covers: 22 Points

It seems that the US is still in the lead. Hm, interesting. Better get your act together UK, you’re falling behind. As always, how would you have decided these match ups? Any favourite covers among the bunch?