Welcome to another edition of WWW Wednesday in which we answer the big bookworm questions of the week – 1) what have you just finished reading, 2) what are you currently reading, and 3) which lucky book is making it’s way off your TBR and into your hot little hands next?
Sally’s debut, The Hating Game, may have had its flaws, but it was still a pretty fun read and the same goes for 99 Percent Mine. I liked that the protagonist, Darcy, was confident and a little wild, but also slightly messed up. The set up itself is cute – Tom, the childhood friend, renovating Darcy’s grandmother’s house – and I also really enjoyed the fun banter between Darcy and Tom. Darcy’s shamelessly flirtatious and forward, and Tom’s kind of awkward. However, the book does seem to suffer from a few of the same issues I had with The Hating Game – the annoying macho/alpha maleness that occasionally pops out in Tom (which doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of his personality) and the fact that there’s very little actual plot. Also, the climax is a bit ‘what the…?’ because it’s just such a non-entity, as in, why is this causing so much melodrama? Otherwise, it’s enjoyably fluffy chick-lit.
City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments 3#) – Cassandra Clare | GR
I told you guys I would continue my re-read, I told ya! And here I finally am (about two years after my re-read of books one and two, but moving right along…). Unlike City of Bones and City of Ashes which were slightly less impressive than my 15-year-old self thought they were, City of Glass is surprisingly just as good as I remember. Sure, some of the drama is a little frustrating when you already have all the answers to the story’s big twists, but the pacing in this one is spot on and the side characters are given more time in the spotlight. It’s just so much better! I should enjoy it while it lasts because City of Fallen Angels is next and, lord help me, the struggle will be real.
I’m kind of cheating a bit here because I’ve technically already started this, but as I’m only a couple of pages in, I feel it’s okay to classify it as ‘Up Next’. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this sweet, Asian rep, YA contemporary. I love the fact that it has a university setting, it’s an own voices novel, it has more to the plot than just the romance, and that it generally seems adorable. Even after a few pages, I can tell it’s going to be funny and that I’m going to fall in love with Mei. I usually read a lot of books by white American authors about white American characters, and I think it’s important for me to try and read a bit more diversely. I’m so keen to get properly stuck into this.
What’s the situation with your reading at the moment? Current read, just finished and up next?
This fabulous Lord of the Rings themed tag (and it’s lovely graphics) comes from Nandini @ Unputdownable Books. As I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of the LotR books (too wordy and too much info dumping, although they do have some really wonderful individual quotes, as you can see from this post) but I looooovvveeee the movies so when I stumbled across this, I knew I had to do it. Nandini’s also added in Gollum just to round out the question total.
Gandalf – A Book that Taught You Something
The Harry Potter Series – J. K. Rowling
I’m going to double down on Nandini’s obvious answer for this one with good old HP. I grew up with this series and I think I learned a lot about bravery, friendship and loyalty from it. Hermione, in particular, taught me a lot about having a great work ethic and not being ashamed of being smart. Luna showcased the fact that it’s okay to be a little bit quirky and not to worry about what others think of you when you have good friends who accept you as you are. From Neville, I learnt that you can still be brave even if you’re scared and that it’s important to call people out on things even if they happen to be friends. Honestly, I could keep going but better not otherwise we’ll be here all day.
Frodo – A Book that Left a Mark on You
Sadie – Courtney Summers
Sadie was such a raw, emotional and unflinchingly honest read. The book goes to some pretty dark and deep places, and tackles some heavy topics. I don’t think I’ve read many things like it. As a result, it really burrowed its way into my thoughts and emotions. Even without the sudden and open ending, I still think this book would have been playing on me for a long time afterwards. It’s definitely not something I’ll easily forget for a long time.
Legolas – A Book You Finished in One Sitting
The Selection – Kiera Cass
I find it difficult to get enough time to read books in one sitting because of my schedule but also because the books I read are often a bit too big. So, instead, I’ve picked something I raced through like there was no tomorrow (which also happens to be very short). The Selection is not well written and its main character, America, can be extremely frustrating, but it’s just so darn addictive in its trashy-ness. I mean, it’s the dystopian Bachelor. I had an absolute ball reading this book and finished it in no time at all. It’s comfort fiction at its best.
Gimli – A Book that Features an Unlikely Friendship
Zelie & Amari (Children of Blood & Bone – Toni Adeyemi)
While I didn’t absolutely adore Children of Blood and Bone in its entirety, one of the parts I really enjoyed was the development of Zelie and Amari’s friendship. These two are from very different worlds and part of a social structure that puts them at odds with one another. When the book starts out, Zelie is extremely judgemental and resentful of Amari, treating her like the snobby and useless princess she believes her to be. However, over time she comes to realise that Amari is a lot more than this. Zelie helps Amari to come out of her shell and be brave. In turn, at the end of the book when Zelie needs it most, Amari is there for her and pushes her to stay strong even when it seems like all hope is lost.
Merry – A Book that Pleasantly Surprised You
Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
I went into Fangirl thinking it’d be another cute, fluffy YA contemporary book that I’d enjoy but because of the hype would likely end up feeling a bit overrated. In the end, I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed it (a lot) but especially by the fact that it actually covered some more serious issues like mental health, broken families, and binge drinking. This book gave me some serious fanfiction nostaglia and while I’m not crazy about it like some people are, I wouldn’t say it’s massively overrated. Also, Levi = major love heart eyes.
Pippin – A Book that Made You Laugh
The Hating Game – Sally Thorne
Books rarely manage to make me laugh out loud beyond a casual snort, or maybe a slightly heavier breath, but as I mentioned in my recent review, The Hating Game did it on multiple occasions. I just love the banter and snark between Lucy and Josh – they have fantastic chemistry and although the barbs can be brutal on occasion, I can’t help cracking up when the real winners come out. Lucy, as a narrator, also manages to come up with some pretty funny commentary on events, while even some of the situations themselves are just amusing on their own (e.g. paintball warfare).
Boromir – A Book/Series that You Think Ended Too Soon
Shades of Magic Series – V. E. Schwab**
Okay, with already three books in this series I’m probably just being greedy. Also, considering the fact that a lot of series go on far too long beyond where they should have finished, Schwab likely did the right thing going out on a high. Still, I want MORE. *spoilers*A Conjuring of Light ends with Kell and Lila going off to explore the world together. Rhy has become king and is back together with Alucard. I would love to have read about Kell & Lila’s adventures, seen more of the world beyond the taste we got in book 3, and found out how Rhy rebuilt Red London/learned how to be a ruler. *end spoilers* I also feel like there’s a whole bunch of questions I’d really like to get answers for, in particular about Kell’s and Lila’s backgrounds.
** Okay, in the process of writing this post, I’ve actually just realised (HOW DID I MISS THIS) that last year Schwab signed a book deal for three more novels set in the same world as ADSOM. It’ll be called Threads of Power*jumps up and down and screams in excitement*. Okay, it’s not a direct sequel but I’ll take it!
Sam – A Book with Memorable Side Characters Who Stole the Show
The Shadowhunters Books – Cassandra Clare
Last year I re-read the first two books in this series (I will eventually re-read/read the rest, okay! I’m slow!) and realised that my favourite characters actually weren’t in them as much as I remembered. Over time, I think Cassie realised that although Jace, Clary and Simon were her leads, people really loved Isabelle, Alec and Magnus, and as a result, they became much more present as time went on. Honestly, Magnus and Alec are so shortchanged in the early books, it’s almost criminal. I’m so glad that over time they got more page time to properly develop their stories and relationships.
Aragorn – A Good Book with a Bad/Average Cover
Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead
I’ve mentioned my eternal love for the Vampire Academy books repeatedly on this blog. It’s one of my absolute favourite series (exciting plots, fantastic characters, dramatic and funny writing, fab ships, and a great friendship at its heart) but the one thing I just can’t get behind is the covers. *sigh* Especially the first book in the series. What is it about YA books and their tendency to put random models on covers in awkward or weird positions? Worse, they’ve been recovered a couple of times and can never seem to come up with a winner. Even the 10th-anniversary edition is lacking a wow factor. Just because a book has vampires in it does not mean it has to look seedy.
Gollum – A Book that had Great Potential but Disappointed You in the End
Sabriel – Garth Nix
Sabriel is one of those books in fantasy circles that people seem to really talk up and Garth Nix isn’t exactly an unknown author either. The book has an interesting concept, too, and with all this in mind, I thought I’d be in for a really great read. Parts of it were good but on the whole, I had such a hard time getting into it and often found myself bored. The magic system that I’d heard so many amazing things about massively confused me and the world itself just felt a little odd. If there was one thing I did quite like it was Mogget, Sabriel’s massively powerful magical companion trapped in a cat’s body.
And there we have it. Done and dusted. You guys know I’m not one for tagging people but if you’re a LotR fan and would love to do this tag, I highly recommend it- just make sure to link back to Nandini’s original post.
Who’s your favourite member of the fellowship? Mine is definitely Sam – that sweet little hobbit, saving the world with his heart of gold and a frying pan. But if we’re talking movies, I should also mention that I’m with you, Eowyn – Aragorn is a total dreamboat.
There are so many books on a bookworm’s TBR in a given year. So. Many. And as the months progress, we add a whole bunch of new releases and discover books we should have read FOREVER ago. Before you know it, it’s towering over you and you’re facing the question of which book do you read next over and over and over again until you either die or the year ends. As you’d expect, this means that a lot of them are bound to get left out by the time you hit December. There’s only so much time!!! Once again, I ask, WHERE IS MY TIMETURNER?
Anyway, here are 10 books that didn’t make it onto my 2018 reading challenge (some may not have even made it onto my 2017 challenge…awkward…) but let’s cross our fingers and hope they have better luck this year. I mean, it’s a 50%-50% chance – unless of course it’s over 500 pages, then it’s more like a 20% chance of getting read.
The Poppy War – R. F. Kuang
REASON: It’s a pretty decent size meaning transporting it will be difficult. It’s also an expansive, new fantasy world with a whole lot of new world building details so I really need to be in the mood for it.
Muse of Nightmares – Laini Taylor
REASON: I need to re-read Strange the Dreamer first because my memory sucks and I’m worried I’ll start it and then go, ‘what is this’, ‘who is that’, ‘when did that happen’ over and over until it’s over.
What If It’s Us – Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera
REASON: No idea. I just kept picking other YA contemporaries to start instead. I think maybe I might also have lost a bit of momentum after I read some mixed reviews.
Saga, Vol. 2 – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
REASON: I really need to sit down and read through this in the space of an afternoon. It’s not something you bring on the train (blood & boobs might make for some awkward morning trips). So my lame excuse is that I never made the time for it when I should have. Too busy doing gosh knows what.
Winter (The Lunar Chronicles 4#) – Marissa Meyer
REASON: I really want to buy this in hardback to match my copies of Scarlet and Cress (we’re just ignoring the fact that Cinder is a paperback). Unfortunately, that means I have to order it online on Book Depository and IT NEVER SEEMS TO COME DOWN IN PRICE. Basically I’m waiting until my wallet won’t hurt getting it.
The Song Rising – Samantha Shannon
REASON: I managed to do my reread of The Bone Season but didn’t make it to The Mime Order. This means, once again, I didn’t make it to The Song Rising. Once I reread book two I can go into this one with all the facts fresh. Damn, memory. Then again, at this point the time between rereads for books one and two is probably getting so long that I’ll be lost anyway. *sigh*
The Darkest Minds – Alexandra Bracken
REASON: I didn’t buy this one until the last few months of 2018 so I think maybe I just had other priorities? Not sure. I’ll get there.
City of Glass – Cassandra Clare
REASON: Okay, I’m very, very slowly working my way through Cassie Clare’s books again. One day far, far into the future (as it’s looking now) I’ll be able to read Lady Midnight and actually have a clue what’s happening. CoG & CoFA will be rereads but the rest will be new (I gave up on the series previously). I did reread books 1 & 2 in 2017 but progress has stagnated since then. Still, I’m expecting a resurgence in 2019. Here I come The Dark Artifices!!
The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus 4#) – Rick Riordan
REASON: In my defence, I did read like 5 Riordan books in 2018 so it’s not such a big deal that I didn’t get to this one. I read books 2 & 3 in The Heroes of Olympus series back to back so I needed a teensy break before moving forward. I also need to buy it and because I like the US covers better, once again I need to order it.
Sleeping Beauties – Stephen King
REASON: Have you seen this book? It’s so big it makes paperweights cry. I have other enormous books on my bedside table that I need to finish first before I can even think about dealing with this brick. I want to but it’s going to take some time.
Which books missed out on being added to your 2018 reading challenge?
When I was ten, I was captivated by the magic of The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi. The fey in these stories varied in their appearance and nature, ranging from brownies and goblins to nixies and ogres, but just like in any other book about the fair folk, they were also tricksy, mysterious and of course, dangerous. As I moved into my teenage years, fairy stories soon began to lose their appeal in favour of vampires, angels, and werewolves. However, over the last few years the genre has had an epic resurgence in fantasy and, much like a lot of other people’s, my interest has returned with a similar vengeance. So, recently I started thinking about what it is exactly that’s so appealing about stories dealing with the fey these days, and here’s what I came up with:
One of the best parts of fantasy is magic and it’s something that features pretty much constantly in fey stories. It’s most common purpose is reinforcing a hierarchy – separating the all-powerful rulers from the ruled or, more commonly, the annoying antagonist character that needs to get their butt kicked from our central characters. Magic in fey stories is also often a court identifier and shows just how rooted a fairy character’s court is in their personality. In Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, Summer King Keenan isn’t just the ruler of the Summer Court, he literally exudes sunlight and warmth. And we wonder why fey are usually arrogant asses…
Magic’s great at spicing up conflict situations. I mean, reading about Aelin kicking ass in the Throne of Glass books is pretty awesome but assassin abilities plus fey magic? Now you’re talking. Fairy magic also acts as a great plot device in regards to coming of age or transformation stories, particularly where it’s somehow bestowed upon someone who used to be human (or at least thought they were) and now has to learn how to use it. Eventually they accept themselves, develop as a person and progress on their path towards bad-assery, as we find with Laurel in Wings and Feyre in A Court of Mist and Fury.
Truth Telling & Two-Sidedness
A fascinating component of fairy lore is the idea that the fey are incapable of lying. Yet, because of this they’re exceptionally good at telling half-truths and using the truth to manipulate situations to their advantage. Just look at the scene introducing the fairy queen in Cassandra Clare’s City of Ashes – one conversation, a little bit of honesty, and suddenly everything’s topsy-turvy in our characters’ relationships. I love this trope because it forces you and the characters to read between the lines of what’s being said and creates the perfect circumstances for a plot twist or betrayal.
…Or a reverse betrayal as the case is in Margaret Rogerson’s An Enchantment of Ravens.
This idea feeds into the fairy nature of being two-faced. While the fey are outwardly very beautiful and seem to delight in light-hearted things like games, music, dance and food, underneath it all there’s a compelling darkness and twisted cruelty. This provides such a great opportunity for characters to rise above all of that in order to serve as interesting protagonists. Yet, it also allows for some pretty terrible villains, acting out of a desire for power or simply their own amusement (like the asshole fairies in Black’s The Cruel Prince).
Immortality & Beauty
Okay, let’s be honest, it’s rare to find fairy based stories that don’t involve a romantic component and if there’s romance going on, you can bet that the characters involved will be damn attractive.
And fairies are just that. They’re athletic, beautiful (often almost verging on too much so), experienced in the ways of the world, and will likely stay that way forever – that is unless someone decides to physically attack them. Essentially, there’s the attractive elements found in the vampire genre minus the creepy, well, dead issue. Listening to every human character go on and on about how amazing looking fey characters are in comparison to themselves does get a bit old but hey, a reader needs someone swoon worthy once in a while, even if they can be kind of a sucky person on occasion (e.g. Prince Cardan from The Cruel Prince, Dorian from Dark Swan, or Kiaran from The Falconer)
Courts & Conflict
Another very common feature of fey based stories these days is to follow elements of traditional fairy lore by dividing the population up into different courts. This is usually based on seasons, times of day or whether they’re feeling particularly Seelie or not (haha…okay, bad joke. I’ll see myself out.) It’s a structure used in Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, Richelle Mead’s Dark Swan books, and Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses series, just to name a few. And why? Because it’s a perfect driver for conflict. These courts don’t just differ in name, but also in culture, attitudes and temperament. Then again, it doesn’t help that fey kingdoms often resemble modern-era Europe in their desire for power and tendency to prey on the weak. Plus, anyone who lives as long as fairies do is bound to build up some serious grudges over the years. If it were me, I’d start screwing with people just to alleviate the mind numbing boredom of immortality…
Fairy courts also provide opportunities for alliances and political intrigue, and at times even all-out war. The fun part is watching them try to interact with one another with sometimes awful or hilarious results. See A Court of Wings and Ruin for an entertaining example. Essentially, Me:
Are you a fan of fey related books? If so, why and what are some of your favourites?