The Fellowship of the Ring Tag

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

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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. 

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Frodo – A Book that Left a Mark on You

Sadie – Courtney Summers

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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.

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Legolas – A Book You Finished in One Sitting

The Selection – Kiera Cass

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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.

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Gimli – A Book that Features an Unlikely Friendship

Zelie & Amari (Children of Blood & Bone – Toni Adeyemi)

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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.

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Merry – A Book that Pleasantly Surprised You

Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

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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.

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Pippin – A Book that Made You Laugh

The Hating Game – Sally Thorne

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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).

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Boromir – A Book/Series that You Think Ended Too Soon

Shades of Magic Series – V. E. Schwab**

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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!

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Sam – A Book with Memorable Side Characters Who Stole the Show

The Shadowhunters Books – Cassandra Clare

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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.

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Aragorn – A Good Book with a Bad/Average Cover

Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead

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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.

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Gollum – A Book that had Great Potential but Disappointed You in the End

Sabriel – Garth Nix

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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.

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Mini Reviews | Let’s Get Romantic: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang & The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Let me set the scene: It was December of 2018. There were four days left in the month and I was but 3 small books short of a beautifully round 90 reads for the year. And so began my chick lit binge. I mean, what’s easier to blitz through in the space of a day than adorable couples having steamy sex whilst also being frustratingly unable to see just how perfect they are for each other? Exactly.

With that in mind, I found myself tackling The Kiss Quotient & The Hating Game – two extremely popular contemporary romance books that seem to have been popping up online in recent months so frequently it feels like an epic game of internet whack-a-mole. Admittedly, it’s been a good long while since I’ve read a book in this genre, but it turns out that getting back on the horse isn’t even close to difficult. Here’s how things went with the guilty-pleasure-a-thon.

The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang |GR

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The premise of The Kiss Quotient is simple: Our leading lady is Stella, a thirty-year-old, talented econometrician with little romantic experience and Asperger’s. Hoping to improve her skills in the… “love” department, Stella hires Michael, a mixed-race escort in huge debt with a whole lot of emotional baggage. Spoiler: the two fall for each other. 

Let’s get this out of the way first, yes, the storyline is completely unrealistic. It’s Pretty Woman in reverse and would in no way happen in real life, but as I happen to freakin’ love Pretty Woman, no complaints from me.

What does frustrate me is the forced will-they-won’t-they tension in the second half. We all know you will SO STOP BEING SO OBTUSE AND SAY YOU LOVE EACH OTHER! The conflict is mostly boiled down to both parties thinking they’re not good enough for the other or that their baggage is a problem for the other person. It clearly isn’t because if it were, they’d be a complete ass. Gawd, I hate miscommunication.

This frustration aside… I really enjoyed The Kiss Quotient. The leads are so damn likeable and the romance is ridiculously sweet. I’m not autistic but even I could relate to Stella, and because of how well she’s written (Hoang herself is autistic), it’s also very easy to understand her. She’s endearing, successful and I love the fact that she comes to realise she shouldn’t have to change for anyone. Michael, too, is really lovely. He’s creative, protective, makes sacrifices for his family, and accepts Stella exactly as she is. Also, did I mention he looks like a Korean tv star? *swoon* (bonus points for including ethnic diversity too). But honestly, the best part is that they fit together so perfectly. Even just reading about the two eating ice cream makes me go aww. Get married and have babies already.

To answer your question, yes, there are several sex scenes and yes, they’re graphic. BUT, somehow they’re also the perfect combo of sweet and sultry. Hoang builds up to them slowly and oh my god, consent. Consent is dealt with so well in this book. Michael wants Stella to be entirely comfortable with whatever they do and he’s willing to take it very slowly to get there. It’s both hot and romantic. Let’s say it together kids, consent is sexy.

Finally, the book just advocates a really lovely idea – that it’s not just okay to be different, it’s these differences that make you loveable. You are who you are, not something to be fixed.

Can recommend as a super nice way to spend a frantic afternoon reading to meet a ridiculous book goal.

The Hating Game – Sally Thorne | GR

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Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman are executive assistants to the two CEOs of the recently merged, Bexley Gamin publishing house. The problem is, they hate each other. Lucy can’t stand Josh’s serious and uptight demeanour, while Lucy’s colourful clothes and bubbly attitude drive Joshua nuts. When both come up for the same promotion, they make a deal – winner gets the dream job, loser resigns. Except, as decision day comes closer it turns out that perhaps Lucy doesn’t hate Joshua after all, and maybe he doesn’t hate her either. But is it real or just another round in their long-running hating game?

If there’s one thing I can say for sure about The Hating Game, it’s that it’s funny. Not just an extra hard exhale kind of funny but actual chuckle funny. The banter between Josh and Lucy, both barbs and flirting, is great but also really shows off their fantastic chemistry. Honestly, having such a smooth back and forth with another person = the dream. Snipping aside, the more personal conversations between the two are really nice as well. Slowly we get to see each character gain a better appreciation for the other and understand their issues such as Josh’s problems with his dad and Lucy’s loneliness.   

If you enjoy the enemies-to-lovers trope, this has got your name on it. I do have to say though, that I wish the enemies section or early part of the transitional period had lasted longer as once that part of the storyline kicks in, it does go a bit full throttle. The tension becomes less about how they feel about each other and more when they’re going to sleep together. Sure, that can be fun, but it does turn Lucy into a bit of sex-crazed nut for a while and result in a whole bunch of scenes that build to nothing.

Again, yes, there’s sex scenes and yes, they’re not airy-fairy either. The more graphic scenes don’t really appear until towards the end of the book apart from one exception, *spoiler* a sex dream of Lucy’s which I still kind of question the necessity of in such heavy detail. Regardless, all are glasses-steam-up level hotness, never fear.  

I quite liked Lucy as a narrator and she cracked me up repeatedly. There was the occasional childish or silly comment/action and, god, I wish her height hadn’t been repeated every two bloody seconds, but still, I appreciated her drive, sense of humour, balls (that ending, you go girl) and confidence. Josh’s at times dominating personality and aggression dragged his character down for me (ugh, alpha male bullshit) but then he’d have a particularly sweet moment with Lucy, do that…smile thing and I’d cave. Damn it.

Not perfect, but certainly a solid contemporary romance and fun way to spend a few hours. Go forth and enjoy.