Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Meant to Read in 2018 but Didn’t (Because I Suck)

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.

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The Poppy War – R. F. Kuang

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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.

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Muse of Nightmares – Laini Taylor

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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.

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What If It’s Us – Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

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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.

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Saga, Vol. 2 – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

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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.

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Winter (The Lunar Chronicles 4#) – Marissa Meyer

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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.

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The Song Rising – Samantha Shannon

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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*

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The Darkest Minds – Alexandra Bracken

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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.

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City of Glass – Cassandra Clare

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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!!

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The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus 4#) – Rick Riordan

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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.

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Sleeping Beauties – Stephen King

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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.

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Which books missed out on being added to your 2018 reading challenge? 


For Top 10 Tuesday topics, see Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

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Book Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (A Re-Read)

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Bloomsbury | August, 2013 | p. 452

I first read TBS back in 2013 and was super excited to get my hands on The Mime Order when it came out in 2015. Over two years later, here I am, eager to start flipping pages on The Song Rising EXCEPT, I have a problem: amongst all the waiting for the next instalment I’ve gotten a little hazy on the details. Do I remember the major events? Yes. However, I know the minute I pull back that lovely white and orange cover Samantha Shannon’s intricate word building is going to hit me like a truck at top speed. And so it’s clearly time for…

A RE-READ!

Just like last time, I tore through TBS in the space of three days. I stayed up into the early hours of the morning, unable to tear myself away and I’m happy to report that my previous rating holds up the second time through.

For those who haven’t read it, here’s the GR synopsis:

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The first few pages of this book are not easy to get through, regardless of whether it’s your first time or not. It’s easy to feel discouraged because to put it bluntly, the first 10% or so of the book is DENSE. Shannon has created a wonderfully detailed and complex world for her stories but boy, is it difficult to get a handle on. History, government organisations, geography, characters, clairvoyance, technology, politics –it hits you over the head like a piano in an old Looney Toons cartoon.  No-one’s a fan of massive info dumps but in this case I understand why Shannon’s done it. There’s a lot of information to get through in this new world and in order to understand the plot, you need to have a basic grasp on a lot of it. My advice: sticker the clairvoyance chart at the beginning and the glossary at the end – you’re going to need them, a lot. Shannon also likes to incorporate a lot of world specific slang into her writing. Just when you think you know vaguely what’s going on, she throws another unfamiliar term at you. This didn’t really bother me as much as it did other people because much of it can be determined from context, and the ones that can’t become less of a problem as you go on.

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Plot wise, it’s important to know going in that while the beginning and end are fairly action packed sections, the rest of the novel is a bit slower with a few exceptional chapters. This is because these parts of the novel are centred upon (a) character building – particularly Paige’s, (b) Paige learning about her situation and working out how to get out of it, and (c) developing Paige’s relationships. For me, this was enough to keep me wanting more. Both A and C are dealt with through the help of flashbacks. I know a lot of people hate this technique but here they serve to aid our understanding of who Paige is. More importantly, they give us an idea about the London crime syndicate and characters that become prominent in The Mime Order. A lot of the book is devoted to Paige’s conversations with certain people so if this doesn’t float your boat, maybe stay away. The characters around Sheol I are decent enough, but all of the members of the Seven dials are compelling, even though they’re developed to varying degrees.  Nevertheless, the most important of Paige’s relationships is that formed with her Rephaite keeper, the Warden. Warden is an interesting and complex character, and it takes time to understand him and his intentions. As a key part of the novel, it’s also engaging to watch his and Paige’s relationship gradually develop over the six month period as they come to understand one another and build up trust. *spoiler* I will say though that the romantic jump does feel a little bit too sudden despite the ground gained. *spoiler over*

Paige herself, in my opinion, remains a likeable character. She’s strong, emotionally and physically, but comes with limits and vulnerabilities. She refuses to give up despite the apparent hopelessness of her situation and is constantly on the move, trying new things and searching for any piece of information that’ll help. And yet, she’s also flawed and doesn’t always come out on top. When she does, she needs help. In this way, she feels like an actual person, someone who makes mistakes and has a lot of room to grow throughout the series, which is a great thing.

The novel’s magic system is quite confusing and a little over complicated, and I still find myself a little unsure about it. However, I’ve found that with TBS it’s definitely possible to enjoy the use of magic and references to it without grasping the full picture. People sending images to people’s minds, controlling ghosts, and telling the future with tarot cards is still awesome even if you don’t understand the why.  I liked reading about Paige developing and learning more about her abilities. I’m a bit of a sucker for a good training session in a novel, especially where magic is concerned, and it’s nice to know that Paige is still somewhat at the beginning of understanding what clairvoyants can do, much like us, the reader.

While I recognise quite a few issues with TBS from a writing standpoint, I still can’t help but find that I really enjoy reading it. Even though it’s complicated, the world is compelling, and the characters are fantastic. There’s action, magic, romance, mystery, criminals, monsters, ghosts, alternate dimensions, and I just can’t help but be completely swept up by it all. I think that in this case, TBS is just one of those books where either you’ll be completely put off or, despite the mental haze, you’ll be more than happy to be along for the ride. Lucky for me, I fall into the latter group.

Have you read The Bone Season? What were your thoughts on it?

Happy reading!

Love ash

 

 

 

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