Chocolate Book Tag

Chocolate Book Tag

I’ve seen quite a few booktubers post this tag and I thought it looked like fun, but it didn’t occur to me that I didn’t have to be on youtube to do it until I saw CKReads‘ post, and it occurred to me that I was allowed too. I can be kind of stupid sometimes. Anyway, nobody tagged me, but I want to play. This tag was created by A Daydreamer’s Rambles.

Dark ChocolateA book that covers a dark topic (abuse, domestic violence, rape, lonlieness, bullying, death, etc)

AGatheringLight

I went through everything I’ve read in the last year or so and I couldn’t find much that dealt with these topics. Well, that’s not true. I read plenty of fantasy books which include pretty much every topic in that list, but I felt like the intention here was to give a contemporary or historical book. In the end, I found A Gathering Light, by Jennifer Donnelly. I read this quite a few years ago now, and I really enjoyed it. There are two plots here, interwoven. One is the true story of Grace Brown who drowned in 1906 under mysterious circumstances. Then there’s Mattie Gokey, the fictional girl who reads Grace’s letters and figures out what happened to her. There’s a whole lot going on here, and it’s hard to know what to mention without giving spoilers, but broadly speaking this book deals with feminism, racism and classism, as Mattie struggles to find her place in the world.

White ChocolateYour favourite light-hearted/humourous read

letspretendthisneverhappend

Jenny Lawson of The Blogess is always hilarious, so I was expecting good things from Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, and it did not disappoint. Somehow, she manages to write about mental illness and her struggles with the way her brain is wired while also making me cry with laughter. It’s full of sentences like this: “I am the Wizard of Oz of housewives (in that I am both “Great and Terrible” and because I sometimes hide behind the curtains).” Love.

Milk ChocolateA book that has a lot of hype that you’re dying to read.
readyplayerone

I’m thinking that you already know what Ready Player One is about, because I feel like the last person in the world who hasn’t read it. Just in case, the basic premise as I understand it is that in the not-too-distant future the world sucks and no one wants to go outside, so everyone lives their lives in an MMO call the Oasis. The creator of this paradise dies, and leaves everything to the person who can solve a quest he’s set up. But it’s also somehow set in the 80s. Somehow. I don’t know. It sounds awesome.

Chocolate with a caramel centerName a book that made you feel all gooey in the middle while you were reading it

eleanorandpark

Eleanor & Park is made of adorableness. The romance is beautifully crafted, it grows at a perfect rate, and I just… ack, yes. This book is like a cosy blanket of cute. Also, the side characters are well fleshed out, and there’s a lot going on in both Eleanor and Park’s lives that they have to work through. Especially for Eleanor, things are not simple.

Wafer-free Kit-KatName a book that surprised you lately

thannameofthestar

I didn’t read The Name of the Star all that recently, but it did surprise me a lot. For some reason I had it in my head that Maureen Johnson’s books would be fluffy and light and heartwarming and stuff. I was disillusioned pretty quickly when people started getting murdered in horrible ways. This was a way better book that I thought I was getting, and I can’t wait for the last book in the series to come out.

SnickersA book that you are going nuts about

cinder

I keep lending my copy of Cinder to people and then getting sad because I can’t lend it to someone else while they have it. I need more copies. Cinderella retelling with cyborgs and androids and a plague and people who live on the moon and YES PLEASE. A random little detail that I loved was that the world is split up into six countries/empires/places ruled by a single government or monarch: the Eastern Commonwealth, which is Asia; the African Union; the American Republic; the European Federation; Australia and… the United Kingdom. I’m not saying I approve of the UK refusing to play with the rest of the continent, but it’s totally what we would do, and it made me giggle.

Hot Chocolate with Cream and MarshmallowsWhat book would you turn to for a comfort read?

Indigo's Star

Indigo’s Star is a book from my childhood which I love as much now as I did when I was 12 and accidentally read it straight through the day I first picked it up. It’s actually the second book in a series, but I was given it as a present and read it first. I love all of the books, but this one is still my favourite. The Casson family live in my heart and comment on my life. They make me feel better. I don’t even really know how to summarise this book. It’s about family and love and art and friendship and bullying and… life. I’ve been known to read this the day before exams when I’m freaking out because it makes me feel loved, and it also makes me feel small in the best way. Like there are far bigger things in the world than this exam, and everything’s going to be okay.

Box of ChocolatesWhat series have you read that you feel has a wide variety and a little something for everyone?

equalrites

It has recently come to my attention that not everybody in the world who reads a lot of books has read the Discworld series. This troubles me greatly. These books are hilarious, clever, realistic (in spite of everything that makes you think they wouldn’t be, like, say, being set on a flat world atop four elephants atop a turtle), and gripping. I’ve put Equal Rites here even though it’s the third book in the series because the first couple are in a slightly different style, and I think this is where Pratchett really hit his stride. You don’t need to read these books in the right order to know what’s going on, but there are recurring characters, which is why I recommend this one: everyone in this book is first introduced here, and they go on to do… well, maybe not great things. Things, though. Lots of things. Sometimes they are good things. Sometimes they are just rude songs about hedgehogs.

I don’t really know who has already done this tag, so… I tag you if you haven’t!

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March Wrap-Up

March Wrap-Up

This month I’ve been super busy writing my dissertation and working on my (last ever pieces of) coursework, so I didn’t have much time for reading. So naturally, I read 13 books. I don’t understand how that happened at all. Although I’m ten pages behind with the dissertation, so maybe that goes some way to explaining it. When life gets stressful, I retreat into other people’s lives. It’s sort of reassuring how much bigger their problems are than mine. So, let’s get started with this monster wrap-up! Click the covers for Goodreads links.

therosieeffect
3/5 stars

I wasn’t expecting to read anything before the #ayearathon started on 2nd March, but I picked this up in Sainsbury’s on the first and read it that afternoon. And… hm. I’m not sure what to make of this. I loved The Rosie Project and I was excited for this one, but it was kind of disappointing. On the positive side, it did make me laugh, and I enjoyed the side characters a lot, hence the three stars. On the not-so-positive side, I’m kind of furious with Rosie, and I don’t think that was the author’s intention.

It’s hard to explain why without spoiling the first book, but I’ll see what I can do. Don Tillman probably has Asperger’s Syndrome, although the book never explicitly says so. He struggles to read other people’s emotions, and he figures out which behaviour is socially appropriate by memorising norms. I don’t want to say exactly what Rosie’s relationship with Don is, but they’re close. Now it seems to me that if you’re close to someone who struggles to read people, it’s at best thoughtless and at worst cruel to never ever tell them what you’re feeling and then get upset and offended when they fail to figure out what you wanted from them. Rosie did this for the entire book, as well as deliberately deceiving Don, which was what kick-started the plot. I was supposed to be rooting for them, and by the end I just wasn’t.

On the whole, I highly recommend the first book, but I sort of wish I hadn’t read this one. I preferred my own ideas about what happened next.

dracula thequantumthief

                                        4/5 stars                                             4/5 stars

The are the books I finished during the #ayearathon. I talked about them in my wrap-up of that over here, so I won’t repeat myself. I also started The Silmarillion during that week, but I still haven’t finished it. I’m working on it, slowly.

fangirl
5/5 stars

I LOVE THIS BOOK, I LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT! ACK! If you would like some (slightly) more coherent thoughts on Fangirl, I wrote a long review (with well-marked spoilery section) just here.

clockworkangel clockworkprince clockworkprincess

                                     4/5 stars              4/5 stars              5/5 stars

I flew through this trilogy and loved it, but when I try to write about it, I find that I have very few coherent thoughts. I just… angels and demons and hot guys and Victorians and a love triangle that broke my heart and so many things designed to mess with my feels. Clockwork Princess in particular gave me quite the book hangover because I just couldn’t drag my head out of the world. I really want to get to The Mortal Instruments soon, but I’m also kind of scared of what it might do to me…

scarlet
4/5 stars

In February I read Cinder and adored it. (I talk about it a bit in this post, if you’d like to get some idea of the premise of this series.) I rated it 5/5 stars and immediately set about convincing everyone I know to read it, like that quote in The Fault in Our Stars about weird evangelical zeal. In comparison, Scarlet was slightly disappointing, but only slightly. It didn’t blow me away in the same way as Cinder did, and I liked Scarlet less as a main character, but I still enjoyed the book a lot. My favourite chapters, predictably, were the ones that continued Cinder’s story, especially because they also included Captain Thorn. Ah, Captain Thorn… I want one all my own. I think he’s going to feature a lot in Cress as well, and I can’t wait. I also have a vague feeling that I’ve picked up from reviews and such that Cress is going to back at the same standard as Cinder. I hope I’m right.

yesplease
5/5 stars

I listened to the audiobook of Yes Please because I had a vague idea that listening to people read their own autobiographies would be a really good use of the audiobook format. I was right. I’m listening to Tina Fey’s Bossypants now. Yes Please is very, very funny, but also honest and thoughtful. Poehler says she has two phrases she uses in response to ideas. For positive ideas, “Yes please”, which is enthusiastic and also polite. For negative ideas, “Good for you, not for me”, which allows you to decline something firmly without causing offense. Seems legit to me.

theshadowcabinet
4/5 stars

This is the third book in the Shades of London series, which I fell head over heels in love with about ten pages into the first book, The Name of the Star. Of the three that are out so far, that one is probably my favourite, but I love them all very much. Rory is a great protagonist. She’s clever and easy to empathise with, but she also makes impulsive and sometimes kind of stupid decisions which keep the plot moving along. In this book in particular, if she did what she was told then we’d have missed all the action. Almost everything that happens in this book is heavily based on things you don’t find out until at least half way though The Name of the Star, so I can’t really say anything else except that I loved it, and I can’t believe how long I have to wait for the (probably) epic conclusion. Oh, and I love the title. I don’t know how familiar people who aren’t English are with our political system and I don’t feel inclined to explain what The Shadow Cabinet is when wikipedia could tell you better than me, but.. yeah. It’s clever.

holdmecloser
3/5 stars

The thing about this book is that I’m not really sure what the point was. I was really excited to read it, because I loved Will Grayson, Will Grayson and I thought this book would let me see more of that world. And it just didn’t really. It didn’t add anything much that wasn’t in the original book. I think I was looking for the wrong thing. I wanted more of the story and I got the same story again, in slightly dodgy rhyme. I wanted to love it, but I ended up feeling like it was only okay. 3/5 stars because I do love these characters a lot, but this felt unnecessary to me.

oneday
2/5 stars

One Day was definitely my least favourite read this month. What’s the point of a romance book where everyone is consistently miserable (and not even for interesting reasons) for about three-quarters of the book, and then happy for a couple of chapters (but still with a creeping negativity), and then just when you think you’re finally being rewarded for struggling through all the shitty times to get to the good ones, you suddenly hit a clunky plot twist that smacks you around the face, and then everyone’s miserable again until the book ends? I just… no. Not for me. 2 stars instead of 1 because I really liked Emma, although Nicholls didn’t seem to.

Also, this cover makes me angry. I picked this book up from a charity shop for 20p, so I ended up with the film cover. I always post pictures of the version of a book that I own if I can find them, but I wanted to break that rule for this one. This cover is blatantly not as good as the orange one I’ve always seen around before, and just to make that more annoying, there’s a little picture of the good cover in the corner. Why?

thelightningthief
5/5 stars

I was in kind of a bad mood after those last couple of books, and I wanted to pick up something light that I knew I’d enjoy. I’ve been meaning to start this series since I saw the film of this first book about five years ago, and I finally got around to it. I loved it. It wasn’t deep or meaningful or intense, it was just a lot of fun. Likable kids running around being rude to gods and exploding things? I can get behind that. I expected to find Percy difficult to empathise with, since I’m ten years older than him, but that didn’t turn out to be a problem. He’s definitely still a kid, but he’s a smart kid. I fully intend to stick around and watch him grow up.

And… that’s it. The end of the book haul. If you made it this far, you’re amazing. Have a biscuit. Have ten. You’re American? Have a cookie. Whatever. I love you.