This or That Book Tag

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We all know how much I love a tag and I’ve lost track of which ones I have and haven’t done. However I saw this over on Joie’s blog and it didn’t look familiar so here it is.

Series or Standalone?
I start way too many damn series’ for me to pretend that I prefer standalones. Don’t get me wrong, I do. They stress me out less and save me money, but I love a series so much. I lover getting to sit with characters and watch them develop over time.

Magic Earned or Magic Born?
Let me tell you how much I love reading about people not realising that they possess some kind of magical powers but finding out over the course of the book that there is something gong on with them. So as such, magic born.

Enemies-to-Lovers or Friends-to-Lovers?
Enemies to lovers. I hate it when friends can’t just stay friends, that happens sometimes people just remain friends throughout everything. I’d like to see that happen more…so enemies to lovers, that’s more interesting. And also, not something I think I’ve read that much.

Hilarious Banter or Emotional Ruin?
I like a little bit of both sometimes. Mostly hilarious banter, but sometimes emotional ruin is really satisfying.

Love Triangle or Insta Love?
I hate both. I hate both so much. But, if a love triangle is done well that it can be brilliant and it doesn’t make me want to gauge my eyes out. Insta love will most likely always drive me insane, just breathe a little bit.

Keyboard-Smash Fantasy Names or All Names Start With the Same letter?
I am interested as to how far you could go with all the names starting with one letter. It feels like it could be fun.

Mean Parents or Dead Parents?
It’s harsh, but dead. Mean ones are just excessive. I mean it can work in some situations, but in others it just feels awful to read.

Supermodel Looks or Constantly Says How ‘Plain’ They Are?
I hate it when characters are described as plain and then it’s somehow supposed to be a miracle that they can do x, y or z. Why does it matter? Why must it constantly be mentioned? I mean the other option isn’t much better. There needs to be a middle ground.

Face on Covers or Typography on Cover?
Typography to be honest, or some kind of graphic. Unless it’s a movie cover I tend to prefer it when they are kind of a blank cover. I am a total sucker for a pretty cover, give them all to me. The prettier the better.

Villain Turning A Little Good or Hero Turning A Little Bad?
Villain turning a little good all day every day. I am such a weird sucker for that, give it to me always.

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I am not big on re-reading. I literally don’t do it. I read a book, sit with it for a little bit and then move on to the next one. It’s not thats books don’t stick with me enough that I want to re-visit them and have them reveal new things to me, it’s that when I go to read something again I’m just worried about all the new things that I’m not reading.

So I don’t re-read. Not unless I originally did not finish the book and am trying again so need to remember what the hell is going on. However for some reason a part of me has been thinking about all the books that I kind of want to read again because they keep playing on the back of my mind and the urge is getting stronger and stronger.

So these are the books that I’m itching to re-read.

Harry Potter – JK Rowling

Yes, really. I’ve been like super in my Harry Potter feelings recently and for some reason they are starting to drive me slowly insane. I have all the books just sitting next to my bed (this includes a box set of the normal ones, 3 illustrated ones and the first two in Hufflepuff editions, oh and the box set is still in the cellophane…) and so it kind of feels inevitable. I’ve wanted to do this for a few years now, next year might be the year.

The Secret History – Donna Tartt

I think about the opening line of this book often. Also it’s a murder mystery, so I feel like once you eliminate having to figure that out I feel like it’s going to reveal new depths to me that I just didn’t see before. There were already so many layers to it on the first read, I can only imagine what another would do.

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern

We all know how I feel about this book. I’ve only read it once from start to finish. I have re-read the Circus parts, but the rest of it remains somewhat of a mystery. Not in a legit sense, but in some kind of way. This book is so beautiful and I love it so much and I want to go back into the world that was created.

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

This book broke my heart multiple times and it never really put it back together again. But it’s such a great book and again one of those books that just has so much to reveal that I want to get involved in.

Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman

I mean there are so many books on here that are also on the books I’ll always recommend post that I wrote. It’s probably not a coincidence. I love those books, I got that from one read which says all you need to know. This one made me view London in a totally different way and I loved the way it took things that I knew well and tilted them some way. I loved Richard and his journey.  I would love to go back to it and do it all over again.

Those are the books that feel most pressing when it comes to wanting to re-read them. It has also just dawned on me that I also own multiple copies of all but one of these books…oops.

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2018 Reading Challenge, Book 35 – A Darker Shade of Magic

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I have been putting off this review because when I think about this book I become acutely aware of the fact that I do not own the other books in this series and I want them. No, I need them.

This story remains very unfinished and I need to know what it is going to happen. However, for now I do not have them and so I just have to make my peace with that.

If it wasn’t obvious, I very much enjoyed this book.

I love anything that is set in London and this one had 4 (kinda) and they were layered. Literally.

And they were all so glorious and all had their own stakes and I am just very much in love with the whole world and the way that magic weaves throughout them all and how it’s stronger in some places than others and all that jazz. I loved the fact that Holland and Kell were a rare breed and how they were kind of against each other but because they were effectively kin they had to kind of orbit one another.

Their kind of friendship that wasn’t necessarily a friendship was one of my favourite things about this book. The relationship between them was so complicated and the way that they were kind of two halves of the same coin but one was taken in by the family and the other was bound to them. The way that they circled each other throughout trying to battle with this new element of magic that is just thrown into there.

Kell was a great character to live with for a little bit. He was so complex and had so much depth that has only just begun to be explored. I kind of wanted to know a bit more about his relationship with his ‘brother’ before Kell tethered himself because it just kind of didn’t feel like something that had a lot of roots in it before it happened. However I am excited to know how that will play out moving forward because there is no way it ain’t coming to bite him.

Delilah was such a great character. I loved her from the get go. She was such a badass and also hella mysterious which I loved. The relationship that she formed with Kell sure was something and the slow way that developed was great. I also loved getting to see the Londons through her eyes because she was seeing them for the first time too and that perspective was kind of lost when it was from Kell’s POV because he was just so used to them. I loved how she came into her own over the course and the narrative and the way that she interacted with magic. She was the perfect partner to Kell throughout this and it was such a well developed duo.

I liked how the story was so contained and yet also felt high stake. And also those Twins. Damn, those twins. They were such great villains especially because they were almost like the unseen shark for a lot of it and then they came out of the woodwork being so delightfully dark and twisted. It was brutal towards the end and it was everything that I could have hoped for and more.

I picked this book up because I had a feeling that it would be right up my street and it was and I am happy that it was. It was just the perfect combination of everything that I wanted it to be and more. And look, I really don’t know how long I’m gonna hold out with not buying the rest of the books…

4/5 stars

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Bonus Book Review – Vicious

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These reviews are coming out of the order that I read them in, mainly because I cannot get my brain to form words when it comes to the other one, and also the more I think about it the harder it gets to convince myself that I don’t need the second book in the series.

This one is less hard to talk about because I know that the second one is on its way into my life at some point later this month.

The book I am talking about is Vicious.

I loved  this book. It was everything that I hoped it would be and more. Which is odd because I don’t really think I had any expectations when it came to this book because I had none. I bought it because the cover was pretty as fuck.

Then I read the blurb and was like ‘damn, it’s superhero-y’. But also it’s called the Villains series and so my interest was very much piqued.

The structure of this book gave me life. I love things that aren’t necessarily chronological. Don’t get me wrong, I love an A-B, but also give me a well written non-chronological timeline. This had that in abundance. I loved the contrasts that this created and how it weaved all together into the ending.

Which I am going to get to first (kind of, I guess structure was first). The ending. I am still low key kind of reeling from that ending. It was just so perfect. (Also, this applies to the actual ending pages of this book, but I’m mostly still reeling from the second to last chapter). You know throughout the whole narrative that you are dealing with two men who are very intelligent, like intelligent enough to know how to kill themselves and then bring themselves back to life (with the help of someone else), however there is a part of you that kind of doubts that Victor does have any idea what his plan actually is when it comes to Eli, especially when you throw into the equation Serena who basically has the whole town under her control and on Eli’s side. However, when that plan comes together, my God. I am obsessed. It was just so clever. Victor managed to hit him where it hurt and I lived for it.

Victor himself was great. The way that he almost became a self-fulfilling prophecy in his villain status because Eli had positioned himself as a ‘hero’. He was so complicated as a character because he wasn’t a nice guy. Like really, he wasn’t. The ego on him was insane and ultimately his downfall in the start. It was hard not to root for him and I like it so much when there is something so intrinsically not good about someone, but they are the better of two evils. Give me an anti-hero.

And give me a villain who thinks he a hero. Seriously. I didn’t even hate Eli, I found him fascinating. I found that God complex of his so fascinating. He was so complicated and I was just fascinated by the way that he worked and the fact that Victor could read him like a damn book. His ‘superhero’ origin story was just so deliciously twisted and I lived for it. His self righteousness and the position that he thought he deserved and had ‘earned’ and the hypocrisy on him was just so good I can’t quite put it into words how much I enjoyed. And his ending. My gosh his ending. The full circle moment of it all.

I loved Sydney and Serena. The way that they circled around each other. The way that they were somehow intrinsically entwined with one another throughout. They were crucial and they were the perfect representation of what happens depending on the people who surround you. I also loved the relationship that Sydney and Victor had and how it completely contrasted the Eli and Serena one.

Special shout out to Mitch for apparently owning a large part of my soul because when Serena started working her magic and I almost thought it was going to end badly I felt some kind of way. Which I should have seen coming because when I thought he died the first time I also felt some kind of way. Mitch was such a tragic backstory in the end and I also liked how loyal he was to Victor. I thought it would be to his detriment but it turned out not to be.

I could keep going on about all the layers to this books. Rewriting narratives, going more into the God complex, the notion of EOs in general, Schwab’s slight fascination with what could be in reach beyond death (I only thought about that as I was writing the City of Ghosts review when I remembered that Cassie kind of died and then came back seeing ghosts). The list goes on and on. I just have a lot of feelings about it all because I loved it so much.

I am so happy that I don’t have to wait too long for the next book because I am so fascinated by these characters and where the story is going.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It is the best kind of story, with the best kind of storytelling and it’s just so good. So good. I love.

4/5 stars

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Bonus Book Review -City of Ghosts

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This book right here signals the start of my obsession with V.E/Victoria Schwab.

This was the last book of hers to enter my life, but I started with this one because it’s the shortest and yeah I’m back to being just behind schedule for this damn reading challenge of mine.

The first thing about this book that hit me was the fact that the moment I started reading it I started getting all these autumnal feelings. It probably has something to do with the fact that there was talk about ghosts and in theory Halloween is fast approaching (not even in theory, this is actually almost imminent) and so all things autumn are acoming. I am not mad about it, this is really my time to shine (I just get to unearth all my jumpers, which behind my sportswear takes up the most amount of space…).

Given the age range that this book is aimed at it is not super challenging to read or anything (again, I needed that because this girl has a reading challenge to think about at the back of her mind) but it is super readable. Schwab has a writing style that I knew instantly I was going to get on board with for her other books.

I really liked this book as a whole, mostly because I really liked the concept of it. There was a perfect amount of confusion and intrigue that came with Cassidy’s gift (if that’s what you want to call it). This confusion came into play perfectly when she met someone who was similar to her and also seems to know what she is doing with it. And I liked the interaction between them and how there was always a slight tension between them that existed but was forgotten when help was needed.

I really loved the setting of this book. Like so much. It had that slightly gothic feel to it and that really added to narrative of the story as a whole. Also I love the fact that the set up of this series means that it is going to dot around to different cities and you can get a feel for the  supernatural in other countries. But back to this one, which is set in Scotland and therefore is kind of gothic. It led nicely to all things spooky, especially when they were underground in the catacombs and shit went down. I just really enjoy it when story and setting marry together perfectly.

Moving on to characters. Firstly, I liked Jacob. I liked the reveal that he was a ghost. I liked the fact that he was just tethered to Cassidy in some way and the way that they interacted with one another. It felt like such a great friendship even though there were still secrets that needed to be revealed to one another. I am also interested to see how it develops and I knew that I was invested in this friendship when I worried that Jacob as a ghost would not be able to do Trans-Atlantic travel.

Cassidy herself was great. I mean she had some annoying traits, but they can be expected when the main character is a child who is still finding her way in the world. Also, I don’t know if it’s the adult in me but every time she ran off and away from her parents I found myself just getting stressed for the parents wondering where the hell their daughter got to. I found the relationship that she had with her parents interesting just because you could sense the element of frustration that she would have when it comes to almost following in her parents shadow.

I really enjoyed watching Cassidy become more confident in herself and her surroundings and her ability. I also loved the fact that she lived her life with a camera and how that was a saviour.

One thing about Little Miss Red, the supposed Big Bad, she was kind of better in theory. But she was still a good villain for this first book.

I enjoyed this book. I am excited to see what the second one might bring and the adventures of Cassidy and her ghost best friend. I’m interested to see how she develops and also what crazy new stories her parents manage to discover.

3/5 stars

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2018 Reading Challenge, Book 34 – The Alchemist

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The irony of this damn book review taking me so damn long to write is that reading this book actually left me feeling kind of inspired.

This is one of those books that people always seem to put hype on and as such sometimes it is easy to be a little wary of it. What if it doesn’t live up to the hype and then you just have to awkwardly pretend that it does otherwise you risk ridiculing? Lucky for me this was not one of those books.

First of all the opening of this book is kind of genius and to be honest with you I am always going to be a fan of something that throws in a little bit of Greek mythology and then also kind of turn it on its head. I was in.

This book felt both big scale and then also just about people and the way that they interact with their life and the things that they want to achieve.

I tore through this book pretty quickly and it left me feeling so inspired afterwards. It was really a tale of working towards something that you want and was basically some kind of fable. Which to be honest at this moment in time I kind of needed.

I enjoyed the writing style. It was easy to read and had some great prose in it. Yes, sometimes it was a bit faux deep, but it felt in keeping with the book as a whole. And also some of the sentence themselves did kind of settle into some part of my psyche. I really needed to read some of these things it really put a fire under my ass.

It’s ultimately about getting to know yourself. It’s something that I think everyone should read at least once. It’s not life changing or anything (and sometimes people make it sound like it might be), but it does kind of make you feel some kind of way. It does remind of you of a few things and it does highlight that sometimes you just need to work really hard to get what you want and not be afraid of it.

Which is something I needed reminding of (which I know I have already implied, but there we go).

3/5 stars

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2018 Reading Challenge, Book 33 – When the Curtain Falls

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Back at it with the book reviews. For a book that I was supposed to review last week, but then YouTube took a hold of me and so I didn’t really create any new blog content. But I cannot put it off for any longer and so here we are.

This is the second book of Fletcher’s that I’ve read this year and as you may or may not have gathered from my previous reviews of her books I still don’t really know where I stand with her as an author.

Let’s just get straight to it.

Olive low key kind of drove me insane because she just came across really judgy a lot of the time. That was kind of all she had as a character. That and doubt. There wasn’t really much depth there. To either her or Oscar to be honest. And it was for that reason that it was really hard to be invested in their relationship at all. It felt a little like they just built up to them having sex and then the ‘relationship’ went tits up.

They had some cute moments don’t get me wrong, but then suddenly I was just supposed to care about them trying to make their relationship work and the fact that Oscar is kind of an idiot and was always going to kiss the one that was throwing herself him and not doing much else. I saw that one coming from a mile off and thought it would kind of maybe lead to something, but no. It did exactly what I thought it would and then didn’t do much else and ultimately I really did not care.

My main issue with this book was fact that the plot to it decided to kick in in the last fifty or so pages just caused me to care even less. I was not invested. It went from 0 to 100 real quick. And what the hell even happened to Doug? It’s like a light (or something) fell on him and then nothing ever really came of it? Also Doug was hardly in it, the impact felt was lacking. Because there was no real motive there…I’m somehow supposed to believe that olive got to know Walter quite well? They hardly spoke.

The other section of this story was better developed. I got an actual sense of who those characters were and I could actually get to grips with the stakes of their relationship. Hamish was a great villain because he was routed in something real and that was easy to get on board with. That whole arc actually felt fleshed out. The fact that  Fawn would feel like she was stuck and just needed a way out made sense and it made the ending of her story all the more tragic, even though you know it’s going to happen from the start. You felt her frustration and her anger at being trapped in this place and to be honest you can kind of see why she would view that as her only way out.

What didn’t make sense was how that affected the present. Them all haunting that theatre just kind of made no sense to me. It was never really explained at all. Especially every one outside of Fawn

Did they die there too or…?

I could rather sadly go on with all the things that I wasn’t a huge fan of but I’m gonna cycle around to some positives.

This was actually probably her best written book. I liked her writing style more than I have in the past. I think that’s because it was more of a ghost story than anything else and it felt less far fetched for some reason as a consequence, which I know sounds weird, but there you go.

I guess I should talk about the ending. I mean, it was an ending. It felt weirdly graphic and not at all in keeping with the rest of the book. And also I feel like the impact that would have psychologically on them was immense (can I just say I don’t expect her to address that, because that would make no sense, but that thought did cross my mind as I was reading it, my brain is an odd place to be what can I say). To be honest I felt like it could have kind of ended there. The epilogue didn’t really serve any kind of purpose other than to make it apparent that they stuck it out for the long haul. I mean I could have inferred that…?

I read this book quickly, like I said Fletcher’s writing style is easy to read and has developed over her books, but I couldn’t say I liked it all that much. I didn’t hate it. To be honest it might be my favourite of her’s thus far. But also I’ve come to accept that as much as I want to, I just cannot get on board with her novels. I kinda knew that earlier this year, but this just confirmed it to me. And I’m kinda sad about it. I wanted to love her, but she’s just not my kind of author.

3/5 stars

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