#TopTenTuesday: Books I Should’ve Abandoned…

Side note to the actual post: Thanks so much to everyone who was so supportive and understanding of my much needed mini-break last week. I’m back, feeling much better and less drowning-in-my-emotions, and it feels good! I’ll be taking it a bit slow but I’ve missed everyone (and blogging) so much (I know it was only one week LOL)!

So, we’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: The Last Ten Books I Abandoned (this could be books you DNFed, books you decided you were no longer interested in, etc.) (submitted by Claire @ Book Lovers Pizza).

I think we all know by now that I don’t really DNF books and it’s something that I’m (very) slowly working towards. I know, I know–“why read a book if your’e not enjoying it?” It’s a good question and honestly, I’m not going to say anything different to what other non-DNFer’s would say. I feel guilty when I think of DNF’ing and that guilt means that if I abandon the book, it’ll linger in my head for longer than if I push through it. That FOMO feeling in me also always thinks: “but what if it gets better?!” Yeah, it usually never does but 🤷🏻‍♀️ So instead of listing books that I abandoned, I’ll be looking at ten books that I should’ve abandoned!*

*Possible unpopular opinions ahead! I don’t intend to offend anybody but I’m sorry if anything I say offends you, but please don’t attack me! LOL

Continue reading “#TopTenTuesday: Books I Should’ve Abandoned…”

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black – #BookReview

Goodreads: The Wicked King
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Romance
Panda Rating:

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

3.5 stars for that pre-epilogue ending! And just when I thought that things were turning around and I’d like this newly established alliance, that ending had to go and happen! I’m shook but also angry? But also, I get it too? This seems to have really messed with my feelings (of which I thought I didn’t have many of for this series) 🤣

The Cruel Prince: ★★★½ – ★★★★☆
The Wicked King: ★★★½
The Queen of Nothing: ???

Continue reading “The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black – #BookReview”

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton – #BookReview

Goodreads: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller, Historical Fiction
Panda Rating:

“Gosford Park” meets “Groundhog Day” by way of Agatha Christie – the most inventive story you’ll read this year.

Tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed… again.
It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

I guess it’s time for my unpopular opinion because this one has received really great ratings on GR. This book was chosen as the January read by the Goodreads group for the 2019 Popsugar Reading Challenge following the prompt: “a book revolving around a puzzle or game”. I was really excited to start reading this, especially for my first reading challenge book of the year; but unfortunately, I think this book just really wasn’t for me.

Continue reading “The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton – #BookReview”

#TopTenTuesday: Books That Surprised Me (in Both Good and Bad Ways)

It’s that time of the week again, friends! We’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s prompt is: my December TBR. But as I’ve already written a few posts (like this one and this one here) I thought I would choose a past topic to do and I’ve chosen: books that surprised me (in both good and bad ways) focusing on the books I’ve read this year. I’m splitting the post up into ‘the good’ and ‘the not-so-good’ and for both parts, the books I listed were mostly in order read (from earliest to later in the year), so it’s not about some books being better/worse than others. It was interesting to look back on what books surprised me this year and it’s definitely making me think more about what my top reads for 2019 are going to be!

THE GOOD

Continue reading “#TopTenTuesday: Books That Surprised Me (in Both Good and Bad Ways)”

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston – #BookReview

Goodreads: Red, White & Royal Blue
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ+
Rating:

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him. 

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

Coming at you hot with an unpopular opinion. Please don’t come for me! We all have different reading experiences, and honestly, I’m just as bummed about it as you probably are!

This is another one of those books this year that has received an insane amount of hype and I got so excited when I came across the last copy at the bookstore two weeks ago that I (obvi) immediately snatched it up. Oh friends, I’m really torn up about how I feel about this book… Did I hate it? No… Did I love it as much as 99.9% of the rest of the book community did? Also, no. I wanted to love this book so much and I’m pretty disappointed that I didn’t. When I thought I’d be zipping through and finishing this in basically one day, I ended up finding it a much slower read than I anticipated. I struggled with the characters and a bit of the politics too (although I surprised myself with how much I know about American politics compared to politics in my ‘home’ country). Though the big turning point for me was really in the last 30% of the book and it made a huge difference in how I felt about the story in the end.

I want to keep this as straightforward as possible so I’m going to focus on what my likes and dislikes are. Starting off first with the dislikes because I want to end my review on a brighter note!

What I didn’t like about it:

I really wished that we had more than just Alex’s POV. I think that the book would’ve been much more enjoyable, and also worth the 450+ pages, if there was more than one perspective. Especially considering that Alex was so far from my favorite character. He was infuriating, childish and annoying. He was also incredibly over the top. I just couldn’t get past Alex’s attitude and it got to me a lot more as the book went on, especially in comparison to Henry’s person.

Although honestly, I thought the majority of the characters were over the top. I felt like there was drama just to make drama sometimes and I actually read a lot of the dialogue as if they were shouting at each others’ faces because their tones were just SO LOUD. Also, I’m sorry but, do people really say “shut up” all the time for everything? Is that really how people talk? Everyone, including the president, came off as just way too much 90% of the time.

How I feel about the characters greatly influences how I feel about a book and unfortunately, for the majority of RW&RB, my feelings were pretty negative. Although McQuiston’s writing style is pretty straightforward and easy to read, it didn’t help that I found the pacing very erratic and the story jumped around a lot. I usually don’t mind text messages and emails thrown into the writing mix too, and while I didn’t mind the emails, the text messages were just confusing. This didn’t add anything to story and it could’ve be done without. Sorry to say it, I thought the book was too long for what it was. A lot could’ve been cut out and I don’t think anything crucial would’ve been missed. 🤷🏻‍♀️

What I liked about it:

The romance between Alex and Henry was wow. Like, WOW, I was not expecting that heat between them, and their chemistry was off the charts, honey! Towards the latter half of the book, so many beautifully written words were exchanged between them that made my heart swell, my throat close up, and my eyes water. There was so much sweet tenderness between these two and these exchanges were pretty much the only times I found myself genuinely liking Alex. Also, their banter was brilliant! I found myself unable to contain my laughter so many times while reading this book. The many quips were also just too good!

“The next slide is titled: ‘Exploring your sexuality: Healthy, but does it have to be with the Prince of England?’ She apologizes for not having time to come up with better titles. Alex actively wishes for the sweet release of death.”

I loved Prince Henry. Hands down, he was my favorite character and half the time I found myself wanting to bundle him up and keep him safe from the nastiness in this world. I also really liked a few side characters like Nora, Pez and Bea. They were quirky, hilarious and surprisingly strong pillars of support. They were also so unapologetically themselves.

This book also raises a lot of important topics that are prominent in today’s social dialogue and agenda. Sexual identity, race, and inequality are just some of the big issues this book covers. And honestly, even though the ending is predictably fairytale-esque and sappy, it also left me feeling so lifted, happy and light. Reading this book did leave me with a feeling of hopefulness and I think that’s one of the best things about it. The interactions in this book are so open and all of the people in Alex’s life are so supportive of his coming out (in fact, it seems that a lot of people suspected or “knew” about him before even he knew about him). It was a really positive discussion surrounding LGBTQIA+ issues, about not having to hide who you are and be vilified for it, and while maybe we’re not to that level yet, I have no doubt that the younger and future generations will be able to take the important steps to creating platforms for openness and discussion. I really wonder if or when that’ll ever happen in Indonesia and it makes me a little sad that there’s an even longer way to go for LGBTQIA+ people here to find a place where they will feel loved and accepted for who they are.

To round all this up, I basically wanted to share the quotes that gave me so much life and made me feel everything! Some of the romance and lines were super cheesy but it still managed to make my heart melt. Feast your eyes on the goo:

“I thought, this is the most incredible thing I have ever seen, and I had better keep it a safe distance away from me. I thought, if someone like that ever loved me, it would set me on fire. And then I was a careless fool, and I fell in love with you anyway. When you rang me at truly shocking hours of the night, I loved you. When you kissed me in disgusting public toilets and pouted in hotel bars and made me happy in ways in which it had never even occurred to me that a mangled-up, locked-up person like me could be happy, I loved you. And then, inexplicably, you had the absolute audacity to love me back. Can you believe it? Sometimes, even now, I still can’t.”

“Thinking about history makes me wonder how I’ll fit into it one day, I guess. And you too. I kinda wish people still wrote like that. History, huh? Bet we could make some.”

“To every person in search of somewhere to belong who happened to pick up this book, I hope you found a place in here, even if just for a few pages. You are loved. I wrote this for you. Keep fighting, keep making history, keep looking after one another.”

So, that’s it. I hope that I wasn’t too harsh or bruised anyone’s feelings with this review. If it isn’t clear, I didn’t hate this book, I just didn’t love it like everyone else. It was just okay for me, and while I was really looking forward to loving it, I’m okay with that. If I could just read the latter half, especially the last 30% of the novel, then I would’ve given it a higher rating. If it was just the email exchanges and only the romantic bits of this book, I would’ve rated it even higher still. The sweet romance was undoubtedly my favorite part of this book–it was heart meltingly sweet– and if there was one reason that I’d remember this book it’d be for the amazing romantic quotes. 😍

Have you read Red, White & Royal Blue? Anyone feel the way I felt about it? (Lol 😂 ) Leave a comment down below and let’s chat!

#TopTenTuesday: Unpopular Book(ish) Opinions

We’re back with another Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s theme is: unpopular bookish opinions (submitted by Kaitlin Galvan @ Somehow I Manage Blog). I feel like this prompt is pretty open to interpretation–either I can talk about unpopular thoughts I have about certain bookish things, or I can talk about unpopular opinions I have about certain books. To be honest, I find both ways difficult to answer because for the most part I do agree with the majority of the bookish community! So I thought why not do a half-and-half? I’ll mention the five books I have unpopular opinions about, as well as five unpopular bookish opinions I have.

Unpopular Book Opinions

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. Y’all, I could cry for how much I ended up disliking this book. It made me so sad because everything about it sounded like something that I would fall madly, deeply in book love with, but that wasn’t what happened. I was was confused, hopelessly lost and didn’t connect with any part of this. I struggled a lot with the magical realism in this book, and I’m pretty sure it’s why I’m not a fan of this much magical realism in books. It was a lot.

The Hobbit or There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’m sorry Tolkien fans, I did not enjoy this book at all. Maybe the problem is that I watched the movie before reading the book? Although tbh, I still think I would have struggled to get through it without watching the movie. I had high expectations but this really let me down. I found it so boring… My disappointment with this book is also the reason why I have yet to read The Lord of the Rings books.

The Magicians (The Magicians #1) by Lev Grossman. I found this book so boring. Everything about the blurb and the title and everything was so exciting to me, but when I picked it up I found it a slog to get through. Also, very melancholy (nothing wrong with that, I just didn’t feel it with this book).

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney. A lot of people really enjoyed Rooney’s debut but I was definitely not one of them. I struggled to get through this one and I really wanted to DNF it, but of course, I didn’t. This book was highly depressing and the characters were so unlikable, and with such a character driven book, this made it a big struggle for me. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed Normal People, but imo the characters were much more relatable and likeable in it.

Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game #1) by Amanda Foody. I’ve heard a lot of people who read YA fantasy dislike this book because it reminded them too much of Six of Crows. Well, yes, it did a little bit but I really enjoyed a lot about this book. The characters, the world building, the magic and mystery. It was a good book and I can’t wait to read the sequel King of Fools.

Unpopular Bookish Opinions

E-books are seriously the best. As much as I love having a physical book in my hands, the convenience of e-books is unmatched. I can carry around thousands of books with me in one go, I can highlight my favorite passages and make notes without physically marring my books with highlighters/pens/pencil, and I can look them up with ease and upload them to my GR, easy as pie.

I don’t mind dog-eared pages…if I do it in my own books. Okay, I know this is highly hypocritical, but if it’s my book I’m okay with dog-earring its pages, but I absolutely hate it when people borrow my books and dog-ear the pages. I know it’s so weird, but I also make So most of the time I just tell people that I don’t like dog-earring pages so they don’t do it to the books they borrow from me!

I like to bend my book spines. Honestly though, how difficult is it to read a paperback and not bend the spine? When the spine doesn’t get bent I feel like I have to shove my face all in the novel just to read all the text! As much as I try not to bend them, it happens anyway, and the feeling of having a book open up all the way while reading is so satisfying. Yes, I’m a spine bender and I ain’t mad about it!

Graphic novels and audiobooks count as reading books (and so they count towards your GR reading goals). I don’t know if this is really a thing but I always see people ask whether audiobooks and graphic novels count as “reading”. I mean, yes? You tend to invest more time in audiobooks and even though graphic novels are shorter reads and thus you end up ‘reading more’, you’re still reading, right?

I like to watch the TV show or movie before reading the book and sometimes I even like it better than the book. One such example of this for me is Game of Thrones. I read four of the books but I don’t think I could re-read them and neither did I feel the need to continue reading them. Another one is also The Magicians TV show–I found the book so boring but the show? Super exciting, dark and creepy!

What are some of your unpopular book(ish) opinions? If you’ve done a Top Ten Tuesday post for today’s prompt, leave your link in the comments below! 🙂