Top 5 Wednesday: Books You Wished You Read Earlier

top 5 wed

Oh man, I have so many choices for this one. All of these books I truly love so the reason’s pretty obvious for each of these.

Top 5 Books You Wished You Read Earlier

5. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿

4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. I. Rowling

✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿

3. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿

1. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
(I own separate copies)


Please feel free to leave a link to your Top 5 Wednesday post, I would love to see what you have for the week! If you have read any of these titles, share your thoughts below. :)

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Happy Reading!

The Under-Hyped Books Read-A-Thon!

underhyped readathon

Hi guys!

It would have been nice to participate in the recent BookTube-a-Thon but clearly, since you have not seen any posts from me about it, I did not take part. I am, however, taking part in another read-a-think starting tomorrow. This one, though, is a big different because it meant to target certain kind of books.Perhaps you’ve heard of it, perhaps not, that is the point of this post. I am going to be participating in the Under-hyped Books Read-a-Thon!

The GoodReads Group Page has all the details and more information (as well as several books you can choose from)!

The Under-Hyped Read-a-Thon will begin starting tomorrow, July 21st, and continue all the way through Sunday, July 27th. The primary purpose of this read-a-thon is to dedicate as many reading hours as possible to books that have been under-hyped. The creator of the read-a-thon has chosen to pick out books under 5,000 ratings on the Goodreads page but this is not a rule, just a suggestion on how participants can pick out their reads. I’m not going to really follow this rule because I get the feeling people are going to get hung up on this number and pick out books that are reasonably well-hyped but still somehow have under 5,000 ratings. Not to say there is anything wrong with reading those books (regardless of the ratings, reading is always a positive activity) but well…I’m going to try and stick to the main purpose of this read-a-thon.

How did I pick books? Simple: having spent the past year reading blog posts and watching BookTube videos, I feel like I have a good knowledge of what books people have and have not talked about. So I’m going to be picking out books that bloggers and vloggers have not discussed combined with books that have never made the home page (bestsellers) of bookselling websites such as Barnes and Noble, BookDepository, Amazon, etc (and maybe books under 5,000 ratings).

Here’s my TBR:

Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors — It’s a YA chick-lit with a sprinkling of angels.

The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson — A non-fiction book. It’s small but I’ve heard it’s somewhat a complex read so I hope I’ll get through it.

 

The Official Quotable Doctor Who by Cavan Scott and Mark WrightDoctor Who might be popular but the books aren’t.

Johannes Cabal, the Necromancer by Johnathan L. Howard — Seems like a fun book! Haven’t heard too much about it from anyone else. I bought it mostly because I was interested.

City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte — *currently reading…I haven’t heard too much about it and it’s got under 5,000 ratings (techincally) so fair game…


If you are participating, please feel free to share what you will be reading. If you are not, join in! It’s never too late. I’m pretty sure if you look closely enough at your shelves, you’ll find books that not many people know about.

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Review | Landline by Rainbow Rowell (Uh, no…just…no)

landline

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

ABOUT THE BOOK

Published: July 8, 2014
Genre: Adult Fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Length: 308 pgs.

THE BLURB

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

GoodReads | Amazon | BookDepository

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*SPOILERS*
(and a whole lotta of swearing)

Imma rip into this book like nobody’s business…so watcha Rowell fans, it’s about to get pretttty ugly. :D

I have several issues with this book so I’ll try to keep this as short as I can while still explaining with clarity what I did and did not like about this book. Starting this book was exciting for me because this is my first Rainbow Rowell book and let’s face it…there’s so much hype. I was kind of nervous. And the beginning wasn’t so bad, I still had high expectations, but after a little while…when things didn’t change…it wasn’t looking too good.

One of the biggest issues with this book is that it doesn’t do such a good of actually portraying one of important main characters: Neal. Other than at the beginning and at the end, with a few phone calls in between, we never really get to know Neal. This book follows Georgie’s perspective as she tries to figure out how to fix her marriage and herself and as the synopsis states, she does this by connecting with her husband from the past but the problem is…she’s married to the Neal of the future. From what we do know, Neal doesn’t seem to have changed much since his marriage with Georgie but after about seventeen years or so…yeah, it’s pretty rational to assume every person does change (even if a little). And throughout the book, Georgie connects with Neal in order to find out what went wrong and when she seems to have come up with the answer…I kept thinking: OK, but this is not your Neal…you can’t possibly think just talking to the old Neal will help your situation with the current Neal (current Neal has kids—which you would think he would consider when taking off but more on that later…) So that is one of the largest problems because by the time I got to the end of the book, I was like…WTF? That’s it?

That leads me to another problem I had with the ending (and the whole story itself). This book takes place over the course of a week (or two) and each day we see Georgie think things through and all that and by the end of two fucking weeks it feels like she suddenly has all the answers. I don’t know about this crazy, perfect world Georgie McCool lives in, but in the real world, nobody fucking changes just because they say so. And for Neal (Neal of the future) to actually accept that was just naivety. I mean, seriously, these two idiots have two children (LIKE two human beings that they are responsible for!). So when Neal just takes her back, I was like…this nut job is the mother of your children and she has been ignoring them for the majority of her life. Do you really fucking think she’ll change just because she “promises” she will? Really, Neal? Really?

Neal…let’s talk about him for a minute now. Other than the fact that we barely even know this dude that is our MC’s “happily ever after,” I want to talk about the fact that he, too, plays a part in the dilemma that is a part of Georgie’s and his marriage. Albeit a much smaller part than Georgie, but if you live with someone for seventeen years and still can’t be open and honest with them about your feelings than…well, sir, you really can’t expect it to last very long. That’s the problem with Neal. When Georgie tells him she has to work Christmas day, he clenches his jaw, packs up the kids, and heads home to mommy—without saying a goddamn thing! If, after so many years, he hasn’t the guts to say it like it to his wife than I really can’t be expected to feel that bad for him. I don’t care what his “nature” is, Georgie is his wife. I expected him to yell, scream, fight but…nothing. How these two strangers got through even those first seventeen years of their marriage is a fucking miracle.

And that moment with Seth…what the fuck? I did not understand the point of that scene…what was the use of that? Is Adult Fiction now doing that really childish, cliched thing with the love triangles too (for fuck’s sake!)? Considering nothing was really solved in this book for me, it’s sad that this was the only intense moment in the book (the moment of confrontation that I was expecting to happen with Georgie and Neal) and it seemed to have no fucking purpose!

As for the writing…it was generally OK. I like that is was light in tone but considering even in this light-hearted approach, Georgie and Neal’s marriage wasn’t considered seriously was the big, fat issue for me.

Perhaps it was because of all the hype and the praise I’ve heard about Rainbow Rowell but I really expected a novel more mature than this one. I’m not married but I’ve been around married couples all my life—some have made it and some haven’t it—and I don’t think I have to have any prior experience to know Georgie and Neal sure as heck ain’t gonna make it…good luck to their kids, though. I am going to try, though, to read another Rainbow Rowell book but this time, I’m not going to expect anything.

P.S. I gotta be honest, I’ve only read little chick-lit, but the one book I’ve read by Sophie Kinsella (I’ve Got Your Number) was muchmuch better than this book.

OK, I’m done for the day…go nuts with the insults if you want…

This review is also available on BookLikes and GoodReads. 2star

Top 5 Wednesday: Top Cover Buys

top 5 wed

I haven’t been to a bookstore and made an impulse purchase…like ever. So this is going to be a bit tricky.

Top 5 Cover Buys

5. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Total cover buy! I barely even looked at the synopsis or reviews for this one. Should have. But didn’t. I was recommend the book before and that plays into my purchase too but only a very small part.

✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿

4. We, the Drowned by Cartsen Jensen

The synopsis does appeal to me but I got it in a week of having seen it mostly because of the book cover. You gotta admit though—it’s epic.

✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿

3. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

OK, the synopsis, again, does appeal to me but the cover…I mean, come on! It was such a wonderful, hardcover book! And this flat image does not do it justice…the actual copy shines!

✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿

2. Emma by Jane Austen

really wanted a Penguin Threads copy so I chose this to be one among the two that I bought. Eventually, I would have wanted to read Emma and gotten a copy but at the time I bought it, I didn’t really plan on reading it. So…total cover buy.

✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿

1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

was going to read this sooner or later but again, when I got the opportunity to buy this, I bought it. Can you really blame me though? Can you really?


Please feel free to leave a link to your Top 5 Wednesday post, I would love to see what you have for the week! If you have read any of these titles, share your thoughts below. :)

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Happy Reading!

2014 Challenges — Where Am I? Updates.

reading challenges

Hello fellow bloggers and readers!

It’s seven months since 2014 began—I know. Can you believe it? I can feel myself getting older every minute. Funny how when I was a kid, I felt time was moving too dang slow and now…it’s speeding up every year.

But enough about my complaints…since we are halfway through the year (whether I like it or not), I thought I would update on where I am in regards to my reading goals. I participated in 3 goals in 2014: read 100 books, fulfill the diverse reading challenge, and complete the rainbow books challenge. So first, let’s start with…

goodreads challenge 2014
As of yesterday, I have read 111 books. Clearly I exceeded 100 books and though I will most likely keep exceeding it, I don’t really plan to extend it. Last year, 2013, I had a goal of 50 books, which I extended to 60—but then I finished that in a month so I just edited it back to 50. Seeing as how that happened, let’s just let see how many books I can read without me tampering with my goals this year…

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Yamini has
completed her goal of reading 100 books in 2014!
hide

 

But obviously, I am not going to list all the 111 books I have read. If you want the list, check out this page: HERE! All reviews are linked.


Rainbow Reads

Read a book with a cover that has the following (colored) covers:

Red – Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton ✓
Orange – Allegiant by Veronica Roth ✓
Yellow – Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham ✓
Green – A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce ✓
Blue – Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut ✓
Indigo – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling ✓
Violet – Give me a suggestion for this one please! I can’t find a book. :(
Brown – Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman ✓
White – Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne ✓
Black – The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien ✓
A book with a color in the title (ex. The Color Purple) – Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss ✓
A book with a word that implies color (ex. Stripped, Rainbow, etc.) – Any suggestions?

Required: 85% of the front cover should have the color for each categories. (Otherwise I’m just likely to cheat)


diverse reading

Totally made up by me. :D For this challenge, I chose categories that will challenge me and I am happy to report, some of them truly have because quite a these of these were harder to choose than I imagined. The categories are:

Collection of Poems – The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats ✓
An anthology (poem, stories, or book bindups) – The Wizard of Oz and Other Wonderful Books of Oz: The Emerald City of Oz and Glinda of OZ by L. Frank Baum ✓
Translated Literature – Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle ✓
Supernatural horror (not Gothic) – Rosemary’s Baby of Ira Levin ✓
A book about a book – Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hr. Bookstore by Robin Sloan ✓
Award Winning –  The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate ✓
Classic Children’s book – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll ✓
Romantic Comedy – The Princess Bride by William Goldman ✓
Alternate Historical Fiction – The Lord of the Rings: #3 The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien ✓
Movie/TV Companion –
Book Into Film (Fiction) – As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner ✓
Book Into Film (Non-Fiction) – Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (made into a Documentary) ✓
Book Into TV – Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (part of the The Jane Austen Season) ✓
World War (I or II) memoir – Night by Elie Wiesel ✓
A controversial book (banned or creating political debate such as Dan Brown novels, Animal Farm by George Orwell which was banned in USSR, etc.) – Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston ✓
A book about food (non-recipe book) – Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman ✓
Classic Retelling –
Graphic Novel – Boxers & Saints: #1 Boxers by Gene Luen Yang ✓
Picture Book – Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss ✓
Biography – Dean and Me (A Love Story) by Jerry Lewis ✓
2014 Bestseller (Fiction) – Cormoran Strike: #2 The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith ✓
Reread a book – The Annotated Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien ✓
A book over 500 pages – Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham, 700+ pgs. ✓
A book I hesitate reading – Allegiant by Veronica Roth ✓


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Please leave any suggestions you have on what I should read below! Also, feel free to leave any updates you have on your challenges for 2014!

Review | Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

ABOUT THE BOOK

Published: September, 2013
Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction
Edition: eBook, Kindle
Length: 328 pgs.

THE BLURB

A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.

Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’s death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard.

Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

GoodReads | Amazon | BookDepository

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Spoiler-free (well, as “spoiler-free” as I can get knowing the fictional Agnes Magnúsdóttir is based on a real Agnes Magnúsdóttir).

The most inspiring thing about this book is that even though it is fiction based on truth—it makes you think about the truth. Not speculation of what really happened to the real Agnes Magnúsdóttir, but on how we feel about the death penalty today. I am going to keep my opinions off the table (mostly because even I am unsure about my side most of the time), but really readers, let’s think about it for a minute.

I admit that there are some people that the world would really just be a better place without but with characters like Agnes, I couldn’t help think beyond what happens to the individual. I thought about Agnes’s family, her brother and her mother, and it just broke my heart to know no one was ever there for her. It made me wonder about what happens to the family of someone who is being executed. In a strange way, I felt even sadder for them since without ever deserving it, they are punished along with the criminals. I just couldn’t believe how easy it was for so many of the minor characters in the novel to turn their backs on Agnes.

“Then I understood that it was not me they stared at. I understood that these people did not see me. I was two dead men. I was a burning farm. I was a knife. I was blood.”

That’s problem, isn’t it? We fight in courts about justice but we take the “human emotion” out of the equation. We don’t think about life, family, goals, dreams, any of the little things that a person is made of. Again, I am not in any form saying I am against the death penalty—I simply believe that it is something that needs to be thought over. A “yes” or “no” is not appropriate in this type of situation.

Agnes is a character that freely agrees to have committed a murder in the novel and yet she is not someone who acts like it. I expect a murderer to have hateful thoughts and try to find ways to escape but Agnes defies any of those expectations. Even before you begin hearing her story, you know something is off. She isn’t the person she is made out to be through other’s perspectives. But even as you begin to know her, doubt still lingers. Much like characters of Margrét and Lauga, it was really hard to get attached to Agnes because of her nonchalant attitude towards knowing what she has done—killing someone. There are times when I felt she was too frigid but at times her attitude surprises me.

Agnes was such a strong character for the majority of the novel but towards the end when the reality of her situation hits her, it hits her really hard. In that moment, the helplessness of her situation made my eyes a bit misty and it was really hard to see the book end. I admit, even knowing what was going to happen (Agnes, after all, was a real woman in history), I took the ending of her story very badly.

But prior to her current situations and the ending, as we dive into her past, the Agnes that once was really irritated me. I found her far too naive for someone who seemed to be brutally aware of the nature of men. Natan, her lover and victim, is someone very close to her heart but once she begins to explain her story, it’s very obvious from the beginning that something is seriously wrong with his attitude. So all through her narration, I knew exactly what went on in Natan’s mind but I was so frustrated that Agnes couldn’t see it for herself. I had an idea or two about how his murder had actually happened and though not all my assumptions very correct, I did guess some details of the event accurately.

The writing of this novel absolutely blew me away. It’s simple, nothing out-of-the-ordinary, yet quite remarkable. But there are several surreal moments that made me sigh in that exceptionally mawkish manner Harlequin romance heroines tend to (I am not even kidding, I really did sigh).

Here are some of my favorite passages:

“To know what a person has done, and to know who a person is, are very different things.”

“There is a lot in this world and the next that we don’t understand. But just because we don’t understand doesn’t mean we have to be afraid.”

“This is all there is and you know it. Life, here, in our veins. There is the snow, and the sky, and the stars, and things they tell us, and that’s all. Everyone else—they’re blind. They don’t know if they’re living or dead.”

“What else is God good for other than a distraction from the mire we’re all stranded in? We’re all shipwrecked. All beached in a peat bog of poverty.”

As you can see for yourself, Hannah Kent’s writing and the fact that this novel follows the story of a woman condemned to death makes it very hard for me (as a reader) to not think about how death affects people—the individual and/or his or her family.

I also loved Toti’s character. At first I thought he was too naive but I suppose sometimes, ignorance is strength. He saw Agnes without having heard bad gossip about her prior to their meeting and I’m glad for this. His character not only helps bring Agnes out be herself but encourages us, as well as members of Jónsson’s family, to decide for themselves what is justice and what is not.

All in all, I would highly recommend this book. It was a wonderful experience, even if it was a bit depressing, and I think a lot of people will find themselves questioning their own beliefs.

This review is also available on BookLikes and GoodReads. 4star

Top 5 Wednesday: Books “BookTube” Made You Read

top 5 wed

For the sake of this post, I’m going to include books that book blogging made me read too because I have more of those books than books that BookTube made me read.

These are in no particular order, just random 5 picks.

Top 5 Books BookTube Made You Read

5. Delirium by Lauren Oliver

A lot of people seemed to rave about this book but I hated it. It was a mediocre novel at best. Urgh. >:(

✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿

4. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

This read was inspired by part blogging, part Youtube, and part TV-show. It wasn’t too bad in my opinion.

✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿

3. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Other than me wanting to read more Adult Fiction, majority of my reading was inspired by so many people on BookTube reading this.

✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿

2. The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood

This was fantastic. That’s all I have to say. I absolutely fell in love with this series.

✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿ ✿

1. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

This book was OK. Wasn’t really anything special in my opinion. In terms of how hyped up it was, it was kind of a disappointing read.


Please feel free to leave a link to your Top 5 Wednesday post, I would love to see what you have for the week! If you have read any of these titles, share your thoughts below. :)

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Happy Reading!