Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Unpopular Opinion Tag

Hey there lovelies! I'm stuck in bed for the day with a fever and I thought I'd use this free time to do something fun. To be honest, nobody has tagged me yet, but I'm going to do it anyway.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on my thoughts. I'd also love to see you guys try this fun tag out as well. If you end up doing this tag (or already have), feel free to post a link to it in the comment section below.

I hope I don't offend anyone with my unpopular opinions. Everyone has different tastes, so don't take it personally.

A popular book or series that you didn't like:

  

The Hunger Games...While I won't go into my usual long rant about why I didn't like this series, I will defend my position as best as I can in a single paragraph. First of all, I see the Hunger Games as a complete rip-off of Battle Royale. Secondly, the author's use of fragmented sentences in a weak and ineffective attempt to be profound made me roll my eyes every other page. Thirdly, Katniss Everdeen is nothing close to the strong female protagonist that the plot and the readers of this series deserve. The way she consistently let her love life get in the way of the actual plot quickly swept away the last remaining bit of respect I had for her.

Shatter Me...I honestly love the writing style. It's unique and beautiful and I've yet to read anything like it. However, it gets a bit tiring after the first 50 pages or so. Therefore I found it somewhat tortuous to read 300+ pages, let alone a whole series. 

Angelfall...It's not that this book was bad. It just wasn't for me. I'm not that into anything involving angels and apocalypses. I felt no connection to the characters and their romance was a bit to quick and cliche for my tastes. In the end I was forcing myself to finish it and I don't plan on reading the rest of the series.

A book or series that everyone seems to hate but you love:



No One Else Can Have You...There's been a lot of controversy surrounding this book and its author. However, that hasn't changed my opinion since I first read it over a year ago. I hadn't read many mystery novels before this and so I didn't have much to base my judgments on. Still, I thought it was an exciting and fast-paced thriller capable of getting me out of one of my worst reading slumps.

Icons...I can understand why a lot of people hated this book/series. The female protagonist is admittedly annoying as hell and the romance lacks luster. Nevertheless, I felt that the other characters, the plot and the action made up for this book's many downfalls. I wasn't expecting to love this series and I definitely wasn't planning on crying my eyes out towards the end.

A love triangle that didn't end the way you wanted it to:






The Steampunk Chronicles...(Finley Jayne, Griffin King, Jack Dandy) Obviously I can't say much because I don't want to spoil anyone. However, I thought Finley was better suited for *****. They would have made the most amazing power couple. Of course the choice Finley made was a reasonable one, but I still would've preferred the alternative.

A book genre you hardly reach for:



Contemporary/Romance...I already have enough drama in my life; therefore, I prefer not to read about similarly depressing or cringe-worthy situations. Additionally, it seems to me that it is more likely that an annoying cliche (love triangle, jerk that turns out to be a softy, all the pretty girls are mean as hell, etc) will show up in a contemporary/romance book than a fantasy/science fiction book. I also find that many books in the contemporary genre tend to romanticize things like suicide, depression and other physical/mental/emotional issues (which I see as very inappropriate because they send the wrong message).


A popular or beloved character that you do not like:






Dobby (Harry Potter)...It's not that I hate Dobby. I just don't love him to the same extent that many Harry Potter fans do. He's cute and sweet, but he isn't cute enough for me to care whether he lives or dies. I actually loved Kreacher more.

Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)...Katniss was my biggest issue when reading The Hunger Games series. In my opinion, she was never the strong female role model that everyone claimed she was. She was motivated more by her personal relationships rather the plot itself. If Prim hadn't been chosen I bet she would've never done anything about the games and would've just moved on with her life.

A popular author you just can't seem to enjoy:



Lauren Oliver...I've tried multiple times to read the many books written by Lauren Oliver in the past few years. Only once I've been able to finish one of her books and that was because I had no other books with me during one of my many stays in the hospital last year. Her books have so much potential but every single time the plots and the characters fall flat.

A popular trope you're tired of seeing:












The Pretty Girls Are Always Mean (And Stupid)...You're almost guaranteed to come across this trope in any young adult book with a school and or small town setting. The main character is misfit who seems to think she has the right to judge other girls her age by what they wear. A girl doesn't even have to speak to show you she's a bitch; all she has to do is be wearing lots of makeup and glittery high heels. I hate this trope because it makes fun of girls who like to dress up on a regular basis. I am one of those girls. But just because I love to dress up and look my best every single day doesn't mean I'm out to get you or that I have an IQ in the single digits.

A popular series you have no interest in reading:













Pretty Little Liars...I had had enough of this story in its television adaption form by its second season. That being so, I can not even fathom committing myself to the books from beginning to end. I sometimes wonder what this series contains (other than the obvious mystery of A) in order to take up 16 full lengths novels, but I'm not curious enough to actually waste my time and money on it all.

A movie or TV show that was better than the book:





Flashforward...This was one of my favourite TV shows when I was younger. I was devastated when it got cancelled and I was left with so many unanswered questions. Nevertheless, the television adaptation was much better than the novel. The novel was so confusing I could barely keep up. I also had to continuously google countless scientific terms and concepts mentioned in the book that were much easier to understand when adapted.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

4 (Hopefully) Helpful Tips For Getting Out Of A Reading Slump

Hey everyone! Sorry I haven't posted in a while. I've had a lot going on in and out of school that's got in the way of both my reading and my blogging.

For those of you that are friends with me on Goodreads, you may have noticed that I haven't gotten a lot of reading done in the past week or so. This was because I had fallen into an unforeseen reading slump that I thought I would never get out of. Thankfully, I have miraculously found my way out of that pit of despair and loneliness. But before I get back to reading into the early hours of the morning, I thought I would share with you some (hopefully) helpful tips for getting out of a reading slump if are ever unfortunate enough to fall into its clutches.

Tip #1: Change your reading environment. 

Do you usually read inside? Try an hour or two in the sun or under the comforting shade of a tree. If the weather outside isn't suitable for you or your book, sit by a window or in another room.
Do you usually listen to music while you read? Try a new playlist or turn it off for a while. The silence may seem daunting at first, but it can sometimes help you get more immersed in the story.
(Try typing the name of the book you're reading into 8tracks. Chances are someone has already made a playlist specifically for the book/series)

Tip #2: Change book genres. 

Trying something new and unfamiliar can give your brain the boost you desperately need. Who knows, you may also awaken a passion for a genre, series or author you never expected to love. (While trying to get out of my most recent reading slump, I took a break from fantasy and dabbled in some Canadian classics that my teacher recommended. I didn't necessarily love them, but their complexity encouraged me to focus more on what I was reading and I managed to get much more invested in what I was reading than I was before.)

Tip #3: Change the medium on which you read. 

Do you usually read on your ereader? Try switching to something physical. Maybe even experiment with audiobooks. (Get audiobooks from your local library on find them for free online. I suggest trying theaudiobookbay.) If you usually read physical books, try ebooks. Whether you have an ereader doesn't matter. You can always download ereader apps on your phone or iPod.

Tip #4: Step away from books for a while. 

Gasp. While saying that may be considered to be an act of heresy to some, it has to be said. Sometimes there is nothing you can do about a reading slump. Just step away from the books for a day or two and try not to worry. Reading isn't a race or any other sort of competition. The books will always be there for you when you get back. I promise.

Hopefully you find one or more of these tips to be helpful whether you or someone you love is suffering the affliction that is a reading slump. Do you have any tips for getting out of a reading slump that isn't mentioned above? If so, comment down below!

Monday, 11 May 2015

Review: Unmarked by Kami Garcia (The Legion #2)

I realized that sometimes we have to step outside the walls and fight. Sometimes the armor we thought was protecting us was actually weighing us down.

Synopsis:
Kennedy Waters lives in a world where vengeance spirits kill, ghosts keep secrets, and a demon walks among us–a demon she accidentally set free.

Now Kennedy and the other Legion members–Alara, Priest, Lukas, and Jared–have to hunt him down. As they learn more about the history of the Legion and the Illuminati, Kennedy realizes that the greatest mystery of all does not belong to any secret order, but to her own family. With the clock ticking and the life of someone she loves hanging in the balance, Kennedy has to ask the question she fears most: what is it about her past that has left her Unmarked?

My Initial Expectations:

I had a very strong love-hate relationship with the first book in this series. I loved it paranormal aspects; but I also hated it for how similar said paranormal aspects mirrored those in the hit television series Supernatural. Not only that, but two brothers travelling around the country fighting ghosts and demons was a bit too on the nose. To be honest, I had picked up the sequel before I even finished the first book. That being so, I was determined not to let twenty bucks go to waste. 

What I Liked About The Book:

This book made up for a lot of the resentments I had previously developed towards the characters. For starters, the members of the Legion were much more mature. No longer were they a bunch of annoying cliches (with the exception of Jared, but I'll get to that later). The brief insight into each characters lives outside of the Legion finally removed the uncaring distance that I had felt towards them all during much of the first book. 

Thankfully, Garcia eliminated the much despised love triangle, and in the best way. There was no drama or long-lasting awkwardness. The characters moved on and focused on more important things like mature teenagers are supposed to do. I also loved that Elle was a constant presence. She brought a well needed lightheartedness to the doomsday atmosphere and made sure that Kennedy's attention wasn't always on the hot guy. 

Surprisingly, this book creeped me out. Of course I'm already easily freaked out because of my ever-present paranoia; but this level of creep was a big step from the almost nonexistent gloom of the first book. 

What I Didn't Like About The Book:

Jared was one of my favourite characters in the first book. Now he makes me gag. He went from a tough and determined hero to a lovesick puppy with little reason. Sure, Kennedy's a nice girl, but he's known her less than two months. Take it down a notch. 

I didn't think this book could copy Supernatural any more than it already had. I was wrong. I won't go into detail because I don't want to spoil it for people who haven't read this one yet; but I can tell you it involves rogue angels, demonic possession and daddy issues. 

My Overall Thoughts: 

Rarely do I come across a sequel that is better than its predecessor. While it has one of the cheesiest romances in YA, it's still super cute and not entirely cringe-worthy. I'm very relieved that author has begun to eliminate some of the distasteful cliches that made the first book so disappointing. Additionally, I'm blown away by the detail included in regards to history and demonology (and all those other paranormal terms I can't for the life of me spell). I always can appreciate well-researched information. 

I gave this book 4/5 stars on Goodreads!
Would I recommend it? Yes. Even if you hated the first book, you should give this series a second chance! 
Would I re-read it? Nah.

What did you guys think? Do you think there was significant improvement between the first and second books? Have you ever come across a sequel that was better than/made up for its predecessor?

Review: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

The books are to remind us what asses and fool we are. They're Caeser's praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, "Remember, Caeser, thou art mortal." Most of us can't rush around, talking to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven't time, money or that many friends. The things you're looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book. Don't ask for guarantees. And don't look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were headed for shore.

What the book is about...
Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television 'family'. But when he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn't live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. 

My initial expectations...
Like every other book assigned to me in English class, I was 90% sure that this would suck. I just don't like the way most older books are written. I usually find them very bland and monotone with references and dialect that no longer make sense. 

What I liked about the book...

Never have I come across a classic novel with better detail than this. I've always had a bit of trouble understanding the metaphors of classic authors. Thankfully, Bradbury managed to paint a flawless picture. It felt as if I was experiencing the story through Guy Montag's eyes, and not just watching from afar.

What I didn't like about the book...

I perfectly understand that this book is supposed to set in a dystopian world. However, that doesn't excuse the lack of logic that appears sporadically throughout the plot. The background to the setting was what annoyed me the most. While on one page it is stated that book burning has being going on centuries, other claims make it seem like its only been going on for a few decades at most. None of it made sense.

Additionally, you can't just duck and cover to escape the force of an atomic bomb only a few kilometers away. That's just common sense.

My overall thoughts...

Have you ever read a book which, once finished, left you with a profound new view of yourself and your place in society? For me, this was one of those books. The last time I felt so moved by a book was when I read Perks of Being a Wallflower in 9th grade (about 4 years ago).

Sure, the books in between have been enjoyable to say the least. However, no matter how good the books were, no matter how much they made me cry or laugh, they never changed the way I saw the world, myself or others.

To be honest, I haven't yet figured out how exactly this book has changed me. That's okay though because revelations don't come instantly.

In conclusion, while the characters and plot weren't fantastic, the message they carried sure was. 

I gave this book 4/5 stars on Goodreads!
Would I recommend it to anyone? Yes. Go read this if you haven't already.
Would I read it again? Yes, I think I would. (I've already read this 3 times since February).

What did you guys think? We're you as annoyed with the lack of logic as I was? What did you think of the ending?

Check it out on Goodreads!

Friday, 8 May 2015

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

"Magic bent the world. Pulled it into shape. There were fixed points. Most of the time those points were places. But sometimes, rarely, they were people. For someone who never stood still, Lila still felt like a pin in Kell's world. One he was sure to snag on."

Synopsis:

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.
Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.


Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

My Initial Expectations:

Having read (and disliked) Schwab's young adult series The Archived about a year back, my expectations for this weren't particularly high. Though Schwab's writing style in The Archived series was undeniably beautiful and unique, I had difficulty getting attached in any way to the characters and plot. Because characters and plot are essential to me enjoying a book, I expected to feel the same way about the characters and plot of A Darker Shade of Magic. 

Besides that, the premise itself didn't appeal to me. Parallel universes have a reputation for complexity, something which is extremely hard to pull off in a way that the reader can understand. While I'm not in favor for simplicity, I didn't want a book that would take more effort than usual to follow. 

What I Liked About The Book: 

Let me just start off by saying that this book was so beautifully written that almost every page on my Kobo is crammed with highlight after highlight. Dialogue, descriptions, and word choice in general is perfectly executed. Each London felt like a world, a culture, a people of its own. There were (barely) no questions left unanswered; but at the same the author wasn't trying to shove the world-building down my throat like some fantasy writers do. 

While I wasn't in love with the majority of the characters at first, I grew to love them all to some degree or another by the end of the book-even the villains. It was great to see male leads with such strong emotions. Boys can cry too (and that's not a bad thing)! 

Out of everything in the book however, nothing could compete with the intensive grim scenes and the struggles the characters faced not only with their enemies, but with themselves. The increasingly present dark atmosphere, and how each character dealt with it in turn, kept me hooked from beginning to end. 

What I Didn't Like About The Book:

Though I understand that Schwab can't spill all the characters' secrets into one book, I was super disappointed when the book finished and I was left with a handful of extremely pressing questions unanswered. I won't mention what they are exactly, but they are too major to be ignored.  

I would have loved to see more interaction between Rhy and Kell. They're relationship is so crucial to the plot, and yet they only interact about three times. Schwab could've at least given us a peek into the prince's point of view. It seemed like she showed everyone's point of view but Rhy's.

My Overall Thoughts:

This book took my expectations and threw them out the window. If anything, they raised my expectations for fantasy books even higher than they were before (which I thought would be impossible after reading A Court of Thorns and Roses). I obviously cannot for the next book. Maybe, just maybe I'll Schwab I second go. 

I gave this book 5/5 stars on Goodreads!
Would I recommend this to anyone: Yes!!! Go get this book right now! Do it!
Would I re-read this book: Maybe, just to see if there was anything I missed the first time.

My Reading Progress:



What did you guys think? Have you read Schwab's other books? In your opinion, how do they compare? If you could control any element, which one would it be? If you could live in any London, which one would it be?

Check it out on Goodreads!