Monday, October 14, 2019

Extraordinary(ly long) book titles

Top Ten Tuesday: Extraordinary Book Titles

For this weeks Top Ten Tuesday I decided to have a look at the increasing trend in books to have the most ridiculously long title possible, making it very difficult to talk about these books without needing to take a break and catch my breath. As annoying as it is, I do love the long titles that take us away from the YA dystopia trend of using a single word to describe the entire story!

I've ordered the books from shortest title to longest, so watch as they slowly get more and more ridiculous as the list goes on.

The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir

Starting off small with a title that is only 6 six words, I always feel ridiculous when I tell people the title of this book, and often end up shortening it to just Biddy Weir. Compared to the rest of the books on this list, maybe I shouldn't feel so ridiculous!

The Curious Incident of Dog in the Night-Time

Another short, long title that comes in at 9 words (depending how you split night-time), this books is well-loved and can only be said as a full title. How would you split it to make it shorter? Who knows? But I do know it takes up enough time to earn a place on this list.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

I read this book over the Summer and though it was absolutely incredible. For a book so short it sure does make up for it with the length of its title, although we still haven't hit double digits yet!

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Last one in the single digits, and a beautiful one to end with. The story and writing style is as poetic as the people that inspired the character's names and I always get distracted by the cover when I see it on the shelves in bookshops.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Our first book that is in the double digits and what an iconic one! I haven't actually read this book but I do know all about it (which I think is true to most book lovers around the world). Compared to the rest of the books on this list its title is still short, only just making it to 10 words.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

Who else remembers when this book came out and all the booktubers were trying to find a way to shorten the title? The entire series has crazy long titles, but this one is the longest (12 words) and the most intriguing, in my opinion. Also, the covers of this series are gorgeous so that makes up for the extraordinarily long title!

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

Admittedly not the longest title that Jonas Jonasson has come up with in his time as a writer, it is the most memorable and the book I talk about the most. This is another one that I have troubles shortening because 'The Hundred Year Old Man' just doesn't sound right but I don't want to say the whole title all the time.

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure

Did anyone know that this was the full title of The Princess Bride? I quite like the full title actually because it adds an extra layer of excitement and adventure to this story. Also, it makes it sound more like a classical Medieval story that has been passed down the generations (which is fitting for a story this timeless).

The Boyfriend List: 15 Guys, 11 Shrink Appointments, 4 Ceramic Frogs and Me, Ruby Oliver

The Ruby Oliver series was actually the first set of books I read by E. Lockhart, so I had no idea that she wrote thrillers. Although I love her thriller stories there will always be a special place in my heart for her ridiculously names Ruby Oliver series 

Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds 

o all Captain Underpants books have ridiculous book titles, but this one definitely wins for most ridiculous. Coming it at 25 words it is the longest title I've ever seen, and I didn't even realise when I read it! Luckily most people just to refer to this series as the Captain Underpants books so I don't have to recite this monster every time I talk about it.

And bonus one: the longest title in the world which is 1022 words long!

I honestly didn't believe this when I looked it up, but the title is actually that long (and obviously it is about Harry Potter)!

What is the longest title of a book you've read? Have you read any of the books on this list?
Let me know in the comments below!

And until next time, keep reading!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Bookish people I watch when I'm not reading

A couple of years ago I did a Top Ten Tuesday post about my favourite booktubers, and I realised that my list has changed a little since then (mainly I watch a lot more booktubers now then I did then). So I decided to take the opportunity today to share my new list of booktubers you need to watch.

Codie's Book Corner (Codie)

I've only just started watching Codie's videos but I love her Wheel of TBR series! It's such a creative way to try and get through her TBR, and a lot of fun to watch her panic as the big book prompt comes up! She also does weekly reading vlogs so you can see her progress as she works through the TBR.

A Clockwork Reader (Hannah)

She hasn't been uploading as much lately, but the videos that she does upload are the softest things on Youtube and always fill me with a warm feeling. I love that she has started doing her own thing, rather than only focusing on book related videos because it seems to make her happier.

Read by Zoe (Zoe)

I think I can safely say that of all the people on this list, Zoe is my favourite. I watch every single video by her, love everything she puts out and will always watch her videos. She is like a little ray of sunshine coming through your screen and always makes me feel better.

Peruse Project (Regan)

I've only just started watching Regan's videos (literally last week) but I really love her book haul videos that she does, so she deserved a place on this list! She reads a mixture of new releases and older books, so I'm always guaranteed to see a book in her haul that I've heard of!

Books and Lala (Kayla)

The Queen of Readathons, Kayla has become my new obsession this year. She vlogs about books that she is reading, readathons that she is competing in and challenges that she has set herself. On top of that she always puts out fun ans unique videos, which leave me in awe of her mental power.

 Books With Emily Fox (Emily)

Emily's videos are different from the other youtubers on this list because she's not afraid to talk about her negative opinions and it is absolutely hilarious. Also she has a snow globe of herself that the camera always focuses on, which has resulted in a love/hate relationship between Emily and her snow globe.

Merphy Napier (Merphy)

Merphy has been doing a series on her channel recently of the best and worst books in certain categories (like series finales or starters) and I've found them really interesting. In all her wrap-ups (as well as these videos) she goes into detail about why she didn't enjoy a certain book, so that you know to avoid it if it doesn't sound like your cup of tea, and it makes her wrap-ups good fun to watch.

Which booktubers are your favourites? Are any of them on this list?
Let me know in the comments below!

And until next time, keep reading!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Character traits I love

Top Ten Tuesday: Character Traits I love

This was hard because all I could think of was characters that I love, but not why I love them. After about three hours of brainstorming (and a lot of staring at my bookshelf) I finally managed to compile a list of character traits that seem to be common in all of the characters that I love.

1- Smart characters who aren't afraid to be smart...

I love characters that are smart. I love it even more when these characters don't shy away from their intellect but proudly use it to help progress the plot and assist the other characters. Obviously the main character who fits this category is Hermione from the Harry Potter series, who is an icon for smart people everywhere.

2- and characters who have a thing. 

On top of smart characters, I love characters that have a thing that they are obsessed with. The first character that comes to mind is Gansey from The Raven Cycle. He doesn't necessarily excel at school (he can't understand Latin) but he can recite any amount of information about ley lines and Welsh history, which I loved

3- Characters who are proud of their families

Maybe it's because I read a lot of YA books but I always find it to be a nice surprise when characters proudly talk about their families to the people they are with. Anytime a character has a living family it is a miracle, and if the character actively talks to their family I fall in love with them immediately. A good example of this is Starr from THUG, who has a very realistic relationship with her family.

4- Characters who are romantic

 I love characters who are obviously in love with someone else, even if that person  doesn't realise, but it also tortures me because why can't they just be happy and in love together!! I'm currently reading Outlander and Jamie is stealing my heart. Although he's a little rough and tough at times he has the most beautiful things to say about Claire and it makes my heart melt a little.

 5- Characters that are sarcastic

How many people thought of Magnus Bane when I said that? As a British person I thrive off of sarcasm so when a character is well-written as a sarcastic little bean they instantly become my new favourite character.

6- Characters who thrive in isolation

Not really a character trait, but I've recently loved the rise in literature of people who have been social outcasts for most of their life and are now trying to reconnect with society. The first book I read like this was The Lonely Life of Biddy Weir (about three years ago)  and it has stuck with me.

7- Characters who are a good laugh

I think everyone can agree that funny characters who add some sort of comic relief to a story are always welcome. In general people who can make me laugh are my favourite people, so when a book character does it I feel warm inside.

8- Characters who stay positive in a bad world

Admittedly this can go one of two ways: I love them and they become my new favourite character or I can't stand them and they ruin the book for me. When this character is written right I love them with all my heart because they inspire me to keep my head up, even when times are hard.

9- Characters who are vulnerable (especially villains)

I love it when characters show their weak side, be it on purpose or because they thought they were alone. I especially love it when the person being vulnerable is a villain (think Loki) as it shows people that everyone has it in them to show their insecurities.

10- And finally, bookworms!

How could I make this post and not talk about characters that love books?! There are so many characters that fit into this category that I couldn't possibly list them all here, but I love them all. I especially love reading the books that are mentioned to try and figure out why these characters love the books so much!

What character traits do you love? Are any of them on this list?
Let me know in the comments below!

And until next time, keep reading!

Sunday, October 6, 2019

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

On the Come Up by Angie ThomasOn The Come Up by Angie Thomas
Release Date: February 5, 2019
Pages: 435
Rating: 💜💜💜💜💜
Buy it: Amazon |  Book Depository

As the daughter of an underground hip hop legend who died right before he hit big, Bri's got massive shoes to fill. But Bri soon finds herself at the centre of controversy and portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. And with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it - she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be.

I know you shouldn't compare an author's books, especially two stories that are so important. However, I feel the only way I can truly talk about how many emotions this book made me feel is by relating it to how many emotions THUG made me feel.

This story felt so different from THUG, and yet so similar. I felt like we got to see more of Garden Heights in this book, from the gang life to the drug problems that held the Heights in its grips. I know THUG showed police brutality and the whole black rights movement, but this book felt more gritty... and scary. For some reason I felt more connected to Bri than I did to Starr, maybe because her story was more rooted in family dynamics and trying to overcome other people's perceptions of you (even if it has terrible consequences).

Bri wasn't as instantly likeable as Starr (she was more argumentative for one) and I spent a lot of the book mentally trying to telepathically make her shut up, but you can't help but love her by the end of the book. She stands up for herself when she feels that people are trying to push her into a certain box and doesn't let anyone control her. This is especially evident when she starts to rap more, as she wants to be successful but doesn't want to lose her identity as a rapper. She is especially strong when everyone starts trying to tell her what to rap about, and decides it is best if she decides what goes into her raps, rather than listen to other people. Talking about her raps, they were incredible (you can tell Angie Thomas used to be a rapper), and I honestly think that those raps would have the power to reach out to hundreds of unrepresented people if they were actually released. You could feel the pain behind her lyrics, and I found myself cheering along at some of the burns that she created during her battles.

My favourite part of this book was the fact that Bri didn't want to be used as a symbol of hope. She didn't want people to use her story as a story to inspire her movement; she just wanted people to forget what happened and leave her alone. She wanted her family to have money. She wanted her dad back. It was so different from what Starr went through in THUG and it was nice to see that side of humanity that doesn't want to make a deal out of things (especially if they think it will make things worse for themselves). There are even scenes in the book where Bri argues with people who want her to use her story to promote black rights in her school, and she straight up refuses, which I think is important for people to see.

I also loved that Bri didn't end the story with her ideal happy ending. Much like the ending of any Pixar film, everything went the opposite way from what was expected. But by writing it this way Angie Thomas made the story feel more realistic, because even though Bri didn't get what she wanted she ended up with a happy ending. This story was as much about black rights as it was about Bri's journey to figure out what was right for her

So all in all, a very moving book with plenty of fun moments meshed into the story line. Angie Thomas has once again shown her pure talent as an author, and I can't wait to read more stories from her (no matter how much they break my heart).

Friday, October 4, 2019

September Wrap-up

Autumn is officially here, school has started again and the holiday season is about to begin. If you have seen any of my posts from this month then you will know that Autumn is my favourite time of the year. The weather turns cold and it becomes socially acceptable to sit inside with a warm drink and a book. Also I'm one of those odd people who enjoys the feeling of being cold, when the wind pinch your face and numbs your fingers, because it makes your body feel alive (plus going inside afterwards always feels better). Anyway, onto my month!

What I read:

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black- I'm late to this book, but I'm glad I waited until I was in a fantasy mood, rather than forcing myself through it. I've already reviewed it as well!

Happiness for Beginners by Carole Matthews-I wanted to get a romance kick (especially after reading so many fantasy books) but sadly this book didn't deliver for me. (I've written a review so you can see all of my thoughts).

From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon-this book was what I was looking for when I wanted romance, but it gave me so much more. Of course, I had to review it straight away because I loved it so much.

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas- Obviously this book was amazing and made you really think about society and the treatment of African-Americans. I can't wait for Angie Thomas to release more books.

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne- this book took me so long to get through (especially for how short it is) but I'm glad I pushed through it because it was the best travel book I've read in a while.

Zenith: Phase One by Grant Morrison- my only graphic novel of the month, the concept of this book was so different from any other stories I've read. Think Captain America mixed with Maus.

They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera- reading this on the last day of the month was both a great and an awful decision. It hurt my heart to read it and I'm going to try read more Adam Silvera by the end of the year.

What I watched:

Unbelievable- this was incredible and possibly the best thing I've watched all year. I will admit, I stayed up all night watching the entire thing in one night, but it has stuck with me and I'm definitely going to have to watch it again at some point.

Outlander (season 1)- I'm very late to the bandwagon here but I finally get all the hype around this series. I used to watch a lot of Sasha's videos and she was obsessed with this book, and now I've started watching the series I can understand why! One of my first reads of October is going to have to be Outlander, just to see the similarities and differences.

The Good Place (season 4)- it's back! It's a bittersweet moment, because this is going to be the last season of the Good Place, but it is the kind of series that I can watch over and over again so I'll be able to watch the show again once it's over.

What I wrote:

Books I'm reading this Autumn- coming back to Top Ten Tuesday with this post was good fun, although I've already changed my plans at least twice since writing this post!

The Autumn Book Tag - I thought I'd kick of the new season with a tag about all things Autumn, and let me tell you, I had a lot of fun looking through my bookshelves for the most Autumny book I could find.

Series Review: Shadowhunters- I have a series on this blog where I review popular series collectively, and  this month was the Shadowhunter series. I've finally caught up with the series (after 4 years of reading them!) and am so excited for the books that are getting released next year!

What I did:

Started university- I am officially a university student now so I have no money and a lot of work. But all jokes aside, I've loved my first month here and I'm really excited for the rest of my course. 

Started writing again - I've been meaning to get back into writing for a long time now and I decided to finally get back into. I'm uploading the chapters onto Wattpad, so if you want to check it out feel free!

Revived my instagram- seems like I spent most of this month starting things but towards the end of the month I started paying more attention to my instagram account (which you can check out for more bookish stuff)

Sang karaoke for the first time- yes, I have gone 18 years without singing karaoke and I finally broke that this month. Obviously I had to sing Bohemian Rhapsody which was an incredibly powerful moment (and I lived off the buzz for days).

What did you do this September? And what are your plans for October? 
Let me know in the comments below!

And until next time, keep reading!

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The only maths I will do (aka numbers in titles)

Top Ten Tuesday: Book Titles with Numbers in Them

Until I saw this topic I hadn't really given a second thought to how many books have numbers in the title, but now it is all I can think of. When I went into the bookshop the other day every single book I looked at seemed to have a number in the title and now I can't escape this trend. 

I wonder why so many books have numbers in the title; is it because people are attracted to numbers or is it because it adds an air of mystery? Who knows. I definitely don't.

Today we are going to be counting as high as possible using book titles. The basic rules are: I can't skip numbers, I can use fractions (like 9 3/4 or 7 1/2) and obviously they have to be real books.

Let's go!

Ready Player One- Ernest Cline

Two Can Keep a Secret- Karen M. McNamus

Life of Pi- Yann Martel

Four- Veronica Roth

The Five People You Meet in Heaven- Mitch Albom

Six of Crows- Leigh Bardugo

The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle- Stuart Turton

Fox 8- George Saunders

Ninth House- Leigh Bardugo

Ten Things We Did- Sarah Mlynoski

Station Eleven- Emily St John Mandel

Twelfth Night- William Shakespeare

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4- Sue Townsend

That's as far as I could get to, but if you can think of anymore please comment below! Just remember that you can't skip numbers (sorry, no 1984) but you can use fractions.

And until next time, keep reading!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Happiness for Beginners by Carole Matthews

Happiness for BeginnersHappiness for Beginners by Carole Matthews
Pages: 464
Release Date: February 21, 2019 
Buy it: Amazon | Book Depository

Molly runs her farm as an alternative school for kids who haven't thrived in mainstream education. It's full on, but she wouldn't have it any other way. So when Shelby Dacre turns up asking to enrol his son Lucas, Molly isn't fazed. But Lucas is distant and soon Molly realises he might be more of a handful than she anticipated. And there's the problem that his dad is distractingly handsome. With all this excitement can she find her happy ending?

This book wasn't my cup of tea. I went into the book expecting a sweet romance about a woman trying to find her way in life and also get her man. And ultimately I did get that out of this book, give or take a few expectations, so really I should be satisfied.

But the writing style! Oh my god this writing style. I want to say that I'm sure it isn't Carole Matthews fault (at least not entirely) but this book was awful. There were spelling mistakes and typos and sentences that made no sense and it. drove. me. mad. I know I am in no place to comment critically on adult books, being a teenager who is in her first year of university, but man alive, the editor for this book sucked. I spent so much time mentally correcting mistakes in the book that I think I actually managed to miss sections of the book

Let's talk about characters. For the most part I liked the characters the appropriate amount; it was obvious who we were meant to dislike, who we were meant to like and who was going to go through some character growth. I did spend a lot of time being annoyed at Molly because she was made too perfect and I really needed her to be a little more selfish to be more likeable. (Weird criticism but just let me have it). All the children she looked after were charmingly broken in their own ways, and her friend (yes singular) was your stereotypical party friend that you find in all books like this.

So why give it three stars? It was a fun read, I enjoyed the story and I think that if the writing style was better I might have given it a higher rating. It's a same that the publishers decided to pull the publication date forward a year because if they'd taken that time to check through the book a little more they would have been able to edit it in a more successful way.