#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books I read in school

Six for Sunday
Not sure if this is meant to be about books I had to read in school or books that I ended up reading in school because I spent almost all of my free time in the library (until the last year when I became a music/drama nerd but shh) so I read A LOT of books and I don’t remember most of them but a good few stuck with me.

Animorphs by K.A Applegate
I’m not sure if I read the books because of the TV show or watched the TV show because of the books but I know that I loved them both. I adored that this group of teenagers could turn into different animals but always had that element of risk that if they stay too long in animal form they would be stuck in it forever. The tension in these books was also so well done, there were so many close calls and reveals throughout, they were absolutely addictive. I think these were some of the first books I read that I found really interesting, not forgetting the blossoming of my first book crush in the form of Tobias who I fell head over heels in love with. Turns out I’ve always had a thing for the angsty boys.

The Vampire Diaries by L.J Smith
I found the first Vampire Diaries Books not long after I finished Animorphs. I spent a lot of time at my local library by this point and they had a lovely YA section with nice comfy chairs where I would go to read in peace while my mum thought I was out playing. I had finished the Animorphs books and didn’t really know where to go from there but there was a whole section of the YA shelves that were just black and I was a little nerdy goth girl then so naturally, this drew my attention and there I found the first of the four Vampire Diaries books. I sat in the library from opening until close reading The Awakening in one sitting. It rocked my damn world and I took the other three out and barely left my room for the weekend. I think I’ve loved vampire books ever since.

Harry Potter by J.K Rowling
A possibly obvious one I know. I actually hadn’t heard of Harry Potter until I started secondary school and a friend I made there (I knew no one when I started so it was nice to find bookish friends) told me I needed to read Harry Potter…so I did and I fell in love with that too, it was perfectly timed with my starting of secondary school so I just felt like I was going on the same journey I think. It was nice to identify with the trio as they got older. I also distinctively remember that I made me and my friend our own full length (with book lists) Hogwarts acceptance letters.

The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
I think this was a read from primary school and I read it often, over and over again, I loved that there were girls who liked to fight with swords but it also showed me that you didn’t always have to have a sword to be brave or to fight for the people you love. I’ve learned recently that there was also a sequel that I absolutely have to read.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
This one I discovered my first half-year of college. I had discovered sometimes we had free periods and once a week I had a two-hour free period and approaching Christmas I decided to use those two hours to head into town and do some Christmas shopping. Waterstones was running its 3 for 2 offer that it ran every Christmas for years, I brought two for gifts and at the desk, they had a selection of books also on the offer, one of those was Poison Study. It had the classic purple UK Cover and it looked pretty cool so I brought it and it was brilliant, Maria went on to become one of my absolute favourite authors.

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Another free period college find, this time with book vouchers from Christmas. I actually picked up New Moon first because it was new out and caught my eye but they had sold out of copies of Twilight itself so I couldn’t start the series. I managed to find out about the series online and found somewhere to order it from. I was able to read the first chapter or two online while I waited and did so immediately, then also the equivalent of the first couple of chapters of Midnight son (Twilight told from Edwards point of view). I fell in love with these books pretty quick and although I wasn’t an over the top “Twihard” I was definitely a fan. Even though now I’m older and I’ve read a lot more and can see the problems in both the books and films, not to mention Edwards behaviour (and Jacob’s) I still love them both and the films in particular (THOSE SOUNDTRACKS Y’ALL) hold a lot of brilliant nostalgia and I watch them every few months.

I hope you enjoyed reading about some of the books I read when I was in school/college and would love to check yours out too, don’t forget to let me know if we have any in common! I also want to give an honourable mention to The Crucible by Arthur Miller and Macbeth by (duh) Shakespeare, which were two books/plays we were required to read for my English literature classes and I utterly adored both of them.

#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books and the Seaside

I was hoping by the time this prompt turned up we would have been able to go on a family trip to the beach but no such luck yet! Soon though hopefully! For now, however, I just decided to see if I could think of six books that feature the seaside, or beaches at the very least.

Christmas at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry
I adored this really sweet and relatable tale based in one of my favourite places in the world, Devon! I used to go on holiday with my family to Devon every year for most of my childhood and I love the place to death and it really helped me envision a lot of the beach scenes in this book.

Summer Bird Blue by Akemi Dawn Bowman
This is an ultimate beach book, don’t get me wrong, it’s hard and full of chest gnawing grief but I swear you can hear the waves and feel the sand between your toes reading some of the scenes in this book.

The Blue Salt Road by Joanne Harris
A completely different feel from the beaches of Summer Bird Blue, for me the beaches of The Blue Salt Road are cold and windy, filled with pebbles and sea spray, not to mention selkies.

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
The beach out by the Los Angeles institute features in all three of The Dark Artifices books but my favourite beach moment is right at the end of Queen of Air and Darkness. If you know, you know.

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
I’ve been rewatching the Twilight films if I can’t sleep recently and I ended up watching the whole of New Moon and Eclipse last week instead of actually sleeping. I remember when reading them I loved the sound of La Push and the reservation etc and I love the scene with Bella and Jacob just walking along the beach chatting before all the supernatural stuff didn’t seem real.

The Wicked King by Holly Black
So I know this is pushing it a little but one of the biggest and most important scenes happens on a beach! (I literally just lost half an hour after going to check it was defintley on a beach and carried on reading the end of the book again damnit) So it totally counts right? I’m already so desperate for the Queen of Nothing already like I can’t explain. GIVE ME MORE.

Okay so only of these technically featured a “seaside” but they all have beaches in! Or at least sand? This was still easier than finding sunshine on covers last week at least! Also as I’m writing this the weather here is absolutely horrid, it’s humid and rainy and gross so thinking about these lovely beaches has been quite nice!

I also want to mention Lifes a Beach (Bookshop Girl #2) by Chloe Coles because this would have been a perfect book for this post but despite loving the first book I haven’t got around to its sequel yet and I’m disappointed in myself for it so this is me, calling myself out and telling me to read that damn book already.

#SixforSunday

#S4S -Baddies who deserve their own books

Happy Sunday and DAMN it’s been a hectic one!! This weeks Six for Sunday prompt is “Baddies who deserve their own books” and I am all here for this one, I love a good “villain” but which ones deserve their own books?! This was super hard because a lot of the books I read don’t necessarily have a villain exactly so this took me a lot longer than I thought it would.

The Darkling from the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

This might be a bit of a cliche one but I would honestly really like to read a book about him essentially becoming the Darkling, I feel like there could be some really interesting material there and that final inevitability of his fate in the Grisha books would just give it a brilliant tone. Plus everyone loves him anyway so I’m sure it would do well, even just a novella.

Grindelwald from JK Rowlings Wizarding World.

This feels like a weird one for me because I enjoy Harry Potter but found my love for it has been kind of waxing and waning over the past few years but I think it would be interesting to finally get the story of Grindelwald and Dumbledore meeting, whatever happens with Ariana and then what happens from there. In fact, there’s probably fanfic of it out there somewhere I could probably check out thinking about it.

Valentine Morgenstern from the Shadowhunter books

I’m sensing a trend here but again, I would love to see where everything started. Young Valentine training as a shadowhunter, meeting and falling in love with Jocelyn, forming the circle and everything that follows. I’ve loved the little glimpses we’ve had from other circle members in some of the short story collections but I would more.

Ben Solo/ Kylo Ren from Star Wars

I know I mentioned him last week so I won’t go into huge detail but as I’ve said before (and with all of the others so far) I would love to see an origin story. I also wouldn’t mind a book set between The Last Jedi and the Rise of Skywalker seeing as some time is meant to have passed between these two. Honestly, I’ll probably just keep reading fanfiction for now but something canon would be great.

AIDAN from The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Another one I’ve already mentioned over the past couple of weeks but I can’t not mention them because they’re easier one of my all-time favourite baddies. The AIDAN sections in the Illuminae Files books are easily my favourites and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get enough of them to be honest, especially after reading Memento. Give me moar.

The Volturi from the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer

Not everyone’s favourite books I’m well aware but I adored the Short Second Life of Bree Tanner novella and I wonder if a short story or collection of short stories about the members of the Volturi from the later Twilight books would have the potential to be good as well, it would definitely be something I’d be interested in reading.

Who are your favourite baddies? Do you think any of them deserve their own book?

 

book talk, spoiler free, Uncategorized

Rant: I like Twilight and I hate fandom toxicity.

29134673_10155124376386581_820367603_nYes you read that correctly. I like Twilight. The books and to some extent the films as well. It’s true I haven’t read them in years but I haven’t read Harry Potter for a while either I hate to admit. A lot of the books I like I talk about frequently and it’s quite well known in my friend group the books I enjoy. Twilight is not one of them, not unless you go far enough back. Back when I was in college and had reread The Vampire Diaries books for what felt the thousandth time in a row and I was bored. I had free time between classes and didn’t know what to do with myself. I chanced a trip to my local bookstore on one of my free classes and wandered around waiting to see what would catch my eye. It was actually New Moon that made me stop, I figured it had to be about werewolves and I liked the simple looking cover and font. Thankfully the super helpful bookseller mentioned it was a sequel book (and she’d loved the first) and helped me find a copy of the first book. Twilight.

I read Twilight cover to cover in a matter of days. A feat I hadn’t achieved in years despite working in our school library in secondary school, the summer holidays and six months of college had been blur of too full of music concerts and staying out late with my friends, a new boyfriend, a new girlfriend and a new boyfriend again and I hadn’t had what felt like a spare moment to pick up a book. I moved onto New Moon a day later after spending a day somewhere with family yearning to get stuck into the book I’d stupidly left at home and I ate all my meals in my room that day and I cried. A lot. I know to a lot of people this already sounds ridiculous, I’ve been told for years how toxic and harmful the relationship between Bella and Edward is and I’m not disagreeing, well I wouldn’t if they had been real human people but as it turns out one of them was a vampire and they were both fictional characters. So I cried because Bella was hurt and I was young enough to remember being hurt and left alone by people who I thought cared about me and it felt to get that out. I was awkward like Bella, I didn’t really like other people and I was unbelievably clumsy as heck so as lame as it sounds I related to her. A lot of people complain that Bella is too weak but to be honest I can’t say that at her age I wouldn’t have done anything different, in fact she might have handled it better than me! Not forgetting that by Breaking Dawn and on occasions before that although she isn’t conventionally “kick ass” she shows that she can be strong. She is literally willing to die to keep her family safe and I love the character she becomes.

Time went on, turns out Eclipse was already out or came out not long after and I eagerly awaited the release of Breaking Dawn and made sure I got a special edition version and then it was announced they were making films and everyone was reading and talking about this book series that I loved. By this point I’d seen Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, two of my other favourite series brought to the big screen and was beyond excited for these films, especially when they announced that Catherine Hardwick, a female director would be in charge of the first film! I followed every piece of information I could get, i reread the books and I loved the film. I still have all the reference books about the making of the film that I brought after seeing it and the directors handbook filled with notes and sketches etc from the director is still my favourite.

As time went on and more films came out the franchise gained more and more fans. Other kids at school would recognize my Twilight keyring on my bag, the quotes on my notebook and my favourite replica bracelet with a heart and a wolf which was nice. Pretty soon though I discovered a darker side of The Fandom were you weren’t a big enough fan or if you didn’t read the books first you weren’t allowed to like it because you weren’t a real fan and there was some real bullying going on which all sounds absolutely absurd but sadly still happens among some fandoms today, especially in comics it seems. Soon fans of the franchise were dubbed as “Twihards” and gained a reputation for being sad, obsessive, screaming teenagers who would kill each other for a lock of Taylor Lautner’s hair etc and I didn’t correct anyone who said otherwise. I kept my enjoyment of the franchise to myself after then afraid I would be lumped in with the few that gave the other fans a bad name.

Fan reputation for Twilight just got worse over time with people verbally abusing fans because of the material itself, people who hadn’t even read the books going on about how badly written they were and how laughable the idea of sparkling vampires are, how disgusting imprinting is (that was rarely as they would have to read/watch past the first book /film) and don’t forget the plethora of necrophilia and beastiality jokes anyone even breathing a mention of Twilight were subjected to. Don’t get me wrong, they are not especially the best written books, some of the plot points are silly and in a “real world” circumstance a lot of the behaviour would be harmful and worrisome but please give me some damn credit to know what is a fictional world and people and what is not.

I get that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I really do but for love of the written word please just let people enjoy things! As long as they’re harming themselves or anyone else let them love what they love, let them be free to express their enjoyment of fiction, Twilight or otherwise. I’m not saying you have to like things everyone else likes but don’t make the mistake vice versa. Some of my favourite films are considered trash but as I fast approach thirty I’m rapidly finding I couldn’t give a hoot but other people, younger people especially will be hurt and feel ridiculed and that’s not okay. Much like in my “Why I read YA” post, let people be free to read what they enjoy.

So yes. I like Twilight. No I’m not obsessed with Edward Cullen and can tell the difference between him and Robert Pattinson (I’m more of a Team Alice fan anyway to be honest). Yes I read the books before the films came out and no it doesn’t matter one bit. You like them as well? That’s awesome! I’m always here to chat about them if you want. Don’t like them? No problem! Still here to chat about them if you’re interested in that kind of friendly discussion. Also yes I own more than one copy of each book (three or four of New Moon I believe – Yes I may have had more money than sense as a teenager but to be fair I own just under ten copies of The Hobbit and three of City of Bones). No I do not own a Team Edward or Team Jacob shirt (It’s totally fine if you do, I personally have a Team Charlie one – I kid you not. Twitter picture evidence).

I also read an awesome post by new blogger Silver Wolf Reads entitled “Why liking Twilight shouldn’t be a curse” which you should totally check out as well!

Uncategorized

Why I read YA at (almost) 30

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A topic that has come to light on on the bookish side of Twitter lately is that of the mystery of the “not so young adult” readers of Young Adult books. It seems there’s a surprising amount of people out there who think that YA books are for “Young Adults” only but you see, books have this magical property…they’re for everyone. Genre’s are not a limitation, at best they’re a guide line for what you can find inside. I don’t have to be an alien or star ship captain to be able to read science fiction, I don’t have to be a wizard or an elf to enjoy Fantasy (although it’s quite likely I’m probably  at least 1/3rd Hobbit let’s be honest) and I don’t have to be a detective or a serial killer to read murder mysteries. So why would I need to be classed as a “Young Adult” to read the YA genre?

Recently I discovered a group via Twitter created by Jenn over at her blog Jenniely called The Crone Book Club. A book club for the over 20’s who still enjoy reading YA books and it was a great feeling to see just how many other people around my age still read YA. This got me thinking about how many times I’ve felt embarrassed to talk to some people about what I’m reading. Don’t get me wrong, most of, if not all of my friends know I read YA and my book knowledge is kind of my special ability in the group (that and my ability to fall asleep doing pretty much anything.) but at work where they know I review books I’m often asked what I’m reading and there’s a brief flutter of embarrassment on occasion. From this day forth however I vow to be a proud YA reader! I enjoy what I enjoy and that shouldn’t be affected by anyone else’s narrow opinions and what an (almost) thirty year old should and should not read.

“Why would you read that? Isn’t it for kids?”

 I’ve found myself being asked in the past and with this discussion surfacing on social media again I decided I’d answer that. First of all, yes. Yes this book’s main target audience may be children or young adults but that doesn’t mean it isn’t for me, I just wanted to get that part out of the way first. To be honest, “Because I enjoy it” should be more than enough of an answer for the other half of the question and is all that really matters but I do enjoy YA specifically for a few reasons.

They’re good. 28308823_10155054230546581_1452145189_n
Most YA books are just generally good. The protagonist’s age doesn’t get in the way of compelling plots, original ideas and often swoon worthy romances (which for me can be hit and miss I’ll admit). YA books are more likely than not to be exciting and fast paced to keep young readers interested when they could at the touch of screen (or voice command!) watch a TV show, Film or their favorite Youtuber/Streamer. YA books needs to grab their attention and keep it. This makes for some great reads.

Feels.
I have never cried at a book aimed at adults but YA books make me cry and laugh out loud and feel things on a sometimes daily basis. The emotions conveyed in these books are usually intense and often familiar to older readers which adds a whole other level  of enjoyment (or pain!) to those moments. The best books and the ones that usually have the biggest impact and stay with me are the ones that can make me cry.

Length.
I’m not a huge reader of massive tomes. I find them uncomfortable to read and often I get bored. YA books however are usually much shorter and a perfect size for my busy life and short attention span. A lot of them are cheaper too! I picked up a book from the “Adult Fantasty” section last week and nearly had a heart attack.

Sex. 
This one probably sounds a bit weird but I enjoy the middle ground that a lot of romance in YA occupies. The romances are often just that…romantic. There’s flirting and teasing and almost kisses and everything feels just that little but more charged. As someone who used to read a fair bit of erotica I’m so bored of reading the same words and phrases over and over again to describe people having sex. I would much rather read about the little tense moments before two people kiss and then “fade to black” as it were. I don’t need an exact description of two people  having sex to further my enjoyment of the story, I’ve been married five years and have a three year old. I know what sex looks like, I just want to get on with the story! (Some “New adult” books are a little steamier but these are fewer and further between and although occasionally cringe worthy still often preferable to me.)

Film adaptions.
Now we all know that most of the time books are better than their adaptions but there are so many great books being made into not entirely terrible films right now. This is great because it can help bring more people into the wonderful world of books and because there’s just something about seeing characters you’ve read about and enjoyed (or loved to hate) on the big screen in the flesh. Yes these certainly aren’t always perfect and sometimes they do a disservice to the book but I sill get enjoyment out of them as an extension of whatever world they’re about. Also let’s be honest if film studios are thinking they’re good enough to be made into films there must be some adults enjoying YA right there!

My kind of interesting.
I couldn’t give a hoot who is sleeping with who on whatever soaps are popular at the moment or what this woman said about this other woman and how that guy is planning to leave his wife and blah blah blah. Tell me about the four teenagers who just saved the world from demons, the Siren Princess of an ancient bloodthirsty lineage who just wants peace, the reincarnated girl in love with an angel and a devil, give me fae, GIVE ME HUNGER GAMES, heck, even give me Twilight! I’m much more interested in Emett and Bella arm wrestling than I am in watching two grown women pathetically scrabbling in the street over anything less than a Kingdom or a bow and arrow that may or may not save their lives.

Obviously these points don’t apply to every YA book. I’m more drawn to the Fantasy and Science fiction inclined YA titles but they feel so different from their adult kin and just fit into the niche of what I enjoy much better. That being said READING IS FOR EVERYONE. If you’re an adult and you enjoy Adult books more than YA, THIS IS FINE!! Honestly I don’ care what you read as long as you’re reading because if you’re not reading you’re missing out (and probably lost…this is a blog about books!) I sat in Foyles the other day and read a children’s book about a dragon who owned a bookshop and it was brilliant. Don’t limit yourself! I still read, own and enjoy books aimed mainly at adults as well, I just find that YA stories are more interesting to me and it’s easier to find something I enjoy. So next time you feel like judging what someone is reading have a think about it and let people enjoy things without having to justify themselves to you.

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