I know. I haven’t posted anything the whole last week, but since I’ve only just begun blogging, I reserve the right to excuse my laziness/procrastination with the mounds and mounds of schoolwork I’m assigned everyday. In any case, that hasn’t stopped me from reserving library book copies, and it certainly hasn’t stopped me from making lists of the books I’ll be reading in the days to come. (I don’t know about anyone else, but there’s something so satisfying about making lists, regardless of if any of the activities on them will go unnoticed in the future. It’s the thought that counts.) Here are the books/other works I plan to read – and maybe or maybe not – complete this week!
I thought it only fair to begin my week with school work, since I’m constantly procrastinating, and Romeo and Juliet is a literary work. It’s a book, even. I’ve already begun reading it, and in fact, I’m about halfway through it, but I’m at that stage of Shakespeare where I understand mostly what’s going on but can’t really make a decision about liking or not liking the piece until I’ve finished the whole thing. I think it’s because I’ve read countless retellings of this particular play, memorized lines from this play before even glancing at it, and all of that just made the experience a little underwhelming? In high school, we didn’t have R & J to read in grade nine; our school probably thought it was “inappropriate” (I know) and had us read Julius Caesar instead. Anyway, when I do finish my Shakespeare course, I’ll probably have a delightful (for me) post all about my recommendations, and I have no idea yet if this will make it there.
This book. Excited me. So much. When I read its description on Goodreads, I knew I had to get my hands on it immediately, and moreso because of the reviews (the description is a little vague, admittedly). From what I can generate from my very, very early understanding, it’s about two close friends, Miel and Sam, who both have their own individual narratives (Sam being a trans boy, I believe – if I’m wrong I do apologize; and Miel being a girl from whose wrists roses bloom) that convulge in this story about a group of sisters that are said to be witches who want to take the roses that Miel grows. I watered it down a lot because my explanation sucks, but the part that did hook me was that I’d never really explored magical realism aside from required reading, and the concept of that, mixed with the “folk”-esque atmosphere around this setting, the cultured narrative, and the diversity (ethnically, combined with and alongside the trans narrative), all seem very intriguing and powerful. I feel like this book will change my life, and I’ve only just begun it (page 32), but I’m excited to finish it.
I remember that there was a little bit of buzz about this book (or maybe I’m imagining it) on Goodreads and I remember putting it off because at the time, I was in a phase of reading new adult and YA fantasy, and not thrillers. Maybe it’s the colder weather, but I’m the kind of reader that prefers gruesome, dark, or thrilling books in the winter than in any other season, and I spotted this book and took the opportunity to reserve it. I’m barely five pages in; I’d put it down for a few weeks to read None of the Above instead, but I’m determined to get back to it. This is a story about Hope, a girl who has cystic fibrosis whose opportunities are held back because of her CF. She receives an invitation to a mysterious group called the Society, and she takes the opportunity to get some control over her life, but she doesn’t realize that she’ll have to complete a few dangerous dares for the group to win her money – and that she has no choice. It sounds very exciting, and I think there’s a friends-to-lovers romance going on here, which is always greattttt.
I saw someone post a review about this book’s sequel, Trouble Makes a Comeback, on Goodreads, which is what made me look at this book’s blurb. I’m always excited for these investigative, detective-ish YA fiction, especially after having read – and loved – Ellie Marney’s Every trilogy, and Gemma Halliday’s Deadly Cool books. I hear this one is funny, suspenseful, and cute at the same time, which is what drives me to give it a try. I love the cover especially, for some reason. Something about that font means I will like the book (or maybe I’m biased after reading Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda? idk). I have its sequel as well, but I’m not making any promises to myself about finishing both books this week. (But one may hope.)
It looks a little ridiculous to only be reading four books a week (to me, at least), since there was a time when I could finish seven or eight a week, and tens of them in a month. But sadly, university has sucked me into its woes, and I actually prefer to digest every book I read at a time. It’s healthy and it’s fun.
I decided to kick my blog off with an end-of-the-year bookish survey, since I love reading others’, and it’s fun to challenge myself. I haven’t had the chance to read as many books as I would have liked (considering how much I’ve read in previous years), but… blame that on being an English major. But I do still think it’s worth a try, even if I might not have a variety of book genres for each category. Also, this “tag” was created by Jamie of Perpetual Page Turner!
1. Best Book You Read in 2016 YA: The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson
NA: Right of First Refusal by Dahlia Adler
School Books – Novel: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
School Books – Other: Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going to Love More But Didn’t: Sadly, Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes, and 738 Days by Stacey Kade.
3. Most Surprising (in a Good or Bad Way) Book You Read? I was pretty surprised that I didn’t reeeally enjoy Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here by Anna Breslaw. I rated it 4 stars, but that was because of the ending. Unfortunately, the rating didn’t really reflect a great portion of the book. It was surprising, considering that it was one of the more feminist (and funnier) reads of 2016. Weirdly enough, I rated Shakespeare’s Tempest 3 stars, but think it was a surprisingly good read.
4. Book You Pushed Most People to Read (and They Did)? I didn’t really push people to read any books this year, with the exception of buying a hard copy of Lily Anderson’s The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You and telling my sister to enjoy it (and I’m also pretty sure one of my Goodreads friends added it to their TBR after I rated it, so). She’s currently in the process of finishing it.
5. Best Series You Started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016? Best series I started? Does My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows count? I’m pretty sure they’re writing “spin-offs”, but I think it should count. It was hilarious despite my complete cluelessness of English history. The best sequel, hands down, was A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas. The best series ender… I actually don’t think I’ve read any aside from One With You by Sylvia Day, though I don’t necessarily think it was the best series ender.
6. Favourite New Author You Discovered in 2016? God, this is difficult. I definitely enjoyed Lily Anderson, Sally Thorne, and Julie Buxbaum.
7. Best Book from a Genre You Don’t Typically Read/Was Out of Your Comfort Zone? Alright, this is interesting. I made a plan that I would incorporate more LGBTQ+ books into my reading, since I noticed I wasn’t reading much of it. They weren’t out of my comfort zone, but that is a genre I hadn’t made a habit of reading from. In 2016, I read several I enjoyed, like Mary Calmes’ Marshals series and Megan Erickson’s In Focus. I’m also trying to fit Dahlia Adler’s Out on Good Behaviour into my winter break, which I’m sure I’ll love, since I loved its predecessor. From genres out of my comfort zone (mostly classics or historical fiction), I would choose Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Lady Janies’ My Lady Jane.
8. Most Action-Packed/Thrilling/Unputdownable Book of the Year?Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany and J.K. Rowling, for sure.
9. Book You Read in 2016 That You are Most Likely to Re-read Next Year?Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson.
10. Favourite Cover of a Book You Read in 2016?
11. Most Memorable Character of 2016? Feyre from Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Mist and Fury, and Taylor from Miranda Kenneally’s Defending Taylor. I liked seeing the noticeable character development in both girls.
12. Most Beautifully Written Book Read in 2016?The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi was exquisitely written.
13. Most Thought-Provoking/Life-Changing Book of 2016?Soucouyant, by David Chariandy, but it wasn’t published in 2016. This book had me thinking so much more expansively – and inclusively – about race and mental health and their intersectionality. It actually got me thinking more about inequality and pushed me to consider double-majoring in Sociology (which I did).
14. Book You Can’t Believe You Waited Until 2016 to Finally Read? The only one I can think of is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, lol. Most of the books I’ve read this year were new. I am planning on reading Stephanie Tromly’s Trouble is a Friend of Mine this year, though, so we’ll see. OH, and Kirsty Eagar’s Summer Skin. I’ve heard such good things about it.
15. Favourite Passage/Quote from a Book You Read in 2016?
Ha! little honour to be much believed,
And most pernicious purpose! Seeming, seeming!
I will proclaim thee, Angelo; look for’t:
Sign me a present pardon for my brother,
Or with an outstretch’d throat I’ll tell the world aloud
What man thou art.
Who will believe thee, Isabel?
My unsoil’d name, the austereness of my life,
My vouch against you, and my place i’ the state,
Will so your accusation overweigh,
That you shall stifle in your own report
And smell of calumny.
(from Measure for Measure, Act II, Scene IV. You need to read this play.)
16. Longest and Shortest Book You Read in 2016?A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (640 pages) and Modern and Normal by Karen Solie (100 pages, though admittedly, the latter is a collection of poems).
17. Book That Shocked You the Most:The Speedy by Keith Barker, Chris Hanratty, Shira Leuchter, and Jordi Mand, for being a short play with a lot of depth and meaning, didn’t technically shock me, but I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to read, and equally surprised by how enjoyable it was. Plus, I read this as part of a first-year English course, and my professor had a few students act out some great passages. It was wonderful.
18. OTP of the Year (You Will Go Down With this Ship!): I don’t know what it is about YA fantasy, but it makes me more desperate to save my “OTP”, so I have to say, Feyre and Rhysand from A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas.
19. Favourite Non-Romantic Relationship of the Year: I loved Albus and Scorpius in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (though I don’t really consider them non-romantic; there’s definitely an OTP there), and I also quite liked the progression of Devon and Foster’s relationship in First & Then by Emma Mills.
20. Favourite Book You Read in 2016 From an Author You’ve Read Previously:Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally (of course).
21. Best Book You Read in 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY on a Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure: I picked up and loved Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum after reading one review recommending it.
22. Newest Fictional Crush From a Book You Read in 2016? Cade from P.S. I Like You by Kasie West. And Ezra from Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally. I also really liked Frankie in Dahlia Adler’s Right of First Refusal, which is why I want to continue to her story.
23. Best 2016 Debut You Read?The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson.
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton.
25. Book That Put a Smile on Your Face/Was the Most Fun to Read? I keep repeating this, but… The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson. I think this author just takes the cake with a bunch of these questions, but it was just SO FUN reading this book. I also really loved my reading experience during The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.
26. Book That Made You Cry or Nearly Cry in 2016? I cried a few times reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.
27. Hidden Gem of the Year?Shuffle, Repeat by Jen Klein – I barely heard anyone talking about this book, and saw only one of my Goodreads friends reviewing it, and the premise seemed really interesting. It was actually really good.
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul? Reading Mary Calmes’ Fit to be Tied crushed my soul in a lot of parts. It was pretty hard to read. But also excellent.
29. Most Unique Book You Read in 2016? I’d never read an anthology quite like Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies (and I’m kind of cheating here, since I read this in December 2015, but whatever); even though on the surface it looked simplistic, the historical magnitude, the attention to detail, the precision and the character descriptions… it was truly unique.
30. Book That Made You the Most Mad (Doesn’t Necessarily Mean You Don’t Like It)? I didn’t like L.H. Cosway’s Showmance and K.I. Lynn’s Six because both made me mad. I tend not to enjoy books when they make me angry…
1. One Book You Didn’t Get to in 2016 But Will be Your Number One Priority in 2017? I have quite a few. Summer Skin by Kirsty Eagar is one of them. The Royals series by Erin Watt, The Vanishing Throne by Elizabeth May, The Dark Days Club by Allison Goodman, and Timekeeper by Tara Sim (though that’s because the copies are still on-order at my library) are also on this list.
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating for 2017 (Non-Debut)? Miranda Kenneally’s Coming Up for Air for sure, Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Wings and Ruin, and Elizabeth May’s The Fallen Kingdom. Oh, and of course, I’ve been eagerly anticipating Mackenzi Lee’s The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.
3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating? I’m most looking forward to Caraval by Stephanie Garber (as I’m sure everyone is) and Frostblood by Elly Blake, but I don’t know very many debut authors. Which I ought to fix.
4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017? Series ending: The Fallen Kingdom by Elizabeth May; sequel: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
5. One Thing You Hope to Accomplish in Your Reading/Blogging Life in 2017? Read more diverse books, for one thing, which I haven’t noticed I’ve neglected to do despite what my interests are. Incorporate more YA into my reading (I tend to drift towards NA romances often and then DNF them, for some reason; NA isn’t bad at all, and I’ve read some really good ones, but I want to go back to reading books catering to a different audience). Also, I want to read more Shakespearean plays! Which I will be, since I’m taking a whole course on his works. As for blogging… well, this is my first post, so we’ll see how it goes.
6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read and Recommend to Everyone: Unfortunately, I haven’t read one!
So that’s it! I skipped the blogger questions, as I’ve only begun blogging, but I hope you enjoy. And here’s to a better, greater reading experience in 2017!