Top Ten Tuesday – Books I Could Re-Read Forever

Hi Bookaholics!

It’s that TTT time again…already! We are holding our Parents’ Evening meetings at school this week which is why this post is coming slightly late, on Wednesday morning!

The theme for this week is books that you could re-read forever, almost like your desert island books. Initially, I thought this would be super easy, and it turns out that picking books I’d love to read over and over again is easy, but narrowing them down to just 10, therein lies the problem…! I think I’ve just about managed, here’s my list below; if any of these made your TTT this week or you’re intrigues to know more about them then drop me a comment!

10. The Witches by Roald Dahl

There had to be at least one of my childhood classics on the list and this one was always a firm favourite!

9. Pretty Little Mistakes by Heather McElhatton

This is one of those ‘choice books’ where you determine the characters fate yourself. I don;t know the proper name for them but you read the first page and then have a choice of which path the character should choose, you then flip to the page that corresponds with and continue the story from there. Obviously with so many different possibilities and outcomes I could read this again and again and still not quite read the same story!

8. The Complete Poetry Anthology of William Blake

Blake is one of my all-time favourite poets. I especially enjoyed his Songs of Innocence and Experience collections because they had so many different meanings in them.

7. Angela Carter’s Book of Fairytales / The Bloody Chamber

Carter features on a fair few of my TTT lists. I think she’s an exceptional story-teller and I love the dark, twisty way she writes,

6. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I only finished reading this a couple of weeks ago and absolutely adored it! I know I could read it over and over again just to try and find every single pop culture reference. It would probably keep me occupied for ages!

5. The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

To be fair, if I was packing up for a desert island I’d be flinging every single one of his books in my suitcase, not just this series (Shadow of the Wind, The Angel’s Game, The Prisoner of Heaven). I cannot get enough of his writing and the mysteries he weaves with his words, they’re pure brilliance!

4. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

As if you hadn’t guessed already with all of the other magical/fairytale references dotting through my list, I absolutely love fairy tales and this book is fulled to the brim with them! It’s such a memorable tale and I could literally read it forever.

3. The Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J Maas

After Harry Potter, I was forever looking for a series where I could be desperately waiting for the next book to be released and I finally found it in Throne of Glass! I cannot wait for the finale of this series.

2. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

Again, another series which I really enjoyed. I did think about putting the whole series down but I think I’d only need to reread this one again and again, oh the feels!

1 – The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Again, another series where I would have to fling the entirety of it into my suitcase. I’ve reiterated time and time again about my love for Potter so it’s no surprises that I could read this forever!

Have a great week Bookaholics!

Top Ten Tuesday – Books I’m No Longer Interested in Reading

Hey Bookaholics!

I hope you are all having a good week so far. We are back to school again this week after the half term break. I enjoyed getting the chance to meet up with some friends and catch up with my reading (as well as some much needed sleep)!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is Books I’m No Longer Interested In Reading. This was really hard for me as I hardly ever DNF a book; in fact, I think I’ve only ever DNF’d one book so this list predominantly consists of book series which I am no longer interested in or motivated to finish/continue!

10. A Thing Or Two About Curtis And Camilla by Nick Fowler

My only DNF. I’m sorry to say that I’ve already included this in a previous post and I’m sure some people out there really enjoyed the story, but for me both Curtis and Camilla irritated the hell out of me and I couldn’t finish it!

9. Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

I was really intrigued by this epistolary novel yet I’ve picked it up no end of times and don’t seem to be able to get past the first 50 pages. It hasn’t become the second book on my DNF hitlist…yet! Nevertheless, it’s been put on pause for the time being!

8. Pure Dead Magic by Debi Gliori

Again, this seems to be another regular feature on my TTT list. It just didn’t quite grab me and although I own the entire series as a boxset, I never made it past the first one and probably won’t.

7. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

For some reason this series didn’t hook me which I was quite surprised about. I don’t think I realised it was part of a series when I first read it but it definitely didn’t inspire me to purchase the sequel. I think there were just other books out there which piqued my interest more.

6. Still Me by Jojo Moyes

I wept at Me Before You. I carried on with After You because I enjoyed reading about Lou’s effervescent character and really wanted her to overcome her grief and get her happy ending. But to continue it with another book…do we really need one? The love and the loss has been dealt with enough for Lou to move on with her life. Apologies to the Moyes superfans out there, but can we not just let her be? 

5. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

I must admit, I purchased this purely because of the title, the cover and the reference to magic in the blurb. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting and I don’t think the style of the novel was totally to my taste. I know there’s a brief follow up story about the cat but I don’t think I’ll end up reading it.

4. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

I actually quite enjoyed this book! It is one of the few eBooks I read last year and I found it to be quite a relaxing read even though I was hoping it would be a little more in the epistolary style. After I’d finished reading I found out it was the first one in a series but yet again, other books grabbed my attention sooner so I don’t think I’ll be reading P.S I Still Love You or Always and Forever, Lara Jean for some time.

3. Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

This book was included in my first ever Fairyloot box that I received! Overall I enjoyed the story but the series just didn’t leave me invested enough to preorder the second book in the series. Maybe one day…

2. Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

Another Fairyloot book which was massively hyped due to Ahdieh’s success with The Wrath and the Dawn (which I haven’t got around to reading yet). It was pitched as a Mulan retelling but I’m not quite sure that I saw that in it. The story kept me interested enough but I just don’t think I’m interested enough in following Mariko’s character into the sequel.

1. A Song of Ice and Fire Series by G.R.R. Martin

I read both A Game of Thrones and Clash of Kings but towards the end I found myself skimming certain chapters just to find out more about the characters which I actually wanted to know about like Cersei, Daenerys, Jon Snow, Tyrion, Arya etc! I’m sure at some point in the future I should persist and plough my way through them but I’m just not yearning to pick them up for the time being.

So there you have it! Some novels which didn’t quite interest me enough and some firsts in a series which haven’t inspired me or hooked me enough to immediately grab for the sequel.

Have you read any of these? Should I persevere with any of them or give some a second chance? Let me know in the comments! 

Enjoy your week Bookaholics!

 

 

 

[Book Review] Ready Player One

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Pages: 372
Publisher: Arrow Books 2012
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 5/5 Easter Eggs

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

I am not a video-gamer. I am not an 80s superfan.

But…

I am hugely in love with Ready Player One.

I began reading this purely out of the hype which has gradually been building during the run up to its movie release in March this year. As I said, I’m not really a massive gamer purely for the fact that I am so bad at them and end up getting angry, grumpy and not much fun to be around! I grew up in the 90s so knowledge of 80s culture is through what has been passed to me rather than experienced first hand from living through that decade.  I’m also not very up to speed with the whole virtual reality/artificial intelligence thing either, so I did not really go into this book thinking that I would like it but knew that I definitely wanted to read it before seeing the film. Having only read the Goodreads synopsis, I delved straight in…after the first page, I honestly could not put this book down! So much so that I went to bed one night and stayed up til gone 1AM just to reach the end. I’ve been raving about it and recommending it ever since to anyone who’ll listen, even to the friends who have already read it before me!

“Whenever I saw the sun, I reminded myself that I was looking at a star. One of over a hundred billion in our galaxy. A galaxy that was just one of billions of other galaxies in the observable universe. This helped me keep things in perspective.”

What I loved about this book:

·      The Quest – I absolutely love treasure hunts and the mission to find things which are hidden. Ready Player One has this in abundance! Cline has absolutely nailed it with his plot. Every detail is superbly laid out and intrinsically thought about. It really is a master class in how to lay a trail of clues and hide them within the narrative. You don’t need to know much about video games or 80s pop culture as you are given an expert tour by the main character Wade. There is a fair amount of detail imparted to the reader and normally I’m not a huge fan of info-dumping but what Cline does is spread this out into short chunks which are revealed only when necessary, when they have something to contribute to the plot. Cline really has written an ode to the 80s. Movies, music, games and novels are all very well represented. Check out this article on the Shmoop website to see the vast, mind-blowing array of little treasures that are featured or referenced to throughout!

·      The story keeps on giving – now whilst some elements of the plot were easy enough for me to predict or guess, there were other parts which took me by surprise and kept me flipping the pages just to keep on going. The suspension and pace kept on building all of the way through and as the stakes got higher, my anticipation went along with it too and I was thoroughly gripped.

·      The characters – Wade is such a likeable character. He has qualities and traits which are relatable to a wide range of readers. As someone who has lost both of his parents and doesn’t really feel like he fits in with the rest of his family or the real world at all, he seeks solace in the OASIS (Ontologically Anthropocentric Sensory Immersive Simulation, basically a virtual reality world where people can create avatars and live their life). He is a walking encyclopedia of all things to do with retro arcade games and James Halliday, the creator of the OASIS and the Easter Egg contest which poses as the main focus of the novel. He believes in a world which is not overrun with corruption or corporationalism from the evil IOI Company and he uses the refuge of the virtual world in order to express a representation of his true self, which can also be said for many of the other central characters. Art3mis and Aech (pronounced ‘aitch’ not ‘ike’ as I finally discovered on p.320!) also do a stellar job at matching up to Wade and providing some great rivalry, dialogue and humour throughout the story.

·      The villain – Whilst the main villain of Ready Player One is Sorrento, for me the actual villain of the story is the meaning behind Sorrento’s character. Working for the IOI which wants to win the contest in order to control the whole OASIS, Sorrento represents the modern day idea of globalisation and big corporate companies dictating the way in which the entire world is run. Wade and the other gunters, who are on a mission to prevent this from happening, parody this by bringing the good side to balance the evil. They see the importance of friendship and working together as the main way they will be able to counteract the threat of the IOI and these themes are central within the plot, giving the whole novel quite a meaningful message.

What I didn’t love about this book:

·      That it had to end!

·      I can honestly think of no other reasons than that! The ending was slightly twee, and I’m not sure that one part of it was entirely needed as it felt a little cliché, but I think that’s just my own cynicism!

·      Apparently, a sequel is in the works; I do not know where the next novel could possibly go. Without using a whole load of spoilers, I’m not really sure that a sequel is necessary after such an amazing story like Ready Player One was.


All in all, Ready Player One blew me away. The quirkiness and attention to detail was sublime; Cline really knew his themes and plot inside out and the sense that this was his passion project just leapt off every page. I know without a doubt that this will be one of my favourite reads of 2018 already. USA Today accurately described it as ‘Willy Wonka meets The Matrix’ and this is such an accurate assessment. If you have a love for retro gaming or reliving your 80s youth, if you love plots intricately laid with subtle references to pop culture, if you love a story with a real-world message then hopefully you’d find something to love in Ready Player One.

Top Ten Tuesday – Love Freebie

First-time loves – books I’d love to read again as if for the very first time!

Hey there Bookaholics!

So this week Top Ten Tuesday is a ‘Love freebie’ and I’m not going to lie, I kind of picked out my theme before fully reading the prompt so although this week’s post is not entirely ‘lovey-dovey’ or ‘romancy’, I’m going with it anyway! For this TTT, I decided to think about all of the books that I’d LOVE (had to get that word in there!) to rediscover as if for the first time. Deleting all my knowledge of these next ten books only to be able to read them afresh and experience those first-time feels again would be awesome! Bring on the nostalgic love…

10. Spies by Michael Frayn

This text was one of the books that was on my English Literature A-Level syllabus. I remember exactly where I sat in the A2 classroom of the English Block to discover this for the first time. Geekish as it may be, I absolutely loved school and had the most amazing English teachers (I’m now a teacher myself J). Despite English Literature being my last option selected for A-Levels, it fast became my favourite subject and I went on to study it at university too. For some reason, Spies has stuck out in my mind after all of these years. I really enjoyed Frayn’s storytelling as well as the tension and suspense he creates through the plot and imagery. Having to think of the significance of the cigarette packet, the laburnum and the diary with strange markings made it feel like a real mystery to solve before the ending was actually revealed. Whether it is the story told in the book itself, or the nostalgia it brings with it of being back at school, this text had to appear somewhere in my TTT this week.

9. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl thoroughly gripped me from the first to last page. I can’t really remember now whether I worked out the twists or not, but I definitely remember devouring it within a very short time as I just couldn’t put it down. Obviously now, after having read it and watched the film, the mystery of that first time reading is forever ruined, and since I can’t go back in time, I thought I’d honour it with a place on my list this week.

8. One Day by David Nicholls

Similarly to Gone Girl, this page-turner had to have a place on my top ten this week, purely for that dramatic twist at the end. I remember sitting at my computer, desperately trying to finish my uni assignments with this book just glaring at me from the chair. To hell with the essays, I had to finish it and then suffered the devastating book hangover that came from reaching the ending. Whether it is a great piece of literature or not, the shattering feeling that came from the last pages of that book has been difficult (but not entirely impossible) to experience again since.

7. Summer at the Lake by Erica James

I don’t often read a lot of this genre but I happened upon this book completely by chance in Cape Verde. We had gone to one of those 5 star all inclusive holidays where you never really leave the hotel complex and just sit and relax on the beach. I’d already polished off all four of the books I’d taken with me and was searching through a cabinet full of books other holidaymakers had abandoned on the island when Summer at the Lake called out to me. Being set in one of my all-time favourite locations (Lake Como, Italy) and with an Oxford tour guide protagonist named Floriana guiding the story, it was the perfect holiday read. Whether my glorious white-sandy setting influenced my enjoyment of James’ novel is yet to be seen but I would gladly go back in time to re-experience that book all over again.

6. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

This was my first ever time reading Angela Carter and boy it was not my last! I loved how deliciously dark these tales were and I’d happily revisit this book just for the pure shock-factor of how gruesome and morbid those tales really were.

5. The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Zafon is one of my absolute favourite authors. He has such a beautiful way with words and his novels are some of the most well-constructed I have ever read. I was resolute that at least one of his books would make this list so after browsing my shelves I decided upon The Prince of Mist. Whilst this isn’t one from his more popular Cemetery of Forgotten books series, I fell in love with the idea of the enchanted stone garden at the centre of the story. It had been an anticipated read on my TBR from the moment I knew that it was to be released in the UK and I would love to go back and open its pages again for the very first time. Zafon hasn’t released new material in English since 2013 and finally, in September 2018 we are getting the fourth instalment in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series and I CAN NOT WAIT!

4. George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl

Who doesn’t love Roald Dahl?! By far one of my favourite Dahl books, I remember this being insanely funny when I read it as a kid. I was one of those children who messed around in the kitchen sink at my Grandparents’ house, making all sorts of potions and concoctions with whatever I found and although I didn’t manage to make a medicine as magical as George’s, I definitely made a few things to make my Grandad pull some highly comedic faces (brave Grandad)! Rediscovering this book for the first time without knowing the hilarious side-effects of George’s makeshift medicine would definitely be a blast from the past and would bring back that happy childhood nostalgia.

3. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Oh to experience that first adventure into Middle Earth once again without knowing how the journey ends! Tolkien is surely one of the greatest story-telling masters of all-time and I’d love to just revisit that WOW feeling that came from reading The Hobbit for the very first time. The trolls, the wizard, the elves, the dragon…! Stories which carry that much resonance with so many legions of fans truly are special and the first-time feels they give you really are worth treasuring. A highly deserved place on my TTT this week!

2. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

I thought about mentioning the whole trilogy in this post, but as those people who have read the ACOTAR trilogy and loved it will know, there’s just something special about book 2 (Rhysand, I’m talking to you!). The rollercoaster of emotions that this book sent me on…I felt like I was actually IN the book! ACOMAF has definitely earned its place on my most-loved-books-of-all-time shelf and to be able to go back and read it again for the first time would be such a thrill.

1. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Could there be any other…? To rediscover any book again as if for the very first time – If there was ever a chance to delete all of your Harry Potter knowledge and to go right back to the start and discover it all over again, would you do it? Would it be the same reading it in this day and age; the age you are now? Would it be better than you originally thought, or would you hate it and not rediscover that Potter love at all?

I grew up with Harry; I was at primary school when the first book was released and each time the next novel was announced my Nan had it on pre-order for me straight away (always from WH Smiths!). Never has a book series captivated me so wholeheartedly as much as Potter. Now whilst that may be a little cliché or roll the eyes of those Potter-haters out there (yes, they really do exist), no book-lover can surely deny that special feeling that comes with reading a book for the very first time and knowing that you are going to love it, treasure it and remember it for life. To experience that feeling is quite rare and I only hope I get to experience it again in the not so distant future.

Should the TARDIS ever become a reality these are the top ten books that I would go back in time to rediscover all over again as if for the very first time. Which books would you go back in time for? Feel free to chat and let me know in the comments!

Have a brilliant week Bookaholic friends!

Top Ten Tuesday – Books on my TBR which I still haven’t read!

Hey Bookaholic friends,

I cannot believe Tuesday has come around again so quickly and it’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday! This week we are looking at the top ten books that have been on my TBR way too long. As there are far too many unread books on my shelves already, I decided to focus this post on the YA books which I’ve heard a lot about and feel like I should have read by now.

10.Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

One of the children I teach has read practically every Percy Jackson book published to date and it puts me to shame! I should really make a start on this series but feel like I’ve got so many series on the go at the moment!

9.Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

I saw the movie of this book when it came out at the cinema and loved the concept! I’ve bought the first two books in the series but as yet, I am still to get around to reading them!

8.Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

This series is very hyped in the bookish community so I feel like I should read it just to tick it off my list. My first introduction to Laini Taylor was Strange the Dreamer and I enjoyed her eloquent writer’s voice and the way she told the story so I am hoping that I like this trilogy too, when I finally get around to it of course!

7.The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

Similarly to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, this has long been on my TBR. Arabian Nights is one of my favourite story themes so I really need to get a move on and start this series!

6.The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I have had this on my iBooks for so long and I keep seeing little fandom bits popping up all over Instagram. The reviews/opinions I have read are quite divided so I’m intrigued to read this.

5.The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Having just seen the last instalment of this as a film at the cinema I am now more motivated than ever to finally get stuck into this series!

4.Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Yet another fandom I keep seeing pop up and felt compelled to buy. For some reason it keeps making its way further down the TBR list but I will definitely make sure I get around to it at some point this year!

3.Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I absolutely adored The Language of Thorns so much so that I ordered all of Bardugo’s other books. I’m two thirds of the way through the Shadow and Bone trilogy and will start Ruin and Rising very soon. I am really looking forward to finally starting Six of Crows as many people have said how they enjoyed it more than Shadow and Bone.

2.Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

This has been pitched as one of the must-reads of the fantasy genres so it’s been on my To Buy list for ages and arrived just a few days ago despite being on my TBR list for well over a year!

1.A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Like Nevernight I’ve been meaning to purchase this trilogy starter for ages. Hopefully 2018 will be the year I can tick it off my TBR pile!

This week’s TTT seemed quite simple to start with…until I looked closer at how big my pile actually was! There are quite a few novels on here that didn’t make the cut to this post including, The Night Circus, Clockwork Angel, The Loney, Rebel of the Sands and Cinder to name but a few!

What made it into your Top Ten Tuesday this week? Which books have been on your TBR the longest? Have you read any of the ones on my TBR and what did you think? Let me know in the comments, I always love a good natter about books!

Until next time Bookaholic friends, have a good week!