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The Totally Should’ve Book Tag | 2

Hope you’re all having a lovely Friday! Today I’m here with the Totally Should’ve Book Tag, which I was tagged for by Norees @ Nor Reads Too Great.  This tag was created by EmmmaBooks. I’ve done this tag once before, but I always like repeating tags because it’s interesting to see how my answers change (if you’d like, you can check out my first version of this tag here). Without further ado, let’s get to it!

Totally should’ve gotten a sequel

I would love to know what happens to Ifemelu next in Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I feel like there’s so much of her story left to tell, especially since the novel doesn’t leave off on a particularly conclusive note. And this book was so popular that I feel like she would definitely have an audience for it… just saying! (*hopes that somehow Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is listening*)

Totally should’ve had a spin-off series

I would gobble up a spin-off series based on one of the side characters in Maggie Stiefvaters Raven Cycle. Can you imagine a series based on Gansey? Or Ronan? Or Noah? Or any of Blue’s family members? Or even someone else living in the same town experiencing similar fantastical things? I would even take a series of novellas about different characters… honestly, these are golden ideas here!

An author who should totally write more books

adore both of Mindy’s Kalings books (Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) and Why Not Me?) and have been (im)patiently waiting for her to write more. I love reading personal essays/memoirs like these, especially when they’re written with the humor, wit, genuineness, and eloquence of Mindy Kaling’s writing style.

Totally should’ve ended differently

Although I thought Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel was excellent, I thought it would have gone in a very different direction than it did. I’m not necessarily saying that it needed to end differently, but it would be interesting to see what the novel could have been like had she taken another path with it. (Really, I would have liked more answers. I just want closure!)

Totally should’ve had a movie franchise

Honestly, Sarah Dessen deserves a movie franchise more than any other author I know. She’s written so many novels that could have been turned into teenage rom-coms by now!! Why hasn’t anyone picked these up? Why has all the glory gone to Nicholas Sparks, or even John Green? (Although don’t get me wrong, I love a good John Green book/movie.) This may be the greatest wonder of the world.

Totally should’ve had a TV series

Rather than be a four hour film, I feel like Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell might be better suited to being a TV series. Imagine all the details that could be expanded upon in a TV series! They could include all the little events of this 1057 page tome and have plenty of time for fully explained character development. And think of the time they could spend showing the setting! Ah, this would be such a good television series…

Totally should’ve only had one point of view

Although I really admire Yvonne Vera’s novel The Stone Virgins for its striking, powerful look at violence in Zimbabwean society before, during, and after the war for independence, the alternating perspectives between the victim and the rapist/murderer are very, very, very unsettling. I understand that the novel wouldn’t have the same hard-hitting impact without it, but having to read and write about this book over and over and over again was pretty challenging emotionally.

Totally should’ve had a cover change

I love a good random Faulkner novel, but I feel like there are very few pretty editions of his books. Are cover designers trying to match the often somber, dark tone of his novels? Or have they just given up because they figure Faulkner novels are dull classics that aren’t really worth spicing up with a pleasant cover design? (I beg to differ!) All I’m saying is that we Faulkner fans would greatly appreciate a little bit of pizazz when it comes to his cover designs (or some attractive font at the very least).

Totally should’ve kept the original covers

I’m going with Sarah Dessen again for this one (maybe because summer always nostalgically reminds me of Sarah Dessen?). I grew up with the older covers, the ones with the girls without heads, and now whenever I see these new covers I’m so confused. Although I admit that these may be more aesthetically pleasing to look at, I can’t help but miss the old ones!

Totally should’ve stopped at one book

I’m pretty sure this was my answer for this prompt when I did this tag the first time, and if so I wholeheartedly stand by it: I just saw no reason that Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games had to be a trilogy that seemed to drag and repeat itself. Personally, I feel like The Hunger Games would have been perfectly fine as a longer novel, or at the very least a duology.

There you have it! Thanks again to Norees for tagging me! To pass along the fun, I’d like to tag Christine @ Life with All the Books, Jenna @ Bookmark Your Thoughts,  and Emma @ Daylight Awaits–and anyone else who would like to do this tag!

What are your answers to these prompts? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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20 Questions Book Tag | 2

Who doesn’t love a good game of Twenty Questions? Fortunately, the 20 Questions Book Tag is a lot more interesting than just “yes” or “no” answers. Thanks so much to Ash and Lo @ Windowsill Books for tagging me!

1. HOW MANY BOOKS IS TOO MANY BOOKS IN A BOOK SERIES?

It definitely depends on the series itself, but I think around four books is generally a good rule of thumb. For instance, I think the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater works really well as four books, but more than that would make the series feel like it was dragging on forever. When I was younger I used to love reading really long series, but lately I’ve been appreciating the closure of a good standalone.

2. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT CLIFFHANGERS?

I love cliffhangers in the middle of series or at the end of chapters when you know that your questions will soon be answered; however, I dislike them at the end of series or books when there are countless important questions left unsolved.

3. HARDBACK OR PAPERBACK?

100 percent paperback! I hate how expensive, heavy, and awkward to read hardcover books can be. When given the choice, I will always choose paperback.

4. FAVORITE BOOK?

Ah yes, the most impossible question. Usually my answer to this horrid inquiry is The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien because it holds such a nostalgic place in my heart. It’s one that I never get tired of rereading!

5. LEAST FAVORITE BOOK?

Another really difficult question! It takes a lot for me to really hate a book, but I think I’m going to have to go with Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. I started reading it several years ago and disliked it so much that I couldn’t even finish it!

6. LOVE TRIANGLES, YES OR NO?

NO. NO. NO.

7. THE MOST RECENT BOOK YOU JUST COULDN’T FINISH?

Last term I tried listening to the audio book of Bloodlines by Richelle Mead because one of my friends read this series when she was younger and said she was obsessed with it back then. The protagonist was so annoying that I literally could not bring myself to listen to the last few hours of it.

8. A BOOK YOU’RE CURRENTLY READING?

Grimm Tales: For Young and Old by Philip Pullman. I started reading this while traveling during my spring break and haven’t found the time to finish it now that term has started up again in Oxford. Maybe I’ll finally finish it on my eight-hour flight home? So far I’m really enjoying it!

9. LAST BOOK YOU RECOMMENDED TO SOMEONE?

Lately I’ve been telling so many people to read anything and everything by Zadie Smith and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I feel like these two writers are on a lot of TBR lists out there, but are not often prioritized. They’re such brilliant writers!

10. OLDEST BOOK YOU’VE READ? *PUBLICATION DATE*

According to Goodreads, the oldest book I’ve read is the Epic of Gilgamesh.

11. NEWEST BOOK YOU’VE READ? *PUBLICATION DATE*

It’s hard to tell on Goodreads what the most recently published book I’ve read is, so I’m just going to throw Turtles All the Way Down by John Green out there since it was just published on October 10, 2017.

12. FAVORITE AUTHOR?

Since I have many favorite authors and I tend to be quite indecisive in general, here are a bunch of authors that I love: John Green, J.R.R. Tolkien, Roald Dahl, William Faulkner, Willa Cather, E.L. Konigsburg, Frederick Douglass….the list goes on and on!

13. BUYING BOOKS OR BORROWING BOOKS?

I try to borrow books from libraries and fellow bookworms as much as possible because it’s less wasteful and definitely cheaper; however, there’s nothing quite like a great bookshop haul!

14. A BOOK YOU DISLIKE THAT EVERYONE ELSE SEEMS TO LOVE?

I was so excited to read An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir because so many people highly recommended it; however, I think the hype monster made my expectations a bit too high and I ended up being rather disappointed with it.

15. BOOKMARKS OR DOG-EARS?

Definitely bookmarks! Not only are they fun to collect, but they’re so much more easy to use than constantly having to fold down pages.

16. A BOOK YOU CAN ALWAYS REREAD?

Any Lord of the Rings book, Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigsburg… I just LOVE rereading books in general!!

17. CAN YOU READ WHILE HEARING MUSIC?

Yes! The only thing that really distracts me from reading is when I can distinctly hear a single conversation nearby.

18. ONE POV OR MULTIPLE POV’S?

It really depends on the novel, but generally I think books with multiple perspectives or story lines are really interesting.

19. DO YOU READ A BOOK IN ONE SITTING OR OVER MULTIPLE DAYS?

Once again, it depends on the book. Usually I end up reading books for fun over the course of multiple days and books for school in one sitting (so much required reading, so little time!).

20. A BOOK YOU’VE READ BECAUSE OF THE COVER?

SO. MANY. I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet, but some recent cover-buys for me were a few of the Penguin Modern editions that recently came out. They’re just so pretty!

What are your answers to these questions? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Settings I’d Love to Visit

Happy Tuesday!! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic set by the bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish highlights the ten bookish settings we’d love to visit. At times it has felt like I have been living in a fictional setting for the past few months (shout out to Oxford for being so magical!), so I was very excited when I saw this topic on the list. I’ve tried to avoid mentioning the really obvious ones (AKA Hogwarts and Middle-earth) so hopefully these are a little more interesting. In no particular order, they are:

The Yorkshire Moors of Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

This is quite a realistic goal for me considering that I’m currently studying abroad in England. I would love to visit the beautiful rural backdrop of this tumultuous Victorian novel.

The forest in Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

The forest in this charming little book sounds so idyllic and peaceful (plus there’s that beautiful magic spring!). I’d love to take a strong among the tall trees and have a chat with Winnie Foster.

Cabeswater in The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

Another magical forest I’d love to visit (can you tell I have a thing for magical forests?!). Exploring it with Blue and her crew would be an added bonus!

The BFG’s home in The BFG by Roald Dahl

I would give anything to see the rows and rows of dream jars in the BFG’s cavern… and maybe try a snozzcumber or two while I’m at it! Little ten-year-old me was so jealous of Sophie’s adventures and friendship with the Big Friendly Giant.

Jurassic Park in Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Even though the park ends up being a total disaster, it would still be incredible to see such huge dinosaurs up close. Besides, who doesn’t want to cruise around in those fun jeeps?

The circus in The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Confession: I’ve never been to a circus before. I feel like the amazing, whimsical, fantastic circus of this novel would be an incredible first circus experience… and a very overwhelming one!

The towers in The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L. Konigsburg

I’ve read this book so many times, but I can never quite imagine precisely what the towers in the garden might look like with all of their different pieces and parts. I would love to finally see them for myself!

The Lands Beyond in The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

I would go to the Lands Beyond just for the sake of the amazing puns and wordy cleverness (and also Tock, the watchdog). It sounds like the ultimate destination for an English major!

Florin in The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Rolling hills? Looming cliffs? Fire swamps? (Minus the scary R.O.U.S. of course.) Sign me up! I would love to visit the amazing landscape of Florin (especially with Westley by my side…).

Outer space in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Adams makes me want to achieve my childhood dream of being an astronaut (although it probably wouldn’t be as hilarious as he makes it out to be!).

What bookish settings would you love to visit? What do you think of the ones I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Fictional Women Leaders

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is one that I think is incredibly important: leadership in fiction. While being a fun source of entertainment, literature is also immensely valuable in providing role models for readers. In particular, I think it is incredibly important for literature to provide readers with women and girls that they can look up to in a society that is still dominated by masculine leadership. Today I’ll be sharing ten notable women leaders in fiction: 

Who are your favorite fictional women leaders? What do you think of the characters and books I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Tags

This or That Tag

Book Courtship-11

It’s time for another tag! Today I’ll be doing the This or That Tag. Knowing how indecisive I can be, making all of these choices should be interesting! Thanks so much to Ugnė @ My Passions is Happiness for tagging me!

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  • Mention the creator of the tag (Ayunda @ Tea and Paperbacks).
  • Thank the blogger who tagged you!
  • Choose one out of the two options. (You don’t have to explain why you chose what you did… only if you wanted to!)
  • Tag 10 other people to do this tag to spread the love!

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Reading on the couch or on the bed?

Usually on the bed, since I often read before I go to sleep. I also don’t have a couch in my dorm room, so the bed is pretty much my only option besides my desk.

Male main character or female main character?

If I had to choose I would probably pick a female main character, since I would be able to relate to her more easily than a male protagonist. However, it really depends on the author, the writing, and the story itself.

IMG_0676Sweet snacks or salty snacks when reading?

Oooh, definitely sweet! I’ve developed a major sweet tooth over the years, so I’ll always gravitate towards dessert of any kind. Besides, cookies are the best reading food– they’re portable, not very messy to eat, and taste DELICIOUS.

 

the raven boysTrilogies or quartets?

I haven’t read many quartets, but I actually think that I prefer them. Whenever I read trilogies I always feel as though the middle book is just there for transitioning the story from the beginning to the ending. Quartets, on the other hand, allow for gradual progression of the plot. (The specific quartet I have in mind is the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater.)

First person point of view or third person point of view?

Third person point of view! Although first person POV has the added benefit of being inside the main character’s head, I’ve found that an omniscient narrator usually lends itself to a more beautiful, captivating writing style. Interestingly enough, I also prefer using a third person POV whenever I write stories. It just feels more natural to me for some reason.

Reading at night or in the morning?

Usually what ends up happening is that I read my assigned reading for class in the morning and read for fun at night if I have time. I prefer reading at night, though, because it helps me fall asleep.

Libraries or bookstores?

Libraries! I love my local library– I went there all the time as a kid, I worked there for two years in high school, and now I go back about once a week to check out books and chat with my old coworkers. My college library is amazing as well– it has six floors!– and I treasure the cozy, tranquil atmosphere it exudes. Libraries for life! ❤

438353-2Books that make you laugh or make you cry?

Confession: I’ve never actually cried while reading a book. Tears have certainly welled up in my eyes and I’ve felt very emotional, but I’ve never actually sobbed. However, I do love a hilarious story! If you’re looking for an excellent book to make you laugh, I highly recommend The Princess Bride by William Goldman.

Black book covers or white book covers?

White book covers. My eyes always tend to gravitate towards clean, simple book cover designs.

FullSizeRender-1Character driven or plot driven stories?

I by far prefer character driven stories to plot driven ones. There’s just so much more depth to the narrative when character have more influence over the story. You can predict plot twists pretty easily, but it’s much more difficult to fully understand what a character will do next. Recommendation: As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner.

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YOU!

That’s right: If you’d like to do this tag, go for it! Be sure to let me know if you do because I’d love to read your answers!

What are your answers to these questions? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Books

BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE by Maggie Stiefvater

blue lily lily blue cover“Blue was perfectly aware that it was possible to have a friendship that wasn’t all-encompassing, that wasn’t blinding, deafening, maddening, quickening. It was just that now that she’d had this kind, she didn’t want the other.”

How Blue feels about her friendships with the Raven Boys is similar to the way I feel about reading other books after reading Blue Lily, Lily Blue: it’s difficult to read something that isn’t as enchanting, well-written, or captivating as Stiefvater’s story. The Raven Cycle has an intriguing fantastical element that is often difficult to find, especially in the formulaic world of algorithms and sales statistics that dictate how and which YA novels should be written. Once again, Stiefvater has crafted another memorable installment in this engrossing series.

The character development in these novels is remarkable. I love the way you can clearly see changes in not only their perspectives and opinions, but their actions as well. For instance, Ronan is not the brutish, nasty, one-sided teen that we were first introduced to in The Raven Boys. He still exudes that tough “bad boy” persona, of course– he wouldn’t be Ronan if he didn’t– but it’s clear that recent events have caused him to mature in a way that only life experiences can. He takes more responsibility for his actions and is only rash, wild, and impulsive some of the time.

In my opinion, Adam is one of the most interesting and complex characters in this series. In this novel in particular he seems to inhabit three distinct spaces: the sparkling, gilded world of Aglionby Academy, his own troubled home life, and the fantastical realm of Cabeswater. Not only must he face obstacles involving the primary plot of the story– that of their quest to find Glendower– but he also has to deal with family problems, financial instability, and the looming question of what life after high school will hold. Stiefvater maintains a careful balance between ordinary dilemmas (college searching, family dynamics, etc.) and magical challenges (creepy caves filled with mysterious singing?). Such a balance adds depth to the story while simultaneously helping the reader to suspend their disbelief and more fully accept the odd occurrences that riddle the world of Blue and the Raven Boys.

Although the Raven Cycle can be considered a fantasy series, I certainly wouldn’t define it as anything “traditional.” Rather than focus on the usual fairies, trolls, and other mystical creatures of fantasy, Stiefvater bursts those boundaries and instead highlights the fascinating legends surrounding ley lines. Before reading this series I knew next to nothing about ley lines, but now I feel as though I could hold a pretty decent conversation about them. It’s refreshing to read about a topic that hasn’t been recycled again and again before, at least in the eyes of recent YA trends.

On top of all of these impressive aspects, Stiefvater also manages to incorporate several important topics into this story, including feminism and privilege. There’s an excellent scene in which Blue chastises a man for “complimenting” her legs, emphasizing that she’s much more than any physical part of her body could ever demonstrate. At first Gansey doesn’t understand why the comment infuriates Blue, a flaw which I actually love. The fact that Blue has to teach Gansey how problematic such comments about women’s bodies are shows that the characters are human. They are not perfect, just as we, the readers, also make mistakes. Speaking of Gansey, I think it’s interesting to think about his representation of privilege on numerous levels. Gansey is rich, white, attractive, intelligent, comes from a reputable family– the list goes on and on. Yet to some extent he recognizes his privilege and attempts to help those less privileged than he is, mainly Adam. But is he really doing all that he can to help those less fortunate than he? Should he be doing more? Is this a valid critique of his character? I applaud this novel for sparking these sorts of questions, for I think they are ones we should be asking more often while reading.

For all of its positive aspects, Blue Lily, Lily Blue did feel like a bit of a transitional installment in this series. While I don’t think it’s my favorite book in the Raven Cycle, it’s certainly an enthralling and gripping read. I can’t wait to read the fourth and final book in this unforgettable series!

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) 4 out of 5 smileys

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Definitely!

What are your thoughts on Blue Lily, Lily Blue or any of the books in the Raven Cycle? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,
HOLLY

P.S. Interested in reading more of my thoughts on this series? Check out my reviews of The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves.