Speaking of….why I sometimes find it hard to participate in my favorite bookish memes

There is one thing that I find annoying in any way, shape, or form, and that is sameness. I don’t necessarily hate it all the time, but I always notice it: when a parent dresses their young children in identical outfits even if they’re not twins/triplets, similar logic in arguments (I just like to hear different opinions, different points of view), same starred-reviews of books that touch on very similar points, etc. Much of the time when it comes to memes like Top Ten Tuesday I find choices in books and/or characters, depending on the week’s topic, all too similar from blogger to blogger. And then I become discouraged because I would’ve made the same picks! So what would I have added to the conversation by posting my own TTT? I guess that’s why some bloggers read the topics ahead of schedule and queue up their post, but for whatever reason I can’t bring myself to have that kind of foresight. Maybe I need to give it a harder shot because otherwise, I love memes! They make it easier to get a discussion going (as long as your readers comment occasionally) and, if you’re the kind of person who links up your meme post to the original post — I don’t usually because I constantly forget that this is actually a thing! — it will add to your blog’s visibility on the internet.

How do you guys feel about memes? In general? Do you queue posts or write them the day of?

#25

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My last library haul was ginormous, by my standards, but I never posted it! Here it is in all its glory.

Haul 7:31:15

 

I’ve been so hesitant in the past to take out more than 3 (maybe 4) books at a time because I didn’t think I could possibly make it through any more. My neighborhood library in Arlington has a 3-week loan period (versus my Houston library’s 2-week period) and I took advantage of that. I’ve made it more than halfway through the stack (already read Sapphire BlueMr. Penumbra’s, and The Sun Also Rises; currently reading Stardust) and still have about 8 days left. A written list of the books:

  • Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  • Silver Bay by Jojo Moyes
  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  • Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  • Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier

Sunday Update

Weeks seem to be flying by and it’s making me feel that much older that much quicker… and I’m not ready for it! Luckily, the other day I still had the privilege of saying “I’ll probably be freaking over turning 25 in a couple of years” when all my co-workers were talking about their experiences turning 30. That was a plus. And Friday night was a whole different kind of feeling young! Everyone needs and has those every once in a while.

In my midst of highs and woes, I finished 3 books this week: an ARC of Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell, Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier, and just today I finished Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. I think I’m going to try out Hemingway next…. One of those authors I haven’t yet read and know I need to!

This week I posted….

  • a review of Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses
  • a discussion centering on new book “groups” (subgenres?) Help me figure out what to call these things!

A little bit of a slow week. I’m still trying to figure out how to balance blogging and working 5 days a week! Plus all that other real-life stuff in between. Do you guys have any secrets? What have you read this week?

Speaking of…. attaching the right genres/subgenres/age group suggestions (from now on I’ll just say “group”, okay?) onto a book

This stems from reading two discussion-type posts within a matter of minutes that both lumped Sarah J. Maas’ book A Court of Thorns and Roses in with “Young Adult” after literally every review I’ve read has said the book sits firmly within the “New Adult” group. For me, the “New Adult” descriptor fits perfectly: the book features younger characters (Feyre is 19) but contains content more mature than one would generally find in any YA book. When I came across these couple of discussions that describe it as “Young Adult”, I couldn’t help but become frustrated for the sake of teen readers. Personally, I think teens should be able to read what they like as long as it’s not harmful to them, but I do think that they deserve to know what they’re getting into, especially if there’s more explicit content than most books in the YA section. I’ve seen ACOTAR sitting on the YA shelves at B&N and almost wanted to explain why it might be a little better marketing to put it in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section. Yes, Ms Maas has a teen series, but that’s all the more reason to separate the two to me. At least if that were to happen, readers might question the reasoning rather than stumble blindly into what might be uncomfortable content written by an author they liked.

I really don’t think that NA books should be sitting on YA shelves, but what do you guys think? Point out any holes in my logic! [But nicely, please (: ]

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Details: 416pp, Bloomsbury hardcover
Release date: May 5, 2015
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses, book 1
Rating: 4/5
Buy: BN.comBooks-a-MillionBook Depository

Summary (from Goodreads): When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

My thoughts: Sarah J. Maas has done it again, another book to sit atop my (metaphorical) favorites shelf! While it’s not absolutely perfect in every way, it sets the bar pretty damn high for the rest of the New Adult subgenre, if it is in fact New Adult (maybe New Adult Fantasy would be more true).

          The Good

Every review I glanced at before I read this contained a warning that it was a New Adult book…which almost discouraged me from reading it. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you may have noticed that I tend to prefer my literature to be at least reasonable as far as sexual content goes: I ABHORRED Fifty Shades of Grey and did not go on to read books two and three (and I almost threw my iPad across the room while reading book one), I stay away from reading YA contemporary for the most part, and I stay clear away from the NA subgenre because almost all of it is marketed as soft erotica. I just have not yet met a sex scene that has not made me cringe with awkward way the descriptions sound. Until ACOTAR. The two scenes we get an explicit description of struck me as realistic considering the fantasy world, and I shipped the characters enough to root for their *ahem* pleasures. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TALENT, MS. MAAS!

Going off of that, the chemistry between the characters is constantly evolving through the book and my anticipation of the culmination of each character’s advances grew very consistently. I am such a fan and I WILL GO DOWN WITH THIS SHIP. Also, Beauty and the Beast retellings haven’t been entirely uncommon in recent years, but I like the way this world is created and built, relying heavily on the characters and their personalities. The descriptions of the scenery and imagery are simply a happy addition in the case of this book.

          The Meh

Like a few other bloggers, I too found this book a little slow to take off. The event that really sets the story in motion — Tamlin coming for Feyre — I questioned the logic of until about three-quarters through the book. I think I could’ve used a little more reasoning behind that at the beginning because it made me question so much about where the story was going and if we were missing any more details.

A quick summary: I AM READY FOR BOOK TWO, PLEASE AND THANK YOU! I can’t wait to see which direction this story flows in next. 4/5

#24

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Just a small one for the past couple of weeks, with two out of three of the books being from the library! Being on a budget really really stinks….for more reasons than just the lack of book buying, too.

Haul 7:17:15

 

  • The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. I’ve already read this one and I have to admit that the ending is a perfect one for the series!
  • Dune by Frank Herbert. I can’t stop craving all the science-fiction lately.
  • Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier. I’ve been tearing through this one. Just started reading it yesterday and I’m already at the 85% mark, according to Goodreads! Will probably finish this one too before heading out for the night.

Oh guys. Oh man. I have a whole list of books to take out the library as well as an accrual of  both Kindle books and physical books lying around. But as most of the time, I’m open for recommendations! Are there any books you think I should read, like, NOW? Let me know! (: And happy Friday!

The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, & The Death Cure: A Rant-y Retrospective

Saying this up front because maybe this is important to you: I do not plan on reading The Kill Order, the prequel to this series. Maybe that’s why you read series reviews or reviews of books in series, to find out if it’s worth the time to keep pursuing the next book, so there you have it. And this is why.

I can say with confidence that The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials were entertaining, at the very least. They were fast-paced. They had those important elements of suspense. Grievers! Get out of the maze! The Flare! But The Death Cure I had trouble enjoying, so much so that I gave it only two stars on Goodreads. One of its problems is more a problem of the entire series, which is that the characters are very two-dimensional. No depth to them. In order to feel character depth, I need a lot of character background and I need to understand the characters’ reasoning (or their thinking process). I need that! And I don’t understand why this wasn’t included! Very little background, no understanding of the characters. I get that the suspense and pacing were huge foundational elements of this series, but in my experience, very important factors (such as character history/background) can be worked in without the expense of the excitement. That background just needs to include elements that are equally exciting, which is very plausible given what has happened to the earth itself. For the love of god, just GIVE ME SOME BACK STORY.

One other thing I noticed with The Death Cure — and maybe I was so caught up in the previous books that I just hadn’t noticed it in them, too — was that the characters deliberated more than they acted. I have in my notes that it took just under 25% of the book to get things moving along and to spur the characters into acting. And none of that  first 25% was anything super important (like backstory, *AHEM*), just characters debating, disagreeing, etc.

The main reason I pushed through this last book was because I was hoping beyond hope that we get some explanations and thus see some evolution. But I didn’t get either…. I am so so conflicted because there’s such a good outline, it just wasn’t executed to my liking. The series as a whole gets a 2.5/5 from me.