Series I don’t Plan on Finishing

The many book series that have entered my life can mainly be separated into three categories:

  • Series that I have followed from the beginning to the bitter end. Subcategories here include series I have loved and have been distraught that they finished (see The Raven Boys Cycle and Shiver series’ by Maggie Stiefvater) and series where I am in so deep I just have to finish with no regard for my sanity (see The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare)
  • ¬†Series where I have read some of the books and just tailed off but might pick up again some day (see The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl)
  • Series where I have read one or more of the books before deciding it just wasn’t for me.

This third category is the one I’m going to be discussing here. Interestingly, I have found that¬†for most of the series I have decided not to finish, rather than just not¬†enjoying the¬†first book and not carrying on¬†I have actually¬†liked at least one of the books!

  1. Shatter Me trilogy РTahereh Mafi (Shatter Me, Unravel Me, Ignite Me)

First off a series where I loved the first novel. There are some really good things about Shatter Me. Starting off superficial, the cover is one of my favourite book covers, it is so pretty! Moving onto the novel itself I really loved the story, which is a dystopian¬†about a girl called Juliette whose touch is fatal. It’s angsty and dramatic and there is a really cute pairing that I love. On top of that, Tahereh Mafi’s writing is beautiful and poetic. This novel actually features one of my favourite book quotes ever:

‘The moon¬†understands¬†what it means to be human. Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.’

So the one question that remains is ‘why am I¬†not going to finish this series if¬†I¬†loved the first book so much?’. The answer is simple: because I¬†loved the first book so much. It was very simple and contained and there weren’t that many characters. From looking at¬†the second novel the world seems to expand a lot and become more complex, plus there was a suggestion¬†of a possible love triangle at the end of the first novel and I just can’t deal with another one of them, especially when the¬†pair established in the first novel is one I love so much!

2. Legend trilogy – Marie Lu (Legend, Prodigy, Champion)

Similar to Shatter Me, I loved the first novel in this series, in fact, it even made it onto the honourable mentions of my favourite books list. Another dystopian with a romantic pairing that I love (I can sense a theme emerging!), Legend follows fifteen year old June and Day as they navigate what was once the west of the United States. June is from an elite family which is tied up with the military while Day is the most wanted criminal in the country. It is very dramatic as it deals with corruption and justice and family and, no spoilers, but I was shocked by the ending and cried for quite a while after finishing reading!

After enjoying the first novel in this series I was really excited about the release of the second novel but when it came out I just didn’t enjoy it that much. Everything just got a bit complex, romantic relationships got a bit tangled and¬†there was what I think was a love triangle but it could even have¬†been a love square (is that a thing?!). Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t a bad read by far and, most importantly, didn’t lessen my love for Legend at all, it just wasn’t really for me. For that reason, I decided to stop reading this series and enjoy the first novel as a stand-alone.

3. The Maze Runner series – James Dashner (The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, The Kill Order)

Another dystopian series here¬†but a bit of a different story as I read the first three novels and just decided I didn’t want to read The Kill Order which¬†is a prequel to the events of the first three. The three books in the series that I read deal with a dystopian world and from what I understand, The Kill Order deals with how the world came to be in this state. I think my disinterest in reading this prequel is mainly because the characters in the first three novels were the main draw for me, rather than the world in which it was set. In the same vein I’m not sure I was ready to let go of the characters I had come to like and meet new ones in the same world!

So there we have it, series I have read to a point and then made a conscious decision to stop for one reason or another. Of course you should never say never, so who knows, I may finish one, or all of these series at some point in the future. Just not right now!

Top 5 – Non Fiction Books

For the majority of my life I have had a rocky relationship with non-fiction books and I blame this almost entirely on school! In school each year, we were given a list of different books we should try and read i.e. different genres .etc. and one of these was non-fiction. The only problem with this was that in school non-fiction meant either a three year old Guinness Book of World Records or some big square book about motorbikes that you never saw anywhere except the school library. Suffice to say, I¬†didn’t¬†read many non-fiction books in school!

Just under two years ago, though, my relationship with non-fiction books changed for the better. When I first went to University I fell into the biggest reading slump I have ever experienced in my life and, to my surprise, it was non-fiction that actually got me through!

Since then I have read and enjoyed lots of non-fiction books, so I thought I would share some of my favourites here.

  1. Doing It – Hannah Witton

Hannah Witton is a youtuber and blogger that¬†I love, and this year she published her book ‘Doing It – Let’s Talk About Sex’ which is (who would have guessed it) about sex and relationships. I really, really enjoyed this book, firstly because the writing style is exactly like Hannah’s videos so makes me smile and laugh out loud and feel empowered just like they do. More than that though, this book is hugely informative about a range of different and important¬†topics¬†for example¬†how to recognise an unhealthy relationship, some of which¬†¬†I had never even considered before! Additionally, there are lots of different guest contributors who talk about things they have personal experiences of. This book is therefore one that I can turn to both when I’m feeling a bit down and when I need some information or advice. What’s not to love?!

2. The World of Cycling According to G – Geraint Thomas (with Tom Fordyce)

My relationship with non-fiction books can probably be epitomised by my relationship with autobiographies, namely that I didn’t want to read them. In fact, I think the first autobiography I ever properly read was ‘Yes Please’ by Amy Poehler when I was 19. I’m not sure why I took against autobiographies so strongly, possibly because they symbolised the world of non-fiction that I was so¬†desperate to¬†escape. Anyway, I have now realised¬†the error of my ways and¬†love a good autobiography!

‘The World of Cycling according to G’¬†by the cyclist Geraint Thomas is probably my favourite autobiography so far. I should note, I’m not a cycling fanatic but I am a big fan of Geraint Thomas and I think that’s what made this book really enjoyable for me.

I do have other autobiographies on my TBR list though so hopefully I will get around to reading ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ by Nelson Mandela, ‘I am Malala’ by Malala Yousafzai and ‘Bossypants’ by Tina Fey sometime soon. I wonder if any of them can challenge Geraint Thomas for the top spot!

3. The Bookshop Book – Jen Campbell

This book is all about cool bookshops all around the world and for me is an absolute gem. Not only do I love reading about all of these amazing places but, growing up, I was never really interested in travelling because there was no where I really, really wanted to go. Following this read, though, I am eager to travel the world visiting all of the wonderful bookshops discussed in this book!

4. Pointless – Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman

For anyone who doesn’t know, Pointless isn’t actually a book, it is a TV quiz programme where contestants try and score as few points as possible by answering a question with the least obvious answer they can think of (I’m not selling it very well but trust me, it’s amazing!). I will confess I am a huge fan of Pointless and own the board game, the mini game and, most relevant here, all of the accompanying books written by the presenters. I massively enjoy all of the books; they are very funny as well as interesting and informative. If I had to choose just one I would probably go for ‘A Pointless History of the World’, because there is a lovely piece about Wales and the ending of the book is actually moving as well as funny as Osman states:

‘We only have one job tomorrow. To leave the world a slightly better place than we found it. Ring your mum, be kind to animals, be proud of yourself and be understanding of others. Everything else is pointless.’

5. The Bookshop That Floated Away – Sarah Henshaw

I won’t say much on this book as I discussed it in my May roundup only that it is another non-fiction book¬†about books that I hugely enjoyed. I think one of the main reasons this book sticks out for me is because it makes me feel like it’s ok not to have everything figured out yet! Also, thinking about this book always reminds me of sunny train journeys with my music plugged in, surrounded by blue sky and green fields, so for that reason I’m pretty sure it will always make me happy too!

So, there are my five favourite non-fiction books that I have read¬†so far. I’m going to be honest though: I think I have a lot of catching up to do!!

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Honourable Mentions

We Bought a Zoo – Benjamin Mee

The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? – Mindy Kahling

Top 5 – Favourite Books

The first top¬†5 of this blog couldn’t have been anything but my top¬†5 favourite books. The only problem was that this meant I actually had to decide on my top¬†5 favourite books and as every booklover knows, this is no easy task! Lucky for me, the first two were easy as ‘The Book Thief’ and the ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ are 100% my two favourite books (at the moment anyway!).¬†The next few weren’t so simple but finally¬†I got there, although the honourable mentions at the bottom show just how hard fought the competition was (and let’s be honest, on another day I might list a completely different set of books!).

  1. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

As anyone who knows me (and by knows, I mean anyone who has¬†made the mistake of mentioning that they’re not sure what to read next anywhere near me) I love The Book Thief. It’s one of those amazing reads where you can split your life into a before and after of when you read it (if you’re looking for a film comparison think maybe¬†La La Land or Inside Out, you know the films¬†that change the way you see¬†world?). I briefly covered the plot of this novel in a previous post so here I will just say – in The Fault in Our Stars John Green writes:

‘Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.’

For me, The Book Thief is that book.

2. The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

Another one I have previously covered here but a list of my favourite books would be incomplete without it. John Green is one of my favourite authors as I just love the poetry of his writing style and The Fault in Our Stars is my favourite one of his novels. It has two wonderful main characters, is extremely emotional (for some reason I am drawn to books that make me cry!) and features beautiful lines like ‘my thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations’… to be honest I never stood a chance!

3. Shiver series – Maggie Stiefvater (Shiver, Linger, Forever)

A bit of a cheat here because this is a series and not one novel. In my defence if I had to pick just one it would be ‘Forever’ which is the third book in the series and that just isn’t helpful if someone wants a reading recommendation! This series is about humans and wolves and humans who turn into wolves and is, in my opinion, pretty great. It’s got two romantic relationships that I love (no spoilers!) and one of my favourite literary characters ever¬†plus a strong female to boot in Isabel. These books are also sentimental to me because they were the first books by Maggie Stiefvater I ever read and she has since become my favourite author (you know, the one where you have to get your hands on everything they have written and your insides go funny when you hear they have a new novel on the way) so they have that going for them too.

4. Lock and Key – Sarah Dessen

I read a lot of Sarah Dessen books growing up. My older sister started first and of course, like every little sister, I wanted to be just like her, so followed suit. The sister connection is perhaps what makes this novel stick out in my mind. In Lock and Key, seventeen year old Ruby’s mum¬†does a runner so she goes to live with her sister Cora, who Ruby doesn’t trust because she feels like Cora abandoned her when they were younger. Family is all important in this novel whether for good or bad reasons, with the romantic storyline following Ruby and the cute boy next door Nate weaved in with these family ties. I think the importance of family and of doing your best to help the people you care about is what makes this the Sarah Dessen book I keep going back to over and over (and over) again!

5. Boys Don’t Cry – Malory Blackman

Boy’s Don’t Cry. Put briefly this is one of the most emotional and affective books I have ever read. For me, at least, it was literally unputdownable. I started it one night and finished it a few hours later and it is the only book I can remember crying reading from pretty much the first page to the last. It follows Dante, who is waiting for his A-level results, but suddenly finds himself in charge of who he is told is his baby daughter, Emma. To be honest I could gush about is book all day, so all I’ll say here is that it made my heart hurt in the best way possible.

Honourable Mentions

  • Legend – Marie Lu
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling
  • Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
  • Everything, Everything – Nicola Yoon

 

Booked in -Summer Reading Plans 2017

I recently finished my second year University exams and while I was revising I had a few ideas about books I wanted to read or, more accurately in the case of many of them, re-read. At the time I didn’t really want to get started with any because I always find reading hard when I’m revising so I decided to do the second best thing and make a list.

Now, even though I’m calling this list ‘reading plans’ it’s not a¬†reading challenge¬†or set in stone, to be honest I think some of these picks might just have been my brain trying to get me to procrastinate, but only time will tell!!

So here goes:

  1. The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Book number one on this list and the first book I will ever discuss on this blog is, fittingly, my favourite book ever, although I have only ever read it once. This novel is about a girl called Liesel navigating Germany during World War II, as narrated by Death. It is also the most beautiful book I have ever read. Never have I spent so much time just holding a book in my hands, breathing deeply, and thinking about what I have just read. I tell every single person who asks me for a book recommendation (and let’s be honest, every single person who doesn’t ask too) to¬†read this book, so this¬†summer it’s time to take my own advice, and enjoy it all over again!

2.  The Fault in Our Stars РJohn Green

Another re-read here and my second favourite book ever. The Fault in Our Stars is narrated by Hazel, who has lung cancer, and mainly follows her relationship with Augustus Waters, who she meets at a cancer support group. Different to ‚ÄėThe Book Thief‚Äô I have read this book many, many times. It is not too long and I find John Green¬†very easy to read, so if I am ever in a reading slump or feeling stressed or anything really, this is the book I turn to. I’m sure this summer will be no different.

3. The Lord of the Rings – J. R. R. Tolkien

A bit of a disclaimer on this one: I got the urge to re-read the series while I was in the middle of my revision, so it is not only possible but highly likely that this was a mega procrastination plan! I often find fantasy set in different worlds quite difficult to read but Middle Earth is a land I love to get lost in so we’ll have to see if I go back to it this summer. I might just take part in some book betrayal though and watch the films!

4. The Lorien Legacies – Pittacus Lore

Another series here,¬†and this one¬†I have read about half of. The first book in this series ‘I am Number Four’ (about one of a group of aliens who come to earth to try and escape being hunted) came out in 2011 and I really enjoyed it. I kept reading the books as the came out but in the periods between releases I lost track of the story (I have a mega case of reading amnesia!) so in the end I just kind of gave up. Different to other series I have abandoned, though, I still have an interest in this one so I‚Äôm hoping to finish it during the summer, reading the books close enough together so that I actually¬†understand what‚Äôs going on this time!

So there we have it. My summer reading plans 2017. Will I actually stick to them? I have no idea, but my summer starts here, so we’ll just have to wait and see!!